By the middle of the 19th century, a vast new territory from New Mexico all the way to California beckoned settlers and homesteaders. But as their wagon trains rumbled west from Missouri, along major arteries such as the Santa Fe Trail, they cut through the heart of Indian country and came under frequent attack.
More than a century and a half after these violent events, History Detectives takes a closer look at an old paper that shows President Millard Fillmore engaged in what appears to be an unusual act for the time - sparing the life of a Native American convicted of murder.
In the paper the President commutes the death sentence to life in prison for a solitary Native American named See-See-Sah-Mah, convicted of murdering a St. Louis trader along the Santa Fe Trail. Fillmore’s pardon saved See-See-Sah-Mah’s life, but why?
See-See-Sah-Mah Case File
- Related Investigation Galvez Papers What stories do these faded legal pages reveal about a revolutionary war hero’s role in an unexpected love affair?
- Also in Civil War: 1850-1877 Old Fire Station Did President Ulysses S. Grant stop by a New Jersey firehouse on the centennial of America?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Bill Picket Saddle Did this saddle ride into cowboy history with one of rodeo's most daring innovators?
- Related Investigation Lewis & Clark's Cane Was this family heirloom a gift from the famous explorers Lewis and Clark?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Lindbergh Engine Could a 24-year-old have single-handedly built the engine for Lindbergh's plane?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Lost Musical Treasure Are these fragments of a lost moment in American musical history?
This is a place for opinions, comments, questions and discussion; a place where viewers of History Detectives can express their points of view and connect with others who value history. We ask that posters be polite and respectful of all opinions. History Detectives reserves the right to delete comments that don’t conform to this conduct. We will not respond to every post, but will do our best to answer specific questions, or address an error.