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Full text of "Pattie's personal narrative of a voyage to the Pacific and in Mexico, June 20, 1824-August 30, 1830"


s 

University of California Berkeley 



PATTIE'S PERSONAL NARRATIVE OF A VOYAGE 
TO THE PACIFIC AND IN MEXICO 
JUNE 20, 1824 -AUGUST 30, 1830 



Reprint of the original edition: Cincinnati, 1831 



THE 



PERSONAL NARRATIVE 



JAMES O. PATTIE, 



KENTUCKY, 



.DURING AM tXPEDITiON FROM T. t.orf*. THRIIOCM TKK VAST REGIONS 
BCTWEEX THAT PI ACE AKD THE rACIFIC OCEAN. AKO THEtiCC ACK 
TRROCOH THCCTTV OF MCXICu TO VEB.A CRtX, CURING /OUrtNCl'- 
IKCS Or SIX ttAR; IX U-MICIt KB &KP I/IS FATHER. WHO 
ACCONPAMFD HIM. *l)rFi:AKU UNHEARD OK HAKIKIUfS 
AKO D4KCE&S, HAD VAklOOit CONFLICTS WITH THE IN- 
DIANS. AMD WEAK MADE ~CAPTIVLS. I.N VUICU 
CAFTn-fTV HIS rATHER DIED; TOGETHER 
WITH A DESCRIPTION OP THE COUMRV, 
AtSD THE VARIOUS NATIOICS THROUGH 
WHICH THEY PASSED. 



EDITED BY TIMOTHY FLINT. 



CINCINNATI: 

PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY JOHN H. WOOD. 

1831. 



DISTRICT OF OHIO, TO WIT: 

**~***~** BE it Remembered, that on the i8th day of Oct., Anno Domini 

!T e / 1831; John H. Wood, of the said District, hath deposited in this 
\ office, the title of a Book, the title of which is in the words following, 
*'.^v^.'* to wit: 

"The Personal Narrative of James O. Pattie, of Kentucky, during an expedition 
from St. Louis, through the vast regions between that place and the Pacific ocean, 
and thence back through the city of Mexico to Vera Cruz, during journeyings of 
six years; in which he and his father who accompanied him, suffered unheard of 
hardships and dangers; had various conflicts with the Indians, and were made 
captives, in which captivity his father died, together with a description of the coun- 
try, and the various nations through which they passed." 

The right whereof he claims as proprietor, in conformity with an act of Congress, 
entitled "An act to amend the several acts respecting copyrights." 

\Atlest, WILLIAM MINER, 

Clerk of the District. 



EDITOR'S PREFACE 1 

IT has been my fortune to be known as a writer of works 
of the imagination. I am solicitous that this Journal should 
lose none of its intrinsic interest, from its being supposed 
that in preparing it for the press, I have drawn from the 
imagination, either in regard to the incidents or their color- 
ing. For, in the literal truth of the facts, incredible as some 
of them may appear, my grounds of conviction are my 
acquaintance with the Author, the impossibility of inventing 
a narrative like the following, the respectability of his rela- 
tions, the standing which his father sustained, the confidence 
reposed in him by the Hon. J. S. Johnston, 2 the very respect- 
able senator in congress from Louisiana, who introduced 
him to me, the concurrent testimony of persons now in this 
city, who saw him at different points in New Mexico, and 

1 Timothy Flint (1780-1840) was a native of Reading, Massachusetts. Grad- 
uated from Harvard College (1800), he became a Congregational minister, and in 
1815 went as a missionary to the Far West. Until 1822 his headquarters were at 
St. Charles, Missouri; in that year he descended the Mississippi in a flatboat and 
settled in Louisiana, conducting a seminary on Lake Pontchartrain. Ill health 
compelled him to return to the North (1825), and thereafter he gave his attention to 
literature. For three years he edited the Western Review at Cincinnati; but later, 
removing to New York (1833), conducted the Knickerbocker Magazine. In addi- 
tion to publishing a number of romances and biographies of Western life, he was 
the author of two well-known books on the West: Recollections of the Last Ten 
Years Passed in the Valley of the Mississippi (1826), and Condensed History and 
Geography of the Western States (1828). ED. 

3 Josiah Stoddard Johnston was born in Salisbury, Connecticut (1784), but 
when a small boy removed with his parents to Washington, Kentucky. He was 
graduated from Transylvania University (1805), and soon after began the practice 
of law in Alexandria, a frontier village of Louisiana. Gaining reputation as a 
lawyer, he served as district judge from 1812-21, was elected to the i7th congress, 
and in 1823 became a member of the federal senate, where he supported a protective 
tariff and the other measures advocated by Henry Clay. In 1833, Johnston was 
killed in the explosion of the steamboat ' ' Lyon," on Red River. ED. 



26 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

the reports, which reached the United States, during the 
expedition of many of the incidents here recorded. 

When my family first arrived at St. Charles' in 1816, the 
fame of the exploits of his father, as an officer of the rangers, 
was fresh in the narratives of his associates and fellow sol- 
diers. I have been on the ground, at Cap au Gris, where 
he was besieged by the Indians. I am not unacquainted 
with the scenery through which he passed on the Missouri, 
and I, too, for many years was a sojourner in the prairies. 

These circumstances, along with a conviction of the truth 
of the narrative, tended to give me an interest in it, and to 
qualify me in some degree to judge of the internal evidences 
contained in the journal itself, of its entire authenticity. It 
will be perceived at once, that Mr. Pattie, with Mr. McDuffie, 
thinks more of action than literature, and is more competent 
to perform exploits, than blazon them in eloquent periods. 
My influence upon the narrative regards orthography, and 
punctuation [iv] and the occasional interposition of a topo- 
graphical illustration, which my acquaintance with the ac- 
counts of travellers in New Mexico, and published views of 
the country have enabled me to furnish. The reader will 
award me the confidence of acting in good faith, in regard 
to drawing nothing from my own thoughts. I have found 
more call to suppress, than to add, to soften, than to show in 
stronger relief many of the incidents. Circumstances of 
suffering, which in many similar narratives have been given 
in downright plainness of detail, I have been impelled to 
leave to the reader's imagination, as too revolting to be 
recorded. 

The very texture of the narrative precludes ornament and 
amplification. The simple record of events as they trans- 
pired, painted by the hungry, toil-worn hunter, in the midst 
of the desert, surrounded by sterility, espying the foot print 
of the savage, or discerning him couched behind the tree 
or hillock, or hearing the distant howl of wild beasts, will 



1824-1830] Patties Personal Narrative 27 

naturally bear characteristics of stern disregard of embellish- 
ment. To alter it, to attempt to embellish it, to divest it of 
the peculiar impress of the narrator and his circumstances, 
would be to take from it its keeping, the charm of its sim- 
plicity, and its internal marks of truth. In these respects I 
have been anxious to leave the narrative as I found it. 

The journalist seems in these pages a legitimate descend- 
ant of those western pioneers, the hunters of Kentucky, a 
race passing unrecorded from history. The pencil of biog- 
raphy could seize upon no subjects of higher interest. With 
hearts keenly alive to the impulses of honor and patriotism, 
and the charities of kindred and friends; they possessed 
spirits impassible to fear, that no form of suffering or death 
could daunt; and frames for strength and endurance, as if 
ribbed with brass and sinewed with steel. For them to 
traverse wide deserts, climb mountains, swim rivers, grapple 
with the grizzly bear, and encounter the savage, in a sojourn 
in the wilderness of years, far from the abodes of civilized 
men, was but a spirit-stirring and holiday mode of life. 

[v] To me, there is a kind of moral sublimity in the contem- 
plation of the adventures and daring of such men. They 
read a lesson to shrinking and effeminate spirits, the men of 
soft hands and fashionable life, whose frames the winds of 
heaven are not allowed to visit too roughly. They tend to 
re-inspire something of that simplicity of manners, manly 
hardihood, and Spartan energy and force of character, which 
formed so conspicuous a part of the nature of the settlers 
of the western wilderness. 

Every one knows with what intense interest the community 
perused the adventures of Captain Riley, 3 and other intrepid 

3 James Riley (born in Connecticut, 1777, died at sea, 1840) was a sea captain, 
who experienced some romantic adventures. In 1815 he sailed from Hartford on 
the brig "Commerce," was shipwrecked on the coast of Africa, and for eighteen 
months held as a slave by the Arabs until ransomed by the British consul at Moga- 
dove. In 1817, Anthony Bleecker published from Riley's journals An Authentic 
Narrative of the Loss of the American Brig Commerce, on the Western Coast of 



28 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

mariners shipwrecked and enslaved upon distant and bar- 
barous shores. It is far from my thoughts to detract from 
the intrepidity of American mariners, which is known, where- 
ever the winds blow, or the waves roll; or to depreciate the 
interest of the recorded narratives of their sufferings. A 
picture more calculated to arouse American sympathies 
cannot be presented, than that of a ship's crew, driven by 
the fierce winds and the mountain waves upon a rock bound 
shore, and escaping death in the sea, only to encounter 
captivity from the barbarians on the land. Yet much of the 
courage, required to encounter these emergencies is passive, 
counselling only the necessity of submission to events, from 
which there is no escape, and to which all resistance would 
be unavailing. 

The courage requisite to be put forth in an expedition such 
as that in which Mr. Pattie and his associates were cast, 
must be both active and passive, energetic and ever vigilant, 
and never permitted to shrink, or intermit a moment for 
years. At one time it is assailed by hordes of yelling savages, 
and at another, menaced with the horrible death of hunger 
and thirst in interminable forests, or arid sands. Either 
position offers perils and sufferings sufficiently appalling. 
But fewer spirits, I apprehend, are formed to brave those 
of the field, 

'Where wilds immeasurably spread, 
Seem lengthening as they go.' 

than of the ocean, where the mariner either soon finds rest 
beneath its tumultuous bosom, or joyfully spreads his sails 
again to the breeze. 

Africa, in the Month of August, 1815 -with a Description of Tombuctoo. 

The book had a wide circulation both in England and America, but until other 
survivors of the vessel returned and confirmed the account, was popularly sup- 
posed to be fictitious. In 1821 Riley settled in Van Wert County, Ohio, found- 
ing the town of Willshire, and in 1823 was elected to the legislature. He 
resumed a seafaring life (1831), and an account of his later voyages and adven- 
tures was published by his son (Columbus, 1851). ED. 



INTRODUCTION 

THE grandfather of the author of this Journal, was born 
in Caroline county, Virginia, in 1750. Soon after he was 
turned of twenty-one, he moved to Kentucky, and became 
an associate with those fearless spirits who first settled in the 
western forests. To qualify him to meet the dangers and 
encounter the toils of his new position, he had served in 
the revolutionary war, and had been brought in hostile con- 
tact with the British in their attempt to ascend the river 
Potomac. 

He arrived in Kentucky, in company with twenty emigrant 
families, in 1781, and settled on the south side of the Ken- 
tucky river. The new settlers were beginning to build 
houses with internal finishing. His pursuit, which was that 
of a house carpenter, procured him constant employment, 
but he sometimes diversified it by teaching school. Soon 
after his arrival, the commencing settlement experienced 
the severest and most destructive assaults from the Indians. 
In August, 1782, he was one of the party who marched to 
the assistance of Bryant's station, 4 and shared in the glory 
of relieving that place by the memorable defeat of the savages. 

Not long afterwards he was called upon by Col. Logan 5 to 
join a party led by him against the Indians, who had gained 

4 This station, five miles northeast of Lexington, had been established in 1779 by 
four Bryan (later, Bryant) brothers from North Carolina, one of whom married a 
sister of Daniel Boone. It contained about forty cabins in 1782 when, August 16, it 
was attacked by a force of Canadians and Indians under the leadership of Simon 
Girty. Faih'ng to draw the men out of the stockade, as had been planned, the 
Indians besieged the station until the following day, when they withdrew. For a 
full account, see Ranck, "Story of Bryant's Station," Filson Club Publications, 

xii. ED. 

i 
8 For a brief sketch of Colonel Benjamin Logan, see A. Michaux's Travels, 

volume iii of our series, p. 40, note 34. ED. 



30 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

a bloody victory over the Kentuckians at the Blue Licks.' 
He was present on the spot, where the bodies of the slain 
lay unburied, and assisted in their interment. During his 
absence on this expedition, Sylvester Pattie, father of the 
author, was born, August 25, 1782. 

In November of the same year, his grand-father was sum- 
moned to join a party commanded by Col. Logan, in an 
expedition against the Indians at the Shawnee towns, in the 
limits of the present state of Ohio. 7 They crossed the Ohio 
just below [viii] the mouth of the Licking, opposite the site of 
what is now Cincinnati, which was at that time an unbroken 
forest, without the appearance of a human habitation. They 
were here joined by Gen. Clark 8 with his troops from the 
falls of the Ohio, or what is now Louisville. The united 
force marched to the Indian towns, which they burnt and 
destroyed. 

Returning from this expedition, he resumed his former 
occupations, witnessing the rapid advance of the country 
from immigration. When the district, in which he resided, 
was constituted Bracken county, he was appointed one of the 

* An account of the battle of the Blue Licks may be found in Cuming's Tour, 
in our volume iv, pp. 176, 177. ED. 

7 This expedition, to avenge the battle of the Blue Licks and the attack on 
Bryant's Station, rendezvoused at the mouth of the Licking. A force of a thousand 
mounted riflemen under George Rogers Clark marched thence against the Shawnee 
towns in the neighborhood of the present Chillicothe. These were completely 
destroyed, the expedition meeting with no resistance. ED. 

8 A footnote cannot do justice to the services of General George Rogers Clark 
in Western history. Born in Albemarle County, Virginia (1752), he became a 
surveyor on the upper Ohio. Serving in Dunmore's campaign in 1 774, the following 
year he settled in Kentucky. Returning to Virginia to urge upon the legislature 
the conquest of the Illinois territory, he was made a lieutenant-colonel and author- 
ized to raise troops for the undertaking. June 24, 1778, he set out from the Falls 
of the Ohio, upon his memorable campaign, capturing Kaskaskia July 4, and 
Vincennes the following February. See Thwaites, How George Rogers Clark 
won the Northwest, etc. (Chicago, 1903). The attack upon the Shawnee towns in 
1782 was his last important work; an expedition up the Wabash against Detroit, 
was undertaken in 1786; but part of the troops mutinied, and Clark was forced to 
turn back before reaching his destination. He died at his sister's home, "Locust 
Grove," near Louisville, in February, 1818. ED. 



1824-1830] Pattie' s Personal Narrative 3 1 

judges of the court of quarter sessions, which office he filled 
sixteen years, until his place was vacated by an act of the 
legislature reducing the court to a single judge. 

Sylvester Pattie, the father of the author, as was common 
at that period in Kentucky, married early, having only 
reached nineteen. He settled near his father's house, and 
there remained until there began to be a prevalent disposition 
among the people to move to Missouri. March 14, 1812, 
he removed to that country, the author being then eight 
years old. Born and reared amidst the horrors of Indian 
assaults and incursions, and having lived to see Kentucky 
entirely free from these dangers, it may seem strange, that 
he should have chosen to remove a young family to that 
remote country, then enduring the same horrors of. Indian 
warfare, as Kentucky had experienced twenty-five years 
before. It was in the midst of the late war with England, 
which, it is well known, operated to bring the fiercest assaults 
of savage incursion upon the remote frontiers of Illinois and 
Missouri. 

To repel these incursions, these then territories, called 
out some companies of rangers, who marched against the 
Sac and Fox Indians, between the Mississippi and the lakes, 
who were at that time active in murdering women and 
children, and burning their habitations during the absence 
of the male heads of families. 9 When Pattie was appointed 
lieutenant in one of these companies, he left his family at 
St. Charles' where he was then residing. 10 It may be 
imagined, that the condition of his wife was sufficiently 

* The war with the Sauk and Foxes was part of the general War of 1812-15. 
These Indians had in 1804 signed a treaty at St. Louis, by which they surrendered 
all their lands in Illinois and Wisconsin. But the cession was repudiated by the 
Rock River band of the united tribes, who eagerly joined with the British in the 
hope of saving their hunting grounds. The noted warrior Black Hawk accepted 
a commission in the British army. ED. 

10 For the early history of St. Charles, see Bradbury's Travels, volume v of our 
series, p. 39, note 9. ED. 



32 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

lonely, as this village contained but one American [ix] family 
besides her own, and she was unable to converse with its 
French inhabitants. His company had several skirmishes 
with the Indians, in each of which it came off successful. 

The rangers left him in command of a detachment, in 
possession of the fort at Cap au Gris. 11 Soon after the main 
body of the rangers had marched away, the fort was besieged 
by a body of English and Indians. The besiegers made 
several attempts to storm the fort, but were repelled by the 
garrison. The foe continued the siege for a week, con- 
tinually firing upon the garrison, who sometimes, though 
not often, for want of ammunition, returned the fire. Lieu- 
tenant Pattie, perceiving no disposition in the enemy to 
withdraw, and discovering that his ammunition was almost 
entirely exhausted, deemed it necessary to send a despatch 
to Belief ontaine, 12 near the point of the junction of the 
Missouri and Mississippi, where was stationed a considerable 
American force. He proposed to his command, that a 
couple of men should make their way through the enemy, 
cross the Mississippi, and apprize the commander of Belle- 
f ontaine of their condition. No one was found willing to 
risk the attempt, as the besiegers were encamped entirely 
around them. Leaving Thomas McNair 13 in command in 

11 Cap-au-Gris is situated on the Mississippi a few miles above the mouth of 
Cuivre River. In 1812 Fort Howard was erected near that point, for the protection 
of the Missouri frontier; its name was in honor of the governor, Benjamin Howard. 
Fort Howard was a shipping port of some importance until the advent of the rail- 
roads into that region, but it now exists only in name. The event here related was an 
attack upon Fort Howard by Black Hawk and his band, immediately after the 
siege of Fort Meigs (July, 1813). ED. 

u Fort Bellefontaine was established (1805) by General James Wilkinson, 
governor of Louisiana, on the site of an old Spanish fort named Charles the Prince. 
It was on the Missouri River, four miles above its junction with the Mississippi, 
and was occupied by United States troops until the construction of Jefferson Bar- 
racks in 1827. For further details, see Thwaites, Original Journals of the Lewis and 
Clark Expedition, v, p. 392, note 2. ED. 

13 Thomas McNair was a son of Robert, a blacksmith living at Troy, about 
eighteen miles west of Cap-au-Gris; and a nephew of Alexander McNair, governor 
of Missouri (1820-24). The family had emigrated to St. Louis from Dauphin 
County, Pennsylvania, about 1800. ED. 



1824-1830] Pattie' s Personal Narrative 33 

his place, and putting on the uniform of one of the English 
soldiers, whom they had killed during one of the attempts 
to storm the fort, he passed by night safely through the 
camp of the enemy, and arrived at the point of his destination, 
a distance of over forty miles : 500 soldiers were immediately 
dispatched from Bellefontaine to the relief of the besieged 
at Cap au Gris. As soon as this force reached the fort, the 
British and Indians decamped, not, however, without 
leaving many of their lifeless companions behind them. 

Lieutenant Pattie remained in command of Cap au Gris, 
being essentially instrumental in repressing the incursions 
of the Sacs and Foxes, and disposing them to a treaty of 
peace, until the close of the war. 14 In 1813 he received his 
discharge, and returned to his family, with whom he enjoyed 
domestic happiness in privacy and repose for some years. 
St. Louis and St. Charles [x] were beginning rapidly to im- 
prove; American families were constantly immigrating to 
these towns. The timber in their vicinity is not of the best 
kind for building. Pine could no where be obtained in 
abundance, nearer than on the Gasconade, a stream that 
enters on the south side of the Missouri, about one hundred 
and fifty miles up that river. Mr. Pattie, possessing a 
wandering and adventurous spirit, meditated the idea of 
removing to this frontier and unpeopled river, to erect 
Mills upon it, and send down pine lumber in rafts to St. 
Louis, and the adjoining country. He carried his plan into 
operation, and erected a Saw and Grist Mill upon the 
Gasconade. 15 It proved a very fortunate speculation, as 

14 As Pattie obtained his discharge in 1813, he must have yielded his command 
to Lieutenant John McNair, brother of Thomas, who was stationed at Cap-au-Gris 
during the latter part of the war. See Goodspeed, History of Lincoln County, 
Missouri (Chicago, 1888), p. 224. 

The Sauk and Foxes signed a treaty of peace in May, 1816, wherein they 
acknowledged the cession of 1804; but the consequent removal across the Missis- 
sippi was one of the causes of the Black Hawk War (1832). ED. 

18 Gasconade River rises in southern Missouri, and flowing northeast empties 
into the Missouri about a hundred miles above the latter's junction with the Missis- 
sippi. ED. 



34 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

there was an immediate demand at St. Louis and St. Charles 
for all the plank the mill could supply. 

In this remote wilderness, Mr. Pattie lived in happiness 
and prosperity, until the mother of the author was attacked 
by consumption. Although her husband was, as has been 
said, strongly endowed with the wandering propensity, he 
was no less profoundly attached to his family; and in this 
wild region, the loss of a beloved wife was irreparable. She 
soon sunk under the disorder, leaving nine young children. 
Not long after, the youngest died, and was deposited by her 
side in this far land. 

The house, which had been the scene of domestic quiet, 
cheerfulness and joy, and the hospitable home of the stranger, 
sojourning in these forests, became dreary and desolate. Mr. 
Pattie, who had been noted for the buoyancy of his gay 
spirit, was now silent, dejected, and even inattentive to his 
business; which, requiring great activity and constant at- 
tention, soon ran into disorder. 

About this time, remote trapping and trading expeditions 
up the Missouri, and in the interior of New Mexico began 
to be much talked of. Mr. Pattie seemed to be interested 
in these expeditions, which offered much to stir the spirit 
and excite enterprize. To arouse him from his indolent 
melancholy, his friends advised him to sell his property, 
convert it into merchandize and equipments for trapping 
and hunting, and to join in such an undertaking. To a man 
born and reared under the circumstances [xi] of his early 
life one to whom forests, and long rivers, adventures, and 
distant mountains, presented pictures of familiar and birth 
day scenes one, who confided in his rifle, as a sure friend, 
and who withal, connected dejection and bereavement with 
his present desolate residence; little was necessary to tempt 
him to such an enterprise. 

In a word, he adopted the project with that undoubting 
and unshrinking purpose, with which to will is to accom- 



1824-1830] Patties Personal Narrative 35 

plish. Arrangements were soon made. The Children were 
provided for among his relations. The Author was at school ; 
but inheriting the love of a rifle through so many generations, 
and nursed amid such scenes, he begged so earnestly of his 
father that he might be allowed to accompany the expedition, 
that he prevailed. The sad task remained for him to record 
the incidents of the expedition, and the sufferings and death 
of his father. 



COMMENCEMENT OF THE 
EXPEDITION 

I PASS by, as unimportant in this Journal, all the circum- 
stances of our arrangements for setting out on our expedition; 
together with my father's sorrow and mine, at leaving the 
spot where his wife and my mother was buried, the place, 
which had once been so cheerful, and was now so gloomy 
to us. We made our purchases at St. Louis. Our com- 
pany consisted of five persons. We had ten horses packed 
with traps, trapping utensils, guns, ammunition, knives, 
tomahawks, provisions, blankets, and some surplus arms, 
as we anticipated that we should be able to gain some ad- 
ditions to our number by way of recruits, as we proceeded 
onward. But when the trial came, so formidable seemed 
the danger, fatigue, distance, and uncertainty of the expe- 
dition, that not an individual could be persuaded to share 
our enterprize. 

June 20, 1824, we crossed the Missouri at a small town 
called Newport, 16 and meandered the river as far as 
Pilcher's fort, 17 without any incident worthy of record, except 
that one of our associates, who had become too unwell to 
travel, was left at Charaton, the remotest village on this 
frontier of any size. 18 We arrived at Pilcher's fort, on the 

18 Newport, now Dundee, is a small town on the Missouri, at the mouth of Buffalo 
Creek, some sixty miles above St. Louis. ED. 

" This was an important place during the fur-trading era. It was more com- 
monly known as Bellevue, and was situated about nine miles above the mouth of 
the Platte. The first post was established about 1810, and soon passed into the 
control of the Missouri Fur Company, under Joshua Pilcher hence the name 
of Pilcher's Post. For a sketch of Pilcher, see James's Long's Expedition, in our 
volume xiv, p. 269, note 193. ED. 

18 Chariton was about two hundred and twenty miles up the Missouri, at the 
mouth of Chariton River. In 1818 the sale of government land began in that 



3 8 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

1 3th day of July. There we remained, until the 28th, 
waiting the arrival of a keel boat from below, that was partly 
freighted with merchandize for us, with which we intended 
to trade with the Indians. 

On the 28th, our number diminished to four, we set off 
for a trading establishment eight miles above us on the 
Missouri, belonging to Pratte, Choteau and Company. 19 
In this place centres most of the trade with the Indians on 
the upper Missouri. Here we met with Sylvester, son of 
Gen. Pratte, 20 who was on his way [14] to New Mexico, with 
purposes similar to ours. His company had preceded him, 
and was on the river Platte waiting for him. 

We left this trading establishment for the Council Bluffs, 
six miles above. 21 When we arrived there, the commanding 
officer demanded to see our license for trading with the 
Indians. We informed him, that we neither had any, nor 
were aware that any was necessary. We were informed, 
that we could be allowed to ascend the. river no higher 
without one. This dilemma brought our onward progress 
to a dead stand. We were prompt, however, in making 
new arrangements. We concluded to sell our surplus arms 
in exchange for merchandize, and change our direction from 
the upper Missouri, to New Mexico. One of our number 
was so much discouraged with our apparent ill success, 

region, and the town sprang up with extraordinary rapidity. Many lots in St. 
Louis were exchanged for lots in Chariton, but the site of the latter is now^a 
farm. ED. 

19 This was Cabanne's Post, nine or ten miles (by land) above Omaha. It was 
established about 1822 for the American Fur Company, by J. P. Cabanne. He 
remained in charge until 1833, and soon thereafter the company moved its trading 
station to Bellevue. ED. 

20 Silvester Pratte was born in St. Louis (1799), the son of Bernard Pratte, a 
partner in the American Fur Company. He did not return from this expedition? 
but died in New Mexico; see post. ED. 

21 For the early history of Council Bluffs, see Brackenridge's Journal, volume vi 
of our series, p. 78, note 28. ED. 



1824-1830] Pattie's Pe rsonal Narrative 39 

and so little satisfied with this new project, that he came 
to the determination to leave our ranks. The remainder, 
though dispirited by the reduction of our number, de- 
termined not to abandon the undertaking. Our invalid 
having rejoined us, we still numbered four. We remained 
some time at. this beautiful position, the Council Bluffs. I 
have seen much that is beautiful, interesting and command- 
ing in the wild scenery of nature, but no prospect above, 
around, and below more so than from this spot. Our 
object and destination being the same as Mr. Pratte's, we 
concluded to join his company on the Platte. 

We left the Bluffs, July 3oth, and encamped the night after 
our departure on a small stream, called the Elkhorn. 22 We 
reached it at a point thirty miles S. W. from the Bluffs. The 
Pawnee Indians sometimes resort upon the banks of this 
stream. The country is so open and bare of timber, that 
it was with difficulty we could find sufficient wood to cook 
with, even on the banks of the river, where wood is found, 
if at all, in the prairie country. 

Early the next morning we commenced our march up the 
bottoms of the stream, which we continued to ascend, until 
almost night fall, when we concluded to cross it to a small 
grove of timber that we descried on the opposite shore, 
where we encamped [15] for the night, securing our horses 
with great care, through fear that they would be stolen by 
the Indians. 

In the morning, as we were making arrangements to 
commence our march, we discovered a large body of Indians, 
running full speed towards us. When they had arrived 
within a hundred yards of us, we made signs, that they 
must halt, or that we should fire upon them. They halted, 
and we inquired of them, as one of our number spoke their 

22 For Elkhorn River, see James's Long's Expedition, in our volume xiv, p. 240, 
note 182. ED. 



4O Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

language, to what nation they belonged? They answered 
the Pawnee. 23 Considering them friendly, we permitted 
them to approach us. It was on our way, to pass through 
their town, and we followed them thither. As soon as we 
arrived at their town, they conducted us to the lodge of their 
chief, who posted a number of his warriors at the door, 
and called the rest of his chiefs, accompanied by an inter- 
preter. They formed a circle in the centre of the lodge. 
The elder chief then lighting a pipe, commenced smoking; 
the next chief holding the bowl of his pipe. This mode 
of smoking differed from that of any Indians we had yet 
seen. He filled his mouth with the smoke, then puffed 
it in our bosoms, then on his own, and then upward, as he 
said, toward the Great Spirit, that he would bestow upon 
us plenty of fat buffaloes, and all necessary aid on our way. 
He informed us, that he had two war parties abroad. He 
gave us a stick curiously painted with characters, I suppose 
something like hieroglyphics, bidding us, should we see any 
of his warriors, to give them that stick; in which case they 
would treat us kindly. The pipe was then passed round, 
and we each of us gave it two or three light whiffs. We 
were then treated with fat buff aloe meat, and after we had 
eaten, he gave us counsel in regard to our future course, par- 
ticularly not to let our horses loose at night. His treat- 
ment was altogether paternal. 

Next morning we left the village of this hospitable old 
chief, accompanied by a pilot, dispatched to conduct us to 
Mr. Pratte's company on the Platte. This is one of the 
three villages of the Republican Pawnees. It is situated 
on the little Platte River, 24 in the centre of an extensive 

a For the Pawnee Indians, consult Brackenridge's Journal, in our volume vi, 
p. 61, note 17. ED. 

24 This is not the stream now known as the Little Platte, for which see James's 
Long's Expedition, in our volume xiv, p. 1 74, note 141 . Possibly it was Maple Creek, 
a stream which rises in the southern part of Stanton County, Nebraska, and flowing 
westward through Dodge County joins the Elkhorn nearly opposite the town of 



1824-1830] Pattie 's Personal Narrative 4 1 

prairie plain; having near [16] it a small strip of wood extend- 
ing from the village to the river. The houses are cone- 
shaped, like a sugar loaf. The number of lodges may 
amount to six hundred. 

The night after we left this village, we encamped on the 
banks of a small creek called the Mad Buffaloe. Here we 
could find no wood for cooking, and made our first experi- 
ment of the common resort in these wide prairies; that is, 
we were obliged to collect the dung of the buffaloe for that 
purpose. Having taken our supper, some of us stood guard 
through the night, while the others slept, according to the 
advice of the friendly chief. Next morning we commenced 
our march at early dawn, and by dint of hard travelling 
through the prairies, we arrived about sunset, on the main 
Platte, where we joined Mr. Pratte and his company. We 
felt, and expressed gratitude to the pilot, who, by his knowl- 
edge of the country, had conducted us by the shortest and 
easiest route. We did not forget the substantial expression 
of our good will, in paying him. He started for his own 
village the same evening, accompanying us here, and return- 
ing, on foot, although he could have had a horse for the 
journey. 

At this encampment, on the banks of the Platte, we 
remained four days, during which time we killed some 
antelopes and deer, and dressed their skins to make us 
moccasins. Among our arrangements with Mr. Pratte, 
one was, that my father should take the command of this 



Fontenelle. At the time of Major Long's expedition (1820), all the Pawnee villages 
were situated within a few miles of each other, on the Loup fork of the Platte (see 
volume xv of our series, pp. 144-149), while Pattie finds a Republican Pawnee 
village within a day's march of the Elkhorn. Probably this was but a temporary 
village, as Colonel Henry Dodge (1835) and later travellers describe the location on 
the main Platte (see Senate Doc., 24 Cong., i sess., 209). Pattie is also the only 
person who mentions more than one Republican Pawnee village. It seems likely 
that he erroneously classed as Republican the other Pawnee villages, excepting that 
of the Loups (which he mentions separately) namely, the Grand and the Tapage 
villages. ED. 



42 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

company, to which proposition my father and our associates 
consented. The honor of this confidence was probably 
bestowed upon him, in consequence of most of the company 
having served under him, as rangers, during the late war. 
Those who had not, had been acquainted with his services 
by general report. 

In conformity with the general wish, my father immedi- 
ately entered upon his command, by making out a list of 
the names of the whole company, and dividing it into four 
messes; each mess having to furnish two men, to stand 
guard by reliefs, during the night. The roll was called, 
and the company was found to be a hundred and sixteen. 
We had three hundred mules, and some [17] horses. A 
hundred of them were packed with goods and baggage. 
The guard was posted as spies, and all the rest were ordered 
to commence the arrangements of packing for departure. 
The guard was detached, to keep at some distance from the 
camp, reconnoitre, and discover if any Indians were lurking 
in the vicinity. When on the march, the guards were 
ordered to move on within sight of our flank, and parallel 
to our line of march. If any Indians were descried, they 
were to make a signal by raising their hats; or if not in 
sight of us, to alarm us by a pistol shot. These arrange- 
ments gave us a chance always to have some little time to 
make ready for action. 

It may be imagined, that such a caravan made no mean 
figure, or inconsiderable dust, in moving along the prairies. 
We started on the morning of the 6th of August, 25 travelling 
up the main Platte, which at this point is more than a hundred 
yards wide, very shallow, with a clean sand bottom, and 
very high banks. It is skirted with a thin belt of cotton- 

28 The definiteness with which Pattie gives his dates, lends to his account an 
appearance of accuracy, which an examination of the narrative does not sustain. 
By his own enumeration of days after leaving Council Bluffs, this should be August 
8. There is no indication that Pattie kept a journal, or that he wrote any account 
of his travels before reaching California. ED. 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 43 

wood and willow trees, from which beautiful prairie plains 
stretch out indefinitely on either side. We arrived in the 
evening at a village of the Pawnee Loups. 26 It is larger 
than the village of the Republican Pawnees, which we had 
left behind us. The head chief of this village received us 
in the most affectionate and hospitable manner, supplying 
us with such provisions as we wanted. He had been all 
the way from these remote prairies, on a visit to the city of 
Washington. He informed us, that before he had taken the 
journey, he had supposed that the white people were a small 
tribe, like his own, and that he had found them as number- 
less as the spires of grass on his prairies. The spectacle, 
however, that had struck him with most astonishment, was 
bullets as large as his head, and guns of the size of a log of 
wood. His people cultivate corn, beans, pumpkins and 
watermelons. 

Here we remained five days, during which time Mr. 
Pratte purchased six hundred Buffalo skins, and some 
horses. A Pawnee war party came in from an expedition 
against a hostile tribe of whom they had killed and scalped 
four, and taken twenty horses. We were affected at the 
sight of a little child, taken [18] captive, whose mother they 
had killed and scalped. They could not account for bring- 
ing in this child, as their warfare is an indiscriminate 
slaughter, of men, women and children. 

A day or two after their arrival, they painted themselves 
for a celebration of their victory, with great labor and care. 
The chiefs were dressed in skins of wild animals, with the 
hair on. These skins were principally those of the bear, 
wolf, panther and spotted or ring tailed panther. They wore 
necklaces of bear's and panther's claws. The braves, as a 
certain class of the warriors are called, in addition to the 

* For the Pawnee Loups see Bradbury's Travels, volume v of our series, p. 78, 
note 44. An account of the visit of the Pawnee chiefs to Washington may be 
found in Faux's Journal, volume xii of our series, pp. 48-52. ED. 



44 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

dress of the other chiefs, surmounted their heads with a 
particular feather from a species of eagle, that they call the 
war eagle. 27 This feather is considered worth the price of 
ten ordinary horses. None but a brave is permitted to 
wear it as a badge. A brave, gains his name and reputation 
as much by cunning and dexterity in stealing and robbing, 
as by courage and success in murdering. When by long 
labor of the toilette, they had painted and dressed them- 
selves to their liking, they marched forth in the array of their 
guns, bows, arrows and war clubs, with all the other appen- 
dages of their warfare. They then raised a tall pole, on the 
top of which were attached the scalps of the foes they had 
killed. It must be admitted, that they manifested no small 
degree of genius and inventiveness, in making themselves 
frightful and horrible. When they began their triumphal 
yelling, shouting, singing and cutting antic capers, it seemed 
to us, that a recruit of fiends from the infernal regions could 
hardly have transcended them in genuine diabolical display. 
They kept up this infernal din three days. During all this 
time, the poor little captive child, barely fed to sustain life, 
lay in sight, bound hand and foot. When their rage at 
length seemed sated, and exhausted, they took down the 
pole, and gave the scalps to the women. 

We now witnessed a new scene of yells and screams, and 
infuriated gestures; the actors kicking the scalps about, 
and throwing them from one to the other with strong expres- 
sions of rage and contempt. When they also ceased, in 
the apparent satisfaction of gratified revenge, the men 
directed their attention [19] to the little captive. It was 
removed to the medicine lodge, where the medicine men 
perform their incantations, and make their offerings to the 
Great Spirit. We perceived that they were making prep- 
arations to burn the child. Alike affected with pity and 

27 This is the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) . The tail-feathers are about a 
foot long, and were especially prized by the Indians for decorative purposes. ED. 



1824-1830] Pattie s Personal Narrative 45 

horror, our party appealed, as one man, to the presiding 
chief, to spare the child. Our first proposition was to pur- 
chase it. It was received by the chief with manifest dis- 
pleasure. In reply to our strong remonstrances, he gravely 
asked us, if we, seeing a young rattlesnake in our path, would 
allow it to move off uninjured, merely because it was too 
small and feeble to bite? We undertook to point out the 
want of resemblance in the circumstances of the comparison, 
observing that the child, reared among them, would know 
no other people, and would imbibe their habits and enmities, 
and become as one of them. The chief replied, that he had 
made the experiment, and that the captive children, thus 
spared and raised, had only been instrumental, as soon as 
they were grown, of bringing them into difficulties. 'It 
is' said he, 'like taking the eggs of partridges and hatching 
them; you may raise them ever so carefully in a cage; but 
once turn them loose, and they show their nature, not only 
by flying away, but by bringing the wild partridges into your 
corn fields: eat the eggs, and you have not only the food, 
but save yourself future trouble.' We again urged that the 
child was too small to injure them, and of too little con- 
sequence to give them the pleasure of revenge in its destruc- 
tion. To enforce our arguments, we showed him a roll of 
red broad cloth, the favorite color with the Indians. This 
dazzled and delighted him, and he eagerly asked us, how 
much we would give him. We insisted upon seeing the 
child, before we made him an offer. He led us to the lodge, 
where lay the poor little captive, bound so tight with thongs 
of raw hide, that the flesh had so swelled over the hard and 
dried leather, that the strings could no longer be perceived. 
It was almost famished, having scarcely tasted food for four 
days, and seemed rather dead than alive. With much 
difficulty we disengaged its limbs from the thongs, and 
perceiving that it seemed to revive, we offered him [20] ten 
yards, of the red cloth. Expatiating upon the trouble and 



46 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

danger of his warriors in the late expedition, he insisted, 
that the price was too little. Having the child in our posses- 
sion, and beginning to be indignant at this union of avarice 
and cruelty, our company exchanged glances of intelligence. 
A deep flush suffused the countenance of my father. 'My 
boys,' said he, 'will you allow these unnatural devils to burn 
this poor child, or practice extortion upon us, as the price 
of its ransom?' The vehemence and energy, with which 
these questions were proposed, had an effect, that may be 
easily imagined, in kindling the spirits of the rest of us. We 
carried it by acclamation, to take the child, and let them 
seek their own redress. 

My father again offered the chief ten yards of cloth, which 
was refused as before. Our remark then was, that we 
would carry off the child, with, or without ransom, at his 
choice. Meanwhile the child was sent to our encampment, 
and our men ordered to have their arms in readiness, as we 
had reason to fear that the chief would let loose his warriors 
upon us, and take the child by force. The old chief looked 
my father full in the face, with an expression of apparent 
astonishment. 'Do you think' said he, 'you are strong 
enough to keep the child by force?' 'We will do it,' answered 
my father, 'or every man of us die in the attempt, in which 
case our countrymen will come, and gather up our bones, 
and avenge our death, by destroying your nation.' The 
chief replied with well dissembled calmness, that he did 
not wish to incur the enmity of our people, as he well knew 
that we were more powerful than they; alledging, beside, 
that he had made a vow never to kill any more white men; 
and he added, that if we would give the cloth, and add to it 
a paper of vermillion, the child should be ours. To this we 
consented, and the contract was settled. 

We immediately started for our encampment, where we 
were aware our men had been making arrangements for a 
battle. We had hardly expected, under these circum- 



1824-1830] Puttie's Personal Narrative 47 

stances, that the chief would have followed us alone into a 
camp, where every thing appeared hostile. But he went on 
with us unhesitatingly, [21] until he came to the very edge 
of it. Observing that our men had made a breast work 
of the baggage, and stood with their arms leaning against 
it ready for action, he paused a moment, as if faltering in 
his purpose to advance. With the peculiar Indian exclam- 
ation, he eagerly asked my father, if he had thought that 
he would fight his friends, the white people, for that little 
child ? The reply was, that we only meant to be ready for 
them, if they had thought to do so. With a smiling coun- 
tenance the chief advanced, and took my father's hand 
exclaiming, that they were good friends. 'Save your 
powder and lead/ he added, 'to kill buffaloes and your 
enemies.' So saying he left us for his own lodge. 

This tribe is on terms of hostility with two or three of the 
tribes nearest their hunting grounds. They make their 
incursions on horseback, and often extend them to the 
distance of six or seven hundred miles. They chiefly engage 
on horseback, and their weapons, for the most part, consist 
of a bow and arrows, a lance and shield, though many of 
them at present have fire arms. Their commander stations 
himself in the rear of his warriors, seldom taking a part in 
the battle, unless he should be himself attacked, which is 
not often the case. They show no inconsiderable military 
stratagem in their marches, keeping spies before and behind, 
and on each flank, at the distance of a few days travel ; so that 
in their open country, it is almost impossible to come upon 
them by surprise. The object of their expeditions is quite 
as often to plunder and steal horses, as to destroy their 
enemies. Each one is provided with the Spanish noose, to 
catch horses. They often extend these plundering expedi- 
tions as far as the interior of New Mexico. When they have 
reached the settled country, they lurk about in covert places, 
until an opportunity presents to seize on their prey. They 



48 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

fall upon the owner of a large establishment of cattle and 
horses, kill him during the night, or so alarm him as to cause 
him to fly, and leave his herds and family unprotected; in 
which case they drive off his horses, and secrete them in the 
mountains. In these fastnesses of nature they consider them 
safe; [22] aware that the Mexicans, partly through timidity, 
and partly through indolence, will not pursue them to any 
great distance. 

We left this village on the nth of August, taking with us 
two of its inhabitants, each having a trap to catch, and a 
hoe to dig the beavers from their burrows. During this 
day's march we traversed a wide plain, on which we saw 
no game but antelopes 28 and white wolves. At five in the 
evening, our front guard gave the preconcerted alarm by 
firing their pistols, and falling back a few moments after- 
wards, upon the main body. We shortly afterwards dis- 
covered a large body of Indians on horseback, approaching 
us at full speed. When they were within hailing distance, 
we made them a signal to halt: they immediately halted. 
Surveying us a moment, and discovering us to be whites, 
one of them came towards us. We showed him the painted 
stick given us by the Pawnee Republican chief. He seemed 
at once to comprehend all that it conveyed, and we were 
informed, that this was a band of the Republican Pawnee 
warriors. He carried the stick among them. It passed 
from hand to hand, and appeared at once to satisfy them 
in regard to our peaceable intentions, for they continued 
their march without disturbing us. But our two associate 
Indians, hearing their yells, as they rode off, took them to 
be their enemies, from whom they had taken the child. 
They immediately disappeared, and rejoined us no more. 
We travelled a few miles further, and encamped for the night 

28 This animal is not, correctly speaking, an antelope, but constitutes a separate 
family. The scientific name, Antilocapra americana, was assigned to it (1818) by 
the naturalist Ord, upon data furnished by Lewis and Clark. ED. 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 49 

on a small stream, called Smoking river. It is a tributary 
stream of the main Platte. On this stream a famous treaty 
had been made between the Pawnees and Shienne; 29 and 
from the friendly smoking of the calumet on this occasion 
it received its name. 

Next morning we made an early start, and marched 
rapidly all day, in order to reach water at night. We halted 
at sunset to repose ourselves, and found water for our own 
drinking, but none for our mules and horses. As soon as 
the moon arose, we started again, travelling hard all night, 
and until ten the next morning. At this tune we reached a 
most singular spring fountain, forming a basin four hundred 
yards in diameter, in the centre [23] of which the water 
boiled up five or six feet higher, than it was near the cir- 
cumference. We encamped here, to rest, and feed our 
mules and horses, the remainder of the day, during which 
we killed some antelopes, that came here to drink. 

Near this place was a high mound, from which the eye 
swept the whole horizon, as far as it could reach, and on this 
mound we stationed our guard. 

Next morning we commenced the toil of our daily march, 
pursuing a S. W. course, over the naked plains, reaching 
a small and, as far as I know, a nameless stream at night, 
on the borders of which were a few sparse trees, and high 
grass. Here we encamped for the night. At twelve next day 
we halted in consequence of a pouring rain, and encamped 
for the remainder of the day. This was the first point, 
where we had the long and anxiously expected pleasure of 
seeing buffaloes. We killed one, after a most animating 
sport in shooting at it. 

Next day we made an early start, as usual, and travelled 
hard all day over a wide plain, meeting with no other in- 
cidents, than the sight of buffaloes, which we did not molest. 

28 For the Cheyenne Indians, see Bradbury's Travels, volume v of our series, 
p. 140, note 88. ED. 



50 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

We saw, in this day's march, neither tree nor rising ground. 
The plains are covered with a short, fine grass, about four 
inches high, of such a kind, as to be very injurious to the 
hoofs of animals, that travel over it. It seems to me, that 
ours would not have received more injury from travelling 
over a naked surface of rock. In the evening we reached 
a small collection of water, beside which we encamped. 
We had to collect our customary inconvenient substitute 
for fuel, not only this evening, but the whole distance hence 
to the mountains. 

On the morning of the lyth, we commenced, as usual, 
our early march, giving orders to our advance guard to kill 
a buffaloe bull, and make moccasins for some of our horses, 
from the skin, their feet having become so tender from the 
irritation of the sharp grass, as to make them travel with 
difficulty. This was soon accomplished, furnishing the 
only incident of this day's travel. We continued the next 
day to make our way over the same wearying plain, without 
water or timber, having been obliged [24] to provide more 
of our horses with buffaloe skin moccasins. This day we 
saw numerous herds of buffaloe bulls. It is a singular fact, 
in the habits of these animals, that during one part of the 
year, the bulls all range in immense flocks without a cow 
among them, and all the cows equally without the bulls. 
Theherd, which we now saw, showed an evident disposition 
to break into our caravan. They seemed to consider our 
horses and mules, as a herd of their cows. We prevented 
their doing it, by firing on them, and killing several. 

This evening we arrived on one of the forks of the Osage, 30 

80 Pattie is altogether too far north and west to meet the Osage River. The 
distance from the Platte makes it fairly certain that he was on the Republican fork 
of the Kansas. This stream rises in Colorado, and flows eastward across the arid 
plains of southern Nebraska as far as longitude 98; it there enters the state of 
Kansas, and following a southeasterly course unites with the Smoky Hill River at 
Junction City, to form the Kansas. Its name arose from the fact that the village 
of the Republican Pawnee was located upon it until about 1815, when these tribes- 
men joined the Pawnee upon the Platte. ED. 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 5 1 

and encamped. Here we caught a beaver, the first I had 
ever seen. On the 2oth, we started late, and made a short 
day's travel, encamping by water. Next morning we dis- 
covered vast numbers of buffaloes, all running in one direc- 
tion, as though they were flying from some sort of pursuit. 
We immediately detached men to reconnoitre and ascertain, 
whether they were not flying from the Indians. They 
soon discovered a large body of them in full chase of these 
animals, and shooting at them with arrows. As their 
course was directly towards our camp, they were soon 
distinctly in sight. At this moment one of our men rode 
towards them, and discharged his gun. This immediately 
turned their attention from the pursuit of the game, to us. 
The Indians halted a moment, as if in deliberation, and rode 
off in another direction with great speed. We regretted 
that we had taken no measures to ascertain, whether they 
were friendly or not. In the latter case we had sufficient 
ground to apprehend, that they would pursue us at a dis- 
tance, and attack us in the night. We made our arrange- 
ments, and resumed our march in haste, travelling with 
great caution, and posting a strong guard at night. 

The next day, in company with another, I kept guard on 
the right flank. We were both strictly enjoined not to fire 
on the buffaloes, while discharging this duty. Just before we 
encamped, which was at four in the afternoon, we discov- 
ered a herd of buffaloe cows, the first we had seen, and gave 
notice on our arrival at the camp. Mr. Pratte insisted, 
that we had mistaken, and said, that we were not yet far 
enough advanced into the country, [25] to see cows, they 
generally herding in the most retired depths of the prairies. 
We were not disposed to contest the point with him, but pro- 
posed a bet of a suit of the finest cloth, and to settle the point 
by killing one of the herd, if the commander would permit 
us to fire upon it. The bet was accepted, and the permis- 
sion given. My companion was armed with a musket, and 



52 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

I with a rifle. When we came in sight of the herd, it was 
approaching a little pond to drink. We concealed ourselves, 
as they approached, and my companion requested me to 
take the first fire, as the rifle was surer and closer than the 
musket. When they were within shooting distance, I 
levelled one; as soon as it fell, the herd, which consisted of 
a thousand or more, gathered in crowds around the fallen 
one. Between us we killed eleven, all proving, according 
to our word, to be cows. We put our mules in requisition 
to bring in our ample supply of meat. Mr. Pratte admit- 
ted, that the bet was lost, though we declined accepting it. 

About ten at night it commenced raining; the rain 
probably caused us to intermit our caution ; for shortly after 
it began, the Indians attacked our encampment, firing a 
shower of arrows upon us. We returned their fire at ran- 
dom, as they retreated: they killed two of our horses, and 
slightly wounded one of our men; we found four Indians 
killed by our fire, and one wounded. The wounded Indian 
informed our interpreter, that the Indians, who attacked 
us, were Arrickarees. 31 We remained encamped here four 
days, attending our wounded man, and the wounded Indian, 
who died, however, the second day, and here we buried 
him. 

We left this encampment on the 26th, and through the 
day met with continued herds of buffaloes and wild horses, 
which, however, we did not disturb. In the evening we 
reached a fork of the Platte, called Hyde Park. 32 This 
stream, formerly noted for beavers, still sustains a few. 
Here we encamped, set our traps, and caught four beavers. 
In the morning we began to ascend this stream, and during 

31 For a brief description of the Ankara Indians, see Bradbury's Travels, 
volume v of our series, p. 127, note 83. ED. 

M Pattie's geography is confused by his apparent ignorance of the Kansas and 
its branches. Hyde Park is probably a tributary of the Republican possibly 
Beaver Creek, which rises in western Kansas and flowing northeasterly discharges 
into the Republican in Harlan County, Nebraska. ED. 



1824-1830] Patties Personal Narrative 53 

our progress, we were obliged to keep men in advance, to 
affrighten the buffaloes and wild horses [26] from our path. 
They are here in such prodigious numbers, as literally to 
have eaten down the grass of the prairies. 

Here we saw multitudes of prairie dogs. 33 They have large 
village establishments of burrows, where they live in society. 
They are sprightly, bold and self important animals, of the 
size of a Norwegian rat. On the morning of the 28th, our 
wounded companion was again unable to travel, in conse- 
quence of which we were detained at our encampment three 
days. Not wholly to lose the time, we killed during these 
three days no buffaloes, of which we saved only the tongues 
and hump ribs. 

On the morning of the 3ist, our wounded associate being 
somewhat recovered, we resumed our march. Ascending 
the stream, in the course of the day we came upon the dead 
bodies of two men, so much mangled, and disfigured by the 
wild beasts, that we could only discover that they were white 
men. They had been shot by the Indians with arrows, the 
ground near them being stuck full of arrows. They had 
been scalped. Our feelings may be imagined, at seeing the 
mangled bodies of people of our own race in these remote 
and unpeopled prairies. We consoled ourselves with believ- 
ing that they died like brave men. We had soon afterwards 
clear evidence of this fact, for, on surveying the vicinity at 
the distance of a few hundred yards, we found the bodies 
of five dead Indians. The ground all around was torn and 
trampled by horse and footmen. We collected the remains 
of the two white men, and buried them. We then ascended 
the stream a few miles, and encamped. Finding signs of 
Indians, who could have left the spot but a few hours before, 
we made no fire for fear of being discovered, and attacked 

33 The journals of Lewis and Clark contain a good description of the prairie 
dog (Cynomys or arctomys ludovicianus). See Thwaites, Original Journals of 
the Lewis and Clark Expedition, index. ED. 



54 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

in the night. Sometime after dark, ten of us started up 
the creek in search of their fires. About four miles from 
our encampment, we saw them a few hundred yards in 
advance. Twenty fires were distinctly visible. We coun- 
selled with each other, whether to fire on them or not. Our 
conclusion was, that the most prudent plan was to return, 
and apprize our companions of what we had seen. In con- 
sequence of our information, on our return, sixty men were 
chosen, headed by my father, who set off in order [27] to 
surround their camp before daylight. I was one of the 
number, as I should have little liked to have my father go 
into battle without me, when it was in my power to accom- 
pany him. The remainder were left in charge of our camp, 
horses, and mules. We had examined our arms and found 
them in good order. About midnight we came in sight of 
their fires, and before three o'clock were posted all around 
them, without having betrayed ourselves. We were com- 
manded not to fire a gun, until the word was given. As it 
was still sometime before daylight, we became almost impa- 
tient for the command. As an Indian occasionally arose and 
stood for a moment before the fire, I involuntarily took aim 
at him with the thought, how easily I could destroy him, 
but my orders withheld me. Twilight at length came, and 
the Indians began to arise. They soon discovered two of 
our men, and instantly raising the war shout, came upon us 
with great fury. Our men stood firm, until they received 
the order which was soon given. A well directed and destruc- 
tive fire now opened on them, which they received, and re- 
turned with some firmness. But when we closed in upon 
them they fled in confusion and dismay. The action lasted 
fifteen minutes. Thirty of their dead were left on the field, 
and we took ten prisoners, whom we compelled to bury the 
dead. One of our men was wounded, and died the next 
day. We took our prisoners to our encampment, where we 
questioned them with regard to the two white men, we had 



1824-1830] Patties Personal Narrative 55 

found, and buried the preceding day. They acknowledged, 
that their party killed them, and assigned as a reason for so 
doing, that when the white men were asked by the chief to 
divide their powder and balls with him, they refused. It 
was then determined by the chief, that they should be killed, 
and the whole taken. In carrying this purpose into effect, 
the Indians lost four of their best young men, and obtained 
but little powder and lead, as a compensation. 

We then asked them to what nation they belonged ? They 
answered the Crow. 34 This nation is distinguished for 
bravery and skill in war. Their bows and arrows were then 
given them, and they were told, that we never killed defence- 
less prisoners, but [28] that they must tell their brothers of 
us, and that we should not have killed any of their nation, 
had not they killed our white brothers; and if they did so in 
future, we should kill all we found of them, as we did not 
fear any number, they could bring against us. They were 
then allowed to go free, which delighted them, as they 
probably expected that we should kill them, it being their 
custom to put all their prisoners to death by the most 
shocking and cruel tortures. That they may not lose this 
diabolical pleasure by the escape of their prisoners, they 
guard them closely day and night. One of them, upon 
being released, gave my father an eagle's feather, saying, 
you are a good and brave man, I will never kill another 
white man. 

We pursued our journey on the ist of September. Our 
advance was made with great caution, as buffaloes were now 
seen in immense herds, and the danger from Indians was 
constant. Wandering tribes of these people subsist on the 
buffaloes, which traverse the interior of these plains, keeping 
them constantly in sight. 

On the morning of the 2d, we started early. About ten 

u A short account of the Crow Indians may be found in Bradbury's Travels, 
in our volume v, p. 226, note 121. ED. 



56 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

o'clock we saw a large herd of buffaloes approaching us with 
great speed. We endeavored to prevent their running 
among our pack mules, but it was in vain. They scattered 
them in every direction over the plain ; and although we rode 
in among the herd, firing on them, we were obliged to follow 
them an hour, before we could separate them sufficiently to 
regain our mules. After much labor we collected all, with 
the exception of one packed with dry goods, which the crowd 
drove before them. The remainder of the day, half our 
company were employed as a guard, to prevent a similar 
occurrence. When we encamped for the night, some time 
was spent in driving the buffaloes a considerable distance 
from our camp. But for this precaution, we should have 
been in danger of losing our horses and mules entirely. 

The following morning, we took a S. S. W. course, which 
led us from the stream, during this day's journey. Nothing 
occurred worthy of mention, except that we saw a great 
number of [29] wolves, which had surrounded a small herd 
of buffaloe cows and calves, and killed and eaten several. 
We dispersed them by firing on them. We judged, that 
there were at least a thousand. They were large and as 
white as sheep. Near this point we found water, and 
encamped for the night. 

On the morning of the 4th, a party was sent out to kill 
some buffaloe bulls, and get their skins to make moccasins 
for our horses, which detained us until ten o'clock. We 
then packed up and travelled six miles. Finding a lake, 
we encamped for the night. From this spot, we saw one 
of the most beautiful landscapes, that ever spread out to 
the eye. As far as the plain was visible in all directions, 
innumerable herds of wild horses, buffaloes, antelopes, deer, 
elk, and wolves, fed in their wild and fierce freedom. Here 
the sun rose, and set, as unobscured from the sight, as on 
the wastes of ocean. Here we used the last of our salt, and 
as for bread, we had seen none, since we had left the Pawnee 



p 

o 

Cu 




1824-1830] Patties Personal Narrative 59 

village. I hardly need observe, that these are no small 
deprivations. 

The next day we travelled until evening, nothing occur- 
ring, that deserves record. Our encampment was near a 
beautiful spring, called Bellefontaine, which is visited by 
the Indians, at some seasons of the year. Near it were some 
pumpkins, planted by the Indians. I cooked one, but did 
not find it very palateable: The next day we encamped 
without water. Late in the evening of the following day 
we reached a stream, and encamped. As we made our 
arrangements for the night, we came upon a small party of 
Indians. They ran off immediately, but we pursued them, 
caught four, and took them to the camp they had left, a little 
distant from ours. It contained between twenty and thirty 
women and children, beside three men. The women were 
frightened at our approach, and attempted to run. The 
Indians in our possession said something to them in their 
own language, that induced them to stop; but it was some- 
time, before they were satisfied, that we intended them no 
harm. We returned to our camp, and were attending to 
our mules and horses. Our little Indian boy was playing 
about the camp, as usual. [30] Suddenly our attention was 
arrested by loud screams or cries; and looking up, we saw our 
little boy in the arms of an Indian, whose neck he was 
closely clasping, as the Indian pressed him to his bosom, 
kissing him, and crying at the same time. As we moved 
towards the spot, the Indian approached us, still holding 
the child in his arms; and falling on his knees, made us a 
long speech, which we understood only through his signs. 
During his speech, he would push the child from him, and 
then draw it back to him, and point to us. He was the father 
of this boy, whom we saved from being burnt by the Paw- 
nees. He gave us to understand by his signs, that his child 
was carried off by his enemies. When the paroxysm of his 
joy was past, we explained, as well as we could, how we 



60 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

obtained the child. Upon hearing the name Pawnee, he 
sprang upon his feet, and rushed into his tent. He soon came 
out, bringing with him two Indian scalps, and his bow and 
arrows, and insisted, that we should look at the scalps, 
making signs to tell us, that they were Pawnee scalps, which 
he took at the time he lost his child. After he finished this 
explanation, he would lay the scalps a short distance from 
him, and shoot his arrows through them, to prove his great 
enmity to this nation. He then presented my father a pair 
of leggins and a pipe, both neatly decorated with porcupine 
quills; and accompanied by his child, withdrew to his tent, 
for the night. Just as the morning star became visible, we 
were aroused from our slumbers, by the crying and shouting 
of the Indians in their tent. We arose, and approached it, 
to ascertain the cause of the noise. Looking in, we saw 
the Indians all laying prostrate with their faces to the 
ground. We remained observing them, until the full light 
of day came upon them. They then arose, and placed them- 
selves around the fire. The next movement was to light a 
pipe, and begin to smoke. Seeing them blow the smoke 
first towards the point where the sun arose, and then towards 
heaven, our curiosity was aroused, to know the meaning of 
what we had seen. The old chief told us by signs, that they 
had been thanking the Great Spirit for allowing them to see 
another day. We then purchased a few beaver [31] skins 
of them, and left them. Our encampment for the evening 
of this day, was near a small spring, at the head of which we 
found a great natural curiosity. A rock sixteen yards in 
circumference, rises from eighty to ninety feet in height, 
according to our best judgment, from a surface upon which, 
in all directions, not the smallest particle of rock, not even 
a pebble can be found. We were unable to reach the top 
of it, although it was full of holes, in which the hawks and 
ravens built their nests. We gave the spring the name of 
Rock Castle spring. On the morning of the pth, we left 



1824-1830] Patties Personal Narrative 6 1 

this spot, and at night reached the foot of a large dividing 
ridge, which separates the waters of the Platte from those 
of the Arkansas. 35 After completing our arrangements for 
the night, some of us ascended to the top of the ridge, to 
look out for Indians; but we saw none. 

The succeeding morning we crossed the ridge, and came 
to water in the evening, where we encamped. Here we 
killed a white bear, 36 which occupied several of us at least 
an hour. It was constantly in chase of one or another of 
us, thus withholding us from shooting at it, through fear of 
wounding each other. This was the first, I had ever seen. 
His claws were four inches long, and very sharp. He had 
killed a buffaloe bull, eaten a part of it, and buried the 
remainder. When we came upon him, he was watching the 
spot, where he had buried it, to keep off the wolves, which 
literally surrounded him. 

On the nth, we travelled over some hilly ground. In 
the course of the day, we killed three white bears, the claws 
of which I saved, they being of considerable value among 
the Indians, who wear them around the neck, as the dis- 
tinguishing mark of a brave. Those Indians, who wear 
this ornament, view those, who do not, as their inferiors. 
We came to water, and encamped early. I was one of the 
guard for the night, which was rather cloudy. About the 
middle of my guard, our horses became uneasy, and in a 
few moments more, a bear had gotten in among them, and 
sprung upon one of them. The others were so much 
alarmed, that they burst their fastenings, and darted off at 
full speed. Our camp was soon aroused, and [32] in arms, 
for defence, although much confused, from not knowing 
what the enemy was, nor from what direction to expect the 



36 Pattie is still among the tributaries of the Kansas. This must be the dividing 
ridge between the sources of the Republican and Smoky Hill rivers. ED. 

88 This is the grizzly bear (Ursus horribUis), described satisfactorily for the first 
time by Lewis and Clark, who also called it the white bear. ED. 



