SEMINOLE IN MEXICO

1850 to 1861

In 1849-1850 several hundred discontented Seminole from the Indian Territory, under the command of the Indian chief Coacoochee (Wild Cat) and the Negro chief John Horse (Gopher John), crossed Texas to Coahuila, Mexico, and were settled near the border as military colonists; as such they did good service against wild Indians and Texas filibusters. After Wild Cat's death early in 1857 the Indians began to drift back to the Territory, the last party returning in the summer of 1861. The Negroes had been removed early in 1859 to the Laguna de Parras, in southwestern Coahuila.

The records of the Municipality of Muquiz in which the Seminole, or part of them, were settled during 1852-1861, have been documented elsewhere. The purpose of this exploration is to preserve and present the individual Seminole people. 

Coacoochee
 (Wild Cat)  

Wild Cat, who was the head chief of the Mexican Seminole from the beginning until his death early in 1857, was the favorite son of King Philip (Emathla), who was chief of the St. John's River Seminole in Florida and was married to a sister of Seminole head chief Micanopy. Although a comparatively young man, born about 1810, he had been one of the most active and daring leaders in the war of 1835-1842 with the United States and after removal to the Territory he bitterly resented being forced to live in the midst of, and subject to, the powerful Creek tribe. As early as 1846 he was planning an alliance between the Seminole and some of the Texas tribes, both the wild and the sedentary, but when Micanopy died early in 1849 he was disappointed in his ambitions to succeed him as head chief and decided to transfer his headquarters to Mexico. In the autumn of 1849, he gathered together a hundred or so Indians and as many Negroes and made his way to the Mexican border, where he and his followers were welcomed as allies against the Apache and Comanche Indians.

He was commissioned a colonel in the Mexican army and for six years was recognized as a daring, intelligent, and highly successful commander. He never succeeded, however, in his plan of uniting the Texas Indians under his leadership, except for a couple of bands of Kickapoo who temporarily acknowledged him as chief but soon deserted him. The Mexican authorities recognized his abilities, but also considered him to be haughty and insubordinate. They supported him, however, when in the last year of his life, his chieftaincy was challenged. An Indian chief named Coyote and a group of followers seen to have set themselves up as independent of Wild Cat and the Negroes were reported as being unwilling to obey anyone except their own chiefs and the Mexican authorities. The governor of Nuevo Leon y Coahuila, however, ordered that while Coyote's followers and the Negroes should be obedient to their own chiefs, they should also be subordinate to Wild Cat as head chief. Wild Cat was not in good health at the time, possibly as a result of his excessive addiction to intoxicants and this may have weakened his leadership.

Wild Cat's death from smallpox early in 1857 was greatly regretted. In 1930 an old Negro woman, who was a child at the time the Seminole crossed the Rio Grande into Mexico still had vivid recollections of Wild Cat and his death. "We were all crying that we lost him," she said. "He was so good."

Nokosimala
(Bear Leader)

Nokosimala was undoubtedly Wild Cat's cousin and lieutenant, the Crazy Bear, mentioned by Mrs. Cazneau, who according to her, was made 'sheriff' of the municipality set up for benefit of the Seminole. He was portrayed in a colored lithograph in Emory's Boundary Survey under the name Noko-shimat-tastanake, translated Grizzly Bear, but which actually means Bear Leader Warrior.

Nokosimala served as second-in-command of the Seminole Indians until Governor Santiago Vidaurri of Nuevo Leon y Coahuila on April 25, 1856, recognized Coyote as second chief.

When both Wild Cat and Coyote died early in 1857, Nokosimala was passed over for the chieftaincy, allegedly because he was a better hunter than a war-chief, and a young man named Leon or Lion was elected to the office.

