J. H. (John Hanson) Beadle.

Western wilds and the men who redeem them : an authentic narrative embracing an account of seven years travel and adventure in the far West ... online

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Online LibraryJ. H. (John Hanson) BeadleWestern wilds and the men who redeem them : an authentic narrative embracing an account of seven years travel and adventure in the far West ... → online text (page 28 of 62)
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is the product of civilization, and suspect some ulterior purpose when


one has nothing to trade, and is not a prospector for mines. So I told
them I was collecting information about the friendly Indians for the-
use of government, which -may be passed as in a sense true.

The Moquis have a close struggle for existence. The sand sur-
rounding the mesa presents the poorest show for farming I ever saw,
yet every-where among these sand-hills are their little walled fields,
three or four rods square, and from the measure Papa showed me, I
estimated that his field had produced what would amount to twelve or
fifteen bushels of corn, and half as much wheat, to the acre. The
water from neither of the springs runs more than ten rods before
sinking in the sand ; but in some places they have constructed little
troughs of rock or wood which carry a stream perhaps as big as one's
finger to the field, and help the case a little. With a sharp stick they
dig a hole about eighteen inches deep through the top sand, which
brings them to a moister stratum, in which they lodge the grain.
Around the hill they then place a few stones, and after dressing in
clean clothes, sit in solemn silence for hours by the fields supposed
to be praying for rain. If no rain comes, which is generally the case,
they carry water in their wicker-jugs from the spring, and pour a pint
or so on each hill. If the season is favorable, the corn grows about
two feet high, and yields ten to fifteen bushels per acre; if unfavor-
able, they get nothing, and live upon goat's milk and white roots, with
a rare dessert of wild fruit, mescal, or game.

I said " supposed to be praying," as I could learn of no religious be-
lief among them, though their Mormon visitors credit them with be-
ing very pious. I explained at great length our ideas of God and
nature, and asked Papa as to theirs, with this result:

Papa Nothing! (Nada.~) The grandfathers said nothing of Dios
what you say Got God (making several attempts at the word.)

Myself But, say to me, who made this mesa, these mountains, all
that you see here ?

P. Nothing ! It is here.

M. Was it always here ?

P. (With a short laugh) Yes, certainly, always here. What
would make it be away from here ?

M. But where do the dead Moquis go? Where is the child I saw
put in the sand yesterday ? Where does it go ?

P. Not at all. Nowhere ; you saw it put in the sand. How can
it go anywhere ?

M. Did you ever hear of Montezuma ?

P. No; Monte Montzoo (attempting the word) Melicano man?


M. No ; one of your people, we think. What are these dances for
that you have sometimes?

P. The grandfathers always had them.

So ended my attempts at Moqui theology. Probably they were too
suspicious of a stranger to let me know any thing about it, for an
Indian considers his religion his even more exclusively than his "horse
or his wife. But they have one curious custom which seems to have
a religious significance. Every morning, at the first break of day, a
young man runs the whole length of the mesa with several cow-bells
tied to his belt ; the entire population rise at once, and while the rest
proceed to milk their goats, the bell-man and a few others descend to
the plain and go a mile or so towards the east. An army officer, who
spent some time with them, says they expect a Deliverer to come from
that direction, and send an embassy to meet him. Thus the Moquis,
like all other races, look for One to usher in the time

" When useless lances into scythes shall bend,
And the broad falchion in a plowshare end ;
When wars shall cease, and ancient fraud shall fail;
Returning Justice lift aloft her scale;
Peace o'er the world her olive wand extend,
And white-robed Innocence from heaven descend."

Their traditions say (or in their own phrase "the grandfathers
said") that the ruins on the adjacent mesa were once the homes of a
powerful race of Moquis, arid then an immense spring watered all the
plain ; but an earthquake threw down the pueblo, split the rock, and
dried up the spring, and the remnant of that people went far to the
South. Telashnimki and Tuba, two Oraybes, husband and wife, once
accompanied Jacob Hamlin to Salt Lake City, and were delighted with
all they saw. Since their return, a portion of the Oraybes have se-
ceded from the main body, and established a new settlement, to which
they invite white men, and propose more friendly relations. The
Moquis pointed out Oraybe in the distance; but did not think it safe
for me to visit it, as the Apaches are often there. The Mormons are
establishing friendly relations with all the tribes of north-western Ari-
zona, and will, it is to be hoped, succeed in peace in their vicinity.
One question frequently asked me was, " Are the Mormoneys Amer-
icans ? " A plain affirmative was near enough to the truth for the
views of the Indians ; but, in point of fact, the question is open to

