MISPELLED COUNTY, TEXAS*
Population and altitude 2,642
Spaniard named Jose Malacara Y Bocanegra was said to have visited
the area in the 1600s. He was given the name "Cola de Vaca" by the
Indians who were still telling stories about the better-remembered
Cabeza de Vaca. (Editor's note: For people not raised in the
Southwest - Cabeza de Vaca translates as "Head of the Cow." It was
not bovine resemblance, we're told, but an honorary title bestowed
upon his grandfather that forced him to travel through life with
this "title.") It was logical to the Indians that Jose be called
"tail of the cow" since he followed Cabeza. Mr. Cabeza de Vaca,
of course, had long since gone to his reward after retiring to a
villa outside of Madrid where he spent his last years making up
tall tales about his travels and digging cactus spines out of his
feet. Cabeza, or "Cab" as he was known to his friends, at the time
of Cola's visit was still the butt of Indian jokes and pictographs.
Cola, or "Vaca II" as he was also known, was understandably eager
to meet a paisano. He was told in each and every village he entered
that Cabeza had just left the day before - although it had been
thirty years. If he hurried he could probably catch him, they said.
Every tribe from the Gulf Coast to the Pacific was in on the joke.
The tribes may have had their differences, but they all liked a
The town of Godbehere was originally founded by Pastor Present Future.
Pastor Future brought a group of settlers into the area in a wagon
train in 1858. They were non-persecuted religious pilgrims who belonged
to The Church of the Worthless Miracle. Wherever they went
- people listened to them preach and found nothing to get excited
or outraged about. Their doctrine was so bland and middle-of-the-road
that they were called Southern Pedestrians by their neighbors,
and the Church of the Shrugging Convert by others.
Determined to find a place where they would find people who would
object to them, they left Blandville, South Carolina in 1853. Cannibalism
(the result of poor planning) reduced the group's number by half
and as they were digging for water in the wilds of Mispelled County,
a freak mid-summer hailstorm blew in. In the act of putting the
children under the wagons, the adults exposed themselves to the
hard rain. Surviving children were taken in by the kindhearted Laconic
Indians and were immediately made slaves. The site of the hailstorm
was called Bosappi. It's a Laconic Indian word that means "The place
where all the adults of the white man's wagon train were killed
by softball-sized hail after first protecting their offspring by
placing them under the wagons". They didn't call them the Laconic
Indians for nothing.
Ten years later another wagon train led by Ward Bond camped in the
vicinity and discovered pornographic pictographs on the banks of
the South Fork of the Spoon River. These pictographs later became
something of a tourist attraction in the 1930s. In the 1970's they
were mistaken for grafitti and were removed by a over-zealous troop
of Boy Scouts.
The railroad (The Northern, Central, Southern and Western) came
within four miles (north) of the town in 1881. People put the stores,
houses and even the courthouse on skids and moved to the tracks.
Crime immediately rose to an intolerable level and it wasn't long
before they discovered they had moved the town to the wrong side
of the tracks.
They then moved the buildings again - this time to the right side.
The townsfolk even moved the cemetery, although they didn't bother
to exhume the coffins, they merely moved the tombstones and statuary.
The railroad failed in 1882 and the following year the Gulf, Pacific,
Baja, Panama and Tierra del Fuego (Your Discount Railroad) came
through five miles further south of town. The town then skidded
over to the new tracks and the following year the railroad was bought
out by Railroad Depot and they too went out of business. The town,
now thrice inconvenienced by railroads and totally disgusted moved
their buildings back to the original foundations.
The Laconic Indians had been peaceful at first and had had good
relations with the settlers. After the settlers first moved to be
near the railroad the Indians abandoned their camp near the sewage
treatment facility and moved into the former cellars and foundations
of the relocated town. During the second move, they were angry when
the seemingly uncaring and inconsiderate townsfolk trampled their
gourd patches. By the time the town wanted to move back to the original
foundations, the Indians refused to budge. The settlers were just
as determined to return. They showed the Indians their deeds and
the Indians would always repeat the same phrase when the deeds were
shoved impolitely under their noses. A translator was summoned and
after immediately sizing up the situation, he demanded to be paid
in advance. Even after toning down the phrase, the settlers turned
blue and proceeded to move their houses back to the foundations
without any regard for the Indians, their belongings, livestock
or children. As a result the Laconic Indians were entombed in the
cellars of Godbehere.
By the time of the Civil War, the town was divided. Half
wanted to move to Canada and the other half to Mexico. Civil war
involvement at Fort Godbehere consisted of writing stirring letters
of support to the opposing Armies.
During the Great Depression, a man digging a well discovered
what appeared to be a roman dagger. Further digging produced shields,
leather shin guards and helmets.
Beneath the "Roman artifacts" they dug up a skeleton, a pocketknife,
a 1918 quarter dollar, 3 Indian head pennies, 4 Lincoln head pennies,
a Masonic watch fob, 37 amber beer bottles with porcelain stoppers
and a wrench imprinted with the word Ford. This discovery of recent
debris under ancient was regarded as a mystery until a silver-plated
cigarette case was unearthed containing a pay stub inside dated
Mar 2, 1920 and signed by the head of Starving Artist Studios, Los
Angeles. It turned out that movie director Cecil B.Vidor had used
the location outside of Fort Godbehere as a set for the 1921 epic
silent film Incontinence.
The skeleton, knife, wrench, coins etc. were the remains and belongings
of a cameraman who had been "rolled" in back of Betty's Blue Note
Lounge in 1920 and buried under a truckload of damaged movie props.
Fort Proper 1861-1880s:
The fort itself was built just outside of town next to the swamp.
The men of the town figured out an ingenious method for getting
through the Civil War unharmed. They joined both sides - in an idea
that was so outrageous it just might work. The womenfolk of the
town sewed reversible uniforms -- the plan was to impersonate whichever
army might decide to pay them a visit. During the summer of 1863
when both Union and Confederate forces were in the area, the men
of Fort Godbehere reversed their uniforms 5 times in a single day.
Of course not being in either army and having only a vague idea
of military protocol, they frequently stumbled in their masquerade.
Visiting officers from both armies were startled to find Colonels
taking orders from Corporals and officers wearing stripes. When
questioned about this unorthodox chain-of-command, they blamed it
on the Fort's Quartermaster, a laundry mix up, and a severe insignia
In order to avoid being inducted into either army by a high ranking
officer - they gave their Post Commander the rank of Ten-Star General.
They only had five real stars, so they filled out the gaps in the
General's extended epaulets with an assortment of Major's leaves
and Lieutenant's bars. With this lofty and ludicrous position -
Post Commander Ishmael L. Coward technically outranked Grant, Lee,
and any other two officers on either side.
The Laconic Indians knew all about Army life from their scouting
work before the war and several of them were still in the National
Guard. They could've given advice - but they were having too much
fun watching. Besides, they were still miffed about their relatives
being buried alive.
Before the Indians are given too much credit for being smarter than
the settlers, the reader should keep in mind that they performed
menial work throughout the war for the fort - accepting payment
in script that was blue on one side and gray on the other.
* Mispeled or Misspeled, or Miss Peld County are all acceptable
spellings, since the name means a county whose name is misspelled.
The only incorrect spelling would be the technically correct "Misspelled".