History of Oregon (Bancroft)/Volume 2/Chapter 15
FURTHER INDIAN WARS.
Before midsummer, 1855, war was again brewing in southern Oregon, the Applegate Creek and Illinois Valley branches of the Rogue River nation being the immediate cause. On one pretence or another, the former spent much of their time off the reservation, and in June made a descent on a mining camp, killing several men and capturing considerable property; while the murder of a white man on Indian Creek was charged to the latter, of whom a party of volunteers went in pursuit.
On the 17th of June a company styling themselves the Independent Hangers, H. B. Hayes, captain, organized at Wait's mills in Jackson county, reporting to Colonel Ross for his recognition, this being the first movement toward the reorganization of military companies since the treaties of September 1853. Knowledge of these things coming to Ambrose, in charge of the reservation Indians, Smith of Fort Lane started off with a company of dragoons, and collecting most of the strolling Indians, hurried them upon the reservation. Those not brought in were pursued into the mountains by the volunteers, and one killed. The band then turned upon their pursuers, and wounding several horses, killed one man named Philpot. Skirmishing was continued for a week with further fatal results on both sides.
A party of California volunteers under William Martin, in pursuit of hostile Indians, traced certain of them to the Rogue River reservation, and made a demand for their surrender, to which Commander Smith, of Fort Lane, very properly refused compliance. Let the proper authorities ask the surrender of Indians on a criminal charge, and they should be forthcoming, but they could not be delivered to a mere voluntary assemblage of men. Afterward a requisition was made from Siskiyou county, and in November two Indians were arrested for murder on the reservation, and delivered up.
On the 26th of August, a Rogue River Indian shot arid wounded James Buford, at the mouth of Rogue River in the Port Orford district, then in charge of Ben Wright, who arrested the savage and delivered him to the sheriff of Coos county. Having no place in which to secure his prisoner, the sheriff delivered him to a squad of soldiers to be taken to Port Orford; but while the canoe in which the Indian was seated with his guard was passing up the river to a place of encampment, it was followed by Buford, his partner, Hawkins, and O'Brien, a trader, who fired at and killed the prisoner and another Indian. The fire was returned by the soldiers, who killed two of the men, and mortally wounded the third.
The excitement over this affair was very great. Threats by the miners of giving battle to the troops were loud and vindictive, but the more conservative prevailed, and no attack was made. The savages were aroused, and matters grew daily worse.
Agent Ambrose wrote several letters which appeared in the Statesman, over the signature of 'A Miner,' in one of which, dated October 13th, he declared that no fears were to be entertained of an outbreak of the Rogue River Indians, affirming that they were peaceably disposed, and had been so throughout the summer. "God knows," he said, "I would not care how soon they were all dead, and I believe the country would be greatly benefited by it; but I am tired of this senseless railing against Captain Smith and the Indian agent for doing their duty, obeying the laws, and preserving our valley from the horrors of a war with a tribe of Indians who do not desire it, but wish for peace, and by their conduct have shown it."
To prevent the reservation Indians from being suspected and punished for the acts of others, Superintendent Palmer issued an order October 13th that the Indians with whom treaties had been made, and who had reservations set apart for them, should be arrested if found off the reservations without a permit from the agent. Every male over twelve years of age must answer daily to the roll-call. Early in October it became known that a party of wandering Indians were encamped near Thompson's Ferry, on Rogue River, and that among them were some suspected of annoying the settlers. A volunteer company of about thirty, under J. A. Lupton, proceeded at a very early hour of the morning of October 8th to the Indian camp at the mouth of Butte Creek, and opened fire, killing twenty-three and wounding many. The Indians returned it as well as they were able, and succeeded in killing Lupton, and in wounding eleven others. When daylight came it was found by the mangled bodies that they were mostly old men, women, and children, whom these brave men had been butchering! The survivors took refuge at the fort, where they exhibited their wounds and made their lamentations to Captain Smith, who sent his troops to look at the battle-field and count the slain. It was a pitiful sight, and excited great indignation among the better class of white men.
On the morning of the 9th of October the Indians appeared in the upper part of the Rogue River Valley in considerable numbers. They were first seen at Jewett's ferry, where during the night they killed two men in charge of a train and wounded another. After firing upon Jewett's house, they proceeded to Evans' ferry about daybreak, where they mortally wounded Isaac Shelton of the Willamette Valley on his way to Yreka. Pursuing their way down the valley to the house of J. K. Jones, they killed him, wounded his wife so that she died next day, and burned the house after pillaging it. From there they went to Wagoner's place, killing four men upon the way. Wagoner had a short time before left home to escort Miss Pellet, a temperance lecturer from Buffalo, New York, to Sailor Diggings, where she was to lecture that evening. Mrs Wagoner was alone with her child four years of age, and both were burned in the house. They next proceeded to the house of George W. Harris, who seeing their approach, and judging that they meant mischief, ran into the house, seized his gun, and fired two shots, killing one and wounding another, when he received a fatal shot. His wife and little daughter defended themselves with great heroism for twenty-four hours, when they were rescued by Major Fitzgerald. And there were many other heroic women, whose brave deeds during these savage wars of southern Oregon must forever remain unrecorded.
As soon as the news reached Jacksonville that the Rogue River settlements were attacked, a company of some twenty men hastened to take the trail of the Indians down the river. An express was despatched to Fort Lane, to Captain Smith, who sent a detachment of fifty-five mounted men, under Major Fitzgerald, in pursuit of the savages.
The volunteer and regular forces soon combined to follow, and if possible to have battle with the Indians. Passing the bodies of the slain all along their route, they came to Wagoner's place, where thirty of the savages were still engaged in plundering the premises. On the appearance of the volunteers, the Indians, yelling and dancing, invited them to fight, but when the dragoons came in sight they fled precipitately to the mountains. After pursuing for about two miles, the troops, whose horses were jaded from a night march of twenty-five miles, being unable to overtake them, returned to the road, which they patrolled for some hours, marching as far as Grave Creek, after which they retired to Fort Lane, having found no Indians in that direction. The volunteers also returned home to effect more complete organization before undertaking such arduous warfare against an implacable foe who they now were assured was before them. There were other parts of the country which likewise required their attention.
