Yuma Indian Chiefs and Leaders
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Francisco. A Yuma chief. The Tonto Apache who murdered Royse Oatman and most of his family at the Gila bend, Ariz., Mar. 18, 1850, carried off Olive and Mary, the youngest children, 12 and 7 years of age, into slavery, and in 1852 sold them to the Mohave. These Indians treated them better than had the Tonto until a famine came, during which Mary died from starvation and cruelty. Young Lorenzo Oatman, who had escaped after being left for dead, endeavored to interest people in California in the fate of his sisters, but a searching party sent out from Ft Yuma returned without finding trace of them. Finally Francisco, who happened to be at the fort in Jan., 1856, betrayed knowledge of the lost girls, and, impressed with fear of the troops, said lie would bring the surviving captive if he had four blankets and some beads to pay for her. When Francisco came to the village the Mohave denied having Olive, having stained her skin with berries, but she spoke out and told who she was. Francisco then addressed them with such eloquent conviction that they consented to release the girl, and on the day set he brought her to the fort, where she was soon joined by her brother. Owing to his service in saving his tribe from chastisement by the militia, or to the rewards and praise he received from the whites, Francisco was chosen chief. He grew over bearing, but remained friendly to the whites. To this friendship his people attributed the ill luck that befell them in a raid that the river tribes undertook in 1857 against the Maricopa. The latter, reinforced by the Papago, won the battle at Maricopa wells, Ariz. Of 75 Yuma warriors all were slain save 3, and when the day turned against them they are believed to have killed the chief who led them to disaster. (F. H.)
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Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico, Frederick Webb Hodge, 1906