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Satanta of the Kiowa Nation

Satanta (or White Bear) was born in 1820, the son of red Tipi, a prominent Kiowa and the keeper of the Tai-me, the tribal medicine bundles. The Kiowa nation, numbering less than just two thousand members produced many notable warriors, and Satanta figured prominently among them. From the period of 1820 to the late 1870’s, the Kiowa nation lived a nomadic life across the Midwest plains. Their principal hunting grounds and territory would stretch from the Rio Grande (and over into Mexico on occasion) to as far north as the upper Kansas Territory.

Among the Indian nations of the Midwest, a tribe’s prestige was measured by the size of their horse herds and their fierceness in battle, and the Kiowa were second only to the Comanche in both categories. At a young age Satanta stood out among the other braves for his charisma and oratory skills. By his early twenties he stood six feet tall, was heavily muscled and darkly tanned by the sun. A famous and prominent Kiowa Chief, Black Horse, granted him even more prestige by giving him his shield.

Kiowa shields were made of several layers of thick buffalo hide and wooden sticks to give them shape. They weren’t particularly useful against bullets or arrows, but the Kiowa believed that shields were imbued with strong supernatural protection and so this gift testified to Black Horses conviction that Satanta would be a great warrior. Black Horse had carried the shield into battle many times and had always escaped unharmed, and ironically, he was killed soon after giving the shield to Satanta.

Satanta carried the shield with him into battle, and while in Chihuahua Mexico, he was roped off his horse by a vaquero and would have been dragged to death had he not escaped with the aid of two other warriors and, as he proclaimed, the blessings and protection of his shield.

Dohausan was the appointed Chief of the Kiowa, but by the 1840’s, Satanta was equal in influence among the tribe, and was more flamboyant and charismatic. Using the shield as a symbol of his good fortune, it was hung high in the place of honor in his medicine lodge when not being carried into battle.

Troubles began as early as 1845, when Texas, upon becoming a state, began attracting larger numbers of settlers, who invaded lands the Kiowa claimed as hunting grounds. The settlers would cut down timber and hunters would slaughter large numbers of buffalo for their hides, leaving the meat to rot in the prairie sun.In retaliation for these affronts, the Kiowas, as well as the Comanche began to strike back, killing, taking scalps and capturing large horse herds from settlers. In 1859, Indian Agents reported a “smoldering passion for revenge” from the Indians at the theft of their land by whites.

In 1864 at U.S. Army Fort Larned Kansas, Satanta and another warrior approached the gate to enter but were denied by the sentry. Angered, Satanta was so fast that he put two arrows into the sentry before the sentry could return fire. Knowing the troops would pursue his people, he gave the tribe time to tear down camp and move by attacking the fort, which had assumed the Indians would flee and he and his warriors ran off the garrison’s horses. To add insult to injury Satanta sent a letter to the Post Commander three days later stating that he “hoped the fort would get better horses in the future, because the ones he had captured from the fort were inferior to the horses he already possessed!”

Neither the Union or Confederacy had been in possession of the resources or the time to deal with the Indian attacks on settler encroaching into land regarded by the tribes as theirs. Both governments had made repeated threats but because there had never been any action taken the tribes felt that the governments were scared of them. Indians of the Plains believed in dealing with others and each other from a position of strength, and believed the whites would back down or bargain and they were correct for a time.In 1867 Congress sent a peace commission to make peace with the southern plains tribes, presumably to remove all cause for warfare. To guarantee the safety of the Indians coming to attend, troops from Fort Larned were sent to escort the tribes to Medicine Lodge Creek, Kansas — approximately 5,000 Kiowa, Comanche, Kiowa Apache, Southern Cheyenne, and Arapahoe. While enroute with their escort, the column came across a herd of Buffalo, and many of the white troopers and civilians rushed out and killed them for sport, leaving the carcasses where they fell. This infuriated Satanta who immediately complained to the Indian Agent and the Peace Commission.At the meeting, the Commissioners wanted the Indians to settle on reservations and told the Indians they would provide food and shelter.

