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 Booth Letter Did the father of John Wilkes Booth threaten to assassinate the President?
- Related Investigation 1856 Mormon Tale Is this tattered book a true account of female slavery in the old West?
- Also in Civil War: 1850-1877 Calhoun Books Are these the books of the famed intellectual architect of the Confederacy?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Diana How did this alleged lesbian autobiography escape censorship in the 1930’s?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Land Grant How did an African-American win freedom and land so early in American history?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Seth Eastman Painting Is this painting a true depiction of Native American life from one of the premiere painters of the American West?
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