Thomas Tate Tobin

Infobox Person
name = Thomas Tate Tobin


image_size =
caption =
birth_date = birth date|1823|5|1|mf=y
birth_place = St. Louis, Missouri
death_date = 1904
death_place =
occupation = Mountain man, adventurer, US Army scout, bounty hunter
spouse = Pascuala Bernal

Tom Tobin (1823 – 1904) was an American adventurer, tracker, trapper, mountain man, guide, US Army scout, and occasional bounty hunter. Tobin explored much of southern Colorado, including the Pueblo area. He associated with men such as Kit Carson, "Uncle Dick" Wootton, Ceran St. Vrain, Charley Bent, John C. Fremont, "Wild Bill" Hickok, William F. Cody, and the Shoup brothers. Tobin was one of only two men to escape alive from the siege of Turley's Mill during the Taos Revolt. In later years he was sent by the Army to track down and eliminate the notorious Felipe Espinosa, returning to Ft. Garland with Espinosas' head in a sack. [Kutz, J.: "Mysteries & Miracles of Colorado", Rhombus, 1993]

Biography

Thomas Tate Tobin was born in St. Louis, Missouri on May 1, 1823 to Bartholomew Tobin, an Irish immigrant and Sarah Autobees. Sarah, believed to have been a Delaware Indian, had been widowed before marrying Tobin and brought a son, Charles Autobees (later Autobee), into the marriage. A year later, a daughter Catherine was born to the couple.

Early life

In 1828, Charles Autobees, then 16 years old, went west to work as a beaver trapper. He returned to St. Louis in 1837. That year, his half-brother Tom, then 14 years old, returned with Charles to Taos, in the company of Ceran St. Vrain. Tom worked as a trapper and scout at Bent's Fort, and in Taos, and along with his brother, worked at Simeon Turley's store, mill, and distillery at Arroyo Hondo. He accompanied his brother Charles on trips to deliver supplies and whiskey to trappers in trade for furs, and they took the pelts to St. Louis to trade for more supplies for Turley's store. Autobees and Tobin made regular stops in places such as Fort Jackson, Fort Lupton, Bent's Fort, and El Pueblo.

By 1846, Tom had married Pascuala Bernal, and was living with his family in Arroyo Hondo, near Taos. He continued working for Turley, and delivered dispatches to Fort Leavenworth for Gen. Stephen Kearny.

The Taos Revolt

On the morning of January 19, 1847, insurrectionists opposed to American rule began a revolt in Don Fernando de Taos (present-day Taos, New Mexico). They were led by a Hispanic man, Pablo Montoya and a Taos Indian, Tomás Romero, known as Tomasito.

The Indians, led by Tomasito, went to the home of Governor Charles Bent, broke down the door, shot Bent several times with arrows, and scalped him in front of his wife and children. Several other government officials were likewise murdered and scalped. Among them were Stephen Lee, acting county sheriff; Cornelio Vigil, prefect and probate judge; and J.W. Leal, circuit attorney.

The next day a large mob of approximately 500 Mexicans and Indians attacked and laid siege to Simeon Turley's Mill, where Autobee and Tobin were working. Autobee saw the crowd coming and rode to Santa Fe to inform the occupying American forces about the revolt and to try to get help, leaving eight to ten mountain men, including his brother Tom, to defend the mill. After a day-long battle, only two of the men, Johnny Albert and Tom Tobin, would survive, both escaping the burning mill separately on foot during the confusion of night fighting.

After his escape, Tom and his brother Charles served as scouts for a company led by Capt. Ceran St. Vrain, to find and capture the insurrectionists. Those perpetrators who were not killed in battle were tried and put to death.

Scout, guide, Indian fighter

In 1847, Tobin farmed on land bordering the San Carlos River southeast of El Pueblo, selling his crops to Lt. Col. William Gilpin, who was camped with his troops near Bent's Fort. The next year, Gilpin asked Tobin to scout for him during his planned spring campaign against the Indians. Gilpin then asked Tobin to serve as a courier, carrying dispatches from the Canadian River valley of Oklahoma to Bent's Fort.

Just before the Civil War, Tobin was hired as a scout by Maj. B.L. Beall, to guide an expedition to find a railroad route to California. Beall described Tobin as "having a reputation almost equal to Kit Carson's for bravery, dexterity with his rifle, and skill in mountain life."

In November 1868, Tobin was appointed by Gen. Penrose as chief scout on an Indian-hunting campaign. Other scouts hired were Tobin's brother Charles Autobee, and "Wild Bill" Hickok.

