John W. Gober and John Chisum on the fate of
John Denton's Bones
A news article pertaining to the controversy surrounding the true wherabouts of the remains of John B. Denton, including a letter from John Chisum on the subject.
JOHN B. DENTON'S BONES - John S. Chisum, Who Buried Them Tells Where They Can Be Found, and Gives a Diagram. Special to the News. Denton, Texas, Oct. 1. -
John W. Gober, the only person now living who ever saw the remains of Col. John B. Denton, about whose burial place there has been so much controversy lately, today made the following statement to The News representative. The incidents concerning the matter are so fresh in Mr. Gober's mind and the letter, a copy of which is also published below, is so authentic, that it is believed this statement will decisively settle the matter. The statement is as follows: "In the first place there has been a difference of opinion as to the time of the interment of Denton's bones on the Waide place. To settle this, of my own knowledge I can say that the bones were put there in 1856. John S. Chisum and Fitzgerald brought them there in a grub sack, name which all old-timers will recognize and remember. Chisum told me at the time that he knew they were Denton's bones from the marks on the nearby trees at the place where he found them, which had been described to him by Bourland, Young and Stout, who were with Denton when he was killed and when he was buried. After Chisum brought the bones home with him, I examined them. Two teeth were gone from the upper jaw and Chisum told me that these identical teeth were out long before Denton was killed. Chisum, it might here be stated, had known Denton for many years, from a boy, in fact, as Denton was always a great lover of children and Chisum was a life-long admirer and friend. It was in July or August, 1856, that Chisum brought the remains home with him. He described the finding to me and said that some of the boys out hunting rabbits had discovered them. He had learned of their find, had investigated--he was at the time out looking up some strayed cattle, not searching for the bones, as has been stated above, identified the place and the remains. In September of the same year I was over at his place. I went over to get him to take a $100 bill to New Orleans to get it changed, that being more money than could be found with one man in Denton County or near there at that time. The bones were getting musty and beginning to smell, and he asked my advice on what to do with them. I suggested that he bury them in a box, as Denton's people (who had been notified by Chisum of what he had done) were not coming after them. Shortly after that I was again over at his home and found him preparing a journey to New Orleans. He told me that if anybody came out to get the bones while he was gone for me to show them where they were, and he pointed out to me the exact spot where the bones had been interred. But nobody came. "Some said that Waide buried the remains, but that is a mistake. I do not remember exactly when, but it was several years later, that Waide told me of digging a hole to plant a cherry tree and of finding bones. He asked me if I knew anything about whose they were. I told him they were John B. Denton's, and he put them back and covered them again. I never saw Denton and all the information I have was gotten through Chisum, and by seeing and examining the bones. I was with Chisum a great deal, hunting cattle and the like, and there seemed to have existed a great friendship between the two men. Chisum talking about them very frequently." The letter follows: Roswell, N.M., July 4. - John W. Gober, Denton, Texas: Dear Friend--The remains of John B. Denton are buried at the Waide place in a small box six or eight feet from the house I lived in, rather at the southwest corner of the yard. It is at the south end of the house but near the southwest corner. His grave was discovered by some boys who were rabbit hunting on Oliver Creek. From the description W. H. Bourland, W. C. Young, and Henry Stout had given me of the place where he was buried I knew that that was his grave, and being a friend of Denton's, I took up his remains and carried them home. I notified his children and his brother Masons of what I had done. There being no steps taken I placed them in a box and buried them as I tell you. From many circumstances I can say I am positive there is no mistake in their being Denton's remains. His rib bones were very rotten when I took them and more so now. He was killed in 1841 or 1842, I believe, which was a long time ago. You will notice one of the arm bones has been broken long before his death: you will see that one of the arm bones I buried was broken. Some doubted them being the bones of Denton, but I know they are his and no mistake.
I am as ever your friend, John S. Chisum.
The above letter was written by Col. Chisum in answer to a request from Mr. Gober to tell him the exact Location of the grave and the particulars of the finding, etc., some doubt having come up. With the letter is a diagram of the old Chisum place, which shows the location of the grave, with reference to the building on the farm.