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Mary Ann Oatman (1843 - 1853)

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Mary Ann Oatman
Born in La Harpe Hancock County Illinois, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
[spouse(s) unknown]
[children unknown]
Died in Arizona, United Statesmap
Profile last modified 5 Oct 2014 | Created 20 Aug 2014
This page has been accessed 512 times.

Mary Oatman was involved in the westward expansion of the USA.
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Mary Ann Oatman

The Oatman family were pioneers ,in 1851 they joined a wagon train headed for southern California, the group to split up and the 6 members of the Oatman family were massacred, by a Native American tribe, the Tolkepayas ,Mary's brother Lorenzo was left for dead but survived.Mary Ann and her sister[1] Olive were[2] captured and enslaved.On the way to their camp,the Tolkepayas pushed the girls hard,[3]Mary Ann was beaten when she refused to go on. She collapsed on the trail after another beating, she was put on a horse with one of the Tolkepayas. The sisters endured the trip and arrived at the Tolkepayas camp four days later.They were now slaves for the Tolkepayas Indians.They invented modes,recalled Olive, and seemed to create necessities of labor, that they might gratify themselves by taxing us to the utmost, and even took unwarranted delight in whipping us on beyond our strength.We soon learned that our condition was that of unmitigated slavery, not to the adults merely, but to the children.

In 1852 [4]Olive and Mary Ann were traded to the Mohaves for two horses and three blankets.The girls were treated well by the Mohaves .They were adopted by Espaniole and Aespaneo.Both[5] Olive and Mary Ann were tattooed on their chins and arms,this was done by by sticking cactus thorns into them and then rubbing dye or charcoal into the wounds.The Mohave Indians did not forcibly tattoo people, so ,[6]Olive and Mary Ann must have agreed to be tattooed.In Mohave tradition the tattoo's were given only to their own people to ensure that they would have a good afterlife.

In 1853 a famine struck the Mohave tribe, Mary Ann said to her sister Olive, I shall die soon. You will live and get away. Olive said She and I were whole days at a time without anything to eat when by some chance, or the kindness of the chief’s daughter we would get a morsel to satisfy our cravings. A number of Indian children and Mary Ann died from starvation .Olive was rescued 5 years after her capture.


  1. NWHM - The Abduction of Olive Oatman
  2. The High - The Oatland Girls
  3. - Captured and Tortured: The story of Olivia and Mary Ann Oatman
  4. Discover - Famous Crimes of the Arizona Territory Oatman Massacre and Captivity of the Oatman Sisters,as related to J. Ross Browne in 1864
  5. Tattoo Archive - Olive Oatman
  6. - Captivity of the Oatman Girls

See also:

  • Find a Grave - Burial - Unknown Find A Grave Memorial# 90204992

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DNA Connections
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Mary by comparing test results with other carriers of her ancestors' mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known mtDNA test-takers in her direct maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Mary:

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Mary is 14 degrees from T S Eliot, 16 degrees from Walter Howe and 17 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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Categories: Trails and Wagon Trains