Copyright 2000, 2001 - Janine M. Bork
This page is part of the Wallowa County AHGP
(1856 - 1873.)
Southern Oregon - Counties of Josephine and Curry - Straggling Savages Murder and Rob Umpqua Lighthouse - Trial and Execution of enos - Chief John Sent to San Francisco - Desperate and Almost Successful Attempt of Himself and Son to Capture the Steamship - Military Wagon Road - Discovery of Gold in the Umpqua Valley - Exploration of the Klamath Lake Country - First Mail Between Sacramento and Portland - More Indian Depredations - Bailey's Brave Stand Against a Hundred Savages - S.D. Evans Shot Dead with an Arrow - The Great Deluge in Southern Oregon - Effects of the Southern Rebellion - Oregon Volunteers Again in the Field - Indian Council at Klamath Lake - Causes and Details of the Modoc Indian War - The Assassination of General Canby - Punishment of the Traitorous Savages.
THE territorial legislature at the session of 1855-56 created two new counties in Southern Oregon, Curry and Josephine. The first was named after the Governor, the latter after Josephine Rollins, the first white woman residing within its borders. The boundaries of Curry county, as described by the act of December 18, 1855, were as follows: Beginning at a point on the Pacific Coast at the mouth of New river, thence east to the dividing ridge of the waters of the Coquille river and Horse creek; thence following said divide, which separates all the waters of the Coquille river from those which discharge themselves directly into the ocean, until such ridge connects itself with the dividing ridge between the waters of the Coquille and Rogue rivers; thence east along said ridge or divide to the divide forming the eastern tributaries of John Mule creek; thence south to the parallel of forty-two degrees north latitude; thence west to the ocean; thence north along the line of the Pacific Coast to the beginning. The count seat was located, by a vote of the citizens at the next regular election at Ellensburg, near the mouth of Rogue river.
Josephine county was created by an act passed January 22, 1856. Its boundaries are as follows: Beginning at the southwest corner of township number thirty-two south, of range five west, being the south boundary of Douglas county; thence west along the dividing ridge separating the waters of Cow creek from those of the Rogue and Coquille rivers, to the northeast corner of Curry county; thence south along the east line of said county to the summit of the divide between the Rogue and Illinois rivers; thence west along the divide to a point seven miles east of the junction of those rivers; thence south to the California state line; thence east to the intersection of the west boundary of range four west; thence north to the southeast corner of township number thirty-six; thence west to the southwest corner of the same township; thence north to the place of beginning. The county seat was first locate at Waldo; and the first court was held at that place by Judge Deady in the fall of 1856.
The southern portion of the coast during this year suffered not only fro war, but shipwreck. On the 3d of May, 1856, the brig Quadratus, loaded with merchandise and the machinery for a steam sawmill belonging to Simpson and Jackson, ran ashore in Coos Bay. Mr. Simpson, one of the owners of the vessel and mill, and Mrs. McDonald and child, were drowned in attempting to land in a small boat through the surf. The mate of the vessel, who was in the same boat, had a narrow escape with his life, having been thrown about in the surf, but, by clinging to a life-preserver, was finally saved. Mr. McDonald remained on the vessel and saw his wife and child drown. The brig came in with a strong ebb tide; but, the wind failing, she drifted ashore before an anchorage could be reached. She was driven by the surf up on the sands; but the rest of her passengers and crew were saved, as well as the mill and her cargo, which was in a damaged condition. During the month of June, the schooners Iowa and Francisco were driven ashore at Port Orford, and were wrecked; but no lives were lost. On the 21st of December, the brig Fawn, Captain T. Bunker, bound for the Umpqua river with a valuable cargo of merchandise, went ashore near the mouth of the Siuselaw, twenty-five miles north of the Umpqua. She was dismasted at sea and drifted ashore. The mate and three sailors were washed overboard during the storm. The remainder of the crew, the passengers and a portion of the cargo, were saved. The Fawn was chartered by Dearborn & Co., of Roseburg.
Although the Indian war
was concluded in June, many members of the different tribes remained in
their old haunts; and the most of them were ever ready to rob and kill
whenever an opportunity offered. Among these were a portion of the Cheteo
and Pistol river Indians on the coast south of Rogue river, a part of John
and Limpy's band in the Illinois river mountains, Sampson's band at the
head of the South Umpqua, and a portion of the Cow creek and Modoc Indians,
who were still unsubdued, and were liable at any time to make a raid upon
the settlements at the head of the Rogue river and Shasta valleys. On the
6th of July, a pack train of fifteen mules, accompanied by two men, was
attacked on the Siskiyou Mountains. One of the men, by the name of Ogle,
was killed and the whole train captured by the Modoc Indians. On the 11th
of July, a pack train from Port Orford to Crescent City was attacked by
the Pistol river Indians, and two of the four packers killed. On the 15th
of August, James Weaver and William Russell were fired upon by Indians
while traveling from Roseburg to Canyonville. Russell was shot three times,
- once in the breast; but they both escaped to the house of Lazarus Wright.
A short distance further on, the Indians burned the unoccupied house of
James Beane and a field of grain. Two miles further on, they shot David
Klink while binding wheat in the field. He escaped to the house of Colonel
Burnett. They afterwards burned Klink's house and two stacks of grain belonging
to Samuel Moore. They also attacked the house of William Irving in his
absence, but were repulsed by Mrs. Irving, who ably defended her castle.
