Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Baby Head Cemetery

My husband was driving to Ft. Worth and he just pass Llano, TX when he saw a sign saying Baby Head Cemetery. Now a person just shouldn't let that go by without finding some information out. Here is what we found from

BABY HEAD, TEXAS. Baby Head is on State Highway 16 near Babyhead Mountain, ten miles north of Llano in north central Llano County. A post office was established there in 1879 with Shelby Walling as postmaster; the post office was closed in 1918. Baby Head was at one time the site of an election and justice court precinct and supported several small businesses and a school. By 1968 it was a rural community of twenty people marked only by a cemetery. In 1990 the population was still twenty.

For over 100 years, the presence of Babyhead Mountain, a rugged hill lying some nine and a half miles north of Llano, has given foreboding testimony to one of the most gruesome and controversial incidents to have ever occurred in Llano County. It was here that a search party discovered the dismembered body of a missing child, her head impaled on a stick near the summit of the hill.

The century-long reigning oral account of the atrocity has, curiously, divulged only that the hill received its name after the discovery there of the child; that the bloody head had belonged to a tiny girl; and that people in general believed that the barbarous act was yet another Indian depredation perpetrated to convince the Whites they were not welcome in Indian territory.

A Llano resident whose ancestors lived in the area during the time of the incident, presented an entirely different version of the famous tale.

"When I was 14, my uncle told me that his father, told him that a local "mob" of wealthy and powerful ranchers killed the little girl and blamed it on the Indians. They came to my great-grandfather, who lived in Cherokee at the time and was considered an important and influential man, and told him they were going to massacre a whole family of homesteaders. They gave him three reasons why and asked him to participate in it.

"Number one, they considered this particular family poor white trash and they were therefore expendable. I never heard the name of the family. Number two, there had been frequent raids by the Comanches, and ranchers and homesteaders alike wanted the U.S. Cavalry to dispatch a unit in the area for protection. (The government had dismantled some of the area forts and didnt regard the Comanche problem as warranting a Cavalry unit here.) And number three, they wanted to discourage more settlers from coming in and staking homestead claims on their lands. There was a big disagreement over land claims at that time.

"So the "mob" thought up an incident of such horrible magnitude that it would show there was a serious Indian problem in the area, and the army would bring the Cavalry in. And at the same time it would solve the problems with the homesteaders.

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