About the 10th of October, Lieutenant Kautz left Port Orford with a small party of citizens and soldiers to examine a proposed route from that place to Jacksonville. On arriving at the big bend of Rogue River, about thirty miles east from Port Orford, he found a party of settlers much alarmed at a threatened attack from Applegate Creek. Kautz returned to the fort for a better supply of arms and ammunition, intending to resist the advance of the hostile party, should he fall in with it. A few days after resuming his march he was attacked by a portion of the band, losing five of his men, two soldiers and three citizens. The Indians were only prevented from securing a considerable amount of ammunition by the precaution of Kautz in unloading the pack-mules at the beginning of the battle. He was able to secure an orderly retreat with the remainder of his party. The only Indians in the whole country, from Yreka to the Umpqua cañon, who could be regarded other than enemies were those under Rogue River Sam, who since the treaty of 1853 had kept faith with the white people; the Shastas, the natives of Scott Valley, and many of the people about Grave and Cow creeks, and the Umpquas being concerned in the war, in which the Shastas were principals, under the leadership of Chief John. The Klamaths were also hostile.
To meet a savage enemy, well armed and prepared for war, knowing every mountain fastness, and having always the advantage of chosen positions, was not practicable with anything like equal numbers. Estimating the fighting men of the enemy at no more than 400, it would require three or four times that number to engage them, because of their ability to appear unexpectedly at several points; at the same time to disappear as rapidly; and to wear out the horses and men of the white forces in following them. The armed men that were mustered in Rogue River Valley be tween the 9th and 11th of October amounted to only about 150, not from any want of courage, but from want of arms. No attempt at permanent organization was made by the territorial militia before the 12th, the armed companies being governed by the apparent necessities of the case.
On the 12th of October Colonel Ross began the organization of a volunteer force under the laws of the territory by ordering James H. Russel, major of the 9th regiment, to report to him immediately. Some of the captains of the militia were already in the field; other companies were headed by any one who had the spirit of a leader. These on application of the citizens of their neighborhoods were duly commissioned.
Where the people in remote or isolated situations asked for armed guards, a few men were despatched to those localities as soon as they could be armed. Two young women, Miss Hudson and Miss Wilson, having been murdered while travelling on the Crescent City road, October 10th, A. S. Welton was assigned the duty of keeping open a portion of that highway, over which was carried most of the goods which entered the Illinois and Rogue River valleys at this time; guards being also afforded to pack-trains on the various routes to prevent their capture by the Indians. Considering the obstacles to be overcome, and the nature of the service, the organization of the 9th regiment was remarkably expeditious and complete, and its operations were well conducted.
The first engagement between the volunteers and Indians was on Rogue River, where W. B. Lewis of company E was encamped on Skull bar, a short distance below the mouth of Galice Creek. Scouts reported the enemy near, and evidently preparing an attack. In camp were all the miners from the diggings in the vicinity, including nine Chinamen, who had been robbed and driven from their claims, and several Indian women and boys who had been captured.
The bar is on the south side of the river, with a high mountain in the background, covered with a dense growth of hazel and young firs. Around the camp for some distance the thickets were cut away, so as to afford no harbor for lurking savages, and a breast-work of logs thrown up on the side most exposed to attack.
On the 17th of October the bushes were found to be alive with savages. J. W. Pickett made a charge with six men, who were so warmly received that they were glad to retreat, Pickett being killed. Lieutenant Moore then took a position under a bank, on the side attack was expected, which he held four hours, exposed to a heavy fire; he and nearly half of his men were wounded, when they were compelled to retreat. One of the men, being mortally shot, fell before reaching the shelter of the camp, and a comrade, Allan Evans, in the effort to bring him in, was severely wounded. Captain Lewis was three times struck.
The Indians, discovering that the weak point of the volunteer force was on the left, made a bold attack, in which they lost one of their most noted Shasta warriors. Finding they could not dislodge the volunteers with balls, they shot lighted arrows into their camp. All day the firing was kept up, and during the battle every house in the mining town of Galice Creek was burned except the one occupied as the company's headquarters. By night one third of the company of thirty-five were killed and wounded. Thereupon the enemy retired, their loss not ascertained.
"I am proud to say," wrote Lewis to his colonel, "that we fought the hardest battle ever fought this side of the Rocky Mountains. More than 2,500 shots from the enemy, but every man stood his ground, and fought the battle of a lover of his country."
On the day of the battle Ross wrote Smith, at Fort Lane, that Chief John of Scott Valley had gone up Applegate Creek with eighty warriors; and that Williams was in that vicinity with a limited force; also that J. B. Wagoner and John Hillman had on the 19th been despatched to Galice Creek.
It was all of no use. Let them kill and steal and burn never so bravely, the fate of the savages was fixed beforehand; and that not by volunteers, white or black, but by almighty providence, ages before their appearing, just as we of the present dominant race must fade before a stronger, whenever such a one is sent.
The red men continued their ravages, and the white men theirs, sending their bands of volunteers and regulars hither and thither all over the country in constantly increasing numbers; and to the credit of government officers and agents, be it said that while the miners and settlers were seeking the shortest road to end the difficulties, they interposed their strength and influence to protect innocent red men while defending the white.
Meantime, those who had in charge the duties of providing subsistence and transportation for the volunteers were not without serious cares. Assistant quartermasters and commissaries were appointed in different sections, but owing to their inexperience or inability, the service was very unsatisfactory. Fifteen companies were in the field by the 20th of October, but the Indians kept them all employed. Not a pack-train could move from point to point with out a guard; not a settlement but was threatened. The stock of the farmers was being slaughtered nightly in some part of the valley; private dwellings were fortified, and no one could pass along the roads except at the peril of life. I might fill a volume with the movements of the white men during this war; the red men left no record of theirs.
Rogue River and Umpqua Valleys.
While both regulars and volunteers were exploring the country in every direction, the Indians, familiar with trails unknown to the white men, easily evaded them, and passed from point to point without danger. At the very time when Judah of the regulars, and Bruce and Harris of the volunteers, had returned exhausted from a long and fruitless pursuit, and when Ross expressed the opinion that the main body of the enemy was still in the vicinity of The Meadows, and below Galice Creek on Rogue River, the Indians suddenly appeared October 23d in the Cow Creek valley, and began their depredations. Their first act of hostility in this quarter was to fire upon a party of wagoners and hog-drovers at the crossing of Cow Creek, instantly killing PI. Bailey of Lane county, and wounding Z. Bailey and three others. The remaining men retreated as rapidly as possible, pursued by the savages, who followed and harassed them for two or three hours. The same day they attacked the settlements on Cow Creek, burning the houses of Turner, Bray, Redfield, Fortune, and others.
On the 28th of October Fitzgerald being in the vicinity of Grave Creek discovered Indians encamped a few miles south of Cow Creek in the Grave Creek hills, and determined to attack them. Ross, on receiving a despatch from Fitzgerald, set out on the 29th for the rendezvous, having sent to captains Harris, Welton, George, Williams, and Lewis. Bruce and Rinearson, who had but just come in, were directed to join the combined forces at Grave Creek, where were concentrated on the 30th about 250 volunteers and 105 regulars, only a portion of Fitzgerald's troop being available on account of the illness of its commander. Two companies of a battalion called out by Governor Curry were lying at a place about a day's march south of Umpqua cañon, under the command of captains Joseph Bailey and Samuel Gordon.