Nokosimala, however, proved much more zealous and active than the titular head chief, who seems, indeed, to have been quite inactive. He went on a successful expedition late in December, 1857, at the head of 30 Seminoles and in company with 17 Mexicans, to attack the Lipan and Tonkawa rancherias in the Canon de Nataje and when early in 1859 many of the Seminole Indians in Mexico, including the head-chief and three other principal chiefs, left for the United States, Nokosimala at long last was recognized as head chief of those who remained.

Early in April, 1859, he marched with nine warriors as escort to a caravan proceeding to the towns of Chihuahua and on this expedition his party is said to have assisted in the destruction of a Comanche camp near San Jose de las Piedras and the capture of more than a hundred horses. Other expeditions during the summer seem to have been unsuccessful.

Nokosimala's chieftaincy was impeached the following year by a trouble-making  tribesman, but the Seminole declared that they fully and gladly recognized him as chief, Wild Cat's young son, not wishing to assume any authority until he should have gained more experience.

Nokosimala and the other Seminole finally became disillusioned with Mexico and in 1861 returned to Indian Territory.

Coyote

Coyote is never mentioned except under his Mexican name, but his Seminole name almost certainly began with the word Yaha (wolf). "Yah-hah Fixico" (Heartless Wolf) signed the treaty of 1845, giving the Seminole greater autonomy, which resulted from a visit with Wild Cat to Washington the previous year.

Coyote doesn't appear in Mexican sources until the spring of 1854, but was very active thereafter as commander, or co-commander with Wild Cat, of expeditions against Indians and filibusters. A part of the Seminole had apparently always obeyed him rather than Wild Cat, which since Wild Cat was the son of a St. John's River chief and probably the nephew of the Alachua chief Micanopy, suggests that Coyote may have belonged to another division of the Seminole-Mikasuki, Tallahassee, or possibly Creek. On April 25, 1856, the governor of Nuevo Leon y Coahuila recognized Coyote as commander of "the part of the Indians who have always obeyed him" and as second chief of the Mexican Seminole in general, but only as a subaltern to Wild Cat except during the latter's absence.

Perhaps put on his mettle by this honor, Coyote particularly distinguished himself during the remainder of the year. At the head of ten Seminole he went out in search of stolen cattle and located a Tonkawa camp of twenty-five or thirty warriors, which he attacked, killing four and capturing eleven horses, but was forced to withdraw when his ammunition ran out. Shortly after this he went in pursuit of a party of thirteen Comanche raiders, attacked them by surprise with only six men, killed seven, badly wounded three, and captured eight horses and two mules.

Coyote died in January, 1857, in a smallpox epidemic which took the lives of twenty-eight women and twenty-five men of the tribe, including the head chief, Wild Cat.

Lion

Lion, known only by his Mexican name of Leon, was elected Wild Cat's successor to the chieftaincy, in preference to Nokosimala, Wild Cat's kinsman and sometime second in command. Although Lion is described as "an honorable, brave, and active young man," he was never mentioned prior to his election to the chieftaincy and was not particularly active thereafter, being far exceeded in that respect by the sub-chief's Susano, Felipe, and Juan Flores, as well as by Nokosimala himself.

The Seminole word kotza (panther) is translated either as lion or as tiger and Lion's Seminole name presumably stemmed from that word. A Seminole named Cotza Testenuggee (Panther Warrior), described as a nephew of Alligator and a son of King Philip, signed the Capitulation of Fort Dade, March 6, 1837, as one of Alligator's representatives. A man of that name also was one of those who accompanied Alligator from the Indian Territory to Florida in October, 1841, on a peace mission to their friends and relatives who remained hostile. Very likely they were the same. If Alligator's representative and companion was actually a son of King Philip, he would thus have been Wild Cat's  brother or half-brother and would have been a likely person to accompany him to Mexico. And if Lion was Wild Cat's brother, this relationship might account for his succession to the chieftaincy, according to the old Seminole principle that a chief's brother or nephew was his logical successor. That Lion was Wild Cat's brother is, however, merely a possibility.

