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Oatman family member to speak about historic massacre

Yuma Quartermaster Depot hosts March 13 talk

YUMA, ARIZONA - Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park will host a descendant of the Oatman family for a talk about the massacre that left most of a family dead, one son near death and two daughters captives.

The talk by Rosemary Noble will take place at 2 p.m. March 13 at the Park. There is no charge for the presentation, but regular park entrance fees apply ($2 for adults).

Noble talk is titled "The Oatman Family Massacre Remembered by an Oatman Family Descendant."
She is a descendant of Oatman patriarch Royce Oatman's cousin, Frank Oatman.

She became interested in the Oatman family massacre at age ten, when her mother first read to her letters written by Noble's "Nana Oatman," who had married Frank.

In 1850, Royce Oatman, his wife Mary Ann, and their seven children joined a wagon train traveling west toward Yuma. In 1851, they were attacked by Yavapai Indians about 80 miles east of Fort Yuma along the Gila River. All family members were clubbed and left for dead except for Olive, 14, and Mary Ann, 7, who were taken captive. A brother, Lorenzo, 15, was gravely wounded but survived.

Olive and Mary Ann were forced to live with the Yavapai for one year before being sold to the Mohave. Mary Ann died while in captivity, but Olive was found and reunited with her brother Lorenzo in 1856 at Fort Yuma. She later married John Fairchild and lived out her life in Sherman, Texas.

"I have read every book printed about the family along with letters and newspaper articles sent to my mother by my great grandmother Nana Oatman around 1956 to 1963," Noble said.

During her presentation, Noble will discuss the reasons the family was headed to Fort Yuma, stories from along the trail, the massacre, Lorenzo's survival and life, Mary Ann and Olive's lives, Mary Ann's death amongst the Indians, and the ransom and return to white society of Olive Oatman. She will further discuss Olive and Lorenzo as they lived out their lives after this unfortunate event.

For more information, please contact Tammy Snook at (928) 783-0071.

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Yuma history - narrative

Yuma historic timeline


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Yuma Winter Visitors Study 2017-2018

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