CHAPTER XII. ANTELOPE PEAK—A NIGHT'S COMPANION— LONE PEAKS...


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ANTELOPE PEAK—A NIGHT'S COMPANION— ‘‘LONE PEAKS’’—A GOLD STORY—OATMAN'S FLAT—FREIGHT TRAINS OF THE DESERT—‘‘PEDROS PINTADOS.’’

THE second night out brought us to ‘‘Antelope Peak,’’ a famous camping spot, and so named from a high towering peak jutting up from the ground in magnificent and haughty style, and shrowding you and the camp grounds surrounding, with its casting shadows. An adobé building for the stage company's office, and a corral for the protection and care of the horses, and the graceful flow of the Gila River o'er-shadowed by the towering ‘‘Antelope,’’ constitute the main attraction for the camper. It is a very refreshing and cooling retreat for the traveler, who has had just enough of the sand and sun of Arizona by this time, to appreciate and enjoy it. This peak, instead of being called a peak, having the features of so much of the Arizona mountain scenery, would be better comprehended by being termed an Isolated Mountain; jutting, as it does from the very level of the plains, and throwing itself grandly up to a height of hundreds of


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feet into one single conical shaped formation. There are several of these entertaining fellows over the plains of the Territory relieving the eye of monotony, and without which the deserts and the traveler on them, would yearn for some society. Their extreme contrast with the surroundings, exalting-them to a glorious standard. One of the most bold and pleasing of these peaks is to be seen on Stewart & Pearson's stage road from Ehrenberg to Prescott. After riding for miles and hours over the broad sandy plains, with the distant mountains forming a pleasing enclosure to a vast natural stage upon which many a weird and midnight scene has been enacted, to come boldly upon these two lone peaks (there are two of them) standing side by side, is a scene worth the whole ride. As the stage passes by close to their base, they look down frowningly upon you; and were you superstitious, would almost think they spoke to you in the starry stillness of the night.

The occasion on which I first saw these peaks was in the middle of the night. It was a bright moonlight one, and the hazy light of the moon from behind, throwing the shadow far over our stage coach, produced a sombre effect. I was seated on top of the coach alongside the driver, and strapped on to prevent me from falling off by the sudden jolts in passing over the gulches where the miners had been to work, and


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‘‘LONE PEAKS,’’ ON THE ROAD FROM EHRENBERG TO PRESCOTT.


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so that I might sleep and nod to my heart's content without being dashed beneath the wheels. I had fallen asleep as my driver could assert to this day, because he had tried his best to keep me awake for some one to talk to. In passing over a small stream which runs close by the peaks, the thump of the wagon fairly forced my eyelids apart; and, beholding these two giant figures o'er-spreading me as it seemed, 1 was held with awe for a few minutes, and then said to the driver, ‘‘What are these?’’ at the same time holding my face up at right angles to see the top.

‘‘Oh! those?’’ said he, in a quiet unconcerned voice,— ‘‘Oh! those are stones that grow here in Arizona.,’’ I named the peaks ‘‘Lone Peaks,’’ as agreeable to the circumstances and conditions, as well as the sentiments of both myself and my friend the driver.

In regard to my waking up by the jolt of the wagon, I am not sure to this day whether it was the jolt of the coach, or due to some mechanical or other contrivance of the driver. These drivers do not like to have you go to sleep in the night while at their side. They want you to talk to. Besides, if there is going to be any Indian relays, or a meeting of any of the road ‘‘agents’’ who often come out part way to relieve the coach or the passengers of any extra money they may have on their persons, he wants you to see the


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modus operandi with which it is done. I do not know then, whether it was the thump, or a pin being poked into my leg, or a pinch that woke me up. And the driver will ‘‘never tell you.’’

The Antelope peak of the Gila Peak of the Gila must not be conflicted with what is known as the Antelope Mountains seen on another part of Stewart & Pearson's stage route, which is some distance north of the Gila River, where a man by the name of Poebles took out seven thousand dollars in placer gold one morning before breakfast, and during three weeks following, it is known, found eighty thousand dollars in gold nuggets. This is a California gold story of '49 over again, and verifies what we say elsewhere concerning the part of '49 being again played, in Arizona. We may emphatically, look for this. The era has already dawned.

Urging our mules the next day we made a beautiful run of forty-six miles to a station known as Stamvix Hall, famous for its mud springs which, one of these days will be celebrated far and wide for their medicinal properties. In the morning we pass a station that reminds us that we are not too far away from home to be partiotic, by a flag hoisted in rude style over the corral and composed of three white stripes, two red stripes and two blue stripes and forty-five stars. We had seen flags larger, and we had seen


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A MIDNIGHT CAMP OF THE APACHES IN THE PELONCILLO MOUNTAIN, ARIZONA.


