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Volume 8, No. 4 October, 1870


     The remaining three captives were forced to continue their weary and torturing journey across the dreary, snowclad plains, which lay stretched out far beyond them, the sight of which, with the wailing of the chilling winds that came rushing over the hills, and sweeping, the valleys, and moaning amid the leafless tree-tops around their camp-fires, as if to mock their suffering, and cause a deeper pall of gloom to encircle their grief-stricken hearts, shut out every ray of hope for escape. The heart bleeds and sickens, and frail humanity shudders, when we survey tire suffering condition of these poor captives out on these boundless prairies, amid snow, and biting frost, and chilling winds. Those who have traversed the prairies of the north-west in the inclement weather that is common in that region in the rough month of March, can form a faint conception of the sufferings of these poor women, who were, in a measure, deprived of a sufficiency of' clothing and healthy food; but " He that tempers the winds to the shorn lamb," sustained them in this trying ordeal. They were compelled to doff their own costumes and don those of the filthy squaws, which was exceedingly repulsive. Their hair, that now floated loosely over their shoulders, was parted on the top of the head and the seam painted red, like those of the vermin-clad scalps of the savages. The squaws, at times, became exceedingly jealous of the prisoners, and would manifest their dislike by severe blows,' end other brutal treatment. They were compelled to perform all the drudgery of the camp commonly incumbent' upon the squaws. Thus weeks and months rolled their dreary length along, without bringing a ray of hope for escape. They were closely watched, and were not even permitted to speak to each other; yet there were times when they would have a hasty communication unperceived, and at the risk of their lives.
     The Indians would often converse, among themselves, about the Spirit Lake massacre, in the presence of the prisoners, and were frequently heard to speak of the death of one Mr. Granger, before mentioned in this sketch. It seems that when they shot him, he sat or fell down by the root of a tree, and, leaning back against it, and placing his hand upon his forehead, exclaimed, "O my!" Mrs. Marble said that they would quite frequently imitate Mr. Granger, and laugh quite heartily. This is characteristic of the savages. They delight in the sufferings of their victims. In order to show more fully the delight and pleasure they take in such savage and barbarous atrocities, I will mention an instance as related to me by a Mrs. Allen, who was taken prisoner by the Winnebagoes (if I mistake not) at the time of the massacre in southern Minnesota, in the summer of 1862, I think. In the fall of the same year, she and another lady, whose name I do not now remember, together with three or four children, were rescued by some soldiers, at or near Fort Rice, on the upper Missouri river. When on their return, they stopped at Sioux City, for a short time, to await the arrival of some of their friends, who had supposed them all murdered, but who had been apprised, through the mail, of their rescue. Mrs. Allen stated that during her captivity she belonged to or was kept in charge by White Cloud, a chief. One day a warrior came to White Cloud's teepe, and related to the chief, in her presence, that during, or about the time of, the massacre referred to, he went into a white man's house, where he found no one at home except squaw and pappoose, as he said. The woman was engaged in baking bread, and had her stove oven hot for that purpose. As she stooped down to place the bread in the hot oven, he struck her a blow upon her head, with his tomahawk, killing her instantly. He then took her little infant, that lay in the cradle, and placed it in the hot oven, where its mother had tried to put her bread. The cries and shrieks of the poor babe were heart-rending. When he took it out and beat its brains out upon the hot stove, said the savage, "its brains fried on the stove." White Cloud remarked: "I wish I had been there to have laughed at it." They both laughed heartily over the recital of this and similar brutalities mentioned by them.
     Many bitter days of suffering, mental and physical, to the captives, rolled sluggishly by, and nature unrolled her green robes over the vast prairies; beautiful cowers shot forth, as if to adorn, beautify, and perfume nature's verdant robes; the trees put forth their quivering leaves, and the sweet songsters flitted among their boughs, warbling their sweetest strains of praise to their Maker. Nature, thus arrayed in all her beauty and glory, had no charms, or could create no emotions of pleasure in these poor unfortunates, whose minds were now bordering upon a state of insanity. All around them looked sad and dreary. The dark clouds of despondency had drank up their tears, and were settling around their crushed hearts and reeling brains: reason was almost dethroned, and these poor captives rendered pitiful wrecks of humanity.
