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A History of the Caddo Indians


Formatted for the World Wide Web by Jay Salsburg


Vol. 18, No. 4. October, 1935


In a study of the history of Caddo Parish, Louisiana, an interest was developed in the Caddo Indians who were aborigines of the parish, and since no adequate study had been made of these interesting people it became my purpose to give an account of them from the time when first met by the white man until about 1845.

The region inhabited by the Caddo Indians when they were first met by the whites, soon became the disputed territory between France and Spain, and later between Spain and the United States. From the outset the Caddoes were border Indians, there fore their relations with the Europeans and later with the Americans were somewhat different from that of tribes inhabiting undisputed territory. Because of the strategic importance of the Caddo country, each of the different nations under whose jurisdiction the natives lived, employed certain methods in dealing with them. Often in order to maintain control of the natives, the nations involved in controversy made a complete change in their policy and these policies had a decided influence on the Indians.

Inasmuch as the native background as expressed in customs, traditions, and location affected the general relations of the natives with the white man it seems necessary to put together such in formation as is available concerning the tribes for the period be fore the white man came into their territory. The available in formation came largely through reports made by the French and Spanish who first came in contact with these Indians.

* Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Texas in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of MASTER OF ARTS, August, 1932.

Among those who have given me help in the preparation of this work I wish to thank Miss Harriet Smither, archivist of the Texas State Library, and I am especially grateful to Mrs. Mattie Austin Hatcher and Miss Winnie Allen of the University of Texas Library staff for their kindness and helpfulness in making avail able the materials of the library.

To Dr. William Campbell Binkley of Vanderbilt University, I wish to express my gratitude for his scholarly advice and helpful criticisms during the development of this study.

Note: Because of the ancient origin of this text, certain words may appear mispelled; They are not; and some usage may appear awkward. The seemingly mispelled words and strange useage are from the original text "as is" and are not changed to modern spelling and usege.



1. Sketch of the Tribes 2. Manners and Customs of the Caddo 3. The Caddo Country and Range


1. French and Spanish Relations before 1762 2. The Spanish Indian Policy after 1762 3. Relations with the Spanish after the Louisiana Cession


1. Migration of the Cadodacho and Amalgamation of the Tribes 2. Caddo Relations with the United States


1. The Caddo Decide to Sell Their Land 2. Making the Treaty of 1835 3. Results of the Treaty

V. THE CADDO IN TEXAS, 1836-1845

1. Relations with the Texas Colonists 2. Caddo Relations with the Republic of Texas 3. Caddoes Make Peace with Texas 4. Conclusion




The Caddo Indians are the principal southern representatives of the great Caddoan linguistic family, which include the Wichita, Kichai, Pawnee, and Arikara. Their confederacy consisted of several tribes or divisions, claiming as their original territory the whole of lower Red River and adjacent country in Louisiana, eastern Texas, and Southern Arkansas.

Southern Indians

Caddo is a popular name contracted from Kadohadacho, the name of the Caddo proper, as used by themselves. It is extended by the whites to include the Confederacy. Most of the early writers, and even many of the later ones used different names for the Kadohadacho. Chevalier de Tonti, a French explorer, called them Cadadoquis, M. Joutel, historian for La Salle's exploring party, called them Cadaquis, and John Sibley, Indian agent at Natchitoches, called them Caddoes. They were called Masep by the Kiowa, Nashonet or Nashoni by the Commanche, Dashai by the Wichita, Otasitaniuw (meaning "pierced nose people") by the Cheyenne, and Tanibanen by the Arapaho.

The number of tribes formerly included in the Caddo Confederacy can not now be determined. Only a small number of the Caddo survive, and the memory of much of their tribal organization is lost. In 1699 Iberville obtained from his Taensa Indian guide a list of eight divisions; Linares in 1716 gave the names of eleven; Gatschet procured from a Caddo Indian in 1882 the names of twelve divisions, and the list was revised in 1896, by Mooney, as follows: Kadohadacho (Caddo Proper), Nadako (Anadarko), Hainai (Ioni), Nabaidacho (Nabedache), Nakohodotsi (Nacogdoches), Nashitosh (Natchitoches), Nakanawan, Haiish (Eyeish, Aliche, Aes), Yatasi, Hadaii (Adai, Adaize), Imaha, a small band of Kwaps, and Yowani, a band of Choctaw. A more recent study by Dr. Herbert E. Bolton, of the University of California, reveals the fact that there were two confederacies of the Caddoan linguistic stock inhabiting northeastern Texas, in stead of one, as indicated by Mooney and Fletcher. Bolton says that the Caddo whose culture was similar to the Hasinai, lived along both banks of the Red River from the lower Natchitoches tribe, in the vicinity of the present Louisiana city of that name, to the Natsoos and Nassonites tribes, above the great bend of the Red River in southwestern Arkansas and southeastern Oklahoma. The best known members of this group were the Cadodacho Grand Cado, or Caddo proper, Petit Cado, upper and lower Natchitoches, Adaes, Yatasi, Nassonites, and Natsoos. On the Angelina and upper Neches rivers, lived the Hasinai, that comprised some ten or more tribes, of which the best known were the Hainai, Nacogdoche, Nabedache, Nasoni, and Nadaco.

Of the names mentioned by the different writers nine tribes named by Mooney in his list are found under varying forms in the lists of 1699, by Iberville, and 1716, by Linares. It will be noticed from the above lists that both Mooney and Bolton included the Cadodacho, Natchitoches, Yatasi, and Adai in the Caddo Con federacy. It appears from the evidence at hand that during the eighteenth century two confederacies existed instead of one as indicated by Mooney. In this paper the Yatasi, Adai, Natchitoches, Natsoos, Nassonites, and Cadodacho will be considered as the tribes that belonged to the Caddo Confederacy.

It is impossible at the present time to identify all the tribes that belonged to the Caddo Confederacy, but a sketch of the best known tribes that inhabited the Louisiana territory will be under taken. The Natchitoches lived on Red River, near the present city of Natchitoches, Louisiana. Whether the army of De Soto came in contact with them is unknown, but the companions of La Salle, after his death, traversed their country, and Douay speaks of them as a powerful nation." In 1730 according to Du Pratz, the Natchitoches villages near the trading post at Natchitoche numbered about two hundred cabins. The population rapidly declined as a result of the wars in which they were forced to take part, and the introduction of new diseases, particularly small pox and measles.

In 1805 Dr. John Sibley, Indian agent at Natchitoches, in a report to Thomas Jefferson relative to the Indian tribes in his territory said:

There is now remaining of the Natchitoches but twelve men and nineteen women, who live in a village about twenty five miles by land above the town which bears their name near the lake, called by the French Lac de Muire. Their original language is the same as the Yattassee, but speak Caddo, and most of them French.

The French inhabitants have great respect for this nation, and a number of very decent families have a mixture of their blood in them. They claim but a small tract of land, on which they live, and I am informed, have the same rights to it from Government, that other inhabitants in their neighborhood have. They are gradually wasting away; the small pox has been their great destroyer. They still preserve their Indian dress and habits; raise corn and those vegetables common in their neighborhood.

The Yatasi tribe is first spoken of by Tonti, who states that in 1690 their village was on the Red River, northwest of Natchitoches. In the first part of the eighteenth century, St. Denis invited them to locate near Natchitoches, in order that they might be protected from the attacks of the Chickasaw who were then waging war along Red River. A part of the tribe moved near Natchitoches, while others migrated up the river to the Kadohadacho and to the Nanatsoho and the Nasoni.

At a later date the Yatasi must have returned to their old village site. John Sibley, in a report from Natchitoches, states that they lived on Bayou River (Stony Creek), which falls into Red River, Western division, about fifty miles above Natchitoches. According to Sibley's report they settled in a large prairie, about half way between the Caddoques (Cadodacho) and the Natchitoches, surrounded by a settlement of French families. Of the ancient Yattassees (Yatasi) there were then but eight men and twenty-five women remaining. Their original language differed from any others, but all of them spoke Caddo. They lived on rich land, raised plenty of corn, beans, pumpkins, and tobacco. They also owned horses, cattle, hogs, and poultry.

The Adai village was located on a small creek near the present town of Robeline, Louisiana, about twenty-five miles west of Natchitoches. This was also the site of the Spanish Mission, Los Adaes. The first historical mention of the Adai was made by Cabeca de Vaca, who in his "Naufragios", referring to his stay in Texas, about 1530, called them Atayos. Mention was also made of them by Iberville, Joutel, and some other early French explorers. In 1792 there was a partial emigration of the Adai, numbering fourteen families, to a site south of San Antonio de Pejar, southwest Texas, where it is thought they blended with the surrounding Indian population. The Adai who were left in their old homes at Adayes, numbered about one hundred in 1802. According to John Sibley's report in 1805 there were only twenty men of them remaining, but more women than men. Their language differed from that of all other tribes and was very difficult to speak, or understand. They all spoke Caddo, and most of them spoke French also. They had a strong attachment to the French, as is shown by the fact that they joined them in war against the Natchez Indians.

The Cadodacho (real Caddo, Caddo proper), seem to have lived as a tribe on Red River of Louisiana from time immemorial. According to tribal traditions the lower Red River of Louisiana was their original home, from which they migrated west and northwest. Penicaut reported in 1701 that the Caddo lived on the Sabloniere, or Red River, about one hundred and seventy leagues above Natchitoches, which places them a little above the big bend of Red River near the present towns of Fulton, Arkansas, and Texarkana. In 1800 the Caddo moved down the Red River near Caddo Lake, which placed them about one hundred and twenty miles from the present town of Natchitoches. Sibley says:

They formerly lived on the south bank of the river, by the course of the river 376 miles higher up, at a beautiful prairie, which has a clear lake of good water in the middle of it, surrounded by a pleasant and fertile country, which had been the residence of their ancestors for time immemorial. They have a traditionary tale, which not only the Caddoes, but half a dozen other smaller nations believe in, who claim the honor of being descendants of the same family; they say, when all the world was drowning by a flood, that inundated the whole country, the Great Spirit placed on an eminence, near this lake, one family of Caddoques, who alone were saved; from that family all the Indians originated.

In 1719 the Assonites (Nassonites), and Natsoos, dwelt along Red River, often on both sides of the channel about one hundred and fifty leagues northwest of Natchitoches. They lived near the Cadodacho and were related to them.

The Cadodacho was the leading tribe in the Caddo Confederacy. This nation wielded a great influence over many of the tribes belonging to the Southern Caddoan family. In 1805 their influence extended over the Yatasi, Nandakoes, Nebadaches, Inies, or Tackies, Nacogdoches, Keychies, Adai, and Natchitoches, who looked up to them as their father, visited and intermarried among them, and joined them in all their wars.

It is impossible to determine with exactness the population of the Caddo during the early period, for no record of a census is available until after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Fletcher says that before the coming of the French and Spanish they were no doubt a thrifty and numerous people."' One writer states that during their early history they must have numbered about ten thousand. No doubt this estimate included both the Caddo and Hasinai Confederacies. According to a report from the Indian agent at Natchitoches made in 1805 the tribes of the Caddo confederacy at that time numbered approximately six hundred, not including children.

All the tribes of the Confederacy spoke the Caddoan language. However, the language of the Adai differed from all the others and was very difficult to speak. The Caddoes had a very convenient way of communicating with each other and with other tribes, through the medium of a sign language. Their tribal sign was made "by passing the extended index finger, pointing under the nose from right to left." When they wanted to accuse some one of telling a lie, or falsehood, they did that "by passing the extended index and second fingers separated toward the left, over the mouth".


The Caddoes were cultivators of the soil. They planted fields around their villages in corn, pumpkins and vegetables that furnished their staple food. They would not allow idleness; there was always something to be done, and those who would not work were punished. They worked hard in their fields when the weather was good, but when the cold rain fell and the north wind blew they would not come out of their houses. Yet they were not idle; they sat around the fire employing themselves with handiwork. It was then that they made their bows and arrows, their necessary clothing and tools with which to work. The women worked making mats out of reeds and leaves, and pots and bowls out of clay.

Joutel gives an interesting account of the agriculture of the Caddo tribes in his day. He says:

I noticed a very good method in this nation (Cenis), which is to form a sort of assembly when they want to turn the soil in the fields belonging to a certain cabin, an assembly in which may be found more than a hundred per sons of both sexes. When the day has been appointed, all those who were notified come to work with a kind of Mattock made of a buffalo's shoulder-l: lade, and some of a piece of wood, hafted with the aid of cords made of the bark of trees. While the workers labor, the women of the cabin for which the work is being done, take pains to prepared food; when they have worked for a time, that is, about midday, they quit, and the women serve them the best they have. When someone coming in from the hunt brings meat, it serves for the feast; if there is none, they bake Indian bread in the ashes, or boil it, mixing it with beans, which is not a very good dish, but it is their custom. They envelop the bread that they boil with the leaves of the corn. After the repast, the greater part amuse themselves the rest of the day, so that, when they have worked for one cabin, they go the next day to another. The women of the cabin have to plant the corn, beans, and other things, as the men do not occupy themselves with this work. These Indians have no iron tools, so they can only scratch the ground, and can not pick it deep; nevertheless, everything grows there marvelously.

The Caddo also hunted and fished for a living. M. de la Harpe mentions the fact that the Cadodaquious (Cadodacho) and their associates prepared a feast for him which included among other things, the meat of bear, buffalo, and fish. Another evidence that they fished and hunted for a living, was brought to light by Harrington, field worker for the Heye foundation, in excavations made near Fulton, Arkansas, in the old Caddo villages. In their digging they found the bones of deer, raccoons, turkeys, and many other creatures, mixed with the ashes of ancient camp fires, showing that hunting was one of their principal means of gaining a livelihood. They also found fish and turtle bones and stone sinkers for nets, all of which indicated that they used fishing as another means of making a living.

