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Nine Years with the Indians

Herman Lehmann, Nine Years with the Indians

If you have been reading any of my articles, you know that I have a profound love of history. In particular, I am captivated by the history of the Old West, and wonderful stories of frontier settlements and Native Americans. I have mentioned in several of my articles that my grandfather grew up with a neighbor named Herman Lehmann. As a boy, Herman was captured by the Apache, and spent nine years living among the Apache and Comanche. My grandfather spent many wonderful evenings as a child with Herman, listening to his first hand stories of living among the Natives.

In 1927, Herman wrote a book about his time among the Indians. He titled the book, Nine Years With the Indians. I have read this book many times, and must say it is one of the best books describing the hard truth of life on the frontier, and an authentic description of life among the Apache. It gives one of the most accurate glimpses of the traditional ways of the Apache and Comanche, and unique insights into Native American Culture. This is a Must Read for any history enthusiast. You can purchase this book, as well as another book on Herman's Captivity, below.


Nine Years with the Indians, Herman Lehmann

This is the best book I have found for the serious enthusiast or student of the American Frontier, and Native American culture. The book presents a wonderful description of the stark reality of life in a traditional Apache Indian camp. The book explores the complex social structure of the Apache, and the relationships between the Native Americans white settlers on the Texas Frontier. Another fascinating aspect of this book is the social and cultural struggles faced by Indian Captives.

This is a must read!

Chevato: The Story of the Apache Warrior Who Captured Herman Lehmann

This book captures the oral history of William Chebahtah, who was the grandson of Chevato. Chevato was the Apache who captured Herman Lehman. Herman referred to Chevato as "Bill Chiwat". Herman considered Bill Chiwat as both his captor, and then his friend. This books compliments Nine Years with the Indians by providing perspective from the Native Americans responsible for the capture. It also gives unique perspective on the Apache and Comanche practice of capturing white children on the frontier.

Biographical Overview: Herman Lehmann

Herman Lehmann was born on June 5, 1859 near Loyal Valley, Texas. Loyal Valley was a very small community in West Texas in Mason County. The area is on the western edge of the Texas Hill Country. On May 16, 1870 Herman and his younger brother Willie were working in a field near the family home. Herman was 11 years old, and Willie was 8. The two brothers were captured, and carried off by a band of Apache Indians. An army patrol was sent from near by Ft. McKavett, and four days later the patrol encountered the Apache band. They were able to rescue Willie, but the Apache made an escape with Herman. Herman was completely assimilated into the Apache tribe, and became a full-fledged Apache brave. He participated in Apache raids on white settlements, and battles with the Army and Texas Rangers.

After six years, Herman became involved in a dispute with an Apache Medicine Man. He killed the Medicine Man. Fearing for his life, he fled the Apache. At this point, he would have been free to return to his white family. He had been so assimilated into the Native American culture that he chose to seek refuge among the Comanche. Herman eventually settled on a reservation with Quanah Parker and other Comanche Indians. Several people noticed that he looked like a white man. Based on his age, some surmised that the man could be the boy (Herman) captured nine years prior. After some investigation, it was determined that the boy was Herman Lehmann, and he was reunited with his white family.

Herman was 19 when he was reunited with his family. He never fully adjusted to life among the "palefaces". He mourned for his Indian family, and the Native American way of life.

This brief biographical sketch does not do justice to the incredible life of Herman Lehmann. I highly recommend you read the book, "Nine Years with the Indians", which gives incredible details and stories of both Herman's time among the Indians, and his struggles to adapt to life among the "Civilized".


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