Monday, August 13, 2012
CATY SAGE INDIAN MAIDEN
I was looking at the photograph I took of Caty Sage's grave site in the Turner section of Kansas City, Kansas. I grew up across the river from the cemetery, exactly five miles by road on account of the location of the bridge, and maybe 2 miles by crow. Had I known about the cemetery in the time of childhood, I could have seen it easily from Monkey Mountain the river made a bend around, the highest point for looking at distant landscape, maybe a half mile from the house. About the same distance as the waterfalls I live near now. I'd seen the sign beside the road at Elk Creek, Virginia, the next town after Independence on hwy 21 going north. It's 20 miles from my house to Independence, and Elk Creek is between 5 and 10 miles beyond Independence. In her childhood, Caty was snatched by evidently a trader in children. It happened then as it happens today. Snatching children goes back so far in our development that women probably have a gene for keeping an eye on their children, keeping them close in public, from countless generations of mothers carrying concern over losing a child in such a way. I've an idea Caty's mother never stopped grieving her loss.
Caty's brother eventually found her in Ohio before her tribe, the Wyandotte's, was removed from their land by the white genocidal enemy to the Turner region of Kansas, next to the river. Brother wanted to take her back to mama to ease her grieving heart. But Caty had a life. She'd been sold to the chief of the Wyandotte tribe, goldilocks, white jungle goddess. She was raised as the daughter of the chief. When the old chief died, the warrior who filled in the role of chief married Caty. When he died, some twenty or so years later, the next warrior who became chief married her, too. I think it was during her last marriage that her brother found her. Of course she's not going back. She is the tribe's matriarch. Her role in the tribe was the equal of the chief's. She couldn't be going off on a major journey through forest trails. It would take a caravan to carry her and all the warriors in the tribe to protect her. She may not have had but very few snapshot memories, if any, of life on the farm with her birth parents. Her life was with the tribe that evidently held her way up high. From the start with blond hair, the chief's daughter, other kids wouldn't pick on her so much. They must have been in a kind of awe of her at the very beginning. The chief adopting her was her shield of protection for being different.
You know she must have been scared out of her wits from the moment a strange man put his nasty hand over her mouth and carried her away running through the woods. A highway system of trails ran through the mountains in that time, days and days walking trails. By the time they reached the Wyandotte territory in Ohio, I'd guess she was depending on her captor to feed her and protect her. He was not a church kinda guy, for sure, and more than likely not an outgoing personality. He had to keep her looking pretty to get high dollar for her. That may have protected her somewhat from him. But I'd lay odds he had his way with her at will along the way. Maybe not penetration, but fondling, breathing his rotten breath on her. There came a time she knew she'd never be rescued and never see home, about the time she stopped crying. Along their travels northwest, maybe through Cumberland Gap, up through Kentucky into Ohio. He was surely good to her to keep her healthy for the long walk and to look good at the other end. If an Indian out on a long-distance hunting trip snatched her, her terror might have even been worse than with some white man traveler. There's no telling. Her snatcher might have treated her ethically. No. Somebody who snatches a child to sell it doesn't think ethically.
All we know is she survived the overland journey from Elk Creek, Virginia, to western Ohio. The man she was with surely was a hunter, a man who knew the mountains, knew the trail system well. Possibly, by the time they reached their destination she'd learned something about hunting and preparing the food. It seems like it must have been an Indian possibly of the Wyandotte tribe. Maybe he knew the chief had no heirs of his infertile seed, thought this blond jungle goddess would suit the chief and maybe get the kidnapper a significant reward. Evidently, the chief had no heirs and Caty became his prize babydoll. It may not have been very long before they had her feeling at home, the chief's wife her new mother, the chief and his wife both elated to have such a beautiful child to raise as their own. She probably grew up into a knockout, and evidently the hot thang of choice since the next man to be chief married her. And 20 years later in her late 30s probably, her husband died and the next man to become chief married her. By this time she surely was the tribal matriarch. They must have thought a great deal of her. Shaman may have divined a good story about her being sent from heaven to be the chief's heir, or whatever. I can't see a white man carrying her that far when he could have sold her probably several times along the way.
If it were an Indian, he probably would have treated her ethically, possibly having in mind getting her to the chief and himself becoming a big man for finding her and bringing her back. Her brother who spent his adult life looking for her, following every lead he could find. By the time he finally found her, he surely knew the nature of her kidnapping, who did it and why. That knowledge died with him and everyone else concerned. I can't see a white man who would kidnap a child would carry a child that far, in probably a bee-line over the landscape, and the child survive him. An Indian hunter taking her through the trails with purpose to make her the chief's prized daughter would be good to her, feed her well and more than likely be respectful with her as if she already were the chief's daughter; he's just delivering her. She may have had very little terror except when she began to realize she'd never see home again. Not to say this is how it was, I doubt if anything I'd imagine could be the case. But it's fun letting the mind run and do some investigative thinking from what I've learned of walking in these mountains, and what I've learned living among human beings all my life.
I can't see a white man of the time, a hunter, kidnapping her and delivering her overland so far away, for money, in any kind of good health, certainly not good mental health after what he'd have done with her along the way. She'd have been unfit for a chief's daughter by the time she arrived years later. If it were a Wyandotte Indian hunter who found her by chance and took her with solving the chief's problem in mind, I'd guess he surely carried her on his shoulders or made a device of straps she could ride in on his back. It wouldn't be far along the way that she would be dependent on him, not knowing where she was or how to find the way home. After a certain point, she probably took him for her protector. An Indian could strap her to his back and make some time. I can't see a white man condescending to that, or even thinking to. By the time they reached the tribal settlement, she was probably curious to see what new life she was being carried into, maybe even ready to assimilate, for survival. Caty's first day in the tribal setting, seeing and meeting people inside an Indian village, must have been an eye opener.
I learned about Caty Sage reading Bill Bland's book, Yourowquains: A Wyandot Indian Queen, the story of Caty Sage, that I found in the Alleghany library. I went to amazon and saw they have some there, too. At amazon I saw a book published 2009, The Saga of Caty Sage, by Jerry L Haynes. Both books were rated 5 star and the reader reviews of the Saga of Caty Sage made me want it now. But I'm reading something else at the moment. Can't buy everything I think I want in a gotta-have-it moment. The library probably has a copy. It must be known, then, how Caty was taken from here to there. The Jerry Haynes book looked awfully good. He evidently did a great deal of research and put it all together as a "novel" probably because so many of his sources couldn't be verified. It tells me it is written as a story, which gives it a good chance of being what I'd want it to be. She was buried in an unmarked grave, maybe originally marked with wood, in the Indian part of the big cemetery, the part with very few headstones. She was driven west with the remains of her tribe after white encroachemnt. Not by war. They were told to leave. The survivors of disease evidently took up in Turner, Kansas. This is speculative, so don't be taking notes. Faulty memory sprinkled with imagination. It amuses me since I learned where she was buried that she and I did a reversal. She went to where I grew up and I went from there to where she originated, just 25+ miles from where I am now. We made a circle.