BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF WESTERN HISTORICAL ROMANCE!
Caroline Clemmons writes historical and contemporary genre fiction. Historical romances, contemporary romantic suspense, mysteries, and paranormals are among her current works. Learn more about her at www.carolineclemmons.com
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
STORY OF A STRONG WOMAN'S JOURNEY
reading about strong women heroines in fiction and in history. Sometimes the
fictional women might appear over the top or unrealistic. Historically, though,
women have proven themselves to rise to a challenge—especially when it means
remaining with or protecting family. Recently, I was reading about heroines of
the Old West in Mike Wright’s WHAT THEY DIDN’T TEACH YOU ABOUT THE WILD
WEST. This is a frightening yet empowering story appropriate as we near Hallowe’en.
Apache Women in camp
woman named Dilchthe was a middle-aged grandmother captured by Sonoran
mercenaries at then Esqueda, Mexico south of present day Douglas, Arizona in
the mid 1860’s. Dilchthe and several
other women watched the Apache men executed and were then herded toward the
Gulf of California. There they were sold into slavery and shipped across the
Gulf to a penal colony on the Baja Peninsula. Many of the women died there, but
Dilchthe hung on to life. She was sold again with several women and put to work
at a nearby hacienda.
treated fairly at the hacienda, but she wanted freedom. Wouldn’t we? She hid
food and planned her escape to return to her family. I wonder if she realized
how far from them she had been moved?
Desert Dilchthe traveled
freed several other women and they escaped. They traveled only at night and
Dilchthe led them north along the Gulf. The women evaded the mounted guards
sent to track them down and bring them back. Even conserving supplies, they ran out of food. They ate insects and
mouth of the Gulf, they faced crossing the Colorado River. Imagine how forceful
this river was before damning and pumping to large cities commenced almost a hundred
years later. None of the women raised in the desert could swim. Dilchthe
promised the women she would find a way.
friends with an elderly Mexican man who told her where she could safely ford
the river. The women pushed northward to the spot the man had described. This
was at the confluence of the Colorado and Gila Rivers and later became the site
of the Yuma Territorial Prison. Of course the women were afraid, but Dilchthe
waded into the water. Her feet struck a sandbar and she waded across the river,
followed by the other women.
Yuma (Mojave) Indians
Valley, the women met sweltering heat. She insisted they follow the river, and
they persevered for she knew the mountains held powerful enemies. Three nights
after they crossed the river, a band of Yuma (also called Mojaves) raiders
ambushed them. Only Dilchthe and one
woman survived by fleeing into the brush.
were hunted, but Dilchthe walked over the hot, mostly dry, river bottom past
Gila Bend and present-day Phoenix. They skirted Puma and Papago camps and
villages. Can you imagine crossing that area with no water, no food, and weary
from trudging so far? These two women
too weak to travel at more than a slow walk, and almost crazed from hunger and
grief. At a spot near present day Safford, they collapsed. Dilchthe managed a
signal fire. Incredibly enough, the man who saw the smoke was Dilchthe’s son in
law. She and her friend were saved.
walked more than a thousand miles to be reunited with her family. Can you
imagine her welcome as a hero and how her stories were retold again and again? She
had outmaneuvered pursuers, carried no map, no weapons, and almost no
I love this
story! We never know what we can do until we are faced with the challenge.
Would you be like Dilchthe or one of those who was killed?
story of trekking across the land from Central Texas’ Hill Country to North
Central Texas is my book, THE MOST
UNSUITABLE COURTSHIP, which is part of the 10-book box set, COURTING THE WEST, now available at
Kobo, and iTunes for a limited time at only 99 cents.