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Full text of "Captivity of the Oatman girls: being an interesting narrative of life among the Apache and Mohave Indians: containing also an interesting account of the massacre of the Oatman family, by the Apache Indians, in 1851; the narrow escape of Lorenzo D. Oatman; the capture of Olive A. and Mary A. Oatman .."

* 







I/ 

CAPTIYITY 



OATMAN GIRLS: 



INTERESTING NARRATIVE OF LIFE AMONG 



THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS : 



CONTAINING ALSO 



An interesting account of the Massacre of the Oatman Family, by the Apache 

Indians, in 1851; the narrow escape of Lorenzo D. Oatraan; the Capture 

of Olive A. and Mary A. Oatman ; the Death by Starvation, of the 

latter; the Five Years Suffering and Captivity of Olive A, 

Oatman; also, her singular recapture in 1856; a* 

given by Lorenzo D. and Olive A. Oatman, 

the only surviving members of the 

family, to the author. 



&. B- 

^ 

'^ ** 



SAN FRANCISCO: 

WHITTOS, TOWNE & CO'S EXCELSIOR STEAM POWER PRESSES, 

151 Clay Street, 3rd door below Montgomery. 

1857. 



*;? .' : Li 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1857, 
BY LORENZO D. OATHAN, 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Northern District of the State 
of California. 






Cop 



CALIFORNIA, 





OLIVE OATMAN. 



PREFACE. 



DURING the year 1851, news reached California that in the Spring of that year, a 
family, by the name of OATMAN, while endeavoring to reach California by the old 
8anta Fe route, had met with a most melancholy and terrible fate, about seventy 
miles from Fort Yuma. That while etruggling with every difficulty Imaginable, 
such as jaded teams, exhaustion of their stores of provisions, in a hostile and barren 
region, alone and unattended, that they were brutally set upon by a horde of Apa 
che savages ; that seven of the nine persons composing their family were murdered, 
and that two of the smaller girls were taken into captivity. 

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

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

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

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

These pages have been penned under the conviction that, in these facts, and in 
the sufferings .and horrors that befell that unfortunate family, there is sufflcie.nt ot 
Interest though of a melancholy character to insure an attentive and interested 
perusal by every one into whose hands and under whose eye this book may fall. 
So far as book-making is concerned, there has been brought to this task no experi 
ence or fame, in the author, upon which to base an expectation for the popularity 
of the work. He has only sought to give the incidents in a plain, brief and una 
dorned style, deeming that these were the only excellencies that could be appropri- 



Vlll PREFACE. 



ate for such a narrative the only OTIOS that he expects will be awarded. The tin- 
iellings of romance would be but a playing with sober, solemn and terrible reality 
to put them about a narrative of this kind. The intrinsic Interest of the subject 
matter here thrown together, must have the merit of any circulation that shall be 
given to the book. Upon this I am willing to rely ; and that it will be sufficient to 
procure a wide and general perusal remunerating and exciting I have the fullest 
confidence. As for criticisms while there will, no doubt, be found occasions for 
them they are neither coveted nor dreaded. All that is asked is, that the reader 
will avail himself of the facts, and dismiss, so far as he can, the garb they wear, for 
it was not woven by one who has ever possessed a desire to become experienced or 
skilled in that ringing, empty style which can only charm for the moment, and the 
necessity for which is never felt only when real matter and thought are absent. 

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

E. B. STRATTON. 

Yreka, February 1st, 1857. 



PREFACE TO SECOND EDITION. 



PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION. 



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

The author is not unmindful of the fact that particular attention was called, by 
two or three papers, to the remarks in our first preface, concerning the plainness of 
the style iu which the book is written. It was the author's intention therein to 
state, that he had not experience in book making, and that the reader ought not to 
look in the recital of a train of melancholy facts, of the nature of those herein de 
tailed, for a literary repast. That the author disclaimed all literary taste, could 
not be gathered from those sentences without misconstruction. He has been for 
the last eleven years engaged in public speaking, and though moving contentedly 
in an humble sphere, is not without living testimonials to his diligence and fidelity 
at least, of application to those literary studies and helps to his calling, which were 
within his reach. With a present consciousuess of many imperfections in this re- 



PREPACK TO SECOND EDITION. 



epect. hf in nevertheless not forbidden by a true modesty to say that in a laudable 
umbitiou to acquire, and command the pure English, from the root upward*, h* 
has not been wholly negligent or unsuccessful ; nor in the habit of earnest and par 
ticular observation of men and things has be been without his note-book and open 
yes. 

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

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

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

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

The author, stillmakingno pretensions to a servingup of a repast for the literary 
taste, yet with confidence assures the reader that he will find nothing upon these 
pages that can offend such a taste. 

Let it be said further, that the profits accruing from the sale of this work are, so 
fir as the brother and sister are concerned, to be applied to those who need help. 
It was upon borrowed means that Mr. Oatman procured the first edition, and it Is 
to secure means to furnish themselves with the advantages of that education 
which has been as yet denied, that the narrative of their five years' privation Is 
offered to the reading public. Certainly, if the eye or thought delights not to wan 
der upon the page of their sufferings, the heart will delight to think of meang ex- 
pnded for tho purchase of the book that details them. 






TABLE OF CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I ; Page 15 

The first encampment The Oatman family Their chequered allotment up to the 
time of their emigration Mr. Oatman His ill-health Proposes to Join tha 
party organized to form an American Colony near the Gulf of California, in 
1849 The 10th of August Discord in camp, owing to the religious prejudices of 
a few First danger from Indians The Camanche band Two girls taken for 
"Injins" The grape dumpling Mexican settlements The hunt for ante 
lopes, and its tragical end Charles refuses to fight "Injins" with prayer 
Moro Scarcity of provisions Discontent and murmurings Mr. Lane His 
death Loss of animals by the Apaches Mrs. M. in the well Santa Cruz, and 
Tukjon Some of the company remain here Pimole The only traveling com 
panions of the Oatman family resolve to remain Mr. Oatman in perplexity, 
resolves to proceed. 



CHAPTER II ;^ff : f :'f;?. V Page 51 

Mr. and Mrs. Oatman in perplexity Interview with Dr. Lecount Advises them to 
proceed They start alone Teams begin to fail The roads are bad The coun 
try rough and mountainous Compelled to carry the baggage up the hills by 
hand Overtaken by Dr. Lecount on his way to Fort Yuma He promises them 
assistance from the Fort The next night the horses of Dr. Lecount are stolen 
by the Apaches He posts a Card, warning Mr. Oatman of danger, and starts on 
foot for the Fort Reach the Gila River Camp on the Island late at night 
Their dreary situation, and the conversation of the children The moniing of 
the 29th of March Their struggle to ascend the Hill on the 29th Reach the 
summit about sunset The despondency and presentiments of Mr. Oatman 
Kineteen Apaches approach them Profess friendliness The Massacre Loren 
zo left for dead, but is preserved The capture of Olive and Mary Ana. 



Xll CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER III Page 76 

L. Oatman He was conscious of most of the scenes of the Massacre The next day 
he finds himself at the foot of a rocky declivity over which he had fallen Makes 
an effort to walk Startes for Pimole His feelings and sufferings Is attacked 
by wolves Then hy two Indians who are about to shoot him down Their 
subsequent kindness They go on to the place of Massacre L. Oatman meets 
the Wilders and Kellys They take him back to Pimole In about one month, 
gets well and starts for " Fort Yuma" Visits the place of Massacre Hi* feelingi 
Burial of the dead. 



CHAPTER IV Page 132 

The journey of three hundred and fifty miles to the Mohave Valley The means of 
subsistence during the time The conduct of the Mohaves compared with the 
Apaches-Arrive at the Valley The Village The Chief's Residence Their joy 
at the return of Topeka, their daughter The greeting of the new Captives- 
One year of labor and suffering The overflowing of the Colorado Their de 
pendence upon it Their habits Cultivation of the soil Scarcity of pro visions- 
Starvation Mary Ann Her decline Olive's care, grief, and efforts to save her 
life Dies of Famine Many of the Indian Children die Burial of Mary Ann 
The sympathy and sorrow of the Chief's Wife. 



CHAPTER V Page 175 

The Mohares -Their Sports An Expedition of Hostility against the Cochopas 
Its design Tradition concerning it The Preparation Their custom of Sacri 
ficing a Prisoner on the death in War of one of their own number The anxiety 
of Olive They Deoart Their Return The fruit of the Expedition The five 
Cochopa Captives No wereha Her attempt to escape -Her re-capture and 
Horrid Death The Physicians Evil Spirits The Mohave mode of doctoring 
The Yumas " Francisco," The Yuma Indian Hopes of Escape. 



CHAPTER VI Page 1 94 

Lorenzo Oatman His stay at Fort Yuma Goes with Dr. Hewit to San Francisco 
His constant misery on account of his Sisters Dai-k thoughts Cold sympathy- 
Goes to the Mines Resolves to go to Los Angeles to learn if possible of his Sis 
tersHis earnest but fruitless endeavors The Lesson Report brought by Mr. 
Roulit of two Captives among the Mohavea The false report of Mr. Black - 
Mr. Grinell Petitions the Governor Petitions Congress The report of the 
rescue of Olive Mr. Low. 



CONTENTS. Xlll 



CHAPTER VII Page205 

Francisco goes over the .river and spends the night Persuades some of the suh- 
Chiefs to apply again for permission to let Olive go free His threats The 
Chiefs return with him Secret Council Another General Council Danger of 
a fight among themselves Francisco has a letter from the whites Olive 
present Francisco gains permission to give her the letter Its contents Much 
alarmed Speeches of the Indians Advice to kill their captive Determine to 
release her Daughter of the Chief goes with them Their journey At Fort 
Yuma. 







CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS, 



CHAPTER I. 

The first encampment The Oatman family Their chequered allotment up to the 
time of their emigration Mr. Oatman His ill-health Proposes to Join the 
party organized to form an American Colony near the Gulf of California, in 
1849 The 10th of August Discord in camp, owing to the religious prejudices of 
a few First danger from Indians The Camanche band Two girls taken for 
" Injins "The grape dumpling Mexican settlements The hunt for ante 
lopes, and its tragical end Charles refuses to fight " Injins " with prayer 
Moro Scarcity of provisions Discontent and murmurings Mr. Lane His 
death Loss of animals by the Apaches Mrs. M. in the well Santa Cruz, and 
Tukjon Some of the company remain here Pimole The only traveling com 
panions of the Oatman family resolve to remain Mr. Oatman, in perplexity, 
resolves to proceed. 

The 9th of August 1850, was a lovely day. The 
sun had looked upon the beautiful plains surrounding 
Independence, of Missouri, with a full unclouded face, 
for thirteen hours of that day ; when, standing about 
four miles south of westward from the throbbing city of 
Independence, alive with the influx and efflux of emi 
grant men and women, the reader, could he have occu 
pied that stand, might have seen, about one-half hour 
before sun-set, an emigrant train slowly approaching him 
from the city. This train consisted of about twenty 
wagons ; a band of emigrant cattle ; and about fifty 
souls ; men, women and children. Attended by the 
music of lowing cattle, and the chatter of happy chil 
dren, it was slow r ly traversing a few miles, at this late 



16 CAPTIVITY OF THE ATM AN GIRLS 

hour of the day, to seek a place of sufficient seclusion 
to enable them to hold the first and preparatory night's 
camp, away from the bustle and confusion of the town. 

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

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

Among the fifty souls that composed that emigrant 
band, some were total strangers. Independence had 
been selected as the gathering-place of all who should 
heed a call that had been published and circulated for 
months, beating up for volunteers to an emigrant com 
pany about seeking a home in the south-west. It was 
intended, as the object and destination of this company, 
to establish an American colony near the mouth of the 
Gulf of California. Inducements had been held out, 
that if the region lying about the juncture of the Colo 
rado and Grila rivers, could thus be colonized, every 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS 17 

facility should be guarantied the colonists for making to 
themselves a comfortable and luxuriant home. 

After a frugal meal, served throughout the various 
divisions of the camp ; the evening of the 9th was spent 




FIRST NIGHT'S ENCAMPMENT. 

in perfecting regulations for the long and dangerous trip, 
and in the forming of acquaintance, and the interchange 
of salutations and gratulations. 

Little groups, now larger and now smaller, by the 
constant moving to and fro of members of the camp, 
had chatted the evening up to a seasonable bed time. 
Then, at the call of the " crier," all were collected 
around one camp-fire, for the observance of public wor- 



18 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

ship, which was conduted by a clergyman present. Into 
that hour of earnest worship were crowded memories 
of home and friends, now forever abandoned for a 
home in the " far off South West." There flowed and 
mingled the tear of regret and of hope there, and 
then, rose the earnest prayer for Providential guidance ; 
and, at that hour there swelled out upon the soft, clear 
air of as lovely an evening as ever threw its star-lit cur 
tain upon hill and vale, the song of praise and the shout 
of triumph ; not alone in the prospect of a home by the 
Colorado of the South but of glad exultation in the 
prospect of a home hard by the " River of Life," which 
rose to view as the final termination of the journeyings 
and toil incident to mortality's pilgrimage. 

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

Reader : we now wish you to go with us into that 
camp and receive an introduction to an interesting fam 
ily ; consisting of father, mother, and seven children ; 
the oldest of this juvenile group, a girl of sixteen, the 
youngest a bright little boy of one year. Silence is here , 
but to that household sleep has no welcome. The giant 
undertaking upon which they are now fairly launched 
is so freighted with interest to themselves and their little 
domestic kingdom, as to leave no hour during the long 
night for the senses to yield to the soft dominion of sleep. 
Besides, this journey now before them has been pre- 



AMONG THE APACAE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 19 

ceeded by lesser ones, and these had been so frequent 
and of such trivial result as that vanity seemed written 
upon all the deep and chequered past, with its world of 
toil and journey ings. In a subdued whisper, but with 
speaking countenances, and sparkling eyes, these parents 
are dwelling upon this many-colored by-gone. 

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

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

He was now of age, and his father and mother Ly- 
man and Lucy Oatman had spent scarcely one year 



20 CAPTIVITY OP THE OATMAN GIRLS 

keeping hotel in Layharp, IE., ere they were joined by 
their son Royse. 

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

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

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



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 21 

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

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

Specie was scarce. Bills were returned to the Banks, 
and while a great many of them were yet out the specie 
was exhausted, and a general crash came upon the 
Banks, while the country was yet flooded with what was 
appropriately termed " the wild cat money." The day 
of reckoning to these spurious money fountains suddenly 
" weighed them in the balances and found them want- 



22. CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

ing." Mr. Oatman had collected in a large amount of 
this paper currency, and was about to go South to 
replenish his mercantile establishment, when lo ! the 
Banks began to fail, and in a few weeks he found him 
self sunk by the weight of several thousands into utter 
insolvency. 

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

In a few weeks, he had disposed of the fragments of 
a suddenly shattered fortune, to the greatest possible 
advantage to his creditors, and resolved upon an imme 
diate remove to that Valley. In two months prepara 
tions were made, and in three months, with a family of 
five children, he arrived among his friends in Cumber 
land Valley, with a view of making that a permanent 
settlement. 

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



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 23 

and her full competency to brave, and profit by, the 
stern battles of life. 

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

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

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



24 'CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

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

In the spring of 1846, there might have been seen 
standing, at about five miles from Fulton, 111., and about 
fifteen from New Albany, alone in the prairie, a tempo 
rary, rude cabin. Miles of unimproved land stretched 
away on either side, save a small spot', rudely fenced, 
near the cabin as the commencement of a home. At 
the door of this tent, in April of that year, and about 
sun-set, a wagon drawn by oxen, and driven by the 
father of a family, a man about thirty-seven, and his 
son, a lad of about ten years, halted. That wagon con 
tained a mother a woman of thirty-three years toil- 
worn but contented, with five of her children. The 
oldest son, Lorenzo, who had been plodding on at the 
father's side, dragged his weary limbs up to the cabin 
door, and begged admittance for the night. This was 
readily and hospitably granted. Soon the family were 
transported from the movable to the staid habitation. 
Here they rested their stomachs upon " Johnny cake " 
and Irish potatoes, and their wearied, complaining bodies 
upon the soft side of a white oak board for the night. 

Twenty-four hours had not passed ere the father had^ 
staked out a " claim ;" a tent had been erected the 
cattle turned forth, were grazing upon the hitherto 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 25 

untrodden prairie land, and preparations made and 
measures put into vigorous operation for spring sowing. 
Here, with that same elasticity of mind and prudent 
energy that had inspired his earliest efforts for self-sup 
port, Mr. Oatman commenced to provide himself a 
home, and to surround his family with all the comforts 
and conveniences of a subsistence. Before his energetic 
and well-directed endeavors, the desert soon began to 
blossom ; and beauty, and fruitfulness, gradually stole 
upon these hitherto wild arid useless regions. He always 
managed to provide his family with a plain, frugal, and 
plenteous support. 

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

It was this principle of noble self-reliance, and unbend 
ing integrity, that won for them the warmest regards of 
tho good, and crowned their checkered allotment with 
B 



26 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIELS 

appreciative esteem, wherever their stay had been suffi 
cient to make them known. 

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

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

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

He became convinced that if he would live to bless 
and educate his family, or would enjoy even tolerable 
health, he must immediately seek a climate free fcpm 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 27 

the sudden and extreme changes so common to the 
region in which he had spent the last few years. 

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

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

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

After he had proposed a union with this projected 



28 CAPTIVITY OF THE ATM AN GIRLS 

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

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

It was intended to form a new settlement, remote 
from the prejudices, pride, arrogance, and caste that 
obtain in the more opulent, and less sympathizing por 
tions of a stern civilization. Many of the number 
thought they saw in the locality selected many advan 
tages that were peculiar to it alone. They looked upon 
it as the way by which emigration would principally 
reach this western gold-land furnishing for the colony 
a market for their produce ; that thus remote they could 
mold, fashion, and direct the education, habits, customs, 
and progress of the young and growing colony, after a 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 29 

model superior to that under which some of them had 
been discontentedly raised, and one that should receive 
tincture, form, and adaptation from the opening and 
multiplying necessities of the experiment in progress. 

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

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

Mr. Ira Thompson, and family ; 

A. W. Lane, and family ; 

R. and John Kelly, and their families ; 

Mr. Mutere, and family ; 

Mr. Wilder, and family, 

Mr. Brinshall, and family. 

We have thus rapidly sketched the outlines of the 
history of the Oatman family, for a few years preceding 
their departure from the eastern side of the Continent, 
and glanced at the nature and caste of their allotment, 



30 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

because of members of that family these pages are 
designed mainly to treat. This remove the steps to 
which have been traced above proved their last ; for 
though bright, and full of promise and hope at the out 
set, tragedy, of the most painful and gloomy character, 
settles down upon it at an early period, and with fear 
fully portentous gloom, thickens and deepens upon its 
every step, until the day, so bright at dawn, gradually 
closes in all the horror and desolation of a night of plun 
der, murder, and worse than murderous and barbarous 
captivity. And though no pleasant task to bring this 
sad afterpart to the notice of the reader, it is neverthe 
less a tale that may be interesting for him to ponder ; 
and instructive, as affording matter for the employment 
of reflection. 

Ere yet twilight had lifted the deepest shades of night 
from plain and hill-side, on the morning of the 10th of 
August, 1850, there was stir and bustle, and hurrying 
to and fro throughout that camp. As beautiful a sun 
rise as ever mantled the east, or threw its first, purest 
glories upon a long and gladdened west, found all things 
in order, and that itinerant colony arranged, prepared 
and in march for the " Big Bend " of the Arkansas 
river. Their course, at first, lay due west, toward the 
Indian territory. One week passed pleasantly away. 
Fine weather ; vigorous teams ; social, cheerful chit-chat, 
in which the evenings were passed by men, women, and 
children, who had been thrown into their first acquain 
tance under circumstances so well calculated to create 
identity of interest and aim ; all contributed to the com 
fort of this anxious company during the " first week 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 31 

upon the plains," and to render the prospect for the 
future free from the first tint of evil adversity. At the 
end of a week, and when they had made about one 
hundred miles, a halt was called at a place known as the 
" Council Grove." This place is on the old Santa F6 
road, and is well suited for a place of rest, and for 
recruiting. Up to this time naught but harmony and 
good feeling prevailed throughout the ranks of this emi 
grant company. While tarryiug at this place, owing to 
the peculiarities in the religious notions and prejudices 
of a few restless spirits, the first note of discord and 
jarring element was introduced among them. 

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

The weather was beautiful ; the evenings cool and 
invigorating, furnishing to the jaded band a perfect 
elysium for the recruiting of tired nature, at the close 
of each day's sultry and dusty toil. Good feeling 



32 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

restored ; all causes of irritation shut out ; joyfully, 
merrily, hopefully, the pilgrim band moved on to the 
Big Bend, on the Arkansas river. Nothing as yet had 
been met to excite fear for personal safety ; nothing to 
darken for a moment the cloudless prospect that had 
inspired and shone upon their first westward mornings. 

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

One Saturday night the tents were pitched upon the 
hither bank of the Arkansas river. On the next morn 
ing divine service was conducted in the usual manner, 
and at the usual hour. Scarcely had the service termi 
nated, ere a scene was presented calculated to interrupt 
the general monotony, as well as awaken some not very 
agreeable apprehensions for our personal safety. A 
Mr. Mutere was a short way from camp, on the other 
side of the river, looking after the stock. While stand- 
Ing and gazing about him, the sound of crude, wild mu 
sic broke upon his ear. He soon perceived it proceeded 
from a band of Indians, whom he espied dancing and 
singing in the wildest manner in a grove near by. They 
were making merry, as if in exultation over some splen 
did victory. He soon ascertained that they were of the 
Camanche tribe, and about them were a number of very 
beautiful American horses and mules. He knew them 
to be stolen stock, from the saddle and harness marks, 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 33 

yet fresh and plainly to be seen. While Mr. Mutere 
stood looking at them his eye suddenly fell upon a huge, 
hideous looking " buck," partly concealed behind a tree, 
out from which he was leveling a gun at himself. He 
sprung into a run, much frightened, and trusted to leg- 
bail for a safe arrival at camp. 

At this the Indian came out, hallooed to Mutere, and 
made the most vehement professions of friendship, and 
of the absence of all evil design towards him. But 
Mutere chose not to tarry for any reassurance of his 
kindly interest in his welfare. As soon as Mutere was 
in camp, several Indians appeared upon the opposite 
side of the river, hallooing, and asking the privilege of 
coming into camp avowing friendliness. After a little 
their request w r as granted, and about a score of them 
came up near the camp. We soon had occasion to mark 
our folly in yielding to their pretensions or requests. 
They were not long in our vicinity ere they were 
observed in a secret council a little apart, also at the 
same time bending their bows, and making ready their 
arrows as if upon the eve of some malicious intent. "At 
this," says L. Oatman, " our boys were instantly to their 
guns, and upon the opposite side of the wagon prepar 
ing them for the emergency. But we took good care 
to so hide us, as to let our motions plainly appear to the 
enemy, that they might take warning from our courage 
and not be apprised of our fears. Our real intention 
was immediately guessed at, as we could see by the 
change in the conduct of our new enemy. They, by 
this time, lowered their bows, and their few guns, 
and modestly made a request for a cow. This roused 



34 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 



; 



our resolution, and the demand was quickly resisted. 
We plainly saw unmistakable signs of fear, and a suspi 
cion that they were standing a poor show for cow beef 
from that quarter. Such was the first abrupt close 
that religious services had been brought to on our whole 
route, as yet. These evil-designing wretches soon made 
off, with more dispatch evidently than was agreeable. 
A few hours after, they again appeared upon the opposite 
bank with about a score of fine animals, which they 
drove to water in our sight. As soon as the stock had 
drank, they raised a whoop, gave us some hearty cheer 
ing, and were away to the south at a tremendous speed. 
Monday we crossed the river, and towards evening met 
a government train who had been out to the fort and 
were now on their return. We related to them what 
we had seen. They told us that they had a day or two 
before, come upon the remnant of a government train 
who were on their way to the Fort that their stock had 
been taken from them, and they were left in distress, 
and without means of return. They also informed us 
that during the next day we would enter upon a desert, 
where for ninety miles we would be without wood and 
water. This information, though sad, was timely. We 
at once made all possible preparations to traverse this 
old < Sahara ' of the Santa Fe Road. But these prep 
arations, as to water, prored unnecessary, for while we 
were crossing this desolate, and verdureless waste, the 
kindly clouds poured upon us abundance of fresh water, 
and each day's travel for this ninety miles, was as pleas 
ant as any of our trip to us, though to the stock it was 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 35 

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

From the river- bend or crossing, on to Moro the 
first settlement we reached in New Mexico ^was about 
five hundred miles. During this time nothing of spec 
ial interest occurred to break the almost painful monot 
ony of our way, or ruffle the quiet of our 'so dale , save 
an occasional family jar ; the frequent crossing of 
pointed opinions ; the now-and-then prophecies of " In 
jins ahead," &c., except one " Grape Dumpling " 
affair which must be related by leaving a severe part 
untold. At one of our camps,' on one of those fine 
water courses that frequently set upon our way, from 
the mountains, we suddenly found ourselves near neigh 
bors to a bounteous burdened grape orchard. Of these 



36 CAPTIVITY OF THE ATM AN GIRLS 

we ate freely. One of our principal, and physically- 
talented matrons, however, like the distrustful Israelites, 
determined not to trust to to-morrow for to-morrow's 
manna. She according laid in a more than night's sup 
ply. The over-supply was, for safe keeping, done up 
" brown " in the form of well-prepared and thoroughly- 
cooked dumplings, and these deposited in a cellar-like 
stern end of the " big wagon." Unfortunate woman ! 
if she had only performed these hiding ceremonies when 
the lank eye of one of our invalids (?) Mr. A. P., 
had been turned the other way, she might have pre 
vented a calamity, kindred to that which befel the 
ancient emigrants when they sought to lay by more than 
was demanded by immediate wants. 

