THE INDIAN CAPTIVE,
LONG LOST JACKSON BOY
Abducted from his Parents at Jackson, Michigan,
Aug. 3, 1837, at the tender age of Five Years.
Returned October 19, 1866.
TWEHTY-NINE YEARS WITH THE INDIAN TRIBES OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS
Edited Tby- J. 52.
PUBLISHED BY FILLEY & BALLAED.
Made by the WESTERN BOOK MANUFACTUBING Co., 80 & S2 Washington St.
LIFE AND ADVENTURES
STOLEN FROM HIS HOME
JACKSON, MICE, BY THE INDIANS,
SAFE RETURN FROM CAPTIVITY,
October 1O, 186G.
AFTER AN ABSENCE OF 29 YEARS.
PUBLISHED BY FILLEY & BALLARD.
Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1867, by FILLET & BALLARD, in the Clerk's
Office of the District Court of the TJ. S. for the Northern Dist. of Illinois.
THE AUTHOR, in presenting this (2d) Edition to a more
than generous public, MOST KESPECTFULLY Dedicates
this work to that NOBLE BAJSDD of early pioneers of Michi
gan, whose arduous and untiring efforts in the great search,
and common sympathies for the " LONG LOST JACKSON.BOY,"
and heart broken parents, deserve the highest mark of af
fection, and lasting remembrance.
IN presenting this work to the public, we feel that we
are giving a statement of facts which are not only of great
interest, but which will, in time, become portions of the
Indian history of the distant "West. The affidavits and cer
tificates which are introductory to the Indian Boy's own
narrative, are bona fide, the parties making them being
respectable and reliable people.
"We have been particular in giving all possible evidence
as to the identity of the long lost boy, that no possible
doubt may remain; but feeling that a better idea can be
obtained from his own story, have not attempted to minutely
describe many of the scenes through which he passed. "We,
therefore, in the following pages, submit the evidence and
Mrs. Mount's statement Grandison Filley's statement Certificates of prominent
citizens of Jackson Statement of Daniel M. Lyons Of Ammi Filley Child Lost
(poem) Particulars of the loss of the boy William Filley The search The sus
pense The agonized mother and family Death of the mother Mr. Filley's trip
to Connecticut Hope revived A boy found Letter.from Hon A. F. Collins, rel
ative to a child supposed to be the lost William Filley Reply of Abel F. Fitch-
Affidavits and certificates of citizens of the States of New York, substantiating
the opinion of Mr. Collins Letter from the lost boy Description of the city of
Jackson His return, unique appearance, experiences, etc. His hearty welcome
at Jackson Life and wanderings during captivity The poem"0ntwa" Oregon-
Mary Mount, the supposed murderess of the boy.
Apology Early recollections and treatment First information as to his nativity
Return Selection of James Z. Ballard to edit* this book Camping-ground of the
Indians near Fort Kearney Indian Habits The warlike and blood-thirsty Siouxs
Burning of a pappoose A squaw experiments on a pappoose with boiling water
Horrible cruelty The death penalty.
Disadvantages Finding of gold in California Early school houses Sent to school
Difficulty in learning Taken from school Dislike to leaving pale face associa
tionsReturn to bondage Punishment of Indian children Desire to be transferred
from Big Crow and Walla Walla tribes to the Camanche tribe.
The transfer effected Adoption Made a Chief and head Medicine man Liberty
Surmises concerning relatives Occupation as second Chief Inability of the In
dian to understand English Friendship and love of the Indians How to jerk
meat Panther hunting and its dangers Torture of panther whelps A panther
fight Distressing situation Relieved by three pale-faces,escaped prisoners from
the Osage Indians Take pale-faces to my tribe, who kindly treat them and suffer
them to go on their way The Osage Indians Their manners and customs Their
cruelty Tortures Roasting a pappose Religion of the Osages.
Life in the Rocky Mountains Mayriage and its peculiarities A good opening foi
wife deserters Dress of the Indians He induces the squaws to adopt the pale
face style of dressing Becomes a modiste Camping-grounds Trading post
Astoria Its location Indigenous growth of tobacco, quality, etc The Caman-
che tribe Savage Indians The Arrapahoes Their filthy habits Revengefulness
Tortures Their superstitions.
Indian tribes Their ignorance Enlightening them Their cruelty Murder An
attack Poisoned arrows Experiments Panthers Their habits Their tenacity
of life Value of their skins for moccasins Abundance of the antelope Superior
ity of the skins of the elk and moose Their scarcity Fishing.
His similarity to the red man His tenacity of purpose Saying the lives 01 white
men Comparison of the laws of the whites and Indians Honesty of the same
compared Religion of the Indians Their profession and practice Similarity to
the ancient Jews Their burnt -offerings Their chants, etc, etc. Big trees in the
Rocky Mountains The stories concerning them disputed No trees more than 12
or 15 feet in diameter.
A stroll Warm weather A strange light Curiosity Search for the mystery Im-
inent danger Renewed search Discovery of a cave containing, dead bodies of
Indians Burial of the Indians Death dance Immense quantities of gold.
Hunting the North American or California Lion Well trained horses Ferocity of
the lions The Indian manner of attacking them An adventure with two of
them Severely wounded.
Hunting for grizzly bears Balling and flaying the pelts An attack in their dens
A hugging scene Lost in a cave Long suffering among the rocks Enjoyments
of the bears.
Dirty tribes Frog and snake eaters B,lood-suckers Rocky Mountain sheep and
goats Wild animals of the Mountains Enemies of th& goats Temperature of
The engravings Recollections General remarks, &c.
THE SONG OP "THE LAKE OE THE WHITE CANOE."
A beautiful poem Sung by the Indian captive His favorite song
Mrs. Mount's statement Grandison Filley's statement Certificates of promi
nent citizens of Jackson Statement of Daniel M. Lyons Of Ammi Filley
Child Lost (poem) Particulars of the loss of the boy William Filley The
search The suspense The agonized mother and family Death of the mother
Mr. Filley's trip to Connecticut Hope revived A boy found Letter from
Hon A. F. Collins, relative to a child supposed to be the lost William Filley
Beply of Abel F. Fitch Affidavits and certificates of citizens of the States
of New York, substantiating the opinion of Mr. Collins Letter from the lost
boy Description of the city of Jackson His return, unique appearance, ex
periences, etc. His hearty welcome at Jackson Life and wanderings during
captivity The poem"0ntwa" Oregon Mary Mount, the supposed murder
ess of the boy.
MKS. MOUNT'S CEBTIFICATE.
I hereby certify that I am the mother of Mary Mount, in
whose charge William Filley was placed at the time he was
lost, and that I am now seventy-two years of age.
Twenty-nine years ago the third day of August last, Wil
liam Filley accompanied my daughter Mary to a swamp a
short distance from my residence, for the purpose of gathering
whortleberries. I remember well the peculiar style of his
dress, and that some friendly hand had placed in the button
hole of his little coat some pinks ; he had with him a piece of
paper with writing upon it, which I learned he had obtained
from his Aunt Fitch. William and my daughter Mary left
my house a short time after twelve o'clock of said third day
of August. We endeavored to persuade the little fellow not
10 LIFE AM) ADVENTURES
to go, fearing that he would be bitten by the snakes which
infested that part of the country. Our entreaties were in
vain, and the boy went along. After William and Mary had
been absent a few hours, Mary returned to our house and
made inquiries for William. Of course he had not returned,
and our fears were excited, believing that he had met with
some untimely fate. I made inquiries of my daughter about
what had become of the boy, and the only explanation which
she could give was that he had become weary and wanted to
go home ; that she had led him to a beaten track which led
to our house, and that this was the last time she had seen him.
Immediately we made a thorough search but could find no
trace of him ; the neighborhood was aroused and diligent
work commenced. That night fires were built for two rea
sons : First, believing that the lost boy would see them ; and
secondly, that the light would aid us in our search. Fortu
nately, there were good brush and log heaps near the swamp,
which burned all night.
About two miles in a westerly course, lived a family named
Hamilton, who reported that about ten or eleven o'clock of
that night, they heard a strange noise resembling the stifled
cry of a child ; and near this place, in the oak openings, was
found the identical piece of letter paper which I have hereto
fore mentioned. The search was continued, and the crowd
gathered near the place where this paper was found. Arrange
ments were immediately made as to the disposition of the
force : The crowd formed a circle, enclosing a large space of
country, and each man walked so near his comrade that he
could touch his person. In many places in the swamp the
men crept upon their hands and knees, turning over the moss
and other substances which they found in their way. As the
circle shortened in distance, and on coming near together,
OF WILLIAM FILLET. 1.3
they found three bears and several deer which they allowed
to escape, not deeming it proper to discharge fire-arms, as
this was the signal agreed upon if the child should be found.
For a time attention was drawn from the Indian trails and
camping ground, owing to a report put in circulation by one
Albert Crandall, who had succeeded in creating a suspicion
that the child had met with some accident, and had been
foully dealt with by my daughter Mary. Consequently a
thorough search was made in and around our premises and
house, and some person broke open our chests and broke into
the tills. The ash-heaps were turned over for the purpose of
finding the bdnes of the child, if possible, and every spot was
searched and re-searched, in vain by hundreds of men. I
have no doubt that there were at least eight hundred persons
at this time about our premises.
Our house was located upon the banks of Fitch's lake, a
beautiful sheet of water, covering about six hundred and forty
acres of land. This lake was dragged during the day time,
and at night was searched with the aid of torchlights and small
rafts, instead of boats, many persons wading in from the shore.
Twenty-nine years have passed away since the memorable
day when William Filley left our then quiet home. Many of
the early settlers of Jackson county are dead. I am thankful
that I have been spared to see that boy again, and to have the
cloud of suspicion removed which hung over our heads. I
have no doubt of the identity of the person whose narrative
is contained in this book. He is now in the prime of man
hood. May he long survive, and be the staif of his aged
father, and live in near communion with that Great Spirit
who has thus far been his guide in his wanderings with the
red men of the forest.
LIFE AND ADVENTURES
GKANDISON FILLET'S CERTIFICATE.
JACKSON, November 5, 1866.
I hereby certify that I am the uncle of William Filley, and
that I knew him from his birth, until he was stolen by the
Indians on the third day of August, 1837, he then being five
years, one month, and one day old. At the age of two years
"William was left with me at Bloomfield, in the State of Con
At that time Ammi Filley, his father, was in Michigan,
and his mother was with her father, Captain William Mar
vin, in the State of Massachusetts. At Elijah Filley's house,
in the State of Connecticut, we were picking apples, late in
the fall. William had on an old coat with long sleeves,
somewhat troublesome in picking up fruit, I took out my
pocket knife and in cutting them off shorter, I accidentally
cut his thumb, on his left hand, nearly off. I doubled up his
hand,, drew down the sleeve, and told him to keep his hand
shut. As I drew the knife across the sleeve the boy stuck
out his thumb, and I cut it diagonally from joint to joint.
I also certify, that I have seen, at different times from the
19th day of October, 1866, until the present date, a man
purporting to be William Filley, the long lost boy. From
every feature, motion, and personal appearance, I should
judge him to be the same one ; he has the same large cut-
scar on his left thumb, and it shows as plain as it did thirty
years ago. I am positive upon this point, and recollect well
the shape of the wound and scar.
OF WILLIAM FILLET.
CEETIFICATES BY CITIZENS OF JACKSON.
We, the undersigned residents of the City of Jackson, and
State of Michigan, hereby certify that we were citizens of
said township in the year A. D. 1837, and that on and after
the third day of August, in that year, we went in person,
with many hundreds and thousands of others, in fruitless
search for William Filley, the subject of this history, then a
boy of five years of age, supposed to have been murdered, or
stolen from his parents by the Pottawatamies, a tribe of
Indians that shortly afterwards moved from this State to the
far "West ; that the boy's father now survives, and recognizes
his long lost son, by his appearance, and by a cut-scar on his
thumb, after an absence of twenty-nine years and more, spent
in the Rocky Mountains.
Hon. DAN'L B. HIBBARD,
ALBERT FOSTER, Esq.,
WILLIAM PAGE, Esq.,
LEWIS BASCOM, Esq.,
M. E. DWYER, Esq.,
ISAAC PETERSON, Esq.,
T. ~N. HENDERSON, Esq.,
S. P. HENDERSON, Esq %
JAMES A. DYER, J. P.,
W. H. MONROE, Esq.,
B. F. EGGLESTON, Esq.,
S. W. STOWELL, Esq.,
PATTON MORRISON, Esq.,
D. T. DURAND, Esq.,
G-EO. FERGUSON, Esq.,
MARCUS WAKEMAN, Esq.,
H. ANSON, Esq.,
SAM'L PETERSON, Esq.,
DAVID MARKHAM, Esq.,
Hon. WM. K. DE!/AND,
W. D. THOMPSON, Banker,
JAMES WELCH, Esq.,
F. FARRAND, Esq.,
ISAAC SNYDER, Esq.,
B. C. HATCH, Esq.,
L. SNYDER, Jr.,
0. B. HARRINGTON, Esq.,
WARREN MOULTON, Esq.,
CYRUS HODGKIN, Esq.,
WM. P. WORDEN, Esq.,
C. P. EUSSELL, Esq.,
ALDEN HEWETT, Esq.,
Hon. A. H. DEL.AMATER,
W. KNICKERBOCKER, Esq.,
J. W. PRUE, Esq.,
K E. ALLEN, Esq.
16 LIFE AND ADVENTURES
We, the undersigned, citizens of the City of Jackson, and
State of Michigan, hereby certify that we are well acquainted
with the fact of William Filley being stolen by the Indians,
and of his return from his long captivity.
Hon. M. A. McNouGHTON, Hon. D. FISHEK,
J. E. BEBE, Assessor 3d Dis- NORMAN ALLEN, Esq.,
trict, Michigan, W. GREG, Esq.,
E. B. BRIGHAM, Esq., T. D. BTJDINGTON, Esq.,
A. I. HOBORT, Esq., H. WAKEMAN, Esq.
C. "W ARRESTER, Esq.,
MR. LYONS' CERTIFICATE.
JACKSON, November 20th, 1866.
I hereby certify that I am a son of Dea. Lyons, of East
Mendon, Monroe County, New York ; I >am thirty-five years
of age, and have lived most of the past sixteen years with
different Indian tribes in the far "West. I spent one month
(about the time of the war with Mexico,) with the Pottawat-
tamies, a tribe that had moved a few years previous to that
time from the State of Michigan. ^1 also was with said tribe
about six weeks in the year 1860, on the Missouri bottoms,
where the river Platte runs through, and while there I
learned from the tribe that a white child had been stolen
years before from Jackson County, Michigan.
I am now visiting in the city of Jackson, Michigan, where
I shall remain for a few days with my friends and relatives,
and have learned that a man has returned from the Rocky
Mountains, and is recognized by his father and relatives as
the boy that was supposed to have been stolen from his
OF WILLIAM FILLET. 17
parents in 1837. I also certify that in the spring of 1849, at
the mouth of Feather River, near where now is the city of
Marysville, I saw a white boy, apparently about seventeen
or eighteen years of age, on his way to school with two
Indian chiefs. One, the Big Crow Chief, told me they were
going to leave him at school in San Francisco, to learn the
English language. I little thought that I should ever have
an opportunity of conversing with him face to face about the
.Rocky Mountains, or talk Spanish and Indian with him at
the home of his relatives.
DANIEL M. LYONS.
STATEMENT OF AMMI FILLET, THE FATHER OF
At the request of several persons who are conversant with
the important facts relative to the loss of my son in the sum
mer of 1837, I have consented to make the following state
ment : In the month of October last, while residing with one
of my sons in the State of Illinois, I received a telegram
from the city of Jackson, requesting my return for the pur
pose of meeting my son, William Filley, whose strange and
simple story is told in this book. I immediately departed
for that city, and on arriving met with a person whom I be
lieve is my long lost son my eldest one, and the object of
my search for many, many years. Although many persons
had suggested the probability that my son had been foully
v dealt with, I had a vague idea that he had been taken off by
some of the Indian tribes who at an early day were wander,
ing in our woods in Michigan. My paternal affection dic
tated to me that it was my duty to search among the red
men for my lost son. I gave up my business and became a
18 LIFE AND ADVENTURES
wanderer among the Indians. I led a roving life for many-
years, and during that time visited the tribes of Indians in
Michigan, Ohio, Canada, and other portions of the country.
This trouble unsettled my plans of life and deprived me of
that peace of mind which all persons wish to enjoy. I am
fifty-nine years old and am travelling down the hill of life,
and feel as if my cup of happiness was filled, the great object
of my ambition accomplished. I have found my lost son. I
sincerely thank my friends who have rendered me so much
assistance and who have sympathized with me in my afflic
tion. May they live long and enjoy that happiness which
belongs to a well-ordered life.
A CHILD IS LOST.
OH, KINSMEN, neighbors, friends, our child is lost !
The night is falling ; help, for love of God !
In fruitless search the fields we've trod,
And, vainly, every trail and path we've crossed.
The mother's heart is breaking ; friends take pity
Forth, quickly forth, and scour the darkening woods.
A child is lost ! a tiny, tottering one,
Whose age is scarcely reckoned yet by years ;
Whose feet but little time have learned to run ;
Whose words are simple words, in accent broken.
He scarce can tell his name, nor where he dwells,
Or else his words so modestly are spoken
That strangers cannot understand the tale he tells.
