Printable Version

Texas's Governor Seeks to Drive Indians from the Texas Plains
Digital History ID 3669

Author:   Richard Coke

Annotation: By 1875, almost all of the Indians on the southern Plains, including Comanches, Cheyennes, Kiowas, and Arapahos, were forced out of Texas into reservations elsewhere. Indian defeats at the second Battle of Adobe Walls in 1874 and in the Red River War which followed largely ended half a century of armed resistance. A law enacted by the 44th U.S. Congress in 1875-76, actually forbade Arapahos, Cheyennes, Apaches, Kiowas, Comanches, and Wichitas from entering Texas.

Document: The depredations on our people can be abundantly proven to be committed almost exclusively by Indians who sally from the Government reservations, chiefly Fort Sill. They kill our people with ___ [?] and ammunition furnished them at the agencies by U.S. oficials, [sic] and they take their booty to those agencies when returning from their plundering raids on our frontiers. The sections of our frontier in the vicinity of these agencies are those that suffer most from Indian depredations.

This policy of the Genl. Government with respect to the Indians is to me inexplicable. Sympathy goes gushingly [?] out to the filthy barbarians, the Indians, but none to the white women and children [who] are outraged _______ [?] and scalped by them. You will be surprised at the loss of life and still more at the loss of property on the frontier from this cause when you see the figures.

I see but one remedy against this most formidable evil and that is for the custody care and management of the Indians to be committed exclusively to the Military. The Indian bows to nothing but superior physical forceā€¦.

I belived it will be found necessary to dismount every Indian, and to forbid one owning a horse, before they can be managed. That ____ [?] and the possession of a horse made evidence of theft of him by the possessor to be followed by surrender. Punishment will go a long way towards breaking him in to a recognition of the fact that the whites mean that he must submit, and are able to compel him to do it. Any system which does not involve and ____ [?] cation of the Indian to habits of labor so as to become self supporting after a while, which does not war against their tribal relations and governments, with a view of their ultimate extinction and which fails to sternly repress with an iron hand their savage propensities against the whites is in my judgment vicious. No other than the Military power of the Govmt can impress itself upon the Indian charactor to promise these results.

____ [?] so long as Indians are granted hunting ____ [?] they will kill the people and plunder the frontier. They should be kept in the reserves, and not allowed to leave under any pretext, on penalty of ____ [?] . There should be no sanctuary or place of refuge (such as the reserves now are) for Indians will murder and rob our people where our troops can not follow and crush them. It is only in that way that we can ever know friendly ____ [?]

Source: Governor Richard Coke to Samuel Bell Maxey, September 7, 1874. Records of Richard Coke, Texas Office of the Governor, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Copyright 2021 Digital History