10 episodes

Helping Companies Survive and Thrive

The Hidden History of Texas Hank Wilson

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Helping Companies Survive and Thrive

    Episode 40 – The Cherokee – the “Principal People” Conclusion

    Episode 40 – The Cherokee – the “Principal People” Conclusion

    Episode 40 - The Cherokee - the "Principal People" Conclusion

    Welcome to Episode 40 of the Hidden History of Texas, this episode concludes my discussion of the Cherokee. Before I get started, just a quick reminder that I have 3 audiobooks based on this series. You can find information about them at my  website https://arctx.org. On the menu, under Digital Products -> Audiobooks. Check them out, thanks,

    Now back to the Cherokee. Ever since Europeans had landed on the continent, the Cherokee had done their best to coexist. Unfortunately, their desire to live in peace on their ancestral lands conflicted with the new settlers desire to own that same land. As a result, they were forced off their land and as I mentioned in the last episode they arrived in what is now East Texas where they lived in relative peace for a few years. They did their best to maintain neutrality when conflict started between the Anglo Texans and the Mexican Government.

    After Texas achieved independence in 1836, Texas Republic President Sam Houston was a strong advocate for peace with all Texas tribes. He spent many hours working to keep the Cherokees as allies as he tried to negotiate treaties with the Apache, Comanche, and the Kiowa. This even included the Cherokees agreeing in 1836 to send a company of 25 rangers to help patrol the land west of their settlements. In 1837 Cherokee leader Duwali agreed to be the republic's emissary to the Comanches. However, in 1838 relations began to fall apart after a raid on settlers in East Texas was blamed on a combined Cherokee and Mexican force. As he was getting ready to leave office, Houston once again tried to keep the peace between Texans and the Cherokees. He established a boundary that could have served as a boundary separating the groups. This line upset the Anglos who wanted the land and who believed the Cherokees were actually allies of the Mexicans.

    Mirabeau B. Lamar who took Houston’s place as Republic President was an ardent foe of the Cherokees and wanted them completely out of Texas. He initiated his campaign of elimination by sending troops to the Neches Saline (a small community in East Texas). When Chief Duwali had his people block the Texans and in response Lamar told the chief that the Cherokee would be relocated beyond the red river. His words to the chief were, "peaceably if they would; forcibly if they must."

    Lamar then put together a commission who were told they could compensate the Cherokees if they left their land.  The Cherokees said no, and the result was what is known as the Cherokee War. The war, although it was really more of a pitched battle took place in the summer of 1839. That was when Chief Duwali led several hundred of his warriors in a fight that took place near present day Tyler Texas. The result was a disaster for the Cherokee as more than a 100 warriors including the chief were killed. The Texans then drove the remaining Cherokees across the Red River into what was then labeled Indian Territory. Not all Cherokee were exiled to the territory, some stayed and lived as fugitives in Texas and still others moved into Mexico. There were some Cherokee who conducted raids and fought for their lands, but they had little to no success.

    In 1841 Sam Houston was elected to another term as president and he instituted a policy that he thought would help end future hostilities between the tribes and the settlers. This policy gave two  treaties with the Cherokees who remained in Texas in 1843 and 1844.

    After the Cherokees who had been moved north of the Red River they were able to reunite with the much larger group of Cherokee who had been settled in the northeastern corner of the territory. In 1846, the Cherokee signed an agreement with the U.S. that specified that all the Cherokee,

    • 7 min
    Episode 39 – The Cherokee – The  “Principal People” – Part 1

    Episode 39 – The Cherokee – The  “Principal People” – Part 1

    Welcome to the Hidden History of Texas. this is Episode 39 – The Cherokee – The  "Principal People”

    Forced out of their ancestral homes in what is now the American Southeast by pressure from Anglo Europeans, the Cherokee, or as they call themselves the Ani-Yunwiya, or the principal people, came  to settle in what is now East Texas.

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    Their ancestral lands included a large percentage of the southern Appalachian highlands, which included segments  of Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. They were an agricultural people and the similarities between their Iroquoian language and tribal  migration legends tend to indicate that the tribe originated further to the north of their traditional settled homeland.

    It was approximately 1540 when Europeans first encountered the Cherokees, that was when Hernando De Soto’s party traveled through their lands. After that 1st and brief encounter it would be more than a hundred years before they had any additional significant interactions with Europeans. It was in the 1670s that prolonged contact between the Cherokees’ and the Europeans took place. The Cherokees  quickly adapted many of the basic and fundamental material elements of European culture to their own society. This tendency in turn led the Anglo Europeans  to call them, the "Five Civilized Tribes."