62 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

attack. Some, however, immediately set off in pursuit of 
our horses. I still stood at my post, in no little alarm, as I 
did not know with the rest, if the Indians were around us 
or not. All around was again stillness, the noise of those 
in pursuit of the horses being lost in the distance. Suddenly 
my attention was arrested, as I gazed in the direction, from 
which the alarm came, by a noise like that of a struggle at 
no great distance from me. I espied a hulk, at which I 
immediately fired. It was the bear devouring a horse, still 
alive. My shot wounded him. The report of my gun, 
together with the noise made by the enraged bear, brought 
our men from the camp, where they awaited a second 
attack from the unknown enemy in perfect stillness. Deter- 
mined to avenge themselves, they now sallied forth, although 
it was so dark, that an object ten steps in advance could 
not be seen. The growls of the bear, as he tore up the 
ground around him with his claws, attracted all in his direc- 
tion. Some of the men came so near, that the animal saw 
them, and made towards them. They all fired at him, but 
did not touch him. All now fled from the furious animal, 
as he seemed intent on destroying them. In this general 
flight one of the men was caught. As he screamed out in 
his agony, I, happening to have reloaded my gun, ran up 
to relieve him. Reaching the spot in an instant, I placed 
the muzzle of my gun against the bear, and discharging it, 
killed him. Our companion was literally torn in pieces. 
The flesh on his hip was torn off, leaving the sinews bare, by 
the teeth of the bear. His side was so wounded in three 
places, that his breath came through the openings; his head 
was dreadfully bruised, and his jaw broken. His breath 
came out from both sides of his windpipe, the animal in his 
fury having placed his teeth and claws in every part of his 
body. No one could have supposed, that there was the 
slightest possibility of his recovery, through any human 
means. We remained in our encampment three days, 



1824-1830] Pattie s Personal Narrative 63 

attending upon him, without seeing any change for the worse 
or better in his situation. [33] He had desired us from the 
first to leave him, as he considered his case as hopeless as 
ourselves did. We then concluded to move from our en- 
campment, leaving two men with him, to each of whom 
we gave one dollar a day, for remaining to take care of him, 
until he should die, and to bury him decently. 

On the 1 4th we set off, taking, as we believed, a final leave 
of our poor companion. Our feelings may be imagined, 
as we left this suffering man to die in this savage region, 
unfriended and unpitied. We travelled but a few miles 
before we came to a fine stream and some timber. Con- 
cluding that this would be a better place for our unfortunate 
companion, than the one where he was, we encamped with 
the intention of sending back for him. We despatched men 
for him, and began to prepare a shelter for him, should he 
arrive. This is a fork of Smoke Hill river, which empties 
into the Platte. 37 We set traps, and caught eight beavers, 
during the night. Our companions with the wounded man 
on a litter, reached us about eight o'clock at night. 

In the morning we had our painful task of leave taking to 
go through again. We promised to wait for the two we 
left behind at the Arkansas river. We travelled all day up 
this stream. I counted, in the course of the day, two hun- 
dred and twenty white bears. We killed eight, that made 
an attack upon us; the claws of which I saved. Leaving 
the stream in the evening we encamped on the plain. A 
guard of twenty was relieved through the night, to prevent 
the bears from coming in upon us. Two tried to do it and 
were killed. 

In the morning we began our march as usual: returning 



37 Smoky Hill River, the main southern fork of the Kansas, takes its rise in 
Colorado, and receiving numerous tributaries in its eastward course of nearly four 
hundred miles, unites with the Republican, to form the Kansas, about one hundred 
and twenty miles from the mouth of the latter. ED. 



64 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

to the stream, we travelled until we came to its head. 38 The 
fountain, which is its source, boils up from the plain, forming 
a basin two hundred yards in circumference, as clear as 
crystal, about five feet in depth. Here we killed some wild 
geese and ducks. After advancing some distance farther 
we encamped for the night. Buffaloes were not so numerous, 
during this day's journey, as they had been some time pre- 
vious, owing, we judged, to the great numbers of white bears. 
[34] On the i yth we travelled until sunset, and encamped 
near water. On the i8th we found no water, but saw great 
numbers of wild horses and elk. The succeeding morning 
we set off before light, and encamped at 4 o'clock in the after- 
noon by a pond, the water of which was too brackish to 
drink. On the 2oth we found water to encamp by. In the 
course of the day I killed two fat buffaloe cows. One of 
them had a calf, which I thought I would try to catch alive. 
In order to do so, I concluded it would be well to be free 
from any unnecessary incumbrances, and accordingly laid 
aside my shot-pouch, gun and pistols. I expected it would 
run, but instead of that, when I came within six or eight 
feet of it, it turned around, and ran upon me, butting me 
like a ram, until I was knocked flat upon my back. Every 
time I attempted to rise, it laid me down again. At last I 
caught by one of its legs, and stabbed it with my butcher 
knife, or I believe it would have butted me to death. I 
made up my mind, that I would never attempt to catch 
another buffaloe calf alive, and also, that I would not tell 
my companions what a capsizing I had had, although my side 
did not feel any better for the butting it had received. I 
packed on my horse as much meat as he could carry, and 
set out for the camp, which I reached a little after dark. 
My father was going in search of me, believing me either 
lost, or killed. He had fired several guns, to let me know 
the direction of the camp. 

88 In Cheyenne County, Colorado. ED. 



1824-1830] Pattie 's Personal Narrative 65 

We travelled steadily on the 2ist, and encamped at night 
on a small branch of the Arkansas. During the day, we had 
seen large droves of buffaloes running in the same direction, 
in which we travelled, as though they were pursued. We 
could, however, see nothing in pursuit. They appeared in 
the same confusion all night. On the 22d, we marched fast 
all day, the buffaloes still running before us. In the evening 
we reached the main Arkansas, and encamped. The sky 
indicating rain, we exerted ourselves, and succeeded in 
pitching our tents and kindling fires, before the rain began 
to fall. Our meat was beginning to roast, when we saw 
some Indians about half a mile distant, looking at us from 
a hill. We immediately tied our [35] mules and horses. A 
few minutes after, ten Indians approached us with their 
guns on their shoulders. This open, undisguised approach 
made us less suspicious of them, than we should otherwise 
have been. When they were within a proper distance, they 
stopped, and called out Amiga, Amigo. One of our num- 
ber understood them, and answered Amigo, which is friend, 
when they came up to us. They were Commanches, 39 and 
one of them was a chief. Our interpreter understood and 
spoke their language quite well. The chief seemed bold, 
and asked who was our captain? My father was pointed 
out to him. He then asked us to go and encamp with him, 
saying that his people and the whites were good friends. 
My father answered, that we had encamped before we knew 
where they were, and that if we moved now, we feared that 
the goods would be wet. The chief said, this was very good ; 
but that, as we now knew where his camp was, we must 
move to it. To this my father returned, that if it did not 
rain next morning, we would; but as before, that we did 
not wish to get the goods wet to night. The chief then said, 
in a surly manner, 'you don't intend then to move to my 

39 For the Comanche Indians, see James's Long's Expedition, in our volume 
xvi, p. 233, note 109. ED. 



66 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

camp to night?' My father answered, 'No!' The chief 
said he should, or he would come upon us with his men, 
kill us, and take every thing we had. Upon this my father 
pushed the chief out of the tent, telling him to send his men 
as soon as he pleased; that we would kill them, as fast as 
they came. In reply the chief pointed his finger to the spot, 
where the sun would be at eight o'clock the next morning, 
and said, 'If you do not come to my camp, when the sun is 
there, I will set all my warriors upon you.' He then ran 
off through the rain to his own camp. We began, immedi- 
ately, a kind of breastwork, made by chopping off logs, and 
putting them together. Confidently expecting an attack 
in the night, we tied our horses and mules in a sink hole 
between us and the river. It was now dark. I do not 
think an eye was closed in our camp that night; but the 
morning found us unmolested ; nor did we see any Indians, 
before the sun was at the point spoken of. When it had 
reached it, an army of between six and eight hundred 
mounted [36] Indians, with then* faces painted as black as 
though they had come from the infernal regions, armed 
with fuzees and spears and shields appeared before us. 
Every thing had been done by the Indians to render this 
show as intimidating as possible. We discharged a couple 
of guns at them to show that we were not afraid, and were 
ready to receive them. A part advanced towards us; but 
one alone, approaching at full speed, threw down his bow 
and arrows, and sprang in among us, saying in broken 
English 'Commanches no good, me lotan, good man.' He 
gave us to understand, that the lotan nation was close at 
hand, and would not let the Commanches hurt us, and then 
started back. The Commanches fired some shots at us, but 
from such a distance, that we did not return them. In less 
than half an hour, we heard a noise like distant thunder. 
It became more and more distinct, until a band of armed 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 67 

Indians, whom we conjectured to be Jotans, 40 became 
visible in the distance. When they had drawn near, they 
reined up their horses for a moment, and then rushed in 
between us and Commanches, who charged upon the lotans. 
The latter sustained the charge with firmness. The dis- 
charge of their fire arms and the clashing of their different 
weapons, together with their war-yell, and the shrieks of the 
wounded and dying were fit accompaniments to the savage 
actors and scene. I do not pretend to describe this deadly 
combat between two Indian nations; but, as far as I could 
judge, the contest lasted fifteen minutes. I was too deeply 
interested in watching the event, to note it particularly. We 
wished to assist the lotans, but could not distinguish them 
from the mass, so closely were the parties engaged. We 
withheld our fire through fear of injuring the lotans, whom 
we considered our friends. It was not long before we saw, 
to our great satisfaction, the Commanches dismounted, 
which was the signal of their entire defeat. The lotans 
then left the Commanches, and returned to their women and 
children, whom they had left some distance behind. They 
brought them to our camp, and pitched their own tents all 
around us, except that of the chief, which was placed in the 
centre with ours. A guard of warriors was then posted 
around [37] the encampment, and an order given for the 
wounded lotans to be brought into the tent of the chief. 
There were ten, two of whom died before night. A message 
was now sent to the chief of the Commanches, in obedience 
to which he came to the lotan chief. A council then seemed 
to be held, and a peace was made, the terms of which were, 
that the lotan chief should pay the Commanche chief two 
horses for every warrior, he had lost in the battle, over the 

40 letans (lotans) is another name for the Comanche, the latter being originally 
the Spanish appellation. See Jameses Long's Expedition, in our volume xiv, p. 223, 
note 179. ED. 



68 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

number of lotans killed. We gave the lotan chief goods to 
the amount of one hundred dollars, which pleased him 
exceedingly. He expressed himself perfectly satisfied with 
this recompense for the warriors he had lost in our defence. 
The knowledge, that a party as large as ours was traversing 
the country, had soon spread in all directions from the 
reports of Indians, who had met with us, and we became to 
these savage tribes a matter of interest, as a source of gain 
to be drawn from us by robbing, kindness or trade. Our 
movements were observed. The Commanches determined 
to possess themselves of their object by force; and the 
lotans interfered in our defence, that they might thus gain 
their point by extortion from friends. 

Not a single Commanche was allowed to enter our camp, 
as arrangements were making for the lotans to trade with 
us. All, who had any beaver skins, or dressed deer skins, 
were sent for. A guard was placed around in a circle, inside 
of which the skins were thrown down. Each Indian then 
inquired for the article he wanted. In this way we ex- 
changed with them butcher knives, paint, and powder and 
ball, for beaver and deer skins, to the amount of fifteen hun- 
dred dollars, allowing them what we considered the value 
of the skins. 

The old Commanche chief came to the lotan chief to ask 
permission to talk with us, but was forbidden ; and we were 
told not to have any dealings with him. We did not. The 
lotan chief then gave us the character of the Commanche 
chief. He seemed to be thinking some time before he began. 
'I know,' said he, 'you must think it strange that I should 
fight with the Commanches, and then pay them for their 
warriors killed, over [38] our own number lost, and make 
peace with them. I will give you my reasons for doing so. 
Four years ago, this Commanche chief with his followers, 
went in company with my father, who was a chief, and a 
few of his followers, in search of buffaloes. After they had 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 69 

killed what they wanted, they divided the meat. The Com- 
manche took all the best of it, leaving the remains for my 
father. The old man put up with it, and said nothing. On 
their return, close to this place they met a band of Nabahoes," 
a nation that had long been at war with ours, and killed a 
great number of our people. My father wanted to kill them, 
and began to fire upon them. The Commanches joined the 
Nabahoes, and together they killed my father and most of 
his men. He then paid for the lives he had taken, in horses, 
giving twenty for my father, and four for each warrior. I 
only give two horses for a warrior. I am now happy. I 
have killed three times as many of them, as they did of us, 
and paid less for it. I know they can never get the upper 
hand of me again. This Commanche chief is a mean man, 
for whenever he has power, he makes others do as he 
pleases, or he kills them, and takes all they have. He 
wanted to act in this way with you ; but I do not think he 
could, for you know how to shoot better than he does; and you 
would not give up, as long as you had powder and ball and 
one man alive.' My father as commander, said, 'his men 
were all good soldiers, and knew how to get the advantage 
in fighting; and that we had plenty of ammunition and good 
guns, and were not in the least afraid of being beaten by 
them.' 'I think so,' replied the chief; 'But I thank the 
Great Spirit, that it happened as it did. I have taken revenge 
for the death of my father, and his people, and gained, I 
hope, at the same time the love of a good and brave people 
by defending them. ' We assured him that he had, expressing 
our thanks for his aid, and regret for those who had been 

41 The Navaho Indians are closely related to the Apache, both belonging to the 
Athabascan family. At this time they numbered nearly ten thousand people, their 
territory being west of the Rio del Norte, between the San Juan River and latitude 
35. Their manner of life was more settled than that of the Comanche and Apache ; 
and the blankets they manufacture have gained a wide notoriety. They are now 
located, to the number of about one thousand five hundred, on the Navaho reserva- 
tion in northwest New Mexico ED. 



jo Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

killed in our defence. 'Yes,' said the chief, 'they were brave 
men; but they loved my father, whom they have now gone 
to see, where they will have plenty to eat, and drink, without 
having to fight for it.' These were his thoughts, as near as 
I can express them. 

The Commanche chief made a second application for 
permission to talk with us, which was now granted. His 
object in conversing [39] with us, was, as he said, to make 
friends with us, and induce us to give him some powder and 
ball. We told him that we would willingly make peace with 
him; but not give him any thing, as we did not break the 
peace. He had threatened to kill us, and take our property 
without any provocation from us, and certainly, if any 
present was necessary, it must come from him. We did not, 
however, wish any present from him, and would make peace 
with him, provided he promised never to kill, or try to kill 
a white man. He answered, that he had neither done it, 
or intended to do it; that with regard to us, he only sought 
to frighten us, so that we should come to his camp, before 
the lotans came up, whom he knew to be not far distant, in 
order that he might precede them in trading with us, adding 
that as he had been so disappointed, he thought we ought 
to give him a little powder and ball. Our answer was, that 
we had no more ammunition to spare ; and that we could not 
depart from our resolution of not purchasing a treaty from 
him; but we would give him a letter of recommendation to 
the next company that came in this direction, by means of 
which he might trade with them, and obtain what he wanted 
of these articles. He consented to a treaty on these condi- 
tions, and lighting his pipes we smoked friends. 

He then asked us if we came through the Pawnee village ? 
We answered in the affirmative. His next question was, 
had they plenty of ammunition ? Our reply was again, yes. 
We were then given to understand, that he was then at war 
with them, and had been for a number of years, and that he 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 7 1 

should soon either make peace with them, or have a general 
engagement. He would prefer peace, as they were at war 
with the Spaniards, as well as himself. By uniting forces, 
they could beat the Spaniards, though in case of a treaty or 
not, he intended to go against the Spaniards, as soon as he 
should return from the country of the Pawnees. He added, 
'I suppose you are friends with the Spaniards, and are now 
going to trade with them.' Our commander replied, that 
we were going to trade with them, but not to fight for them. 
That, said the chief, is [40] what I wanted to know. I do 
not want war with your people, and should we accidentally 
kill any of them, you must not declare war against us, as we 
will pay you for them in horses or beaver skins. We did 
not express our natural feeling, that the life of one man was 
worth more than all the horses or beaver skins, his nation 
could bring forth; but told him, that we would not injure 
his people, unless they did ours, on purpose. He returned, 
apparently satisfied, to his camp. We were detained here 
until the fourth of November by our promise of awaiting 
the arrival of the two men, we had left with our wounded 
companion. They came, and brought with them his gun 
and ammunition. He died the fifth day, after we had left 
him, and was buried as decently, as the circumstances would 
allow. 

On the 5th of November 42 we again set off in company 
with a party of lotans. The Arkansas is here wide and 
shallow, like the Platte; and has wide but thinly timbered 
bottoms on both sides. Extending from the bottom ten or 
twelve miles on the south side, are low hills composed prin- 
cipally of sand. We found travelling upon them very 
fatiguing, particularly as we met with no water. Late in 
the evening we reached water, and encamped. 

The next morning we resumed our journey. We were 

42 Manifestly a slip, since the subsequent dates show that it was the fifth of 
October. ED. 



72 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

exceedingly diverted, during the day, to see the lotan Indians 
in company with us, chase the buffaloes on horseback. They 
killed them with their arrows. The force, with which they 
shoot these arrows, is astonishing. I saw one of them shoot 
an arrow through a buffaloe bull, that had been driven close 
to our camp. We were again upon level plains, stretch- 
ing off in all directions beyond the reach of the eye. The 
few high mounds scattered over them could not but power- 
fully arrest the curiosity. From the summit of one I again 
looked down upon innumerable droves of wild animals, 
dotting the surface, as they seemed to forget then- savage 
natures, and fed, or reposed in peace. I indulged the 
thoughts natural to such a position and scene. The remem- 
brance of home, with its duties and pleasures, came upon 
my mind in strong contrast with my actual circumstances. 
[41] I was interrupted by the discharge of guns, and the 
screams and yells of Indians. The lotans had found six 
Nabahoes a half a mile from us, and were killing them. 
Three were killed. The others, being well mounted, made 
their escape. The lotans came to our camp with their 
scalps, leaving their bodies to be eaten by wild animals. My 
father sent men to bury them. The lotans danced around 
these scalps all night, and in the morning took up the bodies, 
we had buried, and cut them in pieces. They then covered 
themselves with the skins of bears and panthers, and, taking 
the hearts of the dead men, cut them into pieces of the size 
of a mouthful, and laid them upon the ground, and kneeling 
put their hands on the ground, and crawled around the pieces 
of hearts, growling as though they were enraged bears, or 
panthers, ready to spring upon them, and eat them. This 
is their mode of showing hatred to their enemies. Not relish- 
ing such detestable conduct, we so manifested our feelings, 
that these Indians went to their own camps. 

We encamped the evening of the next day near water. 
Nothing worthy of record occurred during the journey of the 



1824-1830] Pattie s Personal Narrative 73 

four succeeding days, except that we came to a small creek 
called Simaronee. 4S Here we encamped, and killed some 
buffaloes, and shod our horses. We travelled up this stream 
some distance, and left it on the i5th. 

On the 1 6th we encamped on a creek, where we found four 
gentle mules, which we caught. I could not account for 
their being there. Nothing of importance occurred in the 
two last days. 

From the iyth to the 2oth, we journied without interrup- 
tion. The latter day we came in view of a mountain covered 
with snow, called Taos mountain. This object awakened 
in our minds singular but pleasant feelings. On the 23d 
we reached its foot. Here Mr. Pratte concealed a part of his 
goods by burying them in the ground. We were three days 
crossing this mountain. 

On the evening of the 26th, we arrived at a small town in 
Taos, called St. Ferdinando, 44 situated just at the foot of the 
mountain on the west side. The alcalde asked us for the 
invoice [42] of our goods, which we showed him, and paid 
the customary duties on them. This was a man of a swarthy 
complexion having the appearance of pride and haughtiness. 

43 For the Cimarron River, see Nuttall's Journal, volume xiii of our series, p. 263, 
note 203. ED. 

44 San Fernandez de Taos was one of two small Spanish towns in the fertile 
valley of Taos, about seventy-five miles northeast of Santa Fe. This valley formed 
the Mexican boundary for those who came up Arkansas River, and crossed to 
New Mexico from the north. The first Spaniard to settle in Taos valley, so far as 
records show, came about the middle of the eighteenth century; for his story, see 
Gregg's Commerce of the Prairies, in our volume xx. Fernandez de Taos is at 
present the seat for Taos County, with a population of fifteen hundred. See 
Report of the Governor oj New Mexico to the Secretary of the Interior (Washington, 
1903), p. 287. 

The Indian pueblo of Taos, discovered in 1541 by Barrionuevo, one of Coronado's 
lieutenants, lies about three miles northwest of San Fernandez, and has had a 
varied history. A Franciscan mission was established here before 1617, when 
was built the church which suffered bombardment from the American army in 1847. 
The great Pueblo revolt of 1680 was largely fomented at Taos; and again, in 1837, 
a half-breed from Taos, Jose" Gonzales, was the leader of a revolt against the 
Mexican government. There is still a community of Indians at this pueblo, where 
in 1847 the final stand was made against Price's army. ED. 



74 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

The door- way of the room, we were in, was crowded with 
men, women and children, who stared at us, as though they 
had never seen white men before, there being in fact, much 
to my surprize and disappointment, not one white person 
among them. I had expected to find no difference between 
these people and our own, but their language. I was never 
so mistaken. The men and women were not clothed in our 
fashion, the former having short pantaloons fastened below 
the waist with a red belt and buck skin leggins put on three 
or four times double. A Spanish knife is stuck in by the 
side of the leg, and a small sword worn by the side. A long 
jacket or blanket is thrown over, and worn upon the shoul- 
ders. They have few fire arms, generally using upon occa- 
sions which require them, a bow and spear, and never wear 
a hat, except when they ride. When on horse back, they 
face towards the right side of the animal. The saddle, which 
they use, looks as ours would, with something like an arm 
chair fastened upon it. 

The women wear upon the upper part of the person a 
garment resembling a shirt, and a short petticoat fastened 
around the waist with a red or blue belt, and something of the 
scarf kind wound around their shoulders. Although appear- 
ing as poorly, as I have described, they are not destitute 
of hospitality; for they brought us food, and invited us into 
their houses to eat, as we walked through the streets. 

The first time my father and myself walked through the 
town together, we were accosted by a woman standing in her 
own door-way. She made signs for us to come in. When 
we had entered, she conducted us up a flight of steps into a 
room neatly whitewashed, and adorned with images of saints, 
and a crucifix of brass nailed to a wooden cross. She gave 
us wine, and set before us a dish composed of red pepper, 
ground and mixed with corn meal, stewed in fat and water. 
We could not eat it. She then brought forward some tortillas 
and milk. Tortillas [43] are a thin cake made of corn and 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 75 

wheat ground between two flat stones by the women. This 
cake is called in Spanish, metate. We remained with her 
until late in the evening, when the bells began to ring. She 
and her children knelt down to pray. We left her, and 
returned. On our way we met a bier with a man upon it, 
who had been stabbed to death, as he was drinking whiskey. 

This town stands on a beautiful plain, surrounded on one 
side by the Rio del Norte, 45 and on the other by the moun- 
tain, of which I have spoken, the summit being covered with 
perpetual snow. 

We set off for Santa Fe on the ist of November. Our 
course for the first day led us over broken ground. We 
passed the night in a small town, called Callacia, built on a 
small stream, that empties into the del Norte. The country 
around this place presents but a small portion of level sur- 
face. 

The next day our path lay over a point of the mountain. 
We were the whole day crossing. We killed a grey bear, 
that was exceedingly fat. It had fattened on a nut of the 
shape and size of a bean, which grows on a tree resembling 
the pine, called by the Spanish, pinion. We took a great 
part of the meat with us. We passed the night again in a 
town called Albukerque. 46 

The following day we passed St. Thomas, 47 a town situated 
on the bank of the del Norte, which is here a deep and muddy 
stream, with bottoms from five to six miles wide on both 

46 The Rio del Norte rises in the San Juan mountains, in southwestern Colorado. 
Closely hemmed in by mountains, it flows almost directly south as far as El Paso, 
where it reaches the plains and thence forms the western boundary of Texas. 
From El Paso it is called the Rio Grande, or Rio Bravo. ED. 

* Pattie could not have passed the town of Albuquerque, as that is seventy-five 
miles south of Santa Fe. He probably means Abiquiu, a town on the Chama, a 
western affluent of the Rio del Norte, and on the well-known trail leading from 
Santa Fe to Los Angeles, California. Pike passed down the valley of the Rio del 
Norte (1807), and his descriptions of places and of Mexico are as a whole valuable. 
See Coues, Expeditions of Zebulon M. Pike (New York, 1895), ii. ED. 

47 This was the mission of St. Thomas de Abiquiu. ED. 



j6 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

sides. These bottoms sustain numerous herds of cattle. 
The small huts of the shepherds, who attend to them, were 
visible here and there. We reached another town called 
Elgidonis, and stopped for the night. We kept guard around 
our horses all night, but in the morning four of our mules 
were gone. We hunted for them until ten o'clock, when two 
Spaniards came, and asked us, what we would give them, if 
they would find our mules? We told them to bring the 
mules, and we would pay them a dollar. They set off, two 
of our men following them without their knowledge and went 
into a thicket, where they had tied the mules, and returned 
with them to us. As may be supposed, we gave them both 
a good whipping. It seemed at first, that the whole [44] 
town would rise against us in consequence. But when 
we related the circumstances fairly to the people, the officer 
corresponding to our justice of the peace, said, we had done 
perfectly right, and had the men put in the stocks. 

We recommenced our journey, and passed a mission of 
Indians under the control of an old priest. After crossing 
a point of the mountain, we reached Santa Fe, 48 on the 5th. 
This town contains between four and five thousand inhab- 
itants. It is situated on a large plain. A handsome stream 
runs through it, adding life and beauty to a scene striking and 

48 Santa Fe is one of the oldest towns within the present limits of the United 
States. The site was first visited by Coronado in 1541; but the founding of the 
town was the work of Onate, who established the colony of New Mexico in 1598. 
The date of the founding of Santa Fe is uncertain, owing to the destruction of the 
records by the revolt of 1680; but it was sometime between 1605 and 1609. By 
1630, Santa F6 had one thousand inhabitants; its first church was built on the 
site of the present cathedral, in 1622-27; the ancient governmental palace, still 
existing, dates from the seventeenth century. In 1680 the Spaniards were expelled, 
but twelve years later returned under Diego de Vargas. From that tune to the 
present, Santa Fe has been continuously inhabited. In the eighteenth century, 
French traders found their way thither, and by the early nineteenth the American 
trade began. In 1822, the Mexican standard was raised over the town, and in 
1846 General Stephen W. Kearny secured its surrender to the United States. 
Santa F6 has always been the capital of the territory. It has now (1905) a popu- 
lation of about eight thousand. At the time of Pattie's visit the governor of New 
Mexico, the first under republican rule, was Bartolome Baca. ED. 



1824-1830] Pat tie's Personal Narrative 77 

agreeable from the union of amenity and cultivation around, 
with the distant view of the snow clad mountains. It is 
pleasant to walk on the flat roofs of the houses in the evening, 
and look on the town and plain spread below. The houses 
are low, with flat roofs as I have mentioned. The churches 
are differently constructed from the other buildings and make 
a beautiful show. They have a great number of large bells, 
which, when disturbed, make a noise, that would almost 
seem sufficient to awaken the dead. 

We asked the governor for permission to trap beaver in 
the river Helay. His reply was that, he did not know if he 
was allowed by the law to do so; but if upon examination it 
lay in his power, he would inform us on the morrow, if we 
would come to his office at 9 o'clock in the morning. Ac- 
cording to this request, we went to the place appointed, the 
succeeding day, which was the gth of November. We were 
told by the governor, that he had found nothing, that would 
justify him, in giving us the legal permission, we desired. 
We then proposed to him to give us liberty to trap, upon the 
condition, that we paid him five per cent on the beaver we 
might catch. He said, he would consider this proposition, 
and give us an answer the next day at the same hour. The 
thoughts of our hearts were not at all favorable to this person, 
as we left him. 

About ten o'clock at night an express came from the river 
Pacus, 49 on which the nobles have their country seats and 
large farming establishments, stating, that a large body of 
Indians had come upon several families, whom they had 
either robbed, or [45] murdered. Among the number two 

4 * The Rio Pecus is the largest branch of the Rio Grande. Rising in the Santa 
Fe" mountains immediately east of Santa Fe", and following a south-southeast course 
for about eight hundred miles, it enters the Rio Grande in latitude 29 41'. The 
name is derived from an old pueblo, situated on one of the mountain tributaries 
about twenty-five miles southeast of Santa Fe\ In 1540 this was the largest Indian 
village in New Mexico, containing a population of about two thousand souls; but 
the United States troops in 1846 found it desolate and in ruins. A small modern 
village has grown up near the ancient site. ED. 



78 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

Americans had been killed, and the wife of one taken pris- 
oner, in company with four Spanish women, one of whom was 
daughter of the former governor, displaced because he was 
an European. The drum and fife and French horn began 
to sound in a manner, that soon awakened, and alarmed the 
whole town. The frightened women, and the still more 
fear-stricken men, joining in a full chorus of screams and 
cries, ran some to where the drum was beating in the public 
square, and others to our quarters. Upon the first sound 
of alarm we had prepared to repel the enemy, whatever it 
might be, provided it troubled us. When this group came 
rushing towards us, the light of the moon enabled us to discern 
them with sufficient clearness to prevent our doing them any 
injury. We did not sleep any more that night, for the 
women, having got the wrong story, as most women do in a 
case of the kind, told us that the Commanches were in town, 
killing the people. We awaited an attack, without, how- 
ever, hearing any sound of fire arms. Our conclusion was, 
that they were skulking around, dealing out death in dark- 
ness and silence with their arrows; and in the feelings, which 
were its natural result, the remainder of the night passed. 
The first light of morning showed us a body of four hundred 
men ready to mount their horses. At sunrise the governor 
came to us to ask, if we would aid in the attempt to recapture 
the prisoners taken by the Commanches, relating to us the 
real cause of the alarm of the preceding night. We com- 
plied readily with his request, as we were desirous of gaining 
the good will of the people. Our arrangements were soon 
made, and we set off in company with the troops I have men- 
tioned. 

The 1 2th was spent in travelling. We stopped for the 
night at St. John's, a small town. 60 On the i3th we reached 

M This small town, presumably to the east of Santa Fe, cannot be the well- 
known San Juan, on the Rio del Norte opposite the mouth of the Chama River 
and about thirty miles north of Santa Fe". This latter San Juan was made the 
capital of New Mexico by Onate in 1598-99, and so remained until the founding of 
Santa Fe 1 . ED. 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 79 

the spot, where the murders and robbery were committed. 
Here we took the course the Indians had marked in their 
retreat, stopping only for refreshments. We pressed on all 
night, as we found their fires still smoking. At eight on the 
morning of the i5th, the trail being fresh, we increased our 
speed, and at twelve came in sight of them, as they advanced 
toward a low gap in [46] the mountains. We now halted, 
and counselled together with regard to the next movements. 
The commander of the Spaniards proposed, that my father 
should direct the whole proceedings, promising obedience 
on his own part and that of his troops. 

The gap in the mountains, of which I spoke, was made 
by a stream. The Indians were now entering it. My 
father formed a plan immediately, and submitted it to the 
Spanish commander, who promised to aid in carrying it 
into effect. In conformity to it, the Spaniards were directed 
to keep in rear of the Indians, without being seen by 
them. We took a circuitous route, screened from sight by 
the highland, that lay between us and the Indians, in order 
to gain unobserved a hollow in advance of them, in which 
we might remain concealed, until they approached within 
gunshot of us. Our main object was to surprize them, and 
not allow them time to kill their captives, should they be 
still alive. The party in the rear were to close in, upon 
hearing the report of our guns, and not allow them to return 
to the plain. Our plan seemed to assure us success. We 
succeeded in reaching the hollow, in which we placed our- 
selves in the form of a half circle, extending from one side 
of it to the other, our horses being tied behind us. Every 
man was then ordered to prime, and pick his gun afresh. 
The right flank was to fire first, the left reserving theirs to 
give a running fire, that should enable the right to re-load. 
The Indians, surrounding the prisoners, were to be taken 
as the first aim, to prevent the immediate murder of them 
by their captors. My post was in the centre of the line. We 
waited an hour and a half behind our screens of rocks and 



80 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

trees, before our enemies made their appearance. The 
first object, that came in sight, were women without any 
clothing, driving a large drove of sheep and horses. These 
were immediately followed by Indians. When the latter 
were within thirty or forty yards of us, the order to fire was 
given. The women ran towards us the moment they heard 
the report of our guns. In doing this they encountered the 
Indians behind them, and three fell pierced by the spears 
of these savages. The cry among us now was, 'save the 
women!' Another young man and [47] myself sprang for- 
ward, to rescue the remaining two. My companion fell in 
the attempt. An Indian had raised his spear, to inflict 
death upon another of these unfortunate captives, when he 
received a shot from one of our men, that rendered him inca- 
pable of another act of cruelty. The captives, one of whom 
was a beautiful young lady, the daughter of the governor 
before spoken of, both reached me. The gratitude of such 
captives, so delivered, may be imagined. Fears, thanks and 
exclamations in Spanish were the natural expression of 
feeling in such a position. My companions aided me in 
wrapping blankets around them, for it was quite cold; and 
making the best arrangements in our power for their com- 
fort and safety. This was all done in less time, than is 
required to relate it, and we returned to our post. 

The Indians stood the second fire, and then retreated. 
We pursued keeping up a quick fire, expecting every mo- 
ment to hear the Spaniards in the rear following our example 
to check them in their retreat; but we could discover the 
entrance upon the plain, before we heard any thing from 
our Spanish muskets. The Indians then began to yell; 
but the Spaniards, after one discharge from their fire arms, 
fled. Being mounted on good horses the Indians did not 
pursue them, but satisfied as to our numbers, now that we 
were upon the plain, they rallied, and rushed upon us. 
Our commander now ordered us to retreat into the woods, 



1824-1830] Pattie s Personal Narrative 8 1 

and to find shelter behind trees, and take aim that every shot 
might tell, as it was of the utmost importance, not to waste 
ammunition, saying, ' stand resolute, my boys, and we make 
them repent, if they follow us, although those * * Span- 
iards have deserted us, when we came to fight for them. 
We are enough for these * * devils alone.' As they came 
near us, we gave them a scattering though destructive fire, 
which they returned bravely, still pressing towards us. It 
was a serious contest for about ten minutes, after they 
approached within pistol shot of us. From their yells, one 
would have thought that the infernal regions were open 
before them, and that they were about to be plunged in 
headlong. They finally began to retreat again, and we soon 
[48] put them completely to flight. The Spaniards, though 
keeping a safe distance, while this was going forward, saw 
the state of affairs, and joined us in the pursuit, still taking 
especial care not to come near enough to the Indians, to 
hurt them, or receive any injury themselves. After the 
Indians rallied, we lost ten men, and my father received a 
slight wound in the shoulder. 

We removed our horses and the rescued captives into the 
plain, and encamped. The Spaniards had killed an Indian 
already wounded, and were riding over the dead bodies of 
those on the ground, spearing them and killing any, who still 
breathed. My father commanded them to desist, or he 
would fire upon them, and the Spanish officer added his 
order to the same effect. The latter then demanded of us, 
the two women, whom we had rescued, with as much assur- 
ance, as though himself had been the cause of their deliv- 
erance. My father replied, by asking what authority or 
right he had, to make such a request, when his cowardice 
withheld him from aiding in their release? The officer 
became enraged, and said, that he was unable to rally his 
men, and that he did not consider the captives any safer in 
our hands than in those of the Indians, as we were not 



82 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

Christians. This insult, coupled with such a lame apology, 
only made my father laugh, and reply, that if cowardice 
constituted a claim to Christianity, himself and his men were 
prime and undoubted Christians. He added further, that if 
the rescued women preferred to accompany him, rather than 
remain, until he should have buried his brave comrades, who 
fell in their defence, and accept his protection, he had noth- 
ing to say. The subjects of our discussion, being present 
while it took place, decided the point before they were ap- 
pealed to. The youngest said, that nothing would induce her 
to leave her deliverers, and that when they were ready to go, 
she would accompany them, adding, that she should pray 
hourly for the salvation of those, who had resigned their lives 
in the preservation of hers. The other expressed herself 
willing to remain with her, and manifested the same con- 
fidence and gratitude. The enraged officer and his men set 
off on their return to Santa Fe. 

[49] The sun was yet an hour from its setting. We 
availed ourselves of the remaining light to make a breastwork 
with the timber, that had drifted down the stream, that we 
might be prepared for the Indians, in case they should return. 
We finished it, and posted our sentinels by sunset. The 
governor's daughter now inquired for the individual, who 
first met her in her flight from the Indians, and so humanely 
and bravely conducted her out of danger, and provided for 
her comfort. I cannot describe the gratitude and loveliness, 
that appeared in her countenance, as she looked on me, when 
I was pointed out to her. Not attaching any merit to the 
act, I had performed, and considering it merely as a duty, I 
did not know how to meet her acknowledgments, and was 
embarrassed. 

On the morning of the i6th we buried our dead. My 
father's shoulder was a little stiff, and somewhat swollen. 
We saddled our horses, and began our return journey. I 
gave up my horse to one of the ladies, and made my way on 



1824-1830] Patties Personal Narrative 83 

foot. We drove the sheep, which escaped the balls, before 
us. Our last look at the ground of our late contest gave a 
view sufficiently painful to any one, who had a heart; horses 
and their riders lay side by side. The bodies of robbers 
surrounded by the objects of their plunder would probably 
remain, scattered as they were, unburied and exposed to the 
wild beasts. 

We halted in the evening for the refreshment of ourselves 
and horses. This done, we again set off travelling all night. 
The sheep giving out, we were obliged to leave them. At 
twelve next day we reached Pacus. Here we met the father 
of the youngest of the two ladies accompanied by a great 
number of Spaniards. The old man was transported almost 
to frenzy, when he saw his daughter. We remained here for 
the day. On the morning of the i8th we all set off together, 
the old governor insisting, that my father and myself must 
ride in the carriage with him ; but we excused ourselves, and 
rode by the side of it with the interpreter. The father 
caressed us exceedingly, and said a great many things about 
me in particular, which I did not think, I deserved. 

[50] The next day at two in the afternoon, we arrived at 
Santa Fe. We were received with a salute, which we re- 
turned with our small arms. The governor came in the 
evening, and invited my father and the interpreter to sup 
with him. He ordered some fat beeves to be killed for the 
rest of us. The father of Jacova, for that was the name of 
the young lady, I had rescued, came, and invited us all to 
go, and drink coffee at his son-in-law's, who kept a coffee- 
house. We went, and when we had finished our coffee, the 
father came, and took me by the hand, and led me up a 
flight of steps, and into a room, where were his two daughters. 
As soon as I entered the room, Jacova and her sister both 
came, and embraced me, this being the universal fashion of 
interchanging salutations between men and women among 
these people, even when there is nothing more, than a simple 



84 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

introduction between strangers. After I had been seated 
an hour, looking at them, as they made signs, and listening 
to their conversation, of which I did not understand a sylla- 
ble, I arose with the intention of returning to my companions 
for the night. But Jacova, showing me a bed, prepared for 
me, placed herself between me and the door. I showed her 
that my clothes were not clean. She immediately brought 
me others belonging to her brother-in-law. I wished to be 
excused from making use of them, but she seemed so much 
hurt, that I finally took them, and reseated myself. She 
then brought me my leather hunting shirt, which I had 
taken off to aid in protecting her from the cold, and begged 
the interpreter who was now present, to tell me, that she 
intended to keep it, as long as she lived. She then put it 
on, to prove to me that she was not ashamed of it. 

I went to bed early, and arose, and returned to my com- 
panions, before any of the family were visible. At eight the 
governor and my father came to our quarters, and invited 
us all to dine with him at two in the afternoon. Accord- 
ingly we all dressed in our best, and went at the appointed 
time. A band of musicians played during dinner. After 
it was finished, and the table removed, a fandango was begun. 
The ladies flocked in, in great numbers. The instruments, 
to which the dancers' moved, were [51] a guitar and violin. 
Six men and six women also added their voices. Their mode 
of dancing was a curiosity to me. The women stood erect, 
moving their feet slowly, without any spring or motion of 
the body, and the men half bent, moved their feet like drum 
sticks. This dance is called ahavave. I admired another 
so much, that I attempted to go through it. It was a waltz, 
danced to a slow and charming air. It produces a fine effect, 
when twenty or thirty perform it together. The dancing 
continued, until near morning, when we retired to rest. 

At eight the following morning we received a license, 
allowing us to trap in different parts of the country. We 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 8 5 

were now divided into small parties. Mr. Pratte added 
three to our original number, they making the company, to 
which my father and myself belonged, seven. On the 22d, 
we set off. Our course lay down the del Norte to the Helay, 
a river never before explored by white people. 51 We left 
our goods with a merchant, until we should return in the 
spring. Our whole day's journey lay over a handsome 
plain covered with herds of the different domestic animals. 
We reached Picacheh a small town in the evening. Jacova 
and her father overtook us here, on their way home, which 
was eighty miles distant from Santa Fe. 

In the morning we began our journey, together. During 
the day we passed several small villages and stopped for the 
night in one called St. Philip, situated on the banks of the 
del Norte, surrounded by large vineyards. Jacova's father 
insisted upon our drinking plentifully of the wine made at 
this place. 

The morning of the 24th saw us again on our journey. 
Our companion, the old governor, was much amused at 
seeing us kill wild geese and prairie wolves with our rifles, 
the latter being abundant in this country. In the evening 
we reached another small town, called St. Louis. All these 
inconsiderable villages contain a church. The succeeding 
day we traversed the same beautiful plain country, which 
had made our journey so far, delightful. The same multi- 
tude of domestic animals still grazed around our path. 

[52] On the 27th, we arrived at the residence of Jacova 
and her father. It was a large and even magnificent building. 
We remained here until the 3oth, receiving the utmost 

61 "The Gila was known to the whites before the Mississippi was discovered; it 
was long better known than the Rio Grande and down to the present century was 
far better known than the Rio Colorado." (Coues, Expeditions of Zebulon M. 
Pike, ii, p. 374.) The first name, Rio del Nombre de Jesus, was given to it by 
Onate in 1604; the present name dates from 1697. The stream heads in the 
mountains of western New Mexico, and traversing Arizona empties into the Colo- 
rado at Fort Yuma (32 43' north latitude). See post, notes 54, 63. ED. 



86 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

attention and kindness. At our departure, the kind old 
governor pressed a great many presents upon us; but we 
refused all, except a horse for each one of us, some flour and 
dried meat. 

Seven hunters coming up with us, who were going in our 
direction, we concluded to travel with them, as our united 
strength would better enable us to contend with the hostile 
Indians, through whose country our course lay. We made 
our way slowly, descending the river bank, until we reached 
the last town or settlement in this part of the province, 
called Socoro. 52 The population of the part of the country, 
through which we travelled was entirely confined to a chain 
of settlements along the bottoms of the del Norte, and those 
of some of the rivers, which empty into it. I did not see, 
during the whole of this journey, an enclosed field, and not 
even a garden. 

After remaining one day here, in order to recruit our 
horses, we resumed our course down the river, Dec. 3d. 
The bottoms, through which we now passed, were thinly 
timbered, and the only growth was cotton-wood and willow. 
We saw great numbers of bears, deer and turkeys. A bear 
having chased one of our men into the camp, we killed it. 

On the yth we left the del Norte, and took a direct course 
for the Copper mines. 83 We next travelled from the river 

52 This name, meaning succor, was given by Onate to the Indian pueblo of 
Teipana, about eighty miles south of Albuquerque, because of the supplies of 
maize furnished by the inhabitants on his expedition up the Rio del Norte (1598-99). 
The old pueblo was destroyed in 1681, and the modern town founded in 1817. It 
is now the seat of Socorro County, and contains over 1,500 inhabitants. The 
home of the Spanish ex-governor and his daughter must have been in the neighbor- 
hood of the present city of Albuquerque, the largest town in New Mexico. Pattie's 
course quite closely followed the line of the Santa 6 railroad. ED. 

83 The mines were the well-known "Santa Rita de Cobre," in the western 
angle of the Sierra de Mogoyon, near the headwaters of the Gila and about one 
hundred miles west of the Rio del Norte. Mexicans began to work them in 1804. 
They proved very profitable (see post, p. 350), although the difficulty of obtaining 
supplies was great, owing to the plundering Apache. In 1838 these Indians en- 
tirely cut off the supply trains, and the mines were abandoned. They were for a 



1824-1830] Pattie s Personal Narrative 87 

over a very mountainous country four days, at the expiration 
of which time we reached this point of our destination. We 
were here but one night, and I had not leisure to examine 
the mode, in which the copper was manufactured. In the 
morning we hired two Spanish servants to accompany us; 
and taking a north-west course pursued our journey, until 
we reached the Helay on the i4th. We found the country 
the greater part of the two last days hilly and somewhat 
barren with a growth of pine, live oak, pinion, cedar and 
some small trees, of which I did not know the name. We 
caught thirty beavers, the first night we encamped on this 
river. The next morning, accompanied by another man, 
[53] I began to ascend the bank of the stream to explore, and 
ascertain if beaver were to be found still higher, leaving the 
remainder of the party to trap slowly up, until they should 
meet us on our return. We threw a pack over our shoulders, 
containing a part of the beavers, we had killed, as we made 
our way on foot. The first day we were fatigued by the 
difficulty of getting through the high grass, which covered 
the heavily timbered bottom. In the evening we arrived 
at the foot of mountains, that shut in the river on both sides, 
and encamped. We saw during the day several bears, but 
did not disturb them, as they showed no ill feeling towards 
us. 

On the morning of the i3th we started early, and crossed 
the river, here a beautiful clear stream about thirty yards 
in width, running over a rocky bottom, and filled with fish. 
We made but little advance this day, as bluffs came in so 
close to the river, as to compel us to cross it thirty-six times. 
We were obliged to scramble along under the cliffs, some- 
times upon our hands and knees, through a thick tangle of 



time (1851) the headquarters of the boundary commission for the United States 
and Mexico. See Bartlett, Personal Narrative oj Explorations (New York, 1854), 
i, pp. 226-239. Mining was resumed in 1873; the property is now operated by the 
Santa Rita Company, and is among the best equipped mines in the territory. ED. 



88 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

grape-vines and under-brush. Added to the unpleasantness 
of this mode of getting along in itself, we did not know, but 
the next moment would bring us face to face with a bear, 
which might accost us suddenly. We were rejoiced, when 
this rough ground gave place again to the level bottom. At 
night we reached a point, where the river forked, and en- 
camped on the point between the forks. We found here a 
boiling spring so near the main stream, that the fish caught 
in the one might be thrown into the other without leaving 
the spot, where it was taken. In six minutes it would be 
thoroughly cooked. 

The following morning my companion and myself sepa- 
rated, agreeing to meet after four days at this spring. We 
were each to ascend a fork of the river. The banks of that 
which fell to my lot, were very brushy, and frequented by 
numbers of bears, of whom I felt fearful, as I had never 
before travelled alone in the woods. I walked on with 
caution until night, and encamped near a pile of drift wood, 
which I set on fire, thinking thus to frighten any animals 
that might approach during the night. [54] I placed a spit, 
with a turkey I had killed upon it, before the fire to roast. 
After I had eaten my supper I laid down by the side of a 
log with my gun by my side. I did not fall asleep for some 
time. I was aroused from slumber by a noise in the leaves, 
and raising my head saw a panther stretched on the log by 
which I was lying, within six feet of me. I raised my gun 
gently to my face, and shot it in the head. Then springing 
to my feet, I ran about ten steps, and stopped to reload my 
gun, not knowing if I had killed the panther or not. Before 
I had finished loading my gun, I heard the discharge of one 
on the other fork, as I concluded, the two running parallel 
with each other, separated only by a narrow ridge. A 
second discharge quickly followed the first, which led me 
to suppose, that my comrade was attacked by Indians. 

I immediately set out and reached the hot spring by day 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 89 

break, where I found my associate also. The report of my 
gun had awakened him, when he saw a bear standing upon 
its hind feet within a few yards of him growling. He fired 
his gun, then his pistol, and retreated, thinking, with regard 
to me, as I had with regard to him, that I was attacked by 
Indians. Our conclusion now was, to ascend one of the 
forks in company, and then cross over, and descend the other. 
In consequence we resumed the course, I had taken the 
preceding day. We made two day's journey, without 
beaver enough to recompense us for our trouble, and then 
crossed to the east fork, trapping as we went, until we again 
reached the main stream. Some distance below this, we 
met those of our party we had left behind, with the exception 
of the seven, who joined us on the del Norte. They had 
deserted the expedition, and set off upon their return down 
the river. We now all hastened on to overtake them, but 
it was to no purpose. They still kept in advance, trapping 
clean as they went, so that we even found it difficult to catch 
enough to eat. 

Finding it impossible to come up with them, we ceased to 
urge our poor horses, as they were much jaded, and tender 
footed beside, and travelled slowly, catching what beaver 
we [55] could, and killing some deer, although the latter 
were scarce, owing, probably to the season of the year. The 
river here was beautiful, running between banks covered 
with tall cotton-woods and willows. This bottom extended 
back a mile on each side. Beyond rose high and rather 
barren hills. 

On the 2oth we came to a point, where the river entered 
a cavern between two mountains. We were compelled to 
return upon our steps, until we found a low gap in the 
mountains. We were three day's crossing, and the travelling 
was both fatiguing and difficult. We found nothing to kill. 

On the 23d we came upon the river, where it emptied into 
a beautiful plain. We set our traps, but to no purpose, for 



90 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

the beavers were all caught, or alarmed. The river here 
pursues a west course. We travelled slowly, using every 
effort to kill something to eat, but without success. 

On the morning of the 26th we concluded, that we must 
kill a horse, as we had eaten nothing for four day's and a half, 
except the small portion of a hare caught by my dogs, which 
fell to the lot of each of a party of seven. Before we obtained 
this, we had become weak in body and mind, complaining, 
and desponding of our success in search of beaver. Desirous 
of returning to some settlement, my father encouraged our 
party to eat some of the horses, and pursue our journey. 
We were all reluctant to begin to partake of the horse-flesh; 
and the actual thing without bread or salt was as bad as the 
anticipation of it. We were somewhat strengthened, how- 
ever, and hastened on, while our supply lasted, in the hope 
of either overtaking those in advance of us, or finding 
another stream yet undiscovered by trappers. 

The latter desire was gratified the first of January, 1825. 
The stream, we discovered, carried as much water as the 
Helay, heading north. We called it the river St. Francisco. 54 
After travelling up its banks about four miles, we encamped, 
and set all our traps, and killed a couple of fat turkies. In 
the morning we examined our traps, and found in them 37 
beavers! This success restored our spirits instantaneously. 
Exhilarating [56] prospects now opened before us, and we 
pushed on with animation. The banks of this river are for 
the most part incapable of cultivation being in many places 
formed of high and rugged mountains. Upon these we saw 
multitudes of mountain sheep. 55 These animals are not 
found on level ground, being there slow of foot, but on these 
cliffs and rocks they are so nimble and expert in jumping 

54 The present name of this stream, one of the initial forks of the Gila. The 
confluence is in Arizona, a few miles over the New Mexican border. ED. 

M The Rocky Mountain sheep (Ovis montana) was well described by Lewis 
and Clark. ED. 



1824-1830] Pattie s Personal Narrative 9 1 

from point to point, that no dog or wolf can overtake them. 
One of them that we killed had the largest horns, that I 
ever saw on animals of any description. One of them would 
hold a gallon of water. Their meat tastes like our mutton. 
Their hair is short like a deer's, though fine. The French 
call them the gros comes, from the size of their horns which 
curl around their ears, like our domestic sheep. These 
animals are about the size of a large deer. We traced this 
river to its head, but not without great difficulty, as the 
cliffs in many places came so near the water's edge, that we 
were compelled to cross points of the mountain, which 
fatigued both ourselves and our horses exceedingly. 

The right hand fork of this river, and the left of the Helay 
head in the same mountain, which is covered with snow, and 
divides its waters from those of Red river. We finished our 
trapping on this river, on the i4th. We had caught the very 
considerable number of 250 beavers, and had used and 
preserved most of the meat, we had killed. On the igth we 
arrived on the river Helay, encamped, and buried our furs 
in a secure position, as we intended to return home by this 
route. 

On the 2oth we began to descend the Helay, hoping to 
find in our descent another beaver stream emptying into it. 
We had abandoned the hope of rejoining the hunters, that 
had left us, and been the occasion of our being compelled to 
feed upon horse flesh. No better was to be expected of us, 
than that we should take leave to imprecate many a curse 
upon their heads; and that they might experience no better 
fate, than to fall into the hands of the savages, or be torn in 
pieces by the white bears. At the same time, so ready are 
the hearts of mountain hunters to relent, that I have not a 
doubt that each man of us would [57] have risqued his life 
to save any one of them from the very fate, we imprecated 
upon them. 

In fact, on the night of the 22d, four of them, actually 



92 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

half starved, arrived at our camp, declaring, that they had 
eaten nothing for five days. Notwithstanding our recent 
curses bestowed upon them, we received them as brothers. 
They related that the Indians had assaulted and defeated 
them, robbing them of all their horses, and killing one of 
their number. Next day the remaining two came in, one of 
them severely wounded in the head by an Indian arrow. 
They remained with us two days, during which we attempted 
to induce them to lead us against the Indians, who had 
robbed them, that we might assist them to recover what had 
been robbed from them. No persuasion would induce them 
to this course. They insisted at the same time, that if we 
attempted to go on by ourselves, we should share the same 
fate, which had befallen them. 

On the morning of the 25th, we gave them three horses, 
and as much dried meat as would last them to the mines, 
distant about 150 miles. Fully impressed, that the Indians 
would massacre us, they took such a farewell of us, as if 
never expecting to see us again. 

In the evening of the same day, although the weather 
threatened a storm, we packed up, and began to descend 
the river. We encamped this night in a huge cavern in the 
midst of the rocks. About night it began to blow a tempest, 
and to snow fast. Our horses became impatient under the 
pelting of the storm, broke their ropes, and disappeared. 
In the morning, the earth was covered with snow, four or 
five inches deep. One of our companions accompanied me 
to search for our horses. We soon came upon their trail, 
and followed it, until it crossed the river. We found it on 
the opposite side, and pursued it up a creek, that empties 
into the Helay on the north shore. We passed a cave at the 
foot of the cliffs. At its mouth I remarked, that the bushes 
were beaten down, as though some animal had been browsing 
upon them. I was aware, that a bear had entered the cave. 
We collected some pine knots, split them with our toma- 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 93 

hawks, and kindled torches, with which I proposed to [58] 
my companion, that we should enter the cave together, and 
shoot the bear. He gave me a decided refusal, notwith- 
standing I reminded him, that I had, more than once, stood 
by him in a similar adventure ; and notwithstanding I made 
him sensible, that a bear in a den is by no means so formid- 
able, as when ranging freely in the woods. Finding it im- 
possible to prevail on him to accompany me, I lashed my 
torch to a stick, and placed it parallel with the gun barrel, 
so as that I could see the sights on it, and entered the cave. 
I advanced cautiously onward about twenty yards, seeing 
nothing. On a sudden the bear reared himself erect within 
seven feet of me, and began to growl, and gnash his teeth. 
I levelled my gun and shot him between the eyes, and began 
to retreat. Whatever light it may throw upon my courage, 
I admit, that I was in such a hurry, as to stumble, and 
extinguish my light. The growling and struggling of the 
bear did not at all contribute to allay my apprehensions. On 
the contrary, I was in such haste to get out of the dark place, 
thinking the bear just at my heels, that I fell several times on 
the rocks, by which I cut my limbs, and lost my gun. When 
I reached the light, my companion declared, and I can be- 
lieve it, that I was as pale as a corpse. It was some time, 
before I could summon sufficient courage to re-enter the 
cavern for my gun. But having re-kindled my light, and 
borrowed my companion's gun, I entered the cavern again, 
advanced and listened. All was silent, and I advanced still 
further, and found my gun, near where I had shot the bear. 
Here again I paused and listened. I then advanced onward 
a few strides, where to my great joy I found the animal dead. 
I returned, and brought my companion in with me. We 
attempted to drag the carcass from the den, but so great 
was the size, that we found ourselves wholly unable. We 
went out, found our horses, and returned to camp for assist- 
ance. My father severely reprimanded me for venturing 



94 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

to attack such a dangerous animal in its den, when the 
failure to kill it outright by the first shot, would have been 
sure to be followed by my death. 

Four of us were detached to the den. We were soon 
enabled [59] to drag the bear to the light, and by the aid of 
our beast to take it to camp. It was both the largest and 
whitest bear I ever saw. The best proof, I can give, of the 
size and fatness is, that we extracted ten gallons of oil from 
it. The meat we dried, and put the oil in a trough, which 
we secured in a deep crevice of a cliff, beyond the reach of 
animals of prey. We were sensible that it would prove a 
treasure to us on our return. 

On the 28th we resumed our journey, and pushed down 
the stream to reach a point on the river, where trapping had 
not been practised. On the 3oth, we reached this point, 
and found the man, that the Indians had killed. They had 
cut him in quarters, after the fashion of butchers. His 
head, with the hat on, was stuck on a stake. It was full of 
the arrows, which they had probably discharged into it, as 
they had danced around it. We gathered up the parts of 
the body, and buried them. 

At this point we commenced setting our traps. We 
found the river skirted with very wide bottoms, thick-set 
with the musquito trees, 56 which bear a pod in the shape of a 
bean, which is exceedingly sweet. It constitutes one of the 
chief articles of Indian subsistence; and they contrive to 
prepare from it a very palatable kind of bread, of which we 
all became very fond. The wild animals also feed upon this 
pod. 

On the 3ist we moved our camp ten miles. On the way 
we noted many fresh traces of Indians, and killed a bear, 

M There are at least three varieties of mesquit-tree (prosopis) in New Mexico 
and Arizona. It is related to the acacia and locust; and the fruit, consisting of 
ten or twelve beans in a sweet, pulpy pod, is gathered by the Indians, pounded in 
a mortar, and made into bread. A prolific tree will yield ten bushels of beans in 
the hull. The Comanche also concoct an intoxicating drink from this bean. ED. 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 95 

that attacked us. The river pursues a west course amidst 
high mountains on each side. We trapped slowly onward, 
still descending the river, and unmolested by the Indians. 
On the 8th of February, we reached the mouth of a small 
river entering the Helay on the north shore. Here we 
unexpectedly came upon a small party of Indians, that fled 
at the sight of us, in such consternation and hurry, as to 
leave all their effects, which consisted of a quantity of the 
bread mentioned above, and some robes made of rabbit 
skins. Still more; they left a small child. The child was 
old enough to distinguish us from its own people, for it 
opened its little throat, and screamed so lustily, that we 
feared it would have fits. The poor thing meanwhile made 
its [60] best efforts to fly from us. We neither plundered nor 
molested their little store. We bound the child in such a 
manner, that it could not stray away, and get lost, aware, 
that after they deemed us sufficiently far off, the parents 
would return, and take the child away. We thence ascended 
the small river about four miles, and encamped. For fear 
of surprize, and apprehending the return of the savages, 
that had fled from us, and perhaps in greater force, we 
secured our camp with a small breast-work. We discovered 
very little encouragement in regard to our trapping pursuit, 
for we noted few signs of beavers on this stream. The night 
passed without bringing us any disturbance. In the morn- 
ing two of us returned to the Indian camp. The Indians 
had re-visited it, and removed every thing of value, and 
what gave us great satisfaction, their child. In proof, that 
the feelings of human nature are the same every where, and 
that the language of kindness is a universal one ; in token of 
their gratitude, as we understood it, they had suspended a 
package on a kind of stick, which they had stuck erect. 
Availing ourselves of their offer, we examined the present, 
and found it to contain a large dressed buck skin, an article, 
which we greatly needed for moccasins, of which some of us 



96 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

were in pressing want. On the same stick we tied a red 
handkerchief by way of some return. 

We thence continued to travel up this stream four days in 
succession, with very little incident to diversify our march. 
We found the banks of this river plentifully timbered with 
trees of various species, and the land fine for cultivation. 
On the morning of the i3th, we returned to the Helay, and 
found on our way, that the Indians had taken the handker- 
chief, we had left, though none of them had shown any 
disposition, as we had hoped, to visit us. We named the 
stream we had left, the deserted fork, on account of having 
found it destitute of beavers. We thence resumed our 
course down the Helay, which continues to flow through a 
most beautiful country. Warned by the frequent traces of 
fresh Indian foot-prints, we every night adopted [61] the 
expedient of enclosing our horses in a pen, feeding them with 
cotton-wood bark, which we found much better for them 
than grass. 

On the 1 6th, we advanced to a point, where the river runs 
between high mountains, in a ravine so narrow, as barely 
to afford it space to pass. We commenced exploring them 
to search for a gap, through which we might be able to pass. 
We continued our expedition, travelling north, until we dis- 
covered a branch, that made its way out of the mountains. 
Up its ravine we ascended to the head of the branch. Its foun- 
tains were supplied by an immense snow bank, on the summit 
of the mountain. With great labor and fatigue we reached 
this summit, but could descry no plains within the limits of 
vision. On every side the peaks of ragged and frowning 
mountains rose above the clouds, affording a prospect of 
dreariness and desolation, to chill the heart. While we 
could hear the thunder burst, and see the lightning glare 
before us, we found an atmosphere so cold, that we were 
obliged to keep up severe and unremitting exercise, to escape 
freezing. 



1824-1830] Pattie 's Personal Narrative 97 

We commenced descending the western declivity of the 
mountains, amidst thick mists and dark clouds, with which 
they were enveloped. We pitied our horses and mules, 
that were continually sliding and falling, by which their 
limbs were strained, and their bodies bruised. To our great 
joy, we were not long, before we came upon the ravine of a 
branch, that wound its way through the vast masses of 
crags and mountains. We were disappointed, however, 
in our purpose to follow it to the Helay. Before it mingled 
with that stream, it ingulfed itself so deep between the cliffs, 
that though we heard the dash of the waters in their narrow 
bed, we could hardly see them. We were obliged to thread 
our way, as we might, along the precipice, that constituted 
the banks of the creek. We were often obliged to unpack 
our mules and horses, and transport their loads by hand 
from one precipice to another. We continued wandering 
among the mountains in this way, until the 23d. Our 
provisions were at this time exhausted, and our horses and 
[62] mules so worn out, that they were utterly unable to pro- 
ceed further. Thus we were absolutely obliged to lie by two 
days. During this time, Allen and myself commenced climb- 
ing towards the highest peak of the mountains in our vicinity. 
It was night-fall, before we gained it. But from it we 
could distinctly trace the winding path of the river in several 
places; and what was still more cheering, could see smokes 
arising from several Indian camps. To meet even enemies, 
was more tolerable, than thus miserably to perish with hun- 
ger and cold in the mountains. Our report on our return 
animated the despair of our companions. On the morning 
of the 25th we resumed our painful efforts to reach the river. 
On the 28th, to our great joy, we once more found ourselves 
on its banks. A party of Indians, encamped there, fled at 
our approach. But fortunately they left a little mush pre- 
pared from the seeds of grass. Without scruple we devoured 
it with appetites truly ravenous. In the morning we took 



98 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

ten beavers in our traps, and Allen was detached with me 
to clear away a path, through which the pack horses might 
pass. We were obliged to cross the river twelve times in the 
course of a single day. We still discovered the fresh foot- 
prints of Indians, who had deserted their camps, and fled 
before us. We were continually apprehensive, that they 
would fire their arrows upon us, or overwhelm us with 
rocks, let loose upon us from the summits of the high cliffs, 
directly under which we were obliged to pass. The third 
day, after we had left our company, I shot a wild goose in 
the river. The report of my gun raised the screams of 
women and children. Too much alarmed to stop for my 
game, I mounted my horse, and rode toward them, with a 
view to convince them, or in some way, to show them, that 
we intended them no harm. We discovered them ahead of us, 
climbing the mountains, the men in advance of the women, 
and all fleeing at the top of their speed. As soon as they 
saw us, they turned, and let fly a few arrows at us, one of 
which would have despatched my companion, had he not 
been infinitely dextrous in dodging. Hungry and fatigued 
and by no means in the best humor, my companion returned 
[63] them abundance of curses for their arrows. From 
words he was proceeding to deeds, and would undoubtedly 
have shot one of them, had I not caught his gun, and made 
him sensible of the madness of such a deed. It was clearly 
our wisdom to convince them, that we had no inclination to 
injure them. Some of them were clad in robes of rabbit 
skins, part of which they shed, in their hurry to clamber 
over the rocks. 

