The birth of Adam Paine

The birth of Adam Paine is celebrated on this date in 1843. He was a Black Seminole who served in the United States Army.

Sometimes referred to as Adam Payne, he was born in Florida. Paine enlisted in the Army at Fort Duncan, Texas in November 1873, and joined other Black Seminoles known as the "Seminole-Negro Indian Scouts". Col. R. S. Mackenzie's main group from the 4th U.S. Cavalry was moving towards the Texas-New Mexico border in the Staked Plains region on September 4, 1874. A day's march ahead of the group, private Payne and three other scouts were ambushed by twenty-five Comanches. The horse leading the Comanche's charge was knocked down by Payne's swinging rifle and the scouts began to fight the enemy natives.

At one point, Payne fought six Comanches at once. All four scouts broke free and returned to camp. Mackenzie placed the 4th Cavalry on heightened alert. From September 26 to September 27, 1874, near Palo Duro Canyon, a tributary of the Red River, Payne participated in the Battle of Palo Duro Canyon. Payne "rendered invaluable service to Col. R. S. Mackenzie, 4th U.S. Cavalry, during this engagement." The scouts had tracked the Comanches to their camp in the Palo Duro Canyon. The 4th cavalry took the Comanches by surprise and captured or destroyed 1,400 horses and other camp equipment and supplies just prior to the onset of winter.

Mackenzie recommended seven white soldiers of the 4th cavalry and Payne for the Medal of Honor. A year later, on October 13, 1875, Private Payne was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at Palo Duro Canyon. Adam Paine was shot to death on New Year's Day January 1, 1877, at age 33 or 34. He was killed by a fellow Medal of Honor recipient, Claron A. Windus, deputy sheriff of Brackettville, Texas, who killed him instead of attempting to arrest him as a murder suspect. Paine was buried at the Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery in Brackettville, Texas.

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