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Mas. OuSKMUS Bronson Boyd. 

All Rights Reserved. 


Type-settees ani» Ei.ecteotypebs, 
jj06ton, u.s.a. 





5 Qenicate tfjis ILittle Book 


not be sufficient to repay. 

The Author. 


I TAKE pleasure in directing attention to the 
kind and affectionate tribute paid my husband, 
Captain Orsemus Bronson Boyd, and contained 
in the Appendix of this volume. It is from the 
pen of a former classmate, the gifted writer. 
Colonel Richard Henry Savage. 

I trust my readers will not think this intro- 
duction too lengthy. The perusal of it seems 
necessary to a proper understanding of my 
reasons for describing, in the following pages, 
the pains, perils, and pleasures experienced by 
land and sea in the various peregrinations of a 
cavalry officer's wife. With Colonel Savage's 
testimonial it furnishes a completeness to the 
narrative that would otherwise be lacking. 

In 1861, when every heart, both North and 
South, was fired by military ardor, two brothers, 



named Amos and Orsemus Boyd, lived in the 
small town of Croton, Delaware County, New 
York State. Immediately on the declaration of 
civil war they experienced but one desire — tc^ 
join the Northern Army. The brothers had 
lost their mother when very young, but the 
stepmother their father had given them always 
endeavored to faithfully fill her place. 

Additions to the family circle of a tiny boy 
and girl had only cemented its happy relations. 
Amos and his brother were, however, at the 
ages when boys welcome any escape from a life 
of wearisome monotony. Farm life, with its end- 
less routine of seed-time and harvest, stretched 
before them a barren horizon. But neither was 
old enough to enlist without his father's sanc- 
tion. Amos was less than eighteen years of 
age, and his brother but sixteen. Months 
passed before the father could be persuaded to 
give even a reluctant consent to the fervid 
desire of his sons to join the army. Finally it 
was gained, though he afterward sorely re- 
pented, and begged his wife to also spare him 


from her side, that he might accompany his 
boys. He could not endure the thought of his 
youthful sons departing for the scenes of such 
dangei*s without his sheltering presence. 

By what means Mrs. Boyd was induced to 
consent to her husband's enlistment can only be 
understood by those who recall the loyal sen- 
timents expressed by women in 1861. Our 
country was then aglow with patriotism. As 
in the South women gave their nearest and 
dearest to the cause, so in the North they were 
bereft of fathers, husbands, sons and brothers. 
In the little town of Croton every family sent 
at least one representative to the army, and 
many waved adieu to all its male members. 
This left to women the severe tasks of cultivat- 
ing farms and rearing families. 

The young stepmother of the lads in question 
not only lent her husband to his country, but 
during the entire three years of his absence 
tilled and tended the farm, and so well, that on 
his return it had not only improved in appear- 
ance, but also increased in value. 


It requires little imagination to picture the 
sad parting when father and sons, after having 
enlisted in the Eightj-ninth Regiment New 
York Volunteers, left the quiet little village to ' 
join the army. 

The younger son was not at first permitted to 
act as a soldier on account of liis youth. Al- 
lowed to carry the flag at the head of the com- 
mand, his bravery and boldness caused liis father 
incessant anxiety. At the battle of Camden, 
when the second color bearer fell, our young 
hero seized his flag and carried that also until 
the close of battle. For such an act of bravery 
General Burnside summoned him to head- 
quarters, and sent him home on recruiting 

Prior to this young Boyd had been with 
Burnside's expedition off Cape Hatteras, where 
for twenty-six days the soldiers had lain out- 
side, shipwrecked, and obliged to subsist on raw 
rice alone, as no fires could be built. When 
they finally landed on Roanoke Island our 
young lads were jubilant. 


Oi*semus took an active part in raising the 
One Hundi-ed and Forty-fourth New York Vol- 
unteers, and for numberless acts of bravery was 
commissioned second lieutenant of Company D, 
September, 1862. By reason of the senior offi- 
cers' absence" he was for months, though but 
eighteen years of age, in command of a company 
of soldiei-s in which his father and elder brother 
were enlisted men. Perhaps no incident, even 
in those stirring war times, was more unusual. 

The young lieutenant's father spent much 
time and effort in endeavoring to restrain his 
young son's ardor and ambition, which if un- 
checked would no doubt have resulted either in 
rapid promotion or an early grave. The lad 
knew no fear, and was always in the front of 
battle. His name was again and again men- 
tioned in "General Orders" for ''meritorious 

Sadder than their home leaving was the 
return, two yeara later, of father and youngest 
boy, who went back to lay the remains of their 
eldest son and brother in the grave beside his 


mother. Amos had served his country well, 
and met the fate of many other brave soldiers. 

In addition to this sorrow the father con- 
stantly feared lest his second son should also 
experience a soldier's death ; and while the 
father's heart glowed with pride at the encomi- 
ums lavished upon his boy's bravery, and the 
merited rewards it had already received, yet the 
fear of losing him was strongest, and at that 
home coming a compromise was effected. 

The member of Congress from their district, 
desirous of finding an acceptable appointee to 
West Point, chose the gallant young lieutenant, 
who unwillingly accepted. Two years of active 
service had proved his essential fitness for the 
profession of arms. 

With a heart burdened with sorrow, and yet 
not entirely hopeless, the father of two brave 
sons returned alone to his regiment, and finished 
three years of service with our noble Army of 
the Potomac. 

Orsemus Boyd entered West Point in June, 
1863, after having spent a short time in prepa- 


ration. No doubt his years of service at the 
front had given the lad ideas at variance with 
the whims of those young men who had al- 
ready passed their first year at the academy. 

Any one who has been at West Point knows 
that a newly appointed cadet, or " plebe " as he 
is called, is expected not only to bow before 
his superior officers in the line of duty, but is 
compelled to endure all slights and snubs that 
any cadet chooses to impose. In 1863 the dis- 
cipline in that respect was excessive. 

The result, in the case of Mr. Boyd, was that 
he became unpopular for refusing to submit to 
many annoyances. The climax was reached 
when, after liaving fought with one cadet and 
come out the victor, he refused — having dem- 
onstrated his courage and ability — to fight 
with another, a man who had criticised the 
language used in the heat of battle, and was 
consequently dubbed a coward. This, though 
exceedingly trying to a person of his sensitive 
nature, was endured with the same patience as 
were subsequent trials. 


After the furlough year, which comes whei\ 
the first long two years of cadet life have passed, 
Mr. Boyd returned to West Point from that 
most desired leave of absence, with renewed 
hope and courage. Two months spent in his 
boyhood's home, cheered and strengthened by 
the love of many friends, enabled him to go 
back animated by fullest intentions to ignore all 
disagreeables and calmly prepare for a life of 
usefulness. But it was not to be. 

Shortly after Mr. Boyd's return he missed 
sums of money brought from home, but said 
nothing about it, as he had few confidants and 
was naturally reticent. 

In the same class with Mr. Boyd was a man 
who had entered West Point at the avowed age 
of twenty-five, though undoubtedly much older, 
as his appearance indicated. During war time 
the extreme of age for admission there, which 
before and since was and is limited to twenty- 
two years, had been extended to twenty-five. 
This was done in order to permit young men 
who had achieved distinction in real warfare 


the opportunity of acquiring a military educa- 
tion. So this man, named Casey, had entered 
at the acknowledged age of twenty-five. 

He was absolutely impecunious, and belonged 
to an Irish family in very humble circumstances. 
Mr. Boyd's parents, whose ancestors had fought 
in the Revolutionary War, were of pure and 
unadulterated American origin. Yet the supe- 
rior age and cunning of the elder man unfitted 
the younger to cope with him. Always open 
and above board, Mr. Boyd neither knew nor 
expected tricks of any kind, and hence was not 
prepared to meet them. 

Mr. Casey was compelled to procure money 
at all hazards. Before entering West Point he 
had married. That fact, if known, would have 
dismissed him at once from the academy, in 
accordance with the laws governing that insti- 
tution, which permit no cadet to marry. It 
therefore became the object of Casey's life to 
conceal all knowledge of that which, if known, 
would have proved a potent factor in his down- 
fall. Consumed with ambition and the desire 


to reach distinction in every social way, he 
assiduously cultivated the acquaintance of all 
cadets who could in any manner help him 

In the academy at that time were several 
cadets, sons of very wealthy parents, who, con- 
trary to West Point rules, kept in their rooms 
at barracks large sums of money. That was 
Casey's opportunity, for he had constant need 
of it with which to silence the wife who had 
threatened his exposure. So great was the con- 
fidence of the academy classmates in each other 
that the money was simply placed in a trunk, to 
which all the clique had free access, and used 
as a general fund. 

Government supplies cadets with all neces- 
sary articles, therefore only luxuries need be 
purchased, and the limit of these is much 
reduced by the absence of stores. So even to 
those generous young men the disappearance of 
money in large sums became puzzling, and led 
to inquiries which developed into suspicions, 
and a plan was formed to mark some of the bills, 


and thus discover the evil-doer. Mr. Boyd, by 
reason of his unpopularity, was unaware of 
these movements, and he had told no one of his 
own losses. 

The cadets had informed their immediate 
commandant that money was constantly being 
stolen in the corps. Agliast at such a state of 
affairs, he had authorized and selected a com- 
mittee of eight — two from among the eldest 
members of each company — to find and punish 
the thief. In an unguarded moment the com- 
mandant had said: 

"If you find tbe offender, you can deal with 
him as you deem advisable." 

The most prominent member of the commit- 
tee was Casey, himself the real culprit. After 
a perfunctory search through quarters occupied 
by other cadets, they reached Mr. Boyd's, and 
found nothing to reward their efforts. At that 
juncture Casey glanced upward at a pile of 
books lying on some shelves, and said ; 

" Let us look in that large dictionary." 

None but a crowd of frantic boys could have 

18 , PREFACE. 

failed to have observed how promptly he had 
selected the veritable book in which the money 
was found, where subsequent events, as well as 
his dying confession, proved he had himself 
placed it. 

Casey's room, shared with Cadet Hamilton, 
was directly opposite that occupied by Mr. 
Boyd, who roomed alone because of his unpopu- 
larity. Mr. Boyd's room was so unguarded and 
accessible, that no doubt Casey had frequently 
entered it and taken money from the man whom 
he now accused. Casey had skillfully songht to 
direct suspicion in every way toward Mr. Boyd. 
Long had he wielded his baleful influence, to 
which, though no one had observed it, all had 

Tlje search took place at noon, when the 
main body of the corps were at dinner. On 
j\Ir. Boyd's return to his room he found it filled 
with cadets, who madly accused him of the 
crime. White with horror and shame unspeak- 
able, he answered their charges in a way which 
would have convinced any judge of human 


nature that he was entirely innocent. Sinking 
to his knees, and raising his eyes to heaven, he 

" By the memory of my dead mother I swear 
I know nothing whatever of this money ! " 

To any one who knew the young man's 
tender, brave soul, and how hallowed was the 
memory of his mother, that avowal would have 
sufficed. But it was not an occasion for calm 
and deliberate judgment. The supposed cul- 
prit had at last been found, and he was in the 
hands of Philistines. No thought of mercy im- 
pelled any of those young men to hesitate in 
their cruelty. With brute force — eight men 
to one man — they placed Mr. Boyd in confine- 
ment until later in the day, when at dress 
parade they could publicly and brutally dis- 
grace him. 

I now quote, from a published account by an 
eye-witness, the scene which followed : 

" It was a cold, sad, lusterless day. The air 
was full of snow and the cold was bitter. 
Orders were given to fall into ranks in the area 


of barracks for undress parade. The cadet ad- 
jutant commanded : ' Parade Rest.' After a 
pause he continued : ' Cadet captains will place 
themselves opposite their respective company 
fronts, and arrest any man who leaves the 

" There was an interval of the most profound 
stillness. Then above the wind's howling came 
the sound of tramping feet. Across the broad 
porch of the bari'acks and down the ste])s came 
four cadets, bearing between them a man's form. 
They advanced along the battalion's front. As 
they turned, the adjutant raised liis right hand, 
and forthwith the drums and fifes beat and 
wailed out, in un melodious and unearthly har- 
mony, the terrible tune of the ' Rogue's March.' 

" On they came ; and now I saw affixed to 
that man's breast a large white placard, and on 
it the words : ' Coward ! ' ' Liar ! ' ' Thief ! ' 
The face above the words was marble wliite as 
the face of the dead, but the wild, staring, 
blood-red eyes seemed to wail and shrink in 
their horrible misery. 

" The four cadets passed along the full length 
of the battalion, and with their victim turned 
down the slope beyond the buildings and dis- 

On their way to the South Dock the perse- 
cuted man broke away from his accusers, but 
was warned to " beware " how he " ever set foot 


again upon West Point," and threatened with 
yet worse treatment should he do so. 

Genei-al Cullom was then in command at 
West Point. On that particular evening he 
was returning from the direction of the dock 
toward which those heartless cadets had driven 
Mr. Bo3'd, when he met the young man face to 
face. Amazed at the temerity of a cadet who 
could boldly face him in civilian's attire, he 
halted and said : 

" What do you mean, sir? Return at once to 
your quarters ! " 

The general's fii-st and most natural thought 
was that Mr. Boyd had dressed himself in ci- 
vilian's clothes, and was stealing off the post in 
search of amusement. But a second glance 
showed him a face full of grief and shame — a 
countenance on which utter woe was depicted. 
He took the young man at once to his own 
quarters, questioned him, and found to his dis- 
may that the cadets had perpetrated a most un- 
precedented and cruel outrage. 

General Cullom determined then and there 


that the matter should be sifted to the bottom. 
Mr. Boyd was to be tried, and proven either 
guilty or guiltless. His father was sent for, 
and the son allowed to return home pending 
the investigation. 

What greater sorrow can be imagined than 
that which then fell upon this sorely stricken 
family? A young man wlio had faced the 
enemy's fire again and again, who had already 
won his shoulder-straps in the very front of 
war's alarms, to be charged with petty thiev- 
ery, untruth, and cowardice! His stepmother 
said : 

"Had our son been accused of fighting 
hastily, perhaps too readily, I could have be- 
lieved him guilty. But for the sake of money 
Orsemus never could have done wrong." 

Mr. Boyd had been supplied by his father 
with all the money he wanted, and at his own 
request an account kept of it, which showed 
that before this episode he had spent three hun- 
dred dollars — a large sum in a place like West 
Point, where every need is supplied by govern- 


The court of inquiry instituted by General 
Cullom resulted in a verdict of "not guilty." 
In the eyes of the cadets, whose insensate 
cruelty had warped their judgment, it was 
simply a Scotch verdict of " not proven ; " and, 
though acquitted, the defendant was thenceforth 
a disgraced and dishonored man. 

Mr. Boyd remained at the academy nearly 
two years longer, until his graduation in June, 
1867. During all that time he was completely 
ostracized, and, with one, or possibly two excep- 
tions, never exchanged one word with any cadet, 
all of whom regarded him as a coward. But 
none can contemplate such a life without mar- 
veling at its wonderful courage. Mr. Boyd 
had determined to graduate with honor, and 
thus show the world that he possessed such 
bravery as would not allow false charges to ruin 
his whole career. 

I was introduced to him in 1866, and before 
our meeting had heard the whole story. The 
first look into his frank and manly countenance 
made me from that moment his stanch and 


true advocate. I was then attending school in 
New York, but finished in July, and we were 
married in October, three montlis after Mr. 
Boyd graduated. 

Then began the hardships born of that West 
Point episode. Of course such bitter and 
terrible wrongs could not have been done a 
sensitive man without their affecting his whole 
life. To this may be attributed Mr. Bo3^d's 
desire to go West, and there remain. 

It engendered in him a great unwillingness to 
demand even his just dues ; and when he was 
ordered to leave California at a day's notice, 
and given no proper transportation, he sub- 
mitted without a murmur. As I shared all those 
hardships, and shall always feel their effects, 
. I have no hesitancy in saying that I attribute 
. them all to the West Point wrong and injury. 
Mr. Boyd could have entered the artillery 
branch of the service had he not longed to 
escape all reminders of that terrible experience, 
and so chose the Eighth Cavalry, which was 
stationed on the Pacific coast. 


The subsequent hardships endured were due 
not only to the* crude state of affairs at the 
West in those days, but also to the crushed 
spirit which so much injustice had engendered 
in my husband. He could not bear to ask 
favors, and be, perhaps, refused. Mr. Boyd 
even shrank at first from his fellow-officers. I 
know that no enlisted man's wife was ever 
exposed to more or severer perils than was the 
young school-girl from New York City ; and I 
consider them the direct result of those sad 
yeai*s at West Point. 

Mr. Boyd was always selected in after-years 
to handle the funds at eveiy post where we 
were stationed, which distinctly showed how 
his honor was regarded by men competent to 
judge. But it resulted in countless expeditions 
that were both hazardous and expensive. He 
was sent by General Pope to build Fort Bayard 
because of his incorruptible honesty ; but to be 
so constantly changing stations added greatly 
to our hardships. 

" Vengeance is mine ; I will repay, saith the 


Lord." A singular evidence of the truth and 
justice of this text is shown in the meting out 
to those eight misguided young men of sorrow, 
misery, and sudden death, which seems to me a 
return for their attempted sacrifice of the career 
and honor of a gallant and innocent man. The 
roll is a terrible one. Casejs after confessing 
his crime, concealed it, aided and abetted by 
Hamilton. In less than a year after his appar- 
ently honorable graduation, he was shot by one 
of his own soldiei's. Of the remainder, two 
committed suicide, one was murdered, one 
butchered by Modoc Indians ; while family sor- 
row, bankruptcy, and disappointment or un- 
timely death have caused the rest to mournfully 
regret their early hastiness and error of judg- 
ment, and the acts of gross cruelty which sprang 

The Author. 



Whether or not these personal reminis- 
cences will interest the public remains to be 
determined ; for one thing the narrator can 
vouch, and that is they are not in the least 
exaggerated. Several army experiences have 
of late been printed, and when in recounting 
mine I have often been asked to write them, it 
was not, as I then thought, for the purpose of 
publication ; although, as they have been un- 
usual, to say the least, I have been tempted to 
do so ; and now that the whole course of my 
life has been changed I have reasons for issuing 
this book which may perhaps plead my excuse 
should the narrative prove uninteresting to 




The army world, though a small one, yet ex- 
tends over a large amount of territory. My 
] experience of it, previous to marriage, consisted 
in seeing, entirely at its best, beautiful West 
Point, which I considered a fair type of every 
army post; so when I married, immediately 
after his graduation from there, a young second 
lieutenant, I thought that however far we might 
travel such a home would always be found at 
our journey's end. 

My husband, previous to his four yenYs at 
West Point, as narrated in the preface, had 
been a soldier for two years in the War of the 
Rebellion, where he had so signalized himself 
by bravery that friends united in urging his 
father to remove the lad from the perilous sur- 
roundings of active warfare, and permit him to 
be educated in the profession for which he had 
shown such a decided talent. He was at that 
time but eighteen years old, and was probably 
the only man of that age who ever commanded 
a company in which his father and brother were 
enlisted men. 


Mr. Boyd's previous career causing him to 
prefer the cavalry branch of the service, applica- 
tion was therefore made for that; so when ap- 
pointed he was ordered to San Francisco. Not 
knowing whence from there he would be sent, 
as some of the companies of his regiment were 
in Nevada, some in Arizona, and others in Cali- 
fornia, it was deemed unwise for me to accom- 
pany him, so I remained in New York. 

We had been married but two days, and it 
seemed to me as if San Francisco was as far 
away as China, particularly as there was then 
no trans-continental railroad. Besides, I had 
lived in New York City all my life, and con- 
sidered it the only habitable place on the globe. 

Wlien Mr. Boyd reached San Francisco he 
was assigned to a station in Nevada, which was 
so remote, and there appeared to be so little 
hope for any comfortable habitation, that he 
wrote me the prospect for my journey was very 

However, with the hopefulness of youth, he 
counted on a far more speedy accomplishment 


of his desires than anything in the nature of the 
situation seemed to warrant. The troops had 
been sent, as a sort of advance guard and pro- 
tective force for the contemphited Pacific Rail- 
road, to a point in the very eastern part of 
Nevada. The camp was named " Halleck," in 
honor of General Halleck, and the accommoda- 
tions were so limited that ladies were hardly 
needed, except to emphasize the limitations. 
Although it was well understood that I could 
not be comfortably located until summer, yet no 
second hint was needed when in mid-winter 
my husband wrote that I might come at least as 
far as San Francisco. 

In the middle of January I left New York 
on one of the fine steamers of the Pacific Mail 
Steamsliip Company. The three weeks en route 
were delightful, and tlie change from bleak, 
cold winter to the tropical scenes of Panama, 
and thence to the soft and balmy air of the 
Pacific, was so exhilarating that travel was 
simply a continuous pleasure. 

Upon reaching San Francisco, nothing seemed 


more natural than that I should press on, in 
spite of the protestations of friends, who said 
that the Sierra Nevada Mountains were im- 
passable at that season, and who predicted all 
sorts of mishaps. Nothing daunted, I deter- 
mined at least to try, and so took steamer for 
Sacramento, and from thence train to Cisco, at 
the foot of the mountains, and the then ter- 
minus of the Pacific Railway. After leaving 
the train we continued our journey on sleds, in 
the midst of a blinding snowstorm, that com- 
pelled us to envelop our heads in blankets. 

The snow, however, did not last many miles, 
and we were soon transferred to the regular 
stage-coach, a large vehicle with thorough- 
braces instead of springs, and a roomy interior 
which suggested comfort. Alas ! only sug- 
gested! Possibly no greater discomfort could 
have been endured than my companion and 
self underAvent that night. Those old-fash- 
ioned stage-coaches for mountain travel were 
intended to be well filled inside, and well 
packed outside. But it so happened that in- 


stead of the usual full complement of passen- 
gers, one other woman and myself were all. 

A pen far more expert than mine would be 
required to do justice to the horrors of that 
night. Though we had left Cisco at noon, we 
did not reach Virginia City, on the other side 
of the mountains, until ten o'clock next morn- 
ing. As long as daylight lasted we watched in 
amazement those wonderful mountains, which 
should have been called "Rocky," for they 
have enormous precipices and rocky elevations 
at many points; from the highest we gazed 
down into ravines at least fifteen hundred feet 
below, and shuddered again and again. 

One point, called Cape Horn, a bold promon- 
tory, is famous, and as great a terror to stage- 
drivers as is the cape from which it takes its 
name to navigators. We peered into endless 
precipices, down which we momentarily expected 
to be launched, for the seeming recklessness of 
our driver and extreme narrowness of the roads 
made such a fate appear imminent. 

Our alarm did not permit us to duly appreci- 


ate the scenerj^'s magnificent grandeur; besides, 
every possible effort was required to keep from 
being tossed about like balls. We did not 
expect to find ourselves alive in the morning, 
and passed the entire niglit holding on to any- 
thing that promised stability. An ordinary 
posture was quite impossible : we had either to 
brace oui-selves by placing both feet against the 
sides of the vehicle, or seize upon every strap 
within reach. 

Long before morning all devices, except the 
extreme one of lying flat on the bottom of the 
coach and resigning ourselves to the inevitable, 
had failed. Every muscle ached with the strain 
that had been required to keep from being 
bruised by the constant bumping, and even 
then we had by no means escaped. 

We had supped at Donner Lake, a beautiful 
spot in the very heart of the mountains, made 
famous by the frightful sufferings of the Don- 
ner party, which had given the lake its name, 
and which has been so well described by Bret 
Harte in "Gabriel Conroy," that a passing 


mention will suffice. It proved an unfortunate 
prelude to our eventful night ; for in the midst 
of our own sufferings we were compelled to 
think of what might befall us if we, like that 
ill-fated party, should be left to the mercy of 
those grand but cruel mountains, which already 
seemed so relentless in their embrace that al- 
though haste mea'nt torture yet we longed to 
see the last of them. 

The bright sun shone high overhead long 
before we reached Virginia City, where I saw 
for the first time a real mining town. It is not 
my purpose to describe what has been so ably 
done by others, but simply confine mj^self to per- 
sonal experiences ; and I will, therefore, merely 
state that I gladly left Virginia City, knowing 
that soon after we should emerge from moun- 
tain roads, and on level plains be less tortured. 

We were not, however, quite prepared for 
the method that made jolting impossible, and 
which, being the very extreme of our previous 
night's journey, was almost equally unendura- 
ble. On leaving the breakfast-table at Virginia 


City, we were greatly surprised to find our 
coach almost full of passengers ; but we climbed 
in, and for five da3^s and nights were carried 
onward without the slightest change of any 
sort. There was a front and back seat, and 
between the two a middle one, which faced 
the back that we occupied. Whenever in the 
course of the succeeding five days and nights it 
was needful to move even our feet, we could 
only do so by asking our vis-d-vis to move his 
at the same time, as there was not one inch of 
space unoccupied. 

The rough frontiersmen who were our fellow- 
passengers tried in every way to make our sit- 
uation more endurable. After we had sat bolt 
upright for two days and nights, vainly trying 
to snatch a few moments' sleep, which the con- 
stant lurching of the stage rendered impossible, 
the two men directly facing us proposed, with 
many apologies, that we should allow them to 
lay folded blankets on their laps, when, by lean- 
ing forward and laying oui- heads on the rests 
thus provided, our weary brains might find 


some relief. We gratefully assented, only to 
find, however, that the unnatural position ren- 
dered sleep impossible, so decided to bear our 
hardships as best we could until released by 

Our only respite was when the stage stopped 
for refreshments ; but as we experienced all the 
mishaps consequent upon a journey in mid-win- 
ter, such as deep, clinging mud, which made 
regular progress impossible, we frequently 
found that meals were conspicuous by their 
absence; or we breakfasted at midnight and 
dined in the early morning. The food was of 
the sort all frontier travelers have eaten — bis- 
cuits almost green with saleratus, and meats 
sodden with gr.ease, which disguised their nat- 
ural flavors so completely that I often wondered 
what animals of the prairies were represented. 

The names of our stopping-places were pre- 
tentious to such a degree that days passed be- 
fore I was able to believe such grand titles 
could be personated by so little. I also noticed 
that a particularly forbidding exterior, and 


interior as well, would be called by the most 
high sounding name. 

Alas for my hopes of escape from mountain 
travel ! How gladly would I have welcomed 
some mountains instead of the endless mo- 
notony of that prairie ! Nevada is particularly 
noted for the entire absence of trees, and the 
presence of a low, uninteresting shrub called 
sage-brush. It looks exactly as the name indi- 
cates, is a dingy sage-green in color, and, with 
the exception of a bush somewhat darker in 
hue and called grease-wood because it burns 
so readily, nothing else could be seen, not only 
for miles and miles, but day after day, until the 
weary eye longed for change. At dusk imagi- 
nation compelled me to regard those countless 
bushes as flocks of sheep, so similar did they 
appear in the dim light, and I was unable to 
divest my mind of that idea during our entire 
stay in Nevada. 

With such a state of affairs sleep was out of 
the question, and consequently nights seemed 
endless. I considered myself fortunate in hav- 


ing an end seat, and often counted the revolu- 
tions of the wheels until they appeared to turn 
more and more slowly, when I would propound 
that frequent query which always enraged the 
driver : 

" How long hefore we reach the next station ? " 

I remember one night we made eight miles 
in fifteen hours, and the next day fifteen miles 
in eight hours. Both seemed wearily slow ; but 
according to our driver the roads were to blame. 

That night the monotony was relieved by 
what we considered a very pleasing incident, as 
it afforded some excitement. A rather small 
pig decided to accompany us, and some of the 
passengers made our driver frantic by betting 
on piggy winning the race : as a fact, he did 
reach the station first. I felt quite dejected at 
having to leave him there ; for in our lonely 
journey we longed for companions in misery, 
and he seemed very miserable during that weary 

Notwithstanding the level monotony of the 
country, we were constantly being brought up 


short by gullies which crossed our road. The 
sensation was akin to that one experiences 
when arrested by the so-called "thank-you- 
niums," met with in Eiistern rural districts. 

As the very tiniest streams in the West are 
designated livers, we were always expecting, 
only to be disappointed, great things in that line. 
At last, when we reached Austin, and saw that 
the Reese River could be stepped across, all 
expectations of future greatness in the way of 
rivers were relinquished. 

Austin, at that time a very small mining 
town, was so insignificant as to be regarded as 
merely a mile-stone on the journey. We gladly 
left it to continue our travels, which soon be- 
came less monotonous by reason of low moun- 
tains that we crossed in the night, before 
reaching what I had hoped was to be the end of 
my long stage-ride. 

Mr. Boyd had arrived first at the military 
camp at Ruby, where we remained two days 
to rest before continuing our journey. This 
was necessary, as the loss of sleep for five long 


nights had so prostrated me that when I found 
myself in a recumbent position, consciousness to 
all outside surroundings was so completely lost 
that the intervening day and night were entirely 
blotted out. 

I no longer felt particularly young. Experi- 
ence and the loss of sleep had aged me. Yet 
knowing that the years which had passed over 
my head were as few as were consistent with 
the dignity of a married woman, I was taken 
quite aback when one of the employees con- 
nected with the stage station asked my hus- 
band : 

" How did the old woman stand the trip? " 

I listened intently for his answer, fully ex- 
pecting to hear the man severely rebuked, if 
not laid flat ; but Mr. Boyd understood human 
nature better than I, and in the most polite 
tones replied : 

" Thank you, very well indeed." 

We were then within about one hundred 
miles of our destination. Fort Halleck, Nevada, 
and the remainder of our journey was to be 


made in an entirely different vehicle from the 
stage-coach — a government ambulance, and 
in this case the most uncomfortable one I have 
ever seen. Many are delightful; but that was 
an old, worthless affair, and instead of the usual 
comfortable cross seats had long side ones, which 
covered with slippery leather made security of 
position impossible. My trunk was first placed 
inside, then a huge bundle of forage, which left 
only room for two people near the door. 

We jogged on monotonously the first day, 
seeing the same scenery: it seemed to me a 
duplicate of that looked upon for days past. 
Very thankful I was, however, for the absence 
of any steep hills; for we fully expected, at the 
first climb, to be buried under my own huge 
trunk, which appeared to have as great a ten- 
dency to shift its position as I had. 

Instead of feeling a womanly pride in the 
possession of an abundant wardrobe, I ruefully 
wished most of it had been left behind, more 
especially as the stage company charged a dollar 
for each pound of its weight. The combined 


amount of this and my stage fare was just two 
hundred and fifty dollars. As my fare by 
steamer had been exactly that amount, I had, 
before reaching my husband, disposed of five 
Imndred dollars, in return for whicli five seem- 
ingly endless days and sleepless niglits of tire- 
some travel had been endured, together with 
many bumps and bruises. 

One of the objects I have in writing these 
adventures is to show how an army officer is 
compelled to part with all he obtains from the 
government in paying expenses incurred bj' end- 
less journeys through newly settled countries. 

But to resume our ambulance trip. As night 
approached the motion ceased, and I doubt if 
mortal was ever more amazed than I when told 
we were to go no farther. Not a sign of habi- 
tation was in sight ! Nothing but broad plains 
surrounded us on all sides ! Not even a tree 
could be seen, and the four mules had to be 
hitched to our ambulance wheels, as tiny bushes 
were not, of course, available for such a pur- 
pose. A fire was made of grease- wood, a piece 


of bacon broiled on the coals, and a huge pot of 
coffee served in quart tin cups, which is the 
only way soldiers condescend to drink it, as no 
less amount will suffice, coffee being their great- 
est solace on long marches. 

That, my first real experience in camping out, 
was indeed novel. The knowledge that except 
one tiny dot in the wilderness — our ambulance 
— we had no resting-place, gave me a curiously 
homeless feeling that was indeed cheerless. 

When, a little later, we sought our couch, it 
proved to be anything but downy. My trunk 
and the forage had been taken out, and the 
seats, always made as in a sleeping-car so that 
the backs let down, formed the bed. It was 
not, however, altogether uncomfortable, as we 
had plenty of blankets. 

Soon after falling asleep I was awakened by 
what seemed to be a complete upheaval of our 
couch. I was thoroughly terrified and pre- 
pared for almost anything; but examination 
showed that our alarm was caused by one of 
the mules, that had worked his way under our 


ambulance, and in attempting to rise had almost 
upset it. A readjustment of the lines hy which 
a mule was tied to each wheel somewhat re- 
assured me ; but those playful attempts to either 
upset or drag our extemporized couch in any 
direction in which the mules felt inclined to go, 
resulted in our passing a restless night. Some- 
times one mule would be seized with an am- 
bitious desire to break away ; this w^ould rouse 
the other three, who would each in turn attempt 
to stampede, and but for the driver's timely 
assistance it is difficult to state what might 
have happened, as our vehicle was not suf- 
ficiently strong to withstand such violent 

When morning dawned we resumed our 
march, and great was my joy on learning that 
we would have four walls around us during the 
two succeeding nights. I was, however, rather 
startled to find myself disturbing so many that 
evening, for when we reached the little log hut 
that was to shelter us, it proved to be, though 
but eighteen feet square, the abode of ten men. 


In all the log cabins at which we stopped a bed 
occupied one corner of their only room. Those 
beds were, of coui-se, only rough bunks of un- 
planed pine timber; but by reason of being 
raised above the mud floors formed very de- 
sirable resting-places. 

The almost chivalrous kindness of frontiers- 
men has become proverbial with women who 
have traveled alone in the far West, where the 
presence of any member of the sex is so rare 
the sight of one seems to remind each man that 
he once had a mother, and no attention which 
can be shown is ever too great. When, there- 
fore, our hosts saw my reluctance to deprive 
them of wliat must have been occupied by at 
least two of their number, they assured me I 
would confer a favor by accepting the proffered 
hospitality. Althougli shrinking from the prox- 
imity of so many men, yet remembering my 
shaky bed of the previous night, I was glad to 
find refuge behind the improvised curtains 
which they deftly arranged. 

It seemed indeed odd on this and succeeding 


nights to see huge, stalwart men preparing food, 
baking the inevitable biscuits in Dutch ovens 
over the coals in open fireplaces, and being so 
well pleased if we seemed to enjoy what was 
placed before us. 

Our next day's journey was diversified by the 
discovery that our vehicle was like the famous 
one-horse shay, likely to drop in pieces ; indeed, 
we had twice to send back several miles for the 
tires, which had parted company with their 
wheels. Such a condition of our conveyance, 
coupled with several other mishaps, led us to 
feel very dubious as to our destination being 
eventually reached in safety. 

On arriving at the cabin in which our third 
night was to be passed, we found it occupied by 
fifteen men. As usual, we were ensconced in 
the only bed. I tried to feel doubly protected, 
instead of embarrassed, by the vicinity of so 
many men ; nor did I consider it necessary to 
peer about in an effort to learn how they dis- 
posed of themselves. I well knew it was too 
cold to admit of any sleeping outside. Being 


startled by some noise in the night, I drew back 
the curtains, and looked on a scene not soon to 
be forgotten. Not only were the men ranged in 
rows before us, but the number of sleepers had 
been augmented by at least six dogs, which had 
crept in for shelter from what I found in the 
morning was a severe snow-storm, that covered 
the ground to tlie depth of ten inches or more. 

Ou the last day of that long journey I arose, 
feeling particularly happy at the prospect of 
soon reaching our destination ; and even the 
sight of snow did not disconcert me, as I rea- 
soned that we were to ride in a covered vehicle, 
and with only twenty miles to travei*se had 
nothing to fear. 

Though all might have gone well had our 
ambulance been strong, but \>wo miles of the 
distance had been covered when we sank in an 
enormous snow-drift. Our mules had wandered 
from the road into a deep gully, and in trying 
to pull us out succeeded in extricating only 
the front wheels of the wagon, so farther prog- 
ress in that vehicle was quite impossible. Noth- 


ing could be done except call upon our friends 
of the past night for assistance, which they 
promptly rendered, sending us their only wagon 
— an open, springless one — which seemed so 
exposed they begged me to return to the cabin. 
But my anxiety to reach our journey's end was 
by that time so great I would have tried to 
walk could no other mode of procedure have 
been found. 

So, seated in the very center of the wagon, 
Avith as much protection as our blankets could 
afford, we rode the remaining eighteen miles, 
snow falling continually and rendering it im- 
possible to distinguish the road. Travel under 
such conditions, and especially in a spiingless 
conveyance, made our previous jaunt over 
mountains fade into insignificance. 

The day seemed endless ; and though at first 
I kept shaking off the snow, yet when we 
reached our destination, after riding for twelve 
long hours, I had become so worn and weary 
as to no longer care, and was almost buried 
beneath it. 


It is always the last straw which breaks the 
camel's back, and that, the last day of our jour- 
ney, was the firet on which I had felt discour- 
aged ; in spite of constant efforts I finally 
succumbed to our doleful surroundings, and 
in tears was lifted out and carried into what 
proved to be my home for the next year. 



When courage to look around had at last 
been mustered, I found that my new home was 
formed of two wall tents pitched together so 
the inner one could he used as a sleeping and 
the outer one as a sitting room. _ A calico cur- 
tain divided them, and a carpet made of barley 
sacks covered the floor. In my weary state of 
mind and body the effect produced was far from 
pleasant. The wall tents were only eight feet 
square, and when windowless and doorless ex- 
cept for one entrance, as were those, they 
seemed from the inside much like a prison. 

As I lay in bed that night, feeling decidedly 
homesick, familiar airs, played upon a very good 
piano, suddenly sounded in my ears. It seemed 
impossible that there could be a fine musical 
instrument such a distance from civilization, 


particularly when I remembered the roads over 
which we had come, and the clinster of tents 
that alone represented human habitation. The 
piano, which I soon learned belonged to our 
captain's wife, added greatly to her happiness, 
and also to the pleasure of us all, though 
its first strains only intensified my homesick 

This lady and myself were the only women 
at the post, which also included, besides our 
respective husbands, the doctor and an unmar- 
ried first lieutenant. The latter, as quarter- 
master and commissary, controlled all supplies, 
and could make us either comfortable or the 
reveree, as he chose. 

Shortly afterward another company of sol- 
diers, embracing one married officer and two 
unmarried ones, joined us; but at first our troop 
of cavalry was all. The men, instead of living 
in tents, were quartered in dugouts, which, as 
their name implies, were holes dug in the 
ground, warm enough, but to my unaccustomed 
eyes places in which only animals should have 


been sheltered, so forbidding and dingy did 
they seem. The soldiers were not, however, 
destined to spend the summer in such accom- 
modations, for by that time very comfortable 
barracks had been erected. 

As everything in the life I then led was 
new and strange, and surroundings have always 
powerfully influenced me, I took note of many 
things which it seemed should have been rem- 
edied. One which greatly troubled me was 
the power extremely young officers exercised 
over enlisted men. If the latter were in the 
least unruly, most fearful punishment awaited 
them, which in my opinion was not commen- 
surate with the offense, but depended entirely 
upon the mercy and justice of the offender's 
superior officer, who usually but a boy himself 
had most rigid ideas of discipline. 

I have always noticed how years temper 
judgment with any one in authority, and thus 
have come to believe that no very young man is 
capable of wielding it. Situated as we were in 
tents, so the slightest sound could be heard, we 


were made aware of all that transpired outside. 
When an enlisted man transgressed some rule 
and was severely punished, I always became 
frantic, for his outcries reached my ears, and 
I recognized the injustice and impropriety of 
some mere boy exercising cruel authority over 
any man old enough to be his father. 

