I Fought a Good Fight
A History of the Lipan Apaches
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of North Texas Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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List of illustrations and maps
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For those of us who love books and write them, librarians are the stew-ards of great treasure, as important as bankers. I visited many libraries and archives for this project, and certain institutions stand out for their good will and friendly professionalism: the University of New Mexico’s Center for Southwest Research, the New Mexico State Archives, David ...
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Lipan Apaches often hear from historians that their people are extinct. After one such lecture, a man raised his hand and said, Lipans are some of the least known, least understood of the South-west’s Apache bands. For a small group, they had an outsized impact through three centuries and were often described as the second most powerful tribe in Texas, after the Comanches. Lipans were as clever, ...
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...1706 Ulibarri expedition meets Apaches across mountains and plains;1731 Villa of San Fernando de Béxar, Spain’s first chartered settlement1732 First reference to Lipans as Ypandes, first mention of Natagés as allies1739 Cabellos Colorados and eleven other Lipans, first group sent to Mexico 1743 Comanches first appear in San Antonio; Ypandes move farther south...
1. Creation Story
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Lipans were Apache at heart, but as a result of their long history of befriending or absorbing other groups, their cultural table was a smorgasbord of adopted habits and traditions. Unlike other Apaches, they farmed, ate fish and bear, counted coup, and used sign language. They spoke good Spanish. They lived in artfully painted tipis on the skillfully made buckskin clothing. Many an observer found the Lipans ...
2. Early Encounters
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In the endless, undulating spring grasses of the plains, the People could see the approach of friends and enemies. These strangers were even more obvious, sitting astride great beasts, the sun reflect-ing off armor and weapons. The People had heard about these men who made themselves ugly with facial hair. Any self-respecting war-rior would use flints to tweeze all the hair from his face, including ...
3. Friends and Enemies
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Acho Apache warriors spent weeks making arrows, choosing the hardest wood, straightening the shaft with their teeth, attaching sharp points of stone or bone. When it was time, they left their camp on the eastern flank of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and, carrying bows nearly as tall as themselves, along with clubs and lances, passed silently along slopes and canyons to join their Taos Pueblo brothers. In ...
4. The Confederacy
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After the Pueblo people could see only the backs of the fleeing Spanish, after they mourned their dead, after they celebrated their victories, they had the Spanish flocks and herds at their disposal: thousands of animals. They exchanged horses with Plains tribes for buffalo robes and dried meat.2 Passed through trade networks, mostly to the east, horses would transform plains society. Apaches now had ...
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Chief Carlana heard from other Apaches that the Spanish governor was in their land, but he didn’t believe it. No governor had ever come to their country. He rode to the top of a tall hill and looked out. In the distance he made out a halo of dust. Carlana hurried to find the Spaniards so he might ride with them against the invaders. Already the Comanches had displaced Carlana’s people and attacked the Jicarillas ...
6. Early Texas
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The People must have been incensed as they spied Spaniards clearing land to build a fort and mission in the middle of coun-try they’d held for forty years. In 1718 the presidio at San Antonio de Béxar rose on the San Antonio River, and the Franciscans founded the Mission San Antonio de Valero for the Coahuiltecan tribes. They would add four more missions by 1731.1 The presidio’s last stone was ...
7. The Trials of Cabellos Colorados
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One name began to surface. From the Mission of San Francisco de la Espada, raiders took forty horses and left behind a tired horse—the one Alferez Juan Galvan had given the Ypande (Lipan) Chief Cabellos Colorados. The latter was said to have an agreement with the great chief of all the Apaches to steal the horses of presidios at Béxar, Rio Grande, Coahuila, and Sacramento so that his confederates ...
8. Trail of the Dead
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Chief Pascual heard from Indian people at La Junta that a Spanish captain wanted to speak to him, that the Spanish would give him his own pueblo and mission, but he didn’t know this captain, and he had other things on his mind. He was still angry about what happened at the water hole, Acatita la Grande. Tobosos killed four of his warriors, and he couldn’t find a way to avenge their deaths, probably because ...
9. The Saga of San Sabá
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When the viceroy finally agreed to a mission for the Apaches, in August 1756, it was fifteen years after their first request, thir-teen years after Father Santa Ana’s first request, eleven years after the Ypande chief ’s request, and seven years after the peace agreement at San Antonio. The Apaches had kept their peace in San Antonio and traded with the citizens,2 adjusted their territories, made new allies, ...
10. Missions Impossible
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Apaches admired a forceful speaker, and this captain spoke boldly to them: The Comanches have taken your lands and your buf-falo. Five times I have provided escorts for your hunting parties. You would be better off to live in a village at the mission. The friendly cap-tain entertained them well and, from his own pocket, bought gifts of tobacco, corn, piloncillos (bricks of brown sugar), bridles, spurs, iron ...
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Coahuila, the Lipans’ new refuge, sprawled from the Medina River to the Big Bend of the Rio Grande to the Bolsón de Mapimí. Settlements were isolated, and the presidios undermanned. In spring 1770, three thousand Apaches camped across the Rio Grande from the presidio of San Juan Bautista, and Governor Jacobo Ugarte y Loyola had just 115 soldiers at the presidios of Monclova, San Juan Bautista ...
12. Labors and Designs
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In their villages along the Rio Grande, the People grew corn and gathered seeds and grains. It was difficult to hunt buffalo, but they had all the wild cattle and horses they could take. The Spanish cap-tains prodded them to move across the river, but it wasn’t safe. The Comanches, as numerous as thistles, still threatened, and the treacher-ous governor, Ripperdá, favored their enemies. More relatives joined ...
13. New Allies
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After losing all their chiefs in the epidemic, Tonkawas embraced El Mocho, a Lipan captive they raised from childhood. On November 24, 1780, Mocho slipped into Cabello’s house at 6 a.m. and explained that he would have attacked the Lipans and stolen their horses, but Comanches and others hindered his movements, and he heard that smallpox was everywhere. Cabello snapped that the Lipans ...
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The Lipiyans, a fierce Apache group, were still holding out on the plains near the Colorado River, despite the Comanche menace. Their leader was Picax-andé Ins-tinsle, which meant “Strong Arm.” The Spanish called him Brazo de Fierro. The Lipiyans were well equipped with guns, arrows, bows, lances, shields and leather armor, Ugalde wrote. “They are brave warriors, as they have shown in the many bat-...
15. Spy vs. Spy
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I had treated him with the greatest sincerity and generosity of which I was capable . . . To this he responds by becoming the worst enemy of the Provinces and seducing the Lipanes to declare themselves a The Mescaleros, who had lived at peace near Santa Rosa and the Presidio del Norte, abruptly broke their peace on April 8, 1788. Picax-andé distanced himself, literally. He and the Lipans were hungry ...
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Nava made peace with the Upper Lipans on February 8, 1791, in San Fernando and recognized Chief José Antonio as their prin-cipal leader. Nava’s conditions were that José Antonio would punish wrongdoers and force them to make restitution or turn them over to the Spanish; the Lipans would restore captives; and when they rounded could enter frontier towns to trade as long as they did no damage. And ...
17. War and Peace
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José Antonio asked for peace for his entire nation in January 1793, but the mantle of principal chief had passed to Canoso, Chiquito and Moreno, who were hunting buffalo. They would come in and nego-tiate when they returned. Nava was beginning to understand the diver-sity of Lipanería and found it to be a far more varied group than the other Apaches in his territories. For that reason, he suggested flexible ...
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Comanches claimed to be friends, but still they attacked the People’s relatives—the Sejende, the Cuelcajende, the Natagés and the Túédinendé—to the west. The Comanches declared war impulsively, without first summoning a council to deliberate. They didn’t observe the laws of hospitality. As allies, the Comanches were unworthy. When the two Spaniards came to tell the People that Mex-...
19. Friendship for the Texians
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When the first shot of the Texas Revolution detonated years of friction and resentment in October 1835, some Lipans were already serving as spies and scouts. The mayor of Reynosa reported in November that “some groups of Lipans acting like rebels are going about causing damage to the ranches near the salt source.”2 Many Lipans remained in Coahuila to sit out the conflict; some moved back ...
