On September 8, 1874, Lt. Frank Baldwin and three scouts captured
the "white Indian" known as Tehan in what is now Hemphill
Tehan was taken by the Kiowas when he was a child. They called
him Tehan ("Texan"). He was subsequently adopted by the medicine
man Maman-ti and grew up to become a fierce warrior. Except
for his red hair, fair skin, and bull-like neck, he was pure Kiowa,
and he reportedly committed several depredations on whites as an
apprentice brave during the early 1870s.
Tehan was about eighteen when the Red River War broke out in the summer
of 1874. Baldwin left Tehan with Capt. Wyllys Lyman's wagontrain, which was
subsequently besieged by the Kiowas. During the siege, Tehan escaped from
his guards and rejoined his adopted tribe, sporting a suit of clothes the troops
had given him. Little more is known of his fate.
One story held that the Kiowa chief Big Bow killed Tehan, fearing that
Tehan's "white blood" would lead him to betray Big Bow to the military
authorities. Tehan's foster sister doubted this story and believed that
Tehan lived for a time with a group of Mescalero Apaches, but later
returned to the Indian Territory.
The mystery was compounded in 1895 when the Rev. Joseph K. Griffis,
a Presbyterian minister, claimed that he was Tehan; he claimed to have
drifted east after the Red River War and come under the influence of the
Salvation Army, which set him on the "Narrow Path" toward the ministry.
Several Red River War veterans, however, declared that the minister did
not resemble the Tehan whom they remembered.
Most of the Kiowas came to believe that Tehan had, indeed, died out
on the Texas plains. Historian Wilbur S. Nye later opined, "There
may have been more than one Tehan."