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Fri, 08.25.1854

Issac Payne, Army Scout born

*The birth of Isaac Payne in 1854 is celebrated on this date. He was a Black Seminole Scout in the U.S. Army.

Payne was born near Musquiz, Coahuila, Mexico, to Caesar and Abbie Payne.  Black Seminoles lived in Florida for many generations before the U.S. government moved them with the Indian Removal Act to Indian Territory in the 1840s. In the Indian Territory pro-slavery Creek Indians persecuted many Black Seminoles and they eventually migrated to Mexico, where slavery was abolished. The Mexican government gave them land in exchange for service as scouts for the Mexican Army.  Payne grew up in Coahuila and immigrated to the U.S. after the Army promised Black Seminoles land, rations, and pay in exchange for service as scouts. Payne enlisted as a trumpeter at Fort Duncan, Texas, on October 7, 1871. He married Julia Shields on April 29, 1874, and they had three children; Charles in 1876, Robert in 1877, and Ellen in 1880.

On April 5, 1875, an attack on a stagecoach prompted Lieutenant John L. Bullis to take three Black Seminole scouts, Pompey Factor, John Ward, and Payne, in pursuit of the attackers. The four men tracked the attackers across West Texas until they were spotted crossing the Pecos River at Eagle Nest Crossing on April 26. After a period of intense fighting Bullis ordered a retreat, but was thrown from his horse as the others mounted. The three scouts rescued Bullis and made a difficult and narrow escape to the Devil's River.  Bullis recommended all three scouts for the Congressional Medal of Honor, which Payne received on July 8, 1875. While enlisted in the Army he also fought in the Remolino Raid into Mexico, the Battle of Palo Duro Canyon, and the battles at Devils River, Lake Quemado, Zaragosa in Mexico, and the Big Bend among many smaller engagements.

Payne was involved in the New Year's Eve incident in which fugitives Adam Payne and Frank Enoch were killed. Payne himself was a fugitive at the time, accused of stealing Deputy Claron Windus's horse.  After a period of time in hiding, the charges were dropped and Payne returned to the Army without any penalties for his time on the run. He was discharged from the Army at Fort Ringgold, Texas, on January 21, 1901. Isaac Payne returned home to Mexico and died at Musquiz on January 14, 1904. He is buried in the Seminole Negro Indian Scout Cemetery in Brackettville, Texas.

"Above and Beyond: The Medal of Honor in Texas."
Capitol Visitors Center, State Preservation Board of Texas; Gwaltney, William.

"Footprints Along the Border:
Story of the Seminole-Negro Indian Scouts."
Fort Laramie National Historic Site.

Across the Lone Star:
The Congressional Medal of Honor in Frontier Texas.
Texas A&M University Press: 2002.

"Seminole- Negro Indian Scouts."
"The Wild West of the Seminole Negro Indian Scouts: or
The Killing of Adam Paine, Medal of Honor Winner."

Online Reference:
Texas State Cemetary

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