`page.data.shortTitle || page.data.title`
MORE INDIAN CAPTIVES
Pictures & Records
Add your story…
INDIAN CAPTIVES. The practice of captive-taking among North American Indians goes back to prehistoric times. Centuries before white men came to these shores, captives were taken from neighboring tribes to replenish losses suffered in warfare or to obtain victims to torture in the spirit of revenge. When warfare developed between Europeans and Indians, white captives were taken for the same reasons and, in addition, to hold for ransom or to use to gain bargaining power with an allied European government or colony.
The earliest European captives in Texas were Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and three companions, survivors of the expedition of Pánfilo de Narváez in 1528. Though these conquistadors used their skills as medicine men to escape from captivity, during the next three centuries numerous Spanish and Mexican captives remained many years in the camps of Apache, Comanche, Kiowa, and Wichita raiders. During the succeeding half century after Indian warfare broke out with whites in the 1830s, many settlers underwent Indian captivity.
The life of a captive was fraught with perils and hardships. Survival frequently depended upon the whim of the captor and the fortitude displayed by the captive. Mature males who fell into Indian hands were considered to have forfeited their lives. Captive white women in Texas, as in much of the territory west of the Mississippi River, were usually compelled to serve their captors as concubines and menials (the roles of most Indian women). Their ordeals frequently led to early deaths, before or after redemption. The experiences of Rachel Plummer and Sarah Ann Hornqv dramatically illustrate the horrors of female captivity among the Plains Indians. Abuse of captive women, however, was by no means universal. Some women, though subservient to their captors, were treated with unexpected respect.
Indian raiders killed captive children who lagged behind when the Indians were pursued. Children who arrived safely at the Indian village, however, usually were adopted as replacements for deceased relatives and thereafter treated as true sons or daughters. Many of these youngsters enjoyed the wild, free life of the Indians and became so completely assimilated that they resisted attempts to redeem them. Some youths became fierce warriors who raided the settlements. Among the most formidable "white Indians" were Clinton and Jeff Smith, Herman Lehmann, Adolph Korn, Rudolph Fischer, and Kiowa Dutch.
White girls captured before the age of puberty usually became assimilated and married chiefs or warriors. The most famous of these, Cynthia Ann Parker, married the Comanche chief Peta Noconaand became the mother of Quanah Parker, last war chief of the tribe. When recaptured by Lawrence Sullivan Ross in 1860 and reunited with her relatives, she tried to run away to her Indian family. Millie Durgan lived happily to old age as the wife of a Kiowa warrior. On the other hand, girls taken at childbearing age hated their captors and sometimes risked their lives to escape. Martina Díaz, one of many captives redeemed by the Indian agent Lawrie Tatum, hid in his house from threatening warriors. Matilda Lockhart, thirteen years old when captured and treated brutally by the Comanches, precipitated the Council House Fight in San Antonio in 1840 when she accused the Indians of hiding other captives.
Many Texas captives were rescued or ransomed by relatives, Texas Rangersqv, soldiers, Indian agents, or traders. Britton Johnson, a black rancher, traded goods for his own wife and children, the sister of Millie Durgan, and several other captives. Sam Houston purchased Mrs. Elizabeth Kellogg, seized in the Comanche raid on Fort Parker in 1836, from friendly Delaware Indians. Two young boys taken in the same raid, John Parker and James Plummer, were ransomed by Gen. Zachary Taylor in 1842. Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston rescued Rebecca Jane Fisher and her brother, William Gilleland, captured by Comanches who killed their parents near Refugio in 1842. Sul Ross redeemed a young white girl in 1858 during an attack on a Comanche village. She had forgotten her name, and her identity was never established. She was raised as a member of his family and given the name Lizzie Ross.
When the Comanches and Kiowas were driven onto reservations north of the Red River and compelled to release their prisoners, many captives had become so completely assimilated that they chose to remain with their captors. Most of these had married Indians, and it is estimated that 30 percent of Apaches, Comanches, and Kiowas had captive blood in their veins.
