If you had family anywhere in Central Texas during the mid 1800s, I would have loved to have had the chance to have asked them how they felt about Yellow Wolf’s proposal. It might have saved a lot of lives….but then, what do I know?
In 1854, the United States Congress voted to take the northern part of what was then Indian Territory in order to create the Kansas and Nebraska Territories. Even though the Indians had been moving toward the end for years, it was this act that actually sealed their fate; they just did not know it yet.
According to E.L. Deaton, early Central Texas resident, it was in the spring of 1854 that the Plains Indians met in council at Fort Chadbourne. Deaton himself was at Fort Chadbourne, and he stayed to watch and listen.
“The Comanche chief, Yellow Wolf, never did agree to go to a reservation. I heard him make several speeches. He said it was impossible to make white men out of Indians; he said you had as well try to make a dog out of a wolf, and Yellow Wolf proposed to the council that if the government would strike a line commencing on Red River at or near the upper line of Grayson County and run to the mountains at or near Austin or San Antonio, thence to the Rio Grand, and give his people all north of said line, he would make peace with the whites, but if not he would instill it into the minds of his people to contend for their rights as long as they lived.
“He contended earnestly for this country, saying that his people had been driven from the eastern shores by the whites to the plains, where they could not make a living, and promised that if his men trespassed across the line that we could deal with them according to our law, allowing him the same privilege to deal with our men when they trespassed across the line on his side.
“But our agents had their orders from Washington and could not vary from them. So Yellow Wolf took his tribe and went to the mountains…” *
I’ve often wondered if Deaton and the other early Central Texas residents ever thought back to the spring of 1854 and wished that our government had listened a little more closely to what Yellow Wolf had to say; I’m sure they had their moments…
*E.L. Deaton as quoted in The View From The Old Oak Tree, Fredda Davis Jones
Photo from LegendsofAmerica.com