Olive Oatman was provided a confront tattoo during her time v the Mohave indians in the 1800s. Source: (exploringyourmind.com)

The frontier story that Olive Oatman enthralled the nation when it occurred in the mid-1800s, and also it"s still a source of fascination today. It"s not the kidnapping of the teenage girl by indigenous Americans that renders the story therefore interesting. It to be the permanent reminder of she ordeal the she was left with: a blue tattoo on she face. Let"s look in ~ the motivating story the Olive Oatman. 

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Like many other Mormon families, the Oatman family members traveled west seeking a much better home. Source: (history.churchofjesuschrist.org)

Olive Oatman, the Pioneer

Olive Oatman was among seven children born to Royce and Mary Oatman that Illinois. In 1850, the entire Oatman family members traveled to the American southwest together with other members the the Mormon religion. Along the way, there were part disputes, and the Oatmans struck the end on your own. They make it come the Gila flow at a point about 90 mile from present-day Yuma, Arizona, wherein the family members was attacked. 


Olive Oatman asserted that her household was attacked by Apache Indians, but it was an ext likely to be Yavapai Indians. Source: (prescottazhistory.blogspot.com)

The Attack and Kidnapping

The Oatman family---Royce, Mary, and also their children, that ranged in age from 17 come one---were approached by a group of indigenous Americans on February 18, 1851, who asked the family to hand over their guns, food, and tobacco. As soon as Royce Oatman refused, the aboriginal Americans assaulted the family. Both Royce and also Mary Oatman to be killed, as were 4 of their 7 children, consisting of the baby. Fifteen-year-old Lorenzo was badly beaten and also unconscious, therefore the aboriginal Americans left him because that dead, kidnapping 14-year-old Olive and also her seven-year-old sister, mar Ann. After her eventual rescue, Olive Oatman claimed the household was attacked by Apaches, but it is much more likely they were Tolkepayas, who were a component of the west Yavapai tribe. 


The website of the Oatman family massacre. Source: (rvcookingmadesimple.co)

Word the the Attack

Lorenzo Oatman eventually regained consciousness and awoke to the horror of seeing his family members slaughtered and his sister missing. In spite of his injuries, Lorenzo regulated to make his way to a nearby settlement, wherein he shared his story and also received therapy for his injuries. A few days later, that led a team of males from the village back to the website of the massacre. The soil was too hard and rocky because that them come dig ideal graves, so the group stacked stones end the bodies to form a cairn. They quiet couldn"t find any type of sign that Olive or mar Ann, top them to the conclusion the the girls had actually been bring away by the indigenous Americans. 


The aboriginal Americans take it the Oatman girls to your camp. Source: (en.wikipedia.org)

Life together a Captive

Olive Oatman and her sister were taken to an Indian town in the Harquahala Mountains. There, they were treated poorly by the aboriginal people and also forced to work, moving wood and also jugs of water. They sustained beatings and also abuse from your captors for more than a year. 


The sisters were traded to the Mohave Indians. Source: (allthatsinteresting.com)

Traded come the Mohave Indians

About a year right into the girls" captivity, a tape of Mojave Indians concerned the village. They offered to profession horses, blankets, food, and also other items in exchange for the two white girls. Indigenous there, Olive said, the sisters had to walk for countless days until they got to the Mojave village in present-day Needles, California. The girls to be taken in by the please wife and also daughter of the town chief, that cared for the girls. Later, Olive spoke fondly of the women and also of the Mojave world in general. 

Olive Oatman received a blue chin tattoo. Source: (mentalfloss.com)


During their time through the Mojave people, both Olive Oatman and her sister were offered facial tattoos. Utilizing blue cactus dye, the sisters" chins to be adorned with a series of lines and shapes the Olive claimed was the Mojave tradition of noting slaves. In reality, the Mojave civilization used face tattoos as a means to suggest that a human being was a member that the people after they died and also entered the immortality so they could be rejoined with their departed ancestors. With that in mind, it appears as though the chin tattoos were an ext of a means of reflecting that the Oatman sisters had been accepted into the tribe. 

The region around Needles, California, proficient a major drought. Source: (en.wikipedia.com)

The death of mary Ann Oatman

During your time v the Mojave people, the Oatman girls to be treated well. However, sometime roughly 1855 or 1856, the region experienced a devastating drought, and food ended up being scarce. Olive reported the her sister passed away of starvation throughout that time. She was probably 10 or 11 years old. 

The railroad brought more and much more white civilization close to Oatman"s village. Source: (ebay.com)

Hiding she Identity

Olive Oatman didn"t understand that her brother, Lorenzo, had survived the assault on her family. Because that the previous several years, she thought that her whole family, conserve for mary Ann, had been slaughtered. That might be why she didn"t reveal herself to the group of white railroad surveyors who lived close to her town for an ext than a mainly in February 1854. She had actually become fully assimilated right into the Mojave culture. She had even taken a brand-new name, Oach. 

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The nation was enthralled v the story that Olive Oatman"s release. Source: (dccourier.com)

Olive’s Release

Five year after she kidnapping, when she to be 19 years old, Olive Oatman was released ~ a messenger landed on the village with word that the authorities at fort Yuma in Arizona had learned the a white mrs was living amongst the Mojave people. Lock demanded that the Mojave either release her or send she to fort Yuma come testify the she want to continue to be with them. It took rather a little of persuading, yet Olive Oatman lastly agreed to take trip to ft Yuma, a journey that took much more than 2 weeks. Before she got to the fort, Olive to be given suitable clothing come wear because the timeless Mohave attire was a an easy skirt through no top. 

A bust engraving of Olive Oatman and the title web page of the book Captivity that the Oatman Girls: being an exciting narrative rife amongst the Apache and also Mohave Indians. Source: (Photo by Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

Reunited v Her Brother

Olive Oatman to be soon reunited with she brother, Lorenzo, that she had thought was dead. Their reunion was extensively covered through the press, and also the story to be circulated roughly the world. She said reporters about the quality of the Mojave people and also denied rumors the she had actually been struck during her captivity. A book around her ordeal ended up being a bestseller, and her re-publishing of the profits permitted her and also her brother to to visit the university of the Pacific. In 1865, Olive Oatman married a rancher called John Fairchild and moved through him to Sherman, Texas, wherein they adopted a infant girl after ~ a decade of marriage. Despite it could seem that the remainder of Olive Oatman"s life before she passed away in Texas in ~ the period of 65 was the of an plain southern white woman in spite of her tattoos, she never shed every one of her adopted culture. She kitchen always held a jar of hazelnuts, a clip Mojave food.