    In response to their, what was a successful attempt to adapt to their Anglo-European neighbors, they established a constitutional government with a senate, a house of representatives, and an elected chief. In 1821, Sequoyah, AKA George Gist or George Guess, took the tribe’s spoken words and created a written language. The Cherokee placed a high value on education and in many instances-maintained schools for their children.

    While it is true that the Cherokees did derive some advantages from interaction with Europeans, those advantages were far outweighed by the negative effects of that contact. Due to the European desire for territory and empire building, the Cherokee were often decimated by wars, epidemics due to the new diseases introduced by the Europeans, and food shortages. Put together these all caused the population to decline, the area of their territory reduced, and a general weakening of their  group identity.

    In an attempt to maintain their culture, between the years 1790 and 1820, many Cherokees voluntarily migrated west of the Mississippi River. These peoples selttled in what is now Missouri, Arkansas, and Texas. Eventually those who had tried to remain on their ancestral land in the Southeast were ultimately forced to move west due to the implementation of  the 1830 United States Indian removal policy. Between the years 1838 and 1839, 16,000 to 18,000 Cherokees were forcibly marched to their new home in northeastern Indian Territory. An estimated 4,000 individuals died on the march, which we now know as the Trail of Tears.

    It was in 1807  when Cherokees were first reported in Texas, that took place when a small band, probably from one of the Arkansas settlements, established a village on the banks of the Red River. In the summer of that year, a delegation of Cherokees, Pascagoulas, Chickasaws, and Shawnees sought permission from Spanish officials in Nacogdoches, to permanently settle members of their tribes in that province. Hoping to use the group as a buffer against further expansion by the Americans, the Spanish authorities approved the request.

    For the next few years a small number of Cherokees drifted in and out of Texas. Between 1812 and 1819, the population of Arkansas began to increase and once again the Cherokees were forced to migrate and more of them migrated into Southern Arkansas. But by 1820,

    • 11 min
    Episode 38 – The Kiowa – Nomadic Warriors of the Plains

    Episode 38 – The Kiowa – Nomadic Warriors of the Plains

    Episode 38 – The Kiowa  – Nomadic Warriors of the Plains

    (Not a Complete Transcript) According to their traditions, the Kiowas originally lived at the mouths of the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers in present day Montana. As it is now, then it could have very cold winters and the ground covered by a deep layer of snow. As hunter-gatherers, they primarily used a bow and arrow along with their only domesticated animal the dog, which pulled their travois after being attached to it with poles that hooked to a harness.

    Close neighbors of the Kiowa were the Flatheads and several Athabascan tribes lived to their north and west.  Now according to legend the people had a quarrel over the udders of a doe which were the spoils of a hunt. The group that won the delicacy headed to the southeast and went to live with friends, the Crows. Those left behind were never heard of again.

    The Crows essentially helped change the Kiowas and made them much more mobile. They taught the Kiowas ride horses and hunt buffalo which was something they had never before been able to do. There was some intermarriage with the Crows but they had much more in common with and joined together with the Kiowa Apaches. The first time they were written about was in 1682 by René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, who had knowledge of them from one of a Pani slave boy at Fort St. Louis. That boy called them Manrhouts and Gattacha. When they were in the Yellowstone region in1804, Lewis and Clark heard of them but did not meet them.

    Moving out of the north and their previous mountainous home, the Kiowas had taken the first steps towards becoming a real part of  the Plains Culture by learning to ride horses. This enabled them to hunt buffalo on horseback, and it became their main foodstuff. Of course, with the horse came mobility and they moved steadily towards the south.  This mobility also turned the Kiowa into a completely nomadic lifestyle which consisted of predation, pillage, and warfare. They excelled at it until they became one of the most feared and hated of the Plains tribes. Part of their success was how they constantly had the largest number of horses of all the Plains Indians.

    Around the year of 1790 the Kiowas made a lasting peace with the Comanches and together they traded horses and captives east via the Wichitas and Taovayas to the French and English. In exchange they  received guns, ammunition, and metal for points and vermilion for face paint. In 1840, with the encouragement of trader and negotiator William Bent, the Kiowas, Kiowa Apaches, and Comanches joined with the Southern Cheyenne and Arapahos at Bent's Fort on the Arkansas River and agreed to an inter-tribal peace that was never broken. Together the five tribes in union created a formidable barrier that was able to prove an obstacle to those who wished to cross the southern plains. Finally, the U.S. sent the First Dragoons to protect wagon trains on the Santa Fe Trail. In later years, both the Second Dragoons and the Mounted Rifles made an effort to defend and protect the southwest and Texas from Indian raids. In the 1850s the Second United States Cavalry sought to reduce the number of attacks on the frontier settlements but like those before they had little success.

    For more articles on History - read my column on Medium.

