Captured By The Apache: Hermann Is Forced To Make His First Kill

in history •  last month  (edited)

Howdy folks and greetings from the Great Plains of North Texas! We're in a series about the Wild West and the story of an 11 year old German boy, Hermann, who was captured by an Apache war party from his family's farm in 1870 in Central Texas.

He's been with them now for several months and has been in training to become a warrior. He knows that soon he will have to prove himself in battle or by killing someone. In this post he is riding with another war party to the settlements.

A skirmish with buffalo hunters

The war party, which included as usual the chief, Carnoviste, (his supposed "father" figure) and a number of braves, were camped by a creek and had killed and were roasting a buffalo and having a feast.

This time though, they had a warrior stationed on a hill to watch for Texas Rangers. In the last post they got ambushed by Rangers. The warrior gave an alert signal and they rushed up to see what was going on.

Four buffalo hunters were walking towards them, three white men and one Mexican. After observing them it was determined that the hunters weren't aware of the Indians so the braves, including Hermann, mounted up and rode down toward the men.

Buffalo hunters in the 1870's:

Those white boys were fast

When they saw the Indians the three white guys ran up into the rocky hillside and hid among the boulders and rocks, they looked like they had guns on them. The other man, the Mexican, made a run for their camp which was a ways off and on the other side of a hill.

He wasn't so fast

They easily overtook him and he spoke to them in Spanish, which they understood, he told them there was no one at their camp site over the hill. Well, the braves figured they'd go check out the camp site and grab whatever valuables were there.

The instructions for Hermann was to hold the man there and not let him escape. It wasn't long before Hermann heard gunshots. The man had lied, the rest of his hunting party was at the camp site and opened fire when they saw the Indians approaching.

Rocks vs. bow and arrow

As soon as the Mexican heard gunshots he picked up rocks and started throwing them at Hermann who shot an arrow at him which grazed him in the side at which he raised his hands in surrender.

Shortly afterwards the war party came galloping back over the hill because they were driven away by the gunfire of the hunters.

download (15).jpg

Hermann kills his first man

When the chief got back to Hermann and Hermann told him that the Mexican had thrown rocks at him the chief went ballistic and ordered Hermann to kill him. Hermann shot him in the heart with an arrow and he was dead when he hit the ground.

The chief was still furious because the guy had lied to them and they almost got their butts shot off so he ordered Hermann to scalp the man. Hermann said he didn't want to. The chief threatened him with severe punishments if he didn't and that forced him to do it.

His first scalping

Hermann said he took his knife and cut an incision all around the top of the man's head, grabbed the hair and gave it a good jerk. He said when the scalp came off it made a popping sound like a pop-gun. (Hey it's gruesome but at least the guy was already dead.)

A strange ceremony

Hermann was baffled at what he saw next but then again he was baffled everyday by what he saw and experienced. The braves gathered around the body which was faced down and the chief told him to carve a cross on the arrow that Hermann had used to kill the Mexican, and lay it on the man's back.

Entreating the Great Spirit

While he did that the Indians smoked a pipe and blew smoke on each other's chests and held their hands up to the Sun with their palms open. This was some kind of worship to ask the Great Spirit to let good fortune come to them and give them victory over their enemies.

The Apache never used an arrow after it had been used to kill a man but he had no idea why they had him carve a cross in it. They left the other men at the camp site and the men hiding in the rocks because they were well fortified. (with guns.)

The raiding party made their way to the white settlements where they were able to steal large numbers of horses with no resistance and made it back home, so it was a very successful trip.

Plus, the chief had bragging rights that his new boy had killed and scalped, thus proving himself to be a true Apache.


I don't know what killing a man at age 11 would do to a person but I imagine Hermann is getting harder and more caloused. In the next post his tribe goes to war with the Comanche.

Thanks for reading folks, God bless you all!




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(Hey it's gruesome but at least the guy was already dead.)

Ewww doesn't matter


Howdy rebeccabe! haha! I know what you mean but if I was in the Mexican's situation and given a choice of when I wanted to be scalped I'd say after I was dead. I know it's gruesome to think about though. How are you guys doing up there, is it warm yet?

What a fascinating ritual. I never knew that about the arrows either, I wonder what they did with them after the fact. Left them with the body I suppose, like this guy here.


Howdy sir badger! I think so, I think they left them with the bodies.
Thanks for commenting!

