Castell, TX

The boy who left his parents and returned to wilderness after being saved from Native Americans


On January 10, 1870, one of the most popular and widely circulated newspaper in the southwest, San Antonio Herald published a cry for help.

On the first day of January, 1870, the son of the undersigned was stolen by the Indians at or near the settlement of Castell, Texas, on the Llano River. Description of the boy: age about 10 years and 8 months, height 4 feet 10 inches, light flaxen hair, grey eyes, broad face, high forehead, has a scar on his chin, speaks the German language exclusively. The undersigned, his father, prays that you use your efforts to recover the child. - Yours respectfully, Louis Korn, January 10, 1870.

Young Adolph Korn's situation was unusual, but far from uncommon. During the nineteenth century, Comanches, Apaches, and Kiowas took dozens of children in the southern Plains. However, the odd American occurrence known as "Indian captivity" was not restricted to the Plains. It happened all around North America, and the experience was eerily similar in every location.

He was sold to a Comanche woman who was childless. She took him in as her own, and while he was initially upset at losing his family, he quickly began to enjoy the experience. He'd struggled to gain any attention from his always busy parents while growing up on the frontier. He now had an adopted mother who devoted every waking moment of her life to him. 

Even though his parents were able to bring him home three years later, he never ceased being a Comanche. He would go on livestock raids on his neighbors' farms. Soon after, he'd built an extensive police record, and his parents, afraid of losing their son to a new form of imprisonment, relocated him to a rural ranch.

He had no way of returning to the people who had kidnapped him, so rather to live with his own parents, he went into the forest and spent his life alone in a cave.

Until the early 1880s, abductions occurred frequently in the western United States. Because the farms were many miles apart and accessible targets, Indian raiding groups frequented the border villages of central and north Texas. General Sherman, who took command of the United States Army in 1869, reprimanded the Western settlers for neglecting to take additional measures to guard themselves.

The majority of abducted minors were aged 7 to 14. As younger kids were too difficult to look after throughout the getaway journey and older children were thought to be less adaptable and would generally attempt to run away. The Indian raids appeared to be more interested in capturing boys than girls, indicating a pressing need for additional war men. Captured boys could be used for this purpose in a matter of months. The Comanches were training their own kids as young as 12 to be warriors by the early 1870s.

Source: The captured: a true story of abduction by Indians on the Texas frontier

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Saurabh is a Computer Science & Engineering undergraduate student pursuing his writing interests. He enjoys researching current events/news as well as Evergreen Topics and has also been writing on Medium, Quora and Vocal.


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