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cMtfuJs O'hirf 




A Book about Indians. 








Franklin Press: 

Randy Avery , dr* Company , 

117 Franklin Street, 

Boston , 





M ANY years ago, when the great city 
of New York was only a small.vil- 
lage which the Dutch had built, and all 
around it up the Hudson where now are 
pleasant towns there were only dense for¬ 
ests, a great business was done in trading 
with the Indians. In our picture at the 
beginning of the book we see a party who 
have come in a boat for this purpose and 
are waiting for the Indians to meet them. 
They do not dare to go inland away from 
the shore, for the savages are in great num¬ 
bers and they might spring upon them in 
some unguarded moment and kill them, so 
they keep by the boat till they shall come 
to them. They will not have long to wait, 
for already the Indians know of their ar- 



rival, and here are three burly fellows 
loaded down with skins on their way to 
meet them. These skins are those of wild 
animals which they have caught in traps or 
have shot with arrows. In exchange for 
them each man hopes to get a musket and 
some powder and ball. He has seen the 
great work that the white man can do with 
these, and he knows that with one he could 
get many more skins than he now does with 
arrows only. Besides the musket he will 
get a string of bright beads which he will 
take back to his squaw, or will hang about 
his own neck. Or, perhaps, if he already 
own a musket, he will buy a piece of bright 
colored cloth. He had never seen cloth 
till the white man came, but its gay colors 
catch his eye and he longs to be dressed in 
it. His clothes so far have been made out 
of the skins of the wild beasts which he has 



caught. Indeed these skins have made his 
house as well as his clothes. Here is a pic¬ 
ture of two or three Indian houses. They 
are very rudely built, as you see. The 
frame-work is made of a few poles which 
are driven into the ground and then tied 
together at their tops. Over these, skins 
sewed together are hung, and so a wigwam 
is made. This does very well for summer, 
but in the winter it is very cold. A fire is 
made in it and the smoke escapes through 
a small hole in the top, but it nearly puts 
out the eyes of the poor Indians who are 
crouched about it. This wigwam is built 
close to the borders of a lake and the canoe 
with its paddles lies on the beach ready 
for instant use. We can see what it is like 
though better in our next picture. It is 
made of the bark from the birch tree and is 
very thin, and so light that a man can carry 



it all about without the least bit of trouble. 
The boy in this canoe is trying to escape. 
He was carried off prisoner by the savages 
in an attack they made on a village, and 
they intended him for a slave. The day 
after they had reached their wigwam, when 
no one was looking, he got into a boat and 
tried to make away. But there was another 
canoe and in this they set out in pursuit 
and caught him just as he was reaching 
the opposite bank of the river. They 
brought him back and for a time he was 
treated very harshly. Though he was on 
the look out for a chance to escape all the 
time, it seemed as if one would never come. 
At last, nearly two years after he was first 
made captive it came. He had had for 
some time a fellow slave a young girl, who, 
too, had been captured in some raid. These 
two rose up very early one spring morning 


and taking the canoe set out with great 
quiet lest they should be heard. There was 
but one boat in the camp this time, and 
as soon as they were out in the stream they 
made the paddles go so fast that in a couple 
of hours they reached a town on its banks 
and were safe. Their friends had lone 
since given them up as dead, and you may 
be sure that there was great rejoicing at 
their escape from captivity. 

The first settlers of our country, as you 
all must know, had to be always on their 
guard against Indians, for at any time the 
dreaded war-whoop might break on their 
ears. Before the man who was in the fields 
could seize his gun, which he always kept 
close at hand, an arrow would strike him 
dead. The houses were made of logs and 
here and there were small holes, through 
which the barrel of a rifle could be thrust, in 



case the house should be attacked. Often, 
the settler who lived away from the village, 
would learn that the Indians were close at 
hand. As soon as the alarm was given, they 
would set out for the village, which nearly 
always had a fort. The women would rush 
ahead, and the man would come behind 
with his gun to protect them from pursuit. 
A sharp look he kept on all sides, you may 
be sure, to see that no savage sprang out at 
him, from behind some tree, and very glad 
they all felt when they found themselves 
safe in the block-house. Some of these 
first settlers had hair-breadth escapes. We 
know of one in which a boy was the actor. 
He was passing through the woods on his 
way home from a neighbor’s house, when 
all at once an Indian darted out at him from 
behind a tree where he was hidden. The 
boy took to his heels. It was a race for 



life, and he knew it, and did his best, but he 
would hardly have come off without injury, 
had not an unexpected ally come to his aid. 
As he ran, he stumbled over a huge bear 
that was fast asleep. Bruin rose up in 
great wrath, not quick enough to catch the 
boy, but just in time to seize the Indian, 
while the lad made off at the top of his 
speed, without waiting to see which came 
off victorious in the struggle, and was soon 
in safety among his friends. 

