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WHITE HORSE

WHITE HORSE (?–1892). White Horse (Tsen-tainte), a Kiowa chief during the second half of the nineteenth century, was noted among the tribe for his daring. Even in his teens he showed remarkable adeptness as an apprentice warrior. Due to his unusual strength, he became an outstanding horseman, able to snatch up a child while at a gallop. In the summer of 1867 White Horse joined a large party of Comanches and Kiowas on a revenge raid against the Navajos, who were then living in exile on the reservation near Fort Sumner, New Mexico. On the Canadian River near the Texas-New Mexico line, White Horse and some of his followers killed and scalped a Navajo warrior. Shortly afterward, the war party attacked a Navajo village on the Pecos River. During the initial charge, White Horse seized a young Navajo boy by the hair and set the boy on his mount behind him. While Navajo warriors pursued the retreating invaders, killing three of them, White Horse escaped with his captive back to the Kiowa camp and subsequently adopted the boy as his son.

Although White Horse participated in the council at Medicine Lodge Creek in Kansas, he soon cast his lot with the war faction and gained considerable notoriety during the early 1870s for his raids on Texas settlements. He and his followers made a raid on Fort Sill on June 12, 1870, following the annual tribal Sun Dance, and stole seventy-three mules from the post quartermaster. On June 22 they attacked a party of cattle drovers on the trail a few miles south of the fort. White Horse killed and scalped two men before a detachment of troops came to the Texans' relief. Whites considered him the "most dangerous man" among the Kiowas. Shortly thereafter, White Horse led his band into Texas, killed Gottlieb Koozer, and took his wife and six children captive. Subsequently, on August 7 the Quaker Indian agent, Lawrie Tatum, reprimanded the guilty party and withheld the weekly rations until all captives and stolen stock were returned; the Koozers were ransomed for $100 each, and raids in the vicinity of Fort Sill were curtailed, but White Horse defiantly continued his attacks south of the Red River. On September 30 he ambushed a stagecoach en route to Fort Concho near Mount Margaret (also known as the Mound) and killed Martin Wurmser, a trooper who was serving as an escort. White Horse also participated in the Warren Wagontrain Raid on May 18, 1871, and helped carry the fatally wounded brave, Hau-tau, to safety during the fight; afterward he escaped arrest. While the imprisonment of chiefs Satanta and Big Tree momentarily curbed his raiding, he and Big Bow engineered another attack on a wagon train in what is now Crockett County on April 20, 1872, which resulted in the death of seventeen Mexican teamsters. On the way back from that foray, White Horse was wounded in the arm during a skirmish with Capt. N. Cooney's Ninth Cavalry troops. On May 19 White Horse's younger brother, Kim-pai-te, was killed in a fight with L. H. Luckett's surveying crew near Round Timbers, twenty-five miles south of Fort Belknap. That event prompted White Horse to organize a revenge raid, and on June 9, with the help of Big Bow, he attacked the homestead of Abel Lee on the Clear Fork of the Brazos, about sixteen miles from Fort Griffin. Lee and his fourteen-year-old daughter Frances were fatally shot, his wife scalped and murdered, and the remaining three children carried into captivity. Soldiers trailed them, but the Kiowas escaped back to the reservation and held a scalp dance that went on for several nights. The Lee children remained captives for a few months before they were ransomed.

After the 1872 councils and the release of Satanta and Big Tree from prison on parole, White Horse was peaceful for a time but remained with the war faction. He accompanied the intertribal war party to the second battle of Adobe Walls in June 1874 and was encamped in Palo Duro Canyon when Col. Ranald S. Mackenzie's troops attacked on September 27. As a result, White Horse and his followers surrendered at Fort Sill on April 19, 1875. Because of the atrocities he had committed, he was among those singled out by Kicking Bird for incarceration at St. Augustine, Florida. In 1878 he was returned with the others to the reservation near Fort Sill, where he spent his remaining years peacefully with his family. White Horse died of a stomach ailment in 1892 and was buried on the reservation.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

James L. Haley, The Buffalo War: The History of the Red River Indian Uprising of 1874 (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1976). Mildred P. Mayhall, The Kiowas (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1962; 2d ed. 1971). James Mooney, Calendar History of the Kiowa Indians (Washington: GPO, 1898; rpt., Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1979). Wilbur Sturtevant Nye, Bad Medicine and Good: Tales of the Kiowas (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1962). Wilbur Sturtevant Nye, Carbine and Lance: The Story of Old Fort Sill (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1937; 3d ed. 1969). Wilbur Sturtevant Nye, Plains Indian Raiders (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1968).

H. Allen Anderson

Citation

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

H. Allen Anderson, "WHITE HORSE," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fwh81), accessed October 01, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.