White Fox said: "My father noticed all the owls had stopped hooting. Families were huddled around a roaring fire in the great fireplace in our house when my father, Aaron Anderson, became aware that there were no sounds of hooting owls outside. It was a bitter cold, windy night in March of 1863 that an estimated band of 150 to 300 Native Americans led by white renegades attacked the little settlement of Illinois Bend. This attack was described in T.R. Stump's book, History of the Early Settlers in Montague County, Texas. The John Willett family, an Anderson family and a young man named Harris had established a small stockade located about a mile and a half southeast of the present-day Illinois Bend. They had moved there from the stockade at Head-of-Elm (now Saint Jo). Stump noted they were "tired of being couped up". They assumed they were safe from the threat of Native Americans. The families were huddled around a roaring fire in the great fireplace when Anderson became aware that there were no sounds of hooting owls outside. He went out to investigate and never returned. When he failed to return, Harris went out only to discover the entire settlement was surrounded by a large band of Native Americans. He rushed back inside giving the alarm to the others. Willett instructed all to flee for their lives. Mrs. Anderson was in bed with a two-day old baby and was unable to leave so John Willett remained behind to protect her. His 18-year-old daughter, Anne, stayed with her father.
Mrs. Willett, her daughter, Cynthia, the12 year old Anderson boy, and young Harris managed to escape into the darkness. Cynthia, the Anderson boy and Harris followed the Red River downstream. The boy was caught by the Native Americans but later escaped. After two days, Cynthia and Harris found safety in Gainesville. The Anderson boy was found later by settlers who had to catch him as he was still in great fear of his life. John Willett, his daughter and Mrs. Anderson were killed and scalped at their new home. Mrs. Willett remarkably was able to make it to Head-of-Elm, but was half-frozen. She walked there in her night clothes and with bare feet, in the dark some fifteen miles to tell of the massacre. She told of running off a bunch of wild hogs and warming herself in their bedding. Upon arriving at the Head-of-Elm stockade, the settlers sent runners to warn other settlers of the threat of a large band of marauding Native Americans. Capt. Rowland responded with his troops from the Confederate outpost at Red River Station. His rangers pursued the Native Americans for three days. They caught up with them in Cooke County. There he decided the hold his position and not attack as his troops numbered only 115 men. Rowland reported the Native Americans were a superior force. The Native Americans moved back across the Red River unchallenged, leaving a path of bloodshed and horror behind them. The Aaron Anderson baby does not appear on the Texas Historical Commission's list of those killed at Illinois Bend on March 7, 1863. On May 20, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued his first Homestead Act, to be effective January 1, 1863. Many families arrived to homestead land the Comanche called Comancheria. March 15, 1863, did the Meskquwaki Fox carry out the raid or did the Comanche do so and then sell, give or barter to the Meskquwaki Fox band the white settlers abducted Aaron Anderson baby, born on Thursday, March 5, 1863, at Illinois Bend on Red River? Whether the child was or was not the Anderson baby or another homesteading family's daughter, the saga of White Fox is the same other than the comfort of knowing for sure. In this book we assume she is Aaron Anderson's newborn. My conjecture is the raiders were Comanche, then among the most warlike people in Texas, a hazard to voyagers through their domain as well as to settlers beyond it, mounting raids into northern Mexico for slaves, horses, young girls and women.