     Gov. Samuel Medary, of Minnesota, whose generous heart was ever open to suffering humanity, learning, through some friendly Indians' the probable whereabouts of Ink-pa-do-tah's band, at once secured the services of some of Little Crows band to go in pursuit, and, if possible, rescue the prisoners. The governor fitted out the friendly Indians with a number of ponies and a number of sacks of flour, together with many trinkets of Indian character, that they might barter with the captors for their captives. Those friendly Indians set out on their errand of mercy, and after wandering for some time through northern Dakota, they struck their trail and came upon them, but too late to rescue one of the captives. Mrs. Noble, who had become very despondent, and who for days had yearned for death to release her from her condition, had sometimes aggravated the savages, with the hope that they would shoot her. The day prior to the arrival of the friendly band, she was sitting on the ground, moaning most pitifully, when an Indian who stood next to Mrs. Marble leveled his gun at Mrs. Noble and fired. The ball crashed through her half- crazed brain. Her troubles and sufferings on earth were now at an end, and her spirit winged its way to Him who gave it.
     Depression, gloom, and sadness now fell with a more crushing weight upon the hearts of the two remaining captives, who were expecting at any moment to share the same fate. Fortunately for them, however, the friendly Indians arrived the next day, and after some considerable parleying, they succeeded in purchasing the prisoners, giving in exchange for them the ponies, flour, &c. brought with them. Imagine the joy, if you can, of these two remaining captives, when they were informed of their ransom and liberty, and that they were again to be returned to homes and friends. It was with some difficulty that they could realize the fact.
     Their benefactors at once set out with them for the Winnebago Mission, in south-west Minnesota, where they arrived in a few days, and were very kindly received by the Christian missionary and his excellent lady. Here they remained for a short time to recruit their wearied frames and broken spirits, when they left for St. Paul; but, before leaving, the missionary's lady gave each of them a calico dress and sunbonnet, which they gladly accepted, and for which they left in exchange their Indian rig.
     On their arrival in St. Paul, the most heartfelt sympathy was manifested by the citizens. Hundreds crowded the hotel where they stopped, to offer their congratulations and express their sympathies. Mrs. Marble's mind was in such a delirious condition that she felt herself incapable of receiving company, and went to her room and closed the door against all visitors, as she said she did not want to be an object of curiosity for so many strangers, not one of whom she knew. After a few hours of seclusion, Wm. Granger, brother of the murdered Granger before spoken of, who then resided in the state of  Michigan, and who happened in St. Paul at that time on business, hearing that Mrs. Marble was there, called at her room to see her. She refused him admission until he informed her who he was, that he had been acquainted with her husband, and had seen her at Spirit Lake, where she readily admitted him.
     "My joy," said she, "was indescribable to meet with one person whom I knew. It seemed as though my heart would leap out at my mouth."
     Mr. Granger said that he soon discovered her mind was much out of balance, and that she looked very much dejected and broken down. He asked her where she expected to go, &c. She replied, that she did not know; that she was homeless, and knew not what to do. He told her, that if' she would go home with him, his house should be a home for her while she lived, should she wish to remain with him. She accepted the offer; but before she left, which was some three or four days, the citizens of St. Paul contributed $1000 for her and $500 for Miss Gardner. When the money was placed at her disposal, she said she did not know what disposition to make of it, when a banker in St. Paul called upon her and kindly proffered to place it in his bank, subject to her order at any time that she might see fit to draw on him for that amount; which she did, and in about three days after she had made the deposit, the bank failed, and she lost the last dollar of it. Such was the indignation of the citizens of St. Paul, that it was with difficulty they could be restrained from mobbing the bank. Grim misfortune still followed on her track.
     Miss Gardner returned to her people, in Iowa, where, in two or three years later, she married and moved back to Spirit Lake, where now l think, she resides.
     Mrs. Marble accompanied Mr. Granger to his home in Michigan, where she was treated very kindly. Mrs. Granger informed me, that when Mrs. Marble came to her house, her mind was very much impaired, and, at times, reason appeared partially dethroned, and she became very troublesome, and required close watching for fear that she would commit self: destruction. She would occasionally take the rifle and go to the woods and bring down a squirrel from the top of the tallest tree. She was well skilled in the use of firearms, and was an excellent shot. In a few months her shattered mind began to improve; she was soon herself again. It was quite seldom that she could be induced to speak of her captivity, and when she did, it was to those of her intimate friends among her own sex, never conversing with a gentleman upon the subject. After she had recuperated in mind and body, she went on a visit to her parents, in Ohio. After remaining a few weeks, she returned again to Mr. Granger's house, which she now seemed to recognize as her only home.
