SOURCE: Kinney County 1852-1977. Published by the Members of the Kinney County Historical Commission (of 1976-1977)

According to Frost Woodhull in an article in "Frontier Times" of Bandera, Texas of some 50 years ago, all the Seminoles who were brought to Ft. Clark from Mexico had been followers of Chief Wildcat and runaways from Indian Territory of Oklahoma.

These Seminoles were part Indian and part Negro. They were descendants of Seminole Indians of the Everglades Region of Florida and Negro slaves who had run away from their white masters in Georgia and other states. These runaways went to Florida because Florida belonged to Spain (until bought by the U. S. in 1819) and U. S. law could not recapture them there.

During Andrew Jackson's presidency (1829-1847), Congress passed a ruling that all Indians must be moved west of the Mississippi River.

Chief Wildcat offered to move his tribe peacefully. There may have been others who did the same. They were taken by boat from Florida across part of the Gulf of Mexico, up the Mississippi River to the Arkansas, up the Arkansas River to a point north of Indian Territory, then marched to Indian Territory which is now part of Oklahoma.

Those Seminoles who refused to move were attacked by United States troops but after seven years of war and $7,000,000 expenditures the United States gave up. Seminoles still occupy the Everglades.

Chief Wildcat and his people were unhappy in Oklahoma with its cold winters and hot dry summers and ran away to Mexico where the United States law could not get them. They settled near Musquiz and Nacimiento not far from present Eagle Pass.

Other Seminoles from Florida may have joined them by way of Matamores.

During the Civil War the Indians (Comanches, Lipans and Kiowas) took over. They came across the Rio Grande from Mexico and raided the ranches for horses and cattle.

For that reason, after Ft. Clark was again garrisoned after the war, Col. McKenzie (commanding officer of Ft. Clark) on July 5, 1871 enlisted 150 Seminole scouts and their families from Mexico and gave them land along Las Moras Creek. There they built their wattle and brush houses with attached roofs along irrigation ditches that irrigated their patches of corn, pumpkins etc., much as they had done in Florida. Traces of the ditches still exist. The houses are all gone. From these families the scout were recruited.

One of the bravest of these was John Horse known to the Mexicans as Juan Caballo. Lt. Bullis headed these scouts. They knew Indian ways, and were, therefore, needed to scout out their campsites.

Of these scouts, four received Congressional Medals of Honor. The first recipient was Private Adam Paine. It was in 1874 that Private Adam Paine won his Medal of Honor in an engagement with Indians in Palo Duro Canyon. (Only 3,336 Medals of Honor have been awarded in the United States. Of these 78 were black recipients and of these 78, four are these Seminole scouts of Kinney County.)

In a battle on the Pecos River on April 15, 1875 three other Seminole Indian scouts earned the Medal of Honor. They were Sgt. John Ward, Trumpeter Isaac Payne, and Pvt. Pompey Factor. They were cited for "gallantry in action" against Indians on a scout with Lt. John L. Bullis, commander of the detachment.

(Another Brackettville citizen has received a medal of honor. He is Captain C. A. Windus whose family history appears elsewhere.)

Buried in the Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery on the old reservation now part of Ft. Clark Springs, are these four scouts and approximately 70 other scouts who played an important or major role in protecting Texas frontier from hostile Indians. Of these a few are listed below:

John Jefferson, John Bowlegs, Renty Grayson, Issac Payne, Sampson July, Billy July, Pompey, Perryman, Kelina Wilson, Elijah Daniels, Issac Wilson, Joseph Phillips, Billie Wilson and George Kibbitt.

In October 1967 the Seminole Indian Scout Association was chartered to provide for the restoration, care, and upkeep of the Cemetery which includes almost every member of Brackettville's black population, most of whom can trace their ancestry back to one of the courageous scouts, who had their day in shaping history of Kinney County.




Posted by:

Bennie J. McRae, Jr.
P.O. Box 26148
Trotwood, Ohio 45426-0148

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