In peace and war, he was the soul of a nation--and the flesh and blood of the American Frontier . . .
It was a virgin land of vast horizons. . .a land of dreams and dust and blood, where men sought glory and hope died hard. But for Jamie Ian MacCallister, who'd grown to manhood among Indians and fought at the Alamo, war and wilderness were home . . . and survival was a way of life.
From the battlegrounds of Texas to the Colorado Rockies and the goldfields of California, Jamie MacCallister was one of a handful of daring pioneers blazing trails in the American West. Joining famed frontiersman Kit Carson on the first U.S. Army expedition from Missouri to the wide Pacific, he forged a future in a dawning era of greatness and greed that would stain the pages of history with blood--and make men like MacCallister into legends. . .
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Dreams of Eagles
By William W. Johnstone
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 1994 William W Johnstone
All rights reserved.
The journey of Jamie Ian MacCallister had been a torturous one even before he met and fell in love with Kate Olmstead when they were both just children back in Kentucky.
Born in the wilderness of western Ohio, Jamie had watched his parents and baby sister killed by rampaging Shawnee. The chief had taken Jamie prisoner and kept the boy until he was twelve, when Jamie and a young white woman named Hannah had escaped the village. Jamie's early years had been brutally hard, forcing the lad to grow up very quickly. He had been adopted by Tall Bull and Deer Woman and raised a Shawnee, learning the warrior's way while most white boys his age were learning their ABCs and playing marbles and mumbly-peg and hide and seek. At thirteen, Jamie was a grown man. His childhood had been virtually nonexistent. He was tall and broad-shouldered, tremendously powerful. He was lean of hip and strong of arm, his wrists larger than most men's forearms. He did not know his own strength. His eyes were blue and his hair was blonde, worn shoulder length. His face was tanned and rugged, the jaw square and slightly dimpled. Women considered Jamie handsome. Jamie never gave a thought to it one way or the other.
Jamie and Kate fell in love the moment their eyes touched. From that instant forward there would be no other woman for Jamie and no other man for Kate.
After Jamie's escape from the Shawnee town, a young childless couple, Sam and Sarah Montgomery, took Jamie in to raise as their own. But again, a chance for some vestiges of adolescence were denied Jamie, for there were those in the Kentucky village who considered Jamie more savage than civilized. Kate's father, Hart Olmstead, forbade his daughter to see Jamie and beat her savagely whenever he learned of their clandestine meetings.
At fourteen, Jamie was forced into a killing and had to flee into the wilderness, branded an outlaw and brigand. Shortly after that, Jamie returned to the Kentucky village for Kate and together they rode westward to start a new life. They were married in the town of New Madrid, Missouri, and pushed on. They settled in the wilds of east Texas, in an area known as the Big Thicket, and immediately started a family. And what a family it was! Before Jamie became involved in the Texas drive for independence from Mexico, he had fathered eight children, for twins and triplets ran strong on both sides of the family tree.
Moses Washington, an ex-slave who, with his wife, Liza, had escaped from slavery in Virginia and settled in the Big Thicket before Jamie and Kate arrived, summed it up this way: "Good God, boy! Are You and Kate tryin' to populate east Texas all by yourselves? Am I gonna have to put a bundlin' board between you two? Slow down!"
The Alamo slowed them down.
Sam and Sarah Montgomery and Swede and Hannah showed up in the Big Thicket country a couple of years before Jamie left to fight at the Alamo, and a small community was carved out of the wilderness.
Then Jamie was called to fight. Jamie Ian MacCallister was the last man to leave the Alamo, ordered out at the last possible moment by Colonels Travis and Bowie with a pouch of messages from the gallant defenders of that old church. He was ambushed along the way, first by Tall Bull, who had been looking for Man Who Is Not Afraid, Jamie's Shawnee name, and then shot out of the saddle by a Mexican patrol. He was left for dead in a ditch beside a rutted road. The last farewells from that proud garrison, that bastion of Texas freedom, lost for all time. He was found and taken in by a Mexican family.
When he finally recovered from his near-fatal wounds, Jamie felt the vastness of the west silently calling him. His grandfather was out there somewhere in the shining mountains, a mountain man. Jamie asked Kate if she would like to move west.
"I go where you go, love," she replied.
Moses and Liza and their children, Sam and Sarah Montgomery, Swede and Hannah and their children, and Juan and Maria Nuñez and their children packed up and headed west with Jamie and Kate and their children. They would be settling a wild and often savage land, untamed, uncharted, free, and open. Soaring on the wings of eagles. Dreaming the eagles' dreams.CHAPTER 2
The settlers had it all worked out. Sam was going to raise horses, Swede and Moses would be the farmers, Juan had brought sheep, and Jamie would hunt and trap and explore and in his spare time, look for gold.
"There is no gold west of the Mississippi, Jamie," Sam said. "Everybody says that."
But Jamie would only smile at that and reply, "Whatever you say, Sam." Preacher had told him there was gold. But the few mountain men who knew of it were keeping it to themselves. They didn't want a whole bunch of people to come a-traipsin' in and messin' up everything.
