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Title: Captivity of the Oatman Girls - Being an Interesting Narrative of Life Among the Apache - and Mohave Indians
Author: Stratton, Royal B.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: OLIVE OATMAN.]





  Interesting Narrative of Life












  Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1857, by


  in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court
  of the Northern District of the
  State of California.


During the year 1851 news reached California, that in the spring of
that year a family by the name of OATMAN, while endeavoring to reach
California by the old Santa Fe route, had met with a most melancholy
and terrible fate, about seventy miles from Fort Yuma. That while
struggling with every difficulty imaginable, such as jaded teams,
exhaustion of their stores of provisions, in a hostile and barren
region, alone and unattended, they were brutally set upon by a horde
of Apache savages; that seven of the nine persons composing their
family were murdered, and that two of the smaller girls were taken into

One of the number, LORENZO D. OATMAN, a boy about fourteen, who was
knocked down and left for dead, afterward escaped, but with severe
wounds and serious injury.

But of the girls, MARY ANN and OLIVE ANN, nothing had since been heard,
up to last March. By a singular and mysteriously providential train of
circumstances, it was ascertained at that time, by persons living at
Fort Yuma, that one of these girls was then living among the Mohave
tribe, about four hundred miles from the fort. A ransom was offered
for her by the ever-to-be-remembered and generous Mr. GRINELL, then a
mechanic at the fort; and through the agency and tact of a Yuma Indian,
she was purchased and restored to civilized life, to her brother and
friends. The younger of the girls, MARY ANN, died of starvation in 1852.

It is of the massacre of this family, the escape of LORENZO, and the
captivity of the two girls, that the following pages treat.

A few months since the author of this book was requested by the
afflicted brother and son, who barely escaped with life, but not
without much suffering, to write the past history of the family;
especially to give a full and particular account of the dreadful and
barbarous scenes of the captivity endured by his sisters. This I have
tried to do. The facts and incidents have been received from the
brother and sister, now living.

These pages have been penned under the conviction that in these facts,
and in the sufferings and horrors that befell that unfortunate family,
there is sufficient of interest, though of a melancholy character,
to insure an attentive and interested perusal by every one into
whose hands, and under whose eye this book may fall. Though, so far
as book-making is concerned, there has been brought to this task no
experience or fame upon which to base an expectation of its popularity,
yet the writer has sought to adapt the style to the character of the
narrative, and in a simple, plain, comprehensive manner to give to
the reader facts, as they have been received from those of whose sad
experiences in adversity these pages give a faithful delineation. In
doing this he has sought plainness, brevity, and an unadorned style,
deeming these the only excellences that could be appropriately adopted
for such a narrative; the only ones that he expects will be awarded.
It would be but a playing with sober, solemn, and terrible reality
to put the tinselings of romance about a narrative of this kind. The
_intrinsic_ interest of the subject-matter here thrown together, must
have the credit of any circulation that shall be given to the book.
Upon this I am willing to rely; and that it will be sufficient to
procure a wide and general perusal, remunerating and exciting, I have
the fullest confidence. As for criticisms, while there will, no doubt,
be found occasions for them, they are neither coveted nor dreaded. All
that is asked is, that the reader will avail himself of the _facts_,
and dismiss, as far as he can, the garb they wear, for it was not woven
by one who has ever possessed a desire to become experienced or skilled
in that ringing, empty style which can only charm for the moment, and
the necessity for which is never felt but when real matter and thought
are absent.

That all, or any considerable portion, of the distress, mental and
physical, that befell that unfortunate family, the living as well
as dead, can be written or spoken, it would be idle to claim. The
desolation and privation to which little MARY ANN was consigned while
yet but seven years old; the abuse, the anguish, the suffering that
rested upon the nearly two years’ captivity through which she passed
to an untimely grave; the unutterable anguish that shrouded with the
darkness of despair five years of her older sister; the six years of
perpetual tossing from transient hope to tormenting fears, and during
which unceasing toil and endeavor was endured by the elder brother,
who knew at that time, and has ever since known, that two of his
sisters were taken into captivity by the Indians; these, all these are
realities that are and must forever remain unwritten. We would not, if
we could, give to these pages the power to lead the reader into all
the paths of torture and woe through which the last five years have
dragged that brother and sister, who yet live, and who, from hearts
disciplined in affliction, have herein dictated all of what they have
felt that can be transferred to the type. We would not, if we could,
recall or hold up to the reader the weight of parental solicitude or
heart-yearnings for their dear family that crowded upon the last few
moments of reason allowed to those fond parents, while in the power
and under the war-clubs of their Apache murderers. The heart’s deepest
anguish, and its profoundest emotions have no language. There is no
color so deep that pen dipped therein can portray the reality. If what
may be here found written of these unspoken woes shall only lead the
favored subjects of constant good fortune to appreciate their exempted
allotment, and create in their hearts a more earnest and practical
sympathy for those who tread the damp, uncheered paths of suffering and
woe, then the moral and social use prayed for and intended in these
pages will be secured.

  YREKA, 1857.          R. B. STRATTON.


Since issuing the first edition of the “CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS,”
which obtained a rapid and quick sale, the author has been in the
northern part of the state, busy with engagements made previous to its
publication, and which he considered he had ample time to meet, and
return before another edition would be called for, if at all. But in
this he was mistaken. Only two weeks had elapsed before orders were in
the city for books, that could not be filled; and that but a few days
after the whole edition was bound. The first five thousand was put out
as an experiment, and with considerable abridgment from the original
manuscript as at first prepared. Considerable matter referring to the
customs of the Indians, and the geography and character of the country,
was left out to avoid the expense of publishing. Could we have known
that the first edition would have been exhausted so soon, this omitted
matter might have been re-prepared and put into this edition, but the
last books were sold when the author was five hundred miles from
his present home, and on returning it was thought best to hurry this
edition through the press, to meet orders already on hand. We trust the
reader will find most, if not all, of the objectionable portions of the
first edition expunged from this; besides the insertion in their proper
places of some additions that were, without intention, left out of the
former one. He will also find this printed upon superior paper and
type; and in many ways improved in its appearance.

We must remind the reader, that in preparing a work like the present
there is an utter impropriety in resorting to any other than the
plainest matter-of-fact style. This book is not a romance. It is not
dependent upon an exorbitant fictitiousness of expression for enlisting
the attention or interest of the sober reader. The _scene_ is a
reality. The _heroes_ of the tale are living. Let those, if any there
are, to whom _reality_ is a serious obstacle to engaged and sustained
attention and interest, and whose morbidly created taste, has given
a settled disrelish for marvels _in the facts_, while it unceasingly
clamors for miracles of the fancy; to whom plain things, said in a
plain way, have no attraction, whose reading heaven is a mountain of
epithet on flashing epithet piled--let such lay aside the book.

The writer does not disclaim literary taste. Such a taste it is
confidently felt is not herein violated. For _its display_ these pages
are not intended. These remarks are here penned for the reason that
in a few instances, instead of an open criticism, founded upon the
reading of the book, there has been a construing of the frank avowal
of the _real intention_ of this book, made in a former preface, into a
confession of a literary weakness in the composition of this work. The
writer for the last eleven years has been engaged in public speaking,
and though moving contentedly in an humble sphere, is not without
_living_ testimonials to his _diligence_ and _fidelity_, at least
in application to those literary studies and helps to his calling
which were within his reach. With a present consciousness of many
imperfections in this respect, he is nevertheless not forbidden by a
true modesty to say, that in a laudable ambition to acquire and command
the _pure English, from the root upward_, he has not been wholly
negligent nor unsuccessful; nor in the habit of earnest and particular
observation of men and things has he been without his note-book and
open eyes.

During the years spoken of he has seldom appeared before the public
without a carefully written compendium, and often a full manuscript of
the train of thought to be discoursed upon.

But still, if his attainments were far more than are here claimed, it
would by some be judged a poor place to use them for the feasting of
the reader of a book of the nature of this record of murder, wailing,
captivity, and horrid separations.

The notices in the papers referred to have, no doubt, grown from a
habit that prevails to a great extent, of writing a notice of a new
book from a hasty glance at a preface. Hence, he who can gyrate in a
brilliant circle of polished braggadocio in his first-born, is in a
fair way to meet the echo of his own words, and be “_puffed!_”

But, unpretending as are these pages, the author, in his own behalf,
and in behalf of those for and of whom he writes, is under many
obligations to the press of the State. In many instances a careful
perusal has preceded a public printed notice by an editor; and with
some self-complacency he finds that such notices have been the most
flattering and have done most to hasten the sale of these books.

The author, still making no pretensions to a serving up of a repast for
the literary taste, yet with confidence assures the reader that he will
find nothing upon these pages that can offend such a taste.

Let it be said further, that the profits accruing from the sale of this
work are, so far as the brother and sister are concerned, to be applied
to those who need help. It was with borrowed means that Mr. Oatman
published the first edition, and it is to secure means to furnish
himself and his sister with the advantages of that education which has
been as yet denied, that the narrative of their five years’ privation
is offered to the reading public. Certainly, if the eye or thought
delights not to wander upon the page of their sufferings, the heart
will delight to think of means expended for the purchase of the book
that details them.



The second edition of this book (six thousand copies) was nearly
exhausted in the California and Oregon trade within a few months
after its publication. Numerous friends and relatives of Mr. and Miss
Oatman, who had received copies of the work from friends in California,
wrote to the writer, and also to the Oatmans, urgently requesting its
publication for circulation in the Atlantic and Western States.

They had read the book, and loaned it to neighbors and friends, until
each copy numbered a considerable circle of readers, and an almost
unanimous opinion had been expressed that the book would meet with
a large and ready sale if it could be put into the market at prices
ruling on this side of the continent.

In behalf of those for whose special benefit the book is published, the
writer can but feel grateful for the large sales that in a few weeks
were effected in California. Eleven thousand were sold there in a short
time, and the owner of the book has deeply regretted that it was not
stereotyped at the first.

Recently, to meet demands for the book already existing, especially in
some of the Western States, where the Oatman family were well known,
it was resolved to publish the book in New-York, in an improved style,
and with the addition of some incidents that were prepared for the
California issue, but omitted from the necessity of the case.

The reader will find the book much improved in its intrinsic interest
by the addition of these geographical, traditional, and historic
items. The matter added is chiefly of the peculiar traditions and
superstitions of the tribes who were the captors and possessors of Miss
Oatman. Three new illustrations are also added, and the old ones newly
drawn and engraved. Every plate has been enlarged, and the work done in
a much improved and more perfect style.

The reader will find this book to be a record of _facts_; and these
are of the most thrilling, some of them of the most horrid nature. Of
all the records of Indian captivities we feel confident none have
possessed more interest than this. Numerous have been the testimonies
from California readers that it exceeds any of kindred tales that
have preceded it. The Oatman family were well and favorably known
in portions of Illinois and Pennsylvania, and a large circle of
acquaintances are waiting, with much anxiety, the issue from the
press of this narrative of the tragical allotment that they met after
starting for the Colorado in 1850. Seven of their number have fallen by
the cruelties of the Indian; two, a brother and sister, are now in this

There are sketches and delineations in this volume touching the region
lying to the West and Southwest, as also of the large aboriginal tribes
that have so long held exclusive possession there, which, in these
times of the unparalleled westward-pushing propensities of our people,
are clothed with new and startling interest day by day.

In the purchase of this book the reader will add to his private or
family library a volume whose chief attraction will not be merely
in the detail of horrors, of suffering, of cruel captivity, which
it brings to him; but one which his children will find valuable for
reference in the years they may live to see, and which are to be
crowded, doubtless, with an almost total revolution in the humanities
that people the region lying between the Pacific and Texas, and between
Oregon and Mexico. These dark Indian tribes are fast wasting before the
rising sun of our civilization; and into _that history_ that is yet
_to be written_ of their past, and of their destiny, and of the many
interlacing events that are to contribute to the fulfilling of the wise
intent of Providence concerning them and their only dreaded foe, the
white race, facts and incidents contained in this unpretending volume
will enter and be appreciated.

      R. B. STRATTON.

NEW-YORK, _April, 1858_.



  The first Encampment--The Oatman Family--Their checkered
    Allotment up to the Time of their Emigration--Mr. Oatman--His
    Ill-health--Proposes to join the Party organized to form an
    American Colony near the Gulf of California, in 1849--The 10th
    of August--Discord in Camp, owing to the religious Prejudices of
    a few--First Danger from Indians--The Camanche Band--Two Girls
    taken for “Injins”--The Grape Dumpling--Mexican Settlements--The
    Hunt for Antelopes, and its tragical End--Charles refuses to fight
    “Injins” with Prayer--Moro--Scarcity of Provisions--Discontent
    and Murmurings--Mr. Lane--His Death--Loss of Animals by the
    Apaches--Mrs. M. in the Well--Santa Cruz and Tukjon--Some of the
    Company remain here--Pimole--The only traveling Companions of
    the Oatman Family resolve to remain--Mr. Oatman, in Perplexity,
    resolves to proceed                                          PAGE 21


  Mr. and Mrs. Oatman in Perplexity--Interview with Dr.
    Lecount--Advises them to proceed--They start alone--Teams
    begin to fail--The Roads are bad--The Country rough and
    mountainous--Compelled to carry the Baggage up the Hills by
    Hand--Overtaken by Dr. Lecount on his way to Fort Yuma--He promises
    them Assistance from the Fort--The next Night the Horses of Dr.
    Lecount are stolen by the Apaches--He posts a Card, warning Mr.
    Oatman of Danger, and starts on Foot for the Fort--Reach the Gila
    River--Camp on the Island late at Night--Their dreary Situation,
    and the Conversation of the Children--The Morning of the 29th of
    March--Their Struggle to ascend the Hill on the 29th--Reach the
    Summit about Sunset--The Despondence and Presentiments of Mr.
    Oatman--Nineteen Apaches approach them Profess Friendliness--The
    Massacre--Lorenzo left for dead, but is preserved--The Capture of
    Olive and Mary Ann                                                61


  Lorenzo Oatman--Conscious of most of the Scenes of the Massacre--The
    next Day he finds himself at the Foot of a rocky Declivity,
    over which he had fallen--Makes an Effort to walk--Starts for
    Pimole--His Feelings and Sufferings--Is attacked by Wolves--Then
    by two Indians, who are about to shoot him down--Their subsequent
    Kindness--They go on to the Place of Massacre--He meets the
    Wilders and Kellys--They take him back to Pimole--In about one
    Month gets well, and starts for Fort Yuma--Visits the Place of
    Massacre--His Feelings--Burial of the Dead--Reflections--The
    two Girls--Their Thoughts of Home and Friends--Conduct of their
    Captors--Disposition of the Stock--Cruelty to the Girls to hurry
    them on--Girls resolve not to proceed--Meet eleven Indians,
    who seek to kill Olive--Reasons for--Apaches defend her--Their
    Habits of Fear for their own Safety--Their Reception at the
    Apache Village--One Year--The Mohaves--Their second coming among
    the Apaches--Conversation of Olive and Mary--Purchased by the
    Mohaves--Avowed Reasons--Their Price--Danger during the Debate    90


  The Journey of three hundred and fifty Miles to the Mohave
    Valley--The Means of Subsistence during the Time--The Conduct of
    the Mohaves compared with the Apaches--Arrive at the Valley--The
    Village--The Chief’s Residence--Their Joy at the Return of Topeka,
    their Daughter--The Greeting of the new Captives--One Year of Labor
    and Suffering--The Overflowing of the Colorado--Their Dependence
    upon it--Their Habits--Cultivation of the Soil--Scarcity of
    Provisions--Starvation--Mary Ann--Her Decline--Olive’s Care, Grief,
    and Efforts to save her Life--Dies of Famine--Many of the Indian
    Children die--Burial of Mary Ann--The Sympathy and Sorrow of the
    Chief’s Wife--The great Feast--The killing of the two Captives as a
    Sacrifice                                                        160


  The Mohaves--Their Sports--An Expedition of Hostility against
    the Cochopas--Its Design--Tradition concerning it--The
    Preparation--Their Custom of sacrificing a Prisoner on the Death
    in War of one of their own Number--The Anxiety of Olive--They
    depart--Their Return--The Fruit of the Expedition--The Five Cochopa
    Captives--Nowereha--Her Attempt to escape--Her Recapture and
    horrid Death--The Physicians--Evil Spirits--The Mohave Mode of
    Doctoring--The Yumas--“Francisco,” the Yuma Indian--Hopes of Escape


  Lorenzo Oatman--His Stay at Fort Yuma--Goes with Dr. Hewit to San
    Francisco--His constant Misery on Account of his Sisters--Dark
    Thoughts--Cold Sympathy--Goes to the Mines--Resolves to go to Los
    Angeles to learn, if possible, of his Sisters--His earnest but
    fruitless Endeavors--The Lesson--Report brought by Mr. Roulit of
    two Captives among the Mohaves--The false Report of Mr. Black--Mr.
    Grinell--Petitions the Governor--Petitions Congress--The Report of
    the Rescue of Olive--Mr. Low                                     238


  Francisco goes over the River, and spends the Night--Persuades
    some of the Sub-Chiefs to apply again for Permission to let
    Olive go free--His Threats--The Chiefs return with him--Secret
    Council--Another General Council--Danger of a Fight among
    themselves--Francisco has a Letter from the Whites--Olive
    present--Francisco gains Permission to give her the Letter--Its
    Contents--Much alarmed--Speeches of the Indians--Advice to kill
    their Captive--Determine to release her--Daughter of the Chief goes
    with them--Their Journey--At Fort Yuma                           251



  Portrait of Olive Oatman                                     2
  Map                                                         20
  First Night’s Encampment                                    24
  The Massacre                                           Vide 85
  Lorenzo returning to the Place of Massacre                  99
  Lorenzo attacked by Coyotes and Wolves                     102
  Lorenzo rescued by friendly Indians                        105
  The Captives at the Indian Camp-Fire                       119
  Attempt to shoot Olive and Mary Ann                        129
  Reception of the two Girls at the Apache Village           133
  Indian skulking to hear the Conversation of the Girls      155
  Death of Mary Ann at the Indian Camp                       195
  Horrid Death of the Indian Captive                         229
  Olive at the Indian Council                                258
  Arrival of Olive at Fort Yuma                              273
  Portrait of Lorenzo Oatman                            Vide 278




  The first Encampment--The Oatman Family--Their checkered
    Allotment up to the Time of their Emigration--Mr. Oatman--His
    Ill-health--Proposes to join the Party organized to form an
    American Colony near the Gulf of California, in 1849--The 10th
    of August--Discord in Camp, owing to the religious Prejudices of
    a few--First Danger from Indians--The Camanche Band--Two Girls
    taken for “Injins”--The Grape Dumpling--Mexican Settlements--The
    Hunt for Antelopes, and its tragical End--Charles refuses to fight
    “Injins” with Prayer--Moro--Scarcity of Provisions--Discontent
    and Murmurings--Mr. Lane--His Death--Loss of Animals by the
    Apaches--Mrs. M. in the Well--Santa Cruz and Tukjon--Some of the
    Company remain here--Pimole--The only traveling Companions of
    the Oatman Family resolve to remain--Mr. Oatman, in Perplexity,
    resolves to proceed.

The 9th of August, 1850, was a lovely day. The sun had looked upon
the beautiful plains surrounding Independence, Missouri, with a full,
unclouded face, for thirteen hours of that day; when, standing about
four miles south of westward from the throbbing city of Independence,
alive with the influx and efflux of emigrant men and women, the reader,
could he have occupied that stand, might have seen, about one half
hour before sunset, an emigrant train slowly approaching him from the
city. This train consisted of about twenty wagons, a band of emigrant
cattle, and about fifty souls, men, women, and children. Attended by
the music of lowing cattle, and the chatter of happy children, it was
slowly traversing a few miles, at this late hour of the day, to seek
a place of sufficient seclusion to enable them to hold the first and
preparatory night’s camp away from the bustle and confusion of the town.

Just as the sun was gladdening the clear west, and throwing its golden
farewells upon the innumerable peaks that stretched into a forest
of mountains gradually rising until they seemed to lean against the
sun-clad shoulders of the Rocky Range, imparadising the whole plain and
mountain country in its radiant embrace, the shrill horn of the leader
and captain suddenly pealed through the moving village, a circle was
formed, and the heads of the several families were in presence of the
commander, waiting orders for the camping arrangements for the night.

Soon teams were detached from the wagons, and with the cattle (being
driven for commencement in a new country) were turned forth upon the
grass. Rich and abundant pasturage was stretching from the place of
their halt westward, seemingly until it bordered against the foot-hills
of the Indian territory in the distance.

Among the fifty souls that composed that emigrant band, some were total
strangers. Independence had been selected as the gathering-place of
all who might heed a call that had been published and circulated for
months, beating up for volunteers to an emigrant company about seeking
a home in the Southwest. It was intended, as the object and destination
of this company, to establish an American colony near the mouth of the
Gulf of California. Inducements had been held out, that if the region
lying about the juncture of the Colorado and Gila Rivers could thus be
colonized, every facility should be guaranteed the colonists for making
to themselves a comfortable and luxuriant home.

After a frugal meal, served throughout the various divisions of the
camp, the evening of the 9th was spent in perfecting regulations for
the long and dangerous trip, and in the forming of acquaintances, and
the interchange of salutations and gratulations.

Little groups, now larger and now smaller, by the constant moving
to and fro of members of the camp, had chatted the evening up to
a seasonable bedtime. Then, at the call of the “crier,” all were
collected around one camp-fire for the observance of public worship,
which was conducted by a clergyman present. Into that hour of earnest
worship were crowded memories of the home-land and friends _now_
forever abandoned for a settlement in the “far-off Southwest.” There
flowed and mingled the tear of regret and of hope; there and then
rose the earnest prayer for Providential guidance; and at that hour
there swelled out upon the soft, clear air of as lovely an evening
as ever threw its star-lit curtain upon hill and vale, the song of
praise and the shout of triumph, not alone in the prospect of a home
by the Colorado of the South, but of glad exultation in the prospect
of a home hard by the “River of Life,” which rose to view as the
final termination of the journeyings and toil incident to mortality’s


Now the hush of sleep’s wonted hour has stolen slowly over the entire
encampment, and nothing without indicates remaining life, save the
occasional growl of the ever-faithful watch-dog, or the outburst of
some infant member of that villa-camp, wearied and worn, and overtasked
by the hurry and bustle of the previous day.

Reader, we now wish you to go with us into that camp, and receive an
introduction to an interesting family consisting of father, mother, and
seven children; the oldest of this juvenile group a girl of sixteen,
the youngest a bright little boy of one year. Silence is here, but
to that household sleep has no welcome. The giant undertaking upon
which they are now fairly launched is so freighted with interest to
themselves and their little domestic kingdom, as to leave no hour
during the long night for the senses to yield to the soft dominion
of sleep. Besides, this journey now before them has been preceded by
lesser ones, and these had been so frequent and of such trivial result
as that vanity seemed written upon all the deep and checkered past,
with its world of toil and journeyings. In a subdued whisper, but with
speaking countenances and sparkling eyes, these parents are dwelling
upon this many-colored by-gone.

Mr. Oatman is a medium-sized man, about five feet in height, black
hair, with a round face, and yet in the very prime of life. Forty-one
winters had scarcely been able to plow the first furrow of age upon
his manly cheek. Vigorous, healthy, and of a jovial turn of mind,
predisposed to look only upon the bright side of everything, he was
happy; of a sanguine temperament, he was given to but little fear, and
seemed ever drinking from the fresh fountains of a living buoyant hope.
From his boyhood he had been of a restless, roving disposition, fond of
novelty, and anxious that nothing within all the circuit of habitable
earth should be left out of the field of his ever curious and prying

He had been favored with rare educational advantages during his
boyhood, in Western New-York. These advantages he had improved with a
promising vigilance until about nineteen years of age. He then became
anxious to see, and try his fortune in, the then far away West. The
thought of emigrating had not been long cogitated by his quick and
ready mind, ere he came to a firm resolution to plant his feet upon one
of the wild prairies of Illinois.

He was now of age, and his father and mother, Lyman and Lucy Oatman,
had spent scarcely one year keeping hotel in Laharpe, Illinois, ere
they were joined by their son Royse.

Soon after going to Illinois, Royse was joined in marriage to Miss
Mary Ann Sperry, of Laharpe. Miss Sperry was an intelligent girl of
about eighteen, and, by nature and educational advantages, abundantly
qualified to make her husband happy and his home an attraction. She
was sedate, confiding, and affectionate, and in social accomplishments
placed, by her peculiar advantages, above most of those around her.
From childhood she had been the pride of fond and wealthy parents; and
it was their boast that she had never merited a rebuke for any wrong.
The first two years of this happy couple was spent on a farm near
Laharpe. During this time some little means had been accumulated by an
honest industry and economy, and these means Mr. Oatman collected, and
with them embarked in mercantile business in Laharpe.

Honesty, industry, and a number of years of thorough business
application, won for him the esteem of those around him, procured a
comfortable home for his family, and placed him in possession of a
handsome fortune, with every arrangement for its rapid increase. At
that time the country was rapidly filling up; farmers were becoming
rich, and substantial improvements were taking the place of temporary
modes of living which had prevailed as yet.

Paper money became plenty, the products of the soil had found a ready
and remunerative market, and many were induced to invest beyond their
means in real estate improvements.

The banks chartered about the years 1832 and 1840, had issued bills
beyond their charters, presuming upon the continued rapid growth of the
country to keep themselves above disaster. But business, especially
in times of speculation, like material substance, is of a gravitating
tendency, and without a basis soon falls. A severe reverse in the
tendency of the markets spread rapidly over the entire West during the
year 1842. Prices of produce fell to a low figure. An abundance had
been raised, and the market was glutted. Debts of long standing became
due, and the demand for their payment became more imperative, as the
inability of creditors became more and more apparent and appalling.
The merchant found his store empty, his goods having been credited to
parties whose sole reliance was the usual ready market for the products
of their soil.

Thus, dispossessed of goods and destitute of money, the trading portion
of community were thrown into a panic, and business of all kinds came
to a stand-still. The producing classes were straitened; their grain
would not meet current expenses, for it had no market value; and with
many of them mortgages, bearing high interest, were preying like
vultures upon their already declining realities.

Specie was scarce. Bills were returned to the banks, and while a great
many of them were yet out the specie was exhausted, and a general crash
came upon the banks, while the country was yet flooded with what was
appropriately termed “the wild-cat money.” The day of reckoning to
these spurious money fountains suddenly weighed them in the balances
and found them wanting. Mr. Oatman had collected in a large amount
of this paper currency, and was about to go South to replenish his
mercantile establishment, when lo! the banks began to fail, and in a
few weeks he found himself sunk by the weight of several thousands into
utter insolvency.

He was disappointed but not disheartened. To him a reverse was the
watchword for a renewal of energy. For two or three years he had
been in correspondence with relatives residing in Cumberland Valley,
Pennsylvania, who had been constantly holding up that section of
country as one of the most inviting and desirable for new settlers.

In a few weeks he had disposed of the fragments of a suddenly shattered
fortune to the greatest possible advantage to his creditors, and
resolved upon an immediate removal to that valley. In two months
preparations were made, and in three months, with a family of five
children, he arrived among his friends in Cumberland Valley, with a
view of making that a permanent settlement.

True to the domineering traits of his character, he was still resolute
and undaunted. His wife was the same trusting, cheerful companion as
when the nuptial vow was plighted, and the sun of prosperity shone full
upon and crowned their mutual toils. Retired, patient, and persevering,
she was a faithful wife and a fond mother, in whom centered deservingly
the love of a growing and interesting juvenile group. She became
more and more endeared to her fortune-taunted husband as adverse
vicissitudes had developed her real worth, and her full competence to
brave and profit by the stern battles of life.

She had seen her husband when prospered, and flattered by those whose
attachments had taken root in worldly considerations only; she had
stood by him also when the chilling gusts of temporary adversity had
blown the cold damps of cruel reserve and fiendish suspicion about his
name and character; and

    “When envy’s sneer would coldly blight his name,
    And busy tongues were sporting with his fame,
    She solved each doubt, and clear’d each mist away,
    And made him radiant in the face of day.”

They had spent but a few months in Pennsylvania, the place of their
anticipated abode for life, ere Mr. Oatman found it, to him, an unfit
and unsuitable place, as also an unpromising region in which to rear a
family. He sighed again for the wide, wild prairie lands of the West.
He began to regret that a financial reversion should have been allowed
so soon to drive him from a country where he had been accustomed
to behold the elements and foundation of a glorious and prosperous
future; and where those very religious and educational advantages--to
him the indispensable accompaniments of social progress--were already
beginning to shoot forth in all the vigor and promise of a healthful
and undaunted growth. He was not of that class who can persist in
an enterprise merely from pride that is so weak as to scorn the
confession of a weakness; though he was slow to change his purpose,
only as a good reason might discover itself under the light and
teachings of multiplying circumstances around him.

He resolved to retrace his steps, and again to try his hands and skill
upon some new and unbroken portion of the State where he had already
_made_ and _lost_. Early in 1845 these parents, with a family of five
children, destitute but courageous, landed in Chicago. There, for one
year, they supported with toil of head and hand (the father was an
experienced school teacher) their growing family.

In the spring of 1846 there might have been seen standing, at about
five miles from Fulton, Ill., and about fifteen from New-Albany, alone
in the prairie, a temporary, rude cabin. Miles of unimproved land
stretched away on either side, save a small spot, rudely fenced, near
the cabin, as the commencement of a home. At the door of this tent, in
April of that year, and about sunset, a wagon drawn by oxen, and driven
by the father of a family, a man about thirty-seven, and his son, a
lad about ten years, halted. That wagon contained a mother--a woman of
thirty-three years--toil-worn but contented, with five of her children.
The oldest son, Lorenzo, who had been plodding on at the father’s side,
dragged his weary limbs up to the cabin door, and begged admittance for
the night. This was readily and hospitably granted. Soon the family
were transported from the movable to the staid habitation. Here they
rested their stomachs upon “Johnny cake” and Irish potatoes, and their
weary, complaining bodies upon the soft side of a white oak board for
the night.

Twenty-four hours had not passed ere the father had staked out a
“claim;” a tent had been erected; the cattle turned forth, were
grazing upon the hitherto untrodden prairie land, and preparations
made and measures put into vigorous operation for spring sowing.
Here, with that same elasticity of mind and prudent energy that had
inspired his earliest efforts for self-support, Mr. Oatman commenced
to provide himself a home, and to surround his family with all the
comforts and conveniences of a subsistence. Before his energetic and
well-directed endeavors, the desert soon began to blossom; and beauty
and fruitfulness gradually stole upon these hitherto wild and useless
regions. He always managed to provide his family with a plain, frugal,
and plenteous support.

Four years and over Mr. and Mrs. Oatman toiled early and late,
clearing, subduing, and improving. And during this time they readily
and cheerfully turned their hands to any laudable calling, manual
or intellectual, that gave promise of a just remuneration for their
services. Although accustomed, for the most part of their united life,
to a competence that had placed them above the necessity of menial
service, yet they scorned a dependence upon past position, as also that
pride and utter recklessness of principle which can consent to keep up
the _exterior_ of opulence, while its expenses must come from unsecured
and deceived creditors. They contentedly adapted themselves to a manner
and style that was intended to give a true index to their real means
and resources.

It was this principle of noble self-reliance, and unbending integrity,
that won for them the warmest regards of the good, and crowned their
checkered allotment with appreciative esteem wherever their stay had
been sufficient to make them known.

While the family remained at this place, now called Henly, they toiled
early and late, at home or abroad, as opportunity might offer. During
much of this time, however, Mr. Oatman was laboring under and battling
with a serious bodily infirmity and indisposition.

Early in the second year of their stay at Henly, while lifting a stone,
in digging a well for a neighbor, he injured himself, and from the
effects of that injury he never fully recovered.

At this time improvements around him had been conducted to a stage
of advancement that demanded a strict and vigilant oversight and
guidance. And though by these demands, and his unflagging ambition,
he was impelled to constant, and at times to severe labors, yet they
were labors for which he had been disabled, and from which he should
have ceased. Each damp or cold season of the year, after receiving this
injury to his back and spine, would place him upon a rack of pain,
and at times render life a torture. The winters, always severe in
that section of the country, that had blasted and swept away frailer
constitutions about him, had as yet left no discernible effects upon
his vigorous physical system. But now their return almost disabled him
for work, and kindled anew the torturing local inflammation that his
injury had brought with it to his system.

He became convinced that if he would live to bless and educate his
family, or would enjoy even tolerable health, he must immediately seek
a climate free from the sudden and extreme changes so common to the
region in which he had spent the last few years.

In the summer of 1849 an effort was made to induce a party to organize,
for the purpose of emigration to that part of the New-Mexican Territory
lying about the mouth of the Rio Colorado and Gila Rivers. Considerable
excitement extended over the northern and western portions of Illinois
concerning it. There were a few men, men of travel and information,
who were well acquainted with the state of the country lying along the
east side of the northern end of the Gulf of California, and they had
received the most flattering inducements to form there a colony of the
Anglo-Saxon people.

Accordingly notices were circulated of the number desired and of the
intention and destiny of the undertaking. The country was represented
as of a mild, bland climate, where the extremes of a hot summer and
severe winter were unknown. Mr. Oatman, after considerable deliberation
upon the state of his health, the necessity for a change of climate,
the reliability of the information that had come from this new
quarter, and other circumstances having an intimate connection with
the welfare of those dependent upon him, sent in his name, as one who,
with a family, nine in all, was ready to join the colony; and again he
determined to attempt his fortune in a new land.

He felt cheered in the prospect of a location where he might again
enjoy the possibility of a recovery of his health. And he hoped that
the journey itself might aid the return of his wonted vigor and

After he had proposed a union with this projected colony, and his
proposition had been favorably received, he immediately sold out. The
sum total of the sales of his earthly possessions amounted to fifteen
hundred dollars. With this he purchased an outfit, and was enabled to
reserve to himself sufficient, as he hoped, to meet all incidental
expenses of the tedious trip.

In the spring of 1850, accompanied by some of his neighbors, who had
also thrown their lots into this scheme, he started for Independence,
the place selected for the gathering of the scattered members of the
colony, preparatory to a united travel for the point of destination.
Every precaution had been taken to secure unanimity of feeling,
purpose, and intention among those who should propose to cast in their
lot with the emigrating colony. All were bound for the same place;
all were inspired by the same object; all should enter the band on an
equality; and it was agreed that every measure of importance to the
emigrant army, should be brought to the consideration and consultation
of every member of the train.

It was intended to form a new settlement, remote from the prejudices,
pride, arrogance, and caste that obtain in the more opulent and less
sympathizing portions of a stern civilization. Many of the number
thought they saw in the locality selected many advantages that
were peculiar to it alone. They looked upon it as the way by which
emigration would principally reach this western gold-land, furnishing
for the colony a market for their produce; that thus remote they could
mold, fashion, and direct the education, habits, customs, and progress
of the young and growing colony, after a model superior to that under
which some of them had been discontentedly raised, and one that should
receive tincture, form, and adaptation from the opening and multiplying
necessities of the _experiment in progress_.

As above stated, this colony, composed of more than fifty souls,
encamped on the lovely evening of August 9, 1850, about four miles from

The following are the names of those who were the most active in
projecting the movement, and their names are herein given, because they
may be again alluded to in the following pages; besides, many of them
are now living, and this may be the first notice they shall receive of
the fate of the unfortunate family, the captivity and sufferings of
the only two surviving members of which are the themes of these pages.
Mutual perils and mutual adventures have a power to cement worthy
hearts that is not found in unmingled prosperity. And it has been the
privilege of the author to know, from personal acquaintance, in one
instance, of a family to whom the “Oatman Family” were bound by the tie
of mutuality of suffering and geniality of spirit.

  Mr. Ira Thompson and family.
  A. W. Lane and family.
  R. and John Kelly and their families.
  Mr. Mutere and family.
  Mr. Wilder and family.
  Mr. Brinshall and family.

We have thus rapidly sketched the outlines of the history of the Oatman
family, for a few years preceding their departure from the eastern
side of the continent, and glanced at the nature and cast of their
allotment, because of members of that family these pages are designed
mainly to treat. This remove, the steps to which have been traced
above, proved their last; for though bright, and full of promise and
hope, at the outset, tragedy of the most painful and gloomy character
settles down upon it at an early period, and with fearfully portentous
gloom, thickens and deepens upon its every step, until the day, so
bright at dawn, gradually closes in all the horror and desolation of
a night of plunder, murder, and worse than murderous and barbarous
captivity. And though no pleasant task to bring this sad afterpart
to the notice of the reader, it is nevertheless a tale that may be
interesting for him to ponder; and instructive, as affording matter
for the employment of reflection, and instituting a heartier sympathy
with those upon whose life the clouds and pangs of severe reverses and
misfortunes have rested.

Ere yet twilight had lifted the deepest shades of night from plain and
hill-side, on the morning of the 10th of August, 1850, there was stir
and bustle, and hurrying to and fro throughout that camp. As beautiful
a sunrise as ever mantled the east, or threw its first, purest glories
upon a long and gladdened West, found all things in order, and that
itinerant colony arranged, prepared, and in march for the “Big Bend”
of the Arkansas River. Their course at first lay due west, toward
the Indian territory. One week passed pleasantly away. Fine weather,
vigorous teams, social, cheerful chit-chat, in which the evenings were
passed by men, women, and children, who had been thrown into their
first acquaintance under circumstances so well calculated to create
identity of interest and aim, all contributed to the comfort of this
anxious company during the “first week upon the plains,” and to render
the prospect for the future free from the first tint of evil adversity.
At the end of a week, and when they had made about one hundred miles,
a halt was called at a place known as the “Council Grove.” This place
is on the old Santa Fé road, and is well suited for a place of rest,
and for recruiting. Up to this time naught but harmony and good feeling
prevailed throughout the ranks of this emigrant company. While tarrying
at this place, owing to the peculiarities in the religious notions and
prejudices of a few restless spirits, the first note of discord and
jarring element was introduced among them.

Some resolved to return, but the more sober (and such seemed in the
majority) persisted in the resolve to accomplish the endeared object of
the undertaking. Owing to their wise counsels, and moderate, dignified
management, peace and quiet returned; and after a tarry of about one
week’s duration, they were again upon their journey. From Council Grove
the road bore a little south of west, over a beautiful level plain,
covered with the richest pasturage; and in the distance bordering on
every hand against high, picturesque ranges of mountains, seeming like
so many huge blue bulwarks, and forming natural boundaries between the
abodes of the respective races, each claiming, separately and apart,
the one the mountain, the other the vale.

The weather was beautiful; the evenings, cool and invigorating,
furnishing to the jaded band a perfect elysium for the recruiting of
tired nature, at the close of each day’s sultry and dusty toil. Good
feeling restored, all causes of irritation shut out, joyfully, merrily,
hopefully, the pilgrim band moved on to the Big Bend, on the Arkansas
River. Nothing as yet had been met to excite fear for personal safety;
nothing to darken for a moment the cloudless prospect that had inspired
and shone upon their first westward movings.

“It was our custom,” says Lorenzo Oatman, “to lay by on the Sabbath,
both to rest physical nature, and also, by proper religious services,
to keep alive in our minds the remembrance of our obligations to our
great and kind Creator and Preserver, and to remind ourselves that we
were each travelers upon that great level of time, to a bourne from
whence no traveler returns.”

