Wild Cat - Biography of Coacoochee, Seminole Chieftain

December 27, 2016

Wild Cat - Biography of Coacoochee, Seminole Chieftain

The exact date nor location of Wild Cat's birth is unknown. Although challenged, it's believed that her was born in 1907 on an island in modern-day Osceola County's Lake Tohopekaliga. There's also information about Wild Cat having a twin sister that died at birth. Wild Cat became a prominent figure during the Second Seminole War at only around nineteen years old. His father was captured by military forces in 1837 and was imprisoned at Fort Marion. His father died some time in 1839 while being sent to Indian Territory alongside a mass amount of Seminoles and other tribes.

Wild Cat Coacoochee Seminole
By Joshua R. Giddings [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
Later in 1837, in October, Wild Cat met up with American military forces in a peace headdress and said he was a representative of Osceola and he began talks and negotiations with Thomas S. Jesup. The military forces agreed to the peace talks but, once the Seminole arrived at the meeting, they were arrested and imprisoned by Jesup. The story goes that Wild Cat and nineteen other Seminoles escaped after fasting for six days. This was done so they could lose weight and slide between the bars of their cells, to escape.

In the aftermath of the escape, Wild Cat became a major commander of Seminole forces. He worked alongside Alligator (Billy Bowlegs) and Ar-pi-uck-i (Sam Jones) against Colonel Zachary Taylor in the Battle of Lake Okeechobee. This battle is thought of being a 'stalemate' but the Seminole forces successfully stopped Taylor's forces from a win that would've allowed them to advance southward.

In 1841, Wild Cat met with US authorities for another attempt at peace negotiations. After the "negotiations" were over, Wild Cat agreed (more likely pressured into) to be transported to Fort Gibson in Indian Territory in Oklahoma. Along with him would be two-hundred of his people.

Two years later, in 1843, he was a part of Seminole delegation that traveled to Washington DC. He traveled there to secure money for Seminoles after sever floods and raids by Creeks on their settlements. Raids which led to the capture of Seminoles and freemen. Which the Creeks went on to sell to slavers. The situation became even worse for the Seminoles, including black Seminoles, over the years. So, Wild Cat left the reservation, along with around one hundred followers, and they moved on to Texas in 1849. They joined up with around one thousands members of the Kickapoo tribe along the way. It was from Texas where they moved on to Mexico and started a settlement. They were awarded in Mexico, by being given land, for their service against resisting Comanche and Apache raiders. Wild Cat earned a commission of Colonel in the Mexican Army. He would spend the rest of his life in Alto, Mexico, with his people, until his death from smallpox in 1857. After his death, he was succeeded by his by son Young Wild Cat.

Wildcat, the Seminole;: The Florida war (American heritage) 
- Rarer 1956 book, well worth the read