Comanche-made necklace, 1867

A parting gift presented to Dot Babb

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by Kathryn Siefker, Associate Curator of Exhibition Content

In 1865, Theodore Adolphus "Dot" Babb was a young teenager playing outside his home in Wise County, Texas, when he and his younger sister Bianca were kidnapped by Comanche Indians. The siblings were separated and taken to live in what is now Oklahoma. Adopted into a Comanche family, Dot participated in all aspects of daily life including raiding, hunting, and horse taming. Both children were eventually ransomed by their father and returned to Texas in 1867.

This necklace was given to Dot as a bond of friendship before he left the tribe. The medicine bundle and Roman Catholic medal hanging from the necklace brought the wearer power from both native spirituality traditions and the Roman Catholic faith.

As adults, Dot and Bianca wrote narratives about their time as captives. Dot's narrative, In the Bosom of the Comanche, was published in 1912. His book joined a larger genre of captivity narratives that served as the primary source of information about Native American culture for generations of Americans. While many captivity narratives are considered to be partially or totally fictitious, Dot's narrative was based on firsthand experience. As a captive who was adopted into the tribe, he had a unique opportunity to observe tribal culture. Though Dot's narrative includes many negative stereotypes of Indians, it also provides great detail about daily life with the Comanche. In addition to living with them as a young teenager, Dot moved his wife and children to live with the Comanche in the late 1870s. As an adopted member of the tribe, he was entitled to receive reservation land near Fort Sill. The Babb family lived among the tribe for a year before returning to Wichita Falls, Texas.  

Dot Babb passed away in Amarillo in 1936. According to an article written by his family and published in the Amarillo Daily News at the time of Dot's death, Dot kept the necklace as a treasured possession until donating it to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in 1935.

See this and other artifacts on the Interactive Texas Map

Comanche-made necklace, 1867 Artifact from Chico, Wise County
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