Mow-way (Shaking Hand or Hand Shaker)

This individual was a Comanche leader of the Kotsoteka branch or band of the tribe. He is thought to have been born about 1826 and he died in 1886. He was known to have been a warrior and participated in some of the earliest treaties between the tribe and the Confederate government in 1861. The Confederate negotiations were led by Albert Pike (1809 – 1891) who had been appointed in March of 1861 to serve as Indian Commissioner by Confederate President Jefferson Davis to attempt to draw up agreements with the tribes west of the Arkansas River. Pike was trained as an attorney and in the past had represented other tribes in negotiations with the United States government. In the summer of 1861, Pike worked on treaties with the Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Seminole, Osage, Senaca and Shawnee. In August, 1861 he met with representatives of four bands of the Comanche tribe and Mow-way was a representative of the Kotsoteka. The agreement with the Comanche tribe seems to have been that they would give up their captives and receive compensation and confine themselves to agreed areas. Pike went on to serve in the Confederate Army. He eventually resigned his command after a disagreement over leadership decisions and did not serve to the end of the Civil War.

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The Death of Quanah Parker

Quanah Parker is likely the best known member of the Comanche tribe. He was born in the mid 1800s to Chief Peta Nocona and Cynthia Parker, a captive taken from her family in Central Texas in 1836. His actual date of birth is not precisely known but the year is generally thought to have been around 1846-1848, when Cynthia was in her early twenties. He escaped an attack in 1860 led by Capt. Sul Ross on a “meat camp” of the Quahada band while the warriors were away. In this event, his mother Cynthia and his sister Topsana (Prairie Flower) were captured. Others in the camp were killed. Quanah would never see his mother or sister again alive. Both would die in the years following the event. (Image is in the public domain.)

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Ten Bears, Comanche Leader

The Comanche and Kiowa tribes influenced much of the history of north Texas and the southwest. Some leaders such as Quanah Parker are likely somewhat more familiar, but there were several from both tribes who were influential for long periods of time.

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Why Are The Karankawa Indians Remembered as Savage Cannibals?

By Tim Seiter

In 1767, Fray Gaspar José de Solís toured the faltering missions of Texas. When he visited the mission of Nuestra Señora del Rosario, which the Spanish built to convert the Karankawa Indians to Christianity, he wrote a lengthy report on their cannibalism in his journal: “Dancing and leaping and with sharp knives in their hands, they draw near to the victim, cut off a piece of their flesh, come to the fire and half roast it, and, within sight of the victim himself devour it most ravenously.”[1] Despite captivating readers for generations, Padre Solís’s account of the Karankawas’ cannibalism has a major problem—it is almost certainly fictitious. Although the Karankawas did, in fact, practice a rare exo-cannibalism, this disgruntled priest likely fabricated an exaggerated version of the custom. He has tarnished the image of the Karankawas for the past two-hundred and fifty years. This article explains why Fray Solis’s account, a source utilized by numerous scholars, should be used selectively and with caution.

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Fort Davis

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.

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