Diary of Hope Georgia

Hope Georgia

Diary of Hope Georgia

Abstract

To comprehend the nature of these journal entries, the reader must imagine how it must feel to be a young girl, traveling alone, to a distant and strange land, in the 1850s, a time of great racial turmoil. The following entries will attempt to examine the cultural dilemma Hope faces, as she must decide who she is. The reader must also realize that all characters are fictitious. They are inspired solely by a young girls imagination, folklore, research, and personal knowledge of this particular area and time.

Day 1

Agua Bendita: February 31, 1851

We arrived here at this little city of tents, this morning. Unfortunately, I have not written since night before last because I am still sickened by a most horrible ordeal witnessed out on the road two days ago.

Our stage had just rounded a bend, when we smelled a most acrid odor; it’s essence I cannot possibly describe. There before us, lay a most horrible scene of tragedy and mayhem, I cannot adequately convey. A house had been ransacked and burned; its occupants buried in shallow graves, covered only by rocks. There were no markers to tell who lay beneath the sand. These graves lay so close to the road that our coach had barely an inch to pass. Oh, what a dreadful sight!

Now, as I sit here in front of the biggest tent, my arms covered only by this thin shawl, I have just begun reading the Daily Examiner in the dim light of the lantern overhead. Behold, on the front page is the gruesome depiction I have afore mentioned. Apparently, a family of immigrants had been massacred by a band of renegade Apache Indians. No wonder this town is in such an uproar! The article goes on to tell a grotesque story of how a young man and his family had been attacked by these awful savages, and of how his mother, father, and four of his siblings had been killed (he too, had been badly injured and left for dead), and two of his sisters captured. The young boy, although near death himself, had crawled on hands and knees for two days before getting help from a passerby. It is he who lies in the makeshift medical tent across the street. I cannot help but wonder who would inflict such pain and sorrow on such an innocent soul.

However, these so-called “savages” I see here in this place seem to be so polite that it seems hardly a justification that they would do such a dastardly deed. They seem no different than we ourselves, save for the color of their skin. Yet they are treated as if they themselves had committed this awful assault, as I hear the town folk exclaim, “The only good Indian is a dead Indian” or “Kill all the Redskins, I do not know why we put up with ‘em’ in the first place.” It is as if the whites are so vain to think that they own all of this great land, or that the color of their skin makes them better than others! Just the mention of those words strikes fear in my heart, as I sit here, huddled in my shawl, too frightened to show my face, with my black eyes and not so fair skin.

Will I be prejudiced against by the white society I have tried so hard to assimilate just as these poor souls have been? Will I be treated unjustly, as these native peoples are, simply because my eyes are black and my skin is tan, as my mothers were? She was a Cherokee maiden from Georgia. She and her people had been uprooted from their homeland during what is now called “The Trail of Tears.” Here, over fifteen thousand Cherokees were herded together by soldiers, and marched off to Oklahoma, leaving most of their possessions behind, with over four thousand dying along the way. As one white soldier later confided, “It was the cruelest work I ever knew.”

On the other hand, will I be stared upon, with hatred, from the very eyes I have sympathized with, because my skin is so fare, and there is a reddish tint to my darkened hair? This comes from my father’s side. He was born in Ireland. He came here to seek a better life, other than starvation, during the potato famine in the 1830s, in which disease had destroyed most of this important crop. Most of these immigrants were chastised, not so much because they were poor, but because they were Irish Catholics. With their unmarried clergy, and an equally strange tendency not to send their children to public schools, and be assimilated into the American culture, turmoil was inevitable.

I have decided that it is a cruel world for me. If I choose to adapt to the Indian culture, I stand to lose my social and economic status,which I have strived so hard to achieve, and the future well being of my children lies in jeopardy. However, If I choose to patronize my white heritage, I also stand to lose my social status, but I could also be branded as a traitor to my race, thus I will be hated by the very culture I would otherwise be proud to call my own.

Therefore, I sit here, hiding in my darkened corner, my bonnet pulled down to hide my jet-black eyes, my shawl hiding my lightly tanned complexion, and shiver, as the lamp light flickers.Oh, how I wish this night would quickly end, for tomorrow at sunrise, we will leave this place, to journey onward to California. I hear this land is so big, that all one need do is stake a claim, and the land is theirs, to do with as they wish. All I hope for is a small parcel of good land, to plant my grapes, of which I hear, do well in this country called “California,” for It is here that I wish to set down my roots, in this land of freedom for everyone, even for those of us who have no one people, because we are shunned by all.


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Comments 17 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

You said this was fiction and I immediately noticed the date of February 31st and knew that you meant what you said. Ha!

The story is a good one and portrayed the quandry of mixed blood races that has probably been the same for all time. Which side to embrace and emulate? Perhaps someday far into the future as more blending of bloodlines takes place this form of discrimination will disappear?


Deerwhisperer profile image

Deerwhisperer 6 years ago from Bradenton, Florida Author

Dear Peggy W

I actually lived not far from where this story takes place when I was a young girl, and my sister and I found the very site where the Oatman's were massacred. The places I talk about are actually still there, even the old Butterfield Stage route still exists. And many of the events were told to us kids by a very old-timer in the community, well before I began doing the research. I am hoping there will be many sequels to this story. It was a fascinating place to live. Thanks for your comment.