When Ross reached the rendezvous late at night, he found the captain of the 1st dragoons awaiting him, impatient for an attack. Spies from his own and Captain Bruce's company had reconnoitred the enemy's position, which was found to be on a hill, well fortified, and extremely difficult of approach. A map of the country was prepared, and a forced march determined upon. Orders were issued to be ready to march at eleven o'clock, though it was already half-past ten. The plan of attack was to plant howitzers upon an eminence three fourths of a mile from that on which the Indians were encamped, and after having divided the companies into three columns, so stationed as to prevent the escape of the Indians, to open upon the enemy with shell and grape-shot. It was hoped by this night march, which was continued till morning with occasional halts, to surprise the enemy, but some one having set fire to a tree, that idea was abandoned. On arriving at the edge of a ravine in front of their position, instead of planting the howitzers and shelling the Indians as was intended, a charge was made, in which Rinearson and Welton led with their companies, augmented by portions of several others, and a part of the regulars rushing in disorder down into the ravine, through the thick bushes, and up the ascent on the other side, volunteers and regulars all eager for the first shot. The Indians occupied a mountain, bald on the side by which the troops were approaching, and covered with heavy forest on the opposite or north side. Ross had directed Bailey and Gordon to flank on the north, that when the men in front should drive the Indians to this cover, they might be met by them and engaged until the main force could come up. The attempt was made, but they found it impossible to pierce the tangled undergrowth which covered the steep acclivity, with the Indians fortified above them, and after having had several men wounded, returned to the point of attack. Bruce and Harris lay concealed a few hundred yards to the south of the attacking party, to be in readiness to intercept the enemy in that quarter; but finding that no enemy came their way, they too joined the army in front. In the mean time the Indians had retreated, as was anticipated, to the cover of the woods, and could not be approached without great peril from the open ground. The day wore on with vain endeavors to get at them; and at 3 P. M. Smith made a charge with a small force of dragoons, who after firing several rounds with musketoons, utterly useless against the rifles of the Indians, and having several killed and wounded, fell back to their first position.
When darkness ended the firing, the troops were encamped a short distance from the battle-ground, at a place called by them Bloody Spring, where the wounded were cared for. At sunrise next morning the camp was attacked from all sides, the Indians engaging the troops until about the middle of the forenoon, when being repulsed they withdrew, and the troops took up their march for Grave Creek and Fort Bailey, carrying their wounded on litters. As to the results of the battle, the white men had little cause for congratulation. The volunteers had twenty-six killed, wounded, and missing; and the regulars four killed, and seven wounded, including Lieutenant Gibson, who was hit in the attack on the camp on the morning of the 1st of November. The number of Indians killed was variously estimated at from eight to twenty. The number of Indians engaged in the battle was also conjectured to be from 100 to 300. Such was the unfortunate termination of a combined effort on the part of the regular and volunteer troops to check the war in its incipiency, and signified that time, money, and blood must be spent in bringing it to a close. "God only knows," writes a correspondent of the Statesman, "when or where this war may end … These mountains are worse than the swamps of Florida."
Immediately upon information reaching the Umpqua of the onslaught of the 9th of October, 1855, at Rogue River, a petition was forwarded to Governor Curry, asking for five hundred volunteers for defence. The messenger, S. B. Hadley, giving notice en route, among other places at Eugene City, a request was sent the governor to permit Lane county to organize a company for the war. The effect of such petitions, and of the letters received from Rogue River, was to cause a proclamation by the governor, October 15th, calling for five companies of mounted volunteers to constitute a Northern battalion, and four companies of mounted volunteers to constitute a Southern battalion, to remain in force until discharged; each company to consist of sixty men, with the usual complement of officers, making a total of seventy-one, rank and file; each volunteer to furnish his own horse, arms, and equipments, and each company to elect its own officers, and thereafter to proceed without delay to the seat of war.
The proclamation declared that Jackson county would be expected to furnish the number of men required for the southern battalion, who would rendezvous at Jacksonville, elect a major to command, and report to headquarters. The northern battalion was to consist of two companies from Lane, and one each from Linn, Douglas, and Umpqua counties, to rendezvous at Roseburg. At the same time an order was issued from the office of E. M. Barnum, adjutant-general, leaving the movements of the two battalions to the discretion of their respective commanders, but directing that all Indians should be treated as enemies who did not show unmistakable signs of friendship. No other instruction was given but to advise a concert of action with the United States forces which might be engaged in that section of the territory.
Meanwhile, communications from democrats at Rogue River had reached the capital, and immediately the war became a party measure. It was ascertained that Ross in calling out the militia had made several whig appointments contrary to the will of the ruling party, which had attacked the governor for appointing whig surgeons in the northern battalion; so paramount were politics in ministering to the wants of wounded men! The governor, unfortunately for his otherwise stainless record, was unable to stem the tide, and allowed himself to become an instrument in the hands of a clique who demanded a course of action disgraceful to all concerned. Five days after issuing the proclamation, the governor ordered disbanded all companies not duly enrolled by virtue of said proclamation, information having been received that armed parties had taken the field with the avowed purpose of waging a war of extermination against the Indians without respect to age or sex, and had slaughtered a band of friendly natives upon their reservation, despite the authority of the agent and the commanding officer of the United States troops stationed there. The immediate effect of the proclamation was to suspend volunteering in Douglas county, to which Ross had written to have another company raised, and to throw discredit on those already in the field.
The first companies enrolled under the governor's proclamation were the two called for from Lane county, one of which, under Captain Bailey, was present at the action of October 31st and November 1st, as already stated. The next companies to respond to the governor's call were those from Linn, Douglas, and Umpqua counties. These constituted the northern battalion. The companies contained from 87 to 111 men each, and were quickly organized, William J. Martin being chosen major.
On the 7th of November Colonel Ross ordered the assembling of the 9th regiment at Fort Vannoy, in order that all who desired should be mustered into the territorial service as members of the southern battalion. On the 10th captains James Bruce, R. L. Williams, William A. Wilkinson, and Miles F. Alcorn offered and were accepted, in the order named, and an election for major resulted in the choice of Bruce. Complaint reaching the governor that by disbanding the 9th regiment several sections were without defence, Curry, with Adjutant General Barnum, answered in person, arriving on the field about the last of November. The only change made, however, by the governor's visit was the consolidation of the northern and southern battalions into one regiment, to be called the 2d Regiment of Oregon Mounted Volunteers. This change necessitated an election for regimental officers, and R. L. Williams was chosen colonel, while Martin was obliged to content himself as second in command.