Lion was one of the fifty-one Seminole Indians who on February 17, 1859, left the Seminole settlement of Naciniento for the Indian Territory, although for some reason he left his wife behind, and promised to return within ten months with as many more as he could bring. He did not, however, do so.

Sub-Chiefs

Mention of Seminole Indians in Mexico has thus far been confined to head chiefs and second chiefs. To the former category belonged Wild Cat and Lion, to the latter, Coyote, while Nokosimala belonged to both. There were also a number of recognized sub-chiefs, who were never formally recognized as occupying the position of second chief. The sub-chief who probably occupied the highest rank short of second position, and who was certainly an important figure among the Seminole Indians in Mexico over the longest period of time, was Pasoca.

Pasoca

Pasoca was probably the same as "Passackee" or "Pas Soc Sa" who in 1844 accompanied Wild Cat on a delegation to Washington. He was probably also "Pass-ack-ee, an old Seminole chief....quite advanced in life," who in 1846 gave evidence in behalf of the freedom of a Negro woman.

Pasoca, it is probable, was also the Pasoca Yahola who in 1846 was a member of the Seminole Executive Council at a time when Wild Cat was head chief Mikonopi's "counsellor and organ." Pasoca  Yahola went on a delegation to Billy Bowlegs in Florida late in 1849, very probably as an emissary of Wild Cat. A chief named "Parsacke" had been with Billy Bowlegs, Hospitaka, and others in the Great Cypress in 1841; possibly he was Pasoca Yahola and his former association with Billy Bowlegs caused him to be selected for the Florida delegation. If the Mexican Pasoca was also the Pasoca Yahola of the Florida delegation, as the latter's connection with Wild Cat and friendliness toward the Negroes makes more than likely, he could not have gone with Wild Cat on the first trip to Mexico in 1849-1850 and must have been among the few who accompanied him on his second trip from the Territory to Mexico, in 1850-1851.

Pasoca commanded the Seminole Indians who accompanied Colonel Emilio Langberg on an expedition into the Laguna de Jaco early in 1852, while Wild Cat went on a mission to Mexico City, but he does not seem to have been very active thereafter, probably because of his age. He was, however, a member of the party of Seminole Indians who went back to the Territory in the fall of 1858, and then returned to Mexico early the following year. He was accompanied on his return by his son, known to the Mexicans as "Pasaqui chico" (Little Pasoca), who had been residing in Arkansas. Pasoca was one of the chiefs who on  February 17, 1859, left Nacimiento for the United States.

Tiger

A sub-chief who does not seem to have been particularly important prior to the movement of 1858-1859 for returning to the Indian Territory was Tiger, or Tigre as the Mexicans called him. He was undoubtedly the "Kotza-fexico-chopko, or Long Tiger" (more properly Long Heartless Panther), who with "Parsakee" and "young Coacoochee, or Wild Cat," went to the Territory in the fall of 1858 and returned with "an order from the chief of the Seminoles to bring the remnant of the tribe back to Arkansas.

He was in all probability Wild Cat's ally in the Territory, Crazy Tiger or Crazy Tiger Cat, who along with Alligator and Pasoca, accompanied him on his mission to Washington in the spring of 1844.

He also may very well have been the Mikasuki chief "Cotzar-fixico-chopco (Mad Tiger)" who was one of the most savage hostiles in Florida in the final stage of the Seminole War.

Tiger, with Pasoca, Lion, and Juan Flores, headed the party who left for the Territory in February, 1859.

Young Coacoochee

Under Seminole custom, a chief was ordinarily succeeded by a brother or a sister's son rather than by a son of his own, although there were exceptions to this general rule. Wild Cat, when he died early in 1857, left behind him a young son, known only as "young Coacoochee", or Wild Cat," or, as the Mexicans called him, "Gatoehiquito"-The Little Cat. He was not, however, considered for the chieftancy, which fell to Lion.