Methods have completely changed in the 
anny since that time, and I am glad to state 
that for man}^ years past such scenes as then 
wrung my heart have been unknown; but in 
those days our military organization was so 
crude many things were permitted which are 
now scarcely remembered by any one. Our 
soldiers, recruited from the Pacific coast, then 
famous for the demoralized state of its poorer 
classes, were indeed in need of firm discipline ; 
but it required men with more experience than 
those young officers possessed to wield it. 

I always have had, and always shall have, a 
tender, sympathetic feeling for American sol- 
diers. In fact, most of the kindly help which 
made life on the frontier endurable to me came 


from those men. We were never able to pro- 
cure domestic help ; it was simply out of the 
question, and for years it would have been 
necessary for me either to have cooked or 
starved but for their ever-ready service. 
. To cook in a modern kitchen, or even in an 
ancient one, is not so dreadful ; but to cook 
amid the discomforts and inconveniences which 
surrounded me for many years would have been 
impossible to any delicately nurtured woman. 
I recall the delight with which an offer of help 
from a soldier in that, my first effort at house- 
keeping, was welcomed. Although I soon be- 
came the slave of my cook's whims, because of 
my utter inexperience and ignorance, yet his 
forethought when the floor was soaked with 
rain in always having a large adobe brick 
heated ready to be placed under my feet Avhen 
dining, will never be forgotten. 

The greatest proof of devotion I ever received 
was when tliat man, learning that the laundress 
declined longer employing her services in our 
behalf, saw me preparing to essay the task my- 


self. To prevent that he rose sufficiently early 
to do the work, and continued the practice so 
long as we remained there, despite the fact that 
it subjected him to ridicule from other soldiers ; 
and so sensitive was he in regard to the subject 
that I never unexpectedly entered the kitchen 
while he was ironing without noticing his en- 
deavors to hastily remove all trace of such 

As the season was severe — the thermometer 
during that and the succeeding winter fre- 
quently fell to thirty-three degrees below zero 
— a large stove had been placed in the outer 
tent, and a huge fireplace built in the inner one. 
A large pine bunk, forming a double bed, occu- 
pied nearly all the spare space, and left only 
just room enough in front of the fire to seat 
one's self, and also to accommodate the tiniest 
shelf for toilet purposes. It therefore required 
constant watchfulness to avoid setting one's 
clothing on fire; and among other ludicrous 
occurrences was the following : 

In our inability to find suitable places for 


necessary articles, we were apt to use most in- 
appropriate ones. On the occasion referred to, 
a lighted candle had been placed on the bed, 
where my husband seated himself without noti- 
cing the candle. Soon arose the accustomed 
smell of burning, and I executed my usual ma- 
neuver of turning about in front of the fire 
to see if my draperies had caught. The odor of 
burning continued to increase, yet I could find 
no occasion for it. 

The cause, however, was discovered when I 
leaned over the bed, and saw that a large hole 
had been burned in the center of Mr. Boyd's 
only uniform coat. He had been too intent on 
shielding me to be conscious of his own peril. 
It was an accident much to be regretted, for our 
isolation was so complete that any loss, however 
trifling, seemed irreparable by reason of our re- 
moteness from supplies. A lengthened account 
of our difficulties in procuring needed articles 
during this and many subsequent years would 
seem incredible. 

I had been delighted to purchase, at the stage 


station where we stopped previous to our one 
hundred miles' ambulance trip, and for exactly 
the amount of one month's pay, a modest supply 
of dishes and cooking utensils. Prior to their 
arrival we were happy to obtain our meals at 
the house of the quartermaster's clerk ; yet I 
looked eagerly forward to my first attempt at 
housekeeping, and daily sought to induce our 
quartermaster to send for the goods. At last 
he informed us that they were on the way, and 
then began tiresome efforts to have some sort of 
kitchen and dining-room prepared. 

All my entreaties resulted only in a number 
of willows being stuck in the ground and cov- 
ered with barley sacking. Even the door was 
composed of two upright and two cross pieces 
of willow covered with sacking ; a simple piece 
of leather, wliich when caught on a nail served 
as fastening and handle, was deemed sufficient 
guard. The floor was primitive ground, and in 
time, as it became hardened by our feet, was 
smooth except where the water from above 
wore it into hollows. No efforts of mine could 


ever induce the powers that were to cover the 
roof so as to exclude rain. At first some old 
canvas was simply stretched over it ; but as the 
roof was nearly flat this soon had to be replaced. 
By degrees, as cattle were killed for the sol- 
diers, we used the skins which were otherwise 
valueless, lapping them as much as possible. 
However, they formed no effectual barrier to 
melting snow or falling rain, as later experience 
proved, when it became only an ordinary occur- 
rence for me to change my seat half a dozen 
times during one meal. 

Young people are not easily discouraged, 
and I was very happy when informed that our 
housekeeping goods had arrived and been placed 
in the quarters prepared for them. An omi- 
nous sound which greeted our ears as we opened 
the boxes rather dismayed us ; but we were not 
prepared for the utter ruin that met our eyes. 
AVhat had not been so brittle as to break, had 
been rendered useless and unsightly by having 
been chipped or cracked ; and as we took out the 
last piece of broken ware I concluded that what 


was left might be sold in New York for a dol- 
lar. On comparing the residue with the inven- 
tory, we discovered that half the goods were 

The articles had been bought from an army 
officer who was changing stations, and were 
not strictly what I should have chosen. Every- 
thing, however, was useful there, and I was 
rather pleased that we had duplicates of nearly 
every article, although results showed that this 
had tempted the freighters' cupidity, and they 
had fitted themselves out with the primary sup- 
ply; so when by breakages the secondary dis- 
appeared, we had really nothing of any conse- 
quence left. Bitterness was added to sorrow, 
when of a dozen tumblers only the debris of six 
were found. The common kitchen ware was 
too solid to be shattered, but everything at all 
fragile was in fragments. 

The triumph with which we evolved from 
the chaos a large wash-bowl and pitcher, which 
though in close proximity to a pair of flat-irons 
had escaped injury, was equaled only by our 


chagrin when we found our little toilet shelf 
too small to hold them, and were therefore 
obliged to return to a primitive tin basin, 
though hoping in time for enough lumber to 
build accommodations which would allow us 
the luxury of white ware. 

I regret to state that the climate proved too 
much for our large pitcher. One morning we 
found it cracked from the cold to Avhich it had 
been exposed in the out-door kitchen, in which 
we were obliged to keep it. Our basin was 
cherished ; but on the anniversary of our wed- 
ding-day I nearly sank from mortification when 
Mr. Boyd came into our tent, which was filled 
with friends who had gathered to celebrate the 
occasion, carrying the wash-bowl full of very 
strong punch which he had concocted. No 
thought of apologizing for our lack of delica- 
cies occurred to me, but I felt compelled to ex- 
plain, in the most vehement fashion, that the 
wash-bowl had never been utilized for its obvi- 
ous purpose ; in fact, this was the first period of 
its usefulness. 


My housekeeping was simplified by absolute 
lack of materials. I had, as a basis of supplies, 

, during that and the succeeding two years, noth- 
ing but soldiers' rations, which consisted en- 
tirely of bacon, flour, beans, coffee, tea, rice, 
sugar, soap, and condiments. Our only luxury 
was dried apples, and with these I experimented 
in every imaginable way until toward the last 
my efforts to disguise them utterly failed, and 
we returned to our simple rations. I was un- 
able to ring any changes on rice, for after Mr. 
Boyd's experience with General Burnside's ex- 
pedition off Cape Hatteras, the very sight of it 
had become disagreeable to him. 

We had at that time no trader's store within 
two miles, which was a matter of congratula- 
tion, for when we indulged our desire for any 
change of fare, however slight, we felt as if eat- 
ing gold. Nothing on the Pacific coast could 

' be paid for in greenbacks ; only gold and silver 
were used ; and when an officer's pay, received 
in greenbacks, was converted into gold, a pre- 
mium of fifty per cent always had to be paid. 


That, added to frontier prices, kept us poor and 
hungry for years. If we indulged in a dozen 
eggs the price was two dollars in gold. If we 
wanted the simplest kind of canned goods to 
relieve the monotony of our diet, the equivalent 
was a dollar in gold. 

I had always disliked to offend any one ; but 
remarking one day that the flavor of wild onions 
which permeated the only butter we could pro- 
cure, and for which we paid two dollars and a 
half a pound, was not exactly to our taste, seri- 
ously offended the person who made it. I quite 
rejoiced thereat when she refused to supply us 
with any more, feeling that a lasting economy 
had been achieved without any great self-denial. 
The taint of numerous kinds of wild herbs of 
all sorts, during the many years of my frontier 
life, always made both beef and milk as well as 
butter unpalatable, especially in the early spring 
season, and in Texas, where the flavor was 

There were so many motives for economy 
that we rejoiced continually at our inability to 


procure supplies. First should be named the 
fact that a lieutenant's pay, exceedingly small 
at best, was, when converted into gold, just 
eighty dollai*s per month. That- reality was 
augmented by an utter inequality in the cost 
of actual necessaries. We found, for instance, 
that we must have at least two stoves — one 
for cooking and the other for heating purposes. 
Their combined cost was one hundred and 
seventy-five dollars, although both could have 
been bought in New York for about twenty dol- 
lars. If we ever rebelled against such seeming 
impositions, the cost of freight would be alluded 
to ; and remembering what the expenses of my 
poor solitary trip had been we were effectually 

Among the many amusing stories told on that 
subject, none was more frequently quoted in 
every frontier station than the retort of a He- 
brew trader, who, when expostulated with on 
account of the exorbitant charge of a dollar for 
a paper of needles, vehemently replied ; 

" Oh, it is not de cost of de needles ! It is 
de freight, de freight ! " 


So when obliged to purchase any article we 
counted its cost as compared with the freight as 
one to one hundred. 

Shortly after we reached Camp Halleck, a 
team was sent to Austin for supplies ; and 
being sadly in need of chairs it was decided 
that if we ordered the very strongest and ugliest 
kitchen ones they would escape injuiy, and be 
cheap. The bill was received before the team 
returned, and to our dismay we found that the 
six chairs cost just six dollars each in gold, or 
fifty dollars in greenbacks. We tried to hope 
they would be so nice that the price would 
prove of slight consequence. But lo ! the 
teamster brought but one chair, and that a 
common, black, old-fashioned kitchen one. 

When asked about the other five, the man 
replied that the loads were so bad, our chairs, 
having been placed on top of the load, were con- 
tinually falling under the wheels, and finally, 
broken in pieces, had been left to their fate. 
We, however, suspected that they had served as 
firewood. We frequently joked, after the first 


pangs had worn away, over our fifty-dollar cliair, 
claiming a great favor was bestowed upon any 
one allowed to occupy it. 

Reading matter was our only luxury, and the 
weekly mail, always an uncertainty, was just as 
apt to have been lightened of its contents in 
transit, if the roads were at all heavy, as any 
other package. We were never sure, therefore, 
that we should be able to understand the next 
chapters in serial stories, which were our 

I remember being very much engrossed in one 
of Charles Reade's novels, the heroine of which 
was cast on a desert island, where I thought 
only her lover's presence could reconcile her to 
the absence of supplies. The story was pub- 
lished in Every Saturday^ and at first came 
weekly ; but after we had become most deeply 
interested five weeks passed during which not 
a single number was received, and we*were left 
to imagine the sequel. 

Several periodicals of a more solid nature al- 
ways came regularly, which fact constrained us 


to believe that we were furnishing light lit- 
erature to the poor inhabitants of some lonely 
stage station on the road ; and in that belief 
we tried to find consolation for our own losses. 
Rumors of the outside world grow dim in such 
an isolated life ; we were unwilling to become 
rusty, and hence read with avidity all printed 
matter that reached us. 

There were, however, other diversions. I 
learned to play cribbage admirably ; and as 
my husband was able to give me a good deal of 
his time we found it a pleasant pastime. The 
winter seemed well-nigh interminable, and we 
longed for snow to disappear, intending then to 
explore the whole country. I was such a novice 
in the saddle that the steadiest old horse, called 
" Honest John," was chosen for me ; and by the 
time pleasant weather had come I was ready to 
ride in any direction, having learned that my 
steed was all his name implied. 

We found the streams, so small and insignifi- 
cant during the dry season, enlarged by melting 
snows from the mountains; and they were not 


only beautiful, as clear running water ever is, 
but were filled with the most delicious spotted 
trout, which on our fishing-trips we caught and 
cooked on the spot, and whose excellence as 
food simply beggars description. 

Though the country remained almost as dreary 
as in mid-winter, grass made some improve- 
ment. The lovely wild-flowers, in endless 
beauty and variety, were a ceaseless delight; 
while our camp, situated on a lovely little 
stream in a grove of cottonwood-trees, was far 
more beautiful than I had ever imagined it 
could be. 

Unfortunately there were no trees to cast 
their shade over our tents ; and as in mid-winter 
we had suffered from intense cold, so in summer 
we suffered from intense heat. The sun pene- 
trated the thin canvas overhead to such an ex- 
tent that my face was burned as if I had been 
continually out>of-doors, or even more so, as its 
reflected glare was most excessive. Then we 
were almost devoured by gnats so small that 
netting was no protection against them. I had 


never before, nor have I ever since, seen any 
insect in such quantities, nor any so troublesome 
and annoying. 

In after-years I became accustomed to the 
most venomous creatures of all sorts, and in time 
learned not to mind any of them ; but while 
in Nevada I endured tortures from a colony of 
wasps that took possession of the canvas over 
the ridge-poles which connected the uprights of 
our tents. At first we scarcely noticed them ; 
but they must either have multiplied incredibly, 
or else gathered recruits from all directions, for 
soon they swarmed in countless numbers above 
our heads, going in and out through the knot- 
holes in our rough pine door, buzzing about 
angrily whenever we entered hastily — in fact, 
disputing possession with us to such a degree 
that I dared not open the door quickly. When- 
ever I did, one of the angry insects was sure to 
meet and sting me. They remained with us 
during the summer, and when we finally left 
were masters of the field by reason of their su- 
perior numbers. 


I have often since wondered why we did not 
dispossess them by some means, as they were 
the terror of my life. One day while in tlie 
inner tent, where I felt safe, dressing for break- 
fast, I experienced the most intense sting' on 
my ankle. The pain was so great I screamed, 
doubly frightened because confident a rattle- 
snake had bitten me, and too terrified to exer- 
cise any self-control. My cries soon brought a 
dozen or more persons to the scene, who found 
a wretched wasp, and calmed my fears ; but my 
nerves had been terribly shaken. Since then 
I have met army ladies who live in constant 
terror of snakes, tarantulas, and scorpions; 
though no longer sharing their fears, I always 
sympathize with them. 

I soon became an expert fisher; and the 
dainty food thus procured was a great addition 
to our supplies. With all its drawbacks, life in 
the open air then began to have many charms 
for me. 

We made friends with the neighboring ranch- 
men, particularly those who were married, as 


their wives interested us greatly, they were 
such perfect specimens of frontier w^omen. At 
first the rancheros were a little shy, but soon 
made us welcome to their homes and festivities, 
where we were always urged to remain as long 
as possible. Gradually new arrivals — always 
called " sister " or " cousin " — appeared at sev- 
eral of the ranches, and soon a rumor gained 
ground that though not exactly in Utah, the 
Mormon religion prevailed to some extent in 
our locality. 

Another source of great interest was the 
Piute and Shoshone Indians, who were so nu- 
merous that I soon regarded red men as fear- 
lessly as if I had been accustomed to them all 
my life. They were deeply interested in us, at 
times inconveniently so; for they never timed 
their visits, but always came to stay, and would 
frequently spend the entire day watching our 

In one of their camps, several miles away, I 
found a beautiful dark-eyed baby boy, to whom 
I paid frequent visits, which were at first well 


received. But one day I carried the child a 
neat little dress — my own handiwork — and 
before arraying baby in it gave him a bath,' 
which evidently caused his mother to decide 
that I had sinister designs upon her prize, for 
on my subsequent visits no trace of the baby 
could ever be found. Had his sex been differ- 
ent I probably could have obtained complete 
possession; but boys are highly prized among 
the Indians. 

We considered ourselves well repaid for a 
ride of twenty miles by an India'n dance. It 
was, of course, only picturesque at night, when 
seen by the light of huge fires; then, indeed, 
the sight was weird and strange ! On such an 
occasion, when depicting so perfectly their war- 
fare, tlie Indians seemed to return to their 
original savage natures. Had it not been for 
our fully armed escort we might have feared 
for safety. 

It was startling to see the Indians slowly 
circle around their camp-fire, at first keeping 
time to a very slow, monotonous chant, which 


by degrees increased in volume and rapidity, 
until finally their movements became fast and 
furious, when savagery would be written in 
every line of their implacable countenances. I 
could then realize in some degree how little 
mercy would be shown us should they once be- 
come inimical ; but seeing them at all times so 
thoroughly friendly made it difficult to think 
of them as otherwise ; and therefore, when we 
afterwards lived among the most savage tribes, 
I never experienced that dread which has made 
life so hard for many army ladies. 

With the advent of early spring active prep- 
arations were made to build houses for the 
officers before the ensuing winter. We watched 
their slow progress, hoping against hope that 
we might occupy one of the cozy little dwell- 
ings. All sorts of difficulties, however, seemed 
to delay their construction, for good workmen 
were as scarce as good food, and we found that 
while anticipation and expectation were pleas- 
ing fancies, realization was but a dream. All 
our hopes were doomed to disappointment, for 


we finally left the post on the following Janu- 
ary, just one year after my arrival, with the 
house we had longed to occupy still unfinished ; 
thus I passed half of the second winter in our 
two small tents. 



Meantime much had happened to make that 
year an eventful one. My expectation of find- 
ing the new, untried world into which I was 
ushered a place where all were ready to meet 
me with open hearts and hands had been com- 
pletely shattered. The captain who commanded 
our company, and the first lieutenant, had taken 
a violent dislike to Mr. Boyd because he was 
unaccustomed to the lack of discipline they 
allowed ; and their almost unlimited powers en- 
abled them to deprive us of much to which we 
were justly entitled. 

They were two of the most illiterate men 
whom I have ever met ; and shortly after, when 
the army consolidated, both found more fitting 
occupation in a frontier mining town. I men- 
tion this only to account for the unnecessary 


hardships to which we were subjected. For 
instance, when gardens were planted, and the 
company was raising fine vegetables, we were 
allowed neither to buy nor to use any, and had 
to continue to live on rations. 

But the most unkind treatment of all was 
shown when my husband met with a severe 
.accident. He was returning from a successful 
fishing-trip when his horse — and a more un- 
ruly mustang cannot well be imagined — fan- 
cied some cause for fright, and began to buck 
on the side of a steep hill. Mr. Boyd, deeming 
discretion the better part of valor, jumped off, 
and fell with his entire weight upon one leg, 
fracturing it just below the knee. His compan- 
ion decided to ride into camp, a distance of six 
miles, for assistance, and a litter was at once 
sent out. My husband lay there alone, helpless 
and suffering, until long after dark, the coyotes, 
or small wolves, coming around in droves, and 
it was with the greatest difficulty he kept them 
off by the use of both gun and pistol. 

When he was brought into camp late at night. 


my first remark was that I derived some com- 
fort from the situation, inasmuch as he would 
not be compelled to join an expedition which 
had been for some time projected. Mr. Boyd 
was to have been sent with an escort of twenty 
men on a surveying party. That would have 
kept him in the field all summer, and left me 
entirely alone. 

The officer in command displayed his ma- 
levolence by sending with the expedition the 
soldier who had volunteered to wait on us, 
thus leaving me without the slightest assistance 
in caring for my husband. The doctor was ex- 
ceedingly kind and good, and I could obtain 
my meals where we had on my first arrival; 
but I was obliged to carry Mr. Boyd's food 
quite a long distance, and perform every sort 
of hard, menial labor — even chopping wood ; 
for nights, lying unable to move, my husband 
would become chilly and need a fire. 

Many other hardships were entailed, and I 
was quite worn out with working and nursing, 
when, in a month's time, Mr. Boyd was able to 


walk on crutches. However, the accident had 
given me his society for the entire summer, at 
which I rejoiced exceedingly ; for I had often 
wondered what I should do if left alone, friend- 
less as I felt myself to be. 

At that time the whole army was in a chaotic 
state, especially on the Pacific coast, where 
California volunteers, though brave and hardy 
men, w^ere totally unaccustomed to military dis- 
cipline, and the officers not of a character to 
enforce it. The wild lawlessness which had 
made California a place of terror, and that had 
only been subdued by the vigilance committee, 
was still extant, and many occurrences during 
our first year of army life showed there were 
desperadoes among us. 

Had the officers in command been gentlemen, 
at least a semblance of respect would have been 
shown; but the enlisted men, treated by their 
officer exactly as they had been while both 
were volunteers, were disposed to dislike a man 
who after four years of rigid training at West 
Point had grown accustomed to discipline and 
was disposed to exact it. 


The first duty which called my husband from 
home was an expedition after some horses that 
had been sent to Camp McDermott, a distance 
of about two hundred miles. He took with 
him ten men, and experienced very little diffi- 
culty in managing them while going; but re- 
turning, with twenty extra horses, the soldiers 
were in a lawless state, disposed to be unruly, 
and would become intoxicated whenever liquor 
could be had. Despite the fact that water was 
obtainable only at the stations en route., Mr. 
Boyd made a practice of procuring in casks all 
that would be needed, and marching a few 
miles beyond the stations, so as to prevent 
liquor being obtained ; for in all those places, 
although water might be scarce, a barrel of the 
vilest whisky could always be found. 

The plan worked well for the first hundred 
miles ; but one night the men stole back to the 
station and insisted that liquor be given them. 
Mr. Boyd always warned station-masters of the 
extreme danger of allowing his men to have 
whisky, as with so many horses the services of 


all were required ; but that day some had been 
procured from an unknown source, and they 
were determined to have more. The station- 
master refused to furnish it, and barricaded his 
door so that no one could enter. 

The men were infuriated ; and just as my 
husband arrived on the scene one of them 
rushed madly against the door and forced it 
open, only to be met by a ball from a pistol 
fired by some one inside the room, which killed 
him instantly. That sobered the rest, who 
obeyed the order given to carry their dead com- 
rade back to the encampment. Fearing further 
disturbance my husband broke camp and trav- 
eled till daylight, when finding the already 
over-loaded wagon much encumbered by the 
dead body, which had repeatedly slipped off, he 
stopped and buried it by the roadside. After 
that he had no trouble, as the men were com- 
I^letely subdued. 

On their return to camp the entire story was 
related to me; and knowing how great Mr. 
Boyd's anxiety had been, I fully expected he 


would be commended, if not rewarded. Instead 
of that he was actually called to account, prin- 
cipally for burying the dead soldier by the 
roadside, which the commanding officer seemed 
to consider wrong, when to have traveled so 
many days with the body uncoffined would 
have been quite impossible. 

I was highly diverted by the efforts my hus- 
band made to procure presents for me, and shall 
never forget the peculiarity of his gifts. In 
passing through Austin at one time he endeav- 
ored to buy fruit, as we missed it greatly, and 
deemed a box of apples at only one dollar a 
dozen a marvelous bargain, as three dollars 
had been paid for those previously purchased. 

On another occasion Mr. Boyd had yielded to 
the temptation to buy a sewing-machine, which 
he thought would please me very much, as in- 
deed it Avould had I been able to use it ; but 
the machine was entirely out of order and rep- 
resented nothing in the way of usefulness, un- 
less a month's pay which it had cost might be 
so considered. 


Another present was of a more noisy sort. 
Knowing that I had never seen a " burro," Mr. 
Boyd was induced to buy one for me because 
it was cheap and so docile a child might ride it. 
The latter it certainly proved to be ; but living 
in tents, where every sound penetrated to our 
ears, the animal became a perpetual nuisance ; 
consequently, when one day he strayed away, 
never to reappear, we were not sorry. 

The brute was indeed small, but his voice 
was a marvel of strength and volume, and his 
bray resounded on all sides at the most inoppor- 
tune moments. If military ordere were being 
read, " Burro " kept up an accompaniment which 
drowned all other sounds ; and in his apparent 
loneliness, the poor fellow had a way of seeking 
human companionship, and would appear at our 
doorstep and lift up his voice in a manner that 
made us feel the roof must rise above our heads 
in order to allow the fearful sound to escape. 
He afforded us a great deal of amusement, how- 
ever, and all his antics were laughed at and 


About that time another troop of the regiment 
was sent from Idaho, and we then enjoyed the 
society of a very charming New York woman, 
who accompanied her husband, and the fittings 
of whose tent amused us much. This lady had 
a large private fortune, yet she had not been 
with us a month before, resigning herself to the 
inevitable, she bent weekly over the wash-tub 
and ironing-board, as help was not procurable ; 
nor did this officer's wife find a treasure of a 
soldier, as I had, Avho would volunteer to relieve 
her of such unaccustomed drudgery. 

Deciding that her tent would present a more 
cheerful appearance if papered, all newspapers 
received were, immediately after being read, 
pasted on the walls. A preference was given 
to illustrated journals, and it was very diverting 
to inspect those pictures which reflected many 
scenes of our former lives. How often the wish 
was expressed that we could be as well sheltered 
as were the servants in city homes, and my 
friend frequently longed for as good a roof 
overhead as had her mother's barn. A year of 


such hardships sufficed ; at the end of that time 
her husband resigned his commission, and for 
many years they have been quartered in New 
York City. 

As the second winter of our camp life ap- 
proached, we prepared in a measure for it by 
procuring a larger heating stove ; but the stove 
took up a great deal of room in our little tent, 
and so was crowded into a corner, with the 
result of constant danger from fire. I at- 
tempted to keep account of the number of 
times our tent had ignited and been patched 
to cover the burned places. Mr. Boyd usually 
built a fire very early, before going to his du- 
ties, and on one memorable morning the entire 
top of our sitting-room tent burned away, leav- 
ing it quite uncovered. 

My anxiety to live in a house was so great 
that I calmly deliberated whether or not to call 
for assistance ; but second thoughts concerning 
the probable destruction of our belongings, and 
the absurdity of expecting a house to immedi- 
ately erect itself for our benefit, decided me. I 


had really grown inured to fire, as one would 
naturally become who was exempt from all per- 
sonal danger ; for if the canvas had burned 
away, open air and sky would have surrounded 

During all those months work had been ac- 
tively prosecuted on the Union Pacific Rail- 
road ; and as it was to approach us very closely, 
we felt that not only would personal benefit 
result therefrom, but it would bring an influx 
of inhabitants into the country whicli must pro- 
mote its prosperity through opening mines, irri- 
gating and cultivating arable land, and so forth. 
The latter, however, became problematical, as 
it was found impossible to procure other labor 
than Chinese on the railroad. The class of set- 
tlers who occasionally appeared were of a rest- 
less, nomadic sort ; and if they located on a 
plot of land soon tired of the industry required 
to make of the place a home. 

The chief result of the increased population 
was most noticeable in the number of accidents 
which occurred both on the railroad and in our 


neighborhood. The post doctor's services were 
in almost daily requisition ; and as our hospital 
was also a tent, and many of the injured were 
carried there, my soul was harrowed by the 
cries of wounded men which could not be stifled 
in that clear atmosphere with nothing but can- 
vas interveninor. 


One of the young officer who knew my ter- 
ror on that score, delighted in giving me exag- 
gerated accounts of their sufferings, and used to 
relate the most remarkable cases, whicli I fully 
believed at the time, though later his deceit and 
exaggeration were discovered. It seemed to me 
that the frontier at best was a place where suf- 
fering prevailed to a degree not commensurate 
with the number of inhabitants. 

We were very near the " white pine region," 
where an immense silver mine created great 
excitement, the novelty of which pleased us al- 
most as much as if we were to share in the ma- 
terial benefits thereof. 

Mr. Boyd's promotion to a first lieutenantcy, 
which had been expected for many months, was 


at that time received, and we hoped the railroad 
Avould enable us to make the journey conse- 
quent upon such promotion in greater comfort 
than had been possible on our previous one. 
Alas ! how bitterly we deplored the unalterable 
fact so common in army life, that after having 
endured severe hardships, and watched the ad- 
vent of brighter days, as promised b}^ the approach 
of a railroad and the completion of officers' 
quarters, we were compelled to leave for distant 
Arizona without sharing in any of the advan- 
tages which would naturally follow. 

My husband's promotion transferred him to a 
company of the regiment stationed at Prescott, 
Arizona Territory. We had first to reach San 
Francisco, go from thence by sea to Southern 
California, and then across into Arizona. One 
beautiful morning, just a year from the time 
of my arrival, we started for California. We 
were glad to be able, instead of having to en- 
dure the discomforts of a stage-ride, to strike 
the railroad twelve miles from Camp Halleck. 
The road had reached that point only a few 


days before, and the rails having been newly 
laid none but construction trains had passed 
over it. 

We were obliged to wait for a car until the 
next morning, when a hospitable welcome was 
given us by the engineer in charge, who with 
his wife and family occupied the construction 
train, and seemed most comfortable in their 
movable home. They had every needful ar- 
i*angement to make them so, for the cars, two in 
number, were roomy as possible. The first car 
was divided into an admirable kitchen and din- 
ing room, which were presided over by a Chi- 
nese cook ; the second into sitting and bedrooms 
so arranged that they were cozy and com- 

Our only, fear was of the possibly infested 
atmosphere, for we were told that smallpox 
had broken out among the Chinese railroad 
employees, and was prevailing to an alarming 
extent. A delightful day and night were, how- 
ever, passed with our new friends, who shared 
with us their sleeping accommodations, Mr. 


Boyd rooming with the engineer and I with his 
wife. At nine o'clock next morning we left 
them, feeling very grateful for the kindness 

Our gratitude was in no wise lessened, though 
our fears were increased, when the following 
day a telegram overtook us which stated that 
our engineer friend had succumbed to small- 
pox. He recovered from the disease perhaps 
sooner than we did from our panic : so great an 
exposure was at a most inconvenient time, for, 
like Joe, we had to "move on." 

I was astonished to find that the car w^hich 
was to take us farther West was only the caboose 
or freight car of an ordinary train ; and when, 
having climbed into the huge side opening, the 
steps were taken away, leaving us high and dry, 
' the prospect was far from encouraging. There 
was no accommodation for comfort of any sort, 
and only rough benches for seats. The car, 
too, was filled with railroad employees, and the 
atmosphere soon became intolerable. The road- 
bed was so new and the jolting so alarming, I 


concluded a stage-ride would have been prefer- 
able, as we could at least have seen what was 
before us. 

We stopped frequently, yet were so far above 
the ground I dared not descend, and, in fact, 
there was no special occasion to do so, for we 
rode until three the next morning before reach- 
ing a place where a mouthful of food could be 
obtained. Having anticipated when once on 
the railroad to travel so rapidly that we need 
make no preparations beforehand, our ride of 
eighteen houi*s in covering less than fifty miles 
was not only unexpected, but almost unendur- 
able from hunger and fatigue. When at three 
o'clock in the morning a stopping-place was at 
last reached I was quite exhausted. Food and 
rest were found there, and best of all a civilized 
sleeping-car, in which we went on to Sacramento. 

The journey through Nevada seemed incredi- 
bly swift. As we crossed the Sierra Nevada 
mountains and passed through twenty-five miles 
of snow-sheds, which cut off the view just as 
one began to enjoy it, I felt almost glad to 


have taken what had become so completely a 
memory of the past — a stage-ride over those 
grand old mountains. 

It was wonderful to observe the marked dif- 
ference in vegetation between Nevada and Cali- 
fornia. Just as soon as we readied the Pacific 
coast exquisite green verdure contrasted so fav- 
orably with Nevada's arid desolation as to cause 
one to feel as if in a veritable '' land of prom- 
ise." The refreshment to our weary eyes after 
a year of absence from such scenery was a source 
of the greatest imaginable pleasure. Then to 
cover in a few short hours the same distance 
which had previously required five weary days 
and nights was not the least of our many causes 
for gratitude. When Sacramento was reached, 
the exquisite beauty of the country was so 
great we felt that all the encomiums California 
' had ever received were fully warranted. 

The next day we arrived in San Francisco, 
and once more felt civilized. 



My husband's first duty was to report to the 
commanding general, who gave him permission 
to remain there for two months, promising to 
place him on duty in order that he might re- 
ceive full pay and allowances. That seemed a 
very great boon until we found the duty con- 
sisted in Mr. Boyd's being ordered five hundred 
miles away to inspect some horses, which left 
nie utterly lonely in a strange city. 

The place to which he was sent could be 
reached only by water, and the steamers sailed 
weekly both going and returning, so I felt par- 
ticularly forlorn, knowing he could not be back 
for at least ten days. When the first return 
steamer reached San Francisco without him I 
was in despair, and indeed with reason. I had 
already found the tender mercy of a boarding- 


house keeper to be all it is generally repre- 

That night our little daughter was born, and 
a facetious friend telegraphed to my husband : 
" Mother and child are doing well," thus leav- 
ing the sex to be conjectured, which caused bets 
to be made by such officers as were always glad 
of an excuse to bet on any chance. 

But, indeed, " mother and child " were not 
doing well. A veritable Sairy Gamp had taken 
possession of both: my own sufferings were 
almost intolerable, while I felt sure the poor 
little baby was being continually dosed. The 
nurse weighed nearly three hundred pounds, 
and at night when she lay down beside me her 
enormous weight made such an inclined plane 
of the bed that I could not keep from rolling 
against her ; and slie snored so loudly that not 
only was it impossible for me to sleep, but for 
any one else on the same floor. The sounds 
were not at all sedative in their effects, and I 
spent the nights praying for morning. 

My baby, too, was so restless that her posi- 


tion had to be frequently changed; and when 
the nurse was awakened she treated me exactly 
as if I were a naughty child, and so completely 
cowed me by her roughness that I dared offer 
no remonstrance, but simply endured. 

Matters went on thus for several days until 
some of the kind ladies in the house interfered 5 
but not before I had been left entirely alone 
the night our little one was a week old, and 
was found unconscious with baby screaming so 
loudly that every one in the house was aroused. 

The good old days are not so much to be de- 
plored when we consider that the nurse Avas a 
fair specimen of her class, and had no hesitancy 
in asking foi-ty doUai's a week for the services 
she rendered. Now that trained nurses are to 
be found everywhere, such creatures are un- 
known. Instances of her cruel conduct might 
be multiplied, but it is unnecessary. 

As usual I was tormented by fears on the 
score of expense, as all supplies were most ex- 
orbitant in price. The increase in rank had 
added only one hundred dollars a year to my 


husband's pay, and the hind of fruitful abun- 
dance in which we then were was ahnost as 
costly, so far as living expenses were concerned, 
as the frontier, and under the circumstances 
far more so. 

After two steamers * had arrived without 
bringing Mr. Boyd, I grew so restless under 
the care of such a nurse that the determination 
to discharge her was formed ; yet sufficient 
courage to do so was not summoned until after 
the arrival of my husband, five days before our 
baby was three weeks old. 

We then essayed to minister to baby's wants 
ourselves, and some of the. attempts were ludi- 
crous. Having seen the nurse give the child 
paregoric, once, when she cried desperately, I 
poured out a teaspoon ful, and while my hus- 
band held baby, tried to make her swallow it. 
Had not the drug in its raw strength nearly 
strangled her, we would, undoubtedly, have 
murdered our dear little infant. 

That was not the only experiment we tried, 
and looking back I pity the poor child with all 


my heart. Our anxiety to improve her appear- 
ance was so great that whatever we were ad- 
vised to do wiis attempted. I cut off baby's 
eyelashes one day to make them grow thicker ; 
and when she was a little older, while we were 
in Arizona, I found her father pressing that 
dear little nose between the prongs of a clothes- 
pin to better its shape. She resented such 
treatment, and her cries filled me with indigna- 
tion, for at least my experiments had all been 

The day after Mr. Boyd's return, notwith- 
standing the commanding general's promise 
that we should remain in San Francisco until 
May, orders were received to proceed immedi- 
ately to Arizona. It never occurred to my hus- 
band that he should dispute the order, nor to 
me that I could remain for a time in California. 

After a couple of days spent in purchasing 
needful supplies and hunting the city over for 
a servant, we took steamer for Wilmington in 
Southern California. The trip occupied two 
days, and as we kept very near the coast, 


choppy seas made me extremely seasick and 
miserable. I was so thin and pale as to excite 
the sympathies of all who saw me. The doctor 
had said that the change would benefit me, 
while, perhaps, I could not improve if left in 
California. His prediction might have proved 
true had not the journey been so fearfully liard. 
Baby was exactly three weeks old the day we 
reached Los Angeles, from which place we were 
to start on our long interior ride. 

Nothing can be more beautiful than were the 
surroundings of that town. As we drove in 
from Wilmington the air was odorous with the 
perfume of orange blossoms; and trees, heavy 
with their loads of ripening fruits of different 
kinds, overshadowed our road. I have never 
cared for oranges since eating those brought 
me still clinging to their branches : no packed 
fruit can compare with such in flavor and 

Having been housed so long I enjoyed to 
the full the flowers that bloomed on all sides, 
making a perfect paradise of the spot. My 


recollections of California, for I have never 
seen it since, are most delightful, and I deem 
any one fortunate who has a settled home there. 

That part of Southern California is particu- 
larly favored, and my recollections of the five 
days consumed in traveling toward the East are 
among the pleasantest of my life. We stopped 
every night at some ranch, where the occupants 
not only received us kindly, but where our eyes 
could feast on glorious scenery, which combined 
with the liberal creature comforts that were en- 
joyed, left little to be wished for. 

I longed to remain in Los Angeles ; but we 
were obliged to hurry on in compliance with 
military orders, and also for another reason. 
An entire day spent in San Francisco hunting 
for a servant had only resulted in procuring a 
Chinese boy twelve years old. No woman 
could be induced to go to Arizona. First, 
because no church was there. Second, and 
mainly, because many Indians were. 

Even the mercenary Chinese had never 
dreamed of passing into so dangerous a region ; 


and when on reaching Los Angeles my little 
servant naturally exchanged confidences with 
those employed in the hotel, such a tale of 
horrors — principally in the shape of Indian 
cruelties — was told the boy, that he was terri- 
fied beyond belief, and fairly shook with an- 
guish and fear when informed that he must 
accompany us. Evidently believing that his 
long queue would prove an additional induce- 
ment for the Indians to scalp him, he was deter- 
mined to escape at all hazards. Our little 
servant could be kept from running away only 
by locking him up ; he was not released until 
we were ready to step into the wagon, and a 
more woebegone face I have never seen. 

It is to this day an historical fact, both in 
Arizona and New Mexico, that we took the first 
Chinaman into those States which now swarm 
with them, and where only recently they were 

For some reason unknown to us, we were 
refused proper transportation — an ambulance 
and four mules with diiver. A small, two- 


seated vehicle and span of horses had instead 
been provided, which when loaded with, our 
most needed articles presented a strange 
appearance. A mattress and blankets were 
strapped on the back, and over those a chair. 
The inside was simply crowded with an array 
of articles demanded by our long journey. We 
had not only all necessary clothing, but as 
much food in a condensed shape as could be 
taken ; there was no room for luxuries. Our 
first care was to })e well armed, as we were 
going among hostile Indians, a fact I could 
scarcely realize ; therefore our vehicle held, in 
addition to all else, a gun, two pistols, and 
strapped overhead my husband's two sabers, 
which he required when on duty. 

Some premonition, which perhaps was the 
result of past experience, made me careful to 
select all we might need for future as well as 
present use in the way of clothing. It proved 
a wise precaution, for the remainder of our bag- 
gage, including all household goods, which we 
had left in the hands of freighters, was seized 


for their debts on the borders of California, and 
not permitted to cross into Arizona until means 
to liquidate the men's obligations had been 
found. It took just six months to do that, dur- 
ing which time we waited for our property. 

