Anson Dart, Esq., U.S. Indian Agent at Oregon, is now at Washington, upon official business. He has brought with him several new pieces of cedar plank, some beautiful specimens of wild flax, which is exceedingly plentiful in that territory, and of fine quality, and several small lumps of gold from the south fork of Rogue River.
Illinois Daily Journal, Springfield, January 16, 1852, page 3
The Indians are quite friendly on Rogue River, yet they occasionally steal when a favorable opportunity presents. The agent, Mr. Skinner, has made his location near Table Rock. I called to see him at his residence and found him to be a very intelligent gentleman. He is exerting a good influence, as an agent, over the Indians. The Rogue River Valley is settling very fast; some twenty claims have been taken already and houses built; many are busily engaged in plowing; large quantities of stock are on the valley; grass fine, and everything seems to be moving on favorably and quietly.
J. C. Bell, "From the Mines," Weekly Oregonian, Portland, January 17, 1852, page 2
For the Spectator.
Oregon City, Jan. 22, '52.
Editors Spectator--Gentlemen: Having seen in your paper of the 20th inst. a communication from the Rogue River country charging a Mr. Worthington Bills with inciting the Indians to acts of hostility against the whites, and containing other serious charges against the same person, I was taken by surprise and am quite astonished.
I have known Mr. Worthington Bills for some time. Knew him in the Rogue River country, on Rogue River, and never heard or supposed from his general character that any such offense could be perpetrated by him; and my object in addressing you at this time, from this place, rather from my home at Tualatin Plains, is to testify, as far as my acquaintance as above is concerned, to his unexceptional good character--and also that to my knowledge, he used his best efforts, upon every occasion, to preserve peaceable relations between the whites and Indians. And at the recent difficulty there between the Indians and some persons engaged in driving hogs to the mines, in which one white man, Mr. Moffett, and an Indian were killed, and another white man wounded, to my knowledge Mr. Worthington Bills was one of the most active and influential in endeavoring to allay feeling and prevent disturbance and blood shed.
A. POMEROY.Oregon Spectator, January 27, 1852, page 3
To the Public.
Oregon City, O.T.
Jan. 23rd, '52.
With regard to the second assertion, quoted above from this letter, it is entirely unfounded, so far as I am concerned, and I have no knowledge of my son being engaged in any such transaction; but if he has, as I said before, he is responsible to the tribunals of his country. In this letter it is charged against me that about the 18th ult. (his letter being written in December) I left for the Willamette Valley, and that I "borrowed two or three horses from the miners and have not been heard of since." The facts are that I left there on the 10th of December to come to this valley for the single purpose of selling my improvements and claim in this valley, and of procuring a load of supplies to take back to Rogue River Valley for winter use. Before leaving I made an arrangement with a Mr. Jacob Painter, Mr. Sloan, and Mr. Lord, for two horses and one mule belonging to these gentlemen, to be brought by me to the settlements, loaded with provisions, &c., and drove back again; the loads of each of those animals, upon their arrival, to be equally divided between the owner of the horse and myself. This I have done. I loaded the animals and started them for that section, in the care of Mr. Hitt, some days since, and at this time they must have accomplished something more than half their journey.
Mr. Painter also says, "It is the opinion of the citizens that he (the old man) laid the plan to exterminate all the whites, and that Worthington, his son, was to carry it out in his absence; and they were to have the Indians rob all the pack trains and they would reap the rewards of the booty arising therefrom." It would seem to be quite idle for me to simply deny the truth of any part of this assertion, inasmuch as perhaps some evidence besides my own denial might be called for; but it is simply an assertion--and one quite easy to make--and perhaps quite as difficult for the author to prove correct, as for me to show unfounded. What the secret opinions of men may be it is impossible for others to know, and that my secret intentions and designs were not as above represented, I acknowledge would be impossible for me to prove by others. But with regard to the above assertion, I am willing and anxious that my acts while in that country should meet and undergo any examination that may be considered called for by the circumstances of the case. I am conscious of no such design, and am prepared for an investigation of all things connected with my residence there at any and all times.
With regard to the allusion in this letter to my being the same man published by Mr. Dryer, of the Oregonian, last spring, for leaving the country indebted to him, this is the first notice of such publication that I have received. When I left Portland I was not aware that I owed the editor of the Oregonian a penny, nor am I now. It is true I had some business with him in the way of advertising and having handbills printed, &c.; but I always either paid each bill thus made myself or left the means with which it should be done in the hands of my clerks, with orders to pay it to him--and if any bill has ever been left unpaid it was on account of my directions not being attended to--and in no case intentional. If by any means any just demand thus holden by Mr. Dryer has not been paid, I do now and have at all times stood ready to pay it upon presentation. With regard to his hasty publication of me in this manner (which I have never seen) I would simply say that no gentleman would thus treat another. He, nor any other man, ever had the slightest reason to suppose that I intended to leave this country, and if a bill did remain against me, due to him, he had no reason to suppose I would refuse to pay it; for I had a good deal of printing done at his office, and always paid him promptly, as he cannot deny.
In support of my own statements, as to where I resided previous to starting for the Rogue River country, as I said before, I offer the following certificates.
Lane County, Jan. 10, 1852.
We, the undersigned, have been acquainted with Lemuel Bills from five to eighteen months, and have known him to be upright and straightforward in all business transactions.
E. F. Skinner,and ten others, citizens of the same county.
E. L. Bristow,
J. W. Poindexter,
I have been acquainted six months with Lemuel Bills. He has been laboring on my mill. His dealing with me has been honest.
We agree in the above, with regard to the character of Mr. Lemuel Bills.
Louis Calhoun,Several other certificates of a like nature with the above were shown us by Mr. Bills, which it is considered unnecessary to publish--Eds.
P. F. Castleman.
Oregon Spectator, Oregon City, February 3, 1852, page 1
An Oregon paper of recent date contains the following announcement:
"A man by the name of Bills (an Oregonian) was brought down in irons on the Multnomah last week. He has for several months been among the Indians on Rogue River, instigating attacks on the whites--in consequence of which, the Indians say, about twenty whites have been killed. Judge Skinner, the Indian Agent, learned that he was among the Indians, and hired them to bring him in, giving them six blankets; but before an opportunity offered to send him into the settlements, he made his escape. The Agent then offered them forty blankets to bring him in. The second time he was caught just the other side of Table Rock, where the fight occurred, last summer, in which Lieut. Stuart was killed. He confesses his crime. He was sent down to the Superintendent of Indian Affairs, and we suppose will be tried at an early day."
"White Man Among the Indians," Daily Alta California, San Francisco, February 5, 1852, page 2
For the Oregon Times.
Friend Waterman: Having just arrived in Portland, and learned that much interest is manifested with the people generally in regard to Shasta Butte City [Yreka], and just having arrived from that district of country, I avail myself of this opportunity of informing you with regard to my views as to the location of that place. If the Deputy Surveyor has made the correct observation at the north mouth of the Kenyon, where Mr. Knott is located, it seems to me that no doubt can exist, as he has located that point in latitude 42 deg. 51 min. [it's actually 42.9308º], consequently it can be but 51 minutes south to the 42 parallel, which is known to every traveler to be a distance of at least one hundred and fifty miles, and I should think would make a little more than 51 min.
Lieut. Emmons, in 1843, took an observation as he passed through Oregon to California and I am informed that he located the 42nd parallel on the top of Siskiyou Mountain, at a large rock well known to all travelers [Pilot Rock] which is some twenty miles north of Shasta Butte City; and still farther, Col. Fremont states that Shasta Butte is in latitude 41 deg. 28 min. and all who have ever been in that country know full well that Shasta Butte is not more than 25 minutes south of Shasta Butte City.
It is difficult to ascertain the precise location of any point inland; but every observation heretofore goes to prove that Shasta Butte City is in California, or at least south of the 42nd parallel of longitude [sic].
It is now reduced to an absolute certainty that Grave Creek, which the Oregon and California road crosses, is the principal branch of the Coquille River [it's a tributary of the Rogue River], as I have been down from the road to a point where I know that I have been exploring, during the past season, and no doubt remains of obtaining a good road from Port Orford to the Oregon road to California, and the distance of travel from the ferry on Rogue River to Port Orford will not exceed ninety miles. I have been over all the ground but about the distance of twelve or fifteen miles, and do believe a good wagon road will be made by the first of next June, and open well for settlers one of the best agricultural countries west of the Rocky Mountains.
I remain yours, &c.
W. G. T'VAULT.
Portland, Feb. 10th, 1852.
Oregon Weekly Times, Portland, February 14, 1852, page 2
The Shasta Indians, numbering from 150 to 300, assembled at the head of Rogue River Valley on a war expedition, but professed when [Mr. Kirkpatrick] passed to be "wawa-ing" about their difficulties, and were on the eve of settling them amicably. The affair is said to have originated about a squaw.
"From the Shasta Mines," Oregon Spectator, Oregon City, March 2, 1852, page 2
LETTER 60 YEARS OLD
Reflects Interesting View of Early Pioneer Conditions Here.
The time of the annual reunion of the Southern Oregon Pioneers in Ashland today seems not an inappropriate one to publish a personal letter which has just come into the possession of his family here and which was written to relatives in Iowa by the late Jacob Wagner of this city, one of the pioneers of southern Oregon and northern California nearly 60 years ago. The chief interest of course in a personal document of this kind at this time is in its age and the light it throws upon conditions in this country 60 years ago, isolated and unknown as it was in that early period before there was a single settlement in the Rogue River Valley, which at the time indicated was really just being "discovered." The letter reads as follows:
California, March 8, 1852.Esteemed Brother and Sister: It is with the greatest of pleasure that I take this opportunity to inform you that I am well and hope when these few lines reach you they will find you all enjoying the same blessing. I am now in California, near the Oregon line, and expect to stay in this part of California next summer. I am mining and have done tolerably well this winter. I spent nine hundred dollars last summer on Scotts River. I bought claims in the river and hired men to help work them; dug raises and turned the river. It proved to be a failure, and I spent my summer's work and $900 more than I made. There have been some very rich mines found in this part of the country, but I don't think they are so extensive as they are in the southern part of California. The miners generally are not making very big wages here this winter. Some may make their hundred dollars per day, while others don't make their hundred cents. But this is the best poor man's country that I was ever in, for a poor man is just as likely to win a prize as a rich one.
We have had a pleasant winter so far. There has been but little snow and but little rain. This is the pleasantest climate that I ever was in. It is never so warm in the summer or so cold in the winter as it is where you live. The valleys and mountains are now covered with green grass and the richest of flowers. It is a beautiful sight at this season of the year. Cattle have been first-rate beef all winter.
This is the healthiest country I ever saw. I have been here one year. There are about four or five thousand persons in Shasta Butte City [Yreka] and within ten miles of here, some living in brush houses, others in tents, and out of that number there have been three deaths, to my knowledge.
One year ago, when I came here where Shasta Butte City is, there hadn't been a stick of timber cut by a white man. Now there are twelve or fourteen hundred inhabitants. There are about thirty stores and about the same number of gambling houses and liquor shops. We are about three hundred miles from navigation. The provisions we get here are packed 300 miles on mules. The market is well supplied and cheap. At present flour is 25 cents per pound, beef 20 cents, coffee 50 cents, butter $1.25 per pound, boots from $8 to $16 per pair, potatoes 25 cents per pound, liquor 50 cents a drink, and there are more drunkards here than any place I ever was before. More horses are stolen here than any place I ever saw. There are a great many land pirates in California.
We had a good deal of trouble with the Indians last summer, but they have gotten more peaceable. They killed a great many whites last summer. Whenever they would catch a small party out by themselves they would take their scalps. The Rogue River Indians are the worst Indians we have in this part of the country.
I expect to come home sometime, but not until I make money enough so that I can have a living without as hard work as I used to, for I had rather work for a living here than there.