The dress of a Moqui man consists of very loose jacket and draw-
ers, made of calico obtained from traders. The first is made close at
the neck, and flows loosely to the hips; the second reaches from the


waist to a little below the knees. Heavy sandals protect the feet.
But this dress is only conventional, and they often appear entirely
naked, except the girdle and breech-clout. The women wear a heavy
Avoolen dress, of their own manufacture, consisting of a single skirt
and sort of half-waist, which leaves one arm and breast bare. Polyg-
amy prevails to a slight extent. Chino and Misiamtewah each have
two wives, but from what little they said on the subject, I conclude
they consider it a burden rather than a privilege. The women are
rather homely, short and stumpy I think from carrying loads upon
their heads. None of them will compare with the graceful and shapely
Navajo girls; nor are they prolific. The town at the south end of the
mesa is slowly falling to ruins ; not half the houses are inhabited, and
through the other towns there are many abandoned dwellings, now
used for stables and sheep-pens, or for storing hay. The kindly law
of nature will not permit increase in a country which can only furnish
a bare living. Moqui means "Dead Man," and Moquina may be
translated " Little Dead Town." This is the half-abandoned town on
the south end of the mesa; and I was informed by Jacob Hamlin that
some five years before my visit most of the inhabitants there died of

The Tegua town, th^ one we first enter on coming up the cliff,
has a language quite distinct from the ordinary Moqui. Those who
have examined say the Tegua is the same as that spoken by the Pu-
eblos near the city of Mexico. If true, this is a most important fact,
and to my mind goes far to supply the missing link in Baron Hum-
boldt's history of the Aztecs. Governor Arny, of Santa Fe, collected
many facts on this subject, but whether they have been published I
know not. Among these people are many albinoes, with sickly
white skin, red hair and pinky eyes. Many romantic stories have
been told as to the origin of these white Indians, the most sensational
being that they are descendants of some Scotchmen, carried away by the
Spaniards in their war against Queen Elizabeth; that they were sent
to work in the mines of Mexico, escaped in a body and joined the

The un-romantic truth is, they are Indians as much as the others.
Their whiteness is simply a disease. If the term be medically cor-
rect, I would call it a species of American leprosy. We need not go
far to find the causes: a people living in this dry climate, on hard,
dry food, in the midst of burning sands, drought, and misery, and
shut up in these little isolated communities, where the same families
have intermarried in all probability for a dozen generations. The


only wonder is that they are not totally extinct, or ring-streaked,
speckled, and grizzled. In the "good old time" when the Pueblos
were ten times as numerous, intermarriages took place between the
various towns, their language was nearly the same, and they were
prolific and progressive. Now they constitute but little islands^ as it
were, in an ocean of Utes, Navajoes, and Apaches; the separated
towns have gradually grown apart, and become distinct nations; they
have no central priesthood or ecclesiastical connection ; their religion
and learning steadily decay, and even the tradition of a common ori-
gin is fast becoming obscure.

Perhaps a theory as to the origin of the Pueblos may be constructed
by a system of comparative ethnology and archaeology. Beginning in
the Ohio Valley, there is a regular line of ancient works down to the
central section of the Andes. The Scioto and Licking valleys are
thickly dotted with the works of some race to whom we have given
the vague title of Mound-Builders. There is the great circle at New-
ark, which now incloses the fair-grounds; the square and circular
fortification near Chillicothe ; the Great Serpent in Adams County,
1,000 feet long; the funereal mound, fort, and intrenched way at
Marietta, and hundreds of others in adjacent districts. There is the
Pyramid at Seltzertown, Mississippi, six hundred feet long and forty
feet high ; and two thousand other mounds and fortifications described
by Sqiiier and Davis in their work, an authentic document published
by the Smithsonian Institution.

