Talking Texas Who was Britt Johnson?

West Texas Legend 


            Britton (Britt) Johnson was born around 1840 in Tennessee.  Johnson became a Frontier legend when he rescued his family from the Comanche’s after they were captured in the Elm Creek Raid in October 1864. Johnson was a slave of Moses Johnson but served as more of a foreman of the Johnson Ranch in the Peters colony. 

            After the Elm Creek Raid, Johnson spent the summer of 1865 searching for his wife, Mary, and two daughters, Jube and Cherry, at reservations in Oklahoma and forts throughout the Texas frontier. With the help of Asa-Havey, Johnson’s family was ransomed.

            Johnson moved his family to Parker County where he started a freight business hauling goods from Weatherford to Fort Griffin. On January 24, 1871, about twenty-five Kiowas attacked his wagon train in Young County. A group of nearby teamsters from a larger train of wagons reported that Johnson died last in a desperate defense behind the body of his horse. Teamsters who buried the bodies of Johnson and his men counted 173 rifle and pistol shells in the area where Johnson made his stand. He was buried with his men in a common grave beside the wagon road.



           Johnson’s bravery and heroic death has made him a legend of the Texas frontier. You can hear Britt Johnson’s story and see him brought back to life at Frontier Texas in                   downtown Abilene.

            Read about Britt Johnson in Alan Huffines novel Killed By Indians 1871. The novel is available for purchase in the Frontier Texas General Store.







Michael E. McClellan, "JOHNSON, BRITTON," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed February 17, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

© 2015 Frontier Texas/ Rebecca Kinnison