One Saturday night the tents were pitched upon the hither bank of
the Arkansas River. On the next morning Divine service was conducted
in the usual manner, and at the usual hour. Scarcely had the service
terminated ere a scene was presented calculated to interrupt the
general monotony, as well as awaken some not very agreeable
apprehensions for their personal safety. A Mr. Mutere was a short
way from the camp, on the other side of the river, looking after the
stock. While standing and gazing about him, the sound of crude, wild
music broke upon his ear. He soon perceived it proceeded from a band of
Indians, whom he espied dancing and singing in the wildest manner in a
grove near by. They were making merry, as if in exultation over some
splendid victory. He soon ascertained that they were of the Camanche
tribe, and about them were a number of very beautiful American horses
and mules. He knew them to be stolen stock, from the saddle and harness
marks, yet fresh and plainly to be seen. While Mr. Mutere stood looking
at them his eye suddenly fell upon a huge, hideous looking “buck,”
partly concealed behind a tree, out from which he was leveling a gun at
himself. He sprang into a run, much frightened, and trusted to leg bail
for a safe arrival at camp.

At this the Indian came out, hallooed to Mutere, and made the most
vehement professions of friendship, and of the absence of all evil
design toward him. But Mutere chose not to tarry for any reassurance
of his kindly interest in his welfare. As soon as Mutere was in
camp, several Indians appeared upon the opposite side of the river,
hallooing, and asking the privilege of coming into camp, avowing
friendliness. After a little their request was granted, and about a
score of them came up near the camp. The party soon had occasion to
mark their folly in yielding to the request of the Indians, who were
not long in their vicinity ere they were observed in secret council
a little apart, also at the same time bending their bows and making
ready their arrows, as if upon the eve of some malicious intent. “At
this,” says L. Oatman, “our boys were instantly to their guns, and
upon the opposite side of the wagon, preparing them for the emergence.
But we took good care to so hide us, as to let our motions plainly
appear to the enemy, that they might take warning from our courage
and not be apprised of our fears. Our real intention was immediately
guessed at, as we could see by the change in the conduct of our new
enemy. They, by this time, lowered their bows, and their few guns,
and modestly made a request for a cow. This roused our resolution,
and the demand was quickly resisted. We plainly saw unmistakable
signs of fear, and a suspicion that they were standing a poor show
for cow-beef from that quarter. Such was the first abrupt close that
religious services had been brought to on our whole route as yet. These
evil-designing wretches soon made off, with more dispatch evidently
than was agreeable. A few hours after they again appeared upon the
opposite bank, with about a score of fine animals, which they drove
to water in our sight. As soon as the stock had drank, they raised a
whoop, gave us some hearty cheering, and were away to the south at a
tremendous speed. On Monday we crossed the river, and toward evening
met a government train, who had been out to the fort and were now on
their return. We related to them what we had seen. They told us that
they had, a day or two before, come upon the remnant of a government
train who were on their way to the fort, that their stock had been
taken from them, and they were left in distress, and without means of
return. They also informed us that during the next day we would enter
upon a desert, where for ninety miles we would be without wood and
water. This information, though sad, was timely. We at once made all
possible preparations to traverse this old ‘Sahara’ of the Santa Fé
road. But these preparations as to water proved unnecessary, for while
we were crossing this desolate and verdureless waste, the kindly clouds
poured upon us abundance of fresh water, and each day’s travel for this
ninety miles was as pleasant as any of our trip to us, though to the
stock it was severe.”

While at the camp on the river one very tragical (?) event occurred,
which must not be omitted. One Mr. M. A. M., Jun., had stepped down
to the river bank, leisurely whistling along his way, in quest of a
favorable place to draw upon the Arkansas for a pail of water. Suddenly
two small girls, who had been a little absent from camp, with aprons
upon their heads, rose above a little mound, and presented themselves
to his view. His busy brain must have been preoccupied with “Injins,”
for he soon came running, puffing, and yelling into camp. As he went
headlong over the wagon-tongue, his tin pail as it rolled starting a
half-score of dogs to their feet, and setting them upon a yell, he
lustily, and at the topmost pitch of voice, cried, “Injins! Injins!” He
soon recovered his wits, however, and the pleasant little lasses came
into camp with a hearty laugh that they had so unexpectedly been made
the occasion of a rich piece of “fun.”

From the river bend or crossing, on to Moro, the first settlement
we reached in New Mexico, was about five hundred miles. During this
time nothing of special interest occurred to break the almost painful
monotony of our way, or ruffle the quiet of our _sociale_, save an
occasional family jar, the frequent crossing of pointed opinions, the
now-and-then prophecies of “Injins ahead,” etc., except one “Grape
Dumpling” affair, which must be related by leaving a severe part
untold. At one of our camps, on one of those fine water-courses that
frequently set upon our way, from the mountains, we suddenly found
ourselves near neighbors to a bounteously burdened grape orchard. Of
these we ate freely. One of our principal and physically talented
matrons, however, like the distrustful Israelites, determined not to
trust to to-morrow for to-morrow’s manna. She accordingly laid in a
more than night’s supply. The over-supply was, for safe keeping,
done up “brown,” in the form of well-prepared and thoroughly-cooked
dumplings, and these deposited in a cellar-like stern end of the “big
wagon.” Unfortunate woman! if she had only performed these hiding
ceremonies when the lank eye of one of our invalids, (?) Mr. A. P., had
been turned the other way, she might have prevented a calamity, kindred
to that which befell the _ancient_ emigrants when they sought to lay by
more than was demanded by immediate wants.

Now this A. P. had started out sick, and since his restoration had been
constantly beleaguered by one of those dubious blessings, common as
vultures upon the plains, a voracious appetite, an appetite that, like
the grave, was constantly receiving yet never found a place to say,
“Enough.” Slowly he crawled from his bed, after he was sure that sleep
had made Mrs. M. oblivious of her darling dumplings, and the rest of
the camp unheedful of his movements, and, standing at the stern of the
wagon, he deliberately emptied almost the entire contents of this huge
dumpling pan into his ever-craving interior.

It seems that they had been safely stored in the wagon by this
provident matron, to furnish a feast for the passengers when their
travels might be along some grapeless waste; and but for the unnatural
cravings of the unregulated appetite of A. P., might still have
remained for that purpose. It was evident the next day that the
invalid had been indulging in undue gluttony. He was “sick again,”
and, to use his own phrase, “like all backsliders, through worldly or
stomach prosperity and repletion.”

Madam M. now seized a stake, and thoroughly caned him through the camp,
until dumpling strength was low, very low in the market.

After crossing the big desert, one day, while traveling, some of
our company had their notions of our personal safety suddenly
revolutionized under the following circumstances. A Mr. J. Thompson
and a young man, C. M., had gone one side of the road some distance,
hunting antelope. Among the hills, and when they were some distance
in advance of the camp, they came upon a large drove of antelopes.
They were ignorant at the time of their whereabouts, and the routed
game started directly toward the train; but, to the hunters, the train
seemed to be in directly the opposite direction. In the chase the
antelopes soon came in sight of the train, and several little girls
and boys, seeing them, and seeing their pursuers, ran upon a slight
elevation to frighten the antelopes back upon the hunters; whereupon,
by some unaccountable mirage deception, these little girls and boys
were suddenly transformed into huge Indians to the eyes of the hunters.
They were at once forgetful of their anticipated game, and regarding
themselves as set upon by a band of some giant race, began to devise
for their own escape. Mr. T., thinking that no mortal arm could rescue
them, turned at once, and with much perturbation, to the young man, and
vehemently cried out: “Charles, let us pray.” Said Charles, “No, I’ll
be d--d if I’ll pray; let us run;” and at this he tried the valor of
running. All the exhortations of the old man to Charles “to drop his
gun” were as fruitless as his entreaties to prayer. But when Mr. T. saw
that Charles was making such rapid escape, he dropped his notions of
praying, and took to the pursuit of the path left by the running but
unpraying Charles. He soon outstripped the young man, and made him beg
most lustily of the old man “to wait, and not run away and leave him
there with the Injins alone.”

The chagrin of the brave hunters, after they had reached camp by a long
and circuitous route, may well be imagined, when they found that they
had been running from their own children; and that their fright, and
the running and fatigue it had cost them, had been well understood by
those of the camp who had been the innocent occasion of their chase for
antelopes suddenly being changed into a flight from “Injins.”

When we came into the Mexican settlements our store of meats was
well-nigh exhausted, and we were gratefully surprised to find that at
every stopping place abundance of mutton was in market, fresh, and of
superior quality, and to be purchased at low rates. This constituted
our principal article of subsistence during the time we were
traversing several hundred miles in this region.

Slowly, but with unmistakable indications of a melancholy character,
disaffection and disorder crept into our camp. Disagreements had
occurred among families. Those who had taken the lead in originating
the project had fallen under the ban and censure of those who, having
passed the novelty of the trip, were beginning to feel the pressure
of its dark, unwelcome, and unanticipated realities. And, in some
instances, a conduct was exhibited by those whose years and rank,
as well as professions made at the outset, created expectation and
confidence that in them would be found benefactors and wise counselors,
that tended to disgrace their position, expose the unworthiness of
their motives, and blast the bright future that seemed to hang over the
first steps of our journeyings. As a consequence, feelings of discord
were engendered, which gained strength by unwise and injudicious
counsels, until their pestilential effects spread throughout the camp.

At Moro we tarried one night. This is a small Mexican town, of about
three hundred inhabitants, containing, as the only objects of interest,
a Catholic Mission station, now in a dilapidated state; a Fort,
well-garrisoned by Mexican soldiers, and a fine stream of water, that
comes, cool and clear, bounding down the mountain side, beautifying and
reviving this finely located village.

The next day after leaving this place we came to the Natural, or Santa
Fe Pass, and camped that night at the well-known place called the
Forks. From this point there is one road leading in a more southerly
direction, and frequently selected by emigrants after arriving at the
Forks, though the other road is said, by those best acquainted, to
possess many advantages. At this place we found that the disaffection,
which had appeared for some time before, was growing more and more
incurable; and it began to break out into a general storm. Several of
our number resolved upon taking the south road; but this resolution was
reached only as a means of separating themselves from the remainder
of the train; for the intention really was to become detached from
the restraints and counsels that they found interfering with their
uncontrollable selfishness. There seemed to be no possible method by
which these disturbing elements could be quelled. The matter gave rise
to an earnest consultation and discussion upon the part of the sober
and prudent portion of our little band; but all means and measures
proposed for an amicable adjustment of variances and divisions, seemed
powerless when brought in contact with the unmitigated selfishness
that, among a certain few, had blotted out from their view the one
object and system of regulation that they had been instrumental in
throwing around the undertaking at first.

We now saw a sad illustration of the adage that “it is not all gold
that glitters.” The novelty of the scene, together with every facility
for personal comfort and enjoyment, may suffice to spread the glad
light of good cheer about the first few days or weeks of an emigrating
tour upon these dreary plains; but let its pathway be found among
hostile tribes for a number of weeks; let a scarcity of provisions be
felt; let teams begin to fail, with no time or pasturage to recruit
them; let inclement weather and swollen streams begin to hedge up the
way; these, and more that frequently becomes a dreadful reality, have
at once a wonderful power to turn every man into a kingdom by himself,
and to develop the real nature of the most hidden motives of his being.

Several of those who had, with unwonted diligence and forbearance,
sought to restore quiet and satisfaction, but to no purpose, resolved
upon remaining here until the disaffected portion had selected the
direction and order of their own movements, and then quietly pursue
their way westward by the other route. After some delay, and much
disagreeable discussion among themselves, the northern route was
selected by the malcontents, and they commenced their travels apart.
The remainder of us started upon the south road; and though our animals
were greatly reduced, our social condition was greatly improved.

We journeyed on pleasantly for about one hundred miles, when we
reached Socoro, a beautiful and somewhat thrifty Mexican settlement.
Our teams were now considerably jaded, and we found it necessary to
make frequent halts and tarryings for the purpose of recruiting them.
And this we found it the more difficult to do, as we were reaching a
season of the year, and section of country, that furnished a scanty
supply of feed. We spent one week at Socoro, for the purpose of rest
to ourselves and teams, as also to replenish, if possible, our fast
diminishing store of supplies. We found that food was becoming more
scarce among the settlements that lay along our line of travel; that
quality and price were likewise serious difficulties, and that our
wherewith to purchase even these was well-nigh exhausted.

We journeyed from Socoro to the Rio Grande amid many and disheartening
embarrassments and troubles. Sections of the country were almost
barren; teams were failing, and indications of hostility among the
tribes of Indians (representatives of whom frequently gave us the most
unwelcome greetings) were becoming more frequent and alarming.

Just before reaching the Rio Grande, two fine horses were stolen
from Mr. Oatman. We afterward learned that they had been soon after
seen among the Mexicans, though by them the theft was attributed
to unfriendly neighboring tribes; and it was asserted that horses,
stolen from trains of emigrants, were frequently brought into Mexican
settlements and offered for sale. It is proper here to apprise the
reader, that the project of a settlement in New-Mexico had now been
entirely abandoned since the division mentioned above, and that
California had become the place where we looked for a termination
of our travel, and the land where we hoped soon to reach and find a
_home_. At the Rio Grande we rested our teams one week, as a matter
of necessary mercy, for every day we tarried was only increasing the
probability of the exhaustion of our provisions, ere we could reach
a place of permanent supply. We took from this point the “Cook and
Kearney” route, and found the grass for our teams for a while more
plentiful than for hundreds of miles previous. Our train now consisted
of eight wagons and twenty persons. We now came into a mountainous
country, and we found the frequent and severe ascents and declivities
wearing upon our teams beyond any of our previous travel. We often
consumed whole days in making less than one quarter of the usual day’s
advance. A few days after leaving the Rio Grande, one Mr. Lane died
of the mountain fever. He was a man highly esteemed among the members
of the train, and we felt his loss severely. We dug a grave upon one
of the foot hills, and with appropriate funeral obsequies we lowered
his remains into the same. Some of the female members of our company
planted a flower upon the mound that lifted itself over his lonely
grave. A rude stake, with his name and date of his death inscribed
upon it, was all we left to mark the spot of his last resting-place.
One morning, after spending a cool night in a bleak and barren place,
we awoke with several inches of snow lying about us upon the hills in
the distance. We had spent the night and a part of the previous day
without water. Our stock were scattered during the night, and our first
object, after looking them up, was to find some friendly place where we
might slake our thirst.

The morning was cold, with a fierce bleak wind setting in from the
north. Added to the pains of thirst, was the severity of the cold. We
found that the weather is subject, in this region, to sudden changes,
from one to the other extreme. While in this distressed condition some
of our party espied in the distance a streak of timber letting down
from the mountains, indicative of running living water. To go to this
timber we immediately made preparation, with the greatest possible
dispatch, as our only resort. And our half-wavering expectations were
more than realized; for after a most fatiguing trip of nearly a day,
during which many of us were suffering severely from thirst, we reached
the place, and found not only timber and water in abundance, but a
plentiful supply of game. Turkeys, deer, antelope, and wild sheep were
dancing through every part of the beautiful woodland that lured us from
our bleak mountain camp. As the weather continued extremely cold we
must have suffered severely, if we had not lost our lives, even, by the
severity of the weather, as there was not a particle of anything with
which to kindle a fire, unless we had used our wagon timber for that
purpose, had we not sought the shelter of this friendly grove. We soon
resolved upon at least one week’s rest in this place, and arrangements
were made accordingly. During the week we feasted upon the most
excellent wild meat, and spent most of our time in hunting and fishing.
Excepting the fear we constantly entertained concerning the Indians of
the neighborhood, we spent the week here very pleasantly. One morning
three large, fierce-looking Apaches came into camp at an early hour.
They put on all possible pretensions of friendship; but from the first
their movements were suspicious. They for a time surveyed narrowly our
wagon and teams, and, so far as allowed to do so, our articles of food,
clothing, guns, etc. Suspecting their intentions we bade them be off,
upon which they reluctantly left our retreat. That night the dogs kept
up a barking nearly the whole night, and at seasons of the night would
run to their masters, and then a short distance into the wood, as if
to warn us of the nearness of danger. We put out our fires, and each
man, with his arms, kept vigilant guard. There is no doubt that by this
means our lives were preserved. Tracks of a large number of Indians
were seen near the camp next morning; and on going out we found that
twenty head of stock had been driven away, some of which belonged to
the teams. By this several of our teams were so reduced that we found
extreme difficulty in getting along. Some of our wagons and baggage
were left at a short distance from this in consequence of what we here
lost. We traced the animals some distance, until we found the trail
leading into the wild, difficult mountain fastnesses, where it was
dangerous and useless to follow.

We were soon gathered up, and en route again for “Ta Bac,” another
Mexican settlement, of which we had learned as presenting inducements
for a short recruiting halt.

We found ourselves again traveling through a rich pasturage country,
abounding with the most enchanting, charming scenery that had greeted
us since we had left the “Big Bend.” We came into “Ta Bac” with better
spirits, and more vigorous teams, than was allowed us during the last
few hundred miles.

At this place one of our number became the unwilling subject of a most
remarkable and dampening transaction. Mrs. M., of “grape dumpling”
notoriety, while bearing her two hundred and forty of avoirdupois about
the camp at rather a too rapid rate, suddenly came in sight of a well
that had been dug years before by the Mexican settlers.

While guiding her steps so as to shun this huge-looking hole, suddenly
she felt old earth giving way beneath her. It proved that a well of
more ancient date than the one she was seeking to shun had been dug
directly in her way, but had accumulated a fine covering of grass
during the lapse of years. The members of the camp, who were lazily
whiling away the hours on the down hill-side of the well’s mouth, were
soon apprised of the fact that some _momentous_ cause had interfered
with nature’s laws, and opened some new and hitherto unseen fountains
in her bosom. With the sudden disappearance of Mrs. M., there came a
large current of clear cold water flowing through the camp, greatly
dampening our joys, and starting us upon the alert to inquire into
the cause of this strange phenomenon. Mrs. M. we soon found safely
lodged in the old well, but perfectly secure, as the water, on the
principle that two bodies cannot occupy the same space at the same
time, had leaped out as Mrs. M.’s mammoth proportions had suddenly laid
an imperative possessory injunction upon the entire dimensions of the
“hole in the ground.”

We found, after leaving Ta Bac, the road uneven; the rains had set
in; the nights were cold; and evidences of the constant nearness and
evil designs of savage tribes were manifested every few miles that we
passed over. Several once rich, but now evacuated, Mexican towns were
passed, from which the rightful owners of the soil had been driven by
the Apaches. At “Santa Cruz” we found a Mexican settlement of about
one hundred inhabitants, friendly, and rejoiced to see us come among
them, as they were living constantly in fear of the implacable Apaches,
whose depredations were frequent and of most daring and outrageous
character. Almost every day bands of these miscreant wretches were in
sight upon the surrounding hills waiting favorable opportunities for
the perpetration of deeds of plunder and death. They would at times
appear near to the Mexican herdsmen, and tauntingly command them
“to herd and take care of those cattle for the Apaches.” We found
the country rich and desirable, but for its being infested by these
desperadoes. We learned, both from the Mexicans and the conduct of the
Indians themselves, that one American placed them under more dread and
fear than a score of Mexicans. If along this road we were furnished
with a fair representation, these Mexicans are an imbecile, frail,
cowardly, and fast declining race. By the friendliness and generosity
of the settlers at this point, we made a fine recruit while tarrying
there. For a while we entertained the project of remaining for a year.
Probably, had it not been for the prowling savages, whose thieving,
murdering banditti infest field and woodland, we might have entered
into negotiations with the Mexicans to this effect; but we were now
en route for the Eureka of the Pacific Slope, and we thought we had
no time to waste between us and the realization of our golden dreams.
Every inducement that fear and generosity could invent, and that was
in the power of these Mexicans to control, was, however, presented and
urged in favor of our taking up a residence among them. But we had no
certainty that our small number, though of the race most their dread,
would be sufficient to warrant us in the successful cultivation of the
rich and improved soil that was proffered us. Nothing but a constant
guard of the most vigilant kind could promise any safety to fields of
grain, or herds of cattle.

We next, and at about eighty miles from Santa Cruz, came to Tukjon,
another larger town than Santa Cruz, and more pleasantly, as well as
more securely situated. Here again the same propositions were renewed
as had been plied so vehemently at the last stopping-place. Such were
the advantages that our hosts held out for the raising of a crop of
grain, and fattening our cattle, that some of our party immediately
resolved upon at least one year’s stay. The whole train halted here one
month. During that time, those of our party who could not be prevailed
upon to proceed, had arrangements made and operations commenced for a
year of agricultural and farming employment.

At the end of one month the family of Wilders, Kellys, and ourselves,
started. We urged on amid multiplying difficulties for several days.
Our provisions had been but poorly replenished at the last place, as
the whole of their crops had been destroyed by their one common and
relentless foe, during the year. With all their generosity, it was out
of their power to aid us as much as they would have done. Frequently
after this, for several nights, we were waked to arm ourselves against
the approaching Apaches, who hung in front and rear of our camp for
nights and days.

Wearied, heart-sick, and nearly destitute, we arrived at the Pimo
Village, on or about the 16th of February, 1851. Here we found a
settlement of Indians, who were in open hostility to the Apaches, and
by whose skill and disciplined strength they were kept from pushing
their depredations further in that direction. But so long had open and
active hostilities been kept up, that they were short of provisions
and in nearly a destitute situation. They had been wont to turn their
attention and energies considerably to farming, but during the last two
years, their habits in this respect had been greatly interfered with.
We found the ninety miles that divides Tukjon from Pimole to be the
most dismal, desolate, and unfruitful of all the regions over which our
way had led us as yet. We could find nothing that could, to a sound
judgment, furnish matter of contention, such as had been raging between
the rival claimants of its blighted peaks and crags.

Poor and desolate as were the war-hunted Pimoles, and unpromising as
seemed every project surveyed by our anxious eyes for relief, and a
supply of our almost drained stores of provisions, yet it was soon
apparent to our family, that if we would proceed further we must
venture the journey alone. Soon, and after a brief consultation, a full
resolution was reached by the Wilders and Kellys to remain, and stake
their existence upon traffic with the Pimoles, or upon a sufficient
tarrying to produce for themselves; until from government or friends,
they might be supplied with sufficient to reach Fort Yuma.

To Mr. Oatman this resolution brought a trial of a darker hue than any
that had cast its shadows upon him as yet. He believed that starvation,
or the hand of the treacherous savage, would soon bring them to an
awful fate if they tarried; and with much reluctance he resolved
to proceed, with no attendants or companions save his exposed and
depressed family.


  Mrs. and Mrs. Oatman in Perplexity--Interview with Dr.
    Lecount--Advises them to proceed--They start alone--Teams
    begin to fail--The Roads are bad--The Country rough and
    mountainous--Compelled to carry the Baggage up the Hills by
    Hand--Overtaken by Dr. Lecount on his way to Fort Yuma--He promises
    them Assistance from the Fort--The next Night the Horses of Dr.
    Lecount are stolen by the Apaches--He posts a Card, warning Mr.
    Oatman of Danger, and starts on Foot for the Fort--Reach the Gila
    River--Camp on the Island late at Night--Their dreary Situation,
    and the Conversation of the Children--The Morning of the 29th of
    March--Their Struggle to ascend the Hill on the 29th--Reach the
    Summit about Sunset--The Despondence and Presentiments of Mr.
    Oatman--Nineteen Apaches approach them Profess Friendliness--The
    Massacre--Lorenzo left for Dead, but is preserved--The Capture of
    Olive and Mary Ann.

The reader should here be apprised that, as the entire narrative that
follows has an almost exclusive reference to those members of the
family who alone survive to tell this sad tale of their sufferings and
privations, it has been thought the most appropriate that it be given
in the first person.

Lorenzo D. Oatman has given to the author the following facts, reaching
on to the moment when he was made senseless, and in that condition left
by the Apache murderers.

“We were left to the severe alternative of starting with a meagre
supply, which any considerable delay would exhaust ere we could reach
a place of re-supply, or to stay among the apparently friendly Indians,
who also were but poorly supplied at best to furnish us; and of whose
_real_ intentions it was impossible to form any reliable conclusion.
The statement that I have since seen in the ‘Ladies’ Repository,’ made
by a traveling correspondent who was at Pimole village at the time
of writing, concerning the needlessness and absence of all plausible
reason for the course resolved upon by my father, is incorrect. There
were reasons for the tarrying of the Wilders and Kellys that had no
pertinence when considered in connection with the peculiarities of the
condition of my father’s family. The judgment of those who remained,
approved of the course elected by my father.

“One of the many circumstances that conspired to spread a gloom over
the way that was before us, was the jaded condition of our team, which
by this time consisted of two yoke of cows and one yoke of oxen. My
parents were in distress and perplexity for some time to determine
the true course dictated by prudence, and their responsibility in the
premises. One hundred and ninety miles of desert and mountain, each
alike barren and verdureless, save now and then a diminutive gorge
(water-coursed and grass-fringed, that miles apart led down from the
high mountain ranges across the dreary road) stretched out between us
and the next settlement or habitation of man. We felt, deeply felt,
the hazardous character of our undertaking; and for a time lingered in
painful suspense over the proposed adventure. We felt and feared that
a road stretching to such a distance, through an uninhabited and wild
region, might be infested with marauding bands of the Indians who were
known to roam over the mountains that were piled up to the north of us;
who, though they might be persuaded or intimidated to spare us the fate
of falling by their savage hands, yet might plunder us of all we had
as means for life’s subsistence. While in this dreadful suspense, one
Dr. Lecount, attended by a Mexican guide, came into the Pimole village.
He was on his return from a tour that had been pushed westward, almost
to the Pacific Ocean. As soon as we learned of his presence among us,
father sought and obtained an interview with him. And it was upon
information gained from him, that the decision to proceed was finally

“He had passed the whole distance to Fort Yuma, and returned, all
within a few months, unharmed; and stated that he had not witnessed
indications of even the neighborhood of Indians. Accordingly on the
11th of March, finding provisions becoming scarce among the Pimoles,
and our own rapidly wasting, unattended, in a country and upon a
road where the residence, or even the trace of one of our own nation
would be sought in vain, save that of the hurrying traveler who was
upon some official mission, or, as in the case of Dr. Lecount, some
scientific pursuit requiring dispatch, we resumed our travel. Our
teams were reduced; we were disappointed in being abandoned by our
fellow-travelers, and wearied, almost to exhaustion, by the long
and fatiguing march that had conducted us to this point. We were
lengthening out a toilsome journey for an object and destination quite
foreign to the one that had pushed us upon the wild scheme at first.
And this solitary commencement on our travel upon a devious way, dismal
as it was in every aspect, seemed the only alternative that gave
any promise of an extrication from the dark and frowning perils and
sufferings that were every day threatening about us, and with every
step of advance into the increasing wildness pressing more and more
heavily upon us.”

Let the imagination of the reader awake and dwell upon the
probable feelings of those fond parents at this trying juncture of
circumstances; and when it shall have drawn upon the resources that
familiarity with the heart’s deepest anguish may furnish, it will fail
to paint them with any of that poignant accuracy that will bring him
into stern sympathy with their condition.

Attended by a family, a family which, in the event of their being
overtaken by any of the catastrophes that reason and prudence bade
them beware of on the route, must be helpless; if they did not, even
by their presence and peculiar exposure, give point and power to the
sense and presence of danger; a family entirely dependent upon them
for that daily bread of which they were liable to be left destitute
at any moment; far from human abodes, and with the possibility that,
beyond the reach of relief, they might be set upon by the grim, ghastly
demon of famine, or be made the victims of the blood-thirstiness
and slow tortures of those human devils who, with savage ferocity,
lurk for prey, when least their presence is anticipated; the faint
prospect at best there was for accomplishing all that must be performed
ere they could count upon safety; these, all these, and a thousand
kindred considerations, crowded upon those lonely hours of travel, and
furnished attendant reflections that burned through the whole being
of these parents with the intensity of desperation. O! how many noble
hearts have been turned out upon these dismal, death-marked by-ways,
that have as yet formed the only land connection between the Atlantic
and Pacific slopes, to bleed, and moan, and sigh, for weeks, and even
months, suspended in painful uncertainty, between life and death at
every moment. Apprehensions for their own safety, or the safety of
dependent ones, like ghosts infernal, haunting them at every step.
Fear, fear worse than death, if possible, lest sickness, famine, or
the sudden onslaught of merciless savages, that infest the mountain
fastnesses, and prowl and skulk through the innumerable hiding-places
furnished by the wide sage-fields and chaparral, might intercept a
journey, the first stages of which glowed with the glitter and charm
of novelty, and beamed with the light of hope, but was now persisted
in, through unforeseen and deepening gloom, as a last and severe
alternative of self-preservation, oppressed their hearts.

Monuments! monuments, blood-written, of these uncounted miseries, that
will survive the longest lived of those most recently escaped, are
inscribed upon the bleached and bleaching bones of our common humanity
and nationality; are written upon the rude graves of our countrymen and
kin, that strew these highways of death; written upon the moldering
timbers of decaying vehicles of transport; written in blood that now
beats and pulsates in the veins of solitary and scathed survivors,
as well as in the stain of kindred blood that still preserves its
tale-telling, unbleached hue, upon scattered grass-plots, and Sahara
sand mounds; written upon favored retreats, sought at the close of a
dusty day’s toil for nourishment, but suddenly turned into one of the
unattended, unchronicled deathbeds, already and before frequenting
these highways of carnage and wrecks; written, ah! too sadly, deeply
_engraven_ upon the tablet of memories that keep alive the scenes
of butcheries and captive-making that have rent and mangled whole
households, and are now preserved to embitter the whole gloom-clad
afterpart of the miraculously preserved survivors.

If there be an instance of one family having experienced trials that
with peculiar pungency may suggest a train of reflection like the
above, that family is the one presented to the reader’s notice in these
pages. Seven of them have fallen under the extreme of the dark picture;
two only live to tell herein the tale of their own narrow escape, and
the agonies which marked the process by which it came.

“For six days,” says one of these, “our course was due southwest,
at a slow and patience-trying rate. We were pressing through many
difficulties, with which our minds were so occupied that they could
neither gather nor retain any distinct impression of the country over
which this first week of our solitary travel bore us. While thus, on
the seventh day from Pimole, we were struggling and battling with the
tide of opposition that, with the increasing force of multiplying
embarrassments and drawbacks, was setting in against us, our teams
failing and sometimes in the most difficult and dangerous places
utterly refusing to proceed, we were overtaken by Dr. Lecount, who
with his Mexican guide was on his way back to Fort Yuma. The doctor
saw our condition, and his large, generous heart poured upon us a
flood of sympathy, which, with the words of good cheer he addressed
us, was the only relief it was in his power to administer. Father
sent by him, and at his own suggestion, to the fort for immediate
assistance. This message the doctor promised should be conveyed to
the fort, (we were about ninety miles distant from it at the time,)
with all possible dispatch, also kindly assuring us that all within
his power should be done to procure us help _at once_. We were all
transiently elated with the prospect thus suddenly opening upon us of
a relief from this source, and especially as we were confident that
Dr. Lecount would be prompted to every office and work in our behalf,
that he might command at the fort, where he was well and favorably
known. But soon a dark cloud threw its shadow upon all these hopes,
and again our wonted troubles rolled upon us with an augmented force.
Our minds became anxious, and our limbs were jaded. The roads had
been made bad, at places almost impassable, by recent rains, and for
the first time the strength and courage of my parents gave signs of
exhaustion. It seemed, and indeed was thus spoken of among us, that the
dark wing of some terrible calamity was spread over us, and casting the
shadows of evil ominously and thickly upon our path. The only method
by which we could make the ascent of the frequent high hills that
hedged our way, was by unloading the wagon and carrying the contents
piece by piece to the top; and even then we were often compelled to
aid a team of four cows and two oxen to lift the empty wagon. It was
well for us, perhaps, that there was not added to the burden of these
long and weary hours, a knowledge of the mishap that had befallen
the messenger gone on before. About sunset of the day after Dr.
Lecount left us, he camped about thirty miles ahead of us, turned his
horses into a small valley hemmed in by high mountains, and with his
guide slept until about daybreak. Just as the day was breaking and
preparations were being made to gather up for a ride to the fort that
day, twelve Indians suddenly emerged from behind a bluff hill near by
and entered the camp. Dr. Lecount, taken by surprise by the presence
of these unexpected visitants, seized his arms, and with his guide
kept a close eye upon their movements, which he soon discovered wore a
very suspicious appearance. One of the Indians would draw the doctor
into a conversation, which they held in the Mexican tongue; during
which others of the band would with an air of carelessness edge about,
encircling the doctor and his guide, until in a few moments, despite
their friendly professions, their treacherous intentions were plainly
read. At the suggestion of his bold, intrepid, and experienced guide,
they both sprang to one side, the guide presenting to the Indians his
knife, and the doctor his pistol. The Indians then put on the attitude
of fight, but feared to strike. They still continued their efforts to
beguile the doctor into carelessness, by introducing questions and
topics of conversation, but they could not manage to cover with this
thin gauze the murder of their hearts. Soon the avenging ferocity of
the Mexican began to burn, he violently sprang into the air, rushed
toward them brandishing his knife, and beckoning to the doctor to come
on; he was about in the act of plunging his knife into the leader of
the band, but was restrained by the coolness and prudence of Doctor
Lecount. Manuel (the guide) was perfectly enraged at their insolence,
and would again and again spring, tiger-like toward them, crying at
the top of his voice, “_terrily, terrily!_” The Indians soon made off.
On going into the valley for their animals they soon found that the
twelve Indians had enacted the above scene in the camp, merely as a
ruse to engage their attention, while another party of the same rascal
band were driving their mules and horse beyond their reach. They found
evidences that this had been done within the last hour. The doctor
returned to camp, packed his saddle and packages in a convenient,
secluded place near by, and gave orders to his guide to proceed
immediately to the fort, himself resolving to await his return. Soon
after Manuel had left, however, he bethought him of the Oatman family,
of their imminent peril, and of the pledge he had put himself under to
them, to secure them the earliest possible assistance; and he now had
become painfully apprised of reasons for the most prompt and punctual
fulfillment of that pledge. He immediately prepared, and at a short
distance toward us posted upon a tree near the road a card, warning us
of the nearness of the Apaches, and relating therein in brief what had
befallen himself at their hands; reassuring us also of his determined
diligence to secure us protection, and declaring his purpose,
contrary to a resolution he had formed on dismissing his guide, to
proceed immediately to the fort, there in person to plead our case
and necessities. This card we missed, though it was afterward found
by those whom we had left at Pimole Village. What “might have been,”
could our eyes have fallen upon that small piece of paper, though it
is now useless to conjecture, cannot but recur to the mind. It might
have preserved fond parents, endeared brothers and sisters, to gladden
and cheer a now embittered and bereft existence. But the card, and the
saddle and packages of the doctor, we saw not until weeks after, as the
sequel will show, though we spent a night at the same camp where the
scenes had been enacted.

“Toward evening of the eighteenth day of March, we reached the Gila
River, at a point over eighty miles from Pimole, and about the same
distance from Fort Yuma.

“We descended to the ford from a high, bluff hill, and found it leading
across at a point where the river armed, leaving a small island
sand-bar in the middle of the stream. We frequently found places on our
road upon which the sun shines not, and for hours together the road led
through a region as wild and rough as the imagination ever painted any
portion of our earth. It was impossible, save for a few steps at a
time, to see at a distance in any direction; and although we were yet
inspirited at seasons with the report of Dr. Lecount, upon which we had
started, yet we could not blind our eyes or senses to the possibilities
that might lurk unseen and near, and to the advantages over us that the
nature of the country about us would furnish the evil-designing foe
of the white race, whose habitations we knew were locked up somewhere
within these huge, irregular mountain ranges. Much less could we be
indifferent to the probable inability of our teams to bear us over the
distance still separating us from the place and stay of our hope. We
attempted to cross the Gila about sunset; the stream was rapid, and
swollen to an unusual width and depth. After struggling with danger and
every possible hinderance until long after dark, we reached the sand
island in the middle of the stream. Here our teams mired, our wagon
dragged heavily, and we found it impossible to proceed.

“After reaching the center and driest portion of the island, with the
wagon mired in the rear of us, we proceeded to detach the teams, and
as best, we could made preparations to spend the night. Well do I
remember the forlorn countenance and dejected and jaded appearance of
my father as he started to wade the lesser branch of the river ahead of
us to gather material for a fire. At a late hour of that cold, clear,
wind-swept night, a camp-fire was struck, and our shivering group
encircled it to await the preparation of our stinted allowance. At
times the wind, which was blowing furiously most of the night, would
lift the slight surges of the Gila quite to our camp-fire.”

Let the mind of the reader pause and ponder upon the situation of that
forlorn family at this time. Still unattended and unbefriended; without
a white person or his habitation within the wide range of nearly a
hundred miles; the Gila, a branch of which separated them from either
shore, keeping up a ceaseless, mournful murmuring through the entire
night; the wild wind, as it swept unheeding by, sighing among the
distant trees and rolling along the forest of mountain peaks, kept up
a perpetual moan solemn as a funeral dirge. The imagination can but
faintly picture the feelings of those fond parents upon whom hung such
a fearful responsibility as was presented to their minds and thoughts
by the gathering of this little loved family group about them.

“A large part of the night was spent by the children (for sleep we
could not) in conversation upon our trying situation; the dangers,
though unseen, that might be impending over our heads; of the past, the
present, and the cloud-wrapt future; of the perils of our undertaking,
which were but little realized under the light of novelty and hope that
inspired our first setting out--an undertaking well-intentioned but now
shaping itself so rudely and unseemly.

“We were compelled frequently to shift our position, as the fickle
wind would change the point at which the light surges of the Gila
would attack our camp-fire, in the center of that little island of
about two hundred square feet, upon which we had of necessity halted
for the night. While our parents were in conversation a little apart,
which, too, they were conducting in a subdued tone for purposes
of concealment, the curiosity of the elder children, restless and
inquisitive, was employed in guessing at the probable import of
their councils. We talked, with the artlessness and eagerness of our
unrealizing age, of the dangers possibly near us, of the advantage that
our situation gave to the savages, who were our only dread; and each
in his or her turn would speak, as we shiveringly gathered around that
little, threatened, sickly camp-fire, of his or her intentions in case
of the appearance of the foe. Each had to give a map of the course to
be pursued if the cruel Apaches should set upon us, and no two agreed;
one saying, ‘I shall run;’ another, ‘I will fight and die fighting;’
and still another, ‘I will take the gun or a club and keep them off;’
and last, Miss Olive says, ‘Well, there is one thing; I shall not be
taken by these miserable brutes. I will fight as long as I can, and if
I see that I am about to be taken, I will kill myself. I do not care to
die, but it would be worse than death to me to be taken a captive among

How apprehensive, how timid, how frail a thing is the human mind,
especially when yet untutored, and uninured to the severe allotments
that are in this state incident to lengthened years. Experience alone
can test the wisdom of the resolutions with which we arm ourselves
for anticipated trials, or our ability to carry them out. How little
it knows of its power or skill to triumph in the hour of sudden and
trying emergency, only as the reality itself shall test and call it
forth. Olive lives to-day to dictate a narrative of five gloomy years
of captivity, that followed upon a totally different issue of an event
that during that night, as a possibility merely, was the matter of vows
and resolutions, but which in its reality mocked and taunted the plans
and purposes that had been formed for its control.

“The longed-for twilight at length sent its earliest stray beams along
the distant peaks, stole in upon our sand-bar camp, and gradually
lifted the darkness from our dreary situation. As the curtain of that
burdensome night departed, it seemed to bear with it those deep and
awful shades that had rested upon our minds during its stay, and which
we now began to feel had taken their gloomiest hue from the literal
darkness and solitude that has a strange power to nurse a morbid

“Before us, and separating the shore from us, was a part of the river
yet to be forded. At an early hour the teams were brought from the
valley-neck of land, where they had found scant pasturage for the
night, and attached to the wagon. We soon made the opposite bank.
Before us was quite a steep declivity of some two hundred feet, by the
way of the road. We had proceeded but a short distance when our galled
and disarranged teams refused to go. We were again compelled to unload,
and with our own hands and strength to bear the last parcel to the top
of the hill. After this we found it next to impossible to compel the
teams to drag the empty wagon to the summit.

