America in the 1800s was a totally different environment from what we experience these days. In North America, the eastern seaboard housed most population centers, and the West was still a complete free-for-all. Native American tribes were scattered throughout the continent and fighting between these tribes and American settlers was a daily occurrence. While we tend to forget what this world was like, amazing stories belonging to people like Olive Oatman, a young woman who was captured by members of the Yavapai tribe in 1851, always seem to remind us.
You have to read about Olive’s story, one that started like many settlers in that era, traveling through the arid deserts of the southwest with the aim of finding a place to live.
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In a major journey from Independence, Missouri to the desert southwest, the Oatmans looked for a reasonable settlement.
The Oatmans struggled along the trail until they reached what is modern day Maricopa County, Arizona. This is where they were warned that continuing on the trail east of Yuma would be at their own risk. The area was inundated with Yavapai tribespeople who were known to attack settlers in the area.
About 90 miles east of Yuma, the Oatman’s were attacked.
The attack was severe, leaving most of the family members dead. Lorenzo, the 15-year-old older brother, survived the attack and noticed that both of his sisters Olive (14) and Mary Ann (7) were missing. They had been captured by the Yavapai.
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