But as we go south-west the ruins are larger and nearer their origi-
nal condition. Had our predecessors built of stone instead of wood,
we should doubtless have found such in Ohio. There are the great
Casas Grandes on the Gila; the remains of the original or Aztec City
of Mexico ; the immense pyramids at Xochicalco and Cholula ; the
City of Tulha, ancient capital of the Toltecs, and a regular line of
ancient cities runs down through Central Mexico and into Guatemala,
from which, and the inscriptions on them, we learn much of the com-
mon life of the Aztecs and their predecessors. Every-where there are
tumuli, acecquias, and aguadas, or artificial ponds. Yucatan is dotted
with the ruins of cities, temples, and palaces. The great forests cov-
ering a large part of Guatemala and adjacent States, an area the size
of Ohio, contains the key to America's ancient history. There is con-
clusive evidence that it once contained from five to ten million in-
habitants. The facts are to be found in the works of Del Rio, who
explored part of it in the last century; of Captain Dupaix, who pen-
etrated far enough to get exact measurements of the largest towns; of



Stephens and Catherwood, and of Brasseur de Bourbourg, last and
most thorough of explorers. The most important places mentioned
are as follows :

Palenque, in the Mexican State of Chiapas, extends for fifteen miles
along the river Chacamas ; among the ruins are those of fourteen large

edifices, handsomely built
of hewn stone. " The
Palace" has a raised foun-
dation, 40 feet high, 310
long, and 260 wide; on it
the building is 288 feet
long, 180 wide, and 25
high, with fourteen door-
ways on each side, and
eleven at each end.
Copan, in the western part
of Honduras, is three miles
in length, and contains
stone buildings sixty feet
high, richly carved with
arabesque designs. Quiri-
gtia (Keereewah), on the
river Motagua, consists of
a vast array of broken
columns and monoliths,
with no building stand-
ing. Mitla, in the Mexi-
can State of Oaxaca, was
evidently built in splendid
style, but only three buildings remain entire. It abounds in carved
figures and relievos. In the same region is an astronomical monu-
ment; on it the sculptured profile of a man holding to his eye a
tube which is directed to the stars.

But Peru contains the most striking monuments of the ancient
civilization. There once flourished a proud empire extending over
twenty degrees of latitude. There was a paved road five hundred
miles long, part of it remaining to this day. Beautiful monuments
abound, and curious manufactures have lately been unearthed. There
are gauzy articles of pure gold, so light that a breath will waft them
from one's finger. There are fragments of the qwppus a knotted
cord with threads of various colors, with which they kept accounts.



The mummies show that trepanning, tooth-drawing, and amputation
were practiced. They had timbrels, stringed instruments, drums,
flutes and trumpets. Their principal city was supplied with water
through lead pipes inlaid with gold, of which one was recovered
entire, and now supplies the Convent of Santo Domingo. But the
obscurity hanging over their history seems impenetrable. It is proved
that this ancient people, both in the Ohio Valley and further south,
must have had a tolerably regular government and a good system of
agriculture to sustain a dense population; that they were often at war
with a more savage people than themselves, and that they left our
country at least five hundred more probably a thousand years ago.

A score of theories have been projected. This civilization and
these ruins have been in turn attributed to the Assyrians, Egyptians,
Phoenicians, "Lost Tribes of Israel," Greeks, Eomans, Malays,
Northmen, and the Tartar expeditions sent out by Kublai Khan ; but
each theory has in turn been proved untenable. The Book of Mor-
mon tells with wearisome details how an Israelite family came to
America six hundred years before Christ, gave rise to two nations
who alternately built cities and battered them down in Avar, and
finally the white half became extinct and the others turned to Indians ;
and Orson Pratt has amplified the subject in a number of works
which show the plausible absurdities of the astronomer run mad.
Hence, in all Mormon literature, the Indians are spoken of as " Lam-
anites" whom, for their wickedness, "God cursed with black skins."
But the average Gentile mind is not equal to the task of swallowing
such a story.