“After reaching the other bank we camped, and remained through the heat
of the day intending to travel the next night by moonlight. About two
hours and a half before sunset we started, and just before the sun sank
behind the western hills we had made the ascent of the hill and about
one mile advance. Here we halted to reload the remainder of our baggage.

“The entire ascent was not indeed made until we reached this point,
and to it some of our baggage had been conveyed by hand. I now plainly
saw a sad, foreboding change in my father’s manner and feelings.
Hitherto, amid the most fatiguing labor and giant difficulties, he had
seemed generally armed for the occasion with a hopeful countenance
and cheerful spirit and manner, the very sight of which had a power
to dispel our childish fears and spread contentment and resignation
upon our little group. While ascending this hill I saw, too plainly
saw, (being familiar, young as I was, with my father’s aptness to
express, by the tone of his action and manner, his mental state,) as
did my mother also, that a change had come over him. Disheartening and
soul-crushing apprehensions were written upon his manner, as if preying
upon his mind in all the mercilessness of a conquering despair. There
seemed to be a dark picture hung up before him, upon which the eye of
his thought rested with a monomaniac intensity; and written thereon he
seemed to behold a sad afterpart for himself, as if some terrible event
had loomed suddenly upon the field of his mental vision, and though
unprophesied and unheralded by any palpable notice, yet gradually
wrapping its folds about him, and coming in, as it were, to fill his
cup of anguish to the brim. Surely,

    “‘Coming events cast their shadows before them.
    Who hath companioned a visit from the horn or ivory gate?
    Who hath propounded the law that renders calamities gregarious?
    Pressing down with yet more woe the heavy laden mourner;
    Yea, a palpable notice warneth of an instant danger;
    For the soul hath its feelers, cobwebs upon the wings of the wind,
    That catch events, in their approach, with sure and sad presentiment.’

“Whether my father had read that notice left for our warning by Dr.
Lecount, and had from prudence concealed it, with the impression it
may have made upon his own mind, from us, to prevent the torment
of fear it would have enkindled; or whether a camp-fire might have
been discerned by him in the distance the night before, warning of
the nearness of the savage Apaches; or whether by spirit law or the
appointment of Providence the gloom of his waiting doom had been sent
on before to set his mind in readiness for the breaking storm, are
questions that have been indulged and involuntarily urged by his fond,
bereaved children; but no answer to which has broke upon their ear
from mountain, from dale, or from spirit-land. For one hour the night
before my father had wept bitterly, while in the wagon thinking himself
concealed from his family, but of which I was ignorant until it was
told me by my eldest sister during the day. My mother was calm, cool,
and collected; patient to endure, and diligent to do, that she might
administer to the comfort of the rest of us. Of the real throbbings
of the affectionate and indulgent heart of that beloved mother, her
children must ever remain ignorant. But of her noble bearing under
these trying circumstances angels might speak; and her children, who
survive to cherish her name with an ardent, though sorrowing affection,
may be pardoned for not keeping silence. True to the instincts that had
ever governed her in all trying situations, and true to the dictates
of a noble and courageous heart, she wisely attributed these shadows
(the wing of which flitted over her own sky as well) to the harassings
and exhaustion of the hour; she called them the accustomed creations
of an over-tasked mind, and then, with cheerful heart and ready hand,
plied herself to all and any labors that might hie us upon our way. At
one time, during the severest part of the toil and efforts of that day
to make the summit of that hill, my father suddenly sank down upon a
stone near the wagon, and exclaimed, ‘Mother, mother, in the name of
God, I know that something dreadful is about to happen!’ In reply, our
dear mother had no expressions but those of calm, patient trust, and a
vigorous, resolute purpose.

    “‘O, Mother? bless’d sharer of our joys and woes,
    E’en in the darkest hours of earthly ill,
    Untarnish’d yet thy fond affection glow’d,
    When sorrow rent the heart, when feverish pain
    Wrung the hot drops of anguish from the brow;
    To soothe the soul, to cool the burning brain,
    O who so welcome and so prompt as thou?’

“We found ourselves now upon the summit, which proved to be the east
edge of a long table-land, stretching upon a level, a long distance
westward, and lying between two deep gorges, one on the right, the
other on the left; the former coursed by the Gila River. We had hastily
taken our refreshment, consisting of a few parcels of dry bread, and
some bean-soup, preparatory to a night’s travel. This purpose of night
travel had been made out of mercy to our famished teams, so weak that
it was with difficulty they could be driven during the extreme sultry
heat of the day. Besides this, the moon was nearly in full, giving us
light nearly the entire night; the nights were cool, and better for
travel to man and beast, and the shortness of our provisions made it
imperative that we should make the most of our time.”

Up, upon an elevated, narrow table-land, formed principally of lime
rock, look now at this family; the scattered rough stones about them
forming their seats, upon which they sit them down in haste to receive
the frugal meal to strengthen them for the night’s travel. From two
years old and upward, that group of children, unconscious of danger,
but dreading the lone, long hours of the night’s journey before them.
To the south of them, a wild, uninhabited, and uninhabitable region,
made up of a succession of table-lands, varying in size and in height,
with rough, verdureless sides, and separated by deep gorges and dark
cañons, without any vegetation save an occasional scrub-tree standing
out from the general sterility. Around them, not a green spot to charm,
to cheer, to enliven the tame, tasteless desolation and barrenness; at
the foot of the bold elevation, that gives them a wider view than was
granted while winding the difficult defiles of the crooked road left
behind them, murmurs on the ceaseless Gila, upon which they gaze, over
a bold precipice at the right. To the east and north, mountain ranges
rising skyward until they seem to lean against the firmament. But
within all the extended field swept by their curious, anxious vision,
no smoking chimney of a friendly habitation appears to temper the
sense of loneliness, or apprise them of the accessibleness of friendly
sympathy or aid. Before them, a dusty, stony road points to the scene
of anticipated hardships, and the land of their destination. The sun
had scarcely concealed his burning face behind the western hills, ere
the full-orbed moon peers from the craggy mountain chain in the rear,
as if to mock at the sun weltering in his fading gore, and proffering
the reign of her chastened, mellow light for the whole dreaded night.

“Though the sun had hid its glittering, dazzling face from us behind
a tall peak in the distance, yet its rays lingered upon the summits
that stretched away between us and the moon, and daylight was full
upon us. Our hasty meal had been served. My father, sad, and seemingly
spell-bound with his own struggling emotions, was a little on one
side, as if oblivious of all immediately about him, and was about in
the act of lifting some of the baggage to the wagon, that had as yet
remained unloaded since the ascent of the hill, when, casting my eyes
down the hill by the way we had come, I saw several Indians slowly and
leisurely approaching us in the road. I was greatly alarmed, and for a
moment dared not to speak. At the time, my father’s back was turned.
I spoke to him, at the same time pointing to the Indians. What I saw
in my father’s countenance excited in me a great fear, and took a
deeper hold upon my feelings of the danger we were in, than the sight
of the Indians. They were now approaching near us. The blood rushed
to my father’s face. For a moment his face would burn and flash as
it crimsoned with the tide from within; then a death-like paleness
would spread over his countenance, as if his whole frame was suddenly
stiffened with horror. I saw too plainly the effort that it cost him
to attempt a concealment of his emotions. He succeeded, however, in
controlling the jerking of his muscles and his mental agitations, so
as to tell us, in mild and composed accents, ‘not to fear; the Indians
would not harm us.’ He had always been led to believe that the Indians
could be so treated as to avoid difficulty with them. He had been
among them much in the Western states, and so often tried his theory
of leniency with success that he often censured the whites for their
severity toward them; and was disposed to attribute injury received
from them to the unwise and cruel treatment of them by the whites. It
had long been his pride and boast that he could manage the Indians so
that it would do to trust them. Often had he thrown himself wholly in
their power, while traveling and doing business in Iowa, and that,
too, in times of excitement and hostility, relying upon his coolness,
self-possession, and urbanity toward them to tame and disarm their
ferocity. As yet, his theory had worked no injury to himself, though
often practiced against the remonstrances of friends. But what might
serve for the treatment of the Iowa Indians, might need modification
for these fierce Apaches. Besides, his wonted coolness and fearlessness
seemed, as the Indians approached, to have forsaken him; and I have
never been able to account for the conduct of my father at this time,
only by reducing to reality the seemings of the past few days or hours,
to wit, that a dark doom had been written out or read to him before.

“After the Indians approached, he became collected, and kindly
motioned them to sit down; spoke to them in Spanish, to which they
replied. They immediately sat down upon the stones about us, and still
conversing with father in Spanish, made the most vehement professions
of friendship. They asked for tobacco and a pipe, that they might smoke
in token of their sincerity and of their friendly feelings toward
us. This my father immediately prepared, took a whiff himself, then
passed it around, even to the last. But amid all this, the appearance
and conduct of father was strange. The discerning and interested eye
of his agitated family could too plainly discover the uncontrollable,
unspoken mental convulsions that would steal the march upon the
forced appearances of composure that his better judgment, as well as
yearnings for his family, dictated for the occasion. His movements
were a reflecting glass, in which we could as plainly read some dire
catastrophe was breeding for us, as well as in the flashes and glances
that flew from face to face of our savage-looking visitants.

“After smoking, these Indians asked for something to eat. Father told
them of our destitute condition, and that he could not feed them
without robbing his family; that unless we could soon reach a place
of new supplies we must suffer. To all this they seemed to yield only
a reluctant hearing. They became earnest and rather imperative, and
every plea that we made to them of our distress, but increased their
wild and furious clamors. Father reluctantly took some bread from the
wagon and gave it to them, saying that it was robbery, and perhaps
starvation to his family. As soon as this was devoured they asked
for more, meanwhile surveying us narrowly, and prying and looking
into every part of the wagon. They were told that we could spare them
no more. They immediately packed themselves into a secret council
a little on one side, which they conducted in the Apache language,
wholly unintelligible to us. We were totally in the dark as to their
designs, save that their appearance and actions wore the threatening of
some hellish deed. We were now about ready to start. Father had again
returned to complete the reloading of the remainder of the articles;
mother was in the wagon arranging them; Olive, with my older sister,
was standing upon the opposite side of the wagon; Mary Ann, a little
girl about seven years old, sat upon a stone holding to a rope attached
to the horns of the foremost team; the rest of the children were on the
opposite side of the wagon from the Indians. My eyes were turned away
from the Indians.

“Though each of the family was engaged in repairing the wagon, none
were without manifestations of fear. For some time every movement of
the Indians was closely watched by us. I well remember, however, that
after a few moments my own fears were partially quieted, and from their
appearance I judged it was so with the rest.

“In a subdued tone frequent expressions were made concerning the
Indians, and their possible intentions; but we were guarded and
cautious, lest they might understand our real dread and be emboldened
to violence. Several minutes did they thus remain a few feet from us,
occasionally turning an eye upon us, and constantly keeping up a low
earnest babbling among themselves. At times they gazed eagerly in
various directions, especially down the road by which we had come, as
if struggling to discern the approach of some object or person either
dreaded or expected by them.

“Suddenly, as a clap of thunder from a clear sky, a deafening yell
broke upon us, the Indians jumping into the air, and uttering the
most frightful shrieks, and at the same time springing toward us
flourishing their war-clubs, which had hitherto been concealed under
their wolf-skins. I was struck upon the top and back of my head, came
to my knees, when with another blow, I was struck blind and senseless.”
One of their number seized and jerked Olive one side, ere they had
dealt the first blow.

[Illustration: THE MASSACRE.]

“As soon,” continues Olive, “as they had taken me one side, and while
one of the Indians was leading me off, I saw them strike Lorenzo, and
almost at the same instant my father also. I was so bewildered and
taken by surprise by the suddenness of their movements, and their
deafening yells, that it was some little time before I could realize
the horrors of my situation. When I turned around, opened my eyes, and
collected my thoughts, I saw my father, my own dear father! struggling,
bleeding, and moaning in the most pitiful manner. Lorenzo was lying
with his face in the dust, the top of his head covered with blood, and
his ears and mouth bleeding profusely. I looked around and saw my poor
mother, with her youngest child clasped in her arms, and both of them
still, as if the work of death had already been completed; a little
distance on the opposite side of the wagon, stood little Mary Ann, with
her face covered with her hands, sobbing aloud, and a huge-looking
Indian standing over her; the rest were motionless, save a younger
brother and my father, all upon the ground dead or dying. At this
sight a thrill of icy coldness passed over me; I thought I had been
struck; my thoughts began to reel and became irregular and confused; I
fainted and sank to the earth, and for a while, I know not how long, I
was insensible.

“When I recovered my thoughts I could hardly realize where I was,
though I remembered to have considered myself as having also been
struck to the earth, and thought I was probably dying. I knew that
all, or nearly all of the family had been murdered; thus bewildered,
confused, half conscious and half insensible, I remained a short
time, I know not how long, when suddenly I seemed awakened to the
dreadful realities around me. My little sister was standing by my side,
sobbing and crying, saying: ‘Mother, O mother! Olive, mother and father
are killed, with all our poor brothers and sisters.’ I could no longer
look upon the scene. Occasionally a low, piteous moan would come from
some one of the family as in a dying state. I distinguished the groans
of my poor mother, and sprang wildly toward her, but was held back by
the merciless savage holding me in his cruel grasp, and lifting a club
over my head, threatening me in the most taunting, barbarous manner. I
longed to have him put an end to my life. ‘O,’ thought I, ‘must I know
that my poor parents have been killed by these savages and I remain
alive!’ I asked them to kill me, pleaded with them to take my life, but
all my pleas and prayers only excited to laughter and taunts the two
wretches to whose charge we had been committed.

“After these cruel brutes had consummated their work of slaughter,
which they did in a few moments, they then commenced to plunder our
wagon, and the persons of the family whom they had killed. They broke
open the boxes with stones and clubs, plundering them of such of their
contents as they could make serviceable to themselves. They took off
the wagon wheels, or a part of them, tore the wagon covering off from
its frame, unyoked the teams and detached them from the wagons, and
commenced to pack the little food, with many articles of their plunder,
as if preparatory to start on a long journey. Coming to a feather bed,
they seized it, tore it open, scattering its contents to the winds,
manifesting meanwhile much wonder and surprise, as if in doubt what
certain articles of furniture, and conveniences for the journey we had
with us, could be intended for. Such of these as they selected, with
the little food we had with us that they could conveniently pack, they
tied up in bundles, and started down the hill by the way they had come,
driving us on before them. We descended the hill, not knowing their
intentions concerning us, but under the expectation that they would
probably take our lives by slow torture. After we had descended the
hill and crossed the river, and traveled about one half of a mile by
a dim trail leading through a dark, rough, and narrow defile in the
hills, we came to an open place where there had been an Indian camp
before, and halted. The Indians took off their packs, struck a fire,
and began in their own way to make preparations for a meal. They boiled
some of the beans just from our wagon, mixed some flour with water,
and baked it in the ashes. They offered us some food, but in the most
insulting and taunting manner, continually making merry over every
indication of grief in us, and with which our hearts were ready to
break. We could not eat. After the meal, and about an hour’s rest, they
began to repack and make preparations to proceed.”


  Lorenzo Oatman--Conscious of most of the Scenes of the Massacre--The
    next Day he finds himself at the Foot of a rocky Declivity,
    over which he had fallen--Makes an Effort to walk--Starts for
    Pimole--His Feelings and Sufferings--Is attacked by Wolves--Then
    by two Indians, who are about to shoot him down--Their subsequent
    Kindness--They go on to the Place of Massacre--He meets the
    Wilders and Kellys--They take him back to Pimole--In about one
    Month gets well, and starts for Fort Yuma--Visits the Place of
    Massacre--His Feelings--Burial of the Dead--Reflections--The
    two Girls--Their Thoughts of Home and Friends--Conduct of their
    Captors--Disposition of the Stock--Cruelty to the Girls to hurry
    them on--Girls resolve not to proceed--Meet eleven Indians,
    who seek to kill Olive--Reasons for--Apaches defend her--Their
    Habits of Fear for their own Safety--Their Reception at the
    Apache Village--One Year--The Mohaves--Their second coming among
    the Apaches--Conversation of Olive and Mary--Purchased by the
    Mohaves--Avowed Reasons--Their Price--Danger during the Debate.

In this chapter we ask the reader to trace with us the narrow and
miraculous escape of Lorenzo Oatman, after being left for dead by the
Apaches. He was the first to receive the death-dealing blow of the
perpetrators of that horrid deed by which most of the family were taken
from him. The last mention we made of him left him, under the effects
of that blow, weltering in his blood. He shall tell his own story of
the dreadful after-part. It has in it a candor, a freedom from the
tinselings so often borrowed from a morbid imagination, and thrown
about artificial romance, that commends it to the reader, especially
to the juvenile reader. It exhibits a presence of mind, courage, and
resoluteness that, as an example, may serve as a light to cheer and
inspirit that boy whose eye is now tracing this record, when he shall
find himself stumbling amid mishaps and pitfalls in the future, and
when seasons of darkness, like the deep, deep midnight, shall close
upon his path:

“I soon must have recovered my consciousness after I had been struck
down, for I heard distinctly the repeated yells of those fiendish
Apaches. And these I heard mingling in the most terrible confusion
with the shrieks and cries of my dear parents, brothers, and sisters,
calling, in the most pitiful, heart-rending tones, for ‘Help, help! In
the name of God, cannot any one help us?’

“To this day the loud wail sent up by our dear mother from that
rough death-bed still rings in my ears. I heard the scream, shrill,
and sharp, and long, of these defenseless, unoffending brothers and
sisters, distinguishing the younger from the older as well as I could
have done by their natural voice; and these constantly blending with
the brutal, coarse laugh, and the wild, raving whooping of their
murderers. Well do I remember coming to myself, with sensations as of
waking from a long sleep, but which soon gave place to the dreadful
reality; at which time all would be silent for a moment, and then the
silence broken by the low, subdued, but unintelligible gibberings of
the Indians, intermingled with an occasional low, faint moan from some
one of the family, as if in the last agonies of death. I could not
move. I thought of trying to get up, but found I could not command
a muscle or a nerve. I heard their preparations for leaving, and
distinctly remember to have thought, at the time, that my heart had
ceased to beat, and that I was about giving my last breath. I heard
the sighs and moans of my sisters, heard them speak, knew the voice of
Olive, but could not tell whether one or more was preserved with her.

“While lying in this state, two of the wretches came up to me, rolling
me over with their feet; they examined and rifled my pockets, took off
my shoes and hat in a hurried manner; then laid hold of my feet and
roughly dragged me a short distance, and then seemed to leave me for
dead. During all this, except for a moment at a time, occasionally,
I was perfectly conscious, but could not see. I thought each moment
would be my last. I tried to move again and again, but was under the
belief that life had gone from my body and limbs, and that a few
more breathings would shut up my senses. There seemed a light spot
directly over my head, which was gradually growing smaller, dwindling
to a point. During this time I was conscious of emotions and thoughts
peculiar and singular, aside from their relation to the horrors about
me. At one time (and it seemed hours) I was ranging through undefined,
open space, with paintings and pictures of all imaginable sizes and
shapes hung about me, as if at an immense distance, and suspended upon
walls of ether. At another, strange and discordant sounds would grate
on my ear, so unlike any that my ear ever caught, that it would be
useless endeavoring to give a description of them. Then these would
gradually die away, and there rolled upon my ear such strains of sweet
music as completely ravished all my thoughts, and I was perfectly
happy. And in all this I could not define myself; I knew not who I was,
save that I knew, or supposed I knew, I had come from some far-off
region, only a faint remembrance of which was borne along with me. But
to attempt to depict all of what seemed a strange, actual experience,
and that I now know to have been crowded into a few hours, would
only excite ridicule; though there was something so fascinating and
absorbing to my engaged mind, that I frequently long to reproduce its
unearthly music and sights.

“After being left by the Indians, the thoughts I had, traces of which
are still in my memory, were of opening my eyes, knowing perfectly my
situation, and thinking still that each breath would be the last. The
full moon was shining upon rock, and hill, and shrub about me; a more
lovely evening indeed I never witnessed. I made an effort to turn my
eye in search of the place where I supposed my kindred were cold in
death, but could not stir. I felt the blood upon my mouth, and found
it still flowing from my ears and nose. All was still as the grave. Of
the fate of the rest of the family I could not now determine accurately
to myself, but supposed all of them, except two of the girls, either
dead or in my situation. But no sound, no voice broke the stillness
of these few minutes of consciousness; though upon them there rested
the weight of an anguish, the torture and horror of which pen cannot
report. I had a clear knowledge that two or more of my sisters were
taken away alive. Olive I saw them snatch one side ere they commenced
the general slaughter, and I had a faint consciousness of having heard
the voice and sighs of little Mary Ann, after all else was hushed, save
the hurrying to and fro of the Indians, while at their work of plunder.

“The next period, the recollection of which conveys any distinct
impression to my mind at this distance of time, was of again coming to
myself, blind, but thinking my eyes were some way tied from without.
As I rubbed them, and removed the clotted blood from my eyelids, I
gathered strength to open them. The sun, seemingly from mid-heaven,
was looking me full in the face. My head was beating, and at times
reeling under the grasp of a most torturing pain. I looked at my worn
and tattered clothes, and they were besmeared with blood. I felt my
head and found my scalp torn across the top. I found I had strength
to turn my head, and it surprised me. I made an effort to get up, and
succeeded in rising to my hands and knees; but then my strength gave
way. I saw myself at the foot of a steep, rugged declivity of rocks,
and all about me new. On looking up upon the rocks I discovered traces
of blood marking the way by which I had reached my present situation
from the brow above me. At seasons there would be a return of partial
aberration, and derangement of my intellect. Against these I sought to
brace myself, and study the where and wherefore of my awful situation.
And I wish to record my gratitude to God for enabling me then and there
to collect my thoughts, and retain my sanity.

“I soon determined in my mind that I had either fallen, or been hurled
down to my present position, from the place where I was first struck
down. At first I concluded I had fallen myself, as I remembered to
have made several efforts to get upon my hands and knees, but was
baffled each time, and that during this I saw myself near a precipice
of rocks, like that brow of the steep near me now, and that I plainly
recognized as the same place, and now sixty feet or more above me. My
consciousness now fully returned, and with it a painful appreciation
of the dreadful tragedies of which my reaching my present situation
had formed a part. I dwelt upon what had overtaken my family-kin, and
though I had no certain mode of determining, yet I concluded it must
have been the day before. Especially would my heart beat toward my fond
parents, and dwell upon their tragical and awful end: I thought of the
weary weeks and months by which they had, at the dint of every possible
exertion, borne us to this point; of the comparatively short distance
that would have placed them beyond anxiety; of the bloody, horrid night
that had closed in upon the troublous day of their lives.

“And then my thoughts would wander after those dear sisters; and
scarcely could I retain steadiness of mind when I saw them, in thought,
led away I knew not where, to undergo every ill and hardship, to
suffer a thousand deaths at the hands of their heathen captors. I
thought at times (being, I have no doubt, partially delirious) that my
brain was loose, and was keeping up a constant rattling in my head,
and accordingly I pressed my head tightly between my hands, that if
possible I might retain it to gather a resolution for my own escape.
When did so much crowd into so small a space or reflection before?
Friends, that _were_, now re-presented themselves; but from them, now,
my most earnest implorings for help brought out no hand of relief;
and as I viewed them, surrounded with the pleasures and joys of their
safe home-retreats, the contrast only plunged me deeper in despair.
My old playmates now danced before me again, those with whom I had
caroled away the hours so merrily, and whom I had bidden the laughing,
merry ‘_adieu_,’ only pitying them that they were denied the elysium
of a romantic trip over the Plains. The scenes of sighs, and tears,
and regrets that shrouded the hour of our departure from kindred and
friends, and the weeping appeals they plied so earnestly to persuade us
to desist from an undertaking so freighted with hazard, now rolled upon
me to lacerate and torture these moments of suffocating gaspings for

“Then my own condition would come up, with new views of the unbroken
gloom and despair that walled it in on every side, more impenetrable to
the first ray of hope than the granite bulwarks about me to the light
of the sun.

“A boy of fourteen years, with the mangled remains of my own parents
lying near by, my scalp torn open, my person covered with blood,
alone, friendless, in a wild, mountain, dismal, wilderness region,
exposed to the ravenous beasts, and more, to the ferocity of more than
brutal savages and human-shaped demons! I had no strength to walk, my
spirits crushed, my ambition paralyzed, my body mangled. At times I
despaired, and prayed for death; again I revived, and prayed God for
help. Sometimes, while lying flat on my back, my hands pressing my
torn and blood-clothed head, with the hot sun pouring a full tide of
its unwelcome heat upon me, the very air a hot breath in my face, I
gathered hope that I might yet look upon the white face again, and
that I might live to rehearse the sad present in years to come. And
thus bright flashes of hope and dark gloom-clouds would chase each
other over the sky of my spirit, as if playing with my abandonment
and unmitigated distress. ‘And O,’ thought I, ‘those sisters, shall
I see them again? must they close their eyes among those ferocious
man-animals?’ I grew sick and faint, dizziness shook my brain, and my
senses fled. I again awoke from the delirium, partly standing, and
making a desperate effort. I felt the thrill of a strong resolution.
‘I will get up,’ said I, ‘and _will_ walk, or if not I will spend the
last remnant of my shattered strength to crawl out of this place.’
I started, and slowly moved toward the rocks above me. I crept,
snail-like, up the rock-stepped side of the table-land above me. As I
drew near the top, having crawled almost fifty feet, I came in sight of
the wagon wreck; then the scenes which had been wrought about it came
back with horror, and nearly unloosed my hold upon the rocks. I could
not look upon those faces and forms, yet they were within a few feet.
The boxes, opened and broken, with numerous articles, were in sight. I
could not trust my feelings to go further; ‘I have misery enough, why
should I add fuel to the fire now already consuming me!’


“I turned away, and began to crawl toward the east, round the brow
of the hill. After carefully, and with much pain, struggling all the
while against faintness, crawling some distance, I found myself at
the slope leading down to the Ford of the Gila, where I plainly saw
the wagon track we had made, as I supposed, the day before. The hot
sun affected me painfully; its burning rays kindled my fever, already
oppressive, to the boiling point. I felt a giant determination urging
me on. Frequently my weariness and faintness would bring me to the
ground several times in a few moments. Then I would crawl aside, (as
I did immediately after crossing the river,) drag myself under some
mountain shrub for escape from the sun, bathe my fevered head in its
friendly shade, and lay me to rest. Faint as I was from loss of blood,
and a raging inward thirst, these, even, were less afflicting than the
meditations and reflections that, unbidden, would at times steal upon
my mind, and lash it to a perfect phrenzy with agonizing remembrances.
The groans of those parents, brothers, and sisters, haunted me with the
grim, fiend-like faces of their murderers, and the flourishing of their
war-clubs; the convulsive throbs of little Mary Ann would fill my mind
with sensations as dreary as if my traveling had been among the tombs.

“‘O my God!’ said I, ‘am I alive? My poor father and mother, where are
they? And are my sisters alive? or are they suffering death by burning?
Shall I see them again?’

“Thus I cogitated, and wept, and sighed, until sleep kindly shut
out the harrowing thoughts. I must have slept for three hours, for
when I woke the sun was behind the western hills. I felt refreshed,
though suffering still from thirst. The road crosses the bend in the
river twice; to avoid this, I made my way over the bluff spur that
turns the road and river to the north. I succeeded after much effort
in sustaining myself upon my feet, with a cane. I walked slowly on,
and gained strength and courage that inspired within some hope of
my escape. I traveled on, only taking rest two or three times during
that evening and whole night. I made in all about fifteen miles by
the next day-break. About eleven o’clock of the next day I came to a
pool of standing water; I was nearly exhausted when I reached it and
lay me down by it, and drank freely, though the water was warm and
muddy. I had no sooner slaked my thirst than I fell asleep and slept
for some time. I awoke partially delirious, believing that my brain
was trying to jump out of my head, while my hands were pressed to my
head to keep it together, and prevent the exit of my excited brain.
When I had proceeded about ten miles, which I had made by the middle
of the afternoon, I suddenly became faint, my strength failed, and I
fell to the ground. I was at the time upon a high table-land, sandy
and barren. I marveled to know whether I might be dying; I was soon
unconscious. Late in the afternoon I was awakened by some strange
noise; I soon recollected my situation, and the noise, which I now
found to be the barking of dogs or wolves, grew louder and approached
nearer. In a few moments I was surrounded by an army of coyotes and
gray wolves. I was lying in the sun, and was faint from the effects
of its heat. I struggled to get to a small tree near by, but could
not. They were now near enough for me to almost reach them, smelling,
snuffing, and growling as if holding a meeting to see which should be
first to plunge his sharp teeth in my flesh, and first to gorge his
lank stomach upon my almost bloodless carcass. I was excited with fear,
and immediately sprang to my feet and raised a yell; and as I rose,
struck the one nearest me with my hand. He started back, and the rest
gave way a little. This was the first utterance I had made since the
massacre. These unprincipled gormandizers, on seeing me get up and
hurl a stone at them, ran off a short distance, then turned and faced
me; when they set up one of the most hideous, doleful howlings that I
ever heard from any source. As it rang out for several minutes upon the
still evening air, and echoed from crag to crag, it sent the most awful
sensations of dread and loneliness thrilling through my whole frame. ‘A
fit requiem for the dead,’ thought I. I tried to scatter them, but they
seemed bent upon supplying their stomachs by dividing my body between
them, and thus completing the work left unfinished by their brothers,
the Apaches.


“I had come now to think enough of the chance for my life, to covet it
as a boon worth preserving. But I had serious fears when I saw with
what boldness and tenacity they kept upon my track, as I armed myself
with a few rocks and pushed on. The excitement of this scene fully
roused me, and developed physical strength that I had not been able
before to command. The sun had now reached the horizon, and the first
shades of lonely night lay upon the distant gorges and hill-sides. I
kept myself supplied with rocks, occasionally hurling one at the more
insolent of this second tribe of savages. They seemed determined,
however, to force an acquaintance. At times they would set up one
of their wild concerts, and grow furious as if newly enraged at my
escape. Then they would huddle about, fairly besetting my steps. I was
much frightened, but knew of only one course to take. After becoming
weary and faint with hunger and thirst, some time after dark I feared
I should faint, and before morning be devoured by them. Late in the
evening they called a halt, for a moment stood closely huddled in the
road behind me, as if wondering what blood-clad ghost from some other
sphere could be treading this unfriendly soil. They were soon away, to
my glad surprise; and ere midnight the last echo of their wild yells
had died upon the distant hills to the north. I traveled nearly all
night. The cool night much relieved the pain in my head, but compelled
me to keep up beyond my strength, to prevent suffering from cold. I
have no remembrance of aught from about two to four o’clock of that
night, until about nine of the next day, save the wild, troublous
dreams that disturbed my sleep. I dreamed of Indians, of bloodshed, of
my sisters, that they were being put to death by slow tortures, that
I was with them, and my turn was coming soon. When I came to myself I
had hardly strength to move a muscle; it was a long time before I could
get up. I concluded I must perish, and meditated seriously the eating
of the flesh from my arm to satisfy my hunger and prevent starvation.
I knew I had not sufficient of life to last to Pimole at this rate,
and concluded it as well to lie there and die, as to put forth more of
painful effort.

“In the midst of these musings, too dreadful and full of horror to
be described, I roused and started. About noon I was passing through
a dark cañon, nearly overhung with dripping rocks; here I slaked my
thirst, and was about turning a short corner, when two red-shirted
Pimoles, mounted upon fine American horses, came in sight. They
straightened in their stirrups, drew their bows, with arrows pointed at
me. I raised my hand to my head and beckoned to them, and speaking in
Spanish, begged them not to shoot. Quick as thought, when I spoke they
dropped their bows, and rode up to me. I soon recognized one of them
as an Indian with whom I had been acquainted at Pimole Village. They
eyed me closely for a few minutes, when my acquaintance discovering
through my disfigured features who it was, that I was one of the family
that had gone on a little before, dismounted, laid hold of me, and
embraced me with every expression of pity and condolence that could
throb in an American heart. Taking me by the hand they asked me what
could have happened. I told them as well as I could, and of the fate of
the rest of the family. They took me one side under a tree, and laid
me upon their blankets. They then took from their saddle a piece of
their ash-baked bread, and a gourd of water. I ate the piece of bread,
and have often thought of the mercy it was they had no more, for I
might have easily killed myself by eating too much; my cravings were
uncontrollable. They hung up the gourd of water in reach, and charged
me to remain until they might return, promising to carry me to Pimole.
After sleeping a short time I awoke, and became fearful to trust myself
with these Pimoles. They had gone on to the scene of the massacre; it
was near night; I adjusted their blankets and laid them one side, and
commenced the night’s travel refreshed, and not a little cheered. But
I soon found my body racked with more pain, and oppressed with more
weariness than ever. I kept up all night, most of the time traveling.
It was the loneliest, most horror-struck night of my life. Glad was I
to mark the first streaks of the fourth morning. Never did twilight
shine so bright, or seem empowered to chase so much of darkness away.


“Cheered for a few moments, I hastened my steps, staggering as I went;
I found that I was compelled to rest oftener than usual, I plainly
saw I could not hold out much longer. My head was becoming inflamed
within and without, and in places on my scalp was putrid. About
mid-forenoon, after frequent attempts to proceed, I crawled under a
shrub and was soon asleep, I slept two or three hours undisturbed. ‘O
my God!’ were the words with which I woke, ‘could I get something to
eat, and some one to dress my wounds, I might yet live.’ I had now
a desire to sleep continually. I resisted this with all the power I
had. While thus musing I cast my eyes down upon a long winding valley
through which the road wandered, and plainly saw moving objects; I was
sure they were Indians, and at the thought my heart sank within me.
I meditated killing myself. For one hour I kept my aching eyes upon
the strange appearance, when, all at once, as they rose upon a slight
hill, I plainly recognized two white covered wagons. O what a moment
was that. Hope, joy, confidence, now for the first time seemed to mount
my soul, and hold glad empire over all my pains, doubts, and fears. In
the excitement I lost my consciousness, and waked not until disturbed
by some noise near me. I opened my eyes, and two covered wagons were
halting close to me, and Robert was approaching me. I knew him, but my
own appearance was so haggard and unnatural, it was some time before he
detected who that ‘strange-looking boy, covered with blood, hatless and
shoeless, could be, his visage scarred, and he pale as a ghost fresh
from Pandemonium.’ After looking for some time, slowly and cautiously
approaching, he broke out: ‘My God, Lorenzo! in the name of heaven,
what, Lorenzo, has happened?’ I felt my heart strangely swell in my
bosom, and I could scarcely believe my sight. ‘Can it be?’ I thought,
‘can it be that this is a familiar white face?’ I could not speak; my
heart could only pour out its emotions in the streaming tears that
flowed most freely over my face. When I recovered myself sufficiently,
I began to speak of the fate of the rest of the family. They could not
speak, some of them; those tender-hearted women wept most bitterly, and
sobbed aloud, begging me to desist, and hide the rest of the truth from

“They immediately chose the course of prudence, and resolved not to
venture with so small a company, where we had met such a doom. Mr.
Wilder prepared me some bread and milk, which, without any necessity
for a sharpening process, my appetite, for some reason, relished very
well. They traveled a few miles on the back track that night, and
camped. I received every attention and kindness that a true sympathy
could minister. We camped where a gurgling spring sent the clear cold
water to the surface; and here I refreshed myself with draughts of the
purest of beverages, cleansed my wounds, and bathed my aching head and
bruised body in one of nature’s own baths. The next day we were safe at
Pimole ere night came on. When the Indians learned what had happened,
they, with much vehemence, charged it upon the Yumas; but for this we
made allowance, as a deadly hostility burned between these tribes. Mr.
Kelly and Mr. Wilder resolved upon proceeding immediately to the place
of massacre, and burying the dead.

“Accordingly, early the next day, with two Mexicans and several
Pimoles, they started. They returned after an absence of three days,
and reported that they could find but little more than the bones of six
persons, and that they were able to find and distinguish the bodies of
all but those of Olive and Mary Ann. If they had found the bodies of my
sisters the news would have been less dreadful to me than the tidings
that they had been carried off by the Indians. But my suspicions were
now confirmed, and I could only see them as the victims of a barbarous
captivity. During their absence, and for some time after, I was
severely and dangerously ill, but with the kind attention and nursing
rendered me I began after a week to revive. We were now only waiting
the coming that way of some persons who might be westward bound, to
accompany them to California. When we had been there two weeks, six men
came into Pimole, who, on learning of our situation, kindly consented
to keep with us until we could reach Fort Yuma. The Kellys and Wilders
had some time before abandoned their notion of a year’s stay at Pimole.
We were soon again upon that road, with every step of which I now had
a painful familiarity. On the sixth day we reached that place, of all
others the most deeply memory-written. I have no power to describe, nor
can tongue or pen proclaim the feelings that heaved my sorrowing heart
as I reached the fatal spot. I could hear still the echo of those wild
shrieks and hellish whoops, reverberating along the mountain cliffs!
those groans, _those awful groans_, could it be my imagination, or did
they yet live in pleading echo among the numerous caverns on either
hand? Every footfall startled me, and seemed to be an intruder upon the
chambers of the dead!

“There were dark thoughts in my mind, and I felt that this was a
charnel-house that had plundered our household of its bloom, its
childhood, and its stay! I marked the precise spot where the work of
death commenced. My eyes would then gaze anxiously and long upon the
high, wild mountains, with their forests and peaks that now embosomed
all of my blood that were still alive! I traced the footprints of
their captors, and of those who had laid my parents beneath my feet.
I sighed to wrap myself in their death-robe, and with them sleep my
long, last sleep! But it was haunted ground, and to tarry there alive
was more dreadful than the thought of sharing their repose. I hastened
away. I pray God to save me in future from the dark thoughts that
gloomed my mind on turning my back upon that spot; and the reader from
experiencing kindred sorrow. With the exception of about eighteen
miles of desert, we had a comfortable week of travel to Fort Yuma. I
still suffered much, at times was seriously worse, so that my life was
despaired of; but more acute were my mental than my physical sufferings.

“At the Fort every possible kindness, with the best of medical skill,
ministered to my comfort and hastened my recovery. To Dr. Hewitt I owe,
and must forever owe, a debt of gratitude which I can never return. The
sense of obligations I still cherish finds but a poor expression in
words. He became a parent to me; and kindly extended his guardianship
and unabating kindness, when the force was moved to San Diego, and then
he took me to San Francisco, at a time when, but for his counsel and
his affectionate oversight, I might have been turned out to wreck upon
the cold world.