Immediately after the battle of Grave Creek hills, Major Fitzgerald proceeded to Fort Vancouver and thence to The Dalles, and his troops remained in garrison during the winter. This reduced the regular force on Rogue River to Smith's command. An agreement was entered into between the regular and volunteer commanders to meet at the Grave Creek house about the 9th of November, prepared to pursue and attack the Indians. In the mean time a scouting party of Bailey's company was to find the Indians, who had disappeared, according to custom, from their last battle-ground.
On the 17th of November Bruce, learning that a number of houses on Jump Off Joe Creek had been burned, sent a request to Martin to join him there. Communications were also sent to the commanders at Fort Lane and Fort Jones, and Judah with a small force joined in pursuit of the savages. Shortly after, Williams fell in with a small band at the mouth of Jump Off Joe Creek and killed eight.
The 21st saw the white men in full force en route down Rogue River, some on one side and some on the other. After four days, and encountering many difficulties, they came upon the enemy at The Meadows and found them well fortified. While preparing to attack, on the 26th, the Indians opened fire from a dense covert of timber bordering the river, which caused them to fall back. Being short of food and clothing for a winter campaign, they determined for the present to abandon the enterprise.
While the southern army was returning to headquarters, roving bands of Indians were committing depredations in the Umpqua Valley. On the 3d of December a small party of the Cow Creek Indians attacked the settlements on the west side of the south Umpqua, destroying fifteen houses and much other property, compelling the settlers to shut themselves up in forts. On the 24th Captain Alcorn found and attacked a camp of Indians on the north branch of Little Butte Creek, killing eight warriors and capturing some animals. About the same time Captain Rice, hearing of another camp on the north bank of Rogue River, probably driven out of the mountains by the weather, which was exceedingly severe that winter, proceeded with thirty men to attack them, and after a battle lasting for six hours killed the most of them and took captive the remainder.
About the 1st of January, 1856, it was ascertained that a party of Indians had taken possession of some deserted cabins on Applegate Creek, and fortified them. Major Bruce immediately ordered Captain Rice to proceed to that place and attack them. Others joined. About two miles from Jacksonville they were fired on and one man killed. On arriving at the cabins, three of which were occupied by the Indians, late in the afternoon of the 4th, the howitzer was planted and a shell dropped through the roof of one, killing two of the inmates. The white men had one killed and five wounded. There matters rested till next morning, when the cabins were found to be empty, the Indians of course having found means to escape. These savages made good shots at 400 yards.
Toward the middle of the month Bruce's command had a fight with one hundred natives on a branch of Applegate Creek, the latter retreating with four killed. And thus the winter wore away, a dozen bands each of white men and red, roaming up and down the country, each robbing and burning, and killing as best they were able, and all together accomplishing no great results, except seriously to interfere with traffic and travel. Exasperated by a condition so ruinous, the desire to exterminate the savages grew with the inability to achieve it. Such was the nature of the conflict in which, so far, there had been neither glory nor success, either to the arms of the regular or volunteer service; nor any prospect of an end for years to come, the savages being apparently omnipresent, with the gift of invisibility. They refused to hold any communication with the troops, who sought sometimes an opportunity to reason with them.
The men composing the northern battalion having no further interest in the war than at first to gratify an evanescent sympathy, or a love of adventure, were becoming impatient of so arduous and unprofitable a service, and so demanded and received their discharge. General Wool was then petitioned for aid, and he immediately despatched two companies under Colonel Buchanan. In the mean time the legislative assembly had elected J. K. Lamerick brigadier-general of Oregon territory; and in conformity with a proclamation of the executive, he issued a call for four companies of mounted volunteers to supply the place of the northern battalion, who were ordered to report to Lieutenant-colonel Martin at Roseburg. These companies were enrolled more rapidly than might have been anticipated, after the tedious and fruitless nature of the war had become known.
Captain Buoy's company remained in the field under the command of its former 2d lieutenant, P. C. Noland, now its captain. The southern companies were recruited, and kept the field; so that after a month of suspense, during which many of the inhabitants who up to this time had remained at their homesteads unwilling to abandon all their property, left their claims and removed to the Willamette Valley, or shut themselves up in fortified houses to await a turn in events. That turn it was hoped General Lamerick, being a good democrat and an experienced Indian-fighter, would be able to give, when spring made it possible to pursue the Indians into the mountains. It has been said that Williams was incompetent; but Lamerick was not guiltless of a blunder in ordering all the new companies concentrated in the Umpqua Valley; and the headquarters of the southern companies changed from Vannoy Ferry to Forest Dale, a place not in the line of the hostile incursions. Taking advantage of this disposition of the forces, Limpy, one of the hostile chiefs, with a party of thirty warriors, made a visit to Fort Lane, bearing a flag of truce; the object of the visit being to negotiate for the release of some of the women held as prisoners at the fort.
Following the outbreak in October, the agents on the coast, at Port Orford, the mouth of Rogue River, and the mouth of the Umpqua, used many precautions to prevent the Indians in their charge from becoming infected with the hostile spirit of their brethren of the interior. The superintendent sent his agents a circular containing regulations and precautions, among which was the collecting of the Indians on the several temporary reserves, and compelling them to answer to roll-call.
The agent in charge of the Indians below Coos Bay was Ben Wright, a man admired and feared by them. Learning that overtures had been made to the Coquilles and other coast tribes to join the hostile bands, Wright hastened to visit those under his charge, who lived up about the head waters of the several small rivers emptying into the ocean between the mouth of the Rogue and the Coquille rivers. He found, as he expected, emissaries of the hostile bands among these on the lower Rogue River, who, though insolent, took their departure when threatened with arrest; and he was able, as he supposed, to put a stop to further negotiations with the enemy, the Indians promising to follow his advice.
On returning to the mouth of the river, he found the people alarmed by rumors of anticipated trouble with the Coquilles, and again hastened to arrest any mischief that might be brewing in that quarter. He found these Indians quiet, and expressing great friendship, but much in fear of an attack from the settlers of the Umpqua Valley, who they had been told were coming to kill them all. Their uneasiness appeared to be increased by discovering in their neighborhood a large camp of the families, women and children, of the hostile bands, with a few men to guard them, knowing that such a circumstance would be liable to be construed against them. They were promised an agent to remain with them and ward off trouble until the excitement should have abated.
