Sunday, October 9, 2011

Indian Stories

"Your Horses or Your Scalp?
"When Dad was living in Deadwood South Dakota, he had many
responsibilities. One story you might like is as follows:
Dad had to go down Spearfish Valley to bring back the body of a
Mr. Deffenbaugh who was killed by Indians. Spearfish valley was the
last battleground for the Sioux and the Crow Indians. There were
still sporadic raids and the Indians were also protesting the White
man's invasion of the Black Hills. People were very cautious if they
had to leave Deadwood. Dad and another man, wrapped the wagon
wheels and the horses feet with gunny sacks and left at night hoping
the Indians would not see or hear them. They thought they would be
back before daylight. However, they didn't make it before daylight.
When crossing the flat land before the hill to Deadwood they saw a
band of about 50 Indians riding toward them. The other man readied
his gun to shoot. Dad grabbed his gun and pushed it down yelling at
him, "What are you doing? What chance would we have ... two of us and
about 50 of them?!!!"
"Well, I'd take a couple with me anyway."
"If we Just stay calm and wait for them, they might not
do anything," Dad replied.
Reason prevailed and when the Indians approached, Dad recognized his
friend, Yellow Bird. He wanted to know what they were doing out of
Deadwood. When they explained their reason, Yellow Bird said they
had better let him escort them to Deadwood. So they did •.. to where
the road went down hill into Deadwood. Yellow Bird said they should
have their horses for the safe escort to Deadwood. So Dad unhitched
the horses and gave them to the Indians. His friend was furious!
To which Dad simply replied:
"Would you rather lose the horses or your scalp?" 

"Earlier in his career, Custer had been friendly with the Indians and
had even become a "blood brother." No Indian would have killed him.
They knew him well as "Yellow Hair." D.S. Billington said three
Indian Chiefs told him what really happened and he thoroughly
believed them.
Custer was conceited and took his own way disregarding any advice.
He was put out of the Army for this, but when the Army planned a
campaign against the Indians, they recalled him because he was
experienced. Custer was glad to be reinstated. They planned to
encircle the Indian forces. Custer would come from one side and
General Reno from the other side and meet at the Little Bighorn.
Custer got there first and saw that the Indian force was small.
Thinking he could finish them off quickly he didn't wait for Reno.
He under estimated the Indians and was caught in the trap they had
His men were killed and Custer was disgraced. History books all say
Custer was the last man standing. D.S. said that the reason he was
the last one standing is because they wouldn't kill him, he killed
himself and saved himself from saying he made a terrible mistake."
+ + + +
To see historical link: the line:  "The real reason is unknown."
"The Last Hunting Ground"
A book D.S. Billington read from cover to cover over and over was
"The Last Hunting Ground" by Annie Talent. She described South
Dakota accurately as it was during his time there. 

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