A company of citizens was soon formed to chastise the savages; but, after
following them two days, they lost their trail at the head of the Ollala,
and were compelled to return. This marauding party was supposed to be a
part of Sampson's band. On the 10th of February, 1857, a band of Cow creek
Indians shot Adam Day, of Camas valley, in the shoulder with an arrow,
inflicting a severe wound. During the summer of 1856, the State of California
sent a body of volunteers, under the command of General John D. Cosby,
to punish the Lake Indians. During their operations, they attacked Lalake's
tribe on the Oregon side of the line, destroyed his fort, burnt his ranches,
and killed some of his people. They
also attacked the Modocs by means of boats on Tule Lake, and punished them quite severely. General Cosby made some kind of treaty or talk with a number of chiefs; but the expedition effected nothing of a permanent character.
While the war caused a general paralysis in business, it did not entirely extinguish it. A lively trade was still kept up between San Francisco and the Umpqua river. Two small steamers, the Washington and the Excelsior, were kept busily engaged in transporting freight from the mouth of the river to Scottsburg, for the interior; and, as evidence of the progress in agriculture, on the 5th of May the schooner Palestine cleared for San Francisco with a cargo of potatoes. George T. Allen was the pioneer shipowner on the Umpqua river. The schooner Umpqua was built on Mill creek, one and a half miles below Scottsburg, by Clark & Baker. She left the mouth of the river under the command of Captain T.D. Hindsdale on the 12th of May, and crossed the bar on her return on the 3d of June, making the round trip to San Francisco in twenty-two days. Coos Bay was not behind in the commercial race. Although she had scarcely any trade with the interior, her coal and timber proved an inexhaustible source of wealth. Early in the year 1856, the coal bank at Newport owned by Flanagan & Rogers, and the one at Eastport owned by Northrup & Symonds, had been so far developed as to produce regular shipments of coal to San Francisco. In the month of June, five vessels entered the bay for coal cargoes. Two steam sawmills were erected on the bay during this year.
The year 1857 opened with a snowstorm; and the weather was quite severe for several weeks. It was during this year that a lighthouse was erected at the mouth of the Umpqua river.
On Sunday, April 12th, Enos, the murderer of Captain Ben Wright, was executed at Port Orford. He did not surrender with Old John. Being a half-breed of light complexion, and talking English perfectly, he easily made his escape. He was first recognized on French Prairie in Marion county, where he went to visit some of his old friends, and thence to the Grand Ronde reservation, no doubt to see Old John, where he was immediately put in irons by the Indian agent. General Palmer, Superintendent, wished to have him tried by Judge Williams in the territorial court; but the judge recommended a trial by a military commission. He was finally sent by the steamer Columbia to Port Orford. The weather being too rough to land at that place, he was put ashore at Crescent City and taken by land to Port Orford. Upon his arrival, he was tried by the miners and hanged on Battle Rock with very little ceremony.
The increase in the number of cattle west of the Cascade Mountains, both in the Willamette valley and in Southern Oregon, was very extraordinary, and proved the source of a large income to the settlers. It appears from actual county, that from the 1st of February to the 16th of June, 1857, twenty-eight thousand head of cattle were driven south through the Umpqua cañon to the markets in the mines of Southern Oregon and California.
Roving bands of Indians still
continued to give trouble in different sections of the country. On the
15th of June, the house of Franklin Wright on South Deer creek in Douglas
county was robbed of a rifle and a quantity of ammunition, two hundred
pounds of flour and three pairs of blankets. James Gilmore, who happened
to be near, had a valuable mare killed and two colts wounded with arrows.
Pursuit was made; but the plunderers were not caught.
The brig Ellen Wood was built on the Umpqua, and was ready for sea on the 7th of July. In August, Burns & Beggs commenced the publication of the Jacksonville Herald at that place. The winter of 1857-58 was a very mild one, there being no snow and very little freezing weather.
The Chetco and Pistol river Indians, living on the coast between Rogue river and Crescent City, surrendered in 1856 to the Indian superintendent and agreed to go upon the Siletz reservation; but, when the time came to transfer them, the refused and returned to their old haunts. They remained quiet for sometime; but on the 15th of March, 1858, they took the warpath, killed the interpreter Oliver Cantwell, and started on a general raid. They attacked Daly's ranch and killed a man named Taylor. In fact, they were such a continual menace to the settlers that they were unable to carry on their usual avocations. they attacked the supply train of Lieutenant Shrie on its way from Port Orford to Crescent City, and killed an employé named Baker. This last attack was said to have been made by a band of six Chetco Indians. Captain Tichenor, who was special Indian agent at Port Orford, went down the coast to take a band of thirteen Indians, who were guilty of most of the depredations along the coast, to the reservation with their squaws. He first endeavored to get them to go out and bring in six Indians who had attacked Lieutenant Shrie. This they promised to do, but afterwards refused. Captain Tichenor gathered them with their squaws and started for the reservation. After going a part of the way, the warriors watched their opportunity and left him. An express was sent to Gold Beach notifying the people of the escape, and warning them to be on their guard. A party from that place armed themselves and went out. The warriors were not satisfied with having escaped themselves, but wished to release their squaws. For this purpose they started to follow Captain Tichenor to the reservation; but, unfortunately for them, they fell in with the party from Golden Beach, who killed the whole thirteen and buried them where they fell. ample proof of their crimes was found upon their persons. The six remaining desperadoes were betrayed by a sub-Indian chief named Ilas for the reward offered for their scalps. After obtaining access to their camp under the pretense of friendship, Ilas and his band fell upon them and killed and mutilated the chief and three others in the usual Indian manner. A party of miners captured the other two Indians and fifteen squaws and children. The men were tied to trees and shot, and the women and children sent to the reservation. This put an end to the Indian troubles on the coast.