When Satanta spoke, his eloquence, stature and presence impressed everyone as he spoke about not wanting to settle, how he loved to roam the prairies as his fathers had done for generations. He said that he spoke no lies and held nothing in secret and hoped that the commissioners would be as honest. As most peace talks went, the treaty demanded they give up land, move to reservations and that military troops would enforce leaving the reservations. The Indians could not read the documents but believed the things they protested the most about had been granted, and only hearing the promises of food, medicine and teaching, and the gifts presented to the tribes, most of the chiefs signed. Among the gifts given to the Indians were some pistols of unknown manufacture. When the weapons were test-fired, every pistol exploded on the first shot.

Upon returning to their lands, they saw that the hunting of buffalo by the white people was only increasing, threatening the continued existence of the tribes. They returned to their homes with no food, and upon requesting the promised provisions from the Indian agents, found that the promised food did not exist. Faced with no other option, the Indians renewed their attacks.

On November 27, 1868, US forces under Lt. Colonel George Custer attacked and annihilated the Cheyenne village of Chief Black Kettle in retaliation for Indian depredations in Kansas by the Cheyenne. When threatened by General Sherman with military reprisals against Kiowa, Satanta and Lone Wolf approached Sherman under a flag of truce. Custer wanted to hang them on the spot, but Sheridan seized them, ignoring their white flag. They moved to confront the Kiowa who had already fled the area, fearing attack.

Sherman took the two chieftains to Fort Cobb and sent riders to the Kiowa stating that if they did not return the next day to the fort, he would hang Satanta and Big Tree. As a testament to Satanta’s leadership and the devotion of his people, all but a few individuals had returned to the fort by the deadline. Satanta and Big Tree were held until February of 1869 and even though Sherman reported his desire to hang the two, he felt there were too many individuals involved in the raiding to punish just two.

Satanta and Big Tree were released. Both were bitter with Sherman, having attempted to practice peaceful talks under a flag of truce and being arrested, they added this to the list of broken promises made at the Medicine Lodge Treaty. Satanta told his Indian Agent Tatum, that Indians who listened to white men got nothing in the way of food or promises kept, scratching the dirt to try to make a living (farming), and only Indians who were strong would be well treated and survive.

To emphasize the point, Satanta, Satank, Big Tree, Lone Wolf, and Maman’te led a mixed band of Kiowa and Comanche into Young County, Texas. The raid ended in an attack which was known as the Warren Wagon Train Massacre, and sent shock waves across the nation. Seven wagon teamsters were killed, their mules and weapons taken, with the loss of three Indians.

Satanta, Satank, and Big Tree were arrested. Satank attempted to escape and was killed by soldiers on the way to Jacksboro and his body was left beside the road. Satanta and Big Tree were tried for murder in a civilian court, the first time ever for Indians and were convicted of murder. They were sentenced to hang, but the Governor of Texas Edmund Davis commuted their sentences to prevent an Indian uprising.

During Satanta and Big Tree’s detention, they were forced to work laying railroad track between Dallas and Houston. Captain H.E. Alvord, traveled to Washington with a delegation of Indian Chiefs and secured the release of Satanta and Big Tree if they agreed to refrain from raiding for six months. They were released in 1873.

In 1874, Satanta in an effort to keep his word, symbolically gave his Lance to Ato-tain, giving him the status of Chief, and his beloved shield to his son. Without lance and spear, he told others he no longer had strong medicine to fight. Unfortunately, by 1874, white hunters had taken such a toll on the buffalo that they were almost extinct, and starving warriors were forced to eat their horses to survive. Although the Texas legislature discussed protecting the remaining herds, General Sheridan argued “let them kill, skin and sell until the buffalo is exterminated, as it is the only way to lasting peace and to allow civilization to advance.”

Contrary to popular belief, Satanta was not present at the attack on Adobe Wells or any other actions against settlers or troops but was subsequently arrested for leaving the reservation without permission (he had gone hunting and this was documented by witnesses).

For leaving the reservation, he was arrested and returned to prison. In 1878 after three years of prison, Satanta asked a deputy marshal if he would ever be released to his people and was told no. The next day he threw himself from the upper floor hospital ward at Huntsville and died. It is reported that his ghost reenacts his death on the upper floor which is no longer used as a hospital wing. Satanta had fought to preserve the way of life and lands of his people. He was originally buried in Huntsville but in 1963 his grandson had him removed to Fort Sill where he was buried with full military honors.

