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Olive Ann Oatman speaks of her captivity at Ohio Chautauqua

| July 10, 2015

COSHOCTON – Olive Ann Oatman took the Chautauqua stage last night, Thursday, July 9 to tell the gruesome tale of the murder of her family.

Oatman, portrayed by Dianne Moran, was on a religious journey into the western regions of the United States when they met many friends who warned them of dangers and had visions about the Apache Natives that lived in that area. Repeatedly, they were warned to return to Illinois, but Oatman’s father ignored the warnings. Later, the family was attacked and brutally murdered by a tribe of Apache warriors.

Oatman and her little sister, Mary Ann, was held captive by the Apaches and badly treated by members of the tribe for one year. They were then traded to the Mohave tribe where they stayed for four years not as slaves, but as members of the family. During her stay with the Mohave tribe, Oatman and her sister received tattoos on their chins signifying that they were a part of the Mohave family.

Eventually, Oatman was rescued and reunited with one of her brothers who she thought had died in the attack but had miraculously survived when a group of Natives from another tribe found him nearly dead and nursed him back to health.

“I knew that Ohio Chautauqua needed a theme of journey and it could be a physical journey or a journey of the soul,” said Moran. “I ran across a picture of Olive on the internet and her story. I was drawn to her because of the tragic part of her life but also because of the way she loved the Mohave. I started working on her in January of 2014 and I have been working on her ever since, and will continue to work on her because new information comes to light all the time.”

After her presentation, Annette Lindsey who lives in Oklahoma near the Texas border, presented Moran with more research she had found on Oatman, including photos of her grave. The Lindseys also performed dulcimer musical entertainment before Oatman’s appearance.

“When I was told we were doing music for her (Oatman), I knew she was buried in Sherman, TX, which is close to where I live,” said Lindsey. “I started doing research on her. I knew where the cemetery was and I went to the office and found where she was buried – her row and plot number. She had a plaque beside her grave, and it was interesting to see where she was buried. It was wonderful to see her come alive tonight. It was like getting to meet her in person, and she (Moran) did a great job.”

Tonight at 7:30 p.m., don’t miss J. Borough Bruff, a 49er and gold digger from California. The Coshocton Community Band will start at 6 p.m. under the big red tent at the Coshocton Fairgrounds.

Sponsors of Ohio Chautauqua in Coshocton County include Coshocton Foundation, Montgomery Foundation, and the Simpson Family Foundation. Supporters include the Coshocton Library, COTC, Annin, Frontier Power, Habitat for Humanity, Coshocton Village Inn and Suites, REACT, the Sheriff’s Auxiliary, and Boy Scout Troops 402 and 412.

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Category: Arts & Entertainment, Photo Galleries

About the Author ()

I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

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