CABEZA DE VACA, ALVAR NUNEZ
CABEZA DE VACA, ÁLVAR NÚÑEZ (ca. 1490–ca. 1556). Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, an early Spanish explorer, was born about 1490 in Jerez de la Frontera, an Andalucian town near Cádiz, to Francisco de Vera and Teresa Cabeza de Vaca. Cabeza de Vaca was his preferred surname. It descended from an ancestor who had helped secure victory for Christian forces at the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (1212) by marking an unguarded pass in the Sierra Moreno with the skull of a cow. In gratitude, King Sancho of Navarra bestowed the surname "Cow's Head" on Cabeza de Vaca's matrilineal progenitors. The Álvar Núñez portion of Cabeza de Vaca's name also came from a prominent ancestor of his mother, who was an accomplished naval officer.
As a young man Cabeza de Vaca gained military experience in Italy, where he campaigned with the Spanish army of Charles V. His service to the crown probably earned him the position of treasurer in the 1527–28 expedition of Pánfilo de Narváez. Narváez, a minor participant in the conquest of Mexico, had lost an eye and command of his army to Hernán Cortés in 1520. Later, his importunities at the Spanish court resulted in a royal patent to found a colony in Florida, a name applied to the Gulf Coast between the province of Pánuco in Mexico and the Florida peninsula.
Narváez departed from Spain in June 1527, wintered in Cuba, and landed on the west coast of Florida in April 1528. Despite protests from Cabeza de Vaca, Narváez decided to separate 300 men from his support vessels and reconnoiter the land. He was soon permanently separated from his ships and stranded on the Florida coast, which he believed to be only a few leagues from the Pánuco River.
Narváez's expedition then began a march up the interior coast to northwestern Florida, where it remained for approximately three months. Faced with hostile natives and food shortages, Narváez elected to build improvised barges and to leave Florida by sea. His command, which had dwindled to fewer than 250 men, crowded into five craft and set out for Pánuco. The first month at sea went well. Hugging the coast, the small flotilla approached the mouth of the Mississippi River. But on the thirty-first day a storm caught the barges and eventually drove them apart. Several days after passing the mouth of the Great River, two of the battered craft were beached on an island (probably San Luis, now known as Follets Island) off the Texas coast, in November 1528. Among some eighty survivors were Cabeza de Vaca, Andrés Dorantes de Carranza, his African-born slave Estevanico, and Alonso Castillo Maldonado.qqv These men, known as the "four ragged castaways," were among the first non-Indians to set foot on Texas soil, and they were the only survivors of the Narváez expedition. Most of the others succumbed to disease, injuries, drowning, or violence at the hands of hostile coastal tribes.
Shortly after landing on the Texas coast, Cabeza de Vaca became separated from the other survivors. Believing he had died on the mainland, all but two of them proceeded down the coast. Cabeza de Vaca recovered from a near fatal illness and later became the first European merchant in Texas. He ranged inland as well as along the coast, carrying sea shells and mesquite beans to the interior and returning with skins and red ochre. He also enjoyed success as a medicine man; his treatment consisted of blessing the afflicted, breathing on injuries, and praying.
Cabeza de Vaca's reluctance to leave the Galveston area was influenced by a single surviving countryman, Lope de Oviedo, who refused to leave the initial landfall island. In 1532 Cabeza de Vaca convinced the reluctant Spaniard to accompany him along the coast toward Pánuco, as the other survivors had done in the spring of 1529. En route Lope de Oviedo turned back and disappeared from history. Cabeza de Vaca eventually rendezvoused with three astonished colleagues at what they called the "river of nuts," probably the Guadalupe. There the four castaways, who were made slaves of the Mariame Indians, plotted their escape to Mexico. Not until 1534, however, did they start for Pánuco.
Cabeza de Vaca and the other castaways traveled from the environs of Galveston Island to Culiacán, an outpost near the Pacific Coast of Mexico, where they arrived in early 1536. Their path has been the subject of historical controversy for more than a century. Differences over route interpretations continue, for no one can prove with absolute certainty the precise course followed on any part of the journey. It is the Texas portion of the odyssey, however, that has received the most attention.
The Relación of Cabeza de Vaca reported the experience, and the joint report, a cooperative account, was written by the three surviving Spaniards. Both accounts were composed shortly after the trek ended in 1536. Biotic, enthnographic, and physiographic information contained in these narratives provides clues as to where the four men spent nearly seven years in Texas and what they saw. Their reports of their experiences provide valuable data on Texas Indians, landforms, flora, and fauna.