“Here we found that Doctor Lecount had done all in his power to get
up and hasten a party of men to our relief; but he was prevented by
the commander, a Mr. Heinsalman, who was guilty of an unexplainable,
if not an inexcusable delay--a delay that was an affliction to the
doctor, and a calamity to us. He seemed deaf to every appeal for us
in our distressed condition. His conduct, if we had been a pack of
hungry wolves, could not have exhibited more total recklessness. The
fact of our condition reached the Fort at almost as early an hour as
it would if the animals of the doctor had been retained, and there
were a number of humane men at the Fort who volunteered to rush to our
relief; but no permission could be obtained from the commander. If
he still lives, it is to know and remember, that by a prompt action
at that time, according to the behests and impulse of a principle of
‘humanity to man,’ he would have averted our dreadful doom. No language
can fathom such cruelty. He was placed there to protect the defenseless
of his countrymen; and to suffer an almost destitute family, struggling
amid dangers and difficulties, to perish for want of relief that he
knew he might have extended, rolls upon him a responsibility in the
inhuman tragedy that followed his neglect, that will haunt him through
eternity. There were men there who nobly stepped forward to assume the
danger and labor of the prayed-for relief, and around them clusters the
light of gratitude, the incense of the good; but he who neglects the
destitute, the hungry, the imperiled, proclaims his companionship with
misanthropists, and hews his own road to a prejudged disgrace. After
several days he reluctantly sent out two men, who hastened on toward
Pimole until they came to the place of the massacre, and finding what
had happened, and that the delay had been followed by such a brutal
murder of the family for whose safety and rescue they had burned to
encounter the perils of this desert way, sick at heart, and indignant
at this cruel, let-alone policy, they returned to the Fort; though not
until they had exhausted their scant supply of provisions in search of
the girls, of whose captivity they had learned. May Heaven bless these
benefactors, and pour softening influences upon their hard-hearted

The mind instinctively pauses, and, suspended between wonder and
horror, dwells with most intense interest upon a scene like the one
presented above. Look at the faint pointings to the reality, yet
the best that art can inscribe, furnished by the plate. Two timid
girls, one scarcely fourteen, the other a delicate, sweet-spirited
girl of not eight summers. Trembling with fear, swaying and reeling
under the wild storm of a catastrophe bursting upon them when they
had been lulled into the belief that their danger-thronged path
had been well-nigh passed, and the fury of which exceeded all that
the most excited imagination could have painted, these two girls,
eye-witnesses to a brutal, bloody affray which had smitten father,
mother, brothers, and sisters, robbing them in an instant of friends
and friendly protection, and cast themselves, they knew not where,
upon the perpetrators of all this butchery, whose tender mercies they
had only to expect would be cruelty itself. That brother, that oldest
brother, weltering in his blood, perfectly conscious of all that was
transpiring. The girls wishing that a kindred fate had ended their own
sufferings, and preserved them by a horrible death from a more horrible
after-part, placing them beyond the reach of savage arm and ferocity. O
what an hour was that! What a world of paralyzing agonies were pressed
into that one short hour! It was an “ocean in a tear, a whirlwind in a
sigh, an eternity in a moment.” Unoffending, innocent, yet their very
souls throbbing with woe they had never merited. See them but a little
before, wearied with the present, but happy in the prospect of a fast
approaching termination of their journey. A band of Indians, stalwart,
stout, and fierce-looking came into the camp, scantily clad, and what
covering they had borrowed from the wild beasts, as if to furnish an
appropriate badge of their savage nature and design. They cover their
weapons under their wolf-skins; they warily steal upon this unprotected
family, and by deceiving pretenses of friendship blunt their
apprehensions of danger, and make them oblivious of a gathering doom.
They smoke the pacific pipe, and call themselves Pimoles who are on
their way to Fort Yuma. Then secretly they concoct their hellish plot
in their own tongue, with naught but an involuntary glance of their
serpent eyes to flash or indicate the infernality of their treacherous
hearts. When every preparation is made by the family to proceed, no
defense studied or thought necessary, then these hideous man-animals
spring upon them with rough war-clubs and murder them in cold blood;
and, as if to strew their hellish way with the greatest possible amount
of anguish, they compel these two girls to witness all the barbarity
that broke upon the rest, and to read therein what horrors hung upon
their own future living death. O what depths and deeds of darkness and
crime are sometimes locked up in that heart where the harmonies of a
passion-restraining principle and reason have never been waked up! How
slender every foundation for any forecasting upon the character of its
doings, when trying emergences are left an appeal to its untamed and
unregulated propensities!

The work of plunder follows the work of slaughter. The dead bodies were
thrown about in the rudest manner, and pockets searched, boxes broken
and plundered, and soon as they are fully convinced that the work of
spoils-taking is completed, and they discover no signs of remaining
life (which they hunted for diligently) to awaken suspicions of
detection, they prepare with live spoils, human and brute, to depart.

“Soon after,” continues Olive, “we camped. A fire was struck by
means of flints and wild cotton, which they carried for the purpose.
The cattle were allowed to range upon the rock-feed, which abounded;
and even with this unnatural provision, they were secure against
being impelled by hunger far from camp, as they scarcely had strength
to move. Then came the solid dough, made of water and flour, baked
stone-hard in the hot ashes, and then soaked in bean-soup; then the
smoking of pipes by some, while others lounged lazily about the camp,
filled up the hour of our tarrying here. Food was offered me, but how
could I eat to prolong a life I now loathed. I felt neither sensations
of hunger nor a desire to live. Could I have done it, I should probably
have ended my life during moments of half-delirious, crushing anguish,
that some of the time rolled upon me with a force sufficient to divide
soul from body. But I was narrowly watched by those worse than fiends,
to whom every expression of my grief was occasion for merry-making.
I dwelt upon these awful realities, yet, at times, such I could not
think them to be, until my thoughts would become confused. Mangled as I
knew they were, I longed to go back and take one look, one long, last,
farewell look in the faces of my parents and those dear brothers. Could
I but go back and press the hands of those dear ones, though cold in
death, I would then consent to go on! There was Lucy, about seventeen
years of age, a dear girl of a sweet, mild spirit, never angry. She
had been a mother to me when our parents were absent or sick. She
had borne the peculiar burden falling upon the oldest of a family of
children, with evenness of temper and womanly fortitude. ‘Why,’ my
heart inquired, ‘should she be thus cut off and I left?’ Lorenzo I
supposed dead, for I saw him fall to the ground by the first blow that
was struck, and afterward saw them take from him hat and shoes, and
drag him to the brink of the hill by the feet. Supposing they would
dash him upon the rocks below, I turned away, unable to witness more!
Royse, a playful, gleeful boy, full of health and happiness, stood a
moment horror-struck as he witnessed the commencement of the carnage,
being furthest from the Indians. As they came up to him, he gave one
wild, piercing scream, and then sank to the earth under the club! I saw
him when the death-struggle drew his little frame into convulsions,
and then he seemed to swoon away; a low moan, a slight heaving of the
bosom, and he quietly sank into the arms of death. Little C. A. had not
as yet seen four summers; she was a cherub girl. She, with her little
brother, twenty months younger, had been saved the torments of fear
that had seized the rest of us from the time of the appearance of the
Indians. They were too young to catch the flashes of fear that played
upon the countenances of the elder children and their parents, and were
happily trustful when our father, with forced composure, bade us not
be afraid! The struggles of these two dear little ones were short. My
mother screamed, I turned, I saw her with her youngest child clasped in
her arms, and the blows of the war-club falling upon her and the child.
I sprang toward her, uttered a shriek, and found myself joining her in
calling most earnestly for help. But I had no sooner started toward
her than I was seized and thrown back by my overseer. I turned around,
found my head beginning to reel in dizziness, and fainting fell to the

“The reader can perhaps imagine the nature of my thoughts while
standing at that camp-fire, with my sister clinging to me in convulsive
sobs and groans. From fear of the Indians, whose frowns and threats,
mingled with hellish jests, were constantly glaring upon us, she
struggled to repress and prevent any outburst of the grief that seemed
to tear her little heart. And when her feelings became uncontrollable,
she would hide her head in my arms, and most piteously sob aloud, but
she was immediately hushed by the brandishing of a war-club over her


“While in this camp, awaiting the finished meal, and just after
twilight, the full moon arose and looked in upon our rock-girt gorge
with a majesty and sereneness that seemed to mock our changeful doom.
Indeed a more beautiful moonrise I never saw. The sky was clear, the
wind had hushed its roar, and laid by its fury; the larger and more
brilliant of the starry throng stood out clear above, despite the
superior light of the moon, which had blushed the lesser ones into
obscurity. As that moon mounted the cloudless east, yet tinged with
the last stray beauties of twilight, and sent its first mild glories
along the surrounding peaks, the scene of illumined heights, and
dark, cavernous, shade-clad hill-sides and gorges, was grand, and to
a mind unfettered with woe would have lent the inspiration of song. I
looked upon those gorges and vales, with their deeps of gloom, and
then upon the moon-kissed ridges that formed boundaries of light to
limit their shadows! I thought the former a fit exponent of my heart’s
realizations, and the whole an impressive illustration of the contrast
between my present and the recent past. That moon, ordinarily so
welcome, and that seemed supernaturally empowered to clothe the barren
heights with a richer than nature’s verdure robes, and so cheering to
us only a few evenings previous while winding our way over that dusty
road, had now suddenly put on a robe of sackcloth. All was still, save
the chattering of our captors, and the sharp, irregular howling of the
coyotes, who perform most of their odes in the night, and frequently
made it hideous from twilight to twilight again.

“O how much crowded into that short hour spent at the first camp after
leaving the scene of death and sleeping previous! Ignorant of the
purposes of our own preservation, we could only wait in breathless
anxiety the movements of our merciless lords. I then began to meditate
upon leaving those parents, brothers and sisters; I looked up and
saw the uncovered bows strung over the wagon, the cloth of which had
been torn off by the Indians. I knew that it designated the spot
where horror and affection lingered. I meditated upon the past, the
present, and the future. The moon, gradually ascending the sky, was
fast breaking in upon the deep-shade spots that at her first rising
had contended with ridges of light spread about them. _That_ moon had
witnessed the night before my childish but sincerest vow, that I would
never be taken alive by Indian savages, and was now laughing at the
frailty of the resolution and the abruptness with which the fears to
which it pointed had become reality! _That_ moon had smiled on many,
very many hours spent in lands far away in childish glee, romps and
sports prolonged, near the home-hearth and grass-plotted door-yard,
long after the cool evening breezes had fanned away the sultry air of
the day. The very intonations of the voices that had swelled and echoed
in those uncaring hours of glee came back to me now, to rehearse in
the ears of a present, insupportable sorrow, the music of past, but
happier days. This hour, _this moon-lit hour_, was one most dear and
exclusive to the gushing forth of the heart’s unrestrained overflowings
of happiness. Where are now those girls and boys? where now are those
who gathered about me, and over whose sun-tanned but ruddy cheeks had
stolen the unbidden tear at the hour of parting; or, with an artless
simplicity, the heart’s ‘good-by’ was repeated o’er and o’er again?
Is this moon now bearing the same unmingled smile to them as when it
looked upon our mutual evening promenadings? or has it put on the
somber hues that seem to tinge its wonted brightness to me, heralding
the color of our fate, and hinting of our sorrow? These, all these,
and many more kindred reflections found way to, and strung the heart’s
saddest notes. And as memory and present consciousness told me of
those days and evenings gone--gone never to be repeated--I became sick
of life, and resolved upon stopping its currents with my own hands;
and but for the yearning anxiety that bent over little Mary Ann, I
should have only waited the opportunity to have executed my desperate
purpose. The strolls to school, arm-in-arm with the now remembered,
but abandoned partners of the blissful past, on the summer morn; the
windings and wanderings upon the distinctly remembered strawberry
patches at sultry noon; the evening walks for the cows, when the
setting sun and the coming on of cloudless, stormless, cool evenings,
clothed all nature with unwonted loveliness; together with the sad
present, that furnished so unexpected and tormenting a contrast with
all before, would rush again upon me, bringing the breath of dark,
suicidal thoughts to fire up the _first hour of a camp among the

But these harrowing meditations are suddenly interrupted; cattle are
placed in order for traveling; five of the Indians are put in charge of
the girls, and welcome or unwelcome they must away they knew not where.

“We were started and kept upon a rapid pace for several hours. One of
the Indians takes the lead, Mary Ann and myself follow, bareheaded and
shoeless, the Indians having taken off our shoes and head covering.
We were traveling at a rate, as we soon learned, much beyond our
strength. Soon the light of the camp-fire was hid, and as my eye
turned, full of tears, in search of the sleeping-place of my kindred,
it could not be distinguished from the peaks and rocks about it.
Every slackening of our pace and utterance of grief, however, was the
signal for new threats, and the suspended war-club, with the fiendish
‘_Yokoa_’ in our ears, repressed all expression of sorrow, and pushed
us on up steeper ascents and bolder hills with a quickened step. We
must have traveled at the rate of four or five miles an hour. Our feet
were soon lacerated, as in shadowed places we were unable to pick our
way, and were frequently stumbling upon stones and rocks, which made
them bleed freely. Little Mary Ann soon became unable to proceed at
the rate we had been keeping, and sank down after a few miles, saying
she could not go. After threatening and beating her considerably,
and finding this treatment as well as my entreaties useless, they
threatened to dispatch and leave her, and showed by their movements
and gestures that they had fully come to this determination. At this I
knew not what to do; I only wished that if they should do this I might
be left with her. She seemed to have become utterly fearless of death,
and said she had rather die than live. These inhuman wretches sought by
every possible rudeness and abuse to rouse her fears and compel her on;
but all in vain. I resolved, in the event of her being left, to cling
to her, and thus compel them to dispose of us as they had the remainder
of the family, and leave us upon a neighboring hill. My fears were that
I could not succeed in my desperate purpose, and I fully believed they
would kill her, and probably compel me on with them. This fear induced
me to use every possible plea that I could make known to them to
preserve her life; besides, at every step a faint hope of release shone
upon my heart; that hope had a power to comfort and keep me up. While
thus halting, one of the stout Indians dislodged his pack, and putting
it upon the shoulders of another Indian, rudely threw Mary Ann across
his back, and with vengeance in his eye bounded on.

“Sometimes I meditated the desperate resolution to utterly refuse to
proceed, but was held back alone by my yearning for that helpless
sister. Again, I found my strength failing, and that unless a rest
could be soon granted I _must_ yield to faintness and weariness, and
bide the consequences; thus I passed the dreadful hours up to midnight.
The moanings and sobbings of Mary Ann had now ceased; not knowing but
she was dead, I managed to look in her face, and found her eyes opening
and shutting alternately, as if in an effort to wake, but still unable
to sleep; I spoke to her but received no answer. We could not converse
without exciting the fiendish rage of our enemies. Mary Ann seemed to
have become utterly indifferent to all about her; and, wrapped in a
dreamy reverie, relieved of all care of life or death, presenting the
appearance of one who had simply the consciousness that some strange,
unaccountable event had happened, and in its bewildering effects she
was content to remain. Our way had been mostly over a succession of
small bluff points of high mountain chains, these letting down to a
rough winding valley, running principally northeast. These small rock
hills that formed the bottom of the high cliffs on either side, were
rough, with no perceptible trail. We halted for a few moments about
the middle of the night; besides this we had no rest until about noon
of the next day, when we came to an open place of a few acres of
level, sandy soil, adorned with an occasional thrifty, beautiful tree,
but high and seemingly impassable mountains hemming us in on every
side. This appeared to be to our captors a familiar retreat. Almost
exhausted, and suffering extremely, I dragged myself up to the place
of halt, hoping that we had completed the travel of that day. We had
tarried about two hours when the rest of the band, who had taken the
stock in another direction, came up. They had with them two oxen and
the horse. The rest of the stock, we afterward learned, had been killed
and hung up to dry, awaiting the roving of this plundering band when
another expedition should lead them that way. Here they immediately
proceeded to kill the other two. This being done they sliced them
up, and closely packed the parcels in equalized packages for their
backs. They then broiled some of the meat on the fire, and prepared
another meal of this and burned dough and bean soup. They offered us
of their fare and we ate with a good appetite. Never did the tender,
well-prepared veal steak at home relish better than the tough, stringy
piece of meat about the size of the hand, given us by our captors, and
which with burned dough and a little bean soup constituted our meal.
We were very sleepy, but such was my pain and suffering I could not
sleep. They endeavored now to compel Mary Ann again to go on foot; but
this she could not do, and after beating her again, all of which she
took without a murmur, one of them again took her upon his shoulder and
we started. I had not gone far before I found it impossible to proceed
on account of the soreness of my feet. They then gave me something
very much of the substance of sole-leather which they tied upon the
bottom of my feet. This was a relief, and though suffering much from
thirst and the pain of over-exertion, I was enabled to keep up with the
heavy-laden Indians. We halted in a snug, dark ravine about ten o’clock
that night, and preparations were at once made for a night’s stay. My
present suffering had now made me almost callous as to the past, and
never did rest seem so sweet as when I saw they were about to encamp.

“During the last six hours they had whipped Mary Ann into walking.
We were now shown a soft place in the sand, and directed to it as the
place of our rest; and with two of our own blankets thrown over us, and
three savages encircling us, (for protection of course!) were soon,
despite our physical sufferings, in a dreamy and troubled sleep. The
most frightful scenes of butchery and suffering followed into every
moment’s slumber. We were not roused until a full twilight had shone in
upon our beautiful little ravine retreat. The breakfast was served up,
consisting of beef, burned dough, and beans, instead of beans, burned
dough, and beef, as usual. The sun was now fairly upon us when, like
cattle, we were driven forth to another day’s travel. The roughest
road (if road be a proper term) over which I ever passed, in all my
captivity, was that day’s route. Twice during the day, I gave up, and
told Mary I must consent to be murdered and left, for proceed I would
not. But this they were not inclined to allow. When I could not be
driven, I was pushed and hauled along. Stubs, rocks, and gravel-strewn
mountain sides hedged up and embittered the travel of the whole day.
_That day_ is among the few days of my dreary stay among the savages,
marked by the most pain and suffering ever endured. I have since
learned that they hurried for fear of the whites, emigrant trains of
whom were not unfrequently passing that way. For protection they kept a
close watch, having not less than three guards or sentinels stationed
at a little distance from each camp we made during the entire night. I
have since thought much upon the fear manifested by these reputed brave
barbarians. They indeed seem to be borne down with the most tormenting
fear for their personal safety at all times, at home, or roaming for
plunder or hunt. And yet courage is made a virtue among them, while
cowardice is the unpardonable sin. When compelled to meet death, they
seem to muster a sullen obstinate defiance of their doom, that makes
the most of a dreaded necessity, rather than seek a preparation to meet
it with a submission which they often dissemble but never possess.

“About noon we were suddenly surprised by coming upon a band of
Indians, eleven in number. They emerged from behind a rock point that
set out into a low, dark ravine, through which we were passing, and
every one of them was armed with bows and arrows. When they came up
they were jabbering and gesturing in the most excited manner, with
eyes fastened upon me. While some of them were earnestly conversing
with members of our band, two of them stealthily crept around us, and
one of them by his gestures and excited talk, plainly showed hostile
intentions toward us, which our captors watched with a close eye.
Suddenly one of them strung his bow, and let fly an arrow at me, which
pierced my dress, doing me no harm.


“He was in the act, as also the other, of hurling the second, when two
of our number sprang toward them with their clubs, while two others
snatched us one side, placing themselves between us and the drawn
bows. By this time a strong Apache had the Indian by a firm grasp, and
compelled him to desist. It was with difficulty they could be shaken
off, or their murderous purpose prevented. At one time there was likely
to be a general fight with this band (as I afterward learned them to
be) of land pirates.

“The reason, as I afterward came to know, of the conduct of this
Indian, was that he had lost a brother in an affray with the whites
upon this same Santa Fé route, and he had sworn not to allow the
first opportunity to escape without avenging his brother’s blood by
taking the life of an American. Had their number been larger a serious
engagement would have taken place, and my life have probably been
sacrificed to this fiend’s revenge. During the skirmish of words that
preceded and for some time followed this attempt upon my life, I felt
but little anxiety, for there was little reason to hope but that we
must both perish at the best, and to me it mattered little how soon.
Friends we had none; succor, or sympathy, or help, we had no reason
to think could follow us into this wild, unknown region; and the only
question was whether we should be murdered inch by inch, or find a
sudden though savage termination to our dreadful condition, and sleep
at once quietly beyond the reach or brutality of these fiends in
death’s embrace. Indeed death seemed the only release proffered from
any source. If I had before known that the arrow would lodge in life’s
vitals, I doubt whether it would have awakened a nerve or moved a

“We traveled until about midnight, when our captors called a halt,
and gave us to understand we might sleep for the remainder of the
night. But, jaded as we were, and enduring as we were all manner of
pain, these were not more in the way of sleep than the wild current
of our anxious thoughts and meditations, which we found it impossible
to arrest or to leave with the dead bodies of our dear kindred. There
was scarcely a moment when the mind’s consent could be gained for
sleep. Well do I remember to have spent the larger proportion of that
half of a night in gazing upon the stars, counting those directly
over head, calling the names I had been taught to give to certain of
the planets, pointing out to my sister the old dipper, and seeking to
arrest and relieve her sadness by referring to the views we had taken
of these from the old grass-clad door-yard in front of our humble
cottage in Illinois. We spoke of the probability that these might
now be the objects of attention and sight to eyes far away; to eyes
familiar, the gleam of whose kindly radiance had so oft met ours,
and with the strength of whose vision we had so delightfully tried
our own in thus star-gazing. These scenes of a past yet unfinished
childhood came rushing upon the mind, bidding it away over the distance
that now separated them and their present occupants from us, and to
think mournfully of the still wider variance that separated their
allotment from ours. Strange as it may appear, scenes and woes like
those pressing upon us had a power to bind all sensitiveness about our
fate. Indeed, indifference is the last retreat of desperation. The
recklessness observed in the Indians, their habits of subsistence,
and all their manner and bearing toward their captives, could lead
them only to expect that by starvation or assassination they must soon
become the victims of a brutal fate.

“On the third day we came suddenly in sight of a cluster of low,
thatched huts, each having an opening near the ground leading into

It was soon visible from the flashing eyes and animated countenances of
the Indians, that they were nearing some place of attraction, and to
which anxious and interesting desire had been pointing. To two young
girls, having traveled on foot two hundred miles in three days; with
swollen feet and limbs, lame, exhausted, not yet four days remove from
the loss of parents, brothers, and sisters, and torn from them, too,
in the most brutal manner; away in the deeps of forests and mountains,
upon the desolation of which the glad light or sound of civilization
never yet broke; with no guides or protectors, rudely, inhumanly driven
by untutored, untamed savages, the sight of the dwelling-places of man,
however coarse or unseemly, was no very unwelcome scene. With all the
dread possibilities, therefore, that might await them at any moment,
nevertheless to get even into an Indian camp was home.


“We were soon ushered into camp, amid shouts and song, wild dancing,
and the crudest, most irregular music that ever ranter sung, or
delighted the ear of an unrestrained superstition. They lifted us on
the top of a pile of brush and bark, then formed a circle about us
of men, women, and children of all ages and sizes, some naked, some
dressed in blankets, some in skins, some in bark. Music then commenced,
which consisted of pounding upon stones with clubs and horn, and the
drawing of a small string like a fiddle-bow across distended bark. They
ran, and jumped, and danced in the wildest and most furious manner
about us, but keeping a regular circle. Each, on coming to a certain
point in the circle, marked by a removed piece of turf in the ground,
would bend himself or herself nearly to the ground, uttering at the
same time a most frightful yell, and making a violent gesticulation
and stamping. Frequently on coming near us, as they would do in
each evolution, they would spit in our face, throw dirt upon us,
or slightly strike us with their hand, managing, by every possible
means, to give us an early and thorough impression of their barbarity,
cruelty, and obscenity. The little boys and girls, especially, would
make the older ones merry by thus taunting us. It seemed during all
this wild and disgusting performance, that their main ambition was to
exhibit their superiority over us, and the low, earnest, intense hate
they bore toward our race. And this they most effectually succeeded
in accomplishing, together with a disgusting view of the obscenity,
vulgarity, and grossness of their hearts, and the mean, despicable,
revengeful dispositions that burn with hellish fury within their
untamed bosoms.

“We soon saw that these bravadoes had made themselves great men at
home. They had made themselves a name by the exploits of the past
week. They had wantonly set upon a laboring family of nine persons,
unprotected, and worn to fatigue by the toils of a long journey,
without any mode of defense, and had inhumanly slaughtered seven
of them, taken two inoffensive girls into a barbarous captivity,
and drove them two hundred miles in three days without that mercy
which civilization awards to the brute; taken a few sacks of smoked,
soot-covered cow-meat, a few beans, a little clothing, and one horse!
By their account, and we afterward ascertained that they have a mode of
calculating distances with wonderful accuracy, we had come indeed over
two hundred and fifty miles, inside of eighty hours.

“This may seem incredible to the reader, but the rate at which we
were hurried on, the little rest that was granted, and subsequent
knowledge gained of their traveling rate, confirms the assertion made
by themselves as to the distance.

“We found the tribe to consist of about three hundred, living in all
the extremes of filth and degradation that the most abandoned humanity
ever fathomed. Little had the inexperience and totally different habits
of life, from which these reflections are made, of the knowledge or
judgment to imagine or picture the low grossness to which unrestrained,
uneducated passions can sink the human heart and life. Their mode of
dress, (but little dress they had!) was needlessly and shockingly
indecent, when the material of which their scanty clothing consists
would, by an industrious habit and hand, have clothed them to the
dictates of comfort and modesty.

“They subsisted principally upon deer, quail, and rabbit, with an
occasional mixture of roots from the ground. And even this dealt out
with the most sparing and parsimonious hand, and in quantity only up
to a stern necessity; and this, not because of poverty in the supply,
but to feed and gratify a laziness that would not gather or hunt it.

“It was only when the insatiable and half-starved appetite of the
members was satisfied, when unusual abundance chanced to come in,
that their captives could be allowed a morsel; and then their chance
was that of the dogs, with whom they might share the crumbs. Their
meat was boiled with water in a ‘Tusquin,’ (clay kettle,) and this
meat-mush or soup was the staple of food among them, and of this they
were frequently short, and obliged to quiet themselves with meted out
allowance; to their captives it was always thus meted out. At times
game in the immediate vicinity was scarce, and their indolence would
not let them go forth to the chase upon the mountains and in the
valleys a little distance, where they acknowledged it plenty, only
in cases of impending starvation. During the time of captivity among
them, very frequently were whole days spent without a morsel, and then
when the hunter returned with game, he was surrounded with crowds
hungry as a pack of wolves to devour it, and the bits and leavings
were tauntingly thrown to ‘Onatas,’ saying, ‘You have been fed too
well; we will teach you to live on little.’ Besides all this, they
were disbelievers in the propriety of treating female youth to meat,
or of allowing it to become their article of subsistence; which,
considering their main reliance as a tribe upon game, was equal to
dooming their females to starvation. And this result of their theory
became a mournful and constantly recurring fact. According to their
physiology the female, especially the young female, should be allowed
meat only when necessary to prevent starvation. Their own female
children frequently died, and those alive, old and young, were sickly
and dwarfish generally.

“Several times were their late captives brought near a horrid death ere
they could be persuaded to so waive their superstitious notions as to
give them a saving crumb.

“These Apaches were without any settled habits of industry. They tilled
not. It was a marvel to see how little was required to keep them alive;
yet they were capable of the greatest endurance when occasion taxed
their strength. They ate worms, grasshoppers, reptiles, _all flesh_,
and were, perhaps, living exhibitions of a certain theory by which
the nature of the animal eaten leaves its imprint upon the man or
human being who devours it. For whole days, when scarcely a morsel for
another meal was in the camp, would those stout, robust, lazy lumps
of a degraded humanity lounge in the sun or by the gurgling spring;
at noon in the shade or on the shelves of the mountains surrounding,
utterly reckless of their situation, or of the doom their idleness
might bring upon the whole tribe. Their women were the laborers and
principal burden-bearers, and during all our captivity,” says Olive,
“it was our lot to serve under these enslaved women, with a severity
more intolerable than that to which they were subjected by their
merciless lords. They invented modes, and seemed to create necessities
of labor, that they might gratify themselves by taxing us to the
utmost, and even took unwarranted delight in whipping us on beyond our
strength. And all their requests and exactions were couched in the most
insulting and taunting language and manner, as it then seemed, and as
they had the frankness soon to confess, to fume their hate against the
race to whom we belonged.

“Often under the frown and lash were we compelled to labor for whole
days upon an allowance amply sufficient to starve a common dandy
civilized idler, and those days of toil wrung out at the instance of
children younger than ourselves, who were set as our task-masters.
They knew nothing of cultivating the soil. After we had learned their
language enough to talk with them, we ventured to speak to them of the
way by which we had lived, of the tilling of the ground.

“They had soil that might have produced, but most of them had an
abhorrence of all that might be said of the superior blessings
of industry and the American civilization. Yet there were those,
especially among the females and the younger members of the tribe, who
asked frequent questions, and with eagerness, of our mode of life.
For some time after coming among them, Mary Ann was very ill. The
fatigue, the cruelties of the journey, nearly cost her her life; yet
in all her weakness, sickness, and pinings, they treated her with all
the heartlessness of a dog. She would often say to me: ‘Olive, I must
starve unless I can get something more to eat;’ yet it was only when
she was utterly disabled that they would allow her a respite from some
daily menial service. We have often taken the time which was given
to gather roots for our lazy captors, to gather and eat ourselves;
and had it not been for supplies obtained by such means, we must have
perished. But the physical sufferings of this state were light when
compared with the fear and anguish of mind; the bitter fate upon us,
the dismal remembrances that harassed us, the knowledge of a bright
past and a dark future by which we were compassed, these, all these
belabored every waking moment, and crowded the wonted hours of sleep
with terrible forebodings of a worse fate still ahead. Each day seemed
to be allotted its own peculiar woes; some circumstance, some new event
would arise, touching and enkindling its own class of bitter emotions.
We were compelled to heed every whimper and cry of their little urchins
with promptness, and fully, under no less penalty than a severe
beating, and that in the most severe manner. These every-day usages
and occurrences would awaken thorny reflections upon our changed and
prison life. There was no beauty, no loveliness, no attractions in the
country possessed by these unlovely creatures to make it pleasant, if
there had been the blotting out of all the dreadful realities that
had marked our way to it, or the absence of the cruelties that made
our stay a living death. Often has my little sister come to me with
a heart surcharged with grief, and the big tears standing in her
eye, or perhaps sobbing most convulsively over the maltreatment and
chastisement that had met her good intentions, for she ever tried to
please them, and most piteously would she say: ‘How long, O how long,
dear Olive, must we stay here; can we never get away? do you not think
they intend to kill us? O! they are so ugly and savage!’ Sometimes I
would tell her that I saw but little chance for escape; that we had
better be good and ready for any fate, and try to wait in submission
for our lot.

“She would dry her eyes, wipe the tears away, and not seldom have I
known her to return with a look of pensive thoughtfulness, and that
eye, bright and glistening with the light of a new-born thought, as
she would say: ‘I know what we can do; we can ask God. He can deliver
us, or give us grace to bear our troubles.’ It was our custom to go by
ourselves and commit ourselves to God in faithful prayer every day; and
this we would do after we laid our weary frames upon our sand bed to
rest, if no other opportunity offered. This custom had been inculcated
in us by a fond and devoted mother, and well now did we remember with
what affection she assured us that we would find it a comfort and
support to thus carry our trials and troubles to our heavenly Father
in after years; though little did she realize the exceedingly bitter
grief that would make these lessons of piety so sweet to our hearts.
Too sadly did they prove true. Often were the times when we were sent
some distance to bring water and wood for the comfort of lazy men,
selected for the grateful observance of this only joyful employment
that occupied any of those dark days.

“Seldom during our stay here were we cheered with any knowledge or
circumstance that bid us hope for our escape. Hours were spent by us
in talking of trying the experiment. Mary often would say: ‘I can find
the way out, and I can go the whole distance as quick as they.’ Several
times, after cruel treatment, or the passing of danger from starvation,
have we made the resolution, and set the time for executing it, but
were not bold enough to undertake it. Yet we were not without _all_ or
_any_ hope. A word dropped by our captors concerning their occasional
trips, made by small bands of them to some region of the whites, some
knowledge we would accidentally gain of our latitude and locality,
would animate our breasts with the hope of a future relief, breaking
like a small ray of light from some distant luminous object upon the
eye of our faith. But it was only when our minds dwelt upon the power
of the Highest, on an overruling Providence, that we could feel that
there was any possibility of an extrication from our uncheered prison

“After we had been among these Apaches several months, their conduct
toward us somewhat changed. They became more lenient and merciful,
especially to my sister. She always met their abuse with a mild,
patient spirit and deportment, and with an intrepidity and fortitude
beyond what might have been expected from her age. This spirit,
which she always bore, I could plainly see was working its effect
upon some of them; so that, especially on the part of those females
connected in some way with the household of the chief, and who had
the principal control of us, we could plainly see more forbearance,
kindness, and interest exhibited toward their captives. This, slight
as was the change, was a great relief to my mind, and comfort to Mary
Ann. We had learned their language so as to hold converse with them
quite understandingly, after a few months among them. They were much
disposed at times to draw us into conversation; they asked our ages,
inquired after our former place of living, and when we told them of
the distance we had come to reach our home among them, they greatly
marveled. They would gather about us frequently in large numbers, and
ply their curious questions with eagerness and seeming interest,
asking how many of the white folks there were; how far the big ocean
extended; and on being told of the two main oceans, they asked if the
whites possessed the other big world on the east of the Atlantic; if
there were any Indians there; particularly they would question us as
to the number of the ‘Americanos,’ (this term they obtained among the
Mexicans, and it was the one by which they invariably designated our
people.) When we told them of the number of the whites, and of their
rapid increase, they were apparently incredulous, and some of them
would become angry, and accuse us of lying, and wishing to make them
believe a lie. They wanted to know how women were treated, and if a
man was allowed more than one wife; inquired particularly how and by
what means a subsistence was gained by us. In this latter question
we could discern an interest that did not inspire any of their other
queries. Bad as they are, they are very curious to know the secret of
the success and increase of the whites. We tried to tell them of the
knowledge the whites possessed, of the well-founded belief they had
that the stars above us were peopled by human beings, and of the fact
that the distance to these far-off worlds had been measured by the
whites. They wished to know if any of us had been there; this they
asked in a taunting manner, exhibiting in irony and sarcasm their
incredulity as to the statement, over which they made much sport and
ridicule. They said if the stars were inhabited, the people would
drop out, and hence they knew that this was a lie. I found the months
and years in which I had been kept in school, not altogether useless
in answering their questions. I told them that the earth turned round
every twenty-four hours, and also of its traveling about the sun every
year. Upon this they said we were just like all the Americanos, big
liars, and seemed to think that our parents had begun young with us to
learn us so perfectly the art of falsehood so early. But still we could
see, through all their accusations of falsehood, by their astonishment,
and discussion, and arguments upon the matter of our conversation,
they were not wholly unbelieving. They would tell us, however, that an
‘evil spirit’ reigned among the whites, and that he was leading them
on to destruction. They seemed sincere in their belief that there were
scarcely any of the whites that could be trusted, but that they had
evil assistance, which made them great and powerful. As to any system
of religion or morality, they seemed to be beneath it. But we found,
though the daily tasks upon us were not abated, yet our condition
was greatly mollified; and we had become objects of their growing
curiosity, mere playthings, over which they could make merry.

“They are much given to humor and fun, but it generally descends to
low obscenity and meanness. They had great contempt for one that would
complain under torture or suffering, even though of their own tribe,
and said a person that could not uncomplainingly endure suffering was
not fit to live. They asked us if we wanted to get away, and tried by
every stratagem to extort from us our feelings as to our captivity; but
we were not long in learning that any expression of discontent was the
signal for new toils, and tasks, and grievances. We made the resolution
between us to avoid any expression of discontent, which, at times, it
cost us no small effort to keep.

“We learned that this tribe was a detached parcel of the old and
more numerous tribe bearing their name, and whose locality was in
the regions of New-Mexico. They had become in years gone, impatient
of the restraint put upon them by the Catholic missionaries, and had
resolved upon emancipation from their control, and had accordingly
sought a home in the wild fastnesses of these northern mountains. The
old tribe had since given them the name of the ‘Touto Apaches,’ an
appellation signifying their unruliness, as well as their roving and
piratical habits. They said that the old tribe was much more wicked
than themselves, and that they would be destroyed by the whites.”

Beyond the manuscript touching the geography and appearance of the
country where the scenes of this book were laid, and which was prepared
for previous editions, there is considerable concerning the peculiar
superstitions and crude beliefs of these Indians, as well as upon
histories treasured up by them touching their tribes and individual
members of them, which we believe would be read with interest, but
scarcely a tithe of which can we give without swelling this book beyond
all due bounds. Of these histories it is not to be supposed that more
than mere scraps could have been gleaned by Olive, when we remember her
age, and that all that is remembered is from mere verbal recital.

The Indians would congregate on evenings set apart, when one of their
number, most in years and of prominent position, would entertain
the company with a narration, frequently long and tedious, of the
adventures of his youthful days. On one of these occasions an old
Indian spoke as follows: “I am the son of an Indian who was chief of
the Camanche tribe. I had heard often of the white people. I longed to
see one. I was told by my father one day that I might, with some of
the warriors of the tribe, go on a hunt to the north, and also that we
would probably find some white people; if so, that we must kill them,
and bring in their scalps with any white captive girls if we could find
them. We had so many (counting his fingers up to three) bows and so
many (forty-eight) arrows each.

“The most of my desire was to see and kill a white man, and take some
captives. We traveled a very long way. We passed through several tribes
of Indians. We found, according to the accounts of some Indians away
to the north, that there were white people near them, but that we must
not touch them; that they were friendly and traded with themselves;
that some of their squaws were married to them; that they (the whites)
came from the great _Auhah_ (sea) to the setting sun. One day, about
dark, we came in view of an object that we thought at first to be
a bear. We soon found it was a man. We waited and skulked for some
time to find out, if possible, whether it was a man, and how many
of them there were. We stayed all night in this condition, and it
was very cold. Just before fair day, we moved slowly round the place
where we had seen the object. As we thought we had got past it and
not espied anything, we concluded to go on, when we were suddenly met
by a huge-looking thing with a covering (skin) such as we had never
before seen. We were surprised and did not know what to do. It was
partly behind a rock, and we were too much scared to draw our bows.
After a word together, (there were four of us,) we concluded to run.
So we started. We had not gone far when an Indian jumped out after us,
threw an _umsupieque_ (white blanket) from his head, and called to us
to stop. We had never seen this umsupieque before. We were very much
ashamed. We thought at first, and when we ran, that some of our friends
had been killed and had come (or their ghosts) to meet us. The Indian,
a Chimowanan, came up to us, and began to laugh at our bravery! We were
much ashamed, but we could not help it now. We left the Indian, after
making him promise that he would not tell of us.

“When we had traveled one day, with no game or anything to eat, we came
to a small house built of wood. We thought it the house of a white man.
We skulked in the bushes, and thought we would watch it until they
should come out, or, if away, come home. We waited one day and two
nights, eating nothing but a few roots. We saw no one, so we set fire
to the house and went on. We were more afraid of the Indians than the
whites, for they had said they would kill us if we touched the whites.
A few days after this we saw another house; we watched that a long
time, then burned it, and started for home. This is all we did. When we
came home our tribe turned out to see us, and hear of our war-hunt. We
had but little to say.

“The next year, the Indian who had scared us with the white blanket,
came among us. I saw him, and made him promise not to tell my father
what a coward I had shown myself when I met him; but I soon found
that all the tribe knew all about it. When the tribe were gathered
together one day for a dance, they laughed at me and about me for my
running from the Indian. I found that the Indian had told some of the
tribe, and they had told my father. My father joined with the rest
in making fun of me for it. I blamed him, and felt mad enough to kill
him. He found it out, so, just before we separated, he called them
all together, and told them that he had displeased his son by what he
had said of me, and now he wanted to make it all right. He said, just
before he sat down, that if ever they should be attacked, he should
feel that they were safe, that he knew his son and those who went north
to kill white people would be safe, for they had shown themselves good
at running. This maddened me more than ever, and up to this day I have
not heard the last of my running from the Indian. I am now old, my head
is nearly bald, the hairs that have fallen from my head have grown up
to be some of these I now see about me. I shall soon go to yonder hill.
I want you to burn my bow and arrow with my body, so that I can hunt up

“The ‘Toutos’ had, however, for a long time occupied their present
position, and almost the only tribe with whom they had any intercourse
was the Mohaves, (Mo-ha-vays,) a tribe numbering about twelve hundred,
and located three hundred miles to the northwest.

