The Story of the Apache Warrior Who Captured Herman Lehmann

William Chebahtah and Nancy McGown Minor

American Indian Lives Series

292 pages
14 photographs, 4 maps, 2 tables, 4 appendixes, index


July 2009


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eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

November 2007


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About the Book

Here is the oral history of the Apache warrior Chevato, who captured eleven-year-old Herman Lehmann from his Texas homestead in May 1870. Lehmann called him “Bill Chiwat” and referred to him as both his captor and his friend. Chevato provides a Native American point of view on both the Apache and Comanche capture of children and specifics regarding the captivity of Lehmann known only to the Apache participants. Yet the capture of Lehmann was only one episode in Chevato’s life.
Born in Mexico, Chevato was a Lipan Apache whose parents had been killed in a massacre by Mexican troops. He and his siblings fled across the Rio Grande and were taken in by the Mescalero Apaches of New Mexico. Chevato became a shaman and was responsible for introducing the Lipan form of the peyote ritual to both the Mescalero Apaches and later to the Comanches and the Kiowas. He went on to become one of the founders of the Native American Church in Oklahoma.
The story of Chevato reveals important details regarding Lipan Apache shamanism and the origin and spread of the type of peyote rituals practiced today in the Native American community. This book also provides a rare glimpse into Lipan and Mescalero Apache life in the late nineteenth century, when the Lipans faced annihilation and the Mescaleros faced the reservation.

Author Bio

William Chebahtah is the grandson of Chevato and the transmitter of the oral history on which Chevato is based. Nancy McGown Minor has a master's degree in history from Texas State University and is an independent researcher.


“[Chevato’s] story is well known, but not until now has much information been available on ‘the rest of the story’—the Indian who kidnapped Lehmann. . . . Fascinating reading.”—Mike Cox, Austin American-Statesman

"A solid contribution to American Indian studies that anyone interested in the subject should have."—Joseph A. Stout Jr., Journal of American History

"Those interested in Indian ethnography, Texas history, or oral history will consider Chevato a must-read."—John D. Huddleston, Journal of Southern History

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Introduction by Nancy McGown Minor

Introduction by William Chebahtah

Part 1. The Lipan Apaches, Zaragosa, and the Mescalero Apaches

1. The Lipan Apaches

2. The Massacre at Zaragosa

3. The Mescalero Apaches, Mexican Bandits, and Revenge

4. The Vision Quest

5. The Blackbirds

6. Chevato and Dinero Leave the Bandits

7. The Thirty-two Burros

8. The Amnesty

Part 2. Herman Lehmann and Quanah Parker

9. The Capture of Herman Lehmann

10. The Capture of Children

11. Herman Lehmann Leaves the Apaches and Becomes a Comanche

12. Geronimo

13. The Murder Trial

14. The Bodyguards

15. Pi-he

16. Quanah Parker and Wild Horse

17. Warriors

18. The Lost Sister

19. The Revolutionary

20. The Peyote Singer

21. The Community on the Creek

22. The Death of Chevato

Appendix 1. Lipans at the Mescalero Agency, 1869-1903

Appendix 2. Indian Scouts from the Mescalero Reservation, 1883-90

Appendix 3. Pedigree Chart: Chevato and Pi-he

Appendix 4. Descendants of Chevato