The slow and solemn clock tolls forth eleven ;
Again it strikes, 'tis midnight now ! How fearfully the
Trembles upon the calm, quiescent air
As many a wearied seeker homeward speeds,
To bid the mourning mother trust in Heaven,
And, on her couch, to seek the rest she needs.
Oh ! can I sleep when he is still unfound
A helpless lamb that's wander'd from the fold ;
And he, perhaps, is crying, tired, and hungry,
Or sleeps, to die, upon the cold, cold ground ?
How can I rest, when I, perchance, shall see
E~o more the child whom God once gave to me ?
Comfort me, kind neighbors, leave me not forlorn ;
Is there no hope ? Is life henceforth to be
Of joy, and peace, and pleasant memories shorn?
Pity me, friends, in mine extremity.
22 LIFE AND ADVENTURES
PARTICULARS OF THE LOSS OF WILLIAM FILLET.
There are many interesting incidents connected with the
life of this individual that are worthy of a place in " Ameri
Ammi Filley, father of William, removed from Hartford
County, Connecticut, in the year 1833, to the oak openings
of Michigan, and located with his family in the township of
Jackson, then a wilderness. By industry and economy he
soon became the possessor of a good farm. Although sur
rounded by Indian tribes they had no fear, as all were appa
It was on the third day of August, A. D. 1837, that Wil
liam Filley, then a child of the tender age of five years, one
month and one day, went out to a swamp near by with a
hired girl by the name of Mary Mount, to gather berries.
The swamp was between the house of Mr. Filley and the
dwelling of Mr. Mount, the father of the girl. After picking
berries for a time, little William expressed a wish to go
home. Whereupon the girl led him to the trail and pointed
out the way to her father's house, which was in sight. Not
doubting, as the house was in plain sight, only a few rods
distant, that the little fellow would reach it in perfect safety,
she returned to the swamp.
After completing her supply of berries, she went to the
house of her father, and found, to her astonishment, as well
as to that of her family, that the little boy put in her charge
had not returned ; neither had he been to the home of his
parents. Whereupon an alarm was immediately given and
all the inhabitants commenced a most diligent search for the
lost child, and continued their untiring efforts by day and
night for weeks. Every pond and stream was dragged and
OF WILLIAM FILLET. 25
examined, and every rod of ground scrutinized to an extent
of more than twenty miles around.
As an inducement to continue the search, notice Df the
event was given in the papers, and large rewards offered for
the recovery of the child, either dead or alive. Gold and
silver was offered to the different Indian tribes in large sums
by disinterested persons.
Mr. Filley's voice was heard late at night and early in the
morning calling, William ! William ! That familiar name
was echoed from lake to lake, and from Green Bay to Ohio !
The distracted father went in person all over the wilds of
Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa, visiting many tribes of
All along the Grand Kiver
And adown the shady glen,
On the hill and in the valley,
Were the graves of dusky men.
Fears were entertained that the Indians were not well
pleased with the way the pale faces had ploughed up their
burying grounds, and that in the wilds of some inhospitable
region, where foot of white man had never trod, the boy had
fallen a sacrifice to the vengeance of some infuriated savage.
No discovery could the father make and no tidings learn.
Returning in sorrow to his family, all were heart-broken, as
the last ray of hope was extinguished. The fond parents
*ave up their firstborn child as forever lost.
Of purest joy, of life itself,
'Twere sad, indeed, to say
How much of all, lost William I
Has passed with thee away.
Can you imagine a sadder scene ? Such agony of afflic
tion seldom falls to the lot of man. If the shaft of death had
26 LITE AND ADVENTURES
smitten down this their darling boy, and they had passed
through the funeral solemnities and seen him laid in the
grave of their own church-yard, time would have tempered
their grief and mitigated the anguish of their bereavement ;
but the painful suspense, the awful uncertainty that hung
over his fate was an abiding sorrow which time would not
soften, and earth had no balm to heal. Time rolled on, but
"William was not forgotten. r
The mournful event, with its aggravating circumstances,
was a corroding canker on the comforts of the family, causing
the fatal disease which seized the Christian mother as she
went down in sorrow to an untimely grave. " Imagination
portrays the Guardian Angel, suspended equi-distant 'be
tween earth and the blue azure of Heaven, with her wings
folded." The tear was on her cheek as she looked down
upon the pitiful scene of the mother, gazing on each fond
face as they clustered around her bedside. But one was
not her first-born ! The dying mother whispers, " Where
is he ?" The wild winds in and around that dismal swamp,
with their sepulchral voice, take up the dirge and echo,
" Where, O ! where is he ? "
This worthy and beautiful woman was the oldest child of
Captain "William Marvin, a wealthy and very respectable
citizen of East Granville, Hamden County, Massachusetts,
after whom "William was named.
Subsequent to the death of his wife, Mr. Filley visited the
State of Connecticut, the place of his nativity. "While there,
by a miraculous course of events beyond the comprehension
of human wisdom to fathom, a boy had been found in the
possession of a party of Indians in the city of Albany and
State of JSTew York.
The circumstance being made known to the municipal au-
OF WILLIAM FILLET. 27
thorities, the migrating party were arrested, and all measures
taken to compel them -to disclose the means by which they
came in possession of the child. They were alternately flat
tered and threatened, but no disclosure could be obtained,
and they seemed resolved to submit to any punishment
rather than make communication by which the paternity of
the child could be ascertained. They were therefore dis
charged, and the child humanely placed in the Orphan Asy
lum. From thence he was taken to Mr. Filley's friends in
New England. He could tell of being in Green Bay, and of
riding on a steamboat. He accompanied them in their wan
derings, and was used as a mendicant to supply himself 'with
clothes and the wandering party with food, when their indo
lence prevented their obtaining it any other way. In the
summer they made their peregrinations back and forth
through Michigan and New York, sometimes visiting Con
necticut. In the winter they usually quartered themselves
in wigwams in the vicinity of some village and lived on
game. He remembered living near Detroit, Catskill, Hud
son, and Hillsdale. In their wanderings in summer and
winter, he travelled barefoot, suffering in winter from cold,
and at all times from hunger and fatigue. The kindness of
his Indian sister, who, like a second Pocahontas, took un
wearied pains to mitigate his sufferings, made his captivity
"When all friends acquainted with the circumstances were
rendering up grateful thanks to God, the author of all good,
for this marvellous dispensation of His providence, the fol
lowing letter, from Mr. Collins, at that time Member of Con
gress, was received by the supposed grandfather of the child :
HILLSDALE, NEW YORK, February 13, 1845.
Captain WILLIAM MARVIN
DEAR SIR : Having seen in the New York Evening Post,
28 LIFE AND ADVENTTJEES
a statement extracted from the Hartford City Times, in rela-
. tion to the loss and finding of the child of Ammi Filley, of
Michigan, I read it with that interest which such a statement
would naturally excite ; but at the conclusion, when the
names of the Indian family were mentioned, and the account
given that they had been for a time residents of this town, it
seemed to me, from what I had seen and heard, that Mr.
Filley must be mistaken as to the identity of the child. I
have since made further inquiries and am confirmed in the
opinion that Mr* Filley is mistaken. During the summer of
1833, an Indian family, including a white child, apparently
two or three years of age, took up their abode in a forest
about two miles from my place of residence. I often saw
them, and upon inquiring, I learned the name of the Indian
to be Paul, and that of the squaw to be Phebe. I understood
the child to be the son of the squaw and his father to be a
white man of the town of Copake, in this county. Those
Indians were living in this town in the summer of 1843, and
during the winter of 1844, and left in the spring of that year.
I am now told that those Indians resided in the towns of
Copake and Hillsdale most of the time from 1835 to the
spring of 1843. I am also told, by one of the most respecta
ble men of Copake, that he frequently saw the child from the
period of a few months old, while it nursed from its mother,
and that the child did, for a short time, attend the District
School in the town of Copake.
I am also told that a physician, now residing in that town,
was present at the birth of the child. Disputes about the
paternity of the child, and intense domestic excitement pro
duced on the occasion, have given to the matter a notoriety
that renders the subject of easy investigation, and the facts
of the case can be ascertained to a certainty. If Mr. Filley,
OF WILLIAM FILLET. 29
or his friends, should desire to in.quire into this matter more
minutely, I will either accompany them to see those better
informed of the facts in this case, or I will get the statement
from such persons, and will address them as may be desired.
It has been with much hesitancy, and upon deliberation,
that I have taken this occasion to make to you this commu
nication. It must be with great satisfaction that Mr. Filley
is enabled to suppose that he has found his long lost son. It
doubtless, too, is of much importance to the boy that Mr.
Filley should remain under the delusion, (if it is such). If,
too, the corroding wound in Mr. Filley's feelings has been
healed by this discovery, it seems barbarous to tear it open
and make it bleed again.
On the other hand, his actual child may be living. Under
the impression that he may have found his son, he will stop
further investigations and thereby prevent his own being
found, which may yet, possibly be accomplished. His actual
son, too, may hereafter present himself, and should he find
his father's affections engrossed by another, he may not be
able to prove his identity, and will find himself an alien in
the home of his father. Under these views of the subject, I
submit the matter to you. If you think it advisable to in
vestigate the matter further I will give you all the assistance
I am able. If you think it advisable to let Mr. Filley rest
under his supposed discovery, or to communicate the discov
ery that you have, or that you may hereafter make, the sub
ject is submitted to your discretion.
Most respectfully yours,
A. F. COLLIKS.
30 LIFE AND ADVENTURES
MICHIGAN CENTRE, June 30, 1845.
MR. A. F. COLLINS
DEAR' SIR : Some time last month I visited Captain Wil
liam Marvin, of Granville, Massachusetts, for the purpose of
seeing a lost boy, supposed to be the son of Ammi Filley, of
this county. Mr. Filley is a brother-in-law of mine, and we
moved to this county some twelve years ago, and were near
neighbors at the time of the loss of his boy, which occurred
on the third day of August, 1837". The county was at that
time new, and had Mr. Filley been an entire stranger, such
an occurrence would, no doubt, have swelled my bosom with
painful emotions, much more that parent being a relative and
friend. "While there, Captain Marvin showed me a letter,
written by you, bearing date February 13, 1845, addressed
to him. Judge, then, of my surprise (after reading the ac
counts in the papers, and hearing what was said by Mr. Fil-
ley's friends in Connecticut, whom I had just visited), on
perusing your letter. Captain Marvin, as he is an old man,
requested me to take the letter and either visit you or address
you on my return. I am compelled to take the latter course ;
as I could not make it convenient to see you on my return
from the East, I therefore take the liberty to address you,
and as you kindly offered to make further investigations
amongst those better acquainted with the facts, will you have
the goodness to ascertain, First, if possible, in regard to the
birth of the child, by the physician, or otherwise. Second,
if those Indians were in Michigan in the summer of 1837.
Third, if it was possible that the boy could have been six
years old in the summer of 1838, when you say they were at
Hillsdale, which would have been about the age of Mr. Fil
ley' s child. Fourth, please get a description of the boy's
complexion, color of eyes, hair, &c., &c., and whether he
OF WILLIAM FILLET. 31
had lost any of his toes, and if so, how many, and what ones;
and finally, get such facts as you may think material, and
write me as soon as convenient.
Mr. Filley is now in Michigan, and has no knowledge of
the facts contained in your letter, nor do we think it advisa
ble that he should know at present. As this was a favorite
child, his loss has truly been a corroding wound. Mr. Filley
has at times been partially deranged, and were we fully satis
fied that it was not his child it would be imprudent, to say
the least, to inform him of the fact at the present time.
Although I am satisfied he has doubts about the identity of
the child, yet, no one else acquainted with the facts, seems
to have the least doubt except Captain Marvin and myself,
for no other person has seen your letter. "Will you have the
goodness to write me as soon as convenient, and give me
such information as you can obtain. Any trouble or expense
that you may incur shall be promptly paid.
ABEL F. FITCH.
Afterwards, Mr. Fitch went in person and procured a
large amount of testimony, a portion of which is herewith
annexed, showing clear and positive evidence that Mr. Col
lins was right in the supposition that this was not the child
of Ammi Filley :
STATE OF E"EW YORK, )
Columbia County, j '
John "W. Dinehart, being duly sworn, deposes and says,
that he resides in the town of Copake, County of Columbia,
and State of New York; that he knew an Indian by the
name of Paul Pry, and an Indian, or half-breed, woman, by
the name of Phebe ; that she was called his wife ; that they
resided in the town of Copake the winter of 1835 and 1836 ;
32 LIFE AND ADVENTUKES
that they had with them a male child that appeared to be,
and they said he was, about nine months old ; that the child
had lost a toe off one of his feet ; that they said it had come
by a string being around it, and that it was at last cut off ;
that they then left the place, and he don't recollect of seeing
them again until in July, 1839 ; that they then had a little
boy with them apparently about four years old, and from his
complexion and the color of his hair, he has no doubt it was
the same child they had with them when they left; that
they then stayed in Copake awhile and went to the town oi
Hillsdale, adjoining Copake ; that they were in Copake fre
quently till the summer of 1843 ; and that the boy attended
the District School in that neighborhood.
JOHN W. DINEHART.
Subscribed, and sworn before )
me, this 5th day of Septem- >
ber, 1846. )
W. M. ELLIOTT,
Justice of the Peace, Columbia Co.
COLUMBIA COUNTY, ss.
Elizabeth Dinehart, being duly sworn, deposes and says :
that she is the wife of John "W". Dinehart ; that the state
ments in the foregoing affidavit, made by him, are correct
and true ; that she has arrived at the dates stated in the
foregoing affidavit from the records of the birth of her own
children assisting her recollection.
Subscribed, and sworn before J
me, this 5th day of Septem- V
ber, 1846. )
W. M. ELLIOTT,
Justice of the Peace, Columbia Co.
OF WILLIAM FILLET. 33
COLUMBIA COUNTY, ss.
Christina Bain, being duly sworn, says : that she is the wife
of Abraham Bain ; that she resides in the town of Copake, in
Columbia County ; that she knew Paul Pry, and a woman, or
a half-breed from appearance, that was said to be his wife ;
that they lived in Copake ten years ago ; that they had a
male child with them ; that they left and returned again,
about as stated in the affidavit of John "W. Dinehart ; that
she thinks all the statements contained in that affidavit, as far
as she can recollect, are correct.
CHKISTINA M BAIN"
Subscribed, and sworn before \
me, this 4rth day of Septem- >
ber, 1846. )
W. M. ELLIOTT,
Justice of the Peace Columbia Co.
COLUMBIA COUNTY, ss.
Loretta and Milton Bean, being duly sworn, each depose
and say : that they agree in opinion with Christina Bain, of
the affidavit of John W. Dinehart.
Subscribed, and sworn before \
me, this 5th day of Septem- v
ber, 1846. )
W. M. ELLIOTT,
Justice of the Peace, Columbia Co.
34: LIFE AND ADVENTURES
COLUMBIA COUNTY, ss.
Polly Williams, being duly sworn, deposes, and Bays : that
she resides in the town of Copake, in the County of Columbia;
that she knew Paul Pry, an Indian, and a woman ty the
name of Phebe, a half-breed that was called his wife ;
that they had with them a male child, that suckled, and ap
parently less than a year old ; think that this was about ten
years ago ; that the child had one toe that was nearly off, ex
cept a piece of skin ; that its mother said it come by a string
being around it ; this deponent advised her to cut it off, which
she declined doing, but afterwards, when she saw them, she
had it cut off'; she saw Paul, Phebe, and a little boy that had
one toe off; that the eyes, hair and complexion of the boy
were the same as that of the child she first saw with them.
Subscribed, and sworn before \
me, this 5th day of Septem- v
ber, 1846. )
W. M. ELLIOTT,
Justice of the Peace, Columbia Co.
Twenty-nine years have passed away. How marked the
change ! Many of the early settlers have disappeared from
the stage of existence ; another generation has succeeded
them. The stalwart forms of the red men have left the beau
tiful banks of the Grand River for the hunting grounds. The
pale-faces now occupy their possessions. The rattle of ma
chinery and the whistle of the locomotive are heard instead
of the shrill war-whoop ; the wild oak openings have been
turned into fruitful fields ; the wigwams and rude huts have
been changed into castles and new houses. Where now
stands the flourishing and infant city of Jackson, marked by
OF WILLIAM FILLET. 35
enterprise and prosperity so worthy our pride, destined to be
come the great Kailroad Centre and Commercial Metropolis
of the Lower Peninsula, were then the camping, hunting, and
fishing grounds of the Pottawattamies.
In the early part of the month of October, 1866, the fol
lowing letter was received by the Postmaster at Jackson :
c SiE: ~N"ot knowing your name, but thinking that you
would do me the favor to try and ascertain whether there is a
man living in the city of Jackson, where you live, or any
where else, by the name of Willey. I am his son. I was
taken by the Indians about thirty years ago. Can you find
any of the relatives of this Willey ? All that I know about
it is that my father's name is Willey, and that I was taken
from Michigan. This I was told by an Indian. Please to
try and find out for me, and I will thank you, whether you
find my father or not, as soon as you can make it convenient,
as I want to see him or my relations.
Your humble serv't,
COLDWATER, BRANCH Co., MICH., Sept. 28, 1866.
This letter, on account of its not being deemed by the Post
master as of much consequence, was laid aside for several days.
In a conversation held with the Hon. Daniel B. Hibbard, the
Postmaster made the statement that he had received such a
letter. As Mr. Hibbard was familiar with the fact of the loss
of the boy William Filley, and presuming that the name of
the writer was Filley instead of Willey, of course his curiosity
was excited, and, consequently, the Postmaster was requested
to make a search for it. A search was made, and the letter
(of which the above is a copy) was found.
36 LIFE AND ADVENTURES
The author was immediately informed of the receipt of the
foregoing letter, and, as soon as possible, commenced an in
vestigation into the facts. Making a visit to Branch County,
he learned that such a person had been there, but could not
find him. A brother of William Filley, Elijah Filley, who
then resided in Oil City, Pennsylvania, was telegraphed to,
and went to Branch County, for the purpose of finding his
brother if possible. While he was engaged in the search,
the long lost boy, on the 19th of October, 1866, appeared in
the city of Jackson, and received the welcome and embraces
of a large number of friends and relatives, many of whom,
years ago, had searched in vain for him.
The author was present at the time of the receipt of the
telegram by the a^fed father, in Illinois, announcing the ar
rival of William, and witnessed the paternal affection mani
fested on that occasion. He immediately left for the city of
Jackson, where he met and readily recognized his son, not
withstanding the great change which had taken place during
an absence of twenty-nine years.
Time and exposure had somewhat obliterated the fair fea
tures of his youth. His personal appearance is the counter
part of his father. His complexion, age, and the color of his
eyes and hair, and all his prominent characteristics are iden
tical with those of the lost child. And, upon appealing to
the well-known scar upon his left hand, his identity is fully
His (William's) appearance was, of course, unique. His
long bushy hair hung down upon his shoulders; he was
clothed in coarse woollen garments, manufactured by himself
with the rude implements used by the Indians. He had
witnessed his Indian mother work with the needle, and from
her had learned the use of it, which enabled him to make his
The Father of the Indian Captive.
OF WILLIAM FILLET. 39
own garments; his boots were of the coarsest kind, and
poorly fitted the feet which had worn moccasins in the rude
wilds of the Rocky Mountains. His habits and mode of
living differ materially from those who have had the privilege
of enjoying the blessings of civilized life. By observation,
he has treasured up many important and ufeeful ideas. He
was known and called by his tribe a medicine man, and is
skilled in the preparation of medicines. He understands tho
secret of making steel out of iron, with the aid of a liquid.
His razor is made out of a horseshoe, and is the finest steeL
He has been thousands of miles on foot and with ponies.
It would be singular, indeed, if he had not learned. " To
travel, is the royal road to knowledge." He has been in
seventeen different Indian tribes, three of whom were savage.
He speaks eleven different Indian dialects ; and is a good
singer in English, Spanish, and Indian.
"I shall build a fire
Of hickory branches dry,
And knots of the gum-exuding pine,
And cedar leaves and cones,
Dry stubble shall kindle the pyre,
And there shall the Huron die
Flesh, and blood, and bones !
But first shall he know the pain
Of a red-hot stone on the ball of his eye,
And a red-hot spear in the spine.
And, if he murmur a grain,
What shouts shall rend the sky,
To see the coward Huron flinch,
As the Big Crows rend him, inch by inch !"
He has been where no pale-faces of the present generation
are allowed to go neither will they be, for many years to
4:0 LIFE AND ADVENTTJKES
come where scales of gold and silver ore, and various other
precious metals are picked up by the Indians, with which to
ornament their persons. ^
He has hunted down the grizzly bear and antelope, for his
daily meal ; has shot the California lion and buffalo for com
mon pastime. He can give the shrill warwhoop, which can
be distinctly heard for two miles; and can dance the war
dance. He has with him many curiosities and specimens of
valuable medicines, prepared by his own hands in caverns
beneath perpetual snows, thousands of miles towards the set
ting sun. He has been in places in the mountains where, by
looking up to the immense heights, their topmost peaks
seemed to extend to the very clouds, and persons not familiar
with such scenes would be frightened, and imagine the vast
rocks were about to tumble upon them. He also relates
many interesting incidents of Indian life and warfare, and
has seen persons scalped in the most barberous manner.
" I shall taste revenge ;
I shall dip my hands in purple gore ;
I shall wet my lips with the blood of the men
"Who overcame my braves ;
I shall tinge the lake so blue
"With the hue which it wore
When I stood, like a mouse in a wild cat's den,
And saw the Huron s dig the graves
Of my brothers good and true ! "
An Indian war dance is an important occurrence in their
events. The whole population is assembled, and a feast pre
pared for all. The warriors are painted and prepared as for
battle. A post is firmly planted or driven into the ground,
and the singers, drummers, and other musicians are seated
OF WILLIAM FILLET. 4:3
within the circle formed by the dancers and spectators. The
music and dancers begin. The warriors exert themselves
with great energy ; every muscle is in action ; and there is
the perfect concord between the music and their movements.
They brandish their weapons with such apparent fury that
fatal accidents seem unavoidable. Presently, a warrior
leaves the circle, and, with his tomahawk, strikes the post.
The music and dancing cease, and profound silence ensues.
He then recounts, with a loud voice, his military achieve
ments ; he describes the battles he has fought, the prisoners
he has captured, the scalps he has taken ; he points to his
scars, personal injuries, and trophies. He accompanies his
harangue with actual representations of his exploits and ad
ventures, with man and brute, in the most eloquent manner,
and to the extent of his native oratory ; but uses no exagge
ration or misrepresentation. It would be infamous for a
warrior to boast of deeds that he never performed. If such
an attempt were made, which seldom occurs, he would merit
all the indignities of his nation, as the conduct of every war
rior is well known. Shouts of approbation and applause
accompany the narration, proportioned in duration and inten
sity to the interest it excites. Then all join in the circle, and
the war dance proceeds until it is interrupted by a similar
In the poem "Ontwa," a scene is so well described, that we
cannot resist the temptation to transfer it to our own pages.
Of all who have attempted to embody in song the living man
ners of the Indian, the anonymous author of this poem has
been the most succesful. His characters, traditions, and de
scriptions delineate the spirit and bearing of life. The work
is not less true to nature than to poetry :
4A LIFE AND ADVENTURES
" A hundred warriors now advance,
All dressed and painted for the dance ;
And sounding club and hollow skin,
A slow and measured time begin.
With rigid limbs and sliding foot,
And murmurs low the time to suit,
Forever varying with the sound,
The circling band moves round and round.
Now, slowly rise the swelling notes,
"When every crest more lively floats ;
Now, toss' d on high, with gesture proud;
Then lowly, 'mid the circle bowed ;
While clanging arms grow louder still,
And ev'ry voice becomes more shrill,
Till fierce and strong the clamor grows,
And the wild war-whoop bids its close."
We will not attempt to follow him in his peregrinations
from the Northern lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, and from the
golden domes, silver sierras, and verdant valleys of the Mon-
tezumas back into the rugged cliffs and deep gorges of the
Rocky Mountains, where the rocks rise in triumphant gran
deur many thousand feet above, shelving nearly across the
chasms, covered with snow and glittering ice, where the ef
fulgent sun never shines ; and onward, further west, through
the lovely Willamette Yalley, down the banks of the Colum
bia, from its source to its entrance into the placid ocean,
and around the inexhaustible forests of fir and Lebanon cedar,
and untold mineral wealth ; where the king of birds, with
huge proportions, spreads his broad and potent pinions from
the golden rocks of the mountains, and builds his nest, to the
lofty branches of the red wood, above the sound and roar of
the cataract ; where there is material wealth for future great
ness, with an Oriental climate.
OF WILLIAM FILLET. 45
Dazzling as has been the career of the El Dorado of our
day, and glittering as is the shield of the Golden State in the
eyes of a wonder-stricken world, yet mnst her destiny grow
dim before the rising star in the West Oregon that will
sparkle in the galaxy of the Republic and make many of her
older sisters look to their laurels. Take it all in all, Middle
Oregon is one of the finest spots of Nature.
Such have been the scenes and life of the long-lost Jackson
boy, since he was stolen from the oak openings of Michigan,
and crossed the broad rolling prairies of Illinois and Iowa, on
to Salt Lake, and into Oregon.
We should spread the broad mantle of charity over his im
perfections, for if there ever was a person entitled to our
sympathy, when we take into consideration the fact that he
'has been isolated from parental care, he is one. Thus taken,
he must have inevitably lost his language, and with it all dis
tinct recollection of father, mother, home, and all that he held
dear in childhood ; all, save his early sufferings amid storm
and exposure. Often has he experienced sad and bitter feel
ings, when, in the dark and solemn forest, by the solitary
camp-fire on the banks of some murmuring stream, looking
eastward towards the rising sun and over the lofty heights
which divide the waters of the Pacific from those of the At
lantic, with no bed but the cold ground, no cover but the
broad canopy of heaven, he contemplated the long journey
between him and the place of his nativity.
He returns and proves his identity ; claims his birthright ;
and, in his own peculiar style, in the following pages, presents
to the public his autobiography ; thus removing the withering
blight of suspicion which has hung like a cloud over the girl
and family, whose misfortune it was to have charge of him on
that memorable 3d of August, 183T.
46 LITE AND ADVENTURES
It is necessary that we should say something in relation to
Mary Mount, the girl who had the boy in charge on the day
he was stolen by the Indians. As related elsewhere, she, on
the non-discovery of the lost boy, at once became the object
of suspicion, and her subsequent life must have been indeed
intolerable. Suffering under the imputation of having com
mitted a horrible crime, and no legal proceedings having been
instituted to prove, either her guilt or innocence, she was a
marked person in the neighborhood. Her every appearance
elicited such remarks as: "There is the girl that murdered
Filley's boy ;" " That is Mary Mount the murderess ;" There
is no possible doubt that she made away with Filley's boy:"
etc. Citizens of Jackson, when visiting other parts of the
State or country, were plied with all manner of questions
concerning her : yet no opportunity was afforded her to le
gally and effectually remove the stain thus fixed upon her.
In the days which have passed since the time when the
boy was stolen, and which to her must have been YEAJRS of
torture, she has become a woman of education and refinement.
She married, and the suspicions which attached to her made
her married life one of misery. But she is still living, and
the odium which had fixed itself upon her has been removed,
and she now stands forth in her true character, as an innocent,
greatly injured and respected woman. The return of the
long-lost boy was to her a happy event, and one which she
will remember during every one of her succeeding days,
which no effort will be spared by those who cast contumely
upon her, to make happy. She assures us, from her intimate
knowledge of the boy stolen, that the person who has now
set up a claim to be that boy, is no impostor.
The Lost Jackson Boy and Indian Captive
LIFE AND ADVENTURES
Apology Early recollections and treatment First information as to his na
tivity Return Selection of James Z. Ballard to edit this book Camping-
ground of the Indians near Fort Kearney Indian Habits The warlike and
blood-thirsty Siouxs Burning of a pappoose A squaw experiments on a pap-
poose with boiling water Horrible cruelty The death penalty.
JACKSON, MICHIGAN, October 1866.
This narrative, containing some of the outlines of my event
ful life, is written in much hurry, as I have many friends and
relatives yet to visit in this State as well as in the States of
Illinois, New York and ISTew England, and I am anxious to
In writing, I shall rely upon my memory. Were I alone,
with less confusion, I could do much better. Since I arrived
in this place, I have been with my father and friends to see
the old home, the swamp, the lake, the place in the woods
from whence I was stolen, and have had the old Indian trail
pointed out by my father ; and, together, we wept over the
grave of my mother.
All have been very kind to me, strangers as well as friends,
freely giving me money and clothes, and I have often been
50 LIFE AND ADVENTURES
invited to the homes of the early settlers. The public halls
in the city have been offered me, in which to receive the friends
who might wish to see me, but I had rather see them less
publicly. I am often passed free on the cars, and my friends
have horses and carriages which I have been welcome to use.
The readers of this work may think it strange that I have
stated no date of month, spring, summer nor fall, nor the date
of the year. Will you look over this, as I never stored enough
of the circumstances in my mind to let me state dates, and as
to paper, pens, and ink, I had not the chance to get them at all
times, and moreover, never expected to come and live among
pale-face whites, so you must excuse my imperfection of mem
ory. Many people in my situation, would not, perhaps, re
member as much of the customs of the many tribes as I do
now, though some may think that one might have committed
to memory the whole of the scenes that I have passed through
in these long twenty-nine years. The first eight years of my
captivity, I never saw a pale-face, nor heard a single word of
English spoken. This much is a blank in the history of my life.
From the first of my remembrance, the Indians used me
perfectly well in every respect ; even if, at any time, I wanted
any valuable article that they prized highly, each and all of
them would let me have it. In regard to food, I had the best
there was ; and as to the moccasins I used to wear, if there
was any part about them that I did not like, they would al
ways give me the strongest they had. I was used by the dif
ferent tribes that I was in, altogether better than any of the
Indians used themselves. When the Indians steal any male
white child, they always treat him unaccountably well, in
order that he may have the due respect for them they wish to
have shown them ; although they do not look for much res-
OF WILLIAM FILLEY. 51
pect from a child, neither do they look for much from their
children. They will correct white children in the same man
ner they do their own, but not by whipping. I will state
hereafter the punishment of their children.
When I gained the good news that I was taken from the
State of Michigan, I resolved the earliest opportunity, to come
to this State, in order to try and find my relations, if I had
any living here or elsewhere. I visited my own tribe in the
fall of the same year, which was 1860. When I came to tell
the story to the head Chief, and the Council, and the rest of
the tribe, they all told me that they should not advise me to
go, but would freely give me the privilege to use my own
mind on the subject, besides, they were more inclined for me
to leave the tribe on so important business than to stay with
them and never know whether I had any relations or not. I
had made up my mind in the fall of 1865 to leave the next
I left the Camanche tribe on the second Monday of last
March, 1866, and I had a party of my tribe as a scout, and
also to protect me from all danger through the mountains,
until I reached a party that were crossing the Plains for the
East. Since I arrived here I have seen something over four
hundred old settlers who knew of the circumstances of my
being lost on the third day of August, 1837, and the greater
part of the number were in search of me at that time ; and
nearly every one of these old settlers have talked with me
about writing my life to the best my memory would afford.
I have concluded to try it, but I am not accustomed to write
in this manner my readers must not find fault with me if I
don't place every word in its proper order, and more especially
as I have been deprived of the privileges which the pale-faces
enjoy. My father, Ammi Filley, told me that my brother-in-
52 LIFE AND ADVENTTJBES
law, James Z. Ballard, would be as good a person as I could
get to assist me, in Jackson or elsewhere. And, on gaining
this information from my father, I resolved to have no other
one have anything to do with it, in any way whatever. What
James Z. Ballard has written in regard to the time and
the circumstances of the case, when I was lost, is worded a
great deal better than I can write.
Below Fort Kearney, on the River Platte, say two hundred
miles, is the first place of my recollection, and of that I
remember but little. The Indians here used to have their
winter quarters at different points, sonietimes at one place,
and sometimes at another. The living here was generally on
buffalo and deer. The habits of this tribe differs from all
other tribes, except savages. They eat food with fingers, and
lie on the ground, mostly. In fall, hunt meat for winter, and
jerk to keep sweet. After fall, lay idle until spring, or early
spring. Then the summer would be spent in ranging and
fishing. Don't recollect of any reptiles except the hoop-snake
and black viper, of which the bite is instant death. Stayed
with this tribe until I was about nine years old, then left to
the Sioux tribe, who are warlike and bloodthirsty, fear form
ing no part of their nature. They live much as the tribe first
mentioned, except they catch beaver and eat their hind
quarters, and catch mecunis. This must be what they call
the muskrat in this part of the country. They generally kill
their game with the bow and arrow.
The Sioux are very cruel to those against whom they enter
tain revengeful feelings ; and are, also, in most cases, cruel
to their horses if they don't do as they wish them to. The
squaws, as a general thing, do all the drudgery or work.
They marry by the moon or summer, as it best suits the
OF WILLIAM FILLET. 53
The power of the chief -of this tribe is greater than of any
tribe with which I am acquainted. He governs the councils
strictly to the letter in every respect. Crimes are not pun
ished so severely as in some other tribes with which I have
been ; although, in some harsh cases of burning pappooses,
starving, etc., if found guilty, the nearest relative is required
to act the part of executioner. I know of one case where a
squaw left her pappoose with another squaw, to take care of
for a short time, while the mother went to the farther part of
the camp on business of some kind. While she was gone, the
squaw with whom she left the pappoose, burned it almost to
a cinder, or so nearly so that there was nothing left but the
upper part of the skull. The mother came back in the eve
ning, and to her astonishment found her pappoose burned to
death. She went to the chief and stated her case. He went
to the wigwam to see if the statement was true, and found
that it was. The old chief could not sleep that night, his mind
being so troubled with the thoughts of the horrible crime
which had been perpetrated. He laid until nearly midnight,
when he arose and called the council together for the purpose
of trying the squaw who had committed the crime. The
council came together and ordered a search to be made for the
guilty squaw. She was found in the afternoon of the next
day. When found, the council gathered together in a circle,
the chief in the midst, and examined the mother. She stated
her testimony several times, and swore by the Great Spirit
that her statement was true. They then questioned the pris
oner in regard to to the crime she had committed. She said
nothing for a short time, but finally her conscience so smote
her that she confessed the fact of having committed the crime.
