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Bitter Springs

Murders on the Mojave

From our Extra of Monday.

Monday morning, March 26, 1860

Two Men Killed by the Indians.

A Military Post Necessary on the Salt Lake Road.

On Sunday (yesterday) afternoon, our community was thrown into a state of the greatest excitement and alarm, by the information brought to town by Mr. Jones, the government express rider from Fort Mojave that two men were murdered on the Mojave by the Pi-Ute Indians.

On inquiry, we find the following to be the facts of the case: Mr. Thomas S Williams, a gentleman well known throughout California, was bringing a train of wagons from Salt Lake City to California by the southern route, for the purpose of carrying back freight. He was accompanied by his brother-in-law, Mr. Jehu Jackman; they had 14 wagons in the train, with their teamsters, any number of passengers. They had traveled to Bitter Springs in the most comfortable manner, having plenty of supplies for the journey; the Indians along the route were treated in the kindest and most liberal manner, and they behaved in all respects so as to inspire confidence in their friendly disposition.

Bitter Springs

Having arrived within the boundary of this state, a place called Dry Lake, Messrs. Williams and Jackman started a head of the train, to look out for a good station. They came to the Bitter Springs, where they were joined by four Pi-Ute Indians, who offered to guide them to good grass and water, which were found a few miles this side of the springs. Being satisfied with the location, they return to the springs, intending to wait there until the train came up; apprehending no danger, they were unarmed, and on the way back each took a trail a few rods apart, permitting the Indians to walk behind them. Having traveled along the road some time, Mr. Jackman happened to look back, and something in the conduct of the Indians attracted his attention, and he turned his horse to join Mr. Williams, telling him at the same time that he thought the Indians were treacherous. On this, as he stepped out of the trail, he was pierced by two arrows, as was also Mr. W. at the same moment, the latter being struck a third time; his horse started off and bore him to camp where Mr. Williams died that same night.

Mr. Jackman, on being wounded, fell from his horse, which ran away. The savages then came up and fired on him, piercing him with no less than seven arrows, two of which passed entirely through him, one entering at the abdomen and coming out near the neck; the first pass through from his back, the barb protruding in front.

The alarm being given in camp by the arrival of Mr. Williams, a party came in search of Mr. Jackman, and found him in almost a lifeless condition from his wounds and the intense cold.

Mr. Williams was buried at Bitter Springs, and Mr. Jackman was brought to Lane's ranch on the Mojave, where he receives every care, but his wounds are of such a nature that no hope of his recovery is entertained.

Mr. Jones, who gave us the above information, met the party on the 21st, camping at the junction of the Mojave and Salt Lake roads, 40 miles below Lane's ranch. The murder was perpetrated on the 18th.

These repeated murders showed the necessity of having a military post established on this road. --- Here are three murders committed within a short period, by the Pi-Ute Indians, without any cause of quarrel.

Gen. Clark, in command of the Department, should it once established a military post on this road, for the protection of citizens in pursuit of their business; more especially, as valuable mines are known to exist there, which cannot be worked in consequence of the hostile Indians.



Adapted from San Francisco Call, March 26, 1860


ecology: wildlife - plants - geography: places - MAPS - map/sat - roads & trails: route 66 - old west - communities - weather - book store
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