The crucial pieces of evidence in the narratives are the dimensions of the island where the initial landing occurred, the distance between and the crossing of four successive streams on the mainland, the description of a series of inlets along the coast toward Pánuco, the mention of a "river of nuts" and extensive stands of prickly pear cactus, the crossing of a large river comparable in width to the Guadalquivir River in Spain, the subsequent appearance of mountains near the coast that ran from the direction of the "North Sea," and the recorded names of Indian tribes. The data, when correlated with the established goal of reaching Pánuco, strongly suggest a southern route along the inner Texas coast and a crossing of the lower Río Grande into Mexico near the site of International Falcon Reservoir. Ultimately, the castaways' successful flight on foot brought them back to Texas at the junction of the Rio Grande and the Río Conchos near the site of present Presidio, Texas. On that portion of the trek, Cabeza de Vaca removed an arrow from the chest of an Indian. The operation has earned him remembrance as the "patron saint" of the Texas Surgical Society. Cabeza de Vaca also deserves recognition as the first geographer, historian, and ethnologist in Texas. He was the only Spaniard to live among the coastal Indians of Texas and survive to write about them. As a result he, along with Dorantes de Carranza and Castillo Maldonado, may be remembered for producing the first Texas literature.
In the early 1540s Cabeza de Vaca again served the Spanish crown as a governor in what is now Paraguay. He was, however, charged with misrule there, recalled to Spain, tried, and temporarily banished to North Africa. Later he was cleared of charges and permitted to return to Spain, where he died in the mid-1550s.
LEHMANN, HERMAN (1859–1932). Herman Lehmann, child captive of the Apaches, son of Moritz (Maurice) and Augusta Johanna (Adams) Lehmann, German immigrants, was born on June 5, 1859, near Loyal Valley in southeastern Mason County. His parents were married in Texas in 1849; after his father died in 1864 his mother married Philipp Buchmeier (Buchmeyer) in 1866. In May 1870, when he had never been to school and spoke only German, Herman, almost eleven, and a younger brother, Willie, were captured by raiding Apaches; two younger sisters who were with them were not taken.
Willie escaped and returned home in about nine days. Herman was adopted by his Apache captor, Carnoviste, and initiated into the rigors of primitive Indian life. He underwent harsh tribal training and initiation, became a warrior, and took part in expeditions against the Texas Rangersqv, Comanches, Mexicans, and white settlers, ranging with the tribe from the Guadalupe Mountains in New Mexico down into the Mason County-San Saba region and into Mexico. After Carnoviste was killed and Lehmann himself had killed an Apache medicine man, he spent a year alone on the plains of West Texas before joining the Comanches, to whom he was known as Montechena (Montechina); he had also been called at various times En Da and Alamán. With the Comanches he fought the Tonkawas and United States Cavalry, and he again took part in Indian raids. He was with the last Quahadi remnant that joined the reservation at Fort Sill. He was adopted by Quanah Parker but was ultimately recognized as a white captive and forced to return in May 1878 to his Texas family, who had thought him dead for the eight years he lived with the Indians.
At home he refused to eat pork or sleep in a bed, and he embarrassed his family by sometimes appearing before his mother's hotel guests with his body painted, dressed only in leggings, breech clout, and feathers. He startled a revival meeting with an Indian dance, thinking the congregation was praying for rain. His brother Willie kept him from killing the neighbors' calves and hogs and from stealing horses from adjoining farms. He relearned German, learned English, engaged in numerous odd jobs, tried for a single day to attend school, and worked as a trail driver. Although he never adjusted to white society fully, Herman did accept his role in the Loyal Valley community, and his easygoing nature and good humor seem to have made him many friends. After an unhappy earlier marriage ended in divorce, he married Miss Fannie Light in 1890, and the couple had two sons and three daughters. Later, as a Comanche, he was given Oklahoma lands by the United States government, and he spent much of his time with his red brothers.
He was a local celebrity throughout the Texas Hill Country, where he gave many public exhibitions of skill at riding, roping, and archery. In later years he met many of the Texas Rangers and soldiers he had fought against as an Indian. He died on February 2, 1932, and was buried in Loyal Valley.