She stated" that she did it to get rid of the pappoose, because
it cried so much and was so troublesome to take care of. The
LIFE AND ADVENTUKES
council deliberated over the case, and found lier guilty of burn
ing the pappoose. The sentence was that her nearest relative
should tie her to a stake and execute her, by first cutting out
her left eye, then drawing out one of her finger nails,
and then work at the other eye, and another finger or toe
nail, and so until she was dead ; all of which he did, keeping
at his bloody work until after she was dead. If this torture
should be perpetrated by white folks, it would be looked upon
as barbarous in the extreme ; but with these Indians this is
nothing, in comparison with some of their executions.
I heard of an old squaw who had the care of a small pap
poose only three or four hours, but through much wanton cru
elty she scalded it to death, and then put it out of sight as
well as she could. It was only a few days before the pap
poose was found. The chief was made acquainted with the
facts, and went, as he was wont to do, to ascertain the truth
of the statement. The squaw who committed the crime was
then found, and her trial began; but soon after commenc
ing the trial the guilty squaw confessed that she scalded the
little pappoose to see how long it would live in boiling water.
She stated that she dipped it in by the hand first, then one of
the feet, then the other hand, and then the other foot, and she
concluded she had punished it about enough. She finished by
putting in the head of the pappoose until it was all covered.
The chief and the council sat and looked very sad and grim.
They were so uneasy in hearing the statement of the cruel
squaw, that the whole council were glad when she had fin
ished telling of the plan she took to try the experiment of
seeing how much the innocent pappoose could suffer before
its heart would cease to beat. The sentence of this squaw was
to be scalded in the same manner as she did the young child.
Even then they were not satisfied, as they went to work on
OF WILLIAM FILLET. 55
her in double madness after she was dead. They began to
pluck out her eyes and draw out the finger nails, as well as
the toe nails. "When the Indians have a case of this kind,
they do not know when to stop. The pale-face would shudder
at so cruel and barbarous a way to put a guilty criminal to
death, even if the criminal had put his victim to a ten times
more horrid death than this young pappoose suffered. But
there is no shudder for the barbarous Indian. I could tell
you of far more cruel cases than this, but it makes my very
blood run cold when I think of the cruel death scenes I be
held while with this tribe.
Disadvantages Finding of gold in California Early school houses Sent to
school Difficulty in learning Taken from school Dislike to leaving pale
face associations Keturn to bondage Punishment of Indian children Desire
to be transferred from Big Crow and Walla "Walla tribes to the Camanche tribe.
At this time, I went to the Big Crow tribe. I ought to be
some fond of these Indians, as they brought me in contact
with white folks ; and I knew that I was a white boy, but
could not understand any of the white folks' language. I
knew the disadvantage of not understanding English, al
though I had forgot my mother tongue ; but still, knowing
that I was at times among white folks, and not knowing what
language they spoke, it was very hard for me to make them
understand- what I wanted. I can remember very well how
mad it made me because they could not understand me in the
way I wanted them to ; and not only myself, but the Big Crow
Chief and tribe as well, knew the disadvantage of not under
standing the white folks. If they wanted anything from the
pale-face people, they would send me to get the desired article.
About this time, was the first finding of gold in California
by the whites. The Big Crow Chief and tribe, as well as the
chief of the Walla "Walla tribe, concluded to put me with the
pale-face people, in order for me to learn and speak their lan
guage, if they had any, as it was generally thought by most
all these tribes that they understood each other on the same
principle as some wild tribes, that is, by signs more than words.
OF WILLIAM FILLET. 57
Soon after this, the gold flow of emigration began, in order
to gain the precious yellow metal that had been seen in the
far West ; as some of the emigrants found the precious stuff,
and, sending the accounts to their friends in the far East, they
began to emigrate in a short time by hundreds.
It was not long from the beginning of the finding of gold
that the emigrants began to build villages ; some of these, after
a short time became cities, as they were called at that time in
California. But still, they increased so much that they con
cluded to build school houses ; and, when the time came, the
people of San Francisco decided, to build a large and perma
nent school house.
A short time after this, the chief of the Big Crow tribe and
the chief of the Walla Walla tribe,
" Two mighty chiefs, one cautious, wise and old,
One young, and strong, and terrible in fight,"
took me to this San Francisco school, and placed me with the
pale-faces, in order to learn to talk with them. This was the
hardest work I ever did in my life to learn to speak English
again, not knowing at that time whether I had ever spoken
English or not ; and I was also ignorant of the fact that I
had been stolen from white folks. As near as I can recollect
I remained at school in San Francisco a little over three years,
but, before this time had expired, I found out to my great
joy, that I had learned the language of the pale-faces, and,
also, that their language was not the most of it. signs and
characters. I cannot tell how happy I was when I could talk
to the whites and make them understand me. I can recollect,
as well as if it was only yesterday, how I used to be talking
to everybody, in order to find out the names of different things
that I did not know anything about. I used to ask the names
58 LIFE AOTD ADVENTURES
of things, anl put them down on bits of waste paper that I
would find about the streets, and sometimes on smooth bark.
The reason I did this, recollect, was because I had no money
to buy paper with. This was the most trouble I had at this
time ; I thought more of a sheet of paper than I do of a whole
quire now. So you can form something of an idea of what a
state of poverty and destitution I was in no one to tell me
when I was doing anything wrong ; and, more than that, did
not care whether I learned to steal or not. But as I had
to get along the best I could, I made the best I could of it,
under the circumstances.
But then I had another hard thing to do, and that was, to
leave the pale-faces in California, go back to the tribe, and
be in bondage again. Tongue cannot tell how sad it made
me feel to know that [ had got to be thrust away from my
new found friends, that I had become so attached to, and to
be, as I thought, almost shut out of the world again, to lead
a sad, mournful, and wandering life. Still, I had to stand it,
for when the chiefs of the two tribes that had sent me to
school came for me I had to go, without making any fuss
about it. Had I been stubborn about going with them, they
would have punished me very severely, by lifting me up by
both of my ears for a few seconds. [Indians correct the white
children they have stolen in the same way that they do their
own, but not in quite so severe a manner. The way is this,
when a very small pappoose, say three summers, or, as the
pale-faces say, three years old, does wrong, the Indians will
lift it gently up by the ears, not bearing the whole weight of
the body when so young ; but commencing at so early an age
begins to train them in the punishment principle, and does
not hurt them very much, and is done to make them mind.
TAKEN BY INDIAN CHIEFS
From School in California back to bondage in the Rocky Mountains')
OF WILLIAM FILLET.
When they are four or five years old and require punishment,
they are lifted bodily up by the ears and are told why and
what it is done for, which hurts them considerably. It is not
generally the case that a pappoose requires to be lifted up
more than three or four times before they will mind strictly
when spoken to, and by this mode of punishment they will
mind other persons and Indians as well as their parents.
Indians think this a much better plan than to whip them, as
it makes them mind so close that a word or look is enough.]
At times, it would seem to almost take my life. Pale-faces in
Eastern climes might suppose that I need not dread going
into bondage, as they might have supposed that I was at
liberty. But that was the case, as, for the gold the two chiefs
gave them for taking care of me at school, it was for them to
keep me very close to them, so as not to enjoy my whole
liberty. Still I was happier here than I had been in all my
But before I close this part of my life in California, I will
tell you that I saw the chief of the Camanche tribe, and as
the former chiefs that claimed me gave me the liberty to talk
with him, I did so in the most earnest manner possible. I
told the chief that I had been to this school for a little more
than three years, and was now a tolerable good scholar in
speaking English and also in writing. I thought I was a
first-rate scholar when I could but fairly write my name, but
I have found out the difference since. But, to go back, I told
the Camanche chief that I was dissatisfied with the Big Crow
and Walla Walla chiefs and tribes, and that I wanted him to
get me away from them, and then I would be his prisoner
and captive. He accordingly went and saw these chiefs, and
made a bargain for me ; but what the bargain was I never
knew, as the Camanche would never tell me. But this much
62 LIFE AND ADVENTURES
he told me, that I must go with these two chiefs into what is
called New Oregon, and stay until the next spring, it being
late in the fall when I saw him. I went back with them in a
happier mood, knowing, as I had been told, that I could get
with the Camanche chief, and would soon have my liberty.
The next four months seemed the longest time of my exist
ence ; the time wore away very slow to me, yet not without
The transfer effected Adoption Made a Chief and head Medicine man Lib
erty Surmises concerning relatives Occupation as second Chief Inability
of the Indians to understand English Friendship and love of the Indians
How to jerk meat Panther hunting and its dangers Torture of panther
whelps A panther fight Distressing situation Relieved by three pale-faces,
escaped prisoners from the Osage Indians Take pale-faces to my tribe, who
kindly treat them and suffer them to go on their way The Osage Indians
Their manners and customs Theircruelty Tortures Roasting a pappose-
Religion of the Qsages.
The spring came, and, to my great joy, with it came the
Camanche chief. The moment I saw my protector, as I was
told he would be, I sprang towards him as quick as a panther
would leap on a deer. This chief I found to be my fiiend,
indeed, although, for about a year, he and the tribe used to
watch me very closely. Soon after this, I was adopted into
this tribe, and chose to be their chief, but not the head chief;
I was next to him in rank. At this time I had my first liberty.
How does the reader suppose I felt at my being almost as
free as the deer or the antelope, to stay or go when I wished?
If I was ever happy in my life, I was at this time. It seemed
so strange to me, when I had no one to watch me, I would
sometimes sing and dance, and be almost at my wit's end, to
express my happiness.
I used to often wonder to myself wether I had a white
father or mother, or any sisters and brothers whom I did not
know. Thousands of times I thought of "this, but still, at this
64: LIFE AND ADVENTURES
time, and for years to come I was left in the dark, as to whether
I had any pale-faces for relations. I never, at an^ time,
thouhgt that my father was an Indian, or my mother a squaw.
Some time after being chosen chief in my tribe, I went on
a hunt, in company with four Indians, for the smaller kind of
antelope. Our range was near the Blue Kidge Mountains, a
portion of the country seldom visited by panthers, they
generally being found much farther to the south. On this
occasion, we came across a very large panther, with two cubs.
These cubs we caught ; and, without .any thought of the
danger into which we were running, we commenced teasing
them for amusement. We cropped their ears and tails, which
set them screaming, and then we stuffed their mouths with
jerked bear meat to stop their screeches, which were enough
to make you tremble. It was fun to see the savage young
brutes attempt to get at us, but we kept them off with burning
pitch-pine knots. Their cries soon brought several full-grown
male and female panthers to the scene, and then our danger
began. Having no horses, we could not get away ; and every
thing seemed to be against us. We managed to keep them
off by firing charges of small shot into them, which made them
only the more savage. Our danger becoming greater every
moment, four of us succeeded in reaching a ledge of rocks
some one hundred feet above the infuriated panthers, but the
fifth was seized by four of the animals and instantly torn to
pieces. The taste of blood, thus obtained, made them more
ferocious than ever, and by the time we were safely on the
ledge of rocks mentioned, we found the panthers had reached
an equal height, and were about to attack us from both sides.
With no means of escape, our only hope was to fight
them to death. With our rifles and other weapons we
commenced the conflict, and after several hours' severe fight
OF WILLIAM FILLEY. 65
the last of the panthers was driven off from the ledge, leaving
but two of our party, two others having fallen in the fight.
As it would be dangerous for us to remain, we climbed up to
a higher ledge of rocks, where we laid down to sleep, both
being entirely exhausted in the deadly struggle through which
we had passed. On awaking in the morning, I found my
only remaining companion dead, the wounds he received in
the fight with the panthers having proved fatal. My situation
was then very distressing ; having been without food or water
for two days and three nights, I was very weak and unable
to reach the plain which stretched away for miles below me.
As if by a special act of Providence, I heard a gun fired, and
at once answered it by firing off my own rifle. I soon discovered
that the first report of a gun was a party of three white men, and
with their assistance succeeded in reaching the level plain. These
white men were escaped prisoners from the Osage tribe of
Indians on the south fork of the Platte River, where they
were encamped for the season, having been with them three
years, and had then been wandering thirty-three days in the
various ranges in search of the route to Great Salt Lake City,
having become bewildered. At the time we met they were
several degrees out of their way, and I took them with me to
my tribe. They were kindly treated by the chief and council,
after remaining some time they were permitted to go on their
way towards their friends, well provided with everything they
While stopping with my tribe, these pale-faces told me
many things concerning the manners and customs of the
Osage Indians with whom they had been prisoners. These
Indians were very cruel and bloodthirsty, taking great pleas
ure in putting to death the pale-face squaws and children who
66 LIFE AND ADVENTURES
fell into their hands, first torturing them in the most fiendish
manner. One case they stated was of a pale face pappoose,
an infant at the breast, which they tortured to death in the
following manner : They bored holes in its ears, and running
wampum belt strings through the holes, danced it up and down
by these strings until it was dead. When they found the
child was dead, they danced the Indian death dance around
it, and then proceeded to roast it by a slow fire, as they said,
to purify the spirit so that it would be received into the
Indian's happy land.
There is little civilization among the Osage Indians ; yet
they believe that in the happy hunting grounds they will
enjoy greater privileges than other tribes of Indians. One of
their happy ideas is, that every Osage Indian who reaches
that happy land will have three squaws for wives ; and the
squaws believe they will have three husbands. They also
believe they will live in the happy hunting grounds until the
land turns to gold, out of which the good Indians and squaws
will build a golden wigwam for the Great Spirit, who will be
constantly with them ; that he will fish and hunt for them,
l >and prepare their food. In this belief they will roast a pale
face squaw to purify her for the happy land where they are
to live, that she may cook for them when the Great Spirit is
hunting and fishing. They inflict the most horrible torture
in this operation, which is done by a very slow fire, and is
continued even after death has released the victim from their
fiendishness. If, while being burned alive, groans or cries
escaps from the unfortunate pale-face squaw, water is poured
down her throat, as the savages believe, to stop the fire from
burning her up too fast. If she should die quicker than they
think she ought to, she will not be fit to enter the happy
hunting grounds, but will remain at the gate to wait upon all
OF WILLIAM FILLET. 67
the Indians and squaws, wash their dirty feet before they
enter, and gather tobacco for them. If her duties in this po
sition are well attended to, she will, when the land turns into
gold, be allowed to join them in the happy land. In the event
of the Great Spirit leaving them, this pale-face squaw will
have to take his place in hunting, fishing, and cooking for the
good Indians and squaws. As a final reward, she is made the
wife of the Great Spirit when he comes back ; but if she is
not a good wife, and won't spread out the bear or buffalo skin
for the Great Spirit to sleep upon, she is sent out among the
bad Indians, where they have to do all the hard work in tan
ning the skins and making moccasins for the good Indians.
My business as under, or second chief, of the Camanches,
was to do all the trading that the tribe wanted done. It made
no difference how small the pelt was, nor how simple the ar
ticle, if any of the Indians had any such to trade, it was my
place to try and sell it for him, and make as much as I could.
I did this to get acquainted with this strange tribe, as you
must know that I could not get acquainted with them all in
one year, for there was a large number of them. The tribe
were naturally fond of me, more so than they would be of
other pale-faces who do not live among them. ,
When I knew that the whole tribe took a liking to me, (and
this 1 knew by the treatment I received from them), and that
they liked me as much as it was possible for them to love a
white chief, and looked upon me as their guardian, protector,
and friend, then, and not till then, did I begin to learn some
thing for my fifture benefit. In such a case, should one ever
turn his mind to go and live among the pale-faces, or to be
their chief medicine man, they will make him what you would
call their chief or prominent doctor ; they will learn him all
the plants and bark^ they use in their treatment of different
68 LIFE AND ADVENTURES
complaints, both external and internal ; he will have the
chance to learn how to prepare all their medicines, and eve
rything they know which will be of any advantage to them.
Now, the reader must be well aware that such a tribe of In
dians have all the fondness for this pale face chief that they can
possibly have. The chief is called upon, when he has
learned all I have above stated, for any case of consequence.
He is above all the rest of the medicine men, in preparing and
dealing out the different classes of medicine. It matters not
what the case may be, he is called upon to superintend. This
is the most lofty grade in which such an one can be stationed
amongst Indians. He also oversees all the meat that is caught
by them to save for the next year's food ; he has the regulat
ing of all meat that is jerked. There are probably thousands
of the whites who do not understand the manner of jerking
meat. There are various ways of doing it, and I will state
to you one of them.
First, select a spot that is considerably on a descent ; then
go up from the level ground, say twelve or sixteen feet, and
dig a square pit six or eight feet deep. "When you have done
this, dig a trench from this square pit, say eighteen inches
wide, until you run out on level ground ; then you will cover
this trench over with stones, and grass turf on the top of them,
and dirt on top of the turf. This forms a flue. Your meat
you will cut in moderately thin slices, and use 'twine or bark
in order to hang the meat on a short stick : put one end of
this stick in the ground, so that it will be firm 'and not slip ;
string the meat on this stick, so that it will'not touch the
ground, and close together, only not to touch ; then place your
sticks with the meat on, one above the other, until you have
all your meat in the pit ; then get some very strong sticks or
poles and lay a number of them across the pit : then stretch
OF WILLIAM FILLET. 69
a hard hide quite tight over the top of these poles, and put
some earth over this hide, until you have completely covered
it. Well done. Build a fire with dry wood in the mouth of
the flue, and the smoke will reach the pit. This warm smoke
will fill the pit and warm the sides, so that it will cause a
damp, gassy vapor to arise from the bottom and sides. This
vapor, if kept going for twelve or eighteen hours, takes away
or destroys the animal life. This meat, if covered close
enough to keep all flies from it, will keep as well ten years
as it will two. Fresh meat, in a temperate climate, if
hoisted up forty or fifty feet, will keep perfectly sweet in
the summer time from four to six weeks. The reason is,
because we are so near the Pacific coast, and get the salt
sea-breeze ; and, besides, being in a temperate clime, the
atmosphere is more regular, and less changeable, by far,
there, than in this State. I have wandered now, from one
thing to another, till I have got back to the State of Michigan.