Young Wild Cat was probably a very young man indeed. The Negroes of Brackettville, Texas and Nacimiento, Coahuila, whose ancestors came from the Territory to Mexico with John Horse and Wild Cat, preserve traditions of a son of Wild Cat named Billy, probably the same as "young Coacooche," who accompanied the tribe on the Hejira of 1849-1850 at a time when he was so young as to require a "nurse," a little negro girl of perhaps ten or twelve named Kitty Johnson. Presumably her young charge was even younger, In 1857, therefore, he must have been in his middle teens.

Young Coacoochee accompanied Tiger and Pasoca on a visit to the Indian Territory in the fall of 1858 and returned with them to Mexico early the next year. He was, however, among those who remained behind when Lion, Tiger, Pascoa, Juan Flores, and their families and friends left for the Territory.

A Seminole trouble-maker apparently felt, or claimed to feel that this time Wild Cat's son should succeed to the chieftancy, instead of Nokosimala, and complained to the governor that the latter had not been properly elected. The other Seminole, however, asserted that young Wild Cat did not wish to assume any authority until he should have increased in experience. By this time he must have been in his late teens, perhaps twenty years old at the most.

Young Wild Cat presumably returned to the Territory with the hundred Seminole Indians-the last in Mexico-who were en route to the Red River in October 1861.

Juan Flores, Susano, Felipe, and Manuel Flores

Several Seminole sub-chiefs are known only by their Mexican names and are thus particularly difficult, probably even impossible to identify further. Probably they were Seminole who submitted to Catholic baptism and were in consequence given Christian names. They emerge for the most part after Wild Cat's death.

One of the most conspicuous of these was Juan Flores, who seems, indeed, to have been the principal war chief during Lion's head chiefantcy. Early in 1857 he commanded a party of Seminole Indians who, in company with a band of Negroes under Juan Caballo (John Horse), went out to pursue a party of hostile Indians who had attacked five travelers in the Jarilla de San Jose and had mortally wounded one of them. They had no success except the capture of five horses by the Negro captain and two mares by Juan Flores.

Juan Flores apparently commanded the Seminole Indian contingent of twenty men who in March, 1858, in company with twenty Negro warriors, pursued Mescalero horse thieves to the bank of the Rio Grande and took from them over a hundred horses and mules and other spoils. They killed two of the enemy but the only casualty suffered by the Seminole Indians or the Negroes was a slight arrow wound to the "valiant Seminole Juan Flores". The Mexican authorities ordinarily used this adjective as if it were a part of his name, which adequately indicates their opinion of his merits.

The "valiant Juan Flores" was one of the chiefs commanding the Seminole Indians who left for the Indian Territory early in 1859.

During the summer of 1857 a Seminole Indian, known only as Felipe, was briefly prominent. He first came into public notice on July 20, when he complained of alleged abuses by the Seminole and Negroes in the use of water for irrigation. On August 3, Felipe commanded ten Seminole who captured fifty animals from the Lipanes in the Potrero (pasture ground) de Dona Mariana. And this is the last we hear of Felipe.

Susano also enjoyed a briefer but even more spectacular season of glory. On August 8, 1857, he and two companions overtook five Comanche with stolen horses in the derramadero (drain) of Aquardiente and gave battle, wounding one and taking sixteen mules, three horses, a mare, and four saddles. Susano immediately undertook another expedition, using these animals. On the 21st, out deer hunting with six companions, Susano encountered some Lipanes near the Canon di Nataje and discovered that they had stolen horses hidden nearby. The Lipanes offered to share the horses with the Seminole, but the latter refused and Susano shot the chief. The others fled and the Seminole captured fifty horses.

Susano remained in Mexico until the last of the Seminole Indians departed, but apparently did not distinguish himself further.

Manuel Flores, who may have been a brother to the "valiant Juan Flores" seems to have been one of the few Seminole who, during their decade in Mexico, learned enough Spanish to serve as interpreter. He is mentioned in this role as early as October, 1855, and in August, 1858, appeared before the governor of Nuevo Leon y Coahuila at Monterrey with "Captain Leon" and "Nokosimal" to complain about the Negroes use of too much water and requested that they be subjected to Chief Lion as formerly to Wild Cat.