The Indians were so crafty that the set¬ 
tlers never knew when to expect them, nor 
could they often tell whether a party were 
near them or not, for these wily foes left no 
trace behind them. When they marched 
through the forests, they went in single file, 
and each one stepped in the tracks of the 
man before him, while the last covered up 
all their traces by scattering leaves wer 



them. Then all at once, some white man 
who was paddling in fancied safety in his 
canoe heard the war-whoop close at hand, 
and the next moment, the air was thick 
with arrows, and he was fortunate indeed, 
if he escaped with his life. After the In¬ 
dians learned the use of fire-arms, they were 
much more dreaded than before, and their 
attacks came much more often, for now they 
felt that they fought on equal terms. But 
even with their cunning, the white man was 
often too clever for them. 

Woe to the poor wretch whom they cap¬ 
tured. He was tortured in the most cruel 
way. Sometimes he was made to run be¬ 
tween two rows of savages each of whom 
struck at him with a club as he passed. 
Sometimes he was tied to a tree and made 
a target for the arrows of the whole tribe 
till one came that put an end to his trials. 



Sometimes a slow fire was made about him 
and he was roasted to death. In some shape 
or other a lingering and painful death await¬ 
ed him. Every prisoner knew the fate 
that was before him, and did not lose 
sight of any chance that might offer, for 
escape. One man, as you see here, killed 
his four captors. They had marched all 
day long and at night stopped to camp 
till morning. He pretended sleep, but 
when they were nodding about the fire, 
he crept quietly to one side where they had 
laid their guns. Before they knew what 
he was about, two lay dead. The other 
two sprang up to fly, but too late. The 
rifle cracked again and again, and they 
went to join their companions in the 
happy hunting grounds. The victor did 
not wait till morning, but set out at once 
for his home, which he reached the next day. 



In Kentucky, in those old times, lived 
a great hunter, whom the Indians hated 
bitterly, but in spite of all their attempts, 
they could never kill him, for he was quite 
as clever, and more daring than they. Once 
he took refuge from a party in an old barn. 
They soon all came in, and though they did 
not know that he was there, they would 
have found it out in a moment or two. 
He knew this, and knew that he must act 
quickly. There were great quantities of 
dried tobacco leaves in the barn, and seiz¬ 
ing an armful he sprang from the mow 
where he lay right upon them. One or two 
were knocked down by him, as he struck 
the ground, and the rest were almost suf¬ 
focated for an instant by the pungent dust 
from the tobacco, and while they were 
sneezing and sputtering, he took to his 
heels and was soon in a place of safety. 



Three girls were once playing in a boat 
by the river side. It was tied fast to the 
bank and they were having a fine time 
when all at once their boat began to move 
down the stream. At first they did not 
know what to make of it, but in a moment 
they saw that an Indian had hold of the 
rope and was dragging them along. He 
had cut it, and was hoping to make them 
prisoners. They screamed aloud in terror, 
and their father came rushing out with his 
rifle. In those days when any alarm came 
the men always seized their guns instinct¬ 
ively. The Indian tried to hurry, but it 
was of no use, he could not outrun a rifle 
bullet. The rifle cracked, the bullet flew, 
and the next minute a dead Indian went 
floating down the stream and the rescued 
girls were soon back in their home again. 

Perhaps some of the little boys, who 



think it very hard work to go to church, and 
who go to sleep always as soon as the min¬ 
ister begins his sermon, would have liked 
it better in those days. How strange it 
would seem to go to a church where every 
man brought his gun, and placed it close 
within reach. On the flat top of the 
stoutly made building paced a sentinel, 
and outside, others kept a sharp lookout. 
Woe to the band of savages who hoped to 
surprise them and make them fall an easy 
prey into their hands. A shower of bullets 
taught them their mistake, and made them 
glad to hurry back to their forests. There 
was no sleeping in church in those days. 
If the men should be wounded, there was 
not a woman there who could not load and 
fire as steadily as her husband. 

Of course not all the Indians were hos¬ 
tile to the settlers. Many tribes became 



their warm friends, and gave them notice 
when others, who were their enemies, were 
about to attack them. They guided parties 
of explorers, too, and were of great assist¬ 
ance, for they could find their way through 
forests where there was no path, and where 
white men would surely be lost. Many at¬ 
tempts were made to civilize them, but 
without success. For a time they would 
live in towns and seem to be doing well, 
and then all at once the desire for the woods 
and their old wild life would break out, 
and back they would go to it. Missiona¬ 
ries labored among them, but with only par¬ 
tial success. They had many strange cus¬ 
toms which they had always been used to, 
and these they did not care to lay aside. 
One of the strangest things amongst them 
was the medicine man. 

