Infomotions, Inc.Thirty-One Years on the Plains and in the Mountains, Or, the Last Voice from the Plains / Drannan, William F., 1832-1913

Author: Drannan, William F., 1832-1913
Title: Thirty-One Years on the Plains and in the Mountains, Or, the Last Voice from the Plains
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): uncle kit; indians; kit; jim; camp; scouts; fort; jim bridger; uncle; indian; jim beckwith; fort yuma; horses; kit carson; trip; george jones
Contributor(s): Bishop, Julia Truitt [Editor]
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Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 154,697 words (average) Grade range: 10-13 (high school) Readability score: 65 (easy)
Identifier: etext5337
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Title: Thirty-One Years on the Plains and In the Mountains

Author: William F. Drannan

Release Date: March, 2004  [EBook #5337]
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In writing this preface I do so with the full knowledge that the
preface of a book is rarely read, comparatively speaking, but I
shall write this one just the same.

In writing this work the author has made no attempt at romance, or
a great literary production, but has narrated in his own plain,
blunt way, the incidents of his life as they actually occurred.

There have been so many books put upon the market, purporting to
be the lives of noted frontiersmen which are only fiction, that I
am moved to ask the reader to consider well before condemning this
book as such.

The author starts out with the most notable events of his boyhood
days, among them his troubles with an old negro virago, wherein he
gets his revenge by throwing a nest of lively hornets under her
feet. Then come his flight and a trip, to St. Louis, hundreds of
miles on foot, his accidental meeting with that most eminent man
of his class, Kit Carson, who takes the lad into his care and
treats him as a kind father would a son. He then proceeds to give
a minute description of his first trip on the plains, where he
meets and associates with such noted plainsmen as Gen. John
Charles Fremont, James Beckwith, Jim Bridger and others, and gives
incidents of his association with them in scouting, trapping,
hunting big game, Indian fighting, etc.

The author also gives brief sketches of the springing into
existence of many of the noted cities of the West, and the
incidents connected therewith that have never been written before.
There is also a faithful recital of his many years of scouting for
such famous Indian fighters as Gen. Crook, Gen. Connor, Col.
Elliott, Gen. Wheaton and others, all of which will be of more
than passing interest to those who can be entertained by the early
history of the western part of our great republic.

This work also gives an insight into the lives of the hardy
pioneers of the far West, and the many trials and hardships they
had to undergo in blazing the trail and hewing the way to one of
the grandest and most healthful regions of the United States.
W. F. D.

  CHICAGO, August 1st, 1899.


CHAPTER 1. A Boy Escapes a Tyrant and Pays a Debt with a Hornet's
Nest--Meets Kit Carson and Becomes the Owner of a Pony and a Gun

CHAPTER 2. Beginning of an Adventurous Life--First Wild Turkey--
First Buffalo--First Feast as an Honored Guest of Indians--Dog

CHAPTER 3. Hunting and Trapping in South Park, Where a Boy,
Unaided, Kills and Scalps Two Indians--Meeting with Fremont, the

CHAPTER 4. A Winter in North Park--Running Fight with a Band of
Utes for More than a Hundred Miles, Ending Hand to Hand--Victory

CHAPTER 5. On the Cache-la-Poudre--Visit from Gray Eagle, Chief of
the Arapahoes.--A Bear-hunter is Hunted by the Bear--Phil, the

CHAPTER 6. Two Boys Ride to the City of Mexico--Eleven Hundred
Miles of Trial, Danger and Duty--A Gift Horse--The Wind River

CHAPTER 7. A Three Days' Battle Between the Comanches and the Utes
for the Possession of a "Hunter's Paradise"--An Unseasonable Bath.

CHAPTER 8. Kit Carson Kills a Hudson Bay Company's Trapper, Who
Was Spoiling for a Fight--Social Good Time with a Train of

CHAPTER 9. Marriage of Kit Carson--The Wedding Feast--Providing
Buffalo Meat, in the Original Package, for the Boarding-house at
Bent's Fort

CHAPTER 10. Robber Gamblers of San Francisco--Engaged by Col.
Elliott as Indian Scout--Kills and Scalps Five Indians--Promoted
to Chief Scout

CHAPTER 11. A Lively Battle with Pah-Utes--Pinned to Saddle with
an Arrow--Some Very Good Indians--Stuttering Captain--Beckwith
Opens His Pass

CHAPTER 12--Col. Elliott Kills His First Deer, and Secures a Fine
Pair of Horns as Present for His Father--Beckwith's Tavern--

CHAPTER 13--Something Worse than Fighting Indians Dance at Col.
Elliott's--Conspicuous Suit of Buckskin I Manage to Get Back to

CHAPTER 14. Drilling the Detailed Scouts---We Get Among the Utes--
Four Scouts Have Not Reported Yet--Another Lively Fight--Beckwith
Makes a Raise

CHAPTER 15. A Hunt on Petaluma Creek--Elk Fever Breaks Out--The
Expedition to Klamath Lake--A Lively Brush with Modoc Indians

CHAPTER 16. More Fish than I Had Ever Seen at One Time--We
Surprise Some Indians, Who Also Surprise Us--The Camp at Klamath
Lake--I Get Another Wound and a Lot of Horses

CHAPTER 17. Discovery of Indians with Stolen Horses--We Kill the
Indians and Return the Property to Its Owners--Meeting of Miners--
In Society Again

CHAPTER 18. Trapping on the Gila--The Pimas Impart a Secret--
Rescue of a White Girl--A Young Indian Ages--Visit to Taos--Uncle
Kit Fails to Recognize Me

CHAPTER 19. A Warm Time in a Cold Country--A Band of Bannocks
Chase Us Into a Storm that Saves Us--Kit Carson Slightly Wounded--
Beckwith Makes a Century Run

CHAPTER 20. Carson Quits the Trail--Buffalo Robes for Ten Cents--
"Pike's Peak or Bust"--The New City of Denver--"Busted"--How the
News Started

CHAPTER 21. A Fight With the Sioux--Hasa, the Mexican Boy, Killed
--Mixed Up With Emigrants Some More--Four New Graves--Successful
Trading With the Kiowas

CHAPTER 22. A Trip to Fort Kearney--The General Endorses Us and We
Pilot an Emigrant Train to California--Woman Who Thought I Was "no
Gentleman"--A Camp Dance

CHAPTER 23. Bridger and West Give Christmas a High Old Welcome in
Sacramento--California Gulch--Meeting with Buffalo Bill--Thirty-
three Scalps with One Knife

CHAPTER 24. Face to Face with a Band of Apaches--The Death of
Pinto--The Closest Call I Ever Had--A Night Escape--Back at Fort

CHAPTER 25. Three Thousand Dead Indians--A Detective from Chicago
--He Goes Home with an Old Mormon's Youngest Wife and Gets into
Trouble--The Flight

CHAPTER 26.--Through to Bannock--A Dance of Peace Fright of the
Negroes--A Freight Train Snowed in and a Trip on Snow-shoes--Some
Very Tough Road Agents

CHAPTER 27. Organization of a Vigilance Committee--End of the
Notorious Slade--One Hundred Dollars for a "Crow-bait" Horse--
Flour a Dollar a Pound.

CHAPTER 28. Twenty-two Thousand Dollars in Gold Dust--A Stage
Robbery--Another Trip to California Meeting with Gen. Crook--Chief
of Scouts

CHAPTER 29. Find Some Murdered Emigrants--We Bury the Dead and
Follow and Scalp the Indians--Gen. Crook Is Pleased with the
Outcome--A Mojave Blanket

CHAPTER 30. A Wicked Little Battle--Capture of One Hundred and
Eighty-two Horses--Discovery of Black Canyon--Fort Yuma and the

CHAPTER 31. To California for Horses--My Beautiful Mare, Black
Bess--We Get Sixty-six Scalps and Seventy-eight Horses--A Clean

CHAPTER 32. Some Men Who Were Anxious for a Fight and Got It--Gen.
Crook at Black Canyon--Bad Mistake of a Good Man--The Victims

CHAPTER 33. The Massacre at Choke Cherry Canyon--Mike Maloney Gets
Into a Muss--Rescue of White Girls--Mike Gets Even with the

CHAPTER 34. Massacre of the Davis Family--A Hard Ride and Swift
Retribution--A Pitiful Story--Burial of the Dead--I am Sick of the

CHAPTER 35. Black Bess Becomes Popular in San Francisco--A Failure
as Rancher--Buying Horses in Oregon--The Klamath Marsh--Captain
Jack the Modoc

CHAPTER 36. The Modoc War--Gen. Wheaton Is Held Off by the
Indians--Gen. Canby Takes Command and Gets It Worse-Massacre of
the Peace Commission

CHAPTER 37-The Cry of a Babe--Capture of a Bevy of Squaws--
Treachery of Gen. Ross' Men in Killing Prisoners--Capture of the
Modoc Chief

CHAPTER 38. Story of the Captured Braves--Why Captain Jack
Deserted--Loathsome Condition of the Indian Stronghold--End of the
War--Some Comments

CHAPTER 39. An Interested Boy--Execution of the Modoc Leaders--
Newspaper Messengers--A Very Sudden Deputy Sheriff--A Bad Man
Wound Up

CHAPTER 40. In Society Some More--A Very Tight Place--Ten Pairs of
Yankee Ears--Black Bess Shakes Herself at the Right Time--Solemn

CHAPTER 41. We Locate a Small Band of Red Butchers and Send them
to the Happy Hunting Grounds--Emigrants Mistake Us for Indians--
George Jones Wounded

CHAPTER 42. "We Are All Surrounded"--A Bold Dash and a Bad Wound--
Mrs. Davis Shows Her Gratitude--Most of My Work Now Done on

CHAPTER 43. Poor Jones Makes His Last Fight--He Died Among a Lot
of the Devils He Had Slain--End of Thirty-one Years of Hunting,
Trapping and Scouting

CHAPTER 44. A Grizzley Hunts the Hunter--Shooting Seals in Alaskan
Waters--I Become a Seattle Hotel Keeper and the Big Fire Closes Me
Out--Some Rest--The Old Scout's Lament



The old saying that truth is stranger than fiction is emphasized
in the life of every man whose career has been one of adventure
and danger in the pursuit of a livelihood. Knowing nothing of the
art of fiction and but little of any sort of literature; having
been brought up in the severe school of nature, which is all
truth, and having had as instructor in my calling a man who was
singularly and famously truthful, truth has been my inheritance
and in this book I bequeath it to my readers.

My name is William F. Drannan, and I was born on the Atlantic
ocean January 30, 1832, while my parents were emigrating from
France to the United States.

They settled in Tennessee, near Nashville, and lived upon a farm
until I was about four years old. An epidemic of cholera prevailed
in that region for some months during that time and my parents
died of the dread disease, leaving myself and a little sister,
seven months old, orphans.

I have never known what became of my sister, nor do I know how I
came to fall into the hands of a man named Drake, having been too
young at that time to remember now the causes of happenings then.
However, I remained with this man, Drake, on his plantation near
The Hermitage, the home of Gen. Andrew Jackson, until I was

Drake was a bachelor who owned a large number of negro slaves, and
I was brought up to the age mentioned among the negro children of
the place, without schooling, but cuffed and knocked about more
like a worthless puppy than as if I were a human child. I never
saw the inside of a school-house, nor was I taught at home
anything of value. Drake never even undertook to teach me the
difference between good and evil, and my only associates were the
little negro boys that belonged to Drake, or the neighbors. The
only person who offered to control or correct me was an old negro
woman, who so far from being the revered and beloved "Black
Mammy," remembered with deep affection by many southern men and
women, was simply a hideous black tyrant. She abused me
shamefully, and I was punished by her not only for my own
performances that displeased her, but for all the meanness done by
the negro boys under her jurisdiction.

Naturally these negro boys quickly learned that they could escape
punishment by falsely imputing to me all of their mischief and I
was their scape-goat.

Often Drake's negro boys went over to General Jackson's plantation
to play with the negro boys over there and I frequently
accompanied them. One day the old General asked me why I did not
go to school. But I could not tell him. I did not know why. I have
known since that I was not told to go and anyone knows that a boy
just growing up loose, as I was, is not likely to go to school of
his own accord.

I do not propose to convey to the reader the idea that I was
naturally better than other boys, on the contrary, I frequently
deserved the rod when I did not get it, but more frequently
received a cruel drubbing when I did not deserve it, that, too, at
the hands of the old negro crone who was exceedingly violent as
well as unjust. This, of course, cultivated in me a hatred against
the vile creature which was little short of murderous.

However, I stayed on and bore up under my troubles as there was
nothing else to do, so far as I knew then, but "grin and bear it."
This until I was fifteen years old.

At this time, however ignorant, illiterate, wild as I was, a faint
idea of the need of education dawned upon me. I saw other white
boys going to school; I saw the difference between them and myself
that education was rapidly making and I realized that I was
growing up as ignorant and uncultured as the slave boys who were
my only attainable companions.

Somehow I had heard of a great city called St. Louis, and little
by little the determination grew upon me to reach that wonderful
place in some way.

I got a few odd jobs of work, now and then, from the neighbors and
in a little while I had accumulated four dollars, which seemed a
great deal of money to me, and I thought I would buy about half of
St. Louis, if I could only get there. And yet I decided that it
would be just as well to have a few more dollars and would not
leave my present home, which, bad it was, was the only one I had,
until I had acquired a little more money. But coming home from
work one evening I found the old negress in an unusually bad
humor, even for her. She gave me a cruel thrashing just to give
vent to her feelings, and that decided me to leave at once,
without waiting to further improve my financial condition. I was
getting to be too big a boy to be beaten around by that old
wretch, and having no ties of friendship, and no one being at all
interested in me, I was determined to get away before my tormentor
could get another chance at me.

I would go to St. Louis, but I must get even with the old hag
before starting. I did not wish to leave in debt to anyone in the
neighborhood and so I cudgeled my brain to devise a means for
settling old scores with my self-constituted governess.

Toward evening I wandered into a small pasture, doing my best to
think how I could best pay off the black termagant with safety to
myself, when with great good luck I suddenly beheld a huge
hornet's nest, hanging in a bunch of shrubbery. My plan instantly
and fully developed. Quickly I returned to the house and hastily
gathered what little clothing I owned into a bundle, done up in my
one handkerchief, an imitation of bandanna, of very loud pattern.
This bundle I secreted in the barn and then hied me to the
hornet's nest. Approaching the swinging home of the hornets very
softly, so as not to disturb the inmates, I stuffed the entrance
to the hornet castle with sassafras leaves, and taking the great
sphere in my arms I bore it to a back window of the kitchen where
the black beldame was vigorously at work within and contentedly
droning a negro hymn.

Dark was coming on and a drizzly rain was falling. It was the
spring of the year, the day had been warm and the kitchen window
was open. I stole up to the open window. The woman's back was
toward me. I removed the plug of sassafras leaves and hurled the
hornet's nest so that it landed under the hag's skirts.

I watched the proceedings for one short moment, and then, as it
was getting late, I concluded I had better be off for St. Louis.
So I went away from there at the best gait I could command.

I could hear my arch-enemy screaming, and it was music to my ears
that even thrills me yet, sometimes. It was a better supper than
she would have given me.

I saw the negroes running from the quarters, and elsewhere, toward
the kitchen, and I must beg the reader to endeavor to imagine the
scene in that culinary department, as I am unable to describe it,
not having waited to see it out.

But I slid for the barn, secured my bundle and started for the
ancient city far away.

All night, on foot and alone, I trudged the turnpike that ran
through Nashville. I arrived in that city about daylight, tired
and hungry, but was too timid to stop for something to eat,
notwithstanding I had my four dollars safe in my pocket, and had
not eaten since noon, the day before.

I plodded along through the town and crossed the Cumberland river
on a ferry-boat, and then pulled out in a northerly direction for
about an hour, when I came to a farm-house. In the road in front
of the house I met the proprietor who was going from his garden,
opposite the house, to his breakfast.

He waited until I came up, and as I was about to pass on, he said:
"Hello! my boy, where are you going so early this morning?"

I told him I was on my way to St. Louis.

"St. Louis?" he said. "I never heard of that place before. Where
is it?"

I told him I thought it was in Missouri, but was not certain.

"Are you going all the way on foot, and alone?"

I answered that I was, and that I had no other way to go. With
that I started on.

"Hold on," he said. "If you are going to walk that long way you
had better come in and have some breakfast."

You may rest assured that I did not wait for a second invitation,
for about that time I was as hungry as I had ever been in my life.

While we were eating breakfast the farmer turned to his oldest
daughter and said:

"Martha, where is St. Louis?"

She told him it was in Missouri, and one of the largest towns in
the South or West. "Our geography tells lots about it," she said.

I thought this was about the best meal I had ever eaten in my
life, and after it was over I offered to pay for it, but the kind-
hearted old man refused to take anything, saying: "Keep your
money, my boy. You may need it before you get back. And on your
return, stop and stay with me all night, and tell us all about St.

After thanking them, I took my little bundle, bade them good-bye,
and was on my journey again. I have always regretted that I did
not learn this good man's name, but I was in something of a hurry
just then, for I feared that Mr. Drake might get on my trail and
follow me and take me back, and I had no pressing inclination to
meet old Hulda again.

I plodded along for many days, now and then looking back for Mr.
Drake, but not anxious to see him; rather the reverse.

It is not necessary to lumber up this story with my trip to St.
Louis. I was about six weeks on the road, the greater part of the
time in Kentucky, and I had no use for my money. I could stay at
almost any farm-house all night, wherever I stopped, and have a
good bed and be well fed, but no one would take pay for these
accommodations. When I got to Owensboro, Ky., I became acquainted
by accident with the mate of a steamboat that was going to St.
Louis and he allowed me to go on the boat and work my way.

The first person that I met in St Louis, that I dared to speak
with, was a boy somewhat younger than myself. I asked him his
name, and in broken English he replied that his name was Henry

Seeing that he was French, I began to talk to him in his own
language, which was my mother tongue, and so we were quickly
friends. I told him that my parents were both dead and that I had
no home, and he being of a kind-hearted, sympathetic nature,
invited me to go home with him, which invitation I immediately

Henry Becket's mother was a widow and they were very poor, but
they were lovingly kind to me.

I told Mrs. Becket of my troubles with Mr. Drake's old negro
woman; how much abuse I had suffered at her hands and the widow
sympathized with me deeply. She also told me that I was welcome to
stay with them until such time as I was able to get employment. So
I remained with the Beckets three days, during all of which time I
tried hard to get work, but without success.

On the morning of the fourth day she asked me if I had tried any
of the hotels for work. I told her that I had not, so she advised
me to go to some of them in my rounds.

It had not occurred to me that a boy could find anything to do
about a hotel, but I took Mrs. Becket's advice, and that morning
called at the American hotel, which was the first one I came to.

Quite boldly, for a green boy, I approached the person whom I was
told was the proprietor and asked him if he had any work for a
boy, whereupon he looked at me in what seemed a most scornful way
and said very tartly:

"What kind of work do you think you could do?"

I told him I could do most anything in the way of common labor.

He gave me another half-scornful smile and said:

"I think you had better go home to your parents and go to school.
That's the best place for you."

This was discouraging, but instead of explaining my position, I
turned to go, and in spite of all that I could do the tears came
to my eyes. Not that I cared so much for being refused employment,
but for the manner in which the hotel man had spoken to me. I did
not propose to give up at that, but started away, more than ever
determined to find employment. I did not want to impose on the
Beckets, notwithstanding that they still assured me of welcome,
and moreover I wished to do something to help them, even more than

I had nearly reached the door when a man who had been reading a
newspaper, but was now observing me, called out:

"My boy! come here."

I went over to the corner where he was sitting and I was trying at
the same time to dry away my tears.

This man asked my name, which I gave him. He then asked where my
parents lived, and I told him that they died when I was four years

Other questions from him brought out the story of my boy-life;
Drake, Gen. Jackson, the negro boys and the brutal negress; then
my trip to St. Louis--but I omitted the hornet's-nest incident. I
also told this kindly stranger that I had started out to make a
living for myself and intended to succeed.

Then he asked me where I was staying, and I told him of the

Seeing that this man was taking quite an interest in me, gave me
courage to ask his name. He told me that his name was Kit Carson,
and that by calling he was a hunter and trapper, and asked me how
I would like to learn his trade.

I assured him that I was willing to do anything honorable for a
living and that I thought I would very much like to be a hunter
and trapper. He said he would take me with him and I was entirely
delighted. Often I had wished to own a gun, but had never thought
of shooting anything larger than a squirrel or rabbit. I was ready
to start at once, and asked him when he would go.

Smilingly he told me not to be in a hurry, and asked me where Mrs.
Becket lived. I told him as nearly as I could, and again asked
when he thought we would leave St. Louis. I was fearful that he
would change his mind about taking me with him. I didn't know him
then so well as afterward. I came to learn that his slightest word
was his bond.

But visions of Mr. Drake, an old negro woman and a hornet's nest,
still haunted me and made me overanxious. I wanted to get as far
out of their reach as possible and still remain on the earth.

Mr. Carson laughed in a quiet and yet much amused way and said:

"You must learn to not do anything until you are good and ready,
and there are heaps of things to do before we can start out. Now
let's go and see Mrs. Becket."

So I piloted him to the widow's home, which, as near as I can
remember, was about four blocks from the hotel. Mr. Carson being
able to speak French first-rate, had a talk with Mrs. Becket
concerning me. The story she told him, corresponding with that
which I had told him, he concluded that I had given him nothing
but truth, and then he asked Mrs. Becket what my bill was. She
replied that she had just taken me in because I was a poor boy,
until such time as I could find employment, and that her charges
were nothing. He then asked her how long I had been with her, and
being told that it was four days, he begged her to take five
dollars, which she finally accepted.

I took my little budget of clothes and tearfully bidding Mrs.
Becket and Henry good-bye, started back to the hotel with my new
guardian, and I was the happiest boy in the world, from that on,
so long as I was a boy.

On the way back to the hotel Mr. Carson stopped with me at a store
and he bought me a new suit of clothes, a hat and a pair of boots,
for I was barefooted and almost bareheaded. Thus dressed I could
hardly realize that I was the Will Drannan of a few hours before.

That was the first pair of boots I had ever owned. Perhaps, dear
reader, you do not know what that means to a healthy boy of

It means more than has ever been written, or ever will be.

I was now very ready to start out hunting, and on our way to the
hotel I asked Mr. Carson if he did not think we could get away by
morning, but he told me that to hunt I would probably need a gun,
and we must wait until he could have one made for me, of proper
size for a boy.

The next day we went to a gun factory and Mr. Carson gave orders
concerning the weapon, after which we returned to the hotel. We
remained in St. Louis about three weeks and every day seemed like
an age to me. At our room in the hotel Mr. Carson would tell me
stories about hunting and trapping, and notwithstanding the
intense interest of the stories the days were longer, because I so
much wished to be among the scenes he talked of, and my dreams at
night were filled with all sorts of wonderful animals, my fancy's
creation from what Mr. Carson talked about. I had never fired a
gun in my life and I was unbearably impatient to get my hands on
the one that was being made for me.

During the wait at St. Louis, Henry Becket was with me nearly all
the time, and when we were not haunting the gun factory, we were,
as much as possible, in Mr. Carson's room at the hotel, listening
to stories of adventure on the plains and among the mountains.

I became, at once, very much attached to Mr. Carson and I thought
there was not another man in the United States equal to him--and
there never has been, in his line. Besides, since the death of my
mother he was the only one who had taken the slightest interest in
me, or treated me like a human being, barring, of course, the
Beckets and those persons who had helped me on my long walk from
Nashville to St. Louis.

Finally Mr. Carson--whom I had now learned to address as Uncle
Kit--said to me, one morning, that as my gun was about completed
we would make preparations to start West. So we went out to a
farm, about two miles from St. Louis, to get the horses from where
Uncle Kit had left them to be cared for during the winter.

We went on foot, taking a rope, or riatta, as it is called by
frontiersmen, and on the way to the farm I could think or talk of
nothing but my new rifle, and the buffalo, deer, antelope and
other game that I would kill when I reached the plains. Uncle Kit
remarked that he had forgotten to get me a saddle, but that we
would not have to wait to get one made, as there were plenty of
saddles that would fit me already made, and that he would buy me
one when he got back to town.

When we reached the farm where the horses were, Uncle Kit pointed
out a little bay pony that had both his ears cropped off at the
tips, and he said:

"Now Willie, there is your pony. Catch him and climb on," at the
same time handing me the riatta.

The pony being gentle I caught and mounted him at once, and by the
time we had got back to town money could not have bought that
little crop-eared horse from me. As will be seen, later on, I kept
that pony and he was a faithful friend and servant until his
tragic death, years afterward.

In two days we had a pack-train of twenty horses rigged for the
trip. The cargo was mostly tobacco, blankets and beads, which
Carson was taking out to trade to the Indians for robes and furs.
Of course all this was novel to me as I had never seen a pack-
saddle or anything associated with one.

A man named Hughes, of whom you will see much in this narrative,
accompanied and assisted Uncle Kit on this trip, as he had done
the season before, for besides his experience as a packer, he was
a good trapper, and Uncle Kit employed him.



It was on the morning of May 3, 1847, that we rounded up the
horses and Uncle Kit and Mr. Hughes began packing them.

It being the first trip of the season some of the pack-ponies were
a little frisky and would try to lie down when the packs were put
on them. So it became my business to look after them and keep them
on their feet until all were packed.

Everything being in readiness, I shook hands, good-bye, with my
much-esteemed friend, Henry Becket, who had been helping me with
the pack-horses, and who also coveted my crop-eared pony, very
naturally for a boy. Then we were off for a country unknown to me,
except for what Uncle Kit had told me of it.

My happiness seemed to increase, if that were possible. I was
unspeakably glad to get away from St. Louis before Mr. Drake had
learned of my whereabouts, and up to the time of this writing I
have never been back to St. Louis, or Tennessee, nor have I heard
anything of Mr. Drake or my ancient enemy, the angel of Erebus.

From St. Louis we struck out westward, heading for Ft. Scott,
which place is now a thriving little city in southeastern Kansas,
but then the extreme out-edge of settlement.

The first day out we traveled until about 2 o'clock in the
afternoon, when we came to a fine camping place with abundance of
grass, wood and water.

Uncle Kit, thinking we had traveled far enough for the first day,

"I reckon the lad is gittin' tired, Hughes, 's well as the horses,
an' I think we'd better pull up for the day."

I was glad to hear this, for I had done more riding chat day than
in any one day in my life, before.

Uncle Kit told me it would be my job, on the trip as soon as my
horse was unsaddled, to gather wood and start a fire, while he and
Mr. Hughes unpacked the animals. So I unsaddled my horse, and by
the time they had the horses unpacked I had a good fire going and
plenty of water at hand for all purposes. Mr. Hughes, meantime,
got out the coffee-pot and frying-pan, and soon we had a meal that
I greatly enjoyed and which was the first one for me by a camp-

After we had eaten, and smoked and lounged for a while, Uncle Kit
asked me if I did not wish to try my rifle.

Of course I did.

So taking a piece of wood and sharpening one end that it might be
driven into the ground, he took a piece of charcoal and made on
the flat side of the wood a mark for me to shoot at.

"Now Willie," said Uncle Kit, "if you ever expect to be a good
hunter you must learn to be a good shot, and you can't begin
practicin' too soon."

I had never fired a gun, but I had made up my mind to be a mighty
hunter and so started in for shooting practice with much zeal.
Uncle Kit gave me few instructions about How to hold the gun, and
I raised the rifle to my face and fired the first shot of my life.

I do not know how close my bullet came to that mark, nor how far
it missed, for the wood was untouched. But I tried it again and
with much better success, for this time I struck the stick about
eight inches below the mark. This was great encouragement and from
that on I could scarcely take time to eat meals in camp, in my
anxiety to practice, and I was further encouraged by Uncle Kit's
approval of my desire to practice.

One evening I overheard Uncle Kit say to Mr. Hughes, "That boy is
going to make a dead shot afterwhile."

This gave me great faith in my future as a hunter and Uncle Kit
and Mr. Hughes seemed to take great delight in teaching me all the
tricks of rifle marksmanship.

After we had traveled about two days we came to a belt of country
where there were wild turkeys in great numbers, and on the morning
of the third day out, Uncle Kit called me early, saying:

"Come Willie, jump up now, an' le's go an' see if we can't git a
wild turkey for breakfast." He had heard the turkeys that morning
and knew which direction to go to find them.

I rolled out and was quickly dressed and ready.

When near the turkey haunt Uncle Kit took a quill from his pocket
and by a peculiar noise on the quill called the turkeys up near to
him, then took aim at one, fired and killed it.

"Now Willie," he said, "do you think you can do that to-morrow

I told him that I thought if I could get close enough, and the
turkeys would stand right still, I believed I could fetch one. And
I desired to know if it was certain that there would be turkeys
where we were to camp that night.

"Oh, yes;" said he, "thar'll be plenty of 'em for some days yit."

Early the next morning Uncle Kit called me as usual, and said,
"Git up now, an' see what you can do for a turkey breakfast."

Instantly I was on my feet, Uncle Kit showed me the direction to
go, loaned me his turkey-call quill, which, by the way, he had
been teaching me how to use as we rode the day before.

I shouldered my rifle and had not gone far when I heard the
turkeys, up the river. Then I took the quill and started my turkey
tune. Directly a big old gobbler came strutting towards me and I
called him up as near to me as he would come, for I wanted to make
sure of him.

Uncle Kit had told me about the "buck-ague" and I knew I had it
when I tried to draw a bead on that big gobbler. I had never shot
at a living thing, and when I leveled my rifle it was impossible
to control my nerves.

The turkey seemed to jump up and down, and appeared to me to be as
big as a pony, when I looked at him along the rifle. Two or three
times I tried to hold the bead on him, but could not. Now I
wouldn't have missed killing him for anything, in reason, for I
feared that Uncle Kit and Mr. Hughes would laugh at me.

At last, however, the sights of my gun steadied long enough for me
to pull the trigger, and to my great delight--and I may as well
admit, surprise--Mr. Gobbler tumbled over dead when I fired, and
he was so heavy as to be a good load for me to carry to camp.

Now I was filled with confidence in myself, and became eager for a
shot at bigger game; antelope, deer or buffalo.

In a few days we passed Ft. Scott and then we were entirely beyond
the bounds of civilization.

From that on, until we reached our destination, the only living
things we saw were jack-rabbits, prairie-dogs, antelope, deer,
buffalo, sage-hens and Indians, barring, of course, insects,
reptiles and the like, and the little owls that live with the
prairie-dogs and sit upon the mounds of the dog villages, eyeing
affairs with seeming dignity and wisdom.

The owls seem to turn their heads while watching you, their bodies
remaining stationary, until, it has been said, you may wring their
heads off by walking around them a few times. I would not have my
young friends believe, however, that this is true. It is only a
very old joke of the plains.

The first herd of buffalo we saw was along a stream known as Cow
Creek and which is a tributary to the Arkansas river. We could see
the herd feeding along the hills in the distance.

Here was good camping ground and it was time to halt for the
night. So as soon as we had decided on the spot to pitch camp,
Uncle Kit directed me to go and kill a buffalo, so that we might
have fresh meat for supper.

That suited me, exactly, for I was eager to get a shot at such big

Uncle Kit told me to follow up the ravine until opposite the herd
and then climb the hill, but to be careful and not let the buffalo
see me.

I followed his instructions to the dot, for I had come to believe
that what Kit Carson said was law and gospel, and what he didn't
know would not fill a book as large as Ayer's Almanac. I was
right, too, so far as plainscraft was concerned.

Uncle Kit had also directed me to select a small buffalo to shoot
at, and to surely kill it, for we were out of meat.

It so happened that when I got to the top of the hill and in sight
of the herd again the first animal that seemed to present an
advantageous shot was a two-year-old heifer.

I dropped flat on the ground and crawled toward her, like a snake.
Once she raised her head, but the wind being in my favor, she did
not discern me, but put her head down and went on feeding. I
succeeded in crawling quite close enough to her, drew a bead on
her and fired. At the crack of the rifle she came to the ground,
"as dead as a door-nail," much to the surprise of Uncle Kit and
Mr. Hughes, who were watching me from a distance.

When the animal fell, I threw my hat in the air and gave a yell
that would have done credit to an Apache warrior.

Uncle Kit and I dressed the buffalo and carried the meat into camp
while Mr. Hughes gathered wood for the night-fires.

I could scarcely sleep that night for thinking of my buffalo, and
could I have seen Henry Becket that night I would almost have
stunned him with my stories of frontier life.

The novice is ever enthusiastic.

The following morning we woke up early, and off, still heading up
the Arkansas river for Bent's Fort, and from here on the buffalo
were numerous, and we had that sort of fresh meat until we got
good and tired of it.

The second day out from Cow Creek, in the afternoon, we saw about
twenty Indians coming towards us. At the word, "Indians," I could
feel my hair raise on end, and many an Indian has tried to raise
it since.

This was my first sight of the red man. He looked to me to be more
of a black man.

Uncle Kit asked Mr. Hughes what Indians he thought they were. The
reply was that he thought them to be Kiowas, and on coming up to
them the surmise proved to be correct.

They were Black Buffalo, the chief of the Kiowas, and his
daughter, accompanied by twenty warriors.

Black Buffalo, and indeed all the Kiowa tribe, were well
acquainted with Uncle Kit and had great respect for him. So a
general hand-shaking and pow-wow followed.

Carson spoke their language as well as they could, and
consequently had no difficulty conversing with them.

In those days very few Indians knew a word of English,
consequently all conversation with them had to be carried on in
the several tribal languages or dialects, or in the jargon.

This latter was a short language composed of Indian, French and
English words, and was called "Chinook." It originated with the
fur traders of Astoria, Ore., and its growth was assisted by
missionaries, until it became the means of communication between
the whites and the Indians of the coast and interior of the vast
Northwest, and even between Indians whose dialects were unknown to
each other. In short it was a sort of Indian "Volapuk," and was
very easily mastered. There has been a dictionary of it printed,
and I have known a bright man to acquire the vocabulary in two or
three days.

Black Buffalo and his little band shortly turned about and rode
back to their village, which was only two miles away. But they
first invited us to visit them, which we did, as not to have done
so would have been a violent breach of plains etiquette, that
might cause a disruption of friendship.

In the Indian village, after our horses had been unpacked and
turned out to graze, Uncle Kit and Black Buffalo strolled about
among the lodges or wick-i-ups, of which there were something like
fifteen hundred. I followed very closely for I was mortally afraid
to get fifteen feet away from Uncle Kit, in that sort of company.

Black Buffalo did us the honor, that evening, to take us to his
own private wick-i-up for supper. It was a custom with this, and
many other tribes of Indians, that conveyed great distinction to
visitors, to kill and cook for them a nice fat dog. However, I was
not then aware that I was so distinguished a guest, as indeed
neither I nor Mr. Hughes would have been had we not been in the
company of Kit Carson. With him we shone by reflected greatness.

While we were out on our walk about the village, Black Buffalo's
cook was preparing this distinguishing feast for us.

I had kept unusually quiet all the time we were among the Indians,
not even asking one question, which was very remarkable in me. For
I presume that on the journey I had asked more questions to the
lineal mile than any boy ever had before.

But I ate the dog in silence and liked it. Of course I had no idea
what the meat was. So, Uncle Kit observing the gusto with which I
was devouring dog, asked me if I knew what the meat was. I told
him that I did not, but supposed it to be antelope, or buffalo. He
informed me that it was neither, but good, healthy dog.

I thought he was joking, and simply replied that it was mighty
good meat, even if it was dog, and gave the matter no further
reflection, at the time.

The next day, when Uncle Kit and Mr. Hughes assured me that it was
really dog meat, we had eaten the night before, I felt very much
like throwing up everything I had eaten at the village, but it was
too late then.

After supper, that night in the Indian village, we had what was
called a "peace smoke." The Chief selected about a dozen of his
braves, and all being seated in a circle, two of our party on one
side of the Chief, and Uncle Kit at his right, a pipe was lit and
the Chief took one whiff, the smoke of which he blew up into the
air. He then took another whiff, and turning to his chief guest,
handed him the pipe, who blew a whiff into the air and the second
one into the face of the host. This performance having been gone
through with for each guest, the Chief then handed the pipe to the
first Indian on his right, and thus it went around the circle,
each Indian blowing a whiff into the air.

It was considered a great breach of etiquette to speak, or even
smile, during this ceremony.

This Indian village was situated at Pawnee Rock, on the Arkansas
river, in a beautiful valley, in what is now the southwest corner
of Benton Co., Kan. The wick-i-ups were made of poles set on ends,
gathered together at the top, and covered with buffalo skins from
which the hair had been removed.

The Kiowas were, at that time, the most numerous tribe of Indians
in the United States.

Early the next morning after our dog-feast and peace-smoke, our
party was up and off, and I was particularly glad to get away,
feeling that I would rather camp out and feed on buffalo,
antelope, jack-rabbits and wild turkey than dwell in the lodges of
Kiowas and be "honored" with banquets of the nicest dogs in all
that region.

We took the Santa Fe trail and the buffalo were so numerous along
the way that we had to take some pains to avoid them, as when they
were traveling or on a stampede, nothing could turn or stop them
and we would be in danger of being ground to atoms beneath their
thousands of hoofs.

In two days more of travel we reached another Indian village, on
another beautiful plain, in what is now Pawnee Co., Kan. Here the
country was so level that one could see for miles in any
direction, and the sun rising or setting, seemed to come up or go
down, as a great golden disk, out of or into the earth. We could
see many bands of wild horses feeding on the luxuriant grasses,
and little did I think, then, that I would live to see the day
when that broad and unfenced plain would be converted into homes
for hundreds of the pale-faced race.

We were met on the outskirts of the village by White Horse, Chief
of the Comanches, who, being an intimate friend of Uncle Kit,
shook hands with us and conducted us to his own wick-i-up. There
we unpacked the animals and piled up our goods, and White Horse
detailed an Indian to guard the packs day and night.

After our horses had been picketed out to grass, the Chief took us
into his lodge to dine with him, and here again we had boiled dog
and the peace smoke.

White Horse insisted upon our being his guests until morning, it
being about noon when we arrived, and as our horses were much
jaded we decided to give them the advantage of such a rest.

The Comanche Chief was most exceedingly hospitable, in his way,
and would not allow us to eat of our own provisions, but insisted
upon our eating with him, and "trotted" out the best "grub" he

After breakfast the next morning our horses were brought in by the
Indians, who also helped us to pack, and we struck the trail
again, accompanied by White Horse and his daughter, who traveled
with us all that day and camped with us at night.

That evening Uncle Kit killed a fine buffalo calf, and I thought
it the best meat I had ever eaten--even better than dog.

The following morning the Chief and his daughter returned to the
village, and we proceeded on our journey.

That day, riding along on my crop-eared pony, about fifty yards
behind my companions, I chanced to look behind me and I saw what I
thought to be a man, walking on a hill towards us, and he appeared
to be at least twenty feet high. As he got further down the hill
he appeared to grow shorter, until, I thought, he went down a
ravine and out of sight.

I put spurs to Croppy and galloped up to Uncle Kit, and told him I
had seen the tallest man on earth, declaring that the man was at
least twenty feet high.

"An' you saw a man that high?" said Uncle Kit

"Indeed I did," I replied.

"Sure you saw him?" he asked.

"Yes, sir; and if you will watch you will see him come up out of
the ravine, directly."

Uncle Kit, laughing, said: "It was not a man you saw, my boy, but
a mirage," and he explained to me the phenomena, which I became
familiar with in the years that followed.

Sometimes the mirages present to the vision what appear to be men,
at other times bodies of water surrounded by trees, and often
houses and whole towns. They appear before you on the dryest
plains and then disappear as if the earth opened and swallowed

Early in June we reached Bent's Fort and met there Col. Bent and
his son, Mr. Roubidoux and his son, and a man named James Bridger,
of whom you will see a great deal, later on in this narrative.
These men were all traders, buying furs and buffalo robes from
Indians, white hunters and trappers.

We remained at Bent's Fort six weeks, and often during that time
some one of the many hunters, trappers and traders, that made this
place their headquarters, would ask Uncle Kit what he was going to
do with that boy--meaning me. To all of which Carson would reply
"I'm goin' to make a hunter and trapper of him."

During the six weeks at the fort I was out nearly every day with
some of the men, and to me they gave the name of "Young Kit."

By the time we were ready to leave Bent's Fort, Young Kit became
quite a rider, and Uncle Kit had been training me in the dexterous
use of the rifle, shooting from my knee, lying on my back, resting
the gun on my toes, lying flat on my belly, resting the gun on my
hat, and in various other positions.

Having disposed of all our blankets, beads and all of the tobacco,
except what was reserved for home consumption, we left Bent's
Fort, crossed the Arkansas river and followed up Apishapa creek
three days, when we came to the Rocky Mountains, among which we
were during four days, passing Trinkara Peak then turning south
toward a little Mexican village called Taos, where Uncle Kit made
his home, he having a house of his own in that village.

On the morning after our arrival at Taos, Uncle Kit said to me at

"Willie, there are a lot of Mexican boys here who would like to
play with you."

Some of them were standing near in a group, gazing at me in much

"But," continued Uncle Kit, "you will have to learn to speak their
language in order to have much fun. Go with them if you wish, and
tell me to-night how many words you have learned."

Then he spoke to the group of boys in their own tongue and told
them I wished to play with them but couldn't speak their language,
and wanted to learn.

We had a jolly time that day in many boyish games that I had never
seen, and when I came home Uncle Kit asked me how many words I had

"Three," I replied.

"Splendid!" he exclaimed. "'Twont be long fo' you are a fus'-class

One evening, after we had been in Taos about two weeks, Uncle Kit
told me to put on my best suit and he would take me to a fandango.
I was not sure what a fandango was but was willing to experience
one, just the same, and, togged out in our best, we went to the
fandango, which was simply a Mexican dance. Sort of a public ball.

I looked on that night with much interest, but declined to
participate further than that. I learned better in a little while,
and the fandango, with the tinkle of guitars and mandolins, the
clink of the cavalleros' spurs, and the laugh and beauty of the
Mexican senoritas, became a great pleasure to me.

Thus began our life at the little Mexican town of Taos, the home
of that great hero of the West, Kit Carson.



One evening in October as I was getting ready to retire for the
night, Uncle Kit said to me:

"Now Willie, to-morrow you must put in the day moulding bullets,
for we must begin making preparations to go trapping."

This was pleasant news to me, for I had laid around so long with
nothing to do but skylark with those Mexican boys, that life was
getting to be monotonous.

The reader will understand that in those early days we had only
muzzle-loading guns, and for every one of those we had to have a
pair of bullet-moulds the size of the rifle, and before starting
out on an expedition it was necessary to mould enough bullets to
last several weeks, if not the entire trip, and when you realize
that almost any time we were liable to get into a "scrap" with the
Indians, you can understand that it required a great number of
these little leaden missiles to accommodate the red brethren, as
well as to meet other uses.

That evening after I had gone to bed, Mr. Hughes said:

"Kit, what are you going to do with that boy?"

"What boy?" asked Uncle Kit, as if he were astonished.

"Why, Willie. What are you going to do with him while we are away

"Why, take him along to help us, of course."

"Thunderation!" exclaimed Hughes; "he will only be a bother to us
in the mountains."

I had been with Kit Carson three months, and this was the first
time I had seen him, apparently, out of humor. But at Hughes' last
remark, he said in a decidedly angry tone:

"Jim Hughes, I want you to understand that wherever I go that boy
can go, too, if he likes."

Hughes seeing that Carson did not like what he had said about
"that boy," turned the matter off by saying that he had only made
the remark to tease the boy.

Next morning Uncle Kit started a Mexican lad out to round up the
horses, and the next two days were spent in fixing up our pack-
saddles preparatory for the trip.

Our horses were as fat as seals, as there was no end to the range
for them in this part of the country.

All being in readiness we pulled out from Taos, four of us, Uncle
Kit, Mr. Hughes, myself and a Mexican boy named Juan. The latter
went along to bring our horses back home.

We crossed back over that spur of the Rocky Mountains that we had
came in through, and struck the Arkansas river near where Pueblo,
Colo., now stands, and from here we polled for the headwaters of
that river, carefully examining every stream we came to for beaver

We saw abundance of game on the trip, such as antelope, deer and

When we had traveled up the river about two days, Uncle Kit
thought it was not best to take the horses any further as the
country was now too rough for them, so we spent the next two days
caching our cargo.

As some may not know what a cache is, I will explain.

Cache is French for "hide." A hole is dug in the ground and the
things to be hidden are put in there and covered with brush, then
with dirt, then more brush and more dirt, and the whole is covered
with turf, to make the surface look as natural as possible, so
that it is not likely to be discovered by Indians at a distance.

We having about a thousand pounds of stores to cache, it was no
small job.

On the morning of the third day in this camp, we all started out
to kill some game for Juan to take back home. Mr. Hughes started
out in one direction and Uncle Kit and I in the opposite. We had
gone but a short distance, when, looking across a canyon, I saw a
herd of some kind of animals and asked Uncle Kit what they were.
He told me they were bison, and complimented me on having such
good eyes.

Bison, by the way, is the distinctive name in that region for
mountain buffalo, all buffalo belonging to the bison family.

We then started on a round-about way to try and get in gunshot of
the herd, in which we were successful. When we had got in gunshot
of them and he had pointed out the one for me to shoot at, he

"Now take a rest on that big rock, and when I count three, pull
the trigger, and be sure that you break its neck."

The guns went off so near together that I turned and asked Uncle
Kit why he didn't shoot, too, for I did not think that he had
fired; but as soon as the smoke from our guns had cleared away, I
saw two bison kicking their last.

After dressing the animals we returned to camp and learned that
Mr. Hughes had killed two deer, which, with the two bisons, were
enough to load the pack-horses.

We were now in the extreme south end of South Park, which was
mostly a prairie country, except along the streams, and more or
less pine trees were scattered here and there along the hillsides.

Next morning we loaded the pack-horses with the game and Juan
started back home, alone, with the horses.

After we had seen him off, we rolled up our blankets and taking
enough provisions to last several days, we "packed up our packs"
and pulled out up the Arkansas again.

This, to me, was like breaking a colt to the saddle, only I didn't

Notwithstanding I had a light pack, for I was a light subject, it
was hard work for me. Mr. Hughes had been out the year before, and
being a grown man, it did not worry him as it did me. However, we
traveled very slowly, looking well all the time for beaver sign.

In the afternoon of the second day we came to where there was
plenty of beaver sign. In fact the trees they had gnawed down were
so thick that we could not travel along the river, but had to take
to the hillsides.

We camped that night at the mouth of a little stream that empties
into the Arkansas, and the following morning, after looking over
the trapping ground, the two men selected a place to build our
winter quarters, and we went to work. They worked at the cabin
while I killed the game for our meat and did the cooking, my
outfit being a frying-pan, a coffee-pot and a tin cup for each of

They were about two weeks getting our cabin, or dugout, completed.
It was made by first digging out a place in the hillside, about
twelve feet square, and building up the front with logs, then
brush and pine boughs, and then the whole with dirt, the door was
made of hewed logs, fastened together with crossed pieces by means
of wooden pins, and it was hung on heavy wooden hinges.

Our winter quarters being thus completed, Uncle Kit and Mr. Hughes
set out one morning for the cache, intending to return that same
evening. Before starting they told me to go out some time during
the day and kill a small deer, that I would be able to carry to
camp, and have a good lot of it cooked for supper, as they would
be very hungry when they returned that night. They started
sometime before daylight, and I stayed around the cabin, clearing
things up and cutting wood, until about ten o'clock, then cleaned
up my rifle and started out to kill the deer. It was an easy
matter to find one, for they were as thick in that country as
sheep on a mutton farm. But, boy-like, I wandered off up the
canyon about two miles before I found a deer that just suited me,
and I wanted to see the country, anyway.

At last I found a little deer that I thought about the right thing
and I killed and dressed it--or rather undressed it--threw it on
my shoulder and pulled for camp.

Instead of going the way I had come, I climbed out on the ridge to
avoid the down timber, that was so thick in the creek bottom. When
I was near the top of the ridge, I looked off a short distance and
saw three Indians, on foot, going down the ridge in the direction
of our dug-out.

I had often heard Uncle Kit tell how the Indians robbed the camps
of trappers and that they invariably burned the cabins.

As soon as I got sight of the Indians, I dropped back over the
ridge, for, luckily, they had not got sight of me. In a few
seconds I did some powerful thinking, and I came to the conclusion
that it would never do to let them find our dug-out, for while it
would hardly burn, they might carry off our bedding, or destroy
it. So I crawled up to a log, took good aim at the leader and
fired, striking him just under the arm, bringing him down. The
other two dropped to their knees, and looked all around, and I
suppose the only thing that saved me was the wind was coming from
them to me and blew the smoke from my gun down the canyon, so that
they did not see where the shot came from.

I heard Uncle Kit tell of lying on his back and loading his rifle,
when in a close place, so I did likewise and crawled up to my log
again. The remaining two Indians, having looked all around and
seeing no one, had got on their feet again, and were standing with
bow and arrow in hand, each having a quiver full of arrows on his
back, and if they had got sight of me that would have been the
last of Young Kit. But I took aim at one of them and fired, with
the same result as before. As my second Indian fell, the third one
started back up the ridge, in the direction from which they had
come, and if I ever saw an Indian do tall sprinting, that one did.
I watched him until he was out of sight, and then loaded my gun,
shouldered my deer and went to where the two Indians were lying.
They were both as dead as dried herring.

I had never seen an Indian scalped, but had often heard how it was
done, so I pulled my hunting-knife and took their top-nots, and
again started for the dug-out, a great hunter and Indian fighter,
in my own estimation.

I hung the scalps up inside the dug-out, directly in front of the
door, so that Uncle Kit and Mr. Hughes would see them the first
thing on entering the cabin. Then I set about getting supper, all
the while thinking what a mighty deed I had done in saving our
cabin, which was probably true.

The two men did not return until after dark and they were very
tired and hungry, having walked forty miles that day, carrying on
the return trip a hundred pounds each. That is a heavy load for a
man to carry twenty miles, but they did it, and it was no uncommon
thing for the hardy frontiersmen of that day to perform like feats
of strength and endurance.

When they pushed open the heavy log door, the scalps were almost
in their faces.

"Who did this?" said Uncle Kit, as he threw his heavy pack on the
dirt floor.

I told him and he was very much astonished.

"How was it, Willie?" he asked, and I told him the whole story.

While I was telling him the story, as briefly as I could, he
showed more agitation than I had ever seen him exhibit.

During all the time I had been with him, he had never spoken a
harsh word to me, up to this time. But while we were at supper he
said to me:

"My boy, don't let me ever hear of you taking such chances again.
Not that I care for you killin' the Injuns, but you took great
chances for losing your own hair, for had them redskins got sight
of you, by the time they had got through with you, your hide
wouldn't have held corn shucks. And it's a mystery to me that they
didn't see you."

The following morning after breakfast we all took a trip up the
canyon, where I had gone the morning before, and we took with us
twelve beaver traps that they had brought up from the cache, and
these we set at different places along the stream.

After they were set Uncle Kit asked me if I thought I could find
all of them again, and I said I thought I could.

"All right then," he said. "It will be your job to tend these
traps, until Jim and me get the balance of the stuff packed up
from the cache. Now le's go and see your Injuns."

I took them to where I had shot the two Indians, and Uncle Kit, as
soon as he saw them, said:

"They are Utes, and the wust hoss-thieves on the waters of the
Colorado. Willie, I'm dog-goned glad you killed 'em. I would a
give the best hoss I've got to a been here with you, for I think
Old Black Leg would a caught the other feller, afore he got to the
top o' the mountain."

"Black Leg" was Uncle Kit's pet name for his rifle.

That night, before going to bed, Uncle Kit said we must be up
early next morning, as he and Hughes would have to make another
trip to the cache, and that I must tend to the traps and keep a
sharp lookout for Indians "But whatever happens," he said, "don't
ever be taken prisoner."

They started very early the next morning, and as soon as it was
light I struck out to examine the traps. From the twelve I took
nine beaver, skinned them, reset the traps, returned to the dug-
out and stretched the skins.

The stretching is done by making a bow of a small willow or other
pliant wood, for each hide, and then pulling the hide over it. The
hides are thus left until they are dry, when the bows are taken
out and the hides are packed in a frame made for that purpose,
fifty in a bale.

All of this kind of work I had learned at Bent's Fort, while
there, from the many trappers there. Besides, Uncle Kit had given
me other lessons in the work.

Uncle Kit and Mr. Hughes made a trip to the cache every other day
until the stuff was all packed up to our winter quarters.

I had my hands full attending to the traps, as the men brought
more of them on the second trip, and they set enough of them to
make double work for me. One dozen traps is called a "string," and
it is considered one man's work, ordinarily, to "tend a string."

The two men brought all the stuff up from the cache in five trips.
On the day the last trip was made, I went out early, as usual, to
attend to the traps, of which we had thirty-six. That morning I
took twenty-three beaver, and seeing that it would be impossible
for me to skin them all, I set about to carry them to the dug-out.
If ever a boy worked, I did that day, and had just got through
carrying them in when Uncle Kit and Mr. Hughes returned.

After we had got caught up with our work and rested a few days,
Uncle Kit said one morning that we must be out early next day and
get our work done so that we could go and kill some elk. "For,"
said he, "we have got to have meat for the winter and we must have
some hides for beds."

In those days the trappers made their beds by first constructing a
frame or rough bedstand, over which they stretched a green elk
hide, securing that by thongs or strings cut from a green deer
skin. By lying on these at once, before they are dry, they get
shaped to the body and they make a first-class bed for comfort.

We were out early to the traps next morning, and the catch being
somewhat smaller than usual, we got through by 11 o'clock, and
after eating a "snack"--a lunch--we started on the elk hunt.

After going about four miles we jumped up a band of fifty elk,
which was considered a small herd then. But we didn't get close
enough to shoot any of them.

"Let 'em go," said Uncle Kit; "no doubt they will go to the
quaking-asp grove, and we can git 'em to-morrow." So we returned
to camp without any elk. But the next morning we went to the
quaking-asp thicket, and there, sure enough, we found the same
band of elk, and succeeded in killing five of them. Thus we had
enough meat to last a year, if we had wanted that much, and we had
skins enough for our beds and moccasins for the winter.

Now we were in no danger of starving, and from now on we could
devote our whole attention to the traps.

I had to work very hard that winter, but I was much better
contented than when I was with Drake and in the grasp of that old
"nigger wench."

Not until now did I tell Uncle Kit of the prank I played on the
black tyrant. I also told him why I was so anxious to get away
from St. Louis. That it was I feared Drake would discover me and
take me back to his farm and the society of his slaves.

Mr. Hughes here interrupted me to say: "Well Willie, you are safe
enough from Drake and the wench, but I think by the time you get
out o' here in the spring, you would much rather be with them."

I assured him, however, that he was mistaken, and that I was bent
on being a hunter and trapper.

"And an Indian fighter?" he added.

"Yes, and an Indian fighter, too, if you like;" I replied.

Well, we remained at this camp all winter, not seeing a person
outside of our own crowd, and to take it on the whole, it was one
of the most enjoyable winters of my life. It being my first winter
in the mountains, I was learning something new every day, and
whenever I found the track of any wild animal that I was not
acquainted with, I would report to Uncle Kit, and he would go
miles with me to see the sign, and would take great pains to tell
me what sort of an animal it was and all about its nature and

This was one of the most successful winter's trapping he had ever
had, as we were on entirely new ground, where trapping had not
been done before, and, moreover, the weather was particularly

Winter began to break up about a month earlier than usual, it
being toward the last days of March when the snow commenced going
off. We then took a pair of blankets each, and enough provisions
to last us on our trip, and started for Taos, the only kind of
provisions we had left being dried elk and venison. It was an easy
matter to cure meat in this style in that country, for the air is
so light that meat stuck upon the top of a pole eight or ten feet
high, will quickly become dried, or "jerked." Trappers seldom take
enough flour and coffee to last all winter, as it made too much
bulk and weight to pack so far. Sugar was almost unknown in a
trapper camp.

The second day after leaving the dug-out we met Juan, the Mexican
boy. He was not bringing our horses, but was carrying a letter for
Uncle Kit, from Col. John C. Fremont, asking him to come to Taos,
as he wished to employ him as guide for his expedition to

That evening, after reading the letter, Uncle Kit said: "Willie, I
have got to go to California in the summer to pilot Col. Fremont
through. Do you want to go along?"

I said I was perfectly willing to go anywhere that he went.

He said: "We will pass through some mighty rough country, and also
through the country of the Utes. If you go, you will, no doubt,
have plenty of chances to try your hand at shootin' Injuns, for
them Utes are tough nuts."

That didn't scare me a bit, for I was now sixteen years' old, had
killed and scalped two Indians, and had already begun to consider
myself a hunter and Indian fighter from away back. Besides, when
the story of my killing the two Indians got out, I came to be
generally called "the boy scalper." But Uncle Kit never spoke of
me in that way, for he always respected me as a father would his
own son.

Now Uncle Kit was anxious to reach Taos and meet Col. Fremont, so
we pushed on with all possible speed until the third day from
where we met Juan with the letter, we met Col. Fremont at the
crossing of the Arkansas river. He had became over-anxious and had
started out to meet us.

It was late in the afternoon, so we went into camp and had supper,
which consisted of dried venison and water, but for breakfast we
had a change of diet, which was dried elk and water.

We learned that Col. Fremont had been detailed the summer before
by the government to command an exploring expedition across the
continent, and, if possible, find a better route from the "States"
to California.

It leaked out that some of the trappers who did not like to have
him in the neighborhood of Bent's Fort, for their own selfish
motives, had misinformed him that first summer out, as to the lay
of the country, hoping thereby to mislead him and his company into
the mountains, where they would get snowed in and die of

Fremont and his party, consisting of twenty-eight men, had started
up the Black Canyon, and they did get snowed in and had to stop
for the winter.

They ran out of provisions and killed and ate some of their
horses, but the other horses died of starvation and six of the men
died of scurvy.

It being late when the Fremont party got into the mountains, and
the snow-fall being very deep, the game went early to the lowlands
and the men were forced to live on salt bacon and horse-flesh.
Even that became scarce and the entire company came near perishing
before spring.

In the camp with Col. Fremont that evening Uncle Kit and he made
their bargain. Carson was to furnish all the horses and was to
have the right to take as many extra men and horses as he liked,
also the right to trade for furs and send his men and their horses
back whenever he desired to do so.

After eating heartily of the dried venison and hearing Col.
Fremont's story of the dreadful experiences of his party in the
Black Canyon, it was bedtime, and each man rolled himself in his
blankets and soon all were sleeping, as tired men can, out on the

We had an early breakfast, each man's hunk of dried meat being
handy, so there was really no preparation to be made, except to
wash. No compulsion, however, as to that. But having distinguished
company, all hands washed this morning before squatting for

While we were eating, Fremont asked whose boy I was. Uncle Kit
replied that I was his boy, and "a first-class hunter and trapper,
and he shoots Injuns purty well, too." He then related the
incident of my killing the two Utes.

All arrangements having been made, Uncle Kit agreeing to meet Col.
Fremont at Bent's Fort in three weeks, they separated and we
pushed on for Taos. On arriving there Uncle Kit hired two Mexicans
to go back with Mr. Hughes to our beaver camp and get the furs,
and he gave instructions to take the furs to Santa Fe and dispose
of them. Uncle Kit then employed Juan and a Texan boy named John
West to assist us in fitting up for our California trip. So at the
end of three weeks we met Fremont at Bent's Fort as per agreement.

Fremont's company consisted of twenty-two men, and they were,
beyond doubt, the worst looking set of men I ever saw. Many of
them were scarcely able to walk from the effects of scurvy and
they were generally knocked out.

We had taken with us from Taos a pack-train loaded with
vegetables, such as potatoes, onions and the like, and after
Freemont's men had associated with those vegetables for a few
days, they came out fresh and smiling and were able to travel.

It was about the Middle of May, 1848, that we left Bent's Fort to
hunt a new route to the golden shores of California.

The first night out we camped at Fountain Qui Bouille--pronounced
Koh-boo-yah--and here a little incident occurred that created much
fun for all the party except one--that was me.

As soon as we went into camp, Carson told Johnnie West and me to
let Juan take our horses and for us to go out and kill some meat.

We started out in opposite directions, and I had not gone more
than a quarter of a mile when I saw a small deer, which I shot,
threw on my shoulder and pulled for camp. Only a few rods on the
way I came to a little mound of rock about three feet high, and from it
flowed a spring of the nicest looking, sparkling water I thought I had
ever seen. Being very thirsty, I made a cup of my hat by pinching the
rim together, dipped up some of the water and gulped it down, not
waiting to see whether it was hot or cold, wet or dry. But a
sudden change came over me. I felt a forthwith swelling under the
waistband of my buckskin breeches, and I seemed to have an
internal and infernal hurricane of gas, which in a second more
came rushing through my mouth and nostrils like an eruption from
Cotopaxi or Popocatapel. To say that I was frightened would be
putting it mild. I rushed down the hill like mad, and fairly flew
to camp and up to Uncle Kit, exclaiming as best I could, "I'm

"Pizened?" said Uncle Kit.

"Yes, poisoned;" and just then another rush of gas came through my

When the men saw me running so fast they grabbed their guns,
thinking the Indians were after me, and quickly surrounded me to
hear what was the matter.

Uncle Kit asked me how I got poisoned, and I told him of the
spring water I had drank, and asked him if he could do anything to
save my life. Then there was another eruption.

Uncle Kit laughed harder than I had ever seen him, but he told me,
as fast as he could, that I had drank from a soda spring and that
it would not hurt me. Everybody laughed and then all went to the
spring to get some of the "poisoned water," which was very good
when taken in reasonable quantities and in a reasonable way.

My gun, deer and hat were all lying near the spring, and I secured
them, but it was many a day before I heard the last of the "pizen-

Johnnie West came in soon after, having missed all the fun, and
Juan and I went with him, taking each a horse, and packed the game
into camp.

I was anxious to get away from camp on that little packing trip,
hoping the crowd would forget all about the soda-spring before I
returned, but I hoped in vain, for when I returned they laughed at
and joked me more than ever.

We traveled up the Arkansas river nearly a hundred miles, and as
we neared the snow-line the deer and elk were more plentiful and
we never went hungry for meat.

At Jimmie's Fork we turned to the left and followed that stream to
its head, then crossed over to the Blue river, which is a
tributary of the Colorado. Now we were in the Ute country, and had
to keep a sharp lookout for Indians. Every evening, after making
camp, Uncle Kit would climb to the top of the highest hill near us
to look for Indian camps, as it was an easy matter late in the
evening to discover their camps by the smoke from their fires. He
used to take me along with him, and he would point out different
landmarks in the country and would tell me to make close
observations, as I would have to return, without him, over the
same route and if I were not careful I might lose my way.

On the third day after crossing the divide, we met Tawson, chief
of the Apache tribes. Tawson had never met Carson but knew him by
reputation; but a number of the warriors were personally
acquainted with him.

The Indians all turned about and rode back with us to their
village, which was only a short distance away.

Uncle Kit being able to speak Spanish, as were all the Indians in
that country, he had quite a talk with the old chief, and in the
meantime he had bought all the furs the Indians had to sell.

When we were ready to start from the village, Carson said in

"Now, Tawson, I have always been a friend to your tribe and I will
tell you what I'm going to do. In about one moon I will start this
boy back through your country, with the horses and two other boys-
-referring to Juan and West--and if anything happens to them while
passing through your country I will hold you personally

The chief having heard a great deal of Carson, knew he meant just
what he said.

The third day after leaving the Apache village we reached the
Colorado river, and we had a hard time finding a suitable place to
cross. Finally we decided to build a raft of logs and ferry our
stuff on that, and swim the horses. This we did successfully, and
also cached the furs to keep them safe until my return.

As soon as we crossed the river we began to see signs of the Ute
Indians, and Uncle Kit told me to keep my rifle in trim as I might
need it soon.

The second day after crossing the river, about 4 o'clock in the
afternoon, and just as we had gone into camp, a band of about
forty Indians made a dash for our horses. This was the first time
I had ever heard the war-whoop, and it fairly made my hair stand
on end. Some of our crowd had seen the Indians while yet a
distance off, and when the men yelled "Indians! boys, Indians!" I
made a bee-line for Croppy, who had by this time fed himself away
about fifty yards from camp. When Col. Fremont saw me start on the
run, he asked me where I was going. I told him that I was going
for my pony as I didn't intend that the Utes should get him.

By the time I got to Croppy I could see the Indians coming, full
tilt, and some of the men had already fired upon them. I got back
to camp as fast as I could get Croppy to go, and when in a few
yards of the camp, I took a rest off of his back and fired, but I
missed my Indian. I reloaded as quickly as possible and laid my
gun on Croppy's back again, for another shot, and just then it
struck me that the reason I missed the first time was because I
didn't take good aim.

Uncle Kit had always taught me that it was not the fastest
shooting in an Indian fight that did the most execution, and that
it was better to fire one shot with good aim than four at random.

When I went to shoot the second time, Uncle Kit was near me, and
he said:

"Take good aim, Willie, before you fire."

I did take good aim and had the satisfaction of seeing the Indian
tumble to the ground. But whether I killed him or some one else
did, I could not say, for an absolute certainty, but I have always
thought he belonged to my list.

The Indians were no match for Col. Fremont's men, being only armed
with bows and arrows, and they beat a hasty retreat, closely
followed for a distance by the soldiers, who, however, did not get
any Indians on the run.

When the men returned to camp, and, as usual, after a scrap with
Indians, were telling how many red-skins they had killed, Uncle
Kit turned to me and asked how many I had got. I said, "one."

"Are you sure?" he asked.

"Well," I said, "I took a rest off of Croppy's back; with a good
aim, at the crack of my rifle, the Indian came down."

The crowd went with me to where I had seen the Indian fall, and
there he was, as useless for Indian work as Powhattan is.

Col. Fremont then asked the soldiers where were their dead
Indians, and Uncle Kit said:

"I reckon Willie is the only one that got his man. Didn't I tell
you, Colonel, that he could shoot Injuns?"

However, after looking around awhile, he found five more dead
Indians, and, doubtless, more were killed but were carried away by
their companions.

The only harm the Indians did our party was to wound two of
Fremont's men, slightly.

This was the last trouble we had with the Utes on the trip.

The second day from this little brush we struck a village of
Goshoot Indians, and there Uncle Kit bought enough furs to make
out his cargo.

We went into camp here for the night, but Uncle Kit and I did not
sleep much, as we were up very late as we did not expect to meet
again until the next spring, and he had a great deal to tell me
before we parted.

The following morning Johnnie West, Juan and I loaded up and
started for Santa Fe, and Uncle Kit went on to Los Angeles with
Col. Fremont, as guide.

Before I left camp that morning, Col. Fremont, unbeknown to Uncle
Kit, came to me and said:

"Willie, in about a year from now I will be on my way back to St.
Louis, and I will take you home with me if you would like to go. I
will send you to school and make a man of you. You are too good a
boy to spend your life here, in this wild country."

But I told him I was perfectly satisfied to remain with Kit

Had Uncle Kit known of that conversation I think he would have
been very much displeased, and it might have caused serious
trouble. Therefore I kept my own counsel and did not mention the
matter to Carson.

Us boys were four weeks making the return trip to Santa Fe, and we
did not see a hostile Indian on the way. I wondered much at that,
but a year or two afterward Uncle Kit told me that the Apaches saw
us every day and were protecting us, for he had seen Tawson on his
return and the chief told him that we had gone through safe.

We arrived at Santa Fe about the first of October, and there I met
Jim Hughes, who was waiting our arrival, and I was very glad to
see him. I gave him a letter that Uncle Kit had sent him
concerning our trapping for the coming winter.

Mr. Hughes said that he was glad that we had got back so early,
for it was time we were getting into the mountains for our winter

I asked him if we would trap in the same place as the winter
before, and he said we would not, as he had brought all the traps
out to Taos, and we would go the next winter up to North Park, as
he had just returned from there and knew we could put in a good
winter's work, as it was new trapping ground that had not been
worked, and it was a fine country, too.

Soon as we had got rid of our furs, which Mr. Hughes had sold
before our arrival, we pulled out for Taos and begun operations
for going to North Park.

All being in readiness in a few days thereafter, Mr. Hughes, Johnnie
West and I had started for the new trapping ground, taking Juan
along, again, to fetch our horses home. We had to travel over some
rough country on the way, but found the North Park a fine region,
with scattering pine timber on the hills and quaking-asp and
willows along the streams. I have been told that this park is now
owned by sheep men, and it is an excellent region for their

After looking around over our trapping field Mr. Hughes selected a
suitable place for our winter cabin, and we fell to work building
it. This time we built entirely above ground with pine logs, an
unusual thing for trappers to do.

As soon as our cabin was built, Juan returned to Taos with the
horses and we set into our winter's employment.

In those days hunters never wore boots or shoes, but moccasins
from the tanned hides of elk. This winter we made enough gloves
and moccasins to last us for two years, and each made himself a
buckskin suit, out and out.

Game was very plentiful in that country, such as moose, elk and
deer, and early in the winter a few mountain buffalo.

We were successful this winter, our beaver catch being nearly
eight hundred. The winter was also an unusually long one, lasting
until far into April.

After the snow had gone off so that we could travel, Jim Hughes,
who had been our foreman, in the absence of Carson, asked me if I
thought I could find the way back to Taos, which I said I could.
He said that one of us would have to go and get our horses to pack
the furs in on.

It was now the spring of 1849 and I was seventeen years old, but
it looked to me to be a big undertaking for a boy of my age, a
trip of three hundred miles, a foot and alone, with my rifle and
blankets; but some one had to go, and I agreed to tackle the trip.

This was on Saturday, and as we never worked on Sundays, except to
tend the traps, Mr. Hughes and Johnnie West talked the matter over
and decided that before I started away we had better cache the
furs and such traps as they would not use in my absence. This was
done, so that in the event of their being killed by the Indians, I
could find the furs on my return. It was a wise conclusion, as
will be seen later on.

It was the custom of the Utes to cross over the mountains in small
squads every spring and kill all the trappers they could find and
take their traps and furs.

On Monday morning we all set about to cache the furs and traps
that would not be used, and it took two days hard work to
accomplish the task. Then I made preparations to start on my
journey to Taos.

Mr. Hughes thought that as it would be a long and tedious trip, I
had better rest up a day or two before starting, but I thought
that as I had to make the trip I might as well begin first as
last, so Wednesday morning was set as the time for my start.



On the day set for my departure, having had our breakfast, Mr.
Hughes stepped outside of the cabin, and I was just rolling up try
blankets and a piece of dried venison, and Johnnie West was
sympathizing with me over the long and lonesome trip that was
before me, when all of a sudden Mr. Hughes came bounding into the
cabin and exclaimed.

"Get your guns and knives, boys. The Indians are upon us and we
must run for our lives."

Each man sprang for his gun, and by this time the Indians were in
sight of the cabin and had raised the war-whoop, which, again,
raised the hair on the head of your humble servant.

We made for the top of the hill, which was about one hundred and
fifty yards from the cabin, and slopped The Indians were by this
time at the cabin. Johnnie West counted them and said there were
twenty-seven all told.

We each fired a shot among them, but could not tell whether we
killed any of them or not. We then started on the run, loading our
guns as we ran, the Indians in hot pursuit of us.

After running about two miles, Johnnie West proposed that we make a
stand. We stopped on a little ridge, and did not have to wait long
until the Indians were in gun-shot of us.

"Now, Willie," said Mr. Hughes, "don't get excited and shoot too
quick, but take good aim and be sure that you get your Indian."

As they came up, each of us selected our Indian, fired and each
got his man. In a moment the smoke from our guns had cleared away,
and the whole band being in sight, Mr. Hughes said:

"Let's run for our lives. There are too many of them for us." And
run we did, loading as we flew.

We ran about five miles and made another stand, but not with the
same success as before, for we only got one Indian.

We had a running fight all that day and made three or four stands,
but could not tell how many Indians we killed, for we would fire
at them and then load our guns on the run. They having nothing but
loose arrows and tomahawks, we could easily keep out of danger.
But they figured on running us down.

That evening near sundown, Mr. Hughes asked me, as I was a little
faster on foot than the rest, to drop back far enough to count
them, which I did, and found there were eleven of them still in
pursuit of us.

When they saw me behind the other two they started the war-whoop
and did their best to overtake me, no doubt thinking I was tired
out and that the other two had left me. But they were disappointed
when I ran on and overtook my friends.

We were now in sight of a large body of timber, and Mr. Hughes
thought that if we could reach that by dark we might be able to
dodge the Indians and get away from them.

We reached the timber just at dark and tried very hard to dodge
our pursuers, but it seemed as though they could scent us like
blood-hounds, for we would no more than get stopped and lie down
to rest, when they would be upon us.

A number of times during the night we would build up a fire and
then go a hundred yards or so from it and lie down to rest, but
the redskinned devils kept close to us, and, consequently, we got
but little rest during the night.

The following morning we left the timber and took to the prairie.
After running some four miles we looked back and saw four Indians
very near to us and gaining at every step. Johnnie West proposed
that we stop and accommodate them, saying that he felt hungry and
tired enough to fight any two Indians in the band. So each man
selected his Indian and fired, and we succeeded in killing two of
them; the remaining two hid behind some big rocks until the others
came up and, again we were compelled to flee.

We ran for about two hours, when we stopped and made another fight
and killed two more Indians. This was kept up until late in the
afternoon, which made two days and one night that we had been
chased by these savages, with not a bite to eat during the whole
time, and we were getting so tired that we could scarcely raise
the trot.

We were now running down a long slope, when I looked at Mr. Hughes
and could see a change in his countenance. There was an expression
different from that which I had ever seen on his face before. Just
about a half mile ahead of on down a little flat, was a wash-out,
and Mr. Hughes said:

"Right down there by that little bunch of willows, at that wash-
out, is where I intend to make my last fight. Now you boys can do
as you please, but I am exhausted and can go no further."

Before we got to the wash-out, Johnnie West told Mr. Hughes to run
straight for the patch of willows, also telling me to turn to the
right, while he took to the left, and as soon as we were in the
wash-out for me to run to where Mr. Hughes was. This was to be
done to cause the Indians to scatter so they would not all be on
us at once, there now being seven of them in the gang.

Johnnie West told me to take a bandy-shanked-fellow on the left
and he would take one who had two feathers in his hair.

"All right," said Mr. Hughes, "and I'll take the leader."

We all took good aim and each of us brought down his Indian, but
we did not have time to load before the others were upon us, and
it ended in a hand-to-hand fight, besides it got to where each man
had to look out for himself.

One of the Indians came straight for me and dealt me a desperate
blow with his tomahawk, but I threw up my left hand and received a
severe cut in my wrist--the mark of which I carry to this day--at
the same time I struck him with my knife and almost cut him in two
As he was falling he threw his tomahawk at me with all the
vengeance in him, but missed my head and struck a rock just behind
me. I sprang at once and picked it up.

Mr. Hughes was fighting one of the Indians; the other two had
attacked Johnnie West, who was on his back with his head against
the bank of the wash-out, and they were trying to get a chance to
deal him a blow, but he was kicking at them with both feet and was
striking so fast with his knife that they had not yet been able to
get a lick in on him.

They were so busily engaged with Johnnie that I sprang at once,
unseen by them, and buried the tomahawk so deep in the head of one
of them that I was unable, for the moment, to recover it. As soon
as my Indian was out of the way, Johnnie was on his feet, quick as
the twinkling of an eye, and stabbed the remaining one through the
heart with his hunting-knife.

In the meantime Mr. Hughes was having a hard fight with his
Indian. He succeeded in killing the red fiend but got badly used
up. He had a severe wound in the shoulder, also one in the thigh.
I received a cut in the wrist, and Johnnie West did not get a
severe wound, in fact but little more than a scratch.

The fight and flight being now ended, we went a few rods to a
little clump of pine trees, where Mr. Hughes dropped down and
said: "Boys, there's no use of talking, I can't go any further; I
think I have done my last trappin' and Injun fightin'."

I gathered some limbs and chunks and started a fire, while Johnnie
pulled Mr. Hughes' moccasins off and bathed his feet and legs with
cold water. They were swollen almost to twice their usual size.

The fire being started, Johnnie proposed that we lie down and take
a nap and a rest before starting out to hunt for meat, saying it
was impossible for him to stand on his feet any longer. "My legs,"
said he, "are swollen clear to my body." I was too hungry to
sleep, so I proposed that Johnnie stay and care for Mr. Hughes and
I would take my gun and go out and kill some game, which was
plentiful in this part of the country. I had not gone more than a
quarter of a mile when I looked up the ridge and saw a small deer
coming down almost in the direction of where I stood, and never
before in my life had I cast my eyes on a living animal that
pleased me so much as did that one I waited until he was in
gunshot and fired. It ran about one hundred yards in the direction
of camp and fell dead I dressed it, cut off its head and carried
it to camp, and it was all I could do to get along with it in my
half-famished condition.