The additional men Jamie had hired in San Antonio left to return to civilization. Now the little group felt they were truly alone in the vastness of the high country.
But not for long, for there were cabins to build and horses and cows and sheep to look after and the men must hunt to provide food for the long winter ahead of them. There was meat to jerk and smoke, and Jamie and Hannah had taught them all how to make pemmican, a mixture of melted fat and ground and dried wild berries.
And Hannah was heavy with child. The women said she would birth in a few days. So the cabin of Swede and Hannah would be the first one up. With all the men working, that did not take long, then it was on to the other cabins. The men had wanted to build them behind log walls, like a fort, but both Jamie and Hannah had said no to that.
"The Indians know we're here," Jamie told the group. "One tribe or the other has tracked us the entire way. We're building right in the middle of Ute and Arapaho country. The Cheyenne are around us as well. We must not show any signs that we are unfriendly or hostile to the Indians. We can live together, but it's going to take some time to build trust. Many of these Indians have never seen a white woman before. Probably most have not. They'll be curious about you. Don't show fear when they do make an appearance. An Indian despises fear more than anything. Stand up to them without being belligerent about it. They'll demand a lot more than they truly expect to get. This winter will be important, for then when we hunt we can share what we hunt with them. Tomorrow I'm going to find a village and talk with them. I'll be gone for several days, maybe a week. Maintain a sharp lookout and don't stray far from the settlement. And keep a good eye on the kids."
* * *
Jamie was aware he was being followed after only a few miles from the settlement in the valley. A mile further, he crested a hill and suddenly wheeled his big horse, facing to the rear. He lifted his index finger and made the sign that he was alone. Then he placed both fists together, the fingertips of his right hand touching the center knuckles of his left hand, signaling that he wanted to council, or talk.
The Utes came out of the timber in a rush, galloping their horses toward him. There were six of them. Two carried old rifles, three had bows and arrows, and the sixth, the leader of the group, carried a huge lance. The leader touched the sharp point of the lance against Jamie's chest. Jamie did not flinch, just stared into the unreadable eyes.
"Is this the way you treat someone who comes in peace?" Jamie asked.
The leader grunted and slowly pulled the lance back, lowering it. "I talk your talk some good," he said. "Whites talk peace and mean war. How you different?"
"How are you called?"
Jamie hid his surprise, for Black Thunder was a great war chief of the Utes. "I have heard much of Black Thunder. It is said that he is a fair man and a brave man. The same is said of me. I am called Man Who Is Not Afraid."
Black Thunder did not conceal his surprise. When he spoke, his tone was somewhat more respectful. "Also called Man Who Plays With Wolves and Panthers."
"That is true."
Jamie opened his buckskin shirt and the Indians all crowded forward, peering closely at the long scar on his chest.
Black Thunder grunted and pointed to a brave who was about five feet two inches tall but very powerfully built. "Small Man have no-good brother who was with foolish Shawnee when they attack you in spring. Small Man's stupid brother said you are much brave and mighty warrior. But Small Man's brother lie a lot, too. Not know when to believe. I believe him now. He said that Little Wolf was wrong to attack you. I guess so. You here, Little Wolf dead. You settle here for live?"
"We do. And we will cause no trouble. We will be a friend to all who are friends with us. Come the cold winds and the snows, we will share what we have. That is a promise and I do not give promises lightly."
"Not take promise lightly. All those children with white hair and eyes of color of skies, they yours?"
"All of them?"
"How many wives you have in your wooden lodge?"
Black Thunder shook his head solemnly. "She must be tired. You come visit us someday. You will be welcome. We go now. You go in peace." They wheeled their horses and were gone.
Jamie did not hear Black Thunder mutter, "Man Who Is Not Afraid start own tribe."
* * *
Jamie quickly cast a sobering pall over the jubilation of those back at the settlement. "Black Thunder will keep his word — probably. But he is the war chief of only one band of Utes. Not the entire nation. And Indians often raid in another tribe's territory. There are a half-dozen tribes who hunt and raid in this area. You must never let your guard down, never go unarmed. Know where the kids are at all times. Horses will be the main attraction, for we have some of the finest stock west of the Mississippi. We've got to build a fine corral and not some rawhide affair."
Jamie didn't say it, but of them all, Juan Nunez and his sons would be in the most danger from rampaging Indians. For although his flock of sheep was small, it would not remain that way for long. And grazing sheep had to be kept on the move in order to preserve range. That meant that Juan would, most of the time, be several miles from the cabins tending his sheep. Alone and vulnerable.
But fate dealt the pioneers a good hand that first fall and winter in the long valley in the high country. They saw no Indians and were trouble-free. The winter was bitterly cold and long, but the settlers were snug in their cabins. And much to the disgust of the children, there was plenty of time for schooling. For that was something that Jamie insisted upon.
The livestock survived the harsh winter, and come the spring, it was not just the stock who gave birth when the warm winds began to blow. Sarah Montgomery's cycle of barrenness was broken with the birth of twins. Maria Nuñez gave birth. Hannah had delivered a boy early the past fall. And for once, Kate did not birth. And Jamie took a lot of good-natured kidding about that.
