Herman Lehmann

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Herman Lehmann
Born Friedrich Hermann Lehmann
5 June 1859(1859-06-05)
Loyal Valley (Squaw Creek), Texas
Died 2 February 1932 (aged 72)
Mason County, Texas
Resting place Loyal Valley Cemetery
Nationality German Texan
Other names Apaches:
En Da ("White Boy")
Alamán ("The German")
Montechena ("unknown")[1]
Citizenship US-American
Known for Captured by Apaches
Fled to the Comanches
Adopted by Quanah Parker
Spouse ∞ 1885 N.E. Burke (div.)
∞ 1896 Fannie Light
Children Five with Fannie Light

Frederick Herman Lehmann (5 June 1859 – 2 February 1932) was German American landowner and folk figure. He was captured as a child by American Indians. He lived first among the Apache and then the Comanche but returned to his family later in life. The fate of Herman was not isolated. It is a a genuine Little Big Man story, with all the color, sweep, and tragedy of a classic American western. Indians repeatedly kidnapped children from white settlements. Montechema Firearms LLC. in Boerne, Texas, was named in his honour. He is also in the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame (photographs, as well as Lehmann’s autobiography, are part of the museum collections).


Texas Territory, 19th century
Many German pioneers moved westwards, many to Texas. Emigration in force began during the period of the Republic of Texas (1836–1846) following the establishment in 1842 of the Adelsverein (Verein zum Schutze deutscher Einwanderer or Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas, founded by Friedrich Wilhelm Carl Ludwig Georg Alfred Alexander Prinz zu Solms-Braunfels, known as "Texas-Carl") by a group of Germans dedicated to colonizing Texas. The Adelsverein helped establish German colonies throughout the state, including purchasing the Fisher–Miller Land Grant, some 5,000 square miles between the Colorado and Llano Rivers. In 1847, John O. Meusebach, acting as commissioner (Generalkommissar) of the Adelsverein, negotiated the "Meusebach–Comanche Treaty" to settle German colonists on the land grant. It remains the only unbroken treaty between European-American colonists and Native Americans. A large portion of the early settlers following statehood were German Forty-Eighters (Achtundvierziger), emigres from the Revolutions of 1848, who dispersed into areas of Central Texas. After generations, German Texans spoke what became known as Texas German (German: Texasdeutsch), a German language dialect that was tied to the historic period of highest immigration. In Germany, the language developed differently from how it did among the relatively isolated ethnic colony in the US. After a period of ethnic activism during the 1850s, the Civil War, and Reconstruction, the Germans lived in relative obscurity as teachers, doctors, civil servants, politicians, musicians, farmers, and ranchers. They founded many towns, among them Bulverde, New Braunfels, Luckenbach, Fredericksburg, Boerne, and Comfort in the Texas Hill Country, and Schulenburg, Walburg, and Weimar to the east.
A white boy stands between the Apaches; On New Year's Day in 1870, ten-year-old German Adolph Korn (1859–1900) was kidnapped by an Apache raiding party. Traded to Comaches, he thrived in the rough, nomadic existence, quickly becoming one of the tribe's fiercest warriors. Adolph and Herman were together for some weeks, before Adolph was traded. They spoke in german and held each other at night shaking of fear.
William Chebahtah / Nancy McGown Minor: Chevato. The Story of the Apache Warrior who Captured Herman Lehmann, 2007; Born in Mexico, Chevato was a Lipan Apache whose parents had been killed in a battle with Mexican troops. He and his siblings fled across the Rio Grande and were taken in by the Mescalero Apaches of New Mexico. Chevato became a shaman and was responsible for introducing the Lipan form of the peyote ritual to both the Mescalero Apaches and later to the Comanches and the Kiowas. He went on to become one of the founders of the Native American Church in Oklahoma.
Quanah Parker (c. 1900) was himself the son of an Indian and a white woman (Cynthia Ann) who had been kidnapped and raped. On 19 May 1836, at sunrise, the settlement of the important settler family Parker, "Fort Parker" near Groesbeck (Texas), was attacked by an Indian alliance of several hundred Comanches, Arapaho, Kiowa, Wichita and Caddo. The raid went down in history as the Fort Parker massacre. Five settlers (including Cynthia Ann's 32-year-old father Silas Mercer Parker, but also Samuel Frost and his son Robert) were killed in the raid. Mother Lucinda “Lucy”, née Duty, barely survived (1811–1847/52).[2][3] Nine-year-old Cynthia Ann Parker (1827–1871), her younger brother John Richard Parker (1830–1915), her 17-year-old cousin Rachel Plummer, née Parker (1819–1839), three months pregnant with her second child, and her 16-month-old son James Pratt Plummer, and their aunt Elisabeth Kellogg were abducted. In December 1860, after years of searching at the behest of the family Parker and various scouts, a band of Texas Rangers led by Lawrence Sullivan Ross discovered a band of Comanche, deep in the heart of Comancheria, that was rumored to hold American captives. In a surprise raid, the Rangers attacked a group of Comanche in the Battle of Pease River. Cynthia Ann and her daughter were freed, but she had to leave behind her both sons Quanah and Pecos.


Herman Lehman's mother Auguste
Herman, Henry, Fannie and John Lehmann, 1899 (left) and brother Willie his wife Rebecka and their daughters Gerta and Esther in 1930 (right)
Six Years with the Texas Rangers, 1875 to 1881 (first published in 1921)
Herman Lehman with James "Jim" Buchanan Gillett, the Texas Ranger who tried to find Lehmann and bring him home, meeting after forty-nine years, when they engaged in a running fight, c. 1924. Short biography: In 1875, Gillett went to Menard and joined the Texas Rangers. His first service was with Captain D. W. Robert's Company D. He later served with Captain N. O. Reynolds and G. W. Baylor. Gillett served mainly in the counties of Kimble, Mason, Menard, Kerr, San Saba, Llano, Lampasas, Burnet, and El Paso counties. In addition to fights with the Kiowa, Comanche and Apache Indians, Gillett also dealt with cattle thieves and outlaws. In January of 1881 Gillett, as part of a company led by G. W. Baylor, participated in what is called the last fight between Texas Rangers and Indians. After a pursuit of Apache Indians who had attacked a stagecoach, the Rangers surprised the Indian camp, killing six, and scattering the rest of the band into the mountains. In December of 1881, after six years service, Gillett resigned from the Rangers. He was appointed assistant city marshal of El Paso. In June of 1882, he became Marshall of El Paso. Gillett had a reputation as a man without fear. He left the Marshall's office in April 1885, becoming the manager of the Estado Land and Cattle Company. He held this position for six years, resigning to begin ranching for himself. Gillett died of heart failure on 11 June 1937. He was buried in the Marfa cemetery.

Hermann, who was written "Herman" by American authorities, was born the son of Ernst Johann Moritz Lehmann (b. 29 May 1827 in Friedersdorf or Laubnitz, Kreis Sorau, Niederlausitz, Province of Brandenburg, Kingdom of Prussia, German Confederation; d. 11 October 1862, Mason County, Texas, USA; written “Maurice” by American authorities) and his wife Auguste Johanne/Juliane, née Adams (b. 27 February 1833 in Rosnowo near Culm, West Prussia, Province of Prussia, Kingdom of Prussia, German Confederation; d. 15 April 1911 in Castell Texas at the residence of her daughter Mollie Kidd, née Buchmeyer). Moritz and Augusta came to the still young USA as part of one of the emigration waves of the Mainzer Adelsverein. With the ship "Louise" Moritz Lehmann left Bremerhaven on 8 September 1846, and after almost eight weeks, he reached the port of Galveston on 2 November 1846. Auguste's sailing ship "Johanna" left Bremen on 12 October 1846 and arrived in the port of Indianola, Texas on 22 December 1846. They two got married three years later (∞ 3/30 September 1849). Herman had six siblings:

