Issac Payne was a Black Seminole scout in the United States Army. Payne was born near Musquiz, Coahuila, Mexico, to Caesar and Abbie Payne. The Black Seminoles lived in Florida for many years until the government decided to relocate them to Indian Territory in the 1840s.
Black Seminoles were persecuted by Indian Territory pro-slavery Creek Indians until they migrated to Mexico, where slavery was abolished. Once in Mexico, the Mexican government gave them land in exchange for their services as scouts for the Mexican Army. Payne enlisted as a trumpeter at Fort Duncan, Texas, on October 7, 1871.
In 1875, an attack on a stagecoach prompted Lieutenant John L. Bullis to take three Black Seminole scouts, which included Payne in pursuit of the attackers. The four men tracked the attackers until they spotted them crossing the Pecos River on April 26. After intense fighting, Bullis ordered a retreat, but he was thrown from his horse as others mounted. The three scouts rescued Bullis and made a difficult and narrow escape to the Devil’s River. Bullis recommended all three scouts for the Congressional Medal of Honor, which Payne received on July 8, 1875.
Payne was involved in the New Year’s Eve incident in which fugitives Adam Payne and Frank Enoch were killed. Payne himself was a fugitive at the time; he had been accused of stealing Deputy Claron Windus’s horse. After a period of time in hiding, the charges were dropped and Payne returned to the Army without any charges brought against him. Payne died in 1904; he was around 49 or 50 at the time of his death.