Indian Wars Remembrances
b. c. 1867 - d. 1965
John Daw (Hasteen-tsoh)
Hasteen-tsoh was from Tonalea (Red Lake) on the Navajo Reservation and was the last of the U.S. Army Navajo scouts. At age 18, he enlisted in the Army and served in the 2nd Cavalry from May 7, 1891, to December 5, 1894 out of Fort Wingate New Mexico Territory. He was entered in Army records as "John Daw" when he enlisted. [Dallas Morning News, Nov. 22, 1964]
"...was given an uniform and taken in as a soldier. We went to a lot of training, target practices, and we were issued guns and ammunition and horses and took very extensive military training until we were very highly trained as soldiers..."
[Transcript - Hearings [Indian Claims Commission], Jan. 16-17, 1951, Window Rock, Arizona, Docket II, 69 & 229, Navajo Tribe of Indians of United States.]
In 1964, he was mentioned in a newspaper article in the Dallas Morning News:
"This 95 year old veteran now lives with his wife in a hogan at the Red Lake Trading Post, near Tonalea, Ariz. Although his eyesight has failed, Daw maintains his own herd of sheep and drives his wagon. He claims he can hear an approaching automobile 10 miles away. He wife sees well but is becoming deaf."
Buried in Coconino County, Arizona
On Nov 22, 1964, the Dallas Morning News ran an article entitled "Indian War Survivors See TV Version, Shake Heads" where they interviewed some of the remaining 16 survivors from that war. Here are some excerpts from that article:
Editor's Note - Sixteen men of the Indian wars are still alive, the nation's oldest veterans, and they say it wasn't much like television shows of today. "Forts" were mostly tents, and the single-shot rifle wasn't anything like the M14. And the pay was #13 a month.
By W. Joynes MacFarlan - Washington (AP) ---- The last Civil War veteran died five years ago, but there are still 16 survivors of the Indian wars that raged in the West for nearly 40 years.
They are all that are left, says the Veterans Administration, of the 106,000 men who lived beyond the last battle in 1898. The youngest is 83, the oldest nearly 103.
Soon after the Civil War broke out, the Army began withdrawing its regulars from the West for duty in the War Between the States. The Indians, interpreting the withdrawal as weakness, went on the warpath. By the end of the Civil War in 1865 they were roaming over half the present area of the United States.
The Army then turned to the task of quelling the red men, arming its soldiers with single-shot Springfield rifles and paying privates #13 a month and three meals a day. To at least one survivor, that pay was not bad.
Hugh McGinnis, now 96, was twice wounded on Dec. 29, 1890, at the Battle of Wounded Knee in South Dakota. He was a private in Troop E, 7th U.S. Cavalry, and he actually saw only $8 of his monthly pay. The rest went for uniform allowances.
"But our existence was simple," McGinnis said with a smile when interviewed at his home in Crandon, Wis., where he lives alone. "Our needs were not too great."
The Indian war veterans generally agree, the Veterans Administration said, that the movies and television shows depicting Indian fighting leave something to be desired in the way of realism.
"They have all different ways of showing the West these days," said Howard Fielding, 92, who lives in a trailer court in Miami, Fla. "I watch the semi-comical TV shows now, something you know isn't true, but at least you can enjoy it."
FIELD enjoys the good life, the VA said. He parcels out 10 cigars each morning, smokes four in the morning, four in the afternoon and two in the evening. He has a martini for a night cap.
Walter C. Harrington, 96 of Gulfport, Fla., agrees with Fielding about the way the West is depicted, and in his opinion the term "fort" was largely a misnomer.
"It was nothing but tents," Harrington recalls. "Not like in the movies. Everything was outdoors. The cook strung a bunch of brass kettles on a pole resting on forked sticks and cooked over a bank of coals."
That is Harrington's description of Fort Niobrara, on the edge of the Sioux territory. He was stationed there before his outfit, the 21st U.S. Infantry, went into the South Dakota wilds, where the Sioux Indians were on a rampage.
HARRINGTON, too recalls the Battle of Wounded Knee. But his only mark from the Indian wars is a red nose. It was frozen while he was walking his guard post one night in the winter of 1890 when the temperature was 30 degrees below zero.
The last remaining Indian scout had the Navajo name of Hasteen-tsoh, but he went into the Army records as John Daw when he enlisted in the 2d Cavalry at Fort Wingate, Ariz., May 7, 1891. This 95 year old veteran now lives with his wife in a hogan at the Red Lake Trading Post, near Tonalea, Ariz. Although his eyesight has failed, Daw maintains his own herd of sheep and drives his wagon. He claims he can hear an approaching automobile 10 miles away. He wife sees well but is becoming deaf.
Reginald Bradley, 97, is still a rugged and healthy individualist at Oakland, Calif. He refers to himself as "an incurable romantic adventurer." He has been an artist, student, buckaroo, cattleman, soldier, cavalryman, Indian fighter, builder of log cabins, sheepman, homesteader, ranger, forest supervisor, author, real estate speculator and investor.
With his wife, Beatrice, he lives in an apartment surrounded by his water colors of California mountains and parks. He has sold a number of his works.
Bradley was born in Hampton, England on the River Thames, and came to this country and attending Hampton College and Twickenham Commercial College. His first job after he had moved to New Mexico in search of adventure was riding herd on cattle at $15 a month. He recalls that the cattle sold for $13 a head in those days.
The oldest veteran is Simpson Mann, who will be 103 next Christmas Day. He is a patient in the Veterans Administration hospital at Wadsworth, Kan. He saw service against the Sioux Indians in the badlands of the Dakotas as a private in Troop F of the 9th U.S. Cavalry.
[Nov. 22, 1964, Dallas Morning News, transcribed by K. Torp]