But why should we assume that these people came from the Old
World ? Is all civilization necessarily exotic ? There is nothing in
these ruins particularly suggestive of Roman, Greek, or Egyptian
architecture. We see in China that a spontaneous civilization arose
and ran its peculiar course without any aid from Europe. In Europe
we see that civilization began in the south and spread towards
the north ; that it was overthrown by northern barbarians, again rose
in the south and spread to the north. The latest investigators are of
opinion that a similar movement took place in America: that civili-
zation originated among the Colhuas in Peru and ancient Mayas in
Yucatan ; that their successors, the Toltecs, carried it towards the
north; that in the latitude of Ohio they met the northern barbarians
and were slowly driven south, where civilization revived somewhat,
and was again a'dvancing northward when the Spaniards came and
destroyed it. In this theory the Toltecs are set down as our Mound-


Builders, and it is concluded that the last of them left the Ohio Val-
ley a thousand years ago. There is a vast mass of evidence confirma-
tory of this view. And, incidentally it may be remarked, that a Mr.
Wiley, of Kinderhook, Illinois, in the year 1843, did discover in an
ancient mound six bronze plates, curiously corresponding to the de-
scription given by Joe Smith of those from which the Book of Mor-
mon was translated. Many impartial critics have since concluded
that, impostor as he was, Smith did obtain from a mound in New York
some kind of curious plates. The entire subject has been strangely
neglected by American scholars. The finest mound in Marietta was
sold by the city to a private citizen, who carted it away to make brick
of! In a similar spirit an English merchant in Greece, who needed
some marble for the front of his house, tore down a classic pile which
had survived the invasions of Thracian, Roman, Goth and Turk for
two thousand years. But there is yet in America evidence enough for
some determined antiquarian to decide whether the Toltecs were our
ancestors in Ohio.

I give this as the latest theory. As for myself, I grew intensely
interested in the matter from what I saw in Arizona, and on my re-
turn to the States eagerly embraced the first opportunity to investi-
gate. I read Baldwin's "Prehistoric America," and was only half
convinced; I consulted Stephens and Catherwood, Squier and Davis,
and got facts without conclusions. I then examined all the authorities
above quoted, and finally came to the deliberate conclusion that the
whole subject is considerably mixed. If the reader don't like this
theory, he has my permission to construct one of his own.



IT was still eight hundred miles to the end of the Thirty-fifth
Parallel Road. But universal testimony agreed that the desert grew
worse all the way, till one should cross the Sierra Nevada and enter
settled California. Nor was it possible to go unless one had a large
party well armed. It was but three hundred miles to the Mormon
settlements, and some four hundred farther to Salt Lake City. That
way, then, was my easiest and cheapest route out of the wilderness.

Navajo parties were scattered along the route, and we should doubt-
less have plenty of company. My guide from Defiance returned there,
carrying with him an immense roll of manuscript which I had pre-
pared at odd hours since leaving that post. He left Moqui June 24th ;
Mr. Keams, agreeably to my written request, sent another Indian
on to Wingate with my letters; there they caught the semi-monthy
military express to Santa Fe, and thus my communications of June
24th appeared in the Cincinnati Commercial of July 13th a marvel
of aboriginal mail service. The last day of my stay at Moqui, came
the father and sister of my new guide, the former en route to Utah,
and the latter merely on a friendly visit to the Moquis. My guide
arrived on the 23d, and presented his nelsoass, which read as follows:

" To all whom it muy concern :

" The bearer, a Navajo Indian, with his father, have permission to accompany J. H.
Beadle, Esq., to the Mormon settlements. They are good Indians, and I trust any one
who meets them will treat them kindly.


Clerk Navajo Agency,
June 21, 1872. Acting Agent."

For convenience sake I christened him John, the universal title
for Indians and Chinese.

The loud rattle of the Moqui bellman roused me betimes on the
morning of the 25th, and immediately I heard the long resonant cry
of Chino on the summit of the highest house, chanting the order of
the day's work, according to their custom. In this morning call he
also recites any special events expected to occur, and doubtless set
forth my intention to depart, for long before the bellman and guard



returned from the plain half the population of the mesa were around my
domo waiting to see us off. No "stirrup cup" this time; I divided
my tobacco with Chino, and presented him the only linen shirt I had
with me, for I had about as much use for it as a Highlander has for a
knee-buckle. The Moquis do not use money in any form, that I could
see, and the flowered calico I had taken along to pay expenses with
was exhausted, .as the people had been most kind in furnishing goats'
milk and eggs and carrying in blankets full of grass for my horse.
Chino presented me in turn with a huge roll of mescal, and after a
warm embrace Moqui good-bye from him and the interpreters, we
mounted and were off, the whole population joining in a loud song
that died a,way into a sort of wail as we descended the rock-hewn

"We traveled north-north-west all day, through a somewhat better
country than that east of Moqui; good bunch-grass was abundant, and
on the ridges were considerable thickets of scrubby pine. In the
mountains which border the oval valley about Moqui there are many
peach trees; the Moquis dry the fruit, and also pound up the seeds
and make a thick paste therefrom. Mescal, also one of their luxuries,
looks when dried like a mass of soft sole-leather, and tastes much like
ripe sugar-cane. It is slightly cathartic, and is a good change from
dry bread and bacon.

