When author Scott Zesch found out that his extremely eccentric great uncle Adolph Korn had been captured by the Indians in the Texas Hill Country in 1870, he became determined to find out more. This is the story of not just Korn but other child captives who became "Indianized", resisting attempts to re-introduce them to white society.
Adolph Korn was ten and a half when he was captured by Apaches one day when he was out by himself tending sheep, in a pasture near the present-day of Castell, Texas. When his brother Charlie reported that he'd been taken, of course Adolph's parents were extremely upset. Over time, his father would go so far as to ride to San Antonio to report the kidnapping to military authorities. The word would go as far as the commissioner of Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C. Some small search parties did go out, but they failed to find any trace of Adolph who would be taken to Oklahoma.
In Oklahoma, the Apache who captured Adolph traded him to a resident of the Quahada Comanche village for a horse, a pistol, and a few other things. Over time, Adolph adjusted to Comanche life, learning to ride, hunt, make weapons and fight. Adolph actually took part in some raids on white settlements in Texas, stealing horses. By this time he liked Quanah Parker, who was a half-white war leader whose mother had herself been captured by the Comanches.
In 1872, the federal government forced the Comanches onto a reservation. As part of the arrangement, Comanche children, including Adolph Korn, were sent to a boarding school for Native American school near Fort Sill. It was here that Adolph's true identity would be learned. Eventually he would be returned to his parents, against his wishes.
For the rest of his life, Korn would live between the two cultures. As a grown man, he spent years living as a hermit because he felt uncomfortable among his relations and other white people. The other "Indianized" captives - Herman Lehmann, Rudolph Fischer, Temple Friend, Dot and Banc Babb, Clinton and Jeff Smith, and Minnie Caudle - discussed by Zesch would have similar experiences, defending Native Americans and their way of life until their deaths.
This report prepared by Ann Gaines