Finding ourselves unable to overtake them, we returned 
to their camp, to discover if they had left any thing that we 
could eat. At no great distance from their camp, we ob- 
served a mound of fresh earth, in appearance like one of 
our coal kilns. Considering it improbable, that the Indians 
would be engaged in burning coal, we opened the mound, 



1824-1830] Puttie's Personal Narrative 99 

and found it to contain a sort of vegetable that had the 
appearance of herbage, which seemed to be baking in the 
ground, to prepare it for eating. I afterwards ascertained, 
that it was a vegetable, called by the Spanish, mascal, 
(probably maguey.) 57 The Indians prepare it in this way, 
so as to make a kind of whiskey of it, tasting like crab-apple 
cider. The vegetable grows in great abundance on these 
mountains. 

Next day we came to the point, where the river discharges 
its waters from the mountains on to the plains. We thence 
returned, and rejoined our company, that had been making 
their way onward behind us. March 3d, we trapped along 
down a small stream, that empties into the Helay on the 
south side, having its head in a south west direction. It being 
very remarkable for the number of its beavers, we gave it the 
name of Beaver river. At this place we collected 200 skins; 
and on the loth continued to descend the Helay, until the 
2oth, when we turned back with as much fur, as our beasts 
could pack. As yet we had experienced no molestation 
from the Indians, although they were frequently descried 
skulking after us, and gathering up the pieces of meat, we had 
thrown away. On the morning of the 2oth we were all 
prepared for an early start, and my father, by way of pre- 
caution, bade us all discharge our guns at the word of com- 
mand, and then re-load them afresh, [64] that we might, in 
case of emergency, be sure of our fire. We were directed to 
form in a line, take aim, and at the word, fire at a tree. We 
gave sufficient proofs, that we were no strangers to the rifle, 
for every ball had lodged close to the centre of our mark. 
But the report of our guns was answered by the yell of more 

67 The maguey is the American aloe {Agave americana). The Mexicans and 
Indians cut off the leaves near the root, leaving a head the size of a large cabbage. 
The heads are placed in the ground, overlaid with earth, and for a day a fire is kept 
burning on top of them; they are then eaten, tasting something like a beet. The 
roasted heads are also placed in a bag made of hides, and allowed to ferment, pro- 
ducing the liquor known as ' ' mescal." ED. 



ioo Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

than an hundred savages, above us on the mountains. We 
immediately marched out from under the mountains on to 
the plains, and beckoned them to come down, by every 
demonstration of friendship in our power. Nothing seemed 
to offer stronger enticement, than to hold out to them our 
red cloth. This we did, but without effect, for they either 
understood us not, or were reluctant to try our friendship. 
Leaving one of our number to watch their deportment, and 
to note if they followed us, we resumed our march. It 
would have been a great object to us to have been able to 
banish their suspicions, and make a treaty with them. But 
we could draw from them no demonstrations, but those of 
fear and surprize. On the 25th we returned to Beaver river, 
and dug up the furs that we had buried, or cashed, 58 as the 
phrase is, and concluded to ascend it, trapping towards its 
head, whence we purposed to cross over to the Helay above 
the mountains, where we had suffered so much in crossing. 
About six miles up the stream, we stopped to set our traps, 
three being selected to remain behind in the camp to dry 
the skins, my father to make a pen for the horses, and I 
to guard them, while they were turned loose to feed in the 
grass. We had pitched our camp near the bank of the river, 
in a thick grove of timber, extending about a hundred yards 
in width. Behind the timber was a narrow plain of about 
the same width, and still further on was a high hill, to which 
I repaired, to watch my horses, and descry whatever might 
pass in the distance. Immediately back of the hill I dis- 
covered a small lake, by the noise made by the ducks and 
geese in it. Looking more attentively, I remarked what 
gave me much more satisfaction, that is to say, three beaver 
lodges. I returned, and made my father acquainted with 
my discovery. The party despatched to set traps had re- 
turned. My father informed [65] them of my discovery, 

88 For the method of making a "cache," see Thwaites, Original Journals 0} the 
Lewis and Clark Expedition, index. ED. 



1824-1830] P attic's Personal Narrative I o I 

and told them to set traps in the little lake. As we passed 
towards the lake, we observed the horses and mules all 
crowded together. At first we concluded that they col- 
lected together in this way, because they had fed enough. 
We soon discovered, that it was owing to another cause. 
I had put down my gun, and stepped into the water, to pre- 
pare a bed for my trap, while the others were busy in pre- 
paring theirs. Instantly the Indians raised a yell, and the 
quick report of guns ensued. This noise was almost 
drowned in the fierce shouts that followed, succeeded by a 
shower of arrows falling among us like hail. As we ran 
for the camp leaving all the horses in their power, we saw 
six Indians stealthily following our trail, as though they were 
tracking a deer. They occasionally stopped, raised them- 
selves, and surveyed every thing around them. We con- 
cealed ourselves behind a large cotton-wood tree, and 
waited until they came within a hundred yards of us. Each 
of us selected a separate Indian for a mark, and our signal 
to fire together was to be a whistle. The sign was given, 
and we fired together. My mark fell dead, and my com- 
panions' severely wounded. The other Indians seized their 
dead and wounded companions, and fled. 

We now rejoined our company, who were busily occupied 
in dodging the arrows, that came in a shower from the 
summit of the hill, where I had stationed myself to watch 
our horses. Discovering that they were too far from us, 
to be reached by our bullets, we retreated to the timber, in 
hopes to draw them down to the plain. But they had had 
too ample proofs of our being marksmen, to think of return- 
ing down to our level, and were satisfied to remain yelling, 
and letting fly their arrows at random. We found cause 
both for regret and joy; regret, that our horses were in their 
power, and joy, that their unprovoked attack had been 
defeated with loss to themselves, and none to us. 

At length they ceased yelling, and disappeared. We, on 



IO2 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

our part, set ourselves busily to work to fortify our camp for 
the night. Meanwhile our savage enemy devised a plan, 
which, but for the circumspection of my father, would have 
enabled [66] them to destroy us. They divided themselves 
into two parties, the one party mounted on horses, stolen 
from us, and so arranged as to induce the belief, that they 
constituted the whole party. They expected that we would 
pursue them, to recover our horses. As soon as we should 
be drawn out from behind our fortification, they had a 
reserve party, on foot, who were to rush in, between us and 
our camp, and thus, between two fires, cut us all off together. 
It so happened, that I had retired a little distance from the 
camp, in the direction of the ambush party on foot. I met 
them, and they raised a general yell. My father, supposing 
me surrounded, ran in the direction of the yell, to aid me. 
He, too, came in direct contact with the foot party, who let 
fly a shower of arrows at him, from which nothing but good 
providence preserved him. He returned the fire with his 
gun and pistols, by which he killed two of them, and the 
report of which immediately brought his companions to his 
side. The contest was a warm one for a few minutes, when 
the Indians fled. This affair commenced about three in 
the afternoon; and the Indians made their final retreat at 
five ; and the succeeding night passed without further moles- 
tation from them. 

In the morning of the 26th, we despatched two of our men 
to bring our traps and furs. We had no longer any way 
of conveying them with us, for the Indians had taken all our 
horses. We, however, in the late contest, had taken four of 
their's, left behind in the haste of their retreat. As our 
companions were returning to camp with the traps, which 
they had taken up to bury, they discovered the Indians, 
sliding along insidiously towards our camp. We were all 
engaged in eating our breakfast in entire confidence. Our 
men cried out to us, that the enemy was clpse upon us. We 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 103 

sprang to our arms. The Indians instantly fled to the top 
of the hill, which we had named battlehill. In a few minutes 
they were all paraded on the horses and mules stolen from 
us. They instantly began to banter us in Spanish to come 
up to them. One of our number who could speak Spanish, 
asked them to what nation they belonged ? They answered, 
Eiotaro. In return, they asked us, who we were? We 
answered Americans. Hearing this, they stood in apparent 
[67] surprise and astonishment for some moments. They 
then replied, that they had thought us too brave and too 
good marksmen, to be Spaniards; that they were sorry for 
what they had done, under the mistake of supposing us 
Spaniards. They declared themselves ready to make a 
treaty with us, provided that we would return the four 
horses, we had taken from them, and bring them up the hill, 
where they promised us they would restore us our own 
horses in exchange. We were at once impressed, that the 
proposal was a mere trick, to induce us to place ourselves in 
their power. We therefore answered their proposal by 
another, which was, that they should bring down our horses, 
and leave them by the pen, where they had taken them, and 
we in return would let their horses loose, and make friendship 
with them. They treated our proposal with laughter, which 
would have convinced us, had we doubted it before, that 
their only purpose had been to ensnare us. We accordingly 
faced them, and fired upon them, which induced them to 
clear themselves most expeditiously. 

We proceeded to bury our furs; and having packed our 
four horses with provisions and two traps, we commenced 
our march. Having travelled about ten miles, we encamped 
in a thicket without kindling a fire, and kept a strict guard 
all night. Next morning we made an early march, still 
along the banks of the river. Its banks are still plentifully 
timbered with cotton-wood and willow. The bottoms on 
each side afford a fine soil for cultivation. From these 



104 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

bottoms the hills rise to an enormous height, and their sum- 
mits are covered with perpetual snow. In these bottoms 
are great numbers of wild hogs, of a species entirely different 
from our domestic swine. They are fox-colored, with their 
navel on their back, towards the back part of their bodies. 
The hoof of their hind feet has but one dew-claw, and they 
yield an odor not less offensive than our polecat. Their 
figure and head are not unlike our swine, except that their 
tail resembles that of a bear. We measured one of their 
tusks, of a size so enormous, that I am afraid to commit my 
credibility, by giving the dimensions. They remain undis- 
turbed [68] by man and other animals, whether through fear 
or on account of their offensive odor, I am unable to say. 
That they have no fear of man, and that they are exceedingly 
ferocious, I can bear testimony myself. I have many times 
been obliged to climb trees to escape their tusks. We killed 
a great many, but could never bring ourselves to eat them. 
The country presents the aspect of having been once settled 
at some remote period of the past. Great quantities of 
broken pottery are scattered over the ground, and there are 
distinct traces of ditches and stone walls, some of them as 
high as a man's breast, with very broad foundations. A 
species of tree, which I had never seen before, here arrested 
my attention. 59 It grows to the height of forty or fifty feet. 
The top is cone shaped, and almost without foliage. The 
bark resembles that of the prickly pear; and the body is 
covered with thorns. I have seen some three feet in diam- 
eter at the root, and throwing up twelve distinct shafts. 
On the 291)1, we made our last encampment on this river, 
intending to return to it no more, except for our furs. We 
set our two traps for the last time, and caught a beaver in 
each. We skinned the animals, and prepared the skins 

M This is apparently the giant cactus (Cereus giganteus). The height to which 
it grows varies with the nature of the soil, the average being from twenty to thirty 
feet. ED. 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 105 

to hold water, through fear, that we might find none on our 
unknown route through the mountains to the Helay, from 
which we judged ourselves distant two hundred miles. 
Our provisions were all spoiled. We had nothing to carry 
with us to satisfy hunger, but the bodies of the two beavers 
which we had caught, the night before. We had nothing 
to sustain us in this disconsolate march, but our trust in 
providence; for we could not but foresee hunger, fatigue 
and pain, as the inevitable attendants upon our journey. 
To increase the depression of our spirits, our moccasins 
were worn out, our feet sore and tender, and the route full 
of sharp rocks. 

On the 3ist, we reached the top of the mountain, and 
fed upon the last meat of our beavers. We met with no 
traces of game. What distressed me most of all was, to 
perceive my father, who had already passed the meridian 
of his days, sinking with fatigue and weakness. On the 
morning of the first of April, [69] we commenced descending 
the mountain, from the side of which we could discern a plain 
before us, which, however, it required two severe days 
travel to reach. During these two days we had nothing 
either to eat or drink. In descending from these icy moun- 
tains, we were surprised to find how warm it was on the 
plains. On reaching them I killed an antelope, of which 
we drank the warm blood; and however revolting the 
recital may be, to us it was refreshing, tasting like fresh 
milk. The meat we put upon our horses, and travelled on 
until twelve o'clock, before we found water. 

Here we encamped the remainder of the day, to rest, and 
refresh ourselves. The signs of antelopes were abundant, 
and the appearances were, that they came to the water to 
drink; from which we inferred, that there was no other 
drinking place in the vicinity. Some of our hunters went 
out in pursuit of the antelopes. From the numbers of these 
animals, we called the place Antelope Plain. The land lies 



io6 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

very handsomely, and is a rich, black soil, with heavily 
timbered groves in the vicinity. 

On the morning of the 3d, though exceedingly stiff and 
sore, we resumed our march, and reaching the opposite side 
of the plain, encamped at a spring, that ran from the moun- 
tain. Next day we ascended this mountain to its summit, 
which we found covered with iron ore. At a distance we 
saw a smoke on our course. We were aware that it was the 
smoke of an Indian camp, and we pushed on towards it. 
In the evening we reached the smoke, but found it deserted 
of Indians. All this day's march was along a country 
abundant in minerals. In several places we saw lead and 
copper ore. I picked up a small parcel of ore, which I put 
in my shot-pouch, which was proved afterward to be an ore 
of silver. The misfortune of this region is, that there is no 
water near these mineral hills. We commenced our morning 
march half dead with thirst, and pushed on with the eager- 
ness inspired by that tormenting appetite. Late in the 
evening we found a little water, for our own drinking, in the 
bottom of a rock. Not a drop remained for our four horses, 
that evidently showed a thirst no less devouring than ours. 
[70] Their feet were all bleeding, and the moment we paused 
to rest ourselves, the weary companions of our journey 
instantly laid down. It went still more to my heart, to see 
my two faithful dogs, which had followed me all the 
way from my father's house, where there was always bread 
enough and to spare, looking to me with an expression, which 
a hunter in the desert only can understand, as though begging 
food and water. Full gladly would I have explained to 
them, that the sterile wilderness gave me no means of 
supplying their wants. 

We had scarcely commenced the next morning's march, 
when, at a little distance from our course, we saw a smoke. 
Supposing it an Indian camp, we immediately concluded to 
attack it. Adopting their own policy, we slipped onward 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 1 07 

in silence and concealment, until we were close by it. We 
found the persons women and children. Having no dis- 
position to harm them, we fired a gun over their heads, which 
caused them instantly to fly at the extent of their speed. 
Hunger knows no laws; and we availed ourselves of their 
provision, which proved to be mascal, and grass seed, of 
which we made mush. Scanty as this nutriment was, it was 
sufficient to sustain life. 

We commenced an early march on the 6th, and were 
obliged to move slowly, as we were bare-footed, and the 
mountains rough and steep. We found them either wholly 
barren, or only covered with a stinted growth of pine and 
cedar, live oak and barbary bushes. On the 8th, our pro- 
visions were entirely exhausted, and so having nothing to 
eat, we felt the less need of water. Our destitute and for- 
lorn condition goaded us on, so that we reached the Helay 
on the 1 2th. We immediately began to search for traces 
of beavers, where to set our traps, but found none. On the 
morning of the i3th, we killed a raven, which we cooked 
for seven men. It was unsavory flesh in itself, and would 
hardly have afforded a meal for one hungry man. The 
miserable condition of our company may be imagined, when 
seven hungry men, who had not eaten a full meal for ten 
days, were all obliged to breakfast on this nauseous bird. 
We were all weak and emaciated. But I was young [71] 
and able to bear hardships. My heart only ached for my 
poor father who was reduced to a mere skeleton. We moved 
on slowly and painfully, until evening, when we encamped. 
On my return from setting our two traps, I killed a buzzard, 
which, disagreeable as it was, we cooked for supper. In the 
morning of the i8th, I found one of the traps had caught an 
otter. 

This served for breakfast and supper. It seemed the 
means of our present salvation, for my father had become 
so weak, that he could no longer travel. We therefore 



io8 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

encamped early, and three of us went out to hunt deer among 
the hills. But in this sad emergency we could find none. 
When we returned, my father had prepared lots, that we 
should draw, to determine who of us should kill one of the 
dogs. I refused through fear that the lot would fall to me. 
These faithful companions of our sufferings were so dear to 
me, that I felt as though I could not allow them to be killed 
to save my own life ; though to save my father, I was aware 
that it was a duty to allow it to be done. 

We lay here until the i8th, my father finding the flesh of 
the dog both sweet, nutritive and strengthening. On the 
1 8th, he was again able to travel; and on the 2oth, we ar- 
rived at Bear creek, where we hid the bears oil, which we 
found unmolested. We lay here two days, during which 
time we killed four deer and some turkies. The venison 
we dried, and cased the skin of one of the deer, in which to 
carry our oil. We commenced an early march on the 23d, 
and on the 25th reached the river San Francisco, where we 
found our buried furs all safe. I suffered exceedingly from 
the soreness of my feet, giving me great pain and fever at 
night. We made from our raw deer skins a very tolerable 
substitute for shoes. The adoption of this important 
expedient enabled us to push on, so that we reached the 
Copper mines on the 29th. 

The Spaniards seemed exceedingly rejoiced, and welcomed 
us home, as though we were of their own nation, religion 
and kindred. They assured us, that they had no expectation 
ever to see us again. The superintendent of the mines, 
especially, who appeared to me a gentleman of the highest 
order, received [72] us with particular kindness, and supplied 
all our pressing wants. Here we remained, to rest and 
recruit ourselves, until the 2d of May. My father then 
advised me to travel to Santa Fe, to get some of our goods, 
and purchase a new supply of horses, with which to return, 
and bring in our furs. I had a horse, which we had taken 



1824-1830] Pattie s Personal Narrative 1 09 

from the Indians, shod with copper shoes, and in company 
with four of my companions, and the superintendent of the 
mines, I started for Santa Fe. The superintendent assured 
us, that he would gladly have furnished us horses; but the 
Appache Indians 60 had recently made an incursion upon 
his establishment, stealing all his horses, and killing three 
men, that were herding them. This circumstance had sus- 
pended the working of the mines. Besides he was unable 
to procure the necessary coal, with which to work them, 
because the Appaches way-laid the colliers, and killed them, 
as often as they attempted to make coal. 

We arrived at the house of the governor on the i2th. 
Jacova, his daughter, received us with the utmost affection; 
and shed tears on observing me so ill; as I was in fact re- 
duced by starvation and fatigue, to skin and bone. Beings 
in a more wretched plight she could not often have an 
opportunity to see. My hair hung matted and uncombed. 
My head was surmounted with an old straw hat. My legs 
were fitted with leather leggins, and my body arrayed in a 
leather hunting shirt, and no want of dirt about any part of 
the whole. My companions did not shame me, in com- 
parison, by being better clad. But all these repulsive 
circumstances notwithstanding, we were welcomed by the 
governor and Jacova, as kindly, as if we had been clad in a 
manner worthy of their establishment. 

We rested ourselves here three days. I had left my more 
decent apparel in the care of Jacova, when we started from 
the house into the wilderness on our trapping expedition. 
She had had my clothes prepared in perfect order. I once 
more dressed myself decently, and spared to my companions 
all my clothes that fitted them. We all had our hair trimmed. 

80 The Apache were long the scourge of New Mexico, Arizona, and northern 
Mexico. Living by plunder alone, they systematically robbed and killed Spaniards, 
Mexicans, and Americans. They belong to the Athabascan family, and comprise 
many tribes and sub-tribes. At present they number about six thousand souls, 
and are located on five different reservations. ED. 



1 1 o Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

All this had much improved our appearance. When we 
started [73] on the i5th, the old gentleman gave each of us 
a good horse, enabling us to travel at our ease. 

On the 1 8th we arrived at Santa Fe, where we immediately 
met some of our former companions. It hardly need be 
added, that the joy of this recognition was great and mutual. 
We found Mr. Pratte ill in bed. He expressed himself 
delighted to see me, and was still more desirous to see my 
father. He informed me, that four of the company that he 
had detached to trap, had been defeated by the Indians, 
and the majority of them killed. He had, also, despaired 
of ever seeing us again. I took a part of my goods, and 
started back to the mines on the 2ist. None of my com- 
panions were willing to accompany me on account of the 
great apprehended danger from the Indians between this 
place and the mines. In consequence, I hired a man to go 
with me, and having purchased what horses I wanted, we 
two travelled on in company. I would have preferred to 
have purchased my horses of the old governor. But I 
knew that his noble nature would impel him to give them to 
me, and felt reluctant to incur such an obligation. When I 
left his house, he insisted on my receiving a gold chain, in 
token of the perpetual remembrance of his daughter. I saw 
no pretext for refusing it, and as I received it, she assured me 
that she should always make mention of my father and me 
in her prayers. 

I left this hospitable place on the 24th, taking all my 
clothes with me, except the hunting shirt, which I had worn 
in the battle with the Commanches. This she desired to 
retain, insisting, that she wished to preserve this memorial 
to the day of her death. We arrived at the mines the first 
day of June, having experienced no molestation from the 
Indians. We continued here, making arrangements for 
our expedition to bring in the furs, until the 6th. The good 
natured commander gave us provisions to last us to the point 



1824-1830] Patties Personal Narrative 1 1 1 

where our furs were buried, and back again. Still more, 
he armed ten of his laborers, and detached them to accom- 
pany us. The company consisted of four Americans, the 
man hired at Santa Fe, and the commander's ten men, 
fifteen in all. 

[74] We left the mines on the yth, and reached Battle-hill 
on Beaver river on the 22d. I need not attempt to describe 
my feelings, for no description could paint them, when I 
found the furs all gone, and perceived that the Indians had 
discovered them and taken them away. All that, for which 
we had hazarded ourselves, and suffered every thing but 
death, was gone. The whole fruit of our long, toilsome and 
dangerous expedition was lost, and all my golden hopes of 
prosperity and comfort vanished like a dream. I tried to 
convince myself, that repining was of no use, and we started 
for the river San Francisco on the 2gth. Here we found the 
small quantity buried there, our whole compensation for a 
year's toil, misery and danger. We met no Indians either 
going or returning. 

We arrived at the mines the 8th of July, and after having 
rested two days proposed to start for Santa Fe. The com- 
mander, don Juan Unis, requested us to remain with him 
two or three months, to guard his workmen from the Indians, 
while pursuing their employment in the woods. He offered, 
as a compensation, a dollar a day. We consented to stay, 
though without accepting the wages. We should have con- 
sidered ourselves ungrateful, after all the kindness, he had 
rendered us at the hour of our greatest need, either to have 
refused the request, or to have accepted a compensation. 
Consequently we made our arrangements to stay. 

We passed our time most pleasantly in hunting deer and 
bears, of which there were great numbers in the vicinity. 
We had no other duties to perform, than to walk round in 
the vicinity of the workmen, or sit by and see them work. 
Most of my time was spent with don Juan, who kindly under- 



112 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

took to teach me to speak Spanish. Of him, having no other 
person with whom to converse, I learned the language easily, 
and rapidly. One month of our engagement passed off 
without any molestation from the Indians. But on the first 
day of August, while three of us were hunting deer, we dis- 
covered the trail of six Indians approaching the mines. 
We followed the trail, and within about a mile from the 
mines, we came up with them. [75] They fled, and we pur- 
sued close at their heels. Gaining upon them, one of them 
dodged us, into the head of a hollow. We surrounded him. 
As soon as he saw that we had discovered him, and that 
escape was impossible, he sprung on his feet, threw away 
his bow and arrows, and begged us most submissively not to 
shoot him. One of our men made up to him, while the other 
man and myself stood with our guns cocked, and raised to 
our faces, ready to shoot him, if he made the least motion 
towards his bow. But he remained perfectly still, crossing 
his hands, that we might tie them. Having done it, we 
drove him on before us. We had advanced about a hundred 
yards from the point where we took him, when he pointed 
out to us a hollow tree, intimating that there was another 
Indian concealed there. We bade him instruct his com- 
panion to make no resistance, and to surrender himself, or 
we would kill him. He explained our words to his com- 
panion hi the tree. He immediately came forth from his 
concealment with his bow, and we tied his hands in the same 
way as the other's. We marched them before us to the 
mines, where we put them in prison. The Spaniards, exas- 
perated with their recent cruelties and murders, would have 
killed them. We insisted that they should be spared, and 
they remained in prison until the next morning. 

We then brought them out of prison, conversed with them, 
and showed them how closely we could fire. We instructed 
one of them to tell his chief to come in, accompanied by all 
his warriors, to make peace. We retained one of the pris- 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 113 

oners as a hostage, assuring the other, that if his chief did 
not come in to make peace, we would put the hostage to 
death. In regard to the mode of making it, we engaged, 
that only four of our men should meet them at a hollow, 
half a mile from the mine. We enjoined it on him to bring 
them there within the term of four days. We readily discov- 
ered by the tranquil countenance of our hostage, that he 
had no apprehensions that they would not come in. 

Afterwards, by way of precaution, my father put in requi- 
sition all the arms he could find in the vicinity of the mines, 
with [76] which he armed thirty Spaniards. He then 
ordered a trench dug, at a hundred yard's distance from the 
point designated for the Indians to occupy. This trench 
was to be occupied by our armed men, during the time of 
the treaty, in case, that if the Indians should be insolent or 
menacing, these men might be at hand to overawe them, or 
aid us, according to circumstances. 

On the 5th, we repaired to the place designated, and in a 
short time, the Indians to the number of 80, came in sight. 
We had prepared a pipe, tobacco, and a council fire, and had 
spread a blanket, on which the chief might sit down. As 
soon as they came near us, they threw down their arms. 
The four chiefs came up to us, and we all sat down on the 
blanket. We commenced discussing the subject, for which 
they were convened. We asked them, if they were ready 
to make a peace with us; and if not what were the objec- 
tions? They replied, that they had no objections to a peace 
with the Americans, but would never make one with the 
Spaniards. When we asked their reasons, they answered 
that they had been long at war with the Spaniards, and that 
a great many murders had been mutually inflicted on either 
side. They admitted, that they had taken a great many 
horses from the Spaniards, but indignantly alleged, that a 
large party of their people had come in to make peace with 
the Spaniards, of which they pretended to be very 



114 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

desirous; that with such pretexts, they had decoyed the 
party within their walls, and then commenced butchering 
them like a flock of sheep. The very few who had escaped, 
had taken an unalterable resolution never to make peace 
with them. 'In pursuance,' they continued, 'of our pur- 
poses of revenge, great numbers of our nation went in among 
the Spaniards, and were baptized. There they remain faith- 
ful spies for us, informing us when and where there were 
favorable opportunities to kill, and plunder our enemies.' 

We told them in reply, that if they really felt disposed 
to be at peace with the Americans, these mines were now 
working jointly by us and the Spaniards; that it was wrong 
in them to revenge the crimes of the guilty upon the innocent, 
and that [77] these Spaniards had taken no part in the cow- 
ardly and cruel butchery, of which they had spoken; and 
that if they would not be peaceable, and allow us to work 
the mines unmolested, the Americans would consider them 
at war, and would raise a sufficient body of men to pursue 
them to their lurking places in the mountains; that they had 
good evidence that our people could travel in the woods and 
among the mountains, as well as themselves; and that we 
could shoot a great deal better than either they or the Span- 
iards, and that we had no cowards among us, but true men, 
who had no fear and would keep their word. 

The chiefs answered, that if the mines belonged to the 
Americans, they would promise never to disturb the people 
that worked them. We left them, therefore, to infer that 
the mines belonged to us, and took them at their word. We 
then lit the pipe, and all the Indians gathered in a circle 
round the fire. The four chiefs, each in succession made a 
long speech, in which we could often distinguish the terms 
Americans, and Espanola. The men listened with profound 
attention, occasionally sanctioning what was said by a nod 
of the head. We then commenced smoking, and the pipe 
passed twice round the circle. They then dug a hole in 



1824-1830] Puttie 1 s Personal Narrative 115 

the ground in the centre of the circle, and each one spat in 
it. They then rilled it up with earth, danced round it, and 
stuck their arrows in the little mound. They then gathered 
a large pile of stones over it, and painted themselves red. 
Such are their ceremonies of making peace. All the forms 
of the ceremony were familiar to us, except the pile of stones, 
and spitting in the hole they had dug, which are not prac- 
tised by the Indians on the American frontiers. We asked 
them the meaning of the spitting. They said, that they did 
it in token of spitting out all their spite and revenge, and 
burying their anger under the ground. 

It was two o'clock before all these ceremonies were fin- 
ished. We then showed them our reserve force in the trench. 
They evinced great alarm to see their enemies the Spaniards 
so close to them, and all ready for action. We explained to 
them, that we intended to be in good faith, if they were; and 
that these [78] men were posted there, only in case they 
showed a disposition to violence. Their fears vanished and 
tranquility returned to their countenances. The chiefs 
laughed, and said to each other, these Americans know how 
to fight, and make peace too. But were they to fight us, 
they would have to get a company entirely of their own 
people; for that if they took any Spaniards into their 
company, they would be sure to desert them in the time of 
action. 

We thence all marched to the mines, where we killed three 
beeves to feed the Indians. After they had eaten, and were 
in excellent humor, the head chief made a present to my 
father, of ten miles square of a tract of land lying on a river 
about three miles from the mines. It was very favorable for 
cultivation, and the Spaniards had several times attempted 
to make a crop of grain upon it ; but the Indians had as often 
either killed the cultivators, or destroyed the grain. My 
father informed them, that though the land might be his, he 
should be obliged to employ Spaniards to cultivate it for 



1 1 6 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

him ; and that, having made the land his, they must consider 
these cultivators his people, and not molest them. With a 
look of great firmness, the chief said 'that he was a man of 
truth, and had given his word, and that we should find that 
nothing belonging to the mines would be disturbed, for that 
he never would allow the treaty to be violated.' He went 
on to add, 'that he wanted to be at peace with us, because 
he had discovered, that the Americans never showed any 
disposition to kill, except in battle ; that they had had a proof 
of this in our not killing the two prisoners we had taken; 
but had sent one of them to invite his people to come in, and 
make peace with us, and that he took pleasure in making 
known to us, that they were good people too, and had no 
wish to injure men that did not disturb or injure them.' 

All this farce of bringing the Indians to terms of peace 
with this establishment was of infinite service to the Span- 
iards, though of none to us; for we neither had any interest 
in the mines, nor intended to stay there much longer. But 
we were glad to oblige don Juan who had been so great a 
benefactor [79] to us. He, on his part, was most thankful 
to us; for he could now work the mines without any risk of 
losing men or cattle. He could now raise his own grain, 
which he had hitherto been obliged to pack 200 miles, not 
without having many of those engaged in bringing it, either 
killed or robbed. The Indians now had so much changed 
their deportment as to bring in horses or cows, that they 
found astray from the mines. They regularly brought in 
deer and turkies to sell, which don Juan, to keep alive their 
friendship, purchased, whether he needed the articles or 
not. Every day more or less Indians came into the settle- 
ment to go and hunt deer and bears with us. They were 
astonished at the closeness of our shooting; and nothing 
seemed to delight them so much, as our telling them, we 
would learn them to shoot our guns. My father had the 
honor to be denominated in their language, t)ie big Captain. 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 117 

Don Juan, apprehending that the truce with the Indians 
would last no longer than while we staid, and that after our 
departure, the Indians would resume their former habits of 
robbery and murder, was desirous to retain us as long as 
possible. We agreed to stay until December, when our 
plan was to commence another trapping expedition on the 
Helay, following it down to its mouth. With every disposi- 
tion on the part of don Juan to render our stay agreeable, 
the time passed away pleasantly. On the i6th of September, 
the priest, to whose diocese the mines belonged, made a visit 
to the mines, to release the spirits of those who had died 
since his last visit, from purgatory, and to make Christians 
by baptising the little persons who had been born in the 
same time. 

This old priest, out of a reverend regard to his own person, 
had fled from this settlement at the commencement of the 
Indian disturbances; and had not returned until now, when 
the Indians had made peace. A body of Indians happened 
to be in, when the priest came. We were exceedingly 
amused with the interview between the priest and an Indian 
chief, who, from having had one of his hands bitten off by 
a bear, was called Mocho Mano. The priest asked the one 
handed chief, why [80] he did not offer himself for baptism ? 
Mocho remained silent for some time, as if ruminating an 
answer. He then said, 'the Appache chief is a very big 
rogue now. Should he get his crown sprinkled with holy 
water, it would either do him no good at all, or if it had any 
effect, would make him a greater rogue ; for that the priests, 
who made the water holy, and then went sprinkling it about 
among the people for money, were the biggest rogues of all.' 
This made the priest as angry as it made us merry. 

When we had done laughing, Mocho asked us, how we 
baptised among our people? I answered that we had two 
ways of performing it; but that one way was, to plunge the 
baptised person under water. He replied promptly, 'now 



1 1 8 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

there is some sense in that ; ' adding that when a great quan- 
tity of rain fell from the clouds, it made the grass grow ; but 
that it seemed to him that sprinkling a few drops of water 
amounted to nothing. 

The priest, meanwhile, prophesied, that the peace be- 
tween the Spaniards and Indians would be of very short 
duration. On the i8th, he left the mines, and returned to 
the place whence he had come. On the 2oth, we started 
with some Indian guides to see a mountain of salt, that they 
assured us existed in their country. We travelled a north- 
erly course through a heavily timbered country, the trees 
chiefly of pine and live oak. We killed a great number of 
bears and deer on the first day; and on account of their 
reverence for my father, they treated me as if I had been a 
prince. On the second we arrived at the salt hill, which is 
about one hundred miles north of the mines. The hill is 
about a quarter of a mile in length, and on the front side of it 
is the salt bluff, eight or ten feet in thickness. It has the 
appearance of a black rock, divided from the earthy matters, 
with which the salt is mixed. What was to me the most 
curious circumstance of the whole, was to see a fresh water 
spring boiling up within twenty feet from the salt bluff, which 
is a detached and solitary hill, rising out of a valley, which is 
of the richest and blackest soil, and heavily timbered [81] with 
oak, ash and black walnut. I remained here two days, 
during which I killed fifteen deer, that came to lick salt. 

An Indian woman of our company dressed all my deer 
skins, and we loaded two mules with the salt, and started 
back to the mines, where we arrived the first of October. 
Nothing could have been more seasonable or acceptable to 
don Juan, than the salt we brought with us. Having men- 
tioned these mines so often, perhaps it may not be amiss, 
to give a few details respecting them. Within the circum- 
ference of three miles, there is a mine of copper, gold and 
silver, and beside, a cliff of load stone. The silver mine 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 119 

is not worked, as not being so profitable, as either the copper 
or gold mines. 

We remained here to the last of December, when the 
settlement was visited by a company of French trappers, 
who were bound for Red river. 61 We immediately made 
preparations to return with them, which again revived the 
apprehensions of don Juan, that the Indians would break 
in upon the settlement as soon as we were gone, and again 
put an end to the working of the mines. To detain us 
effectually, he proposed to rent the mines to us for five years, 
at a thousand dollars a year. He was willing to furnish 
provisions for the first year gratis, and pay us for all the 
improvements we should make on the establishment. We 
could not but be aware, that this was an excellent offer. 
My father accepted it. The writings were drawn, and my 
father rented the establishment on his own account, selecting 
such partners as he chose. 

I, meanwhile, felt within me an irresistible propensity to 
resume the employment of trapping. I had a desire, which 
I can hardly describe, to see more of this strange and new 
country. My father suffered greatly in the view of my 
parting with him, and attempted to dissuade me from it. 
He strongly painted the dangers of the route, and represented 
to me, that I should not find these Frenchmen like my own 
country people, for companions. All was unavailing to 
change my fixed purpose, and we left the mines, January 2d, 
1826. 

We travelled down the river Helay, of which I have for- 
merly [82] given a description, as far as the point where we 
had left it for Battle-hill. Here, although we saw fresh 
Indian signs, we met with no Indians. Where we encamped 
for the night, there were arrows sticking in the ground. We 
made an early start on the i6th, and at evening came upon 

11 The Red is here used as one of the rather infrequent names for the Colo- 
rado. ED. 



1 20 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

the self same party of Indians, that had robbed us of our 
horses, the year past. Some of them had on articles of my 
father's clothes, that he had left where we buried our furs. 
They had made our beaver skins into robes, which we now 
purchased of them. While this bargain was transacting, I 
observed one of the Indians mounted on the self same horse, 
on which my father had travelled from the States. My 
blood instantly boiled within me, and, presenting my gun 
at him, I ordered him instantly to dismount. He immedi- 
ately did as I bade him, and at once a trepidation and alarm 
ran through the whole party. They were but twenty men, 
and they were encumbered with women and children. We 
were thirteen, well mounted and armed. The chief of the 
party came to me, and asked me, 'if I knew this horse ? ' I 
answered, that 'I did, and that it was mine.' He asked me 
again, 'if we were the party, whose horses and furs they had 
taken the year before ? ' I answered, that I was one of them, 
and that if he did not cause my furs and horses to be delivered 
up to me, we would kill them all on the spot. He imme- 
diately brought me 150 skins and three horses, observing, 
that they had been famished, and had eaten the rest, and 
that he hoped this would satisfy me, for that in the battle 
they had suffered more than we, he having lost ten men, 
and we having taken from them four horses with their sad- 
dles and bridles. I observed to him in reply, that he must 
remember that they were the aggressors, and had provoked 
the quarrel, in having robbed us of our horses, and attempt- 
ing to kill us. He admitted that they were the aggressors, 
in beginning the quarrel, but added, by way of apology, that 
they had thought us Spaniards, not knowing that we were 
Americans; but that now, when he knew us, he was willing 
to make peace, and be in perpetual friendship. On this we 
lit the pipe of peace, and smoked friends. I gave him some 
red [83] cloth, with which he was delighted. I then asked 
him about the different nations, through which our route 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 121 

would lead us? He named four nations, with names, as he 
pronounced them, sufficiently barbarous. All these nations 
he described as bad, treacherous and quarrelsome. 

Though it was late in the evening, we resumed our march, 
until we had reached the point where the river runs between 
mountains, and where I had turned back the year before. 
There is here little timber, beside musque to-wood, which 
stands thick. We passed through the country of the first two 
tribes, which the Indian chief had described to us, without 
meeting an individual of them. On the 25th, we arrived at an 
Indian village situated on the south bank of the river. Almost 
all the inhabitants of this village speak Spanish, for it is situ- 
ated only three days journey from a Spanish fort in the prov- 
ince of Sonora, 62 through which province this river runs. The 
Indians seemed disposed to be friendly to us. They are 
to a considerable degree cultivators, raising wheat, corn 
and cotton, which they manufacture into cloths. We left 
this village on the 25th, and on the 28th in the evening 
arrived at the Papawar village, the inhabitants of which 
came running to meet us, with their faces painted, and their 
bows and arrows in then* hands. We were alarmed at these 
hostile appearances, and halted. We told them that we were 
friends, at which they threw down their arms, laughing the 
while, and showing by their countenances that they were 
aware that we were frightened. We entered the village, and 
the French began to manifest their uncontrollable curiosity, 
by strolling about in every direction. I noted several crowds 
of Indians, collected in gangs, and talking earnestly. I 

42 The Mexican province of Sonora had then nearly the same boundaries as now, 
save for a northern strip the Gadsden Purchase which was transferred to 
Arizona in 1803. Along its northern frontier stretched a line of five forts, to pro- 
tect the ranches and villages from Apache raids. The tribe of Indians which 
behaved so treacherously towards the French companions of Pattie were the 
Papago (Papawar), who still inhabit this region, being herdsmen in southern 
Arizona and northern Sonora. See Bandelier, "Final Report of Investigations 
among the Indians of the Southwestern United States," American Archaeological 
Institute Papers, American Series, iii, pp. 250-252. ED. 



122 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

called the leader of my French companions, and informed 
him that I did not like these movements of the Indians, and 
was fearful that they were laying a plan to cut us all up. He 
laughed at my fears, telling me I was a coward. I replied, 
that I did not think that to be cautious, and on our guard, 
was to show cowardice, and that I still thought it best for 
us to start [84] off. At this he became angry, and told me 
that I might go when I pleased, and that he would go when 
he was ready. 

I then spoke to a Frenchman of our number, that I had 
known for a long time in Missouri; I proposed to him to 
join me, and we would leave the village and encamp by 
ourselves. He consented, and we went out of the village to 
the distance of about 400 yards, under the pretext of going 
there to feed our horses. When the sun was about half an 
hour high, I observed the French captain coming out 
towards us, accompanied by a great number of Indians, all 
armed with bows and arrows. This confirmed me in my 
conviction that they intended us no good. Expressing my 
apprehensions to my French companion, he observed in his 
peculiar style of English, that the captain was too proud and 
headstrong, to allow him to receive instruction from any 
one, for that he thought nobody knew any thing but himself. 

Agreeing that we had best take care of ourselves, we made 
us a fire, and commenced our arrangements for spending 
the night. We took care not to unsaddle our horses, but to 
be in readiness to be off at a moment's warning. Our French 
captain came and encamped within a hundred yards of us, 
accompanied by not less than a hundred Indians. They 
were all exceedingly officious in helping the party unpack 
their mules; and in persuading the captain, that there was 
no danger in turning them all loose, they promised that they 
would guard them with their own horses. This proposal 
delighted the lazy Frenchmen, who hated to go through the 
details of preparing for encampment, and had a particular 



1824-1830] Patties Personal Narrative 123 

dislike to standing guard in the night. The Indian chief 
then proposed to the captain to stack their arms against a 
tree, that stood close by. To this also, under a kind of spell 
of infatuation he consented. The Indian chief took a rope, 
and tied the arms fast to a tree. 

As I saw this, I told the captain that it seemed to me no 
mark of their being friendly, for them to retain their own 
arms, and persuade us to putting ours out of our power, and 
that one, who had known Indians, ought to be better ac- 
quainted with their character, than to encamp with them, 
without his men having [85] their own arms in their hand. 
On this he flew into a most violent passion, calling me, with 
a curse added to the epithet, a coward, wishing to God that 
he had never taken me with him, to dishearten his men, and 
render them insubordinate. Being remarkable neither for 
forbearance, or failing to pay a debt of hard words, I gave 
him as good as he sent, telling him, among other things no 
ways flattering, that he was a liar and a fool, for that none 
other than a fool would disarm his men, and go to sleep in 
the midst of armed savages in the woods. To this he replied, 
that he would not allow me to travel any longer in his com- 
pany. I answered that I was not only willing, but desirous 
to leave him, for that I considered myself safer in my own 
single keeping, than under the escort of such a captain, and 
that I estimated him only to have sense enough to lead 
people to destruction. 

He still continued to mutter harsh language in reply, as I 
returned to my own camp. It being now dusk, we prepared, 
and ate our supper. We had just finished it, when the head 
chief of the village came to invite us to take our supper with 
them, adding, by way of inducement, that they had brought 
some fine pumpkins to camp, and had cooked them for 
the white people. We told him, we had taken supper; and 
the more he insisted, the more resolutely we refused. Like 
the French captain, he began to abuse us, telling us we had 



1 24 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

bad hearts. We told him, that when with such people, we 
chose rather to trust to our heads than our hearts. He 
then asked us to let some of his warriors come and sleep with 
us, and share our blankets, alleging, as a reason for the 
request, that the nights were cold, and his warriors too poor 
to buy blankets. We told him, that he could easily see that 
we were poor also, and were no ways abundantly supplied 
with blankets, and that we should not allow them to sleep 
with us. He then marched off to the French camp, evidently 
sulky and in bad temper. While roundly rating us to the 
French captain, he gave as a reason why we ought not to 
sleep by ourselves, that we were in danger of being killed in 
the night by another tribe of Indians, with whom he was at 
war. 

[86] The captain, apparently more calm, came to us, and 
told us, that our conduct was both imprudent and improper, 
in not conciliating the Indians by consenting to eat with 
them, or allowing them to sleep with us. My temper not 
having been at all sweetened by any thing that had occurred 
since we fell out, I told him, that if he had a fancy to eat, or 
sleep with these Indians, I had neither power nor the will 
to control him; but that, being determined, that neither he 
nor they should sleep with me, he had better go about his 
business, and not disturb me with useless importunity. At 
this he began again to abuse and revile me, to which I 
made no return. At length, having exhausted his stock of 
epithets, he returned to his camp. 

As soon as we were by ourselves, we began to cut grass for 
our horses, not intending either to unsaddle, or let them 
loose for the night. My companion and myself were alike 
convinced, that some catastrophe was in reserve from the 
Indians, and seeing no chance of defending ourselves against 
an odds of more than twenty to one, we concluded, as soon 
as all should be silent in the camp, to fly. We packed our 
mules so as to leave none of our effects behind, and kept 



1824-1830] Pa ttie y s Personal Narrative 125 

awake. We remained thus, until near midnight, when we 
heard a fierce whistle, which we instantly understood to be 
the signal for an attack on the French camp. But a moment 
ensued, before we heard the clashing of war clubs, followed 
by the shrieks and heavy groans of the dying French, mingled 
with the louder and more horrible yells of these treacherous 
and blood thirsty savages. A moment afterwards, we heard 
a party of them making towards us. To convince them that 
they could not butcher us in our defenceless sleep, we fired 
upon them. This caused them to retreat. Convinced that 
we had no time to lose, we mounted our horses, and fled at 
the extent of our speed. We heard a single gun discharged 
in the Indian camp, which we supposed the act of an Indian, 
who had killed the owner. We took our direction towards a 
high mountain on the south side of the river, and pushed for 
it as fast as we thought our horses could endure to be driven. 
We reached the mountain at day break, [87] and made our 
way about three miles up a creek, that issued from the 
mountain. Here we stopped to refresh our horses, and let 
them feed, and take food ourselves. The passage of the 
creek was along a kind of crevice of the mountain, and we 
were strongly convinced that the Indians would not follow 
upon our trail further than the entrance to the mountain. 
One of us ascended a high ridge, to survey whatever might 
be within view. My companion, having passed nearly an 
hour in the survey, returned to me, and said he saw something 
on the plain approaching us. I ascended with him to the 
same place, and plainly perceived something black approach- 
ing us. Having watched it for some time, I thought it a 
bear. At length it reached a tree on the plain, and ascended 
it. We were then convinced, that it was no Indian, but a 
bear searching food. We could see the smokes arising from 
the Indian town, and had no doubt, that the savages were 
dancing at the moment around the scalps of the unfortunate 
Frenchmen, who had fallen the victims of their indolence 



1 26 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

and rash confidence in these faithless people. All anger 
for their abuse of me for my timely advice was swallowed up 
in pity for their fate. But yesterday these people were the 
merriest of the merry. What were they now? Waiting a 
few moments, we saw the supposed bear descend the tree, 
and advance directly to the branch on which we were en- 
camped. We had observed that the water of this branch, 
almost immediately upon touching the plain, was lost in the 
arid sand, and gave no other evidence of its existence, than 
a few green trees. In a moment we saw buttons glitter on 
this object from the reflected glare of the sun's rays. We 
were undeceived in regard to our bear, and now supposed it 
an Indian, decorated with a coat of the unfortunate French- 
men. We concluded to allow him to approach close enough 
to satisfy our doubts, before' we fired upon him. We lay 
still, until he came within fair rifle distance, when to our 
astonishment, we discovered it to be the French captain! 
We instantly made ourselves known from our perch. He 
uttered an exclamation of joy, and fell prostrate on the earth. 
Fatigue and [88] thirst had brought him to death's door. 
We raised him, and carried him to our camp. He was 
wounded in the head and face with many and deep wounds, 
the swelling of which had given him fever. I happened to 
have with me some salve, which my father gave me when I 
left the mines. I dressed his wounds. Having taken food, 
and sated his thirst, hope returned to him. So great was his 
change in a few hours, that he was able to move off with us 
that evening. In his present miserable and forlorn con- 
dition, I exercised too much humanity and forbearance to 
think of adverting to our quarrel of the preceding evening. 
Probably estimating my forbearance aright, he himself led 
to the subject. He observed in a tone apparently of deep 
compunction, that if he had had the good sense and good 
temper to have listened to my apprehensions and cautions, 
both he and his people might have been now gaily riding 



1824-1830] Pattie's Persona/ Narrative 1 27 

over the prairies. Oppressed with mixed feelings, I hardly 
knew what reply to make, and only remarked, that it was 
too late now to lament over what was unchangeable, and that 
the will of God had been done. After a silence of some time, 
he resumed the conversation, and related all the particulars 
of the terrible disaster, that had come to his knowledge. 
His own escape he owed to retaining a pocket pistol, when 
the rest of their arms were stacked. This he fired at an 
Indian approaching him, who fell, and thus enabled him to 
fly; not, however, until he had received a number of severe 
wounds from their clubs. I had not the heart to hear him 
relate what became of the rest of his comrades. I could 
easily divine that the treacherous savages had murdered 
every one. Feelings of deep and burning revenge arose in 
my bosom, and I longed for nothing so much as to meet with 
these monsters on any thing like terms of equality. About 
sunset we could distinctly discern the river bottom about five 
miles distant from us. When it became dark, we descried 
three fires close together, which we judged to be those of 
savages in pursuit of us. Like some white people, the 
Indians never forgive any persons that they have outraged 
and injured. We halted, and took counsel, what [89] was 
to be done. We concluded that my companion and myself 
should leave our wounded companion to take care of the 
horses, and go and reconnoitre the camp, in which were these 
fires, and discover the number of the Indiajis, and if it was 
great, to see how we could be most likely to pass them un- 
observed. When we had arrived close to the fires, we 
discovered a considerable number of horses tied, and only 
two men guarding them. We crawled still closer, to be 
able to discern their exact number and situation. 

In this way we arrived within fifty yards of their camp, and 
could see no one, but the two, any where in the distance. 
We concluded, that all the rest of the company were asleep 
in some place out of our view. We presumed it would not 



128 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

be long before some of them would awake, it being now ten 
at night. Our intention was to take aim at them, as they 
should pass between us and their fire, and drop them both 
together. We could distinctly hear them speaking about 
their horses. At length one of them called to the other, in 
English, to go and wake their relief guards. Words would 
poorly express my feelings, at hearing these beloved sounds. 
I sprang from my couching posture, and ran towards them. 
They were just ready to shoot me, when I cried a friend, a 
friend ! One of them exclaimed, 'where in God's name did 
you spring from.' 'You seem to have come out of the earth.' 
The surprise and joy upon mutual recognition was great on 
both sides. I gave him a brief sketch of the recent catas- 
trophe of our company, as we followed them to camp. The 
company was all roused and gathered round us, eagerly 
listening to the recital of our recent disaster. At hearing my 
sad story, they expressed the hearty sorrow of good and true 
men, and joined us in purposes of vengeance against the 
Indians. 

We were now thirty-two in all. We fired twelve guns, a 
signal which the wounded captain heard and understood, 
for he immediately joined us. We waited impatiently for 
the morning. As soon as it was bright dawn, we all formed 
under a genuine American leader, who could be entirely 
relied upon. [90] His orders were, that twenty should 
march in front of the pack horses, and twelve behind. In 
the evening we encamped within five miles of the Indian 
village, and made no fires. In the morning of the 3ist, we 
examined all our arms, and twenty-six of us started to attack 
the village . When we had arrived close to it, we discovered 
most fortunately, what we considered the dry bed of a creek, 
though we afterwards discovered it to be the old bed of the 
river, that had very high banks, and ran within a hundred 
yards of the village. In this bed we all formed ourselves 
securely and at our leisure, and marched quite near to the 



1824-1830] Patties Personal Narrative 129 

verge of the village without being discovered. Every man 
posted himself in readiness to fire. Two of our men were 
then ordered to show themselves on the top of the bank. 
They were immediately discovered by the Indians, who 
considered them, I imagine, a couple of the Frenchmen that 
they had failed to kill. They raised the yell, and ran towards 
the two persons, who instantly dropped down under the 
bank. There must have been at least 200 in pursuit. They 
were in a moment close on the bank. In order to prevent 
the escape of the two men, they spread into a kind of circle 
to surround them. This brought the whole body abreast 
of us. We allowed them to approach within twenty yards, 
when we gave them our fire. They commenced a precipitate 
retreat, we loading and firing as fast as was in our power. 
They made no pause in their village, but ran off, men, 
women and children, towards a mountain distant 700 yards 
from their village. In less than ten minutes, the village was 
so completely evacuated, that not a human being was to be 
found, save one poor old blind and deaf Indian, who sat 
eating his mush as unconcernedly as if all had been tranquil 
in the village. We did not molest him. 

We appropriated to our own use whatever we found in the 
village that we judged would be of any service to us. We 
then set fire to their wigwams, and returned to our camp. 
They were paid a bloody price for their treachery, for no 
of them were slain. At twelve we returned to the village in 
a body, and retook all the horses of the Frenchmen, that 
they had killed. [91] We then undertook the sad duty of 
burying the remains of the unfortunate Frenchmen. A sight 
more horrible to behold, I have never seen. They were 
literally cut in pieces, and fragments of their bodies scattered 
in every direction, round which the monsters had danced, 
and yelled. We then descended the river about a mile below 
the village, to the point where it enters the Helay from the 
north. It affords as much water at this point as the Helay. 



130 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

In the morning of the ist of February, we began to ascend 
Black river. 83 We found it to abound with beavers. It is 
a most beautiful stream, bounded on each side with high 
and rich bottoms. We travelled up this stream to the point 
where it forks in the mountains; that is to say, about 80 
miles from its mouth. Here our company divided, a part 
ascending one fork, and a part the other. The left fork 
heads due north, and the right fork north east. It was my 
lot to ascend the latter. It heads in mountains covered with 
snow, near the head of the left hand fork of the San Francisco. 
On the 1 6th, we all met again at the junction of the forks. 
The other division found that their fork headed in snow 
covered mountains, as they supposed near the waters of Red 
river. They had also met a tribe of Indians, who called 
themselves Mokee. 6 * They found them no ways disposed 
to hostility. From their deportment it would seem as if 
they had never seen white people before. At the report of 
a gun they fell prostrate on the ground. They knew no 
other weapon of war than a sling, and with this they had 

83 This river is still called the Black, but more frequently the Salt. It is a con- 
siderable fork of the Gila, uniting with it a short distance below Phoenix, Ari- 
zona. The left branch of the Salt is the Verde, the principal river of central 
Arizona. Pattie's geography is correct in describing the source of these two great 
streams. ED. 

84 The habitat of the Hopi Indians (the more commonly-used Moki is an oppro- 
brious nickname), has been the same for two hundred years a plateau in north- 
eastern Arizona, about fifty miles from the Little Colorado River. They are of 
Shoshonean stock, but became separated from their kindred and established them- 
selves in six pueblos, forming the Tusayan confederacy. A seventh village was 
later added, composed of Tanoan Indians from the Rio Grande. These pueblos 
were visited by Don Pedro de Tobar, a lieutenant of Coronado, in 1540. In 1599 
they gave their formal allegiance to Juan de Onate, who six years later again 
visited their country. They appear to have taken part in the rebellion of 1680, 
being reconquered in 1692-94. A delegation visited Santa F6 in 1700, and Garces 
is known to have travelled to their villages in 1776. With the rise of the Apache 
the Hopi were necessarily cut off from contact with the New Mexicans, which 
accounts for their surprise at the appearance of Pattie's comrades. For their 
present habits and customs, consult Bandelier, "Final Report," op. cit., iii, iv; 
also Bourke, Snake Dance of the Moquis of Arizona (New York, 1884). ED. 



1824-1830] Pattie' s Personal Narrative 131 

so much dexterity and power, that they were able to bring 
down a deer at the distance of 100 yards. 

We thence returned down the Helay, which is here about 
200 yards wide, with heavily timbered bottoms. We trapped 
its whole course, from where we met it, to its junction with 
Red river. The point of junction is inhabited by a tribe of 
Indians called Umene. 65 Here we encamped for the night. 
On the morning of the 26th, a great many of these Indians 
crossed the river to our camp, and brought us dried beans, 
for which we paid them with red cloth, with which they were 
delighted beyond [92] measure, tearing it into ribbands, and 
tieing it round their arms and legs; for if the truth must be 
told, they were as naked as Adam and Eve in their birth day 
suit. They were the stoutest men, with the finest forms I 
ever saw, well proportioned, and as straight as an arrow. 
They contrive, however, to inflict upon their children an 
artificial deformity. They flatten their heads, by pressing 
a board upon their tender scalps, which they bind fast by a 
ligature. This board is so large and light, that I have seen 
women, when swimming the river with their children, towing 
them after them by a string, which they held in their mouth. 
The little things neither suffered nor complained, but floated 
behind their mothers like ducks. 

At twelve we started up Red river, which is between two 
and three hundred yards wide, a deep, boldjstream, and the 

85 The Indians whom Pattie meets in this region the Mohave, on the Colo- 
rado, at the mouth of the Mohave River; the Yuma, or Cuchans, at the mouth of 
the Gila; the Cocopa near the mouth of the Colorado; and the Coco-Maricopa, 
or Maricopa, along the southern bank of the Gila are the principal members of 
the Yuman family, the three latter being originally united in a confederacy. They 
were generally hostile to Americans, and Forts Yuma and Mohave were erected to 
keep them in subjection. Early travellers frequently commented upon their 
physical beauty, but contact with the whites rapidly pauperized and debauched 
them. At present some fifteen hundred Mohave are located at the Colorado 
River and San Carlos reservations, in Arizona; the Yuma, to the number of about 
a thousand, are at the Mission Agency of California, and at San Carlos; and about 
three hundred Maricopa are living on the Pima reservation, in Arizona. ED. 



132 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

water at this point entirely clear. The bottoms are a mile 
in general width, with exceedingly high, barren cliffs. The 
timber of the bottoms is very heavy, and the grass rank and 
high. Near the river are many small lakes, which abound 
in beavers. 

March ist we came among a tribe of Indians, called Co- 
comarecopper. At sight of us they deserted their wigwams, 
one and all, and fled to the mountains, leaving all their effects 
at our discretion. Of course we did not meddle with any 
thing. Their corn was knee high. We took care not to let 
our horses injure it, but marched as fast as we could from 
their village, to deprive them of their homes [in] as little time 
as possible. About four miles above the town we encamped, 
and set our traps. About twelve next day it began to rain, 
and we pitched our tents. 

We had scarce kindled our fires, when 100 Indians came 
to our camp, all painted red in token of amity. They asked 
fire, and when we had given it, they went about 20 yards 
from us, and as the rain had been heavy and the air cool, 
they made a great fire, round which they all huddled. We 
gave them the bodies of six large fat beavers, which they 
cooked by digging holes in the ground, at the bottom of 
which they kindled fires, and on the fires threw the beavers 
which they covered with dirt. This dainty, thus prepared 
they greedily devoured, entrails [93] and all. Next morning, 
fearful that our guns might have experienced inconvenience 
from the rain, we fired them off to load them afresh. They 
were amazed and alarmed, to see us make, what they called 
thunder and lightning. They were still more startled, to see 
the bullet holes in the tree, at which we had aimed. We 
made signs to them, that one ball would pass through the 
body of two men. Some of our men had brought with them 
some scalps of the Papawars, the name of the tribe where our 
French captain lost his company. They informed us that 
they were at war with that tribe, and begged some of the 



1824-1830] P attic's Personal Narrative 133 

scalps to dance round. They were given them, and they 
began to cut their horrid anticks about it. 

Our traps had taken thirty beavers the last night. We 
gave them the meat of twenty, with which present they were 
delighted, their gratitude inducing them to manifest affection 
to us. They ate and danced all day and most of the night. 
On the morning of the 3d, they left us, returning to their 
camps. We resumed our march, and on the 6th arrived at 
another village of Indians called Mohawa. When we 
approached their village, they were exceedingly alarmed. 
We marched directly through their village, the women and 
children screaming, and hiding themselves in their huts. 
We encamped about three miles above the village. We had 
scarcely made our arrangements for the night, when 100 of 
these Indians followed us. The chief was a dark and sulky 
looking savage, and he made signs that he wanted us to give 
him a horse. We made as prompt signs of refusal. He 
replied to this, by pointing first to the river, and then at the 
furs we had taken, intimating, that the river, with all it con- 
tained, belonged to him; and that we ought to pay him for 
what we had taken, by giving him a horse. When he was 
again refused, he raised himself erect, with a stern and 
fierce air, and discharged his arrow into the tree, at the same 
time raising his hand to his mouth, and making their peculiar 
yell. Our captain made no other reply, than by raising his 
gun and shooting the arrow, as it still stuck in the tree, in 
two. The chief seemed bewildered with this mark of close 
[94] markmanship, and started off with his men. We had 
no small apprehensions of a night attack from these Indians. 
We erected a hasty fortification with logs and skins, but 
sufficiently high and thick, to arrest their arrows in case of 
attack. The night, contrary to our fears, passed without 
interruption from them. On the morning of the yth, the 
chief returned on horse back, and in the same sulky tone 
again demanded a horse. The captain bade him be off, in 



134 snarly western 1 ravels [Vol. 18 

a language and with a tone alike understood by all people. 
He started off on full gallop, and as he passed one of our 
horses, that was tied a few yards from the camp, he fired a 
spear through the animal. He had not the pleasure to 
exult in his revenge for more than fifty yards, before he fell 
pierced by four bullets. We could not doubt, that the 
Indians would attempt to revenge the death of their chief. 
After due consideration, we saw no better place in which to 
await their attack, than the one we now occupied. On the 
rear we were defended by the river, and in front by an open 
prairie. We made a complete breastwork, and posted 
spies in the limbs of the tall trees, to descry the Indians, if 
any approached us, while still at a distance. No Indians 
approached us through the day, and at night a heavy rain 
commenced falling. We posted sentinels, and secured our 
horses under the river bank. We kindled no fires, and we 
passed the night without annoyance. But at day break, 
they let fly at us a shower of arrows. Of these we took no 
notice. Perhaps, thinking us intimidated, they then raised 
the war whoop, and made a charge upon us. At the distance 
of 150 yards we gave them a volley of rifle balls. This 
brought them to a halt, and a moment after to a retreat, more 
rapid than their advance had been. We sallied out after 
them, and gave them the second round, which induced all, 
that were not forever stopped, to fly at the top of their speed. 
We had killed sixteen of then* number. We returned to our 
camp, packed, and started, having made a determination 
not to allow any more Indians to enter our camp. This 
affair happened on the gth. 

We pushed on as rapidly as possible, fearful that these red 
[95] children of the desert, who appear to inherit an equal 
hatred of all whites, would follow us, and attack us in the 
night. With timely warning we had no fear of them by day, 
but the affair of the destruction of the French company, 
proved that they might become formidable foes by night. 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 135 

To prevent, as far as might be, such accidents, we raised 
a fortification round our camp every night, until we con- 
sidered ourselves out of their reach, which was on the evening 
of the 1 2th. This evening we erected no breast- work, 
placed no other guard than one person to watch our horses, 
and threw ourselves in careless security round our fires. 
We had taken very little rest for four nights, and being 
exceedingly drowsy, we had scarcely laid ourselves down, 
before we were sound asleep. The Indians had still fol- 
lowed us, too far off to be seen by day, but had probably 
surveyed our camp each night. At about n o'clock this 
night, they poured upon us a shower of arrows, by which 
they killed two men, and wounded two more; and what 
was most provoking, fled so rapidly that we could not even 
give them a round. One of the slain was in bed with me. 
My own hunting shirt had two arrows in it, and my blanket 
was pinned fast to the ground by arrows. There were six- 
teen arrows discharged into my bed. We extinguished our 
fires, and it may easily be imagined, slept no more that night. 
In the morning, eighteen of us started in pursuit of them, 
leaving the rest of the company to keep camp and bury our 
dead. We soon came upon their trail, and reached them 
late in the evening. They were encamped, and making 
their supper from the body of a horse. They got sight of us 
before we were within shooting distance, and fled. We put 
spurs to our horses, and overtook them just as they were 
entering a thicket. Having every advantage, we killed a 
greater part of them, it being a division of the band that had 
attacked us. We suspended those that we had killed upon 
the trees, and left their bodies to dangle in terror to the rest, 
and as a proof, how we retaliated aggression. We then 
returned to our company, who had each received sufficient 
warning not to encamp in the territories [96] of hostile 
Indians without raising a breast- work round the camp. Red 
river at this point bears a north course, and affords an 



136 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

abundance of the finest lands. We killed plenty of mountain 
sheep and deer, though no bears. We continued our march 
until the i6th, without seeing any Indians. On that day 
we came upon a small party, of whom the men fled, leaving 
a single woman. Seeing herself in our power, she began to 
beat her breast, and cry Cowera, Cowera; from which we 
gathered, that she belonged to that tribe. We treated her 
kindly, and travelled on. On the 23d, we came to a village 
of the Shuena Indians. As we approached it, they came 
out and began to fire arrows upon us. We gave them in 
return a round of rifle balls. In the excitement of an attack, 
we laughed heartily to see these sons of the desert dodge, 
and skulk away half bent, as though the heavens were falling 
upon them. From their manner we inferred, that they were 
in fact wholly unacquainted with white people, or at least 
they never before heard the report of a gun. The whole 
establishment dispersed to the mountains, and we marched 
through the village without seeing any inhabitants, except 
the bodies of those we had killed. We had received more 
than one lesson of caution, and we moved on with great 
circumspection. But so much of our time was taken up hi 
defence and attacks, and fortifying our camps, that we had 
little leisure to trap. In order that our grand object should 
not be wholly defeated, we divided our men into two com- 
panies, the one to trap and the other to keep guard. This 
expedient at once rendered our trapping very productive. 
We discovered little change in the face of the country. The 
course of the river still north, flowing through a rich valley, 
skirted with high mountains, the summits of which were 
white with snow. 

On the 2 5th we reached a small stream, 68 emptying into 

M This is now known as Bill Williams's Fork. It is composed of two main 
branches, the Santa Maria and the Big Sandy, and drains west-central Arizona, 
uniting with the Colorado at the present Aubrey City. The villages just passed 
were probably those of the Coconino (properly Havasupai), a distinct Indian 
family, although speaking a Yuman dialect. See Bandelier, op. cit., iv, pp. 381- 
833. ED. 



1824-1830] Pattie' s Personal Narrative 1 37 

Red river through the east bank, up which we detached three 
men, each carrying a trap, to discover if beavers abounded 
in that stream. They were to return the next day, while we 
were engaged in shoeing our horses. The next day elapsed, 
but none returned. We became anxious about their fate; 
and on the [97] 27th, started to see what had become of them. 
At mid-day we found their bodies cut in pieces, and spitted 
before a great fire, after the same fashion which is used in 
roasting beaver. The Indians who had murdered them, saw 
us as we came on, and fled to the mountains, so that we had 
no chance of avenging the death of our unfortunate com- 
panions. We gathered the fragments of their bodies to- 
gether and buried them. With sadness in our hearts, and 
dejection on our countenances, we returned to our camp, 
struck our tents, and marched on. The temperature in 
this region is rather severe, and we were wretchedly clad to 
encounter the cold. 

On the 28th, we reached a point of the river where the 
mountains shut in so close upon its shores, that we were 
compelled to climb a mountain, and travel along the acclivity, 
the river still in sight, and at an immense depth beneath us. 67 
Through this whole distance, which we judged to be, as the 
river meanders, 100 leagues, we had snow from a foot to 
eighteen inches deep. The river bluffs on the opposite 
shore, were never more than a mile from us. It is perhaps, 



47 Pattie reaches at this point the fort of Black Canon, and traverses the southern 
bank of the canons of the Colorado for their entire length, a distance which he 
accurately estimates at three hundred miles.. Apparently the beauty and wonder 
of the great chasm did not appeal to the weary traveller. The canons of the Colo- 
rado were first visited by Garcia Lopez de Cardenas, of Coronado's party, in 1540. 
Again, in 1583, Antonio de Espejo reports his visit thither. It was two centuries 
before another white traveller is recorded as seeing the Grand Canon of the Colo- 
rado; and Pattie is apparently the first known American to traverse its banks. 
In 1857 Lieutenant Ives ascended in a steamer as far as Black Canon, and then 
proceeded overland to Grand Canon; twelve years later Major J. W. Powell 
descended the entire gorge in boats; see Dellenbaugh, Romance of the Colorado 
River (New York, 1902). The canons are now much frequented by tourists. 
See for example, Monroe, "Grand Canon of the Colorado," in Atlantic Monthly, 
1900. ED. 



138 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

this very long and formidable range of mountains, which has 
caused, that this country of Red river, has not been more 
explored, at least by the American people. A march more 
gloomy and heart- wearing, to people hungry, poorly clad, 
and mourning the loss of their companions, cannot be 
imagined. Our horses had picked a little herbage, and had 
subsisted on the bark of shrubs. Our provisions were run- 
ning low, and we expected every hour to see our horses 
entirely give out. 

April loth, we arrived where the river emerges from these 
horrid mountains, which so cage it up, as to deprive all human 
beings of the ability to descend to its banks, and make use of 
its waters. No mortal has the power of describing the 
pleasure I felt, when I could once more reach the banks of 
the river. Our traps, by furnishing us beavers,soon enabled 
us to renew our stock of provisions. We likewise killed 
plenty of elk, and dressed their skins for clothing. On the 
1 3th we reached another part of the river, emptying into the 
main river from the [98] north. Up this we all trapped two 
days. During this excursion we met a band of hostile 
Indians, who attacked us with an unavailing discharge of 
arrows, of whom we killed four. 

On the 1 5th, we returned to the banks of Red river, which 
is here a clear beautiful stream. We moved very slowly, 
for our beasts were too lean and worn down, to allow us to 
do otherwise. On the i6th we met with a large party of the 
Shoshonees, 68 a tribe of Indians famous for the extent of 
their wanderings, and for the number of white people they 
had killed, by pretending friendship to them, until they 
found them disarmed, or asleep. One of our company 
could speak their language, from having been a prisoner 
among them for a year. They were warmly clad with 

98 For the Shoshoni Indians, see Bradbury's Travels, our volume v, p. 227, note 
123. The river up which they trapped for two days was probably the Little 
Colorado, which comes in from the southeast. Pattie's "north" is a misprint for 
"south." ED. 



1824-1830] P attic's Personal Narrative 139 

buffaloe robes, and they had muskets, which we knew they 
must have taken from the white people. We demanded of 
them to give up the fire arms, which they refused. On this 
we gave them our fire, and they fled to the mountains, 
leaving their women and children in our power. We had no 
disposition to molest them. We learned from these women, 
that they had recently destroyed a company of French hun- 
ters on the head waters of the Platte. We found six of their 
yet fresh scalps, which so exasperated us, that we hardly 
refrained from killing the women. We took from them all 
the beaver skins which they had taken from the slain French, 
and five of their mules, and added to our provisions their 
stock of dried buffaloe meat. We had killed eight of their 
men, and we mortified the women excessively, by com- 
pelling them to exchange the scalps of the unfortunate 
Frenchmen for those of their own people. 

We resumed our march, and ascended the river to the 
point where it forked again, neither fork being more than 
from twenty-five to thirty yards wide. On the igth, we 
began to ascend the right hand fork, which pursues a N. E. 
course. 69 On the 23d, we arrived at the chief village of the 
Nabahoes, a tribe that we knew to be friendly to the whites. 
We enquired of them, if we could cross the Rocky Mountains 
best at the head of this fork or the other; and they informed 
us, that the mountains [99] were impassable, except by 
following the left hand fork. Knowing that they were at 
war with the Shoshonee, we let them know how many of 
them we had killed. With this they were delighted, and 
gave us eight horses, one for each man we had slain. They 
sent with us, moreover, ten Indians to point out to us the 
route, in which to cross the mountains. 

On the 25th, we started up the left hand fork, and arrived 

'* This was San Juan River, which heads in northwest New Mexico; entering 
southeastern Utah, it passes around the base of Mount Navaho, and unites with 
the Colorado in Kane County. It formed the northern boundary of the Navaho 
territory; see ante, note 41. ED. 



140 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

on the 3oth, in the country of the Pewee tribe, 70 who are 
friendly to the Nabahoes. Their chief village is situated 
within two days' travel of the low gap, at which we were to 
cross the mountains, at which gap we arrived on the first of 
May. 71 The crossing was a work, the difficulty of which 
may be imagined from the nature of the case and the char- 
acter of the mountains. The passage occupied six days, 
during which we had to pass along compact drifts of snow, 
higher than a man on horseback. The narrow path through 
these drifts is made by the frequent passing of buffaloes, of 
which we found many dead bodies in the way. We had 
to pack cotton-wood bark on the horses for their own eating, 
and the wood necessary to make fires for our cooking. 
Nothing is to be seen among these mountains, but bare 
peaks and perpetual snow. Every one knows, that these 
mountains divide between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. 
At the point where we crossed them, they run in a direction 
a little north of west, and south of east, further than the eye 
can reach. 

On the yth, we struck the south fork of the Platte, near 
Long's Peak, 72 and descended it five days. We then struck 
across the plain to the main Platte, on which we arrived on 
the 1 6th. In descending it we found the beavers scarce, 
for all these rivers had been thoroughly trapped. The river 
is skirted with only a few small willows, and the country is 

70 As they held possession of the mountains of Colorado, these were probably 
Paiutes. The numerous tribes of Ute are of Shoshonean stock; they extended 
along the Colorado River from California to its sources, and occupied nearly all 
of the present states of Utah and Nevada. ED. 

71 Pattie is not sufficiently definite for us to determine whether or not he crossed 
the divide by the now famous South Pass, which was already known to Rocky 
Mountain trappers. According to Coues (Henry-Thompson Journals, ii, p. 884), 
Stuart, Crooks, and four other Astorians discovered it on an overland journey 
from Astoria in 1812. The fur-trader Andrew Henry passed through it in 1823, 
but it was first made known to the world at large by John C. Fre"mont (1842), and 
is in consequence most often associated with his name. ED. 

72 For further information concerning Long's Peak, see James's Long's Expedi- 
tion, volume xv of our series, p. 271, note 126. ED. 



1824-1830] Patties Personal Narrative 141 

open prairie, entirely destitute of trees. We saw immense 
droves of elk, buffaloes, and white bears, which haunt the 
buffaloe range to prey upon those noble animals. We had 
the merriest sport imaginable, in chasing the buffaloes over 
these perfectly level plains, and shooting them with the 
arrows we had taken from the Indians [100] we had killed. 
I have killed myself, and seen others kill a buffaloe, with a 
single shot of an arrow. The bows are made with ribs of 
buffaloes, and drive the arrows with prodigious force. On 
the 2oth, we left this river and started for the Big Horn, 7 * 
a fork of the Yellow Stone, itself a considerable river of the 
Missouri. We reached the Big Horn on the 3ist, and found 
but few beavers. June 2d, we struck over towards the main 
Yellow Stone, 74 and on the 3d entered the country of the 
Flat Heads, who were entirely friendly. 75 We purchased 
some furs of them. They are Indians of exceedingly hand- 
some forms, were it not for the horrid deformity of their 
heads, which are transversely from ear to ear but a few 
inches in diameter, and in the other direction monstrous, 
giving them the appearance of wearing a military cap with 
all its plumage. This plumage is furnished by their matted 
tresses of hair, painted and skewered up to a high point. 
This monstrosity is occasioned by binding two pieces of 
board on each side of the head of the new-born infant, which 
is kept secure with bandages, until the child is three years 
old, at which time the head bones have acquired a firmness 
to retain their then shape during life. 

78 The Bighorn is one of the three largest tributaries of the Yellowstone. It 
rises in the Shoshone and Wind River Mountains, in Wyoming, and following a 
northerly course enters the Yellowstone at about 46 15' north latitude. At its 
mouth, Manuel Lisa established the first trading post on the Yellowstone (1807). 
One of its branches has become famous as the scene of the Custer massacre. ED. 

74 For the Yellowstone River, see Bradbury's Travels, volume v of our series, 
p. 100, note 68. ED. 

n A brief account of the Flathead Indians may be found in Franchere's Narra- 
tive, in our volume vi, p. 340, note 145. For the method of compressing the 
children's heads, consult illustration in Thwaites, Original Journals of the Lewis 
and Clark Expedition, iv. ED. 



142 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

On the nth, we reached the Yellow Stone, and ascended 
it to its head; and thence crossed the ridges of the Rocky 
Mountains to Clarke's fork of the Columbia. 79 But all 
these streams had been so much trapped, as to yield but few 
beavers. Clarke's fork is a hundred yards wide, a bold, 
clear, pleasant stream, remarkable for the number and 
excellence of its fish, and most beautiful country of fertile 
land on its shores. We ascended this river to its head, 
which is in Long's Peak, near the head waters of the Platte. 
We thence struck our course for the head waters of the 
Arkansas, on which we arrived July ist. Here we met a 
band of the Grasshopper Indians, who derive their name 
from gathering grasshoppers, drying them, and pulverizing 
them, with the meal of which they make mush and bread; 
and this is their chief article of food. They are so little 
improved, as not even to have furnished themselves with 
[101] the means of killing buffaloes. At sight of us, these 
poor two-legged animals, dodged into the high grass like so 
many partridges. 

We marched up this stream, trapping for the few beavers 
which it afforded. Its banks are scantily timbered, being 
only skirted with a few willows. On the 5th, we met a war 
party of the Black Foot Indians," all well mounted. As 
soon as they saw us, they came fiercely upon us, yelling as 

76 On the return journey of the Lewis and Clark expedition, Clark passed from 
the Bitterroot fork of Clark's branch of the Columbia, across the continental 
divide, through Gibbon's Pass, thence by way of Bozeman Pass and Jefferson and 
Gallatin rivers to the Yellowstone, reaching the latter near the present site of 
Livingston, Montana, about forty-five miles north of Yellowstone Park. See 
Thwaites, Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, v, p. 262. 

There is at this point some strange mistake or hiatus in Pattie's journal. Clark's 
Fork of the Columbia takes its rise in the Bitterroot Mountains, and does not 
flow within a thousand miles of Long's Peak; nor would the time allowed less 
than three weeks have admitted of so extensive a journey. The trappers must 
have become confused among the northern rivers, and returned on their steps up 
the North Fork of the Platte. ED. 

77 For the Blackfeet Indians, see Bradbury's Travels, volume v of our series, 
p. 225, note 120. ED. 



1824-1830] Patties Personal Narrative 143 

though the spirit of darkness had loaned them the voices of 
all his tenants. We dismounted, and as soon as they were 
within shooting distance, we gave them our fire, which they 
promptly returned. The contest was fierce for something 
more than 20 minutes, a part of the time not more than 50 
yards apart. They then retreated, and we mounted our 
horses, and gave them chase, though unavailingly, for their 
horses were as fleet as the wind, compared with ours. We 
soon desisted from so useless a pursuit, and returned to the 
battle ground. We found sixteen Blackfeet dead, and with 
infinite anguish, counted four of our own companions 
weltering in their blood. We buried them with sorrowful 
hearts, and eyes full of tears. Ah! Among those who live 
at home, surrounded by numerous relations and friends, 
in the midst of repose, plenty and security, when one of the 
number droops, and dies with sickness or age, his removal 
leaves a chasm that is not filled for years. Think how we 
must have mourned these brave men, who had shared so 
many dangers, and on whose courage and aid we had every 
day relied for protection. Here on these remote plains, far 
from their friends, they had fallen by the bloody arrow or 
spear of these red, barbarous Ishmaelites of the desert, but 
neither unwept nor unrevenged. Having performed the 
sad task of depositing the bodies of these once warm hearted 
friends in the clay, we ascended to the head of this river, and 
crossed the mountain that separates its waters from those of 
the Rio del Norte, which river we struck on the 2oth. We 
began to descend it, and on the 23d met a band of the Naba- 
hoes, who accompanied us [102] quite to their chief village. 
It will be seen, that all these streams upon which we have 
been trapping, rise from sources which interlock with each 
other, and the same range of peaks at very short distances 
from each other. These form the heads of Red river of the 
east, and the Colorado of the west, Rio del Norte, Arkansas, 
Platte, Yellow Stone, Missouri and Columbia. The village 



144 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

of these Indians is distant 50 miles from the Rio del Norte. 
We remained at it two days, and rested our horses, and 
refreshed ourselves. This tribe some years since had been 
at war with the Spanish, during which they plundered them 
of great numbers of horses, mules and cattle, which caused 
that they had now large stocks of these animals, together 
with flocks of sheep. They raise a great abundance of 
grain, and manufacture their wool much better than the 
Spanish. On the first of August we arrived at Santa Fe, 
with a fine amount of furs. Here disaster awaited us. The 
Governor, on the pretext that we had trapped without a 
license from him, robbed us of all our furs. We were 
excessively provoked, and had it not been from a sense of 
duty to our own beloved country, we would have redressed 
our wrongs, and retaken our furs with our own arms. 

Here I remained until the i8th, disposing of a part of my 
goods, and reserving the remainder for a trip which I con- 
templated to the province of Sonora. I had the pleasure once 
more of receiving the affectionate greeting of Jacova, who 
gave me the most earnest counsels to quit this dangerous 
and rambling way of life, and settle myself down in a house 
of my own. I thanked her for her kindness and good 
counsel, and promised to follow it, after rambling another 
year in the wilderness. Thence I went to the mines, where 
I had the inexpressible satisfaction again to embrace my 
dear father, whom I found in perfect health, and making 
money rapidly. I remained there three days, and, accom- 
panied with one servant, arrived in Hanas on the first of 
September. This is a small town situated in the province 
of Biscay, between the province of Sonora and New Mexico, 
in a direction S. W. from the copper mines. 78 

78 The province of Biscay was, properly speaking, Nueva Vizcaya. Originally 
extensive, and including Sonora, it by this time comprised only the present states 
of Chihuahua and Durango. Hanas is doubtless Janos (named for an Indian 
tribe), one of the fortified towns of Chihuahua, situated on the Casas Grandes 
River. ED. 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 145 

[103] The country is generally of that character, denomi- 
nated in Kentucky, barren. The soil is level and black. 
These people raise a great quantity of stock, such as horses, 
cows, sheep and goats. Their farming implements are 
clumsy and indifferent. They use oxen entirely in their 
agriculture. Their ploughs are a straight piece of timber, 
five feet long and eight inches thick, mortised for two other 
pieces of timber, one to be fitted to the beam, by which the 
oxen draw, and another to the handle, by which the man 
holds the plough. The point that divides the soil, is of wood, 
and hewed sloping to such a point, that a hollow piece of 
iron is fastened on it at the end. This is one inch thick, and 
three inches broad at top, and slopes also to a point. 

Their hoes, axes and other tools are equally indifferent; 
and they are precisely in such a predicament, as might be 
expected of a people who have no saw mills, no labor saving 
machinery, and do every thing by dint of hard labor, and are 
withal very indolent and unenterprising. 

I amused myself at times with an old man, who daily fell 
in my way, who was at once rich and to the last degree a 
miser; and yet devotedly attached to the priests, who were 
alone able to get a little money out of him. He often spoke 
to me about the unsafeness of my religion. Instead of 
meeting his remarks with an argument, I generally affronted 
him at once, and then diverted myself with his ways of 
showing his anger. I told him that his priest treated him 
as the Spanish hostlers do their horses. He asked me to 
explain the comparison. I observed, 'you know how the 
hostler in the first place throws his lasso over the mule's 
neck. That secures the body of the beast. Next the 
animal is blindfolded. That hinders his seeing where he 
is led. Next step he binds the saddle safe and fast. Then 
the holy father rigs his heels with spurs. Next come spur 
and lash, and the animal is now restive to no purpose. There 
is no shaking off the rider. On he goes, till the animal under 



146 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

him dies, and both go to hell together!' At this he flew 
into such a violent rage, as to run at me with his knife. I 
dodged out of his [104] way, and appeased him by con- 
vincing him that I was in jest. The rich, in their way of 
living, unite singular contrasts of magnificence and meanness. 
For instance, they have few of the useful articles of our 
dining and tea sets, but a great deal of massive silver plate, 
and each guest a silver fork and spoon. The dining room 
is contiguous to the kitchen. A window is thrown open, 
and the cook hands a large dish through the window to a 
servant, who bears it to the table. The entertainer helps 
himself first, and passes the dish round to all the guests. 
Then another and another is brought on, often to the num- 
ber of sixteen. All are savored so strong with garlic and 
red pepper, that an American at first cannot eat them. The 
meat is boiled to such a consistency that a spoon manages it 
better than a knife. At the close of the dinner they bring 
in wine and cigars, and they sit and smoke and drink wine 
until drowsiness steals upon them, and they go to bed for 
their siesta. They sleep until three in the afternoon, at 
which time the church bell tolls. They rise, take a cup of 
chocolate, and handle the wine freely. This short affair 
over, they return and sit down on the shaded side of the 
house, and chatter like so many geese till night, when they 
divide, a part to mass, and a part to the card table, where 
I have seen the poor, betting their shirts, hats and shoes. 
The village contains 700 souls. 

On the 6th, I departed from this town, travelling a west 
course through a most beautiful country, the plains of 
which were covered with domestic animals running wild. 
On the 8th I arrived at the foot of the mountain, that divides 
the province of Sonora from Biscay. I slept at a country 
seat, where they were making whiskey of a kind of plantain, 
of which I have spoken before, which they called Mascal 
(Maguey). Here were assembled great numbers of Spaniards 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 1 47 

and Indians. They were soon drunk, and as a matter of 
course, fighting with knives and clubs. In the morning, 
two Spaniards and one Indian were found dead. Late 
in the morning, a file of soldiers arrived, and took the sus- 
pected murderers to prison. 

In the morning I commenced climbing the mountain 
before [105] me, and in the evening arrived at a small town 
in Sonoro, called Barbisca; 79 situated on the bank of a most 
beautiful little stream, called lago, which discharges itself 
into the Pacific ocean, near the harbor of Ymus. Its banks 
are not much timbered, nor is the soil uncommonly good. 
The morning of the gth was a great religious festival, or 
famous Saint's day, which collected a vast crowd of people. 
After breakfast and mass, the image of the virgin Mary 
was paraded round the public square in solemn procession, 
during which there was a constant crash of cannon and small 
arms. Then an old priest headed a procession, bearing the 
image of Christ, nailed to a cross. After these images were 
returned to their church, they brought into a square en- 
closure, strongly fenced for that purpose, a wild bull, which 
they threw down, tied and sharpened its horns. The tops 
of the houses were all covered with people to see the spectacle 
that was performing. The bull was covered with red cloth, 
and two men entered the enclosure, each holding in the 
right hand a bundle of sky rockets, and in the left a red 
handkerchief. The rockets were lashed to a stick a foot 
long, in the end of which was a small nail, a half an inch 
long, with a beard at the end, like that of a fish hook. They 
then untied the fierce animal. No sooner was he on his 
feet, than he sprang at one of his assailants, who avoided 
his attack, by dextrously slipping aside, and as the animal 

79 The mountains crossed were the Sierra Madre. Bavispe (Barbisca) was a 
presidio in the northeastern part of Sonora; it is situated on the river of the same 
name, one of the main forks of the Yaqui, the largest Sonoran river, which follows 
a southwest course and falls into the Gulf of California below Port-Guaymas. 
The village was destroyed by an earthquake in May, 1887. ED. 



148 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

darted by him, stuck in his neck two small rockets, one on 
each side. The other assailant then gave a sharp whistle 
to draw the infuriated animal upon him. The bull snorted 
and dashed at him. He dodged the animal in the same 
manner, as the other had done, and left sticking in his fore- 
head, as he passed, a garland of artificial flowers, made of 
paper, beautifully cut and painted, and large enough to 
cover his whole forehead. In this way they kept alternately 
driving him this way and that, sticking rockets in him as he 
dashed by them, until he was covered with eight or ten, 
clinging to his neck and shoulders. They then touched the 
crackers with a lighted match. Words would not paint the 
bull's expressions of rage and terror, as he bounded round 
the enclosure, covered with fire, [106] and the rockets every 
moment discharging like fire arms. After this, a man 
entered with a small sword. The bull bellowed and darted 
at him. As the bull dropped his head to toss him, he set 
his feet upon the horns, and hi a twinkling, thrust his sword 
between the shoulder blades, so as to touch the spinal marrow. 
The animal dropped as dead as a stone. The drum and 
fife then struck up, as a signal for the horsemen to come and 
carry off the dead animal, and bring in a fresh one. All 
this was conducted with incredible dispatch. In this way 
seven bulls were successively tortured to death, by footmen. 
After this, four men entered on horseback, equipped with 
spears in the shape of a trowel, and a handle four feet long. 
With this spear in the one hand, and a noose in the other, 
they gallopped round the bull. The bull immediately made 
at the horsemen passing him, who moved just at such a pace, 
as not to allow the bull to toss the horse. The horseman 
then couched his spear backwards, so as to lay it on the 
bull's neck. The bull instantly reared and tossed, and in 
the act forced the spear between his fore shoulders, so as 
to hit the spinal marrow. If the spear is laid rightly, and 
the animal makes his accustomed motions, he drops instantly 



1824-1830] Paifie's Personal Narrative 149 

dead. But to do this requires infinite dexterity and fearless- 
ness. If the man be clumsy, or of weak-nerves, he is apt 
to fail in couching the spear right, in which case, as a matter 
of course, the horse is gored, and it is ten to one that the man 
is slain. In this way fourteen bulls were killed, and with 
them, five horses and one man, during this festival. At 
night commenced gambling and card playing, and both as 
fiercely pursued as the bull fighting. This great feast lasted 
three days, during which, as the people were in a very pur- 
chasable humor, I sold a number of hundred dollar's worth 
of my goods. 

On the morning of the i2th, I left this place, and in the 
evening arrived at a small town called Vassarac, and re- 
mained there one day. The country in the vicinity is well 
timbered and very hilly. The woods are full of wild cattle 
and horses. On the i3th, I travelled through a fine rich 
country, abounding with cattle, and arrived in the evening 
at a town called Tepac, [107] situated on a small creek, near 
a mountain, in which there is a gold mine worked by the 
lago Indians, 80 a nation formerly under the protection of an 
old priest. He attempted to practice some new imposition 
upon them, and they killed him some years ago. On this 
the Spaniards made war upon them, and the conflict was 
continued some years. They lost the best and bravest of 
their men, and the remnant were obliged to submit to such 
terms as the Spaniards saw fit to impose. They were either 
condemned to the mines, or to raise food for those who 
wrought them. 

I remained in this town three days, and purchased gold 



80 The Yaquis Indians, living along the Yaqui River, have been difficult to keep 
in subjection; they revolted in 1740, and again in 1825. At present constituting 
the laboring class of Sonora, although living apart from whites, in their own 
villages, they are much employed in the gold mines, in which Sonora abounds, 
being one of the richest mining districts in the world. The mine described by 
Pattie was evidently near the present village of Tepache, northeast of the centre 
of the state, which is still strewn with abandoned shafts. ED. 



150 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

in bars and lumps of the Indians, at the rate of ten dollars 
per ounce. The diggings seldom exceed twenty feet in 
depth. Most of the gold is found on the surface after hard 
rains. Their mode of extracting the gold from the earth 
with which it is mixed, or the stone in which it is imbedded, 
is this. The stone is pulverised or ground, still keeping the 
matter wet. It is carefully mixed with mercury, and 
kneaded with the hands, until the water is separated from 
the mass, and the mercury is perfectly incorporated with it. 
This process is repeated, until the water runs off perfectly 
clear. They then grind or triturate the mass anew until all 
the particles of earthy matter are washed away. The 
remaining matter is amalgam, of the color of silver, and the 
consistency of mush. They then put it into a wet deer skin, 
and strain the mercury by pressure through the pores of the 
skin. The gold is left, still retaining enough mercury to give 
it the color of silver. The coarse way of managing it after- 
wards, is to put it in the fire, and evaporate all the mercury 
from it, and it is then pure virgin gold. There is a more 
artificial way of managing it, by which the mercury is saved. 

This province would be among the richest of the Mexican 
country, if it were inhabited by an enlightened, enterprising 
and industrious people. Nothing can exceed the indolence 
of the actual inhabitants. The only point, in which I ever 
saw them display any activity, is in throwing the lasso, and 
in horsemanship. In this I judge, they surpass all other 
people. Their great [108] business and common pursuit, 
is in noosing and taming wild horses and cattle. 

On the 1 5th, I left this place and travelled through a coun- 
try well timbered and watered, though the land is too broken 
to be cultivated, and in the evening arrived in a town called 
Varguacha. This is a place miserably poor, the people 
being both badly fed and clothed. But their indolence alone 
is in fault. The land in the immediate vicinity of the town 
is good, and the woods teem with wild cattle. But they 



1824-1830] Pattie' s Personal Narrative 151 

are too lazy to provide more meat than will serve them from 
day to day. On the iyth I continued my course through a 
beautiful country, thinly settled by civilized Indians, who 
raise sugar cane and abundance of stock. They are obvi- 
ously more enterprising and industrious than the Spaniards. 
Approaching the shore of the great Pacific, I found the 
country more level and better settled. Some rich and noble 
sugar farms lay in my view. 

On the 22d I arrived in Patoka, which is a considerable 
town, and the capital of this province. 81 It is two day's 
travel hence to Ymus. The people here seemed to me more 
enlightened, and to have a higher air of civilization than 
any I had seen in the whole country. It probably results 
from the intercourse they have with foreigners, from their 
vicinity to the Pacific. Most of them are dressed in the 
stile of the American people. Their houses are much 
better furnished, and the farmers are supplied with superior 
farming utensils, compared with any thing I saw in the 
interior. The chief manufactures are soap and sugar, the 
latter of an inferior quality, I imagine, in consequence of 
the clumsy mode of manufacturing it. From the port of 
Ymus they also export considerable quantities of tallow 
and hides, for which the farmers are repaid in merchandize 
at an enormous advance. A great many horses and mules 
are driven from the interior to this port. Many also are 
taken to the American states. The price of mules in this 
province is from three to four dollars a head. 

I remained here until I had disposed of all my goods. On 
the 26th, I left this town, and travelled on to port Ymus, 
at which [109] I arrived on the 28th, and first saw the waters 
of the vast Pacific. 82 I spent a day here on board an Amer- 

81 Sonora has had several capitals, and it is uncertain to which Pattie here 
refers. The present executive town is Hennosillo, on the Sonora River. Its 
earlier rival was Ures, some miles up the same river. ED. 

M Pattie sees here the Gulf of California, whose principal port is still Guaymas, 
with a population of about five thousand five hundred. ED. 



152 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

lean ship, the master of which was surprised at the account 
I gave of myself, and would hardly believe that I had travelled 
to this place from the United States. I was equally amazed 
at hearing him relate the disasters which had befallen him 
at sea. On the 2pth, I left this port, and travelled a N. W. 
course, through a country full of inhabitants, and abounding 
in every species of fruit. Snow never falls, although the 
general temperature is not so warm but that woollen gar- 
ments may be worn. To add to its advantages, it is very 
healthy. On the yth of October, I arrived at a town called 
Oposard. The population amounts to about 8000 souls. 
I here became acquainted with one of my own countrymen, 
married to a Spanish woman. He informed me, that he 
had been in this country thirty years, eight of which he had 
spent in prison. The sufferings he endured from the Span- 
iards were incredible; and I internally shuddered, as he 
related, lest I, in travelling through the country might fall 
into similar misfortunes. As some palliation of their cruelty, 
he observed, that he was made prisoner at the period when 
the revolution was just commencing in that country. 83 At 
that time the Inquisition was still in force, and committed 
many a poor mortal to the flames, for his alleged heresy. 
He assured me, that he should have met the same fate, had 
he not become a member of their church. He afterwards 
married a lady, who had gained his affections by being kind 
to him in prison. 

I remained with this man two days, and on the third 
resumed my journey, travelling an easterly course, and part 
of the time over a very rough country. I met no inhabitants, 
but Indians, who were uniformly friendly. On the loth, I 



81 The Mexican revolt against Spain began with the rising of Hidalgo in 1810, 
and was carried on with varying success until apparently quelled in 1817. 
But the Spanish revolution of 1820 was the signal for a new and successful out- 
break, and Mexico became independent the following year. ED. 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 153 

arrived at the mines of Carrocha, 84 which were in the prov- 
ince of Chihuahua, situated between two mountains, and 
considered the richest silver mines in New Mexico. There 
are about 800 miners working this mine, and they have 
advanced under ground at least half a mile. On the i2th, 
I started for the capital, and reached it on the i6th, passing 
over great tracts of good and bad land, all [no] untilled, and 
most of it an uninhabited wilderness. This city is the 
next largest in New Mexico. 85 It is the largest and hand- 
somest town I had ever seen, though the buildings are not so 
neat and well arranged as in our country. The roofs are 
flat, the walls well painted, and the streets kept very clean. 
Here they smelt and manufacture copper and silver, and 
several other metals. They have also a mint. The terms 
of their currency are very different from ours. They count 
eight rials, or sixteen four pence half pennies, to the dollar. 
Their merchandize is packed from Ymus, or Mexico. 

I have heard much talk about the Splendid churches in 
this city. It is for others, who think much of such immense 
buildings, wrung from the labors of the poor, to describe 
them. For my part, having said it is a large and clean town, 
I present a result of their institutions and manners, which 
I considered the more important sort of information. Dur- 

84 These were probably the mines of Cosihuiriachi, located in the Sierra de 
Metates, about ninety miles west of the capital of Chihuahua. Accidentally 
discovered at the end of the eighteenth century, they became highly profitable, 
the number of persons living there in Spanish times being estimated at ten thou- 
sand. As in the case of the copper mines, the plundering of the Apache caused a 
decline, and by 1850 most of them had been abandoned. For further details, see 
Wislizenus, "A Tour to Northern Mexico" (Senate Misc., 30 Cong., i sess., 26, pp. 
51-53). ED. 

81 Chihuahua, the capital of the state of that name, is attractively situated in a 
valley of the Sierra Madre Mountains, about a hundred miles west of the Rio 
Grande River. It was settled about 1691, the population being considerably 
greater in Spanish than in Mexican times. The most noteworthy building is the 
cathedral, perhaps the richest and most beautiful in Mexico. A second large 
church was begun by the Jesuits, but never completed; it served as a prison for 
the patriot Hidalgo before his execution. See Wislizenus, op. cit., pp. 60-63. ED. 



154 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

ing a stay of only three days here, ten dead bodies were 
brought into town, of persons who had been murdered in 
the night. Part of the number were supposed to have been 
killed on account of having been known to carry a great deal 
of money with them, and part to have had a quarrel about 
some abandoned women. This last is a most common 
occasion of night murders, the people being still more 
addicted to jealousy, and under still less restraints of law, 
than in old Spain, in the cities of which, assassinations from 
this cause are notoriously frequent. 

I asked my informant touching these matters, if there was 
no police in the city? He answered, that the forms of the 
law were complete, and that they had a numerous guard, 
and that it was quite as likely they committed the murders 
themselves, as not. I came to the same conclusion, for in a 
small and regular city like this, it was impossible that so 
many guards, parading the streets by night, should not be 
aware of the commission of such deeds, and acquainted with 
the perpetrators. No inquest of any sort was held over the 
bodies. They were, however, paraded through the streets 
to beg money to pay the priests for performing funeral rites 
at their burial. This excited in me [in] still more disgust, 
than the murders. I expressed myself in consequence, with 
so much freedom, in regard to this sort of miserable im- 
position, as to give great offence to my host, who, like most 
of the people, was rigidly devoted to the religion of the 
church. On the evening of i6th, I left this city, and trav- 
elled through a fine country, thickly inhabited by shepherds, 
who live in small towns, and possess a vast abundance of 
stock. It is well watered, but thinly timbered. The most 
magnificent part of the spectacle is presented in the lofty 
snow covered mountains, that rise far in the distance, and 
have their summits lost in the clouds, glistening in indescrib- 
able brilliance in the rays of the rising and setting sun. 

The road at this time was deemed to be full of robbers, 



1824-1830] Patties Personal Narrative 155 

and very dangerous. I was so fortunate as to meet with 
none. On the i8th, I arrived at a small town, called San 
Bueneventura, 86 which is surrounded with a wall. In fact, 
most of the considerable villages are walled. They are 
called in Spanish, Presidio, the English of which is, a garri- 
son. In the forenoon, I crossed a small river called Rio 
Grande, 87 and travelled down this stream all day, the banks 
of which were thickly settled, and in high cultivation, with 
wheat, corn and barley. On the 22d, I arrived at a village 
called Casas Grandes, or the Great Houses. 88 On the 23d, 
I pursued an east course towards Passo del Norte, situated 
on the banks of the Rio del Norte. I travelled over a very 
rough country with some high mountains, inhabited by a 
wandering tribe of the Appache Indians, that live by seizing 
their opportunities for robbery and murder among the 
Spaniards, riding off upon the stolen horses, to the obscure 
and almost inaccessible fastnesses of their mountains, where 
they subsist upon the stolen horseflesh. 

I know not, whether to call the Passo del Norte, a settle- 
ment or a town. 89 It is in fact a kind of continued village, 
extending eight miles on the river. Fronting this large 

86 San Buenaventura was originally a Franciscan mission about a hundred and 
eighty miles northeast of Chihuahua. It was frequently disturbed by Apache 
attacks, and about 1775 was moved a short distance and made one of the frontier 
presidios. ED. 

87 From its location this river would seem to be the Santa Maria, a small stream 
which rises in the mountains south of San Buenaventura, and flowing northward 
loses itself in a lake not far from El Paso. ED. 

88 Casas Grandes is a short distance south of Janos (see ante, note 78). Near 
the Mexican village are the famous ruins of large, several-storied dwellings built 
by an Indian tribe that has passed away. Evidence of a canal which conveyed the 
water supply is also to be seen, and at some distance from the cluster of buildings 
is a kind of watch-tower. Similar ruins have been discovered in Arizona, all the 
work of Pueblo Indians, although of a tribe having attained a somewhat higher 
culture than those of to-day. See Bandelier, ' ' Final Report," iv, pp. 544-575. ED. 

89 The town of El Paso dates from about 1680, when the Spanish were driven 
out of Santa Fe" by the great Pueblo revolt. For Indian, trapper, trader, and miner 
it has been a gateway between the Atlantic and Pacific river systems. Its name 
arose from the fact that there the Rio del Norte emerges from the mountains to the 
plains. The modern El Paso, Texas, is across the river from the old town. ED. 

\ 



156 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

group of houses, is a nursery of the fruit trees, of almost all 
countries and climes. It has a length of eight miles and a 
breadth of nearly three. I was struck with the magnificent 
vineyards of this place, from [112] which are made great 
quantities of delicious wine. The wheat fields were equally 
beautiful, and the wheat of a kind I never saw before, the 
stalks generally yielding two heads each. The land is 
exceedingly rich, and its fertility increased by irrigation. 

On the 28th, I started for the Copper mines, wrought by 
my father. This day my course led me up the del Norte, 
the bottoms of which are exceedingly rich. At a very short 
distance from the Passo, I began to come in contact with grey 
bears, and other wild animals. At a very little distance on 
either side are high and ragged mountains, entirely sterile of 
all vegetation. I had no encounter with the bears, save in 
one instance. A bear exceedingly hungry, as I suppose, 
came upon my horses as I was resting them at mid-day, 
and made at one of them. I repaid him for his impudence 
by shooting him through the brain. I made a most delicious 
dinner of the choice parts of his flesh. My servant would 
not touch it, his repugnance being shared by great numbers 
in his condition. It is founded on the notion, that the bear 
is a sort of degenerated man, and especially, that the entrails 
are exactly like those of human beings. 

On the 3oth, I struck off from the del Norte, and took my 
course for the Copper mines directly over the mountains, 
among which we toiled onward, subsisting by what we 
packed with us, or the product of the rifle, until the nth of 
November, when I had once more the satisfaction of em- 
bracing my father at the Copper mines. He was in perfect 
health, and delighted to see me again. He urged me so 
earnestly to remain with him, though a stationary life was 
not exactly to my taste, that I consented from a sense of 
filial duty, and to avoid importunity. I remained here until 
the first of December, amusing myself sometimes by hunting, 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 157 

and sometimes by working in the gold mine, an employment 
in which I took much pleasure. 

In a hunting excursion with a companion who was an 
American, he one morning saw fit to start out of bed, and 
commence his hunt while I was yet asleep in bed. He had 
scarcely advanced a league, before he killed a deer on the 
top of a high ridge. He was so inadvertent, as to commence 
skinning the animal, before [113] he had re-loaded his rifle. 
Thus engaged, he did not perceive a bear with her cubs, 
which had advanced within a few feet of him. As soon as 
he saw his approaching companion, without coveting any 
farther acquaintance, he left deer and rifle, and ran for his 
life. He stopped not, until he arrived at the mines. The 
bear fell to work for a meal upon the deer, and did not pur- 
sue him. We immediately started back to have the sport 
of hunting this animal. As we approached the ridge, where 
he had killed the deer, we discovered the bear descending 
the ridge towards us. We each of us chose a position, and 
his was behind a tree, which he could mount, in case he 
wounded, without killing her. This most ferocious and 
terrible animal, the grizzly or grey bear, does not climb at 
all. I chose my place opposite him, behind a large rock, 
which happened to be near a precipice, that I had not 
observed. Our agreement was to wait until she came 
within 30 yards, and then he was to give her the first fire. 
He fired, but the powder being damp, his gun made long 
fire, whence it happened that he shot her too low, the ball 
passing through the belly, and not a mortal part. She made 
at him in terrible rage. He sprang up his tree, the bear 
close at his heels. She commenced biting and scratching 
the tree, making, as a Kentuckian would phrase it, the lint 
fly. But finding that she could not bite the tree down, and 
being in an agony of pain, she turned the course of her attack, 
and came growling and tearing up the bushes before her, 
towards me. My companion bade me lie still, and my own 



158 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

purpose was to wait until I could get a close fire. So I 
waited until the horrible animal was within six feet of me. 
I took true aim at her head. My gun flashed in the pan. 
She gave one growl and sprang at me with her mouth open. 
At two strides I leapt down the unperceived precipice. My 
jaw bone was split on a sharp rock, on which my chin struck 
at the bottom. Here I lay senseless. When I regained 
recollection, I found my companion had bled me with the 
point of his butcher knife, and was sitting beside me with 
his hat full of water, bathing my head and face. It was 
perhaps an hour, before I gained full recollection, [114] so as 
to be able to walk. My companion had cut a considerable 
orifice in my arm with his knife, which I deemed rather 
supererogation; for I judged, that I had bled sufficiently at 
the chin. 

When I had come entirely to myself, my companion pro- 
posed that we should finish the campaign with the bear. I, 
for my part, was satisfied with what had already been done, 
and proposed to retreat. He was importunate, however, 
and I consented. We ascended the ridge to where he had 
seen the bear lie down in the bushes. We fixed our guns 
so that we thought ourselves sure of their fire. We then 
climbed two trees, near where the bear was, and made a 
noise, that brought her out of her lair, and caused her to 
spring fiercely towards our trees. We fired together, and 
killed her dead. We then took after the cubs. They were 
three in number. My companion soon overtook them. 
They were of the size of the largest rackoons. These imps 
of the devil turned upon him and made fight. I was in too 
much pain and weakness to assist him. They put him to all 
he could do to clear himself of them. He at length got 
away from them, leaving them masters of the field, and 
having acquired no more laurels than I, from my combat 
with my buffaloe calf. His legs were deeply bit and scratched, 
and what was worse, such was the character of the affair, he 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 159 

only got ridicule for his assault of the cubs. I was several 
weeks in recovering, during which time, I ate neither meat 
nor bread, being able to swallow nothing but liquids. 

The country abounds with these fierce and terrible animals, 
to a degree, that in some districts they are truly formidable. 
They get into the corn fields. The owners hear the noise, 
which they make among the corn, and supposing it occasioned 
by cows and horses that have broken into the fields, they rise 
from their beds, and go to drive them out, when instead of 
finding retreating domestic animals, they are assailed by the 
grizzly bear. I have been acquainted with several fatal 
cases of that sort. One of them was a case, that intimately 
concerned me. lago, my servant, went out with a man to 
get a load of [115] wood. A bear came upon this man and 
killed him and his ass in the team. A slight flight of snow had 
fallen. Some Spaniards, who had witnessed the miserable 
fate of their companion, begged some of us to go and aid 
them in killing the bear. Four of us joined them. We 
trailed the bear to its den, which was a crevice in the bluff. 
We came to the mouth and fired a gun. The animal, con- 
fident in his fierceness, came out, and we instantly killed it. 
This occurred in New Mexico. 

This stationary and unruffled sort of life had become 
unendurable, and with fifteen Americans, we arranged a 
trapping expedition on the Pacos. 90 My father viewed my 
rambling propensities with stern displeasure. He had taken 
in a Spanish superintendent, who acted as clerk. This 
person had lived in the United States from the age of 18 to 
30, and spoke English, French and Spanish. This man 
arranged the calculations, and kept the accounts of my 

90 This is not the Pacos (Pecos), previously mentioned by Pattie (see ante, note 
49), but the Puerco, a western tributary of the Rio del Norte. Puerco was also 
a common, though mistaken name, for the Pecos, hence the confusion. The 
Puerco is a narrow, shallow stream, about seventy-five miles in length, which, 
rising in the mountains west of Santa F6 and flowing southward, unites with the 
Rio del Norte a few miles above Socorro. ED. 



160 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

father's concerns, and had always acted with intelligence 
and fidelity. The concern was on the whole prosperous; 
and although I felt deep sorrow to leave my father against 
his wishes, I had at least the satisfaction to know, that I 
was of no other use to him, than giving him the pleasure 
of my society. 

On the yth, our company arrived on the del Norte, and 
crossed it in the evening to the eastern shore. On the eve- 
ning of the 8th, we struck the Pacos about twenty miles 
above its junction with the del Norte. This day's travel was 
through a wild and precipitous country, inhabited by no 
human being. We killed plenty of bears and deer, and 
caught some beavers. On the Qth, we began to ascend the 
river through a rich and delightful plain, on which are to be 
seen abundance of deserted sheep folds, and horse pens, 
where the Spanish vachers once kept their stock. The con- 
stant incursions of the Indians compelled this peaceful 
people to desert these fair plains. Their deserted cottages 
inspired a melancholy feeling. This river runs from N. E. 
to S. W. and is a clear, beautiful stream, 20 yards wide, with 
high and dry bottoms of a black and rich soil. The moun- 
tains run almost parallel to the river, and at the distance of 
[116] eight or ten miles. They are thickly covered with 
noble pine forests, in which aspen trees are intermixed. 
From their foot gush out many beautiful clear springs. On 
the whole, this is one of the loveliest regions for farmers 
that I have ever seen, though no permanent settlements 
could be made there, until the murderous Indians, who live 
in the mountains, should be subdued. 

We advanced slowly onward, until the i$th, without 
meeting any Indians. At day break of this day, our senti- 
nels apprized us, that savages were at hand. We had just 
time to take shelter behind the trees, when they began to let 
their arrows fly at us. We returned them the compliment 
with balls, and at the first shot a number of them fell. They 



p 



a* 

o 
c 

3 

O- 

a 




1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 163 

remained firm and continued to pour in their arrows from 
every side. We began to find it exceedingly difficult to 
dodge them, though we gave them some rounds before any 
one of our men was struck. At length one man was pierced, 
and they rushed forward to scalp him. I darted from 
behind my tree to prevent them. I was assailed by a per- 
fect shower of arrows, which I dodged for a moment, and 
was then struck down by an arrow in the hip. Here I 
should have been instantly killed, had not my companions 
made a joint fire at the Indians, who were rushing upon me, 
by which a number of them were laid dead. But the agony 
of my pain was insupportable, for the arrow was still fast 
in my hip. A momentary cessation of their arrows enabled 
me to draw out the arrow from my hip, and to commence 
re-loading my gun. I had partly accomplished this, when 
I received another arrow under my right breast, between 
the bone and the flesh. This gave me less pain than the 
other shot, and finding I could not by any effort extract the 
arrow, I snapped it off, and finished loading my gun. The 
Indian nearest me fell dead, and I hobbled off, glad to be 
once more sheltered by a tree. My companions were not 
slow in making their rules crack, and in raising mutual cheers 
of encouragement. The Indians were vastly our superiors 
in numbers, and we found it convenient to slip under the 
river bank. We were now completely sheltered [117] from 
their arrows. After we had gained this security, they stood 
but a few shots more, before they fled, leaving their dead 
and wounded at our mercy. Truth is, we were too much 
exasperated to show mercy, and we cut off the heads of all, 
indiscriminately. 

Our loss was one killed, and two wounded, another beside 
myself though neither of us dangerously. The Indians had 
28 killed. Luckily our horses were on an island in the river, 
or we should have lost every one of them. Our only loss 
of property was a few blankets, which they took, as they fled 



164 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

by our camp. During the 20 minutes that the contest lasted, 
I had a fragment of an arrow fast in my breast, and the spike 
of the other in my hip. I suffered, it may be imagined, 
excruciating pain, and still severer pain during the operation 
of extraction. This operation, one of my companions under- 
took. He was some minutes in effecting it. The spike 
could not be entirely extracted from my hip, for being of 
flint, it had shivered against the bone. 

The Indians that attacked us, were a tribe of the Mus- 
callaros, 91 a very warlike people, although they have no other 
arms except bows and arrows, which are, however, the most 
powerful weapons of the kind. They are made of an elastic 
and flexible wood, backed with the sinews of a buff aloe or 
elk. Their arrows are made of a species of reed grass, and 
are very light, though easily broken. In the end is stuck a 
hard piece of wood, which is pointed by a spike of flint an 
inch in length, and a quarter of an inch in width, and ground 
to the sharpest point. The men, though not tall, are ad- 
mirably formed, with fine features and a bright complexion 
inclining to yellow. Their dress is a buckskin belt about 
the loins, with a shirt and moccasins to match. Their long 
black hair hangs in imbraided masses over their shoulders, 
in some cases almost extending to the heels. They make 
a most formidable appearance, when completely painted, 
and prepared for battle. 

On the 1 6th, having made our arrangements for departure, 
I applied my father's admirable salve to my two severe 
wounds, [118] and to my companion's slight wound in the 
arm, and we both felt able to join our companions in their 
march. We travelled all this day and the following night a 
west course, and the following day, without stopping longer 



91 The Mescalero were among the most treacherous and murderous tribes of 
the Apache. Their favorite haunts were the mountains bordering the Rio del 
Norte on the east. Some five hundred of them are now on the Mescalero reserva- 
tion in New Mexico. ED. 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 165 

than was necessary to take a little food. After this we 
stopped and rested ourselves and horses all night. I need 
not attempt to describe the bitter anguish I endured, during 
this long and uninterrupted ride. It will be only necessary 
to conceive my situation to form a right conception of it. 
Our grand object had been to avoid another contest with the 
Muscallaros. In the evening we fell in with a party of the 
Nabahoes, who were now out on an expedition against the 
Muscallaros, who had recently killed one of their people, 
and against whom they had sworn immediate revenge. We 
showed the manifest proof of the chastisement they had 
received from us. Never had I seen such frantic leaps and 
gestures of joy. The screams and yells of exultation were 
such as cannot be imagined. It seemed as though a whole 
bedlam had broke loose. When we told them that we had lost 
but one man, their screams became more frantic still. Their 
medicine man was then called, and he produced an emollient 
poultice, the materials of which I did not know but the effect 
was that the anguish of our wounds was at once assuaged. 
By the application of this same remedy, my wounds were 
quite healed in a fortnight. 

The scalps, which some of our number had taken from 
the Muscallaros, were soon erected on a pole by the Naba- 
hoes. They immediately commenced the fiercest dancing 
and singing I had yet seen, which continued without inter- 
ruption three days and nights. During all this time, we 
endured a sort of worship from them, particularly the 
women. They were constantly presenting us with their 
favorite dishes, served in different ways, with dried berries 
and sweet vegetables, some of which, to people in our con- 
dition, were really agreeable. 

In size and complexion these people resemble the Muscal- 
laros, and their bows and arrows are similar; though some of 
the latter have fire arms, and their dress is much superior. 
[119] Part of their dress is of the same kind with that of the 



1 66 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

former, though the skins are dressed in a more workmanlike 
manner, and they have plenty of blankets of their own 
manufacturing, and constituting a much better article than 
that produced by the Spaniards. They dye the wool of 
different and bright colors, and stripe them with very neat 
figures. The women are much handsomer, and have 
lighter complexions than the men. They are rather small in 
stature, and modest and reserved in their behaviour. Their 
dress is chiefly composed of skins made up with no small 
share of taste; and showily corded at the bottom, forming 
a kind of belt of beads and porcupine quills. They are 
altogether the handsomest women I have seen among the 
red people, and not inferior in appearance to many Spanish 
women. Their deportment to our people, was a mixture 
of kindness and respect. 

On the 2ist, we started back to the river, accompanied by 
the whole party of Nabahoes, who assured us that they 
would guard us during the remainder of our hunt. We 
returned to the river through a beautiful and level country, 
most of it well timbered and watered. On our return we 
killed several bears, the talons of which the Indians took for 
necklaces. On the 26th, we arrived at our battle ground. 
The view of the bodies of the slain, all torn in pieces by wild 
beasts, inexpressibly disgusting to us, was equally a spectacle 
of pleasure to our red friends. We pointed out the grave 
of our companion. They all walked in solemn procession 
round it, singing their funeral songs. As they left it, every 
one left a present on the grave; some an arrow, others meat, 
moccasins, tobacco, war-feathers, and the like, all articles of 
value to them. These simple people believe that the spirit 
of the deceased will have immediate use for them in the life 
to come. Viewing their offerings in this light, we could not 
but be affected with these testimonies of kind feeling to a 
dead stranger. They then gathered up the remains of their 
slaughtered enemies, threw them in a heap, and cut a great 



1824-1830] Patties Personal Narrative 167 

quantity of wood, which they piled over the remains. They 
then set fire to the wood. We struck our tents, [i 20] marched 
about five miles up the river, set our traps, and encamped 
for the night. But the Nabahoes danced and yelled through 
the night to so much effect, as to keep all the beavers shut up 
in their houses, for, having been recently trapped, they were 
exceedingly cautious. 

On the morning of the 27th, we informed them why we 
had taken no beavers, and during the following night they 
were perfectly quiet. We marched onward slowly, trapping 
as we went, until we reached the Spanish settlements on this 
river. On New Year's eve, January ist, 1827, the Spaniards 
of the place gave a fandango, or Spanish ball. All our 
company were invited to it, and went. We appeared before 
the Alcalde, clad not unlike our Indian friends; that is to 
say, we were dressed in deer skin, with leggins, moccasins 
and hunting shirts, all of this article, with the addition of 
the customary Indian article of dress around the loins, and 
this was of red cloth, not an article of which had been washed 
since we left the Copper Mines. It may be imagined that we 
did not cut a particular dandy-like figure, among people, 
many of whom were rich, and would be considered well 
dressed any where. Notwithstanding this, it is a strong proof 
of their politeness, that we were civilly treated by the ladies, 
and had the pleasure of dancing with the handsomest and 
richest of them. When the ball broke up, it seemed to be 
expected of us, that we should each escort a lady home, in 
whose company we passed the night, and we none of us 
brought charges of severity against our fair companions. 

The fandango room was about forty by eighteen or 
twenty feet, with a brick floor raised four or five feet above 
the earth. That part of the room in which the ladies sat, 
was carpetted with carpetting on the benches, for them to 
sit on. Simple benches were provided for the accommo- 
dation of the gentlemen. Four men sang to the music of a 



1 68 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

violin and guitar. All that chose to dance stood up on the 
floor, and at the striking up of a certain note of the 
music, they all commenced clapping their hands. The 
ladies then advanced, one by one, and stood facing then- 
partners. The dance then changed to a waltz, each [121] 
man taking his lady rather unceremoniously, and they 
began to whirl round, keeping true, however, to the music, 
and increasing the swiftness of their whirling. Many of 
the movements and figures seemed very easy, though we 
found they required practise, for we must certainly have 
made a most laughable appearance in their eyes, in attempt- 
ing to practise them. Be that as it may, we cut capers with 
the nimblest, and what we could not say, we managed by 
squeezes of the hand, and little signs of that sort, and passed 
the time to a charm. 

The village, in which was this ball, is called Perdido, or 
the lost town, probably from some circumstances in its 
history. It contains about 500 souls and one church. The 
bishop was present at this ball, and not only bestowed his 
worshipful countenance, but danced before the Lord, like 
David, with all his might. The more general custom of the 
ladies, as far as I observed, is to sit cross legged on the floor 
like a tailor. They are considerably addicted to the industry 
of spinning, but the mode has no resemblance to the spinning 
of our country. For a wheel, they have a straight stick about 
a foot long, rounded like the head of a spool. In the middle 
of the stick is a hole, through which the stick is fastened. 
Their mode of spinning with this very simple instrument 
reminded me strongly of the sport of my young days, spinning 
a top, for they give this spinning affair a twirl, and let it run 
on until it has lost its communicated motion to impart it 
anew. This shift for a spinning wheel they call necataro. 
They manufacture neither cotton nor wool into cloth, and 
depend altogether on foreign trade for their clothing. The 
greatest part of this supply comes over land from the United 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 169 

States. On the 2d, we started for San Tepee, through a 
country generally barren, though abounding in water. We 
saw plenty of bears, deer and antelope. Some of the first 
we killed, because we needed their flesh, and others we 
killed for the same reason that we were often obliged to kill 
Indians, that is, to mend their rude manners, in fiercely 
making at us, and to show them that we were not Spaniards, 
to give them the high sport of seeing us run. We arrived in 
the above named town [122] on the 5th, and sold our furs. 
Here I met again some of the companions who came with 
me in the first instance from the United States. I enquired 
about others, whom I held in kind remembrance. Some 
had died by lingering diseases, and others by the fatal ball 
or arrow, so that out of 116 men, who came from the United 
States in 1824, there were not more than sixteen alive. Most 
of the fallen were as true men, and as brave as ever poised a 
rifle, and yet in these remote and foreign deserts found not 
even the benefit of a grave, but left their bodies to be torn by 
the wild beasts, or mangled by the Indians. When I heard 
the sad roll of the dead called over, and thought how often I 
had been in equal danger, I felt grateful to my Almighty 
Benefactor, that I was alive and in health. A strong per- 
ception of the danger of such courses as mine, as shown by 
the death of these men, came over my mind, and I made a 
kind of resolution, that I would return to my home, and never 
venture into the woods again. Among the number of my 
fallen companions, I ought not to forget the original leader 
of our company, Mr. Pratte, who died in his prime, of a 
lingering disease, in this place. 

On the loth, I commenced descending the Del Norte for 
the Copper Mines, in hopes once more to have the pleasure 
of embracing my father, and relate to him what I had suffered 
in body and mind, for neglecting to follow his wise and 
fatherly counsel. I now travelled slowly and by myself, and 
on the 1 2th, arrived at the house of my old friend the gover- 



1 70 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

nor, who met me at his door, and gave me such an embrace, 
as to start the blood from my scarcely healed wound. I did 
not perceive at the moment, that his embrace had produced 
this effect, and entered the house, where I met Jacova, who 
received me with a partial embrace, and a manner of con- 
strained politeness. She then sat down by me on the sopha, 
and began asking me many questions about my adventure 
since we had parted, often observing that I looked indisposed. 
At length she discovered the blood oozing through my 
waistcoat. She exclaimed, putting her hand on the wound, 
'and good reason you have to look [123] so, for you are 
wounded to death.' The look that accompanied this remark, 
I may not describe, for I would not be thought vain, and the 
stern character of my adventures forbids the intermixture 
of any thing of an entirely different aspect. I was not long, 
however, in convincing her that my wound was not really 
dangerous, and that I owed its present bleeding to the 
friendship of her father, a cause too flattering to be matter 
of regret. This drew from me a narrative of the occasion of 
my wound, which I related in the same simple terms and 
brief manner in which it is recorded in my journal. A long 
conversation of questions and replies ensued, of a nature 
and on subjects not necessary to relate. On the 2oth, 
imploring God that we might meet again, we parted, and I 
resumed my journey, travelling slowly for my father's 
residence at the Copper Mines. I paused to rest and amuse 
myself in several of the small towns on my way. On the 
26th, I had the high satisfaction once more to hold the hand 
of my father, and to find him in health and prosperity, and 
apparently with nowise abated affection for me, though I 
had rejected his counsels. This affection seemed to receive 
a warmer glow, when he heard my determination not to take 
to the woods again. I then in return wished to make my- 
self acquainted with the true state of his affairs. He had 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 171 

established a vacherie on the river Membry 92 where he kept 
stock. He had also opened a farm on the land which the 
old Appache chief had given him, which enabled him to 
raise grain for the use of his own establishment at the mines. 
He had actually a supply of grain in advance for the next 
year. He had made similar improvements upon every thing 
appertaining to the mines. The result of the whole seemed 
to be, that he was making money rapidly. 

He still retained the Spaniard, of whom I have spoken 
before, as clerk and superintendent, believing him to be a 
man of real stability and weight of character, and placing 
the most entire reliance both upon his capacity and integrity. 
I was less sanguine, and had my doubts, though having seen 
no decided facts, [124] upon which to ground them, I did 
not deem myself justified in honor to impart my doubts to 
my father. 

