Drawing the Western Frontier: The James E. Taylor Album
Frontier Life (Page 114)
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Page 114
Sobita, Ute sub chief
Lt. Colonel Albert H. Pfeiffer
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Clipping 1 (transcript below)
Clipping 2 (transcript below)

Clipping 3 (transcript below)

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Letter from Albert H. Pfeiffer
Clipping
Basin of the Great Pagosa Spring

Clipping 1

" 'Old Bridger'
[Dea]th of a Celebrated Scout and Guid[e]
(From the Kansas City Mail.)

James Bridger, one of the last survivors of the early mountaineers whose headquarters were in this part of the country, died at his residence near New Santa Fé, in this county, at five o'clock yesterday afternoon. Mr. Bridger had passed his seventy-sixth birthday anniversary, that event taking place in last March. He was a Virginian by birth. He had been a scout, guide and plainsman for about thirty years. About sixteen years ago while riding a 'bucking' mule he received injuries that permanently disabled him. After that he retired from active life. For [t]hree years or more he has been in his dotage. He once got lost within half a mile of his own house. Old age and confinement to one place caused the veteran plainsman's vital forces to give way with sure and rapid decline. To use a common expression he died of old age. His death was painless, the flame of life burned down to the socket and noiselessly expired.

He leaves a family of three children, all grown. One of the daughters is the wife of Mr. A. Witchman, of Westport. Mr. Bridger had at the time of his death a claim before Congress for money due him on account of the occupation of his fort by United States soldiers. Bridger sold his fort and grounds in good faith. For this he received no 'cash down.' The war came on, attention was ab[so?]rbed by it, and Congress did not give a thought ... making provision for the payment of the poor old guide's claim. The Bridger family will throw off all interest if an appropriation of $210,000 for the payment of the principal is made. If it had not be[e]n for 'Old Jim,' as he was called, General Fre[mo]nt's great Western exploring expedition would not have been a success. For a great portion of the way Bridger acted as a guide."

Clipping 2

"A finer complimen[t] ... paid the Warwickshire wizard by Jim Bridger, the famous scout, who died a year or so ago. He once tried city life, but soon bade good-by to New York and returned to his old station in Utah; none the sadder for his experience, but somewhat wiser, inasmuch as he had learned that a man named Shakespeare had lived and written 'A Midsummer Night's Drean,' with which the old backwoodsman's fancy had been deeply impressed. One day a traveler came to Fort Bridger, and, after looking over Jim's stock, set his heart on a yoke of oxen, with which he did not desire to part, and the customer went his way unsatisfied. Next morning a messenger came to Fort Bridger from him to say he must have that yoke.

'He's just waiting for 'em,' said the man; 'a sitting there, reading a book called Shakespeare.'

Jim was on his feet in a moment, and off to [t]he corral.

'Stranger,' said he, 'give me that book and [t]ake them oxen.'

'You're welcome to the book' was the answer; 'but I'll pay for the oxen.'

Jim was obdurate, however, and had his way. As soon as he got home with his treasure, Jim hired a reader, and every evening followed the fortunes of Shakespeare's heroes and heroines. One evening, the reader had just made an end of the crook-backed king's appeal to Tyrrel to remove his sweet sleep's disturbers, when his auditor, springing from his seat, shou[t]ed:;

'Hold on there! Jest wait till I get my [gun?] and ... shoot that darned scoundrel!'


Clipping 3


"A [Pic]turesque pioneer.

[C]ol. Alb[ert] H. Pfelffer's [sic, should read, "Pfeiffer's"] Revenge for t[he] ... Murder of His Wife.

From the Del Norte Prospector.
For the past six months Col. Pfeiffer has been bedfast, and at no time have hopes been entertained of his recovery. On Wednesday, April 6, 1881, at about 11 o'clock, he died. His last request was that he be buried quietly and unostentatiously. He was interred among the foothills overlooking his beautiful ranch, with no crowd or ceremony, only five being present.

Col. Albert H. Pfeiffer was born in Friesland, on the coast of Holland, in October, 1822 His father is, or was, a Lutheran minister and his mother was of Scotch descent, from a Scotch noble family. He left his native country when 22 years of age and came directly to the West as a soldier in the ranks. He married a Spanish girl of Aboquin, New Mexico, when about 34 years old, by whom he had two or three children, only one of whom is alive.

It was at this point in his life when he gained national celebrity. He was in command of Fort [McC]rae and was taken ill. There are some ... rings located about six miles from the ...nd near the Rio Grande River. Himself. [sic] w... and [a]nother lady, with an escort of ... [sol?]diers, went there to bathe, and ...e was still in the bath the Apache Ind[ians] rushed down on them, whopping and yelling like the demons that they were, and frightened the soldiers so that they took to their heels and escaped; but not so with the ladies--both were shot dead. Col. Pfeiffer leaped to the bank, grasped his rfle [sic] and fired, killing one of the fiends; but the odds was too great, and his onl[y] escape was in running and plunging in[to the] river, which he did, but not before two a[rrows] one of which was poisoned, had been l... his left side and leg. He managaed to .... river, found medical aid, and seemed .... from the wounds. Then it was that the Ind[ian] found a terror in our hero. Many were the red fiends that fell victims to his unerring rifle. He fought in any capacity offered. He would at ... time be at the head of a band of In[dia]ns who were at war with the Apaches, ... again he would muster up a body of Mexicans or whites and go on the warpath, thirsting for vengeance. The principal part of his fighting was done under Kit Carson, and he was an associate of Bill Bent, St. Vrain, Maxwell, and others of a like stamp. From the time [of] the death of his wife he led a roving life. ... off to every new discovery, and wherever ... could be of use to white men.

[He] came to this valley about thirty years ago, ... [d]escribed it as being the finest country he ... aw. All along the Rio Grande and on the .... aller streams game of all kinds abound[ed] ... the Indian roamed at will, and was .... he surveyed."



Letter from Albert H. Pfeiffer


"What shall I write you? Since I last saw you I was most in the mountains, came sometimes with my old ennemies [sic] as the Navajoes & Apaches in [Callusion??], you know, not much politeness exist between them & myself. I wish the devil would fly away with them. I had build a [Block?]house on the Nacimienta and them Rascals burnt the house as I was absent, Sobita the Ute Chief & myself, followed on the trail and then they were remarkable quiet afterwards. ...

Your friend Alb. H. Pfeiffer [Taylor has added, "Lieut Col. 1st New Mexico vols. in Re..."]

 

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