Old Chief John, the most indomitable
and cruel of all the savages, as well as the best general, and who was
the last to surrender, was taken with his two sons to the Siletz reservation.
His youngest son died in 1857, in return for which the old chief killed
one or two Indian doctors, a custom of the Indians. He was afterwards detected
in inciting the other southern Indians to revolt and return to their former
homes. Captain Augur, in command of Fort Hoskins, thereupon sent him and
his son Adam to Fort Vancouver in in April, 1858, from which place they
were ordered to San Francisco. They were shipped on the steamer Columbia.
While the vessel was at anchor off Humboldt Bay, the old chief, knowing
that this was his last chance, determined to escape. They were in the steerage
under the charge of a sergeant. About one o'clock in the morning, they
commenced operations by blowing out all the lights in the steerage. They
next attempted to steal the revolver from the sergeant; but he awoke and
caught them in the act. Then commenced the struggle, the old chief throttling
the sergeant, who was lying in his berth, and Adam beating him on the head
with an iron bar.
At this juncture John gave his ear-piercing warwhoop, which seems to have acted with galvanic effect on the passengers, who incontinently quitted their berths, ran up the hatchways and into the cabin, where they declared the Indians had taken the ship and were slaughtering the passengers. They had all forgotten to take their revolvers with them in their hasty flight, and supposed the warriors had obtained possession of them.
In the meantime the struggle between the sergeant and the two Indians was fiercely carried on, during which the pistol they were contending for was discharged, the ball passing just underneath the sergeant's throat and cutting his whiskers. The pistol was broken into pieces in the contest. Captain Dall, with his first officer, Mr. Nolan, the second mate, and some of the passengers, then formed themselves into two bodies, fur men in each, and, after closing the hatches, armed and provided themselves with lights, ready at a given signal to jump down both hatchways and secure the two warriors. This plan was executed; and, as soon as they landed on the steerage deck, shooting and cutting commenced in lively style on both sides. John, the old chief, made at Mr. Nolan with an iron bar and aimed a blow at his head, but struck him violently on the shoulder. Mr. Noland returned the compliment by a cut with a saber; but the chief caught the blade in his hand. Mr. Nolan succeeded in drawing it away, and gave him another cut over the head. The second mate was also busy with a revolver, and shot Adam through the leg. By this time the rest of the party gathered in; and the two chiefs were overpowered after a desperate struggle, not, however, until they had shot one man in the breast and wounded three others, besides a woman. The latter had a little girl, at whom Adam aimed a blow; but she threw up her arm and received a severe cut upon it. After being subdued, the warriors were conveyed to the quarter deck, sweltering in blood. For some time they pretended to be dead, hoping that their bodies would be thrown overboard, when they could easily swim ashore and effect their escape; but the trick did not work, and they were put in irons instead of water.
Old John was about seventy years old, and declared that, if he had two or three of his warriors with him, he would have captured the ship. Old John had a frightful saber cut on his head. Adam was so badly shot that his leg had to be amputated at San Francisco. A rifle stock had also been broken over his head. The brave sergeant had his jaw broken and his head badly bruised with the iron bar. Adam died not long after at Benicia. The death of the old chief is not recorded; but he never returned to Oregon.
Congress having made an additional
appropriation for the military road from Scottsburg to Camp Stuart in Jackson
county, Lieutenant Mendell, U.S. Engineers, was detailed to apply the same
during the season. Lieutenant Hooker, afterwards Major-General Hooker,
U.S. Army, was appointed superintendent. Hardy Elliff of Cow creek took
the contract for grading the Grave creek hills for the sum of eight thousand
dollars. The work from Roseburg to Jackson county was well finished before
the rainy season commenced; but the work on the road to Scottsburg had
to be abandoned, for the reason that all the workmen left for Frazer river,
induced by the reported gold discoveries in that section. In November,
1858, gold was discovered on Coffee creek, a stream that empties into the
South Umpqua river about twenty-five miles above Caynonville. The mines
yielded largely to the first discoverers; and mining was carried on profitably
on the stream and its branches for several years afterwards. On the 15th
of November, the brig Cyclops, from San Francisco to Coos Bay with
a cargo of merchandise, was wrecked while attempting to enter Coos Bay
harbor. No lives were lost; but the vessel and cargo were a total loss.