Returning to the coast, Wright fell in with a party of armed men from Coos Bay going toward the Indian camp with the determination to destroy it. To these men he represented that the Coquilles were friendly, and returned with them to their camp, where he succeeded in convincing each that neither had any occasion to fear the other; and appointing one of their number sub-agent on the spot, again returned to the coast with the others. At Randolph he found the settlers greatly excited by the news from the interior. Having concealed their portable property, they were removing to Port Orford for safety. At the mouth of Rogue River defences had been built, and in their wrath the white men were threatening to kill or disarm all the Indians in the vicinity. A few cool and reflecting minds were able, however, to maintain a more prudent as well as humane policy, the excitement on both sides seemed gradually to abate, and Wright believed that with the assistance of the troops at Port Orford he should be able to preserve the peace and secure the public good.
About the middle of November Agent E. P. Drew, who had in charge the Coos Bay and Umpqua Indians, became convinced that the former were in communication with those at war, and hastily collecting the Umpquas on the reservation at the mouth of the river, and placing over them a local agent, went to Coos Bay. At Empire City he found congregated the settlers from the upper Coquille and Coos rivers, in anticipation of an outbreak. A company was formed and the savages attacked at Drolley's, on the lower branch of the Coquille, four being killed, and four captured and hanged. There were few troops at Port Orford when the war broke out, and these would have been removed to the north on the call of Major Raines had not Wright represented so powerfully to Major Reynolds, who came to take them away, the defenceless condition of the settlements in that event, that Reynolds was induced to remain. Still feeling their insecurity, the white inhabitants of Whaleshead, near the mouth of Rogue River, as I have mentioned, erected a rude fort upon an elevated prairie on the north bank of that stream. A company of volunteers was also organized, which had its encampment at the big bend of Rogue River during the winter; but on the proclamation of the governor in February, calling for new companies to reorganize, the 1st regiment of Oregon Mounted Volunteers had moved down near the settlement in order to fill up its ranks to the standard fixed by the proclamation, of sixty privates and eleven officers.
The conduct of the Indians under Wright had been so good since the punishment of the Coquilles in the early part of the winter that no apprehensions were felt beyond the dread that the fighting bands might some time make a descent upon them; and for this the volunteers had been duly watchful. But what so subtle as savage hate? On the night of the 22d of February a dancing-party was given at Whaleshead in honor of the day, and part of the volunteer company was in attendance, leaving but a few men to guard the camp. Early on the morning of the 23d, before the dancers had returned, the guard was attacked by a large body of Indians, who fell upon them with such suddenness and fury that but two out of fifteen escaped. One, Charles Foster, concealed himself in the woods, where he remained an undiscovered witness of much that transpired, and was able to identify the Indians engaged in the massacre, who were thus found to be those that lived about the settlement and were professedly friendly.
While the slaughter was going on at the volunteer camp some Indians from the native village on the south side of the river crossed over, and going to the house of J. McGuire, where Wright had his lodgings, reported to him that a certain half-breed named Enos, notoriously a bad man, was at the village, and they wished the agent to arrest him, as he was making trouble with the Tootootonies. Without the slightest suspicion of treachery, Wright, with Captain Poland of the volunteers, crossed the river to look into the matter, when both were seized and killed. The bodies were then so mutilated that they could not be recognized.
The death of Wright is a sad commentary on these sad times. He was a genial gentleman, honest, frank, brave, the friend and protector of those who slew him. It is a sad commentary on the ingratitude of man, who in his earlier and lower estate seems fitted to be ruled by fear rather than by love. During these troublous times in southern Oregon, I am satisfied that the United States government endeavored to do its best in pursuing a moderate and humane policy; and it was singularly fortunate about this time in having as a rule conscientious and humane men in this quarter, determined at the peril of their lives to defend their charge from the fury of the settlers and miners, who were exasperated beyond endurance by having their houses burned and their wives and children captured or slain. And to none is the tribute of praise more justly due than to Benjamin Wright, who died at his post doing his duty.
Nor did this horrible and dastardly work end here. Every farmer in the vicinity of Whakshead was killed, every house burned but one, and every kind of property destroyed. The more distant who escaped the massacre, to the number of 130, fled to the fort, but being poorly armed, might still have fallen a prey to the savages, had they not with their customary want of persistence, drawn off after the first day's bloody work. At nightfall on the 23d a boat was despatched to Port Orford to inform Major Reynolds of the fate of the settlement. But Reynolds could not go to the relief of Whaleshead without leaving exposed Port Orford, that place containing at this period but fifty adult male citizens and thirty soldiers. A whale-boat was, however, despatched for the purpose of keeping open communication with the besieged; but in attempting to land, the boat was swamped in the surf, and the men in it, six in number, were drowned, their bodies being seized by the savages and cut in pieces. Captain Tichenor with his schooner Nelly went to bring off the people of Whaleshead, but was prevented by contrary winds from approaching the shore. On the morning of the 24th the schooner Gold Beach left Crescent City with a volunteer company, whose design was to attack the Indians. They, too, were prevented from landing, and except at the fort the silence of death covered the whole country.
When the facts of the outbreak came to light, it was ascertained that the Indians attacked no less than seven different points within ten or twelve hours, and within a distance of ten miles down the coast on the south side of Rogue River, and also that a general fresh uprising occurred at the same time in other localities.
Those who took refuge in the fort were kept besieged for thirty-one days, when they were rescued by the two companies under Colonel Buchanan sent by General Wool, as before mentioned. A few days after the arrival of the troops a schooner from Port Orford effected a landing, and the women and children at the fort were sent to that place, while Buchanan commenced operations against the Indians, as I shall presently relate more in detail.
- The original copy of the application is contained in the first volume of Dowell's Oregon Indian Wars, MS., 1–3. This is a valuable compilation of original documents and letters pertaining to the wars of 1855–6 in southern Oregon, and furnishes conclusive proof of the invidious course of the Salem clique toward that portion of the territory. Dowell has taken much pains to secure and preserve these fragments of history, and in doing so has vindicated his section, from which otherwise the blame of certain alleged illegal acts might never have been removed. Then there are his Indian Wars;
- Or. Argus, June 16, 1855; Sac. Union, June 12, 1855; S. F. Chronicle, June 15, 1855; S. F. Alta, June 18, 1855.
- A bottle of whiskey sold by a white man to an Indian on the 26th of July caused the deaths, besides several Indians, of John Pollock, William Hennessey, Peter Heinrich, Thomas Gray, John L. Fickas, Edward Parrish, F. D. Mattice, T. D. Mattice, Raymond, and Pedro. Dowell's Or. Ind. Wars, MS., 39; Or. Argus, Aug. 1855, 18; S. F. Alta, Aug. 13 and 31, 1855.
