Meet the Legends: Britt Johnson
Hero of the Texas Plains
Born a slave in Tennessee in 1840, he came to Texas with his master, Moses Johnson. As a reward for his loyalty and hard work, Britt was appointed foreman of a ranch in Young County and had his own horses and cattle.
In 1864, during the Elm Creek Raid, Indians killed Britt’s son and took his wife and two daughters captive. His owner made him a free man and gave him half of his gold, so that he could find his family. His attempts to find his family became the source of legend. In 1865, he was able to secure their freedom with the help of Esahabitu, a visionary Commanche leader, and the family returned to Texas.
He used his renown to build a business as a freighter between Weatherford and Forts Richardson, Belknap and Griffin. He died heroically January 24, 1871 defending a wagon train he was leading through Young County when it was attacked by 25 Kiowas. Britt was famous as a crack shot with his 16-shot Henry rifle. When his body was found, there were 173 spent shell casings scattered around him.