In April, 1859, a party of men, composed of Eli Ledford and J. Brown of Jacksonville and S.F. Conger, W.S. Probst and James Crow of Butte Creek, started on an exploring expedition to the Klamath Lake country by way of the Butte creek trail. On the 4th of May, Indian Agent Abbott, with a small party, left for his station among the Klamaths by the same trail. Upon arriving at a point where the snow prevented further progress, they returned and followed the trail of the Ledford party to Rancheria Prairie, where they found it deserted and the houses burned. Four of the horses of the Ledford party were found to have been tied to trees and shot. Believing the party had been murdered, Abbott and his men returned to Jacksonville and reported their discovery. A company of forty-three men were immediately fitted out by the citizens of the valley, under the command of Captain John W. Hillman. Henry Klippel and many of the leading citizens of Jacksonville belonged to the command; and Agent Abbott accompanied them. Upon arriving at Rancheria Prairie, a careful search was made for the bodies of the party; and the place where they were buried was finally discovered. Upon their exhumation, they proved to be the bodies of Probst, Brown, Crow and Couger. Ledford's body was found later, buried in a thicket of firs some distance away. The bodies were badly mutilated, but still recognizable. There was sufficient evidence to show that the party were killed while asleep in camp. The relief party crossed the north fork of Butte creek and followed it down to the Rogue river, making a thorough search for the murderers, without success. It was subsequently reported in the Yreka papers that Lalake, one of the Klamath chiefs, had brought to his white friends at that place the heads of three Indians whom he had executed for being engaged in the Ledford massacre; but the report lacks confirmation, although it may be true.
There were but few other matters
of special interest to Southern Oregon which occurred during this year.
Judge Deady of the first district having been appointed United States district
judge upon the admission of Oregon as a state, Governor Whiteaker appointed
P.P. Prim as his successor, which position he held for many years thereafter,
by the vote of the people of the district. In July, 1859, the Umpqua land-office
was removed from Winchester to Roseburg, the county seat of Douglas county,
by order of the President, where it still remains. In November, 1859, L.E.V.
Coon started the first newspaper at Roseburg, which was called the Roseburg
On the 15th of September, 1860, the first daily mail, carried by four-horse
coaches, arrived in Portland, Oregon, from Sacramento, California. This
was the inauguration of a new era upon the Pacific Coast, and especially
for Southern Oregon. Before this time the mail came semi-occasionally;
and persons desiring to travel the route from Jacksonville to Portland
were compelled to make the trip on horse or mule back, making an average
of twenty miles a day. The stopping places were well known; and each day's
drive was managed so that they could arrive at some favorable hostelry.
At each of these there was ample provision for the inner man, with plenty
of horse feed; and, during the rainy season, a roaring fire in an ample
fireplace furnished the opportunity to dry the saturated clothing of the
tired traveler. The stage line changed all this. The mails arrived regularly,
the time being seven days in winter; and, except during the floods of 1861-62,
there was no failure in the mails of any consequence. Travelers had no
longer to provide themselves with a riding animal to make a day's journey.
They had only to provide themselves with a ticket from the stage agent.
It required an immense amount of energy, as well as a good deal of capital,
to make it a success, there being at that time scarcely any decent
wagon roads between Sacramento and Portland, while a large part of the road was over rough mountains and through difficult cañons; but men were found equal to the emergency.
The company that took the first contract consisted of James Haworth, President, George Thomas, Vice-President. The directors were Wash. Montgomery, John Andrews and A. Richardson. The mail pay was $90,000 per annum in gold coin. Vice-President Thomas had the chief control of the Oregon end of the line. The superintendents upon whom the most of the work devolved were Robert Van Dusen, John Andrews, J.J. Comstock, Elijah Corbett and Colonel Stone. The stage soon became an institution in the country that not only furnished a market for a large quantity of hay and grain, but was the only means of communication with the outside world. It soon became the custom of the whole male population of a station to meet the stage upon its arrival. At the blast of the driver's horn, all the business men rushed to receive their packages by mail or express; while the balance of the crowd waited to meet some friend or hear the latest news. The drivers were universally polite and obliging; and they seemed to defy the weather as if made of cast iron. Each one of them deserves a memorial, which it is not possible to give in this work. So strong a hold had the stage company upon the people of Southern Oregon, that there was a sigh of regret even when they were superseded by the railroad company.
In the spring of 1861, Captain Jo Bailey of Lane county, who was a member of the legislature, having a large band of cattle which had suffered severely from the cold weather in January of that year, determined to drive them to the head of Pitt river in California, near Fort Crook, which region he knew to be a fine stock range and at that time entirely unoccupied and unsurveyed. Shortly after Bailey had passed through the Umpqua valley with this cattle, Samuel D. and David Evans of the Umpqua valley left for the same destination with three hundred and fifty head of cattle, seventeen head of horses, and one wagon with two yoke of cattle. The company consisted of S.D. and David Evans, the owners, Hiram Gove, Elijah Crow and L.F. Thompson, herders. The Evans party left Roseburg about the 1st of July. On arriving at Ashland, Bailey took the emigrant trail to the east of the Cascades, as furnishing better feed and being less expensive. The Evans party, on arriving at the turning-off place, followed the Bailey trail with the expectation of soon uniting their droves. this was accomplished at a point near where Dorris and Fairchild subsequently established their cattle ranches. Upon uniting their forces, a consultation was held; and it was determined to follow the immigrant road to Goose Lake, and then down Pitt river to Fort Crook. To accomplish this, it was necessary to turn back until they reached the south side of Little Klamath Lake, thence east along the south side until they reached the east side of the lake.