Works Cited: 
Crouch, Carrie “A History of Young County”, Texas State Historical Assn. 1956 pp. 44-51
Worcester, Donald “Satanta” “Studies in Diversity; American Indian Leaders” University of Nebraska Press, 1980 pp. 107-130.
Nye, Colonel W.E. “Carbine and Lance: The Story of Old Fort Sill” University of Oklahoma Press, 1943 pp. 124-148

COL Owen J. Baggett

 WWII soldier who shot down a plane with a pistol:  Never underestimate an armed Texan from Young County!

COL Owen John Baggett

In a late Veterans Day tribute to our native Young County Veterans, we proudly present the legend and history of WWII Colonel Owen John Baggett. Owen John Baggett was born in August 29,1920 in Graham, Texas to John and Mary Pearl Owen Baggett.

In Young County, you generally find two types of native citizens: Those who move away as fast as they can, or those who never really leave. Owen Baggett appears to have had the wanderlust of the first category.

After graduating high school in 1938, Owen, who was reported in several accounts to have been remembered by the citizens of Graham for his quick smile and kind words, attended Hardin Simmons University and served in the band as its Drum Major, graduating in 1941.

He took his degree to New York, where he was soon employed as a Defense Contractor, working in an office on Wall Street.
After the onset of World War II, Owen enlisted in the Army Air Force and was accepted on July 26, 1942, and attended New Columbus Army Flying School. Baggett graduated with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant and was assigned to the 7th Army Bomber wing, stationed in the Pacific Theater in British East India.

Baggett was assigned to fly the American Consolidated B-24 “Liberator” Bomber, a predecessor of the B-17 “Flying Fortress”. The B-24 had been designed with what was considered a highly efficient shoulder mounted, high on the airframe “Davis Wing”. The wing made for more efficient flight at high speeds and altitudes which increased its range, but the wing also put a lot of weight on the plane that often caused catastrophic damage to the airframe when crashing. The plane was also reported to be notorious among pilots for its tendency to catch fire.

There is only one intact B-24 left in the world today and is owned and operated by the Collins Foundation. Because of the long range of many of the B-24 bombers, they would often be forced to fly without friendly fighter escorts, leaving them as easy prey of enemy fighters, such as the Japanese Zero, one of the finest fighters of the day.

As if this wasn’t enough of a danger to American plane crews, the Japanese had adopted a policy of shooting plane crews when they parachuted out of their aircraft to keep them from being rescued and returned to flying attack missions.

On March 31, 1943 Baggett’s squadron was ordered to destroy a bridge at Pyinmana in Burma.
The bridge was an important supply line for the Japanese and as such, was heavily fortified by anti-aircraft emplacements and fighter air patrols. Enroute to their target, the bomber squadron was soon intercepted by 13 Ki-43 fighters of the 64th Sentai Imperial Army Air Force. Almost immediately, Baggett’s plane was hit, and several rounds punctured the aircrafts fuel tanks, with the plane catching fire.

The plane was severely damaged, on fire and losing altitude so Baggett and the crew made the decision to abandon the plane, each taking their turn stepping out of the aircraft and into the sky. Baggett had already been wounded before bailing out, and attempting to play dead, watched two of his crewmates die from strafing gunfire by Japanese fighters as they floated helpless in their harnesses.
WWII pilots and crews were issued 1911 45 caliber semiautomatic pistols, a design that had been patented during WWI, hence the name 1911. As he drifted towards the ground, he observed one of the fighters break off from the attacks, and slow to do a flyby to see if he was in fact dead. As the pilot closed the distance, Owen observed him open his canopy to get a better view.

Seizing the opportunity, Owens drew his pistol and fired four shots in quick succession into the enemy cockpit. Accounts differed at the time, as there were reports that the enemy aircraft spiraled out of the sky to crash and the body of the pilot found in the wreckage with a bullet hole in the skull, to the “official Japanese air report” that no planes were lost, however this report, was suspect as both sides practiced giving misinformation during the war.

Baggett was captured immediately upon landing and remained a prisoner of war for two and a half years, before being rescued along with 37 other POW’s in a daring rescue by eight OSS agents. Upon his return he learned that he had become famous for being the only person in WWII to shoot down an enemy plane with a handgun. The feat had been witnessed by Colonel Harry Melton whose fighters had been assigned their escort that day. Melton could confirm that he witnessed the shot and saw the enemy plane crash. Baggett acknowledged publicly that he was grateful that his life had been spared, and returned to the service, retiring with full honors as a Colonel in 1973 at the age of 53.

