Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 16

Thread: Arizona pioneer Lady of the month; Miss April, Olive Oatman

  1. #1
    Vulture's Avatar
    Vulture is offline Rock Crawlin GPS Moving Map Totin Trailblazing Expert Ghost Towner
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Galeyville, AZ
    Posts
    1,109

    Default Arizona pioneer Lady of the month; Miss April, Olive Oatman

    Olive Oatman (1837-1903) was a woman from Illinois who was famously abducted and enslaved by a Native American tribe (perhaps the Yavapai people).[1] She ultimately regained her freedom decades later. The story resonated in the media, partly owing to the prominent blue tattooing of Oatman's face by her captors. In subsequent years, the tale of Olive Oatman came to be retold with dramatic license in novels, plays, and poetry.[2]
    Abduction

    Born into the family of Royce and Mary Ann Oatman, Olive was one of ten siblings. She grew up in the Mormon faith.
    In 1850 the Oatman family joined a wagon train led by James C. Brewster, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), whose attacks on, and disagreements with, the church leadership in Salt Lake City, Utah, had caused him to break with the followers of Brigham Young in Utah and lead his followers—Brewsterites—to California, which he claimed was the "intended place of gathering" for the Mormons.
    The Brewsterite emigrants, numbering 52, left Independence, Missouri, 9 August 1850. Dissension caused the group to split near Santa Fe, with Brewster following the northern route. Royce Oatman and several other families chose the southern route via Socorro, Santa Cruz, and Tucson. Near Socorro, Royce assumed command of the party. They reached New Mexico early in 1851 only to find the country and climate wholly unsuited to their purpose. The other wagons gradually abandoned the goal of reaching the mouth of the Colorado. The party had reached Maricopa Wells when they were told that the Indians ahead were very bad and that they would risk their lives if they proceeded further. The other families resolved to stay. The Oatman family, eventually traveling alone, was decimated on the banks of the Gila River about 80–90 miles east of Yuma in what is now Arizona.
    Royce and Mary had seven children at this time, ranging in age from 16 to one year. On their fourth day out, they were approached by a group of Indians, asking for tobacco, food and trifles. At some point during the encounter, the Oatman family was attacked by the group, and all were killed except Lorenzo, age 15, who was clubbed and left for dead; Olive, age 13; and Mary Ann, age 7. Lorenzo awoke to find his parents and family dead, but no sign of Mary Ann and Olive. He eventually reached a settlement where he was treated. Three days later, Lorenzo, who had rejoined the emigrant train, found the bodies of his slain family; "we buried the bodies of father, mother and babe in one common grave." (The Tucson Citizen, 26 September 1913) The men had no way of digging proper graves in the volcanic rocky soil, so they gathered the bodies together and formed a cairn over them. It has been said the remains were reburied several times and finally moved to the river for reinterment by Arizona pioneer Charles Poston.[3]
    Captivity

    Once the attack was complete, the Indians took some of the Oatmans' belongings along with the Oatman girls. The captors were either Tolkepayas or Western Yavapais living in a village nearly 100 miles from the site of her parents' death. After arrival, the girls at first were treated in a way that appeared threatening, and Olive later said she thought she would be killed. Eventually, the girls were used to forage for food, lug water and firewood, and other menial tasks. Miscommunication resulted in beatings.

    After a year, a group of Mohave Indians visited the village and traded two horses, vegetables and blankets for the captive girls, after which the girls went on a 10-day journey to the Colorado River and the Mohave village. They arrived into what today is Needles, California. Once there, their cavalry stopped for some time, as they were taken in by the family of Chief Espanesay. This tribe was more prosperous than the girls' prior holders, and the chief's wife and daughter took an interest in the Oatman girls' welfare. The girls were given plots of land to farm and were both tattooed on their chins and arms in keeping with the tribal custom.
    About a year later, during a drought in the region, the tribe experienced a shortage of food supplies and Mary Ann died of starvation, at the age of 10.
    When Olive Oatman was 16 years old, a Yuma Indian messenger arrived at the village with a message from the authorities at Fort Yuma. Rumors suggested that a white girl was being held captive by the Mohaves and the post commander requested her return. Blankets and horses were sent for trade, but the Indians initially resisted the terms.
    Later life

    In the end it was decided to take the trade items, and Olive was escorted to Fort Yuma in a 20-day journey. Before entering the fort, Olive insisted she be given proper clothing, as she was clad in nothing more than a grass skirt made of bark. Inside the fort, Olive was surrounded by cheering people. She soon discovered her brother Lorenzo was alive and had been looking for her and her sister. Their meeting made headline news across the West.
    In 1857, a pastor named Royal B. Stratton wrote a book about Olive and Mary Ann. The book sold 30,000 copies, a best-seller for that era. In November, 1865, Olive married John B. Fairchild. Though it was rumored that she died in an asylum in New York in 1877, she actually went to live with Fairchild in Sherman, Texas, where they adopted a baby girl, Mamie.
    Rumors of Olive Oatman being raped by the Yavapai were denied vehemently, leading her to declare in Stratton's book that "to the honor of these savages let it be said, they never offered the least unchaste abuse to me".
    In 1981, a writer named Richard Dillon reported in a famous western magazine that there was evidence that Olive had told a friend that she was married to the son of the Mojave

