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Published March 25th, 2014 by Unknown

By Buren Sparks

[Romance, heartache, heroism, & martyrdom make up this riveting account - from Hunter's Frontier Times Magazine, January, 1940]

The above title is the crude, trite inscription printed upon the headboard that once marked the grave of a Western martyr. The simple marker has been lost through careless hands, but the story of the Indian girl lives on in the heart and memory of the pioneers who yet live in the town of Fort Davis.

Fort Davis, one of the far-flung Western forts, was established in 1854. It was named in honor of Jefferson Davis, then Secretary of War. It had the most picturesque setting of any post along the border. It was located in the heart of the Davis mountains and between the two beautiful canyons, Limpia and Musquiz. Most of the old buildings are still standing and hundreds of tourists each year visit the stately ruins. Many of them stand in reverence as they try to call up or visualize the famous characters that once rode in and out of the adobe enclosure.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, so many of the soldiers went over to the side of the South, that the post was abandoned by the government. For six years it was without a garrison. During that time the Indian depredations grew steadily worse. It was not until June, 1867, that it was re-occupied. In that year four troops of the 9th Cavalry rode in and took quarters in the old fort. The 9th Cavalry was a negro regiment officered by white men. Most of the buildings that stand today were built during the regime of these troops.

After the re-occupation of the fort, the little settlement of Fort Davis, located in the heart of the Apache country bore the brunt of the Indian predations. One night several large freight outfits camped on the outskirts of the little town were on their way over the Chihuahua Trail. Early the next morning the citizens were awakened by the war whoops of the Apaches. The surprise was complete, and had it not been for the cool heads of the fighting freighters the little town might have have been annihalated. Many dead and wounded Indians were left upon the ground following their repulse. Among them was a young Indian girl, who was badly wounded. Living at the fort was a Mrs. Easton, mother of Lieut. Thomas Easton. This good woman, rather than let the wounded girl go to the post hospital, took her to the quarters occupied by her son. There she nursed the Indian maid back to health, and kept her for a companion and servant.

For two years she lived happily with the white family. They named her "Emily ." She soon fell in love with Lieut. Easton and in her shy and unobtrusive way, attended his wants like a slave.

But one day another family came to make their home in the little town hard by the fort. Their name was Nelson, and in the family was a very beautiful daughter by the name of Mary. Lieut. Thomas Easton, on being introduced to the newcomer, fell for her charms immediately. The occurrence, however, did not escape the keen eyes of the Indian lover. She became moody, and for hours at a time she would sit and gaze into the distant mountains. Soon after, the announcement reachad the garrison that Tom and Mary were engaged. That day Emily disappeared. Mrs. Easton felt no alarm when she first discovered her departure, as she believed that Emily would return in a few hours. But hours stretched into days, and still she did not return. The alarm was given and soldiers and citizens rode forth in search of the disconsolate maid. For days the search went on in canyons, caves, and the valley to the south, but still no Emily. Weeks passed, the months stretched into years, with no word from the girl. Trappers, freighters and scouts could find no clues.


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The apaches were out for trouble again; they were getting bolder and their raids became more frequent. The soldiers were kept busy and the command was constantly on the lookout for another attack on Fort Davis.

One night during this period of anxiety, a sentry heard some one as they tried to pass him. Thinking it might be an Indian, he called, "Halt, or I shoot!" The sound of running feet was the reply.

The sentry raised his gun and fired in the direction of the fleeing figure. The shot was answered by the scream of a woman. The soldier ran to the fallen woman and, picking her up, carried her in his arms to the quarters of the commanding officer. When they flashed a light in her face. they saw that it was Emily, the Indian girl, and that she was fatally wounded. They at once sent for Mrs. Easton. When she reached the side of the wounded girl, Emily, with failing breath, gasped out: "All my people come to kill and to scalp —I hear talk—by light of morning, so I come that Tom no get killed. Good-bye"—and the faithful Indian maid was gone.

The Indians did come, and in such numbers that the little settlement would have been wiped out had it not been for Emily's warning. Her body was placed among the soldier dead, and on a simple board was written the inscription that forms the title of this chapter.

Later the bodies of the soldiers were removed for interment at Arlington, near the nation's capitol, but Emily's body lies on the outskirts of the little town that was saved by her martyrdom.

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