The Delaware and Shawnee Indians and the
Republic of Texas, 1820-1845
H. ALLEN ANDERSON*
N HIS BESTSELLING GUIDEBOOK, The Prairie Traveler, CAPT. RANDOLPH B.
Marcy made the following statement:
It is highly important that parties making expeditions through unexplored
country should secure the services of the best guides and hunters, and I know
of none who are superior to the Delaware and Shawnee Indians. They have
been with me upon several different occasions, and I have invariably found
them intelligent, brave, reliable, and in every respect well qualified to fill their
positions. They are endowed with those keen and wonderful powers in wood-
craft which can only be acquired by instinct, practice, and necessity, and which
are possessed by no other people that I have heard of, unless it be the khebirs
or guides who escort the caravans across the great desert of Sahara.
Such glowing comments adequately summed up the value of these two
tribes to the leaders of countless pathfinding expeditions, both military
and civilian, as the aggressive, young American republic responded to
the challenge of "manifest destiny" and sought to expand its borders
from sea to sea.' Interestingly enough, relatively little has been men-
tioned of the dispersed remnants of the Delawares and Shawnees who,
in the face of white pressure, migrated to Texas when that state was still
under Hispanic rule and played a significant role in its frontier history.
Only a few historians have taken into account the importance of certain
individuals, especially those from the Delaware tribe, who functioned
as scouts and emissaries in the relations between the Anglo-Texans and
the nomadic plains tribes. No treaty council or military expedition was
without them, for they knew the Comancheria and its inhabitants like
no other. As was the case among the Cherokees and the other Five Civi-
* H. Allen Anderson is a freelance writer and researcher in Lubbock who has worked for the
Handbook of Texas as a Scholar-in-Residence. He is currently researching the centennial history
of the First Baptist Church in Lubbock for its centennial in 1991.
I Randolph B. Marcy, The Prairie Traveler; A Handbook for Overland Expeditions (New York-
Harper and Brothers, 1859), 183; John Charles Fremont, Memozrs of My Life (2 vols.; Chicago:
Belford, Clarke, and Co., 1887), I, 167, 169; Bernard Augustine DeVoto, Across the Wide Mis-
sour... (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1947), 55-56.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101214/. Accessed March 12, 2014.