Albany Ladies' union mission school association.

Among the Pimas; online

. (page 3 of 7)
Online LibraryAlbany Ladies' union mission school associationAmong the Pimas; → online text (page 3 of 7)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

due. The little one, our first-born also not
being well, we concluded that it was best for
her to remain with her parents and try to
meet me at Yuma about Christmas. All
went well with her in the sleeping-car and at
sea, she was never troubled with sea-sickness.
When I came to Yuma, the steamer did not
arrive on time. After weary days of anxious
waiting, we received news that the steamer


was lost, but the passengers were safe x\fter
waiting nearly four weeks, during which time
I had ample opportunity to preach the gospel
in Yuma, and at the Military Post, one even-
ing, the river-boat arrived, to our great joy,
bringing the passengers safely. The long
sea-voyage and delay in the harbor of La Paz
had greatly benefited the health of my wife
and baby, for which we had been praying.
One of the passengers on board, a good old
Irish lady, greatly enjoyed telling me the next
morning of the disaster at sea. The captain
had kindly given my wife and a few others,
each a state room on deck. Nearing La Paz
late one evening, the steamer had struck a
rock, which had caused a leak. The captain
told my wife that there was nothing serious,
so she retired and slept quietly until morning.
The cabin passengers below, had sat up all
night with life-preservers on ; men, women
and children, for eight long hours, awaiting
the summons to get into the boats. At
La Paz, the leak was stopped, but the next
incoming steamer brought the passengers to
the river.

At another time, when earning our bread
by trading for a Mr. Hayden — a gentleman,


well known in Arizona, and who paid us well
for our services — for two years we lived in a
very lonely, deserted place, about ten miles
from the agency. Here we slept under a
tent. A large number of coyotes (prairie
wolves) sounded the reveille at day break or
gave us a nocturnal concert. After opening
the store, a large number of Indians, well
armed, threatened to tie me to a tree and use
me as a target for the wild young Indians, if
I would not, within twenty four hours, con-
cede to some of their unreasonable demands.
Their object was to frighten us and make us
leave. But we stood our ground, without
even a revolver, trusting in the Lord. After
a few more threats, the next day, they kindly
informed me that I might preach to them,
but should not trade. I replied that I would
comply with their request if they would pay
us enough so that we could live. This put a
new phase on the subject, and soon after, we
were kept busy fron day-break until after
dark, taking in often from 30,000 to 45,000
pounds of wheat, daily. Shortly after this,
the Indians came on Sundays and asked me
to preach to them. Courage inspired confi-
dence. Mrs. Cook never manifested fear,


but was cheerful and happy. But we can
sympathize with the wives of many of our
home missionaries far away from relatives
and church privileges in their isolated desert
or mountain homes, and with many unmarried
women, our Presbyterian sisters,at work teach-
ing Mexicans or Mormons, in these western

A German brother and sister, who have
nobly raised a large family of boys and girls,
offered to take care of my children. One of
my girls has since that time voluntarily made
her home with them in Iowa, and enjoys it

During the first nine years of our married
life, we drew no salary from any missionary
society. All our wants were supplied and
sometimes we had abundance. By close
economy, we saved j^8oo, which we invested
in land in Iowa, while it was cheap. It is now
near a town and railroad, and this, with a few
more buildings, will make a home for the

Twice, we were driven away from here by
wicked agents, but they could not drive away
Mrs. Cooks' courage ; which, at such times,
was a great reliance to me.


We often had no physician within many
miles. At one time, hundreds of Indians had
the small-pox. An old Papago squaw, full of
it, seeing our door open, came into my wife's
room and asked her for a dress. She gave it,
but bade her not enter again until she had
fully recovered.

In housekeeping here, in those early days,
we encountered two serious difhculties. We
could send to New York or Chicago for dry
goods and clothing and have them sent by
mail or express ; not so with groceries.

Our first cooking-stove, a No. 7, cost $S6.
Sugar was 50 cts. per lb.; canned goods, 75
cts. to $1 ; coffee, 75 cts.; potatoes from 10
to 20 cts. per lb.; flour, 7 to 12 cts.; butter,
^i to $1.25 per lb., etc. And the keeping of
one horse cost me nearly $100 a year. We
kept a few fowls, but gardening was useless,
from lack of water. We now have the rail-
road within fifteen miles, and the country is
settling up in some places and prices though
still high, are not exorbitant.

