Ishati's Burial

Rev. A. E. Butterfield was sent in 1892 by the North Texas Conference of the Methodist Church as a Missionary to the Anadarko – Fort Sill area to minister to the Indians.

"Ishati (also spelled Eschiti) possessed four wives, who one day drove up to Butterfield all sitting flat in their wagon, or wa-vi-poke, as it is called by Comanches.  Noting a rather bulky object, covered with blankets, he asked in sign language as to the contents.  They replied that they had brought to him their deceased husband and wished to have him make a nice coffin.

Setting to work with saw and hammer, Butterfield noted that each woman began whetting their knife.  Slyly watching them as he worked, he was not surprised when each of them slashed first their arms, then their bare backs, during which time a piteous moaning was carried on.  Then each leg was vigorously slashed to the accompaniment of weird utterings.  Soon quite a puddle of blood lay at their feet.

With hundreds of years of this sort of practice, the Missionary realized that patience was required in enlightening them.  He fully understood their sincerity of belief that only in such practice could they possibly gain favor with the great spirit, Pee-up-aff-pou [Pia Ahpu].  Since the women did not possess a soul, they practiced the letting of blood in this fashion, with the faint hope that they might be recognized in the next world, as no encouragement was offered by the menfolks.  This bloodletting, with resultant scars, gave hope that the Great Spirit might see that they were the wife or daughter of whom had been a good man.

Ishati’s grave was dug by the Missionary’s interpreter and others.  A short time before sunset, the four women appeared about the grave, uttering the most weird sounds imaginable.  At the sun’s setting, they repaired to their teepees.  Each afternoon, at the same hour like performances were gone through until the setting of the sun on the ninth day, after which all memories of the deceased were supposed to cease.

Ishati’s burial site is located between Lawton and Fort Sill."

[The above account is from the biography of Rev. A. E. Butterfield,Butterfield: 7-Years with the Wild Indians, by Ben Moore, Sr., pp. 75-76.]

 Ishati, a member of the Kwahada or “Antelope” group, was also known as Quenatosavit, White Eagle.  Ishati was among the signers of a March 1873 Petition asking for the release of the Comanche women, Satanta, and Big Tree.  He is said to have commanded  the Comanche tribe to assemble for the 1874 Medicine Dance.  Ishati was a contemporary and peer of Mowway for whom Fort Sill has named a road.  In 1874, the Army ordered all “friendly” Indians to camp on the east side of Cache Creek, not far from the Indian Agency Cemetery.  Those who did not come in would be considered hostile.  Among those that refused to come in was Ishati’s camp which was near the Wichita Agency on the Washita River to the north.  As a young warrior and leader, Ishati was described as the “great medicine man … [with] a great deal of influence among his people.

He was lauded by COL Mackenzie as having “been mainly instrumental in bringing his people in.”  Those familiar with the tribal history know that Ishati was a significant opposing force to Quanah Parker.  In December 1897 thirty dissident Comanches conferred and proceeded to select Ishati as chief of the Comanches.  To this day, factions of tribal members still align with one or the other man as the then-Chief of the Comanches.

There is an Eschiti Cemetery located 12 1/2 miles east, 7 miles south, and 1 1/2 miles east of Lawton, Oklahoma.  It is a private family cemetery on private land.  The cemetery contains an upright stone marker bearing the name Eschiti.  Taking into account the detailed discription of Rev. A. E. Butterfield it is speculated the body was moved from the Indian Agency Cemetery sometime after his burial there.  Since many of the graves were presumably "lost" in the time after Eschita's death, 1914, it may well be that a marker was simply placed within the Eachiti Cemetery after-the-fact owing to the cemetery being on his property.  Attempts to sort out the mystery have not been successful.  These comments are pure conjecture.