From the counties of El Paso to Hidalgo and Lipscom to Zavala, in each and every county you're sure to find your share of local lore and legend that some might just swear is based in truth. Take Fort Davis (Jeff Davis County) for example.
In the late 1800's (around 1860) it is rumored that a young Apache girl was found wounded after a skirmish between Cavalry troops stationed at the fort and the local Indian population. She was taken back to the fort and the mother of Lt. Tom Eason (Mrs. Eason) took her in and named her Emily, nursing her back to health and allowing her a home on the post - where she grew up and fell in love with Tom.
Tom's feelings for her were not returned and he instead married a white girl, after which Emily slipped away and rejoined her band. After learning of a major attack planned on the fort, Emily stole away again in the night, this time to the fort to warn her love of the impending assault. She was mortally wounded by a nervous sentry.
She died, but not before professing her love for Tom again and warning of the attack, thus saving many soldiers' lives. Maybe Tom's included. She was buried in the post cemetery. But Emily's story doesn't end there.
Fort Davis was abandoned in 1891 and all of those entombed there relocated to San Antonio . . . except Emily. After having her story confirmed by a one-time Lieutenant named Henry O. Flipper who spent time at the fort, the state of Texas erected a marker in her memory. In 36 words, it told of the of her love for a soldier and her death because of it that saved old Fort Davis from massacre.
The marker has been since removed and placed in storage, with access limited to the purported site of her burial and counter-rumors flying, swearing her story is pure fiction.
Me? I saw the marker as a young girl when visiting the fort with my parents. I have gone back in search of it as an adult only to find it gone.
So, if federal agents won't let us have our romantic legends, it is up to us to keep them alive in the pages of a book. Which is precisely why I wrote the four-book Saga of Indian Em'ly. The first in this series is out now and titled The Apache and the Pale Face Soldiers.
So real or fake? It's up to you to decide. However to quote the editor of the Shinbone Star in the last scene with John Wayne's remains in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, "When the legend becomes fact . . . Print the legend."