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flags less pretentious; but I don't think any of us ever took off our hats with a more hearty and vigorous ‘‘Three cheers!’’ than did the Aztec party; and we excused the presumption of the forty-five stars on the grounds that perhaps the inserter of them candidly thought Arizona was worth enough in herself to make up the deficiency. That afternoon brought us to the sad and tragic landmark of the Oatman's Flat, where they have named the station after the victims of this tragedy, to keep perhaps, fresh in the memory of the white man the recollections of one the most atrocious massacres ever perpetrated by the Indians.

This story is well known and has been often repeated by many writers. We will simply quote a few of the more important features of the affair as graphically described by J. Ross Brown. Early in January, 1851, Mr. Royse Oatman and his family entered that portion of the new Mexican Territory now called Arizona, in company with an emigrant party of which he was a member. * * * * * * * He had seen no hostile Indians, and had heard of no recent depredations on the way. * * * On the 18th of March, they spent a dreadful night on a little sand island in the Gila River. A terrific storm blew the water up over them; their scanty supply of provisions was damaged, their blankets and clothing were wet through, and the starving animals driven


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nearly frantic with fear. It was a wild and desolate place, many days journey from any civilized abode. — It was starvation to stay, and almost inevitable disaster to go forward. Mrs. Oatman, the noble wife and mother, always patient, hopeful, and enduring, busied herself in attending to the wants of her children and in uttering words of encouragement to her husband. He, however, seemed utterly overwhelmed with gloomy forebodings, and continued to look back upon the road, till suddenly an expression of indescribable horror was observed in his face, and the next moment a band of Indians was seen leisurely approaching along the road. The children perceiving instinctively that their father—to whom they had always been accustomed to look for protection—was agitated by no ordinary emotions, became alarmed; but he succeeded by a strong effort in maintaining an appearance of composure, and told them not to be afraid, that the Indians would not hurt them. It was a favorite theory of his that misconduct on the part of the whites was the cause of all trouble with Indians, and that by treating them generously and kindly they would not prove ungrateful. Strange that one who had lived in frontier countries should so fatally misconstrue the character of that race!

When the Indians came up Mr. Oatman spoke to them kindly in Spanish, and motioned to them to sit


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ROCKY CANYON AND MESA LANDS OF ARIZONA.


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down. They sat down, and asked for tobacco and pipes; which he gave them, and they smoked awhile in token of friendship. Then they asked for something to eat. Mr. Oatman told them his family were nearly starving—that they had a long journey before them, and could ill spare any portion of their scanty stock. However, he gave them a little bread, and said he was sorry he could not give them more. After this they stood off a little and talked in a low tone, while Oatman set to work to re-load the wagon. It was observed that the Indians looked anxiously down the road as if expecting some approaching party. Suddenly, with a terrific yell, they jumped in the air, and dashed with uplifted clubs upon the doomed family. Lorenzo, a boy fourteen years of age, was struck on the head and felled to the earth the first blow. Several of the savages rushed upon Oatman, and he was seen for a moment struggling in their midst, but soon fell a mutilated corpse at their feet. Mrs. Oatman pressed her youngest child to her bosom, and struggled with a mother's heroic devotion to save it, shrieking in piercing accents, ‘‘“Help! help! Oh, for the love of God, will nobody save us!”’’ A few blows of the murderous clubs quickly silenced the poor mother and her babe; and in less than a minute the whole family, save Lorenzo, Olive, and Mary Anne, were lying dead or moaning in their death-struggles


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upon the ground. Olive, a girl sixteen years of age, and Mary Anne, a frail child of eleven, were dragged aside and held in the iron grasp of two Indians. Lorenzo, the boy, was stunned by the crushing blows which had fallen upon his head, and lay bleeding by the edge of the precipice. In his narrative he states that he soon recovered his consciousness, and distinctly heard the yells of the Apachés, mingled with the shrieks and dying groans of his parents. The savages seeing him move, rifled his pockets and cast him over the precipice. Upon a careful examination of the spot—as shown to the right of the road in the accompanying sketch—I estimated that he must have fallen twenty feet before he struck the rocky slope of the mesa. That he was not instantly killed or maimed beyond recovery seems miraculous. Strange discordant sounds, he tells us, grated npon his ears, gradually dying away, and then he heard ‘‘“strains of such sweet music as completely ravished his senses.”’’ * * * * * * As soon as the Apachés had consummated the massacre of the Oatman family and plundered the wagon of its contents, they fled across the river, taking with them the two captives, Olive and Mary Anne. These unfortunate girls had seen their parents, brothers, and sisters cruelly murdered, and were now dragged away, bare-headed and shoeless, through a rude and desolate