With my usual docility in accepting advice 
concerning baby, I had followed the suggestion 
of an army paymaster's wife, who considered a 
champagne basket the proper receptacle for an 
infant when traveling. Never was advice given 
which proved more useful or beneficial. If with 
all the other hardships of that journey I had 
been compelled to hold baby day after day, not 
only would I have been far more fatigued, but 
she far less comfortable. Cradled in that basket, 
the motion of our carriage acted as a perpetual 
lullaby, and the little one slept soundly all the 
time, waking only when progress ceased. The 
basket was tightly strapped to the front seat ^ 
beside my husband, who drove, while I sat on • 
the back one with our little Chinaman. 



The time-honored " babes in the woods " 
could not have started on their pilgrimage with 
more childlike simplicity than did my husband 
and myself. The first five days, through the 
most beautiful country imaginable, were li]ce a 
pleasure trip, and little prepared us for the hard- 
ships which followed. The roads were good, the 
scenery superb, and each night we were most 
hospitably entertained by some kind family. 

Besides good food and comfortable beds, con- 
siderable advice as to the treatment of baby was 
thrown in giutuitously. It seemed all the more 
necessary just then, for although during the en- 
tire trip our little one slept sweetly through- 
out the day, no doubt lulled to rest by the 
motion of the vehicle, when night came she 
was tortured by that baby's enemy — colic. As 


a cure, we kept adding to her coverings, until 
no one could have dreamed that the tightly 
strapped and blanketed basket contained a hu- 
man being. Many were the comments of sur- 
prise when the child was exhumed from her 
manifold wrappings. If the custom of traveling 
by carriage long distances was not almost ob- 
solete, I should advise all young mothers to try 
the basket plan. Not only was baby perfectly 
comfortable, but the saving of my strength was 
great, and that alone enabled me to survive the 

We passed the celebrated Cocomungo Ranch, 
with its beautiful vineyards and delicious wines, 
and many other spots, then unoccupied lands, 
which have since become populous towns. On 
the fifth day Camp Cady, where we expected 
to take final leave of civilization and enter the 
California desert, was reached. The camp was 
garrisoned by a detachment of only twenty 
men, and but two could be spared as an escort 
for us. Even then the wife of the officer in 
charge demurred, saying ; 


"Suppose the Indians should attack us? 
What could we do with only eighteen men ? " 

When during subsequent weeks I fully real- 
ized the dangers we were encountering, her re- 
mark was frequently recalled. Certainly two 
men were not sufficient to protect us from 

Immediately after leaving Camp Cady we 
descended into a small canon, and on emerging 
therefrom found ourselves dragging through 
deep sand, which continued for miles and was 
wearisome in the extreme. Our horses plodded 
along, and the monotony of desert travel was 
thoroughly established. Only eighteen miles 
were covered that day, yet it took ten hours, as 
we dared not urge the horses through such deep 
sand. ' 

Our first encampment was a memorable one. 
Like all desert travelers, we did not stop on 
account of having reached an oasis, but simply 
because our horses could go no farther. I 
wondered then, as on our previous journey, why 
the particular spot at which we stopped had been 


selected. It always seemed to me that we 
might have gone on ; but that was not a com- 
mon-sense view — merely an eager desire to 
hasten toward home. 

I never knew why we had no tent of any 
kind, not even the tiny shelter tent with which 
every soldier is supposed to be provided on all 
journeys ; I do, however, know that we had not 
a stitch of canvas of any sort, and that baby 
was awakened every morning by the glaring 
sun shining full in her face. As the sun on 
the desert sand is reflective, we soon learned to 
dread it extremely. 

I wish it were possible to impress others with 
the sensation those camps invariably produced 
upon me ! Usually occupying as a spectator 
a passive position, I sat apart and watched the 
blazing fire and the figures of the men sharply 
defined against its light as they prepared sup- 
per, and then, peering into the unfathomable dis- 
tance of loneliness beyond and on all sides, I 
indulged in all kinds of visions, none of which 
were calculated to make me especially happy. 


That night, however, the men who accom- 
panied us pretended to be unequal to the task 
of making ready our slight repast, and I essayed 
for the first time in my life, and under the 
greatest disadvantages, to cook an entire meal. 
A strong wind was blowing, which drove the 
smoke in my face and eyes. The more I tried 
to avoid this, the more it seemed to torture me ; 
while my utter lack of knowledge in all culi^ 
nary matters, especially when prosecuted under 
such circumstances, was very trying. Baby 
added to my misery by screaming with pain 
from her usual attack of colic. 

Want of space in our little wagon had com- 
pelled us to forego all but the actual neces^ 
saries of life; and thus our bill of fare was 
limited to bacon, hard tack, and a small supply 
i of eggs, which, with coffee, was our only food 
' during that desert travel of five days. I learned 
to grill bacon and make excellent coffee, but 
never to enjoy cooking over a camp-fire. 

Bright and early, awakened by the sun shin- 
ing full in our faces, we started on our seventh 


day's journey, which proved almost exactly like 
our sixth, yet closed with a tragic incident. 
The horses were our pride and glory — they 
were not only beautiful, but strong and useful. 
Watching them as they carried us along so 
swiftly and safely during the first five days 
had been a real pleasure, and we had become 
attached to the faithful animals. 

On reaching Soda Lake at the end of our 
seventh day's journey, and second after leaving 
Camp Cady, we were not a little dismayed to 
find that the horses were suffering quite se- 
verely from the effects of their hard two days' 
pull through the deep sand. On being unhar- 
nessed, one immediately plunged into the lake, 
and in spite of all efforts remained there. The 
result may be conjectured. In his heated and 
exhausted condition he foundered, and to our 
great sorrow had to be shot. 

That was a serious hindrance to our progress ; 
but, fortunately, we had with us a pack-mule 
laden with grain for the horses. Needless to 
state he was relieved of his load, much of which 


we left by the roadside ; the remainder, neces- 
sary for the animals' sustenance, was placed in 
our wagon, which rendered us still more uncom- 
fortable. It would be difficult to tell what we 
did with our feet, for not an inch of space on 
the bottom of the wagon was unoccupied. 

• We left Soda Lake with joy, as its alkaline 
properties rendered the water useless for all 
ordinary purposes, and a better supply was 
longed for. During that entire desert journey, 
until the Colorado River was reached, we had 
not a drop of water that could quench thirst. 
Both men and animals were to be pitied. 

Our eighth day was dreadful in its manner 
of progress. The pack-mule, quite unaccus- 
tomed to harness, had no idea of bearing his 
share of the burden, while our beautiful little 
mare chafed in the company of such an un- 
gainly creature, and seemed so desirous to be 
rid of him that she did all the pulling. For 
days our minds were occupied with the problem 
of how to restrain her and urge on the mule. 
Every effort to accomplish this only made mat- 


ters worse, for it invariably resulted in the lat- 
ter breaking into a clumsy, lumbering gallop 
that was very ludicrous. 

At length we left the deep sand and traveled 
over the most level country imaginable. It 
proved, however, even more dreary, for the 
ground was white as snow with alkaline de- 
posits. As far as the eye could reach, only an 
endless, white, barren plain, unrelieved by even 
a scrub bush, was visible. In all my frontier 
life and travel I never saw anything so utterly 
desolate as was that desert. 

We found, after the first day of unmatched 
steeds, that our little mare must be favored or 
she too would die. It was therefore decided to 
travel mainly at night. The ground was so 
hard and white that the sun's reflection was 
most dazzling. When, on the ninth day, we 
encamped witli only our wagon to shade us 
from its intense rays, I would have given almost 
anything for the shelter a strip of canvas would 
have afforded. Long before noon, and long 
after, the pitiless sun poured down upon us, 


until hands and faces were blistered; even poor 
little baby had to be smeared with glycerine as 
a preventive. 

In that manner we traveled for two days 
over the desert; and although the sun's heat 
was almost unendurable, yet our only safety 
lay in so doing. 

We sfarted about sundown on the ninth 
night, and reaching an old disused house about 
midnight, prepared to capip. I had been so 
tortured for several days and nights by the 
absence of all shelter, that my husband readily 
complied with the request to place our mattress 
inside those old walls. The roof had long be- 
fore disappeared: but it seemed good to be 
once more in any sort of inclosure, and I lay 
down very composedly. My sleep was, how- 
ever, soon disturbed by the strangest sounds. 
I awakened to find that a veritable carnival 
was being held by insects, and the uncertainty 
concerning their species was anything but 
agreeable. Every imaginable noise could be 
detected. I bore it silently as long as possible, 


until confident I heard rattlesnakes, when in 
great fear I hugged my baby closer, expecting 
our last moments had come, yet hoping to 
shield her from their fangs. 

Such a night of wretchedness I hope never 
again to experience. All kinds of horrible 
sounds terrified me to such an extent that a 
firm resolve was formed never to pass another 
night in a place of whose inhabitants I was un- 
aware. I am confident that every sort of ver- 
min infested that old ruined house, and our 
subsequent perils with visible foes gave me far 
less anxiety. 

Having learned to dread being a source of 
extra trouble to Mr. Boyd on a journey which 
taxed every energy of his mind and body, I 
always endured everything quietly as long as 
possible. That alone enabled me to go through 
such a night of agony — interminable it seemed 
at the time, but in . reality only a few hours, for 
dawn soon came. 

Midday again found us on our way ; and 
when we began to descend into the Colorado 


basin, and caught sight of Fort Mojave's adobe 
walls and the muddy banks of the river, we 
felt as if the end of a hard journey had at last 
been reached, and rejoiced exceedingly to see 
friendly faces and receive a hearty welcome. 
Knowing that each day's travel was bringing 
us nearer home, we gladly crossed the river and 
shook the dust of California from our feet. 



FoKT MojAYE, at that time a mere collection 
of adobe buildings with no special pretensions 
to comfort, stood on the eastern bank of the 
Colorado River. It seemed to me, except for 
the extreme heat which made it an uncomfort- 
able sleeping-place, a very haven of rest. The 
muddy river sluggishly wound its way to the 
gulf many miles below, and nine months of 
the year the temperature of every place on its 
banks was torrid. Fort Yuma, at its mouth, 
was noted for being a veritable Tophet. 

A yarn illustrative of the general opinion of 
its climate is told of a soldier who ventured 
out in the middle of a July day, and never re- 
turned. Diligent search served only to discover 
a huge grease-spot and pile of bones on the 
parade ground. 


Another tradition, very hackneyed to army 
ears, is that of a soldier famous for his wicked- 
ness, who, having died, reappeared, and was 
seen hunting for his blankets; the inference 
being that the warm place to which he had 
been assigned was not hot enough for one ac- 
customed to Fort Yuma's climate. 

All ladies who have lived there supplement 
these ridiculous tales with more credible ones. 
It is quite true that eggs, if not gathered as 
soon as laid, were sure to be roasted if the sun 
shone on them. It is also a fact that those who 
had leisure to do so spent the greater part of 
their time in the bath, and Indians would re- 
main in the stream for hours at a time, their 
heads covered with mud as a protection from 
the sun's rays. 

I soon realized that not being obliged to re- 
main in so warm a climate was a favor, and 
rejoiced greatly when once more fairly en route^ 
although the two days had been very pleasantly 
passed. We were furnished with a pair of 
mules, so our poor little mare could be led the 


remainder of the way, and Ave had as escort two 
men who were sent into Arizona with the 
weekly mails. 

J Our first day's travel was pleasant ; but when 
night came on we were alarmed at the number 
of signal fires on all sides, which indicated the 
near presence of hostile Indians. I shall never 
forget the shock experienced when I first real- 
ized that we Avere in danger from such a source. 
The past year had so accustomed me to Indians, 
that it seemed as if all tribes were harmless ; 
yet the constant wariness of our escort soon 
convinced me of the contrary. 

The part of Arizona through which we were 
then passing was such an agreeable contrast to 
our weary desert journey that I thoroughly en- 
joyed the beautiful pine lands; and the change, 
as we ascended daily into more mountainous 
regions, was delightful. Our second day from 
Fort Mojave, and the twelfth of that long jour- 
ney, however, considerably dampened my ardor. 

The road had been rough from the start, but 
nothing to be compared with what we then ex- 


perienced. After a tedious ascent a long hill 
was reached, seemingly miles in length, and 
which must be descended amid boulders strewn 
all over the road. I was compelled to walk, 
with baby in my arms, picking my way as best 
I could from one rock to another. The time 
occupied in making the descent was three hours. 
My fatigue can hardly be imagined. 

The wagon wheels were lashed together by 
ropes, which were held b}^ men on either side ; 
and even then the vehicle fairly bounded on- 
ward, each leap almost wrenching it asunder. 
I expected every moment to see it lying in 
ruins. That such was not its fate was entirely 
due to the care Mr. Boyd and the men took 
in guiding it safely between and over the 

No hill I have ever since seen was like that, 
and no words are adequate to give any idea of 
its horrors. I felt every moment as if a single 
mis-step would launch my infant and self into 
eternity, and wondered if I could survive the 
fatigue, even if successful in placing my feet 


carefully enough to escape the greater danger. 
When finally our little company at the foot of 
the hill was reached, I sank, completely ex- 
hausted. Many days passed before I could step 
without feeling the effects of that terrible 
scramble in mid-air. 

We had hoped to reach our destination in 
four days after leaving Fort Mojave ; but each 
day seemed longer than its predecessor, espe- 
cially as dangers increased. Our second night 
was spent in a military camp, and a detachment 
of troops guarded the highway. I could no 
longer doubt the necessity of exercising con- 
stant vigilance against hostile foes. 

Every animal in the temporary stables had 
been maimed in some manner by Indians, who 
would steal in under cover of darkness and 
shoot whatever living thing they saw. The 
men were always in peril, even in their tents; 
and the officer in charge did not lessen in any 
degree my uneasiness when he showed me how 
his tent had been riddled in many places by 
bullets. He was then recovering from the 


effects of a wound received while pursuing 

We had breakfasted, and were about ready to 
start next morning, when our attention was 
called to Indians' footprints all over the garden- 
spot which the troops had prepared for their 
hoped-for supply of vegetables. Alas for the 
poor people who in those days thought to 
make fortunes out West ! No amount of energy, 
perseverance, or endurance, to say nothing of 
hardships bravely borne, could ward off the 
cruel Indians. 

Although it may be justly said that our deal- 
ings with the red men were the primary cause 
of all the suffering, yet could the hundreds of 
settlers who lost their lives while endeavoring 
to make homes for themselves in the West be 
avenged, not an Indian would be left to tell 
the tale. My heart was wrung during those 
travels, when, every hour of the day, we passed 
a pile of stones that marked a grave. Arizona 
seemed to me a very burying-ground — a huge 
cemetery — for men and women killed by 


In after-years I agreed perfectly with the 
common army belief that attempting to settle a 
ranch in either Arizona or New Mexico was 
simply courting an inevitable fate — death at 
the hands of ruthless Indians. History was 
ever new in those regions, and kept ever repeat- 
ing itself. I frequently heard it said, referring 
to a comparatively recent settler ; 

" Well, his time will surely come." 

Whenever a ranch was in an exceptionally 
isolated region, the sequel would be accelerated. 
Indian horrors were every-day occurrences ; and 
yet I never grew accustomed to them. Long 
residence among those much-abused frontiers- 
men taught me to feel that the early martyrs 
suffered little in comparison with the constant 
peril in which they lived. 

But to return to our journey and its growing 
dangers. A number of soldiers escorted us 
through a perilous canon outside of the little 
detachment post, where, at ten o'clock, our 
officer friend reluctantly bade us adieu, saying 
we were in great danger. Could his post have 


been left with safety, he would willingly have 
escorted us farther. 

We rode on, feeling indeed very anxious, and 
soon met a Major of the Eighth Cavalry, who 
with an escort of sixteen men had been pep- 
pered by Indians' bullets in a canon through 
which we must pass the same day. As the es- 
cort of two men with which we left Camp Cady 
had not been augmented, our feelings may be 
imagined. There was no alternative ; go on we 

I now see that we were then too young and 
inexperienced to realize the dangers of our ter- 
rible position. It was, however, soon under- 
stood, and before entering the canon at six 
o'clock that evening all warlike preparations 
possible under the circumstances had been made. 
A civilian had joined our party at Fort Mojave, 
and thus there were three outriders. The two 
sabres in our wagon overhead we took down 
and unsheathed, so that, when thrust out on 
either side, there seemed to be four weapons — ■ 
at least we hoped the Indians would think so. 


and unless they came very close, the dim light 
would favor our deception. The gun was 
placed so it could be used at a moment's notice. 
I held one pistol, and Mr. Boyd the other. The 
soldiers, with their bayonets bristling, looked as 
warlike as possible ; and altogether we relied 
upon what eventually saved our lives — an 
appearance of strength which we in nowise 

We had been told that the Indians, at least 
in that region, never attacked unless confident 
of victory ; and we knew that unless they were 
directly beside us, the appearance our wagon 
presented, so covered they could not see its in- 
terior, and seemingly full of weapons, would 
indicate a well-armed party of men. Instead, 
. there was one man, handicapped by the care 
. of his team and the helpless nature of his 
charges — a feeble woman, an infant, and a 
diminutive heathen, who on perceiving the ac- 
tive preparations being made for resisting what 
he had so feared, became literally green with 
terror and altogether useless. 


The canon was so precipitous on both sides 
that we seemed to be traveling between two 
high walls. The rocks were of that treacherous 
gray against which I had been told an Indian 
could so effectually conceal himself as to seem 
but a part of them. The entire region was 
weird and awful. The sides of the canon tow- 
ered far above us to almost unseen heights, 
and as we slowly drove onward, our hearts 
quivered with excitement and fear at the prol>. 
ability of an attack. 

We had proceeded some little distance and 
were feeling considerably relieved, when sud» 
denly a fearful Indian war-whoop arose. It 
was so abrupt, and seemed such a natural out 
come of our feai's, that only for repeated repeti- 
tions I could have believed it imaginary, 
Others, however, quickly followed, so no doubt 
could be entertained of their reality. I had only 
sufficient consciousness to wonder when we 
should die, and how. I glanced involuntarily 
at our Chinese servant, who was crouched in 
one comer of the wagon in a most pitiable heap, 


and then at our poor little baby, bundled in 
many wraps and sleeping in her basket. All 
were silent. No word was uttered, and no 
sound heard but the lashing of the whip that 
urged forward our mules. Although they fairly 
leaped onward, yet we seemed to crawl. Cruel 
death was momentarily expected. 

At last, and it seemed ages, we were out of 
the cafion and on open ground. Even then no 
time was lost. The mules were still hurried 
on. I have often thought that, like Tenny- 
son's brook, we might have "gone on forever" 
had not a large party of freighters soon been 
reached, who were camping in front of a blazing 
wood fire. Their presence gave us that sense 
of companionship and security so sorely needed. 
We joined them ; and while I sat in the blaze 
of their fire, Mr. Boyd recounted our perilous 
ride. The conclusion was reached that we had 
been spared only because apparently so well 
prepared to resist attack. Any doubts which 
might have been entertained concerning the 
presence of foes in the canon were dispelled 
by what followed. 


I crawled that night under a wagon, for my 
nerves were too shattered to sleep without some 
kind of shelter if it could be procured, and my 
last waking thought was that our companions 
for the night would have to pass next morning 
through the same dangerous canon, their destina- 
tion being California. They started first, and 
one of the superintendents — there were two in 
the party — foolishly disregarded our warning 
and lagged behind. His mangled body was 
afterwards found horribly mutilated on the 
very spot where we had heard the Indians' 
fearful yells. 

It was a well-known fact that the savages 
would lurk for days in one place, and if dis- 
appointed by any party being too numerous 
or well armed, would invariably later on de- 
stroy some careless straggler* The freighters, 
having escaped such dangers again and again, 
would frequently become reckless, when they 
were almost sure to finally fall victims to their 
lack of caution. 



Only two days were left in which to reach 
our destination. The remainder of the road 
was level, and no further danger from Indians 
need be apprehended. Our next encampment 
was at Willow Grove, a lovely wooded spot 
where some of our own troops were stationed, 
and but a short distance from what we supposed 
was to be our home, at least for a time. 

At last Prescott, then a mining-town, was 
gained. Everything seemed delightful. Situ- 
ated among the hills, surrounded by trees, and 
with a most enjoyable climate, never very hot or 
very cold, but bracing at all seasons, it would 
indeed prove a desirable home to wanderers like 
ourselves, and I fondly hoped we might remain 

We were warmly welcomed at the garrison, 


which was situated half a mile from town. 
There were but three houses in the post, and 
all occupied. The houses contained onl}^ three 
rooms each, and one of the officei*s kindly relin- 
quished his room in my favor. The ladies were 
very hospitable in providing me with nourishing 
food, of which I was in great need. 

Our dismay on learning that Mr. Boyd must 
leave the next day to join his company, which 
had been sent eighty miles distant to a post 
called Camp Date Creek, may be imagined. 
The movement was considered only temporary, 
as the troop was permanently stationed at Pres- 
cott; so, supposing that my husband might 
return almost immediately, it was decided that 
I should remain there. 

All would have gone well had there been 
suitable accommodations ; but no sooner had Mr. 
Boyd left than the inspector-general, accompa- 
nied by several other officers, arrived, and their 
baggage was placed in the room I was occupy- 
ing. There was no alternative but for me to 
move into the adjoining room, an old, deserted 


kitchen, which had for years past been the 
receptacle of miscellaneous dehris. 

My bed had to be made on the floor between 
two windows, whose panes of glass were either 
cracked or broken. An old stove, utterly use- 
less, occupied the hearth. As the nights and 
mornings were very cold I tried to build a fire ; 
but the smoke, instead of ascending, poured into 
the room in volumes, and compelled me to aban- 
don the task as hopeless. I suffered far more 
from the cold there than I had while on the 
march, and longed for a camp-fire. 

The kitchen was a perfect curiosity shop. 
Garments of every imaginable kind, when no 
longer of use to their owners, had evidently 
been left there. An " old clothes man " would 
have rejoiced at the wealth of rubbish. I 
counted twenty pairs of boots and shoes, and 
there were quite as many hats, coats, and nether 
garments. The corners of that room were to be 
avoided as one would avoid the plague. My 
chair, which had been brought from California, 
was planted in the only clean spot — the floor's 
immediate center. 


I tried to imagine myself camping out, but 
my surroundings were far less agi-eeable than 
they would have been in that case, and which- 
ever way my eyes turned, they met unsightly 
objects. No one seemed to consider the situa- 
tion unpleasant, so I simply resigned myself to 
the inevitable. 

After I had been living in that way for ten 
days, the post surgeon came in and said : 

" Mrs. Boyd, I have observed your disagreea- 
ble plight if no one else has, and am exceed- 
ingly sorry. I am ordered to Camp Date 
Creek, and if you would like will escort you." 

No farther words were needed. I was ready 
to leave immediately ; and when told of the 
disagreeables that would be encountered simply 
laughed, I was so tired of homelessness. 

Prescott was in such a healthy location as to 
be a very desirable station, while Camp Date 
Creek was low and malarious. The post sta- 
tistics showed that eighty per cent of the men 
were then suffering from fever. The extreme 
heat and numerous supply of vermin were also 


enlarged upon; but nothing daunted me, and I 
went on my way rejoicing. 

The journey was indeed very trying. The 
road was principally a lava bed, and we were 
fearfully jolted. I disliked making trouble, and 
remember riding for miles, holding on to the 
basket in which baby was lying, which had been 
placed on the bottom of the vehicle at my feet. 
To prevent the basket — precious contents and 
all — from slipping out under the front seat, I 
was obliged to cling tightly to it, and at the 
same time firmly brace myself in order to keep 
from being tossed about. 

However, everything must have an end — 
even such a journey. I was inexpressibly glad 
to find a house once more over my head, and 
to receive my husband's hearty welcome. 

Army life is uncertain in the extreme, and 
our detail proved no exception to the rule. 
The troop was sent to Camp Date Creek for 
a month, but it remained a year, until the 
regiment left Arizona. The consolidation of 
regiments was at that time being effected. 


The infantry had been reduced from forty to 
twenty-five regiments, which necessitated many 
moves, and was tlie occasion for the detention 
there of some troops until more infantry 

It was indeed a desolate and undesirable 
locality. The country was ugly, flat, and inex- 
pressibly dreary. The section stretching in 
front of our camp was called " bad lands " 
(mala pice). The only pretty spot at all near 
was a slow, sluggish stream some miles away, 
where no one dared remain long for fear of 

Our only associate was the doctor, and sub- 
sequently, when a company of infantry arrived, 
two officers ; but for at least six months of that 
year I was the only woman within at least fifty 
miles. I found, too, that housekeeping was a 
burden ; for in all the travel from north to 
south, and the reverse, through Arizona, every 
one stopped en route. Before we left I felt 
competent to keep a hotel if experience was 
any education in tiie art. Even stage passen- 


gers had frequently to be cared for, as in that 
region it would have been cruel, when delays 
occurred, to have permitted them to have gone 
farther without food. 

As usual, I had the help of a soldier ; but 
unfortunately one who, when he found that too 
much was likely to be required of him, took 
refuge in intoxication ; then the entire burden 
fell upon me. Our little Chinese boy proved a 
treasure. He could wash and iron capitally, 
excepting my husband's shirts and the baby's 
clothes, the ironing of both of which came 
upon me. 

That year of my life was, in spite of many 
hardships, a very happy one. I have often 
since wondered how it could have been so, for 
surely no one ever lived more queerly. The 
houses were built of mud-brick (adobe), which 
was not, as is usual, plastered either inside or 
out. Being left unfinished they soon began to 
crumble in the dry atmosphere, and large holes 
or openings formed, in which vermin, espe- 
cially centipeds, found hiding-places. The lat- 


ter were so plentiful that I have frequently 
counted a dozen or more crawlinor in and out 


of the interstices. Scorpions and rattlesnakes 
also took up tlieir abode with us, and one snake 
of a more harmless nature used almost daily to 
thrust his head through a hole in the floor. Al- 
together we had plenty of such visitors. 

In faithfully recording my experiences, hon- 
esty compels me to state that although I have 
encountered almost every species of noxious 
and deadly vermin, from the ubiquitous rattle- 
snake to the deadly vinageroon, my real trials 
have arisen from the simpler sorts, such as 
wasps, gnats, fleas, flies, and mosquitoes, which, 
everywhere prolific, are doubly so on the fron- 
tier. I think a kind Providence must have 
watched over our encounters with deadly rep- 
tiles, though nothing could save us from ordi- 
nary pests. 

Perhaps the most trying of all my experiences 
was when we made our camp after dark. On 
those occasions we would be almost certain 
either to find that our tents had been erected 


close beside a bed of cacti, to fall into whenever 
we moved, or over an ant-heap of such dimen- 
sions that cannot be conceived of by any one in 
the East. The busy population of one of those 
ant-hills was among the millions ; and evidently 
each inhabitant felt called upon to resent our 
intrusion, for soon we would be literally cov- 
ered with the stinging pests. When our little 
ones were the victims, as often happened, we 
longed to live in a land where such creatures 
were unknown. 

But to return to a description of our home. 
The house consisted of one long room, with a 
door at either end, and two windows on each 
side. The room was sufficiently large to en- 
able us to divide it by a canvas curtain, and 
thus have a sitting-room and bedroom. We 
felt very happy on account of having a floor 
other than the ground, though it consisted only 
of broad, rough, unplaned planks, which had ' 
slirunk so that the spaces between them were 
at least two inches in width, and proved a trap 
for every little article that fell upon the floor. 


The brown, rough adobe walls were very 
uninviting, and centipeds were so numerous I 
never dared place our bed within at least two 
feet of them. The adjoining house, which was 
vacant, I used for a dining-room. Our kitchen 
stood as far away in another direction, so I 
seemed to daily walk miles in the simple 
routine of housekeeping duties. 

The country was very desolate, and the dis- 
mal cry of the coyotes at night anything but 
enlivening. Those animals became so bold as 
actually to approach our door, and one night 
carried off a box of shoe-blacking. They evi- 
dently did not care for that kind of relish, as it 
was discovered next day a short distance from 
the house. 

We killed so many snakes that I made a col- 
lection of rattles. One of the tales told about 
me was that a box of them sent to New York 
was labelled '' Rattlesnakes' Rattles ! Poison ! " 
Of course that was not true ; but our lives 
were so monotonous we enjoyed any joke on 
each other. 


I thought the last would never have been 
heard of my early pronunciation of " Fort 
Mojave," which it is probably needless to state 
was exactly in English accord with its spelling. 
Probably had I known the word was Spanish, 
not understanding the language, my pronuncia- 
tion would have been the same. 

I was always delighted when ladies passed 
through the post, and invariably begged them 
to remain as long as possible. One lovely 
woman, whose husband had been ordered from 
Southern to Northern Arizona, only to find on 
reaching there that his station was to be but 
twenty miles from the place he had just left, 
gladdened me twice by her presence. When I 
expressed regret because she was obliged to 
traverse the same road again during such ex- 
tremely warm weather, her assurance that she 
did not in the least mind it, surprised and re- 
lieved me. 

I found Arizona even worse than Nevada, so 
far as supplies were concerned. We could sel- 
dom obtain luxuries of any kind, and when pro- 


curable they were exorbitant in price. Eggs 
cost two dollars and fifty cents a dozen ; butter 
the same per pound ; chickens two dollars and . 
fifty cents apiece; potatoes, twenty cents per 
pound ; kerosene oil, five dollars a gallon, and 
I was told it had been as high as fourteen 
dollars. Fortunately we could buy candles at 
government rates. 

We were often at our wit's ends to supply 
food for guests. I had five bantam chickens, 
that each laid an egg daily for some time, which 
we considered great cause for thankfulness. I 
actually learned to concoct dainties without 
many of the ingredients usually supposed ne- 
cessary, and they were declared very good. 

Finally, after having been at Camp Date 
Creek some months, another lady joined us, at 
which I rejoiced exceedingly. She proved a 
very great acquisition to our army circle. 

Our mail was due once a week, but became 
very uncertain on account of the Indians. Mr. 
Boyd was twice awakened late at night by 
sentries, who reported the return of one man 


very badly wounded, and that the other had 
been left dead, and the mail scattered all over 
the country. Whenever the drums beat over 
the remains of any young man, thoughts of 
his absent friends always came to me. Our 
miserable little cemetery, out on that lonely 
plain, had not one grave whose quiet occupant 
was more than twenty-three years of age, and 
none had died a natural death. 

My husband was the busiest man imaginable. 
He had not only to command his company, but 
was also in charge of all stores and buildings. 
The quartermaster's storehouse was a long dis- 
tance off, and Mr. Boyd was there all day long. 
I used to be in continual fear lest Indians 
should attack him. No greater diligence could 
have been displayed by aAy one, and no one 
could have worked more conscientiously or 
faithfully than he did all through life. 

We feared to ride over the country on ac- 
count of the Indians, and therefore had less 
amusement and recreation than while in Ne- 
vada, yet contentment shed its ^Dlessed rays 


about us. I was always joyful, and ceased to 
wish that the hardships we were enduring might 
be exchanged for even attic life if in New 
York. My regret on learning tliat we were to 
leave for New Mexico was keen, although aware 
better quarters were awaiting us. But I had 
grown to love my Arizona home, if the walls 
were only rough adobe ones. In just nine 
months from the time of my arrival at Date 
Creek, and in midwinter, we left for our new 
destination. It was with vexation of spirit that 
I again took up the march. 



As an illustration of the many delays conse- 
quent upon frontier travel may be mentioned 
the receipt, just before leaving for New Mexico, 
of a box that had been fourteen months en 
route., though sent by express from New York. 
To recount the mishaps which had befallen it 
would be tiresome ; yet that was but one of 
many similar experiences. 

I had ordered the box in December, while at 
Camp Halleck, fully expecting it would reach 
San Francisco by the time we did. The con- 
tents were very valuable, and included an army 
overcoat intended as a surprise for my husband, 
together with many other useful and needed 
additions to our wardrobe. 

It was shipped by my brother, who mailed 
at the same time two bills of lading. The 


box arrived safely by sea, but the mail, which 
was sent overland, was snowbound on the 
Union Pacific, and consequently our letters 
were delayed. Knowing my brother's habitual 
promptness, I haunted the express office in San 
Francisco, only to be told again and again that 
no such box was there. We therefore started 
for Arizona without it. On our arrival, letters 
and the two bills of lading were awaiting us. 
The box had been in San Francisco all the time. 

One of the bills was intrusted to an officer 
going there, who promised to attend to the mat- 
ter, but he never troubled himself about it. 
After months had elapsed we begged another 
officer to hunt up the box, which he not only 
did, but kindly brought it to us, after its arrival 
had been vainly expected for fourteen months. 
The strangest part of the whole affair, to my 
unworldly mind, was that the first officer was 
under great obligations to us, while the one 
who really obtained the box was almost a 

The present may not seem a fitting occasion 


to moralize ; but as this is a true account of my 
army life and experience, I desire to state that 
my reward for undue exertions on any one's 
behalf was usually the basest ingratitude. Of 
course this is only in accordance with all the 
time-honored maxims of wiser people than my- 
self, but the personal experience was none the 
less unpleasant. 

The officer to whom I refer as having been 
under obligations, had brought a sick wife and 
child to the post for a temporary sojourn, but 
the illness of his wife was so prolonged I was 
completely worn out nursing her. As an ad- 
dition to my troubles a second child appeared 
upon the scene, which I was not only compelled 
to care for, but supply with a wardrobe, in 
order that they might leave for California in a 
month's time. I was ill in bed, the result of 
overwork, for weeks after they left, yet never 
have received a line from them. 

My long experience on the frontier plainly 
demonstrated that the absence of civilization 
and all its appliances compelled any one with a 


sympathetic heart to learn all branches of nurs- 
ing. Before having been married ten years I 
had acted as midwife at least that number of 
times, and, far sadder, had prepared sweet and 
beautiful women for their last resting-places. 

Few who have seen delicately nurtured city 
girls- marry so gladly the men of their choice, 
have any idea of what they must endure in 
army life. The utter absence of so much that 
is considered indispensable in ordinary homes, 
added to the constant possibility of a move at 
the most infelicitous moment, causes anxiety 
and restlessness which have no adequate com- 
pensations in either the emoluments or glory 
that can be gained in the service. Children 
always enjoy frontier travel, tut anxiety falls 
to the lot of mothers. 

In one march of our regiment from New 
Mexico to Texas, nine children were born en 
route. In those instances which came under 
my observation, both mothers and babies were 
on the second day bundled into ambulances and 
marched onward. In my opinion the natural 


desire of army officers' wives to be with their 
husbands has cost the sacrifice of many precious 
lives; while those who survive the hardships 
have bitter sufferings to contend with in after 
years of chronic illness. 

It is notorious that no provision is made for 
women in the army. Many indignation meet- 
ings were held at which we discussed the mat- 
ter, and rebelled at being considered mere camp 
followers. It is a recognized fact that woman's 
presence — as wife — alone prevents demoraliza- 
tion, and army officers are always encouraged 
to marry for that reason. 

While at Camp Date Creek we formed sev- 
eral pleasant friendships, and it is a matter of 
regret that in the years which have since elapsed 
I have never met any of the ladies. Through 
the resignation of our company captain and 
promotion of the senior lieutenant, an addition 
was made to our circle of a brave, true soldier — 
a man appointed from the ranks — who by his 
nobility of character graced the higher position. 

Consolidation at that time weeded out all 


worthless men. If an officer's reputation was 
aspersed, the charges were investigated, and if 
proved, the chances of retaining his commission 
were very slight. 

A second lieutenant of our troop was a scamp. 
He victimized me before receiving his conge. 
I had supposed the mere title, " officer of the 
army," to be synonymous with honesty, so in- 
trusted to him the hoardings of many months 
with which I had designed to purchase a pipe, 
and present to my husband. The amount, 
seventy-five dollars, was large to me, and evi- 
dently to him also, for I never saw the money 
again, nor the pipe it was to buy. Neither did 
the lieutenant return, for he was dismissed the 
service, or rather dropped for incompetency. 

Mr. Boyd had his pipe after all ; for not dis- 
couraged by my loss I began to save again, and 
although funds accumulated slowly, and a year 
passed before the requisite amount was laid by, 
the pipe remains to this day a memento of my 
early extravagance. 

We had no outside society at Date Creek 


except a few rough frontiersmen, who not only 
dared the danger from Indians, but also that 
of the low, malarious atmosphere, for the sake 
of raising vegetables, which commanded high 
prices. True, our small military post was the 
only market, and as all supplies required to sup- 
plement the gardeners' stores were by reason 
of freight equally high-priced, I doubt if the 
men even, succeeded in making a comfortable 

With all its drawbacks life was very enjoy- 
able. Though out of the question to go far, 
yet we explored the country within a radius 
of several miles. Neither game nor fish were 
found, but it was a pleasure to meet the strange 
characters with which that region abounded. 

We indulged in one visit to our regimental 
friends at Camp Willow Grove. Everything 
was delightful when once there, but we had 
as usual a disagreeable time going. Two days 
were consumed on the way. The first night 
was spent at a stage station where all the 
strange and uncouth experiences of our Nevada 


journey were repeated. There was, however, a 
woman in this rough home who shared her bed 
with me ; but as it was originally intended only 
for one person, and we each had an infant to 
care for, it soon became a question of whether 
or not I, who occupied the side next the wall, 
should be shoved through it. 

The thin boards of which the house was built 
were distinguished, as is all frontier lumber, by 
their ability to warp, and therefore proved a 
protection only from the rain, and not from the 
wind which blew through the knot-holes and 
cracks. The inclemency of the weather made 
matters worse. It was a fearful night! I 
mentally resolved never to spend another in 
that rickety house. We changed our route 
returning, and passed through Prescott. 

About that time we began to rejoice in the 
prospect of additional stores being furnished 
by the commissary department. After striving 
for nearly two years to vary the monotony of 
our rations, we felt as if the promised treat, in 
the shape of chocolate, macaroni, prunes, raisins. 


and currants, would be almost too mucli of a 
luxury, and care must be exercised if indiges- 
tion was not desired. 

How much we enjoyed the slight variety ! 
The zest with which cook and I rang the 
changes on those different comestibles would 
seem really childish at the present day, when 
almost all varieties of canned goods and luxu- 
ries in the shape of grocers' supplies can be 
found at every military post, however small 
and remote. 

The amount of pleasure which can be derived 
from the most insignificant sources seems in- 
credible ; but I attribute much of the happiness 
I found in army life to my delight in trivial 
matters. Then we all were so united in mutual 
interests. The officers, instead of being im- 
mersed in business cares, were ever ready to be 
amazed or amused, as the case might be, with 
the results of our industry, and absolute delight 
was manifested over the most trifling plan for 
social enjoyment, which doubled the pleasure. 

I have for many years entertained the greatest 


regard for physicians, because during our army 
life tliey displayed so warm an interest in my 
children. One of the merits of frontier resi- 
dence is that little ones thrive so much better 
there than in a city, and rarely suffer from the 
many ailments to which town-bred children are 
subject. The interest they inspire in every one, 
especially the post surgeon, whose constant 
presence in cases of emergency gives one a feel- 
ing of comfort and security nothing else can 
afford, is very gratifying. The result, even in 
cases of severe illness, is usually complete re- 
covery. Both parents and patients unavoidably 
benefit by the surroundings. 

Our doctor at Camp Date Creek was a char- 
acter so uncommon that my recollections of 
him can never be effaced. He was an Irishman, 
a grandnephew of John Philpot Curran, the 
distinguished Irish wit, and himself so full of 
humor that his very presence was an antidote 
to sickness and sorrow. 

