Elizabeth Whitlow of Texas History Research Services has compiled a brief history of Enfield in conjunction with the 100th Anniversary of the original plat of the neighborhood.

 Tonkawas:  The Pre-Austinites     

Along Shoal Creek and among trees yet standing, Native Americans called Tonkawas lived only 175 years ago when Austin was founded.  Their name comes from the Wacos and means “They all stay together.” Tonkawas lived as small roaming bands in Central Texas.  They had probably been driven off the Plains, away from their buffalo hunting culture, by Comanches and Apaches.

When Anglo colonists arrived, Tonkawas sometimes allied with them for protection against Comanches.

Tonkawa cheifs courtesy Creative Commons
Tonkawa chiefs courtesy Creative Commons

Stephen F. Austin gave Tonkawas corn to plant, but they refused because, as descendants of the wolf, they would eat meat!  Most “Indian” raids in early Austin were by Comanches.  Tonkawas were further reduced in numbers by Anglo diseases and they were reduced to poverty and begging before finally being forcibly moved with all other Native Americans in Texas to Oklahoma in 1859.


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