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- Captivity of the Oatman Girls

CHAPTER II

Mr. and Mrs. Oatman in Perplexity

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

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

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

"One of the many circumstances that conspired to spread a gloom over the way that was before' us, was the jaded condition of our team, which by this time consisted of two yoke of cows and one yoke of oxen. My parents were in distress and perplexity for some time to determine the true course dictated by prudence, and their responsibility in the premises. One hundred and ninety miles of desert and mountain, each alike barren and verdureless, save now and then a diminutive gorge (water-coursed and grass-fringed, that miles apart led down from the high mountain ranges across the dreary road) stretched out between us and the next settlement or habitation of man. "We felt, deeply felt, the hazardous character of our undertaking; and for a time lingered in painful suspense over the proposed adventure."We felt and feared that a road stretching to such a distance, through an uninhabited and wild region, might be infested with marauding bands of the Indians who were known to roam over the mountains that were piled up to the north of us; who, though they might be persuaded or intimidated to spare us the fate of falling by their savage hands, yet might plunder us of all we had as means for life's subsistence. While in this dreadful suspense, one Dr. Lecount, attended by a Mexican guide, came into the Pimole village. He was on his return from a tour that had been pushed westward, almost to the Pacific Ocean. As soon as we learned of his presence among us, father sought and obtained an interview with him. And it was upon information gained from him, that the decision to proceed was finally made.

"He had passed the whole distance to Fort Yuma, and returned, all within a few months, unharmed; and stated that he had not witnessed indications of even the neighborhood of Indians. Accordingly on the 11th of March, finding provisions becoming scarce among the Pimoles, and our own rapidly wasting, unattended, in a country and upon a road where the residence, or even the trace of one of our own nation would be sought in vain, save that of the hurrying traveler who was upon some official mission, or, as in the case of Dr. Lecount, some scientific pursuit requiring dispatch, we resumed our travel. Our teams were reduced; we were disappointed in being abandoned by our fellow-travelers, and wearied, almost to exhaustion, by the long and fatiguing march that had conducted us to this point. "We were lengthening out a toilsome journey for an object and destination quite foreign to the one that had pushed us upon the wild scheme at first. And this solitary commencement on our travel upon a devious way, dismal as it was in every aspect, seemed the only alternative that gave any promise of an extrication from the dark and frowning perils and sufferings that were every day threatening about us, and with every step of advance into the increasing wildness pressing more and more heavily upon us."

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

Attended by a family, a family which, in the event of their being overtaken by any of the catastrophes that reason and prudence bade them beware of on the route, must be helpless ; if they did not, even by their presence and peculiar exposure, give point and power to the sense and presence of danger; a family entirely dependent upon them for that daily bread of which they were liable to be left destitute at any moment ; far from human abodes, and with the possibility that, beyond the reach of relief, they might be set upon by the grim, ghastly demon of famine, or be made 'the victims of the blood-thirstiness and slow tortures of those human devils who, with savage ferocity, lurk for prey, when least their presence is anticipated; the faint prospect at best there was for accomplishing all that must be performed ere they could count upon safety ; these, all these, and a thousand kindred considerations, crowded upon those lonely hours of travel, and furnished attendant reflections that burned through the whole being of these parents with the intensity of desperation. O! How many noble hearts have been turned out upon these dismal, death-marked by-ways, that have as yet formed the only land connection between the Atlantic and Pacific slopes, to bleed, and moan, and sigh, for weeks, and even months, suspended in painful uncertainty, between life and death at every moment. Apprehensions for their own safety or the safety of dependent ones, like ghosts infernal, haunting them at every step. Fear, fear worse than death, if possible, lest sickness, famine, or the sudden onslaught of merciless savages, that infest the mountain fastnesses, and prowl and skulk through the innumerable hiding-places furnished by the wide sage-fields and chaparral, might intercept a journey, the first stages of which glowed with the glitter and charm of novelty, and beamed with the light of hope, but was now persisted in, through unforeseen and deepening gloom, as a last and severe alternative of self- preservation, oppressed their hearts.

