Indian Queho Part III

The sheriff and his posse of miscreants figured Queho to be as stupid as he was lame.  It wouldn’t take them long to drag this whelp to justice and have him hanged. Something they didn’t count on though, was that Queho was an Indian, and the Indians all seemed to know each other.

I think Queho gave the stolen horse to a friend that led the posse all over the countryside.   First one way, then the other.  The law had no luck in tracking him down.

There were some more murders; brutal ones, death by pickaxe, by beating, by knife.  Another posse was sent out.  After a few days it was discovered that the Indians in the crew would slip away in the mornings and send smoke signals to reveal their location to Queho.

Queho remained at large.

More killings, more Queho sightings.  Kids were scared to death by the stories their parents would tell of the boogie-man, Queho. He would get them if they weren’t careful.

It seemed though, Queho didn’t hate all white men entirely.  One gentleman offered to share a sandwich with Queho when they ran across each other at a small, shady spring. In turn, Queho offered him a dead rat, a perfectly acceptable portion in a well-balanced Indian meal.  The man refused, but Queho was grateful for the offering and didn’t kill him.


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Indian Queho – Part II

Queho had killed before.  He killed a man named Bismarck in Las Vegas.  Bismarck was another Indian, so it didn’t matter.

I have heard Queho killed his half-brother, Avote.

Avote was a killer in his own right. Supposedly, Queho put his brother to the knife on Cottonwood Island.  The current in the Colorado was too strong for Queho to swim with the body across. So, to prove he killed him, Queho cut off his hand.  Avote was known to be missing a finger–lost to pay a drunken gambling debt.

The hand wasn’t proof enough.  Queho went back to the island and cut the head from the carcass.  Proof enough.

Queho expected a parade, but all he got was a job as assistant to the night watchman at the Goldbug Mine.  It was not much more than constant abuse from an alcoholic bigot.  Queho was fired after a month and cheated on his pay. He buried his rage deep.

Queho stole the watchman’s badge,  gun and horse.  He was on the run.  A renegade.  A killer.


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Indian Queho

Indian Queho hated white men.  It has been said he killed up to 35 of them.  I believe there are only about 17 murders he has been tied to. These were all brutal, violent killings.   Queho killed using shovels, clubs, knives, his bare fists.  He killed for revenge, money, and even just to kill in frenzied anger.  He probably could have expressed his bigotry well with maybe half of the number he killed. His deep hatred of white men could have been expressed with half of that; only 4 or 5 murders — or maybe even just 2 or 3 targeted, fatal beatings.

He had a clubbed leg.  It sort of curled under and dragged considerably when he walked.  His crooked foot would leave a distinctive track in the sand.

The townspeople of Searchlight, Nevada, stayed away from the corner Indian culture of the area.  These people were dirty, and most Whites felt, stupid, and lazy. Dangerous. Indeed, the time and place produced a most brutal serial killer.

The renegade Queho’s first couple killings seem to be revenge motivated.

A man who cheated him a month’s pay was beat to death with a piece of the firewood he denied pay to Queho for cutting.

The next killing was a brutal exercise in revenge; the night watchman at the Goldbug Mine. I believe the result of some goings on with a shovel. Messy. Something about a horse, too.


Bath by Installments

On the Mojave Desert where water, like gold, in considered a precious element, a bath is often possible only through divine intervention plus human ingenuity. When Bob Alexander, dusty and dirty from a month-long prospecting trip through the Mojave Desert Mountains, awoke one morning in 1867 to an overcast sky and smelled moisture-laden dust in the atmosphere, he grinned from ear to ear.
“Rain, by jeepers!” he prognosticated. “And here’s where Bob takes a bath!”
He hurried through breakfast, and just as he’d finished scraping the last spoonful of chuck from his plate, the rain began to fall. He stripped his clothes off, stepped out of his tent, and stood for a long time under the ample shower. Wet from head to foot, he ducked back into the tent for soap and worked up a generous lather all over his body. He chuckled with glee.
“Better than going to church,” he told himself. “After four weeks of dry camping, cleanliness is sure on a par with godliness, as the feller says.”
With eyes closed to keep out the soap, Bob left the tent. “Hell’s Bells!” he exploded. Typically, the desert shower had ceased as abruptly as it had begun. He squinted at the clouds from under a carefully raised eyelid. They were rising. The sun was breaking through.
Ugly words like blue flames flicked from his angry lips. He groped his way back into the tent, took the first rag he could lay hands on and wiped the soap from his eyes. The sun blazed forth, and the clouds disappeared over a distant mountain rim. Bob watched their departure with baleful eyes.

