From Dominance to Disappearance: The Indians of Texas and the Near Southwest, 1786-1859

By F. Todd Smith | Go to book overview

Epilogue

Unfortunately, trouble and hardship followed the Caddos, Wichitas, Tonkawas, and Penateka Comanches north of the Red River after their forced removal from Texas. The tribes had just settled into their homes at the newly established Wichita Agency when the Civil War broke out in April 1861. Union troops quickly abandoned the Indian Territory, and Confederates from Texas occupied Fort Cobb, which had served to protect the Agency Indians from enemy Northern Comanches and Kiowas. Although the four tribes signed a treaty with Confederate agents in August 1861, most of the Indians were uneasy with the new situation. Matters came to a head when Union-allied Shawnees and Delawares from Kansas attacked and destroyed Fort Cobb and the Wichita Agency in October 1862. During the melee, the Caddos, Wichitas, and Penatekas settled old scores with the Tonkawas for the assistance the tribe had given to Texan troops during Lamar's presidency. Nearly half of the three hundred Tonkawas were killed in the massacre, including Chief Placido, and the survivors fled south of the Red River to take refuge near Fort Belknap. Reassuming their ties to the Texans, the Tonkawas helped protect the undermanned frontier during the remainder of the Civil War. Following the war, the Tonkawas settled near United States troops at Fort Griffin, established on the Clear Fork of the Brazos in 1867. Over the course of the next eight years, Tonkawa scouts and auxiliaries provided assistance to the American forces, who finally defeated and subdued the Northern Comanches and Kiowas in 1875. The Tonkawas, whose numbers were rapidly declining due to hunger and disease, continued to squat on private property in the vicinity of Fort Griffin even after its abandonment in 1881. Finally, in 1885 the Bureau of Indian Affairs secured a reservation of 91,000 acres in the northern part of the Indian Territory, near the Salt Fork of the Arkansas River, for the ninety-two remaining Tonkawas.1

The Caddos, Wichitas, and Penateka Comanches fled to Union controlled Kansas following the destruction of the Wichita Agency. It was not until 1867, following five years of grave suffering during which more than one-fourth

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