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W. E. S. Dickerson

COMANCHE INDIAN RESERVATION. The Texas legislature passed a law on February 6, 1854, that established the Brazos Indian Reservation for the Caddos, Wacos, and other Indians, and also provided four square leagues of land, or 18,576 acres, for a Comanche reserve to be located at Camp Cooper on the Clear Fork of the Brazos in Throckmorton County. In compliance with the treaty of August 30, 1855, about 450 of the Penateka or southern Comanches settled on the reservation and were to be taught farming. The location had good hunting and water and had been selected by Maj. Robert S. Neighbors. The principal Indian village, established in a bend of the river, consisted of several hundred Indians and their chief, Ketumse, who lived there with his wives and many children.

Until the arrival of troops of the Second United States Cavalry, the Comanches were restive and difficult to control, but thereafter they acceded to the suggestion of Indian agent John R. Baylor to begin their farming effort. Baylor sent a farmer and laborer to assist them, and the first crops were planted-corn, melons, beans, peas, pumpkins, and other vegetables. The Comanches cultivated the crops remarkably well, but extreme drought kept them from producing all they needed.

A number of other factors prevented the Comanche reservation from being as successful as the one on the Brazos: the Kickapoos and northern Comanche bands raided the settlements, and the reservation Indians received the blame; the Penateka band itself was divided, Chief Sanaco leading away from the reservation a larger group than that which remained under Chief Ketumse; the reservation was too near the old Comanche trails to Mexico and to the west, and loiterers and troublemakers intruded from those trails; the reservation Indians left the reservation on hunting expeditions or to join marauding bands; unprincipled traders sold whiskey to the Comanches; the Indians were inadequately protected by federal troops, largely infantry untrained in Indian warfare; state troops were slow to intervene when federal aid was insufficient; and white settlers were hostile to the Indians.

On March 29, 1858, therefore, Major Neighbors recommended the abandonment of the Comanche reservation (as well as the Brazos reservation) and removal of the Indians to Indian Territory. Orders for their complete removal were issued on June 11, 1859. The two groups were consolidated at the Red River, and on September 1 Neighbors delivered them to agency officials in Indian Territory.

George D. Harmon, "The United States Indian Policy in Texas, 1845–1860," Mississippi Valley Historical Review 17 (1930). Lena Clara Koch, "The Federal Indian Policy in Texas, 1845–1860," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 28 (January, April 1925). Kenneth F. Neighbours, Indian Exodus: Texas Indian Affairs, 1835–1859 (San Antonio: Nortex, 1973). Virginia Pink Noël, The United States Indian Reservations in Texas, 1854–1859 (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1924).

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, W. E. S. Dickerson, "COMANCHE INDIAN RESERVATION," accessed May 25, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/bpc10.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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