Monuments! monuments, blood-written, of these uncounted miseries, that will survive the longest lived of those most recently escaped, are inscribed upon the bleached and bleaching bones of our common humanity and nationality ; are written upon the rude graves of our countrymen and kin, that strew these highways of death ; written upon the moldering timbers of decaying vehicles of transport; writ ten in blood that now beats and pulsates in the veins of solitary and scathed survivors, as well as in the stain of kindred blood that still preserves its tale-telling, unbleached hue, upon scattered grass-plots, and Sahara sand mounds ; written upon favored retreats, sought at the close of a dusty day's toil for nourishment, but suddenly turned into one of the unattended, unchronicled deathbeds, already and before frequenting these highways of carnage and wrecks; written, ah ! too sadly, deeply engraven upon the tablet of memories that keep alive the scenes of butcheries and captive-making that have rent and mangled whole households, and are now preserved to embitter the whole gloom-clad afterpart of the miraculously preserved survivors.

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

"For six days," says one of these, "our course was due southwest, at a slow and patience-trying rate. We were pressing through many difficulties, with which our minds were so occupied that they could neither gather nor retain any distinct impression of the country over which this first week of our solitary travel bore us. "While thus, on the seventh day from Pimole, we were struggling and battling with the tide of opposition that, with the increasing force of multi plying embarrassments and drawbacks, was setting in against us, our teams failing and sometimes in the most difficult and dangerous places utterly refusing to proceed, we were overtaken by Dr. Lecount, who with his Mexican guide was on his way back to Fort Yuma. The doctor saw our condition, and his large, generous heart poured upon us a flood of sympathy, which, with the words of good cheer he addressed us, was the only relief it was in his power to administer. Father sent by him, and at his own suggestion, to the fort for immediate assistance. This message the doctor promised should be conveyed to the fort, (we were 'about ninety miles distant from it at the time,) with all possible dispatch, also kindly assuring us that all within his power should be done to procure us help at once. We were all transiently elated with the prospect thus suddenly opening upon us of a relief from this source, and especially as we were confident that Dr. Lecount would be prompted to every office and work in our behalf, which he might command at the fort, where he was well and favorably known. But soon a dark cloud threw its shadow upon all these hopes, and again our wonted troubles rolled upon us with an augmented force, our minds became anxious, and our limbs were jaded. The roads had been made bad, at places almost impassable, by recent rains, and for the first time the strength and courage of my parents gave signs of exhaustion. It seemed, and indeed was thus spoken of among us, that the dark wing of some terrible calamity was spread over us and casting the shadows of evil ominously and thickly upon our path. The ^only method by which we could make the ascent of the frequent high hills that hedged our way, was by unloading the wagon and carrying the contents piece by piece to the top ; and even then we were often compelled to aid a team of four cows and two oxen to lift the empty wagon. It was well for us, perhaps, that there was not added to the burden of these long and weary hours, knowledge of the mishap that had befallen the messenger gone on before. About sunset of the day after Dr. Lecount left us, lie camped about thirty miles ahead of us, turned his horses into a small valley hemmed in by high mountains, and with his guide slept until about daybreak. Just as the day was breaking and preparations were being made to gather up for a ride to the fort that day, twelve Indians suddenly emerged from behind a bluff hill near by and entered the camp. Dr. Lecount, taken by surprise by the presence of these unexpected visitants, seized his arms, and with his guide kept a close eye upon their movements, which he soon discovered wore a very suspicious appearance. One of the Indians would draw the doctor into a conversation, which they held in the Mexican tongue; during which others of the band would with an air of carelessness edge about, encircling the doctor and his guide, until in a few moments, despite their friendly professions, their treacherous intentions were plainly read. At the suggestion of his bold, intrepid, and experienced guide, they both sprang to one side, the guide presenting to the Indians his knife, and the doctor his pistol. The Indians then put on the attitude of fight, but feared to strike. They still continued their efforts to beguile the doctor into carelessness, by introducing questions and topics of conversation, but they could not manage to cover with this thin gauze {page 43} the murder of their hearts. Soon the avenging ferocity of the Mexican began to burn, he violently sprang into the air, rushed toward them brandishing his knife, and beckoning to the doctor to come on; he was about in the act of plunging his knife into the leader of the band, but was restrained by the coolness and prudence of Doctor Lecount. Manuel (the guide) was perfectly enraged at their insolence, and would again and again spring, tiger-like toward them, crying at the top of his voice, "terrify, terrify!" The Indians soon made off. On going into the valley for their animals they soon found that the twelve Indians had enacted the above scene in the camp, merely as a ruse to engage their attention, while another party of the same rascal band was driving their mules and horse beyond their reach. They found evidences that this had been done within the last hour. The doctor returned to camp, packed his saddle and packages in a convenient, secluded place near by, and gave orders to his guide to proceed immediately to the fort, himself resolving to await his return. Soon after Manuel had left, however, he bethought him of the Oatman family, of their imminent peril, and of the pledge he had put himself under to them, to secure them the earliest possible assistance ; and he now had become painfully apprised of reasons for the most prompt and punctual fulfillment of that pledge. He immediately prepared, and at a short distance toward us posted upon a tree near the road a card, warning us of the near ness of. the Apaches, and relating therein in brief what had befallen himself at their hands ; reassuring us also of his determined diligence to secure us protection, and declaring his purpose, contrary to a resolution he had formed on dismissing his guide, to proceed immediately to the fort, there in person to plead our case and necessities. This card we missed, though it was afterward found by those whom we had left at Pimole Tillage. What "might have been," could our eyes have fallen upon that small piece of paper, though it is now useless to conjecture, cannot but recur to the mind. It might have preserved fond parents, endeared brothers and sisters, to gladden and cheer a now embittered and bereft existence. But the card, and the saddle and packages of the doctor, we saw not until weeks after, as the sequel will show, though we spent a night at the same camp where the scenes had been enacted.