  • Emilie (b. 28 November 1850 in Mason Co., Texas; d. 28 April 1851 Mason Co., Texas)
  • Gustav Adolph (b. 20 May 1855 in Mason Co., Texas; d. 29 March 1940 in Mason Co., Texas); ∞ 23 September 1880 Bertha Evers (1860–1885), 3 children; ∞ 4 April 1895 Mason Elise Eckert (1872–1957), 2 children
  • Johanna Wilhelmine "Minnie"/"Mina"[4] (b. 1 September 1857 in Texas; d. 12 March 1948 in Texas); ∞ 1878 German Texan John Henry (Johann Heinrich) Keyser (1857–1935); 6 children (Otto Christian, Karolina "Cora" Auguste, Donie Bell, Lottie Mae, Frank John and Alice Louise)[5]
  • Caroline Wilhelmina / "Phillipena" (b. 12 October 1860 in Loyal Vallery, Mason Co., Texas; d. 24 January 1937 in Dallas County, Texas); ∞ Henry Montgomery Dye Jr. (1868–1927); 7 children
  • Wilhelm "Willi" Friedrich / "William 'Willie' Frederick" (b. 30 October 1861 in Mason Co., Texas; d. 11 September 1951 in Loyal Valley, Mason Co., Texas); ∞ 1894 Sophia Light (1878–1907), daughter of John Light (1847–1926) and sister of Fanny Light; 4 children (Moritz Johann "Maurice John"; Alma, married 1919 German Texan John Harry Ziriax; Augusta, married 1921 German Texan Herbert Henry Hofmann; Gustav "Guss" Adolph); in 1918, widower Lehmann married Rebecka Elizabeth Rode (1882–1961); 2 children (Gerda Mathilde and Esther Wilhelmina)[6]
  • Mathilde Ernestine (b. 12 February 1863 Mason Co., Texas); ∞ Herman Zinke; 1 daughter

After Moritz' death, Augusta married German stonemason Phillip (later written Philip) Otto Buchmeier (b. 25 September 1820 in Hesse-Darmstadt; d. 18 December 1891 in Mason Co., Texas; later spelled as "Buchmeyer") on 5 June 1863 at the Hilda Methodist Church. Phillip built the first school house in Loyal Valley and many other buildings. With him Augusta had six further children:

  • Sophie M. (b. 16 Mar 1865 in Mason Co. TX; d. 19 March 1951); ∞ Thomas Franklin Moseley (1863–1936); 1 son
  • Emma (b. 15 Mar 1867 in Loyal Valley TX; d. 7 November 1959 in Duncan, Stephens County, Oklahoma); ∞ Alwyne Ronane Holcomb; 5 children (William Henson, Clara Pearl, Minnie Mae, Alwyne Ronane and John Phillip );[7] ∞ William Henry Rice (1852–1910)
  • Augusta "Gusta" (b. 1869 in Mason Co. TX); ∞ 1888 George Wheeler
  • Martha "Mattie" (b. 3 October 1870 in Mason TX; d. 27 March 1951); ∞ Heinrich Louis Winkel (1863–1931); 2 children (Flora Pearl and Willie May)
  • Amelia "Mollie" Anna (b. 12 Febuary 1873 in Mason Co. TX; d. 9 April 1957 in Junction); ∞ William "Will" Sirree Kidd Jr.; 2 daughters
  • Henry William[8] (b. 10 March 1875 in Mason Co. TX; d. 24 March 1966 in Tyler, Smith County, Texas); ∞ Donnie Ella Ratto (1880–1979); 6 children

Auguste Adams

Her parents Jacob Adams and Bertha Steinkruss as well as their five children headed to Indianola, Texas on the sailing ship JOHANNA in 1846. Auguste's mother and her little sister Petronella died during the ship voyage, her baby brother Gustav died soon after their arrival. Father Jacob and his three left over children, Auguste, Jacob and Emilie, settled in Schumannsville, South of New Braunfels TX. Their neighbors were all Germans: Leissner, Blumberg, Koepsel, Maurer, Berendt, Grimm, Knetsch, Hoffmann, Laechlin, Zipp, Lindemann, Buchholz and Ludeloff. 13 year old Auguste took over the household chores and helped raising her two year old sister Emilie. Jacob helped his father farming. Life was incredibly hard. Summers in Texas were unbearably hot. According to diary entries and letters, many immigrants regretted their decisions and warned their families in Germany not to commit the same error. In 1849, at the age of 16 Auguste married Ernst Johann Moritz Lehmann [...]. They made their home in the countryside, 2 miles from Loyal Valley at the banks of Squaw Creek in Mason Co. TX. Moritz died in 1862 and left her with 6 children. Auguste was 29 years old. [...]
Upon arrival in Indianola, chaos reigned. Countless immigrants were looking for a way to continue inland. Jacob Adams and another family finally managed to rent an ox cart for a lot of money, with which they set out about 250 km away to New Braunfels. They found a home in Guadalupe County, south of New Braunfels. Here a rich compatriot, August Wilhelm Schumann (1791–1858) from Kothen, West Prussia, sold them land that they could cultivate. Schumann landed in Texas in January 1846 with his wife and eight children. Immediately after his arrival in Guadalupe County, he bought a huge area of ​​around 3,200 acres in the southwest of the Guadalupe River. That's about 13 square kilometers. A few months later, when Schumann met a wagon train with emigrants from West Prussia, which also included Jacob Adams, he sold them strips of land by the river. The village that grew up on his land was named Schumannsville in his honor.
In 1850, at the age of 17, Auguste became a mother for the first time. However, little Emilie would only become five months old. The second child was born in 1855. She named her first son after her little brother, Gustav Adolph, who died shortly after arriving in Texas. From 1855 to 1875 Auguste gave birth to 12 children! That alone was a masterpiece. In addition, she helped with all the chores that the vegetable garden, wheat fields, chickens and horses involved. Moritz Lehmann died on 11 October 1862, leaving Auguste with six children between the ages of one and seven. Moritz was buried next to firstborn baby Emilie on the Lehmanns' property. Auguste was only 29 years old.[9]

Captivity and Indianization

On 16 May 1870, around midday, when he had never been to school and spoke only German, blue-eyed, sandy-blond-haired Herman, almost eleven and with freckles about the nose, and a younger brother, Willie/Willy, were captured by a band of Mescalero Apache raiders near Loyal Valley in southeastern Mason County, Texas.; two younger sisters who were with them escaped inside their house. Their brothers had put up a fight and distracted the indians. Herman was strong for his age, and possessed the wit and toughness that would help him survive the years with the Indians.

On this day, Herman's mother had sent the children in the wheat field to scare away the eating birds. Afterwards, they sat down in the field to play. By the time they saw the Rothäute (redskins) it was too late: They had already been surrounded. Herman would later write in chapters I to III his biography (although he got some dates wrong):