We hear nothing further of the Seminole interpreter Manuel Flores.

Guero, Tomecae, Utalke, Chiquinai, and Konip

The majority of the Seminole Indians in Mexico, of course, occupied no official position and are not even mentioned in the official records. The few who are referred to by name deserve comment corresponding to the available information.

An Indian named Guero is mentioned in March, 1856, but his name is obviously Spanish, being an Americanism signifying blond, presumably because he was lighter in complexion than most Seminole Indians.

In February, 1859, an Indian maned Tomecae is mentioned. An examination of the index to Swanton wil reveal a number of Creek and Seminole names, particularly tribal designations, such as Tommakees and Tumaque, of one of which the above name could had a subordinate known as Tomoka John.

Utalke, mentioned in February, 1859, as one of the Indians who was remaining in Mexico, bears a name unmistakably of Indian origin, which identifies him as a member of the powerful and aristocratic Wind Clan. Wild Cat had a brother named Otulke who may very well have accompanied him to Mexico, although this identity is merely a possibility.

Of the Seminole in Mexico below the rank of sub-chief, we are best informed about the one who character was probably least attractive, Konip-whose name, perhaps appropriately, signifies Skunk-first distinguished himself early in 1859 by accusing three fellow tribesmen of planning an uprising against the Mexican authorities, but presented no satisfactory evidence. In October, 1860, Konip appeared before the governor at Monterrey, charging that Chief Nokosimila had not been properly elected and that ten quadroons were encroaching on the Seminole land, taking their water and killing their hogs. The other Seminole, however, denied these charges, asserting that they gladly and fully recognized Nokosimila as chief and that the quadroon settlers lived at Naciniento by their full consent. Konip, they added, was a drunkard and a liar, who was a fugitive from tribal justice for having nearly killed a fellow tribesman in a brawl. We hear no more of Konip.

The Negroes 

The Seminole Negroes in Mexico, whom the Mexicans called "Mascogos," probably because many of them spoke the Muskogee or Creek language, were probably numerous as the Indians, or more so. In some respects we know more about them than about the Indians, because the latter were in Mexico at the most from 1850 to 1861 and then returned to the Indian Territory, whereas many of the descendents of the Negroes are still living at Nacimiento, Coahuila, or just across the Texas border at Brackettville and Del Rio. The names of the Negro military colonists and their children consequently appear on Mexican and United States census lists and those who, after the Civil War, served as scouts in the United States army on the border, are mentioned in enlistment records and on muster rolls. When it comes to their actual experiences in Mexico, however, the Muzquiz Records are less informative. The history of the Seminole Negroes in Mexico, particularly after the departure of the Indians, is indeed a story in itself and in this immediate connection will be confined to the comparatively few Negroes mentioned in official Mexican documents during the period of 1850-1861 with whatever further information on their background and later history is available.

John Horse

(Gopher John)

The principal chief of the Seminole Negroes in Mexico was John Horse, better known, particularly among United States army officers, by his nickname of Gopher John. The Mexicans called him Capitan Juan Caballo and beginning in 1856, he is often referred to as Capitan Juan de Dios Vidaurri (alias) Caballo, probably as a result of submitting to Catholic baptism.

John Horse was a tall, fine-looking brown man reputedly of mixed Indian, Negro, and Spanish ancestry, who was noted for his great coolness and courage, his deadly accuracy with a rifle, and his flair for diplomacy.

He had been born in Florida about 1812, a so-called "slave" to an Indian, but during the Seminole War he rose to the rank of sub-chief and served as representative both of the war-chief Alligator and head-chief Mikonapi. After the surrender of the chiefs with whom he was most closely associated, he served with distinction as guide and interpreter to United States troops in Florida and was of great assistance in bringing about the surrender of other chiefs, including Wild Cat with whom he had become acquainted when both were hostages at Tampa Bay in 1837.