     Granger was a cunning and crafty man, and by no means honest, as the sequel will show. In 1858 or 1859, he removed to Spirit Lake, Iowa, and took a claim on the South bank of West Okoboji Lake, Mrs. Marble accompanying the family. Settlers were now pouring in very rapidly; so much so, that no danger was apprehended from the savages. Granger sought out those who had lost friends and property in the massacre, and soon succeeded in ingratiating himself in their good opinion, and then proffered his services to assist them in recovering a damage off of the Indians, through the government. He succeeded in obtaining powers of attorney from several to prosecute their claims. Among the claims was that of Mrs. Marble, who had unlimited confidence in G. and now looked upon him as a father. Granger, now being fully prepared to collect his claims, set out for Washington, where he arrived in due time and laid his claims before the proper authorities, and in the course of a few months he succeeded in collecting the most of them, which were deducted by the government out of the annuities of the Indians. When he returned to Spirit Lake, he reported the want of evidence in some cases, and delays on the part of the government in others, &c. while some few had been partially paid. In a few months he again returned to Washington to further prosecute the collection of claims. When he returned, he reported to Mrs. Marble that Marble had another wife living in Ohio, whom he had married previous to marrying her, and that she had applied for the claim, and had succeeded in getting it out of his hands, and that she need not expect to realize anything. In a conversation with Mr. G. he made the same statement to me.
     This was a crushing weight to Mrs. M. Sad misfortune still seemed to follow on her track, and plunge its bitter shafts into her bleeding heart. She could not for a moment allow herself to think that he whom she had so tenderly loved, and whose death she yet mourned, could have thus deceived her nor could she think that he whose roof sheltered her, and whose hospitality she so long had shared, could or would thus traduce and malign the character of her deceased husband, and abuse the confidence that she had placed in him. She sorrowfully pondered these things in her grief-stricken heart, and gloomily brooded over them for months, earnestly and prayerfully trusting that facts might yet come to light that would vindicate the character of her departed husband.
     As before stated, Granger removed to Sioux City, and while there he took into his employ a young man by the name of Oldham, an industrious and honorable man. After a few months' acquaintance, an intimacy sprang up between Mr. Oldham and Mrs. Marble, which was of a reciprocal character, and seemed to say that at no distant day the twain should be made one flesh. Granger, after remaining here about one year, removed to Bonham, in Dakota territory, or in that vicinity, Mrs. Marble and Oldham going with him. Soon after his removal, Mr. Oldham and Mrs. Marble were married. Soon after their marriage, Oldham became somewhat suspicious of Granger's conduct in reference to the collection of his wife's claim; feeling confident that there was " something rotten in Denmark." He accordingly wrote to the department at Washington, and was soon informed that his suspicions were correctly founded; that $1500 had been allowed her, and that some months previous it had been paid over to Wm. Granger, her agent, whose receipt they held for the same; and that as for another Mrs. Marble applying for the claim, it was utterly false. The truth was now brought to light, and base treachery exposed. Granger, on learning that his tracks had been unearthed and his villainy exposed, and fearing he would in all probability receive the severe penalty of the law, at once hastily arranged his business matters, and gathering up his effects, decamped with his family, leaving the territory and going somewhere east.
     These facts were given me by Mr. Oldham in person. In the fall of 1864 I met Mr. Oldham and lady in Sioux City, on their way east to visit some of their friends, and through that in all probability they would not again return to reside in the west.
     Such is a brief and imperfect history of the checkered life of a frontier woman who drank deeply of the cup of misfortune and affliction. But this is only one instance out of many that occur in a frontier life. Could all the facts in relation to the many cruelties and atrocities committed by the savages on our frontier settlers be spread out to the world, they would be found to have originated from the base and villainous conduct of white men, who are a disgrace to their race, and worse even than it is possible for a savage to be.

(To be continued.)

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