From the beginning of the Civil War and up to 1872 the Indians made their periodical raids into Gillespie and adjoining counties, extending their depredations as far south as Austin and nearly to San Antonio, and the sod of many of the smiling valleys had been encrimsoned with the blood of these hardy pioneers while endeavoring to establish in the wilderness a home for their families. The valleys of Beaver Creek and Squaw Creek and their tributaries offered an inviting field for the daring pioneer, and two or three other German families located near our ranch, and these, although several miles apart, formed the nucleus of a small settlement. The soil along these valleys was exceptionally fertile; springs abounded, timber was plentiful, the range was excellent, and there was plenty of game. With these natural advantages and despite the raids of the Indians, during which numbers of horses were driven off and our cattle maimed and slaughtered, the colonists prospered beyond precedent, and today their descendants are among the most prominent in point of intelligence and wealth of all the citizens of Mason and Gillespie Counties. One day, in the month of May, 1870, with my brother, Willie Lehmann, and my two sisters, Caroline and Gusta, were sent out into the wheat field to scare the birds away. Gusta was just a baby at the time, probably two years old, and was being cared for by Caroline. I was about eleven years old, Willie was past eight years old, and Caroline was just a little girl. We sat down in the field to play, and the first thing we knew we were surrounded by Indians. When we saw their hideously painted faces we were terribly frightened, and some of us pulled for the house. Willie was caught right where he was sitting. Caroline ran toward the house, leaving the baby, and the Indians shot at her several times, and she fell, fainted from fright. The Indians had no time to dally with her, so they passed on thinking she was dead, and they often told me she was killed, and I believed it until I came home several years later. They chased me for a distance and caught me. I yelled and fought manfully, when the chief, Carnoviste, laid hold upon me, and a real scrap was pulled off right there. The Indian slapped me, choked me, beat me, tore my clothes off, threw away my hat—the last one I had for more than eight years—and I thought he was going to kill me. I locked my fingers in his long black hair, and pulled as hard as I could; I kicked him in the stomach; I bit him with my teeth, and I had almost succeeded in besting him and getting loose when another Indian, Chiwat, came up. Then Carnoviste caught me by the head and the other Indian took hold of my feet and they conveyed me to a rock fence nearby, where they gave me a sling and my face and breast plowed up the rocks and sand on the other side. I was so completely stunned by the jolt that I could not scramble to my feet before the two Indians had cleared the fence and were upon me. They soon had me securely bound upon the back of a bucking bronco, stark naked. The Indians lost no time in getting away from there, and as we raced through the brush and undergrowth, my flesh was pricked and torn by mesquite thorns and catclaws, and the sun blistered my naked back and limbs. Death just then would have been a relief to me.
My brother, Willie, was in the same distressing predicament as I, but he murmured not. The Indians passed down near Loyal Valley and on to Moseley’s Mountains, where they located some horses in the valley. All of the Indians, except Carnoviste, who remained to guard us two boys, went for the horses, and while they were gone we heard some shots fired. Camoviste went out to a point to ascertain the cause of the shots, and Willie and I tried to run away, but Willie was unable to run fast and Carnoviste soon caught us, beat us, gagged us so we could not scream, and threatened by his countenance and actions to torture us more if we made another attempt to get away. Soon the Indians returned with the stolen horses, and from there we turned west and traveled for a ways, and the Indians picked up a gray and sorrel horse; one had William Kidd’s brand and the other Mr. Stone’s. We then turned northwest, passed by the Keyser ranch and on to the Llano River. At the river they took us from the ponies, tied me securely and hobbled Willie, and then all lay down to rest. They neither made a fire nor ate anything here. We had had nothing to eat since breakfast that morning. Late in the night we were aroused and set out up Willow Creek, passing to the right of Mason, where the band scattered. Willie and I were separated, he being taken with one party and I with another. The Indians sent back scouts to see if we were followed, and to cover up our tracks if possible. Carnoviste had me with him. We found a young calf lying down. He made signs for me to catch that calf, using about the persuasion you would to a dog. I was afraid not to obey him, so after the young bovine I went and caught him. Camoviste jumped down, cut the calf’s throat, cut it open, plunged his knife into its stomach, got out the soured milk contents, and ate that nasty stuff with a relish that was sickening to see. I turned away disgusted and sick at the stomach. He made signs for me to eat some, but I made signs that I could not and would not. He grabbed me and soused my head into that calf’s paunch and rubbed that nauseous stuff all over my face, in my eyes, up my nose, into my ears and forced some down my throat. He held my nose and made me swallow, but the stuff would not stay on my stomach, and I vomited copiously. He then cut out the kidneys and liver and compelled me to eat some of them while they were warm with the animal heat. I would vomit the mess up, but he would gather it up and make me swallow the same dose again, and again I would vomit. He would soak it in the warm blood and make me swallow it down again. The blood settled my stomach, and I finally retained the revolting filth. Then Carnoviste took me to a hole of water, washed my face, put me on the horse with him, and we went to rejoin the other Indians of our party.
After traveling some distance we went up on a hill and made a big fire, and soon discovered six Indians approaching with a large bunch of stolen horses. They approached cautiously, and when they discovered our identity they came up and we sat down to a hearty meal of raw and barbecued bull. The other six Indians, who had Willie with them, had gone farther north. We destroyed as much as we could the signs of our camp, sent back scouts, and proceeded on our way northward. There was water all along the way, but I was not allowed to drink, although I was real thirsty. Again we scattered, Carnoviste taking charge of me. He took the loads out of his pistol and gave it to me to see if I knew how to shoot. We played with the weapon for some time, and I began to think the old boy was a pretty jolly companion, although I could not exactly understand him, and then he would beat me. Suddenly all of the band came together again, twelve in number, and after a consultation they again divided in two parties. Six went west; I was in that company. Six went north; Willie went with them. That afternoon our party stole nine more horses. We came together again, and traveled together until we came to a muddy pond, full of bugs and laden with the essence of frog. We dismounted, and the Indians pulled up a lot of nice clean grass, spread it over the water and used it as a strainer. I went off a little way from the Indians, threw myself on the ground and began to suck up the muddy water through the debris, and was enjoying the cool, refreshing breeze that was then blowing, wetting my palate, and thinking of home, when stealthy old Carnoviste came up to me, soused my head into the mud, and every one of the red rascals laughed at me. From this water hole we went north, and about 4 o’clock in the afternoon we killed a steer and made a fire on a hill. The Indians were very careful what kind of wood, and also the quantity they used, lest the smoke ascend in too great a cloud, and thus reveal to the white people our presence. Carnoviste staked his horse, and taking me with him, went back some distance. He had a sort of mirror made of a bright piece of steel (the other scouts also had similar mirrors); this he used to throw the reflection of the sun in a certain manner. These signs were signaled from one to another way back the line, and an answer that all was well came. Carnoviste motioned to me, but I did not understand what he wanted. I went a little way and came back. He motioned and growled again. 1 went again and returned. He got mad, drew his pistol and pointed it at me, but still I could not understand what he wanted me to do. He lowered his pistol and started toward his horse. Then I knew he wanted me to get his horse for him, and when I brought the animal he threw me up, and jumped up in front of me and we went to join the Indians on the bank of a small stream. Willie was there. There they washed and dressed our sores and painted us up like Indians, after which they placed us on horses for a long ride. The forked stick Indian saddles were not very comfortable to us by any means, as we were naked and these saddles more than tortured us. The reader can imagine the sufferings of a child who had up to a day or two before been tenderly cared for by a kind father, loved by a devoted mother, cut off from all hope of recovery, not knowing but that each moment was to be the last, his face blistered by the scorching sun, the skin peeled off his back and breast, his feet and hands tied, and where he had rubbed against the saddle (forked sticks) the meat was worn away nearly to the bone. Could the sufferings of Job have been greater?
With a drove of horses we were traveling northwestward, and on the fifth day after our capture, while near Lipan Creek, we ran into a party of Rangers while they were dismounted at a water hole watering their stock or preparing to camp. We were not discovered by the Rangers, and the Indians hastily withdrew and turned back the way we had come, leaving the drove of horses, and fit out at top speed. One of the Indians was walking, because he had a sore leg and it pained him to ride. This Indian jumped on the horse which Willie was riding, and followed the other fleeing Indians. The horse began to show signs of giving out, when this Indian threw Willie off into some brush, and continued his flight after his comrades. He urged the horse on for some distance, when the poor animal fell exhausted, and another Indian went back and took him up behind him and they came on. When Willie realized that he had been abandoned by his captors he got up and wandered around until he came to a plain road, and he traveled this road for a mile or two. He met a man on horseback, who talked awhile to him and then rode on, leaving the little fellow there. Going on further he met a man in a wagon loaded with freight and going to Fort McKavett. This man took Willie as far as Kickapoo Springs, where there was a stage stand, and he left Willie there until he could return and get him. The stage from Fort Concho to Fredericksburg and San Antonio came by while Willie was there at Kickapoo Springs, and the driver wanted to take Willie on home, but the little fellow had promised the freighter that he would wait for him, and in a day or two the freighter returned, got him and took him home to his almost frantic mother. He was gone from home about nine days, and his return was the cause of much rejoicing on the part of the distracted members of our family, who feared they would never see either of us again. When Willie met the man on horseback near Kickapoo, the boy evidently presented a ludicrous appearance, being painted as an Indian and decorated with a cap made from the scalp of a calf’s head which the Indians had put on him, and being of a very timid nature he did not talk much to the man. When he left him, and when, a little further on, Willie saw the freight wagon coming, he mustered up more courage, took off that calf’s head cap and threw it away, and hailed the wagoner with confidence, and they at once became good friends. After we had run for many miles, they keeping me in the lead, the Indians finally halted and held a pow-wow, and as they had lost their herd of horses they decided to go back down into the settlements and get some more, as it would not speak well for them to go back to the tribe without some stolen horses. Accordingly, ten of the number took the back trail, while two Indians, Chiwat and Pinero, agreed to take me and pull for the Indian headquarters, somewhere to the northwest. I was still tied on the horse and riding very uncomfortably, and as we rode forward my thoughts were of my little brother. I did not know what had become of him, and I feared our captors had killed him. I wept bitter tears, and oh, how lonesome I felt, and I yearned to know what had happened to him. Something seemed to tell me he had escaped, but how on earth could he, just a little boy eight years old, ever hope to find his way so far back home across that howling wilderness? And I thought of home, my happy home, and of my dear mother and my little sisters. These unhappy thoughts occupied my mind during the weary hours as we rode along, and I was downcast and sad.