In the Indian Territory he became the principal figure among the Negro element in the Seminole tribe and was closely associated with the Seminole faction hostile to Creek domination, of which Wild Cat was the recognized leader. He was a close collaborator with Wild Cat in the latter's plans for a removal to Mexico.

During the Seminole Negroes' residence near the Texas-Mexican border, 18501859, John Horse was recognized by the Mexican authorities as their chief, although regarded as subject to Wild Cat. In 1856, however, as noted in the earlier sketch of Wild Cat, the Negroes under John Horse's leadership declined, for reasons which can only be surmised, to recognize Wild Cat's authority.

Although John Horse is remembered as a brave and intelligent commander and as a generous and kindly "father of his people," his most important service as probably his steadfast insistence that the Negroes should not become involved in the civil wars of the time but should preserve amity with all Mexicans. In consequence, the Negroes would fight only against the wild Indians and the Texas filibusters. This policy of neutrality was probably the salvation of the little Negro colony, which, after nearly a century, is still in existence.

John Horse outlived Wild Cat by a quarter of a century, dying in Mexico City in August, 1882, while on a mission to the President on behalf of his people.

John Kibbitts

John Kibbitts who usually led the Negroes in Mexico when John Horse was not personally in command was a tall, black man, born in Florida about 1810, who bore the busk-name of "Sit-tee-tas-to-nachy" (Snake Warrior). He had probably been one of Mikonapi's Negroe's.

Kibbitts commanded the body of about one hundred Negroes who returned to Nacimiento form the Laguna de Parras about 1865, and was active in obtaining recognition from the Mexican government of the Negroes' right to the hacienda. In 1870 he led his band over to Fort Duncan, at Eagle Pass, Texas, and was recognized as head-man and first sergeant of the first detachment enlisted in the Seminole Negro-Indian Scouts. He died in 1878 and is buried in the Seminole Cemetery at Old Fort Clark, near Brackettville, Texas.

Cuffee

Although John Kibbitts seems usually to have been John Horse's second-in-command in Mexico, the Negroes declared in May 1856, that in John Horse's absence they recognized Captain Cuffee as their chief. Cuffee was not an uncommon name among Negroes since among certain West African tribes it was conventionally given to boys born on Friday. In the absence of a surname it is impossible to identify this Negro captain, but he may have been Cuffee Payne, who, 20 years later, in 1875, was a very old man living among the Seminole Negro-Indian Scouts at Fort Duncan.

Julian

A Negro named Julian was apparently of some importance in March, 1856, during Governor Santiago Vidaurri's campaign of extermination against the Lipanes, in which he used Seminole Indians and Negroes as well as Mexican troops. Possibly, he was the same as Julian the interpreter, mentioned in May, 1855.

Julian was the Mexican name ordinarily conferred on Negroes whose Christian name in "American" as William, but no one of that name, old enough to have been prominent among the Seminole Negroes in Mexico at this time appears on subsequent lists or is remembered today.

Santos

Two Negroes named Santos and Bibian became involved in the summer of 1855 in a controversy with members of the Shields family, who were free mulatto settlers from South Carolina. Santos was probably Santos Julio, the name the Mexicans gave to Sampson July, born at Tampa Bay about 1824, whose older sister Susan was the wife of Chief John Horse. Sampson July was subsequently a principal figure among the Seminole Negroes in Texas and Mexico and rose to the rank of sergeant in the Seminole scouts.

Felipe Sanchez

Felipe Sanchez, apparently a Negro captain was mentioned on November 7, 1858, in connection with a proposed campaign against the wild Indians. Sanchez is a surname used in Mexico by the Bowlegs, or Bully family of Seminole Negroes and also by the Daniels family of Creek Negroes, but in this case doubtless refers to Fay Bowlegs, who was probably the father of the Felipe Sanchez (Fay Bully), who in 1891 at the age of forty years was living at Nacimiento.