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Flacco was a favorite among rangers. Son of the Lipan Chief Flacco and husband of Castro’s daughter María, young Flacco proved himself a reliable and fearless scout and spy during the Texas Revo-lution. As early as 1835, he reported from Zacatecas on Santa Anna’s troop strength in battles with his enemies within Mexico. Not yet “He is the pride and the flower of his tribe, and is as fierce and as ...
21. Pathetic Incident
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Castro, said the Texas Sentinel, “is a man of great courage, wonder-ful sagacity, and uncommon physical powers; and is also distin-guished for his fidelity to the Texian.” The Lipans and Tonkawas had so often proven their friendship in campaigns against hostile Indians “that a squad of their spies are considered an indispensable acquisition on all such expeditions.” Newspapers routinely reported Castro’s good deeds, ...
22. Promises, Promises
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The Lipan are a tribe of considerable importance, and may be ranked As Houston nervously stonewalled Old Flacco, General G. W. Ter-rell pledged during the first council at Tehuacana Creek in March 1843 that white people would do justice to Indian people and that “none shall intrude upon them.” Terrell also promised them “a country to live in, in Texas,” and “a great abundance of buffalo and other wild ...
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Three hundred Comanches raided Goliad one night in early 1847 and drove off the horses. Lipans, camped nearby, gave chase along with some settlers. A shortcut brought them ahead of the raiders, and they hid in the tall grass. Lipans fired on the Comanches, who were rid-ing in their direction, then slipped away, took up a new position, and fired again. Like wraiths, they appeared and disappeared with each vol-...
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Men returned from the hunt with their heads down, ashamed. Animals evaporated from the baked prairie along with rain-drops. The People divided into smaller groups and foraged farther away, but they were the hunted as well as the hunters. The white men wouldn’t even let them kill mustangs. Many of the People took ref-uge with their relatives on the Pecos. The river’s strong current, steep ...
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The Americans decided, as the Spanish had before them, that they needed a line of forts. By late 1849 the army had 1,205 soldiers at thirteen posts to watch over 2,000 miles of frontier. Most were new recruits with no knowledge of Texas, and three-fourths were foot sol-diers who were useless against mounted Indian parties. It wasn’t dif-ficult for tribes to monitor their comings and goings. As citizens ...
26. The Last Extremity
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Fed up with their treatment at Fort Inge, Chiquito’s people, along with the Tonkawas, moved to a favorite camping site among the live oak, pecans and white oak lining Las Moras and Pinto Creeks. The sparkling water from Las Moras spring had great power: It was said that whoever bathed there could not deceive. Hunting was good. Buffalo, deer, antelope, and mustangs grazed on the prairies, and patches of ...
27. The Captives
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George Schwander, a newcomer at Camp Wood in 1864, herded sheep past the ruins of the Mission of San Lorenzo, which had sheltered Lipans a century earlier. One fall morning he left home with a flock of sheep. His wife and six-year-old son, Albert, stayed behind with the ewes and lambs. That day five Lipans approached, and Mrs. Schwander told Albert to run and hide. They killed her with arrows, ...
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Lipans and Kickapoos became such a menace that Texans began to suspect Mexican civil authorities were informing them of troop movements and opportunities to steal. Their camps in Mexico were the size of villages, and they continually replenished their large herds of horses and cattle from Texas, selling livestock to Mexicans and Ameri-can fugitives living in Mexico.1 Demands for extradition of certain Indi-...
29. Day of the Screams
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When army regulars finally reoccupied frontier posts, they were often Buffalo Soldiers, black men with white officers of the Infantry, who would prove to be unshakable combatants.2 Apaches understood they faced a new adversary, but they regained the upper hand temporarily when General J. J. Reynolds withdrew troops to contend with the growing threat of the Ku Klux Klan, which was rob-...
30. Prairie Apaches
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The People returned to the Staked Plains. Comanches were set-tled on a reservation, and Apaches could roam freely. White men thought the Llano Estacado was dreary and monotonous, but Apaches knew where water stood in gleaming playas. Buffalo herds were thin, but the short buffalo grass still supported antelope. A thousand Apaches who had never lived on a reservation were in their former home, and ...
