Phyllis is an enthusiastic researcher, reader, and writer of history. Historical fiction based on actual facts is her expertise.
Numaga, Paiute Chief
Continued from My boy is out There
Gabe and Al were sitting on the front porch of the station, finishing breakfast when Al spoke up, "Sure as shootin', Gabe, you were right when you said Numaga would come after his ponies." Al stood up and drew his Colt, as did Gabe. They watched Numaga and four warriors approach slowly. Numaga held up his right hand to signal peace.
David and Mat came out on the porch. "He won't cause trouble, holster your guns but keep them loose. I don't recognize the warriors," David held up his hand to acknowledge Numaga's peace.
Numaga halted several feet from the porch and recognized David. "Peace to my friend Captain Allen and friends."
David returned the greeting then invited Numaga down to sit on the porch and the Chief dismounted. Gabe and Al were surprised at Numaga's appearance, who was more than six feet tall. It was obvious Numaga had great physical strength for his chest was deep and his arms looked powerful. Though friendly, he was solemn with a keen sense and awareness of his surroundings.
Gabe later said to Al, "Ain't nothin' gonna slip by that man. He is very watchful and steady. He knows everything goin' on 'round him."
Numaga and David
The four warriors sat quietly and alert on their ponies while Numaga had coffee with
David. Numaga never jumped straight to his purpose, rather he preferred a cordial greeting and an amicable conversation. And he loved coffee.
David and Numaga met several times during the investigation of the Mountain Meadows Massacre and immediately respected and liked each other. The massacre greatly saddened Numaga who was a peace negotiator.
The polite conversation with David finally came around to the reason for Numaga's visit. He listened to David's explanation of how the Indian ponies came to be at the station. Numaga understood then told his men to rope five ponies together to lead them home.
"I leave one best pony for brave man who killed my warriors back on the trail. I come not to harm but see the brave man and give him a gift. He was one against six warriors who were wrong to attack. I make amends."
David was pleased and honored to hear Numaga refer to Jimmy as a 'brave man' and agreed to let Numaga meet Jimmy. He turned and spoke to Mat who was standing at the door. He first introduced Mat to Numaga then asked Mat to let Jimmy know he had an honored and great visitor.
"His name is Jimmy and he is still recovering from his wounds that were infected. So, we have to go back to his room as he cannot walk."
"He will die?" Numaga asked with concern.
"Oh, no. He won't die. Jimmy is going to be fine. He just needs time to heal. I guess I should tell you before you see him, Numaga. He is not a man, but a very brave and remarkable young boy."
Numaga was surprised, but not shocked. Many of his warriors were just boys.
Numaga Meets Jimmy
Jimmy was sitting up in bed, resting against pillows Mat had placed behind him. He still felt weak but was alert. When David and Numaga entered the room, Jimmy shrunk back a little. Mat had told him the visitor was a Paiute Chief and friendly but it still made Jimmy nervous. The chief was huge and his presence filled the room.
"I come in peace, Jimmy, to honor you and make amends. I am, Numaga, your friend," with his strong yet pleasant voice and kind eyes, Numaga immediately put Jimmy at ease.
Jimmy remembered that Mat told him to not be afraid for David will come in also. "When Numaga comes in and introduces himself, just say, "You are welcome here, Numaga. I am honored to meet you. Please sit." and motion to the chair here."
Jimmy did as Mat instructed then added, "I am happy to meet you and am honored to be a friend of such a great Chief."
"You have mother and father here?" Numaga was stunned when he saw how young
Jimmy was. To know a boy that young, just past childhood, was able to defend himself against six grown warriors was remarkable.
"My mother and father are dead. David is now my Pa," Jimmy looked up at David and proudly smiled. "And Mat is my Uncle."
"Then you have good family, Jimmy. These are two very fine men."
Numaga and Jimmy talked for quite a while. Jimmy related how his family had been killed in the massacre, how he came to be a Pony Express rider and met David and Mat.
When it was time to leave, Numaga stood and offered his hand to Jimmy. They shook hands and Jimmy smiled brightly.
