Joseph Green (pictured above) is the youth mentioned in the following article from the Ottawa Free Trader. However, he was NOT the young man who was the subject of the horrible revenge.
The following horrible relation, which we believe first appeared in print in the Lacon Herald in a letter from the plains, is going the rounds of the papers:
Revenge — Horrible. —Among the overland emigration for California, last spring, was Mr. Green, of “Green’s Wollen [sic] Factory,” Fox river, and two of his sons, the youngest a youth. — It is reported that while passing through a tribe of Indians, this youth who was naturally full of mischief, killed a squaw. The tribe having been well advised of the fact, hastened after and overtook the company, and demanded the murderer. — At first the demand was resisted; but after the Indians had informed them that they would destroy the company if their request was not granted, the youth was surrendered into their hands. They then stripped him, and in the presence of his father and the whole company, they skinned him from head to foot! He lived four hours after he was thus flayed. This should be a warning to all interested not to trifle with the unfortunate sons of the forest.
We have made considerable inquiry since we first saw this account in print, and find that it is true in its essential particulars, with one very important exception, and that is the name. Instead of a son of Mr. Green, it was a young man by the name of Wasson, of Perkins’ Grove, Bureau county, who went with a company from Knox’s Grove, Lee county. He is said to have been very fool hardy and reckless in character. He made a threat, on leaving Independence, that he would shoot the first Indian he saw, but had not carried his threat into effect, until he had nearly reached California. Then one of the company reminding him of it, he said he had forgotten it, but would carry it out yet. He shortly after saw a squaw sitting on a log, and raising his piece, he murdered her in cold blood. The Indians almost instantly thereupon surrounded the company and visited upon the murderer the terrible retribution above indicated.
This account is confirmed by four or five letters from members of the company, all of which agree in the essential particulars. How the correspondent of the Lacon paper got the name of Mr. Green mixed up in the affair is more than we can tell. Certain it is, however, that no letter from any of Mr. Green’s party, and there have been dozens received, ever hinted at any such occurrence, and, indeed, the very son himself said to have been killed, has written since his arrival in the mines, and the letters in his own familiar hand writing are in the hand of his friends.
- Ottawa (Illinois] Free Trader, February 23, 1850, p. 2, col. 2