While details from the period are sparse, memoirs and
government reports make it clear that John Horse enjoyed
fame throughout the borderlands. As a reward for his
military services, he reportedly became a commissioned
colonel in the Mexican army. Whether he received the honor
for fighting the French or the Apaches remains uncertain.
Equally obscure are details of his daily existence. Despite
the turmoil of Mexican politics, however, this may have been
one of the more secure periods in the maroon leader’s life.
By the time emancipation reached Texas on June 19, 1865,
John Horse, then about 53, had lived for 15 years in a
country without slavery. He was still married to Susan, with
whom he would remain until his death. His exploits had won
him prestige and fame as a scout—and likely a measure of
wealth, at least comparatively speaking. Mexicans and Anglos
described encounters in the plains and mountains with El
Coronel Juan Caballo. He was often seen riding his favorite
white horse, “American,” who was mounted with a
silver-plated saddle and a gold-plated pommel in the shape
of a horse’s head.
Sources: Porter “Farewell to John Horse” 268, 273 ff 25.©
Part 4, Freedom: l