On the loth of February, my father requested me, on his 
account, to take a trip to Alopaz, to purchase for his estab- 
lishment some wine and whiskey, which articles sell at the 
mines at a dollar and a half a pint. I started with one serv- 
ant and six pack mules, each having a couple of small 
barrels fastened over their saddles, after the manner of 
our panniers. On the i6th, I reached the place, and pur- 
chased my cargo, but the weather was so inclement, that I 
thought it best not to return until it softened. I became 
acquainted with an American, married in this place. He 
was by pursuit a gunsmith, and had been up the upper 
Missouri with Col. Henry, 93 and an old and noted trader on 
that river. The mutual story of what we two had seen and 
suffered, would probably appear incredible, and beyond the 



82 The Mimbres River flows between Mimbres Mountain and the copper 
mines, being but a short distance from the latter. ED. 

93 This is probably Andrew Henry, a pioneer trader on the Missouri, for whom 
see our volume xv, p. 246, note 107. ED. 



172 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

common order of things, to most people, except those who 
have hunted and trapped in the western parts of this con- 
tinent, among the mountains and savages, and has nothing 
upon which to depend, but his own firmness of heart, the 
defence of his rifle, and the protection of the all present God. 
To such persons, the incidents which we mutually related, 
would all seem natural. 

I remained here until the ist of April. Spring in its 
peculiar splendor and glory in this country, had now wakened 
the fields and forests into life, and was extending its empire 
of verdure and flowers higher and higher up the mountains 
towards their snowy peaks. On this day I commenced my 
journey of return to the mines, with my servant and my cargo 
bestowed on my mules. Though the face of the country 
was all life and beauty, the roads so recently thawed, were 
exceedingly muddy and heavy. One of my mules in con- 
sequence gave out the second day. My servant packed the 
load of the tired mule upon his riding one, and walked on 
foot the remainder of the day. During the day we dis- 
covered fresh bear tracks in the wood, and my servant ad- 
vised me to have my gun loaded. At this remark I put my 
hand in my shot pouch, and found but a single ball, and 
[125] no lead with which to make more. At this discovery 
I saw at once the uselessness of self reproach of my own 
carelessness and neglect, though it will be easily imagined, 
what anxiety it created, aware that I had to travel through a 
long and dreary wilderness, replenished with grizzly bears 
and hostile Indians. Neither did I dare disclose a particle 
of what was passing in my mind to my servant, through fear 
that he would be discouraged, in which case, I knew his first 
step would be to turn back, and leave me to make the journey 
alone. It would have been impossible for me to do this, as 
we were both scarcely able to arrange the affairs of the jour- 
ney. We advanced cautiously and were unmolested through 
the day. But I passed a most uncomfortable night through 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 173 

fear of the bears, which, thawed out, were emerging from 
their winter dens with appetites rendered ravenous by their 
long winter fast. We and our mules would have furnished 
them a delicious feast, after the hunger of months. No 
sleep visited my eyes that night. 

At ten o'clock of the 3d, we met a Spaniard on horse back. 
I accosted him in the usual terms, and asked if he had met 
any Indians on his way? He answered that he had, and 
that there was a body of friendly Appaches encamped near 
the road, at a distance of a little more than a league. I was 
delighted with this information, for I supposed I should be 
able to purchase a horse of them, on which I might mount 
my servant. While I was reflecting on this thought, my 
servant proposed to purchase his horse, and offered him a 
blanket in exchange. He instantly dismounted, took the 
blanket, and handed over the horse. Happy to see the poor 
fellow once more comfortably mounted, we bade the easy 
Spaniard adieu, and gaily resumed our journey. In a 
short time, according to his information, we saw the Indian 
camp near the road, from which their smokes were visible. 
We were solicitous to pass them unobserved and pushed on 
towards a stopping place, which we might reach at twelve 
o'clock. Here we stopped to enable our horses to rest, and 
eat, for the grass was fine. I ordered my servant to spancel 
the mules, and tether the horse to a shrub by a long rope. 
[126] My gun reclined upon the packs. We ate a little our- 
selves, and afterwards I spread my blanket on the grass, close 
by the horses, and lay down to repose myself, though not 
intending to go to sleep. But the bright beams of the sun 
fell upon me in the midst of the green solitude, and I was 
soon in a profound sleep. A large straw hat on the side of 
my face shaded my head from the sun. 

While enjoying this profound sleep, four of the Appaches 
came in pursuit of us. It seems our Spaniard had stolen his 
horse from them, a few hours before. They came upon us 



174 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

in possession of the horse, and supposed me the thief. One 
of them rode close to me, and made a dart at me with his 
spear. The stroke was aimed at my neck, and passed 
through my hat, nailing it to the ground just back of my 
neck, which the cold steel barely touched. It awakened me, 
and I sprang to my feet. Four Indians on horse back were 
around me, and the spear, which had been darted at me, 
still nailed my hat to the ground. I immediately seized the 
spear and elevated it towards the Indian, who in turn made 
his horse spring out of my reach. I called my servant, who 
had seen the Indians approaching me, and had hidden 
himself in the bushes. I then sprang to my gun, at the 
distance of ten or fifteen paces. When I had reached and 
cocked it, I presented it at an Indian who was unsheathing 
his fusil. As soon as he discovered my piece elevated, he 
threw himself from his horse, fell on his knees, and called for 
mercy. What surprized me, and arrested my fire, was to 
hear him call me by my Christian name. I returned my 
rifle to my shoulder and asked him who he was ? He asked 
me, if I did not know Targuarcha ? He smote his breast as 
he asked the question. The name was familiar. The 
others dismounted, and gathered round. An understanding 
ensued. When they learned the manner in which we came 
by the horse, their countenances were expressive of real 
sorrow. They had supposed me a Spaniard, as they said, 
and the thief of their horse. They begged me not to be 
angry, with a laughable solicitude, offering me the horse as 
the price of friendship. Above all, they were [127] anxious 
that I should not relate the affair to my father. They 
seemed to have an awe of him, resembling that due to the 
Supreme Being. This awe he had maintained by his steady 
deportment, and keeping up in their minds the impression, 
that he always had a large army at command, and was able, 
and disposed at the first insult, or breach of the treaty on 
their part, to bring it upon them to their utter destruction. 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 175 

To all their apologies and kind words and excuses, I 
answered that I knew them as well as any other man, and 
that they were not to expect to atone for a dastardly attempt 
to take my life, and coming within a hair's breadth of taking 
it, by offering me a present, that I believed that they knew 
who I was, and only wanted an opportunity, when they 
could steal upon me unarmed, and kill me, as they had 
probably committed many other similar murders; that they 
were ready enough to cry pardon, as soon as they saw me 
handling my rifle, hoping to catch me asleep again, but that 
they would henceforward be sure to find me on my guard. 

At this the Indian who had darted the spear at me, ex- 
claimed that he loved me as a brother, and would at any 
occasion risk his life in my defence. I then distinctly 
recollected him, and that I had been two months with the 
band, to which he belonged, roving in the woods about the 
mines. Targuarcha had shown a singular kind of attach- 
ment to me, waiting upon me as if I had been his master. I 
was perfectly convinced that he had thrust his spear at me in 
absolute ignorance, that it was me. Still I thought it neces- 
sary to instil a lesson of caution into them, not to kill any 
one for an imagined enemy, until they were sure that he was 
guilty of the supposed wrong. Consequently I dissembled 
distrust, and told him, that it looked very little like friend- 
ship, to dart a spear at the neck of a sleeping man, and that 
to tell the plain truth, I had as little confidence in him, as a 
white bear. At this charge of treachery, he came close to 
me, and looking affectionately in my face, exclaimed in 
Spanish, 'if you think me such a traitor, kill me. Here is 
my breast. Shoot.' At the same time he bared his breast 
with his hand, with such a [128] profound expression of 
sorrow in his countenance, as no one was ever yet able to 
dissemble. I was softened to pity, and told him that I 
sincerely forgave him, and that I would henceforward con- 
sider him my friend, and not inform my father what he had 



176 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

done. They all promised that they would never attempt 
to kill any one again, until they knew who it was, and were 
certain that he was guilty of the crime charged upon him. 
Here we all shook hands, and perfect confidence was restored. 

I now called again for my servant, and after calling till I 
was hoarse, he at length crawled from behind the bushes, 
like a frightened turkey or deer, and looking wild with terror. 
He had the satisfaction of being heartily laughed at, as a 
person who had deserted his master in the moment of peril 
They are not a people to spare the feelings of any one who 
proves himself a coward by deserting his place. They 
bestowed that term upon him without mercy. All his reply 
was, sullenly to set himself to packing his mules. 

Now arose a friendly controversy about the horse, they 
insisting that I should take it, as the price of our renewed 
friendship, and I, that I would not take it, except on hire or 
purchase. They were obstinate in persisting that I should 
take the horse along with me, and finally promised if I would 
consent, that they would return to camp and bring their 
families, and escort me to the mines. To this I consented, 
though I had first taken the precaution to procure some 
rifle balls of them. We then resumed our journey, and trav- 
elled on without incident till the 5th, when they overtook 
us, and we travelled on very amicably together, until we 
reached the Membry, which runs a south course, and is 
lost in a wide arid plain, after winding its way through 
prodigious high, craggy mountains. It affords neither fish 
nor beavers, but has wide and rich bottoms, of which as I 
have mentioned, they gave my father as much as he chose 
to cultivate. 

From the point where the road crosses this river to the 
mines, is reckoned 15 miles. Here we met the chief of this 
band of the Appaches, with a great number of his people. 
They were [129] all delighted to see us, and not the less so, 
when they discovered that we had spirituous liquors, of 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 1 77 

which they are fond to distraction. There was no evading 
the importunities of the chief to stay all night with him, he 
promising, if I would that he would go in next day with me 
to my father. I had scarcely arrived an hour, when I saw 
the Indian, that had darted his spear at me, come to the 
chief with shirt laid aside, and his back bare. He handed 
the chief a stout switch, asking him to whip him. The chief 
immediately flayed away about 50 lashes, the blood showing 
at every stroke. He then asked me, if the thing had been 
done to my satisfaction? I told him that I had no satis- 
faction to demand. The chief who had whipped him, was 
positively ignorant of the crime, for which he had suffered 
this infliction. But he said, when one of his men begged a 
flogging, he took it for granted, that it was not for the good 
deeds of the sufferer, and that he deserved it. When I 
learned that it was a voluntary penance for his offence to me 
on the road, I felt really sorry, and made him a present of a 
quart of whiskey, as an internal unction for the smart of his 
stripes, a medicine in high esteem among the Indians in 
such cases. 

When we arrived at the mines, the old chief enquired what 
had been done to me on the road? As soon as he was 
informed, he sprang up, tore his hair, and seized a gun to 
shoot the poor culprit. I interposed between them, and 
convinced him, that Taguarcha had not been really to 
blame in any thing but his haste, and that if I had really 
been the thief, he would have done right to kill me, and 
get back his horse, and that not even my father would 
have thought the worse of him, but that we should both now 
like him better, as well as his people, for what had happened. 

On the 1 5th, my father proposed to give me a sum of 
money, with which to go into the United States to purchase 
goods for the mines. The laborers much preferred goods, 
at the customary rate, to money, and the profit at that rate 
was at least 200 per cent on the cost. I was reluctant to 



178 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

do this, for my thoughts still detained me in that country. 
It was then concluded to [130] send the before mentioned 
Spanish clerk on the commission, with sufficient money 
to pay for the goods, consigned to merchants in Santa Fe, to 
be purchased there, provided a sufficient quantity had re- 
cently arrived from the United States to furnish an assort- 
ment, and if not, he was recommended to merchants in 
St. Louis, to make the purchases there. 

On the 1 8th, he started under these orders, under the 
additional one, that on his arriving at Santa Fe, and learning 
the state of things there, he should immediately write to the 
mines to that effect. In the customary order of things, this 
letter was to be expected in one month from the day he left 
the mines. After he was departed, he left none behind to 
doubt his truth and honor, nor was there the least suspicion 
of him, until the time had elapsed without a letter. A dim 
surmise began then to grow up, that he had run off with the 
money. We were still anxiously waiting for intelligence. 
During this interval I had occupied the place of clerk in his 
stead. It was now insisted that I should go in search of the 
villain, who had obtained a good start of a month ahead of us, 
and 30,000 dollars value in gold bullion to expedite his jour- 
ney. On the 2oth, I started in the search, which I confess 
seemed hopeless, for he was a man of infinite ingenuity, who 
could enact Spaniard, which he really was, or Russian, 
Frenchman or Englishman, as he spoke the languages of 
these people with fluency. Still I pushed on with full pur- 
pose to make diligent and unsparing search. 

On the 3oth, I arrived at Santa Fe. I made the most 
anxious and careful enquiry for him, and gave the most 
accurate descriptions of him there. But no one had seen 
or heard of such a person. I sorrowfully retraced my steps 
down the Rio del Norte, now without a doubt of his treachery, 
and bitterly reflecting on myself for my heedless regard of 
my father's request. Had I done it, we had both secured an 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 1 79 

affluence. Now I clearly foresaw poverty and misfortune 
opening before us in the future. For myself I felt little, as 
I was young and the world before me; and I felt secure 
about taking care of myself. [131] My grief was for my 
father and his companions, who had toiled night and day 
with unwearied assiduity, to accumulate something for 
their dear and helpless families, whom they had left in 
Missouri; and for the love of whom they had ventured into 
this rough and unsettled country, full of thieves and mur- 
derers. My father in particular, had left a large and mother- 
less family, at a time of life to be wholly unable to take care 
of themselves, and altogether dependent on him for sub- 
sistence. There is no misery like self condemnation ; and 
I suffered it in all its bitterness. The reflections that fol- 
lowed upon learning the full extent of the disaster, which I 
could but charge in some sense upon myself, came, as such 
reflections generally come, too late. 

I arrived at the Passo del Norte on the loth of May, and 
repeated the same descriptions and enquiries to no purpose. 
Not a trace remained of him here; and I almost concluded 
to abandon the search in despair. I could imagine but one 
more chance. The owner of the mines lived at Chihuahua. 
As a forlorn hope I concluded to proceed to that city, and 
inform the governor of our misfortune. So I pushed to 
Chihuahua, where I arrived on the 23d. 

I found the owner of the mines in too much anxiety and 
grief of mind on his own account, to be cool enough to listen 
[to] the concerns of others. The President of the Mexican 
republic had issued orders, that all Spaniards born in old 
Spain, should be expelled from the Mexican country, giving 
them but a month's notice, in which to settle their affairs and 
dispose of their property. He being one of that class, had 
enough to think of on his own account. However, when he 
heard of our misfortune, he appeared to be concerned. He 
then touched upon the critical state of his own affairs. 



180 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

Among other things, he said he had all along hoped that 
my father was able and disposed to purchase those mines. 
He had, therefore, a motive personal to himself, to make 
him regret my father's loss and inability to make the pur- 
chase. He was now obliged to sell them at any sacrifice, 
and had but a very short time in which to settle his [132] 
affairs, and leave the country. He requested me to be 
ready to start the next day in company with him to the 
mines. 

Early on the 24th, we started with relays of horses and 
mules. As we travelled very rapidly we arrived at the mines 
on the 3oth, where I found my father and his companions in 
the utmost anxiety to learn something what had happened 
to me. When they discovered the owner of the mines, 
whose name was Don Francisco Pablo de Lagera, they 
came forth in a body with countenances full of joy. That 
joy was changed to sadness, as soon as Don Pablo informed 
them the object of his visit. They perceived in a moment, 
that nothing now remained for them but to settle their 
affairs, and search for other situations in the country, or 
return to the United States in a worse condition than when 
they left it. My father determined at once not to think of 
this. Nothing seemed so feasible, and conformable to his 
pursuits, as a trapping expedition. With the pittance that 
remained to him, after all demands against the firm were 
discharged, and the residue according to the articles of 
agreement divided, he purchased trapping equipments for 
four persons, himself included. The other three he intended 
to hire to trap for him. 

On the ist of July, all these matters had been arranged, 
and my father and myself started for Santa Fe, with a view 
to join the first company that should start on a trapping 
expedition from that place. On the loth, we arrived at 
Santa Fe, where we remained until the 22d, when a com- 
pany of thirty men were about to commence an expedition 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 1 8 1 

of that sort down Red river. My father joined this com- 
pany, and in the name of the companions made application 
for license of safe transit through the province of Chihuahua, 
and Sonora, through which runs the Red river, on which 
we meant to trap. The governor gave us a passport in the 
following terms: 

[133] Custom House of the frontier town of Santa Fe, in 
the territory of New Mexico. 

Custom House Certificate. 

Allow Sylvester Pattie, to pursue his journey with certain 
beasts, merchandize and money, in the direction of Chi- 
huahua and Sonora; to enter in beasts and money an amount 
equal to this invoice, in whatsoever place he shall appear, 
according to the rules of the Custom House, on his passage; 
and finally let him return this permit to the government of 
this city in days. Do this under the established 

penalties. 

Given at Santa Fe, in New Mexico. 

RAMON ATTREN 

September 22^, 1827. 

On the 23d, my father was chosen captain or commander 
of the company, and we started on our expedition. We 
retraced our steps down the del Norte, and by the mines to 
the river Helay, on which we arrived on the 6th of October, 
and began to descend it, setting our traps as we went, near 
our camp, whenever we saw signs of beavers. But our 
stay on this stream was short, for it had been trapped so 
often, that there were but few beavers remaining, and those 
few were exceedingly shy. We therefore pushed on to some 
place where they might be more abundant, and less shy. 
We left this river on the i2th, and on the i5th reached 
Beaver river. Here we found them in considerable num- 
bers, and we concluded to proceed in a south course, and 
trap the river in its downward course. But to prevent the 



1 8 2 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

disagreement and insubordination which are apt to spring 
up in these associations, my father drew articles of agree- 
ment, purporting that we should trap in partnership, and 
that the first one who should show an open purpose to 
separate from the company, or desert it, should be shot dead; 
and that if any one should disobey orders, he should be tried 
by a jury of our number, and if found guilty should be fined 
fifty dollars, to be paid in fur. To this instrument we all 
agreed, and signed our names. 

[134] The necessity of some such compact had been 
abundantly discovered in the course of our experience. 
Men bound only by their own will and sense of right, to the 
duties of such a sort of partnership are certain to grow 
restless, and to form smaller clans, disposed to dislike and 
separate from each other, in parties of one by one to three 
by three. They thus expose themselves to be cut up in 
detail by the savages, who comprehend all their movements, 
and are ever watchful for an opportunity to show their hatred 
of the whites to be fixed and inextinguishable. The follow- 
ing are some of the more common causes of separation: 
Men of incompatible tempers and habits are brought 
together; and such expeditions call out innumerable occa- 
sions to try this disagreement of character. Men, hungry, 
naked, fatigued, and in constant jeopardy, are apt to be 
ill-tempered, especially when they arrive at camp, and 
instead of being allowed to throw themselves on the ground, 
and sleep, have hard duties of cooking, and keeping guard, 
and making breast- works assigned them. But the grand 
difficulty is the following. In a considerable company, 
half its numbers can catch as many beavers as all. But the 
half that keep guard, and cook, perform duties as necessary 
and important to the whole concern, as the others. It 
always happens too, in these expeditions, that there are 
some infinitely more dextrous and skilful in trapping and 
hunting than others. These capabilities are soon brought 



1824-1830] P attic 1 s Personal Narrative 183 

to light. The expert know each other, and feel a certain 
superiority over the inexpert. They know that three or 
four such, by themselves, will take as many beavers as a 
promiscuous company of thirty, and in fact, all that a stream 
affords. A perception of their own comparative importance, 
a keen sense of self interest, which sharpens in the desert, 
the mere love of roving in the wild license of the forest, and 
a capacity to become hardened by these scenes to a perfect 
callousness to all fear and sense of danger, until it actually 
comes; such passions are sufficient to thicken causes of 
separation among such companions in the events of every 
day. 

Sad experience has made me acquainted with all these 
causes [135] of disunion and dissolution of such companies. 
I have learned them by wounds and sufferings, by toil and 
danger of every sort, by wandering about in the wild and 
desolate mountains, alone and half starved, merely because 
two or three bad men had divided our company, strong and 
sufficient to themselves in union, but miserable, and exposed 
to almost certain ruin in separation. Made painfully 
acquainted with all these facts by experience, my father 
adopted this expedient in the hope that it would be some- 
thing like a remedy for them. 

But notwithstanding this, and the prudence and energy 
of my father's character, disunion soon began to spring up 
in our small party. Almost on the outset of our expedition, 
we began to suffer greatly for want of provisions. We were 
first compelled to kill and eat our dogs, and then six of our 
horses. This to me was the most cruel task of all. To 
think of waiting for the night to kill and eat the poor horse 
that had borne us over deserts and mountains, as hungry as 
ourselves, and strongly and faithfully attached to us, was 
no easy task to the heart of a Kentucky hunter. One 
evening, after a hard day's travel, my saddle horse was 
selected by lot to be killed. The poor animal stood saddled 



184 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

and bridled before us, and it fell to my lot to kill it. I loved 
this horse, and he seemed to have an equal attachment for 
me. He was remarkably kind to travel, and easy to ride, and 
spirited too. When he stood tied in camp among the rest, 
if I came any where near him, he would fall neighing for me. 
When I held up the bridle towards him, I could see consent 
and good will in his eye. As I raised my gun to my face, 
all these recollections rushed to my thoughts. My pulses 
throbbed, and my eyes grew dim. The animal was gazing 
me, with a look of steady kindness, in the face. My head 
whirled, and was dizzy, and my gun fell. After a moment 
for recovery, I offered a beaver skin to any one who would 
shoot him down. One was soon found at this price, and 
my horse fell ! It so happened that this was the last horse 
we killed. Well was it for us that we had these surplus 
horses. Had it been otherwise, we should all have perished 
with hunger. 

[136] It was now the i5th of November, and while the 
horse flesh lasted, we built a canoe, so that we could trap on 
both sides of the river; for it is here too broad and deep to 
be fordable on horseback. One of our number had already 
been drowned, man and horse, in attempting to swim the 
river. A canoe is a great advantage, where the beavers are 
wild; as the trapper can thus set his traps along the shore 
without leaving his scent upon the ground about it. 

On the i yth, our canoe was finished, and another person 
and myself took some traps in it, and floated down the river 
by water, while the rest of the company followed along the 
banks by land. In this way, what with the additional sup- 
ply which the canoe enabled our traps to furnish, and a 
chance deer or wolf that Providence sometimes threw in our 
way, with caution and economy we were tolerably supplied 
with provisions; and the company travelled on with a good 
degree of union and prosperity, until the 26th. 

Here the greater part of the company expressed disin- 



C/3 



L 
c/T 

1-1-1 

h*H 
O 




1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 187 

clination to following our contemplated route any longer. 
That is, they conceived the route to the mouth of the Relay, 
and up Red river of California too long and tedious, and 
too much exposed to numerous and hostile Indians. They, 
therefore, determined to quit the Helay, and strike over to 
Red river by a direct route across the country. My father 
reminded them of their article. They assured him they did 
not consider themselves bound by it, and that they were a 
majority, against which nothing could be said. My father 
and myself still persevered in following the original plan. 
Two of the men had been hired on my father's account. He 
told them he was ready to pay them up to that time, and 
dismiss them, to go where they chose. They observed, that 
now that the company had commenced separating, they 
believed that in a short time, there would be no stronger 
party together than ours; that they had as good a disposition 
to risk their lives with us, as with any division of our number, 
and that they would stay by us to the [137] death. After 
this speech four others of the company volunteered to remain 
with us, and we took them in as partners. 

On the 27th, we divided the hunt, and all expressing the 
same regret at the separation, and heartily wishing each 
other all manner of prosperity, we shook hands and parted ! 
We were now reduced to eight in number. We made the 
most solemn pledges to stand by each other unto death, and 
adopted the severest caution, of which we had been too 
faithfully taught the necessity. We tied our horses every 
night, and encamped close by them, to prevent their being 
stolen by the Indians. Their foot-prints were thick and 
fresh in our course, and we could see their smokes at no 
great distance north of us. We were well aware that they 
were hostile, and watching their opportunity to pounce upon 
us, and we kept ourselves ready for action, equally day and 
night. We now took an ample abundance of beavers to 
supply us with meat, in consequence of our reduced numbers. 



1 8 8 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

Our horses also fared well, for we cut plenty of cotton-wood 
trees, the bark of which serves them for food nearly as well 
as corn. We thus travelled on prosperously, until we 
reached the junction of the Helay with Red river. Here 
we found the tribe of Umeas, 94 who had shown themselves 
very friendly to the company in which I had formerly passed 
them, which strongly inspired confidence in them at present. 
Some of them could speak the Spanish language. We made 
many inquiries of them, our object being to gain information 
of the distance of the Spanish settlements. We asked them 
where they obtained the cloth they wore around their loins ? 
They answered, from the Christians on the coast of the 
California. We asked if there were any Christians living 
on Red river? They promptly answered, yes. This infor- 
mation afterwards proved a source of error and misfortune 
to us, though our motive for inquiry at this time was mere 
curiosity. 

It was now the ist of December; and at mid-day we began 
to see the imprudence of spending the remainder of the day 
and the ensuing night with such numbers of Indians, how- 
ever friendly in appearance. We had a tolerable fund of 
experience, in [138] regard to the trust we might safely 
repose in the red skins; and knew that caution is the parent 
of security. So we packed up, and separated from them. 
Their town was on the opposite shore of Red river. At our 
encampment upwards of two hundred of them swam over 
the river and visited us, all apparently friendly. We allowed 
but a few of them to approach our camp at a time, and they 
were obliged to lay aside their arms. In the midst of these 
multitudes of fierce, naked, swarthy savages, eight of us 
seemed no more than a little patch of snow on the side of 
one of the black mountains. We were perfectly aware how 
critical was our position, and determined to intermit no pru- 
dence or caution. 

84 See ante, note 65. ED. 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 189 

To interpose as great a distance as possible between them 
and us, we marched that evening sixteen miles, and en- 
camped on the banks of the river. The place of encamp- 
ment was a prairie, and we drove stakes fast in the earth, to 
which we tied our horses in the midst of green grass, as high 
as a man's head, and within ten feet of our own fire. Un- 
happily we had arrived too late to make a pen for our horses, 
or a breast work for ourselves. The sky was gloomy. 
Night and storm were settling upon us, and it was too late 
to complete these important arrangements. In a short 
time the storm poured upon us, and the night became so 
dark that we could not see our hand before us. Appre- 
hensive of an attempt to steal our horses, we posted two 
sentinels, and the remaining six lay down under our wet 
blankets, and the pelting of the sky, to such sleep as we might 
get, still preserving a little fire. We were scarcely asleep before 
we were aroused by the snorting of our horses and mules. 
We all sprang to our arms, and extinguished our little fire. We 
could not see a foot before us, and we groped about our camp 
feeling our way among the horses and mules. We could 
discover nothing; so concluding they might have been 
frightened by the approach of a bear or some other wild ani- 
mal, some of us commenced rekindling our fires, and the 
rest went to sleep. But the Indians had crawled among 
our horses, and had cut or untied the rope by which each 
one was [139] bound. The horses were then all loose. 
They then instantly raised in concert, their fiendish yell. 
As though heaven and earth were in concert against us, the 
rain began to pour again, accompanied with howling gusts 
of wind, and the fiercest gleams of lightning, and crashes of 
thunder. Terrified alike by the thunder and the Indians, 
our horses all took to flight, and the Indians repeating yell 
upon yell, were close at their heels. We sallied out after 
them, and fired at the noises, though we could see nothing. 
We pursued with the utmost of our speed to no purpose, for 



190 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

they soon reached the open prairie, where we concluded 
they were joined by other Indians on horseback, who pushed 
our horses still faster; and soon the clattering of their heels 
and the yells of their accursed pursuers began to fade, and 
become indistinct in our ears. 

Our feelings and reflections as we returned to camp were 
of the gloomiest kind. We were one thousand miles from 
the point whence we started, and without a single beast to 
bear either our property or ourselves. The rain had past. 
We built us a large fire. As we stood round it we discussed 
our deplorable condition, and our future alternatives. 
Something was to be done. We all agreed to the proposition 
of my father, which was, early in the morning to pursue the 
trails of our beasts, and if we should overtake the thieves, 
to retake the horses, or die in the attempt; and that, failing 
in that, we should return, swim the river, attack their town, 
and kill as many of the inhabitants as we could; for that it 
was better to die by these Indians, after we had killed a 
good number of them, than to starve, or be killed by Indians 
who had not injured us, and when we could not defend 
ourselves. 

Accordingly, early in the morning of the 2d, we started on 
the trail in pursuit of the thieves. We soon arrived at a 
point where the Indians, departing from the plain, had 
driven them up a chasm of the mountains. Here they had 
stopped, and caught them, divided them, and each taken a 
different route with his plundered horses. We saw in a 
moment that it was impossible to follow them farther to any 
purpose. We abandoned [140] the chase, and returned to 
our camp to execute the second part of our plan. When 
we arrived there, we stopped for a leisure meal of beaver 
meat. When we had bestowed ourselves to this dainty 
resort, a Dutchman with us broke the gloomy silence of our 
eating, by observing that?we had better stuff ourselves to the 
utmost; for that it would probably, be the last chance we 



1824-1830! Pattie 1 s Personal Narrative 191 

should have at beaver meat. We all acquiesced in this 
observation, which though made in jest, promised to be a 
sober truth, by eating as heartily as possible. When we 
had finished our meal, which looked so likely to be the last 
we should enjoy together, we made rafts to which we tied 
our guns, and pushing them onward before us, we thus 
swam the river. Having reached the opposite shore, we 
shouldered our rifles, and steered for the town, at which we 
arrived about two in the afternoon. We marched up to 
the numerous assemblage of huts in a manner as reckless 
and undaunted as though we had nothing to apprehend. 
In fact, when we arrived at it, we found it to contain not a 
single living being, except one miserable, blind, deaf, and 
decrepid old man, not unlike one that I described in a hostile 
former visit to an Indian village. Our exasperation of 
despair inclined us to kill even him. My father forbade. 
He apparently heard nothing and cared for nothing, as he 
saw nothing. His head was white with age, and his eyes 
appeared to have been gouged out. He may have thought 
himself all the while in the midst of his own people. We 
discovered a plenty of their kind of food, which consisted 
chiefly of acorn mush. We then set fire to the village, 
burning every hut but that which contained the old man. 
Being built of flags and grass, they were not long in reducing 
to ashes. We then returned to our camp, re-swimming 
the river, and reaching the camp before dark. 

We could with no certainty divine the cause of then- 
having evacuated their town, though we attributed it to 
fear of us. The occurrences of the preceding day strength- 
ened us in this impression. While they remained with us, 
one of our men happened to fire off his gun. As though 
they never had heard [141] such a noise before, they all fell 
prostrate on the earth, as though they had all been shot. 
When they arose, they would all have taken to flight, had 
we not detained them and quieted their fears. 



192 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

Our conversation with these Indians of the day before, 
now recurred to our recollections, and we congratulated 
ourselves on having been so inquisitive as to obtain the now 
important information, that there were Spanish settlements 
on the river below us. Driven from the resource of our 
horses, we happily turned our thoughts to another. We 
had all the requisite tools to build canoes, and directly around 
us was suitable timber of which to make them. It was a 
pleasant scheme to soothe our dejection, and prevent our 
lying down to the sleep of despair. But this alternative 
determined upon, there remained another apprehension 
sufficient to prevent our enjoying quiet repose. Our fears 
were, that the unsheltered Indians, horse-stealers and all, 
would creep upon us in the night, and massacre us all. But 
the night passed without any disturbance from them. 

On the morning of the 3d, the first business in which we 
engaged, was to build ourselves a little fort, sufficient for 
defence against the Indians. This finished, we cut down 
two trees suitable for canoes, and accomplished these im- 
portant objects in one day. During this day we kept one 
man posted in the top of a tall tree, to descry if any Indians 
were approaching us in the distance. On the morning of 
the fourth we commenced digging out our canoes, and fin- 
ished and launched two. These were found insufficient 
to carry our furs. We continued to prepare, and launch 
them, until we had eight in the water. By uniting them in 
pairs by a platform, we were able to embark with all our 
furs and traps, without any extra burden, except a man and 
the necessary traps for each canoe. We hid our saddles, 
hoping to purchase horses at the settlements, and return 
this way. 

We started on the gth, floating with the current, which 
bore us downward at the rate of four miles an hour. In the 
evening we passed the burnt town, the ruins of which still 
threw up [142] smouldering smoke. We floated about 30 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 193 

miles, and in the evening encamped in the midst of signs of 
beavers. We set 40 traps, and in the morning of the loth 
caught 36 beavers, an excellent night's hunt. We concluded 
from this encouraging commencement, to travel slowly, and 
in hunters' phrase, trap the river clear; that is, take all that 
could be allured to come to the bait. The river, below its 
junction with the Helay, is from 2 to 300 yards wide, with 
high banks, that have dilapidated by falling in. Its course 
is west, and its timber chiefly cotton-wood, which in the 
bottoms is lofty and thick set. The bottoms are from six 
to ten miles wide. The soil is black, and mixed with sand, 
though the bottoms are subject to inundation in the flush 
waters of June. This inundation is occasioned by the 
melting of the snow on the mountains about its head waters. 
We now floated pleasantly downward at our leisure, 
having abundance of the meat of fat beavers. We began 
in this short prosperity, to forget the loss of our horses, and 
to consider ourselves quite secure from the Indians. But on 
the 1 2th, at mid-day, by mere accident, we happened, some 
way below us, to discover two Indians perched in a tree 
near the river bank, with their bows and arrows in readiness, 
waiting evidently until we should float close by them, to 
take off some of us with their arrows. We betrayed no 
signs of having seen them, but sat with our guns ready for 
a fair shot. When we had floated within a little short of a 
hundred yards, my father and another of the company gave 
them a salute, and brought them both tumbling down the 
branches, reminding us exactly of the fall of a bear or a 
turkey. They made the earth sound when they struck it. 
Fearful that they might be part of an ambush, we pulled 
our canoes to the opposite shore, and some of us climbed 
trees, from which we could command a view of both shores. 
We became satisfied that these two were alone, and we 
crossed over to their bodies. We discovered that they were 
of the number that had stolen our horses, by the fact, that 



1 94 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

they were bound round the waist with some of the hemp 
ropes with which our horses had been tied. We hung the 
bodies of the thieves [143] from a tree, with the product of 
their own thefts. Our thoughts were much relieved by the 
discovery of this fact, for though none of us felt any partic- 
ular forbearance towards Indians under any circumstances, 
it certainly would have pained us to have killed Indians that 
had never disturbed us. But there could be no compunction 
for having slain these two thieves, precisely at the moment 
that they were exulting in the hope of getting a good shot 
at us. Beside they alarmed our false security, and learned 
us a lesson to keep nearer the middle of the river. 

We continued to float slowly downwards, trapping beavers 
on our way almost as fast as we could wish. We sometimes 
brought in 60 hi a morning. The river at this point is 
remarkably circuitous, and has a great number of islands, 
on which we took beavers. Such was the rapid increase of 
our furs, that our present crafts in a few days were insufficient 
to carry them, and we were compelled to stop and make 
another canoe. We have advanced between 60 and 70 
miles from the point where we built the other canoes. We 
find the timber larger, and not so thick. There are but few 
wild animals that belong to the country farther up, but some 
deer, panthers, foxes and wild-cats. Of birds there are 
great numbers, and many varieties, most of which I have 
never before seen. We killed some wild geese and pelicans, 
and likewise an animal not unlike the African leopard, 95 
which came into our camp, while we were at work upon the 
canoe. It was the first we had ever seen. 

We finished our canoe on the lyth, and started on the 
2oth. This day we saw ten Indians on a sand bar, who 
fled into the woods at the sight of us. We knew them to be 
different people from those who had stolen our horses, both 

M The jaguar (Felis onca) most resembles the leopard of the old world. It 
inhabits the wooded parts of America,, from Texas to Paraguay. ED. 



1824-1830] Patties Personal Narrative 195 

by their size and their different manner of wearing their 
hair. The heads of these were shaved close, except a tuft, 
which they wore on the top of their head, and which they 
raised erect, as straight as an arrow. The Umeas are of 
gigantic stature from six to seven feet high. These only 
average five feet and a half. They go perfectly naked, and 
have dark complexions, which I imagine [144] is caused by 
the burning heat of the sun. The weather is as hot here at 
this time, as I ever experienced. We were all very desirous 
to have a talk with these Indians, and enquire of them, how 
near we were to the Spanish settlements; and whether they 
were immediately on the bank, for we began to be fearful 
that we had passed them. 

Three days passed without our having any opportunity of 
conversation with them. But early on the morning of the 
24th, we found some families yet asleep in their wigwams, 
near the water's edge. Our approach to them was so im- 
perceptible and sudden, that they had no chance to flee. 
They were apparently frightened to insanity. They surren- 
dered without making any further effort to escape. While 
they stared at us in terrified astonishment; we made them 
comprehend that we had no design to kill, or injure them. 
We offered them meat, and made signs that we wished to 
smoke with them. They readily comprehended us, and the 
ghastliness of terror began to pass from their countenances. 
The women and children were yet screaming as if going 
into convulsions. We made signs to the men to have them 
stop this annoying noise. This we did by putting our hands 
to our mouths. They immediately uttered something to 
the women and children which made them still. The pipe 
was then lit, and smoking commenced. They puffed the 
smoke towards the sky, pointed thither, and uttered some 
words, of course unintelligible to us. They then struck 
themselves on the breast, and afterwards on the forehead. 
We understood this to be a sort of religious appeal to the 



196 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

Supreme Being, and it showed more like reverence to him, 
than any thing we had yet seen among the Indians; though 
I have seen none but what admit that there is a master of 
life, whom they call by a name to that import, or that of 
Great Spirit. 

When the smoking was finished, we began to enquire of 
them by signs, how far we were from the Spanish settlement ? 
This we effected by drawing an image of a cow and sheep 
in the sand and then imitating the noise of each kind of 
domestic animals, that we supposed the Spaniards would 
have. They appeared [145] to understand us, for they 
pointed west, and then at our clothes, and then at our 
naked skin. From this we inferred that they wished to say 
that farther to the west lived white people, as we were. 
And this was all we could draw from them on that subject. 
We then asked them, if they had ever seen white people 
before ? This we effected by stretching open our eyes with 
our fingers, and pointing to them, and then looking vehe- 
mently in that direction, while we pointed west with our 
fingers. They shook ther heads in the negative. Then 
stretching their own ears, as we had our eyes, striking them- 
selves on the breast, and pointing down the river, they pro- 
nounced the word wechapa. This we afterwards under- 
stood implied, that then* chief lived lower down the river, 
and that they had heard from him, that he had seen these 
people. 

We gave the women some old shirts, and intimated to 
them as well as we could, that it was the fashion of the 
women to cover themselves in our country, for these were 
in a state of the most entire nudity. But they did not seem 
rightly to comprehend our wish. Many of the women were 
not over* sixteen, and the most perfect figures I have ever 
seen, perfectly straight and symmetrical, and the hair of 
some hanging nearly to their heels. The men are exceed- 
ingly active, and have bright countenances, and quick 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 197 

apprehension. We gave them more meat, and then started. 
They followed our course along the bank, until night. As 
soon as we landed, they were very officious in gathering 
wood, and performing other offices for us. They showed 
eager curiosity in examining our arms, and appeared to 
understand their use. When my father struck fire with his 
pistol, they gave a start, evidencing a mixture of astonish- 
ment and terror, and then re-examined the pistol, apparently 
solicitous to discover how the fire was made. My father 
bade me take my rifle, and shoot a wild goose, that was 
sitting about in the middle of the river. He then showed 
them the goose, and pointed at me, as I was creeping to a 
point where I might take a fair shot. They all gazed with 
intense curiosity, first at me, and then at the goose, until I 
fired. At the moment of the report, [146] some fell flat on 
the ground, and the rest ran for the bushes, as though Satan 
was behind them. As soon as the fallen had recovered 
from their amazement, they also fled. Some of our com- 
pany stopped them, by seizing some, and holding them, 
and showing them that the goose was dead, and the manner 
in which it had been killed. They gradually regained con- 
fidence and composure, and called to their companions in 
the bushes. They also came forth, one by one, and when 
the nature of the report of the gun had been explained to 
them, they immediately swam into the river and brought out 
the goose. When they carried it round and showed it to 
their companions, carefully pointing out the ball hole in 
the goose, it is impossible to show more expressive gestures, 
cries and movements of countenances indicative of wonder 
and astonishment, than they exhibited. The night which 
we passed with them, passed away pleasantly, and to the 
satisfaction of all parties. In the morning their attention 
and curiosity were again highly excited, when we brought 
hi our beavers, which amounted hi number to thirty-six. 
After we had finished skinning them, we left the ample sup- 



198 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

ply of food furnished by the bodies of the beavers, in token 
of our friendship, to these Indians, and floated on. On the 
2 yth, we arrived at the residence of the chief. We perceived 
that they had made ready for our reception. They had pre- 
pared a feast for us by killing a number of fatted dogs. As 
soon as we landed, the chief came to us, accompanied by 
two subordinate chiefs. When arrived close to us, he ex- 
claimed, wechapa, striking himself on the breast, pointing to 
our company, and repeating the same phrase. We under- 
stood from this, that he wished to know who was our cap- 
tain? We all pointed to my father, to whom the chief 
immediately advanced, and affectionately embracing him, 
invited us to enter his wigwam. We shouldered our rifles, 
and all followed this venerable looking man to his abode. 
There he had prepared several earthen dishes, in which the 
flesh of young and fat dogs was served up, but without salt 
or bread. We all sat down. The pipe was lit, and we, and 
the thirty Indians present began to smoke. While we were 
smoking, they used many gesticulations and signs, the [147] 
purport of which we could not make out, though, as they 
pointed often at us, we supposed we were the subjects of 
their gestures. The pipe was then taken away, and the 
chief arose, and stood in the centre of the circle which we 
formed by the manner in which we all sat around the fire. 
He then made a long harangue, and as we understood not 
a word, to us rather a tedious one. We took care to make as 
many gestures indicative of understanding it, as though we 
had comprehended every word. 

The oration finished, a large dish of the choice dog's flesh 
was set before us, and signs were made to us to eat. Hav- 
ing learned not to be delicate or disobliging to our savage 
host, we fell to work upon the ribs of the domestic barkers. 
When we had eaten to satisfaction, the chief arose, and 
puffing out his naked belly, and striking it with his hand, 
very significantly inquired by this sign, if we had eaten 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 199 

enough? When we had answered in the affirmative, by 
our mode of making signs, he then began to enquire of us, 
as we understood it, who we were, and from whence we 
came, and what was our business in that country? All this 
we interpreted, and replied to by signs as significant as we 
could imagine. He continued to enquire of us by signs, if 
we had met with no misfortunes on our journey, calling over 
the names of several Indian tribes in that part of the country, 
among which we distinctly recognized the name of the 
Umeas ? When he mentioned this name, it was with such a 
lowering brow and fierce countenance as indicated clearly 
that he was at war with them. We responded to these marks 
of dislike by an equal show of detestation by making the 
gesture of seeming desirous to shoot at them, and with the 
bitterest look of anger that we could assume; making him 
understand that they had stolen our horses. He made 
signs of intelligence that he comprehended us, and made us 
sensible of his deep hatred, by giving us to understand that 
they had killed many of his people, and taken many more 
prisoners; and that he had retaliated by killing and taking 
as many Umeas. He pointed at the same time to two small 
children, and exclaimed Umea! We [148] pointed at them 
with our guns, and gave him to understand, that we had 
killed two of them. Some of our people had brought their 
scalps along. We gave them to him, and he, looking first 
towards us, and then fiercely at them, seemed to ask if these 
were the scalps of his enemies? To which we replied, 
yes. He then seized the hair of the scalps with his teeth, 
and shook them, precisely as I have seen a dog any small 
game that it had killed. He then gave such a yell of delight, 
as collected all his people round him in a moment, and such 
rejoicing, yelling, and dancing ensued from both men and 
women, as I shall forbear to attempt to describe. Their 
deportment on this occasion was in fact much nearer bestial 
than human. They would leave the dance round the scalps 



2OO Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

in turn, to come and caress us, and then return and resume 
their dance. 

The remainder of this day and the ensuing night passed in 
being in some sense compelled to witness this spectacle. In 
the morning of the 28th, when we brought in the contents of 
our traps, we found we had taken twenty-eight beavers. 
When my father enquired this morning anew for the direc- 
tion of the Spanish settlements, and how far they were dis- 
tant, we could make out from the signs of the chief no infor- 
mation more exact than this. He still pointed to the west, 
and then back at us. He then made a very tolerable imita- 
tion of the rolling and breaking of the surf on the sea shore. 
Below he drew a cow and a sheep. From this we were satis- 
fied that there were Spanish settlements west of us; and our 
conclusion was, that they could not be very distant. 

At mid-day we bade these friendly Indians farewell, and 
resumed our slow progress of floating slowly down the stream, 
still setting our traps, whenever we found any indications of 
beavers. We met with no striking incident, and experienced 
no molestation until January ist, 1828. On this day we 
once more received a shower of arrows from about fifty 
Indians of a tribe called Pipi, of whom we were cautioned 
to beware by the friendly Indians we had last left. I forgot 
at the time to mention the name of that people, when speak- 
ing of them, and [149] repeat it now. It is Cocopa." When 
the Pipi fired upon us, we were floating near the middle of 
the river. We immediately commenced pulling for the oppo- 
site shore, and were soon out of the reach of their arrows, 
without any individual having been wounded. As soon as our 
crafts touched the shore, we sprang upon the bank, took fair 
aim, and showed them the difference between their weapons 



99 For the Cocopa Indians, see ante, note 65. The Pipi were probably Pimi, a 
distinct linguistic family, occupying southern Arizona and northern Mexico. 
They lived a settled life in villages, and were generally well-disposed toward the 
whites. ED. 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 201 

and ours, by levelling six of them. The remainder fell flat, 
and began to dodge and skulk on all fours, as though the 
heavens had been loaded with thunder and mill stones, which 
were about to rain on them from the clouds. 

We re-loaded our guns, and rowed over to the opposite, 
and now deserted shore. The fallen lay on the sand beach, 
some of them not yet dead. We found twenty three bows 
and the complement of arrows, most of them belonging to 
the fugitives. The bows are six feet in length, and made of 
a very tough and elastic kind of wood, which the Spaniards 
call Tarnio. They polish them down by rubbing them on 
a rough rock. The arrows are formed of a reed grass, and 
of the same length with their bows, with a foot of hard wood 
stuck in the end of the cavity of the reed, and a flint spike 
fitted on the end of it. They have very large and erect forms, 
and black skins. Their long black hair floats in tresses 
down their backs, and to the termination of each tress is 
fastened a snail shell. In other respects their dress consists 
of their birth-day suit; in other words, they are perfectly 
naked. The river seems here to run upon a high ridge; for 
we can see from our crafts a great distance back into the 
country, which is thickly covered with musquito and other 
low and scrubby trees. The land is exceedingly marshy, 
and is the resort of numerous flocks of swans, and blue 
cranes. The rackoons are in such numbers, that they cause 
us to lose a great many beavers, by getting into our traps and 
being taken instead of the true game. They annoy us too 
by their squalling when they are taken. 

From the junction of the two rivers to this place, I judge 
to be about a hundred miles. We find the climate exceed- 
ingly warm, [150] and the beaver fur, in accommodation to 
the climate, is becoming short. We conclude, in conse- 
quence, that our trapping is becoming of less importance, 
and that it is our interest to push on faster to reach the settle- 
ments. A great many times every day we bring our crafts 



2O2 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

to shore, and go out to see if we cannot discover the tracks 
of horses and cattle. On the i8th, we first perceived that 
we had arrived on the back water of the tide; or rather we 
first attributed the deadness of the current to the entrance of 
some inundated river, swollen by the melting of the snow 
on the mountains. We puzzled our brains with some other 
theories, to account for the deadness of the current. This 
became so entirely still, that we began to rig our oars, con- 
cluding that instead of our hitherto easy progress of floating 
gently onward, we had henceforward to make our head- way 
down stream by dint of the machinery of our arms. 

We soon were thoroughly enlightened in regard to the 
slackness of the water. It began to run down again, and 
with the rapidity of six miles an hour; that is, double the 
ordinary current of the stream. We were all much sur- 
prised, for though I had seen the water of the Pacific at 
Ymus, none of us had ever felt the influence of the tides, or 
been in a craft on the ocean waters before. People of the 
same tribe, upon which we had recently fired, stood upon the 
shore, and called loudly to us as we passed, to come to land, 
making signs to us, that the motion of the water would cap- 
size our crafts. They showed a great desire that we might 
come to shore, we had no doubt, that they might rob and 
murder us. We preserved such a distance from them, as 
to be out of the reach of their arrows, and had no intention to 
fire upon them. Had we wished for a shot, they were quite 
within rifle distance. We floated on, having had a beauti- 
ful evening's run, and did not come to land, until late; we 
then pitched our camp on a low point of land, unconscious, 
from our inexperience of the fact, that the water would return, 
and run up stream again. We made our canoes fast to some 
small trees, and all lay down to sleep, except my father, who 
took the first watch. He soon aroused us, and called on us 
all [151] to prepare for a gust of wind, and a heavy rain, 
which he thought betokened by a rushing noise he heard. 



1824-1830] P attic's Personal Narrative 203 

We realized in a few moments, that it was the returning tide. 
Still, so strongly impressed were we, that a shower was 
approaching, that we made all the customary arrangements 
of preparation, by stretching our blankets to keep out the 
water from above. But our enemy assailed us from another 
quarter. Our camp was inundated from the river. We 
landsmen from the interior, and unaccustomed to such 
movements of the water, stood contemplating with astonish- 
ment the rush of the tide coming in from the sea, in conflict 
with the current of the river. At the point of conflict rose 
a high ridge of water, over which came the sea current, 
combing down like water over a mildam. We all sprang to 
our canoes, which the rush of the water had almost capsized, 
though we held the fasts with our hands. In twenty minutes 
the place where we lay asleep, and even our fire place was three 
feet under water, and our blankets were all afloat. We had 
some vague and general ideas of the nature of the tide, but 
its particular operations were as much unknown to us, as 
though we never had heard of it at all. In the consternation 
of our ignorance, we paddled our crafts, as well as we could, 
among the timber, not dreaming that in the course of a few 
hours, the water would fall again. As it was, we gathered 
up our floating blankets, got into our canoes, and held fast 
to the brushes, until the water fell again, leaving us and our 
canoes high and dry. We were now assailed by a new alarm, 
lest the Indians, taking advantage of this new position in 
which we were placed, would attack and murder us. 

In such apprehensions we passed the night, until the morn- 
ing shone upon us with a bright and beautiful sun, which 
enabled us to dry all our wet things, and re-animated us with 
the confidence which springs from the view of a bright firma- 
ment and a free and full survey of our case. When the tide 
returned we got into our crafts, and descended with it, still 
expecting to find Spanish settlements. We continued in this 
way to descend, when the tide ran out, until the 28th, when 



204 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

the surf came up the [152] river so strong that we saw in a 
moment, that our crafts could not live, if we floated them 
into this tumultuous commotion of the water. 

Here we were placed in a new position, not the least dis- 
heartening or trying, among the painful predicaments, in 
which fortune had placed us. The fierce billows shut us in 
from below, the river current from above, and murderous 
savages upon either hand on the shore. We had a rich cargo 
of furs, a little independence for each one of us, could we 
have disposed of them, as we had hoped, among the Spanish 
people, whom we expected to have found here. There were 
no such settlements. Every side on which we looked offered 
an array of danger, famine and death. In this predicament, 
what were furs to us ? Our first thought was to commit our 
furs to the waters, and attempt to escape with our lives. 
Our second resolve was to ascend the river as far as we could, 
bury our furs, and start on foot for some settlement. We saw 
that the chances were greatly against us, that we should per- 
ish in the attempt; for the country yielded little to subsist on 
and was full of Indians who are to the last degree savage and 
murderous, and whom nothing can subdue to kindness and 
friendship. We had no idea of ever putting ourselves in their 
power, as long as one of us could fire a pistol, or draw a knife. 

We now began to ascend with the tide, when it served us, 
and lay by when it ran down, until we arrived at the point 
where it ceased to flow. We then applied our oars, and with 
the help of setting-poles, and at times the aid of a cordelle, 
we stemmed the current at the rate of one, and sometimes two 
miles an hour, until the tenth of February, when we met a 
great rise of the river, and found the current so strong, that 
we had no power to stem it in any way. So we concluded 
to abandon our canoes, come to shore, bury our furs, and 
make our way across the peninsula to the coast of California, 
which we thought from the information of the Indians, could 
not be very distant. 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 205 

On the 1 6th, we completed the burying of our furs, and 
started on foot with our packs on our backs. The contents 
of these [153] packs were two blankets for each man, a con- 
siderable quantity of dried beaver meat, and a rifle with the 
ammunition. Our first day's journey was through a coun- 
try to the last degree trying to our strength and patience. It 
was through the river bottom, which was thick set with low, 
scrubby brush, interwoven with tall grass, vines and creepers. 
The making our way through these was excessively slav- 
ish and fatiguing. We had a single alleviation. There was 
plenty of fresh water to drink. We were so fatigued at night, 
that sleep was irresistible. The weather was warm, and we 
kindled no fire, through fear of the savages. We started on 
the morning of the i8th, all complaining much of stiffness 
and soreness of our limbs. We had been unused to walking 
for a great length of time; and this commencement was 
a rude experiment of resuming the habit. At two in the 
afternoon, we reached the edge of a large salt plain, which 
runs parallel with the river. Here we struck a north west 
course, and travelled the remainder of this hot and fatiguing 
day without finding any water. We began to suffer severely 
from thirst. The earth, also, was so loose and sandy, that 
at every step we sank up to our ankles, the sun beaming 
down a fierce radiance the while; which made it seem as if 
the heavens and the earth were on fire. Our tongues became 
so parched, that not a particle of moisture flowed into our 
mouths. In this miserable and forlorn condition, aban- 
doned by strength, courage and hope, we found some little 
alleviation of our misery, when the blaze of the sun was gone, 
and the cool night enabled us to throw down our weary and 
exhausted bodies under its dewy shade. 

We made an early start in the morning, and pushed on 
as men, as thirsty as we were, naturally would, in the hope 
of finding water, until two in the afternoon. What a sight 
of joy ! I have no words to express our delight at the sight 



206 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

of a little lake before us. We sprang greedily to it. The 
water was salt, too salt to be drank! Not the slightest 
indication of any other water course, or any omen of fresh 
water was any where in view. Far in the distance a snow- 
covered mountain glittered in the [154] sun, and on the 
opposite shore of this salt lake, and at a distance of three or 
four miles from it, rose some hills of considerable height. 
We thought that from the summit of these hills we might 
possibly discover some water. We gathered dry flags, of 
which there was a great abundance about us, and made a 
kind of raft, on which each one of us put his pack, and 
swam the lake, pushing the little rafts that carried our 
packs, before us. The lake is about two hundred yards 
wide, and contains a great variety of fish. In length the 
lake stretches north and south, bounded on each shore 
with high, level and well timbered land, though apparently 
affording no fresh water. 

When we reached the west shore of the lake, we saw 
fresh Indian foot-prints in the sand. This assured us, that 
there was water at no great distance. One of our company 
and myself started and ascended the highest peak of the 
hills in our view. We were not long in descrying a smoke 
in the south, at the distance of about ten miles. This sight 
gave us great courage and hope; for we felt assured that 
there must be water between us and the Indian camp. 
In a moment we started back with a vigorous step, to 
inform our companions, who were resting themselves under 
the shade of a tree. The information re-animated them, 
as it had us. We all shouldered our packs with a degree of 
alacrity, and pushed on toward the smoke. We arrived 
about three in the afternoon on a small mound, within a 
quarter of a mile of the Indians. We could distinctly num- 
ber them, and found them between forty and fifty in number, 
and their women and children were with them. 

Here again was anxious ground of debate, what course 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 207 

we should pursue ? should we attempt the long and uncertain 
course of conciliation, before the accomplishment of which 
we might perish with thirst ? or should we rush among them, 
and buy the delicious element which we had full in view, 
at the hazard of our lives? Men as thirsty as we were, 
would be likely to fix upon the latter alternative, and we 
did so. We examined our arms to see that we were pre- 
pared to attack, or repel, according to circumstances, de- 
termined to fire upon them, if they [155] showed either a 
disposition for fight, or to keep us from the water. 

We were within a hundred and fifty yards of them before 
they perceived us. As soon as they saw us they all fled to 
the bushes, men, women and children, as though satan was 
behind them. We had no disposition to arrest them, but 
rushed forward to the water, and began to slake our burning 
thirst. My father immediately cautioned us against drink- 
ing too much, pointing out at the same time the hurtful 
consequences. But men have always proved themselves 
slow to resist their appetites at the command of their reason. 
Most of us overloaded our empty stomachs with water, and 
soon became as sick as death. After vomiting, however, 
we were relieved. My father told us that we had better 
stand to our arms; for that the Indians had probably only 
fled to hide their women and children, and prepare them- 
selves to return and fight us. 

Scarcely had he finished these remarks, when we dis- 
covered them bearing down upon us, painted as black as a 
thunder cloud, and yelling like so many fiends. Some of 
them were armed with clubs, some with bows and arrows. 
We all arranged ourselves to receive them, behind the top 
of a large fallen tree. When they were within rifle shot, we 
made signs to them to halt, or that otherwise we should fire 
upon them. They comprehended us, halted and ceased 
yelling, as though they wished to hear what we had to say. 
We made signs that we were friendly. At this they gazed in 



208 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

apparent confusion of thought, and seemed to be questioning 
each other, touching the meaning of our signs. These signs 
we continued to repeat. At length one of them called aloud 
in Spanish, and asked us who we were? How delightful 
were these sounds! We answered Americans. They re- 
peated the name, asking us if we were friendly and Chris- 
tians? To these questions we made a ready affirmative. 
They then proposed a treaty with us. Nothing could be 
more agreeable to us. At the same time we perceived that 
only eight of their people came to us, and the remainder of 
their company kept back. These eight that seemed to be 
their chief [156] men, advanced to us, while the rest, with 
extreme anxiety painted upon their countenances, stood 
ready for action. We all sat down on the ground, and 
commenced talking. They enquired with great precision, 
who we were, whence we came, how we arrived here, what 
was our object, and whether we had met with any misfor- 
tunes? We answered these questions to their satisfaction; 
and soon the pipe was lit, and we commenced smoking. 
They then dug a hole in the ground, in which they buried 
their war axe, and professed to deposite all ill feelings with 
it. The Indian of their number, who spoke the Spanish 
language, was a fugitive from the Mission of St. Catherine. 
Threatened with the punishment of some misdemeanor, he 
had fled from the establishment. 

After we had finished smoking, they asked us if the re- 
mainder of their number might not come and converse with 
us. This we objected to, unless they would bring their 
women and children with them. To this order they ex- 
pressed great reluctance. This reluctance by no means 
tended to allay our previous jealousy of their pretended 
friendship. We asked them their reasons for being unwill- 
ing to bring their women and children? They answered 
promptly that they did not feel it safe to put then: women 
and children in our power, until they were more acquainted 



1824-1830] Pattie 1 s Personal Narrative 209 

with us. There seemed reason in this. We observed, that 
their men might come, provided they would leave their 
arms behind. To this they readily assented, and called 
out to their men to come on, leaving their arms behind. A 
part of them seemingly much delighted, threw down their 
arms and came on. The remainder equally dissatisfied, 
wheeled about, and walked moodily away. 

The new comers sat down in a circle round us. The 
pipe was again lit and circled round. Again the terms of 
the treaty were repeated, and they all expressed their satis- 
faction with them. They observed, that their head chief 
was absent, at the distance of two day's journey to the 
south, that in three or four days he would come and see us, 
desiring us to remain with them until he should come. 
Nothing could be more opportune for [157] us, for we were 
all excessively fatigued, and needed a few days rest. After 
this they went and brought their women and children, who, 
like the other Indians we had seen, were all stark naked. 
At first they were excessively shy of us. This shyness wore 
off, and in the course of the day changed to an eager curios- 
ity to examine us, and an admiration of our red flannel shirts, 
and the white skin under them; for little show of whiteness 
was to be seen in our faces. They soon ventured close to 
us, and with their own hands opened our bosoms, uttering 
exclamations of curiosity and admiration, especially on 
feeling the softness of our skins, in comparison of theirs. 
They certainly seemed to prefer our complexion to theirs, 
notwithstanding it had not the stamp of their fashion. 

At length they made up to one of our companions, who 
was of a singularly light complexion, fair soft skin, and blue 
eyes. They wanted him to strip himself naked that they 
might explore him thoroughly, for they seemed to be doubtful 
of his being alike white in every part of his body. This, 
but as mildly as possible, he refused to do. They went off 
and brought a quantity of dried fish of excellent quality, and 



2 1 o Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

presented him. We persuaded him to oblige these curious 
and good natured women, by giving them a full view of his 
body. He was persuaded to strip to his skin. This de- 
lighted them, and they conversed and laughed among them- 
selves, and they came one by one and stood beside him; so 
as to compare their bodies with his. After this, as long as 
we staid, they were constantly occupied in bringing us 
cooked fish and the vegetables and roots on which they are 
accustomed to feed. On the 25th, the head chief came. 
He was a venerable looking man, whom I judged to be 
about fifty years old. His countenance was thoughtful and 
serious, and his hair a little gray. At his return his people 
greeted him with an acclamation of yells, that made the 
wild desert echo. The pipe was lit, and we all sat down 
by him and smoked again. He was a man of but few words, 
but of sound judgment. After the smoking was finished, 
he asked us the same questions which had been asked us 
before. We [158] made him similar answers, adding, that 
we wanted to travel to the Spanish settlements and purchase 
horses, upon which we might ride home to our own country, 
and that we would pay him well if he would send some of 
his men to guide us to those settlements. He asked us in 
reply, what we had to give him? We showed him our 
blankets, and he expressed himself delighted with them, 
observing at the same time, that he would have preferred to 
have had red cloth. On this we pulled off our red shirts and 
stripped them into small pieces like ribbons, and distributed 
them among the people. They tied the strips round their 
legs, arms and heads, and seemed as much overjoyed with 
these small tatters of worn red flannel, as we should have 
been, to have brought our furs to a good market among 
our own people. In giving away our red shirts, we gave 
away, what in this warm climate was to us wholly unneces- 
sary. To carry our blankets on our backs was a useless 
burden. We gave two of them to the chief. The two guides 



1824-1830] Pattie 's Personal Narrative 211 

that he was to send with us we were to pay after our arrival 
at the Spanish settlements. These points of contract be- 
tween us were settled to the mutual satisfaction of all. 

We started on the 26th, with our two guides, neither of 
whom could speak Spanish, and of course we had nothing 
to do but follow them in silence. We struck off a south 
west course, which led in the direction of the snow covered 
mountain, which still loomed up in its brightness before us. 
Our guides made signs that we should arrive at the foot 
about midnight, though the distance appeared to us to be 
too great to be travelled over in so short a time. We were 
yet to learn, that we should find no water, until we drank 
that of the melted snow. We perceived, however, that their 
travelling gait, worn as we were, was more rapid than ours. 
We pushed on as fast as we could a league further, when 
we were impeded by a high hill in our way, which was about 
another league to the summit, and very precipitous and steep. 
When we reached the top of it we were much exhausted, and 
began to be thirsty. We could then see the arid salt plain 
stretching all the way from the foot of this hill to the snow 
covered mountains. 

