Texas Frontier Heroes: Brackettville’s Seminole Negro Indian Scouts

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On the edge of the Texas Hill Country and West Texas, is Brackettville. Founded in 1852 as a supply depot for the U.S. Army’s newly established Fort Clark, the town grew alongside the expansion of the fort during the Indian Wars. For many years, it was the base of the African American Buffalo Soldiers. In conjunction with this community, were the Seminole Negro Indian Scouts, which were comprised of Black Seminoles, recruited by the U.S. Army to act as lookouts for the Buffalo Soldiers. Black Seminoles are people of mixed African American and Seminole ancestry, who originated in Florida.

When the Indian Wars began to taper, the Buffalo Soldiers moved out of Fort Clark and the Seminole Negro Indian Scouts were disbanded as a unit in 1914, although many servicemen stayed in Brackettville with their families.

Calvary mounts

Photo: Facebook/Seminal Negro Indian Scouts

Twenty years after Brackettville’s founding, The Seminole Negro Indian Scout Cemetery was established on highway FM 3348, and approximately 100 or more Scouts who protected the Texas Frontier are buried here, along with their families and descendants. Four of the scouts buried here received the Medal of Honor: Adam Payne (Paine), Isaac Payne, John Ward, and Pompey Factor. Their tombstones have small carvings at the center, which replicates the Army’s five-pointed star medal.

Around 1940, the Seminole Negro Indian Scout Cemetery Association labored to obtain over 100 headstones from the War Department. Renewed efforts to maintain the cemetery and legacy began in 1965, and the Seminole Negro Indian Scout Cemetery Association is a registered Texas non-profit, with its sole purpose is to preserve, promote and maintain the Seminole Negro Indian Scout Cemetery as a historical monument.

Seminole Negro Indian Scout Cemetery

Photo: Facebook/Seminole Negro Indian Scout Cemetery Association

After visiting the Seminole Negro Indian Scout Cemetery, be sure to patronize The Seminole Negro Indian Scout Museum, located at the Carver School, 506 Beaumont Street. Their mission is to preserve and bring to the public, the history of the Black Seminoles and their descendants. Began in 2010, the museum is currently open on Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for an admission cost of five dollars, which is used for the maintenance of the museum and the cemetery. Enjoy this beautiful trek across the Hill Country to Brackettville, and immerse yourself in this essential piece of American History.

Scout History