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wilderness. Ferocious threats and even clubs were used to hurry them along. Their feet were lacerated, and their scanty clothes were torn from their bodies in passing over the rocky mesas and through dense and thorny thickets. Sometimes the younger sister faltered from sheer lack of strength, but the savage wretches, unmindful of her sufferings, beat her and threatened to dispatch her at once if she lagged behind. She said it was useless to try any more—she might as well die at once; A brutal wretch of the tribe seized her as she sank to the ground, and casting her across his back started off on a trot. * * * * * * * Through the services of Francisco, a Yuma Indian, the purchase of Olive from the Mojavés was effected by Mr. Grinnell, in February, 1856. She was brought down to a place on the Colorado at an appointed time. Here Mr. Grinnel met her. She was sitting on the ground, as he described the scene to me, with her face covered by her hands. So completely was she disguised by long exposure to the sun, by paint, tattooing and costume, that he could not believe she was a white woman. When he spoke to her, she made no answer, but cried and kept her face covered. It was not for several days after her arrival at Fort Yuma that she could utter more than a few broken words of English. Subsequently she met her brother, and was taken by him to


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his residence near Los Angeles. After that they lived awhile in Oregon.

Since this account of the unfortunate girl was given, I learn she came to New York State, and afterwards died in an insane asylum.

Surrounding the Oatman's Flat, is a very good specimen of the different peculiar formations of the mesas so common in Arizona. These mesas are the bug-bears, the temper-agitators, the malin-esprits of the desert to a class of people in Arizona vast in numbers, but more important than vast. These are the freight drivers of the plains. ‘‘“Freighting on the plains,’’’ is a term that arouses a deep interest to any one who has seen and contemplated it in all its bearings—vicissitudes and benefits alike. To see a freight team on the plains tugging up one of these mesas is a sight which would arouse the sympathies of any one at all sensitive to toils and pains. The wagons (shall we call them wagons?) will sometimes carry as high as seventy-five thousand pounds freight, and require anywhere from ten to twenty mules; which, in Arizona parlance means horses, mules, donkeys, and even in some cases oxen all harnessed together in one team. The effect is rather ludicrous at first sight; but when we observe the ‘‘happy-family’’ instinct with which they assimilate, one begins to believe in the millenium, and is relieved of his grating spirit in the hopes


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that this order of things will tend equally to leaven the many diverse conditions of Arizona society and hasten the assimilation of the Mexican, the Indian, the white man, the black man; the murderous Apaché and the indefatigable “road agent. On many occcaions several of these wagons (generally two or three) will be linked together, and a comparative force employed to haul them. And when the traveler meets, as he often will, with several of these combinations, making up one long train, it is a sight to behold. The drivers like those of the passenger stage coach, like company, and will strive to travel as many together as possible.

The first intimation you have of the approach of these teams, is a cloud of dust in the distance, which, as you journey on assumes the proportion of a mountain. Then you will see a black speck in the centre of it. This will disappear and reappear as rapidly again through the dense clouds of dust which are being as rapidly supplied by the stir of the animal's hoofs. Occasionally you will hear a deep smothered voice as if from the distance; or from some enclosed place; and during the continuance of the echo a vast number of intonations will be reflected by the rapidly increasing changes of dust clouds. You become interested in the coming spectacle. There is a spirit sent before it that tells you it is something a little different from anything you have seen before. Still nearer and nearer these


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dust clouds appear, until you can see the volumes of dust like volumes of smoke from a conflagration, roll and play about their common victims, man and beast alike, as majestically as the clouds at the foot of some mountain range. Now the yells and shouts of the teamsters spurring their animals on under their weary load, will become more and more audible. Perhaps they will just be ascending some side of a steep mesa; in which case, if you happened to have got near enough by this time to distinguish the sound, you will hear the crack of their ‘‘snake,’’ accompanied by vociferous yells. You will now, too, for the first time, be able to learn the cause of all this commotion. The yells become fiercer and louder, and the lash of the whip upon the struggling animals more frequent and forcible. Sounds too, which to a delicate ear will heighten the interest, if not elevate the spirit of a person, like hail stones in an April shower. The tinkle of bells fastened around the animals' necks soften like sweet sounding timbrels, the gushing, grating noise of the heavy laden wheels over the rocky mesa. After having reached the top of the mesa and crossed it, the descent on the other side to valley, plain, and desert, is wrought with the same uproarious commotion as the ascent had been before. The load is equally as difficult to hold back now as it was to haul up. Some of these freight wagons carry at a time from seventy to seventy five thousand


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THE CONTINENT STEREOSCOPIC COMPANY'S ARTIST VIEWING IN ARIZONA.