Baggett was a true servant and was recognized for work with children. He sponsored both a boy and a girl through the Army Air Force’s Commander for a Day program.

After leaving the Air Force, he went back to work as a defense contractor manager. His life of service ended with peace and dignity when he died at his home in New Braunfels, Texas on July 27, 2006.

It is the duty of historians to report the valor and honor of those who go before us, and we hope that those who served will record their memories for the children of the future, to learn what was important to them, what they experienced, and what they learned and how that experience affected the person they became.

As always, we proudly honor our Veterans who defend and protect our way of life every day. May God bless and protect all who serve and have served.

Addie Graham

Addie Mary Graham

Addie Graham was and always will be undeniably the First Lady of Graham. She was born Agnes Mary Kintner in 1843 and raised on a family plantation called Cedar Farm, located in the Southcentral tip of Indiana bordering Kentucky. Addie attended public school until the outbreak of the Civil War, when her father, fearing their travel across the river to school, hired a Governess to continue the children’s education.

In the late 1850’s her future husband moved to Rockhaven, Kentucky with his father. The family business was known as Robert Graham and Sons, and was managed by the oldest son and her future husband, Edwin S. Graham. He was a bright, enterprising man like his father, Intelligent and capable of running the business. He worked alongside his father in all phases of their operation and took over in 1862 upon the death of his father.

Addie, a beautiful, young lady who was active in both the community and the church had caught his eye and his heart, and as a pretense to visit the farm and see her, he would often visit the family, delivering the mail as his excuse. Everyone purposely ignored the fact that Edwin had to find a boat and then to row across the Ohio River “Just to deliver the mail”.

As was proper for a lady of means in the south, Edwin courted Addie for almost three years, winning her heart and marrying her on August 8, 1865. She was twenty-two years old when they set out for New York by way of Niagara Falls for their honeymoon. Upon their return Addie set up household in Rockhaven and in 1867 they were blessed with the birth of their first son, Robert. It was during this time that Edwin began hearing about the beauty of Texas from members of the Peter’s Colony shareholders.

The Peter’s Colony Grant was one of several land grants created to entice settlers to Texas by offering free land to colonists. When the land reverted to the Texas Emigration and Land Company, Edwin was quick to seize the opportunity and invest in the adventure. Selling their holdings in Rockhaven, Addie and child moved back to the family home while Edwin and his brother Gustavus Graham headed to Texas to do some preliminary exploring. Edwin fell in love with Texas and knew he would make it his home. Edwin made arrangements to become a land agent, and he and his brother Gustavus invested heavily in the area, purchasing around 125,000 acres in Texas. Knowledgeable about Texas and having a vested interest, he returned to Kentucky, and as he recruited settlers, he began making plans to bring his family to Texas to see it.

In 1869, shortly before they left on the trip, their second child, Elizabeth Shields Graham was born. In a wagon special ordered for the trip, Addie headed west to Texas. Imagine handling two small children, arranging for the management of the family business and holdings in Kentucky, overseeing the handling of the wagon, and their property on a steamboat. All of this would happen by way of traveling the length of the Mississippi River first, during the period of Reconstruction following the Civil War.

As difficult as it sounds, Addie described the trip as a wonderful adventure. Two weeks by boat first, eventually arriving in Galveston, then another two weeks by wagon across the grasslands and plains of central and north central Texas. Addie enjoyed camping under the stars and their trip was blessed with bright days and cool nights. The Texas wilderness called to her while certain communities were not as attractive. Upon their arrival in Fort Worth, she described it as an “unpromising frontier town”, with no schools and no church.

Undaunted, she made the acquaintance of a Colonel Overton and arranged for the renting of a cabin for the family, as winter was about to set in and that had no residence. Edwin was delighted to have his family closer as he explored the western lands of the Peters Colony Grant.

Addie soon heard the stories of Indian depredations along the frontier, but was as brave as her husband Edwin, watching him go with a few frontiersmen into Indian Territory while she smiled and waved and awaited his return. The frontier life and mild winter passed quickly, and as previously stated, Texas had endured itself to her. It was with a heavy heart that she planned her return to Kentucky to attend to business matters and check on the family.

