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 The Ni'ihau Incident What do these metal parts reveal about the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor?
- Related Investigation Geronimo Photograph Is this photo really an image of the legendary Apache warrior Geronimo?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Duke Ellington Plates What is the story behind the printing plates for this famous Jazz song?
- Also in Civil War: 1850-1877 Civil War Letters What can these letters reveal about a racially-charged massacre on a Civil War battlefield?
- Also in Season 7 Stalag 17 Portrait What happened to the artist of this portrait made in a German POW camp?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Beatles Autographs Are these genuine Beatles signatures?
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.