Page 227. " beaded lizards with mouths black as a chowdog’s "
Mexican Beaded Lizard (Heloderma horridum)
GNU Free Documentation LicenseMexican Beaded Lizard (Heloderma horridum) - Credit: Derek Ramsey

The Beaded Lizard is a species of venomous lizard found principally in Mexico and southern Guatemala. The reptile feeds primarily upon eggs, so the use of its venom remains a source of debate among scientists.


Chow Chow
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeChow Chow - Credit: Remigiusz Józefowicz


A Chowdog (properly Chow chow) is breed of dog that was developed in China. Its Chinese name Songshi Quan literally means ‘puffy-lion dog’. They typically have blue-black/purple tongues.

Page 227. " little desert basilisks that jet blood from their eyes "

The basilisk and the weasel (17th century), by Wenceslas Hollar
Public DomainThe basilisk and the weasel (17th century), by Wenceslas Hollar - Credit: Wenceslas Hollar Digital Collection
The basilisk is a legendary reptile reputed to be king of serpents and said to have the power to cause death with a single glance. One of the earlist accounts of the basilisk comes from Pliny the Elders’s Natural History, written around 79 AD. The basilisk also appears in the Bible in Isaiah 14:29 in the prophet’s exhortation to the Philistines: ‘Do not rejoice, whole country of Philistia, because the rod that beat you has broken, since the serpent's stock can still produce a basilisk, and the offspring of that will be a flying dragon.’

Some believe the legend may have originated from early reports of the cobra since several species of spitting cobras can incapacitate from a distance by spitting venom, most often into the prey’s eyes.

Page 227. " the small sandvipers "
Sand viper (Heterodon nasicus)
Creative Commons AttributionSand viper (Heterodon nasicus) - Credit: Francis Crawley

There are three species of sand viper: Vipera ammodytes, (a.k.a. the nose-horned viper), Cerastes vipera, (a.k.a. the Avicenna viper), and Heterodon, (a.k.a. hog-nosed snakes).

The Heteredon nasicus is the only species of sand viper native to North America and northern Mexico. It is known as the hog-nosed snake on account of its upturned snout, which aids in digging in the soil. Unlike the venomous Vipera ammodytes and Cerastes vipera, the Heteredon is harmless.

Page 227. " in Jeda, in Babylon. "
Jeddah (mid-1800s)
Public DomainJeddah (mid-1800s) - Credit: James Wellsted

Jeda may refer to Jeddah (also spelled Jiddah, Jidda, or Jedda), a city located on the coast of the Red Sea in western Saudi Arabia.

The city is the principal gateway to Mecca, Islam's holiest city, as well to Medina, the second holiest place in Islam.




Illustration of Babylon from Theosophie & Architektur (1680), by Erasmus Francisci
Public DomainIllustration of Babylon from Theosophie & Architektur (1680), by Erasmus Francisci - Credit: Deutsche Fotothek


Babylon was an Akkadian city-state (founded in 1867 BC by an Amorite dynasty) of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Iraq, south of Baghdad.

It was dissolved as a province after the Arab Islamic conquest of the 7th century AD.

Page 228. " The clusters of Papago huts seemed without tenant. "
Luzi - Papago woman (c. 1907)
Public DomainLuzi - Papago woman (c. 1907) - Credit: Library of Congress
Carlos Rios - Papago chief (c. 1907)
Public DomainCarlos Rios - Papago chief (c. 1907) - Credit: Library of Congress

Papago (literally ‘tepary-bean eater’) was the name given by the conquistadores to the Tohono O’Oodham (meaning ‘Desert People’), an indiginous tribe who live primarily in the Sonoran Desert of southeastern Arizona and northwest Mexico.


Page 230. " The man’s name was Mangas "

Mangas Colorados (c.1793 – January 18, 1863)
Public DomainMangas Colorados (c.1793 – January 18, 1863) - Credit: Arizona Historical Society
Mangas Coloradas, or Dasoda-hae, was an Apache tribal chief belonging to the Eastern Chiricahua nation. The name Mangas Coloradas was given to him by the Mexicans and is Spanish for Red Sleeves.

At the time of Glanton’s contact with Mangas relative peace between the U.S. Government and the Apache was still in existence, In 1846, when the United States went to war with Mexico, the Apache Nation had promised U.S. soldiers safe passage through Apache lands, and after the U.S. occupation of New Mexico, Mangas Coloradas signed a peace treaty, recognising them as conquerors of the Apache’s Mexican enemies. However, a number of crimes perpetrated against the Apache by the Americans over the next decade would eventually lead Mangas to join with Cochise in a bid to drive the Americans out of Apache territory.

Even within the long history of American mistreatment of Native Americans, the eventual fate of Mangas was especially shameful. In January 1863, Mangas arrived under a flag of truce to meet with U.S. military leaders at Fort McLane, New Mexico, to call for peace. He was immediately taken into custody by armed guards. Later that night he was murdered. The following day, his head was cut off, boiled and the skull sent to a New York City phrenologist.

Page 232. " before dark they rode into the town of Santa Cruz. "
Rendering of the Presidio Santa Cruz de Terrenate as it might have looked at completion
Public DomainRendering of the Presidio Santa Cruz de Terrenate as it might have looked at completion - Credit: Joel Ramirez

Santa Cruz de Terrenate was a former Spanish military presidio, located in the U.S. state of Arizona.

The presidio was established by an Irish mercenary named Hugh O’Connor in 1776, for the King of Spain Charles III. It was never completed to its original specifications due to repeated Apache attacks, which led to he garrison abandoning the presidio in 1780. In 1878, the presidio was briefly used as a post for the United States Army but was abandoned the same year.