The tribal organization among the Caddo was similar to that of the Hasinai. Fortunately, Father Jesus Maria left a good account of the Tejas or Aseney (Hasinai) tribes. Each group of the Tejas Indians was apparently under the command of a great chief called Xinesi. Each tribe had a chief or governor called a Caddi, who ruled within the section of country occupied by his tribe, no matter whether it was large or small. If large, they had a sub-chief called Canahas. The number of sub-chiefs depended on the size of the tribe ruled by the Caddi. The number ranged from three to eight. It was their duty to relieve the Caddi and to publish his orders. One of these gave orders for preparing the chief's sleeping place while on the buffalo hunt and the war-path, and filled and lighted his pipe for him. They also frightened the people by declaring that, if they did not obey orders, they would be whipped and punished in other ways. There were other sub ordinate officers called Chayas, who carried out orders issued by the Canahas. There were petty officers under the Chayas, called jaumas, who promptly executed orders. They whipped all the idlers with rods, by giving them strokes over the legs and belly. When the Caddi wished to have a council meeting, the Canahas had to summon the elders. This organization must have worked well, for Father Jesus Maria states that during his stay of one year and three months among them he had not heard any quarrels. It is certain from the evidence at hand that their life was more or less communal, for we are told that eight or ten families often lived in one dwelling, and cultivated the land about it in common. It appears that the food supply was kept in common, for Joutel says:

The mistress, who must have been the mother of the chief, for she was aged, had charge of all the provisions, for that is the custom, that in each cabin, one woman holds supremacy over the supplies, and makes the distribution to each, although there may be several families in the cabin.

We are told by Jesus Maria that if the house and property of one of the tribesman were destroyed, all the rest of the tribe joined in helping provide him with a new home. This communistic practice was common among the early white settlers, and will be found among the farmers in the rural sections of Louisiana today.

The Caddo lived in two kinds of houses, the grass thatched, and earth covered. The grass houses were conical in shape, made of a framework of poles covered with a thatch of grass. They were grouped around an open space which served for social and ceremonial purposes. Arranged around the walls inside of the house were couches covered with mats, that served as seats during the day and as beds at night. In the middle of the house was the fire, which was kept burning day and night.

The earth houses were erected by constructing a frame, probably in the form of a low dome of very stout poles upon which were placed smaller ones at right angles. These in turn were covered with brush and cane, and then with sage grass on which was placed a heavy coating of earth.

The Caddoes wore very few clothes during the early period as reported by Joutel. During the winter months they covered themselves with animal skins. They hung these skins around their bodies reaching about half way down their legs. During the warm months nearly all of them went without clothing.

They loved ornaments such as beads, ear-pendants, and ear plugs. Father Jesus Maria states that at festive times they did not lack for ornaments such as collars, necklaces, and amulets, which resembled those the Aztecs wore, with the one difference that the Tejas Indians knew nothing of gold and silver.

If a man wanted to marry, he took the maiden of his choice the best and finest present he could afford. If the father and mother gave their permission for her to receive the gift, it meant that the man had their consent to take her. However, she was not taken away until notice was given to the Caddi. If the woman was not a maiden, all that was necessary was her consent to receive the presents. Often the agreement was made only for a few days. At other times they declared it binding forever. Only a few of them kept their word. When a woman found another man who was able to give her better things she went with him and there was no punishment for this conduct. Few men ever remained with their wives very long, but they never had but one wife at a time.

Another custom of interest among the Hasinai was the war dance. Before going to war they usually sang and danced for seven or eight days, offering to their God such things as corn, tobacco, bows, and arrows. Each offering was hung on a pole in front of the place where they were dancing, and near the pole was a fire before which stood a wicked-looking person who made the offering of incense by casting tobacco and buffalo fat into the fire. Each man gathered around the fire collected smoke and rubbed his body with it, believing that by performing this ceremony his God would give him whatever he requested. They prayed to nature, and to the animals for courage and strength to defeat the enemy. They asked the water to drown their enemies, the fire to burn them, the arrows to kill them, and the wind to blow them away. On the last day the Caddi came forward and encouraged the men by telling them that if they really were men, they must think of the wives, their parents, their children, but not to let them be a handicap to their victory. Ethnologists agree that the Caddoes follow nearly the same mode of burial as the Wichitas.

When a Wichita dies the town crier goes up and down through the village and announces the fact. Preparations are immediately made for the burial, and the body is taken without delay to the grave prepared for its reception. If the grave is some distance from the village, the body is carried thither on the back of a pony, being first wrapped in blankets and then laid prone across the saddle, one person walking on either side to support it. The grave is dug from three to four feet deep and long enough for the body. First blankets and buffalo robes are laid in the bottom of the grave, then the body, being taken from the horse and unwrapped, is dressed in its best apparel and with ornaments is placed upon a couch of blankets and robes, with the head toward the west and the feet to the east; the valuables belonging to the deceased are placed with the body in the grave. With the man are deposited his bows and arrows or gun, and with the woman her cooking utensils and other implements of her toil. Over the body sticks are placed six or eight inches deep and grass over these, so that when the earth is filled in, it need not come in contact with the body or its trappings. After the grave is filled with earth, a pen of poles is built around it as a protection from the wild animals. The ground on and around the grave is left smooth and clean.

If a Caddo is killed in battle, the body is never buried, but left to be devoured by beasts or birds of prey, and the condition of such individuals in the other world is considered to be far better than that of persons dying a natural death. This practice resembles that of the ancient Persians who threw out the bodies of their dead on the roads, and if they were promptly devoured by wild beasts they esteemed it a great honor, and if not, a terrible misfortune.

Not much is known about the religious beliefs of the Caddo, but the early writers tell us that they believed in a "great spirit," known under the name of Ayanat Caddi, or as Ayo-Caddi-Aymay. Manzanet says that their ceremonial leader "had a house reserved for the sacrifices, and when they entered therein they behaved very reverently, particularly during a sacrifice. They never sacrificed to idols, but only to him of whom they said that he has all power, and that from him came all things. Ayimat Caddi, in their language, signifies the great captain. This was the name he gave to God. In spite of these remarks there is evidence that the Caddo and their relatives worshipped a number of minor spirits and powers. This may be inferred from Douay's statement that the Caddo adored the Sun. He says, "Their gala dresses bear two painted suns; on the rest of the body are representations of buffalo, stags, serpents, and other animals." Harrington says, "it even appears that they thought everything in nature had some sort of spirit or power, which could be prayed to, reasoned with, and led to assist the supplicant, so they 'solicited the deer and buffalo, that they should allow themselves to be slain; the maize, that it would grow and let itself be eaten; the air, that it would be pleasant and healthful.


According to a tradition of the Caddo which has parallels among other tribes, their original home was on lower Red River in Louisiana. The story says that they came up from under the ground through the mouth of a cave on a lake close to the south bank of Red River, just at its junction with the Mississippi. From this place they spread out toward the west, following up the course of Red River, along which they made their principal settlements. Bolton states that during the eighteenth century they extended along both banks of the Red River from the present city of Natchitoches, Louisiana, to the Natsoos and Nassonites tribes, above the great bend of the Red River in southwestern Arkansas and southeastern Oklahoma.

No definite boundary lines can be given for the territory claimed by the Caddo previous to eighteen hundred. Good authority establishes the fact that they claimed a very extensive tract of country on both sides of Red River extending from the present city of Shreveport to the cross timber, a remarkable tract of woodland, which crosses Red River more than a thousand miles above its mouth. This tract of country claimed by the Caddo was one of the finest sections within the bounds of North America.

The topography of the country made it suitable for agriculture, stock raising, fishing, and hunting. The Caddo uplands are marked by numerous bayous and lakes and are undoubtedly excellent in quality. The river lands are of the richest alluvial soil and of wonderful fertility. The soil of the valley in many places is a black, deep soil of unsurpassed fertility. At intervals along the Red River from Shreveport to the timber line there are numerous lakes and spring-brooks, flowing over a fertile soil, here and there interspersed with glades and small prairies, affording a fine range for the wild animals that inhabited the Indians' happy hunting ground.

The range of the Caddo was far beyond the territory that they claimed. It undoubtedly extended east from the Red River near the present city of Shreveport to the Ouachita River, and north to the Arkansas River, northwest to the source of the Red River and west to the Sabine River.

Since the Caddo hunted, traded, and often went to war with adjacent tribes, it appears necessary at this time to give a sketch of the tribes bordering on the territory claimed by the Caddo. To the west and southwest of the Caddo on the Angelina and upper Neches rivers lived the Hasinai Confederacy, that comprised some ten or more tribes, of which the best known were the Hainai, Nacogdoche, Nabedache, Nasoni, and Nadaco. They were a settled people, who had been living in the same region certainly since the time of La Salle, and probably long before. They dwelt in scattered villages, practiced agriculture to a great extent, and hunted buffalo on the western prairies. In manners, customs, and social organization the tribes of the confederacy were similar to those of the Caddo.

The Wichita, comprising another group of the Caddoan tribes, lived northwest of the Caddo, on the upper Red, Brazos, and Trinity Rivers. They were known to the Spaniards of New Mexico as Jumano and to the French as Panipiquet or Panis. They are now collectively called by ethnologists the Wichita.

The civilization of the Wichita was essentially like that of the Caddo and the Hasinai, though they were more war like, less fixed in their habitat, and more barbarous, even practicing cannibalism extensively.

The Arkansas (Quapaw) lived north of the Caddo on the south side of the Arkansas River about twelve miles above the Arkansas post. They claimed all the land along the river for about three hundred miles above them. They were friendly with the Caddo tribes, but at war with the Osage who lived farther up the river. They were active tillers of the soil, and also made pottery of the finest design.

East of the Caddo across Red River on Bayou Chicot was a Choctaw village. Marshall says that as early as 1763, and perhaps earlier, some of the Choctaw left their homes in Mississippi and Georgia, and migrated west of the Mississippi where they evidently encroached upon the Caddo, for in 1780 some of them were at war with that nation."

These are the principal tribes and confederacies found along the borders of the territory claimed by the Caddo Indians during the eighteenth century.



In order to understand the history of the Caddo Indians it is not only necessary to have a knowledge of their traditions, customs, and location but also to know something about their relations with the Europeans. The Caddo was one of the groups located on the frontier between Louisiana and New Spain.

France and Spain began a contest to control these frontier tribes from the first moment of contact until 1762 when Louisiana was ceded to Spain. The principal weapon used by the French was the trader, and by the Spaniards, the Franciscan missionary, each backed by a small display of military force. One of the reasons for a desire to control the frontier tribes was to secure possession of their territory. Both France and Spain realized that the best way to accomplish this was to establish an influence over the natives of the district desired. Another reason to control the tribes was to foster trade. A third was a desire of the missionaries to bring them to the knowledge of the Christian faith.

From the outset both the French and Spanish governments regarded the Caddo country as a strategic point of great importance. Likewise, both countries began to make a bid for control of the individual tribes before the close of the seventeenth century. The first contact made by the French was with the Cadodacho who were visited by the survivors of the La Salle party in 1687, and the friendly relations established by this visit were never abandoned. In 1689 Tonti, while searching for La Salle's colony, visited the tribe and further strengthened the amicable relations already existing between them and the French.

The first Spanish explorer to reach the Cadodacho country was Domingo Teran. His attempt to explore the region was a complete failure and it was not until 1717 when another unsuccessful attempt was made by Father Margil to establish missions for the Cadodacho and the Yatasi.

In 1718 a large grant of land was made to Bernard de la Harpe, a French colonizer, in the Cadodacho country. In 1719 a garrisoned trading post was established on Red River by La Harpe between the Cadodacho and Nassonite villages. This post was maintained part of the time with a garrison until after the Louisiana cession. It checkmated every attempt made by the Spaniards to penetrate the Cadodacho country. Later, depots were established at the village of the Petit Cados and Yatasi.

Bolton says:

These trading establishments at Natchitoches and in the villages of the Cadodacho, Petit Cado, and Yatasi, together with the influence of the remarkable St. Denis, who in 1722 became commander at Natchitoches, and who till his death in 1744 remained the master genius of the frontier, were the basis of an almost undisputed French domination over the Caddo tribes. More than once the Spanish authorities contemplated driving the French out of the Cadodacho village and erecting there a Spanish post, but each attempt failed.

The first relations with the Natchitoches began in 1690 when Tonti reached these tribes from the Mississippi and made an alliance with them. In 1700 Iberville sent his brother, Bienville, on a visit to their country from the Taensa villages. Bienville as an ambassador must have accomplished his ultimate aim, for, from the date of his visit to the close of the eighteenth century the tribe never broke faith with the French. In 1712 they helped St. Denis establish a post on the Red River at Natchitoches as a protection against the intrusions of the Spanish, and also in the hope of establishing trade relations with Spain.

In 1701 Bienville and St. Denis visited the Yatasi tribes and made an alliance with them. That the friendship formed by this alliance was permanent, was shown by the fact that the Yatasi refused to close the road between the Spanish province and the Red River settlement, after the Spanish had demanded that it be closed.

The French maintained control over all of the Caddo tribes with the exception of the Adai, among whom the Spanish were located from the very beginning. In 1715 Domingo Ramon, a Spanish colonizer, with a company of Franciscans, made settlements in the Adai territory. The mission of San Miguel de Linares was founded among them in 1716.

In 1719, when France and Spain were at war, orders were given to Blondel, the commandant at Natchitoches, to drive the Spaniards from Texas. In carrying out these orders Blondel, with Natchitoches and Caddo allies, took possession of Los Adaes, and the Indians were allowed to destroy the buildings. The Adai tribe because of their allegiance to the Spanish, were removed from their lands by the French and treated as enemies.

In 1721 the Marquis de Aguayo, a Spanish general, was sent with the strongest military force that had ever entered Texas to re-establish the presidios of Texas and the abandoned missions. He established a new presidio in the Adai tribe beside the Mission of San Miguel. This new presidio was located where the present town of Robeline, Louisiana, now stands. About 1735 a military post called Nuestra Senora del Pilar was established, and five years later this garrison became the Presidio de los Adayes. Afterwards, when the country was districted for the jurisdiction of the Indians, the Adai tribe was placed under the division having its official headquarters at Nacogdoches. Although Spain had established the political rule over the Adai, she had not stopped the French trade that had won the hearts of the natives. These Indians and associated tribes along the frontier looked to the French for their weapons, ammunition, and other articles of trade, for which they exchanged their peltry, and often their agricultural products.