Another serious difficulty that we encoun-
tered was poor shelter, especially in rainy

I will enclose an article from the pen of


Mrs. A. M. Darley, who with her husband has
been long at work in Colorado, at present in
Pueblo, where they publish the Brotherhood,
in Spanish and English, occasionally. Their
experience matched ours exactly.

Before the railroad came, the freight on
lumber was 15 cts. a pound ! Nearly all the
houses in New Mexico and Arizona were then
built with adobes — mud walls, roof and floor-
The roof was covered with brush and a layer
of horse manure, mud and ashes. Several
times we had to put up tents inside the rooms
to keep the water off the furniture and beds.
While trading, we built a large house in the
above manner. A brother, Mr. Irving of the
M. E. Church, south at Phoenix, whom I had
met once at a camp meeting, very kindly sent
me $125, and a Bro. Baldwin of Middletown,
Conn., sent money and very encouraging let-
ters. I have never seen him, but hope to
meet him in heaven.

It was our aim. then, to make this mission

Dr. Sheldon Jackson, who had once before
passed this way exploring in the interest of
home missions called and paid us a visit.
Mrs. Jackson, at this time accompanied him.


This good sister afterwards had a long ride
on an engine, instead of the sleeping car and
when, crossing the Rio Grande, there was
danger that all would go down in the flood,
some brave Pima and Papago boys jumped
into the river and carried her safely over.
Dr. Jackson saw how I had to work six days
in the week and could not do the necessary
work on Sunday, and suggested the need of a
better dwelling ; but the railroad was not yet
near enough to bring lumber at prices within
reach, so as we had ample room and did not
wish to burden the church board with the
expense of a shingle roof, it was postponed.

But alas ! here was our mistake, for it cost
me the loss of my dear wife ! Some years
later we had a long rainy spell and one of
our boys, about eight years old, who had not
seen a sick day from the time he was born,
sickened and died. He trusted in the Saviour,
whom he had learned to love and obey. Two
daughters and myself were also sick, but

In May, 1889, the new Presbytery of Ari-
zona very kindly elected me as commissioner
to the general assembly in New York city. I
requested my wife to go with me to Iowa,


and I would come for her and the children
later, feeling assured that she needed rest.
But our good mother had quietly fallen
asleep without any previous illness, in her 7 2d
year, some time before. On this account,
my wife said she would not feel at home in
Iowa without me, and would rather wait
another year. Her parents and brother had
removed from Chicago to Iowa in 1878. In
the early winter of 1889, we had a long spell
of rainy weather and the house leaked badly.
As a result two of our children were sick, but
recovered. My wife became sick, but did
not seem very ill. I had bought a sewing
machine and brought it home, and she
remarked that it ought to be a means of help-
ing her over her sickness. But the rain
increased and so did her fever. The agency
physician treated her disease, but for six days
she ate nothing. The fever then left her,
her appetite returned, but her strength rap-
idly failed, and late in the evening of Decem-
ber 18, 1889, she breathed her last, leaving a
husband and seven children to mourn her
loss. The baby had been weaned about a
month before her departure. She thus laid
down her work when it seemed to us and to


the Indians, who loved and respected her,
that she was most needed.

Our eldest daughter, then but little over
fourteen years of age has since that time
done her best to fill the place made vacant by
her mother's death.

We have now, thanks to our Home Board
and a gift from Gen. Townsend, a good par-
sonage and we hope the time will soon come
when all our home missionaries and workers
in the vineyard of the Lord, in this vast west-
ern country, will have a good roof on their

In the experience of our devoted mission-
aries we have been reminded of the " Mis-
sionary Poem," which deeply affected our
hearts, when sent to us by a friend interested
in the cause of missions and who sympathized
in the trials and sorrows of the missionary's

" ' Mine own !' he said and clasped her hand

Her faithful hand within his own,
' I cannot bear this weary land

This labor all in vain. * -x- * *

Come, we'll return ; the hind refrains to sow

Where nothing springs to reap ;

We will return to blither plains

Of c(frn and trees and sheep ;


For mine own fatherland I sigh,

If but to breathe its air and die'

So, while he mourned — a sudden change

Crimsoned her cheek and fired her eye ;

In boldness, to herself most strange

Spoke out in her reply :

' Cheer thee, my faithful ! Keep thy trust

In one above, the just — the wise ;

Who, though He knows us, frail as dust,

Our faith and courage tries.