“There were many, however, who had come from other and different
tribes. Some from the north, some from the south and southwest. Hence
there was a marked distinction among their features and appearance.
It seemed from what we could learn that this Touton tribe, or
secession fragment, had from their villainous propensities fled to
this hiding-place, and since their separation been joined by scattered
members and stray families from other tribes, persons whom Touton bands
had fallen in with during their depredating trips abroad, and who from
community of feeling and life had thus amalgamated together.

“For a few years constant traffic had been kept up between the Mohaves
and Toutons. The Mohaves made an expedition once a year, sometimes
oftener, to the Apaches, in small companies, bringing with them
vegetables, grain, and the various products of their soil, which
they would exchange with the Apaches for fur, skins of animals, and
all of the few articles that their different mode of life furnished.
During the autumn of 1851, late in the season, quite a large company
of Mohaves came among us on a trading expedition. But the whole
transactions of one of these expeditions did not comprise the amount of
wealth or business of one hour’s ordinary shopping of a country girl.
This was the first acquaintance we had with those superior Indians.
During their stay we had some faint hints that it was meditated to
sell us to the Mohaves in exchange for vegetables, which they no doubt
regarded as more useful for immediate consumption than their captives.
But still it was only a hint that had been given us, and the curiosity
and anxiety it created soon vanished, and we sank again into the
daily drudging routine of our dark prison life. Months rolled by,
finding us early and late at our burden-bearing and torturing labors,
plying hands and feet to heed the demands of our lazy lords, and the
taunts and exactions of a swarm of heathen urchins, sometimes set over
us. But since the coming of these Mohaves a new question had been
presented, and a new source of anxious solicitude had been opened.
Hours at a time were spent apart, dwelling upon and conversing about
the possibilities and probabilities, with all the gravity of men in the
council of state, of our being sold to another tribe, and what might be
its effects upon us. At times it was considered as the possible means
by which an utter and hopeless bondage might be sealed upon us for
life. It was seen plainly that the love of traffic predominated among
these barbarous hordes; that the lives of their captives would be but
a small weight in the balance, if they interfered with their lust of
war or conquest, if gain without toil might be gratified. It was feared
that the deep-seated hostility which they bore to the white race, the
contempt which they manifested to their captives, united with the fear
(which their conduct had more than once exhibited) that they might be
left without that constant, vigilant oversight that was so great a tax
upon their indolence to maintain over them, that they might return to
their own people and tell the tale of their sufferings and captivity,
and thus bring down upon them the vengeance of the whites; that all
these causes might induce them to sell their captives to the most
inaccessible tribe, and thus consign them to a captivity upon which the
light of hope or the prospect of escape could not shine.”

On a little mound, a short distance from the clustered, smoking
wigwams, constituting the Apache village, on a pleasant day, see these
two captive girls, their root baskets laid aside, and side by side upon
the ground, sitting down to a few moments’ conversation. They talk of
the year that has now nearly closed, the first of their captivity, the
bitterness that had mingled in the cup of its allotment, of their dead,
who had now slept one year of their last sleep, and with much concern
they are now querying about what might be the intentions of the Mohaves
in their daily expected coming again so soon among the Apaches.

Mary Ann says: “I believe they will sell us; I overheard one of the
chiefs say something the other day in his wigwam, about our going among
the Mohaves, and it was with some words about their expected return. I
do not know, but from what I saw of them I think they know more, and
live better than these miserable Apaches.”

Olive. “But may be they put on the best side when here, they might
treat us worse than the Apaches.”

M. A. “O, that will be impossible without they kill us, and if we
cannot escape, the sooner we die the better. I wish, Olive, you would
agree to it, and we will start to-night and try to make our escape.”

O. “But where shall we go? We know not the way we came, much of it was
traveled in the night, besides this, these Indians have their trails
well known to them, leading through all these mountains, and we could
not get upon one where they would not be sure to head us, and you know
they say they have spies continually out to let the tribe know when any
of their enemies come into the vicinity of their village.”

M. A. “Well, Olive, how often have you told me that were it not for a
very faint hope you have of getting away, and your concern for me, you
would rather die than live. And you know we both think they intend to
sell us, and if they sell us to these Mohaves we will have to travel
three hundred miles, and I can never live through it. I have a severe
cough now, and almost every night I take more cold. Ma always said ‘her
Mary Ann would die with consumption,’ but she did not think, I guess,
of such a consumption as this.”

“Poor girl,” thought Olive, half aloud, “how her eyes glisten, how her
cheeks every day become more spare and pale, and her black, flashing
eye is sinking into her head.” Olive turned her head carelessly, wiped
the tear from her eye, and looking again in the upturned face of her
sister, said: “Why, Mary, if you are afraid that you would perish in
traveling to the Mohave country, how could you stand the roving day and
night among the hills, and we should be obliged, you know, to travel
away from the trail for a week, perhaps a month, living on roots?”

M. A. “As for roots, they are about all we get now, and I had rather
live on them in trying to get away than in staying here, or being
driven like oxen again three hundred miles.”

By this time the little pale face of her sister kindled with such an
enthusiasm that Olive could hardly avoid expressing the effect it had
upon her own mind. Mary was about to continue when her sister, seeing
an Indian near them, bade her hush, and they were about to renew their
work when Mary said: “Look! who are those? they are Indians, they are
those very Mohaves! See! they have a horse, and there is a squaw among


The Indian, who was approaching them, had by this time caught a view
of them, and was running to camp to spread the news. “I had,” says the
older, “now no doubt that the approaching company were Mohaves, and
I was half inclined to improve the excitement and carelessness that
would prevail for a while after their coming among us, to slip away,
taking good care to make sure of a piece of meat, a few roots, and
something to kill myself with if I should find myself about falling
into the hands of pursuers. But in more sober moments we thought it
well that this fear of being again caught, and of torture they would
be sure to inflict, if we should be unsuccessful, kept us from such
a desperate step. The Mohave party are now descending a slope to the
Apache village, and roaring, yelling, and dancing prevail through
the gathering crowd of Apaches. The party consisted of five men, and
a young woman under twenty years. It was not long ere two of the
chiefs came to us, and told us that these Mohaves had come after us,
according to a contract made with them at a previous visit; that the
party had been back to obtain the sanction of Espaniole, the Mohave
chief, to the contract, and that now the chief had sent his own
daughter to witness to his desire to purchase the white captives. The
chief had, however, left it with his daughter to approve or annul the
contract that had been made.”

This daughter of the chief was a beautiful, mild, and sympathizing
woman. Her conduct and behavior toward these Apache captives bespoke
a tutoring, and intelligence, and sweetness of disposition that won
their interest at once. She could use the Apache language with fluency,
and was thus enabled to talk with the captives for whom she had come.
She told her designs to them, and had soon settled it in her mind to
approve the contract previously made.

During that evening there was much disquiet and misrule throughout
the village. The agitated and interested captives, though having
been informed that all the negotiations had been completed for their
transfer, were much perplexed to learn the reasons of the excitement
still raging.

There was a studied effort, which was plainly perceived by them, to
cover the matter of the councils and heated debates, which occupied
the whole night from them; but, by remarks which reached them from
different ones, they learned that their destiny was in a very critical
suspense. There was a strong party who were angrily opposed to the
acceptance of the Mohave propositions, among whom were the murderers of
the Oatman family.

Different ones sought by every possible means to draw out the feelings
of their captives to the proposed removal. One in particular, a young
Indian woman, who had forced a disagreeable intimacy with Olive, sought
to make her say that she would rather go to the Mohaves. The discretion
of the captive girl, however, proved equal to the treachery of the
Indian mistress, and no words of complaint, or expressions of desire,
could the latter glean to make a perverted report of at head-quarters.
The artful Miss To-aquin had endeavored from the first, under friendly
pretenses, to acquaint herself with the American language, and
succeeded in acquiring a smattering of it. But her eaves-dropping
propensities had made the intended victims of her treachery wary,
since they had known, in several instances, of her false reports and
tale-bearings to the chief.

While sitting alone by a small fire in their wigwam, late in the night,
this Jezebel came and seated herself by them, and with her smiles and
rattling tongue, feigning an anxious interest in their welfare, said,
in substance:

“I suppose you are glad you are going to the Mohaves? But I always
hated them; they will steal, and lie, and cheat. Do you think you will
get away? I suppose you do. But these miserable Mohaves are going to
sell you to another tribe; if they do not, it will not be long ere they
will kill you. O, I am very sad because you are going away! I hoped to
see you free in a short time; but I know you will never get back to the
whites now. Suppose you will try, will you not?”

Olive replied: “We are captives, and since our parents and all our
kindred are dead, it matters little where we are, there or here. We are
treated better than we deserve, perhaps; and we shall try to behave
well, let them treat us as they may; and as to getting away, you know
it would be impossible and foolish for us to try.”

“The Mohave party professed that it was out of kindness to us that they
had come to take us with them; that they knew of the cruel treatment we
were suffering among the Apaches, and intended to use us well.

“This would all have been very comforting to us, and it was only to us
they made this plea, had we been prepared to give them credit for the
absence of that treachery which had been found, so far, as natural to
an Indian as his breath. But their natures do not grow sincerity, and
their words are to have no weight in judging of their characters. To us
it was only gloom that lay upon our way, whether to the Mohaves or to
stay in our present position. Their real design it was useless to seek
to read until its execution came.

“Sunrise, which greeted us ere we had a moment’s sleep, found the party
prepared to leave, and we were coolly informed by our captors that we
must go with them. Two horses, a few vegetables, a few pounds of beads,
and three blankets we found to be our price in that market.

“We found that there were those among the Apaches who were ready to
tear us in pieces when we left, and they only wanted a few more to
unite with them, to put an end to our lives at once. They now broke
forth in the most insulting language to us, and to the remainder of the
tribe for bargaining us away. Some laughed, a few among the children,
who had received a care and attention from us denied by their natural
parents, cried, and a general pow-wow rent the air as we started upon
another three hundred miles’ trip.”


  The Journey of three hundred and fifty Miles to the Mohave
    Valley--The Means of Subsistence during the Time--The Conduct of
    the Mohaves compared with the Apaches--Arrive at the Valley--The
    Village--The Chief’s Residence--Their Joy at the Return of Topeka,
    their Daughter--The Greeting of the new Captives--One Year of Labor
    and Suffering--The Overflowing of the Colorado--Their Dependence
    upon it--Their Habits--Cultivation of the Soil--Scarcity of
    Provisions--Starvation--Mary Ann--Her Decline--Olive’s Care, Grief,
    and Efforts to save her life--Dies of Famine--Many of the Indian
    Children die--Burial of Mary Ann--The Sympathy and Sorrow of the
    Chief’s Wife.

“We were informed at the outset that we had three hundred and fifty
miles before us, and all to be made on foot. Our route we soon found
to be in no way preferable to the one by which the Apache village had
been reached. It was now about the first day of March, 1852. One year
had been spent by us in a condition the most abject, the most desolate,
with treatment the most cruel that barbarity and hate could invent, and
this all endured without the privilege of a word from ourselves to turn
the scale in this direction or that, in a rugged, rocky country, filled
with bare mountains or lesser hills with slight vegetation, and that
tame and tasteless, or irregular piles of boulders and gravel beds;
we were now being hurried on under Indian guardianship alone, we knew
not where nor for what purpose. We had not proceeded far ere it was
painfully impressed upon our feet, if not our aching hearts, that this
trail to a second captivity was no improvement on the first, whatever
might be the fate awaiting us at its termination. We had been under
tutorage for one whole year in burden bearing, and labor even beyond
our strength, but a long walk or run, as this proved, we had not been
driven to during that time.

“Mary Ann, poor girl, entered upon this trip with less strength or
fortitude to encounter its hardships than the one before. She had
not proceeded far before I saw plainly that she would not be able to
stand it long. With the many appearances of kindness that our present
overseers put on, yet they seemed to be utterly destitute of any heart
or will to enter into the feelings of those who had been brought up
more delicately than themselves, or to understand their inability to
perform the task dictated by their rough and hardy habits. Our feet
soon became sore, and we were unable, on the second day after about
noon, to keep up with their rapid pace. A small piece of meat was put
into our hands on starting, and this with the roots we were allowed to
dig, and these but few, was our sole subsistence for ten days.

“With much complaining, and some threatening from our recent captors,
we were allowed to rest on the second day a short time. After this we
were not compelled to go more than thirty-five miles any one day, and
pieces of skins were furnished for our feet, but not until they had
been needlessly bruised and mangled without them. The nights were cool,
and, contrary to our expectations, the daughter of the chief showed us
kindness throughout the journey by sharing her blankets with us at each

“Of all rough, uncouth, irregular, and unattractive countries through
which human beings trail, the one through which that ten days’ march
led us, must remain unsurpassed.

“On the eleventh day, about two hours before sunset, we made a bold
steep ascent (and of such we had been permitted to climb many) from
which we had an extensive view on either side.

“Before us, commencing a little from the foot of our declivity, lay a
narrow valley covered with a carpet of green, stretching a distance,
seemingly, of twenty miles. On either side were the high, irregularly
sloped mountains, with their foot hills robed in the same bright green
as the valley, and with their bald humpbacks and sharp peaks, treeless,
verdureless, and desolate, as if the tempests of ages had poured their
rage upon their sides and summits.

“Our guides soon halted. We immediately observed by their movements
and manifestations that some object beyond the loveliness that nature
had strewn upon that valley, was enrapturing their gaze. We had stood
gazing a few moments only, when the smoke at the distance of a few
miles, winding in gentle columns up the ridges, spoke to us of the
abodes or tarrying of human beings. Very soon there came into the field
of our steady view a large number of huts, clothing the valley in every
direction. We could plainly see a large cluster of these huts huddled
into a nook in the hills on our right and on the bank of a river, whose
glassy waters threw the sunlight in our face; its winding, zigzag
course pointed out to us by the row of beautiful cottonwood trees that
thickly studded its vicinity.

“‘Here, Olive,’ said Mary Ann, ‘is the place where they live. O isn’t
it a beautiful valley? It seems to me I should like to live here.’

“‘May be,’ said I, ‘that you will not want to go back to the whites any

“‘O yes, there is green grass and fine meadows there, besides good
people to care for us; these savages are enough to make any place look
ugly, after a little time.’

“We were soon ushered into the ‘Mohave Valley,’ and had not proceeded
far before we began to pass the low, rude huts of the Mohave settlers.
They greeted us with shouts, and dance, and song as we passed. Our
guides kept up, however, a steady unheeding march for the village,
occasionally joined by fierce, filthy-looking Mohaves, and their more
filthy-looking children, who would come up, look rudely in our faces,
fasten their deep-set, small, flashing eyes upon us, and trip along,
with merry-making, hallooing, and dancing at our side.

“We were conducted immediately to the home of the chief, and welcomed
with the staring eyes of collecting groups, and an occasional
smile from the members of the chief’s family, who gave the warmest
expressions of joy over the return of their daughter and sister so long
absent. Seldom does our civilization furnish a more hearty exhibition
of affection for kindred, than welcomed the coming in of this member
of the chief’s family, though she had been absent but a few days. The
chief’s house was on a beautiful but small elevation crowning the river
bank, from which the eye could sweep a large section of the valley, and
survey the entire village, a portion of which lined each bank of the

“As a model, and one that will give a correct idea of the form
observed, especially in their village structures, we may speak of
the chief’s residence. When we reached the outskirts of the town we
observed upon the bank of the river a row of beautiful cottonwood
trees, just putting out their new leaves and foliage, their branches
interlocking, standing in a row, about a perfect square of about one
hundred feet, and arranged in taste. They were thrifty, and seemed fed
from a rich soil, and with other plots covered with the same growths,
and abounding throughout the village, presented truly an oasis in
the general desert of country upon which we had been trailing our
painful walk for the last ten days, climbing and descending, with
unshapen rocks, and sharp gravel, and burning sands for our pavement.
Immediately behind the row of trees first spoken of, was a row of poles
or logs, each about six inches in diameter and standing close to each
other, one end firmly set in the ground and reaching up about twenty
feet, forming an inclosure of about fifty feet square.

“We entered this inclosure through a door, (never shut,) and found a
tidy yard, grass-plotted. Inside of this was still another inclosure
of about twenty feet, walled by the same kind of fence, only about
one third as high. Running from front to rear, and dividing this
dwelling-place of the Mohave magnate into equal parts, stood a row of
these logs stuck in the ground, and running up about three feet above
the level top of the outside row, and forming a ridge for the resting
of the roof. The roof was a thick mat of limbs and mud. A few blankets,
a small smoking fire near the door, with naked walls over which the
finishing hand of the upholsterer had never passed, a floor made when
all _terra firma_ was created, welcomed us to the interior.

“The daughter of the chief had been kind to us, if kindness could be
shown under their barbarous habits and those rates of travel while on
our way. She was more intelligent and seemed capable of more true
sympathy and affection, than any we had yet met in our one year’s
exile. She was of about seventeen years, sprightly, jovial, and
good-natured, and at times manifested a deep sympathy for us, and a
commiseration of our desolate condition. But though she was daughter
of the chief, their habits of barbarousness could not bend to courtesy
even toward those of rank. She had walked the whole distance to the
Apaches, carrying a roll of blankets, while two horses were rode by two
stalwart, healthy Mohaves by her side.

“On entering the house Topeka, who had accompanied us, gave an
immediate and practical evidence that her stinted stomach had not
become utterly deaf to all the demands of hunger. Seeing a cake
roasting in the ashes, she seized it, and dividing it into three parts,
she gave me the Benjamin portion and bade us eat, which was done with
greediness and pleasant surprise.

“Night came on and with it the gathering of a large concourse of
Indians, their brown, stout wives and daughters, and swarms of little
ones whose faces and bare limbs would have suggested anything else
sooner than the near vicinity of clear water, or their knowledge of its
use for purifying purposes.

“The Indians were mostly tall, stout, with large heads, broad faces,
and of a much more intelligent appearance than the Apaches. Bark-clad,
where clad at all, the scarcity of their covering indicating either
a warm climate or a great destitution of the clothing material, or
something else.

“Their conduct during that night of wild excitement, was very different
from that by which our coming among the Apaches was celebrated. That
was one of selfish iron-hearted fiends, glutting over a murderous,
barbarous deed of death and plunder; this was that of a company of
indolent, superstitious, and lazy heathen, adopting the only method
which their darkness and ignorance would allow to signify their joy
over the return of kindred and the delighted purchase of two foreign
captives. They placed us out upon the green, and in the light of a
large, brisk fire, and kept up their dancing, singing, jumping, and
shouting, until near the break of day.

“After they had dispersed, and that night of tears, and the bitterest
emotions, and most torturing remembrances of the past, and reflections
of our present had nearly worn away, with bleeding feet, worn in places
almost to the bone, with aching limbs, beneath a thin covering, side
by side, little Mary Ann and myself lay us down upon a sand bed to
meditate upon sleep. A few hours were spent in conversation, conducted
in a low whisper, with occasional moments of partial drowsiness,
haunted with wild, frantic dreams.”

Though five years separate that time and the present, where is the
heart but throbs sensitive to the dark, prison-like condition of
these two girls. Look at their situation, the scenes around; having
reached a strange tribe by a toilsome, painful ten days’ journey, the
sufferings of which were almost insupportable and life consuming,
having been for nearly the whole night of their introduction to a new
captivity made the subjects of shouting and confusion, heathenish,
indelicate, and indecent, and toward morning hiding themselves under
a scanty covering, surrounded by unknown savages; whispering into
each other’s ears the hopes, fears, and impressions of their new
condition. Coveting sleep, but every touch of its soft hand upon their
moistened eyelids turned to torture and hideousness by scary visions
and dreams; harassed in mind over the uncertainty and doubt haunting
their imaginations, as to the probable purposes of their new possessors
in all their painstaking to secure a transfer of the captives to them.
It is true that less of barbarity had marked the few days of their
dependence upon their new owners, than their Apache hardships; but they
had sadly learned already that under friendly guises their possible
treachery might be wrapping and nursing some foul and murderous design.

Plunged now into the depths of a wild country, where the traces of a
white foot would be sought in vain for hundreds of miles, and at such
a distance from the nearest route of the hurrying emigrant, as to
preclude almost the traveling of hope to their exile and gloom; it is
no marvel that these few hours allotted to sleep at the latter part
of the night, were disturbed by such questions as these: Why have they
purchased us? What labor or service do they intend subjecting us to?
Have they connived with our former masters to remove us still further
from the habitations of our countrymen, and sought to plunge us so
deep in these mountain defiles, that they may solace themselves with
that insatiate revenge upon our race which will encounter any hardship
rather than allow us the happiness of a return to our native land? No
marvel that they could not drive away such thoughts, though a lacerated
body was praying for balmy sleep, “nature’s sweet restorer.”

Mary Ann, the youngest, a little girl of eight years, had been
declining in health and strength for some time. She had almost starved
on that long road, kept up principally by a small piece of meat. For
over three hundred miles had she come, climbing rocks, traversing
sun-burned gravel and sand, marking the way by bleeding feet, sighs,
and piteous moanings; well-nigh breaking the heart of her older sister,
whose deepest anguish was the witnessing of these sufferings that she
could not relieve. She was not inclined to complain; nay, she was
given to a patient reserve that would bear her grief alone, sooner
than trouble her loved sister with it. She had from infancy been the
favorite child of the family; the only one of a frail constitution,
quickest to learn, and best to remember; and often, when at home,
and the subject of disease and pain, exhibiting a meekness, judgment,
and fortitude beyond her years. She was tenderly loved by the whole
family; nursed by her fond mother with a delicacy and concern bestowed
on none of the rest; and now bound to the heart of her only sister by
a tie strengthened by mutual sufferings, and that made her every woe
and sigh a dagger to the heart of Olive. No marvel that the latter
should say: “Poor girl, I love her tenderly, ardently; and now to see
her driven forth whole days, with declining health, at a pace kept up
by these able-bodied Indians; to see her climb rugged cliffs, at times
upon her hands and knees, struggling up where others could walk, the
sweat coursing down freely from her pearly-white forehead; to hear her
heave those half-suppressed sighs; to see the steps of those little
bleeding feet totter and falter; to see the big tears standing out of
her eyes, glistening as if in the borrowed light of a purer home; to
see her turn at times and bury her head in some of the tattered furs
wrapped about a part of her person, and weeping alone, and then come to
me, saying: ‘How far, dear Olive, must we yet go?’ To hear her ask, and
ask in vain, for bread, for meat, for water, for something to eat, when
nothing but their laziness denied her request; these were sights and
scenes I pray God to deliver me from in future! O that I could blot out
the impression they have indelibly written upon my mind!

“‘But we are now here, and must make the best of it,’ was the
interruption made the next morning to memories and thoughts like the
above. We were narrowly watched, and with an eye and jealousy that
seemed to indicate some design beyond and unlike the one that was
avowed to move them to purchase us, and to shut out all knowledge of
the way back to our race. We found the location and scenery of our new
home much pleasanter than the one last occupied. The valley extended
about thirty or forty miles, northeast by southwest, and varying
from two to five miles in width. Through its whole length flowed the
beautiful Colorado, in places a rapid, leaping stream, in others
making its way quietly, noiselessly over a deeper bed. It varied, like
all streams whose sources are in immediate mountains, in depth, at
different seasons of the year. During the melting of the snows that
clothed the mountain-tops to the north, when we came among the Mohaves,
it came roaring and thundering along its rock-bound banks, threatening
the whole valley, and doing some damage.

“We found the Mohaves accustomed to the tillage of the soil to a
limited extent, and in a peculiar way. And it was a season of great
rejoicing when the Colorado overflowed, as it was only after overflows
that they could rely upon their soil for a crop. In the autumn they
planted the wheat carefully in hills with their fingers, and in the
spring they planted corn, melons, and a few garden vegetables.
They had, however, but a few notions, and these were crude, about
agriculture. They were utterly without skill or art in any useful
calling. When we first arrived among them the wheat sown the previous
fall had come up, and looked green and thrifty, though it did not
appear, nor was it, sufficient to maintain one-fifth of their
population. They spent more time in raising twenty spears of wheat
from one hill, than was necessary to have cultivated one acre, with
the improvements they might and should have learned in the method of
doing it. It was to us, however, an enlivening sight to see even these
scattered parcels of grain growing, clothing sections of their valley.
It was a remembrancer, and reminded us of home, (now no more ours,) and
placed us in a nearness to the customs of a civilized mode of life that
we had not realized before.

“For a time after coming among them but little was said to us; none
seemed desirous to enter into any intercourse, or inquire even, if it
had been possible for us to understand them, as to our welfare, past
or present. Topeka gave us to know that we were to remain in their
house. Indeed we were merely regarded as strange intruders, with whom
they had no sympathy, and their bearing for a while toward us seemed
to say: ‘You may live here if you can eke out an existence, by bowing
yourselves unmurmuringly to our barbarism and privations.’

“In a few days they began to direct us to work in various ways,
such as bringing wood and water, and to perform various errands of
convenience to them. Why they took the course they did I have never
been able to imagine; but it was only by degrees that their exactions
were enforced. We soon learned, however, that our condition was that of
unmitigated slavery, not to the adults merely, but to the children. In
this respect it was very much as among the Apaches. Their whimpering,
idiotic children, of not half a dozen years, very soon learned to drive
us about with all the authority of an Eastern lord. And these filthy
creatures would go in quest of occasions, seemingly to gratify their
love of command; and any want of hurried attention to them was visited
upon us by punishment, either by whipping or the withholding of our
food. Besides, the adults of the tribe enjoyed the sport of seeing us
thus forced into submission to their children.

“The Colorado had overflown during the winter, and there had been
considerable rain. The Mohaves were in high hopes for a bountiful crop
during this season. What was to them a rich harvest would be considered
in Yankee land, or in the Western states, a poor compensation for so
much time and plodding labor. For two years before they had raised
but little. Had the industry and skill of the least informed of our
agriculturists been applied to this Mohave valley, it might have been
made as productive and fruitful a spot as any I ever saw. But they
were indolent and lazy, so that it would seem impossible for ingenuity
to invent modes by which they might work to a greater disadvantage, or
waste the little of strength they did use. While their lot had cast
them into the midst of superior natural advantages, which ought to have
awakened their pride and ambition to do something for themselves, yet
they were indisposed to every fatiguing toil, unless in the chase or

Nothing during the summer of 1852 occurred to throw any light upon that
one question, to these captive girls the all-absorbing one, one which,
like an everywhere present spirit, haunted them day and night, as to
the probabilities of their ever escaping from Indian captivity. It was
not long before their language, of few words, was so far understood
as to make it easy to understand the Mohaves in conversation. Every
day brought to their ears expressions, casually dropped, showing their
spite and hate to the white race. They would question their captives
closely, seeking to draw from them any discontent they might feel in
their present condition. They taunted them, in a less ferocious manner
than the Apaches, but with every evidence of an equal hate, about the
good-for-nothing whites.

“At times, when some of their friends were visiting in the neighborhood
of our valley, they would call for the captives that they might
see them. One day, while one of the sub-chiefs and his family were
visiting at Espaniola’s house, Mary and I were out a little from the
house singing, and were overheard. This aroused their curiosity, and
we were called, and many questions were put to us as to what we were
singing, where we learned to sing, and if the whites were good singers.
Mary and I, at their request, sang them some of our Sabbath-school
hymns, and some of the short children’s songs we had learned. After
this we were teased very much to sing to them. Several times a small
string of beads was made up among them and presented to us for singing
to them for two or three hours; also pieces of red flannel, (an article
that to them was the most valuable of any they could possess,) of which
after some time we had several pieces. These we managed to attach
together with ravelings, and wore them upon our persons. The beads we
wore about our necks, squaw fashion.”

Many of them were anxious to learn the language of the whites; among
these one Ccearekae, a young man of some self-conceit and pride.
He asked the elder of the girls, “How do you like living with the
Mohaves?” To which she replied, “I do not like it so well as among the
whites, for we do not have enough to eat.”

Ccearekae. “We have enough to satisfy us; you Americanos (a term also
by them learned of the Mexicans) work hard, and it does you no good; we
enjoy ourselves.”

Olive. “Well, we enjoy ourselves well at home, and all our white people
seem happier than any Indian I have seen since.”

Ccearekae. “Our great fathers worked just as you whites do, and they
had many nice things to wear; but the flood came and swept the old
folks away, and a white son of the family stole all the arts, with the
clothing, etc., and the Mohaves have had none since.”

Olive. “But if our people had this beautiful valley they would till it,
and raise much grain. You Mohaves don’t like to work, and you say you
do not have enough to eat; then it is because you are lazy.”

“At this his wrath was aroused, and with angry words and countenance
he left. I frequently told them how grain, and cattle, and fowls would
abound, if such good land was under the control of the whites. This
would sometimes kindle their wrath, and flirts, and taunts, and again
at other times their curiosity. One day several of them were gathered,
and questioning about our former homes, and the white nation, and the
way by which a living was made, etc. I told them of plowing the soil.
They then wanted to see the figure of a plow. I accordingly, with
sticks and marks in the sand, made as good a plow as a girl of fifteen
would be expected, perhaps, to make out of such material; drew the oxen
and hitched them to my plow, and told them how it would break the soil.
This feasted their curiosity a while, but ended in a volley of scorn
and mockery to me and the race of whites, and a general outburst of
indignant taunts about their meanness.

“They were very anxious to know how breaking up of the soil would make
grain grow; of what use it was; whether women labored in raising grain.
We told them of milking the cows, and how our white people mowed the
grass and fattened cattle, and many other things, to which they gave
the ear of a curiosity plainly beyond what they wanted us to understand
they cared about it.

“I told them of the abundance that rewards white labor, while they
had so little. They said: ‘Your ancestors were dishonest, and their
children are weak, and that by and by the pride and good living of the
present whites would ruin them. You whites,’ continued they, ‘have
forsaken nature and want to possess the earth, but you will not be
able.’ In thus conversing with them I learned of a superstition they
hold as to the origin of the distinction existing among the red and
white races.

“It was as follows: They said, pointing to a high mountain at the
northern end of the valley, (the highest in the vicinity,) there was
once a flood in ancient time that covered all the world but that
mountain, and all the present races then were merged in one family,
and this family was saved from the general deluge by getting upon that
mountain. They said that this antediluvian family was very large, and
had great riches, clothing, cattle, horses, and much to eat. They
said that after the water subsided one of the family took all the
cattle and our kind of clothing, and went north, was turned from red to
white, and so there settled. That another part of this family took deer
skins and bark, and from these the Indians came. They held that this
ancient family were all of red complexion until the progenitor of the
whites stole, then he was turned white. They said the Hiccos (dishonest
whites) would lose their cattle yet; that this thieving would turn upon
themselves. They said remains of the old ‘big house,’ in which this
ancient family lived, were up there yet; also pieces of bottles, broken
dishes, and remnants of all the various kinds of articles used by them.

“We were told by them that this venerated spot had, ever since the
flood, been the abode of spirits; (Hippoweka, the name for spirit;) and
that these spirits were perfectly acquainted with all the doings, and
even the secret motives and character, of each individual of the tribe.
And also that it was a place consecrated to these spirits, and if the
feet of mortals should presume to tread this enchanted spirit-land,
a fire would burst from the mountain and instantly consume them,
except it be those who are selected and appointed by these spirits
to communicate some special message to the tribe. This favored class
were generally the physicians of the tribe. And when a war project
was designed by these master spirits, they signified the bloody
intention by causing the mountains to shoot forth lurid tongues of
fire, visible only to the revelators. All their war plans and the time
of their execution, their superstition taught them, were communicated
by the flame-lit pinnacle to those depositories of the will of the
spirits, and by them, under professed superhuman dictation, the time,
place, object, and method of the war were communicated to the chief.
Yet the power of the chief was absolute, and when his _practical_
wisdom suggested, these wizards always found a license by a second
consultation to modify the conflict, or change the time and method of
its operation.

“It was their belief that in the region of this mountain there was
held in perpetual chains the spirit of every ‘Hicco’ that they had
been successful in slaying; and that the souls of all such were there
eternally doomed to torment of the fiercest quenchless fires, and the
Mohave by whose hand the slaughter was perpetrated, would be exalted to
eternal honors and superior privileges therefor.

“It was with strange emotions, after listening to this superstitious
tale, that our eyes rested upon that old bald peak, and saw within the
embrace of its internal fires, the spirits of many of our own race,
and thought of their being bound by this Mohave legend to miseries so
extreme, and woes so unmitigated, and a revenge so insatiate.

“But according to their belief we could only expect a like fate by
attempting their rescue, and we did not care enough for the professed
validness of their faith to risk companionship with them, even for the
purpose of attempting to unbind the chains of their tormenting bondage;
and we turned away, most heartily pitying them for their subjection to
so gross a superstition, without any particular concern for those who
had been appointed by its authority to its vengeance. We felt that if
the Hiccos could manage to escape all other hells, they could manage
this one without our sympathy or help.

“There was little game in the Mohave Valley, and of necessity little
meat was used by this tribe. At some seasons of the year, winter and
spring, they procure fish from a small lake in the vicinity. This was
a beautiful little body of water at freshet seasons, but in the dry
seasons became a loathsome mudhole. In their producing season, the
Mohaves scarcely raised a four months’ supply, yet they might have
raised for the whole year as well. Often I thought, as I saw garden
vegetables and grain plucked ere they were grown, to be devoured by
these lazy ‘live to-day’ savages, I should delight to see the hand of
the skillful agriculturist upon that beautiful valley, with the Mohaves
standing by to witness its capabilities for producing.

“We spent most of this summer in hard work. We were, for a long time,
roused at the break of day, baskets were swung upon our shoulders, and
we were obliged to go from six to eight miles for the ‘Musquite,’ a
seed or berry growing upon a bush about the size of our Manzanita. In
the first part of the season, this tree bloomed a beautiful flower,
and after a few weeks a large seed-bud could be gathered from it, and
this furnished what is truly to be called their staple article of
subsistence. We spent from twilight to twilight again, for a long time,
in gathering this. And often we found it impossible, from its scarcity
that year, to fill our basket in a day, as we were required; and for
failing to do this we seldom escaped a chastisement. This seed, when
gathered, was hung up in their huts to be thoroughly dried, and to
be used when their vegetables and grain should be exhausted. I could
endure myself, the task daily assigned me, but to see the demands and
exactions made upon little Mary Ann, day after day, by these unfeeling
wretches, as many of them were, when her constitution was already
broken down, and she daily suffering the most excruciating pains from
the effects of barbarity she had already received; this was a more
severe trial than all I had to perform of physical labor. And I often
felt as though it would be a sad relief to see her sink into the grave,
beyond the touch and oppression of the ills and cruel treatment she was
subjected to. But there were times when she would enliven after rest,
which from her utter inability they were obliged to grant.

“We were accused by our captors several times during this season, of
designing and having plotted already to make our escape. Some of them
would frequently question and annoy us much to discover, if possible,
our feelings and our intentions in reference to our captivity. Though
we persisted in denying any purpose to attempt our escape, many of
them seemed to disbelieve us, and would warn us against any such
undertaking, by assuring us they would follow us, if it were necessary,
quite to the white settlements, and would torment us in the most
painful manner, if we were ever to be recaptured.

“One day, while we were sitting in the hut of the chief, having just
returned from a root-digging excursion, there came two of their
physicians attended by the chief and several others, to the door of
the hut. The chief’s wife then bade us go out upon the yard, and told
us that the physicians were going to put marks on our faces. It was
with much difficulty that we could understand, however, at first, what
was their design. We soon, however, by the motions accompanying the
commands of the wife of the chief, came to understand that they were
going to tattoo our faces.

“We had seen them do this to some of their female children, and we
had often conversed with each other about expressing the hope that we
should be spared from receiving their marks upon us. I ventured to
plead with them for a few moments that they would not put those ugly
marks upon our faces. But it was in vain. To all our expostulations
they only replied in substance that they knew why we objected to it;
that we expected to return to the whites, and we would be ashamed of
it then; but that it was their resolution we should never return, and
that as we belonged to them we should wear their ‘Ki-e-chook.’ They
said further, that if we should get away, and they should find us among
other tribes, or if some other tribes should steal us, they would by
this means know us.

“They then pricked the skin in small regular rows on our chins with a
very sharp stick, until they bled freely. They then dipped these same
sticks in the juice of a certain weed that grew on the banks of the
river, and then in the powder of a blue stone that was to be found in
low water, in some places along the bed of the stream, (the stone they
first burned until it would pulverize easy, and in burning it turned
nearly black,) and pricked this fine powder into these lacerated parts
of the face.

“The process was somewhat painful, though it pained us more for two
or three days after than at the time of its being done. They told us
this could never be taken from the face, and that they had given us a
different mark from the one worn by their own females, as we saw, but
the same with which they marked all their own captives, and that they
could claim us in whatever tribe they might find us.

“The autumn was by far the easiest portion of the year for us. To
multiply words would not give any clearer idea to the reader of our
condition. It was one continual routine of drudgery. Toward spring
their grains were exhausted. There was but little rain, not enough
to raise the Colorado near the top of its banks. The Mohaves became
very uneasy about their wheat in the ground. It came up much later
than usual, and looked sickly and grew tardily after it was out of
the ground. It gave a poor, wretched promise at the best for the next
year. Ere it was fairly up there were not provisions or articles of any
kind to eat in the village any one night to keep its population two
days. We found that the people numbered really over fifteen hundred.
We were now driven forth every morning by the first break of day, cold
and sometimes damp, with rough, bleak winds, to glean the old, dry
musquite seed that chanced to have escaped the fatiguing search of the
summer and autumn months. From this on to the time of gathering the
scanty harvest of that year, we were barely able to keep soul and body
together. And the return for all our vigorous labor was a little dry
seed in small quantities. And all this was put forth under the most
sickening apprehensions of a worse privation awaiting us the next year.
This harvest was next to nothing. No rain had fallen during the spring
to do much good.

“Above what was necessary for seeding again, there was not one month’s
supply when harvest was over. We had gathered less during the summer of
‘musquite,’ and nothing but starvation could be expected. This seemed
to throw the sadness of despair upon our condition, and to blot all our
faint but fond hopes of reaching our native land. We knew, or thought
we knew, that in case of an extremity our portion must be meted out
after these voracious, unfeeling idlers had supplied themselves. We
had already seen that a calamity or adversity had the effect to make
these savages more savage and implacable. I felt more keenly for Mary
Ann than myself. She often said (for we were already denied the larger
half necessary to satisfy our appetites) that she ‘could not live long
without something more to eat.’ She would speak of the plenty that she
had at home, and that might now be there, and sometimes would rather
chide me for making no attempts to escape. ‘O, if I could only get one
dish of bread and milk,’ she would frequently say, ‘I could enjoy it
so well!’ They ground their seed between stones, and with water made a
mush, and we spent many mournful hours of conversation over our gloomy
state as we saw the supply of this tasteless, nauseating ‘_musquite
mush_’ failing, and that the season of our almost sole dependence upon
it was yet but begun.

“It was not unfrequent that a death occurred among them by the neglect
and laziness so characteristic of the Indian. One day I was out
gathering chottatoe, when I was suddenly surprised and frightened by
running upon one of the victims of this stupid, barbarous inhumanity.
He was a tall, bony Indian of about thirty years. His eye was rather
sunken, his visage marred, as if he had passed through extreme
hardships. He was lying upon the ground, moaning and rolling from side
to side in agony the most acute and intense. I looked upon him, and my
heart was moved with pity. Little Mary said, ‘I will go up and find out
what ails him.’ On inquiry we soon found that he had been for some time
ill, but not so as to become utterly helpless. And not until one of
their number is entirely disabled, do they seem to manifest any feeling
or concern for him. The physician was called, and soon decided that he
was not in the least diseased. He told Mary that nothing ailed him save
the want of food; said that he had been unable for some time to procure
his food; that his friends devoured any that was brought into camp
without dividing it with him; that he had been gradually running down,
and now he wanted to die. O there was such dejection, such a forlorn,
despairing look written upon his countenance as made an impression upon
my mind which is yet vivid and mournful.