The doctor received a government contract 
after having been in America but a few months. 


He never wearied of recounting the impres- 
sions American slang had made upon him. 
Immediately on entering our house he would 
seize baby and hold her for hours, all the time 
pouring forth reminiscences of Ireland, and ex- 
pressing surprise at the difference between the 
two countries. 

Our slang was described as very effective, 
especially the Californian, which had, or so the 
doctor assured me, a distinct vocabulary of its 
own, that, like adjectives, was capable of being 
positive, comparative, and superlative. As an 
example he instanced the following : 

"You bet, you bet you, you bet your life." 
"Why," said he, "here is a perfect declension! 
You bet your boots, you bet your bottom 
dollar, you bet stamps." 

The genial Irish doctor was immensely pleased 
with our vernacular, if with nothing else. 

It would afford me much pleasure to prolong 
the narration of incidents connected with those 
friends who aided so greatly in making our 
life enjoyable, but I must hurry on with the 
account of our journey to New Mexico. 



Our little daughter was just eleven months 
old when the regiment was ordered to move. 
We started on our long journey in mid-winter. 
The troops from Prescott were to cross directly 
into New Mexico, and we had hoped to accom- 
pany them, but were instead sent to join others 
from the southern posts. That made our jour- 
ney much longer, as after going in a southerly, 
then easterly direction, our line lay north to 
Fort Stanton, New Mexico. 

Eve could hardly have felt more reluctant 
to leave the Garden of Eden than I did when 
we bade farewell to the camp, which though 
indeed desolate, never had seemed so to me, 
but, rather, the most delightful imaginable spot. 
I cried bitterly for days. My packing was 
accomplished with a heavy heart, I was so mis- 


erable at the thought of leaving that which had 
been my first real home. 

We were to have no company for some days 
but that of the troop and our dear old captain, 
who was really like one of ourselves. His true 
and loving nature had greatly endeared him to 
us, and he formed a firm link in the family 

Unaccustomed to any comfort on former jour- 
neys, I was not inclined to exact much on that, 
so soon learned instinctively to fall into the 
regular routine and discipline, and expected no 
consideration on account of my sex. I had 
never before traveled with troops ; and though 
I did not like to rise long before the first peep 
of day, and after a hurried and scanty break- 
fast climb into an ambulance and drive for 
hours, I soon learned to do so without a mur- 
mur. My reward came in the praise our cap- 
tain bestowed, when he declared that during 
the entire march of six long, weary weeks, I 
had never caused one moment's delay or trouble. 

I have often since questioned whether some 


pLan might not have been devised to prevent 
the officers' wives from being subjected to the 
stringent rules that must be enforced among 
soldiers. I suppose that just as a woman whose 
husband is in business regulates her household 
according to the needs or conveniences of its 
head, so, with the same spirit, the wife of an 
army officer endures the hardships her hus- 
band's position imposes. 

Our beloved commanding officer had been in 
the army so many years that the possibility of 
deviating in any degree from the routine which 
had become second nature doubtless never oc- 
curred to him. Probably no question of expe- 
diency — simply that of duty — ever suggested 

Though a sufferer all my life from army dis- 
cipline, which has continually controlled my 
movements, yet, when chafing most against its 
restraints, T have admired the grand soldierly 
spirit which made nearly every officer uncom- 
plainingly forego all personal comfort for the 
sake of duty. No one outside the army can 


realize what the true soldier relinquishes when 
he forsakes home and family for the noble 

Every one has read or heard of the mad 
courage displayed in times of war, and my 
knowledge of the soldier is in times of peace ; 
yet I have then seen exhibited what to me is by 
far the truer heroism. It is easy to be brave 
when war trumps sound and the spirit is roused 
to great hopes of personal achievements, when 
love for a cause deepens the ardor which sus- 
tains men even in death ; but tame submission 
to petty and altogether unnecessary hardships, 
because in the line of duty and part of a sol- 
dier's inevitable fate, is, in my opinion, far more 

Our captain was a hero in the truest sense of 
the word. Like many others, he had served for 
years during our civil war as a private before 
being promoted to the rank of an officer. But 
after promotion the possession and exercise of 
rare soldierly qualities soon enabled him to 
reach a position of influence. He was intrusted 


with the command of a company, which after a 
desperate resistance was captured. Having 
been severely wounded, he was released on 
parole, and remained in a little town of South- 
ern New Mexico, where he was well taken care 
of, and during that season of forced inactivity 
recovered his health. 

Almost anyone would have considered him 
fairly entitled to pay ; but such was his idea of 
rectitude that he refused to accept a dollar, not 
considering that it had been fairly earned ; and 
to this day the five months' pay due him while 
a prisoner remains in the coffers of our govern- 
ment. The subsequent life of this honorable 
man has been one of duty and devotion to coun- 
try. His health is ruined by the almost incred- 
ible hardships a cavalry soldier's duties entail. 

We journeyed south through Arizona to Tuc- 
son, then turned east. Our outfit consisted of 
a wall tent, which on encamping at night was 
placed on as smooth ground as could be found, 
and a mess chest filled with supplies. By pla- 
cing a support under the raised cover of the lat- 


ter, and filling the open space with a board that 
fitted nicely, it could be utilized as a table. 
The interior contained plates and dishes in 
addition to supplies, and the moment we reached 
camp our cook, a soldier, would begin prepara- 
tions for a meal, which though ever so plain 
was always done full justice to by appetites the 
long ride had sharpened. 

In accordance with my usual habit, I made all 
necessary preparations in advance for supplying 
our wants ; and it soon became more a question 
of quantity than of quality, for the generous 
hearts of Mr. Boyd and the captain always for- 
got that our supplies were limited. An in- 
stance of their thoughtlessness in such matters 
was on one occasion evinced by the arrival, 
unexpectedly to me, of four guests whom they 
had invited to remain with us for a few days. 
To supply food for a week — as it happened 
in that case — to those extra people, blessed 
with unusually good appetites, taxed my inge- 

We had by that time reached the celebrated 


Indian villages of the Pi mas and Maricopas. 
Those two tribes had been at peace with the 
pale faces for a century. They cultivated land, 
and were industrious and prosperous. Their 
villages stretched along the highway for many 
miles, so we spent six days among them. They 
"watclied our progress in the well-known, some- 
what indifferent Indian fashion, though evin- 
cing real interest when we encamped at night, 
and swarming about us with various wares for 
sale, such as pottery and baskets, both unique in 
pattern and very serviceable. The latter were 
made so fine in texture and quality as to hold 
water. The various designs in which those 
useful articles were woven displayed much 

We felt that a land flowing with milk and 
honey had indeed been reached. Not only 
could eggs and chickens be bought, but so 
cheaply we could indulge in them to our 
hearts' content. 

The Pima and Maricopa Indians, like all 
others, were unprepossessing in appearance ; 


but aware that after leaving them we would 
be once more among the murderous Apaches, I, 
for one at least, enjoyed their society because 
of the protection it afforded. 

Every night when we pitched our tents the 
women would crowd about and indulge in 
ecstasies over the little white baby whose ablu- 
tions were a source of constant and serious won- 
derment. This can be well understood when 
one remembers that Indians rarely, if ever, use 
water other than for drinking purposes. I 
never permitted any of them to touch baby, 
being afraid to do so. 

Our little Chinaman, with his long pigtail, 
also caused much amazement and no doubt 
speculation as to what he really was. As no 
attempt was made to disguise this, he evidently 
became at once disgusted with notoriety. It 
was, I believe, the cause of his one day appear- 
ing minus that appendage so revered by all 
Chinese — his cue. When I inquired what had 
become of it, and told him he could never return 
to China, he replied ; 


"Me no care. Me want to be 'Melican 

Our baby was singularly fair and white ; and 
in all our travels, both among Indians and 
Mexicans, all went into raptures over the chil- 
dren, who with their sunny heads were such 
utter contrasts to the swarthy races among 
which we moved. 

A few days of travel after leaving the Indian 
villages brought us to Tucson, then an insignifi- 
cant town of fiat mud houses, so unprepossessing 
that we were glad to drive through without stop- 
ping, and encamp beside a beautiful stream two 
miles beyond. The town was then being deci- 
mated by small-pox, which raged among the 
Mexicans. We were obliged to flee from con- 
tact with it, especially as our soldiers were 
always ready to explore any new place, regard- 
less of consequences. 

We spent one day in sight seeing, though the 
only point of special interest was a noted church 
nine miles from Tucson. I cannot express the 
astonishment excited by the sight of that house 


of worship built in those vast wilds, hundreds of 
miles from all civilization. The edifice, of noble 
proportions, was of red brick and whitish stucco. 
Both belfry and tower were complete. The in- 
terior decorations were profuse, and covered the 
walls. The floor, once hard and smooth, had 
been worn into hollows by the footsteps of 
countless devotees, whose race even was un- 
known, though surmised to be that of the 
ancient Aztecs, or followers of Montezuma. 

I doubt if even in Europe, with its mystic 
shrines dating back countless ages, I could have 
experienced a more profound sense of awe than 
when standing in that absolutely desert spot, 
and realizing that skilled hands had once erected 
there such a monument. 

In that old church were marriage records dat- 
ing back hundreds of years ; but the structure 
was to me the all absorbing wonder. 

The Mexicans living near worshiped most 
devoutly at its shrines ; and they were not the 
only frequenters of that house of prayer, for 
the Spanish priests had a large following of 


Indians who had intermarried with the Span- 
iards and settled there. 

I could hardly tear myself from the spot, and 
returned again and again to ascend the belfry 
stairs and wonder and speculate upon the strange 
mystery called " San Xavier del Bac." 



At that point we parted with our four guests, 
who had contributed, by their fund of wit -and 
humor, to render the journey pleasant, and had 
added much to our merriment at meal times. 
It required, however, a stronger sense of humor 
than I possessed to be merry at breakfast, eaten 
in semi-darkness, after having been awakened 
with military precision. 

It was certainly not cheerful to watch the 
tent and its furnishings disappear in the wagon 
while we sat trying to imagine ourselves break- 
fasting, with the sharp morning air of February 
chilling, or the March winds blowing about us. 
When the dreary meal was over we scrambled 
into our ambulance, and by the time a few 
miles had been passed I would be fairly awake 
and longing for lunch time. 


The strangest part of those travels is that 
children thrive so well, and really enjoy every 
moment of the journey, however monotonous. 
My baby could not walk, and I was glad of it ; 
for a more thorny, desolate country than that 
it has never been my lot to traverse. Tlie in- 
numerable beds of cacti were the spots most 
delighted in by children, and I rejoiced that 
baby had no cliance of being lost among those 
dangerous plants. 

After leaving Tucson, we passed many lonely 
graves dispersed over the weird desolation of 
that uninhabited space, and soon learned to dis- 
cern where savage Apaches had moved. With 
our escort of fifty well-mounted men we had 
nothing to fear; but those mounds of stones, 
appealing in mute silence to the passer by, 
touched me deepl}^ 

On arriving at the different stage stations we 
generally rested a while, and usually found 
there some poor woman who was working day 
and night to assist her husband, and with whom 
I always made it a custom to converse. The 


comparison of the lives of those women with 
mine caused me to feel additional sympathy for 
them, and gratitude on my own account. 

Notwithstanding our large escort, it was ne- 
cessary to proceed with great caution, for one 
never could tell what might happen when pass- 
ing through the mountainous regions of South- 
ern Arizona. Camp Bowie, at which we re- 
mained three days, was nestled amid high 
mountains, and Indians often appeared on the 
bluffs above, from which they fired recklessly 
and sometimes effectively. A large guard was 
always detailed to watch the outposts ; and yet 
so subtle, as is well known, are Indians, that 
although close at hand they were seldom 

One, evening while we were at Camp Bowie 
an Indian crept into the stables, and while the 
sentry was pacing to and fro at the farther end, 
mounted a fine horse standing near the entrance, 
and with a yell of victory horse and rider dis- 
appeared. He well knew that once mounted, 
pursuit could be defied. 


That strange little fort in the very heart of 
the mountain fastness sheltered a number of 
women and children. As usual, we received a 
hearty welcome, and were feasted and feted in 
true army fasliion. The post surgeon vacated 
his room in our honor ; for which we were very 
grateful, especially when one of those terrible 
mountain blizzards came on, in which clouds of 
dust so thick are formed that objects cannot be 
distinguished at a distance of ten feet. The 
room we occupied was built of logs, and dust 
blew through the crevices until it seemed as if 
we were a part of the universal grit. The tents 
were simply uninhabitable, though before our 
destination was reached we were compelled to 
occupy them through what seemed fully as 
severe a storm. 

Officers have the habit of beautifying their 
quarters all circumstances permit ; and our 
friend the doctor, who had incommoded himself 
for us, was no exception to the general rule. 
The rough mud ceiling of his room had been 
covered with unbleached cotton ; and shelves, 


mostly laden with books, were suspended from 
rafters by means of the same material torn into 
strips. One hanging over the open fireplace 
was crowded with bottles of all sizes and de- 
scriptions, which contained every form of ver- 
min and reptile life to be found in that region. 
In the eyes of one unaccustomed to such sights 
it would, indeed, have been an alarming display. 

The collection embraced centipeds, scorpions, 
tarantulas in their hideous blackness, and snakes 
of all kinds — at least those small enough to 
be bottled. They were not elegant mantel 
ornaments, but having been long accustomed 
to such sights I did not mind them. It was, 
however, altogether another matter to be 
brought in actual contact with the monstrosi- 
ties, as happened on the second night of the 

We were thoroughly worn out combating the 
omnipresent dust, and had retired early, when ' 
a tremendous crash suddenly awakened us from 
sound sleep. At first we thought the end of 
the world had come ; but soon discovered that 


the shelf containing bottled tenants had fallen. 
It was some time before a light could be pro- 
cured ; for matches and lamps, as well as clocks 
and watches, were all buried under the debris. 

No description can do justice to the scene. 
Everything upon the shelf, ornamental as well 
as useful, formed a conglomerate mass, over 
which the liberated monstrosities were scattered 
in every direction. 

The doctor apologized for the accident, but 
we were none the worse, and it added one more 
to the list of funny experiences that were often 
afterward laughed over. 

From Camp Bowie our road lay through grand 
and gorgeous mountain scenery to Fort Cum- 
mings, in south-western New Mexico. A moun- 
tain pass on that route has been the scene of 
more Indian atrocities than any other spot in 
the entire Apache region. Magnificent Cook's 
Peak has looked down upon more outrages 
than time can ever efface. The stage road 
wound through this pass for years, and the 
number of times the Indians have brutally mur- 


dered passengers is countless. Even now that 
a railroad has superseded the stage, it is a place 
of terror to most travelers, and the history of 
its bloody battles and massacres would fill 

We remained at Fort Cummin gs one day, 
and found it indeed a wretched place, devoid of 
all attractions save the kind friends who made 
us so welcome. 

Another day's march brought us to Fort 
Selden, on the Rio Grande, from whence we 
caught our first glimpse of that strange river. 
Rising in Southern Colorado, a beautifully 
clear stream, it flows on for hundreds and hun- 
dreds of miles, changing color as frequently as 
does the famous chameleon. Now it is bright 
and sparkling, again dull and sluggish, and anon 
disappears completely, to reappear with added 
volume and intensity. How many have been 
deceived by that treacherous river! Trusting 
to its apparently listless course, travelers have 
been suddenly swept away in a mad, headlong 
current, which absorbed their lives as the vam- 


pire is said to do those of his prey. Ah ! if the 
casualties that have occurred on the Rio Grande 
could be written, each of its victims adding but! 
one line to the record, what a strange and 
fearful story would be told. 

There is a tradition to the effect that any one 
tasting its waters will be compelled, by some 
strange, subtle charm or influence, to return, 
even though after the lapse of years. Certain 
it is that people always long to again experi- 
ence its strange and weird fascination, which 
seems really to follow them, and from which 
there is no respite until the mighty stream is 
actually revisited. 

The Rio Grande, which I first saw twenty 
years ago, has often charmed me since. Though 
not often again in the same region, I have else- 
where followed its banks for miles, and the 
borders of no other river it has ever been my 
fortune to gaze upon, present so many varieties 
of life. Desolation and beautiful verdure are 
mingled; while its fruitful produce tends to 
make the country, which without its beneficent 


influence would indeed be a desert, a very 

But I would not forestall my narrative by 
saying too mucli of this river, to which I so 
often returned, and which finally became like 
a familiar friend, a part of my very life it- 

We left the Rio Grande at Don Ana, and 
struck off into beautiful, piney Lincoln County, 
New Mexico, where we had a happy home for 
another year. Before reaching there we en- 
camped for one night at White Sands, memor- 
able on account of the peculiarity of its soil. A 
perfectly wonderful mass of pure white sand, 
which lay in hillocks, extended far as the eye 
could reach. We climbed onward, our feet 
sinking in slightly, just enough to remind us of 
"footsteps on the sands of time." Those sand 
hillocks had existed from time immemorial, and 
will remain for ages to come, I suppose, unless 
some commercial mind shall divine their value 
and utilize the white commodity, by converting 
it into a merchantable article. I am glad to 


have seen them in their spotless purity and 

The remainder of our journey to dear old 
Fort Stanton was through exquisite forests of 
mountain pines, and beside clear streams that 
yielded delicious trout. 



At Fort Stanton nature was a constant 
source of joy and pleasure. The near-by 
streams were fairly alive with delicious fish, so 
abundant that a line could hardly be thrown 
before one would bite. Besides fish, we had 
game of almost every variety, and fairly lived 
on the " fat of the land." New Mexico had 
been called " The Troopers' Paradise," and we 
found the name to be well merited. 

Perhaps the very wildness of the country and 
abundance of game provoked a lawless element ; 
for Lincoln County, if a good one for natural 
supplies, has always been regarded as a rallying 
point for desperadoes, and its history is famous 
in the annals of crime. 

At first my wonder and sympathies were ex- 
cited; but in time the peaceful security one 


always experiences when surrounded by well- 
armed troops deadened susceptibilities to what 
transpired outside. Army officers' wives hear 
of bloodshed with much the same feeling as is 
experienced by women living in cities when 
they learn of frightful accidents which involve 
the lives of others, but of none who are near 
and dear to them. 

We passed one happy, peaceful year at Fort 
Stanton. The houses, built of stone, which 
was very plentiful in that mountainous region, 
were very comfortable. Each had two rooms, 
with a detached kitchen and dining-room about 
fifteen feet in the rear. 

The climate was perfect, the air so exquisitely 
pure as to lend a freshness and charm to each 
day's existence. To breathe was like drinking 
new wine. I cannot pity the isolation of 
settlers in those regions, for the beauty of 
natural scenery displayed on all sides is ample 
compensation, and to live is to enjoy. My 
recollections of that year are delightful. 

Several companies had preceded us, so I had 


companions of my own sex. Our amusements 
consisted in part of driving, and fishing in 
streams where success, however inferior the 
angler's skill, was certain. Our wildest gayety 
was a card-party, and we always attended mili- 
tary balls. There were not enough officers' 
wives to have dances of our own; but we 
always opened those of the soldiers', and 
thoroughly appreciated their enjoyment. 

Some of those affairs would have presented a 
strange picture to people in the East; but the 
very absurdity and variety of the costumes and 
conduct of frontiersmen and their wives, who 
were always invited, only added zest to our 
enjoyment, and the recollections amused us for 

One evening so fierce a storm raged that we 
hardly dared cross the parade ground ; yet our 
desire to go was sufficient to induce the at- 
tempt. We were fairly blown into the room, 
and to our surprise found it filled with the 
usual throng. How in the world they had 
all reached the place through such a severe 


storm puzzled us greatly, but there they 

It was a curious sight, and a still more curi- 
ous sound, that all those people produced. The 
strains of music, the stamping of many feet, 
and the wild howling of the wind, all combined 
to greatly stimulate our nerves. The excite- 
ment was still further increased when suddenly 
a loud crash was heard ; every one rushed out 
in alarm to discover that a huge flagstaff, 
which it had taken months to make and erect, 
had fallen and been splintered into a thousand 
fragments. The staff had not been properly 
secured by stanchions. 

The occurrence was regretted, not only be- 
cause the making and erecting had consumed 
much time, but also because it had been diffi- 
cult to find a suitable tree tall enough for the 
purpose. Thus our towering flagstaff, which 
had taken many years to grow and several 
months to fashion, had been laid low in a less 
number of seconds. 

Soon after I experienced another fright, quite 


different in its nature from the one just related. 
I now firmly believe an army garrison to be the 
most secure place on earth, and in later years 
almost forgot the use of keys; but in those 
earlier days I was always on the alert. 

One night when Mr. Boyd was away I placed 
a student lamp at the foot of our bed, and after 
looking under it in the usual approved woman 
fashion, lay down to rest. My nervous fears 
had only just passed away, permitting me to 
fall into a light slumber, when I found myself 
suddenly sitting up gazing at the form of a 
man entering the door. My heart seemed to 
stop beating, yet fortunately I had the courage 
to exclaim: 

"What are you doing here? Leave the 
room ! " 

The man promptly obeyed. I sprang up, 
locked the door, and called the servants. When 
I found that my nurse, who slept in the next 
room, had disappeared, and that cook, on ac- 
count of the distance between the house and 
kitchen, could not hear me, I felt as if a plan 


was on foot to murder me, and endured a half- 
hour of absolute agony, such as I hope it will 
never again be my lot to experience. 

At last the nurse appeared, and I went once 
more to rest ; but so vivid were my impressions 
of the man that I picked him out next day 
from among a hundred; and then begged, on 
learning that he had been wandering around 
intoxicated, and merely entered the first door 
which responded to his touch, that no punish- 
ment be inflicted. 

Beautiful Fort Stanton was not only perfect 
in natural scenery and surroundings, but had 
been improved by excellent methods. Various 
officers had from time to time planted trees 
around the parade ground; and to facilitate 
their growth an acequia^ as it was called in 
Spanish, or ditch, had been dug, and the water, 
constantly running through it, kept the roots 
of the trees always moist, so they grew rapidly 
and formed a delightful shade in front of our 

We became so fond of our home in that 


charming spot that everything else contented 
us. The mail came, as before, but once a week, 
and its arrival made that day a red-letter one 
in our quiet lives. It was always devoted to 
eager anticipations and close watching of the 
long line of road over which the mail rider 
came. If over due, nothing else could be 
thought or talked of until he arrived, and we 
received our news from beyond the border. 
Even baby learned to look for letters, and to 
expect some token of love from absent friends. 
She would forsake her favorite playground near 
the muddy acequia to join the anxious group 
of watchers. 

Every one has heard the story of the baby 
who was taken by her mother to some perform- 
ance in San Francisco in the early days, when 
women were scarce and babies so rare as almost 
to be wonders ; and how, when the little one 
cried and refused to be pacified, an old miner 
arose and requested that the play should cease 
so they might hear the baby cry. His request 
was applauded on all sides, and a hat passed 


round for the baby, who had reminded those 
rough men of a home life almost forgotten in 
their pioneer surroundings. 

My baby was not only of the greatest impor- 
tance to me, but if I noticed any sign of the 
devotion she was expected to receive from other 
sources flagging, my displeasure was quickly 
expressed. I have since been told that the 
officers, after reporting for duty to their com- 
mander, would say : 

" Now we must go see baby, and report her 

Consequently she received as much notice as 
if it had been her divine right. The little one 
could talk plainly by the time she was fifteen 
months old, and amused us all greatly. 

In looking back upon those happy days I 
often wonder how I could voluntarily have left 
so dear a home. But after residing there a 
year I decided to visit friends in New York, 
so bade farewell to beautiful Fort Stanton, not 
knowing I never should again see it. 



We left Fort Stanton in March, prepared for 
a seemingly almost interminable journey before 
reaching the railroad at Denver, five hundred 
miles distant. Expecting to find houses in 
which to pass the nights, we took no tent, and 
besides my trunk very little baggage. It was 
entirely too early in the season for traveling 
to be really comfortable, as in that exquisite 
mountain air mornings and evenings are very 

The country between Forts Stanton and 
Union was simply superb in its wild grandeur 
and beauty. Only the pen of an artist could 
have done justice to its many charms. We 
stopped every night with Mexican families, 
who in their simple kindness were most truly 
hospitable. They made us welcome, and yet 


exacted no reward for the time and attention 
bestowed. I always required those hours for 
rest and looking after baby, who with the 
happy unconcern of childhood had a way of 
wandering in paths unsuited to such tender 

In all those rough travels I never met with 
anything else which gave me so much trouble 
as the cactus plant. Wherever we went, and 
whatever else we missed, that was always 
present in some shape or form. In regions 
where nothing else could be prevailed upon to 
grow, that useful but disagreeable plant always 
throve ; and the more dreary, parched, and bar- 
ren the soil, the more surely did the cactus 
flourish and expand its bayonet-armed leaves. 

If very young children were allowed to wan- 
der in the least, one could safely depend upon 
finding them in the vicinity of the danger- 
ous cacti. During that journey our little one 
tripped and fell directly upon a large plants 
which, it seemed to me, had more than the 
usual complement of thorns, for her little knees 


were fairly filled with them, and days passed 
before all were picked out. 

Cacti are the main feature of Western plant 
life. Sometimes with fluted columns, as in 
Arizona, they rear their heads aloft in stately 
grandeur. Again they are found in some one 
of the numerous less inspiring shapes and forms 
the plant assumes in different parts of the 
West. There must be at least fifty varieties. 
All are supplied with that chief characteristic 
— sharp-pointed prickers — which remind the 
unwary of their presence and power. 

It takes a great deal of frontier experience to 
deal correctly with cacti. They have many and 
valuable properties which the early settlers long 
since discovered. The most common variety is 
the low, flat-land species which requires no 
seeking. In the far West it flaunts itself by all 
roadsides and everywhere dots the prairies. It 
is very nutritive, and utilized by natives as food 
for cattle; they first burn away the prickles 
with which it has been so bountifully supplied 
by nature. Even in that land of seeming bar- 


renness for man and beast, much can be found 
to support life. The cactus supplies an intoxi- 
cating liquor called mescal; and one variety 
bears a fruit which tastes somewhat like the 
strawberry, and is much sought after by Mexi- 

The only time when cacti are really pretty 
is in early spring, when they bloom. Then the 
bright-hued flowers dot the country with color, 
and relieve the eye from the monotonous gray 
hue which pervades all nature in a region where 
rains are so periodical as to prevent the vernal 
freshness of the East. 

There is a rare and nameless charm in the 
contemplation of those extended prairies, with 
their soft gray tints, dreary to Eastern people, 
but so dearly loved by those who become im- 
bued with the deep sentiment their vast expanse 

I shall never become reconciled to localities 
where the eye cannot look for miles and miles 
beyond the spot where one stands, and where 
the density of the atmosphere circumscribes the 


view, limiting it to a comparatively short dis- 
tance. I have traveled in New Mexico and 
Arizona for days, when on starting early in the 
morning the objective point of my journey, and 
an endless stretch of road, perhaps for a hun- 
dred miles, could be seen. 

To mount a horse, such as can be found only 
in the West, perfect for the purpose, and gallop 
over prairies, completely losing one's self in 
vast and illimitable space, as silent as lonely, is 
to leave every petty care, and feel the contented 
frame of mind which can only be produced by 
such surroundings. In those grand wastes one 
is truly alone with God. Oh, I love the West, 
and dislike to think that the day will surely 
come when it will teem with human life and 
all its warring elements ! 

On that journey East from my dear Western 
home everything seemed new. After traveling 
for days, Fort Union was reached, where we re- 
mained a while, and then went North, passing 
through beautiful Colorado, stopping at Trin- 
idad, Pueblo, and finally, after seventeen days 


of ambulance travel, reaching Denver. It was 
more like a panoramic journey than a real one ; 
for we kept continually advancing toward a 
higher and higher degree of civilization, till its 
apex — New York — was reached. 

All those strange, crude, and uncivilized 
Western villages have since become thriving 
railroad towns. Denver, with its perfect en- 
vironment of exquisite mountain scenery, will 
always remain in my mind a picture of beauty. 

Mr. Boyd was to leave me at Denver, and 
return to Fort Stanton; but we first spent 
a delightful week there. My brother met and 
introduced us to some pleasant people. There 
was a fine company at the principal theatre, 
which we attended nightly, and I shed tears 
over dear old Rip Van Winkle, who, though 
not personated by Jefferson, was sufficiently 
well portrayed to merit and receive great 
applause. The absolute freshness of feeling 
one experiences after years of absence from 
such scenes is sufficiently delightful to make 
the jaded theater-goer envious. 


I was exceedingly proud of my introduction 
to that estimable couple, Mr. and Mrs. McKee 
Rankin, the " stars " in that theatrical combina- 
tion ; and we were honored by an invitation to 
dine with them, which was accepted. We had 
the pleasantest imaginable time. 

My brother had been living in Cheyenne for 
some time, and, in his great desire to again wit- 
ness a fine theatrical performance, had, with a 
friend, assumed the entire responsibility of the 
troupe's success. A week had been spent in 
enlisting every one's interest; and although he 
guaranteed expenses in any event, yet when 
the important night arrived there was a full 
house, and one of the most picturesque audi- 
ences ever collected. Every miner, ranchman, 
gambler, and the whole military garrison at 
Cheyenne, were not only there, but applauded 
everything as a Western audience alone can — 
in a manner that made the very building tremble. 

Such an audience is a sight which once seen 
is not easily forgotten. Similar heterogeneous 
elements never enter into the lives of the people 


at the East, and it is almost impossible to de- 
scribe such a gathering. Imagine a peculiarly 
picturesque and large audience, composed of 
every imaginable species of the human race, each 
so intent upon the performance that actual sur- 
roundings are entirely ignored. 

In those early days of which I am ^vriting, the 
population of Denver was much more composite 
than it is at the present time ; and the experi- 
enced eye could readily distinguish men and 
women of every nationality, and from every sta- 
tion in life, from the cowboy to the millionaire. 
Beautiful Denver ! my heart turns longingly to 
its perfect climate ; and the desire to once again 
inhale that sweet, pure air, and catch a glimpse 
of its glorious mountain scener)^, cannot be over- 

We left that lovely town after a week's 
delightful stay, and for two days and nights 
rolled over the prairies in cars, watching the 
endless stretch of level and monotonous plains, 
relieved here and there by herds of buffaloes, 
which sometimes approached so near as to be 


shot at from the tram. It reminded me of the 
excitement created when whales are encountered 
on a sea voyage, because the passengers, after 
once having seen them, were constantly on the 
lookout for more, and the state of expectancy 
rendered their journey less tedious. These 
herds of buffaloes have long since disappeared 
from the Kansas plains, and their very memory 
will soon become a recollection of the past. 

As we rolled into dingy St. Louis, where 
brother left me, my heart sank at the prospect 
of again breathing air too heavy and dense to 
be anything but suffocating. The next morn- 
ing found me in Chicago, where I was to be 
met by another brother. Our little daughter 
was so accustomed to being on friendly terms 
with every one, that she used to go from one 
end of the car to the other, chatting and 
enjoying every moment of her trip. To ride 
in cars, after lurching about in all sorts of un- 
comfortable conveyances over rough mountains 
and plains, was like gently gliding; and but 
for the heavy atmosphere and coal dust, it 
seemed as if I should never tire. 


A very enjoyable day was passed in Chicago. 
My brother pointed out, with evident pride, the 
splendid public buildings, which but a few 
months later were devastated by the fire fiend, 
only to rise, phoenix-like, from their ruins in 
greater beauty and splendor. 

I have the most profound admiration both 
for Chicago and the spirit of enterprise shown 
by its inhabitants ; and when I saw it again 
after the calamity, I bowed in reverence to a 
community that could evolve so much architec- 
tural beauty and elegance, to say nothing of 
comfort, from so disastrous a misfortune as that 
terrible fire. 

Twenty hours after leaving Chicago found 
me in New York. I had looked forward with 
intense longing to that moment, supposing in- 
effable happiness would be my portion when 
again there ; but standing in front of the Fifth 
Avenue hotel, a landmark more familiar to me 
than any other iii the city, my disappointment 
and heart sickness were severe. 

I had seen the hotel rise from nothing ; had 

188 CAVALBY life: 

always lived in the immediate vicinity, daily 
passed it going to and from school ; and when 
homesick during my army life the mere thought 
of that hotel would awaken the happiest feel- 
ings ; but when the desire to again see it had 
been attained my heart sank with a bitter feel- 
ing of loneliness. 

No longing has ever equaled in intensity the 
one which then took possession of me — to be 
back again in my dear Western home, sur- 
rounded by all the lonely grandeur of its lovely 
scenery. Though I remained East an entire 
year, it was only because obliged to, and during 
all those months I never ceased to sigh for the 
day of my return. 

I had many joyful reunions with kind rela- 
tives and dear friends, much to make life bright 
and cheerful ; but I raved about the delights of 
the West until friends thought me nearly crazy 
on the subject. Besides missing my own home, 
as do all married women, in spite of the un- 
bounded hospitality of friends, I missed the 
quiet and freedom from that mad rush Avhich 


i^eems an inevitable part of life in a great city. 
I was also in the hands of physicians, which 
was depressing. The hardships of frontier life, 
at times when I was entirely unfitted for travel, 
had told their tale, and compelled my return 
East in order that my shattered health might 
be regained. 

Three months were spent in New York, and 
then, with the approach of warm weather, I 
wended my way to the mountains. Although 
they seemed insipid after the rocky grandeur of 
the West, I preferred them, such as they were, 
to the city with its endless streets and turmoil, 
where tall chimney tops prevented my obtain- 
ing a glimpse of the blue sky I had seen so 
freely and loved so well. 



I DOUBT if any but those who have lived 
among the prairies or mountains of the far 
West can realize how keenly is felt the loss of 
that endless environment which becomes a part 
of life itself, and which is missed when de- 
prived of, especially at first, almost like one's 
daily bread. 

From the city I went to my husband's home 
in New York State, on a spur of the Catskill 
Mountains, where I seemed to breathe more 
freely, and was enchanted during those long 
summer months by the exquisite green of grass, 
trees, and landscape — in a word, by every thing 
that refreshed the eye after such a long period 
of gray hues, and which certainly my beloved 
West lacked. 

I was enthusiastic over the fresh verdure of 


our beautiful mountain home, just as I had 
been over the gray loveliness of the West. It 
was, no doubt, the marked contrast vi^hich glad- 
dened my eyes. Not a moment was spent 
in-doors if it could be avoided*; and when com- 
pelled to do so, I placed myself where a per- 
petual feast to the eyes was in full view. 

One covild dwell perpetually amid recollec- 
tions of the past; so I will hasten over that 
quiet, restful summer to the succeeding fall, 
when my husband arrived on his first leave* of 
absence. Needless to say the young soldier 
was greeted by his family with the welcome 
befitting one, who, having spent three years in 
distant service, returned to his home with un- 
alloyed pleasure, and reviewed with renewed 
delight the early surroundings and memories of 
his youth. 

During the month following Mr. Boyd's ar- 
rival our first boy was born, and no prince could 
ever have been received with more sincere de- 
light. Parents and grandparents were unani- 
mous in considering him wonderful, and indeed 


he was a splendid baby! My husband cele- 
brated his advent as we would have done on the 
frontier, with much rejoicing; but the Puritan 
grandparents seriously objected to conviviality 
of any kind, and seized the occasion to obtain 
their son's promise to abstain in future from in- 
toxicating liquors of every description. To 
gratify his dear father Mr. Boyd agreed, al- 
though there was no necessity for such a pledge, 
as he had always been most temperate. Our 
son was ten years of age before Captain Boyd 
again tasted liquor, and then it was by the doc- 
tor's express order. 

When our baby boy was three months old his 
father began to think the country a cold place 
for us, and to debate the desirability of a return 
to New York, especially as he felt we were en- 
titled, after our long sojourn on the frontier, to 
some of the pleasures of Eastern life. One en- 
tire morning was spent in discussing the matter. 
The conclusion arrived at was, that even if we 
remained with relatives the amount of my hus- 
band's pay would in no wise suffice for the or- 


dinary expenses of life in New York. In order 
to have any leisure I should require a nurse for 
our two little children, and the half-pay received 
was only sixty-five dollars a month. 

In relating these experiences of army life, I 
wish it distinctly understood tliat I am not ex- 
aggerating — simply stating facts. A cavalry 
officer was deprived of almost every opportunity 
of visiting home and relatives in the East, and 
when permitted to do so on leave was compelled 
to plunge in debt, which involved him for years 
afterward in difficulties; so, great as was the 
pleasure, and most innocent and natural, we 
considered it too dearly bought ever to be re- 
peated, and therefore did not again come East 
until compelled to do so on account of our chil- 
dren's education. 

My husband had journeyed from Fort Stanton 
to New York at frightful expense, traveling by 
stage to Denver, which, as my previous experi- 
ence has shown, was the most costly mode of 
transit. An officer has not only to make all 
trips when on leave at his own expense, but in 


those days the pay was reduced to half its full 
amount; and as a lieutenant was then allowed 
only one hundred and thirty dollars, Mr. Boyd 
received but sixty-five dollars a month. Such 
reduction seems to me most unjust, for surely 
no one can be expected to spend a lifetime 
away from all early associations, or pay so dearly 
for the natural desire to occasionally see parents 
and friends. 

We were indeed happy with the pleasure of 
again visiting our relatives ; but when the long, 
long return journey from New York to New 
Mexico had to be undertaken, and we found 
that with the utmost economy it would cost 
seven hundred dollars, which, with the limited 
supply of household necessaries absolutely re- 
quired, and the expenses of Mr. Boyd's journey 
East added, aggregated upwards of thirteen 
hundred dollars, it was anything but a pleas- 
ant outlook for the future. We were in debt to 
that amount, and must provide for its payment. 

Can any one wonder either at our dismay, or 
the resolve never again to think of leave of ab- 


sence? For economy we had actually buried 
ourselves in the mountains during the entire 
winter; and although that was no great hard- 
ship, yet it would have been very pleasant to 
have enjoyed New York during the season, es- 
pecially as I never expected to come East again. 

We realized the stern fact that with an in- 
come of only sixty-five dollars a month, four 
people should be thankful to have the bare neces- 
saries of life, without expecting luxuries; but 
it did seem rather hard to return without seeing 
more of the city than a fleeting glimpse obtained 
in passing, and — because we were poor. 

While in New York one of my cousins found 
a servant willing to return West with us, which 
seemed desirable, as a nurse would be needed 
on that long journey, and the amount of her 
traveling expenses would be saved in the wages 
to be paid — those current in New York instead 
of the double rate demanded on the frontier. 

We congratulated ourselves on the servant*s 
appearance, which was so far from pleasing it 
seemed safe to take her. Had it been otherwise 


she would, we were sure, soon desert us for 
matrimony. The girl was almost a grenadier 
in looks and manners; and although not abso- 
lutely hideous, was so far from pleasing that we 
were confident of retaining her services, so made 
a contract for one year. 

Our Western journey was uneventful in com- 
parison with others that had preceded it. It 
seemed a slight undertaking to travel with our 
two little children, who were so good and 
healthy, and I had the assistance both of my 
husband and the nurse. Besides, the joy ex- 
perienced at being fairly en route for our own 
home made me feel like a caged bird let 

After four days and nights of travel from 
the East into the West, we reached Cheyenne, 
Wyoming Territory, where the children, nurse, 
and I were to remain with my brother, while 
Mr. Boyd went to New Mexico by stage, and 1 
returned with an ambulance for our long 

My heart swells when I think of those per- 


feet days ! It was in the month of May, and 
Ave either camped out every night, or slept in 
some ranch. Each moment was fraught with 
pleasure. Every whiff of mountain air was in- 
haled with delight, for, like a Mohammedan, my 
face was turned toward Mecca. I so rejoiced 
that our nurse, who was undergoing the same 
disagreeable sensations I had experienced at the 
outset of my army life in the strange surround- 
ings, was so overpowered she dared not express 
her dissatisfaction. 

