Keepers of the tribal pride, with a long history of service to their country, four brave warriors will be remembered on June 17, as the Absentee Seminole Tribe of Texas celebrates its first anniversary during a tribal meeting to be held at Ft. Clark Springs, Brackettville, Texas.
The four warriors, whose final resting place is the Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery, established in 1872, will be remembered by the tribal council. All four of them are recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Roger T. Blanks, a native Del Rioan and Tribal Council Treasurer, said that the council will be honoring Sgt. John Ward, Pompey Factor and Trumpeter Isaac Payne, all of them recognized with the Medal of Honor for their valor in the campaign against hostile Indians.
These brave African-American Seminole soldiers proved their bravery and combative skills on the Lower Pecos River against the Lipan Apaches and Kiowa Indians in April 1875, in the area known as the Eagle’s Nest Crossing.
Blanks said that the medal was awarded to them for saving Lt. John Lampham Bullis from the marauding hostile Indians.
The fourth Medal of Honor recipient, Adam Paine, was awarded the congressional honor for his actions during a clash between Indian scouts and several bands of Comanche Indians near the Canyon Blanco tributary of the Red River, on September 26-27, 1874 and his service to Col. R. S. Mackenzie, 4th U.S. Cavalry, according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.
Blanks said that the Absentee Seminole Tribe of Texas, descendants of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, decided to establish their council looking forward to preserve the integrity and history pertaining tribal values of the Native Americans.
“Some people in Del Rio are direct descendants of Sampson July, who was brother-in-law with Juan Caballo, also known as John Horse, an African-American Indian who later became a Mexican Army officer,” said Blanks.
The tribe has about 180 members, descendants of the Seminole Indians who live across the United States. Nearly 60 of them live in the Del Rio and Val Verde County area.
Blanks added that the Seminole Indian descendants living in this part of the country are kin of Seminole Indians who moved to Oklahoma from Florida, in a relocation effort carried by the U.S. government in the 1830s known as the “Trail of Tears.”
“They were not very happy when they got to Oklahoma, so they moved south into Mexico because slavery had been abolished there. They formed a community near Muzquiz, Coahuila,” Blanks explained.
The Seminole Indians moved into the region along with the Kickapoo Indians. The Seminoles were also known as “Mascogos,” in Mexico, because when they arrived some were still speaking the Muskogee language.
Blanks explained that the name of the tribe “Absentee” is indicative of a historical connection to the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma.
“Our ancestors were absent from Oklahoma when the Dawes Rolls were created in the 1890s, and Black Seminole became Freedmen. Our ancestors were absent from Florida in 1957, when a Seminole census and constitution created the Seminole Tribe of Florida,” states the tribe in its website.
The tribal council has taken the Brackettville Indian Scout Cemetery under its wing. The Absentee Seminole Indian Triben has records of 164 Army Indian scouts, including Seminole, Creek, Cherokee, Tonkaway, Yaqui and Apache Indians enlisted in the U.S. Army between the years of 1870-1914. Forty of those Indian scouts are buried at the Brackettville Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery.
The cemetery is located on 3345 Ranch Rd. 3348 in Brackettville, Texas.
Blanks said that one of the tribal council’s goals is to preserve the integrity of history and the information of the Seminole tribe, and to pass that down to all descendants of tribal members, as well as the Seminole ancestry.
He explained that the Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery will be restructured and renovated to better represent and honor the soldiers buried in these grounds.
The council will be holding its first anniversary meeting on June 17 at the Enfield Club at Ft. Clark Springs. The meeting will be starting at 4 p.m. A social open to non-vetted people will be held afterwards, at 5 p.m.
The tribal council is accepting donations benefiting the Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery. For more information or to send donations contact the Absentee Seminole Tribe of Texas
P.O. BOX 1932, McKinney, Texas 75070, or call at (214) 578 1839.