Felipe Espinosas

In the early 1860's, Mexican national Felipe Espinosa (along with two cousins) moved to the San Luis Valley from New Mexico. The Espinosas went on a killing spree beginning in 1863, murdering over thirty anglos in the area in retaliation for relatives killed in the Mexican-American War. A detachment of soldiers from Ft. Garland, as well as several posses, attempted to capture the brothers, but succeeded only in killing one brother, who was quickly replaced by a cousin. Eventually, the commanding officer of Ft. Garland, Colonel Sam Tappan, requested Tobin's help in bringing the Espinosas' reign of terror to an end. He provided Tobin with a detachment of fifteen soldiers, but Tobin left them at camp, as they made too much noise on the trail. Tobin tracked the Espinosas to a camp and shot them. He cut off their heads and carried them in a sack back to Ft. Garland as proof of his success. It is said that when asked by Tappan how his trip had gone, Tobin replied "So-so", then rolled the heads out of the sack and across the floor. There was several thousand dollars reward (Dead or Alive) for the Espinosas, but Tobin would never collect the full amount. But he was given a coat like Kit Carson's by the governor of Colorado, and a Henry rifle by the Army.

Billy Carson shooting

In 1878, Tobin's daughter, Pascualita, married Kit Carson's son William. Some years later, Tobin tried to stab Carson for abusing Tobin's daughter, and Carson hit Tobin in the head with a sledge hammer and shot him in the side. Tobin and his son-in-law apparently ironed out their problems a few days later, but Tobin never fully recovered from the shooting. He did, however, outlive Billy Carson.

References


*cite book
last = Carter
first = Harvey Lewis
authorlink =
coauthors = Kit Carson
title = Dear Old Kit: The Historical Christopher Carson
publisher = University of Oklahoma Press
date = 1990
location =
pages = 125, 152, 192
url =
doi =
id = ISBN 0-8061-2253-6

*cite book
last = Colorado Historical Society
first =
authorlink =
coauthors = editors Grinstead, Fogelberg
title = Western Voices: 125 Years of Colorado Writing
publisher = Fulcrum Publishing
date = 2004
location =
pages = 50
url =
doi =
id = ISBN 1-55591-531-0

*cite book
last = Conard
first = Howard Louis
authorlink =
coauthors = Dick Wooton, Milo Milton Quaife ed.
title = Uncle Dick Wootton
publisher = University of Nebraska Press
date = 1980
location =
pages =
url =
doi =
id = ISBN 0-8032-1408-1

*cite web
last = Conner
first = Buck
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Thomas Tate Tobin
work =
publisher =
date =
url = http://klesinger.com/jbp/ttobin.html
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2006-09-17

*cite book
last = Field
first = Ron
authorlink =
coauthors = Illus. Richard Hook
title = Elite 91: US Army Frontier Scouts 1840-1921
publisher = Osprey Publishing
date = 2003
location =
pages = 7, 8-9
url =
doi =
id = ISBN 1-84176-582-1

*cite book
last = Hewett
first = Edgar L.
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Campfire and Trail
publisher = Kessinger Publishing
date = 2004
location =
pages = 44, 45, 46, 51
url =
doi =
id = ISBN 1-4179-7649-7

* Lecompte, Janet "Charles Autobees", featured in "Trappers of the Far West", Leroy R. Hafen, editor. 1972, Arthur H. Clark Company, reprint University of Nebraska Press, October 1983. ISBN 0-8032-7218-9

*cite book
last = McTighe
first = James
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Roadside History of Colorado
publisher = Johnson Books
date = 1989
location =
pages = 340-341
url =
doi =
id = ISBN 1-55566-054-1

*cite book
last = Nash
first = Jay Robert
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Encyclopedia of Western Lawmen & Outlaws
publisher = Da Capo Press
date = 1994
location =
pages = 122, 367
url =
doi =
id = ISBN 0-306-80591-X

*cite book
last = O'Brien
first = Christopher
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Enter the Valley: UFOs, Religious Miracles, Cattle Mutilations, and Other Unexplained Phenomena in the San Luis Valley
publisher = St. Martin's Press
date = 1999
location =
pages = 40, 164
url =
doi =
id = ISBN 0-312-96835-3

*cite book
last = Perkins
first = James E.
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Tom Tobin: Frontiersman
publisher = Herodotus Press
date = 1999
location =
pages =
url =
doi =
id = ISBN 0-9675562-0-1
[http://extras.denverpost.com/books/tobin0408.htm Book review and synopsis] at Denver Post.

*cite news
last = Raher
first = Stephen
coauthors =
title = Oral History of a Colorado Mountain Town
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Voice of America
date = 2006-03-16
url = http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/2006-03/2006-03-16-voa47.cfm
accessdate = 2006-09-18
Radio broadcast also available for download.

*cite book
last = Scott
first = Bob
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Tom Tobin and the Bloody Espinosas
publisher = PublishAmerica
date = 2004
location =
pages =
url =
doi =
id = ISBN 1-4137-0956-7

*cite book
last = William
first = Henry Frederick
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Thomas Tate Tobin
publisher = Henry
date = 1958
location =
pages =
url =
doi =
id = ASIN B0007HPY5W

See also

*John David Albert
*Kit Carson
*Taos Revolt
*Samuel F. Tappan

Persondata
NAME=Tobin, Thomas Tate
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=Tobin, Tom
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Mountain man and adventurer
DATE OF BIRTH=May 1, 1823
PLACE OF BIRTH=St. Louis, Missouri
DATE OF DEATH=1904
PLACE OF DEATH=


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