31. Between Two Forces
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Historians like a tidy date to mark a rise or fall, and it would be easy to say the Lipan decline began July 1870, when the first Black Seminole scouts began arriving at American forts. Or we could say Mackenzie’s Raid on May 18, 1873, was the beginning. We could name any single major conflict and conclude, as American or Mexican officers often did, that the Lipans would rise no more. Despite loss of ...
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Apaches still weren’t safe at Mescalero. “[T]he organized band of desperados who infest this vicinity” continued their attacks, and soldiers couldn’t apprehend them, agent Godfroy wrote. The reserva-tion, “situated in the most lawless county of the Territory” was “per-fectly defenseless.” Magoosh’s grandson Richard said some white men “would come to the reservation and help themselves . . . to the ...
33. Renegades and Refugees
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On April 24, 1881, Lipans carried out the last Indian raid in Texas. From the cover of a rocky bluff overlooking the Frio, the small party could see for miles. They had come here every moon for twenty years, mostly to steal horses. For days, they monitored John McLau-ren’s place, seven miles above Leakey. Finally, McLauren left, and they saw his wife, children and a teenaged hired hand, Allen Lease, leave the ...
34. Lipan Exodus
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Lipans described their journey from Mexico during interviews with Morris Opler in the 1930s. This is their account: Most of the Lipans still in Mexico were living peacefully near the towns and try-ing to get along. Antonio Apache’s grandfather was a mail carrier. The government couldn’t keep mail carriers on the route between Zaragosa and Presidio del Norte because they would be waylaid and killed, but ...
35. Reservation Life
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Troops from Fort Stanton had little to do except keep the Apaches and the settlers where they belonged, but even this duty could be lively. In April 1885, three horses strayed off the reservation into a wheat field in the Tularosa Valley owned by Andreas Wilson. Shosh, a Lipan, tracked his horses to Wilson’s place and arrived just in time to see Wilson chase the animals from his field and shoot them. “There is great excitement and ...
36. End of an Era
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Agents could be both advocates and tyrants. They pressured chiefs and head men to send their own children to the agency boarding school and to produce other pupils. When enrollment fell short, agents withheld rations and sent the Indian police to snatch shrieking children from the arms of their weeping mothers. Parents resorted to hiding their children or marrying off their young girls; some children faked ...
37. Lipan Diaspora
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The Lipans at White Houses (San Antonio) liked it, but then they went to Many Houses (Zaragosa)2 and made that their country. For a long time Many Houses was their country. Very long ago, before Many Houses, when no one was there, it was their country. Then the people moved this way to the mountains, and they went back and forth between Mescalero and Lipan country. And then they moved to Black ...
38. We, the Apache Tribe
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As schools improved and education became a useful tool in the Apaches’ entry to modern life, students wanted to attend school, and the community at Elk Canyon got its own day school. An educated younger generation, impatient for modern governance, Mescaleros, Lipans and Chiricahuas; its president became the tribe’s leader.2 “[W]e finally got rid of the chiefs, who were getting old and ...
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When the great-granddaughter of Chief Magoosh died on April 28, 2006, her funeral drew hundreds of people and multiple groups of singers for a traditional Lipan ceremony. “We live by these songs. We live for these songs,” said Ted Rodriguez, a fellow Lipan together to harvest wheat and barley. A few years earlier, Rodriguez wanted to introduce a new dance on the reservation as a way to honor ...
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Tséral tuétaha, “red hair”—below the Nueces River (extinct)Tchecä, lived on Rio Grande—“Tchá is ‘otter’ in Lipan”Kól kahä, “prairie”—west of Fort Griffin (Cúel ca hén ndé)Tcó kanä, “pulverizing, rubbing”—west of Fort Griffin, west of Rio Grande, Sha-á, “north”—on the other side of Dapeshte (Arkansas) River, then at ...
Abbreviations used in Notes
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Page Count: 528
Illustrations: 26 b&w illus. 11 maps.
Publication Year: 2013