Tensions broke into violence on May 19 in one of the closest
scrapes of John Horse’s long and perilous life. Riding from
a local saloon near the end of the day, John Horse and scout
Titus Payne were crossing near the Fort Clark cemetery when
shots rang out. Titus Payne fell dead. John Horse was hit
four times. His horse, American, was badly wounded. But
somehow both horse and rider escaped, riding to safety in
the Seminole camp. It was at least the fourth failed
assassination attempt on John Horse.
The would-be assassins were never caught, but suspicion fell
quickly on the outlaw John “King” Fisher, a notorious
borderland gang leader who had fought with Black Seminoles
in the past. The assassination was perceived as a clear
attempt to push the maroons from their land around the fort.
Sources: Mulroy 148-149, Porter Black 196.
Part 4, Freedom: l