“Pride, independence, and self-respect were virtues the savages were losing…since they were in a starving condition.”
-Rupert Norval Richardson, Comanche Barrier To South Plains Settlement. (Austin, Texas, 1996), 109.
As we’ve discussed before, one of the main reasons Texas agreed to come into the Union was for the protection from the Indians it believed the government would provide. As we’ve also discussed, that didn’t work out too well. By the 1850s, everyone knew that like it or not, the Indians had to have a place to go.
After two years of discussion, on February 6, 1854, the Texas Legislature finally authorized the Federal Government to select Texas land to be used as reservation land. The stipulation was that this land must not be located over twenty miles south or east of the most northern line of military posts from the Red River to the Pecos River.
Also, there was to be no more than twelve leagues of land used for this purpose, and when the land ceased to be needed as a reservation for the Indians, it was to revert back to Texas. As anyone can see, the state of Texas believed that the Indian problem was a federal problem and not a state problem.
To be quite honest, no one in Texas was happy about giving up any Texas land to the Indians, and therein was a big part of the problem…it was Texas land.
Hindsight is always much clearer than the present, but it seems obvious that someone should have realized that the United States was agreeing to place the Indians on land, and to police them on that land over which the Federal Government had no control, because the land that would be set aside for the reservations belonged to Texas.
We do value our land here in Texas, don’t we?
Army Captain, Randolph B. Marcy, and Indian Office representative, Major Robert S. Neighbors, were chosen to locate and survey the land that would serve as the reservation land. Finally, during the summer of 1854, these men chose two tracts to be used.
One was referred to as the Brazos Agency and was located on the main fork of the Brazos River, about fifteen miles south of Fort Belknap, and near present-day Graham; the other, known as the Comanche Reserve, was located on the Clear Fork of the Brazos River, near Camp Cooper.
The two reservations were about forty-five miles apart, located in what was then referred to as Young Territory. The Brazos Agency was to be used by the more civilized tribes (Caddoes, Wacoes, Tawakonies, Anadarkoes, Tonkawas, Keechies, and Delawares), and the one on the Clear Fork by the Southern Comanches.
These reservations were to become a source of contention all across the frontier of Texas.
Source: Clara Lena Koch. “The Federal Indian Policy In Texas, 1845-1860,” Vol. 029, Number 2, Southwestern Historical Quarterly Online, 98-127.