Caroline and Gusta had survived the ordeal. Caroline had fallen, hit her head and was unconscious, which saved her from being kidnapped. There stood Willie all alone in the wilderness, almost naked and wearing Indian war paint (both boys were disguised, they should pass as Indian children if anyone was watching.). He was 100 miles from home between San Angelo and Menard. In the middle of nowhere wasn't a good place for an 8-year-old, especially in those days when there were bears, mountain lions and wolves. The resourceful lad followed a river for two days until he came to a road and was finally picked up by a trader and taken home. Auguste was worried sick about her two boys. On 3 June 1870, two weeks after the raid, she was able to take Willie in her arms again. However, his reports of the Indians' rough treatment and torture did not bode well for Herman. There was no trace of him.

With his brother gone, Herman felt even more miserable and infinitely lonely among the savages whose language he didn't understand. During the two weeks or so that his captors walked him to the Indian village with little to eat, drink or sleep, Herman was at an all-time low both physically and emotionally. The Indians seemed to want to test his ability to suffer, his endurance and his will to live. They thought up some ways to torment him. Even in the Indian camp near the New Mexico border, his suffering was not yet over. The villagers beat him, kicked him, and burned his arms with a red-hot iron until he passed out. Afterward, they washed him and oiled the injured areas. Only very slowly did his situation improve.

On 18 July 1870, two months after the first raid, the same Indians came to the Buchmeyer farm a second time. Auguste was 7 months pregnant with her 11th child and again at home alone with the children. Her husband and eldest son Gustav were about 1.5 km from the house to irrigate the land. 13-year-old Mina and 8-year-old Willie watered the horses in the nearby stream. On the west side of the creek was a steep slope, from which suddenly a thick stone rolled down. The children immediately thought of another Indian attack, hastily took the horses out of the water, drove them to the pasture and ran into the house. Auguste locked the front door and barricaded himself with the children in the back room of the house. She hid the smaller children under the bed and trembling, she raised the double-barrelled gun as she cried out desperate prayers to heaven. Mina was standing by the door with a knife. The attackers managed to get into the front of the house, smashed some furniture, cut up the duvets, and took away blankets, clothes, and a small pistol that belonged to Herman.

Since they couldn't get into the back room, they smashed the window and tried to get in from the outside. When Chief Carnoviste appeared at the window, Auguste delivered a round of buckshot, which ricocheted off his animal bone shield and scattered, injuring him and several of his warriors. After a second charge, the Indians rode away, enraged and injured – not without taking the Buchmeyers' horses with them. For days, the Indians took revenge on Herman mercilessly for his family's treatment. If one of the warriors had died from his wounds, they would probably have killed him.

The Indians indicated to Herman that his entire family had been killed. They wanted to rob him of any desire to escape and return home. As proof of "visiting" his family again, they showed him his mother's clothes and his small pistol. Herman must have hardened this terrible message to such an extent out of self-protection that he gave up on his family and closed things off with them. That's probably why the reunion eight years later was all the more difficult. He had radically banished her and his mother tongue from his heart in order to survive emotionally, he was slowly but surely brain-washed or "indianized", we would now call it "Stockholm syndrome".

After this second raid, the Buchmeyers moved to Loyal Valley, where they bought and managed the stagecoach station with the hotel and saloon. Loyal Valley was on the San Antonio to El Paso thoroughfare. Auguste took advantage of the heavy traffic at her station to ask every traveler if he hadn't heard of a white, blue-eyed boy who lived with the Indians. For many years this was denied, but she did not give up hope.

Gradually Herman got used to the new, wild life and found acceptance in the group. It was considered the property of Chief Carnoviste and his wife Laughing Eye. They called him "En Da" (white boy). First he had to do the lowest slave services for the two and others, but was then trained as a warrior and hunter. He learned to wield a bow and arrow, kill and skin animals, jump on galloping horses while running, ride bareback, and speak the Apache language. Under threat of death, Herman had to scalp his first white victim.

Civilized people call it homesickness. I would sit there on my pony and cry. I never cried while I was being tortured, nor when I ran the gauntlet, nor when I nearly drowned; in those times I gave a yell of defiance or a snarl of vengeance.

Later, killing animals and humans no longer bothered him. He found it normal and justified to steal the cattle and horses of the whites who occupied the lands of the legitimate indigenous people without being asked, and to kill them if necessary. As a young warrior, one of his most memorable battles was a running fight with the Texas Rangers on 24 August 1875, which took place near Fort Concho, about 65 miles west of the site of San Angelo, Texas. Some indians were killed, among them Carnoviste's brother. Ranger James Gillett nearly shot Lehmann before he realized he was a white captive. When the Rangers tried to find Lehmann, who was wounded, pinioned under his horse and abandoned by his "red brothers", he had freed himself and escaped by crawling through the grass. He made his way back to his tribe, some 300 miles away. At his return, he was named leader of his own raider party.

"We had been down in the settlement on a raid and secured a large bunch of horses. We went out by way of Kickapoo Springs and it was not far from that point that our scouts brought us word that the rangers were close after us. We dreaded the rangers because they were well armed and always shot to hit. So we headed for the plains, and rode day and night. We knew how these rangers could ride without sleep or food and our only hope was to outride them. When one of our horses showed signs that he was fagged out, we would rope a fresh horse from the herd and continue the race. At one time we halted long enough to kill a burro that some Mexican had left on the range. We roasted the meat of this burro and ate it. We were very hungry and we relished it. The day following we killed and ate a mustang and thinking that we had outwitted the rangers, we allowed our horses to rest and graze. We started at daylight the next morning and when the sun was just rising the rangers dashed upon us from the east, taking advantage of the sunrise, so they could not be seen. They were quite near when we discovered them coming toward us at a charge. Our chief ordered us to stay close together and fight, as there was no chance to take by running, but the braves lit out, every man for himself, except four of us who stayed by the chief. Several of the rangers pursued the fleeing Indians and it soon became a running fight. A shot from a ranger's pistol broke the leg of a horse, ridden by one of the Indians, who, when his horse fell, jumped up behind Gray Wolf. About the same time the rangers brought down another horse and seeing the rider on foot and running for dear life, I dashed up alongside him and told him to get up behind me. All this time the rangers were crowding us and I was shooting as fast as I could. I put two arrows into a ranger's saddle. No sooner had this Indian mounted behind me, than the rangers had cut us off from our comrades. The Indian behind me used his shield for protection in the rear. We had not gone far before a bullet from a ranger's gun killed my horse, and as he fell he pinioned me to the ground, and broke the bow carried by the Indian behind me. This Indian seized my bow and hit the earth running. As he took my bow, I begged him not to leave me, but he paid no attention to me. Two or three rangers dashed by me when my horse fell and one of them threw his pistol down on me and I thought my time had come, but just then another ranger called out to him, and said something which I could not understand, and they all ran on in pursuit of the Indian who had just left me. I lay still until I heard the shots that killed the Indian and then with an effort I got my leg from under the horse and crawled a distance in the high grass and hid near a little mesquite tree. Shortly the rangers came back for me. I could hear them talking and more than once they rode quite near where I lay concealed. They continued the search for more than an hour and to me it seemed an age. Finally they gave it up, and after stripping my horse of everything, they left, going back towards the east. When the rangers had gone I went to where they had overtaken and killed the Indian who had rode behind me. They had cut off his head and carried away all of his weapons. At the beginning of the fight we had with us a little Mexican boy. During the fight this boy ran to the rangers, and, I suppose they carried him away with them, as I never saw or heard anything more of him. My condition was deplorable. Our camps were at least 300 miles to the westward, and I alone, afoot, unarmed, without food, and in the way of clothing I had only a buckskin jacket. However, I started, I could do nothing else. It was a long, lonely journey, and I came near perishing from hunger and thirst. I ate prickly pear, lizards, grasshoppers, and at times was almost delirious. I was so far exhausted when I reached the village that I lay sick for a long time. Those who had escaped the rangers, reached the village long before my arrival and reported that I, with others, had been killed. My appearance took them by surprise, and they showed me every kindness during my subsequent illness."