    Olive Oatman

    Rescue at Fort Yuma
    Attached Images Attached Images   
    "The good things a person needs-stubbornness, thinking for himself-don't make him a useful member of society. What makes him useful is to be half dead." Sylvan Hart

  2. #2
    Vulture's Avatar
    Vulture is offline Rock Crawlin GPS Moving Map Totin Trailblazing Expert Ghost Towner
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Galeyville, AZ
    Posts
    1,109

    Default

    I nicked the article frm wickipedia which is close & saved me a lot of typing. I will add to it that Lorenzo constantly searched for Olive & Mary Ann untill they were rescued. Also it's no surprise that Olive never did quite recover emotionally from her ordeal. She rarely went out in public & though she lived many more years she was melancholy & withdrawn.

    The Arizona towns of Oatman & Olive are named for this brave lady.

    Olive did learn to use cosmetics to hide the tattoo's, she usually wore a veil in public.

    Lorenzo Oatman

    Her house in Sherman, Texas where she lived for 30 years.

    Location of thte Oatman masacre.
    Attached Images Attached Images     
    Last edited by Vulture; 04-15-2010 at 07:32 PM.
    "The good things a person needs-stubbornness, thinking for himself-don't make him a useful member of society. What makes him useful is to be half dead." Sylvan Hart

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    N. California
    Posts
    271

    Default

    Thanks Vulture - I had heard of this woman and now she becomes a person complete with photographs and what appears to be a very nice home. One can only hope that marriage and the adoption of a daughter gave her some happiness in life.

  4. #4
    Sunrise's Avatar
    Sunrise is offline Rawk Crawlin GPS Totin Ghost Towning Expert
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    634

    Default

    There are many things about Ms Oatman of which to bestow approvals, not the least of which is her symetrical face.
    The fist photo is her left half flipped to make one. The second is her right half also flipped to make one. The last is her normal. I did not execute this very well, but you get the idea.
    Name:  img326left.jpg
Views: 7372
Size:  31.8 KBName:  img326lright.jpg
Views: 12598
Size:  32.4 KBName:  img326.jpg
Views: 4143
Size:  30.0 KB

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    North Central Oregon
    Posts
    235

    Default

    Thankyou for doing this each month. Always an interesting read and the pictures are always great. I wasn't going to say anything, but I can't help it. I have to ask about Lorenzo. Is that a hairstyle? I don't think I've ever seen one like that in old pictures before. Just wondering.

  6. #6
    LauraA's Avatar
    LauraA is offline Rock Crawlin GPS Moving Map Totin Trailblazing Expert Ghost Towner
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Roosevelt, Arizona
    Posts
    1,760

    Default

    Nice work Vulture, she deserves to have the title "Arizona Pioneer Lady Of The Month." There's a good book written about Olive Oatman, "The Blue Tattoo," written by Margot Mifflin, interesting reading.
    Amazon.com: The Blue Tattoo: The Life of Olive Oatman (Women in the West) (9780803211483): Margot Mifflin: Books

  7. #7
    Vulture's Avatar
    Vulture is offline Rock Crawlin GPS Moving Map Totin Trailblazing Expert Ghost Towner
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Galeyville, AZ
    Posts
    1,109

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by barnbum View Post
    Thankyou for doing this each month. Always an interesting read and the pictures are always great. I wasn't going to say anything, but I can't help it. I have to ask about Lorenzo. Is that a hairstyle? I don't think I've ever seen one like that in old pictures before. Just wondering.
    Well, I wondered about that myself.

    <
    "The good things a person needs-stubbornness, thinking for himself-don't make him a useful member of society. What makes him useful is to be half dead." Sylvan Hart

  8. #8
    Darin's Avatar
    Darin is offline Rock Crawlin GPS Moving Map Totin Trailblazing Expert Ghost Towner
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Tacoma, WA.
    Posts
    1,051

    Default

    Hmmm, kind of hits me as the factual story line for "The Searchers".Interesting read.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    North Central Oregon
    Posts
    235

    Default

    Wonder how many jars of pomade it took to keep his hair like that. Or maybe it's hat hair. I'm off to google late 1800's hat hair.........................Google knows all.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Valley of the Sun
    Posts
    556

    Default

    That's quite a story. I guess old Brewster and Oatman shouldn't have strayed from the flock...

    Anyway

    Thanks for posting that unusual bit of history, Vulture.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 8
    Last Post: 03-07-2010, 03:31 PM
  2. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 02-11-2010, 06:38 AM
  3. Replies: 5
    Last Post: 01-11-2010, 05:34 PM
  4. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 10-19-2009, 03:15 PM
  5. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 04-27-2009, 06:12 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •