Home Information Contents Search Links

Hazelton, Harry.

Who Harry Hazelton or Hazeltine actually was, is unknown. Harry Hazelton was given as the name of the author of certain stories when they made their first appearance, in 1864-65, in the Dime Novels, while Lieut.-Col. Hazeltine was given as the author of those appearing in the American Tales in 1863-65. These stories were often reprinted, but no new novel appeared under either name until 1887 when "The Marked Miner" was issued as No. 180 of the octavo Boy's Library. It was re-issued as No. 469, Pocket Library, in 1893. Both of these booklets had Lieut.-Col. Hazeltine as author, but the interval of twenty-two years since the last preceding novel by that author was suspicious. It was then discovered that this novel was a reprint of Joseph E. Badger's "Forest Outlaws; or, The Branded Brigand," which had appeared under the pseudonym "Harry Hazard" in Starr's American Novels No. 39. Were it not that Badger did not begin writing until 1870, and Hazelton had already published before 1863, it might have been thought that Hazelton was a pseudonym of Badger, but this is clearly not the case. Apparently it was through inadvertence that the name of Harry Hazeltine appeared on the title pages instead of Harry Hazard.(1)

The two names, Harry Hazelton and Lieut.-Col. Hazeltine, seem to have been used interchangeably, for Dime Novel No. 79, by Hazelton, was reprinted in No. 223, Boy's Library, as by Hazeltine. Some novels were announced as by one author while the title page gave the other; and under the by-line of one author he was in some cases shown as author of books by the other. The "Col. or Captain Hazelton" under which some of Whitson's stories were reprinted by Street & Smith, has no connection with the Beadle Hazelton.(2)

In an announcement of a new story in the New York Weekly, XXI, February 15, 1866, the author was given as "Harry Hazelton," the quotation marks almost certainly indicating that the name was a pseudonym.

Under the name "Harry Hazelton" the following novels appeared:

Dime Novels. Nos. 73, 77, 79, 84, 464
American Library
(London). Nos. 51, 53, 65
Pocket Novels.
Nos. 146, 152, 225
Boy's Library
(octavo). Nos. 135, 248, 302

Under the name "Lieut.-Col. Hazeltine" the following appeared:

American Tales. Nos. 2, 9, 12, 15
American Library (London). 63
Starr's American Novels. Nos. 143, 192, 194, 208
Half-Dime Library. No. 95
Boy's Library (octavo). Nos. (180(3)), 223
Pocket Library. Nos. 182, (469(3)), 485


"The Silver Bugle; or, The Indian Maiden of St. Croix." Dime Novel No. 73, pp. 16-22.

"It was in the year 1846 that I was induced to emigrate to the wilds of Wisconsin, with my family. I settled upon the St. Croix river, about forty miles from its mouth and intersection with the Mississippi. The cause of my migration was the loss of fortune, brought about by overconfidence in pretended friends. I left Philadelphia, my former home, with a heavy heart. But I had an interesting family, to whom I was devotedly attached. It consisted of my wife, a daughter of sixteen, a son of ten, and a child of two years.

"We arrived in due time, and I selected the spot now known as 'Bloody Valley' for our home. There was a space of some thirty acres upon which there was no timber, and I found little trouble, after first erecting a dwelling of logs, in getting in my grain, and such other articles as would be required for family use during the coming winter. I began to feel quite contented and happy. For three seasons my harvest had been abundant, while my live stock had increased rapidly. As for fish and deer, the St. Croix and the adjoining forest gave us a plentiful supply. We had almost ceased to regret our city home, amid the many comforts and beauties by which we were surrounded.

"I soon observed that our prosperity was not unnoticed, and that it excited, at least, the envy of the Indians, who frequently visited us while upon their hunting excursions. At length they began their depredations. Numbers of our cattle, horses and fowls were stolen; but I was powerless, and determined to submit quietly. Not so with my son, who was then thirteen years of age. Without my knowledge, he secreted himself, and while an Indian was in the act of taking a horse from my stable, he shot the thief through the heart.

"The Indian belonged to the Sioux tribe, and was a near relative of Conanchet, a powerful brave. This man demanded redress. I informed him that the deed had been committed by my son, a thoughtless boy, and entirely without my knowledge. The Indians then demanded that the boy should be given over for torture. This I refused. They then retired, telling me it was their intention to consult their chief, but should return at daylight to inform me of his decision in the matter. I felt that I must prepare for the worst. I arranged my dwelling in the best possible shape for defense, but had little hope of successfully contending with my savage foes. Assistance could not be procured for several hours, as the nearest neighbor resided nearly fifteen miles distant.

"Morning came. Just as the sun was rising, a party of about thirty savages emerged from the woods, and came directly across the open field to my house. They approached the door with great caution, evidently expecting a warm reception. I measured my chances for success, and my rifle, which I had brought to bear upon the leader, was lowered.

