Feuding’ and Fightin’ Friday: Spikes-Gholson Feud

FeudingFightFridayThis family feud simmered quite awhile before it ended in the early 1900’s in eastern New Mexico, in an area now known as Quay County.  The feud began in east Texas during the Civil War when the two patriarchs of the Spikes and Gholson families crossed paths, or should I say just “crossed.”

John Wesley Spikes (see this week’s Tombstone Tuesday article here in case you missed it) was a member of the Texas 12th Cavalry, whose job was rounding up draft evaders.  During the Civil War men were often recruited with the “point-of-a-gun” rather than willingly join the cause.

One day in 1864, Samuel Gholson was in the town of Kaufman (Spikes lived in the county at the time as well) stocking up on supplies when he was approached by one of Spikes’ men.  Sam Gholson was the son of Albert Gholson who fought Mexico for Texas independence years before.  Sam, who rode with the Texas Rangers, had also distinguished himself in the Indian wars.  His family’s illustrious history apparently made no impression on Spikes’ men.

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14 Comments

  1. Thanks for this post. Sam Gholson was my great-great-great-grandfather, and I’m just starting to research him a bit. A few months after he killed the Spikes brothers, he apparently killed five more cattle rustlers in a related incident. Here’s a 1902 newspaper with an article about it. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth116024/m1/1/

    Reply
    • Thanks for stopping by and providing some more information about Sam Gholson. I’ll take a look at the article and see if can add any more information. Good luck with your ancestry research!

      Reply
    • Thanks for this Story.I too am a Great Great granddaughter of Samuel Gholson.
      If it wasn’t for people like you to tell the story we the family may not know about it.So thanks again.
      Cindy Catalano

      Reply
      • You are so welcome … thanks for stopping by!

        Reply
  2. Very interesting hearing about Brother Sam Gholson. I am the Great Great grandson of Benjamin Franklin Gholson brother of Sam Gholson. Thanks Eddie Arnold Jr

    Reply
    • So glad you enjoyed the article … thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  3. According to “The Flamboyant Judge,” by James D. Hamlin, the Spikes family brought several lawsuits, totaling over 2 million dollars in claims, against the XIT over the matter. After losing the first one, the Spikes’ settled out of court for 17 thousand.

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  4. Hi, Sharon! Thank you for the great article! I published a book in 2004 about the Gholson family and am currently working on another one. My great-grandfather was Sam Gholson’s brother Frank, and my earlier book was more focused on Frank and contained very little information about Sam. I would like to rectify that with this one, and would like to quote your article in its entirety, if I may have your permission. Your information is accurate, as far as I have seen elsewhere. I have the article by Don Bullis and a book by Don McAlavy that is a fictionalized version of the story, OUR KIND IS HARD TO KILL.
    My website is http://www.gholson-cook.com
    Thanks!
    Donna Gholson Cook

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    • As long as the article is properly attributed I give you permission to use it. I also purchased your two books .. looking forward to reading them…thanks for stopping by!

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      • Thank you! I will definitely give you credit for the article and send you a copy of the book when it is done, but it won’t be any time soon. I don’t have much time to spend on it, but I am enjoying every moment of the time I do have! 🙂

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        • Great … I will look forward to reading it. Just started one of the books and already found some interesting Texas history I might research and write about some day myself 🙂

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          • Very good! Thanks for reading! I am always glad to share anything I have found out with others, and I have found that most people are willing to share. That’s half of the fun, right?

  5. Research has resulted in the other side of the clash in New Mexico. The three Spikes brothers were not rustlers. They had their own cattle, and were trying to find water for them Gholson, like many other ranchers, claimed public water as their own, and defended it with paid men. They slew two of the Spikes brothers. The third was badly wounded and pinned under his horse, and was left for dead. A Mexican family came by, saved him and nursed him back to health. He went back to Kaufman County Texas, and returned to New Mexico to dispute the printed story told by the newspaper, as related by Gholson. Spikes sued the newspaper, and a retraction was issued. I have found many stories in my own family that proved to be false. The survivors of conflicts, or those with a preconceived notion, sometimes reach erroneous conclusions. Many stick with the stories that they heard or read, regardless of other information, because they like the story and believe the ones who told them. One example: a man in our family claimed to have been a Confederate and even won a pension. He later told family members that he lied about serving. He was only about 10 years old when some soldiers came by, followed by others who looking for them. He only pointed in the direction of the first group. He was proud of deceiving officials so well that he got a pension to which he was not deserving.

    Reply
    • Spikes sued and LOST. The XIT settled the next several cases (Spikes had all his kin file duplicate complaints), out of court for a nominal amount to avoid more court time. See “The Flamboyant Judge,” by James D. Hamlin for an informative history of the case. If you have contradictory research, I’d love to see it.

      Reply

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