    • 13 min
    Episode 37 – The Apache Warriors of the Southwest

    Episode 37 – The Apache Warriors of the Southwest

    Episode 37 – The Apache warriors of the Southwest

    Who were the Apaches? As I’ve talked about in the past, if your idea of the indigenous peoples of the Americas is based upon movies and television then it’s most likely not accurate. If you do a quick google search on movies about the Apaches, you’ll find at least 24. Shoot, there have been numerous white actors who have portrayed Apaches such as Burt Lancaster in the movie “Apache”. The reality is often quite different than what has been portrayed, because honestly Hollywood didn’t really care to get it right. This was especially true in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. So who really were the Apache?

    They are part of the southern branch of the Athabascan group. That group encompasses a very large family of people, and  whose languages are found in Alaska, western Canada, and the American Southwest. Several branches lived in a region that went from the Arkansas River to Northern Mexico and from Central Texas to Central Arizona. Mostly they were divided into Eastern and Western, with the Rio Grande serving as the dividing line.

    There are two groups, the Lipans and the Mezcaleros, that lived partially or entirely within the borders of Texas. The Apaches were known by multiple names. As a nomadic people, it is likely that several names were actually identifying the same band.  Some of the Apache bands in Texas were Limita, Conejero, and Trementina. However, only the Lipan and Mescalero names survived into the nineteenth century.  Most likely the name we know and use, Apache, came from the Zuñi word apachu, meaning "enemy," or possibly Awa'tehe, the Ute name for Apaches. When they referred to themselves the words they used are Inde or Diné, which simply means  "the people."

    Apaches migrated into the Southwest sometime between A.D. 1000 and 1400. Separated from their northern bands, they created  a home for themselves in the Southwest. They seemed to have migrated south along the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains, then spread west into what is now the states of New Mexico and Arizona. Once the Comanche began moving into the same area, they had to relocate further south and west.

    Both the Lipan and Mescalero Apaches social unit was the extended family. Several families would usually stay together, and the leader was their most prominent member. This individual acted as chief advisor and director of group affairs.  Several groups would live close to one another, so they were able to come together for both defense, offense, and the occasional social or ceremonial occasions.

    The Lipan Apache apparently had no formal organization larger than the band. While being flexible for the immediate members, this type of  loose organization did cause issues when it came to establishing relations with the Spanish, and later with the Mexicans, Texans, and Americans. For example while one band might make peace with its enemies, another was free to remain at war with the same group. The band leaders were males; however, females held a central place within the tribe. Once married, the groom would move in and live with his wife's family. He was also required to hunt and work with his in-laws. If the wife should die, the husband was required to stay with her family,  and most of the time they would furnish him with a new bride. In contrast, the wife had little to no  obligation to the husband's family. However, if he died, his family could provide a cousin or brother for her to marry. Men were allowed to marry more than one woman, but few besides wealthy or prestigious leaders did so. Now since they were required to live with their wife’s family, that meant that any other wife would have to be either a sister or cousin of their current wife.

    As a nomadic people who subsisted almost entirely on th...

    • 17 min
    Episode 36 The Comanche strong warriors with fine horses

    Episode 36 The Comanche strong warriors with fine horses

    Episode 36 – The Comanche - strong warriors with fine horses.

    Welcome to the Hidden History of Texas. I’m your host Hank Wilson and this is Episode 36 – The Comanche - strong warriors with fine horses

    Before I get started, I want to introduce y’all to a set of books called ‘the Music is Murder saga’. These novels by Heather O’Brien, follow the lives and loves of the O’Conners, the Grants, and the Lockhardts. Something—or someone—ties these three families together and you’ll be caught up in the drama of their situations. The books are set in the world of Rock ‘n’ roll and you’ll be hooked from page one. The 1st book you’ll want is Lockhardt Sound, and as someone who has worked in the music industry, let me tell you, the story could and does happen. Check out her site, booksbyheather.com, you won’t be disappointed. As her site says, long live rock ‘n’ roll.

    Last time I spoke about the 3 main groups of peoples, the Caddo, Karankawa, and the Jumano who were living in Texas when the Spanish first came into Texas. They did their best to adjust and live with the Spanish but unfortunately they were not prepared to deal with the diseases and frankly the violence they were often met with. There are 3 other groups who more people are probably familiar with due to tv and the movies. They are the Comanche, the Kiowa, and the Apache. All three played a significant role in the early history of Texas and all 3 were involved in conflict with the newcomers, both Spanish and Anglo. Now a word, a quick word about the use of the word tribe when it comes to talking about these groups of peoples. We often substitute  “tribe” for “people,” but tribe is probably one of the most inexact-nonspecific terms that we can use. I try to avoid it because not all of the natives of Texas spoke the same language, had the same customs, shared the same clans, or saw themselves as separate and distinct from their neighbors. The Indians of Texas often remade themselves and did so with people who had different languages, customs, and families. So I will do my best to refer to the people by the name they currently use, occasionally using the word tribes or clans or peoples and if anyone knows of more appropriate words, please let me know.