"What are your terms by which a settlement can be effected?" I asked.

"'That you send the chief six horses, deliver the boy up for torture, and give the pale maiden to be the squaw of Conanchet.'

"This reply froze my very blood. I turned my gaze upon my wife. She had fallen upon her knees, and was praying. I looked at my boy. He stood in an attitude of defiance, while awaiting my answer. My little girl, then five years old, stood by her mother in silent wonder. But my daughter—she who was asked as the wife of the savage—then nineteen, and beautiful as a lily, stood near me with tearful eyes and trembling form. One rapid glance was sufficient to impress this picture on my heart and brain, eternally. I raised my rifle, and taking a deadly aim through a port-hole, I asked:

"'Will you be content if I will give you my house, my barn, my horses, cattle, every thing I have?"

"'No,' was the answer: 'we have them all now.'

"My rifle sent forth a stream of fire, and, with a yell, an Indian leaped into the air, and fell to the earth, dead. My son, who had been watching my movements, also fired, and a second savage bit the dust.†(4) They left the door, and withdrew to the side of the house. I had not sufficient time to pierce the logs for rifles, excepting at three different points near the door. We reloaded our pieces quickly as possible, and prepared for further action. We had not long to wait. The door was violently assaulted with a heavy piece of timber, but it refused to yield, and two more of the savages fell before our rifles. This maddened the others. With the most unearthly yells they danced around us for a while, and then all became silent. Soon, however, I heard the crackling of flames. The roof was on fire, as was the house in several other places. I began now to prepare for a most desperate encounter. I thought it most likely if any one of my family was spared by the savages, it would be my eldest daughter. I therefore took from the cradle my little infant, and gave it into her charge. I hoped, as the flames progressed, some opening would be formed through which I could bring my rifle to bear upon the savages. But they carefully avoided this. At last the room became so intensely hot that it was impossible longer to remain in it. I took my dear wife in my arms, and bade her a last farewell. I caressed my weeping daughter, committing her to the care of heaven, and, bidding each a sad good-by, I proceeded to open the door.

"The boy was the first to spring into the open air. He was confronted by the relentless foe. But his rifle again was sure, and I saw another savage fall. I sprung forth, rifle in hand. It did its work well. I drew my knife, and fought as only a man can fight who does so for his own life, and the lives of those he loves. I heard their shrieks of agony—heard the yells of triumph—I saw the darting flames; but I could not long stand against such odds. I felt a sharp pang—a giddiness—and all was dark.

"How long I remained in this condition I know not, but when I recovered I found myself in an Indian village. I judged that I could not be many miles from my former residence. A river was flowing along near the village, but it was somewhat broader than the St. Croix at 'Bloody Valley,' and so I concluded that I must be below that point. I sought information of the chief with regard to my family, but he was silent and morose.

"I had been in the Indian village nearly two weeks after my return to consciousness, and the wound, which was upon my head, had begun to heal, and my strength had quite returned. One day I saw an unusual preparation in the village—something denoting a holiday. Warriors appeared in their gayest costumes, with an extra coating of paint, and maidens adorned themselves in their most picturesque styles. I soon learned that a prisoner was to 'run the gauntlet,' and I began to fear that I might have some immediate connection in the games of that day, although I had not the slightest knowledge as to what the terror of 'running the gauntlet' might signify.

"It was about nine o'clock in the morning that I observed two lines forming to the right of the village. These two lines faced inward, and were about six feet apart, leaving a street of that width between the ranks. I observed that these lines were made up of warriors, old men, old and young women, and children, and that in a line behind each rank were blazing fires. On some of these, iron pokers or rods were heating, and upon others were kettles with water boiling. Men were armed with whips, knives, clubs, stones, and almost every variety of weapon. It almost froze my blood as I gazed upon this assemblage, but I had no idea what all this preparation meant.

"At last I was aroused from my wonder, by the approach of four powerful Indians, who threw aside the thongs which bound me, and dragged me toward the line. I did not speak, but arriving at the required point, I saw a street, between this line, or rather two lines of savages, which appeared to me nearly a mile in length.

"'You must run,' said one of my guards.

"I had read, in our earlier Indian history, descriptions of 'gauntlet running,' but now I saw the reality before me, although I had always thought of it only as a romance. I knew that I must run through that line, that every attempt would be made to kill me by the thousands assembled, and that, if my life was spared, it would depend entirely on my nimbleness of feet and dexterity of dodging. And the universal law which governs the Indian race, that a prisoner, if he has courage sufficient to make the attempt, and succeeds in passing their 'gauntlet line,' must go free, gave me hope, resolution, strength. I determined to venture. I did not hesitate because I lacked courage, but I was, at first, disheartened. Then came the thought—'What if some of your family were still alive!' This acted like magic. Why should I live if they were all gone? Why should I fear any thing, if they were no more? And if even one of my children was alive it was reason for the desperate run to be made with all my power.

