Mary Jo Estep

Mary Josephine Estep (1909 or 1910 — 19 December 1992) was a Bannock Indian child survivor of the Battle of Kelley Creek, "the last massacre" of Native Americans in the United States, in 1911.[1]

Early life

Mary Josephine Estep was born in 1909 or 1910, to Wenega Daggett. Her grandfather was Mike Daggett, called "Shoshone Mike."

She was a little more than a year old when her mother was killed near Winnemucca, Nevada, in February 1911. Shoshone Mike and his sons had killed four white ranchers and taken their horses and cattle. A posse responded by confronting the twelve Daggetts where they were hiding at Kelley Creek. Four children, including Estep, survived the subsequent shootout, and were taken to the jail in Reno for protection. Only Estep was still alive by 1913.[1]


Estep, who was found to have tuberculosis after the massacre, was adopted by Maj. Evan W. Estep and his wife, Orrell Marietta "Rita" Garrison Estep.[2] Maj. Estep was the white superintendent of the Fort Hall Indian Reservation in Idaho.[3] She lived with her adoptive parents in Montana and New Mexico before landing at the Yakama Indian Reservation in Toppenish, Washington in 1924, and finally in Yakima, Washington in 1930, after Evan Estep's retirement.[1] Evan died in 1950, and Rita died in 1955.

Later life

Mary Jo Estep studied music and attended Central Washington University. She was an elementary school music teacher for about forty years, before her retirement in 1974. Mary Jo Estep learned the details of her origins in 1975, when novelist Dayton O. Hyde was researching Mike Daggett's story and sought her out.[4] She died in 1992, aged about 82 years, in Yakima, after she was given the wrong medication in a nursing home.[5][6]


  1. Nicholas K. Geranios, "Survivor Returns to Site of Last Indian Massacre" Los Angeles Times (September 18, 1988).
  2. “Evan Estep, Orrell Marietta Garrison Estep, Mary Jane Garrison, Mary Josephine Estep” Chronicling Illinois (accessed May 31, 2018).
  3. "Three of the Little Ones" Missions: American Baptist International Magazine (December 1916): 885.
  4. "'It's Unreal', Massacre Survivor Says" Los Angeles Times (June 19, 1975): 3. via
  5. Nicholas K. Geranios, "Wrong Medication Kills Survivor Of Massacre -- Physician Ordered That No Corrective Measures Be Taken" Seattle Times (March 16, 1993).
  6. "Indian Who Lived Through Massacre Dies After Slip Up" Arizona Republic (March 17, 1993): 3. via
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