TSEN-TAINTE (White Horse)
Tsen-Tainte 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. Tsen-Tainte brought home a Navajo boy, that grew up to be George
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
Wagon Train 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. Ronald 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.
Information from "The Ten Grandmothers" by Alice Marriott, published by
University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK, 1945; and "Calender History of the
Kiowa Indians" by James Mooney, published by Smithsonian Institution Press,
Washington, D.C. from reports, 1895-1896.
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