I found Hughes and West both sound asleep by the fire It was not
long before I had some of the venison cooked, and I had it
fashionably rare, at that. After I had wakened my companions and
we had broiled and eaten venison for a time, Johnnie and I rolled
some logs together and gathered pine knots and made a good fire.
Then we broiled more venison and ate again, until we got sleepy
and fell over by the side of the fire, lost to ourselves and
Indians. During the night we all woke up again, cooked and ate as
long as we could keep our eyes open, and by sun-up next morning
there was not enough of that little deer left to feed a cat.

We found ourselves very sore and stiff from the effects of our
run, but Mr. Hughes thought we were about one hundred miles nearer
Taos than when we started, as we had been running most of the time
in that direction, and this was some consolation.

We remained here and rested two days, and as game was plentiful we
did not have to go far from the camp to get all the meat we

On the morning of the third day we started for Taos, which was
about two hundred miles away, but all being so badly worn out and
Mr. Hughes having such severe wounds, we had to travel slowly, it
taking us about two weeks to make the trip. But we had no more
trouble with the Indians.

At Taos we met Uncle Kit Carson, who had been waiting our arrival
for two weeks. After resting up for a few days, Uncle Kit, Johnnie
West and myself started for North Park to pack out the furs. Mr.
Hughes stayed at Taos, as he was too badly wounded to accompany us
on the trip.

On our arrival at North Park we found everything just as we had
left it, except that the traps, which we had not cached with the
furs, had been stolen.

On our return trip we camped one evening in a beautiful little
valley where the grass was knee high, and along the little stream
were green quaking-asp, alder and willows, with scattering pine
trees here and there on the hills and in the valley. About sundown
that evening the horses commenced to show signs of uneasiness and
occasionally they would raise their heads and look in the
direction of a little pine grove near by, and snort. Johnnie West,
being the first to notice it, said: "Kit, what is the matter with
the horses? I believe there are Indians around."

"I don't think so," said Carson, "for I haven't seen any sign of
Injuns today."

Shortly after dark that night Uncle Kit went out about fifty yards
from camp in the direction of the horses, taking with him neither
his gun or his pistol, which was a rare thing for him to do. Just
as he was passing around a pine tree a panther sprang at him from
the tree. On hearing the rustle in the limbs, Carson jumped back
from the tree as far as he could and thus avoided the full force
of the blow from the panther. As he jumped back he drew his knife
and had a hand-to-hand fight with the huge feline and succeeded in
killing it.

Johnnie and I sat at the camp-fire, knowing nothing of the affair
until Uncle Kit came in, covered with blood from head to foot, and
his heavy buckskin shirt, which had no doubt been the means of
saving his life, was torn almost into strings. When he told us he
had been engaged in a fight with some kind of a wild animal,
Johnnie asked why he did not call for help, and his reply was that
he did not have time to call as he had his hands full with the

After we had dressed his wounds as best we could, we took a torch
and went to the foot of the pine tree, and there lay the panther,
dead. He had stabbed it to the heart.

Uncle Kit had a very bad wound in one thigh, also in one arm, so
we did not move camp next day, but the day after we proceeded on
our journey. We took our furs to Santa Fe, where we disposed of
them at a good price, furs being higher that season than usual.

Our furs being disposed of we returned to Taos and rested for
about two weeks.



Uncle Kit, having made quite a sum of money, concluded that he
would take a trip over to the headwaters of the Cache-la-Poudre to
look for a new field where he could trap the coming winter on a
large scale, and wanted Johnnie and I to accompany him, which we

Each taking a saddle-horse and one pack animal, we started on the
trip, taking a new route to Uncle Kit, as well as to Johnnie and

Carson took the lead, for, like a deer, he could find his way
anywhere he wished to go.

We crossed the Arkansas river above Bent's Fort, and from here we
traveled along the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, striking the
Platte at the mouth of Cherry creek, which is now the center of
Denver City, Colo. Here we met Mountain Phil--of whom you will
hear more in this narrative. He was living in a wick-i-up and had
a squaw for a wife. Uncle Kit and I, being acquainted with him,
stopped and had a chat with him while our horses were feeding.
Uncle Kit asked him what he intended to do the coming winter, and
he replied:

"I will trap for you if you like, but you will have to furnish me
with an outfit, for I have none of my own."

"All right, Phil," said Carson, "I will give you a job, but you
will have to stop alone, for none of my men will live with you."

"All right," said Phil, "me and Klooch will be enough to stop in
one cabin, anyway."

These things being understood we rode off, Mountain Phil agreeing
to meet us at Taos about two months from that time.

After we rode away I asked Uncle Kit why no one would live with
Mountain Phil. His reply was, "Phil is a very bad man, and I yet
have to hear the first man speak a good word for him."

Late that afternoon we saw a little band of Indians--ten in
number--coming toward us, and when near them we saw that they were
Arapahoes and Gray Eagle, the chief, was with them. Uncle Kit
being well acquainted, all shook hands, and the chief insisted on
our going to their camp and staying all night with them. Uncle Kit
knowing the nature of the Indians, and knowing that Gray Eagle
would take it as an insult if we should refuse to visit him,
turned about and went home with him. He sent two of his men ahead
to the village, and we were met by about five hundred warriors
with all the women and children of the village. Just at the outer
edge of the village we were honored with what they considered a
great reception.

Gray Eagle took us to his own wick-i-up, his men taking charge of
our horses and packs. I had learned to speak the Arapahoe language
fairly well and could understand anything they said. When supper
time came, Gray Eagle came to Uncle Kit and said: "I have a great
feast for you; my men have killed a very fat dog; supper is ready,
come in and eat."

I remarked to Uncle Kit as we were going to supper, that I was
very glad we came home with Gray Eagle, for it had been a long
time since I had had a good meal of dog.

Supper being over, the chief got his pipe and selected six men
from his tribe and we had a peace-smoke, and he and Uncle Kit
smoked and talked nearly all night. During their conversation that
night he said that Mountain Phil was a very bad man, and that he
would often steal their horses and sell them to the Comanches.

Next morning after breakfast our horses were brought in, saddled
up and we were off on our journey again to Cache-la-Poudre.

It might be of interest to our readers to know how this stream
acquired its name. There was a Frenchman by the name of Virees
Roubidoux camped on the stream spoken of, with a little squad of
men; they were attacked by a band of Indians, and the first word
uttered by Roubidoux was "Cache-la-poudre," which means in
English, "hide the powder," and from that time on the stream has
been so called.

We arrived at our proposed trapping field, and after looking over
the country we found plenty of beaver sign along the streams and
game in abundance, and Uncle Kit decided that there was room
enough for four camps.

We returned by the way of Bent's Fort, as Uncle Kit wished to
employ the best men he could get to trap for him the coming
winter. On our way to the fort, which was four hundred miles from
the proposed trapping ground, Uncle Kit told me that he would have
to leave me in charge the coming winter, as he was going to the
City of Mexico on business, but said that he would come out and
get the camps established and return to Taos with the horses
before going there.

We found plenty of men at Bent's Fort, and, as usual, they were
all broke, having squandered the money earned the winter before
for whiskey and card playing. Uncle Kit experienced no trouble in
getting all the men he wanted, but had to furnish them with traps
and provisions--which took considerable money--he to have half of
the furs caught by each of them. Everything being understood we
returned to Taos, the men agreeing to meet us there two weeks
later. They were all on hand at the appointed time, but there
being a large party to outfit it took some weeks to make
preparations for the trip, there being eleven in the crowd. It was
about the last of October when we arrived at the trapping-ground
ready to begin work.

There was a man in the crowd named Charlie Jones, who was an old
friend of Johnnie West, and they and I lived in the same cabin
that winter. One morning after we had got fixed up comfortably in
our winter quarters and Uncle Kit had returned to Taos with the
horses, Charlie Jones waked us up very early, saying that there
was a light snow and he thought we would be able to get a bear if
we got out early. We rolled out, got breakfast and were off as
soon as it was light enough to see.

There were three small ridges, all pointing to our cabin; Johnnie
West took up the right-hand ridge, Charlie Jones the left and I
the middle one. The ridges were open, with scattering pine trees
here and there, but along the creek was heavy timber and a dense
growth of underbrush. While walking along up the ridge, keeping a
sharp lookout for bear, I came in sight of Johnnie West, who
beckoned me to cross over to where he was, saying that in the
thicket, which covered about an acre of ground, there was a small
bear. I proposed calling Charlie Jones over before entering the
thicket, but Johnnie said no, as it was such a small bear that
Charlie would get mad and would not speak to either of us for a
week if we should call him over for such a little bear, "and if we
cannot kill that bear," he continued, "we had better quit the

We both cocked our guns and started into the brush side by side.
When near the center of the thicket I saw the bear raise on its
haunches. The snow was falling from the bushes so thickly that it
was almost impossible to get a bead on him, but I fired, anyway,
and hit too low, thus failing to bring him down.

He made a rush for us, but Johnnie had saved his charge in case I
failed to kill, but the snow was falling from the bushes so fast
and thick that he could not get a shot at the bear as he rushed
for us, so we were both compelled to flee for our lives, Johnnie
to the hillside, while I took down the canyon, jumping the small
logs and falling over the large ones and riding down the brush,
while I could almost feel the bear's breath on my posterior at
every jump, and had it not been that West had saved his charge,
you would now be reading some other book--certainly not this one,
as it would never have been written.

Just as we crossed a little opening, Johnnie fired, the ball
cutting Bear's jugular vein and also his windpipe, but the bear
still seemed to have a "hankering" after me and kept coming for
several yards.

After its windpipe was severed, the bear made a louder noise than
ever, but not knowing the cause, I thought he was nearer me and I
strained every nerve and fibre of my body to widen the distance
between us, as I almost imagined his teeth clashing down on me,
while Johnnie West was yelling: "Run, Willie; run for your life!"

Well I rather think I was running some about that time, for just
then I came to a big log, and I jumped, climbed and fell over it,
in fact, I never knew exactly how I did get over it; however, I
fell on one side of the log, utterly exhausted, and the bear, not
being able to get over, fell on the other side and died.

Of all the hunting and Indian fighting I have ever done, I never
had anything to scare me as did that little, insignificant bear.

Charlie Jones, hearing the two shots and Johnnie yelling for me to
run, came to the scene and had no little fun with me for running
from so small a bear, saying: "If a little bear like that were to
come at me, I would take it by the tail and beat its brains out
against a tree."

By the time the boys got the bear dressed, I had recovered
sufficiently from my run and excitement to help carry the meat to
the cabin, which was only a few rods away, as in our foot-race we
had been running in direction of the camp. The boys had a great
deal of sport at my expense, and many times during the winter I
was reminded of the bear hunt, in which the bear hunted me.

After we had got everything nicely fixed up in our new quarters,
Johnnie West one evening got down his sachel, took out a book and
sat and read till bed time. The following evening when he took the
book up again, I asked him what he was reading, and he said,
"Robinson Crusoe." I asked him why he did not read aloud so the
rest of us could hear, and he did read aloud until bed time. I
told him I would give anything if I could read as he did. So he
said if I would try to learn, he would teach me to read that
winter as good as he could. I assured him there would be nothing
lacking on my part, so the next night I took my first lesson. At
that time I did not know all the letters, but I was determined to
learn to read. In a very short time I had learned all my letters,
and being possessed of a great memory, I learned very fast, and
Johnnie, seeing I was so determined in the matter, spared no pains
in teaching me, and by the next spring I could read Robinson
Crusoe myself. Having a start, I could learn of my own accord, and
to Johnnie West I am greatly indebted for the limited education I
now possess; and were he now living I could not express to him my
gratitude for his labors as my tutor in that lonely wilderness,
hundreds of miles from any white man's habitation. And, although
my education is quite limited, yet what little I do possess has
been of great value to me through life.

We had good success trapping this winter, until about the first of
January, when we had an unusual heavy fall of snow in the
mountains which drove all the game to the lowlands, nothing being
left that was fit for meat except a few mountain sheep, and the
snow made it very inconvenient getting around to attend to the
traps. In the latter part of February I asked Charlie Jones one
day to go down to Mountain Phil's camp and see if there was
anything that he wanted, as we had kept all the extra supplies at
our camp. Mountain Phil and his Klooch--that being the name he
called his squaw, which is also the Arapahoe name for wife--were
staying alone about ten miles further down the country from where
we were located.

On Charlie Jones' return, he said: "It seems that Mountain Phil
has been faring better than any of us, for he has been able to
kill his meat at camp, thereby saving him the trouble of having to
get out and hunt for it."

Johnnie and I did not understand what he meant by this. So, after
hesitating a moment, Jones said: "Boys, if I should tell you what
I know about Mountain Phil, you would not believe it, but as sure
as you live he has killed his squaw and eaten most of her, and he
has left his camp."

We insisted that he must be mistaken, but he declared that he was
not, saying he had seen the bones in the cabin, and further
investigation had developed the fact that he had beyond any doubt
killed and eaten his Indian wife.

From that time on, Mountain Phil went by the name of the American
Cannibal until his death, which was--if my memory serves me
right--in 1863 or '64, at Virginia City, Mont.

After the snow had settled so that a person could travel on top of
it, I took my gun and stole out one day to see if I could not kill
a mountain sheep. As I clambered up the mountain I looked about
one hundred yards or so ahead of me on a cliff of rock, and saw a
panther, which I supposed was looking out for the same kind of
game that I was. I fired and killed her the first shot and started
to skin her, when I heard the kittens, or young panthers, crying
up in the rocks near where I had shot the old one. My first
thought then was what a nice pet I would have if I could only get
hold of those young panthers. I was afraid to crawl into the cave
for fear the other old panther might come in on me, so I cut a
forked stick and twisted in their fur and in that way managed to
pull them out, all the time keeping a sharp lookout for the other
old one. I took the two young panthers to the cabin and made pets
of them. They grew to be very watchful; nothing could move without
their knowing it. The female grew to be very tame, and a more
affectionate creature I never saw. But it was different with the
male. When he was six months old he got to be very cross, and I
had to keep him tied up. One day I went out to feed them and he
drew back and slapped me, and I shot him on the spot with my
pistol. The female I kept until she was considerably over a year
old, when I sold her for one hundred dollars to an Englishman
named Mace, and had I only known it, that panther was worth five
hundred dollars. I had taught her many tricks.

She could count ten, by putting her paw on the ground ten times,
and would do various other tricks, but when asked by any other
person than her master to perform, she would shake her head and
would not allow any one else to touch her. I always tied her up
when going out for a hunt, and when I would return she would cry
and scream so shrill that it would almost raise the hat on a man's
head until I would untie her. She never was contented until she
could get to lick my face, and I never saw a dog more watchful
than she.

It was in the month of April that Uncle Kit came in with a pack-
train for the furs, the snowfall having been so heavy that he
could not get in earlier. Our catch had been light, as we had more
snow that winter than has ever been known before or since in the
history of that country. Uncle Kit was, however, very well
satisfied with our work, with the exception of Mountain Phil, whom
he had furnished for the winter, and who had not caught a beaver.
We soon had our traps and furs together, loaded up and were on our
way to New Mexico.

The third day about noon we reached the Cache-la-Poudre, where we
again ran on to the American Cannibal. We stopped here to let our
horses feed and to partake of some refreshments ourselves. Uncle
Kit, after giving Mountain Phil a lecture for his past conduct,

"Phil, if ever you and I are out together in the mountains and run
short of provisions, I will shoot you down as I would a wolf,
before you get hungry."

Phil asked him why he would do so, and Carson replied: "Because I
wouldn't take the chances of being killed and eaten up by a
cannibal like you."

It might be well to give a brief description of this cannibal. He
was a large, raw-boned man, who would weigh about two hundred and
fifty pounds, though he was not very fleshy. He always wore his
hair long and never combed it, also wore his beard long and never
sheared or combed that. His hair grew down on his forehead almost
to his eyes. In fact he looked more like an animal than a human

Three days' travel brought us to South Platte, where we crossed
the river and made camp on a little stream called Sand Creek. It
was our custom to stake our saddle horses out at night as near
camp as good grass could be found. The following morning Johnnie
West and myself had been out after the pack animals, and on our
return when within about a quarter of a mile from camp, we heard a
rumbling noise that sounded like a band of buffalo in a stampede.
We looked off to our right and saw a large herd of horses, driven
by seven Ute Indians, who were pushing them at the greatest
possible speed. We urged our horses in the direction of camp as
fast as possible. As soon as we were in sight of camp, we gave the
alarm and every man sprang to his gun, mounted his horse and was
ready to receive them. The Indians did not see us until they had
run the herd of horses almost into our camp. Our saddle horses
being fresh, we succeeded in killing the seven Indians before they
got far away, and captured the herd of horses, which proved to be
a herd they had stolen from the Arapahoe Indians the night
before, and in less than an hour, Gray Eagle, the Arapahoe chief,
came along in pursuit, accompanied by fifty of his select
warriors. When Uncle Kit showed him the dead Utes, he walked up to
one of them, gave him a kick and said: "Lo-mis-mo-cay-o-te," which
means, "All the same as cayote."

Gray Eagle gave us each a horse, thanked us very kindly and
returned to his village with his animals.

We proceeded on our journey to Santa Fe, which took us twelve
days. Here we met our old friend, Joe Favor, who we had sold our
furs to the year before, and who bought them again this season.

Furs being still higher this year, notwithstanding our small
catch, Uncle Kit did fairly well out of his winter's trapping.

After settling up with Uncle Kit, Mr. Favor called me into the
store and presented me with a single-shot, silver-mounted pistol,
also a knife that weighed two and one-fourth pounds, that had been
manufactured in St. Louis. We stopped at Santa Fe and rested two
days, after which time Uncle Kit, Johnnie West, myself and my pet
panther returned home to Taos, which was a distance of ninety
miles from Santa Fe.



It was now the spring of 1850. I was eighteen years old and
beginning to think myself a man. Uncle Kit asked me to go to the
City of Mexico, saying that he owed a man there two hundred and
fifty dollars, and wished to pay him. He also told me that he
would have Juan, the Mexican boy, accompany me on the journey, but
cautioned me not to let any one know that I had money. "For," said
he, "them Mexican guerrillas would kill you if they knew you had
money about you."

The reader can fancy two boys at the age of eighteen, starting out
on a trip of eleven hundred miles, over a wild country, with no
settlement except hostile Indians and Mexicans, who are worse than
Indians if they know a person has money about him. At that time
there were no roads across the country in that direction; nothing
but a trail--a part of the way not even that--and the whole
country full of Mexican guerrillas--or, as we would term them,
Mexican robbers--who made it a business to murder people whom they
suspected of having money, and who would even massacre whole trains
of emigrants, take what money they might have, their provisions
and clothing, burn their wagons and drive their stock away. The
fact is that many of the depredations committed in those days, for
which the Indians were blamed, were done by those fiendish

When the time arrived for starting and we were mounted, Uncle Kit,
Johnnie West and Mr. Hughes came out to bid us good-bye.

Johnnie West said: "Well, I am afraid I shall never see you again,
for those Mexican guerrillas are worse than Indians, especially
when they think a traveler has money about him."

All this helped to put me on my guard, and I didn't even tell Juan
that I had money with me.

We started on our journey with two saddled horses and one pack-
horse each. We met numerous little bands of Navajoe Indians, but
they being on good terms with the whites, gave us no trouble,
whatever. We also met numerous little squads of Mexican
guerrillas, but they not suspecting two boys as young as we were
with having money, did not disturb us. Uncle Kit had sent the
shabbiest looking horses along that he had, in order to deceive
them. Every band of Mexicans that we met on our trip would ask us
where we were from, where we were going and our business. I always
told them that I was from Taos, and was going to the City of
Mexico to see a friend, and they would pass on.

The first river we came to, Juan asked me if I could swim. I told
him that I did not know, as I had never had a trial. We stripped
down, tied our clothing about our shoulders and mounted our horses

I wanted Juan to take the lead and let me drive the horses after
him, but he thought we had best ride side by side and let the
pack-animals follow, so in case of accident we could help each
other. We made it across safe, and from this time on we never
hesitated at a stream.

We were thirty-one days making the trip to the City of Mexico.

I found Mr. Reed at his residence and paid the two hundred and
fifty dollars to him. He was much astonished at Uncle Kit sending
two boys eleven hundred miles to pay so small a debt, and said
that he had not expected to get the money until such time as
Carson might be coming that way on other business, for it was so
far that he would not have gone after it and taken the chances of
crossing the country between the City of Mexico and Taos, as we
had done, for the two hundred and fifty dollars.

But Uncle Kit owed this money and had agreed to pay it at a
certain time, and he, like many other frontiersman, valued his
word more than he did his gold.

We laid over two days at the City of Mexico in order to let our
horses rest. The day before we were to start, Mr. Reed, who had
invited us to his residence to board while in the City, went out
to where our horses were, and seeing that one of the horses had a
sore back, told me that he would make me a present of a horse
that, if I took good care of, would be able to carry me the entire

I named this horse Mexico, and as will be seen later, he proved to
be a noble saddle-horse, which I kept and rode for seven years.

We made the trip home somewhat quicker than we did on our way out,
being better acquainted with the country, and so could make better

We were just two months making the round trip, arriving at Taos
two weeks sooner than Uncle Kit had expected us. Johnnie West and
Mr. Hughes were glad to see us return, for it was more than they

By the time my panther had grown to be quite large, and was glad
to see me.

On my return to Taos I learned that Uncle Kit and Jim Bridger had
formed a co-partnership, for the purpose of trapping the coming
winter in the Wind River mountains, which were about seven hundred
miles from Taos, and had employed Johnnie West, Charlie Jones and
Jake Harrington to trap for them, and in a few days after my
return from the City of Mexico we made the start with thirty-two
pack-animals, besides our saddle-horses.

Nothing happening worthy of note on our way out, we arrived at our
proposed trapping ground, and found plenty of beaver and plenty of
fresh Indian sign as well, but the Indians were not apt to give us
any trouble at this season of the year, more than to run our
horses off, as they would prefer to let trappers alone until
spring and then kill them and take their furs.

We established our two camps about four miles apart, and kept our
horses in the valley between the two camps; there was an abundance
of grass, plenty of game and no end to the beaver. In fact, to
take it on the whole, it seemed that this was going to be the
loveliest place to spend the winter that we had ever struck, and
the boys were all highly elated over their new winter quarters. We
had only been in our trapping field about two weeks when Uncle Kit
went out one morning to kill a deer and to look after the horses.
He had not gone far when he looked across the little valley and
saw an Indian driving off our horses. Being in gunshot of the
Indian, he fired at him and brought him to the ground. When
Uncle Kit returned to camp, he said:

"Boys, I am afraid we have made a mistake in coming here to trap
this winter; we must be near the Blackfoot Indians, for I just
killed one that was driving our horses off, and I just happened to
see him in time to catch him with old Blackleg." At that time the
Blackfoot Indians were considered worst tribe in the entire

I went at once to the other camp to notify Jim Bridger and his
crowd that they might be on their guard. Bridger said he had been
expecting it, as he had seen fresh Indian sign out on the ridges
some days before, but thought it was getting so late now that they
would not give us any more trouble this winter, but that we would
have to get out early the next spring.

We stayed here and trapped all winter, with splendid success. Jim
Bridger took twelve beaver from his string of traps every twenty-
four hours for seven successive days, being the greatest catch I
ever knew from one string of traps.

About the last of March we commenced making preparations to leave
the mountains, for fear the Indians might come and clean us out.

The day before we were to start there came a heavy fall of snow,
and we were not able to move until the first of April, when we
made another start for Santa Fe, going via Sweetwater, and we had
enough furs to load our entire train.

The second day after leaving camp we were attacked, about noon, by
twenty Indians of the Blackfoot tribe, who entertained us for
about an hour.

We huddled our horses and used them for breast-works, and killed
seven Indians without one of our men being wounded, but we lost
two horses.

It might be well to describe the manner in which trappers traveled
those days while passing through a country where there were
hostile Indians.

Each man would take the number of horses he was to lead and
string them out and fasten them together by tying each horse to
the tail of the horse ahead of him and the head horse of the
string he would tie to the tail of his saddle-horse. This had to
be done to prevent a stampede when attacked, and the horses, too,
were a great protection to the men, for when they were attacked by
Indians the men would ride to the center and use the horses for
breastworks in time of battle.

After the fight was over the boys all felt jubilant over their
victory. We had no more trouble with Indians for four days, when
we reached Rock Creek, a beautiful little mountain stream that
pays tribute to the North Platte river. Here was a nice place to
camp; plenty of wood and an abundance of grass, and the finest
water in the land. Here was a lovely valley, and just off to the
northwest was a little hill or ridge, only a short distance from
which we made our camp. Some of the men went to getting wood and
building a fire, while others were unpacking, not thinking of
Indians, and just as the packs were off we were aroused by the
war-whoop of a little squad of Indians who were coming over the
ridge spoken of. We had a hot little fight, but it only lasted a
few minutes, when the Indians withdrew, and Uncle Kit gave orders
to follow them, which we did, and had a running fight for about
five miles. We captured five horses from the redskins, and in the
affair did not lose a man, nor even a horse.

This ended our trouble with the Indians for this trip.

On arriving at Santa Fe, Uncle Kit and Jim Bridger sold their furs
to Joe Favor and Mr. Roubidoux for a good price.

Here we met an Englishman, who lived in London, England, and had
come that spring from St. Louis, in company with Mr. Roubidoux and
Joe Favor.

I had my pet panther with me, and the Englishman took a fancy to
her and asked my price for her. I told him that she was not for
sale. He offered me a hundred dollars for her. I hated to part
with her, but a hundred dollars was more money than I had ever had
before at one time, and looked like a big lot to me, so I accepted
his offer, and in less than twenty-four hours I was very sorry,
for during the time I stayed in Santa Fe, every time that I would
pass in sight of her she would cry as pitifully as any child ever
heard. Five hundred dollars would not have bought her from Mr.
Mace, as he had purchased her with the intention of taking her to

Mr. Roubidoux and Joe Favor employed Uncle Kit to go out and trade
for buffalo robes with the Comanche and Kiowa Indians. I
accompanied him on this trip, and we were out two months, during
which time we did not see a white man.

This was the first shipment of buffalo robes that had ever been
made from this region, consequently we were able to get them
almost at our own price.

As soon as Uncle Kit got out there with his little stock of goods
that had been furnished him to trade on, and which consisted of
beads and rings and a very few blankets, and the Indians had
learned that he would trade for robes, the squaws all fell to
dressing them. Among the Indians it was considered disgraceful for
men to do such work.

In a very short time there were plenty of dressed buffalo robes,
and some very nice ones, and I have seen Uncle Kit trade a string
of beads a foot and a half long for a first-class robe, and for a
red blanket he could get almost as many robes as he had a mind to

As fast as the robes were bought they were baled, and by the time
Uncle Kit pretty well bought up all that were for sale, the wagon-
train came and hauled them away.

There were twenty wagon loads of robes and the goods Uncle Kit
traded for them would not have cost to exceed seventy-five

Our work being done, we started for Taos, for it was now almost
time to start out for the winter's trapping. On our arrival at
Taos we found Johnnie West, who had been loafing around for two
months, and who was anxious to get at work again. Uncle Kit hired
him to go with us to South Park to trap the coming winter, that
being the place he had decided upon for the season's work.



All being ready, Uncle Kit, Johnnie West and myself pulled out for
South Park. We passed over a high range of mountains, struck the
Park on the east side, and a more beautiful sight I never saw than
the region was at that time. Coming in from the direction
mentioned, one could overlook the entire park, which was almost
surrounded by snow-capped mountains, and the valley, several miles
below, which was about eighty miles long and from ten to twenty
miles wide, was as green as a wheatfield in June. When we were
near the valley we could see elk in bands of a hundred or more,
with small herds of bison scattered here and there in the valley,
and antelope by the hundred.

I had often heard of a hunter's paradise, and when I got sight of
this lovely valley, with its thousands of wild animals of almost
every description known to the continent, I made up my mind that
if there ever was such a place as a hunter's paradise, I had
surely found it. The high mountains with scattering pine trees on
the sides; the snowy white peaks above the timber line, and the
many little mountain streams and rills that paid tribute to the
main stream that coursed this beautiful valley, all combined to
form a scene of magnificent grandeur. The quaking-asp, balm and
various other kinds of small timber that grew along the streams
all helped to add to the beauty of the scene.

We crossed over to the west side to a cove that ran back some
twelve miles from the main valley; here, we decided, was the best
place to establish our winter quarters. Every little mountain
stream in the valley was alive with beaver, and Uncle Kit thought
it so late that we would not be bothered by the Indians that fall,
but, that we would have to get out early the following spring.
Feeling perfectly safe, we built our cabin this winter entirely on
top of the ground, consequently we were not long in getting our
winter quarters completed and were soon ready to start in
trapping. We had excellent success this winter; very little snow
to contend with, making it much better getting around than usual
and an easier task to look after strings of traps.

In those cases each man had his string of traps, and it was his
business to go to each trap every day, take the beaver out, skin
them, set the traps, carry the skins home and stretch them.
Sometimes we would trap as far as seven miles from camp, that
being the outside limit. After we had trapped here about three
weeks there came a light fall of snow which drove most of the game
to the valley, and we experienced no trouble in getting all the
meat we wanted close to camp, in fact we could often kill deer and
antelope from our cabin door.

The second morning after the snowfall, Uncle Kit, Johnnie West and
myself all started down the valley to took after our traps. We
went about a mile together, I left the other two, my traps being
the farthest away, some three miles down the valley. After leaving
the other two I struck out down the valley on a turkey trot, that
being my usual gait when alone. I had not gone far when I heard
two gun shots. Thinking that Uncle Kit and Johnnie had been
attacked by the Indians, I turned in the direction that I heard
the shooting, and ran back much faster than I had come, but had
not gone far when I saw ahead of me, up the narrow valley, a band
of about twenty bison coming direct for me. I thought by shooting
the leader it might check their speed and perhaps cause them to
change their course. So I brought my gun to my face and dropped
the leader, but it neither caused the others to halt or change
their course, and they were making a bee line for me, and there
was not a tree in reach large enough for me to climb nor a place
of any kind that I could hide.

Now I was not long in making up my mind that I had a first-class
foot-race on my hands--as an Irishman might say--and after running
some distance I looked back and saw the bison were on me at every
jump. Had I only known the nature of bison, which I learned
afterward were not so vicious as buffalo, I could have turned to
the right or left and they would have passed on; but thinking that
they were after me, I got out like a quarter-horse, putting in my
best licks to try to reach a wash-out that I knew of ahead of me.
Thinking that if I only could reach that ditch I might have some
possible show for my life, I lost no time in getting there, but
got right down to business and did the prettiest running I have
ever done in my life. Every time I looked back I saw that the
rushing herd was closer upon me, until they were within a few
feet, and by the time I reached the ditch I fancied that I could
feel the breath from the nostrils of a half dozen bison on the
rear base of my buckskin trousers. Then into the ditch I went,
head-long and into about four feet of water. It seemed to me that
those buffalo were half an hour crossing that ditch, but I stood
perfectly quiet in the water up to my waist until they had all
passed over.

The ditch being deep and the banks perpendicular, I had to wade
the water for some distance up the ditch before I could find a
place where I could climb out. I had just scrambled up the bank
and shaken myself, when up came Uncle Kit and Johnnie, who had
heard the report of my gun and had come to see whether or not I
had killed anything.

"Rather cold to go bathing," said Uncle Kit. "When I go bathin' I
allus pull off my buckskin suit."

But I told them I considered myself lucky to be able to find a
suitable place to go swimming just at that time, and congratulated
myself on being all there.

Aside from my race with the bison, I put in a very pleasant
winter, and Uncle Kit said he had never spent as pleasant a time
in the mountains as he did that winter in South Park. "In fact,"
said he, "it was more like a pleasure trip than anything else."

Our camp at this time was near where the town of Tarryall has
since been built, and we ranged our horses in the extreme south
end of the park, where they had the best kind of grazing the
entire winter.

It was in the latter part of March--this now being the spring of
1852--when Uncle Kit made a trip to the south end of the park to
get our horses, thinking we had stayed there about as long as it
was safe.

During his absence Johnnie West and I were busily engaged in
making preparations to start for Bent's Fort, as soon as Carson
should get back with the horses. On his return he informed us that
he would not leave the park until about the first of May, which
was a surprise and disappointment to us both, as we had made all
calculations on getting started the following day. We asked what
was up that we were to be detained so long.

"On my trip for the horses," said Carson, "I saw some Injuns of
the Comanche tribe, and they told me that them and the Utes war
goin' to have a battle as soon as the Utes can cross the
mountains, and the place for the battle decided on is in the south
end of the park." He also said that with all the Indian fighting
he had been mixed up in he had never before had an opportunity to
see two tribes come together, and that he would not miss seeing it
for any consideration.

In those days each tribe of Indians had their own scope of hunting
and trapping ground, and if one tribe was caught intruding upon
the rights of another tribe it was apt to cause trouble.

As I have said before, South Park was a hunter's paradise in the
winter, and added to this, in the summer almost the entire valley
was covered with wild strawberries. Along the many little mountain
streams were abundance of wild gooseberries, blackberries and wild
currants, while on the hillsides were acres of wild raspberries.
In fact almost every variety of berries that there grew west of
the Missouri river could be found in South Park; while the streams
were full of the finest quality of mountain trout as well as many
other kinds of fish.

The two tribes of Indians mentioned had been in dispute for a
number of years as to their boundary line, each claiming South
Park, and this battle had been arranged the fall before by the
chiefs, also the place decided upon for the battle, which was to
be on a little stream in the extreme south end of the park, that
has since gone by the name of Battle Creek.

Battle Creek heads in the Pike's Peak range of mountains, and runs
almost due west. The particular spot selected for this battle was
on this creek, about two miles from where it empties into the
stream that runs through the park.

No better place could have been selected for the fight. There were
scattering pines here and there, with not a bush of any kind to
interfere with their wild charges, and a gentle slope from each
side to the stream which we might call the dead line.

The Comanches were to occupy the south side, while the Utes were
on the north.

As this battle was to settle for all time the long-disputed right
of these two powerful tribes, it was likely to be no tame affair.

This was what might be called a civil war between two tribes of
Indians. They had quarreled so long over this portion of the
country that the two chiefs had met and decided to have it settled
for, and the conditions of the battle were as follows: In the
event of the Comanches being victorious they were to have South
Park; the summit of the Rocky Mountains to be the boundary line.
And in the event of the Utes being victorious, the boundary line
was to be at the foot of the Rocky Mountains on the eastern slope,
the country in dispute comprising all of the territory between the
Arkansas river and South Platte, including South Park.

About two weeks before the time set for the battle, the Comanche
warriors began to arrive. Some brought their families while others
did not.

Uncle Kit, being well acquainted with the Comanche chief, as well
as the most of his warriors, loaded up all his furs and we moved
over near the Comanches' quarters a few days before the battle was
to take place.

As the Comanches came in they would pitch their wick-i-ups back on
the hill about a quarter of a mile south of the little stream,
which was to be their line of battle. They were all on hand before
any of the Utes came across the mountains.

About two days from the time the last of the Comanches came to the
ground, there was a little squad of Utes came in and pitched their
camp about the same distance from the little stream as the
Comanches, only on the opposite side.

This little squad of Indians came on ahead to ascertain whether
they would be able to cross the mountains, and if they did not
return in so many days the others would take it for granted that
all was clear and would follow, which they did, and a few days
later the entire Ute nation was there.

The battle did not begin for two or three days after all the Utes
were on the ground, thereby giving both sides ample time to kill
plenty of game to last them through the war.

During the time they were preparing for battle, neither tribe
seemed to make any attempt to molest their enemy in any way
whatever, but apparently looked upon it as a matter of business
and proposed to fight it out on the square.

During the time we were awaiting the battle, Kiwatchee, chief of
the Comanches, who was a very intelligent Indian in his way, and
could speak French fairly well, and who was also an intimate
friend of Kit Carson, came to Uncle Kit and said:

"I know you are a great chief and I want to hire you and your men
to help me whip the Utes.

"If you help me fight the Utes I will give you five ponies each."

Kit Carson declined by telling Kiwatchee that he did not come to
fight, but as he had never witnessed a war between two tribes of
Indians, he had come merely to look on, and as the war was for the
purpose of settling a dispute between the two tribes, he did not
think it would be right for him to interfere. Kiwatchee insisted
on our entering into the battle and asked how many horses we would
take to help him fight the Utes. But Uncle Kit told him he would
take no hand in the affair.

We were camped on the hill near the Comanches, where we could
overlook the entire battle-ground, as well as the Ute camp. We
dared not go near the Utes, for they were not at all friendly
toward the pale-faces, and in case the Utes were victorious we
would have to flee with the Comanches.

The day before the battle was to take place, Kiwatchee came and
said to us:

"To-morrow we will fight."

We asked him how long he thought the battle would last. Kiwatchee
said he thought he could whip the Utes in one day.

The following morning about sunrise, just as we were eating
breakfast, the two chiefs commenced beating their war-drums, which
was a signal to call their men together. The war-drum, or what the
Comanches call a "tum-tum," was made of a piece of hollow log
about eight inches long, with a piece of untanned deerskin
stretched over one end. This the war chief would take under one
arm and beat on it with a stick. When the tum-tums sounded the
first morning there was great commotion among the Indians. At the
first tap the war-whoop could be heard, and in a few moments both
tribes of Indians were down at the little stream, each formed in
line on his own side.

On arriving at the stream the tum-tums ceased and were not heard
again till the Indians were formed in line of battle and each war-
chief passed down in front of his men, after which they again
commenced beating on the tum-tums, and at that the arrows began

Now the fun had commenced in earnest, and of all the war-whoops I
ever heard they were there, and the more noise the Indians made
the harder they would fight.

After they had fought for about two hours they seemed to get more
cautious than at the start, and would look for some advantage to
take of the enemy.

They fought hard all day; sometimes the Comanches would cross over
to the same side with the Utes, and I saw many hand-to-hand fights
with tomahawks and knives. At other times the Utes would cross
over on the Comanche side of the stream, but would soon retreat
again, and each side would resume their old position for a time.
About sunset both tribes withdrew, apparently by mutual agreement,
each side returning to camp for supper.

I did not learn how many Comanches were killed that day, but there
were some twenty odd wounded, and some of them fatally. The night
was made hideous by the shrieks and cries of the squaws and
children of the warriors who had been killed or wounded during the

Neither tribe put out picket guards during the night.

The next morning about sunrise the war-chiefs were out beating on
the tum-tums. The warriors did not hasten around so briskly as the
morning before, however, they were soon at the spot and ready for

After going through the same manoeuvres as the morning before, the
war-woops rang out loud and shrill, and again the arrows began to
fly. The contestants fought hard all day again, without ceasing.
About the middle of the afternoon the Comanches made a desperate
charge on the Utes, crossing the creek and fighting them at close
quarters. Among the Comanches was one Indian in particular that I
was acquainted with, that I saw engaged in a number of hand-to-
hand fights, and always came out victorious, but he got badly used
up during the day. This Indian went by the name of White Bird, and
he was beyond doubt the worst disfigured piece of humanity I ever
saw, but he fought on, and he seemed to say by his actions:

"I am slightly disfigured, but still in the ring."

About sundown the two armies again withdrew for refreshments and

That evening after eating my supper! went over to White Bird's
wick-i-up and found him sitting there, bloody from head to foot,
with a huge cut on one cheek, another on one side of the head, and
numerous other wounds, making him the most horrible specimen of
humanity that I had ever seen living. He had not even washed the
blood from his face or hands, but was sitting there telling his
squaw and children how many Utes he had killed during the day,
apparently as cool and unconcerned as though nothing had happened
him. But he was not able for duty the next day, and died about ten

We never learned where the Indians buried their dead, for they
took them away during the night and disposed of them in some

There were more Indians killed and wounded the second day than the
first, and that night the Comanches had a big war-dance over the
scalps they had taken.

The morning of the third day each tribe marched down at about the
usual hour and resumed their positions in the line of battle, and
that morning they fought more cautiously than before, until about
ten o'clock, when the Utes made their first big charge on the
Comanches, and they had a hard fight, which resulted in the death
of many Indians, and the Utes retreated with considerably the
worst of it.

In this charge we counted over forty Utes that were killed and

After the Comanches had driven the Utes back, Johnnie West and I
went down within about fifty yards and sat there until the war was
ended. About the middle of the afternoon of the third day, the old
war-chief of the Comanches rushed up and commenced to shout, "Co-
chah! Co-chah!" which meant to go ahead, or, in other words, to
charge. Johnnie West, who understood the language, turned to me
and said:

"The Comanches are going to make another charge."

Sure enough, they did; crossing the creek and made a desperate
rush for the Utes, but the Utes could not stand the pressure and
retreated, the Comanches following them to the top of the hill
where the Utes were camped, it being understood between the two
chiefs that, when either army or tribe was driven back to the top
of the hill, they had lost the battle.

The Comanches now returned, singing and shouting at the top of
their voices, and in a short time a little squad of Comanches came
in with about one hundred head of Ute horses. We never learned
whether they had captured the horses or whether they had won them
in the battle.

That night the Comanches had another big war-dance, and while the
unfortunate squaws and children were weeping over the loss of
their fathers and husbands, the victorious warriors were dancing,
singing and shouting, and while dancing, each warrior would try to
show as near as he could the manner in which he killed and
scalped his enemy, and of all the silly maneuvers a white man ever
witnessed, it was there at that war-dance.

The next morning there was not a Ute to be seen, all having left
during the night.

The day following, the Comanches broke camp and started back for
their main village on the Arkansas river. We broke camp and
started out ahead of them, and in four days reached Bent's Fort,
where Uncle Kit sold his furs to Colonel Bent and Mr. Roubidoux.

These two kept a boarding-house at the Fort, and this being the
general loafing place during the summer season for most of the
trappers in this part of the country, they also kept whiskey, and
after the trappers had sold their furs, many of them would stop
around the Fort and pay board for about three or four months
during each summer, and by the time they were ready to start
trapping again, Col. Bent and Mr. Roubidoux would have all of
their money back for grub and whiskey, and, in fact, many of them
would be in debt to them.

There being so much stock around the Fort the game was driven back
so far that it became necessary to go considerable distance to get
any. Col. Bent and Mr. Roubidoux proposed to hire Johnnie West and
I to hunt for them for two months, saying that they had not had
fresh meat half of the time the past spring. We agreed to work for
them for two months, they being willing to pay us fifty dollars
each per month, with the understanding that in case we kept them
in meat all summer they would pay us extra wages. They now having
some thirty odd boarders, it took a great deal of meat, and having
to go some distance for game we had to pack it on pack-horses. We
hunted for them two months, and at the end of that time we had
kept them in meat and had enough ahead to last them one month

It now being time to start out to look for trapping ground for the
coming winter, we went to Col. Bent for a settlement, and after he
had counted out our hundred dollars each he asked us how much
extra wages we thought we should have. I told him I was perfectly
willing to leave it to Mr. Roubidoux, and Johnnie being willing to
do that also, Mr. Roubidoux told the Colonel to pay us twenty
dollars each, extra, all of which was agreeable to us, and they
engaged us to hunt for them the next summer at seventy-five
dollars per month.

We returned now to Taos to prepare for the winter's trapping.



Arriving at Taos I learned that Uncle Kit had his trapping company
already organized for the coming winter, consisting of himself,
Jim Bridger, Jim Beckwith, Jake Harrington, Johnnie West and
myself, six in all.

Early in the fall of 1852 we pulled out for the head of Green
river, which was a long and tedious journey, being more than eight
hundred miles from Taos and over a rough country. We took the
trail along the foot of the Rocky Mountains, running north until
after crossing North Platte. Here we struck across the Bad Lands,
and I thought that if there ever was a place rightly named, it
surely was this section of country. We were three days crossing
this God-forsaken country; and we would often travel a half day
without seeing a living thing of any description. From there we
struck across the main divide of the Rocky Mountains, and were
three days crossing over to the headwaters of Green river, and
were somewhat disappointed when we learned that Green river had
been trapped over by the Hudson Bay Company the year before.
However, we were there, and it was too late to look up another
trapping-ground, so we occupied some of the old cabins that had
been erected by the Hudson Bay Company and went to trapping.

Notwithstanding the country had all been trapped over, we had fair
success, or, at least, much better than we expected. We stayed
there and trapped until some time in February, when we pulled up
and moved down Green river nearly twenty miles and there we
trapped for two weeks, but not with as good success as we had had
at the old camp.

We again moved camp down to what was known as Hell's Hole. There
we found about forty French Canadians trapping for the Hudson Bay
Company, who, by the way, had plenty of bad whiskey. They were not
very friendly toward the new arrivals.

Among the party was a big fellow by the name of Shewman, that
seemed to think himself a very bad man; he did not appear to have
any love or respect for any American trapper, which was the case
with the general run of those French Canadians who were in the
employ of the Hudson Bay Company.

This man Shewman seemed to have a great antipathy toward Kit

If the reader will pardon me, I would like to say just here, that
while Kit Carson was the last man to offer an insult, yet, at the
same time, if challenged, he would fight any man living rather
than be called a coward, and in those days the character of men
concerning whom this work is written quarreled but very little. If
a man insulted another, ten chances to one he would be challenged
to fight a duel; and in such a case he would either have to fight
or be branded as a coward, and the sooner he left the crowd the
better it would be for him, for he could see no peace while
remaining with them.

The third day we arrived at the place spoken of, this man Shewman
got pretty well ginned up and started out to look for Uncle Kit,
saying that he had heard a great deal of Kit Carson and of his
fighting proclivities, and that he would lick him on sight. One of
Shewman's friends, knowing Kit Carson by reputation, tried to
induce him to let Kit alone and have nothing to do with him, but
the more they said to him the madder he got, until finally he was
raging with anger.

It happened that while he was in his rage, Uncle Kit, Jake
Harrington and I, knowing nothing of Shewman's mad fit, started
out to look after our horses and had to pass near their camp. Just
as we were passing by their cabin, Shewman said:

"There goes the d--d white-faced American now. Look at him, he
looks just like a coward, and he is a d--d cowardly cur, just like
all the rest of the Americans."

Uncle Kit stopped and addressed him in the following manner:

"I am an American and I feel proud of the name, but I would have
you understand that I am no coward. I will fight you any way that
you wish."

Shewman said: "If you want me to kill you, get your horse and I
will get mine, and we will get one hundred yards apart and start
at the word. After we start, each fire when we please."

This Uncle Kit agreed to, saying: "There is my horse, I will be
ready in three minutes. Get ready as soon as you please; as you
seem to want to fight, I will accommodate you."

I had been with Uncle Kit now since 1847, and this was the first
time I had ever seen him in any serious trouble, and I was
surprised at the cool and unexcited manner in which he talked to
Shewman. He was apparently as cool as though he was just in the
act of starting out buffalo hunting. There was a smile on his
countenance when he was talking to Shewman about the fight that
was to take place, in which one of them was to lose his life.

I had been with Kit Carson long enough to know better than to say
anything to him, but Jake Harrington followed him out to where his
horse was, and started in to try to talk him out of the notion by
telling him that Shewman was drinking. He turned to Harrington and
said: "Jake, I thought you were an American, and would fight for
the name." Harrington, seeing that Uncle Kit was determined in the
matter, said no more.

Carson went out to where his saddle-horse was feeding, caught him
and took a half-hitch around his nose with the riatta, jumped on
him without any saddle, and by this time Shewman was on his horse
also, with his rifle in hand.

Up to this time I had not said a word to Uncle Kit, but as I came
up I asked him if he was not going to get his gun.

"No," said he, "this is all the gun I want;" and he took out his
pistol and rode away a few rods, so that Jake Harrington and I
would not be in range of the bullets from Shewman's gun, and
stopped to wait for Shewman to give the word. A number of
Shewman's friends tried to persuade him not to start, but their
talk only seemed to add to his rage. After they had exhausted all
their persuasive powers, and seeing that he was so determined in
the matter, they let him go.

He cried out in French that he was ready, and at that moment they
both started their horses at full speed toward each other. When
within thirty yards, Shewman fired, and at the crack of his gun,
Jake Harrington clapped his hands and shouted: "Good! good! Uncle
Kit is safe."

We could not see any sign of his being hit, and when a few yards
nearer each other, Uncle Kit fired, and Shewman fell to the ground
mortally wounded, the bullet passing through his body just above
the heart.

Shewman lived until Uncle Kit got to him, then he acknowledged
that it was all his own fault, and that it was good enough for

As soon as the fight was ended, Jake Harrington and I ran into
camp to notify the rest of our crowd, thinking that we would have
to fight the entire Canadian outfit of trappers, but we found it
quite different, for after the fight they were more friendly
toward us than before. We stayed two days and helped to bury

This was the first white man that I had ever seen buried in the
Rocky Mountains.

We rolled him up in a blanket, laid him in the grave and covered
him with dirt. The funeral being over, our party started for
Bent's Fort.

The third day's travel brought us to Sweetwater, where we came to
the top of a hill, from which we could overlook the entire valley,
which was covered with wagons and tents. This was a large train of
emigrants from various portions of the East who had started the
year before and had wintered on Platte river, the edge of
settlement, and when spring opened they had resumed their journey.

After supper that evening, Uncle Kit suggested that we visit the
emigrant camp and see the ladies, which did not altogether meet
with my approval, but rather than be called bashful, I went along
with the crowd. I was now twenty-one years of age, and this was
the first time I had got sight of a white woman since I was
fifteen, this now being the year of 1853.

I had been out in the mountains a long time, and had not had my
hair cut during that time, but took excellent care of it. I always
kept it rolled up in a piece of buckskin, and when unrolled it
would hang down to my waist.

There was a number of young ladies in the train, and they were not
long in learning that I was the most bashful person in the crowd,
and they commenced trying to interest me in conversation. At that
time I only owned two horses, and would have given them both, as
free as the water that runs in the brook, if I could only have
been away from there at that moment. Seeing that I had long hair,
each of them wanted a lock. By this time I had managed to muster
courage enough to begin to talk to them.

I told them that if they would sing a song, they might have a lock
of my hair.

A little, fat Missouri girl, spoke up and said: "Will you let any
one that sings have a lock of your hair?"

I assured her that I would.

"And each of us that sing?" interrupted another young lady.

I said each one that would sing could have a lock, provided there
was enough to go around.

I now had the ice broken, and could begin to talk to the ladies
and crack a few jokes with them.

The little, fat, chubby young lady, that first started the
conversation, sang a song entitled "The Californian's Lament,"
which was as follows:

  Now pay attention unto me,
  All you that remain at home,
  And think upon your friends
  Who have to California gone;
  And while in meditation
  It fills our hearts with pain,
  That many so near and dear to us
  We ne'er shall see again.

  While in this bad condition,
  With sore and troubled minds,
  Thinking of our many friends
  And those we left behind,
  With our hearts sunk low in trouble
  Our feelings we cannot tell,
  Although so far away from you,
  Again we say, farewell.

  With patience we submitted
  Our trials to endure,
  And on our weary journey
  The mountains to explore.
  But the fame of California
  Has begun to lose its hue--
  When the soul and body is parting
  What good can money do?

  The fame of California
  Has passed away and gone;
  And many a poor miner
  Will never see his home.
  They are falling in the mountains high,
  And in the valleys, too;
  They are sinking in the briny deep,
  No more to rise to view.

This I thought the prettiest song I had ever heard in my life.
Environment so colors things. In other words, "circumstances alter

The lady at once demanded a lock of my hair as compensation for
services rendered, and I removed the buckskin wrap and told her to
take a lock, but cautioned her not to take too large a bunch, for
fear there might not be enough to go around. The young lady,
seeing that I was very bashful, had considerable trouble in
finding a lock that suited her. A number of the young ladies sang
together, after which several of them took the scissors and cut a
lock of hair from the head of the young trapper.

I wondered at the time why it was that all the young ladies had a
pick at me, for there was Johnnie West, a fine looking young man,
who was continually trying to engage some of them in conversation,
but they did not want to talk to any one but me, and it amused
Uncle Kit not a little to see the sport the young ladies were
having at my expense.

Before leaving, I told the young lady who sang the first song that
I thought it was the prettiest song I had ever heard, and
requested her to sing it again. She replied that she would if I
wished, and she did.

The next day about ten o'clock as we rode along, feeling drowsy
from the warm sun, Jake Harrington turned around in his saddle,
yawned and said: "Well, Will, can't you sing the song for us that
you learned from those little Missouri gals last night?"

I told him I thought I could, and commenced clearing up my throat,
at which the entire crowd smiled above a whisper; but I surprised
the crowd by starting in and singing the song just as I heard the
young lady sing it the evening before. Every man in the crowd took
off his hat, and they gave me three cheers.

On arriving at Bent's Fort we learned that furs were high, and
notwithstanding our catch was light, Uncle Kit did fairly well.

He sold his furs again to Col. Bent and Mr. Roubidoux.

After Uncle Kit had settled up with all the other boys, he called
me into the tent and said:

"Willie, I have settled with all the men now but you; how much am
I owing you?"

Up to this time I had never received any wages from Uncle Kit, nor
had I expected any, for I did not think that I had done enough for
him to pay for my raising. I had always felt under obligations to
him for picking me up when I was without a home and almost
penniless, and had, as I considered made a man of me.

Uncle Kit told me that I was old enough now to do a man's work,
and that I was able to fill a man's place in every respect. He
took his purse from his pocket, counted me out one hundred and
fifty dollars in gold; and not until then had I known that he had
ordered me a fifty dollar suit of buckskin made at Taos, the fall
before; and not until then had he told me that he was to be
married on the tenth of July, and wanted Johnnie West and I to be
there without fail. I asked him who he was going to be married to.
He said her name was Rosita Cavirovious. She was a Mexican girl
who lived in Taos. I did not know the lady but was acquainted with
some of her brothers. I told Uncle Kit that I would surely be

Uncle Kit and Jim Beckwith now started for Taos, and Johnnie West
and I began making preparations to start in hunting for Col. Bent
and Mr. Roubidoux, as per contract nearly one year before.

Col. Bent said that he was very glad that we were ready to start
in hunting, as they had been out of fresh meat at least half of
the time that spring.

In that country bacon was high, being worth from twenty-five to
thirty cents per pound, and early in the spring higher even than

This spring, as usual, there were some thirty trappers congregated
at Bent's Fort, apparently to eat and drink up what money they had
earned during the winter.



Johnnie West and I started with a saddle-horse each and four pack-
mules for a buffalo hunt; I still riding Croppy, the pony Uncle
Kit had given me at St. Louis, but he was getting old and somewhat
stiffened up in his shoulders.

We traveled up the Arkansas river to the mouth of the Purgatoire--
pronounced in that country Picket Wire--which was about thirty
miles from Bent's Fort. Seeing a small band of buffalo some
distance away, we took the pack-saddles off of the mules and
turned them out to graze, mounted our saddle-horses and were off
for the herd; but the wily beasts got wind of us and started off
before we got within gunshot of them. After running them about a
mile we overhauled them, both fired and each killed a yearling
calf while on the run. I fastened my rifle to the pommel of the
saddle, drew my pistol, and there being a very fine heifer that
had dropped back to the rear, I spurred up by the side of her and
was just in the act of firing, when old Croppy stepped into a
prairie-dog hole and fell with me.

Johnnie West had just fired his second shot and killed a fine
three-year-old heifer, when he looked and saw old Croppy lying
there, and I stretched out beside him, apparently dead. The first
thing I knew after the fall, Johnnie West was sitting by my side
slapping me in the face with his hand.

I was badly bruised but no bones were broken, and as soon as I
recovered sufficiently to know for a certainty that I was not
dead, an examination of old Croppy developed the fact that his
left shoulder was badly broken. I being too chicken-hearted to
shoot him, got Johnnie West to put him out of his misery, and now
I was left afoot and thirty miles from home. Johnnie West went
back and got our pack-mules. We dressed our buffalo and had plenty
of meat to load all of our mules, and some to leave there for the
hungry cayotes. That night while we were cooking some of the meat
for supper, the cayotes raised a howl and it seemed as though they
would take possession of our camp in spite of us; but by firing a
shot among them once in a while, we were able to keep them at bay.

In those days hunters never took along anything to eat, for a man
that could not kill what he could eat was considered worthless.

The following morning we loaded our meat on the mules, lashed my
saddle on top of one of the packs and started for Bent's Fort. I
being bruised and crippled up from the effects of my fall, Johnnie
let me ride his horse and he walked almost the entire way home.

Mr. Roubidoux on learning that I had left old Croppy dead on the
prairie, said: "I have got the best buffalo horse on the plains,
and I will make you a present of him;" and turning to his herder,
he said, "go and bring Pinto in."

When the spotted horse was brought in, Mr. Roubidoux said: "Now,
Will, I am going to make you a present of this horse, and I want
you to keep him to remember me by."

I thought this the prettiest horse I had ever laid eyes on, and he
proved to be as good a buffalo horse as Mr. Roubidoux had
represented him to be.

On the third day of July, Johnnie West and I having enough meat
ahead to last several days, we pulled out for Taos to attend the
wedding of Kit Carson. Arriving there, Uncle Kit took us to his

He brought my new buckskin suit, and I know it was the handsomest
of the kind I had ever seen. On the front of the trousers was the
finest of bead work, representing horses, Indians, buffalo, deer
and various other animals; and on the coat the same, except they
were worked with beads and porcupine quills.

I was now twenty-one years old, and had never attended a wedding.
The ladies present all being of Catholic faith, Uncle Kit and his
bride were married in the Catholic church by the priest.

There were at that time about five hundred inhabitants in Taos,
and every man, woman and child attended the wedding of Kit Carson.

After the ceremony was over all marched down about three blocks to
where there had been a whole bullock roasted, also three sheep.
The tables used were made of rude boards split out with a froe.
There were no table-cloths, no tea or coffee, but plenty of wine
and an abundance of meat, that all might "eat, drink and be

While we were at the supper table Uncle Kit happened to get sight
of Johnnie West and I, and, taking each of us by the hand, he led
us over and gave us an introduction to his wife, and this was the
first time I had ever been introduced to a lady. Uncle Kit
introduced me as his Willie. Mrs. Carson turned to me and said:

"Ge-lem-a mo cass-a la-mis-mo ta-casso tades vases;
meaning, Willie, my house shall be your home at any and all

As I do not write Spanish, I simply give the sound of her words as
she spoke them-or as I would.

I was highly pleased with the manner in which Mrs. Carson
addressed me, for no lady had ever spoken so kindly to me before,
and I had supposed that after Uncle Kit was married I would have
to hunt another home.

Supper being over, all repaired to the dance hall and enjoyed
themselves dancing until sunrise the next morning, when they
returned to the tables for breakfast. This time they had coffee
and tea, but during the entire feast they did not have a bite of
bread on the table.

Here I met Jim Beckwith, of whom there will be much more said at
intervals later on.

Jim wanted me to accompany him to California the following spring,
saying that he knew of a pass through the Sierra Nevada Mountains,
which, if we could manage to get the tide of emigration turned
that way, we could establish a toll road and make a fortune out of
it. I said I would not promise him now, but would give him an
answer later on.

The wedding being over, Johnnie West and I, after bidding Uncle
Kit and his wife good-bye, started for Bent's Fort. Col. Bent and
Mr. Roubidoux wanted to employ us to hunt for them the coming
winter. Johnnie thought he could do better trapping, but I hired
to them to hunt until the following spring.

Col. Bent always had from six to twenty boarders, having six men
of his own, and I kept them in meat all winter, alone.

About the first of April--this being in 1854--I settled up with
the Colonel, and having written Jim Beckwith the fall before that
I would be on hand to go with him to California, I now pulled out
for Taos.

I visited with Uncle Kit and his wife while at Taos, and found
that what Mrs. Carson had said at the feast was true, for I was as
welcome at their home as though I was one of the family.

Jim Beckwith had everything in readiness for our trip across the
Sierra Nevada Mountains.

The day before starting, Uncle Kit asked us what route we would
take. Jim said that we would go around by the headwaters of the
Gila river, this being a tributary to the Colorado. On this trip
we would cross that part of the country which is now Arizona.
Uncle Kit said this was a good route, and that he had gone over it
twice in company with Col. Fremont. He drew a diagram of the
country, showing the route by streams, mountains and valleys;
telling us also what tribes of Indians inhabited each section of
the country that we would pass through. Among the different tribes
spoken of was the Pimas, whom he said were friendly toward the
whites, and insisted on our calling on that tribe, provided we
went that way.

He had been at their village in 1845, and at that time they had
told him he was the third white man they had ever seen.

The reader will understand that all the Indians in that section of
the country at that time could speak Spanish, having learned it
from the Aztecs, a tribe that lived in Old Mexico and were of
Montezuma's race. They often came out into that country to trade
with the other Indians.

All being ready we bade Uncle Kit and his wife good-bye, and were
off for California. We crossed the Rocky Mountains up the Arkansas
river and took the trail made by Col. Fremont in 1848 to the
summit of the Rocky Mountains. We then crossed over the mountains
onto the headwaters of the south fork of Grand river, and from
here we headed almost south, passing through a country that had
all been burned over. We could look ahead for miles and see
nothing but burnt hills. Game was so scarce that we could barely
kill enough to supply us with food, until we struck the north fork
of Gila river. Here we found plenty of game. We traveled down the
Gila three days, which brought us to the Pima--or as was sometimes
then called Peone--village. This village was situated in a lovely
valley about twenty miles long and ten wide. The soil was very
fertile. The surrounding mountains were very high and covered with
fine timber, while the foothills were luxuriant in the finest
quality of bunchgrass, and along the little mountain streams were
cottonwood and willows.

The Indians here were fairly well civilized, a fact worthy of
note, as they had never had a missionary or priest among them.
They also had a different mode of worship from the tribes of the
Northwest. Their place of worship was what might be called a large
shed constructed by setting posts in the ground and covered with
poles, brush and the leaves of the century plant, these leaves
being from three to five feet long and from six to ten inches
wide. Their houses were also covered with these leaves.

I never saw but two of these plants in bloom. One was about fifty
miles north of Sacramento and the other in Golden Gate Park, near
San Francisco. It was said they held their flowers four months.
These flowers are very beautiful, being four inches across and
look as though they were made of wax.

But to return to my story. These Indians had three days of
worship, also three days of feasting. On assembling at their place
of worship, the chief chose four men from the audience, whom we
would term preachers, but which they called abblers. They never
pray, but the abblers stand up and talk to the audience, during
which time the Indians preserve the very best order. The abblers
tell them what they must do and what they must not do. When ready
to break up, all join in singing, but never sing before preaching.
Just how they learned this mode of worship was a mystery to me,
and is yet, for that matter. We attended service while in the
village and after preaching was over many of them invited us home
with them.

There were about five hundred men in this tribe, all of whom were
apparently very industrious, raising corn, melons, red pepper and
other vegetables in abundance. They raised some very large melons,
which were not excellent in flavor, however.

The Pimas were very kind to us while we were with them, often
taking us out to their truck patches and pulling nice, large
melons for us. I asked a very aged Indian where they got their
seed corn, but he did not know, saying they had raised it ever
since he could remember. They did their plowing with wooden plows,
which they made themselves, being pulled by oxen that were hitched
to the plows by a strong stick in front of their horns. For
harrows they used brush, and they had shovels made of wood to dig

Notwithstanding they were in one sense uncivilized, they showed us
more hospitality during the time we were with them than most white
people would have shown to strangers.

These Indians keep their age by taking a piece of horn, pressing
it out flat and punching a hole in the center. When a child is a
certain age he has one of these tied about his neck, and every
year the child is supposed to cut a notch in the piece of horn. I
did not learn how old they had to be before they were supposed to
keep their own age.

We found the chief of the tribe to be very obliging. He told us
the Apaches were bad Indians, and that they had killed many white
people--men, women and children.

When we were ready to leave the village, the chief came out and
bade us good-bye, and gave us a cordial invitation to call on him
when passing through the country.

We crossed the Gila river near where Colville now stands. Here was
a tribe of very indolent Indians, that during this season of the
year did not wear a stitch of clothing of any kind whatever. They
were known as the Yumas.

We both emptied our rifles before crossing the river, knowing that
they would get wet in crossing. I fired at a bird across the river
and it fell to the ground.

At the crack of my rifle the Indians ran a few paces from me,
dropped down and stuck their fingers in their ears. They told us
in Spanish that they had never seen a wah-hootus before, meaning a
gun with a loud report.

When Jim Beckwith went to fire his gun off, the squaws all ran
away, but the bucks, being more brave, stayed, but held their
hands over their ears. This tribe lived principally on fish.

The reader will remember that I had traveled over this same
country in the year 1849 in company with Kit Carson and Col.
Fremont, when on our trip to California.

After traveling about five miles we crossed a little sage-brush
valley that was almost covered with jack-rabbits, and they were
dying by the thousand. We could see twenty at one time lying dead
in the sage-brush.

That night we camped on what has since been known as Beaver creek,
and here we had to strike across the San Antonio desert, and
having been across the desert I knew it would be eighty miles to
water. Having two parafleshes with us for such emergencies, we
filled them with water to use in crossing this desert.

A paraflesh is made of rawhide expressly to carry water in, and
are frequently used to peddle milk by the Mexicans.

The second day from Beaver creek we reached a little stream near
the Goshoot village, this being the place where Uncle Kit finished
buying furs to load his pack-train in 1848.

The next morning we reached the village. I had not seen any of
these Indians for five years. Then I was a mere boy and now a
grown man, but every one of the Goshoots knew me and were glad to
meet me. We stopped that day and visited with them, and bought
some venison and frigoles, or beans.

The next morning we resumed our journey to Los Angeles, crossing
the extreme northeast part of Death Valley. From here on the
country was all new to me, and had it not been for the kindness of
the Goshoot Indians, we would have perished for the want of water.

When I told a good Indian in that village where we were going, he
sat down and with his finger marked a diagram in the dust, showing
the lay of the country that we must pass ever, every little blind
spring near the trail, the different mountains and valleys, and
made it so plain that we could scarcely have made a mistake on the

On arriving at Los Angeles we found only one white man in the
place, and he was the only person in the whole town that could
speak the English language. He had arrived there some years
before, married a Mexican woman and had got to be very wealthy. He
tried to induce us to go farther up the coast, telling us if we
started for San Francisco the country was full of Mexicans, and
that they despised all Americans and would be sure to murder us on
our way; but as we had started for San Francisco, we were
determined to see that city if possible. After laying over one day
with the old American we resumed our journey.

The next place we struck was Monterey, where is now the famous
Hotel del Monte, about two hundred miles from Los Angeles. Here we
did not find a man who could speak a word of English, and we found
the Mexicans still more selfish than in Los Angeles.

We began to think that the old white man had told the truth, for
we would not have been surprised at any time to have been attacked
by a band of Mexicans.

While here I saw two persons that I thought to be curiosities.
They were of Indian parentage, light complexion and had eyes of a
pink color. One was a boy about twenty years old and the other a
girl of sixteen, and were brother and sister. It was claimed that
they could see well after night, but could not see their way on a
bright, sunny day.

These Indians were said to be of the Mojave tribe, that inhabited
a portion of the country some six hundred miles east of Monterey,
near the Mojave desert. I have since learned that such freaks are
called albinos.

The reader will no doubt wonder why we came this round-about away
to get to San Francisco. The reason is that in coming a more
direct course we would have passed through a country that was
infested with wild tribes of Indians; that is, tribes hostile to
the whites. There being only two of us the chances were it would
have proved a very unhealthy trip for us at that time.



Arriving at San Francisco we found things very lively, this being
about the time of the greatest gold excitement in California. Here
was the first city of note that I had been in since leaving St.
Louis; here also was the first time I had seen gambling going on
on a large scale. There were all kinds of games and all kinds of
traps to catch the honest miner and rob him of his money that he
had labored hard to dig out of the ground.

That night Jim Beckwith and I took in the sights of the city. We
went to the different gambling houses and had just finished our
tour and were on our way back to the What Cheer house--that being
the hotel at which we put up--the leading hotel in the city then.
We were just passing one of the gambling dens, when we saw two men
coming out of the door leading a man between them who was crying
like a child, and exclaiming: "I am ruined! I am ruined!"

We learned from the two men that he had come to the city that day
with eight hundred dollars in gold, had bought a ticket for New
York, and it was his intention to sail for that city the following
morning. But he had gone out that night to have a farewell spree
with his friends, got too much booze, started in gambling,
thinking he might double his money by morning; but like thousands
of other miners in those days, he "played out of luck," as they
termed it, and had lost every cent he had. We walked on down to
the hotel, and in a few minutes the three came into the hotel
also, the one still crying like a baby. The proprietor only
laughed and said it was a common occurrence for men to come to the
city with even twenty thousand dollars, gamble it off in less than
a week and then return to the mines to make another stake. But he
said he had never seen a man before that took it as hard as this
one did.

It was all new to me, and a little of it went a long ways.

That night after Jim Beckwith and I had retired, I told him that I
had seen all of San Francisco that I cared to, and was ready to
leave. However, we stayed two days longer, after which we pulled
out for the Sierra Nevadas, by the way of Hangtown, a little
mining camp situated at the American Fork. Here we crossed over a
pass that Jim had told me of more than a year previous, which led
us to the headwaters of the Carson river.

I proposed we give it the name of Beckwith Pass; and from that day
to this it has been known by that name, and since has been made a
splendid stage road.

After traveling down the Carson river some distance, we met a
party of miners who informed us that a few days previous a band of
Indians down on the Humboldt had made an attack on an emigrant
train, cut off a portion of the train, stampeded the teams, killed
all the people of that part of the train and burned the wagons.

They also informed us that Col. Elliott was down on what was known
as Truckee Meadows with a company of soldiers, but, so far, was
having very poor success killing Indians.

Col. Elliott had been sent out there with four companies of
cavalry to protect the emigrants against the Pah-Ute or Piute
Indians, which were very numerous down on the Humboldt, and around
the sink of the Carson and as far up the mountains as Lake Tahoe.

Jim being very well acquainted with Col. Elliott, proposed we go
around that way, thinking that the Colonel might be able to assist
materially in turning the tide of emigration through his pass, his
object being to get as much travel that way this fall as possible,
and the following spring he would establish a toll road through
that pass.

Col. Elliott was pleased at meeting Jim, and in the conversation
said: "Beckwith, I am very glad, indeed, to see you. You are just
the man I have been wanting this long time, for I haven't a scout
in my entire command that is worth a cent to scout for Indians. I
don't believe there is one of them that would dare to leave
headquarters fifteen miles alone, and I want to employ you as
chief of scouts."

Jim thanked the Colonel kindly for the honor, but told him he
could not accept the offer as he had another matter he wished to
attend to, and told him of the scheme he had on hand. But, he
said, he had a young man with him that he could recommend highly
for that position, and he gave me a great send off as a scout.

The Colonel insisted on our going with him to his private quarters
for supper, which we did, and after having a pleasant visit with
him, we returned to our own camp for the night.

When we were ready to take our departure for the evening, Col.
Elliott said: "Mr. Drannan, can I see you privately to-morrow
morning at nine o'clock?"

I told him that I would call at his quarters at that hour.

After Jim and I had reached our camp I asked him why he had
misrepresented me to Col. Elliott in the way he had, when he knew
I had never scouted a day in my life, knew nothing of scouting and
had done very little Indian fighting.

Jim said: "You are a young man and have been among the Indians long
enough to be pretty well acquainted with their habits. There is
not a single fellow in Elliott's outfit knows as much about
scouting as my black horse, and if you ever intend starting in,
now is your chance. That is the reason I gave you such a send off
to the Colonel."

After thinking the matter over, I concluded that Jim was right in
regard to it, and now was a good time to make a start.

After breakfast the next morning I met Col. Elliott at his
quarters at the time appointed. He invited me in and set out a
bottle of whiskey and a glass. I thanked him, but declined to

"Where were you raised," said the Colonel, "that you do not drink
whiskey? I thought you grew up in the Rocky Mountains."

I told him that I did, but was not raised to drink whiskey. I also
told him that I had been brought up, since a boy fifteen years
old, by Kit Carson.

The Colonel asked me many questions about Indians, their habits,
my idea of fighting them and so on, after which he asked me if I
would like a position as scout. I told him I would, provided there
was enough in it to justify me.

The Colonel made me a proposition of one hundred dollars a month
and rations, I to furnish my own horses. I could also turn my
extra horses in with the Government horses and it would cost me
nothing to have them herded. I accepted his proposition, agreeing
to start in on the following morning. I also had an agreement with
him that when I did not suit him, he was to pay me off and I would
quit. Also, when he did not suit me, I was to have the privilege
of quitting at any time, all of which was satisfactory to him, and
I started in on the following morning as per agreement.

That evening about sunset three of Col. Elliott's scouts came in,
and he gave me an introduction to them, telling them that I was
going to be a brother scout. After supper I had a long talk with
one of them, in which he posted me somewhat as to the different
watering places, grass, etc.

From him I learned that they had not seen an Indian for three
days, but had seen any amount of sign, every day, which was
evidence that there were plenty of Indians in the country.

The following morning when I went for my orders I was much
surprised at the Colonel saying: "Oh, damn it! I don't care. Go
any way you please and as far as you please. The other boys say
there is not an Indian in fifty miles of here, and if you find any
you will do better than any man I have sent out, so far."

When I went to order my lunch, and told the negro cook to put up
enough to last me until the next night, he looked at me and said:
"Whar you going, boss?" Jim told him I was going out to get some
cayote scalps. I now mounted Mexico--the horse that Mr. Reed had
given me at the City of Mexico--and started off on my first
scouting trip, taking an easterly direction until I had struck the
old emigrant road.

After I had left camp the other scouts were talking among
themselves, and none of them thought I would ever return. One of
the scouts told Jim that I was the biggest fool that he had ever
seen, to start out scouting in a strange region and not ask
anything about the country, grass, water, Indians, or anything

"Don't be alarmed about that boy," said Jim, "he'll take care of
himself in any man's country."

I had been taught by Uncle Kit that when I attempted to do a thing
to carry it out at all hazards, if it was in my power to do so.

After I had ridden about twelve miles or so, and was just entering
the mouth of a little ravine, on looking up the same ravine I saw
three Indians who had just hove in sight over the hill. I dropped
back from their view as quick as I could, which only took about
two or three jumps of my horse.

The Indians having their backs toward me, I was confident they had
not seen me. They were heading for the emigrant trail, that being
what we called the wagon road across the plains in those days.

I rode around the point of a hill and tied my horse in a washout
where he would be hid from view, climbed up the top of the hill
and saw five warriors, riding direct for the trail. After watching
them for a short time I hurried back to my horse, mounted him and
rode as fast as Mexico could conveniently carry me over this
sagebrush country--about a quarter of a mile in an opposite
direction to which the Indians were traveling. Riding up to the
head of a little ravine, where I could tie my horse in a place
where he would not be discovered by the redskins, I dismounted,
tied my horse and crawled up through the sagebrush to the top of
the hill, where I could watch the movements of the Indians.

This was a rolling country, low hills covered with a heavy growth
of sagebrush, and not a tree of any description to be seen

I had discovered my game, but how to capture it was what puzzled

The reader can have a faint idea of the situation of a young man
in a strange country and a sandy, sagebrush plain, who did not
know where to find either water or grass. If I returned to
headquarters they would escape me, and this being my first time
out in the scouting business, I could not afford to let them get
away. So, after holding a private council with myself, I decided
these Indians were spies, who were scouting for a large party of
Indians that were somewhere in this part of the country, and that
they were looking for emigrants, and in case they did not see any
such that day, they would no doubt go to water that night.

I laid there on the hill watching their movements and trying to
devise some plan by which I could capture them then.

Could I only have had Jim with me, how easy it would have been to
follow them to their camp that night, kill and scalp them and
capture their horses.

In those days an independent scout was entitled to all the stock
captured of the enemy by him.

I watched the Indians until they got to the emigrant trail, where
they stopped and held a council, apparently in doubt as to which
way they should go. After parleying for some five minutes they
struck out on the trail. I watched them for about two miles, then
they passed over a low range of hills and were out of sight.

I now mounted Mexico and rode as fast as I could, not directly
after them, but as near as I could to keep out of their sight; and
at the same time I felt confident that should they discover me,
that there was not an Indian pony in that whole country that could
catch Mexico, either in a short or long distance.

After riding some five miles or so, I dismounted and tied my horse
to a sagebrush, and climbed to the top of the highest hill between
me and where I supposed them to be. I discovered them about a mile
away, and they were just leaving the trail, riding up a ravine
that led to the north. They dismounted and put their ponies out to
grass. There also appeared to be a little meadow where they
stopped, and I concluded there must be water there, too. I took in
the situation at a glance and could see that I would have to ride
a long distance to get near them. Just immediately beyond them was
a little hill that sloped off down to the meadow on which they
were camped, but in any other direction a person could not ride
without being discovered.