- These particulars are found in a letter written by William Martin to C. S. Drew, and is contained in Dowell's collection of original documents of the Or. Ind. Wars, MS., vol. ii., 32–9.
- Letter of Arago, in Or. Statesman, Sept. 22, 1855; Sac. Union, Sept. 12, 1855; Coos Bay Mail, in Portland Standard, Feb. 20, 1880; Id., in S. F. Bulletin, Feb. 6, 1880.
- See Nichols' Rogue River War, MS., 14–15. On the 2d of September, Granville Keene, from Tenn., was killed on the reservation while assisting Fred. Alberding, J. Q. Taber, and a fourth man to reclaim some stolen horses. Two others were wounded and obliged to retreat. About the last of the month, Calvin Fields of Iowa, and John Cuningham of Sauvé Island, Oregon, were killed, and Harrison Oatman and Daniel Britton wounded, while crossing the Siskiyou Mountains with loaded wagons drawn by eighteen oxen, which were also killed. An express being sent to Fort Lane, Captain Smith ordered out a detachment of dragoons, but no arrests were made. Of the Indians killed in the mean time no mention is made.
- Among them Shepard, Miller, Pelton, Hereford, Gates, and Williams. Letter of C. S. Drew, in Dowdell's Or. Ind. Wars, MS., 29; Nottarts, in Or. Statesman, Oct. 27, 1855; Nichols' Ind. Affairs, MS., 20.
- Cram's Top. Mem., 44; Letter of Palmer to General Wool, in U. S. H. Ex. Doc. 93, 112, 34th cong. 1st sess.; Sober Sense, in Or. Statesman, Oct. 27, 1855; Letter of Wool, in U. S. Sen. Ex. Doc. 66, 59; 34th cong. 1st sess.
- Or. Argus, Sept. 29, 1855.
- See California Inter Pocula, this series, passim. 'It was stated that Mrs Harris, when relieved, was so marked with powder and blood as to be hardly recognizable.' Or. Statesman, March 3, 1856. Mrs Harris afterward married Aaron Chambers, who came to Oregon in 1852, was much respected, and died in 1869. Jacksonville Or. Sentinel, Sept. 18, 1869.
- At that very moment an express was on its way from Vancouver to Fort Lane, calling for Major Fitzgerald to reënforce Major Haller in the Yakima country. Or. Statesman, Oct. 20, 1855. Peupeumoxmox was threatening the Walla Walla Valley, and the Indians on Puget Sound preparing for the blow which they were to strike at the white settlements two weeks later, a coincidence of events significant of combination among the Indians. Dowell's Letters, MS., 35; Grover's Pub. Life, MS., 74; Autobiog. of H. C. Huston, in Brown's Or. Misc., MS., 48; Dowell's Or. Ind. War, MS., 33–9; Or. Argus, Oct. 27; Evans' Fourth of July Address, in New Tacoma Ledger, July 9, 1880.
- Hayes' Ind. Scraps, v. 145; Yreka Union, Oct. 1855.
- Three men were killed on Grave Creek, 12 miles below the road, on the night of the 9th. J. W. Drew, in Or. Statesman, Oct. 20, 1855.
- Henry's Rogue River War Speech, 14.
- Letter of Ambrose to Palmer, in U. S. H. Ex. Doc. 93, 62–65, 34th cong. 1st sess.
- Says Ambrose: 'As in the war of 1853, the Indians have all the guns in the country. Those Indians have each a good rifle and revolver, and are skilful in the use of them.'
- A company under Rinearson was divided into detachments, and sent, on the evening of the 10th, ten to the mouth of the Umpqua cañon, five three miles south to Leving's house, five to Turner's seven miles farther south, six to the Grave Creek house. On the next day thirty men made a scout down Grave Creek, and down Rogue River to the mouth of Galice Creek, the settlers placing at their disposal whatever supplies of blankets, provisions, or arms they were able to furnish; yet twelve of Rinearson's company had no other weapons than pistols. A. G. Henry, in Or. Statesman, Oct. 20, 1855. The troops in southern Oregon at this time were two full companies of dragoons at Fort Lane under Smith and Fitzgerald, and sixty-four infantry at Winchester, in the Umpqua Valley, under Lieut Gibson, who had been escorting Williamson on his survey of a railroad route from the Sacramento to the Willamette Valley, and who now retraced his steps to Fort Lane. The small garrison at Fort Orford was not available, and Fitzgerald's company was during the month ordered to reënforce Major Rains at The Dalles; hence one company of dragoons and one of infantry constituted the regular force which could be employed in the defence of the south country during the coming winter.
- The original orders are to be found in Dowell's Or. Ind. Wars, MS., vol. i. 45, 47, 53.
- M. C. Barkwell wrote Ambrose that at his request R. L. Williams would raise a company for the protection of that locality. The settlers about Althouse, on Illinois River, petitioned to have Theoron Crook empowered to raise a company to range the mountains thereabout; signed by Hiram Rice, J. J. Rote, Frederick Rhoda, Lucius D. Hart, S. Matthews, Charles F. Wilson, Elias Winkleback, S. P. Duggan, John Morrow, Allen Knapp, W. H. B. Douglas, Wm Lane, J. T. Mann, Geo. H. Grayson, R. T. Brickley, J. H. Huston, L. Coffey, H. Kaston, John Murphy, B. B. Brockway, A. L. Scott, Geo. W. Comegys, James C. Castleman, D. D. Drake, John R. Hale, E. R. Crane, Alden Whitney, Joshua Harlan, S. H. Harper, M. P. Howard, R. S. A. Colwell, George Lake, Thomas Lake, George Koblence, Jacob Randbush, Peter Colean, U. S. Barr, William Lance, Robert Rose, N. D. Palmer, James Hole, E. D. Cohen, Sigmund Heilner, Wm Chapman, John E. Post, John W. Merideth, A. More, Thos Ford, and Gilharts. Dowell's Or. Ind. Wars, MS., vol. i. 33–5.
The white men of Phœnix mills, Illinois Valley, of Deer Creek, and Galice Creek also petitioned for permission to raise companies for defence, and the outlying settlements prayed for armed guards to be sent them. The petition from Phœnix mills was signed by S. M. Waite, S. Colver, Joseph Tracy, Jarius F. Kennedy, M. M. Williams, and J. T. Gray; that from Illinois Valley and Deer Creek by John D. Post, William Chapman, G. E. Briggs, J. N.
- On the 5th of Nov. Ross ordered Gardner with 10 men to protect Thompson's place on Applegate Creek. F. R. Hill was ordered to raise a company for Grave Creek, etc.