I want you to write to me and let me know how you are all getting along. I haven't had a letter from you since I left home, and but two from Mother. If you knew how I long to hear from you, you would write often. I have gotten two letters from Philip, but I have written letter after letter and don't get any answers. Direct yours to Sacramento City. I want you to let me know how Joseph is getting along and what he is doing. Give my regards to all inquiring friends.
Yours with respect,Ashland Tidings, September 7, 1911
ROGUE RIVER.--On the 6th inst. intelligence was received in Shasta Valley of gold discoveries on Rogue River, near the Oregon trail. The claims on that portion of the river are said to be marvelously rich. Full confidence has been placed in the news from these mines. On the 9th, at least five hundred persons had left Shasta Valley for the Rogue River mines.
Sacramento Daily Union, March 25, 1852, page 2
FROM THE SOUTHERN MINES.--We have just seen and conversed with an intelligent and highly respectable gentleman direct from the southern mines. He says the miners are doing well, and enjoying good health. The Indians are peaceable and quiet, and everything bids fair for a golden harvest this season among the miners.
Weekly Oregonian, Portland, April 3, 1852, page 2
The Rogue River furore has been raging here violently for the past two weeks, and has carried off many miners. I am told they will retrace their steps in a few days, and be satisfied to work for low wages when they return. Many of them will find new occupants on their old claims. . . .
P.S.--Three days after the above date [March 16], the reports are confirmed in regard to the richness of the diggings on Rogue River, and miners are flocking thither in great numbers. The deposits are said to be in dry ravines.
"Our Klamath Correspondence," Sacramento Daily Union, April 6, 1852, page 2
The news from the Rogue River mines is very encouraging to miners. New and important discoveries have recently been made, which has brought several thousand miners into Oregon Territory from Shasta, and other mines in California. They are doing well, making from one ounce to one hundred dollars the day--so says our informant. Our readers, however, will make a liberal discount--as in all cases of news from the gold mines.
Weekly Oregonian, Portland, April 17, 1852, page 2
[Yreka] is at present nearly or quite deserted--the new diggings on Rogue River having taken almost everybody from this section of country; the excitement is intense.
"J.T.H.," Weekly Oregonian, Portland, April 17, 1852, page 3
The Shasta Courier reports rich discoveries of gold on Rogue River, near the Oregon trail, and about five hundred persons had left with the intention of engaging in mining at the new location. The same paper represents that the average result of mining in that vicinity is now ten dollars per day for each man engaged.
"Late from California," Daily National Intelligencer, Washington, D.C., April 30, 1852, page 3
The steamship carrying this news left San Francisco on April 1.
Umpqua City, O.T., March 30, 1852.Messrs. Editors.--Extraordinary accounts of the recent discoveries upon Rogue River are reported by packers arriving here from that region. . . . The exciting news from Rogue River has produced a general rush to that point. I have been unable to obtain any particular information in respect to the character of these mines, other than their richness and extent, and the large number of miners already centered there. These mines are located in Southern Oregon, and in the vicinity of this river.
"Umpqua Correspondence," Daily Alta California, San Francisco, May 1, 1852, page 2
Rich mines have been discovered in Rogue River Valley. They are creek and ravine diggings. Miners there are averaging from ten to sixteen dollars. There is a great excitement in Mount Shasta City [Yreka] and on Humbug Creek, consequent on the discovery of these new and rich diggings. I saw (says a correspondent) about 200 leave for Rogue River Valley on last Sabbath. Parties are leaving town daily. Mules are selling from $100 to $140 each. Rogue River Valley is about all taken up by persons who intend to settle permanently.
"Eleven Days Later from California," Albany Evening Journal, New York, May 17, 1852, page 2
RICH DIGGINGS.--Mr. Flinn of Johnson's line of stages has received a letter from Mr. James Clugage on Rogue River, stating that he and his two partners owned a claim out of which they had taken on an average seventy ounces per day for ten weeks. This is certainly one of the richest claims we have heard of for a long time.
Daily Alta California, San Francisco, May 18, 1852, page 2
Mining News.--Rich mines have been discovered in Rogue River Valley. They are creek and ravine diggings. I have seen a miner direct from there, and he informed me that these diggings are extensive. He exhibited some of the gold, and it looked bright and beautiful. He has gone back to these mines. Miners there are averaging from ten to sixteen dollars.
There is a great excitement in Mt. Shasta City and Humbug Creek consequent on the discovery of these new and rich diggings. I saw about 200 leave for Rogue River Valley on last sabbath. Parties are leaving town daily. Mules are selling from $100 to $140 each. Rogue River Valley is about all taken up by persons who intend to settle permanently.
Daily Ledger, New Albany, Indiana, May 20, 1852, page 2
The Courier says the mining intelligence from Rogue River continues to be of the most gratifying character.
A short time since, John Brown, of Illinois, became involved with a quarrel with another miner. Upon being called a liar he shot his antagonist, who died almost instantly. We have not been furnished with the name of the deceased. Brown was tried, sentenced to be hung, and was to have been executed on the 16th inst.
"From Shasta," Sacramento Daily Union, May 24, 1852, page 2
The attention of our citizens and business men here seems to be directed towards the southern part of the Territory. Since my last, gold in considerable quantities has been discovered in the Rogue River country, Jackson County, which, together with the rich farming land in that quarter, has served to fasten nearly all eyes upon it. Emigration at this time tends toward Southern Oregon, that part of the Territory embraced within the counties of Umpqua, Douglas and Jackson, lying south of the Willamette Valley, and divided from it by the Calapooia Mountains, a spur stretching across the country from the Coast Range.
The gold mines in Northern California and those just discovered in Southern Oregon afford to the latter, by their steady demand, high prices and proximity of one of the best markets for all kinds of agricultural products in the world, and when these countries are settled it will enjoy the almost exclusive monopoly of this market. With these two occupations of mining and farming, carried on in the same vicinity, this part of Oregon must soon become densely populated.
