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- The Great Salt Lake Trail - 86/86 -

active, and one of the greatest warriors the Crow Nation has ever produced. Around his neck he wore a perforated bullet, with a large oblong bead on each side of it, secured by a thread of sinew. He wore this amulet during the whole time he was chief of the Crows. He was one of the few honest Indian traders of whom history gives any account.

[52] Disfigurement of the body and dismemberment of the fingers, as an observance of mourning, was common among all Indian tribes. Sometimes upon the death of a warrior in battle his horse was cut and slashed, “to make him feel sorry for the loss of his master.”

[53] During the sessions of the Peace Commission at Fort Laramie in 1866, Beckwourth was sent on a mission to consult with the chiefs of the Crows. He was taken sick in one of their villages and died there, probably from old age rather than disease.

[54] The Sioux bury their dead on platforms erected seven or eight feet above the ground.

[55] For the best and most authentic collection of Indian Folk-lore, see George Bird Grinnel's admirable volumes on the subject.

[56] Bancroft.

[57] This account is taken from files of the Denver newspapers published at the time of the massacre.

[58] Ouray did not profess the Catholic religion, despite his early training. He believed in the Ute god, and in a happy hunting-ground, and also in a bad place, where wicked people cannot meet their friends.

[59] There is more in this legend of a primitive, superstitious people, from an ethnological view of its details, than would be suspected at first. The story of the sacrifice and the medicine-man wrapping himself in the bloody hide of the buffalo, the use of the pine as fuel, and the prostration of the multitude, while communion is held with the Great Spirit, is the same ceremony that was observed by the Druids, and religious peoples before them. This peculiar offering of blood was common to the Indian who in the early years of the century occupied a portion of the territory east of the Mississippi. It will be remembered by the student of American history that when the war of 1812-1815 was pending, the celebrated Tecumseh and his brother, the Shawnee Prophet, called the tribes together, in order to induce them to side with the English. At that famous council they sacrificed a spotless red heifer on a high altar, and the medicine-man wrapped the bloody skin around him, while all the savages present prostrated themselves and communed with the Great Spirit to know what to do. The result was that Tecumseh's plans were defeated, for the Indians were told by the Great Spirit to side with the Americans.

In the eleventh Book of the _Æneid_, Virgil relates the same observance on Mount Soracte, where there was a temple dedicated to Apollo, and a sacrifice made annually to the god, who represented the sun. Arruns in his prayer says:—

Apollo, thou of gods The mightiest, who in guard the sacred mount Soracte holdest, and whom first of all We worship, unto whom are heaped the fires The piney branches make, and whom adore Thy votaries, as we walk, by pious zeal Sustained, on burning coals.

[60] _The White Chief_, by George P. Belden. Edited by General James S. Brisbin. Published by C. F. Vent; Cincinnati, 1872.

[61] Niobrara.

[62] The Southern Cheyennes, Kiowas, and Arapahoes waged an unrelenting war along the whole line of the border from Nebraska to Texas, under the leadership of the dreaded Sa-tan-ta.

[63] Jack Stead was a runaway sailor boy. He was on the Peacock when it was wrecked years ago near the mouth of the Columbia River. He lived for years in the Rocky Mountains, and was the first man to report to the United States government the Mormon preparations to resist it. He had a Cheyenne wife, was a good story-teller, and loved whiskey.

[64] William Frederick Cody (“Buffalo Bill”), the scout, guide, and Indian fighter, was born on the 26th of February, 1846, in a primative log-cabin in the backwoods of Iowa. In 1852, the family removed to Kansas, where the father of young Cody, two years later, became a martyr to the Free State cause. From the moment the family was thus deprived of its support, the only boy, though a mere child, at the age of nine years, commenced his career. As a collaborator in the preparation of this work, he has been prevailed upon to relate all the incidents of his life, so far as they confined to the region of which this volume treats. [E-text editor's note: They encompass chapters 16 and 17 in their entirety. In the original book, every paragraph appeared in quotation marks.] For his further adventures in the Arkansas Valley and south of it, see _The Old Santa Fé Trail_.

[65] Long poles, one fastened on each side of a pony, the ends dragging on the ground far to the rear; on these the dead and wounded were carried. The Indians also move their camp equipage by this primitive means of transportation.

[66] Strange as it may seem, this savage, instead of being moved with hatred toward Colonel Cody, as a civilized woman would have been under similar circumstances, actually looked upon him with special favour and esteemed it quite an honour that her husband, a great warrior himself, should have met his death at the hands of such a brave man as the Prairie Chief, the name the Indians had given to the colonel.

[67] Nelson is still shooting Indians from the top of the old Deadwood stage-coach in the Wild West show.

[68] The rendezvous, in trapper's parlance, was a point somewhere in the region where the agents of the fur companies congregate to purchase the season's catch, and where the traders brought such goods as trappers needed, to sell.

[69] A very bad quality of whiskey made in Taos in the early days, which, on account of its fiery nature, was called “Taos Lightning.”

[70] The Ute name for the Spanish Peaks.

[71] His name for his knife. It was the custom of the old trappers and hunters to personify their weapons, usually in remembrance of the locality where they got them.

[72] If “California Joe” had any other name, but few knew it; he was a grizzled trapper and scout of the old régime. He was the best all-round shot on the plains. He was the first man to ride with General Custer into the village of Black Kettle, of the Cheyennes, when that chief's band was annihilated in the battle of the Washita, in November, 1868, by the U. S. Cavalry and the Nineteenth Kansas. Joe was murdered in the Black Hills several years ago.

[73] Uncle of Senator Cockrell of Missouri.

[74] The real name of this strange old trapper was Thomas L. Smith. He was eventually killed by the Indians.

[75] The authors of this book both well remember when the sand-hills of the Arkansas River were, as their name implied, mere dunes of shifting sand. Now they are covered with rich verdure upon which thousands of cattle feed, and in the intervales are to be seen some of the finest fruit-farms in the region of the central plains. Whether Professor Agassiz was correct, or whether it is caused by great cycles of atmospheric variation, it is a fact.


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