As a result of the wars between France and Spain the Adai had suffered severely, one portion of their villages being under French control, the other being under Spanish control. The ancient trail between their villages became the noted "contraband trail" along which traders and travelers journeyed between the French and Spanish provinces. One of their villages was on the road between the French fort at Natchitoches and the Spanish fort at San Antonio. The adverse influences of the whites, together with the conflict between France and Spain, almost exterminated this ancient tribe of Indians.


From this time the Caddo tribes were under Spanish control; therefore the outcome of the Indians will be largely determined by the Spanish Indian policy. The three fundamental purposes of the early Spanish policy were to convert the natives to the Christian faith, to civilize them, and to use them in the development of the frontier. In order to accomplish these desires the encomienda system was devised. It was soon learned that before the savage could be civilized, converted, or made a useful being, he must first be controlled. To provide such control, the land and Indians were distributed among the colonizers who held them in trust, or in encomienda. It was the duty of the trustee to provide for the protection, the conversion, and the civilization of his subjects; in return he was given the privilege to exploit them. The encomendero, or guardian, was required to support friars, whose duty it was to instruct the Indians in the Christian religion, in citizenship, and in the industrial arts. This plan led to the establishing of great monasteries in the territory conquered by the Spanish colonizers.

It was also learned that in order to instruct and exploit the Indian properly, he must be made to remain in a specified place of residence. Thus it soon became a law that Indians must be congregated in pueblos, and kept there by force if necessary. The encomienda system was so badly abused that it placed the Indians in a state of slavery. The trustees, yielding to the desire of the flesh, thought only of the usefulness of the natives in terms of dollars and cents. They disregarded the primary objects for which the system was designed; to convert and civilize the natives. The encomienda system was gradually replaced by the missions. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries many missions were planted on the expanding frontiers of Spanish America. These missions were in the hands of priests whose first duty was to teach the Christian religion to the heathen, and to teach the Spanish language and civilization. The missionaries were not only religious agents but they also served as political agents for Spain. They explored the frontiers, promoted their occupation, de fended them and the interior settlements from foreign influences and savage tribes, and often served as diplomatic agents. The Spanish Indian policy prior to the Louisiana cession, although tinged with mercenary aspirations, was designed for the preservation of the Indians rather than for their destruction.

In 1762 France ceded Louisiana to Spain but the transaction was not complete]y carried into effect until 1769.l7 The Indians were very angry when they learned of the treaty of cession. They did not believe that the King of France had a right to transfer them to any white or red chief in the world, and to dispose of them like cattle; thus they threatened resistance to the execution of the treaty.

Spain now had a new Indian problem. She had the difficult task of winning the loyalty of the Indian tribes that had been living peaceably under the influence of the French in the contested territory. The new policy adopted was similar to that employed by the French, a "method of control," Bolton says, "Through the fur trades and presents, a good many modifications in the directions of greater equity for the white men and greater humanity to ward the natives.


After the Louisiana cession Antonio de Ulloa, first Spanish governor in Louisiana, and Hugo O'Conor, ad interim governor in Texas, issued proclamations threatening death to any French man trading in Texas. Later, O'Conor claimed that by this means all such trade was suppressed. Ulloa soon concluded, however, that the French system of trade and presents for the friendly Indians must be continued. He reached this conclusion in December, 1767, after an attempt was made to suppress the trade with the Yatasi tribe. On his way to the village, Du Buche, a trader who had been stopped by orders of O'Conor, caused the tribe to rise in rebellion. They held a meeting and planned to attack one of the Texas presidios, but were deterred by Guakan, head chief of the Yatasi nation. Guakan was pacified and trade allowed to continue. French traders were allowed to go freely to the tribes of Louisiana and Texas without restrictions as to time or place.

When Alexander O'Reilly became governor of Louisiana in 1769, he continued the trade with the friendly tribes, but attempted to discontinue trade with the enemies. Athanase de Mezieres, lieutenant governor at Natchitoches, was instructed by O'Reilly to continue the annual presents to the Cadodacho, Petit Cado, and Yatasi tribes. De Mezieres was also instructed to choose traders of good habits to send into the Indian villages and to encourage the savages to work and not to remain idle. He selected Alexis Grappe, Dupin, and Fazende Moriere to reside in the villages of the Cadodacho and Yatasi. The instructions which they were to observe specified that the savages must be furnished satisfactory merchandise for the ordinary trade price; no English merchandise should be introduced among the Indians; goods should be sold and distributed only to friendly nations; the traders should arrest all French and Spanish wanderers or vagabonds, and confiscate their effects, demanding, if necessary, the forcible aid of the Indians; the chiefs were requested to bring such rovers to the post; English traders should not be allowed to trade with the Indians or even to go into their villages; they were pledged to maintain peace and harmony among the tribes allied with Spain; they were to teach the natives to be loyal subjects; they were to tell the hostile nations that the French and Spanish were united and if they did not refrain from violence they would be treated as their cruel enemies; but if they made true signs of repentance they would be added to their list of allies; it was recommended to the traders that no adult or infant Indian in danger of death should be without the blessing of holy baptism.

Traders having been selected, and instructions having been given to the traders, De Mezieres proceeded to make an agreement with the Caddo tribes. He informed Tinhiouen, chief of the Cadodacho, and Cocay, chief of the Yatasi, of their selection as medal chiefs, and arranged for a meeting at Natchitoches. The chiefs of the Cadodacho and Yatasi met De Mezieres at Natchitoches on April 21, 1770. They ceded their lands to the king, agreed to receive the presents and the traders, and to use their influence in controlling and making peace with the tribes of the north In writing about this agreement De Mezieres said:

... They have ceded him (the King) all proprietorship in the land which they inhabit, have promised him blind fidelity and obedience, and have received his royal emblem and his august medal with the very greatest veneration. They have engaged to aid with their good offices and their persuasion, in maintaining the general peace, and, in consequence, not to furnish any arms or munitions of war to the Naytanes, Taovayaches, Tuacanas, Quitseys, etc.; to employ themselves peaceably in their hunting, both for their entertainment and for their subsistence; and to arrest and conduct to this post all coureurs de bois and persons with out occupation whom they may meet in the future, protesting that they will never forget their promise, which is just and very conformable to the harangue which has been brought to them by us, in the name of the captain-general of this province. ...

On February 3, 1770, De Mezieres made a contract with Juan Piseros to furnish the goods for the traders. He was to deliver them at Natchitoches on a year's credit, and to receive in payment deer skins of good quality at thirty-five sous apiece, bear's fat at twenty-five sous a pot, and buffalo hides, good and market able, at ten livres each. Piseros purchased the goods in New Orleans, and on their arrival at Natchitoches, they were divided among the licensed traders who had been appointed to distribute them.

In the fall of 1770, De Mezieres went to the village of the Cadodacho, on the Red River, to undertake the task of winning the friendship of the nations of the north. On his journey from Natchitoches he passed through the villages of the Adai, Yatasi, and Petit Cado. The Caciques and principal men of these villages, gladly accompanied him to the Cadodacho village. De Mezieres met at the appointed place the chiefs of the Taovayas, Tawakoni, Yscanis, and Kichai tribes who were hostile to the Spanish and made peace with them. De Mezieres said, "I am indebted to the Cacique Tinhiouen and that of the Yatasi, called Cocay, both decorated with his majesty's medals, and alike devoted to our Dation, for seconding my discourse with forceful arguments.

In 1779 the first chief of the Cadodacho decided to visit New Orleans. De Mezieres informed Governor Bernardo de Galvez of the chief's intention of visiting him. He said:

The first chief of the Cadauz-dakioux, who has never gone down to that capital, has decided to make this long journey, attracted by your reputation and moved by the strongest desire to see you and know you. This Indian (of whom I have had the honor of reporting to you) is friendly, and is very commendable both because of an inviolable fidelity to us as well as by reason of a courage which never fails. It is to him principally that we owe in this district a constant barrier against the incursions of the Osages; moreover, it is to the love and respect which the villages of the surrounding district show him that we owe the fact that they generally entertain the same sentiments for us. ... As the Cadaudakious nation is very much enfeebled by the continual war of the Osages, and since the last epidemic has still more diminished its numbers, it has created a faction amongst them who desire to abandon the great village. This would leave the interior of the country exposed to incursions of foreigners and its Indian enemies, a design so fatal that it will not succeed if Monsieur the Governor uses his prodigious influence to frustrate it. ... The medal chief being accompanied by all the principal men of the nation... it will be well for your Lordship to treat them kindly, and to recommend them to love both our nation and their chief. ... Since many hunters of the Arkansas River are introducing themselves among the Cadaudakioux, to the prejudice of their creditors; I pray your Lordship to remedy this abuse by intimating to the medal chief not to receive them in the future, and even to force them to appear in this post, because this sort of hunters, seeking only to flatter the Indians, very often give them very bad impressions. ... Your Lordship will make known how interested you are in maintaining peace among the Caddodoukioux, the Arkan as, and other allies.

On June 1, 1779, Galvez replied to De Mezieres' letter as follows:

The head chief of the Cados nation who came to this capitol to visit me, I received with all the affection and kindness merited by the fidelity, love, and other qualities which you indicate, I keeping in mind in the conversation which I had with him, everything which you suggested to me; and after remaining here some days he returned to his country with a present of considerable importance which I gave him, and decorated with the large medal.

The Caddo tribes were satisfied with the new Spanish Indian policy as advocated and put into operation by De Mezieres. They were loyal to the Spanish government, and served faithfully to maintain peace at all times. The Spanish had won their support by making money and presents the basis of all negotiations with them.


In 1803 the Caddo Indians after having been under the jurisdiction of the French and Spanish for nearly a century passed under the yoke of American domination. The French, who were the first whites to come in contact with the Caddo, had controlled them from the first quarter of the eighteenth century until Spain actually took possession of Louisiana in 1768. The Spanish exercised control over them until the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. At the time of this transaction the Caddoes were living in the same territory that they had inhabited when first met by the white man. The different tribes of the confederacy had wandered up and down Red River at different periods, and finally during the first quarter of the nineteenth century consolidated in the Sodo Creek region in the present state of Louisiana.


During the last quarter of the eighteenth century the Cadodacho abandoned their villages in the prairies along the great bend in Red River, descended the river, and settled about thirty-five miles west of the main branch of Red River, on a bayou, called by them, Sodo. The new settlement was about one hundred and twenty miles by land in nearly a northwest direction from Natchitoches. They were driven from their old homes by the Osages who were constantly making excursions into their territory, killing their warriors, and stealing their horses.

The land on which they now lived was a prairie of a white clay soil. The country around them was hilly, covered with a growth of oak, hickory, and pine trees, interspersed with prairies of a rich soil, very suitable for cultivation. They raised corn, beans, and pumpkins, as they had done in their old villages.

By the beginning of the nineteenth century the importance of the Cadodacho as a distinct tribe was at an end; the people be came merged with the other tribes of the confederacy and shared their misfortune. In 1776 De Mezieres recommended that presents no longer be given to the Natchitoches and Yatasi tribes, since they had disbanded and scattered among other bands. In 1805 the Natchitoches numbered fifty. Shortly afterwards, they ceased to exist as a distinct tribe, having been completely amalgamated with the other tribes of the Caddo Confederacy. The Yatasi tribe was practically destroyed by the wars and new diseases of the eighteenth century. These had such an effect on the Yatasi that by 1805, according to Sibley, they had been reduced to eight men and twenty women and children. They, too, merged with the other members of the Caddo Confederacy. All of the Adai, Natsoos, and Nasonnites disappeared as distinct tribes by the close of the eighteenth century. The Adai were absorbed by the Caddo, and it is thought the Natsoos, and Nasonnites were also merged with their kindred. By the close of the eighteenth century with the exception of a few scattered bands, the Caddo villages in the vicinity of the present Caddo Parish, Louisiana, represented the remnants of the old Caddo Confederacy. Tribal wars and diseases had spread havoc among them, and they, who were once a thrifty and numerous people had become demoralized and were more or less wanderers in their native land.

The peaceful Caddoes who had lived under the French and Spanish regimes soon learned that they were subjects of a new master. Before the Americans took possession of Louisiana, Sibley reported the Caddoes as anxiously inquiring about their coming, for their presence meant higher prices for furs.


On February 4,1804, Edward Turner was given a commission as civil commandant of the District of Natchitoches. He was placed in full charge of the post by Governor William C. C. Claiborne. In the letter informing him of his appointment, Claiborne said, "On the waters of the Red River there reside two small nations of Indians the Paunies (Panis) and Caddoes, who trade at the post of Natchitoches. You will receive these people with friendly attention and have a regard to their interest. No person is to be permitted to trade with them, who has not been heretofore licensed under the Spanish Authority, and the period for which such license was granted has not expired, or who shall not produce a license in writing from myself.

A few months after Captain Turner took charge of the post, he wrote Governor Claiborne that he had received a visit from the Caddo Indians, who had said that the Spaniards gave them a present each year, and they wished the same from the Americans. Turner further stated that he gave them a few presents that satisfied them temporarily, and promised to let the chief know later what he could expect in the way of presents. Turner also suggested that it would not be a wise policy to let the Indians become dissatisfied, for the Spaniards were exerting every means to induce them to be unfriendly. On November 3, Claiborne advised Turner to do everything in his power to gain the good will of the Caddoes and keep them friendly with the United States. He advised him to furnish rations to the honest, well disposed Indians that visited the post, but stated that he had not been authorized to make presents to them generally. He instructed Turner to give presents to the Caddo chief and his principal men, but these presents were not to exceed two hundred dollars in value.

While the Caddo Indians were under Spanish control they had been given presents annually from the post at Natchitoches, and they expected the American government to continue this system. Inasmuch as the United States government was making a bid for the control of the Caddo who were again living within contested territory, it was imperative that it continue the Spanish policy of giving presents.

In 1803 Turner recommended the immediate establishment of American factories at Natchitoches to attract the Indians from the Spaniards. Turner and Sibley informed Claiborne of the privilege enjoyed by Murphy and Davenport in trading with the Spanish Indians. As this trade included the privilege of supplying them with ammunition, the Americans, in case of difficulty with the Spaniards, might feel its evil effects. Accordingly they thought that if the trade could be turned into the proper channel, and be supplied from a post on Red River the Indians might be come loyal friends of the Americans.

