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California Dan, Continued


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We were going to post the first of series of articles on "China-men" in the West when we came across a detailed account of our hero California Dan's demise. (Dan being the soldier of fortune who inspired this site and the subject of one of our very first posts.) His gruesome end in late 1902 in Mexico at the hands of the Yaqui Indians seems to have been widely reported at the time, with one headline, from the Atlanta Constitution, that stands out as a kind of ghastly haiku:

FEET CUT OFF                
        YAQUIS FORCE            
                HIM TO HOBBLE        

--------

Appalling Torture Inflicted on
an American Scout Who Was
Taken Prisoner.

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DULL SAWS WERE USED        
        TO LOP RYAN'S FEET

--------

On His Bleeding Stumps, the Man
Was Then Forced to Hobble
Beyond the Indians' In-
trenchments Until He
Dropped Dead.

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A former Army scout who hailed from California, Dan was hired by Gen. Luis Torres to serve as his chief of scouts in the Mexican government's long conflict with the Yaqui Indians, who by all accounts were a pretty fearsome bunch. After being taken prisoner by a Yaqui chief called El Renegado, Dan ended up six feet under and two feet short.

 

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