[159] We thought it inexpedient to enquire of our guides, 
if there was no water to be found between us and the moun- 
tain. It appeared but too probable, that such was the fact. 
To know it to a certainty, would only tend to unnerve and 
dishearten us. If there was any, we were aware that we 
should reach it by travelling no more distance than as if we 
knew the fact. We found it best to encourage the little hope 
that remained, and hurried on through the drifted sand, in 
which we sank up to our ankles at every step. The cloud- 
less sun poured such a blaze upon it, that by the scorching 
of our feet, it might have seemed almost hot enough to roast 
eggs in. What with the fierce sun and the scorching sand, 
and our extreme fatigue, the air seemed soon to have extracted 
every particle of moisture from our bodies. In this condi- 



2 1 2 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

tion we marched on until nearly the middle of the day, 
without descrying any indication of water in any quarter. 
A small shrubby tree stood in our way, affording a tolerable 
shade. We laid ourselves down to get a few minutes rest. 
The Indians sternly beckoned us to be up and onward, 
now for the first time clearly explaining to us, that there was 
no water until we reached the mountains in view. This 
unseasonable and yet necessary information, extinguished 
the last remainder of our hope, and we openly expressed our 
fears that we should none of us ever reach it. 

We attempted to chew tobacco. It would raise no 
moisture. We took our bullets in our mouths, and moved 
them round to create a moisture, to relieve our parched 
throats. We had travelled but a little farther before our 
tongues had became so dry and swollen, that we could 
scarcely speak so as to be understood. In this extremity 
of nature, we should, perhaps, have sunk voluntarily, had 
not the relief been still in view on the sides of the snow 
covered mountains. We resorted to one expedient to 
moisten our lips, tongue and throat, disgusting to relate, 
and still more disgusting to adopt. In such predicaments 
it has been found, that nature disburdens people of all con- 
ditions of ceremony and disgust. Every thing bends to the 
devouring thirst, and the love of life. The application of 
this [160] hot and salt liquid seemed rather to enrage than 
appease the torturing appetite. Though it offered such a 
semblance of what would satisfy thirst, that we economized 
every particle. Our amiable Dutchman was of a sweetness 
of temper, that was never ruffled, and a calmness and 
patience that appeared proof against all events. At another 
time, what laughter would have circulated through our camp, 
to hear him make merry of this expedient ! As it was, even 
in this horrible condition, a faint smile circulated through 
our company, as he discussed his substitute for drink. 
'Veil, mine poys, dis vater of mein ish more hotter as hell, 



1824-1830] Pattie 1 s Personal Narrative 213 

und as dick as boudden, und more zalter as de zeas. I 
can't drink him. For Cod's sake, gif me some of yours, 
dat is more tinner.' 

Having availed ourselves to the utmost of this terrible 
expedient, we marched on in company a few miles further. 
Two of our companions here gave out, and lay down under 
the shade of a bush. Their tongues were so swollen, and 
their eyes so sunk in their heads, that they were a spectacle 
to behold. We were scarcely able, from the condition of 
our own mouths, to bid them an articulate farewell. We 
never expected to see them again, and none of us had much 
hope of ever reaching the mountain, which still raised its 
white summit at a great distance from us. It was with 
difficulty that we were enabled to advance one foot before 
the other. Our limbs, our powers, even our very resolutions 
seemed palsied. A circumstance that added to our distress, 
was the excessive and dazzling brightness of the sun's rays, 
so reflected in our eyes from the white sand that we were 
scarcely able to see our way before us, or in what direction 
to follow our guides. They, accustomed to go naked, and 
to traverse these burning deserts, and be unaffected by such 
trials, appeared to stand the heat and drought, like camels on 
the Arabian sands. They, however, tried by their looks and 
gestures to encourage us, and induce us to quicken our pace. 
But it was to no purpose. However, we still kept moving 
onward, and had gained a few miles more, when night 
brought us shelter at least from the insupportable radiance 
of the sun, and something of coolness and moisture. 

[161] But it was so dark, that neither we or our guides 
could discover the course. We stopped, and made a large 
fire, that our companions, if yet living, and able to move, 
might see where we were, and how to direct ther own course 
to reach us. We also fired some guns, which, to our great 
relief and pleasure, they answered by firing off theirs. We 
still repeated firing guns at intervals, until they came up 



214 Ear/y Western Travels [Vol. 18 

with us. They supposed that we had found water, which 
invigorated their spirits to such a degree, that it aroused 
them to the effort they had made. When they had arrived, 
and found that we had reached no water, they appeared to be 
angry, and to complain that we had disturbed their repose 
with false hopes, and had hindered their dying in peace. 
One of them in the recklessness of despair, drew from his 
package a small phial, half full of laudanum, and drank it 
off, I suppose in the hope of sleeping himself quietly to 
death. We all expected it would have that effect. On 
the contrary, in a few moments he was exhilarated, like a 
man in a state of intoxication. He was full of talk, and 
laughter, and gaiety of heart. He observed, that he had 
taken it in hopes that it would put him to sleep, never to 
wake again, but that in fact, it had made him as well, and 
as fresh, as in the morning when he started; but that if he 
had imagined that it would prove such a sovereign remedy 
for thirst, he would cheerfully have shared it with us. We 
scraped down beneath the burning surface of the sand, until 
we reached the earth that was a little cool. We then stripped 
off all our clothing and lay down. Our two Indians, also 
lay down beside us, covering themselves with their blankets. 
My father bade me lay on the edge of one of their blankets, 
so that they could not get up without awakening me. He 
was fearful that they would arise, and fly from us in the 
night. I implicitly conformed to my father's wish, for had 
this event happened, we should all undoubtedly have per- 
ished. But the Indians appear to have meditated no such 
expedient, at any rate, they lay quiet until morning. 

As soon as there was light enough to enable us to travel 
we started, much refreshed by the coolness of the night, and 
the [162] sleep we had taken. We began our morning march 
with renewed alacrity. At about ten in the forenoon we 
arrived at the foot of a sand hill about a half a mile in height, 
and very steep. The side was composed of loose sand, 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 215 

which gave way under our feet, so that our advancing foot 
steps would slide back to their former places. This soon 
exhausted our little remaining strength; though we still 
made many an unavailing effort to ascend. The sun was 
now so high, as to beam upon us with the same insufferable 
radiance of yesterday. The air which we inhaled, seemed 
to scald our lungs. We at length concluded to travel towards 
the north, to reach, if we might, some point where the hill 
was not so steep to ascend. At two in the afternoon we 
found a place that was neither so steep nor so high, and we 
determined here to attempt to cross the hill. With great 
exertions and infinite difficulty, a part of us gained the 
summit of the hill; but my father and another of our com- 
pany, somewhat advanced in years, gave out below, though 
they made the most persevering efforts to reach the summit 
of the hill with the rest. Age had stiffened their joints, and 
laid his palsying hand upon their once active limbs, and 
vigorous frames. They could endure this dreadful journey 
no longer. They had become so exhausted by fruitless 
efforts to climb the hill, that they could no longer drag one 
foot after the other. They had each so completely aban- 
doned the hope of ever reaching the water, or even gaining 
the summit of the hill, that they threw themselves on the 
ground, apparently convinced of their fate, and resigned to 
die. I instantly determined to remain with my father, be it 
for life or death. To this determination he would by no 
means consent, as he remarked it would bring my destruc- 
tion, without its availing him. On the contrary, he insisted, 
that I should go on with the rest, and if I found any water 
near at hand, that I should return with my powder horn 
full. In this way he assured me, I might be instrumental 
in saving my own life, and saving him at the same time. 
To this I consented, and with much fatigue gained the sum- 
mit of the hill, where my companions were seated waiting 
for us. They seemed undetermined, [163] whether to ad- 



2 1 6 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

vance onward, or wait for my father, until I related his deter- 
mination. My purpose was to proceed onward only so far, 
as that, if the Almighty should enable us to reach water, I 
might be able to return with a powder horn full to him and 
Mr. Slover, (for that was the name of the elderly companion 
that remained with him.) 

This resolution was agreed to by all, as a proper one. 
Being satisfied by our consciences as well as by the reasoning 
of my father and his companion, that we could render them 
no service by remaining with them, except to increase their 
sufferings by a view of ours; and aware, that every mo- 
ment was precious, we pushed on once more for the mountain. 
Having descended this hill, we ascended another of the same 
wearying ascent, and sandy character with the former. We 
toiled on to the top of it. The Eternal Power, who hears 
the ravens when they cry, and provideth springs in the 
wilderness, had had mercy upon us! Imagine my joy at 
seeing a clear, beautiful running stream of water, just below 
us at the foot of the hill ! Such a blissful sight I had never 
seen before, and never expect to see again. We all ran 
down to it, and fell to drinking. In a few moments nothing 
was to be heard among us, but vomiting and groaning. 
Notwithstanding our mutual charges to be cautious, we had 
overcharged our parched stomachs with this cold snow 
water. 

Notwithstanding I was sick myself, I emptied my powder 
horn of its contents, filled it with water, and accompanied 
by one companion, who had also filled his powder horn, I 
returned towards my father and Mr. Slover, his exhausted 
companion, with a quick step. We found them in the same 
position in which we had left them, that is, stretched on the 
sand at full length, under the unclouded blaze of the sun, 
and both fast asleep ; a sleep from which, but for our relief, 
I believe they would neither of them ever have awakened. 
Their lips were black, and their parched mouths wide open. 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 219 

Their unmoving posture and their sunken eyes so resembled 
death, that I ran in a fright to my father, thinking him, for 
a moment, really dead. But he easily awakened, and drank 
the refreshing water. My companion [164] at the same 
time bestowed his horn of water upon Mr. Slover. In the 
course of an hour they were both able to climb the hill, and 
some time before dark we rejoined the remainder of our 
company. They had kindled a large fire, and all seemed in 
high spirits. As for our two Indians, they were singing, 
and dancing, as it seemed to us, in a sort of worship of thank- 
fulness to the Great Spirit, who had led them through so 
much peril and toil to these refreshing waters. We roasted 
some of our beaver meat, and took food for the first time in 
forty-eight hours, that is to say, from the time we left our 
Indian friends, until we reached this water. Our Dutchman 
insisted that the plain over which we passed, should be 
named the devil's plain, for he insisted, that it was more 
hotter as hell, and that none but teyvils could live upon it. 
In fact, it seemed a more fitting abode for fiends, than any 
living thing that belongs to our world. During our passage 
across it, we saw not a single bird, nor the track of any 
quadruped, or in fact any thing that had life, not even a 
sprig, weed or grass blade, except a single shrubby tree, 
under which we found a little shade. This shrub, though 
of some height, resembled a prickly pear, and was covered 
thick with thorns. The prickly pears were in such abun- 
dance, that we were often, dazzled as our eyes were with the 
sun's brightness, puzzled to find a path so as neither to 
torment our feet or our bodies with the thorns of these 
hated natives of the burning sands. This very extensive 
plain, the Sahara of California, runs north and south, and 
is bounded on each side by high barren mountains, some of 
which are covered with perpetual snow. 

On the 28th, we travelled up this creek about three miles, 
and killed a deer, which much delighted our two Indian 



22O Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

guides. At this point we encamped for the night. Here 
are abundance of palm trees and live oaks, and considerable 
of mascal. We remained until the 3d of March, when we 
marched up this creek, which heads to the south, forming a 
low gap in the mountain. On the yth, we arrived at the 
point, and found some of the Christian Indians from the 
Mission of St. Catharine. They were roasting mascal and 
the tender inside heads of the [165] palm trees for food, 
which, when prepared and cooked after their fashion, 
becomes a very agreeable food. From these Indians we 
learned that we were within four days' travel of the mission 
mentioned above. 

Here we concluded to discharge our guides, and travel 
into the settlement with the Christian Indians. We gave 
them each a blanket, and they started back to their own 
people on the morning of the 8th. At the same time we 
commenced our journey with our new guides, and began to 
climb the mountain. This is so exceedingly lofty, as to 
require two days' travel and a half to gain its summit. 
During this ascent, I severely bruised my heel. We none 
of us wore any thing to shield our feet from the bare and 
sharp rocks, which composed almost the whole surface of 
this ascent, but thin deer skin moccasins. Obliged to walk 
on tip toe, and in extreme anguish, the severe fatigue of 
scrambling up sharp stones was any thing, rather than 
agreeable. But I summoned patience and courage to push 
on until the i2th. My leg then became so swollen and in- 
flamed that it was out of my power to travel farther. The 
pain was so severe as to create fever. I lay myself down on 
the side of a sharp rock, resigning myself to my fate, and 
determined to make no effort to travel further, until I felt 
relieved. My companions all joined with my father, in 
encouraging me to rise, and make an effort to reach the 
mission, which they represented to be but three miles dis- 
tant. It was out of the question for me to think of it, and 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 221 

they concluded to go to the settlement, and obtain a horse, 
and send out for me. I kindled me a fire, for I suffered 
severe chills. The Indians gave me the strictest caution 
against allowing myself to go to sleep in their absence. 
The reason they assigned for their caution was a substantial 
one. The grizzly bear, they said, was common on these 
mountains, and would attack and devour me, unless I kept 
on my guard. I paid little attention to their remarks at the 
time. But when they were gone, and I was left alone, I 
examined the priming, and picked the flints of my gun and 
pistol. I then lay down and slept, until sometime in the 
early part of the night, when [166] two Indians came out 
from the settlement, and informed me that the corporal of 
the guards at St. Catharines 97 wished me to come in. Being 
feverish, stiff, sore and withal testy, I gave them and their 
corporal no very civil words. They said that the corporal 
only wanted me to come in, because he was afraid the 
grizzly bears would kill me. I asked them why they did 
not bring a horse for me? They informed me, that the 
Mission had none at disposal at that time, but that they 
would carry me on their backs. So I was obliged to avail 
myself of this strange conveyance, and mounted the back of 
one of them while the other carried my arms. In this way 
they carried me in, where I found my companions in a 
guard house. I was ordered to enter with them by a swarthy 
looking fellow, who resembled a negro, rather than a white. 
I cannot describe the indignation I felt at this revolting 
breach of humanity to people in suffering, who had thrown 
themselves on the kindness and protection of these Span- 
iards. We related the reasons why we had come in after 
this manner. We showed them our passport, which certi- 
fied to them, that we were neither robbers, murderers, nor 



" Santa Catalina was the last mission founded in Lower California. It was 
established by the Dominicans (1797) in the mountains, back from the coast, about 
latitude 31 20', on the headwaters of River St. Quentin. ED. 



222 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

spies. To all this their only reply was, how should they 
know whether we had come clandestinely, and with improper 
views, or not? Against this question, proposed by such 
people, all reasonings were thrown away. The cowardly 
and worthless are naturally cruel. We were thrown com- 
pletely in their power; and instead of that circumstance 
exciting any generous desires to console and relieve us, their 
only study seemed to be to vex, degrade, and torment us. 

Here we remained a week, living on corn mush, which we 
received once a day; when a guard of soldiers came to con- 
duct us from this place. This mission is situated in a valley, 
surrounded by high mountains, with beautiful streams of 
water flowing from them. The natives raise sufficient corn 
and wheat to serve for the subsistence of the mission. The 
mission establishment is built in a quadrangular form; all 
the houses forming the quadrangle contiguous to each other; 
and one of the angles is a large church, adjoining which are 
the habitations of [167] the priests; though at this time 
there happened to be none belonging to this at home. The 
number of Indians belonging to the mission at this time, 
was about five hundred. They were destitute of stock, on 
account of its having been plundered from them by the free, 
wild Indians of the desert. The air is very cool and tem- 
perate, and hard frosts are not uncommon. This cool 
temperature of the atmosphere I suppose to be owing to 
the immediate proximity of the snowy mountains. 

On the 1 8th, we started under the conduct of a file of 
soldiers, who led us two days' travel, over very high moun- 
tains, a south west course, to another mission, called St. 
Sebastian, situated near the sea coast, in a delightful valley, 
surrounded, like the other, by lofty mountains, the sides of 
which present magnificent views of the ocean. This mission 
contains six hundred souls. This mission establishment, 
though much richer and neater than the other, is, however, 
built on a precisely similar plan. Here they have rich 



1824-1830] Patties Personal Narrative 223 

vineyards, and raise a great variety of the fruits of almost 
all climates. They also raise their own supplies of grain, 
and have a tolerable abundance of stock, both of the larger 
and smaller kinds. 

A Serjeant has the whole military command. We found 
him of a dark and swarthy complexion, though a man of 
tolerable information. He seemed disposed to conduct 
towards us with some courtesy and kindness. He saluted 
us with politeness, conducted us to the guard house, and 
begged us to content ourselves, as well as we could, until he 
could make some more satisfactory arrangements for our 
comfort and convenience. To put him to the proof of his 
professed kindness, we told him that we were very hungry. 
They soon had a poor steer killed, that reeled as it walked, 
and seemed sinking by natural decay. A part of the blue 
flesh was put boiling in one pot, and a parcel of corn in the 
other. The whole process reminded me strongly of the 
arrangements which we make in Kentucky, to prepare a 
mess for a diseased cow. When this famous feast was 
cooked, we were marched forth into the yard, in great cere- 
mony, to eat it. All the men, women and children clus- 
tered round us, and [168] stood staring at us while we were 
eating, as though they had been at a menagerie to see some 
wild and unknown animals. When we were fairly seated 
to our pots, and began to discuss the contents, disgusted alike 
with the food, with them, and their behaviour, we could not 
forbear asking them whether they really took us to be human 
beings, or considered us as brutes? They looked at each 
other a moment, as if to reflect and frame an answer, and 
then replied coolly enough, that not being Christians, they 
considered us little superior to brutes. To this we replied, 
with a suitable mixture of indignation and scorn, that we 
considered ourselves better Christians than they were, and 
that if they did not give us something to eat more befitting 
men, we would take our guns, live where we pleased, and eat 



224 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

venison and other good things, where we chose. This was 
not mere bravado, for, to our astonishment, we were still in 
possession of our arms. We had made no resistance to 
their treating us as prisoners, as we considered them nothing 
more than petty and ignorant officers, whom we supposed 
to have conducted improperly, from being unacquainted 
with their duty. We were all confident, that as soon as 
intelligence of our arrival should reach the commanding 
officer of this station, and how we had been detained, and 
treated as prisoners, we should not only be released from 
prison, but recompensed for our detention. 

This determination of ours appeared to alarm them. The 
information of our menaces, no doubt with their own com- 
ments, soon reached the serjeant. He immediately came 
to see us, while we were yet at our pots, and enquired of us, 
what was our ground of complaint and dissatisfaction ? We 
pointed to the pots, and asked him if he thought such food 
becoming the laws of hospitality to such people ? He stepped 
up to the pots, and turning over the contents, and examining 
them with his fingers, enquired in an angry tone, who had 
served up such food to us ? He added, that it was not fit to 
give a dog, and that he would punish those who had pro- 
cured it. He comforted us, by assuring us that we should 
have something fit to eat cooked for us. We immediately 
returned quietly to the guard house. But a [169] short time 
ensued before he sent us a good dish of fat mutton, and some 
tortillas. This was precisely the thing our appetites craved, 
and we were not long in making a hearty meal. After we 
had fed to our satisfaction, he came to visit us, and interro- 
gated us in what manner, and with what views we had visited 
the country? We went into clear, full and satisfactory 
details of information in regard to every thing that could 
have any interest to him, as an officer; and told him that 
our object was to purchase horses, on which we might return 
to our own country; and that we wished him to intercede 



1824-1830] P attic* s Personal Narrative 225 

in our behalf with the commander in chief, that we might 
have permission to purchase horses and mules among them, 
for this purpose. He promised to do this, and returned to 
his apartment. 

The amount of his promise was, that he would reflect upon 
the subject, and in the course of four days write to his com- 
mander, from whom he might expect an answer in a fort- 
night. When we sounded him as to the probability of such 
a request being granted, he answered with apparent con- 
viction, that he had no doubt that it would be in our favor. 
As our hopes were intensely fixed upon this issue, we awaited 
this answer with great anxiety. The commander at this 
time was at the port of San Diego. During this period of 
our suspense, we had full liberty to hunt deer in the woods, 
and gather honey from the blossoms of the Mascal, which 
grows plentifully on the sea shore. Every thing in this 
strange and charming country being new, we were continually 
contemplating curiosities of every sort, which quieted our 
solicitude, and kept alive the interest of our attention. 

We used to station ourselves on the high pinnacles of the 
cliffs, on which this vast sea pours its tides, and the retreating 
or advancing tide showed us the strange sea monsters of 
that ocean, such as seals, sea otters, sea elephants, whales, 
sharks, sword fish, and various other unshapely sea dwellers. 
Then we walked on the beach, and examined the infinite 
variety of sea shells, all new and strange to us. 

Thus we amused ourselves, and strove to kill the time 
until the 2oth, when the answer of the commander arrived, 
which [170] explained itself at once, by a guard of soldiers, 
with orders to conduct us to the port of San Diego, where he 
then resided. We were ordered to be in immediate readi- 
ness to start for that port. This gave us unmingled satis- 
faction, for we had an undoubting confidence, that when we 
should really have attained the presence of an officer whom 
we supposed a gentleman, and acting independently of the 



226 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

authority of others, he would make no difficulty in granting 
a request so reasonable as ours. We started on the 2d, 
guarded by sixteen soldiers and a corporal. They were all 
on horseback, and allowed us occasionally to ride, when they 
saw us much fatigued. Our first day's journey was a north 
course, over very rough mountains, and yet, notwithstanding 
this, we made twenty-five miles distance on our way. 

At night we arrived at another mission, situated like the 
former, on a charming plain. The mission is called St. 
Thomas. 98 These wise and holy men mean to make sure of 
the rich and pleasant things of the earth, as well as the king- 
dom of heaven. They have large plantations, with splendid 
orchards and vineyards. The priest who presides over this 
establishment, told me that he had a thousand Indians under 
his care. During every week in the year, they kill thirty 
beeves for the subsistence of the mission. The hides and 
tallow they sell to vessels that visit their coast, in exchange 
for such goods as they need. 

On the following morning, we started early down this 
valley, which led us to the sea shore, along which we travelled 
the remainder of the day. This beautiful plain skirts the 
sea shore, and extends back from it about four miles. This 
was literally covered with horses and cattle belonging to the 
mission. The eye was lost beyond this handsome plain in 
contemplating an immeasurable range of mountains, which 
we were told thronged with wild horses and cattle, which 
often descend from their mountains to the plains, and entice 
away the domesticated cattle with them. The wild oats 
and clover grow spontaneously, and in great luxuriance, and 
were now knee high. In the evening we arrived at the port 
of Todos Santos, and there passed the night. Early on the 
23d, we marched on. This day we [171] travelled over some 

18 The mission of Santo Tomis de Aquino was founded by the Dominicans in 
1790. It is situated about fifty miles northwest of Santa Catalina, on a river to 
which it gives a name, Rio Santo Tomas. ED. 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 227 

tracts that were very rough, and arrived at a mission situated 
immediately on the sea board, called St. Michael." Like 
the rest, it was surrounded with splendid orchards, vineyards 
and fields; and was, for soil, climate and position, all that 
could be wished. The old superintending priest of the 
establishment showed himself very friendly, and equally 
inquisitive. He invited us to sup with him, an invitation we 
should not be very likely to refuse. We sat down to a large 
table, elegantly furnished with various dishes of the country, 
all as usual highly seasoned. Above all, the supply of 
wines was various and abundant. The priest said grace at 
the close, when fire and cigars were brought in by the attend- 
ants, and we began to smoke. We sat and smoked, and 
drank wine, until 12 o'clock. The priest informed us that 
the population of his mission was twelve hundred souls, and 
the weekly consumption, fifty beeves, and a corresponding 
amount of grain. The mission possessed three thousand 
head of domesticated and tamed horses and mules. From 
the droves which I saw in the plains, I should not think this 
an extravagant estimation. In the morning he presented 
my father a saddle mule, which he accepted, and we started. 

This day's travel still carried us directly along the verge of 
the sea shore, and over a plain equally rich and beautiful 
with that of the preceding day. We amused ourselves with 
noting the spouting of the huge whales, which seemed 
playing near the strand for our especial amusement. We 
saw other marine animals and curiosities to keep our interest 
in the journey alive. In the evening we arrived at a Ranch, 
called Buenos Aguos, or Good Water, where we encamped 
for the night. 

We started early on the 25th, purchasing a sheep of a 
shepherd, for which we paid him a knife. At this Ranch 
they kept thirty thousand head of sheep, belonging to the 
mission which we had left. We crossed a point of the moun- 

99 San Miguel, established in 1782, is about thirty miles south of San Diego. ED. 



228 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

tain that made into the water's edge. On the opposite side 
of this mountain was another Ranch, where we staid the 
night. This Ranch is for the purposes of herding horses 
and cattle, of which [172] they have vast numbers. On the 
26th, our plain lay outstretched before us as beautiful as 
ever. In the evening we came in sight of San Diego, the 
place where we were bound. 100 In this port was one mer- 
chant vessel, which we were told was from the United States, 
the ship Franklin, of Boston. We had then arrived within 
about a league of the port. The corporal who had charge of 
us here, came and requested us to give up our arms, inform- 
ing us, it was the customary request to all strangers; and that 
it was expected that our arms would be deposited in the guard 
house before we could speak with the commander, or 
general. We replied, that we were both able and disposed 
to carry our arms to the guard house ourselves, and deposite 
them there if such was our pleasure, at our own choice. He 
replied that we could not be allowed to do this, for that we 
were considered as prisoners, and under his charge; and 
that he should become responsible in his own person, if he 
should allow us to appear before the general, bearing our 
own arms. This he spoke with a countenance of serious- 
ness, which induced us to think that he desired no more 
in this request than the performance of his duty. We there- 
fore gave him up our rifles, not thinking that this was the 
last time we should have the pleasure of shouldering these 
trusty friends. Having unburdened ourselves of our de- 
fence, we marched on again, and arrived, much fatigued, at 
the town at 3 o'clock in the evening. Our arms were 
stacked on the side of the guard house, and we threw our 
fatigued bodies as near them as we could, on the ground. 
An officer was dispatched to the general to inform him of 

100 A presidio was established at San Diego in 1769, and troops stationed there. 
Although not the capital at the time of Pattie's imprisonment, Governor Echeandia 
preferred its climate to that of Monterey, and made it his permanent residence. 
The present city of San Diego dates only from 1867, and is five or six miles distant 
from the old site. ED. 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative . 229 

our arrival, and to know whether we could have an imme- 
diate audience or not ? In a short time the officer returned 
with an answer for us, that we must remain where we were 
until morning, when the general would give us a hearing. 
We were still sanguine in seeing only omens of good. We 
forgot our past troubles, opened our bosom to hope, and 
resigned ourselves to profound sleep. It is true, innumer- 
able droves of fleas performed their evolutions, and bit all 
their pleasure upon our bodies. [173] But so entire was 
our repose, that we scarcely turned for the night. No 
dreams of what was in reserve for us the following day 
floated across our minds; though in the morning my body 
was as spotted as though I had the measles, and my shirt 
specked with innumerable stains of blood, let by the ingenious 
lancets of these same Spanish fleas. 

On the 27th, at eight A. M., we were ushered into the 
general's office, with our hats in our hands, and he began his 
string of interrogations. The first question was, who we 
were? We answered, Americans. He proceeded to ask 
us, how we came on the coast, what was our object, and had 
we a passport ? In answer to these questions we again went 
over the story of our misfortunes. We then gave him the 
passport which we had received from the governor of Santa 
Fe. He examined this instrument, and with a sinister and 
malicious smile, observed, that he believed nothing of all 
this, but considered us worse than thieves and murderers; 
in fact, that he held us to be spies for the old Spaniards, and 
that our business was to lurk about the country, that we 
might inspect the weak and defenceless points of the fron- 
tiers, and point them out to the Spaniards, in order that they 
might introduce their troops into the country; but that he 
would utterly detect us, and prevent our designs. This 
last remark he uttered with a look of vengeance; and then 
reperused the passport, which he tore in pieces, saying, it was 
no passport, but a vile forgery of our own contrivance. 

Though amazed and confounded at such an unexpected 



230 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

charge, we firmly asserted our innocence in regard to any of 
the charges brought against us. We informed him that we 
were born and bred thorough and full blooded republicans; 
and that there was not a man of us who would not prefer to 
die, rather than to be the spies and instruments of the Span- 
ish king, or any other king; and that but a few years since, 
we had all been engaged in fighting the forces of a king, 
allied with savages, and sent against the country of our home; 
and that on this very expedition we had been engaged in a 
great many battles with the Indians, hostile to his people, 
redeeming their captives, [174] and punishing their robberies 
and murders. In distress, and in want of every thing from 
the robbery of these hostile Indians, we had taken refuge 
in his country, and claimed its protection. We told him we 
considered it an unworthy return for such general deport- 
ment, and such particular services to their country, that 
we should be viewed as spies, and treated as prisoners. 
He stopped us in the midst of our plea, apparently through 
fear that representations, which must have carried conviction 
to his prejudiced mind, might tend to soften his obdurate 
heart, and unnerve his purpose towards us. He told us he 
did not wish to hear any more of our long speeches, which 
he considered no better than lies; for that if we had been true 
and bona fide citizens of the United States, we should not 
have left our country without a passport, and the certificate 
of our chief magistrate. We replied that the laws of our 
country did not require that honest, common citizens, should 
carry passports; that it did not interfere with the individual 
business and pursuits of private individuals; that such 
persons went abroad and returned unnoted by the govern- 
ment; and in all well regulated states, sufficiently protected 
by the proof that they were citizens of the United States; but 
that there were in our country two classes of people, for 
whom passports were necessary, slaves and soldiers; that 
for the slave it was necessary to have one, to certify that he 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 231 

was travelling with the knowledge and permission of his 
master; and for the soldier, to show that he was on furlough, 
or otherwise abroad with the permission of his officer. As 
we spoke this with emphasis, and firmness, he told us that 
he had had enough of our falsehoods, and begged us to be 
quiet. He ordered us to be remanded to our prison, and 
was immediately obeyed. 

As we were driven out of his office, my father, who was 
exceedingly exasperated, observed, 'my boys, as soon as 
we arrive in the guard house, let us seize our arms and 
redress ourselves, or die in the attempt; for it seems to me 
that these scoundrels mean to murder us.' We all unani- 
mously agreed to this advice, and walked back with a willing 
mind, and an alert step. [175] But our last hope of redress- 
ing ourselves, and obtaining our liberty was soon extin- 
guished. On entering the guard house, our arms had been 
removed we knew not where. They had even the impudence 
to search our persons and to take from us even our pocket 
knives. The orderly sergeant then told us, that he was 
under the necessity of placing us in separate apartments. 
This last declaration seemed the death stroke to us all. 
Affliction and mutual suffering and danger had endeared 
us to each other, and this separation seemed like rending 
our hearts. Overcome by the suddenness of the blow, I 
threw my arms round the neck of my father, burst into tears, 
and exclaimed, 'that I foresaw, that the parting would be 
forever.' Though my father seemed subdued, and absorbed 
in meditation, he reproved this expression of my feelings, as 
weak and unmanly. The sergeant having observed my 
grief, asked me, pointing to him, if that was my father? 
When he learned that it was, he showed himself in some 
degree affected, and remarked, that it seemed cruel to sepa- 
rate father and child, and that he would go and explain the 
relationship to the general, and see if he could not obtain 
permission for us to remain together. On this he set off 



232 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

for the general's office, leaving me in the agony of suspense, 
and the rest gazing at each other in mute consternation and 
astonishment. The sergeant returned, informing me, that 
instead of being softened, the general had only been exas- 
perated, and had in nothing relaxed his orders, which were, 
that we must immediately be put in separate confinement. 
He accordingly ordered some soldiers to assist in locking 
us up. We embraced each other, and followed our con- 
ductors to our separate prisons. I can affirm, that I had 
only wished to live, to sustain the increasing age and infirm- 
ities of my father. When I shook hands with him, and we 
were torn in sunder, I will say nothing of my feelings, for 
words would have no power to describe them. As I entered 
my desolate apartment, the sergeant seemed really affected, 
and assured me, that neither my companions nor myself 
should suffer any want of food or drink, as far as he could 
prevent it, for that he did not consider us guilty, nor worthy 
of such treatment. 

[176] My prison was a cell eight or ten feet square, with 
walls and floor of stone. A door with iron bars an inch 
square crossed over each other, like the bars of window 
sashes, and it grated on its iron hinges, as it opened to 
receive me. Over the external front of this prison was 
inscribed in capital letters Destination de la Cattivo. Our 
blankets were given us to lie upon. My father had a small 
package of medicines which he gave in charge to the ser- 
geant, binding him on his word of honor not to part with it 
to any one. My door was locked, and I was left to reflect 
upon our position and my past misfortunes; and to survey 
the dreary walls of my prison. Here, I thought, was my 
everlasting abode. Liberty is dear to every one, but doubly 
dear to one, who had been from infancy accustomed to free 
range, and to be guided by his own will. Put a man, who 
has ranged the prairies, and exulted in the wilderness, as I 
have for years, in a prison, to let him have a full taste of the 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 233 

blessings of freedom, and the horror of shackles and con- 
finement ! I passed the remainder of the day in fierce walk- 
ing backwards and forwards over my stone floor, with no 
object to contemplate, but my swarthy sentinel, through the 
grate. He seemed to be true to his office, and fitly selected 
for his business, for I thought I saw him look at me through 
the grate with the natural exultation and joy of a bad and 
malicious heart in the view of misery. 

When the darkness of night came to this dreary place, 
it was the darkness of the grave. Every ray of light was 
extinct. I spread my blankets on the stone floor, in hopes 
at least to find, for a few hours, in the oblivion of sleep, some 
repose from the agitation of my thoughts. But in this hope 
I was disappointed. With every other friend and solace, 
sleep too, fled from me. My active mind ranged every where, 
and returned only to unavailing efforts to imagine the condi- 
tion and feelings of my father and what would be our 
ultimate fate. I shut my eyes by an effort, but nature 
would have her way, and the eyelids would not close. 

At length a glimmer of daylight, through my grate, 
relieved this long and painful effort to sleep. I arose, went 
to my grate, [177] and took all possible survey of what I 
could see. Directly in front of it was the door of the gen- 
eral's office, and he was standing in it. I gazed on him 
awhile. Ah ! that I had had but my trusty rifle well charged 
to my face! Could I but have had the pleasure of that 
single shot, I think I would have been willing to have pur- 
chased it by my life. But wishes are not rifle balls, and will 
not kill. 

The church bell told eight in the morning. The drum 
rolled. A soldier came, and handed me in something to 
eat. It proved to be dried beans and corn cooked with 
rancid tallow! The contents were about a pint. I took 
it up, and brought it within the reach of my nostrils, and 
sat it down in unconquerable loathing. When the soldier 



234 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

returned in the evening to bring me more, I handed him 
my morning ration untasted and just as it was. He asked 
me in a gruff tone why I had not eaten it ? I told him the 
smell of it was enough, and that I could not eat it. He 
threw the contents of the dish in my face, muttering some- 
thing which amounted to saying, that it was good enough 
for such a brute as I was. To this I answered, that if being 
a brute gave claims upon that dish, I thought he had best 
eat it himself. On this he flung away in a passion, and 
returned no more that night, for which I was not sorry. Had 
the food even been fit to eat, my thoughts were too dark and 
my mind too much agitated to allow me appetite. In fact, 
I felt myself becoming sick. 

At night I was visited by the serjeant, who asked me 
about my health and spirits in a tone and manner, that 
indicated real kindness of feeling. I trusted in the reality 
of his sympathy, and told him, I was not well. He then 
questioned me, if I had eaten any thing? I told him no, 
and explained to him the double reason, why I had eaten 
nothing. He answered that he would remove one of the 
causes, by sending me something good. I then asked him 
if he had seen my father? He said he had, though he had 
been unable to hold any conversation with him, for want of 
his understanding Spanish. I thanked him for this mani- 
festation of friendship, and he left me. In a [178] short 
time he returned with two well cooked and seasoned dishes. 
I begged him to take it first to my father, and when he had 
eaten what he wished, he might bring the remainder to me, 
and I would share it among my companions. He assured 
me that my father was served with the same kind of food, 
and that my companions should not be forgotten in the 
distribution. While I was eating, he remained with me, 
and asked me, if I had a mother, and brothers, and sisters 
in my own country? My heart was full, as I answered him. 
He proceeded to question me, how long it had been since I 



1824-1830! Pattie's Personal Narrative 235 

had seen them or heard from them, and in what I had been 
occupied, during my long absence from my country? My 
misfortunes appeared to affect him. When I had finished 
eating, he enquired how I had passed the preceding night? 
In all his questions, he displayed true humanity and tender- 
ness of heart. When he left me, he affectionately wished 
me good night. This night passed as sleepless and uncom- 
fortable as the preceding one. Next day the kind serjeant 
brought my dinner again, though from anxiety and growing 
indisposition I was unable to eat. At night he came again 
with my supper, and to my surprise accompanied by his 
sister, a young lady of great personal beauty. Her first 
enquiry was that of a kind and affectionate nature, and con- 
cerned my father. She enquired about my age, and all the 
circumstances that induced me to leave my country ? I took 
leave to intimate in my answer, my extreme anxiety to see 
my relatives, and return to my country, and in particular, 
that it was like depriving me of life, in this strange land, and 
in prison, to separate me from my old and infirm father. 
She assured me that she would pray for our salvation, and 
attempt to intercede with the general in our behalf, and 
that while we remained in prison, she would allow us to 
suffer nothing, which her power, means or influence could 
supply. She then wished me a good night, and departed. 
I know not what is the influence of the ministration of a 
kind spirit, like hers, but this night my sleep was sound and 
dreamless. 

She frequently repeated these kind visits, and redeemed 
to the letter all her pledges of kindness. For I suffered for 
nothing [179] in regard to food or drink. A bed was pro- 
vided for me, and even a change of clothing. This un- 
deviating kindness greatly endeared her to me. About this 
time, Captain John Bradshaw, of the ship Franklin, and 
Rufus Perkins, his supercargo, asked leave of the general, 
to come and visit us. The general denied them. But Cap- 



236 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

tain Bradshaw, like a true hearted American, disregarded 
the little brief authority of this miserable republican despot, 
and fearless of danger and the consequences, came to see 
me without leave. When I spoke to him about our buried 
furs, he asked me about the chances and the means we had 
to bring them in ? And whether we were disposed to make 
the effort, and if we succeeded, to sell them to him? The 
prisoners, as he separately applied to them, one and all 
assured him, that nothing would give them more pleasure. 
He assured us, that he would leave nothing in his power 
undone, in making efforts to deliver us from our confinement. 
We thanked him for this proffered friendship, and he 
departed. 

His first efforts in our favor were directed to gaining the 
friendship of the general, in order to soften his feelings in 
regard to us. But in this he entirely failed. He then 
adopted an innocent stratagem, which was more successful. 
He informed the general that he had business with a Spanish 
merchant in port, which he could not transact for want of 
some one who could speak the language fluently, who would 
interpret for him, that he understood that one of the Amer- 
ican prisoners could speak the language perfectly well, and 
that if he would allow that prisoner to come and interpret 
for him a few hours, he would bind himself in a bond to 
any amount, that the prisoner at the expiration of his services, 
would return voluntarily to his prison. To this the general 
gave his consent. Captain Bradshaw came to my prison, 
and I was permitted by the general's order to leave my 
prison. 

When I went abroad, Captain Bradshaw conducted me to 
the office of an old captain, who had charge of the arms. We 
begged him to intercede with the general to obtain his per- 
mission, that we might go out and bring in our furs. We 
informed [180] him, that Captain Bradshaw and the super- 
cargo, Rufus Perkins, would be our security in any amount, 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 237 

that the general was disposed to name, that we would return, 
and surrender ourselves to him, at the close of the expedition. 
He was at once satisfied of our honor and integrity, and that 
we were by no means those spies, whom the general took us 
for, and he promised to use all his influence with the general, 
to persuade him to dispatch us for our furs. We assured him, 
that in addition to our other proofs, that we were bonafide 
Americans, and true republicans, we had documents under 
the proper signature of the President of the United States, 
which we hoped, would be sufficient to satisfy him, and every 
one, who we were. He asked to see those papers, of which 
I spoke. I told him they were my father's commission of 
first lieutenant in the ranging service, during the late war 
with England, and an honorable discharge at the close of 
the war. He promised to communicate this information 
to the general, and departed, proposing to return in half an 
hour. During this interval, we walked to my father's cell, 
and I had the satisfaction of speaking with him through the 
grates. He asked me if I had been visited by a beautiful 
young lady? When I assented, he replied, that this charm- 
ing young woman, as a ministering angel, had also visited 
his cell with every sort of kindness and relief, which she had 
extended to each one of our companions. I had the satis- 
faction afterwards, of speaking with each one of our com- 
panions. I need not add, how much delighted we were to 
speak with one another once more. From these visits I 
returned to the office of the captain of arms. 

We found him waiting with the most painful intelligence. 
Nothing could move the general, to allow us to go out and 
bring in our furs. He expressed a wish, notwithstanding, 
to see the commission of which I had spoken, and that I 
should return to my cell. I gave the papers to Captain 
Bradshaw, requesting him to return them to my father, 
after the general should have examined them. This he 
promised, and I took my leave of him, returning to my 



238 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

dreary prison, less buoyant and more completely desponding 
of my liberty than ever. 

[181] In a few moments Captain Bradshaw and Perkins 
came again to my cell, and said that the general had no faith 
in our papers, and could not be softened by any entreaty, to 
give us our liberty. As he said this, the sentinel came up, 
and stopped him short in his conversation, and ordered them 
off affirming, that it was the general's express command, 
that he should not be allowed to see or speak with me again. 
They however pledged their honor as they left me, that 
whenever an occasion offered, they would yield us all the 
assistance in their power, and wishing me better fortune, 
they departed. 

A fortnight elapsed in this miserable prison, during which 
I had no other consolation, than the visits of the young lady, 
and even these, such was the strictness of the general's 
orders, were like all angel visits, few and far between. At 
length a note was presented me by the serjeant, from my 
father. What a note ! I appeal to the heart of every good 
son to understand what passed within me. This note was 
written on a piece of paste board torn from his hat. The 
characters were almost illegible, for they were written with 
a stick, and the ink was blood, drawn from his aged veins! 
He informed me that he was very ill, and without any hope 
of recovery, that he had but one wish on this side the grave, 
and that was,'to see me once more before he died. He begged 
me to spare no entreaties, that the general would grant me 
permission to come and see him a last time; but, that if 
this permission could not be obtained, to be assured, that 
he loved me, and remembered me affectionately, in death. 

This letter pierced me to the heart. O, could I have 
flown through my prison walls! Had I possessed the 
strength of the giants, how soon would I have levelled them, 
even had I drawn down destruction on my own head in 
doing it. But I could own nothing in my favour, but a fierce 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 239 

and self devouring will. In hopes that the heart of the 
general was not all adamant, I entreated the serjeant 
to go and inform him of my father's illness, and his desire 
to see me once more, and to try to gain permission that 
I might have leave to attend upon him, or if that might 
not be, to visit him once more, according to his wish. He 
went [182] in compliance with my entreaties, and in a few 
minutes returned with a dejected countenance, from which 
I at once inferred what was the fate of my application. His 
voice faltered as he related that the general absolutely refused 
this request. Oh God ! of what stuff are some hearts made ! 
and this was a republican officer! What nameless tortures 
and miseries do not Americans suffer in foreign climes from 
those miserable despots who first injure and oppress, and 
then hate the victims of their oppression, as judging their 
hearts by their own, and thinking that their victims must be 
full of purposes of revenge. 

The honest and kind hearted serjeant hesitated not to 
express manly and natural indignation, in view of this in- 
human brutality of the general, in refusing a favor, called 
for by the simplest dictates of humanity, a favor too, in the 
granting which there could be neither difficulty nor danger. 
All he could do in the case he promised to do, which was to 
see that my father should want no sort of nourishment, or 
aid which he could render him. I tried to thank him, but 
my case was not of a kind to be alleviated by this sort of 
consolation. When I thought of our expectations of relief, 
when we threw ourselves in the power of these vile people, 
when I took into view our innocence of even the suspicion of 
a charge that could be brought against us, when I thought 
of their duplicity of disarming us, and their infamous oppres- 
sion as soon as we were in their power, and more than all, 
when I thought of this last brutal cruelty and insult, my 
whole heart and nature rose in one mingled feeling of rage, 
wounded affection, and the indignation of despair. The 



240 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

image of my venerable father, suffering and dying unsolaced 
and unrelieved, and with not a person, who spoke his lan- 
guage, to close his eyes, and I so near him, was before me 
wherever I turned my eyes. 

What a horrible night ensued at the close of this day! As 
the light was fading, the excellent young lady presented her- 
self at my grate. She repeated all that her brother had 
related to me, in regard to the cruel refusal of the general. 
While she discussed this subject, the tears fell from her eyes, 
and I had the consolation to know, that one person at least 
felt real sympathy [183] for my distress. She added, in 
faltering tones, that she was well aware that in a case like 
this words were of but little avail, but that I might be assured 
of the kindest attention to all the wants of my father, that 
she could relieve; and that if it was the will of God, to take 
him out of this world of sorrow and change, that he should 
be buried decently and as if he were her own father. Judge 
what I must have felt towards this noble minded and kind 
hearted young lady! As she withdrew, my prayers at this 
time were hearty, if never before, that God would reward her 
a thousand fold in all good things, for her sympathy with our 
sufferings. 

Thus passed away these days of agony and suspense. The 
young lady visited me as often as it was understood the 
general's orders would permit, that is, once in two or three 
days, bringing me food and drink, of which in the present 
state of my thoughts, I had little need. In fact, I had 
become so emaciated and feeble that I could hardly travel 
across my prison floor. But no grief arrests the flight of 
time, and the twenty-fourth of April came, in which the 
Serjeant visited me and in a manner of mingled kindness and 
firmness told me that my father was no more. At these 
tidings, simple truth calls on me to declare, my heart felt 
relieved. I am a hunter, and not a person to analyze the 
feelings of poor human nature. My father now was gone, 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 24 1 

gone where the voice of the oppressor is no more heard. 
Since the death of my mother, I have reason to think, that 
life had been to him one long burden. He had been set free 
from it all, and set free too, from the cruelty of this vile people, 
and the still viler general. I felt weak, and exhausted my- 
self, and I expected to rejoin him in a few days, never to be 
separated from him. Life was a burden of which I longed 
to be relieved. 

After I had given vent to natural feelings on this occasion, 
the Serjeant asked me touching the manner in which we bury 
our dead in our country? I informed him. He then ob- 
served that the reason why he asked that question was, that 
his sister wished, that my father's body might be interred 
in a manner conformable to my wishes. I could only thank 
him for all this [184] kindness and humanity to me, as he 
left me. I passed the remainder of this day in the indulgence 
of such reflections as I have no wish to describe, even had I 
the power. 

At night the Serjeant's sister again visited my prison. She 
seemed neither able nor disposed to enter upon the subject 
before us, and reluctant to call up the circumstance of my 
father's death to my thoughts. At length she presented me 
with a complete suit of black, and begged that I would wear 
it on the following day at my father's funeral. I observed, 
in astonishment, that she could not doubt what a melancholy 
satisfaction it would be to me to follow the remains of my 
father to the grave, but that between me and that satisfaction 
were the walls of my prison, through which I could not 
break. She remarked, that by dint of importunity, she had 
prevailed on the general to allow me to attend the funeral. 
The fair young lady then undertook the duties of minister 
and philosopher, counselling me not to grieve for that, for 
which there is no remedy, proving to me that it was the will 
of God, that he should thus obtain deliverance from prison, 
and all the evils of this transitory life, and abundance of 



242 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

common place language of this sort, very similar to what is 
held in my own country on like occasions. Having finished 
her kindly intended chapter of consolations, she wished me 
a good night and left me to my own thoughts. The night 
I spent in walking the floor of my prison. 

At eight in the morning, a file of six soldiers appeared at 
the door of my prison. It was opened, and I once more 
breathed the fresh air! The earth and the sky seemed a 
new region. The glare of light dazzled my eyes, and dizzied 
my head. I reeled as I walked. A lieutenant conducted 
the ceremonies: and when I arrived at the grave he ordered 
the crowd to give way, that I might see the coffin let down, 
and the grave filled. I advanced to the edge of the grave, 
and caught a glimpse of the coffin that contained the remains 
of the brave hunter and ranger. The coffin was covered 
with black. No prayers were said. I had scarce time to 
draw a second breath, before the grave was half filled with 
earth. I was led back to my prison, [185] the young lady 
walking by my side in tears. I would gladly have found 
relief for my own oppressed heart in tears, if they would have 
flowed. But the sources were dried, and tears would not 
come to my relief. When I arrived at the prison, such a 
horrid revulsion came over me at the thoughts of entering 
that dreary place again, that I am sure I should have pre- 
ferred to have been shot, rather than enter it again. But I 
recovered myself by reflecting that my health was rapidly 
declining, and that I should be able in a short time to escape 
from the oppressor and the prison walls, and rejoin my 
father, and be at rest. 

This thought composed me, and I heard the key turn upon 
me with a calm and tranquilized mind. I lay down upon my 
bed, and passed many hours in the oblivion of sleep. The 
customary habit of sleep during the night returned to me; 
and my strength and appetite began to return with it. I 
felt an irresistible propensity to resume my former habit of 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 245 

smoking. I named my inclination to my friend the serjeant 
He was kind enough to furnish me cigars. This was a new 
resource to aid me in killing the time. Apart from the 
soothing sensation of smoking, I amused myself for hours 
in watching the curling of my smoke from the cigar. Those 
who have always been free, cannot imagine the corroding 
torments of thoughts preying upon the bosom of the prisoner, 
who has neither friend to converse with, books to read, or 
occupation to fill his hours. 

On the 27th of June, Captain Bradshaw's vessel was 
seized, on the charge of smuggling. There were other 
American vessels in this port at the same time, the names 
of the captains of which, as far as I can recollect, were Seth 
Rogers, Aaron W. Williams, and H. Cunningham. These 
gentlemen, jointly with their supercargoes, sent me five 
ounces of gold, advising me to keep this money secret from 
the knowledge of the Spaniards, and preserve it as a resource 
for my companions and myself, in case of emergencies. 

About this time the general received several packages of 
letters in English, the contents of which, not understanding 
the [186] language, he could not make out. There was no 
regular translator at hand ; and he sent orders to the serjeant 
to have me conducted to the office for that purpose. When 
I entered the office he asked me if I could read writing? 
When I told him yes, he procured a seat, and bade me sit 
down. He then presented me a letter in English, requesting 
me to translate it into Spanish. Though I put forth no 
claims on the score of scholarship, I perfectly comprehended 
the meaning of the words in both languages. I accomplished 
the translation in the best manner in my power; and he was 
pleased entirely to approve it. He proceeded to ask me a 
great many questions relative to my travels through the 
Mexican country; how long I had been absent from my own 
country, and what had been my occupation, during that 
absence? To all which questions I returned satisfactory 



246 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

answers. When he bade the guard return me to prison, he 
informed me that he should probably call for me again. 

I returned to my prison somewhat cheered in spirits. I 
foresaw that he would often have occasion for my services as 
a translator, and if I showed an obliging disposition, and 
rendered myself useful, I hoped to obtain enlargement for 
myself and my companions. As I expected, I was sum- 
moned to his office for several days in succession. On my 
entering the office he began to assume the habit of saluting 
me kindly, giving me a seat, enquiring after my health, and 
showing me the other customary civilities. When I found 
him in his best humor, I generally took occasion remotely 
to hint at the case of our being detained as prisoners. I 
tried, gently and soothingly, to convince him of the oppres- 
sion and injustice of treating the innocent citizens of a 
sister republic, as if they were spies. He generally showed 
a disposition to evade the subject; or alleged as a reason for 
what he had done, that he regretted exceedingly that circum- 
stances on our part seemed so suspicious, that, obliged as he 
was, to execute the laws of his country, he felt himself com- 
pelled to act as he had done; that it was far from his dis- 
position to desire to punish any one unjustly, and without 
cause; and that he would be glad if we could produce any 
substantial [187] evidence to acquit us from the suspicion of 
being spies. 

Though, as a true and honest man, I knew that every word 
he pronounced was a vile and deceitful lie, yet such is the 
power of the oppressor, I swallowed my rising words, and 
dissembled a sort of satisfaction. Waiving the further dis- 
cussion of our imprisonment, I again recurred to the subject 
of permission to bring in our furs, persuading him, if he had 
any doubts about our good faith in returning to this place, 
to send soldiers to guard us; assuring him, that on obtaining 
our furs we would pay the soldiers, and indemnify him for 
any other expense he might incur on the occasion; and that, 



1824-1830] Pattie s Personal Narrative 247 

moreover, we would feel ourselves as grateful to him as if he 
had bestowed upon us the value of the furs in money. He 
heard me to the close, and listened with attention; and 
though he said he could not at present give his consent, he 
promised that he would deliberate upon the subject, and in 
the course of a week, let me know the result of his resolution. 
He then bade his soldiers remand me to prison. I begged 
him to allow me to communicate this conversation to my 
companions. This he refused, and I re-entered my prison. 

From these repeated interviews, I began to acquaint my- 
self with his interior character. I perceived, that, like most 
arbitrary and cruel men, he was fickle and infirm of purpose. 
I determined to take advantage of that weakness in his 
character by seeming submissive to his wishes, and striving 
to conform as far as I could to his capricious wishes; and 
more than all, to seize the right occasions to tease him with 
importunities for our liberty, and permission to bring in our 
furs. Four days elapsed before I had another opportunity 
of seeing him. During this time I had finished the trans- 
lation of a number of letters, some of which were from Capt. 
Bradshaw, and related to the detention of his ship and cargo, 
and himself. When I had finished these translations, and 
was re-admitted to his presence, I asked him if he had come 
to any determination in regard to letting us go to bring in our 
furs ? He answered in his surliest tone, no ! How different 
were my reflections on returning to my prison from those 
with which I had left it ! How earnestly I wished that [188] 
he and I had been together in the wild woods, and I armed 
with my rifle ! 

I formed a firm purpose to translate no more letters for 
him. I found that I had gained nothing by this sort of 
service; nor even by dissembling a general disposition to 
serve him. I was anxious for another request to translate, 
that I might have the pleasure of refusing him, and of telling 
him to his face that though I was his prisoner, I was not his 



248 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

slave. But it was three days before he sent for me again. 
At their expiration I was summoned to his office, and he 
offered me a seat, according to former custom. When I was 
seated, with a smiling countenance he handed me a packet 
of letters, and bade me translate them. I took one, opened 
it, and carelessly perused a few lines, and returning the 
packet back, rose from my seat, and told him I wished to 
return to my prison ; and bowing, I moved towards the door. 
He darted a glance at me resembling that of an enraged wild 
beast; and in a voice, not unlike the growl of a wounded, 
grizzly bear, asked me why I did not put myself to the trans- 
lation of the letters ? Assuming a manner and tone as surly 
as his own, I told him my reasons were, that I did not choose 
to labor voluntarily for an oppressor and enemy; and that I 
had come to the determination to do it no longer. At this 
he struck me over the head such a blow with the flat of his 
sword, as well nigh dropped me on the floor; and ordered 
the soldiers to return me to prison, where he said I should 
lay and rot. The moment I recovered from the stunning 
effect of the blow I sprang toward him ; but was immediately 
seized by the guards, and dragged to the door; he, the while, 
muttered abundance of the curses which his language sup- 
plies. In return, I begged him to consider how much it was 
like an officer and gentleman to beat an unarmed prisoner 
in his power, but that if I only had a sword to meet him upon 
equal terms, I could easily kill as many such dastards as he 
was, as could come at me. He bade me be silent, and the 
soldiers to take me off. They shoved me violently on before 
them to prison. When it closed upon me I never expected 
to see the sun rise and set again. 

[189] Here I remained a week without seeing even the 
young lady, who was justly so dear to my heart. She was 
debarred by the general's orders not only from visiting me, 
but even sending me provisions! I was again reduced to the 
fare of corn boiled in spoiled tallow, which was brought me 



1824-1830] Patties Personal Narrative 249 

twice a day. At this juncture came on Capt. Bradshaw's 
trial. The declaration of the Captain, supercargo and crew 
was to be taken, and all the parties separately interrogated 
by a Spaniard. Not an individual of them could speak a 
word of Spanish, except the Captain, and he was not allowed 
to translate in his own case. The general supposed that by 
interrogating the parties separately, he should be able to 
gain some advantage from the contradictions of the testi- 
mony, and some positive proof of smuggling. Capt. Brad- 
shaw being denied the privilege of interpreting for his crew, 
requested the general to procure some one who might be 
allowed to perform that office for him. The general told 
him that I was capable of the office, if I could be gained to 
the humor; but that he would as willingly deal with a devil, 
as with me, when out of humor. Capt. Bradshaw asked 
him if he might be allowed to converse with me on the sub- 
ject? He consented, and Capt. B. came to my prison. In 
reference to the above information, he asked me what had 
taken place between me and the general which had so 
exasperated him against me? I related all the circum- 
stances of our last interview. He laughed heartily at my 
defiance of the general. I was ready, of course, to render 
any service by which I could oblige Capt. B. He returned 
to the general, and informed him that I was ready to under- 
take to translate or interpret in his case. 

In a short time my door was opened, and I was once more 
conducted to the office of the general. Capt. B. was sitting 
there in waiting. The general asked me if I had so far 
changed my mind, as to be willing to translate and interpret 
again? I told him I was always ready to perform that 
office for a gentleman. I placed such an emphasis on the 
word gentleman, as I purposed, should inform him, that I 
intended that appellation for the [190] Captain, and not for 
him. Whether he really misunderstood me, or dissembled 
the appearance of misunderstanding me, I know not. He 



250 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

only named an hour, in which he should call on me for that 
service, cautioning me to act in the business with truth and 
good faith. I told him that my countrymen in that respect, 
had greatly the disadvantage of his people; for that it was 
our weakness, not to know how to say any thing but the 
truth. At this he smiled, ordering me back to prison, until 
I should be called for next day. 

At eight the next morning, I was again summoned to his 
office, where he proceeded, through me, to question Captain 
B. touching the different ports at which he had traded, and 
what was his cargo, when he left the U. S. ? He added a great 
many other questions in relation to the voyage, irrelevant 
to the purposes of this journal. The clerk on this occasion 
was an Indian, and a quick and elegant writer. Capt. B. 
produced his bill of lading, and the other usual documents 
of clearing out a ship; all which I was obliged to translate. 
They being matters out of the line of my pursuits, and I 
making no pretensions to accurate acquaintance with either 
language, the translation, of course, occupied no incon- 
siderable time. It was nearly twelve, when he bade us 
withdraw, with orders to meet him again at his office at two 
in the afternoon. Capt. B. accompanied me to prison, and 
as we went on, requested me to make the testimonies of his 
crew as nearly correspond, and substantiate each other, as 
possible; for that some of them were angry with him, and 
would strive to give testimony calculated to condemn him. 
I assured him that I would do any thing to serve him, that 
I could in honor. I entered my prison, and slept soundly, 
until the bells struck two. 

I was then reconducted to the general's office; where he 
continued to interrogate Capt. B., until three. The Super- 
cargo, Mr. R. Perkins, was then called upon to produce his 
manifesto, and cautioned to declare the truth, in relation to 
the subject in question. This manifesto differed in no 
essential respect from the account of the Captain. At sun- 



1824-1830] Patties Personal Narrative 251 

set they were [191] dismissed, and I remanded to my prison. 
Day after day the same task was imposed, and the same 
labors devolved upon me. I at length summoned courage to 
resume the old question of permission to go out and bring in 
our furs. To my surprise he remarked, that as soon as he had 
finished taking all the evidence in relation to Capt. Bradshaw's 
ship and cargo, he would not only allow us to go, but would 
send soldiers to prevent the Indians from molesting us. I 
informed him, that his intended kindness would be unavail- 
ing to us, if he did not allow us to depart before the month of 
August; for that in that month the melting of the snow on 
the mountains at the sources of Red river caused it to over- 
flow, and that our furs were buried in the bottom, so that 
the river, in overflowing, would spoil them. He replied, 
that it was out of his power to grant the consent at this time, 
which was the igth of July. 

On the 28th he had finished taking all the depositions, and 
I again asked him for permission to go and bring in our furs. 
He still started delays, alleging that he had made no arrange- 
ments for that purpose yet. Capt. B. was present, and 
asked him to allow me to stay with him on board his vessel, 
promising that he would be accountable for me. To my 
astonishment the general consented. I repaired to the house 
of the young lady, who had been so kind to me. She re- 
ceived me with open arms, and manifested the most unequiv- 
ocal delight. She congratulated me on being once more free 
from my dismal prison, and asked me a thousand questions. 
The Captain and myself spent the evening with her; and 
at its close, I repaired with him on board his beautiful ship, 
the first sea vessel I had ever been on board. It may be 
imagined what a spectacle of interest and eager curiosity the 
interior of this ship, the rigging, masts, awning, in short, 
every thing appertaining to it, would be to a person raised as 
I had been, and of a mind naturally inquisitive. What a 
new set of people were the sailors! How amusing and 



252 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

strange their dialect ! They heartily shook me by the hand, 
and commenced describing the several punishments they 
would inflict upon the general, if they had him in their [192] 
power. Among the different inflictions purposed, none 
seemed to please them better, than the idea of tarring and 
feathering him, all which I would gladly have seen him 
endure, but the worst of it was, after all, the general was not 
in their power. 

I spent the greater part of the night with the captain and 
supercargo, conversing about the oppressions and cruelties 
of the general, and the death of my father, for, during the 
time of his sickness, Captain Bradshaw had sailed to Monte 
el Rey, and had not returned, until after his death. He 
intended, he said, if his vessel was condemned, to slip his 
anchors, and run out of the harbor, at the risk of being sunk, 
as he passed the fort. He promised me, if I would take 
passage with him, that I should fare as he did, and that, 
when we should arrive at Boston, he would obtain me some 
situation, in which I could procure a subsistence. I thanked 
him for his very kind offer, but remarked, that my companions 
had suffered a great deal with me, that we had had many 
trials together, and had hazarded our lives for each other, 
and that now I would suffer any thing rather than desert 
them, and leave them in prison, probably, to have their 
sufferings enhanced, in consequence of my desertion. 

In the morning we all three went on shore together, and 
took breakfast at the house of my friend, the brother of the 
young lady. We passed from breakfast, to the office of the 
general. I asked leave of him to visit my companions in 
prison. His countenance became red with anger, and he 
ordered the guard to search me, and take me to prison. I 
perceived that he thought I had arms concealed about me, 
and assured him I had none. This did not hinder the guard 
from searching me, before they put me in prison. 

