Ghost Horses of the Palo Duro Canyon Legend
Written by Texas Monthly.... http://www.texasmonthly.com/list/lets-go-wild/no-9-palo-duro/
....The canyon looks wild and pristine in the early morning, and in the absence of any other hikers we barely have to imagine the old days at all: they are right in front of us. Here, in the company of wild turkeys and roadrunners, we can practically see the ghosts of the last free Native Americans as they take refuge from the white men they’re warring against—carrying water over the clay soil, stockpiling supplies in caves, building their lodges. Nor is it difficult to conjure that fateful morning in September 1874, when, just a few miles southeast of us, a column of blue-uniformed soldiers under the command of Colonel Ranald S. Mackenzie made its way silently down the canyon’s steep walls and attacked a large Indian camp. The Indians, mostly Comanche and Kiowa, were still asleep; they had been told by a Kiowa medicine man that no bluecoats could possibly penetrate the canyon. Startled into a panic, they tried desperately to protect their horse herd, but it was too late: Mackenzie’s men captured 1,400 animals, and the fleeing Indians were forced to leave behind their clothing and lodges and all of their winter food supplies. Because Mackenzie knew the strategic value of horses, he later ordered about 1,100 of them shot. A pile of their bleaching bones remained for years, as though to document the end of two hundred years of Comanche dominion....
link to photo of 50 foot tall of bones from horses
There are stories from campers that have been awakened at night by the sound of stampeding horses. There is also a story of a lone white mustang roaming the area where the horses of the dog soldiers ran off the cliff to their death. Below is the historical account of what happened to the horses. Below is a clip of a story from Texas Monthly that says the horses were shot, but other accounts say the horses were run off a cliff to their death (in order to save bullets). That story would explain the old photos of the 50 foot tall of bleached bones from the horses, that were later ground up and used as fertilizer. The location this occurred is near Lake MacKenzie in Tule Canyon, only 10 miles from Silverton Texas.