Thursday, 29 January 2015

Native-American Indian Tribes - The Cheyenne

I looked into the history behind; and the current situation of the Cheyenne Tribe, how they transpired from a highly developed (by neolithic technological standards) , tribe, both militarily and political powerful . and how their interaction with imperialist European powers, both benefited and negatively  affected the tribe. Additionally,  how as a tribe they had to deal with US Federal restrictions and regulation  on land and religion.

The Cheyenne Tribe, were originally located in the hills and surrounding areas of Missouri. Their contact with the Spanish and their technologies e.g. Horses  allowed the Cheyenne the opportunity to hunt buffalo more effectively, this is a early example of the benifits that trading nations (from Europe)  brought to the Americas. The whole survival of the tribe revolved around the buffalo, food, clothing, shelter and religion, all were focused it.

The Cheyenne tribe, like many tribes on the west side of the Appalachian mountains, were met with full force of the expanding US government, who in a bid to secure land for its citizens in legistation like the 1862 'Homestead Act', promised and comprised treaties with the Cheyenne's (which they broke) . Cheyenne opposition to US expansion, came apparent in 1864 (while US government, was focued on the civil war), when like the 'Apache' and the 'Cherokee' sought retribution upon white settlers. Leading US retaliation, the Sand Creek Massacre (1864) and further Cheyenne attacks; The Cheyenne participated in the Battle of the LittleBighorn (1876).

As with many other tribes, the Cheyenne have been subject to US reservation programs and currently
The Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho currently live in Oklahoma, while the Northern Cheyenne live on the Tongue River Indian Reservation in southeastern Montana.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Settler Diaries

Catherine Sager:

In 1838, Catherine along with her family of three sister, two brother, pregnant mother and father planned to move from their house in Ohio to Missouri. After a few months, it was then decided that the family should travel further West to Oregon due to its healthful climate that would be better for Catherine’s mother, however the family did not start to make their way until late 1843.

Catherine describes the journey to be one full of adventure but also very dangerous. She explains how her and her sibling would play during the journey, jumping from the wagon over the wheel to the ground; one time however, Catherine’s dress got caught in the wheel, trapping her leg and breaking it “all to pieces”. After this Catherine had to ride in the wagon for the rest of the travels.

Other than this, half of the cattle herd that they owned were lost on route and her mother and father died from illness, leaving Captain Shaw (who travelled alongside them) as sole guardian for the children. After the parents’ deaths, Captain Shaw helped the children get to Oregon safely where they were later adopted by Dr Whitman.



Christiana Holmes Tillson

A Woman's Story of Pioneer Illinois

Christiana Holmes Tillson is writing an account of her time travelling from Massachusetts to Illinois to give her daughter an account of it, making this a personal piece of writing. However, as the subject is her daughter it could be softened to show only the positives rather than the negatives of her journey out west. When settled in St. Louis Christiana was "aware that the "white folks," though very friendly when [she] met them, were much perplexed to know what Tillson's wife found to do. She didn't spin nor weave". This seems to highlight the civility of the new America as women were not expected to help their husbands, they were expected to be at home and take up a craft. This stands as an explanation for why women were sent for once the men had built towns, so that they would not have to dirty themselves whilst striving for the ideal of moving west. This shows that it was very much a man's need to move west, and the women would follow.

Christiana also focuses on the very small things; like how much each piece of furniture was and what times the post came and the route the postmen took. She goes into quite a lot of detail about what they used as candlesticks until their furniture arrived which suggests that actually there was not a lot for her in this new America. She left her parents in Massachusetts to follow her husband, much to their dismay, and now has to busy herself with the scrupulous details of what they used as a dinner table and that women wore bonnets inside. It suggests, perhaps, that, despite her excitement of moving west, she has nothing much to do - as mentioned when it says she does not 'spin' or 'weave'.


Eliza Ann McAuley "Iowa to the Land of Gold"

Eliza Ann McAuley – Iowa to “The land of Gold”

This diary is of 17 year old Eliza Ann McAuley as she travels with a small group, including her brother and sister, to meet her father in California in 1852. Eliza’s mother and sister stayed behind in Iowa.
They left for California on Wednesday 7th April 1852.
She describes what they set out with as including a variety of yokes drawn by oxen and cows, one for the leaders, one for wheelers and one or two yokes of cows. As well as two saddle horses and 20 dairy cows, a tent and a ‘sheet iron camp stove’, which can be used inside the tent.

