CHAPTER XIV. EARLY AMERICAN OCCUPATION.
Tucson—Indian Raids—Population of Tucson and Tubac—Route of Gold Seekers—First American Child Born in Arizona—Ferry Across Colorado—Massacre of Glanton Party—Ferry Re-established by Jaeger and Hartshorne—Major Heintzelman—Dr. Webb's Encounter With Indians—Fort Yuma—Adventure of L. J. F. Jaeger—Schooner "Invincible" With Troops and Supplies Reaches Mouth of Colorado—Navigation of Colorado—Schooner Sierra Nevada—First Steamer "Uncle Sam"—Colorado City, Afterwards Arizona City, Then Yuma, Established—Yuma Indians.
At the time of which we are writing, 1849, Tucson was a part of Sonora, and the Government maintained only a precarious possession of that town. Continued raiding of the Apaches, driving off their livestock, made life in the Old Pueblo one of constant annoyance and danger. Retaliatory raids by the soldiers became less frequent, and although the Papago allies were somewhat more successful in repelling and pursuing the savages, there was a constant diminution of population. The census report of September, 1848, gave Tucson 760 inhabitants and Tubac 249. In December of that year after an attack in which 9 persons were killed, Tubac and Tumacacori were abandoned, the people
After the discovery of gold in California in 1848, immigrants began to flock through Arizona from Sonora and other Mexican states, and from the eastern United States. The route usually followed was by the Santa Cruz and Gila Valleys, and the Americans reached Tucson from the Rio Grande, for the most part by Cooke's wagon route of 1846. It was a journey of much hardship and dangerous on account of drought and lack of water and grass for the stock. For this reason, it was not recommended by Kit Carson and other frontiersmen. The Maricopa villages were the last friendly shelter to the emigrants before reaching the Colorado River, where, in the fall of 1849, Lieut. Cave J. Coutts, in command of an escort to the Boundary Surveyors under Whipple, established Camp Calhoun on the California side, and for two months aided the hungry gold seekers, whose arrival was noted almost every day.
On the first of November, 1849, a flatboat, which had made the voyage down the Gila from the Pima villages, with Mr. Howard and family, and two men, a doctor and a clergyman, on board, arrived at the camp. During this voyage a son was born to Mrs. Howard, said to have been the first child born in Arizona of American parentage. The Lieutenant, it is said, purchased the craft, which was used as a ferryboat during the
There is some doubt as to the exact year in which Dr. Langdon established his ferry across the Colorado, whether it was late in the year 1849, or early in the year 1850. Bancroft says it is the latter date, but other authorities claim that it was in the previous year, 1849. The money for the establishment of this ferry was furnished by J. P. Brodie, an American gentleman then a resident of Hermosillo, who retained an interest in it. Prior to its establishment the Indians aided the emigrants in crossing with their livestock and other property, having, in some way, secured a scow for this purpose. In disregard of their rights, the Americans occupied the field. They established a stockade on the California side, which they called Fort Defiance, and which became the scene of a massacre by the Yumas the following year. Dr. Langdon, who seems to have had charge of this ferry, associated with himself one John Glanton, or Gallantin, who seems to have been the head of a band of outlaws who had been employed by the Mexican Government to gather Apache scalps at one hundred dollars for each brave, fifty dollars for each woman, and twenty-five dollars for each child. The business seems to have been lucrative, so far as they were concerned, for the Glanton party did not confine itself to gathering the scalps of the Apaches, but took those of the Opatas and Pimas, and sometimes of the Mexicans. This being discovered
There seems at this time to have been an opposition ferry. Glanton killed its manager and in this way controlled the business of transportation across the Colorado. He exacted heavy tribute from all immigrants, amounting to extortion, and disregarded in every particular the rights of the Indians, who rose in rebellion and killed all his party, some twenty-five in number, excepting C. O. Brown, who afterwards became prominent as one of the early settlers of Tucson, one Anderson and another whose name is not mentioned. According to Bartlett, the money which the Glanton party had accumulated, somewhere from fifteen thousand to thirty thousand dollars in gold, was taken by the Indians, who used it in purchasing supplies from the immigrants, and, not knowing its value, frequently gave four or five doubloons for a wornout blanket, and a gold eagle for a tattered shirt.
There is much confusion in regard to the Glanton affair. Cremony and some other authors claim that he and his party were in charge of a large flock of sheep which they had purchased in New Mexico and were driving to California, and were murdered by the Yumas upon their arrival at the Colorado River. All the evidence in reference to the Glanton party is hearsay, but the weight of evidence seems to be that Glanton and his party were not incumbered with any great amount of livestock, and that he engaged with Dr. Langdon in ferrying emigrants across the Colorado as I have stated above.
Shortly thereafter, in July, 1850, Jaeger and Hartshorne headed a party who re-established the ferry, and built their boat on the ground from wood secured from the cottonwood trees growing there. Major Heintzelman, then in charge of the army post at San Diego, established a military post there and left ten men under Lieutenant Sweeney, and the soldiers and ferrymen all occupied the stockade which had been erected by the Glanton party. Jaeger and Hartshorne did a profitable business for several months. Supplies becoming short, however, Jaeger went to San Diego, and, returning with one Mexican with several mule loads of provisions, was attacked by the Indians within sight of the stockade. The Mexican deserted him and Jaeger applied his spurs to his horse, which dashed into the stockade carrying its rider, who was badly wounded by spears and arrows, remaining unconscious for several days. That night the party deserted the post and carried Jaeger with them into San Diego, where the arrow points were extracted and he, under proper medical treatment, was restored to health.
L. J. F. JAEGER.
Within a few days after this occurrence, Dr. Webb, in charge of an exploring party belonging to the Boundary Survey, encountered some Indians, the story of which encounter and the events following are told by Captain Cremony in the following language:‘‘
Early next morning, we resumed our journey down the Gila, and prosecuted it for several days until we reached the Colorado near its junction with the Gila. At that period the whole country was a wilderness, and the place now occupied by large houses and well-filled stores, with an American population of six or seven hundred
Soon after Caballo en Pelo, or the 'Naked Horse' entered our camp, he made a signal to his associates, and we soon had an accession of fourteen more, embracing several of the principal men in the Yuma tribe. They were all unarmed, and each one expressed his desire to maintain friendly relations with our people. Dr. Webb, with his usual blunt honesty of character, and total neglect of policy, abruptly asked
A few words interchanged between the members of our party decided our course of action. In any case we were fully committed, and nothing but perilous measures could decide the result of our desperate surroundings. It was determined to hold all the Yumas present as captives, subject to instant death upon the exhibition of any hostility on the part of that tribe. We felt that our lives were at the mercy of those savages, but also resolved that we should not be sacrificed without a corresponding amount of satisfaction. Their principal men were in our camp unarmed; we had the disposal of their lives in our power, and knew that they could not escape in the event of any hostile act against our small party. These deliberations were fully unfolded to the chiefs, who were informed that no more of their tribe would be admitted into our camp without jeopardizing the safety of those already there. They were also told that having come of their own free will, they would be expected to remain during our pleasure, and, in
Dr. Webb furthermore informed the Yumas that they must order their warriors, who were gathering thickly on our side of the river, not to approach within three hundred yards, adding, ‘‘we suspect your motives, and intend to have the first blood, if any is to be shed. Your chief men are in our power. Your people can kill us, as they are so much more numerous, but we will kill you first, if they do not obey our orders which shall be promulgated through you.’’
This was undoubtedly the 'tightest fix,' our visitors were ever in. They were by no means prepared for such a decided stand, and were quite at a loss for expedient. Seeing resolution in each man's eye, and knowing that it was our determination to put them to death the moment any decidedly hostile step should be taken by their people, they concluded to make the best of a bad bargain, and escape by strategy from the trap they had prepared to spring upon us, but in which they had caught themselves.
Caballo en Pelo made a few signs to the surrounding and anxious multitude, which then quietly retreated out of sight among the dense willows which grew with remarkable luxuriance about three hundred yards from the river. We then dug two holes about twenty feet apart, parallel to each other, and each about five feet long by one and a half wide and two deep. In these holes we made blazing fires which rose about two or three feet above the surface of the
That day we moved down the river about eleven miles and selected a good camp ground early in the afternoon. Again we were surrounded by hundreds of Indians, but the personal fears of our hostages kept them at bay, and they did not approach nearer than three hundred yards. The night passed as the previous one had done, and we perceived that it was the intention of the Yumas to wear us out, and then seize their opportunity; but this scheme was frustrated by the nerve and decision of Dr. Webb, who, next morning, informed Caballo en Pelo and his chief followers, that ‘‘we were well aware of the existence of the launches by oral as well as written intelligence; that they were absolutely necessary to cross the Colorado; that we
It may well be supposed that this sort of talk aroused the liveliest alarm among our prisoners, who commenced an excited conversation in their own tongue, which culminated in a request from Caballo en Pelo that one of his young men be permitted to leave our camp and make inquiry if the launches really were in existence, and, if so, to bring them down river to our camp. This was agreed to, and a young lad, about eighteen years of age, the son of Pascual, selected for the business. He was allowed to depart with the positive assurance that we would keep our words in regard to his father, and the other head men of the Yuma tribe in our camp.
That night we observed more than the usual precautions, for one half our number were on guard at all times. Next morning no Indians were to be seen, but at ten o'clock A. M. a large launch, capable of holding half our party with their baggage, was seen approaching under the conduct of two Yumas. It was moored in front of our camp, and immediate preparations were made for crossing. Five of us, taking half the Yuma prisoners, immediately embarked with rifles in hand, ready for use, and as we could
Having gained the western bank of the Colorado in peace, the Yumas demanded to be released from captivity, but our safety would not permit such a course, and Dr. Webb informed them that they must remain in camp that night and would be set free next day. The utmost precaution was again observed throughout the night, and at three o'clock next morning we were once more en route toward California, accompanied by the leading Yumas, who were kept closely guarded. That day we penetrated twenty-eight miles into the great Colorado desert, halting about four o'clock P. M., in a place where neither water nor wood existed, and completely surrounded by hills and banks of white sand. With much toil several of our number ascended one or two of the highest hillocks, but as far as the eye could reach nothing was to be seen but one unbroken expanse of sand, white, dazzling under the rays of a burning sun, unrelieved by a single bush or shrub—broken and fretted with countless hillocks, and utterly void of animal life. This part of the
As before stated, we halted and made preparations as if to encamp. Dr. Webb then directed Mr. Thurber to ascend the highest sand hill in the neighborhood, examine all around with his field glasses and report if the Indians were upon our trail. In about half an hour Mr. Thurber returned, and assured us that from two to three hundred Yumas were within five miles of our position, and heading toward our camp. There was no time to lose. Caballo en Pelo with his fellow captives were immediately informed that they must take the back trail and return to the river, that our road was toward the west, that we had no more provisions to give them, and that it was indispensable for us to part company with them then and there. To these requirements the wily chief demurred, and stated his desire to go on with us to California. He was overruled, by the strong persuasive force of drawing our pistols, and giving him the sole alternative of obeying or dying. They chose the former, and decamped with haste. So soon as they disappeared around the
Eleven years afterward, Pasqual himself told me that they met about three hundred of their warriors half an hour after being expelled from our camp, and the whole band came in pursuit of us, but as the Indian never risks life when he thinks the same end can be accomplished by strategy, and as time is of no moment to them, it was agreed to fall foul of us just before daylight the next morning, and by a rapid and combined assault massacre our little party with comparative ease and impunity. Acting on that policy, they approached our abandoned camp with extreme caution, and commenced a survey from surrounding hillocks. They were not surprised to see no fire, as they knew there was no wood in that part of the desert, and they remained quiescent until nearly morning, when their scouts gave them the unwelcome information that we were gone.
Our flight was continued all night and part of the next day, until, overtaken by one of those dreadful sandstorms which prevail on the Colorado desert. The day was intensely hot, and the most impressive silence seemed to reign absolute. Suddenly a dark, dense and singular-looking cloud arose in the west and moved toward us with incredible velocity. Great masses of heavy sand were lifted as if they were so many feathers, and carried high into the air with extreme violence. The places formerly occupied by huge hillocks containing many thousand
About three o'clock P. M., the storm passed off, and we instantly resumed our way without cooking food, for eating could only add to our terrible thirst. All that night our weary feet trod that infernal desert until the glowing morning sun shone upon us like a plate of molten brass, but we had arrived at a fine camp ground, thickly supplied with shady mesquit trees and abounding with excellent grass for our wornout
Col. Heintzelman's force was subsequently increased to five hundred men, and after two years' active warfare he succeeded in reducing the Yumas, who have never since presumed to contend against our power. Since then Fort Yuma has become a noted frontier fortification, surrounded by many hundreds of American citizens, who live, for the most part, on the eastern
In the spring of 1852, after the Jaeger party had been driven out of Yuma, Major Heintzelman, in command of six companies of United States soldiers, re-established the post at Fort Yuma, and waged an incessant war upon the Indians, who sued for peace the year following, and have ever since remained at peace with the whites. Jaeger returned with these troops and re-established his ferry. From that time on he was a prominent resident of Yuma, and figured largely in the subsequent history of Arizona for many years.
About the time of the re-establishment of Fort Yuma and the ferry, or, to be more exact, in 1851, Captain Wilcox reached the mouth of the Colorado in a sailing vessel, the schooner "Invincible," with troops and supplies from San Francisco. The troops were commanded by Lieutenant Derby, who under the name of "John Phoenix," contributed largely to the humorous literature of that day, and who was ordered to explore the Colorado river from its mouth up.
Of the navigation of the Colorado, Bancroft says: ‘‘It appears that also in the spring of 1851, George A. Johnson arrived at the river's mouth on the schooner Sierra Nevada with supplies for the fort, and lumber from which were built flatboats for the trip up the Colorado.’’
‘‘In 1852,’’ I again quote from Bancroft, ‘‘the first steamer, the 'Uncle Sam' was brought by Captain Turnbull on a schooner to the head of the Gulf, and there put together for the river trip. She reached Fort Yuma at the beginning of December, but had been obliged to land her cargo of supplies some distance below. After running on the river for a year or two, the 'Uncle Sam' grounded and sunk, being replaced in January, 1854, by the 'General Jesup,' under Captain Johnson, the new contractor, but exploded in August. The 'Colorado,' a stern-wheeler 120 feet long, was put on the route in the autumn of 1855, and from this time the steam navigation, with an occasional opposition line, seems to have been continuous.’’
Upon the re-establishment of the ferry by Jaeger, the tide of immigration again turned to the Colorado river under the protection of the fort. The village of Colorado City, on the California side, arose. It was afterwards called Arizona City, and its name subsequently changed to that of Yuma. The present site of Yuma was
From the journal of an expedition from San Diego, California, to the Rio Colorado in 1849, by Lieutenant A. W. Whipple, of the United States Topographical Engineers, I make the following extracts with reference to the Yuma Indians, or, as they were called at that time, the Cuchans. Of his first meeting with them, on September 29th, 1849, he says:‘‘Santiago, their chief, wore a blue greatcoat, and a fancy cotton handkerchief bound his head; his legs and feet were bare. Others were clad in the simple breechcloth. All were mounted on spirited horses. The road up the bank, to the left, is the emigrant trail over the deep, drifting sand of the desert. Taking the more circuitous route to the right, we were escorted by the Indians a short distance to their village in the cañada, luxuriant with maize and melons. We were at once surrounded by great numbers of Indian men and women, evincing friendliness, curiosity and intelligence. The women are generally fat, and their dress consists of a fringe, made of strips of bark, bound about the hips, and hanging loosely to the middle of the thighs. The men are large, muscular and well formed. Their countenances are pleasing, and seem lighted by intelligence. I doubt whether America can boast a finer race of Indians. Their warriors wear the white breechcloth, and their hair, hanging in plaits to the middle of their
October 7, 1849—Took a walk into the villages to see how the Indians live. They all knew me, and received me kindly enough into their family circle, composed of about a dozen men, women and children, sitting or lying upon the ground, under the shade of a flat roof of branches of trees supported by posts at the four corners. The women, dressed in girdles of bark, stripped into thongs, and partially braided, hanging in a fringe to the thighs, and ornamented with many strings of shells or glass beads, were making a mush of zandias (water-melons), or grinding grass seed into flour. The men, with breech cloths, or perhaps a shirt cast off by the emigrants, were ornamented with rings in their noses and eagles' feathers in their hair. The children wore no covering except what nature gave them, but were decked with beads upon their necks, and small strings of the same were inserted through their ears.
The laborious part of their toilet—that in which all their taste and skill are put in requisition—consists in painting. Warriors dye their faces jet black, with a stripe of red from the forehead down to the nose and across the chin.
Strings of broken shells, called 'pook' are highly valued among them. They consist of circular pieces of seashells, with holes very nicely drilled in the center. They are very ancient, and were formerly used as money. A string is now worth a horse. An Indian dandy is never dressed without them, and the number of strings worn indicates the wealth of the possessor. The figure of the young dandy, though large, is so faultless in its proportions that, when I have seen him dressed in his clean white breech-cloth, with no other covering to his carefully painted person, except the graceful plume upon his head, and the white bracelet of leather, with buckskin fringe and bright brass buttons, which serve as mirrors, upon his left arm, I could but applaud the scorn with which he looked upon European dress, and the resolute firmness with which he refused the proffered gift of pants.