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Colton and the Indians

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Joined: 27 Nov 2007
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Location: Monterey County, California

PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 7:27 pm    Post subject: Colton and the Indians Reply with quote

Sixty of a tribe of wild Indians, who live in the mountains, about two hundred miles from Monterey, made a descent upon a farm within thirty miles from Monterey, and carried off a hundred horses. Twenty of the tribe, with the chief, remained behind to secure further booty. Intelligence of this having reached Capt. Mervine, he dispatched a mounted force, apprehended them and brought them to Monterey for trial.

Colton says: "They were as wild a looking set of fellows as ever entered a civil tribunal. The chief was over seven feet high, with an enormous blanket wrapped round him and thrown over his shoulder like a Spanish cloak, which set forth his towering form to the best advantage. His long black hair streamed in darkness down his waist. His features strikingly resembled those of General Jackson. His forehead was high, his eye full of fire, and his mouth betrayed great decision. His step was firm; his age must have been about fifty. He entered the court with a civil but undaunted air. I could get no satisfactory evidence that he, or the twenty with him, had actively assisted those who took off the horses, so I delivered them over to Capt. Mervine, who commanded the military occupation of the town.

"The United States troops were formed into a hollow square, and the Indians were marched into the center where they expected to be shot, and still not a muscle shook, and the features of each were as set as if chiselled from marble. What must have been their surprise when Capt. Mervine told them they were acquitted by the tribunal!

"They were then taken on board the frigate, where the crew had been mustered for the occasion. Here they were told how many ships, men, and guns we had at our command; so much to inspire them with awe; and now for their good will. The whole party were rigged out with fresh blankets, and red handkerchiefs. The chief was attired in a uniform of one of our tallest and stoutest officers: navy buttons, epaulettes, sword, cap with gold braid, boots and spurs; and a silver chain was put about his neck, to which a medal was attached. He looked every inch a chief. The band struck up Hail Columbia, and they departed, vowing eternal allegiance to the Americans."
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