New Western Adventure Story

The life and times of Marshall Luke Johnson

by a. j. Lombardi Copyright © 2019 All Rights Reserved

 

Part Twelve

They were people too

 

My time of healing and regaining my strength took about three weeks.  I must say that I was getting extremely comfortable with all the attention and care I was receiving from Beth and the children. However, I knew it could not go on forever and I had to get back to my duties as Marshall.  In the meantime, I am glad to say that both Lucian and Jubal maintained law and order. The day finally came in early fall when I had to leave my comforts at the Randall homestead and return to my duties. Before I left the Randall homestead, I knew in my heart that there would come a day that Beth and I would be together.  I know she felt the same way, but would never let on so as to be noticeable.  In respect to both her, and her deceased husband, I felt that it would not be proper to mention my intentions in that he so recently lost his life. 

 

The early fall and winter past along quickly.  Soon enough, the Spring of 1866 arrived.  In early May, I proposed to Beth.  She agreed and we were married in middle July.  Little Andy and sister Annie continued living with us, and we grew as a family when Beth gave birth to my first-born son who we named Justin.  In the year that followed, Deputy Lucian Hansworth remarried, and started a new family of his own. He also started a small ranch just outside town.   Jubal Larson’s continued on as deputy.  He however did not marry in that time. “ I do believe that he thoroughly enjoyed the admiration he received by the young lady’s in town, and did not have any immediate intention to settle down!”        In the years ahead, I received letters from Lieutenant Williams who joined up  with General Custer and the 76th. Cavalry.  He said that he was anxious about the upcoming campaigns he  was  going to engage in with Custer against the Indians of the plains.

 

 

During the time frame of.  1866 to 1870  I had lived through  a lot of memorial events in the country. The American west was rapidly changing from what it once was, and there was no turning back. I was happy that Ulysses S. Grant was elected President Nov. 18 68. I felt he was an honorable man who would do what was right for a torn country in need of repair.  “There were many good times as well as many bad times!”  One of the saddest times I recall was The Marias Massacre which was a massacre of Piegan Blackfeet Indians carried out by the United States Army as part of the Indian Wars. The massacre took place on January 23, 1870 in Montana Territory. It was brutally cold in January 1870, when Maj. Eugene Baker left Fort Ellis,  leading four companies of the 2nd U.S. Cavalry hundreds of miles north to Fort Shaw.  His assignment was to carry out the War Departments plan to punish hostile Blackfeet Indians. Baker was picked for the job by Lt. Gen. Phillip Sheridan., who’s orders stated: “If the lives and property of the citizens of Montana can best be protected by striking Mountain Chiefs band, I want them struck. Tell Baker to strike them hard.” That set the stage for the worst Indian massacre in Montana history. At least 173 women, children and old men camped on the Marias River were murdered. Weakened by smallpox, they were undefended, as the able-bodied men had gone out to hunt buffalo. It came to be known as the Baker Massacre. In 1870.

 

 Having Marshalled in Montana territory, I came into contact with   several of the Indian tribes.  Some of my encounters were very good and some were very bad.  In the end, I have come to realize that they were just like all the rest of us folks.  “They were people too,  some good and some not so good.  They had the God given right to be treated and respected as all humans do.”  “Fact is, they were my neighbors!”  When the reality of the massacre sunk in to me I felt a sorrow for those people as I had never felt before.  My once grandeur filled dreams of joining the Cavalry under the command of General Custer and going off to the Indian wars was gone. The role I would continue to take was that of Marshall Luke Johnson... 

 

Continue Part 13.

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Please note that this is an ongoing story that will contain  several additional parts that will continue to be published until it's completion.