They set out with a variety of provisions, including dried fruit and vegetables as well as slices or dried bread. She also mentions how her and her sisters clothing is “light and durable” with “a pair of light calf skin topboots for wading through mud and sand”.
They don’t meet many problems on their journey, although on Sunday 10th April they come across an impassable hole in the road and so have to take down a fence to get by safely. This angers the owner, who threatens to get his gun if they don’t move off his land. Tom (who I assume is her brother) puts his hand on his gun and the owner of the land leaves.

When they pass through Ottumwa, she states that it was “the prettiest place we have yet seen and have decided to come and make our home when we return from California with a fortune”. This suggests that they are not wanting to stay in California permanently, but they are hoping to use California to become rich so that they can live where ever they like.

On Sunday 16th May, whilst they are eating, a Pawnee Chief and twelve of his men came to camp with them. They eat together and the Pawnee people camp with them for the night peacefully. Eliza does not express any dislike for the Pawnee chief, which means not everyone had the same negative views of the Native Americans.

On September 18th she describes how she sees the first “Californian house” that she has seen.

On Sunday 19th September they arrive at their father’s cabin in California after five months of travel. She says how the Californian miners called her father “father Mac”, which suggests that her father is either a miner himself or that he is in a higher position at the mine. If he is a miner, it may mean he travelled to California to earn some money and find a home for his family to later join him, as they do.
She also talks of how the miners try to catch a glimpse of her and her sister, as women are not common in the area. This suggests that not many women join their male family members in this area, or perhaps many do not want to make the journey.

Reminiscences of a trip across the plains

this was written by one Mrs. Burnett (nee Lucy Jane Hall) who's father was the captain of a there train of wagons that had started at thirty but at the time that she is writing about had grown to fifty.
this section of her tale deals with some of the perils of travel.

Sunday, 25 January 2015


William Adddison Bushnell war a Union soldier, who enlisted in California in 1864. By joining this late in the conflict (the war ending in 1865) and his post on the other side of the continent to where the majority of fighting was, Private Bushnell , was subject to garrison service and his account is of his conditions as a soldier on the frontier.

His accounts vary in length and detail, some entries give a view into his day to day transfer movements or other piece that are descriptive of the environment and his thoughts, additionally his diary accounts contain poems written describing his surroundings to give a view of the frontier. some of these include;

'Oh such is the desert that burns like a furnace
A treeless waste of immeasurable sand-
That conspires with the sun to torture and burn us
Through the width and the breadth of this water-less land'
                                                  -ON THE DESERT 1865 Sept. 25

Oct. 22 (1864) - Lay over to-day and rest ourselves after our big march. Had a thunder shower in the evening accompanied with a strong wind, which came near lifting our tents off the ground, but little rain fell,
Oct. 13 - , March 16 miles and encamp on the river among heavy willows and weeds, interspersed with cottonwoods. Capt. Stewart caught a splendid Salmon. A train of Emigrants camp near, they are from Texas Hill and represent themselves as being "hard up".

Oct. 14 - -Leave camp as usual at 5 A. M. In two miles pass Mohawk Station. Nine miles further pass Texan Hill and still six miles further reach, Teamsters or Shady Camp, and halt for the day. A portion of the command got on the wrong road, or rather on no road at all, for which they were indebted to Captain Noyes. Shady Camp consists of a few cottonwood trees, standing on the banks of the Gila, and were it not for the dust, and wind would be an agreeable place. McGinnis shot a crane across the river. The boys caught some nice fish.. Distance 17 miles. (not the fish)

Oct. 15, -  Travel 14 miles and encamp at Grinnells Station, on the Rio, at a nice grove, and a sort of house made of poles or logs set on end. The occupants were two or three white men, and as many Mexican women, Watermelons for sale at tres reals, a piece. Some of the teams are sent over the river after barley for the mules. Our time of traveling since we left is pretty regular, "Reville" sounds at 4 A. M. immediately after comes "Role Call" then follows the "General", which means for all hands to hurry up and get ready for the road. About five the "Assembly" sounds and the companies fall in, and await the call "forward" which soon sounds off and off we go. In two hours we halt and rest a few minutes, and at the end of every hour thereafter until we halt for the day.