On arriving at Trinidad, a halt was made, 
for I had forgotten to check our trunks from 
Denver to Kit Carson, so they did not follow. 
We awaited them there for a while, but finally 
decided to go on. When the trunks eventually 
reached us, we discovered that they had been 
left standing somewhere in the rain until their 
contents w^ere saturated with water and had 

I felt badly enough over my own trunk ; but 
the nurse wept, "refusing to be comforted," for 
all her finery was ruined. My own regrets 


were silenced in listening to her lamentations, 
especially as I was entirely to blame. 

We did not return to Fort Stanton, Mr. Boyd's 
company having been ordered to Fort Union ; so 
the journey, which I regarded in the light of a 
picnic, from the railroad to our home, required 
only twelve days. It was delightful in every 
respect, or would have been but for the sour 
face of our nurse, " who mourned, and mourned, 
and mourned." 

When we reached Fort Union, and I asked if 
it would not be a pleasant home for us, she 
looked out on the wide and desolate plain that 
faced the fort, and with a weary sigh, said she 
" preferred New York." 

Having known the pangs of homesickness, I 
sympathized with her deeply ; but she kept up 
so continuously her wail of despair over the dis- 
comforts of our life generally, and it became 
so tiresome, that when, five months afterward, 
she married a soldier, I was rather glad than 
otherwise, and returned with a sense of relief 
to the faithful men for service. 


We had soon discovered the fallacy of our be- 
lief that her plainness would prevent the possi- 
bility of a lover. Women were so scarce, and 
men so plenty, that no matter how old or ugly, 
a woman was not neglected, and our unprepos- 
sessing nurse had scores of suitors for her hand. 
She had not been in the fort three days before 
the man who laid our carpets proposed to her. 
It required but little time in which to become 
aware of her own value, and on learning 
that he was intemperate she quickly discarded 

The one whom she finally married was brave 
in every sense of the word. Trusting to the 
old adage, "Faint heart ne'er won fair ladie," 
that man engaged a carriage at Las Vegas for 
the wedding-trip before ever having seen her. 
He was a soldier belonging at Fort Union, who 
had been away on distant service for months, 
and, hearing that we had a girl from the East 
with us, made the necessary preparations for 
their marriage while en route to the post. His 
pluck must have pleased her, for three days 


after his return she accompanied him to Las 
Vegas, where they were united for life. 

She had made my life harder in every way, 
and taught us the folly of taking a servant 
accustomed to Eastern civilization into the 
Western wilds. Not only had she scorned all 
our belongings and surroundings, but absolutely 
wearied me with incessant complaints over the 
absence of modern conveniences, which was 
absurd ; for the climate was so exquisite, and 
the houses so compact, there was really no 
necessity for such fretfulness. We had clean, 
sweet, fresh quarters, which to me seemed per- 

So greatly, however, had the girl deplored the 
situation, that I wondered she thought to better 
her condition by marrying a soldier, who can 
often give his wife no shelter whatever; in 
fact, unless permitted to marry by the consent 
of his officers, she is not allowed to live in the 

That was a hard summer in spite of my joy 
at our return. Mr. Boyd had been ordered to 


join his troop in the field immediately after our 
arrival. I had a dear little house, and with 
new carpets and curtains, and the absolute 
freshness of all, would have been happy enough 
but for the load of debt that was constantly 

. worrying me, and the discontent of our servant, 
which made her incapable to such a degree that 
I had to work so hard the iSesh and strength 
gained by my pleasant Eastern visit greatly 

..decreased. Before the summer was over I had 
lost twenty -five pounds. 

Our dear captain had taken unto himself a 
bride, and in accordance with the usual army 
experience had been ordered away immediately 
on reaching the post, where he had hoped to 
enjoy his" wife's society at least for a while. 
But the fortunes of war are ever the same, and 

j our garrison was denuded of cavalry, which pur- 
sued Indians all summer. The officers always 
had so many comical stories to tell on their 
return, that even the bride failed to realize her 
husband's danger, and joined in the general 
laugh over those recitals. 


One night the Indians actually invaded camp, 
and the officers were obliged to fight in their 
night clothes, having no time even to slip on 
shoes, but rushed immediately into the inclosure, ( 
that when camping was always formed by the 
wagons, and within which the animals were led. 
Having succeeded in driving off the Indians 
they laughed immoderately at each other, and 
considered the whole affair a great joke. The 
colonel was unusually tall, the quartermaster 
short and very stout, and each must have pre- 
sented a comical appearance, fighting for dear 
life in such attire. 

When absent on those expeditions the troop 
usually encamped on the banks of some stream. 
On one occasion the river by which they had 
camped rose — agreeably to the frequent custom 
of Western rivers — and carried away every- 
thing on its banks. When it fell their huge 
blacksmith's forge was found imbedded in the 
opposite shore, an eighth of a mile lower down. 

The rainy season in those south-western coun- 
tries is mostly confined to a few months, either 


in early spring or midsummer ; and as no warn- 
ing precedes its coming, sad accidents not infre- 
quently occur. Sometimes in the course of a 
few hours a tiny little stream grows into an 
angry, surging torrent, so great is the downpour 
even in that short time. One dear woman, an 
officer's wife, who was camped with her husband 
on the banks of a river apparently in full secu- 
rity, lost her life from that cause. 

A storm arose so suddenly, that, seeing their 
camp would soon be under water, she took shel- 
ter in an ambulance, to be driven across the 
stream to higher ground; but the treacherous 
current had grown so swift and strong that she 
and their child, together with the driver and 
mules, were swept away before the eyes of her 
husband, who stood agonized and helpless on 
the shore. 



We were always delighted to welcome back 
the troops from their Indian reconnoitering, life 
was so dull without them. During their ab- 
sence the garrison would consist perhaps of only 
one company of infantry, with its captain and 
lieutenant ; and if at headquarters a quartermas- 
ter and an adjutant, with of course a doctor, 
who was our mainstay, and to whom we rushed 
if only a finger ached. That summer even the 
band was in the field, so we had no music to 
cheer us. All was, however, made up for on 
i their return in November, when we inaugurated 
a series of hops that were delightful. 

The quarters at Fort Union had an unusually 
wide hall which was superb for dancing, and 
three rooms on each side. We had only to 
notify the quartermaster that a hop was to be 


given, when our barren hallway would immedi- 
ately be transferred into a beautiful ballroom, 
with canvas stretched tightly over the floor, 
flags decorating the sides, and ceiling so charm- 
ingly draped as to make us feel . doubly pa- 

Many ladies greatly dislike Fort Union. It 
has always been noted for severe dust-storms. 
Situated on a barren plain, the nearest moun- 
tains, and those not very high, three miles dis- 
tant, it has the most exposed position of any 
military fort in New Mexico. 

The soil is composed of the finest and, seem- 
ingly, lightest brown sand, which when the 
wind blows banks itself to a prodigious height 
against any convenient object. The most ex- 
posed place was between two sets of quarters, 
which were some distance apart. The wind 
Avould blow from a certain direction one day, 
and completely bank the side of one house ; the 
next it would shift, when the sand would be 
found lying against the other. 

The hope of having any trees, or even a 


grassy parade-ground, had been abandoned long 
before our residence there ; for either the grass- 
seed would be scattered by the wind, or the 
grass actually uprooted and blown away after it 
had grown. 

In 1886, Avhen I again visited Fort Union, it 
seemed indeed a cheerless place on account 
of the lack of verdure. The cause is simply 
want of shelter ; for with the ample water-works 
which have been built since we lived there, 
much could be done if it were in a less exposed 

Those sand-banks were famous playgrounds 
for the children. One little girl, whose mother 
was constantly upbraiding her for lack of neat- 
ness, contrasting her with our little daughter 
who was almost painfully tidy, determining to 
be avenged, coaxed my child near a large sand- 
pile and threw her down on it, saying, as she 
again and again poured the dirt over her : 

" There, now ! I am glad to see you as dirty 
as I am ! " 

Every eye is said to form its own beauty. 


Mine was disposed to see much in Fort Union, 
for I had a home there. 

AYhen my husband returned from his long 
scout we rode horseback daily. Our objective 
point was always the mountains, where trees 
and green grass were to be found in abundance. 
One day when in the Turkey mountains, about 
three miles from home, we saw twQ very ugly- 
visaged men approaching. Some instinct, or 
kind Providence, warned Mr. Boyd to keep a 
watchful eye on them, so he deliberately turned 
in the saddle, and placing one hand on a pistol 
to show that he was armed, watched them out 
of sight. One of the men, who turned back 
and looked at us, also rested a hand on his hip 
where the pistol is carried. Observing that we 
were intently watching their movements, they 
rode on, leaving us unmolested. 

On our return we were greeted with the tale 
of a horrible murder that had been committed 
on the very outskirts of the post. A soldier 
messenger, who for ten years had carried the 
mail between Fort Union and the arsenal, a 


mile distant, had been shot within fifteen hun- 
dred yards of the garrison, and fallen lifeless 
by the roadside. His horse, instead of being 
captured by the murderers as they had hoped, 
galloped wildly toward the arsenal, and thus 
raised an alarm. The murderers were actually 
in sight when the poor man's body was found, 
still warm, but with life extinct. 

A pursuing party was organized without loss 
of time, and on that open, level plain the 
wretches were almost immediately captured 
and placed in the guard-house. Mr. Boyd at 
once visited them, and found, as he expected, 
that they were the same men whom we had met 
in the mountains only a few hours previously. 
They w^ould not, of course, reply to his query 
why they did not kill us for the sake of the 
fine horses we rode. He felt certain the mur- 
derers would be dealt with as summarily, and 
told them so, as had been the poor messen- 
ger whom they so foully murdered, and whose 
family was then suffering the most poignant 


Late that evening the civil authorities de- 
manded the prisoners. Their only safety lay 
in the commanding officer refusing the request ; 
but claiming that he had no authority for so 
doing, they were delivered to the sheriff, though 
begging and pleading to be permitted to remain 
in the guard-house. The men dreaded lynch 
law, but saw no mercy in the faces of their 

After proceeding a short distance from the 
garrison, their escort increased in numbers until 
soon an immense crowd surrounded them. Not 
a sound was heard until the very verge of the 
military reservation had been reached, yet a 
more resolute and relentless body of men never 
marched together. 

The very moment the last foot of military 
ground had been passed the sheriff was over- 
powered, evidently with no very great reluc- 
tance ; and the crowd, producing coils of rope, 
quickly proceeded to hang the prisoners to tele- 
graph-poles, where their bodies dangled for days, 
a warning to all horse thieves and murderers. 


For a time my rides were spoiled ; but soon I 
grew brave again, though we were always there- 
after careful to be thoroughly well armed on 
t leaving home. 

I might multiply accounts of our experiences 
at various garrisons, but it would take too long. 
In a monotonous life days slip away almost un- 
consciously, and one is surprised to find how 
quickly time has flown. Looking back, it seems 
incredibly short, because there were no impor- 
tant events to mark its progress. 

We were so happily situated that I hoped to 
remain at Fort Union, but as usual springtime 
saw us on the wing. It w^as undoubtedly a 
high compliment to my husband that he should 
always have been chosen as an administrative 
officer. It not only proved Mr. Boyd's ability, 
but was a testimony to his honesty, and thus 
a complete refutation of the charges made 
against him at West Point. It was also a spe- 
cial honor to be singled out from among so many 
men by the general in command at distant head- 
quarters ; but an inconvenience, particularly 


when we were at a very desirable post or station, 
to be ordered to a most uncomfortable one. 
Fort Union seemed far enough from the rail- 
road, especially as our year East had made us 
anxious to be as near civilization as possible. 

We were looking forward to a long stay at 
our pleasant post, when an unexpected order 
came for Mr. Boyd to proceed immediately to 
Fort Bayard, and build the officers' quarters 
needed there. He kept the news from me dur- 
ing the day of its arrival, because I was deeply 
engrossed in preparations for a hop to be given 
at our house that evening, and he did not wish 
to spoil my pleasure. 

The entire day had been spent in decorating 
the hall and preparing supper. Unfortunately 
the first guest who arrived effectually dampened 
my spirits by sympathetically exclaiming : 

" Isn't it too bad you have to leave here ? " 

I was too unhappy to enjoy a single moment 
of the festivities which followed ; but the ar- 
rival of the entire garrison, who danced and 
otherwise greatly enjoyed themselves, left in 


my mind a picture of pleasant army gayety 
surpassed by none. 

As usual I packed our household belongings 
with a heavy heart. That move was decidedly 
for the worse ; and even if the journey, with its 
attendant fatigue and expense, had not been 
dreaded, I would have disliked going to a place 
so much farther from the railroad, and where so 
little could be expected in the way of com- 

Fort Bayard, six hundred miles south-west of 
Fort Union, and a few miles distant from Ari- 
zona, was considered a most undesirable locality, 
both on account of its remoteness, and because 
no houses had then been built for the officers' 
use. It required eighteen days to reach our des- 
tination by ambulance, traveling about thirty- 
five miles each day. 

After leaving Fort Union we went directly to 
Santa F^, and saw that quaint old Mexican 
town, then across to Albuquerque, down by 
the borders of the Rio Grande to Fort Selden, 
and from there by ascending grades to Fort 


Bayard, which was in the more mountainous 

The journey was like all others in which am- 
bulances were used as conveyances — tiresome 
and monotonous in the extreme, but in my case 
always either modified or intensified by the 
gladness or reluctance experienced in regard 
to our destination. In that case I was heartily 
sorry for the move. We had been only nine 
months at Fort Union ; my baby was at a trou- 
blesome age and needed constant care, and for 
the first time I was without a nurse of any sort. 
Besides, it was mid-winter, and unusual care 
must be exercised to keep the children warm 
when camping out, which we were compelled 
to do a part of the time. The season was, how- 
ever, too cold to permit of that when it could 
be avoided, so we occupied Mexican houses 
almost every night. 

The houses were very warm and comforta- 
ble, but oddly arranged according to American 
ideas. In place of windows there were merely 
openings for air, tightly closed or covered by 


solid wooden shutters at night. Several beds 
were ranged about the walls of each long, oddly 
shaped room, Avhich except for a primitive wash- 
stand contained no other furniture. There was, 
however, always an open fireplace and a cheer- 
ful blaze of mesquite roots, which emitted much 
heat, and a curious odor that one never forgets. 

The food was always enjoyed, for after long, 
open-air rides no one is ever very fastidious. 
Mexican cooking is not usually relished by 
those unaccustomed to it, because always 
highly flavored wdth garlic, much soaked in 
grease, and almost everything deluged with 
red pepper, without a lavish use of which no 
Mexican can prepare a single dish. 

The most primitive mode of grinding corn — 
by hand between two stones — was then still 
in vogue ; and the tortillas made from meal 
thus obtained, simply mixed with water and 
baked, were not only very sweet, but strange 
to say also light, probably because of the man- 
ipulation by skilled hands. They reminded me 
of the delicious beaten biscuits prepared in the 


South, which are never fit to be eaten anywhere 

The Rio Grande again became our constant 
companion, and we drove for days within sight 
of its banks. How I envied the Mexicans who 
were able to spend their lives on its sunny 
shores. Volumes could be written about those 
peculiar people, with their almost deathlike 
calm of manner, seldom, under any circum- 
stances, varied; though sometimes the fact is 
betrayed that volcanic fires slumber beneath, to 
be fully roused and find vent only when their 
deepest emotions are stirred. 

When living among them one feels the neces- 
sity of absorbing some of their traits, which are 
indeed needed in a country wh^re progress is 
unknown, and where the customs of centuries 
past still remain, not as traditions but as facts. 
They were always kind and gentle, and such 
devoted admirers of our fairer race as to make 
most admirable nurses for the children, except 
for their over indulgence. 

The towns of Mesilla and Las Cru9es are 


as characteristic in their way as any of old 
Spain, and quite as interesting. We passed 
through both en route to Bayard, and my pen 
would fain linger over their many peculiarities. 
Several days elapsed after leaving the Rio 
Grande before our arrival at Fort Bayard in New 
Mexico, where we prepared to begin afresh the 
old story of life in a new garrison. Baby had 
climbed over me until I was glad to rest on terra 
firma again. 



Fort Bayard, surrounded by high moun- 
tains, is pleasantly situated in a very hilly 
region. The officers' quarters face the Santa 
Rita Mountains, which rise to an abrupt point 
directly opposite the post, a few miles distant, 
forming a landmark which is not soon forgotten, 
especially if constantly in view for three years, 
during which time we had the good fortune to 
remain there. 

On the brow of that sharp decline, which 
rises almost at right angles with the hill be- 
neath, a large, irregularly shaped rock had 
fallen, which bears a perfect resemblance to a 
kneeling figure, and faces the higher point. It 
was called the kneeling nun, and, of course, 
invested with the natives by a suggestive his- 
tory. The suppliant posture is perfect, and the 


figure conveyed to me a world of deep mean- 

That little corner of South-western New Mex- 
ico, in which we remained three years, a length 
of sojourn so unusual and unexpected that 
every spring I looked for an order to move, has 
an unwTitten history which would cover many 
pages. It is the mining region of New Mexico, 
and has the most perfect climate of any in the 
United States, neitlier extremely warm in sum- 
mer, nor severel}^ cold in winter; and the sun 
shines at least three hundred days in each year 
with a warmth and brightness which render 
life perfectly enjoyable, if spent out of doors as 
it should be. 

The only real storms are in summer, when 
during the rainy season clouds suddenly gather 
in the afternoon, and are followed by such a 
downpour of rain, with perhaps thunder and 
lightning, that it seems as if everything would 
be washed away. After the full force and fury 
of the elements have been spent, every cloud 
disappears, and the day ends with a perfect 


sunset, wliich is followed by a night still, calm, 
and wonderfully beautiful. 

Occasionally, but not often, snow falls in 
winter; altogether, the climate is perfect, and 
I have often since wondered why that locality 
is not popular as a health resort, for a more 
bracing and invigorating air is never breathed 

On account of the infrequency of rain, vege- 
tation is not very green, but neither is it shriv- 
eled and parched. Cattle never fail to find 
succulent pasturage in the bunch grass, which 
even when perfectly dry is nutritious. But for 
the constant Indian depredations from which 
that region has suffered for twenty years, it 
would be the garden spot of the West. The 
climate is much milder in winter than that of 

Mines of every description have been found 
in New Mexico, from the famous Santa Rita 
copper mines, which bear traces of having been 
worked centuries ago, to more recently discov- 
ered ones of silver and gold. These latter have 


caused the building of the only American town, 
known there, Silver City, which, with its one 
hundred beautiful red brick houses, is a won- 
derful place, considering the locality and sur- 
roundings. All this is, however, more recent, 
although the town had a number of fine resi- 
dences when we were there nearly a score of 
years ago. It is only an hour's drive from Fort 
Bayard, over the most lovely rolling mountain 
road, and the visits to Silver City were a very 
pleasant feature of our life when at that fort. 

The Fort Bayard which first greeted our eyes 
was, except for climate and scenery, a sorry 
place. It boasted a large garrison, but we were 
shown into a perfectly miserable hut that was 
our shelter for months. The cabins or huts in 
which the officers lived were directly back of 
the new quarters, stone foundations for which 
had already been laid. 

The houses were to be built of adobe bricks, 
that were made by simply mixing to a proper 
consistency with water the earth obtained from 
excavating in front of our dwellings, shaping in 


primitive wooden molds, and drying in the hot 

All the workmen were slow-moving Mexi- 
cans, who built houses in the same way as had 
their forefathers for generations. They knew 
no meaning for the word " hurry," so it took 
months to erect those simple homes ; and mean- 
time we not only lived in wretched huts, but 
could not venture out after dark for fear of fall- 
ing into some one of the many pits. 

Our experience was dreadful for one long 
year, then the houses were finally completed. 
The ground had been so torn up that the least 
gust of wind seemed sufficient to start all the 
loose earth in motion, when we would be almost 
buried in clouds of dust ; but our worst trouble 
was during the rainy season. 

Our houses were situated on the brow of a 
hill, and when sudden summer storms arose 
they washed right through the house. We pre- 
ferred to give them the right of way rather than 
have the buildings, wretched as they were, en- 
tirely disappear, so the back doors' Would be 


opened, and the storms permitted to sweep 
through before finding egress at the front doors. 
The houses, so-called by courtesy, were merely 
log cabins without floors ; it was therefore neces- 
sary, at such times, to mount on chairs or tables 
if we desired to escape mud baths. The roofs, 
thatched with straw and overlaid with mud, 
had a way of leaking that was apt to result in 
huge mud-puddles being spread in all direc- 
tions. The ladies always took refuge under 
umbrellas until after the storms subsided. 

None could envy others, for all were in tlie 
same boat, with no comforts whatever. Some- 
times the whole roof fell in, but no one was 
ever hurt, and on the two occasions which I 
recall, bachelor officers were the sufferers. 

The lieutenant-colonel who commanded our 
post, having no family, had kindly given his 
house to a little bride, whose husband was a 
recent graduate of West Point. She, like my- 
self, had started out expecting to find all mili- 
tary stations like that lovely place, and had 
brought from New York the most luxurious 


outfit ever seen on the frontier. Magnificent 
carpets and curtains from Sloan's, fit for any 
New York palace, had been shipped all that 
long distance, and she proceeded to lay the for- 
mer directly over the mud floor in her house, 
and to hang the latter at her little windows. 

The house was in every respect like all the 
rest, with three rooms in a row, and one or two 
forming an ell; yet she had decked the interior 
to look like a perfect fairy bower. The. front 
room, that opened directly out of doors, was 
the sitting-room ; back of that was a sleeping 
apartment, and then the kitchen. 

When the first severe storm arose and swept 
right through that house, the rain coming in at 
the back and going out at the front door, I 
never saw a more dismayed and discouraged 
woman than was our little bride, and no won- 
der. Her fairy bower had been transformed 
into a mud-bank ; the pretty white curtains 
were streaked and discolored beyond recogni- 
tion, the carpets covered with mud, while the 
pictures and ornaments were unrecognizable. 


That lady was like many I have met, both 
before and since. She expected ordinary modes 
of life to prevail at the frontier, and had carried 
with her at least a dozen large trunks, for which 
she was glad to find simply storage, and whose 
pretty contents never saw the light. 

Her experience was pitiable. Having an 
abundance of money, she naturally supposed it 
would purchase some comforts ; but money was 
of no. use to her there, and, indeed, seemed only 
an aggravation. The little woman used to send 
East for articles, which for economy's sake the 
rest of us went without, and disappointments 
invariably followed. Whatever was received — 
which would be only after almost incredible 
waiting — was never what she had expected ; 
and if garments had been ordered, alterations 
which none but a skilled hand could make were 
always needed. 

I remember being once consulted about a 
Christmas present designed for her husband. 
She had decided upon a beautiful picture, 
which, although ordered in ample time, did not 


arrive until long after the holidays, and the 
express charges alone were fifty dollare. Her 
disappointments were well nigh endless, and 
led me to believe that money was not so much 
a promoter of happiness in frontier life as it, 
would usually be considered elsewhere ; for no 
matter how much people were able to spend 
they could not buy luxuries, and to send East 
for them meant only tantalization and weary 

Perhaps some of my own experiences in the 
matter of express charges may not prove unin- 
teresting. Every woman is said to love a new 
bonnet ; but army women show the greatest 
unconcern regarding fashions, probably because 
their lives are so different from those of their 
city sisters. 

When some head covering became a positive 
necessity, we usually sent East for a plain little 
hat, dark and useful, as it was needed mainly 
for wear when driving around the country. I 
had quite worn out my Eastern supply after 
a two years' residence at Bayard, so ordered a 


quiet little hat or bonnet from New York. In- 
stead, I received a very gaudy, dashing piece of 
millinery that would have been suitable for the 
opera, but was altogether out of place on the 
frontier. The bonnet cost twenty dollars, and 
the express charges were twenty-two. P'or that 
entirely useless arrangement, therefore, I had 
to pay forty-two dollars, and then had no bon- 
net, for I never wore it. 

That little lady had all the ambition and 
pride in a refined way of living that naturally 
arose from having spent her early life amid 
luxurious surroundings. She had passed sev- 
eral years in the gayest capitals of Europe, had 
imbibed most extravagant ideas from fond and 
indulgent parents, had scarcely ever known an 
ungratified wish, and was therefore less pre- 
pared for the actual realities of life, as de- 
veloped at Fort Bayard, than any one else I 
have ever known. The desire and attempt to 
live in accordance with her means resulted in 
constant disappointments and trials. I have 
never seen any one who worked so hard to 


accomplish what were considered simply neces- 
sities, and yet whose labor was so entirely 

She wanted to entertain lavishly; and hav- 
ing beautiful table appointments it was really 
a treat to dine at her house ; but when she told 
of the labor involved, by reason of incompetent 
help, the task seemed too great to include any 
pleasure. Her utter ignorance of household 
duties made her an easy prey to servants' wiles, 
and the very fact that she could so lavishly 
supply materials only made them more ready to 
take advantage. 

She tried the same experiment we had — 
taking a servant from New York — but fared 
even worse, as her maid left when Santa Fe 
was reached, saying she did "not care to go 
any farther from civilization." The officer's 
wife had no redress, although she had spent 
quite a large sum both on the girl's fare and 
baggage, as they had traveled by stage. 

When, a year later, this same lady had a dear 
little girl born, she offered, but in vain, fifty 


dollars a week to any one who would care for 
herself and child. It was really pitiful to see 
the beautiful young woman lying neglected, de- 
prived of the most common care, when if money 
could have availed she would have been en- 
veloped in luxury. Of course, attentions were 
received from other ladies, but hers was one of 
the many cases I have known where Dame 
Nature alone was at hand to assist. 

My pen glides lovingly over the paper when 
I begin to describe army ladies, and fain would 
linger to fill page after page with loving remi- 
niscences of their sweet goodness and devotion 
to husbands and the cause they represented. 
Surely in no other life can women be found 
who are at once so brave and true. 

At each post I formed devoted attachments 
to some woman, and were the love experienced 
for them all and their perfections to be de- 
scribed, this book could contain little else ; for ' 
one story after another of their wifely devotion 
and absolute self-abnegation, carried to such an 
extent as to be actually heroic, is recalled. 


No murmur was ever heard at the order to 
move, if women were to be included; for no 
matter how hard, long, or wearisome the jour- 
ne}', they were content if permitted to accom- 
pany their husbands. But wlien the officers 
were sent away on the many expeditions cavalry 
service demanded, where their wives could not 
go with them, then were they indeed wretched ; 
hours and days seemed endless until the return 
of loved ones. 

This intense devotion was the cause of inces- 
sant hardships being borne ; for in many in- 
stances, if tlie ladies would have returned to 
their Eastern homes, care and attention would 
have been bestowed which can never be ex- 
pected on the frontier. 

The difficulty of obtaining competent help in 
household cares could never be surmounted. 
Even when near Mexican settlements we would 
find that a long line of idle ancestry, together 
with every tendency of climate, surroundings, 
and viciousness, had so developed indolence in 
the natives as to utterly incapacitate them for 


any serious employment. They were capable 
only of sucli tasks as allowed them to bask in 
the sun and smoke cigarettes all day long. As 
they made admirable nurses, and we liked to 
have our children live out of doors, they could 
be utilized in that way ; but heavier household 
tasks were left for more energetic hands. 

When I think of that delicious sun and air, 
and recall those happy days, I wonder how any 
thing can be remembered except the absolute 
content experienced when we finally moved 
into our new quarters, and regularly settled 
down into sweet home life. The children throve 
and bloomed like flowers, and were never ill. 

In the South-western climate ordinary dis- 
eases do not prevail, and if any of the epidemics 
which mothers usually dread break out, the 
absolute pureness of the air renders them innoc- 
uous; and with even ordinary care children 
speedily recover. Army doctors, in the double 
capacity of physician and family friend, also 
give most extraordinary care, so sickness is 
rarely fatal. Except from teething and. its at- 


tendant ills, babies are almost exempt from 
maladies, and children live so secluded from 
outside influences that mine never even had, 
measles or any other childish disease. 1 

One beautiful babe died from teething, and 
during its illness every lady in the post passed 
her entire time at its bedside when allowed to 
do so. But that may be instanced as only one 
proof of the sincere interest felt in each other 
by people who are isolated from all the rest of 
the world. 



I HAVE always thought army life would be 
delightful if there was the slightest certainty 
of remaining at any post for a given length of 
time ; but this is so out of the question that 
many comforts which might otherwise be pro- 
cured are gradually tabooed. 

Officers become so accustomed to expect re- 
moval, that they are unwilling to accumulate 
comforts which must be left when marching 
orders are received; and every one is apt to 
give credence in some degree to the rumors 
which continually gain ground, and usually 
emanate from an unknown source, that a change 
is soon to be made. One lives in a veritable 
atmosphere of unrest until it becomes second 

At Bayard, for the first time during our army 


life, we felt somewhat settled. Cavalry service 
consists entirely of unforeseen emergencies, de- 
j pendent upon the country's condition and its 
? need for the movement of troops, either in the 
pursuit of Indians or horse-thieves. As Mr. 
• Boyd had been sent to superintend the building 
of the quarters at Bayard, we felt that unless 
his regiment moved he would remain as quar- 
termaster until they were completed, so quietly 
established ourselves in one of the new houses 
to enjoy life and a more prolonged stay than 

We made many pleasant friends in the neigh- 
boring town of Silver City, enjoyed a great 
deal of company from there, and always drove 
over to the entertainments they gave, some of 
which were of a very comical nature. 
I Imagine a ball at which every element is rep- 
' resented, from the most refined to the most un- 
cultivated, from the transplanted branches of 
excellent Eastern families, who lured by enti- 
cing descriptions of great mineral wealth to be 
found at the West had gone there in search of 


fortunes, to the rudest specimens of frontier 
life, who had never seen anything else, and 
were devoid of all education, yet, like true 
Americans, regarded themselves as the very 
quintessence of knowledge and good-breeding. 

The balls were alwa3^s held in the court- 
house ; and when, during court session, the 
judge and attendant lawyers were to be hon- 
ored with an entertainment in consonance with 
their dignity, the rude room would be cleared 
of benches just before the hour at which the 
dance was to begin, and pretty dresses would 
trail over the floor which had not been cleaned 
for weeks, and which was the recipient of every 
kind of dShris. 

At one of those balls, held immediately after 
court had adjourned, the window-sills had been 
made receptacles for all such usual appliances 
of lawyers as paper, pens, and ink. The army- 
post guests laid their many wraps in one of 
those windows because there was no dressing- 
room. In fact, such a luxury was unknown. 
When ready to return home, our wraps were 


pulled down, and with them came several bot- 
tles of ink, which sprinkled their contents lib- 
erally over shawls and head-gear. As usual, I 
was a sufferer, and have to this day, as me- 
mento of the occasion, a very handsome shawl 
that was completely ruined. But to remain 
at home from the only pleasure our circum- 
stances afforded was not to be thought of, and 
fine clothes were willingly sacrificed. 

We could rarely indulge in dancing-parties 
at Bayard because there were so few ladies. 
When, occasionally, a special effort in that di- 
rection was made, the fact that we had no 
proper dancing-hall would be emphasized, and 
the large double parlors of our commanding 
officer's house utilized. With the facilities at 
hand for decorating tliem with beautiful flags, 
cannon, stacked bayonets and swords, we gave 
several dances, which contrasted favorably with 
the town balls, and quite cured me of any 
desire to ever again dance on so different a 

Yet we sincerely enjoyed our Silver City 


friends, and our greatest pleasure was to drive 
over and visit them, returning early in the 
evening, very much fatigued, but happy be- 
cause we lived near any sort of town, instead 
of being cut entirely off from all outside life. 

Our cook often rebelled at the large parties 
of friends who sometimes visited us unex- 
pectedly, and, as before in similar experiences, 
showed his displeasure by indulging too freely 
in "strong water." One day he notably dis- 
tinguished liimself, and almost extinguished me, 
by reeling in before a whole party of friends 
who were awaiting luncheon, and declaring 
that he was no slave, neither had he engaged 
himself as a hotel cook. His freedom of man- 
ner was so natural among frontier people, that 
eveiy one laughed, and all sallied out in the 
dining-room, where we passed around bowls of 
bread and milk. 

We had two excellent cows, and my delight 
was to work large rolls of butter into dainty pats 
for the table. Never before or since have I so 
enjoyed housekeeping as at Fort Bayard. Our 


chickens seemed fairly to multiply, and I could 
keep no count of the eggs they laid. We were 
able to supply every one, and still have quan- 
tities left for our own use. 

T was in my element ; for I found that by 
dint of judicious management fifty dollars a 
month could be laid aside, so in two years' time 
we were entirely out of debt, and fully resolved 
never again to enter the state. That was our 
golden harvest time, and I look back upon it 
with unspeakable pleasure. 

I would like the ability to describe one beau- 
tiful friend who was my constant companion at 
that time, but no pen can do justice to the 
admirable traits of so perfect a woman. She is 
still with her husband in the West, a pattern of 
all womanly goodness. Her example may well 
be followed by all who leave good homes to 
follow their husbands in army life, for only the 
absolute unselfishness she so beautifully exem- 
plified will enable women to endure the same 
hardships. It was her sweet little first baby to 
whose death I have alluded, and which left us 


all sincere mourners for her dear sake. She 
always reminded me of the virtuous woman 
described in the Bible, whose "children arise 
up, and call her blessed." 

But I must not linger over those recollections 
of dear Fort Bayard, where we enjoyed a real 
home for three years, and even flowers in 
abundance. If people in civil life could know 
of the weeks and months of care one little plant 
has often received from an army woman, be- 
cause a dear reminder of her distant home, they 
would understand what a luxury it was to be 
able to raise flowers without any particular 
effort. Though one loves work, yet it is pleas- 
ant to be sometimes rewarded ; and we had 
never before been where flowers could be freely 
indulged in, nor have we since. 

There was another especial pleasure we en- 
joyed at Fort Bayard, which to me is the chief 
charm of army life — constant rides on. horse- 
back. At that post they were delightful ; for, 
go where we would in any direction, excellent 
mountain roads and superb scenery rew^arded 


US. Our favorite jaunt was to the Santa Rita 
mountains. Having gained them, we would 
dismount and explore the famous mines which 
were tunneled in so many directions that I 
always feared lest we should be buried alive. 
Those tunnels had been dug centuries before, 
and the then so-called "new industry " was but 
a revival of past labors. 

Mr. Boyd, true to his nature, which was to 
employ every moment in devoted service to the 
government, rarely found time to escort me 
until after the day's duties were over ; or we 
would arise very early in the morning, and enjoy 
a ride that colored my mind for weeks with a 
vague fancy that life was not altogether and 
entirely real and practical, but was full of deep 
beauty ; and if we could only live more out-of- 
doors, and be permeated more often and thor- 
^ oughly with the charms of nature as seen in the 
early freshness and beauty of such mornings as 
were those, we should be elevated, and enabled 
to grasp more of spiritual things than tame and 
ordinary humdrum life permits. 


Oh, I envy the woodsman who is content 
with nature, and never pines for the artificial 
life of cities! Nature is perfect, and in such 
deep solitudes the most prosaic minds must 
realize this truth. I 



I HAVE not very often referred in this volume 
to the character of my husband, for in my opin- 
ion it needs no vindication. Mr. Boyd always 
left in the minds of every one with whom he 
came in contact the impress of a most noble 
nature. His devotion to duty was so extreme 
that all else was laid aside at its call ; and at 
Fort Bayard he so entirely gave his whole time 
and attention to arduous and unremitting labors 
as to scarcely find time for any pleasures. Mr. 
Boyd was as much of a worker as ever can be 
found in civil life, where a man expects reward 
for faithful service. In the army there is none. 
Of course that is well understood, and any one 
who devotes his life to duty there, does it purely 
from principle. 

Two singular occurrences, which have always 


been mysteries to me, happened at Fort Bayard. 
We moved into the new quarters before our new 
house — a double one — was entirely completed. 
The part in which we lived was separated from 
the other by a wall that divided the halls, and 
the unoccupied side was filled with shavings and 
dShris. One night after we had retired, some 
one laid a lighted candle on a large pile of shav- 
ings, which of course caught fire, and we were 
awakened from sound sleep by a strong smell of 
smoke. This was soon traced to its source, and 
we found a fine fire rapidly developing. The 
floor had burned away, leaving a cavernous 
depth beneath. 

It was unquestionably the work of an incen- 
diary; and a few weeks afterward the same 
wicked hand, presumably, fired a huge stack 
of hay, consisting of the entire winter's supply 
of six hundred tons, which at frontier posts is 
always stacked near the corral and guarded day 
and night by sentries. 

In that absolutely dry climate such a fire, 
when once started, has no hindrance to its 


progress ; and though every available hand was 
quickly on the spat pouring water, of course it 
was a useless task. Though a beautiful sight 
to see that brilliant blaze of light defined against 
the clear, dark sky, my heart ached when I 
thought of the trouble and worry it would cause 
Mr. Boyd, and also of the animals' deprivation. 
The entire summer had been required in which 
to procure enough hay for so many ; and the fire 
occurred in early winter, when no more could 
be cut. 

It is a custom in the army at the slightest 
alarm of fire to sound a call, which brings every 
man to the spot with a bucket in his hand. It 
is really marvelous to see how soon ordinary 
fires yield to army treatment. But if a high 
wind is blowing, the supply of water, limited to 
barrels which are placed between the houses and 
always kept filled, is insufficient, and little can 
be done to stay its devastating progress. In 
spite of sympathy and real concern for losses 
sustained, one is sure to enjoy the excitement. 

I witnessed one shocking fire at»Bayard which 


broke out in a small private stable attached to 
the post-trader's house. It had made such head- 
way that when discovered three beautiful horses 
were already enveloped in flames : they were 
fairly roasted alive before the eyes of the as- 
sembled garrison. Most pathetic cries proceeded 
from the helpless animals before death merci- 
fully released them from their sufferings. 

While the ladies sorrowfully looked on, the 
men spread wet blankets over an adjoining roof 
in order that it might be saved ; for if a tiny 
spark had fallen on the dry shingles they would 
have immediately ignited and the flames spread 

After three happy years had been passed at 
that post, orders were received to march into 
Texas and exchange with the Ninth Cavalry. 

Christmas Day was celebrated in camp, and in 
a double sense, for we had that morning a nar- 
row escape from almost instant death. 

On reaching the Rio Grande, we found the 
river fairly booming. It was a glorious sight, 
swelled to a htige flood that swept past in majes- 


tic grandeur. A primitive flat-boat worked by- 
ropes and pulleys — nothing but a rude raft 
with no railing or chain either fore or aft — 
was called into requisition to ferry us across, 
and we sat quietly in the ambulance while it 
was driven aboard. 

A superb dog that belonged to one of our 
friends, and had been our pet for years, was in- 
advertently left standing on the bank. Some 
one on the boat tried to induce him to swim 
across, making the same sound in calling the 
dog that would have been used to start the 
mules. Our four mules, supposing it was a 
signal to them, immediately started, and the 
leaders' fore feet were actually on the very edge 
of the boat when a man seized them by their 
heads. Another second, another step, and our 
heavy ambulance would have been overboard. 

