Black Seminole Scouts
Also known as the Seminole Negro-Indian Scouts, or Seminole Scouts, were employed by the United States Army between 1870 and 1914. Their service played a significant role in ending the Texas -Indian Wars. The Seminoles were forced to move from Florida to the Indian Territory in the 1840’s. In 1849 the Black Seminoles, departed the Indian Territory and entered Mexico in 1850. They were welcomed by the Mexican government as military colonists. In 1870 the United States Army issued a message to Black Seminole Chief John Horse, inviting his band to return to the United States to enlist as Indian Scouts. The Black Seminoles, accepted the agreement, believing that they would be granted land in the United States. Over the years the promise of land never became a reality.
The Seminoles crossed into Texas on July 4 and officially mustered into service on August 18 at Fort Duncan, near Eagle Pass, Texas. In July 1872, the scouts were moved to Fort Clark, near Brackettville. On Fort Clark, they lived along the Las Moras Creek on a reservation known as “The Camp” During their service against hostiles, not a single scout, out of no more than fifty men, was killed or seriously injured. Four of the Scouts received the Congressional Medal of Honor for their heroic service.
Disbandment and Legacy
The Black Seminole Scouts were disbanded in 1914 forced to leave the Fort Clark reservation and seek homes in Brackettville, or elsewhere. Many of the scouts’ are buried at the Seminole Indian Scouts Cemetery in Kinney County, Texas, including Medal of Honor recipients, John Ward, Pompey Factor, Adam Paine and Isaac Payne. Descendants of the Black Seminole Scouts still live in Texas, Mexico and many other areas of the country. Annually the Black Seminoles meet in Brackettville, Texas to celebrate their rich heritage with family, friends and visitors.