Traveling with her children and expecting another, they arrived at the family home, gave birth to their third child, Malcolm Kintner Graham. The joy of the birth was a happy event for all the family but was soon overshadowed by the death of Addie’s father, J.L. Kintner. Addie’s mother was devastated, and distraught at the thought of Addie and the children leaving, her condition was so serious that Addie tearfully told Edwin she could not return to Texas. Edwin, sorrowful at the turn of events, bought a home in Louisville Kentucky for his family to live in that was close to Addie’s mom.

Addie recalled in her memoirs that this was the biggest regret of her life. Reconstruction and a financial panic in the 1870’s brought trade in land in Texas to a standstill, and Edwin was hard pressed for money to even pay his taxes. Edwin was working so hard to promote land sales in Texas that he was only able to visit Addie twice in the next seven years.

Apart from her husband and raising children, she constantly worried about her husband’s health and safety in the Texas wilderness.
In 1879 Addie rejoiced to receive a letter from Edwin with money to provide for her and the children to at last migrate to Texas. This time the family boarded a locomotive that ended in Fort Worth where Edwin waited with wagons and horse teams. They traveled to Weatherford for a night and then finally arrived at their new home in the town of “Graham”, Texas.

Addie had gone from the plantation and privilege of her youth to a wood frame three-room cottage, but her joy at returning to Edwin and Texas was undaunted and their days were filled with happiness and investment in the budding community. Their home was located north of the town square on Elm Street and close to where the railroad would someday pass through the town.

Addie’s family would grow with the births of Ed and Bertha. Addie’s mother even came and spent winter with them but fell and passed away shortly after her return to Indiana. Addie loved her family and life in Graham, but she was troubled by the toll it was taking on her husband. Edwin was the father of Graham, laying out lots, selling deeds, and looking over mining and oil speculation.
Edwin poured his heart and soul into the small community, donating land for courts, churches, and schools. The stress was taking its toll and Addie knew it, but she didn’t yet know what to do about it.

Malcolm had grown into a young man and had been gone after being accepted and moved to West Point. Upon his first furlough to visit home two years later, he was shocked at his father’s appearance and health.

Malcolm returned to the academy to graduate but was so worried about his father he wrote and told his father he would resign from West Point and return to help with the family business. Edwin, wanting to see his son graduate, refused to allow it. As Edwin’s condition worsened, he relented (a sign of how much business was affecting him) and Malcolm came home.

Malcolm was a quick learner and soon was running the business affairs in 1892. Seizing the opportunity, Addie convinced Edwin to accompany her to Spokane Washington to visit her sister. The trip was uneventful, but the release of the daily pressures of work allowed Edwin’s health to recover.

Being the industrialist at heart however, Edwin heard of mining operations in British Columbia Canada, and soon left Addie with family so he could investigate. He was impressed with what he saw and invested in the operations, but this time his business sense failed him and he never recovered his investment.

The family stayed in Washington until 1897 when Edwin Graham fell ill. Though doctors worked over the course of two years to heal him, Edwin S. Graham passed away on May 7, 1899. Addie returned Edwin to the town he founded for burial. She would not have a year to reconcile her loss before her daughter Bessie Craig would pass away from pneumonia.

Addie assisted Bessie’s husband WIlliam in seeing to the raising of his 3 now motherless daughters. Tragedy struck again four years after Bessie died, when William passed away leaving Addie with the responsibility of three granddaughters to raise. Addie saw that each child grew up to become proper ladies and took pride in their accomplishments, marriages, and families after they left her home.

Addie’s children, Robert, Malcolm, Ed and Bertha remained in Graham and were all important members of the community.
Most people would think this is the end of her story, but Addie’s commitment to her husband’s legacy was a lifetime project of dedication and time.

She wanted Graham to have the benefit of education and the arts, and she began contributing to the construction of the Memorial Auditorium. Her Christian values and love for children drove her to create a position for Bible teaching in the Graham schools and the donation of land for the erection of school buildings.

In 1910, Addie Graham donated the funds to provide Graham with its first Water Filtering Plant, which operated for the next 75 years. Her last project, nurtured out of her respect for seniors, was to donate land to open the Eden Home, a senior citizen home, which opened in 1930, one year after her death.

Many people have passed through Graham, leaving a lasting mark on its history. Addie Graham, lived, loved, and nurtured the community with her time, her talents, and her generosity. It is easy to say that Graham would not be the community it is today without her.