Tomas

Both the Seminole Indians and the Negroes were occasionally accused of stealing horses or cattle from the Mexican inhabitants, in some cases probably unjustly, although in others the charge was probably only too true. In the summer of 1860, after most of the Negroes had been transferred to the Laguna de Parras, an "indio Mascogo" named Tomas and others of the same tribe, who presumably had refused to accompany the main body, were being pursued by a posse on the charge of robbery. the outcome of the affair is not known.

Thomas was by no means a common name among the Negroes. In fact, the only Seminole Negro of that name who is known to have been in Mexico at the time was Thomas Factor, a man of about thirty-six, who was an uncle of John Horse's wife. Thomas Factor is reported in Seminole negro tradition to have been shot and mortally wounded by a Mexican for whom he had been working when he "asked for his time." It is at least possible that the "indio Mascogo" Tomas was Thomas Factor and that the accusation of robbery developed out of a controversy over wages.

The Seminole Negroes were by no means the only members of that race in Northern Mexico. In the 1850's, in fact, the number of runaway slaves from Texas in that region was estimated at about 3,000, to which could be added an indefinite number of free settlers. A number of Negroes, mentioned in the Muzquiz Records, probably therefore din not belong to the Seminole tribe, either by birth or adoption, though some of them were doubtless more or less closely associated with the Seminole.

Pedro Saens or Sains, early in 1856, was appointed armorer to the Seminole, but was murdered shortly after by an American employee named John, not otherwise identified. Another Negro of the same name, presumably his son, and a Negro named Hilario Potosi, accompanied the Seminole on a successful expedition against the Mescaleros early in 1858. Later in the year they complained that they had not received their share of the booty.

The Shields brothers, Benjamin, Archibald R., William, Michael, and Francis, were an unusual family. they were free mulatto settlers from South Carolina and seem to have been literate. at least two of them, Benjamin and Archibald R., intermarried with the Seminole Negroes, and their descendants became identified with the group.

A young negro named Albert Williams, a runaway form San Antonio, to which he had been brought from Arkansas was among those who accompanied the Seminole Negroes or "Mascogos" to the Laguna de Parras late in the spring of 1859.

 A bare mention of a Negro named Roberto Gallos, late in 1859, completes the list of Negroes appearing in the Muzquiz Records.

Thus, in the single municipality of muzquiz, could be found during the 1850's a varied group of Negro settlers; a large band of Seminole Negroes, whose culture was essentially Indian and who, as such, were particularly well-equipped to fight the wild Apache and Comanche; skilled craftsmen, such as the Seminole armorer; runaway slaves from Texas; two or three suspected horse and cattle thieves; and a family of well-educated mulattoes. The most interesting and unusual of the lot, however, in the opinion of most people, then and now, were probably the Indian-raised Negroes under Captain John Horse.

The Seminole migration to and sojourn in Mexico is in a sense a part of Oklahoma history. It was from the Indian Territory, now a part of Oklahoma, that Wild cat's Indians and Negroes left for Mexico, and it was to the Indian Territory that the surviving Indians returned.  The descendants of the Negro immigrants are for the most part living today in the border regions of Texas and Mexico, but some of them, too, are in Oklahoma, for in 1883 Sergeant David Bowlegs, of the Seminole scouts, anxious for a better life for his children than was possible on the Texas-Mexican frontier, led a party of about thirty-seven Seminole Negroes, mostly belonging to the Bowlegs, Bruner, and Wilson families, back to what is now Seminole Country, where they were "well-received." Their descendants still maintain visiting relations with the Negroes of Brackettville and Nacimiento.

Papers Relating to the Return of the Kickapoo and the Seminole (Negro) Indians
from Mexico to the United States, 1870 - 1885

 

Maybe you are a descendant of Wild Cat's band, and after reading this will communicate or author additional information, perhaps of a character, on this interesting but little known episode in Seminole history.

 

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