In 1804 Sibley was asked by Secretary of War Henry Dear born to act occasionally as agent for the United States in holding conferences with the various Indians of his vicinity. He was to keep them friendly toward the American government by the distribution of some three thousand dollars worth of merchandise. On May 23, 1805, Secretary Dearborn instructed Sibley to use all means, at all times, to conciliate the Indians, and especially those natives that might, in case of a rupture with Spain, be useful, or mischievous to the government. He said "they may be assured that ... (they) will be treated with undeviating friendship as long as they shall conduct themselves fairly and with good faith to wards the government and the citizens of the United States."

As Indian agent, Sibley was very active, holding numerous conferences with the Indians of his territory, and counter acting the efforts of the Nacogdoches traders to move the Caddo and other friendly Indians into Spanish territory.

In 1805 Governor Claiborne informed Thomas Jefferson that, in his opinion, the Indians west of the Mississippi would give them very little trouble. He said that the Caddo nation had a decided influence over most of the tribes in lower Louisiana, and they would be easily managed. He stated also that their disposition toward the United States was already friendly, and with the proper treatment, he was persuaded their friendship could be preserved. Sibley in a report to President Jefferson in 1805 said, "The whole number of what they call Warriors of the Ancient Caddo, is now reduced to about one hundred, who are looked upon somewhat like Knights of Malta, or some distinguished military order. They are brave, despise danger or death, and boast that they have never shed white men's blood." The Caddo Indians were so brave, peaceful, diplomatic, and influential that it is not surprising the Spanish officials refused to admit that they lived on American soil or to give them up without a controversy. On one side of the border Sibley was working faithfully to keep the Caddoes friendly, while on the other side Captain-General Salcedo was issuing instructions to prevent the removal of Indians from Texas into Louisiana, and by every means possible to keep them faithful to Spanish allegiance. In 1805 from each group of frontier officials, came accusations against the unfair dealings of the other in dealing with the Indians in the disputed territory.

The Spanish officials disliked the fact that the Caddoes rendered assistance to the Freeman-Custis expedition in exploring Red River. They also disliked the fact that the Caddoes, instead of displaying the Spanish flag in their villages, had replaced it with an American flag given them by members of the Freeman-Custis party. The Spanish force sent to stop the Freeman-Custis exploring party entered the Caddo village, cut down the American flag, insulted their chief, and threatened to kill the Americans if they resisted their attempt to stop them. In consequence, Claiborne immediately communicated with Simon de Herrera, commander of the Spanish troops east of the Sabine River, saying,

On my arrival at this port, (Natchitoches), I learned with certainty that a considerable Spanish force had crossed the Sabine, and advanced within the territory claimed by the United States. It was hoped, Sir, that pending the negotiations between our respective Governments for an amicable adjustment of the Limits of Louisiana, that no additional settlement would be formed, or new Military Positions assumed be (by) either Power, within the disputed territory; a Policy which a conciliatory disposition would have suggested and Justice sanctioned; but since a contrary conduct has been observed on the part of certain officers of his Catholic Majesty, they alone will be answerable for the consequences which may ensue.

The above proceeding, Sir, is not the only evidence of an unfriendly disposition which certain officers of Spain have afforded. I have to complain of the Outrage lately committed by a Detachment of Spanish Troops, acting under your Instructions, toward Mr. Freeman and his party, who were ascending the Red River under the Orders of the President of the United States. ... Mr. Freeman and his party were assailed by a Battalion of Spanish Troops, and commanded to return. ...

This Detachment of Spanish Troops... (committed) another outrage, toward the United States, of which it is my duty to ask an explanation. In the Caddo Nation of Indians, the Flag of the United States was displayed and commanded from the chief (and) warriors all the respectful venerations, to which it is entitled. But your troops are stated to have cut down the Staff on which the Pavilion waved; and to have menaced the Peace and safety of the Caddo's should they continue their respect for the American Government, or their friendly Intercourse with Citizens of the United States.

I experience the more difficulty, in accounting for this transaction, since it cannot be unknown to your Excellency that while Louisiana appertained to France, that the Caddo Indians were under the protection of the French Government, and that a French Garrison was actually established in one of their villages: hence it follows, Sir, that the cession of Louisiana to the United States, with the same extent which it had when France possessed it, is sufficient authority for the display of the American Flag in the Caddo village, and that the disrespect which that Flag has recently experienced, subjects your Excellency to a serious responsibility.

On August 28 Herrera replied to Claiborne's letter in part as follows: "I think as your Excellency does that all the country which his Catholic Majesty has ceded to France belongs to the United States, but the Caddo's nation is not upon it and on the contrary the place which they inhabit is very far from it and be longs to Spain. ..." Herrera further stated that he informed the Caddoes that if they wished to continue to live under the domination of the United States, they would have to pass into their territory, but if they wanted to remain where they were, they would have to take down the American colors. On August 31, Claiborne replied to Herrera's letter, as follows: "You have not denied, Sir, that the French when in possession of Louisiana, had established a garrison on the Red River, far beyond the place where Mr. Freeman and his associates were arrested on their voyage, or that the Caddo Indians were formerly considered as under the protection of the French Government. The silence of your Excellency on these points, proceeds probably from a knowledge on your part of the correctness of my statements." It appears that this letter ended the official correspondence between Claiborne and the Spanish relative to the control of the Caddo Indians. It also appears that the American agents were making progress in their bid for the control of the Caddoes. The Americans were now put to the task of holding the advantages they had already gained.

Governor Claiborne had invited the chief of the Caddo nation to meet him in Natchitoches. On September 5, 1806, the grand chief of the Caddoes, accompanied by twelve or fifteen of his warriors, arrived at Natchitoches, and on the following day Governor Claiborne, in the presence of the officers of the army, and many respectable citizens, gave an address to the chief of the Caddo Nation. In this address he said:

That great and Good Man, the president of the United States esteems you and your people. Like the rising sun that gives light and comfort to the world, expands the cares of the American chief, and his desire is to promote the happiness of all mankind. He is particularly solicitous to better the condition of his red children; he wishes them to know war no more; to live in peace with their neighbors; to pursue the deer in safety; to cultivate their little fields of corn without fear, and that no enemy should disturb their sleep at night. ...

Brother ! Let your people continue to hold the Americans by the hand with sincerity and Friendship, and the chain of peace will be bright and strong, our children will smoke together, and the path will never be colored with blood. ...

The talk (at this time) is not straight between the United States and Spain; but I hope no mischief will ensue, for a council fire is now burning, and the beloved men of the two nations are endeavoring to settle the dispute. But if it should so happen that the Americans must bid their Swords to leap from the scabbard, we wish not your tomahawks to rise. When white people enter into disputes, let the red men keep quiet, and join neither side.

Claiborne further told the chief that the Americans and Spaniards were disputing over the boundary line, and that the Americans purchased the country from the French and claimed all the land which the French formerly possessed. He requested the chief to tell what he had heard to the traveler and to the hunter.

After the ceremonies of smoking the pipe were solemnized, the chief returned the following answer:

I am highly gratified at meeting today with your Excellency and so respectable a number of American officers, and shall forever remember the words you have spoken.

I have heard, before, the words of the President, though not from his own mouth:-his words are always the same; but what I have this day heard will cause me to sleep more in peace.

Your words resemble the words my forefathers have told me they used to receive from the French in ancient times. My ancestors from chief to chief were always well pleased with the French; they were well received and well treated by them, when they met to hold talks together, and we can now say the same of you, our new friends.

If your nation has purchased what the French formerly possessed, you have purchased the country that we occupy, and we regard you in the same light as we did them. ...

This speech from the grand chief of the Caddo nation assured Claiborne that the United States could rely on the Caddoes being friendly and loyal subjects.

The Caddo chief acted as ambassador for Sibley to the other Indian tribes of east Texas and north Louisiana by inviting and conducting a delegation composed of the head men of seven different nations to a council meeting at Natchitoches. After the delegation had been seated in the great council room, and the calumet and council fire had been lighted, Sibley delivered a talk, and in the course of this talk he said:

By the treaty with France and Spain we have become your neighbors, and all the great country called Louisiana as formerly claimed by France belongs to us; the President of the United States is your friend and will be as long as you are friendly to him; we should live together in peace; the boundaries between our country and Spain are not yet fixed, but you may rest assured whether your lands fall within our boundaries or not, it will always be our wish to be at peace and friendship with you; we are not at war with Spain, and do not ask you to be unfriendly to Spain; I caution you against opening your ears to bad talks of any people who wish to make us enemies, but remember that we have not come to this country to do harm to any of our Red brothers, but to help them; it is the wish of your great and good father, the President of the United States, that you should live together in peace.

Sibley gave presents to the different delegations, and extended them an invitation to trade at Natchitoches, promising to exchange articles of merchandise for horses, mules, robes, and silver ore.

During the War of 1812 between the United States and Great Britain the allegiance of the Caddoes to the United States was tested. The Creeks who had attacked the Americans sent war talks to the Caddoes and other tribes along the Louisiana-Texas frontier endeavoring to stir up an insurrection. Claiborne, realizing the gravity of the situation, visited Natchitoches and delivered a war talk to the Caddoes saying that seven years ago they had held a conference at Natchitoches and had mutually agreed to keep the path between their two nations white, and he hoped that they and the chiefs who followed would endeavor to keep the chain of friendship bright and so strengthen it that their children would live together as neighbors and friends. He further told them that Doctor Sibley was agent for the president and whatever he said they should receive as the president's own words. He reminded them also that seven years ago they had told him they had but one enemy, the Osages, and he was sorry to learn that they were still at war with them. He further said, "In the vast hunting grounds where the great Spirit has placed a sufficiency of Buffalo, Bear and Deer for all the red men, the Osages, I hear have already robbed the hunters of all the nations, and their chiefs wage war to acquire more skins." The English, whom he said were like the Osages, were taking many Americans who were peacefully navigating the seas, and compelling them to serve on board of war canoes and fight against their friends and countrymen. Claiborne further told them that the English were unwilling to fight the Americans man to man but had appealed to the red people for assistance by telling them lies and making unfair promises which they would not and could not fulfill. He warned them that the English would be unable to shield the Creeks whom they had already incited to acts of hostility against the Americans. In conclusion he said:

I hear the Creeks have sent runners with war talks, to the Conchattas and other tribes, your neighbors, but I hope all these people will look up to you, as an elder brother, and hold fast your good advice. When your father was a chief, the paths from your Towns to Natchitoches was clean, and if an Indian struck the people of Natchitoches-It was the same as to strike him. To a chief, a man and warrior, nothing could be more acceptable than a sword. ... I have therefore directed, that a sword be purchased at New Orleans, and forwarded to Doctor Sibley, who will present it to you (Caddo Chief) in my name.

Although war talks had been sent to the Caddoes by the Creeks, their friendship and loyalty could not be shaken in their determination to remain at peace with the United States.

It appears that Claiborne not only suspected the English of meddling with the border Indians, but also anticipated trouble again from the Spanish. On October 21, 1814, he wrote John Perkins, that, according to information ascertained at Natchitoches, the Spanish authorities of the province of Texas had made peace with several of the Indian tribes, lately their enemies, and were again likely to acquire an influence in their councils; also, it was reported that eight hundred Spanish regulars were advancing toward Nacogdoches, and no doubt would attempt to occupy the post at Bayou Pierre. He further added, that in case of an invasion of Louisiana, the Caddo and other Indian friends would be needed and. ... "I pray you to keep them prepared for a prompt cooperation." In a letter to Andrew Jackson, who was at this time commander of the American forces at New Orleans, Claiborne said, "The chief of the Caddoes, is a man of great merit, he is brave, sensible and prudent. -But I advise, that you address a talk immediately to the chief, he is the most influential Indian on this side of the River Grande, and his friendship sir, will give much security to the western frontier of Louisiana."

The Caddoes and other friendly tribes had already informed Sibley that they were willing to take up arms in defense of their American brothers and had been ordered by General Jackson to assemble at Natchitoches. Thomas Gale, late judge advocate of the seventh military district, succeeded Sibley as Indian agent, and, being a military man, was appointed commander of the Caddoes, and other Indians assembled at Natchitoches. From further information it was learned that the Caddoes and other friendly Indians were held in readiness at Natchitoches to be used against the English, if needed, or to help maintain peace along the Spanish border.

In 1816 John Jamison was appointed Indian agent at Natchitoches and was informed by Claiborne that "the policy of the government has been to keep the Indians at their homes, to guard against those impositions to which they were exposed by an indiscriminate trade and intercourse with the whites, to introduce among them, husbandry and the art of civilization, finally by supplying all their wants to impress them with grateful and friendly sentiments." After this policy was stated, Jamison was further instructed to enforce strictly the act of Congress regulating trade and intercourse with the Indian tribes; to permit no traders to re side among the Indians, but such as had been licensed according to law; to impress upon the minds of the Indians the benefit de rived by exclusively trading with the factory; to discourage and try to prevent the Indians from exchanging their peltry with the whites for ardent spirits; to prosecute those who should willfully sell ardent spirits to the Indians; to encourage the tribe to live in peace with all nations; to protect and treat with kindness not only their own Indians but individuals of other tribes who lived outside the bounds of the United States that might visit the agency; to endeavor to ascertain the policy observed by the Spanish authorities toward the Indians residing on Red River. It appears that the continued success of the federal Indian policy among the tribes along the Red River depended on the enforcement of these regulations, for if the unlicensed traders were allowed to carry on commerce without restrictions the natives would soon be looking to them for advice instead of looking to the Indian agents.

In as much as the war Department expected the Indian Agents to enforce the trade and intercourse laws, and inasmuch as it expected the factories to supply the goods necessary to keep the Indians friendly and satisfied, it became necessary to establish agencies nearer the Caddo villages. With this in mind, George Grey, who had been appointed agent in 1819, established an agency in 1821 at Sulphur Fork, Red River, in the vicinity of Long prairie. In 1825 the agency was moved to Caddo prairie and remained there about six years when, on account of overflows caused by the great raft in Red River, it was removed below Lodo Lake (Sodo Lake) near the Caddo villages, only a short distance west of the present city of Shreveport. The agency remained at this place until the Caddo Treaty in 1835 after which it was no longer needed and was abolished.

