The Native-Americans

Texas is a state founded by immigrants. The Native Americans in the Smithville area when the first whites came to that area were not even the area's original people. They were immigrants as well and were newcomers to the land. Members of the Comanche tribe came down from the northern plains into the Tonkawa lands of central Texas. They were ruthless thieves of the property of the indigenous tribes and overpowered them with their superior horsemanship and prowess. The Comanches were nomads for the most part, moving on from place to place following the great herds of buffalo which moved across that part of the state before the white men had erected barricades stop them. It is recorded (Smithville Times, 1995, p. 2) that the last buffalo herd to be seen near Smithville was in in 1846 when they were seen by John Fawcett and his wife. John shot one of them and skinned it. The area was known as the "buffalo crossing" since the buffalo had crossed the Colorado River at the mouth of Gazley Creek since before recorded time.

The Tonkawa Indians were moved to Indian Territory in Oklahoma in 1859 where 137 of the last 300 of them were massacred by members of the Delaware, Shawnee and Caddo tribes. The last remnants of the Tonkawa Indians were removed from Texas for good after they were assigned to the Oakland Agency in Ponca City, Oklahoma where they lived as poor rural workers and were gradually absorbed into other tribes (Ruff, 1985, p. 57).

Native Americans resented the white man settling on the land and killing off the buffalo that were their main support. They were the participants in the first clash of cultures in the Smithville area! The meeting of people from these very different cultures meant that each would to try to overpower the other for survival. This was the first such "culture clash" in recorded history. There are many accounts of clashes between the native americans and the new settlers recorded in the history of Smithville.

Many other culture clashes between different types of people were to ensue in the area. It seems to be human nature for people who are different, who have different values and ways of living to mistrust one another.

History of Smithville 1827-1895. (1995, October 19) The Smithville Times Special Centennial Edition, p. 2.

Ruff, Ann. (1985). Unsung heroes of Texas. Houston: Gulf Publishing Co.

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