The persons forming the Bailey
company were: Captain Jo Bailey, James Bailey, Jack and Dick Wright, A.C.
Hill, John Cornage, Jack Shepard, James White, Ed Simmes, Old Charley Martin,
wife and son, making eighteen persons in the consolidated company. They
were not well supplied with arms; and it is evident that no danger was
anticipated. Two revolvers were all the arms in the Evans party. Bailey
was better prepared. He had five guns, one of them a shotgun, and several
revolvers. At the end of the next day's drive, several Indians came into
camp, being apparently friendly, but all exceedingly hungry. On the next
day's drive, quite a large number of Indians were met, some riding and
some walking, accompanied by an indefinite number of children and dogs.
The party traveled eastward most of the day and came to the natural bridge
on Lost river about one
o'clock in the afternoon. They had no difficulty in crossing, and, after following the north side of the river for three or four miles, camped not far from Tule Lake. There was a large Indian village not far from the camp, which some of the party visited. The next day's drive led around the north side of Tule Lake to the famous Bloody Point; but no Indians were seen. They then crossed a range of hills and came down to Clear Lake. The next day they traveled due east along a tule swamp about a mile wide, when they came to a river they could not cross, and camped on its banks. There were several Indian signal fires around on the hills that evening; and Captain Bailey deemed it prudent to post a guard around the cattle. The party had to go back several miles to cross the river, from which point they traveled southeast all the next day over a good road. Just before arriving at camp on a small creek, they saw a sign on a tree, "Look out for Indians." They kept a good lookout, but did not see any, although they could see their signal smokes every time they started or stopped. No incident of importance occurred until the party had traveled down Pitt river two days. Here the Indians became very saucy, and endeavored to stampede the cattle.
On the next day, Ed Simmes, who had been left behind with a lame cow, came into camp and reported that the Indians had fired several arrows at him. As Samuel D. Evans and David Evans were still in the rear, Captain Bailey at once organized a party to go to their relief. The party accompanying him were James Bailey, Jack Shepard, James White, John Cornage, Ed Simmes, Elijah Crow and Hiram Gove. The rest of the party were directed to go into camp, cook the supper and guard the cattle. When Bailey and his party reached the Evans, the Indians had retired a short distance form the road, and were seated upon the rocks. It being deemed best to have an understanding with them, the party rode up the hill towards them. Upon their approach, the Indians strung their bows and got their arrows ready. Upon getting closer, twenty or thirty more Indians were seen running down a gulch on their right, while those in front opened fire upon the Whites. Captain Bailey ordered the men to dismount, Captain Bailey ordered the men to dismount, Gove and Samuel Evans to hold the horses, and the rest of the men to approach closer, covering themselves behind the rocks as they advanced. The rocks proved to be full of Indians, who sprang up in every direction and tried to surround them and cut them off from their horses. Bailey ordered the men back to their horses where he arrived safely; but, while waiting for some others of the party to return, he ran up the hill about thirty yards to make a diversion in their favor. He had just knelt down behind some rocks and fired his rifle when the Indians came swarming over the hill, and in a moment had him completely surrounded. Bailey, seeing that all hope of escape or succor was cut off, drew his revolver and commenced firing. He was a powerful man and as brave as a lion, and fought as long as he could stand, and fired his pistol three times after he was down. The rest of the party succeeded in reaching their horses in safety; but, just as Crow got to his horse, S.D. Evans was struck by two arrows, one of which went straight to his heart. The other pierced him in the neck just above the breastbone. Crow mounted and endeavored to lead Evans from the field; but, after a short distance, he fell dead from his horse and had to be left.
Upon the arrival of the survivors
at camp there was a hasty saddling of horses and a speedy retreat. The
destination was Fort Crook; but, having lost their guide in Captain Bailey,
they lost their trail and suffered much hardship before reaching their
destination, which was the more painful as it involved the comfort of the
wounded, - Ed Simmes and David Evans seriously with poisoned arrows, and
Jack Shepard slightly. Upon their arrival at Fort Crook, the commanding
officer ordered a detail of thirty-six soldiers, under
the command of Lieutenant Fielner, to go back and punish the Indians and recover what property was possible. Twelve of the Bailey and Evans party volunteered to accompany the detachment. They arrived at the place where the wagons had been left within five days, and found the Indians killing the cattle and drying the meat. The wagons had been burned; and most of the cattle had been driven off. The relief force caught the Indians unprepared, and, upon charging them, succeeded in killing several of the Indians and recovering the captured meat, which was destroyed by fire. The troops then returned to the point where Evans and Bailey had been killed five days before. The bodies had been stripped but not scalped. As they could not be moved, a stone cairn was built around them, from which they were afterwards removed to their homes. The party then returned to Fort Crook. Ed Simmes had in the meantime died; and David Evans, who lingered a long time, was probably indebted to the surgeon of the post of his recovery. This narrative is taken from the manuscript of L.T. Thompson, one of the survivors, and is published at length to show the pure and unadulterated malignity of the Indian tribes in the Lake country.
On the 19th of August, 1861, Lindsey Applegate, who had been appointed a special Indian agent, left the Rogue river valley with a company of forty-three men to protect the immigrants on the Southern Oregon trail. They were too late to save a train of fourteen families, who were attacked by the indians near Goose lake on August 27th. With the exception of one man, who escaped, they were all butchered. The company escorted the balance of the immigration to the valley without serious accident.
