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73 behavior from emigrants.” The New York Free Mill Party passed through the Pima villages and commended the chief for “the Pimos being very friendly & accommodating.” A traveler from Tennessee applauded the Pima’s “kindness and courtesy.” The Fremont Association of New York left a letter extolling the kind treatment received from the Pima. Audubon wrote that Azul—as was apparently his custom—came out to meet the emigrants and presented them with an array of letters “recommending him as honest, kind and solicitous for the welfare of Americans.” Harris added Azul “showed us many written testimonials, principally of trappers, attesting his kindness to them, even to remounting, rearming and revictualizing them.”104 Inclined to generosity and charity, the Pima expected the emigrants to engage in gift exchange or, as Couts observed, “they would think hard of it.” But the Pima also knew they were highly venerated and well thought of. As a result, the 6’4” Azul expected a certain level of homage. Without the requisite regards, emigrants might experience price hikes, increased charges for services, such as rounding up stray stock, or even loss of personal possessions. Powell, traveling with an emigrant train under the leadership of a Captain White, wrote how Azul, dressed in full military regalia, came out to meet the captain as the emigrants approached. White, however, offended the aged chief by failing to exchange pleasantries and gifts.
Wood writes one of the emigrants lost a buffalo robe to theft but that the chief, after making a long speech to his people, secured its return (Journal of Harvey Wood, p. 12). Durivage observed Azul was “a very dignified-looking old fellow” (Journal of John Durivage, p. 219). Harris called Azul “Statesmanlike” and “handsome” (Diary of Benjamin Harris, p. 80). When Aldrich lost blankets, guns and cooking utensils to theft, Azul—unable to persuade the guilty party to return the articles, “replaced the missing blankets with two of his own” (Lorenzo D. Aldrich, A Journal of the Overland Route to California and the Gold Mines (Los Angeles, California: Dawson’s Book Shop, 1950), p. 54 (hereafter Journal of Lorenzo Aldrich). Evidently the chief rode one of the finest horses among the Pima (Diary of Robert Eccleston, p. 210).
106 Diary of Robert Eccleston, pp. 207-208. Journal of Captain Marcy, p. 312.
75 an opportunity of trading with his people.” John Griffin, assistant surgeon with the Army of the West, observed the Pima “were most eager to trade” and did so with “the greatest confidence, showing not the slightest fear as the mountain Indians did.” Audubon wrote many of the Pima “who came to trade had already made up their minds only to do so for some particular article, and in those cases it was not of the least avail to offer anything else.”107
required the ability to store large quantities of food for extended periods. Such care was demonstrated by the fine Pima subterranean and woven granaries kept “full of pumpkins, mellons (sic), corn &c.” Emory noted corn, beans and wheat being stored in “large baskets” with corn in some places stored “in baskets covered with earth, and placed on the tops of the domes (of their homes).” By mid century every Pima family had “a granary, or store house, which is much larger and better constructed than their huts.”108
As emigrant traffic increased, the Pima shifted almost exclusively to the trading and selling of their products, both of which increased their material prosperity.109 Considered “a shrewd” and “keen” people who were “willing to trade for anything that will better their present appearance,” the Pima initially traded to acquire white domestics, colorful cloth, pants, vests, shoes, stone beads and red flannel. What emigrants needed most from the Indians was food and forage, both for their own sustenance and for that of their animals. Pima corn and wheat, along with beans, pumpkins and melons, were most in demand by emigrants. While there were periodic attempts by emigrants to purchase or effect an exchange for the limited number of Pima mules and oxen, the Pima declined as these beasts of burden were essential to their economy. Corn sold for fifty cents a basket that contained six to eight pints and a small bundle of corn stalks to feed livestock sold for a quarter. While many emigrants purchased as much food and forage as prudent, the largest single recorded purchase by an individual—outside of the military—was Strentzel’s twelve bushels of corn and wheat for the journey down the Gila River.110 While corn and wheat were the main trade items, they were not the only items acquired by emigrants. Kearny purchased a cow from the Pima at a cost of $10 and other emigrants did likewise, although at a greater cost—Hayes reported one purchased at $32.
Smaller quantities of food, such as dried corn, green corn, beans, peas, pinole, melons, pumpkins, potatoes, yams, tomatoes, corn meal, wheat flour, tortillas, molasses and salt them,” emphasizing the Indians could not get the supplies and trade goods they wanted from the Sonoran towns, including Tucson.
Cozzens, p. 100.
109 “Report of A. R. Johnston,” in House Executive Document 41, p. 598. Tyler, p. 232. When the Pima gave out food and water they expected reciprocity for their kindness. This generosity was part of the culture of gift giving.