To our left all day was a considerable ridge, and by expressive pan-
tomime and a few Navajo words John informed me that west of it
there was a desert with neither grass nor water, which horses could
not cross in a day, but we should go around the north end of it.
About 4 P. M., we reached the first pool, and refilled our canteen and
wicker-jug, as we must make a "dry camp" to-night. Turning to
the left we reached the summit of the ridge in an hour's hard climbing,
passed a dense thicket of pines, and came out upon a splendid pros-
pect. The cliff we stand on slopes gently for a hundred yards, then
drops suddenly by a rugged precipice, a thousand feet, to a plain
which stretches north and west as far. asI can see. But to the north
a dim, blue range appears, and this side of it a dark depression with
overhanging mist, which may be due to the great distance or the pres-
ence of water. John indicates that there is a great cliff there, three
times as high as the one before us, at the bottom of which there is
much water running very fast, and deeper than over my head three
times ; but it is as far as we could travel from sun-up till the middle
of the afternoon, and horses could not get up or down there for many
days' travel cast and west. This, of course, is the Colorado.


We skirted the precipice before us till we found a crevice and sort
of rocky stairway, by which we got down to the plain, and thence
traveled nearly straight west till dark, camping on a ridge with
abundant grass, but no water. After supper John made a large bon-
fire to signal the other Navajoes, but we received no answer. We
were off by moonlight next morning John being all impatience to
overtake another party, he said was near; and in three hours reached
them, but they proved to be part of a band of five families who had
moved to a valley there. Here we find the only living spring and
running stream on our route. The valley is bounded on the south by
an abrupt cliff, not more than six hundred feet high, and on the
north by gently sloping hills, rich in grass. This band are the
wealthiest Navajoes I have yet seen, the five families having over a
thousand sheep and goats, and at least two hundred horses. Men and
women have each a good riding horse, rather elegantly caparisoned,
with stylish bridles and spurs, and in their camp equipage I notice
many handsome vessels and copper kettles. That they are of the
aristocracy is further proved by the fact that they did not loaf about
our. camp, or ask for any thing; but received our advances with civil
dignity, and sold us half a gallon of milk for fifty cents, like so many

Their herds were just coming in to water: their horses galloping
down the cliffs, the mounted Indian boys after them on slopes where
an American would scarcely venture his horse at a walk, and the
sheep and goats filling the vale with their bleatings, presented a scene
to delight the heart of a pastoral poet. Two horses excited my par-
ticular admiration : a heavy-limbed dark bay mare, and a bright
chestnut stallion, light and swift, who galloped around us a few times
in provokingly showy style, his sleek coat glistening as if just from
the hands of a skillful groom. The pair would have sold for six or
seven hundred dollars in the States.

Our horses needed recruiting before taking the desert, and we con-
cluded to stop a day. Buying milk and dried antelope, we had quite
a breakfast feast, after which the chief and family came and took a
cup of coffee and a smoke with me. He was fluent in signs and ]Xa-
vajo, a born egotist, and as inquisitive as the stage "Yankee." The
sign-language proved insufficient for him to tell all he knew; so he
went toward the ciiff and shouted for Espanol, and soon appeared a
bright lad of about twenty, who saluted me in first-rate Spanish, act-
ing thereafter as interpreter. He informed me he was captured in the
beginning of the last war, and lived with the Mexicans six years


whence his Indian name. "The Spaniard;" that he had driven tcarn,
to Denver, and been on the railroad from there to Cheyenne, and con-
sequently knew all about the Americans and their ways. The chief
then struck in : it was three days to the Mormoney lioganda, the first
one where we would cross the river; his horse could go it in two, but

Online LibraryJ. H. (John Hanson) BeadleWestern wilds and the men who redeem them : an authentic narrative embracing an account of seven years travel and adventure in the far West ... → online text (page 28 of 62)