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

It seems that they had been safely stored in the 
wagon by this provident matron, to furnish a feast for 
the passengers when their travels might be along some 
grapeless waste ; and but for the unnatural cravings of 
the unregulated appetite of A. P., might still have 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 37 

remained for that purpose. It was evident the nxt 
day, that the invalid had been indulging in undue glut 
tony. He was " sick again," and to use his own phrase, 
" and like all backsliders through worldly or stomach 
prosperity and repletion." 

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

After crossing the big desert, one day while traveling, 
some of our company had their notions of our personal 
safety suddenly revolutionized under the following cir 
cumstances. A Mr. J. Thompson and a young man, 
C. M., had gone one side of the road some distance, 
hunting antelope. Among the hills, and when they 
were some distance in advance of the camp, they came 
upon a large drove of antelope. They were ignorant 
at the time of their whereabouts, and the routed game 
started directly towards the train ; but to the hunters, 
the train was in directly the opposite direction. In the 
chase the antelope soon came in sight of the train, and 
several little girls and boys, seeing them, and seeing 
their pursuers, ran upon a slight elevation to frighten 
the antelope back upon the hunters ; whereupon, by 
some unaccountable mirage deception, these little girls 
and boys were suddenly transformed into huge Indians 
to the eye of the hunters. They were at once forgetful 
of their anticipated game, and regarding themselves as 
set upon by a band of some giant race, began to devise 
for their own escape. Mr. T., thinking that no mortal 
arm could rescue them, turned at once, and with much 
perturbation to the young man and vehemently cried 



38 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

out : " Charles, let us pray." Said Charles, " No, 

I'll be d d if I '11 pray, let us run ;" and at this he 

tried the valor of running. All the exhortations of the 
old man to Charles " to drop his gun," were as fruitless 
as his entreaties to prayer. But when Mr. T. saw that 
Charles was making such rapid escape, he dropped his 
notions of praying and took to the pursuit of the path 
left by the running but unpraying Charles. He soon 
outstripped the young man and made him beg most lus 
tily of the old man " to wait, and not run away and 
leave him there with the Injins alone." 

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

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

Slowly, but with unmistakable indications of a melan 
choly character, disaffection and disorder crept into our 
camp. Disagreements had occurred among families. 
Those who had taken the lead in originating the project. 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 39 

had fallen under the ban and censure of those who, hav 
ing passed the novelty of the trip, were beginning to 
feel the pressure of its dark, unwelcome, and unantici 
pated realities. ' And in some instances a conduct was 
exhibited by those whose years and rank, as well as pro 
fessions, made at the outset, created expectation and 
confidence that in them would be found benefactors, and 
wise counselors, that tended to disgrace their position, 
expose the unworthiness of their motives, and blast the 
bright future that seemed to hang over the first steps of 
our journeyings. As a consequence, feelings of discord 
were engendered, which gained strength by unwise and 
injudicious counsels, until their pestilential effects spread 
throughout the camp. 

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

The next day after leaving this place we came to the 
Natural, or Santa Fe Pass, and camped that night at 
the w r ell known place, called the Forks. From this 
point there is one road leading in a more southerly direct 
ion, and frequently selected by emigrants after arriving 
at the Forks, though the other road is said, by those 
best acquainted, to possess many advantages. At this 
place we found that the disaffection, which had appeared 
for some time before, was growing more and more incur- 



40 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

able ; and it began to break out into a general storm. 
Several of our number resolved upon taking the south 
road ; but this resolution was reached only as a means 
of separating themselves from the remainder of the 
train ; for the intention really was to become detatched 
from the restraints and counsels that they found inter 
fering with their uncontrollable selfishness. There 
seemed to be no possible method by which these disturb 
ing elements could be quelled. The matter gave rise 
to an earnest consultation and discussion upon the part 
of the sober and prudent portion of our little band ; but 
all means and measures proposed for an amicable 
adjustment of variances and divisions, seemed powerless 
when brought in contact with the unmitigated selfish 
ness that, among a certain few, had blotted out from 
their view the one object and system of regulation that 
they had been instrumental in throwing around the 
undertaking at first. 

We now saw a sad illustration of the adage that " it 
is not ah 1 gold that glitters." The novelty of the scene, 
together with every facility for personal comfort and 
enjoyment, may suffice to spread the glad light of good 
cheer about the first few days or weeks of an emigra 
ting tour upon these dreary plains ; but let its pathway 
be found among hostile tribes for a number of weeks ; 
let a scarcity of provisions be felt ; let teams begin to 
fail, with no time or pasturage to recruit them ; let 
inclement weather and swollen streams begin to hedge 
up the way ; these, and more that frequently becomes 
a dreadful reality, have at once a wonderful power to 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOIIAVE INDIANS. 41 

turn every man into a kingdom by himself, and to devel- 
ope the real nature of the most hidden motives of his being. 

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

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

We journeyed . from Socoro to the Rio Grande amid 



42 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

many and disheartening embarrassments and troubles. 
Sections of the country were almost barren ; teams were 
failing, and indications of hostility among the tribes of 
Indians representatives of whom frequently gave u8 
the most unwelcome greetings were becoming more 
frequent and alarming. 

Just before reaching the Rio Grande, two fine horses 
were stolen from Mr. Oatman. We afterwards learned 
that they had been soon after seen among the Mexi 
cans, though by them the theft was attributed to 
unfriendly neighboring tribes ; and it was asserted that 
horses, stolen from trains of emigrants, were frequently 
brought into Mexican settlements and offered for sale. 
It is proper here to apprise the reader, that the project 
of a settlement in New Mexico had now been entirely 
abandoned, since the division mentioned above, and that 
California had become the place where we looked for a 
termination of our travel, and the land where we hoped 
soon to reach and find a home. At the Rio Grande, 
we rested our teams one week, as a matter of necessary 
mercy, for every day we tarried was ,only increasing the 
probability of the exhaustion of our provisions, ere we 
could reach a place of permanent supply. We took 
from this point the " Cook and Kearney" route, and 
found the grass for our teams for awhile more plentiful 
than for hundreds of miles previous. Our train now 
consisted of eight wagons and twenty persons. We 
now came into a mountainous country, and we found 
the frequent and severe ascents and declivities wearing 
upon our teams beyond any of our previous travel. We' 
often consumed whole days in making less than one 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 43 

quarter of the usual day's advance. A few days after 
leaving the Rio Grande, one Mr. Lane died of the 
mountain fever. He was a man highly esteemed among 
the members of the train, and we felt his loss severely. 
We dug a grave upon one of the foot hills, and with 
appropriate funeral obsequies we lowered his remains 
into the same. Some of the female members of our 
company planted a flower upon the mound that lifted 
itself over his lonely grave. A rude stake, with his 
name and date of his death inscribed upon it, was all 
we left to mark the spot of his last resting place. One 
morning, after spending a cool night in a bleak and 
barren place, we awoke with several inches of snow 
lying about us, upon the hills in the distance. We had 
spent the night and a part of the previous day without 
water. Our stock were scattered during the night, and 
our first object, after looking them up, was to find some 
friendly place where we might slake our thirst. 

The morning was cold, with a fierce bleak wind set 
ting in from the north. Added to the pains of thirst, 
was the severity of the cold. We found that the 
weather is subject, in this region, to sudden changes, 
from one to the other extreme. While in this distressed 
condition some of our party espied in the distance a 
streak of timber letting down from the mountains, indic 
ative of running living water. To go to this timber we 
immediately made preparation, with the greatest possi 
ble dispatch, as our only resort. And our half waver 
ing expectations were more than realized ; for after a 
most fatiguing trip of nearly a day, during which many 
of us were suffering severely from thirst, we reached 



44 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

the place, and found not only timber and water in 
abundance, but a plentiful supply of game. Turkeys, 
deer, antelope, and wild sheep, were dancing through 
every part of the beautiful woodland that had lured us 
from our bleak mountain camp. As the weather con 
tinued extremely cold we must have suffered severely, if 
we had not lost our lives, even, by the severity of the 
weather, as there was not a particle of anything with 
which to kindle a fire, unless we had used our wagon 
timber for that purpose, had we not have sought the 
shelter of this friendly grove. We soon resolved upon 
at least one week's rest in this place, and arrangements 
were made accordingly. During the week we feasted 
upon the most excellent wild meat, and spent most of 
our time in hunting and fishing. Excepting the fear 
we constantly entertained concerning the Indians of the 
neighborhood, we spent the week here very pleasantly. 
One morning three large, fierce looking Apaches came 
into camp at an early hour. They put on all possible 
pretensions of friendship ; but from the first their move 
ments were suspicious. They for a time surveyed nar 
rowly our wagons and teams, and, so far as allowed to 
do so, our articles of food, clothing, guns, etc. Sus 
pecting their intentions we bade them be off, upon which 
they reluctantly left our retreat. That night the dogs. 
kept up a barking nearly the whole night, and at sea 
sons of the night would run to their masters, and then 
a short distance into the wood, as if to warn us of the 
nearness of danger. We put out our fires, and each 
man, with his arms, kept vigilant guard. There is no 
doubt that by this means our lives were preserved. 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 45 

Tracks of a large number of Indians were seen near 
the camp next morning ; and on going out we found 
that twenty head of stock had been driven away, some 
of it belonging to the teams. By this several of our 
teams were so reduced that we found extreme difficulty 
in getting along. Some of our wagons and baggage 
were left at a short distance from this in consequence of 
what we here lost. We traced the animals some dis 
tance, until we found the trail leading into the wild, 
difficult mountain fastnesses, where it was dangerous 
and useless to follow. 

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

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

At this place, one of our number became the unwil 
ling subject of a most remarkable, and dampening tran 
saction. Mrs. M., of " Grape Dumpling" notoriety, 
while bearing her two hundred and forty of avordupois 
about the camp at rather a too rapid rate, suddenly 
came in sight of a well that had been dug years before, 
by the Mexican settlers. 

While guiding her steps so as to shun this huge look 
ing hole, suddenly she felt old earth giving way beneath 
her. It proved that a well of more ancient date than 



46 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

the one she was seeking to shun, had been dug directly 
in her way, but had accumulated a fine covering of 
grass during the lapse of years. The members of the 
camp who were lazily whiling away the hours on the 
down hill side of the well's mouth, were soon apprised 
of the fact that some momentous cause had interfered 
with nature's laws, and opened some new and hitherto 
unseen fountains in her bosom. With the sudden dis 
appearance of Mrs. M., there came a large current of 
clear cold water flowing through the camp, greatly 
dampening our joys, and starting us upon the alert to 
inquire into the cause of this strange phenomenon. 
Mrs. M., we soon found safely lodged in the old well, 
but perfectly secure, as the water, on the principle that 
no two opaque bodies can occupy the same space at the 
same time, had leaped out, as Mrs. M.'s mammoth 
proportions had suddenly laid an imperative possessory 
injunction upon the entire dimensions of the " hole in 
the ground." 

We found after leaving Ta Bac, the road uneven ; the 
rains had set in the nights were cold, and evidences of 
the constant nearness, and evil designs of savage tribes, 
were manifested every few miles that we passed over. 
Several once rich, but now evacuated Mexican towns, 
were passed, from which the rightful owners of the soil 
had been driven by the Apaches. At " Santa Cruz," 
we found a Mexican settlement of about one hundred 
inhabitants ; friendly and rejoiced to see us come among 
them, as they were living constantly in fear of the im-, 
placable Apaches, whose depredations were frequent, 
and of the most daring and outrageous character. Al- 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 47 

most every day> bands of these miscreant wretches were 
in sight upon the surrounding hills, waiting favorable 
opportunities for the perpetration of deeds of plunder 
and death. They would at times appear near to the 
Mexican herdsmen, and tauntingly command them " to 
herd and take care of those cattle for the Apaches." 
We found the country rich, and desirable, but for its 
being infested by these desperadoes. We learned, both 
from the Mexicans and the conduct of the Indians them 
selves, that one American placed them under more dread 
and fear than a score of Mexicans. If along this road we 
were furnished with a fair representation, these Mexicans 
are an imbecile, frail, cowardly and fast declining race. 
By the friendliness and generosity of the settlers at this 
point, we made a fine recruit while tarrying at this place. 
For awhile we entertained the project of remaining for a 
year. Probably, had it not been for the prowling sav 
ages, whose thieving, murdering, banditti, infest field and 
woodland, we might have entered into negotiations with 
the Mexicans to this effect ; but we were now en route for 
the Eureka of the Pacific Slope, and we thought we had 
no time to waste, between us and the realization of our 
golden dreams. Every inducement that fear and gen 
erosity could invent, and that was in the power of these 
Mexicans to control was, however, presented and urged 
in favor of our taking up a residence among them. But 
we had no certainty that our small number, though of 
the race most their dread, would be sufficient to war 
rant us in the successful cultivation of the rich and im 
proved soil that was proffered us. Nothing but a con- 



48 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS . 

stant guard of the most vigilant kind, could promise any 
safety to fields of grain, or herds of cattle. 

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

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

Wearied, heartsick, and nearly destitute, we arrived 
at the Pirno Village, on or about the 16th of February, 
1851. Here we found a settlement of Indians who weire 
in open hostility to the Apaches, and by whose skill and 
disciplined strength, they were kept from pushing their 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOUAVE INDIANS. 49 

depredations further in that direction. But so long had 
open- and active hostilities been kept up, that they were 
short of provisions and in nearly a destitute situation. 
They had been wont to turn their attention and energies 
considerably to farming, but, during the last two years, 
their habits in this respect had been greatly interfered 
with. We found the ninety miles that divides Tukjon 
from Pimole, to be the most dismal, desolate, and unfruit 
ful of all the regions over which our way had led us, as 
yet. We could find nothing that could, to a sound judg 
ment, furnish matter of contention, such as had been 
raging between the rival claimants of its blighted peaks 
and crags. 

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

To Mr. Oatman this resolution brought a trial of a 
darker hue than any that had cast its shadows upon him 
as yet. He believed that starvation, or the hand of the 
treacherous savage, would soon bring them to an awful 
fate if they tarried ; and with much reluctance, he re- 
c 



50 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

solved to proceed, with no attendants or companions save 
his exposed and depressed family. 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 51 



CHAPTER II. 

Mr. and Mrs. Oatman in perplexity Interview with Dr. Lecount Advises them to 
proceed They start alone Teams begin to fall The roads are bad The coun 
try rough and mountainous Compelled to carry the baggage up the hills by 
hand Overtaken by Dr. Lecount on his way to Fort Yuma He promises them 
assistance from the Fort The next night the horses of Dr. Lecount are stolen 
by the Apaches He posts a Card, warning Mr. Oatman of danger, and starts on 
foot for the Fort Reach the Gila River Camp on the Island late at night 
Their dreary situation, and the conversation of the children The morning of 
the 29th of March Their struggle to ascend the Hill on the 29th Reach the 
summit about sunset The despondency and presentiments of Mr. Oatman 
Nineteen Apaches approach them Profess friendliness The Massacre Loren 
to left for dead, but is preserved The capture of Olive and Mary Ann. 

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

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

" We were left to the severe alternative of starting 



62 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

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

" One of the many circumstances that conspired to 
spread a gloom over the way that was before us, was the 
jaded condition of our team, which by this time con 
sisted of two yoke of cows and one yoke of oxen. My 
parents were in distress and perplexity for some time to 
determine the true course dictated by prudence, and 
their responsibility in the premises. One hundred and 
ninety miles of desert and mountain, each alike barren 
and verdureless, save now and then a diminutive gorge 
water coursed and grass fringed, that miles apart led 
down from the high mountain ranges across the dreary 
road stretched out between us and the next settlement 
or habitation of man. We felt, deeply felt, the hazard 
ous character of our undertaking ; and for a time lin 
gered in painful suspense over the proposed adventure. 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 53 

We felt and feared, that a road stretching to such a 
distance, through an uninhabited and wild region, might 
be infested with the marauding bands of the Indians 
who were known to roam over the mountains that were 
piled up to the north of us ; who, though they might be 
persuaded or intimidated, to spare us the fate of falling 
by their savage hands, yet might plunder us of all we 
had as means for life's subsistence. While in this dread 
ful suspense, one Dr. Lecount, attended by a Mexican 
guide, came into the Pimole village. He was on his re 
turn from a tour that had been pushed westward, almost 
to the Pacific ocean. As soon as we learned of his pres 
ence among us, father sought and obtained an immediate 
interview with him. And it was upon information 
gained from him, that the decision to proceed was finally 
made. 

" He had passed the whole distance to Fort Yuma, 
and returned, all within the last few months, unharmed ; 
and stated that he had not witnessed- indications of even 
the neighborhood of Indians. Accordingly, on the llth 
of March, finding provisions becoming scarce among the 
Pimoles, and our own rapidly wasting unattended, in a 
country and upon a road where the residence, or even 
the trace of one of our own nation would be sought in 
vain, save that of the hurrying traveler who was upon 
some official mission, or, as in the case of Dr. Lecount, 
some scientific pursuit requiring dispatch, we resumed 
our travel. Our teams were reduced ; we were disap 
pointed in being abandoned by our fellow travelers, and 
wearied, almost to exhaustion, by the long and fatiguing 
march that had conducted us to this point. We were 



54 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

lengthening out a toilsome journey for an object and des 
tination quite foreign to the one that had pushed us upon 
the wild scheme at first. And this solitary commence 
ment on our travel upon a devious way, dismal as it was 
in every aspect, seemed the only alternative that gave 
any promise of an extrication from the dark and frown 
ing perils, and suiferings, that were every day threaten 
ing about us, and with every step of advance into the 
increasing wildness pressing more and more heavily 
upon us." 

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

Attended by a family a family which, in the event 
of their being overtaken by any of the catastrophes that 
reason and prudence bade them beware of upon the 
route,- must be helpless, if they did not, by their pres 
ence and peculiar exposure, give point and power to the 
time of danger ; a family, entirely dependent upon 
them for that daily bread of which they were liable to 
be left destitute at any moment ; far from human abodes 
the possibility that, far from the hand or means of 
relief, they might be set upon by the grim, ghastly de 
mon of famine, or be made the victims of the blood 
thirstiness and slow tortures of those human devils, who,^ 
with savage ferocity, lurk for prey, when least their 
presence is anticipated ; and the faint prospect that at 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 55 

best there was, for accomplishing all that must be per 
formed ere they could count upon safety ; these, all 
these, and a thousand kindred considerations, crowded 
upon those lonely hours of travel, and furnished atten 
dant reflections that burned through the whole being of 
these parents with the intensity of desperation. Oh ! 
how many noble hearts have been turned out upon these 
dismal, death-marked by-ways, that have as yet formed 
the only connection between the Atlantic and Pacific 
slopes, to bleed and moan, and sigh, for weeks, and even 
months, suspended in painful uncertainty, between life and 
death at every moment. Apprehensions for their own 
safety, or the safety of dependent ones, like ghosts in 
fernal, haunted them at every step. Fear fear worse 
than death, if possible lest sickness, famine, or the 
sudden onslaught of merciless savages, that infest the 
mountain fastnesses, and prowl and skulk through the 
innumerable hiding places furnished by the wide sage 
fields and chapparel, might intercept a journey, upon 
the first stages of which glowed the glitter and charm 
of novelty, and beamed the light of hope ; but persisted 
in, through unforeseen and deepening gloom, as a last 
and severe alternative for self-preservation, oppressed 
their hearts. 

Monuments ! monuments, blood-written, of these 
uncounted miseries, that will survive the longest lived 
of those most recently escaped, are inscribed upon the 
bleached and bleaching bones of our common humanity 
and nationality ; are written upon the rude graves of 
our countrymen and kin, that strew these highways of 
death ; written upon the mouldering timbers of decaying 



56 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

vehicles of transport ; written in blood that now beats 
and pulsates in the veins of solitary and scathed survi 
vors, as well as in the stain of kindred blood that still 
preserves its tale-telling, unbleached hue, upon scattered 
grass plots, and Sahara sand mounds ; written upon fa 
vored retreats, sought at the close of a dusty day's toil 
for nourishment, but suddenly turned into one of the 
unattended, unchronicled death-beds, already and before 
frequenting these highways of carnage and wrecks; 
written, ah ! too sadly, deeply engraven, upon the tablet 
of memories, that keep alive the scenes of butcheries, 
and captive-making, that have rent and mangled whole 
households, and are now preserved to embitter the 
whole gloom-clad afterpart of the miraculously preserved 
survivors ! 

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

;t For six days," says one of these " our course was 
due south-west, at a slow and patience-trying rate. We 
were pressing through many difficulties, with which our 
minds were so occupied that they could neither gather 
nor retain any distinct impression of the country over 
which this first week of our solitary travel bore us. 
While thus, on the seventh day from Pimole, we were 
struggling and battling with the tide of opposition, that, 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 57 

with the increasing force of multiplying embarrassments 
and drawbacks, was setting in against us; our teams 
failing, and sometimes in the most difficult and danger 
ous places utterly refusing to proceed, we were overtaken 
by Dr. Lecount, who, with his Mexican guide, was on 
his way back to Fort Yuma. The Doctor saw our con 
dition, and his large, generous heart poured upon us a 
flood of sympathy, which, with the words of good cheer 
he addressed us, was theonly relief it was in his power 
to administer. Father sent by him, and at his own sug 
gestion, to the Fort, for immediate assistance. This 
message the Doctor promised should be conveyed to the 
Fort, (we were about ninety miles distant from it at the 
time,) with all possible dispatch ; also kindly assuring 
us that all within his power should be done to procure 
us help, at once. We were all transiently elated with 
the prospect, thus suddenly opening upon us, of a relief 
from this source, and especially as we were confident 
that Dr. Lecount would be prompted to every office and 
work in our behalf, that he might command at the Fort, 
where he was well and favorably known. But soon a 
dark cloud threw its shadow upon all these hopes, and 
again our wonted troubles rolled upon us, with an aug 
mented force. Our minds became anxious, and our 
limbs were jaded. The roads had been made bad, at 
places almost impassable, by recent rains; and, for the 
first time, the strength and courage of my parents gave 
signs of exhaustion. It seemed, and indeed was thus 
spoken of amongst us, that the dark wing of some ter 
rible calamity was spread over us, and casting the shad 
ows of evil, ominously and thickly upon our path. The 



58 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

only method by which we could make the ascent of the 
frequent high hills that hedged our way, was by unload 
ing the wagon and carrying the contents piece by piece 
to the top ; and even then we w r ere often compelled to 
aid a team of four cows and two oxen, to lift the empty 
wagon. It was well for us, perhaps, that there was 
not added to the burden of these long and weary hours, 
a knowledge of the mishap that had befallen the messen 
ger, gone on before. About sun-set of the day after Dr. 
Lecount left us, he camped about thirty miles ahead of 
us, turned his horses into a small valley, hemmed in by 
high mountains, and with his guide, slept until about 
day-break. Just as the day was breaking, and prepa 
rations were being made to gather up for a ride to 
the Fort that day, twelve Indians suddenly emerged 
from behind a bluff hill near by, and entered the camp. 
Dr. Lecount, taken by surprise by the presence of 
these unexpected visitants, seized his arms, and with 
his guide, kept a close eye upon their movements, which 
he soon discovered wore a very suspicious appearance. 
One of the Indians would draw the Doctor into a con 
versation which they held in the Mexican tongue 
during which others of the band would, with an air of 
carelessness, edge about, encircling the Doctor and his 
guide ; until in a few moments, despite their friendly 
professions, their treacherous intentions were plainly 
read. At the suggestion of his bold, intrepid and expe 
rienced guide, they both sprang to one side, the guide 
presenting to the Indians his knife, and the Doctor his 
pistol. The Indians then put on the attitude of fight, 
but feared to strike. They still continued their efforts 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 59 

to beguile the Doctor into carelessness, by introducing 
questions and topics of conversation ; but they could not 
manage to cover with this thin gauze the murder of 
their hearts. Soon, the avenging ferocity of the Mexi 
can began to burn ; he violently sprang into the air, 
rushed towards them, brandishing his knife, and beck 
oning to the Doctor to come on ; he was about in the 
act of plunging his knife into the leader of the band, but 
was restrained by the coolness and prudence of Doctor 
Lecount. Manuel, (the guide) was perfectly enraged 
at their insolence, and would again and again spring, 
tiger-like towards them, crying at the top of his voice, 
' terrify, terrify!' The Indians soon made off. On 
going into the valley for their animals, they soon found 
that the twelve Indians had enacted the above scene in 
the camp, merely as a ruse to engage their attention, 
while another party of the same rascal band were driving 
their mules and horse beyond their reach. They found 
evidences that this had been done within the last hour. 
The Doctor returned to camp, packed his saddle and 
packages in a convenient, secluded place near by, and 
gave orders to his guide to proceed immediately to the 
Fort, himself resolving to await his return. Soon after 
Manuel had left, however, he bethought him of the 
Oatman family, of their imminent peril, and of the 
pledge he had put himself under to them, to secure them 
the earliest possible assistance ; and he now had become 
painfully apprised of reasons for the most prompt and 
punctual fulfillment of that pledge. He immediately 
prepared, and at a short distance towards us, posted 
upon a tree, near the road, a card, warning us of the 



60 CAPTIVITY OF THE ATM AN GIKLS 

nearness of the Apaches, and relating therein in brief 
what had befallen himself .at their hands ; reassuring us 
also, of his determined diligence tQ secure us protec 
tion, and declaring his purpose, contrary to a resolution 
he had formed on dismissing his guide, to proceed 
immediately to the Fort, there in person to plead our 
case and necessities. This card we missed ; though it 
was afterwards found by those whom we had left at 
Pimole Village.- What < might have been,' could our 
eyes have fallen upon that small piece of paper, though 
it is now useless to conjecture, cannot but recur to the 
mind. It might have preserved fond parents, endeared 
brothers and sisters, to gladden and cheer a now embit 
tered arid bereft existence. But the card, and the 
saddle and packages of the Doctor, we saw not until 
weeks after, as the sequel will show ; though we spent 
a night at the same camp where the scenes had been 
enacted. 

