Rebellion November 12, 1850     
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Peter H. Bell, Governor of Texas
Peter H. Bell, governor of Texas in 1850 who approved aggressive counter measures against the Black Seminoles. Texas State Library & Archives Commission.
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The Comanches had another incentive for their attacks: a $50 bounty for the return of Black Seminoles, offered by the Texas Indian agent, John Rollins, with tacit approval from Texas Governor Peter H. Bell. In one of the ironies of frontier race-relations, white Texans paid their most feared Indian enemies to capture black fugitives.

As individual runaways, Black Seminoles were principally the concern of those who claimed them as property. This group included Creek and Seminole slavers and the Seminole subagent Marcellus Duval, who posted reward offers for the fugitives in Texas newspapers. Collectively, the Black Seminoles threatened all of the frontier slaveholders. Slaveholders “shuddered,” in the words of historian Ronnie Tyler, “as exaggerated newspaper accounts aroused fears that every Negro in the state would try to join the Seminole.”

Duval, who had helped create the hysteria, tried to use it to his advantage. He wrote Governor Bell and various military officials requesting aid in capturing the fugitives. By November 12, Army officials ordered the commander at Fort Duncan to arrest any blacks attempting to cross south of the Rio Grande.

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Sources: Porter Black 134, Tyler 4-5 citing Fort Smith Herald July 20, Nov. 8, Dec. 6, 1850, The Texas Monument Aug. 7, Oct. 16, Dec. 4, 1850, Democratic Telegraph and Texas Gazette Nov. 16, Dec. 21, 1850, The Texas Presbyterian Nov. 1, 1850. ©
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
spacer spacer Arrival
Second Exodus
Border Etiquette
Duval's Desserts
Indian Killers
End of an Era
+ Liberty Foretold
+ Liberty Found
 + Legacy & Conclusion


Texan efforts to gain extradition of fugitive slaves in Mexico