In the Umpqua Valley there are several towns, but recently known, however, as being places of immediate importance. Winchester, situated upon the North Umpqua on the route through the Territory from north to south, and directly on the road to the mines, is a flourishing village in embryo, with its "store," blacksmith shop &c. It is an inland town, with an extensive and rich farming country surrounding it on all sides, sufficient to support, when settled, a large retail trade.
Going down this river about forty-five miles, which is some fifteen miles below Winchester, it nearly doubled in volume by receiving the South Umpqua; coming in from a southeast direction, we arrived at Scottsburg, situated on the north bank upon a narrow flat or bottom, only a few rods in width, but some two miles in length and walled in on both sides by high, steep and rocky mountains, inaccessible for all useful or practical purposes. It is an important point, however, it being the only point of entry accessible from the interior for the Umpqua, Rogue River, Klamath and Shasta counties, and the mines embraced within their limits.
Twenty-five miles further down Umpqua brings us to Gardiner, on the south side of the river, three or four miles from its mouth. Directly at the mouth, on the north side of the river, Umpqua City is situated, which makes up the list of towns on this river. These three places are beginning to attract the attention of capitalists, and owing to their location and the vast extent of country to which the river affords the only entry by water, they will soon become of importance to the business world.
"From Oregon," Daily Picayune, New Orleans, Louisiana, June 25, 1852, page 2
Murder and Execution on Rogue River.
A murder was committed at Jacksonville, a small mining village on Rogue River, on the 2nd of May, under the following circumstances: A young man named J. C. Platt, slightly under the influence of liquor, challenged any person to run a foot race with him. Several bystanders selected a man of the name of Robert Maynard, who went by the name of Brown, to accept the challenge. Platt said he was no kind of a man, and that he would not run with him; that he could beat him at anything--fighting or anything else; and that if he ran, he wanted to run against a man. Brown said he was insulted, and that he would shoot Platt. He borrowed a revolver, and afterwards meeting Platt in the street, told him he had insulted him. Platt denied having done so, but said that if Brown was disposed to "take it up," he could do so, at the same time taking off his coat for a fight. Hard words passed between them; Platt said Brown was a liar and a thief; Brown forbade him repeating it; the language was repeated, whereupon Brown drew his revolver and shot him through the left breast. Platt exclaimed, "The damn scoundrel has shot me--arrest him," and fell. He lived but three minutes. Brown was taken into custody, and on the following Tuesday tried. A judge and prosecuting attorney were appointed, and a jury summoned, and a fair trial given him. He was defended by D. B. Brenan, of Portland. An auctioneer, known by the name of "Tom Hyer," acted as prosecuting attorney. The trial lasted twelve hours, when the jury retired, and after deliberating an hour and a half, returned a verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree. Brown was heavily ironed and a guard of eight men placed over him. It was moved that he be allowed three weeks to "make his peace with God." The crowd rejected this motion by a large majority. It was then moved that he be allowed three days to prepare for the change, which motion prevailed. Accordingly on Saturday the 8th he was taken in a cart about one mile from town, where a gallows had been erected, and hanged. He has been some time in Oregon, and we learn spent the past winter at Marysville [Corvallis]. He talked freely upon the gallows; said he was not sorry for what he had done, on his own account, but he was sorry to afflict his parents and brothers and sisters. He said he should be hung and buried in that grave (pointing to a grave nearby, which had been dug), and that the traveler would point to it and say there lies a man who would not be insulted. He bid the crowd "goodbye," and was swung off. He stated that his relatives lived in Illinois. He was twenty-one years of age.
Oregon Statesman, Oregon City, June 1, 1852, page 2 For reminiscences of this incident, click here.
I received a letter a few days ago from John Newsom at the Oregon mines. He states that a gambler shot a man there on the 10th [sic] of May last, and at the expiration of a week, the gentleman pulled hemp! There were dull times then at the mines, water failing very fast. Clark Curry and three others arrived at Rock Point City, the Rogue River, as John N. was about starting home, and detained him for a short time. His mining propensities are cured, and he will settle down on his most valuable claim near us, and be content. Scores of Illinois boys who went to the mines last fall and winter will soon return; some chopfallen, others with pretty good piles of the "dust."
David Newsom, letter of June 15 from Pleasant Valley, O.T., "From Oregon," Illinois Daily Journal, Springfield, August 9, 1852, page 2
Judge Skinner's, Rogue River Valley,Mr. Editor--One week since I wrote you from Winchester; since then I have traveled 140 miles to this place. The country, except the Kanyon, is beautifully diversified with hill and valley, prairie and timber, rich and sterile land.
April 27, 1852.
As the country has often been portrayed in the most glowing colors, I will pass by giving my sanction to the statements of my predecessors. In passing, I will say that Rogue River is the straightest, clearest, deepest, smoothest and levelest bottom ever beheld by me; and I think the view of the valley from an eminence the most extensive prospect ever presented to my vision.
At present there are houses at which a traveler may stop every night, from Portland to Shasta, but after crossing the Kanyon we have to furnish our own beds. The Indians on Grave Creek are very troublesome. When we passed they came out of their ambush and told us to stop--mitlite, klose muckamuck ["Stay, eat well"]--and because we did not regard their request they pronounced us cultus ["worthless," "good for nothing"]. Several have recently been stabbed by them.
While at the house of Mr. Evans, I was requested by Mr. [John] Durbin (Mr. E. being absent) to speak to the people, as there was a large number present. This request being seconded by all, I commended by singing--"How tedious and tasteless the hour," etc., in which a full chorus of voices joined. This so terrified the Indians, who on account of the cold had taken shelter in the kitchen, that they began a great outcry: "Old man chahko, chahko--him sullix waw-waw--Boston memaloose siwash, hyak klootchman klatawa." ["Old man come, come, him angry talk--white man kill Indian; fast, woman, ride."] Upon this they vamoosed, and the next day at noon when I arrived at the house of A. A. Skinner, Indian Agent, twenty miles distant, they had carried a complaint [to] him, declaring that the whites had killed several Indians! My arrival solved the problem.
