Chief Black Horse and the Last Indian
Raid on the Texas Panhandle
The last Indian raid on
the High 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.