Soon after George Grey became agent he was informed by the Secretary of War that the law of intercourse should be rigidly en forced against all white persons trespassing upon the Indians' lands. Those hunting were liable to prosecutions, fines, and imprisonment, and could be removed by military force. The agent had the authority to get soldiers to aid in the execution of his duty from the nearest military post. D Although rigid enforcement of the intercourse laws was required, and the use of military force was suggested, it seemed almost impossible to stop the liquor traffic. The character of the illegal traders was portrayed in a communication from Brooks to Judge E. Herring, commissioner of Indian affairs, in which Brooks said:

There are hovering all around the Indian borders, smuggling dealers, watching, with a packhorse laden with two skins filled with whiskey and a few worthless toys be sides, for an opportunity to wheedle the Indian out of everything acquired by the chase. He is here today and there tomorrow, as necessity, fear, or interest may suggest. They are an irresponsible and almost intangible race of beings, generally without homes or country; cunning in all the little intrigues and arts of their vocation, well acquainted with the prohibition of the laws of Indian intercourse; and skillful in evading the rules of evidence which bring them into action. Some of the Indians deprecate this traffic while others become the willing recipients, and are often employed to help disseminate the spirits in smaller quantities.

The Indians were usually friendly to the traders. The relations of the traders to the Indians were different from those of their rivals, the American backwoodsmen. The traders wanted to acquire wealth by trapping and trading and did not want the land, but only wanted a free pass through it. The purpose of the American frontiersmen was settlement, permanent occupation, and the dispossession of the natives. Naturally the Indians welcomed the one party as a friend and saw in the other an enemy.



At the beginning of the second quarter of the nineteenth century the Caddoes informed Brooks, their agent, that they were willing to sell their lands. Why they decided to dispose of the territory that had been inhabited by their ancestors from their earliest time is of immediate concern. At least three factors had a direct influence on their decision. First, the white settlers were moving down Red River valley from the Arkansas territory settling on the Caddo lands regardless of the federal laws prohibiting such action. In 1823 George Grey was ordered by the war department to remove all settlers from the Caddo lands. In 1825 Grey wrote the war department as follows: "I enclose you a list of the names of persons that were ordered off the Caddow lands, by order of the former Secretary of War, who have since laid in claims for donations on the Caddow lands. I mention this that our Government may be apprized of their improper claims to the Caddow lands." The names of persons claiming donations under the donation act of Congress on the Caddo lands were Leonard Dyson, Samuel Norris, B. Paira, Henry Stockman, Peter Stock man, Philip Frederich, Moses Robertson, James Faris, Caesar Wallace, John Armstrong, Old Lay, James Wallace, James Coats, Charles Myers, and Manuel Treshall. The whites continued to settle in the Caddo prairies, regardless of government and Indian titles, and when removed from the land became hostile towards the agent commanded to perform the act. In a letter from Brooks to the Commissioner of Indian affairs, he said:

I am informed that persons are engaged at Natchitoches taking the depositions of every old resident from this quarter, to prove that the Caddo nation have no right to the country they occupy, two of these settlers who have thus deposed, hold settlement rights themselves that would be good under the laws, provided, the government decide that the nation has no claim.

This matter is already exciting unfriendly feeling among the Caddoes, who are instigated, by some of the parties concerned, to lay the blame entirely on me.

Thus, between the Indians on the one hand, and the evil minded whites on the other, I consider my present situation quite embarrassing.

Not only were settlers from the United States moving into the Caddo region, but individuals from Texas seemed determined to divide the country among themselves in the face of repeated warnings from the officials in charge. Brooks as agent attempted to discharge his duties faithfully, but was looked upon by these frontiersmen as an enemy to the settlement and improvement of the region. When Brooks informed the Caddoes of the various claims set up by white men to portions of their lands, where located, and of the attempts made to settle thereon, they unconditionally objected, and requested that their objections be communicated to the government.

Another factor that influenced the Caddoes to sell their lands, was the government policy of settling in the territory claimed by the small bands of Indians driven from other sections by the west ward expansion of the whites. At first the Caddoes permitted small bands such as the Coshattos, Delawares, Cherokees, and Alabamas, who had migrated from east of the Mississippi to settle in their territory, hoping to use them as allies against their common enemy, the Osages. As early as 1763, and perhaps earlier, some of the Choctaw left their homes in Mississippi and Georgia, and migrated west of the Mississippi where they evidently encroached upon the Caddo, for in 1780 some of them were at war with that nation. About 1809 a Choctaw village was known to exist on Bayou Chicot and by 1820 another existed near Pecan Point, both villages being located in the Caddo Country. In 1805 Sibley said, "The Caddoques (Caddo) complain of the Choctaws encroaching upon their country; call them lazy, thievish, etc. There has been a misunderstanding between them for several years, and small hunting parties kill one another when they meet." The Caddoes did not seem to object to small bands from different nations settling in their country if they were well behaved and served as allies.

On January 19, 1825, the Quapaw tribe made a treaty with the United States giving up all their lands in Arkansas and agreeing to move to the Caddo territory. Article four of the treaty reads as follows, "The Quapaw tribe of Indians will hereafter be concentrated and confined to the district of country inhabited by the Caddo Indians, and form a part of said tribe. The said nation of Indians are to commence removing to the district allotted them before the twentieth day of January, eighteen hundred and twenty six." A short time after this agreement the Quapaw chiefs visited the Caddoes and with the consent of the Caddo chief selected a location on which to settle, about half a mile from the Red River agency on Treache Bayou. To facilitate removal the United States agreed to furnish them corn, meal, meat, and salt for six months. By March, 1826, the Quapaws began moving to Louisiana under the direction of Antoine Barraque. As soon as they reached the Red River country they suffered reverses. The Caddoes refused to amalgamate with them and had given them a poor location near the Red River raft. They were nearly drowned by successive floods, and most of them wandered back to their old haunts in a starving condition. They were temporarily taken care of, but by a final treaty in 1833 the last foot of ground they owned among the Caddoes was given up and they agreed to move to the Indian Territory The Quapaws lived nearest the whites in the Arkansas territory and were removed from their lands because their presence was a bar to the white men's going there. Immediately after their removal, their country was thrown open to settlement and when they returned to Arkansas they were considered as intruders.

George Gray advocated the settling of all the small bands in Louisiana on the Caddo lands for this would place them away from the influences of the white settlers. He talked with the Caddo chief relative to the proposition and found that he voiced no objections to their settling on his lands, as it was the wish of the government. The chief said that he had never sold any land to the government, but had permitted the Quapaws and other Indians that had sold their lands to reside among his people, and he thought the government should give him a small annuity, for which he would be thankful. Grey stated that in his opinion a small annuity to the old chief would have a good effect, as his influence among the small bands of Indians both in Louisiana and in the Spanish provinces was great. On November 16, 1825, McKenny, commissioner of Indian affairs, instructed Grey to defer assembling the small bands of Indians in Louisiana, as he had proposed, in order to secure their assent to a removal upon Caddo lands, but if they accepted the invitation extended to them by the Caddo chief to receive them as a part of the charge of his agency. The secretary also authorized Grey to give the Caddo chief an annuity of fifty dollars, and to tell him that it was as a token of the good will of his greatfather, the president of the United States, as a small return for his kind feelings towards the Quapaw, in giving them a home upon his lands, and for the offer he had made the bands now in Louisiana to come and join them. This idea of consolidating the small tribes was carried out, for in 1829 practically all of the small bands in Louisiana were living in the country claimed by the Caddo between Red River and the Mexican border. The Caddo still exercised considerable influence over the tribes near them. These small bands of Indians, together with thousands of individuals of different and discordant tribes that the federal government had settled on the Red and Arkansas rivers, soon exhausted the game supply within the Caddoes territory, so by 1835 the Caddoes wanted to retire from their old homes, be cause it was almost impossible to procure enough food from the chase to maintain their existence.

A third factor that influenced the Caddoes to dispose of their lands was the insistence on the part of the Spanish, that they move to Texas. Pierre Rublo and Joseph Valentin, farmers and in habitants of Natchitoches parish, reported that in 1821 the Governor of Monterey sent a messenger express to the Caddo tribe, inviting them to move to that country, and offered liberal pay to any whites that would conduct them into Texas. In August, 1821, according to Rublo and Valentin they accompanied a deputation of eighty-three Caddoes to Monterey. During a conference with them the governor learned that they were willing to migrate into Texas, and desired a tract of land on which to settle, and, according to Rublo, made them an assignment on the Guadalupe River, commencing where the upper road from San Antonio to Nacogdoches crosses that stream, and running up the Guadalupe to its source. Valentin said that the reason the Caddoes did not move immediately was because of the Texas Revolution and the illness of one of the old Indians, much respected, whom they did not want to leave behind. He further stated that they had decided to go when Brooks became agent, but their departure was checked because Brooks offered inducements to them to remain. In 1826 Sibley wrote to Austin, saying:

Our government is placing above us on the waters of Red River and Arkansas more than fifty thousand Indians of different and discordant tribes. I do not like the Policy, not for the reason only, that it will hasten their extinction. The Caddos and Quapaws, are going to settle above you on the same River. -They will be peaceable, but unprofitable neighbors.

From the contents of this letter it seems that Sibley was aware of the fact that the Caddoes had been granted land in Texas. In 1835 Colonel Many, an officer stationed at Fort Jesup, reported that he understood from good authority, that the Caddoes had been granted land by the Mexican government, and that a number of them had already gone into that country to settle. He said that he had been informed, and did not doubt the truth of the in formation, that these Indians were more attached to the Spaniards than to the Americans, and that the only thing that had kept them from going into the Spanish country was the few presents they had received, and the work that had been done for them by the gunsmith furnished by the United States. Colonel Brooks in a communication to the Secretary of War stated that he was enclosing a paper which he had obtained from the Caddo chief, purporting to be a grant of land made +o the Caddo nation of Indians by a former governor at San Antonio. l The fact seems to be well established that the Spanish authorities had assigned a tract of land to the Caddo Indians, and that the Caddoes had been desirous of going since 1820, but their departure had been delayed by the presents given, and the promises made them by United States Indian agents.

During the first quarter of the nineteenth century the Caddoes were urged to remain on American soil, but by 1830 conditions had changed and they were then urged to sell their lands. In 1834 Brooks, in a letter to Judge E. Herring, commissioner of Indian affairs, said: Since the practicability of removing the obstructions to the navigation of Red River has been established, much excitement has been manifested respecting the river lands throughout the region of the raft, embracing a considerable scope of the Caddo territory, and is already a fruitful source of trouble to me and uneasiness to the nation. This state of things was anticipated by me from the first, and was the occasion of my suggesting to the President, when last at Washington, the necessity of extinguishing the Indian title to all such land prior to the removal of the raft.

As I have reason to believe that some branch of the Government has been addressed in regard to the lands, and as there are frequent attempts of late to encroach upon them, I have felt it my duty to apprise the register of land for this district of the occurrences, and now take leave to re new the suggestion, through you, whether it would not be best to negotiate for these lands at once, before the further progress of the work shall open the eyes of the tribe, as to their importance to the whites, or before their true interest shall be surrendered to the cupidity of the evil advisers who surrounded them.

I beg, further to suggest that, if the Government approve of the above views, I believe the safest and best course of accomplishing the object will be between the Secretary of War and a delegation of the nation, at Washington City. By such a course of procedure, justice may be done between the parties without any of the embarrassments sure to at tend a negotiation here.

In another letter to the commissioner of Indian affairs dated July 1, 1834, Brooks informed the commissioner that in anticipation of the speedy opening of the river navigation, speculators were flocking to, and settlements were being made on, the Caddo lands, regardless of government and Indian titles. Evidently Colonel Brooks had been urging the Caddoes to sell their lands in order to relieve the embarrassing situation that he related in his letters of March 20, and July 1, to the commissioner of Indian affairs, for in January 1835 they sent a memorial to the President of the United Stated indicating that they would sell their lands. In this memorial they informed the President that according to their traditions they were living in the same region they had inhabited since the first Caddo was created; that they had been promised by the French, the Spanish, and later the Americans that no white man would ever be permitted to settle on their lands; that the agent at Natchitoches in their first council with representatives of the United States had told them that they could not sell their lands to anybody except their great father, the President; that Brooks had informed them that they would no longer have an agent, gun smith, or blacksmith and that he was at a loss to know what the government intended to do with them. In reply they said:

This heavy news has put us in great trouble; we have held a great council, and finally come to the sorrowful resolution of offering all our lands to you which lie within the boundary of the United States for sale, at such price as we can agree on in council one with the other. ...

The Caddoes further urged that the President would expedite measures to treat with them in order that they might obtain relief from their deplorable condition.


In March 1835 Colonel Brooks received instructions to treat with the Caddoes for their land. The instructions said:

You will endeavor to procure a cession of their right to any land in that state. After considerable search and inquiry, I have not been able to ascertain, with precision, either the extent of the country occupied by them or the tenure by which it is held. The report of Colonel Many, a copy of which is enclosed, contains the best information in the possession of this Department on the subject. It appears probable, from this report, and from an examination of the map, that after the boundary line between the United States and Mexico is permanently established, the district of country occupied by these Indians may contain from six hundred thousand... to one million... of acres. It is believed that the Caddo Indians are desirous of removing from the state of Louisiana, and their condition would be no doubt benefited by such removal.

On June 3, 1835, Brooks employed Larkin Edwards who was interpreter for the Caddoes, to visit the Caddo villages and inform the chiefs and people of the Caddo nation of his arrival at the agency-house with instructions to treat with them for the purchase of their land; and that he had brought a great many presents for them, and expected them to assemble at the agency-house. On June 25, the Caddoes assembled to the number of four hundred and eighty-nine, men, women, and children, and, as instructed by Brooks, selected a council to represent them in negotiating the treaty. On June 26, the head chief, Tarshar, and underchief, Tsauninot, with twenty-three chosen councillors, met Brooks at twelve o'clock, and presented themselves as the chosen representatives of the Caddoes assembled, to listen to whatever he had to say to them, and to make such replies as justice to themselves might seem to require. The council pipe was lighted and passed around, and Brooks proceeded without further ceremony to state the object of his present mission.

