Rebellion 1870     
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Scout Ben July and family
Photograph of Sergeant Ben July, Seminole Negro Indian Scout. Original at the Fort Clark Historical Society.

See enlarged view at the Fort Clark and the Rio Grande Frontier section of the Texas Beyond History Web site.

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Both the army and the maroons understood the arrangement in Texas as temporary. A large portion of the Black Seminoles had expressed a desire to emigrate back to the Oklahoma Indian Territory. The end of American slavery had made the territory less foreboding. Maroons who once sought freedom in Mexico now wanted to reunite with kinsmen and former Seminole Indian allies, who likewise sought reunion.

Until a reunion could take place, however, the maroons agreed to serve the U.S. In exchange they received money, rations, stock, agricultural equipment and, problematically, promises of land or the use of it. The precise terms of the agreement between Captain Perry and John Kibbetts have never been located. From the 1870s on, generations of Black Seminoles understood “the treaty,” as they called it, as an exchange of military services for a promise of land either in Texas or the Indian Territory. Officers of the period corroborated that such a promise existed, but documentation did not survive, and the issue remained a sore point for the next century. It remains so to this day.*

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Sources: Mulroy 112, Porter Black 117.
*On the contemporary recurrence of the 19th-century land dispute, see David Steinberg's article from the Albuquerque Journal of September 22, 2002, page F7: "'Our Land' tells story of Seminole Negroes." ©
Part 4, Freedom: Outline  l Images
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 Trail Narrative
 + Prologue
 + Background: 1693-1812
 + Early Years: 1812-1832
 + War: 1832-1838
 + Exile: 1838-1850
 - Freedom: 1850-1882
+ Cost of Freedom
+ Liberty Foretold
+ Liberty Found
Los Mascogos
Fort Clark
 + Legacy & Conclusion


See other online resources on the history of the scouts