"I have gift for you, Jimmy. It is a fine pony and he is yours in honor of our friendship," Numaga bowed slightly when Jimmy thanked him with enthusiasm.
Rebecca, Jimmy is Coming Home
While Jimmy recuperated and healed, he and David had long talks. David told him about Rebecca. Jimmy was beside himself with joy and shed many tears of happiness. He was very young when Rebecca and David married and left with the Cavalry for California. He tried to remember Rebecca but he was not quite three at the time she left. David read Rebecca's letter to Jimmy and gave him a picture.
"This is a picture of your whole family, Jimmy. Rebecca prayed every night that you would someday receive this letter and picture. Look! Look here," David pointed to a lovely young bride. "This is Rebecca on our wedding day and she is holding you. We now have a little boy about the same age you were in that picture. Last time I was home, about six months ago, our second child was born, another boy. So, you are an uncle, Jimmy."
"How 'bout that! Me, an uncle," Jimmy grinned.
Jimmy's eyes grew wider as he studied the photo. He recognized every family member in the picture and became very excited, then remembered they were all dead now and tears flowed heavily as he named each person. He closely studied Rebecca and himself. He looked closer at his little chubby hand in the photo reaching up to touch Rebecca's face.
Suddenly he remembered something and whispered softly, "Becca. Becca. Jimmy love Becca," he put his head down on the table and cried hard as the memory flooded his mind. To know this beloved sister was alive and waiting for him filled his heart with so much love he felt it would burst.
My dearest little brother Jimmy,
Last time I saw you, you were only two years old. You were my special joy. I pray you are still alive and that Captain David Allen will find you to bring you home to me.
Captain Allen is my husband and he is as hopeful as I am to find you. When you come home, I have your own bedroom ready for you. I put a few things in there that belonged to Mama and Papa, and a picture of them. There is also a little teddy bear like the one you had when you were a baby.
I pray every night for you, Jimmy. I ask God to bring you back to me and I wait with open arms.
Wherever you are, Jimmy, may God bless and keep you safe dear little brother.
My love always and forever,
Rebecca Miller Allen
PS: The flowers in the other envelope are Forget-Me-Nots. They are a reminder to remember me, as I remember you, and a sign of undying love.
Warning of Possible Danger
Rebecca was just finishing final touches on a shirt for Jimmy. It was the third shirt she had made for him. Her mind was overflowing with thoughts of having Jimmy home after so many years of wondering what had become of him.
"I remember when he was a baby he loved my blue dress more than anything else I wore. Now he has three shirts with blue in them. And David will take him to the men's wear store to get Jimmy some pants and shoes. I have to finish tyding up Jimmy's room and put that warm quilt on his bed, the quilt Mama made for me so many years ago. Gosh! David and Jimmy will be home next week. I have so much to do before they get here. I hope these shirts I made are not too big for him."
She was sitting on the porch enjoying the early morning sunshine. Baby Charlie was sleeping peacefully in the bassinet next to her and little Billy was quietly playing with the blocks his uncle Mat had made for him. Rebecca recalled how much Billy looked like Jimmy at that age and she smiled.
Rebecca was startled when Tommy, David and Mat's younger brother, came riding up fast, holding his rifle out in his right hand. He dismounted and tied his horse to the rail.
"Tommy! What's wrong?" Rebecca hurried over to pick up Billy.
"Pa sent me over to protect you and the babies. Something's going on in town. A scout just rode in and people are rushing all over the place. Get inside and start locking up. I will carry in the baby," he hopped up on the porch, picked up the bassinet and hurried in after Rebecca. "Pa will be here shortly in the wagon with Ma."
Waiting With Trepidation
Rebecca felt safe with David's father, William, present and in charge. The babies were asleep on blankets on the floor between Rebecca and Emma, David's mother. Each adult and Tommy were at a window with rifles. Almost three hours had passed and nothing was happening outside.
With the house closed up, it was getting warm and tensions were building up. Rebecca took a quick break to get some apple cider she had stored in the cold-pantry and gave everyone a cup of the cool drink. She left the jug by William to pass around as needed.
Suddenly there was a commotion outside. William opened his window and called out to two riders.
"Gary, Doug, good to see you. What's going on?"