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

We descended to the ford from a high, bluff hill., and 
found it leading across, at a point where the river armed, 
leaving a small island sand-bar in the middle of the 
stream. We found, frequently, places on our road upon 
which the sun shines not, and leading through the wild 
est, roughest region with which we had yet contended. 
It was impossible save for a few steps at a time, to see 
at a distance in any direction, and although we were yet f 
inspirited, at seasons, with the report of Dr. Lecount, 
upon which we had started, yet we could not blind our 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 61 

eyes or senses to the possibilities that might lurk, un 
seen, and near ; and of the advantages over us that the 
nature of the country about us would furnish the evil- 
designing foe of the white race, whose habitations we 
knew, were locked up somewhere within these huge, 
irregular mountain ranges. Much less could we be 
indifferent to the probable inability of our teams to bear 
us over the distance still separating us from the place 
and stay of our hope. We attempted to cross the Gila 
about sun-set ; the stream was rapid, and swollen, to an 
unusual width and depth. After struggling with danger, 
and every possible hindrance until long after dark, we 
reached the sand-island in the middle of the stream. 
Here our teams mired, our wagon dragged heavily, and 
we found it impossible to proceed. 

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

Let the mind of the reader pause and ponder upon 
the situation of that forlorn family at this time. Still 
unattended, and unbefriended ; without a white person 



62 CAPTIVITY OF Tilt: ATM AN GIRLS 

or his habitation within the wide range of nearly a 
hundred miles ; the Gila, a branch of which separated 
them from either shore, keeping up a ceaseless, mourn 
ful murmuring through the entire night ; the wild wind, 
as it swept unheeding by, sighing among the distant 
trees, and rolling along the forest of mountain peaks, 
kept up a perpetual moan, solemn as a funeral dirge. 
The imagination can but faintly picture the feelings of 
those fond parents, upon whom hung such a fearful res 
ponsibility, as was presented to their minds and thoughts 
by the gathering of this little, loved, family group, about 
them. 

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

" We were compelled frequently to shift our position, 
as the fickle wind would change the point at which the 
light surges of the Gila would attack our camp-fire, in 
the centre of that little island of about two hundred 
square feet, upon which we had of necessity halted for 
the night. While our parents were in conversation a 
little apart, which, too, they were conducting in a sub 
dued tone, for purposes of concealment; the curiosity 
of the elder children, restless and inquisitive, was em 
ployed in guessing at the probable import of their coun- 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. (>3 

cils. We talked, with the artlessness and eagerness of 
our unrealizing age, of the dangers possibly near us, 
of the advantage that our situation gave to the savages, 
who were our only dread, and each in his or her turn 
would speak, as we shiveringly gathered around that 
little, threatened, sickly camp-fire, of his or her inten 
tions in case of the appearance of the foe. Each had to 
give a map of the course to be pursued if the cruel Ap 
aches should set upon us, and no two agreed ; one say 
ing : ' I shall run/ another 4 1 will fight and die fighting,' 
and still another, ' I will take the gun or a club and 
keep them off,' and last Miss Olive says, ' well, there is 
one thing ; I shall not be taken by these miserable brutes ; 
I will fight as long as I can, and if I see that I am 
about to be taken, I will kill myself ; I do not care to 
die, but it would be worse than death to me to be taken 
a captive among them.' ' 

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

" The longed-for twilight at length sent its earliest 
stray beams along the distant peaks ; stole in upon our 



64 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

sand-bar camp, and gradually lifted the darkness from 
our dreary situation. As the curtain of that burdensome 
night departed, it seemod to bear with it those deep and 
awful shades that had rested upon our minds during its 
stay, and which we now began to feel had taken their 
gloomiest hue from the literal darkness and solitude that 
has a strange power t;> nurse a morbid apprehension. 

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

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

" The entire ascent ' was not indeed made until we 
reached this point, and to it some of our baggage had * 
been conveyed by hand. I now plainly saw a sad, fore 
boding change in my father's manner and feelings. 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 65 

Hitherto, amid the most fatiguing labor and giant diffi 
culties, he had seemed generally armed for the occasion 
with a hopeful countenance, and cheerful spirit and 
manner, the very sight of which had a power to dispel 
our childish fears and spread contentment and resigna 
tion upon our little group. While ascending this hill I 
saw, too plainly saw being familiar, young as I was, 
with my father's aptness to express, by the tone of his 
action and manner, his mental state as did my mother 
also, that a change had come over him. Disheartening 
and soul-crushing apprehensions were written upon his 
manner, as if preying upon his mind in all the merci- 
lessness of a conquering despair. There seemed to be a 
dark picture hung up before him, upon which the eye of 
his thought rested with a monomaniac intensity ; and 
written thereon, he seemed to behold a sad afterpart for 
himself ; as if some terrible event had loomed suddenly 
upon the field of his mental vision, and though unproph- 
ecied, and unheralded by any palpable notice, yet 
gradually wrapping its folds about him, and coming in 
as it were, to fill his cup of anguish to the brim. Surely : 



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



" Whether my father had read that notice left for our 
warning by Dr. Lecount, and had from prudence con 
cealed it, with the impression it may have made upon 
his own mind from us, to prevent the torment of fear it 



00 CAPTIVITY OF THE ATM AN GIRLS 

would have enkindled ; or whether a camp-fire might 
have heen discerned by him in the distance the night 
before, warning of the nearness of the savage Apaches ; 
or whether by spirit law, or the appointment of Provi 
dence, the gloom of his waiting doom had been sent on 
before to set his mind in readiness for the breaking 
storm ; are questions that have been indulged and invol 
untarily urged by his fond, bereaved children, but no 
answer to which has broke upon their ear, from moun 
tain, from dale, or from spirit land. For one hour the 
night before, my father had wept bitterly, while in the 
wagon thinking himself concealed from his family, but of 
which I was ignorant until it was told me by my eldest 
sister during the day. My mother was calm, cool and 
collected ; patient to endure, and diligent to do, that 
she might administer to the comfort of the rest of us. 
Of the real throbbings of the aifectionate and indulgent 
heart of that beloved mother, her children must ever 
remain ignorant. But of her noble bearing under these 
trying circumstances, angels might speak ; and her 
children, who survive to cherish her name with an ardent, 
though sorrowing affection, may be pardoned for not 
keeping silence. True to the instincts that had ever 
governed her in all trying situations, and true to the 
dictates of a noble and courageous heart, she wisely 
attributed these shadows the wing of which flitted over 
her own sky as well to the harrassings and exhaustion 
of the hour ; she called them the accustomed creations 
of an overtasked mind, and then with cheerful heart, and 
ready hand, plied herself to all and any labors that might 
hie us upon our way. At one time, during the severest 



AMOXG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIAXS. 67 

part of the toil and efforts of that day to make the sum 
mit of that hill, my father suddenly sank down upon a 
stone near the wagon, and exclaimed, ' Mother, mother, 
in the name of God, I know that something dreadful is 
about to happen ! ' In reply, our dear mother had no 
expressions but those of calm, patient trust, and a vig 
orous, resolute purpose. 

' 0, Mother! blest sharer of our joys and woes, 
E'en in the darkest hours of earthly ill, 
Untarnished yet thy fond affection glowed, 
When sorrow rent the heart, when feverish pain, 
Wrung the hot drops of anguish from the bi'ow; 
To soothe the soul, to cool the burning brain, 
O, who so welcome and so prompt as thou?' 

" We found ourselves now upon the summit, which 
proved to be the east edge of a long table-land, stretch 
ing upon a 4evel, a long distance westward, and lying 
between two deep gorges, one on the right, the other on 
the left ; the former, coursed by the Gila river. We 
had hastily taken our refreshment, consisting of a few 
parcels of dry bread, and some bean-soup, preparatory 
to a night's travel. This purpose of night travel had 
been made out of mercy to our famished teams so 
weak that it was with difficulty they could be 'driven 
during the extreme sultry heat of the day. Besides this, 
the moon was nearly in full, giving us light nearly the 
entire night ; the nights were cool, and better for travel 
to man and beast, and the shortness of our provisions 
made it imperative that we make the most of our time." 

Up, upon an elevated, narrow table-land, formed 
principally of lime rock, look now at this family ; the 
scattered rough stones about them forming their seats, 



68 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

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



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 69 

" Though the sun had hid its glittering, dazzling face 
from us behind a tall peak in the distance, yet its rays 
lingered upon the summits that stretched away between 
us and the moon, and daylight was full upon us. Our 
hasty meal had been served. My father, sad and seem 
ingly spell-bound with his own struggling emotions, was 
a little one side, as if oblivious of all immediately about 
him, and was about in the act of lifting some of the bag 
gage to the wagon that had as yet remained unloaded 
since the ascent of the hill, when casting my eyes down 
the hill by the way we had come, I saw several Indians 
slowly and leisurely approaching us in the road. I was 
greatly alarmed, and for a moment dared not speak. At 
the time, my father's back was turned, I spoke to him, 
at the same time pointing to the Indians. What I saw 
in my father's countenance, excited in me a great fear, 
and took a deeper hold upon my feelings of the danger 
we were in, than the sight of the Indians. They were 
now approaching near us. The blood rushed to my 
father's face. For a moment his face would burn and 
flash as i crimsoned with the tide from within ; then, a 
death-like paleness would spread over his countenance 
as if his whole frame was suddenly stiffened with horror. 
I saw too plainly the effort that it cost him to attempt a 
concealment of his emotions. He succeeded, however, 
in controlling the jerking of his muscles, and his mental 
agitations as to speak to us in mild and composed accents 
' not to fear ; the Indians would not harm us.' He 
had always been led to believe that the Indians could be 
so treated as to avoid difficulty with them. He had been 
among them much in the western States, and so often 



70 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

tried his theory of leniency with success that he often 
censured the whites for their severity towards them ; 
and was disposed to attribute injury received from them 
to the unwise and cruel treatment of them by the whites, 
It had long been his pride and boast that he could man 
age the Indians so that it would do to trust them. Often 
had he thrown himself wholly in their power, while trav 
eling and doing business in Iowa, and that too, in times 
of excitement and hostility, relying upon his coolness, 
self-possession, and urbanity towards them to tame and 
disarm their ferocity. As yet, his theory had worked 
no injury to himself though often practised against the 
remonstrances of friends. But what might serve for 
the treatment of the Iowa Indians might need modifica 
tion for these fierce Apaches. Besides, his wonted cool 
ness and fearlessness seemed, as the Indians approached, 
to have forsaken him ; and I have never been able to 
account for the conduct of my father at this time, only 
by reducing to reality the seemings of the past few days, 
or hours, to wit : that a dark doom had been written out 
or read to him before. 3 *j .? 

" After the Indians approached he became collected, 
and kindly motioned to them to sit down ; spoke to them 
in Spanish, to which they replied. They immediately 
sat down upon the stones about us, and still conversing 
with father in Spanish, made the most vehement profes 
sions of friendship. They asked for tobacco and a pipe, 
that they might smoke in token of their sincerity and of 
their friendly feelings toward us. This my father imme 
diately prepared, took a whiff himself, then passed it' 
around, even to the last. But amid all this, the appear- 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 71 



ance and conduct of father was strange. The discerning 
and interested eye of his agitated family could too plainly 
discover the uncontrollable , unspoken mental convulsions 
that would steal the march upon the forced appearances 
of composure that his better judgment as well as yearn 
ings for his family dictated for the occasion. His move" 
tnents were a reflecting glass, in which we could as 
plainly read some dire catastrophe was breeding for us, 
as well as in the flashes and glances that flew from face 
to face of our savage looking visitants. 

" After smoking, these Indians asked for something 
to eat, Father told them of our destitute condition, and 
that he could not feed them without robbing his family ; 
that, unless we could soon reach a place of new supplies,, 
we must suffer. To all this they seemed to yield only a 
reluctant hearing. They became earnest and rather 
imperative, and every plea that we made to them of our 
distress, but increased their wild and furious clamors. 
Father reluctantly took some bread from the wagon and 
gave it to them, saying that it was robbery, and perhaps 
starvation to his family. As soon as this was devoured, 
they asked for more ; meanwhile surveying us narrowly, 
and prying and looking into every part of the wagon. 
They were told that we could spare them no more. 
They immediately packed themselves into a secret coun 
cil, a little to one side, which they conducted in the 
Apache language, wholly unintelligible to us. We were 
totally in the dark as to their designs, save that their 
appearance and actions wore the threatening of some 
hellish deed. We were now about ready to start. Father 
had again returned to complete the reloading of the 



72 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

remainder of the articles ; mother was in the wagon 
arranging them ; Olive, with my older sister was stand 
ing upon the opposite side of the wagon ; Mary Ann, a 
little girl about seven years old, sat upon a stone holding 
to a rope attached to the horns of the foremost team ; 




THE MASSACKE. 



the rest of the children were on the opposite side of the 
wagon from the Indians. My eyes were turned away 
from the Indians. 

" Suddenly, as a clap of thunder from a clear sky, a 
deafening yell broke upon us, the Indians jumping in to 
the air, and uttering the most frightful shrieks, and at 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 73 

the same time springing towards us, flourishing their 
war-clubs, which had hitherto been concealed under their 
wolf skins. I was struck upon the top and back of my 
head ; came tp my knees, when, with another blow, I 
was struck blind and senseless." One of their number 
seized and jerked Olive one side, ere they had dealt the 
first blow. 

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

D 



74 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

" When I recovered my thoughts, I could hardly 
realize where I waa ; though I remembered to have con 
sidered myself as having also been struck to the earth, 
and thought I was probably dying. I knew that all, or 
nearly all, of the family had been murdered : thus bewil 
dered, confused, half conscious and half insensible, 
I remained a short time, I know not how long, when 
suddenly I seemed awakened to the dreadful realities 
around me. My little sister was standing by my side, 
sobbing and crying, saying : i Mother, oh mother ! Olive, 
mother and father are killed, with all our poor brothers 
and sisters.' I could no longer look upon the scene. 
Occasionally a low, piteous moan would come from some 
one of the family, as in a dying state. I distinguished 
the groans of my poor mother, and sprang wildly towards 
her, but was held back by the merciless savage, holding 
me in his cruel grasp and lifting a club over my head, 
threatening me in the most taunting, barbarous manner, 
I longed to have him put an end to my life. 4 Oh !' 
thought I, ' must I know that my poor parents have 
been killed by these savages, and I remain alive !' I 
asked them to kill me plead with them to take my life, 
but all my pleas and prayers only excited to laughter 
and taunts the two wretches to whose charge we had 
been committed. 

" After these cruel brutes had consummated their 
work of slaughter, which they did in a few moments, 
they then commenced to plunder our wagon, and the 
persons of the family whom they had killed. They broke 
open the boxes with stones and clubs, plundering them' 
of such of their contents as they could make serviceable 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 75 

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



76 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

,*m 



CHAPTER III. 



L. Oatman He was conscious of most of the scenes of the Massacre The next day 
he finds himself at the foot of a rocky declivity over which he had fallen flakes 
an effort to walk Startes for Pimole His feelings and sufferings Is attacked 
by wolves Then by two Indians who are about to shoot him down Their 
subsequent kindness They go on to the place of Massacre L. Oatman meets 
theWilders and Kellvs They take him back to Pimole In about one month, 
gets well and starts for " Fort Yuma 11 Visits the place of Massa. re Ilis feelings 
Burial of the dead. 



In this chapter we ask the reader to trace with us the 
narrow and miraculous escape of L. Oatman, after being 
left for dead by the Apaches. He was the first to 
receive the death-dealing blow of the perpetrators of that 
horrid deed by which most of the family were taken from 
him. The last mention we made of him left him under 
the effects of that blow, weltering in his blood. He 
shall tell his own story of the dreadful after-part. It 
has in it a candor a freedom from the tinselings so 
often borrowed from a morbid imagination, and thrown 
about artificial romance, that commends it to the reader, 
especially to the juvenile reader. It exhibits a presence 
of mind, courage, and resoluteness that, as an example, 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 77 

may serve as a light to cheer and inspirit that boy whose 
eye is now tracing this record, when he shall find him 
self stumbling amid mishaps and pitfalls in the future, 
and when seasons of darkness, like the deep, deep mid 
night shall close upon his path : 

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

" To'thisday, the loud wail sent up by our dear mother 
from that rough death-bed, still rings in my ears. I heard 
the scream, shrill, and sharp, and long, of these defence 
less, unoffending brothers and sisters, distinguishing the 
younger from the older as well as I could have done by 
their natural voice ; and these constantly blending with 
the brutal, coarse laugh, and the wild, raving whooping 
of their murderers. Well do I remember coming to 
myself, with sensations as of waking from a long sleep, 
but which soon gave place to the dreadful reality ; at 
which time all would be silent for a moment, and then 
the silence broken by the low, subdued, but unintelligi 
ble gibberings of the Indians, intermingled with an occa 
sional low, faint moan from some one of the family, as if 
in the last agonies of death. I could not move. I 
thought of trying to get up, but found I could not com 
mand a muscle, or a nerve. I heard their preparations 
for leaving, and distinctly remember to have thought, 



78 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

at the time, that my heart had ceased to beat, and that 
I was about giving my last breath. I heard the sighs 
and moans of my sisters, heard them speak, knew the 
voice of Olive, but could not tell whether one or more 
was preserved with her. 

" While lying in this state, two of the wretches came 
up to me, rolling me over with their feet ; they exam 
ined and rifled my pockets, to'ok off my shoes and hat in 
a hurried manner ; then laid hold of my feet and roughly 
dragged me a short distance, and then seemed to leave 
me for dead. During all this, except for a moment at a 
time, occasionally, I was perfectly conscious, but could 
not see. I thought each moment would be my last. I 
tried to move again, and again, but was under the belief 
that life had gone from my body and limbs, and that a 
few more breathings would shut up my senses. There 
seemed a light spot directly over my head which was 
gradually growing smaller, dwindling to a point. During 
this time I was conscious of emotions and thoughts so 
peculiar, and singular aside from their relation to the 
horrors about me that to attempt to describe them 
would only excite ridicule. 

" After being left by the Indians, the thoughts I had, 
traces of which are still in my memory, were, of open 
ing my eyes, knowing 'perfectly my situation and think 
ing still that each breath would be the last. The full 
moon was shining upon rock, and hill, and shrub about 
me, a more lovely evening indeed I never witnessed. I 
made an effort to turn my eye in search of the place 
where I supposed my kindred were cold in death, but 
could not stir. I felt the blood upon my mouth, and 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 79 

found it still flowing from my ears and nose. All was 
still as the grave. Of the fate of the rest of the family 
I could not now determine accurately to myself, but sup 
posed all of them, except two of the girls, either dead 
or in my situation. But no sound, no voice broke the 
stillness of these few minutes of vision ; though upon 
them there rested the weight of an anguish, the torture 
and h6rror of which pen cannot report. I had a clear 
knowledge that two or more of my sisters were taken away 
alive. Olive, I saw them snatch one side ere they com 
menced the general slaughter, and I had a faint con 
sciousness of having heard the voice and sighs of little 
Mary Ann, after all else was hushed, save the hurrying 
to and fro of the Indians, while at their work of plunder. 
" The next period, the recollection of which conveys 
any distinct impression to my mind, at this distance of 
time, was, of again coming to myself, blind, but think 
ing my eyes were some way tied from without. As I 
rubbed them, and removed the clotted blood from my 
eye-lids, I gathered strength to open them. The sun, 
seemingly from mid-heaven, was looking me full in the 
face. My head was beating, and at times reeling under 
the grasp of a most torturing pain. I looked at my 
worn and tattered clothes, and they were besmeared 
with blood. I felt of my head and found my scalp torn 
across the top. I found I had strength to turn my 
head and it surprised me. I made an effort to get up, 
and succeeded in rising to my hands and knees ; but 
then my strength gave way. I saw myself at the foot 
of a steep, rugged declivity of rocks, and all about me 
new. On looking up upon the rocks I discovered traces 



80 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

of blood marking the way by which I had reached my 
present situation, from the brow above me. At seasons 
there would be a return of partial aberration, and 
derangement of my intellect. Against these I sought 
to brace myself, and study the where and wherefore of 
my awful situation. And I wish to record my gratitude 
to God for enabling me, then and there to collect my 
thoughts, and retain my sanity. 

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

" And then my thoughts would wander after those 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 81 

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

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

*D 



82 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

" A boy of fourteen years, with the mangled remains 
of my own parents lying near by ; my scalp torn open, 
my person covered with blood, alone, friendless, in a wild 
mountain, dismal, wilderness region, exposed to the rav 
enous beasts, and more ! to the ferocity of more than 
brutal savages and human-shaped demon ! I had no 
strength to walk ; my spirits crushed, my ambition par 
alyzed, my body mangled. At times I despaired and 
prayed for death ; again I revived and prayed God for 
help. Sometimes, while lying flat on my back, my 
hands pressing my torn and blood-clothed head, with the 
hot sun pouring a full tide of its unwelcome heat upon 
me, the very air a hot breath in niy face, I gathered 
hope that I might yet look upon the white face again, 
and that I might live to- rehearse the sad present in 
years to come. And thus, bright flashes of hope and 
dark gloom-clouds would chase each other over the sky 
of my spirit, as if playing with my abandonment and 
unmitigated distress: ' And Oh ! ' thought I, c those 
sisters, shall I see them again ; must they close their 
eyes among those ferocious man-animals ? ' I grew sick 
and faint ; dizziness shook my brain, and my senses fled. 
I again awoke from the delirium, partly standing, 
and making a desperate effort. I felt the thrill of a 
strong resolution. i I will get up,' said I, ' and will 
walk, or if not I will spend the last remnant of my ( shat- 
terepl strength to crawl out of this place.' I started, 
and slowly moved toward the rocks above me. I crept, 
snail-like, up the rock-stepped side of the table-land 
above me. As I drew near the top, having crawled 
almost fifty feet, I came in sight of the wagon wreck ; 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 



83 



then the scenes which had been wrought about it, came 
back with horror, and nearly unloosed my hold upon the 
rocks. I could not look upon those faces and forms, yet 
they were within a few feet. The boxes, opened and 




RETURNING TO THE PLACE OF MASSACRE. 

broken, with numerous articles, were in sight. I could 
not trust my feelings to go further, ' I have misery 
enough, why should I add fuel to the fire now already 



' 



" I turned away, and began to crawl towards the east, 
round the brow of the hill. After carefully, and with 



84 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

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

" ' mj- God ! ' said I, 6 am I alive ? My poor 
father and mother, where are they ? And are my sisters 
alive ? or are they suffering death by burning ? Shall 
I see them again ? ' 

" Thus I cogitated, and wept, and sighed, until sleep 
kindly shut out the harrowing thoughts. I must have 
slept for three hours, for when I awoke, the sun was 
behind the western hills. I felt refreshed, though suf 
fering still from thirst. The road crosses the bend in the 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 85 

river twice ; to avoid this, I made my way over the bluff 
spur that turns the road and river to the north. I suc 
ceeded, after much effort, in sustaining myself upon my 
feet, with a cane. I walked slowly on, and gained 
strength and courage that inspired within some hope of 
my escape. I traveled on, only taking rest two or three 
times during that evening, and whole night. I made in 
all, about fifteen miles by the next day break. About 
eleven o'clock of the next day, I came to a pool of 
standing water ; I was nearly exhausted when I reached 
and lay me down by it, and drank freely, though the 
water was warm and muddy. I had no sooner slaked 
my thirst, than I fell asleep and slept for some time. I 
awoke partially delirious, believing that my brain was try 
ing to jump out of my head, while my hands were 
pressed to my head to keep it together, and prevent the 
exit of my excited brain. When I had proceeded about 
ten miles, which I had made by the middle of the after 
noon, I suddenly became faint, my strength failed, and 
I fell to the ground. I was at the time upon a high 
table-land, sandy and barren. I marvelled to know 
whether' I might be dying; I was soon unconscious. 
Late in the afternoon I was awakened by some strange 
noise ; I soon recollected my situation, and the noise, 
which I now found to be the barking of dogs or wolves, 
grew louder, and approached nearer. In a few moments 
I was surrounded by an army of coyotes and grey wolves. 
I was lying in the snn, and was faint from the effects of 
its heat. I struggled to get to a small tree near by, 
but could not. They were now near enough for me to 
almost reach them, smelling, snuffing, and growling as 



86 



CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIHLS 



if holding a meeting to see which should be first to 
plunge his sharp teeth in my flesh, and be first to gorge 
his lank stomach upon my almost bloodless carcass. I 
was excited with fear, and immediately sprang to my 
feet, and raised a yell ; and as I rose, struck the one 
nearest me with my hand. He started back, and the 




ATTACKED BY COYOTES AND WOLVES. 

rest gave way a little. This was the first utterance I 
had made since the massacre. These unprincipled gor 
mandizers, on seeing me get up and hurl a stone at them. 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 87 

ran off a short distance, then turned and faced me ; 
when they set up one of the most hideous, doleful howl- 
ings that I ever heard from any source. As it rang out 
for several minutes upon the still evening air, and echoed 
from crag to crag, it sent the most awful sensations of 
dread and loneliness thrilling through my whole frame. 
4 A fit requiem for the dead,' thought I. I tried to scat 
ter them, but they seemed bent upon supplying their 
stomachs by dividing my body between them, and thus 
completing the work left unfinished by their brothers 
the Apaches. 