Families are settling into this valley quite fast, and in less than six months I predict a dense settlement all though the most eligible parts of this country. Milk is $2 per gallon, butter $1 per pound, and other things in proportion. The mines are rich. Mr. J. Skinner, Clugage and Pool made more than $100 a day every day last week. Mr. O. says he is making at least one ounce per day, and Mr. N. told me his company were getting half an ounce a day. This I am told is true of those who work, after throwing off the top of the ground 5 or 6 feet. The place is known by the name of "Hard Scrabble" or "Rich Gulch."
The place is considered very wicked; horse racing, gambling, lawsuits, trading, and the like on the Sabbath. Notwithstanding all this recklessness, the merchants and proprietors kindly offered me their houses for religious worship on the Sabbath last. The appointment was made at the store of Mr. Fowler, at 2 o'clock p.m., to avoid the bustle of horse racing, which generally occupies the forenoon. We had a respectable, attentive and orderly congregation. I take this opportunity to acknowledge the courtesy and uniform decorum of all with whom I came in contact. To enter a house of gambling and spirit vending to take a seat by the table from which gamblers have just risen, to give place to gospel preaching for an hour, is painfully pleasing. My prayers shall be for their salvation.
I have now traveled more than two hundred miles in a region where schools and meetings are unknown, and never have I been treated with indignity or neglect, nor have I been charged a dime for entertainment, and but 25 cents for ferrying. Oregon will yet be redeemed! will reflect an halo of glory upon the world! I have already superseded my bounds.
D. R. Williams.
Weekly Oregonian, Portland, June 5, 1852, page 1
Notice to Miners.
SAM. COLVER & T. THOMPSON
have taken claims in Rogue River Valley, eight miles from the Willow Spring, where they will take charge of all stock left in their care by miners and traders, on the following terms:
For horses or mules per month $2 each head.Being situated in the finest part of this valley for grazing, they respectfully solicit a share of the public patronage. They have a large corral well supplied with running water and packer's quarters. Provisions and groceries constantly on hand and for sale cheap.
For horses or mules per week 50 cts. each head.
Beef, wholesale or retail.
JACOB SPORES, Forks of theJan. 2, 1852.
ELIAS BRIGGS. Willamette.
SMITH & AKINS, Umpqua Ferry.
Oregon Statesman, Oregon City, June 29, 1852, page 3
Is hereby given to all persons passing from the Willamette Valley or Scottsburg, to Rogue River, Shasta, Scotts River or California, that the road leading through Winchester is the best and most direct route. Moreover, there is an excellent boat on the river, and ferrying done on the most reasonable terms. Rates of ferriage: For a wagon and one yoke of oxen or span of horses, one dollar; for each additional yoke of oxen, 25 cents; for horses and mules, with or without packs, 12½ cents each. Also, blacksmithing done to order on the shortest notice and most reasonable terms.
AIKEN & SMITH.Winchester, June 7th, 1852.
Oregon Statesman, Oregon City, July 10, 1852, page 4
In the '50s it was [John Durbin's] custom to drive bands of cattle into the Rogue River Valley to graze off of nature's rich pastures. He had a large band in the valley at the time of the threatened outbreak of the Rogue River Indians. It was Mr. Durbin's good fortune to get along peaceably with the Indians, even when they were hostile toward the government settlers. He treated with the Rogue River Indians at the start by promising them two head of fat cattle a year for the privilege of pasturage, and he always lived up to the treaty.
An accident [sic] occurred while he was looking after his cattle in the Rogue River Valley, to which Mr. Durbin attributes his total abstinence from tobacco since. He had stopped on the mountainside to light his pipe, when he heard the snap of an Indian's gun only a few rods away. "The thought came to me," he afterwards said, "that that pipe might be the cause of my death, so I threw it away, and haven't used tobacco since."
"Is Over a Hundred: John Durbin, of Marion County, Oregon, Is 102," Oregon Mist, St. Helens, Oregon, September 18, 1896, page 1
Many persons who left Shasta Valley for the mines on Rogue River are said to be returning. The mines on Rogue River are exceedingly rich, but not of sufficient extent to afford claims to call.
"Mining News," Flag of the Union, Jackson, Mississippi, July 30, 1852, page 3
OREGON.--The Oregon Statesman of June 1st contains some items of interest. The people were preparing for the election of a Territorial Legislature, which was to take place June 7th. Robt. S. Maynard, from Illinois, shot a man by the name of J. C. Platt, at Jacksonville, because he had been insulted by him. Maynard was tried by a court jury selected from the citizens, found guilty of murder in the first degree, and executed in three days after.
Illinois Daily Journal, Springfield, July 31, 1852, page 2
Hiram Abbott, of Peoria (Ill.), was accidentally shot a short time since on Rogue River.
"Postscript," Sacramento Daily Union, June 10, 1852, page 2
ACCIDENT ON ROGUE RIVER.--Hiram Abbott, late of Peoria, Illinois, was accidentally shot on Rogue River a short time since. He was playing with a dog, and mimicking a Kiota. Another man, of the name of John Berry, hearing the howl and mistaking it for that of a Kiota, crept cautiously up to within shooting distance, and discharged his rifle at him. The ball took effect in the right thigh. It was afterwards taken out at the heel.--He was not expected to recover.--Statesman.
Sacramento Daily Union, June 12, 1852, page 3
Many persons who left Shasta Valley for the mines on Rogue River are now returning. They report the mines on Rogue River to be exceedingly rich, but they were not of sufficient extent to afford claims to all who were attracted thither. Those who have claims upon the river are generally obtaining a great abundance of gold.
"From the Upper Sacramento," Sacramento Daily Union, June 12, 1852, page 3
LYNCHING ON ROGUE RIVER.--Mr. Henkle, of the Express, informs us that the man Brown, of Illinois, who killed John D. Platt, of Iowa, on Rogue River a few weeks since, has been hung. He received a fair and dispassionate trial at the hands of a committee appointed by the miners. Mr. Platt worked at his trade--carpentering--for several months in this place. He leaves a wife to mourn his sad fate, who in all probability is on her way to this country at the present time.
