|Known for||Comanche war chief|
He rose to fame first as a son of Santa Anna, and used that status to survive capture by John "Rip" Ford and his Texas Rangers. In 1850 he escaped Army custody, then became known as a ferocious war chief late in the 1850s for his relentless raiding of white settlements.
Born in 1832 to Comanche War Chief Santa Anna and one of his wives, Carne Muerto (translated from Comanche and Spanish as "Death Meat"; the more logical name in Spanish would be "Carne Muerta", which means "Dead Meat"), as he was known in Texas, and on the Comancheria, ) grew up as part of the Penateka band of the Comanches. The Penateka, in the days of Old Owl, Buffalo Hump, Yellow Wolf, and Santa Anna, up to the Great Raid, were the most numerous of the Comanche. But they had borne the brunt of the fighting, and disease finished what war had started. During the cholera epidemic of 1848-9, most of its remaining members died, and the band split up. His father dead, Carne Muerto and his mother went to live with the Quahadi band of the Comanche Indians.
Capture by John "Rip" Ford
In June 1850, reported to be 18 years of age, Carne Muerto was captured by a Texas Rangers detachment led by John "Rip" Ford. According to the Rangers, Carne Muerto told the Rangers at once he was the son of Santa Anna, still a very well known and respected Peace Chief who had once been a War Chief second only to Buffalo Hump, and that if he was well treated the Rangers would be rewarded. (Carne Muerto prudently did not tell the Rangers that his father was dead, which he had to know, as he reportedly was there.) Ford, no lover of any Comanche, but believing Santa Anna was alive, and knowing well what he had once done in the border wars, was aware of the potential for disaster if Santa Anna's son was mistreated or killed while in captivity. Reportedly treated with kindness, the young warrior was held by the Rangers, and then by the Army, for almost a year before he escaped.
When Carne Muerto, a prisoner at Fort McIntosh, was moved to Fort Merrill in January 1851, Ranger Andrew Walker was put in charge of the patrol to guard the prisoner. Though that patrol ended up fighting more Comanche, Walker was under orders to make sure Carne Muerto came to no harm. Both the Rangers and the Army felt that because Carne Muerto was the son of a famous War Chief, he could potentially be traded for white captives among the Comanche under the best scenario, and in the worst case, would at least serve to show that captives should be treated humanely. Ford emphasized to the Army that should harm come to a famous Chief's son, the Comanche would take a terrible vengeance on settlers (which is why Ford insisted that Rangers remain part of Carne Muerto's guards, even while in military custody). Reportedly his mother came to Fort Merrill to plead for his release. Shortly thereafter, he escaped and rejoined the Quahadi.
Carne Muerto became a War Chief among the Quahadi in the mid-1850s, and led repeated raids against white settlements. He was a noted leader in the resistance against white settlement of the Comancheria. He disappears from history in the early 1860s, after the Battle of Little Robe Creek.
- Handbook of Texas, TSHA.
- Rip Ford's Texas. University of Texas Press. 1963.
- The Comanches: Lords of the Southern Plains. University of Oklahoma Press. 1952.
- Frontier Blood: the Saga of the Parker Family, by Jo Ann Powell Exley
- Quanah Parker, Comanche Chief, by William T. Hagan
- Rip Ford's Texas by John Salmon Ford
- The Last Comanche Chief: The Life and Times of Quanah Parker, by Bill Neeley
- The Comanches: The Destruction of a People, Theodore Reed Fehrenbach, (2003)