Digital-Desert : Mojave Desert
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Indian Slave Trade

Like the Rest of California

The Chinese women were used in a somewhat different way except they were not transported over the Mojave Trail until the building of the railroad. On December 10, 1858, the Daily Morning Call had two articles exposing the ways in which the Chinese women were obtained for individual use - to offset the woman shortage in the unsettled mining period. False charges would be laid against a Chinese husband to get him away from his wife. When he was released after a day or so, his wife had already been abducted. A wealthy and clever citizen of Mariposa had the court award him custody of a Chinese lady until she worked off her debt to him. (42) Although the editor of the Daily Morning Call and others frowned upon this type of activity, it was many years before it subsided and California became tame.

The Mojave Trail, like the rest of California, also took awhile to settle down. The later trading activity on the Mojave Trail was slightly reversed. The Paiutes did some raiding on their own. They stole horses and supplies until forced onto reservations by the Army in the 1860s. But even then there were questionable incidents which may bring into focus a type of slavery on the ranches and even in the gold and silver mines of the desert. One incident was penned in 1867 in William Jackson's diary.

Young Jackson, traveling the Mojave Trail from Utah, narrated that near the present Oro Grande on the Mojave River, a rancher had several captive squaws, one of which was locked up in his outhouse. The circumstances and motives behind the rancher's actions lead to interesting speculation. But it must be assumed the squaw was not in there on her own volition - perhaps the early desert rancher topped the Mohave and the Mexicans both in inventing a new twist to the inhuman institution of slavery. (43) More investigation is needed to bring light to the intricacies of this and other forms of human bondage.



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