Living to tell — Comanche Captives, the Babb Siblings

From left to right, the two siblings held captive by the Comanches, Bianca Babb Bell and Dot Babb. The oldest Babb sibling, Hernandez Cortez “Court” Babb. (Courtesy photos)

By Jessica Crabtree

In continuance of last month’s article featuring Thomas Jefferson “Jeff” Waggoner, another historical piece can be written in association with Waggoner. The link is Waggoner’s sister Mary Ella Waggoner Babb. Mary Ella married Hernandez Cortez “Court” Babb in 1879 in Wise County.
Court was born June 8, 1850, in Sauk County Wisconsin. The eldest of four, his father was John S. Babb and mother, Isabel Ann Jenkins Babb. Mr. Babb was Ohio-born in 1818 while all that is known about Isabel’s birth is that the year was 1824 in Ohio. Her life was cut short by an unexpected turn of events.

Mr. Babb and wife Isabel moved from Ohio, then to Wisconsin, before heading south to Texas in 1854. Forming a family, Isabel and Mr. Babb, along with sons Court and Theodore Adolphus, “Dot,” forged the track to Texas in a two-horse wagon. After reaching the mighty Red River, the boundary between Indian Territory and Texas, their journey was halted by flood waters from the swollen Red. While the family waited, their third child, a daughter named Bianca “Banc” Babb Bell was born. Thereafter, the family came to settle in Wise County near present day Chico.

The unimaginable happened in September of 1865. According to the information found coinciding with Bianca’s records, Mr. Babb and son Court left that fateful September, driving cattle up to Fort Smith, leaving his wife, son and now two daughters with the help of a young widow named Mrs. Luster. Not long after John S. and Court’s departure, a Comanche party of more than 35 braves surrounded the Babb homestead. While there was little to no warning, the Babb family took refuge in their home before being invaded by Indians.

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