Our friends are far — but God is near.

Aye, to this land of gloom and fear !

I too, have wrestled with despair

And weeping, yearned to live and die

Within some christian dwelling fair

Of my sweet Germany !

But it hath passed and I am strong ;

The Lord, who sent us here to toil

Can build the shrine and wake the song

On this unthankful soil ;

And bow the heathen heart of stone

To worship at His lofty throne.'

She spoke with such a beaming eye,

And such a mild benignant brow.

As angels, coming from on high

To comfort earth below.

Her sweet words fell like heavenly dew.

Upon the pastor's heart of care,

And side by side, to God anew,

They bowed themselves in prayer :

More sweet to see

Were none that night in Germahy.''

A Pima Yilla(;e.



Mr. Cook's Account of the Visit He Received
FROM Rev. Sheldon Jackson, D. D.

It was in the seventies when we first had
the pleasure of meeting Rev. Sheldon Jack-
son, D. D. He was making the rounds of
his great parish, bounded at that time, I be-
lieve, by Nebraska, Kansas and the Indian
Territory on the east, and California on the
west. And what a great parish that was ;
greater in extent and in many places, no doubt,
more difficult to travel through than the old
parish of Brother Paul.

Here were the oldest settlers in the United
States, speaking many different languages,
some of them hard to be understood. Some
of these tribes made travel through their
countries anything but safe.

Here were also the Mexicans and Mormons,
miners and prospectors and a grand army from
the east, marching as it were, ahead of the
advancing railroads, to occupy the great
Rocky Mountain region.

Here not far from the great Pike's Peak,
our brother with his wife and children, set


up the banner of the cross. From thence
they sent forth the Rocky Mountain Presby-
terian^ and often while the good sister held
the fort at home, the brother was absent,
exploring the country and preaching the gos-
pel. Not in a Pullman palace car, however,
but mostly in some frontier stage-coach or on
horse-back, or on foot over mountains and
valleys, or through deserts, or the snows of
the rockies, or in the burning sands of some

It was on one such journey that the brother
stopped at a little stage station a mile east of
the Pima Agency.

After resting a little he paid us a visit, which
resulted in a friendly chat on Indian matters
and a prayer-meeting Never shall I forget
that visit ; it reminded me of a General visit-
ing the soldier on picket, and encouraging
him in the faithful discharge of his duty.

Some time after, Dr. Jackson when in New
York, urged the brethren of the M. E. Mis-
sionary Society to establish a mission among
the Pima and Papago Indians of Arizona.
Finding that the M. E. Church was not pre-
pared and unable to occupy this field, he con-
cluded that the Presbyterian Church ought
to do something for these 8,000 Indians.


In the winter of 1880-1881, Dr. Jackson
again visited this field in company with Mrs.
Jackson. The good sister stayed here while
the brother explored the surrounding region.

We were at that time trading for the Hon.
C. T. Hayden of Tempe, Arizona, who paid
us a good salary ; but we were only able to
give our Sundays to the preaching of the gos-
pel to the Indians.

We requested Dr. Jackson to send us a
good young missionary, one willing to devote
his life to the work.

On the other hatid, the brother having pre-
viously informed himself as to our standing
in the M. E. Church and as to our orthodoxy,
felt persuaded that it was our duty to join
his church and so become their missionary
for these Indians.

We felt a little loth to part company with
very many M. E. Church brethren whom we
loved and highly esteemed ; we also remem-
bered that we owed our conversion under
God to good Dr. Shaw, a Presbyterian, and
believing it to be the Lord's will, we con-
cluded to brave any criticism or odium which
such change might produce.


We found a warm welcome in the Presby-
terian Church, which in reality had been the
church of our first choice.

We hope, and have good reason to believe,
that if Dr. Jackson will pay us a third visit,
he will find the Pima Presbyterian Church
the strongest church numerically, at least, in

There have been and still are many great
and good men at work in this great Rocky
Mountain region, but we sincerely believe that
Dr. Jackson has done more for the Whites,
Mexicans, Mormons and Indians, than any
other man.