110 Journal of H.M.T. Powell, p. 153. Journal of Robert Green, p. 68. Letter from California, p. 256. Philip St. George Cooke purchased more than 100 bushels of corn for the Mormon Battalion in 1846. He also purchased over 600 pounds of wheat flour. Henry Bigler’s Diaries, p. 36. Senate Report No. 2, pp. 50-54. Cook notes he had twelve quarts of corn per mule and four bushels per oxen.
77 all sold well. Pima blankets manufactured from indigenous short staple cotton also sold, as were gourds filled with water for use across the Forty-Mile Desert. When practical, emigrants purchased sufficient food and forage for the journey down the Gila. One traveler noted the Pima had plenty of food and carried “large quantities of corn and corn meal, wheat and flour, also beans [and] squashes to trade for old shirts, old shoes, pants, vests, beads and buttons.”111 As more emigrants arrived in the villages, and as the demand for shirts, cloth and other trade items abated, the Pima shifted to more of a cash economy. An emigrant passing through the villages in the spring of 1849, for instance, observed the Pima “did not appear to know the value of money” with another stating, “money is well nigh useless to them.” This was consistent with Cooke’s comment of 1846 that the Pima “know nothing of the value of money or weights and measures.” Even when they began accepting coin the Pima “would not take money for anything near its value … prefer[ing] beads, shirts, especially red flannel, pieces of old clothe, etc.” Other emigrants wrote that brass buttons, paints, looking glasses and similar novelties remained in demand among the Indians. One emigrant found the demand for cloth so high he tore red flannel into long strips to extend his trade value. Jewelry and fancy beads were of little value although the Pima eagerly sought stone beads when they were available. Pima women especially coveted red flannel shirts, with one emigrant noting they “would give anything to get” them. By 1850 emigrants rarely saw “one of these Indians who had not on a Shirt, 111 Diary of John Griffin, p. 212. Jeanne Skinner Van Nostrand, “Audubon’s Ill-Fated Western Journal Recalled by the Diary of J. H.
Bachman,” California Historical Society Quarterly (21:4, December 1942), p. 298 (hereafter Diary of J. H. Bachman). Journal of Lorenzo Aldrich, p. 53. Adventures of Charles Pancoast, p. 244. Diaries of Benjamin Hayes, p. 45. Turner, p. 108. Journal of Asa Clarke, p. 71. Journal of a Forty-Niner, p. 153. Journal of Samuel Holister Rogers, copy in Brigham Young University Library, 1954) (hereafter Journal of Samuel Rogers), p. 77. Senate Report No. 2, p. 52. Henry Bigler’s Diaries, p. 37, also notes the Mormon Battalion bought beef.
78 Coat or pair of pants.” As late as October 1850 the Pima—while more often than not demanding coin—relied on trade. William Miles, in the villages that fall, wrote his party asked for water and, upon receiving it, was told to “pay for it in the way of clothes, red flannel, of which they were excessively fond, and muslin shirts.” American gold coins were “indignantly refused.” When the emigrants tried to purchase melons using money the Pima laughed at them, “treating us as though they were independently wealthy, or that our cash was of no value.”112 Cognizant they had a monopoly on the market along the middle Gila River, the Pima—and to a lesser extent the Maricopa—demanded increasingly higher prices for their commodities, especially when the multitude of emigrants increased. Hunter noted 800 Americans at the villages when he camped outside the main Pima village in the fall of 1849. Eccleston noted the Pima “asked a large price” for everything. The Maricopa also “asked extremely high” prices for their goods. Durivage noted “prices were enormously high, [with] a shirt being demanded for a very small quantity of any of the articles mentioned.” While the Pima did not have a set rate for their goods—allowing the market to fluctuate with demand—they were generally “reasonable in their charges.” Although white domestics were the medium of exchange in November 1846, red flannel 112 Recollections of Harvey Wood, p. 12. Journal of Lorenzo Aldrich, p. 54. Senate Report No. 2, p. 49. Journal of Asa Clark, p. 71.
Journal of John Durivage, p. 218. Adventures of Charles Pancoast, p. 246. Audubon’s Western Journal, p. 156. Patricia A. Etter, ed.
An American Odyssey: The Autobiography of a 19th Century Scotsman, Robert Brownlee, at the Request of his Children, Napa County, California, 1892 (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1986), (hereafter Autobiography of Robert Brownlee), p. 67.
Diary of C. C. Cox, p. 145. Cox notes none of the Indians wore an entire suit. One, a young, tall man wore a black “two story hat,” a heavy blue coat “all buttoned up to the Chin” causing perspiration to pour from his body, and no other clothing—“his lower extremities were in a state of entire nudity.” Journal of William Miles, pp. 23-24.