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

We descended to the ford from a high, bluff hill, and found it leading across at a point where the river armed, leaving a small island sand-bar in the middle of the stream. We frequently found places on our road upon which the sun shines not, and for hours together the road led through a region as wild and rough as the imagination ever painted any portion of our earth. It was impossible, save for a few steps at a time, to see at a distance in any direction; and although we were yet inspirited at seasons with the report of Dr. Lecount, upon which we had started, yet we could not blind our eyes or senses to the possibilities that might lurk unseen and near, and to the advantages over us that the nature of the country about us would furnish the evil-de signing foe of the white race, whose habitations we knew were locked up somewhere within these huge, irregular mountain ranges. Much less could we be indifferent to the probable inability of our teams to bear us over the distance still separating us from the place and stay of our hope. "We attempted to cross the Gila about sunset; the stream was rapid, and swollen to an unusual width and depth. After struggling with danger and every possible hindrance until long after dark, we reached the sand island in the middle of the stream. Here our teams mired, our wagon dragged heavily, and we found it impossible to proceed.

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

Let the mind of the reader pause and ponder upon the situation of that forlorn family at this time. Still unattended and unbefriended; without a white per son or his habitation within the wide range of nearly a hundred miles; the Gila, a branch of which separated them from either shore, keeping* up a ceaseless, mournful murmuring through the entire night ; the wild wind, as it swept unheeding by, sighing among the distant trees and rolling along the forest of mountain peaks, kept up a perpetual moan solemn as a funeral dirge. The imagination can but faintly picture the feelings of those fond parents upon whom hung such a fearful responsibility as was presented to their minds and thoughts by the gathering of this little loved family group about them.

