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True Stories of Amazing People and Places in Texas

Chief Black Horse and the Last Indian Raid on the Texas Panhandle

Black Horse Commanche Chief

The last Indian raid on the South Plains of Texas began when Black Horse and his band of Quahadi Comanche, camped in Yellow House Canyon in February 1877 in Lubbock County to hunt buffalo. They ended up hunting white buffalo hunters instead when they captured, tortured and murdered Marshall Sewell in Garza County and sparked what has come to be known as "The Buffalo Hunters War"

 

When Black Horse's band captured buffalo hunter Marshall Sewell below the Caprock in western Garza County, they tortured and double-scalped Sewell before cutting open his stomach and placing pieces of his rifle tripod in the wounds. The murder was witnessed by hunter Billy Devons and three skinners who reported the atrocity at the nearest settlement of Rath City in present-day Stonewall County.

 

An enraged group of 46 hunters, led by Hank Campbell, Jim Smith, and Joe Freed, and guided by former Comanchero Jose Tafoya, set out from Rath City on March 4th to capture Black Horse and his band in a campaign known as the Buffalo Hunter's War or the Staked Plains War.

 

After killing a Comanche sentry at Buffalo Springs Lake they found Black Horse's campsite in "Hidden Canyon" a site now known as Lubbock Lake. The hunters attacked but were forced to retreat after suffering three wounded and one who died later from his wounds. On March 27, twenty-three days after they took the field, the buffalo hunters returned to Rath City. They had suffered three casualties; only Joe Jackson died. It was later reported by the military that the Comanche suffered 35 dead and 22 wounded.

 

When word of the battle reached Fort Griffin, near present-day Abilene, Captain P. L. Lee reacted by going after Black Horse and his Band with 72 "Buffalo Soldiers" of the 10th Cavalry. They caught up with the Comanche's at Quemodo Lake in Cochran County. A brief skirmish ensued which resulted  and the soldiers killed Ekawakane (Red Young Man) and his wife. The Comanche surrendered and were returned to Fort Sill in Oklahoma.

 

Black Horse returned to the reservation and settled down for the rest of his life. He died on the reservation at Cache, Oklahoma Territory in 1900.

Resources:

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