" I had come now to think enough of the chance for 
my life, to covet it as a boon worth preserving. But I 
had serious fears when I saw with what boldness and 
tenacity they kept upon my track, as I armed myself 
with a few rocks and pushed on. The excitement of 
this scene fully roused me, and developed physical 
strength that I had not been able before to command. 
The sun had now reached the horizon, and the first 
shades of lonely night lay upon the distant gorges and 
hill-sides. I kept myself supplied with rocks, occasion 
ally hurling one at the more insolent of this second tribe 
of savages. They seemed determined, however, to 
force an acquaintance. At times they would set up one 
of their wild concerts, and grow furious, as *f newly 
enraged at my escape. Then they would huddle about, 
fairly besetting my steps. I was much frightened, but 
knew of only one course to take. After becoming weary 
and faint with hunger and thirst, some time after dark, 
I feared I should faint, and before morning be devoured 
by them. Late in the evening they called a halt, for a 



CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

moment stood closely huddled in the road behind me, as 
if wondering what blood- clad ghost, from some other 
sphere, could be treading this unfriendly soil. They 
were soon away, to my glad surprise ; and ere midnight 
the last echo of their wild yells had died upon the dis 
tant hills to the north. I traveled nearly all night. 
The cool night much relieved the pain in my head, but 
compelled me to keep up beyond my strength, to pre 
vent suffering from cold. I have no remembrance of 
aught from about two to four o'clock of that night, until 
about nine of the next day, save the wild, troublous 
dreams that disturbed my sleep. I dreamed of Indians, 
of bloodshed, of my sisters, that they were being put to 
death by slow tortures that I was with them, and my 
turn was coming soon. When I came to myself, I had 
hardly strength to move a muscle ; it was a long time 
before I could get up. I concluded I must perish, and 
meditated seriously the eating of the flesh from my arm 
to satisfy my hunger, and prevent starvation. I knew 
I had not sufficient of life to last to Eimole at this rate, 
and concluded it as well to lay there and die, as to put 
forth more of painful effort. 

" In the midst of these musings too dreadful and 
fall of horror to describe them I roused and started. 
About noon I was passing through a dark canon, nearly 
overhung with dripping rocks ; here I slaked my thirst, 
and was about turning a short corner, when two red 
shirted Pimoles, mounted upon fine American horses, 
came in sight. They straightened in their stirrups, 
drew their bows, with arrows pointed at me. I raised 
my hand to my head, and beckoned to them, and speak- 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 



89 



ing in Spanish, begged them not to -shoot. Quick as 
thought, when I spoke, they dropped their bows, and 




LORENZO RESCUED BY FRIENDLY INDIANS. 

rode up to me. I soon recognized one of them as an 
Indian with whom I had been acquainted at Pimole vil 
lage. They eyed me close for a few minutes, when my 
acquaintance, discovering through my disfigured fea 
tures who it was that I was one of the family that had 
gone on a little before dismounted, laid hold of me, 
and embraced me with every expression of pity and con- 



90 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

dolence that throbs in an American heart. Taking me 
by the hand they asked me what could have happened. 
I told them as well as I could, and of the fate of the 
rest of the family. They took me one side, under a 
tree, and laid me upon their blankets. They then took 
from their saddle a piece of their ash-baked bread, and 
a gourd of water. I ate the piece of bread, and have 
often thought of the mercy it was they had no more, 
for I might have easily killed myself by eating too 
much ; my cravings were uncontrollable. They hung 
up the gourd of water in reach, and charged me to 
remain until they might return, promising to carry me 
to Pimole. After sleeping a short time I awoke, and 
became fearful to trust myself with these Pimoles. 
They had gone on to the scene of the massacre ; it was 
near night ; I adjusted their blankets, and laid them one 
side, and commenced the night's travel refreshed, and 
not a little cheered. But I soon found my body racked 
with more pain, and oppressed with more weariness than 
ever. I kept up all night, most of the time traveling. 
It was the loneliest, most horror-struck night of my life. 
Glad was I to mark the first streaks of the fourth morn 
ing. Never did twilight shine so bright, or seem em 
powered to chase so much of darkness away. 

" Cheered for a few moments, I hastened my steps-; 
staggering as I went ; I found that I was compelled to 
rest oftener than usual ; I plainly saw I could not hold 
out much longer. My head was becoming inflamed 
within and without, and in places on my scalp, was 
putrid. About mid-forenoon, after frequent attempts to 
proceed, I crawled under a shrub and was soon asleep. 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 91 

I slept two or three hours undisturbed. ' 0, my God ! ' 
were the words with which I woke, ' could I get some 
thing to eat, and some one to dress my wounds, I might 
yet live.' I had now a desire to sleep continually. I 
resisted this with all the power I had. While thus 
musing, I cast my eyes down upon a long winding val 
ley through which the road wandered, and plainly saw 
moving objects ; I was sure they were Indians, and at 
the thought my heart sank within me. I meditated kill 
ing myself. For one hour I kept my aching eyes upon 
the strange appearance ; when, all at once, as they rose 
upon a slight hill, I plainly recognized two white cov 
ered wagons. 0, what a moment was that ! Hope, 
joy, confidence, now for the first time seemed to mount 
my soul, and hold glad empire over all my pains, doubts 
and fears. In the excitement I lost my consciousness, 
and waked not until disturbed by some noise near me. 
I opened my eyes, and two covered wagons were halt 
ing close to me, and Robert was approaching me. I 
knew him, but my own appearance was so haggard, and 
unnatural, it was some time before he detected who that 
4 strange-looking boy, covered with blood, hatless and 
shoeless could be ; his visage scarred, and he pale as a 
ghost fresh from Pandemonium.' After looking for some 
time, slowly and cautiously approaching, he broke out 
' My God, Lorenzo ! in the name of Heaven, what, 
Lorenzo, has happened ?' I felt my heart strangely 
swell in my bosom, and I could scarcely believe my 
sight. ' Can it be ?' I thought, 4 can it be that this is 
a familiar white face ?' I could not speak ; my heart 
could only pour out its emotions in the streaming tears 



92 CAPTIVITY OF THE ATM AN GIRLS 

that flowed most freely over my face. When I recov 
ered myself sufficiently, I began to speak of the fate of 
the rest of the family. They could not speak ; some 
of them those tender-hearted women wept most bit 
terly, and sobbed aloud, begging me to desist, and hide 
the rest of the truth from them. 

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

" Accordingly, early the next day, with two Mexi 
cans and several Pimoles, they started. They returned 
after an absence of three days, and reported that they 
could find but little more than the bones of six persons, 
and that they were able to find and distinguish the 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 93 

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

" There were dark thoughts in my mind, and I felt 
that this was a charnel house that had plundered our 



94 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

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

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

" Here we found that Doctor Le count had done all in 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 95 

his power to get up and hasten a party of men to our 
relief ; but he was prevented by the commander, a Mr. 
Heinsalman, who was guilty of an unexplainable, if not 
an inexcusable delay a delay that was an affliction to 
the Doctor, and a calamity to us. He seemed deaf to 
every appeal for us in our distressed condition. His 
conduct, if we had been a pack of hungry wolves, could 
not have exhibited more total recklessness. The fact of 
our condition reached the Fort at almost as early an 
hour as it would if the animals of the Doctor had been 
retained, and there were a number of humane men at 
the Fort who volunteered to rush to our relief ; but no 
permission could be obtained from the commander. If 
he still lives, it is to know and remember, that by a 
prompt action at that time, according to the behests and 
impulse of a principle of ' humanity to man,' he would 
have averted our dreadful doom. No language can 
fathom such cruelty. He was placed there to protect 
the defenceless of his countrymen ; and to suffer an 
almost destitute family, struggling amid dangers and 
difficulties, to perish for want of relief, that he knew he 
might have extended, rolls upon him a responsibility in 
the inhuman tragedy that followed his neglect, that will 
haunt him through eternity. There were men there 
who nobly stepped forward to assume the danger and 
labor of the prayed-for relief, and around them clusters 
the light of gratitude, the incense of the good, but 
he who neglects the destitute, the hungry, the imper 
iled, proclaims his companionship with misanthropists, 
and hews his own road to a prejudged disgrace. After 
several days, he reluctantly sent out two men, who has- 



96 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

tened on towards Pimole until they came to the place 
of the massacre, and finding what had happened, and 
that the delay had been followed by such a brutal mur 
der of the family for whose safety and rescue they had 
burned to encounter the perils of this desert way, sick 
at heart, and indignant at this cruel, let-alone policy, 
they returned to the Fort ; though not until they had 
exhausted their scant supply of provisions in search of 
the girls, of whose captivity they had learned. May 
heaven bless these benefactors, and pour softening influ 
ences upon their hard-hearted commander." 

The mind instinctively pauses, and suspended between 
wonder and horror dwells with most intense interest 
upon a scene like the one presented above. Look at 
the faint pointings to the reality, yet the best that art 
can inscribe, furnished by the plate. Two timid girls, 
one scarcely fourteen, the other a delicate, sweet-spir 
ited girl of not eight summers. Trembling with fear, 
swaying and reeling under the wild storm of a catas 
trophe bursting upon them when they had been lulled 
into the belief that their danger-thronged path had been 
well nigh passed, and the fury 6f which exceeded all 
that the most excited imagination could have painted 
these two girls, eye-witnesses to a brutal, bloody affray 
which had smitten father, mother, brothers and sisters, 
robbing them in an instant of friends and friendly pro 
tection ; and cast themselves, they knew not where, 
upon the perpetrators of all this butchery, whose tender 
mercies they had only to expect, would be cruelty itself. 
That brother, that oldest brother, weltering in his blood, 
perfectly conscious of all that was transpiring. The 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 97 

girls wishing that a kindred fate had ended their own 
sufferings, and preserved them by a horrible death from 
a more horrible afterpart placing them beyond the 
reach of savage arm and ferocity. 0, what an hour was 
that ! What a world of paralyzing agonies were pressed 
into that one short hour ! It was an " ocean in a tear, 
a whirlwind in a sigh, an eternity in a moment." Unof 
fending, innocent, yet their very souls throbbing with 
woe they had never merited. See them but a little 
before, wearied with the present, but happy in the 
prospect of a fast-approaching termination of their jour 
ney. A band of Indians, stalwart, stout and fierce- 
looking, came into camp, scantily clad, and what covering 
they had borrowed from the wild beasts, as if to furnish 
an appropriate badge of their savage' nature and design. 
They cover their weapons under their wolf-skins ; they 
warily steal upon this unprotected family, and by 
deceiving pretences of friendship blunt their apprehen 
sions of danger, and make them oblivions of a gathering 
doom. They smoke the pacific pipe, and call themselves 
Pimoles who are on their way to Fort Yuma. Then 
secretly they concoct their hellish plot, in their own 
tongue, with naught but an involuntary glance of their 
serpent eyes to flash or indicate the infernality of their 
treacherous hearts. When every preparation is made 
by the family to proceed, no defence studied or thought 
necessary, then these hideous man-animals spring upon 
them with rough war-clubs and murder them in cold 
blood ; and, as if to strew their hellish way with the 
greatest possible amount of anguish, they compel these 
two girls to witness all of the barbarity that broke upon 



98 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

the rest, and to read therein what horrors hung upon 
their own future living death. Oh, what depths, and 
deeds of darkness and crime, are sometimes locked up 
in that heart where the harmonies of a passion restrain 
ing principle and reason have never been waked up ! 
How slender every foundation for any fore-casting upon 
the character of its doings when trying emergencies are 
left an appeal to its untamed and unregulated propen 
sities ! 

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

" Soon after," continues Olive, " we camped ; a fire 
was struck by means of flints and wild cotton, which 
they carried for the purpose. The cattle were allowed 
to range upon the rock-feed, which abounded ; and even 
with this unnatural provision, they were secure against 
being impelled by hunger far from camp, as they scarcely 
had strength to move. Then came the solid dough, 
made of water and flour, baked stone hard in the hot 
ashes, and then soaked in bean soup ; then the smoking 
of pipes by some, while others lounged lazily about the 
camp, filled up the hour of our tarrying here. Food 
was offered me, but how could I eat to prolong a life I 
now loathed. I felt neither sensations of hunger, nor a' 
desire to live. Could I have done it, I should probably 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 99 

$ 

have ended my life, during moments of half-delirious, 
crushing anguish, that some of the time rolled upon me 
with a force sufficient to divide soul from body. But I 
was narrowly watched by those worse than fiends, to 
whom every expression of my grief was occasion for 
merry-making. I dwelt upon these awful realities, yet, 
at times, such I could not think them to be, until my 
thoughts would become confused. Mangled as I knew 
they were, I longed to go back and take one look one 
long, last, farewell look in the faces of my parents, and 
those dear brothers. Could I but go back and press 
the hands of those dear ones, though cold in death, I 
would then consent to go on ! There was Lucy about 
seventeen years a dear girl, of a sweet, mild spirit, 
never angry ; she had been a mother to me when our 
parents were absent or sick. She had borne the pecu 
liar burden falling upon the oldest of a family of chil 
dren, with evenness of temper and womanly fortitude. 
' Why,' my heart inquired, ' should she be thus cut off, 
and I left ?' Lorenzo I supposed dead, for I saw him 
fall to the ground by the first blow that was struck, and 
afterwards saw them take from him hat and shoes, and 
drag him to the brink of the hill by the feet, supposing 
they would dash him upon the rocks below, I turned 
away, unable to witness more ! Royse a playful, 
gleeful boy full of health and happiness he stood a 
moment horror-struck, as he witnessed the commence 
ment of the carnage, being furthest from the Indians ; 
as they came up to him, he gave one wild, piercing 
scream, and then sank to the earth under the club ! I 
saw him when the death struggle drew his little frame 

ft " x V." ., 



100 CAPTIVITY OF THE ATM AN GIRLS 

into convulsions, and then he seemed to swoon away a 
low moan, a slight heaving of the bosom, and he quietly 
sank into the arms of death ! Little C. A. had not as 
yet seen four summers ; she was a cherub girl. She, 
with her little brother twenty months younger, had been 
saved the torments of fear that had seized the rest of 
us from the time of the appearance of the Indians. They 
were too young to catch the flashes of fear that played 
upon the countenances of the elder children and their 
parents, and were happily trustful when our father, 
with forced composure, bade us not be afraid ! The 
struggles of these two dear little ones were short. My 
mother screamed, I turned I saw her with her 
youngest child clasped in her arms, and the blows of the 
war-club falling upon her and the child. I sprang towards 
her, uttered a shriek, and found myself joining her in 
calling most earnestly for help. But I had no sooner 
started towards her, than I was seized and thrown back- 
by my overseer. I turned around, found my head 
beginning to reel in dizziness, and fainting fell to the 
ground. 

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






AMONG -THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 101 

she was immediately hushed by the brandishing of a 
war club over her head. 

" While at this camp, awaiting the finished meal, and 
just after twilight, the full moon arose and looked in upon 
our rock-girt gorge, with a majesty and sereneness that 




THE CAPTIVES AT THE INDIAN CAMP FIRE. 

seemed to mock our changeful doom. Indeed, a more 
beautiful moonrise, I never saw. The sky was clear, 
the wind had hushed its roar, and laid by its fury, the 
larger and more brilliant of the starry throng stood out 



102 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

clear above, despite the superior light of the moon, which 
had blushed the lesser ones into obscurity. As that 
moon mounted the cloudless east, jret tinged with the 
last stray beauties of twilight, and sent its first mild 
glories along the surrounding peaks, the scene of illu 
mined heights, and dark, cavernous, shade-clad hillsides 
and gorges, was grand, and to a mind unfettered with 
woe, would have lent the inspiration of song. I looked 
upon those gorges and vales, with their deeps of gloom, 
and then upon the moon-kissed ridges that formed boun 
daries of light to limit their shadows ! I thought the 
former a fit exponent of my heart's realizations, and the 
whole an impressive illustration of the contrast between 
my present and the recent past. That moon, ordinarily 
so welcome, and that seemed supernaturally empowered 
to clothe the barren heights with a richer than nature's 
verdure robes, and so cheering to us only a few evenings 
previous while winding our way over that dusty road, 
had now suddenly put on a robe of sackcloth. All was 
still, save the chattering of our captors, and the sharp, 
irregular howling of the coyotes, who perform most of 
their odes in the night, and frequently made it hideous 
from twilight to twilight again. 

" Oh ! how much crowded into that short hour spent 
at the first camp after leaving the scene of death, and 
sleeping previous ! Ignorant of the purposes of our own 
preservation, we could only wait in breathless anxiety 
the movements of our merciless lords. I then began to 
meditate upon leaving those parents, brothers and sisters ; , 
I looked up and saw the uncovered bows strung over 
the wagon, the cloth of which ha^been torn off by the 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 103 

Indians. I knew that it designated the spot where hor 
ror and affection lingered. I meditated upon the past, 
the present and the future. The moon, gradually 
ascending the sky, was fast breaking in upon the deep 
shade spots that at her first rising had contended with 
ridges of light spread about them. That moon had 
witnessed, the night before, my childish but sincerest 
vow, that I would never be taken alive by Indian sava 
ges, and was now laughing at the frailty of the resolu 
tion, and the abruptness with which the fears to which 
it pointed had become reality ! That moon had smiled 
on many, very many hours spent in lands far away in 
childish glee, romps and sports prolonged, near the 
home-hearth and grass plotted door yard, long after 
the cool evening breezes had fanned away the sultry air 
of the day. The very intonations of the voices that had 
swelled and echoed in those uncaring hours of glee, 
came back to me now, to rehearse in the ears of a pres 
ent, insupportable sorrow, the music of past, but happier 
days. This hour, this moon-lit hour, was one most dear 
and exclusive to the gushing forth of the heart's unre 
strained overflowings of happiness. Where are how 
those girls and- boys where now are those who gathered 
about me, and over whose sun-tanned but ruddy cheeks 
had stolen the unbidden tear at the hour of parting ; or, 
with an artless simplicity, the heart's ' good-bye ' was 
repeated o'er and o'er again ? Is this moon now near- 
ing the same unmingled smile to them as when it looked 
upon our mutual evening promenadings ; or has it put on 
the sombre hues that seem to tinge its wonted bright 
ness to me, heralding the color of our fate, and hinting 



104 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

of our sorrow ? These, all these, and many more of 
kindred reflections, found way to and strung the heart's 
saddest notes. And as memory and present conscious 
ness told me of those days and evenings gone gone 
never to be repeated I became sick of life, and resolved 
upon stopping its currents with my own hands ; and but 
for the yearning anxiety that bent over little Mary Ann, 
should have only waited the opportunity to have execut 
ed my desperate purpose. The strolls to school, arm- 
in-arm with the now remembered, but abandoned 
partners of the blissful past, on the summer morn ; the 
windings and wanderings upon the distinctly remem 
bered strawberry patches at sultry noon ; the evening 
walks for the cows, when the setting sun and the coming 
on of cloudless, stormless, cool evenings, clothed all 
nature with unwonted loveliness ; together with the sad 
present, that furnished so unexpected and tormenting a 
contrast with all before, would rush again upon me, 
bringing the breath of dark, suicidal thoughts to fire up 
the first hour of a camp among the Indians f" 

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

" We were started and kept upon a rapid pace for. 
several hours. One of the Indians takes the lead, Mary 
Ann and myself follow, bareheaded and shoeless (the 
Indians had taken off our shoes and head coverings), 
We were traveling at a rate, as we soon learned, much 
beyond our strength. Soon the light of the camp-fire 
was hid, and as my eye turned, full of tears, in search of 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 105 

the sleeping place of my kindred, it could not be distin 
guished from the peaks and rocks about it. /Every 
slackening of our pace and utterance of grief however, 
was the signal for new threats, and the suspended war- 
club with the fiendish ' Yokoa ' in our ea^rs, repressed all 
expression of sorrow, and pushed us on upon steeper 
ascents and bolder hills with a quickened step. /We 
must have traveled at the rate of four or five miles an 
hour. Our feet were soon lacerated, as in shadowed 
places we were unable to pick our way, and were fre 
quently stumbling upon stones and rocks, which made 
them bleed freely. Little Mary Ann soon became 
unable to proceed at the pace we had been keeping? 
and sank down after a few miles, saying she could not 
go. After threatening and beating her considerable, 
and finding this treatment as well as my entreaties use 
less, they threatened to despatch her life and leave her, 
and showed by their movements and gestures that they 
had fully come to this determination. At this I knew 
not what to do ; I only wished that if they should do 
this I might be left with her. She seemed to have 
become utterly fearless of death, and said she had rather 
die than live. These inhuman wretches sought by every 
possible rudeness and abuse to rouse her fears and con> 
pel her on ; but all in vain. I resolved in the event of 
her being left to cling to her and thus compel them to 
dispose of us as they had the remainder of the family, 
and leave us upon a neighboring hill. My fears were 
that I could not succeed in my desperate purpose, and I 
fully believed they would kill her, and probably compel 
me on with them. This fear induced me to use every 
*E 



106 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

possible plea that I could make known to them to pre 
serve her life ; besides, at every step a faint hope of 
release shone upon my heart ; that hope had a power to 
comfort and keep me up. While thus halting, one of 
the stout Indians dislodged his pack and putting it upon 
the shoulders of another Indian, rudely threw Mary Ann 
across his back and with vengeance in his eye bounded 
on. 

" Sometimes I meditated the desperate resolution to 
utterly refuse to proceed, but was held back alone by my 
yearning for that helpless sister. Again, finding my 
strength failing, and that unless a rest could be soon 
granted I must yield to faintness and weariness, and 
bide the consequences ; thus I passed the dreadful hours 
up to midnight. The meanings and sobbings of Mary 
Ann had now ceased ; not knowing but she was dead I 
managed to look in her face, and found her eyes opening 
and shutting alternately, as if in an eifort but still una 
ble to sleep ; I spoke to her but received no answer. 
We could not converse without exciting the fiendish rage 
of our enemies. Mary Ann seemed to have become ut 
terly indifferent to all about her ; and, wrapped in a 
dreamy reverie, relieved of all care of life or death, pre 
senting the appearance of one who had simply the con 
sciousness that some strange, unaccountable event had 
happened, and in its bewildering effects she was content 
to remain. Our way had been mostly over a succession of 
small bluff points of high mountain chains, these letting 
down to a rough, winding valley, running principally 
northeast. These small rock hills that formed the bot-' 
torn of the high cliffs on either side, were rough, with no 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 107 

perceptible trail. We halted for a few moments about the 
middle of the night; besides this we had no rest until about 
noon of the next day, when we came to an open place of 
a few acres of level, sandy soil, adorned with an occa 
sional thrifty, beautiful tree, but high and seemingly 
impassible mountains hemming us in on every side. 
This appeared to be to our captors a familiar retreat. 
Almost exhausted, and suffering extremely, I dragged 
myself up to the place of halt, hoping that we had com 
pleted the travel of that day. We had tarried about 
two hours when the rest of the band who had taken 
the stock in another direction, came up. They had 
with them two oxen and the horse. The rest of the 
stock, we afterwards learned, had been killed and hung 
up to dry, awaiting the roving of this plundering band 
when another expedition should lead them that way. 
Here they immediately proceeded to kill the other two. 
This being done they sliced them up, and closely packed 
the parcels in equalized packages for their backs ; they 
then broiled some of the meat on the fire, and prepared 
another meal of this and burnt dough and bean soup. 
They offered us of their fare and we ate with a good 
appetite. Never did the tender, well prepared veal- 
steak at home relish better than the tough, stringy piece, 
of meat about the size of the hand, given us by our 
captors, and which with burnt dough and a little bean 
soup constituted our meal. We were very sleepy, but 
such was my pain and suffering I could not sleep. 
They endeavored now to compel Mary Ann again to go 
on foot ; but this she could not do, and after beating her 
again, all of which she took without a murmur, one of 



108 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

them again took her upon his shoulder and we started. 
I had not gone far before I found it impossible to pro 
ceed on account of the soreness of my feet. They then 
gave me something very much of the substance of sole 
leather which they tied upon the bottom of my feet. 
This was a relief, and though suffering much from thirst 
and the pain of over-exertion, I was enabled to keep up 
with the heavy-laden Indians. We halted in a snug, 
dark ravine about ten o'clock that night and prepara 
tions were at once made for a night's stay. My pres 
ent suffering had now made me almost callous as to the 
past, and never did rest seem so sweet as when I saw 
they were about to encamp. 

