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GOD & TEXAS: Chief Buffalo Hump

Buffalo Hump had a diabolical vision. The year was 1840, and the Comancheria (Comanche land) was being invaded by hordes of settlers from the East. The sacred hunting grounds of the Plains Indians were becoming private farms. The herds of buffalo that had roamed freely in west Texas, were moving north to avoid extinction.

Buffalo Hump was a war chief of the Penateka Comanches. They were furious about the loss of warriors in the Council House fight in San Antonio on March 19, 1840. After months of spiritual introspection, Buffalo Hump declared that he had received a divinely-inspired dream to drive all the new Texas settlers into the sea.

In August of 1840, Buffalo Hump left the Hill Country of Central Texas with a band of approximately 1,000 troops that included warriors, squaws, children, and elderly men. In the light of the Comanche moon, they ransacked the town of Victoria and moved south toward Linnville (Port Lavaca).

The Gulf coast village of Linnville had become a major port for businesses in San Antonio, and its warehouses were full of goods from the East coast. When the citizens of Linnville saw the angry Comanches coming, they escaped by boat into the protection of the harbor. Buffalo Hump saw their response and declared that his dream had been fulfilled.

At that point, Buffalo Hump lost control over his attacking force. The celebrating Comanches ransacked the warehouses and burned down many buildings. After overloading their pack animals with loot and whisky, the inebriated Comanches made a labored retreat back to the Hill Country. Before they left, they decorated their horses by weaving red ribbons into their tails and ears, and by hanging calico over their manes.

The Comanches festooned their lances with ribbons, and some of them wore stove-pipe hats, high leather boots, pigeon-tailed coats that were mistakenly worn backwards and fastened in the back with shiny brass buttons. Then, they rode out of town with many of them waving brightly colored umbrellas over their heads. Yes, they were quite a sight.

On August 12, this menagerie of warriors, squaws, cattle and stolen plunder slowly arrived at Plum Creek, near present day Lockhart. This was also where the Texan militia had arrayed to stop these renegade Indians. Forward scouts for the Texans rushed back to report that the Comanches were coming.

Then, they described the attire of the Comanches, to everyone’s delight. The Battle of Plum Creek was strange, and ended in a draw. The Comanches lost many warriors and much loot. Never again did the Comanches attack an established town.

Greed is a real problem. The weight of stolen goods can make us easy prey for our enemies. Consider this old Italian proverb: “Big mouthfuls often choke.” Or as the Bible says, “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” (1 Timothy 6:9 NIV)

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