First white child ‘taken’ by Native Americans who allegedly learned about their way of life | justpene50

Photo by Brett Wharton on Unsplash

According to Wikipedia, Herman Leman was captured by Native Americans on May 16, 1870. He was almost eleven years old. His younger brother, captured alongside Herman, was then only eight years old.

According to the story, young Herman and his younger brother, at the request of his mother, were out in the fields to scare the birds away from their wheat crop, when a group of Apache Indians approached the family property. .

He and his younger brother were captured.

Along the route and for the first four days, the Apaches forced the younger brothers to eat raw meat. Later, the Indian party encountered an Apache raiding party led by an African-American horseman, Sgt. Emmanuel Stance.

A battle ensued and young Willie Leman, the eight-year-old brother, was able to escape. Unfortunately, the Apache got away with Herman.

The young captive is said to have endured much suffering at the hands of his captors.

To further break his will, Herman was shown bloodied clothes believed to belong to his relatives and told that they had all been killed. He believed the lie and began to assimilate into the Apache way of life.

Once at the Apache village, the captive was adopted by a man named Carnoviste.

Herman began to live the life of an Apache and even fought with them. Soon six years passed. During a memorable battle with the Texas Rangers, Herman was spotted. The rangers tried to “rescue” Herman, but he escaped.

Then, in the spring of 1876, Herman killed an Apache medicine man to avenge the murder of his adoptive father. After the murder, he ran away from the tribe and lived alone for a year.

After a while, it is reported, he felt lonely and began to look for another tribe he could join. He soon found one and after watching them all day, he finally approached them. After some explanation, he was finally accepted into the group and even given another name.

Now he belonged and lived as a Comanche Indian.

His mother never gave up; looking for her son and after hearing that a white boy with blue eyes lived on the reservation, she asked that he be brought to her.

In April 1878, eight years after his capture, Herman was taken to Texas under military escort and when in the presence of his mother, neither recognized the other.

As reported, the people of Loyal Valley gathered to see the captive boy brought home. When he arrived, neither he nor his mother recognized each other. Lehmann had long believed his family dead, as the Apaches had shown him proof of it during his transition to their way of life.

His sister found a scar on his arm, which she had caused while they were playing with a hatchet. His family surrounded him to welcome him home and the distant memories began to come back. Hearing someone repeat “Herman”, he thought it sounded familiar, then realized it was his name.

At first he was sullen and wanted nothing to do with his mother and siblings. As he said, “I was an Indian, and I didn’t like them because they were pale.” Lehmann’s readjustment to his home culture was slow and painful.
He rejected the offered food and was not used to sleeping in a bed.

How that must have broken his family’s heart.

It is said that for the rest of his life, Herman oscillated between two distinct cultures. He was popular between the Oklahoma circuit in Texas, he put on a show at fairs and rodeos, used his skill to kill a cow, then ate the liver raw, much to the shock of onlookers.

By the time he returned to his birth family, Herman had been a captive and lived as an Apache and Comanche Indian for nine long years.

Nohemi M. Moore