I went back to my horse, mounted and took a circuit of about ten
miles, having to travel that distance in order to keep out of
their sight. Coming in from the north, I rode almost to the top of
the hill; here I dismounted, tied my horse, crawled to the top of
the hill, and on looking down could see them almost under me, the
hill was so small and steep. They were busily engaged in skinning
a jack-rabbit, and about that time I felt as though I could eat a
hind quarter of it myself if it had been cooked; for I had been
too busily engaged that day to stop and eat a lunch.

Here I lay in the sagebrush trying to devise some plan by which I
could do away with them and capture their horses.

It was now about four o'clock in the afternoon, and this being
about twenty miles from headquarters, I would not have time to
ride there and return with soldiers before they wold break camp in
the morning.

For me to attack them alone looked like a big undertaking.

There being a little grass for their horses, I now concluded they
would remain until morning. So I crept back to where my horse was
tied, took out my lunch and sat down and ate it, at the same time
debating in my mind the best course to pursue.

I remembered what Col. Elliott had told Jim, that he did not have
a scout that dared go fifteen miles from camp and now if I should
return to camp and report what I had seen, he would start soldiers
out, and by the time they could reach the ground the Indians would
be gone, and there would be nothing accomplished, consequently I
would, no doubt, be classed with the balance of the scouts in the
opinion of the Colonel. While on the other hand, should I be
successful in laying a plan by which I could do away with the
Indians and take their scalps to headquarters as evidence of my
work, it would give me a reputation as a scout.

I was confident they had not seen me that day, and knowing, too,
the Pah-Utes had not been disturbed by Col. Elliott's scouts, they
would no doubt lie down when night came, and I might steal a march
on them and amid their slumbers accomplish the desired deed.

Having been brought up by one of the bravest frontiersmen that
traversed the plains at that time, and who always taught me to
respect a brave man and hate a coward, I made up my mind to make
the attack alone, provided the Indians did not put out guards that

After I had finished my lunch I examined both my single-shot
pistols--I still having the one presented to me by my old friend
Joe Favor, three years before at Bent's Fort, also the knife,
which the reader will remember weighed two and one-fourth pounds--
and creeping back to the top of the hill I watched them cook and
eat the jack-rabbit. As it grew dark I drew nearer, and when it
was about as dark as it was likely to be that night, I crept up to
within a few yards of them. They had a little fire made of
sagebrush and did not lie down until very late.

I was so near that I could hear them talking, but I could not
understand their language, as I had never been among them, but I
was confident they were Pah-Utes, because I was in their country.

After they had smoked and talked matters over, which I supposed
was in regard to the next day's scouting, they commenced to make
preparations to sleep. In the crowd, apparently, were three
middle-aged warriors and two young ones, not yet grown. The three
older ones laid down together, while the two young ones made their
beds about fifteen feet away from the other three.

After they had become quiet I commenced crawling closer, as there
was some fire yet and I wanted to get their exact location before
I made the attack.

I felt confident that I could kill one of them the first blow with
my knife, and then I could kill the other two with my pistols. But
this would still leave two to one and I with nothing but a knife;
however, after going this far I was determined to make the attack
at all hazards.

When I had crawled up within a few feet of their bed, one turned
over and muttered something in his own tongue, which I could not
understand. I made sure I was not detected, and after lying still
for some time I concluded they were all asleep, and I soon made up
my mind that I had better make the attack at once and have the
matter settled one way or the other. After taking in the entire
situation I decided to make the attack with my knife. I took the
pistol from my right holster in my left hand, thereby giving me a
better chance after emptying the one pistol to easily grasp the
other one with my left hand.

I knew that if I could get a fair lick at one of them with my big
knife, which I always kept as sharp as a razor, that he would make
little, if any, noise. My plan of attack being completed, I
crawled up near their heads, and all appeared to be sound asleep.

I decided to take the one on my right first, so that in case the
other two should attempt to arise I would be in a position to
shoot the one on my left and at the same time cut the other one
down with my heavy knife. But it was my intention to kill all
three of them with my knife, if possible, in order to save both
pistols for the two young ones, as I expected a hard fight with
them, for I felt sure they would be on to me by the time I got
through with the other three, at the very best I could do.

I now raised up on to my feet and aimed to strike the one on my
right about the middle of the neck. I came down with all my might
and killed him almost instantly. I served the second one the same
way, but by this time the third one had raised to a sitting
position, and I struck him in the shoulder and had to make a
second lick to kill him. By this time the other two had been
aroused, and, as near as I could tell in the darkness, one of them
was crawling in the opposite direction on his hands and knees,
while the other one was coming at me on all fours. I shot him with
the pistol that I held in my left hand, and I then thought I was
almost safe. Just at that moment the other young buck was on his
feet, with bow in hand but no arrows. He dealt me a blow on the
side of the head, which staggered me but did not knock me down,
and before I had time to recover, he dealt me a second blow, but
it did not stagger me so much as the first, but it brought the
blood quite freely from my nose, at the same time I made a side
stroke at him, but struck too low. I then drew my other pistol
from the holster and fired, shooting him through the chest, and
though he fell mortally wounded, he again raised to his feet and
dealt me another blow, which was a great surprise to me, but just
one stroke of my big knife severed his jugular and he yielded up
the ghost.

Now my task was done. At the risk of my life I had accomplished
the desired end, and my reputation as a scout would be

I knew the other scouts were having some sport at my expense while
I was away, for I had overheard two of them in a conversation that
morning make some remarks about Col. Elliott's tenderfoot scout.

I had said nothing to them, but this made me all the more
determined in the undertaking, and now I had turned the joke on
them, and, as the old saying goes, "he who laughs last laughs

I could see by the light in the east that the moon would be up in
a short time, so I went and got my saddle-horse from where I had
tied him, and who, by this time was very thirsty and hungry, as he
had had nothing to eat and no water since morning. I watered him,
then picketed him out for about two hours on the little meadow, by
which time the moon had risen.

I then scalped the five Indians and tied their scalps to my belt.
They would be good evidence of my day's work when I should meet
the Colonel at his quarters. This being done, I tied the five
Indian horses together and started for headquarters, arriving
there about noon the next day.

Just as I had put the horses in the corral and before I had time
to dismount, Col. Elliott's orderly came on the dead run, saying:
"Col. Elliott wishes to see you at his quarters at once."

I turned about and rode over to the Colonel's tent, and when I had
saluted him, he said: "Sir, whose horses are those you just turned
into that corral?"

I said: "Sir, those are my horses, as I understand that any stock
captured from the Indians by an independent scout, he is entitled

"Mr. Drannan, do you tell me that you captured those horses from
an Indian?"

I said: "Col. Elliott, yes, sir; and here is something more I
captured with them." At that I threw down the five scalps at his

He looked amazed as he gazed at the scalps, but said nothing for a
few moments.

About this time the orderly announced Jim Beckwith at the door.
The Colonel said let him come in, and just as he entered the door,
Col. Elliott said:

"Beckwith, where do you suppose this scout got those scalps?"

Jim picked up the scalps, examined them thoroughly, and said:
"I'll bet my black horse that he took them from the heads of five
Pah-Ute Indians."

The Colonel smiled and said: "Drannan, if you will tell us all
about the whole affair, I will treat."

I related the adventure in brief. Dinner being ready, the Colonel
set out the whiskey and cigars and told me to call on him that
afternoon, as he wished to have a private conversation with me.

I picked up the five scalps and started to dinner, and as I passed
by the kitchen I threw them under the negro cook's feet and told
him to cook them for dinner for my friend and me--referring to Jim
Beckwith. When he saw the scalps he exclaimed: "Laws a massa,
boss! whar you git dem skelps? Marse Meyers said dey wasn't an
Injun in fifty miles o' hyar."

While we were eating dinner, Jim said to me: "Don't you know them
fellers didn't think you'd ever come back?"

I asked him what fellows, and he said: "Why, those scouts. One of
them told me you was the d--est fool he ever saw in his life, to
go out scouting alone in a strange country, and that the Pah-Utes
would get you, sure."

I said I did not think it worth while to ask those scouts anything
about Indians or anything else, for I didn't think they had been
far enough from camp to learn anything themselves.

That afternoon when I was announced at the Colonel's tent, I was
met in a somewhat different manner by him to what I had been that
noon, for he raised the front of the tent and said: "Come right in
Drannan, why do you hesitate?"

After having a social chat with him and rehearsing to some extent
the fight which took place the night before between myself and the
five Pah-Utes, he proposed to make me chief of his scouts. He
said: "Now, Drannan, I will tell you what I wished to see you
about. I have five scouts besides you, and I am going to make you
chief of all my scouts, and you can handle them to suit yourself."

I told the Colonel that I did not desire any promotion whatever,
for in the first place I would not be doing my self justice, and
that it would not be doing justice to the other scouts, and I
thought it would be of more benefit to both him and his other
scouts, to go alone, as I had started out.

He asked me why I would prefer going alone. My reply was that a
person in that business could not be too cautious, and I did not
know what kind of men he had, and just one careless move would
spoil the plans of the best scout in the world.

The Colonel admitted that I was right, but insisted on selecting
one man from his five scouts to assist me, saying: "If he don't
suit you, after trying him two or three days, report to me, and
you may select any one from my scouts that you like." And to this
I consented. I told him that I would be ready to start out the
following morning, and if he had any orders to give me to give
them now, as I would start very early. He said that he had no
orders to give, but that he had selected Charlie Meyers to
accompany me; and he proved to be a good man and a good scout.



The next morning I ordered three days' rations for two men, and
Charlie Meyers desired to know if I was going to Salt Lake City or
New York. I told him I was going out hunting, and if I struck
fresh signs of game I proposed tracking it to wherever it went.

That day we took the divide between Carson and Humboldt, south of
the emigrant trail, making a ride of forty miles that day, and
then a dry camp--a camp without water. The following morning we
rode about five miles, and came on to a big Indian trail that had
been made the evening before. We pushed on as fast as we could,
all the time keeping a sharp lookout, for we were now in the heart
of the Pah-Ute country, and could not be too careful. About half
past three o'clock we came to where the Indians had camped the
night before, on a tributary of the Humboldt. At this camp three
antelope had been devoured, so we knew that there had been a large
band of the redskins at that feast. It was also evident that they
were not very far ahead of us, as their fires had not entirely
died out.

Continuing the pursuit we were now getting close to the emigrant
trail, and it was plain that the Indians had headed west, which
convinced me that they were looking for emigrants, and if so they
would not go far before they would either go into camp or leave
the trail. It proved that after following the emigrant train a
short distance they had taken to the hills. The country was a sea
of sagebrush, and frequently we would start a jack-rabbit or
antelope that we would have been pleased to roast for supper, but
dared not shoot.

When near the top of a hill I would dismount, and leaving my horse
with Meyers, would crawl to the summit of the hill and peep over
in order to discover whether or not the Indians were in sight, and
then return, mount my horse and ride at a rapid gait until near
the top of another hill, when the same maneuver would be repeated.

At last we came to a sharp ridge and I dismounted. I remarked that
if we did not find those Indians soon we would have to make
another dry camp that night. It was now nearly sunset, and on
crawling to the top of the ridge and looking down on a nice little
valley not more than a half-mile distant, I saw that they had just
gone into camp and had not yet got all their ponies unpacked.

I had a good chance to make a rough estimate of their number,
which I thought to be about two hundred warriors.

I rushed back to Meyers and told him that I had located them, and
that one of us would have to ride back to headquarters that night
and report, and asked him whether he would rather go or stay and
watch the Indians.

"Why not both go," he asked.

I told him that by the time the cavalry could get there the
Indians might be gone, and one of us must stay and see where they
went to.

We were now, as near as we could tell, about thirty-five miles
from camp, as that afternoon we had been traveling west, in the
direction of headquarters.

After thinking the matter over, Meyers concluded that he would
rather make the ride than stay. I told him to be off at once, but
before starting, he said to me: "Suppose the Indians should
discover you while I am away?"

I replied that I would like very much to have them discover me,
when I knew the soldiers were in sight or within ten miles, for I
would like to run them into such a trap, and that I was not afraid
of any horse in their band catching Mexico in any distance.

I instructed Meyers not to spare horseflesh on the way, and to
tell Col. Elliott to start two companies of cavalry as soon as

We shook hands and he started, and that was once that he made good
time. It being after seven o'clock when he started, he reached
camp at fifteen minutes after eleven that night.

When he had gone I started in to lay my plans for the night.

It was yet so light that I could get a good view of the
surrounding country, and about three miles from the Indians' camp
I could see the highest hill anywhere around. I decided at once
that if I were on that high hill I could see every move of the
Indians, besides I could look up the Humboldt and see the
soldiers, or at least the dust raised by them, while they were yet
a long way off.

This peak lay north of the trail, and the trail ran east and west.

As soon as it was dark I mounted my horse and rode to the peak and
tied him to a sagebrush in a sinkhole, that looked as though it
might have been put there on purpose, for my horse was hidden from
every direction.

I now went to the top of the hill, and there being a dense growth
of sagebrush, I was perfectly safe from discovery when daylight
should come.

I did not have to wait long after daylight, for just as the sun
was creeping up over the hill and shedding its rays on the little
valley where the two hundred braves had had such a pleasant
night's rest, dreaming, perhaps, of emigrants, horses, provisions
and other stuff that they would probably capture the following
day, I looked up the Humboldt and saw the two companies of cavalry

The Indians seemed in no hurry to leave, and were perhaps waiting
for the five scouts to return and report, never thinking that they
had been killed and scalped, and that the same paleface who did
the deed was then watching their every movement and laying plans
for their destruction.

I got my horse in about a minute, mounted and rode across the
country to meet the cavalry, taking a route so that I would not be
seen by the Indians.

I met the soldiers--who were commanded by Capt. Mills and Lieut.
Harding--about four miles from the Indian camp, and they came to a

I told them about the number I thought there were in the Indian
band and the lay of the country, as nearly as I could. The Captain
and Lieutenant stepped to one side and held a council, and after
talking the matter over they called me and said they had about
decided to attack the enemy from both above and below at the same
time, and, as I had seen the ground, they asked my opinion in the
matter. I told them I thought it an excellent plan, and then Capt.
Mills turned to Lieut. Harding and said: "Which do you prefer, to
make the upper or lower attack? Take your choice."

He then asked me if they could get to the head of the ravine that
the Indians were camped on and not be seen by them. I told him
that I could show them a ravine that led from the emigrant trail
to the head of the valley on which they were camped, and marked
out a plat of the country in the dust, showing the course each
company would have to take, telling them that the company making
the upper attack would have to travel about a mile farther than
the one making the attack from below. He then asked me if the
companies could see each other before the Indians could see them.
I informed him that they could not, but that I could show him a
hill where he could station a man and he would be able to see both
companies, but the Indians could not see him, and when the company
from above should reach the top of the hill that man could signal
to the other company to charge.

At that time Lieut. Harding turned to Capt. Mills and said: "If
the boy scout will go with me I will make the upper attack, as he
has been over the country and knows the lay of the ground."

Of course I consented, and we marched to the mouth of the ravine
just mentioned.

I pointed out the hill referred to, and the Lieutenant placed a
man on top of it, and we proceeded.

Just before we reached the top of the other hill, Lieut. Harding
halted and formed his men in line, placing them about ten feet
apart, saying: "I have only a hundred soldiers, but I want it to
appear that I have a thousand."

When we first came in sight of the Indians, some were lying
stretched out in the sun, some were sitting down, while a few were
out looking after their horses, everything indicating that they
had just had their breakfast and were lounging around, not having
the slightest idea of an enemy in twenty miles of them, and we
took them wholly unawares.

When the Lieutenant formed his men in line before raising the top
of the hill, he asked me to take charge of his left wing and he
would take charge of his right. As soon as we came in sight of the
Indians, he gave the order to charge.

This was the first thing of the kind I had ever witnessed, and
when I cast my eyes down the line of soldiers I thought it the
grandest sight I had ever seen. This was also the first engagement
for either of the companies.

In all the scrimmages I had been in with the redskins, the one
that made the most noise was the best Indian fighter; so when the
Lieutenant gave the order to charge, I raised a yell, as I thought
this to be one of the essential points of a charge, and wondered
why the rest of the boys did not do the same. However, after
hearing a few of my whoops they picked it up, and each began
yelling at the top of his voice, and by this time we were among
the Indians.

The two companies had about the same distance to run after
sounding the charge, but Lieut. Harding was at the scene of
conflict a few moments ahead of Capt. Mills, thereby giving the
Indians time to scatter. This was attributed to the fact that
Capt. Mills had to charge up grade while Lieut. Harding had down
grade, which they had not thought of before making the
arrangement, and the ground being mostly sand made a great
difference in the speed of the horses.

Meyers and I made a rush for the Indians' horses, but the soldiers
all stuck together, and seeing that a number of Indians were at
their horses already and mounted, we abandoned the idea at once.
Had one platoon made a dash for the horses and stampeded them, we
would no doubt have got more Indians.

After emptying both of my single-shot pistols I drew my knife, and
just at that moment an Indian shot Meyers through the arm with an
arrow and he sang out to me that he was wounded. Another Indian
then made a dash at Meyers with his bow and arrow in hand, so I
charged after him and made a slash at him with my knife, but he
saw me in time to slide off on the opposite side of his horse. I
could not stop the blow so I struck his horse in the back and
brought him to the ground, and the Indian ran for dear life.

About this time a soldier came riding along, and I knew from his
actions that his pistol was empty (the soldiers had no firearms in
this engagement except pistols), and I asked him why he did not
draw his sabre and cut them down. He said he had no orders to do

To that I did not reply, but I thought this a queer way of
fighting Indians, when a soldier had to stop in the midst of a
battle, fold his arms and stand there to be shot down while
waiting orders to draw his sabre. A moment later they received
orders to use their sabres, and they went to hewing the Indians

I saw an Indian with two or three feathers in his hair, and I took
him to be the war chief. He was coming direct for me with bow and
arrow in hand, and I made a desperate rush for him and made a
strike at him with my knife, but he threw up his arm and knocked
off my lick, at the same time a measly redskin shot me through the
calf of my leg, pinning me to the mochila of my saddle.

The mochila is a large covering for a saddle made of very heavy
leather and comes low on the horse's side, thereby affording great
protection to horses in cases like this. This shield is of Spanish
origin, but they were used by all mountaineers as well as

I was leaning over when the arrow struck me and pinned me to the
saddle, so that I could not straighten up, for I was almost on the
side of the horse when I received the arrow.

Capt. Mills, seeing the predicament I was in, came to my rescue
and cut the war chief down with his sabre, just in time to save me
from getting another arrow.

The Captain pulled the arrow out of my leg, which had a very large
spear made of hoop iron, and it tore a bad hole in my leg when he
pulled it out. By this time the redskins were scattering in all
directions, some on foot and some on horseback.

As soon as I was free I saw a band of about fifty horses not far
away, and asked the Captain to detail some of his men to assist me
in running them off. The Captain dashed off to his orderly who he
told to take a platoon of men and go with the boy scout to take
charge of those horses.

In this charge we got fifty-two horses and killed four Indians. We
drove the horses out on the hill where they would be out of the
way and where the Indians would not get them, and the Sergeant
left his men to guard them until further orders.

As I rode back to the scene of battle I looked up the road and saw
four wagons coming. I asked the Sergeant where those wagons were
going, and he said they were ambulances, coming to haul the
wounded to headquarters, saying they had started at the same time
the cavalry did but could not keep up, consequently they did not
arrive until after the battle was over.

About the time I returned to the battlefield the bugle sounded
calling the soldiers in from the chase, and on looking over the
ground, four dead soldiers and twenty-seven wounded were
discovered. There were sixty-three dead Indians in sight, and
more, no doubt, were scattered around in the sagebrush.

The battle being over we had our breakfast. I also had my horse
put out to grass, as he was very hungry, not having had anything
to eat since noon the day before, and not much then.

After breakfast was over the soldiers buried their four dead
comrades and loaded the wounded into the ambulances and started
for headquarters, arriving there about nine o'clock that night.
Charlie Meyers had a wound in his arm that laid him up all summer,
and I was not able to ride for two weeks; although I had the best
of care.

From that time on I was known as the boy scout, and the next day
after our return, Col. Elliott appointed me chief of scouts with
rank and pay of captain, which was one hundred and twenty-five
dollars per month. He also provided me with private quarters, my
tent being pitched near his own, and notwithstanding that I was
only a mere boy the other scouts all came to me for orders and
counsel, and I often wondered why men who knew nothing of scouting
nor the nature of Indians would stick themselves up as scouts.

Two weeks from the time I got wounded the Colonel asked me if I
thought I was able to ride, saying that the news had just come to
him that the Indians had attacked a train of emigrants, killed
some of them and driven off their stock. This depredation he said
had been committed in the Goose Creek mountain country about one
hundred and twenty miles east of us. Col. Elliott said that he was
going to send out a company of soldiers there, and if I felt able
I might accompany them, which I did.

All being in readiness, I selected two scouts to assist me, and we
pulled out, taking with us a pack-train with one month's

We had a rough and tedious trip, as not one of the entire crowd
had been over the country and did not know a single watering
place, so we had to go it blind, hit or miss. I had not gone far
when I found that I had made a sad mistake, as notwithstanding my
leg appeared quite well when I started out, yet, after one or two
days' riding, it got quite sore and pained me severely, and the
longer I rode the worse it got.

Five days' ride and we were at the place where the emigrants were
camped. Another small train had pulled in with them as they were
afraid to cross the desert alone.

That night Capt. Mills called the men of the train together to
ascertain whether or not they wished to look after their stock,
but they did not seem to know themselves what to do. They were
quite sure that the Indians had driven the stock south, as they
had tracked them some distance in that direction. Capt. Mills
asked me what I thought of finding the stock, and I told him that
if it was driven south, of which the emigrants seemed quite sure,
it was more than likely that the Indians and stock were several
hundred miles away, and that it would be next to impossible to get
any trace of them, and in my opinion it would be like trying to
find a needle in a haystack.

After considering the matter the emigrants concluded that I was

Those of them who had lost all their stock were a pitiful sight
indeed, women and children were weeping, and particularly those
who had lost their husbands and fathers in the fight with the

There were no women and children killed, as the Indians did not
attack the train, being apparently only bent on capturing the
horses and cattle. They had killed the guards and also the men
that ran out to protect the stock.

One who has never witnessed a like affair can scarcely comprehend
the situation of a widow left out there with three or four
children in this desolate region, utterly destitute. It was a
gloomy situation, indeed, and a sight that would cause the
hardest-hearted man to shed tears.

Those who had lost their stock made some kind of arrangements to
ride with those that had come later.

The day before starting the emigrants rolled all their wagons
together that they did not have teams to haul, also the harness,
and in fact everything they could not haul, and burned them, so
that the Indians would not derive any benefit from them.

I merely note a few of these facts to give the reader a faint idea
of the trials, troubles and hardships that the early settlers of
the "wild West" had to pass through, not only in crossing the
plains, but, as will be shown later in this book, in many
instances after settling in different parts of this western

The day before starting, Capt. Mills suggested that as my wound
was giving me so much trouble, I should return to headquarters in
company with the train of emigrants, and asked how many men I
wanted to guard them through. I told him that I would not feel
safe with less than twenty men. The Captain thought that twenty
would not be sufficient, so he made a detail of twenty-five men
and issued rations to last us eight days.

Capt. Mills and the men he had reserved remained in this section
of country to guard emigrants that might be traveling westward, as
the Indians were now working in this part of the country since our
battle with them on the Humboldt.

Having completed all arrangements we pulled out with one hundred
and twenty-five wagons, all told, in the train, but as some of the
oxen were very tender footed we had to travel very slowly. I
divided my men into squads of twelve each, and changed guards at
morning, noon, evening and midnight.

I also started six guards ahead every morning, with instructions
to keep from one to three miles from the train on either side,
according to the lay of the country. The second day one of the
scouts returned from the south and reported having seen six
Indians southwest of the train; this was about ten o'clock in the
forenoon. I turned and rode off with the scout, saying nothing to
anyone in the train. He piloted me to where he had seen the
Indians, and sure enough there were the tracks of their ponies in
the sand. The scout returned to the train and I followed the trail
of the Indian all day, but never got sight of an Indian. When dark
came I turned about and rode to camp, arriving there at twelve
o'clock that night.

The people in the train were very much pleased to see me return,
for they had felt much uneasiness as to my safety, fearing that I
might have fallen into the hands of the Pah-Utes. This ride,
however, laid me up for two weeks, and I had to go the balance of
the way in an emigrant wagon.

The captain of this train had a jaw breaking name that I never
heard before or since. It was Sam Molujean, and I know he was the
most excitable man that I ever saw. When Capt. Molujean got
excited he could not talk at all for stuttering, so one day the
guards concluded to have a little sport at the expense of the
Captain. We were now nearly opposite where about a month previous
a battle with the Pah-Utes had been fought, and the advance guards
were riding back to the train--it now being time to corrall for
dinner. They met Capt. Molujean, who asked if they had seen any

One of the guards informed him that there were sixty-odd up the
ravine. This set the Captain wild. He wheeled around and rode back
to where I was in the wagon and started in to tell me what the
guard had said, but he could not utter a word.

After listening to him a minute or so I told him if he would get
some one to tell what he wanted I would answer his question. I
suppose I was somewhat impatient, as I was suffering from my
wound. At this one of the guards rode up with a smile on his face,
and I asked him if he could tell me what Capt. Molujean was trying
to say to me. He related to me what they had told him in regard to
the sixty-odd Indians up the ravine, referring to the Indians that
had been killed in battle between the soldiers and Pah-Utes.

We had a good laugh at the Captain's expense, after which I told
him the Indians the guard had reference to were all good Indians.

"Oh! is that so?" he exclaimed, and these were the first words he
had been able to utter. "But," he continued, "I did not know there
were any good Indians in this country; I thought all of them were
savage." I told the Captain that those Indians were dead, and that
all dead Indians were good ones. This was a stunner for the
Captain, and I do not think that the joke has ever penetrated his
massive skull.

We did not see any more Indians or any sign of them on the trip.

On reaching headquarters we found Jim Beckwith awaiting our
arrival. He had been out with three other men whom he had hired to
help him blaze a road across the mountains through his new pass.
He had finished his work on the road and returned to Col.
Elliott's camp, knowing that if he could get one train to go his
way it would be a great help toward getting the tide of
immigration turned in that direction the following season.

Here Beckwith took charge of the train, Col. Elliott recommending
him very highly, and telling the emigrants that if they would only
obey his orders he would pilot them through in safety.

Before starting, Jim asked me to come over and spend the winter
with him, saying that he was going to build a cabin on the other
side of the mountains, lay in a big supply of provisions, and as
after that he was going to do nothing, he wanted me to help him.

I promised to go and winter with him if it was possible for me to
do so, as at this time I did not know but what I might have to go
to San Francisco to have my leg treated the coming winter.

From here the emigrants were to pay Jim to pilot them across the
mountains to a little mining camp called Hangtown, which was about
one hundred and twenty miles east of Sacramento. They made the
trip without any trouble. I saw one of the emigrants the next
spring and they spoke in very high terms of Jim Beckwith.



Two weeks after the incidents related in the previous chapter,
Capt. Mills came in with another train of emigrants, not having
seen an Indian on the trip, and from this time on there was no
danger of such trains going from that region through Beckwith
Pass, and as the road was now broken by the other train, these
emigrants could cross the Sierra Nevadas without a guide.

About this time four men with pack animals came along who claimed
to be from Salt Lake. They reported that they had seen Indians one
day traveling east of headquarters. I took two men and started out
and was gone about a week, but did not see an Indian, or a track
or sign of one, and when we returned the Colonel concluded that he
had been misled by the packers.

Col. Elliott now ordered me to take fifty men, with two weeks'
provisions, and go as far as we could with that amount of rations,
or until we should meet some emigrants. We were gone about three
weeks, but did not see either Indians or emigrants. The fact is,
that it was getting so late in the fall that the Indians had all
gone south, and the emigrants were not moving on the desert at
that season.

On our return the Colonel had everything ready and we pulled out
for San Francisco. We camped the first night at Steamboat Springs,
a place that has since grown to be a famous health resort. On the
second day we passed over the country where now stands Carson
City, the capital of Nevada. At that time, this region, like all
of that country then, was a wild, unsettled, sagebrush desert, or
mountain wilderness.

The morning we left Eagle Valley the Colonel rode in advance of
the column with me, and I saw there was something on his mind. In
a little while he said he would like to kill a deer with big
horns, so that he could send it--the horns--to his father in New
York, who had never seen a deer, and he added that notwithstanding
he--the Colonel--had been on the Pacific coast two years, he had
never killed a deer in his life. I told him that I would fix it
for him to get one the very next day, and he was as pleased as a

That night we camped by a big spring at the mouth of a great
canyon, and about the spring stood a number of large pine trees.
Many persons who had passed that way had carved their names in the
bark of the trees, and among the names were two that were quite
familiar to me. One of these was the name of Capt. Molujean--I
wondered how he had done it without stuttering--and the other was
the name of James Beckwith. On the same tree was written with lead
pencil: "Sixty miles to Beckwith's Hotel."

On my favorite horse, Pinto, I rode out with the Colonel for a
deer hunt. While riding along the canyon about two miles from
where the command had camped, I saw a large doe crossing the
canyon and coming down the hill toward us. I signaled the Colonel
to halt and I shot the doe, breaking her neck, while sitting on my
horse. I then told the Colonel to secrete himself behind a tree
and he would soon see the male deer, and he would stand a good
show to get a fine pair of horns. In a few moments two deer came
tracking the one I had shot.

"Be ready, now," said I, "and when he stops let him have it." So
when the deer were within about fifty yards I gave a keen whistle
and they stopped, stock still. The Colonel fired and brought the
big buck to the ground. The other, which was a small one, started
to run, but I sent a bullet after it that made more venison.

We now had plenty of meat, and the Colonel was as proud over
killing that deer as I was over my first pair of boots.

We stopped here until the command came up, dressed the venison and
went on our way rejoicing.

Soon we were ascending the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and about
three o'clock we struck the snow-line.

To one who has never gone from comparative summer in a few hours'
ride, to the depths of winter and a considerable depth of snow,
the sensation is a strange one. Of course, I had often done that
before. But having more leisure to think of it now, and having
more to do with the snow, I thought of its strangeness, and I am
reminded of a little girl whom I have become acquainted with long
since those days, and the effect that the first sight of snow had
upon her. She was born in San Francisco, and had not seen any snow
up to the time when she was three years old. Her parents were
coming east with her on a railroad train, which runs over about
the same ground that we were on at the time I was there with Col.
Elliott. Awakening in the morning in a sleeping-car on top of the
Sierras, the little one looked out, and seeing the vast fields of
whiteness, she exclaimed: "Do look, mamma; the world is covered
with sugar."

As we ascended the mountains the snow became so deep in a little
while that we were forced to camp. The next morning the herders
were directed to take the stock ahead in order to tramp down the
snow to make a trail, but in four miles it became so deep that it
was impossible to proceed further in that manner, and then the
Colonel detailed fifty men to shovel snow, but having only a few
shovels, wooden ones were made that answered the purpose, and
while we were shoveling, the horses were also frequently driven
back and forth over the trail, and in three days we had a passable
road for the wagons.

At the end of the three days we reached the edge of the snow on
the opposite side of the mountains, and there being a beautiful
camping ground and the first night out of the snow for some time,
the luxury of it was fully appreciated by all hands.

On a pine tree here I again saw signs of my old friend, Jim
Beckwith, for there was written: "Twenty miles to Beckwith's
Hotel." So you see that even in that faraway country, and at that
early day, even the pioneer had learned the uses of out-door

The next morning we took an early start and traveled hard all day,
anticipating with much pleasure that at night we should enjoy all
the luxuries of the season at Beckwith's Hotel. And we did, to the
extent that this region and the markets of San Francisco could

We reached [Transcriber's note: unreadable text] about sunset that
evening, and the command went into camp and I went to Jim's new
log house. He had built one and had started in to build the second,
having two carpenters at work finishing them up.

After supper Col. Elliott and all his officers, both commissioned
and non-commissioned, came to Jim's house, where, after a social
chat and having cracked a few jokes, which latter was really a
part of the business connected with this life, Col. Elliott pulled
off his overcoat, laid it and his hat on a bed, stepped up near
the table and said:

"Mr. Beckwith, I wish to say a few words to your friend, Mr.
Drannan, in behalf of myself and the other officers present." Jim
told him to go ahead, which he did, telling how faithful I had
been and what valuable services I had rendered both to him and the
emigrants. He went on and made quite a lengthy speech, in
conclusion of which he said: "Mr. Drannan, as a slight token of
our appreciation of your services while with us, I now present to
you this pair of glasses," whereupon he handed me a fine pair of
field glasses which he took from his overcoat pocket, "and here
are two navy revolvers that Capt. Mills and Lieut. Harding wish to
present to you as a token of their friendship."

This took me wholly by surprise, as I had not expected anything of
the kind, and I was so dumbfounded that all I could say was to
thank them for the presents, the thought never having entered my
head that my services had been so highly appreciated by the
officers of those four companies.

Col. Elliott said that in case he should go out on the plains the
following summer, which in all probability he would, he wanted me
to go with him without fail. I promised him that I would, provided
I was in the country when he started out.

After Col. Elliott had closed his remarks and taken his seat, Jim
Beckwith arose and made quite a speech in his plain, rude
language, addressing his remarks principally to Col. Elliott, in
which he said: "Colonel, I would not have recommended this boy to
you so highly if I had not been with him long enough to know that
when he starts in to do a thing he goes at it for all there is in
him, and, as I told you, he has been with Kit Carson ever since he
was a boy, and I knowed that if he didn't have the everlasting
grit in him, Kit Carson wouldn't have kept him around so long. I
am very glad indeed, Colonel, that he has filled the bill, and now
the Injun fightin' is all over for this season and 'twill be some
time before we all meet again, if we ever do. I have nothing of
value to present to you, but such as I have is as free as the
water in the brook."

At this he produced a gallon jug of whiskey, set it on the table,
gave us some glasses and told us all to help ourselves. This wound
up the evening's exercises, and after each had tipped the glass
about three times we broke up the lodge and each went on his way

Before the Colonel left that night he told me that we would divide
the captured horses the next morning. I told him that all I wanted
was the five horses that I had captured from the five Indian
scouts when I first started in to scout for him, but the next
morning [Transcriber's note: unreadable text] out when the horses
were brought in and made the division. There were sixty-three of
them, and he left fifteen to my share.

I stayed at Jim Beckwith's for about two weeks, and his carpenters
having the houses completed, we saddled up four horses and took
them to Hangtown. It was a distance of twenty miles to Hangtown,
which at that time was one of the loveliest mining towns in
California. There were between four and five thousand inhabitants
in and around the place. During the day it appeared dead, as there
was scarcely a person to be seen on the streets; but at night it
would be full of miners, who, it seemed, came to town for no other
purpose than to spend the money they had earned during the day.

This winter passed off, apparently, very slowly, being the most
lonesome winter I had put in since I struck the mountains.

Along about the middle of February our groceries were running
short and Jim went to Hangtown for supplies. On his return he
brought me a letter from Col. Elliott, asking me to come to San
Francisco at once.

I asked him what he thought of it, and he told me by all means to

I told him I would have to stop in San Francisco and buy me a suit
of clothes before going out to the fort to see Col. Elliott. He
thought this was useless, saying: "Your buckskin suit that Kit
Carson gave you is just what you want for a trip like that."

I thought that if I wore such a suit in civilization the people
would make light of me, and I hated the idea of being the laughing
stock for other people.

Jim said: "It is Col. Elliott you are going to see, and he would
rather have you come that way than any other."

I took my suit down and looked at it, and it was a fine one of the
kind. I had never worn it since Uncle Kit's wedding, so it was
practically new. I decided to wear it, and the next morning I
started for San Francisco, Jim accompanying me to Hangtown to take
the horses back to his ranche.

At Hangtown I took the stage for Sacramento, which, by the way,
was the first time I had ever ridden in a stage-coach.

We started from Hangtown at five o'clock in the morning and at
twelve o'clock that night the driver drew rein at the American
Exchange Hotel in Sacramento. The coach was loaded down to its
utmost capacity, there being nine passengers aboard. The roads
were very rough at this season of the year--being the latter part
of February--and I would rather have ridden on the hurricane deck
of the worst bucking mustang in California than in that coach.

This hotel was kept at that time by a man named Lamb.

That night when the proprietor assigned the passengers to their
respective rooms he asked us if we wished to take the boat for San
Francisco the next morning. I told him that I did, whereupon he
asked me if I wanted my breakfast. I told him that I did, saying
that I didn't want to go from there to San Francisco without
anything to eat. This caused quite a laugh among the bystanders;
but I did not see the point, for at that time I did not know that
one could get a meal on a steamboat, for I had never been near

Just as I stepped on the boat next morning, a man rushed up to me
with a "Hello there! how are you?" as he grasped me by the hand.
Seeing that I did not recognize him, he said: "I don't believe you
know me." I told him that he had one the best of me. He said: "You
are the boy scout that was with Capt. Mill last summer, and you
rode in my wagon." Then I recognized him. His name was Healey, and
at the time was running a restaurant in San Francisco, and he
insisted on my going to his place when I got to the city, which
invitation I accepted. His establishment was known as the Miners'

Mrs. Healey and her little daughter, eleven years old, knew me as
soon as I entered the door, and were apparently as glad to see me
as though I had been a relative of the family.

The next morning when I offered to settle my bill they would not
take a cent, but requested me while in the city to make my home
with them.

That day I went out to the Fort, which was three miles from the
city, and on arriving there the first man I met was Lieut.
Harding, who at once conducted me to Col. Elliott's quarters.

That afternoon we made the rounds of the Fort, and Col. Elliott,
when introducing me, would say: "This is the 'boy scout,' who was
out with us last summer, and whom you have heard me speak of so

I made my home with Col. Elliott and his wife during my stay at
the Fort, which was two weeks.



That night Mrs. Elliott had every lady that belonged around the
Fort at her house, and she took the "boy scout" along the line and
introduced him to every one of the ladies. This was something new
to me, for it was the first time in my life that I had struck
society, and I would have given all of my previous summer's wages
to have been away from there. I did not know how to conduct
myself, and every time I made a blunder--which seemed to me every
time I made a move--I would attempt to smooth it over, and always
made a bad matter worse.

Next morning at the breakfast table I told the Colonel and his
wife that I was going back into the mountains as fast as I could
get there. I knew I could track Indians, and fight them if
necessary, but I did not know how to entertain ladies, especially
when my best clothes were only Indian-tailored buckskin.

Mrs. Elliott assured me that she would not have had me come there
dressed differently, had it been in her power to prevent it.
"Dressed otherwise than you are," she said, "you would not be the
same 'boy scout' that my husband has told us so much concerning."

Of course this was encouraging, and I concluded that I might not
have been so painfully ridiculous as I had supposed. For, be it
known, I had been scarcely able to sleep the night before for
thinking of what an outlandish figure I had cut that night before
all those high-toned ladies, and of the sport my presence among
them must have created.

However, I felt much better after the pleasant way in which Mrs.
Elliott declared she looked at it, and with renewed self-
complacence proceeded to discuss with the Colonel his plans for
the next summer's campaign.

He informed me that he intended to go out with four companies of
soldiers, and would locate a short distance east of last year's
quarters, at a place where the town of Wadsworth has since been
built. Plenty of good water and an abundance of grass were there,
and with two companies he would make his headquarters there. The
other two companies he would send about one hundred miles further
east, to the vicinity of Steen's Mountain, and it was his wish
that I should take charge of the scouts and operate between the
two camps.

Notwithstanding I had a good home with Col. Elliott and his wife
as long as I wished to remain, it seemed to me that this was the
longest and lonesomest week I had ever experienced. Everything
being so different from my customary way of living, I could not
content myself.

The day before I was to start back home it was arranged that I
should return to Jim Beckwith's ranche and keep the Colonel posted
by letter in regard to the snow in the mountains, and when he
would be able to cross. Then I was to join him at Beckwith's.

The following evening Mrs. Elliott gave a party, which was
attended by all the ladies and gentlemen of the garrison. There
was to be a general good time, perhaps the last party of the
season, as it was approaching the time for preparations for the
next campaign against the Indians.

When all the guests had arrived and the spacious house was a blaze
of light and happiness--fair women smiling and their musical
voices fairly making a delightful hub-bub of light conversation,
and the gentlemen, superb in their gold-trimmed uniforms, or
impressive in full evening dress--the manager of the dance sang
out for all to take partners for some sort of a bowing and
scraping drill that is a mystery to me to this day. I had seen the
fandango in Taos, and elsewhere in the Mexican parts of the
southwest, but this was the first time I had seen Americans dance,
and it was all appallingly new to me.

I sat in a corner like a homely girl at a kissing-bee, and had
nothing to say.

After the crowd had danced about two hours, the floor-manager sang
out, "Ladies' choice!" or something that meant the same thing, and
to my surprise and terror, Mrs. Elliott made a bee-line for me and
asked me to assist her in dancing a quadrille. I had no more idea
of a quadrille than I had of something that was invented
yesterday, and I begged her to excuse me, telling her that I knew
nothing whatever of dancing. She declared, however, that I had
looked on long enough to learn and that I would go through all
right. I hung back like a balky horse at the foot of a slippery
hill, but between Mrs. Elliott and the prompter I was almost
dragged out on the floor.

The reader may be able to conceive a faint idea of my situation. I
was now twenty-three years old, and this was the first time I had
been in civilization since I had left St. Louis, a boy of fifteen.
Here I was, among those swell people, gorgeous in "purple and fine
linen," so to speak; ladies in silks, ruffles and quirlymacues,
gentlemen in broadcloth, gold lace and importance, and I in only
buckskin from head to foot. I would have freely given everything I
possessed to have been out of that, but my excuses failed utterly,
and finally I went into it as I would an Indian fight, put on a
bold front and worked for dear life.

I found it quite different to what I had expected Instead of
making light of me, as I feared they would, each lady in the set
tried to assist me all she could.

When on the floor it seemed to me that every man, woman and child
were looking at me, as indeed they were, or rather at my suit of
buckskin, that, worked full of beads and porcupine quills, was the
most beautiful suit of its kind I have ever seen. But it was so
different from the dress of the others that it made me decidedly
conspicuous. When on the floor and straightened up I felt as if I
were about nine feet high, and that my feet were about twenty
inches long and weighed near fifty pounds each.

The prompter called out, "Balance all!" and I forgot to dance
until all the others were most through balancing, then I turned
loose on the double-shuffle, this being, the only step I knew, and
I hadn't practiced that very much. About the time I would get
started in on this step the prompter would call something else,
and thus being caught between two hurries I would have to run to
catch up with the other dancers. However, with the assistance of
Mrs. Elliott, the other good ladies, the prompter, and anybody
else in reach, I managed to get through, but I had never gone into
an Indian fight with half the dread that I went into that dance,
and never escaped from one with more thankfulness.

The following morning, after bidding Col. Elliott, his wife and
all the other of my new-found friends good-bye, I started on my
return to Beckwith's ranche, perfectly willing to resign my high-
life surroundings to go back to the open and congenial fields of
nature and an indescribable freedom.

I found Beckwith suffering severely from an old arrow wound that
he had received in a fight with the Utes near Fort Hall in 1848.



It was late spring when the snow began to melt, but it went away
very fast when it once started. About the first of June I wrote to
Col. Elliott that by the tenth of the month he could cross the
mountains. He did not arrive until the 20th of June, then I joined
him and we started across the mountains.

By direction of the Colonel each of the captains detailed four men
from their respective companies to be my assistants, and at my
suggestion young men were chosen, such as myself, who could ride
forty-eight hours, if necessary, without stopping, and I asked for
men who were not afraid to go alone, not afraid to fight, and,
above all, men that would never allow themselves to be taken

The command having been drawn up for dress parade, the orderly
sergeants called their rolls, and whenever a man's name was called
whom the captains wished to de-tail, he was directed to stand
aside. Up to this time the men did not know and were wondering
what was up. Col. Elliott informed them after the drill was over,
and said to them:

"Soldiers, this man, Capt. Drannan, is now your chief, and you
will act according to his orders at any and all times. He will
instruct you when to meet him at his private quarters."

The next three days were spent in drilling the scouts to mount and
dismount quickly, to shoot at some object when on the dead run, to
lie on the side of the horse and shoot at an object on the
opposite side while running at full speed, and a great deal of
other work of that kind.

Three days later we started east, Capt. Mills and Lieut. Harding
with their companies, expecting to go about one hundred miles
before locating permanently for the summer. I started out in
advance of the command with my entire force of scouts. We traveled
about fifteen miles together, when we separated, four taking the
north side of the emigrant trail, with instructions to keep from
four to five miles from it; four keeping the trail and four, with
myself, south of the trail. I gave the men north instructions in
case they should find an Indian trail to follow it until they were
sure the Indians were making for the emigrant trail, and then
dispatch one man to notify the men on the trail, the other three
follow the Indians, and at the end of three days all were to meet
at a certain point on the trail where, we expected to meet the

The second day out we struck an Indian trail south of the road,
but it being an old one we did not follow it but made a note of
the number we thought there were in the band, an that night we
pulled for the emigrant trail, expecting to meet the soldiers

We did not meet the soldiers, but met the four scouts who had
traveled on the emigrant trail.

We got no word that night from the men north, but according to
agreement we went to a hill near by and built two fires of
sagebrush, that they might know where we were, and if in need of
assistance they could dispatch, but did not see nor hear anything
of them.

The next morning I kept the emigrant trail myself, sending the
other squad of men south, with instructions to meet me at Humboldt
Wells, telling them about the distance it was from where we were
then camped, and describing the place to them. There we would wait
until the command came up, as we were now running short of
rations. That day the party south struck the same trail that we
had seen the day before; two of them followed it and the other two
came to camp to report. The party that had started out north of
the trail got into camp just at dusk, tired and hungry, and the
following morning at daylight the other two from the south came
into camp. From what I could learn from them the band of Indians
they had been following were traveling along almost parallel with
the emigrant trail, looking for emigrants, as it was now getting
time that the emigrants were beginning to string along across the
plains en-route for the gold fields of California.

Our provisions had run out, so we sat up late that night awaiting
the arrival of the command, but we looked in vain.

The following morning, just as I could begin to see that it was
getting a little light in the east, myself and one assistant scout
crawled out quietly, without disturbing the other boys, to kill
some game. We had not gone far from camp when we saw nine
antelope; we both fired and both shot the same antelope. We
dressed the game and took it to camp, arriving there just as the
other two scouts came in from the south. The boys were all up in
camp, and considerable excitement prevailed among them, they
having heard two shots, and thought the Indians had attacked us.
They were all hungry as wolves, so we broiled and ate antelope
almost as long as there was any to eat.

Almost the entire scout force were from New York, and were new
recruits who had never known what it was to rough it, and they
said this was the first meal they had ever made on meat alone.
After breakfast was over, it now being understood that we would
lie over until the supply train should come up, my first assistant
scout and two others took a trip to a mountain some two miles from
camp, which was the highest mountain near us, taking my glasses
along to look for the supply train. In about two hours one of the
scouts returned to camp in great haste and somewhat excited,
saying that about fifteen or twenty miles distant they had seen a
band of Indians who were traveling in the direction of camp. We
all saddled our horses, left a note at camp informing Capt. Mills
where we had gone and for what purpose. We started for what has
ever since been known as Look-out Mountain--of course not the
famous Lookout Mountain of Tennessee--and there joined the other
three scouts. From the top of this mountain we could get a good
view of the Indians through the field glasses. We watched them
until about one o'clock, when they went into camp in the head of a
little ravine some five miles distant--This convinced us that
there was water and that they had stopped for the night. We
located them as well as we could, and the entire scout force,
being thirteen all told, started across the country for their

Seven of this number of scouts had never seen a wild Indian and
were over anxious to have a little sport with the redskins. The
Indians, being in a little ravine, we were able to get within a
half a mile of them before they could see us. After advancing as
far as we thought prudent, one of the scouts and myself dismounted
and crept through the sagebrush within three hundred yards of
them. Their fire was yet burning and the Indians were lounging
around, everything indicating that they had just cooked and eaten
their dinner. I counted them and made out twenty-one, my assistant
scout made twenty-three, and instead of being Pah-Utes, as we
expected, they were Utes. The boys all being anxious to try their
hand, I decided to make the attack at once. Returning to where I
had left the other scouts, I told them my plan of attack, telling
them to bear in mind that one shot well calculated was worth three
or four at random. I also told them as soon as I gave the war-
whoop for each of them to make all the noise he could.

Now we all mounted, and by riding up a little ravine we were able
to get within fifty rods of them before they could see us.

Before making the charge I told the boys to draw their pistols,
and when the pistols were emptied to draw sabres and cut the
savages down before they could get to their horses. We rode slowly
and cautiously until almost in sight of the Indians, when I gave
the word "Charge!" and all put spurs to their horses, raised the
yell, and one minute later we were in their midst, arrows and
bullets flying in all directions. I received an arrow wound in the
calf of my right leg, the man immediately on my right got shot
through the left or bridle arm, and one of the raw recruits got
his horse shot from under him.

He did not wait for orders, but drew his sabre and went to work
cutting them down as he came to them. When we first made the
charge some of the Indians made a desperate attempt to get their
horses, but the scouts shot and cut them down, not allowing one of
them to mount. The Indians, much to my surprise, fought as long as
there was one of them left standing. The battle lasted about
fifteen minutes, and when it was over we counted the dead Indians
and found the number to be nineteen, but there were twenty-one
horses, so we were confident that two Indians either escaped or
fell in the sagebrush where we could not find them.

We gathered up the horses and ropes that belonged to the Indians.
The man that had his horse killed in the battle, caught the best
horse in the band, threw the saddle on him and started for camp,
considering we had done a good day's work. As we rode down the
ravine in the direction of the emigrant trail some of the boys
looked in that direction and saw the smoke curling up from a camp-

"The command has arrived!" shouted one of the boys.

I proposed that we give the Captain a surprise. We all dismounted,
and each fastened a scalp to the browband of his bridle, and when
the Captain saw us coming and saw that each had a scalp, he said:
"Boys, let's give them three cheers." At that the valley rang out
with the yells.

This pleased the new recruits that had been engaged in the battle,
and I can truthfully say that I never saw the same number of green
men equal them in the first engagement, for every one of them
fought like heroes.

We dismounted, turned our horses over to the herder and called for
supper. This was the first square meal that it had been our
pleasure to sit down to for four days, and this was where none of
us shrunk from duty, in the least.

By this time the wound in my leg was beginning to pain me, and
gave me more trouble than I anticipated. The next morning it was
badly swollen, and I was not able to ride horseback for several

That morning we pulled for Steen's Mountain, which we supposed to
be about forty miles from where we were camped.

Not being able to ride horseback, I rode in one of the ambulances.

From here we kept guards out on each side of the trail, with
orders to keep from five to six miles from the train, and if any
Indians were seen to report at once.

The second day in the afternoon Capt. Mills established his
headquarters about one mile from the trail, in a beautiful spot;
plenty of water, an abundance of good grass, and a few pine trees
scattered here and there, making it an unusually pleasant place
for quarters that summer.

Not being able to ride, I stayed in camp, but sent all the other
scouts out. The second day my first assistant returned and
reported having found the trail, as he thought, of about fifty
Indians, traveling west, and about parallel with the emigrant

The next morning I started my assistant and three scouts after the
Indians, with orders to report as soon as they had the redskins

They were gone four days and no word came from them. I began to be
very uneasy, as well as Capt. Mills, thinking something must have
happened them or they would have returned, as they only took three
days' rations with them. I took four other scouts and went on
their trail.

The reader will understand that in this country the soil is
somewhat sandy, and a horse is easily tracked. Our horses being
shod, it was easy to distinguish their tracks from that of the
Indians' horses. My wound gave me much trouble, but we followed
the trail of the other scouts for some distance after striking the
trail of the Indians, and their horses being shod, we could easily
track them, but finally they became so obliterated that we could
see no more trace of the shod horses. We sought in vain to get
some sign of them, and came to the conclusion that while the
scouts were trailing the Indians another band had stolen up behind
them and either killed or taken them all prisoners, for we could
get no trace of them, nor have they ever been heard of since. As
soon as I returned to quarters, by the consent of Capt. Mills, I
detailed two men of my scout force to carry a dispatch to Col.
Elliott. As the Indians were now too far west for Capt. Mills to
attempt to follow them, I sent the two best men I had to bear the
message to the Colonel. They made the trip in two nights, riding
at night and lying over in the daytime. The next day after the
Colonel received the dispatch his scouts discovered the same band
of Indians, and Col. Elliott sent one company of soldiers out at
once after them. The soldiers overhauled them at Clover Valley,
which was about forty miles south of the emigrant trail, and
attacked the redskins, but they were too much for the soldiers. In
the engagement the loss to the command was sixteen men killed, and
I never knew just how many were wounded or how many Indians were
killed. The soldiers had to retreat. All I ever learned from this
battle I learned from the dispatch bearers, as they stayed at Col.
Elliott's quarters until after the soldiers had returned from the

From this on I kept scouts out south of the trail continually.

One evening one of the scouts came in and reported having seen a
little band of Indians some twelve or fifteen miles south of the
trail. The other three scouts that were out with him remained to
watch the Indians while he came to report. The scout was not able
to tell just the number, as they were some distance away. The
other three scouts secreted their horses, crawled to the top of
the highest hill near by and lay there in the sagebrush and with
glasses watched the Indians, who were traveling almost in the
direction where the scouts lay, bearing a little south, so that
the scouts did not have to change their hiding place. I mounted my
horse for the first time since I had been laid up, and in company
with five other scouts, including the one who had brought the
message to me, started to investigate the matter.

We rode to where the other three scouts had been left, and they
were awaiting our arrival. They had lain on the hill and watched
the Indians go into camp and then returned to where the dispatch
bearer had left them.

After holding a council for about five minutes we all mounted and
rode as near the Indians as we considered safe, and dismounted.
Taking another scout who had been watching them, I crawled as near
as we dared to their camp to try to ascertain their number. We
decided that there were about fifty. It was perilous to get very
close for the reason that the Indians had a number of dogs, and
when we would get too near the dogs would begin to bark, and three
or four Indians would raise up and look about and every Indian in
the band would listen. When we returned to where we had left the
other scouts they were all prepared for an attack, but I told them
there were too many for us to tackle alone. Besides, they were
Utes, the worst Indians in the whole country to fight.

We were now about fifteen miles from headquarters, so I dispatched
two men at once to Capt. Mills in all haste, requesting him to be
there by daybreak, if it were within the bounds of possibility.
This being a sandy, sagebrush country, one could not ride at full
speed, but the scouts made good time, nevertheless, and Capt.
Mills and his command were with us before daylight. We met him
about a mile from where the Indians were camped, and I told him
how the ground lay and the general surroundings as best I could,
and I suggested that as on account of the dogs I had not been able
to locate the horses of the Indians, it would be advisable to wait
until daylight to make the attack.

We waited about an hour, when the Captain said he thought it was
light enough to kill Indians. He gave orders to mount, drew his
men up in line and rode back and forth, up and down the line,
instructing them how to proceed, saying:

"When I give the word, 'charge!' every man draw his pistol, and
when within fifty yards, begin to fire. Don't fire at random, but
take good aim, and when your pistols are empty draw your sabres
and cut them down. Don't let one escape. Don't wait for further
orders; you have them, now carry them out."

Capt. Mills rode to the left wing and asked me to take the right.
I told him I thought it best that myself and the scout force
should make a dash for the Indian horses as soon as he made the
charge, for if we could succeed in getting the horses we need not
let one Indian escape.

It was now so light that we could see their ponies on the hill
just beyond their camp. All being ready, and I having instructed
my assistants, the Captain ordered them to charge. I made a dash
to the right with my entire scout force. This was a great surprise
to the redskins. They were nearly all abed yet, except a few of
the earliest risers. Those who were up made a desperate rush for
their horses, but unavailingly. We got there first and stampeded
the herd. Some of the horses were picketed, but we cut the ropes
as fast as we came to them, and before any of the Indians could
get to their horses we had them on the dead run.

Taking a circuitous route we drove the horses around between the
scene of battle and head-quarters. When about a mile distant my
first assistant and myself returned to the battle ground leaving
the other scouts to guard the horses. We arrived at the scene just
in time to see the last Indian fall. When it was good light the
Indians could be seen lying around in every direction. The orderly
sergeant and two privates were looking around in the sagebrush,
thinking there might be some of them hiding there, and all of a
sudden two young bucks started up and began to run, and for about
three hundred yards they had what I thought to be the prettiest
race I had ever witnessed. The two Indians on foot and the
soldiers on horseback, running through the sagebrush and every man
in the crowd, from the Captain down, yelling at the top of his
voice. Here I did the poorest shooting that I had ever done in my
life, emptying one of my revolvers and not touching an Indian. But
the soldiers finally got them.

We counted the dead braves and found them to be forty-eight in

In this engagement Capt. Mills did not lose a man, and only one
was wounded. This was the result of making the attack so early in
the morning. Had it been later, after the Indians were all up,
they would have made a harder fight.

The battle being over we all started for headquarters, feeling
jubilant over the victory.

We reached headquarters at ten o'clock in the morning, after which
Capt. Mills told us we had done enough for one day, and that all
could take it easy for the rest of the day. The next morning I
struck out east on the emigrant trail, sending one man north and
one south of the trail, each taking three days' rations, our
object being to meet emigrants, if there were any, and guard them
through to Capt. Mills' quarters, as it was now time for the
emigrants to come stringing along; a time that heretofore among
the Indians had been considered a harvest in this section of the

The first day in the afternoon I rode to a high hill, took my
glasses, and looking east I saw a train of emigrants stringing
along. This was the first train of the season. The scout from the
north and also the one from the south had got sight of them, and
were pulling for the trail. We pushed on and met the train just as
it was pulling into camp. I called for the captain and he came
forth. I told him we were scouts for Capt. Mills, and were out for
the purpose of protecting emigrants. The captain, as well as the
people in the train, were very much pleased to know that they were
going to have protection after that through the hostile country.
They had been troubled more or less by Indians all the way through
Utah, having a great deal of stock, both horses and cattle, stolen
by the Indians, as they supposed, but among men who were better
informed it was the supposition that they were stolen by white
men, for in those days there was a set of white men in Utah much
worse than Indians.

On learning that I had been in California they had many questions
to ask about the gold fields of that noted country. They were
expecting to find gold by the bushel when once there.

This was a large train, there being one hundred and twenty wagons
all told. The next morning I sent out one of my scouts north of
the train, the other one ahead, with instructions to keep from one
to two miles in front, and I went south of the trail that day.
This was done so that if the scouts should see a large band of
Indians they could notify the emigrants and give them a chance to
prepare for the battle, but we experienced no trouble on this

We were two days traveling from where we met the train to Capt.
Mills' quarters, and from here the Captain sent a sergeant and
twenty men to guide the emigrants through to Col. Elliott's

This kind of work was kept up for about a month, every week, and
sometimes two or three trains of emigrants would pass by, but we
experienced no serious trouble the remainder of the season with

During this summer the officers in looking through their glasses
from different high points around, discovered a beautiful valley,
which we afterwards learned was named Thousand Springs Valley.
Capt. Mills came to the conclusion that this valley at this time
of the year was headquarters for the Utes, and not thinking the
distance was so great sent another scout and myself to

It may be well to mention the fact here, that in these regions the
air is so rarified and clear that distances are very deceptive,
objects appearing to be much closer than they really are.

We started with three days' rations, and on the third day in the
afternoon we struck the valley, just at its mouth on the desert,
but the water was warm, and we traveled some distance up the
valley, finding the springs numerous, but all warm. We also found
an abundance of grass and plenty of Indian sign, but not fresh. It
appeared that a large number of Indians had wintered there. After
looking the valley over we returned to camp, but by a different
route from the one we came. We saw no Indians or fresh sign of
them until the second day of the return trip, but about two
o'clock we came in sight of four Indians traveling eastward. We
tried to attack them, but our horses being much jaded, the Indians
outrode us, so we had to give up the chase. We were of the opinion
that the four Indians were scouts for a big band making its way to
winter quarters.

A short distance north we secreted our horses in a ravine, and
watched for the Indians from the top of a high hill until noon the
next day, but all in vain, for we did not see an Indian. We
returned to camp, our horses worn out and half starved. The part
of country we passed over on this trip is now the most
northeastern portion of Nevada, and just what it is good for I
have never been able to learn.

After lying around here watching for emigrants about two weeks
longer, and making two different trips east on the emigrant trail,
Capt. Mills now concluded that there would be no more emigrants
that fall, so we pulled up and moved to Col. Elliott's quarters.
We kept scouts out on the trip, but did not see an Indian or even
a fresh trail on the trip. On arriving at Col. Elliott's quarters
I could see that he was not pleased with the way things had gone
with his command during the summer. His men had had two
engagements during the season, and had got the worst of it both

He had lost twenty-six men, and not a scalp to show for them.

Capt. Mills felt quite jubilant. He had over sixty Indian horses
that he had captured, over sixty scalps, and had not lost a man,
with the exception of the four scouts. Col. Elliott did not have
much to say, but the Lieutenant declared that the Colonel was very
jealous of Capt. Mills over the past summer's work.

After remaining at headquarters about a week we pulled out across
the Sierra Nevada Mountains, along the same route that we had
taken the fall before, somewhat earlier, and winter not having yet
set in, we experienced no trouble in crossing. The first night we
camped at the head of Eagle Valley, and from there to Jim
Beckwith's ranche it was sixty miles.

I being over-anxious to see Jim, saddled up my Pinto horse the
next morning and started for his place, making the ride in one
day. On my arrival I found Jim doing a rushing business in the
hotel line, but was just in the act of selling out his hotel to a
man from Sacramento. Beckwith had sold all my horses during the
summer at what I thought a good figure, having got fifty dollars
per head all around.

The command came on two days later, pitched their tents and stayed
two days, having a red hot time. The men had plenty of money, and
Jim Beckwith, who was now running a saloon in connection with his
hotel, had plenty of bad whiskey. The Colonel put very little
restriction on his men while they remained there, allowing them to
have a general spree, for they had been where there was no chance
to spend their money, and the little they had was burning their

Jim Beckwith made a handsome little clean-up during the two days
they were camped there.

When the Colonel was ready to pull out for San Francisco he came
to me and invited me to come to the Fort and spend a few months
during the winter. I told him I did not know where I would winter,
but preferred to seek quarters where I could hunt for a
livelihood. I told him I did not wish to put in another winter
lounging around as I did the last one. The Colonel made me a
proposition to come to the Fort after I had visited my friend, Jim
Beckwith, saying that he would organize a hunting party among the
officers and take a trip north of San Francisco on the Russian

The country to which we wished to go is now Sonoma County, Cal.,
of which Santa Rosa is the county seat. In fact the region is now
called Santa Rosa Valley, and it is well named, for it is a great
garden of roses and other beautiful flowers that grow indigenously
and in luxurious profusion. At the head of the valley are the
famous geysers of California.

The Colonel, after dividing the horses with me, started for the
Fort, I agreeing to join him there in a few weeks for the hunt.

After remaining at Jim Beckwith's for a few days, he and a
gentleman from Sacramento came to a trade, Jim selling out "slick
and clean."

Jim had too much money to stay in the mountains. I saw $12,000
weighed out to him in gold-dust, and I don't know how much coin he
had, but there were several thousand dollars of it.

"Now we will go to San Francisco for the winter," said he, "and
will have a good time. You stay with me this winter, and it shan't
cost you a cent."

We took our horses and started for Sacramento, making the trip in
four days Here we boarded a boat for the bay.

In those days persons speaking of going to San Francisco, always
spoke of it as "going to the bay."

The second morning after our arrival, I found at the feed-yard,
where my horses were, a gentleman awaiting my arrival, who wanted
to buy my stock.

I sold all of the horses to him except Mexico and Pinto--they were
not for sale at any figure.

I stayed around the city for two weeks, until it became
monotonous. Jim Beckwith had lots of money, and it looked to me as
though he wanted to get rid of it--as soon as possible. He would
get just so full every day, and when he was full of whiskey his
tongue appeared to be loose at both ends. It now being the first
of December, I saddled my horse and rode out to the Fort, and on
arriving there I found all anxious for the hunt. Col. Elliott had
been talking the matter up among them. It took about three days to
prepare for the trip, and I kept hurrying them up, all that was in
my power, for I did not want to fool around there until the good
ladies took it in their heads to have another dance, as it was not
a dance that I was hunting. I had had enough of that on my other
visit to satisfy me for some time to come.



The hunting party made up at the Fort was ready early in December,
and we pulled out, promising to be home by New Year's day, at the

At this time there were no steamers running across the bay in the
direction we wished to go, so we hired a tug to take us over to
the mouth of Petaluma creek, near which we proposed to pitch our
hunting camp. Here was live-oak timber, with now and then a
redwood, and in places the chapparal was thick, and there was no
end to deer sign.

We had plenty of shelter in case of storm, having two good-sized
tents in the outfit and only six men, not counting the darkey
cook, who, however, always does count in an expedition like that.
In the party I was the only one who had ever hunted any. Three of
the others had never fired a shot at larger game than a jack-
rabbit. Col. Elliott had once killed a deer, of which I made
mention in a preceding chapter.

The following morning after breakfast I told them to select their
course for the day's hunting, and I would go in an opposite

"Why do you wish to go in an opposite direction?" Lieut. Harding
asked; "Why not all go together?" I replied that after we got out
in the woods I did not think they could tell a man from a deer,
and I did not want to be shot by a white man out here in this

Capt. Mills proposed that three go at a time, two officers and
myself, by so doing there would be no danger.

This being satisfactory, Lieut. Harding, Capt. Mills and myself
took the first turn. Neither of them had ever hunted any, and both
were as ignorant in that line as I was when I started out from St
Louis in company with Uncle Kit Carson, which, by the way, I had
told them something about the night before, while sitting around
the campfire.

When we were all ready for the hunt and had started to walk away
from the tent, Capt. Mills requested the Colonel to have the
horses in readiness to pack the deer in. We had not gone far until
I asked them if they could not walk without making so much noise.
Lieut. Harding said he did not see what difference it made how a
person walked, and I had to stop and explain matters by telling
them that a deer depended as much on his ears as he did on his
eyes, and if we did not walk easier the deer would hear us before
we could get sight of them, and it seemed to me that they had
stepped on every stick along our way and had rubbed against every
brush that we passed near. Having been trained to hunt since a boy
of fifteen years old, it became second nature for me to slide
along without making a particle of noise.

After traveling a short distance we saw four deer coming toward
us, and I pointed out an opening and said: "When they get to that
place I will stop them; be ready, and when I count three, fire."
When the deer were all on the selected spot I gave a keen whistle,
which caused them to stop and throw up their heads. I counted
three and fired, but did not hear the report of the other guns.
Just as I turned to see what was the trouble, Capt. Mills fired,
but Lieut. Harding stood and held his gun at a "ready" and did not
fire at all. He said the sight was so pretty that he did not think
of his gun. I killed my deer, and the Captain wounded his by
breaking one fore leg. The other deer gave a few jumps and
stopped, and I took the Lieutenant's gun and shot it dead. We now
had two deer and were only about a mile from camp. I left the two
officers to dress the venison and I went back to camp after a
horse to pack it in. While I was away, and before they had got the
fallen game dressed, two other deer came along within gunshot of
them. The two officers fired at them and killed one deer, both
claiming the honor of the fatal shot. Now we had plenty of meat
for a start, and would, no doubt, get more before we consumed

After arriving at camp with the deer I directed Jake, the negro
cook, to get an early dinner, as I wanted to take a big hunt that

While at the dinner table I suggested that as they could find deer
anywhere around there, for they were as thick as sheep and not
very wild, that they might kill that kind of game, while I would
mount Pinto and prospect for larger, for I thought there were elk
in that country, and if that was true we wanted some of them.

After dinner I mounted my horse and was off for an elk hunt. After
riding up the river about three miles I could see any amount of
sign. Dismounting and tying my horse, I took an elk trail where a
band had just crossed the trail on which I was riding, and I did
not follow it very far until I came in sight of the elk. There
were eight in this band, and I had to take a roundabout course to
get in gunshot of them, but when I finally did get a shot at them
I killed an elk that carried the largest pair of horns I have ever
seen, with one exception. I unjointed his neck about a foot from
his head and dressed him, but left his hide on. The head and horns
were all I could lift as high as the horse's back.

When I rode up to camp and the negro cook saw that head of horns
he exclaimed: "Hello, Marstah; what you got dar? You must hab
killed de debbil dis time, suah."

From the negro I learned that the officers had all been out, and
had seen more or less deer and had done more or less shooting, but
had only killed one small doe.

That night the elk fever raged high in camp, as that pair of horns
had set them all wild to go elk hunting the next day. That night
we ordered an early breakfast, so as to get an early start to our
hunting ground.

After riding up the river the next morning, to where I had killed
the elk the day before, we all dismounted and tied our horses. I
asked them which they preferred, to go single or two together, and
they thought it the best plan to go in couples.

Being somewhat acquainted with this kind of game, and knowing
where to find them at this time of day, I told them what ridges to
take to lead them to the main divide, also what our signals would
be to come together.

Capt. Mills and I took up the center ridge, the two other couples
going on ridges each side of us, but not in sight. After going
about a mile or so we heard two gunshots to our left, and in a few
moments we could hear elk running. The underbrush was so thick
that it was difficult to get a shot at them on the run, so, seeing
an opening that they were sure to cross, provided that they did
not change their course, I had the Captain to stand by the side of
a big tree and level his gun at the opening, and when an elk
darkened the sight to fire, which he did, and got a fine elk. I
fired also, but did not get my elk. He was as proud over killing
that elk as I was over killing my first buffalo.

We hunted until about four o'clock that afternoon, and several
shots were fired, but the Captain was the only one who got an elk
that day. So we loaded that one, and the one I had killed the day
previous, on to our horses and returned to camp with about all the
meat the horses were able to carry.

The next morning I told the other men that as they now knew the
elk range and how to hunt them, and could get along without me as
well as not, that I would hunt for a grizzly bear, and if I could
only kill a grizzly I would be ready to go home. I spent the next
three days bear hunting, and saw any amount of sign, but only saw
one bear and did not get a shot at it.

After being out about two weeks, and all having enough of hunting,
they thought, to last them a year--as they had killed more or less
deer, and one of them had killed an elk--and time being about up
for the tug to come after us, we pulled up camp and started for
the bay, arriving there on the 19th. The tug arrived on the 20th,
about noon.

We reached San Francisco that evening, about dark, unloaded our
baggage and meat, hired a man to watch it that night and we
saddled up and rode out to the Fort.

The following morning I returned to the city, hired a team and
took our baggage, as well as the meat we had killed, back to the

I was hailed several times while passing through the city by
parties who wished to buy my mammoth elk horns, but I would not
sell them, having already given them to Col. Elliott.

I stayed around the city until the middle of February, not knowing
what to do to kill time, and loafing is the hardest work I ever

About this time Col. Elliott received orders to go out into
southeastern Oregon, as soon as the weather would permit, and
establish a fort at Klamath Lake. As soon as he received these
orders he came to the city and hunted me up, and wanted me to go
with him, at the same time insisting strongly on my joining his
command; saying: "If you will enlist I am sure I can bring enough
influence to bear to procure a Lieutenant's commission for you."

I told him emphatically that I would not enlist, as I intended to
be a free man all the days of my life, "And when I scout for you,"
I said, "if I fail to do my duty, or shirk in the least, all you
have to do is to say so, and I will quit then and there, and at
the same time if you ask anything that I consider unreasonable, I
will quit you cold."

The Colonel, however, accepted me as an independent scout.

I requested him to procure some one that was familiar with that
country to go along as guide, but he told me that I would be
around the city, and would have a better chance to find a suitable
person than he would, and requested me to find a man and he would
be satisfied with the selection.

During my stay in the city I saw a great many men who claimed to
know all about that country, and who were anxious for the trip,
but when I would question them they did not know any more about
the country than I did, and I had never been in that region.

Finally the time was set to start, which was the first of June.

Before starting this time I had an understanding with Col. Elliott
regarding the stock that might be captured by the scouts; he
agreeing to let the scouts take the stock captured by them and
divide it equally among themselves.

After having started, the Colonel was undecided as to where he
would cross the Sierra Nevada Mountains. At that time there was no
map of the country between California, Oregon and Nevada, but
finally he decided to cross over the Beckwith Pass. After we had
crossed the mountains we turned north, crossing the Truckee river
where Reno now stands. From here we traveled across the sagebrush
plain to Honey Lake.

So far we had no trouble with Indians, and the command stopped to
let the horses rest a few days.

While lying there Col. Elliott requested me to take four other
scouts and go north four days to prospect for water and grass, for
this was now a strange country to all of us.

My companions were John Reilly, Fred Miller, John Boyd and George
Jones, of whom there will be more said later on, and who were my
companions the rest of the summer, or, as long as I was able to
scout. Altogether there were twelve scouts in my company.

In the evening of the second day of our trip we camped at a nice
little spring. We got into camp just at sundown, and having seen
considerable Indian sign during the day, I had the boys stake
their horses near the camp, and I took a look around on the ridges
to see if there were any camp-fires in that part of the country. I
was gone for about three hours, and the boys got quite uneasy
while I was away. I only saw one Indian camp, which was northeast
of our camp, and not having discovered it until after dark I was
unable to tell just how far it was away. On my return I told the
boys that we would have to stand guard that night, each one taking
a turn of two hours, and as soon as supper was over we put the
fire out so as not to give the redskins any advantage in that way.
The next morning we got breakfast, and as soon as it was light
George Jones and I went to the nearest ridge to look for Indians.
I saw them just breaking camp, and they were about two miles away.
That day we had to travel very cautiously, being in an entirely
new country and knowing it to be full of hostile Indians.

That night we camped on a small stream which afterwards we found
to be a tributary of McCloud's river. From what we had seen, there
appeared to be plenty of water and grass, and from the Indian sign
we had seen, they appeared to be in large bands, so we concluded
to return to the command. The first day on our return trip, just
about noon, as we were looking for a place to stop for lunch, we
were discovered by about twenty Indians. The red devils made for
us, and their war-whoops sounded as though they were bloodthirsty.
They came pell-mell over the hills and hollows in hot pursuit of
us, and I tell you things looked a little blue; only five of us
and at least twenty Indians, and no telling how many there would
be in a short time.

I told the boys that we would give them a round, anyway; and I had
four men that were not afraid to face an Indian even in a hand-to-
hand fight, if necessary; and then one feels more brave when he
knows that he has got companions who will stay with him till the
last dog is hung.

We rode to the top of the ridge, stopped and drew our revolvers,
and when they were close enough we fired two shots apiece in
succession and then put spurs to our horses and ran nearly a mile,
when, on looking back, we saw that we were outriding them. We rode
a mile further to the next ridge, just dropped over out of sight,
and stopped and reloaded the empty chambers of our revolvers.

We knew now that we had the best horses, and the boys were all
anxious to give them another round; so we waited until they were
in pistol shot--as we felt more bold, knowing that if we could not
whip them we could outrun them--and taking good aim this time we
fired three shots each, making fifteen shots in all.

We saw a number of Indians fall to the ground, but did not stay to
count them as we were just then in somewhat of a hurry.

We rode on again, they continuing to follow us. When we were far
enough ahead again and in a suitable place, we stopped, reloaded
and waited for them to come up, but they seemed to have changed
their minds and didn't appear as anxious to ride in our company as
they had on the start, for now they kept out of pistol shot. One
of the boys dismounted and said: "I believe I can reach them from
here," and taking a rest over his horse's back, fired and killed a
horse. This caused a scattering among them, and if our horses had
been fresh we would have tried to kill the whole outfit.

George Jones remarked that he guessed the red devils had enough of
it already, and we rode on. They made two circles around us,
keeping out of gunshot, and then rode away.

We pushed on with all haste possible, expecting that they had gone
away to get reinforcements and follow us up, but that was the last
we saw of them.

That night we made a dry camp, and did not build any fire for fear
that they might be on our trail, and the next morning we were off
very early. We rode until about ten o'clock, when we struck plenty
of grass and water. Here we stopped, and one man stood guard on
the hill while the others ate breakfast, and we were agreeably
surprised at not seeing any more Indians on the trip.

We got back to the command the evening of the sixth day, and
informed Col. Elliott that there was plenty of water as far as we
went, and abundance of grass, also no end of Indian sign.

The command made preparations to move on again, and two days after
our return we started, but moved slowly and cautiously, making
only from ten to fifteen miles a day. Now we had twelve scouts in
all, and it was our business to guard the command while traveling,
and, in fact, at all times when there was a possibility of an
attack, and we had to watch out north, south, east and west, lest
a large band of Indians should make an attack unawares and get the
better of the expedition.

We traveled in this manner until reaching the little stream spoken
of, where the scouting party had turned back, not having met any

The Colonel thought it best for me to take a part of my scouts and
go ahead again and prospect the country for water and grass.

