Silver Tailings: The Last Indian Massacre

While Nevada is known for several firsts — legalized gambling and prostitution—being two, it should also be known for its historical lasts. This includes the last Indian massacre in the U.S.

It happened near Golconda, east of Winnemucca, February 16th, 1911.  A posse chased down a band of Indians led by Mike Daggett, for the deaths Harry Cambron, Bertrand Indiano, Peter Erramouspe and John Laxague , the month before.

It fell to Indian tracker “Skinny” Pascal to go into the camp try to talk the band into surrendering. Instead, the Indians painted their faces and began to do a war dance.

Daggett would be the first to fall, but the last to die. Pascal shot him twice after Daggett opened fire on the tracker but missed.

Shot up to nine times, Daggett survived for more than four hours; another three Indians died outright.  Women and children, armed with bows and arrows, fought next to the men.

When it was over, one posse member and eight Indians lay dead, among them two boys and two women. All were buried at the site of the battle.

A coroner’s inquest held March 5th, 1911, noted the Indians had taken mostly clothing from the four dead men.  It also concluded the children were wearing those clothes as protection from the cold.

Captured were a teenage girl about 17, a 7-year-old boy, a girl about 4 or 5 and a baby who was found strapped to her dead mother’s back.  They were taken to the Indian school at Stewart south of Carson City, known then as the Carson City Indian School.

A short time later, Evan Estep, superintendent of the Indian agency at Fort Hall in Idaho, took the children with him. Within a year, all the children, save the baby would be dead from tuberculosis.

Taken in by the Estep family, the baby was given the name Mary Jo. She would become a teacher, dying in 1993 when given the wrong medicine while in a Washington state nursing home.

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