CHAPTER IV. EARLY CONDITIONS IN THE TERRITORY (Continued).
CAPTAIN W. H. HARDY—DESCRIPTION OF—HIS EARLY EXPERIENCES IN ARIZONA—METHODS OF INDIAN WARFARE—FREIGHTING FOR THE GOVERNMENT—EXPERIENCES WITH INDIANS—WILD GAME IN THE TERRITORY—DRIVEN OUT OR KILLED—INDIAN CUNNING—THE FIRST CHRISTMAS TREE IN THE TERRITORY.
Mention has been made in these pages of W. H. Hardy, who established the town of Hardyville, above Fort Mohave, on the Colorado River. Captain Hardy ran a ferry and a store at that place for a long time, and, as stated in a previous chapter, established a branch store at Prescott, after the location and survey of that town. He was among the first settlers in Mohave County. He was a man highly respected, of great energy and force of character, and did a great deal for the development of his county, which he represented several times in the upper house of the Territorial Legislature. He died June 30, 1909, at Whittier, California.”
“Captain Hardy was an old settler upon the Colorado above Fort Mohave at Hardyville. He ran a ferry and a store at that place, also a toll road from Hardyville to Prescott. All parties travelling on the road had to pay Hardy in proportion to the size of their outfit. The repairs on the road were kept up by Hardy walking
The “Mohave County Miner,” of December 8th, 1888, contains the following letter written by Captain Hardy, which is perhaps as good a statement of conditions in Arizona during the period of which we are writing, as could be found:‘‘
“You ask me to write some of my early experiences in Arizona. What I write may not be worth the space it takes in your valuable paper. Again, if printed, it may not be worth reading. However, as I have a little leisure time to-day, I will put in a couple of hours in telling, as I remember, what happened over twenty years since. I distinctly remember, because trials and incidents which happened in those days were frequently stained in blood.
“I crossed the Colorado River near Fort Mohave January 20th, 1864. At that time there was no real settler in Mohave County. A company of California Volunteers under Capt. Charles Atchison was stationed at Fort Mohave, as a road had been partly worked from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to Los Angeles, California, via Fort Mohave, and the Indians were found
“The Indians of Arizona were different in their warfare from those in many other States and Territories; it was more like bushwhacking. Small bands of Indians would watch the roads and trails, and surprise and attack small parties or individuals, kill them and mutilate their bodies, and hide away in the rocks. They were rarely ever caught or punished by the United States troops, yet after a bloody war of ten years, General Crook managed to enlist Indians (as all Indians were then at war with their neighboring tribes) and succeeded in conquering and making peace, except with a part of the Apaches located at San Carlos. It seems that a line was run around this tribe and established as a reservation. These Indians were not first conquered and put on a reservation as they should have been; hence the consequences that have followed.
“In June, 1866, four men came to my place on the Colorado River. They were mounted on good horses, had three pack animals, and were going east of Prescott to look up some mines they claimed to have heard of through a soldier scout. In talking with them I learned that not one of the party had ever had any experience in an Indian country. They had read of the
“My reasoning they did not heed, but turkey they must have; so I took my rifle in hand and went with them toward the canyon. The turkey seemed to travel as fast as we did, and kept up its gobble. As we reached the mouth of the bushy canyon, I called their attention to footprints in the sand, some made by bare feet, and some by moccasined feet. This took away their appetite for wild turkey. We returned to camp and when it was dark we packed up and rode nearly twenty miles that night to open county. I was then, and have since been, satisfied that I saved the lives of this party. However, a few months later I learned through the ‘Arizona Miner’ that two of these men were waylaid and killed by the Indians.
