NATIVE AMERICANS - NAVAHO & MOQUI (HOPI) TRIBES]. BACKUS, Electus (? --1862), Major, 3rd U.S. Infantry . Autograph manuscript, a diary kept while Backus commanded Fort Defiance, [at present-day Window Rock, Arizona]. 23 November 1851 to 18 April 1852...
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NATIVE AMERICANS - NAVAHO & MOQUI (HOPI) TRIBES]. BACKUS, Electus (? --1862), Major, 3rd U.S. Infantry . Autograph manuscript, a diary kept while Backus commanded Fort Defiance, [at present-day Window Rock, Arizona]. 23 November 1851 to 18 April 1852. 48 pages, 8vo, in fine condition. A AMERICAN ARMY GARRISON IN THE NAVAHO TERRITORY AND RELATIONS WITH THE NATIVE AMERICANS Electus Backus, a veteran of the Mexican War (see lot 134) was assigned command at Fort Defiance in June 1850, not long after the Fort was established. While stationed at this dangerous frontier fort, the first established in the Navaho homelands, Backus made careful first-hand observations of life at the fort in a personal journal; it particularly describes interactions between white soldiers and the Moqui (Hopi) and Navaho Indians, including negotiations with local chiefs. A few selections from this extensive, entirely unpublished diary: 4 December 1851: "...a chief called Ish-Kit-Seh-Nee with his family came in. His horse became alarmed at a dog and ran off, lost his bridle & his sword. His bridle was stolen by two of our prisoners - dragoons, and his sword was found at night broken in two...he promised to bring in several of the Chiefs & settle the question of peace at once. He says he wants peace."; 5 December: "Ish-Kit-Seh-Nee came back for his sword, which had been found broken in two. We had it mended."; 10 December: "Mr. Packet came in with an Indian Chief. He had a Mexican prisoner for whom he had paid a ransom to the Navahos. They all talk of peace."; 1 January 1852: "a party of Indians & squaws came in to visit and trade. A young squaw of about 15 was offered for sale by her father for 3 yards of red cloth & a few other trinkets. There were no buyers in the OPEN market; though it is possible she may have gone off at private sale."; 3 January: "Sarcios Largos came in with a letter from Mr. Nesbit...Sarcios Largos is the principal chief of Navahos, the greatest rascal among them."; 6 January: "The squaws are MAD because their charms are not appreciated. One offered to sell her favors for a yard of red cloth, & another for a similar equivalent..."; 8 January: "Col. [Edwin V.] Sumner & Governor Calhoun had gone to make a treaty with the Navahos. The Navahos are in at Tunica (50 or 60) today, they say only a few vagabonds have gone to Jamez to treat, & they are not competent to make a treaty which will bind the nation. Lacios Largos is not there, nor are any of the principal chiefs."; 17 January: "Navaho John, & three boys came in. John says: 600 Indians have gone to Jamez to hold a treaty, among whom are Sandoval & the Jefe de Guerra, Ish-Kit-Seh-Nee. He says also that in two months from this time the Indians are to meet again to receive presents."; 25 January: "The Apaches have killed a Navaho and captured 24 of their horses. 200 Navahos have gone out to retaliate!"; 1 February: "...gold has been found in large quantities in the Gila. A company of 60 men formed at Santa Fe to go to the Gila mines ...Gold is supposed to exist near Zunia, but the Pueblos will not reveal such."; 1 March: "Some Indians came in. One stole a wagon whip, and was tied to a wagon and whipped..."; 12 March: "The Moquis are trading. I had a long talk with them this morning, & played the fiddle for them. In the morning, Gordo came in with 3 wives. He had a great collection of rubies, gave me 100 or more for an old purse...In the evening Morbleau had a Baylar ["bailar"" dance] for the Moquis. After the dance each Indian embraced him."; 24 March: "The girl Shit-Tah sold in the evening to a crowd."; 8 April: "Gordo's nephew says the Apaches have attacked Socorro and killed and captured many people, men, women, and children."
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