Daily Alta California, San Francisco, June 19, 1852, page 3
The attention of our citizens and business men here seems to be directed towards the southern part of the Territory. Since my last, gold in considerable quantities has been discovered in the Rogue River country, Jackson County, which, together with the rich farming land in that quarter, has served to fasten nearly all eyes upon it. Emigration at this time [April 19] tends toward southern Oregon, that part of the Territory embraced within the counties of Umpqua, Douglas and Jackson, lying south of the Willamette Valley, and divided from it by the Calapooia Mountains--a spur stretching across the country from the Cascades to the Coast Range.
The gold mines in northern California, and those just discovered in southern Oregon, affords to the latter, by their steady demand, high prices and proximity of one of the best markets for all kinds of agricultural products in the world; and when these counties are settled, it will enjoy the almost exclusive monopoly of this market. With these two occupations, mining and farming, carried on in the same vicinity, this part of Oregon must soon become densely peopled.
"From Oregon," Weekly Missouri Republican, St. Louis, June 25, 1852, page 1
Table Rock village is six miles from the Agency, in plain sight over the prairie plain. Judge Skinner rode there with us. The town is located at the border of the valley where the ground begins an ascent that rises gradually to mountain height, and is in the immediate vicinity of the most extensive diggings on Rogue River. It is composed of tents, sheds, shanties, and frail houses of split lumber. One respectable two-story house was being constructed. The village has a population of about 150. This mining district, within the distance of five miles, is estimated to have a population of 1500 or 2000 men. A few of the gold claims are rich and pay well. I do not think they are generally so. How long profitable digging is to continue can only be a matter of opinion.
N. Coe, "Umpqua and Rogue River Valleys," Weekly Oregonian, Portland, July 3, 1852, page 2
LATE FROM THE MINES.--We learn, from persons just in, that all who labor industriously are doing well at the Rogue River mines. The water in many places has entirely failed, which prevents the miners from washing out the dirt. Many are engaged in throwing it up, preparatory to washing when the rainy season commences.
Weekly Oregonian, Portland, July 17, 1852, page 2
Many persons who left Shasta Valley for the mines on Rogue River are said to be returning. They report the mines on Rogue River to be exceedingly rich, but they were not of sufficient extent to afford claims to all who were attracted thither. Those who have claims upon the river are generally obtaining a great abundance of gold.
"Latest from California," Rock River Democrat, Rockford, Illinois, July 27, 1852, page 2
Express Office of Cram, Rogers & Co.,Editors Courier: By the arrival of Dugan & Co.'s Express, from Oregon, we are put in possession of particulars of the difficulties now existing on Rogue River. It seems for some time past the Indians have been preparing to meet the whites in battle; and to bring on the difficulty, last Thursday, the 14th instant, the Indians stopped two travelers and demanded of them their horses. After a short resistance they (the Indians) left and proceeded to a white settler's house, and demanded an exchange of an Indian child for a white one. On being refused, they demanded cattle, horses and money, when finding their demands would not be complied with, they departed in a very sulky mood.
Yreka, July 21st, 1852.
On Saturday, a party of whites went to settle any difficulty there might be existing between them, and met a deputation of twenty-one warriors; but before they had come to any terms an Indian drew an arrow on a white man, which was the signal for a general fight. The Indians were whipped, leaving eighteen of their number cold on the sod. A second engagement took place in the afternoon of the same day, when thirteen more Indians were killed. On Sunday a third meeting took place, when four Indians were killed, making thirty-five in all. No white men were killed in any of these engagements, and but few wounded.
On Monday the Indians were collecting at Table Rock, where there were already gathered about two hundred warriors. The citizens of Jacksonville and vicinity were preparing for a desperate struggle on Tuesday morning, when another engagement would take place. The women and children were all brought into town, where there is a strong guard stationed. A requisition has been received in this place for arms and ammunition. All communication to the north is cut off, and the road to this place is very dangerous. The citizens of Jacksonville and vicinity are organized into two companies, under the command of E. Steele and J. K. Lamerick .The distance from this place to Rogue River is about 80 miles.
"E.A.R.," Sacramento Daily Union, July 29, 1852, page 2
FROM ROGUE RIVER.--A gentleman in the city from Rogue River this week reports the miners, who have claims so situated as to have a supply of water, to be doing well there--making from $8 to 12 per day. He was one of a party of four who, the last fortnight he worked there, averaged $50 a day per man. We saw some specimens of the gold, which is coarse and free from quartz. There are many persons lying idle in consequence of the low stage of the water.
Weekly Oregonian, Portland, July 31, 1852, page 2
Late and Important from Shasta and Rogue River.
MORE INDIAN DIFFICULTIES.--We learn from persons just in from Rogue River that a regular pitched battle was fought a few days ago near Table Rock, between a large party of Indians and the whites. Several Indians (some say between 30 and 40) were killed. The whites sustained no loss whatever. We learn, also, that Judge Skinner was enabled to make a treaty of peace with these Indians immediately after the fight on the most advantageous terms.