"'Go-go!' yelled the Indian guard.

"I sprung like lightning into the path. Many blows were leveled at my head, but with dexterity I avoided them. I had passed two-thirds of the line, and was already congratulating myself on my escape, when I was struck in the face by a fiery substance, which made me reel and stagger to the earth. In an instant I was surrounded by fire, but this only served to remind me of my own home, and of the fate awaiting me, and, springing to my feet, I dashed onward. Many blows were inflicted upon me with the instruments held in the hands of the savages. Hot iron bars came in contact with my body and face, scalding water was thrown upon me, and just as I was about to emerge from the line, I fell to the ground, bleeding at every pore, and blistered from head to foot.

"I was then taken back to my prison. Oh, what agony filled my soul when I was informed that if I had run ten yards further, the 'gauntlet' would have been passed, and I would have been free! But now I was to be subjected to such torture as the chief might decide upon, and that without even waiting for my wounds to heal.

"From my prison I saw a council of savages assemble. As a strong guard remained with me, I judged there would be immediate action taken in my case. It was not long before the crowd, which had partially dispersed, began to gather again, and I was brought forth. I had given up in despair, and gave but little heed to their preparations. Besides, I was suffering so intensely from my wounds, that I actually longed for death to relieve me.

"I could not walk, and was dragged forward and placed upon the back of a horse. For the first time I opened my eyes, and comprehended at a glance what I had now to endure. The fate of Mazeppa, the Tartar prince and lover, was before me! I was to be tied upon the back of a wild horse, which would be driven tearing through the forest. The thongs which bound me to the animal cut my already lacerated flesh, as he reared and plunged in his effort to remove the burden upon him, and free himself from the iron grasp of those who held him. Dry pine-knots were so attached to the poor beast as to be set on fire. Every thing thus prepared, the horse was set loose.

"With shrieks of agony, almost human in their tones, the animal dashed through the forest, while the savages followed with exulting yells, and sent arrows after their victims, some of which struck the frantic steed, while others pierced my flesh.

"I became unconscious. When my reason returned, I found myself in the dwelling of one of my neighbors. He had found me by chance, after the horse had fallen dead. Better if I, too, had died! In his mad course through the forest, I had been dashed against the overhanging branches. This hump is the result of that ride. My back was broken. And yet I found what I hoped would prove a comfort to me. This neighbor had discovered and buried the body of my wife, my daughter and my son. Jennie, the little girl of five, was not found among the slain, and it was supposed she had been consumed by the flames. But my little infant was saved and was with me.

"Oh, how bright were my anticipations of future happiness with this child, when I should recover! For two years I did not leave my room, and scarcely my bed. When I did emerge, I was the hideous monster you now behold. I made every effort during my confinement, as my little one grew older, to accustom her to the sight of her father, but her aversion appeared rather to increase than diminish. Sometimes I would sing to her the songs her mother used to sing. To these she would listen, and turn toward me with something like affection in her gaze, but then with a shudder she would turn away again. This almost killed me. At last she died. This completed my earthly misery. I have lived since that time only for revenge. And I will have it! I have already sent death and terror in their haunts. They have seen me. They think me a demon! They fear this horrible monster—fear their own work! But I have been indolent. I have spared the red fiends from the fear that they would wreak their vengeance upon the innocent. But now that war with them has commenced they shall feel my presence among them. Their thirst for blood shall be quite satisfied. And this Conanchet comes! I will meet him first."

† Correction made as per Volume 3.


1 See under Joseph E. Badger for further explanation.
2 John H. Whitson, in a letter to Ralph Adimari, July 11, 1932.
3 Boy's Library (octavo edition), no. 180 and Pocket Library, no. 469 are reprints of a novel by "Harry Hazard," and through inadvertence were marked on the title page as by "Hazeltine." They do not belong in the list above, but are given here to call attention to the incorrect title pages. They are listed in this book under the name of the true author, Joseph E. Badger, Jr. (Harry Hazard).
4 † "Bit the dust" occurs in many other dime novels, e.g. in Chapter II of Dime Novel No. I, where it is recorded that "Many a dusky form bit the dust and many a savage howl followed the discharge of his trusty gun." This novel was published June 9, 1860, but, as mentioned elsewhere in The House of Beadle and Adams, it had previously appeared in The Ladies' Companion in February, 1839. The original appearance of "bit the dust" was discussed by Jacob Blanck in The Antiquarian Bookman, May 27 and July I, 1950, and by Vincent Starrett and Albert Johannsen in the "Line o' Type or Two" column of the Chicago Daily Tribune, August 15, 21, and 24, and Septemtember 2, 1950. While similar expressions, such as "lick the dust" and "eat the dust" occur as far back as Genesis, the words "bit the dust" in the sense of violent death, apparently must be credited to a dime novelist, Mrs. Ann Stephens, in 1839.

   Go BACK to where you came from