After giving my other scouts particular orders to keep A sharp
lookout for Indians, and to scout the country thoroughly for eight
or ten miles in every direction daily, I took my same four men
that were out the trip previous, four days' rations, and started
out again.

All my talking did not prevent a surprise, for the second day
after our departure the Indians made an attack on the herders,
captured twenty-two horses in broad daylight and killed one of the
herders. The same evening about sundown they made an attack on the
command, and after a hard fight for an hour or more, the Indians
retreated, leaving sixty dead Indians on the battlefield, there
being eleven soldiers killed and twenty wounded.

On my return Col. Elliott told me not to leave the camp so far any
more, for, said he, "I am satisfied if you had been here we would
not have had the surprise."

I told the Colonel what kind of country we would have for the next
seventy-five miles; plenty of water and grass, abundance of game
and the country full of hostile Indians.

The reader will understand that this was the year 1856. The
Klamath Indians and the tribe afterwards known as the Modocs, of
whom mention will be made later on in this work, were one and the
same tribe; and up to this time they did not know what it was to
be whipped. Besides there had been but little travel through this
part of the country without experiencing a great deal of trouble
with those Indians.



When we pulled out for Klamath Lake we traveled from five to ten
miles a day and kept scouts out in all directions. While riding
along one day with my four assistants, a few miles in advance of
the command, we came to a beautiful body of water which is now
known as Clear Lake, which is the head of Lost river. Here we
dismounted, and on looking into a brush shanty that stood on the
lake shore, I saw more fish than I had ever seen before at one
time. The little shanty was filled to its utmost capacity with
fish, hanging there to dry for winter use. Further on we found
numerous other similar shanties, all containing like quantities of
drying fish. These were the Indians' dry-houses. They had caught
the fish and hung them there to dry in the hot summer's sun. Such
was their food in winter when the land game was scarce.

After our fill of admiring the beautiful lake and resting our
horses, we mounted and started back to the command. We had gone
only a short distance, when, all of a sudden, on reaching the top
of a little hill, we were met by twelve Indians, who had not seen
us, nor us them, until within a hundred yards of each other.

There was only one thing to do and that was to fight, for they
were directly between us and the command, and the braver we were I
thought the better; so I gave orders to charge, but the Indians
did not stand fire. We got three of them that first round and in
another hundred yards we got three more, but their horses being
fresh and ours somewhat jaded, they outran us and got away.

These were the first Klamath Indians I had got close enough to, to
see how their moccasins were made, and for a person engaged in the
business that I was then in, it was quite essential to be able to
tell the tribe an Indian belonged to by his track. And here I will
state that not any two tribes cut and make their moccasins alike
and at that time I could tell an Indian by his track, if he
belonged to any tribe that I was familiar with.

Here we laid over three days to let our horses rest up a little.
While here we had all the fish that we wanted to eat, for the lake
was literally full of the finest in the land.

In a southwesterly direction we could see, by looking through our
field glasses, a large valley, which Col. Elliott thought to be
the country which he was ordered to go to.

The second day after leaving Clear Lake we struck another lake. We
did not name it, but it has since been known as Tule Lake, and is
the outlet of Lost river, but has no visible outlet itself. Here
we laid over two days, after which we pulled out up the valley.
Two days more and we were at Klamath Lake, and here Col. Elliott
established his headquarters and started in to fortify himself
against the Indians, which were very numerous in this country at
that time.

John Riley, Fred Miller, John Boyd, George Jones and myself took
four days' rations and started out to investigate the surrounding
country north of headquarters.

The next afternoon about three o'clock we saw a band of Indians
some distance away as they were passing over a somewhat uneven
country. We were not just able to tell the number in the band, but
thought there must be about twenty, and they were driving some
loose horses.

We stopped to consider the matter as to what was best to be done.
George Jones said: "Boys, we have been out all summer and have not
got a single horse to pay for our trouble, and I think I could
fight like the devil if there was a good band of horses at stake."
The balance of the crowd seemed to think likewise, so we concluded
to follow up the Indians and give them a round. We started at
once, but before overtaking them they had pitched camp on the
shore of Lake Klamath.

After it was quite dark, George Jones and I crawled around near
the camp and counted twenty Indians.

Our intention had been to stampede the horses in stead of making
an attack on the Indians, as we thought the number too great to
tackle, but an investigation developed the fact that they had
turned their horses into a little peninsula that ran out into the
lake, and had pitched their tents so as to hold their horses in
there. Riley said there was only one of two things to do, and that
was to make the attack or crawfish. We were all well armed, the
other four having each a six-shooter and a sabre, and I had my big
knife, which was almost as good as a sabre, and two six-shooters.

We laid and watched their movements until all turned in for the

They were badly scattered, making it worse for us than if they had
been in a bunch. We waited until about eleven o'clock, when we
thought they were all asleep, and having laid our plans of attack,
we all crawled up abreast to within a rod or so of where some of
them were lying, and each drew his pistol and sabre.

Taking our pistols in our left hands and sabres in the right, we
made a rush for them, intending to cut the first ones down with
our sabres, and if we got into close quarters we could use both at
the same time.

In such cases it is quite essential that a scout should be able to
use his pistol in his left hand, which had been part of their
drill duties before starting out scouting.

As soon as the attack was made some of the Indians arose on their
feet, and we tried to cut them down as fast as they arose, but it
was so dark that it was difficult to distinguish our own men from
the Indians.

The Indians fought us with their tomahawks, and it was not long
until we were all mixed up together, and a person had to look
close before striking, for fear of making a mistake. After
fighting some time I had two hand-to-hand encounters, but was
victorious in both of them. Just as I had finished the second one
I got a tremendous blow from behind that caught me on the
shoulder, and it knocked me as blind as a bat. When I tried to
rise I would stagger and fall like a drunken man. After making the
third attempt to get on my feet, and seeing it was no use and
being afraid my own men might mistake me for an Indian, I laid
down as still as I could until the fight was ended.

About this time my shoulder commenced to pain me fearfully, and it
was a hard matter for me to lie still. I could then see a very
little, but to me everything was still. Just then I heard George
Jones' voice. He was asking where Will was. I did not hear any
reply, and a moment later he hallooed at the top of his voice. It
sounded to me as though he was a long ways off, but at the same
time he was within four rods of me. I made out that time to answer
so he could hear me, and in a moment they were all by my side.
Some one raised me up, while another ran to the lake and got his
hat full of water. They removed my clothing sufficiently to exam
me my wound, and found that my shoulder blade was broken in two
places. When I was able to talk, the boys asked what they had
better do, saying they had the last Indian killed. I said if you
are sure you have them all killed, build a fire and put out guards
until morning, and we will return to headquarters with the stock.

George Jones, feeling much concerned about me on account of my
wound, proposed to ride to headquarters that night for the
surgeon, but I told him it was not necessary, that I would be able
to ride to headquarters the next day.

I took a sup of brandy, which we were never without on a trip like
this, and drank a cup of coffee, after which I felt much better,
but could not move my left hand or shoulder without much pain.

The next morning as soon as it was light enough to see to scalp an
Indian, the boys took twenty-one scalps, and we had fifty-two
horses, some of which were extraordinary good ones of that class.
That was ten horses each and two over. After having counted them,
George Jones said: "I think Will ought to have the two extra
horses, for he is the only one that got wounded in the fight."

The boys were jubilant over their victory and the band of horses,
but were very sorry to have one of their comrades so badly used
up. After they had breakfast over, the saddle horses were brought
in, my horse was saddled for me and they assisted me in getting on
him, or rather put me on, for I was almost as helpless as a child.

My shoulder they had tied up as best they could with two
handkerchiefs, and one of the boys leading my horse, we started
for headquarters. We were about twenty miles from the command, but
I never rode fifty miles that seemed as far as that twenty miles
did. When we arrived at camp my shoulder was badly swollen, and it
took the surgeon a long time to get it set just to his notion, or,
at least it seemed so to me, and when he did finally get it set he
gave me something to put me to sleep.

However, I was not able to ride any more that summer. All that I
was able to do was to sit in camp, hear the reports of scouts as
they came in and give orders.

It had been six weeks since I was hurt, and it was getting late in
the fall and the weather looking somewhat blustery, I told the
Colonel I thought I would go back to San Francisco and winter

Up to this time the surgeon had not allowed me to ride on
horseback, but I had come to the conclusion that I could now stand
it to ride without any serious difficulty, and I was anxious to
get back before winter set in.

When I told the Colonel my intentions, he said: "How in the name
of God will you get to San Francisco? If you were well and able to
ride I could not spare an escort sufficient to guard you through."

"It don't matter about the escort," I said, "when I get ready I
will go if I have to go alone."

"Young man," said he, "you must be insane to even think of such a

"Colonel," I said, "you may call it what you please, but I mean
just what I say; and I suppose that as you have been out all
summer, having no chance to either send or receive any mail, that
you would like to send out after that."

Said he, "I have no one to send, that could make the trip without
asking a larger escort than I could spare."

I told the Colonel that I could select two men from his command,
either of whom I could take and make the trip safely, or the two
would make it alone with perfect safety.

The Colonel replied, "If I could only think so I certainly would
ask them to go;" and he asked who the parties were to whom I had
reference. I told him they were Messrs. Jones and Riley, who had
been my assistant scouts the past summer.

The Colonel asked when they would be in camp. I told him they had
just returned a few minutes previous. He said: "Tell them I will
see them at your quarters at seven o'clock this evening." I
assured him that they would be there, but up to this time I had
not mentioned or even hinted at such a thing to them, but being
desirous of seeing them before the Colonel had a talk with them, I
set about to find them. I found them in their quarters and told
them of the proposed meeting and the object, and asked them what
they thought of it.

George Jones said: "As far as I am concerned, I think I can make
the trip alone, for I can see an Indian just as far as he can see
me, and just as quick, and I am perfectly willing to take the

"And how with you, Riley?" I asked. He replied: "I will go if I
can get permission."

At seven o'clock, sharp, all hands met at my tent. The Colonel
opened the conversation by saying: "Gentlemen, our chief scout,
Mr. Drannan, has concluded to leave us and go to San Francisco to
spend the winter, and under the circumstances I don't want to see
him go alone. Do you men feel like accompanying him and bringing
our mail back on your return?"

George Jones said: "I can only speak for myself. I will accompany
him alone and bring the mail back if no one else feels like
going." At this Riley said he was willing to accompany George on
the trip if necessary.

Col. Elliott straightened up and said: "Boys, I don't believe you
realize the danger you will necessarily have to encounter in
making this trip. Think the matter over thoroughly until to-morrow
evening, by which time you will be able to give me a decided
answer;" and then the Colonel departed, requesting us all to meet
him in his quarters the following evening at seven o'clock, sharp.
After he had gone George Jones asked me how long I thought it
would take us to go to Sacramento. About fifteen days was my
estimate, and I was of the opinion that we would best go an
entirely different route to what we came. Before leaving my tent
they had made up their minds to tackle the trip anyway, let it go
as it might, and the time set to start was ten days from that.

The following evening we all went to the Colonel's tent at the
hour agreed upon. He asked the boys as soon as they entered if
they had made up their minds to tackle the trip, and they both
told him they had. He then asked me when I would be ready to
start, and I told him in ten days.

George Jones then asked the Colonel what length of time he would
give him and Riley to make the trip in. "I will give you a month
and a half," was the reply.

Five of us had fifty-two horses that we had captured from the
Indians. I called the other four together and told them if they
would let me pick six horses from the band they might have the
remainder. This being agreeable, the day following the horses were
driven into the corral and I selected my six. Jones and Riley put
in a good portion of the day in saddling and riding them to see
whether they were broke or not, and we found them all to be fairly
well broken to ride.

The next day I told the Colonel that I was ready to resign my
position as chief of scouts, for you will have to appoint another
man, and you had just as well do it first as last.

"No," said the Colonel, "when you are ready to start, I will give
you a voucher for your pay up to that time, and when you get to
San Francisco you can get your money."

We commenced making preparations to start, but did not let it be
generally known until the day before starting, and then everybody
wanted to write a letter to send out, and by the time we were
ready to start we had a pack-horse loaded with mail.

The Colonel sent a long letter to his wife, and told me a lot of
stuff to tell the other officers, of which I did not remember one-

Finally we were rigged up and ready to start, but we had a hard
time to get away, for Dick Jones wanted me to tell Jim Johnson so
and so. Another had some word to send to a friend, whose name I
had never heard before, and never thought of after I was out of

After shaking hands all around, and Col. Elliott telling me a lot
of stuff to tell his wife and numerous other ladies which he knew I
would not repeat the half of, for he knew that there was not
another man in San Francisco that hated to try to talk to ladies
as much as I did. If we had not jarred loose and rode off I
suppose we would have been there all day, and we would have had
enough word to carry in our heads, that had it been written, would
have made a book that Webster's Unabridged Dictionary would be
small compared with it, and again shaking hands we waved our hats
at the many soldiers standing around and rode away.



On our return trip we took the divide between the Klamath River
and Tule Lake. I had told Col. Elliott before starting that I
intended to pass west of the snowy butte instead of east of it, as
we did coming in.

This butte has since been called Shasta Mountain, and it is one of
the grandest sights that ever the eye of man beheld. It flouts the
skies with its peaks of everlasting snow, gleaming like a vast
opal under the sunshine, or peeping out in rainbow-tinted glints,
from among the rifts of the clouds that rake along its sides.
Often long streams of glittering white stretch from its peaks, far
out into space, and these are called "snow-banners."

My object in passing west of Shasta was to strike the headwaters
of the Sacramento and follow that river to the city of Sacramento.
Late in the evening of the fifth day we struck a beautiful region,
since known as the Shasta Valley.

While we were looking ahead through our field glasses and laying
out our route for the next day, we discovered a great cloud of
dust, which seemed to be not more than five or six miles away, and
just beyond a low range of hills that we could overlook. We
secreted our horses and watched the dust, but we had not watched
long before about sixty horses came in sight, driven by five
Indians. We could note that there were a number of mules in the
band, and that two of the redskins carried rifles.

We were not long in making up our minds that this was stolen
property, and that they had done murder and had taken the stock
and were getting away as fast as they could. Otherwise they would
not have those rifles.

In those days Indians knew very little about using guns, and the
mules we knew did not belong to them, for they did not have any
mules, only as they could steal them from the emigrants.

We watched them until they came to a nice little stream, where
they stopped, staked their saddle-horses out, and as it was almost
night, we were confident from their movements that they were going
into camp. Being not more than three miles from where we were, we
staked out horses on the grass, ate a cold lunch, and it now being
dark we started afoot for the Indian camp.

We did not get in sight of the Indians any more until within a
quarter of a mile of their camp.

They had a little fire of sagebrush and had not lain down yet, but
were watching the horses very closely. They stayed up until about
eleven o'clock, and every few minutes some of them would go out to
where the horses were feeding and look all around.

The moon being full, it was a very bright night, and we could see

Finally the horses all got quiet, and the Indians, after building
up a little more fire, all laid down by it for a nap.

After they had lain there some little time, I told the boys now
was our time, for as soon as one of them woke up he would go out
to the horses again.

George Jones requested me not to take any hand in the fight for
fear I might get my shoulder hurt over again, as it was not well
by any means. I told him I would not unless I thought it really
necessary; but if it was I would give them a shot anyway, just for
luck. I gave George Jones one of my revolvers, so he took a
revolver in each hand, and Riley had a revolver in his left and
his sabre in his right hand. We now started to crawl up to where
the Indians were no doubt fast asleep.

I crawled up with the balance, in case the boys got in close
quarters, thinking that a shot might help them, but George Jones
assured me that by taking one of my revolvers they would get three
the first shot and then they would have three more shots for the
other two, so that before any of them got to their feet we would
have them all.

It being an unusually bright, moonlight night, we were able when
near them, by the aid also of the little fire which was yet
burning, to get their exact position, which was a great help in
making an attack.

When within ten feet of the Indians, Jones and Riley both rose to
their feet and fired three shots, Jones firing both pistols at
once, and they killed two Indians as they lay and killed the third
one as he raised to his feet.

The other two ran, not offering to fight at all, but Jones and
Riley got them before they had gone further than a few steps.

This fight occurred about sixteen miles east of Yreka, near Little
Shasta. We rebuilt the fire by throwing some sagebrush on, and in
their outfit we found two scalps taken from white men, and which
looked to have been taken in the last twenty-four hours; two
rifles, but no ammunition, and I don't think they would have known
how to use them if they had had ammunition. They were armed with
bows and arrows, and some had knives.

I stayed and looked after the captured horses while the other boys
went back after our own horses. On their return I laid down and
slept awhile, but the other boys did not lie down at all that
night, for there was not much night left by the time they got in
with our horses.

The following morning, as soon as it was light enough to see, we
counted the horses and found there were fifty-five of them.

After getting our breakfast we started back on the trail the
Indians had come, that being the course we wished to go. We
traveled hard all day, and just at night we came to a little
stream running across the valley, that we had looked at through
the glasses the evening before. Here we went into camp for the
night, and on looking across the valley on the opposite side of
the river we could see through the field glasses a number of
little wreaths of smoke curling up into the air, and they were
scattered along the foothills here and there for several miles.

I knew at once they were not from Indian fires, for I could not
see a lodge, and they were too badly scattered to be an Indian

Just what it was we could not make out, but we stopped on the
little stream that night, which is now called Shasta river. I
slept but very little, as my broken shoulder was commencing to
bother me again from riding. I was up and down all night long, and
was around among the horses many times.

The next morning we were up and had our breakfast and started very
early. We had not gone more than two miles, when, on looking
ahead, we saw twelve men coming on horseback. Through my glasses I
saw they were white men, and told the boys so. George Jones could
not believe they were white men until he looked through the glass,
when he said: "Well, I'll be d--d if they ain't white men."

We altered our course so as to meet them, and less than a half
hour's ride brought us face to face.

There was a man by the name of Wm. McConnell riding in the lead,
and on meeting us the first word uttered by any of the party was
by McConnell. He said: "Where in the name of God did you get those
horses?" While I was telling him where and how we came in
possession of them, George Jones took the five Indian scalps from
the pack and said:

"And there is something else we got at the same time we got the

Then he took the two white men's scalps from the pack, also the
two rifles, and they were also satisfied that the scalps were the
scalps of the two white men who had been herding this same band of
horses and mules, for the hair was similar in color to that of the
two herders. One of them had dark brown hair and the other one had
rather light hair.

From this company of men we learned that near us there was a
mining camp, the stock belonged to the miners, and that the two
men killed had been herding the horses and mules about three miles
away from camp. This was a new camp called Greenhorn Gulch.

The herders always brought the horses to camp every night, but the
last two nights they had failed to bring the stock in, and this
man McConnell had raised the crowd to hunt the stock, being
satisfied that the two herders were killed and the stock driven
away by the Indians.

After giving them a brief outline of our little fight with the
Indians, our business there, etc., McConnell asked us how much the
miners would have to pay us for our trouble. I told him that we
did not make any charge, but that if the miners felt that it was
worth anything to them to have their horses brought back, they
could pay us just what they felt like giving. McConnell said for
us to ride back to camp with them and he would call a miners'
meeting that afternoon and state the case to the miners, and he
was satisfied they would do what was right.

We drove the stock to where they were accustomed to being
corralled at night and corralled them, and made camp for the
night, for I was needing rest, very much, on account of my

This man McConnell was erecting a store building about half way
between Greenhorn Gulch and a new discovery that had recently been
made, some two or three miles off.

About two o'clock Mr. McConnell came to our camp and told us to
come along with him to a certain miner's cabin, and that the
miners would all be there and we would see what could be done.
When we got to the cabin, sure enough every miner was there.

Mr. McConnell called the house to order, stated the object of the
meeting and made quite a little speech. He told the miners that we
had brought the stock home, told where and how we came in
possession of it, and that he, as well as eleven other men that
were present, had seen the five Indian scalps, also two scalps of
white men that he was confident were the scalps of the two
herders, and had also seen their two rifles.

After Mr. McConnell had addressed the crowd in a very genteel
manner he set a hat on the newly constructed miners' table and
said: "Now, gentlemen, how much will each of you give? I will give
twenty dollars." At the same time he threw twenty dollars in for a
starter. The other miners followed suit, all contributing
liberally, and the amount raised reached three hundred and fifty

After the money was counted they asked us if we were satisfied
with that amount.

We told them that we were, and that if they had not given us
anything it would have been all right, for we only considered that
we had done our duty, which we would expect any man to do for us
under like circumstances.

The morning following, before starting out again, we obtained
information from Mr. McConnell concerning our trip down to
Sacramento that was of great value to us. He directed us by way of
Scott's Valley, and told us we need not have any fear of trouble
with the Indians, which was a great relief to us at that time.

We found it a splendid trail, and made the trip from the mining
camp to Sacramento in nine days. Mr. McConnell thought it would
take us twelve days, but having plenty of horses along we could
change when we liked, and by doing so could make good time.

The next day after arriving at Sacramento we got our horses on
pasture, and the following morning took the boat for San

The next morning after arriving at San Francisco we went to the
Miners' Restaurant to see my old friend, Healey, and they were all
very glad to see us.

After breakfast we hired a team and started to the Fort with our

They were all greatly astonished when we told them that we had
made the trip alone.

As soon as I arrived at the Fort I went to see the surgeon, and he
told me that my shoulder was in a dangerous condition, and that I
would have to stay around the Fort so that he could see me at
least every other day for several weeks.

There was a great commotion at the Fort when the news spread
abroad that we had arrived from Fort Klamath, for every one that
had a friend away with Col. Elliott's command expected a letter,
and we had to have a postmaster appointed to distribute the mail.

During my stay at the Fort I made my home at Mrs. Elliott's.

While I was away with Col. Elliott, Jim Beckwith had been at the
Fort a number of times, and each time had left a letter for me
requesting me to come to see him as soon as I got back.

After resting a few days I started to the city to look Jim up, and
found him without any trouble. His money was about all gone, and
he was anxious for me to go to the mountains with him on a
trapping expedition the coming winter, saying he was tired of
laying around doing nothing but drink whiskey.

We made arrangements to start in two or three weeks from that
time, provided my shoulder would permit. Jim agreed to go to
Sacramento when we were ready to start and get my horses, and I
returned to the Fort to have my broken shoulder taken care of.

Now, as I have said before, I don't think there was ever a young
man that suffered from bashfulness as I did during what time I was
in the company of ladies.

At that time I thought Mrs. Elliott was doing all she could to
tease me, but since I have grown older and learned a little more
about civilization, I am convinced that it was for my own good,
thinking that I might overcome my timidity to a certain extent by
having me go in society. Nearly every day while at the Fort she
would either ask me in the afternoon to go in company with her to
visit some lady friend, or would want me to stay at her house to
receive some lady company, and frequently I have accompanied her
to a neighbor's house where there were young ladies, and I would
have given every horse that I owned to have been away. But Mrs.
Elliott had been almost like a mother to me, and I could not
refuse to go with her when she requested me to do so. After I had
been at the Fort about two weeks Mrs. Elliott said she was going
to give another party, but I told her I had a lawful excuse this
time for not dancing, as the surgeon would not allow me to dance
on account of my shoulder. Among the balance of Mrs. Elliott's
lady friends was Lieut. Jackson's wife, who, by the way, was one
of the loveliest and best women I have ever met. Her husband had
been ordered the past summer out to Arizona, and was at that time
establishing a new fort, which was known afterwards as Fort Yuma.

Mrs. Jackson was expecting to go soon to join her husband at Fort
Yuma, and as I was going on to the waters of the Gila, trapping,
she insisted on my waiting and going in company with them.
Finally, after stopping around the Fort three weeks, the surgeon
told me by a certain time, which was nearly a week, I might start
out, and if I was careful I would be perfectly safe.

I went down to the city, and Jim Beckwith and I agreed on the time
to start, after which I returned to the Fort.

The evening before I was to start, every army officer at the Fort,
there being twenty-eight in number, and every lady, married and
single, came to Mrs. Elliott's house. When I asked her what all
this meant, she said: "I suppose they have come to bid you good-
bye." But it was not long until I knew the object of the meeting,
for some one in the crowd sang out: "Choose partners for a
quadrille!" and in a jiffy there was a double set on the floor,
and the floor manager said: "All ready."

The musicians took their seats, and the same prompter stood there
that prompted for them the time I attended that other party of
Mrs. Elliott's.

The music started up, and I commenced to realize that I was
attending a party, or the party was attending me, one of the two.
They danced nearly all night, and had what they called a nice
time, while I sat back in one corner scared half to death for fear
they would call "ladies' choice;" and I knew Mrs. Elliott or some
other lady was sure to come for me, and as my shoulder was getting
most well, I was afraid that I could not get clear on the plea of
being a cripple.

When the party broke up, Mrs. Jackson insisted on my paying them a
visit at Fort Yuma, as it would not be a great ways from where I
was going to trap the coming winter.

The next morning when I rode off, and different ones were waving
me adieu, Mrs. Elliott told me to be sure and pay them a visit
when I came to the city.



The same day that I left the Fort, Jim Beckwith came down to the
boat bringing my horses, twelve in number, and after buying our
outfit for camping, provisions, and so on, we bought quite a lot
of beads, blankets, cheap rings and such goods as we could trade
to the Indians for furs.

The following day we pulled for the trapping region, by way of the
old San Jose mission, and from there to the old mission of San
Gabriel, thence across the Mojave desert. From there we struck out
for the mouth of the Gila river, and crossed just where it empties
into the Colorado. We then traveled up what is known as Salt
river, some distance from where we crossed the Gila. This was
early in January, and we found plenty of beaver that were easy to

No trapping had been done in that region for several years.
Besides, we thought at the time, and it so proved, that we were
entirely out of the way of hostile Indians.

Here we put in two months trapping, with splendid success. Then,
as it was getting too late in the season to trap, Jim proposed
that we take our little stock of goods, or a portion of it, and
visit the Pima tribe of Indians, which we found to be not as great
a distance away as we had supposed, it being only about forty
miles to their village.

They all knew us and were glad to see us. The chief and some other
of the head men were out on their annual hunt, and we did not get
to see them, as we only stayed two days, during which time they
treated us the very best they knew how. They had plenty of
vegetables such as turnips, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.

While on this visit a certain young Indian got to be a great
friend to me, but I am sorry to say that I have forgotten his
name. He had a sister whose name was Nawasa, who also got to be a
warm friend of mine, and I must say, that, although an Indian, she
was a lady in her way, and I thought, really, that she was the
best looking Indian I had ever seen.

The evening that we were to start back to our camp, Nawasa came to
me and told me in Spanish that her brother wanted to see me, and
that he had something to tell me. I started off with her, and
after we had gone a short distance I asked her where her brother
was, and she pointed to a bunch of bushes, saying he was there.

On my arrival at the spot I asked him what he wished to say to me.
I knew he had something private and important to say, otherwise he
would not have called me to an out-of-the-way place like that.

He raised to his feet and looked around to see if there was any
one in sight, and said in Spanish:, "Sit down here, me and my
sister have something to tell you."

He started in by saying that the Apaches were very bad Indians,
and that they had killed many of my friends; which showed that he
considered all white people my friends.

"Six or seven years ago," he continued, "they killed a man, his
wife, and two boys, and took two girls prisoners. A long time ago
the smallest girl died and the big girl buried her."

At this, Nawasa spoke and said: "Many times I have gone with her
to the village and heard her sing a pretty song, but I could not
understand a word of it."

I asked if this girl was living yet.

Nawasa said: "Yes, I see her every few days."

I asked her what size the girl was, and from what I could learn
she was almost grown.

I asked her if the girl was satisfied, and she thought she was
not, saying she was held a prisoner and had to do the work for the
Indian families, or lodges, as she termed them. She said the work
consisted of getting the wood and water, and whatever little
cooking was to be done.

The reader will understand that while the Apaches were hostile
toward the whites, and the Pimas were not, yet the two tribes were
always on peaceable terms. But I could see at a glance that those
two Indians felt a deep interest in that white girl. I asked
Nawasa how far it was to where the white girl was. After studying
awhile, she said it was about six hours, meaning six hours' ride.

I asked her when she would see the girl again, and she made me
understand that if it would please me, or be of any benefit to the
girl, she could see her most any day, saying that she went near
the village to gather huckleberries, this being the time of year
the red huckleberries are ripe in this country.

I told them that I would come back in four days, and then I would
go with them to that place to gather huckleberries.

I wanted to look over the ground before laying my plans for taking
the girl, provided she wished to leave the Indians.

This ended the conversation, so we went back to camp, where I
found Jim Beckwith and a crowd of Indians joking, smoking and
having a good time generally, for, as I have said before, this was
the most sociable tribe of Indians that I ever saw.

On our arrival at camp, Jim asked me in Spanish where I had been,
and when he saw the Indian girl, said: "Oh, I see; you have been
off courting;" and then he and the Indians had a laugh at my

I did not say anything to Jim about what I had heard until the
next day.

We started early in order to make the trip in one day. I told him
the story just as I had it from the two Indians, and told him that
I was going to try to get the girl away from the Apaches if she
wanted to leave them.

I rode along some distance, apparently in a deep study, and he
finally turned to me and said:

"I think you had better let that gal alone, for then. Apaches is
the wust Injuns in the hull country. If you make the attempt and
they ever git on your track, they'll run you down in spite o'

To the readers of this book I will say I never was more astonished
in my life, than I was to hear Jim Beckwith talk as he did. In all
the time that I had been with him, this was the first time I had
ever seen the slightest indication of his showing the white
feather, as we termed it. It seemed to me he had lost all his

I said: "Jim, my mind is made up; if that white girl is
dissatisfied and wants to leave the Indians, I am going to make
the attempt, and trust to luck for the balance."

From that time until the day I was to go back to the village, he
tried in every way he could think of to persuade me not to make
the attempt, but I told him there was no use talking, that I
looked upon it as being my duty, knowing that the girl was a slave
to those Indians.

On the day appointed I saddled Mexico and started for the Pima
village. I met the two young Indians about two miles from the
village, where they had come to meet me, and they were both riding
one horse, Nawasa riding behind her brother. When I met them she
jumped off from behind her brother and said she wanted to try my
horse to see how he rode, and she got on Mexico behind me and rode
to camp.

I stayed at the village that night, and the next morning the three
of us started out to gather huckleberries.

After we were on the ground and were busying ourselves gathering
berries, Nawasa said:

"If you will go on that little hill"--pointing to a hill near by--
"at noon to-morrow, I will bring the white girl here to this tree,
and you can see her for yourself."

She made me promise her not to go any nearer the Apache camp at
this time, for, said she, "If they suspect anything wrong, the
white girl will be traded off to the Indians in Mexico for a

After making arrangements to meet the next day, Nawasa rode off
toward the Apache town, and her brother and I rode back to the
Pima village.

The following day I rode back in company with my young Indian
friend to within two or three miles of the berry-patch, where we
separated, and I rode out to the ridge that Nawasa had pointed out
to me the day previous.

I saw them standing by the tree, as she had said. I put my glass
to my eyes and saw sure enough that it was a white girl with
Nawasa, and that she looked very sad.

I then rode back to the Pima village. That same night the two
young Indians both came home, but they would not say a word while
at camp. It seemed that they would not under any consideration
have let any of the other Indians know what they were up to, so
the next morning when I started home they took their horses and
rode with me about two miles.

After we had got away from the village some distance, I asked
Nawasa if the white girl still wanted to leave the Apaches, and
she said, "Yes, she would like very much to leave them, but was
afraid; as the Apaches had told her that if she ever tried to get
away and was caught, she would be sold to the Mexican Indians as a
slave, and there she would have to work in the fields, which would
be much harder work than she has to do where she is."

I told Nawasa that if she would bring the white girl out on the
same ridge that I had rode on, I would give her five strings of
beads, and I would give her one string to give to the white girl.
She promised that she would try, and that she would do her best.

I agreed to be back in eight days and see what arrangements had
been made, and to let her know when I would be ready to take the

When I got back, Jim asked me what I would do with the girl if I
was successful in getting her away from the Indians. I told him I
would take her to Fort Yuma.

"And what in the name of God will you do with her when you get to
Fort Yuma?" said Jim.

I told him that if Mrs. Jackson was there, which I was confident
she was, that I would leave the girl with her, and that I had no
fears but that the girl would be taken care of in the very best
manner that Mrs. Jackson could provide for her.

Jim said: "If the girl is satisfied with the Injuns, why don't you
let her alone? She don't know anything but Injun ways, and she
never will."

I told him that my mind was thoroughly made up, and I would rescue
that girl from the Indians or lose my scalp in the attempt. And
now don't say any more about it, for it will do no good.

He said: "Go ahead and do as you please, as you have always got to
have your own way about things, anyhow."

I said: "Yes, Jim; when I know I am right, I propose to have my
own way."

This ended the conversation, for the time being, at least, for Jim
saw that I was determined in the matter, and he said no more about

On the day appointed I took my two favorite saddle-horses and rode
over to the Pima village. I started very early and arrived at the
village about four o'clock in the afternoon.

After knocking about the village for a little while, my two Indian
friends proposed that we take a ride.

Of course I knew the horseback ride was only a ruse to get a
chance to tell me the plans laid by herself and the white girl for
her escape, although she said that she just wanted to try my Pinto
horse to see how he would ride.

And here I will say that I don't believe there was another Indian
in that village who had any idea of the scheme that was being
worked up between myself and those two Indians, for they would
never say a word to me while within earshot of any of the tribe.

The other Indians thought I was courting Nawasa, and it was always
the custom among those Indians for a young couple never to ride
out alone.

It has always been a mystery to me why those young Pimas took such
a deep interest in the white girl, for they were merely untutored
Indians, having only a few years since seen the first white man,
and had not seen many since then.

But those two young Indians seemed to be as kind-hearted persons
as I ever met, and were the most intelligent Indians I ever saw,
who were not educated, and I often regretted that I did not take
them to some school and have them educated, for it would have been
a great benefit to the people on the plains at that time.

But to go on with my story. We took our ride, and as soon as we
were well away from the village Nawasa told me that she had seen
the white girl and completed plans for her escape. She said that
after making arrangements with the girl, she--Nawasa--had not gone
to the Apache village, but had met the girl at the huckleberry
patch most every day.

She said: "The girl will come to the berry-patch every day until
we go there for her, provided the Indians with whom she lived
would let her go, that she might be there to-morrow, and she might
not come till the next day. The girl is willing to go with you,
and we will go to the berry-patch to-morrow and wait till she

The next morning the three of us started out ostensibly to pick

After we were out of sight of the village the young Indian man
took my Pinto horse and started in the direction of Fort Yuma, it
being understood that he was to stop about half way between Fort
Yuma and the place where we would meet the girl. He was to wait
there until the middle of the afternoon, and if we were not there
by that time he was to return to camp.

Nawasa and I went on to the berry-patch, but the white girl was
not there. We had not waited long, however, until Nawasa looked up
and said in Spanish, "There she comes now."

I looked and saw the girl running. She did not discover us until
she was within about fifty yards of us, and when she saw us she
stopped very suddenly and hung her head.

I did not know at the time whether she was ashamed or whether she
had been with the Indians so long that she was really afraid of a
white person; but Nawasa was not long in getting to her, and the
girl would look at me and then look back, as though she had a
notion to go back to the Apache village.

When I rode up to where she was, she dropped her head and would
not look up for some little time.

I saw that her face was badly tattooed, but her body was not, and
as she stood there, apparently undecided what to do, she was to me
an object of pity, and her dejected countenance would, I think,
have appealed strongly to even Jim Bridger's heart.

I told Nawasa to help her on behind me, for we must be off quick.
Nawasa said: "She don't want to go." I then spoke to the white
girl in Spanish, and said: "My dear girl, why do you hesitate? Get
up behind me and I will take you to your own people. Why do you
want to stay here and be a slave for those Indians?"

I wish I could give in detail the persuasive language used by that
untutored but kind-hearted Indian girl, to get her to leave the
Apaches. She would tell her that if she would only go with me that
I would take her to her own people, and would tell her how happy
she would be with them.

After a great deal of persuasion, as I sat on my horse I reached
down and took her by one arm and told the Indian girl to help her
up behind me. She took her by the foot and helped her on my horse,
and mounting her own horse we flew out of that section about as
fast as our horses were able to carry us.

I was riding Mexico, and he was one of the swiftest horses in that
country, and he had great endurance, also.

We rode some distance before I said anything to the girl, though
Nawasa had kept along at our side, talking to her all the time to
keep her spirits up. Finally I spoke to her in the English
language, but it was some time before I could get her to utter a
word; I don't know whether it was through fear or bashfulness.

Four miles' ride brought us out of the timber into an open
prairie, with low hills covered with bunch-grass, and here and
there a bunch of prickly pears, so rank that one dared not attempt
to ride through them. There were little mountain streams running
through the country, with no kind of timber but willows, strewn
here and there along the banks.

On we went, over the hills and across the valleys, putting our
horses down to what they could stand and at the same time keeping
a sharp lookout behind to see if the Indians were trailing us.

Our course for the first twenty miles, to where we met the young
Indian, was a little north of west, and from there almost due

About two o'clock we arrived at the point where we were to meet
the young Indian, and found him there, waiting.

We dismounted, and I was not long in changing my saddle from
Mexico to my Pinto horse. This horse would weigh nearly eleven
hundred pounds, and had good life and splendid bottom.

By this time the white girl was beginning to talk some.

After having my saddle changed and on my horse, the Indian girl
told her she would go no farther with us. She told Nawasa that she
was afraid to go with me, as she was afraid that I would take her
to Mexico and sell her for a slave, where she would have to work
in the fields. But Nawasa assured her there was no danger, saying:
"Esta umbra mooly ah-me-go," meaning, "This man is a great friend
of mine;" and she again told her not to be afraid, for I would
take her to her own people.

This seemed to give her some encouragement.

After the young Indian had shown me the direction to Fort Yuma, by
landmarks, etc., I asked him how far it was.

He stepped out by the side of my horse, and after taking a good
look at him, said in Spanish: "About three hours, or perhaps three
and a half." I then told Nawasa to help the girl up again, and she
did so.

When we were about to start, the two Indians came up to us and
said: "Adios anlyose," which means, "Good-bye, my friend;" at the
same time shaking hands with us both.

After riding a short distance I commenced talking to her in our
own language.

It seemed that she had almost forgotten English, and when she
would try to talk it she could not join the words together so as
to make much sense of it. It was hard to understand her, but
between English and Spanish together she could manage to talk so
that I was able to understand her. However, her English seemed to
improve by degrees, and I asked her if she would not be glad to
get back to her own people, so they could dress her up and make a
lady of her.

I do not believe that the poor girl had really thought of or
realized her rude condition.

She said: "No, I can never be a white girl," and at the same time
commenced crying, and said in broken English, "Now I remember
seeing my mother dressed all nice, and plenty more women all
dressed nice." It seemed after talking to her in her own language
a short time she could call back to memory things that she had
forgotten altogether.

I asked her how long since she was taken by the Indians. She had
to study some time before she could answer, but finally in broken
English, intermingled with Spanish, she said she thought seven

I asked if she was taken alone. She said, no, she had a little
sister taken at the same time she was. I asked her where the
little sister was, and she replied that she had died, and she
thought she had been dead about three years.

I asked her if the Indians had killed her father and mother. She
said: "Yes, and my little brother, too; and burned our wagon and
all that was in it."

Then I said to her: "I don't see how you can love those Indians
who had killed your father, mother and brother." She replied that
she had no one else to love.

I then said to her, "You will soon be among friends, for I am
taking you to a woman that will be as good to you as your own
mother was," and at that moment we hove in sight of the Fort. I
pointed to the Fort, and told her there was where the woman lived
that I was taking her to.

We were now safe from an attack from the Apaches, and only a few
minutes later I drew rein at Fort Yuma.

I first rode up to the guard, whose beat was in front of the
Commander's tent, and asked where Lieut. Jackson's quarters were.
He pointed to a tent not far from where we then were, saying:
"That is his tent, and his wife is there, too."

As I rode to the Lieutenant's quarters, all eyes were turned in
our direction. Mrs. Jackson came to the door of the tent and
recognized me at once, and her first words were: "Chief, in the
name of common sense, where are you from, and who is this you have
with you?"

I said: "Mrs. Jackson, this is a girl I rescued from the Indians.
She has no parents and no relatives, that she knows of, and I have
brought her to you, thinking you would be a friend to her."

The reply of that noble woman was, "I will, with all my heart,"
and at that she assisted the girl in getting off the horse and led
her into her own tent.

By this time Lieut. Jackson and all the officers of the Fort were
there, and it seemed to me that the Lieutenant would never quit
shaking my hand, and when he went to introduce me to the other
officers who were present, laughingly said.

"What shall I call you? I have known you as the 'Boy Scout,' also
as the 'Chief of Scouts.' I have known you when you were giving
lessons in hunting, and now you have come in from a hostile Indian
country with a white girl riding behind you. What shall I call

I said: "Lieutenant, call me Will Drannan, the trapper, for I am
now engaged in that business."

"Yes, I see you are," responded the Lieutenant with a hearty
laugh, "and I see you have had splendid success in your new
enterprise." He then asked me if I had trapped the girl.

I told him that I did not trap her, but that I got her away just
the same.

The Lieutenant then introduced me to the officers, and had the
orderly take charge of my horses. I was never kept more busy in my
life answering questions than I was for the next two hours,
relative to the girl and my plan of rescuing her.

Among the officers was a captain by the name of Asa Moore, who had
heard all about this massacre only a short time after it occurred,
and he said he thought there were some of the relatives living
somewhere in California, but he did not know just what part of the

I had forgotten to say that on our way to the Fort I asked her
name. It seemed at first that she had forgotten it, but after
studying some little time she tried to speak the name, which at
that time I understood to be Otus, but I have learned since that
her name was Olive Oatman. She did not seem to remember her given
name. The Indians had a name for her, but I have forgotten what it

Lieut. Jackson invited us into his tent, but when we got to the
door it was barred.

Mrs. Jackson asked us to wait a few minutes until she got some
clothes on Will's girl.

A few minutes later, when we were called into supper, Mrs. Jackson
had washed the girl and had her dressed in calico.

Mrs. Jackson told us that after she got her dressed, the girl sat
down and wept bitterly and said she did not know how to wear such

I remained at the Fort two days, and I must say that this girl
improved both in talking and in manners during the time I was
there far beyond our expectations.

When she would appear down-hearted or discouraged Mrs. Jackson
would talk to her in such a kind and motherly manner that the girl
would cheer up at once and would be anxious to try to make
something of herself.

After spending two days at the Fort, and knowing that Jim Beckwith
would be uneasy about me, I commenced making preparations to

Mrs. Jackson promised me that she would give the girl the very
best care possible while she remained with her, and if she could
hear of any of her relatives she would see that she got to them

With this understanding I left the girl with Mrs. Jackson, but
before I was ready to start the Lieutenant came to me and asked if
I did not want a job of scouting. I told him that I did not at
present, that I was going to Santa Fe and did not know when I
would return again.

He then handed me a letter of recommendation, saying, "If you ever
happen to want a position scouting, just show this letter and it
will be of some benefit to you," and he assured me that if at any
time he could assist me in any manner he would cheerfully do so.

When I was ready to start, Miss Oatman asked Mrs. Jackson what she
should say to me. Mrs. Jackson told her to tell me good-bye, and
tell me that she was very thankful to me for all I had done for
her. But the poor girl could not remember it all. She could only
remember the words "Good-bye, I thank you," at the same time
shaking hands with me.

This was the last I ever saw of the girl, but have heard various
reports concerning her since. I have been told that Mrs. Jackson
raised money at the Fort to send her to San Francisco to have the
tattoo marks removed from her face by the celebrated Dr. Fuller of
that city, but they having been formed with vegetable matter, he
was unable to remove them. I was also informed that she was
afterwards sent to New York for the same purpose, but with no
better success.

Only a short time ago, since coming to Idaho, I heard that she had
really found some of her relatives somewhere in the state of
Oregon, where she remained and raised a family; while a still
later report is that she is married to a rich merchant and is
living somewhere in the state of New York.

I have often thought of this poor girl since, and it has always
been a question in my mind whether I did right in taking her away
from the Indians after she had been with them so long; but if I
did do right, and she or any of her relatives should by chance see
this work and glance over its pages, I wish to say that to that
kind-hearted Indian girl of the Pima tribe, Nawasa by name, and
her brother belong the praise of rescuing Olive Oatman from
the Apache Indians.

In the first place, had it not been for her and her brother, I
would never have known of the girl, and even after I knew she was
there, I could not have done anything without Nawasa's assistance,
for she could not have worked more faithfully and earnestly if
there had been a thousand dollars in the operation for her.

On my return trip I rode the first day to the Pima village and
remained there that night.

I hired my young Indian friend to go among the Apaches and trade
beads for furs, and he went home with me.

Nawasa was very anxious to know how I got through with the girl,
but did not dare say anything while in camp; so the next morning
when her brother and I were leaving she caught a horse and rode
with us some distance. As soon as we were out of hearing of the
other Indians, she and her brother commenced asking all sorts of
questions concerning the girl; whether I thought she would be
happy with her own people or not.

Those Indians had learned in some way that somewhere, a long
distance away, the white people had great villages, and Nawasa
asked if I thought the white girl would be taken to the large

The young Indian and I arrived at our camp about four o'clock that
afternoon and found Jim Beckwith in a splendid humor, for he was
glad to see me. He had given up all hope of ever seeing me again,
for he thought the Apaches had followed me up and killed me. I
told him what I had brought the young Indian for, and he was well
pleased with the arrangement.

We fitted him out with beads that cost us twenty dollars, and tin
pans and blankets, agreeing to come to his village in two weeks
for our furs.

When the two weeks were up we took our pack-horses and went to the
village, and to our surprise he had traded off the beads and
blankets to much better advantage than we could have done

For this favor we gave him in compensation two pairs of blankets,
four brass finger rings and four strings of beads; and the young
fellow thought he had been well treated for his trouble.

It was now getting late in the season, and after buying all the
furs the Pima tribe had we commenced making preparations to pull
out for Taos, as we had about all the furs we could pack on our
horses to advantage, having fourteen pack-horses in all.

We packed up and started, and made the trip without anything of
consequence happening on the way. We did not see any hostile
Indians and had very good success, only losing one pack and horse
while crossing a little stream, the name of which I have
forgotten; and arrived at Taos in the latter part of June.

It was late in the afternoon when we rode up to Uncle Kit Carson's
home. He and his wife and little child were out on the porch, and
as soon as we rode up, both recognized Jim Beckwith, but neither
of them knew me, for when they had seen me last I was almost a
beardless boy, and now I had quite a crop of beard and was a man
of twenty-five years of age.

"Hello, Jim!" were Uncle Kit's first words, and he and his wife
came out to the gate to shake hands with him.

"Well, how are you, anyhow; and how have you been since you left,
and who is this you have with you?" said Uncle Kit, the last in a
low tone of voice.

I had dismounted some yards distant, and on the opposite side of
the pack-horse from them. Jim told Uncle Kit that I was a
discouraged miner that he had picked up in California, saying: "He
don't amount to very much, but I needed some one for company and
to help me through with the pack-train, so I brought him along."

By this time I had made my way through the bunch of pack-horses
and walked up to Uncle Kit and spoke to him, and I think I got the
worst shaking up that I had had for a long time, and I don't think
there ever was a father more pleased to see his son return than
Uncle Kit was to see me.

Our horses were turned over to the hired man, who took care of
them, and the next two days were spent in visiting Uncle Kit and
his wife. Of course I had to tell them of the hardships I had
undergone during my absence from home; my adventures, narrow
escapes, etc.

I learned that Mr. Hughes had died during my absence; I also
learned that Johnnie West was at Bent's Fort.

After resting two days we packed up again and started for Bent's
Fort. Uncle Kit went along with us to assist in making a good sale
of our furs, and we arrived there just in time, as the last train
was going out for the season, and we sold them for a good price.

Here I met Jim Bridger, Johnnie West and a number of other
acquaintances and friends who supposed I had been killed and
scalped by the Indians. I was sorry to learn that Johnnie West,
like the majority of the old frontiersmen, had fallen into the
habit of drinking up every dollar that he earned.

While we were here, Uncle Kit made a proposition that himself, Jim
Beckwith, Jim Bridger and myself take a trip to the head of the
Missouri river and put in the winter trapping.

He said he wanted to make this trip and then quit the business,
saying: "I have business enough at home to attend to, but I have
always had an anxiety to take a trip to the headwaters of the
Missouri river."

The four of us returned to Taos, arriving there just in time to
celebrate the Fourth of July, arriving on the second, and now I
was home again in my fine buckskin suit. The night of the fourth
we all attended a big fandango, and had a huge time. I was
somewhat over my bashfulness by this time, and by the assistance
of Mrs. Carson and two or three other ladies present, I was
enabled to get through in pretty good shape. After that night's
dancing, I felt that if I were back at the Fort, where I tried to
dance my first set, I would show them how dancing first began.



We remained at Taos until August first, then, all being ready for
our northern trip, each man taking his own saddle-horse and five
pack horses, we made the start for the headwaters of the Missouri
river. We crossed the Platte where it leaves the mountains, and
the next day we met a band of Arapahoes, who informed us that the
Sioux were on the war-path, and that Gen. Harney was stationed on
North Platte with a considerable body of soldiers. The day
following, after having crossed the Cache-la-Poudre, we reached
Gen. Harney's camp. The General, being a good friend of Uncle Kit
and Jim Bridger, insisted on our being his guests, so we took
supper with him and camped there for the night.

While at the supper table, Jim Beckwith told the General who I was
and what I had been doing the last three years, following which I
took Lieut. Jackson's letter from my pocket and handed it to the
General. I had never seen the inside of the letter myself. The
General read the letter the second time, and looking up at me, he

"Yes, I'll give you a job; you can start in to-morrow if you

Before I had time to answer him, Uncle Kit spoke up, saying:
"General, I have employed him for the next six months and I cannot
get along without him."

At this the General said: "Mr. Carson, your business is not urgent
and mine is, and I insist on the young man taking a position with
me for the remainder of the summer."

I said: "General, I did not show you that letter with the
intention of asking you for employment, but simply to show you the
standing I have with the people where I have been."

"Young man," he replied, "I don't wish to flatter you, but there
is not a man in my service that I could conscientiously give such
a letter."

When he saw that we were determined to proceed, he tried to
persuade us that we could not make it through, "For," said he,
"the whole country is full of hostile Indians between here and
there, and they are killing emigrants every day." Which was true.

The following morning we pulled out again, aiming to push through
and get into the bad lands as quickly as possible, knowing that
when once in there we would not be attacked by a large band of
Indians, there being no game in that region for them to live on.

The second day out from Gen. Kearney's quarters, about the middle
of the afternoon, we were looking for a place to camp for the
night, when we saw eleven Indians coming for us full tilt. Jim
Bridger was riding in the lead, I being the hindmost one. Jim
being the first to see them, he turned as quick as a wink and we
all rode to the center. Each man having a saddle-horse and five
pack-horses, they made good breastworks for us, so we all
dismounted and awaited the impolite arrival. I drew my rifle down
across the back of one of the horses when the Indians were two
hundred yards away, and Uncle Kit said: "Don't fire yet. All wait
until they get near us, and I will give the word for all to fire
at once. Each man take good aim, and make sure of his Indian; use
your rifles first and then draw your pistols."

He did not give the word until they were within about one hundred
yards of us, and when he did, we all fired. I saw my Indian fall
to the ground. We then drew our revolvers, and I got in two more
shots before the Indians could turn their ponies so as to get

At the first shot with my revolver I did not see the Indian fall,
but at the second shot I got my man.

We killed seven from the little band, only leaving four. They
seemed to realize at once that they had bit off more than they
could chew, and in about three minutes they were out of sight, and
that was the last we saw of them.

We did not get a man wounded, and only one horse hurt, and that
very slightly.

This was our last trouble with Indians until we were across the

The next day after crossing that river we saw on our right, about
a quarter of a mile away, twenty Crow Indians coming for us. They
gave us chase for five or six miles, until we struck suitable
ground. As soon as that was obtained we stopped to make a stand,
and as soon as they were in sight around the hill they were within
gunshot, and we all fired. I think I wounded my Indian in the leg,
and killed his horse. Jim Beckwith said he saw three Indians fall
to the ground. This, however, was the last trouble we had with the
Crow Indians on that trip.

The next day we arrived at Fort Benton, on the Missouri river.
There we met a number of trappers in the employ of the Hudson Bay
Company, and not an independent trapper in the outfit. Strange,
but true, the trappers in the employ of that Company always hated
the sight of an independent trapper.

Here we stayed over two days, trying to gather some information as
to our route, and, strange as it may seem, we could not find a man
who would give us any information as to the route we wished to go,
which was only about two hundred miles from there.

Trapping had never been done in that region, and these men knew
that this was because of hostile Indians there. They were not men
of sufficient principle to even intimate to us that the Indians
were dangerous in that section, but let us go on to find it out
for ourselves, hoping, no doubt, that the Indians would kill us
and that there would be so many independent trappers out of the
way. From here we took the divide between the Missouri river and
the Yellowstone, aiming to keep on high land in order to steer
clear, as much as possible, of hostile Indians.

Uncle Kit said he was satisfied that there was a large basin
somewhere in that country, but did not know just where or how to
find it.

It was in the evening of the fifth day when we came upon a high
ridge, and almost due west of us and far below we could see a
great valley, since known as Gallatin Valley, where Bozeman,
Mont., now stands.

When we came in sight of this beautiful region, Uncle Kit said:
"Boys, this is the country I have been looking for, and I'll
assure you if we can get in there and are not molested, we can
catch beaver by the hundred."

We had not been bothered by Indians, nor had we seen any sign of
them since we left Fort Benton.

We had been on high ground all of the way, and we thought now when
once in this valley we would be entirely out of the way of the
Crows, and the Bannocks and Blackfoot Indians would be the only
tribes to contend with.

From where we first saw the valley, we started to go down the
mountain. The next day, as we got lower, we could see plenty of
Indian sign. Striking a canyon, that we thought would lead us down
to the valley, we gave it the name of Bridger's Pass, which name
it has to-day. As we neared the valley we saw more Indian sign,
and from the amount of it, it seemed that the country must be
alive with them. When within about five or six miles of the
valley, we saw a band of Indians to our right, on the ridge.

Jim Bridger said: "Boys, they are Crows, and we are in for it."

They did not come in reach of us, but kept along the ridge above
us. We could see by looking ahead that near the mouth of this
canyon there was a high cliff of rocks.

We expected to be attacked from those rocks, and we had to be very
cautious in passing this point. But to our surprise they did not
make the attack. Here we began to see beaver sign in abundance. I
don't think that I ever in my life saw as much of it on the same
space of ground as I saw there, for every little stream that
emptied into that valley was full of beaver dams.

The Indians kept in sight of us until we struck the valley, which
was just at sunset. We traveled until dark, when we stopped and
built up a big fire. As soon as our fire was burning good we
mounted our horses and rode about one mile on to open ground.
Dismounting, we loosened all our saddles, both pack and riding-
saddles, and picketed all our horses as close together as we

We made our bed in the center, keeping a guard out all night. Jim
Beckwith was the first man on duty, and my turn came second. By
the time I went to relieve Jim the moon was up, and he told me to
keep a keen lookout in the direction of the creek, "For," said he,
"I am almost sure I saw an Indian in that direction about half an
hour ago."

Of course this put me on my guard, and I kept my eye peeled in
great shape. About my second trip around the horses I looked in
the direction of the creek and thought I saw an Indian coming on
all fours.

He would only come a few steps and then stop. Being below me, I
could not get him between me and the moon, so I concluded I would
meet him half way. I got down on all fours and watched him, and
when he would start I would move ahead, keeping my eye on him, and
when he would stop I would stop also.

This I did so that to move at the same time he did, he could not
hear the noise made by me. When I was close enough I laid flat on
the ground, shut my left hand, and placing it on the ground,
resting my gun on my fist, took good aim and I got him.

At the crack of my gun the whole crowd were on their feet, and a
moment later were at the scene of war. We went to the place where
it lay, and beheld a very large white wolf lying there, "dead as a
door nail."

This was the first time I had ever made such a mistake, and it was
some time before I heard the last of it.

The next morning when we got up, instead of being one band of
Indians in sight, there were two. We made up our minds that we had
discovered the finest trapping ground in America, and had a poor
show to get away from it, but we went ahead and got our breakfast,
just as though there were no Indians in sight of us, but we
concluded we had better leave this part of the country, so we
pulled out southwest across the valley, having no trouble until we
struck the West Gallatin river.

Here the beaver dams were so thick that it was difficult to find a
place to cross. After prospecting some little time, we struck on a
buffalo trail crossing the river, and we concluded to cross on
that trail. I was in the lead, but did not proceed far until we
saw the mud was so deep that we had to retrace our steps. When we
faced about to come back, of course I was thrown into the rear,
and just as we had turned the Indians made an attack on us from
the brush. I fired four shots at them at short range with my
revolver, the others firing at the same time. Just as we were out
of the brush, my favorite horse, Mexico, which was the hindmost
horse in my string, was shot down, having five or six arrows in
his body. I sprang from my saddle and the other boys halted until
I cut my dying horse loose from the others, which was only a
second's work, and we made a rush for the open ground, which was
reached in a few jumps. The Indians did not show themselves on the
open ground, but kept hid in the brush. We rode up and down the
stream for an hour and a half, but could not find a place that we
could cross for Indians and mud. Every place we would attempt to
cross, the Indians would attack us from the brush.

This, however, was all an open country, excepting immediately
along the stream, where was an immense growth of underbrush. After
making several attempts to cross and being driven back, Jim
Beckwith proposed that we put spurs to our horses and ride as fast
as they could carry us for three or four miles up the river, that
we might be able to cross before the Indians would be able to get
there, "For," said he, "this brush seems to be full of redskins."

This being agreed to, we all started at full speed up the river,
and after running some distance we saw a large buffalo trail
leading across the river. Jim Bridger being in the lead, said:
"Here is a big buffalo trail, let's try crossing on it." We were
about one-fourth of a mile from the river, and Uncle Kit, who from
some cause had dropped behind, sang out: "All right, let's hurry
and get across and out of the brush on the other side before them
redskins get here."

At this we all made a rush for the river, and just as we were
going out on the other side the Indians attacked us from the
brush. They shot Uncle Kit's hindmost horse down before he was out
of the mud and water, and he had to get off in two feet of mud and
water to cut his dying horse loose from the string of horses. We
killed two Indians here. Uncle Kit, while he was down cutting his
horse loose, shot one who was just in the act of striking him with
a tomahawk. We made our way to open ground as quick as possible,
rode about a half a mile and then stopped and loaded our pistols.

Uncle Kit said: "Boys, how in the world are we to get out of this?
The whole country is alive with Indians."

Jim Bridger said: "Kit, you are the man that got us in here, and
we will look for you to get us out."

"All right," said Kit, "mount your horses and let's be off." And
he gave orders to ride abreast when the ground would permit.

By riding in this manner we could corral quicker. What is meant by
corralling is that each man has his string of horses as we have
before stated, and when attacked each man rides to the center, and
the horses are a great protection to the men in time of battle. We
traveled some four or five miles without seeing an Indian, but all
this time we were on open ground.

Finally we came to a little stream, a tributary to the Madison
river, and when crossing this we were again attacked by the
Indians, who were secreted in the brush.

This was a surprise, for we had not seen an Indian since we left
the West Gallatin. Here we had a fight that lasted full twenty
minutes. We were about the middle of the stream when they opened
fire on us.

Uncle Kit said: "Come ahead, boys;" at the same we commenced
firing at the Indians, and every foot of that stream had to be
contested, from the middle, where they first opened fire on us, to
the shore. I saw two dead Indians in the water, and there might
have been more, but I did not have time to stop and look for
Indians, either dead or alive. I had seen the time that I was
hunting for Indians, but at this particular time I didn't feel as
though I had lost any.

Uncle Kit was now in the lead and I was bringing up the rear. Just
as we were out of the water and he was removing the saddle from
his horse, he got two arrows through his buckskin hunting shirt,
and was very slightly hurt.

We managed to stand them off until he removed the saddle from the
dying horse to another, after which we pulled for open ground, all
escaping unhurt, excepting the slight scratch Uncle Kit received
from the arrow.

The redskins did not follow us away from the creek.

As soon as we were on open ground we stopped and built a fire and
dried our clothing, for we were as wet as drowned rats. To build a
fire we had to pull small sagebrush that grew here and there in
the open prairie in that country. While we were drying our
clothing and eating a lunch, we had our horses feeding near us,
but did not dare let them scatter for fear of an attack, which we
were liable to experience at any moment. After we had our clothing
pretty well dried out and having had a little something in the way
of refreshments, on looking off to the northeast about two miles
distant, we saw a big band of buffalo and a lot of Indians after

We concluded that we had remained here long enough, so we mounted
and pulled out again.

The balance of the day we kept on open ground, and saw numerous
little bands of Indians, but were not molested by them until late
in the afternoon.

About sundown, while traveling down a little narrow valley, all of
a sudden about fifteen Indians, all well mounted, made a charge on
us. We corralled at once. By this time our horses had learned to
corral pretty quick, and when they were in gunshot we opened fire
on them. I fired at one with my rifle and got him, for I saw him
fall to the ground, and I got another with my pistol. I do not
know how many were killed, but they went away a much less number
than they came. We all escaped unhurt, but Uncle Kit lost another
horse, making in all four horses that day.

We moved on again and traveled about five miles and made another
camp, but did not build a fire. Our horses were picketed near
camp, and that night we stood guard the same as the night before,
but I did not see any Indians crawling up on all fours. The
morning following we were off very early, and traveled some four
miles before we came to water. Coming to a nice little brook, we
stopped and took our breakfast. Here we had a chance to have
killed an antelope, but did not dare shoot.

After taking something for the inner man, we proceeded on our way.
We did not have any more trouble with Indians, not even seeing any
until we got to what is known as Stinking Water or Alder creek,
near where Virginia City, Mont., now stands. In traveling down
this stream, which is quite crooked, and just as we were rounding
one of those points of the hill running down to the creek, riding
in the lead I saw two Indian wick-i-ups about half a mile ahead,
just in the edge of the brush. I at once gave the signal to turn
back, and we got out of sight without being discovered by the

We turned our course, somewhat, making a circuitous route, and
when we were just opposite the wick-i-ups, Jim Bridger and Uncle
Kit climbed to the top of the hill, taking my glasses with them,
and took in the situation. When they returned to where we were
they were feeling much more encouraged, saying: "Thank God we are
rid of the Blackfoots and Crows; those are the Bannocks. We are
now in their country, and they are not so numerous nor so hostile
as the Crows and Blackfoots." That night we camped on Stinking
Water, near Lone Butte, picketed our horses close around camp and
stood guard the same as the two nights previous.

The next morning we were up early and off again, aiming to cross
the main divide and go over to Fort Hall, expecting to find there
a great many trappers and raise a crowd sufficient to come back
and trap on the Gallatin river this winter.

At that time Fort Hall was a great rendezvous for trappers.

Now we were beginning to feel more encouraged and to think our
chances were pretty good, but that evening, while traveling up
Beaver Canyon, which, I think the railroad runs up now, from
Pocatello, Idaho, to Butte City, Mont., the Bannocks attacked us
about fifty strong.

They held us there for about an hour, and had it not been for a
thunder storm that came up, I don't think one of us would have got
out of that canyon, for they had us completely surrounded. They
killed two horses from Jim Bridger's string and wounded Uncle Kit
in one shoulder severely.

When the thunder storm came up the Indians were gradually closing
in on us, and it commenced to thunder and lightning, and it
actually rained so hard that one person could not see another two
rods before him.

While it was raining so hard, we mounted and rode out of the

I never saw it rain harder in my life than it did for a half hour.
When we were on open ground and it had quit raining, we stopped,
and Uncle Kit said: "Now who says the Almighty didn't save us this
time by sending that shower of rain just at the right time?"

That night we camped near the summit of the Rocky Mountains,
dividing the waters that run into the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
Uncle Kit suffered all that night from his arrow wound, the arrow
going under his shoulder blade, and when we examined the wound we
found it much deeper than we had any idea of. This was the last
trouble with Indians on that trip.

The next morning we started very early, and were three days making
Fort Hall, having no trouble whatever on the way. On arriving at
the Fort we were very much disappointed in regard to raising our
crowd to go to the head of the Missouri river to trap the coming
winter. There were only about twenty trappers at Fort Hall at that
time, and they appeared to have no particular objections to living
a little while longer. Those of them who had never interviewed the
Blackfoot and Crow Indians personally were pretty well acquainted
with them by reputation, and they said they did not care to risk
their lives in that country. We remained here two weeks, after
which time--Uncle Kit's wound getting considerable better--Jim
Bridger, Uncle Kit and myself concluded to go on to the waters of
Green river and trap the coming winter.

While here, Jim Beckwith fell in with a man by the name of Reese,
who said he had trapped on the headwaters of Snake river the
winter previous, and that trapping was good there. He induced
Beckwith to go to that section of the country, saying it was only
one hundred miles from Fort Hall. This trapping ground was
immediately across the divide of the Rockies and south of the
Gallatin, where the Blackfoot and Crow Indians were so bad, but
Reese thought they could get out the next spring before the
Indians could get across the mountains.

So he and Beckwith started, and at the same time we pulled out for
the head of Green river. They went to the head of Snake river, and
I afterwards learned that they trapped there all winter with
splendid success, but trapping being so good they stayed too late
in the spring. One morning about the last days of April, after
they had just eaten their breakfast and were making preparations
to go to look after their traps, they were attacked by about one
hundred Blackfoot Indians. Reese was killed the first shot, and
Jim then saw that his only show was to run, which he did. It was
about sunrise when they made the attack. Jim Beckwith fled, with
the Indians in hot pursuit. It was claimed to be one hundred miles
from there to Fort Hall, and that same evening, before dark, he
was in Fort Hall, and he went all the way on foot.

In this run Beckwith burst the veins in his legs in numerous
places, making him a cripple for life. The last time I saw him was
at his own home, near Denver, Colo., in 1863. At that time he was
so badly crippled that he had to walk with two canes, and after
telling me the condition he was in, he showed me a number of
running sores that were caused by the bursted veins. For Jim
Beckwith, now dead and gone, I will say, he was a hero in his day.
For bravery he was far above the average, and at the same time he
was honorable and upright. He was a man whose word was as good as
gold, and one who was possessed of great strength and had a
constitution equal to that of a mustang. The worst thing that
could be said of Jim Beckwith was that he was his own worst enemy,
for he would spend his money for whiskey as fast as he earned it.

Uncle Kit, Jim Bridger and myself wintered on the waters of the
Green river and trapped, but had very poor success, this country
having been trapped over so much that the beaver were scarce and
hard to catch, and Uncle Kit's wound bothered him all winter, and
in fact as long as he lived.

After winter had broken up we started for New Mexico, via North
Park. Our idea in taking that route was to avoid the hostile

We were successful in getting through without having any trouble
with Indians, whatever, arriving at Bent's Fort about the first of
June. We sold our furs again to Col. Bent and Mr. Roubidoux. Joe
Favor having gone out of business, I engaged with Col. Bent and
Mr. Roubidoux to go among the Arapahoe Indians to trade for furs
and buffalo robes.



Uncle Kit Carson pulled out for home and when he was starting he
said he had done his last trapping and he was going home to his
sheep ranch and take things easy. "For," said he, "I had the wust
luck last winter that I ever had in my life, when I had 'lowed to
have the best. I'm gittin old enough to quit."

Before he left he told me that whenever I felt like it he wanted
me to come to his place and make my home as long as I pleased.

Col. Bent fitted me out with twenty-five pack animals and two
Mexican boys to assist me, and I started for the Arrapahoe
country, one hundred and twenty-five miles distant. I was supplied
with beads, blankets and rings to trade to the Indians for furs
and buffalo robes.

On my arrival at the Arrapahoe village I learned that there were
not many furs on hand, as the Sioux had been so hostile the past
fall and winter that the Arrapahoes had not been able to trap or
hunt much, consequently we had to visit all the little hunting
parties belonging to that tribe, in order to get furs and robes
enough to load our pack train.

After remaining about two weeks I got a fair load and started on
my return, making the round trip in little over one month, having
had no trouble whatever with Indians or otherwise. On my return to
Bent's Fort I found John West, who had been trapping in the
Windriver mountains in company with two other men I did not know.
They had been successful the past winter and had sold their furs
for a good price, and now Johnnie had plenty of money and was
having what he termed a glorious good time, spending from ten to
forty dollars a day.

After I had settled up with Col. Bent and Mr. Roubidoux I went to
Taos with the determination that I would take it easy the balance
of this season.

Col. Bent offered to bet me a horse that I would not stay in Taos
one month. He told me that if I would go to Taos and rest up a
month and return to the fort and hunt for them the balance of the
season he would make me a present of a better horse than the other
one he gave me, but I told him that he was mistaken, and that he
never owned a better horse than Pinto. I knew that Pinto was
getting old and had had many a hard day's ride, but I could get on
him to-morrow morning after breakfast, and be in Taos before
sundown, which was a distance of eighty miles. I made a bargain
with them to return to the fort in a month from that time and hunt
for them until something else turned up.

On my arrival at Taos I found Jim Bridger stopping with Uncle Kit,
and he made me a proposition that we go and stop with the Kiowa
tribe that winter and buy furs and buffalo robes. I agreed to that
provided that Col. Bent and Mr. Roubidoux would agree to buy the
furs and robes of us. They were the only traders in that country
since Joe Favor had retired from business.

In one month I returned to the fort as per contract and started in

There was so much stock around the fort that I had to go from ten
to twenty miles to find deer, and sometimes further to find

After I had hunted about three weeks Jim Bridger came over to try
to make a bargain with the company in regard to buying furs and
buffalo robes.

Up to this time the Kiowa had not traded any at this fort. In
fact, there had been but little trading done among them, yet they
were in the heart of the buffalo country in the fall of the year,
being located on the Arkansas river, one hundred miles west from
the Big Bend. We made a bargain to work for Bent and Roubidoux by
the month, they to furnish us.

They thought the best plan would be to buy a load of robes and
return with it, and then go back again, for by so doing we would
not have to run chances of being robbed by other tribes as we
would by waiting until spring to pack over to the fort.

We started about the first of November for the Kiowa village, with
thirty-two pack-horses and a Mexican boy to help us. This was just
the time of year that the buffalo were moving south for the
winter, and they travel much slower and are much harder to
frighten than in the spring when they are traveling the other way.
I attributed this to their being so much fatter in the fall of the
year, for in the fall one would never see a poor buffalo except it
was either an old male or one that had been crippled; and their
hides are much more valuable than those taken off in the spring.

On arriving at the village we found that the Indians had a new
chief, whom neither of us were acquainted with. His name was
Blackbird. The old chief, Black Buffalo, who fed us on dog meat
when we were on our way from St. Louis to Taos, ten years before,
having died, Blackbird was appointed in his place, and we found
him to be a very intelligent Indian. He said his people were glad
to have us come among them and that they would be pleased to trade
with us.

We stayed there about two weeks before offering to buy a hide or
fur of them, but would show our goods quite frequently in order to
make them anxious, and by doing so we would be able to make a
better bargain with them.

After staying there about two weeks we told the chief that on a
certain day we would be ready to trade with his people, putting
the date off about one week.

When the day arrived the Indians came in from all quarters to
trade furs and robes, bringing from one to one dozen robes to the
family. The squaws brought the robes, and the bucks came along to
do the trading, and we got many a first-class robe for one string
of beads, which in St. Louis would cost about ten cents. We traded
for enough furs in one day to load our entire pack-train of
thirty-two horses.

The next morning we loaded up our furs and pulled out, telling the
chief that we would be back in one moon--meaning in their
language, one month--which would keep us busy, it being about four
hundred miles to Bent's Fort, and as we were heavily loaded we
would have to travel slow. The Mexican boy would ride ahead and
the pack horses would follow him, while Jim and I brought up the
rear. We experienced no trouble in getting all the buffalo meat we
wanted, for those beasts were quite tame at this season of the
year, and they would often come near our camp. So near, in fact,
that we could sit in camp and kill our meat.

Upon our arrival at the fort Col. Bent and Mr. Roubidoux were well
pleased with the success of the trip, and we at once started back
after the second load. We found more furs and robes there awaiting
our arrival than we could load on our horses. In all we made four
trips that winter, and Col. Bent told me some time afterward that
they cleared a thousand dollars on each cargo.

When spring came Jim Bridger and I went to Taos and visited Uncle
Kit for about a month.

This was now the spring of 1859 and the excitement over the gold
mines around Pike's Peak was running high. We all knew where
Pike's Peak was, for any day when it was clear we could see it
very plainly from Bent's Fort or Taos, but we did not know just
where the mines were. Jim proposed that we take a trip out there
and see about the mines. So we talked the matter over until I was
finally attacked with that disease which was then known as "the
gold fever."

About the first of June we made a break for the gold fields. We
crossed the Arkansas river near Fountain ca-booyah (or something
like that)--(Fountain qui Bouille, Boiling Fountain)--and did not
go far from there until we struck a wagon road, which showed there
had been much travel, and we could see that it had not been long
since a wagon passed.

We were very much surprised at a wagon road in this portion of
country, but there it was just the same. We did not travel on this
road very far until we overtook a large train of emigrants, and on
making inquiry we learned that they were on their way to Pike's

Jim Bridger laughingly remarked: "If you are not careful you will
pass Pike's Peak before you go there, for there is the mountain,"
pointing to the Peak, the foot of which we were just then passing.
At this another man said: "We are going to Cherry creek to the
mines. Do you know how far it is?"

I told him it was twenty miles to the head of Cherry creek. He
then asked me how far it was to Denver. I told him I had never
heard of any creek or river by that name in this country. "But,"
he said, "I mean Denver City." But Jim and I had never heard of
the place. He said Denver City was on Cherry creek in the gold

We passed on, crossing the main divide between the Arkansas and
the Platte rivers, striking the head of Cherry creek, then
traveled down Cherry creek to the mouth, on a now well-beaten
wagon road, the dust in places being six inches deep or more.

When we were within a mile of the mouth of Cherry creek I looked
ahead, and for the first time I saw Denver, there being then as I
supposed about fifty tents and campers' houses in the place. We
stopped to take a look around and saw people coming in, every hour
of the day, over the Platte and Arkansas river routes, and could
see all kind of conveyances from a hand cart to a six-horse team.
While there I saw a number of carts come in drawn by men alone,
all the way from two to eight men to the cart.

After stopping around Denver two days and taking in the sights, we
pulled out for the mountains to a place called Gregory, about
forty miles from Denver, where it was reported they were mining.

The mines were located on North Clear creek and there were only
two claims being worked.

Gregory, the man that this little camp was named for, was working
a claim and said he was taking out some gold, and a man by the
name of Greene Russell was working another claim.

They were both old Georgia miners.

This man Russell told me how the excitement got started. He said
that himself, Gregory and Dr. Russell, a brother of his, and three
other men had come out there the fall before, and early that
season had discovered gold on Cherry creek, and also a little on
the mountain stream where they were then at work. Dr. Russell
being a man of family, concluded to return to his home that fall.
He and the rest of the crowd cautioned him to say nothing about
what they had struck, for they did not consider they had found
anything to warrant an excitement and a stampede, as it was termed
in mining parlance. The Doctor promised he would not mention it
even to his most intimate friends. But it seems he did not keep
his word, but commenced to spread the news as soon as he struck
the settlements, telling wonderful stories of the gold around
Pike's Peak, which set the people wild. They seemed to think there
had been another California struck which caused a repetition of
the stampede ten years before. During the winter the news spread
all over the State and they came from every quarter.

Russell continued: "Now you can see the effect of it. If I had
known my brother would have told such outrageous stories I would
not have allowed him to go home." He said he thought there were a
few claims outside of the ones they were working that would pay,
but beyond that he did not think it would amount to anything.

After remaining here one week we concluded we had gold mining
enough to last us some time, so we started back for the foot of
the mountains, and the first night we camped at the place where
Golden now stands, the place where South Clear creek flows from
the mountains.

At this time there were at least five hundred wagons to be seen at
one sight, camped on this creek. We camped near the crossing of
Clear creek, and there was almost a constant stream of people
coming in.

Late that evening four men came into camp with four yoke of oxen,
a wagon, and an outfit for mining and with a good suppy of grub--
enough to last them a whole season. They camped that night a few
yards from us. On finding that we had just returned from the mines
they came over to learn what news we had. We told them what we had
seen and what Mr. Russell told us.

After they had heard our story, one of them said. "Well, boys, I'm
a goin' back to Missouri. What are the balance of you goin' to

They talked the matter over for some time and finally all
concluded that old Missouri was a pretty good country and they
would all start back in the morning.

One of the crowd said: "What will we do with our provisions? We
can't haul it back for our cattle are so tender footed now that
they can hardly travel." Another said: "What we do not want
ourselves we will give to those hand-cart men over there." But
another one in the crowd who perhaps was more like the dog in the
manger that could not eat the hay himself nor would not let the
cows eat it, spoke up and said: "No, we will not do any such
thing! What we do not want to take along to eat on our way back we
will throw in the creek."