Hi janton, what a story Hermann had to tell, still worth reading after all these years.


howdy angiemitchell! yes Ma'am there were not many who had that type of story!

I guess there will always be a first time for Hermann.

What a life that kid had. At his young age he has already seen and done so much.


Yeah it would mess most people up for life but I think he was fine after he got back with the white folks.


He must have been a strong minded young man!


Exactly, he was able to process things obviously without getting too emotionally involved. I got pictures of him that I'll show at the end, just of when he was an old man.

Hermann is getting braver by the day but that first kill must have been traumatic. He killed a man but hesitant to scalp it? I guess we have boundaries :D

Do you know why he was asked to carve a cross?


Howdy today sir leeart! No I have no clue about why they instructed him to carve the cross, it's
baffling to me!

Hey it's gruesome but at least the guy was already dead.

Well, yeah, I guess things can always be worse!


Howdy again sir dandays, mr. always answers questions....oh yeah that was nothing,
he got off so easy, he's lucky they didn't take him back to their camp but they didn't want
to go through the hassle that the extra baggage would cause.

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Howdy Janton, for some strange reason I like the fact that they cut a cross on the death arrow. A great story here my friend!

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I was just telling you that I can't imagine cutting off a scalp and what you said here, made it so much worse. Killing and scalping his first...well, you never forget your first of anything but this must have been awful.


Howdy Butterfly! Yes it messed up some of the other kids who were taken and raised by the Indians but it didn't seem to mess Hermann up because later he re-entered white society and did good. He must have been able to rationalize everything in a logical way.

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I can’t imagine a young boy killing and scalping. Driving the buffalo hunters off was a good plan as the Indians knew they were killing them needlessly. Unfortunately they couldn’t stop all the buffalo hunters massacre of the buffalo.


Howdy redheadpei! I can't either, it's amazing at age 11! But he seemed to do alright later in life when he got back into white society so he must have been able to rationalize it in a logical manner.

Howdy Janton, I had couple of busy days, but I am back catching up. I also posted new recipe yesterday, if you like to take a look.

Anyway, Hermann is really making huge progress not in a good way by our standards, but great in Apache ways, so the Chef is proud. How nice!


haha! yes how nice for the chief. how wonderful! lol. The things they thought were great is amazing to us today isn't it?
But I'm glad you're back and I'll check out the recipe, thanks for letting me know!


I just realized that I misspelled Chief and called him Chef, lol. I don't think he would like that 😂😂😂

Nevertheless, very true Janton and it is still happening in some communities and organizations around the world even today. Unfortunately!


haha! yeah the chief might not like being called the chef but who knows? he might have thought it was funny!
Yes too much fighting and hate all over the world still.


You think he had this type of sense of humor? Being called Chef by pale face? He would scalped me, lol.


haha! I think that if they got to know you then you would be surprised at their sense of humor. That is if you lived through the first meeting! lol.


Maybe he would like me for my cooking, lol.


haha! that's good thinking Miss Lena! I bet he would be totally impressed and amazed at your cooking!
But the chiefs could have multiple wives, he might want you to be one of his wives then! lol.

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You always manage to find superb images to enhance your stories @janton That is a skill all on its own. 😊

The Indians have many an intriguing tradition don't they? And all of them hold a lot of significance. It's great that you are keeping people informed on the history of your country John. It's so important.


Howdy again Trudee! Well it's an interesting subject to me because although much of the culture of the Indians has been lost the ancestors are still lanquishing away on the reservations that their people were put on 140 years ago and are now forgotten by mainstream America.
Thank you so much for your kind words and support because I spend tons of time searching through old photos trying to find good ones that would be applicable. way too much time. lol. You know how it is.


I am sure your followers are very appreciative of the time and effort you put into your blogs. It is the difference between a good blog and a great blog and you set a fine example for people to follow.


Howdy again Trudee! oh I don't know about that, I try to make it decent and I think I have mediocre skills so with that being the case I think they usually turn out ok but who has time to spend hours on them so they're perfect? I know people do but most of us just can't. But thank you for the kind words. I'm probably a good example of how NOT to spend all day on a post and still get one out each day!

I always love usa people Especially texas! They are badass!


haha! Howdy there naomihasegawa! Your name sounds like and American Indian name! Anyway, thank you, some of us are for sure, lots of em are on steemit too. Where is Gibraltar anyway, is that part of Spain?
Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

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