"The Buffalo Hunt"
One day in the fall of 1862, the four oldest sons, Richard, Ishom, John and
James Christal set off on a buffalo hunt further north to supply the
families with meat for the winter. All but James was married and none have
been on a buffalo hunt before and had no one along to advise them.
Everything was thought to be fine including the weather and camp was made
near the Wichita River.
Richard and John noticed a herd of buffalos moving towards the camp and
decided this was an opportunity coming their way. Little did they know that
this wasn't normal behavior for buffalo after they settled in, unless
something or someone had disturbed them. Probably thinking they could make
several easy shots, they told their brothers they would return shortly. Not
long after that--shots were heard and those in camp thought Richard or John
had succeeded in their goal.
Time passed and it grew dark, still no sign of Richard or John. Ishom and
James became worried and decided the brothers were lost and needed help in
finding their way so they built up the fire and even fired their rifles to
guide them in. All night they waited and when morning came Ishom and James
rode in the direction they thought their brothers had gone.
After some time they found a handkerchief that belonged to John. Later tracks in
a river bed showed evidence that the brothers had been there, but along with
those were moccasin tracks. This doesn't always mean that these were tracks of
Indians since others often wore moccasins.
Several days were spent searching for their brothers to no avail. Being both
tired and heartbroken, Ishom and James broke camp and set off for home. When
they arrived they quickly told their tale and a large band of men joined in a
renewed search. After some time the camp site was located where they broke up
into groups to speed the search. Many miles were covered without seeing any
other sign of the two missing brothers.
To this day, it's still a mystery as to what happened to Richard and John
Christal. (Richard does share a headstone with his wife, Emily Morris, in the
IOOF Cemetery in Denton, TX. It's presumed to be in memory since his body was
never recovered; although why a death date of February 3, 1862 is listed is