The next morning after they had eaten breakfast two of them got up
into the wagon and selected what provisions they wanted to take
along with them, after which they threw the remainder out on the
ground and the other two carried it and threw it into the creek.
It consisted of flour, dried fruit, bacon, sugar, and I noticed
one ten gallon keg of molasses.

I was told that this was an everyday occurrence. As we had seen
the elephant and had about all the mining we wanted, for awhile,
at least, we saddled up our horses and started for Taos, by the
way of Bent's Fort.

Three days' ride took us to Bent's Fort, and we had a thousand and
one questions to answer, for this was the first news they had got
from the mines around Pike's Peak.



While at Fort Bent we bargained again to go and trade with the
Kiowas, on the same terms that we were employed upon the preceding
winter, and we could commence at any time we pleased.

We then started for Taos, and when we got there found Uncle Kit
suffering very much with his last arrow wound. The doctor had told
him that it had never healed inside and that it might be the death
of him.

We remained at Taos until time to go to the fort, doing nothing in
particular, but hunting a little and occasionally attending a
fandango. During this time, however, unbeknown to us and the
people at the fort, the Comanches and Sioux had been fighting
among themselves, having been so bold as to come on to the
Arkansas river and murder a number of white people. Had we known
this we should not have made the attempt to go over that country.
Or had Bent and Roubidoux known it they would not have asked us to
go. But, somehow, it seemed always my luck not to see trouble
until I was right in it.

On our arrival at the fort they were anxious to get us fitted out
and started as soon as possible. Mr. Roubidoux said: "Last winter
you made four trips for us; now every extra trip you make this
winter we will give you fifty dollars extra, apiece," which we
thought a great layout.

We started out with thirty-two pack animals and the same Mexican
boy as assistant that we had the previous winter.

While passing through the Comanche country we met a young man of
that tribe with whom I was on good terms, having done him a favor
during the war between his tribe and the Utes, for which he felt
very grateful to me. After learning where we were going, he said:
"Look out for the Sioux, for they have killed lots of white people
this fall near Pawnee Rock." But he did not tell us that his tribe
and the Sioux were at war.

When we had passed nearly through the Comanche country we thought
they were all west of us, for we saw where a large band of Indians
had crossed the road going South. This we did not exactly
understand, for we well knew that neither the Comanches nor Kiowas
had hunt-parties out this time of year, as the buffalo were moving
South, and the Indians could kill all they wanted near the

It was about noon when we crossed the Indian trail and that was
the general topic of conversation the balance of the day. If they
had been on foot we could easily have told what tribe they
belonged to by their moccasin tracks, but they all being on
horseback left us to guess.

We made an early camp so that if it became necessary we could move
that evening, but we built no fire.

As soon as we had decided on our camping place and while Jim and
Hasa, the Mexican boy, were unpacking and arranging the camp, I
rode about two miles from camp to high ground to look for Indians.
When I was on the highest point I could find, I saw a little band
of Indians coming from the South, and making their way for the
river below us. They were about ten miles away and I could not
tell by looking through my glasses just the exact number, but I
could see them plain enough to tell they were not Comanches.

On my return to camp I told Jim Bridger what I had seen and he at
once declared that they were Sioux, and said we were sure to have
trouble with them before long.

We decided to remain there that night, and I agreed that I would
stand guard while Jim and Hasa slept. I stood guard until the
morning star rose, and I turned in, telling Jim to get an early
breakfast and call me, which he did. The boy brought in our
horses, saddled them and tied them near camp. The pack animals
were also feeding near camp.

Just as we had finished our breakfast and it was getting good
daylight, I cast my eyes in the direction of our horses and saw
that a number of them had raised their heads and were looking off
down the river as though they had seen something. I sprang to my
feet and saw nine Indians coming up the river in the direction of
our camp, but they were apparently sneaking along slowly. I could
see at once by their movements that they did not think they were
discovered yet. I said to Jim: "The Sioux are on us," and he
sprang to his feet, saying, "Let us mount our horses and meet them
before they get among our pack horses," which we did, at the same
time telling Hasa to keep the horses together.

We started to meet them on the dead run, and I wish to say here
now, that Jim Bridger, though a very brave man, was very
exciteable when in an Indian fight, and as we started I said to
him: "Now Jim, for God's sake keep cool this time and make every
shot count."

When within about a hundred yards of the Indians, and our horses
doing their best, I raised my rifle and fired, killing the leader
dead. I then drew my pistol and raised the yell. About that time,
from some cause, Jim's horse shied off to the right, so when we
met the Indians he and I were about thirty or forty yards apart.
Jim claimed that his horse scared at something in the sage brush.

Two of the Indians that seemed to be the best mounted made a break
for our horses, which I discovered after I had fired two shots
from my pistol. I wheeled my horse and made a rush for them,
leaving Jim to take care of the other three that we had not yet
killed. But the redskins had got too far the start of me, and
being on good animals they beat to the pack horses, and before I
got in gunshot of them they had killed both the boy and his horse.
Had the poor boy kept his presence of mind he might have saved
himself, but I think he got excited and did not try to get away.

I got one of them, but the other having the fastest horse, outran
me and made his escape. I think he had the fastest horse I ever
saw under an Indian in my life. Jim Bridger killed one of the
remaining three, and the others got away. Three out of nine
escaped, and had it not been for Jim's horse getting scared I
don't think they would have killed our Mexican boy.

We dug a grave and buried the poor fellow as best we could under
the circumstances, scalped the Indians, packed up and pulled out,
leaving the poor unfortunate lad to rest on the lonely banks of
the Arkansas river. The Indians we left a prey to the many wild
animals that roamed the hills and valleys.

We traveled on with heavy hearts, expecting at any time to be
attacked again by another band of these "noble red men," fearing
that we might not be so successful the next time.

In the afternoon we came to where the Indians had had another
fight with what we supposed, and which afterwards proved to have
been emigrants, returning from Pike's Peak. Here we saw four fresh
graves, and from the general appearance of things we concluded
that the fight had been in the morning, which also proved to be
the case.

We were now satisfied that the big trail we had seen the day
before was made by Sioux, and that they had split up into small
bands to catch small trains of emigrants.

Being satisfied that these emigrants were not far ahead of us, we
made up our minds to push on and try to overhaul them, as much for
our own protection as anything else.

Jim Bridger told me to take the lead and ride as fast as I wished,
and he would make the pack animals keep up; also telling me when
on high ground to take my glasses and look for Indians.

After traveling about two hours, putting in our best licks, we
came in sight of the train. We then pushed on with new courage and
overtook the emigrants just as they were going into camp for the
night. I rode up and asked if they had any objections to our
camping with them. "Certainly not," replied one of their crowd,
"and if you can fight Indians we will be pleased to have you camp
and travel with us also."

We dismounted, unpacked and turned our pack animals loose with the
emigrants' stock, but picketed our saddle animals near camp. Those
people told us of their fight that morning with the Indians. Just
as they were hitched up and were in the act of pulling out, the
Indians attacked them, about forty strong. They only had twenty-
four men and the Indians killed four of their number, and theirs
were the graves we had seen that morning.

They didn't have an Indian scalp, nor did they know whether or not
they had killed an Indian.

Jim then told them about our fight with the nine Sioux and of
losing our Mexican boy. "But," said he, "to show that we got
revenge look as this collection of hair," and he produced the six
Indian scalps we had taken.

Jim added that if his horse had not got scared upon making the
charge, we would have got them all before they could have reached
the boy.

They offered to furnish two men to look after our pack-train if we
would scout for their train and travel with them as far as we were
to go their route, which was about one hundred and fifty miles.

There were eight wagons in the train, composed of two and four
horse teams.

When we were ready to start Jim told me to go ahead, saying: "You
have a pair of glasses and your eyes are better than mine, and I
will bring up the rear, so there will be no danger of a surprise

This being agreed to, I started ahead of the train and rode about
five miles in advance all the time, keeping my eyes peeled for
Indians. In the forenoon I saw a small band of the savages, but
they were a long way off and were traveling in the same direction
we were. I was sure they could not see us, for I could only see
them faintly through my glasses.

That evening we made an early camp at a place we named Horse-shoe
Bend, and I am told that the place is mentioned yet by that name.
It is a big bend in the Arkansas river almost encircling two or
three hundred acres, and where we camped it was not more than a
hundred yards across from one turn of the river to the other.

That night we drove all our horses into the bend and did not have
to guard them or keep out a camp guard. I remained out in the
hills, about three miles from camp, until dark, selecting a high
point and with my glasses watching all over the country for
Indians. The boys were all well pleased when I returned and told
them there were no red-skins anywhere near, and that they all
could lie down and sleep that night. They turned in early.

The next morning we broke camp early, and about eleven o'clock
came on to four emigrant wagons returning from Pike's Peak. The
Indians had stolen the horses.

There were sixteen men in the party and they had been there three
days and had not been two miles away from camp. They made some
kind of arrangement with the train we were with to haul their
things to St. Joe, Missouri, and left their four wagons standing
by the roadside.

We had no more trouble while with this train, and everything moved
along nicely.

When we were near Pawnee Rock, where we were to leave the train,
and some twenty miles from the Kiowa village, I met about thirty
Kiowa Indians going out to run the buffalo near there. Of course
they all knew me, and after shaking hands we stopped to await the
arrival of the train. When it came in sight and the men saw the
Indians all around me they thought I had been taken prisoner. They
at once corralled their wagons for a fight, and all the talking
Jim Bridger could do would not make them believe otherwise, until
he rode out to where we were. When he told me this I thought to
have a little sport with the boys before leaving the train, and I
proposed to Jim that we start to the wagons with the Indians
riding on either side of us, so as to make it appear they had
taken both of us prisoner. But Jim thought it would not do, as
they were so excited they would shoot at our Indians before we
were near the wagons. So we rode to the train and told the
emigrants that these Indians would not molest them, and that they
were my friends.

When I told the Indians the cause of their corralling their wagons,
they all had a hearty laugh and called the men squaws. The Kiowas
said that their people would be glad to see us at their village,
and that they had plenty of robes to trade for beads, rings and
blankets. So here we bade the emigrants good-bye, they keeping the
Sante Fe trail east, while we turned due south, and in company
with the thirty Kiowas, rode that evening to their own village.
Chief Blackbird met us at the outer edge of the village and
invited us to his wick-i-up. We told him that we had come to trade
with his people, and that in four days we would be ready for

Jim Bridger and I had talked the matter over concerning this tribe
and the Sioux, for we well knew that if they and the Sioux were on
friendly terms we would get home safe, if not, we would have a
hard time of it.

I proposed to Jim that we make Blackbird a present of something,
and while he was in the best of humor I would ask him the
question. Jim thought it a capital idea, and before supper I went
to our cargo and got three rings and three strings of beads. After
supper I gave one string of beads and one ring to Blackbird, one
to his wife and one to his eldest daughter, who was about grown.
We then sat down and had a social smoke and a friendly chat. By
this time Blackbird was beginning to think I was a pretty good
fellow, so I asked him if the Sioux were good Indians. He said:
"Yes, the Sioux are my friends."

That was all I wanted to know, and I did not ask him any more
questions, nor did I tell him of our trouble with the nine Sioux.
I told him we wanted to hire four young men from his tribe to go
to the fort with us. He said: "All right, I'll see tomorrow."

Our idea in wanting the young Kiowas along, after finding they
were on good terms with the Sioux, was that we knew when we were
in company with the Kiowas the Sioux would not give us any

The day following, in the afternoon, Blackbird came to us and told
us that there were four young men who wanted to go with us and
asked how long we would be gone. We told him we might be gone one
moon, perhaps not so long. He wanted to know what Indian country
we would pass through. I told him none but the Comanches, for they
were terribly afraid of Navajoes. We assured him that we would not
pass through their country.

On the day appointed for the sale of our goods, the robes came in
by the hundreds. I never saw anything equal it.

We conducted our sale something like an auction. I would hold up a
string of beads and show them to the crowd; an Indian would step
forward and offer a robe for two strings of beads. Another would
offer a robe for one string. This was our idea for appointing a
certain day for trading with them, for the more Indians present
the better prices we were able to get for our goods.

We went there this time with about the amount of goods we had
always taken before to trade for a train load of robes, and we
sold our entire stock the first day. We could have traded ten
times that amount. Moreover, we got about one-half more than we
could pack at one trip.

We knew before we started in to sell that there was a greater
number of robes in the village than at any time we had visited it
before, as we had been pretty well over the village, and I had
never seen the like of robes and dry buffalo meat before, nor have
I since. Every wick-i-up was hanging full. The Indians said it had
been the best season for buffalo they had seen for years.

I never saw people more busy than the squaws were. All were
dressing buffalo hides, and every family had from three to one
dozen robes, and this was the best day's sale we ever had, as it
seemed that the Indians were crazy for the rings and beads.

I just mention these facts to show the reader how the people took
advantage of those Indians, for at that time they did not know the
value of money and had no use for it except as ornaments. They
would pay a big price for a half dollar, but every one they got
hold of they would hammer out flat, punch two holes through it and
put it on a string; then the chief or some of his family would
wear them on their backs or fasten them to their hair and let them
hang down their backs. I have seen strings of flattened out half
dollars two feet long worn by the chief or some member of his

When we went to pack up we could only get two-thirds of our robes
on the animals so we left the remainder in charge of Blackbird,
and he agreed to look after them until we returned. I told him if
he would take good care of them I would bring him a big butcher
knife when I came back.

So we started for Bent's Fort accompanied by four young Kiowas. We
had loaded our horses unusually heavy this trip, each animal
packing thirty robes.

Two of the Indians rode in front of the pack-train with me and the
other two behind with Jim. Our idea in traveling that way was that
in case we should meet a band of Sioux, these young Indians would
tell them we were their friends, and no matter how bitter they
felt toward us they would pass on.

We traveled three days before we saw any Sioux. It was our custom
to always stop and unpack and let our horses rest and feed about
an hour.

That day we had just unpacked and turned our horses loose to feed
and were ready to eat a cold lunch, when we looked up the ridge
and saw twenty Sioux Indians coming down the ridge in the
direction of our camp. I told one of the Indians that we had
better go and meet them. He said he would go and for me to stay in
camp. I told him to tell them to come down to camp and get
something to eat. So he started off in a trot to meet them, and
when he came up to them he stood and talked with them for some
time, after which they turned and rode off in another direction.
When the Indian boy returned I asked him why they did not come
down to camp and have some dinner. He said they had plenty to eat
and were in a hurry.

Jim Bridger said to me in our own language: "If we had not had
those young Kiowas with us by this time we would have been in a
hurry, too." These were the last Sioux we saw on the whole trip.

When we returned to the fort and reported our troubles to Col.
Bent and Mr. Roubidoux, they felt very bad over the loss of the
Mexican boy, Hasa, but they complimented us on the way we had
managed. They asked me what I had agreed to pay the Indians. I
told them I had not made any bargain whatever, and that we had not
agreed to pay them anything, nor had they asked it. But we thought
that under the circumstances we did not consider it safe to
attempt to make another trip that fall or winter without an escort
of that kind, and we couldn't expect those Indians to make the
trips free of charge. Col. Bent told me to make my own bargain
with them, and he would pay the bill whatever it might be.

This was the first time these young Indians had ever been in
civilization, so I took them around the place and took particular
pains to show them everything. When we had been all around and I
had showed them everything out doors, I took them into the kitchen
of the hotel. When they saw the cook getting supper on the stove
they said it was no good, for they could not see the fire and they
did not understand how cooking could be done without it.

After they had seen all there was to be seen I took them in where
the two proprietors were, and after telling them that they would
hire them all winter, providing they did not ask too much, I asked
them what they were going to charge us for the trip they had
already made.

The most intelligent one spoke up and said: "Give me one string of
beads and one butcher knife for the trip already made, and give me
one butcher knife for the next trip." I then asked the others if
they were satisfied with that, and they said they were; so I paid
them off by giving them a butcher knife that cost about fifty
cents in St. Louis and one string of beads that would perhaps cost
ten cents. They thought they had been well paid for their trouble,
and I could see that they had not expected so much. This was no
doubt their first experience in hiring out.

The next morning Col. Bent and Mr. Roubidoux said to Jim and I:
"Now boys, we will make you a present," telling us that their
horses were in the corrall, and for us to go and pick out a saddle
horse apiece. They told us that all the horses in the corrall were
theirs, and we might take our choice, and that we could turn our
other horses into the herd for as long as we liked.

I selected a black horse and saddled him, and he seemed to be
quiet and gentle.

There were some trappers at the fort who were going to South Park
to trap the following winter. When I led the horse out to get on
him they asked if it was mine. "Yes," I said. They asked what
price I had set on him, and I said one hundred dollars. They said
they would give me that for him if I would wait for my money until
spring when they returned from South Park. I asked them if they
were going to trap for Col. Bent and Mr. Roubidoux, and they said
they were. We then walked into the store and I asked Col. Bent and
Mr. Roubidoux if they would go these men's security for one
hundred dollars. They said they would, and I told the trappers the
horse was theirs. Mr. Roubidoux asked me if it was the horse he
had given me. I told him it was and he said: "You did well, for I
bought that horse of an emigrant last summer and have never been
able to get any money out of him. I think you will have to take a
lot of my horses to sell on commission, for I see right now you
can beat me selling horses all hollow."

We remained at the Fort three days this time, after which we
rigged up and started for the Kiowa nation again with more goods
to trade for buffalo robes. We made the trip in eleven days, being
the quickest we had yet made over the road.

We found the chief in an excellent humor, and he was as well
pleased over his new butcher knife as a boy would be over his
first pair of red topped boots.

We found the Indians anxious to trade robes for our trinkets and
we had no trouble in getting a load and more than we could pack
again. We made five trips that fall and winter with the very best
success, keeping those same four Indians with us all winter.



Jim Bridger proposed that he and I make a trip to Fort Kearney
together, and remain there until the emigrants began to come
along, thinking that perhaps the Sioux would be so bad on the
plains again that summer that we might get a layout scouting for
trains going to California. Both of us were well acquainted with a
greater part of the country to be traveled over, and there were
few other men as well posted as to where the Indians were likely
to make attacks, which was one of the most essential requirements
in scouting with a train.

About the first of April we started, by the way of Denver City,
for Fort Kearney, and as it had been nearly a year since we had
seen the first named place we found quite a change there. Instead
of a tented town, of shreds and patches, we saw a thriving village
that had some quite comfortable wooden houses and an air of
distinct civilization. To-day Denver is probably the best built
city of its size in the world, but there was a time after this
present visit of mine and Bridger's when the place became almost
deserted. That was when the Union Pacific railroad was being
constructed to Cheyenne, leaving Denver one hundred and eight
miles due south. Then, all the people in Denver who could raise
any sort of a team, took their household goods and gods, and in
some cases the houses, and struck out for Cheyenne. Many who were
too poor to get away became enormously rich, afterward, from that
very fact, for they became possessed of the ground, and when the
Kansas Pacific railroad was projected, and afterward constructed,
Denver took on such a boom that real estate nearly went out of
sight in value. The poor ones became wealthy, and nearly all of
the Cheyenne stampeders returned. Following this, some years
afterward, the discovery of silver carbonates in California Gulch,
where Leadville now stands, gave Denver another boom that made the
place the Queen city of the Plains, for good and all.

We reached Fort Kearney before the emigrants had got that far out,
and found Gen. Kearney in command. He was glad to see us, and told
us that if we needed any references to send the parties to him and
he would give us a send-off that would be likely to fix us all
right, and we knew that it would.

"I predict more trouble," said he, "on the plains this summer than
there ever has been in any season previous to this, from the fact
that the northern Sioux are, even at this early date, breaking up
into little bands, and no doubt for the express purpose of
capturing small bands of emigrants crossing the plains the coming

The first train that came along was from Illinois and Missouri. It
was on the way to California and was composed of sixty-four
wagons. The company was made up of men, women and children, nearly
all of the men having families. They camped about a mile from the
fort, and at near sundown Gen. Kearney proposed that we go over
and see the ladies. So we rode over--the General, Jim Bridger and

Arriving at the camp we were astonished at seeing that the
emigrants had no system whatever in forming their camp or
corralling their wagons and stock, all being scattered here and
there, hodge-podge.

I remarked to Gen. Kearney that they had certainly not met with
any trouble from Indians so far, else they would have been more
careful. The General replied that they would learn before they got
much further.

When we arrived at their camp quite a crowd gathered around us,
and among the balance was one man apparently forty years old, who
walked up to Gen. Kearney and said: "How are you, John?" that
being the General's first name.

Gen. Kearney looked at him for a moment, then shook hands with him
and said: "You seem to know me, but you have the best of me. If I
ever saw you before I don't remember when or where."

The gentleman then said: "When we used to go to school together
you were the only boy in my class that I could not throw down, but
I believe that I could to-day."

They had been schoolmates in Ohio and this was the first time they
had met since they quit school. "Of course," said Gen. Kearney,
"you had the advantage of me, for you knew I was out here, while I
never dreamed of you being in this country."

We soon learned that the emigrants had heard about the hostility
of the Sioux Indians, and were dreading them very much.

After the General and his old schoolmate talked over by-gone days
for awhile they commenced asking him all sorts of questions
relative to the Indians on ahead.

The General gave his views regarding the outlook for the coming
summer, and after having "said his say" about the noble red men, a
number of the emigrants thought they would turn back the next

Gen. Kearney said to them: "Here are two as good mountaineers as
may be found west of the Missouri river and I believe that you
could hire them to go the entire trip with you at a reasonable
figure, and I feel sure they will be able to render you valuable
service, while passing through the Indian country, they being well
posted as to where the Indians would be most likely to make an
attack. They are also well informed as to water, wood and grass,
and the different drives to be made between camping places, &c."

When we were just ready to mount our horses to return to the Fort
for supper, a number of the men came to Jim and me and asked how
much per month or per day we would take to go with them as scouts
through the Indian country. We told them to get their supper over
and call their men together, and we would go back to the Fort and
get our supper, after which we would come down to their camp again
and talk matters over and see if we could make a bargain. By this
time a number of ladies had gathered around, and among them was an
old lady who said: "You two gentlemen with buckskin coats on can
come and take supper with us in our tent."

Gen. Kearney said: "You had better accept the lady's hospitality,
for you have a great deal to talk about."

We thought this a capital idea and took supper with the emigrants,
and the General returned to his quarters But before going he gave
all, both ladies and gentlemen, a cordial invitation to come to
the Fort the next day and pay him a friendly visit.

After all were through eating supper, Jim Bridger asked how many
men they had in their train, but no one was able to tell. When he
asked who their captain was a man replied that they did not know
they had to have a captain. Jim with an oath said: "What in the
name of God do you think those soldiers over there would do
without a captain, or at least an officer of some kind?"

Then he told them they had better form in line and see how many
men they had, and elect five men to transact business with us.
They formed in line and counted and there were one hundred and
forty men in the train, and not one of them had ever been on the
plains before, and, of course, not one of them had ever seen a
hostile Indian.

They then proceeded to elect the five men to transact the business
with us, after which Jim turned to me and said: "Now make your
proposition." I suggested that as he was the oldest, he should go
ahead and make the bargain, whereupon he said: "All right.
Gentlemen, I will make you an offer; if you see fit to accept it
all right, and if not there is no harm done. We will scout for you
for six dollars per day from here to the foot of the Sierra Nevada
Mountains, and you board us and herd our horses with yours. We
must have charge of the entire train, and we want at least two or
three days in which to organize and drill before leaving this
camp, and after the lapse of five days if this community is not
satisfied with our work, we will quit, and not charge you a cent
for what we shall have done at that time, and if our work is
satisfactory we will expect our money every Saturday night, for it
is the money we are after and not the glory. Now, gentlemen, take
the matter under consideration and give us an answer to-morrow
morning after breakfast."

On the following morning one of the men from the train came to the
Fort very early to inform us that they had decided to accept our

We told him to go back to camp and have all the teams hitched up
and we would be down after breakfast and put in a few hours
drilling the teamsters.

We numbered the wagons by putting the figures on the end-gates of
the wagons, telling each teamster to remember his number, and when
forming a corrall, no matter what the occasion might be, for the
even numbers to turn to the right and the odd numbers to the left,
forming a circle with the teams inside of the corrall or circle of

For the benefit of the reader who has not had the fortune--or
misfortune, whichever he deems it--to have traveled in an Indian
country where the corrals are necessary in order to protect the
traveler from the Indians, I will give a more detailed description
of how they are formed:

By having each wagon numbered every man knew his place in the
train, and when it was necessary to corral, one-half of the teams
would turn to the right and the other half to the left. Each would
swing out a little distance from the road and the two front teams-
-numbers one and two--would drive up facing each other. All the
rest of the wagons would drive up forming a circle, with the teams
on the inside of the corrall, and the back or hind ends of the
wagons pointing outwards. The two hindmost teams would now swing
together as in the front, closing the rear gap in the circle. This
also served the purpose of a pen in which to run the stock in the
event of an attack, thus preventing the possibility of a stampede.

Our object in drilling the teamsters was to teach them how to form
a corrall quickly in case of an attack while under way.

After drilling a while we told the committee to select eight men
from their train to assist in scouting, we preferring young men
with horses of their own or such as could get horses, and those
men to be exempt from guard duty except in cases of emergency.
They proceeded at once to select the eight men for assistant
scouts, after which we told them to appoint a sergeant, or
whatever they chose to call him, to command, respectively, every
platoon of twenty men, the hundred and forty being organized in
such squads.

This was the hardest task, apparently, for the committee, as no
one wanted to serve in that capacity, each one having some excuse
or other, but they finally completed the appointments and then Jim
said to me:

"Now, Will, you take entire charge of the scouts, and I will take
charge of the balance of the men," telling me that in the day time
on the move he would assist me in scouting all he could, but after
the train was corralled to handle the scouts to suit myself.

I told the newly appointed scouts to saddle their horses and we
would have a little exercise. I took a piece of pine board box
cover, sharpened it and stuck it into a prairie dog hole. This
board was about twelve inches wide and two or two and a half feet
long. I drew a mark about thirty feet from the board, telling them
to fire when they reached this mark. I had them all mount and
start about a hundred yards from the board, and when at this mark
to fire at the board while at full speed, each taking his turn.

Out of eight shots only one hit the board, and that was made by
the last one that fired.

I told them that such shooting would never do at all if they
expected to fight Indians, so I mounted my horse and asked them
which hand I should use my pistol in. All cried out: "Use your
left hand!" I said: "All right, I will shoot across my bridle
reins." I had one of the boys get on his horse and whip mine down
to a dead run, and with my pistol in my left hand I put two bullet
holes through the board while passing it.

This was a surprise to all of them, as they had never seen
shooting done that way before, but they were all eager to learn.

After practicing this feat awhile I started in to teach them to
mount quick. This was the hardest thing for them to learn, and all
of their horses were trained to stand perfectly still until they
straightened up in the saddle.

And here I will say that in scouting it is very essential to have
a horse that is quick to start.

The way we used to train our horses to start was by having some
one stand behind them with a whip and strike them just as we
jumped into the saddle. This taught both horse and rider to be
very agile, as we would have to get on our horses almost on the
dead run when in close quarters with the Indians.

That evening near sunset another train drove up from Missouri.
There were twenty wagons and they were desirous of joining our
train. The committee came to us to see what they thought of
letting them in. We told the committee that we were willing to
take them in by their paying one dollar a day. This being
agreeable to the committee and newcomers agreeing to pay the per
diem we took them in.

The morning of the third day, after organizing we pulled out, Jim
Bridger staying with the train all day. I dropped four of my men
behind the train, telling them to keep about half a mile from it
and at the first sight of Indians to get to the train as quick as
possible and report to Jim Bridger, who would signal me at once by
firing two shots in quick succession, otherwise there was to be no
shooting in the train during the time we were in a hostile

All went smoothly until the fifth day. We were then on the north
side of the South Platte and my new assistant scouts were
beginning by this time--or at least some of them were--to be
anxious for a little sport with the Indians.

I had told them the day before that they might expect to see
Indians at any time now, as we were then in the Sioux country.

The morning of the fifth day I started two scouts ahead of the
train, telling them to keep about two miles ahead of the wagons,
two to drop behind the train and two south, and to keep on the
highest ground they could find. Taking the other two with me I
struck out north of the road, this being where I most expected to
find Indians. After riding five or six miles we came up on to a
high point where I took out my glasses and made a survey of the
surrounding country. I saw a large band of Indians traveling
almost parallel with the wagon road and moving in the same
direction the train was going. I should judge them to have been
about ten miles away. Anyway, they were so far that I could not
tell their number, but I thought there were in the neighborhood of
one hundred and fifty in the band.

I showed them to my associates by allowing them to look through my
glasses. I then showed them a route to take and designated a
certain point for them to go to and remain, until I should come to
them, and I started alone after the Indians to try to get closer
to them and also get their general course of travel so as to come
to some conclusion as to what their intentions were. I succeeded
in getting within about four miles of them and at getting a good
view of them as they were passing over a little ridge. I saw that
they had no squaws with them, and I knew then they were on the

After taking a good look at the redskins I got back to my two
scouts as quickly as possible. Shortly after joining them I saw
nine Indians coming toward the road, about three or four miles
away from us, we being between them and the road, making them
about eight miles from the road.

I started one of my men to the train on a double quick to inform
Jim Bridger of what we had seen and also to bring at least four or
five good men and horses back with him, telling him where to meet
us on his return.

I was thoroughly convinced that these nine Indians we had seen
were scouts for the large band ahead of us, and my object was to
capture them and not let one of them get back to the big band of
warriors that we had seen.

The other scout and I secreted our horses and watched the nine
Indians on the sly, until the other man returned bringing three
men with him from the train. By this time the Indians were within
two miles of the train, and we had swung around so as to come in
behind them and were only about a half mile from them. We followed
them leisurely until they were passing over a little ridge near
the train, when we put spurs to our horses and rode at a lively
gait. I told my men to save their ammunition until they were near
them and take good aim so that every man would get his Indian the
first shot, and to not get excited or scared, for if all would
keep cool we would be able to get all of them without much

It so happened that just as we came on to the ridge that the
Indians had passed over a few minutes before, they came in sight
of the train, which was then not more than half a mile away. They
stopped and were looking at the train.

Jim Bridger's quick eye had caught sight of them, and not knowing
but it was the big band coming, he had the wagons corralled to
prepare for an attack.

When we came to the top of the ridge mentioned we were not more
than three hundred yards away from them and I immediately ordered
a charge.

I was on Pinto, and he knowing what was up, was ready for a chase.
In fact, I could not have held him had I been so disposed.

The warriors were so engrossed looking at the train, no doubt
thinking what a picnic they would have with them, that they did
not see us until I was almost ready to fire. I was somewhat in
advance of the rest, my horse being the fleeter, and when within
about a hundred yards I raised in my stirrups, brought my rifle to
my shoulder and fired, killing one Indian, and the boys claimed
that I killed a horse from under another one at the same time.
They were sure the same bullet killed both, for both fell at the
crack of my rifle.

As soon as I had fired I drew my pistol and told them to do
likewise, also telling them to be sure and make every shot count.

If ever I saw a horse that enjoyed that kind of sport--if I might
call it such--it was old Pinto.

The Indians made an effort to turn to the north, but I was on the
left of my men and my horse was fleet enough to head them off. I
crowded them so close that they headed straight for the train; in
fact, I think they were so scared that they did not know where
they were going.

At the first fire with our pistols three of the Indians fell,
leaving four yet mounted and one on foot--the one whose horse I
had shot at the first fire. I saw the Indian on foot making for
some sage brush near by and sang out to a man named Saunders, who
was on a fine grey horse, to run that Indian down, which he did,
killing him the second shot, so he said afterwards.

About this time I saw Jim coming, with six or eight men following
him closely. Then we all commenced yelling at the top of our
voices, which excited the Indians still more. Whether they saw our
men coming or not I do not know, but two of them ran almost right
up to them and were shot down at a distance of thirty or forty

We succeeded in getting the other two, not letting one escape to
tell the tale; thereby accomplishing just what I started to do
when I first got sight of them.

After the last Indian had fallen, I rode to where Jim was and told
him of the big band of Indians I had seen that day, and suggested
that we had better go to Barrel Springs that night, which was
about four miles further on, as I thought that the best place to
be in camp in case we were attacked by the Indians. In this he
agreed with me.

By this time my men were all on the battle-field, and most of the
men from the train, also a number of the women who had come out to
see the dead Indians. I asked one of the boys to go with me to
scalp the Indians, after which I would go to the train as I wanted
to change horses, but none of them knew how to scalp an Indian, so
Jim and I had to teach them how.

One old man, who was looking on, said: "I would not mind shooting
an Indian, but I would not like to scalp one of them."

After scalping the nine Indians we rode to the train and showed
the scalps to the women. One young lady said to me:

"I always took you to be a gentleman until now."

I said: "Miss, I claim to be only a plain plains gentleman, but
that at any and all times."

She said: "I don't think a gentleman could be so barbarous as you

"My dear lady," I replied, "the taking of these scalps may be the
means of saving the train," and then I explained why we always
scalped the Indians when we killed them. I told her that the
Indians did not fear death, but hated the idea of being scalped.

About this time Jim Bridger came up and gave a more through
explanation of the scalping business, and I did not hear anything
more of it at that time. But Jim often teased the young lady
spoken of, who had a lovely head of hair, by remarking what a fine
scalp it would make for the Indians.

I changed saddle horses and then myself and two assistants rode
out north to watch the movements of the main band of Indians.

Before starting out Jim gave us the password of the pickets, which
was "Buffalo."

We rode until near sunset before we got sight of the big band of
Indians again, they having gone into camp about four miles west of
Barrel Springs, where our train was camped, and only about a half
mile from the trail or wagon road.

I crawled up as near their camp as I dared to go, and watched them
until about nine o'clock that night, at which time a number of
them had turned in, apparently for the night, and a number were
around their horses all the time, giving us no opportunity
whatever, to stampede them, which was my intention, provided they
gave us the least show. I told my assistants there would be no
danger whatever, until daybreak the next morning, and we would
return to camp and sleep until near daylight.

When we got to the train Jim had not gone to bed yet. I told him
where we had located the main band, and as near as I could the
number of the Indians--about one hundred and fifty--but that I did
not anticipate any trouble during the night.

Jim said he would sit up until four o'clock the next morning. "At
which time," said he, "I will call you and you can take as many
scouts with you as you like and watch every move made by the
Indians, and if they start this way telegraph me at once and I
will have everything in readiness to receive them, and I think we
will be able to give them quite an interesting entertainment."

What we meant by the term telegraphing was sending a messenger as
fast as he could ride, as there were no other means of
transmitting messages quickly.

The next morning at four, sharp, Jim woke us up. He had our horses
there, ready to saddle.

I sent three scouts north of the trail, three south and took the
other two with me to look after the Indians.

We arrived at the place where we had been secreted the evening
before, just as the Indians were breaking camp. They started
toward the road, and I watched them till they struck the road and
headed toward the train.

I then dispatched one of my assistants to the train, which was
nearly four miles distant, telling him to spare no horseflesh, but
make the trip as quick as his horse was able to carry him and
notify Jim of the Indians' movements. The other scout and I stayed
to watch the Indians. They traveled along the road at their
leisure until they got in sight of the train, but Jim had all in
readiness for them. He had raised the tongues of the two lead
wagons--which in forming a corrall always stood face to face--
about six feet high and had the nine scalps we had taken the day
before, strung on a line and swung under the wagon tongues so as
to be readily seen by the Indians. As soon as the Indians came in
sight of the train he had all the men form in single line on the
outside of the corrall, while all the women and children and all
the stock were on the inside.

They circled around the entire train, taking in the situation but
keeping out of gunshot. Seeing that the emigrants, much to their
surprise, were ready to receive them, and seeing no chance to
stampede their stock, they rode off on the hillside about half a
mile away and held a council for about half an hour, after which
they all mounted and rode away. They were not disposed to tackle a
greater number than they had, especially when their antagonists
were armed with guns, while they had only bows, and arrows, and

Our men were well armed with such hand-guns as were then in
existence. Some had squirrel rifles, others yager's, shotguns and
pistols. In fact, about all makes of firearms were represented in
that emigrant train.

This was the first big band of hostile Indians that any of the
people had ever seen, and Jim said there was the "wust" hubbub
inside that corrall he had ever heard, notwithstanding he had
cautioned them to be quiet.

The most nervous of the women, at sight of the Indians, commenced
crying and screaming, while those more brave tried to reconcile
those that were half frenzied from fright, and keep them quiet.
Some were afraid to have their husbands stand outside the corrall
for fear they would be killed by the redskins; but had it not been
for that line of men standing on the outside of the wagons, and
those scalps dangling from the wagon tongues all of which led the
Indians to believe that the pale-faces were anxious to entertain
them for awhile at least, they undoubtedly would have attacked
that train that morning.

My assistants and I watched them all that day, and the train,
after the Indians had gone, moved on. The Indians went back and
took the trail of the nine scouts that they had sent out the
morning before, tracked them to where their dead bodies lay, and
taking four of the bodies with them, moved on eastward. We
selected a high point and watched them until they had gone about
ten miles, and then we turned and followed up the train, which
camped that night at the head of Rock Creek. When we arrived and
reported that the Indians had left the county they were the
happiest lot of people I ever saw. It seemed that they thought
this was the only band of Indians in the country.

The next day being Sunday Jim proposed that we lay over and rest,
saying that he was about worn out himself and that he was
satisfied that the scouts were in the same condition. This was
satisfactory to all, so we did not move camp that day.

Up to this time we had not killed any game, although we had seen
plenty, there being considerable buffalo in this part of the
country yet, but it had been contrary to orders to shoot while
traveling, and I want to say right here that the people of this
train were always obedient to our orders during our travels with

I told them I would go out and kill a buffalo that day provided I
could find one not too far from camp. A number of men in the train
wanted to go with me for a buffalo hunt. "The more the merrier," I
said, so we and started, six of us together.

About two miles from camp we saw a band of fifteen that had not
yet seen us. We at once dropped back over the hill and taking a
circuitous route, we rode on the opposite side of them from camp,
and cautiously to within about a hundred and fifty yards, when
they raised their heads, took a good look at us and started off
toward the train. I told Saunders as he was on a fast horse to
take one side and I would take the other and let the other boys
bring up the rear, as by so doing we could drive them near camp
and save packing the meat so far. When we were in the valley just
below camp I told each man to select his buffalo and fire, which
they did, when within a quarter of a mile from camp. We then all
commenced yelling like Indians, and Jim Bridger said that he never
saw a crowd of men get to their guns as quick as the men in the
train did, for they actually thought we were Indians.

We succeeded in killing four buffalo out of the band, the last one
being within a hundred yards of camp. We dressed them and all
hands volunteered to carry the meat to camp where it was turned
over to the committee to be distributed among the people of the
entire train.

This was a great treat to them, for they had been living on bacon
for a long time, having no fresh meat whatever.

It was twenty-five miles from here to the next place where we
could find water and a suitable camping place where we would also
have a good chance to protect ourselves from Indians. So we pulled
out early, I distributing my scouts as usual, only that I went
alone and had a hard ride for nothing.

After I had gone quite a distance I saw what I supposed to be
Indians; but they were a long way off. The thought struck me that
it was the was the same band we had seen before and that they were
sneaking around intending to steal a march on us and attack the
train while traveling and stampede the stock, which was often done
when no scouts were kept out for their protection. I started to
follow them up and did not find out my mistake until I struck the
trail of my supposed band of Indians which to my surprise proved
to be a buffalo trail and instead of Indians I had been following
a band of buffalo all day.

That night I laid out and the people in camp were very uneasy
about me, thinking I never would return, as they thought I must
have been killed by Indians. Jim told them not to be alarmed as I
would turn up all right the next day.

On a trip of this kind I usually took a lunch along with me; but
not expecting to be out long this time I did not take anything to
eat, so I had to starve it out until I got back to the train,
which was the next day at noon.

I did not see any fresh Indian sign on the entire trip; neither
did the other scouts see any sign of them, and we concluded that
if we did not have any trouble for three days, we would be out of
danger of the Sioux, for by that time we would be out in the
Bitter Creek country and there was no fear of Indians there.

All went along smoothly and we did not see or hear of any more
Indians until we got to Fort Bridger. Here I met one of Gen.
Connor's men who told me that the Utes were very bad in the
vicinity of Fort Douglas near Salt Lake, that being the place
where Gen. Connor was stationed at that time. He said that they
had not been able to get a fight out of the Indians yet, although
they had followed them around a great deal.

We decided to take Sublet's Cutoff, leaving Salt Lake City about
one hundred miles south, as Jim said he would rather fight Indians
than Mormons.

Six days after leaving Fort Bridger I met two of Gen. Connor's
scouts in Cash valley, and they told us the Utes were very bad
farther West, and advised us to take the Goose Creek route to
avoid the Indians. We took their advice.

Here was a scope of country that neither Jim nor I had ever been
over, it being a new road just made the year previous.

After traveling four days on this road, late in the evening of the
fourth, I discovered a little band of Indians about six or eight
miles from the road on a stream that I have since heard called
Raft river, which is a tributary of the Snake.

We watched the band until dark and then rode as near as we thought
safe. I then left my horse with my two assistants and crawled up
near the Indian camp and tried to get a count on them. When I got
near them I found that they were Bannocks and were not warriors,
but apparently a hunting and fishing party, and were an old men
and women. I went away without molesting or even allowing them to
know that I had been there.

Four days' travel from here brought us into a section of country
where I had done my first scouting, on the waters of the Humboldt.
The first day after striking the Humboldt, three of my men and I
late in the afternoon, ran on to a small band of Utes, eleven in
number. I thought we had discovered them and got away without
being noticed, so I told the boys that by making a circuit of
about one and a half miles we would have the advantage of the
ground and would be on to them before they knew it.

On arriving at the place where I expected to make the charge I was
disappointed to find that they were mounted and on the move, they
having no doubt gotten sight of us when we first saw them. We gave
chase but they had too far the start of us, and after running
about two miles we ended the pursuit.

There was no more trouble until we got to where Wadsworth now
stands. Here, one morning about sunrise, as the herders were
bringing in the stock, five Indians rushed in and tried to
stampede the animals, but the herders happened to see them in time
to give the alarm. Jim and I having our horses tied near the camp,
were out after them quicker than I can tell it. We got two of
them, and I think the other three must have thought themselves
extremely lucky that they got away with their scalps.

The only damage done by them was that they scared the herders out
of a year's growth, and just where those Indians came from I never
have been able to tell, for I made it a rule to circle the camp
every evening and look for Indians and Indian signs.

This was the only time on the trip that I had an Indian steal a
march on me, and this was the last trouble we had with Indians on
this trip. Ten days travel brought us to the foot of the Sierra
Nevada Mountains at the head of Eagle Valley.

Jim knowing that they wanted to lay over the next day, it being
Sunday, he selected a lovely camping ground in a pleasant pine
grove and went into camp about the middle of the afternoon.

As soon as we had got into camp, Jim and I went to the committee
and told them they did not need our services any longer as there
would be no danger whatever from here on of Indians, they being
now out of the hostile country entirely.

When the women folks learned that we were going to leave they
proposed giving a farewell party that night. Having musicians in
the train, they selected a nice level spot, and all who desired to
participate congregated there and had an enjoyable time. I think
they enjoyed that dance out in that lovely forest as much as
though they had been dancing in the finest hall in San Francisco;
and I think even the old people who were religious were so
overjoyed to know that they were once more safe from the much
dreaded and barbarous red men of the plains, that they almost felt
like dancing themselves.

Although I had been with this train just two and one half months I
had been in company with the ladies but very little, for I had
never been in in daylight only just long enough to eat my meals
and change horses, consequently I was but slightly acquainted with
any of them. This was the first dance on the trip, and it was
surprising to me to see how sociable the ladies were with me, and
had it not been that I was so bashful, I might have had a pleasant

When the dance was over, about ten o'clock that night, one of the
committee got up and made us quite a speech in behalf of the
people in the train, telling us how much they appreciated the
interest we had taken in guarding their train through safely, and
after he was through talking he gave each of us a letter of
recommendation, which had been drawn up that evening while the
dance was going on. I think those letters were signed by every man
in the train, and a great many of the ladies had signed them too.
The speaker concluded his remarks by asking us to remain with the
train as long as we desired, and our provisions should not cost us
a cent, nor for having our horses herded with theirs. It being too
late in the fall to return to Fort Kearney, we accepted their kind
and liberal offer and concluded to travel with them a few days.

We remained with them until near Sacramento, and here I met my old
friend Johnnie West. He was beginning to look very old,
considering his age. He told me he had quit drinking and was going
to lead a different life from this on; that he had taken up a
ranch five miles from Sacramento on the river and invited us home
with him.

We accepted the invitation, and bidding the people that we had
been traveling with nearly three months, good-bye, we left them
and went with Johnnie to his ranch.

When we were ready to leave, I think every person in the train
shook hands with us.



On our arrival at Johnnie West's ranch we found that he had quite
a comfortable house, considering that it had been built by an old
trapper. He had five acres under cultivation, and had raised a
promiscuous lot of very desirable produce, especially in the way
of vegetable truck.

We remained with West two months, putting in our time hunting,
fishing and loafing. It being near Christmas now, the question
arose as to what we would do to celebrate that festive season. Jim
was for going to San Francisco and Johnnie wanted to go to
Sacramento. I told them it was immaterial to me where I went. But
all this time I was afraid that if John West got to town in
company with Jim Bridger that West would break his oft-repeated
resolutions and there would be a big run on the reddest kind of
paint. I told Jim my fears and proposed that we remain at home and
take our Christmas there. But Jim couldn't see it in that light,
and said one little spree wouldn't hurt Johnnie, so the day before
Christmas we pulled out for Sacramento. That same evening Jim and
Johnnie both got loads that they ought to have gone after about
nine times, if they just had to pack them, and the result was that
it was my busy day keeping them out of the calaboose. I promised
the police I would put them to bed and make them stay there until

Next morning, the first thing after we had dressed, Jim said:
"Well boys, let's go and have a Christmas drink." I said: "Boys, I
will take one drink with you and then quit. Now if you fellows
want to make brutes of yourselves and get into the lock-up, just
go ahead, but I am going to go home as soon as I get my
breakfast." So we went down the street and into the first saloon
we came to and called for egg-nogg. I remained with them until
they were drinking their fifth drink. I could not do anything with
them, so I told them I was going to breakfast, and they could do
as they pleased. This was the first time in my life that I had
ever been placed in a position where I was actually ashamed of my
associates. I was so disgusted when I left them that morning to go
to my breakfast that I thought I would go home and leave them. But
after eating my breakfast, being, perhaps, in a better humor, I
started out to hunt for them. I do not wish to try for a moment to
lead the reader to believe that I do not like the taste of liquor,
for I am confident at that time I really liked it better than
either of my associates, but I always despise the effect, and that
seemed to be what they, like thousands of other, drink it for. It
always seemed to me that when a man is drunk he is more disposed
to show the brute that is in him than to act a gentleman.

After looking around some little time I found Jim Bridger in a
saloon so drunk that he could scarcely walk. I asked him where
Johnny West was, and the bar-keeper told me that the police had
taken him to the station-house. I asked what for, and he said for
trying to shoot some one.

I watched for an opportunity and took both of Jim's pistols and
knife away from him and gave them to the clerk at the hotel.
Afterwards I walked to the station-house to see what the charge
was against Johnny West. The man told me the charge was drunk and
disorderly and shooting a pistol inside of a house. I asked him if
he would let Johnny out if I would pay the fine. He said: "Yes. As
soon as he is sober to-morrow morning, you can come around. The
charges will be twenty dollars."

If the reader ever had any experience with a drunken man, which to
me is the most disgusting thing on earth, he can realize something
of the time I had with those two men, for it took me all the next
day to get Johnny West home and get him reconciled.

He was determined to return to Sacramento, and it took me two more
days hard work and coaxing to get Jim Bridger home. I have it by
good authority that this was the last drunken spree that Johnnie
West ever took. He remained on his ranch some six years longer and
having accumulated considerable wealth, sold out for a good price
and returned home to his relations in Texas, and there died a
short time afterwards;

Jim Bridger and myself stayed at Johnny's until about the middle
of January. This now being 1861, we started for New Mexico, via
Los Angeles, with the intention of laying over in Los Angeles
until we could cross the Rocky Mountains. There was a good wagon
road from Sacramento to San Jose, and from San Jose to Los

At this time the Indians were all peaceable through California,
the only trouble with them was their begging. At that I think,
beyond any doubt, that they could beat any class of people it has
ever been my misfortune to meet.

We arrived at Los Angeles on the fifth of February. It being one
of the Spanish feast days, they were having a great time. The
Spanish population of this place having now become reconciled, we
were treated with due respect while we remained here, being about
one week, during which time we lived on fruit. For here were
fruits and flowers, world without end. Beyond any doubt, this is
the greatest place for flowers that I have ever seen.

Soon we pulled out for New Mexico, keeping on the north side of
the Colorado river until above the head of the Grand Canyon, this
being pretty well up in the Rocky Mountains, and here near the
head of the Grand Canyon we began to see more or less Indian sign,
but we were undecided as to what tribe of Indians they belonged.

The second day after crossing the Colorado river we ran on to a
band of Indians, but to our satisfaction they were of the Pima
tribe, and the same young Indian whose sister had assisted me in
rescuing the white girl Olive Oatman, was with them.

As soon as he saw me, he ran to meet me and shouted "Kain, igo,"--
meaning "Hello, friend,"--and shook hands with me.

The Pimas were out on their annual hunt for that season, and we
had to remain with them two days. Being acquainted with them all,
and as I have said before, when one is out in a hostile Indian
country, sometimes the company of friendly Indians is quite

After leaving here we would be compelled to pass over a small
portion of the Ute country, and game being plentiful at this time,
we feared they might be out on a hunt, and just at present we were
not hankering after sport of the Indian fighting kind. So I
proposed to Jim Bridger that we hire four of these young Pimas to
accompany us through the Ute country, knowing that the Pimas were
on good terms with all their neighboring tribes. Jim said that we
had nothing to give them, having neither jewelry or beads with us.

I told him that I would spare them a horse if we could get them to
go, I had four horses with me, while Jim only had three. He told
me to go ahead and make any kind of a bargain with them I liked
and he would stand his portion.

That night after supper while we were sitting around the camp
fire, smoking and cracking jokes--for an Indian enjoys a joke as
well as any one--I got up and told them that we would, after
leaving their country, have to travel over a small portion of the
Ute country, and they being hostile towards the white people, we
did not feel safe to try to cross their country alone, I told them
we were very poor, having no beads nor blankets to spare, but if
four of their men would accompany us for three days, I would give
them a good horse.

The young Indian said: "You have been a good friend to me, and me
and my friend will go with you across the Ute country. We don't
want your horse, but when you come back you can bring us some

This we agreed to do, and the next morning we started early,
accompanied by four young Pima Indians.

During the first two days' travel from the Pima camp we saw not
less than two hundred Indians of the Ute tribe, camping the second
night within a quarter of a mile of a large village of them, but
having those Pimas with us they did not offer to molest us.

When we were approaching a village two of the Pimas would ride
ahead and tell the Utes that we were their friends. They traveled
with us four days, when we concluded we were safe and they
returned to their crowd of hunters, and we proceeded on our
journey, crossing the main divide of the Rocky Mountains at the
head of the Blue river, striking the head of the Arkansas river as
soon as we were across the main divide.

The day we crossed the divide we went into camp as soon as we were
out of the snow on the east side. That night when it was dark we
could see down the Arkansas river a great number of camp fires,
and what this all meant was a mystery to us. We knew that we were
then in the Comanche country, but we could not think that they
were up in that region so early in the season. We were both
somewhat restless that night, sleeping but very little, fearing
that these were camp-fires of the Utes, and if so we were sure to
have trouble with them before we could get out of this part of the

We were not in much of a hurry to start next morning, but I took
my glasses and selecting a high point for a general look, was
agreeably surprised to see that the camp was one of wagons and
tents. That made us feel considerably better. We packed up at once
and went down to see what it all meant.

On arriving we found a company of miners. The gold in California
Gulch had just recently been discovered, and that was attracting
them. As soon as we learned the cause of the excitement, we struck
camp and walked up the canyon to where they were at work. They
were taking out gold in great quantities, but we only remained
until next morning, when we packed up and started for Taos, going
via the place where Colorado City now stands--a deserted
village near the present city of Colorado Springs. We were now in
a country where we were perfectly safe, so far as Indians were
concerned, and we could travel at our ease.

On our first day's travel, after leaving the mining we passed
through the country where I did my first trapping in company with
Uncle Kit Carson and Mr. Hughes, and as we were riding along I
pointed out to Jim the place where I took my first Indian scalp.
This was the first time I had ever mentioned it to him and he said
that Uncle Kit had told him all about it a long time ago.

On our arrival at Taos we found Uncle Kit suffering severely from
the effects of the arrow wound that has twice before been
mentioned in this history. He and his wife were glad to see us,
and Uncle Kit insisted on my remaining with him and taking charge
of his stock. He now had several bands of sheep and some four
hundred head of cattle, and not being able to ride and look after
the camps, he wanted me to ride from one camp to the other and
look after the business in general, for which he offered to pay me
well. I agreed to work for him at least two or three months and
perhaps longer, provided I liked the business.

After I had been one month at work a wholesale butcher came over
from Denver to buy cattle and sheep. I went out and showed him
Uncle Kit's, after which we returned to Taos and he closed a trade
with Uncle Kit, agreeing to take one hundred head of cattle and
one thousand head of sheep. The price to be paid for them I never
knew, but he paid a certain portion down and the balance was to be
paid the coming October, in Denver City.

I remained with Uncle Kit until the first of October, looking
after things in general, when he asked me to accompany him to
Denver City, which was one hundred and eighty miles from Taos.

About the middle of the afternoon of the sixth day we rode into
Denver, from the southwest. When near where Cherry creek runs
through the city we saw an immense crowd of people in the streets,
so we pushed on to see what the excitement was.

When near the crowd we met three or four men on horseback riding
up the street. We asked what was causing the excitement. One of
them replied: "Oh, nothing, only they are going to hang a man down
there in a few minutes."

This being the first opportunity I had ever had to see a man hung,
we stayed and saw it through. We rode up to the edge of the crowd,
which was about forty yards from the scaffold where the hanging
was to take place, and had been there but a few moments when we
saw the sheriff coming with the prisoner, having a very strong
guard of some two hundred men all well armed. As soon as the
prisoner stepped on to the platform some one handed him a chair to
sit down in.

The sheriff turned to the prisoner and said: "Mr. Gordon if you
have anything to say, now you have the opportunity. I will give
you all the time necessary to say what you wish."

The prisoner rose to his feet and brushed his hair back,
apparently cool, but the moment he commenced to talk I could see
the tears begin to trickle down his cheeks.

I thought it a most pitiful sight. He did not talk long, but
briefly thanked his friends for their kindness towards him during
his confinement, and said: "Gentlemen, I think you did very wrong
in holding out the idea to me that I would come clear, when you
knew very well that there was no show whatever for me," and took
his seat.

A gospel minister then stepped upon the platform and engaged in
prayer. When he rose from praying the prisoner was weeping
bitterly. The sheriff then stepped up to him and said: "Come, Mr.
Gordon, your time is up," and he took him by one arm and another
man by the other, and when he raised to his feet they tied his
hands behind him, tied a cloth over his face, led him on to the
trap and the sheriff placed the rope around his neck and started
down the steps to spring the trap, when the prisoner sang out:
"Come back, Meadows, come back!"

The sheriff turned and walked up to where the prisoner was, and he

"Meadows, fix the rope good so it will break my neck, for I want
to die quick."

After the sheriff had fixed the rope he stepped down and sprung
the trap, and from where I was I could not see that Gordon made
the least struggle after he dropped.

Just as we were ready to leave here who should step up but our old
friend Mr. Joe Favor, whom we had not seen for a long time. He
insisted on us going to his store, telling us where to put our
horses. So, after putting our horses up, we went around with him.

On arriving at Favor's place we found that he had a number of his
St. Louis friends with him, who had only arrived a few days
previous to this. After introducing us all around, he said: "I
want you two men to come over and take supper with me. I have just
ordered supper at the Jefferson House."

Uncle Kit tried to excuse himself on the grounds that we were not
dressed well enough to go into company, we having on our buckskin
suits. But his answer was:

"I would not have you dressed otherwise if I could, so be sure and
come with your side arms on" having reference to our revolvers and
knives. He then addressed his conversation to me for a few moments
by asking what I would take to tell him the honest truth as to how
many Indians I had scalped with the knife that he gave me, seeing
that I still carried it.

I said: "Mr. Favor, I could tell you just the number, but it would
be out of place for me to do so." He asked why, and I said: "Mr.
Favor, up to this time I don't think I have ever given you any
reason to doubt my word, but if I should tell you the honest truth
as to the number of Indians I have scalped with that knife I fear
you would doubt me."

By this time a number of his St. Louis friends had flocked around
me, and it seemed as if they would look through me. Mr. Favor
assured me that he would not doubt my word for a moment, but I
told him his friends would. They assured me that they would not,
saying from what they had heard of me from Mr. Favor before seeing
me, they felt satisfied that I would tell them the truth.

I said: "Gentlemen, if I had gotten one more scalp I would just
have even thirty-four, but as it is I have just taken thirty-three
scalps with this knife. I mean from Indians that I killed myself.
I have taken a number that were killed by others, but I did not
count them."

The crowd then turned their attention to Uncle Kit Carson, and
while at the supper table those St. Louis parties asked him what
he would take to sit down and give them a true history of his life
and let them write it up and have it published. To this he would
not hear. They then came at him in a different manner by asking
what per cent, of the net proceeds he would take. To this he said:
"Gentlemen, if there is anything on earth that I do dislike it
surely is this thing called notoriety," and he continued by
saying, "There is a part of my life that I hate to think of
myself, and a book written without the whole of my life would not
amount to anything."

After supper we returned to the store and those men talked with
Uncle Kit until near midnight about this matter. By this time he
had become impatient and said: "Gentlemen, there is no use
talking, for I will not submit to a thing of this kind, and you
will oblige me very much by not mentioning it any more." So that
ended the conversation concerning the matter, for the time being,
and Uncle Kit and I retired for the night.

The morning following I walked down to the store and Mr. Favor
told me there had been some parties looking for me, and left word
for me to meet them at the store at ten o'clock.

I sat down and waited until they came at the hour appointed. A
gentleman in the crowd named Green Campbell seemed to be their
spokesman. And, by the way, this same Mr. Campbell has since grown
to be very wealthy and now resides in Salt Lake City, and a few
years ago was nominated on the Gentile ticket for Governor, but
was defeated.

Mr. Campbell said to me: "There are five of us that have been
mining here this summer and have done very well, but we are not
satisfied. We want to go on to the waters of the Gila river and
prospect this winter, and have been trying for several days to
find some one that could guide us to that country, and Mr. Favor
having recommended you to us very highly, we wish to make some
kind of a bargain with you if we can, to guide us to that part of
the country. Is it safe for a small party to go in there?"

I said: "Mr. Campbell, it depends altogether in what part of the
country you want to go. I could take you on the waters of the Gila
river where you would be perfectly safe, but whether it would be
where you want to go or not is the question." I drew a diagram of
that part of the country as best I could, showing the different
tributaries to the river, pointing out the region where they would
be safe and also that which they would not dare enter on account
of the hostile Apache Indians.

Mr. Campbell asked me if I would remain with them until spring. I
told him I would, and they made me a proposition, which I
accepted. They were to furnish all the pack animals necessary for
the outfit and to board me, I to furnish my own saddle-horses. I
advised them to go to Taos with a wagon and team, and buy their
pack animals there as they would be able to get them much cheaper
than in Denver. They proposed that I go to Taos and buy the pack
animals and have everything ready by the time they would arrive,
as they had business which would necessarily detain them for at
least two weeks. This I agreed to do.

That afternoon I was walking down the street near the Planters
House when I met a policeman in great haste, making his way for
the hotel mentioned. As he approached me he said: "I deputize you
to assist me in making the arrest of those stage drivers in the
Planters' House." This was a crowd of men who were driving stage
at that time for the notorious Slade, of whom more will be said
later on.

I had left my side arms at Mr. Favor's store, not thinking I would
have any occasion to use them, but at the request of the
policeman, I entered the hotel and found a general row proceeding.
As soon as we entered the door two or three of the crowd made for
me, I backed off and defended myself the best that I could, until
I had backed to the end of the hall. The door at the end of the
hall being shut, I could back no farther. Here I sparred with them
for some time, when one of them struck at me with all vengeance
and just grazed the side of my face. As I threw my head and
shoulders back to dodge the blow I knocked the whole upper portion
of the glass door out. Just at that instant Wm. F. Cody, better
known as Buffalo Bill, seeing the predicament I was in, and seeing
that I was unarmed, caught me by the shoulders and jerked me
through that window much quicker than I could tell it. He handed
me one of his pistols and said: "Come on pard, and we will take
them fellows or know the reason why."

When we entered the door they had the policeman and bar-keeper
both cornered behind the bar, but seeing that we were prepared for
them, strange to say, not one of them drew his pistol, but all
surrendered at once, and the entire crowd, six in number, were
escorted to the cooler.

The name of this policeman was William Deecy, and he is now living
in Boulder, Montana. I saw him less than one year ago, and we
enjoyed a good laugh as we rehearsed the affair of the Planters'

That afternoon after having his business attended to, Uncle Kit
went to Mr. Favor and said: "Joe, I want you and your friends from
St. Louis to come and take supper with me this evening at the same
hotel where we had supper last evening."

When Uncle Kit spoke in this manner Mr. Favor felt sure that he
had changed his mind in regard to having his life written up, and
before going to supper, in the absence of Uncle Kit, Mr. Favor
asked me about it. I told him he had not. Whereupon he proposed
betting me a new hat that those parties would write up his, Kit
Carson's, life. I said; "Not by his consent." "Yes," said he, "by
his own consent."

This bet I accepted, and that night Mr. Favor and all of his St.
Louis friends accompanied us from the store down to the hotel for
supper. There was one gentleman in the crowd who was a splendid
talker, and apparently an intelligent man, and when at the supper
table that night, he mentioned the matter to Uncle Kit again of
having his life published. On turning his eyes to the refined
gentleman, he said: "I would have you understand that when I say
anything I mean it. I told you in plain English last evening that
I would not submit to anything of that kind, and now don't compel
me to talk too harsh, but please drop the subject at once."

Mr. Favor, who had been watching very close all this time, could
see at once there was no use in talking any more about the subject
and turned the conversation as quickly as possible and there was
no more said about it.

That night while in a conversation with Buffalo Bill he told Uncle
Kit and I that he would be going out to Bent's Fort in a few days
and proposed that we join him there and have a buffalo hunt before
I went away. We promised that we would meet him.

The next morning Uncle Kit and I mounted our horses to start on
our return trip to Taos, and when we rode up in front of the
store, Mr. Favor told me to come in and get my hat. I told him no,
that I would not take it now, but let it go until next spring when
I returned. He said to call and get it any time, saying: "You won
it fair."

After we had ridden but a short distance I told Uncle Kit how I
came to win the hat, and he said: "I think them St. Louis men are
gentlemen, but I don't propose to have any one write up my life. I
have got plenty to keep me as long as I live and I do not like
notoriety." And just here I would say, that to a man that roughed
it out on the plains in those days as we old frontiersmen had to
do, they did not feel that a history of their lives would be fit
to go before the public, for as Uncle Kit said: "A man on the
frontier had to undergo many hardships, that if written up true,
just as they occurred, people in the civilized countries would not
believe them when they read it."

On my arrival at Taos I bought ten Mexican jacks or burros to use
for pack animals on the trip that we were about to start upon.
After that we started for Bent's Fort where we joined Buffalo Bill
and Col. Bent and struck out for the "Picket Wire"--Purgatoire--on
a buffalo hunt.

Here we found buffalo plenty and enjoyed two days successful
hunting, and I must say that a more jolly crowd I was never out
with than those three men were on a trip of this kind. Buffalo
Bill, who was as good-natured a man as a person would wish to
meet, was able to furnish amusement for the entire crowd. Col.
Bent himself was no mean Nimrod, and Uncle Kit did not take a back
seat on such occasions.

This was the last hunting expedition that it was ever my pleasure
to go upon in company with Mr. Cody, and it was not my pleasure to
meet him again for a number of years afterwards.

From here Uncle Kit and I returned to Taos, and I commenced making
preparations for the trip to the waters of the Gila.



On the arrival of Mr. Campbell and party we packed up and were off
to the waters of the Gila. Our crowd consisted of Green Campbell,
of Missouri; Thomas Freeman and David Roberts, of Illinois, and
Marlow Pease, of Massachusetts.

I took three saddle horses with me and they each took a saddle
horse and three extra horses belonging to the company. We did not
lose any time getting across the main divide. Being late in the
fall we had great fear of becoming snow-bound on the trip. We left
the head of the Arkansas river some fifty miles to the north so as
to be able to cross the river without having the snow to
encounter. After we were across the main divide I told them there
would be no danger of being snowed in now. So they would stop
occasionally from half a day to three days in a place to prospect
what they called the most favorable looking places for the yellow
metal and most generally finding a little gold, but not as they
considered in paying quantities, and while they were prospecting
it was my business to scout all around the camp to prevent a
surprise party by the reds and to kill game to live on.

We arrived at the Gila, striking the middle fork a little more
southwest than I had ever been before. I told them we were now in
the Apache country and that those were the worst Indians we had to
contend with. We found a nice place for a camp and Mr. Campbell
proposed to build a log cabin in order to protect ourselves
against the Indians, but I told them I thought they had better
prospect a week or ten days first, and if they found it to pay
them we could build a cabin, and in the mean time I would try and
locate the Indians and watch their movements.

The first four or five days I didn't go very far away, but made an
entire circuit of the camp every day. After being here five or six
days, I struck out in a southwesterly direction, intending to go
about ten or fifteen miles from camp.

Up to this time I had not seen any fresh Indian sign whatever, and
had about concluded that we would not have any trouble this winter
with them. After riding about ten miles or so I came to a nice
little brook, and there being fine grass, I stopped and let my
horse feed for an hour or more. I was riding my old Pinto that day
and he was also feeling fine.

About one o'clock I mounted Pinto and started south, striking for
a high mountain, from which if I could once reach the top, I
could, with the aid of my glasses, see all over the entire
country. While climbing this mountain I ran on to a bear cub.
Seeing that he was very fat, I shot him and lashed him behind my
saddle, and was soon climbing the mountain again, which was, in
places, steep and very rocky, with scattering pine trees here and
there. After going about a half a mile and just as I came to the
top of a steep little pitch, I came face to face with a band of
Apache Indians. I did not take time to count them, but thought
there were about eighteen or twenty of them, I fired four shots in
quick succession. The first two shots I killed two Indians, but
the other two I could not tell whether I got my men or not, as I
was just in the act of turning my horse when I fired. They fired a
perfect shower of arrows at me. To run back down the mountain the
way I came was a matter of impossibility, as it was both steep and
rocky, so I took around the side of the mountain, thinking that I
would be able in a few moments' run to reach the top of the
mountain, where I could have a better show to defend myself.

I had to ride all over my horse to avoid the arrows, first on one
side, hanging by one foot and one hand, then on the other side.

I had not run more than one hundred yards until I knew there was
something wrong with my horse, for he had always before seemed to
know when I was in a tight place and seemed eager to carry me out
of danger. I gave him the spurs three or four times but he did not
increase his speed in the least, and then I knew well that he had
been shot, and it always seemed a miracle to me that I went
through all that and did not get shot also.

It is quite useless for me to say I thought my time had come. On
looking ahead some fifty yards I saw a pile of rocks about four or
five feet high, which I made a bee line for. Getting to the rock
pile I dismounted and ran between two large rocks where poor old
Pinto tried to follow me, but he received two more arrows in his
hip and one in his flank. He fell to the ground, and after falling
raised his head, and looking toward me, whinnied.

The poor faithful old fellow lay there and would whinny for me at
intervals as long as he lived, which was perhaps half an hour. The
reader can fancy my condition just at this time. Here I was almost
surrounded by hostile Indians and the only friend that I had with
me dead. I did not expect to ever get away from there, for I
expected that while a part of the Indians guarded me the balance
would go off and rally reinforcements.

I had made up my mind to fight them to the last and kill as many
as I could before they got me. They made three desperate charges
for me before dark, but as luck would have it I was always loaded
for them. I piled up rocks as I could get them loose in a manner
to give me protection from every quarter, but expected they would
reinforce and attempt to starve me out.

Just as it was getting dark, two of the Indians crawled up to
within thirty feet of my rock pen. I was watching them, and just
as they rose up to fire I fired and brought one of them to the
ground, thereby making another good Apache. The other one ran
away, and it being somewhat dark, I did not get him.

This made the fifth Indian I had killed since I had been in my
little rock pen and I had fired eleven shots. After it was good
and dark I made up my mind that I would get out of there sometime
during the night, for to remain there till the morrow only meant
death, and I might as well lose my life in trying to get away that
night as to remain there and be killed the next day. I felt sure
they had a guard around me, but I made up my mind to make a
desperate effort to get away. I crawled to where my dead horse was
laying, which was only a few feet from my rock house, cut the
latigo, removed my saddle from the dead horse, lashed it to my
back, taking the mochilar or covering for a saddle, which I have
described heretofore, I took my knife and cut a hole in the front
portion of the mochila where the pommel of the saddle protrudes,
so that I was able to stick my head through. The mochila was good
as a shield, for an arrow would not go through it except at very
short range. I cut the reins off of the bridle, and as the bit was
a very heavy one, I thought it would answer pretty well as a sling
shot in close quarters.

I had no idea of getting out without a desperate fight with
ninety-nine chances against me to one in my favor. After I had my
rig complete I started to crawl away flat on the ground like a
snake, I would crawl for a short distance, then stop and listen.
It was very dark, there being no moon in the fore part of the
night. I was expecting every minute to feel an arrow or a tomahawk
in my head. After working my way down the hill some hundred yards
or so, I came to a tree and raised up by the side of it. I stood
and listened for some time, but could not hear anything of the
Indians, so I struck out in the direction of camp, walking very
cautiously for some little distance.

After traveling about six miles I felt comparatively safe, knowing
they could not do anything toward tracking me until morning and
did not think they would even be able to track me then.

I passed over a great deal of rocky country where there was but
little vegetation. Finally I laid down to wait until morning, and
I must say that I never had been out in all my life when I
actually longed for daylight to come as I did that long and lonely
night, and I believe that I would freely have given five hundred
dollars to have had a man there with me that night; not that I was
afraid of Indians, for I considered that I had given them the
slip, and did not believe they would be able to overtake me before
I would reach camp even though they should be able to track me the
next morning.

I thought of my dying horse who had been such a faithful servant
and carried me out of so many tight places, and when I would think
of him I could fancy that I could see him raise his head and
whinny at me as he had done that evening in his dying moments,
seemingly asking me for help, and I could not keep the tears from
my eyes. As soon as it was light I started for camp, arriving
there about ten o'clock that morning. The men in camp had given me
up and did not expect to ever see me any more, thinking that the
Apaches had got me. I told the men that we would have to leave
this part of the country now, and that too, just as soon as I
could get a bite to eat and get my saddle repaired. While the boys
pulled up and started to move camp I saddled up another horse and
took my back track, traveling very cautiously, thinking they would
try to follow me out, and I wanted to watch their movements and
see whether they had reinforced or not. I told the boys to move
northeast and where to camp, the place being ten miles from where
we were then, and not to build any fire that night, also that I
would be in camp some time before morning this time, I was very
cautious not to be surprised the second time. I rode back within a
mile of where my dead horse lay, but could not see any Indians, so
I finally concluded that it had been a small hunting party, and
seeing that they could not scare me out of my rock pen by their
ferocious charges, accompanied by a war-whoop that would make the
hair stand on the bravest mountaineer's head, they had abandoned
the idea altogether and had no doubt left the ground before I
started to crawl away from my rock pen, which had been the means
of saving me from falling their victim.

I returned to camp, arriving shortly after dark. We moved north,
the men prospecting the country as we went and I scouting, keeping
a sharp lookout to prevent a surprise party, but we did not see
any more Indians during the entire winter. We struck the Colorado
river at the mouth of the Green river.

Mr. Campbell concluded that he would go to southern Nevada; taking
a southwesterly course from Green river, I piloted them about one
hundred miles and they now being in a country where they were
perfectly safe as far as hostile Indians were concerned, I left
the party, and the most of them it has never been my pleasure to
meet since. I met one of the party by the name of Freeman in
Seattle in the year of 1889. At that time he was settled down in
his old neighborhood in Illinois and had a wife and five children.
I can truthfully say that I never met five better and more
agreeable men to travel with in all my career than those men were.
While with them I never saw one of them apparently out of humor
with his companions or heard one use any kind of language than
that of a gentleman. Leaving the party I struck for Salt Lake
City. I had no trouble in finding the way, or otherwise, and
arrived at Fort Douglas about the first of March.

On arriving here I found General Connor just making preparations
to move with almost his entire force against the Ute Indians, who
at this time were concentrating their forces in Cash Valley, and
committing a great many depredations in that part of the country.



Gen. Connor offered me a position as scout, which I accepted, and
on the sixth day after my arrival at Fort Douglas, in company with
two other scouts, I struck out in advance of the command. In the
forenoon of the eighth day from the fort we found the Indians on a
tributary of Cash Valley in a deep canyon and fortified. They had
cut logs and rolled them down the hill, piling them on each side
of the canyon, several feet high and had intermingled them with
brush. This was the first fortification I had ever seen built by

We returned and met the command that night, and when we were
making our report to the General he asked me what the
fortifications looked like. I told him that I could not think of
anything to compare them to, but that I thought they could be
swept very easily by a Howitzer from above and below. He asked me
if I would accompany one of his commissioned officers that night
to see the fortifications, and I told him I would. After supper
that evening a Captain came to me, whose name I am sorry to say I
have forgotten, and asked me if I was the man that was to
accompany him to the Indian fortifications. I told him that I was,
and he asked what time we had better start. I told him we had
better start at once as there would be a moon in the fore part of
the night, but that the after part would be very dark. So we
mounted our horses and were off.

We rode to within about three-quarters of a mile of the
fortifications and there we remained until it was light enough to
see, and then the Captain took out his glasses and scanned the
whole country as well as the fortifications. After looking about
half an hour the Captain asked me what I thought of it, and what
would be my plan of attack. I told him that I had no idea, as I
had never seen Indians fortified before. He said it would be a
bloody fight, I said yes, but I thought the blood would all be on
one side. "Yes," replied the Captain, "we ought to clean them out
without losing ten men."

We went to our horses, mounted, and rode back to the command as
quick as we could, meeting it about four miles from the
fortifications, piloted by the two scouts that had been out with
me the day before.

The Captain and Gen. Connor had a long conversation as we moved
along. When within a mile of the mouth of this canyon Gen. Connor
formed his men in line, one half to go on each side of the canyon
in which the Indians were fortified, and the cannon were placed at
the mouth of the canyon.

I did not see any Indians of any account until the command to fire
was given. When the soldiers commenced to fire--there being about
twelve hundred--it frightened the Indians so that they came
running out from under those logs and brush like jack rabbits and
were shot down like sheep. In all my experience in the Western
wilds I never saw such a slaughtering as there.

The Indians had been taught by the Mormons that if they would
fortify themselves in that way the whites could not harm them,
teaching them also, that the Lord would protect them, which was a
great thing for the white people, for it came so near cleaning the
Utes up that there was only a little remnant left, and they never
gave the white people any more trouble. Thus white people were
enabled to pass through that country unmolested. Heretofore it had
been one of the most dangerous parts of the country. For all this
I have ever since believed that the Mormons, unintentionally, did
the Gentiles a great favor.

After the battle was over, and as scouts are at liberty to go
where they please, I rode over the battle-field in company with
the other scouts and I never in all my life saw such a mangled up
mass as was there. Men, women and children were actually lying in
heaps, and I think all that got away were a few that hid among the
logs and brush.

I n this battle the Captain told me they did not lose a man, and
had only four wounded, while he counted over three thousand dead

When I returned to Salt Lake City I was astonished to see the
manner in which the Salt Lake papers abused Gen. Connor for
slaughtering the Indians in the manner he had, when they (the
Mormons) had planned the slaughter, although not meaning for it to
be a slaughter of Indians.

Gen. Connor said that the Mormons had thought that the Indians
would fortify themselves, and when attacked by the soldiers, they
would wipe them (the soldiers) off the face of the earth. The idea
had been so thoroughly instilled into the minds of the Indians by
the Mormons that the Lord would protect them if only fortified in
this manner that they depended most altogether on the Lord to
protect them.