PARKER, CYNTHIA ANN
PARKER, CYNTHIA ANN (ca. 1825–ca. 1871). Cynthia Ann Parker, a captive of the Comanches, was born to Lucy (Duty) and Silas M. Parker in Crawford County, Illinois. According to the 1870 census of Anderson County she would have been born between June 2, 1824, and May 31, 1825. When she was nine or ten her family moved to Central Texas and built Fort Parker on the headwaters of the Navasota River in what is now Limestone County. On May 19, 1836, a large force of Comanche warriors accompanied by Kiowa and Kichai allies attacked the fort and killed several of its inhabitants. During the raid the Comanches seized five captives, including Cynthia Ann. The other four were eventually released, but Cynthia remained with the Indians for almost twenty-five years, forgot white ways, and became thoroughly Comanche. It is said that in the mid-1840s her brother, John Parker, who had been captured with her, asked her to return to their white family, but she refused, explaining that she loved her husband and children too much to leave them. She is also said to have rejected Indian trader Victor Rose's invitation to accompany him back to white settlements a few years later, though the story of the invitation may be apocryphal.
A newspaper account of April 29, 1846, describes an encounter of Col. Leonard G. Williams's trading party with Cynthia, who was camped with Comanches on the Canadian River. Despite Williams's ransom offers, tribal elders refused to release her. Later, federal officials P. M. Butler and M. G. Lewis encountered Cynthia Ann with the Yamparika Comanches on the Washita River; by then she was a full-fledged member of the tribe and married to a Comanche warrior. She never voluntarily returned to white society. Indian agent Robert S. Neighbors learned, probably in 1848, that she was among the Tenawa Comanches. He was told by other Comanches that only force would induce her captors to release her. She had married Peta Nocona and eventually had two sons, Quanah Parker and Pecos, and a daughter, Topsannah.
On December 18, 1860, Texas Rangersqv under Lawrence Sullivan Ross attacked a Comanche hunting camp at Mule Creek, a tributary of the Pease River. During this raid the rangers captured three of the supposed Indians. They were surprised to find that one of them had blue eyes; it was a non-English-speaking white woman with her infant daughter. Col. Isaac Parker later identified her as his niece, Cynthia Ann. Cynthia accompanied her uncle to Birdville on the condition that military interpreter Horace P. Jones would send along her sons if they were found. While traveling through Fort Worth she was photographed with her daughter at her breast and her hair cut short-a Comanche sign of mourning. She thought that Peta Nocona was dead and feared that she would never see her sons again. On April 8, 1861, a sympathetic Texas legislature voted her a grant of $100 annually for five years and a league of land and appointed Isaac D. and Benjamin F. Parker her guardians. But she was never reconciled to living in white society and made several unsuccessful attempts to flee to her Comanche family. After three months at Birdville, her brother Silas took her to his Van Zandt County home. She afterward moved to her sister's place near the boundary of Anderson and Henderson counties. Though she is said in some sources to have died in 1864, the 1870 census enrolled her and gave her age as forty-five. At her death she was buried in Fosterville Cemetery in Anderson County. In 1910 her son Quanah moved her body to the Post Oak Mission Cemetery near Cache, Oklahoma. In 1957 her body and that of Quanah's were reinterred in the Fort Sill Post Cemetery at Lawton, Oklahoma. In the last years of Cynthia Ann's life she never saw her Indian family, the only family she really knew. But she was a true pioneer of the American West, whose legacy was carried on by her son Quanah. Serving as a link between whites and Comanches, Quanah Parker became the most influential Comanche leader of the reservation era.
LOCKHART, MATILDA (ca. 1825–?). Matilda Lockhart, who as a young girl was taken captive by Comanche Indians, was probably born in Illinois around 1825. Her father, Andrew Lockhart, emigrated with his family from Illinois to Texas in 1828 and settled on the Guadalupe River in Green DeWitt's colony. In the fall of 1838, when Matilda was about thirteen years old, she and four children of Mitchell Putnam were captured by Comanche Indians and carried into the Guadalupe Mountains. Two unsuccessful excursions were made to free the children, one to the head of the Guadalupe River in late 1838 and one under John H. Moore in 1839 to Spring Creek, a tributary of the San Saba River. Under the terms of a treaty, sixty-five Indians led by the chieftan Muguara (Muk-wah-rah) delivered Matilda to authorities in San Antonio on March 19, 1840. Mary Ann Maverick, who witnessed the event and helped to bathe and dress the girl after she was returned, later recounted that Matilda had been badly tortured and "was utterly degraded, and could not hold up her head again. Her head, arms, and face were full of bruises, and sores, and her nose actually burnt off to the bone-all the fleshy end gone, and a great scab formed on the on the end of the bone. Both nostrils were wide open and denuded of flesh. She told a piteous tale of how dreadfully the Indians had beaten her, and how they would wake her from her sleep by sticking a chunk of fire to her flesh, especially to her nose...her body had many scars from the fire." During her two years with the Comanches, Matilda had learned to understand some of the Comanches' language, and she revealed to the Texan authorities in San Antonio that the Indians still held thirteen other captives and that they planned to bring them in one by one and bargain for each in exchange for ammunition, blankets, and other supplies. Her harrowing tale of privation and torture and the failure of the Indians to deliver the Putnam children and other captives resulted in the Council House Fight, which took place the day Matilda was returned. According to Maverick, the girl never recovered from her experience and died two or three years later.