Life in the Rocky Mountains Marriage and its peculiarities A good opening
for wife deserters Dress of the Indians He induces the squaws to adopt the
pale-face style of dressing Becomes a modiste Camping-grounds Trading
post Astoria Its location Indigenous growth of tobacco, quality, etc
The Camanche tribe Savage Indians The Arrapahoes Their filthy habits
Revengefulness Tortures Their superstitions.
I will now go back to the Kocky Mountains, which is the
spot where the Camanche tribe mostly ranges in the fall and
winter seasons. "We do but little in the winter our pastime,
generally, is to practice with the rifle, tomahawk, and knife ;
play different games that we are accustomed to ; read, and play
the fool with each other. But the Indians are not like the
pale-faces, they are not so quick tempered with each other.
Our marriages are arranged in a somewhat peculiar manner.
I will state this particular as modestly as I can: They will
marry by the moon, or summer, or for a longer time. But,
say that the Indian marries for a moon (this is what the reader
would call -a month), then, if the squaw becomes pregnant,
they are married for life ; then they may fight, bite, scratch,
kick, wrangle, and quarrel with each other as much as they
have a mind to. But if they finally separate, so as not to live
together for two moons, they are separated for life, and neither
the squaw nor Indian can live together again ; and, besides,
if the squaw is caught with this Indian or with another Indian,
or the Indian with another squaw, they are tried by the chief
and council, and, if found guilty, are sentenced to the penalty
OF WILLIAM FILLET. 71
of death. So much, for the Indians and squaws. You may
think it very strange, but I have seen, in my tribe, some
Indians and squaws as pale-faced as any of the whites. But,
although this is the case, these are of pure Indian blood. A
pale-face will not be used very civil if he undertakes to per
suade one of the squaws of my tribe to marry ; he would get
punished very severely, as such conduct is a thing that will
not be allowed in our tribe. If he goes beyond our laws, then
we will try him, and, if we find him guilty, then we will
punish him in such a way that he won't try that plan again
as long as he lives.
Some of our tribe can speak the English language much
better than I can. Many of them cannot speak it at all. This
part of our tribe are indolent, and don't care whether they
learn anything for their benefit or not. It would be greatly
to their benefit if they could speak English, as they would
then have a chance to learn the manners and customs of the
This tribe dresses far different from any other tribe. Most
of the other tribes wear only blankets and skins, and a breech-
clout; our tribe wear pantaloons, somewhat in the shape of
those worn by white men, but the coat is shorter, reaching
not much below the hips. The squaws wear under and over-
clothes, in much similar shape to the white women. The first
dress worn in my tribe was worn by the squaw of the head
chief, or what the reader would call wife. She had got a
dress pattern from a white woman in-the Willammette Yalley,
State of Oregon. The chief squaw cut out the dress. I was
in the cabin when she first put it on ; I did not like it, as it
only came down to her knees. I cut this dress from off her
body. Then I persuaded her to let me cut one out for her,
by the pattern she had got ; she did it, and I cut it to reach
72 LIFE AND ADVENTURES
down to her ankles and persuaded her to wear it. I liked the
shape of it much better than the one she had made for herself.
I may say, that it was not over three years before every squaw
in the tribe had dresses, and made them as long as the first
long dress I cut. It was through my means that the squaws
in my tribe were persuaded to wear dresses at all ; neither did
the Indians wear pantaloons or jackets, until I induced them
to do it for their comfort, decency, and happiness. Now, the
Indians or squaws are not ashamed to see pale-face men or
women, and look them in the face. I have done this much,
and would like to do more for them ; but perhaps I never
My readers would like to know where my tribe's camping-
grounds lay. Our village covers quite a large space of ground,
something over eight miles square. But this is guess work,
for there never was a chain run through there, and may not
be for several generations to come. It is in the Rocky Moun
tains, and is no farming country. The reader may now ask,
where was our trading point or post. It was mostly at Asto
ria ; this lays very near the mouth of the river. Our camp
lies, as near as I can tell, from 170 to 220 miles nearly in a
north-west direction from this Astoria, which is a small town,
inhabited mostly by Spaniards, with a few American families.
"We go down to this spot once a year, in order to buy tea,
flour, and powder ; lead we have plenty of in the mountains.
Near Astoria, we find, in places, the natural wild tobacco. It
is not much larger than the common narrow yellow dock,
which grows in the" State of Michigan ; but it is very strong,
especially if we let.it alone until it gets ripe ; it is the strong
est tobacco I ever saw of any kind. This is real tobacco, and
not what is called " Indian's tobacco," or lobelia.
This Camanche tribe is what we call a brother tribe to the
OF WILLIAM FILLET. 73
Camanches that range generally in the State of Texas. But
those Camanches are a very warlike and bloodthirsty tribe.
Among the different Indian tribes who roam over the wide
prairies of the far West are the Arrapahoes. They are the
most crafty, cruel, and revengeful of any of the tribes with
which I had any acquaintance. They are keenly alive to
insult, and the death of the person giving the insult is the
only satisfaction ever taken. They do no torture before killing
in cases of insult, but strike deep and sure at the first chance.
They permit no violation, of their laws ; particularly of that
which forbids the enticing away of their squaws. When a
pale-face is guilty of breaking this law, if captured, he is com
pelled to endure the most intense misery, inflicted in the
following manner : They first tie the hands behind the back
and tie the feet together, then they lay the victim on his back,
and with red-hot flints burn some particular spot of the body,
and they will continue to work at that part until it is burned
to the bone. They burn off the hair, and burn the tongue
and ears ; then, for a rest they will drive sharp sticks under
the finger and toe-nails, draw out the nails, one at a time, and
then resort again to the scorching with hot flints. Should the
victim be alive after all this, they will place him upon a pile
of thorns, and leave him, that he may die in peace, as they
say. They have an idea that the victims of this torture some
times come to life again and practice all kinds of mischief
upon them. In order to prevent this, when they bury the
body, they lay it on the face, that in digging to get out it will
dig deeper, and they bind the body down with long sticks, in
such a manner that if laid on the back and should come to life
they never could get out. They think when any one so tor
tured to death comes to life again that they destroy the fish
in the lakes and streams and the game in their hunting grounds.
74: LIFE AND ADVENTURES
I once had one of these savages come and tell me that one of
the pale-faces he had tortured to death had come to life and
had been into his wigwam, bent his bow the wrong way so
that it would not shoot, and drove his squaw away. I tried
to make him believe that some of his Indian enimies had done
it, but he would not, and remained under the superstition that
he had been the victim of a visit from the ghost of the mur
dered pale-face. The Arrapahoes are much more superstitious
than many other tribes, and no manner of argument can
change them in any way.
There may be many pale-faces who don't know what a sav
age Indian is. I will describe them, and their tempers and
positions, as well as I can, although I have stated elsewhere
that I have been amongst them before. But it is impossible
to describe their true character. All I know of these two
strange tribes I learned by being with them two different
nights. In describing one I describe both.
Indian tribes Their ignorance Enlightening them Their cruelty Murder
An attack Poisoned arrows Experiments Panthers Their habits Their
tenacity of life Value of their skins for moccasins Abundance of the ante
lopeSuperiority of the skins of the elk and moose Their scarcity Fishing.
We were out for a stroll, eleven years ago last summer,
(1866,) and we came across some of these savage tribes. They
took particular notice of what direction we came. I suppose
it was nearly night when we reached their camp, and they
made signs for us to stay with them for the night, which we
were very glad to accept of, as we knew that we were some
distance from water. If it had not been for that, we would
not have made any halt at all. If my memory serves me
right, we were smoking when we first went into their camp.
For a short space of time they kept a proper distance from us ;
but, bye-and-bye, they drew a little closer to us, but cautiously,
for fear, as I thought, that we were going to kill them. "When
they came up close to us, it was to ascertain if our mouths
were on fire or not ; but when they saw us take our pipes
from our mouths and blow the smoke out, and could not see
any fire, they were greatly astonished. On smoking again,
they saw no danger, and began to be sure that we were human
beings like themselves. They would look all around us, at
our clothes, and at our silver and gold ornaments. Then they
wanted to see our guns, and their great wonderment was,
what .they were for. I took my rifle, showed them some gun
powder, and let them see me put it in the barrel ; then I let
76 LIFE AND ADVENTURES
them see the rag I put on top of the powder, then took my
ramrod and forced down the paper; then I showed them a
ball, and let them see me put it down the mouth of the barrel,
and they saw me force it down ; then I took a piece of writing
paper and placed it on a tree a hundred rods off, and asked
them to go to the tree with me and examine it, then gave signs
for them to leave the tree. When they were safe, I drew my
rifle and put a ball through the paper ; then made signs for
them to go again to the tree, which they did, and found the
ball in the tree and brought it badk to me, and kept it. As
near as I could make out, they understood what lead was. So
you see there are some tribes so wild and ignorant that they
are unacquainted with anything belonging to the pale-faces.
They were very shy of us after this. They gave us some of
their dried bear meat, and we partook of the same kind of bed
that they did, and that was the ground, with the canopy of
heaven for a shelter. In the morning we were up before they
were, and they gave us some kind of meat for breakfast. I
saw, that morning, an old squaw strike one of the pappooses
with a stick, very hard; one of the savages then took up a
good-sized club, and split the old squaw's brains out. This
was enough to show me their temper, and it was well for us
that we showed them what our rifles were for ; had we not,
we might never one of us have seen our camp-ground again.
We left soon after this, and in a few hours we saw them se
creted behind some rocks, from which they attacked us with
bows and arrows. If one of their arrows had entered our flesh,
it is probable it would have taken our lives, for the whole flint
point was poisened, as we afterwards found out. We shot one
of them at our tame antelope and he died from its effects in
about two days, although it was but a slight flesh wound, I
knew that the arrow must be dipped in some deadly poison,
OF WILLIAM FILLET. 77
for I have thrown flint point arrows into deer and antelopes,
and made very deep wounds, which would not kill them.
Panther hunting is a common pastime in the spring-time of
the year. There are a great many of them at certain spots in
the mountains. There is a moderately high point south-east
of camp, called Range Point. A hundred and fifty miles from
this Range Point, panthers are plenty, and go in groups of
four and sometimes more. I have heard persons East say
that the panther will follow men and women. This is not the
case with our Rocky Mountain panther ; as far as my knowl
edge goes, they never follow any one, and I ought to know,
as I have ranged in these mountains for the last seventeen
and a-half years. I have never been out in these ranges and
came across any of them, but they have run out of my sight
as if they were running for their lives. The panthers I have
seen were very small, compared to the Eastern panthers which
I have heard tell about. They are very hard to kill, although,
sometimes, if the ball takes them at the'proper spot, they may
be killed very easily ; I have known as many as eight or more
balls to be thrown into them before they would yield up the
When we kill panthers and catamounts we always tan their
pelts to make our moccasins of. The reason we use such pelts
is, the deer are very scarce here in the heart of the mountains.
I have never seen but very few deer in this part ; what are
here are on the outskirts of the mountain.
Antelope are very thick here, so numerous that it is no
trouble for us to kill several in the course of an hour ; their
pelts are the next best pelts we can get to make a covering
for our feet. I and my tribe would rather have the pelt of
the moose and the elk, if we can get them, as these tan much
easier than most any pelt ; they are much thicker and more
78 LIFE AND ADVENTURES
durable. After we tan them, we can travel over sharp stones,
or even over sharp thorns, without hurting our feet in the least.
This is not all. No matter how wet we get them, after they
are dry they are just as soft as they were before. I can take
a moccasin of our tanning, from the moose or elk pelt, and fill
it with water and let it remain as long as I wish, and then no
water will soak through. But it is very rare that we find any
of these last mentioned animals in the heart of the mountains,
though they are in the outskirts.
I always liked to range in these winding mountain valleys,
on the small as well as the larger streams, as they abound
in red-spotted trout. I have spent a great many lonely
hours catching these small trout, merely for pastime, and
then throw them away. This was the pleasantest time I ever
had alone with the red men.
His similarity to the red man His tenacity of purpose Saving the lives of
white men Comparison of the laws of the whites and Indians Honesty of
the same compared Religion of the Indians Their profession and practice
Similarity the ancient Jews Their burnt-offerings Their chants, etc, etc.
Big trees in the Rocky Mountains The stories concerning them disputed
No trees more than 12 or 15 feet in diameter.
Some people here may think me very tenacious in my
habits. I am, and well I might be, as I was raised, except
the first five years of my life, among the red men of the
mountains. I hold to just the same principles and dispositions
as the red men and squaws who raised me. I am very
curious and particular as to who I choose for my confidential
friends in the vast community, and, more than this, I do not
like to be contradicted when I know I am telling the truth.
It is contrary to my principles to allow any one to dictate for
me in any manner. I hold to their disposition, except that I
will not allow myself to be revengeful, and kill for a very
small grievance. This I would not do, and I never had enough
of the red man's revenge in me to kill a human being. I
have, in the course of my life, saved the life of many a pale
face, by my intercession, from scalping with the long-knife.
Some folks may think that I write this last statement in order
to be well spoken of. I always felt it my duty, as under
chief, to do so, and, besides, it made me more friendly with
the pale faces of the extreme "West. It was not only much
better for me, but it was a benefit to the red men I was with.
80 LIFE AND ADVENTURES
I remember, in 1857, that a small-party of white men came
into our range to find gold, which they did find, and were
caught by some of our Indians. They were forced to come
into our camp, and were made to know that, according to our
laws, they would be tried for their lives. But, by my inter
cession with the head chief and the council, they were given
their entire liberty. Now, it is a fact, if this party of pale
faces had gone among white men, and had entered their or
chards or fields and begun to help themselves to wiiat was
growing there, they would have tried them to the utmost of
their law, and, if found guilty, would have put them in the
white man's prison, and kept them there some time ; and if
the sentence for the crime had been death, they would have
tied a piece of hemp around their necks, and hung them
up. Now, if I had not interceded lor the above party, and
they had been proved guilty, and been shot by the red
men, the pale-faces would have said directly that the In
dians had murdered them, not reflecting of the opposite case.
Again, the pale-faces think it is no sin to steal the red
man's property from his land, but to steal from a white man
is all wrong, and deserves punishment. I say, of a truth,
they ought to be punished in the one case as well as in the
other. If this were not so, there would be no honesty what
ever. Some may think I am writing very sharp on this
subject, but I write the truth. I have known it this way
often in Oregon and California, and I do not know as there
is much difference in the laws there and in the East. I am
not going to hold the Indian up to the last point of honesty,
for I know there are some who are not honest. But there
are more honest Indians, according to their numbers, than
there are whites. If this is not so, your State prisons would
not be so full.
OF WILLIAM FILLET.
I have written the above statement from the knowledge I
have gained in the States, and from the various State prison
accounts of your pale-face convicts. There are many reasons
why I think more of our laws than I do of yours. One is, our
laws are put in full force, no matter what the offence or the
nature of it. When we find any one or more of the tribe
guilty, we enforce the full extent of the law against them.
This is the reason we have not so many thieves and murderers
in our tribe. I firmly believe, if the laws were as strictly
enforced in the States as they are with us, that where ten
murders or thefts are committed, there would not be more
than one or two.
I have been frequently asked questions in regard to the
religion professed by Indians generally. My answer has
,been : The Indians do not profess anything; they either know
it or they do not know it. What I mean by this is, that what
religion they have, they practice to the full extent. They
don't profess one thing and practice another. Their general
worship is similar to that of the Jews during the time of
Moses, as we read in the Old Testament ; and although they
cannot get the same kind of animals for their burnt offerings
as the Jews had, they use such as they have. Like the Jews,
the animals they use must be without spot or blemish, and I
have known them to kill for the space of two weeks and some
times even longer, till they obtained the suitable one, without
spot or blemish, for their burnt offering. Every new moon is
the occasion for offering up their sacrifices in atonement for
the sins committed from time to tinue since their last offering.
They believe in a Great Spirit, who has absolute power for
good or evil ; but of Christianity they have no more idea than
they have of the Greek language. No such word as virgin is
known among them, and it will be difficult to make them
82 LIFE AND ADVENTURES
4 understand the atonement. The Camanche Indians appeal
directly to the Sun and the Earth : the Sun as the great
source of life, and the Earth as the producer and receptacle
of all that contributes to sustain them. Their sacrifices and
offerings are all made to the Sun and Earth. In their religious
ceremonies they have many chants, of which the following
are examples :
Och auw naun na wan,
Och auw naun na wau,
Och auw naun na wau,
Och auw 'naun na wau,
I am the living body of the Great Spirit above,
(The Great Spirit, the ever-living Spirit above,)
The living body of the Great Spirit,
(Whom all must heed.)
[The chorus is untranslatable.]
"Wish e mon dau kwuh
Wish e mon dav kwuh
Ke maun was sa hah kee
Ne maun was sa hah kee
Wey ! ho ! ho ! ho ! ho I
I am the Great Spirit of the sky,
The overshadowing power,
I illumine the earth,
I illumine the heaven.
[Slow, hollow, and peculiar chorus.]
I have only given in the foregoing the experience I had
OF WILLIAM FILLET. 83
among the Camanch tribe ; other tribes vary greatly from
this, of which I shall speak elsewhere.
I have heard, a great many large stories told here concern
ing the big timber west of the Rocky Mountains ; and some
have told me that they have heard travelers who had been to
California tell of the large red wood timber being from twenty
to thirty-five feet in diameter. This class of persons may
have seen such large trees, but I never have ; and I ought to
know, if anybody, for I have ranged all through Tipper and
Lower California, before there was any gold thought of. I
don't remember that I ever saw one of these trees over from
twelve to fifteen feet in diameter ; and this is considered a
large tree in this country.
From the beginning of this book, I did not intend to relate
any long stories on this pojnt beyond the truth ; neither do
you want to read long yarns that are all falsehood. I want to
do honestly with every human being, and I had rather cut off
my hand that I write with, than to tell what I know to be a
wilful, absolute lie.
A stroll "Warm weather A strange light Curiosity Search for the mystery-
Imminent cftnger Renewed search Discovery of a cave containing, dead bod
ies of IndiansBurial of the Indians Death dance Immense quantities of gold.
In the latter part of July, 1853, I went out for another of
my strolls. This was the warmest time I ever saw or felt.
I roamed away from one place to another until night overtook
me. I found a lodge for the night, in this vast wilderness,
under a very broad ledge of rocks, which projected over the
ground some five or seven feet. This ledge ran nearly north
and south. Here I concluded to stay for the night. I exam
ined my rifle, to know that it was* all right, and also my small
arms ; whenever I was out alone in this way I always did so. I
ate what little I had with me, and then lay me down to sleep,
hoping that it would be my everlasting sleep. When I had
lain there some time, I though I saw a bright light in the
distance, directly south of where I lay. I kept a steady gaze
on this light. After a while it grew much brighter, and be
fore long it seemed to be most as bright as day. This seemed
very unaccountable to me, as in all my ranges I never saw
such a strange light before. I raised up to go and ascertain
what the cause of this singular light could be. I started off
in the direction where it was the brightest, and suppose I
traveled some three or four miles, when I came to a spot
where, in looking off, it loooked like a large sheet of water.
This I thought very singular, as I never had seen so large a
lake in the mountains. Wondering what all this could mean,
I concluded not to venture any farther on this route, but went
back a short space and lay me down to sleep again.
OF WILLIAM FILLET. 85
I awoke in the morning, a short time before sunrise, and
went back on my last nights route. Here I saw that if I had
kept on my course I should have found my everlasting sleep,
which I so much desired the night before I should have
walked off a high cliff of perpendicular rock, and opposite this
deep gulf was where I saw the dazzling light. If any of my
readers can account for so wonderful a sight, in such a spot, I
would thank them to do it.
I returned to the spot where I first stopped the night pre
vious and wandered into the valley, where I took a southerly
course until I came to this deep chasm again. I walked on
till I came to some ill-shaped steps which led downwards into
the cave below. I procured some dry splinters of wood, to
make a torch of. I went down with my torch into the depths
below, and discovered still another deeper chasm ; and here,
alone in the dark, a sight met me which made me shudder.
It was the stiff, stark bodies of several dead Indians. I made
up my mind that I would ascertain the cause of their death,
if possible. I went to procure some pitch-pine knots, and got
into another difficulty in obtaining them ; I unluckily walked
011 top of a mineral spring, and, before I was aware of it,
broke through and fell, for aught I know, from twenty to
thirty feet. When I reached bottom, I was nearly blind
from the strong mineral which got into my eyes. It was with
difficulty that I clambered out of my perilous situation. I
rubbed my eyes a long time before I could see. After dry
ing myself, I gathered up my pine knots and went back to
the cave ; I proceeded down the rugged steps and reached
the place of the dead, and found, to my sorrow that they
were Indians of my tribe. I knew them by their clothes, and
the make and form of their bodies. I then laid them in one
86 LIFE AND ADVENTUKES
heap, and covered them over in the best manner I could with
sticks, bark, and dry moss.
When this was finished, I went back to my tribe, after sev
eral days' severe travel, and with a hungry stomach, and gave
a statement of my discovery to the chief, in council, and re
ported it also to my tribe , I and the chief and council began
to lay plans to explore the whole of this wild and distant cave.
The next day being new moon, we did not go it is the cus
tom in our tribe to have a burnt oifering at the time of the
new moon, which is the grandest offering I have witnessed in
all my travels in the wilderness of the far West
This done, we started on our expedition for the cave. We
ranged some nine days before we found the wild cavern, as
we took the wrong trail. We reached the mouth of it about
the middle of the ninth day, and procured some dry knots
with which to broil our fresh goat's meat we had procured
that afternoon. This done, we laid down to rest for the night.
We rose early and ate our cold meat, and then went down
into the deep, dark cave, where we discovered the poor In
dians in the sleep of death. Here we remained four or five
hours, and danced the solemn death dance, which is a very
solemn eeremony. 1 never saw this danced over any Indians
except those who were supposed to have starved to death.
We left them here, as a suitable place, where they could rest
undisturbed. We then proceeded into the cave, say from
sixty to one hundred feet, when we had to come to a halt, for
we saw, to our astonishment, a wide wall, about breast high,
and from five to eight feet wide, and beyond this breast work
was a dark gulf of great depth. As we were returning back,
we saw some very handsome metal, which was pure gold ; we
picked up some of this, and then went out to the mouth of
the cave. We went back and got more afterwards, but we
did not get the half of it, as it lay loose on the ground, and in
ledges of the rock.
Hunting the North American or California Lion Well trained horses Ferocity
ofthe lions The Indian manner of attacking them An adventure with two
of them Severely wounded.
I went out, with four Indians of the tribe, into the bush, to
hunt the North American lion. When we went on these
hunts, we always went on horseback, but without bridle or
saddle. Our horses are carefully trained, so well that they
are perfectly under our control and ready to obey their riders ;
when they are spoken to, they will stop quick as lightning,
and move from right to left whenever they are made to
understand it ; when we want to fire, they will stand quite
still if told to, or they will run quite fast if it will be of any
service to us. Were they not trained, they would be of no
service to us in this kind of hunting.
These lions are very savage, so much so, that let them be
but a little hungry, they will attack anything they come
across. For this reason, Indians dread hunting them, as they
have io encounter every danger possible. We have to travel
from, fifty to seventy-five miles before we find any of this clas..
of game. They live in the bush and on the trail.
When we find them, we always halt and arrange our horses
in line, with their hind parts towards the lions, for the safety
of ourselves and horses. They generally range two together,
and we have to be very careful, or we may be attacked and
lose our lives, or be badly crippled. When we can see their
88 LIFE AND ADVENTURES
heads two of us fire, and the rest are kept in reserve, in case
of failure. We seldom have to fire twice ; but sometimes
they will not die until their heads are knocked into pomice.
They are as hard to kill as the common house cat. Their
skins are mostly tanned and sold to traders, who will give
more for their hides than for the hides of bears, but they are
Hot so valuable to the Indians.
The range of the North American lion is in the most rocky
part of the mountains, where no animal but the wild goat
lives. I have known six Indians to kill, in from five to eight
days, from forty to sixty of this tribe of savage brutes.
In the year 1864, an Indian and myself were out in the
country where these lions range, hunting squirrels for pastime,
not knowing but the lions had all left that range. When our
sport is over for the day, and we are away from camp, we
always quit about 4: o'clock in the afternoon, in order to make
some preparation for our night's lodging. We chose, at this
time, a small cave. These caves are not generally more than
from fifteen to forty feet in depth. We had selected a con
siderable quantity of dry knots, wfrh which to broil some of
our small game, and when we had got the fire built, a very
curious sound issued from the mouth of the cave. I never
heard so dismal a sound before in my life. But we were not
alarmed at this, and kept on cooking our game ; and, in being
foolhardy, lost the broiling of our supper. What was our
surprise, to see two of these fierce lions only a few feet from
us, and our guns as much as ten feet from us and very near
them. There we sat, in awful suspense, not knowing whether
to keep still or jump for our rifles. But this Indian was very
true to me, and told me he would rather lose his life than
have me lose mine, as he knew the tribe would not mourn so
much for him. He told me to keep still and keep my eyes
OF WILLIAM FILLET. "89
fixed close on the nearest beast. 'No sooner had he begun
to move towards the rifles, than one of the lions sprang upon
him, and took off his right hand quicker and smoother than
I could with an axe. He did not stop, but crawled till he
reached the rifles. He had just got back to me, when the
other lion sprang on him, took him in his jaws, and fairly
lifted him up from the ground. This made the poor Indian
yell and scream with all his might, which frightened the ani
mal so that he let go his hold and I had time to prime my
rifle. I took sight the best I could, fired, and killed the ani
mal instantly. The poor Indian lay wounded at my feet.
But we were not through yet ; the worst was yet to come :
the other was the male. I loaded my rifle again, so as to
have them both loaded, if I did not kill with the first shot. I
fired, but did not kill, yet the lion was so amazed that he dare
not attack us. I fired the second and the third shot, when
the wounded animal got so enraged that he sprang at me. I
raised my right foot, which he clung to till I had reloaded my
rifle.* His strength had considerably subsided, but I carry
the mark of his grip on the joint of my big toe till this day.
I fired this charge into his mouth, which released my foot ;
but this did not kill him yet ; he rolled over on his side, and
with my last charge, I put a bullet through his heart. This
finished the customer. I was then in miserable pain, but not
so bad as my friend, the Indian. He told me to bind up my
toe, to save my own life, and let him alone. I did bind up
my toe, and then tried to comfort him as well as I could under
-the circumstances. I managed to stop the blood from the
*As this story may not be believed by some, it may be well to state that on its being
doubted by the lost boy's friends, he unhesitatingly uncovered his foot, and exhibited it
in a greatly mangled condition. As he will be in various parts of the country after the
issue of this book, parties having a desire to know the truth of the story, can have their
curiosity gratified. J. Z. B.
90 LIFE AND ADVENTURES
stump of his arm and side and proposed to hide my rifle, and
get him to one of our fall tents, to make him more comforta
ble. What was my sorrow, when 1 had lifted him up, his
arm began to bleed most severely. Then he told me to go
back to camp as quick as possible, and let him die, for there
was nothing that could save his life.
But how could I be so hard-hearted to this poor Indian ?
He had most likely been the means of saving my life. Leave
him I would not then, if it cost me my life by staying, and I
did all for him that I could in my mind think of. The day
WQ got hurt we had enough small game to last two days. The 1
third day morning we were out of food, and my foot pained
me to such a degree that I could scarcely move at all. But
was I going to let us both be hungry, even if I was in severe
pain ? ]S"o, this would not do. As chance would have it, I
spied a mountain sheep, or wild goat, about one hundred and
twenty rods from me, feeding towards us ; I walked, as well as
I could, to a narrow ledge of rocks, about fifty or sixty feet
from where I was, and there I lay and watched my future
game for a short time, when to my surprise, I saw two Indians
nearing me. Just as I fired the two Indians fired at the same
object, so that by the three charges being fired we got the
sheep ; it was very poor in flesh, but nevertheless, it came in
good time for us. These two Indians did not belong to my
tribe, but to the Walla Walla tribe, and had been down to the
south fork of the Platte Eiver, and the day before we saw
them had lost their range. If they had not taken our trail we
would have been in a bad condition. They relieved us some,
and they said they would go to our camp and let the tribe
know of our sufferings and perilous condition.
Five days passed away, none of our tribe had come to our
help, and I had almost made up my mind that we sould never
OF WILLIAM FILLET. 91
see the tribe again. As to my walking, that was out of the
question, for upon bearing the slightest weight upon my foot
it would commence bleeding.
My poor Indian died the sixth day after being wounded, I
was left alone, not knowing whether there were any Indians
within from forty to sixty miles of me, and I felt that I was in
a very bad situation. Still I weathered it through until my
foot got well enough for me to walk some, and then was
obliged to walk very slowly on account of the pain being so
constant and severe. I knew that to get back to my tribe I
had a long journey before me, and I could not travel more
than a mile and a-half a day at the utmost, so you may know
why I thought I should never reach my tribe again. But the
Great Spirit, who rules all things in their proper course,
ordered it otherwise for me, for I had traveled only about
twenty or twenty-five miles when I met four Indians of my
own tribe in search of me. They had been looking around
for eleven days. If ever I was thankful to the Great Spirit
in my life, it was then. I had worn out my moccasins, my
feet were very sore with cutting them on sharp stones, and I
had not had anything to eat for nearly five days except chew
ing a little spruce bark, which was probably the means of
keeping me alive. I was so weak I could hardly carry my rifle,
and had to stop and rest very often. The second day after
these four Indians found me we reached the tribe in safety.
Had I not met them I should probably have starved. The
scars on my foot I shall carry with me to the grave ; it was a
long time before my bad bite got entirely well. Thank the
Great Spirit that my life was saved.
Hunting for grizzly bears Killing and flaying the pelts An attack in their dens
A hugging scene Lost in a cave Long suffering among the rocks Enjoy
ments of the bears.
The grizzly bear is a very hard animal to deal with, es
pecially if there are several of them together. I never liked
hunting these animals; still I had to do it sometimes. When
ever I could get out of it I would, as it is a very rare case
that one or more of the hunters do not get badly hurt, or
perhaps killed. I was never in danger .by these bears but
once, and then I had enough of it.
We left our camp in the month of September, 1852. This
was a month earlier than we go hunting animals for their skins
generally. We only hunt for them once in a long time, and
only when such pelts are commanding a high price. We
started with thirty-three or thirty-five Indians. It would have
been well for many of the party if we had not started at all.
When we are under good headway killing and flaying, it is
our custom for some to flay, or take the pelts oflf, while the
others keep hunting. We kept hunting until we found we
were out of our range. This we knew by not seeing any
regulae Indian trails. What trails there were, had been made
by these bears, panthers, and other wild animals. On search
ing back for Indian trails, we passed a cave of considerable
ftize, where we concluded to stay for the night. We broiled
our meat, ate our supper, and made some torches with dry
OF WILLIAM FILLET. 93
splinters of wood which we had collected for this purpose.
"When we had lighted them we started for the mouth of this
large cave, entered, and walked perhaps fifty feet from the
mouth, when we came to two turns or passages. We took the
left hand one, and traveled on for eight or ten minutes. We
passed several more passages, but still we were not at the
farther end. We made up our minds to take the back track,
but turned out from the passage we went in on, and soon
found that we were wrong, and made another attempt to find
the right one and get out. We walked but a very few rods
when we were met by several grizzly bears. They brought
us to a halt, but not long enough for us to see that our rifles
were in order. An Indian and I held up our torches for the
others to see to shoot, but this made a bad thing of it, as they
could not shoot with any surety of killing the animals, wound
ing them only making them more dangerous. They moved
towards us as fast as they could. One of the smaller ones
seized me by clasping his paws around me, my face towards
him. I had the presence of mind to stick to my torch and
grasped one of my revolvers. Just at this instant I heard the
report of a rifle, and it prove to be fired at the same bear that
was loving me in a way that I did not care to be loved. This
shot forced him to let go of me. This was the only bear killed
that night to my knowledge. The others had gone out of our
sight. We lost no time in trying to get out of this place and
we succeeded, but with the loss of some blood and very sore
bodies, as we were scratched to our hearts' content. After we
got out we were not long in finding a ledge of rocks which
overhung the ground some six to ten feet, and there we lay
down to take our night's rest, and sleep, which was but little.
We wandered about in those valleys some six or seven
weeks before we could find any trail that amounted to any-
94r LIFE AND ADVENTURES
thing for our benefit. All the meat we had to live on during
this time was one wild sheep and one goat, but very little
water, and mineral water at that, which would make us sick
every time we drank it. Finally we found a trail and traveled
on it for some time ; and crossing no other trails, caused us to
think we were* on a sheep or goat trail, as it steered very
crooked most of the time. "We were then out of food of every
kind. In four or five days after we struck this trail we found
the carcass of one of the bears we had killed and flayed as we
went out with our bear company. At this time we were very
hungry, and although the bear's meat smelt some and was
very bad, we were very glad to cut off some and broil it and
made a good feast on it. This was the hardest time I can
recollect while I was with the Western Indians.
After this we reached our camp in a few days. ISTot one of
the other Indians did we ever see again. Most likely they
were all killed or starved to death.
It is no uncommon thing to see these grizzly bears in the
months of May, June, July, and August ranging On the side
cliffs, rocks, and ledges. Sometimes they will lie and bask in
the sun, but they never do this when they are the least hungry.
Often they are shot in the summer time by the Indians,
merely for pastime, or to keep us in practice with our rifles.
At times they will be shot as they stand or lie on the narrow
ledges. Sometimes we kill them with the first shot ; when
this is the case they roll off and fall as heavy as though they
would smash the stones on which they fall, and very often,
their bodies will be crushed almost into pumice. Their meat
at this season of the year is not good for much, as they are
generally lean and their flesh is rank and tough, not considered
fit to eat by our tribe, although they are eaten by some tribes
less civilized than the Camanche tribe.
Dirty tribes Frog and snake eaters Blood-suckers Rocky Mountain sheep
and goats Wild animals of the Mountains Enemies of the goats Tempe
rature of the Mountains.
Among the tribes are some which are called, by the more
advanced tribes, dirty tribes, because they hardly care whether
their meat is clean or dirty. I have seen some of them eat
frogs of any species, as well as black rattlesnakes, of which
some of these tribes are very fond, and would rather eat them
than any other kind of food ; and many of these uncivilized
tribes will suck the warm, fresh blood and would rather have
it than any other liquid as a drink. SfiOCTOft L2bfM$[
Another reason why they are called the dirty tribes is, that
they never wash themselves at all. It makes no difference
what kind of dirty flesh or filthy snakes they have been hand
ling, nor what kind of nasty employment they may have been
engaged in, they will not wash their hands.
There is much difference among the more civilized tribes in
regard to this practice. As a regular thing they wash their
hands, face, and neck every morning, noon, and night ; and
at other times, especially when they have been handling flesh
or anything else of an unclean nature they will wash them
selves in several waters, in order to be sure that their hands
are perfectly free from any bad smell.
The Rocky Mountain sheep or goat are much the same, as
they eat only clean, wild herbage, and drink clean water.
96 LIFE AND ADVENTURES
The timidity of these animals is very great, although it is not
quite so great as that of the deer and antelope. I have heard
some pale-faces here (in the State of Michigan) tell that they
have seen the Rocky Mountain sheep, and also the goat, jump
or leap off from ledges or rocks which were from ten to
twenty feet high, seemingly for pastime or play. That much
I have never seen in all the 'seventeen and a-half years that
I was in the Rocky Mountains. But I will say that I have
seen them leap many times for good reasons. I have noticed
that when the grizzly bear is moving towards the sheep or
goats, or has made an attempt to catch them, it is quite a
common thing for them to leap off the ledges in order to save
'their lives. Some may ask if they do not hurt themselves in
thus leaping ? They will not for this reason: Their skulls
and that part of their horns which is nearest the upper part
of their forehead are the next thing to being as hard as the
rocks that the head strikes on, so that it would be an impos
sibility for these sheep or goats to hurt themselves.
The wild animals of these mountains, such as the grizzly
bear, North American lion, panther, catamount, lynx, wild
cat, and the wolverine, are all by nature very savage, and the
sheep and goats being very timid, it is natural that these
beasts should be their worst enemies, except the rifle ball.
The principal food of the savage animals spoken of, is the
sheep, goat deer, and antelope, and they make great havoc
among this class of animals.
I presume a few words concerning the climate in that portion
of the Rocky Mountains where the greater portion of my In
dian life was spent, will be of interest to many of the readers
of fchis book. The climate in the mountains differs greatly from
that of the valleys, the latter being warm and pleasant, with
OF WILLIAM FILLET. 97
regular seasons of rain. Snow is almost unknown in the val
leys ; but in the mountains: it is no rarity, and their peaks are
in perpetual snow. A person going in summer time from the
valleys into the mountains will experience a number of
changes in the atmosphere. 'No very marked change will be
noticed at the height of four hundred feet, but after reaching
the height of one thousand feet the cold becomes greater at
each succeeding step until, after reaching the height of several
thousand feet, snow is found eternally.
As stated elsewhere, the "Willammette Valley is the home
of many Indians. It is a beautiful spot ; plants and fruits of
many kinds grow there spontaneously and in the greatest pro
fusion. The climate is so mild that very little change of cloth
ing is necessary, and the seasons are regular, no variable
weather, such as prevails in the East and South, inconven
iencing the inhabitants. It is just such a place as the Indians
are fitted for, their wants being few, and work being almost a
stranger to them, they are enabled to hunt and fish to their
heart's content, and obtain a living without much labor.
The foregoing are some of the simple incidents and observa
tions of my life among the Indians, written in my plain way.
I confess my ignorance. Twenty-nine years of my life having
been spent among the red men of the forest, of course I am
much better acquainted with the Indian trails, their habits,
and hunting-grounds, the wild game, and my rifle than I am
with the manners and customs of the pale-faces, my own race.
I can handle my gun much better than I can my pen, and I
can write the simple language of the Indians much better
than 1 can the more cultivated language of my pale-faced
friends, with whom I differ in many respects. I dislike work,
as I have never been taught to labor, nor brought up to do any
98 LIFE AND ADVENTURES
kind of business ; but I am always ready and willing to help
any one who is sick and suffering. This I have been accus
tomed to do many years. I can go into the woods and from
roots and barks which I can get there (such as red cedar and
other varieties) can extract oil and medicine. This my pale-
face friends seldom do. I do not eat salt with my food, as I
see others do at every meal. I have my butter made fresh,
and use no gravy with my meat. I can get along without
water or other drink. I sleep in my blanket on the floor or
carpet, although it makes my friends more trouble. I never
sleep on a feather bed, though my friends tell me the cold
weather here will bring me to it. I shall not dispute them on
this point, as I am now suffering from the effects of the cli
mate every day, and I expect it will be worse before spring.
This is written near the home of my childhood. I thank
the Great Spirit, who has been my guide in my wanderings,
and who has enabled me to find my father, my brothers, and
my sisters. My mother long since passed away. Oh! that
she had lived, to embrace her long-lost child.
CHIEF MEDICINE MAN, CAMANCH TRIBE,
Rocky Mountains, Oregon.
The engravings Recollections General remarks, &c
In writing the concluding remarks to this history of the life
of the Indian captive, William Filley, the author desires to
call attention to the engravings embodied in the work, truth
fully delineating the features ot the lost boy as he now
appears; of the boy's father, Ammi Filley ; of the girl Mary
Mount, and of the different incidents in the search made when
the boy's absence was first discovered. The scenes of the
most important passages in the search are true to life and
There has been little said in the preceding pages of the
many incidents in the carrying off by the Indians of the boy.
It was a subject of conversation, during many years subsequent
to its occurrence, among the people of the community where
the tnrillrcg event transpired. It was the occasion of the
death of his mother, who went down to her grave sorrowing for
her first born, never being vouchsafed the slightest consolation
as to whether he was dead or alive. Had his fate been known
had the faintest knowledge of the disposition made of him
been known her overpowering, absorbing sorrow, and that
of his other relatives, might have been in a measure assuaged ;
but the unfulfilled hope of his return broke her heart, and she
died in the belief that he was no more of earth. His father
wasted his strength and means in fruitless search for him, and
when hope had utterly failed him, his unwearied and patient
toil was rewarded by the return of his long-absent and dearly
100 LIFE AND ADVENTURES
beloved boy. Nor was the sorrow for his loss confined to his
parents ; grand parents, brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts,
and a large circle of family friends mourned him long and
sincerely. Large sums of money were spent in the unavail
ing search, and days, weeks and months devoted to the same
end. And now he returns ra man grown is readily recog
nized by hundreds of those who knew him in childhood, and
their hearts are made glad, for the " lost is found."
In reading these pages, it will probably occur to the reader
to ask how and in what manner the Indian captive obtained
intelligence of his parentage, place of birth, and the cause
of his being amongst the Indians. It was in this wise : An
Indian chief with whom he had had no connection or acquain
tance, on his dying couch sent for him, and, under pledge of
eecrecy, communicated to him the fact that he was of the race
of pale-faces, and had been stolen in his early childhood by
the Indians, by whom he had been reared as one of their own
race. This was the first intimation he had ever received
from any source whatever, of his early history. From the
time he received this information he was firmly determined
to find the home of his boyhood, and to visit his kindred. In
this he was warmly seconded by his Indian friends, who had
no desire, after the many favors he had rendered them, to
place the slightest obstacle in his way. The letter which he
wrote to the Postmaster at Jackson, and other facts, are con
tained in the foregoing pages.
The author would also ask a perusal of the Indian song
given in the closing pages of the book, " The Lake of the
White Canoe." Mention having been made of the ability of
the boy to sing in the English, Spanish, and Indian tongues,
it may be well to say that this song is a great favorite with
him. Its insertion in the place it occupies, is occasioned by
OF WILLIAM FILLET. 101
its great length. Had it been given at the point where it
rightly belongs, its length would have broken the thread of
the narrative, which is now continuous.
Notwithstanding the many years that this boy was a cap
tive among the Indians, and in the face of the many hardships
through which he was compelled by them to pass, his friend
ship for them is of that enduring kind which time, even,
cannot change or efface. The slighest insinuation against
their honesty or friendship, is resented by him as a personal
insult. In fact, his long residence among them, HAS MADE
HIM AN INDIAN.
The subject of this narrative is at the present time visiting
his friends in New England, the place of his birth, but will,
previous to his contemplated return to his Indian friends,
spend some time in various leading cities of the Union, not
for the purpose of exhibiting himself, but to gratify the nat
ural desire of an intelligent, searching mind in relation to the
greatness of the pale-faces' country.
J. Z. BALLAED.
THE LAKE OF THE WHITE CA1TOE.
THE SONG OF "THE LAKE OE THE WHITE CANOE."
A beautifnl poem Sung by the Indian captive His favorite song.
Wo ! Wo I Wo !
Wo to the sons of the far-off land,
Weak in heart and pale in face,
Deer in battle, moose in a race,
Panthers wanting claw and tooth.
Wo to the red man, strong of hand,
Steady of purpose, lithe of limb,
Calm in the toils of the foe,
Knowing nor tears nor ruth.
Wo to them and him,
If,cast by hard fate at the midnight damp,
Or an hour of storm in the dismal swamp,
That skirts the Lake of the White Canoe!
Wo to him and them,
If, when the night's dim lamps are veil'd
And the Hunter's Star is hid,
And the moon has shut her lid,
For their wearied limbs the only berth
Be the cold and frosty earth,
And their flesh be burned by the gum cx-
From the cedar's poisonous stem, [hal'd
And steep' d in the blistering dew
Of the barren vine in the birchen copse,
Where rear the pines their giant tops
Above the Lake of the White Canoe!
My brother hears 't is well
And let him shun the spot,
The damp and dismal brake.
That skirts the shallow lake,
The brown and stagnant pool,*
* The water of the little lake (Drum-
mond's Pond) to which this tradition re
lates, is colored brown by the roots of the
juniper and cedar.
The dark and miry fen;
And let him never at nightfall spread
His blanket among the isles that dot
The surface of that lake;
And let my brother tell
The men of his race that the wolf hath fed
Ere now on warriors brave and true,
In the fearful Lake of the White Canoe.
Wo ! Wo ! Wo !
To him that sleeps in those dark fens!
The she-wolf will stir the brake,
And the copper-snake breathe in his ear,
And the bitterns will start by tens,
And the slender junipers shake
With the weight of the nimble bear,
And the pool resound with the cayman's
And the owl will hoot in the bonghs of the
Where he sits so calm and cool ;
Above his head the muckawissf
Will sing his gloomy song ;
Frogs will scold in the pool,
To see the muskrat carry along
The perch to his hairy brood ;
And coil'd at his feet the horn-snake wiL
Nor last nor least of the throng, [hiss
The shades of the youth and maid so true..
That haunt the Lake of the White Canoe
And if he chance to sleep,
Still will his OKKI whisper wo,
For hideous forms will rise ;
The spirits of the swamp [deep.
Will come from their caverns dark and
THE LAKE OF THE WHITE CANOE.
Where the slimy currents flow,
With the serpent and wolf to romp,
And to whisper in the sleeper's ear
Of wo and danger near ;
And mist will hide the pale, cold moon,
And the stars will seem like the sparkling
That twinkle m the prairie glades, [flies
In my brother's month of June
Murky shades, dim, dark shades,
Shades of the cypress, pine and yew,
In the swamp of the Lake of the White
Wo! Wo! Wo!
He will hear in the dead of the night
If the bittern will stay his toot,
And the serpent will cease his hiss,
And the wolf forget his howl.
And the owl forbear his hoot,
And the plaintive muckawiss,
And his neighbor the frog, will be mute ;
A plash like the dip of a water-owl,
In the lake with mist so white ; [view.
And two forms will float on his troubled
O'er the brake with a meteor light,
And he'll hear the words- of a tender song,
Stealing like a spring-wind along,
The Lake of the White Canoe.
That song will be a song of wo,
Its burthen will be a gloomy tale ;
It will cause the rain to flow ;
It will tell of youthful love,
Fond but blighted love ;
It will tell of father's cruelty ;
It will cause the rain to flow ; ,
It will tell of two lovely flowers
That, grew in the wilderness ;
And the mildew that touched the leaf ;
And the canker that struck the bud ;
And the lightniiig that wither' d the stem;
And 't will speak of the Spirit-dove.
That summon'd them away,
Deeming them all too good and true,
For aueht save to paddle a White Canoe.
It was many seasons ago,
How long I cannot tell my brother,
That this sad thing befel ;
The tale was old in the time of my father,
By whom it was told by mother s mother.
My brother hears 'tis well
Nor may he doubt my speech ;
The red man's mind receives a tale
As snow the print of a moccasin ;
But, when he hath it once,
It abides like a footstep chisel'd in rock,
The hard and flinty rock.
The pale man writes his tales
Upon a loose and fluttering leaf,
Then gives it to the winds that sweep
Over the ocean of the mind |
The red man his on the evergreen
Of -his trusty memory.*
When he of the fur-off land would know
The tales of his father's day,
He unrolls the spirit-skin .f
And utters what it bids ;
The Indian pours from his memory
His song, as a brook its babbling flood
From a lofty rock into a dell,
In the pleasant summer moon.
*The memory of the Indians is as as
tonishing as their sagacity and penetra
tion. They are entirely destitute of those
helps which we have invented to ep.se our
memory, or supply the want of it ; yet
they are never at a loss to recall to their
minds any particular circumstance with
whieh they would impress their hearers.
On some occasions, they do indeed make
use of little sticks to remind them of the
different subjects they have to discuss;
and with ease they form a kind of local
memory, and that so sure and infallible,
that they will speak for a great length of
time sometimes for three or four hours,
together and display twenty different
presents, each of which reqnires an entire
discourse, without forgetting anything
and even without hesitation.
f The Indians could never be brought
to believe that paper was any other than
a tanned skin invested with the pow ers of
THE LAKE OF THE WHITE CANOE.
My brother hears.
He hears my words 'tis well
And let him write them down
Upon the spirit-skin,
That, when he has cross'd the lake,
The Great Salt Lake,
The lake, where the gentle spring winds
And the mighty fishes sport. [dwell
And has called his babes to his knee,
And his beauteous dove to his arms,
And has smoked in the calumet
With the friends he left behind,
And his father, and mother, and kin,
Are gather' d around his fire,
To learn what the red men say.
He may the skin unroll, and bid
His Okki this tradition read
The parting words of the Roanoke,
And his tale of a lover and maiden true,
Who paddle the Lake in a White Canoe.
There liv'd upon the Great Arm's brink.*
In that far day,
The warlke Roanokes,
The masters of the wilds:
They warr'd on distant lands,
This valiant nation, victors everywhere
Their shoutsrung through the hollow oakf
That beetle over the Spirit Bay,t
Where the red elk comes to drink;
The frozen clime of the Hunter's Star
Rang shrill witlrthe shout of their bands
And the whistle of their cress ;J
And they fought the distant Cherokee,
The Chickasaw, and the Muscogulgee,
And the Sioux of the West.
They liv'd for nought but war, [vie 1 , 1
Though now and then would be caught a
Of a Roanoke in a White Canoe.
* Chesapeake Bay.
t Bay of Saganaum, in Lake Huron.
I Cress or crease, a poisoned arrow
seldom used, howeve^ by the tribes eas
of the Rocky Mountains.
Among this tribe, this valiant tribe,
Of brave and warlike Roanokes,
Were two a youth and maid,
Who lov'd each other well,
Long and fondly lov'd,
Lov'd from the childish hour,
When, through the bosky dell,
Together they fondly roved
[n quest of the little flower,
That likes to bloom in the quiet shade
Of the tall and stately oaks.
The pale-face calls it the violet
T is a beautiful child when its leaves are
With the morning dew, and spread [wet
To the beam of the sun,and its little head
Sinks low with the weight of the tear
That gems its pale blue eye.
Causing it to lie
Like a maiden whose heart is broke,
Does my brother hear ?
He hears my words 't is well
The names of this fond youth and maid
Tell who they were
For he was Annawan, the Brave,
And she Pequida, the girl of the braid,
The fairest of the fair.
Her foot was the foot of the nimble doe,
That flies from a cruel carcajou,
Deeming speed the means to save;
Her eyes were the eyes of the yellow owl,
That builds his nest by the River of Fish;
Her hair was black as the wings of the
fowl [aky* 9 -
That drew this world from the great
Small and plump was her hand;
Small and slender her foot;
And, when she opened her lips to sing,
Ripe red lips, soft sweet lips,
Lips like the flower that the honey-bee
The birds in the grove were mute, [sips,
The bittern forgot his toot,
And the owl forbore his hoot,
And the king bird set his wing,
And the woodpecker ceas'd his tap
THE LAKE OF THE WHITE CANOE.
On the hollow beech,
And the son of the loon on the neighbor-
Gave over his idle screech-, [ing strand
And fell to sleep in his mother's lap.
And she was good as fair,
This maid of the Roanokes;
She was mild as a day in spring;
Morning, noon, and night,
Young Pequida smil'd on all,
But most on one.
She smiled more sweet if he were there,
And her langh more joyous rung,
And her step had a firmer spring,
And her eye had a keener light.
