Shaw and the Horses

The first night out they made Pueblo. Sometime in the night forty horses were stolen. In the morning Shaw sent an escort on with the other horses, while he and Ad. Williamson went to look for the missing ones.

Shaw and Williamson traced the horses up the Little Fountain. After proceeding a few miles, they came upon a Mexican in a thicket of willows. When Shaw questioned him in regard to the missing horses and asked if he had seen any stray ones, the Mexican would answer, “No savy, senor, no savy.” The deputy marshal being familiar with the bluffs and deceiving qualities of the Mexicans, thought he not only fully understood the question but also knew the whereabouts of the horses, so he used a stronger method. Turning to Williamson, he said, “Ad., shoot that Mexican; see if he can savy that.”

The Mexican undoubtedly did, for he raised his hands and said, “No shootie me, no shootie me.”

“Can you tell us where the horses are*?”

“Look in the brush,” and the Mexican pointed farther up the creek. They followed his advice and found the horses tied in the willows. Shaw sent Williamson on with the horses to overtake the others while he went scouting. He came upon a camp of Ute Indians and stopped there all night. The Indians took a fancy to the scalps he had taken at the Sand Creek fight, so when he was leaving the next morning he gave them the scalps to show his appreciation of the hospitality they had extended to him. The Ute Indians were a peaceful band and feared the others as much as the settlers did. After riding all day he joined the command and the escort with the horses that same night in Colorado City.

Before leaving Pueblo, Major Bowan began drinking. Arriving in Colorado City where more liquor was available, he started in on a good spree. Colonel Chivington noticed the condition he was in and took him upstairs and locked him in his room.

The shrewd Major upon finding himself locked in and his booze all gone, took his sword and unscrewed the door latch.

The soldiers sleeping near the stairway were disturbed by the clink, clink of a sword as it went thumping over the steps. The Major made several trips up to his room carrying the glasses and bottles from the cellar and had a midnight spree all by himself. Next morning he stopped at the head of the stairs, looking down to the soldiers below, said in a very eloquent style that only a practised lawyer or orator could use, “What would Mrs. Bowan say if she saw me now? Would it be, ‘There comes that old Bowan drunk again’?” Then more emphatically, “No, never, but instead, ‘there comes my dearly beloved husband.”

The command left that morning to cross the divide, the horses waiting a day longer in Colorado City to give the command a chance to get across before crowding upon them.

The snow was so deep in the mountains that it seemed at first impossible to get over the divide. But with the cavalry horses plunging through the snow and the cannon and wagons ploughing along behind them, they finally succeeded in arriving in Denver about the first of the year, where they received their discharge papers, and the hundred day volunteers went back to their homes and farms with a stronger assurance that in the future they could till their lands and build up their homes without so great a fear of violence from the Indians.

After the command was safe over the divide, Shaw started across with the horses. They only got up to Mrs. Culberinie’s place the first day. The horses were weak and could not travel far at a time. There were four large fine mules in the bunch that Shaw took quite a fancy to, so he hid them out and intended to return for them, but someone else admired those same mules. When Shaw went to get them, he only found a note saying, “I will see you later.” But we can be sure he never did.

Mrs. Culberinie had shown such kindness to the escort and gave them such a welcome that upon leaving Shaw presented her daughter, Hersey, with a little pinto pony that the girl had become so attached to.

When the volunteers were called out, Governor Evans had issued a proclamation allowing the soldiers to keep the trophies they captured from the Indians. Shaw remembered this and took advantage of it, so when he arrived in Denver he had eighty-four left out of the seven hundred horses, from these he kept a pair of little pinto ponies and one little white one for himself. Later he gave the pinto team to Major Downing who sent them east.

Some of the Pioneers of Colorado

Source: True History of some of the Pioneers of Colorado, by Miss Luella Shaw, Press of Carson Harper Co, Denver, Colorado, 1909

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