Page 236. " the old mission at San José de Tumacacori "

Mission San José de Tumacácori was abandoned by 1840. It is now a National Monument in Tumacácori National Historical Park in Southern Arizona.


Page 238. " they passed through Tubac "

The name Tubac comes from a Hispanicized form of the O'odham name, which translates as "rotten". 

Apaches attacked the town repeatedly in the 1840s, forcing the Sonoran Mexicans to abandon both Tumacocori and Tubac. 

Tubac was the scene of a four day Apache siege in 1861.

Page 238. " The judge reached and took hold of the man’s head in his hands and began to explore its contours. "
1848 edition of American Phrenological Journal
Public Domain1848 edition of American Phrenological Journal - Credit: Fowlers & Wells

The judge is practicing phrenology, a pseudoscience popular in the first half of the 19th century which  involved the feeling of bumps in the skull to determine an individual’s psychological attributes. Focussing on personality and character, it was distinguished from craniometry (the study of skull size, weight and shape), and physiognomy (the study of facial features).

Although popular as a form of psychology during the Victorian era and 1840s America, phrenology was rejected by mainstream academia and had already been largely abandoned as a science by the early 20th century.

Page 239. " the mission of San Xavier del Bac "

The Mission is located in an old Indian settlement of the Tohono O'odham on the banks of the Santa Cruz River.  The San Xavier church and its Indian converts were protected somewhat from Apache raids by the Presidio San Agustin de Tucson, established in 1775 roughly 7 miles downstream.

Page 239. " the presidio of Tucson "
by cm

The Spanish established a walled fortress, Presidio San Agustín del Tucsón, on August 20, 1775. Attacks were repeatedly mounted by Apaches. The town became a part of Mexico after independence from Spain in 1821.

Tucson was captured by the Mormon Battalion during the Mexican-American War. Following the Gadsden Purchase in 1853, Tucson became a part of the United States of America, although the American military did not formally take over control of the community until March 1856.


Page 240. " They were Chiricahuas "

Chiricahua are Apache that formerly lived in southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona in the United States, and in northern Sonora and Chihuahua in Mexico.



There were several loosely-affiliated groups of Apaches that came to be called Chiricahuas. These included the Chokonen, Chihenne, Nednai and the Bedonkohe. Today, all are commonly referred to as Chiricahuas, but they were not a single group.

Page 240. " He was a small sturdy man named Pacheco and he had for anvil an enormous iron meteorite shaped like a great molar "
Tucson Meteorite, from Bartlett
Creative Commons AttributionTucson Meteorite, from Bartlett - Credit: Rice Digital Scholarship Archive

Gold-rush traveller Asa Bement Clarke and boundary commissioner John Russell Bartlett both reported seeing a meteorite used as an anvil by a Tucson blacksmith called Ramon Pacheco around the mid 19th century.

Bartlett provides this description of the meteorite he examined at Tucson and provides an accompanying sketch:

'a remarkable meteorite, which is used for an anvil in the blacksmith’s shop. This mass resembles native iron, and weighs about six hundred pounds. Its greatest length is five feet. Its exterior is quite smooth, while the lower part which projects from the larger leg is very jagged and rough. It was found twenty miles distant towards Tubac, and about eight miles from the road, where we were told are many larger masses.'


Page 243. " named Couts "

Cave Johnson Couts was 27 in 1849 when, as an army lieutenant, he was ordered to serve occupation duty following the recent war with Mexico.  At first detailed to Los Angeles, Couts later traveled to San Diego to assist joint Mexican and American efforts to survey a new boundary line between Upper and Lower California.

Cave Couts left behind a multitude of diaries, notebooks, and letters which give an important picture of mid-19th century southern California.

Page 243. " Major Graham "

While under Graham's command Couts grew impatient with the major's constant drinking and often referred to him as "Whiskey." A native of Virginia, Graham fought gallantly in several battles in the Mexican War.

Journal of Cave Johnson Couts from Mexico to California, 1848-1849

Page 245. " See The Wild Man Two Bits "

A freak show is an exhibition of human genetic rarities — such as unusually tall or short people, or those with both male and female secondary sexual characteristics. Heavily tattooed or pierced people are also sometimes seen in freak shows, along with fire-eating and sword-swallowing acts.

Freak shows were popular in the United States from around 1840 to the 1970s, and were often, but not always, associated with circuses and carnivals. Some shows also exhibited deformed animals (such as two-headed cows, one-eyed pigs, and four-horned goats) and famous hoaxes, or simply "science gone wrong" exhibits (such as deformed babies).

Changes in popular culture and greater genetic understanding led to the decline, and in some places prohibition, of the freak show as a form of entertainment.

Page 247. " set over here at this other table "

Racial segregation was to become more formalised and extreme. The Jim Crow laws were enacted in 1876, mandating racial segregation in all public facilities, with a supposedly "separate but equal" status for black Americans. 

Page 247. " On a rise at the western edge of the playa they passed a crude wooden cross where Maricopas had crucified an Apache. "
Pancho, a Maricopa Indian (1899)
Creative Commons AttributionPancho, a Maricopa Indian (1899) - Credit: BPL
Yellow Feather, a Maricopa woman (c. 1898-99)
Creative Commons AttributionYellow Feather, a Maricopa woman (c. 1898-99) - Credit: BPL

The Maricopa, or Piipaash, are a Native American tribe who formerly lived along the banks of the Colorado River.

In the 16th century, they migrated to the area around the Gila River, to avoid attacks by the Quechan and Mohave peoples. After epidemics took a toll on the tribe in the 1840s, the Maricopa formed a confederation with the Pima, and in 1857 they successfully defeated the Quechan and Mojave at Maricopa Wells.

Today, the Maricopa live alongside the Pima in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and Gila River Indian Community.