Gillet and the Texas Rangers

In his book Six Years with the Texas Rangers, James Buchanan Gillett remebers the running battle of August 1875 and the fate of Herman Lehmann, although in the original publication from 1921, he still thinks the "white boy between fifteen and sixteen years old with long bright red hair" was the German Texan Rudolph Fischer (1852–1941), son of Gottlieb Fischer, who had been abducted in 1865. Fischer was 23 years old in 1875 and not in the vicinity. Gillett, who finally found out c. 1924, that the boy was Herman, writes in 1921:

The fame of the Texas Rangers had, of course, become common knowledge among all Texans. Their deeds of adventure and their open, attractive life along the frontier, had always appealed to me, and I had long cherished the desire to enlist in the battalion. But the enlistment, as announced by Captain Roberts, would not be made until June 1, 1875, and I reached Menardville early in March. I had intended going on to join Mr. Franks' outfit, but, as explained in a previous chapter, I hired out to Mr. Ellis until I could enlist in Captain Roberts' company. [...] The latter part of August, 1875, Private L.P. Seiker was sent on detached service to Fort Mason, about fifty miles due east of our camp. While there a runner came in from Honey Creek with the report that a band of fifteen Indians had raided the John Gamble ranch and stolen some horses within twenty-five steps of the ranch house. The redskins appeared on their raid late in the evening and the runner reached Mason just at dark. Lam Seiker had just eaten his supper and was sitting in the lobby of the Frontier Hotel when the message came. He hurried to the livery stable, saddled his horse, Old Pete, and started on an all-night ride for the company. The nights in August are short, but Seiker rode into our camp about 8 o'clock the following morning and reported the presence of the Indians. The company horses were out under herd for the day, but Captain Roberts sent out hurry orders for them. Sergeant Plunk Murray was ordered to detail fifteen men, issue them ten days' rations and one hundred rounds of ammunition each. Second Sergeant Jim Hawkins, Privates Paul Durham, Nick[Pg 56] Donnelly, Tom Gillespie, Mike Lynch, Andy Wilson, Henry Maltimore, Jim Trout, William Kimbrough, Silas B. Crump, Ed Seiker, Jim Day, John Cupps and myself, under command of Captain Roberts, were selected as the personnel of the scout. As can be imagined I was delighted with my good fortune in getting on the party and looked forward with intense satisfaction to my first brush with Indians.
The mules were soon packed and by the time the horses reached camp the scout was ready. Sergeant Hawkins, as soon as the men had saddled their horses, walked over to the captain, saluted and told him the scout was ready. Before leaving camp Captain Roberts called to Sergeant Murray and told him that he believed the Indians had about as many horses as they could well get away with, and that they would probably cross the San Saba River near the mouth of Scalp Creek and follow the high divide between the two streams on their westward march back into the plains. If the redskins did not travel that way the captain thought they would go out up the Big Saline, follow the divide between the North Llano and San Saba Rivers westward and escape, but he was confident the band would travel up the divide north of Menardville. He determined to scout that way himself, and instructed Murray to send two rangers south over to the head waters of Bear Creek to keep a sharp lookout for the trail. These two scouts were to repeat their operations the next day, and if they discovered the Indian trail Murray was to make up a second scout and follow the redskins vigorously. His plan outlined, Captain Roberts gave the order to mount, and we rode toward Menardville, making inquiry about the Indians. All was quiet at this little frontier village, so we crossed the San Saba River just below the town, and after passing the ruins of the Spanish Fort, Captain Roberts halted his men and prepared to send out trailers. Two of the best trailers in the command were ordered to proceed about four hundred yards ahead of the party and keep a close watch for pony tracks while they traveled due north at a good saddle horse gait. The main body of men, under the captain himself, would follow directly behind the outposts.
Our party had traveled about eight or nine miles when Captain Roberts' keen eyes discovered a lone pony standing with his head down straight ahead of us. He sighted the animal before the trailers did, and remarked to us that there the trail was. The outposts halted when they saw the pony and waited for us to come up. Sure enough, here was the Indian trail probably twenty yards wide. Captain Roberts dismounted and walked over the sign, scrutinizing every pony track, bunch of grass and fallen leaf. He then examined the old pony. The animal was cut with a lance, with his back sore and his feet all worn out. It was then between 12 and 1 o'clock, and the captain thought the Indians had passed that way about sunrise, for the blood and sweat on the horse was now dry. The trail showed the raiders were driving rather fast and were probably thirty-five or forty miles ahead of us. The captain decided it would be a long chase and that we would just have to walk them down if we caught them at all. There was no water on this divide so we took the trail without stopping for dinner. Captain Roberts had a fine saddle horse, Old Rock, and we followed the trail at a steady gait of five or six miles an hour. At sundown we reached the old government road that runs from Fort McKavett to Fort Concho. We were then about twelve or fifteen miles south of Kickapoo Springs, so we turned up the road, reaching the springs late at night. The horses had not had a drop of water since leaving the San Saba that morning, and, facing a hot August sun all day, the men were pretty well tired out when they reached camp, had supper and gotten to bed. We estimated we had ridden about sixty miles since leaving camp. During the day Captain Roberts' horse cast a shoe, so Tom Gillespie shod him by firelight, as it was the captain's intention to resume the trail at daylight.
The following morning Captain Roberts took a southwest course from Kickapoo Springs and paralleled the Indian trail we had left the evening before. It was late in the day before we picked the trail up again, and many of the boys were afraid we had lost it altogether, but the captain laughed at their fears and never doubted that we should find it again. The Indians, as their trail showed, were now traveling over a tolerably rough country, which made our progress slow. About noon we found some rain water, and, as it was fearfully hot, we camped for dinner and to give the horses a short rest. When the boys went out to catch their mounts we found that we had camped right in a bed of rattlesnakes. Two of our horses had been bitten. Jim Day's Checo had a head on him as big as a barrel, while the captain's horse, Old Rock, had been bitten on his front leg just above the ankle, and it had swollen up to his body. Neither of the animals was able to walk. Jim Day could not be left alone in that Indian country, so Captain Roberts detailed Private Cupps to stay with Day until the horses died or were able to travel,—in either case they were then to return to camp. The animals soon recovered and Day and Cupps beat us back to camp. The pack loads were now doubled on one mule so Captain Roberts could ride the other. Reduced to thirteen men, we followed the Indians until night. It was a hard day on both men and beasts, so we camped where we found a little water in a draw that drained into the South Concho River. Considering the way we had come the captain thought we had covered sixty miles during the day's ride. We had two rather old men on the scout, Mike Lynch and Andy Wilson, and they were nearly all in. I awoke Andy at 2 a.m. to go on guard. The poor fellow was so stiff he could hardly stand, and I tried to get him to go back to bed, telling him I would stand his guard, but he was game, and in a few minutes hobbled out to the horses and relieved me.
Early in the morning we were up and traveling. The mule Captain Roberts was riding did not step out as fast as Old Rock had done, and the boys had an easier time keeping up. We camped at noon on just enough rain water to do us and took up the trail again after dinner. The trailers stopped suddenly, and as we rode up Captain Roberts asked what was the matter. They said it seemed as though the Indians at this point had rounded up the horses and held them for some cause or other. The captain dismounted and swept the country with his field glasses. He circled around where the horses had been standing and found where a lone Indian had walked straight away from the animals. He followed the tracks to an old live oak tree that had been blown down. Then the reason for the stop became apparent: the Indians had sighted a herd of mustangs grazing just beyond this tree and the redskin had slipped up on them and killed a big brown mare. Captain Roberts picked up the cartridge shell the old brave had used and found it to be from a .50 caliber buffalo gun. We also found the mustang, from which the Indians had cut both sides of ribs and one hind quarter. Captain Roberts was much elated. "Boys," he said with a smile, "we now have ninety-five chances out of a hundred to catch those Indians. They will not carry this raw meat long before stopping to cook some. We have followed them now over one hundred and fifty miles, and they have never stopped to build a fire. They are tired and hungry and probably know where there is water not far away." He spoke with such confidence that I marveled at his knowledge of the Indian habits.
We were now on the extreme western draw of the South Concho River, far above the point at which the water breaks out into a running stream. Finally the trail led out on that level and vast tract of country between the head of South Concho and the Pecos on the west. These Indians turned a little north from the general direction they had been traveling, and all of a sudden we came to some rock water holes. Here the redskins had built three fires, cooked both sides of the mustang ribs and had picked them clean. From this high table land they could look back over their trail for fifteen miles. The captain thought they had been there early in the morning, as the fires were out and the ashes cold. We did not lose any time at this camp, but hurried on, following the trail until late in the evening, when the trailers again halted. When we came up we found that the trail that had been going west for nearly two hundred miles had suddenly turned straight north. Captain Roberts seemed to be puzzled for a time, and said he did not understand this move. About one mile north there was a small motte of mesquite timber. This he examined through his glasses, seeming to me to examine each tree separately. The trail led straight into these trees, and we followed it. In the mesquite timber we found the Indians had hacked some bushes partly down, bent them over, cut up the horse meat they had been carrying with them into tiny strips, strung it on the bushes and, building a fire beneath them, had barbecued their flesh. The redskins had made the prettiest scafelo for meat cooking I ever saw. We found plenty of fire here, and the captain was sure we would have an Indian fight on the morrow.