"Everything is okay, William. No danger. The Dragoons just arrived a week early and everyone is excited. Captain Allen asked me to ride out here to let you know he and Mat will be here as soon as they are dismissed from the regiment. He said to make sure and tell Miss Rebecca that Jimmy is with them."
Rebecca broke out in sobs, tears soaking the hankie she put up to her face. Emma hugged her and also cried with relief.
"Guess we can open up the house and wait on the porch for our boys," William stood and started opening the windows a little for fresh air. Tommy opened the door and ran out with the cider jug, cheering loudly, waking the babies.
With babies crying and Tommy cheering the house was full of laughter and joy.
Jimmy is Home
Rebecca had just got Charlie calmed down and back to sleep when she heard more riders approaching. She went out on the porch with Billy hanging onto her skirt.
She nearly fainted when David, Mat, and Jimmy rode up. David dismounted and ran up to hug Rebecca. "Be right back," he said and kissed her forehead. He went out to help Jimmy off his pony, while Mat held the reins.
Jimmy still could not stand on his own. He held on to David and stared at Rebecca, who was still crying with joy. He took off his hat and David helped him up to the porch. Rebecca was shocked. She was not sure she would recognize Jimmy, but when she saw his blonde hair and beautiful blue eyes, she sobbed loudly.
Jimmy stood directly in front of Rebecca and whispered, "Becca. Becca." His eyes filled with tears and ran down, dropping onto his shirt. They hugged and cried for several minutes till David helped Jimmy inside to a chair.
Rebecca wanted to know why Jimmy was so weak and limping so badly. This started a whole burst of conversation with everyone joining in and asking questions.
"Your little Jimmy ain't so little anymore, Rebecca. He is a hero and still healing from wounds. And he calls me Pa!" David proudly said.
"What a fighter this kid is," Mat chimed in. "Battling with Indians then fighting off
The house was filled with so much to talk about and a lot of love. They all sat down to supper and more talk. After the Allens left with hugs all around, David helped Jimmy change and into bed. Rebecca came in and said prayers with David and Jimmy, then she kissed her little brother and tucked him in for the night.
Jimmy was almost too excited to sleep, but it was not long before his eyelids grew heavy and he turned over on his right side. When his hand touched something furry, he opened his eyes and picked up the teddy bear Rebecca left on his bed.
"Well, hello, Teddy ... it's been a long time," then Jimmy slept.
Jimmy was home.
The conversations Numaga had in this chapter are from my own thoughts about the
Paiute Chief. I mean no disrespect to the great leader of the nineteenth century. It is clear to me that Numaga had a kind heart and I wanted to express this in my own way.
The nationally acclaimed Numaga Indian Days Pow-Wow is held annually in the county I live in.
This final chapter of Jimmy Evans is dedicated to my dear friend, Zulma.
All the locations I mention in this article are in what is now the state of Nevada. The majority of my story takes place in the year 1860 and at that time all of the locations were part of the Utah Territory. Nevada did not become a state until October 31, 1864, but for clarification of the Pony Express route and to prevent confusion I used Nevada for locations.
I conducted extensive research for this historical fiction article to convey to my readers a believable story and accurate events based on the life of Billy Tate, the Pony Express, the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and the Paiute Uprising. The years I covered are from September 1857 to June 1860.
My Jimmy Evans character is based on Billy Tate, an orphan, who joined the Pony Express when he was eleven years old, three years after his parents and siblings were killed in the Mountain Meadows Massacre in 1857.
The Baker-Fancher wagon train of 120 people was attacked in southern Utah on
September 10, 1857, by Mormons and Paiutes. All adults and older children were killed. Surviving children were given to local families for farm labor. Billy was taken by the Tate family to be put to work in the fields. After three years Billy ran away to live on his own.
When Billy Tate worked for the Pony Express, he was given the route that ran through Ruby Valley because he was the best and fastest rider. This was the most dangerous route. Billy was attacked by twelve Paiute Indians in Ruby Valley. He hid in the foothills behind large rocks to defend himself. His horse made it to the Ruby Valley Station with the mail, but Billy did not. His body was found with numerous arrows in it. Billy killed most of the Indians before he himself was killed.
