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.” 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 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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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.
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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.
Continue reading Battle of the Knobs/Battle of Stone Houses
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.
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