From the trees the trail swung west again. The redskins were traveling slowly now, as they evidently thought they were out of danger. Just before sundown the scout halted, and we were ordered not to let any smoke go up lest the band we were trailing should spot it and take alarm. As soon as we had cooked our supper Captain Roberts had the fires carefully extinguished. It had been a good season on the table lands and there were many ponds filled with water, some of them one hundred yards wide. We camped right on the edge of one of these big holes and where the Indians had waded into it the water was still muddy. The boys were cautioned not to strike a match that night as we were certain the Indians were not far ahead of us. We covered between forty and fifty miles that day. Camp was called at daybreak. We dared not build a fire, so we could have no breakfast. We saddled our horses and again took the trail. Old Jennie, the pack mule, was packed for the last time on earth, for she was killed in the fight that shortly followed. As soon as it was light enough to see a pony track two of the boys traced it on foot and led their horses, the remainder of our party coming along slowly on horseback. By sunrise we were all riding and following the trail rapidly, eager to sight the marauding thieves. We had traveled some five or six miles when Paul Durham called Captain Roberts' attention to a dark object ahead that looked as if it were moving. The captain brought his field glasses to bear on the object specified and exclaimed it was the Indians. He ordered the boys to dismount at once, tighten their cinches, leave their coats and slickers and make ready to fight. As we carried out this order a distressing stillness came over the men. Captain Roberts and Sergeant Hawkins were the only ones of our party that had ever been in an Indian fight, and I suppose the hearts of all of us green, unseasoned warriors beat a little more rapidly than usual at the prospect of soon smelling powder. Captain Roberts called out to us in positive tones not to leave him until he told us to go, and not to draw a gun or pistol until ordered, declaring that he wanted no mistake on the eve of battle. He ordered the pack mule caught and led until we went into the fight, when she was to be turned loose.
The Indians were out on an open prairie dotted here and there with small skirts of mesquite timber. The captain thought our only chance was to ride double file straight at them in the hope they would not look back and discover us. We moved forward briskly, and as luck would have it, we got within four or five hundred yards of the redskins before they sighted us. At once there was a terrible commotion. The Indians rounded up their stock and caught fresh mounts almost in the twinkling of an eye. Then, led by their old chief, they took positions on a little elevated ground some two hundred yards beyond the loose horses. The redskins stationed themselves about fifteen or twenty feet apart, their battle line when formed being about one hundred yards wide. As each warrior took his station he dismounted, stood behind his horse and prepared to fire when given the signal. The captain with a smile turned to us and said, "Boys, they are going to fight us. See how beautifully the old chief forms his line of battle." From a little boy I had longed to be a ranger and fight the Indians. At last, at last, I was up against the real thing and with not so much as an umbrella behind which to hide. I was nervous. I was awfully nervous. We were now within one hundred steps of the redskins. Then came the order to dismount, shoot low and kill as many horses as possible. The captain said as we came up that every time we got an Indian on foot in that country we were sure to kill him. With the first shot everybody, Indian and ranger, began firing and yelling.
In a minute we had killed two horses and one Indian was seen to be badly wounded. In another minute the redskins had mounted their horses and were fleeing in every direction. Captain Roberts now ordered us to mount and follow them. The roar of the guns greatly excited my pony and he turned round and round. I lost a little time in mounting, but when I did get settled in the saddle I saw an Indian running on foot. He carried a Winchester in his hand and waved to another Indian who was riding. The latter turned and took the one on foot up behind him. As they started away for a race I thought to myself that no grass pony on earth could carry two men and get away from me and Old Coley. The Indians had a good animal, but I gradually closed on them. The redskin riding behind would point his gun back and fire at me, holding it in one hand. I retaliated by firing at him every time I could get a cartridge in my old Sharps carbine. I looked back and saw Ed Seiker coming to my aid as fast as old Dixie would run. He waved encouragement to me.
Finally the old brave ceased shooting, and as I drew a little closer he held out his gun at arm's length and let it drop, probably thinking I would stop to get it. I just gave it a passing glance as I galloped by. He then held out what looked to be a fine rawhide rope and dropped that, but I never took the bait. I just kept closing in on him. He now strung his bow and began using his arrows pretty freely. Finally he saw I was going to catch him, and turned quickly into a little grove of mesquite timber. I was considered a fairly good brush rider, and as we went in among the trees I drew right up within twenty steps of the brave, jumped from my mount and made a sort of random shot at the horse, Indian and all. The big .50 caliber bullet struck the Indian pony just where its head couples on its neck, passed through the head and came out over the left eye. It killed the horse at once and it fell forward twenty feet. The old warrior, hit the ground running, but I jumped my horse and ran after him. As I passed the dead horse I saw the front rider struggling to get from under it. To my surprise I saw he was a white boy between fifteen and sixteen years old with long bright red hair.
By this time Ed Seiker had arrived and was dismounting. The fugitive warrior now peeped from behind a tree and I got a fine shot at his face but overshot him six inches, cutting off a limb just over his head. He broke to run again, and as he came into view Ed placed a bullet between his shoulders. He was dead in a minute. As Ed and I walked up to the dead Indian we found he had also been shot in one ankle and his bow had been partly shot in two. In his quiver he had left only three arrows. Seiker and I hurried back to the dead horse to help the white boy, but he had extricated himself and disappeared. We then returned to the dead warrior and Seiker scalped him. We took the Indian's bow shield and a fine pair of moccasins. I also found a fine lance near where the horse fell, and I presume it was carried by the white boy. We found the redskin had no Winchester cartridges, and this was why he dropped the gun—he could not carry it and use his bow. We went back over the trail but were unable to find the gun the brave had dropped as a bait. By noon that day the boys had all returned to where the fight had begun and the Indian horses had been left. Jim Hawkins and Paul Durham captured a Mexican boy about fifteen years old. He looked just like an Indian, had long plaited hair down his back, was bare headed, wore moccasins and a breech-clout. Had he been in front of me I would surely have killed him for a redskin. Captain Roberts spoke Spanish fluently, and from this boy he learned that the Indians were Lipans that lived in Old Mexico. He was taken back to our camp and finally his uncle came and took him home. He had been captured while herding oxen near old Fort Clark, Texas, and an elder brother, who was with him at the time, had been killed.
The boys were then sent back by Captain Roberts to find the white lad that had been with the Indian Seiker had killed. Though we searched carefully we could find no trace of the mysterious youngster. Some years later I learned that this boy's name was Fischer and that his parents went into Old Mexico and ransomed him. He was from Llano County, and after his return he wrote, or had written, a small pamphlet that contained an account of his life with the Indians. He told of being with old Chief Magoosh [1830–1914] in this fight. He declared he hid in the grass within sight of the rangers while they were hunting him, but was afraid to show himself for fear of being killed. When the rangers had all gathered after the fight our pack mule, Jennie, was missing. We supposed in the run that she had followed the Indians off. Six months later Ed Seiker was detailed to pilot a body of United States soldiers over that same country to pick out a road to the Pecos River. He visited our old battlefield and found Jennie's carcass. She had a bullet hole in the center of her forehead. The Indians in shooting back at their attackers probably hit her with a chance shot. The pack saddle was still strapped to her body, but wolves had eaten all the supplies. Five hundred rounds of ammunition were still with her, showing that no one had seen her since the day of her death. Lacking Jennie's supplies, we did not have a blooming thing to eat but the barbecued horse meat we had captured from the Indians. This had no salt on it, and I just could not swallow it. In the fight we killed three horses and one Indian and captured the Mexican lad. At least two redskins were badly wounded, and as victors we captured fifty-eight head of horses and mules, several Indian saddles and bridles and many native trinkets. Not a man or a horse of our party was hurt, the pack mule being our only fatality. All voted Captain Roberts the best man in the world. We turned our faces homeward, hungry and tired but highly elated over our success. The second day after the fight we reached Wash Delong's ranch on the head waters of the South Concho River. Mr. Delong, a fine frontiersman, killed a beef for us and furnished us with flour and coffee without cost. Three days later we were back at our camp at Los Moris. The stolen stock was returned to their owners, and thus ended my first campaign against the Indians.