The Giant Cactus of Arizona.


The Pima Indians, their Manners and Customs,
BY Rev. Isaac T. Whittemore.

Many years ago, tradition gives it 350, the
Pimas, Papagoes, Qua-hadtks, Jofe-qua-atams
(Rabbit-eaters) and other branches, all des-
ignated by the common Indian name, A\v-a\v-
tam, came here from the east, driving away
the inhabitants, supposed to have been the
Zunis' or Moquis', and took possession of
the country. The Pimas then were very
numerous and occupied all the country, in-
cluding the present Sacaton reservation and
the Salt river valley, where Phoenix, the capi-
tal, temple and other places are now. For
some reason, a part of the tribe, since called
Towana-aw-aw-tem (Papagoes) settled on the
desert of southwestern Arizona ; only the
Pima's remained in the Gila valley.

The Papagoes hunted the mountain sheep
and deer, and lived where they could raise
crops when the spring or summer rains were
difficult for that purpose.

Why they left is unknown, probably be-
cause a branch of the Apaches who were


war-like, lived just across the Gila, on the
north. Only the Pimas remain in the Gila
valley. A little over too years ago, nearly
all the Pima Indians, numbering about 4,000,
resided within a radius of about seven miles
of what is now called Casa-Blanca, (white
house), twenty five miles west of the Ruin of
Casa-Grande, in seven villages, or eleven
miles west of the agency. Here they raised
cotton, corn, melons and pumpkins and a
small round seed which they ground and
boiled as mush.

Their mill was a stone twenty inches long,
one foot wide, hollowed out a little, and an
upper stone, ten or twelve inches long, weigh-
ing fifteen or twenty pounds. The squaws
did all the grinding by rubbing the upper
stone on the seed in the hollow of " the
nether mill-stone." The cotton was raised
by the Pimas, spun and woven into cloth of
various widths, and also into rude blankets.
This cloth, aside from what they wore, was
their "stock in trade," with the Colorado
Indians, 200 miles west, and afterwards with
the Mexicans, on the south. It was usually
spun and woven by certain men of the tribe.
As they had small canals for iriig ation, their


fields were small, averaging not more than an
acre, or one and a half to the family. They
were still under the shadow of the " stone
age." They had neither horses nor cattle,
nor any implements of iron. Their tools
were simply stone axes, and a few articles of
wood, dressed by those axes and the fire.
From the Mexicans, afterwards, they traded
their cloth for axes, adzes, and a small brush-
hook, which they used instead of a spade.
These were all made in the most primitive
manner, and contained little, or no steel.

They had no pails or vessels of wood, but
were not slow to invent. They therefore took
willows, which grow in abundance along the
river, and a weed, and stripped the bark, then
very adroitly split these with their teeth, and
wove these so closely together as to hold
water. This they accomplished by means of
needles or thorns of the cactus, of which
there are over one hundred varieties in this

They used these baskets while digging
small ditches, the women filling them with
earth and carrying them up the bank. The
grain, or seed, was planted in rows ; a hole
was made in the ground with a stick, and


covered with the foot, just as did the Egyp-
tians many thousand years ago.

The principal article of food, was the bean
of the mesquite, which still grows abundantly
all over the desert. They grow in a pod,
somewhat like the "carob," the husks, out of
which the prodigal son tried so hard, but in
vain, to get a little nourishment. The day
that ushered in the gathering of these beans
was a happy event.

Large parties started out leaving the aged
and the little ones at home, taking with them
large jars made of clay, or gourds, filled with
water,the women carrying them on their heads.

These " Kihos " they fill with the beans,
which they gather, storing it here and there,
and covering with thorn-brush in such a way
that the prairie-wolves or coyotes could not
steal it until they could bring it home as
needed. These beans were not ground but
pounded^ in a mortar made from a piece of
mesquite tree, which is very hard by burning
a hole in it and then inserting it in the ground.
The stone pestle was i6 or i8 inches long, and
weighed often 20 pounds. With this the
women crushed the beans very fine, then sep-
arated the seeds, which are indigestible ; and


from the remaining pulp, they made large
cakes, containing saccharine matter that re-
mained sweet a year. They boiled them and
with the syrup, made a dumpling. Another
article of food was the fruit of the " Suhuarro,"
or giant cactus. It grows plentifully, still, in
patches on the desert and far up on the moun-
tains, attaining a height of 20 to 30 or more
feet The fruit grows on the top and is gath-
ered dexterously by the Indians with poles —
a small hook of wood fastened on the head, to
bring it to the ground. Part of this fruit they
ate when ripe, and the rest they dried in the
sun, or boiled down to a jam, and stored away
in small earthen jars hermetically sealed, a
foot or two under ground — except a certain
quantity, which, alas ! they mixed with water
and allowed to ferment, and boiled until its
intoxicating qualities were seen in a general