And her tongne dealt out blither jokes,
And she had more songs to spare,
And she better mocked the blue jay's cry,
When his dinner of maize was done;
And better far, when he stood in view,
Could she paddle the Lake in her White
And who was he she loved?
The bravest he of the Koanokes,
A leader, before his years
Were the years of a full-grown man;
A warrier, when his strength
Was less than a warrior's need;
Bnt, when his limbs were grown,
And he stood erect and tall,
Who could bead the sprout of the oak
Of which his bow was made ?
Who could poise his choice of spears,
To him bnt a little reed ?
None in all the land.
And who had a soul so warm ?
Who was so kind a friend ? *
* Every Indian has a friend nearly of
the same age as himself, to whom he at
taches himself by the most indissoluble
bonds Two persons thus united by one
common interest, are capable of under
taking and hazarding everything in order
to aid and mutually succor each other ;
death itself, according to their belief, can
And who so free to lend
To the weary stranger bed and bread,
Food for his stomach, rest for his head,
As Annawan, the Roanoke,
The valiant son of the chief Red Oak?
They liv'd from infancy together
They seem'd two sides of a sparrow's
Together they roam'd o'er the rocky hill,
And through the woody hollow,
And by the river brink,
And o'er the winter snows ;
And they sat for hours by the summer rill,
To watch the stag as he comes to drink,
And to see the beaver wallow ;
And when the waters froze,
They still had a sport to follow
O'er the smooth ice, for, in full view,
Lay the glassy Lake of the White Canoe.
The youth was the son of a chief,
And the maiden a warrior's daughter ;
Both were approved for deeds of blood ;
only separate them for a time ; they are
well assured of meeting again in the other
world never to part, where they are per
suaded they will have the same services
from one another. Charlevoix tells of an
Indian who was a Christian, but who did
not live according to the maxims of the
gospel, and who, being threatened with
hell by a Jesuit, asked this missionary
whether he thonght his friend who was
lately departed had gone into that place
of torment; the father answered him that
he had good grounds to think that the
Lord had had mercy upon him, and taken
h m to heaven. "Then I won't go to
hell, neither/" replied the Indian, and
this motive brought him to do everything
that was desired of him ; that is to say,
he would have been full as willing to go
to hell as heaven had he thought to find
his companion there.
It is said that these friends, when they
happen to be at a distance from each
other, reciprocally invoke one another in
all dangers. The assistance they promise
each other may be surely depended upon.
THE LAKE OF THE WHITE CANOE.
Both were fearless, strong, and brave :
One was a Roanoke.
The other a captive Maqua boy,
In battle saved from slaughter*
A single ear from a blighted sheaf,
Planted in Aragisken land ;t
And these two men were foes,
When they to manhood came,
And each had skill and strength to bend
A bow with a warrior's aim.
* The following is the practice and
ceremony of adoption : A herald is sent
around the village or camp, to give notice
that such as have lost any relations in
the late expedition are desired to attend
the distribution which is about to take
place. Those women who have lost their
sons or husbands, are generally satisfied
in the first place ; afterwards, such as
have been deprived of friends of a more
remote degree of consanguinity, or who
choose to adopt some of the youth. The
division being made, which is done as in
other cases without the least dispute,
those who have received any share lead
them to their tents or huts, and, having
unbound them, cleanse and dress their
wounds, if they happen to have received
any ; they then clothe them, and give
them the most comfortable and refreshing
food their store will afford.
While their new domestics are feeding,
they endeavor to administer consolation
to them ; they tell them they are redeemed
from death, they now must be cheerful
and happy ; and' if they serve them well,
without murmuring or repining, nothing
shall be wanting to make them ^uch a-
tonement for the loss of their country
and friends as circumstances will allow of.
If any men arc spared, they are com
monly given to the widows that have lost
their husbands by the hands of the enemy,
should there be any such, to whom, if
they happen to prove agreeable, they are
soon married. The women are usually
distibuted to the men, from whom they
do rot fail of meeting with a favoraple
reception. The boys and girls are taken
into the families of such as have need of
them. The lot of their conquerors be
comes in all things theirs.
And to wield the club of massy oak
That a warrior man should wield,
And to pride themselves on a blood red
And to deem its cleanness shame, [hand,
Each claimed to lead the band,
And angry words arose,
Bat the warriors chose Red Oak,
Because his sire was a Roanoke.
Then fill'd the Maqua' s heart with ire
And out he spoke :
' Have his deeds equal' d mine ?
Three are the scalps on his pole *
In my smoke are nine ;
I have fought with a Cherokee ;
I have stricken a warrior's blow,
Where the waves of Ontario roll ;
I have borne my lance where he dare not
I have looked on a stunted pine [go;
In the realms of endless frost,
And the path of the Knistenau
And the Abenaki crost.
While the Red Oak planted the land.
It was mine to lead the band."
Then fiercely answered the rival brave,
And bitter words arose ;
Noisy boasts and taunts,
Menaces and blows, .
These foolish men each other gave ;
And each like a panther pants
For the blood of his brother chief ;
Each himself with his war-club girds,
And forth he madly goes,
His wrath and ire to wreak ;
But the warriors interpose.
Thenceforth they met as two eagles meet,
When food for but one lies dead at their
And neither dare to '\>e the thief ; [feet,
Each is prompt to show his ire ;
The eye of each is an eye of fire,
And trembles each hand to give
*Scalps are suspended from a pole in the
lodge, and usually in the smoke.
THE LAKE OF THE WHITE CANOE.
The last and fatal blow.
And thus my brother may see them live
With the feelings that wolf-dogs know.
And when each of these brave men
Had built himself a lodge,
And each had a bird in his nest,
And each had a babe at his knee,
Their hate had no abatement known,
Still each was his brother's enemy,
And thirsted for his blood,
And when those babes had grown,
The one to be a man
In stature, years, and soul,
With a warrior's eye and brow,
And his poll a shaven poll, *
And his step as a wild colt's free,
And his voice like the winter wind,
Or the roaring of the sea ;
The other a maiden ripe,
With a woman's tender heart,
Full of soft and gentle wishes,
Sighs by day and dreams by night, '
Their hostile fathers bade them roam
Together no more o'er the rocky dell,
And through the woody hollow,
And by the river brink.
And o'er the winter snows,
Nor sit for hours by the summer rill,
To watch the stag as he came to drink,
And to see the beaver wallow,
Nor when the waters froze,
Have a pleasant sport to follow,
O'er the smooth ice ; they bade them shun
Each other as the stars the sun.
What did they then this youth and
Did they their fathers mind? [maid?
I will tell my brother.
They met in secret met
'T was not in the rocky dell,
Nor in the woody hollow,
Nor by the river brink,
* All tiding to the custom of the Indian
of shaving off all the hair except the
Nor o'er the winter snows,
Nor by the summer rill,
Watching the stag as he came to drink,
And to see the beaver wallow,
That these two lovers met,
Nor when the waters froze,
GiviHg good sport to follow ,
But, when the sky was mild,
And the moon's pale light was veil'd,
And hushed was every breeze,
In prairie, village, and wild,
And the bittern had stayed his toot,
And the serpent had ceased his hiss,
And the woolf forgot his howl,
And the owl forbore his hoot,
And the plaintive wekolis, *
And his neighbor, the frog, were mute
Then would my brother have heard
A plash like the dip of a water fowl,
In the lake with mist so white,
And the smooth wave roll to the bank,
And have seen the current stirr'd
By something that seem'd a White Canoe
Gliding past his troubled view.
And thus for moons they met
By night on the tranquil lake,
When darkness veils the earth ;
Nought care they for the wolf,
That stirs the brake on the bank ;
Nought that the junipers shake
With the weight of the nimble bear,
Nor that bitterns start by tens,
Nor to hear the cayman's plash,
Nor the hoot of the owl in the boughs of
Where he sat so calm and cool : [the ash,
And thus each night they met,
And thus a summer pass'd.
Autumn came at length,
With all its promised joys,
Its host of glittering stars,
Its fields of yellow corn,
Its shrill and healthful winds,
* Another name for the whip-poor-will.
THE LAKE OF THE WHITE CANOE.
Its sports of field and flood.
The buck in the grove was sleet and fat
The corn was ripe and tall ;
Grapes clustered thick on the vines ;
And the healing winds of the north
Had left their cells to breathe
On the fever'd cheeks of the Roanokes,
And the skies were lit by brighter stars
Than light them in the time of summer
Then said the father of the maid,
"My daughter, hear
A bird has whispered in my ear,
That, often in the midnight hour,
They who walk in the shades,
The murky shades, dim, dark, shades,
Shades of the cypress, pine, and yew,
That tower above the glassy lake,
Will see glide past their troubled view
Two forms as a meteor light,
And will note a white canoe,
Paddled along by two,
And will hear the words of a tender song,
Stealing like a spring- wind along ;
Tell me, my daughter, il either be you ?
Then down the daughter's cheek
Ran drops like the summer rain,
And thus she spoke :
Father, I love the valiant Annawan ;
Too long have we roam'd o'er the rocky
And through the woody hollow, [dell,
And by the river brink,
And o'er the winter snows,
To tear him from my heart ;
Too long have we sat by the summer rill,
To watch the buck as he comes to drink,
And to see the beaver wallow,
To live from him apart
My father hears."
"Thou lov'st the son of my foe,
And know'st thou not the wrongs
That foe hath heaped on me.
The nation made him chief-
Why made they him a chief?
Had his deeds equal' d mine ?
Three were the scalps on his pole-
In my smoke arc nine ;
I had fought with a Cherokee ; '
I had stricken a warrior's blow,
Where the waves of Ontario roll ;
I had borne my lance where he dare not
I had looked on a stunted pine [go.
In the realms of endless frost,
And the path of the Knistenau
And the Abenaki crost.
While the .Red Oak planted the land.
It was mine to lead the band."
Since then we never spoke,
Unless to utter reproach,
And bandy bitter words ;
We meet as two hungry eagles meet,
When a badger lies dead at their feet
Each would use a spear on its foe,
Each an arrow would put to his bow,
And bid its goal be his foeman's breast.
But the warrior's interpose,
And delay the vengeance I owe.
Thou hearest my words 't is well.
Then listen to my words :
The soul of Maqua never cools ;
His ire can never be assuag'd
But with the smell of gore.
I thirst for the Red Oak's blood ;
I live but for revenge ;
Thou shalt not wed his son :
Choose thee a mate elsewhere,
And see ye that ye roam no more
By night o'er the rocky dell,
And through the woody hollow,
But when the sun its eyelids closes,
See that thine the example follow."
And the fathcrof the youth
Spake thus unto his son :
" A bird has whispered in my car,
That when the stars have gone to rest,
And the moon her eyelids hath clos'd.
Who walk beside the lake
THE LAKE OF THE WHITE CANOE.
Will see glide past their troubled view
Two forms as a meteor light,
And will note a white canoe,
Paddled along by two,
And will hear the words of a tender song
Stealing like a spring- wind along ;
Tell me, my son, ii either be you ?
Then answer' d the valiant son,
" Mine is a warrior's soul,
And mine is an arm of strength ;
I scorn to tell a lie ;
The bird has told thee true.
And, father, hear my words :
I now have come to man's estate ;
who can bend the sprout of the oak,
Of which my bow is made ?
Who can poise my choice of spears,
To me but a slender reed ?
I fain would build myself a lodge,
And take to that lodge a wife ;
And father, hear thy son
I love the Maqua's daughter."
"Thou lov'st the daughter of my foe ;
And know'stthounot the taunts
His tongue hath heap'd on me ;
The nation made me chief,
Ajid thence his ire arose ;
Thence came foul wrongs and blows,
And neither yet avenged.
He boasted that his fame exceeded mine :
Three, he said, were the scalps on my pole
While in his lodge were nine
He did not tell how many I struck,
Nor spoke of my constancy,
When the Nansemonds tore my flesh,
With burning pincers tore ;
And he said he had fought with a Chero-
Aud had struck a warrior's blow, [kee,
Where the waves of Ontario roll,
And had borne his lance where I dare not
And had looked on a stunted pine [go;
In the realms of endless frost,
And the path of the Knistenau
And the Abenaki crost.
While, bitter taunt ! cruel taunt !
And for it I'll drink his blood,
And eat him broil' d on fire
The Red Oak planted his land,
It was his to lead the band.
"And listen further to my words
My wrath can never be assuaged ;
Thou shalt not wed his daughter,
Choose thee a wife elsewhere ;
Choose thee one anywhere,
Save in the Maqna's lodge.
The Nansemonds have maidens fair,
With bright black eyes, and long black
And voice like the music of rills ; [locks
The Chippewa girls of the frosty north
Have feet like the nimble antelopes,
That bound on their native hills ;
And their voice is like the dove's in spring
Take one of those doves to thy cage ;
But see no more by day or night,
The Maqua warrior's daughter."
And haughtily he turned away.
Night was abroad on the earth :
Mists were over the face of the moon,
And the stars were like the sparkling flies
That twinkle in the prairie glades,
[n my brother's month of June ;
And hideous forms had risen ;
The spirits of the swamp
Had come from their caverns dark and
Where the slimy currents flow, [deep
With the serpent and wolf to romp,
And to whisper in the sleeper's ear
Of death and danger near.
Then to the margin of the lake
A beauteous maiden came ;
Tall she was as a youthful fir,
Upon the river's bank ;
3er step was the step of the antelope ;
Her eye was the eye of the doe ;
THE LAKE OF THE WHITE CANOE.
Her hair was black as a coal-black horse :
Her hand was plump and small ;
Her foot was slender and small ;
And her voice was the voice of a rill in
Of the rill's most gentle song, [the moon.
Beautiful lips had she,
Ripe, red lips,
Lips like the flow'r that the honey-bee sips
When its head is bow'd by dew.
She stood beneath the shade
Of the dark and lofty trees,
That threw the image on the lake,
And waited long in silence there.
"Why comes he not, my Annawan,
My lover brave and true ?
He knows his maiden waits for him
Beneath the shade of the yew,
To paddle the lake in her White Canoe."
But Annawan came not;
'He has miss' d me sure," the maiden said ,
"And skims the lake alone ;
Dark though it be, and the winds are high^
I'll seek my warrior there."
Then lightly to her white canoe
The fair Pequida sprung,
And is gone from the shore alone.
Loud blew the mighty winds,
The clouds were dense and black,
Thunders rolled among the hills,
Lightnings flash' d through the shades;
The spirits cried aloud
Their melancholy cries,
Cries which assail the listening ear
When danger and death are near :
Who is he that stands on the shore,
Uttering sounds of grief?
'T is Annawan, the favor'd youth,
Detain' d so long lest envious eyes
Should know wherefore at midnight hour
He seeks the lake alone.
He finds the maiden gone,
And anguish fills his soul,
And yet, perchance in childish sport,
She hides among the groves.
Loudly he calls, "My maiden fair,
Thy Annawan is here !
Where art thou maid with the coal-black
What does thy bosom fear ? [hair ?
If thou hast hid in playful mood
In the shade of the pine, or cypress
If the little heart that so gently heaves
Is lightly pressing a bed of leaves ;
Tell me, maiden, by thy voice
Bid thy lover's heart rejoice ;
Ope on him thy starry eyes /
Let him clasp the in his arms,
Press thy ripe red lips to his.
Come, my fair Pequida, come !"
No answer meets the warrior's ears,
But glimmering o'er the lake appears
A solitary, twinkling light-
It seems a fire-fly lamp ;
It moves with motion quick and strange
Over the broad lake's breast.
The lover sprung to his light canoe,
And swiftly followed the meteor spark,
But the winds were high, and the clouds
He could not find the maid, [were dark.
Nor near the glittering lamp.
He went to his father's lodge.
And laid him on the earth,
Calmly laid him down.
Words he spoke to none,
Looks bestow'd on none.
They bro't him food he would not eat
They brought him drink he would not
They brought him a spear and a bow,
And a club, and an arrowy sheaf.
And shouted the cry of war,
And prais'd him, and nam'd him a Chief,
And told how the treacherous Nanticokes
Had slain three Braves of the Roanokes 5
That a man of the tribe who never ran
Had vow'd to war on the Red Oak's son
But he show'd no signs of wrath.
THE LAKE OF THE WHITE CANOE.
His thoughts Were abroad in another path. By him who sleeps in that swamp,
Sudden he sprung to his feet,
Like an arrow impell'd by a vigorous arm
"You have dug her grave," said he 4
"In "a spot too cold and damp,
All too cold and damp,
For a soul so warm and true.
Where, think ye, her soul has gone ?
Gone to the Lake of the Dismal Swainp,
Where all night long by a fire-fly lamp,
She paddles her White Canoe.
And thither I will go !"
And with that he took his quiver and bow.
And bade them all adieu.
And the youth returned no more ;
And the maiden returned no more ;
Alive none saw them more ;
But oft their spirits are seen
When the night's dim lamps are veil'd,
And the Hunter's Star is hid,
And the moon has shut her lid,
And the she-wolf stirs the brake,
And the bitterns start by tens.
And the slender junipers shake
With the weight of the nimble bear,
And the pool resounds with the cayman'a
And the owl sings out of the boughs of the
Where he sits so calm and cool,
And above his head the inuckawiss
Sing;; his gloomy song,
And croak the frogs in the pool,
And he hears at his feet the horn snake's
Then often flit along [hiss,
The shades of the youth and maid so true
That haunt the Lake of the White Canoe.
Syracuse, N. Y.
PAT JAN. 21, 1908