Today in Southern History: Chief Satanta

5 July 1871  

On this date in 1871…

In a trial at Jacksboro, Texas, Kiowa chiefs Satanta and Big Tree were found guilty of murdering wagon drivers in a raid and sentenced to hang. Satanta warned the court, “If you kill me, it will be a spark on the prairie. Make big fire-burn heap.” He promised that if released he would withdraw his warriors from Texas.

Fearing a Kiowa uprising, the Texas governor commuted the sentences to life in prison. Both Indians were freed. Satanta would later be returned to prison and commit suicide by jumping off a balcony in 1874.

Other Years:
  • 1861 – The Battle of Carthage, Missouri.
  • 1863 – U.S. Federal troops occupied Vicksburg, MS, and distributed supplies to the Southern citizens they had starved for months. 
  • 1864 – Federal cavalry occupied Roswell, Georgia and burned the cotton and wool mills.
  • 1947 – Larry Doby of Camden, South Carolina signed a contract with the Cleveland Indians, becoming the first black player in the American League. 
  • 195 Eighteen-year-old Elvis Presley walked into the Sun Records Studio in Memphis, Tennessee to record two songs for his mother as a birthday gift.  
  • 1975 – Arthur Ashe of Richmond, Virginia became the first black man to win a Wimbledon singles title.

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