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Indian Slave Trade

Another Example of Slave Stealing

On August 6, 1853, Gwinn H. Heap cited another example of slave stealing. While accompanying the newly appointed California Indian Agent E. F. Beale to California over the Mojave Indian Trail, Heap wrote that annual expeditions fitted out in New Mexico to trade with Pah-Utahs for children. Jose Galliego, a New Mexican employee of Beale, told Heap of it with gusto, recounting numerous anecdotes. Later when a few Paiutes were seen, "Galliego...rode up to Mr. Beale, and eagerly proposed to him we should 'charge on it like hell, kill the mans, and may-be catch some of the little boys and gals'." (33)

The Mexican records of Los Angeles further substantiated the slave trading activity. The Minute Book of the Illustrious Ayuntamiento Census of 1844 for Los Angeles and the surrounding ranchos listed nine "Payuche" Indians, ranging from ages nine to thirteen, and one three-year-old "Payuche"; whereas in the 1836 census there was not one "Payuche" listed. (34)

The Los Angeles Plaza Church death records up to 1850 contain scattered reference to Paiutes, Utes, or Indians from New Mexico:

    1831 Maria Yuta, Indian child
    1843 Dolores Palluche, of the Colorado River. Married as a gentile, baptized a few days ago
    1845 Santiago, Indian child of Maria de la Luz, Indian from New Mexico
    1846 Maria Conception, Indian adult "de nacion Palluche" and "Hija politica" (adopted daughter) of Don Ignacio Coronel
    1848 Maria de Jesus, Palluche, adult (35)

Only one Paiute marriage, however, was recorded in the church records up to 1850, and that was Juan Andres Rodriquez, from New Mexico, who married Maria del Rosario, "Palluche", from La Puente Rancho.

Underneath all these overt records, one must assume that much unrecorded covert slave activity took place and that the slave business continued after the United States legally became masters of the Southwest in 1848.

The Americans stood second to none in using the labors of others for their own benefit. After the Mexican secession, no records suggest that the Americans transported Indians over the Mojave Trail as the Mexicans, Utes, and the American trappers had done earlier. Negro slaves were transported into Southern California for a few years, however. In the David Cheesman {pic} party of 1850, taking the Salt Lake-Mojave Indian Road to Los Angeles, Cheesman noted a diverse collection of people. Besides a violinist and a sleight-of-hand performer, he told of a Mr. Pepper who came from Missouri bringing his stock and his Negro slaves. Oddly enough, on the same wagon train, there was Hiram Mendenhall, a vociferous abolitionist who once presented a petition against slavery to Henry Clay in the Senate. (36)

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