So rapidly had the occurrence passed that 
almost before realizing an accident was seem- 
ingly inevitable, we had been saved from a 
watery grave. The river at that point was 
at least twenty feet deep, and had the mules 


plunged in, sudden and swift death would have 

I have never since been able to sit quietly 
in a carriage while crossing a ferry ; though of 
course no such rude craft, without even a rope 
guard, can be found in civilized parts of the 

After all was over, I looked at my little chil- 
dren, so unconscious of danger, and shuddered 
at the thought of the horrible fate we had es- 
caped. If people should dwell continually 
on the perils of Western life they would be 
wretched. That journey embraced every ele- 
ment of danger, and yet I actually became 

Our mules were such superb animals, and so 
capable of swift progress, that every few days 
they evinced a spirit with which I heartily sym- 
pathized, running for miles and creating a pro- 
found excitement throughout the entire com- 
mand. As nine-tenths of Texas is flat prairie 
with excellent roads, I rather enjoyed the sensa- 
tion. Nothing in my whole army experience 


wearied me so much as those endless days of 
slow, monotonous travel. When with troops 
we could not go faster than a walk, for the 
horses must be favored in order that their 
strength might hold out during the weeks 
those journeys consumed ; and it was not safe, 
in the then unsettled condition of the country, 
for us to ride far in advance. 

Our march occupied eight weeks; but some 
of the troops that were ordered from Northern 
New Mexico to Southern Texas were between 
three and four months on the road, and the 
chapter of incidents which beset their path was 
remarkable. I have before alluded to this jour- 
ney — the one on which nine infants were bom 
en route; and in every instance mothers and 
children were obliged to proceed the next day, 
regardless of health or even life. 

During one week of our march it rained day 
and night, and tents were pitched in the midst 
of mud and general discomfort; but after a 
cheerful blaze had been started in our little 
stove we did not mind so very much, though of 


course it was not pleasant. The real trials from 
which others suffered, and which were therefore 
kept constantly in mind, enabled us to realize 
that- our lot might be much worse. 

The baggage of one woman, who had four 
little girls to clothe and care for, was deluged 
in crossing the Pecos River, and the fact not 
discovered until their destination had been 
reached, when the clothes dropped in pieces on 
being touched. 

As each family packed all superfluities, and 
kept only a traveling outfit, the trunks with re- 
serve clothing were never opened while en route; 
and the treacherous streams, that seemed shal- 
low enough in crossing, would often, in some 
inexplicable way, reach the contents of the 

^ wagons. 

J To me the strangest part of that journey was 
the passing over so much territory without see- 
ing any inhabitants. El Paso, then a mining- 
town of very slight importance, was the last we 
saw in Texas. If there were others in that sec- 
tion they could not have been on the traveled 


highway ; for except the military posts, we saw 
nothing but prairies, which were indeed a strik- 
ing contrast to our beautiful mountains. 

We had all sorts of experiences before New 
Mexico was left ; but after that we settled dowii 
to calm travel, which the children enjoyed so 
much, and that was rendered less monotonous 
to me by the daily use of a fine saddle horse, 
and a delightful gallop over tufted grass. 

We remained at Mesilla and Las Crudes long 
enough to enjoy a ball given in our honor 
by the residents ; and there, for the first time, 
we saw really beautiful Mexican women, who 
danced with all the grace for which the Spanish 
race is noted. We were obliged to hasten our 
departure, because the soldiers celebrated Christ- 
mas too freely; during the ball a perfect battle 
was raging outside, which compelled the officers 
to break camp and resume the march before 
daylight, leaving us to follow. 

Those old towns of Mesilla and Las Cruges 
would surprise any one from the East. They 
are situated on the Rio Grande, and surrounded 


by dense and forbidding sand-hills; but the lo- 
cation being such that much irrigation is practi- 
cable, are simply the most fruitful imaginable 
places. I have never anywhere else seen such 
absolute abundance of fruit in its season ; 
grapes such as only a southern sun can ripen, 
and in immense clusters; peaches, large and 
luscious, that loaded the trees till it seemed im- 
possible they could bear the burden and live ; 
apricots, and every species of small fruits. The 
same luxuriance prevails in El Paso, and the 
wine made there is pure and delicious. 

It seems needless to dwell at very great length 
on that journey into Texas, for all those marches 
were so monotonously alike. If, as in that case, 
no Indian dangers were to be feared, both on 
account of our cavalry escort, and because at 
that time no active Indian warfare was in pro- 
gress, we were not allowed to forget the possibili- 
ties in that line. Not only were the usual sad 
reminders present in graves that bestrewed 
the country, but we encamped again and again 
in places where the most violent outrages had 


been perpetrated, and entire parties mercilessly 
slaughtered. It cast a sad shadow over our 
resting-places, which shrinking women would 
fain have escaped ; but we were obliged to use 
the same old accustomed grounds, and even 
then could not always find enough water for 
the hoi-ses and mules. 

That journey was on a progressive scale ; and 
guided by previous experiences we had taken 
two wall tents, and even a board floor for the 
outer one in which we dined. It was quite 
envied by other ladies, particularly when we 
had ten consecutive days of rain; for boards, 
even if laid on wet ground inside a tent, make 
a flooring quite different and much superior to 
mud. Our floor was, of course, in sections, oth- 
erwise it could not have been carried. Skins 
covered the earth in our inner tent, which was 
furnished with two large beds. 

A fire was lighted every night in our tiny 
stove, and I made chocolate, custards, and many 
other dainties. It would surprise Eastern peo- 
ple, who deem all the modern conveniences a 


necessity, to see how systematic even such a 
mode of life can be, when, knowing it is to last 
for weeks and months, proper preparations have 
been made. 

On leaving home we had taken the house- 
keeping supplies that would have been, used 
had we remained stationary. So, when en- 
camped in, different military posts, at which 
we always remained several days, I occupied 
the time in making mince-pies and baking 
them in a Dutch oven, which is nothing more 
nor less than a broad and shallow iron pot, with 
a cover like a frying-pan. On this cover hot 
coals are laid, so when the utensil is placed 
over a bed of the same, uniform heat from 
above and beneath bakes admirably. 

It was a time of rejoicing when we could 
remain long enough at a post to straighten out 
the tangled ends continuous travel always pro- 
duces. Journeying in that way with women 
and children necessitated laundry work; and 
when we encamped on the river bank the scene 
was animated. 


Again our route lay for days beside the Rio 
Grande ; in fact, during our entire journey we 
left it only to make a dStour and return. When 
finally our destination, distant Fort Clark, was 
reached, we were but forty miles from that 
famous river, and nearly the entire regiment 
was to find a resting-place on its banks ; for soon 
our encampments were dispersed from Eagle 
Pass, on the river, to Matamoras, six hundred 
miles below, at its mouth. 
" We heard so many wearisome accounts of 
those lower camps, with their continuous heat 
and glare, as to deem ourselves fortunate in 
being permitted to remain at one situated on a 
high hill, where we would be sure of a breeze, 
however warm the Texas summer nights might 

A large ball was given on our arrival, and 
the different posts at which we had stopped en 
route — Forts Bliss, Davis, and Stockton — had 
all honored us in the same way. 

We were obliged to remain in camp at Fort 
Clark ten days, as the Ninth Cavalry did not 


leave sooner for New Mexico, and consequently 
houses were not vacated. Never did the same 
length of time seem longer or more tedious, the 
shelter of a roof once again was so longed for. 
Finally we moved into a very comfortable little 
house, built of limestone, and charming as to 
exterior; for even in the month of February 
vines were growing rapidly, and beginning to 
cover verandas with beautiful green. 

If each woman who has lived at Fort Clark 
would give a chapter of her experiences while 
there, I know people would be interested be- 
cause of the utter novelty. 

No other army post has ever been the scene 
of so constant a succession of regimental changes, 
and at no other have such a large number of peo- 
ple, for the same reason, been made so uncom- 
fortable. However little there might have been 
to expect in all the other territories in which 
we had lived, that little, when once obtained, 
was kept; but at Clark no one seemed sure, 
from day to day, of any house in which he 
lived remaining his own for a length of time. 


This arose partly from the fact of there being 
an insufficient number of quarters, but mainly 
from the position of the post being such that 
troops were sent there to be held in readiness 
for any emergency — which was generally sup- 
posed to be impending war with Mexico. 

We were so near the border that whenever 
any marauding band of Indians or horse-thieves 
succeeded in capturing a herd of cattle from 
some neighboring ranch, they would coolly slip 
over the Rio Grande into Mexico with their 
booty ; and by the time our troops, again and 
again called out, could overtake them, the 
marauders would have crossed the border, 
where capture was impossible, because Mexico 
allowed no American forces to enter her terri- 
tory without special permission. 

Matters continued on that basis for years, in- 
furiating our troops, who were delighted when 
it produced results that seemed likely to cul- 
minate in a war between the two countries. 

But that never occurred, though its threaten- 
ings filled our post with troops until they formed 


a little army, which when mustered in full 
parade stretched in double columns across the 
immense parade ground, and made a beautiful 
sight; one which, seen daily, was so pleasing 
that we almost forgot the discomforts of life 
that surrounded us. 

Our first home, a pretty little house with 
double parlors on the ground floor and two large 
bedrooms above, seemed delightful ; though we 
had no furnishings for months, and simply 
used our camp equipage, until carpets, etc., 
could be sent for. The climate was so fearfully 
hot, bare floors were no hardship ; and during 
the long summer which followed our arrival, I 
was so absorbed in the problem of how to live 
at all, that the absence of luxuries was un- 

Leaving the bright and bracing climate of 
New Mexico for a country where one hundred 
and ten degrees in the shade was only to be ex- 
pected, and for six months of the year, was in- 
deed a transition. Ice was an unknown luxury. 
We had nothing to use for cooling purposes 


except the ollas^ made of porous earth by Mex- 

The post was one hundred and thirty-five 
miles from San Antonio, the nearest point where 
anything except absolute essentials could be 
obtained ; and as stages were the only means of 
transportation, charges of course were exorbi- 
tant. Even in San Antonio there was none but 
manufactured ice ; and to transport it such a 
distance in so warm a climate, required not 
only much sawdust to prevent its melting, but 
also a heavy box, all of which multiplied its 
weight, and the express charges, as I found to 
my sorrow. 

I never indulged in such luxuries; but an 
officer, who considered himself indebted for 
kindnesses extended during a severe attack of 
malarial fever, was most anxious to show hie 
gratitude ; and when I, in turn, succumbed to 
the fever, that was epidemic, he sent me three 
boxes of ice. I accepted the gift, though, not 
caring for the ice, dispatched it to the hospital. 
Some months afterward we received a bill from 


the express office which amounted to eighteen 
dollars. It was the charges on that ice — which 
we paid. The ice having been sent direct to 
us, so was the bill, instead of being presented 
to our kind friend who never imagined the 

After our bountiful supply of good things in 
Bayard, we nearly starved in Texas. The but- 
ter was simply oil, if procurable at all ; the milk 
thin — not tasteless, but with a decidedly disa- 
greeable flavor of wild garlic and onions ; and 
the beef dry, and with so strange a flavor we 
could not eat it. Vegetables could not be pro- 
cured; and potatoes shipped from a distance 
were a mass of decay when received. I never 
knew a woman who, amid all those conditions 
of improper and insufficient food and severe 
heat, did not lose health and strength. 

For two years I re-lived all my former expe- 
riences in trying to keep house under every dis- 

We had hoped much from the accounts of 
famous colored cooks, who, in our experience, 


proved delusions and snares. We had a suc- 
cession so worthless that I never have over- 
come my prejudice against them. They must 
have been field-hands, who trusting to our 
Northern ignorance boldly announced them- 
selves as cooks, when perhaps they had never 
cooked even one simple meal before. Each was 
succeeded by a worse specimen, until finally, in 
despair, I begged for a soldier. After that, 
housekeeping became once again a pleasure, 
even if under difficulties ; for I had a will- 
ing coadjutor, who joined heartily in my plans 
to disguise the flavor of meats by every art we 
could devise in the way of seasoning. 

When the long, hot summer had worn its 
weary six months away, we began to again 
breathe freely, and with the advent of cooler 
weather found ourselves able to enjoy every 
pleasure. The heat had been so intense that 
during its continuance life had been simply en- 
dured. Then everything brightened and im- 
proved, as it always does with custom or habit ; 
or rather, we knew better how to overcome dif- 


ficulties as time and experience familiarized us 
with them. 

In the winter we not only had better beef, 
because of the grass which had grown during 
summer, so the cattle were not obliged to eat 
weeds and vegetables, but, for the same reason, 
our milk improved in flavor; butter also kept 
its consistency. 

The experience of a little bride on whom I 
called one summer evening will perhaps better 
illustrate the difficulties of housekeeping. In 
reply to my inquiry if she did not find the en- 
forced idleness because of heat tiresome, she 
said : 

" I am never idle, because my entire time is 
occupied in keeping wet clothes around the 
jars that contain our milk and butter." 

In that atmosphere of heat, devoid of damp- 
ness, no sooner was a wet cloth wrapped about 
a jar than it began to dry, and evapoi-ation 
cooled the contents. If in addition the jar 
was placed in a draught, great results in that 
line were attained, but at the expense of con- 
stant attention. 


One reason that made our army life endura- 
ble Avas the constant exchange of grievances, 
and our real sympathy one for the other. A 
group of ladies would naturally fall into con- 
versation regarding the peculiar trials of such a 
life, and yet not one of them could have been 
persuaded to leave her husband and seek more 
comfortable and civilized surroundings. 

Fort Clark eventually became very dear to 
me; but the first two years were exceedingly 
trying, for I had to accustom myself anew to 
fresh modes in every direction. The peculiari- 
ties of our colored servants would fill a volume. 



It took our first colored cook, a huge, strap- 
ping creature, who seemed a very giant in 
strength and stature, three days to scrub our 
tiny kitchen floor ; and his ideas, one of which 
was that he should sleep until nine o'clock in 
the morning, nor did he awaken then unless 
called, were not to be changed to suit our 

I remember so well our first breakfast ! Rice 
batter cakes had been ordered ; but the strangest 
looking and queerest tasting dish was produced, 
which, when questioned, the cook admitted was 
simply rice and molasses mixed together and 
fried in much grease. 

Our last colored cook was so surly I was 
afraid of him, and rejoiced when he was finally 
replaced by a white man. On leaving us he 


moved to the little town of Brackett, and after 
only a few days had passed, murdered a woman, 
and to hide his guilt burned the house. Cir- 
cumstantial evidence was so strong that he was 
captured and imprisoned in the little jail, which, 
constructed of heavy stone, was the only decent 
building in town. The murdered woman had 
been the widow of a white soldier, and his com- 
rades-in-arms determined to avenge her. So, 
one night, under cover of the darkness, a num- 
ber stormed the jail. Though well guarded, 
and the thick doors seemingly impregnable, 
they effected an entrance. 

Meantime tlie garrison was greatly alarmed, 
for the town was so near we could hear the 
firing and tumult. The ladies were doubly 
frightened, because each one's husband had 
been summoned to march at the head of his 
troops and quell the disturbance. 

All were terrified, scarcely knowing what 
had happened, and the volume of sound that 
reached our ears made us dread untold dangers. 
We were frightened at having been left alone, 


and more alarmed for our husbands, because, in 
the»promiscuous firing which began the moment 
tlie troops reached town, we knew not what 
shot had or might hit one of them. 

Altogether we were panic-stricken, and mo- 
ments seemed hours until the troops returned, 
which they did very soon, and without a single 
officer or soldier having been injured, although 
the shots were numerous enough to have killed 
an army. 

The jail had been forced before the arrival 
of the troops ; but the soldiers, though care- 
fully searching every cell, had been unable to 
find the prisoner, and, after vowing vengeance 
on the authorities for having removed him, 
assembled outside, where they vented their 
wrath and disappointment by firing against 
the heavy stone building. When the cavalry 
reached the scene, and in their turn began to 
fire, every man disappeared, escaping under 
cover of the darkness and confusion, and found 
his way back to the fort, where at roll-call 
all answered to their names as innocently as 
possible. __ 


The officers were inclined to condone the 
offense, both from sympathy with the murdered 
woman's friends, and also because the mur- 
derer was such a despicable coward, as was 
proved not only by his taking a woman's life, 
but also in his behavior afterward. 

The first officer who entered the jail was Mr. 
Boyd, who was at once told by the sheriff that 
the murderer was secreted on its roof, which, 
unknown to outsiders, had a stone coping six 
feet hiofh that well concealed him. A more 
pitiable object was never seen; for expecting 
every moment would be his last he was pray- 
ing and groaning in true darkey fashion, and 
had the tumult outside been less would have 
been quickly discovered. 

Mr. Boyd tried to calm him, but it was use- 

J less ; the man was so thoroughly frightened he 

' could not be silenced, but kept calling on the 

good Lord for protection, and throwing himself 

about with the most grotesque contortions of 

face and figure. 

The sequel pro\pd the soldiers to have been 


right in not trusting to the course of law, for 
in Texas no crime but that of horse-stealing is 
considered deserving of hanging ; the murderer 
was only imprisoned, but fortunately for him- 
self was taken to anotlier county. 

On this occasion Mr. Boyd interviewed a 
murderer to whose tender mercies his own 
family had been exposed, and after that I was 
allowed to have a white cook ; for although 
they sometimes indulged in dissipation, colored 
men and women did the same, and there is no 
such fear known on earth as that a woman 
experiences when confronted by a drunken 

The cavalry stationed at Fort Clark previous 
to our arrival had been colored, though the 
infantry, which composed half the post, was 

Never having been South before, we had much 
to learn before a home feeling was possible. 
The level country seemed strange after having 
lived among lovely mountains, and we had a 
new set of insects to deal with. I had thought 


nothing could be worse than my first enemies, 
the wasps, but soon found the immense roaches 
with which our house was actually crammed 
much more disagreeable. They not only cov- 
ered the kitchen floor until it was black, but 
actually flew around our heads, and even in- 
vaded the bedi'ooms up-stairs until life seemed 
intolerable. A thorough system of cleaning and 
scrubbing was instituted ; for they love dirt, 
which was, in fact, the original cause of such an 
undue supply. We tried borax and all other 
known remedies, and in time greatly lessened 
their numbers. 

A picnic in Texas was simply impossible on 
account of the red bugs and wood-ticks, which 
were not only countless and disagreeable, but 
so poisonous that I knew an officer, who had 
been obliged to camp out on the ground, suffer 
so severely from their attentions that hospital 
treatment was necessary for weeks. The sores 
caused by these insects are frequently very 
painful, because they bury themselves beneath 
the skin, and actually have to be dug out. 


The larger vermin, scorpions, tarantulas, cen- 
tipeds, and snakes I did not mind ; for they 
never molested us, and, like the really weighty 
trials of life, were more easily endured than 
minor ones. I speak from actual experience, 
having lived out of doors during our five years 
residence in Texas, and allowed my children to 
enjoy themselves in the same way, both because 
I deemed it necessary to health, and because 
observation had convinced me that those ladies 
who did otherwise suffered indescribably from 
fear ; while to us, after we had settled down, 
every moment was a joy in spite of heat and 

One evening a lady caller started franti- 
cally for the door immediately after having 
entered. The cause of her terror was a huge 
' tarantula or spider of the most deadly sort, 
black, ugly, and venomous, which measured 
fully three inches around the body. I picked 
up a heavy basket and killed it. She called 
me very brave ; but I thought greater bravery 
would have been required to permit it to live, 


when perhaps it might bite one of my chil- 

Our first winter at Fort Clark was delightful. 
All had comfortable double houses ; and I felt 
very proud because of the bright, pretty carpets 
and lace curtains that had been sent from the 
East. The troops were called out only occa- 
sionally for Indian raids, but never went farther 
than the river which divides Texas from 

We enjoyed the game, which was so plentiful 
that delicious wild turkey could be enjoyed 
every day if desired. The one vegetable that 
grew almost spontaneously was sweet potato, 
which we luxuriated in for months, as it im- 
proved by keeping. 

I scoured the country on horseback in all 
directions, and found a rare charm in those 
boundless prairies, carpeted with gray grass so 
thick the horse's hoofs sank far out of sight, 
which made the pace an exhilarating bound. 
A stream, which rose from the clear spring that 
supplied us with water, flowed for miles amid 


groves of wild oak and pecan trees which it was 
my delight to explore. 

We hunted jack rabbits a good deal. They 
were so numerous as to destroy all hopes of the 
gardens in which the early freshets had allowed 
us to indulge. A lady just from the East w^as 
appalled when I said that each small head of 
cabbage cost a dollar, and was really worth it; 
for the man who had sufficient enterprise to 
evade rabbits, and build walls against freshets, 
must also examine each cabbage leaf three times 
a day in order to destroy the ever encroaching 
worm or bug. This will not seem exaggerated 
to any one who has ever gardened under similar 

Our little streams were beautiful, and so well 
stocked with delicious bass and trout that the 
children used to beg to picnic : after a day thus 
spent, it would take hours of diligent search to 
find the dozens of wood-ticks and tiny red 
insects which covered their clothing and buried 
themselves in their tender flesh. Sometimes 
one would escape notice, and be afterward 


found with head imbedded beneath the skin, 
and body distended to treble its original size. 

Those torments made scouting in Texas a 
thing to be dreaded; and yet, after the first 
year of quiet, our cavalry were kept in the field 
nine months out of twelve. Though encamped 
most of the time on the banks of a stream only 
seven miles distant, yet none the less they were 
separated from us, and as the officers' wives 
said, " Compelled us to keep up two messes, 
and incur great expense, besides being lonely 
and forlorn." 

The sun's scorching heat made it impossible 
to raise any flowers, for if plants grew and 
budded the fierce heat would burn the outer 
petals so blossoms never fully opened. Only 
one plant, the Madeira vine, throve there, and 
it was esteemed a special luxury ; for as the 
post was located on a high limestone ridge, and 
the houses were built of limestone, the white 
glare was something to be dreaded. Those luxu- 
riant green vines covered our porches so closely 
as to form perfect little arbors, and enabled us 


to enjoy out-of-door life. At least two ham- 
mocks were swung oh every veranda, and they 
were occupied most of the time, for the air was 
so hot and lifeless that effort was impossible. 

Only one of the five summers we passed at 
Fort Clark was cool and comfortable. That 
year the rainy season commenced late and 
lasted throughout the summer. The other four 
were so fearfully hot and uncomfortable that 
we were much exhausted when cooler weather 

Nevertheless, strange as it may seem, after 
we had once become accustomed to the life and 
that routine which alone makes existence in 
warm countries endurable, we were satisfied. 

During the day our costumes were the light- 
est and airiest that could be devised. But when 
evening came — and no woman ever ventured 
out-of-doors until after sunset — we arrayed 
ourselves in pretty white dresses, and started 
forth to enjoy the breeze, whose never-failing, 
grateful presence was compensation for the 
day's intense heat. 


In that clear atmosphere the tiniest arc of 
a moon gives more light than does a full 
one under other conditions ; so by the time its 
greatest splendor was reached, nothing on earth 
could have surpassed the perfect beauty of 
those southern nights. The air was soft and 
balmy, and every one rejoiced to find respite 
from the sun's extreme heat. Indeed, the 
change was so grateful that we fell into a habit 
of almost turning night into day in our unwill- 
ingness to leave a scene of such enchantment. 

Even our unsheltered, gray parade-ground, 
on which grass absolutely refused to grow, was 
softened by the moon's mellow rays into a sem- 
blance of all we desired it to be ; and when, 
night after night, our gloriovs. band played en- 
trancing strains of sweet music on the luminous 
spot, we felt that life in the tropics was not so 
very unendurable after all. 

Our limestone houses, which in the daytime 
could not be looked upon because of the blind- 
ing glare, were toned by the moon's magic in- 
fluence into poetic beauty, with their shading 


vines and groups of daint}^ ladies in white, and 
gallant officers in uniform. 

I became wedded, heart and soul, to that part 
of our life, which made me quite willing to live 
and die in Texas, despite many more prosaic 



That unpleasant features were there is not, 
however, to be denied; and as my aim is to 
present both the lights and shadows of army 
life, I will now describe a few of the latter. 

As before stated, the supposed impending 
war with Mexico was the occasion of an influx 
of troops far greater than our post could com- 
fortably accommodate. After we had been at 
Fort Clark a year and a half, occupying that 
pretty, vine-embowered house, Ave learned that 
our garrison of ten companies was to be in- 
creased to twenty-five, with two headquarters 
and two bands. 

The custom that obtains throughout the 
army of each officer selecting according to his 
rank the quarters which he may prefer, was 
never more fully enforced than at Fort Clark. 


Fifty times, perhaps, there was a general move 
of at least ten families, because some officer had 
arrived who, in selecting a house, caused a 
dozen other officers to move, for each in turn 
chose the one then occupied by the next lower 
in rank. We used to call it ''bricks falling," 
because each toppled that next in order over; 
but the annoyance was endured with great good 

When tidings of such an unusual expected 
influx reached our ears, Ave wondered what 
would become of us, as there were not accommo- 
dations for half the number who were to arrive. 
An onlooker would doubtless have found the 
anxiety experienced by the officers' wives amus- 
ing'; for though prepared for the worst we were, 
of course, solicitous. 

I was ill at the time, confined to my room ; 
and messages were brought at intervals from 
six different officers, who all outranked Mr. 
Boyd, that each had selected our house. Ridic- 
ulous as it may seem, every one was outranked 
by another. Finally, a captain of infantry chose 


our quarters, and then the doctor declared I 
couUl not be moved ; consequently, the captain 
went temporarily into the house which we were 
eventually compelled to occupy. 

Next day our third child and second son was 
born. During the entire time of my recovery I 
indulged a delusive hope that the officer who 
liad chosen our home would be content to re- 
-main in the little house he was then occupying, 
and which I dreaded to think of living in be- 
cause it was so small for our increased family. 
Delusive hope ! built entirely upon my belief in, 
or knowledge of, our respective needs. I felt 
that a bachelor could live less inconveniently in 
one room than could a family of five. 

The very day our baby was born the little 
fellow contracted whooping-cough from his sis- 
ter, who, charmed to welcome a new brother, 
had repeatedly kissed him. I had no idea such 
a disease was in the garrison, and when we 
learned of it the harm had been done. Not 
only did all three of our children suffer in the 
most pronounced fashion, but it was pitiable to 


see and hear that tiny baby coughing violently 
before he was two weeks old. He would turn 
so black in the face, perhaps a hundred times a 
day, that his nurse hardly dared close her eyes, 
as it would be necessary to raise the infant to a 
perfectly erect posture to prevent his stran- 

In spite of baby's sufferings he never lost 
flesh, which the doctor said was marvelous, 
for my neighbors declared they could hear him 
cough a hundred yards away. Our anxiety was 
great, and Mr. Boyd was a veritable slave. 

For a week I was at death's door with fever ; 
and yet the very day baby was four weeks old 
we were obliged to move, that the captain, 
who demanded his house without further delay, 
might be accommodated. Each of the children 
caught cold, and bronchitis was added to whoop- 
ing-cough ; in consequence of which, during that 
and the succeeding winter, I always slept with 
one hand under baby's head, in order to raise 
him suddenly when attacked by those terrible 
fits of coughing. 


When I state that our new house consisted of 
but one room, with a tiny addition back which 
was quite uninhabitable, and that we lived in 
such quarters for two long summers and win- 
ters, it will scarcely be believed. But even 
those meager accommodations were not deemed 
a very severe hardship by many of the ladies 
who had been at Fort Clark for years before the 
new quarters had been built, and Avho told tales 
of far greater crowding. 

Among others, the case of a little bride was 
cited, who, coming from a luxurious Eastern 
home, had been glad to fmd quartei-s in a hall- 
way between two other families. One morning 
her husband was told that some superior officer 
wanted his hall, and disgusted he resigned. 

The recital of many such absolutely true tales 
might, perhaps, have comforted me in some 
measure, had we not already endured ten long 
years of hardships ; and it seemed as if the 
time should have come when length of service 
counted for something. 

But it never does in the army, as possibly 


only those know who have realized the fact 
through actual experience. There one must 
endure all discomforts as uncomplainingly as 
possible, and meekly relinquish the refinements 
of life, which such a mode of living absolutely 
forbids. For a family of five to live in one 
room through two fearfully warm summers and 
two winters was far from pleasant ; and in 
order to relieve ourselves of discomforts so far 
as was possible, we remained out-doors on our 
pleasant porch nearly all the time. 

The winters were delightful in that part of 
Texas, and yet very trying. The only really 
cold weather there is caused by the " northei-s," 
which come up so suddenly as to render it out 
of the question to be prepared for the change. 
A norther is always preceded by a very sultry 
day ; then the thermometer falls perhaps fifty 
degrees in an hour, and there is something in 
the chill north wind which seems to freeze the 
very blood in one's veins. When, in addition, a 
rainstorm follows, it is little wonder that the 
cattle interests of Texas suffer, for no living 


creature can well exist in sucli an atmosphere 
when exposed. 

Our little back room faced the north, so we 
could not use it in winter, for the tiny house, 
built of wood with a canvas ceiling, was then 
like a barn ; and it was so old that in summer 
the canvas and woodwork harbored every spe- 
cies of vermin, with which it simply became 

I was awakened one night by the raging of a 
violent storm that seemed to shake the house 
to its foundations. The rain descended with 
such force that I expected every moment the 
roof would fall in. A glance showed me water 
pouring in under the door which separated the 
small back room from the larger one in which 
we slept. I quickly arose and stepped into the 
little room to find myself literally wading in 
water which reached above ni}^ ankles. The 
fierce storm had beaten in the old, weather-worn 
roof, and through a large hole which had been 
forced in the canvas ceiling a stream of liquid 
mud was pouring that deluged everything. 


The opening was directly over an open bureau 
drawer, the contents of whicli were a strange 
sight. The mud was formed by rain falling on 
the accumulation of dirt that miserable old 
canvas held ; and before the storm had ceased 
our possessions were worthless, and the room, 
which within our knowledge never had been 
worthy of the name, was still less so. 

Every house in the post was in a wretched 
condition long before morning, and each woman 
thought that her individual experience could 
not be exceeded in misery. 

It was so common for roofs to leak and plaster 
to fall that we expected such mishaps ; but 
fortunately, because they left more serious 
trouble in their wake, such furious storms were 
not frequent. One lady, a bride, who until that 
night had seen only the bright side of army life, 
decided that if such experiences were common 
she did not care to become accustomed to them ; 
so one result in that instance was her husband's 
resignation from the army. 

A large double bed stood in one corner of our 


only room, and in the other a lounge that 
could be used for the children at night. Over 
our bed I swung a hammock, which served 
admirably for baby's cradle, and as an economy 
of space it was a great success. But during 
warm weather the porch, as already stated, was 
our dwelling-place, and at night the hammock 
suspended there was frequently occupied by 
Mr. Boyd ; for in such a climate to sleep with 
four other persons in one small room was not 
very refreshing. 

We were, however, very gay through all our 
miseries and deprivations; for with seventy-five 
officers and forty ladies in the garrison many 
pleasures could be enjoyed. During the first 
winter we had a series of balls for the exchange 
of regimental courtesies. Those already sta- 
tioned at Fort Clark gave a large ball to wel- 
come the new-comers, even if they did turn us 
out of houses and homes, which courtesy was 
returned by a very grand affair. Then each re- 
giment — six were represented, two of them col- 
ored — extended hospitalities on its individual 


account, and each vied with the others in some- 
what varying the character of the entertainment. 

Following that, the bachelors gave a large* 
german where the favors were superb. Then 
the ladies united in a New Year's reception, 
which was said to surpass all the rest. After- 
ward we had weekly hops, a masquerade and 
phantom pai'ty, at which it was difficult to hide 
our identity ; for in a garrison where every per- 
sonal trait was necessarily observed, to disguise 
one's individuality was not easy. Probably the 
officer who entered the room encased in a w-ell- 
stuffed mattress did so most effectually. 

Studying how to puzzle the rest was great 
fun. So many amusements, combined with the 
real kindly feeling constantly evinced, made our 
social life very enjoyable. Every excuse for 
pleasant intercourse was freely sought ; and so 
long as life lasts I shall remember those years 
at Fort Clark as not only joyous, but given up 
to experiences so distinctly different fi'om all 
others as to merit perpetual and delightful 


In the first place, every one lived out-of-doors 
nine months of the year. That necessitated, or 
made more easily possible, a constant inter- 
change of friendly remarks, and we became 
more like one large family than like strangers. 
Our interests were identical. If any change 
was made, it affected so many that all were 
drawn together by that "fellow feeling which 
makes us wondrous kind." 

When troops were ordered away, their de- 
parture wg-s dreaded because the officers' society 
would be greatly missed. If new-comers ar- 
rived, as they constantly did, we welcomed 
them cordially. Every time an inspecting 
officer or one of high rank came to Fort Clark, 
as frequently happened, we rejoiced in the op- 
portunity to give a ball in his honor, and the 
band serenaded him each night of his sojourn ; 
in fact, nothing was lacking that would prove 
our hospitality and cordiality. 

Riding and driving parties were indulged in 
daily ; for fully half x)f the officers stationed at 
our garrison were in the cavalry, and in addi- 


tion to their mounts had fine carriages. When 
the cavalry were sent to graze their horses near 
streams, and permanent camps were thus estab- 
lished, we visited them frequently. In turn, 
they combined their forces and gave grand 
picnics, which were so successful we were en- 

One night I shall never forget. The moon 
shone her best and brightest on a smooth stretch 
of canvas, spread so as to form a splendid dan- 
cing-floor, and on trees hung with fairy lanterns, 
which extending as far as the eye could reach 
met as background the pretty little stream on 
whose banks lovers wandered. Of course, in 
that region of soft tropic warmth and fervor, 
romance blended with everything ; and no eli- 
gible young lady was ever known to leave Fort 
Clark without a tiny circlet on her finger, 
which proved her right to return as an officer's 

Meantime, rumors of war kept . increasing, 
and finally all our troops were marched into Mex- 
ico during the hottest month of the year. This 


was, however, done merely as a menace ; for in 
a week's time they returned, having faced the 
Mexicans on their own ground without even 
exchanging shots. Blistered feet and swollen 
limbs, gained by marching through parching 
sands, were the only reminders of the affair 
brought back. 

Soon after, Mexico arranged new terms with 
our authorities, in accordance with which in- 
cursions over the border were allowed when our 
troops were on the trail of desperate adventur- 
ers who were escaping with much booty. This 
caused the withdrawal from Fort Clark of the 
gallant cavalry regiment, which with our own 
had hoped to reap a little glory from the strained 
relations between our country and her sister 

Courtesies were exchanged between leading 
officers in the Mexican and American armies, 
whicrh we shared in by giving a grand ball to 
the general and staff of the Mexican army on 
their visit to our post while negotiating terms 
of peace. Our third winter at Fort Clark was 


brilliant socially. We organized a theatrical 
company, which gave with great success a 
number of popular plays, including " Caste," 
" Ours," and several farces that were a source 
of much merriment. The soldiers were allowed 
to fill the hall to its utmost capacity, and their 
appreciation was an additional reward for our 

I doubt if anything can be funnier than a 
familiar face and form rendered unrecognizable 
by an absurd and ridiculous disguise. The 
night " Caste " was produced, I excelled mj^self 
in so completely changing Mr. Boyd's appear- 
ance that his entrance on the stage as " Old 
Eccles" was greeted by loud and long-con- 
tinued shouts, which ceased only to be again and 
again renewed. It was the success of the even- 
ing. In our sentimental parts Mr. Boyd eclipsed 
us all, and was the cynosure of all eyes in his 
maudlin drunkenness. 

After having studied the book of directions 
until I understood how to make my husband 
look utterly disreputable and unlike himself, I 


delighted in having him assume various odd 
characters ; for the moment he appeared before 
an audience, deafening applause invariably 
greeted him. 

We worked as hard to secure the success of 
our plays as though fortunes had depended upon 
it, and unhesitatingly robbed our houses of orna- 
ments in order that the stage might present an 
attractive appearance. 

I would not like to be a professional on the 
boards if it necessitated as much real labor as 
did our amateur performances. But we soon 
found that a good paying audience could readily 
be commanded, and after the first few evenings 
raised money enough to build a very pretty 
stage, and completely renovate the only hall in 
the garrison, which had been used for church, 
schoolroom, ballroom, and theater for years with- 
out any improvements or alterations having been 
made, and was in sad need of the new floor and 
ceiling our money supplied. 

We also gave performances for several chari- 
ties. One for the famishing Irish, when we 


" Caste " our bread ujDon the waters, was espe- 
cially successful ; and when at the approach of 
Christmas, money was needed for a tree with 
which to gladden the hearts of the soldiers' one 
hundred little children, we had an immense 

The actors afterwards went to San Antonio, 
where they played for the Masonic fund; and 
also to a little near-by town where a church was 
greatly needed. 



It was customary for companies of Mr. 
Boyd's regiment to be sent for six months to 
garrison the forts on the Rio Grande, which 
were close by; our turn came when we had 
been two years at Fort Clark, which we left 

No station immediately on the river was ever 
considered desirable, on account of its unfailing 
sand and heat ; and Fort Duncan, to which we 
were assigned, had no comfortable houses. It 
was only forty miles from Fort Clark, and as 
but two companies of infantry were stationed 
there, the small garrison was inevitably dull. 

Our dwelling consisted of one room in a very 
dilapidated building. It had been previously 
used as a store-room, and the barred windows 
made it seem prison-like. 


The kitchen was so far away that a complete 
circuit of the house was necessary in order to 
reach it, and the dining-room was a part of the 

Our sorrows were added to when our beauti- 
ful ponies, that had borne us about the country 
for miles in every direction during our stay at 
Clark, and which I had confidently expected 
would reUeve the tedium of life at Duncan, 
were attacked by glanders and ordered shot. 
In spite, however, of this caution, the conta- 
gion spread ; and before another month Mr. 
Boyd's splendid charger, and our other dear 
little Mexican pony, had also been condemned. 
Thus we lost four horses within one month, 
and I would have been in despair had we not 
found a superb riding-horse in the troop, which 
proved so safe and reliable that I was often 
tempted to go far beyond proper limits. 

One day, when riding alone, I espied smoke ' 
ahead, and idly followed in its direction until 
I found myself facing a house which I recalled 
as having been described to me as a den of 


horse thieves. My mount was superb, but I 
was nine miles from home and conscious that 
rest was imperative. I dismounted, led my 
horse to the house, and asked for water. The 
man who appeared not only gave me that, but 
also coffee; and when I related the loss of 
my ponies, offered to sell me a fine pair very 

I used my eyes to good advantage, not neg- 
lecting to notice a ford, directly in front of 
the door, which could be utilized at a moment's 
notice for horses to cross into Mexico. But 
that was none of my affairs, and like all rough 
frontiersmen mine host of the hour was ex- 
ceedingly polite. He led up for inspection 
several pairs of fine ponies. I did not, how- 
ever, buy any, as I feared the owners might 
meet me some day and claim their property. 

After a brief rest I remounted, and on reach- 
ing home found that my absence had been of 
five hours' duration, and the entire garrison was 

We remained at Duncan all that winter, and 


aside from daily rides our only amusement was 
a trip across the river into Mexico. The quaint 
old town of Piedras Negras lay directly oppo- 
site Fort Duncan ; and the same style of primi- 
tive boats as were used in New Mexico, and on 
one of which we came so near to losing our 
lives, was there employed to ferry us across. 
We were able to enjoy everything Piedras Ne- 
gras afforded in the way of sight-seeing, having 
arrived just before the yearly fiesta, which is 
the gala time among Mexicans. 

