From Adventures in the Apache Country:
A Tour Through Arizona and Sonora, with Notes on the Silver Region of Nevada.

By J. Ross Browne
New York: Harper & Brothers, 1868

Pimo Indian
Yuma Indian
Yuma Chiefs
After the Distribution
Pimo Indian Girls
Apache Hanging
Pimo Widow in Mourning

[From] Chapter I. The Gadsden Purchase.

I have thus at some length attempted to account for the tardy growth of this interesting Territory. It will be admitted that there is good reason why Arizona has failed to attract a population. With wonderful resources and a climate equal to that of Italy, it has suffered a series of misfortunes unparalleled in the history of our territorial possessions. Two great obstacles to the prosperity of the country still exist: difficulty of access, which can only be remedied by a port on the Gulf of California; and the hostility of the Apache Indians, for which there is no remedy short of extermination.

[From] Chapter IV. Fort Yuma.

Next day Superintendent Poston and myself held a grand pow-wow with the Yuma chiefs and their people. From all parts of the neighborhood they came; warriors, squaws, and children; from the mesquit bushes and mudholes of the Colorado; from the sloos and the arroyas of the Gila; the cotton-woods and the deserts and the mountains of Castle Dome. Every village had its delegation of dusky tatterdemalions. Lizards and snakes and mice were hastily cast aside in the wild anticipation of muck-a-muck from the Great Father. Hungry and lean, painted and bedizened with ornaments, they came in to receive the bounty of the mighty Federal chief. Great were the rejoicings when we opened the boxes and bales of merchandise so liberally furnished by the Government contractors, Cronin, Huxtall, & Sears, of New York. Red, white, green, and gray blankets; military suits, glittering with tinsel; old swords, four feet long; sun-glasses for lighting cigars; and penny whistles for the small fry. It was indeed a wonderful display of the artistic triumphs of civilization, well calculated to impress the savage tribes of the Pacific with awe and admiration. There were axes of the best Collins brand, that flew to pieces like glass against the iron timbers of this anomalous region; and hats made by steam, and flaming red vests stitched by magic, and tobacco-boxes and tin kettles that might be opened, but never upon earth shut again. Surrounded by all the military paraphernalia of Fort Yuma, and with ceremony the most profound and impressive, we delivered our speeches and dry goods to the various chiefs; we gave them damaged hominy and hoes, and spades and shovels, and sashes and military buttons, charms, amulets, tobacco-boxes, and beads; shook them by the hand collectively and in detail, and pow-wowed generally in the approved style.

Pasqual, the doughty head-chief of all the Yumas, long known to fame as the longest of his tribe, predominated over the ceremonies. A grave, cadaverous, leathery old gentleman, with hollow, wrinkled cheeks, and a prodigious nose, through the cartilage of which, between the nostrils, he wears a white bone ornamented with swinging pendants, is Pasqual the doughty. On account of the length of his arms and legs--which, when stretched out altogether, bear a strong similitude to the wind-mill against which Don Quixote ran a tilt--the mighty Pasqual is regarded with much respect and veneration by his tribe. His costume, on the present occasion, consisted of a shabby military coat, doubtless the same worn in ancient times by his friend, Major Heintzelman, the embroidery of which has long since been fretted out by wear and tear, and the elbows rubbed off by long collision with the multitudes of offïce-seekers among his tribe. Of pantaloons he had but a remnant; and of boots or shoes he had none at all, save those originally furnished him by nature. But chiefly was Pasqual conspicuous for the ponderous bone and appendages that hung from his nose. A slight catarrh afflicted him at the time of our pow-wow, and it was not without great inconvenience that he managed the ornamental part of his countenance--turning repeatedly away to blow it, or adjust the awkward pendants that swung from it, and always reappearing with tears of anguish in his eyes. I took pity upon his sufferings and gave him some snuff, assuring him it was a sovereign remedy for colds in the head. The result was such a series of explosions, contortions of the facial muscles, and rattling of the ornamental bones, as to alarm me for the sanity of the doughty chief, who seemed quite wild with the accumulation of his agonies. The assembled wisdom of the nation grunted repeatedly in token of amazement; and Pasqual muttered, between the paroxysms of his affliction, "Ugh! muchee pepper belly strong dust! Burn 'um Injun nose!"

Vincente, the next chief in command, dressed in a blue cotton shirt of the scantiest pattern. It reached only a short distance below his waist, and, for the matter of respect to the prejudices of civilization, might have ended at the collar. I really wish the contractors would furnish longer shirts for the Indians. The Yumas are tall, and I know of no tribe on this coast averaging only fourteen inches from the crown of the head to the soles of the feet. Vincente had probably received a hint that the distribution would be honored by the presence of ladies. What he lacked in costume he made up in paint. Both his eyes were encircled with yellow ochre; blue streaks adorned his cheeks; his nose was of a dazzling vermilion, and his legs were gorgeously striped with mud. His only additional article of costume, visible to the eye, was a dusky cotton diaper, ingeniously tied behind, leaving a long tail to flutter majestically in the breeze.

Tebarro, the next great chief, wrapped himself in an American blanket, and dyed his face a gloomy black. I think he was in mourning. He wore tar on his head, and tar on his cheeks, and tar on his nose and chin, which becoming mingled with the grit and dust of the Colorado desert, gave him a sort of asphaltum look, like the house-tops and pavements of Los Angeles. When he stood in the sun he melted--such was the force of his grief. Black tears ran down from his head and cheeks and chin, and mingled with the wool of his blanket. Literally he wept tar.