During the winter of 1861-62, a disaster occurred which caused more actual damage to Southern Oregon than the war of 1855-56. It was a deluge that extended from the Columbia river to the mouth of the Sacramento in California. It reached the Umpqua valley about the middle of December, 1861. The waters of the Umpqua river were ten feet higher than was shown on their banks, or that had ever been known in the traditions of the Indians. On the Umpqua, it carried away the bridge across the north branch of the river at Winchester, which had just been completed, at a cost of ten thousand dollars, by the Moore Brothers. It carried away the mills of Markham & Kellogg on the Umpqua, and nearly all the ferry-boats, and at Scottsburg entirely washed away the middle and lower town and left but a few houses in the upper town. On Rogue river, the damage was quite as large. The flood swept over the river bottoms, carrying away houses and destroying valuable farms by the deposit of drift and débris. The same was the case also on Gallice and Applegate creeks. To add to the calamity, the weather turned extremely cold, and stock suffered severely.
Upon the breaking out of the
war of secession, the regular troops and their officers being needed at
the East, most of them were ordered to that section; while the garrisoning
of the posts and the protection of the settlers from the Indians were left
to the volunteer troops. For this purpose a requisition was made for a
regiment of Oregon cavalry, which was soon after reduced to six companies.
These companies were promptly recruited and mustered in under the command
of Colonel T.R. Cornelius. The companies were commanded as follows: Company
A, from Jackson county, Captain T.S. Harris; Company B, from Marion county,
Captain E.J. Harding; Company C, from Vancouver, Captain Wm. Kelly; Company
D, from Jacksonville, Captain S. Truax; Company E, from The Dalles, Captain
G.B. Curry; Company F, from Josephine county, Captain Matthews. At this
time there was of course considerable political excitement over the occurrences
in the East, each man being governed more or less by his party or family
prejudices; but the allegation that there was any organized effort to take Oregon out of the Union, as charged by some of the newspapers of the day, was as nonsensical as it was untrue. The strongest contradiction to such a charge is the fact that three of the six companies of cavalry were raised in Southern Oregon, which was claimed to be the hot-bed of the movement; and all of these were sent to the Columbia river to do service against the Indians on the northern route to Oregon. R.F. Maury of Jackson county was appointed lieutenant-colonel, and C.S. Drew, major. The services of these troops during their term of service deserve a brilliant record; but, as most of their deeds of gallantry were not performed in Southern Oregon, they must be left to the abler historian of that section.
In March, 1863, Colonel Cornelius having resigned, Lieutenant-Colonel Maury was promoted to the colonelcy. Major Drew was commissioned lieutenant-colonel, and Captain S. Truax, major. In the spring of 1863, Major Drew ordered Captain Kelly with Company C to construct and garrison Fort Klamath. About the last of March, 1864, Colonel Drew, who had been quietly drawing his rations at Camp Baker in Jackson county ever since he was commissioned, received orders from the Department of the Pacific to repair to Fort Klamath as soon s the roads were passable, and, after leaving force enough to protect the government property, to make a reconnaissance to the Owyhee country and return to the post. Colonel Drew and his command arrived at Fort Klamath on the 28th of May. It was deemed necessary, on account of the hostile disposition of the Indians in the vicinity, for the force to remain at Fort Klamath until the 28th of June. At this time, the Colonel organized an expedition of thirty-nine soldiers and proceeded with them to Sprague river. Upon his arrival at this place, he received the news of an attack upon a wagon train which was traveling from Shasta valley to the John Day mines. Fortunately for the travelers, Lieutenant Davis from Fort Crook, California, with ten men, came up with the train in time to prevent a massacre. Colonel Drew, upon meeting the company, sent the wounded to Fort Klamath and proceeded to escort them, as well as a company in reserve, to the place of their destination. This he successfully accomplished; and, upon his return to Camp Alvord, he received an order requiring him to proceed at once with his command to Fort Klamath to be present at the council to be held with the Klamaths, Modocs, and Panina's band of Shoshones. Colonel Drew, with his usual success, arrived on the council ground just after the treaty had been made.
This treaty is of great importance
in history, since it was the key to the Modoc War. It was made between
Huntington, Indian Superintendent of Oregon, Deputy Agent Logan of the
Warm Spring Reservation, and A.E. Wiley, Superintendent of California,
by his deputy, and the Klamaths, Modocs, and the Yakooskin band of Snakes.
The Indians on the ground numbered one thousand and seventy, of whom seven
hundred were Klamaths, over three hundred Modocs and twenty Snakes; but
more than two thousand were represented. Lindsey Applegate and Mr. McKay
acted as interpreters for the Indians. There was no difficulty in making
a treaty with the Klamaths. The Modocs and Snakes were more reluctant,
but signed the treaty, which they perfectly understood. By the treaty,
there was ceded all right to a tract of country extending from the forty-fourth
parallel on the north to the ridge which divides the Pitt and McCloud rivers
on the south, and from the Cascade Mountains on the west to the Goose Lake
Mountains on the east. The reservation was described as follows: Beginning
on the eastern shore of Upper Klamath Lake at the Point of Rocks, twelve
miles below Williamson river, thence following up the eastern shore to
the mouth of Wood river to a point one mile north of
the bridge at Fort Klamath; thence due east to the ridge which divides the Klamath marsh from Upper Klamath Lake; thence along said ridge to a point due east of the end of the Klamath marsh; thence due east, passing the north end of the Klamath marsh to the summit of the mountains, the extremity of which forms the Point of Rocks, and along said ridge to the place of beginning. The council lasted from the 9th to the 15th of October, and was entirely satisfactory to the Indians, who hastened to take advantage of the presents given by the treaty, as well as of the provisions which were furnished by the agency.