The town, like all I saw in Mexico, was built 
around squares called plazas. These were occu- 
pied during the fiesta as booths for the sale 
of curiosities, and also for that sport so dear to 
Mexican hearts — gambling. Any game could 
be indulged in, from three card monte to rou- 
lette ; or, if disposed, visitors might partake of 
Mexican viands, served by bashful senoritas 
clad in pretty Spanish costumes. 

The climax of festivities was, of course, bull- 
fights, when the large amphitheater would be 
crowded by an excited Mexican audience. Hav- 


ing heard so much of those affairs, we were, of 
course, eager to see one ; but our curiosity was 
soon satisfied, for a more tame encounter I 
never beheld. 

The poor bull absolutely refused to fight, and, 
after having been goaded and prodded by the 
matador with sharp-pointed spears, gayly ribbon- 
bedecked, kept turning wistfully toward the 
door by which he had entered, and every now 
and then rushed to it, only to be met by more 
spear pricks, which, though causing his blood 
to flow, served only to still farther intimidate 
the poor animal. Finally, amid the shouts of 
the people, he would be dispatched and re- 
placed by another, that invariably showed the 
same want of spirit. 

To American on-lookers it seemed a cruel 
sport, unworthy its historic greatness. 

The only delightful features connected with 
that so-called pastime were the perfect Mexican 
band and superb drilling of Mexican soldiers, 
who marched and countermarched for at least 
an hour without a single order being spoken, 


they responding merely to a tap of the drum as 
each new movement was initiated. 

The band was superb, and the music so sweet 
and thrilling we could have listened for hours 
without weariness. On account of exchanging 
many hospitalities with the Mexican officers, we 
enjoyed numerous opportunities of hearing it. 

On one occasion the band was brought over 
to serenade us, and we listened as in a dream to 
its rendering of various operas and Mexican 
national airs, played with such expression that 
all the sentiments they indicated were aroused. 

The perfect submission of Mexican soldiers, 
and the never-ending drilling they received, 
made them more thorough than our own, who 
never could have been kept in such slavish sub- 
jection. The Mexican soldier is usually born 
a peon, or slave, and never dreams of resenting 
the will of his superiors — nor of having one of 
his own. 

Those men were drilled hours before dawn, 
and that they might be in good marching order 
were compelled to walk ten and even twenty 
miles a day out in the open country. 


We were invited to all balls given by the 
Mexican officers, and found them curious 
affairs. The women's costumes were tawdry 
' in the extreme, and their manner of dancing so 
slow as to seem most monotonous ; yet I have 
never seen more perfect natural grace any- 
where displayed than in those measured Span- 
ish dances. 

The variety those balls afforded was quite 
enjoyable until one night a Mexican officer of 
high rank drew a pistol and fired directly at a 
man who moved too slowly out of his path to 
suit the officer's dignity. I never attended 
another ball, being unwilling to witness such 
scenes. We had also experienced much diffi- 
culty in crossing the Rio Grande at night ; so I 
was glad of an excuse to remain our side of the 
river after dark, but loved to drive over in 
broad daylight, when I felt safe and could 
avoid all midnight perils. 

It always seemed to me as if the suave Span- 
ish politeness of those Mexican officers con- 
cealed smoldering volcanoes, I have known 


an officer to shoot a soldier dead at the first 
hint of insubordination. 

We remained at Fort Duncan until early 
spring, when the inesquite trees, which beauti- \ 
fied the parade grounds, were clothed in a 
tender, fresh green whose tint I have never 
seen equaled. Our recall to Clark by ex- 
change in March was heartily welcomed. 

A cloud, however, loomed on my horizon in 
the certainty that I must soon leave our dear 
army life for the East. It is never deemed 
prudent to remain long in so debilitating a 
climate, and malarial fever had fastened itself 
upon both our elder children, completely redu- 
cing their strength. We had, however, great 
cause for thankfulness in their being spared; 
for the disease was unusually fatal that season, 
and, indeed, for three long weeks the lives of 
our little ones hung in the balance, while fear 
and anxiety harassed our souls. 

Texas malarial fever burns with an unremit- 
ting ardor nothing can quench until its course 
has been run. Our good doctor almost lived 


with us ; and whenever the temperature rose 
above one hundred and two degrees he would 
plunge our little boy into a tub of the coldest 
water procurable, — no ice was to be had, — and 
hold him there until the child's body became 
blue, and his teeth began to chatter, when he 
would be wrapped in blankets, and hot bottles 
placed at his feet. 

Heroic treatment that could not fail to wring 
a mother's heart ! When our little daughter 
fought the same hard battle for three long 
weeks, and came out from it a perfect shadow, 
with her head bald as any infant's, I realized 
that our physician was right, and that I must 
leave Texas or we should lose our children. 

Better educational facilities also seemed im- 
perative. Thus far I had taught the little 
ones, and they were well advanced, but no one 
expects to find very desirable schools in the 
wilderness ; so we began our preparations for 
departure, feeling that years must pass before 
we could again settle down, as education had 
become the most important need. 



Exactly ten years from the day we had left 
New York I returned. My heart was so bound 
up in frontier life I had hoped until the last 
moment that the spring rains, which had been 
unusually severe, would keep us storm-bound 
in Texas. The town of Brackett had been 
flooded just before our departure, and the post, 
from its high and dry hill, looked down upon 
a scene of devastation and misery. Every house 
on the low lands was undermined, and many 
were washed away ; the people sought refuge 
' in trees, where they were obliged to remain for 
hour^, until assistance in the shape of boats 
reached them. 

Of course, as in all scenes where the colored 
race is conspicuous, several ludicrous incidents 
occurred. One old mammy, who weighed at 


least two hundred pounds, in her joy at being 
rescued, fell into the arms of an unusually small 
white soldier, and swamped herself, the soldier, 
and the boat. 

Days passed before the water subsided, and 
in consequence our journey was delayed a 
month ; as with four days of ambulance travel 
to San Antonio we did not dare start until the 
roads were dry. I was wicked enough to hope 
they never would be in condition for travel; 
but when the mail again, reached us regularly 
there was no fartlier excuse for delay, and with 
tearful eyes I bade adieu to dearly loved Fort 

Many of tlie ladies thought my unwillingness 
to leave Texas could not be really sincere, a 
change seemed to them so desirable. But my 
fears that I should not feel at home in civil life, 
where everything was so different, were verified. 

Four days' travel by ambulance through deep 
mud was required to reach San Antonio. We 
did not tarry to explore that curious- old town, 
but stepped immediately on board a train for 


Galveston, where we arrived in twenty-four 
hours. At that place I parted from my hus- 
band, and took a steamer for New York. Seven 
days' passage over Southern and into Northern 
seas brought us to the city, where our children 
saw civilization for the first time within their 

It is needless to recount our experiences in 
New York, or rather Coney Island, where we 
remained through the summer, and which was 
just the place for little barbarians to see strange 
sights and become familiarized with strange 

After all the frontier travel and its dangers 
through which we had passed, it seemed odd 
that this land of safety should hardly have been 
reached before we narrowly escaped serious 
harm. I chose the boat as a means of transit to 
Coney Island; and when we reached the pier 
found that our trunks had not arrived, and so 
waited hours for the expressman, who did not 
come until very late in the day. 

I was overwhelmed with our belongings, 


which consisted of two large trunks, the same 
number of hand-bags, an immense valise, and a 
violin. After we had boarded the boat and 
fairly started on our way, I was dismayed to 
find night rapidly approaching, and most omi- 
nous-looking clouds arising. They proved pre- 
cursors of a furious storm, the violence of which 
reminded me of those experienced while at the 
West. Much damage was done in and around 
New York Harbor. 

When we neared the island after a terrifying 
trip, I saw to my horror that the boat, instead 
of landing at the first and completed iron pier, 
passed it, and made for the uncompleted pier, 
which jutted much farther out into the ocean, 
and at that time was simply an uncovered walk 
about a quarter of a mile in length. 

Nothing, however, could be done except land 
— with three children — and stand in the mad- 
dest rush of rain to which I had ever been ex- 
posed, watching our trunks and bags tumbled 
out into the storm. Aware that a few mo- 
ments' exposure to such a torrent would ruin 


their cdntents, I looked, but in vain, for a 
means of conveyance to the hotel. No one was 
in sight, the iew passengers who had landed 
having immediately hastened away ; and as we 
were being completely drenched, I decided to 
leave the baggage to its fate. 

Carrying as much as possible in my hands, I 
sent our little girl in advance with her small 
brothers. Judge of my horror when suddenly 
I saw the piles of boards that were stacked in 
readiness for roofing the pier, moving and actu- 
ally filling the air on all sides. The children 
were directly in the path of that furious hurri- 
cane, and I could only helplessly watch them. 
Fortunately it did not last long ; and my little 
daughter was wise enough to race ahead with 
her brothers, so no damage was done except the 
loss of both the boys' hats, which blew into the 
ocean. Then the rain descended with redoubled 
force ; but some one compassionately let us into 
a little house built for the workmen, where, 
terrified beyond measure, we were shut in with 


I was all the while worrying about our 
trunks, and finally induced a workman to 
promise that he would have them taken to the 
hotel. But the man soon returned, and reported 
that they had disappeared. That was a severe 
blow ; and in the darkness I wandered all over 
the pier until finally a kind policeman was 
found, who assured me the trunks could not 
have been stolen. Our search was at last re- 
warded by their discovery, when the policeman 
called a coach and bade me take the children to 
a hotel. I did so, and then sent the coachman 
back for our trunks. 

An hour passed without his return, when I 
made inquiries, only to be consoled by being 
told that the coachman was unknown in the 
hotel, and had probably stolen our possessions. 

I started again, in spite of the continued 
storm, for that pier, where to my joy I spied 
the policeman, who said he had refused to de- 
liver the trunks without a written order. Al- 
though deeply grateful for his caution, I would 
gladly have been back in Texas, where, what- 


ever happened, there was some one to share 
hardships with me. 

The storm was unusually severe. After its 
cessation sign-boards were found scattered all 
over the island, and some buildings had been 

It is not my intention to dwell at length on 
our sojourn in the East, which lasted four years. 
This is a tale of army life, and one accustomed 
to it is amazed when living among civilians to 
find how little they know of such an institution 
as the army. 

My husband had long been entitled, by rea- 
son of rank and length of service, to the one 
detail — that of recruiting — which brings a 
cavalry officer East. He had always intended 
to reserve this for the time when an education 
would be demanded for our children, and that 
time had come; so Mr. Boyd applied for and 
received the detail in the fall of 1882. 

On reaching St. Louis, where the choice of 
several cities was given him, he selected Boston 
because of its excellent schools. We spent 


there a winter, which seemed to us, fresh from 
sunny climes, one long succession of rain, fogs, 
and east winds. Still, the many advantages of 
that well-regulated city were appreciated, and 
had I been well we should have enjoyed its in- 
tellectual atmosphere. As it was, we were glad 
when summer arrived, and a little cottage on 
one of the delightful beaches near by could be 
taken. It was a great treat, and we were most 
thoroughly enjoying our surroundings, when, in 
the month of August, a thunder-clap fell on 
our ears in the shape of an order for that East- 
ern cavalry recruiting station to be discontinued. 

Boston had kept the station for so many 
years I could not at first believe the bad news 
was true. But it proved to be ; and Captain 
Boyd, who had just received his promotion, was 
ordered to open a recruiting office in Daven- 
port, Iowa. After having served faithfully as 
lieutenant for twenty-one years, he had at last 
been advanced to the rank of captain. 

It was not deemed advisable for the entire 
family to be continually changing from East to 


.West, and vice versd^ so Captain Boyd went 
alone to his new station. Time showed that 
our decision had been judicious ; for before his 
two years of recruiting service were over he 
had been assigned to four different stations, 
going from Davenport, Iowa, to Rochester, New 
York, and finally spending three months at 
Jefferson Barracks, Missouri. 

Our long planned Eastern tour had proved 
an utter failure, and was one more added to the 
list of many disappointments. After giving up 
our country home near Boston, I went to New 
York with our children, and placing them in 
excellent schools entered a hospital, where I re- 
mained for one long year, a sufferer from illness 
entailed by early army hardships. Our little 
boy was sent to his grandparents in the country, 
and my husband returned to Texas. 

After Captain Boyd had been alone there 
a year, he asked for and obtained leave of 
absence, which permitted us to spend four 
pleasant months at Cooperstown, on Otsego 
Lake, where we had a glorious time. My hus- 


band endeared himself to every one, for he was 
constantly helping others. 

While he was stationed at Davenport, Iowa, 
a gentleman from there called on me in New 
York, who described Captain Boyd as the most 
popular man in the city. He said that every 
white man, woman, and child in the town knew 
and loved my husband, while every old darky 
idolized him. 

The ladies connected with one of Davenport's 
principal churches were greatly in need of 
money for charitable purposes, and Captain 
Boyd wrote and delivered a lecture in their be- 
half which netted nearly three hundred dollars. 
It was a humorous view of the Indian question, 
and elicited shouts of applause. He was sub- 
sequently invited to give the same address in 
other cities. 

On Captain Boyd's return to the frontier his 
services as - a lecturer were in great demand, 
and he was in that way able to raise large sums 
of money for charitable purposes. My husband 
became the best-known army officer at the West 


on account of his frequent appearances on the 
lecture platform. 

In tlie early spring of 1885, four years after 
having left Texas, I returned. In all that time 
not one moment had passed in which I would 
not gladly have been there ; so I seized the first 
plausible excuse afforded — a greatly needed 
change for our daughter — and leaving the eld- 
est boy at school in New York, again sailed for 
husband and frontier life. 

The sea voyage to Galveston was the most 
soothing and delightful trip of the kind possi- 
ble. The water never appears rough immedi- 
ately after leaving New York; and for three 
days, while off the coast of Florida, the vessel 
seemed gently — almost imperceptibly so far as 
motion was concerned — gliding along. On 
arriving at San Antonio, instead of a tedious 
ambulance-ride awaiting us, we went by rail to 
Fort Clark, which was reached in a few hours. 

The sight of dear old familiar landmarks 
was inexpressibly pleasant ; and when we were 
ushered into one of those well-remembered little 


houses, with all the old furniture about, it really 
seemed too good to be true. Everything was 
more than satisfactory ; and the gratiJfication af- 
forded by the change can be understood only by 
those who have been away from loved scenes 
for years, and on returning found all expecta- 
tions realized. Old friends were there to greet 
us, and we were supremely happy in the renewal 
of our former life. 

My content and joy lasted four months, when 
rumors of Indian outbreaks in far away New 
Mexico reached our ears, and were soon followed 
by an order for all cavalry troops to hold them- 
selves in immediate marching readiness. 

Captain Boyd had just returned from a trip 
to San Antonio, having gone there in compli- 
ance with a request to deliver the oration at the 
National Cemetery on Decoration Day. In that 
address my husband distinguished himself in a 
Avay to be long remembered by his family and 
friends. It was the most touching and felici- 
tous tribute to our dead soldiers ever written ; 
touching because of the truest sentiments; fe- 


licitous because in a place where sectional feel- 
ing had for years run riot, not one word was 
uttered to which the veterans on either side 
could object. 

The address was very lengthy, occupying four 
columns of the San Antonio Express^ in which it 
was published next day; but every word was 
listened to with eager interest by the immense 
audience. Long before its conclusion the fer- 
vent tears that fell from old soldiers' eyes 
attested Captain Boyd's eloquence ; and when 
he ceased speaking the veterans, mainly of the 
Southern army, crowded about him with words 
of earnest praise, and begged that he honor them 
with a visit. The Texas papers were unanimous 
in the declaration that no such masterly address 
had ever before been heard on a similar occasion. 

Captain Boyd was obliged to hasten his return 
because feeling very ill; he had been scarcely 
able to stand in the heat of that day. May 30, 
1885, when, as usual at that season of the year 
in Texas, the temperature was extreme and the 
atmosphere torrid. After reaching home he 


was confined to his room for a week, and then 
came word for the troops to start for New 

The order was received in a telegraphic dis» 
patch from Washington, and was immediate!}'' 
complied with. Before we could realize it, every 
troop of cavalry had left Fort Clark for an in- 
definite period. A long series of Apache out- 
rages headed by Geronimo had resulted in the 
determination to capture him and his band, if it 
took the whole army to do it. Accordingly, 
from every post in New Mexico and Texas all 
troops that could be spared were sent. 

A cordon of outposts was established, so that 
the Indians who had gone into Mexico could 
not return without being captured. The devas- 
tations they had wrought were terrible. The 
little corner of south-western New Mexico, in 
the neighborhood of Fort Bayard, had become a 
veritable charnel house. Every interest of the 
country had been ruined by their constant raids. 

The President's attention was directly drawn 
to the state of affairs by my brotlier, who was 


in Washington at the time. He had edited a 
paper in Silver City, New Mexico, for several 
years, and had kept an account of the num- 
ber of murders committed by Indians — five 
hundred in eight years. In such a sparsely 
settled country the loss of so many precious 
lives was not only sad beyond expression, but 
if continued must result in hopeless ruin to 
that region, which, as I have before stated, is 
the garden spot of the West. Sheltered by 
numerous hills, cattle always thrive and in- 
crease there, because of the perfectly equable 
climate and a constant supply of nutritive food. 

For those very reasons, probably, it was a 
paradise for the Indians, who could steal in and 
out more readily on account of the numerous 
mountain hiding-places. 

It was very unusual for troops stationed in 
Texas to be sent out of their district; but in 
that case everything possible was done to en- 
hance the safety of the long-suffering peo- 
ple. I shall not try to give an account of that 
long-protracted warfare, which lasted eighteen 


months before Geronimo was captured. During 
that time our troops marched over ground that 
was well-nigh impassable, and endured every 
species of hardships. The cavalry worked night 
and day to secure those wily Indians, and finally 
succeeded; but a volume would be required if 
their hardships and sufferings were to be re- 

It is simply impossible for any one who has 
not seen the unsettled portions of this country 
to imagine its character and the difficulties 
which beset troops that follow on the trails of 
Indians. Our cavalry has been criticised freely ; 
but I would say to the critic : " Go thou and do 
likewise." More than they have done, it would 
be impossible to do, and no country could be 
less grateful than ours. If soldiers . were re- 
warded according to their deserts, each cavalry- 
man would wear the choicest prize within the 
nation's gift. The service is very trying. I 
can scarcely recall an officer who is not a mar- 
tyr to severe sufferings caused by constant ex- 
posure, and who in middle life is not an old 
man both in feeling and experience. 


After reaching Deming, New Mexico, Cap- 
tain Boyd's troop was sent into the Black 
Range, where they encamped at a little place 
called Grafton, fifty miles from the mountains. 
I have my husband's diary, which contains an 
account of the march and the country over 
which they traveled. He greatly disliked to 
settle quietly down in the camp selected as a 
permanent one, and was delighted when a letter 
summoning him away was received. 

The letter was sent from a little Mexican 
town about one hundred miles distant, and 
informed him that ten Indian women had 
reached there, who, if captured, would per- 
haps prove valuable hostages. Thc}^ were the 
wives of some members of the band that were 
on the war-path ; and if they could be secured 
the probability of effecting a treaty seemed 

Captain Boyd lost no time in preparations, 
but started at once with twenty mounted men. 
The march occupied five days, and on reaching 
the town the Indian women were found in an 
almost starving condition. 


The country was very rougli, and a few lines 
received from my husband while there stated 
that he was suffering greatly from the effects 
of bad di'inking-water. The man Avho had sent 
the letter begged him to remain a few days, and 
not risk the effects of the return to camp while 
so ill. But he refused to stay, fearing the In- 
dian women might escape if not speedily taken 
to a permanent military station. 

My husband returned to camp, having suf- 
fered intensely during the ten days of his ab- 
sence, and when he reached his troop was 
dying, though still refusing to consider him- 
self seriously ill. He at once ordered the 
only officer with him to proceed with the 
Indian women to the place where the main 
body of the regiment was encamped, one hun- 
dred and fifty miles distant. 

The young officer was so anxious about Cap- 
tain Boyd that he sent a courier for the nearest 
surgeon, who was at Hillsboro, eighty miles 
away. It was four days before the doctor 
could reach Grafton, and meantime Captain 


Boyd was without proper medical attendance. 
Everything his faithful soldiers could do was 
done ; but, alas, to no purpose ! The army doc- 
tor's first glance showed him that Captain Boyd 
was doomed. 

For five days the most unremitting care and 
attention were given him, both by the kind phy- 
sician and by a captain of the regiment who had 
accompanied him. But all was useless. The 
fifth day ended the life of this noble and true 

Captain Boyd's last hard ride had developed 
violent inflammation which was simply incura- 
ble, as the disease had been increasing for years, 
having first developed when during the war the 
young soldier had been compelled to drink im- 
pure water and go without food for days. Sub- 
sequent years of cavalry hardships had increased 
its strength until that last exposure proved fatal. 

Home in Texas we scarcely realized that he 
was ill when the terrible news of his death 
came in a telegram that had been two days en 


Letters had been received from him so regu- 
larly that when they ceased I supposed he was 
still on the march. When the doctor and cap- 
tain began to write, .their communications were 
at first so encouraging thnt Ave could scarcely 
believe he was in any danger, and were totally 
unprepared for the terrible sequel. In fact, no 
one could at first accept the sad truth ; for Cap- 
tain Boyd had been tlie picture of health, and 
had impressed every one with his unusual 
vitality. When the young officer who had been 
sent forward with the Indian women returned 
to find his beloved captain dead and buried, the 
shock was so great he almost fell from his horse. 

That Indian campaign resulted in some terri- 
ble deaths, but none was more shocking than 
this sad ending to a long and most faithful 

Only a few months previously Captain Boyd 
had spoken very feelingly of the double loss 
army women sustained when death robbed them 
of their husbands — the loss of both husband 
and home. He realized how deeply attached to 


the life they became, and how sad it was that 
they must be cast adrift from all the associa- 
tions of years. But such, though sorrowful in 
all its aspects, is the fate of army women. 

My grief was intensified by the utter refusal 
of the Secretary of War to remove all that 
remained of so true and manly a soldier to a 
National Cemetery. After my first request had 
been denied I went to Washington, only to 
receive there a second from the same source ; 
the reason given being that government could 
not afford to incur the expense. 

Had I not made every effort possible, there 
would have been another lonely grave in the 
very heart of a remote mountain region, where 
none who loved him could ever have visited 
the spot. 

Captain Boyd died on the same day as Gen- 
eral Grant. A week later orders were received 
at Fort Clark from the War Department, direct. 
ing that the nation's great general should have 
every honor paid his memoiy. Guns were 
fired, flags displayed at half-mast, and the band 


played sad and solemn music, while troops 
paraded in honor of the dead general and his 
great achievements. 

It seemed to me mournful and unjust, that 
while high and deserved honors were paid the 
memory of one, the other, as noble and true a 
soldier as ever walked tliis earth, and who had 
given twenty-four of his forty-one years of life 
in faithful service, had endured terrible hard- 
ships, and yielded at last even his life for his 
country, should be laid to rest far from home 
and friends, out on the lonely prairie, and except 
in the hearts of a few his memory should utterly 

Captain Boyd sleeps in the National Cemetery 
at San Antonio, where six weeks previously he 
had touched all hearts with his eloquence. 
Graven on his tomb are the last words of that 
memorable address : 

*' Sleep, soldier, still in honored rest 
Thy truth and valor wearing; 
The bravest are the tenderest, 
The loving are the daring." 


Extract from the proceedings of the Association of Graduates of the 

United States Military Academy at its annual reunion, held 

at West Point, Neio York, June 10, 1886.^ 

No. 2216. Class ok 1867. 

Died (in the field), at Camp near Grafton, New Mexico , 
July 23, 1885, aged 41. 

" So passed the strong, heroic soul away — " 

Born in New York ; appointed from New York ; 
class rank, 61. 

Entered the War of the Rebellion as a member 
of the Eighty-ninth New York Volunteer Infantry, 
Sept. 1, 1861, and served until July 1, 1863, when 
he was appointed a Cadet in the United States 
Military Academy. He saw active service in our 

1 This obituary was distributed throughout the corps of cadets at 
West Point by the Commandant at the time of Captain Boyd's death, 
and its perfect justice has never in the slightest degree been 



great war, and was mentioned for gallantry at 
Koanoke Island, North Carolina. 

He was graduated on June 17, 1867, and ap- 
pointed second lieutenant Eighth United States 
Cavalry ; first lieutenant same, Oct. 13, 1868 ; cap- 
tain, Jan. 26, 1882. He died July 23, 1885, closing 
in acknowledged honor and undoubted manly effec- 
tiveness twenty-four years of faithful and gallant 
service in the saddest of our wars, and in Arizona, 
New Mexico, and Texas, where he assisted in de- 
veloping our great inland resources. 

His family have an honest pride in his unosten- 
tatious record, and we all may say : 

" Duncan is in his grave. 
After life's fitful fever, he sleeps well." 


" I, the despised of fortune, lift mine eyes, 
Bright with the luster of integrity, 
In unappealing wretchedness, on high, 
And the last rage of Destiny defy." 

It is with deep solicitude that the writer endeav- 
ors, in a few words, to do justice to the memory of 
Captain Boyd. 

For several long and intensely painful years I 
knew him to be an innocent Enoch Arden in a 


lonely desert of solitude, bereft of — dearer to the 
soldier than wife or life — his honor — a sufferer 
for the crime of another man. 

It was in 1863 that he entered the academy — a 
veteran soldier, a young man whose merits had 
gained for him the honorable rank of cadet. In 
1864 the writer joined the corps, and for three 
years marched shoulder to shoulder in the line of 
the dear old Gray Battalion with the man who 
sleeps far away from the Hudson, and where the 
foot of the idle stranger may stop to mark where a 
good, honest, and much-wronged man sleeps the 
sleep which knows no waking. 

No man ever did better work in the army than 
Boyd. By steady, faithful, and efficient service, he 
wore out suspicion, conspiracy, bad luck, and scan- 
dal. Since the establishment of his innocence — 
unsought, unchallenged by him — his defamer has 
preceded him to the awful bar of the Great Judge. 

He lived to round a career of usefulness and gal- 
lant service with the tributes of regimental and 
army respect, the affection of his brother officers, 
the endearments of family life, the respect of the 
people of Texas and of the territories where he 
had served. Demonstrations by his company and 
comments of the general press prove that his once- 


shadowed name is now clear and clean, and may be 
honored by those who loved him. 

The facts are these : In the winter of 1865-1866 
the robbery of certain sums of money occurred in 
^'B" Company, United States Corps of Cadets. It 
is unnecessary to refer to the facts other than that 
after repeated robberies and some rather crude de- 
tective work, one evening, at undress parade in the 
area of barracks. Cadet Boyd was ignominiously 
brought before the battalion of cadets with a pla- 
card of " Thief " on his breast, drummed out of the 
corps, mobbed and. maltreated. A most intense 
state of excitement prevailed on the post, and the 
strongest discipline was enforced, the cadets being 
summarily quelled in any riotous actions. Inno- 
cent parties had their names dragged into the 
affair, and poor Boyd finished his cadetship gener- 
ally cut in the corps, and endured, till he gradu- 
ated, a life which was a living hell. 

The scandal followed him to his regiment, and 
years of exemplary behavior were needed to enable 
him to live down his trouble. His quiet, manly ob- 
stinacy in clinging to the army is explained by his 
innocence. To the honorable but hot-headed men 
who so long made Boyd carry the burden of an- 
other's crime, deepest regret must ever attend the 


memories of this affair. It is a matter of strange 
remark that the guilty man who made Boyd suffer 
for him — John Joseph Casey, of the class off 
1868 — was accidentally shot at drill, by a soldier, 
at Fort Washington, Md., March 24, 1869, within 
nine months after his apparently honorable gradu- 
ation. The careers and untimely end of several 
who bore down on the suffering man of whom we 
speak show some strange and continued sadness or 
burdens of expiation. It is all over now. The 
wandering squadron passing poor Boyd's grave 
may dip the colors to a man whose eyes closed in 
honor, true to himself, to his family, his corps and 
to the dear old flag that he served so patiently, so 
quietly, and so well. God rest his soul ! Amen. 

His innocence was publicly established as fol- 
lows : In the winter of 1867-1868, Cadet Casey, 
while sick in the hospital, confessed to his room- 
mate, Cadet Hamilton (now dead), that he (Casey) 
had stolen the moneys for which poor Boyd had 
suffered the loss of name and fame. 

[The records show that Casey was in the hospital 
from Jan. 24 to Jan. 31, 1868, suffering from de- 
mentia. He was so ill that his classmates took 
turns in nursing him. One night, in his delirium, 


he spoke of the Boyd affair. Hamilton happened 
to be with him at the time. The next morning, 
when Casey was again in a conscious .condition, 
Hamilton told him what he had said. It was then 
that Casey confessed his part of the conspiracy. If 
it had not been for Casey's illness the facts above 
narrated would never, in all human probability, 
have come to light. — Sec. Assn.'] 

It is unnecessary for the writer to state why 
Hamilton kept this awful secret locked in his 
breast from 1867-1868 until he died, Jan. 22, 1872, 
from consumption ; but he did, alas for him ! 
Casey had peculiar temptations. Private matters 
and a hounding blackmail pressed him for money, 
which he stole from rich cadets. The cause was 
a concealed marriage of Casey's, that if known 
would have voided his cadetship and destroyed his 
chance for social elevation. 

Poor Boyd lived alone in a room on the third 
floor, third division, "B" Company. Casey lived 
directly opposite, and concealed marked money in 
Boyd's books, which caused Boyd to be suspected 
as the thief of all the money previously stolen. 

Hamilton, the confidant, feared his room-mate of 
four years, erred, and kept silent, as far as- 1 know, 


until June, 1871. At the St. Marc Hotel, Wash- 
ington, D.C., Lieutenant Hamilton, in view of his 
approaching death, communicated to me his knowl- 
edge of Casey's confession and of Boyd's inno- 
cence. I was shocked, and at once communicated 
the facts to the then Lieut. 0. B. Boyd, on the 
frontier. On my return, after three years of ab- 
sence in the Orient, Europe, and the South, I dis- 
covered, in a conversation with Captain Price of 
the engineers, that full justice had not been done. 
Duplicate affidavits were immediately made by me 
and forwarded to Captain Boyd and another per- 
son interested. I received a letter from Boyd 
thanking me for my efforts — a letter that has 
made me always happy, and which, I regret, is 
stored with valuable archives where I cannot at 
once find it. It speaks of his struggles, and pleas- 
antly says that his character needs no present 
backing, but that a time will come when I may 

1 speak and tell all, if I think it will please those 

' who value him. 

It was in Siberia that I received the letter ask- 
ing me to commit these facts to paper, and by 
hazard I found a stray copy of the Army and Navy 
which contained a report of Captain Boyd's honor- 
able obsequies. 


From the Pacific I pen the last tribute to a man 
of much-tried worth. The subject brings back 
painful memories of two men whom I loved and 
honored in my cadet days — Casey and Hamilton. 
I am proud to state here that two of my class 
never cut Boyd, and several others in the corps did 
him some act of kindness in the awful silence of 
two years. With pride I recall that the officers 
of the post did full justice to his barren rights, 
and that the old and faithful servants of the 
Academy treated him with a discerning kindness 
which is a wreath of honor on their silent graves. 
I will not refer to one affection which cheered him 
— there are things too sacred for words. 

It is all over ! There is only one name off the 
duty roster; an empty chair; a lonely grave; an 
old sword hanging idly in the sunshine some- 
where ; a riderless horse ; a void in the little 
family circle which knew and loved the man who 
is no more. 

It is well to know that his name is mentioned 
with honor and respect; that the burden of an- 
other's crime has been cast from him, and that 
Time will quietly and in honor carpet the grave of 
the honest soldier with " the grass which springeth 
under the rain which raineth on the just and the 


unjust alike." I believe restitution of honor and 
public consideration has, in so far as possible, been 
fully made. I look back sadly on my waning 
youth, as I think of this story, its actors, and 
that — 

*' The saint who enjoyed the communion of heaven, 
The sinner who dared to remain unforgiven, 
The wise and the foolish, the guilty and just, 
Have quietly mingled their bones with the dust." 

Richard H. Savage, 

Class of ISGS. 





Written by Captain Orsemus Bronson Boyd, in behalf 
of the Charitable Enterprises of the Ladies connected 

with the Church of Davenport, Iowa, and also 

given before the Masonic Lodge in San Antonio, 

Ladies and Gentlemen : — In the first place I am 
not a lecturer. I make this announcement now, 
j for fear you may not discover it before I shall have 
finished, or if the fact should be rudely thrust 
upon you, I will have pleaded guilty in advance to 
the indictment. 

When, a boy, I took part in the debating clubs 
that were held in those old red schoolhouses where 
all great affairs of state — wars, revolution, poll- 


tics and finance — were discussed with the free- 
dom of boys and the ignorance of savages, there 
was one question which never failed to elicit ample 
talk : " Resolved, that anticipation is better than 
reality," and on that question I was always in the 
affirmative. In an hour you will all be with me. 

I shall tell no tale of personal adventure ; noth- 
ing worth recording ever happened to me. Dio- 
genes, with a lantern, and open sunlight to aid the 
lantern, in the city of Athens failed to find an 
honest man. An untutored Indian from the plains 
of Texas, amid the common events and every day 
life of the Pale-faces, discovered that their vaunted 
civilization was a myth, and their boasted culture 
a delusion. Let us at once annihilate the Indian 
and discredit Diogenes. 

In common with all Christians of our kind, we 
believe that it is easier for a camel to go through 
the eye of a needle than for a rich man to inherit 
the kingdom of heaven. There are other Chris- 
tians who believe that it is easier for a rich man to 
go through the eye of a needle than for a camel 
to inherit the kingdom of heaven. Who shall say 
which Christian is the Christian ? 

Before the brothers of this noble profession, this 
mystic tie, whose deeds have been known in every 


land and under every sun — amid burning flames 
and on frozen mountains, on swollen rivers and 
tempestuous seas, by the bedsides of dying princes, 
in the cabins of poverty, desolation, and disease, 
in public and private, to bond and free, to all 
brothers who own its symbolic rites — to all 
brothers and wives of the brothers, I can more 
freely speak of one who, though ignorant and a 
savage, still found in his own faith and his own 
civilization his own Christianity. 

Eighteen hundred years ago, in Capernaum by 
the Sea of Galilee, a man, whom the charity of 
God had sent into the world, was preaching to the 
people. And a certain lawyer, willing to justify 
himself, stood up and asked, " Who is my neigh- 
bor ? " Promptly came the answer : 

" A certain man went down from Jerusalem to 
Jericho, and fell among thieves, which strij^ped 
him of his raiment, and wounded him, and de- 
parted, leaving him half dead. 

"And by chance there came down a certain 
priest that way, and when he saw him he passed 
by on the other side. 

" And likewise a Levite, when he was at the 
place, came and looked on him, and passed by on 
the other side. 


" But a certain Samaritan as he journeyed, came 
where he was ; and when he saw him, he had com- 
passion on him. 

" And went to him, and bound up his wounds, 
pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own 
beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of 

" And on the morrow when he departed, he took 
out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said 
unto him. Take care of him : and whatsoever thou 
spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. 

" Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was 
neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves ? " 

On the boundless prairies of the West and 
South, that are in extent empires, the white man 
has learned that devotion which Nature, in her 
grandest forms, most surely teaches. He has 
learned that tolerance which men unfettered by 
the bonds of conventional society most quickly 
1 Two years ago last July I found myself en- 
camped upon the banks of the Red River of 
Texas, with forty horsemen as scouts under my 
command. Like a silver thread the river ran a 
thousand feet beneath us, through the wildest and 
most precipitous canon. 


At four o'clock one morning, a Seminole Indian, 
attached to the command, brought me intelligence 
that six hours previously six horses, four lodges, 
one sick Indian, five squaws, and several children 
had descended into the canon one mile above us, 
and were then lost to sight. I asked : 

" Had they provisions ? '' 

" Yes ; corn and buffalo meat." 

" How do you know ? " 

" Because I saw corn scattered upon one side of 
the trail, and flies had gathered upon a piece of 
buffalo meat on the other." 

" How do you know that one of the Indians is 

''Because the lodge poles were formed into a 
travois, that was drawn by a horse blind in one 

" How do you know the horse was half blind ? " 

" Because, while all the other horses grazed upon 
both sides of the trail, this one ate only the grass 
that grew upon one side." 

" How do you know the sick one was a man ? " 

" Because when a halt was made all the women 
gathered around him." 

" Of what tribe are they ? " 

" Of the Kiowa tribe." 


And thus, with no ray of intelligence upon his 
stolid face, the Seminole Indian stood before me 
and told all I wished to know concerning our new 
neighbors, whom he had never seen. 

Two hours from that time, not knowing whether 
they were friends or enemies, I was carefully 
studying, from the bluff above, through a field- 
glass, the Indian camp. 

The lodges had all been erected, and were gay 
with the robes of the buffalo of the plains, the 
prairie wolf, and the coyote. A great war bonnet 
of eagles' feathers hung before the door of the 
principal tepee, denoting that its occupant was a 
chief. From the lodge pole floated a blue streamer, 
bearing the rude device, in red paint, of a whip- 
poor-will attacking a rattlesnake ; this told me that 
he was the chief of all the Kiowas. I knew the 
man. I had met him, with many others of his 
tribe, one night several years before, one hundred 
miles below on the same river, and the meeting 
had not been pleasant to either of us. 

In fact, several hours had been required in which 
to adjust our differences ; and as the chief left me 
amid the crack of rifles and the swish of arrows, 
I heard his clear voice solemnly declaring in Span- 
ish that he would surely come again "when the 


moon was young." 'Fate was too strong even for 
the chief of the Kiowas ; he never came ; his tribe 
had been conquered and were at .peace. 

Keturning to my cantonment, I hastily saddled 
a small detachment, and descending the almost 
precipitous sides of the gorge reached the Indian 
encampment, and dismounting, raised the buffalo 
skin that hung before the entrance of the principal 
lodge, and stood un summoned in the presence of 
the chief. An old and shriveled man, with nerve- 
less arms and sunken eyes, from which the fire of 
battle had forever fled, lay upon a rude couch of 
skins. He gave courteous greeting, said he knew 
me, and even spoke my name. As I sat upon the 
ground at his side he told me how, for weeks 
before our previous meeting to which I have 
alluded, he had been upon my trail when I marched 
over the short, crisp buffalo grass of the staked- 
plains. He had known my personal habits, the 
disposition of the camp for defense at night, the 
number of men, animals, and wagons ; in fact, all 
that I had known myself. 

The chief then told me that he was stricken by 
death, and should soon be in the presence of the 
Great Spirit, roaming the happy hunting grounds 
of his tribe, and asked that he be allowed to die 
in peace. 


Day after day I visited the dying warrior, who 
related from time to time, as his strength per- 
mitted, the story of his life and the story of his 
tribe. He recounted the wrongs they had suffered, 
and the wrongs they had done. He told me of 
their customs and traditions, their marriages, 
births, and deaths. ' For days he talked, sometimes 
in the soft Spanish tongue, often in the beautiful 
sign language of the plain Indian. 

In my youth I lived near, and of course read the 
romantic creations of that clever gentleman who 
resided upon the shores of the beautiful Coopers- 
town Lake. I had also read the works of a novel- 
ist from the South who had invested the Indian 
character with all the warmth and color of his 
native skies, with all the romance that belonged to 
his Southern forests, gay with flowers and poetic 
with festoons of clinging moss. 

In consequence of this I had come to look upon 
the Indian as all that was noble, grand, and heroic 
in war, all that was gentle, tender, and true in 
peace. I had read with breathless interest of his 
loves, courtships, and marriages. I had admired 
his keenness of vision upon the trail, his untiring 
energy, fleetness of foot, immunity from fatigue, 
his long fasts, and the halo of romance that 


seemed to ever encircle him. I considered him a 
" Chevalier Bayard/' a model of physical-beauty, 
who resembled, perhaps, the dying gladiator. 