“I had taken a contract to haul government freight from Fort Mohave to Fort Whipple, near Prescott, and Camp Verde. There was to be about six hundred tons of freight, and the contract commenced July 1st, 1866. I had purchased ten mule-teams of ten mules each, also ten oxteams of twelve oxen each. With these teams I intended to haul this freight. The country from the Colorado River to Fort Whipple, a distance of a hundred and sixty-five miles, was uninhabited. I was obliged to build a road first, then fit out men with improved arms, and would generally hire men (sometimes men who were travelling through from California would volunteer for protection)
“I loaded the mule train with freight about the 10th of September, and told the boys as they pulled out that I would overtake them on the road and stop a day with them, and be at Fort Whipple to help unload. I was detained at home two days longer than I expected, but finally got off at 4 p. m. alone, intending to take advantage of the darkness of the night for my protection. The Indians were either superstitious about night or cowardly. They never attacked at night, but were always up at daylight and would sometimes try to stampede the herd, but with my train always lost out. I would ride
“The question will naturally arise, how did those Indians make those signal smokes? In those days the Indians had no knowledge of matches. They had no guns. Each Indian when out on the warpath carried two sticks, one of dry stock of beargrass with notches cut in it, and the other a hard stick like an old fashioned fog-horn ramrod. They would place the sticks with notches on the ground, put their feet on it, and set the other stick with the end in the notch, then roll fast between the hands. Within half a minute they would start a blaze of fire, caused by friction. These sticks the Indians called ‘ocacha.’ They sometimes used flints. These the Indians called ‘otavia.’ When the fire was started they would sprinkle a little pulverized pitch or resin on it, and this would start a black smoke quick. Then they would
“The teams were unharnessed and hitched to the wagons, and fed grain. There were in the train ten drivers and one wagon-master, and two night herders. These men had their beds on top of loads and with a wagon sheet over them, would ride and sleep during the day. There was also a cook, and it so happened that five tramps or extra men were along. As soon as we could get supper the night herders took the stock, my horse included, out about one mile in open ground to herd. Two of the drivers went along. This time they spread their blankets under a tree and went to sleep. At a little before day these men were called and saddled up ready for
“With the train there was a man, German by birth, whom they called ‘Dutch Jake.’ He had an old white horse. I advised him to put his horse with the herd. This he refused to do, and said he would take care of his own horse. So he took him some fifty yards from camp and picketed him to a small tree, and spread his blanket down by the tree. When I returned at 7 p. m., all was still and quiet in camp. Having gone without sleep the previous night, and made a long ride, I was tired and soon fell asleep. I was awakened by the alarm clock going off in the wagon-master's bed. In five minutes all hands, including myself, were up and dressed. The fact was that but little undressing was done. Every man had his rifle by his side and his revolver in his belt, so when we got up we could get up shooting if necessary. We watched for the noble red man, who did not come but had been. I noticed that the Dutchman's horse was missing. I called Jack, the wagon-master, and said, ‘Jack, the Indians have got the Dutchman's horse.’ He said, ‘it served the fool Dutchman right, he knew so much.’
“As soon as it got a little light, the Dutchman went to the end of the picket rope, which had been cut. He at once discovered prints of bare feet. He said, ‘Who has been out here mit his bare feet on?’ I said, ‘Indians.’ Then he kicked himself and talked broken English mixed with Dutch. Finally, as it got fairly light, he
“While looking at the dead man I heard a little stir in camp. I looked up and saw all the horses saddled (we could not depend upon a mule in a fight). My horse was also saddled. I inquired what was up. Jack said, ‘We are going after Mister Indian.’ I said, ‘Let me go too.’ ‘No, you stay in camp, they may attack yet,’ Jack, the wagon-master, said. ‘I will take Dick, Tom and Joe, and take to the left for that open ground beyond. Sam, you take those other
“Sam soon got back to camp. He had peeled the scalps from the two Indians he had killed. He also had their bows and quivers of arrows. These scalps were fastened to the bridles of the lead mules or forward team, and the long black hair would wave and frizzle around. These scalps had to be taken as a sort of voucher that good Indians had actually been made. Jack soon returned to camp without scalps. He reported: ‘As soon as I dismounted, I saw a big Indian dressed in buckskin, with a feather in his cap, painted black. He was not fifty yards from me and seemed to be giving orders. I put my rifle to my face-and pulled for his heart. At
“‘I think that old fellow was a chief,’ Jack continued. ‘I would like to have had his scalp, but did not care to crawl around in the brush to hunt dead or wounded Indians, as I well know that as long as there is life in an Indian he will fight back. He is like a wounded wolf or bear.’
“During all this time the cook had been perfectly oblivious of what was going on. He had cooked breakfast; the balance of the teamsters had harnessed up and fed the teams, and a man had set at work and dug a shallow grave. The Dutchman was wrapped in his blanket and buried under a large juniper tree, without ceremony or prayers. It would have frightened a tramp to have heard some of the remarks that were made at that breakfast.
“When breakfast was over, Jack said: ‘We have the start of the Indians, and there must be over a hundred at least around our camp. Our trouble is not yet over, for they may try to retaliate, but we will keep on the safe side.’
“I was ready to obey orders, and so informed the wagon-master. Said he: ‘We may be attacked in the canyon ahead. You take those three men and follow the rear of the train, and I will take these other men and keep along ahead on the side of the canyon, so I can defend the advance.’
“About two p. m., we came to a little prairie and a small spring of cold water. We camped and turned in. I at once wrapped myself in my blanket and fell asleep, only to awake suddenly. I dreamed I was in an Indian fight and got shot, and as I jumped up the boys had a good laugh. However, I soon got to sleep again. At 6 p. m., I was awakened for supper. We had venison, roast; broiled and stewed turkey a la campfire. I was hungry, and particularly hungry for wild meat, and I got outside of an immense quantity of this choice fat game. Is there a man living who has spent a few years on the frontier, or even went out on a hunt and cooked by a camp fire that does not relish choice game when cooked to order to suit his taste?