JOHNSON, BRITTON (ca. 1840–1871). Britton (Britt) Johnson was born about 1840, probably in Tennessee. He became a legend on the West Texas frontier after the summer of 1865, when he went out onto the Llano Estacado in pursuit of Indians who had kidnapped his wife and two children in theElm Creek Raid of October 1864. Johnson was a slave of Moses Johnson, a landholder in the Peters colony. Since he ran freight and his own wagon team after the Civil War, he probably had at least a minimum of reading, writing, and math skills. Although he was legally a slave, he served Moses Johnson as a sort of foreman of the Johnson ranch, with unlimited freedom to perform his duties. He was also allowed to raise his own horses and cattle. After the Elm Creek Raid, Johnson returned to find his son Jim dead and his wife and children taken, along with other captives. He spent until the summer of 1865 looking for Mary Johnson and his two daughters at reservations in Oklahoma and at scattered forts throughout the Texas frontier. Sources differ as to the rescue of the captives, who included Johnson's family and Elizabeth FitzPatrick (see CLIFTON, ELIZABETH ANN). Some sources claim that in the spring of 1865 Johnson went to live with the Comanches and managed to arrange for a ransom. But most likely, his family was ransomed and rescued in June 1865 by Comanche chief Asa-Havey as part of ongoing peace talks. Mrs. FitzPatrick was rescued by United States troops in November 1865. After his adventures among the Comanches and Kiowas, Johnson moved his family to Parker County, where he served as a freighter and teamster hauling goods between Weatherford and Fort Griffin. On January 24, 1871, about twenty-five Kiowas attacked a wagontrain manned by Johnson and two black teamsters four miles east of Salt Creek in Young County. A group of nearby teamsters from a larger train of wagons reported that Johnson died last in a desperate defense behind the body of his horse. Teamsters who buried the mutilated bodies of Johnson and his men counted 173 rifle and pistol shells in the area where Johnson made his stand. He was buried with his men in a common grave beside the wagon road.
FISHER, REBECCA JANE GILLELAND
FISHER, REBECCA JANE GILLELAND (1831–1926). Rebecca Jane Gilleland Fisher, preservationist, was born in Philadelphia on August 31, 1831, the daughter of Mary (Barbour) and Johnson Gilleland. Around 1837 the family arrived in Texas and settled in Refugio County near the Don Carlos Ranch. In 1840 Comanches attacked the home, killed the parents, and captured Rebecca and her brother William. The children were rescued by Albert Sidney Johnston and a detachment of Texas soldiers and taken to Victoria, where they stayed with William C. Blair until they could be sent to live with Jane Trimble, an aunt in Galveston. Rebecca Gilleland attended Rutersville College from about 1845 to 1848, when she married Orceneth Fisher, a Methodist minister. The couple had six children. In 1855 the Fishers left Texas for the Pacific coast, where for nearly sixteen years Fisher served as a pastor in California and Oregon. They returned to Texas about 1871 and eventually established a home in Austin, where Fisher died in 1880.
Mrs. Fisher was a charter member of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and served as its state president for eighteen years. She was also president of the Austin chapter. She delivered an oration at the unveiling of the Sam Houston monument at Huntsville and aided Clara Driscoll in saving the Alamo from destruction. For several years she gave the opening prayer when the Texas legislature convened. She was the only woman elected to the Texas Veterans Association and was its last surviving member. Her portrait was the first of a woman to be hung in the Senate chamber at theCapitol. She died in Austin on March 21, 1926. Her body lay in state in the Senate chamber, where funeral services were held. The Senate unanimously adopted a resolution in her memory and draped her portrait in mourning cloth. Honorary pallbearers included the two United States senators from Texas and four former governors. She was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Austin.
