We hope that your April has gotten off to a great start. Below, you will find our April Newsletter. Enjoy!
On March 25, the Fort Clark Historical Society and the Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery Association observed National Medal of Honor Day. Below are the two articles that were written by SISCA president Augusta Pines. They appeared in the Kinney County Post on March 23 (National Medal of Honor Day) and on March 30 (National Medal of Honor Day Part 2).
National Medal of Honor Day
By Augusta Pines, Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery Association President
This Saturday, March 25, the Fort Clark Historical Society and the Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery Association will observe National Medal of Honor Day. This is the first year that we will be marking this very sacred day. I must admit that I am very excited about this coming Saturday.
What is National Medal of Honor Day? National Medal of Honor Day is a day dedicated to all Medal of Honor recipients. According to www.nationalcalendarday.com, “It was on March 25, 1863, when the first Medals of Honor were presented. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton presented Medals of Honor (Army) to six members of ‘Andrews Raiders’ for their volunteering and participation during an American Civil War raid in April of 1862. In 1990, the United States Congress designated March 25th of each year as National Medal of Honor Day. Since its creation, there have been 3,468 Medals of Honor awarded to the country’s soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and coast guardsmen.” Use #MedalOfHonorDay to post on social media.
There are four medal of honor recipients buried at the Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery. Outside of the Arlington National Cemetery, the Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery has the most medal of honor recipients laid to rest. The four gentlemen are Pompey Factor, Adam Payne, Issac Payne, and John Ward.
In 1873, Colonel Ranald S. Mackenzie decided to go on a mission. This would be a punitive expedition. He wanted to cross the border and fight the Lipan Apaches. He decided that the Seminole Negro Indian Scouts would lead the way. On September 19, 1874, three Seminole Negro Indian Scouts and two Tonkawa Scouts went out, searching for the enemy. Very soon, they were ambushed by about forty Kiowas. The only thing that they could do was fight. Although the exact details about what happened during this skirmish are not clear, at the end of it, Adam Payne was awarded the Medal of Honor. He had risked his life to save his fellow scouts. According to Wikipedia, Payne was decorated for his habitual courage though there is no evidence that he received his medal.
Pompey Factor, Isaac Payne, and John Ward received their medals following an attack on April 5, 1875. The three men were with Lieutenant Bullis. They were scouting Comanches who had built a camp on the lower Pecos River. Upon discovery of the Comanches’ habitat, a battle ensued. According to Wikipedia, the scouts dismounted and positioned themselves behind some rocks so that they would appear to be a larger force. According to Bullis’ report, “we twice took their horses from and killed three Indians and wounded a fourth,” but the hostiles, about thirty of them, eventually discovered the size of the scouting party and attempted to surround them in order to cut the scouts off from their horses. The scouts were able to maneuver away from them and get to their horses. As they were on their way back to safety, they realized that Lieutenant Bullis had been left behind. Under heavy fire, the scouts returned to the battle and rescued their commander. The three men received their medals on April 25, 1875 (Source: Wikipedia).
Adam Payne passed away on January 1, 1877. Isaac Payne passed away in 1904. John Ward passed away on March 24, 1911. Pompey Factor passed away March 29, 1928. All four of these remarkable men, these Medal of Honor recipients, are buried at the Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery.
By Augusta Pines, Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery Association President
On Saturday, March 25, the Fort Clark Historical Society (FCHS) and the Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery Association (SISCA) teamed up to celebrate National Medal of Honor Day, which is the day that has been designated to honor those who have been awarded the military’s highest honor.
The day was warm. Above us was a brilliantly blue, cloudless sky. It was truly a beautiful day to honor our nation’s bravest. At 2 PM, we gathered in front of the memorial flagpole located in front of Dickman Hall. Mr. Russell Nowell was the master of ceremonies for this part of the ceremony. He engaged and educated the crowd by telling us about the origins of the Medal of Honor award, how National Medal of Honor Day came to be, and some of the gentlemen who received the award while stationed at Fort Clark. Five men, in particular, were highlighted and honored. They were four Black Seminole Indian Scouts and Claron A. Windus, who had once been a deputy in Brackettville. During his presentation, Mr. Nowell invited descendants of the Black Seminole Medal of Honor recipients to place commemorative bricks that had been created with their names on them in their resting place in front of the memorial flagpole. Ms. Beverly A. Kelly and Mr. Joe Louis Factor did the honors. Following the end of this program, we hopped into our vehicles and drove to the Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery.
As we arrived at the Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery, we were greeted by thousands of tiny wildflowers. Surely, this was a gift from Mother Nature. The beauty of this only emboldened our reverence for those that we had come to honor. At the cemetery, we gathered the four Black Seminole Indian Scouts who had received the Medal of Honor. They were Pompey Factor, Adam Payne (Paine), Isaac Payne (Paine), and John Ward.
Pompey Factor, Isaac Payne, and John Ward received their Medals of Honor for their bravery during the same battle. On April 25, 1875, these three men participated in a charge against “twenty-five hostiles while on a scouting patrol,” according to their Medals of Honor citation. The fourth Black Seminole who received the Medal of Honor was Adam Payne. He served as a private in Texas at Blanco Canyon, a tributary of the Red River, where he participated in an engagement that occurred on September 19, 1874. Adam Payne "rendered invaluable service to Col. R. S. Mackenzie, 4th U.S. Cavalry, during this engagement," according to the Medal of Honor citation.
This information was presented by four Black Seminole descendants, Ms. Beverly A. Kelly, Mr. Joe Louis Factor, Mr. Larvell Blanks, and myself. Following our presentation, a beautiful wreath was laid at the Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery marker. From there, several of us walked to each of their graves and paid our respects to these four brave men.
Following the ceremony at the Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery Association, we hopped in our cars again and traveled to the Masonic Cemetery. It is at this cemetery that Claron A. Windus has been laid to rest. He received the Medal of Honor for bravery while serving as a bugler during a battle with the Kiowa in northern Texas on July 12, 1870. His citation reads: “For the President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Bugler Claron Augustus Windus, United States Army, for gallantry in action on 12 July 1870, while serving with Company L, 6th U.S. Cavalry, at Wichita River, Texas.” A wreath was also placed at his grave in reverence and in honor of his bravery.
This was the first time that the FCHS and SISCA have celebrated National Medal of Honor Day. I am so happy that we did, and I am certainly looking forward to commemorating this day again next year.
The next few months are going to be very busy for SISCA. We are currently planning many interesting events that we are sure you will want to be a part of. We will be sharing more details about all that we are planning very soon!
Our next monthly meeting will be taking place this Saturday, April 8 at 1PM. Come and join us!
Thank you for your continued support and interest in the Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery Association.