Thomas F. Schilz

PLÁCIDO (?–1862). Plácido, or Ha-shu-ka-na ("Can't Kill Him"), a major chief of the Tonkawa Indians during much of the first half of the nineteenth century, was the son of a Tonkawa warrior and a Comanche woman. He fathered two sons, Charlie and Little Spots, by a woman who, like his mother, was a Comanche captive. He often served as a scout for John Salmon Ford and Sam Houston and assisted them in fighting the Comanches. Plácido rose to prominence among the Tonkawas during the Long expedition into Texas in 1819. Warriors from several tribes joined in James Long 's venture and gained horses and scalps in battles with the Spanish army. After the death of Carita, a prominent Tonkawa leader, in 1823, Plácido was acknowledged as head chief of his people. He befriended Stephen F. Austin and helped defend the Texas frontier against hostile Comanches. After the Texas Revolution Plácido enlisted as a scout with the Texas Rangers. During the Republic of Texas he campaigned with the rangers against the Comanches and Kiowas. In 1840 he and his warriors joined Gen. Felix Huston's army after the Comanche attack on Linnville (see LINNVILLE RAID OF 1840) and participated in the battle of Plum Creek. In this battle Huston's militia and Indian allies confronted an enormous Comanche war party led by Buffalo Hump. The fight was a victory for the Texans, and Plácido's warriors took a great many Comanche scalps and hundreds of horses.

After the annexation of Texas by the United States in 1846 large numbers of white settlers entered Texas, invading Tonkawa lands and killing game. Plácido was unable to keep his warriors from retaliating. In 1848, for example, Maj. Ripley A. Arnold accused the Tonkawas of killing a settler near Fredericksburg. Two Tonkawa warriors admitted to having shot the white man but fled before they could be apprehended. Fearing that Arnold would hang him in his men's place, Plácido sought sanctuary from several tribes but was refused. When he returned, the United States decided against pressing charges against anyone.

Plácido accepted a reservation on the Brazos River in 1854 and continued serving with the rangers and the United States Army during the campaigns against the Comanches in the 1850s. In 1859, despite his protests, the Tonkawas were removed to a reservation near Fort Cobb in Indian Territory. Their new neighbors included Comanches, Kiowas, and other tribes unfriendly to them. These Indians refused to accept the Confederate Indian agents that arrived at Fort Cobb in 1861 and resented the Tonkawas' continued service as scouts with the Confederacy. On October 24, 1862, pro-Union Shawnees and Kickapoos, supported by Kiowas and Comanches, destroyed the Indian agency near Fort Cobb and attacked Plácido's village. Of 300 Tonkawas, 137, including Plácido, were killed in the attack. The survivors, led by Plácido's son Charlie, fled to Fort Belknap, Texas, and remained there until the end of the Civil War.


Raymond Estep, ed., "Lieutenant William E. Burnett: Notes on the Removal of Indians of Texas to Indian Territory," Chronicles of Oklahoma 38 (Autumn 1960). John S. Ford, Rip Ford's Texas, ed. Stephen B. Oates (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1963). John Holland Jenkins, Recollections of Early Texas, ed. John H. Jenkins III (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1958; rpt. 1973). Wilbur Sturtevant Nye, Carbine and Lance: The Story of Old Fort Sill (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1937; 3d ed. 1969). J. W. Wilbarger, Indian Depredations in Texas (Austin: Hutchings, 1889; rpt., Austin: State House, 1985).

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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, Thomas F. Schilz, "PLACIDO," accessed July 21, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on May 4, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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