The third day on our return trip we came to a little place called
Ogden. Here the General made preparations to leave the command and
go ahead, accompanied by one company, of cavalry. When they were
ready I was directed to accompany him, which I did. He and I rode
in the rear of the company. After riding some little distance Gen.
Connor said: "Drannan, I think I can put you on the track of a
good thing if it would suit you." I asked him in what way. He
asked me if I had not heard of the Mountain Meadow massacre in
Utah. I said: "Certainly, many times." He said: "Now be honest
with me and tell me who you think did that horrible work." I told
him the Mormons, and the Mormons alone.

He then told me there was a man at the fort from Chicago trying to
work up the case and if possible to find out just by whose
authority the Mormons had massacred those emigrants, and he said:
"From what I have seen of you, I think you would be just the man
to help him work up the case."

I said: "General, I think you are mistaken. I never did any
detective work among the white people, and I fear I am not good
enough a talker to obtain the desired information." The General
said: "All right, we'll see."

We reached the Fort that night at dark, having ridden forty miles
that day. That evening the General told me to come to his quarters
the following day at ten o'clock and he would introduce me to the
gentleman referred to.

I went to the General's quarters and the gentleman was present.
His name was Howard. By whose authority he was working up this
case I never learned, but, however, after questioning me for some
time as to what I knew of the Mormons, he asked me what I would
charge him per month to go along with him, play the hypocrite, and
try to help work up the case. I told him it was all new work to
me; that I knew nothing of detective work whatever. I said that if
it were a case of Indians it would be quite different, but I did
not think I would be of much service to him working among the

He proposed that he would furnish me a suit of clothes suitable
for the part I was to play, furnish money to pay my expenses, such
as hotel bills, whiskey bills, ball-room bills, and pay me fifty
dollars per month, I to do as he told me, or as near as I could.
"And, at the end of one month," said he, "if your work does not
suit me, or if I don't suit you, I can pay you off and you can go
your way; or if you stay and we work up this case as I anticipate,
as soon as the work is completed I will pay you one hundred
dollars per month instead of fifty."

Under these conditions I went to work for him, and the next two
days were spent in drilling me on Mormon phrases, their customs
And so on, he having been there some three months, had got pretty
well posted on the Mormon doctrine.

When I got my new suit of clothes on and he got my hair fixed up
just to suit him I looked in the mirror, and I could hardly
believe that it was Will Drannan.

The third day we mounted our horses and started across the country
to a little town called Provo, which is about forty miles from
Salt Lake, if I have not forgotten. Here, we are both Mormons, are
brothers, and our business buying cattle; looking around to see
who has cattle to sell. We arrived at Provo on Sunday evening and
made the acquaintance of two young men who were Mormons. They
asked us to go to church with them. "All right," said Mr. Howard,
"but where will my brother and I stay to-night?" The eldest of the
two young men said: "One of you can stay with me and the other can
stay with Jim," referring to his chum. So it fell to my lot to go
with Jim after church.

On our way to church, naturally enough the boys asked our names,
and Howard spoke up and said: "My name is George Howard, and this
is my brother Frank." And I will tell you now with all candor I
did not feel right over this, for it was the first time in my life
that I had ever lived under an assumed name, but I had agreed to
do what I could, and although I would have given the best horse I
had to have been out of the scrape, yet I was into it and I was
determined to go through with it if possible. That evening when we
came out of church Jim gave me an introduction to his two sisters
and they asked me to walk home with them from church, and I did

After conversing with them for some time and getting a little
acquainted with them, I asked the girl on my left how old she was,
and she said she was seventeen. I asked her how long she had lived
in this country. She said: "My father was one of the first
settlers in this country. He came here among the first emigrants
and I was raised here in this country."

"Is that so?" I asked. "Then you were here in this part of the
country at the time of the Mountain Meadow massacre?" "Yes," said
she, "but you know we must not talk about that." "Well," said I,
"you know they were all Gentiles that were killed and what's the
difference?" "Well," she said, "I think it was all wrong any way."

I asked her if her father was in that fight and she said: "Let's
don't talk about that, please don't ask me any more questions
about it."

By this time we had reached the gate, and the conversation stopped
for that time. The next day I tried to get a chance to talk to
her, but my efforts were all in vain. That afternoon I met Howard
and told him of the conversation I had with the young lady, and he
insisted on my working on her father if I could get a chance to
have a private conversation with her.

On Wednesday night there was to be a big dance at the church, and
it being free to all, we attended it. In the mean time I had
engaged the company of those two young ladies for the dance. I
paid all due respect to the young lady, but did not mention the
affair of which I was desirous of obtaining information until we
were returning from supper to the church, when I again made
mention of the affair in such a manner that I did not think she
would suspect anything wrong. But she gave me to understand in
plain language that she would not converse on that subject under
any circumstances.

I saw there was no use to waste any more time with her and did not
mention the subject again.

We remained in this place ten days, during which time I formed the
acquaintance of an old man by the name of Snyder, who had five
wives, three of them living at his residence in the town and the
other two on his farm in the country. Being a brother Mormon, Mr.
Snyder one day during my stay there invited me home with him for
dinner, and on entering the dining room he introduced me to his
three wives, the youngest of the three being about twenty years
old, while Snyder was sixty-one years old.

That afternoon Howard and myself were taking a walk, and by chance
met this young Mrs. Snyder, whom I introduced to my brother. He
asked to accompany her on her walk, to which proposition she
unhesitatingly assented, and he walked on home with him.

Her husband was not at home, but before Howard left the gate he
heard one of Snyder's other wives say to her: "I'll tell on you,
and you will not get to go out again."

This convinced him that there was a great deal of jealousy
existing between Mr. Snyder's wives. He said she was well posted
in everything pertaining to the Mormon doctrine, and at the same
time bitterly opposed to their proceedings.

The afternoon following George Howard and I took a stroll down to
Salt Lake City, which was a distance of three miles.

We had been in the city but a short time and were walking up Main
street, when on casting my eyes across the street I saw old man
Snyder standing talking to Porter Rockwell and Bill Hickman. They
were just across Main street immediately opposite us, and George
had not yet got sight of them. Those two men were supposed to be
Brigham Young's "destroying angels," and their business was to put
any one out of the way who had fallen under the ban of the Mormon

These two men had been pointed out to me before, and as soon as I
got sight of them I said in a low tone: "There are the leaders of
the Danites."

When he looked across at them old man Snyder was pointing his
finger direct at us, and Rockwell and Hickman seemed to be very
eager to get a good look at us.

George said: "This is no place for us. Let's get back to the
Fort." And all the talking I could do I could not make him believe
that we were perfectly safe there in the city in broad daylight.
His very countenance showed uneasiness to extremity. He had been
there long enough to be thoroughly posted in all their laws,
customs, etc., and didn't seem to think it would be healthy for us
there from that time on. However, I can truthfully say that we
made the trip to the Fort in much less time than we did from the
Fort to town, notwithstanding it was all up grade.

On our arrival at the Fort we went to Gen. Connor's quarters and
told him the whole story just as it occurred. The General said:
"The thing is up with you now Howard, you might as well quit and
go home. You can do no more good here now. You are perfectly safe
here in the Fort, but the moment you are out of sight of it you
are in danger of your life. But you will have one company of
cavalry to protect you when you go to leave the Fort."

It was really laughable to see the way Howard would tremble and
shake while Gen. Connor was talking to him, and he was anxious to
get out of the country and wanted me to go with him, it being the
wrong time of year to catch a train going East. He thought if he
could get to Fort Bridger, which was one hundred miles east of
Fort Douglas, he would be safe from the Mormons, and would stand
equally as good a show to strike a train going eastward as he
would at Salt Lake.

Before we were ready to start for Fort Bridger there came a man to
Fort Douglas who had been wagon boss for Maj. Russell the year
before. He had just received a letter from his former employer
requesting him to come at once to Fort Kearney. He was anxious to
find some one to travel with, as it was not safe for one to travel
alone in that country, and it was a long and tedious trip this
time of year.

The Pony Express was then running, but outside of that we were not
likely to see any one on the trip.

They insisted on me accompanying them, and being anxious to cross
over on the other side of the mountains, I agreed to join them.
Having two saddle horses myself I told them three horses between
them would be enough, for in case of emergency I would use one of
my horses for a pack animal. The next two days were spent in
getting ready for the trip, Mr. Damson, the wagon boss, having
procured three horses for himself and Howard, Mr. Howard thinking
it might not be conducive to his health to leave the Fort to look
for horses.

Getting everything in readiness, we made the start just at dark,
going the Emigrant canyon route, striking Echo canyon fifty miles
from Salt Lake City, making the trip that far without stopping to
let our horses feed or even to eat anything ourselves. We did this
because we wished to get beyond the Mormon settlements without
being discovered by them. We reached Fort Bridget the third day
and there took in two more companions, John Scudder and John
Korigo, who had been at work at the Fort all winter hauling wood
for the Government. They had earned a little money and were
returning to their respective homes, one living in Missouri and
the other in Pennsylvania. We were now five in number and
calculated to make Fort Kearney in fifteen days, which, if I
remember rightly, is called six hundred miles from Fort Bridger.

We crossed Green river and took the Bitter creek route, thinking
that would be the safest from hostile Indians; but when we got to
the head of Bitter creek the Pony Express rider informed us that
the Indians were very bad on the North Platte river, having killed
two express riders the week before.

This frightened the boys badly, for not one of them had ever been
engaged in an Indian fight, and all were free to admit that they
were not hankering after experience of that kind.

After we struck North Platte we saw considerable Indian sign every
day, but it was evident that the reds were in little bands.

From now on we made a dry camp every night, always stopping in the
middle of the afternoon to let our horses graze while we did our
cooking to avoid building our fire after dark. Then we would mount
and ride until after dark and make a dry camp. This was done in
order to avoid an attack while in camp, but we made the entire
trip without seeing an Indian.

On my arrival at Fort Kearney I met my old friend Jim Bridger, who
was waiting there for a man by the name of Jim Boseman, who was on
his way with a large train of emigrants to the eastern part of
Montana, the same country that Bridger, Kit Carson, Beckwith and I
passed through in 1856 when the Indians were so bad.

Jim Bridger had met Boseman the fall before and had promised to
pilot him through to that part of Montana, for which he was to
receive five hundred dollars, it also being understood that, there
would be at least fifty men in the train and all well armed.

Bridger was just in receipt of a letter from Boseman stating that
he would be there on or about a certain date with two hundred men,
most all of whom had families.

Jim was very anxious to have me join him, offering to divide the

I told him it would be folly for me to accompany him, as he would
be able to handle the train alone and would then have the five
hundred dollars himself, and furthermore, I did not care for work
of that kind that summer, as I would rather return to Taos and buy
a band of sheep and settle down, for I thought I had enough money,
if properly handled, to make me a good living.

At this Jim laughed heartily and said: "Yes, you'll settle down
with a band of sheep when you are too old to straddle a horse and
your eyes too dim to take in an Indian. I have often thought of
the same thing," he continued. "I have a place picked out now
about fifteen miles east of Fort Bridger on Black's Fork, near the
lone tree. There is where I am going to settle down after I make
this trip. I can then sit in my door and with a good glass I can
see Fort Bridger that was named for me and which I feel proud of

Jim Bridger made this trip north with Boseman's train into the
valley where the town of Boseman now stands, without the loss of a
man or beast on the entire trip, and returning to South Platte,
married an Indian woman of the Arappahoe tribe, went to Black's
Fork and took up a ranch within five miles of the lone pine tree.
Here he lived with his Indian wife for about five years, when she
died, leaving two children, a girl and a boy, which I have been
told he sent to school, gave them a good education, and they now
live, I think, in the state of Missouri.



While I was at Fort Kearney another long train of emigrants came
along, en-route for Bannock, Montana. They did not know just where
Bannock was, and through the influence of Jim Bridger and Gen.
Kearney, I was offered employment in guiding them at seventy-five
dollars per month, with provisions.

I told them I did not know where Bannock was, but that I could
take them to any portion of Montana they asked to go, I was not
long making the bargain and making preparations to get started. We
went back over the same road as far as Fort Bridger that I had
come only a short time before. There was not a person in the
entire train that had ever seen a hostile Indian, and very few of
them had ever traveled outside of their own state. The most of
them were from Indiana, and most of the men had families, and I
presume they were fleeing from the draft; that being the time of
the late war.

I experienced a great deal of trouble in getting those people
organized and trained in a manner to enable us to protect
ourselves against the hostile Indians.

In this train there were two negros, whose names were Joe and Bab.
Joe was driving a team for his grub and Bab was cooking for two
families for his grub. The people of the train fell into the habit
of calling me Captain, and every time I would ride along where
this Joe or Bab were, they would invariably salute me by lifting
their hats or by taking them off entirely and then they would say:
"Marse Capting, de ye see any Injuns?"

One day my scouts came in from the south and reported seeing a
band of Indians, about ten or fifteen in number, two miles away
and coming direct for the train. I struck out alone at full speed
in that direction to ascertain what kind of Indians they were,
there being another man whose business it was to take charge of
the train at any time I was away, and in case of an attack or
danger of such, it was his business to corral the train and
prepare for battle.

I had only gone a half mile when I met the Indians, and they
proved to be Arapahoes. I was personally acquainted with all of
them and asked them to go to the train with me, telling them it
was just over the ridge. This they agreed to do, saying: "We will
go to the train and then all will go out and kill some buffalo
this evening."

We rode leisurely along until in sight of the train, and the
moment the people saw me riding with the Indians on each side of
me, they felt sure that I had been taken prisoner, and all the
hustling and bustling around to get those wagons corralled, beat
anything I had ever seen, and they were all so badly excited that
it was no use to try to hello at them.

They were afraid to shoot at the Indians for fear they might shoot
me, or if they did not shoot me, they were afraid that if they
should shoot the Indians they would retaliate by shooting me down.

The wagons being corralled, we rode around the entire train. I
left the Indians and rode inside of the corral and told the people
that these were peaceable Indians and were all friends of mine,
and that I wanted every man, woman and child to come out and shake
hands with them. Quite a number hesitated, believing that I had
been taken prisoner by the Indians and had been compelled to do
this in order to save my own life, and believing that those
Indians wanted to murder the entire train.

But after reasoning with them for a while I succeeded in
convincing them that the Indians were peaceable. Then they all
went out and shook hands except the two darkies, who were not to
be found any where about the train at that time. I then told the
man whose duty it was to look after the train in my absence, to
drive about three miles and camp, describing the place, and that I
would go with the Indians and kill some buffalo, so that we might
have fresh meat, telling him to have each family cook a little
bread extra for the Indians, and that they would furnish meat
enough to do to-night and to-morrow, and was off for the buffalo

The Indians told me there was a band of buffalo about two or three
miles ahead of us near the road.

We pushed on, on the main road, and sure enough right in the
little valley where I had told the captain to camp, we saw a band
of buffalo feeding. We all made a dash for them, and succeeded in
killing five fat buffalo, and on the ground, enough for the entire

As soon as the train was corralled and the stock turned loose, we
appointed four men, who claimed to know something of butchering,
to cut up and distribute the meat among the people of the train.
Up to this time the darkey cook had not been seen since I came
over the hill in company with those Indians. A certain lady in the
train said she thought that when he saw the Indians coming he had
run off and hid in the sage brush, but after the fires were
started he crawled out of one of the wagons where he had been hid,
and claimed that he had been asleep all this time and did not know
anything about any "Injuns," but it was a difficult matter to make
the people in the train believe this yarn. I had the Indians build
their fire outside of the corral, and while they were preparing
their meat I went around and collected bread enough of different
ones in the train for them, also a bowl of molasses. After all had
their supper over I proposed to the Indians that we have a dance.

This dance is what they call a dance of peace, and is carried on
in a manner like this: They--or all that wish to participate in
the dance--form in a circle around the camp-fire, singing, or
rather humming, a certain tune. I went to the people of the train
and told them that the Indians and myself were going to have a
peace dance, and all that wished to see it could come to the camp-
fire and look on. I think every man, woman and child came out to
see the dance, which lasted about two hours. After the dance was
over one of the young Indians in the crowd came to me and said if
I would interpret for him he would be pleased to make a speech for
my friends, providing they were willing for him to do so. When he
told the other Indians he was going to make a speech they all sat
down in a circle around the camp-fire, seventeen in number, and
were perfectly silent. I told them that this young Indian wanted
to know if they would care to hear him make a speech. All were
anxious to hear him, which would be something new to them. I told
them that he would make the speech in his own language and I would
interpret it word for word as near as I knew how.

When I told him they would be pleased to hear from him he walked
up to me, laid his hand on my shoulder, and said:

"I have known this friend of mine a great many years. A long time
ago when he use to come to our village, we always killed a dog,
and after we would have a feast on dog meat, we always smoked the
pipe of peace, and all of the Arapahoes are his friends."

He continued this manner of speaking about fifteen minutes, to the
amusement of the entire train, and when he took his seat he wanted
some one else to speak, but no one would attempt to respond to
him, thus winding up the amusements for the evening.

In a conversation that evening with the Indians, they told me
their business out there, which was to keep the Sioux Indians off
of their hunting ground.

The Sioux and they were on friendly terms, but sometimes the Sioux
would steal over on their hunting ground. They proposed to
accompany us through the dangerous part of the country.

The morning following I told the men in the train of the generous
proposition which the Indians had made me, and told them if they
would furnish the Indians with bread they would keep them in meat.
I also told them that we were now in the most dangerous part of
the Sioux country, and that as long as those Indians were with us
we were in no danger whatever from the fact that when the Sioux
saw those Indians with us we were supposed to be their friends,
and they dare not trouble us in the least.

This, however, was more than agreeable to the entire train,
relieving the scouts of their duty, also the night guards. I made
arrangements with the Indians to travel three days, and we then
pulled out. Just when we were almost ready to start, one young
lady in the crowd said to me; "Captain, I want to ask you one
question, and will you tell me the truth?" I said: "Most assuredly
I will." She said: "I want to know whether it was true that when
you visited those Indians they always killed a dog and ate the

I told her it was true as gospel, and said we always considered
dog meat the finest in the land, and only the chief and his most
intimate friends were able to afford dog meat. She said she was
astonished to hear me talk in such a manner. She said: "The most
laughable part of the proceedings the evening before was the
action of the darkey cook, Bab, who stood away back in the outer
edge of the crowd when you and those Indians were dancing. You
could have knocked his eyes off with a frying-pan and not have
touched his face."

All went well. The Indians traveled with us three days as they had
agreed to, which brought us to the head of Bitter creek. We killed
a few buffalo all along the way, and when the Indians were ready
to leave us they had killed all the meat that the train could take
care of.

This being as far as they had agreed to accompany us, they were to
start back the following morning and that night we had another
peace dance. The Indians invited all in the train to participate
in the dance, but none would take a part; so they and myself had
the dancing to ourselves again The next morning when they were
ready to leave us I told the people in the train to all come
outside of the corral, both old and young, and form in line so
those Indians could shake hands with all of them, telling them
that they had done us a great favor in escorting us through the
dangerous part of the country, and that this shaking hands they
considered a great token of friendship.

This request was complied with, and the Indians all passed down
the line of people, shaking hands with each one. After they were
done shaking hands with all the train they all came and shook
hands with me, mounted their ponies, and rode away as fast as
their horses could run.

We pulled on for Fort Bridger, all going smoothly, for we were in
the Bitter creek country and had no fear of Indians in that
section. The day we arrived at Fort Bridger we sent four men on
ahead to ascertain, if possible, where Bannock was. Here they met,
by chance, some men from what was then called East Bannock and
from them we learned just where Bannock was located, it being on a
west tributary of the Missouri river. We also learned from these
parties that there was a great excitement at this time over mines
that had been struck some eighty miles east of Bannock, on what
was known as Alder Gulch, or Stinking Water, but they were not
able to advise us as to whether or not we could get there with

Now I knew just where we wanted to go, and we took what was known
as the Landers cut-off, and pulled for Fort Hall, reaching the
fort without encountering any trouble with the Indians or
otherwise. The second day after passing Fort Hall, while we were
crossing Snake river, we met a crowd of miners just from Alder
Gulch, on their way to Denver, Colorado, for their families. From
them we learned where Alder Gulch was, and those miners spoke in
such high terms of the richness of that place that a great many in
the train wanted to go there instead of going to Bannock, while
others wanted to go to Bannock, that being where they had started.

That night they took a vote to decide as to which place they
should go, which resulted in favor of Alder Gulch, so we pulled
for Alder Gulch instead of Bannock.

We were now in the Bannock country. I did not hear of any
depredations being committed by the Indians, but I used all
precautions possible in order to prevent a surprise by the

Every few days we would meet a little squad of miners, all telling
exciting stories about the richness of Alder Gulch. They were
going home to their families with the expectation of moving them
out there the following spring; most of their families being in
Denver, Colorado. This all helped to create an anxiety among the
people to push on and get through as quick as possible.

They moved somewhat faster now than before, reaching Virginia
City, Montana, about the last of September, this being the trading
point for Alder Gulch. Here we stopped and the train paid me off.

I stayed around there about three weeks. One day while I was at
Virginia City two men, Boon and Bivian, who owned the only store
of any note in Virginia City at that time, came to me and said
that they had a train of twenty-two wagons some where on the road,
but just where they did not know, and they wished to employ me to
go and pilot it in, as their men with the train were all
inexperienced in that line of business, and not acquainted with
the road, not having been over any part of it before, and they
were afraid that through carelessness they might fall into the
hands of Indians.

The train was loaded, principally, with flour, bacon, sugar,
coffee and tobacco. Flour was then worth twenty-five dollars per
hundred, bacon forty cents a pound, and other things in
proportion. On the twentieth of September I took two horses and
started off to meet the freight train.

Three days from the time I left Virginia City I crossed the summit
of the Rocky Mountains and it was snowing hard. I thought it
doubtful whether or not they would be able to cross the mountains
this winter, but I went on, and met them between Fort Hall and
Soda Springs. I gave the wagon-boss a letter which Boon and Bivian
had sent him, and after reading the letter he asked me if I
thought they could cross the range this fall. I told him that it
was about one hundred and eighty miles from there to the summit,
and if he could make that distance in ten days he would be able to
get through, but if not, he could not cross the mountains this
fall. He said it would be impossible to make it in that length of
time, as the cattle were all getting very poor and weak and the
teams very heavily loaded. The next morning I struck out, taking
another man with me, to try and find if possible, another ford on
Snake river some thirty or forty miles above the old crossing,
knowing if I could do that it Would save us two or three days'
travel, and might be the means of our getting across the mountains
that fall. I told the wagon-boss that I would meet him at Fort
Hall, so in company with one other man, I struck straight across
the country for Snake river. The second day about noon we reached
the river, and that afternoon we succeeded in finding a good ford,
which we called the Island ford, there being a little island just

We camped on Snake river bottom that night, and the next morning
about daybreak we were on our journey for Fort Hall, reaching the
fort one day ahead of the train. Here we waited until the train
arrived. From Fort Hall we struck out for Snake river. This was
all an open country, with the exception of sagebrush. The first
night after leaving the fort snow fell four inches deep on the
valley, and I felt satisfied then that we would not be able to
cross the mountains that winter. The next day the snow all melted
in the valley, but hung low at the foot of the mountains.

The third day after leaving Fort Hall we reached Snake river, and
were successful in getting across without any mishap whatever.
This new ford is near where Pocatello, Idaho, now stands. The
first night after crossing the river we camped on a little stream,
which I gave the name of Rock creek, and I am told that it is
still known by that name. That night the snow fell one foot deep.
I told the wagon-boss the next morning that he was at his
journey's end for the present fill. We unloaded one wagon and he
took one wagon to haul his camping outfit and provisions for the
winter, and returned to the river bottom for the purpose of
wintering his stock there. Another man and myself went to work to
make two pairs of snow shoes, for which we had to use the side-
boards of a wagon, there being no timber suitable in reach for
that purpose. We were three days preparing for this trip, by which
time the snow had settled.

All being in readiness the morning of the fourth day in this camp
I, accompanied by two other men started on horseback, one man
going along to bring the horses back, and the other to accompany
me across the mountains. We rode to within ten miles of the summit
of the mountains. Here the snow was nearly two and a half inches
deep. Our horses were unable to get anything to eat except the
branches of quaking asp trees that we cut and carried to them. The
next morning we saddled our horses, one of my companions started
back again, and we mounted our snow shoes and started to climb the
mountain, this being my second attempt to travel on snow shoes. I
was somewhat awkward at this new undertaking, and you can rest
assured that I was tired when I reached the summit of the
mountains, which took the greater part of the day. Each had a pair
of blankets and enough provisions strapped on his back for the

After reaching the summit of the mountain and starting down on the
other side we found it much easier traveling. We worked hard all
day and made what we thought to be twelve miles, camping that
night in the fir timber. It was a cold, disagreeable night, with
our one pair of blankets each, we consoled ourselves that it was
much pleasanter than to have been here afoot and alone, and no
blankets at all. The second day's travel after crossing the summit
of this mountain we met a freight train on its return to Salt Lake
City. This train was owned by a man named Goddard. It had been
across the mountains with a load of freight and was returning,
like our train on the opposite side and was unable to proceed
farther, having to return to the low lands for the purpose of
wintering the stock. We abandoned our snow shoes and procured
conveyance to Virginia City. Messrs. Boon and Bivian were glad to
know that their train was safe from the hands of the hostiles, but
they said they would lose ten thousand dollars by not getting it
across the mountains that fall. These men having a room at the
rear of their store where they slept and did their cooking, kindly
proposed that I should stop and winter with them, which hospitable
offer I accepted.

At this time a stage ran from here to Bannock and from Bannock to
Boise and from Boise to Salt Lake City, and the news was coming in
every day of both stage and train robberies along this line, and
it actually got so bad that it was not at all safe for a man to
step outside of his own door after dark, if it was known that he
had any money. These robbers were known in those days as "road



About this time what was known as a vigilance committee was
organized at Virginia City, and other points along the stage line,
for protection against desperadoes. During the winter I was not
out much, and all the news I could get was from persons who came
to the store to trade.

One morning in the latter part of January I went out after a
bucket of water at daylight, and happening to cast my eyes up a
hillside I could see sentinels walking to and fro I could not
understand it. On returning to the house I mentioned the matter to
Messrs. Boon and Bivian. They smiled and said: "We understand all
that," and they explained the whole thing to me. One of them said:
"There will be some fun to-day," and the other replied: "Yes, a
little hemp-pulling."

"Yes," responded the other, "that is what I meant." And then--in
our western vernacular--I "tumbled to the racket."

By the time we had breakfast over people were beginning to come in
to trade, and happening to look down the street I saw forty or
fifty men all well armed come marching up the street in the
direction of the store They marched up to a large gambling house,
called the Shades. There they halted while some of them went in
and returned, bringing with them a man by the name of Jack

There was a log cabin immediately across the street with a
fireplace in it, and to this house they marched Gallagher and put
him inside.

Leaving a strong guard around the cabin, the balance of them
started out as if hunting some one else. In a short time they came
marching another man to the cabin by the name of Boone Helm, who
had one hand tied up. It seemed to comfort Gallagher to know that
he was going to have company on the long trip by the short route,
and "misery likes company."

The third man was brought in a few minutes later whose name was
Hank Parrish, the fourth and last that day being Clubfoot George.

They were all placed in the log cabin under a strong guard.

About the middle of the afternoon the crowd reassembled at the
cabin jail, took the prisoners out, and marched them up the
street. Mr. Boone and I walked down the street by the side of the
crowd, and after they had gone one block, for some reason they
came to a halt, when Boone Helm sang out in the most profane
language he could have uttered, saying: "Hang me if you intend to,
or I will have to go and warm my sore hand."

They marched on up the street to where there was a new log house
that had been recently built and not yet covered. That had been
prepared for this neck-tie party by placing four dry goods boxes
in a row in the house. The four men were led in and placed on the
boxes and a rope placed around each of their necks thrown over a
joist above and made fast to a sleeper below.

While they were tying the rope around Jack Gallagher's neck--his
hands already having been tied behind him--a perfect stream of
oaths was pouring from his lips, and about the last words he
uttered were: "I hope to meet you all in the bottomest pits of
hell." These words were uttered not more than a minute before the
box was kicked from under him.

After this little hanging-bee everything was quiet until near
spring, when there came to town a man by the name of Slade, who
was full of noisy whiskey, and started in to paint the town red.
This man was the same Slade that used to be stage agent on the
Overland road. He was also the same man that in the year 1852 cut
an old man's ears off while he was tied to a snubbing post in a
horse corrall, where he had been taken by the cowardly curs that
were at that time in the employ of Slade simply because he, Jule,
would not vacate the ranch where Julesburg was afterward
established. After severing both ears from his head they shot him
down like a dog while he was tied and helpless.

While in Virginia City this time Slade made threats against
several people, and during his spree did something, I never knew
just what, and a warrant was sworn out and placed in the hands of
a marshal for his arrest. The marshal found him in a gambling
house, and in some way managed to get him into the court-room
before he suspected anything, not reading the warrant to him until
they were in the court-room.

When informed that he was under arrest, Slade did not wait to hear
the warrant read, but jerked it from the hands of the officer,
tore it in two, wadded it up in his hands and threw it on the
floor and stamped on it with his foot. Then he turned and walked
out, and was in no wise backward in telling the officer, as well
as the judge of the court, what his opinion was of such

About the middle of that afternoon the Vigilantes, some twenty in
number, came to where Slade was standing, took him in charge, and
marched him off up the street. I happened to be standing near when
they took him in tow and followed close in the rear while they
were marching him off to the place of execution. I don't think
that he drew three breaths during that time but what he was
pleading for his life.

He told them after he was on the dry goods box that if they would
release him he would leave the United States just as soon as he
could get away. I have seen men die in various ways, but I never
saw a man die as cowardly as this man Slade. When he found they
were determined he begged and plead for them to let him live until
he could see his wife; he said it was for a business affair. They
did not wait for anything, but as soon as they were ready they
kicked the box from under him, thus ending the life of another of
the worst men that ever lived.

The awful life of this man is another story that would be too long
to give here.

It seemed as though as soon as the arrest was made some of Slade's
friends had started to inform his wife, from the fact that just as
they were carrying the body from the gallows to the hotel she was
seen coming across the hill as fast as her horse could carry her.
I was told afterward that had she only got there before the
hanging took place he never would have hanged, for parties that
knew her said that before she would have seen him hanged she would
have shot him herself. I was standing in the hotel where the body
lay when she came in. She stood silently looking at the corpse for
a few minutes, and then turning to the crowd that was standing
around, said: "Will some one tell me who did this?" No one
answering her, she repeated the question, and finally the third
time she repeated the question at the top of her voice. At this I
turned and walked out, and that was the last time I ever saw her.
This was the last hanging we had that winter and spring.

In the latter days of April Messrs. Boone and Bivian employed me
to cross the mountains and take letters to the wagon-master, and
also to assist him in crossing the Rockies, so taking one pair of
blankets, ten days provisions and a pair of snow shoes on my back
I started afoot and alone across the mountains. The fourth day
after leaving Virginia City I came to the foot of the main divide,
and up to this time I did not have to use my snow shoes. Where I
camped that night the snow was two feet deep, and the next morning
there was a crust on it strong enough to bear me up until I went
six or seven miles farther on, when I commenced to break through.

Then I put on my snow-shoes, and in a short time I was at the
summit of the mountain. After reaching the top, the country being
open and all down hill, I had fine traveling while the snow
lasted, making a distance of about forty miles that day. Then I
abandoned my snowshoes, and in two days more I was in camp on the
river bottom where the stock had been wintered.

The wagon-master informed me that he had lost about one-third of
the oxen, which had stampeded and ran off in a storm; also my two
saddle horses, and his one and only saddle horse had gone with the
cattle. He said they had been gone about six weeks, so I struck
out to Fort Hall to try and buy a horse to ride to hunt up the
lost stock.

I succeeded in buying a very poor excuse of a horse for a hundred
dollars, that under any other circumstances I would not have
accepted as a gracious gift. But it was "Hopkins' choice," that or
none. Mounting my crow-bait, I struck out in a westerly direction
to look for the stock.

Three days' ride from the fort I struck plenty of cattle sign.
They were apparently heading for Wood river, and after following
their trail about two miles, I discovered two horse tracks, which
convinced me it was the stock I was looking for. The next morning
I found them and the cattle were all there with the exception of
three. One of my horses was there, but the other one was missing,
the wagon-master's horse was also there. I succeeded in catching
my horse and turned loose the one I had bought and left him there
for wolf-bait, provided they would eat him, mounted my saddle
horse, and turned the stock in the direction of camp. It took me
five days to drive them to our camp on the river, making ten days
in all since I had started out. We stayed there three weeks
longer, and the grass being good, by that time the stock was
looking well.

All this time we were expecting a Mormon train on the other side
would cross over and break the road as they were not loaded, but
not seeing any sign of them, the wagon-boss got tired of waiting,
and hitching up, pulled about twenty miles to the edge of the

We were two days making this twenty miles. Here we stopped, but
the wagon-master and I started next morning on foot for the
summit. While we were on the mountain we could hear the other
train coming so we walked on to meet it and see if we could assist
them in any way. They were taking a very wise plan for it; two men
riding ahead on horseback, others were driving about forty head of
loose stock behind them, all followed by the wagons.

They got to our camp that night about dark. This tram broke the
road in good shape for us, and the following morning the boss put
all of the oxen to half the wagons and pulled across. It took us
nearly all day to get out of the snow on the other side, thereby
taking us three days to cross the mountains.

I traveled with the train three days after crossing the mountains,
and then I left and rode on to Virginia City, knowing that Boone
and Bivian would be anxious for information.

This was the first train of the season, and when it arrived flour
was worth one dollar per pound, bacon fifty cents, and everything
else in proportion.



After the goods were unloaded and the stock rested up for a few
days, the train was started back to Salt Lake City to load with
flour and bacon. After it had been gone five days Mr. Boone and I
started to follow it, expecting to get to the Mormon city ahead of
the train and have the cargo purchased by the time it would

Mr. Boone took with him on this trip twenty-two thousand dollars
in gold dust, on pack-horses. But in order to get away from
Virginia City with it and not be suspected, we packed up three
horses one night, behind the store, and I started that night with
a pick and shovel tied to each pack, as if I were going
prospecting. I went to where I thought would make a good day's
ride for Boone, and camped. He overtook me the next night, and he
said he would not have had it known how much dust he had with him
for three times that amount.

We made the trip to Salt Lake all right, however, but in a few
days after we learned that the stage-coach that left Virginia City
at the same time we did was robbed and every passenger killed.
These passengers were seven successful miners that had made all
the money they wanted, or rather what they considered a handsome
little stake, there being eighty thousand dollars in the crowd,
and they were on their way home somewhere in the East.

The driver was the only one that escaped, he claiming to have
jumped off from the stage. I saw the stage when it came into Salt
Lake City, and it was riddled with bullets and blood spattered all
over the inside of the coach.

There was a man by the name of Brown driving the stage at that
time, and many people believed, in fact it was the general
impression at the time, that the driver was in with the robbers.
This robbery and massacre occurred in what is known as Beaver

During my stay at Salt Lake there came in from Virginia City a
young man by the name of Richard Hyde, to buy cattle. Mr. Boone
recommended him to me as being a fine young man and very shrewd
for his age. After having some little acquaintance with him and he
had told me his business, also what profit there was in it, he and
I formed a co-partnership for the purpose of buying cattle and
driving them to Virginia City. We bought one hundred and ninety-
two head of all sizes, and by the help of two other men, we drove
them through, losing only five head, which was considered
excellent luck.

We stopped about ten miles below town, and after setting a price
on our cattle, I remained with them while Mr. Hyde went to look
for buyers. He was gone nearly a week, and when he returned he had
sold nearly all the cattle. We were well pleased with the result
of our venture, and I am told Mr. Hyde kept the business up for
several years until he made an independent fortune, and I am told,
at this writing--1899--that he is somewhere in Iowa doing a large
banking business.

As soon as the cattle were all delivered and we had settled up,
Mr. Hyde and I struck back for Salt Lake City, he to buy more
cattle, and I on my way to California.

Near Ogden I fell in with an emigrant train of twenty-two wagons
bound for California. As soon as they learned who I was, having
heard of me back at Fort Kearney, they insisted on my traveling in
company with them, and there being some fine looking young ladies
in the train, I accepted the invitation and joined them.

These families were from Illinois and Ohio, and I can truthfully
say that I never traveled with or saw a finer crowd of people than
these were, and I never was in a company that I regretted leaving
as I did those people, for they all seemed more like brothers and
sisters to me than strangers.

The majority of them bought small farms in Solano county,
California, and settled down. I remained with them until after the
holidays, then left and struck out for San Francisco. This was the
beginning of the year 1865.

After remaining in the city a few days I concluded one day to take
a ride out to the fort and see if any of my acquaintances were
there. I only found one person that I had been acquainted with
before, and that was Capt. Miller. He showed me a number of
letters from his brother officers out in Arizona, all saying they
were having a great deal of trouble with the Indians in that
country. I returned to the city, bought two more horses and
commenced making preparations to go to Fort Yuma by way of Los

The day before I was to start I was walking down Sampson street
near the American Exchange Hotel, where I was stopping while in
the city, when I heard a voice across the street that sounded
familiar, say, "Hello chief." I looked around and who should I see
but George Jones, who was then coming on a run to me; and you can
rest assured that I was glad to see him, as it had been nine years
since I had met him. He told me of his trip back to Fort Klamath
the time that he accompanied me to San Francisco and returned with
the mail; of the hardships that he underwent on his way back, and
also his various speculations after leaving the service and said
that it seemed that everything he turned his hand to went against

I told him my intention was to go to Arizona and secure a position
as scout, and he at once made up his mind to go with me, and it is
useless to say that I was well pleased with his decision from the
fact that when he was with me I always knew just what to depend

It was in the fore part of February when we started on this long
and tedious trip, and we made up our minds to take our time to it.
From here we went to Los Angeles, and there we stayed four days to
let our horses rest, and while there we lived principally on

From Los Angeles to Fort Yuma it is called five hundred and fifty
miles and the greater part of the way it is over a desert country.
From Los Angeles we struck across the Mojave desert, crossing the
extreme south end of Death Valley to avoid the sand desert, and
made our way to the Colorado river without any mishap, but
sometimes having to ride as much as forty miles without water for
our horses.

When we struck the river we traveled down on the north side until
just below the mouth of the Gila we crossed the Colorado, where
Jim Beckwith and I had crossed a number of years before. We had
not gone far after crossing the Colorado when we came to the Yuma
Indians, spoken of before as not wearing any clothing. Here George
Jones declared that he had gone far enough, saying he had found a
place that he had been looking for for a long time where people
did not have to wear clothing nor till the soil for a living. And
he added: "This is good enough for me."

The next day at noon after crossing the river we reached Fort
Yuma. We rode up to the guard and asked if Lieut. Jackson was
stationed at this fort. The guard replied that he was, and
directed me to his quarters. I walked up to his door and rapped.
He came to the door, but did not recognize me as my hair had grown
out long and my beard was all over my face, but in his usual
kindly way he asked what he could do for us. I asked him if my
friend and I could get our dinner.

By this time his wife had recognized my voice and came to the
door, and as she was approaching him he asked if she could let
those two gentlemen have their dinner.

"Why, Lieutenant, don't you know who that is you are talking to?"
she said. "I do not," he replied. "Why," said she, "that is the
boy scout."

It is useless to say that we were taken in to dinner and our
horses taken care of, and while at the dinner table I told the
Lieutenant our business there. I told him that I had come there
with the intention of getting a position as chief of scouts, and
that I would not accept a position unless my friend Mr. Jones
could get a place with me. He told me that he had no doubt but
that we would both be able to get a position, as they had lost
five scouts inside of the last month.

After dinner Lieut. Jackson excused himself, and telling us to
remain at his quarters until he returned, he took a walk to the
General's quarters. He returned in about an hour, saying Gen.
Crook wished to see us both at once at his quarters, and we, in
company with the Lieutenant, walked over to the General's tent,
and to my astonishment, I was introduced as Capt. Drannan.

The General's orderly and the officer of the day were both in his
room and he told them he wished to speak to us on private
business, and they at once withdrew. Then the General commenced to
question me in regard to fighting Indians, and I did nothing for
the next two hours but answer questions.

Like all other successful officers, he did not want any dead-heads
around him, and I presume that is why Gen. Crook was such a
successful Indian fighter.

He requested us to call at his quarters at nine o'clock the next
morning, after which he called his orderly and told him to show us
quarters for the night and also to care for our horses. That
evening while George was away looking after our horses I was
taking a stroll around the fort, when by chance I met Gen. Crook
taking his evening walk, and he asked me what I knew about this
friend of mine. I told how I had seen him tried on various
occasions and that I had never seen any signs of his weakening
yet. I also told him that if I accepted a position as scout, I
wanted George Jones with me, for I knew that I could depend on him
under any and all circumstances. The General told me that he had
been having very hard luck this summer, having lost all his best
scouts by their falling in the hands of the Apaches. He also told
me that he had one scout that fell into their hands and was burned
at the stake. The next morning at nine o'clock Jones and I were on
hand at the General's quarters. The first question he asked me was
on what conditions I wished to go to work and what I expected per
month. I told him that heretofore what scouting I had done I had
gone as an independent scout, and that I would go to work under no
other conditions.

He asked me what I meant by an independent scout. I said I meant
so much per month, rations for myself and horse, and all horses I
captured from the Indians to be my own. If I don't suit you, you
can tell me so and I will quit, and when you don't suit me I will
call for my money and quit at once.

He said that was fair enough, but I told him that I would not go
to work under any consideration unless my friend Mr. Jones could
have employment too.

I hired to Gen. Crook for one hundred and twenty-five dollars per
month, to go to work the following morning. After the bargain was
made the General said to me: "You must bear in mind that you're in
a different country now to what you have been accustomed to
working in, and altogether a different climate as well." He
proposed sending a man with me that he said was thoroughly posted
in the country, knowing every watering place, as well as the
different runways of the Indians in the whole, country, and he
added that he would not expect any benefit from us for at least
ten days, as it would take this man that length of time to show us
over the country.

At this I withdrew from the General's quarters, and he and George
soon made a bargain. George was to receive seventy-five dollars
per month. The balance of the day was spent in making preparations
for our prospecting tour, as we termed it.



The following morning I ordered ten days' rations for three of us.
When we were ready to start Gen. Crook called me aside and told me
the nature of the man who was to accompany us, saying that there
was not a watering place nor an Indian trail in the whole
territory that he did not know, and said he: "If you don't see any
Indians or fresh sign of Indians he will show you all over the
country. But he is the scariest man of Indians you ever saw in
your life."

This man's name was Freeman. When we were ready to start Freeman
asked me what course I wished to take. I told him that I would
like to go in the direction that we would be the most likely to
find Apaches. I pointed in the direction of a range of mountains,
telling him that by ascending them he would be able to show me
where the different watering places were in the valley by land
marks, and we struck out southeast from the fort in the direction
of the middle fork of the Gila river. The first night we camped on
what was then called the Butterfield route, some thirty-five or
forty miles from the fort. This season there were a great many
emigrants passing over this route from Texas and Arkansas to
California, and Gen. Crook said the Apaches were giving them much
trouble on this part of the road, and if they continued to be so
bad he would have to send one or two companies of soldiers out
there for the protection of the emigrants. The second morning out
we passed a ranch owned by a man named Davis, who had lived there
two years. He told me that the Apaches had never given him any
trouble from the fact that he had gotten the good will of the
chief when he first went there by giving him numerous little
presents of different kinds.

He told me that although isolated from the world, he was doing
well, from the fact that most all of the people passing there
patronized him. This family was from Indiana. After I had told him
who I was and what would be my business, he insisted on my staying
over night with him when convenient, saying that it would not cost
me a cent. Thanking him for his hospitable offer, we rode on,
keeping the Butterfield route. Late that afternoon we met a train
of sixteen wagons on the way to California. The people told us
that the day before they had seen where five wagons had just been
burned. I asked how far it was, and they thought it was twenty-
five miles from where we met them. When we heard of this we pushed
on, thinking there might be some dead bodies there and that we
could bury them. On arriving at the scene, sure enough we found
three dead bodies two hundred and fifty yards from the burned
wagons; one of them being that of an old man, and the others, two
boys twelve and fourteen years of age. The Indians had not
stripped the bodies nor mutilated them, only they were all filled
with arrows. The dead bodies were all dressed in home-made jeans.
We found a few pieces of wagon boxes that had not been burned and
dug as good a grave as we could in the sand, giving them as good a
burial as we could under the circumstances. This being done, we
took the trail of the Indians, which led off in a south-westerly
direction. I felt confident that it had been at least three days
since this depredation had been committed. My object in following
them up was to see if we could get any evidence of white prisoners
in their camp. For the first ten or fifteen miles they kept on the
roughest, rockiest ground they could find, all of which led me to
believe they had expected to be followed. The next morning we came
to where they had made their first camp. All the evidence we could
see of white prisoners in their charge was a few pieces of calico
torn up and scattered around their camp-ground. We followed the
trail until we came to where they had made their second camp, and
here we found the waists of two women's dresses, one being
somewhat larger than the other. The two dress waists we took along
with us. Here the Indians had changed their course somewhat, and
our guide said in the direction of their main village, but I did
not consider myself well enough posted to go too near their main
village. I told the guard to lead us off south of west from Fort
Yuma, which he did, and late that afternoon we saw six Indians
traveling east, and I told the boys that they were scouts for the
main band and that they were going out to look for emigrants. When
we first got sight of them they were traveling up an open valley.
I told the boys that we would keep a close watch of them, and if
they should camp alone we would have their scalps before morning;
but just one look from Freeman and I was convinced that he did not
approve of this scheme. George said to him: "You can take care of
the horses can't you, and if everything is favorable, Cap and I
can take care of the Indians." Late in the afternoon I told them
what course to travel, and taking advantage of the ground, I
pushed on to see the Indians go into camp. When I started the
guide told me there was water about a mile above where the Indians
were, and that they were pulling for it. He said there was a fine
spring of water in a little bunch of timber, and that the Indians
always camped there when they were going to and from their hunting
ground. Sure enough, when they came to this little grove they all
dismounted and turned their horses loose entirely, then commenced
to roast their antelope meat for supper. I hurried back to meet my
companions, and we succeeded in getting within a quarter of a mile
of the Indians. By this time it was getting dark.

We picketed our horses and sat down to eat our cold lunch, after
which we started down to the camp, but were very cautious how we
traveled. When in sight of the camp-fire we could see them all
plainly sitting around it. We lay silent and watched them and
their movements. In a few minutes two of them got up and went out
to where their horses were and drove them all up together to less
than one hundred yards of where we lay. It was so dark we could
not see them, but could hear them talking very distinctly. After
having rounded their horses up together they returned to the fire.
Thinking they would lie down in a short time, for they did not
seem to suspect any trouble that night, we started to crawl down
to their camp, all abreast. After our guide, Freeman, found that I
was determined to attack them he seemed to muster up courage and
come right to the front like a man. My object in crawling near
their camp so soon was to see in just what position they lay
before the fire went out, and when the last one laid down we were
within fifty yards of them. I told the boys we had a soft thing of
it, for each of us had two revolvers and a good knife, and the
Indians were all lying close together with their feet towards the
fire. I told them we would wait two hours as near as we could
guess the time and then they would be asleep; that then we would
crawl up and send them to their happy hunting-ground. After
waiting until we thought they were asleep we crawled down to their
camp, again all three abreast, George on my right and Freeman on
my left; and so we drew near, their fire had not gone entirely
out, and a little breeze now and then would cause it to blaze up
just enough so that we were able to get their exact positions. I
told the boys to watch me and when I raised to my feet for both to
raise and draw both revolvers as we would then be right at their
heads, and for each man to stick the muzzle of each of his pistols
to an Indian's head and fire; George to take the two on my right
and Freeman the two on toy left, and I to take the two in the
middle, and after firing each man was to jump back two jumps, so
in case one of us should miss one of his men that we would be out
of their reach, thereby enabling us to get all of them without
taking any chances ourselves.

George said that at the first click of his pistol one of his men
raised up in a sitting position, and he only got one the first
shot. Freeman and I each got our two Indians the first shot; but
George having both his eyes on one, the other rose to his feet.
George and I took two shots each at this other Indian before we
could get him down. It was mostly guess work, for it was so dark
that we could scarcely see him.

As soon as we were satisfied that we had all of them we started
out to look for their horses, but it was so dark that we could not
find them, so we found our way back to where our own horses were.
Freeman and I laid down to rest, while George got on a horse and
kept circling the camp so as not to let any of the horses get away
during the night. He kept this up until the morning star arose,
and seeing that all the horses were there, laid down to rest. As
soon as it was beginning to get light Freeman and I arose, started
a fire, and sat around until after sun-up, when we got breakfast,
made some coffee and then called George, and all enjoyed a good
square meal once more.

After breakfast we scalped our Indians and found that we had eight
good half-breed horses and a number of good horse-hair robes. I
asked our guide how far we were from Fort Yuma and he said
straight through it was one hundred and twenty miles, but the way
that we would have to go it would be at least one hundred and
fifty miles. I concluded we had better pull out for the fort so
Freeman and myself rode ahead and George followed up the rear,
driving the loose horses. We did not see any more Indian sign that
day. Late in the evening I was riding along when I ran on to a
young antelope. I shot him and we had fresh meat for supper for
the first time since we left the fort. The next day we crossed a
big Indian trail going east. The trail looked to be about two days
old, but as our rations were beginning to run short we did not
attempt to follow them, but pushed on to the fort, making as good
time as possible, returning on the eleventh day from the time we
started out.

I reported our success to the General. He was well pleased with
the result of the trip, and when I reported the burying of the
dead bodies, he thought we had better return to the spot, taking
with us some good coffins, and give them a more decent burial, but
on consulting the doctor, concluded in that extraordinarily hot
climate it would be utterly impossible to bury them after so long
a time, and the idea was abandoned.

I showed the two dress waists that I had found at the Apache camp
to the General, also to Mrs. Jackson, but we never got any
information of any white prisoners being taken there at that time.

The General was pleased to see the Indian scalps, as he said they
were the first scalps that had been brought in for two months.

Gen. Crook now made up his mind at once to send Lieut. Jackson out
on the road with two companies of cavalry, and George Jones and
myself were to accompany them as scouts.

When we were ready to start Lieut. Jackson asked me if I didn't
want more scouts, but I told him that I thought we could get along
this trip with what we had.

We took the Butterfield route and followed that road until we were
in the St. Louis mountains. This seemed to be at that time, a
favorite part of the country for the Apaches to commit their
depredations upon emigrants. We traveled very slowly as we had to
pack our entire outfit on burros, and our saddle horses having to
live altogether on grass, consequently we could not hurry. Early
in the morning of the sixth day of that trip George and I started
out in advance of the command, one to the right and the other to
the left of the road, and if neither of us should see any signs of
Indians we were to meet at the crossing of a certain stream only a
few miles ahead of the command; and in the event of either of us
arriving at the stream and waiting half an hour and the other did
not make his appearance, he was to return at once with his force
of scouts to the command. On arriving at the appointed spot and
finding that George and his assistants were not there, we waited
until we were convinced he was not coming and at once returned to
the command.

On our return we learned that shortly after starting out that
morning George had run on to a big Indian trail. Supposing it to
be the same band of Indians whose trail we had crossed when
returning from our other trip, he had reported to the command at
once, and the trail being fresh, he, taking four other men, had
started in pursuit, leaving word with Lieut. Jackson for me not to
be uneasy about him nor attempt to follow him, but to remain with
the command until I heard from him again.

While Lieut. Jackson was yet talking relative to the matter, I
received a message from George saying that he had the Indians
located some five miles from the road and wanted me to come and
look the ground over before the command should start.

I at once mounted, and piloted by the man who had brought the
message to me, rode to where George was. On arriving there I found
the Indians so situated that it was impossible to ascertain the
number from the fact that in this extraordinarily warm climate the
Indians do not use any wick-i-ups or lodges, so that the only
method by which we could make an estimate of their number was by
counting the number of fires they had end calculate each fire to
represent a certain number of Indians, this being our method of
estimating them when in wick-i-ups, we reckoned their number to be
one hundred and fifty.

Where these Indians were camped it would be utterly impossible to
make an attack without being discovered long before reaching them,
they being in a large valley.

After a thorough examination of the camp and surroundings by
looking through a glass, we concluded that the best plan would be
to return to the command and have it move up to within two miles
of the Indians and remain there until after dark, then leave it to
the Lieutenant whether he should make the attack on foot or

I remained to watch the movements of the Indians and see whether
they were reinforced during the day and to report at dark, George
returning to the command. The soldiers moved up that evening to
within two miles of the Indian camp I remained at my post until it
was so dark that I could not see through my glasses any longer,
when I mounted my horse and rode to the command, having made no
new discoveries. After explaining the situation as nearly as I
could, the Lieutenant concluded to make the attack on foot some
time between midnight and daylight the next morning, and to attack
them from two sides at the same time.

The Lieutenant taking half the men and making the long march,
which would be about one and a half miles farther than the others
would have to march, leaving his orderly sergeant in charge of the
other half of the command. I piloted the Lieutenant and George
piloted the orderly. Here Lieut. Jackson invented some new style
of signal to what I had seen before, by taking a tea cup and
pouring powder in it and when he was ready to make the charge he
was to set the powder on fire, which would make a flash, and in
case the orderly was ready, he was to signal the Lieutenant in the
same manner.

We made the circuit and marched up to within one hundred yards of
the Indians, but could not make the attack until near daylight,
the Lieutenant thinking it was so dark that the soldiers were in
danger of killing each other, which was all perfectly true.

When the time arrived for the attack, which was just at daybreak,
the Lieutenant gave his signal, which was answered at once by the
orderly, and the Lieutenant led the way by going in advance of the
force, and I think it was the quickest fight I ever saw. I did not
count the Indians that were killed myself, but was told that there
were between 190 and 200 found dead on the battlefield. They
seemed to raise up as fast as the soldiers would cut them down,
and I think there were two cut down with the sabres where one was
shot. As soon as the battle was over, or when we could not find
any more Indians to kill, George and I got our horses as quick as
we could and went out after our horses, but they had taken fright
at the firing and were scattered all over the country. That
evening the Lieutenant moved back to the road at the head of a
nice little valley where there were plenty of fine grass and good
water, saying that he would make this his headquarters as long as
he was out on this road.

The Lieutenant having five men wounded in this engagement, he
wanted some one to carry a dispatch to headquarters requesting the
General to forward an ambulance, and George Jones being a light
man who could stand the ride better than any one in the crowd, the
Lieutenant chose him to make the ride. It took us five days to
come from Fort Yuma, and George took three horses and made the
round trip in seven and one-half days. We remained here in this
camp something like three months, but did not have another fight
of any consequence with the Indians during our stay in this place.
The Apaches quit their work in this portion of the country, thus
enabling the emigrants to pass unmolested. In about one week after
George Jones had returned from his trip to headquarters, Lieut.
Jackson, George and myself went out around the foot of the
mountain on a scouting tour. We were riding in sight of each
other, when the Lieutenant signaled us to come to where he was.
On arriving there he told us to keep our eyes on a certain ridge
and we would see a little band of Indians rise over the top of the
hill in a few minutes, saying he had just got sight of them while
crossing the ridge beyond but could not tell just how many there

We secreted ourselves in a little thicket of timber where we would
be concealed from their view, and in a few minutes they hove in
sight. We counted them and found that there were eleven of them.
Lieut. Jackson said to me: "Cap, shall we try them a whirl or
not?" I said: "Lieutenant, I will leave that with you. If you feel
like it we will give them a round." The Lieutenant said: "All
right. I want to try my mare anyway and see if she is any good or

He was riding a mare of fine breeding, as black as a coal and as
fleet an animal as there was in the whole command. By this time
the Indians had crossed over the ridge and were then traveling up
a little ravine, and by keeping ourselves secreted they would
cross the ridge near us. Just as they turned over the ridge
referred to, we were to make the charge. I was riding a roan horse
that I had bought in San Francisco that could run like a deer, for
when in this business I would not ride a horse that was not swift,
but I never had him in an engagement of this kind. Being very
hard-mouthed, I thought he was liable to run away with me, and I
did not know whether he would run in the opposite direction or
after the Indians. The Lieutenant and Geo. Jones said that if he
would only run after the Indians they would follow me up closely.

As soon as the last Indian had passed over the ridge out of sight
we made a charge, and that black mare went like she was shot out
of a cannon. The Indians were all armed with bow and arrows, but
they did not attempt to use them. They did not suspect anything
wrong until they heard the clatter of our horses' feet within a
few yards of them and when they turned to look back we all had our
revolvers ready and turned loose to firing and yelling, and for
the next half mile we had a lively race. I had thought up to that
time that there wasn't a man on the plains or in the Rocky
Mountains that could beat me shooting with a pistol while on the
run, but I must confess that Lieut. Jackson on his black mare
could shoot more Indians in the same length of time than any
person I was ever out with, and it seemed that as fast as the
Lieutenant would shoot one Indian down his mare would turn and
take after the next nearest. The Lieutenant fired six shots and
killed five Indians and wounded the sixth one, while riding at
full speed, and in this country in places the sage brush is waist
high to a man. In this engagement I got four Indians, having to
shoot one Indian three times before I got him down, and George Jones
killed three. Not one of them escaped. Lieut. Jackson said he
could not see why it was that they did not offer to defend
themselves, when they had four to one to start with, for the
Apaches have always been considered the bravest tribe of Indians
in the entire West, and they had been known at different times to
fight soldiers man to man. The last Indian I killed was beyond
doubt the best horseman I had ever seen among the Indians, for he
was first on one side of his horse and then on the other. It
seemed as though he could almost turn under the horses belly while
on the dead run, and he would swing himself around under his
breast, rendering it almost impossible to deal him a fatal shot,
for he frisked around so fast that a person could not get a bead
on him.

We arrived at camp that evening just at dark. During our absence a
train of emigrants consisting of twenty-one wagons had camped near
our quarters. They wanted an escort of twenty or twenty-five men
to accompany them to Fort Yuma, which they were willing to board
free of charge while on the trip.

Those emigrants were from Dallas, Texas, and apparently well-to-do
people. On learning that the Lieutenant was out on a scouting
tour, they prepared a nice supper for the three of us. The
following morning the Lieutenant detailed twenty men in charge of
a sergeant, to escort the emigrants to Fort Yuma. George Jones
went along as a scout and I remained with the command. They were
ten days making the trip, as the emigrants having ox teams,
traveled slowly. On the return of the escort the Lieutenant
concluded to move some fifty miles south on this road, where we
made our headquarters while we remained in this section of
country, being on a tributary of the Grand river, which runs down
through the western part of New Mexico.

One day while I was out on a scouting tour I ran on to a little
band of Navajo Indians on their way to the St. Louis Mountains for
a hunt. They had some blankets with them of their own manufacture,
and being confident that the Lieutenant had never seen a blanket
of that kind, I induced them to go with me to our quarters to show
their blankets to the Lieutenant and others as well. I told the
Lieutenant that he could carry water in one of those all day and
it would not leak through. We took one of them, he taking two
corners and I two, and the third man poured a bucket of water in
the center of it, and we carried it twenty rods and the water did
not leak through it. The Lieutenant asked how long it took to make
one of them, and the Indian said it took about six months. He
bought a blanket for five dollars, being about all the silver
dollars in the command. The blanket had a horse worked in each
corner, of various colors, also a man in the center with a spear
in his hand. How this could be done was a mystery to all of us, as
it contained many colors and showed identically the same on both

By this time our three months' supply was running short, and
Lieut. Jackson commenced making preparations to return to
headquarters with his entire command. We pulled out for the fort,
and did not see an Indian or even a fresh track on our way.

When we arrived at the fort and Lieut. Jackson made his report
Gen. Crook was more than pleased with the success we had met, and
I succeeded in getting George's wages raised from seventy-five to
one hundred dollars per month, unbeknown to him.

It was now in the fall of the year, and the General decided to
send us back again with two companies of cavalry and one company
of infantry, calculated more for camp and guard duty than for
actual service.

After we had rested up a month or such a matter the General had
six or eight mule teams rigged up, also fifty burros for pack
animals, and started Lieut. Jackson back again with three hundred



We traveled very slowly and cautiously, and at the foot of the
mountains, one hundred and fifty miles from Fort Yuma, we met a
freight train from Santa Fe loaded with flour and bacon,
principally, bound for Tombstone, Arizona. This train was owned by
a man named Pritchett; but he was generally known as "Nick in the
Woods." His party had had a fight with the Indians in the
mountains the third day before we met him, and he had lost several
mules killed and two of his teamsters were wounded. He informed us
that the mountains were swarming with Indians, so the Lieutenant
sent one company ahead of the command, George Jones and I going as

The advance company was under command of an orderly sergeant, who
was instructed that if we met no Indians before reaching our old
quarters we were to stay there until the command came up. On the
third evening, just as our company was going into camp, and Jones
and I were taking a survey from the hill near by, we saw a band of
Indians coming leisurely along and evidently bound for the same
camp ground that the soldiers were. Jones hurried down to inform
the sergeant of the situation, I tarrying long enough to become
positively convinced that the reds might get their camp fixings
mixed with ours. So I put spurs to my horse and rode down to camp
as quickly as I could. During this time the sergeant was flying
around like a chicken with his head cut off to have his company
ready to meet the Indians, and he barely had time to get his men
all mounted when the reds came in sight, not forty rods away.
George and I had ridden our horses very hard all day, consequently
took no hand in this engagement, but rode to the top of a little
hill close by where we could see the whole affair.

In this fight the Apaches showed their blood by standing their
ground better than any Indians I have ever seen in a battle. They
did not offer to retreat until the soldiers were right up among
them, there being some sixty Indians and one hundred soldiers.

This was beyond doubt the wickedest little battle I had ever
witnessed, but it did not last long. In the engagement three
soldiers were killed and five wounded, and nine horses killed and
nine wounded. There were twenty-seven good Indians left on the
battle-field, and none of the Indian horses were captured. Those
that the Indians did not drive away took fight and ran after them.

The soldiers followed until after dark, but did not find any more
dead Indians. We remained in this camp until the Lieutenant came
up with his command. He regretted that he did not come on himself
ahead of the command, thinking that had he been there the result
would have been quite different.

On his arrival he made a detail of eight men to assist in
scouting, informing them that they were relieved of all guard
duties while serving in that capacity, which is a great relief to
a soldier, especially when in an Indian country. I was appointed
captain or chief of scouts and George my first assistant The
Lieutenant selected what he thought to be the best men he had in
his command and they afterwards proved themselves to be just what
he had expected. On starting out I did not make any reserve of
scouts, but sent four with George and took the other four with me.

The fourth day after starting, about noon, I saw a band of Indians
in camp ten miles from the Lieutenant's quarters. I knew this to
be a new camp, as I had been over the same ground only two days
previous. The Indians were camped in a valley nearly a mile wide
that had not a stick of timber on it, except the few small willows
that grew along the little rill that ran through the valley,
consequently I could not get close enough to ascertain the number
of the Indians until after dark. In the meantime I telegraphed the
Lieutenant to hold his men in readiness or to move on at once as
he thought best.

As soon as he received my message he mounted two companies of
cavalry and pushed on to the place where I had told the messenger
to meet me on his return.

While the messenger went to headquarters, in company with one of
my scouts I went down near the Indian camp to try to ascertain if
possible their number, leaving the other two scouts in charge of
the horses. The only way we could get at the number was to count
the fires and make an estimate in that way. The Indians seemed to
be nervous and much disturbed that night from some cause;
continually little squads of them would walk from one fire to
another. After we had crawled around something like two hours and
made our estimate, we returned to our horses and comrades, and I
never was more surprised in my life than when I got back and met
Lieut. Jackson there with his command, for I did not think
sufficient time had passed for him to come that distance. I sat
down and explained the lay of the ground as best I could, nothing
being in the way except the little creek that carried the water
across the valley, and I told him that about one hundred and fifty
yards below the Indian camp the horses would be able to jump it. I
also told them that I estimated their number at two hundred.

The Lieutenant said: "I think I will attack them at once," and
asked me if I had their horses located. I told him I had. He then
gave orders for all of the men to muffle their spurs, and he asked
me to take my four men and as soon as the charge was made to make
a dash for the horses, cut them off and stampede them. So we made
the start, my scouts and I on the extreme right of their entire
command. The Lieutenant had explained to the command that he would
give the word in an undertone, each corporal to take it up, and
they also had orders to hold their sabres up in a way that they
could not make any noise. Being good starlight that night, one
could see fairly well. We rode within less than one hundred yards
of the Indian camp before the word was given to charge. When we
were in sight of the horses we raised the yell and they all
started, and we did not let them stop until at headquarters the
next morning at daybreak. At this haul we got one hundred and
eighty-two horses.

The Lieutenant returned with his command at ten o'clock the same
morning, and he told me that he didn't think a dozen Indians

In this engagement he did not lose a man, and only a few were
wounded, but five horses were hurt, and those he had killed after
returning to headquarters, claiming that in this warm climate,
where the flies were so bad, it took too much attention to cure

The two days following were days of rest with us, very little
being done in the way of scouting. On the morning of the third day
after the battle, George and his force went out to make a tour
around the camp, and Lieut. Jackson, myself and four scouts went
out to try to kill some deer, as we were getting very hungry for
fresh meat, having been so long on bacon that we were all sick and
tired of it. That day we killed four deer, and that night we
camped six miles from our quarters. The next morning the
Lieutenant sent to headquarters for ten pack animals, and we
remained to hunt. In two days we killed all the game we could pack
to camp on the ten animals. On our return the Lieutenant said to
me: "This part we will have to keep to ourselves, for if we tell
the General that we were out hunting and spent three days on the
trip he would swear until everything around would turn blue."

After this we made two and three day scouting trips. While out on
one of these, I found where the Apache stronghold was; down in a
deep canyon, which since then has been known as Black canyon. From
all appearance the greater part of the tribe was there. This
canyon was tributary to the Colorado, and the hardest place to get
into I have ever seen in the Rocky Mountains.

After making as good an investigation as the surroundings would
permit, I returned with my scouts to the command to report. In
making my report I said: "Lieutenant, I cannot half describe that
canyon to you, for it is beyond any doubt the blackest looking
place I have ever seen in all my travels." I told the Lieutenant
that I would like to have him go with me and view the place before
he moved his command. The canyon was fifty miles from our
quarters. That same night George Jones returned with his four
scouts, and the morning following we started out with the entire
scout force, taking four days' rations with us. On the morning of
the second day we came in sight of the canyon. The Lieutenant took
a good look at it through his glasses, after which he said:
"Captain, I think you named it well when you called it a Black
canyon, for it looks as if it would be impossible to enter it on
horseback." That day and the next was spent in trying to find
where the Indians entered the canyon, and we at last discovered
that they entered it from the east and west with horses, by
descending a very abrupt mountain, and they were strung up and
down the canyon for five miles. After the Lieutenant had made
examinations of the location we started back to headquarters.

The Lieutenant and I fell back to the rear in order to have a
private conversation relative to the situation. He said: "To be
honest with you, I don't think it safe to go in there with less
than two thousand soldiers, especially at this time of the year.
If the Indians are as strong as they look to be, and have the
advantage of the ground that they seem to have, it would only be
sport for them to lie behind those rocks and shoot the soldiers
down as fast as they could enter the canyon. This is the first
time I ever went out hunting Indians, found them, and had to go
away and let them alone. To tell the truth, I don't know what to
do, for if I report to the General he will come at once with all
his forces and accomplish nothing when here."

The Black canyon is in the northwest corner of Arizona, where it
joins on to California and Nevada. Since that time there have been
more soldiers killed in that place than in all the balance of
Arizona territory.

After he had thought the matter over for a day or so he decided to
move the command up near Black canyon, catch small parties out
from there, and try in that manner to weaken them, or he might
succeed in drawing them out, and in that way be able to get a
fight out of them on something like fair ground. But in this the
Lieutenant was very much disappointed, for they were too smart to
come out.

George Jones and myself, each with our company of scouts, started
out to locate some place suitable for headquarters, with
instructions that anywhere within twenty miles would be
satisfactory. I was out six days but did not find what I
considered a suitable location. Jones was more successful. Within
about ten miles of the canyon he found what he thought to be a
suitable location, but said it would be impossible to get to the
place with wagons. So the wagons were corralled and left at our
present location in charge of a sergeant, with thirty infantrymen.

Loading the entire pack train, we started for Howard's Point, that
being the name George had given the new camp.

Upon arrival at our new camp the Lieutenant put out pickets all
around camp one mile away, keeping them there day and night while
we remained. The scouts for the next six weeks were almost worked
to death, without accomplishing much of anything, from the fact
that we were too close to the main body of Indians to catch them
in small squads, for in going out to hunt they would not go into
camp until twenty or thirty miles from their headquarters, and our
plan was to catch them in camp and attack them either in the night
or just at daybreak in the morning.

One morning after being here ten days, the whole scout force
started in two squads, with the understanding that we keep in
about one mile of each other, so that if one squad should
encounter a band of Indians the other could come to the relief.

After traveling about ten miles we heard shots in the direction
where I knew George was with his four assistants, and turning in
that direction, we put our horses down to their best speed, and
were soon at the scene of action, but owing to the roughness of
the ground we could not make as good time as we desired. When in
sight of the contestants I saw that George was on foot, a comrade
on each side of him, and they were firing as fast as they could
load and shoot. He had run into those Indians, about twenty in
number, hid in the rocks, and they had opened fire on the scouts,
killing two of his men the first shot, and shooting George's horse
from under him, leaving him afoot. When we arrived I ordered my
men to dismount and take to the rocks, leaving the horses to take
care of themselves, as the Indians were on foot and we could make
better time in that immediate vicinity than we could on our
horses. We had a hot little fight, but succeeded in driving the
savages back. After the battle was over we tied our dead comrades
on one horse and packed them to camp, changing off with George and
the scout whose horse the dead bodies were tied on, letting them
ride our horses part of the time. That night we dug graves and
gave the two comrades as decent a burial as circumstances would
permit. George felt very sorry over losing the two scouts because
they were in his charge, but he was not to blame in the least.

In this little battle we got six Indians, and they killed two of
our men and three horses. Lieut. Jackson thought it would now be
advisable to increase the number of scouts and have a sufficient
force together to be able to protect ourselves, for we were to
remain here a month longer, and if in that time we were not able
in some way to get at the Indians we would return to the fort and
wait until spring.

Two weeks later I was out on a scouting tour when I saw a small
band of Indians coming out of Black canyon and making their way
westward. When they were within ten miles of our headquarters I
got to count them, finding there were forty in the band, all on
foot. I decided that they had started on a hunt and I would keep
my eye on them to see where they would camp for the night. By this
time I had all the water in this region located, and when I would
see a band of Indians late in the evening I could tell about where
they would camp.

As soon as I had decided where those would camp I telegraphed to
Lieut. Jackson the situation. Where these Indians camped was
within six miles of our quarters, but a miserable place to enter
with horses, but I thought we could ride within a mile of the
place on horseback.

The Lieutenant, however, was well acquainted with the ground, and
as soon as he read my message he mounted his cavalrymen and
started, and met me within a mile of the Indian camp. Dismounting,
he and his men started on foot to the camp, and he told the
soldiers to walk lightly, and when in sight of the camp to get
down and crawl, but to be very careful not to break a limb or
twig. I was very much disappointed in not getting to see this
fight, for after I had sent my message to headquarters my horse
fell with me and dislocated my right knee.

Lieut. Jackson said that he had never seen Indians fight harder in
the dark than they did. He had three to their one, and said if it
had been daylight he thought they would have held the soldiers in
check for some little time. He did not think that he got all of
them. In this action he lost--two men killed and seven wounded,
two of whom died afterwards from their wounds.

I was laid up for a month with my knee, having to go on crutches
most of the time, and it has given me more or less trouble since,
even up to the present time. After we had arrived at our
headquarters the Lieutenant concluded that as it was getting late,
we had better move in the direction of the fort, and we started,
making ten miles a day, and keeping out a strong force of scouts,
thinking they might be able while in the mountains to capture
small bands of hunting Apaches, but no more Indians were seen.

When we were out of the mountains we doubled our distance, making
about twenty miles a day. Having no other way to travel than on
horseback, my knee swelled badly, and when we got to Mr. Davis'
ranch, which was forty miles from Fort Yuma, I had to stop and
rest a few days. This was, however, a very desirable place for an
unmarried man to stop, for Mr. Davis had some young daughters who
were very attractive. I remained there a week, until I got the
swelling reduced in my leg, and Mr. Davis hauled me to the fort in
a wagon, taking at the same time a load of watermelons and
tomatoes, which grew abundantly in that country. When I arrived at
Fort Yuma Gen. Crook told me to take good care of myself, also
saying he was highly pleased with the success of the past season,
and he said: "If I live until spring I am going to see that Black
canyon of yours that Lieut. Jackson has told me so much about."

During this winter we got a weekly mail established from Fort Yuma
to Los Angeles, I had been here over eight months and had not seen
a newspaper since I came, and when this mail line was established
nearly every man subscribed for a paper of some kind, and the fort
for the first time was blessed with plenty of reading matter, and
we were able to gain a little knowledge as to what was going on in
the civilized parts of the United States.

In the fore part of the month of December the officers put the men
to work cleaning and straightening things up in general about the
fort. We were all confident there was something up, but just what
was not known. After everything was in proper shape it was
whispered around that the paymaster would be in in a few days. On
hearing this I asked Lieut. Jackson if it was true, and he said it
was, and he also informed me that from this on we would have a
regular pay day; and this was not all either, but that we were to
have two more companies of cavalry and one of infantry, and said
he: "The General is talking of sending you and me to California to
buy horses, but that will not be decided upon until the paymaster

It was the twentieth of December when the paymaster came, and also
the three companies of recruits spoken of by the Lieutenant. This
was the first pay day the soldiers had had for over a year, and
the boys all had plenty of money, but a-poor show to spend it, as
there were no saloons or gambling houses there, so they amused
themselves by gambling among themselves, and one could go all
around the fort and see all kinds of games running, and there was
money flying in the air.



It was about the first of January when Gen. Crook ordered Lieut.
Jackson and I to go to California to buy fifty head of cavalry
horses. With an escort of twelve men we headed for Los Angeles,
expecting to be able to procure the horses there, which we did,
and were back at Yuma in a little more than a month preparing to
give Apaches more of our warm social attention. In this campaign
Lieut. Jackson was to take the lead with two companies of cavalry
and one of infantry, and take the same route as the season before.
Gen. Crook was to follow in a month, taking no wagons, but a pack-
train of one hundred animals. Only Mexicans were employed this
time as packers, and the captain of our train was named Angel, but
he didn't look it.

It was arranged between Gen. Crook and I that I was to have twelve
scouts and select them myself. The General sent a sergeant with me
to take the names of the men I wished to secure, and then he gave
me permission to go into the corrall and select two horses for
each of my men, taking anything that did not belong to a
commissioned officer. In the afternoon of the same day Lieut.
Jackson came to me and said: "Captain, I have a present for you if
you will accept it. I want to give you Black Bess."

This was the beautiful mare that he rode the year before and of
which I spoke previously.

It was a very acceptable present indeed, and I was surprised to
learn that he would part with her, but he walked down to the
stable and turned her over to me. He had never ridden her when
going into a fight except the time of which I made mention when
out on the scouting tour. He said to me: "She is too fine an
animal for me, and if you will train her a little she will be a
perfect companion to you."

This black mare proved to be the most intelligent animal that I
had ever owned in my life, and there was nothing she seemed to
dislike so much as the sight or even the scent of an Indian. Often
when out scouting I have got off of her and let her feed at the
end of a picket rope while I would lie down and sleep, and the
moment she would see or scent anything strange she would come to
where I was lying and paw until I would raise up and look in the
direction of whatever object she had seen or heard, and in less
than three months she was the pet of the entire command. She would
follow me like a dog anywhere I would go.

We pulled out for the mountains, and went something like one
hundred and fifty miles from Fort Yuma before making a halt for a
permanent camp-this being the fore part of February, 1866-and as
soon as we were fairly settled we began active work.

We had only been there a few days when George Jones came in and
reported having seen the trail of a band of Indians coming from
the direction of Black canyon. George, myself and four other
scouts started out immediately to take the trail, which was ten
miles south of our quarters. We camped on their trail that night
on account of the country being too rough to travel after night,
but the next morning we were off early and followed the trail all
day. Just before sundown we halted on a high ridge, when I took a
look through my glasses over the country. About twelve miles away
I saw an Apache camp. The course they had traveled that day
brought them about as near our quarters as where we had struck
their trail, and from this I came to the conclusion that they were
either looking for the command or were expecting an attack.

Now the country between us and the Indians was very rough, but I
told the boys that we must get there that night, and as quickly as

I could see the country between the Indians and headquarters, and
they were not more than fifteen miles from there, although we were
about twelve miles away, and about the same distance from the

Knowing that Lieut. Jackson would be anxious to hear from me, I
sent one man back to camp to report to him, with instructions as
to the course to move, also for him to throw up a rocket every
mile or so, that I might know where to send my next messenger to
meet him. Myself and the other four scouts started for the Indian
camp, and it took two hours and a half the best we could do to
reach it.