Antonio, the fourth great chief, wore a strap round his waist, with a rusty old sword tied to it by means of rawhide. He didn't wear any thing else, save the usual girdle of manta upon his loins, that could be considered an article of costume; but his eyes were gorgeously encircled by a cloud of blue paint fringed with vermilion. Like his illustrious superior, Pasqual, he wore pendent ornaments in his nose, of the most inconvenient pattern. I should judge Antonio carried a quarter of a pound of native jewelry, consisting of bone and lead, upon the cartilage of his proboscis.

Juan, the fifth and last of noted warriors and head-men, was redundant in gamoose breeches and cotton rags. On his head he wore a helmet of Colorado mud, dried into the roots of his hair by the action of the sun. This I believe is accounted by the Yumas a sovereign remedy for vermin. The liveliest skipper is forever deprived of locomotion by the conglomerate of dried mud. When the helmet is broken off in segments, like a piece of baked crockery, it must present a curious spectacle of embalmed bodies.

These distinguished chiefs and their people received the presents allotted to them with great dignity and good-humor. There was no grabbing or stealing, nor any sign of discontent. Every man received his share with satisfaction, and with gratitude to the Great Father in Washington. When they shook hands with us for the last time, and we were about to part, the scene was really affecting. I almost shed tears at it myself, unused as I am to crying about what can't be helped. In squads, and couples, and one by one, they affectionately took their leave, with their hoes and axes, spades and shovels, gimcracks and charms stuck all over them--in their sashes, breeches, clouties, blankets, and pinafores. One went with a necklace of mattocks around his neck and three Collins axes in his girdle; another with his head thrust into a glittering pile of tin-ware; while a third, one of the unbreeched multitude, wore a flying pan in front by way of an apron, and a corn-hoe behind, in the usual fashion of a rudder. Old men and young were tuning their jews'-harps; luxurious squaws were peeping at the redundant beauties reflected by their little zinc looking-glasses; children were blowing their tin whistles, and small fat papooses were hanging their heads out of compressed bundles behind their mothers, wondering, with open mouths and great round eyes, what could be the cause of all the hubbub. It was an impressive scene of barbarous happiness not easily forgotten. And so ended the Grand Pow-wow.

1868 ILLUSTRATION Our unhappy driver, George, who had never smiled during the whole course of the ceremonies, now turned away with an expression of the most profound and confirmed melancholy. Not even the warrior with the rudder, nor the chief with the mud roof to his head, could dissipate the intensity of his gloom. Nor were the blandishments of the dusky Yuma belles of any greater avail. With his hand pressed upon the pit of his stomach he groaned in agony of spirit as he descended the hill; and I fancied the plaintive words reached my ears, "Oh! Mary Jane, how could you? Think of him that loves you, and he among Injuns and savigges!"

[From] Chapter IX. The Pimo Villages.

The number of Pimo villages is 10; Maricopas, 2; separate inclosures, 1000; total population, 6000. In 1858, the first year of the Overland Mail Line, the surplus crop of wheat was 100,000 pounds, which was purchased by the Company; also a large quantity of beans called taperis, and a vast quantity of pumpkins, squashes, and melons. In 1859 Mr. St. John was sent among them as a Special Agent with a supply of seeds and some agricultural implements. That year they sold 250,000 pounds of wheat and a large supply of melons, pumpkins, and beans. In 1860 they sold 400,000 pounds of wheat--all the Mail Company would purchase. They had more, and furnished the Government and private teamsters all that was necessary for transportation from Fort Yuma to Tucson. Beyoud this they had no market, except for about 40,000 pounds of wheat which Mr. White purchased for the supply of Fort Breckenridge. In 1861 they sold to Mr. White 300,000 pounds of wheat, 50,000 pounds of corn, 20,000 pounds of beans, and a large amount of dried and fresh pumpkins, which was all intended for the supply of the California column. The greater part of this crop was destroyed or given back to the Indians by the Texans under the guerrilla, Hunter, who arrived at the Pimo villages that year, robbed Mr. White of his property, and took him prisoner in their flight to the Rio Grande. The Pimos sold, during the same year, 600 chickens and a large amount of other stuff, showing a gradual increase of production under the encouragement of an increased demand. In 1862 they sold to the Government over a million pounds of wheat, included in which was a portion of the previous year's crop, returned to them by the Texans. They furnished pinole, chickens, green peas, green corn, pumpkins, and melons for the entire California column, subsisting nearly a thousand men for many months. In 1863 they furnished the Government with 600,000 pounds of wheat, and disposed of about 100,000 pounds made into flour and sold to miners and traders. Their crop was smaller than usual, owing to the breakage of their main acequia at a critical period of the season, and in January, 1864, they were nearly out of wheat, but still had a good supply of other products.

It will thus be seen that the Pimos are not a race to be despised. They have always proved themselves good warriors, and have been uniformly successful in resisting the incursions of the Apaches. Their villages have afforded the only protection ever given to American citizens in Arizona. If it were not for the Pimos and Maricopas it would now be impossible to travel from Fort Yuma to Tucson.

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