" During the last six hours they had whipped Mary 
Ann into walking. We were now shown a soft place in 
the sand, and directed to it as the place of our rest ; 
and with two of our own blankets thrown over us, and 
three savages encircling us, (for protection of course !) 
were soon, despite our physical sufferings, in a dreamy 
and troubled sleep. The most frightful scenes of butch 
ery and suffering, followed into every moment's slum 
ber. We were not roused until a full twilight had shone 
in upon our beautiful little ravine retreat. The break 
fast w r as served up, consisting of beef, burnt dough and 
beans, instead of beans, burnt dough and beef as usual. 
The sun was now fairly upon us when, like cattle, we 
were driven forth to another day's travel. The rough 
est road (if road be a proper term} over which I ever 
passed, in all my captivity, was that day's route. 
Twice during the day, I gave up, and told Mary I must 
consent to be murdered and left, for proceed I would 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 109 



not. But this they were not inclined to allow. When 
I could not be driven, I was pushed and hauled along. 
Stubs, rocks and gravel-strewn mountain sides, hedged 
up and embittered the travel of the whole day. That 
day is among the few days of my dreary stay among 
the savages, marked by the most pain and suffering 
ever endured. About noon, we were suddenly sur- 




ATTEMPT TO SHOOT OLIVE AND MARY ANN. 

prised by coming upon a band of Indians, eleven in 
number. They emerged from behind a rock point that 
set out- into a low, dark ravine, through which we were 
passing, and every one of them w^as armed with bows 
nnd arrows. When they came up they were jabbering 



110 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

and gesturing in the most excited manner, with eyes 
fastened upon me. While some of them were earnestly 
conversing with members of our band, two of them 
stealthily crept around us, and one of them by his ges 
tures and excited talk, plainly showed hostile intentions 
toward us, which our captors watched with a close eye. 
Suddenly one of them strung his bow, and let fly an 
arrow at me, which pierced my dress, doing me no harm. 

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

" The reason, as I afterwards came to know, of the 
conduct of this Indian was that he had lost a brother in 
an affray with the whites upon this same Santa Fd route, 
and he had sworn not to allow the first opportunity to 
escape without avenging his brother's blood by taking 
the life of an American. Had their number been 
larger, a serious engagement would have taken place, 
and my life have probably been sacrificed to this fiend's 
revenge. During the skirmish of words that preceded 
and for some time followed this attempt upon my life, I 
felt, but little anxiety, for there was liUle reason to 
hope but that we must both perish at the best, and to 
me it mattered little how soon. Friends we had none ; 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. Ill 

succor, or sympathy, or help, we had no reason to think 
could follow us into this wild, unknown region ; and the 
only question was whether we should be murdered inch 
by inch, or find a sudden, though savage termination to 
our dreadful condition, and sleep at once quietly beyond 
the reach or brutality of these fiends, in death's em 
brace. Indeed, death seemed the only release proffered 
from any source. If I had before known that the 
arrow would lodge in life's vitals, I doubt whether it 
would have awakened a nerve, or moved a muscle. 

" We traveled until about midnight, when our cap 
tors called a halt, and gave us to understand we might 
sleep for the remainder of the night. But, jaded as 
we were, and enduring as we were all manner of pain, 
these were not more in the way of sleep, than the wild 
current of our anxious thoughts and meditations, which 
we found it impossible to arrest or to leave with the dead 
bodies of our dear kindred. There was scarcely a 
moment when the mind's consent could be gained for 
sleep. Well do I remember to have spent the larger 
proportion of that half of a night in gazing upon the 
stars, counting those directly over head, calling the 
names I had been taught to give to certain of the plan 
ets, pointing out to my sister the old dipper, and seeking 
to arrest and relieve her sadness by referring ta the 
views we had taken of these from the eld grasc-slad 
door-yard in front of our humble cottage in Illinois. 
We spoke of the probability that these might now be 
the objects of attention and sight to eyes far away to 
eyes familiar, the gleam of whose kindly radiance had 
so oft met ours, and with the strength of whose "vision 



112 CAPTIVITY OF THE ATM AN GIRLS 

we had so delightfully tried our own in thus star-gazing. 
These scenes of a past, yet unfinished childhood, came 
rushing upon the mind, bidding it away over the dis 
tance that now separated them and their present occu 
pants from us, and to think mournfully of the still wider 
variance that separated their allotment from ours. 
Strange as it may appear, scenes and woes like those 
pressing upon us, had a power to bind all sensitiveness 
about our fate. Indeed, indifference is the last retreat 
of desperation. The recklessness observed in the In 
dians their habits, of subsistence, and all their man 
ner and bearing towards their captives, could lead them 
only to expect that by starvation or assassination, they 
must soon become the victims of a brutal fate. 
/ " On the third day, we came suddenly in sight of a 
cluster of low, thatched huts, each having an opening 
near the ground leading into them. / 

" It was soon visible from the flashing eyes and ani 
mated countenances of the Indians, that they were near- 
ing some place of attraction, and to which anxious and 
interested desire had been pointing. To two young 
girls, having traveled on foot two hundred miles in three 
days ; with swollen feet and limbs, lame, exhausted, not 
yet four days remove from the loss of parents, brothers 
and sisters, and torn from them too, in the most brutal 
manner ; away in the deeps of forests and mountains, 
upon the desolation of which the glad light or sound of 
civilization never yet broke ; with no guides or protect 
ors rudely, inhumanely driven by untutored, untamed 
savages the sight of the dwelling places of man, how 
ever fcoarse or unseemly, was no very unwelcome scene. 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 113 

With all the dread possibilities, therefore, that might 
await them at any moment, nevertheless to get even 
into an Indian camp was home. 

/ " We were soon ushered into camp, amidst shouts and 
song, wild dancing, and the crudest, most irregular music 
that ever ranter sung, or delighted the ear of an unre 
strained superstition. J We soon saw that these brava 
does had made themselves great men at home. They 
had made themselves a name by the exploits of the past 
week. They had wantonly set upon a laboring family 
of nine persons, unprotected, and worn to fatigue by the 
toils of a long journey, without any mode of defence, and 
had inhumanly slaughtered seven of them, taken two 
inoffensive girls into a barbarous captivity, and drove 
them two hundred miles in three days without that mercy 
which civilization awards to the brute ; taken a few sacks 
of smoked, soot-covered cow meat, a few beans, a little 
clothing, and one horse ! By their account and we 
afterwards ascertained that they have a mode of calculat 
ing distances with wonderful accuracy we had come 
indeed over two hundred and fifty miles, inside of eighty 
hours. 

" This may seem incredulous to the reader, but the 
rate at which we were hurried on the little rest that 
w T as granted, and subsequent knowledge gained of their 
traveling rate, confirms the assertion made by them 
selves as to the distance. That night was nearly all 
consumed in hallooing, singing and the most indecent 
and uproarious dancing over the triumph that had been 
achieved, the spoils taken, and the Americano captives 
subjected. / They stationed their captives upon an ele- 



114 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

vated position in the center of a circle, danced around 
them in the wildest manner, hallooing in their ears, and 
using every possible method to express their contempt 
of them and their race ; taxing their barbarousness and 
inventive powers to present in an indecent and gross 
manner what their captives might expect, if fleeing, 
their vengeance should once pursue them. I 
f " We found the tribe to consist of about three hundred, 
living in all the extremes of filth and degradation that 
the most abandoned humanity ever fathomed. \ Little 
had the inexperience and totally different habits of life, 
from which these reflections are made, of the knowledge 
or judgment to imagine or picture the low grossness to 
which unrestrained, uneducated passions can sink the 
human heart and life. / Their mode of dress, (but little 
dress they had !) so needlessly and shockingly indecent, 
when the material of which their scanty clothing con 
sists, would, by an industrious habit and hand, have 
clothed them to the dictates of comfort and modesty. 

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

I "It was only when the insatiable and half-starved 
appetites of the members was satisfied when unusual 
abundance chanced to come in, that their captives could 
be allowed a morsel ; and then their chance was that of 
the dogs, with whom they might share the crumbs. f>Their 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOIIAVE INDIANS. 115 

meat was boiled with water, in a ' Tusquin,' (clay ket 
tle) and this nieat-mush or soup was the staple of food 
amongst them, and of this they were frequently short, 
and obliged to quiet themselves with meted out allow 
ance ;/to their captives, it was always thus meted out. 
At times, game in the immediate vicinity was scarce, 
and their indolence would not let them forth to the chase 
upon the mountains and in the valleys a little distance, 
where they acknowledged it plenty, only in cases of im 
pending starvation. During the time of captivity among 
them, very frequently were whole days spent without a 
morsel, and then when the hunter returned with game, 
he was surrounded with crowds, hungry as a pack of 
wolves, to devour it, and/the bits and leavings were 
tauntingly thrown to ' Onatas,' saying i you have been 
fed too well, we will teach you to live on little.'/ Beside 
all this/they were disbelievers in the propriety of treat 
ing female youth to meat, or of allowing it to become 
their article of subsistence ; which, considering their 
main reliance as a tribe upon game, was equal to doom 
ing their females to starvation. And this result of their 
theory became a mournful and constantly recurring fact. 
According to their physiology the female, especially the 
young female, should be allowed meat only when neces 
sary to prevent starvation. Their own female children 
frequently died, and those alive, old and young, were 
sickly and dwarfish generally. J 

L " Several times were their late captives brought near 
a horrid death ere they could be persuaded to so wave 
their superstitious notions as to give them a saving 
crumb, 



116 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

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

" Often under the frown and lash were we compelled 
to labor for whole days upon an allowance amply sufficient 
to starve a common dandy civilized idWJand those 

\ 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOIIAVB INDIANS. 117 

days of toil wrung out at the instance of children, 
younger than ourselves, who were set as our task-mast 
ers. / They knew nothing of cultivating the soil. / After 
we had learned their language enough to talk with 
them, we ventured to speak to them of the way by which 
we had lived ; of the toilling of the ground. 

" They had soil that might have produced, but most 
of them had an abhorrence of all that might be said of 
the superior blessings of industry land the American civ 
ilization. Yet there were those/ especially among the 
females, and the younger members of the tribe, who 
asked frequent questions, and with eagerness, of our 
mode of life. For some time after coming among them, 
Mary Ann was very ill. The fatigue, the cruelties of 
the journey, nearly cost her her life ; yet in all her 
weakness, sickness and pinings, they treated her with 
all the heartlessness of a dog. She would often say to 
me < Olive, I must starve unless I can get something 
more to eat ;' yet it was only when she was utterly dis 
abled that they would allow her a respite from some daily 
menial service. We have taken the time often which 
was given to gather roots for our lazy captors, to gather 
and eat ourselves ; and had it not been for supplies 
obtained by such means, we must have perished. But 
the physical sufferings of this state were light when com 
pared with the fear and anguish of mind ; the bitter 
fate upon us, the dismal remembrances that harrassed 
us, the knowledge of a bright past and a dark future by 
which we were compassed these, all these belabored 
every waking moment, and crowded the wonted hours 
of sleep with terrible forebodings of a worse fate still 



118 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

ahead. Each day seemed to be allotted its own pecu 
liar woes. Some circumstance, some new event would 
arise, touching and enkindling its own class of bitter 
emotions. jWe were compelled to heed Vevery whimper 
and cry of their little urchins with promptness, and fully, 
under the no less penalty than a severe beating, and 
that in the most severe manner. \These every day usages 
and occurrences would awaken thorny reflections upon 
our changed and prison life. There was no beauty, no 
loveliness, no attractions in the country possessed by 
these unlovely creatures to make it pleasant, if there had 
been the blotting out of all the dreadful realities that 
had marked our way to it, or the absence of the cruel 
ties that made our stay a living death. Often has my lit 
tle sister come to me with a heart surcharged with grief, 
and the big tears standing in her eye, or perhaps sob 
bing most convulsively over the maltreatment and chas 
tisement that had met her good intentions, for she ever 
tried to please them, and most piteously would she say, 
6 how long, 0, how long dear Olive, must we stay here ; 
can we never get away, do you not think they intend to 
kill us ? 0, they are so ugly and savage !' Sometimes 
I would tell her that I saw but little chance for escape ; 
that we had better be good and ready for any fate, and 
try to wait in submission for our lot. 

" She would dry her eyes, wipe the tears away, anfl 
not seldom have I known her to return with a look of 
pensive though tfulness, and that eye, bright and glist 
ening with the light of a new born thought, she would 
say : ' I know what we can do we can ask God. Up 
can deliver us, or give us grace to bear our troubles.' 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 119 

It was our custom to go by ourselves and commit our 
selves to God in faithful prayer every day ; and this we 
would do after we laid our weary frames upon our sand 
bed to rest, if no other opportunity offered. This custom 
had been inculcated in us by a fond and devoted mother, 
and well now did we remember with what affection she 
assured us that we would find it a comfort and support to 
thus carry our trials and troubles to our Heavenly Father 
in after years, though little did she realize the exceed 
ingly bitter grief that would make these lessons of piety 
so sweet to our hearts. Too sadly did they prove true. 
Often were the times when we were sent some distance 
to bring water and wood for the comfort of lazy men, 
selected for the grateful observance of this only joyful 
employment that occupied any of those dark days. 

" Seldom during our stay here, were we cheered with 
any knowledge or circumstance that bid us hope for our 
escape. Hours were spent by us in talking of trying 
the experiment. Mary often would say, ' I can find the 
way out, and I can go the whole distance as quick as 
they.' Several times after cruel treatment, or the pass 
ing of danger from starvation, have we made the resolu 
tion and set the time for executing it, but were not bold 
enough to undertake it. Yet we were not without all or 
ny hope. A word dropped by our captors concerning 
leir occasional trips, made by small bands of them to 
some region of the whites ; some knowledge we would 
accidentally gain of our latitude and locality, would 
animate our breasts with, the hope of a future relief, 
breaking like a small ray of light from some distant 
luminous object upon the eye of our faith. But it was 



120 CAPTIVITY OF THE ATM AN GIRLS 

only when our minds dwelt upon the power of the High 
est of an overruling Providence, that we could feel that 
there was any possibitity of an extrication from our 
uncheered prison life. 

" After we had been among these Apaches several 
months, their conduct towards us somewhat changed. 
They became more lenient and merciful, especially to 
my sister. She always met their abuse with a mild, 
patient spirit and deportment, and with an intrepidity 
and fortitude beyond what might have been expected 
from her age. This spirit, which she always bore, I 
could plainly see was working its effect upon some of 
them ; so that, especially on the part of those females 
connected in some way with the household of the chief, 
and who had the principal control of us. we could plainly 
see more forbearance, kindness and interest exhibited 
towards their captives. This, slight as was the change, 
was a great relief to my mind and comfort to Mary Ann. 
We had learned their language so as to hold converse 
with them quite understandingly, after a few months 
among them. They were much disposed at times to 
draw us into conversation ; they asked our ages, inquired 
after our former place of living, and when we told them 
of the distance we had come to reach our home among 
them, they greatly marveled. They would gather about 

u^^ 



us frequently in large numbers, and ply their 
questions with eagerness and seeming interest, asking 
how many of the white folks there were ; how far the 
big ocean extended ; and on being told of the two main 
oceans, they asked if the whites possessed the other big- 
world on the east of the Atlantic, if there were any 



AMON1 THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 121 

Indians there ; particularly they would question us as 
to the number of the ' Americanos,' (this term they 
obtained among the Mexicans, and it was the one by 
which they invariably designated our people.) When 
we told them of the number of the whites, and of their 
rapid increase, they were apparently incredulous, and 
some of them would become angry and accuse us of 
lying, and wishing to make them believe a lie. They 
wanted to know how women were treated, and if a man 
was allowed more than one wife. Inquired particularly 
how and by what means, a subsistence was gained by us. 
In this latter question we could discern an interest that 
did not inspire any of -their other queries. Bad as they 
are, they are very curious to know the secret of the 
success and increase of the whites. We tried to tell 
them of the knowledge the whites possessed, of the well 
founded belief they had that the stars above -us were 
peopled by human beings, and of the fact that the dis-; 
tance to these far off worlds had been measured by the 
whites. They wished to know if any of us had been 
there, this they asked in a taunting manner, exhibiting 
in irony and sarcasm their incredulity as to the state 
ment, over which they made much sport and ridicule. 
They said if the stars were inhabited, the people would 
drop out, and hence they knew that this was a lie. I 
found the months and years in which I had been kept 
in school, not altogether useless in answering their 
questions. I told them that the earth turned round 
every twenty-four hours, and also of its traveling about 
the sun every year. Upon this they said we were just 
like all the Americanos, big liars, and seemed to think 



122 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

that our parents had begun young with us to learn us so 
perfectly the art of falsehood, so early. But still we 
could see, through all their accusations of falsehood, by 
their astonishment, and discussion, and arguments upon 
the matter of our conversation, they were not wholly 
unbelieving. They would tell us, however, that an ' evil 
spirit ' reigned among the whites, and that he was lead 
ing them on to destruction. They seemed sincere in 
their belief that there were scarcely any of the whites 
that could be trusted, but that they had evil assistance, 
which made them great and powerful. As to any sys 
tem of religion or morality, they seemed to be beneath 
it. But we found, though the daily tasks upon us were 
not abated, yet our condition was greatly mollified ; and 
we had become objects of their growing curiosity, mere 
play things, over which they could make merry. 

" They are much given to humor and fun, but it gen 
erally descends to low obscenity and meanness.1 They 
had great contempt for one that would complain under 
torture or suffering, even though of their own tribe, and 
said a person that could not uncomplainingly endure 
suffering, was not fit to live. They asked us if we 
wanted to get away, and tried by every stratagem to 
extort from us our feelings as to our captivity ; but we 
were not long in learning that any expression of discon- tjf 
tent was the signal for new toils, and tasks and grievan-^ 
ces. We made the resolution between us to avoid any 
expression of discontent, which, at times, it cost us no 
small effort to keep. 

" We learned that this tribe was a detached parcel of' 
the old and more numerous tribe bearing their name, 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 123 

and whose locality was in the regions of New Mexico/ 
They had become in years gone, impatient of the 
restraint put upon them by the Catholic missionaries, 
and had resolved upon emancipation from their control, 
and had accordingly sought a home in the wild fastnesses 
of these northern mountains. The old tribe had since 
given them the name of the 4 Touto Apaches,' an appel 
lation signifying their unruliness, as well as their roving 
and piratical habits. They said that the old tribe was 
much more wicked than themselves, and that they would 
be destroyed by the whites. 

"The *Tout6s ' had, however, for a long time, occu 
pied their present position, and almost the only tribe 
with whom they had any intercourse was the Mohaves, ( 
(Mo-ha-vays,) a tribe numbering about twelve hundred, 
and located three hundred miles to the north-west. 

" For a few years constant traffic had been kept up 
between these two tribes. I The Mohaves made an expe 
dition once a. year, sometimes oftener, to the Apaches 
in small companies, bringing with them vegetables, 
grain, and the various products of their soil, which they 
would exchange with the Apaches for fur, skins of ani 
mals, and all of the few articles that their different mode 
of life furnished./ During the autumn of 1851, late in 
the season, quite a large company of Mohaves came 
among us on a trading expedition. But the whole 
transactions of one of these expeditions, did not comprise 
the amount of wealth or business of one hour's ordinary 
shopping of a country girl. This was the first acquain 
tance we had with those superior Indians. During their 
stay we had some faint hints that it was meditated to 



124 CAPTIVITY OF THE ATM AN GIRLS 

sell us to the Mohaves in exchange for vegetables, which 
they no doubt regarded as more useful for immediate 
consumption, than their captives. But still it was only 
a hint that had been given us, and the curiosity and 
anxiety it created soon vanished, and we sank again 
into the daily drudging routine of our dark prison life. 
Months rolled by, finding us early and late at our bur 
den-bearing and torturing labors, plying hands and feet 
to heed the demands of our lazy lords, and the taunts 
and exactions of a swarm of heathen urchins, sometimes 
set over us. But since the coming of these Mohaves, a 
new question had been presented, and a new source of 
anxious solicitude had been opened. Hours at a time 
were spent apart, dwelling upon and conversing aDout 
the possibilities arid probabilities with all the gravity 
of men in the council of state of our being sold to 
another tribe, and what might be its effects upon us. At 
times it was considered as the possible means by which 
an utter and hopeless bondage might be sealed upon us 
for life. It was seen plainly that the love of traffic pre 
dominated among these barbarous hordes ; that the 
lives of their captives would be but a small weight in 
the balance, if they interfered with their lust of war 
of conquest if gain without toil might be gratified. It 
was feared that their deep seated hostility which they 
bore to the white race the contempt which they man 
ifested to their captives, united with the fear (which 
their conduct had more than once exhibited,) that they 
might be left without that constant, vigilant oversight, 
that was so great a tax upon their indolence to maintain 
over them, that they might return to their own people 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 125 

and tell the tale of their sufferings and captivity, and 
thus bring down upon them the vengeance of the 
whites ; that ^all these causes might induce them *to 
sell their captives to the most inaccessible tribe, and 
thus consign them to a captivity upon which the light of 
hope, or the prospect of escape, could not shine." 

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

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

Olive. " But may be they put on the best side 
when here ; they might treat us worse than the Apa 
ches." 

M. A. " 0, that will be impossible without they kill 
us, and if' we cannot escape, the sooner we die the 



126 CAPTIVITY OF THE ATM AN GIRLS 

better. I wish Olive, you would agree to it, and we 
will start to-night and try to make our escape." 

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

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

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



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 127 

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

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

The Indian who was approaching them, had by this 
time caught a view of them and was running to camp to 
spread the news. " I had," says the older, " now no 
doubt that the approaching company were Mohaves, and 
I was half inclined to improve the excitement and care 
lessness that would prevail for awhile after their coming 
among us, to slip away, taking good care to make sure 
of a piece of meat, a few roots, and something to kill 
myself with if I should find myself about falling into the 
hands of pursuers. But in more sober moments we 
thought it well, that this fear of being again caught, and 
of torture they would be sure to inflict, if we should be 
unsuccessful, kept us from such a desperate step. The 
Mohave party are now descending a slope to the Apa 
che village, and roaring, yelling and dancing prevail 
through the gathering crowd of Apaches. The party 
consisted of five men, and a young woman of about 
twenty years. It was not long ere two of the chiefs 
came to us and told us that these Mohaves had come 



128 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

after us according to a contract made with them at a 
previous visit that the party had been back to obtain 
the sanction of ' Espaniole,' (the Mohave Chief) to the 
contract, and that now the chief had sent his own 
daughter to witness to his desire to purchase the white 
captives. The chief had, however, left it with his 
daughter to approve or annul the contract that had been 
made." 

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

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

There was a studied effort which was plainly per 
ceived by them, to cover the matter of the councils and 
heated debates, which occupied the whole night from 
them ; but by remarks which reached them from differ 
ent' ones, they learned that their destiny was in a very 
critical suspense. There was a strong party who were 
angrily opposed to the acceptance of the Mohave prop 
ositions ; among whom were the murderers of the Oat- 
man family. 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 129 

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

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

" I suppose you are glad you are going to the Mo- 
haves ? But I always hated them, they will steal, and 
lie, and cheat. Do you think you will get away ? I 
suppose you do. But these miserable Mohaves are 
going to sell you to another tribe ; if they do not it will 
not be long ere they will kill you. 0, I am very sad 
because you are going away, I hoped to see you free in 
a short time ; but I know you will never get back to 
the whites now. Suppose you will try, will you not ?" 

Olive replied : " We are captives, and since our 
* F 



1 80 OAPTIYITT OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

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

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

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

" We found that sun-rise, which greeted us ere we 
had a moment's sleep, found the party prepared to 
leave, and we were cooly informed by our captors that 
we must go with them, f Two horses, a few vegetables, 
a few pounds of beads, and three blankets we found to 
be our price in that market./ 

\ " We found that there were those among the Apa- 

xjhes who were ready to tear us in pieces when we left, 

and they only wanted a few more to unite with them, to* 

put an end to our lives at once. They now broke forth 

in the most insulting language to us, and to the remain- 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 131 

der of the tribe for bargaining us away. Some laughed, 
a few among the children who had received a care and 
attention from us, denied by their natural parents, cried, 
and a general pow-wow rent the air as we started upon 
another three hundred miles' trip." 



132 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 



CHAPTER IV. 

The journey of three hundred and fifty miles to the Mohave Valley The means of 
subsistence during the time The conduct of the Mohaves compared with the 
Apaches Arrive at the Valley The Village The Chief's Residence Their joy 
at the return of Topeka, their daughter The greeting of the new Captives- 
One year of labor and suffering The overflowing of the Colorado Their de 
pendence upon it Their habits Cultivation of the soil Scarcity of provisions- 
Starvation- Mary Ann Her decline -Olive's care, grief, and fforts to save her 
life Dies of Famine Many of the Indian Children die Burial of Mary Ann 
The sympathy and sorrow of the Chief's Wife. 

" We were informed at the outset-, that we had 
three hundred and fifty miles before us, and all to be 
made on foot. Our route we soon found to be in no way 
preferable to the one by which the Apache village had 
been reached. It was now about the first day of March, 
1852. One year had been spent by us in a condition 
the most abject, the most desolate, with treatment the 
most cruel that barbarity and hate could invent. And 
this all endured without the privilege of a word from 
ourselves to turn the scale in this direction or that, in a 
rugged, rocky country, filled with bare mountains or' 
lesser hills, with slight vegetation, and that tame and 
tasteless, or irregular piles of boulders and gravel beds, 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 133 

we were now being hurried on' under Indian guardian 
ship alone, we knew not where nor for what purpose. 
We had not proceeded far ere it was painfully impressed 
upon our feet, if not our aching hearts, that this trail to 
a second captivity was no improvement on the first, 
whatever might be the fate awaiting us at its termina 
tion. We had been under tutorage for one whole year 
in burden bearing, and labor even beyond our strength, 
but a long walk or run (as this proved) we had not 
been driven to during that time. 

