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Vandals strike Packsaddle Mountain historical marker, state highway signs

DANIEL CLIFTON • EDITOR

LLANO — After someone painted the words, “White history celebrates genocide” on a Texas historical marker commemorating the last battle in Llano County between settlers and Native Americans, state officials are seeking donations to restore the marker.

Llano County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Glen Williams said that highway workers found the graffiti on the Packsaddle Mountain marker, located on Texas 71 near the CR 309 intersection, on Feb. 1 and reported it the next day.

It wasn’t the only graffiti highway workers found. Williams said another report came in regarding the words “mni wiconi” written on two highway signs in the area of Texas 29 and Texas 71 west of Llano.

“I looked it up and it’s Lakota for ‘water is life,’” Williams said. “It may be connected to the Standing Rock situation.”
Williams is referring to the protest in North Dakota regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline. But there’s nothing connecting the two at this time, he added.

Crews have already replaced the two highway signs west of Llano, but the words are still on the Texas historical marker.

This is what the Packsaddle Mountain historical marker looked like before it was damaged. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

Chris Florance, director of the Texas Historical Commission, said the marker belongs to the state, but there is no funding through the state to repair centennial markers.

“The THC is working with monument restoration experts now on an estimate for restoration, but since no funding is available the effort for now will rely on donations,” Florance said. “The TCH has worked with donors from the Friends of the Texas Historical Commission to restore several centennial markers.”

The Packsaddle Mountain marker was placed at the location in 1936 during the Texas Centennial. It commemorates the Aug. 4, 1873 battle between a group of Llano County settlers and Native Americans, possibly Comanches or Apaches. A few days prior to the battle, several horses went missing from area ranches. The day before the battle, which took place on Packsaddle Mountain, a rancher found one cow with an arrow in its side. He alerted several other local settlers who then went off to pursue the possible Indian raiding party.

Though conflicts between Native Americans and settlers had decreased during the 1870s, incidents sometimes did happen.

Eight men – Jim Moss, Steve Moss, Bill Moss, E.D. Harrington, Arch Martin, Eli Loyd, Robert Brown, and Pink Aires – tracked the Native Americans to Packsaddle Mountain, located south of Llano and northwest of the juncture of the Llano and Colorado rivers. The settlers eventually overtook the Indians on the mountain, but it led to a ferocious battle. The Indians slipped away though the trees and brush after the settlers killed their chief. But the Indians wounded at least three of the settlers as well.

For more on the battle, go to 101HighlandLakes.com:

Anyone with information regarding the two graffiti incidents can contact the Llano County Sheriff’s Office at (325) 247-5050 or the Hill Country Area Crime Stoppers at 1-866-756-8477 or online at hillcountryareacrimestoppers.com.

Go to the Friends of the Texas Historical Commission’s website at thcfriends.org to learn how to support restoration of state and centennial markers.

editor@thepicayune.com

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