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

" We were compelled frequently to shift our position, as the fickle wind would change the point at which the light surges of the Gila would attack our camp-fire, in the center of that little island of about two hundred square feet, upon which we had of necessity halted for the night. While our parents were in conversation a little apart, which, too, they were conducting in a subdued tone for purposes of concealment, the curiosity of the elder children, restless and inquisitive, was employed in guessing at the probable import of their councils. We talked, with the artlessness and eagerness of our unrealizing age, of the dangers possibly near us, of the advantage that our situation gave to the savages, who were our only dread ; and each in his or her turn would speak, as we shiveringly gathered around that little, threatened, sickly camp-fire, of his or her intentions in case of the appearance of the foe. Each had to give a map of the course to be pursued if the cruel Apaches should set upon us, and no two agreed ; one saying, ' I shall run ;' another, ' I will fight and die fighting ;' and still another, * I will take the gun or a club and keep them off;' and last, Miss Olive says, 'Well, there is one thing; I shall not be taken by these miserable brutes. I will fight as long as I can, and if I see that I am about to be' token, I will kill myself. I do not care to die, but it would be worse than death to me to be taken a captive among them.'"

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

" The longed-for twilight at length sent its earliest stray beams along the distant peaks, stole in upon our sand-bar camp, and gradually lifted the darkness from our dreary situation. As the curtain of that burdensome night departed, it seemed to bear with it those deep and awful shades that had rested upon our minds during its stay, and which we now began to feel had taken their gloomiest hue from the literal darkness and solitude that has a strange power to nurse a morbid apprehension.

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

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

The entire ascent was not indeed made, until we reached this point, and to it some of our baggage had been conveyed by hand. I now plainly saw a sad, foreboding change in my father's manner and feelings. Hitherto, amid the most fatiguing labor and giant difficulties, he had seemed generally armed for the occasion with a hopeful countenance and cheerful spirit and manner, the very sight of which had a power to dispel our childish fears and spread contentment and resignation upon our little group. While ascending this hill I saw, too plainly saw, (being familiar, young as I was, with my father's aptness to express, by the tone of his action and manner, his mental state,) as did my mother also, that a change had come over him. Disheartening and soul-crushing apprehensions were written upon his manner, as if preying upon his mind in all the mercilessness of a conquering despair. There seemed to be a dark picture hung up before him, upon which the eye of his thought rested with a monomaniac intensity ; and written thereon he seemed to behold a sad afterpart for himself, as if some terrible event had loomed suddenly upon the field of his mental vision, and though unprophesied and unheralded by any palpable notice, yet gradually wrapping its folds about him, and coming in, as it were, to fill his cup of anguish to the brim. Surely:

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

{page 51}

" Whether my father had read that notice left for our warning by Dr. Lecount, and had from prudence concealed it, with the impression it may have made upon his own mind, from us, to prevent the torment of fear it would have enkindled ; or whether a camp- fire might have been discerned by him in the distance the night before, warning of the nearness of the savage Apaches ; or whether by spirit law or the appointment of Providence the gloom of his waiting doom had been sent on before to set his mind in readiness for the breaking storm, are questions that have been indulged and involuntarily urged by his fond, bereaved children; but no answer to which has broke upon their ear from mountain, from dale, or from spirit-land. For one hour the night before my father had wept bitterly, while in the wagon thinking himself concealed from his family, but of which I was ignorant until it was told me by my eldest sister during the day. My mother was calm, cool, and collected ; patient to endure, and diligent to do, that she might administer to the comfort of the rest of us. Of the real throbbings of the affectionate and indulgent heart of that beloved mother, her children must ever remain ignorant. But of her noble bearing under these trying circumstances angels might speak ; and her children, who survive to cherish her name with an ardent, though sorrowing affection, may be pardoned for not keeping silence. True to the instincts that had ever governed her in all trying situations, and true to the dictates of a noble and courageous heart, she wisely attributed these shadows (the wing of which flitted over her own sky as well) to the harassings and exhaustion of the hour; she called them the accustomed creations of an over tasked mind, and then, with cheerful heart and ready-hand, plied herself to all and any labors that might help us upon our way. At one time, during the severest part of the toil and efforts of that day to make the summit of that hill, my father suddenly sank down upon a stone near the wagon, and exclaimed, 'Mother, mother, in the name of God, I know that something dreadful is about to happen !' In reply, our dear mother had no expressions but those of calm, patient trust, and a vigorous, resolute purpose.