All contributed and brought it to the chief
or medicine men, when an orgie on a large
scale, was inaugurated. All dressed in their
best, the women sitting or standing on the top
of their huts, from ten to twenty huddled
together for safety, and the feast is kept up
until universal intoxication ensues ; and one
or more are often killed.


Of such feasts they generally had several
each year, except occasionally when the cac-
tus fruit failed.

Rabbits were hunted with bows and arrows.
Caterpillars, which some years in the spring
are plentiful, were also gathered in large
quantities. They were thrown into boiling
water, soon taken out, salted a little and eaten.

Formerly, there were some deer and moun-
tain sheep in this vicinity, but the latter are
nearly extinct, and in hunting them there was
danger of trespassing on the hunting-grounds
of the war like Apaches.

Fish were caaght in the Gila with the hand,
then a stick was driven through their gills
and bodies. The sticks were then set in the
ground around a small fire, and thus nicely
roasted, were eaten on the spot.

Often, the Indians were very hungry, espe-
cially in the spring, and they were then glad
to get one meal a day.

The huts of the Pimas were made by using
four stout posts, 7 long, of mesquite, forked
and set two feet in the ground. On these were
laid two principal rafters, round and across
these, eight or ten smaller. Over these, like
an inverted basket, the tops fastened and


bent to fit, were long poles, brushy top, the
buts outside and stuck in the ground, and the
whole overlaid with a layer of clay. Such a
roof sheds water and is so strong that twenty
persons could stand on it in safety, in a dry
season. These huts were mostly circular out-
side, and from eighteen to twenty feet in
diameter, and capable of containing eight
persons. No ventilation at top, but furnished
by a doorway in the east usually, about two
feet wide and two feet eight inches high.
The air draws in toward the center, where
the fire was made on the ground. The smoke
arose and was drawn out by the heated cur-
rent, at the top of the entrance. The huts
were, as I have said, merely sleeping- places.
They lived in them only in stormy weather,
for they were but five feet high inside, so
they could not stand erect. These huts lasted
many years, but if a member of the family
died, the hut was burned.

Previous to 1878, all the Pimas lived in
winter, or during cold weather, in what they
called Keahim or villages of from one hun-
dred to six hundred people ; and these huts
were called Kih's (pronounced key.) They
resembled an old-style bee -hive or bake-oven.


Some of them were much larger than those
already described and elliptical in form and
used as a council house.

Mr. Cook says he has preached in the
smaller ones. " How did you stand?'' " I
sat,'' he replied, " and when the smoke was
too dense, turned my head ! "

Usually, however, he sat outside — except
when in the summer, the mercury arose to
120 degrees fahrenheit — with a shade of
brush, with his Indian congregation sitting on
the ground in a circle.

They listened patiently as he preached in
their native tongue, in which he speaks, thinks,
and writes, more naturally now, than in his
own native German or English.

In the winter, in the center of each hut, a
fire was built and kept burning all night, one
member of the family occasionally stirring
and renewing wood, as necessary.

They slept on mats which they made, and
their covering was a blanket, and so warm
were the huts and the winter so mild, that
nothing was needed to keep them comfortable.
All the furniture consisted of mats, ollas,
(earthen jars) and a few earthen dishes ; the
former holding two or three pails of water


and a few gourds. Many of the huts were
kept so neatly as to astonish one.

The Pimas had one principal chief with one
or more sub chiefs, to each village. These
were chosen usually for their bravery in war
and influence at home and were their leaders
in wars and settled disputes in villages and
families. At present, they have but little
authority. Some of the old warriors are badly
scarred from encounters with the Apaches,

1 3 5 6 7

Online LibraryAlbany Ladies' union mission school associationAmong the Pimas; → online text (page 3 of 7)