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pounds of merchandise—from thirty to thirty-five tons.

One of the leading features of interest to the traveler in this Mesa land is the system of pre-historic landmarks he is constantly coming in contact with on all sides. Man has as yet, however, derived very little positive knowledge of them from any research or investigation, and they remain to this day a source of speculative interest to the traveler, from the time he leaves the Colorado, at Yuma or Ehrenberg, until he completes his journey. It is in these features that Arizona presents herself as the land for the Archaeologist, the Psychologist, and all curious minds. Among the foremost of these are the ‘‘Painted Rocks’’ (Pedras Pintados).

About six miles from Oatman's Flat, on an extensive plain, encircled by the famous Arizona, Mountains, is to be seen the largest and most perfect specimens of these Painted Rocks (Pedras Pintados). They are in the Gila valley one hundred and twenty miles from Tucson, Latitude, 33°, Longitude 113°. To stop and examine these wonders of the pre-historic age, is only to enhance the great enchantment that waylays the traveler in Arizona on every hand. They are a mass of rocks, evidently piled by some physical power, ages ago. They are massed together in a heap about fifty feet high with a proportionate base; and while some


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are of a size that may be lifted by a man, others might be ranked with boulders. On these rocks or stones, are various figures and images. Figures, geometrical, conic, and anatomical. A figure on one of the stones particularly attracted my attention. It was that of a man or woman. It reminded me of my first attempt to draw a man on my slate at school. A big round ‘‘O’’ for a body, a little round ‘‘o’’ for a head, two little straight lines for arms, and two big straight lines for legs. This I classed among the comical. Squares, circles, triangles, crosses,—snakes, toads, and vermin; men without heads, and dogs without tails.

In comparing them with some sketches I made of the Aztec Calendar Stone in Mexico, they show some variations, though a similarity. The figures are slightly indented in the rocks; and whether it is the result of force at the time of application, or whether the chemical effect of the substance used, eating into the rock, are questions with me. I found it to be a common tradition with the Indians that they were put there in the time of Montezuma, to record treaties with the different tribes. This would make them four hundred years old. Some geologists claim the inscriptions to be only one hundred years old. Comparing them again with my photographs of the Aztec Calendar stone, the similarity would seem to support the theory that they might have been the chronicling of


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THE PAINTED ROCKS (PEDROS PINTARDOS) ON THE PLAINS OF ARIZONA.


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that age, and the variations suggest, by perhaps different tribes or sects of that age. This would seem to have some weight, as the stones are of an indiscriminately collection and the paintings are as indiscriminately distributed as regards the size of rock, in proportion to the amount of chronicling to be done, I should imagine. Opinions, however, are as varied as in other cases concerning the archaeology of this most wonderful country. In regard to the rocks, it has been suggested that they were monuments of boundary lines between the different tribes' lands. It is the reader's turn to go forward and add his investigations to the yet meagre knowledge of the stone.

The morning of our visit was on the Sabbath. We sang requiems to the departed souls of—of many unknown beings; made and drank two or three gallons of lemonade, (for the desert was warn) reveled among the antiquities, taking notes, making sketches, copying inscriptions, etc., etc. One of our party finally suggested that we read a chapter in the Bible, it being Sunday. With the consent of all it was done; and when he came to the last clause ‘‘Rise and go hence’’ we were reminded that we were encroaching on our time by the influence of allurement, and that thegreat Prompter was with us even in the desert. I am glad to be able to record this little circumstance; for a man is known by the company he keeps, etc., etc.


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A want has heretofore been felt for a true and accurate illustration of many of Arizona's out-of-the-way wonders. But the Continent Stereoscopic Company of New York has very materially supplied those wants during the past year, by photographs taken at many of these interesting points. Many of these I have secured for illustrations in this book. The picture of the Painted Rocks on page 205 is from a photograph taken by this company, and the first one that was ever procured.

A SCENE IN THE SALT RIVER VALLEY.

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