REGINA HARTMAN - INDIAN CAPTIVE
In the years prior to the Revolutionary War, the frontier of Pennsylvania, the mountains and valleys just west of the Susquehanna River, were dangerous territory. For years the French and the English competed for control of these lands, and the help of the native American indians was critical to both. Following the disasterous defeat of General Braddock, even the farmsteads east of the Susquehanna were often raided. Many were the settler cabins that were burned to the ground; many were the settlers themselves who were killed or taken into captivity by the indians. Mary Jemison was one; she was captured and adopted as an indian, and in later years preferred to stay among her new kin rather than return to white civilization. Regina Hartman was another, but she did return. This is Regina's story.
John Hartman was a German who had come to the new colonies from the Wurtemberg region. A Lutheran like many of his countrymen, Hartman chose to bring his family to the province of William Penn, as it still welcomed those of all religious persuasions. In his search for good land to farm and provide for that family, the Hartmans had settled in the valley of the Susquehanna.
In addition to John and his wife Magdelena, the family included four children: George, aged 14; Regina, aged 12; Barbara, a few years younger, and baby Christian. There was also the beloved family dog, Wasser. They all worked hard and were well off for the place and time. Each evening as the children were put to bed, their mother would sing them the old German hymns she remembered from the homeland and her own childhood.
It was a bright fall morning in October 1755, the kind of day that made one forget that a Pennsylvania mountain winter wasn't far away. But the Hartman family would never forget this day.
After breakfast, as he did each morning, John Hartman led the family in prayers of thankfulness. Then he and George prepared to work in the far field. The girls would clean up the breakfast, then they had housework to do. Mrs. Hartman, taking baby Christian, would ride the horse to the mill for flour, and to visit a sick neighbor. As she left the yard, her family waved from the doorway and wished her a safe trip.
Back in the house, the family was surprised a short while later to hear Wasser, their faithful dog, growling and snarling in the yard. This was unlike him - he was big, but friendly to all. John Hartman went to the door just in time to see the big dog leap upon an Indian in the yard, knocking him to the ground. In an instant the Indian's companion tomahawked the poor dog. As Wasser fell, John Hartman went for his rifle, but before he could reach it, the cabin door was flung open and several Indians rushed in. They shot John Hartman and son George where they stood. Barbara climbed the ladder to the loft, trying to escape. Regina threw her hands to her face. "Herr Jesus! Herr Jesus!" she shrieked. For a brief moment, this seemed to confuse the Indians, but they quickly recovered. They dragged poor Barbara down from the loft, and proceeded to eat the leftover breakfast food, and then to ransack the cabin, eating or taking all the foodstuffs they could find.
Finishing quickly, the Indians tied Regina and Barbara together and herded them out the door. At the edge of the yard, another young girl was tied to a fence post. She was soon tied together with the other two. Then, stopping only to set fire to the house and barn, the Indians, with their captives, set off into the forest. In no time, they were miles away, and all the hard work of the Hartmans was reduced to ash.
Later in the day, Mrs. Hartman and Christian returned. As they rode toward the house on the family's horse, Mrs. Hartman at first thought she had gone the wrong way, because she couldn't see the family cabin. Great was her surprise, which quickly turned to shock, when she found the charred remains of not only her home, but her husband and son as well. She rode as fast as she could with the baby to the next neighbor to spread the alarm. Men from the area gathered and tried to go after the Indians, but they were poor trackers, and the Indians had a huge head start and were moving fast. Mrs. Hartman found out that another farm had been attacked and burned, and that another young girl, Susan Smith, aged 8, had been taken as a captive. The rescue party never caught up with the Indians of course, but they did find the body of young Barbara. She had probably tried to escape, and so was killed by the Indian party.
Poor Mrs. Hartman mourned for her dead husband and son and daughter of course, but the uncertainty of not knowing the fate of Regina was even harder for her. She took some solace in the fact that young Christian was still with her, alive and well. Time passed - Mrs. Hartman remarried. Her son Christian was now a stripling young man. But she still wished she knew what had become of her oldest daughter.
