Showing posts with label Indian Captives. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Indian Captives. Show all posts


Olive Oatman

photo showing Mojave tattoo on her chin

Indian Captive in Present-Day California

Olive Oatman was a fourteen-year-old girl whose family was killed in 1851 in present-day Arizona by Native Americans, possibly the Yavapai, who captured and enslaved Olive and her sister. A year later Mojave Indians adopted the two girls. After four years with the Mojave, during which time her sister died of starvation, Oatman returned to white society. Her story has been told, retold and embellished so many times - in the media and in her own memoir and speeches - that the truth is not easy to discern.

Image: Olive Oatman after she was ransomed
Mojave blue cactus ink tattoo on her chin:
Five vertical lines with triangles set at right angles
Credit: Arizona Historical Society

Early Years
Born into the family of Royce and Mary Ann Oatman in Illinois in 1837, Olive was one of seven children who grew up in the Mormon religion. In 1850, the Oatman family decided to join a wagon train led by James Brewster, whose followers were called Brewsterites. Brewster had disagreed with the Mormon leadership in Salt Lake City, Utah, which caused him to break with the followers of Brigham Young.


Frances Slocum

Indian captive kidnapped as a child from a Pennsylvania Quaker family

Abducted by Indians in Pennsylvania

Frances Slocum, or Maconaquah, (1773-1847) was an Indian captive who was taken from her family home in Pennsylvania in 1778 by the Delaware Tribe. She was raised by an elderly Miami Indian couple in what is now Ohio and Indiana. Slocum was reunited with her white relatives in 1838, but remained with her adopted Native American family for the rest of her life.

Image: The austere woman portrayed in this painting by artist John Froehlich is much less Frances Slocum and far more Maconaquah.

Childhood and Early Years
Frances Slocum was one of ten children born to Jonathan and Ruth Tripp Slocum, a Quaker family who emigrated from Rhode Island to the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania in 1777. During the Revolutionary War, the Slocums remained in the settlement while many others fled before the Battle of Wyoming in July 1778. During that battle British forces and Seneca warriors destroyed a nearby fort and killed over 300 American settlers.


Rachel Silverthorn

Heroine of Fort Muncy

During the Revolutionary War, settlements throughout the Susquehanna Valley in north central Pennsylvania were attacked by Loyalists (Americans loyal to England) and Native Americans allied with the British. In the early summer of 1778, news came of a group of Native American warriors, perhaps accompanied by Loyalist and British soldiers, heading for the West Branch of the Susquehanna River to destroy settlements there.

heroine of Fort Muncy
Image: Rachel Silverthorn's Ride
This mural is in United States Post Office Building in Muncy, Pennsylvania.
It depicts Rachel on Captain Brady's white horse warning settlers to return to the fort.

There were many smaller incidents of violence against settlers in the area, but on June 10,1778, a party of sixteen settlers were attacked in what became known as the Plum Tree Massacre. Twelve of the sixteen were killed and scalped, including two women and six children. This news caused the local authorities to order the evacuation of the whole West Branch Valley.