“As soon as the teams had arrived and unloaded, they started back. I waited in Prescott five days, then left at sunset, reaching the train at Juniper, at the same camp that had been made on the way out. The boys had killed three deer and one bear, so meat was plenty, but they saw no signs of Indians. I travelled with the train the next day, then travelled during the night and arrived home during the next night, making the trip, one hundred and sixty-five miles, in three nights.
“A word about these young men who formed this tittle crew of teamsters or band of scouts. They were all bricks, and had not a cowardly hair in their heads. Several of them live in this Territory at the present time. During the two years that these men were in my employ, not one got killed or wounded. Three men in my employ who were at work repairing the road near Union Pass were killed by Indians during the summer of 1866. Their names were Thomas McCall, William Brown, and John Killtan. McCall was caught in the same kind of a trap that the Dutchman was. A horse had been stolen. McCall followed and got in sight of it, but was filled with arrows before reaching his property.
“This trap business is an old game of the Indians. General Custer was caught in a trap. When Custer saw the Indians in force, had he fallen back to high ground and allowed the Indians to attack him, he might have got away with the fight. A man to deal with hostile Indians must have no fear. He must look and laugh the Indians in the face, though danger and death is at hand. It won't do to weaken.
“About the wild game that was in Arizona at that time. The mountains were alive with game. The particular section described lies between two tribes of Indians, the Wallapais, sometimes spelled in Spanish, Hualapais, and Yavapais, or Apaches. As these tribes were at war they dare not hunt or be found in small parties in this country.
“It was not uncommon in travelling through the Aztec Pass, to see two or three hundred deer and antelope in a day. A little to the north of this there were large bands of elk. There was also the brown, the cross, and the cinnamon bear, too plenty for fun. There were also many carniverous animals: the cougar, the panther, the large grey wolf, and coyotes without number. Turkeys and quail were quite common.
“I have known three crack shots to leave Prescott in the fall of the year, and in camping on this divide, kill a four horse wagon load of game in three days, and return to prescott, not being gone from home but six days in all. Sam accompanied this crowd. At one time as a band of antelopes ran past him, he emptied his Spencer six shooter rifle at them, killing five, and wounding three more that they got the next
The last expedition of King Woolsey, which is given in the preceding volume, was directed against the warlike tribes along the Colorado River, and, naturally it had a tendency to deter the Indians from open and aggressive warfare, but their sentinels were along every road on the lookout for plunder.
In the winter of 1867, according to Judge E. W. Wells, of Prescott, one night, when the faro banks and saloons were running at high speed in Prescott, there came into one of the principal saloons a Mexican youth, garbed as an Apache. He explained that he had been taken captive a few years before by the Indians, and that two of them had a camp upon the hill adjacent to the present waterworks of Prescott, where they had kept a lookout for two or three years previous. From this place they could spy upon Fort Whipple and the town of Prescott and locate every outgoing body of citizens or soldiers. He said that the two bucks who had accompanied him had left their camp in the early evening for further investigation around Fort Whipple, and he proposed to conduct a party to their camping ground, that they might be ambushed and killed or captured upon their
An interesting happening in Arizona, which, unfortunately, bears no date, but which may have occurred in either of the years 1865, 1866, 1867 or 1868, was the providing of the first Christmas tree. A description of this, taken from Orick Jackson's “The White Conquest of Arizona,” is as follows:‘‘
“There is one Arizonan alive to-day who holds a unique station among men, and who enjoys a distinction that is beautiful and praiseworthy. His name is J. N. Rodenburg, and to him belongs the honor of being the first man who conceived the idea of zealously and fervently observing the birth of the Savior in a wild land, and providing the first Christmas tree to be erected in Arizona. This tribute to Christianity was initiated by him under conditions that would seem in this day of peace and plenty as difficult of execution, but those who are yet alive bear evidence to it in its every detail.
“The little home was jammed, and the men who usually wore hard-looking countenances, and in their reckless careers were accustomed to the rougher side of human life, recalled the long ago in old New England when they, too, were young, and when they also went up to get what was coming as their names were called out by the Superintendent of the Sunday School. So they weakened, as it were, and each gave himself up to the spirit of the day with a joyousness that was in harmony with their lives when they were home with the old folks beyond the Rockies. Mr. Rodenburg says that electric bulbs may glow in many colors from the Christmas trees of the present day, trained voices may chant the melodies,
Veterans of the First Arizona Volunteer Infantry Company “B,” 1865-66. 1. Cheroquis. 2. Moh Ush. 3. Machie Gulack. 4. Moll Daker.5. Chaequetz Am. 6. Hamaware Quineal. 7. Oh Wan.