He told them that the President was pleased to hear that they w ere desirous of selling their lands, and had delegated him to arrange for a council and to make the transaction, provided they could reach an agreement as to the price and conditions of payment; that in the event of an agreement (as the land was to be purchased for the white settlers), the Caddoes would be required to remove within a reasonable time after the President had approved the bargain; that he had come prepared to make them an offer that would place them in a state of independence, compared with their present destitution; that he was aware of the fact that many people purporting to be their friends, had advised them not to depart with their lands, but he said, "I have never deceived you, and am again sent, as your friend, to obtain that from you which is of no manner of use to yourselves, and which the whites will soon deprive you of, right or wrong."

After Brooks had informed them that his business had been stated, and that he awaited a reply, Tsauninot, underchief of the Caddoes in the absence of the chief, addressed them:

Brothers: We salute you, and through you, our great father, who has sent you again with words of comfort to us. We are in great want, and have been expecting you to bring us relief; for you told us, before you departed last fall, that you had no doubt our great father would treat with us for our country, and would supply us with things of much more value to us than these lands, which yield no game. ... It is true that we have been advised by many not to make a treaty at all; that we would be cheated out of our land, and then driven away like dogs; and we have been promised a great deal if we refused to meet you in council. But we have placed no reliance on the advice and promises of these men, because we know what they want, and what they will do; and we have warned our people, from time to time, not to heed such tales, but wait and see what our great father would do for us. We now know his wishes, and believe he will deal justly with us. We will therefore go and consult together, and let you know tomorrow morning what we are willing to do.

After the council adjourned Brooks exhibited samples of goods intended for them, in the event they agreed to the treaty. In the afternoon he gave them presents, and informed them they were tokens of friendship, which had nothing to do with the bargain he wished to make for their land.

On June 27, the council convened at ten o'clock in the morning, and Tsauninot informed Brooks that when he communicated the proceedings of the council of June 26 to his people they hung down their heads and were sorrowful, after which their head chief, Tarshar, rose and said:

My Children: For what do you mourn? Are you not starving in the midst of this land? And do you not travel far from it in quest of food ? The game we live on is going farther off, and the white man is coming near to us; and is not our condition getting worse daily? Then why lament for the loss of that which yields us nothing but misery? Let us be wise then, and get all we can for it, and not wait till the white man steals it away, little by little, and then gives us nothing.

After Tarshar's talk they all sprang to their feet with cries of satisfaction and voiced their agreement to sell their lands.

The Caddo council, having secured the consent of their people, were now ready to continue treaty negotiations. According to Brooks they requested him to make a reservation of four leagues of land in the southeast corner of their territory, bordering on the Red River to the heirs of Francois Grappe, and a reservation to Larkin Edwards anywhere within their territory that Edwards should select.

Brooks informed the Caddoes that their great father, the President, and his head men were opposed to Indian reservations, for there were always bad men seeking every opportunity to cheat the Indian out of everything they possessed, but he would state their wishes relative to the grant in such a form that, if not approved, they would not effect the main bargain. Then Brooks and the Caddoes tried to reach an agreement on the price to be paid for their land, but as an agreement could not be reached at this time, the council adjourned until June 28.

On the morning of June 28, white men of suspicious characters were found within the Indian encampment, and were warned to depart. Captain Thomas J. Harrison, of the third regiment of United States infantry, was directed to post a chain of sentinels around the camp to guard it from all intrusions of the whites, and to allow no one to enter without a pass signed by the commissioner. A white man, Francois Bark, was arrested soon afterward but discharged, on his promise that he would immediately depart, and not return among the Indians while they were engaged in making the treaty.

On July 1,1835, Brooks and the Indian council reached a satisfactory agreement on the price to be paid for their possession. This was the first treaty that the Caddoes had ever made with the United States. By agreement the Caddoes were to relinquish to the United States all their land contained in the following boundaries:

Bounded on the west by the north and south line which separates the United States from . . . Mexico, between the Sabine and Red River wheresoever the same shall be defined and acknowledged to be by the two governments. On the north and east by the Red river, from the point where the said north and south boundary line shall intersect the Red river whether it be in the territory of Arkansas or the State of Louisiana, following the meanders of the said river down to its junction with the Pascagoula bayou. On the south by the said Pascagoula bayou to its junction with Bayou Wallace, by said Bayou and Lake Wallace to the mouth of the Cypress bayou thence up said bayou to the point of its intersection with the first mentioned north and south lines, following the meanders of the said water-courses; but if the said Cypress be not clearly definable, so far then from a point which shall be definable by a line due west, till it intersects the first mentioned north and south boundary line. ...

They further agreed to remove at their own expense from the boundaries of the United States within one year after the signing of the treaty. The United States agreed to pay the Caddoes eighty thousand dollars, thirty thousand to be paid in goods on the signing of the treaty, and ten thousand dollars in money on September 1, 1836, then ten thousand dollars per year for four years.

In the articles supplementary to the treaty it was agreed that the legal representatives of Francois Grappe, deceased, and his three sons Jacques, Dominique, and Belthazar Grappe, should receive four leagues of land located in the southeast corner of the lands ceded to the United States. It was further agreed that Larkin Edwards and his heirs should receive one section of land to be selected from the lands ceded to the United States by the Caddo Indians.

John W. Edwards, the interpreter, translated the treaty and supplementary treaty into the Caddo language. After he had finished, each member of the council was asked if he understood the interpreter clearly, and if he was ready to sign his name to the document, all of which being answered in the affirmative, the formality of signing was concluded in the presence of several witnesses. After the pipe was passed around, and congratulations exchanged between Brooks and the Caddo representatives on having concluded the treaty, they shook hands and separated in friend ship.

By July 10, all the goods and horses, amounting to thirty thousand dollars, had been delivered to the chiefs and head men of the Caddo nation, in compliance with the third article of the treaty. Brooks said that the Indians appeared to be well satisfied with the goods received, and with the whole proceeding, from the beginning to the end. The treaty was ratified by the United States Senate on January 26, 1836, and signed by President Andrew Jackson, on February 2, 1836.


On February 6, 1840, Samuel Norris, an inhabitant of Rush Island, brought a charge of fraud against Jehiel Brooks who had negotiated the treaty with the Caddo Indians July 1, 1835. The cession which had been made to the Grappes was used by Norris as a basis for this charge. He claimed that at the time of the treaty this land was inhabited by Samuel Norris, Lefroy Dupree, and other persons. He also asserted that a short time after the treaty was negotiated, the whole of the reservation made in favor of the Grappes, had been purchased from them by Jehiel Brooks for six thousand dollars. This reservation, it was alleged by Norris, was a fraud upon the United States and on those who occupied the land at the time of the treaty. He charged that Rush Island, on which the reservation in favor of the Grappes was located by the treaty, was not within the limits of the country claimed by the Caddoes; that no land had ever been granted by the Caddoes to the said Grappes, and the reservation of the four leagues of land was fraudulently introduced into the treaty without the knowledge or consent of the Indians.

In a memorial of the chiefs, head men, and warriors of the Caddo nation, dated September 19, 1837, and addressed to the Senate of the United States, they stated that the treaty made between them and Brooks had recently been interpreted to them and they discovered that the boundaries and limits of the treaty were not the same as understood by them in 1835; that the lands sold by them were:

Bounded on the west by the north and south line which separates the United States from Mexico (running) between the Sabine and Red rivers, wheresoever the same shall be defined to be by the two governments; on the north and east by the Red river, from the point where the aforesaid north and south boundary line shall intersect said Red river, following the western waters of said Red river down to where the bayou Cypress empties into the said river; thence up the bayou Cypress, following the meanders of the stream, to the western boundary line.

They further stated that they had never claimed any of the low lands between Bayou Pierre (the western channel of Red River) and the main Red River; that they knew the land between Bayou Pierre and the main channel of the Red River had for a long time been exclusively settled and claimed by the white people. They further stated that the Caddo Indians did not make a reservation in favor of the Grappes within the limits of land they claimed or sold to the United States.

The committee on Indian affairs, after a thorough investigation of the charges brought against Brooks, reported that the tract of land called Rush Island, described in the treaty with the Caddoes, as never a part of their territory. They recommended that the question of fraud involved in making the reservation to the Grappes be referred to the courts.

The treaty was allowed to stand and by it the United States government obtained a cession from the Caddoes of about one mil lion acres of land.

This land was purchased for the white settlers who were already encroaching upon the Caddo country regardless of the trade and intercourse laws. The cession was no doubt highly regarded by the settlers, but it left in the minds of the Caddoes a contempt for the whites who had made it necessary that they dispose of their territory.


With the acquisition of Louisiana by the United States, and with the removal of the great raft on the Red river, immigrants flocked into the Caddo country and pushed the Indians from their old haunts. According to the treaty of 1835 the Caddo ceded all their land and agreed to move at their own expense beyond the boundaries of the United States, never to return and settle as a tribe. Thus the tribes living in Louisiana, being forced to leave their old home, gradually moved southwest and joined their kindred living in Texas.


The second article of the treaty of 1835 stipulated that the Caddo should move without the boundaries of the United States within one year after the signing of the treaty. Their plan to move into Texas was interrupted by the outbreak of the Texas revolution in October, 1835, and by the request of the Texans that the United States government prohibit the Caddoes from moving into their country. In March, 1836, John T. Mason of Nacogdoches wrote Major Nelson, commander at Fort Jesup, as follows:

Travis and all his men captured and murdered. An apprehension of a serious character exists here that the Indians are assembling to fall upon this frontier, particularly those from the United States. I have taken pains to in form myself of the facts, and I have no doubt they have been prepared to move in the event of Santa Anna's success. He is determined to wage a war of extermination against Texas, and has engaged the Indians to aid him. The Committee of Vigilance here will address you on the subject of the threatened danger from the Indians. Is it not in your power to send a messenger to them, particularly the Caddoes, to make them keep quiet? To the extent of your authority, every principle of humanity and safety to the inhabitants of both borders requires an exertion of your powers to avert the disaster of an Indian war; and I have no doubt you will exert all your energies to that end.

General Edmund P. Gaines, who had been ordered by the Secretary of War to the western frontier of the state of Louisiana to take charge, arrived at Natchitoches on April 4, 1836, where he at once began an investigation of border conditions. He said:

The 33d article of the treaty with Mexico requires both the contracting parties to prevent, by force, all hostilities and incursions on the part of the Indian nations living with in their respective boundaries, so that the United States of America will not suffer their Indians to attack the citizens of the Mexican States.

He had been instructed to enforce the provisions of that article, and to make known to the Indians inhabiting that part of the United States along the Red and Arkansas rivers, the de termination of the government to prevent any hostile incursions into Texas. He had learned from citizens that Manuel Flores, a Mexican resident of Spanish Town near Natchitoches, had been lately commissioned by persons professing to act by the authority of the Mexican government, to persuade the Indians in the western prairies on the United States side of the boundary line to join Mexico in the war in Texas; and that with this in view, Flores, accompanied by a stranger, had lately passed up the valley of the Red River, and had already produced considerable excitement among the Caddo Indians. He further stated:

These facts and circumstances present to me the important question, whether I am to sit still and suffer these movements to be so far matured as to place the white settlements, on both sides of the line, wholly within the power of the savages; or whether I ought not instantly to prepare the means for protecting the frontier settlements, and, if necessary, compelling the Indians to return to their own homes and hunting grounds? I cannot but decide in favor of the last alternative which this question presents; for nothing can be more evident than that an Indian war, commencing on either side of the line, will as surely extend to both sides as that a lighted quick-match thrust into one side of a powder-magazine would extend the explosion to both sides.

The Indian situation on both sides of the border caused a great deal of fear and excitement. The Cherokees and their associated bands of eastern Texas, who had been for a long time legal contestants of the whites for lands, were very restless. A fear that the Caddo and other tribes from north of Red River would join the Texas Indians was an added terror, it being known that Manuel Flores had been among the Red river Indians trying to incite them to attack the settlements. The committee of vigilance and safety at San Augustine reported to the citizens that large bodies of Caddo, Shawnee, Delaware, Kickappo, Cherokee, Creek, and other tribes were assembling at the three forks of the Trinity to make war on the inhabitants of the frontier. On April 1, Mason wrote to Gaines that the settlers had no protection except that afforded by the soldiers of the United States. All of the tribes of the Missouri and Arkansas frontier, as well as the immigrant Indians of Texas who had been deprived of their lands, would be glad to enter into a war against the whites.

The committee of vigilance and safety at Nacogdoches appointed C. H. Sims, William Sims, and M. B. Menard as agents to visit the tribes north of Nacogdoches and ascertain their intentions. C. H. Sims stated that he had visited the Cherokee, thirty miles west of Nacogdoches, and found them hostile and prepared for war, and they had informed him that a large body of Caddo, Kichai, Inies, Towakanas, Waco, and Comanche were to attack the settlements. News also came from James and Ralph Chesher, who were in command of a military company, that a Mexican and Indian force conducted by the Caddo had already crossed the Trinity river and that Nacogdoches was in danger. R. A. Irion, acting commandant of Nacogdoches, notified Mason that the news of the movements of the Indians had been confirmed, and that on April 10, a large force led by the Caddo, had encamped at the Sabine sixty miles north of Nacogdoches. The inhabitants were leaving the town and were planning to assemble at Attagas or San Augustine.

While these conditions prevailed at Nacogdoches, Gaines was making an effort to find out the true state of affairs among the Caddoes. J. Bonnell, a lieutenant in the Third Infantry, was sent to the Caddo villages to ascertain facts relative to reports concerning the conduct of these Indians. On April 20, Bonnell reported at Camp Sabine after he had visited the Caddo villages, where he was informed by the Caddo chief and warriors, through his interpreter, that Manuel Flores had recently been among them endeavoring to persuade them to go with him into Texas to kill and plunder the white inhabitants. Flores told them that he held a commission from the Mexican government and promised them free plunder if they would go with him; that the Spaniards (Mexicans) wished all the Americans (white inhabitants of Texas) destroyed; that all the Americans in Texas were deserters from their own country. At the first village Bonnell found only two or three squaws and a few children, the warriors having gone to the prairies because Flores had told them that the Americans were going to kill them. Bonnell sent for the few warriors who were found in the neighborhood and assured them that the Americans were their friends, and wished them to return to their villages and live in peace, and hunt on their own grounds as usual. The Indians declared that Flores had made no impression on their loyalty and that they had heard so many reports they did not know what to believe; they were now glad to know the truth.