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

" With much complaining, and some threatening from 
our recent captors, we were allowed to rest on the sec 
ond day a short time. After this we were not com 
pelled to go more than thirty-five miles any one day, 
and pieces of skins were furnished for our feet, but not 
until they had been needlessly bruised and mangled 



134 CAPTIVITY OF THE ATM AN GIRLS 

without them. The nights were cool, and contrary to 
our expectations, the daughter of the chief showed us 
kindness throughout the journey by sharing her blankets 
with us at each camp. 

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

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

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

" Our guides soon halted. We immediately observed 
by their movements and manifestations that some object 
beyond the loveliness that nature had strewn upon that 
valley, was enrapturing their gaze. We had stood gaz 
ing a few moments only, when the smoke at the distance 
of a few miles, winding in gentle columns up the ridges, 
spoke to us of the abodes or tarrying of human beings. 
Very soon there came into the field of our steady view$ 
a large number of huts, clothing the valley in every 
direction. We could plainly see a. large cluster of these 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 135 

huts huddled into a nook in the hills on our right and on 
the bank of a river, whose glassy waters threw the sun 
light in our face its winding, zigzag course pointed out 
to us by the row of beautiful cottonwood trees that 
thickly studded its vicinity." 

" Here, Olive," said Mary Ann, " is the place where 
they live. Oh isn't it a beautiful valley ? It seems to 
me I should like to. live here." " May be," said I, 
' that you will not want to go back to the whites any 
more." " Oh yes, there is green grass and fine mead 
ows there, besides good people to care for us these 
savages are enough to make any place look ugly, after 
a little time." 

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

" We were conducted immediately to the home of the 
chief, and welcomed with the staring eyes of collecting 
groups, and an occasional smile fromjthe members of the 
chief's family, who gave the warmest expressions of joy 
over the return of their daughter and sister, so long 
absent. J Seldom does our civilization furnish a more 
hearty exhibition of affection for kindred, than welcomed 



136 CAPTIVITY OF THE ATM AN GIRLS 

the coming in of this member of the chief's family, 
though she had been absent but a few days. /The 
chief's house was on a beautiful but small elevation 
crowning the river bank, from which the eye could 
sweep a large section of the valley, and survey the 
entire -village, a portion of which lined each bank of the 
stream. / 

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

" We entered this enclosure through a door (never 
shut) and found a tidy yard, grass-plotted. Inside of 
this was still another enclosure of about twenty feet, 
walled by the same kind of fence, only about one-third 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 137 

as high. Running from front to rear, and dividing this 
dwelling place of the Mohave magnate into equal parts, 
stood a row of these logs stuck in the ground, and run 
ning up about three feet above the level top of the out 
side row, and forming a ridge for the resting of the roof. 
The roof was a thick mat of limbs and mud. A few 
blankets, a small, smoking fire near the door, with naked 
walls over which the finishing hand of the upholsterer 
had never passed ; a floor made when all terra firma was 
created, welcomed us to the interior. 

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

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



138 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

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

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

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

" After they had dispersed, and that night of tears, 
and the bitterest emotions, and most torturing remem 
brances of the past, and reflections of our present had 
nearly worn away, with bleeding feet, worn in places 
almost to the bone, with aching limbs, beneath a thin 
covering, side by side, little Mary Ann and myself lay 
us down upon a sand bed to meditate upon sleep. A. few 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 139 

hours were spent in conversation, conducted in a low 
whisper, with occasional moments of partial drowsiness, 
haunted with wild, frantic dreams." 

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

Plunged now into the depths of a wild country, where 
the traces of a white foot would be sought in vain for 
hundred of miles, and at such a distance from the near 
est route of the hurrying emigrant, as to preclude almost 



140 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

the traveling of hope to their exile and gloom ; it i's no 
marvel that these few hours, allotted to sleep, at the 
latter part of the night, were rushed upon by such 
questions as these : Why have they purchased us ? 
What labor or service do they intend subjecting us to ? 
Have they connived with our former masters to remove 
us still further from the habitations of our countrymen, 
and sought to plunge us so deep in these mountain defiles 
that they may solace themselves with that insatiate 
revenge upon our race which will encounter any hard 
ship rather than allow us the happiness of a return to 
our native land ? No marvel that they could not drive 
away such thoughts, though a delicate, lacerated body 
was praying aloud for balmy "^leep cheated " nature's 
sweet restorer. " 

Mary Ann, the youngest a little girl of eight years- 
had been declining in health and strength for some time. 
She had almost starved on 'that long road, kept up prin 
cipally by a small piece of meat. For over three hund 
red miles had she come, climbing rocks, traversing 
sun-burnt gravel and sand, marking the way by bleeding 
feet, sighs and piteous moanings well nigh breaking 
the heart of her older sister, whose deepest anguish was 
the witnessing of these sufferings that she could not 
relieve. She was not inclined to complain, nay, she 
was given to a patient reserve that would bear her grief 
alone, sooner than trouble her loved sister with it. She 
had from infancy been the favorite child of the family 
the only one of a frail constitution, quickest to learn and 
best to 'remember ; and often when at home, and tile 
subject of disease and pain, exhibiting a meekness, judg- 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 143 

ment and fortitude beyond her years. She was tenderly 
loved by the whole family, nursed with a delicacy and 
concern by her fond mother bestowed on none of the 
rest, and now bound to the heart of her only sister by a 
tie strengthened by mutual sufferings, and that made 
her every woe and sigh a dagger to the heart of Olive. 

No marvel that the latter should say, u Poor girl, I 
loved her tenderly, ardently ; and now to see her driven 
forth whole days, with declining health, at a pace kept 
up by these able bodied Indians, to see her climb rug 
ged cliffs, at times upon her hands and knees struggling 
up where others could walk, the sweat coursing down 
freely from her pearly white forehead to hear her 
heave those half-suppressed sighs, to see the. steps of 
those little bleeding feet, totter and falter to see the 
big tears standing out of her eyes, glistening as if in the 
borrowed light of a purer home to see her turn at 
times and bury her head in some of the tattered furs 
wrapped about a part of her person, and w r eeping alone, 
and then come to me saying, i How far, dear Olive, must 
we yet go ?' To hear her ask, and ask in vain, for 
bread for meat for water for some thing to eat, when 
nothing but their laziness denied her request, these were 
sights and scenes I pray God to deliver me from in 
future ! Oh l.that I could blot out the impsession they 
have indelibly written upon my mind. 

" i But we are now here, and must make the best of 
it,' was the interruption made the next morning to mem 
ories and thoughts like the above. We were narrowly 
watched, and with an eye and jealousy that seemed to 
indicate some design beyond and unlike the one that 



142 CAPTIVITY OF THE BATMAN GIRLS 

was avowed to move them to purchase us, and to shut 
out all knowledge of the way back to our race. We 
found the location and scenery of our new home, much 
pleasanter than the one last occupied. The valley ex 
tended about thirty or forty miles, north-east by south 
west, and varying from two to five miles in width. 
Through its whole length flowed the beautiful Colorado, 
in places a rapid, leaping stream, in others making its 
way quietly, noiselessly over a deeper bed. It varied, 
like all streams whose sources are, in immediate moun 
tains, in depth, at different seasons of the year. During 
the melting of the snows that clothed the mountain tops 
to the north when we came among the Mohaves, it 
came roaring and thundering along its rock-bound 
banks, threatening the whole valley, and doing some 
damage. 

" We found the Mohaves accustomed to the tillage of 
the soil to a limited extent, and in a peculiar way. And 
it was a season of great rejoicing when the Colorado 
overflowed, as it was only after overflows that they could 
rely upon their soil for a crop. In the autumn they 
planted the wheat carefully in hills with their fingers, 
and in the spring they planted corn, melons, and a few 
garden vegetables. They had, however, but a few 
notions, and these were crude, about agriculture. They 
were utterly without skill or art in any useful calling. 
When we first arrived among them, the wheat sown 
the previous fall had come up and looked green 
and thrifty, though it did not appear, nor was it, suf 
ficient to maintain one-fifth of their population. TKey 
spent more time in raising twenty spears of wheat from 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 143 

one hill, than was necessary to have cultivated one acre, 
with the improvements they might and should have learn 
ed in the method of doing it. It was to us, however, 
an enlivening sight to see even these scattered parcels 
of grain growing clothing sections of their valley. It 
was a rememberancer, and reminded us of home, (now 
no more ours,) and placed us in a nearness to the cus 
toms of a civilized mode of life that we had not realized 
before. 

" For a time after coming among them, but little 
was said to us none seemed desirous to enter into any 
intercourse, or inquire even, if it had been possible for 
us to understand them, as to our welfare, past or pres 
ent. Topeka gave us to know that w T e were to remain 
in their house. Indeed, we were merejy regarded as 
strange intruders, with whom they had no sympathy, 
and their bearing for a while towards us seemed to say, 
6 you may live here if you can eke out an existence, by 
bowing yourselves unmurmuringly to our barbarism and 
privations.' 

" In a few days they began to direct us to work in 
various ways, such as bringing wood and water, and to 
perform -various errands of convenience to them. Why 
they took the course they did, I have never been able 
to imagine, but it was only by degrees that their exac 
tions were enforced. We soon learned, however, that 
our condition was that of unmitigated slavery, not to the 
adults merely, but to the children. In this respect it 
was very much as among the Apaches. Their whimp 
ering, idiotic children, of not half a dozen years, very 
soon learned to drive us about with all the authority of 



144 CAPTIVITY OF THE ATM AN GIRLS 

an eastern lord. And these filthy creatures would go 
in quest of occasions, seemingly to gratify their love of 
command ; and any want of hurried attention to them, 
was visited upon us by punishment, either by whipping 
or the withholding of our food. Besides the adults of 
the tribe, enjoyed the sport of seeing us thus forced into 
submission to their children. 

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

Nothing during the summer of 1852 occurred to throw 
any light upon that one question to these captive girls 
the all-absorbing one one which, like an everywhere 
present spirit, haunted them day and night, as to, the 
probabilities of their ever escaping from Indian captiv- 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 145 

ity. It was not long before their language, of few words, 
was so far understood as to make it easy to understand 
the Mohaves in conversation. Every day brought to 
their ears expressions, casually dropped, showing their 
spite and hate to the white race. They would question 
their captives closely, seeking to draw from them any 
discontent they might feel in their present condition. 
They taunted them in a less ferocious manner than the 
Apaches, but with every evidence of an equal hate 
about the good-for-nothing whites. 

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

Ce " We have enough to satisfy us you Ameri 
canos (a term also by them learned of the Mexicans) 
work hard and it does you no good ; we enjoy our 
selves." 

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

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

Olive " But if our people had this beautiful valley, 
they would till it and raise much grain. You Mohaves 



146 CAPTIVITY OP THE OATMAN GIRLS 

don't like to work, and you say you do not have enough 
to eat then it is because you are lazy. 

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

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

" It was as follows : They said, pointing to a high 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 147 

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

" We were told by them that this venerated spot had 
ever since the flood been the abode of spirits ; and that 
these spirits were perfectly acquainted with all the 
doings, and even the secret motives and character of 
each individual of the tribe. And also, that it was a 
place consecrated to these spirits, and if the feet of mor 
tals should presume to tread this enchanted spirit land, a 
fire would burst from the mountain and instantly con 
sume them, except it be those who were selected and 
appointed by these spirits to communicate some special 



148 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

message to the tribe. This favored class were gener 
ally the physicians of the tribe. And when a war pro 
ject was designed by these master spirits they signified 
the bloody intention by causing the mountains to shoot 
forth lurid tongues of fire, visible only to the revelators. 
Ah 1 their war plans and the time of their execution, their 
superstition taught them was communicated by the 
flame-lit pinnacle, to these depositories of the will of the 
spirits, and by them under professed superhuman dic 
tation, the time, place, object and method of the war 
was communicated to the chief. Yet the power of the 
chief was absolute, and when his practical wisdom sug 
gested, these wizzards always found a license by a sec 
ond consultation to modify the conflict, or change the 
time and method of its operation. 

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

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

" But according to their belief we could only expect 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 149 

a like fate by attempting their rescue, and we did not 
care enough for the professed validness of their faith to 
risk companionship with them, even for the purpose of 
attempting to unbind the chains of their tormenting bon 
dage ; and we turned away, most heartily pitying them 
for their subjection to so gross a superstition, without any 
particular concern for those who had been appointed by 
its authority to its vengeance. We felt that if the Hic- 
cos could manage to escape all other hells, they could 
manage this one without our sympathy or help. 
I " There was little game in the Mohave Valley, and 
of necessity little meat was used by this tribe ff At some 
seasons of the year, winter and spring, they procure fish 
from a small lake in the vicinity./ This was a beautiful 
little body of water at freshet seasons, but in the dry 
seasons became a loathsome mud hole. / In their pro 
ducing season, the Mohaves scarcely raised a four 
months' supply, yet they might have raised for the whole 
year as well.f Often I thought as I saw garden vege 
tables and grain plucked ere they were grown, to be 
devoured by these lazy ' live to-day ' savages, I should 
delight to see the hand of the skillful agriculturist upon 
that beautiful valley, with the Mohaves standing by to 
witness its capabilities for producing. 

" We spent most of this summer in hard work. We 
were for a long time roused at break of day, baskets 
were swung upon our shoulders, and we were obliged 
to go from six to eight miles for the 4 Mosquite,' a seed 
or berry growing upon a bush about the size of our Man- 
zanitaj In the first part of the season, this tree bloomed 
a beautiful flower, and after a few weeks a large seed- 



1.50 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

bud could be gathered from it, and this furnished what 
is truly to be called their staple article of subsistence. 
We spent from twilight to twilight again, for a long time, 
in gathering this. And often we found it impossible, 
from its scarcity that year, to fill our basket in a day, 
as we were required ; and for failing to do this we sel 
dom escaped a chastisement. This seed when gathered, 
was hung up in their huts to be thoroughly dried, and 
to be used when their vegetables and grain should be 
exhausted. I 'could endure myself the task daily 
assigned me, but to see the demands and exactions made 
upon little Mary Ann, day after day, by these unfeel 
ing wretches, as many of them were, when her consti 
tution was already broken down, and she daily suffering 
the most excruciating pains from the effects of barbarity 
she had already received ; this was a more severe trial 
than all I had to perform of physical labor. And I 
often felt as though it would be a sad relief to see her 
sink into the grave, beyond the touch and oppression of 
the ills and cruel treatment she was subjected to. But 
there were times when she would enliven, after rest, 
which from her utter inability they were obliged to grant. 
" We were accused by our captors several times 
during this season, of designing and having plotted 
already to make our escape. Some of them would fre 
quently question and annoy us much to discover if pos 
sible our feelings and our intentions in reference to our 
captivity. Though we persisted in denying any pur 
pose to attempt our escape, many of them seemed to 
disbelieve us ; and would warn us against any sucfr 
undertaking, by assuring us they would follow us if it 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 151 

were necessary quite to the white settlements, and would 
torment us in the most painful manner, if we were ever 
to be recaptured. 

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

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

" They then pricked the skin in small regular rows on 
our chins with a very sharp stick, until they bled freely. 



162 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

They then dipped these same sticks in the juice of a 
certain weed that grew on the banks of the river, and 
then in the powder of a blue stone that was to be found 
in low water, in some places along the bed of the stream, 
(the stone they first burned until it would pulverize 
easy, and in burning it turned nearly black), and prick 
ed this fine powder into these lacerated parts of the 
face. 

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

" The autumn was by far the easiest portion of the 
year for us. To multiply words would not give any 
clearer idea to the reader of our condition it was one 
continual routine of drudge'ry. Towards spring their 
grains were exhasted. There was but little rain, not 
enough to raise the Colorado near the top of its banks. 
The Mohaves became very uneasy about their wheat in 
the ground. It came up much later than usual, and 
looked sickly and grew tardily after it was out .of 
the ground. It gave a poor, wretched promise, at the 
. best, for the next year. Ere it was fairly up there were 
not provisions or articles of any kind to eat in the vil 
lage, any one night, to keep its population two days. 
We found that the people numbered really over fifteen' 
hundred. We were now driven forth every morning, 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 153 

by the first break of day, cold, and sometimes damp, 
with rough, bleak winds, to glean the old, dry musquite 
seed that chanced to have escaped the fatiguing search 
of the summer and autumn months. From this on to 
the time of gathering the scanty harvest of that year, 
we were barely able to keep soul and body together. 
And the return for all our vigorous labor was a little dry 
seed in small quanties. And all this was put forth under 
the most sickening apprehensions of a worse privation 
awaiting us the next year. This harvest was next to 
nothing. No rain had fallen during the spring to do 
much good. 

" Above what was necessary for seeding again, there 
was not one month's supply when harvest was over. We 
had gathered less during the summer of 6 musquite,* 
and nothing but starvation could be expected. This 
seemed to throw the sadness of despair upon our condi 
tion, and to blot all our faint but fond hopes of reaching 
our native land. We knew that in case of an extremity 
or thought we knew, that our portion must be meted 
out after these voracious, unfeeling idlers had supplied 
themselves. We had already seen that a calamity or 
adversity had the effect to make these savages more sav 
age and implacable. I felt more keenly for Mary Ann 
than myself. She often said (for we were already 
denied the larger half necessary to satisfy our appetites) 
that she ; could not live long without something more to 
eat.' She would speak of the plenty that she had at 
home and that might now be there, and sometimes 
would rather chide me for making no attempts to escape. 
4 0, if I could only get one dish of bread and milk/ she 
G 



154 CAPTIVITY OF^THE ATM AN GIRLS 

would frequently say, ' I could enjoy it so well ! / They 
ground this seed between stones, and with water made 
a mush, 'and we spent many mournful hours of conver 
sation over our gloomy state, as we saw the supply of 
this tasteless, nauseating ' musquite mmh ' failing, and 
that the season of our almost sole dependence upon it 
was yet but began. 

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

" These hours of plying our fingers (not sewing) in 
the ground flew quickly by, but not without their tears 
and forebodings that ere we could gather the results, 
famine might lay our bodies in the dust. Indeed, we 
could see no means by which we could possibly maintain 
ourselves to harvest again. Winter a season of steril- 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 155 

itj and frozen nights was fast approaching, and to add 
to my desolateness I plainly saw that grief, or want of 
food, or both, were slowly, and inch by inch, enfeebling 
and wasting away Mary Ann. 

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

" We reached the place on the third day and found 
the tarieta to be a bush, and very much resembling the 
musquite, only with a much larger leaf. It grew to a 
height of from five to thirty feet. The berry was much 
more pleasant to the taste than the musquite ; the juice 
of it, when extracted and mixed with water, was very 
much like the orange. The tediousness and perils of 
this trip were very much enlivened with the hope of get 
ting something with which to nourish and prolong the 



156 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

life of Mary. She was very much depressed, and ap 
peared quite ill when I left her. 

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

" Our baskets being filled, we hasten to join the camp 
party before they should start for the village. We soon 
lost our way, the night being dark, and wandered with 
out water the whole night, and were nearly all sick from 
eating our oth-to-toa berry. Towards day, nearly ex 
hausted, and three of our number very sick, we were 
compelled to halt. / We watched over and nursed the 
sick, sweating them with the medical leaf always kept 
with us, and about the only medicine used by the Mo- 
haves. /But our efforts were vain, for before noon the 
three had breathed their last. /A fire was kindled and 
their bodies were burned ; and for several hours I ex 
pected to be laid upon one of those funeral pyres, in 
that deep, dark and almost trackless wilderness, j 

" I think I suffered more during that two or three 
hours in mind and body, than at any other period of my . 
captivity in the same time. We feared to stay only as 
long as was necessary, for our energies were well nigh 
exhausted. We started back, and I then saw an In 
dian carry a basket. One of them took the baskets of 
the dead, and kept up with us. The rest of our party 
went howling through the woods in the most dismal man- 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 157 

ner. The next day we found the camp, and found we 
had been nearly around it. We were soon on our way, 
and by traveling all one night, we were at the village. 

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

" I traveled whole days together in search of the eggs 
of black birds for Mary Ann. These eggs at seasons 
were plenty, but not then. These she relished very 
much. I cherished for a short time the hope that she 
might, by care and nursing, be kept up until spring, 
when we could get fish. The little store we had brought 
in was soon greedily devoured, and with the utmost dif 
ficulty could we get a morsel. The ground was search 
ed for miles, and every root that could nourish human 
life was gathered. The Indians became reckless and 
quarrelsome, and with unpardonable selfishness each 
would struggle for his own life in utter disregard of his 
fellows. Mary Ann failed fast. She and I were whole 
days at a time without anything to eat ; when, by some 
chance, or tho kindness of tho chiefs daughter, we could 



158 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

get a morsel to satisfy our cravings. Often would Ma 
ry say to me ' I am well enough, but I want some 
thing to eat ; then I should be well.' I could not leave 
her over night. Roots there were none I could reach 
by day and return ; and when brought in, our lazy lords 
would take them for their own children. Several child 
ren had died, and more were in a dying state. Each 
death that occurred was the occasion of a night or day 
of frantic howling and crocodile mourning. Mary was 
weak and growing weaker, and I gave up in despair. I 
sat by her side for a few days, most of the time only 
begging of the passers-by to give me something to keep 
Mary alive. Sometimes I succeeded. Had it not been 
for the wife and daughter of the chief, we could have 
obtained nothing. They seemed really to feel for us, 
and, I have no doubt, would have done more if in their 
power. My sister would not complain, but beg for 
something to eat. 

" She would often think and speak in the most affec 
tionate manner of ' dear pa and ma,' and with confidence 
she would say 4 they suffered an awful death, but they 
are now safe and happy in a better and brighter land, 
though I am left to starve among savages.' She seem 
ed now to regard life no longer as worth preserving, 
and she kept constantly repeating expressions of longing 
to die and be removed from a gloomy captivity, to a 
world where no tear of sorrow dims the eye of innocence 
and beauty. She called me to her side one day and 
said ' Olive, I shall die soon ; you will live and get 
away. Father and mother have got through with suf 
ferings, and are now at rest ; I shall soon be with them 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 159 

and those dear brothers and sisters.' She then asked 
me to sing, and she joined her sweet, clear voice, with 
out faltering, with me, and we tried to sing the evening 
hymn we had been taught at the family altar 

'The day is past and gone, 
The evening shades appear, &c.' 

" My grief was too great. The struggling emotions 
of my mind I tried to keep from her but could not. She 
said : 4 Don't grieve for me ; I have been a care to you 
all the while. I don't like to leave you here all alone, 
but God is with you, and our Heavenly Father will 
keep and comfort those who trust in him. 0, I am so 
glad that we were taught to love and serve the Savior !' 
She then asked me to sing the hymn commencing 



How tedious and tasteless the hour 
When Jesus no longer I see.' 



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



160 



CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 



horror, and the very remembrance of which I would 
blot out if I could. 

" During her singing, quite a crowd gathered about 
her and seemed much surprised. Some of them would 
stand for whole hours and gaze upon her countenance as 
if enchained by a strange sight, and this while some of 




DEATH OF MARY ANN AT THE IXDIAN CAMP. 

their own kindred were dying in other parts of the vil 
lage. Among these was the wife of the chief,' Aes- 
paneo.' I ought here to say that that woman nor ber 
daughter ever gave us any unkind treatment. She 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 161 

came up one day, hearing Mary sing, and bent for some 
time silently over her. She looked in her face, felt of 
her, and suddenly broke out in a most piteous lamenta 
tion. She wept, and wept from the heart and aloud. I 
never saw a parent seem to feel more keenly over a dy 
ing child. She sobbed, she moaned, she howled. And 
thus bending over and weeping she stood the whole 
night. The next morning, as I sat a little way from 
her, shedding my tears in my hands, she called me to 
her side and said ' I am willing to die. Oh, I shall 
be so much better off there ! ' and her strength failed. 
She tried to sing, but was too weak. 

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

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

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

" I wished and most earnestly desired that I might 
at once lie down in the same cold, icy embrace, that I 



162 CAPTIVITY OF THE QATMAN GIRLS 

saw fast stiffening the delicate limbs of that dear sister. 

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

" There were two, however, who seemed not wholly 
insensible to my condition those were the wife and 
daughter of the chief. They manifested a sympathy 
that had not gathered about me since the first closing in 
of the night of my captivity upon me. The Indians, at 
the direction of the chief, began to make preparations 
to burn the body of my sister. This, it seemed, I could 
not endure. I sought a place to weep and pray, and I 
then tasted the blessedness of realizing that there is One 
upon whom the heart's heaviest load can be placed, and 
He never disappointed me. My dark, suicidal thoughts 
fled, and I became resigned to my lot. Standing by the 
corpse, with my eyes fastened on that angel-countenance 
of Mary Ann, the wife of the chief came to me and gave 
me to understand that she had, by much entreaty, ob 
tained the permission of her lord to give me the privi-*- 
lege of disposing of the dead body as I should choose. 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 163 

This was a great consolation, and I thanked her most 
earnestly. It lifted a burden from my mind that caused 
me to weep tears of gratitude, and also to note the finger 
of that Providence to whom I had fully committed my 
self, and whom I plainly saw strewing my way with to 
kens of His kind regards toward me. The chief gave 
mo two blankets, and in these they wrapped the corpse. 
Orders were then given to two Indians, to follow my di 
rections in disposing of the body. I selected a spot in 
that little garden ground where I had planted and wept 
with my dear sister. In this they dug a grave about 
five feet deep, and into it they gently lowered the re 
mains of my last my only sister, and closed her last 
resting-place with the sand. The reader may imagine 
my feelings, as I stood by that grave. The whole pain 
ful past seemed to rush across my mind, as I lingered 
there. It was the first and only grave in all that val 
ley, and that enclosing my own sister. Airound me was 
a large company of half-dressed, fierce-looking savages, 
some serious, some mourning, some laughing, over this 
novel method of disposing of the dead ; others in breath 
less silence watched the movements of that dark hour^ 
with a look that seemed to say, ' this is the way white 
folks do,' and exhibiting no feeling or care beyond that. 
I longed to plant a rose upon her grave, but the Mohaves 
knew no beauty, and read no lesson in flowers, and so 
this mournful pleasure was denied me. 