----Weekly Oregonian, Portland, August 7, 1852, page 2
STILL LATER!--FURTHER PARTICULARS!--Since the above was set in type, we learn from Mr. Kennedy of Dugan & Co.'s Express, who has just arrived from Shasta and the Rogue River country, that the late difficulty between the Indians and whites grew out of a determination on the part of "Sam," the war chief, to get possession of a little child of Doct. Ambrose, formerly of Vancouver; and upon refusal of Doct. A. to comply with his wishes, the chief demanded three beef cattle to be given him, or the Doct. must leave the valley; whereupon the Doct. made the miners at Jacksonville acquainted with the facts and his situation, who immediately formed a company of seventy-five--marched down to Big Bar and sent for the chief, to have a talk and make a treaty. The chief came over, but declined to enter into any terms, and asked for a parley until the next day, with the understanding that in case he did not come over with his warriors by 10 o'clock, the whites might consider it as a declaration of war. The chief came over, but nothing definite could be arranged with him, and after returning, sent over a party of his warriors. The whites made prisoners of these Indians as hostages for the good faith of "Sam" the chief. Soon after, one of the prisoners drew his bow upon one of the whites, and was about to shoot, when the sudden fire of a miner killed the Indian instantly. A regular engagement immediately followed this event, which lasted about half an hour, and which resulted in the whites killing all but three or four of the Indians engaged in the contest. After this, a party of whites, numbering about forty men, marched down to Evans' ferry--attacked a body of Indians encamped there--killed eleven, and captured three of the chief's family. The next day, two white men and a Klickitat Indian who had wandered from the camp were surrounded by some two hundred Indians. The Klickitat was shot through the body, but is now recovering. The three escaped, after killing several of the "redskins." That night, the whites, under cover of the darkness, surrounded the whole band of Indians in their encampment, and on the approach of daylight, made their appearance. The Indians, finding themselves completely surrounded, threw away their arms, and upon their knees begged for quarter. The miners complied, and they were all marched over to the Indian Agency, when Judge Skinner made a treaty of peace, which was signed by all the chiefs.
Mr. Kennedy informs us that the miners on Klamath, Salmon and Rogue rivers are doing well; that supplies are abundant at present--the health of the miners good--the water unusually low, and that preparations are in progress for mining on a large scale the coming winter. Several new and rich discoveries have recently been made. One man, Mr. Rice, who is now here with Mr. Kennedy, washed out of one sack of dirt--(50-lb. flour sack)--one thousand seventeen dollars and fifty cents! Another, Col. Woods, took out at Rogue River one piece of gold weighing over five hundred dollars. Many parties are making very large sums daily, while others are doing but little. On the whole, the mines are yielding much better than ever before.
From Rogue River.
The continued reports that the Rogue River Valley is rich in gold seem to be no longer a matter of doubt. We have conversed with a number of reliable men from that section recently. The southern portion of Oregon is settling fast; and already the surplus products of the upper Willamette Valley seem to have taken a turn in that direction; and large drafts are made upon our merchants for goods to supply the mining districts. We append an extract from a letter written by H. P. O'Bryant, to D. P. Fuller in this place:
Table Rock City, July 21, 1852.
"The Bostons and Indians have had a fight here, and the result is ten Indians were killed and three wounded. All is now peace and quiet, now and for always in the Rogue River Valley. Times are brisk. The miners are all having a 'time,' in consequence of the victory over the Indians. This is the place to make the 'slugs,' and always will be. There is plenty of gold here. Messrs. Wood & Hammon took out one slug the other day that is worth $523.25. They are doing well."
Oregon Weekly Times, Portland, August 14, 1852, page 2
AN INDIAN HUNG BY THE WHITES.--We learn from Mr. Stewart, of Dugan and Co.'s Express, that an Indian called Warty was hung by the whites at Rogue River a few days ago. This Indian is said to have committed many robberies and other crimes upon the whites and to have been the most reckless one among them. In this case he entered the house of a Mr. Weaver and demanded bread, which was refused him by Mrs. Weaver, who was alone with her children. The Indian proceeded to help himself, and upon being opposed by Mrs. W. drew his knife upon her; an alarm was given by the children, when some men who were at work nearby, hearing the alarm, and knowing the Indian character, arrested him, summoned the neighborhood, tried, condemned, and hung him the same day.
Weekly Oregonian, Portland, August 14, 1852, page 2
FROM THE MINES.--Several miners and packers are just in from Rogue River and Shasta mines. They represent the mines as yielding from $5 to $12 per day to the man, wherever they can get water to wash out the dirt. Several large specimens of gold, one over $500, have recently been found. Rogue River promises to become an important mining region.
Weekly Oregonian, Portland, August 14, 1852, page 2
Public Dinner at Rogue River.
Mr. Editor--I send you a copy of the proceedings at a public dinner tendered to Capt. Lamerick and company of volunteers, on Sunday, July 25th, 1852, at the town of Table Rock, Jackson County, O.T. Present, twenty-two ladies and about one hundred soldiers, officers and citizens. At 3 o'clock Capt. Lamerick marched his company to the table, where they were welcomed by the following tender by D. M. Kenny, one of the committee of arrangements:
CAPT. LAMERICK'S OFFICERS AND COMPANY OF VOLUNTEERS IN THE LATE CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE INDIANS:
Sirs--Allow me, in behalf of the citizens of this place and vicinity, to tender to you and comrades in arms, this collation, as a public demonstration of gratitude and respect so well merited by you for your undaunted and persevering management, which has inevitably been the cause of so speedy a termination of hostilities and conclusion of peace unrivaled in the history of Indian warfare. Accept, through me, the heartfelt thanks of the citizens of this place and surrounding country.
CAPT. LAMERICK'S REPLY.MR. SPEAKER, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN--The very flattering manner in which the citizens of this town and the surrounding country tender their thanks to myself and the volunteers under my command are as warmly appreciated as they are hospitably offered.
The manner in which you welcome us here--the pleasant and intelligent faces that we see around us, the favorable manner in which you are pleased to mention our humble efforts in bringing the war to a speedy close, contribute to make such a lasting impression on our memory as will only be erased when life is extinct, and the ruby drops cease to warm our heart.
You, my comrades in arms, I can never speak too highly of. A more valuable or orderly set of men I have never seen. For, to their promptness in obeying orders, their coolness and intrepidity in action, is mainly to be attributed the speedy termination of hostilities. You may rest assured, sir, that, should occasion require, and war again show his hostile front amongst us, either by Indians or whites, the Table Rock volunteers shall not be found wanting, and more especially where the ladies require our protection.
For the very flattering tokens of your esteem and regard this day offered to my comrades and myself, by the citizens of this town and surrounding country, receive, for yourself and them, the lasting and heartfelt thanks of the Table Rock volunteers.
Indian Agency, Sunday morning,
July 25, 1852.
And allow me to propose the following sentiment.