At the second village, twelve miles further, Bonnell found Chief Cortes and several warriors who said that when the principal chief led the men to the prairies to hunt, he (Cortes) had told them not to disturb the whites. He promised to notify the Indians on the prairies and requested that Gaines be informed that if the Caddoes should see the Americans and Spaniards fighting, they would not take part on either side. Cortes further said that when the Caddoes left for the prairies to hunt they were friendly to the whites.

When Bonnell returned to the first village he learned that Flores had passed through the village accompanied by "a thick, short man, about middle-aged, who had formerly lived at Nacogdoches," and that there were three Mexicans then on the prairies hunting with the Indians. One Indian said that had it not been for the lies that Flores told them, the Caddoes would long since have returned and planted their corn. This Indian said that the tribe would not wage a war against the whites, but admitted that Flores was then hunting with the Caddoes on the prairies, that he had gone with them since he could not prevail upon them to go with him. Marshall says:

Three of the circumstances brought out in Bonnell's report tend to confirm the opinion that the Caddo were in league with the Cherokee in spite of all their friendly protestations; the first striking fact is the absence of the warriors; the second, that the Indians had done nothing toward their corn planting, an operation which the squaws usually performed; and third, the fact that the Mexican emissaries were admitted to be with the warriors.

If the Caddoes had promised the Cherokees to join them against the settlers of Texas, Bonnell's visit evidently influenced them to change their minds, for on May 13, the Caddo chiefs re quested Larkin Edwards who had lived among them for thirteen years and had been their interpreter for six years, to write to Gaines in their behalf. In this letter Edwards said:

A Mexican or Frenchman named Manuel Flores, an emissary of the Mexican Government, has been for some time past residing among the Caddo Indians, and by promises of large sums of money attempted to embroil the Indians in the war between the Mexican Government and Texas. This I know to be the fact, as he is commissioned by the Mexican Government for the purpose of exciting the Caddoes to war against the Texians. ... The emissary, Manuel Flores, informed them that the American Government intended to exterminate them. ... The Cherokees of Texas, they [Caddoes] also inform me, have attempted to make them a part with them against the Texians.

Flores remained among the Caddoes and Sterling C. Robert son reported that his promises of Mexican gold had a great deal to do with inciting them to acts of hostility against the settlers. On June 16, several depredations occurred in the Robertson colony. James Dunn, the regidor of the municipality of Milam, testified that having heard of the massacre at Parker's fort, on the Navasota River in which several persons had been killed by the Kiowa and Comanche Indians, he prepared to move to Nashville, on the Brazos, with a view of "forting" and that he, with Henry Walker and William Smith, were attacked by about fifty Indians. They wounded Smith, killed his horse, killed many cattle and drove the remainder away. Half of the Indians proceeded about a mile and a half away and attacked other settlers in the neighborhood killing two of them.

It was Dunn's belief that about half the Indians who attacked them were Caddoes because the Caddoes wore shirts which were rarely worn by any of the tribes of Indians living in Texas; they had a peculiar manner of wearing their hair, having it cut closely on both sides of the head, and leaving a "top-knot," which was generally worn in a silver tube, "and that they had silver in their nose;" furthermore, he recognized Douchey, a Caddo chief, among the assailants. Montgomery B. Shackleford, one of the settlers who had been attacked, confirmed the testimony given by Dunn. Robertson sent the depositions of Dunn and Shackleford to Gaines, calling attention to the fact that the Caddoes, whom the United States by treaty obligations should restrain from lawless violence, rapine, plunder, and murder, were participants, if not leaders, in the attacks that had recently been made upon the citizens of the frontier. Robertson further said that many citizens had been murdered and much property had been taken by the Caddoes, and that helpless women and children were now in their possession as prisoners, subject to their cruel treatment. He appealed to the sympathies of Gaines, -"Already we hear from lisping infancy and weary and withered age throughout this wide-spreading republic, that you are a friend of Texas. If the facts as stated will justify your march against the Caddoes, the country, we trust, will shortly be relieved from Indian hostility.

On June 22, Gaines answered Robertson's letter, saying that the depositions established beyond a doubt the lamentable fact that the murders to which they referred had been perpetrated by the Indians of Texas or its vicinity, but it was not clear that the Caddoes were among the offenders; yet he thought the evidence sufficient to justify an immediate investigation of the matter.

Spy Buck, an Indian of the Shawnee tribe, testified before a meeting of the committee of safety at Nacogdoches that he had heard from his uncle that a number of Indians, including the Kichai, Towakanas, and Caddoes, had recently killed, at one time, eight Americans, four or five miles below the old Delaware town on Red River.

As a result of these reported hostilities an effort was made by Bonnell and the Texan Indian agent Menard to ascertain the true Indian situation. On August 9 Menard reported to Samuel Houston at Nacogdoches that the Cherokee, Biloxi, Choctaw, Alabama and Caddo were very hostile, and he believed they would soon begin incursions against the settlements. Bonnell sent the reports of Menard to Gaines, adding that they had been confirmed by Michael Sacco, a Frenchman.

Major B. Riley was sent among the Caddo to make a thorough investigation. He visited four of the Caddo villages or settlements and saw between one hundred and twenty and one hundred and thirty men of the different villages. Riley found them peaceably inclined, very much degraded, and addicted to the use of liquor, and if they had committed depredations on the inhabitants, or their property, it was caused by the use of too much whiskey, which appeared to be in abundance in and about their villages. They seemed to be "a poor, miserable people, incapable of the smallest exertion, either as it regards living, or any thing else except liquor." The Caddo chief, Tarshar, or the "Wolf", told Riley that they wanted to live in peace with the whites and did not want to go to war. He said that Flores had been trying to persuade his nation to move to Texas, but they had refused to go.

After July 1, 1836, it appears that the Caddoes proceeded to carry out their treaty obligations with the United States. Until that time Gaines had insisted that they remain in their old villages near Shreveport and refrain from committing depredations on the settlements in Texas. Some of the bands immediately migrated into Texas, while others, taking advantage of the unsettled state of the boundary between Texas and the United States, and of the unsettled conditions in Texas as a consequence of the revolution, continued to live in the Caddo Lake region until about 1840 when they, too, joined their brethren in Texas. The Caddoes associated themselves with the prairie Indians in Texas and combined with them in waging warfare against the white settlements. In August, Henry M. Morfit appointed by President Jackson to ascertain the political, military, and civil condition of Texas, reported that about five hundred Caddoes "have lately migrated from the borders of the United States towards the Trinidad, and who, a few weeks ago, destroyed the village of Bastross."

In January, 1837, according to Kenney, a force of Caddoes, estimated at more than a hundred, invaded the settlements on Little River, west of the Brazos, where they were encountered by Captain Erath with fourteen men. The white men surprised their camp on the bank of Elm Creek at daylight and killed several The Caddoes being armed with rifles made a counter attack in which they defeated the whites, killing three, and wounding several others, besides losing ten of their warriors. They were forced to retreat because of a great storm of sleet and snow; but, being disappointed because they had failed to get scalps and plunder, they soon returned and murdered several settlers along the frontier as far west as the Colorado. Another report stated that they had murdered Captain Beaston and several persons who were in company with him on the Guadalupe River. It was also reported that a family consisting of an old man, his wife, and several children, living thirty miles north of Nashville had been killed by the Caddoes.

Tattooed Northwest Louisiana Brave carrying a scalp and a tribal emblem.

In a report to Memucan Hunt, dated September 20, 1837, Irion said:

The line of the Sabine and Red River frontier is not the scene of the depredations of the Caddoes; their acts of violence are perpetrated on the Trinity, Brazos, Colorado, Guadalupe, etc., far distant from the place of their ordinary abode. In almost every skirmish that occurs on our western frontier Caddoes are recognized. They have in several instances, been shot in the act of stealing horses and murdering the Texians. They are not formidable on account of numbers but from their influence with the prairie tribes.

According to Kenney, the Caddoes murdered the Goacher family (in what is now Lee County) in 1837 and took a Mrs. Crawford with an infant two months old and two other children as captives to their villages on Red River. He related the following incident concerning these captives:

Becoming tired of hearing the infant cry, they snatched it from its mother and threw it into a deep pool of water. The mother followed and brought it out. The Indians seized it and threw it back, and, amused at the frantic efforts of the mother to save it from drowning, continued the sport for some time. At length one of them took the babe and, drawing back its head, told another to cut its throat, which he was about to do, when the mother, nerved by desperation, seized a billet of wood, which chanced to be near at hand, and knocked him down. She expected instant death, but, instead of the expected resentment, the Indians laughed loudly at their fallen comrade, and one of them gave her the child, saying, "Squaw too much brave... take your pappoose and carry it yourself." They did not attempt to injure it afterwards. After two years the captives were ransomed from them at Coffee's trading-house on Red River and returned to their kindred.

In 1837 Colonel Many sent an officer to make inquiries concerning the robberies and murders supposed to have been committed by Indians from the United States. This officer reported that all the depredations committed had been by Indians in the interior of Texas, and by small straggling bands, none of whom be longed to the United States, except the Caddoes; and "that he did not know why they had been regarded as United States Indians, as their principal villages had always been considered within the limits of Texas." He further reported that the Caddoes denied having committed any depredations on the whites, and appeared very anxious to be on friendly terms with them; "that there were but two well-attested cases against the Caddoes-one of robbery, and the other of murder-for which they had provocation in (the fact that) several of their tribe had been killed by the whites." Colonel Many and the officer he sent to the Caddo village failed to take into account the fact that more than half of the Caddoes had already migrated into Texas.


Houston wrote to the Secretary of State of Texas on March 1, 1837, requesting him to urge upon the United States the necessity of keeping the Caddoes peaceful. The Secretary of State will write to the Government of the United States, and urge in the strongest terms the necessity of sending a force, and at least two companies of mounted men, from the United States, to keep the Caddoes in check besides an infantry force at Nacogdoches.

The last treaty between them, and the United States, threw them upon us, with feelings of hostility against all Americans. They regard us as a part of the American family.

The treaty (with Mexico, 1831) demands all we solicit. Our demand should be heard.

On June 26, R. A. Irion, Secretary of the State of Texas, wrote Memucan Hunt, Minister at Washington, that the Caddoes were intruders in Texas, that they were allowed to come in flagrant violation of treaty stipulations between Mexico and the United States, and that they seemed to be the leaders of the hostile bands. He instructed Hunt to solicit the early attention of the United States government to this subject, and to endeavor to get the Caddoes removed from Texas. He said, "offer as a theater for military operations, should they attempt their removal from Texas, a free passage for troops as far as the Trinity; and the privilege of establishing depots, [and] Garrisons... anywhere east of that river.

On September 20, 1837, a joint committee had been appointed by the Congress of Texas with instructions to report a bill for the protection of the eastern frontier. After having taken into consideration the suggestions of Houston and of the Secretary of War this committee recommended active operations against the hostile Indians of the borders.

That several of the tribes near the extreme settlements have been and still are hostile, is too notorious to require a detailed statement of fact to prove it. Among those tribes are embraced the Caddos, Wacos, Tiwachanes, Keechies, Iones, and Pawnees, whose murders and depredations are of almost daily occurrence. The Caddos who exercise a controlling influence over these tribes, and with whom they are in some degree incorporated, recently received on Red River, from the agent of the United States government, ammunition and rifles, and immediately thereafter set off for Texas, to join their confederates on the Trinity and Brazos, which has doubtless inspired the latter with increased confidence. Within the last few days we have received from various sources, satisfactory information, that these Indians have penetrated even below the San Antonio road, having murdered several citizens on the Brazos, Trinity, and Neches rivers. Those incursions of late are becoming more daring, and we are decidedly of the opinion that unless the means of repelling their aggressions be not speedily increased... their attacks, robberies, and murders, will spread extensively, and probably in the end, if not checked by judicious measures, will shortly involve the whole country in a disasterous Indian war. To avert this state of things, your committee advise that an expedition, composed of a suitable force, sufficiently numerous to scour their country, thoroughly, be as soon as practicable sent against them.

This report clearly shows the policy to be pursued towards the border Indians, especially the Caddoes. The Texas officials from the beginning considered the Caddoes intruders. This point is confirmed in a report from John Bell, Secretary of War, to Daniel Webster, Secretary of State. The United States government had the same attitude towards the Republic that it had taken towards the Mexican government. In a communication dated October, 1835, it was stated that, "unless Indians migrating into Mexico manifested a hostile intent, it was doubtful whether, under the 33d article of the treaty (treaty with Mexico 1831), the intervention of the United States could be claimed or afforded; that if they went there with peaceable intentions, it was for the Mexican government alone to decide upon their admission or exclusion". As a consequence of this declaration, the officials of the Republic of Texas endeavored to convince the officials of the United States that the Caddoes entered Texas with hostile intentions. The Secretary of State received a number of communications from the Republic of Texas during the years 1837 and 1838 on the subject of the murders and depredations committed on the white settlements by the Caddoes. In 1838 the Secretary of War of the United States received a communication from Felix Huston stating that the Caddo and other Indians had joined "the rebel Mexicans ;" and that they were within one day's march of Nacogdoches. Colonel Many, who was in charge of the United States troops on the western frontier, having been instructed to make an investigation, said, "there had been good grounds for fearing such an attack, but the danger was over." He further reported that Indians from the United States had not been connected with the affair, but the Indians implicated had lived in Texas for several years.

As the Texas officials failed to get action from the United States relative to the removal of the Caddoes, and as the Indians continued their intrusions into Texas, General Rusk decided to drive them out of Texas. General J. H. Dyer with eighty men marched near the Caddo village on the western fork of the Trinity on October 21, 1838. Very few Indians could be found, but in a skirmish he killed six Caddoes and two of his men were wounded. He declared that if necessary, he would summon his entire force to protect the frontier from the Caddoes and other tribes.