I heard no more from him, and remained shut up in prison 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 253 

until the 28th of August. On that day the general ordered 
me again to be conducted to his office, where, according to 
his request, I translated some letters for him. When I 
had finished, he asked me if I still had an inclination to go 
for my furs? I replied, that I had reason to suppose that 
they had been covered [193] before this time, with the waters 
of Red river, and were all spoiled; but that nevertheless, I 
should be glad to be certain about it, and at least we should 
be able to bring in our traps. He asked me what adequate 
security I could give for our good behavior, and the certainty 
of our return, provided he should allow us the use of our 
arms for self defence? I replied, that I knew no one, who 
could give the security required, but that the soldiers he would 
send with us, would be his security for our return; but that 
it was out of the question to think of sending us on a trip, 
so dangerous under any circumstances, without allowing us 
to go armed. He remanded me to prison, saying, that he 
would reflect upon it, and let me know the result of his 
reflections in the morning. I reflected as I walked to prison, 
that I could have procured the security of Captain Brad- 
shaw, merely for the asking. But I knew the character of 
my companions, and was so well aware, how they would feel 
when all should be once free again, and well armed, that I 
dared not bind any one in security for us. Such had been 
the extent of the injuries we had suffered, and so sweet is 
revenge, and so delightful liberty, when estimated by the 
bondage we had endured, that I was convinced that Mexico 
could not array force enough to bring us back alive. I 
foresaw that the general would send no more than ten or 
twelve soldiers with us. I knew that it would be no more 
than an amusement to rise upon them, take their horses for 
our own riding, flea some of them of their skins, to show 
them that we knew how to inflict torture, and send the rest 
back to the general on foot. Knowing that the temptation 
to some retaliation of this sort would be irresistible, I was 



254 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

determined that no one of my countrymen should be left 
amenable to the laws on our account. Such thoughts passed 
through my mind as I told the general, I could offer him no 
security. 

Next morning, immediately after eight, I was allowed to 
walk to the general's office without being guarded. What a 
fond feeling came back to my heart with this small boon of 
liberty ! How much I was exalted in my own thoughts, that 
I [194] could walk fifty yards entrusted with my own safe 
keeping! When I entered the general's office, he saluted 
me with ceremonious politeness. 'Buenas dias, don San- 
tiago,' said he, and showed me to a seat. He proceeded to 
make known his pleasure, in respect to me and my com- 
panions. In the first place he told us, we were all to be 
allowed the use of our arms, in the next place, that he would 
send fifteen of his soldiers with us; and in the third place, 
that we should all be allowed a week, in which to exercise 
ourselves, before we set out on our expedition. All this good 
fortune delighted us, and was more almost, than we would 
have dared to wish. My companions, in an ecstacy of satis- 
faction, soon joined us from their prisons. We met with as 
much affection and gladness of heart, as if we had been 
brothers. They looked more like persons emancipated from 
the prison of the grave, than human beings; and I am per- 
fectly aware, that my spectre like visage must have been 
equally a spectacle to them. We had the privilege of walk- 
ing in the vicinity of the port, accompanied by a guard of 
soldiers. Our only immediate restriction was the neces- 
sity of returning to our guard house to sleep at night. In this 
way our time passed pleasantly. 

On the 3d of September, the general sent for me to his 
office. When I entered, he presented me a note, and bade 
me accompany a soldier to a mission at the distance of thirty 
miles, where he stated I was to deliver this note to a priest, 
and that he perhaps would be able to furnish us with horses 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 255 

and mules for our expedition to bring in our furs. I started 
with the soldier, each of us well mounted. The note was 
unsealed, and I read it of course. The contents were any 
thing, rather than encouraging. It contained no demand 
for the horses, as I had hoped. It simply stated to the 
priest, what sort of person the general supposed me to be, 
that we had furs buried on Red river, and wished horses on 
which to ride out and bring them in, and that if the priest 
felt disposed to hire his horses to us, he would send soldiers 
with us to bring us back. 

[195] Discouraging as the note was, we pushed ahead 
with it, and arrived at the priest's mission some time before 
night. I handed the note to the old priest, who was a very 
grave looking personage. He read the note, and then asked 
me to come in and take some wine with him, of which they 
have great plenty. I followed him into a large parlor, richly 
adorned with paintings of saints, and several side boards, 
abundantly stored with wines, which I took it for granted, 
were not unacceptable to the holy man. The glass ware, 
the decorations of the parlor, and the arrangement of every 
thing showed me at a glance, that this priest was a man of 
taste and fashion. So I was on my guard not to let any of 
my hunting phrases and back-wood's dialect escape me. 
He asked me a great many questions about the circum- 
stances of my passage across the continent, to all which I re- 
sponded in as choice and studied words as I could command. 
He then asked me how many beasts we should want? I 
replied that there were seven of us, and that we should each 
need a pack mule, and a horse to ride upon, which would be 
fourteen in all. He then asked how many days it would 
require to go, and return ? I answered, that this was a point 
upon which I could not pronounce with certainty, since I was 
unacquainted with the road, and accidents might change 
the issue. He then proposed to charge what was tanta- 
mount to 25 cents of our money a day for each mule, that 



256 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

carried a saddle, during the expedition, longer or shorter. 
To this I consented, and he drew an article of agreement to 
that effect. He then wrote a note to send by me to the gen- 
eral, in reply to his. By this time the sun was setting, and 
the church bells began to strike. On this he knelt, and 
commenced his prayers. He was repeating the Lord's 
prayer. According to the customs of his church, when he 
had commenced a member of a sentence, I finished it, by 
way of response. Such are their modes of repeating their 
prayers, when there are two or more in company. When we 
had finished, he turned to me, and asked me why I had 
prayed ? I answered for the salvation of my soul. He said, 
that it had a Christian appearance, but that he had been 
[196] informed, that the people of our country did not believe 
that man had a soul, or that there is a Saviour. I assured 
him, that he had been entirely misinformed, for that we had 
churches on every side through all the land, and that the 
people read the Scriptures, and believed all that was taught 
in the Gospel, according to their understanding of it. But he 
continued, 'your people do not believe in the immaculate con- 
ception of the Virgin Mary.' I replied, that what the general 
faith of the people upon this point was, I could not say, and 
that for myself, I did not pretend to have sufficiently studied 
the Scriptures, to decide upon such points. My assumed 
modesty soothed him, and he told me, that it was evident, 
I had not studied the Scriptures, for that if I had, I could 
not be in doubt about such obvious articles of faith. I 
acquiesced in his supposition, that I had not studied the 
Scriptures, remarking, that I was aware that they contained 
many mysteries, about which the people in my country enter- 
tained various opinions. He said that he was truly sorry, 
that I was not more conversant with the Scriptures, for that 
if I had been, I could not have been led astray by the Prot- 
estants. His time, however, he added was now too limited 
to enlighten me, but he laughed, as he said he hoped to have 



1824-1830] Puttie 1 s Personal Narrative 257 

the pleasure of baptising me on my return. To this I 
replied with a smile, for the truth was, I was fearful of dis- 
gusting him, and breaking off the bargain. Glad was I, 
when he dismissed this subject, and began to chat about 
other matters. We had an excellent supper, and I was 
shown to my bed. 

In the morning I took leave of the old father, and arrived 
on the following evening at San Diego. My companions 
were delighted with the apparent complete success of my 
mission. The general informed us, that we should have 
permission to start on the 6th, and that our beasts would be 
ready for an early start on that day. On the evening of 
the 5th, he called us to his office, and asked us, how many 
days we thought the expedition would require? We in- 
formed him, as near as we could conjecture. He then said, 
that he could not spare any soldiers to accompany us. We 
answered, that it was a point of [197] indifference to us, 
whether he did or not. 'To insure your return however,' 
he rejoined, 'I shall retain one of you as a hostage for the 
return of the rest,' and pointing to me, he informed me, 
'that I was the selected hostage,' and that I must remain in 
prison, during their absence, and that if they did not return, 
it would convince him, that we were spies, and that in con- 
sequence he would cause me to be executed.' 

At this horrible sentence, breaking upon us in the sanguine 
rapture of confidence, we all gazed at each other in the con- 
sternation of despair. Some of our company remarked, 
that they had better abandon the expedition altogether, than 
leave me behind. Others stood in mute indecision. We 
had all in truth confidently anticipated never to return to 
this place again. My indignation, meanwhile, had mounted 
to such a pitch, as wholly to absorb all sense of personal 
danger, or care about myself. It seemed as if Providence 
had put the unrelenting seal of disappointment to every plan 
I attempted to devise. I told them to go, and not allow my 



258 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

detention to dishearten, or detain them, for that I had no 
fear of any thing, the general could inflict, that I had little 
left, but life to relinquish, and that their refusal to go, as 
things now were, would be taken for ample proofs, that we 
were spies, and would ensure our condemnation and the 
conviction, that we never had intended to return. 

On this they all agreed to go, and began to pledge their 
honor and every thing sacred, that they would return, if life 
was spared them. I told them to follow their own inclina- 
tions, as to returning, for that I would as willingly be buried 
by the side of my father, as any one else; that, however, I 
did not believe the laws of the country would bear the general 
out, in putting me to death. The general now bade us 
arrange every thing to start early in the morning. I was 
again locked up in my prison, though my companions spent 
the greater part of the night in conversing with me. In the 
morning, when they were ready to start, they came and 
shook hands with me. When the Dutchman, as good 
hearted a fellow as ever lived, took my hand he burst into 
tears, and said, 'goot py Jim, if I ever does come [198] back, 
I will bring an army mit me, and take yours and your daddy's 
bones from dis tammed country, for it is worse as hell.' I 
should have laughed heartily at him, had not his tears pre- 
vented me, for I knew, that they came from his heart. 
Mounting their mules they now set off. Their only arms 
were old Spanish muskets, which, when fired, I would almost 
as soon have stood before as behind. Under such circum- 
stances, knowing, that they would be obliged to pass through 
numbers of hostile tribes of Indians, I was very doubtful of 
their return. 

On the 8th, Captain Bradshaw came to my prison, and 
asked me, why I was in prison, and my companions at 
liberty? I told him the whole story. When he had heard 
it, he expressed doubts in regard to their returning. I replied 
to him, that I was not at all in doubt of their return, if they 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 259 

lived. He then told me, that he intended to go to the general, 
and demand his papers on the nth, and if they were not 
given up to him, he would cut cable, and run out in spite of 
any one, adding his advice to me, which was, that I should 
write to the consul at Wahu and inform him of my imprison- 
ment. He seemed to think, I might thus obtain my release. 
Mr. R. Perkins would undertake, he said, to place it in 
the hands of the consul, as he was acquainted with him. 
I answered, that I had neither ink nor paper. He said I 
should have some in a few minutes, and took leave of me. 
A soldier soon entered with writing materials, and I wrote 
my letter to Mr. Jones, for that was the name of the consul, 
stating every circumstance relative to our imprisonment, 
and the death of my father, giving the names of all our party, 
and begging him, if it was not in his power to obtain our 
freedom, that he would inform our government of our 
situation. I supposed it was in his power to grant my first 
request, placed as he was, in the midst of a foreign nation. 
On the nth, at the request of the general, I was con- 
ducted 'to his office, to serve as interpreter for the captain 
and Mr. P. The papers were now demanded by them. 
The general refused to comply with the demand, and told 
them, that both the vessel and cargo were condemned, but 
that it they would discharge [199] the cargo, and deliver it 
to him, he would allow them to clear the vessel, to go and 
seek redress, wherever they pleased. The captain's answer 
to this was, that it was not in his power to do so, and that 
the laws of his country would hang him, if he thus gave up 
his ship and cargo at the request of an individual. The 
general now became enraged, and repeating the words, at 
the request of an individual, added, the ship and cargo have 
both been lawfully condemned, and if they are not given up 
peaceably, I have soldiers enough to take the ship, and every 
thing belonging to it. In reply the captain remarked, that 
he came to trade on the coast, and not to fight, that if he was 



260 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

disposed to seize the vessel or cargo, he had nothing to say 
farther, than that he should not aid, or advance in any shape 
the unlading of the vessel himself, and taking up his hat 
walked away. I asked permission of the general to go to 
Miss. Peaks, to get a change of clothing, which was granted. 
He, however, told me to be in haste. My principal business 
there was to give my letter to Mr. P., for I knew that captain 
B., would set sail with the first breeze, of which he could 
avail himself. I found both the gentlemen in the house, 
when I entered. I was assured by M. P., that he would 
give the letter to the consul, and endeavor to interest him in 
my behalf. I thanked him, and was upon the point of taking 
leave, when captain B. asked me to take a note from him to 
the general, and to tell him that he would like to have an 
answer, and would wait an hour for it. I took the note and 
went to the general's office, gave him the note and told him 
what the captain had said. He bade me sit down, after he 
had read the note, for a few minutes. I obeyed, and he 
passed into the adjoining room, and ordered his porter to call 
the ensign Ramirez. The porter hastened to execute his 
commission, and in a few minutes the ensign entered. The 
general and ensign then began to converse, drawing near 
the door, behind which I was seated. I heard distinctly the 
former tell the latter, that captain B., and Mr. P., were both 
at Peak's awaiting an answer from him, and that he would 
send me to tell them that he was engaged at [200] present, 
but at the expiration of an hour and a half they should have 
their answer through me. Meantime he, the ensign, was 
to provide a guard of soldiers, with which to take them 
prisoners, and then the vessel and cargo would be sure. All 
this, as I have said, I heard distinctly. He then came in, 
and told me to go and inform them, as he told the ensign, he 
should direct me. I hastened to captain B., and told him 
what I had heard from the general concerning him. I 
advised him to go to the vessel immediately, for that the 



1824-1830] P attic's Personal Narrative 261 

ensign and guard would soon be upon the spot. Both he 
and Mr. P. went directly to the vessel, and I returned to the 
general, to inform him that I had delivered his message. 
He then ordered me to return to prison. It was now three 
o'clock. 

In a few hours the ensign returned from the pursuit of 
captain B., and as he passed the prison on his way to the 
general's office he shook his sword at me with vengeance in 
his face, saying, 'Oh! you traitor!' I inferred from this, that 
he supposed I had informed the captain of the projected 
attempt to take him prisoner. My situation now seemed 
to me desperate. I thought more of my comrades than my- 
self, for I could not expect to live. Concluding that I should 
soon be executed, I feared, that when they returned, they 
would be put to death also. In a few minutes I was sum- 
moned to the general's office. I expected to hear my sen- 
tence. When I entered the general bade me stand by the 
door, near a large table, at which several of his clerks were 
seated writing, and he then gravely asked me if I had over- 
heard the conversation which took place between himself and 
the ensign, after he had read the note brought by me to him 
from captain B ? I replied that I did not see the ensign at 
that time, and furthermore could not say positively, whether 
he had held any conversation with the ensign, since my 
arrival on the coast or not. The general proceeded to ques- 
tion me, as to the fact of my having advised the captain to 
go on board his ship, and if I knew the motives, which in- 
duced him to do so, after saying that he would wait for an 
answer to his note. 

[201] He tried to extort an answer from me such as he 
wished, threatening me with death if I did not relate the 
truth. I regarded all this as no more than the threats of an 
old woman, and went on to state what was most likely to be 
favorable to my cause. I was now remanded to prison with 
the assurance, that if found guilty, death would be my doom. 



262 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

A few days only elapsed before, the breeze serving, the 
Captain slipped anchor, and ran out of the port. 101 He was 
compelled to perform this under a heavy shower of cannon 
balls poured forth from the fort, within two hundred yards 
of which he was obliged to pass. When he came opposite 
it, he hove to, and gave them a broadside in return, which 
frightened the poor engineers from their guns. His escape 
from the port was made without suffering any serious injury 
on his part. Their shots entered the hull of the vessel, and 
the sails were considerably cut by the grape. I was greatly 
rejoiced when I heard of their escape from these thieves. 
The General pretended great disgust at the cowardly con- 
duct of the engineers, but, I believe, had he been there, he 
would have run too. I have no faith in the courage of these 
people, except where they have greatly the advantage, or 
can kill in the dark, without danger to themselves. This in 
my view is the amount of a Spaniard's bravery. 

But to return to myself, I remained in prison, until a 
sufficient time had elapsed, as I thought, for the return of 
my companions. I still did not entirely despair of seeing 
them; but the Spaniards came daily and hourly to my 
prison with delighted countenances to tell me that my com- 
panions had deserted me, and that the General would soon 
have me executed. Some consoled me with the information, 
that at such an hour or day, I was to be taken out, and 
burnt alive ; and others, that I was to be stationed at a certain 
distance, and shot at, like a target, or hung. These unfeel- 
ing wretches thus harrassed and tormented me, until the 
arrival of my companions on the 3oth Sept. put an end to 



101 This account of Captain Bradshaw and the "Franklin" does not agree in 
chronology with the evidence presented by Bancroft from official sources (History 
of California, iii, pp. 133, 134). The "Franklin" escaped on July 16, Bradshaw 
having been warned by a French captain that the governor intended to place a 
guard on board the vessel. Pattie wrote from memory, some time after the occur- 
rences, but except in the matter of time his evidence tallies with that of the Mexican 
manuscripts, wherein his name is mentioned as interpreter. ED. 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 263 

their taunts, with regard to their desertion of me. They 
brought no fur however, it having been all spoiled [202] as 
I had expected, by an overflow of the river. Our traps 
which they did bring, were sold, and a part of the proceeds 
paid to the old priest for the hire of the mules. 

I have failed to remark, that my comrades had returned 
with the loss of two of their number, one of whom we learned, 
had married in New Mexico. 102 When the party reached the 
river, these two concluded that rather than return to prison, 
they would run the risk of being killed by the Indians, or 
of being starved to death; and set forth on their perilous 
journey through the wilderness to New Mexico on foot. 
The probability of their reaching the point of their destination 
was very slight, it being a great distance and through great 
dangers. Happily for us, their not returning, did not appear 
to strengthen the General, in his opinion of our being spies. 
I had the pleasure of conversing with my companions an 
hour, or more, after which they were again disarmed, and 
all of us returned to our separate places of confinement. 
I had now no prospect before me, but that of lingering out a 
miserable and useless life in my present situation; as I was 
convinced, that the only inducement, which operated in the 
General's mind, to allow a part of us to go in search of our 
property was the hope of taking a quantity of furs and other 
valuables from us. I was thankful that he obtained nothing 
but the traps, which, as he knew no more how to use, than a 
blind horse, could be of no utility to him. This feeling may 
seem a poor gratification, but it was certainly a natural one. 

102 The names of Pattie's companions appear in the archives, and are given by 
Bancroft, California, iii, p. 163, as Nathaniel Pryor, Richard Laughlin, William 
Pope, Isaac Slover, Jesse Ferguson, James Puter. Of these, the first is the name 
of one of the sergeants in the Lewis and Clark expedition, for whose earlier career 
see Wheeler, On the Trail of Lewis and Clark (New York, 1904), i, pp. 92-95. See 
also Bancroft, iv, p. 785; and Vallejo, "Ranch and Mission Days in Alta Califor- 
nia," in Century Magazine, xix, p. 190. Most of them became residents of Cali- 
fornia; William Pope gave his name to Pope Valley, Napa County, where he 
lived and died. ED. 



264 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

In this condition we remained for months, never seeing the 
outside of our prison, deprived of the pleasure we had 
received from the visits of the charitable young lady, for- 
merly allowed entrance to us, and the advantage we had 
derived from the generous nourishment she so kindly fur- 
nished us, and compelled by hunger to eat the food set 
before us by our jailors; and confined principally to dried 
beans, or corn boiled in water, and then fried in spoiled 
tallow. 

At length the small pox began to rage on the upper part 
of the coast, carrying off the inhabitants by hundreds. 
Letters [203] from the distressed people were continually 
arriving, praying the general to devise some means to put a 
stop to the disease, which seemed to threaten the country 
with destruction. The general was thus beset by petitions 
for several weeks, before he could offer a shadow of relief 
for them. He was much alarmed, fearing that the disorder 
might extend its ravages to that part of the coast where he 
resided. 

One day the soldiers, through mere inquisitiveness, asked 
the Dutchman if he knew any remedy for the complaint? 
He answered that he did ; but that he had none of the article 
that constituted the remedy. He added, however, that he 
thought that my father had brought some of it with him, as 
he recollected his having vaccinated the people at the copper 
mines. This conversation was communicated to the general 
immediately, who sent a sergeant to me to inquire if I had 
any of the remedy spoken of by the Dutchman, as brought 
by my father ? I answered in the affirmative ; I then showed 
him where I had been vaccinated on the right arm, and 
assured him that it had effectually protected me from the 
small pox. Upon his demand whether I knew the method 
of applying it, I again answered in the affirmative; but 
when he asked me to show him the remedy, and let him 
have it to apply to his own arm, as he was fearful of losing 



1824-1830] Patties Personal Narrative 265 

his life from the spread of this dreadful disease, I told him I 
would not. This sergeant, who wished the matter, was my 
friend, and brother of the charitable young lady who had 
procured my father's burial, and for whom I would have 
sacrificed my life. 103 But thinking this my only chance for 
regaining liberty, I refused it to him, saying, that I would 
neither show it to any one, nor apply it, unless my liberty 
and that of my companions was rendered secure; and that 
in sustaining this resolution I would sacrifice my life. I 
also mentioned that I must be paid, over and above my 
liberty. My object in this, was to influence the fears of the 
general. If he acceded to my proposition, my friend and 
his sister would share the benefit in common with others. 
If I granted the request of the sergeant to inoculate him, I 
might lose my advantage; but my gratitude decided me 
[204] against allowing himself and his sister to be exposed 
to an imminent danger, which I could avert. I told him 
that if he would pledge himself, solemnly, for his own part, 
and that of his sister, that he would not communicate the 
matter to another individual, I would secretly vaccinate 
them. He replied that I need not fear his betraying me, 
as he would much rather aid me in my design, which he 
thought excellent, and likely to accomplish my wishes. He 
then left me to communicate the result of our conversation 
to the general. 

This incident, so important in its influence upon my for- 
tunes, occurred December 2oth. The sergeant had not been 
absent more than a half hour, when he returned and told 
me that the general said he would give me a passport for a 
year, if I would vaccinate all the people on the coast; and 
furthermore, if I conducted properly during that period, 
that he would at the expiration of it, pay me for my services, 



108 Pattie elsewhere gives the name of this young woman who befriended him, 
as Miss Peaks. Bancroft conjectures (California, ii, p. 165) that she was Senorita 
Pico, sister of a sergeant by that name, figuring in the records of the time. ED. 



266 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

and give me my liberty. His countenance was bright with 
delight, as he related this to me, not dreaming that I could 
refuse what seemed to him so good an offer. When I 
repeated, in reply, my resolution not to vaccinate any one, 
except on the conditions I had stated, and added that I 
would not agree to any terms without an audience from the 
general, his pleasure vanished, giving place to gloom as he 
told me he did not think the general would accede to the 
proposal to set my companions and myself at liberty upon 
parole for one year, for any consideration; but that, if I 
persisted in my refusal, he feared I should incur some 
violent punishment, and perhaps death. My answer was, 
that in my present situation I did not dread death. I then 
requested him to tell the general I wished to talk with him 
personally upon the subject. 

He went, and in a few minutes returned with orders to 
conduct me to the General's office. Upon my arrival there, 
the General questioned me with regard to the efficacy of 
the remedy of which he had been much informed in the same 
manner as I have related in the conversation between the 
sergeant and myself; and he then repeated the same terms 
for the matter [205] and the application of it, that he had 
transmitted me through my friend, to which I replied as be- 
fore. When I had finished, he asked me in a surly manner, 
what my own terms were? I told him, as I had done the 
sergeant, that I would vaccinate all the inhabitants on the 
coast, provided he would allow myself and companions to 
leave our prison on parole for one year, with liberty to travel 
up or down the coast, in order to find some occupation, by 
which we could obtain food and clothing. Upon hearing 
this his rage burst forth. He told me I was a devil; and 
that if I did not choose to take the offer he had made, he 
would compel me to perform its conditions, or put me to 
death. I replied, that he could take my life; but that it 
was beyond his power to compel me to execute his com- 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 267 

mands, adding, that life or liberty would be no object to me, 
if my companions were denied the enjoyment of them with 
me. They had had the alternative in their power of leaving 
me in prison to suffer alone, or returning to share my cap- 
tivity, and had chosen the latter; I concluded by saying, 
that rather than accept of liberty while they remained in 
prison, I would undergo all the torments his excellency could 
devise. He said he might as well let loose so many wolves 
to ravage his country, as give myself and companions the 
liberty I required ; adding, that he gave me twenty-four hours 
to reflect on the alternative of his wrath, or my liberty upon 
the conditions he had proposed. I was now remanded to 
prison. As I walked out, I remarked to the General, that 
my resolution was fixed beyond the possibility of change. 
He made no reply, and I proceeded to prison. The soldiers 
who accompanied me, tried to induce me to conform to the 
General's wishes, saying, that he was a terrible man when en- 
raged. I made them no answer, and entered my prison, where 
I remained until 8 o'clock the next day; when I was again 
escorted to the office, and asked by the General, what 
security I would give for the good behaviour of myself and 
companions, if he let us out on parole for one year ? I told 
him I would give none, for no one here knew me. He then 
ordered me back to prison, where he said I should lay and 
rot, calling me a carracho [206] picaro, and similar names, 
which I did not regard. I walked to my prison as undaunt- 
edly as I could. I now felt somewhat encouraged; for I 
perceived he was not inflexible in his resolutions, and by 
adhering firmly to mine, I hoped finally to conquer him. 

In the course of the night he received a letter containing 
information of the death of one of his priests, and that great 
numbers were ill of the small pox. Early in the morning of 
the 23d I received a summons to attend him at the usual 
place. When I arrived, he said he wanted to see my papers, 
that is, those I had mentioned as being my father's commis- 



268 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

sion, and his discharge from the service of a ranger. I told 
him they were at Miss Peak's, which was the name of the 
young lady who had been so kind to me. He sent a soldier 
for them, who soon returned with them. I translated them 
to him. He said that was a sufficient proof of my being an 
American; and asked if my companions could produce 
proofs of their belonging to the same country? I replied 
that I did not know. 

He sent orders for them to come to the office; and before 
their arrival, told me that all he now wanted, was proof that 
they were Americans, to let us go on a parole, as all Amer- 
icans were tolerated in his country. My opinion with regard 
to his motive in the case was, that he was less unwilling to 
grant our liberty, as the payment for my services in spreading 
the vaccine disease, now that he knew we had no property 
for him to extort from us. 

He talked, too, about rendering himself liable to suffer 
the rigor of the laws of his country, should he set us free, 
without our establishing the fact of our being Americans. 

My companions entered: I was glad to see them. Their 
beards were long, and they were haggard and much reduced 
in flesh. I gave them to understand what was wanting, and 
they readily produced some old black papers, furnishing in 
themselves proof of any thing else, as much as of their 
owners being American citizens. I, however, so interpreted 
them, that they established the point with the General. I 
believe he [207] had as firmly credited this fact from the 
first hour he saw us, as now. He concluded to let us out a 
week upon trial, before he gave us freedom on parole, 
although he compelled me to engage to vaccinate all the peo- 
ple in the fort. He then directed us to endeavor to find 
some employment around the fort, which would procure us 
food, and to return every night to the guard house to sleep. 
The guard bell now tolled eight o'clock, and according to 
the permission given, we walked in the direction of our 
inclinations. 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 269 

I went directly to Miss Peak's, who was much astonished, 
and apparently delighted to see me at liberty. She had 
expected, she said, every day to see me on my way to be 
shot, or hung. The manifestation of kindness and benevo- 
lence to us having been forbidden by our jailors, she now 
indemnified her humanity and good feeling by telling me 
how much she had regretted not being allowed to send me 
proper food, asking me if I was not hungry? and proceeding, 
before I could answer, to spread a table with every thing 
good, of which I partook plentifully; after which we had 
a pleasant conversation together. My enjoyment of my 
fortunate change of situation was, however, mingled with 
uncertainty, as to the length of its duration. I felt that I 
was still in the lion's jaws, which might close upon me from 
the first impulse of petulance or anger. 

I therefore, endeavoured to devise some way of availing 
myself of my momentary freedom, to place myself beyond 
the possibility of losing it again. That one which sug- 
gested itself to me, was to prevail upon the officer, who had 
our rifles in charge to allow us possession of them for a short 
time, to clean them. When we should once more have 
them in our hands, I hoped we would have resolution to 
retain them, until death rendered them useless to us. I 
went to my companions, and imparted my plan to them. 
They agreed with me upon all points. The only difficulty 
now was, to lay our hands upon our arms. I went directly 
to the apartment of the officer, in whose care they were, one 
of the best hearted Spaniards I have ever seen. I appealed 
to his goodness of heart in order to obtain my purpose, telling 
[208] him, that we only wanted the rifles a few minutes, in 
order to rub off the rust, and dirt, which must have accumu- 
lated upon them. I told him after this was done, they should 
be returned to him. He did not answer for some minutes; 
and then said, that if he complied with my request, and was 
discovered by the General to have done so, he should be 
punished. I replied that there was no danger of an act of 



270 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

this kind, a mere kindness of this sort being known by any, 
but those immediately concerned; concluding by slipping 
ten dollars in silver, which had been given me by Capt. B., 
into his hand. He then handed me the rules, and all belong- 
ing to them, through a back door, cautioning me not to let 
my having them in possession be known. I answered, that 
I would be upon my guard. I was now joined by my com- 
panions. We found an old and unoccupied house, into 
which we entered, and soon put our guns in order, and 
charged them well, resolving never to give them into the 
hands of a Spaniard again. We had been so treacherously 
dealt with by these people, that we did not consider it any 
great breach of honour to fail in our promise of returning 
our arms, particularly as the officer had taken my money. 

We then concluded to conceal our rifles in a thicket near 
at hand, and to keep our pistols, which the officer had also 
given us as a part of our arms, concealed around our per- 
sons. At night we went to the guard house to sleep, as we 
had been commanded to do. The officer who gave me the 
rifles, came to me, and asked why I had not returned the 
arms according to promise? I told him that I had not 
finished cleaning them, and repeated, that the General 
should not know I had them. He charged me to fulfil my 
former promise of returning the arms on the succeeding 
morning. I satisfied him, thinking as before, that it made no 
great difference what is said to such persons, in a position 
like ours. 

Early the next morning we met a countryman by the name 
of James Lang, who had come upon the coast to smuggle, 
and to kill sea otters for their skins, which are very valuable. 104 
He was now here secretly, to enquire if sea otters were to be 
found in [209] abundance higher up the coast; and to 
obtain information on some other points connected with his 

104 For the career of Charles (not James) Lang, see Bancroft, op. cit., iii, pp. 
139, 140. ED. 



1824-1830] Pa ttie y s Personal Narrative 271 

pursuits. He told us he had a boat distant eighty miles 
down the coast, with men in search of otters, and proposed 
that we should accompany him to it, offering to furnish 
every thing required for this species of hunting, and give us 
half of whatever we caught, adding, that when his brig 
returned from the Gallipagos islands, where it had gone in 
search of tortoise shell, he would give us a free passage to 
our own country. 

We all considered this an offer advantageous to us, as it 
held out the prospect of our being enabled to obtain some- 
thing in the way of gain, after which a way would be open 
for our return to our homes, and we agreed to meet him on 
a certain day at Todos Santos, in English All Saints. This 
took place on the 24th. Our new friend set off to rejoin his 
companions, and we fell to consultation upon the best 
method of conducting in our present circumstances. We 
did not wish to do any thing, that would render us amenable 
to the laws of the country, should we be detected in our 
attempt to escape. We were consequently precluded from 
relying on horses to aid us in hastening beyond the reach of 
pursuers. The night was chosen, as the time for our 
experiment; but in the course of an hour after this determi- 
nation was made, all my companions excepting one, receded 
from it, pronouncing the plan of running off without any 
cover for our intentions, not a good one. They proposed 
instead of it, that we should ask permission of the General 
to go a hunting, assigning as our reason for this request, that 
we were barefoot, and wanted to kill some deer in order to 
obtain their skins to dress, to make us moccasins. I con- 
sented to this plan, and to try its efficacy immediately, I went 
to the General's office. It was late, but I related my errand. 
He asked me, where I could get arms, to kill deer with? I 
replied, that if he would not allow us to use our own arms, 
we could borrow some. He refused the permission, I had 
asked of him. 



2J2 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

On Christmas night, the one among my companions, 
whom I [210] have mentioned, as agreeing with me, in regard 
to the original plan for our escape, set off with me at 12 
o'clock, while the people, who were all Catholics, were 
engaged in their devotions at church. We were obliged to 
leave our comrades, as they would not accompany us in our 
enterprise. We travelled entirely by night, and reached the 
before mentioned place of rendezvous on the 28th. We 
found Mr. Lang and his men in confinement, and his boat 
taken by the Spaniards. We gained this information in the 
night, without committing ourselves. We retreated to the 
woods, in which we remained concealed through the day. 
At night our necessities compelled us to enter a house, in 
order to obtain some food. It was occupied by a widow 
and her two daughters. They gave us bread, milk and 
cheese, treating us with great kindness. We spent a week 
passing the day in the woods, and going to this friendly 
house to get food in the night; in the hope of hearing of 
some vessel, by means of which we might escape from this 
hated coast. But no such good fortune awaited us. 

We then concluded to return, and see our comrades, whom 
we supposed to be again in prison ; although we were deter- 
mined never again to be confined there ourselves alive, with 
our own consent. So we walked back to San Diego, killing 
some deer by the way, the skins of which we carried to the 
fort. To our great admiration and surprize, we found our 
companions at liberty. They informed us, that the General 
was exceedingly anxious for my return, and that our arms 
had not been demanded, although the officer, through whose 
means we obtained them, had been placed under guard. 

I felt grieved by the latter part of this information, as I 
had deceived the unfortunate man, when he intended to do 
me a kindness, of the utmost importance to my interests, as I 
viewed it. He would probably, be severely punished. 
But I nevertheless was firm in my purpose to retain my arms. 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 273 

It was late in the day; but the companion of my flight and 
myself proceeded to present ourselves before the General, 
leaving our rifles concealed in a safe place. Our pistols we 
carried in our [211] bosoms, determined not to be taken to 
prison without offering resistance. 

The General appeared much surprised to see us, and asked 
where we had been? I told him, that we had been out 
upon a hunting expedition; upon which he wished to know 
if we had killed any thing ? We answered in the affirmative. 
He then looked serious, and demanded of me, if I was not 
aware that it was wrong to go off, without taking leave of 
him ? My reply was, that I did ; and that he refused it to 
me; and that then I concluded to go without permission, 
knowing it could not be a crime. His next question was, 
how I obtained my arms ? I told him the truth with regard 
to this point. The succeeding demand was, why I did not 
return them, according to my promise ? To which I replied, 
that I did not intend to return them from the first; and I 
now declared that they should never be taken from me for 
the time to come, while I drew my breath. He smiled, and 
said he did not want them; but that I must begin to vacci- 
nate the people of the garrison ; for that he wished me to go 
up the coast soon to practice vaccination there. 

On the i8th of January, 1829, I began to vaccinate; and 
by the i6th of February had vaccinated all the people 
belonging to the fort, and the Indian inhabitants of the mis- 
sion of San Diego, three miles north of the former place. 105 

106 The mission of San Diego de Alcala was the first of the Franciscan establish- 
ments begun by Father Junipero Serra in 1769. In 1774 it was removed inland 
three miles from the presidio of the same name; and at the time of Pattie's visit, it 
had attained the height of its prosperity. Six years after it was founded (1775), 
an Indian revolt occurred, in which there was bloodshed on both sides, and the 
church was burned and pillaged. It was re-established in 1777, and six years later 
was built the church, of which little yet remains but the facade. Remains of an 
aqueduct may also be traced, to whose use in irrigating Pattie refers. On the 
entire subject of mission history, consult in addition to Bancroft, and the standard 
histories, Victor, "Studies of the California Missions" in The Californian, v, vi; 



274 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

It is situated in a valley between two mountains. A stream 
runs through the valley, from which ships obtain fresh water. 
An abundance of grain is raised at this mission. Fruit of 
all kinds, growing in a temperate climate, is also plentiful. 
The climate is delightfully equal. The husbandman here 
does not think of his fields being moistened by the falling 
rain. He digs ditches around them, in which water is con- 
veyed from a stream, sufficient to cover the ground, when- 
ever the moisture is required. Rains seldom fall in the 
summer or autumn. The rainy season commences in Octo- 
ber; and continues until the last of December, and some- 
times even through January; by which time the grass, clover 
and wild oats are knee high. When the rain does come, 
it falls in torrents. The gullies made in the sides of the 
mountains by the rains are of an enormous size. 

[212] But to return to my own affairs. Having completed 
my vaccinations in this quarter, and procured a sufficient 
quantity of the vaccine matter to answer my purpose, I 
declared myself in readiness to proceed further. I com- 
municated the matter to one thousand Spaniards and Indians 
in San Diego. 

February 28th, the General gave us each a legal form, 
granting us liberty on parole for one year, at the expiration 
of which period it was in his power to remand us to prison, 
if he did not incline to grant us our freedom. He likewise 
gave me a letter to the priests along the coast, containing 
the information that I was to vaccinate all the inhabitants 
upon the coast, and an order providing for me all necessary 
supplies of food and horses for my journey. These were to 
be furnished me by the people, among whom I found myself 
cast. They were, also, directed to treat me with respect, and 

Helen Hunt Jackson, "Father Junipero and his Work," in Century, iv, pp. 3-18, 
199-215; Doyle, "Missions of Alta California," ibid., six, pp. 389-402; Jackson 
Glimpses of California and the Missions (Boston, 1902); Carter, Missions of 
Nveva California (San Francisco, 1900), and Clinch, California and its Missions, 
(San Francisco, 1904). ED. 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 275 

indemnify me for my services, as far as they thought proper. 
The latter charge did not strike me agreeably; for I foresaw, 
that upon such conditions my services would not be worth 
one cent to me. However, the prospect of one whole year's 
liberty was so delightful, that I concluded to trust in Provi- 
dence, and the generosity of the stranger, and think no more 
of the matter. With these feelings I set forth to the next 
mission, at which I had already been. It was called San 
Luis. 1 * 1 

I reached it in the evening. I found an old priest, who 
seemed glad to see me. I gave him the General's letter. 
After he had read it, he said, with regard to that part of it 
which spoke of payment, that I had better take certificates 
from the priests of each mission, as I advanced up the coast, 
stating that I had vaccinated their inhabitants; and that 
when I arrived at the upper mission, where one of the high 
dignitaries of the church resided, I should receive my recom- 
pense for the whole. Seeing nothing at all singular in this 
advice, I concluded to adopt it. 

In the morning I entered on the performance of my duty. 
My subjects were Indians, the missions being entirely com- 
posed of them, with the exception of the priests, who are 
the rulers. [213] The number of natives in this mission was 
three thousand, nine hundred and four. I took the old 
priest's certificate, as had been recommended by him, when 
I had completed my task. This is said to be the largest, 
most flourishing, and every way the most important mission 

100 The mission of San Luis Rey de Francia, situated on the coast, about 
eighty-five miles southeast from Los Angeles, was founded in 1798, and named in 
honor of Louis IX of France. The church, the largest among the missions, was 
completed in 1802. At the time of Pattie's visit, it was the most prosperous mission 
in California, possessing twenty-five thousand sheep and over two hundred thousand 
acres of land, on which were annually raised twelve thousand bushels of grain. 
The founder, Padre Antonio Peyri, was still in charge, and to his fine character and 
administrative ability was due the success of the enterprise. The old church, the 
finest among the missions, was recently repaired and occupied by the Franciscans, 
the dedication (1893) of the re-established mission taking place with much cere- 
mony. ED. 



276 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

on the coast. For its consumption fifty beeves are killed 
weekly. The hides and tallow are sold to ships for goods, 
and other articles for the use of the Indians, who are better 
dressed in general, than the Spaniards. All the income of 
the mission is placed in the hands of the priests, who give out 
clothing and food, according as it is required. They are 
also self constituted guardians of the female part of the 
mission, shutting up under lock and key, one hour after 
supper, all those, whose husbands are absent, and all young 
women and girls above nine years of age. During the day, 
they are entrusted to the care of the matrons. Notwithstand- 
ing this, all the precautions taken by the vigilant fathers of 
the church are found insufficient. I saw women in irons 
for misconduct, and men in the stocks. The former are 
expected to remain a widow six months after the death of a 
husband, after which period they may marry again. The 
priests appoint officers to superintend the natives, while 
they are at work, from among themselves. They are called 
alcaides, and are very rigid in exacting the performance of 
the allotted tasks, applying the rod to those who fall short 
of the portion of labor assigned them. They are taught in 
the different trades; some of them being blacksmiths, others 
carpenters and shoe-makers. Those, trained to the knowl- 
edge of music, both vocal and instrumental, are intended 
for the service of the church. The women and girls sew, 
knit, and spin wool upon a large wheel, which is woven into 
blankets by the men. The alcaides, after finishing the 
business of the day, give an account of it to the priest, and 
then kiss his hand, before they withdraw to their wigwams, 
to pass the night. This mission is composed of parts of 
five different tribes, who speak different languages. 

The greater part of these Indians were brought from their 
native mountains against their own inclinations, and by 
compulsion; [214] and then baptised; which act was as 
little voluntary on their part, as the former had been. After 



1824-1830] Puttie's Personal Narrative 277 

these preliminaries, they had been put to work, as converted 
Indians. 

The next mission on my way was that, called St. John 
the Baptist. 107 The mountains here approach so near the 
ocean, as to leave only room enough for the location of the 
mission. The waves dash upon the shore immediately in 
front of it. The priest, who presides over this mission, was 
in the habit of indulging his love of wine and stronger liquors 
to such a degree, as to be often intoxicated. The church 
had been shattered by an earthquake. Between twenty and 
thirty of the Indians, men, women and children, had been 
suddenly destroyed by the falling of the church bells upon 
them. After communicating the vaccine matter to 600 
natives, I left this place, where mountains rose behind to 
shelter it; and the sea stretched out its boundless expanse 
before it. 

Continuing my route I reached my next point of destina- 
tion. This establishment was called the mission of St. Gabriel. 

107 This should be San Juan Capistrano; San Juan Bautista was further north, 
see note 119, below. This mission was founded with much difficulty, the Indians 
being hostile, and upon the news of the revolt at San Diego (1775) the first attempt 
was abandoned. The second (1776) was more successful, but the mission made but 
slow progress. Its beautiful stone church was begun in 1797, and dedicated in 1806, 
only to be partially destroyed by the earthquake, to which Pattie refers, in 1812. 
The ruins of San Juan Capistrano are among the most beautiful of all the California 
missions; they are situated near a small town of that name, on the Southern Cali- 
fornia Railroad, fifty-eight miles southeast of Los Angeles. 

San Gabriel was the fourth mission founded on the southern coast by the 
Franciscans. It was established in 1771, near San Pedro Bay, where had been 
recorded a miracle upon the unfurling of a banner bearing a pain ting of the Virgin. 
Somewhat later the mission was removed to the foothills, and being on the road 
from Monterey to San Diego, attained considerable wealth and importance. In 
1832 the Spanish government secured from this mission a forced loan of $120,000 
in gold. The existing church of the mission is much visited, being but nine miles 
east of Los Angeles. 

San Pedro was the port both of Los Angeles and the San Gabriel mission. The 
bay was named by Viscaino (1602), and next to the four presidial ports it was the 
most important on the coast, and the spot where much smuggling took place. In 
1846, during the American conquest of the province, a battle was fought not far 
from San Pedro, between Californians and Americans; the latter under Captain 
William Mervine, were defeated. ED. 



278 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

Here I vaccinated 960 individuals. The course from the 
mission of St. John the Baptist to this place led me from 
the sea-shore, a distance of from eighteen to twenty miles. 
Those, who selected the position of this mission, followed 
the receding mountains. It extends from their foot, having 
in front a large tract of country showing small barren hills, 
and yet affording pasturage for herds of cattle so numerous, 
that their number is unknown even to the all surveying and 
systematic priests. In this species of riches St. Gabriel 
exceeds all the other establishments on the coast. The 
sides of the mountains here are covered with a growth of 
live oak and pine. The chain to which these mountains 
belong, extends along the whole length of the coast. The 
fort St. Peter stands on the sea coast, parallel to this mission. 

My next advance was to a small town, inhabited by Span- 
iards, called the town of The Angels. 108 The houses have 
flat roofs, covered with bituminous pitch, brought from a 
place within four miles of the town, where this article boils 
up from the earth. As the liquid rises, hollow bubbles like 
a shell of a [215] large size, are formed. When they burst, 
the noise is heard distinctly in the town. The material is 
obtained by breaking off portions, that have become hard, 
with an axe, or something of the kind. The large pieces 
thus separated, are laid on the roof, previously covered with 
earth, through which the pitch cannot penetrate, when it is 
rendered liquid again by the heat of the sun. In this place 
I vaccinated 2,500 persons. 

From this place I went to the mission of St. Ferdinand, 
where I communicated the matter to 967 subjects. St. 

108 Los Angeles was the second pueblo (municipality) founded by the Spaniards 
in Upper California. A colony of forty-six persons came overland from Mexico 
in 1781, and established itself at this point (September 4). By Pattie's time the 
town had about eighty houses and seven hundred inhabitants. The ancient Span- 
ish church, facing the plaza in this city, dates from 1822, eleven years being occupied 
in its building. ED. 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 279 

Ferdinand is thirty miles east of the coast, and a fine place 
in point of position. 109 

The mission of St. Buenaventura succeeded. 110 Not long 
previous to my arrival here, two priests had eloped from the 
establishment, taking with them what gold and silver they 
could lay their hands upon. They chose an American 
vessel, in which to make their escape. I practised my new 
calling upon 1000 persons in this mission. 

The next point I reached was the fort of St. Barbara. 111 I 
found several vessels lying here. I went on board of them, 
and spent some pleasant evenings in company with the 
commanders. I enjoyed the contrast of such society with 
that of the priests and Indians, among whom I had lately 

109 The Franciscans proposed to establish a chain of missions some distance 
inland from the coast. As part of this plan, was founded (1797) the mission of 
San Fernando, twenty miles north of Los Angeles, named in honor of King Ferdi- 
nand III of Spain (1217-1251). During the years 1820-30, it was in a flourishing 
condition, the warehouse containing merchandise to the value of $50,000. The 
mission was sold (1846) to Eulogio Celis to help defray the expenses of the war 
with the United States, but the title was not sustained by the American courts. 
San Fernando has suffered little from the hands of the restorer, the buildings belong- 
ing still to a ranch, and affording a good picture of the general aspect of a Fran- 
ciscan mission. ED. 

110 Soon after the founding of San Diego, Serra had wished to erect a mission 
in honor of San Buenaventura. But various reasons hindered his purpose, which 
was not accomplished until 1782; it was the last mission erected during his lifetime. 
The church, the only building now standing, was begun in 1797; it was much 
damaged by the earthquake of 1812, but later being repaired, now stands in the 
midst of the busy American city of Ventura. The two friars who fled from this 
mission in January, 1828, were Ripoll and Altmira, who went on board the "Har- 
binger" at Santa Barbara, and never returned. It is believed they ultimately 
reached Spain. ED. 

111 The presidio of Santa Barbara, one of the four forts by which the Spaniards 
held California, was founded in 1782. The mission itself was not begun until four 
years later. It became one of the most important of all the missions, and by 1800 
was wealthy. The church was so much damaged by the earthquake of 1812 that 
a new structure was erected, which to-day is in a perfect state of preservation, and 
one thoroughly typical of mission architecture. After secularization (1834), the 
mission was neglected for twenty years; but the Franciscans again took possession 
of the property, and established a religious community therein, which is still main- 
tamed for the education of novitiates. ED. 



280 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

been. This place has a garrison of fifty or sixty soldiers. 
The mission lies a half a mile N. W. of the fort. It is situ- 
ated on the summit of a hill, and affords a fine view of the 
great deep. Many are the hours I passed during this long 
and lonely journey, through a country every way strange and 
foreign to me, in looking on the ceaseless motion of its waves. 
The great Leviathan too played therein. I have often 
watched him, as he threw spouts of water into the air, and 
moved his huge body through the liquid surface. My sub- 
jects here amounted to 2600. They were principally Indians. 
The next mission on my route was that called St. Enos. 112 
I vaccinated 900 of its inhabitants, and proceeded to St. 
Cruz, 113 where I operated upon 650. My next advance was 
to St. Luis Obispes. 114 Here I found 800 subjects. The 
mission of St. Michael followed in order. In it I vaccinated 
1850 persons. 115 [216] My next theatre of operations was at 
St. John Bapistrano. 116 900 was the number that received 

113 By "St. Enos," Pattie refers to the mission of Santa Inez, the nineteenth to 
be established (1804), it being at first an offshoot of Santa Barbara. Its first 
church was destroyed in the earthquake of 1812; the present building is plain and 
uninteresting. At Santa Inez was started the great Indian revolt of 1824. At the 
time of secularization it was one of the smaller missions, valued at only $56,000. 
Because of its inaccessibility within the Santa Inez mountains, forty miles from 
Santa Barbara, it is now little visited. ED. 

113 Pattie here makes a mistake in his itinerary. Either he is referring to La 
Purissima mission, established in 1787 (re-established 1812), on Santa Inez River, 
eighteen miles from the mission of that name, or he has misplaced his visit to Santa 
Cruz mission (founded 1791), north of Monterey. ED. 

114 San Luis Obispo was one of the early missions, being founded by Serra in 
1772, about midway between Monterey and Santa Barbara. Its buildings were 
several times destroyed by fire, and its prosperity was of slower growth than that 
of the more southern missions. The present buildings, in the flourishing modern 
town of its name, retain but little of the early mission architecture, having been 
completely changed by frequent restorations. ED. 

m San Miguel mission (in honor of Michael the archangel) was founded in 
1797, in the valley of Salinas River. The present church was begun in 1800, and 
is chiefly interesting for its interior decoration, designed and executed by Indians. 
Pattie has here exaggerated the number of neophytes (or else this is a misprint), 
the largest enrollment in 1814 being 1,076. ED. 

118 It is evident, from the context, that Pattie has transposed the names of the 
two missions, San Juan Bautista (see note 1 19) and San Antonio. It was the latter 



1824-1830] Patties Personal Narrative 281 

vaccination here. Thence I went to La Solada, and vacci- 
nated 1685, and then proceeded to St. Carlos, and commu- 
nicated the matter to 8oo. m 

From the latter mission I passed on to the fort of Monte 
El Rey, where is a garrison of a hundred soldiers. 118 I found 
here 500 persons to vaccinate. The name of this place in 
English signifies the King's mount or hill. Forests spread 
around Monte El Rey for miles in all directions, composed 
of thick clusters of pines and live oaks. Numberless grey 
bears find their home, and range in these deep woods. They 
are frequently known to attack men. The Spaniards take 
great numbers of them by stratagem, killing an old horse 
in the neighborhood of their places of resort. They erect 
a scaffold near the dead animal, upon which they place 

which he visited on the way to Monterey. Situated in the beautiful valley of the 
San Antonio River, it was the third of all the missions founded by Serra (1771). 
One of the most flourishing of the early missions, at the time of secularization it 
was valued at $90,000. The present church dates from about 1809. It is fast 
falling into ruin, owing to isolation and neglect. ED. 

117 La Soledad (Our Lady of Solitude), founded in 1791, was one of the smaller 
missions, thus Pattie's numbers are incorrect. Its buildings are now almost in 
ruins. 

The mission of San Carlos was founded at the same time as the presidio of 
Monterey; but the following year (1771) was removed several miles into the coun- 
try, upon the Carmelo River (named for the Carmelite friar who visited this place 
in 1602); from its location, the mission was usually spoken of as Carmel. It was 
the central mission, the home of the president, and was important rather from this 
fact and its neighborhood to Monterey than from the number of its neophytes. 
In 1784 Father Junipero Serra, founder of the missions, died, and was buried at this 
place. Nearly a hundred years later his tomb was re-opened, and found intact. 
The present church, easily visited from Monterey, was dedicated in 1797; restored 
in 1882, it is still in good condition, and service is held there monthly. ED. 

118 The harbor of Monterey was discovered by the Spanish expedition under 
Cabrillo, in 1542; but rediscovered and named by Viscaino, in 1602. The first 
land expedition sent out from San Diego (1770) failed to recognize the bay. The 
presidio was built in June of that year, and made the capital of the new province. 
It consisted of a stockaded enclosure, with cannon at the corners. By 1778 a 
stone wall had been built, and the safety of the place ensured. Thenceforward, 
the history of Monterey was the history of Alta California. After the American 
conquest, it remained for many years a Mexican town. See Stevenson, "Old 
Pacific Capital," in Across the Plains (New York, 1895), pp. 77-107. More 
recently, Monterey has become a seaside resort. ED. 



282 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

themselves during the night, armed with a gun or lance. 
When the bear approaches to eat, they either shoot it, or 
pierce it with the lance from their elevated position. Not- 
withstanding all their precautions, however, they are some- 
times caught by the wounded animal; and after a man has 
once wrestled with a bear, he will not be likely to desire to 
make a second trial of the same gymnastic exercise. Such, 
at any rate, is the opinion I have heard those express, who 
have had the good fortune to come off alive from a contest 
of this kind. I do not speak for myself in this matter, as I 
never came so near as to take the close hug with one in my 
life; though to escape it, I once came near breaking my 
neck down a precipice. 

From Monte El Rey I advanced to the mission of St. 
Anthony, which lies thirty miles E. from the coast. 119 In 
it I found one thousand persons to inoculate. I had now 
reached the region of small pox, several cases of it having 
occurred in this mission. The ruling priest of this estab- 
lishment informed me, that he did not consider it either 
necessary or advisable for me to proceed farther for the pur- 
pose of inoculating the inhabitants of the country, as the 
small pox had prevailed universally through its whole re- 
maining extent. As I had heard, while in [217] San Diego, 
great numbers had been carried off by it. I then told him 
that I wished to see the church officer who had been described 
to me by the first priest whom I had seen on my way up the 
coast. He furnished mfe a horse, and I set off for the port 
of San Francisco, vaccinating those whom I found on the 
way who had not had the small pox. 

119 This was San Juan Bautista (see note 116), whose site, thirty miles northeast 
of Monterey, was chosen in 1786. A mission was not founded there until 1797, 
when was begun the chapel which was dedicated in 1812; it still stands, although 
much altered from its first appearance. Music was a feature of San Juan Bautista; 
there is still to be seen within the building an old barrel organ which was made in 
England in 1735. As this was a prosperous mission at the date of Pattie's visit, 
no doubt his figures are correct. He omitted from his tour the northern missions 
of Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, San Jose", San Rafael Archangel, and Solano de 
Sonoma. ED. 



1824-1830] Patties Personal Narrative 283 

I reached the above mentioned place, 120 on the twentieth 
of June, 1829. Finding the person of whom I was in search, 
I presented him all the certificates of the priests of the mis- 
sions in which I had vaccinated, and the letter of the Gen- 
eral. I had inoculated in all twenty- two thousand persons. 
After he had finished the perusal of these papers, he asked 
me, what I thought my services were worth? I replied, that 
I should leave that point entirely in his judgment and 
decision. He then remarked, that he must have some time 
to reflect upon the subject, and that I must spend a week or 
two with him. I consented willingly to this proposal, as I 
was desirous of crossing the bay of San Francisco to the 
Russian settlement, called the Bodego. 121 

I proceeded to carry my wish into execution on the 23rd, 
accompanied by two Coriac Indians, whose occupation was 

uo It is usually conceded that none of the early explorers Cabrillo, Sir Francis 
Drake, or Viscaino sighted the present San Francisco Bay, although that name 
had been applied to the harborage under Point Reyes, now known as Drake's Bay. 
Therefore it was the land expedition under Portata (1769-70), who first saw the 
southern shore of the great bay, and attempted to pass around it to old Port San 
Francisco. Failing in this, the party turned back to Monterey and were succeeded 
by two more exploring parties in 1773 and 1774. The following year (1775) 
Ayala first entered the bay from the ocean. Serra had long wished to found a 
mission in honor of Saint Francis; he therefore besought a colony from Mexico, 
to establish a presidio which should guard such an outlying mission. This being 
arranged, an expedition under the lead of Moraga set forth in 1776, and in Septem- 
ber of that year formally installed the presidio, the mission being dedicated in 
October. The mission lay south of the fort, and is now included in the limits of 
the city, where the church (dedicated in 1795) still stands. It was never a pros- 
perous mission, owing partly to the climate, and partly to the character of the 
Indians. Moraga continued as commandant of the presidio until his death in 
1785, Fort San Joaquin was finished in 1794, when there was a total population 
of about one thousand. The United States flag was raised on the plaza in 1846. 
Under the Spaniards, San Francisco was always an outpost maintained for defense; 
its importance began with the discovery of gold in 1848. ED. 

121 The Russian Fur Company, having under Rezanof explored the coast in 
1806, desired to erect thereon a trading post, and in 1812 Baranof dispatched an 
expedition to Bodega Bay. A site for the settlement was selected about eighteen 
miles above the bay, and a fort with ten cannons was erected, named Ross. Although 
the Spanish officials protested against this occupation of their territory there was 
never an open collision, and the trade was profitable to the Californians. The 
Russian settlement was therefore maintained until 1841, being then voluntarily 
abandoned. ED. 



284 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

the killing of sea otters for the Russians, who hire them into 
their service. Those who pursue this employment, have 
water crafts made of the sea lions' skins, in the shape of a 
canoe. Over this spreads a top, completely covered in such 
a manner as to preclude the possibility of the entrance of any 
water. An opening is left at the bow and stern, over which 
the person who has entered draws a covering of the same 
material with that of the boat, which fastens firmly over the 
aperture in such a manner, as to make this part entirely 
water proof, as any other portion of the boat. Two persons 
generally occupy it. No position can be more secure than 
theirs, from all the dangers of the sea. The waves dash 
over them harmless. The occupants are stationed, one at 
the bow, and the other at the stern; the latter guides 
the boat, while the other is provided with a [218] spear, 
which he darts into the otter whenever he comes within its 
reach. Great numbers are thus taken. 

But to return to myself: We crossed the bay, which is 
about three miles in width. It is made by the entrance of 
a considerable river, called by the Spaniards Rio de San 
Francisco. After we reached the north shore, we travelled 
through a beautiful country, with a rich soil, well watered 
and timbered, and reached the Russian settlement in the 
night, having come a distance of thirty miles. As our 
journey had been made on foot, and we had eaten nothing, 
I was exceedingly fatigued and hungry. I accompanied 
my fellow travellers, who belonged here, to their wigwams, 
where I obtained some food, and a seal skin to sleep upon. 
Early in the morning I arose, and learning from one of my 
late companions where was the dwelling of the commander 
of the place, I proceeded towards it. I had become ac- 
quainted with this person while I was vaccinating the inhab- 
itants of San Diego. He came there in a brig, and insisted 
upon my promising him that I would come and communicate 
the remedy to the people of his establishments, offering to 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 285 

recompense me for my services. I agreed to do what he 
wished, should it be in my power. Accordingly, finding that 
the Spaniard did not intend to keep a strict guard over my 
movements, I availed myself of this opportunity of fulfilling 
the expressed wish of Don Seraldo, for so was he called. I 
reached the place pointed out to me by the friendly Indian, 
and was received by the above mentioned gentleman with 
the warmest expressions of kindness and friendship. He 
said that so long a time had elapsed since he saw me, he was 
afraid I had forgotten our conversation together, and that 
circumstances had rendered my coming to him impossible. 
He had suffered greatly from the fear that the small pox 
would spread among his people, before he should be enabled 
to prevent danger from it, through the means of the kine pox. 

After breakfast, he circulated an order among the people, 
for all who wished to be provided with a safe guard against 
the terrible malady that had approached them so near, to 
come to [219] his door. In a few hours I began my opera- 
tions; and continued to be constantly occupied for three 
days, vaccinating during this period fifteen hundred indi- 
viduals. I reminded them all that they must return on the 
fourth day, provided no signs of the complaint appeared; 
and that they were not to rub, or roughly touch the spot, 
should the vaccine matter have proper effect. 

This done, Don Seraldo offered to accompany me through 
the fort and around the settlement, in order to show me the 
position, and every thing which might be new and inter- 
esting to me. Its situation is one of the most beautiful that 
I ever beheld, or that the imagination can conceive. The 
fort stands on the brow of a handsome hill, about two hun- 
dred feet above the level of the sea. This hill is surrounded 
on all sides for two miles with a charming plain. A lofty 
mountain whose sides present the noblest depth of forest, 
raises a summit, glittering with perpetual ice and snow on 
one hand, and on the other the level surface is lost in the 



286 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

waves of the sea. Clear cold streams pour down the moun- 
tain, unceasingly from different points, and glide through 
the plain, imparting moisture and verdure. The same 
multitudes of domestic animals, that are every where seen 
in this country, graze around in the pastures. They find 
abundant pasturage in the wild oats, which grow spon- 
taneously upon this coast. Very little attention is paid to 
cultivation, where so many advantages are united to favor 
it. The amount of produce of any kind raised is small, 
and the inhabitants depend for bread entirely upon the 
Spaniards. 

I remained in this delightful place one week. At the 
expiration of this time Don Seraldo gave me one hundred 
dollars, as payment for my services, and then mounted me 
upon a horse and conducted me back to the bay himself, 
and remained on the shore, until he saw me safe upon the 
other side. 

I soon saw myself again in the presence of the Spanish 
priest, from whom I was to receive my recompense for the 
services performed on my long tour. He was not aware 
where I had been, until I informed him. When I had told 
him, he asked [220] me what Don Seraldo had paid me? I 
stated this matter as it was. He then demanded of me, 
how I liked the coast of California ? I answered, that I very 
much admired the appearance of the country. His next 
question was, how I would like the idea of living in it ? It 
would be agreeable to me, I returned, were it subject to any 
other form of government. He proceeded to question me 
upon the ground of my objections to the present form of 
government? I was careful not to satisfy him on this 
point. 

He then handed me a written piece of paper, the transla- 
tion of which is as follows: 

I certify, that James O. Pattie has vaccinated all the 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 287 

Indians and whites on this coast, and to recompense him 
for the same, I give the said James O. Pattie my obligation 
for one thousand head of cattle, and land to pasture them; 
that is, 500 cows and 500 mules. This he is to receive after 
he becomes a Catholic, and a subject of this government. 
Given in the mission of St. Francisco on the 8th of July, in 
the year 1829. 

JOHN CABORTES 

When I had read this, without making use of any figure 
of speech, I was struck dumb. My anger choked me. As I 
was well aware of the fact, that this man had it in his power 
to hang me if I insulted him, and that here there was no 
law to give me redress, and compel him to pay me justly for 
my services, I said nothing for some time, but stood looking 
him full in the face. I cannot judge whether he read my 
displeasure, and burning feelings in my countenance, as I 
thus eyed him, and would have sought to pacify me, or not; 
but before I made a movement of any kind, he spoke, 
saying, 'you look displeased, sir.' Prudential considerations 
were sufficient to withhold me no longer, and I answered in 
a short manner, that I felt at that moment as though I should 
rejoice to find myself once more in a country where I should 
be justly dealt by. He asked me, what I meant when I 
spoke of being justly dealt by? I told him [221] what my 
meaning was, and wished to be in my own country, where 
there are laws to compel a man to pay another what he justly 
owes him, without his having the power to attach to the 
debt, as a condition upon which the payment is to depend, 
the submission to, and gratification of, any of his whimsical 
desires. Upon this the priest's tone became loud and 
angry as he said, 'then you regard my proposing that you 
should become a Catholic, as the expression of an unjust 
and whimsical desire!' I told him 'yes, that I did; and 
that I would not change my present opinions for all the money 



288 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

his mission was worth; and moreover, that before I would 
consent to be adopted into the society and companionship 
of such a band of murderers and robbers, as I deemed were 
to be found along this coast, for the pitiful amount of one 
thousand head of cattle, I would suffer death.' 