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


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

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

"Though the sun had hid its glittering, dazzling face from us behind a tall peak in the distance, yet its rays lingered upon the summits that stretched away between us and the moon, and daylight was full upon us. Our hasty meal had been served. My father, sad, and seemingly spell-bound with his own struggling emotions, was a little on one side, as if oblivious of all immediately about him, and was about in the act of lifting some of the baggage to the wagon, that had as yet remained unloaded since the ascent of the hill, when, casting my eyes down the hill by the way we had come, I saw several Indians slowly and leisurely approaching us in the road. I was greatly alarmed, and for a moment dared not to speak. At the time, my father's back was turned. I spoke to him, at the same time pointing to the Indians. What I saw in my father's countenance excited in me a great fear, and took a deeper hold upon my feelings of the danger we were in, than the sight of the Indians. They were now approaching near us. The blood rushed to my father's face. For a moment his face would burn and flash as it crimsoned with the tide from within ; then a death-like paleness would spread over his countenance, as if his whole frame was suddenly stiffened with horror. I saw too plainly the effort that it cost him to attempt a concealment of his emotions. He succeeded, however, in controlling the jerking of his muscles and his mental agitations, so as to tell us, in mild and composed accents, ' not to fear; the Indians would not harm us.' He had always been led to believe that the Indians could be so treated as to avoid difficulty with them. He had been among them much in the "Western states, and so often tried his theory of leniency with success that he often censured the whites for their severity toward them ; and was disposed to attribute injury received from them to the unwise and cruel treatment of them by the whites. It had long been his pride and boast that he could manage the Indians so that it would do to trust them. Often had he thrown himself wholly in their power, while traveling and doing business in Iowa, and that, too, in times of excitement and hostility, relying upon his coolness, self-possession, and Olive, with my older sister, was standing upon the opposite side of the wagon ; Mary Ann, a little girl about seven years old, sat upon a stone holding to a rope attached to the horns of the foremost team ; the rest of the children were on the opposite side of the wagon from the Indians. My eyes were turned away from the Indians.

Though each of the family was engaged in repairing the wagon, none were without manifestations of fear. For some time every movement of the Indians was closely watched by us. I well remember, however, that after a few moments my own fears were partially quieted, and from their appearance I judged it was so with the rest.

In a subdued, tone frequent expressions were made concerning the Indians, and their possible intentions ; but we were guarded and cautious, lest they might understand our real dread and be emboldened to violence. Several minutes did they thus remain a few feet from us, occasionally turning an eye upon us, and constantly keeping up a low earnest babbling among themselves. At times they gazed eagerly in various directions, especially down the road by which we had come, as if struggling to discern the approach of some object or person either dreaded or expected by them.

" Suddenly, as a clap of thunder from a clear sky, a deafening yell broke upon us, the Indians jumping into 'the air, and uttering the most frightful shrieks,. and at the same time springing toward us flourishing their war- clubs, which had hitherto been concealed under their wolf-skins. I was struck upon the top and back of my head, came to my knees, when with another blow, I was struck blind and senseless." One of their numbers seized and jerked Olive one side, ere they had dealt the first blow.

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

"When I recovered my thoughts I could hardly realize where I was, though I remembered to have considered myself as having also been struck to the earth, and thought I was probably dying. I knew that all, or nearly all of the family had been murdered; thus bewildered, confused, half conscious and half insensible, I remained a short time, I know not how long, when suddenly I seemed awakened to the dreadful realities around me. My little sister was standing by my side, sobbing and crying, saying : 'Mother, O mother ! Olive, mother and father are killed, with all our poor brothers and sisters.' I could no longer look upon the scene. Occasionally a low, piteous moan would come from some one of the family as in a dying state. I distinguished the groans of my poor mother, and sprang wildly toward her, but was held back by the merciless savage holding me in his cruel grasp, and lifting a club over my head, threatening me in the most taunting, barbarous manner. I longed to have him put an end to my life. '0h!, thought I, 'must I know that my poor parents have been killed by these savages and I remain alive !' I asked them to kill me, pleaded with them to take my life, but all my pleas and prayers only excited to laughter and taunts the two wretches to whose charge we had been committed.

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

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