Column: Seminole Nation was part of history in West Texas

"Coocoachee rode in front of 30 men up the Palo Duro Canyon late in the fall of 1847. He had been there before, during the U.S. Army peace mission of the winter of 1845-1846. Modern day people know him as "Wildcat," one of the famous leaders of the Seminole Indians during the Seminole Wars in Florida in the 1830s. He was one of the few Indians who escaped Fort Marion (a list that includes the famous Apache, Geronimo.) After years of war, he finally agreed the Seminoles would move to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma.)

While on the peace mission he remembered the visit of Tecumseh to Florida many years before. Tecumseh had sought a pan-Indian allliance, promoting the idea all of the Indians would fight together against the encroaching United States Army and the hordes of settlers. Tecumseh died with his goal incomplete. During the peace mission he spent time alone with the leaders of the bands of Comanche the mission force met, getting to know them personally. He gave away small gifts without expectation of immediate return. He knew he would be returning, to see if he could set up an alliance of the plains tribes. He returned in the summer of 1846 with loads of goods to trade and 250 Seminoles and black Seminoles, and further developed his relationships with the Comanches.

The group of Seminoles and black Seminoles, led by John Horse, soon were spotted by Comanche "wolves," who had spurred out of sight, headed back to the camps to report the approach of the little force. Coocoachee figured the leaders were expecting them, for he had told other Comanches seen earlier of his plans to head to the winter camp. The Comanches would have completed their fall buffalo hunt, laying in their winter supplies. They would have full bellies and be more at ease."

Get the Story:
Burr Williams: Seminole Indians part of West Texas history (The Midland Reporter-Telegram 1/27)

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