Thursday, June 01, 2006

Conking the Tonks


Mrs. Dee Cook Remembers When, as Little Ella Slaughter, She Bombarded Indians

Waco Times-Herald
Feb. 16, 1936

Ever chunk rocks at Tonkawa Indians? It is a privilege reserved to few; but Mrs. Dee Cook (she was little Ella Slaughter then, in pigtails and pinafores) accomplished it.

She didn't know for a fact that Tonkawas ate little girls, although her negro nurse had told her so. But the Tonks were cannibals, sure enough.

Anyhow, back in 1873 a lot of the Tonks made one of their annual pilgrimages to Waco to visit Captain Sul Ross at his house near where the Cotton Palace now stands. They camped on the south side of the creek. Little Ella Slaughter and some of her fellow students at Waco academy decided they would go take a look at the Indians.

Led the Procession

Ella and Florine Davis climbed up on Ella's pony, "Hug-and-Buck," and led the procession. Mrs. Cook doesn't remember exactly, but she thinks some of those in the party were Belle Puckett (Hamilton), Annie Burnham (Sullivan) and Lula Garner (the late Mrs. Pat Massey).

They got to the creek; they dodged down under the bank and poked up their heads to look at the wild Tonkawas. And the wild Tonkawas were all asleep. They traveled at night and slept by day.

How could a gang of little girls have a proper look at Indians who had blankets over their heads?

So They Let Fly

So all the little girls picked up rocks and let fly at the sleeping redskins. They got immediate and startling results.

A lot of the Indians jumped up and yelled, and came running toward the creek, bending their bows. Of course, Mrs. Cook says now, they didn't intend to hurt anybody. They were probably playing. But the little girls didn't know that. They wanted to save their pigtails, and they ran. The Indians did not pursue.

Mrs. Cook didn't chunk any more rocks at the Tonkawas.


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