* * *
It was 1838.
Back in the States, the Iowa Territory, consisting of what would someday be the states of Iowa, Minnesota, and most of North and South Dakota, was formed. The territorial capital was placed at Burlington. It would later be changed to Iowa City.
Joseph Smith and his followers fled Ohio and settled, for a time, in the Missouri frontier.
Samuel Parker had published a book called Journal of an Exploring Tour Beyond the Rocky Mountains. In it, he wrote about the west, the Indians, the animals, the mountain men, and the trails and rivers. Many people didn't believe it although the book would later be considered very accurate.
The U.S. government had ordered the Army, under the command of General Winfield Scott, to begin rounding up many Indians who lived east of the Mississippi River and start herding them westward. The journey, from Georgia through Kentucky, Illinois, and Missouri to Oklahoma, would be on foot, without adequate food and clothing. Thousands would die and the infamous trek would be called The Trail Of Tears.
But those in the long and lovely and secluded valley in the Rocky Mountains knew none of this. They had not seen a white man in months, had not read a newspaper nor heard any gossip from the outside world.
* * *
Moses and Swede had a bumper crop of vegetables, and the women stayed busy storing what they could. True to his word, Jamie took sacks and sacks of vegetables to Black Thunder's band and was received cordially, the Indians trading venison, buffalo meat, skins, and pelts for the gifts of vegetables.
"How your woman?" Black Thunder inquired.
"She's fine," Jamie told him.
"No more children?"
"Not this year. So far."
"Good. I tell my woman, Shining Bright, about your many family. Bad mistake. She not let me near her for long time. No talk about your family to my woman. You through fathering children?"
"One more," Jamie said with a smile. "Next year, maybe."
Black Thunder grunted and walked off, shaking his head and muttering under his breath. "Stay away from Shining Bright, Ja-mie," he called over his shoulder. "Not want to go through that again."
* * *
"Mac?" the question came at a gathering of mountain men.
"Aye," a man said, turning his head and looking at the man who'd called his name. The mountain man stood up. He was well over six feet, his silver hair hanging down to his shoulders. His eyes were a startling blue. He was an old man, but he stood erect, tall, and proud, a man who would bow to no one. He was all wang-leather and muscle and gristle. Even at his advanced age, not a man to take lightly.
"I think you got kin down near the Arkansas, Mac. You recall that long wide valley where that crick cuts off from the Arkansas and runs all the way through it?"
"I was jawin' with Preacher some months back. He told me 'bout a MacCallister he helped out down in Texas some years back. Big tall lad with yeller hair and blue eyes and a little bitty button of a girl with yeller hair and blue eyes. They come from Kentucky, on the run. Preacher was gonna tell you hisself but he never could catch up with you. I was talkin' to Black Hand 'bout a month back, and he says a whole passel of white folks done moved into that valley. One of them be a lad named Jamie Ian MacCallister. I heared you say one time that was yore Christian name."
"Aye. For a fact, it is." The old man smiled. "I'll be sayin' my farewells to you good lads and takin' to the wind. That there's my grandson, sure as I'm standin' here. I'll be seein' you boys. Keep your powder dry and your arses covered." The elder Jamie Ian MacCallister packed up his kit, saddled his horse, and rode out of the camp, a smile on his lips. "I got me a grizzly bear for a grandson," he muttered proudly. "Takes after me, I reckon."CHAPTER 3
Mac prowled the high country around the valley, watching the comings and goings of those in the tiny settlement below. The Utes knew he was there but left Silver Wolf alone, for the old man was a legend in the mountains. Practically every tribe of any consequence west of the Mississippi had fought with Silver Wolf at one time or another, and at no time had they been victorious. The Indians finally made peace with the man and let him wander, for he was not a man who started trouble ... just finished it.
And the Utes who watched the old man were amused, for as good as Silver Wolf was, his grandson was better. Man Who Is Not Afraid was silently tracking Silver Wolf, and the old man was not aware of it. The conclusion to this game came one morning.
The elder MacCallister awakened with a start. Moving only his eyes, he carefully looked all around him. He knew something was wrong but could not figure out what it was. Then he smelled fresh coffee brewing and meat cooking. His senses working hard, he realized that someone, or something, was behind him, out of his field of vision.
"You going to lay warm abed all day, Grandpa, or get up and join the land of the living?" the question came from behind Silver Wolf.
Chuckling, the old man threw off his blankets and stretched. Without turning around, he asked, "How long have you known I was here, boy?"
"From the very first day."
"Them Shawnee they done you right, boy." He turned around and stared for a moment at a young mountain squatting behind him. Great God but his grandson was one hell of a man. "Your pa, did he die well?"
"I suppose. I was in the house with Ma when the Shawnee struck. It was the day before my seventh birthday."
Excerpted from Dreams of Eagles by William W. Johnstone. Copyright © 1994 William W Johnstone. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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