“He soon died, and then his father and all his relatives commenced
a hideous, barbarous howling and jumping, indicative of the most
poignant grief. Whether their sorrowing was a matter of conscience or
bereavement, none could tell, but it would improve my opinion of them
to believe it originated with the former.

“Such scenes were not far between, and yet these results of their
laziness and want of enterprise and humanity, when thickening upon
them, had no effect to beget a different policy or elevate them to that
life of happiness, thrift, and love which would have prolonged their
years, and removed the dismal, gloomy aspect of every-day life among

“We were now put upon a stinted allowance, and the restrictions upon
us were next to the taking the life of Mary Ann. During the second
autumn, and at the time spoken of above, the chief’s wife gave us some
seed-grain, corn and wheat, showed us about thirty feet square of
ground marked off upon which we might plant it and raise something for
ourselves. We planted our wheat, and carefully concealed the handful
of corn and melon-seeds to plant in the spring. This we enjoyed very
much. It brought to our minds the extended grain-fields that waved
about our cottage in Illinois, of the beautiful spring when winter’s
ice and chill had departed before the breath of a warmer season, of the
May-mornings, when we had gone forth to the plow-fields and followed
barefooted in the new-turned furrow, and of the many long days of
grain-growing and ripening in which we had watched the daily change in
the fields of wheat and oats.

“These hours of plying our fingers (not sewing) in the ground flew
quickly by, but not without their tears and forebodings that ere we
could gather the results, famine might lay our bodies in the dust.
Indeed we could see no means by which we could possibly maintain
ourselves to harvest again. Winter, a season of sterility and frozen
nights, was fast approaching, and to add to my desolateness, I plainly
saw that grief, or want of food, or both, were slowly, and inch by
inch, enfeebling and wasting away Mary Ann.

“The Indians said that about sixty miles away there was a ‘Taneta’
(tree) that bore a berry called ‘Oth-to-toa,’ upon which they had
subsisted for some time several years before, but it could be reached
only by a mountainous and wretched way of sixty miles. Soon a large
party made preparations and set out in quest of this ‘life-preserver.’
Many of those accustomed to bear burdens were not able to go. Mary Ann
started, but soon gave out and returned. A few Indians accompanied us,
but it was a disgrace for them to bear burdens; this was befitting
only to squaws and captives. I was commanded to pick up my basket and
go with them, and it was only with much pleading I could get them to
spare my sister the undertaking when she gave out. I had borne that
‘Chiechuck’ empty and full over many hundred miles, but never over so
rugged a way, nor when it seemed so heavy as now.

“We reached the place on the third day, and found the taneta to be a
bush, and very much resembling the musquite, only with a much larger
leaf. It grew to a height of from five to thirty feet. The berry was
much more pleasant to the taste than the musquite; the juice of it,
when extracted and mixed with water, was very much like the orange. The
tediousness and perils of this trip were very much enlivened with the
hope of getting something with which to nourish and prolong the life of
Mary. She was very much depressed, and appeared quite ill when I left

“After wandering about for two days with but little gathered, six of
us started in quest of some place where the oth-to-toa might be more
abundant. We traveled over twenty miles away from our temporary camp.
We found tanetas in abundance, and loaded with the berry. We had
reached a field of them we judged never found before.

“Our baskets being filled, we hastened to join the camp party before
they should start for the village. We soon lost our way, the night
being dark, and wandered without water the whole night, and were
nearly all sick from eating our oth-to-toa berry. Toward day, nearly
exhausted, and three of our number very sick, we were compelled to
halt. We watched over and nursed the sick, sweating them with the
medical leaf always kept with us, and about the only medicine used by
the Mohaves. But our efforts were vain, for before noon the three had
breathed their last. A fire was kindled and their bodies were burned;
and for several hours I expected to be laid upon one of those funeral
pyres in that deep, dark, and almost trackless wilderness.

“I think I suffered more during those two or three hours in mind and
body than at any other period of my captivity in the same time. We
feared to stay only as long as was necessary, for our energies were
well-nigh exhausted. We started back, and I then saw an Indian carry a
basket. One of them took the baskets of the dead, and kept up with us.
The rest of our party went howling through the woods in the most dismal
manner. The next day we found the camp, and found we had been nearly
around it. We were soon on our way, and by traveling all one night we
were at the village.

“It would be impossible to put upon paper any true idea of my feelings
and sufferings during this trip, on account of Mary. Had it not been
for her I could have consented to have laid down and died with the
three we buried. I did not then expect to get back. I feared she would
not live, and I found on reaching the village that she had materially
failed, and had been furnished with scarcely food enough to keep her
alive. I sought by every possible care to recruit her, and for a short
time she revived. The berry we had gathered, while it would add to
one’s flesh, and give an appearance of healthiness, (if the stomach
could bear it,) had but little strengthening properties in it.

“I traveled whole days together in search of the eggs of blackbirds
for Mary Ann. These eggs at seasons were plenty, but not then. These
she relished very much. I cherished for a short time the hope that she
might, by care and nursing, be kept up until spring, when we could get
fish. The little store we had brought in was soon greedily devoured,
and with the utmost difficulty could we get a morsel. The ground was
searched for miles, and every root that could nourish human life
was gathered. The Indians became reckless and quarrelsome, and with
unpardonable selfishness each would struggle for his own life in utter
disregard of his fellows. Mary Ann failed fast. She and I were whole
days at a time without anything to eat; when by some chance, or the
kindness of the chief’s daughter, we would get a morsel to satisfy our
cravings. Often would Mary say to me, ‘I am well enough, but I want
something to eat; then I should be well.’ I could not leave her over
night. Roots there were none I could reach by day and return; and when
brought in, our lazy lords would take them for their own children.
Several children had died, and more were in a dying state. Each death
that occurred was the occasion of a night or day of frantic howling
and crocodile mourning. Mary was weak and growing weaker, and I gave
up in despair. I sat by her side for a few days, most of the time only
begging of the passers-by to give me something to keep Mary alive.
Sometimes I succeeded. Had it not been for the wife and daughter of the
chief, we could have obtained nothing. They seemed really to _feel_
for us, and I have no doubt would have done more if in their power. My
sister would not complain, but beg for something to eat.

“She would often think and speak in the most affectionate manner of
‘dear pa and ma,’ and with confidence she would say, ‘they suffered an
awful death, but they are now safe and happy in a better and brighter
land, though I am left to starve among savages.’ She seemed now to
regard life no longer as worth preserving, and she kept constantly
repeating expressions of longing to die and be removed from a gloomy
captivity to a world where no tear of sorrow dims the eye of innocence
and beauty. She called me to her side one day and said: ‘Olive, I
shall die soon; you will live and get away. Father and mother have got
through with sufferings, and are now at rest; I shall soon be with them
and those dear brothers and sisters.’ She then asked me to sing, and
she joined her sweet, clear voice, without faltering, with me, and we
tried to sing the evening hymn we had been taught at the family altar:

    ‘The day is past and gone,
    The evening shades appear,’ etc.

“My grief was too great. The struggling emotions of my mind I tried
to keep from her, but could not. She said: ‘Don’t grieve for me; I
have been a care to you all the while. I don’t like to leave you here
all alone, but God is with you, and our heavenly Father will keep and
comfort those who trust in him. O, I am so glad that we were taught
to love and serve the Saviour.’ She then asked me to sing the hymn

    ‘How tedious and tasteless the hours
      When Jesus no longer I see.’

“I tried to sing, but could not get beyond the first line. But it did
appear that visions of a bright world were hers, as with a clear,
unfaltering strain she sang the entire hymn. She gradually sank away
without much pain, and all the time happy. She had not spent a day in
our captivity without asking God to pardon, to bless, and to save. I
was faint, and unable to stand upon my feet long at a time. My cravings
for food were almost uncontrollable; and at the same time, among
unfeeling savages, to watch her gradual but sure approach to the vale
of death, from want of food that their laziness alone prevented us
having in abundance, this was a time and scene upon which I can only
gaze with horror, and the very remembrance of which I would blot out if
I could.

“She lingered thus for several days. She suffered much, mostly from
hunger. Often did I hear, as I sat near her weeping, some Indian coming
near break out in a rage, because I was permitted to spend my time thus
with her; that they had better kill Mary, then I could go, as I ought
to be made to go, and dig roots and procure food for the rest of them.

“O what moments, what hours were these! Every object in all the fields
of sight seemed to wear a horrid gloom.

“One day, during her singing, quite a crowd gathered about her and
seemed much surprised. Some of them would stand for whole hours and
gaze upon her countenance as if enchained by a strange sight, and
this while some of their own kindred were dying in other parts of the
village. Among these was the wife of the chief, ‘Aespaneo.’ I ought
here to say that neither that woman nor her daughter ever gave us any
unkind treatment. She came up one day, hearing Mary sing, and bent
for some time silently over her. She looked in her face, felt of her,
and suddenly broke out in a most piteous lamentation. She wept, and
wept from the heart and aloud. I never saw a parent seem to feel more
keenly over a dying child. She sobbed, she moaned, she howled. And thus
bending over and weeping she stood the whole night. The next morning,
as I sat near my sister, shedding my tears in my hands, she called me
to her side and said: ‘I am willing to die. O, I shall be so much
better off there!’ and her strength failed. She tried to sing, but was
too weak.


“A number of the tribe, men, women, and children, were about her, the
chief’s wife watching her every moment. She died in a few moments after
her dying words quoted above.

“She sank to the sleep of death as quietly as sinks the innocent infant
to sleep in its mother’s arms.

“When I saw that she was dead, I could but give myself up to
loneliness, to wailing and despair. ‘The last of our family dead, and
all of them by tortures inflicted by Indian savages,’ I exclaimed to
myself. I went to her and tried to find remaining life, but no pulse,
no breath was there. I could but adore the mercy that had so wisely
thrown a vail of concealment over these three years of affliction. Had
their scenes been mapped out to be read beforehand, and to be received
step by step, as they were really meted out to us, no heart could have
sustained them.

“I wished and most earnestly desired that I might at once lie down in
the same cold, icy embrace that I saw fast stiffening the delicate
limbs of that dear sister.

“I reasoned at times, that die I must and soon, and that I had the
right to end my sufferings at once, and prevent these savages by cold,
cruel neglect, murdering me by the slow tortures of a starvation that
had already its score of victims in our village. The only heart that
shared my woes was now still, the only heart (as I then supposed)
that survived the massacre of seven of our family group was now cold
in death, and why should I remain to feel the gnawings of hunger and
pain a few days, and then, without any to care for me, unattended and
uncared for, lay down and die. At times I resolved to take a morsel of
food by stealth, (if it could be found,) and make a desperate attempt
to escape.

“There were two, however, who seemed not wholly insensible to my
condition, these were the wife and daughter of the chief. They
manifested a sympathy that had not gathered about me since the first
closing in of the night of my captivity upon me. The Indians, at the
direction of the chief, began to make preparations to burn the body
of my sister. This, it seemed, I could not endure. I sought a place
to weep and pray, and I then tasted the blessedness of realizing that
there is One upon whom the heart’s heaviest load can be placed, and He
never disappointed me. My dark, suicidal thoughts fled, and I became
resigned to my lot. Standing by the corpse, with my eyes fastened on
that angel-countenance of Mary Ann, the wife of the chief came to me
and gave me to understand that she had by much entreaty, obtained the
permission of her lord to give me the privilege of disposing of the
dead body as I should choose. This was a great consolation, and I
thanked her most earnestly. It lifted a burden from my mind that caused
me to weep tears of gratitude, and also to note the finger of that
Providence to whom I had fully committed myself, and whom I plainly saw
strewing my way with tokens of his kind regards toward me. The chief
gave me two blankets, and in these they wrapped the corpse. Orders
were then given to two Indians to follow my directions in disposing of
the body. I selected a spot in that little garden ground, where I had
planted and wept with my dear sister. In this they dug a grave about
five feet deep, and into it they gently lowered the remains of my last,
my only sister, and closed her last resting-place with the sand. The
reader may imagine my feelings, as I stood by that grave. The whole
painful past seemed to rush across my mind, as I lingered there. It was
the first and only grave in all that valley, and that inclosing my own
sister. Around me was a large company of half-dressed, fierce-looking
savages, some serious, some mourning, some laughing over this novel
method of disposing of the dead; others in breathless silence watched
the movements of that dark hour, with a look that seemed to say, ‘This
is the way white folks do,’ and exhibiting no feeling or care beyond
that. I longed to plant a rose upon her grave, but the Mohaves knew no
beauty, and read no lesson in flowers, and so this mournful pleasure
was denied me.

“When the excitement of that hour passed, with it seemed to pass my
energy and ambition. I was faint and weak, drowsy and languid. I found
but little strength from the scant rations dealt out to me. I was
rapidly drooping, and becoming more and more anxious to shut my eyes to
all about me, and sink to a sweet, untroubled sleep beneath that green
carpeted valley. This was the only time in which, without any reserve,
I really longed to die, and cease at once to breathe and suffer. That
same woman, the wife of the chief, came again to the solace and relief
of my destitution and woe. I was now able to walk but little, and
had resigned all care and anxiety, and concluded to wait until those
burning sensations caused by want of nourishment should consume the
last thread of my life, and shut my eyes and senses in the darkness
that now hid them from my sister.

“Just at this time this kind woman came to me with some corn gruel in a
hollow stone. I marveled to know how she had obtained it. The handful
of seed corn that my sister and I had hid in the ground, between two
stones, did not come to my mind. But this woman, this Indian woman, had
uncovered a part of what she had deposited against spring planting,
had ground it to a coarse meal, and of it prepared this gruel for me.
I took it, and soon she brought me more. I began to revive. I felt
a new life and strength given me by this morsel, and was cheered by
the unlooked-for exhibition of sympathy that attended it. She had the
discretion to deny the unnatural cravings that had been kindled by the
small quantity she brought first, and dealt a little at a time, until
within three days I gained a vigor and cheerfulness I had not felt for
weeks. She bestowed this kindness in a sly and unobserved manner, and
enjoined secrecy upon me, for a reason which the reader can judge. She
had done it when some of her own kin were in a starving condition.
It waked up a hope within my bosom that reached beyond the immediate
kindness. I could not account for it but by looking to that Power in
whose hands are the hearts of the savage as well as the civilized man.
I gathered a prospect from these unexpected and kindly interpositions,
of an ultimate escape from my bondage. It was the hand of God, and
I would do violence to the emotions I then felt and still feel,
violence to the strong determination I then made to acknowledge all
his benefits, if I should neglect this opportunity to give a public,
grateful record of my sense of his goodness.

“The woman had buried that corn to keep it from the lazy crowd about
her, who would have devoured it in a moment, and in utter recklessness
of next year’s reliance. She did it when deaths by starvation and
sickness were occurring every day throughout the settlement. Had it not
been for her, I must have perished. From this circumstance I learned
to chide my hasty judgment against ALL the Indian race, and also, that
kindness is not always a stranger to the untutored and untamed bosom. I
saw in this that their savageness is as much a fruit of their ignorance
as of any want of a susceptibility to feel the throbbings of true
humanity, if they could be properly appealed to.

“By my own exertions I was able now to procure a little upon which to
nourish my half-starved stomach. By using about half of my seed corn,
and getting an occasional small dose of bitter, fermented oth-to-toa
soup, I managed to drag my life along to March, 1854. During this
month and April I procured a few small roots, at a long distance from
the village; also some fish from the lake. I took particular pains to
guard the little wheat garden that we had planted the autumn before,
and I also planted a few kernels of corn and some melon seeds. Day
after day I watched this little ‘mutautea,’ lest the birds might bring
upon me another winter like that now passed. In my absence Aespaneo
would watch it for me. As the fruit of my care and vigilant watching, I
gathered about one half bushel of corn, and about the same quantity of
wheat. My melons were destroyed.

“During the growing of this crop, I subsisted principally upon a small
root,[1] about the size of a hazel-nut, which I procured by traveling
long distances, with fish. Sometimes, after a long and fatiguing
search, I would procure a handful of these roots, and, on bringing them
to camp, was compelled to divide them with some stout, lazy monsters,
who had been sunning themselves all day by the river.

“I also came near losing my corn by the blackbirds. Driven by the
same hunger, seemingly, that was preying upon the human tribe, they
would fairly darken the air, and it was difficult to keep them off,
especially as I was compelled to be absent to get food for immediate
use. But they were not the only robbers I had to contend against.
There were some who, like our white loafers, had a great horror
of honest labor, and they would shun even a little toil, with a
conscientious abhorrence, at any hazard. They watched my little
corn-patch with hungry and thieving eyes, and, but for the chief,
would have eaten the corn green and in the ear. As harvest drew near
I watched, from before daylight until dark again, to keep off these
red vultures and the blackbirds from a spot of ground as large as an
ordinary dwelling-house. I had to do my accustomed share of musquite
gathering, also, in June and July. This we gathered in abundance. The
Colorado overflowed this winter and spring, and the wheat and corn
produced well, so that in autumn the tribe was better provided with
food than it had been for several years.

“The social habits of these Indians, and the traits of character on
which they are founded, and to which they give expression, may be
illustrated by a single instance as well as a thousand. The portion
of the valley over which the population extends, is about forty miles
long. Their convivial seasons were occasions of large gatherings,
tumultuous rejoicings, and (so far as their limited productions
would allow) of excess in feasting. The year 1854 was one of unusual
bounty and thrift. They planted more than usual; and by labor and the
overflow of the river, the seed deposited brought forth an unparalleled
increase. During the autumn of that year, the residents of the north
part of the valley set apart a day for feasting and merry-making.
Notice was given about four weeks beforehand; great preparations were
made, and a large number invited. Their supply for the appetite on
that day consisted of wheat, corn, pumpkins, beans, etc. These were
boiled, and portions of them mixed with ground seed, such as serececa,
(seed of a weed,) moeroco, (of pumpkins.) On the day of the feast the
Indians masked themselves, some with bark, some with paint, some with
skins. On the day previous to the feast, the Indians of our part of the
valley, who had been favored with an invitation, were gathered at the
house of the chief, preparatory to taking the trip in company to the
place of the feast. Some daubed their faces and hair with mud, others
with paint, so as to give to each an appearance totally different from
his or her natural state. I was told that I could go along with the
rest. This to me was no privilege, as I knew too well what cruelty and
violence they were capable of when excited, as on their days of public
gathering they were liable to be. However, I was safer there than with
those whom they left behind.

“The Indians went slowly, sometimes in regular, and sometimes in
irregular march, yelling, howling, singing, and gesticulating, until
toward night they were wrought up to a perfect phrenzy. They halted
about one mile from the “north settlement,” and after building a fire,
commenced their war-dance, which they kept up until about midnight. On
this occasion I witnessed some of the most shameful indecencies, on the
part of both male and female, that came to my eye for the five years of
my stay among Indians.

“The next morning the Indians who had prepared the feast (some of
whom had joined in the dance of the previous evening) came with their
squaws, each bearing upon their heads a Coopoesech, containing a cake,
or a stone dish filled with soup, or boiled vegetables. These cakes
were made of wheat, ground, and mixed with boiled pumpkins. This dough
was rolled out sometimes to two feet in diameter; then placed in hot
sand, a leaf and a layer of sand laid over the loaf, and a fire built
over the whole, until it was baked through. After depositing these
dishes, filled with their prepared dainties, upon a slight mound near
by, the whole tribe then joined in a war-dance, which lasted nearly
twelve hours. After this the dishes and their contents were taken
by our party and borne back to our homes, when and where feasting
and dancing again commenced, and continued until their supplies were
exhausted, and they from sheer weariness were glad to fly to the
embrace of sleep. It would be a ‘shame even to speak’ of all the
violence and indecency into which they plunged on these occasions.
Suffice it to say that no modesty, no sense of shame, no delicacy, that
throw so many wholesome hedges and limitations about the respective
sexes on occasions of conviviality where civilization elevates and
refines, were there to interfere with scenes the remembrance of which
creates a doubt whether these degraded bipeds belong to the human or
brute race.

“Thus ended _one_ of the many days of such performances that I
witnessed; and I found it difficult to decide whether most of barbarity
appeared in these, or at those seasons of wild excitement occasioned by
the rousing of their revengeful and brutal passions.

“Of all seasons during my captivity, these of concourse and excitement
most disgusted me with the untamed Indian. When I remember what my eyes
have witnessed, I am led to wonder and adore at my preservation for
a single year, or that my life was not brutalized, a victim to their

“I felt cheerful again, only when that loneliness and desolateness
which had haunted me since Mary’s death, would sadden and depress my
spirits. The same woman that had saved my life, and furnished me with
ground and seed to raise corn and wheat, and watched it for me for
many days, now procured from the chief a place where I might store
it, with the promise from him that every kernel should go for my own

It is not to go again over the melancholy events that have been
rehearsed in the last chapter, that we ask the reader to tarry for a
moment ere his eye begins to trace the remaining scenes of Olive’s
captivity, which furnish the next chapter, and in which we see her
under the light of a flickering, unsteady hope of a termination of her
captivity either by rescue or death.

But when in haste this chapter was penned for the first edition, it was
then, and has since been felt by the writer, that there was an interest
hanging about the events of the same, especially upon the closing days
and hours of little Mary’s brief life, that properly called, according
to the intent of this narrative, for a longer stay. A penning of mere
facts does not set forth, or glance at _all_ that clusters about that
pale, dying child as she lies in the door of the tent, the object of
the enchained curious attention of the savages, by whose cold neglect
the flower of her sweet life was thus nipped in the bud. And we feel
confident of sharing, to some extent, the feelings of the sensitive
and intelligent reader, when we state that the two years’ suffering,
by the pressure of which her life was arrested, and the circumstances
surrounding those dying moments, make up a record, than which seldom
has there been one that appeals to the tender sensibilities of our
being more directly, or to our serious consideration more profitably.

Look at these two girls in the light of the first camp-fire that glowed
upon the faces of themselves and their captors, the first dreary
evening of their captivity. By one hour’s cruel deeds and murder
they had suddenly been bereft of parents, brothers, and sisters, and
consigned to the complete control of a fiendish set of men, of the
cruelty of whose tender mercies they had already received the first and
unerring chapter. Look at them toiling day and night, from this on for
several periods of twenty-four hours, up rugged ascents, bruised and
whipped by the ruggedness of their way and the mercilessness of their
lords. Their strength failing; the distance between them and the home
and way of the white man increasing; the dreariness and solitude of the
region enbosoming them thickening; and each step brooded over by the
horrors left behind, and the worse horrors that sat upon the brightest
future that at the happiest rovings of fancy could be possibly

In imagination we lean out our souls to listen to the sobs and
sighs that went up from those hearts--hearts bleeding from wounds
and pains tenfold more poignant than those that lacerated and wrung
their quivering flesh. We look upon them, as with their captors they
encircle the wild light of the successive camp-fires, kindled for long
distant halts, upon their way to the yet unseen and dreaded home of the
“inhabitants of rocks and tents.” We look upon them as they are ushered
into their new home, greeted with the most inhuman and terror-kindling
reception given them by this unfeeling horde of land-sharks; thus to
look, imagine, and ponder, we find enough, especially when the _age_
and _circumstances_ of these captive girls are considered, to lash our
thoughts with indignation toward their oppressors, and kindle our minds
with more than we can express with the word _sympathy_ for these their
innocent victims.

In little less than one year, and into that year is crowded all of toil
and suffering that we can credit as possible for them to survive, and
then they are sold and again _en route_ for another new and strange
home, in a wild as distant from their Apache home as that from the hill
where, but a year before, in their warm flowing blood, their moaning,
mangled kindred had been left.

Scarcely had they reached the Mohave Valley ere the elder sister saw
with pain, the sad and already apparently irremovable effects of past
hardships upon the constitution of the younger. What tenderness, what
caution, what vigilant watching, what anxious, unrelieved solicitude
mark the conduct of that noble heart toward her declining and only
sister? Indeed, what interest prompted her to do all in her power to
preserve her life? Not only her only sister, but the only one (to her
then) that remained of the family from whom they had been ruthlessly
torn. And should her lamp of life cease, thereby would be extinguished
the last earthly solace and cordial for the dark prison life that
inclosed her, and that threw its walls of gloom and adamant between
her and the abodes and sunshine of civilized life. Yet death had
marked that little cherub girl for an early victim. Slowly, and yet
uncomplainingly, does her feeble frame and strength yield to the heavy
hand of woe and want that met her, in all the ghastliness and horror
of unchangeable doom, at every turn and hour of her weary days. What
mystery hangs upon events and persons! How impenetrable the permissions
of Providence! How impalpable and evasive of all our wisdom _that
secret power_, by which cherished plans and purposes are often shaped
to conclusions and terminations so wide of the bright design that
lighted them on to happy accomplishment in the mind of the mortal

Mary Ann had been the fondly cherished, and tenderly nursed idol of
that domestic group. Early had she exhibited a precocity in intellect,
and in moral sensitiveness and attainment, that had made her the
subject of a peculiar parental affection, and the ever cheerful
radiating center of light, and love, and happiness to the remainder
of the juvenile family. But she ever possessed a strength of body and
vigor of health far inferior, and disproportioned to her mental and
moral progress. She was a correct reader at four years. She was kept
almost constantly at school, both from her choice, and the promise she
gave to delighted parents of a future appreciation and good improvement
of these advantages. With the early exhibition of an earnest thirst for
knowledge that she gave, there was also a strict regard for truth, and
a hearty, happy obedience to the law of God and the authority of her
parents. At five years and a half she had read her Bible through. She
was a constant attendant upon Sabbath school, into all the exercises of
which she entered with delight; and to her rapid improvement and profit
in the subjects with which she there became intimate and identified,
may be attributed the moral superiority she displayed during her

She had a clear, sweet voice, and the children now live in this state
who have witnessed the earnestness and rapture with which she joined in
singing the hymns allotted to Sabbath-school hours. O how little of the
sad after-part of Mary’s life entered into the minds of those parents
as thus they directed the childish, tempted steps of their little
daughter into the paths of religious pursuits and obedience.

Who shall say that the facts in her childish experience and years
herein glanced at, had not essentially to do with the spirit and
preparedness that she brought to the encountering and enduring of the
terrible fate that closed her eyes among savages at eight years of age.

As we look at her fading, withering, and wasting at the touch of cold
cruelty, the object of anxious watchings and frequent and severe
painstaking on the part of her elder sister, who spared no labor or
fatigue to glean the saving morsel to prolong her sinking life, we can
but adore that never-sleeping Goodness that had strewn her way to this
dark scene with so many preparing influences and counsels.

Young as she was, she with her sister were first to voice those hymns
of praise to the one God, in which the grateful offerings of Christian
hearts go up to him, in the ear of an untutored and demoralized tribe
of savages. Hers was the first Christian death they ever witnessed,
perhaps the last; and upon her, as with composure and cheerfulness
(not the sullen submission of which they boast) she came down to the
vale of death, they gazed with every indication of an interest and
curiosity that showed the workings of something more than the ordinary
solemnities that had gathered them about the paling cheek and quivering
lip of members of their own tribe.

Precious girl! sweet flower! nipped in the bud by untimely and
rude blasts. Yet the fragrance of the ripe virtues that budded and
blossomed upon so tender and frail a stalk shall not die. If ever
the bright throng that flame near the throne would delight to cease
their song, descend and poise on steady wing to wait the last heaving
of a suffering mortal’s bosom, that at the parting breath they might
encircle the fluttering spirit and bear it to the bosom of God, it
was when thou didst, upon the breath of sacred song, joined in by
thy living sister, yield thy spirit to Him who kindly cut short thy
sufferings that he might begin thy bliss.

A Sabbath-school scholar, dying in an Indian camp, three hundred miles
from even the nearest trail of the white man, buoyed and gladdened by
bright visions of beatitudes that make her oblivious of present pain,
and long to enter upon the future estate to which a correct and earnest
instruction had been pointing!

Who can say but that there lives the little Mohave boy or girl, or the
youth who will yet live to rehearse in the ear of a listening American
auditory, and in a rough, uncouth jargon, the wondrous impression of
that hour upon his mind.

Already we see the arms of civilization embracing a small remnant of
that waning tribe, and among its revived records, though unwritten,
we find the death of the American captive in the door of the chief’s
“_Pasiado_.” When they gathered about her at that dying moment, many
were the curious questions with which some of them sought to ascertain
the secret of her (to them) strange appearance. The sacred hymns
learned in Sabbath school and at a domestic shrine, and upon which that
little spirit now breathed its devout emotions in the ear of God, were
inquired after. They asked her where she expected to go? She told them
that she was going to a better place than the mound to which they sent
the spirits of their dead. And many questions did they ask her and
her older sister as to the extent of the knowledge they had of such a
bright world, if one there was. And though replies to many of their
queries before had been met by mockings and ridicule, yet now not one
gazed, or listened, or questioned, to manifest any disposition to taunt
or accuse at the hour of that strange dying.

The wife of the chief plied her questions with earnestness, and with
an air of sincerity, and the exhibition of the most intense mental
agitation, showing that she was not wholly incredulous of the new and
strange replies she received.


One night a large company were assembled at the hut of one of the
sub-chiefs. It was said that this Indian, Adpadarama, was the
illegitimate son of the present chief, and there was considerable
dispute between him and two of the chief’s legitimate sons as to their
respective rights to the chiefship on the death of the father.

At the gathering referred to the following anecdote was related, which
is here given to show the strength of their superstitions, and the
unmitigated cruelties which are sometimes perpetrated by them under
the sanction of these barbaric beliefs. This sub-chief said that one
day, when he, in company with several of his relatives and two Cochopa
captives, was away in the mountains on a hunting-tour, his (reputed)
father fell violently sick. He grew worse for several days. One day
he was thought to be dying. “When I was convinced that he could not
live,” said Adpadarama, or to that effect, “I resolved to kill one of
the captives, and then wait until my father should die, when I would
kill the other. So I took a stone tomahawk and went out to the little
fire near the camping-tent, where they were eating some berries they
had just picked, and I told one of them to step out, for I was a going
to kill her to see if it would not save my father. Then she cried,”
(and at this he showed by signs, and frowns, and all manner of gestures
how delighted he was at her misery,) “and begged for her life. But I
went up to her and struck her twice with this tomahawk, when she fell
dead upon the ground. I then told the other that I should kill her so
soon as my father died; that I should burn them both with his body, and
then they would go to be his slaves up in yonder eliercha,” (pointing
to their heavenly hill.) “Well, about two days after my father died,
and I was mad to think that the killing of the captive had not saved
him. So I went straight and killed the other, but I killed her by
burning, so as to be sure that the flames should take her to my father
to serve him forever.”

Such are facts that dimly hint at the vague and atrocious theories that
crowd their brain and hold iron sway over their minds. And in all the
abominations and indecencies authorized by their superstitions, they
are not only prompt and faithful, but the more degrading and barbarous
the rite, the more does their zeal and enthusiasm kindle at its

Adpadarama said he burned, as soon as he returned, his father’s house,
and all his dishes, and utensils, and bark-garments, so that his father
might have them to contribute to his happiness where he had gone.


[1] I have several of these ground-nuts now in my possession.


  The Mohaves--Their Sports--An Expedition of Hostility against
    the Cochopas--Its Design--Tradition concerning it--The
    Preparation--Their Custom of Sacrificing a Prisoner on the Death
    in War of One of their own Number--The Anxiety of Olive--They
    depart--Their Return--The Fruit of the Expedition--The Five Cochopa
    Captives--Nowereha--Her Attempt to Escape--Her Recapture and
    Horrid Death--The Physicians--Evil Spirits--The Mohave Mode of
    Doctoring--The Yumas--“Francisco,” the Yuma Indian--Hopes of Escape.

“In the spring of 1854, the project of some exciting hostile expedition
against a distant tribe was agitated among the Mohaves. It was some
time before any but the ‘Council’ knew of the definite purpose of
the expedition. But when their plans had been laid, and all their
intentions circulated among the tribe, it proved to be one of war upon
the Cochopas, a large tribe seven hundred miles away. The Cochopas were
a tribe with whom the Mohaves had never been at peace. According to
tradition, this hostility had been kept actively flaming through all
past generations. And the Mohaves were relying with equal certainty
upon the truth of traditional prophecy that they were ultimately to
subject the Cochopas to their sway, or obliterate them. The Mohaves
had as yet been successful in every engagement. They were confident
of success, and this was all the glory their ambition was capable of
grasping. As for any intrinsic merit in the matter of the contest, none
was known to exist. About sixty warriors made preparations for a long
time to undertake the expedition.

“Bows and arrows and war-clubs were prepared in abundance, also
stone-knives. The war-club was made of a very solid wood that grew upon
the mountain. It was of a tree that they called ‘Cooachee,’ very hard
and heavy, and lost but very little of its weight in the seasoning

“Great preparations were also made by the squaws, though with much
reluctance, as most of them were opposed to the expedition, as they had
been also in the past to kindred ones. Those of them who had husbands
and brothers enlisted in the expedition, tried every expedient in
their power to dissuade them from it. They accused them of folly and a
mere lust of war, and prayed them not thus to expose their own lives
and the lives of their dependent ones. It was reported that since
the last attack upon them, the Cochopees had strengthened themselves
with numerous and powerful allies, by uniting several surrounding
tribes with themselves for purposes of war. This was pleaded by these
interested women against the present purpose, as they feared that this
distant tribe would be now able to avenge past injury, besides beating
the Mohaves in this projected engagement. But go they would, and on the
day of their departure there was a convocation of nearly the whole
tribe, and it was a time of wild, savage excitement and deep mourning.

“I soon learned, though by mere accident, that so far as life was
concerned, I had an interest in this expedition equal to that of the
most exposed among the warriors. It had been an unvarying custom among
them that if any of their number should be slain in battle, the lives
of prisoners or captives must be sacrificed therefor, up to the number
of the slain, (if that number should be among them,) and that in the
most torturing manner. This was not done to appease their gods, for
they had none, but was a gift to the spirits of the other spheres.
Their only theory about a Supreme Being is that there is a chief of all
the Indians who reigns in splendor and pomp, and that his reign is one
of wisdom and equity, and would last forever. They believed that at the
gate of their elysium a porter was in constant attendance, who received
all good, brave Indians, and welcomed them to immense hunting-grounds
and all manner of sensual pleasures; that if one sought admittance
there without a bow and hunting implements, he was to subsist as best
he could, for no provision was to be made for him after leaving his
tribe. Many were the questions they asked me after they had ascertained
what I believed concerning the nature of the heaven of which I spoke,
and the employments there. But generally they would wind up the
conversation with ridicule and mockings. When they saw me weep or in
trouble they would sometimes say: ‘Why don’t you look up and call your
great God out of the sky, and have him take you up there.’ But under
all this I could plainly see that their questions were not wholly
insincere. They frequently marveled, and occasionally one would say:
‘You whites are a singular people; I should like to know what you will
be when a great many moons have gone by?’ Sometimes they would say as
did the Apaches, that we must be fools for believing that heaven was
above the sky; that if it were so the people would drop down. One of
the squaws said tauntingly to me: ‘When you go to your heaven you had
better take a strong piece of bark and tie yourself up, or you will be
coming down among us again.’ After the soldiers had departed they told
me plainly that my life must pay for the first one that might be slain
during this contest.

“I had but a little before learned that we were not much further from
the white settlements than when among the Apaches, and had been fondly
hoping that as parties of the tribe occasionally made excursions to the
settlements, I might yet make my situation known and obtain relief. But
now I was shut up to the alternatives of either making an immediate
effort to escape, which would be sure to cost my life if detected,
or to wait in dreadful suspense the bare probability of none of these
soldiers being slain, as the only chance for myself if I remained.

“The report of the strengthening of the Cochopas since their last
expedition gave me reason to fear the worst. Thus for a long time,
and just after having reached a bright place (if such there can be in
such a situation) in my captivity, I was thrown into the gloomiest
apprehensions for my life. I could not calculate upon life; I did not.

“For five months not a night did I close my eyes for a troubled sleep,
or wake in the morning but last and first were the thoughts of the
slender thread upon which my life was hung. The faint prospect in which
I had been indulging, that their plans of increasing traffic with the
Mexicans and whites might open the doors for my return, was now nearly

“I had been out one fine day in August several miles gathering roots
for the chief’s family, and returning a little before sunset, as I came
in sight of the village I saw an Indian at some distance beyond the
town descending a hill to the river from the other side. He was so far
away that it was impossible for me to tell whether he was a Yuma or a
Mohave. These two tribes were on friendly terms, and frequent ‘criers’
or news-carriers passed between them. I thought at once of the absent
warriors, and of my vital interest in the success or failure of their
causeless, barbarous crusade. I soon saw that he was a Mohave, and
tremblingly believed that I could mark him as one of the army.

“With trembling and fear I watch his hastened though evidently wearied
pace. He went down into the river and as he rose again upon the bank
I recognized him. ‘He is wearied,’ I said, ‘and jogs heavily along as
though he had become nearly exhausted from long travel. Why can he be
coming in alone?’ Questions of this character played across my mind,
and were asked aloud by me ere I was aware, each like a pointed javelin
lashing and tormenting my fears. ‘Have the rest all perished?’ again I
exclaimed; ‘at any rate the decisive hour has come with me.’

“I stopped; my approach to the village had not been observed. I
resolved to wait and seek to cover one desperate effort to escape
under the first shades of night. I threw myself flat upon the ground;
I looked in every direction; mountain chains were strung around me on
every side like bulwarks of adamant, and if trails led through them I
knew them not. I partly raised myself up. I saw that Indian turn into a
hut upon the outskirts of the town. In a few moments the ‘criers’ were
out and bounding to the river and to the foot hills. Each on his way
started others, and soon the news was flying as on telegraphic wires.
‘_But what news?_’ I could but exclaim. I started up and resolved to
hasten to our hut and wait in silence the full returns.

“I could imagine that I saw my doom written in the countenance of every
Mohave I met. But each one maintained a surly reserve or turned upon
me a sarcastic smile. A crowd was gathering fast, but not one word was
let fall for my ear. In total, awful silence I looked, I watched, I
guessed, but dared not speak. It seemed that every one was reading and
playing with my agitation. Soon the assemblage was convened, a fire was
lighted, and ‘Ohitia’ rose up to speak; I listened, and my heart seemed
to leap to my mouth as he proceeded to state, in substance, thus:
‘Mohaves have triumphed; five prisoners taken; all on their way; none
of our men killed; they will be in to-morrow!’

“Again one of the blackest clouds that darkened the sky of my Mohave
captivity broke, and the sunshine of gladness and gratitude was upon
my heart. Tears of gratitude ran freely down my face. I buried my face
in my hands and silently thanked God. I sought a place alone, where
I might give full vent to my feelings of thanksgiving to my heavenly
Father. I saw his goodness, in whose hands are the reins of the wildest
battle storm, and thanked him that this expedition, so freighted with
anxiety, had issued so mercifully to me.

“The next day four more came in with the captives, and in a few days
all were returned, without even a scar to tell of the danger they had
passed. The next day after the coming of the last party, a meeting of
the whole tribe was called, and one of the most enthusiastic rejoicing
seasons I ever witnessed among them it was. It lasted, indeed, for
several days. They danced, sung, shouted, and played their corn-stalk
flutes until for very weariness they were compelled to refrain. It
was their custom never to eat salted meat for the next moon after the
coming of a captive among them. Hence our salt fish were for several
days left to an undisturbed repose.

“Among the captives they had stolen from the unoffending Cochopas, and
brought in with them, was a handsome, fair complexioned young woman, of
about twenty-five years of age. She was as beautiful an Indian woman
as I have ever seen; tall, graceful, and ladylike in her appearance.
She had a fairer, lighter skin than the Mohaves or the other Cochopa
captives. But I saw upon her countenance and in her eyes the traces of
an awful grief. The rest of the captives appeared well and indifferent
about themselves.