" When the excitement of that hour passed, with it 
seemed to pass my energy and ambition. I was faint 
and weak ; drowsy and languid. I found but little 
strength from the scant rations dealt out to me. I was 



164 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

rapidly drooping, and becoming more and more anxious 
to shut my eyes to all about me, and sink to a sweet, 
untroubled sleep 'neath that green carpeted valley 
This was the only time in which, without any reserve, I 
really longed to die, and cease at once to breathe and 
suffer. That same woman (the wife of the chief,) came 
again to the solace and relief of my destitution and woe. 
I was now able to walk but little, and had resigned all 
care and anxiety, and concluded to wait until these 
burning sensations caused by want of nourishment 
should consume the last thread of my life, and shut my 
eyes and senses in the darkness that now hid them from 
my sister. 

" Just at this time, this kind woman came to me with 
some corn gruel in a hollow stone. I marveled to know 
how she had obtained it. The handful of seed corn that 
my sister ancL I had hid in the ground between two 
stones, did not come to my mind. But this woman, this 
Indian woman had uncovered a part of what she had 
deposited against spring planting, had ground it to a 
coarse meal, and of it prepared this gruel for me. I 
took it, and soon she brought me more. I began to re 
vive. I felt a new life and strength given me by this 
morsel, and cheered by this unlooked-for exhibition of 
sympathy that attended it. She had the discretion to 
deny the unnatural cravings that had been kindled by 
the small quantity she brought first, and dealt a little at 
a time, until within three days I gained a vigor and 
cheerfulness I had not felt for weeks. She bestowed 
this kindness in a sly and unobserved manner, and en-< 
joined secrecy upon me, for a reason which the reader 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 165 

can judge. She had done it when some of her own kin 
were in a starving condition. It waked up a hope with 
in my bosom that reached beyond the immediate kind 
ness. I could not account for it but by looking to that 
Power in whose hands are the hearts of the savage as 
well as the civilized man. I gathered a prospect from 
these unexpected and kindly interpositions, of an ulti 
mate escape from my bondage. It was the hand of God, 
and I would do violence to the emotions I then felt and 
still feel violence to the strong determination I then 
made to acknowledge all His benefits if I should neg 
lect this opportunity to give a public, grateful record of 
my sense of His goodness. 

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

" By my own exertions, I was able now to procure a 
little upon which to nourish my half-starved stomach. 
By using about half of my seed corn, and getting an 
occasional small dose of bitter, fermented oth-to-toa 
soup, I managed to drag my life along to March, 1854. 



166 CAPTIVITY OF THE ATM AN GIRLS 

During this month and April,- I procured a few small 
roots at a long distance from the village ; also some fish 
from the lake. I took particular pains to guard the lit 
tle wheat garden that we had planted the autumn before, 
and I also planted a few kernels of corn and some melon 
seeds. Day after day I watched this little ' mutautea,' 
lest the birds might bring upon me another winter like 
that now passed. In my absence 'Aespaneo' would 
watch it for me. As the fruit of my care and vigilant 
watching, I gathered about one-half bushel of corn, and 
about the same quantity of wheat. My melons were 
destroyed. 

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

" I also came near losing my corn by the black-birds. 
Driven by the same hunger, seemingly, that was prey 
ing upon the human tribe, they would fairly darken the 
air, and it was difficult to keep them off, especially as I 
was compelled to be absent to get food for immediate 
use. But they were not the only robbers I had to con 
tend against. There were some who, like our white 
loafers, had a great horror of honest labor, and they 
would shun even a little toil, with a conscientious abhor 
rence, at any hazard. They watched my little corn- 
patch with hungry and thieving eyes, and, but for the 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 167 

chief, would have eaten the corn green and in the ear. 
As harvest drew near, I watched from before day-light 
until dark again, to keep off these * red vultures ' and 
the black birds, from a spot of ground as large as an or 
dinary dwelling-house. I had to do my accustomed 
share of musquite gathering, also, in June and July. 
This we gathered in abundance. The Colorado over 
flowed this winter and spring, and the wheat and corn 
produced well, so that in autumn the tribe was better 
provided with food than it had been for several years. 

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

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

But when in haste this chapter was penned for the 
first edition, it was then and has since been felt by the 
writer, that there was an interest hanging about the 
events of the same, especially upon the closing days and 
hours of little Mary's brief life, that properly called, 
according to the intent of this narrative, for a longer 



168 CAPTIVITY OF THE ATM AN GIRLS 

stay. A penning of mere facts does not set forth, or 
glance at, all that clusters about that pale, dying child 
as she lies in the door of the tent, the object of the en 
chained curious attention of the savages, by whose cold 
neglect the flower of her sweet life was thus nipped in 
the bud. And we feel confident of sharing, to some 
extent, the feelings of the sensitive and intelligent reader 
when we state that the two years' suffering, by the 
pressure of which her life was arrested, and the cir 
cumstances surrounding those dying moments, make up 
a record, than which seldom has there been one that 
appeals to the tender sensibilities of our being more 
directly, or to our serious consideration more profitably. 
Look at these two girls in the light of the first camp- 
fire, that glowed upon the faces of themselves and their 
captors, the first dreary evening of their captivity. By 
one hour's cruel deeds and murder they had suddenly 
been bereft of parents, brothers and sisters, and con 
signed to the complete control of a fiendish set of men, 
of the cruelty of whose tender mercies they had already 
received the first and unerring chapter. Look at them 
toiling day and night, from this on for several periods 
of twenty-four hours, up rugged ascents, bruised and 
whipped by the ruggedness of their way and the merci- 
lessness of their lords. Their strength failing ; the dis 
tance between them and the home and way of the white 
man increasing ; the dreariness and solitude of the 
region embosoming them thickening ; and each step 
brooded over by the horrors left behind, and the worse 
horrors that sat upon the brightest future that at the 
happiest rovings of "fancy could be possibly anticipated. 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 169 

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

In little less than one year 1 and into that year is 
crowded all of toil and suffering that we can credit as 
possible for them to survive and then they are sold 
and again en route for another new and strange home, 
in a wild as distant from their Apache home as that 
from the hill where, but a yeajr before, in their warm 
flowing blood, their moaning, mangled kindred had been 
left. 

Scarcely had they reached the Mohave Valley ere the 
elder sister saw with pain, the sad and already appar 
ently irremovable effects of past hardships upon the con 
stitution of the younger. What tenderness, what caution, 
what vigilant watching, what anxious, unrelieved solici- 



170 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN -GIRLS 

tude mark the conduct of that noble heart toward her 
declining and only sisber ? Indeed, what interest prompt 
ed her to do all in her power to preserve her life ? Not 
only her only sister, but the only one (to her then) that 
remained of the family from whom they had been ruth 
lessly torn. And should her lamp of life cease, thereby 
would be extinguished the last earthly solace and cor 
dial for the dark prison life that enclosed her, and that 
threw its walls of gloom and adamant between her and 
the abodes and sunshine of civilized life. Yet death 
had marked that little cherub girl for an early victim. 
Slowly and yet uncomplainingly, does her feeble frame 
and strength yield to the heavy hand of woe and want 
that met her, in all the ghastliness and horror of un 
changeable doom, at every turn and hour of her weary 
days. What mystery hangs upon events and persons ! 
How impenetrable the permissions of Providence ! How 
impalpable and evasive of all our wisdom that secret 
power ', by which cherished plans and purposes are often 
shaped to conclusions and terminations so wide of the 
bright design that lighted them on to happy accomplish 
ment in the mind of the mortal proposer ! 

Mary Ann had been the fondly cherished, and ten 
derly nursed idol of that domestic group. Early had 
she exhibited a precocity in intellect, and in moral sen 
sitiveness and attainment that had made her the subject 
of a peculiar parental affection, and the ever cheerful 
radiating centre of light, and love, and happiness to the 
remainder of the juvenile family. But she ever pos 
sessed a strength of body, and vigor of health far in 
ferior, and disproportioned to her mental and moral 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 171 

progress. She was a correct reader at four years. She 
was kept almost constantly at school, both from her 
choice, and the promise she gave to delighted parents 
of a future appreciation and good improvement of these 
advantages. With her early exhibition of an earnest 
thirst for knowledge that she gave, there was also a 
strict regard for truth, and a hearty, happy obedience to 
the law of God and the authority of her parents. At 
five years and a half she had read her bible through. 
She was a constant attendant upon Sabbath School, into 
all the exercises of which she entered with delight, and 
to her rapid improvement and profit in the subjects with 
which she there became intimate and identified. 

She had a clear, sweet voice, and the children now 
live in this State who have witnessed the earnestness 
and rapture with which she joined in singing the hymns 
allotted to Sabbath School hours. 

Oh how little of the sad afterpart of Mary's life en 
tered into the minds of those parents as thus they 
directed the childish, tempted steps of their little daugh 
ter into the paths of religious pursuits and obedience. 

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

As we look at her, fading, withering and wasting at 
the touch of cold cruelty the object of anxious watch- 
ings and frequent and severe pains-taking on the part of 
her elder sister, who spared no labor or fatigue to glean 
the saving morsel to prolong her sinking life we can 



172 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

but adore that never sleeping Goodness that had strewn 
her way to this dark scene with so many preparing 
influences and counsels. 

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

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

A Sabbath School scholar dying in an Indian camp, 
three hundred miles from even the nearest trail of the 
white man, buoyed and gladdened by bright visions of 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 173 

beatitudes that make her oblivious of present pain, and 
long to enter upon the future estate to which a correct 
and earnest instruction had been pointing ! 

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

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

The wife of the chief plied her questions with 
earnestness, and with an air of sincerity, and the exhi- 



174 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

bition of the most intense mental agitation; showing 
that she was not wholly incredulous of the new and 
strange replies she received. 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 175 

ME memtmM: 






CHAPTER V. 

The Mohaves; Their Sports; An Expedition of Hostility against the Cochopa?; 
Its design; Tradition concerning it; The Preparation; Their custom of Sacri 
ficing a Prisoner on the death in War of one of their own number; The anxiety 
of Olive; They Depart; Their Return; The fruit of the Expedition; The flvo 
Cochopa Captives; Nowereha; Her attempt to escape; Her re-capture and 
Horrid Death; The Phi'sicians ; Evil Spirits; The Mohave mode of doctoring; 
The Yumas; "Francisco," The Yuma Indian; Hopes of Escape. 

" In the spring of 1854, the project of some exciting 
hostile expedition against a distant tribe, was agitated 
among the Mohaves. It Was some tune before any but 
the < Council ' knew of the definite purpose of the expe 
dition. But when their plans had been laid, and all 
their intentions circulated among the tribe, it proved to 
be one of war upon the Cochopas, a large tribe seven 
hundred 'miles away. The Cochopas were a tribe with 
whom the Mohaves had never been at peace. Accord 
ing to tradition, this hostility had been kept actively 
naming through all past generations. And the Mohaves 
were relying with equal certainty upon the truth of tra 
ditional prophecy, that they were ultimately to subject 
the Cochopas to their sway, or obliterate them. The 



176 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

Mohaves had as yet been successful in every engage 
ment. They were confident of success, and this was all 
the glory their ambition was capable of grasping. As 
for any intrinsic merit in the matter of the contest, none 
was known to exist. About sixty warriors made prepa 
rations for a long time to undertake the expedition. 

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

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



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 177 

tribe, and it was a time of wild, savage excitement and 
deep mourning. 

" I soon learned, though by mere accident, that so far 
as life was concerned, I had an interest in this expedi 
tion, equal to that of the most exposed among the war 
riors. It had been an unvarying custom among them 
that if any of their number should be slain in battle, the 
lives of prisoners or captives must be sacrificed therefor, 
up to the number of the slain, (if that number should 
be among them) and that in the most torturing manner. 
This was not done to appease their gods, for they had 
none, but was a gift to the spirits of the other spheres. 
After the soldiers had departed, they told me plainly that 
my life must pay for the first one that might be slain 
during this contest. 

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

"The report of the strengthening of the Cochopas 
since their last expedition, gave me reason to fear the 
worst. Thus for a long time, and just after having 
reached a bright place (if such there can be in such a 
situation) in my captivity, I was throw into the gloomiest 

*H 



178 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATH AN GIRLS 

apprehensions for my life. I could not calculate upon 
life I did not. 

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

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

" With trembling and fear I watched his hastened 
though evidently wearied pace. He went down into the 
river and as he rose again upon the bank I recognized 
him. ' He is wearied,' I said ' and jogs heavily along 
as though he had become nearly exhausted from long 
travel why can he be coming in alone ?' Questions 
of this character played across my mind, and were asked 
aloud by me ere I was aware each like a pointed jave- 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 179 

lin lashing and tormenting my fears. * Have the rest 
all perished ?' again I exclaimed ; ' at any rate the deci 
sive hour has come with me.' 

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

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

" Again one of the blackeit clouds that darkened the 



180 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

sky of iny Mohave captivity broke, and the sunshine of 
gladness and gratitude was upon my heart. Tears of 
gratitude ran freely down my face. I buried my face 
in my hands and silently thanked God. I sought a place 
alone, where I might give full vent to my feelings of 
thanksgiving to my Heavenly Father. I saw His good 
ness, in whose hands are the reins of the wildest battle 
storm, and thanked Him that this expedition, so freighted 
with anxiety, had issued so mercifully to me. 

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

" Among the captives they had stolen from the unof 
fending Cochopas and brought in with them, was a hand 
some, fair complexioned young woman, of about twenty- 
five years of age. She was as beautiful an Indian woman 
as I have ever seen ; tall, graceful and lady-like in her 
appearance. She had a fairer, lighter skin than the 
Mohaves or the other Cochopa captives. But I saw 
upon her countenance and in her eyes the traces of an > 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 181 

awful grief. The rest of the captives appeared well and 
indifferent about themselves. 

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

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

"For one week, isTowereha wandered about the village 
by day, a perfect image of desperation and despair. At 
times she seemed insane ; she slept but little at night. 



182 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

The thieving, cruel Mohaves who had taken her, and 
were making merry over her griefs, knew full well the 
cause of it all. They knew that without provocation 
they had robbed her of her child, and her child of its 
mother. They knew the attraction drawing her back to 
her tribe, and they watched her closely. But no inter 
est or concern did they manifest save to mock and tor 
ment her. 

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

" When it was ascertained that she had probably 
undertaken to return, every path and every space divid 
ing the immediate trails, was searched, to find, if possi 
ble, some trace to guide a band of pursuers. A large 
number were stationed in different parts of the valley, 
and the most vigilant watch was kept during the night, 
while others started in quest of her upon the way they 
supposed she had taken to go back. When I saw a day 
and night pass hi these fruitless attempts, I began to 
hope for the safety of the fugitive. I had seen enough 
of her to know that she was resolved and of unconquera 
ble determination. Some conjectured that she had been 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 183 

betrayed away ; others that she had drowned herself, 
and others that she had taken to the river and swam 
away. They finally concluded that she had killed her 
self, and gave up the search, vowing that if she had fled 
they would yet have her and be avenged. 

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

" ' Criers ' were kept constantly on the way between 
the Mohaves and Yumas, bearing news from tribe to 
tribe. These messengers were their news-carriers and 
sentinels. Frequently two criers were employed (some 
times more) one from each tribe. These would have 
their meeting stations. At these stations these criers 
would meet with promptness, and by word of mouth, 
each would deposit his store of news with his fellow 
expressman, and then each would return to his own tribe 
with the news. When the news was important, or was 
of a warning character, as in time of war, they would 
not wait for the fleet foot of the ' runner,' but had their 
signal fires well understood, which would telegraph the 
news hundreds of miles in a few hours. One of these 
Yuma criers, about four days after the disappearance of 
Nowereha, was coming to his station on the road con 
necting these two tribes, when he spied a woman under 
a shelf of the rock on the opposite side of the river. 
He immediately plunged into the stream and went to 



184 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

her. He knew the tribe to which she belonged and 
that the Mohaves had been making war upon them. 
He immediately started back with her to the Mohave 
village. It was a law tp ; which they punctually lived, 
to return all fleeing fugitives or captives of a friendly 
tribe. 

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

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

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

" The next morning a post was firmly placed in the 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 185 

ground, and about eight feet from the ground a cross 
beam was attached. They then drove large, rough 
wooden spikes through the palms of poor Nowereha's 
hands, and by these they lifted her to the cross and 
drove the spikes into the soft wood of the beam, extend 
ing her hands as far as they could. They then, with 




HORRID DEATH OP THE INDIAN CAPTIVE. 

pieces of bark stuck with thorns, tied her head firmly 
back to the upright post, drove spikes through her ankles, 
and for a time left her in this condition. 

They soon returned and placing me with their Cochopa 
captives near the sufferer, bid us keep our eyes upon 



186 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

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

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

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



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 187 

their food. They did not suffer, and seemed to deter 
mine not to suffer the return of a season like 1852. 

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

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

" To escape seemed impossible, and to make an unsuc 
cessful attempt would be worse than death. Friends or 
kindred to look after or care for me, I had none, as I 
then supposed. I thought it best to receive my daily 
allotment with submission, and not darken it with a bor 
rowed trouble to merit and covet the good will of my 
captors whether I received it or not. At times, the 
past with all its checkered scenes would roll up before 
me, but all of it that 'was most deeply engraven upon my 
mind, was that which I would be soonest to forget if I 
could. Time seemed to take a more rapid flight; I 



188 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

hardly could wake up to the reality of so long a captivity 
among savages, and really imagined myself happy for 
short periods. 

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

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

" In the summer of 1855 a sickness prevailed to a 
considerable extent, very much resembling in its work 
ings the more malignant fevers. Several died. Mem 
bers of the families of two of the sub-chiefs were sick, 
and their physicians were called. These 4 M. D.s ' were 
above the need of pills and plasters, and powders, and 
performed their cures by manipulations, and all manner 
of contortions of their own bodies, which were performed 
with loud weeping and wailing of the most extravagant 
kind, over the sick. They professed to be in league 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 189 

and intimacy with the spirits of the departed, and from 
whose superior knowledge and position they were guided 
in all their curative processes. Two of these were called 
to the sick bed-side of the children of these chiefs. 
They wailed and wrung their hands, and twisted them 
selves into all manner of shapes, over them for some 
time, but it was in vain the patients died. They had 
lost several patients lately, and already their medical 
repute was low in the market. Threats had already 
followed them from house to house, as their failures were 
known. After the death of these children of rank, ven 
geance was sworn upon them, as they were accused of 
having bargained themselves to the evil spirits for pur 
pose of injury to the tribe. They knew of their dan 
ger and hid themselves on the other side of the river. 
For several days search was made, but in vain. They 
had relatives and friends who kept constant guard over 
them. But such was the feeling created by the com 
plainings of those who had lost children and friends by 
their alleged conspiracy with devils, that the tribe 
demanded their lives, and the chief gave orders for their 
arrest. But their friends managed, in a sly way, to 
conceal them for some time, though they did not dare 
to let their mariagery be known to the rest of the tribe. 
They were found, arrested, and burned alive. 

" The Mohaves believe that when their friends die 
they departed to a certain high hill in the western sec 
tion of their territory. That they there pursue their 
avocation free from the ills and pains of their present 
life, if they had been good and brave. But they held 
that all cowardly Indians, (and bravery was the good 



190 CAPTIVITY OF THE ATM AN GIRLS 

with them) were tormented with hardships and failures, 
sickness and defeats. This hill, or hades, they never 
dared visit. It was thronged with thousands who were 
ready to wreak vengeance upon the mortal who dared 
intrude upon this sacred ground. 

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

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

" I saw in a few hours that full credit was given to 
the report by the Mohaves, for a sudden commotion wa& 
created, and it was enkindling excitement throughout 



AMONG THE APACHE AND JttOHAVE INDIANS. 191 

the settlement. The report spread over the valley with 
astonishing speed, by means of their criers, and a crowd 
was gathering, and the chief and principal men were 
summoned to a Council by their head ' Aespaniola,' with 
whom I staid. Aespaniola was a tall, strongly built 
man, active and generally happy. He seemed to pos 
sess a mildness of disposition and to maintain a gravity 
and seriousness in deportment that was rare among 
them. He ruled a Council (noisy as they sometimes 
were) with an ease and authority such as but few In- 
d'.ans can command, if the Mohaves be a fair example. 
This Council presented the appearance of an aimless 
convening of wild maniacs, more than that of men, met 
to deliberate. I looked upon the scene as a silent but 
narrowly watched spectator. 

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

u For some time past they had manifested but little 
watchfulness, care or concern about me. But still, 
though I was debarred from most of the Council, I had 



192 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

heard enough to know that it was only about me and the 
reported demand for my liberty. 

" In the midst of the uproar and confusion the ap 
proach of Francisco was announced. The debate sud 
denly ceased, and it was a matter of much interest to 
me to be able to mark, as I did, the various manifesta 
tions by which different ones received him. 

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

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

" I did pray God then to rule that Council. My life 
was again hung up as upon a single hair. The most of 
my dread for the present was, that these savages of 
untamed passions would become excited against my 
release, and enraged that the place of my abode had 
been found out. I feared and trembled for my fate, and 
could not sleep. For three days and most of three 
nights, this noisy Council continued at times ; the dispu- 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 193 

tants became angry (as Francisco afterwards told me) 
as'rival opinions and resolutions fired their breasts. As 
jet I knew not by what means they had come to know 
of my locality, or who had sent the demand ; nor did I 
know as yet that anything more than a word of mouth 
message had been sent." 



: . . t ..! 



194 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 



CHAPTER VI. 



Lorenzo Oatman His stay at Fort Yuma- Goes with Dr. Hewit to San Francisco 
His constant misery on account of his Sisters Dark thoughts- Cold sympathy- 
Goes to the Mines Resolves to go to Los Angeles to learn if possible of his Sis 
tersHis earnest but fruitless endeavors 1 he Lesson Report brought by Air. 
Roulit of two Captives among the Mohaves The false report of Mr. Black 
Mr. Grinell Petitions the Governor Petitions Congress lhe report of the 
rescue of Olive Mr. Low. 



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

We here give a narrative of the winding, care-thorned 
course of the boy of scarce fifteen years, for the next 
five years, and the ceaseless, toiling vigilance he exer 
cised, to restore those captive sisters ; as we have 
received the items from his own mouth. It is wort]} 
the pains-taking that its perusal will cost, showing as it 
does, a true affection and regard for his kindred, while 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 195 

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

At times, this brother resolved to arm himself, and 
take a pack of provisions and start, either to accomplish 
their rescue, or die with them. But this step would 
have only proved a short road to one of their funeral 
piles. In June of this year, the entire force was re 
moved from the Fort to San Diego, except about a 
dozen men to guard the ferrymen. On the 26th of 
June, with Dr. Hewit, Lorenzo came to San Francisco. 
After Dr. Hewit had left for the States he began to 



196 CAPTIVITY OF THE ATM AN GIRLS 

reflect on his loneliness, more deeply than ever upon his 
condition, and that of his sisters. Sometimes he would 
stray upon the hills at night in the rear of the city, so 
racked with despair and grief as to determine upon 
taking his own life, if he could not secure the rescue of 
the captives. He found the stirring, throbbing life of 
San Francisco, beating almost exclusively to the impulses 
of gold hunting. Of acquaintances he had none, nor 
did he possess any desire to make them. 

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

Every hour his mind ^as still haunted by the one all 
absorbing theme! His sisters, his own dear sisters, 
spirit of his spirit, and blood of his blood, were in cap 
tivity. For aught he knew, they were suffering cruel 
ties and abuse more than death itself, at the hands' of 
their captors. He could not engage steadily in any 
employment. Dark and distressing thoughts were con 
tinually following him. No wonder that he would often 
break out with utterances like these : " Oh ! my God [ 
must they there remain ? Can there be no method 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 197 

devised to rescue them ? Are they still alive, or have 
they suffered a cruel death ? I will know if I live." 

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

Thus three years passed away, some of the time in 
the mines and a portion of it in the city. Frequently 
his sadness was noticed, and its cause kindly inquired 
after, upon which he would give an outline of the cir 
cumstances that had led to his present uncheered con 
dition. Some would weep and manifest much anxiety 
to do something to aid him in the recovery of his lost 
kindred, others would wonder and say nothing, others 
strangers! were sometimes incredulous, and scoffed. 
He knew that the route by which he had reached this 
country was still traveled by emigrants, and he resolved 
upon going to Los Angeles with the hope that he might 
there obtain some knowledge of the state of things in 
the region of Fort Yuma. Accordingly, in October of 
1854, he started for that place, and resolved there to 
stay until he might obtain some traces of his sisters, if 
it should take a whole lifetime. He found there those 
who had lately passed over the road, and some who had 
spent a short time at the stopping places so sadly famil 
iar to him. He inquired, and wrote letters, and used 
all diligence as some persons now in that region and 
others in San Francisco can bear witness to accomplish 
the one end of all his care. He worked by the month 
a part of the time, to earn a living, and spent the re- 



198 CAPTIVITY OP THE OATMAN GIRLS 

mainder in devising and setting on foot means to explore 
the region lying about Fort Yuma and beyond. Thus, 
in the most miserable state of mind, and in utter fruit- 
lessness of endeavor, passed away almost a year. During 
the spring of 1855, several emigrants came by this trail. 
Of them he could learn nothing, only that they had 
heard at Fort Yuma of the fate of the " Family of Oat- 
mans." 