He was a wild looking person. His 



body was decorated with paint, and he tried 
to make himself as hideous as he could. 
Sometimes he wore a mask made of the 
hollow head of a wild beast and in any case 
he was a horrid object. When any one was 
ill, he was sent for. He came dancing, 
singing and shouting, but instead of giving 
the sick man medicine, he sat in his tent, 
beating on a drum, and making a great 
noise. This was to drive away the evil 
spirit that was troubling him. Sometimes 
the poor fellow got well and sometimes he 
died, but they never lost faith in the medi¬ 
cine man, and sent for him again, as soon 
as the next case of illness came. He was 
well paid for his work, for they feared that 
he would summon an evil spirit to torment 
them, if they failed to treat him well. 

One of the most noted marches away 
from the sea coast in the early days of our 



country was the one made by De Soto in 
Florida. Pretty sail boats dot the lagoons 
now and the towns are full of visitors who 
go to escape the chill northern winters, but 
in those days all was wilderness. No white 
man had ever set foot there before. The 
sturdy band of Spaniards made their way 
through the marshes until they reached 
higher ground, when they turned their 
course to the west. The Indians at first 
were very friendly, but the Spaniards 
treated them with great harshness and 
they soon became enemies, lying in wait 
for them and sending an arrow when they 
had a chance on its deadly errand. Many 
was the stalwart man that fell beneath their 
fire. Quarrels broke out in their own ranks 

Some were for going back, but they 
pressed on expecting each day to make 



discovery of some land where gold was 
to be had for the asking—for in those 
times the new world was thought to con¬ 
tain vast fields of gold. At last they came 
to a mighty river. It was the Mississippi 
and they were the first white men who 
ever saw it. Their captain died on its banks. 
They did not dare to bury his body for 
fear that the Indians would dig it up and 
finding that their leader was dead attack 
and kill them all, so in the dead of night in 
a rough boat they pulled out on the water 
and buried him in the mighty river he had 

Of the great tribes that covered the 
whole country but few are now left. In 
Canada there are some who are employed 
by the Hudson's Bay Company to trap and 
hunt. When the snow is deep on the 

ground then they set their traps. Many 




of these traps are miles apart, but on their 
snow shoes they fly over the ground so 
fast that a mile is soon passed by. Woe to 
the unfortunate deer that they see. Break¬ 
ing through the deep snow at every step the 
poor beast goes on but slowly, and, though 
he sees his enemy with swift steps on his 
snow shoes coming after him, cannot escape. 
He makes one mad effort but it is of no 
use, his foe is already at his side, one quick 
thrust of his spear and the poor deer lies 
dead on the snow. It is more like butch¬ 
ery than sport. 

In this part of the world when winter 
comes on, the only means of communication 
between the distant posts of the fur traders 
is by dog sledge. A team of dogs travels 
over the snow with their load of goods at a 
speed of from forty to sixty miles a day, 
and the Indian driver runs alongside day 


after day, easily keeping up to their pace. 
At night he lies down close to the fire and 
is asleep as quickly as they. It is a hard 
life, but he seems to enjoy it. 

In the summer time these Indians can 
guide you to rare sport. They know 
where to find the deer and can paddle you 
to their favorite grounds in their birch bark 
canoe so softly that the buck who is brows¬ 
ing on the lily pads will not even lift his 
head. Each man keeps his finger on the 
trigger of his rifle, for at any moment he 
may have a chance to shoot one on the 
run, and so the boat steals quietly along 
under the overhanging boughs on the 
river's brink, every eye and hand ready for 
action. But soon winter comes on again, and 
all these vast lands are deep in snow The 
poor dogs must dread the winter for then 
their work begins once more and many is 



the blow and hard word that they get from 
their harsh masters. 

On the great prairies of the far West in 
our own land there are many Indian tribes. 
Here is a picture of several hunters who 
are after the buffalo. Their ponies are 
taught to stand perfectly still till their rider 
has discharged his arrow. Then when the 
great beast is close on them they spring 
to one side and he goes blundering and 
'thundering by. The Indians kill thousands 
of buffaloes every year. As they only eat 
the tongue and leave all the rest of the ani¬ 
mal lying on the ground, one cannot feel any 
great sorrow for them when times of fam¬ 
ine come and they long for the good food 
they have thrown away. The Indian has 
no care for the future. When buffaloes 
are plenty he eats as much as he can stuff* 
but never thinks of laying up for the time 
when there may be none. 



The government has charge now of all 
the Indian tribes and each one has its own 
reservation, as it is called, a large region 
where they are sole masters. Missionaries 
go to them and try to teach them and in 
some cases they seem to become quite 
civilized, but often when the spring comes 
on the longing to be back among the moun¬ 
tains and the streams as of old comes back 
over them too strongly to be borne and off 
they go. A warm log house and thick 
blankets may do very well for winter, but 
for summer give them the forest with the 
green leaves overhead. They are not al¬ 
ways, I am sorry to say, content to hunt, 
but often attack the white settlers, and 
there have been long and bloody wars 
with them even in the last few years. 
But the race is fast dying out and soon 
the Indian will be a thing of the past. 


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