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My Captivity Among the Sioux Indians

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My Captivity Among the Sioux Indians
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Author(s): Fanny Kelly
Date Published: 2009/09
Page Count: 220
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-1-84677-755-4
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-1-84677-756-1

An amazing account of the survival of an American lady among hostile Indians

This is a remarkable story of one woman's ordeal and a testament of extraordinary feminine endurance. Mrs Kelly was one of a small party of emigrants who were attacked by a large force of Sioux warriors during which a large proportion of the party were killed. Travelling with her husband close to the Black Hills when the attack occurred, Fanny's husband miraculously effected his escape agonised by the knowledge that his wife and child were, at best, prisoners. Fanny Kelly's captivity lasted for five months. This is her account of that time and of her husbands efforts, in concert with the Iowa Cavalry, to rescue her. A fitting addition to the Leonaur 'Women in Conflict' series available in softcover and hardcover with dust jacket for collectors.

The night of my capture, I was ordered to lie down on the ground, near a wounded Indian. A circle of them guarded me, and three fierce warriors sat near me with drawn tomahawks.<br>
Reader, imagine my feelings, after the terrible scenes of the day previous; the desolate white woman in the power of revengeful savages, not daring to speak, lest their fury should fall on my defenceless head.<br>
My great anxiety now was to preserve my sanity, which threatened to be overcome if I did not arouse myself to hope, and put aside the feeling of despair which at times stole over me. My heart was continually lifted to “Our Father,” and confidently I now began to feel that prayer would be answered, and that God would deliver me in due season. This nerved me to endure and appear submissive.<br>
At early dawn I was aroused from my apparent slumbers by the war chief, who sent me out to catch the horses our American horses being afraid of the savages and as the animals were those belonging to our train, it was supposed that I could do so readily.<br>
Upon returning, my eyes were gladdened by the sight of my fellow prisoner, who was seated with her boy upon the ground, eating buffalo meat and crackers. I went immediately to her, and we conversed in low tones, telling her of my intention to escape the first opportunity. She seemed much depressed, but I endeavoured to reassure her, and bidding her hope for the best, went back to where the Indians were making ropes, and packing their goods and plunder more securely, preparatory to the succeeding march, which was commenced at an early hour of the day.<br>
We proceeded on our journey until near noon, when we halted in a valley not far to the north of Deer Creek Station, and I met this lady again. It was a clear and beautiful valley where we rested, until the scorching rays of the sun had faded in the horizon.<br>
Being burdened with the gun, and bow and arrow of the chief, my tired arms were relieved, and I plead for the privilege of camping here all night for many reasons. One was, we might be overtaken by friends sent to rescue us, and the distance of return would be less if I should be successful in my next attempt to escape.<br>
My entreaties were unavailing; the savages were determined to go forward, and we were soon mounted and started on. We travelled until sunset, then camped for the night in a secluded valley; we seemed to enter this valley along the base of a wall, composed of bluffs or peaks. Within these circling hills it lay, a green, cool resting place, watered by a bright sparkling stream, and pleasantly dotted with bushes and undergrowth.<br>
The moon went down early, and in the dim, uncertain star light, the heavy bluffs seemed to shut us in on all sides, rising grimly, like guardians, over our imprisoned lines. Blankets were spread, and on these the Indians rested.<br>
I was then led out some distance in the camp, and securely fastened for the night. But before this, I remarked, to my fellow prisoner, my determination to escape that night, if my life were the forfeit, as in every wind I fancied I could hear the voice of little Mary calling me. She entreated me not to leave her, but promising help to her should I be fortunate enough to get free, I sadly bade her good night, and went to my allotted place.<br>
In the morning, when permitted to rise, I learned that she had disappeared. A terrible sense of isolation closed around me. No one can realize the sensation without in some measure experiencing it.<br>
I was desolate before, but now that I knew myself separated from my only white companion, the feeling increased tenfold, and seemed to weigh me down with its awful gloomy horror.<br>
In the heart of the wilderness, surrounded by creatures with whom no chord of sympathy was entertained far from home, friends and the interests of civilized life the attractions of society, and, above all, separated from husband and loved ones there seemed but one glimpse of light, in all the blackness of despair, left, and that was flight.<br>
I listened to every sound, while moments appeared hours, and it seemed to me that death in its most terrible form would not be so hard to bear as the torturing agony I then endured.<br>
I murmured broken prayers. I seemed to hear the voices of my husband and child calling me, and springing forward, with a wild belief that it was real, would sink back again, overwhelmed with fresh agony.<br>
Arrangements were then made for resuming our journey, and we were soon once more on our march.<br>
Another burden had been added to my almost worn-out frame, the leading of an unruly horse; and my arms were so full of the implements I was forced to carry, that I threw away the pipe of the old chief a tube nearly three feet long, and given me to take care of which was very unfortunate for me, exciting the wrath and anger of the chief to a terrible degree.<br>
Now they seemed to regard me with a suspicious aversion, and were not so kind as before.<br>
The country they passed over was high, dry, and barren. I rode one horse and led another; and when evening came they stopped to rest in a grove of great timber, where there was a dry creek bed.<br>
Water was obtained by digging in the sand, but the supply was meagre, and I was allowed none.<br>
The sun began to sink, and the chief was so enraged against me, that he told me by signs that I should behold it rise no more.<br>