When I had thus given honest and plain utterance to the 
feelings, which swelled within me, the priest ordered me to 
leave his house. I walked out quickly, and possessed myself 
of my rifle, as I did not know, but some of his attendants at 
hand might be set upon me; for if the comparison be 
allowable the priests of this country have the people as much 
and entirely under then* control and command, as the people 
of our own country have a good bidable dog. For fear they 
should come barking at me, I hastened away, and proceeded 
to a ranch, where I procured a horse for three dollars, which 
I mounted, and took the route for Monte El Rey. I did not 
stop, nor stay on my journey to this place. I found upon 
my arrival there, an American vessel in port, just ready to 
sail, and on the point of departure. 

Meeting the Captain on shore, I made the necessary 
arrangements with him for accompanying him, and we went 
on board together. The anchor was now weighed, and we 
set sail. In the course of an hour, I was thoroughly sick, and 
so continued for one week. I do not know any word, that 
explains my feelings in this case so well as that of heart 
sickness. I ate nothing, or little all this time; but after I 
recovered, my appetite [222] returned in tenfold strength, and 
I never enjoyed better health in my life. We continued at 
sea for several months, sailing from one port to another, and 
finally returned to that of Monte El Rey, from which we had 
set sail. 

It was now the 6th of January, 1830, and I felt anxious 
to hear something in relation to my companions, from whom 
I had so long been separated. I accordingly went on shore, 
where I met with a great number of acquaintances, both 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 289 

Americans and English. The latter informed me, that 
there was a revolution in the country, a part of the inhab- 
itants having revolted against the constituted authorities. 
The revolted party seemed at present likely to gain the 
ascendency. They had promised the English and Amer- 
icans the same privileges, and liberty in regard to the trade 
on the coast, that belonged to the native citizens, upon the 
condition, that these people aided them in their attempt to 
gain their freedom, by imparting advice and funds. 

This information gladdened my very heart. I do not 
know, if the feeling be not wrong; but I instantly thought 
of the unspeakable pleasure I should enjoy at seeing the gen- 
eral, who had imprisoned me, and treated me so little like a 
man and a Christian, in fetters himself. Under the influ- 
ence of these feelings, I readily and cheerfully appropriated 
a part of my little store to their use, I would fain have accom- 
panied them in hopes to have one shot at the general with 
my rifle. But the persuasions of my countrymen to the 
contrary prevailed with me. They assigned, as reasons for 
their advice, that it was enough to give counsel and funds at 
first, and that the better plan would be, to see how they 
managed their own affairs, before we committed ourselves, 
by taking an active part in them, as they had been found 
to be a treacherous people to deal with. 

On the 8th of the month, Gen. Joachim Solis placed him- 
self at the head of one hundred and fifty soldiers well armed, 
and began his march from Monte El Rey to the fort of St. 
Francisco. 122 He was accompanied by two cannon, which, 
he said, he should make thunder, if the fort was not quietly 
given up to him. Gen. Solis had been transferred from a 

122 Joaquin Solis was a convict ranchero, living near Monterey. He had served 
in the war of independence from Spain, and had been sentenced to California for 
brutal crimes which were thus lightly punished because of his military services to 
the republic. For an account of this revolt, from manuscript sources, see Bancroft, 
California, iii, pp. 67-86. Pattie's dates are erroneous, Solis having left Monte- 
rey for San Francisco in November, 1829. ED. 



290 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

command in the city of Mexico [223] to take command of 
the insurgents, as soon as they should have formed them- 
selves into something like an organized party, and have come 
to a head. He had left Monte El Rey with such a force as 
circumstances enabled him to collect, recruiting upon his 
route, and inducing all to join him, whom he could influence 
by fair words and promises. As has been said, he threat- 
ened the fort of St. Francisco with a bloody contest, in case 
they resisted his wishes. He carried with him written ad- 
dresses to the inhabitants, in which those, who would range 
themselves under his standard, were offered every thing that 
renders Me desirable. They all flocked round him, giving 
in their adhesion. When he reached the fort, he sent in 
his propositions, which were acceded to, as soon as read 
by the majority. The minority were principally officers. 
They were all imprisoned by General Solis, as soon as he 
obtained possession of the place. He then proceeded to 
make laws, by which the inhabitants were to be governed, 
and placed the fort in the hands of those, upon whom, he 
thought he could depend. These arrangements being all 
made, he began his return to Monte El Rey, highly delighted 
with his success. 

There now seemed little doubt of his obtaining possession 
of the whole coast in the course of a few months. He 
remained at Monte El Rey increasing his force, and drilling 
the new recruits, until the 28th of March, when he again 
marched at the head of two hundred soldiers. The present 
object of attack was Santa Barbara, where the commander 
under the old regime was stationed. The latter was Gen. 
Echedio, my old acquaintance of San Diego, for whom I 
bore such good will. 128 He was not in the least aware of 

ia Jose" Maria de Echeandia was the first governor of California after it passed 
under the Mexican government. A lieutenant-colonel in the army, he had been 
director of the college of engineers at the City of Mexico, and arrived at San Diego 
in October, 1825, to assume his new official duties. By establishing his official 
residence at San Diego, he gave offense to the Montereyans, and thus promoted the 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 291 

the visit intended him by Gen. Solis; the latter having pre- 
vented any tidings upon the subject reaching him, by posting 
sentinels thickly for some distance upon the road, that lay 
between them, to intercept and stop any one passing up or 
down. The insurgent General had as yet succeeded in his 
plans; and was so elated with the prospect of surprising 
Gen. Echedio, and completely dispossessing him of his 
power, and consequently having all in his own hands, that 
he [224] did not consider it necessary any longer to conceal 
his real character. The professions of the kind purposes of 
the insurgent towards the English and Americans will be 
recollected ; and also, that it was at a time when application 
was made by these Spaniards to them for aid. The tone 
was now changed. Threats were now made, with regard to 
the future treatment, which we, unfortunate foreigners, might 
expect, as soon as Gen. Solis became master of the coast. 
We learned this through a Mexican Spaniard, whose 
daughter Captain Cooper had married. 124 This old gentle- 



Solis revolt. His successor was appointed in 1830, but did not assume office until 
January, 1831. The same year, Echeandia himself became concerned in a revolt 
which placed him practically at the head of the government in California until 
January 14, 1833, when a new appointee arrived from Mexico, bearing orders to 
Echeandia to proceed thither. The latter thereupon sailed from San Diego, May 
14, 1833, never again to visit California. He thereafter devoted his time to engi- 
neering duties, and is known to have been so occupied in 1856, and to have died 
before 1871. A somewhat indolent man, of infirm temper, he was nevertheless 
popular with the Mexican party in California. ED. 

124 Captain John Roger Cooper was an American who in 1823 arrived in Cali- 
fornia from Boston, master of the ship "Rover." Selling his vessel to the governor, 
he continued his trading voyages until 1826, when he settled at Monterey and 
turned merchant. Being naturalized in 1830, he became one of the well-known 
characters of the Mexican capital. In 1839, he returned to sea-faring, and con- 
tinued therein for ten or eleven years more, returning to Monterey as harbor-master 
in 1851. He died at San Francisco in 1872. 

Cooper's father-in-law was Ignacio Vallejo, one of the earliest and best known 
of the Mexican residents. Vallejo was born in Guadalaxara (1748), of pure Span- 
ish descent, and went to California with the first expedition (1769); he died at 
Monterey in 1831. Being the only civil engineer of the province, he devoted much 
time to irrigating works. See Shinn, "Pioneer Spanish Families in California," in 
Century Magazine, xix, pp. 377-389. ED. 



292 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

man was told by the General, that he intended either to 
compel every American and Englishman to swear allegiance 
to the government, which should be established, or drive 
them from the country. This information was, however, 
not communicated to us, until the General had departed. 
We held a consultation upon the subject, to devise some 
means, which should render him incapable of carrying his 
good intentions towards us into effect. No other expedient 
suggested itself to us, but that of sending General Echedio 
information of the proposed attack, in time to enable him 
to be prepared for it. We agreed upon this, and a letter 
was written, stating what we deemed the points most neces- 
sary for him to know. The signatures of some of the prin- 
cipal men of the place were affixed to it; for those who 
think alike upon important points soon understand one 
another; and the character of Solis had not been unveiled 
to us alone. It was important, that General Echedio 
should attach consequence to our letter, and the information, 
it contained, would come upon him so entirely by surprize, 
that he might very naturally entertain doubts of its correct- 
ness. I added my name to those of the party to which I 
belonged. The object now was to have our document con- 
veyed safely into the hands of Gen. Echedio. We sent a 
runner with two good horses and instructions, how to pass 
the army of Solis in the night undiscovered. All proceedings 
had been conducted with so much secrecy and caution, that 
the matter so far rested entirely with ourselves. We occa- 
sionally heard the citizens around [225] us express dislike 
towards the insurgent General; but as they did not seem 
inclined to carry their opinions into action, we concluded 
these were only remarks made to draw out our thoughts, and 
took no notice of them. From after circumstances I believe, 
that the number of his enemies exceeded that of his friends; 
and that the remarks, of which I have spoken, were made in 
truth and sincerity. Mean while we impatiently awaited 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 293 

some opportunity of operating to the disadvantage of the 
General, and to hear what had taken place between him 
and Gen. Echedio. A messenger arrived on the i2th of 
April with the information, that the commander of the in- 
surgents had ranged his men for three days in succession 
before the fort upon the plain. A continual firing had been 
kept up on both sides, during the three days, at the expiration 
of which Gen. Solis, having expended his ammunition, and 
consumed his provisions, was compelled to withdraw, having 
sustained no loss, except that of one horse from a sustained 
action of three days! The spirit with which the contest 
was conducted may be inferred from a fact, related to me. 
The cannon balls discharged from the fort upon the enemy 
were discharged with so little force, that persons arrested 
them in their course, without sustaining any injury by so 
doing, at the point, where in the common order of things, 
they must have inflicted death. 

Upon the reception of this news, we joined in the prev- 
alent expression of opinion around us. The name and 
fame of Gen. Solis was exalted to the skies. All the florid 
comparisons, usual upon such occasions, were put in requisi- 
tion, and all the changes were sung upon his various char- 
acteristics wit, honor and courage. The point was carried 
so far as to bring him within some degrees of relationship to 
a supernatural being. Then the unbounded skill he displayed 
in marshalling his force, and his extreme care to prevent the 
useless waste of his men's lives were expatiated upon, and 
placed in the strongest light. The climax of his excellence 
was his having retreated without the loss of a man. This 
was the burden of our theme to his friends, that is, the fifty 
soldiers, in whose charge he had left the command of the 
[226] fort. The Captain Cooper, of whom I have spoken, 
looked rather deeper into things, than those around him; 
and consequently knew the most effectual means of operating 
upon the inefficient machines, in the form of men, which it 



294 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

was necessary for our present purpose, to remove out of the 
way for a time. Accordingly he rolled out a barrel of good 
old rum, inviting all the friends of the good and great Gen. 
Solis to come, and drink his health. The summons was 
readily obeyed by them. Being somewhat elevated in spirit 
by the proceedings of their noble general, previous to swallow- 
ing the genuine inspiration of joy, the feeling afterwards 
swelled to an extent, that burst all bounds, and finally left 
them prostrate and powerless. We, like good Christians, 
with the help of some of the inhabitants, conveyed them 
into some strong houses, which stood near, while they re- 
mained in their helpless condition, locking the doors safely, 
that no harm might come to them. In our pity and care 
for them, we proposed, that they should remain, until they 
felt that violent excitements are injurious, from the natural 
re-action of things. We now proceeded to circulate another 
set of views, and opinions among the inhabitants in the 
vicinity of the fort ; and such was our success in the business 
of indoctrination, that we soon counted all their votes on 
our side. 

General Solis was now pitched down the depths, as heartily 
as he had before been exalted to the heights. Huzza, for 
Gen. Echedio and the Americans! was the prevailing cry. 

The next movement was to make out a list of our names, 
and appoint officers. Our number including Scotch, Irish, 
English, Dutch and Americans, amounted to thirty-nine. 
The number of Americans, however, being the greatest, our 
party received the designation of American. Captain Cooper 
was our commanding officer. We now marched up to the 
castle, which is situated on the brink of a precipice, over- 
looking the sea, and found four brass field pieces, mounted 
on carriages. These we concluded to carry with us to the 
fort. The remainder placed so as to command a sweep of 
the surface of water below, and the surrounding ground, we 
spiked fearing, if they fell into the [227] hands of Solis, that 



1824-1830] P attic's Personal Narrative 295 

he might break down our walls with them. This done, 
we went to the magazine, and broke it open, taking what 
powder and ball we wanted. We then posted sentinels for 
miles along the road, to which we knew Solis was hastening 
in order to prevent news of our proceedings from reaching 
him, before it was convenient for us, that he should know 
them. We were aware of his intention to return here to 
recruit again, and it was our wish to surprize him by an 
unexpected reception, and thus obtain an advantage, which 
should counterbalance his superiority of numbers. In so 
doing, we only availed ourselves of the precedent, he had 
given us, in his management with regard to Gen. Echedio. 
He had not derived benefit from his plan, in consequence of 
his too great confidence of success, which led him to discover 
his real feelings towards our people. 

We hoped to avail ourselves of what was wise in his plan, 
and profit by his mistakes. We shut up all the people, both 
men and women, in the fort at night, that it might be out of 
their power to attempt to make their way, under the cover 
of darkness, through our line of sentinels, to give information, 
should the inclination be felt. Our precautions were not 
taken through fear of him, should he even come upon us, 
prepared to encounter us as enemies: but from the wish to 
take both himself and army prisoners. Should they learn 
what we had done, we feared, they would pass on to St. 
Francisco, to recruit, and thus escape us. 

Our designs were successful; for in a few days General 
Solis and his men appeared in sight of the first of our senti- 
nels, who quickly transmitted this information to us. Our 
preparations for receiving him were soon made, with a 
proper regard to politeness. A regale of music from air 
instruments, called cannons, was in readiness to incline 
him to the right view of the scene before him, should he seem 
not likely to conform to our wish, which was, simply, that he 
should surrender to us without making any difficulty. 



296 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

Our fortification was in the form of a square, with only one 
entrance. From each side of this entrance a wall pro- 
jected at [228] right angles from it fifty yards. The Spaniards 
call them wings; and it seems to me a significant and fitting 
name for them. We intended to allow the approaching 
party to advance between these walls, before we began our 
part. Our cannons were charged with grape and balls, 
and placed in a position to produce an effect between the 
walls. Every man was now at his post, and General Solis 
approaching within sight of the fort, a small cannon which 
accompanied him was discharged by way of salute. No 
answer was returned to him. The piece was reloaded, and 
his fife and drum began a lively air, and the whole body 
moved in a quick step towards the fort, entering the space 
between the wings, of which I have spoken. This was no 
sooner done than our matches were in readiness for instant 
operation. Captain Cooper commanded them to surrender. 
He was immediately obeyed by the soldiers, who threw down 
their arms, aware that death would be the penalty of their 
refusal. The General and six of his mounted officers fled, 
directing their course to St. Francisco. Six of our party 
were soon on horseback with our rules, and in pursuit of 
them. I had been appointed orderly sergeant, and was one 
of the six. We carried orders from the principal Spanish 
civil officer, who was in the fort, and had taken an active 
part in all our proceedings, to bring the General back with 
us, either dead or alive. The commands of our military 
commander, Captain Cooper, spoke the same language. 

I confess that I wanted to have a shot at the fugitive, and 
took pleasure in the pursuit. We went at full speed, for our 
horses were good and fresh. Those belonging to the party 
we were so desirous to overtake, would of course be some- 
what weary, and jaded by their long journey. We had not 
galloped many miles, before we perceived them in advance 
of us. As soon as we were within hearing distance of each 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 297 

other, I called upon them to surrender. They replied by 
wheeling their horses and firing at us, and then striking 
their spurs into their horses' sides, to urge them onward. 
We followed, producing more effect with our spurs than they 
had done, and calling upon [229] them again to surrender, 
or we should fire, and give no quarter. They at length reined 
up, and six dismounted and laid down their arms. The 
seventh remained on horse back, and as we came up, fired, 
wounding one of our number slightly in the right arm. He 
then turned to resume his flight ; but his horse had not made 
the second spring, before our guns brought the hero from his 
saddle. Four of our balls had passed through his body. 
The whole number being now assembled together, victors 
and vanquished, General Solis offered me his sword. I 
refused it, but told him, that himself and his officers must 
accompany me in my return to the fort. He consented to 
this with a countenance so expressive of dejection, that I 
pitied him, notwithstanding I knew him to be a bad man, 
and destitute of all principle. 

The man who had lost his life through his obstinacy, was 
bound upon his horse, and the others having remounted 
theirs, we set out upon our return. Our captives were all 
disarmed except General Solis, who was allowed to retain 
his sword. We reached the fort three hours before sunset. 
The General and his men were dismounted, and irons put 
upon their legs, after which they were locked up with those 
who had forgotten themselves in their joy at the good fortune 
of their poor general. 

These events occurred on the i8th of March. On the 2oth 
the civil officer of whom I have before spoken, together with 
Captain Cooper, despatched a messenger to General Echedio, 
who was still in Santa Barbara with written intelligence of 
what we had accomplished. It was stated that the Ameri- 
cans were the originators of the whole matter, and that their 
flag was waving in the breeze over Monte El Rey, where it 



298 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

would remain, until his excellency came himself to take 
charge of the place; and he was requested to hasten his 
departure, as they who had obtained possession were anxious 
to be relieved from the care and responsibility they found 
imposed upon them. 

We were very well aware that he would receive our in- 
formation with unmingled pleasure, as he expected Solis 
would return in a short time to Santa Barbara, to give him 
another battle. [230] It was said, that upon the reception 
of the letter he was as much rejoiced as though he had been 
requested to come and take charge of a kingdom. As soon as 
he could make the necessary arrangements he came to Monte 
El Rey, where he arrived on the 2gth. We gave the com- 
mand of the place up to him; but before he would suffer our 
flag to be taken down, he had thirty guns discharged in honor 
of it. He then requested a list of our names, saying, that if 
we would accept it, he would give each one of us the right 
of citizenship in his country. 125 A splendid dinner was made 
by him for our party. On the night of the 2gth a vessel 
arrived in the port. In the morning it was found to be a 
brig belonging to the American consul at Macho, John W. 
Jones, esq., who was on board of it. This was the same 
person to whom I wrote when in prison at San Diego by Mr. 
Perkins. I met with him, and had the melancholy pleasure 
of relating to him in person my sufferings and imprisonment, 
and every thing, in short, that had happened to me during 
my stay in this country. This took place in my first inter- 
view with him. He advised me to make out a correct state- 
ment of the value of the furs I had lost by the General's 
detention of me, and also of the length of time I had been 
imprisoned, and to take it with me to the city of Mexico, 



128 Pattie's account of this interesting historical event seems in the main to be 
accurate, except in the matter of dates, in which his own narrative is inconsistent. 
Bancroft appears to think that he deliberately falsified the account of the capture 
of Solis, in order to exalt his own part therein. ED. 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 299 

where the American minister resided, and place it in his 
hands. It was probable, the consul continued, that he 
would be able to compel the Mexican government to indem- 
nify me for the loss of property I had sustained, and for the 
injustice of my imprisonment. 

The probability of my success was not slight, provided I 
could establish the truth of my statement, by obtaining the 
testimony of those who were eye witnesses of the facts. I 
informed the consul that I had not means to enable me to 
reach the city of Mexico. A gentleman who was present 
during this conversation, after hearing my last remark, 
mentioned that he was then on his way to that place, and 
that if I would accompany him he would pay my expenses; 
and if circumstances should happen to induce me to think 
of returning thence to the United States, I should do so free 
of expense. I expressed my thanks [231] for this offer, and 
said that if I succeeded in recovering only a portion of 
what I had lost I would repay the money thus kindly ex- 
pended in my behalf; but the obligation of gratitude imposed 
by such an act, it would be impossible for me to repay. 

In conformity to Mr. Jones' advice and instruction, I sat 
myself down to make out an account for the inspection of 
the American minister. When I had completed it, I obtained 
the signatures, of some of the first among the inhabitants of 
Monte El Rey, and that of the civil officer before mentioned, 
testifying as to the truth of what I said, so far as the circum- 
stances narrated had come under their observation. The 
General having received the list of our names, which he 
had requested, he now desired, that we might all come to 
his office, and receive the right of citizenship from his hand, 
as a reward for what we had done. I put my paper in my 
pocket, and proceeded with my companions and Mr. Jones 
to the indicated place. The General had been much sur- 
prized to find my name in the list furnished him; but as I 
entered the room, he arose hastily from his seat and shook 



300 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

my hand in a friendly manner, after which I introduced him 
to the consul. He seemed surprised as he heard the name 
of this gentleman, but said nothing. After pointing us to 
seats, he walked out of the room, saying he should return in 
a few moments. I concluded, that he thought, I had brought 
the consul, or that he had accompanied me for the purpose 
of questioning him on the subject of my imprisonment and 
that of my companions. He returned, as soon as he had 
promised, having some papers in his hand. After he had 
seated himself, he began to interrogate me with regard to 
what had happened to me, during the long time that had 
elapsed since he had last seen me, adding, that he did 
not expect ever to have met me again; but was happy to 
see me a citizen of his country. My answer in reply to the 
last part of his remarks was short. I told him, he had not 
yet enjoyed any thing from that source, and with my consent 
never should. 

He looked very serious upon this manifestation of firmness, 
or [232] whatever it may be called on my part, and requested 
to know my objections to being a citizen of the country? 

I replied that it was simply having been reared in a 
country where I could pass from one town to another, with- 
out the protection of a passport, which instead of affording 
real protection, subjected me to the examination of every 
petty officer, near whom I passed, and that I should not 
willingly remain, where such was the order of things. Be- 
sides, I added, I was liable to be thrown into prison like a 
criminal, at the caprice of one clothed with a little authority, 
if I failed to show a passport, which I might either lose 
accidentally, or in some way, for which I might not have 
been in the least in fault. 

The General, in reply, asked me if in my country a for- 
eigner was permitted to travel to and fro, without first 
presenting to the properly constituted authorities of our gov- 
ernment, proof from those among the officers of his own 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 301 

government appointed for that purpose, of his being a person 
of good character, who might safely be allowed to traverse the 
country? I told him I had once attempted to satisfy him 
on that head, and he very abruptly and decidedly contra- 
dicted my account; and that now I did not feel in the least 
compelled, or inclined to enter upon the matter a second 
time. All which I desired of him, and that I did not earnestly 
desire, was, that he would give me a passport to travel into 
my own country by the way of the city of Mexico. If I 
could once more place my foot upon its free soil, and enjoy 
the priceless blessings of its liberty, which my unfortunate 
father, of whom I could never cease to think, and who had 
died in his prison, assisted in maintaining, I should be 
satisfied. 

While I thus spoke, he gazed steadily in my face. His 
swarthy complexion grew pale. He read in my countenance 
a strong expression of deep feeling, awakened by the nature 
of the remembrances associated with him. He felt that there 
was something fearful in the harvest of bitterness which the 
oppressor reaps in return for his injuries and cruelties. I 
thought, he [233] feared, if he did not grant my request for 
a pass, that I might carry into execution the purposes of 
vengeance; to which I used to give utterance in my burning 
indignation at his conduct at the time of my father's death. 
Whenever I saw him pass my prison I seized the opportunity 
to tell him, that if my time for redress ever came, he would 
find me as unflinching in my vengeance as he had been in his 
injuries. I only expressed the truth with regard to my feel- 
ings at the time, and even now I owe it to candor and honesty 
to acknowledge, that I could have seen him at the moment 
of this conversation suffer any infliction without pity. 

He did not hesitate to give the pass I desired; but asked 
me what business led me out of my way to the United States 
around by the city of Mexico? My direct course, he re- 
marked, lay in a straight direction through New Mexico. For 



302 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

eply, I drew out of my pocket the paper I had written beforet 
coming to his office, and read it to him, telling him that was 
the business which led me to the city of Mexico. I then 
asked him if all the facts there stated were not true? His 
answer was in the affirmative; 'but/ added he, 'you will not 
be able to recover any thing, as I acted in conformity to the 
laws of my country. If you will remain in this country I 
will give you something handsome to begin with.' I assured 
him that I would not stay, but I wished him to show me 
the laws which allowed, or justified him in imprisoning my- 
self and my companions for entering a country as we did, 
compelled by misfortunes such as ours. In return, he said 
he had no laws to show, but those which recommended him 
to take up and imprison those whom he deemed conspirators 
against his country. 'What marks of our being conspirators 
did you discover in us,' rejoined I, 'which warranted your 
imprisoning us? I am aware of none, unless it be the 
evidence furnished by our countenances and apparel, tha 
we had undergone the extreme of misfortune and distress, 
which had come upon us without any agency on our part, 
and as inevitable evils to which every human being is liable. 
We were led by the hope of obtaining relief, to seek refuge 
in your protection. [234] In confirmation of our own 
relation, did not our papers prove that we were Americans, 
and that we had received legal permission from the very 
government under which we then were, to trade in the 
country? The printed declaration to this effect, given us 
by the governor of Santa Fe, which we showed you, you tore 
in pieces before us, declaring it was neither a license nor a 
passport.' The General replied, that he did tear up a paper 
given him by us, but that in fact it was neither a passport 
nor a license. 

"Now sir," said I, "I am happy that it is in my power to 
prove, in the presence of the American consul, the truth of 
what I have said with regard to the license." I then pro- 



1824-1830] P attic* s Personal Narrative 303 

duced another copy of the paper torn up by him, which had 
been given my father by the governor of Santa Fe, at the 
same time with the former. He looked at it, and said nothing 
more, except that I might go on, and try what I could do in 
the way of recovering what I had lost. 

The consul and myself now left him, and returned to Capt. 
Cooper's. The consul laughed at me about my quarrel with 
the General. In a few moments the latter appeared among 
us, and the remainder of the day passed away cheerfully in 
drinking toasts. When the General rose to take leave of 
us, he requested the consul to call upon him at his office ; as 
he wanted to converse with him upon business. The consul 
went, according to request, and the General contracted with 
him for the transportation of Gen. Solis, and sixteen other 
prisoners to San Bias, on board his vessel, whence they were 
to be carried to the city of Mexico. The 7th of May was 
fixed for the departure of the brig, as the General required 
some time for making necessary arrangements, and pre- 
paring documents to accompany the transmission of the 
prisoners. When I heard that this delay was unavoidable, 
I went to the General and returned my passport, telling him 
I should want another, when the vessel was ready to sail, as 
I intended to proceed in it as far as San Bias. He con- 
sented to give me one, and then joked with me about the 
[235] honor, I should enjoy, of accompanying Gen. Solis. 
I replied in the same strain, and left him. 

Captain William H. Hinkley and myself went to the 
mission of San Carlos, where we spent three days. 128 During 
the whole time, we did little beside express our astonish- 
ment at what we saw. We had fallen upon the festival days 

128 Captain William S. Hinckley was well known to the California coast, appear- 
ing there as master of a trading vessel in 1830. He visited the same ports in 1833-34, 
and aided Alvarado in his revolution of 1836. For several years thereafter he was 
in trouble with the revenue agents at San Francisco, charged with smuggling. 
Becoming a permanent resident of that place in 1840, he was naturalized, married, 
and made an alcalde, as well as captain of the port. He died just previous to the 
advent of the Americans in 1846. ED. 



304 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

of some saint, and the services performed in his honor all 
passed under our eyes. They were not a few, nor wanting 
in variety, as this was a noted festival. Our admiration, 
however, was principally excited by the contest between 
grizzly bears and bulls, which constitutes one of the exhibi- 
tions of these people. 

Five large grey bears had been caught, and fastened in a 
pen built for the purpose of confining the bulls, during a 
bullbaiting. One of the latter animals, held by ropes, was 
brought to the spot by men on horseback, and thrown down. 
A bear was then drawn up to him, and they were fastened 
together by a rope about fifteen feet in length, in such a 
manner, that they could not separate from each other. One 
end of it is tied around one of the forefeet of the bull, and 
the other around one of the hind feet of the bear. The two 
were then left to spring upon their feet. As soon as this 
movement is made, the bull makes at the bear, very often 
deciding the fate of the ferocious animal in this first act. If 
the bull fails in goring the bear, the fierce animal seizes him 
and tears him to death. Fourteen of the latter lost their 
lives, before the five bears were destroyed. To Captain 
Hinkley this was a sight of novel and absorbing interest. It 
had less of novelty for me, as since I had been on the coast, 
I had often seen similar combats, and in fact worse, having 
been present when men entered the enclosure to encounter 
the powerful bull in his wild and untamed fierceness. These 
unfortunate persons are armed with a small sword, with 
which they sometimes succeed in saving their own lives at the 
expense of that of the animal. 

I once saw the man fall in one of these horrible shows; 
they are conducted in the following manner: the man enters 
to the bull with the weapon, of which he avails himself, in 
the right [236] hand, and in the left a small red flag, fastened 
to a staff about three feet in length. He whistles, or makes 
some other noise, to attract the attention of the animal, upon 



1824-1830] P attic's Personal Narrative 305 

hearing which the bull comes towards him with the speed of 
fury. The man stands firm, with the flag dangling before 
him, to receive this terrible onset. When the bull makes the 
last spring towards him, he dexterously evades it, by throw- 
ing his body from behind the flag to one side, at the same 
time thrusting his sword into the animal's side. If this blow 
is properly directed, blood gushes from the mouth and nostrils 
of the bull, and he falls dead. A second blow in this case 
is seldom required. 

Another mode of killing these animals is by men on horse- 
back, with a spear, which they dart into his neck, immediately 
behind the horns. The horse is often killed by the bull. 
When the animal chances to prefer running from the fight 
to engaging in it, he is killed by the horseman, by being 
thrown heels over head. This is accomplished by catching 
hold of the tail of the bull in the full speed of pursuit, and 
giving a turn around the head of the saddle, in such a manner, 
that they are enabled to throw the animal into any posture 
they choose. 127 

After we returned to the fort, it took us some time to 
relate what we had seen, to the consul. Feeling it necessary 
to do something towards supporting myself, during the 
remaining time of my stay in this part of the country, I took 
my rifle, and joined a Portuguese in the attempt to kill 
otters along the coast. We hunted up and down the coast, 
a distance of forty miles, killing sixteen otters in ten days. 
We sold their skins, some as high as seventy-five dollars, 
and none under twenty-five. Three hundred dollars fell to 
my share from the avails of our trip. Captain Cooper was 
exceedingly desirous to purchase my rifle, now that I should 
not be likely to make use of it, as I was soon to proceed on 
my journey to the city of Mexico. I presented it to him, 
for I could not think of bartering for money, what I regarded, 

127 For another description of these fights, consult Bidwell, " Life in California 
before the Gold Discovery," in Century Magazine, xix, pp. 163-182. ED. 



306 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

as a tried friend, that had afforded me the means of sub- 
sistence and protection for so long a time. My [237] con- 
science would have reproached me, as though I had been 
guilty of an act of ingratitude. 

The period of my departure from this coast was now close 
at hand, and my thoughts naturally took a retrospect of the 
whole time, I had spent upon it. The misery and suffering 
of various kinds, that I had endured in some portions of it, 
had not been able to prevent me from feeling, and acknowl- 
edging, that this country is more calculated to charm the 
eye, than any one I have ever seen. Those, who traverse it, 
if they have any capability whatever of perceiving, and 
admiring the beautiful and sublime in scenery, must be 
constantly excited to wonder and praise. It is no less 
remarkable for uniting the advantages of healthfulness, a 
good soil, a temperate climate, and yet one of exceeding 
mildness, a happy mixture of level and elevated ground, and 
vicinity to the sea. Its inhabitants are equally calculated 
to excite dislike, and even the stronger feelings of disgust 
and hatred. The priests are omnipotent, and all things are 
subject to their power. Two thirds of the population are 
native Indians under the immediate charge of these spiritual 
rulers in the numerous missions. It is a well known fact, 
that nothing is more entirely opposite to the nature of a 
savage, than labor. In order to keep them at their daily 
tasks, the most rigid and unremitting supervision is exercised. 
No bondage can be more complete, than that under which 
they live. The compulsion laid upon them has, however, 
led them at times to rebel, and endeavor to escape from 
their yoke. They have seized upon arms, murdered the 
priests, and destroyed the buildings of the missions, by pre- 
concerted stratagem, in several instances. When their work 
of destruction and retribution was accomplished, they fled 
to the mountains, and subsisted on the flesh of wild horses 
which are there found in innumerable droves. To prevent 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 307 

the recurrence of similar events, the priests have passed laws, 
prohibiting an Indian the use or possession of any weapon 
whatever, under the penalty of a severe punishment. 

On the 25th I addressed the companions of my former 
journeyings and imprisonment in San Diego by letter. 
They had [238] remained in the town of Angels, during the 
months which had elapsed since my separation from them, 
after our receiving liberty upon parole. I had kept up a 
constant correspondence with them in this interval. My 
objects at present were to inform them of my proposed 
departure for my native country, and request them, if they 
should be called upon so to do, to state every thing relative 
to our imprisonment and loss of property, exactly as it took 
place. I closed, by telling them, they might expect a letter 
from me upon my arrival in the city of Mexico. 128 

On the 8th of May I applied for my passport, which was 
readily given me, and taking leave of the General and my 
friends, I entered the vessel, in which I was to proceed to 
San Bias, at 8 o'clock in the morning. The sails of the brig, 
which was called the Volunteer, were soon set, and speeding 
us upon our way. The green water turned white, as it met 
the advance of our prow, and behind us we left a smooth 
belt of water, affording a singular contrast to the waves 
around. I watched the disappearance of this single smooth 
spot, as it was lost in the surrounding billows, when the 
influence of the movement of our vessel ceased, as a spec- 
tacle to be contemplated by a land's man with interest. But 
no feeling of gratification operated in the minds of the poor 
prisoners in the hold. They were ironed separately, and 
then all fastened to a long bar of iron. They were soon 
heard mingling prayers and groans, interrupted only by the 
violent vomiting produced by sea sickness. In addition to 

128 For the later history of Pattie's companions, see Vallejo, " Ranch and Mission 
Days in Alta California," ibid., pp. 183-192. Bancroft possessed his letter written 
from Mexico, June 14, 1830; see his California, iii, p. 170. ED. 



308 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

this misery, when fear found entrance into their thoughts 
during the intervals of the cessation of extreme sickness, it 
seemed to them, as if every surge the vessel made must be 
its last. In this miserable condition they remained, until 
the i gth, when we arrived at San Bias. The prisoners here 
were delivered into the charge of the commanding officer of 
the place. 

Captain Hinkley, his mate, Henry Vinal, and myself 
disembarked at this place, in order to commence our jour- 
ney over land to Mexico. The necessary arrangements for 
our undertaking occupied us three days. We found the 
season warm on our arrival here. Watermelons were abun- 
dant, and also green [239] corn, and a great variety of ripe 
fruit. Two crops of corn and wheat are raised in the year. 
A precipice was shown me, over which, I was told, the Mexi- 
cans threw three old priests at the commencement of the 
revolt against the king of Spain. This port is the centre of 
considerable business in the seasons of spring and fall. Dur- 
ing the summer, the inhabitants are compelled to leave it, 
as the air becomes infected by the exhalations, arising from 
the surrounding swamps. Myriads of musquitos and other 
small insects fill the air at the same time, uniting with the 
former cause to render the place uninhabitable. 

Great quantities of salt are made upon the flats in the vicin- 
ity of San Bias. I did not inform myself accurately, with 
regard to the manner, in which it is made; but as I was pass- 
ing by one day, where the preparation of it was carried on, 
I observed what struck me as being both curious and novel. 
The earth was laid off in square beds. Around their edges 
dirt was heaped up, as though the bed, which I have men- 
tioned, was intended to be covered with water. 

We began our journey well armed, as we had been informed 
that we should, in all probability, find abundant occasion 
to use our arms, as we advanced. Our progress was slow, 
as we conformed to the directions given us, and kept a con- 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 309 

stant look out for robbers, of whom there are said to be 
thousands upon this route. 

On the 25th we reached a small town called Tipi, where 
we remained one day to rest from our fatigue, and then set 
off again for Guadalaxara, distant eight days' journey. Our 
path led us through a beautiful country, a great portion 
of which was under cultivation. Occasionally we passed 
through small villages. Beggars were to be seen standing 
at the corners of all the streets, and along the highways. 
They take a station by the road side, having a dog or child 
by them, to lead them into the road when they see a traveller 
approaching. They stand until the person reaches the spot 
upon which they are, when they ask alms for the sake of a 
saint, whose image is worn suspended around their neck, 
or tied around the wrist. [240] This circumstance of begging 
for the saint, and not for themselves, struck me as a new 
expedient in the art of begging. At first we gave a trifle to 
the poor saint. As we went on we found them so numerous 
that it became necessary for us to husband our alms, and 
we finally came to the conclusion that the large brotherhood 
of beggars could occasionally diversify their mode of life by 
a dexterous management of their fingers, and shut our 
purses to the demands of the saints. The country for some 
time before we drew near Guadalaxara, was rather barren, 
although its immediate vicinity is delightful. 

We reached that city on the 2d of June, and spent three 
days in it. It is situated upon a fine plain, which is over- 
spread by the same numbers of domestic animals that I had 
seen in New Mexico and California. The city is walled in, 
with gates at the different entrances. These gates are 
strongly guarded, and no one is allowed to enter them until 
they have been searched, in order to ascertain if they carry 
any smuggled goods about them. The same precaution is 
used when any one passes out of the city. A passport must 
be shown for the person, his horse, and arms, and a state- 



3 1 o Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

ment from the principal peace officer, of the number of 
trunks with which he set out upon his journey, and their 
contents. This caution is to prevent smuggling; but it 
does not effect the purpose, as there is more contraband 
trade here, than in any place I was ever in before. I was 
not able to ascertain the number of inhabitants of this city. 
The silver mines of Guanaxuato are near Guadalaxara. 
They are carried on at present by an English company. 
The evening before our departure we went to the theatre. 
The actresses appeared young and beautiful, and danced 
and sung charmingly. 

The 5th day of June we resumed our journey to the city 
of Mexico. Again we travelled through a charming country, 
tolerably thickly settled. On our way we fell in company 
with an officer belonging to the service of the country. He 
had ten soldiers with him. Upon his demanding to see our 
passports we showed them to him, though he had no authority 
to make [241] such a demand. After he had finished their 
perusal he returned them with such an indifferent air, that I 
could not resist an inclination to ask him some questions 
that might perhaps have seemed rude. I first asked him 
what post he filled in the army? He answered, with great 
civility, he was first lieutenant. I then requested to know, 
to what part of the country he was travelling? He said, 
still in a very civil manner, that he had had the command 
of some troops in Guanaxuato, but was now on his way to 
the city of Mexico, to take charge of the 6th regiment, which 
was ordered to the province of Texas, to find out among the 
Americans there, those who had refused obedience to the 
Mexican laws. He added, that when he succeeded in find- 
ing them, he would soon learn them to behave well. The 
last remark was made in rather a contemptuous tone of 
voice, and with something like an implied insult to me. This 
warmed my blood, and I replied in a tone not so gentle as 
prudence might have counselled a stranger in a foreign land 



1824-1830] Pattie s Personal Narrative 311 

to have adopted, that if himself and his men did not conduct 
themselves properly when they were among the Americans, 
the latter would soon despatch them to another country, 
which they had not yet seen; as the Americans were not 
Mexicans, to stand at the corner of a house, and hide their 
guns behind the side of it, while they looked another way, 
and pulled the trigger. At this he flew into a passion. I 
did not try to irritate him any further, and he rode on and 
left us. We pursued our way slowly, and stopped for the 
night at Aguabuena, a small town on the way. We put up 
at a house, a sort of posada, built for lodging travellers. 
Twenty-five cents is the price for the use of a room for one 
night. It is seldom that any person is found about such an 
establishment to take charge of it but an old key bearer. 
Provisions must be sought elsewhere. It is not often neces- 
sary to go further than the street, where, at any hour in the 
day until ten o'clock at night, men and women are engaged 
in crying different kinds of eatables. We generally pur- 
chased our food of them. After we had finished our supper 
two English gentlemen entered, who were on their way to 
the city of Mexico. [242] We concluded to travel together, 
as our point of destination was the same, and we should be 
more able to resist any adversaries we might encounter; this 
country being, as I have before mentioned, infested with 
robbers and thieves, although we had not yet fallen in with 
any. 

These gentlemen informed us that the greatest catholic 
festival of the whole year was close at hand. If we could 
reach the city of Mexico before its celebration, we should 
see something that would repay us for hastening our jour- 
ney. As we were desirous to lose the sight of nothing curious, 
we proceeded as fast as circumstances would permit, and 
reached the city on the loth, late in the evening, and put up 
at an inn kept by an Englishman, although, as in the other 
towns in which we had been, we were obliged to seek food 



312 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

elsewhere, the only accommodation at the inn being beds 
to sleep in, and liquors to drink. We found supper in a 
coffee house. 

We were awakened early in the morning by the ringing of 
bells. As we stepped into the street we met three biers car- 
ried by some men guarded by soldiers. Blood was dropping 
from each bier. The bearers begged money to pay the 
expenses of burying the bodies. I afterwards learned that 
these persons were murdered on the night of our arrival, 
upon the Alameda, a promenade north of the city, in one of 
the suburbs. We visited this place, and found it covered 
with thousands of people, some walking, and others sitting 
on the seats placed around this public pleasure ground. 
Small parties are sheltered from view by thickets of a growth, 
like that in our country, used for hedges. The open sur- 
face is surrounded by a hedge of the same shrub. These 
partially concealed parties are usually composed of men and 
women of the lowest orders, engaged in card playing. Such 
are to be seen at any hour of the day, occupied in a way 
which is most likely to terminate the meeting in an affray, 
and perhaps murder. Blood is frequently shed, and I judged 
from what I saw of the order of things, that the accounts of the 
numerous assassinations committed among this populace, 
were not exaggerated. One of the characteristics of this 
people [243] is jealousy. Notwithstanding the danger really 
to be apprehended from visiting this place after certain hours, 
my two companions and myself spent several evenings in 
it without being molested in the slightest degree. But one 
evening as we were returning to our lodgings, we were com- 
pelled to kneel with our white pantaloons upon the dirty 
street, while the host was passing. We took care afterwards 
to step into a house in time to avoid the troublesome necessity. 

We attended a bull baiting, and some other exhibitions for 
the amusement of the people. Being one evening at the 
theatre, I had the misfortune to lose my watch from my 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 313 

pocket, without being aware when it was taken. It would 
have been useless for me to have thought of looking around 
for it, as I stood in the midst of such a crowd that it was al- 
most an impossibility to move. 

The accounts of this city which I had met with in books 
led me to expect to find it placed in the midst of a lake, or 
surrounded by a sheet of water. To satisfy myself with 
regard to the truth of this representation, I mounted a horse, 
and made the circuit of the city, visiting some villages that 
lay within a league of it. I found no lake ; but the land is 
low and flat. A canal is cut through it, for the purpose of 
carrying off the water that descends from the mountains 
upon the level surface, which has the appearance of having 
been formerly covered with water. A mountain which is 
visible from the city, presents a circular summit, one part 
of which is covered with snow throughout the year: upon 
the other is the crater of a volcano, which is continually 
sending up proof of the existence of an unceasing fire within. 

Early upon the first day of my arrival in this city, I waited 
upon Mr. Butler, the American charge d'affairs. 129 After 
I had made myself known to him he showed me a commu- 
nication from President Jackson to the President of this 
country, the purport of which was, to request the latter to 
set at liberty some Americans, imprisoned upon the coast 
of California. I then handed him the statement I had made 
according to the advice [244] of Mr. Jones. He asked me 



129 Antkony Butler was a native of South. Carolina, who early in the nineteenth 
century removed to Logan County, Kentucky. In the War of 1812-15, ^ e served 
first as lieutenant-colonel of the 28th infantry, then as colonel of the 2nd rifle corps, 
and was at New Orleans with Jackson, a warm personal friend. In 1818-19 ^ e 
served in his state legislature. Upon Jackson's accession to power, Butler was 
appointed (1829) charge" d'affaires at Mexico, where, already deeply involved in 
speculation in Texan land-scrip, he attempted to secure annexation by various 
means not wholly reputable. Having deceived Jackson, and attempted to outwit 
the Mexican ministers, his recall was demanded by Santa Anna (1836), but Jackson 
had already dismissed him. See Memoirs of John Quincy Adams, xi, pp. 359, 
360. ED. 



314 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

many questions relative to the losses I had sustained, which 
I answered, and then took my leave. 

A number of coaches were to leave the city for Vera Cruz 
on the 1 8th of June. My companions and myself took 
places in one of them. On the i5th I again called upon Mr. 
Butler to obtain a passport to Vera Cruz, where I intended 
to embark for America. He took me to the palace of the 
President, in order that I might get my passport. This 
circumstance was agreeable to me, as I was desirous to see 
this person, of whom I had heard so much. Upon arriving 
at the palace I found it a splendid building, although much 
shattered by the balls discharged at it by the former Presi- 
dent Guerero, who is now flying from one place to another 
with a few followers, spreading destruction to the extent of 
his power. A soldier led me into the presence of the Presi- 
dent. 130 He was walking to and fro when I entered the room, 
apparently in deep meditation. Several clerks were present, 
engaged in writing. He received me politely, bowing as I 
advanced, and bade me sit down. In answer to his inquiry 
what I wished of him? I told my errand. He then asked 
me from what direction I came ? I replied, from California. 
California ! said he, repeating the word with an air of interest. 
I answered again, that I left that part of the country when 
I began my present journey. You must have been there 
then, rejoined he, when the late revolution took place, of 
which I have but a short time since received information. 
I remarked, that I was upon the spot where it occurred, and 
that I took my departure from the coast in the same vessel 
that brought sixteen of the captives taken in the course of 



uo Vicente Guerrero was installed president of the Mexican Republic in 1829. 
In the summer of that year the Spanish sent an'expedition to retake Mexico, and 
he, espousing their cause, was granted dictatorial powers. The vice-president, 
Anastasio Bustamante, thereupon styled himself preserver of the constitution, and 
in December organized a revolt. Guerrero fled from the capital, and in 1831 was 
captured and shot. Bustamante remained president until 1832, when a counter 
revolution, led by Santa Anna, drove him from power. ED. 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 315 

its progress, and that I disembarked at St. Bias at the same 
time that they were taken from the vessel. He resumed the 
conversation by saying, you were probably one of the Amer- 
icans who, I am told, assisted in subduing the revolted party. 
I told him, he was correct in his opinion ; and by so doing I 
had had the good fortune to gain my liberty. His coun- 
tenance expressed surprise at the conclusion of my remark; 
and he proceeded [245] to ask me, what meaning I had, in 
saying that I had thus regained my own liberty? I then 
related my story; upon which he said he had understood 
that General Echedio had acted contrary to the laws, in 
several instances, and that, in consequence, he had ordered 
him to Mexico to answer for his conduct. 131 I was surprised 
at the condescension of the President in thus expressing to 
me any part of his intentions with regard to such a person. 
I accounted for it by supposing that he wished to have it 
generally understood, that he did not approve of the unjust 
and cruel treatment which the Americans had received. 
The president appeared to me to be a man of plain and 
gentlemanly manners, possessing great talent. In this I 
express no more than my individual opinion; to which I 
must add that I do not consider myself competent to judge 
of such points, only for myself. He gave me a passport, and 
I returned to Mr. Butler's office, who informed me that he 
wished me to take a very fine horse to Vera Cruz, for the 
American consul at that place. He said that I would find 
it pleasant to vary my mode of travelling, by occasionally 
riding the horse. I readily consented to his wish, requesting 
him to have the horse taken to the place from which the 
coach would set off, early in the morning, when I would take 
charge of it. I now took leave of Mr. Butler and proceeded 
to my lodgings. 
I found both my companions busily engaged in packing, 

U1 Although Governor Echeandia's successor was appointed in 1830, he did not 
return to Mexico until three years later. See note 123, ante. ED. 



3 1 6 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

and arranging for departure. I immediately entered upon 
the same employment. I had two trunks; one I filled with 
such articles as I should require upon my journey; and in 
another I placed such as I should not be likely to use, and 
a great many curiosities which I had collected during my 
long wanderings. The latter trunk I did not calculate to 
open until I reached my native land. 

At 8 o'clock on the morning of the i6th our coach left the 
city, in company with two others. We were eight in num- 
ber, including the coachman. Three of the party were 
ladies. One was a Frenchwoman, a married lady travelling 
without her husband. Another was a Spanishwoman, who 
had married [246] a wealthy Irishman, and was accom- 
panied by her husband. The third was the wife of a Mexi- 
can officer, also one of the eight. This gentleman was an 
inveterate enemy of the displaced President General Guerero. 
We journeyed on very amicably together, without meeting 
with the slightest disturbance, until the second day, when, 
about three o'clock in the afternoon, we were met by a com- 
pany of fifty men, all well mounted and armed. At first 
sight of them we had supposed them to be a party which 
had been sent from the city in search of some highwaymen 
who had committed murder and robbery upon the road on 
which we were travelling, a few days previous to our depart- 
ure. A few minutes served to show us our mistake. They 
surrounded the coaches, commanding the drivers to halt, 
and announcing themselves as followers of General Guerero. 
They demanded money, of which they stated that they were 
in great need. The tone of this demand was, however, 
humble, such as beggars would use. While they addressed 
us in this manner, they contrived to place themselves among 
and around the persons of our party in such a way as to 
obtain entire command of us. The instant they had com- 
pleted this purpose, they presented their spears and muskets, 
and demanded our arms. We resigned them without 



1824-1830] P attic's Personal Narrative 317 

offering an objection, as we saw clearly, that opposition 
would be unavailing. They now proceeded to take from 
us what they thought proper. I was allowed to retain my 
trunk of clothing for my journey. The Mexican officer 
was sitting by his wife in the coach. Some of the soldiers 
seized him, and dragged him from his almost distracted wife 
out of the carriage. His fate was summarily decided, and 
he was hung upon a tree. When this dreadful business was 
terminated, we were ordered to drive on. We gladly has- 
tened from such a scene of horror. But the agony of the 
unfortunate wife was an impressive memorial to remind us 
of the nature of the late occurrence, had we needed any 
other than our own remembrances. We left this afflicted 
lady at Xalapa, in the care of her relations. A great quan- 
tity of jalap, which is so much used in medicine, is obtained 
from this place. [247] After leaving Xalapa, we advanced 
through a beautiful country. We passed many small 
towns on this part of our route. 

Our course had been a continued descent, after crossing 
the mountain sixteen miles from the city of Mexico. The 
road is excellent, being paved for the most part. It is cut 
through points of mountains in several places. This work 
must have been attended with immense labor and expense. 

We reached Vera Cruz on the 24th. On the 2yth Captain 
Hinkley and his mate embarked for New York. I remained 
with the consul Mr. Stone, until the i8th of July. A vessel 
being in readiness to sail for New Orleans at this time, I 
was desirous to avail myself of the opportunity to return to 
the United States. Mr. Stone and some others presented 
me money sufficient to pay my passage to the point to which 
the vessel was bound. It was very painful to me to incur 
this debt of gratitude, as I could not even venture to hope 
that it would be in my power to repay it, either in money 
or benefits of any kind. The prospect, which the future 
offered me, was dark. It seemed as if misfortune had set 



3 1 8 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

her seal upon all that concerned my destiny. I accepted 
this offering of kindness and benevolence with thanks direct 
from my heart, and went on board the vessel. 

It would be idle for me to attempt to describe the feelings 
that swelled my heart, as the sails filled to bear me from the 
shores of a country, where I had seen and suffered so much. 
My dreams of success in those points considered most im- 
portant by my fellow men, were vanished forever. After all 
my endurance of toil, hunger, thirst and imprisonment, after 
encountering the fiercest wild beasts in their deserts, and 
fiercer men, after tracing streams before unmeasured and 
unvisited by any of my own race to their source, over rugged 
and pathless mountains, subject to every species of danger, 
want and misery for seven years, it seemed hard to be 
indebted to charity, however kind and considerate it might 
be, for the means of returning to my native land. 

[248] As we sped on our way, I turned to look at the land 
I was leaving, and endeavored to withdraw my thoughts 
from the painful train into which they had fallen. Vera 
Cruz is the best fortified port I have ever seen. The town 
is walled in, and well guarded on every side with heavy 
cannon. The part of the wall extending along the water's 
edge, is surmounted by guns pointing so as completely to 
command the shipping in the harbour. A reef of rocks 
arises at the distance of half a mile from the shore opposite 
the city, and continues visible for several miles in a south 
direction, joining the main land seven or eight miles south- 
west of Vera Cruz. A fort stands upon that part of the 
reef which fronts the town. Ships in leaving or entering 
the harbour are obliged to pass between the fort and the 
town. 

We reached New Orleans on the first of August, although 
the wind had not been entirely favorable. It blew a stiff 
breeze from a direction which compelled us to run within 
five points and a half of the wind. As I approached the 



1824-1830] Pattie's Personal Narrative 3 1 9 

spot where my foot would again press its native soil, my 
imagination transported me over the long course of river 
which yet lay between me, and all I had left in the world to 
love. I cannot express the delight which thrilled and 
softened my heart, as I fancied myself entering my home; 
for it was the home I had known and loved when my mother 
lived, and we were happy that rose to my view. Fancy could 
not present another to me. There were my brothers and 
sisters, as I had been used to see them. The pleasant shade 
of the trees lay upon the turf before the door of our dwelling. 
The paths around were the same, over which I had so often 
bounded with the elastic step of childhood, enjoying a happy 
existence. Years and change have no place in such medi- 
tations. We landed, and I stood upon the shore. I was 
aroused by the approach of an Englishman, one of my 
fellow passengers, to a sense of my real position. He asked 
me if I had taken a passage in a steamboat for Louisville? 
I immediately answered in the negative. He then said he 
had bespoken one in the Cora; and as I had [249] not chosen 
any other, he would be glad if I would go on in the same one 
with him, and thus continue our companionship as long as 
possible. So saying he took me by the arm to lead me in 
the direction of the boat of which he spoke, that we might 
choose our births. As we advanced together, it occurred 
to me to ask the price of a passage to Louisville ? I was 
answered, forty dollars. Upon hearing this I stopped, and 
told my companion I could not take a birth just then, at 
the same time putting my hand in my pocket to ascertain 
if the state of my funds would permit me to do so at all. 
The Englishman seeing my embarrassment, and conjectur- 
ing rightly its origin, instantly remarked, that the passage 
money was not to be paid until the boat arrived at Louis- 
ville. I was ashamed to own my poverty, and invented 
an excuse to hide it, telling him, that I had an engagement 
at that time, but would walk with him in the evening to see 



320 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

about the passage. He left me in consequence. I then 
discovered, that so far from being able to take a cabin passage 
I had not money enough to pay for one on the deck. 

I re-entered the vessel in which I had arrived. As I 
approached the captain I saw him point me out to a person 
conversing with him, and heard him say, 'there is the young 
man I have been mentioning to you. He speaks Spanish, 
and will probably engage with you.' When I was near 
enough he introduced me to the stranger, whom he called 
Captain Vion. The latter addressed a few remarks to me, 
and then requested me to accompany him into his vessel. 
I consented and followed him on board. He then told me, 
that he wished to engage a person to accompany him to 
Vera Cruz, and aid in disposing of his vessel and cargo; and 
asked if I was inclined to go with him for such a purpose? 
I said, in reply, that it would depend entirely upon the 
recompense he offered for the services to be performed. He 
remarked, that he would give a certain per cent upon the 
brig and cargo, in case it was sold. I partly agreed to his 
proposal, but told him that I could not decide finally upon 
it until I had considered the matter. He then requested 
[250] me to come to him the next day at 12 o'clock, when I 
would find him at dinner. 

I left him, after promising to do so, and wandered about 
looking at the city until evening, when I met the Englishman 
from whom I had parted in the morning. He said he would 
now accompany me to the steam boat, that we might choose 
our births according to our engagement. I had no longer 
any excuse to offer, and was compelled to acknowledge that 
the contents of my purse were not sufficient to justify me in 
contracting a debt of forty dollars. I added, that I had an 
idea of returning to Vera Cruz. He replied, that in regard 
to the passage money I need have no uneasiness, nor hesitate 
to go on board, as he would defray my expenses as far as I 
chose to go. In respect to my plan of returning to Vera 



1824-1830] P attic's Personal Narrative 321 

Cruz, he said that it would be exceedingly unwise for me to 
carry it into execution; as the yellow fever would be raging 
by the time I reached the city, and that it was most likely 
I should fall a victim to it. I had, however, determined in 
my own mind that I would run the risk, rather than ask or 
receive aid from a person to whom I was comparatively 
unknown, and accordingly I refused his kindly proffered 
assistance, telling him at the same time, that I felt as grateful 
to him as though I had accepted his offered kindness, and 
that I would have availed myself of his benevolent intentions 
towards me, had he been a resident of my country; but as 
I knew him to be a traveller in a foreign land, who might 
need all his funds, he must excuse me. He then asked me 
if I had no acquaintance in New Orleans, of whom I could 
obtain the money as a loan ? I replied, that I did not know 
an individual in the city; but if I carried my plan of return- 
ing to Vera Cruz into execution, I should probably be 
enabled to proceed to my friends without depending on any 
one. Upon this we separated, and each went to his lodging. 
At ten the succeeding morning my English friend came to 
my boarding house, accompanied by Judge Johnston, who 
accosted me with a manner of paternal kindness, enquiring 
of me how long I had been absent from my country and 
relations? [151] I naturally enquired in turn, if he was in 
any way acquainted with them? He replied, that he was; 
and advised me to ascend the river, and visit them. I 
expressed to him how pleasant it would be to me to visit 
them, but assured him that it was out of my power to enjoy 
that pleasure at present. He enquired why? I avoided a 
direct answer, and remarked, that I proposed returning to 
Vera Cruz. He not only urged strong objections to this, 
but offered to pay my passage up the river. It may be 
easily imagined how I felt in view of such an offer from this 
generous and respectable stranger. I thankfully accepted 
it, only assuring him that I should repay him as soon as it 



322 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

was in my power. He replied that it was a matter of no 
consequence. He advised me to go on board the steam 
boat and choose my birth, alleging, that he had business in 
the city which would not allow him to accompany me on 
board. 

My English friend seemed highly gratified by this good 
fortune of mine, and went with me on board the steam 
boat, where I chose a birth. The name of this gentleman 
was Perry, and he was one of the two whom I have already 
mentioned, who had travelled in company with me from the 
city of Guadalaxara to Mexico. On the fourth, at nine in 
the morning, the starting bell rung on the steam boat, and 
Judge Johnston, Mr. Perry and myself went on board. This 
was the first steam boat on which I had ever been. Scarcely 
was the interior of the first ship I was ever on board at San 
Diego, a spectacle of more exciting interest. How much 
more delighted was I to see her stem the mighty current of 
the Mississippi. 

As I remarked the plantations, bends and forests sinking 
in the distance behind me, I felt that I was rapidly nearing 
home ; and at every advance my anxiety to see my relations 
once more, increased. To the many enquiries, made by 
Judge Johnston, touching the interior of the continent where 
I had been wandering, I am sure I must have given very 
unsatisfactory answers, much as I wished to oblige him. 
My thoughts dwelt with such constant and intense solicitude 
upon home, that I felt myself unable to frame answers to 
questions upon any other subjects. [252] Home did I say? 
I have none. My father and mother sleep widely sepa- 
rated from each other. They left nine orphans without 
resources to breast this stormy and mutable world. I, who 
ought to supply the place of a parent to them, shall carry to 
them nothing but poverty, and the withering remembrances 
of an unhappy wanderer, upon whom misfortune seems to 
have stamped her inexorable seal. 



1824-1830] P attic's Personal Narrative 323 

I parted with Judge Johnston at Cincinnati, who gave me 
a line of introduction to Mr. Flint, for which I felt under 
renewed obligations to him, hoping it would be of service 
to me. I left Cincinnati; and on the 3oth of August arrived 
at the end of my journey. I have had too much of real 
incident and affliction to be a dealer in romance; and yet I 
should do injustice to my feelings, if I closed this journal 
without a record of my sensations on reaching home. I 
have still before me, unchanged by all, that I have seen, and 
suffered, the picture of the abode of my infant days and 
juvenile remembrances. But the present reality is all as 
much changed, as my heart. I meet my neighbors, and 
school fellows, as I approach the home of my grandfather. 
They neither recognize me, nor I them. I look for the deep 
grove, so faithfully remaining in my memory, and the stream 
that murmured through it. The woods are levelled by the 
axe. The stream, no longer protected by the deep shade, 
has almost run dry. A storm has swept away the noble 
trees, that had been spared for shade. The fruit trees are 
decayed. 

I was first met by my grandmother. She is tottering under 
the burden and decline of old age, and the sight of me only 
recalls the painful remembrance of my father, worn out by 
the torture of his oppressors, and buried in the distant land 
of strangers and enemies. I could hardly have remembered 
my grandfather, the once vigorous and undaunted hunter. 
With a feeble and tremulous voice, he repeats enquiry upon 
enquiry, touching the fate of my father? I look round for 
the dear band of brothers and sisters. But one of the numer- 
ous group remains, and he too young to know me ; though I 
see enough to remind me, how much he has stood in need 
of an efficient protector. I hastily enquire for the rest. 
One is here, and another is there, and my head is confused, 
in listening to the names of the places of their residence. I 
left one sister, a child. She is married to a person I never 



324 Early Western Travels [Vol. 18 

knew; one, who, from the laws of our nature, can only regard 
me with the eye of a stranger. We call each other brother, 
but the affectionate word will not act as a key, to unlock the 
fountains of fraternal feeling. 

They, however, kindly invite me to their home. I am 
impelled alike by poverty and affection, to remain with them 
for a time, till I can forget what has been, and weave a new 
web of hopes, and form a new series of plans for some pur- 
suit in life. Alas ! disappointments, such as I have encoun- 
tered, are not the motives to impart vigor and firmness for 
new projects. The freshness, the visions, the hopes of my 
youthful days are all vanished, and can never return. If 
any one of my years has felt, that the fashion of this world 
passeth away, and that all below the sun is vanity, it is I. 
If there is a lesson from my wanderings, it is one, that incul- 
cates upon children, remaining at the paternal home in 
peace and privacy; one that counsels the young against 
wandering far away, to see the habitations, and endure the 
inhospitality of strangers. 

END OF THE NARRATIVE