For years after the fierce battle, the story about Billy was remembered by local tribes that the Paiutes who killed the brave warrior honored him and sent his spirit to the land of their ancestors. That was a great reward in their beliefs. It was normal practice for the Paiutes to scalp and mutilate the body of their victims. They did not do that to Billy for they admired that the brave warrior who fought so hard was just a boy. Billy was described by the Paiutes as a boy with "hair like the sun and eyes like water".
All characters in my historical fiction story are fictitious with the exception of Numaga. Dates, station locations, the fierce battle Billy fought with the twelve Paiutes, the type gun and ammo Billy had are historical facts. The Tate family were real. Billy's real name was James William Miller, but he went by the name of Billy Tate after he ran away.
Billy Tate was buried somewhere in Ruby Valley, White Pine County, Nevada in May or June of 1860 in an unmarked grave. The reason for this was to prevent the desecration of the grave so Billy could rest in peace. Those who buried him knew the grave would be disturbed and robbed, if the location was known, because of the Paiute uprising when there was the possibility of revenge for the killing of seven warriors by Billy. Also, at the time, Billy was a brave, courageous young boy whose fame spread throughout several Indian tribes as well as other communities and there would have been those who wanted to rob the grave for souvenirs from the boy who had become a legend. Billy was a boy who saw more of life and death that a child should never have to experience.
Billy Tate (James William Miller) was born in 1846 in Carroll County, Arkansas. He was fourteen years old when he died.
Pony Express Trail Map
Billy Tate Pony Express Rider and Hero
Mountain Meadows Massacre
Mountain Meadows Massacre, wiki pd
Children of the Massacre
Excerpt (Chapter X) from the book MASSACRES OF THE MOUNTAINS
A HISTORY OF THE INDIAN WARS IN THE FAR WEST.
BY J. P. DUNN, JR., M.S., L.L.B. (1855-1924)
Arkansas Emigrants - The Miller Family
Paiute Uprising 1860 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paiute_War
Major James H. Carleton and K Company of the 1st Dragoons
Numaga, Paiute War Chief
Wagon Train Entering Mountain Meadows, LOC
Library of Congress
Prints and Photographs Online Catalog
Mountain Meadows Massacre
Killings and Aftermath of the Mountain Meadows Massacre
Ruby Valley Nevada
© 2020 Phyllis Doyle Burns
Phyllis Doyle Burns (author) from High desert of Nevada. on April 08, 2020:
Hi Ruby Jean and thank you so much for following the Jimmy Evans story - I really appreciate your dedication and wonderful comments. Take care.
Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on April 07, 2020:
I enjoyed reading each chapter. The ending was perfect. I'm so happy that Jimmy found his family. Thank you for sharing an exciting time in history.
Phyllis Doyle Burns (author) from High desert of Nevada. on April 06, 2020:
Thank you, Zulma.
Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on April 06, 2020:
Good for you, Phyllis. Please let us know how you get on with the memorial. Billy's story is one that needs to be known and never forgotten.
Good luck to you.
Phyllis Doyle Burns (author) from High desert of Nevada. on April 06, 2020:
Hi Zulma. So glad you liked the ending. I just could not bring myself to follow Billy Tate's fate and wanted Jimmy to find happiness.
Billy Tate was the only Pony Express rider killed. I am working on trying to get a memorial set up for him. His gravesite is still unknown and could be within just a few hours from where I live. The old trail is still usable and there is an annual event with riders follow it, yet there is no mention I can find about them trying to find the rocky outcrop where Billy died.
Thank you so much for following the story of Jimmy Evans. Jimmy is a courageous, brave rider, an excellent horse rider, a remarkable young boy, and a sharp-shooter - but, in the end he is just a kid who wants a home and family.
Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on April 06, 2020:
First off, I want to thank you for the dedication and for the happy ending. Both are greatly appreciated.
Second, the story of Billy Tate is amazing and is the stuff of legends. Why is he not up there with other great western personalities like Wyatt Earp, Buffalo Bill and Geronimo?
Again, thank you for letting Jimmy have his family. Enjoy your week and stay safe.