My boyhood's dream was rudely broken, and like 
many another boyish illusion it disappeared in a 
day. I found the Indian dirty, unwashed, and 
tieacherous, a prey to the lowest instincts and the 
most revolting cruelty. 

He was no " Chevalier Bayard,'^ and did not 
resemble the dying gladiator. The romance, color, 
light and shades — all were gone, and I learned 
that the Indian and our treatment of him were 
deformities and blots upon our fair land and our 
modern civilization. Between the law of force 
upon one side, and the law of civilization upon the 
other, the Indian has been tossed like an unripe 
apple, and has not known which to obey. 

One night the old Indian chief died, and the 
next morning, with such rude and simple rites as 
obtained among the Kiowas, we carried him to his 
last resting place upon the platform which had 
been erected. for the purpose. 

The dawning light was flushing rosy red in the 
blushing East ; in the West the darkness of the 
night still lingered. The songs of a thousand birds 
and the chirp of millions of insects broke in some 


measui-e the eternal silence of those great plains. 
The buzzard, a mere speck in the sky, with the 
eye of the eagle waited impatiently for his pi*ey. 
Herds of timid antelopes, with great startled eyes, 
watched us from a distance, ready to dash away on 
fleetest foot at a moment's warning. Troops of 
buffaloes were slaking their thirst in the rippling 
river. The great cat-fish, with strong leaps, rose 
iKHlily from the water in pursuit of prey, and fell 
back witli a spLash. 

All animal life was awake with the flush of the 
morning; and as the sun's disk api)eared above 
the horizon's dead level, we laid the chief upon the 
platform, with his face turned toward the " God of 
the Dome." His body was wrapped in a red 
blanket stoutly bound about with cords. He hatl 
been brg-ve in battle, so all his war implements 
were laid by his side. His great war bonnet of 
eagle's feathers was hung ai)on one of the up- 
right iK)les. His horses were slain by the scaffold. 
Then, to the accompaniment of low-voiced chants, 
his widows l>egan their work of scarification with 
knives upon the lower extremities. When that 
was finished we left him to the hush of those vast 

That night in one of the lodges a great great 


granddaughter but a few months old died. The 
child was placed in a frail burial canoe, covered 
with trailing vines that had grown upon the river's 
banks, and gently cast adrift. No doubt the tiny 
bark was soon caught in rippling eddies, or its 
course stopped by stout rushes, and in time its life- 
less occupant returned to the dust from which it 
had sprung. 

After the obsequies of the dead chief I returned 
to camp, and in order to divert my mind sought to 
fatigue my body by stalking buffaloes all day. But 
I had gained a new insight into the Indian char- 
acter, and one which enabled me to respect it. 

That evening, lying in a hammock under the 
awning of my tent, as the first shades of darkness 
came creeping over the plains, there struck upon 
my ears, borne upward from the gorge below, the 
chant of Indian women for their dead. Its tones 
were the rhythm of sorrow and the notes of woe. 
Until midnight the songs continued, now loud, then 
sinking to the faint whisperings of the wind. Next 
morning the lodges were in ashes, and nothing was 
left of our strange neighbors but the dead chief 
upon his platform, and the footprints of their moc- 
casins as they traveled straight toward the North 


These events made so strange and strong an 
impression upon me, that I propose telling you 
this evening, in as simple words as possible, the 
story of the pilgrimage of Weeping Weasel, late 
chief of all the Kiowas. I shall dwell longer upon 
his attempts to introduce the white man's civiliza- 
tion in his tribe, what he saw, and the inferences 
drawn therefrom, than upon all the other incidents 
he related. The conclusions at which Weeping 
Weasel, with the intellect of an Indian and the 
sagacity of a politician, arrived, are not necessarily 
mine ; and if their recital should wound any one 
within the sound of my voice, I would beg them to 
remember that they were told me by a dying In- 
dian chief, as he lay in his lodge upon the banks of 
the Eed River flowing peacefully through the great 
staked-plains of Texas. 

Years and years before — even for hundreds of 
summers — the Kiowas had been a powerful nation. 
When the tent of the chief was planted, there clus- 
tered around it five thousand lodges. The tribe 
was rich in the implements of war, owned thou- 
sands of horses, were mighty himters, bold and 
aggressive warriors. Ko footprint of man or ani- 
mal, no upturned stone, broken twig or bended 
grass escaped the keen vision of their scouts. 

844 APPENDIX n. 

From El Paso, -where the Eio Grande del Norte 
commences its westward course, and swings in the 
arc of a great circle until completed at the mouth 
of the Pecos, where it again flows south, they 
owned the lands of which this river formed the 
Western boundary j thence south across the " Dev- 
iPs Kiver" and the Nueces, to where it empties 
into beautiful Matagorda Bay. On the east they 
had fought for supremacy with tlie Comanches, 
and been victorious. They had made the Tonka- 
was a nation of beggars and old women. Prom 
across the border they had repelled invasions 
of the Kickapoos and Lipan-Apaches. They had 
marched, an irresistible army, across the pine ridges 
and cedar mountains of New Mexico, and fear- 
lessly confronted the Warm Springs and Mescalero 
tribes. The Utes of Colorado had descended from 
their mountain fastnesses, battled with them in 
the open plain, and been defeated. They had 
measured lances with and beaten the Tonto and 
Jicarrila — Apaches of Arizona. They had de- 
stroyed the great wheat-fields on the Gila River of 
the Pima and Maricopa tribes. The Yumas had 
heard their battle-cry. They had pushed their 
conquests amongst the Pi-Utes and Shoshones of 
Nevada, and from thence had marched against the 


Bannocks of Idaho, and the Nez Perces of Oregon. 
Their spoils of war had been great. 

But in course of time the hands of all other 
tribes were raised against them, and through dis- 
aster and defeat they had been reduced to the 
occupancy of only the great plains of Western 

At that time Weeping Weasel became their 
chief. He was then in the prime of manhood. 
The nerveless arm that I saw in his lodge could 
then draw the six-foot arrow to its head, and make 
the cord of deer sinews writhe and moan as in 

He saw that peace and industry would perhaps 
be of great benefit to his tribe, and after much 
communion with himself and consultation with the 
elders, concluded at no distant day to turn his 
face toward the rising sun, and learn the strange 
and barbarous ways of the Pale-faces. He had 
been told they were as numberless as the leaves of 
the forest when the hot sirocco that comes from 
the southern islands shakes them with its fiery 

Marching over these great and silent plains 
under the blazing sun, he had learned in some 
instinctive way that the Pale-faces would build 


cities there, and people them with busy men and 

Weeping Weasel had seen the Pongo or smoke- 
man in the North that traversed its iron rails 
faster than his fleetest pony could gallop. He had 
seen a small wire stretched on poles through which 
he could but dimly comprehend that the men who 
lived at the rising sun talked with their brothers 
who lived at the setting sun. 

But before starting on a journey so fraught 
with peril, he thought best to call to his aid 
teachers — those of good repute among the Pale- 
faces. Through a missionary he secured the ser- 
vices of two devotees from Massachusetts, who 
came and opened a school for the boys and girls of 
his tribe. 

It is true that in visage and mien these teachers 
did not resemble the dusky beauties of the Kiowa 
race. The ringlets worn at the side of the face, 
the eyes that looked through strange pieces of 
glass, the mysterious scrolls which they held in 
their hands, and the souncfing fall of a heavy foot 
instead of the dewy touch of the moccasin, were 
not calculated to inspire love and respect from un- 
tutored savages. 

Still, with the devotion of their calling, and in 


tlieir desire to do good, these mistaken and mis- 
guided women taught on. But one fatal day they 
were surprised by Weeping Weasel while teaching 
the children that the world is round. The Kiowas 
believed it to be flat. Weeping Weasel, with the 
decision worthy a general of iron nerve and un- 
flinching courage in the right, seized and burned 
them at the stake. 

He scattered their ashes to the four winds of 
heaven, and in a long address to the Historical 
Society of Boston, asked that others with less 
pernicious doctrines be sent. It is perhaps need- 
less to state that even the old Bay State, with its 
advanced ideas and unyielding principles, could 
find no more volunteer missionaries for that work. 
Therefore Weeping Weasel must needs start upon 
his pilgrimage toward the rising sun. 

The night previous to his departure all the 
tribes assembled, and with the great Southern 
Cross gleaming and burning, they performed the 
sacred rites and mysteries of the sun dance. A 
hundred fires flamed brightly. Amid the yells of 
warriors and the shrieks of those fainting from 
self-inflicted tortures, there arose the monotonous 
chants of the women as they prayed for the safety 
of their chief. 


At break of day he left them, and a great silence 
fell upon the tribe as they mournfully sought 
their separate lodges. 

Day by day Weeping Weasel traveled north 
and east, sleeping at night under the stars, his 
food procured by bow and arrow, his drink taken 
from limpid streams. 

At last he came to the country of the " Smoke- 
man," and taking passage was borne swiftly over 
mountains and through the valleys to some bluffs 
upon the boundary of a great State, where other 
Indians had held their councils years before, and 
where he determined to commence his researches 
and investigations. 

His pilgrimage becoming known, the chief was 
hospitably lodged in the house of a Christian 
gentleman of that town who was a land agent. 
Among the Kiowas the title to all lands and the 
occupancy thereof were considered sacred. Even 
in their forays against other tribes they con- 
tended for supremacy, not for a title to the coun- 
try. Indeed, so strong was this honesty implanted 
in the breast of the savage and barbarous Indian, 
that once, after a great battle with the Comanches, 
rather than do violence to this principle he had 
ceded to them a thousand square miles of his own 


country, deeming that better than to question such 
undoubted right. 

The land agent showed him, in his office, maps of 
lands which bore strong resemblance to those oc- 
cupied by his tribe. Upon leaving, this same 
Christian gentleman followed him across the State 
to a city with a great bridge and offered to sell, be- 
seeching him to buy, for a merely nominal sum, 
thousands and thousands of acres upon which his 
tribe had dwelt from time immemorial. Weeping 
Weasel determined not to incorporate the land 
usages of the Pale-faces amongst his people. 

In the towns and camps of the Kiowas, great at- 
tention had been paid to the sanitary conditions of 
their immediate surroundings. This was neces- 
sary for the life and health of individual members 
of the tribe. 

In that city by the bridge he found the people in 
a certain locality stricken unto death by a strange 
pestilence. Upon investigating the cause, he 
learned they all had drank water from a certain 
well. Weeping Weasel concluded that, if he were 
the chief in this locality, there would be sewers 
and water-mains ; or failing these, the inhabitants 
who refused or were too indolent to carry water 
from the river would receive a punishment, com- 


pared with which the cholera would be a lingering 
and painless death. But Weeping Weasel was an 
untaught, rude, and barbarous savage. 

The " Father of Waters " next attracted the at- 
tention of this curious pilgrim. Compared with all 
other rivers he had ever seen, it was as the sun to 
the faintest twinkling star. He worshiped it as a 
god. Day by day he sat upon the banks, watched 
it through all changing moods, loved it best when 
angry currents brought down yellow mud from the 
far North, and worshiped it most when the set- 
ting sun's ocher light fell upon its surging waters, 
enveloping beautiful islands. 

There floated upon its broad expanse number- 
less strange monsters, propelled in some mysterious 
way. Weeping Weasel found they carried grain, 
fruit, and other produce from one part of the 
country to another, and then first began to under- 
stand the law of trade — of barter and sale. He 
took passage upon one of these palaces, descending 
a hundred miles ; saw the busy towns upon the 
banks of his idol, filled, as he thought, with crazy 
men and women. Why all this rush, ceaseless ac- 
tivity and strife for wealth, he questioned. 

Returning at night, and standing upon the deck 
with head uncovered in the reverent attitude a 


savage always assumes when awe-stricken in the 
presence of nature, he suddenly became conscious 
of a strange throbbing through every fiber of the 
monster. He also saw abreast another monster all 
aglow with lire ; men were shouting and running 
like mad! Every few minutes its huge furnace 
doors were opened, and the blazing fires fed with 
pitch and resin. The vessel shook in every joint ; 
men and women were crowding the deck all hoarse 
from shouting ; money was freely changing hands ; 
from the smoke-stacks long lines of fire trailed out 
through the darkness ; the gurgling water at the 
bow was thrown in spray upon the deck. Suddenly 
there was a terrible roar, a great flash of fire, then 
darkness came, and Weeping Weasel knew no more 
until he found himself safe upon the river's bank. 
He was told that a hundred men, women, and 
children had been sacrificed that night. Burning 
with anger and righteous indignation, Weeping 
Weasel attended the coroner's inquest ; the evi- 
dence was conflicting ; no one in particular seemed 
to have been to blame ; it was an accident. Weep- 
ing Weasel went forward to offer his testimony ; a 
savage could not take the oath. The coroner's 
jury promptly acquitted all of blame, even the 
poor Indian, and the event was soon forgotten. 


Weeping Weasel determined that the civilization 
of the steamboat should never be introduced among 
his people. 

Again he turned his face to the east, and trav- 
eled across a great State where the fields were 
waving with ripening grain. Neat farmhouses had 
been erected on every side. The corn and wheat 
that he saw growing seemed to him of no use. 
Who would require it ? 

On these undulating plains with cattle, sheep, 
and horses, where peace and plenty seemed to 
reign and the merry voices of children were heard 
at sunset, our untutored savage began to think 
perhaps was the civilization of which he had 
dreamed. Still he had the Indian's caution, and 
arrived at conclusions slowly. 

He determined to abide three days in the most 
peaceful and quiet village, and chose one with two 
churches, a bank, and store. 

Upon awakening the first morning, he found 
that the store had been robbed and burned during 
the night. The following day the two churches 
were in fierce dispute over some minor point of 
doctrine. The third morning it was learned that 
the bank cashier had absconded with all the funds, 
leaving hundreds of families destitute. 


The Kiowas did not steal ffiom each other ; the 
simple faith in the Great Spirit which they had in 
common furnished no cause for dispute; and the 
custodian of the tribe's public goods never ran 
away with them. They never had thought of such 
an occurrence ; and the event was so improbable 
that those barbarous savages had not even pre- 
scribed a mode of punishment for it. 

. Weary, harassed, tormented, and worn-out even 
at the commencement of his pilgrimage, Weeping 
Weasel would gladly have turned his face toward 
the setting sun ; but patience being one of the great 
virtues of the Kiowas, he again girded up his loins 
and proceeded on his journey. 

But a great fear was coming upon his supersti- 
tious soul. One afternoon, years before, while 
hunting. Weeping Weasel had fallen asleep by the 
side of a spring that bubbled from beneath an 
immense boulder, which was sufficiently large to 
protect him from the sun's rays. As he slept, there 
appeared before him the god Stone-Shirt, followed 
by Pantasco, or he who robs the living ; Kay- Wit, 
he who robs the dead ; and Quite-Qui, who robs 
both living and dead. All passed before the sleep- 
ing warrior, to whom Stone-Shirt foretold in the 
sign language this pilgrimage and the events which 
would follow. 


Weeping Weasel ooiild only dimly comprehend 
on awaking, that in case of failnre he was to be 
turned into one of the three horrid shapes shown 
him by Stone-Shirt ; and, forever shut out from the 
Great Spirit and the happy hunting grounds, his 
soul, without arms to defend itself, must wander 
and fall through unfathomable space and dark- 

When he saw the terrible anxiety, woe, and 
despair written upon the faces of fathers, mothers, 
and children whom the vandal acts of the faithless 
cashier had ruined, Weeping Weasel concluded to 
ever pray that he be not turned into the horrid 
shape which steals from the living. 

In the robbery of the store the proprietor liad 
been killed ; and as this ignorant savage gazed upon 
the form of the man who had died while defending 
his property. Weeping Weasel, in the agony of his 
soul, prayed to Stone-Shirt that he be spared, both 
in this his mortal, and in his future spiritual, 
existence, assuming the form of him who robs the 

In the dispute between the churches, so much 
rancor and venom had been developed that men 
who were peacefully lying, as they had lain for 
years, in the little cemetery of the town, were 


publicly discussed, and motives and opinions the 
worst imputed to them. Happily they were igno- 
rant of all this. 

The living were slandered and the dead vilified. 
Brother became the enemy of brother, sisters were 
estranged, husbands and wives separated. Again 
Weeping Weasel besought Stone-Shirt, and with 
the sweat of mortal agony upon his brow, that, if 
he must, he would face either of the two horrible 
shapes to be spared the form of the one who robs 
both the living and the dead. 

Weeping Weasel soon found himself in a great 
city by a lake. Here he was lodged in the house 
of a gray-haired and respectable man, a pillar of 
the church, and one who gave largely, in an indis- 
criminate way, to churches and the poor. He had 
no time to investigate charities, and only contrib- 
uted to them because he had money, or perhaps to 
ease the gnawings of a conscience not altogether 

Weeping Weasel was taken to church, where ai\ 
eloquent preacher held his audience spell-bound as 
he impressed upon it the evils of gambling. To 
all his strictures the gray-haired man responded 
with fervent "Ahmens ! " 

The next morning his host escorted Weeping 


Weasel to a great mart of trade in that populous 
city. There the savage Indian remembered the 
immense wheat and corn fields he had passed as he 
journeyed east. He saw the reverend gentleman 
who had spoken so eloquently on the sin of gam- 
bling stealthily enter a broker's office and sell 
thousands and thousands of bushels of grain which 
he did not own, and never would. His gray-haired 
entertainer, who had so graciously responded " Ah- 
men ! " stood in the center of hundreds of other 
men, all of whom were shouting and howling as he 
drove grain up and down by a nod of his head ; 
men were ruined and families made destitute by 
this man, who called gambling a ^in. 

Weeping Weasel learned, but it was difficult to 
grasp the idea, that crops were bought and sold 
before they were sown ; that they became a foot- 
ball upon " Change," even while growing ; and 
when finally sent to market they ruined thousands. 
He found that all this disastrously affected the 
poor brethren of the Pale-faces, and that children 
were hungry in consequence. The chief decided , 
he would grow only enough corn to satisfy the 
wants of his people, and would forever remain 
silent in regard to the gambling transactions. 

Once in the history of the Kiowa tribe an old 


and respected warrior had been selected to build a 
lodge in which public meetings were to be held. 
He was to be paid from the goods owned in 
common. To the dismay and horror of all, it was 
found that this rude architect had not been honest ; 
he had demanded more buffalo hides than were 
needed for the building, and the best he had con- 
veyed to his own lodge, and afterward sold to wan- 
dering traders. When the man's crime became 
known he was seized, and the elders sat around 
him Avith stern visages. His trial was short; he 
was bound on the top of the dishonestly built 
lodge, and met his death in its flames. 

Weeping Weasel was shown a great hall of jus- 
tice in that city where the granite was the finest 
and the workmanship the most skillful. He was 
told that the builder had taken the best granite 
and sold it to the traders among the Pale-faces. 
Thinking this had just been discovered, our barba- 
rous Indian went early the next morning to witness 
the destruction of the building and cremation of 
the dishonest builder. He waited until noon, and 
as the building still stood and no torch had been 
applied, Weeping Weasel turned sorrowfully away 
just in time to see the false builder drinking 
champagne at a fashionable restaurant with his 


friends. This phase of civilization would not do 
for the fierce and warlike Kiowas. 

The right of husbands to exact obedience, and 
the duty of wives to obey, was one of the laws of 
the Kiowas, as unalterable as if written upon 
tablets of stone. So strongly was this doctrine 
implanted in the breast of the savage that once, in 
a foray against a Northern tribe, a favorite squaw 
of Weeping Weasel's had, in direct disobedience to 
his command, followed a distance of two days' 
march and entered his lodge at nightfall. She was 
beautiful then ; but when I saw her on the banks 
of the Red Eiver she wais disfigured. A broken 
collar bone and a flattened nose were the results of 
her disobedience. She returned quickly ; her only 
cause of anxiety being that she could not travel 
nights for fear of passing her own village. 

But among the Pale-faces Weeping Weasel 
learned that the custom was different. He found 
the wife frittered away her time while the husband 
was at the counting-room or office. If he com- 
manded her to abstain from the round dances, she 
danced them; if he ordered her east, she went 
west; if he asked her to attend church, she pre- 
ferred the opera; if he expressed a desire for the 
sea-shore, she chose the mountains of New Hamp- 


shire. Weeping Weasel, with the cunning of the 
savage, decided that this should never be told 
the squaws of his nation. i 

As no man, intent upon a great mission, can hope 
to escape annoyances and observation from the idle, 
vulgar, and indolent, this warrior from the South 
found that his wearing apparel, the dress of his 
fathers, and the habit of his tribe, was a matter of 
curious comment even among those busy people. 
His clothes were good enough for him, and there 
were no fashion plates and paper patterns in use 
among the Kiowas. Still, at a council held at one 
time for the general good of the tribe, a daring in- 
novator had, as a protection against snakes while 
marching, suggested that the boots of the Pale-face 
be adopted. A pair had been found amongst their 
war plunder at one time, and had been examined 
curiously by all the tribe. 

In an institution for the sick. Weeping Weasel 
saw in a padded cell a maniac, confined and chained 
to the floor. He held a wisp of straw in his mouth, 
his clothes were torn to tatters, his hands cut and 
bleeding, foam issued from his mouth and mingled 
with blasphemy from his lips. His cries for salva- 
tion from invisible enemies were piteous. The 
matted hair and bloodshot eye told the Indian a 


tale as graphic as the pictured rocks of his owr 
tribe. He found that the man was young, rich, and 
respected. He asked the nature of the disease, and 
was carelessly told that it was "snakes in his 
boots." Sadly Weeping Weasel asked that the 
wire be at once ordered to carry a message to his 
tribe for the immediate destruction of the boots 
found among their plunder. He also wondered 
why the Pale-faces did not at once destroy the ser- 
pent whose terrible folds were coiling around the 
youth of their country. 

All this time Weeping Weasel's perceptions were 
being quickened and his reasoning powers en- 
larged. The Kiowas had always considered the 
marriage tie sacred. It was true a man might 
have many wives, enough to do all the work of 
his lodge, while he used his energies only for war 
or in the pursuit of game. But once taken, the 
man and woman were bound for life. No power 
on earth could dissolve the tie. Infidelity in either 
was punished by death. But in that great city he 
found courts open as the day, in which shameless 
men and brazen women sought the strong arm of the 
law to break and tear asunder the most sacred and 
binding of oaths. Weeping Weasel learned that 
only a publication in an obscure newspaper was 


necessary to satisfy the goddess whom Weeping 
Weasel had seen represented as blind-folded, with 
scales in her hand. Incompatibility of tempera- 
ment was often the cause alleged. This the Indian 
could not understand. Among the Kiowa husbands 
and wives such a thing was unknown. The hus- 
band commanded, the wife obeyed. Weeping 
Weasel found after a time that this term was used 
to indicate that wives had become tired of their 
husbands, or husbands had grown weary of their 
wives. It often meant dishonest and unholy loves, 
and could be construed as indicative of a thousand 
things when the cord that first bound two people 
together had become a gnawing, corroding chain of 

The ignorant savage had not as yet found any 
advantage to be gained from the civilization of the 
Pale-faces. Weary and sick at heart, the pilgrim 
pushed on until he reached the chief city of the 
great nation. He had begun to comprehend the 
numbers of the Pale-faces and their strength. His 
brain was confused. He was so torn by conflicting 
emotions that he feared his judgment would be- 
come warped and valueless. Arriving in the great 
city, he learned that a man with unlimited power 
had betrayed his trust and plundered the city's 


treasury of millions. Yet the blind goddess had 
thrown around him all possible shields to cover his 
glaring rascality. He had banded with him an 
army of thieves. Again a great hall of justice had I 
been the means used to rob and plunder the people 
at will. Before public exposure the thing had been 
a byword and a jest at the clubs. 

The man who had done all this had risen to 
power from the ranks of the common people. 
Weeping Weasel wondered if he had risen to 
power by his rascality. But conscious that he was 
ignorant and a savage, he rejected the thought 
as unmanly. 

When a warrior among the Kiowas betrayed a 
public trust he was terribly punished. But one 
such case had ever been handed down in the tradi- 
tions of their tribe. In that instance the culprit 
had been led in a circle surrounded by all his tribe 
— every man, woman, and child was present — 
the silence was fearful ; then the body of the vic- 
tim was covered with the broad leaves of the 
prickly pear, and they were one by one set on fire. 
The punishment seemed to have been effectual. 

Next morning our Indian appeared at the city 
hall to witness the torture ; again he waited until 
noon, and as no steps had been taken against the 


wrong-doer, he concluded, to say the least, that the 
white man was slow in punishing criminals. 

The Kiowas had always paid great attention to 
the rearing of their children, and especially exer- 
cised great care and foresight over the girls, who 
were to become future mothers of the warriors of 
the tribe. No Indian girl of six or twelve years 
could be absent from her lodge after the fall of 
evening dew. She knew no lovers until she had 
arrfved at the age and estate of womanhood. 
Among the Pale-faces this custom did not obtain. 
Weeping Weasel saw misses of tender age, in pina- 
fores, give large parties to other children ; boys 
were invited. He saw childish eyes sparkle with 
bandied jest and compliments fit only for mature 
years. He saw children, excited by the dance, in- 
toxicated with music, satiated with rich food, 
spend the best hours of the night in gay and reck- 
less dissipation. 

At certain seasons of the year the Chickasaw 
plum furnished much of the food used by his 
tribe. If the pure white dust was brushed from 
its surface when half-ripe, it never fruited in 
perfection. Weeping Weasel found that the Pale- 
faces often brushed the dust of the plum from the 
cheek of childhood. 


The Kiowa woman was to him the model of 
physical beauty ; her large waist, broad, strong 
shoulders, the strength of limb, elastic, springing 
step, and downcast eyes were such as he deemed 
fitting for women who were to rear the future 
braves of their race. 

Among the Pale-faces he found that maternity 
was a burden to be avoided ; that the waist was 
contracted by springs of steel ; the body thrown 
forward at an angle upon the hips by strong pieces 
of wood placed under the heels; the face was 
covered by a vile compound which looked like 
flour, or was painted as the savage paints when he 
marches to battle or prepares for the sun dance. 
Curious to ascertain the exact value of all this 
nonsense he made calculation, and learned that 
the muslin and silk, velvet and ribbons, paint and 
powder, flowers and bits of steel, amounted to 
about four hundred and fifty-three dollars. That 
is to say, in the Kiowa computation, forty-five and 
a half horses. 

Weeping Weasel determined to be silent upon 
this manifest absurdity of the Pale-face women. 

The Kiowa women wore the hair straight down 
their backs and combed away from their eyes. 
The daughters of the Pale-faces cut theirs short in 


front and allowed it, except when curled by hot 
irons, which the damp strangely affected, to fall 
into their eyes. The meaning and mystery of this 
Weeping Weasel never attempted to fathom. 

Besides the Great Spirit whom the Kiowas wor- 
shiped in common, each Indian had a personal 
god to whom alone he was responsible. This god 
was the conscience of the savage, and above it was 
only the commands of the Great Spirit. His reli- 
gion was always with him; it was his shield and 
strength in the day of battle, his comfort in time 
of peace : he heard it in the whispering of the 
wind and the sighing of the trees ; he recognized it 
in the rustle of the growing grass and the ripening 
grain; he felt it in the songs of birds and the 
Avhirr of insects' wings. It warned him in the 
broken watch-spring buzz of the deadly rattle- 
snake ; in the forms of the clouds he saw it ; in 
tlie flush of morning and the darkness of evening 
he knew it. It was his only ideal of the estate of 
future happiness where game would be plenty and 
peace eternal. The bark on which these mysteries 
were written was to him sacred. The savage ac- 
cepted as truth its teachings, which long genera- 
tions of Kiowas had confirmed. 

He went while in that city to hear a speaker — 


silver-tongued and magnetic, who had all the 
graces which belong to the polished orator; his 
voice was like the sound of bells to the Indian, 
whose nature is ever open to the charm of this 
God-like gift. But he heard the man revile, dis- 
tort, and falsify the religion of the white man. He 
heard him read from the sacred book, with laugh- 
ing mien and careless jest, most solemn promises. 
The mysteries of the creation and the origin of the 
Pale-faces became in the mouth of this man as in- 
tangible as the will-o'-the-wisp he had seen floating 
over his Southern swamps. 

Listening to him, and applauding to the echo, 
were sons and daughters of the Pale-faces. Fair 
women and intelligent men accepted as eternal 
truth the words of the speaker. Weeping Weasel 
was ashamed, astonished, dismayed ! In this dese- 
cration of religion the wild Indian of the Southern 
plains thought he could dimly comprehend the 
future downfall of a great nation. 

The pilgrim lost hope. Still he determined to 
pursue the subject to its bitter end, and went one 
bright morning to the City of Churches. Business 
had ceased, and the streets were quiet. In a 
darkened temple, rich with stained glass, the air 
heavy with burning incense, and stirred only by 


the notes of a great organ as it kept time to the 
voices of boys who sang in angelic tones the litany 
of the church, he heard an eloquent preacher tell 
of the wickedness and sin of two great cities ; and 
how, because not ten righteous men could be found 
therein, they were destroyed from the face of the 
earth. He also listened to the story of the wife 
who looked back, and was turned into a pillar of 
salt. The next morning Weeping Weasel bought 
a canopy of asbestos roofing, and thereafter never 
appeared in the streets of either of the cities with- 
out carrying it above his head. 

Again he was shown the great marts of trade, 
larger than the grain exchange of another city. 
Here men bought and sold scraps of paper and the 
country's gold. It was the same old scenes. Stocks 
went up and down by a nod of the head, and again 
men were made poor in a moment. The ruined 
ones were driven from the exchange, and forever 
after, with wild eyes and fevered pulse, they 
haunted its doors and talked, with the strange in- 
fatuation of the Indian hemp-eater, of the rise and 
fall of the stocks that had ruined them. 

One terrible day Weeping Weasel saw a coin 
that the Pale-face used in exchange for goods be- 
come enhanced in value three times. Wild, hag- 


gard men clung to railings for support, so faint 
they could not stand. Two unprincipled members 
of the exchange were the agents of this scheme. 
When night came, the credit of the country had 
been nearly ruined. The two conspirators slunk 
to a hotel that was soon surrounded by a howling 
%iob. Trade and industry were impaired, commerce 
nearly swept from the sea and land, and credit 
almost lost by the act of those two men. Weeping 
Weasel again determined that gambling should 
forever be prohibited among his people, even the 
throw of the six cherry stones for a quart of 
Chickasaw plums. 

Among the Kiowas the public singer of the 
tribe's heroic deeds was a warrior, always well 
paid for his services. He had the warmest seat in 
the lodge, and at the feast of dog-meat the ten- 
derest piece ; but the newspaper man of the Pale- 
faces was lean, ill-fed, and most lightly paid. 
Weeping Weasel found that medicines for the cure 
of all diseases were sold in bottles, and that the 
proprietors waxed rich. The savage concluded 
that all the Pale-faces could drink, but that few 
could read. 

In settling disputes among the Kiowas, all mat- 
ters in question were referred to a council com- 


posed of fifteen elders of the tribe. Each principal 
laid his case before the tribunal with all the clear- 
ness possible, in order that a just decision might 
be reached. Among the Pale-faces the Indian 
found a class of men skilled in the preparation of 
causes in dispute. From long practice, close study, 
and great care, these men, who talked only of 
others' rights and not of their own, had become so 
skillful that white was made black, and black white, 
as each argued his own point. Doubt was thrown 
upon the most open and public transactions. Wit- 
nesses swore to the most improbable events, and 
to occurrences they had never seen. In their ha- 
rangues before the elders each quoted the same 
statutes in the same words, as applicable to his 
side of the cause. There were fierce disputes and 
incessant wrangling. Weeping Weasel determined 
that this kind of practice should never obtain a 
footing in his tribe. 

The Kiowas had always considered sacred the 
life of each member of the tribe. In their rude 
and barbarous code there was no deviation from 
the rule of " blood for blood ; " it was as unchange- 
able as the "Laws of the Medes and Persians." 
In a court of justice Weeping Weasel saw a man 
arraigned who had wantonly slain a brother by 


sending a bullet tlirongli his heart. The crime 
had been seen by many ; there was no conflicting 
evidence; it was premeditated; but again the coun- 
selors covered the case with doubt. The murderer 
^ had a bright, intelligent face and an undimmed in- 
tellect. Weeping Weasel heard him acquitted on 
the ground of temporary emotional insanity. The 
proceedings of that court were unfit for the un- 
civilized Kiowa. 

Among the Kiowas, the position of medicine- 
man was one of great honor and trust, but ex- 
tremely hazardous to the incumbent. When a 
warrior sickened the medicine-man was at once 
summoned. With rude rites, much beating of 
drums and strange incantations, he sought to drive 
away the disease. Sometimes he was unsuccessful 
and the patient died. When the corpse of his mis- 
management was ready for burial the medicine- 
man was summoned, and he always came. He was 
divested of all his titles to respect, all the trophies 
he had gained by successful practice of physic, and 
manfully met his death on the scaffold with his 

Such was not the custom among the Pale-faces. 
Everywhere Weeping Weasel saw gilt-lettered signs 
of the medicine-man of the whites ; yet the Pale- 


faces died, and the same medicine-man ministered 
to anotlier. The savage also noticed that in this 
strange country the physician never attended the 
burial of his victim. Weeping Weasel concluded 
that the death of the doctor had once been a 
custom among the Pale-faces, but having fallen 
into disuse the fraternity attended no funerals for 
fear it might be revived. 

Among the medicine-men of the Pale-faces, 
Weeping Weasel found a class who with pictures 
and posters attracted the eye to fabulous certifi- 
cates of wonderful cures. They resided in great 
houses wherein were all comforts, and where, with 
endless noise and show, they professed to cure all 
diseases by water, by physic, by pills, by powders, 
by plasters, by new and strange remedies, even by 
the laying on of hands. He found that while regu- 
lar practitioners were allowed to live, these people 
fared better even than they. They waxed fat and 
grew rich upon the credulity of an ignorant public. 
They lived and moved in the open glare of the 
noonday sun. After all he had seen, Weeping 
Weasel ceased to wonder at the strange epidemics 
that sometimes prevailed among the Pale-faces. 

He saw long trains, drawn by the mysterious 
Pongo man, and managed by underpaid and care- 


less workmen, collide with other trains, and as a 
result men and women were killed and children 
maimed ; yet no one was punished. 

Our pilgrim now turned his face toward the 
capital of i;he great nation. One of the three 
horrible shapes shown him by Stone-Shirt must 
inevitably become his. But he did not look back. 
Civilization had caused him to think of the 
exhortations of the Pale-faced preacher. He " re- 
membered Lot's wife." 

The Massachusetts school teachers had displayed 
in rude letters on the walls of the lodge in which 
they taught this text from the scriptures : " The 
wicked flee when no man pursueth." In the city 
in which Weeping Weasel had just arrived he 
found that an officer of the Pale-face warriors was 
a defaulter to the sum of many thousands of the 
coins of his people. He was shamefully untrue ! 
His position and name had been used to further de- 
fraud. There were no extenuating circumstances — 
there could be none. But the officer escaped, and 
no one followed and brought him back. Weeping 
Weasel was glad that he had burned the teachers 
at the stake, for he concluded they had willfully 
misrepresented the text hung upon the walls of the 
lodge, and that it should have read, " No man pur- 
sueth when the wicked flee." 


In the Kiowa tribe all the councils were held 
and the proceedings argued in a grave and digni- 
fied manner. The pipe, signifying good will and 
friendship, was first passed around. Each warrior 
touched it with his lips. That day on the banks 
of the Eed Eiver, when Weeping Weasel attempted 
to tell me of the councils of the elders of the white 
man, his breath was short, and much of what he 
said was lost. 

In that city he was told offices were bargained 
for ; the daughters of the Pale-faces solicited them 
for their husbands and friends. He saw a cabinet 
minister fall from his high place through the sale 
of paltry positions. 

Worn, harassed and broken in spirit, his pilgrim- 
age useless, as no good could, in his opinion, come 
to the savage from the white man's civilization, 
Weeping Weasel turned his face towards the set- 
ting sun. He traveled as before, sleeping at night 
under the stars, and again his drink came from 
limpid streams ; but his food was procured by a 
revolver and magazine gun of the Pale-faces. 
Civilization had taught him the deadly effect of 
these weapons which he afterward used upon his 
enemies and the Pale-faces themselves. 

He returned to his tribe. His coming was seen 


from afar. Without a word he entered his lodge : 
he had no greeting for his faithful wives who 
clustered around him. 

Three days passed, and then Weeping Weasel 
told to his people the story of his pilgrimage, told 
what he had seen and heard, and the conclusions 
he had drawn therefrom. With barbarous splen- 
dor he was tried for the crime of falsehood, which 
is capital among Indians, all the men, women and 
children of the tribe serving as judges. 

In a great amphitheater of rock, at the junction 
of the Pecos with the Rio Bravo del Norte, where 
the swift rush and meeting of the two rivers forms 
a whirlpool from which nothing can escape, the 
public trials of the tribe were held, the people sit- 
ting for days in solemn judgment. If sentence of 
death was decreed the body was thrown into this 
fearful eddy, and watched by all the tribe as it 
whirled, leaped, and sprang in the boiling water 
until its final disappearance. ; 

For generations and generations the gray and 1 
frowning rocks, had witnessed the trials of offenders 
among the Kiowas. On one side rose sloping to 
the bluff a half-circle of trees. So thickly grew 
the branches of those pines and cedars that but 
scant sunlight could filter through them. Custom 


had decreed that if, at the moment of passing sen- 
tence, a ray of light should penetrate those thickly- 
mingled branches and fall upon the face of the 
criminal, one-half of the sentence should be re- 

The trial was as great as the occasion. Eagle 
Face, the oldest medicine-man of the tribe, was 
master of ceremonies. Flowing Hair, the favorite 
wife of Weeping Weasel, who had at one time, 
during five days of starvation, fed her first-born 
boy with blood drawn from her breast, was there, 
but silent, in her great fear, as became an Indian 
woman. Circumstances were against the pilgrim. 
Those wild savages could by no argument be 
brought to believe that there were such uncivilized 
people upon the face of the earth. If it were true, 
how could they live together? It was decided 
that sentence of death must be passed. 

The chief, proud and defiant, took his stand 
against the half -circle of trees. Below, the pool 
wafi lashing itself into anger from a rising river. 
Flowing Hair had thrown herself at his feet as 
if to interpose her womanly strength against the 
dread sentence of an undeviating Indian code. At 
that moment a broad, imprisoned ray of light that 
had been entangled among the pines escaped and 


fell, in all its trembling warmth and pitying ten- 
derness, upon the face of the wild Indian who had 
told the truth. In its soft caress it embraced the 
form of his fainting squaw. 

Weeping Weasel escaped capital punishment, but 
was deposed from civil authority over the Kiowas, 
and was only obeyed as their supreme war-chief. 
His sentence further banished him, when stricken 
by death, from his tribe and from burial with his 
brethren. This was why I found him while dying, 
surrounded only by his family, on the banks of 
the Eed Eiver. 

On the night of his death, to comfort a poor, 
dying soul, whose future seemed bright enough — 
although his religion was not mine — I told him, 
in the sign language, which his glazed and closing 
eyes could but dimly see, that, in my opinion, his 
tribe was nearer civilization than he dreamed> 
since to advanced ideas his sentence seemed just, 
' and that he had only suffered the fate of all 

f v;(;.^^^,;