H. McLeod, Adjutant General, under instructions from Rusk sent a communication to Charles A. Sewell, United States Indian agent at Shreveport, on November 21, saying, that he had been in formed that the Caddo Indians had been paid their late annuity in arms and ammunition, that in several recent engagements with the Caddo in the territory of Texas it had been discovered that they had new United States arms in their possession. He further said:

The fact that the Caddoes have for more than twelve months past, been depredating upon the lives and property of the people of Texas, cannot be unknown to you... and Sir, that you as agent of the United States Government, should, under such circumstances... furnish these savages with the means of murdering the defenceless women and children, of Texas, is a matter of the greatest astonishment.

On the same day McLeod wrote Lamar that Sewell had not only furnished arms to the Caddoes, but had said that he did not care if they murdered every woman and child in Texas, and that he would arm them and push them across the line.

This controversy with Sewell, coupled with the hostilities of the Caddoes, influenced Rusk to invade the United States territory. Rusk and McLeod went from Nacogdoches to Clarksville, on Red River, on November 16, to join Dyer in a campaign to the head waters of the Trinity and Brazos Rivers. On their way, near Caddo Lake, they found Captain Tarrant on the march with his company to attack the Caddoes. He had been ordered by Dyer to expel them from Texas territory or destroy them. Rusk halted and took charge of the operation in person. When they reached the Caddo camp, the Indians fortified themselves for battle, but their chief said they wished to talk and not to fight. Rusk ordered him to advance and met him between the lines. The chief stated his ostracised condition, having been bought out and expelled by the United States, and now being denied a right to hunt or live in Texas. Rusk acknowledged the hardship of his case and offered to support his people in Louisiana until the Indian war in Texas was terminated. The chief agreed, but his horses and families being on the other side of the lake, he could not go at once. Rusk exchanged hostages with him, taking a Caddo chief and leaving McLeod in the Indian camp.

The next day Rusk and the chief met at the agency in Shreveport, and after some discussion and much opposition on the part of Sewell and citizens of Shreveport, the arrangement was concluded. The Indians gave up their guns to Sewell with whom they were to remain until the war with their tribe on the frontier of Texas was terminated. Rusk bound the government of Texas to pay for the subsistence of the Indians until the two governments could settle the matter. The Caddoes were to remain in Louisiana for such time as Sewell should direct. No Texas citizen, under any pretence, would be allowed to molest or destroy their property.

This band of the Caddo tribe had been accused of making intrusions into Texas and retreating to the United States for protection. The larger part of the tribe had migrated to Texas under the leadership of Chief Tarshar, and had joined the wild Indians at the three forks of the Trinity. After Rusk had made the agreement with the band of Caddoes at Shreveport, he proceeded to join Dyer for a campaign against the Indians on the Trinity River. In January, 1839, he encountered the Caddoes in the cross timbers west of the Trinity River and burned their villages.

Lamar's policy of extermination caused much suffering among the Caddoes, but it did not put an end to their acts of hostility. In 1839 a Mrs. Webster had been captured by the Comanches but finally made her escape and had arrived within thirty miles of Austin when she was recaptured by the Caddoes and delivered into the hands of those who had first taken her. The Caddoes continued acts of hostility on the settlements, but no doubt the chastising they received from the operations of Rusk made them feel the horrors of war and welcome peace at any price.


When Houston became president in 1841, most of the Caddoes and associated bands had retired east of the Red River whence they sent war parties to ravage and plunder the frontiers. He sent commissioners to that region for the purpose of establishing amicable relations with any and all Indians on the frontier s of Texas. An indication that the time was ripe for negotiations is shown by a letter written to the Caddo Chief, Red Bear, by the Muskogee chief, on July 20, 1842. He advised the Caddoes to be friendly with the whites, and to prevail upon their neighbors to cease hostility against the Texans. Red Bear wrote to R. M. Jones at Boggy Depot, Texas, inquiring about the possibility of making peace with the government of Texas. Jones informed him that Houston had already appointed commissioners for that purpose:

The Government of Texas by her commissioners propose to meet you and such other tribes as shall wish, and make a permanent peace, and will allow the Red men to return to their old Hunting Grounds in Texas, and will appoint agents for their different tribes to watch over their interest and will establish trading houses convenient to their Hunting Grounds where they can barter their skins for clothing and other articles of comfort that they may need.

Jones notified the commissioners that the Caddoes were anxious to make peace with Texas. Arrangements were made to meet the chiefs, head men, and warriors of four different tribes at the Caddo village above the Chickasaw nation. On August 26, 1842, a treaty was made with the Indians. The four tribes present at this council promised to visit the hostile tribes and to persuade these to meet the President and the commissioners on October 26, 1842, at Waco village on the Brazos.

The commissioners attended, but for some reason the Indians were unable to attend. Houston believed that the high waters, the inclemency of the weather, and the buffalo ranging further south than usual explained the failure of the Indians to appear at the appointed council grounds. Houston said, "If a treaty is once concluded, and good faith maintained on the part of the people of Texas, there can be no doubt that friendly relations will be maintained with the Indians." Finally arrangements were made to hold a council at Tawakano Creek in the latter part of March, 1843. The commissioners representing Texas were G. W. Terrell, J. S. Black, T. J. Smith, with T. Bryson as secretary, P. M. Butler representing the United States, with Burgenille as secretary. The Indian tribes represented were the Delawares, Caddoes, Wacos, Shawnees, Ionies, Anadako, Tawakano, Wichitas, and Kichai. On March 31, 1843, an agreement was signed by the different parties to hold a grand council at a date and place to be arranged and agreed upon later. Its purpose should be to conclude a definite and permanent treaty of peace, and friendship between the Re public of Texas and the Indian tribes residing within or near its limits. In the meantime all hostilities, and depredations of every kind should cease. Those Indians who desired were allowed to trade at the trading house on the Brazos River and to plant corn north of the trading house until a permanent line was established between Texas and the Indians. If a treaty were concluded at the Grand Council both parties were to give up all prisoners with out ransom.

In September, the Grand Council convened at Bird's Fort on the Trinity River, where a treaty of far reaching importance was concluded between the Republic of Texas and the Caddoes and associated tribes. Both parties agreed that they would forever live in peace and friendship, and that the President should make such arrangements and regulations with the several tribes of Indians as he might think best for their peace and happiness.

This treaty was approved by the Senate, January 31, 1844, and signed by Houston, February 3, 1844.

In March 1844, the Caddoes and other tribes that had signed the Bird's Fort treaty visited President Houston at Washington. He made them a talk, gave them presents, and assured them of the friendship of the republic. The Indians promised to serve as ambassadors of peace to induce the Comanches and other wild tribes who had not signed the treaty to attend the council arranged to meet in April. The friendly tribes were not able to get the Comanches to the council until October. This council was held on the clear fork of the Brazos beginning October 7, and resulted in the formation of a treaty which was concluded October 9. There were representatives from the Comanches, Cherokees, Delawares, Kichais, Wacos, Towakanos, Caddo, Ionies, Lipan, Anadakos, and Shawnees present at the meeting. The Texan commissioners were J. C. Neill, Thomas S. Smith, and E. Morehouse. Sam Houston, president of the Republic, and G. W. Terrell, attorney general, also attended the council. The treaty was similar to that concluded at Bird's Fort, September 29, 1844.

Both parties agreed that they would forever live in peace, and always meet as friends and brothers; that the government of Texas should permit no bad men to cross the line into the hunting grounds of the Indians; that the Indians should make no treaty with any nation at war with Texas; that they should not steal horses or other property from the whites; that they should not trade with any other people than the Texans so long as they could get such goods as they needed at the trading houses. It was further agreed that the government of Texas should establish trading houses for the benefit of the Indians, and such articles as they needed for their support and comfort should be kept for the Indian trade; that no whiskey or other intoxicating liquor should be sold to the Indians; that the President should send among them schoolmasters and families for the purpose of instructing them in the knowledge of the English language, and Christian religion, as well as other persons to teach them how to cultivate the soil.

This treaty was ratified by the Senate, January 24, 1845, and signed by the President, February 5.

The peace agreements brought about a cessation of hostilities between the settlers and the Caddoes to a great extent but the Indians continued to suffer from natural causes such as famine and disease.


More than a century of contact and relationship with the Europeans and Anglo-Americans practically broke up the once powerful and influential Caddo Confederacy. The peaceful disposition and friendly attitude of the Caddoes towards the nations under whose jurisdiction they happened to be, established early contact with the civilized people. Naturally this expedited the work of civilizing influences, but it proved disastrous for the natives, who were exposed to the contaminating vices which back ward people generally acquire from contact with races more advanced.

The tribes belonging to the Caddo Confederacy were scattered from Natchitoches to the great bend of the Red River, thus they were so divided that at no time could they successfully resist the intruding white races. Never did they attempt to use violence against the white traders and settlers who penetrated the territory claimed by themselves, but always referred such acts of intrusion to the governmental agencies in charge.

During the first half of the eighteenth century the French and Spaniards were involved in a contest for the control of the Caddo country. Each nation endeavored to win the allegiance of the Caddoes, as they exercised a commanding influence over all of the border Indians. The Spanish policy of attempting to win the natives through the influence of the Franciscan missionary was no match for that of the French who operated through the agency of the trader. As a result the French soon established undisputed control over most of the Caddo tribes, but the brunt of these contentions fell upon the Indians. The trails connecting their villages became routes over which armed forces traveled, while some of their villages were converted into fortified posts.

The Caddoes suffered greatly from their contact with the Europeans. Tribal wars were fomented, villages were destroyed and abandoned, new diseases took their toll among the people, and by the end of the century a number of the tribes were practically extinct, while others were seriously reduced in numbers; and those tribes that had migrated north, being too few in numbers to resist the onslaught of the Osages who were being driven south by the whites, descended the Red River, and joined the other tribes of the confederacy.

With the purchase of Louisiana by the United States the Caddoes again became border Indians, and the bid for their control was now between the United States and Spain. The policy followed by the United States in winning the allegiance of the Caddoes was similar to that used by France. They gave presents and established trading houses whereby the Indians could be sup plied with the necessities of life without having to travel a great distance in search of them.

As a result of the acquisition of Louisiana, immigration into the Caddo country increased, and it soon became impossible for the government to restrain the white immigrants from inhabiting the Caddo lands. The policy of the government had been not to allow settlements in the territory claimed by the Indians until their title had been extinguished. As the government agents realized that it was beyond their power even with military assistance to prevent intrusions into the Caddo country, they recommended the purchase of that country.

The United States Indian agent, taking advantage of the starving condition of the Caddoes, enticed them to sell their lands and to agree to leave the United States, never to return and settle as a tribe.

Thus it seems that they were to be forced into Mexican territory, but at that time the Anglo-Americans in Texas were waging a revolution and strenuously objected to Indians from the United States migrating into their territory. The Caddoes found them selves in a desperate situation, the United States Indian agent on one side of the border selling them guns and ammunition and urging them to enter Texas, while on the other side, the Texans threatened to exterminate them if they crossed into their country.

Although the Caddoes were forbidden to enter Texas, necessity compelled them to go into that region in search of game. The transfer of thousands of Indians from east of the Mississippi, and the westward migration of the whites had so taxed the resources of the old Caddo hunting grounds as to make stealing almost a necessity.

The Texans failed to make a distinction between friendly and hostile Indians. They thought that the only good Indian was a dead one, therefore they attempted to drive out or exterminate all of the Caddoes that had migrated into their country. As a result of this policy of extermination the Caddoes that were not killed were driven from Texas east of the Red River, where in retaliation for this cruel treatment they sent small bands into Texas to plunder and harass the white settlements.

By this time the friendly attitude of the Caddoes towards the whites had changed to that of hatred and distrust. They who had been ambassadors of peace under the rule of France, Spain, and the United States; they who had been promised as a reward for their allegiance that they would never be disturbed; they who were once a thrifty and influential people had become demoralized, and were now forced to fight for their actual existence. But when the party in Texas that had advocated conciliatory methods in dealing with the Indians returned to power, the Caddoes were invited to return into Texas, where a permanent peace was made that resulted in a cessation of hostilities.




Indian Affairs Papers, Texas State Library. Rusk Papers, Archives of the University of Texas.


American State Papers, Indian Affairs, 2 vols., Washington, 1832-1834.

Annals of Congress, 9 Cong., 2 Sess., Vol. II, 1806-1807.

Congressional Debates, XIII, Pt. 2, Washington, 1837, (Report by Morfit on conditions in Texas, 1836.)

House Executive Documents, 25 Cong., 2 Sess., DOC. NO. 351 (Serial 332). (Correspondence on Indian encroachments on the eastern frontier).

House Reports, 19 Cong., 1 Sess., DOC. NO. 33 (Serial 125a). 27 Cong., 2 Sess., Doc. NO. 1035 (Serial 411).

Senate Documents, 24 Cong., 2 Sess., Doc. NO. 1 (Serial 297). 32 Cong., 2 Sess., Doc. NO. 14 (Serial 660). (Correspondence on Indian intrusions in Texas). 57 Cong., 1 Sess., Vol. XXXV (Serial 4254). (Contains the Treaty of 1835 with the Caddoes).

Texas Congress, Hoilse Journal, 1 Cong., 2 Sess., 1837.


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FRENCH, B. F. -Historical Collections of Louisiana, 4 vols., New York, 1846-53.

GARRISON, GEORGE PIERCE, editor. -The Diplomatic Correspondence of the Republic of Texas, 3 vols., in American Historical Association, Annual Reports, for 1907 and 1908, Washington, 1908-1911.

GULICK, AND SMITHER, editors. -The Lamar Papers, 6 vols., Austin, 1922-1927.

HARRINGTON, M. R. -Certain Caddo Sites in Arkansas, New York, 1920.

HATCHER, MATTIE AUSTIN -"Description of the Tejas or Asinai Indians, 1691-1722" in Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Vol. XXX, 206-218, 283-304.

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WHITE, HENRY FORD. -The Economic and Social Development of Arkansas Prior to 1836. (Manuscript: Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Texas, 1931.)

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WOOTEN, DUDLEY G. -A Comprehensive History of Texas, 1685 1897, 2 vols, Dallas, 1898.