From the Apache to the Comanche

During the spring 1874, as many other southern Mescaleros, Carnoviste and his people went to Mexico, but, chased by regular Mexican soldiers and rurales, Carnoviste's band was forced to go back to Texas, where they were captured by the "Buffalo Soldiers" of the 10th Cavalry; in the reservation, 20 Mescaleros of Carnoviste's band died because of a pestilence and the chief led back to Mexico his people; attacked and chased by Mexican troops, Carnoviste and his Mescaleros were forced to ford again the Rio Grande to Texas, but, just forded the river, they were attacked by U.S. Cavalry and lost over 60 people before managing to break away to a sanctuary somewhere in the Big Bend between the Rio Grande and the Pecos. After some lucky raids in the 1875 spring and summer, still chased by the Texas Rangers, Carnoviste's band reached Fort Sill to surrender, but the chief didn't want to give up his stepson Herman and tried to flee again, only to surrender again at Pinos Blancos (New Mexico) in the late 1875 with his last seventy Apache. Later, after Carnoviste's death, war chief Chivat succeeded him in the chieftainship.

In the spring 1876, Carnoviste was killed by a medicine man of his band, his stepson Indot (Herman Lehmann) killed the murderer and had to leave the tribe, and the trusty war chief, Chivat, succeeded him in the chieftainship. In the spring of 1876, 15-year-old Herman killed the medicine man of a rival Apache group with his bow, avenging the death of his chief and friend Carnoviste. Excessive alcohol consumption had led to arguments between previously friendly groups. Lances, spears and tomahawks were used. A warrior attacked Herman with his spear, but Carnoviste stepped in and was killed by the rival band medicine man, who had a Winchester rifle. He took many shots towards Herman, but he hid behind a rock. Finally hid arrow hit, and the medicine man, bleed and begged for his life. Herman walked to him, took aim and pierced his heart. He then took the rifle and escaped. Since killing an "untouchable" medicine man was a terrible crime, Herman had to fear for his life from now on.

He hid in remote areas. For a whole year he struggled all alone in the wilderness until he could no longer bear the loneliness and made the decision to join the Comanches who lived in his retreat. The Comanche were not a unified tribe as the Europeans understood such, but a group of bands and divisions united by common cultural ties. He managed with difficulty to convince them of his good intentions. At first they were going to kill him, however, a young warrior approached him that spoke the Apache tongue. Lehmann then explained his situation—that he was born white adopted by the Indians and that he left the Apaches after killing the medicine man. Another brave came forward verifying his story and he was welcomed to stay. They finally accepted him and gave him the name "Montechema" (Montechena).

In the spring of 1877, Lehmann and the Comanches attacked buffalo hunters on the high plains of Texas. Lehmann was wounded by hunters in a surprise attack on the Indian camp at Yellow House Canyon (present-day Lubbock, Texas) on 18 March 1877, the last major fight between Indians and non-Indians in Texas. In July 1877, the famous Comanche chief Quanah Parker encountered Herman's group on the Rio Pecos in eastern New Mexico. Quanah Parker had signed a peace agreement with the whites a year earlier and was now trying to persuade groups that were still dispersed to also lay down their arms. He had a white mother and had come to the conclusion that the fight of the reds against the overpowering whites was hopeless. He negotiated good terms that included schooling, building houses, and learning to farm and raise cattle.

Herman's group followed Quanah Parker to the Kiowa-Komanche Reservation near Fort Sill, in modern-day Oklahoma. Herman himself initially refused, but then followed his Indian friends and lived on the reservation from 1877 to 1878. Chief Quanah adopted Herman, who was now officially a Comanche. During all these years Auguste feared for her son. She was convinced that he was still alive. At first she didn't hear anything for years, then hope flared up when she spoke to Adolph Korn. Adolph had also been kidnapped and lived with the Indians for six years. After his release, he told her that he had seen Herman with the Apaches and spoken to him. But where should you look? The Indians were nomadic and never lived in one place for long. It wasn't until early 1878 that Auguste got a concrete clue when the last Indians gathered at Fort Sill to be divided into reservations. During this time, some soldiers noticed the blond Indian.[10]

Auguste learned that a young white man was living with the Comanches. She was irritated because, according to Adolph Korn, her Herman was with the Apaches. Nevertheless, she had great hope that it was her son. When she heard that the commanding general of Fort Sill, Ranald McKenzie, was on his way to Fredericksburg and would be passing through Loyal Valley, she was beside herself. She absolutely had to speak to him. She wasn't in town when the news reached her, but she immediately drove her team of horses home. Desperation gripped her when she learned that she had missed the general. She changed horses in no time at all and rode with her husband behind the general as if hunted by the devil. Before Fredericksburg they caught up with him and told him about Herman. Although Auguste's description of Herman did not convince the general, he sent a telegram to Fort Sills with orders to take Herman to Loyal Valley immediately. But Herman was buffalo hunting. Auguste was told he wouldn't be back for three months. Those were the longest three months of Auguste's life. Every two weeks she sent a telegram to Fort Sill to ask if the young white man wasn't finally back from the hunt. In April 1878, word finally came that he was on his way to Loyal Valley with an escort.

Five soldiers and a driver accompanied Herman in an ambulance pulled by four mules. Guarding was necessary. Herman was a Native American and would have taken any opportunity to flee. He firmly believed his family was dead and had no idea where he was being taken. At that time he understood neither English nor German. On 12 May 1878, the long-missing man arrived home. In a later interview, Auguste describes the events as follows:

"Can you imagine my excitement and joy mixed with doubts and fears? If he was my prodigal son, then I would be the happiest mother alive. I was counting the days and doubts stirred within me. I was very excited and shaking. I asked everyone who passed by if they had seen any soldiers on the way here. This was always denied. Then one morning a man said that there were soldiers near Mason who had a white boy with them. They would surely be here by evening. We prepared a feast. I paced nervously all day, only to stop every now and then to listen for a car. But I heard nothing but the rain beating against the window. Then a lot of people came to the house and told me that the soldiers had set up camp three miles from here and that they were taking me there. My husband told me not to go out in the rain. A few men decided to ride up to the soldiers and ask them to continue to Loyal Valley that night – which they did. During this final wait, my husband and the school teacher held me in the chair. In the meantime, around 300 friends and neighbors had gathered in front of the house. Then I heard the wheels of the ambulance. My heart beat faster and faster. I wanted to go to the door but they held me. I broke free, ran out to Herman, hugged him and cried. Then I led him into the light and – good God – I thought he wasn't Herman!"

