Fort Davis was one of the group of Texas frontier forts. Also located on the short-lived Overland Trail, it provided protection for the travelers and settlers as well as the U. S. Mail in this contested area. It was situated roughly equidistant between Fort Clark to the southeast and Fort Bliss to the northwest in what is now known as the Davis Mountains. We would think of it today as being the northern point of a triangle with the points of the southern base being Marfa to the west and Alpine to the east.
Category Archives: tribes and tribal leaders
People are probably more familiar with the Navajo Code Talkers of World War II, but the Choctaw Tribe is proud to acknowledge the United States military service of its members. As early as the Spanish-American War and in every conflict since, members of the Choctaw tribe have served as American soldiers.
This battle took place in late 1837 in North Texas involving a group of Texas Rangers and a number of mostly Keeci Indians. According to the various accounts, a Lt. Van Benthuysen was searching the area looking for some stolen horses. After several weeks of scouting, the Rangers encountered the Keeci (also spelled as Kichai and Keechi) at a place known for its appearance, mounds of rock described as rock teepees or rock houses. According to all accounts, the Keeci outnumbered the Rangers several times over, with the Indians amounting to an estimated 150 and the Rangers numbering seventeen or eighteen. The Rangers held out after losing four of their party. Also during the battle, the Indians set off a ring of fire around the troops who escaped on foot through the smoke, but not until having lost ten men, over half their number. Out of their eighteen, four were killed in the battle and six were killed during the escape. They walked and foraged for ten days until reaching a friendly Kickapoo camp near the present city of Dallas where they stayed for a while before returning to safety near Houston.
Buffalo Hump was a formidable Comanche war chief, thought to have been born around 1790. He lived until around 1870 and was one of the most influential Comanche leaders during his lifetime. His native name was Pachanaquarship and he was a respected leader among the Comanche tribe almost his entire adult life. His band were called the Penetekas which is roughly translated “honey eaters” and though they ranged widely in Texas, they spent a considerable amount of time in the general area that is now Abilene.
(Image credit: TexasCherokeeNation.org)
On July 16, 1839, the last major battle between Texas forces and the Cherokee tribe along with other tribal bands took place. The Cherokee had first come to Texas shortly after the turn of the century, long before the Texas Revolution, and had settled near the Red River. Much of the time thereafter, their leader was Chief John Bowles, pictured in the image above, also known as Diwal’li. There are other variations of his name, but we will refer to him as Chief Bowles. The Chief was thought to have been born around 1756 to a Cherokee mother and a Scotch-Irish father. He is said to have had the features of both parents including reddish hair, Cherokee features and freckled skin.
Quanah Parker is thought to have been born around 1850, although his exact date of birth is unrecorded, and he died in 1911. He was the son of Chief Peta Nocona and Cynthia Ann Parker, who was taken captive by the Comanche during the Fort Parker Massacre in 1836 when she was 9 years old. Cynthia lived most of her adult life with the tribe and at the time of her recapture in 1860 had become virtually assimilated into the culture and the tribe. The circumstances of the battle which resulted in her recapture are debated, with Texas Ranger Sul Ross having claimed to have killed Peta Nocona while others claimed that Nocona was not at the battle. However, it is agreed that Cynthia was recaptured at the battle and that Quanah escaped and was captured later, at another location.