One of our favorite places to stay is Gila Bend, AZ (Pronounced He-la Bend). The area is the land of the Pima Indians. Having been a marine, I knew the history of one Pima Indian, you have have heard of him, Ira Hayes. Ira was one of the men who raised the flag in the most famous flag raising in the world, the one on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima.
Ira died near Gila Bend, Always a hero to others but he said he never felt like a hero.
The Barry Goldwater bombing Range is near Gila Bend.
WE began enjoying hiking in the desert. I had always pictured the desert as sand, but it is hard surfaced, lots of small rock gravel and scrubs. We heard of the Oatman Massacre. We began to ask around, no one could point us to the area. We were shocked. There was one small book written a few years after the incident, we bought it.
(A lone Saguaro Cactus guards the Oatmans)
We spend days driving into the desert then walking and climbing Mesa’s, we knew the massacre occurred on the edge of a mesa. We were assured, when you find it, it will be marked. It took over a week of mis-steps, but we found it. A pile of rocks, with one small sign marking the spot.
(The only picture I have my experiment with a timer on the camera)
In 1851, the Oatman family, with what was left of a small Mormon group, had decided to press on toward Fort. Yuma. They had been following the Gila River and climbed the South Wall to camp. A group of Indians walked into the camp. Mr. Oatman, an humble, soft spoken man, explained in Spanish that they had very little to eat but shared water and bread with the Indians.
After eating and smoking the pipe, without warning, the Indians let out the war yells and began to batter the family with their war clubs. The number killed varies, but it was at least Roy and his wife and the baby. Other reports tell of another boy and girl. Lorenza the boy was assumed dead and thrown off the Mesa. Olive 13 and Mary Anne, 8, were taken captive. Forced to walk and run over 200 miles in 3 days. They had very little clothes and no shoes.
A day or so later Lorenza came to his senses, he walked and crawled one hundred miles, he was discovered by two Pima Indians on Horseback and was delivered to some wagons. The wagons were from the same train, that had delayed their time starting to Ft. Yuma.
The frail Mary Anne died in Olive’s arms after a couple years. She begged the Indians to allow her to bury instead of cremate her sister. They allowed this tough young lady to do that. She was tattooed as slaves were. She taught them how to plant and grow good crops by fertilizing.
Unknown to Olive, Lorenza(whom she thought was long dead) had never given up searching for her. A Mr. Grinnel a carpenter at Fort Yuma helped Lorenza. In 1856 Grinnel found Olive and traded a horse and some blankets and beads for her.
(The cover featured Olive, the tattoos were never removed, this book was written following Stratton’s)
Royal B. Stratton(a Methodist minister), wrote the first book using Olive’s tales. All profits from the book paid for the two remaining Oatman kids education.
An interesting study for us.
Thanks for coming by the log.
Revenge is good. It's what separates us from the animals and the hippies.
A beautiful 1951 Ford also a 1950 Ford
Same cruise in at Buchanan, MI