This treaty of october 14, 1864, was approved by the United States Senate, with certain amendments, on the 2d of July, 1866, but was not finally ratified until the 10th of December, 1869. This long delay made the Indians who were parties to the treaty very suspicious; and, when the amended treaty was interpreted to them, captain Jack, then leader of the Modocs, protested that it did not represent what they had agreed to. He was, however, convinced by the testimony of other chiefs, and finally assented to it. When they were established on the reservation, they went to work to build cabins and inclose ground for cultivation, but soon tired of this occupation. Being warriors they would not work, and soon began to complain to the local agent that they were annoyed by the Klamaths. Of course the Modocs had not the slightest fear of the whole Klamath tribe; but they induced the agent to remove them on this pretense to three different parts of the reservation. Subsequently, the proper time having come, they abandoned the reservation for their chosen ground of plunder; and all subsequent attempts to induce them to return failed. Brigadier-General Canby, who had superseded General Geo. Crook, knew nothing of the matter in controversy; and his ignorance is not surprising when we find that the superintendent of Indian affairs and the local agents knew still less. The fact is that Captain Jack had become contaminated by association with the Whites around Yreka, where he had learned all their vices and none of their virtues. After the treaty of 1864, several heavy stockraisers in Siskiyou county drove their cattle at once upon the rich pastures of that region. The citizens of Oregon had also entered upon the same section of the country, but were in danger of their lives from Captain Jack and his band. That the citizens of California made use of the Modocs to keep strangers off the range cannot be proved; but the result presents a very strong case. In 1870, Captain Jack made a formal claim to a tract of land six miles square, lying near the head of Tule Lake, which was already occupied by settlers; and Superintendent Meacham was weak enough to recommend to the department the the setting apart of this tract.
The Oregon settlers were not
idle. On the 3d of January, 1872, affidavits were forwarded to Fort Klamath,
Major Jackson commanding, making a full statement of the depredations of
the Modocs, including the destruction of fences, the stealing of hay, halters
and household utensils, and that Captain Jack had threatened the lives
of several persons living on Lost river. These proofs were forwarded to
headquarters at Portland, but were returned with a request for further
information. This specimen of red-tape would have done credit to an older
and better organized department than that then existing n Oregon. Not satisfied
with this evasion, all the settlers of the valley united in a petition
for their removal, stating the various grievances, which was indorsed by
the local Indian agents. Upon this last petition, Superintendent Meacham
and General Canby seemed disposed to act, but very slowly. Even a letter
from the old pioneer, Jesse Applegate, did not seem to hasten the matter.
The settlers finally appealed to the civil authorities, and sent their
petition to Governor Grover of Oregon, by whom it was at once
referred to General Canby with a request that he would act at once. The General was in doubt, and requested that the subject should be again referred to the War Department. On the 2d of April, 1872, Major Elmer Otis, in command, interviewed Captain Jack as to his intentions. He had a meeting with him, in which he proved by the several settlers that he was a good Indian. One of his witnesses was H. Miller, a large stockraiser, who paid a subsidy to Captain Jack for protection. He was one of the first that was killed in the subsequent outbreak. Nothing came from this interview.
It was, however, finally determined that these Indians should be removed to the reservation in December. Colonel John Green, commanding Fort Klamath, and Mr. Dryar, the Indian agent at that place, concluded that there would be no serious difficulty in the removal. On the 2d of December, Governor Grover received a telegram from Hon. A.J. Burnett, at Linkville, announcing a serious outbreak of the Modoc Indians in the lake basin, and asking for volunteers. This dispatch was immediately forwarded by the Governor to General Canby, who replied that he had ordered Colonel Wheaton, who had sufficient forces at his command, to take all proper steps to protect the settlers, which assurance Governor Grover could not but accept as satisfactory. In this connection it must be stated, that campaign conducted in the Siskiyou Mountains, with a major-general in San Francisco, a brigadier-general in Portland, with a number of gallant officers and men who were always in doubt whether to obey the orders of their superior officers or of the Indian agents, presented difficulties not often met in the history of war.