“This woman called herself ‘Nowereha.’ Her language was as foreign to
the Mohaves as the American, except to the few soldiers that had been
among them. The other captives were girls from twelve to sixteen years
old; and while they seemed to wear a ‘don’t care’ appearance, this
Nowereha was perfectly bowed down with grief. I observed she tasted
but little food. She kept up a constant moaning and wailing, except
when checked by the threats of her boastful captors. I became very
much interested in her, and sought to learn the circumstances under
which she had been torn from her home. Of her grief I thought I knew
something. She tried to converse with me.

“With much difficulty I learned of her what had happened since the
going of the Mohave warriors among her tribe, and this fully explained
her extreme melancholy. Their town was attacked in the night by the
Mohave warriors, and after a short engagement the Cochopas were put
to flight; the Mohaves hotly pursued them. Nowereha had a child about
two months old; but after running a short distance her husband came up
with her, grasped the child, and run on before. This was an act showing
a humaneness that a Mohave warrior did not possess, for he would have
compelled his wife to carry the child, he kicking her along before him.
She was overtaken and captured.

“For one week Nowereha wandered about the village by day, a perfect
image of desperation and despair. At times she seemed insane: she slept
but little at night. The thieving, cruel Mohaves who had taken her, and
were making merry over her griefs, knew full well the cause of it all.
They knew that without provocation they had robbed her of her child,
and her child of its mother. They knew the attraction drawing her back
to her tribe, and they watched her closely. But no interest or concern
did they manifest save to mock and torment her.

“Early one morning it was noised through the village that Nowereha was
missing. I had observed her the day before, when the chief’s daughter
gave her some corn, to take part of the same, after grinding the rest,
to make a cake and hide it in her dress. When these captives were
brought in, they were assigned different places through the valley
at which to stop. Search was made to see if she had not sought the
abiding-place of some of her fellow-captives. This caused some delay,
which I was glad to see, though I dared not express my true feelings.

“When it was ascertained that she had probably undertaken to return,
every path and every space dividing the immediate trails was searched,
to find if possible some trace to guide a band of pursuers. A large
number were stationed in different parts of the valley, and the most
vigilant watch was kept during the night, while others started in quest
of her upon the way they supposed she had taken to go back. When I saw
a day and night pass in these fruitless attempts, I began to hope for
the safety of the fugitive. I had seen enough of her to know that she
was resolved and of unconquerable determination. Some conjectured that
she had been betrayed away; others that she had drowned herself, and
others that she had taken to the river and swam away. They finally
concluded that she had killed herself, and gave up the search, vowing
that if she had fled they would yet have her and be avenged.

“Just before night, several days after this, a Yuma Indian came
suddenly into camp, driving this Cochopa captive. She was the most
distressed-looking being imaginable when she returned. Her hair
disheveled, her few old clothes torn, (they were woolen clothes,) her
eyes swollen, and every feature of her noble countenance distorted.

“‘Criers’ were kept constantly on the way between the Mohaves and
Yumas, bearing news from tribe to tribe. These messengers were their
news-carriers and sentinels. Frequently two criers were employed,
(sometimes more,) one from each tribe. These would have their
meeting-stations. At these stations these criers would meet with
promptness, and by word of mouth each would deposit his store of news
with his fellow-expressman, and then each would return to his own
tribe with the news. When the news was important, or was of a warning
character, as in time of war, they would not wait for the fleet foot of
the ‘runner,’ but had their signal fires well understood, which would
telegraph the news hundreds of miles in a few hours. One of these Yuma
criers, about four days after the disappearance of Nowereha, was coming
to his station on the road connecting these two tribes, when he spied
a woman under a shelf of the rock on the opposite side of the river.
He immediately plunged into the stream and went to her. He knew the
tribe to which she belonged, and that the Mohaves had been making war
upon them. He immediately started back with her to the Mohave village.
It was a law to which they punctually lived, to return all fleeing
fugitives or captives of a friendly tribe.

“It seemed that she had concealed that portion of the corn meal she did
not bake, with a view of undertaking to escape.

“When she went out that night she plunged immediately into the river
to prevent them from tracking her. She swam several miles that night,
and then hid herself in a willow wood; thinking that they would be in
close pursuit, she resolved to remain there until they should give up
hunting for her. Here she remained nearly two days, and her pursuers
were very near her several times. She then started, and swam where the
river was not too rapid and shallow, when she would out and bound over
the rocks. In this way, traveling only in the night, she had gone near
one hundred and thirty miles. She was, as she supposed, safely hid in a
cave, waiting the return of night, when the Yuma found her.

“On her return another noisy meeting was called, and they spent the
night in one of their _victory_ dances. They would dance around her,
shout in her ears, spit in her face, and show their threats of a
murderous design, assuring her that they would soon have her where she
would give them no more trouble by running away.

“The next morning a post was firmly placed in the ground, and about
eight feet from the ground a cross-beam was attached. They then drove
large, rough wooden spikes through the palms of poor Nowereha’s hands,
and by these they lifted her to the cross and drove the spikes into the
soft wood of the beam, extending her hands as far as they could. They
then, with pieces of bark stuck with thorns, tied her head firmly back
to the upright post, drove spikes through her ankles, and for a time
left her in this condition.

“They soon returned, and placing me with their Cochopa captives near
the sufferer, bid us keep our eyes upon her until she died. This they
did, as they afterward said, to exhibit to me what I might expect if
they should catch me attempting to escape. They then commenced running
round Nowereha in regular circles, hallooing, stamping, and taunting
like so many demons, in the most wild and frenzied manner. After a
little while several of them supplied themselves with bows and arrows,
and at every circlet would hurl one of these poisoned instruments of
death into her quivering flesh. Occasionally she would cry aloud, and
in the most pitiful manner. This awakened from that mocking, heartless
crowd the most deafening yells.


“She hung in this dreadful condition for over two hours ere I was
certain she was dead, all the while bleeding and sighing, her body
mangled in the most shocking manner. When she would cry aloud they
would stuff rags in her mouth, and thus silence her. When they were
quite sure she was dead, and that they could no longer inflict pain
upon her, they took her body to a funeral pile and burned it.

“I had before this thought, since I had come to know of the vicinity
of the whites, that I would get some knowledge of the way to their
abodes by means of the occasional visits the Mohaves made to them, and
make my escape. But this scene discouraged me, however, and each day I
found myself, not without hope it is true, but settling down into such
contentment as I could with my lot. For the next eighteen months during
which I was witness to their conduct, these Mohaves took more care and
exercised more forethought in the matter of their food. They did not
suffer, and seemed to determine not to suffer the return of a season
like 1852.

“I saw but little reason to expect anything else than the spending of
my years among them, and I had no anxiety that they should be many.
I saw around me none but savages, and (dreadful as was the thought)
among whom I must spend my days. There were some with whom I had
become intimately acquainted, and from whom I had received humane and
friendly treatment, exhibiting real kindness. I thought it best now
to conciliate the best wishes of all, and by every possible means to
avoid all occasions of awakening their displeasure, or enkindling their
unrepentant, uncontrollable temper and passions.

“There were some few for whom I began to feel a degree of attachment.
Every spot in that valley that had any attraction, or offered a retreat
to the sorrowing soul, had become familiar, and upon much of its
adjacent scenery I delighted to gaze. Every day had its monotony of
toil, and thus I plodded on.

“To escape seemed impossible, and to make an unsuccessful attempt would
be worse than death. Friends or kindred to look after or care for me,
I had none, as I then supposed. I thought it best to receive my daily
allotment with submission, and not darken it with a borrowed trouble;
to merit and covet the good-will of my captors, whether I received it
or not. At times the past, with all its checkered scenes, would roll up
before me, but all of it that was most deeply engraven upon my mind was
that which I would be soonest to forget if I could. Time seemed to take
a more rapid flight; I hardly could wake up to the reality of so long
a captivity among savages, and really imagined myself happy for short

“I considered my age, my sex, my exposure, and was again in trouble,
though to the honor of these savages let it be said, they never offered
the least unchaste abuse to me.

“During the summer of 1855 I was eye-witness to another illustration
of their superstition, and of its implacability when appealed to. The
Mohaves had but a simple system or theory of medicine. They divide
disease into spiritual and physical, or at least they used terms that
conveyed such an impression as this to my mind. The latter they treated
mainly to an application of their medical leaf, generally sweating
the patient by wrapping him in blankets and placing him over the
steam from these leaves warmed in water. For the treatment of their
spiritual or more malignant diseases they have physicians. All diseases
were ranked under the latter class that had baffled the virtue of the
medical leaf, and that were considered dangerous.

“In the summer of 1855 a sickness prevailed to a considerable extent,
very much resembling in its workings the more malignant fevers. Several
died. Members of the families of two of the sub-chiefs were sick,
and their physicians were called. These ‘M.D.s’ were above the need
of pills, and plasters, and powders, and performed their cures by
manipulations, and all manner of contortions of their own bodies, which
were performed with loud weeping and wailing of the most extravagant
kind over the sick. They professed to be in league and intimacy with
the spirits of the departed, and from whose superior knowledge and
position they were guided in all their curative processes. Two of these
were called to the sick bedside of the children of these chiefs. They
wailed and wrung their hands, and twisted themselves into all manner of
shapes over them for some time, but it was in vain, the patients died.
They had lost several patients lately, and already their medical repute
was low in the market. Threats had already followed them from house to
house, as their failures were known. After the death of these children
of rank, vengeance was sworn upon them, as they were accused of having
bargained themselves to the evil spirits for purpose of injury to the
tribe. They knew of their danger and hid themselves on the other side
of the river. For several days search was made, but in vain. They had
relatives and friends who kept constant guard over them. But such was
the feeling created by the complainings of those who had lost children
and friends by their alleged conspiracy with devils, that the tribe
demanded their lives, and the chief gave orders for their arrest. But
their friends managed in a sly way to conceal them for some time,
though they did not dare to let their managery be known to the rest of
the tribe. They were found, arrested, and burned alive.

“The Mohaves believe that when their friends die they depart to a
certain high hill in the western section of their territory. That they
there pursue their avocation free from the ills and pains of their
present life, if they had been good and brave. But they held that all
cowardly Indians (and bravery was _the_ good with them) were tormented
with hardships and failures, sickness and defeats. This hill or hades,
they never dared visit. It was thronged with thousands who were ready
to wreak vengeance upon the mortal who dared intrude upon this sacred

“Up to the middle of February, 1856, nothing occurred connected with
my allotment that would be of interest to the reader. One day as I was
grinding musquite near the door of our dwelling, a lad came running up
to me in haste, and said that Francisco, a Yuma crier, was on his way
to the Mohaves, and that he was coming to try and get me away to the
whites. The report created a momentary strange sensation, but I thought
it probably was a rumor gotten up by these idlers (as they were wont
to do) merely to deceive and excite me to their own gratification. In
a few moments, however, the report was circulating on good authority,
and as a reality. One of the sub-chiefs came in said that a Yuma
Indian, named Francisco, was now on his way with positive orders for my
immediate release and safe return to the fort.

“I knew that there were white persons at Fort Yuma, but did not know my
distance from the place. I knew, too, that intercourse of some kind was
constantly kept up with the Yumas and the tribes extending that way,
and thought that they had perhaps gained traces of my situation by this
means. But as yet I had nothing definite upon which to place confidence.

“I saw in a few hours that full credit was given to the report by the
Mohaves, for a sudden commotion was created, and it was enkindling
excitement throughout the settlement. The report spread over the valley
with astonishing speed, by means of their criers, and a crowd was
gathering, and the chiefs and principal men were summoned to a council
by their head ‘Aespaniola,’ with whom I stayed. Aespaniola was a tall,
strongly built man, active and generally happy. He seemed to possess
a mildness of disposition and to maintain a gravity and seriousness
in deportment that was rare among them. He ruled a council (noisy as
they sometimes were) with an ease and authority such as but few Indians
can command, if the Mohaves be a fair example. This council presented
the appearance of an aimless convening of wild maniacs, more than that
of _men_, met to deliberate. I looked upon the scene as a silent but
narrowly watched spectator, but was not permitted to be in the crowd or
to hear what was said.

“I knew the declared object of the gathering, and was the subject of
most anxious thoughts as to its issue and results. I thought I saw upon
the part of some of them, a designed working of themselves into a mad
phrenzy, as if preparatory to some brutal deed. I queried whether yet
the report was not false; and also as to the persons who had sent the
reported message, and by whom it might be conveyed. I tried to detect
the prevailing feeling among the most influential of the council, but
could not. Sometimes I doubted whether all this excitement could have
been gotten up on the mere question of my return to the whites.

“For some time past they had manifested but little watchfulness, care,
or concern about me. But still, though I was debarred from the council,
I had heard enough to know that it was only about me and the reported
demand for my liberty.

“In the midst of the uproar and confusion the approach of Francisco
was announced. The debate suddenly ceased, and it was a matter of much
interest to me to be able to mark, as I did, the various manifestations
by which different ones received him.

“Some were sullen, and would hardly treat him with any cordiality;
others were indifferent, and with a shake of the head would say,
‘Degee, degee, ontoa, ontoa,’ (I don’t care for the captive;) others
were angry, and advised that he be kept out of the council and driven
back at once; others were dignified and serious.

“I saw Francisco enter the council, and I was at once seized by two
Indians and bade be off to another part of the village. I found myself
shut up alone, unattended, unprotected. A message as from a land of
light had suddenly broken in upon my dark situation, and over it, and
also over my destiny; the most intense excitement was prevailing, more
vehement, if possible, than any before, and I denied the privilege of a
plea or a word to turn the scale in favor of my rights, my yearnings,
my hopes, or my prayers.

“I did pray God then to rule that council. My life was again hung up
as upon a single hair. The most of my dread for the present was, that
these savages of untamed passions would become excited against my
release, and enraged that the place of my abode had been found out. I
feared and trembled for my fate, and could not sleep. For three days
and most of three nights this noisy council continued; at times the
disputants became angry (as Francisco afterward told me) as rival
opinions and resolutions fired their breasts. As yet I knew not by what
means my locality had become known, or who had sent the demand; nor did
I know as yet that anything more than a word of mouth message had been


  Lorenzo Oatman--His Stay at Fort Yuma--Goes with Dr. Hewit to San
    Francisco--His constant Misery on Account of his Sisters--Dark
    Thoughts--Cold Sympathy--Goes to the Mines--Resolves to go to
    Los Angeles to learn if possible of his Sisters--His earnest but
    fruitless Endeavors--The Lesson--Report brought by Mr. Roulit of
    two Captives among the Mohaves--The false Report of Mr. Black--Mr.
    Grinell--Petitions the Governor--Petitions Congress--The Report of
    the Rescue of Olive--Mr. Low.

We now ask the reader to trace with us for a few pages, a brief account
of the movements and efforts (mainly by her brother) by which this
scene had been waked up in the captive home of Miss Olive, and that
had extended this new opening for her rescue. In chapter third we left
Lorenzo disabled, but slowly recovering from the effect of his bruises,
at Fort Yuma. Of the kindness of Dr. Hewit we there spoke.

We here give a narrative of the winding, care-thorned course of the boy
of scarce fifteen years, for the next five years, and the ceaseless
toil and vigilance he exercised to restore those captive sisters; as we
have received the items from his own mouth. It is worth the painstaking
that its perusal will cost, showing as it does, a true affection and
regard for his kindred, while the discretion and perseverance by which
his promptings were guided would do honor to the man of thirty.

He was at Fort Yuma three months, or nearly that time. Dr. Hewit
continued to watch over him up to San Francisco, and until he went
East, and then provided for him a home. Besides, he did all in his
power to aid him in ascertaining some traces of his sisters. At
the fort Lorenzo knew that his sisters were captives. He entreated
Commander Heinsalman, as well as did others, to make some effort
to regain them, but it was vain that he thus pleaded for help. The
officers and force at the fort were awake to the reasonableness and
justice of his plea. Some of them anxiously longed to make a thorough
search for them. They were not permitted to carry the exposed family
bread and needed defense, but had been out and seen the spot where they
had met a cruel death, and now they longed to follow the savage Apache
to his hiding-place, break the arm of the oppressor, and if possible,
rescue the living spoil they had taken. The short time of absence
granted to Lieutenant Maury and Captain Davis, though well filled up
and faithfully, could not reach the distant captives.

At times this brother resolved to arm himself, and take a pack of
provisions and start, either to accomplish their rescue or die with
them. But this step would have only proved a short road to one of
their funeral piles. In June of this year the entire force was removed
from the fort to San Diego, except about a dozen men to guard the
ferrymen. On the 26th of June, with Dr. Hewit, Lorenzo came to San
Francisco. After Dr. Hewit had left for the States he began to reflect
on his loneliness, and more deeply than ever upon his condition and
that of his sisters. Sometimes he would stray upon the hills at night
in the rear of the city, so racked with despair and grief as to
determine upon taking his own life, if he could not secure the rescue
of the captives. He found the stirring, throbbing life of San Francisco
beating almost exclusively to the impulses of gold-hunting. Of
acquaintances he had none, nor did he possess any desire to make them.

“Often,” he says, “have I strolled out upon these sidewalks and
traveled on until I was among the hills to which these streets
conducted me, to the late hour of the night, stung by thinking and
reflecting upon the past and present of our family kingdom.” He was
given employment by the firm in whose care he had been left by Dr.
Hewit. He soon found that tasks were assigned him in the wholesale
establishment beyond his years and strength. He seriously injured
himself by lifting, and was compelled to leave. “This I regretted,” he
says, “for I found non-employment a misery.”

Every hour his mind was still haunted by the _one all-absorbing theme_!
His sisters, his own dear sisters, spirit of his spirit, and blood of
his blood, were in captivity. For aught he knew, they were suffering
cruelties and abuse worse than death itself, at the hands of their
captors. He could not engage steadily in any employment. Dark and
distressing thoughts were continually following him. No wonder that
he would often break out with utterances like these: “O my God! must
they there remain? Can there be no method devised to rescue them? Are
they still alive, or have they suffered a cruel death? I will know if I

He had no disposition to make acquaintances, unless to obtain sympathy
and help for the one attempt that from the first he had meditated; no
temptation to plunge into vice to drown his trouble, for he only lived
to see them rescued, if yet alive.

Thus three years passed away, some of the time in the mines and a
portion of it in the city. Frequently his sadness was noticed, and
its cause kindly inquired after, upon which he would give an outline
of the circumstances that had led to his present uncheered condition.
Some would weep and manifest much anxiety to do something to aid him in
the recovery of his lost kindred; others would wonder and say nothing;
others--_strangers!_--were sometimes incredulous, and scoffed. He knew
that the route by which he had reached this country was still traveled
by emigrants, and he resolved upon going to Los Angeles with the hope
that he might there obtain some knowledge of the state of things in
the region of Fort Yuma. Accordingly, in October of 1854, he started
for that place, and resolved there to stay until he might obtain some
traces of his sisters, if it should take a whole lifetime. He found
there those who had lately passed over the road, and some who had
spent a short time at the stopping-places so sadly familiar to him. He
inquired, and wrote letters, and used all diligence (as some persons
now in that region, and others in San Francisco can bear witness) to
accomplish the one end of all his care. He worked by the month a part
of the time to earn a living, and spent the remainder in devising and
setting on foot means to explore the region lying about Fort Yuma
and beyond. Thus, in the most miserable state of mind, and in utter
fruitlessness of endeavor, passed away almost a year. During the spring
of 1855 several emigrants came by this trail. Of them he could learn
nothing, only that they had heard at Fort Yuma of the fate of the
“family of Oatmans.”

One company there was who told him of a Mr. Grinell, a carpenter at
Fort Yuma, who had told them that he knew of the massacre of the Oatman
family, and of the captivity of the girls, and that he intended to do
all in his power to recover them. He said that their brother, who was
left for dead, was now alive, and at Los Angeles; that a letter had
been received at the fort from him concerning his sisters, and that
he should exert himself to find them out and rescue them. This Mr.
Grinell also stated that he had come to Fort Yuma in 1853, and had
been making inquiries of the Yumas ever since concerning these captive
girls. Beyond this, no ray of light broke upon the thickening gloom
of that despairing brother. He tried to raise companions to attend
him in the pursuit of them to the mountains. At one time names were
registered, and all preparations made by a large company of volunteers,
who were going out for this purpose, but a trivial circumstance broke
up the anticipated expedition and frustrated the whole plan. And at
other times other kindred plans were laid, and well-nigh matured, but
some unforeseen occasion for postponement or abandonment would suddenly
come up. He found friends, and friends to the cherished ambition of his
heart, in whom flowed the currents of a true and positive sympathy, and
who were ready to peril life in assisting him in the consummation of
his life-object. And often he found this concealed under the roughest
garb, while sometimes smooth words and a polished exterior proffered no
means of help beyond mere appearance.

He says: “I learned, amid the harassings of that year two things: 1.
That men did not come across the plains to hunt captives among the
Indians; 2. That a true sympathy is oftenest found among those who
have themselves also suffered.” He found that to engage an ally in an
undertaking dictated by pity for suffering friends, one must go among
those who have felt the pang of kindred ills. Often, when he thought
all was ready to start with an engaged party to scour the Apache
country, did he find some trifling excuse called in to cover a retreat
from an undertaking with which these subjects of a “show sympathy” had
no _real_ interest from the first. Thus he came to learn human nature,
but was not discouraged. Could we turn upon these pages the full tide
of the heart-yearnings and questionings that struggled in that young
man’s heart, by daylight, by twilight, by moonlight, as he strolled
(as often he did) for reflection upon old ocean’s shore, on the sandy
beach, in the wood, it might cause the heart of the reader to give heed
to the tales of true grief that daily strew his way, and kindle a just
contempt for a _mere artificial sympathy_.

The year 1855 found him undaunted, still pressing on to the dictates of
_duty to his beloved sisters_. Every failure and mishap but kindled his
zeal anew. Parties of men organized late in 1855 to hunt gold on the
Mohave River, about one hundred miles from San Bernardino. He joined
several of these, with the promise from men among them that they would
turn their excursion into a hunt for his kindred. Once he succeeded in
getting as far as, and even beyond (though further north) Fort Yuma.
But still he could not prevail upon a sufficient number to go as far
as the Apache country to make it safe to venture. Many would say that
his sisters were dead, and it was useless to hunt them. He joined
surveying parties with this same one object in view. In 1855 a force
equal to the one that was there in 1851 was again at Fort Yuma, and
several of the same officers and men. The place of Commander Heinsalman
had been filled by another man. In December, 1855, a party of five
men resolved to join Mr. Oatman and search for his sisters until some
definite knowledge of them might be obtained. They spent several weeks
south and west of Fort Yuma, and had returned to San Bernardino to
re-supply themselves with provisions for a trip further north.

While at this place Lorenzo received a letter from a friend residing
at the Monte, and stating that a Mr. Rowlit had just come in across
the plains; that he spent some time at Fort Yuma, and there learned
from the officers that, through the Yuma Indians, Mr. Grinell had
gathered intimations of the fact of there being two white girls among
the Mohaves, and that these Yumas had stated that they were a part of
a family who had been attacked, and some of them murdered, in 1851,
by the Apaches. That the Apaches had since sold these girls to the
Mohaves. “This letter,” says Lorenzo, “I wet with my tears. I thought
of that little Mary Ann, of the image that my last look into her face
had left, and then of Olive. I began to reckon up their present age,
and the years of dark captivity that had passed over them. Can they
yet be alive? May I yet see them? Will God help me?”

Lorenzo reached the Monte, after traveling all night, the next day
about seven A. M. He saw Mr. Rowlit, and found the contents of the
letter corroborated by him. He prepared a statement of the facts,
and sent them to the “Los Angeles Star.” These the editor published,
kindly accompanying them by some well-timed and stirring remarks. This
awakened an interest that the community had not felt before. While this
was yet alive in the hearts and mouths of the people, a Mr. Black came
into town, just from the East, by way of Fort Yuma. He stated that two
girls were among the Mohaves, and that the chief had offered them to
the officers at the fort for a mere nominal price, but that Commander
Burke had refused to make the purchase. Of this statement Lorenzo knew
nothing until he had seen it in the “Star.” This threw a shade upon his
mind, and gave him to think less of poor humanity than ever before. He
found that but few placed any reliance upon the report. Mr. Black was
well known in that vicinity, and those who knew him best were disposed
to suspend judgment until the statement should be supported by other

The editor of the “Star” had published the report with the best
intentions, giving his authority. This report reached the fort, and
created a great deal of sensation. They sent the editor a letter
denying the truthfulness of the report, and requesting him to publish
it, which he did. Accompanying the letter was a statement confirming
the existence of a report at the fort of reliable intimations of the
two girls being among the Mohaves, but that no offer had been made of
delivering them up to the whites on any terms.

During this time Lorenzo had drawn up a petition, and obtained a large
number of signers, praying of the Governor of California means and
men to go and rescue his captive sisters. This was sent to Governor
Johnson, at Sacramento, and the following reply was received:

      “SACRAMENTO, CAL., _Jan’y 29, 1856_.

 “MR. LORENZO D. OATMAN. SIR,--A petition signed by yourself and
 numerous residents of the County of Los Angeles has been presented to
 me, asking assistance of ‘men and means’ to aid in the recovery of
 your sister, a captive among the Mohave tribe of Indians. It would
 afford me great pleasure, indeed, to render the desired assistance,
 were it in my power so to do. But by the constitution and laws of this
 state I have not the authority conferred on me to employ either ‘men
 or means’ to render this needful assistance; but will be most happy
 to co-operate in this laudable undertaking in any consistent way that
 may be presented. I would, however, suggest that through the general
 government the attention of the Indian Department being called to the
 subject, would more likely crown with success such efforts as might
 be necessary to employ in attempting the rescue of the unfortunate

    “Very respectfully your obedient servant,


Accordingly, and in accordance with the above suggestion, a preamble
stating the facts, and a petition numerously signed, was drawn up
and left at the office at the Steamer Landing to be forwarded to
Washington. “Two days after,” says Lorenzo, “I had resigned myself to
patient waiting for a return of that petition, and went to work at some
distance from the Monte in the woods.” He was still musing upon the
one object of the last five years’ solicitude. A new light had broken
in upon his anxious heart. He had now some reliable information of the
probable existence, though in a barbarous captivity, of those who were
bound to him by the strongest ties.

He was left now to hope for their rescue, but not without painful fears
lest something might yet intervene to prevent the realization of his
new expectations. While thus engaged, alone and in the solitude of his
thoughts, as well as of the wilderness, a friend rode up to him, and
without speaking handed him a copy of the “Los Angeles Star,” pointing
at the same time to a notice contained in it. He opened it, and read as

“_An American Woman rescued from the Indians!_--A woman, giving her
name as Miss Olive Oatman, has been recently rescued from the Mohaves,
and is now at Fort Yuma.”

After getting this short note he took a horse and went immediately to
Los Angeles. He went to the editor, and found that a letter had been
received by him from Commander Burke, at Fort Yuma, stating that a
young woman, calling herself “Olive Oatman,” had been recently brought
into the fort by a Yuma Indian, who had been rescued from the Mohave
tribe; also stating to the editor that she had a brother who had lately
been in this vicinity, and requesting the editor to give the earliest
possible notice to that brother of the rescue of his sister. Lorenzo

“I requested him to let me see the letter, which he did. When I came
to the facts contained in it concerning my sister, I could read
no further; I was completely overcome. I laughed, I cried, I half
doubted, I believed. It did not seem to be a reality. I now thought I
saw a speedy realization, in part, of my long cherished hopes. I saw
no mention of Mary Ann, and at once concluded that the first report
obtained by way of Fort Yuma, by Yuma Indians, was probably sadly true,
that but one was alive. Too well founded were the fears I then had that
poor Mary Ann had died among the savages, either by disease or cruelty.

“I was without money or means to get to the fort; but there were
those who from the first had cherished a deep and active sympathy
with me, and who were ready to do all in their power to aid me in my
sorrow-strewn efforts for enslaved kindred.

“This same Mr. Low who had rode from Los Angeles to me near the Monte,
kindly told me that he would assist me to obtain animals and get them
ready for me, and that he would accompany me to Fort Yuma.”

Thus outfitted, though not without much trembling and anxiety,
questioning as to the certainty and reality of the reports, and of the
rescued person really being his sister, yet feeling _it must be true_;
with good hope he and Mr. Low were away early on the bright morning of
the 10th of March for Fort Yuma, a distance of two hundred and fifty


  Francisco goes over the River, and spends the Night--Persuades
    some of the Sub-Chiefs to apply again for Permission to let
    Olive go free--His Threats--The Chiefs return with him--Secret
    Council--Another General Council--Danger of a Fight among
    themselves--Francisco has a Letter from the Whites--Olive
    present--Francisco gains Permission to give her the Letter--Its
    Contents--Much alarmed--Speeches of the Indians--Advice to kill
    their Captive--Determine to release her--Daughter of the Chief goes
    with them--Their Journey--At Fort Yuma.

For a long time Olive had been apprised of the fact that intercourse
had been kept up between the Mohaves and the whites, as articles had
been brought in, from time to time, that she knew must have been
obtained from white settlements, either by plunder or purchase. These
were brought in by small parties, one of whom would frequently be
absent several days or weeks at a time.

She saw in these the evidences that she was within reach still of the
race to which she belonged; and often would gaze with interest and
curiosity upon some old tattered garment that had been brought in,
until the remembrances and associations it would awaken would bring
tears and sighs to end the bitter meditations upon that brighter and
happier people, now no longer hers. She ventured to ask questions
concerning these trips, and the place where they found the whites; but
all her anxious queries were met by threats and taunts, or a long,
gibberish dissertation upon the perfidy of the whites, india-rubber
stories upon the long distance of the whites away, or a restatement
of their malignant hate toward them, and of their purpose to use the
knowledge they might gain by these professed friendly visits to their
ultimate overthrow, by treachery and deceit. They even professed to
disbelieve the statements that had so long deceived them concerning
the numerical strength of the whites, and to believe that the few of
them yet remaining could and would be overcome and extinguished by the
combined power of the Indian tribes, that at no distant day would be
directed against them.

The chief’s daughter, however, ventured to tell Olive, under injunction
of secrecy, that some of their number knew well and had frequently
traversed the road leading to white settlements; but that it was an
immense distance, and that none but Indians could find it; besides that
it was guarded by vigilant spies against the incoming of any but their
own race.

It should be kept in mind that as yet Olive had been forbidden a word
with Francisco. We left the narrative of Olive, in another chapter,
involved in the heated and angry debates of a long and tedious council.
Upon that wild council she had been waiting in dreadful suspense, not
a little mingled with terrible forebodings of her own personal safety.
This convention came to a conclusion with a positive and peremptory
refusal to liberate the captive; and a resolution to send Francisco
away, under injunction not again, under penalty of torture, to revisit
their camp. Francisco, on the same night, departed to the other side of
the river; the chiefs and sub-chiefs dispersed, and Olive was left to
her own melancholy musings over the probable result.

She now began to regret that anything had been said or done about
her rescue. She was in darkness as to the effect that all this new
excitement upon her stay among them might have, after it should become
a matter of sober deliberation by the Mohaves alone. She saw and heard
enough, directly and indirectly, to know that they were set upon not
letting her go free. She began to fear for her life, especially as she
saw the marked changes in the conduct of the Indians toward her. The
wife of the chief seemed to feel kind still toward her; but yet she
plainly evinced that the doings of the last few days had compelled her
to disguise her real feelings. The chief was changed from a pleasant
don’t-care spectator of Olive’s situation, to a sullen, haughty,
overbearing tyrant and oppressor.

Olive was now shut up to a newly enkindled hate, which sought
opportunities to fume its wrath against her. She now regarded all
efforts for her rescue as having reached a final and abrupt close. But
still she could not be ignorant, concealed and reserved as they were
in all their mutual consultations, of the fact that some dreadful fear
for themselves was galling and tormenting them. Expressions that she
well understood, and conveying their dread of the whites, and fear that
they might execute the threats brought by Francisco, constantly escaped
them, and came to the ears of the agitated subject and victim of their
new rage.

Francisco spent the night upon which the council closed across the
river. He there plied every argument and stratagem that his cunning
mind could devise to persuade the principal men on that side of the
Colorado to recede from the resolution they had that day reached. He
employed the whole night in setting before them troubles that these
rash resolutions would bring upon them, and to convince them that it
was for their sakes alone that he desired to bear the captive to the
fort with him.

He had resolved in his own mind not to leave without her, as she
afterward learned; and, on the failure of all other means, to risk his
life in a bold attempt to steal her away under darkness of night. But
in the morning he made preparations for leaving, (he really intended to
go back to the village,) when the magnates and councilmen, among whom
he had tarried for the night, came to him, and prevailed upon him to go
back with them, promising him that they had _now_ determined to do all
in their power to persuade the chief and tribe to yield to his demand,
and to let the captive go; fearing for the result to themselves of the
contrary determination already reached.

About noon of the next day Olive saw Francisco, with a large number of
Mohaves, come into the village. It was not without much fear and alarm
that she saw this, though such had been the intense anxiety about her
situation, and the possibility of escape that the last few days had
enkindled, she felt willing to have a final conclusion now formed,
whether it should be her death or release.

To live much longer there, she now thought she plainly saw would
be impossible; as she could only expect to be sold or barbarously
dispatched, after all that had passed upon the question of her release.
Besides this she felt that with the knowledge she had now gained of
the nearness and feeling of the whites, it would be worse than death
to be doomed to the miseries of her captivity, almost in sight of the
privileges of her native land. And hence, though the reappearance
of Francisco was an occasion for new tumult, and her own agitation
intense, she felt comforted in the prospect it opened of ending the
period of her present living death.

“When Francisco returned I was out gathering ottileka, (a small
ground-nut of the size of the hazel-nut,) and had utterly abandoned the
hope of being released, as the council had broken up with an utter
refusal to let me go. Had I known all that had transpired I should have
felt much worse than as it was. I learned from Francisco since, that
the Indians had resolved (those who were friendly to my going) that for
fear that the whites would come to rescue me, they would kill me as
soon as it was decided I should not go.

“I had not as yet seen the letter that Francisco brought to me. I
plainly saw a change in the conduct of the Indians to me since the
close of the recent agitation. What it foretold I could not even
conjecture. But I saw enough before swinging my basket that morning
upon my back to go out digging ottileka, to convince me that the wrath
of many of them was aroused. I struggled to suppress any emotion I
felt, while my anxious heart was beating over possible dreaded results
of this kind attempt to rescue me, which I thought I saw were to be of
a very different character from those intended.”

The returning company came immediately to the house of the chief. At
first the chief refused to receive them. After a short secret council
with some members of his cabinet, he yielded; the other chiefs were
called, and with Francisco they were again packed in council. The
criers were again hurried forth, and the tribe was again convened.


At this council Olive was permitted to remain. The speaking was
conducted with a great deal of confusion, which the chief found it
difficult to prevent; speakers were frequently interrupted, and at
times there was a wild, uproarious tumult, and a heated temper and
heated speech were the order of the day. Says Olive:

“It did seem during that night, at several stages of the debate, that
there was no way of preventing a general fight among them. Speeches
were made, which, judging from their gestures and motions, as well as
from what I could understand in their heat and rapidity, were full of
the most impassioned eloquence.

“I found that they had told Francisco that I was not an American, that
I was from a race of people much like the Indians, living away to the
setting sun. They had painted my face, and feet, and hands of a dun,
dingy color, unlike that of any race I ever saw. This they told me they
did to deceive Francisco; and that I must not talk to him in American.
They told me to talk to him in another language, and to tell him that
I was not an American. They then waited to hear the result, expecting
to hear my gibberish nonsense, and to witness the convincing effect
upon Francisco. But I spoke to him in broken English, and told him the
truth, and also what they had enjoined me to do. He started from his
seat in a perfect rage, vowing that he would be imposed upon no longer.
He then broke forth upon them with one of the most vehement addresses I
ever heard. I felt and still feel an anxiety to know the full contents
of that speech. Part of it he gave me on the way to the fort. It was
full of eloquence, and was an exhibition of talent rarely found among
his race.

“The Mohave warriors threatened to take my life for disobeying their
orders. They were doubly chagrined that their scheme had failed, and
also that their dishonest pretensions of my unwillingness to go with
him, and of my not being an American, had been found out. Some of
them persisted still in the falsehood, saying that I had learned some
American from living among them, but that I had told them that I was
not of that race. All this transpired after Francisco’s return, and
during his second and last effort for my rescue.

“I narrowly looked at Francisco, and soon found he was one whom I had
seen there before, and who had tarried with the chief about three
months previously. I saw he held a letter in his hand and asked to
let me see it. Toward morning it was handed me, and Francisco told me
it was from the Americans. I took it, and after a little made out the
writing on the outside.


“I opened it with much agitation. All was quiet as the grave around me.
I examined it for a long time ere I could get the sense, having seen no
writing for five years. It was as follows:

 “‘FRANCISCO, Yuma Indian, bearer of this, goes to the Mohave Nation to
 obtain a white woman there, named OLIVIA. It is desirable she should
 come to this post, or send her reasons why she does not wish to come.

      Lieut. Col., Commanding.


  _27th January, 1856_.’

“They now began to importune and threaten me to give them the contents
of the letter. I waited and meditated for some time. I did not know
whether it was best to give it to them just as it was. Up to this
time I had striven to manifest no anxiety about the matter. They had
questioned and teased with every art, from little children up to men,
to know my feelings, though they should have known them well by this
time. I dared not in the excitement express a wish. Francisco had told
them that the whites knew where I was, and that they were about arming
a sufficient number to surround the whole Indian nations, and that they
thus intended to destroy them all unless they gave up the last captive
among them. He told them that the men at the fort would kill himself
and all they could find of them with the Yumas, if he should not bring
her back. He said it was out of mercy to his own tribe, and to them
that he had come.

“They were still pressing me to read them the letter. I then told them
what was in it, and also that the Americans would send a large army and
destroy the Yumas and Mohaves, with all the Indians they could find,
unless I should return with Francisco. I never expect to address so
attentive an audience again as I did then.

“I found that they had been representing to Francisco that I did not
wish to go to the whites. As soon as they thought they had the contents
of the letter, there was the breaking out of scores of voices at once,
and our chief found it a troublesome meeting to preside over. Some
advised that I should be killed, and that Francisco should report that
I was dead. Others that they at once refuse to let me go, and that the
whites could not hurt them. Others were in favor of letting me go at
once. And it was not until daylight that one could judge which counsel
would prevail.

“In all this Francisco seemed bold, calm, and determined. He would
answer their questions and objections with the tact and cunning of a
pure Indian.

“It would be impossible to describe my own feelings on reading that
letter, and during the remainder of the pow-wow. I saw now a reality
in all that was said and done. There was the handwriting of one of my
own people, and the whole showed plainly that my situation was known,
and that there was a purpose to secure my return. I sought to keep my
emotions to myself, for fear of the effect it might have upon my doom,
to express a wish or desire.”

During this time the captive girl could only remain in the profoundest
and most painful silence, though _the one_ of all the agitated crowd
most interested in the matter and result of the debate. Daylight came
slowly up the east, finding the assembly still discussing the life and
death question (for such it really was) that had called them together.

Some time after sunrise, and after Francisco and the captive had been
bid retire, the chief called them again in, and told them, with much
reluctance, that the decision had been to let the captive go.

“At this,” says Olive, “and while yet in their presence, I found I
could no longer control my feelings, and I burst into tears, no longer
able to deny myself the pleasure of thus expressing the weight of
feeling that struggled for relief and utterance within me.

“I found that it had been pleaded against my being given up, that
Francisco was suspected of simply coming to get me away from the
Mohaves that I might be retained by the Yumas. The chief accused him
of this, and said he believed it. This excited the anger of Francisco,
and he boldly told them what he thought of them, and told them to go
with their captive; that they would sorrow for it in the end. When it
was determined that I might go, the chief said that his daughter should
go and see that I was carried to the whites. We ate our breakfast,
supplied ourselves with mushed musquite, and started. Three Yuma
Indians had come with Francisco, to accompany him to and from the
Mohaves; his brother and two cousins.

