The White kid who became a formidable Apache warrior after abduction by Native Americans


Herman Lehmann was the son of Moritz and Augusta Johanna Lehmann, who immigrated to Texas as part of the German immigrant wave in 1849 and married there. Moritz Lehmann got a certificate for property in the Fisher-Miller Colony, and eventually established the family on a Preemption grant in southern Mason County, near Fredericksburg. After his father died in 1864, his mother married Philipp Buchmeier in 1866.

As a consequence of a pact signed on May 9, 1847, the settlers of Fredericksburg had coexisted in relative peace with the Comanches. The Apache, on the other hand, were known to assault villages, slaughter or steal cattle, and capture inhabitants.

He had never gone to school and spoke only German until May 1870. Herman, who was about eleven years old at the time, with a younger brother, Willie, were abducted by raiding Apache; two younger sisters who were with them were not taken.
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Willie managed to flee and return home in just about nine days. Herman, on the other hand, was unsuccessful and was adopted by his Apache captor, Carnoviste, and introduced to the hardships of primitive Indian life.

He received tough tribal training and initiation, became a formidable warrior, and participated in raids against Texas Rangers, Comanches, Mexicans, and his fellow White settlers, wandering with the tribe from New Mexico's Guadalupe Mountains down through the Mason County-San Saba region and into Mexico.

Lehman was already a respected fighter in his tribe, known as "En Da" at the time. He'd been promoted to petty chief for his fighting abilities, and he'd participated in Apache raids and skirmishes, even leading a charge directly into a fort full of Texas Rangers.

But everything changed when an Apache medicine man murdered his adoptive father, Carnoviste. Lehman exacted his vengeance by murdering the medical man in cold blood. He was forced to retreat into the woods. He stayed alone for an year, hiding from both Apache and white men, until he eventually joining the Comanches.

He battled alongside the Comanches against the Tonkawas and the United States Cavalry, and he participated in Indian raids once more. He was among the final Quahadi survivors to join the reservation at Fort Sill. He was adopted by Quanah Parker but was eventually identified as a White captive and forced to return to his Texas family in May 1878, who had assumed he had died during his eight years with the Indians.

Willie, his brother, stopped him from murdering the neighbors' calves and hogs and stealing horses from neighboring farms. He relearned German, learnt English, performed odd jobs, attempted to attend school for one day, and worked as a trail driver. Although Herman never fully assimilated into White culture, he accepted his place in the Loyal Valley community, and his easygoing attitude and good humor seem to have won him many friends.

He gained a local celebrity status after doing several public demonstrations of riding, roping, and archery skills. He also married, which ended in divorce, but he remarried and had two boys and three daughters.

Source: Texas State Historical Association

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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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