Providence Mountains, Mojave National Preserve
Providence Mountains











“Dry gulched by a rain storm!” he thundered bitterly, “without enough water to wash a horned toad!”
The soap was beginning to dry and draw on Bob’s skin. A quick rub-down served only to increase the irritation. There was nothing to do but to hike to Fort Rock Springs, five miles distant in the
Providence Mountains. Here he could find water and relief. Donning his dirty clothes, Bob struck out across the country.
When he reached the Fort entrance, his feet, tough though they were, smarted like blazes and his skin, drawn and puckered under his clothes, itched unmercifully. He stopped in agonized surprise when the sentry order:
“What the hell!” Bob remonstrated.
“You can’t go in there. The Fort is quarantined. Measles.”
“I’ve got to go in there. I’m all lathered up with soap!”
“Drunk or just crazy?” interrogated the sentry.
“Neither,” Bob returned, exasperated. His voice took on a pathetic tone as he stripped off his shirt to illustrate his story. The sentry listened and looked, his face changing from astonishment to amusement and sympathy.
“Mister,” said the sentry, “orders from Lieutenant Drumm, Commander of this here fort, are that only officers of the Fort, people with passes, and details, are permitted to pass through here.”
Bob was desperate. He retired abjectly. But not for long. In a few minutes, he marched up towards the sentry again, this time, simulating, awkwardly enough, the gait of a soldier on parade. The sentry smiled.
“Halt! Who comes there!” he sputtered, fighting back laughter.
“Detail of one, bound for the Fort,” returned Bob, grimly.
“Pass, detail!” shouted the sentry.
Bob passed, on a dead run, headed for a tub and water.

Taken from The Old West, Pioneer Tales of San Bernardino County

Flying Saucers Reported Over Mojave Desert

The latest flying saucer report comes from Silver Lake airport near Baker. Two aircraft communicators stationed at Silver Lake report they watched a brilliantly-glowing object speed through the desert sky for nearly 10 minutes Saturday night before it disappeared on the western horizon.

Their report was confirmed by crew members and 25 passengers of a United Airlines plane and by aircraft communicators at a station in Las Vegas, Nevada.

UFOs in high desert
“Things got weird, then they got normal, then they got weird again, and then they turned back to normal, and then they got really weird again. When all was said and done, I’m not so sure anything happened at all.” said bystander Walter Feller.

David Stewart of Redondo Beach, first officer of the United plane, said the object was more cigar-shaped than the previously reported pancake-shaped “saucers”.

L. M. Norman and R. E. Connor, the two aircraft communicators at the Silver Lake airport, said the object might have been a meteor.

“We first saw it some 15 degrees above the horizon north of Silver Lake,” Norman said. “It appeared to be a big ball of fire with a large luminous vapor trail.”

“We watched it from 7 to 10 minutes. It looked like it might have been falling, but then it swung off toward the west and disappeared.”

The fiery object was observed not only by the two communicators at Silver Lake, but also by four pilots  who had stopped at the airport for an overnight stay.

While the Silver Lake men watched the object, their station was in contact with the United Airlines plane which also spotted it.
Steward, the United officer, said his crew of five men all saw the object, as did the plane’s passengers.

He said his ship was flying at 14,000 feet and that the object flew a parallel course for 20 miles then faded in the distance. He estimated its speed as faster than his plane’s 290 miles per hour.

from the Barstow Printer-Review, June 29, 1950

Tools of the Desert Indians

The tools of the desert dwellers varied with specific material available and with the individual Takic or Numic bands of Uto-Aztecan speaking Indians: Vanyume, Paiute, Chemehuevi or Kawiisu. Simple wood fire drills enabled Native Americans to make fire. By burning roots of a tree or bush, the Paiute preserved the fire. Use of rolled up juniper bark which when lit held fire for a long time.

They made stone mortars and metates (some portable) for grinding food and paint. A stick served as a stirrer; a tortoise shell, sheep horn or pottery as dippers; a rabbit scapula or carved wood as a spoon; a sheep’s horn, coiled basketry or pottery became dishes. Tortoise carapace had been reported used as diggers, bowls, dishes to hold seeds. In Oro Grande specimens of tortoise shell rattles have been found. Waterproof baskets, animals’ stomachs, and pottery “canteens” served as water carriers. Knives and drills were, of course, made from flaked stones and shaped bone. The yucca spine with fiber attached served as needle and thread. Sinew provided strong twine and backing for bows. Glue came from boiled sheep’s horn. For tanning skins, aborigines used the brain of larger animals. Professional tanners contend that the brain size of each animal is large enough to tan that animal’s skin. Paiute people utilized desert hardwood for their three to four feet long bows, sometimes
backed with sinew. Chemehuevi sinew-backed bows, often recurved, were powerful and accurate. Some Paiutes and Utes made bows from juniper trees by cutting through the bark. When that section died, they took it off the juniper tree and carved it into sturdy bows.

Tools of the Desert Indians
“When that section died, they took it off the juniper tree and carved it into sturdy bows.”

Arrows, made from reeds or arrow weed, were tipped with local quartz, chalcedony, jasper, or traded for obsidian obtained from the Paiute or Shoshone of Owens Valley. Netting and snares added to the survival tool kit.

Dozens of varieties of juncas, reeds and grasses made baskets for cooking, wearing (as hats) and storing. Some baskets with pitch added to them held water.

Their migratory yearly rounds made it necessary to store food to be retrieved during poor winters. They built water resistant caches with rocks, or into caves, or tree trunks. If grasses came late in January, runners went to their caches for food.

These tools allowed desert Indians to survive in a harsh environment for 5,000 years.

Courtesy Mojave River Valley Museum by Cliff Walker