- Evans' Protection to Immigrants, 59. This is a compilation of documents on the subject of the protection afforded by Walker's company in 1854, with statistics of Indian outrages. The same matter is in U. S. Sen. Ex. Doc. 46, 35th cong. 2d sess.
- Killed, J. W. Pickett, Samuel Saunders; mortally wounded, Benjamin Taft, Israel D. Adams; severely wounded, Lieut Wm A. J. Moore, Allan Evans, Milton Blackledge, Joseph Umpqua, John Ericson, and Captain W. B. Lewis. Report of Capt Lewis, in Dowell's Or. Ind. War., MS., ii. 18.
- Dowell's Or. Ind. Wars, MS., i. 57.
- J. B. Wagoner was employed as express rider from Oct. 13th, five days after the murder of his wife and child, as long as first volunteer service lasted—a service full of danger and hardship. See instructions in Dowell's Or. Ind. Wars MS., i. 63.
- Report of Capt. Rinearson, in Dowell's Or. Ind. War, MS., i. 77. I can name 12 of them. Co. A, T. S. Harris capt.; Co. B, James Bruce capt.; Co. C, J. S. Rinearson capt., lieuts W. P. Wing, I. N. Bently, R. W. Henry; Co. D, R. L. Williams capt., E. B. Stone 1st lieut, sergeant E. K. Elliott; Co. E, W. B. Lewis, capt., lieuts W. A. J. Moore, White; sergt I. D. Adams; Co. F, A. S. Welton capt.; Co. G, Miles T. Alcorn capt., lieut J. M. Osborne; Co. H, W. A. Wilkinson capt.; Co. I, T. Smith capt.; Co. K, S. A. Frye capt.; Co. L, Abel George capt.; Co. M, F. R. Hill capt. The names of T. J. Gardner, Orrin Root, M. M. Williams, Hayes, and M. P. Howard appear in the official correspondence as captains; Daniel Richardson, Morrison, and H. P. Conroy as lieutenants; and W. M. Evans as orderly sergeant. C. S. Drew was appointed adjutant; C. Westfeldt quartermaster and commissary; and C. B. Brooks surgeon.
- This band had attacked Kautz and his surveying party a few days previous, killing two soldiers and three settlers.
- Letter of L. C. Hawley in Or. Statesman, Nov. 24, 1855. Another gives the number at 387. Dowell's Or. Ind. Wars.
- Letter of John E. Ross to C. S. Drew in Dowell's Or. Ind. Wars, MS., i. 93.
- Lieut Withers says the Indians had cut down trees to form an obstruction to any attack on that side. U. S. Sen. Ex. Doc., 26, 34th cong. 1st sess.
- Capt. Rinearson's co., killed, Henry Pearl, Jacob W. Miller; missing and believed to be killed, James Pearsy; wounded, Enoch Miller, W. H. Crouch, and Ephraim Yager. Capt. Gordon's co., wounded, Hawkins Shelton, James M. Fordyce, William Wilson. Capt. Bailey's co., killed, John Gillespie; wounded, John Walden, John C. Richardson, James Laphar, Thomas J. Aubrey, John Pankey. Capt. Harris' co., wounded, Jonathan A. Petigrew, mortally, Ira Mayfield, L. F. Allen, William Purnell, William Haus, John Goldsby, Thomas Gill. Capt. Bruce's co., wounded mortally, Charles Godwin. Capt. Welton's co., wounded mortally, John Kennedy. Capt. William's co., killed, John Winters; wounded, John Stanner, Thomas Ryan. Of the regular troops three were killed in action on the field, and one by accidentally shooting himself; among the seven wounded was Lieut Gibson. Report of A. G. Henry in Dowell's Or. Ind. Wars, MS., i., 169–71; Or. Statesman, Nov. 17, 1855; Ashland Tidings, Nov. 2, 1877.
- See proclamation and general order, in Or. Statesman, Oct. 20, 1855; Or. Argus, Oct. 20, 1855.
- Grover in the legislature of 1856–7 found it necessary to explain the course of Governor Curry by saying that 'news was brought to him of the slaughter of Indians by a rabble from the neighborhood of Yreka; which information proved incorrect, some of the best citizens being engaged in the affair out of self-defence.' Or. Statesman, Jan. 27, 1857. This explanation referred to Lupton's attack on the Indians. Cram's Top. Mem., 44: Dowell's Or. Ind. Wars, MS., i. 117.
- See Letter of Capt. F. R. Hill, in Dowell's Or. Ind. Wars, 177–8, vol. 1. MS., where he says: 'I was just on the eve of getting a company to make a start, when the word was out that it was not legal, and the governor's proclamation did not call for but one company from Douglas and one from Umpqua.'
- Co. A, North Battalion O. M. Vols, Lane county, enrolled Oct. 23d: capt., Joseph Bailey; 1st lieut., Daniel W. Keith; 2d lieut, Cyrenus Mulkey, resigned Dec. 30th; Charles W. McClure elected in his place. Co. B, Lane county, enrolled Oct. 23d: capt., Laban Buoy; 1st lieut, A. W. Patterson, resigned and transferred to medical department, L. Poindexter being elected in his place; 2d lieut, P. C. Noland. Or. Jour. House, 1855–6, ap. 145.
- Co. C, Linn county, enrolled Oct. 24th: capt., Jonathan Keeney; 1st lieut, A. W. Stannard; 2d lieut, Joseph Yates. Co. D, Douglas county, enrolled Oct. 25th: capt., Samuel Gordon; 1st lieut, S. B. Hadley; 2d lieut, T. Prater. Co. E, Umpqua county, enrolled Nov. 8th: capt., W. W. Chapman; 1st lieut, Z. Dimmick; 2d lieut, J. M. Merrick. Or. Jour. Council, 1855–6, ap. 146.
- Co. A: capt., James Bruce; 1st lieut, E. A. Rice, who was elected capt. after the promotion of Bruce; 2d lieut, John S. Miller; 2d lieut, J. F. Anderson. Co. B: capt., R. L. Williams; 1st lieut, Hugh O'Neal; 2d lieut, M. Bushey. Co. C: capt., Wm A. Wilkinson; 1st lieut, C. F. Blake; 2d lieut, Edwin Hess. Co. D: capt., Miles F. Alcorn; 1st lieut, James M. Matney; 2d lieut, John Osborn. Or. Jour. House, 1855–6, ap. 146–7. The militia organization as it now stood comprised the following officers: A. P. Dennison and Benj. Stark, aids de camp to the gov.; John F. Miller, quartermaster gen.; A. Zeiber and S. S. Slater, asst quartermaster general; M. M. McCarver, commissary gen.; B. F. Goodwin and J. S. Ruckle, asst com. gen.; Wm J. Martin, maj. north bat.; J. W. Drew and R. E. Stratton, adj. north bat.; Wm G. Hill and I. N. Smith, aids to major north bat.; James Bruce, maj. of south bat.; O. D. Hoxie, adj. south bat.; J. K. Lamerick, mustering officer for southern Oregon. Or. Jour. House, 1855–6, ap. 143–7.