Herman remained unperturbed. He showed no reaction other than haughty indifference. Auguste's doubts were justified. He had been eleven years old when she had last seen him. Now he was a young man of 19 and really looked very different. The redeeming words came from Herman's sister, Wilhelmina, who was two years his senior and identified him perfectly from a scar on his hand. She had accidentally inflicted the injury on her brother herself with a hatchet when they were children. Auguste's joy and gratitude to General McKenzie knew no bounds. Herman describes the situation from his perspective in his book as follows:

“When I arrived there was a crowd of people, my mother among them. But I didn't recognize her. Years of wildness had erased memories of motherly love and feelings. In what should have been an hour of supreme happiness, she was just a white squaw to me. Oddly enough, the crowd examined me and spoke excitedly in a language I didn't understand, even though it was my native tongue. They looked for identifying marks and finally found a scar on my hand from an injury I suffered as a child. Then my brother Willie and my sister Mina came to me, and the dark curtain of oblivion that had hung over me for so long slowly lifted. Memories of my childhood came back. I remembered Willie and Mina as my playmates from a long time ago. Then someone kept saying 'Herman, Herman'. The name sounded familiar – and I finally realized it was my own name. The fog cleared and I knew I had found my family again. But I was an Indian. And I didn't like them because they were pale faces."
Herman and Willie Lehmann marker
Loyal Valley Cemetery

Post-Indian captivity

He was reluctant to give up his adopted life way, he continued to appear in body painted, leggings, and breech clout. He refused to sleep in a bed, and had to be restrained from raiding the neighbors' livestock. He did, however, learn English, and relearn German. His expertise in archery, roping and riding helped make him a local celebrity.

Brother Willie was his connection to the "white world". Willie certainly had the greatest sympathy for Herman, since he himself had been kidnapped. His relief at being spared Herman's fate and his guilty conscience that he had "abandoned" his brother certainly helped him endure Herman's capricious behavior. The two had become accomplices through what they had experienced. At first it must have been awful for Auguste to have an Indian son, who the local children were afraid of, who burst into a service and performed an Indian dance, assuming that the congregation was begging for rain from the Great Spirit, who ate raw meat ate and often disappeared for days to return home with shot animals. After these excursions he was distant and unapproachable. He missed his Indian life and the company of his red brothers terribly.

Just as he had missed the protective warmth of his family and the orderly farm life after his kidnapping eight years ago. But gradually the situation improved. Although he never fully assimilated into white society, after a period of adjustment he became very popular because of his good-natured, humorous nature. The children who feared him before became his friends. The Loyal Valley community accepted him and accepted him – the Indian celebrity – as one of their own. Now and then he stole a chicken from the neighbors to eat. Since Willie couldn't really break this stupid habit, he gave up and instead tacitly replaced the neighbors with the poultry. Herman was forgiven for this bad habit and even smiled about it.

At home he refused to eat pork or sleep in a bed, and he embarrassed his family by sometimes appearing before his mother's hotel guests with his body painted, dressed only in leggings, breech clout, and feathers. He startled a revival meeting with an Indian dance, thinking the congregation was praying for rain. His brother Willie kept him from killing the neighbors' calves and hogs and from stealing horses from adjoining farms. He relearned German, learned English, engaged in numerous odd jobs, tried for a single day to attend school, and worked as a trail driver. Although he never adjusted to White society fully, Herman did accept his role in the Loyal Valley community, and his easygoing nature and good humor seem to have made him many friends. After an unhappy earlier marriage ended in divorce, he married Miss Fannie Light in 1890, and the couple had two sons and three daughters. Later, as a Comanche, he was given Oklahoma lands by the United States government, and he spent much of his time with his red brothers.[11]

Herman was a loving father and a good husband, but he still felt uneasy on a regular basis. He had to go out into nature. Then he disappeared for a few days to rest in the vastness of the prairie. In 1901, now living in Oklahoma, Herman was officially recognized as Quanah Parker's adopted son based on testimonies. As a result, Herman now had three fathers: a biological father, a stepfather, and an adoptive father. Auguste certainly didn't like this situation very much. It was another seven years before Herman was granted 160 acres of land on the Indian reservation near Grandfield, Oklahoma, on 29 May 1908, after much back and forth and a few processes by the US Department of Indian Affairs. In 1910, the family moved there.

As much as Herman had longed to return to his Indian friends, the return was beyond sobering. This wasn't the wild life of freedom he fondly remembered. He wasn't a farmer, and life on the reservation bored him. The return to his friends just came too late. He had lived with the whites for over 20 years and started a family. He hadn't noticed the slow development of his red, dangerous warrior friends into harmless, frustrated, often alcoholic reservation dwellers and was immensely disappointed. He missed the Texas hills and last but not least his brother Willie. He was neither happy in one world nor in the other.

He was a proud man, and he impressed everyone he met with his sense of humor and friendliness. As he grew older he especially enjoyed good-natured reunions with trail drivers and ranchers whose livestock he had stolen. Throughout his life, Herman Lehmann drifted between two very different cultures. Lehmann was a very popular figure in southwestern Oklahoma and the Texas Hill Country, appearing at county fairs and rodeos. To audiences of "Wild West Shows", such as he did in 1925 at the "Old Settlers Reunion" in Mason County, he would chase a calf around an arena, kill it with arrows, jump off his horse, cut out the calf's liver, and eat it raw.[12]


Herman Lehmann's first memoir, written with the assistance of Jonathan H. Jones, was published in 1899 under the title A Condensed History of the Apache and Comanche Indian Tribes for Amusement and General Knowledge (also known as Indianology). Lehmann was unhappy with the book, for he felt Jones had exaggerated details to thrill readers. His second autobiography, Nine Years Among the Indians (Boeckmann-Jones, Austin 1927, edited by John Marvin Hunter) was at the request of Lehmann. He requested that this time the book be written just as he told it. In his book, he often confuses dates, which is understandable, and he was a captive almost exactly eight years, not nine. It is one of the finest captivity narratives in American literature, according to American folklorist, writer, and newspaper columnist James Frank Dobie. Herman Lehmann's story also inspired Mason County native Fred Gipson's novel Savage Sam, a sequel to Old Yeller.


Herman spent the last six years of his life in Loyal Valley. He died on 2 February 1932 at the age of 72 from an inflammation of the heart muscle. He was buried next to his mother and stepfather.



On 16 July 1885, Lehmann married his fiancée N. E. Burke, but the marriage was unhappy and ended in divorce. On 4 March 1896, he married Fannie Light (1875–1936), older sister of Sophia Light, wife of his brother Wilhelm. They seperated 1926 (herman returned to his beloved brother Willie), but were never divorced. The couple had five children:

  • Heinrich "Henry" (1897–1918)
  • Johann Friedrich "John Frederick" (1898–1966); ∞ Velma Mae Lehman (1908–2000)[13]
  • Amelia Marie (1901–1959); ∞ Hugh Edgar Trotter (1895–1957); 1 son
  • May Marie "Mae Mary" (1903–1988); ∞ 1924 Scott Lafayette Ousley, 4 children (Johnnie Ruth, Scott Lafayette, Wanda Colleen and Anna Dolore Ousley); ∞ 1949 Tom Holly (d. 1963)
  • Caroline (1911–1997); ∞ Grady H. Taylor (1909–1955); 1 child (Jay Gayford Taylor)

Further reading

External links



  1. Lehmann: Nine years. 1927, p. 144 ff.
  2. Lucinda “Lucy” Duty Roberts
  3. Lucinda Duty Parker Usry
  4. Wilhelmina “Mina” Lehmann Keyser
  5. John H. Keyser
  6. Rebecka Elizabeth Rode Lehmann
  7. This is Alwyn Ronane Holcomb married Emma Buchmeyer and left her and his 5 children around 1905. He changed his last name to Wright (also used Right), married Annie L. Maury (1884–1966) and lived and died in Texas under his assumed name. Actual DOB 10 August 1868, although his grave marker shows 1866. His sisters knew, but his children never knew what happened to him. Grave marker reads Alwyne R. Wright, death certificate reads Alwyne R. Right.
  8. Henry W Buchmeyer
  9. Auguste Juliane Adams-Lehmann-Buchmeyer und ihr Indianersohn Herman Lehmann (Archive)
  10. „Der mit dem Wolf tanzt“ auf preußisch, Junge Freiheit, 28 December 2017
  11. Lehmann, Herman (1859–1932)
  12. Site of Old Park Named for Comanche Chief Katemcy - Katemcy, Mason County, Texas
  13. Velma Mae Lehman