Okay, let's get down to the nitty gritty: did Olive Oatman have children while she was with the Mojave?
Author Margot Mifflin says no: "Olive almost certainly didn’t marry a Mohave or bear his children. If she had, it would have been a highly unusual, thus memorable, piece of tribal history." Mifflin, whose 2009 book, "The Blue Tattoo" was featured in the August, 2009 issue of True West ("10 Myths About Olive Oatman") goes on to say, "Although she married after her ransom, Olive never had biological children, which raises the possibility that she couldn’t. Finally, a half century after her ransom, when the anthropologist A.L. Kroeber interviewed a Mohave named Musk Melon who had known Olive well, he said nothing about her having been married."
This is a solid argument on why Mifflin believes Olive did not have biological children, period. In fact, Olive, herself claimed nothing "improper" transpired between her and her captors, but that was after her ghost writer Royal B. Stratten got ahold of the story and cleaned it up.
This, to me, is a bombshell revelation, but Mifflin dismisses Thompson's claim: "Compelling as it is, the statement is unreliable: [Thompson] also claimed Olive lived with the [Thompson] family for four years (in fact it was for two months after her ransom.)"
The author of the fine book, "The Oatman Massacre" has a somewhat different take. Brian McGinty told me in an email, "I believe she may have [had children]. There were reports that she did, as detailed in my book. Her unhappiness in later years may be explained by sorrow over the loss of her children. The eagerness with which she greeted Irataba in New York in 1864 may also be linked to that. However, there have been denials by Mohaves. Perhaps they wanted to avoid recriminations from whites. To the best of my knowledge, there has never been convincing proof that Olive did or convincing proof that she didn’t have Mohave children. The question is vital to understanding the tragic story of Olive Oatman and should not be dismissed out of hand, as at least one writer has. Some convincing proof may eventually emerge. I hope researchers will continue to pursue the question."
I have always believed Olive had children while she was with the Mojaves and I believe her fits of despair were related to losing them. I will later go into the complicated dynamic that facilitated her release from captivity, but the short version is: she didn't have much of a choice to return to anglo society.
I'll leave the final word of this argument to McGinty, who sums up his book with this haunting passage:
"Perhaps the story has no end—at least not in the conventional sense. Perhaps there is no date on a calendar or place on a map that represents the last chapter in the tragic history. Perhaps it will end only when the truth is known and sober minds can reflect on it. Perhaps it will really be over only when all the characters in the drama are released from the captivities—physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual—that so long and so forcefully held them in their grip."