Robert Neighbors assassinated at Fort Belknap
On this day in 1859, Robert Simpson Neighbors, Indian agent, was shot and killed by Edward Cornett at Fort Belknap. Neighbors was first appointed as an Indian agent in 1845. As agent for the Lipan Apaches and Tonkawas, he instituted the field system of Indian control. That is, instead of remaining at the agency headquarters and waiting for the Indians to pay him a visit, as was the common practice, Neighbors dealt with them directly in their home territory. Later, when he was overseeing Comanches, he continued this practice, with the result that he spent much time far beyond the frontier and exercised greater influence over the Indians in Texas than any other white man of his generation. In 1853 he was made supervising agent for the Texas Indians. As a member of the Fourth Texas Legislature he opened the way for Indian reservations. After receiving numerous death threats because of his attempts to protect Texas Indians, he was finally assassinated in 1859.