When we were within a quarter of a mile of them, that being as
near as we thought it safe to ride, we dismounted, and leaving two
men in charge of our horses, the other three of us started to
crawl down to their camp, at least near enough to find out about
their number.

They had not lain down for the night nor had they any guards out
with their horses, but were sitting around the camp-fire smoking
and apparently enjoying themselves.

No doubt if we could have understood their language they were then
laying plans to capture the first emigrant train that might come
that way. The moon was shining brightly, and we had a splendid
chance to have stampeded their stock, but I did not think it best
from the fact that it would put them on their guard, which would
be to the detriment of the cavalry when they should arrive. We
decided not to disturb them until the cavalry came up, knowing
that the command would lose no time in getting there, and that it
would be before daylight if it was possible.

We counted the horses of the Indians as best we could by
moonlight, and made out eighty head of them. We could not make out
just the number of Indians, but estimated them at seventy-five,
After ascertaining as near as we could the lay of the ground and
the general situation, we returned to our horses, and all started
in the direction that we expected the command to come from. After
we had ridden about a half mile I stopped, and George Jones
started on with the other scouts to meet the command. After riding
five miles they met Lieut. Jackson coming with two companies of
cavalry and the entire scout force; and long before I expected
them Black Bess told me by her actions that they were coming.

The Lieutenant formed his men in a triangle on the ridge, his
object being to pocket the Indians; in other words, to bunch them
up or prevent them from scattering. While he was forming his men
and giving instructions, I told my men where the horses were and
that we must get to them about the time the cavalry made the
attack on the Indians. I told them that no doubt the horses would
have ropes on them and the first one that I come to I would take
him and lead the way. "And when you hear the first shot, all raise
the yell, for by doing that we will be able to make the stampede,
and if nothing goes wrong we will keep the stock going until we
reach headquarters." When I got to the horses about the first one
I stumbled onto was a white one, with a long hair rope on; I
caught him and led the way, and he made a good leader for the
others to follow.

We got to the horses a few moments before the soldiers got to the
Indian camp, and at the first shot we all raised the yell, and as
I led the white pony away all followed, and we did not halt until
we were five or six miles off. Here we came to a small stream that
meandered through a little valley. There we stopped awhile to let
our horses drink and rest, and while there we counted our horses
and found that we had seventy-eight.

We reached camp about six o'clock the next morning, but the
soldiers did not get in until noon. When the fight was over the
Lieutenant put out a strong picket guard and remained there until
morning in order to catch the Apaches that might be secreted in
the sage-brush.

When daylight came he succeed in jumping up eleven, which he
considered ample pay for staying there a few hours. In this fight
sixty-six Indians were killed, besides we got all their horses,
blankets, ropes and such other articles as they had.

We did but little in the way of scouting for the next few days.
Lieut. Jackson said that we had made a good beginning and we did
not want to do much before Gen. Crook came. "For," said he, "we
will have all the fighting we want when the General gets here."

The morning of the third day after the fight we started out with
the entire scout force in squads of four, there being three
squads, with the understanding that we were to keep in from one to
three miles of each other, and all to camp together at night.

We took along with us four days' rations, but a scout is expected
to live on four days' rations for eight days if it becomes
necessary, for when he starts he never knows just where he is
going or when he will return.

It was in the afternoon of the third day that I ran on to an
Indian trail that appeared from the number of horse-tracks to be
about twenty in the band. We could tell that they had passed there
that day, so we followed the trail; and it was not long until the
other two pulled in towards me, and we were soon near enough that
I could signal to them, or they to me, and shortly we all met on
the trail.

We had not followed long before we came in sight of the Indians
riding leisurely along, and we then set it down that they were a
band of Apaches on their way to the Oscuro Mountains for a hunt.
They went into camp early that night on account of water, and
after supper they amused themselves by running foot-races. I was
tempted several times before dark to make a charge on them, but
knowing that we could accomplish our end better by waiting until
after dark, we held back until they had all turned in for the
night. They did not lie down until about nine o'clock, and by this
time the boys were all getting anxious for a fight. We waited
about an hour after they had all lain down and then we started to
crawl down to their camp. We agreed to use our knives and sabres,
George Jones and I each having a big knife, all the rest having

Our idea for this was to prevent any of our own party from being
shot accidently; but each man had his pistol in his left had with
instructions not to use it except in case of emergency. We crawled
into the camp undiscovered as the Indians had no dogs along to
give the alarm.

Previous to this I had told the boys that I could crawl all over
an Indian and not wake him up, and I came near demonstrating it
that night. They were apparently asleep and badly scattered, two
in a place.

I had told the boys not to strike until they saw that I was just
in the act of striking; that when they saw me raise up for each
man to spring to his feet and get his Indian the first lick if
possible, and not to let up as long as they could see one kick.

It being bright moonlight we could see each other very plainly,
and we crawled right in among them, there being no order whatever
in their camp. When I came to where there were two lying with
their backs together, I made up my mind that that was too good a
chance for me to let pass; so I looked around to see if the boys
had their men selected, and seeing that they had, and that they
were all watching me and the Indians also, I raised to my feet,
and placing my right foot between the two Indians, I aimed to
sever the first one's head from his body, which I came near doing,
for he only just quivered after I struck him. At that they all
began the work of blood and death.

The second one I attacked I had to deal the second blow, as I also
did the third one. Up to this time I had not heard a word from any
one of my companions, but there had been a continual ringing of
sabres all around me. Just as I had done up my last Indian George
sprang to my side and said: "Cap, we have got every one of them."
We counted them and found that we had killed twenty-two, and after
examining their blankets and other "traps," we knew that we had
got them all.

They had killed a fine buck deer during the day and had only
cooked enough of it for their supper, so we had plenty of fresh
meat, for a while, at least; so while George and some of the other
scouts went for our horses, which were about a quarter of a mile
from camp, the remainder of us built a fire and began roasting
venison. This was the first fresh meat we had on the trip.

The morning following we gathered up the horses and found we had
twenty-two, and we started two of the men to headquarters with
them, and also sent a message to Lieut. Jackson to the effect that
we were going in east of Black canyon to see what kind of a
country it was. We were out seven days longer, making ten days in
all, but we did not make any new discovery.

When we returned to headquarters I learned that Lieut. Jackson had
received a dispatch from Gen. Crook, to the effect that he would
soon be on with more supplies and men.

The Lieutenant advised me to work close to quarters, as the
General was likely to be on any day, and said it was hard to tell
what he would want to do when there.



After the events of the last chapter I remained in camp most of
the time, and sent my assistants out in different directions, with
orders to return the same day.

In ten days Gen. Crook made his appearance, with two companies of
cavalry and one of infantry.

The next day after his arrival after having talked the matter over
relative to Black canyon and the country surrounding it, he asked
me how far it was to the noted place. I told him it was what we
called fifty miles. The General said: "There is where I want to
go. Those men I brought out with me are anxious for a fight. I
brought them out here to fight, and I will see that they get it."
He told me that the day following he wished me to accompany him to
that country, saying: "You can take as many of your scouts along
as you like, and I will make a detail of twenty men to do camp

We started out the following morning for Black canyon, taking
along my entire scout force. In the afternoon of the second day I
piloted Gen. Crook to a high ridge, where, with his glasses, he
could overlook the whole country. He could see Black canyon and
the perpendicular wall of rock on the opposite side for miles and
miles, in fact, as far as he could see with his glasses. After he
had looked the country all over he asked me where we could get
into the canyon. In answer to this question I said: "General it is
easy enough to get into it, but the question is where to get out."

He said: "We surely can get out where we go in if we only have
sense enough to keep our eyes open." So I told him that I would
show him the next morning. We returned to camp and I started out
on foot to find some fresh meat, and had gone but a short distance
when I ran on to a band of wild turkeys, and killed two fat
gobblers. Turkeys seemed to keep fat in that country the year
around, as those that I killed were very fat. During the time I
was out hunting George Jones had taken two other scouts and had
made an entire circle of our camp, and not seeing any Indians or
fresh sign we felt safe from any attack that night.

The next morning we did not move camp, but leaving the twenty men
detailed for camp duty in charge of the camp and stock, I took my
entire scout force to escort Gen. Crook to Black canyon. When we
came to where the trail started down the bluff, he asked me how
far I had been down. I told him about a mile, but did not let him
know that Lieut. Jackson was with me at the time, knowing that the
General wanted the glory of being the first officer to investigate
and take in the situation of Black canyon. He asked me if it was
safe for us to go down that far. I told him it was not at this
time of day as we could not go that far and back without being
seen by hundreds of Indians.

He decided not to look any further, but we returned to our camp
and made preparations to start back to headquarters the next
morning. He did not say anything to me as to what he thought of
Black canyon that evening, but next day on our way back to
headquarters he asked me if I thought there would be grass enough
where we camped the night before for three or four hundred head of
stock for three or four days. This led me to believe that he
intended moving a part of his command to that place.

As soon as we were back at headquarters he told me that if any of
the horses belonging to the scouts had shoes that needed resetting
to have it attended to at once, and also told me to have the
scouts pick out the very best horses for the trip.

During the time that these preparations were in progress, Lieut.
Jackson in a private conversation told me that Gen. Crook was
going to move up with a portion of the command near Black canyon
and try to get into it. I told him that he could get in there easy
enough, but had my doubts whether or not he would be able to get
out with half the men he took in.

After having completed our preparations we pulled out for the Camp
on the Mountain, this being the name given the camp by some of our
men when we were out before, and I am told that the springs where
we camped still go by that name. We started with two companies of
cavalry and one of infantry, taking a pack-train to carry the

The first night at Camp on the Mountain Gen. Crook threw out a
strong picket guard, and the next morning he told me to place my
men both above and below the trail that they were to travel in
descending the mountain into the canyon. I had examined this part
of the country and was thoroughly posted in all the ways and by-
ways of the Black canyon, which I knew the General was not, and I
told him that there was no danger from above, from the fact that
it was at least six miles to the next place where the Indians
could climb the bluff, but this didn't seem to satisfy him, so I
placed my scouts according to his directions. This, he said, was
to protect his rear.

I took my stand farthest down the hill from any of the scouts,
being about half way down, and had my men scattered along on the
mountain side, both above and below. This I did so that in case
any of my men should see danger from above they would report to me
at once and I would report to Gen. Crook.

After I had my men all placed and was at my stand I saw two
companies of cavalry coming down the bluff supported by one
company of infantry. When they got to where I was stationed, it
being what we termed a bench on the mountain, they halted, and
Crook and Jackson held a council in which Lieut. Jackson advised
Gen. Crook to send the infantry ahead as "feelers," but the
General thought just the reverse, saying: "I will feel my way with
the cavalry." So they started down the mountain single file.

After they had been gone about two hours, or it seemed that long
to me at least, I heard the firing commence; but I could tell from
the direction that they were not yet down to the foot of the
mountain. The firing continued about an hour, but I could not get
to see any of the battle, for I dared not leave my post for fear
that some of the scouts might come to report to me, and in case I
was away he would not know what to do.

At last I saw the cavalry coming back up the mountain, some on
foot, some leading their horses, and a very few riding. The
Indians were being held in check by the infantry in order to give
the cavalry a chance to get out of the canyon with their horses.

As well as I can remember, in this fight Gen. Crook lost forty-two
men killed, twenty-one wounded, and sixty horses killed.

That night I heard one sergeant ask another in the presence of
Gen. Crook when the dead would be buried, but the question was not
answered. The next morning the General told me to take as many men
as I wanted and see if I could recover the dead bodies. I said.
"General, if you will wait until night I will take my men and if
there are any dead bodies left on the battlefield I will try and
get them, but I do not propose to take my men and stick them up
for a target to be shot at by the Indians when they have no show
whatever, for I will not ask my men to go where I will not go

He said: "Suit yourself about it," and turned and walked away.

That night I took my entire scout force, besides twenty soldiers
that volunteered to go along, and descended the mountain. We
worked hard all night, and all that we could find was twenty-one
bodies, and that day they were buried, after which we commenced
making preparations to return to headquarters.

Up to that time I had not had a chance to talk to Lieut. Jackson
concerning the battle in Black canyon, as we had both been busy
ever since. When on a march it was my custom to ride ahead of the
army, so the morning that we were ready to start back I had given
my orders to the scouts, had mounted, and was just ready to start,
when Lieut. Jackson said: "Wait a minute, Captain, and I will ride
with you."

The reader will understand that by this time the Lieutenant and I
were as intimate friends as though we were brothers, and when he
told me anything I could rely upon it, and I had always made it a
rule to be punctual with him. If he would ask me a question I
would always answer it the best I could, and if I asked him for
any information, if he knew he would tell me. And here I would
like to say that while Gen. Crook bore the name of being a great
Indian fighter, I know for a fact that Lieut. Jackson planned more
victories two to one than Gen. Crook did himself, and had it been
in the Lieutenant's power to have kept those soldiers out of Black
canyon, they never would have entered it.

That morning after we had ridden a short distance he mentioned the
fight and said: "Cap, that was a horrible affair." I said:
"Lieutenant it was not half as bad as I thought it would be, for
when I saw you go down there I did not expect to see half of the
boys come back." He said: "Had it not been for the infantry coming
to our rescue just when it did not a horse would have come out of
the canyon, and but very few soldiers."

I asked him where the next move would be and he said that Gen.
Crook was going to return to the fort and we would go farther out
on the road to protect the emigrants, who would soon begin to move
toward California. For the next two or three days everything was
undergoing a change around camp; rigging up packs and fitting up
in general.

The soldiers who had their horses killed were mounted on the
choice horses that we had captured from the Indians, which made
very fair cavalry horses.

As soon as we had completed our arrangements Gen. Crook started
back for Fort Yuma, much wiser than he came, while we pushed
farther out on the Butterfield route, with two companies of
cavalry and fifty infantry-men.

We traveled four days from our old camp before making a general
halt. The evening of the fourth day just a short time before we
were ready to go into camp the scouts came in and reported having
seen a small band of Indians only a short distance west of us, and
they said they had watched them go into camp.

I reported to the Lieutenant and he started with one company of
cavalry after them, leaving orders for the command to go into camp
at the next water, which was about a mile ahead of us. This proved
to be a small hunting party, and they in some way discovered us
before we got to their camp. When we came in sight of them we were
about a quarter of a mile away from their camp and they had their
horses all packed and were beginning to mount. We gave chase, but
they had the start of us so that we only got two out of the band,
but we crowded them so close that they had to leave their pack-
horses, and we got all of them, there being twenty.

I captured a fine American horse that showed good breeding. He was
a sorrel, with white hind feet and a white stripe on his face and
branded C on the left shoulder. I made the Lieutenant a present of
this horse, and he afterwards proved to be a very fast animal, as
the Lieutenant told me several years after, that during the winter
months he kept the soldiers nearly all broke with that horse. He
told me that he proved to be the fastest half mile horse he ever



The emigrants now begun to come along and we were kept busy night
and day looking after the small bands of Indians that were
continually making murderous forays in spite of all we could do to

With only three hundred soldiers and twelve scouts, and a country
over one hundred miles in extent to guard, the service was
exacting, and our lot was not altogether a happy one.

One day in July, in company with George Jones and John Riley, I
started out in the direction of Black canyon to see if I could locate
any small band of Apaches that might be prowling around. We
traveled all day, and not seeing any Indians or sign of them,
concluded to return to camp and get some much needed rest, and did
so. It now seemed that there were no Apaches near us so I went to
Lieut. Jackson's tent to report to him, intending to then lie down
and rest for the day at least. He had just rolled out of bed, but
he looked worn and haggard as if he had had a bad night of it. He
asked me what news I had and I said good news, as we had seen no
Indians or any fresh sign, but that I was worn out, having been
almost constantly in the saddle for twenty-four hours. I asked him
if he had any news and he said he had, and bad news too. The
Indians had attacked a train in Choke Cherry canyon, burned all
the wagons, but how many persons they had murdered or how many had
escaped he could not tell me, as there were no scouts in camp at
the time.

He wished so know if I could spare some men to go and bury the
dead and locate the Indians. I replied that George Jones and John
Riley were there, but that like myself, they were very much
fatigued. He said he wanted them for another purpose. Then I
offered two men, good and fresh, Jim Davis and Mike Maloney. But I
had some uneasiness as to Mike. Not that there was any doubt about
his bravery but he was so utterly incautious. However, I decided
to go with them myself, as tired as I was. So as soon as I could
get a bite to eat and a fresh horse saddled, we were off and on
the way to Choke Cherry canyon.

Lieut. Jackson asked me when he could expect to hear from me. I
told him that if I succeeded in locating the Indians in a body I
would report to him at once, but if not he might not hear from me
until my return. So we shook hands and he retired to his tent.

I directed Mike to go straight to the canyon and to keep on the
east side until he came to the trail leading to Agua Caliente, and
then take that trail direct for Sand Point; and when near the
point to signal me by barking like a cayote, and that I would
answer him by gobbling like a turkey; that he must meet me at Sand
Point at three o'clock sharp, and if he was not there at that time
I would know that something was wrong. I also told him to be
careful and not run into an ambuscade, but above all not to be
taken prisoner. Then I asked him if he could bark like a cayote.
His answer was: "Sure, Captain, it's mesilf that can make a bloody
cayote ashamed of himself bairking, and I belave ye's is afraid
for me, but O'ill tell ye now there's no bloody Apache in all
Arizony that's goin' to take this Irishman prisoner. I'm sure they
don't want me schalp anyway, for me hair is too short."

I told Jim Davis to go to Wild Plum Ridge and then follow the
trail to Sand Point, for him to signal me the same manner as Mike
and I would answer him in the same manner.

Everything being understood between us we separated, each taking
his appointed route, and I striking direct for the late emigrant
camp. Before I got there, however, I ran onto the trail of
apparently three Indians and concluded to follow them up. I had
not gone a great distance away until I espied them in a little
ravine a short distance away and they were having a scalp dance. I
tied my horse secure from observation and then commenced to crawl
upon them. They were circling two scalps that they had hung upon
sticks stuck in the ground, every now and then drawing their bows
as if going to shoot at them. I crept along cautiously, expecting
that the Indians would be so absorbed in their scalp dance that I
would get in close pistol shot before they discovered me; but in
this I was mistaken, for when yet a long rifle shot away they
espied me, and the moment I saw I was discovered I opened fire
with both pistols, which caused them to flee in hot haste, leaving
the two scalps hanging on the sticks. I went up to where they were
and found that one scalp was that of a woman and the other that of
a man.

I was now certain that there had been some emigrants murdered, and
I soon made up my mind that about the first thing to do was to
locate the bodies and bury them; but on consulting my watch I saw
that I must hurry if I made Sand Point by three o'clock. Just as I
had turned and started back to my horse, who should come up but
Jim Davis. He had been trailing the Indians, which brought him
over in my direction, and when he heard the shots he had come with
all haste thinking that I was in trouble. We both turned and rode
on to Sand Point, arriving there about half past three, but no
Maloney was in sight, so after giving the signal agreed upon and
receiving no answer, we made up our minds that he was in trouble,
and we struck out to find his trail.

While we were on our way to hunt Maloney's trail Davis said:
"Captain, I believe those Indians had two prisoners with them, and
I think they are both women, judging from their tracks and other
indications; see here what I found while I was trailing them." And
he showed me two pieces of calico of different color. He thought
that they had been dropped by the prisoners in the hope that some
white person might find them and follow. He also said that there
were small twigs broken off along the trail, which would indicate
that they expected a search for them.

When Maloney left us he made direct for Sand Point, but before he
reached there as he was riding along he discovered a small shoe
track, he dismounted and tried to follow it, but it seemed that
the tracks extended no farther. This confused him greatly, and he
said to himself: "Be the loife of me it was only just there that I
saw the thrack, and it's sure I am that she could not have flew
away. Oh! here it is again, and begorra I belave it's the thrack
of a white woman, for sure I am that no dhurty spalpeen of an
Injun could iver make such a dainty thrack as that. Sure and I'll
look in that bunch of brush, perhaps it's there she is, the poor

He made his way up to the brush cautiously with a pistol in each
hand, and just as he peered in two Indians sprang upon him and
grabbed his arms, which caused his pistols both to be discharged
up in the air. They quickly bore poor Maloney to the ground and
soon had him bound hand and foot. They then drove a stake into the
ground and tied Mike to it, and began to gather brush for the
fire. This did not suit him a bit, but all he could do was to hurl
an avalanche of words at them, which, of course, they did not
understand and to which they paid no heed.

"Ah, ye dhurty divils," said Mike. "Ye's have took me pistols both
away from me. Ye's know I can't hurt ye's without me guns, so
what's the use in ye's tyin' me like a hog, ye dhurty blackguards.
Let me loose and Oi'll be afther lavin' ye's. Oi'll do it be the
boots that hung on Chatham's Hill. I do belave they are goin' to
burn me alive. O, ye bloody haythens; let me loose and Oi'll fight
the pair of ye's if ye's have got me pistols."

The Indians by this time had the fire started, but Mike still
retained his nerve, cussing the red fiends by all the powers in
the Irish vocabulary.

Davis and I were pushing on with all possible speed in the
direction of the place we expected to find Maloney's trail, when
we heard two pistol shots in quick succession further up the
canyon, so we put our horses down to their utmost in the direction
from whence the sound of the shots came.

After running about two miles we came in sight of a small fire a
short distance away that seemed to be but just kindled. We dashed
up at full speed and found Mike tied to a stake and two Apaches
piling brush on the fire. We fired at the Indians through the
gathering darkness, but only killed one, and the other one made
off about as fast as you ever saw an Indian go. Jim kicked the
fire away from Mike and cut his bonds before he was burned to
speak of. I asked him how he came to be taken prisoner by just two
Apaches, and his story ran like this:

"Oi'll tell ye, Captain, it was on that sage-brush hill there
while I was ridin' along I saw a thrack in the sand and sure I was
that it was not the thrack of an Injun for it was a dainty little
thing and the hollow of the foot didn't make a hole in the ground
like an Apache's and Apaches niver wear shoes, aither. Well, I got
off me horse and stharted to follow the thrack, and whin I got to
that bunch of brush the dhurty rid divils sprang out on me like a
pair of hounds, tied me hands and fate, and was tryin' to burn me
aloive whin ye's came up."

"Well, Mike," said I, holding up the scalp of the Indian we had
killed, "here is one Indian that will not bother you again, but be
more careful next time."

We were all of the opinion that there was a woman alone somewhere
in those hills that had escaped from the Indians when they burned
the emigrant train, and we decided to keep up the search until
morning; so we agreed on the following search: To separate about a
quarter of a mile apart, and to commence circling a large hill or
knob close by covered by a dense growth of sagebrush that in some
places was as high as a man's head when he was on a horse, and
every few rods to hallow, that in case she was secreted around
there in hearing of us she would answer, and in case any one found
her he was to fire two shots in quick succession, when the other
two would go to him immediately.

We made almost the entire circuit of the hill, hallowing every
little while, when I finally thought I heard a faint answer. I
called again and then listened intently, and I was sure I heard an
answer, after which I turned and rode in the direction from which
the answer came. After riding a few rods I called again, when I
heard the faint answer quite near, and I soon found a young girl
of about eighteen years. She was overjoyed at seeing me, but was
too weak to rise. I asked how she came there, and she said that
the train in which her family was traveling had been attacked by
the Indians. The people, or a part of them, had been murdered and
the wagons burned, she and her younger sister had been taken
prisoners, and when night came they were tied hand and foot and
staked to the ground, and all laid down for the night.

"After we thought that the Indians were all asleep," she said, "I
made a desperate effort and freed one of my hands, although it
cost me a great deal of pain. After I was free I soon released my
sister and we then ran for our lives. We had got but a short
distance when the Indians discovered our absence, and raising the
yell, started after us. My sister outran me and I soon hid in a
little thicket and they missed me, but I fear they have overtaken

I asked her what her name was and she said it was Mary Gordon, and
her father's name was Henry Gordon. He was sheriff of their county
in Illinois for two years before starting west. I now fired the
two shots to call Jim and Mike, and they were not long in getting

As soon as Mike came up he said: "Sure, Captain, and wasn't I
after tellin's ye's that it was no bloody spalpeen of an Apache's
thrack that I be follerin' lasht avenin'?"

Miss Gordon now seemed just to have realized that she was alone in
a wild country, for she wrung her hands and said: "Oh! what shall
I do in this desolate country without a relative or a friend; it
would have been better if I had been killed when my poor father
and mother were. O, kind sir, what will I do?" and she sobbed as
if her heart would break.

I told her not to grieve, that we would protect her and see that
she got safely to civilization, and that we would also try to find
her sister. I asked her if she was not very hungry and she said
she was, as she had eaten nothing for almost thirty-six hours. At
that Mike said: "Sure, Captain, it's meself that has a pairt of me
rations lift, and Oi'll go and get it for the poor crayther, and
Oi'll bring the horses at the same toime," and he started off
muttering to himself, "Ah, them Apaches, the dhirty divils; I'd
like to kill ivery wan o' thim."

He soon returned with the horses, and handing me his rations, he
said: "Sure, Captain, it's mesilf that thinks I'd better be afther
takin' a look around here-abouts, as thim durty haythens might be
afther playin' us the same game as they did me last evenin'." I
told him it was a good scheme, that we might go up to the top of
the hill and take a look as it was then most day, and if there
were any Indians around they would be astir and that he had better
let Jim Davis go with him, but he said no, for Jim to stay with me
and the young lady and see that no "bloody blackguard of an Apache
got her again," so I cautioned him to keep his ears and eyes open,
and he struck out.

When Mike had gone Miss Gordon turned to me and asked my name. I
told her my name was William F. Drannan, but I was better known on
the plains as the Boy Scout.

"Oh, kind sir," she said, "are you the Boy Scout? I have often
heard my father speak of you, and he said you were liable to put
in an appearance when one least expected it. I thought of you a
thousand times yesterday and to-night, but I had no idea that you
were in a thousand miles of here."

I told her that I was at present scouting for Gen. Crook, who was
at Fort Yuma, but that Lieut. Jackson, with three companies of
soldiers, was stationed but a few miles west of us.

We had been waiting for Mike Maloney's return about two hours and
were beginning to get uneasy about his delay and speculating as to
what caused his absence so long, when we heard two pistol shots.
This was always our signal to call a companion; so telling Jim to
look after the young lady, I swung myself into the saddle and was
off like the wind in the direction from whence the call, as I
supposed it to be, came. It was now getting daylight, and when I
got to the top of the hill I looked down to the south and I could
see a fire. I did not hesitate, but went down that slope through
the heavy sagebrush like smoke through the woods. As soon as I was
near enough to distinguish objects around the fire I saw Mike
bending over some object, and when I rode up to him, to my great
surprise and delight, I saw it was a young girl. Mike was beside
himself with excitement.

It appeared from his story that upon reaching the top of the hill
after he had left us he came in sight of the fire and concluded to
investigate; so riding down as near as he thought safe he tied his
horse and commenced crawling. He soon saw that there were but two
Indians and to his horror he saw that they had a white girl tied
to a stake and were preparing to burn her. He crept up to within
about twenty yards of them and fired, killing one of the Apaches,
and as the other one turned to see what was up he fired again,
killing the other one; then brandishing his pistol over his head
he dashed up to the fire, exclaiming: "O, ye murtherin bastes, I'm
avin wid ye's now; Oi'll learn ye's how to stake a poor divil down
to the ground and thin try to burn him." Then he went up to the
girl, cut her loose from the stake, and she raised up in a sitting
posture, "Would ye's moind lettin' me help ye to yer fate, Miss?"
said Mike. "O, I'm so tired and weak I can't stand," said the
girl. "They have almost killed me dragging me over the cactus."

Just as I came in sight Mike fired two shots as a signal for us to
come to him, but I was there almost before the echoes died away in
the mountains. When I rode up Mike was most beside himself with
glee; his tongue ran like a phonograph, and within five minutes he
had given me the history of the whole transaction and had invoked
a curse on the whole Apache tribe from all the saints in the

I told Mike that we had best get the girl on one of our horses at
once and be off to where Jim and the other girl were, and from
there on to headquarters, for there was no telling how many more
of the red devils there might be lurking around. "Faith, Captain,
and it's right ye are this toime, too," said Mike, "and it's me
own horse she can ride, the poor damsel." So saying he led his
horse up and we assisted the young lady to mount.

As soon as we were fairly started I asked the girl her name and
she said it was Maggie Gordon. She also spoke of her sister having
been taken prisoner along with her, and when I told her that Mary
was safe, her joy knew no bounds. This news so revived her spirits
that she talked quite freely with us on the way over to where Jim
Davis and the other girl were. When we got to near where they were
Mary looked up and saw us and exclaimed, "Oh! there's Maggie!" and
when they met there was the most pathetic scene of greeting I ever

As soon as they had a good cry in each others arms we gave Maggie
something to eat, after which we put the girls, one on Jim Davis'
horse and one on mine, and headed for camp, arriving there in the

We did not go to the late emigrant camp, as we could do nothing
toward burying the dead, burdened as we were by the two young
women, so Lieut. Jackson sent a platoon of soldiers out to do that
last act of charity.

There were four families besides the Gordon family murdered, and
those two young ladies were the only ones that escaped, so far as
we knew. When the next emigrant train came along we sent the
Misses Gordon on to Fort Yuma, and from there they drifted on into
California, and I never heard of them again.



We remained here for some weeks yet, piloting and escorting
emigrants through the mountains, but having very few scraps with
the Indians. When the emigrants quit coming and our provisions had
run very low, we made preparations to return to Fort Yuma. But to
make sure that no more of the crawling trains would be winding
along that way this season, myself and another scout, with two
days' rations, started on a little scurry eastward. But a tour of
four days developed no further sign of emigrants or Indians, so
the scout and I returned to find the command all ready to start.
We were just about taking up the line of march for Yuma when a
teamster on his way to Phoenix with a load of freight, drifted
into camp and informed us to our horror, that the Indians had
attacked the Davis ranch, killed the old man and his two sons,
treated the old mother and the two daughters shamefully, and then
pillaged the place and drove off all the stock.

I had no sooner ridden into camp that night than an orderly came
and took my horse and said: "Lieut. Jackson wishes to see you at
his tent immediately." I knew that there was something very
unusual the matter or he would not have called me to his quarters
until I had had my supper. On approaching his tent I saw that he
was much excited. He told me what was up, and said it was strange
the Indians would come down there that season of the year and
commit such depredations as that. After he had laid the whole
matter before me just as he had it from the teamster, he said:
"Send the very best men you have on their trail." I told him I
would go myself and take George and two other men with me.

I was convinced before finishing my talk with him that it was not
the Indians that had committed the depredation, but that I kept to

Just as I walked out of the Lieutenant's tent I met George and
told him that we had a long night's ride before us, to pick out
two of the best men we had, also to take the best horses--we had,
and to change my saddle to Black Bess from the horse that I had
been riding that day. I also gave orders to have everything in
readiness by the time I was through supper, which did not take
long, although I was very hungry. The boys were all on hand by the
time I was through eating, and we mounted and rode away for the
Davis ranch. The way we had to go to reach the ranch was about
twenty miles down grade and inclined to be sandy all the way. We
were all well mounted and we scarcely broke a gallop until we
reached the Davis place.

A pitiful sight was there. The old lady and her three daughters
had carried the old gentleman and two boys into the house and laid
them out on benches in the best manner possible, and to say that
it was a heart-rending scene does not begin to express it.

When I stepped into the house Mrs. Davis pointed to the dead
bodies and said: "Captain, if you will avenge their death I will
be a friend to you as long as I live." I told her that I would do
all I could, that I was in a great hurry to get on the trail of
the perpetrators, and I would like her to give me all the
information she could relative to the matter.

She then led the way into a private room and related the whole
circumstance, telling me how the Indians had come there, decoyed
her husband and two sons to the barn and there shot them down,
then rushed to the house, and before the inmate had time to shut
and bar the door, came into the house, caught and tied her to the
bed post, and then disgraced her three daughters in her presence.
Then they gathered up all the horses and cattle about the ranch
and drove them across the desert.

In the direction she said they had started it was eighty-four
miles to water, but I did not believe for a moment that they would
attempt to cross the desert in that direction.

After I had gained all the information I could, I said: "Mrs.
Davis, those were not Indians, but Greasers or Mexicans, and I
will capture them before twenty-four hours if I live."

I started one man back to camp to tell Lieut. Jackson to take the
trail direct for Aw-wa-col-i-enthy, which in English means hot
water, (Agua Caliente).

Lieut. Jackson had become over anxious as soon as we left and had
started after us with one company of cavalry. My messenger met him
five miles from the Davis ranch, and there he turned in the
direction of Agua Caliente.

In starting out from the ranch I took the trail of the stock, and
after we had gone quite a distance I called George to my side and
told him it was not Indians we were following, but a crowd of cut-
throat Greasers, and we didn't want to have a fight with them
until the soldiers arrived if we could help it, but that we would
fight them before we would allow them to escape.

I had never told George until now what all they had done, and when
I related to him the whole affair he said: "We will not allow one
of them to escape." We could see that they were turning in the
direction of Agua Caliente and had made this circuit merely to
throw any one off that might attempt to follow.

This was what I thought when I dispatched the Lieutenant to come
to Hot Springs.

It was twenty-seven miles straight through on the road from the
Davis ranch to Agua Caliente, but the way we went that night we
supposed it was about forty miles, making sixty miles that we had
to ride that night, while the soldiers if they started direct from
camp would only have to travel thirty-five miles.

Finally the trail made a direct turn for Agua Caliente and I again
"telegraphed" the Lieutenant to hurry up with all possible speed
and try to reach the place before daylight, my object being to
catch them in camp, as our horses would be too tired to run them
down after they were mounted on fresh horses.

My second messenger did not see the Lieutenant at all on the road,
for unbeknown to me he had started from headquarters soon after we
did, and after having met my first courier, had pushed on with all
possible haste.

When George and I were within a mile and a half of Agua Caliente
we met some of the stock feeding leisurely along the direction of
their old range. We examined them closely and found that they were
the Davis stock.

We had not gone much farther until Black Bess raised her head,
stuck her ears forward and commenced sniffing the air. I told
George to watch her, and he said: "We must be near them." So we
dismounted, took off our spurs, picketed our horses, and started
cautiously towards their camp.

When we were within three hundred yards we could see the glimmer
of their fires that had not entirely gone out, evidence that they
had not gone to bed till late. We crawled so near that we could
see the outlines of the fiends lying around the few coals that
were yet smoldering. Now and then a chunk would blaze up as if to
show the exact positions of the murderers.

After satisfying ourselves that this was the party we were in
pursuit of, we returned to our horses.

I told Jones to mount his horse and not spare him until he met the
soldiers; and to hurry them up so we could catch the Greasers in
bed; and I said to him as he was mounting: "If you do not return
with the soldiers before daylight I will take chances of holding
them here with Black Bess until you do return." But he had not
gone more than two miles and a half when he met the soldiers
coming in a stiff gallop.

George reported that we had the outlaws located, and the
Lieutenant gave orders for the soldiers to muffle their spurs and
sabres and to be quick about it.

I did not have to wait long until Black Bess told me they were
coming, for when they got near me I could not keep her still.

Upon the arrival of the soldiers I told Lieut. Jackson the
particulars of the murder as given to me by Mrs. Davis, and also
where the murderers were. He divided his men, sending fifty around
on the opposite side of the camp, giving them half and hour to
make the circuit, George piloting them, and I the other fifty.
When the time was up we rode down, both squads arriving almost at
the same time. Just one word from the Lieutenant and the Greasers
were surrounded, and us with our pistols drawn.

The outlaws seemed to be sound asleep, but when we commenced to
close in on them they woke, and the first one that jumped to his
feet had his pistol in his hand, but when he looked around and saw
the situation he dropped his pistol before the Lieutenant had time
to tell him to drop it.

It was not yet daylight, but their being a very bright moon, one
could see first rate. All the Mexicans were soon on their feet and
begging for their lives. Lieut. Jackson being able to speak
Mexican asked if any one in their crowd could speak English, but
they said they could not speak a word in that language. He then
asked them in Spanish who their Captain was, and a big, rough,
greasy looking fellow said he was the Captain.

The Lieutenant then told him to form his men in line out on the
road, saying: "I will give you five minutes to prepare to die." He
then turned to his orderly and told him to relieve them of their
arms, and they gave them up without a word of protest. He then
told them all to stand in a line and when the five minutes were up
they must die. During all this time their Captain was pleading for
their lives and making all kinds of promises, but the Lieutenant
turned a deaf ear to them, not even answering them.

When the five minutes were up the order was given, "Platoon No. 1,
front face. Make ready. Take aim. Fire." And all of the scoundrels
fell at the first round, although some of them had to be shot the
second time to get them out of their misery.

This being done they were taken about a hundred yards away and
buried in the sand.

By that time it was daylight and Lieut. Jackson made a detail of
twenty-four men to assist George and I in driving the stock back
to the Davis ranch. The rest of the company returned to,
headquarters, but went by way of the Davis ranch to assist in
burying the bodies of the old gentleman and the two sons. Lieut.
Jackson told me that when he arrived at the ranch and saw the dead
bodies and heard the sad story of the wife and mother and of her
daughters, he said it was more than he could stand. He made a
detail of six men to dig the graves and he returned to
headquarters and moved the entire command down there and they all
attended the funeral.

After the funeral was over Mrs. Davis called me to one side and
said: "There is one more favor I wish to ask of you before you
leave." I asked her what it was. She said as she was keeping a
boarding-house she would have to keep travelers, and that she
would like to have us leave a man to look after the stock until
such time as she could get some one to work for her. I told her
that if the Lieutenant did not object I would leave a man with her
that would take as much interest in the stock as if they were his
own, and that she would find him a perfect gentleman at all times.

I called Lieut. Jackson aside and mentioned the matter to him. He
told me to leave a man and that he would also detail a man to
stay, which he did then and there. I asked George Jones to stay,
which he was willing to do.

Mrs. Davis asked us to send her a good, trusty man and she would
pay him good wages, and she said she would write to her brother,
who, when he came out, would close up her business there as
quickly as possible, and they would return to the East.

Arriving at the fort and finding no idle men, Lieut. Jackson wrote
to San Francisco for a man, and in about three weeks he came, and
he proved to be a good one, as Mrs. Davis told me several years

It was nearly a month after we arrived at the fort before George
Jones came. The next day after he arrived he told me that he had
just received a letter from his father, who was then living
somewhere in the state of Illinois, and had written him to come
home as he wanted to emigrate to Oregon the following spring, and
wanted George to pilot the train across the plains and over the
mountains to the country where big red apples and pretty girls
were said to grow in such abundance.

George had made up his mind to accede to the wishes of his father,
and as we had been there twenty-two months and both were tired of
the business, and having made up my mind to quit the scouting
field, I talked the matter over with George for two days and
concluded to accompany him to San Francisco; so we went to Gen.
Crook and told him we were going to quit and go away.

He asked what was the matter, if anything had gone wrong. We told
him there was nothing wrong at all, but we were tired of the
business and had made up our minds to quit. He said he was very
sorry to have us leave, but if we had made up our minds to that
effect there was no use saying any more. He asked me how many head
of horses George and I had. I told him that there had been over
one hundred head of horses captured, and that many of them had
been used by the soldiers all summer, but if he would let George
and I select thirty-five head from the band of captured horses he
could have the rest of them. This he agreed to, so there was no
falling out over that.

Having settled up with Gen. Crook and everything arranged, in a
few days we were ready to start.

The day before our departure for San Francisco we went around and
visited with all the boys in blue, telling them we were going to
leave, and that for good. They expressed their regrets, but bade
us bon-voyage and good luck for the future.



George Jones and I pulled out for San Francisco, via Los Angeles,
this being the regular mail line at this time, and we made the
trip to the City of the Golden Gate inside of a month.

As soon as we arrived at San Francisco we commenced selling our
horses at private sale. We put up at what was known as the Fashion
Stable, which was kept by a man by the name of Kinnear, whom we
found to be a perfect gentleman, and who rendered us almost
invaluable assistance in disposing of our horses. This was the
first stable that was built on Market street. As soon as our
horses were sold Jones boarded the steamer for New York. When we
separated here, having been so intimately acquainted for so long,
the separation was almost like that of two brothers, and we had
not the least idea that we would ever meet again in this world.

I remained in the city three months, not knowing what to do or
where to go. During this time I spent much of it in training Black
Bess, as I found her to be a very intelligent animal, and she
would follow me like a dog wherever I would go when she had the
saddle on, and during that winter I taught her to perform many
tricks, such as to lie down, kneel down, count ten, and tell her
age. I could throw my gloves or handkerchief down and leave her
for hours without tying her and she would stand there until I
would return, and no one could come near them or take them away,
nor would she allow a stranger to put his hand on her. One day I
came to the barn and Mr. Kinnear asked what I would take to saddle
Black Bess up and let her follow me to Wells, Fargo & Co.'s express
office and back to the stable again without touching her on the

I said: "Mr. Kinnear, if it will be any accommodation to you I
will have her follow me up there and back and it will not cost you

"All right," he said, "about one o'clock come to the stable, for I
have made a bet of fifty dollars with a man from the country, that
you could make her follow you from the stable to Wells, Fargo &
Co.'s express office and back to the stable and not touch her."

Wells, Fargo & Co.'s express office was a distance of eight blocks
from the stable, and on my return I found quite a crowd there
waiting to see the performance. I threw the saddle on the mare,
put the bridle on her just as though I was going to ride, took my
whip in my hand, and started down the sidewalk and the mare walked
down the street. Montgomery street was always full of teams at
this time of the day, and also the sidewalk crowded with people,
but I walked near the outer edge. She would pick her way along the
street among those teams as well, apparently as though I was on
her back and at the same time would keep her eyes on me all the
time. On arriving at the place mentioned, I took my handkerchief
from my pocket and threw it down at the edge of the sidewalk,
walked into the office and remained five minutes or more, and when
I came out she was still standing with her head over the
handkerchief as though she was tied. I picked the handkerchief up,
started back down the sidewalk, and she took the street, keeping
her eyes on me all the time until we reached the stable. The
farmer was somewhat wiser, but about fifty dollars short in actual
cash, but vowed he would not bet again on a man's own game.

On my return several different men asked me what I would take for
her, but I informed them money would not buy her from me. Before
putting her in the stable I had her perform several tricks, and
then bow to the crowd, which by this time had grown to more than a
hundred people.

I had now lain around so long that I had become restless, as it
never did suit me to loaf about a town, so I concluded that I
would try ranching. I had enough money to buy a good ranch and
stock it, not thinking that it required any great amount of skill.
So I started up the Sacramento river to look for one. After I was
out most a month, this now being the last of February, 1867, I
found stock looking well and found a man that wanted to sell out
his stock and ranch. He had three hundred and twenty acres of land
and one hundred and fifty head of cattle, some chickens, a few
hogs, and a very few farming implements. After I had ridden around
over the ranch several days and looked at his stock, and finding
the range good, I asked his price. He wanted nine thousand
dollars. I believed that this would be a nice quiet life, and
although I did not know anything about raising stock, yet I
thought I would soon catch on as the saying goes, so I made him an
offer of eight thousand dollars, which offer he accepted. He was
to leave everything on the ranch but his bed and clothing and a
few little keep-sakes that he had about the house.

Now I started in to be an honest rancher, believing that all I
would have to do was to ride around over the range occasionally and
look after my stock, take things easy, and let my stock grow into
money, as I had heard it said that stock would while one was

I stayed on this place until the spring of 1872, ranching with
very poor success, by which time I had learned to a certainty that
this was not my line.

When a man came along and wanted a cow I always sold him one. I
would take his note for the price and, as a rule, that was all I
ever got.

In the spring of 1875 a man named Glen came into that country from
Jefferson county, Missouri, and to him I sold my entire
possessions. I got out of that scrape by losing my time and one
thousand dollars in money, but I had five years of almost
invaluable experience in ranching and stock-raising.

In those days this was what we called a Mexican stand-off. I lost
my time and money, but had my life left. Nothing occurred during
this five years of my life more than the routine of business that
naturally belongs with this kind of life, so I will pass over it.
I had such poor success ranching that I don't like to think of it
myself, much less having it told in history.

Leaving here I went to Virginia City, Nevada. This was in the
palmy days of the Comstock, and everything was high. After looking
around for a few days and seeing that horses were valuable, I
started for Jacksonville, Oregon, to buy horses for the Virginia
City market. On my arrival at Jacksonville I met a man by the name
of John T. Miller, who was a thorough horseman, and was said to be
a great salesman, which I knew I was not myself. I could buy, but
I could not sell to advantage like some other men.

I formed a partnership with Miller, and we were not long in
gathering up eighty-five head of horses in Jackson county and
starting to market with them.

I was back to Virginia City in a few days over two months from the
time I had left there, and Mr. Miller proving to be a thorough
salesman, we soon disposed of our entire band at a good figure,
and in less than one month from the time we arrived at Virginia
City we were on our way back to Oregon.

After we returned to Jacksonville we settled up and had cleared
eleven hundred dollars each on the trip. That beat ranching all
hollow. Now Mr. Miller proposed to me that we go into horse
raising. He said he knew where there was a large tract of swamp-
land near Klamath Lake. Swamp and overflown land belonged to the
state, and this swamp-land could be bought for a dollar an acre by
paying twenty cents an acre down and twenty per cent yearly
thereafter until it was paid.

Miller being a thorough horseman, I thought I might succeed better
in the horse business than in cattle. So in company with him, I
started over to look at the land, and being well pleased with the
tract, I made application for it at once. This land was located
just on the outer edge of the Modoc Indian reservation. Miller
being acquainted with all the Modocs, he and I, after I had
concluded to settle, rode down to Captain Jack's wick-i-up, which
was a distance of two miles from where I proposed settling.
Captain Jack was the chief of the Modoc tribe, and I found him to
be a very intelligent Indian, and he made a very good stagger
towards talking the English language.

When Mr. Miller introduced me to Chief Jack--or Captain Jack as he
was called--and told him that I was going to be a neighbor to him,
he said, "All right, that's good, and we be friends, too." I told
him yes, and if the white men did not treat him well to let me
know and I would attend to it. Jack then asked Mr. Miller where
Mr. Applegate was, he being agent for the Modoc tribe, and lived
in the neighborhood of Jacksonville, Oregon. Miller told him that
he did not know. Jack said: "My people heap hungry and Applegate
no give us anything to eat, no let us leave reservation to hunt; I
don't know what I do."

Mr. Miller told Jack that he would see Applegate and tell him of
their condition. The next morning Miller started back to
Jacksonville and I remained on the land selected to be my future

Every few days Jack would come to my place to ask my advice as to
what he should do, saying: "We no got anything to eat for three
moons (three months). He tell me he come bring beef. He no come,
no send beef." Finally Jack came to my camp one day and said: "I
don't know what I do, no meat, no flour, wocus nearly all gone."

I told Jack that I would go home with him and see for myself, not
knowing but that his complaints might be without foundation. I
mounted my horse, and riding over with Captain Jack, my
investigation proved to a certainty that he had been telling me
the truth all this time, for they were almost destitute of
anything to eat, there being nothing in the entire village in the
line of provisions but a little wocus, or wild rice.

Jack said: "Agent no come next week and bring something to eat, I
take all Injuns, go Tule Lake and catch fish. What you think?"

I said: "Jack, I do not know what to say, but you come home with
me and I will give you one sack of flour and I have a deer there,
I will give you half of that, and by the time you eat that up
perhaps the agent may come with provisions." A few days later Jack
came to my house and said: "Agent no come to-morrow, I go Tule
Lake, take all Injuns. Plenty fish Tule Lake, easy catch them." To
this I did not reply. I dare not advise him to leave the
reservation, and at the same time I knew they were almost in a
starving condition and were compelled to do something or sit there
and starve; and here I would say that in this case Captain Jack
was not to blame for leaving the reservation. I just state these
few facts merely to show that while the Indians are as a general
rule treacherous and barbarous, at the same time, in many cases no
doubt similar to this one, they have been blamed more than was due

As the old adage goes, I believe in giving the devil his just
dues, and I do not believe that Jack would have left the
reservation at that time had he been supplied with provisions
sufficient to live on.

I do not pretend to say whose fault this was, but merely state the
facts as I know them.



Two weeks later I went out to Linkville to buy some groceries.
This place was fifteen miles from where I had settled, and the
nearest trading post or settlement to me, telling my two hired men
that I would be at home the next day or the day after at the

The store was kept by a man named Nurse. He told me he had a band
of mares that he would sell cheap, and insisted on my staying over
night with him, saying that he would have them brought in the day
following, which I agreed to do, and the next morning he started
his men out to look for the mares. They did not get them gathered
up until the afternoon, and Mr. Nurse and I were in the corral
looking at them, when a man rode up at full speed, his horse
foaming all over, and said in a very excited tone that the Modoc
Indians had gone on the war-path and had murdered most all the
settlers on Lost River and Tule Lake, the latter being only twenty
miles south from Linkville. The courier that brought the news to
Linkville said that the soldiers had come down to Tule Lake and
fired on Captain Jack without any warning whatever, which we
learned later to be all too true.

The Indians had scattered all over the country, and had killed
every white person they ran across for two days and then fled to
the lava beds. This put an end to the horse trading. Mr. Nurse
said that some one would have to go to Jacksonville and report at
once, for they were not strong enough there to protect themselves
against the Modocs, but no one seemed willing to tackle the trip,
and I told them that if no one else would go, I would go myself.
It was now near sundown, and it was called one hundred miles to
Jacksonville from there. I started at once, going part of the way
over the wagon road and the remainder of the way on the trail.

I arrived at Jacksonville the next morning before sun-up. The
first man I met was the sheriff of the county, who was just coming
out to feed his horses. I related my story to him in as few words
as I could, and told him to raise all the men he could. I had my
horse taken care of and went to bed, for I was very tired; with
directions to wake me up in time to eat a bite before starting. At
four o'clock that afternoon they woke me, they having sixty men
then ready to start and one hundred ready to follow the next

Among the balance who were ready to start was Mr. Miller. When I
led my horse out he asked if that was the horse I had ridden over
from Linkville. I told him I had nothing else to ride. He went to
the stable and got another horse and insisted on my changing my
saddle, but I told him I would ride my horse to the foot of the
mountains and then change, which I did.

We reached Linkville the next morning at nine o'clock, and Mr.
Nurse gave us breakfast. That afternoon we went down to Tule Lake
and buried three dead bodies, being of the Brotherton family, the
father and two sons, and the next day we buried four more, after
which I left this squad and returned to my ranch to get my two
hired men away, which took me three days. By the time I had got
back to Linkville the news had spread all over the country of the
outbreak of Captain Jack and the Modoc tribe, and Gen. Wheaton had
moved his entire force down to the lava beds, where Captain Jack
had his forces concentrated.

Gen. Ross and Col. Miller had moved in, but I do not know just the
exact number of men they had in their command. After this scare I
could not get any men to work on the ranch, so I abandoned it for
the time being and stayed around Linkville about a week, when I
received a message from Gen. Wheaton to come to his quarters
immediately. This message was carried by one of his orderlies. I
complied, the orderly returning with me. I was not acquainted with
Gen. Wheaton, nor had I ever seen him before. When I was introduced
to him he asked me if I knew Captain Jack, chief of the Modoc
tribe. I told him that I was well acquainted with him and all of
his men. "Now," said he, "I'll tell you what I wish to see you
about. Col. Miller recommends you very highly as a scout, and how
would it suit you to take charge of the entire scouting force, and
organize them to suit yourself and start in at once?"

I said: "General, I have tried hard to quit that business. In the
first start I went at it for the glory in it, but having failed to
find that part of it, I have become tired. I will not answer you
now, but to-morrow morning at nine o'clock I will come to your
quarters, at which time I will have my mind thoroughly made up." I
left his quarters and went over to Col. Miller's. I told the
Colonel that the General had sent for me. He urged me in the
strongest terms to take hold of it, saying that there was not a
practical scout in the entire command. Finally I promised him that
I would again enter the scouting field.

The next morning I was up early and had breakfast with Col.
Miller. After obtaining the pass-word I saddled Black Bess, and at
nine o'clock was at Gen. Wheaton's quarters.

I left Black Bess standing about twenty paces from the General's
tent, took one of my gloves and stuck it on a bush, and went in to
see Gen. Wheaton. I told him that I had decided to start in
scouting for him, and I suppose I was in his tent about half an
hour talking matters over about the scouting business. All being
understood, I started out to get my mare, and saw quite a crowd
had gathered around her, and one man in particular was trying to
make up with her. Just as I stepped out of the door I heard him
say, "This must surely be Black Bess. I wonder who owns her now."
And until he called the mare's name I had not recognized him, and
it struck me that it must be George Jones, but not being sure, I
said: "Is that you, George?" He said: "Yes, and that's my old
friend Capt. Drannan." This was a surprise to us both. It was the
first time that we had met since we separated at San Francisco in
the fall of 1866, at which time we had both decided to quit
fighting Indians, but here we both were again in the field. After
a good square shake and giving a hasty synopsis of our experiences
during the time we had been separated, George asked if I was going
into the scouting field again. I told him that I had just accepted
a position as chief of scouts with Gen. Wheaton. I then asked him
what he was doing for a livelihood. He said that he had joined the
Oregon Volunteers, and asked me if I did not think I could get him
relieved. "For," said he, "I would rather work with you than any
one else. We have been together so much we understand each other."

He told me his Captain's name and that he belonged to Col.
Miller's regiment. I did not lose any time in seeing Col. Miller
and telling him that I would like very much to have him relieve
George Jones from his command, as I must have him for my first

This was the first time that Col. Miller had heard of George Jones
being a scout, and he wrote out the release at once and went out
and had Gen. Ross sign it and gave it to me.

George and I went to work at once to organize our scouting
company, drawing our men mostly from the volunteers. About the
time that we were thoroughly organized it was reported that the
Pah-Utes and the Klamaths were all coming to join Captain Jack.
This lava bed where Captain Jack was fortified, was sixty miles
from the Klamath reservation, but the Pah-Utes were one hundred
and fifty miles away, and it both surprised and amused me when
those old officers would tell me that they expected the Pah-Utes
any time. Being afraid of an attack from the rear, we had to scout
a strip of country about forty miles long every day, and all the
arguments that I could produce were of no avail. After going
through this routine for about a month Gen. Wheaton concluded to
take Captain Jack by storm. Captain Jack was there, and had been
all the time, in what was called his stronghold in the lava bed,
being nothing more or less than a cave in the rocks, sixty yards
long, and from ten to thirty feet wide, there being one place in
the east side where a man could ride a horse into it, and numerous
places where a man could enter with ease. Down on the east and
south sides are numerous holes in the rock just large enough to
shoot through. Captain Jack had his entire force in there, had
killed all of his horses and taken them in there for meat, and
through the Klamath Indians had got a good supply of ammunition.

After Gen. Wheaton had made up his mind to take the stronghold by
storm, he asked if I could give a description of the place. Up to
this time there had not been a shot fired at the soldiers by the
Indians, and I had a number of times passed in gunshot of the main
entrance, and I know that the Indians had recognized me, but
because I had befriended them they would not shoot at me.

I drew a diagram of the cave in the best style that I could,
showing the main entrance and the natural port holes, and when I
submitted it to the General, I said: "General, you can never take
Captain Jack as long as his ammunition lasts, for he has the same
kind of guns that you have, and the majority of his men have
pistols also, and all that he will have to do is to stand there
and shoot your men down as fast as they can come."

But the General thought different. The day was set for the attack,
and on Wednesday morning the storm was to commence. The army had
its camp one mile from Jack's stronghold, so the soldiers did not
have far to march. About sunrise the whole command marched down
and turned loose on Jack, and were soon bombarding him in great
shape. This was kept up for three days and nights, when Gen.
Wheaton withdrew, having lost sixty men and something over twenty
wounded, as I was told by Col. Miller afterwards, but Jack did not
come out.

A short time after this Gen. Canby came over and took the entire
command. He brought with him a minister by the name of Col.

The second day after Gen. Canby arrived he asked Gen. Wheaton, in
the presence of quite a number of officers, how many men Captain
Jack had with him.

Gen. Wheaton said; "My chief scout could tell just the number that
he has, but I think some sixty-three or sixty-four warriors."

"And you had fifteen hundred men in that three days' fight?"

Gen. Wheaton said he had.

"And you got whipped? There was bad management somewhere," said
Canby; and he concluded he would take Captain Jack by storm, but
postponed it for a month, this bringing it into the foggy weather
in that country, and in that time of the year it is the foggiest
country I ever saw. I have seen it for a week at a time in the
lava bed that I could not tell an Indian from a rock when twenty
paces away. And this was the kind of weather Gen. Canby was
waiting for. He marched down to the lava bed and placed his
howitzer on the hill about a quarter of a mile from Jack's
stronghold and commenced playing the shell. This was done in order
to give the infantry a chance to march down to the main entrance
of the cave and there shoot the Indians down as fast as they came

Three days and nights this was kept up, but not an Indian came
out, and Gen. Canby drew off, losing over one hundred men killed,
but I never knew the exact number wounded.

When Gen. Canby found he could not take the Modocs by storm, he
sent to Yreka, Cal., for a man named Berry, who was a particular
friend of Jack's, or rather Jack was a particular friend to him.
On Mr. Berry's arrival at headquarters Gen. Canby asked him if he
thought he dare go to Captain Jack's stronghold. Mr. Berry replied
that he would provided that he went alone. I never knew just what
Mr. Berry's instructions were, but, however, I accompanied him to
within two hundred paces of the main entrance to the cave, in
order to direct him to the proper place, and he chose his time to
go after dark.

I remained there until after he returned, which was before
midnight. A few days later I learned that there was to be a
council meeting between Gen. Canby, Rev. Col. Thomas and Captain
Jack, and in a conversation with Col. Miller he asked me my
opinion in regard to the matter. I told him that I did not
understand all the particulars, as I had heard but little about

He then told me that Gen. Canby and Col. Thomas, with George Meeks
as interpreter for them, and Meek's squaw as interpreter for
Captain Jack, were to meet Jack next Sunday morning for the
purpose of effecting a treaty with the Modoc tribe, they to meet
Jack at a certain place, without escort or side arms. After the
Colonel had told me of the council and manner in which they were
to meet Captain Jack, I said: "Colonel, do you really believe they
will go?"

"Go," he replied. "Gen. Canby will go if he lives till the time
appointed for the meeting."

I could not think that Canby would do such a thing, and I told
Col. Miller that there was one thing he could depend upon, if they
went in that manner they would never return alive. I also told him
I did not consider Mr. Berry showed good judgement in letting
Captain Jack choose his own ground for the council and agreeing to
meet him without escort or side arms.

That afternoon Gen. Wheaton sent for me, and I responded to the
call at once. When I arrived at the General's camp he opened the
conversation by saying: "Captain, have you heard of the meeting
that is to take place between Gen. Canby and Captain Jack?"

I said: "No, General, I had heard nothing of it." This being a
little white lie, for it had been told me in confidence by Col.
Miller. I asked what the object of the meeting was, and when and
where it was to be.

He said it was for the purpose of effecting a treaty with Captain
Jack, and was to be held in a little glade or opening on the other
side of Dry Lake canyon, this being about one mile south of
headquarters, and within a quarter of a mile of Captain Jack's
stronghold. Said he: "Gen. Canby and Rev. Col. Thomas, accompanied
by George Meeks and his squaw as interpreters, are to meet Captain
Jack there without escort or even side arms. Now, Captain, tell me
seriously, what you think of this affair."

I said: "General, they may go, but they will never return."

The General then asked me if I would have a talk with Gen. Canby.
I told him that if Gen. Canby asked for my opinion in the matter I
would give it just as frankly as I would to you, otherwise I had
nothing to say, for Gen. Canby was a man that seemed to feel too
much elevated to speak to a scout, except just to give orders.
Gen. Wheaton told me that he would see Gen. Canby himself and have
a talk with him. This was on Friday previous to the Sunday on
which they were to meet in council.

In the afternoon of the same day it was reported that there had
been Indians seen along Tule Lake. I mounted my horse and started
with a platoon of soldiers and a sergeant, and when we had
advanced about twelve miles I was riding about two hundred yards
in advance I saw something dodge into a bunch of sarvis brush.
Beckoning to the sergeant, he dashed up to my side and said:
"What's up, Captain?"

"I got a glimpse of something just as it ran into that patch of
brush, and I think it was an Indian."

He had his men surround the brush and I went to scare the Indian
out. I searched that patch of brush thoroughly, but could find no
Indian or anything else, and the boys all enjoyed a hearty laugh
at my expense.

The sergeant proposed that we all have a smoke, so we turned our
horses loose to graze. The sergeant lit his pipe, threw off his
overcoat and laid down to rest. As he cast his eyes heavenward in
the direction of the top of the only pine tree that stood in that
patch of brush, he exclaimed: "Captain, I have found your Indian."
Of course we all commenced looking for the Indian, and I asked
where he was, whereupon he told me to look up in the pine tree,
and on looking I beheld an Indian with whom I was well acquainted,
as he had been to my ranch several times in company with Captain

I asked him to come down, telling him that I would protect him if
he would, but he would not utter a word, nor would he come down. I
tried for at least a half hour to induce him to come down until I
had exhausted all the persuasive powers I possessed, but to no

I told the sergeant that I had treed his Indian, and now he could
do as he pleased with him, and the sergeant ordered him shot down,
after which we returned to headquarters, this being the only
Indian seen on the trip.

The next morning Gen. Wheaton sent for me to come to his quarters,
which I did, and in a conversation with him he asked me if I was
still of the same opinion concerning the council meeting as when I
talked with him before. I told him that I was, that I had not seen
or heard anything to change my mind in the least. He then said: "I
had a conversation with Gen. Canby and Rev. Col. Thomas, and Col.
Thomas scoffs at the idea you advance, claiming that they were
going in a good cause, and that the Lord would protect them." I
told the General that George Jones and I were going to see that
meeting. He said that would not do, for it was strictly forbidden.
I assured the General that I would not break any rules, but that I
would see the meeting. I had given my scouts their orders until
ten o'clock the next day, and when dark came Jones and I were
going to the bluff on this side of the canyon and there secrete
ourselves, where, with a glass, we could see the whole proceeding
and not be discovered by the Indians.

The reader will understand that a scout is, in a certain measure,
a privileged character.

As soon as it was dark Saturday evening George and I went to the
place mentioned and remained there until the time arrived for the
meeting. About nine o'clock that morning the fog raised and the
sun shone brightly, making it one of the most pleasant mornings we
had experienced for some time, thereby giving us a good view of
the grounds of the proposed meeting, and we could see Captain Jack
and another Indian there waiting. I could recognize Jack's
features through the glass, but the other Indian I could not. In a
short time we saw Gen. Canby, Col. Thomas, George Meeks and his
squaw coming. When they reached the lower end of the little
opening one hundred and fifty yards from where Captain Jack was
standing, they dismounted, tied their horses and walked slowly in
the direction where Captain Jack was standing, and every few steps
Gen. Canby would look back, apparently to see if any one was
following them. On arriving at the spot they shook hands with
Captain Jack and the other Indian, and probably fifteen minutes
elapsed when Captain Jack dropped his blanket from his shoulders
to the ground and suddenly turned and picked it up. This, I
believe, was a signal for an attack, for the next moment I saw
smoke from a number of guns from the rocks and could hear the
reports also. Col. Thomas, Meeks and his squaw started on the run,
but Gen. Canby fell in his tracks, a victim at the hands of
Captain Jack and his followers. Col. Thomas only ran about ten
steps, when he fell. Meeks ran nearly one hundred yards, when he
fell, and the squaw escaped unhurt, but badly scared, I presume.

As soon as Gen. Canby had fallen George Jones asked if he had
better go to headquarters and give the alarm. I told him to go
with all possible speed. George reached camp twenty minutes ahead
of me. The other officers could not believe that he was telling
the truth, but when I arrived and told them that the entire crowd
had been killed, with the exception of the squaw, they were
thunderstruck, and by the time I was through telling them the
squaw was there.

I do not know just how many soldiers were sent to recover the dead
bodies, but that day there was a general attack made on Captain
Jack, which was kept up from day to day almost as long as the war

When it was foggy, as it was nearly all the time, the Indians
almost invariably got the best of the soldiers, from the fact that
they would come out without any clothing on their bodies with a
bunch of sage-brush tied on their heads, and their skins being so
similar in color to that of the lava rocks, that when the fog was
thick, at a distance of thirty or forty yards, it was impossible
to distinguish an Indian from a rock. There were more or less
soldiers killed and wounded every day until the end of the war.

One day only a short time after the assassination of Gen. Canby and
Col. Thomas, the soldiers were attacked in Dry Lake canyon by the
Modocs and were getting badly butchered up.

As I rode along Gen. Wheaton dashed up by my side and said: "Where
can those Indians be and what kind of guns have they? I have been
losing men all day and there has not been an Indian seen." I told
the General I would try and locate them and let him know just
where they were. Taking George Jones and another man by the name
of Owens with me, I rode around on the opposite ridge, dismounted,
and leaving my horse with the other boys, I crawled down among the
rocks. I had on a buckskin suit and could not be seen much easier
than a Modoc when in the lava beds. They kept up a continual
firing, and now and then I could hear a bullet whiz near me. After
I had crawled about sixty yards as cautiously as I could I raised
on one knee and foot and my gun was resting across my leg while I
was peering through the fog to see if I could get sight of any
Indians, and listening to see if I could hear an Indian's voice. I
had remained in this position about five minutes when a ball
struck me on the shin-bone, just below the boot top. It appeared
to me that I could have heard it crack at a hundred yards. Never
before in my life had I experienced such a miserable feeling as at
that time. I thought that my leg was broken into atoms. I started
to crawl back up the hill, taking the same route that I had come
down, and when I had ascended the hill near enough to the boys so
they could see me, George Jones saw that I was hurt.

He dropped his gun and ran to me at once and said: "Captain, are
you badly hurt?" But before I had time to answer him he had picked
me up bodily and was running up the hill with me.

When he got to where our horses were he said: "Where are you
shot?" I said: "George, my left leg is shot off." "What shall we
do?" said George. I told him to put me on Johnny, that being the
name of my horse, and I would go to headquarters. He said: "Let me
pull your boot off," at the same time taking hold of my boot. I
caught my leg with both hands to hold the bones together while the
boot was being removed from the leg, thinking that the bone was
shattered into small pieces. As soon as George had succeeded in
removing my boot from my foot, he turned the top of the boot
downward to let the blood run out of it. "Why," said he, "your leg
is not bleeding at all." I then commenced feeling my leg, but could
not feel or hear any bones work, so by the assistance of George I
got my breeches-leg up and there the ball stuck just between the
skin and the bone of my leg, and the boys had a good laugh at my

When I had learned that my leg was not broken, George and I
crawled down together into the canyon, and located the Indians. We
got so near that we could see the flash from their guns through
the fog. We then ascended the hill, mounted our horses, rode back
and reported to Gen. Wheaton. But the Indians had the advantage
over the soldiers from the fact that the soldiers' could be easily
distinguished from the rocks.

About one week later, George Jones, a young man named Savage, and
myself, went on just such another trip. It was our custom when
going into the canyon to leave one man in charge of our horses
until we returned, and in this case we left Savage with three
saddle horses and instructions to remain there until we returned.
On our return we found poor Savage mortally wounded, and he only
lived a few minutes. He had two balls through his body. It seemed
that he had tied the horses and come to the top of the hill to
look for us or to warn us of danger, and while there had been shot
down by the Indians.

This was the first scout I had lost since I had entered the
scouting field at this place. By the assistance of Jones I got the
body on my horse in front of me and carried it to headquarters and
reported to Gen. Ross, who was acquainted with Savage's family,
and he sent the body to Jacksonville for interment. A few days
later, George, myself and four assistants started out to meet a
pack-train that was coming in from Yreka, Cal., with supplies. We
met the train twelve miles from headquarters and told the man in
charge that he would either have to cross the lava beds or go
around forty miles. He decided to take chances in crossing the
lava beds in preference to going so far around. We told him that
he would be running a great risk, for we were satisfied that Jack
was running short of provisions and that he had men out all the
time foraging, and we knew that if the Indians happened to
discover this train they would make a desperate effort to capture
it, or at least a part of it. There were fifty animals in the
train and only three men. When we started across the lava beds I
took the lead, and George and our other men in the rear. In case
of an attack on either, he was to fire two shots in quick
succession as a signal for assistance, for the fog was almost
thick enough that day to cut in slices with a knife. The man in
charge of the train started a young man ahead with me to lead the
bell-horse, placing another young man about the center of the

It was a miserably rough country across these lava beds, and we
had to travel very slowly.

The man in charge dropped back in the rear of the train, thinking
that if we were attacked it would be at the rear.

The reader will understand that in crossing this hell-hearth it
was necessary for the pack-animals to string out single file.



When we were across the lava beds, or "Devil's Garden," as the
place was commonly called, I told the man who was leading the
bell-horse to stop and wait until the other animals had come up in
order to see whether we had lost any. This was within a mile of
headquarters. The man in charge, also Jones and the other scouts,
came up, but the young man who had been riding in the middle, also
four mules and their packs, as the saying is, "came up missing."

The train went on to headquarters, but Jones and I returned along
the trail to see if we could find the missing man. One of us,
however, had to leave the trail and scout along on foot.

After following the back-track two miles I found where the four
mules had left it. It was now late in the evening, and we were
within less than a mile and a half of Captain Jack's stronghold.
We tied our horses there and started out, caring but little about
the mules and their packs; it was the man that we were looking
after. We had not gone more than fifty yards from the trail when
we found the body.

The poor fellow had been stoned to death, his head being beaten
out of shape. This the Indians had done to prevent an alarm. They
had evidently been hidden in the lava rocks and had managed to
turn those four mules from the trail, and the fog being so thick
that a person could not see any distance, the man did not notice
that he was off of the trail until too late; and when once off the
trail a few paces it was impossible for him to get back again. The
mules and packs were never seen again. The Indians, no doubt, took
them to the cave, used the provisions, killed and ate the mules
and saddle-horse which the man was riding. We took the body to
headquarters, and the next day it was started to Yreka, Cal. I do
not remember the name of this young man, but he lived near Yreka.

Gen. Wheaton was now fighting, the Indians every day, and at night
kept a strong picket guard around the cave. About this time it was
reported that Gen. Wheaton had received orders to take Captain
Jack if he had to exterminate the entire tribe.

The feeling was getting to be very strong against Captain Jack in
regard to the assassination of Gen. Canby, Col. Thomas and George
Meeks, the interpreter. One evening in a conversation with Gen.
Wheaton he asked me how long I thought it would take to starve
them out. I said: "General, if they took all their horses in the
cave, which I believe they did, and we know for a fact that they
got some cattle from the Klamath river, I think it will be May or
June before you will be able to starve them out."

He said that every Indian that came out of the cave single-handed
or otherwise would not live to get through the picket line, saying
that he had a double picket line now around the entire cave, both
day and night.

The next morning after this conversation with the General, one of
my scouts came in from Rattlesnake Point and reported having seen
the tracks of twenty Indians, where they had crossed the road on
the east side of the lake, and they were all small tracks.

I reported this to the General, telling him that Jack was a pretty
smart Indian, for he was sending his women and children away so as
to make his provisions last as long as possible.

George Jones and I started out, accompanied by two platoons of
soldiers, to capture the Indians. We had no trouble in finding
their trail, and in running them down.

It so happened that our escort that day were all Gen. Ross' men
and were all friends to young Savage, who had recently been killed
by the Modocs. After following the trail about ten miles we came
in sight of the Indians on Lost river. We did not see them until
we were near them and had no trouble in capturing the whole
outfit. There were twenty-two, all squaws and little girls. I was
personally acquainted with all of those Indians, and knowing so
well the cause of all this trouble, and just what brought it
about, I could not help sympathizing with the women and children.
In fact, I had felt from the very start that this trouble was all
uncalled for. Among the crowd was one young squaw who spoke pretty
fair English for an Indian in those days. I was well acquainted
with her, and told her that we would have to take them all, but
that they would be treated as prisoners. She did not seem to
understand the meaning of "prisoners."

I explained to her, and she in her own tongue explained it to the
rest of the crowd. I told her that we would have to take them back
to headquarters.

She said: "We heap hungry, long time no eat much. Maby white man
no give us anything to eat. 'Spose no eat purty soon all die." I
assured her that they would have plenty to eat as long as they
behaved themselves and gave the soldiers no trouble.

They all seemed to be perfectly willing to surrender and go back
to headquarters, so we started back via Tule Lake. When we reached
the mouth of Lost river I turned the prisoners over to the two
sergeants who had charge of the two platoons of soldiers. George
and I wanted to make a circuit around in the direction of Clear
Lake, thinking, of course, that the prisoners would be perfectly
safe in charge of the soldiers, especially those little girls.
George and I did not get to headquarters that night until ten
o'clock, and the first thing I heard when I got into camp was that
the Indians had tried to run off into the tules while coming down
Tule Lake, and they had all been shot down by the soldiers, I went
at once to see Gen. Ross relative to the matter, for I could not
believe it. The General confirmed the report by saying every one
of them had been shot. I said: "General, that is the most cowardly
piece of work I ever heard white men accused of in my life. Will
you please tell the men who did that cowardly piece of work, that
they had better never be caught out with me when I have the best
of it, for I would much prefer shooting such men down, to shooting
helpless women and children."

This conversation caused a great deal of talk of a court-martial,
but it all blew over, I suppose, on account of Captain Jack
murdering Gen. Canby. The next conversation I had with Gen.
Wheaton, I asked why the picket guard let those Indians pass
through the picket line, and speaking as though I thought they had
passed boldly out through the line; he said:

"I cannot see into it myself."

I said: "General, that is the way the Indians will all get out of
there, and at the final surrender you will not have six warriors
in the cave. From this on you will find that they will gradually
desert Jack, for the squaws told me that they were getting very

It was reported around that Captain Jack and three other Indians
would be hung if caught alive, this being the orders from
headquarters. The other three were Schonchin, Scarfaced Charlie
and Shacknasty Jim, these being Jack's council or under chiefs.

When this report came, Gen. Wheaton told me that if it was
necessary he would make another detail of scouts, for he would not
under any consideration have the Indians escape. I told the
General to give himself no uneasiness in regard to that part of
it, for we would run down all the Indians that crossed the picket
line, but I must know what I should promise a prisoner when I
captured him. I asked if I should promise them protection or not,
for if there was no protection, I would not bring them in. He
assured me that all prisoners caught after this would be protected
as prisoners of war until tried and proven guilty.

What the General meant by that was those who might be proven
guilty of being directly interested in the murder of Gen. Canby
and Col. Thomas.

I now put George Jones on the night shift. He had the entire
charge of night scouting, and he and his assistants rode all night
long. In the morning I started out with my assistants and rode all
day; so it was impossible for the Indians to get out and away
without our getting track of them, and if they left a track we
were sure to capture them.

We kept this up for about three weeks, when I made a change;
George and I doing the night scouting alone, and leaving the day
scouting for the other scouts.

One night we were out near Dry Lake, about five miles from
headquarters, and there came up a cold fog. We built a little fire
to warm by, and shortly after we had started it we heard what an
inexperienced man would have called two cayotes, but we knew they
were Indians and were in different directions and this was their
signal for meeting.

We mounted our horses and rode in the opposite direction, but
before we left we gave a yelp in a laughing sort of manner to make
the Indians believe that we thought it was cayotes. We rode
quietly away about three hundred yards from the fire, dismounted,
tied our horses and crawled back near the fire. All this time the
Indians had kept up their cayote barking and were drawing near the
fire. It was some little time before they dared approach, but
after they had looked carefully around, I suppose they thought it
had been campers who had stopped, built a fire and then pulled
out, for it was not the custom of scouts to build a fire, which
the Indians well knew, they finally ventured up to the fire and
were warming themselves. Seeing that they were both armed with
rifles, and the chances were they both had pistols, we made up our
minds not to take any chances, so I proposed to George that we
should shoot them down, just as they would have done us if we had
not understood their signal.

Of course if it had been daylight it would have been quite
different, but three jumps away from the fire and they would have
been safe from us. We were sitting side by side not more than
forty yards from them. I told George to take the one on the right
and I would take the one on the left, and when he gave the word I
would fire with him. We raised our guns, and when he gave the word
we both fired, and the two Indians fell to the ground. We waited
about five minutes to see whether they would rise or not, and
believing we had killed them both, we approached them. One of them
was dead and the other was just about dead, so we took their guns
and pistols and reported to Gen. Wheaton.

The next morning he said it was a mystery how the Indians would
get out and the men on picket would not see them. He said: "I
cannot see through it."