T.B. Odeneal had superseded Meacham as superintendent of Indian affairs; and the order to remove the Indians was given by him to Major Green, in command of the District of the Lakes. The first attempt was made by Captain James Jackson, First Cavalry, and is very tersely told in his report, dated at Crawley's ranch, Lost river, November 30, 1872: "I have the honor to report that I jumped the camp of Captain Jack's Modoc Indians yesterday morning soon after daylight, completely surprising them. I demanded their surrender and disarming, and asked for a parley with Captain Jack. He, Scar-faced Charley, Black Jim and some others would neither down their arms nor surrender; and some of them commenced making hostile demonstrations against us, and finally opened fire. I immediately poured volley after volley among the hostile Indians, took their camp, killed eight or nine warriors, and drove the rest into the hills. During the engagement I had one man killed and seven wounded, three of the last severely. The band that I attacked was on the south side of the river. Another smaller band on the north side was attacked by a party of ten or twelve citizens, and their surrender demanded; but, when the firing commenced in Captain Jack's camp, these Indians opened on the citizens, and drove them to the refuge of Crawley's ranch. One citizen (John Thurber) was killed in the fight; and two others, Mr. Nass and Joe Penning, coming up the road unconscious of any trouble, were shot, both of whom died soon after. My force was too weak to pursue and capture the Indians that made off, owing to the immediate necessity of taking care of my wounded and protecting the few citizens who had collected at Crawley's ranch. The Indians were all around us; and, apprehensive of a rear attack, I destroyed Captain Jack's camp, and crossed to the other side of the river by the ford, a march of fifteen miles, taking post at Crawley's ranch, where I now am."
A grave mistake was made in making
this attack without having given notice in advance to the settlers, the
consequence of which was the murder of Wm. Boddy, Rufus Boddy, William
Boddy, Jr., Nicholas Sheiras, William Brotherton, W.K. Brotherton, Rufus
Brotherton, Christopher Erasmus, Robt. Alexander, John Tober, John Collins
Henry Miller, who were killed by the Indians who escaped from the lava beds and fell upon these settlers when they were wholly unprepared for danger.
The next movement in this direction was made under the direction of Brevet Major-General Frank Wheaton, with every prospect of success. The Colonel had been reinforced with all the infantry he desired, as well as mortar batteries. Upon the requisition of Governor Grover, Colonel Ross of the Oregon militia, an old Indian fighter, had brought into the field two companies, one commanded by Captain Hugh Kelly, and the other by Captain Oliver E. Applegate. Captain Fairchild of Siskiyou, California, brought into the field a company of twenty-four men, who were supposed to be sharp-shooters and men of desperate courage. Major-General John F. Miller, with his staff, Colonels Bellinger and Thompson, were also upon the ground to secure success. The general field-order issued on the morning of the 16th of January, 1873, by Colonel Wheaton, was a model of military skill; and it seemed impossible that there could be a failure. Unfortunately, at the time the movements should have commenced, a dense fog covered the lava beds, making any movement of the troops impossible for the time; and the occasional glimpses of the sun only rendered the movements more uncertain. All the men did gallant service, and were highly praised by the commander; but the only real advantage gained by the Whites was a knowledge of the topography of the country, and the proper method of surrounding them. The casualties were as follows: Regulars, seven privates killed, two officers and seventeen privates wounded; volunteers, two privates of Captain Applegate's company killed, and one officer and three men of Captain Fairchild's company wounded. While the commanding officer was making every preparation for a renewal of his attack upon the hostiles, an order was received by him requesting him to abstain from all offensive attacks until, as General W.T. Sherman states it, the peace men could try their hands on Captain Jack. There was the usual amount of red-tape; but the Peace Commission was finally organized by the appointment of A.B. Meacham, Rev. Mr. Thomas, and Dryar, the Indian agent, with General Canby in the last lead. The result appears in the report of Colonel Gillam, then in command.
"On the morning of the 11th of April, 1873, General canby, with Messrs. Meacham, Thomas and Dryar, members of the Peace Commission, met the Modoc Indians at a tent pitched about one mile in advance of my camp, at the south end of Tule Lakes. The tent was in what is known as the 'lava beds.' As suspicions of treachery existed, I directed Lieutenant Adams, chief signal officer, to keep a constant watch on the tent, and to give me notice of any suspicious movements in the vicinity. The General and members of the commission went out about eleven o'clock A.M. At one o'clock P.M., I received a message from Major Mason, on the east side of the lake, stating that his pickets had been attacked, and that Lieutenant Walter Sherwood had been killed under a flag of truce. I was engaged in writing a message to General Canby when the signal officer informed me that the Indians were shooting the General and his party. The troops in the camp south of the lake at once sprang to their arms, and advanced as rapidly as possible to the scene of the tragedy; but the Indians had fled. General Canby and Rev. Mr. Thomas were dead when we reached them. Mr. Meacham was supposed to be mortally wounded, but is likely to recover. Mr. Dryar escaped by his fleetness of foot."
This unfortunate result of the
peace policy quickly restored the military régime. Colonel
Gilliam at once closed his cordon of troops around the lava beds. General
Jeff C. Davis was assigned to the command of the department in place of
General Canby, and
at once entered upon his duties in the field. We have
no space to give the military maneuvers which resulted in the capture of
the Modoc leaders, - Captain Jack, Schonchis, Boston Charley, Black Jim,
Barncho, alias One-eyed Jim, and Sloluck, alias Cok. these were all tried
by a military commission, of which Colonel W.L. Elliott, First Cavalry,
was president, on a charge of murder, in violation of the laws of war.
The verdict was, in each case, "Guilty;" and the sentence was that they
should be hanged. These sentences were approved by President Grant; but
the sentences of Brancho and Cok were afterwards commuted to imprisonment
for life at Alcatraz. The rest of the sentence was duly executed.
END OF VOLUME I.