Family feud lasted 40 years

By Don McAlavy: CNJ columnist

I was up at the Loring filling station at 21st and Main in 1978 when a furniture truck pulled in and the two men got out and inquired of me where Oakhurst Street was. I gave them directions and then made a few inquires of them, seeing the sign on their truck, Spike Brothers Furniture, Lubbock, Texas. Neither of them were Spike related, but it brought back memories of an incident I’ve heard many old timers tell about.

The Spike Brothers store in Lubbock was run by descendants of Fred Spikes, who was once called an outlaw. He and his brothers were involved in a “battle” with a posse made up of area ranchers and one former Texas sheriff in which two of his brothers were killed and himself wounded.

The Spikes had settled in a canyon on the northwest slope of Mesa Redonda in Quay Valley, about 70 miles northwest of Clovis, around the turn of the century in 1900. The feud started near the end of the Civil War in Texas and the feud went all the way up to what is now Quay County. Some say the Gholsons settled first around Mesa Redonda. Some say the Spikes did.

Sam Gholson’s place was just below the caprock south of Mesa Redonda. The feud was intensified by a rash of rustling of cattle with a lot of ranchers blaming the Spikes and their friends. The real culprits were probably the Hawkins outlaw gang, which for a time made their hangout near the Spikes’ place.

In the resulting shootout, some of the Spikes were killed. Soon after the killings the rest of the Spikes, wives and children, moved to Lubbock.

I had a good story about this incident written by Laura Creek at House as told to her by Bessie Brocharo Hodges, Herman Moncus and Tom Horton. Bessie, now dead, was only 9 years old and living with her family in Apache Canyon east of the Spikes when the shooting incident happened.

In the 1929 book on the XIT Ranch, the Spikes were called outlaws. Fred Spikes sued the XIT Ranch, the publisher and author of the book. A six-month trial took place in 1931 in Lubbock to ascertain the truth about the Spikes-Gholson feud. After the trial, the documents of the trial were lost.

Two books, one by this columnist, called “Our Kind Is Hard To Kill” published in 1997, tells the fictional story of the feud based on true incidents, by a young girl that was caught up in the feud.

Donna Gholson Cook’s book, “Gholson Road — Revolutionaries and Texas Rangers,” was published in 2004, and is a good read.