What had happened to Regina Hartman? Indians did not take captives, and take them many miles through the forest, just to kill them later. Young whites, or those too old or infirm to keep up on the trek away from the raiding sites, were killed quickly. Those who resisted or tried to get away were killed, as had happened to Barbara Hartman. But those that made the trip were generally adopted into the tribe, sometimes given or even sold to other tribes. Once adopted, whites were generally treated well, and many lived willingly among the Indians for years. Such was the case with Regina Hartman and Susan Smith, the two girls who had been taken from Sherman Valley.
At first, both wished they could escape and return to their homes. But they were smart enough to know that they had no idea how to get back. They had most likely been taken to the Ohio country, perhaps even to the upper lake. The girls also knew that the Indians, who treated them well, would kill them if they tried to escape. After a few years, their new lives were accepted, and they gradually forgot their earlier lives, hardly remembering those long ago days. They occasionally spoke German to each other, but only if the Indians couldn't hear them. Most often they spoke their newly learned Indian tongue to each other as well as to the Indians. Regina had an Indian name, Sawquehanna. Susan was called Knoloska.
Regina Hartman and Susan Smith had been captured in one of the many raids conducted by the French and their various Indian allies as England and France struggled for control of the frontier beyond the English settlements along the Atlantic coast. Eventually, in 1763, eight years after Regina was taken from her home, the French were bested, and the Flag of Great Britain was the only one that flew over all of Pennsylvania. As part of the peace settlement between England, France, and the frontier tribes, the Indians were required to return all white captives that had been abducted from their homes. Hundreds of captives were brought from the western lands to Fort Pitt, where Pittsburgh now stands. Family members came to Fort Pitt from all over to try and recognize their long separated loved ones, and on September 13, 1764, the captives were lined up on the parade ground of the fort. Many happy reunions took place as families were reunited. Some of the returned captives had no family left, and preferred to return and live as Indians. There were many joyous reunions of captives and their families, but some fifty of the captives, including Sawquehanna and Knoloska, were not found by family.
Colonel Henry Bouquet, the English commander in the west, was not yet ready to give up. He brought all the remaining captives back east to Carlisle, in the Cumberland Valley, which was then the farthest west town of any significance on the frontier. Notices were published in the newspapers of eastern Pennsylvania for families to come and see if these captives were known to them. Susan Smith's parents were dead, but an Aunt and Uncle recognized their niece, and she was eager to go and live with them. She and Regina, Knoloska and Sawquehanna, who had lived as sisters for so long among the Indians, had a tearful parting.
Magdelena Hartman, Regina's mother, had heard, via the German pastor at Tulpehocken, of the returned captives and she too had gone to Carlisle. She walked among the freed captives, looking at every face, into every eye. It had been nine years. Regina was only twelve when she was taken. "My daughter is not here," she tearfully told Colonel Bouquet. "Look again," said the Colonel. "No," insisted the woman, "my daughter is not here."
"Isn't there some special way you could recognize her? A mark of some kind?" "No," said Mrs. Hartman, "my daughter was perfect, unblemished in any way."
"Perhaps a word, or a song that she would recognize?" Mrs. Hartman thought back to the old German hymns she would sing to her children. Perhaps that would bring a spark of recognition. She started to sing, but feeling foolish, stopped quickly. "No, no," insisted Colonel Bouquet, "go on, go on."
So once again, Mrs. Hartman began softly to sing a hymn, walking slowly among the remaining captives as she did so. "Allein, und doch nicht ganz allein, Bin ich in meiner Einsamkeit." Up and down the line she went. Sawquehanna, the Indian girl, heard the sound, listened intently as something was awakened in her memory. Suddenly she ran to Magdelena, starting to sing herself as she ran. "Mutter, mutter!" she cried. "Regina!" her mother cried in return. It was a most tearful reunion as the two women ran into each other's arms, still singing together the beautiful German hymn they had sung so long ago.
Even Colonel Bouquet and the other English officers couldn't help shedding a tear. It was December 31, 1764. After nine long years, Regina Hartman had come home!