One company there was who told him of a Mr. Grin- 
ell, a carpenter at Fort Yuma, who had told them that 
he knew of the massacre of the Oatman Family, and of 
the captivity of the girls, and that he intended to do all 
in his power to recover them. He said that their 
brother, who was left for dead, was now alive and at 
Los Angeles that a letter had been received at the 
Fort from him concerning his sisters, and that he should 
exert himself to find them out and rescue them. This 
Mr. Grinell also stated that he had come to Fort Yuma 
in 1853, and had been making inquiries of the Yumas 
ever since concerning these captive girls. Beyond this, 
no ray of light broke upon the thickening gloom of that 
despairing brother. He tried to raise companions to 
attend him in the pursuit of them to the mountains. At 
one time names were registered and all preparations 
made by a large company of volunteers, who were going 
out for this purpose, but a trivial circumstance broke up 
the anticipated expedition and frustrated the whole plan. 
And at other times, other kindred plans were laid and 
well nigh matured, but some unforseen occasion for 
postponement or abandonment would suddenly come up. 
He found friends, and friends to the cherished ambition 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 

of his heart, in whom flowed the currents of a true and 
positive sympathy, and who were ready to peril life in 
assisting him in the consummation of his life-object. 
And often he found this concealed under the roughest 
garb, while sometimes, smooth words and a polished 
exterior, proffered no means or help beyond mere 
appearance. He says " I learned amid the harrass- 
ings of that year two things : 1st, that men did not 
come across the Plains to hunt captives among the 
Indians : 2d, that a true sympathy is oftenest found 
among those who have themselves also suffered." He 
found that to engage an ally in an undertaking dictated 
by pity for suffering friends, one must go among those 
who have felt the pang of kindred ills. Often as he 
thought all was ready to start with an engaged party to 
scour the Apache country, did he find some trifling 
excuse called in to cover a retreat from an undertaking 
with which these subjects of a " show sympathy " had 
no real interest from the first. Thus he came to learn 
human nature, but was not discouraged. Could we turn 
upon these pages the full tide of the heart-yearnings, 
and questionings that struggled in that young man's 
heart, by daylight, by twilight, by moonlight, as he 
strolled (as often he did) for reflection upon old Ocean's 
shore, on the sandy beach, in the wood, it might make 
the heart of the reader to give heed to the tales of true 
grief that daily strew his way, and kindle a just con 
tempt for a mere artificial sympathy. 

The year 1855 found him undaunted, still pressing on 
to the dictates of duty to his beloved sisters. Every 
failure and mishap but kindled his zeal anew. Parties of 



200 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

men organized late in 1855 to hunt gold on the Mohave 
river, about one hundred miles from San Bernardino. 
He joined several of these, with the promise from men 
among them that they would turn their excursion into a 
hunt for his kindred. Once he succeeded in getting as 
far as and even beyond (though farther north) Fort 
Yuma. But still he could not prevail upon a sufficient 
number to go as far as the Apache country, to make it 
safe to venture. Many would say that his sisters were 
dead and it was useless to hunt them. He joined sur 
veying parties with this same one object in view. In 
1855 a force equal to the one that was there in '51 
was again at Fort Yuma, and several of the same officers 
and men. The place of Commander Heinsalman had 
been filled by another man. In December, 1855, a 
party of five men resolved to join Mr. Oatman and 
search for his sisters until some definite knowledge of 
them might be obtained. They spent several weeks 
south and west of Fort Yuma and had returned to San 
Bernardino to re-supply themselves with provisions for a 
trip further north. 

While at this place, Lorenzo received a letter from a 
friend residing at the Monte, and stating that a Mr. 
Eowlit had just come in across the Plains that he spent 
some time at Fort Yuma, and there learned from the 
officers that through the Yuma Indians, Mr. Grinell had 
gathered intimations of the fact of there being two white 
girls among the Mohaves, and that these Yumas had 
stated that they were a part of a family who had been 
attacked and some of them murdered, in 1851, by the 
Apaches. That the Apaches had since sold these girls 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 201 

to the Mohaves. " This letter," says Lorenzo, " I wet 
with my tears. I thought of that little Mary Ann of 
the image that my last look into her face had left ; and 
then of Olive. I began to reckon up their present age, 
and the years of dark captivity that had passed over 
them. Can they yet be alive ? May I yet see them ? 
Will God help me ? " 

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

The editor of the " Star " had published the report 
with the best of intentions, giving his authority. Thia 



202 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

report reached the Fort and created a great deal of sen 
sation. They sent the editor a letter denying the truth 
fulness of the report, and requesting him to publish it, 
which he did. Accompanying the letter was a state 
ment confirming the existence of a report at the Fort of 
reliable intimations of the two girls being among the 
Mohaves, but that no offer had been made of deliver 
ing them up to the whites on any terms. 

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

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, ) 
Sacramento, Cal., Jan'y 29, 1856. ) 

MR. LORENZO D. OATNAN. Sir : A petition signed by yourself 
and numerous residents of the County of Los Angelos, has been pre 
sented to me asking assistance of " men and means " to aid in the 
recovery of your sister, a captive amongst the Mohave tribe of Indi 
ans. It would afford me great pleasure indeed, to render the desired 
assistance, were it in my power so to do. But by the Constitution 
and Laws of this State I have not the authority conferred on me to 
employ either "men or means " to render this needful assistance, but 
will be most happy to co-operate in this laudable undertaking in any 
consistent way that may be presented. I would however, suggest 
that through the General Government the attention ^)f the Indian 
Department being called to the subject, would more likely crown with 
success such efforts as might be necessary to employ in attempting 
the rescue of the unfortunate captive. 

Very respectfully, your obt. servt., 

J. NEELY JOHNSON. 

Accordingly, and in accordance with the above sug- , 
estion, a preamble stating the facts, and a petition 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 208 

numerously signed, was drawn up and left at the office 
at the Steamer Landing to be forwarded to Washington. 
" Two days after," says Lorenzo, " I had resigned my 
self to patient waiting for a return of that petition, and 
went to work at some distance from the Monte in the 
woods." He was still musing upon the one object of 
the last five years' solicitude. A new light had broken 
in upon his anxious heart. He had now some reliable 
information of the probable existence, though in a bar 
barous captivity, of those who were bound to him by 
the strongest ties. 

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

" An American woman rescued from the Indians ! 
A woman giving her name as Miss Olive Oatman, has 
been recently rescued from the Mohaves, and is now at 
Fort Yuma." 

After getting this short note, he took a horse and 
went immediately to Los Angeles. He went to the edi 
tor and found that a letter had been received by him 
from Commander Burke, at Fort Yuma, stating that a 
young woman calling herself " Olive Oatman," had been 
recently brought into the Fort by a Yuma Indian, who 
had been rescued from the Mohave tribe. Also stating 



204 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIBL8 

to the editor that she had a brother who had lately been 
in this vicinity, and requesting the editor to give the 
earliest possible notice to that brother of the rescue of 
his sister. Lorenzo says : 

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

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

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

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



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 205 



CHAPTER VII. 



Francisco goes over the river and spends the night Persuades some of the sub- 
Chiefs to apply again for permission to let Olive go free His threats The 
Chiefs return with him Secret Council Another General Council Danger of 
a fight among themselves Francisco lias a letter from the whites Olive 
present Francisco gains pel-mission to give her the letter Its contents Much 
a! armed Speeches of the Indians Advice to kill their captive Determine to 
release her Daughter of the Chief goes with them Their journey At Fort 
Yuma. 



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

She saw in these the evidences that she was within 
reach still of the race to which she belonged ; and often 
would gaze with an interest and curiosity upon some old 
tattered garment that had been brought in, until the 
remembrances and associations it would awaken, would 
bring teare and sighs to end the bitter meditations 
upon that brighter and happier people, now no longer 
hers. She ventured to ask questions concerning these 



206 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

trips, and the place where they found the whites, but all 
her anxious queries were met by threats and taunts, or 
a long gibberish dissertation upon the perfidy of the 
whites, India-rubber stories upon the long distance of 
the whites away or a restatement of their malignant 
hate towards them, and of their purpose to use the 
knowledge they might gain by these professed friendly 
visits to their ultimate overthrow, by treachery and 
deceit. They even professed to disbelieve the state 
ments that had so long deceived them concerning the 
numerical strength of the w r hites ; and to believe that 
the few of them yet remaining, could and would be 
overcome and extinguished by the combined power of 
the Indian tribes, that at no distant day would be 
directed against them. 

The chief's daughter, however, ventured to tell Olive, 
under injunction of secresy, that some of their number 
knew well, and had frequently traversed the road lead 
ing to white settlements, but that it was an immense dis 
tance, and that none but Indians could find it ; beside 
that it was guarded by vigilant spies against the incom 
ing of any but their own race. 

It should be kept in mind that as yet, Olive had been 
forbidden a word with Francisco. We left the narra- 
rative of Olive in another chapter, involved in the 
heated and angry debates of a long and tedious council. 
Upon that wild council she had been waiting in dread 
ful suspense, not a little mingled with terrible forebod 
ings of her own personal safety. This convention came 
to a conclusion with a ppsitive and peremptory refusal,, 
to liberate the captive ; and a resolution to send Fran- 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 207 

cisco away, under injunction not again, under penalty 
of torture, to revisit their camp. Francisco, on the 
same night, departed to the other side of the river ; the 
chiefs and sub-chiefs dispersed, and Olive was left to her 
own melancholy musings over the probable result. 

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

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



208 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

stantly escaped them and came to the cars of the 
agitated subject and victim of their new rage. 

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

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

About noon of the next day, Olive saw Francisco 
with a large number of Mohaves come into the village. 
It was not without much fear and alarm that she saw 

N 

this, though such had been the intense anxiety about 
her situation, and the possibility of escape that the lasfr 
few days had enkindled, she felt willing to have a final 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 209 



conclusion now formed, whether it should be her death 



or release. 

eh longer 



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

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

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

" It did seem during that night at several stages of 
the debate, that there was no way of preventing a gen 
eral fight among them. Speeches were made, which, 
judging from their jestures and motions, as well as from 






210 



CAPT 



IVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 






what I could understand in their' heat and rapidity, 
were full of the most impassioned eloquence. 

" I narrowly looked at Francisco, and soon found he 
was one whom I had seen there before, and who -had 
tarried with the chief about three months before. I 




OLIVE BEFORE THE INDIAN COUNCIL. 

saw he held a letter in his hand and asked to let me see 
it. Toward morning it was handed me, and Francisco 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 211 

told me it was from the Americanos. I took it, and 
after a little made out the writing on the outside : 

'FRANCISCO, A YUMA INDIAN, GOING TO THE MOHAVES/ 

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

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

Lieut. Col., Commanding. 



Head Quarters, Fort Yuma, Cal'a, ) 



27th January, 1856. 



" They now began to importune and threaten me to 
give them the contents of the letter. I waited and med 
itated for some time. I did not know whether it was 
best to give it to them just as it was. Up to this time 
I had striven to manifest no anxiety about the matter. 
They had questioned and teased with every art, from 
little children up to men, to know my, feelings, though 
they should have known them well by this : *time. I 
dared not in the excitement, express a wish. Francisco 
had told them that the whites knew where I was, and 
that they were about arming a sufficent number to sur 
round the whole Indian nations, and that they thus 
intended to destroy them all unless they gave up the 
last captive among them. He told them that the men 
at the Fort would kill himself and all they could find of 



212 CAPTIVITY OF THE ATM AN GIRLS 

them, with the Yumas, if he should not bring her back. 
He said it was out of mercy to his own tribe, and to 
them, that he had come. 

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

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

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

" It would be impossible to describe my own feelings 
on reading that letter, and during the remainder of the 
pow-wow. I saw now a reality in all that was said and 
done. There was the hand-writing of one of my own 
people, and the whole showed plainly that my situation 
was known, and that there was a purpose to secure my 
return. I sought to keep my emotions to myself, for 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 213 

fear of the effect it might have upon my doom, to express 
a wish or desire." 

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

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

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

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



214 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

cisco, to accompany him to and from the Mohaves hi?? 
brother and two cousins." 

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

But there was one spot in that valley of captivity 
that possessed a mournful attraction for the emancipated 
captive. Near the wigwani where she had spent many 
hours, in loneliness and Indian converse with her cap 
tors, was a mound that marked the final resting-place of 
her last deceased sister. Gladly would she, if it had 
been in her power, have gathered the few mouldering 
remains of that loved and cherished form, and borne 
them away to a resting-place on some shaded retreat in 
the soil of her own countrymen. But this privilege was 
denied her, and that too while she knew that immedi 
ately upon her exit they would probably carry their 
already made threats of burning them into execution. 
And who would have left such a place so enshrined in 
the heart as that must have been, without a struggle, 
though her way from it lay toward the home of the white 
man ? That grave upon which she had so often knelt, 
and upon which she had so often shed the bitter tear, 
the only place around which affection lingered, must now 
be abandoned not to remain a place for the undisturbed 
repose of her sister's remains, but to disgorge its prec- 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 215 

ious trust in obedience to the rude barbarous superstition 
that had waved its custom at the time of her death. 
No wonder that she says, " I went to the grave of Mary 
Ann and took a last look of the little mound marking the 
resting of my sister who had come with me to that 
lonely exile ; and now I felt what it was to know she 
could not go with me from it." 

There had been living at Fort Yuma, since 1 853, a 
man in the employ of Government as a mechanic, known 
by the name of " Carpentero." lie was a man of a 
large heart, and of many very excellent qualities. He 
was a man who never aimed to put on an exterior to his 
conduct that could give any deceptive impression of 
heart and character. Indeed, he often presented a 
roughness and uncouthness which, however repulsive to 
the stranger, was found nevertheless, on an acquaintance, 
to cover a noble nature of large and generous impulses. 
A man of diligence and fidelity, he merited and won the 
confidence of all who knew him. He possessed a heart 
that could enter into sympathy with the subjects of suf 
fering wherever he found them. Soon after coming to 
Fort Yuma, he had learned of the fate of the Oatman 
family, and of the certainty of the captivity of two of 
the girls. With all the eagerness and solicitude that 
could be expected of a kindred, he inquired diligently 
into the particulars ; and also the reliability of the cur 
rent statements concerning these unfortunate captives. 
Nor did these cease in a moment or a day. He kept 
up a vigilant outsight, and searching to glean if possi 
ble, something by which to reach definite knowledge of 
them. 



216 CAPTIVITY OF THE ATM AN GIRLS 

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

Grinell awoke, and in alarm drew his pistol and 
demanded who was there. Francisco spoke and his 
voice was known. Grinell asked him what he could be 
there for at that hour of the night. With an air of in 
difference he said he had only come in to talk a little. 
After a long silence and some suspicious movements, he 
broke out and said : " Carpentero, what is this you say 
so much about two Americanos among the Indians ?" 
" Said," replied Grinell, " I said that there are two 
girls among the Mohaves or Apaches, and you know it, 
and we know that you know it." Grinell then took up 
a copy of the Los Angeles Star, and told Francisco to 
listen and he would read him what the Americans were 
saying and thinking about it. He then reads, giving the 
interpretation in Mexican (which language Francisco 
could speak fluently) an article that had been gotten up 
and published at the instance of Lorenzo, containing the 
report brought in by Mr. Rowlit, calling for help. The 
article also stated that a large number of men were ready 
to undertake to rescue the captives at once, if means^ 
could be furnished. 

But the quick and eager mind of Carpentero did not 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 217 

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

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

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

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

4i When did you find out she was there ?" said Car* 
pentero. 

F. " I have just found it out to-night" 

C. " Did you not know it before ?" 

F. " Well not long me just come in, you kn&w, 
me know now she is there among the Mohaves ?" 

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

Carpentero then told Francisco to stay in his tent for 



218 



CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 



the night. Francisco then told Carpentero that if Com 
mander Burke would give him authority, he would go 
and bring the girl in to the Fort. That night Carpen- 
r tero slept awake. Early in the morning they went to 
the Commander. For some time Commander Burke was 
disposed to regard it as something originated by the cun 
ning of Francisco, and did not believe he would bring 
the girl in. Said Francisco, " You give me four 
blankets and some beads, and I will bring her here in 
just twenty days, when the sun be right over here," 
pointing to about forty-five degrees above the western 
horizon. 

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

Several days passed, and the men about the Forfc 
thought they had Carpentero in a place where it would 
do to remind him of u his trusty Francisco." And thus 
they did, asking him if he " did not think his blankets 
and beads had sold cheap ; if he had not better send 
another Indian after the blankets," &c., with other 
questions indicating their own distrust of the whole move 
ment. 

On the twentieth day, about noon, three Yuma Indi 
ans, living seme distance from the Fort, came to the Fort 
and asked permission to see " a man by the name of Car 
pentero." They were shown his tent, and went in and 
made themselves known, saying " Carpentero, Fran 
cisco is coming." 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 219 

" Has he the girl with him," quickly asked the agi 
tated Carpentero, bounding to his feet. 

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

'With eager eyes Carpentero stood gazing, for some 



m 



'V 

\w H 



- 



ARRIVAL OF OLIVE AT FO11T YUMA. 

time, when, three Indians, and two females, dressed in 
closely woven bark skirts, came down to the ferry on the 
opposite side of the river. At that he bounded towards 
them crying at the top of his voice " they have come, 
the captive girl is here!" All about the Fort were soon 



220 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

apprised that it was even so, and soon they were either 
running to meet, and welcome the captive, or were gaz 
ing with eagerness to know if this strange report could 
be true. 

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

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

Francisco told the Captain he had been compelled to 
give more for the captive than what he had obtained of 
him ; that he had promised the Mohave chief a horse, 
and that his daughter was now present to see that this 
promise was fulfilled. Also, that a son of the chief 
would be in within a few days to receive the horse. A 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 221 

good horse was given him, and each of the kind officers 
at the Fort testified thair gratitude to him, as well as 
their hearty sympathy with the long separated brother 
and sister, by donating freely and liberally of their 
money to make up a horse for Francisco, and he was 
told there, in the presence of the rest of his tribe, that 
he had not only performed an act for which the gratitude 
of the whites would follow him, but one that might prob 
able save his tribe and the Mohaves much trouble and 
many lives. 

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

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



222 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

anxious lest something might yet prevent her safe 
arrival at the place of destination. Olive was soon 
apprized of the place of residence of her brother, whom 
she had so long regarded as dead, and also of his untir 
ing efforts, during the last few years, for the rescue of 
his sister. 

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

Language was not made to give utterance to the feel 
ings that rise and swell, and throb through the human 
bosom upon such a meeting as this. For five years they 
had not looked in each other's eyes ; the last image of 
that brother pressed upon the eye and memory of his 
affectionate sister, was one that could only make any 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 223 

reference to it in her mind, one of painful, torturing 
horror. She had seen him when (as she supposed) life 
had departed, dragged in the most inhuman manner to 
one side one of a whole family who had been butchered 
before her eyes. The last remembrance of that sister 
by her brother, was of her wailings and heart-rending 
sighs over the massacre of the rest of her family, and 
her consignment to a barbarous captivity or torturing 
death. She was grown to womanhood ; she was changed, 
but despite the written traces of her out-door life and 
barbarous treatment left upon her appearance and per 
son, he could read the assuring evidences of her family 
identity. They met they wept they embraced each 
other in the tenderest manner, heart throbbed to heart, 
and pulse beat to pulse ; but for nearly one hour not 
one word could either speak ! 

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



224 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

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

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

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



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 226 



CONCLUSION. 

Bancr 

We have tried to give the reader a correct, though 
brief history, of the singular and strange fate of that 
unfortunate family. If there is one who shall be dis 
posed to regard the reality as overdrawn, we have only 
to say, that every fact has been dictated by word of 
mouth, from the surviving members of that once happy 
family, who have, by a mysterious Providence, after 
suffering a prolonged and unrelieved woe of five years, 
been rescued and again restored to the blessings of a 
civilized and sympathising society. Most of the pre 
ceding pages have been written in the first person. This 
method was adopted for the sake of brevity, as also to 
give, as near as language may do it, a faithful record of 
the feelings and spirit with which the distresses and 
cruel' treatment of the few years over which these pages 
run, was met, braved, endured and triumphed over. 
The record of the five years of captivity, entered upon 
by a timid, inexperienced girl of fourteen years, and 
during which, associated with naught but savage life, 
she grew up to womanhood, presents one of heroism, 
self-possession and patience, that might do honor to one 



226 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

of maturity and years. Much of that dreadful period is 
unwritten, and will remain forever unwritten. 

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

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

Even to-day, Francisco, by whose vigilance the place 
of Olive's captivity and suffering was ascertained, and 
who dared to bargain for her release and restoration ere 
he had changed a word with her captives about it, is- 
hunted by his own and other tribes for guiding the white 
man to the hiding places of those whose ignorance will 
not suffer them to let go their filth and superstition, and 
who regard the whole transaction as the opening of the 
door to the greedy, aggressive, white race. The cry of 
gold like that which formed and matured a State upon 



. 
AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 227 

this far-off coast in a few years is heard along ravines 
that have been so long exclusively theirs, and companies 
of gold hunters, led on by faint but unerring " prospects," 
are confidently seeking rich leads of the precious ore 
near their long isolated wigwams. 

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

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

" Honor to whom honor is due." With all the deg 
radation in which these untamed hordes are steeped, 
there are strange as it may seem some traits and 
phases to their conduct which, on comparison with those 
of some who call themselves civilized, ought to crimson 
their cheeks with a blush. While feuds have been 
kindled, and lives have been lost innocent lives by 
the intrusion of the white man upon the domestic rela- 



228 CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

tions of Indian families ; while decency and chastity 
have been outraged and the Indian female, in some 
instances, stolen from her spouse and husband that she 
really loved ; let it be written, written if possible so as 
to be read when an inscrutable but unerring Providence 
shall exact " to the uttermost farthing " for every deed 
of cruelty and lust perpetrated by a superior race upon 
an inferior one written to stand out before those whose 
duty and position it shall be, within a few years, in the 
American Council of State, to deliberate and legislate 
upon the best method to dispose of these fast waning 
tribes that, one of our own race, in tender years, com 
mitted wholly to their power, passed a five years' cap 
tivity among these savages, without falling under those 
baser propensities which rave, and rage, and consume, 
with the fury and fatality of a pestilence, among them 
selves. 

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



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 229 

the startling and important exigencies that must roll 
upon its pathway for the next few years. 

Who that looks at the superstition, the mangled, frag 
mentary and distorted traditions that form the only tri 
bunal of appeal for the little wreck of moral sense they 
have left them superstitions that hold them as with the 
grasp of omnipotence who, that looks upon the self- 
consuming workings of the corruptions that breed in the 
hot-bed of ignorance who so hardened that his heart 
has no sigh to heave no groan to utter , over a social, 
moral and political -desolation, that ought to appeal to 
our commiseration rather than put a torch to our slum 
bering vengeance. 

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

Who, that casts his eye over the vast territory that 
lies between the Columbia River and Acapulco, with the 
Rocky Range for its eastern bulwark a territory 
abounding with rich verdure-clad vales, and pasturage 
hill-sides, and looks to the time, not distant, when over 



CAPTIVITY OF THE OATMAN GIRLS 

it all shall be spread the wing of the eagle ; when the 
music of civilization, of the arts, of the sciences, of the 
mechanism, of the religion of our favored race, shall roll 
along its winding rivers and over its beautiful slopes 
but has one prayer to offer to the God of his fathers, 
that the same wisdom craved and received by them, to 
plant his civil Light House on a wilderness shore, may 
still guide us on to a glorious, a happy, and a useful 
destiny. 



AMONG THE APACHE AND MOHAVE INDIANS. 231 
STANZAS TO OLIVE OATMAN. 



Fair Olive, thy historian's pen declines 

Portraying what thy feelings once have been, 

Because the language of the world confines 

Expression, given only half we mean ; 

No reaching from what we've felt or seen, 

And it is well. How useless 'tis to gild 

Refined gold, or paint the lilly's sheen ! 

But we can weep when all the heart is filled 

And feel in thought, beyond where pen or words are skilled. 



In moonlight we can fancy that one grave, 

Resting amidst the mountains bleak and bare, 

Although no willow's swinging pendants wave 

Above the little captive sleeping there, 

With thee beside her wrapped in voiceless prayer, 

We guess thy anguish ; feel thy heart's deep woe, 

And list for moans upon the midnight air, 

As tears of sympathy in silence flow 

For her whose unmarked head is lying calm and low. 



For in the bosom of the wilderness 

Imagination paints a fearful wild 

With two young children bowed in deep distress, 

A simple maiden and a little child, 

Begirt with savages in circles filled, 

Who round them shout in triumph o'er a deed 

That laid their kindred on the desert piled 

An undistinguished mass, in death to bleed, 

And left them without hope in their despairing need. 



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

MONTBAR. 

Marysville, April 27th, 1857. 



/I