Michael Shane profile image

Michael Shane 6 years ago from Gadsden, Alabama

Great story!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Excellent depiction of the prevailing mood of that era.

Well done.

I too am from Arizona and fascinated with the old west.


Deerwhisperer profile image

Deerwhisperer 5 years ago from Bradenton, Florida Author

Dear Will

What part of Arizona are you from? I actually lived within a 10 mile radius of where this story was written. I even played in the very hotel where Hope Georgia sat when I was a child, which got me interested in the old west at a very young age. Thank you for your gracious comment.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

I live in Phoenix. My wife is Latina and her relatives have been ranching near Florence since the 1800's.


Deerwhisperer profile image

Deerwhisperer 5 years ago from Bradenton, Florida Author

I know quite a lot about Phoenix (but actually Mesa was one of my old stomping grounds), although I haven't been to either in quite a few years. The town I wrote about was Agua Caliente, near Dateland, which is between Gila Bend and Yuma. I also used to live in a town called Queen Creek, which is near Chandler. Possibly you've heard of that one?


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

When I first moved here, Queen Creek was a very small town. We used to hunt Javelina there.

We've roamed all over the Dateland/Agua Caliente area in our Jeeps.


Deerwhisperer profile image

Deerwhisperer 5 years ago from Bradenton, Florida Author

How fascinating! But I'll bet there are a few places my husband and I have seen that you may have missed simply because that's where I grew up. I also lived there in a time when there was nothing else to do but explore the desert and listen to oldtimers tell their stories. It was a time when we didn't have cable, cell phones, computers, video games, or even TV half the time. But still, those were the good ole days! Thank you for your comment.


Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 5 years ago from US

We or our forefathers were all immigrants and I have nothing whatsoever against that, I would not be here if it weren't that way. We did treat the Indians very unfairly and it was a mess really, we lied and they did not know who to believe, some even killed Indians for the white man. There will always be prejudice and that will be against numerous people and I find it so strange today that our government has handed this land over to be our downfall to immigrants they would not go near. It will be too late once we know their true reasoning. Many carry third world diseases not being screened and I find that inexcusable. I had a video of people in a van showing were many immigrants lived in fantastic places on welfare and Social Security with new vehicles, lawn service, you name it. Courtesy of us. It was taken down, but I am still looking. There is a tremendous difference in people who want to become one of us and people who want to get all they can from us. We are making them doctors and lawyers and they live on us many years and keep up families in other countries even. It is our downfall, we won't pull out of this one, I just have to continually wonder why though.


Deerwhisperer profile image

Deerwhisperer 5 years ago from Bradenton, Florida Author

I, like you, have nothing against people coming here who truly want to become a part of our nation because we were all immigrants at one time or another. It's just that the word "illegal" is something that many of them don't seem to understand. Your comment also reminded me of an event from my chidhood. We were invited to visit some friends in Mexico, and while we did have a good time, the one thing that stood out the most was their house, which was better than most I had seen here in America, including ours. Then when my dad asked him how he could afford such a home, the owner confessed that he had been working here for only a short time and had been sending his earnings back to Mexico and was about to retire there. Needless to say, my dad was astonished when the guy told him that we Americans are stupid because we could be doing the same thing (that is, if we wanted to move to Mexico). Thank you for your comment, and again I say that I have nothing against those who truly want to be a part of our nation. I just don't relish the idea of those coming here for their own gratification and who spend their money elsewhere because our nation can no longer afford them.


Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 5 years ago from US

Thank you and sorry I failed to use the word illegal and you know they have a special 40 written up to help them get by with murder literally. They come above citizens, never having to prove anything and they can collect money in many names in many places. It is a travesty and I believe it is behind our financial situation right now and they can collect (actually legally) social security I think for 10 years and welfare for five, maybe vice versa but they continue working too and where I live many will live in one huge house and they will have a line of new cars and SUVs outside and I believe everyone in the house collects food stamps for the same kids. Their buggies (sometimes two at a time) are bulging with the best meats and foods to be had and that is why we have to pay top price for food because these stores have their customers to make money, they don't need to lower it based on what we can pay. I have noticed older people who once seemed well off to me having to check prices, but not these illegals, most of who don't even speak English, but their children do. I have seen much of it first hand so these people who say this is impossible have been blinded longer than me and I fear it is too late to act now, I really do. Besides, we don't run our government and soon it will be worse than communism, if we live that long.

Why would they ever want to be legal?


Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 5 years ago from US

Voted up and across.


frogyfish profile image

frogyfish 5 years ago from Central United States of America

Interesting story with deep insights. Human struggles seem to be timeless, but like Peggy W said above...perhaps someday the discrimination will be gone!


Deerwhisperer profile image

Deerwhisperer 5 years ago from Bradenton, Florida Author

That would be nice, but somehow I doubt it.


Deerwhisperer profile image

Deerwhisperer 5 years ago from Bradenton, Florida Author

Thanks everyone, for all your comments. They are greatly appreciated, and I hope you had a great Thanksgiving.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 5 years ago from South Carolina

This story was well written and although it was fiction, it had the ring of truth and it was apparent that you knew the region well.

Voted up, useful and interesting as it is definitely thought-provoking.

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