Stridiron’s Strange Story

His name was St. Clair Stridiron and he claimed he was raised by Chipeta. His story appeared in the Rocky Mountain News July 17, 1895.
Stridiron          He was a white child, born in Lexington, Kentucky and later adopted in Texas by a rancher. At age four, he was traveling with a group of Texas men who camped on the banks of Fountain Creek near Manitou Springs. Ute Indians attacked and the men ran off, leaving the boy asleep under a wagon. Stridiron said he woke to find himself in the arms of a squaw. “I was taken charge of by two squaws who treated me kindly and taught me how to live as an Indian.”
          “After being washed in a cool mountain stream, I remember that I was given a coat of paint and fixed up in Ute Indian style. [Stridiron said the Ute women kept him painted to hide his white skin.] They gave me buckskin leggings, a little buckskin shirt and gave me a blanket. My hair was light colored and grew so long that it reached below my waist. I was given bow and arrows and taught to run and jump, ride horseback and later, was taken on hunting expeditions and inducted into all the arts of shooting deer, elk, bear, buffalo and smaller game.  As I grew up I joined the war parties and engaged in many a foray against the plains Indians who had been from time immemorial at war with the Utes or the Indians of the mountains. I readily learned the languages of the various tribes and before I reached the age of 18 could carry on conversation with Utes, Apaches, Sioux, Cheyenne, Arapahoes, Navajoes, Commanches, and Yumas.”
          He boasted of his exciting adventures among the Utes of “Chipeta’s band.” He was among a group of six Utes attacked by twenty Arapahoes. An Arapahoe lassoed a young Ute woman and yanked her off her horse. Stridiron leaped to the ground, cut the rope, he and the woman jumped back on their horses, and they escaped with four Arapahoe warriors in pursuit. In another adventure, he was suffering from a wound in the thigh when he single-handedly fought off an attack by three Cheyenne warriors.
          “It was years before I learned that I was not a real Indian….One day a white trader asked me to wash my face. I did so and the paint came off. The trader handed me a glass and for the first time I saw that I was white.”
          Stridiron said he was reunited with his birth mother a few years later. She heard reports of a boy who emerged from captivity and travelled to Denver to identify her son. 

          Quite a tale, is it not? Ah, but this is not the end of Mr. Stridiron. The story gets stranger next week.

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Published in: on December 7, 2009 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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