The Oatman massacre is among the most famous and dramatic captivity stories in the history of the Southwest. In this riveting account, Brian McGinty explores the background, development, and aftermath of the tragedy.
Roys Oatman, a dissident Mormon, led his family of nine and a few other families from their homes in Illinois on a journey west, believing a prophecy that they would find the fertile "Land of Bashan" at the confluence of the Gila and Colorado Rivers. On February 18, 1851, a band of southwestern Indians attacked the family on a cliff overlooking the Gila River in present-day Arizona. All but three members of the family were killed. The attackers took thirteen-year-old Olive and eight-year-old Mary Ann captive and left their wounded fourteen-year-old brother Lorenzo for dead.
Although Mary Ann did not survive, Olive lived to be rescued and reunited with her brother at Fort Yuma.
On Olive's return to white society in 1857, Royal B. Stratton published a book that sensationalized the story, and Olive herself went on lecture tours, telling of her experiences and thrilling audiences with her Mohave chin tattoos.
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The Road to Hell
Hatred And Survival
The return of Olive and seeing her brother alive and Lorenzo seeing Olive alive.
I went to the town of Oatman, which is named after Olive and one the residents had the luck to actually meet some of the Oatman family back east and people who knew them. The donkeys roam free in the town and they are the funniest to watch. They walk on the sidewalks and poke their heads inside the door of the stores. My friend make the mistake of rolling down her window and a donkey had his whole head inside the car. When I slowly drove a few feet forward to park the car, the donkey just walked with the car with his head still in the window.Way too funny. An incredible experience.