U.S. Army scouts and interpreters were always on hand when the U.S. Cavalry needed to communicate with Indians. Their names are usually not familiar because the historical spotlight often fell on a general or Indian chief. Scouts and interpreters such as Horace Pope Jones played an important role in white/Indian diplomacy, mending and maintaining the fragile truce between settlers, whites and Indians in North Texas. Jones had a talent for Indian languages and worked with different tribes most of his adult life. His Tennesseean grandfather was captured by Indians and told many stories about his life as a captive, and his skills as an outdoors man and marksman enabled him to survive harsh circumstances. After Jones left Tennessee, he drifted westward and settled around the Clear Fork of the Brazos near Camp Cooper. The Peneteka, the least hostile band of the Comanche Nation, lived on the Upper Brazos Reservation. Jones farmed, raised animals and helped the Comanches raise corn. He learned the Comanche language and was formally adopted into the Peneteka band. He earned a reputation for "never telling a lie," a tribute given to few white men. However, all the Indians were forced out of Texas to Indian Territory because of anti-Indian advocates. Jones was assigned to the Confederate-held Wichita Agency near Anadarko in Oklahoma. This new agency was small compared to others, only consisting of a house for Indian agent Matthew Leeper and Jones, as well as a trading center.


On the morning of Oct. 24, 1862, Osage, Delaware, Shawnee and other Indians attacked the Wichita Agency and the Tonkawa tribe camping nearby. Jones believed the friendly tribes such as the Caddo would warn them of a raid, but the Caddo betrayed them all. Jones barely managed to escape with the clothes on his back. Roughly 150 Tonkawa died in the assault. The massacre was in retribution for the way the Tonkawa had switched to the Texans' side. These friendly Indians helped settlers and acted as scouts for both the U.S. Army and Texas Rangers. The massacre was the worst in Indian Territory. Jones and the settlers all headed south for Texas, and luckily, the Indians continued north. Jones fell on hard times after the agency was destroyed, losing $1,800 in personal belongings and gear when the agency was burned. Fortunately, he became an interpreter at Fort Arbuckle and later at Fort Sill, achieving favorite status with the enlisted men as well as officers. He was addressed as Col. Jones out of respect for his abilities as a scout and outdoors man. During his career as a scout/interpreter, Jones took part in several historic moments. When Cynthia Ann Parker was recovered by Capt. Sul Ross and his men in 1860, Jones helped her remember that her name was Cynthia, and coaxed out vague recollections of her white family. Toward the end of his career in 1871, Jones talked with Satanta at Fort Sill after the chief had boasted of attacking and killing teamsters and stealing their mules in Young County. He also helped Gen. Tecumsah Sherman determine who led the Warren Wagon Massacre so that arrests were made. Phillip Sheridan, general-in-chief of the U.S. Army during the Indian Wars, considered Jones top-notch. He intervened on Jones' behalf when he heard that his favorite scout's salary was cut in half by a state inspector. Sheridan ordered Jones' original salary restored in combination with all of his forfeited back pay. Throughout his career as a scout and interpreter, Jones had many narrow escapes but died a natural death. The outstanding scout/interpreter was buried at the Fort Sill Military Cemetery with all the honors befitting a colonel.