About a week or ten days later George and I were coming in just
before daylight, when we heard a baby cry on the hillside only a
short distance from us. We stopped and listed until we had located
it. George dismounted, and I held his horse while he crawled up to
see where it was, and found that there was quite a number of
squaws and children there. I told him that it would be a matter of
impossibility for them to get away from us and the grass so high,
for we could track them easily, so I left him there to keep watch
and see which way they moved so that we would know how to start
after them, and I would ride to headquarters, about two miles
away, for assistance to help capture them when it was daylight. I
rode slow until so far away that I knew they could not hear the
clatter of my horse's feet, and then I put spurs to my horse and
rode with all speed to headquarters. When I passed the camp guard
he challenged me and I gave my name. I could hear it carried down
the line from one to another, "There comes the Captain of the
Scouts, there is something up." Rather than wake up a commissioned
officer, I woke up my entire scout force, and was back to where
George Jones was just at daylight. He said that the squaws had
moved in the direction of Clear Lake. There was a heavy dew and we
had no trouble in finding their trail and following it; in fact,
at times we could ride almost at full speed and follow without
difficulty. We had only gone about four miles when we came in
sight of them, six squaws, a little boy, a little girl and a baby.
When they saw me coming they all stopped. I rode up and asked them
where they were going. They could all speak a little English.

There was one in the crowd named Mary, with whom I was well
acquainted, who said: "We heap hungry, too much hungry, we go
Clear Lake catch fish." I told her that we would have to take them
prisoners and take them all back to headquarters and keep them
there until we got all the Modoc Indians and then they would have
to go on to the reservation. "No, too much hungry, you all time
fight Captain Jack, Injun no catch fish. All time eatem hoss. No
more hoss now; Injun eatem all up, eatem some cow too. No more
hoss, no more cow. Injun all heap hungry."

It was some time before I could make them believe that they would
be fed when at headquarters, but they being acquainted with me and
knowing that I had been a friend to them in time of peace. I
finally succeeded in getting them to turn and go to headquarters.
These were the first prisoners that had been taken to the
General's quarters during the Modoc war.

Gen. Wheaton was away from his quarters, so I left the prisoners
in charge of George Jones and the other scouts, with instructions
to let no one interfere with them while I went to hunt the

I soon found him and with him returned to where the Indians were.
The General asked me to question the one of them that talked the
best English and had done the most talking, concerning the number
of men that Captain Jack had in his stronghold. When I asked her
she said: "Some days twenty men, some days thirty men, no more,
some go away. No more come back, some shoot, by and by he die. Two
days now me not eat. Injun man, he no eat much."

From this we inferred that they only had a little provisions left,
and the men that did the fighting did the eating also. They were
given something to eat at once, and I don't think I ever saw more
hungry mortals. I told the General that it would not be long until
they would all come out, but that I did not think they would come
in a body, but would slip out two or three at a time. The General
thought it so strange that they were stealing out through the
picket lines and the guards not seeing any of them.

Some three weeks later than this, it being about the first of
June, 1873, George and I had been out all night and were coming
into quarters, being a little later this morning than common, and
when we were within about one and a half miles from quarters we
crossed the trail of three Indians. I got down and examined the
tracks closely; there was one track quite large and long, another
not quite so large and the third was quite small. I told George I
was not afraid to bet twenty dollars that they were the tracks of
Captain Jack, his wife and little girl. We pushed on to
headquarters with all possible speed and reported to Gen. Wheaton.
He asked my reason for thinking that it was Captain Jack. I told
him from the fact that it suited for his family. I was well
acquainted with both him and his squaw, and I told the General
that Jack himself had an unusually long foot. He asked how much of
an escort I wanted and if I would go at once. I told him I would,
and I wanted two platoons. He directed his orderlies to report as
soon as possible with two platoons of cavalry, and I gave my horse
to George, telling him to change our saddles to fresh horses at
once. As soon as it was noised around that we had got track of
Captain Jack, the scouts all wanted to accompany me, but I told
them that their services could not be dispensed with at camp for
one hour, for it was getting now where the thing must be watched
very closely. George rode up on a fresh horse and was leading
Black Bess with my saddle on her. I mounted and we were off again
in pursuit of Captain Jack, but as we rode away Gen. Wheaton
expressed himself as being doubtful as to its being Captain Jack.

When we struck the trail of the three Indians, I had one platoon
to ride on each side of the trail, keeping about fifty yards away
from it, and in case we should miss it or get off, we would have a
chance to go back and pick it up again before it would become

This was one of the prettiest mornings that we could have had for
the occasion. The fog disappeared with the rising of the sun, and
in many places we could look ahead and see the trail in the grass
for fifty yards. In those places we put our horses down to their
utmost. George and I were both very hungry, having had nothing to
eat since the evening before, and we had been in the saddle all
night, but an old scout forgets all this when he gets on a fresh
Indian trail and becomes somewhat excited. After we had gone about
six miles we came to a gravel country for a mile and a half, and
it was slow and tedious tracking across this, for many times we
had nothing to go by only as they might turn a little pebble over
with their feet or step on a little spear of grass and mash it
down, and this was very thin and scattering on the ridge. However,
as soon as we were across the gravelly ridge, we again struck
grass and we let our horses out almost at full speed, knowing very
well that as soon as the dew dried off it would be slow and
tedious tracking. After we had ridden about twelve miles, and just
as we raised the top of the hill, on looking across on the next
ridge we saw the three Indians, and sure enough, it was Captain
Jack, his squaw and little girl. About this time he turned and saw
us coming. He stood and looked at us for a moment or so and the
three all turned and started back to meet us. We both pulled our
pistols and dashed up to him at full speed.

When we were close enough, I could see that he had a smile on his
face, and I knew that he had recognized me. When we rode up to him
he said: "Good mornin. Long time no see you," and at the same time
presented the gun with the breech foremost.

As I took the gun, I said to him: "Jack, where are you going?"

He replied: "O, heap hungry, guess go Clear Lake catch fish."

I said: "No, Jack; you are my prisoner. I will have to take you
back to Gen. Wheaton."

He replied: "No, me no want to go back, no more fight, too much
all time hungry, little girl nearly starve, no catch fish soon he
die." But when he saw that he had to go, he said:

"All right, me go."

So I took the little girl up behind me, and George took the squaw
up behind him and Jack walked.

It was in the afternoon when we returned to headquarters with the
prisoners, and there was no little rejoicing among the soldiers
when they learned for a certainty that I had taken Captain Jack

That afternoon a runner was started to Yreka with a dispatch to
headquarters to the effect that Gen. Wheaton had taken the
notorious Captain Jack prisoner. As a matter of fact, an old scout
is never known in such cases. They, as a general rule, do the
work, but the officers always get the praise. Although Gen.
Wheaton had the praise of capturing Captain Jack, he had but
little more to do with it than the President of the United States.



That evening I had a long conversation with Captain Jack, and from
him I learned the exact number of Indians in the cave. He said
there were twenty women, and maybe thirty children and twenty-two
warriors. He said they would not stay there long for they had
nothing to eat, and their ammunition was nearly gone.

I must admit that when I learned Jack's story of the way that he
had been both driven and pulled into this war, which I knew to be
a fact myself, I was sorry for him. He said that after the Indian
agent would not send them anything to eat he was forced to go away
from the reservation to catch fish to keep his people from
starving, for which purpose he was at the mouth of Lost river when
the soldiers came there. One morning before the soldiers fired on
him without even telling him to return to the reservation or
giving him any warning whatever. He said that he did not give
orders for his men to kill any white men that morning, but they
all got very angry at the soldiers for shooting at them. "That
day," said he, "I go to lava bed, my men scout all over country,
kill all white men they see."

After I was through talking with Jack, Gen. Wheaton sent for me to
come to his quarters, as he was anxious to learn what information
I had obtained. When I told him the number of Indians yet in the
cave and that they had nothing to eat, he asked me what would be
my plan for capturing the remainder. I told him that if I was
doing it, I would capture the entire outfit without losing a
single man, but that it would take a little time; that I would not
fire on them at all, but would double the picket line, and it
would not be many days until they would surrender, and in case
some of them did slip by the guards, we would pick them up before
they got twenty miles away.

The following morning a council was held in camp, and all the
commissioned officers were present. Now Captain Jack had been
captured, and according to reports, the other Indians were nearly
starved out, so that morning they did not open out on them at all.

The third day from this it was reported by a citizen who had
passed over the country that day, that he saw Indians up on Tule
Lake. It being late in the afternoon, nearly dark in fact, when I
heard the report and it not being from a scout, I questioned
closely the man who was said to have seen them, but did not get
much satisfaction from him, so naturally discredited the report.
But for fear there might be some truth in it, the next morning by
daybreak George Jones and I were scouring the country in the
vicinity of Tule Lake. After having ridden some little distance we
ran upon the trail of six Indians, who as we supposed had passed
the evening before, and were evidently plodding along in the
direction of Lost river. This was without doubt the trail of four
bucks and two squaws. After we had followed this trail a few miles
we found where they had stopped, built a fire, caught, cooked and
ate some fish. We knew they were not many miles ahead of us, in
fact, the fire had not entirely gone out. From here on we had
plain sailing, and the nearer an old scout gets when on the trail
of an Indian the more anxious he gets, so we sped along up the
lake four miles further, and were on them before they knew it;
they were all on the banks of the river fishing.

In this outfit there were Scarfaced Charley and Black Jim, their
squaws, and two other Indians. The moment we saw them we both drew
our pistols, but concealed them from their view by hiding them
under our coats. When we approached them they all said, "Good

I did not see any guns near them nor did either of them have
pistols. Scarfaced Charley said: "We like go reservation; too much
hungry, my squaw nearly dead, ketchem some fish her, purty soon

After I had informed him that I would have to take them all back
to Gen. Wheaton's quarters, Charley said: "What for?" I said:
"Charley, I will take you all back to headquarters, give you all
plenty to eat, and when we get all the Modoc Indians they will be
taken to the reservation." "All right, me go now," said Charley,
as he started, eager to be off on the journey for headquarters.

I asked them where their guns and pistols were, and they said: "O,
me hide them in lava bed, too much heavy, no like carry." So
George Jones took the lead, the Indians followed him, and I
brought up the rear. I could see that they were very weak from
hunger, but they plodded along, encouraged by the thought of
getting something to eat at Gen. Wheaton's quarters.

We arrived there at noon, and when I turned them over to the
General and told him their names, he said: "It is with the
greatest of pleasure that I receive them. Now if I only had just
one more I would be satisfied. That one is Schonchin. I would then
have all the ring leaders."

Up to this time I had not learned what would be the fate of those
Indians directly interested in the assassination of Gen. Canby and
Col. Thomas, and I must admit that I was terribly surprised when
Gen. Wheaton informed me that they would all be hanged. From those
Indians I learned that Captain Jack and his council were not on
good terms, having had a falling out while in the cave, and they
would not speak to each other while at Gen. Wheaton's
headquarters. The cause of the trouble grew out of a proposition
by Captain Jack to surrender, and he had been talking surrender
for two weeks past, but the rest of them were in favor of fighting
to the last. Mary, the squaw, told me that they at one time came
near putting Jack to death for cowardice, and that was the reason
he had deserted them, knowing that his life was in danger in the

From this on we captured one or two Modocs every day. The fourth
day after the last band referred to was captured, one of my scouts
reported having seen Indian tracks at the head of Tule Lake, but
could not make out the exact number, I had just lain down to take
a nap, it being early in the morning, and I had been riding all
night, but George and I saddled our horses and were off for the
head of Tule Lake, Gen. Wheaton promising to send a company of
soldiers after us at once.

We struck the Indian trail about twelve miles from headquarters,
this being the first band that had escaped from the west side of
the cave.

As soon as we discovered their trail we put spurs to our horses
and sped along up the river, for the trail was plain and we
experienced no trouble in following it, and just above the Natural
Bridge on Lost river, we came on to them. Some were fishing, some
were cooking the fish they had caught, and others were eating
fish. It seemed that each one of them caught, cooked and ate their
own fish. Seeing no arms we rode up to them. There were twelve of
them, and among them was Sconchin, the other councilman who the
General was so anxious to get hold of. Sconchin said: "Go Fort
Klamath, all Injun heap hungry, now ketchem fish, eat plenty, by
and by go to fort."

I had George Jones turn and ride back to hurry the soldiers up,
for I did not deem it a safe plan for two of us to try to take the
whole crowd prisoners, for even though they had no arms they might
scatter all over the country and then we could not get them only
by killing them, and that I did not want to do. While I am in no
wise a friend to a hostile; I believe in giving even an Indian
that which is justly due him, and I must admit that all through
this Modoc war I could not help, in a measure, feeling sorry for
the Modocs, particularly Captain Jack, for I knew that through the
negligence of one agent and the outrageous attack upon Jack by the
squad of soldiers on Lost river, while there catching fish to keep
his people from starving, he had been driven and dragged into this
war, and I do not believe to-day, nor never did believe, that
Captain Jack ought to have been hanged.

I have often been asked, since, what I thought of the arrangements
Mr. Berry made for the meeting of Gen. Canby, Col. Thomas and
Captain Jack, but I have always refrained from answering that
question any farther than that it seemed to me that a school boy
ten years of age should have known better than to have made such a
bargain as he did, knowing the nature of Indians as well as he
claimed to.

But to my story--I stayed there and engaged the Indians in
conversation while George was making tracks back over the same
road that we had just come to hurry the cavalry up. I learned from
them that there were no more able-bodied men left in the cave, and
there were some twenty or thirty squaws and children, besides
several warriors that were wounded. In about an hour from the time
George started back, the soldiers made their appearance.

I told the Indians that we would have to take them prisoners and
take them back to headquarters. This, however, was not pleasant
news to them. They objected to return with us until I had informed
them that they would be fed and protected until such time as we
could get them all, and they having been acquainted with me
before, we were successful in persuading them to return peacefully
to the General's quarters.

It was late in the afternoon when we returned, and I at once
reported to the General the number of Indians, also that Schonchin
was in the gang, and that I had learned that there were no more
able-bodied men in the cave. I told him that from what I could
learn, I thought it perfectly safe for three or four men to enter
the cave and secure the few remaining Indians. The General said:
"I will think the matter over until morning."

That evening the officers held a council and it was decided that
in case the following morning was fair, Col. Miller and the
Colonel from California whose name I do not remember, myself, and
two soldiers would make the attempt to enter the cave, I going as
a guide more than anything else.

Next morning about ten o'clock when the fog had raised and the sun
came out most beautifully, we made the start for the cave.
Although I had never been inside of the cave, I had no serious
trouble in finding the main entrance to it, but we found it so
dark inside that we had to use lanterns. We had not proceeded far
until we could see the fire. I proposed to the others that as I
was acquainted with the Indians to let me advance alone, and I can
truthfully say that just such another sight I never saw before nor
since. There was a number of wounded Indians lying around; here
were the bones of their horses that they had killed and eaten, and
a smell so offensive that it was really a hard task for me to stay
there long enough to tell them what we wanted of them. As soon as
I commenced talking to them the squaws and children began making
their appearance from every direction.

I told them my business, and if they would go with me they would
be fed. They were not only willing, but anxious to go.

By this time the other men were there, and when they were all
gathered up Col. Miller sent two men back to camp for stretchers
to carry the wounded Indians to headquarters. They were all taken
out that day. I do not remember the number of wounded bucks that
were in the cave, but there were thirty-two squaws and forty

Now the bloody little Modoc war that had lasted so long at the
cost of many lives, was brought to an end. This was glorious news
to the surviving ones among the volunteers, and the next day they
were making preparations to return to their respective homes, or
rather Jacksonville, where they would be discharged, and they
again could say their lives were their own. This being the last
days of June and my services not needed any more, I asked the
General when the hanging would take place. He said that it would
be about the twentieth of July.



I went from there to Yreka to rest up a while. During my stay
there, one morning while I was waiting for my breakfast, I was
glancing over the morning paper, when a bright-eyed little boy
about nine years old, entered the restaurant, walked up in front
of me and said: "Is this Capt. Drannan, the scout?" I said: "Yes,
my little man. What can I do for you?" He said: "I am going to
school and I have to write a composition to read in school, and my
mother told me to see you and you might be able to assist me in
getting up a piece on the Modoc war." I asked the bright little
fellow his name. He said his name was Johnny Whitney. "Where is
your father and what does he follow for a living?" "My father is
dead, and my mother takes in washing to support herself and

That afternoon I spent in assisting the little fellow to prepare
his composition. I remained there at Yreka about ten days, during
which time I received a letter from George Jones, who was then at
Jacksonville, requesting me to meet him at Fort Klamath about four
or five days before the hanging was to take place, and also
requesting me to bring all my saddle horses. I succeeded in
getting up quite a party of business men and citizens of Yreka and
we started out across the Siskiyou Mountains. After the first
day's travel we found game plentiful and we had a pleasant trip.
We had all the game and fish we wanted, which afforded plenty of
amusement for the pleasure-seekers of the crowd, which was the
main object of this trip with a majority of them. We arrived at
Fort Klamath five days before the hanging was to take place. The
next day after we arrived a crowd came in from Jacksonville, and
among them were Gen. Ross, George Jones, J. N. T. Miller and three
newspaper reporters, one of whom represented the San Francisco
Chronicle, one the San Francisco Examiner, and one the Chicago
INTER-OCEAN. Col. Miller came to me and asked if I would like a
job of carrying dispatches from there, either to Jacksonville or
to Ashland, saying: "The Chronicle man has not found a man yet
that he could trust the dispatches with."

The reporter had told Mr. Miller that he would pay one hundred
dollars for carrying the dispatch, and in case he was first to the
office, he would also pay one hundred dollars more in addition to
that. From there to Jacksonville it was one hundred miles and a
wagon road all the way, while to Ashland it was but eighty miles,
of which sixty miles was only a trail. This I had passed once in
company with J. N. T. Miller. I was introduced to the reporter by
Col. Miller, with whom I soon made arrangements to carry his
dispatches. He asked me how long it would take me to ride to
Ashland. I told him I thought it would take about eight hours with
my three horses. He said if I went to Ashland I would have no
competition on the trail as the other riders were both going to

The day before the hanging was to take place I hired a young man
to take two of my horses and go out on the trail, instructing him
to leave one of them picketed out at Cold Springs, and the other
one to take to Bald Mountain, which was thirty miles from Ashland.
At this place I wanted Black Bess, and he was to stay there with
her until I came and to return, get my other horse, and meet me at

When the time arrived for the hanging and the prisoners were led
to the scaffold, each dispatch carrier was mounted and standing on
the outer edge of the crowd, ready at the moment he received the
dispatch to be off at once. When the four Indians were led upon
the scaffold to meet their doom, each of them were asked, through
an interpreter, whether or not he wished to say anything before
being hung, but they all shook their heads with the exception of
Captain Jack, who informed them that he had something to say.

He said: "I would like for my brother to take my place and let me
live so I can take care of my wife and little girl."

The carrier for the Inter-Ocean was the first to get his dispatch,
the Examiner the second, I receiving mine just as the last Indian
was hung, and now for the race to see who gets there first. It was
eleven o'clock when we started. We all traveled together for the
first twenty miles, where I left the wagon road and took the trail
for Ashland. Now I had sixty miles to ride over a trail and they
had eighty miles over a wagon road. At this junction where the
trail left the wagon road I bade the other couriers good-day,
telling them that in case they beat me they must treat to the
oysters when we met at Jacksonville, and I sped away and lost no
time in getting from there to Cold Springs, where I found my other
horse picketed out as I had ordered. I dismounted, threw my saddle
on the other horse, which was apparently feeling fine, mounted him
and was off again, leaving the other horse picketed at the same
place, so my man could get him on his return. My horse took a long
sweeping gallop and kept it up for about twelve miles, by which
time he was beginning to sweat quite freely, and I commenced to
urge him and put him down to all I thought he would stand. When I
came in sight of Black Bess she raised her head and whinnied to
me. The young man was lying asleep and holding her rope, while she
was grazing near him. Again I changed my saddle from my other
horse to Black Bess, and gave the young man instructions to start
at once and lead my horse slowly so as to prevent him from cooling
off too fast. I mounted Black Bess and now I was on the
homestretch. I did not urge her any for the first few miles until
she commenced sweating freely, after which I commenced to increase
her speed, and fifteen minutes after six I rode up to the
telegraph office and handed my dispatch to the operator, who
started it on the wire at once. I led my mare up and down the
streets to prevent her from cooling off too quick, and when it was
known where I was from, everybody in town had about forty
questions to ask relative to the hanging of the four Modoc braves.

On leaving the telegraph office I asked the operator to let me
know when the first dispatch started from Jacksonville, and while
at supper he came in and told me that the Examiner had just
started their dispatch over the wire, which was just one and
three-quarter hours behind me in getting to the office. The next
day I rode to Jacksonville, and the day following the balance of
the crowd came in from the fort. Among them were the three
reporters, all well pleased with the time their bearers had made
in carrying their dispatches, and that night we all had what in
those days we used to term "a-way-up time."

The balance of the Indians who were taken prisoners in this Modoc
war were afterwards taken to Florida and placed on a small
reservation, which, I presume, was done on account of the bitter
feeling that existed among the people of that section of the
country toward this tribe on account of the assassination of Gen.
Canby, Col. Thomas and George Meeks, the interpreter, as well as
the many other people that were murdered on Lost river and Tule

While at Jacksonville a man came to me named Martin, who was a
merchant and resided in Oakland, Cal., who wanted to hire me to go
out in the mountains some twenty miles from Jacksonville and look
after a man named McMahon, saying: "There must be something wrong
with McMahon, for he is the most punctual man I ever dealt with;
he promised to be here three weeks ago to pay a certain party
fifty dollars, but has not been seen nor heard from since."

McMahon owned a band of sheep and was ranging them out in the
mountains. Mr. Martin gave me directions, and the next morning I
started out for the sheep ranch. I had no trouble in finding the
place, but the cabin and surroundings showed that no one lived
there. I spent the balance of this day and the next in riding over
the sheep range, but could see no one, and only about twenty head
of sheep.

On my return to Jacksonville I went by way of Bybee's ferry, on
Rogue river, and learned that about three weeks previous to that
time a band of two thousand head of sheep had crossed over the
ferry, driven by two men. Now it was almost a foregone conclusion
that some one had murdered McMahon and driven his band of sheep
away, and when I returned to Jacksonville there was no little
excitement about the city in regard to McMahon. Some of the
business men and citizens with whom I was well acquainted,
prevailed upon me to accept an appointment as deputy sheriff, and
start out and track the band of sheep up if possible and capture
the thieves and murderers, the sheriff himself being very busy
just at that time, it being near time for court to sit in that
county. After receiving my appointment and taking the oath of
office, I struck directly for Bybee's ferry, and for the first
twenty miles beyond the ferry I experienced no trouble whatever in
keeping track of the sheep, finding a number of people who had
seen them, and all gave the same description of the two men who
were driving them.

Leaving the settlement, I went into the mountains, spent five days
tracking sheep here and there in every direction between Rogue
river and Umpqua. Finally they struck off on to the breaks of the
Umpqua and were soon in the settlement again, and I was able to
get the description of the two men, which coincided with the
description given by others.

I found the sheep within about twelve miles of Canyonville, and a
young man was herding them who I soon learned to be what might be
called a half idiot. He told me that his name was Buckley. I had
quite a pleasant chat with him and spent about two hours with him,
lounging around, talking about his sheep. I asked if he had raised
his sheep, and where his winter range was.

He said he had not owned the sheep but a short time. I asked him
if he had bought them here in this country. He said he had not,
but got them on the other side of the mountain in the Rogue river
country. I asked him if he owned them alone, whereupon he informed
me that he had a partner in the sheep business. I asked him what
his partner's name was, and he told me it was John Barton. I asked
where his partner lived, and he said that he lived down on the
Umpqua river and was running a ferry.

Now I was satisfied that I had found the sheep and one of the men
and as good as got the other one where I could put my hand on him
at any time. I rode down to Canyonville and telegraphed Mr.
Manning, the sheriff, that I had found the sheep and one of the
men and had the other one located. He answered me by saying that I
would have help the following day from Roseburg, that being the
county seat of Douglas county, which is sixteen miles from
Canyonville, where I then was and which was in the same county. I
waited patiently the next day for assistance, but it did not come.
Late that evening I went to the constable of that precinct and
asked him to go with me and assist in making the arrest, but he
refused, saying: "That man Barton is a hard case. I don't want to
have anything to do with him." I did not tell him the particulars
of the case, and I must admit that I did not know enough of civil
law to know that it was necessary for me to be armed with a
warrant to go and make the arrest. On the refusal of the constable
to accompany me, I at once walked down to the stable and ordered
my horse saddled, and inquired the way to John Barton's place. The
proprietor of the stable told me how to go.

So concluding to tackle him alone, I mounted my horse just after
dark and started for Barton's Ferry. I found the place without
difficulty, and although I rode very slowly, I got to the river
some time before daylight. I tied my horse in the brush and walked
the road until daylight. As soon as it was daylight I saw the
house on the other side of the river, and kept my eye on it until
just before sunrise, when I saw the smoke commence to curl up from
the chimney, and in about fifteen minutes I saw a man come out in
his shirt sleeves and bare-headed. I at once mounted my horse and
rode down to the river and halloed for him to bring the boat over
as I wished to cross the river. He answered by saying: "I'll be
there in a minute as soon as I get my hat and coat." He stepped
into the house, got his hat and coat and came across. When he
landed I walked on to the boat and asked if he was Mr. Barton. He
said that was his name, and in a second he was looking down the
muzzle of my pistol, and I informed him that he was my prisoner.
He asked me what for. I said for the murdering of McMahon.

"Have they found the body?" were the first words that fell from
his lips, which he doubtless would not have uttered had I not
caught him off his guard. I told him they had, which was false.

"You want to take me away with you and not let me see my wife and
bid her good-bye?"

I informed him that I would, telling him that she could come to
see him if she liked. He offered all manner of excuses to get back
to his house. After I had listened awhile I gave him two minutes
to get off the boat and take the road, which he did at once. I did
not try to put the handcuffs on him alone, not wishing to give him
any drop on me whatever.

I made him take the road ahead of me, and we started on our way
for Jacksonville. After we had gone some two miles in the
direction of Canyonville an old gentleman and his son overhauled
us with a wagon, and I had the old man put the handcuffs on him,
after which I allowed him to get into the wagon with the other two
men and ride to Canyonville. When I put him in the little lock-up
which they had there for such occasions and went and hunted up the
constable and asked him to look after Barton until I would return.
I could get no satisfaction from him, so I went to a merchant in
town and related the whole circumstance to him and asked him to
keep a watch or tell me of some one whom I could hire to look
after him that I could rely upon. He assured me that he would look
after a man, put him there to watch and then we would be sure that
he would be safe. I then mounted my horse and was off for Buckley,
who I found without difficulty, arrested him, and started on my
way back to Canyonville.

He came so near admitting the crime that I was sure I had the two
guilty men. I got back with my prisoner just in time to take the
stage for Jacksonville. Leaving my horse at the livery stable, I
instructed the liveryman to send him at once to Jacksonville and I
would pay all charges. I handcuffed both prisoners and had them
shackled together, put them in the stage and started to
Jacksonville with them. I wired the sheriff that I had both of the
guilty parties and would be at Jacksonville on the stage, which
was due about six o'clock the next morning.

The sheriff and his deputies met us that morning at the edge of
town. It had been noised around that I would be in and they were
somewhat afraid of a mob, but we succeeded in getting to the jail
all safe, and not until then had I the faintest idea that I had
stepped beyond my official duty in arresting those men without a
warrant and bringing them into another county.

These were the first white prisoners that I had ever had any
experience with. I had taken so many Indian prisoners that never
required any red tape, I naturally supposed that the same rule
would be applicable in this case, but I got away with it just the
same. That afternoon we took the young man off to himself, and
when he was questioned by the district attorney and a certain
doctor, whose name has slipped my memory, he admitted the whole
affair, and told us just where to go to find McMahon's body. When
he told us this the doctor drew a diagram of the ground. Buckley
said we would find a tree a certain distance from the cabin that
had been blown out by the roots, and in that hole we would find
the body covered up with brush and chips thrown on top of the
brush. After giving this valuable information we at once started
out to hunt for the body.

It was now late in August and a little snow had fallen on the
mountains in the fore part of the night. By the aid of the diagram
we went to the ground after night, built up a fire and waited till
morning. As soon as it was light enough to see, the doctor took
the diagram out of his pocket, looked at it and said: "It should
be near here." He then turned, and seeing a tree that had been
blown over, said: "There is a tree that answers to the
description." We walked to the tree and at once saw the toe of one
of the dead man's boots protruding through the brush. The doctor
when gathering wood the night before to build a fire, had walked
almost over the body and had picked up two or three chips of wood
from the brush which covered the body. We waited some time before
the crowd came with the wagon. After they arrived the body was
uncovered, loaded into the wagon and hauled to Jacksonville,
arriving in time for the coroner to hold the inquest that
afternoon, and the following day the body was buried.

The time having been set for the preliminary examination, Barton's
wife and her father arrived in Jacksonville the day before the
time set for the trial, and his father-in-law employed an attorney
to conduct the case in court in his behalf. When Barton was
brought into court he waived examination, but it was quite
different with Buckley. When he was brought in for trial the judge
asked him if he had counsel. He said he did not, nor did he want
any, but the judge appointed a lawyer to take his case.

The lawyer took the prisoner off into a room in company with the
deputy sheriff and they were gone about twenty minutes. When they
returned the lawyer stated that the prisoner wished to plead
guilty and receive his sentence so he could start in at once to
work it out. Barton never had a trial, for he starved himself to
death and died in jail. The jailor told me that for seventeen days
he did not eat or drink but one spoonful of soup.



I remained in Jacksonville until about the first of December,
1874, when I received a letter from Lieut. Jackson, who was yet at
Fort Yuma, Ariz., stating that there was an opening for me there,
and asking me if I knew where George Jones was at that time, and
telling me if possible to have him accompany me, as he would
insure us both employment in the scouting field upon our arrival.

George was now living twelve miles from Jacksonville. Being sick
and tired of idling away my time around town, I rode out to pay
George and his parents a friendly visit before taking my leave for
Arizona. I found them in rather good circumstances on a small farm
on Bear creek, near Phoenix, and a pleasant visit I had with them
at their beautiful little home, during which time I showed the
letter to George that I had received from Lieut. Jackson. He
expressed a desire to accompany me on the trip, but as his parents
were now getting old and childish, he did not like to leave
without their consent, he being their only son.

Two days later George informed me that he had the consent of his
father and mother to go to Arizona, to be gone one year, after
which time he was going to quit the business for all time. But we
have quit the business before, and then I related the conversation
I had with Jim Bridger some years previous at the time I first
made up my mind to quit the scouting field.

The time being set for the start, I returned to Jacksonville for
my other two horses, clothing, bedding and other traps such as
belong to an old scout. All being in readiness, we bade Mr. and
Mrs. Jones good-bye and started on our way for Arizona and aimed
to reach San Francisco by Christmas. We had five horses in our
outfit, I having three and George two. We arrived in San Francisco
on the twenty-first of December.

The next morning we were walking up Kearney street near the Lick
House when we met the reporter for the Chronicle who I had ridden
for at the time of the hanging of Captain Jack and associates at
Fort Klamath. The reporter expressed himself as being very glad to
meet us, and insisted on our taking a stroll over to the Chronicle
office and meet the proprietors of the paper, whose names were
DeYoung, their being three brothers of them.

As we had not changed our clothing, having our traveling suits on
I insisted on deferring the matter until the next day, but this he
would not hear to. As that would not work I tried another plan by
telling him that we had not yet had our breakfast, but he told us
that he had not yet been to breakfast, and proposed that the three
of us take breakfast together, or rather invited George and I to
take breakfast with him, which we did, seeing that there was no
chance to evade him.

After breakfast we accompanied him to the CHRONICLE office, which
at that time was located on the corner of Kearney and Pine
streets, and here we met all three of the DeYoung brothers. After
being introduced to them and spending some two hours with them,
Charles DeYoung, the eldest of the three brothers, gave us a
cordial invitation to take dinner with him at his own residence,
saying that dinner would be ready at six o'clock. This, I think,
was the first time in my life that I had ever heard a six o'clock
meal called dinner. Thanking him for the kind offer I excused
myself as I was in my traveling suit, and the very thought of
entering the private residence of one of the popular men of the
city almost paralized me. But my excuses were all fruitless. He
would not even consider "No" as answer, and some of them were with
us until time for dinner, as he termed it, but what I would have
called supper.

With as bold a front as possible we accompanied Mr. DeYoung to his
residence, which we found to be a fine mansion on California
street. On arriving at his residence we met there some ten or
twelve other guests, both ladies and gentlemen. Now the reader can
have a faint idea of the embarrassing position in which we were
both placed at that moment, and I can truthfully say that at the
moment I entered that mansion I would have given three months'
wages to have been away from there. George Jones had on buckskin
breeches and I had on a buckskin suit, while the guests were
dressed in style. I tried to offer some apology, but at every
attempt it seemed that I only made a bad matter worse.

We were treated with the greatest respect while at this place, and
were asked many questions by the other guests relative to the
Modoc war, the capturing of Captain Jack, etc., and the following
morning quite an article came out in the Chronicle concerning
George Jones and myself relative to the position we held in the
Modoc war.

We remained there until the last day of December, on which day we
started again on our journey for Arizona, via Salinas, Santa
Barbara and Los Angeles. Here we lay over and let our horses rest
four days, after which we proceeded on our journey via San Diego,
which at that time was a very small place. From there we struck
for the Colorado river and followed down the river to Fort Yuma.

This route we took in order to avoid crossing any of those sand
deserts. We were about five weeks making the trip, and reached
Fort Yuma without any accident or mishap whatever, and learned
that the Indians were worse in Arizona than when we left them
several years before, as they were most all armed with rifles,
instead of bows and arrows, and many of them had pistols.

Lieut. Jackson told me he had lost more men the last year out than
in any other two seasons since he had been in Arizona. He had
received orders to take four hundred cavalrymen and one hundred
infantrymen and go into the mountains and follow the Indians from
place to place the coming season. The Lieutenant told me that
there had been a settlement started the last year about ninety
miles from the line of Arizona and Sonora, Mexico, and they were
not only troubled with the Indians, but the Mexicans also came in
there and stole their stock and run it across the line.

Gen. Crook was still in charge of the command, and wanted me to
accompany Lieut. Jackson, saying: "I do not expect you to do any
hard service yourself, but want you to take charge of the scout
force and handle it to suit yourself."

If my memory serves me right, it was in the latter part of March,
1875, when we made the start for the mountains. For the first
hundred miles our supplies were hauled on wagons, but the balance
of the way they had to be packed on animals.

On our way out we passed near Salt River Valley, that being
settled up now with Americans. I started to ride out to the
settlement to ascertain something of the nature of the
depredations committed there lately. I dressed in teamster's
clothing and tied a pair of blankets behind my saddle before
starting to the settlement. It was late in the evening, just about
sunset, and I was riding leisurely along, being within six or
seven miles of the settlement, when suddenly I came upon three
Mexicans, just cooking supper. They saw me as quick as I saw them,
and I thought I was in for it. I was too near them to attempt to
get away, so all that I could do was to make the best I could of
it, take my chances and trust to luck. When I rode up I spoke to
them in my own language and one big burley looking Mexican said:
"No indetenda English," meaning I don't understand English. They
then asked me in their tongue if I spoke Spanish, which I
understood as well as they did, but I shook my head as if I could
not understand a word they said.

I dismounted, untied the blankets from behind my saddle, threw
them down near the fire on which they were cooking supper, but did
not unsaddle my mare. I was riding Black Bess, and one of them got
up and walked around her and examined her closely, and when he
returned to the fire he said: "Esta ismo muya wano cavia," meaning
that is a good horse. Another one in the crowd said he had in his
pocket just ten pairs of ears that he had taken from the heads of
Yankees, and this would make the eleventh pair. Now I thought my
time had come, but I had been in tight places before and had
always managed in some way to get out.

While it looked very blue, still I made up my mind that when it
came to the worst I would get at least one or two of them while
they were doing me up. I did not pretend to pay any attention to
their conversation, yet at the same time I could understand all
that was uttered by them. I learned that there were ten in the
gang, and the other seven had gone that night to the settlement
for the purpose of stealing horses, and were liable to return at
any time. While I was lying there on my blankets I heard them lay
their plans to kill me in case I went to sleep, or if I got up and
started to my horse they were to shoot me before I got away. Now
the reader can rest assured that this was getting to be a serious
affair with me, for I knew that these Mexicans could handle a
pistol with good success, while they are as a rule experts with a
knife, the latter being a Mexican stand-by. This was a little the
closest place that I had ever been in. If I attempted to leave
they would kill me as sure as I made the start; if I stayed there
until the other seven returned, then I would not have a ghost of a
show for my life.

I laid there by the fire as though I was worn out entirely,
listening to their talk, and more than once heard the big rough-
looking Mexican boast of a pair of Yankee ears that he would take
from my head.

Their supper being ready, they sat down to eat, but did not invite
me to sup with them. They all three ate out of the same frying pan
and poured their coffee out in tin cups. Two of them had their
backs turned toward me, while the other one sat on the opposite
side of the frying pan that they were eating out of and facing me,
but they were paying but little attention to me. Black Bess was
feeding close by and on the opposite side of them from where I
lay. Now I made up my mind that I would make a desperate effort to
extricate myself from this trap, for to stay there I knew meant
death and I would rather take my chances with those three than
with the entire gang. They were all sitting flat on the ground,
each had a pistol on him and their guns all lay within a few feet
of them. My only show for escape was to kill two of them at the
first shot and then I would have an equal show with the other one,
but now was the particular part of the work. Just one false move
and the jig was up with me, but it was getting time that I should
be at work for the other seven were likely to be there at any
moment. I carefully reached around under my coat tail and got hold
of both of my pistols, and just as I did so, as good luck would
have it, Black Bess shook herself very hard and caused them to
turn their eyes toward her, and it could not have happened in a
better time. I was on my knees in an instant, and leveling a
pistol at each of the two with their backs towards me, I fired,
and being almost near enough to have touched either of them with
the point of the pistol, it was a sure thing that I would not miss
them. After firing the first two shots I was on my feet in an
instant, by which time the third man had taken a tumble to himself
and was on his knees and had his pistol about half out when I
fired both pistols at him and he fell back dead. By this time one
of the others had staggered to his feet and had his pistol out,
but, fortunately, he seemed to be blind, for he fired his pistol
in the opposite direction from where I stood. I turned and dealt
him his fatal dose.

I tried to catch their pack horses but missed one of them, and as
time was precious, for I did not know what moment the seven would
come, I took their rifles, broke the stocks off of them, took
their pistols along with me, mounted Black Bess, rounded up their
horses and started for the train, and I lost no time in getting
there, and as I sped across the country on Black Bess after the
nine captured animals I felt that I could congratulate myself on
getting out of the tightest place I had ever been in, without even
a scratch.

When I arrived at camp and reported to the Lieutenant he at once
started two companies of cavalry out to try and cut the other
seven off, instructing them to watch every trail and every
watering place within fifty miles, closely.

I changed horses and started with George Jones and six other
scouts, and the last words that Lieut. Jackson said to me as I was
ready to ride away was: "Don't spare horse flesh, but run them
down Cap, if it is possible, and let us break up this thieving
band. I would rather kill one Mexican any time than two Apaches."

Across the country we rode at a rapid rate, but were not able to
reach the spot until after daylight. The Mexicans had been there
ahead of us and removed everything but their dead comrades, those
they did not attempt to remove or even bury, leaving them for the
wolves that roved the country in search of food.

We were soon on their trail, which was easily followed, as they
were driving a large band of stock. About the middle of the
afternoon we came in sight of them. When they first saw us we were
so near them that they deserted their band of stock and ran for
their lives. We gave chase, but could not get any nearer. We
followed them until dark, our horses being badly jaded, and I had
now been in the saddle for two days and one night in succession,
so we made camp for the night. The next morning a detail of six
men was made to drive the stolen stock back to the settlement
where it belonged, there being some forty head of horses and
mules. The balance of us returned to the trail, lay over and
rested one day. This put a stop to the Mexicans troubling the
settlement for some time.

Pulling on for the mountains, the second day we saw the ruins of
two wagons that had been burned, but could get no trace of the
teamsters. The supposition prevailed that they were taken
prisoners by the Apaches. The Lieutenant established his
headquarters fifty miles from where he had his quarters when we
were out before, and now active work commenced, for there was
plenty of it to be done.

We had only been there a few days when two of my scouts came in
one evening and reported having seen about twenty Indians ten
miles from camp and traveling west. The scouts all being in,
George Jones and I and four other scouts and one company of
cavalry started in pursuit. We had no trouble in striking their
trail, and there being a good starlight that night and the country
somewhat sandy, we were able to track them easily. We had not
followed the trail more than two miles when we passed over a
ridge, and I looked down the valley ahead of us and could see the
glimmer of their fire. Here the soldiers stopped, and I and my
scouts went on in the direction of the fires, which we supposed to
be about half a mile away but which proved to be nearer two miles.
When we were near the camp we dismounted and crawled up. We
located the horses, which were mostly standing still at the time
and two or three hundred yards from camp. I "telegraphed" the
soldiers to come at once.

Taking the balance of the scouts we rode slowly and carefully
around, getting immediately between the Indian camp and their
horses, I telling George Jones that as soon as the soldiers
started to make their charge to follow me with the horses. But
this time the Indians were awake before the soldiers were on them
and opened fire on them, killing three horses and wounding two the
first round, but only one soldier was wounded, and the sergeant in
charge told me afterwards that he got eighteen Apaches out of the
crowd, and we got twenty-seven horses. We got back to headquarters
about noon the next day and learned that Lieut. Jackson had gone
in a different direction after another band of Apaches, which he
overhauled and got twelve scalps from their number.

Now we started for a trip on the east side of Black canyon, six
scouts and one company of cavalry, with twenty-two pack animals,
calculating to be gone about ten days. On the fifth day of our
trip George Jones, myself and two other scouts were riding
leisurely along about one mile in advance of the command when just
as we raised to the top of a little rocky ridge we came face to
face with a band of Indians, making a surprise to both parties. I
could not tell which party fired first, but we gave them one round
and seeing that there were too many of them for us, we wheeled and
started back down the hill. As we did so George sang out: "My
horse is shot," and just at that time the horse fell. George threw
himself clear of the horse and when he struck the ground he lit
running, and at his best licks, too. The rest of us dropped behind
George to protect him until we were off the rocky ground. The
Indians held their distance all the way down the hill, not
stopping to reload their When we were at the foot of the hill the
three of us that were mounted, in order to give George Jones a
chance to ascend the hill, turned and gave them another volley.
Here I fired three shots and got two Indians and then spurred up
by the side of George and gave him a chance to jump on behind me,
which he did. Just as we raised to the top of the hill we met the
command, who had heard our firing and came to our relief, and they
met the Indians face to face. At this the Indians changed their
minds very suddenly, and it is useless to say that they were on
the back track much quicker than I could tell it. The soldiers
went in hot pursuit of them and got nine of their number. From
there we struck off in a south-westerly direction, thinking that
when we struck the main road we might run on to some emigrants en-
route for California.

We struck the main road fifty miles south of the Lieutenant's
quarters. Here we laid over two days, thinking that there might be
an emigrant train come along that we could escort through to
headquarters, this part of the road being in the heart of the
Apache country, and the most dangerous for emigrants from the fact
that it is all a timber country and over mountains which, in
places, are very rocky, thereby giving the Indians all advantage
over the emigrants.

The evening of the second day, just as we were sitting down to
supper, I received a message from Lieut. Jackson for George Jones
and myself to come to headquarters at once, but he did not state
why he required our presence there. As soon as supper was over we
started. The dispatch bearer thought it was at least sixty miles,
but we had supposed it was not more than fifty, each of us having
two saddle horses.

At one place on the road the cayotes turned loose, and it sounded
as if there must have been a hundred, all barking at once, and
George Jones remarked: "Above all things that I have dreaded while
in this business is being shot down and left on the plains for my
bones to be picked up by those sneaking wolves, and now Cap, I
will make this agreement with you; in case that either of us
happen to be killed, which is liable to happen any day, the
surviving one is to see that the other is buried if in the bounds
of possibility."

I said: "George, we will shake hands on that," which we did, and I
added: "You can also rest assured that if ever you are shot down
while in company with me, no Indian will ever scalp you as long as
I have the strength to stand over your body, nor shall the cayotes
ever pick your bones if I live long enough to see that you are
buried," and the reader will see later on that I kept my promise.



Just at sunrise we made our appearance at the Lieutenant's
quarters, and he informed us that the Indians had made an attack
on the settlement on the east side of the San Antonio desert; had
killed two families, taken two little girls prisoner and captured
a lot of stock from the settlers.

This report had first reached Gen. Crook at Fort Yuma, and he had
dispatched the news to Lieut. Jackson. This being a strange
country to the Lieutenant, having never been over it and knowing
that I had been through it twice, once with Uncle Kit Carson and
another time in company with Jim Beckwith, he insisted on my going
out in that section to investigate the matter and see whether or
not the report was true.

The day following George and I started with four assistants for
the settlement. Each of us took two saddle horses and one pack
animal for each two men, with ten days' rations. From there to the
settlement was about seventy-five miles.

Knowing just where the majority of the Apache force was
concentrated, we took rather a circuitous route in-stead of going
direct to the settlement in order to ascertain whether the
depredations were committed by Apaches or Pimas.

The fifth day out we struck the settlement, but did not cross the
Indian trail, which led me to think that the work was done by
Pimas and not Apaches.

When we arrived there no one could tell us how many Indians there
were nor what they looked like, but when I came to find out the
truth of the matter there had been no families massacred, nor had
the two girls been taken prisoners, but there had been two boys
killed that were herding stock.

We remained there one day in order to learn what we could in
regard to the trouble and then struck the trail of the Indians and
followed it two days, but it was so old that we gave it up, as it
was then twelve days since the depredations were committed and we
knew that the Indians were a long ways off by that time. We took a
different route on our return, and the second day we saw a small
band of Indians traveling toward the settlement, which we had left
four days previous. We started in pursuit of them and struck their
trail before it was dark. I was confident that they would camp at
the first water they came to, which was about seven or eight miles
from there, so we staked our horses out on good grass, sat down
and ate our lunch while we waited for the clear moon to make its
appearance and light us across the country where we might find the
noble red men of the plains and entertain them for a while at
least. We thought that it would take us about all night to track
them up by the light of the moon, find their camp and play them
just one little tune of "How came you so?"

About ten o'clock the moon arose, but we waited until it was two
hours high, giving our horses a chance to fill up, after which we
mounted and took the trail of the Pimas, which we had not great
trouble in finding.

After we had followed the trail about seven miles we came to their
horses, but could see no signs of any camp, and we at once made up
our minds that the Indians were not far away, but that they had
either built no fire or the fire had gone entirely out, for we
could see no signs of any.

Dismounting, George took one man with him and I took one with me,
leaving the other two with the horses, and started out in
different directions to look for their camp. After wandering
around about an hour I found where they were camped, and they were
sound asleep and lying in a row but each one separate. We then
returned to our horses and in a short time George came in. It was
now getting high time that we were at work, for it was beginning
to get daybreak, so after I had explained how they laid, five of
us started for them, leaving one man with the horses. They were
lying about two hundred and fifty yards from where we had stopped
with our horses. We crawled up abreast until within ten feet of
the Indians, and each scout drew both his revolvers, sprang to his
feet, and I need not say that we made quick work of those
redskins. Only one got to his feet, and he did not stand a second
until there were three or four bullets in his body, but not one of
us got a scratch in this fight.

Now the fun was over and we were not afraid to speak out, so we
called out for the man that we left in charge of our horses to
bring them over, and we gathered some wood and built a fire.

It had been several days since we had had fresh meat, but the
Pimas had been kind enough to kill an antelope that day, and as
they had only eaten of it once, we had a feast that morning, which
we enjoyed very much.

We gathered up the guns and ammunition that belonged to the
Indians, which, by the way, was the best armed lot of Indians I
had ever seen. Each one of them had a good rifle and a Colt
revolver, and one of them had the handsomest knife I ever saw. Had
we not run on to them no doubt they would have done some devilment
in the white settlement the following day. We reached headquarters
in three days.

It was now time for the emigrants to begin to travel over the
Butterfield route, and Lieut. Jackson started one company of
cavalry across to the opposite side of the mountain some sixty
miles away to protect the emigrants, and George Jones and I both
accompanied them. We established our quarters about a half mile
from the road at the foot of the mountains on the south side.

The next day after we struck this place George and I started out
to scout over the country to see whether or not there were any
Indians in the country and also ride out on the road and look for

The second day out we climbed to the top of a high ridge, and by
looking through the glass we could see a large emigrant train
coming, which we thought to be about twenty miles distant. We knew
very well where it would camp, and by riding briskly we would be
able to meet it by dark; so we rode on and reached the emigrants
about sunset. They were just corralling their wagons for the
night, and when they saw us coming they took us for Indians and
every man went for his gun. As soon as we saw them start for their
guns we both took off our hats and waved them over our heads, when
they saw that they were needlessly alarmed. This train was from
Texas, and the name of the captain was Sours, and it was beyond
doubt the best organized train I ever saw on the plains;
everything seemed to move like clock work.

When I told Capt. Sours who we were and what our business was and
that as soon as they got to our quarters they would have an
escort, he said: "I am indeed very glad to know that there is some
protection out here for emigrants, but as for ourselves we do not
need it much, for every man in my train has seven shots, and some
of them three times that number."

We stayed with them that night and the next morning pulled out for
our quarters. We remained there for a month, but did not see any
Indians during that time.

At the end of the month there came along a large train from
Arkansas and Texas. We escorted it across the mountains expecting
that this would wind up the emigrant travel across there for the
season. When we arrived at Lieut. Jackson's quarters he started
George and I and two other scouts out towards the Salt river
valley settlement, telling me that he would move down near Mrs.
Davis' ranch and there he would wait until he should hear from me.
The third day out we made camp early on account of water, and
after deciding on the spot where we should pitch our camp for the
night George rode off to a high ridge near by to take a look over
the country. He was not gone long before he made his appearance
riding at full speed, and announced that there was a large band of
Indians coming direct for our camp, and would be on to us before
we could saddle up and get away.

"Get your horses boys," were his first words, and every man made a
rush for his horse, but before we could get saddled the Indians
hove in sight, and not over half a mile away.

"There they are," said George as he jumped on to his horse again,
"and there must be at least sixty of them."

I was not long in making up my mind what to do. We all got our
horses saddled and were mounted just in the nick of time to get
away for we were not twenty yards from camp when they were close
on to us.

Down the ravine we went with the Apaches in hot pursuit of us. I
yelled out to the boys to turn to the left across the ridge and
when we were over the turn we stopped and gave them a volley, and
picked off the leaders as they came in sight. I saw a number of
them fall, but it did not appear to check them in the least. They
were coming too thick and we wheeled and were off again with some
of them within at least thirty yards of us, but we gained on them
gradually. Finally George Jones sang out: "I am shot through the
arm." I reined my horse up by his side and asked if his arm was
broken. He said it was, and I could see it was hanging down and
the blood almost streaming off his fingers. I asked if he felt
sick, and he said he did not.

Of course all the time this conversation was going on we were
putting our horses down to their utmost. George said; "I am all
right if I don't get another shot," so I told him to take the lead
and not to spare his horse. I also told the other boys to fall
back to the rear so we could protect him, as he was badly wounded
and the Indians were holding their own pretty well.

On looking ahead I saw another little ridge and I told the boys
that when we were over that to all turn and give them two shots
each, and for each to be sure to get his Indian. This order was
carried into effect and they were so near us that I think each
shot did its work. This brought them to a halt and they did not
crowd us any more; it was soon dark and we escaped without any
further mishap.

After we could hear no more of them we rode to the top of a ridge
where we would have a chance to protect ourselves in case of
another attack, and dismounted to ascertain the extent of George's
wound, and as the excitement died down he commenced feeling sick
at his stomach. I gave him a drink of whiskey from a bottle that I
had carried in my canteen at all seasons, and this was the second
time the cork had been drawn from the flask. When we got his coat
off and examined his wound we found that the arm was broken just
below the elbow. Using our handkerchiefs for bandages, we dressed
the hurt as best we could, corded his arm to stop the flow of
blood and then pulled out for headquarters, arriving there just at

I took George to the surgeon, who set the bone and dressed the arm
up "ship shape," after which he gave him something to make him

After seeing George in bed I at once repaired to the Lieutenant's
quarters and found him just arising. He asked me if I was too
tired to make another chase, and I told him I would be ready as
soon as I could eat my breakfast. He said in one hour's time he
would have two companies of cavalry ready to start.

After breakfast I changed horses, and taking four other scouts,
started out to pilot the cavalry to where we could take the trail
of the Indians. On this trip each scout took four days' rations,
and about one o'clock that afternoon we struck a plain trail that
we followed at a lively gait until nearly dark; the scout force
riding from one to two miles ahead so in case we should get in
sight of the reds we could telegraph back to the command, or
should the Indians attempt to give us another chase we might be
able to run them up against the soldiers, where they would find
amusement for a while.

We followed them for two days but never got sight of them. They
had turned and made their way back in the direction of Black
canyon and we gave up the chase, but we were sure that in the
running fight we had with them that evening we had killed at least
thirteen, as we found that many newly made graves when we went
back to take their trail.

We returned to headquarters and I found George doing splendidly,
and the next day we all pulled out for Fort Yuma. The first day's
travel took us to Mrs. Davis' This was the first time I had seen
her or any of her family since the next day after the funeral of
her husband and two sons in the fall of 1866.

Mrs. Davis insisted on George staying there with them until his
arm was well, which kind and hospitable offer he accepted,
remaining two months. We put in our time that winter as usual when
wintering at the fort, doing nothing.



It was the last of February or first of March, 1876, that we
started for St. Louis Valley. I had visited this valley twice, but
had come in both times from the opposite direction to which we
would have to enter the valley in going from camp, consequently I
was at a loss to know just which direction to go from camp to
strike the valley where we wanted to enter it, but we struck out
southeast, taking twenty days' provisions with us. The ninth day
out we came in sight of the valley from the west side. It being
about noon, water being handy and no end to the grass, we stopped
there for dinner and to let our horses graze After I had taken a
squint through my glasses, I called the Lieutenant to me and
handed them to him.

He sat and looked for a long time, and when he took the glasses
from his eyes he said: "That is beyond any doubt the prettiest
sight I ever saw in my life." There were small bands of bison
scattered here and there all over the valley, elk by the hundreds
and deer too numerous to mention, but not an Indian nor even a
sign of one could be seen in this lovely valley.

"I have made this trip unnecessarily," said he, "for I had
expected to find many little bands of Indians in this valley
hunting, but in that I am disappointed." We then turned back for
headquarters as quick as possible, making the entire trip without
seeing an Indian or even a sign of one.

Some time in June the Lieutenant started out in command of two
companies of cavalry to cross the mountains to protect the
emigrants, George Jones and I ahead with four assistants.

The Lieutenant having told us where he would camp that night, it
was the duty of the scouts to make a circuit of the camp before
dark. On arriving at the appointed place, George and I started to
make a tour of the camp, leaving the other scouts at the camping
place. It was about sunset when we saw a band of Indians as we
supposed about four miles from where we were to camp that night,
and about one mile and a half from where we then were. We put
spurs to our horses and headed for the Indian camp, as we were
desirous of ascertaining about their number and getting the
location of the ground before it was too dark. When we were within
about a quarter of a mile, it being nearly dark, we were just in
the act of tying our horses, intending to crawl up near their
camp, we heard a rumbling noise back in the direction from which
we had just come. I crawled quickly around the hill and saw
another band of Indians coming directly toward us, who were making
their way as we supposed to where the other Indians were camped. I
got back to my horse in less time than it took me to crawl away
from him, then we mounted and got away as we supposed,
undiscovered, and rode up a ravine and in a direction that we
would not be seen by the Indians. Not thinking ourselves in any
immediate danger, we did not hurry. After riding up the ravine
only a short distance, just as we rounded a curve, we were brought
face to face with another band of Indians. This was, I think, a
small band that had left the main band to hunt for game and were
just getting into camp, but we did not make any inquiries as to
what success they had in hunting, nor did we ask whether they had
been hunting at all.

The moment we saw them we drew our pistols and commenced firing,
and they returned the fire. We were almost entirely surrounded by
Indians, and I saw that it was no place for me, so I sang out to
George: "Let's breakthrough their ranks." "All right," said he,
and we drove the spurs into our horses with all vengeance, riding
about fifteen feet apart and succeeding in getting through unhurt,
and away we rode for quarters, closely followed by the redskins
Now we thought we were safe, and each in his own mind was
congratulating himself, when a ball struck me in the left hip
which paralyzed my whole side and wrecked my whole nervous system.
I sang out to George to drop behind and whip my horse, for now I
had no use whatever of my left leg, and it took all the strength
in my right leg to hang on to the horse. No quicker said than he
was behind my horse and doing all in his power to urge him, and
telling me for God's sake to hang on a little longer.

The soldiers had just rode into camp and were dismounting when
they heard our firing, and remounted and started in that
direction, but as it was getting dark and the country strange to
them they could not make very good time. They met us about half
way between the camp and the Indians, the reds still in hot
pursuit of us. The Lieutenant ordered a charge, and he had his men
so trained that when he said charge they did not stop shooting as
long as there was an Indian to shoot at.

By this time I was so sick that George had to help me off my
horse, and leaving two men with me, he went on after, and
overhauled the command before they got to the Indian camp, where
they found the Indians ready for battle, and here I think the
Lieutenant got the worst of the fight, for when he made the attack
the Indians attacked him in the rear. The men had to carry me in
their arms to camp, as they had no stretchers in the outfit, and
there I lay four weeks before an ambulance came. I was then
removed to Fort Yuma. George Jones took charge of the scout force
after I was wounded.

I told George then that if I should be fortunate enough to get
over my wound I would quit the business for all time. After
remaining in the hospital at the fort about two months I was able
to get around on crutches. Mrs. Davis having heard of my
misfortune, came over in company with her brother to see how I was
getting along, and insisted on my going home with them and
remaining until such time as I could ride on horseback, which kind
offer I accepted, with the consent of the doctor, he giving me a
supply of medicine sufficient to last me several weeks.

I remained there until after Christmas, when George came after me,
and by this time I was able to walk with a cane. I then returned
to Fort Yuma, having made up my mind to draw my pay and quit the

George also being tired of this kind of life, had concluded to
return to his home in Oregon. When I made our intentions known to
Gen. Crook he asked me how I would ever be able to get to
civilization, for the mail was yet carried on horseback and I was
not able to ride in that way. He insisted on my remaining with him
the coming season, and if I should not be able to ride I could
stay in camp and give orders to the other scouts. I asked George
what he thought of the matter, and he said: "I will leave the
matter with you, if you stay another season I will, or if you say
leave I will quit also." However, we decided after talking matters
over to stay there one more season, and that would end our
scouting career, both vowing that we would quit after that, and in
our contract this time with the General we agreed to stay until the
coming January, and George and I were to have two-thirds of all
the property captured during this campaign.



About the first day in March, 1877, we started out on our summer's
campaign. I was now able to mount a horse by being assisted, but
had to be very careful and only ride a short distance, and very
slow at that. The third day on our trip from the fort George
reported having seen the trail of quite a large band of Indians
traveling westward almost parallel with the road, but said they
had passed about two days before. I asked the Lieutenant to give
me his camping places that night and the next one, which he did. I
then told George to select four men from the scout force, take two
days' rations and see if he could run down the Indians and to
telegraph me when they changed their course or when he had them

George was on their trail before noon and before sunset he had
them located, only a short distance from the place where I had
been wounded the year before. I got a dispatch from him just as I
was ready to turn in for the night, and by one o'clock I received
another dispatch stating that there were about eighty in the band,
and well armed, and among them about twenty squaws and their
children. This was something we had never seen among the Apaches
before. Lieut. Jackson asked my opinion of their having their
families with them. I told him I thought they must be on their way
to Sonora to trade, as at that time the Apaches had never traded
but very little with the whites.

They might be out for a hunt, but it was not customary when on
such a trip to have their families with them. Upon the receipt of
the second dispatch from George, Lieut. Jackson started out with
three companies of cavalry, and arrived at the spot near daybreak.
I was told afterwards that George had been crawling around all
night getting the location of the Indians, the general lay of the
ground and to ascertain the best plan of attack, knowing it would
be so late by the time the Lieutenant would arrive that he himself
would have no time to spare, and he had a diagram drawn on a piece
of envelope of the camp and surroundings, also had their horses
located. When the Lieutenant was ready to make the attack George
took four of the scouts and started to cut the horses off and
prevent the Indians from getting to them, but it seemed as though
when the cavalry started to make the charge the Indians' dogs had
given the alarm and a part of the Indians had made for their
horses. At any rate when daylight came George was found some two
hundred yards from the Indian encampment, with both legs broken
and a bullet through his neck, which had broken it and four
Indians lying near him dead, which he no doubt had killed, and his
horse lay dead about a rod from where he lay. No one had seen him
fall nor had heard a word from him after he gave the order to
charge for the horses. About the middle of that afternoon they
returned to camp with George's body and seven others that were
killed, and nineteen wounded soldiers. They had killed thirty-
seven Indians and had taken all the squaws and children prisoners.
After I had looked at the body of that once noble and brave form,
but now a lifeless corpse, I told the Lieutenant that I was ready
to leave the field, for there was not a man in the entire army
that could fill his place, and without at least one reliable man
in the field it would be impossible to accomplish anything.

The dead were buried about two hundred yards north of the spring
where we had camped, and I saw that George Jones was put away in
the best and most respectable manner possible considering the
circumstances by which we were governed at that time. We buried
him entirely alone, near a yellow pine tree, and at his head we
placed a rude pine board, dressed in as good a shape as could be
done with such tools as were accessible to our use. On this board
his name was engraved, also his age and the manner in which he
came to his death, and the same is also to be seen on the yellow
pine tree that stands near the grave of this once noble friend and
hero of the plains.

  My brave and noble comrade,
  You have served your country true,
  Your trials and troubles are ended
  And you have bade this world adieu.

  You have been a noble companion,
  Once so trusty, true and brave;
  But now your cold and lifeless form
  Lies silent in the grave.

  While your form remains here with us
  In this wicked dismal land,
  Your soul has crossed the river
  And joined the angel band.

The prisoners that were taken here Lieut. Jackson sent to Fort
Yuma and placed under guard, as Gen. Crook had made up his mind to
capture all the Apaches he could and try in that way to civilize
them, but he made a total failure in regard to this particular
tribe of Indians.

I informed George's father and mother of his death as soon as I
could get a letter to them, telling them as soon as I returned to
the fort I would draw his pay and send it to them, which I did.
When I talked to Lieut. Jackson of quitting he said he could not
spare me until the summer's campaign was over, so I remained with

We moved on and established our quarters at the same place as the
year before, and a more lonesome summer I never put in anywhere
than there. I was not able to do anything more than stay in camp
and give orders until late in the season. Lieut. Jackson had two
more engagements that season, but I was not able to be in either
of them.

The first one the soldiers killed nine Indians, and the other time
the Indians made an attack on him while he, with twenty of his
men, were escorting an emigrant train across the mountains. In
this engagement the Lieutenant did not lose a man, and only three
horses, and killed twenty-three Indians and gave them a chase of
about ten miles.

It was now getting late in the fall and Lieut. Jackson pulled out
for the fort, and by that time I was just able to climb on my
horse without assistance. We arrived at Fort Yuma about the first
of November, and there I remained till the first of June, 1878.

Before I left I made Mrs. Davis and her family a farewell visit.
Two of her daughters were then married and lived near their
mother, and all seemed to be in a prosperous condition. After a
pleasant visit with the Davis folks I returned to the fort and
commenced making preparations to leave, but was delayed in
starting at least a month on account of some soldiers who had
served their time out and were going to return with me. I told my
old friend Lieut. Jackson the day before starting that I did not
think that there was another white man in the United States that
had seen less of civilization or more of Indian warfare than I
had, it now being just thirty-one years since I started out with
Uncle Kit Carson onto the plains and into the mountains.

When I left the fort this time it was with the determination that
I would not go into the scouting field again, and I have kept my
word so far, and think I shall thus continue. I started out from
the fort with twenty-three head of horses, and I packed the
baggage of the four discharged soldiers in order to get them to
help me with my loose horses.



On my arrival at San Francisco the first thing was to get rid of
my surplus horses. During the time I was selling them I made the
acquaintance of a man named Walter Fiske, who was engaged in
raising Angora goats, about one hundred and twenty miles north
from San Francisco, and who was something of a hunter also. Mr.
Fiske invited me to go home with him and have a bear hunt.

Being tired of the city, I accompanied Mr. Fiske to his ranch. He
said he knew where there was a patch of wild clover on which the
grizzlies fed, so we were off for a bear hunt. We soon found where
they fed and watered. They had a plain trail from their feeding
place to the water. Mr. Fiske being hard of hearing proposed that
I stop on the feeding ground and he would take his stand down on
the trail, and in case I should get into trouble I could run down
the trail, and if he were to get into a tight place he would run
up the trail to where I was. I took my stand and had not been
there long until I saw, just behind, in about twenty feet of me, a
huge grizzly bear coming for me on his hind feet. I did not see a
tree that I could get behind or climb, so I took out along the
trail as fast as I could, the grizzly after me. For the first
fifty yards I had to run up grade and then I turned down hill.
When I reached the top of the hill I commenced to hallo at the top
of my voice, "Look out Walter, we are coming!" Walter was sitting
only a few steps from the trail and the moment I passed him I
heard the report of his gun. I jumped to one side and gave the
bear a shot. I got in two shots and Fiske four. After receiving
this amount of lead the bear ran but a short distance and dropped
dead. All of the shots were near the bear's heart. We dressed him
and started home and we had bear meat enough to last for some time
to come. In the mean time Mr. Fiske had told me about a man four
miles from, his place who had a ranch for sale, consisting of
three hundred and twenty acres of deeded land, one hundred acres
in cultivation, eighty bearing fruit trees and two acres of a
vineyard. He said the place could be bought cheap, and he also
told me that there was a vacant quarter section adjoining this
land that I could take up, and I would have the finest goat ranch
in the country. Mr. Fiske and I took a trip down and found the
owner very anxious to sell. After looking the ranch over and
getting his figures, I made him an offer of four thousand dollars
for everything, which offer he accepted, he reserving nothing but
one span of horses, his bed and clothing. We then went to Santa
Rosa, the county seat, to get an abstract of title and a deed to
the property, and now I am once more an honest rancher. While in
Santa Rosa I hired a man and his wife by the name of Benson, by
the year. Mr. Benson proved to be a good man and his wife a
splendid housekeeper. All went well for about five months, and
having filed on the quarter of vacant land adjoining me, of course
I had to move over there. I had noticed a change in Benson's
appearance, but had not thought much about it till one Saturday I
sent him to haul some pickets over to my preemption claim. That
night, having company, I did not go to the cabin on the claim, but
stayed on the other place. Benson was not at supper that evening,
but I paid no attention to it nor thought it strange, supposing he
was just a little late getting home. The next morning I noticed
that he was not at the breakfast table, and I asked Mrs. Benson
why Mr. Bensen didn't come to his breakfast. She asked if I had
not told him to stay on the preemption claim that night. I told
her that I had not and that I had the key and he could not get
into the house, and besides there was no feed there for the mules.
She commenced to feel uneasy then. So as soon as breakfast was
over I took one of my hired men and started out to hunt for him.
We struck the wagon trail and tracked him around for some time. He
had traveled in a terribly round about way. We finally came to him
where he had run his team against a tree, and when we came upon
him he was down in front of the mules whipping them around the
fore legs trying to make them get down and pray. He did not notice
us until I spoke to him and told him to quit whipping the mules.
When he looked at me I could see that he was perfectly wild. It
took us both three hours to get him back to the house. I sent for
the constable, who took him to Santa Rosa and from there he was
taken to the insane asylum. His wife went East to her folks, and I
was told afterwards that he got all right.

I next tried a Chinese housekeeper, but John Chinaman had too many
relations in the country. There would be two or three Chinamen
there almost every week to see my cook and would stay one or two
nights. It was not what they ate that I cared for, but what they
carried off.

I tried ranching there for three years and during that time I had
three different men with their wives, but there was always
something wrong, too far from church or too far from neighbors, so
I came to the conclusion that a man had no use with a ranch unless
he had a wife. In the mean time I had proved up on my preemption,
and had all my land fenced in with a picket fence made of red wood
pickets. I had also got sick and tired of ranching, not but what I
had done fairly well, but it was too much bother for a man that
had been raised as I had. I went to San Francisco and placed my
land in the hands of a real estate agent for sale, and it was but
a short time when he sent two men out to look at it. This was the
fall of the year when my fruit was just beautiful and the grapes
ripe in the vineyard, and we were not long in making a trade.

In less than one month I was without a house or home, so I placed
my money in the bank and arranged to get my interest semi-
annually, and made up my mind to take things easy the balance of
my days.

About one year from that time I succeeded in getting up a hunting
party, and we went up into the mountains in Mendocino county,
where we found game in abundance, deer, elk and bear. I stayed out
in the mountains nearly three months, during which time I killed
the largest grizzly bear I have ever seen, weighing net, eight
hundred and sixty pounds. This bear I killed at one shot, and it
is the only grizzly that I ever killed at one shot in all my
hunting. We also killed ten large elk. One man in the party killed
an elk that the horns measured from tip to tip, five feet and four
inches, and those horns can be seen at the Lick House in San
Francisco. He sold them for fifty dollars.

I remained in San Francisco until in the spring of 1886, when
there was a party fitting up a schooner to go sealing on the coast
of Alaska, and I was offered a job as shooter. I agreed to go with
them and they were to pay me two dollars for each seal that I
killed. The first of April we started, and were twenty-two days
getting to where there was seal.

Now this was a new business to me, and my first seal hunting was
near the mouth of the Yukon river. The captain anchored about
twenty miles from land. There were six sealing boats with the
schooner, the shooter had charge of his boat, and there were two
or three other men to accompany him. One of my boatmen was a
Frenchman and the other a German; they were both stout and willing
to work. While I received two dollars a piece for all the seals
killed, they only got one dollar each, making in all four dollars
each that the seals cost the company.

In the morning the captain gives each man his course and
instructions to return at once when the signal cannon is fired.
The first morning that we started out we went about four miles
before we saw any seal, when we ran on to a school sleeping on the
water. The two boatmen pulled up among them and I turned loose to
shooting them and got six out of the outfit before they got away
from us. Shooting seal out of a boat reminded me very much of
shooting Indians when on a bucking cayuse, as the boat is always
in motion, and it is all that a person can do to stand up in it
when the sea is any ways rough. That day I killed nine seal and we
were called in at two o'clock, as there was fog coming up, and we
just got in ahead of it. We had fair success sealing until the
last of August, when my crew ventured a little too far and the
wind changed so that we did not hear the cannon and the fog caught
us. Each crew when starting out in the morning always took
supplies along sufficient to last twenty-four hours. This time
when we got caught in the fog the wind had changed on us, so we
tried to remain as near the same place as possible, but this time
we had to guess at it as we could not always tell just which way
the tide was going. This was beyond any doubt the worst trip that
I ever experienced, the fog was very cold and our clothing wet. We
were out three days and nights and then were picked up by another
schooner. The captain of the schooner that picked us up heard the
firing of our cannon that morning and we were picked up about
noon. He at once set sail for our schooner, firing the signal
cannon every half hour, reaching our schooner just as it was
growing dark, and the captain and crew had given us up for lost.
We stayed out until the last of September, when we sailed for San
Francisco, and this wound up my seal hunting.

There was only one other man in the crew that killed more seal
than I did during the season, but I made the largest day's killing
of any one in the crew, that being twenty seven. But one season
was enough for me in that line of business. I concluded that I
would much rather take my chances on dry land.

In the spring of 1887 I took a trip to the Puget Sound country and
found Seattle a very lively place; in fact, as much so as any
place I had ever seen in my life. After remaining in Seattle about
two months I concluded that I would try my hand at the hotel
business, as that was something I had not tried, so I bought out a
man named Smith, who owned a big hotel on the corner of South
second and Washington streets, just opposite John Court's Theatre
Building, paying Mr. Smith sixteen thousand dollars for the
property, and besides this I spent one thousand two hundred
dollars in repairing and fitting it up in shape. I gave it the
name of "Riverside House." Here I built up a good business in the
hotel line. In fact, inside of six months from the time I opened
up I had all that I could accommodate all the time, and this was
the first time in my life that I had been perfectly satisfied.

I had all the business I could attend to, and was making money,
and as fast as I could accumulate a little money I invested it in
different parts of the city in good property.

In the month of May, 1889, two brothers named Clark, from Chicago,
came to my hotel for the purpose of buying me out, but I told them
my property was not for sale, as I was satisfied and liked the
business and did not think I could find a place that would suit me
better; but about the first of June they returned and made me an
offer of twenty thousand dollars. I told them that I would not
sell at any price, as I was satisfied and intended to remain there
as long as I lived. On the morning of the sixth of June, 1889, my
clerk came to my room and woke me up, saying that there was a fire
in the northern part of town and that the wind was blowing strong
from that direction. I dressed at once, and when I got out on the
street I could see the fire about a half mile from my property,
but had not the faintest idea that it would ever reach me,
although the excitement was running high on the street. I returned
to the hotel, washed, and was just eating my breakfast when one of
the waiters came and told me that he could see the fire from the
door. I told him he must be mistaken, but he went and looked again
and came back and told me that the fire was getting very close. I
ran to the door and saw that it was then within one block of my
hotel. Now I saw that my property was sure to be burnt, so I sent
my clerk up stairs to see whether or not there were any lodgers in
the rooms, and I made a rush for the safe and only just had time
to get it unlocked and the contents out when the fire was on us.

That fire wiped me out slick and clean as I did not have a
dollar's worth of insurance on the property. Any business man
would have known enough at least to have a few thousand dollars of
insurance on that amount of property, but I had never seen a fire
before in a city and thought it folly to insure, and did not find
out my mistake until it was too late. During the next six months I
had a number of offers of money to build a brick hotel on my lots,
but I could not think for a moment of borrowing the money for that

I remained in Seattle for nine months, during which time there was
a great decrease in the value of property, and I sold my lots
where my hotel had stood at a very reduced price. I tried various
speculations on a small scale during this time, but with very poor

By this time I had spent and lost in speculation about all the
money that I had realized for my property, and the outside
property that I owned I could not sell at any price. Since that
time I have wandered around from pillar to post, catching a little
job here and there, and at this writing I am temporarily located
at Moscow, Idaho, which is situated in the heart of the famous
Palouse country, one of the greatest countries on the globe for
the growing of wheat, oats, barley, rye, flax and vegetables of
all kinds.

And now kind reader, begging your pardon, I would say that I have
been two years making up my mind to allow my life to go down in
history to be read by the public, as notoriety is something I
never cared for. One reason, perhaps, is that I was brought up by
noble and generous-hearted Kit Carson, who very much disliked
notoriety, and I do not believe that there ever was a son who
thought more of his father than I did of that high-minded and
excellent man.

I have had many opportunities to have the history of my life
written up, but would never consent to anything of the kind.
Finally, however, I decided to write it myself, and while it is
written in very rude and unpolished language, by an old
frontiersman who never went to school a day in his life, all he
knows he picked up himself, yet it is the true history of the most
striking events, trials, troubles, tribulations, hardships,
pleasures and satisfactions of a long life of strange adventure
among wild scenes and wilder people, and in telling the story I
hope I have interested the reader.

It is not strange that in the wilderness, where all nature sings,
from the fairy tinkle of the falling snow to the boom of a storm-
swept canyon; and from the warbling of the birds to the roaring
growl of mad grizzlies; and from the whispers of lost breezes to
thunder of thousands of stampeding hoofs--it is not strange that
among all that, even a worn and illiterate old hunter should try
to sing, if nothing more than the same sort of a song that the
dying sachem sings. So I beg you bear with


    Come all of you, my brother scouts,
     And join me in my song;
     Come, let us sing together,
     Though the shadows fall so long.

    Of all the old frontiersmen,
     That used to scour the plain,
     There are but very few of them
     That with us yet remain.

    Day after day, they're dropping off;
     They are going, one by one;
     Our clan is fast decreasing;
     Our race is almost run.

    There were many of our number
     That never wore the blue,
     But, faithfully, they did their part,
     As brave men, tried and true.

    They never joined the army,
     But had other work to do
     In piloting the coming folks,
     To help them safely through.

    But brothers, we are failing;
     Our race is almost run;
     The days of elk and buffalo,
     And beaver traps, are gone.

    Oh, the days of elk and buffalo,
     It fills my heart with pain
     To know those days are passed and gone,
     To never come again.

    We fought the red-skin rascals
     Over valley, hill and plain,
     We fought him in the mountain top,
     And fought him down again.

    Those fighting days are over;
     The Indian yell resounds
     No more along the border,
     Peace sends far sweeter sounds

    But we found great joy, old comrades,
     To hear and make it die,
     We won bright homes for gentle ones,
     And now, our West, good-bye


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