The version above is largely taken from "Stories of Pennsylvania", an 1897 publication of the American Book Co., authored by Joseph Solomon Walton and Martin G. Brumbaugh (who would become Governor of Pennsylvania in 1915). They in turn may have found the story in "The Journals of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg". Muhlenberg, a colonial era German Lutheran religious figure and historian, told a similar tale, which he heard directly from the mother of the captive Regina. A very similar tale of a Regina Leininger from Schuylkill County can be found in contemporary literature. See also the Ruffner Family History - www.horseshoe.cc/pennadutch/families/ruffner/ruffner.htm
Neither Walton and Brumbaugh nor Muhlenberg give a first name for Mrs. Hartman. Muhlenberg in fact does not mention the family's last name, further conflicting the Hartman/Leininger issue. The name Magdelena was obtained from a historical marker on the town square in Carlise, PA., regarding the return of the indian captives from Fort Pitt.
This tale also appears in "Where The Rivers Meet" by Clarence Macartney, The Gibson Press, Pittsburgh PA. 1946.
The English translation of the first stanza of this hymn Mrs. Hartman sang is as follows: "Alone, yet not alone am I; Though in this solitude so drear; I feel my Saviour always nigh; He comes the very hour to cheer; I am with Him, and He with me; E'en here alone I cannot be."
The photo below is of the grave of Regina - note it gives both the names Leininger and Hartman - which is in the Christ Church Cemetery in Stouchsburg, Berks County, Pennsylvania.
Dot and Bianca Babb
Theodore Adolphus “Dot” Babb
& Bianca I. “Banc” Babb
Two of Texas history's best-known Indian captives, 13-year-old T. A. "Dot" Babb (1852-1936) and his 9-year-old sister Bianca (1855?-1950) were stolen by Comanches from their home near here in September of 1865. While at play one day, the children were surprised by a raiding party of 35 to 40 Indians. Mrs. Babb was killed and Dot, Bianca, and Mrs. Luster (a visitor) were taken to Indian Territory (present Oklahoma). After helping Mrs. Luster escape on the way, Dot was very nearly executed, but so stoic was he in facing death that the Indians admiringly spared his life. For the next two years Dot and Bianca lived, in different tribes, as adopted Comanches. Bianca later recalled that the Indians held a feast - with coffee, a luxury - upon her arrival and that they colored her blonde hair with charcoal and buffalo tallow. Dot, after a winter as the squaws' flunky, asserted his male rights and thereafter spent his time taming horses. He was taken on raids against other tribes and showed signs of becoming a fine warrior. After two years, the children's father ransomed them and a joyful reunion occurred. Both Dot and Bianca spoke with sympathy, however, of many Indian customs and of kind treatment during captivity.
Wise County Historical Markers
Dot and Bianca were my grandmother Babb’s first cousins. However, I never heard her speak of them and only found out about them many years after she died. One of my aunts found a fictional story based on this account and made a copy that she sent to my mother. The author took considerable liberties with the story but it is still obvious that it is the same event.
Several accounts of this adventure have been published as fact, no two agreeing on all details. Most accounts agree that it occurred in 1865 in Texas.
One story states that Dot was eight years old when he was taken captive and another that he was thirteen. The 1860 US Census for Wise County, Texas, states that Theodore A. Babb was eight years old, born in Wisconsin. Bianca L. (or I.) Babb was three years old, born in Kansas Territory. This would make Dot about fourteen at the time of his capture (the 1870 Census gives his age as eighteen). Family legend says that when the Babb family came to the Red River, on their way to Texas, it was in flood and they had to wait several days for the water to subside. Bianca was born during this wait. Bianca’s nickname appears to have been Banc or Bank; one account states that her name was Casibianca and another that it was Banquela. I have found nothing to substantiate either. She always is listed on the Census as Bianca as well as in any articles that talk about her later life.
Most authors say that the baby was found covered with blood but otherwise completely unharmed. However one author states that the baby was torn violently from her mother’s arms and killed. The 1870 US Census shows Margary Babb, five years old, living with her father, two brothers and a sister in Wise County, Texas. It would seem that the rumor about her death has been greatly exaggerated.
Another inconsistency concerns the woman said to have been living with the family at the time of the incident. In some accounts she is called Mrs. Luster; in others she is called Mrs. Roberts.
The accounts also disagree on the length of time that Dot and Bianca spent with the Indians. Some say one year, most say two years and one says Dot spent most of his formative years (whatever that means) with the Indians. Dot seems to indicate about two years.
BY -James L. McConaughy