“I now began to think of really leaving my Indian home. Involuntarily
my eye strayed over that valley. I gazed on every familiar object.
The mountains that stood about our valley home, like sentinels tall
and bold, their every shape, color, and height, as familiar as the
door-yard about the dwelling in which I had been reared.

“Again my emotions were distrusted, and I could hardly believe that
what was passing was reality. ‘Is it true,’ I asked, ‘that they have
concluded to let me escape? I fear they will change their mind. Can
it be that I am to look upon the white face again?’ I then felt like
hastening as for my life, ere they could revoke their decision. Their
looks, their motions, their flashing eyes reminded me that I was not
out of danger. Some of them came to me and sillily laughed, as much
as to say: ‘O, you feel very finely now, don’t you?’ Others stood and
gazed upon me with a steady, serious look, as if taking more interest
in my welfare than ever before. More than this I seemed to read in
their singular appearance; they seemed to stand in wonder as to where I
could be going. Some of them seemed to feel a true joy that I was made
so happy, and they would speak to me to that effect.

“One little incident took place on the morning of my departure, that
clearly reflects the littleness and meanness that inheres in the
general character of the Indian. I had several small strings of beads;
most of them had been given me for singing to them when requested,
when they had visitors from other tribes. I purposed at once that I
would take these beads, together with some small pieces of blankets
that I had obtained at different times, and was wearing upon my person
at this time, to the whites as remembrancers of the past; but when I
was about ready to start, the son of the chief came and took all my
beads, with every woolen shred he could find about me, and quietly told
me that I could not take them with me. This, though a comparatively
trifling matter, afflicted me. I found that I prized those beads beyond
their real value; especially one string that had been worn by Mary. I
had hoped to retain them while I might live. I then gathered up a few
small ground-nuts, which I had dug with my own hands, and concealed
them; and some of them I still keep.”

That same kind daughter of the chief who had so often in suppressed and
shy utterances spoken the word of condolence, and the wish to see Olive
sent to her native land, and had given every possible evidence of a
true and unaffected desire for her welfare, she was not sorry to learn
was to attend her upon the long and tedious trip by which her reunion
with the whites was hoped to be reached.

But there was one spot in that valley of captivity that possessed a
mournful attraction for the emancipated captive. Near the wigwam where
she had spent many hours in loneliness, and Indian converse with her
captors, was a mound that marked the final resting-place of her last
deceased sister. Gladly would she, if it had been in her power, have
gathered the few moldering remains of that loved and cherished form,
and borne them away to a resting-place on some shaded retreat in the
soil of her own countrymen. But this privilege was denied her, and that
too while she knew that immediately upon her exit they would probably
carry their already made threats of burning them into execution. And
who would have left such a place, so enshrined in the heart as that
must have been, without a struggle, though her way from it lay toward
the home of the white man? That grave upon which she had so often
knelt, and upon which she had so often shed the bitter tear, the only
place around which affection lingered, must now be abandoned; not to
remain a place for the undisturbed repose of her sister’s remains, but
to disgorge its precious trust in obedience to the rude, barbarous
superstition that had waved its custom at the time of her death. No
wonder that she says: “I went to the grave of Mary Ann, and took a last
look of the little mound marking the resting-place of my sister who had
come with me to that lonely exile; and now I felt what it was to know
she could not go with me from it.”

There had been in the employ of government at Fort Yuma, since 1853, a
Mr. Grinell, known, from his occupation, by the name of Carpentero. He
was a man of a large heart, and of many excellent qualities. He was
a man who never aimed to put on an exterior to his conduct that could
give any deceptive impression of heart and character. Indeed he often
presented a roughness and uncouthness which, however repulsive to the
stranger, was found nevertheless, on an acquaintance, to cover a noble
nature of large and generous impulses. A man of diligence and fidelity,
he merited and won the confidence of all who knew him. He possessed a
heart that could enter into sympathy with the subjects of suffering
wherever he found them. Soon after coming to Fort Yuma, he had learned
of the fate of the Oatman family, and of the certainty of the captivity
of two of the girls. With all the eagerness and solicitude that could
be expected of a kinsman, he inquired diligently into the particulars,
and also the reliability of the current statements concerning these
unfortunate captives. Nor did these cease in a moment or a day. He kept
up a vigilant outsight, searching to glean, if possible, something by
which to reach definite knowledge of them.

He was friendly to the Yumas, numbers of whom were constantly about
the fort. Of them he inquired frequently and closely. Among those with
whom he was most familiar, and who was in most favor among the officers
at the fort, was Francisco. Carpentero had about given up the hope of
accomplishing what he desired, when one night Francisco crept by some
means through the guard, and found his way into the tent of his friend,
long after he had retired.

Grinell awoke, and in alarm drew his pistol and demanded who was
there. Francisco spoke, and his voice was known. Grinell asked him
what he could be there for at that hour of the night. With an air of
indifference he said he had only come in to talk a little. After a
long silence and some suspicious movements, he broke out and said:
“Carpentero, what is this you say so much about two Americanos among
the Indians?”

“Said,” replied Grinell; “I said that there are two girls among the
Mohaves or Apaches, and you know it, and we know that you know it.”
Grinell then took up a copy of the Los Angeles _Star_, and told
Francisco to listen, and he would read him what the Americans were
saying and thinking about it. He then reads, giving the interpretation
in Mexican, (which language Francisco could speak fluently,) an article
that had been gotten up and published at the instance of Lorenzo,
containing the report brought in by Mr. Rowlit, calling for help. The
article also stated that a large number of men were ready to undertake
to rescue the captives at once, if means could be furnished.

But the quick and eager mind of Carpentero did not suffer the article
to stop with what he could find in the _Star_; keeping his eye still
upon the paper, he continued to read, that if the captives were not
delivered in so many days, there would be five millions of men thrown
around the mountains inhabited by the Indians, and that they would
annihilate the last one of them, if they did not give up all the white

Many other things did that _Star_ tell at that time, of a like import,
but the which had got into the paper (if there at all) without editor,
type, or ink.

Francisco listened with mouth, and ears, and eyes. After a short
silence, he said, (in Mexican,) “I know where there is one white girl
among the Mohaves; there were two, but one is dead.”

At this the generous heart of Carpentero began to swell, and the object
of his anxious, disinterested sympathy for the first time began to
present itself as a bright reality.

“When did you find out she was there?” said Carpentero.

F. “I have just found it out to-night.”

C. “Did you not know it before?”

F. “Well, not long; me just come in, you know. Me know now she is there
among the Mohaves.”

Carpentero was not yet fully satisfied that all was right. There had
been, and still was, apprehension of some trouble at the fort, from the
Yumas; and Carpentero did not know but that some murderous scheme was
concocted, and all this was a ruse to beguile and deceive them.

Carpentero then told Francisco to stay in his tent for the night.
Francisco then told Carpentero that if Commander Burke would give
him authority, he would go and bring the girl into the fort. That
night Carpentero slept awake. Early in the morning they went to the
commander. For some time Commander Burke was disposed to regard it as
something originated by the cunning of Francisco, and did not believe
he would bring the girl in. Said Francisco: “You give me four blankets
and some beads, and I will bring her in just twenty days, when the sun
be right over here,” pointing to about forty-five degrees above the
western horizon.

Carpentero begged the captain to place all that it would cost for the
outfit to his own account, and let him go. The captain consented,
a letter was written, and the Yuma, with a brother and two others,
started. This was about the eighth of February, 1856.

Several days passed, and the men about the fort thought they had
Carpentero in a place where it would do to remind him of “_his trusty
Francisco_.” And thus they did, asking him if he “did not think his
blankets and beads had sold cheap?” if he “had not better send another
Indian after the blankets?” etc., with other questions indicating their
own distrust of the whole movement.

On the twentieth day, about noon, three Yuma Indians, living some
distance from the fort, came to the fort and asked permission to see “a
man by the name of Carpentero.” They were shown his tent, and went in
and made themselves known, saying, “Carpentero, Francisco is coming.”

“Has he the girl with him?” quickly asked the agitated Carpentero,
bounding to his feet.

They laughed sillily, saying, “Francisco will come here when the sun be
right over there,” pointing in the direction marked by Francisco.

With eager eyes Carpentero stood gazing for some time, when three
Indians and two females, dressed in closely woven bark skirts, came
down to the ferry on the opposite side of the river. At that he bounded
toward them, crying at the top of his voice, “They have come; _the
captive girl is here_!” All about the fort were soon apprised that it
was even so, and soon they were either running to meet and welcome the
captive, or were gazing with eagerness to know if this strange report
could be true.

Olive, with her characteristic modesty, was unwilling to appear in her
bark attire and her poor shabby dress among the whites, eager as she
was to catch again a glimpse of their countenances, one of whom she had
not seen for years. As soon as this was made known, a noble-hearted
woman, the wife of one of the officers and the lady to whose kind
hospitalities she was afterward indebted for every kindness that could
minister to her comfort the few weeks she tarried there, sent her a
dress and clothing of the best she had.

Amid long enthusiastic cheering and the booming of cannon, Miss Olive
was presented to the commander of the fort by Francisco. Every one
seemed to partake of the joy and enthusiasm that prevailed. Those
who had been the most skeptical of the intentions of Francisco, were
glad to find their distrust rebuked in so agreeable a manner. The
Yumas gathered in large numbers, and seemed to partake in the general
rejoicing, joining their heavy shrill voices in the shout, and fairly
making the earth tremble beneath the thunder of their cheering.

Francisco told the captain he had been compelled to give more for the
captive than what he had obtained of him; that he had promised the
Mohave chief a horse, and that his daughter was now present to see that
this promise was fulfilled. Also, that a son of the chief would be in
within a few days to receive the horse. A good horse was given him,
and each of the kind officers at the fort testified their gratitude to
him, as well as their hearty sympathy with the long separated brother
and sister, by donating freely and liberally of their money to make up
a horse for Francisco; and he was told there, in the presence of the
rest of his tribe, that he had not only performed an act for which the
gratitude of the whites would follow him, but one that might probably
save his tribe and the Mohaves much trouble and many lives.


From this Francisco was promoted and became a “Tie” of his tribe, and
with characteristic pride and haughtiness of bearing, showed the
capabilities of the Indian to appreciate honors and preferment, by
looking with disdain and contempt upon his peers, and treating them
thus in the presence of the whites.

Miss Olive was taken in by a very excellent family residing at the
fort at the time, and every kindness and tender regard bestowed upon
her that her generous host and hostess could make minister to her
contentment and comfort. She had come over three hundred and fifty
miles during the last ten days; frequently (as many as ten times) she
and her guides were compelled to swim the swollen streams, running and
rushing to the top of their banks with ice-water. The kind daughter of
the chief, with an affection that had increased with every month and
year of their association, showed more concern and eagerness for the
wellbeing of “Olivia” than her own. She would carry, through the long
and toilsome day, the roll of blankets that they shared together during
the night, and seemed very much concerned and anxious lest something
might yet prevent her safe arrival at the place of destination.

Olive was soon apprised of the place of residence of her brother, whom
she had so long regarded as dead, and also of his untiring efforts,
during the last few years, for the rescue of his sister.

“It was some time,” she says, “before I could realize that he was yet
alive. The last time I saw him he was dragged in his own blood to
the rocks upon the brow of that precipice; I thought I knew him to
be dead.” And it was not until all the circumstances of his escape
were detailed to her that she could fully credit his rescue and
preservation. Lorenzo and his trading companion, Mr. Low, were about
ten days in reaching the fort; each step and hour of that long and
dangerous journey his mind was haunted by the fear that the rescued
girl might not be his sister. But he had not been long at the fort ere
his trembling heart was made glad by the attestation of his own eyes to
the reality. He saw that it was his own sister (the same, though now
grown and much changed) who, with Mary Ann, had poured their bitter
cries upon his bewildered senses five years before, as they were
hurried away by the unheeding Apaches, leaving him for dead with the
rest of the family.

Language was not made to give utterance to the feelings that rise,
and swell, and throb through the human bosom upon such a meeting as
this. For five years they had not looked in each other’s eyes; the
last image of that brother pressed upon the eye and memory of his
affectionate sister, was one that could only make any reference to it
in her mind one of painful, torturing horror. She had seen him when (as
she supposed) life had departed, dragged in the most inhuman manner
to one side; one of a whole family who had been butchered before her
eyes. The last remembrance of that sister by her brother, was of her
wailings and heart-rending sighs over the massacre of the rest of her
family, and her consignment to a barbarous captivity or torturing
death. She was grown to womanhood; she was changed, but despite the
written traces of her outdoor life and barbarous treatment left upon
her appearance and person, he could read the assuring evidences of her
family identity. They met, they wept, they embraced each other in the
tenderest manner; heart throbbed to heart, and pulse beat to pulse; but
for nearly one hour not one word could either speak!

The past! the checkered past! with its bright and its dark, its sorrow
and its joy, rested upon that hour of speechless joy. The season of
bright childhood, their mutual toils and anxieties of nearly one year,
while traveling over that gloomy way; that horrid night of massacre,
with its wailing and praying, mingled with fiendish whooping and
yelling, remembered in connection with its rude separation; the five
years of tears, loneliness, and captivity among savages, through which
she had grown up to womanhood; the same period of his captivity to the
dominion of a harassing anxiety and solicitude, through which he had
grown up to manhood, all pressed upon the time of that meeting, to
choke utterance, and stir the soul with emotions that could only pour
themselves out in tears and sighs.

A large company of Americans, Indians, and Mexicans, were present and
witnessed the meeting of Lorenzo and his sister. Some of them are now
in the city of San Francisco, to testify that not an unmoved heart nor
a dry eye witnessed it. Even the rude and untutored Indian, raised his
brawny hand to wipe away the unbidden tear that stole upon his cheek
as he stood speechless and wonder-struck! When the feelings became
controllable, and words came to their relief, they dwelt and discoursed
for hours upon the gloomy and pain-written past. In a few days they
were safe at the Monté, and were there met by a cousin from Rogue River
Valley, Oregon, who had heard of the rescue of Olive, and had come to
take her to his own home.

At the Monté they were visited during a stay of two weeks, in waiting
for the steamer, by large numbers of people, who bestowed upon the
rescued captive all possible manifestations of interest in her welfare,
and hearty rejoicing at her escape from the night of prison-life and
suffering so long endured.

She was taken to Jackson County, Oregon, where she has been since, and
is still residing there.

       *       *       *       *       *

* Since writing the above Miss Oatman, with her brother, have spent
about six months at school in Santa Clara Valley, California. On the
fifth day of March, 1858, they left San Francisco, in company with the
writer and his family, on the steamship Golden Age, for New-York, where
they arrived on the 26th of the same month.

[Illustration: LORENZO OATMAN.]


How strange the life of these savages. Of their past history how little
is known; and there is an utter destitution of any reliable data upon
which to conjecture even concerning it. By some they are considered
the descendants of a people who were refined and enlightened. That a
period of civilization, and of some progress in the arts, preceded the
discovery of this continent by Columbus, there can be but little doubt.
The evidences of this are to be seen in the relics of buried cities and
towns, that have been found deep under ground in numerous places.

But whether the people of whom we have these traces extended to the
Pacific slope, and to the southwest, we know not. This much we do know:
there are large tracts of country now occupied by large and numerous
tribes of the red race, living in all the filth and degradation of
an unmitigated heathenism, and without any settled system of laws or
social regulations.

If they have any system of government, it is that of an absolute
monarchy. The chief of each tribe is the sole head and sovereign in all
matters that affect the wellbeing of the same, even to the life and
death of its members.

They are human, but live like brutes. They seem totally destitute of
all those noble and generous traits of life which distinguish and
honor civilized people. In indolence and supineness they seem content
to pass their days, without ambition, save of war and conquest; they
live the mere creatures of passion, blind and callous to all those
ennobling aims and purposes that are the true and pleasing inspiration
of rational existence. In their social state, the more they are studied
the more do they become an object of disgust and loathing.

They manifest but little affection for one another, only when death
has separated them, and then they show the deep inhumanity and abject
heathenism to which they have sunk by the horrid rites that prevail in
the disposing of their infirm kindred and their dead. They burn the one
and the other with equal impunity and satisfaction.

The marriage relation among them is not honored, scarcely observed. The
least affront justifies the husband in casting off his chosen wife, and
even in taking her life. Rapine and lust prey upon them at home; and
war is fast wasting them abroad. They regard the whites as enemies from
all antiquity, and any real injury they can do them is considered a
virtue, while the taking of their lives (especially of males) is an act
which is sure to crown the name of the perpetrator with eternal honors.

With all their boasting and professed contempt for the whites, and with
all their bright traditions and prophecies, according to which their
day of triumph and power is near at hand, yet they are not without
premonitions of a sad and fatal destiny. They are generally dejected
and cast down; the tone of their every-day life, as well as sometimes
actual sayings, indicating a pressing fear and harassing foreboding.

Some of the females would, after hours of conversation with Olive, upon
the character, customs, and prosperity of the whites, plainly, but with
injunctions of secrecy, tell her that they lived in constant fear; and
it was not unfrequent that some disaffected member of the tribe would
threaten to leave his mountain home and go to live with the whites. It
is not to be understood that this was the prevailing state of feeling
among them.

Most of them are sunk in an ignorance that forbids any aspiration or
ambition to reach or fire their natures; an ignorance that knows no
higher mode of life than theirs, and that looks with jealousy upon
every nation and people, save the burrowing tribes that skulk and crawl
among these mountains and ravines.

But fate seems descending upon them, if not in “sudden,” yet in
certain night. They are waning. Remnants of them will no doubt long
survive; but the masses of them seem fated to a speedy decay. Since
this narrative was first written, a very severe battle, lasting several
weeks, has taken place between the allied Mohaves and Yumas on the
one side, and the Cochopas on the other. The former lost over three
hundred warriors; the latter but few, less than threescore. Among the
slain was the noble Francisco. It is rumored at Fort Yuma, that during
the engagement the allied tribes were informed by their oracles that
their ill-success was owing to Francisco; that he must be slain for his
friendship to the whites; then victory would crown their struggles; and
that, in obedience to this superstition, he was slain by the hands of
his own tribe.

Had Olive been among them during this unsuccessful war, her life would
have been offered up on the return of the defeated warriors; and no
doubt there were then many among them who attributed their defeat to
the conciliation on their part by which she was surrendered to her own
people. Such is the Indian of the South and Southwest.

We have tried to give the reader a correct, though brief history of
the singular and strange fate of that unfortunate family. If there is
one who shall be disposed to regard the reality as overdrawn, we have
only to say that every fact has been dictated by word of mouth from the
surviving members of that once happy family, who have, by a mysterious
Providence, after suffering a prolonged and unrelieved woe of five
years, been rescued and again restored to the blessings of a civilized
and sympathizing society.

Most of the preceding pages have been written in the first person. This
method was adopted for the sake of brevity, as also to give, as near as
language may do it, a faithful record of the _feelings_ and _spirit_
with which the distresses and cruel treatment of the few years over
which these pages run, was met, braved, endured, and triumphed over.
The record of the five years of captivity entered upon by a timid,
inexperienced girl of fourteen years, and during which, associated
with naught but savage life, she grew up to womanhood, presents one of
heroism, self-possession, and patience, that might do honor to one of
maturity and years. Much of that dreadful period is unwritten, and will
remain forever unwritten.

We have confidence that every reader will share with us the feelings
of gratitude to Almighty God for the blessings of civilization, and a
superior social life, with which we cease to pen this record of the
degradation, the barbarity, the superstition, the squalidness, that
curse the uncounted thousands who people the caverns and wilds that
divide the Eastern from the Western inheritance of our mother republic.

But the unpierced heathenism that thus stretches its wing of night
upon these swarming mountains and vales, is not long to have a dominion
so wild, nor possess victims so numerous. Its territory is already
begirt with the light of a higher life; and now the foot-fall of the
pioneering, brave Anglo-Saxon is heard upon the heel of the savage, and
breaks the silence along his winding trail. Already the song and shout
of civilization wakes echoes long and prophetic upon those mountain
rocks, that have for centuries hemmed in an unvisited savageness.

Until his death Francisco, by whose vigilance the place of Olive’s
captivity and suffering was ascertained, and who dared to bargain for
her release and restoration ere he had changed a word with her captors
about it, was hunted by his own and other tribes for guiding the white
man to the hiding-places of those whose ignorance will not suffer
them to let go their filth and superstition, and who regard the whole
transaction as the opening of the door to the greedy, aggressive, white
race. The cry of gold, like that which formed and matured a state upon
this far-off coast in a few years, is heard along ravines that have
been so long exclusively theirs, and companies of gold hunters, led on
by faint but unerring “prospects,” are confidently seeking rich leads
of the precious ore near their long isolated wigwams.

The march of American civilization, if unhampered by the weakness
and corruption of its own happy subjects, will yet, and soon, break
upon the barbarity of these numerous tribes, and either elevate them
to the unappreciated blessings of a superior state, or wipe them into
oblivion, and give their long-undeveloped territory to another.

Perhaps when the intricate and complicated events that mark and pave
the way to this state of things, shall be pondered by the curious
and retrospective eye of those who shall rejoice in its possession,
these comparatively insignificant ones spread out for the reader
upon these pages, will be found to form a part. May Heaven guide the
anxious-freighted future to the greatest good of the abject heathen,
and save those into whose hands are committed such openings and
privileges for beneficent doing, from the perversion of their blessings
and mission.

“Honor to whom honor is due.” With all the degradation in which these
untamed hordes are steeped, there are--strange as it may seem--some
traits and phases in their conduct which, on comparison with those
of some who call themselves civilized, ought to crimson their cheeks
with a blush. While feuds have been kindled, and lives have been
lost--innocent lives--by the intrusion of the white man upon the
domestic relations of Indian families; while decency and chastity have
been outraged, and the Indian female, in some instances, stolen from
her spouse and husband that she really loved; let it be written,
written if possible so as to be read when an inscrutable but unerring
Providence shall exact “to the uttermost farthing” for every deed of
cruelty and lust perpetrated by a superior race upon an inferior one;
_written_ to stand out before those whose duty and position it shall
be, within a few years, in the American Council of State, to deliberate
and legislate upon the best method to dispose of these fast waning
tribes; that _one of our own race, in tender years, committed wholly to
their power, passed a five-years’ captivity among these savages without
falling under those baser propensities which rave, and rage, and
consume, with the fury and fatality of a pestilence, among themselves_.

It is true that their uncultivated and untempered traditional
superstitions allow them to mark in the white man an enemy that has
preyed upon their rights from antiquity, and to exact of him, when
thrown into their power, cruelties that kindle just horror in the
breast of the refined and the civilized. It is true that the more
intelligent, and the large majority, deplore the poor representation
of our people that has been given to these wild men by certain “lewd
fellows of the baser sort,” who are undistinguished by them from
our race as a whole. But they are set down to our account in a more
infallible record than any of mere human writ; and delicate and
terrible is the responsibility with which they have clothed the action
of the American race amid the startling and important exigences that
must roll upon its pathway for the next few years.

Who that looks at the superstition, the mangled, fragmentary, and
distorted traditions that form the only tribunal of appeal for the
little _wreck of moral sense_ they have left them--superstitions that
hold them as with the grasp of omnipotence; who that looks upon the
self-consuming workings of the corruptions that breed in the hotbed of
ignorance, can be so hardened that his heart has no _sigh to heave, no
groan to utter_ over a social, moral, and political desolation that
ought to appeal to our commiseration rather than put a torch to our
slumbering vengeance.

It is true that this coast and the Eastern states have now their scores
of lonely wanderers, mournful and sorrow-stricken mourners, over whose
sky has been cast a mantle of gloom that will stretch to their tombs
for the loss of those of their kindred who sleep in the dust, or bleach
upon the sand-plots trodden by these roaming heathen; kindred who have
in their innocence fallen by cruelty. But there is a voice coming up
from these scattered, unmonumented resting-places of their dead; and
it pleads, pleads with the potency and unerringness of those pleadings
from “_under the ground_” of ancient date, and of the fact and effect
of which we have a guiding record.

Who that casts his eye over the vast territory that lies between the
Columbia River and Acapulco, with the Rocky Range for its eastern
bulwark, a territory abounding with rich verdure-clad vales and
pasturage hill-sides, and looks to the time, not distant, when over
it all shall be spread the wing of the eagle, when the music of
civilization, of the arts, of the sciences, of the mechanism, of the
religion of our favored race, shall roll along its winding rivers and
over its beautiful slopes, but has one prayer to offer to the God of
his fathers, that the same wisdom craved and received by them to plant
his civil light-house on a wilderness shore, may still guide us on to a
glorious, a happy, and a useful destiny.

       *       *       *       *       *

The following lines were written by some person, unknown to the author,
residing in Marysville, California. They were first published in a
daily paper, soon after the first edition was issued. They are here
inserted as expressing, not what _one_ merely, but what _many_ felt
who read this narrative in that state, and who have become personally
acquainted with Miss Oatman. Many have been the assurances of sympathy
and affection that, by letter and in person, have been in kindred and
equally fervent strains poured upon the ear and heart of the once
suffering subject of this narrative.


      Fair Olive! thy historian’s pen declines
        Portraying what thy feelings once have been,
      Because the language of the world confines
        Expression, giving only half we mean;
      No reaching from what we have felt or seen:
        And it is well. How useless ’tis to gild
      Refined gold, or paint the lily’s sheen!
    But we can weep when all the heart is fill’d
    And feel in thought, beyond where pen or words are skill’d.

      In moonlight we can fancy that one grave,
        Resting amid the mountains bleak and bare,
      Although no willow’s swinging pendants wave
        Above the little captive sleeping there,
      With thee beside her wrapp’d in voiceless prayer;
        We guess thy anguish, feel thy heart’s deep woe,
      And list for moans upon the midnight air,
    As tears of sympathy in silence flow
    For her whose unmark’d head is lying calm and low.

      For in the bosom of the wilderness
        Imagination paints a fearful wild
      With two young children bow’d in deep distress,
        A simple maiden and a little child,
      Begirt with savages in circles fill’d,
        Who round them shout in triumph o’er the deed
      That laid their kindred on the desert piled
    An undistinguished mass, in death to bleed,
    And left them without hope in their despairing need.

      In captive chains whole races have been led,
        But never yet upon one heart did fall
      Misfortune’s hand so heavy. Thy young head
        Has born a nation’s griefs, its woes, and all
      The serried sorrows which earth’s histories call
        The hand of God. Then, Olive, bend thy knee,
      Morning and night, until the funeral pall
    Hides thy fair face to Him who watches thee,
    Whose power once made thee bond, whose power once set thee free.


MARYSVILLE, _April 27, 1857_.



[The following notices of this work are selected from among a large
number, all of which speak in commendation of it as a tale of thrilling

AN INTERESTING BOOK.--Our friend, Mr. L. D. Oatman, has laid upon
our table a thrilling narrative of the captivity of his sisters, and
of his own escape from the dreadful massacre of his family. The work
is compiled by the Rev. R. B. Stratton, and in forcible description,
purity of style, and deep interest, surpasses any production of
romance. It will be read with pleasure by many in our valley to whom
the interesting subjects of the narrative, Miss Olive and her brother,
are personally known.--_Table Rock Sentinel._

       *       *       *       *       *

CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS.--“We are under obligations to Randall &
Co. for a copy of this little work by R. B. Stratton.

“Have you read,” says a correspondent, “the deeply pathetic narrative
of the captivity of the Oatman girls, the miraculous escapes of a
little brother, and the massacre of the rest of the family? If not, do
so at once, and extend its circulation by noticing it in your paper.
The work, which is no fiction, will be profitably perused as a matter
of curiosity and information; but in opening up the closed fountains
in the hardened hearts of our callous-grown people, it is calculated
to have a most happy effect. Who, unless the last spark of generous
sentiment and tender emotion be extinct in their natures, can get
through that little book without feeling their eyes moisten and their
bosoms swell.” Randall & Co. have the work for sale; also G. & O.
Amy.--_Marysville Herald._

       *       *       *       *       *

MISS OLIVE OATMAN.--The interesting narrative of the captivity of
this young lady by the Apache Indians, and her long residence among
them and the Mohaves, so long looked for by the public, has made its
appearance. The book will have an extensive sale, being written in an
attractive style, and disclosing many interesting traits of character
in savage life along our southern border.--_San Jose Telegraph._

       *       *       *       *       *

subject of a volume of two hundred and ninety pages, recently issued
from the press of this city by Rev. R. B. Stratton, to whom the facts
were communicated by Olive and Lorenzo D. Oatman, the surviving members
of the family. The Oatman family, it will be recollected, were attacked
by the Apaches in 1850, and the two girls, Olive and Mary, were carried
into captivity. Mary died, but Olive was released about a year since.
The author claims for the work no great literary excellence, but rests
its merits solely upon the highly interesting nature of the facts
presented, and a strict adherence to truth throughout the narrative.
A solid cord of romance might be built upon it.--_Golden Era, San

       *       *       *       *       *

CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS.--The above is the partial title of a
new California book just issued from the press of San Francisco. It
is a neat volume of two hundred and ninety pages, and is a graphic
description of one of the most horrid tales of massacre, captivity, and
death we have read for years. The public have been anxiously waiting
for this book since the announcement a few months since that it was
in preparation. The author, Rev. R. B. Stratton, has presented the
facts as he received them from Miss Oatman, in a clear, attractive
style. Of the particular circumstances of the fate of the Oatman family
most in this state are apprised. The book will have a wide sale. Read
it.--_Sacramento Union._

       *       *       *       *       *

A NEW BOOK.--We have just received the book of the “Captivity of the
Oatman Girls,” for which the people have been looking anxiously for
several weeks. It is a tale of horrors, and well told. The reader will
rise from its perusal with a feeling prompting him to seize the musket
and go at once and chastise those inhuman wretches among whom Olive
has spent five years. The American people ought to go and give them a
whipping. Read the book. Though it is one of horrors, its style and
truthfulness attract to a thorough reading.--_Democratic State Journal._


Street Preaching in San Francisco,




“Among the first of our noble army of occupation in California was
the Rev. William Taylor. In labors he has been more abundant, and
as fearless as laborious. His book, as a book of mere incident and
adventure, possesses uncommon interest; but as a record of missionary
toil and success its interest is immensely increased. The sketches
of personal character and death-bed scenes are thrilling.”--_Ladies’

“The observation and experience recorded abounds with the most pleasing
interest, and the scenes are described with much graphic power and
felicity.”--_Baltimore Sun._

“This is a graphic description of the labors of a missionary among the
most complex, and perhaps most wicked, and at the same time excited and
active population in the world. It is a very rich book, and deserves a
large sale.”--_Zion’s Herald._

“As a religious history, it occupies a new department in Californian
literature; and its incidents and triumphant death scenes are of the
most interesting character.”--_The American Spectator._

“It is a very entertaining volume, full of adventure, grave and gay,
in the streets of a new city, and among a peculiar people.”--_New-York

“This work is valuable, not merely from its very sincere and sound
religious spirit, but from the curious popular traits which it
imbodies, and the remarkable insight it affords into the striking and
highly attractive peculiarities of the Methodist denomination. We defy
any student of human nature, any man gifted with a keen appreciation of
remarkable development of character, to read this book without a keen
relish. He will find in it many singular developments of the action of
religious belief allied to manners, customs, and habits all eminently
worthy of study. The straightforward common sense of the author, allied
to his faith, has resulted in a shrewd enthusiasm, whose workings
are continually manifest, and which enforces our respect for his
earnestness and piety, as well as affording rare materials for analysis
and reflection. The _naïveté_ of the author is often pleasant enough;
in some instances we find it truly touching.”--_Philadelphia Bulletin._

“We like the spirit and daring of the author of this book. But few
like him live among men. With an undoubted piety, and courage like
a lion, he preached Christ at a time, in San Francisco, when Satan
reigned about as triumphant as he ever has on any other spot of the
cursed earth. The book will be read, and it will do good wherever it is
read.”--_Buffalo Chr. Advocate._

“This book is a real contribution to the religious history of that
country. For raciness of style it is one of the most readable books
that has fallen into our hands.”--_Pittsburgh Chr. Adv._

“The state of society which Mr. Taylor describes is almost anomalous,
and his pictures are boldly and clearly drawn”--_New York Evening Post._

Similar opinions to the foregoing have been given by the Western,
Southern, and Richmond Christian Advocates, Christian Advocate and
Journal, National Magazine, Methodist Quarterly Review, Harper’s
Magazine, and many others.

The London Review for April, 1858, devotes nearly four pages to
“_Seven Years’ Street Preaching in San Francisco_,” from which the
following is an extract: “The appearance of Mr. Taylor’s work on street
preaching, at a time when so much attention is turned to this subject,
when parochial clergymen, and even bishops, have caught the mantle
of Whitefield and the Wesleys, is singularly opportune. And the book
itself is so thoroughly good, so deeply interesting, and so replete
with wise counsels and examples of what street preaching ought to be,
that we cannot but wish for it a wide circulation. The writer tells his
story with the simplicity and directness of a child; and the incidents
related are of a most unusual and romantic kind. Too much cannot be
said in praise of the nervous, plain, vigorous style of the author’s
preaching. For clearness, directness, and force, the specimens given in
this book have never been surpassed.”--Pp. 99, 100.

California Life Illustrated.

“Mr. Taylor, as our readers may see by consulting our synopsis of the
Quarterlies, is accepted on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as on
the shores of the Pacific, as a regular ‘pioneer.’ The readers of his
former work will find the interest aroused by its pages amply sustained
in this. Its pictorial illustrations aid in bringing California before
us.”--_Methodist Quarterly Review._

“For stirring incidents in missionary life and labors, it is equal
to his former work, while a wider field of observation furnishes a
still more varied store of useful and curious information in regard
to California. It will well repay the reader for the time he may
spend on its bright pages. The publishers have done their part well.
The book is 12mo., in good style of binding, and printed on fair
paper.”--_Pittsburgh Advocate._

“It is a work of more general interest than the author’s ‘Seven Years’
Street Preaching in San Francisco.’ It enters more largely into
domestic matters, manners, and modes of living. Life in the city, the
country, ‘the diggings,’ mining operations, the success and failures,
trials, temptations, and crimes, and all that, fill the book, and
attract the reader along its pages with an increasing interest. It is
at once instructive and entertaining.”--_Richmond Christian Advocate._

Rev. DR. CROOKS, of New-York, after a careful reading of California
Life Illustrated, recorded his judgment as follows: “This is not a
volume of mere statistics, but a series of pictures of the many colored
life of the Golden State. The author was for seven years engaged as
a missionary in San Francisco, and in the discharge of his duties
was brought into contact with persons of every class and shade of
character. We know of no work which gives so clear an impression of a
state of society which is already passing away, but must constitute one
of the most remarkable chapters in our nation’s history. The narrative
is life-like, and incident and sketch follow in such rapid succession,
that it is impossible for the reader to feel weary. This book, and the
author’s ‘_Young America_,’ and ‘_Seven Years’ Street Preaching in San
Francisco_,’ would make highly entertaining and instructive volumes for
Sunday-school libraries. Their graphically described scenes, and fine
moral tone, fit them admirably for the minds of youth.”

“Full of interesting and instructive information, abounding in striking
incident, this is a book that everybody will be interested in reading.
Indeed scarcely anything can be found that will give a more picturesque
and striking view of life in California.”--_New-York Observer._

“Mr. Taylor has recently published a work entitled _California Life
Illustrated_, which is one of the most interesting books we ever
read--full of stirring incident. Those who wish to see California
life, without the trouble of going thither, can get a better idea,
especially of its religious aspects, from this and the former book of
Mr. Taylor on the subject, than from any other source conveniently
accessible.”--_Editor of Christian Advocate and Journal, N. Y._

“The influx of nations into California, in response to the startling
intelligence that its mountains were full of solid gold, opened up
a chapter in human history that had never before been witnessed. At
first it seemed as if ‘the root of all evil,’ did indeed shoot into
a baneful shade, under which none of the virtues could breathe; but
soon Christianity and Gospel missionaries begun to be seen. Among the
most active of them was William Taylor, who now, on a return to the
Atlantic States, gives to the world a description of what he saw. It is
an original, instructive book, full of facts and good food for thought,
and as such we heartily commend it.”--_Zion’s Herald._

“It is a series of sketches, abounding in interesting and touching
incidents of missionary life, dating with the early history of the
country, and the great gold excitement of 1849, and up, for several
years, illustrating, as with the pencil of a master in his art, the
early phases of civil and social life, as they presented themselves,
struggling for being and influence amid the conflicting elements of
gold mania, fostered by licentiousness and unchecked by the sacred
influence of religion, family, and home; containing a striking
demonstration of the refining, purifying tendencies of female
influence, rendered sanctifying, when pervaded by religion; giving such
an insight into the secret workings of the human heart and mind as will
be in vain sought for in the books called mental and moral philosophy;
withdrawing the vail which ordinarily screens the emotions of the soul,
leaving the patient student to look calmly at the very life pulsations
of humanity, and grow wise. Statistically the work is of great value
to those seeking information concerning the country, with a view to
investment or settlement.”--_Texas Advocate._

“The author of this volume is favorably known to many readers by his
previous work, in which he relates the experience of seven years’
street preaching in San Francisco. He here continues the inartificial
but graphic sketches which compose the substance of this volume, and,
by his simple narratives, gives a lively illustration of the social
condition of California. During his residence in that state he was
devoted exclusively to his work as a missionary of the Methodist
Church, and, by his fearlessness, zeal, and self-denial, won the
confidence of the whole population. He was frequently thrown in contact
with gamblers, _chevaliers d’industrie_, and adventurers of every
description, but he never shrunk from the administration of faithful
rebuke, and in so doing often won the hearts of the most abandoned.
His visits to the sick in the hospitals were productive of great good.
Unwearied in his exertions, he had succeeded in establishing a system
of wholesome religious influences when the great financial crash in
San Francisco interrupted his labors, and made it expedient for him
to return to this region in order to obtain resources for future
action. His book was, accordingly, written in the interests of a good
cause, which will commend it to the friends of religious culture in
California, while its own intrinsic vivacity and naturalness will well
reward the general reader for its perusal.”--_Harper’s New Monthly

For sale by CARLTON & PORTER, 200 Mulberry-st., N. Y.




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Clarke (G. W.) on the Divinity of Christ.

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       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber’s Note

Minor punctuation errors (i.e. missing periods) have been corrected.
Variations in hyphenation (i.e. daybreak and day-break) and accented
letters (i.e. Santa Fe and Santa Fé) have been retained.

Original spellings have been retained except for these apparent
typographical errors:

Page 11, “avowel” changed to “avowal.” (a construing of the frank

Page 21, “Allottment” changed to “Allotment.” (Their checkered
Allotment up to the Time)

Page 54, “Tracts” changed to “Tracks.” (Tracks of a large number of

Page 66, “chapparel” changed to “chaparral.” (wide sage-fields and

Page 81, “firmamet” changed to “firmament.” (they seem to lean against
the firmament)

Page 85, “defeaning” changed to “deafening.” (a deafening yell broke
upon us)

Page 150, “villianous” changed to “villainous.” (from their villainous

Page 175, “Cceareke” changed to “Ccearekae.” (Ccearekae. “We have
enough to satisfy us)

Page 182, “tatoo” changed to “tattoo.” (they were going to tattoo our

Page 288, “Maysville” changed to “Marysville.” (residing in Marysville,

Book-List Section:

Page 3, “insiduous” changed to “insidious.” (youthful mind against the

Page 4, “dayly” changed to “daily.” (acquainted with the daily

Page 12, “possiblity” changed to “possibility.” (possibility of giving
an outline)

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