Today in Texas History – October 11

From the Annals of Suicide –  In 1878, Kiowa chief Satanta committed suicide by jumping from his prison cell in Huntsville.  Satanta was probably close to 60 at the time.  He had been a rising leader since the Medicine Lodge Treaty council in October 1867, where he came to be known as the “Orator of the Plains.”  In 1871 Satanta and his fellow chiefs Satank and Big Tree were arrested for their part in the Warren Wagon Train raid. Satank was killed while trying to escape. Satanta and Big Tree were tried for murder at Jacksboro which was the first time Native American chiefs were tried in a civil court. They were convicted and sentenced to hang, but Texas governor E. J. Davis commuted the sentences to life imprisonment. Satanta was quickly paroled in 1873, but was re-arrested for his role in the attack on Lyman’s Wagon Train in Palo Duro canyon and in the second battle of Adobe Walls.  His second incarceration was too much for the Kiowa Chief who took his life rather than spend his remaining days in prison.

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