Henry Woodson Strong

A son of the South, Henry Woodson Strong wore many hats as a young adult in northeast Texas, where he raised hogs and later sheep and in between served as a civilian scout and guide for Colonel Ranald S. Mackenzie. In 1926 he recounted his early days in the “Lone Star State” in his self-published 122-page memoir My Fronter Days and Indian Fights on the Plains of Texas. “The photo card is a card he would sign and give with the book,” collector Tony Sapienza says of this image. “It’s rare to have the two together.” The author struck a different pose for the cover of his book.

Born in Carroll County, Miss., on March 27, 1849, Strong grew up on his father’s turpentine plantation in Choctaw County, Ala. He briefly attended Spring Hill, a Jesuit college in Mobile, before joining a Confederate cavalry unit at age 15 and serving through the Civil War. “He was an unrepentant Confederate,” says Sapienza. By 1870 Strong was in Texas and soon started raising hogs near Jacksboro. Around 1873, despite his Rebel sympathies, he signed on to scout for Mackenzie in his expeditions against renegade Comanches and Kiowas, doing battle and rescuing captives.

On July 7, 1875, in the wake of the Red River War, Strong married Sarah Eleanor “Pinkie” Parks in Wichita County, where in 1882 Henry began running sheep. By decade’s end the Strongs, who ultimately raised seven children, had made Grayson County their home. In 1924 Pinkie died at age 70 in Waxahachie, the Ellis County seat. Oddly enough, though her husband survived her, the death certificate lists her as a widow. On May 14, 1928, Henry, 79, died at the home of a niece in Palestine, the Anderson County seat. He’s buried in the Palestine City Cemetery.

this article first appeared in wild west magazine

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