    In this episode I want to talk about the Comanche. Most folks are familiar with them due to shows such as Lonesome Dove, Last of the Comanche, Comanche Station, the Comancheros, and the Searchers. Historically accurate? Yeah, not so much, except for their depiction of the Comanche as being master horsemen. They were indeed known to many as some of the finest horsemen ever seen.  But who were they?

    Initially, the Comanche lived in the Northern Great Plains and were a branch of the Northern Shoshones. They, like most of the clans at that time travelled by foot and were hunters and gatherers. It appears that sometime in the late 17th century, (i.e. mid to late 1600s) they acquired horses. Once that happened, the game changed and so did their lives.

    But what caused the Comanche to migrate from their ancestral homelands? As I mentioned, the Comanche acquired horses and once they achieved mobility they were able to leave their traditional mountain home range and then moved onto the plains of eastern Colorado and western Kansas. As with the majority of hunter-gatherer peoples they followed the food. They also learned that if they travelled south they would be able to gather the wild mustangs who roamed the southwest. When this was coupled with a warm climate and buffalo moving made even more sense.

    Once they began their move, they also began to trade with the Wichita who lived around the Red River. This gave them access to French goods, including firearms. Even though they had arms and were excellent horsemen,

    • 12 min
    Episode 35 The Republic and Relations With The Tribes

    Episode 35 The Republic and Relations With The Tribes

    Episode 35 – The Republic and Relations With The Tribes

    Before I get started, I want to introduce y’all to a set of books called ‘the Music is Murder saga’. These novels by Heather O’Brien, follow the lives and loves of the O’Conners, the Grants, and the Lockhardts. Something—or someone—ties these three families together and you’ll be caught up in the drama of their situations. The books are set in the world of Rock ‘n’ roll and you’ll be hooked from page one. The 1st book you’ll want is Lockhardt Sound, and as someone who has worked in the music industry, let me tell you, the story could and does happen. Check out her site, booksbyheather.com, you won’t be disappointed. As her site says, long live rock ‘n’ roll.

    When I wrapped up the last episode, I had begun talking about how Republic President Sam Houston had wanted to establish better relationships with the Indians of Texas. Today I’m going to dive deeper into that whole concept and try to get a better understanding of the relationship between the Anglos and the Native tribes. It was very messy, and it became very bloody. Again, I have to bring up the thought, that based on the morality of today, what happened back then is today considered genocide. I’m not going to try and justify what took place. It doesn’t do any good to get angry over the actions that took place, it might serve as a warning of what can, and in many places, still does happen to others.

    Before I go into the relationships in 1836 and beyond, I want to go back over some of the history of the native people prior to this time. Remember, how in early episodes I talked about how when the Spanish arrived in Texas there were multiple groups or tribes of indigenous people in all parts of Texas. Now I’m not going to go back 10,000 years ago and talk about the Clovis people, there are several excellent books out there that discuss the people and how they evolved, and it does make for fascinating reading. I want to start with those who were here when the first Spanish explorers bumped into Texas.

    November 6, 1528, is the day when the lives of the native peoples of what is now Texas began to change, and not for the better. That was the day when the Karankawas met Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca and the remnants of his crew on Galveston Island. At that time, the Karankawas were one of many tribes or bands of native people who lived in Texas. The Karankawas were a hunter gatherer group who lived mostly on the Texas coast. They were hunter-gatherers, and they necessarily lived a somewhat nomadic life because they had to travel to find food. There were approximately 5 bands that are historically associated with them, one such group were the Cocos who lived the furthest east between Galveston Island and the Colorado River. They were the group that de Vaca’s band of survivors lived with. And that proved to be a disaster for the Cocos, because Cholera hit and killed nearly half of their band. These groups were the first to encounter the Spanish and the first to suffer from those encounters. The native people’s simply were not equipped to handle the germs and diseases that the Europeans brought with them.

    Another group that suffered from their encounter with the Europeans where the Caddos.  Around 1500, the Caddos had already built a complex political system that consisted of alliances between different bands and tribes. In addition to their lands in Texas, they  were also located in the Great Plains, Eastern Woodlands, and present-day Arizona and New Mexico. They had built extensive trading networks where they exported salt, pottery, and wood for making bows, and they imported seashells, copper, and flint.

    It was natural that once the French and Spanish merchants arrived in Texas and the surrounding areas,

    • 10 min

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