- 'Just before they took their departure they went on the reserve, burned all the boards and shingles there, and every article of value belonging to chief Sam's people; a temporary house I had erected for the accommodation of persons laboring on the reserve, shared the same fate; they also killed or drove away seven of the cattle belonging to the agency.' Agent Ambrose to Supt. Palmer, Nov. 30, 1855, in U. S. H. Ex. Doc., 93, p. 119, 34th cong. 1st sess.
- Or. Statesman, Dec. 1, 1855; Kept of Major Martin, Dec. 10, 1855, in Or. Jour. House, 1855–6, ap. 122.
- 'These two fights have blotted out Jake's band.' Corr. Or. Statesman, Jan. 15, 1856. General Wool, in his official report of May 30, 1856, calls Jake 'a friendly old chief,' and says that his band comprising 30 or 40 males was destroyed by the volunteers, with all their huts and provisions, 'exposing the women and children to the cold of December, who in making their way to Fort Lane for protection, arrived there with their limbs frozen.' See Cram's Top. Mem., 45.
- Dowell's Or. Ind. Wars, MS., ii. 19; Lane's Autobiography, MS., 107; Brown's Autobiography, MS., 40–1.
- The enrolling officers appointed by Lamerick were Wm H. Latshaw, A. W. Patterson, Nat. H. Lane, Daniel Barnes, James A. Porter, for companies to be drawn from Lane, Benton, Douglas, and Linn counties. Or. Statesman, Feb. 12, 1856.
- Wm H. Latshaw was elected capt. of the Lane county co.; John Kelsey of the Benton county co.; and Daniel Barnes of the Douglas county co. Or. Statesman, Feb. 19, 1856. Of the co. of 50 raised at Deer Creek (Roseburg) in February, Edward Sheffield was elected capt.; S. H. Blunton 1st lieut; Elias Capran 2d lieut. Id.
- Collector Dunbar at Port Orford wrote to Palmer that there was no doubt that Wright could maintain peace in his district. 'Ben is on the jump day and night. I never saw in my life a more energetic agent of the public. His plans are all good, there can be no doubt of it.' U. S. H. Ex. Doc., 93, 127–9, 34th cong. 1st sess.
- This half-breed Enos was formerly one of Frémont's guides, and is spoken of by Frémont as a very brave and daring Indian. Corr. Or. Statesman, March 11, 1856; Indian Aff. Rept., 1856, p. 201–2; Crescent City Herald Extra, Feb. 25, 1856. He was hanged at Fort Orford in 1857, for his part in the massacre. Or. Statesman, March 31, 1857; Tichenor's Historical Correspondence, MS.
- Parrish, Or. Anecdotes, MS., 81–3, says that Wright was at a dance in a log cabin on Rogue River, about Christmas 1854! and that with others he was killed for his treatment of the women. Dunbar and Nash state that the agent kept a native woman, Chetcoe Jennie, who acted as interpreter, and drew from the government $500 a year for that service, and who betrayed him to his death, and afterward ate a piece of his heart. Dowell's Or. Ind. Wars, MS., ii. 27; Ind. Aff. Rept., 1856, 201–2; Or. Statesman, March 11, 1856; Crescent City Herald, Feb. 26, 1856; U. S. H. Ex. Doc., 39, p. 47–8, 35th cong. 1st sess.
- The persons killed in the first attack were Benjamin Wright, John Poland, John Idles, Henry Lawrence, Patrick McCullough, George McClusky, Barney Castle, Guy C. Holcomb, Joseph Wilkinson, Joseph Wagner, E. W. Howe, J. H. Braun, Martin Reed, George Reed, Lorenzo Warner, Samuel Hendrick, Nelson Seaman, W. R. Tulles, Joseph Seroc and two sons, John Geisell and four children, Mrs Geisell and three daughters being taken prisoners; and subsequently to the first attack, Henry Bullen, L. W. Oliver, Daniel Richardson, George Trickey and Adolf Schmoldt—in all thirty-one. Warner was from Livonia, N. Y., Seaman from Cedarville, N. Y. The drowned were H. C. Gerow, a merchant of Port Orford, and formerly of N. Y.; John O'Brien, miner; Sylvester Long, farmer; William Thompson and Richard Gay, boatmen; and Felix McCue. Letter of James C. Franklin, in Or. Statesman, March 18, 1856; Crescent City Herald, Feb. 25 and May 21, 1856; Corr. Coos Bay Mail; Dowell's Or. Ind. Wars, MS., ii. 27; Or. Argus, March 8, 1856; Or. Statesman, April 29, May 13 and 20, 1856; S. F. Alta, March 4, 1856; S. F. Bulletin, March 12, 1856; Cong. Globe, 1855–6, pt i., 780, 34th cong. 1st sess.; Sac. Union, March 1, 1856.
Scrap-Book; Letters; Biographies, and various pamphlets which contain almost a complete journal of the events to which this chapter is devoted.
Benjamin Franklin Dowell emigrated from New Franklin, Mo., in 1850, taking the California road, but arriving in the Willamette Valley in Nov. He had studied law, but now taught a school in Polk county in the summer of 1851, and afterward in the Waldo hills. It was slow work for an ambitious man; so borrowing some money and buying a pack-train, he began trading to the mines in southern Oregon and northern California, following it successfully for four years. He purchased flour of J. W. Nesmith at his mills in Polk county at 10 cents per lb., and sold it in the mines at $1 and $1.25. He bought butter at 50 cents per lb., and sold it at $1.50; salt at 15 cents per lb., and sold it at $2 and $3 per lb., and other articles in proportion. When Scottsburg became the base of supplies, instead of the Willamette Valley, he traded between that place and the mines. When war broke out, Dowell was 'the first in and the last out' of the fight. After that he settled in Jacksonville, and engaged in the practice of law and newspaper management.
Knight, A. J. Henderson, William B. Hay, L. Reeves, Joseph Kirby, R. T. Olds, Samuel White, William E. Randolph, Frederick Rhoda, L. D. Hart, Alexander McBride, C. C. Luther, S. Scott, O. E. Riley, J. T. L. Mills, and Coltinell. On the 26th a company was organized in Illinois Valley. Orrin T. Root was chosen captain, and sent to Jacksonville for his commission. In this way most of the companies were formed.