I just returned from a vacation in Bullhead City, Az, where I saw this article in the "Colorado River Weekender", January 27 - February 2, 2006,( www.crweekender.com ) and thought that it may be of some help.
Olive Oatman's impact on local lore huge
Thursday, January 26, 2006 10:03 AM PST
Olive Oatman Oatman is a familiar name in the Tri-state area. The former Arizona mining town of that name is known for burros walking its Main Street, fried eggs on the sidewalks, bed races and make-believe shoot-outs.
But how many know where the town's name comes from, or the story behind the ill-fated family that is part of the local lore?
Persons interested in learning the facts regarding the pioneering family and its fate are invited to attend one of two lectures on the history of the Oatman family. “The Saga of the Oatman Family Massacre,” presented by David McDaniel, is scheduled for six p.m. Tuesday, February 7, in the library of the Bullhead City campus of Mohave Community College, and again at 7 p.m., Monday, February 13, at the Colorado River Historical Museum in Bullhead City. The public is invited to attend either or both lectures.
The lectures by McDaniel, a retired biologist with the U.S. Wildlife Service and a member of the faculty at MCC, take place on the eve of the 150th anniversary of the release from captivity of Olive Oatman, one of two surviving members of the Oatman family, by the Fort Mojave tribe.
Royce Oatman, his wife Mary Ann, and five children left Independence, Missouri, in August 1850, part of a wagon train of 55 people traveling in 20 wagons intending to settle along the Colorado River. Weary of the long trip and weakened by hunger, from time to time, various members of the train dropped out until the Oatman family found itself traveling alone.
Somewhere along the Gila River in southern Arizona, the family was attacked by Yavapais who killed Olive's mother, father, older sister and younger brother. Another brother, Lorenzo, was also attacked, but survived. Olive and her younger sister, Mary Ann, were taken prisoner.
What followed was five years of abuse. After about a year with the Yavapais, the two girls were sold to the Mojaves and finally reached the Colorado River, though not quite in the manner or under the circumstances intended. Mistreated and starved by her captors, Mary Ann died during her captivity, but Olive survived to finally be freed at Fort Yuma on February 28, 1856. She eventually rejoined Lorenzo, her brother, and the two settled in Oregon.
While in Oregon, Royal Stratton interviewed the Oatmans and recounted their adventures in a book titled Captivity of the Oatman Girls. Olive eventually married John Fairchild and the newlyweds moved to Sherman, Texas, where she died in 1903.
Captivity of the Oatman Girls is available in the Colorado River Historical Museum.