WINDUS, CLARON AUGUSTUS
WINDUS, CLARON AUGUSTUS (1850?–1927). Claron A. Windus, Medal of Honor recipient, was born to George and Mary Windus in Janesville, Wisconsin. Sources give his date of birth variously as January 10, 1850, and as 1851. He received his education in the Janesville public schools. He married Agnes Ballantyne in Brackettville, Texas, on February 3, 1877, and was the father of at least three daughters. Windus ran away from home in 1864 and joined the Fifth Wisconsin Infantry as a drummer. He saw action during the Civil War when the Fifth Wisconsin participated in the siege of Petersburg, Virginia. He was mustered out in July 1865. He then joined the United States Army in October 1866, having lied about his age, and saw lengthy service in Texas with Company L, Sixth United States Cavalry. He was court-martialed in February 1868 for desertion and theft and was sentenced to twelve months of hard labor.
In July 1870 Private Windus was a member of Company L, Sixth United States Cavalry. Under the command of Capt. Curwen B. McLellan, a mixed troop from Companies A, H, K, and L was dispatched to recover the mail from Indians who had attacked a mail coach sixteen miles west of Fort Richardson on July 6. The force of fifty-eight men, led by guide James Dosher, followed the trail of a small group of Indians until July 11, when nightfall found them on the south bank of the North Fork of the Little Wichita River, some forty miles northwest of Fort Richardson. On July 12, after they were unable to cross the river because of heavy rains on July 10 and 11, they were attacked by a band of Kiowa Indians. The ensuing battle came to be known as the battle of the Little Wichita River. Windus was bugler and orderly and assisted the wounded army surgeon, George W. Hatch, in caring for the soldiers. He also assisted in the clearing of enemy snipers from prominent elevations. On the morning of July 13, Windus, Dosher, and Sgt. George Eldridge volunteered to go to Fort Richardson for help. They eluded the Indians and brought relief to the beleaguered command. Windus and twelve others were recommended for the Medal of Honor by McLellan for "conspicuous acts of bravery." The awards were presented at Fort Richardson on October 13 and 23, 1870.
Windus was discharged on October 12, 1871, and worked as a teamster and mail agent until 1875, when he was appointed deputy sheriff at Brackettville, Texas. In 1877, while attempting to arrest four fugitive felons, Windus shot and killed Adam Paine, a Black Seminole scout who was also a Medal of Honor recipient. This is the only known incident in which one Medal of Honor recipient was killed by another. Resigning his Brackettville duties in 1877, Windus became a mounted customs inspector from 1879 until 1884. He served as a deputy United States marshall until 1896, during which time he served in the Garza War. Windus reentered the military in 1898 as a captain in the Ninth Volunteer Infantry and was in Cuba in late 1898. He contracted malaria there and was returned to the United States. He was discharged in May 1899 and returned to Texas, where he again served as customs agent from 1900 until 1920. Windus entered the hospital at Fort Sam Houston after becoming ill on September 20, 1927, and died there on October 18. He was survived by his wife and two daughters. Windus was buried in the Masonic Cemetery at Brackettville, Texas.
Committee on Veterans' Affairs, United States Senate, Medal of Honor Recipients, 1863–1973 (Washington: GPO, 1973).
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Art Leatherwood, "WINDUS, CLARON AUGUSTUS," accessed August 13, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fwihn.
Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on April 1, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.