(Native Americans: A Comprehensive History)

Article abstract: Beginning with the{$ISecond Seminole War} Second Seminole War, Wildcat was the most aggressive of the Seminole chieftains during their crusade against the U.S. Army; he was known for carrying a rifle and a scalping knife.

Wildcat was born in about 1810 in central Florida, where the Seminole, or Lower Creeks, had settled in the eighteenth century. A nephew of the Seminole principal chief, Micanopy, Wildcat became the leader of those who strongly opposed white settlement in Seminole territory. When the Second Seminole War began in 1835, Wildcat was at the forefront.

In 1837, Wildcat was captured and put into a jail cell in St. Augustine but soon escaped through a small window 15 feet above the cell floor. Four years later, he was captured again near Fort Pierce. This time he urged his followers, including escaped slaves, or Black Seminoles, to give up the battle. In October, 1841, Wildcat left Florida aboard an American steamer sailing west.

For a brief time after leaving Florida, Wildcat lived with the Cherokee in Oklahoma. Fearing reprisals by the Creeks, however, he led his followers to Coahuila in northern Mexico, where large land grants were being given by the Mexican government. Wildcat died in Coahuila in 1857.

Further Reading

Missall, John, and Mary Lou Missall. The Seminole Wars: America's Longest Indian Conflict. Foreword by Raymond Arsenault and Gary R. Mormino. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2004.