The citizens and miners of Rogue River Valley--Quick to discover, and prompt to repel, danger. Worthy descendants of the heroes and patriots of '76.
your ob't. serv't.
A. A. Skinner.
Messrs. Fowler, Kinney and Miller, committee, &c.
REGULAR TOASTS.That the true sons of Ireland may never be wanting in courage and strength to protect the citizens of this great republic, and to oppose all savages and tyrants, who would oppose her constitution and laws.
Thomas McNamara.Oregon Statesman, Oregon City, August 14, 1852, page 1
The American Flag--The only thing that is American which will never have a stripe.
Here are the boys that are honored by the American Eagle--May they ever be able, with their rifles on their shoulders, to bring both the heathen world as well as the civilized world to quarters.
The Sons of Freedom and the Daughters of Liberty--May their progeny never be the slaves of tyrants or the tools of demagogues.
J. K. L. [John K. Lamerick?]
For the Ladies--Though their numbers are small among us, yet their influence is mighty.
Judge Skinner--A gentleman worthy of the position he occupies--that of Indian Agent of this valley--and the respect and confidence of all.
In behalf of those who contributed to this dinner--May your generous acts on this occasion be honored throughout this valley; may its emblematical influence excite the independence of our Union, and may you live to see the time when the Indians of Rogue River are extinct.
J. W. Davenport.
Our Captain, our guest--A man in whom we had confidence before the late campaign and since, a man who has but to command and receive our services when necessity shall require.
Capt. Lamerick's Company of Volunteers--The nerve and sinew of the country, the ladies' guards, undaunted by numbers, know no fear, and fatigue is but pleasure when fighting for their rights.
The Citizens of the Valley--Noble, manly and grateful; whenever necessity calls, their purse strings are loosed.
The following song was sung by Mrs. Appler:
SONG . . . By W. H. Appler.
Columbia's sons' adopted daughters
Shriek aloud o'er land and waters
The Indians have come to quarters.
Rise, rise, ye Oregon's rise,
Rise, rise, ye Oregon's rise,
Hark, hark, hark, how the eagle cries
Rise, rise, ye Oregon's rise on the Indians, rise.
Sam, he was a great warrior,
He was corralled between two waters,
Capt. Lamerick brought him to quarters.
Rise, rise, rise, &c.
Table Rock is a pretty elevation,
A splendid view o'er the Indian nation,
The place where the chieftain took his station.
Rise, rise, rise, &c.
The Indians now are in subjection,
Old Sammy made a bad selection,
His chaparral was no protection.
Rise, rise, rise, &c.
ROGUE RIVER.--The miners on Rogue River still meet with unremitting success. The Indians in that quarter are now quiet.
"From the Interior," Sacramento Daily Union, August 17, 1852, page 3
Port Orford and Shasta Road--Indian Affairs.
Port Orford, O.T., Aug. 27, 1852Messrs. Editors--The trail so long talked of leading from this place to the Shasta mines is now open, and ready for business. The work was accomplished under the supervision of Lieut. Stanton, and by him pronounced an excellent trail. It intersects the Oregon trail south of the Canon, and within a few miles of the crossing of Rogue River. The celebrated "Shasta mining district" can now be reached in four or five days' travel from this place.
Provisions of all kinds are high, and in fact all kinds of goods bring good prices, and we have no trouble but the demand will increase at a great ratio before a sufficient supply can be obtained.
The Indians continue troublesome, and hostile appearances among some of the bands in the vicinity are frequent. Their petty thefts have increased to horse stealing, and not unfrequently have they declared they would burn our houses over our heads. We anticipate the arrival of the Superintendent of Indian Affairs by the steamer now due. If he should arrive, all will be right; if not, I cannot say what will be the result.
Yours, &c. CLINTON. [probably William Clinton Tichenor]Daily Alta California, San Francisco, September 15, 1852, page 1
The gold mines in Southern Oregon have drawn so largely upon the laboring population that the price of labor in ordinary vocations is enormous, and wheat is selling for $2, flour $16, oats $1.25 and hams 37½.
Belvidere Standard and Boone County Advertiser, Belvidere, Illinois, September 7, 1852, page 2
The mines at Rogue River and Shasta were engrossing much attention. Provisions were high. The Oregon farmers are congratulating themselves upon the prospect of having a home market for their flour.
"Two Weeks Later from Oregon," Daily Alta California, San Francisco, August 31, 1852, page 2
COMBATS CONTRE LES INDIENS.--Les Indiens se montrent très hostiles près de la rivière Rogue (Orégon). Le 14 juillet dernier, ils arrètèrent deux voyageurs et voulurent s'emparer de leurs chevaux. Rencontrant une résistance déterminée, ils quittèrent la partie et s'en allèrent chez un colon blanc du voisinage demander un enfant blanc en échange d'un enfant indien. Sur le refus du propriétaire, ils demandèrent des bestiaux, des chevaux et de l'argent, et, n'obtenant encore rien, ils se retirèrent, mais d'un air qui ne présageait rien de bon. Deux jour aprés, une troupe de blancs s'aboucha avec vingt-et-un guerriers indiens pour tâcher de régler à l'amiable les différents existants; mais, avant qu'aucun arrangement n'eut pu être convenu, un Indien lança une flèche contre un blanc, et cet acte d'agression devint le signal d'une mêlee. Les Indiens furent battus et laissèrent dix-huit des leurs sur le terrain. Dans l'après-midi du même jour eut lieu un second engagement dans lequel succombèrent encore treize Indiens. Enfin, le lendemain, une troisième rencontre coûta la vie à quatre d'entre eux. En tout, trente cinq de tués dans les trois combats. Pas un seul blanc n'a péri, et fort peu ont reçu des blessures.
Le 18 juillet, plus de 200 Indiens étaient réunis à Table Rock, et les habitants de Jacksonville et des environs, s'attendant à une chaude attaque pour le lendemain, faisaient de grands préparatifs de défense.
[FIGHT AGAINST INDIANS.-- The Indians became very hostile near the Rogue River (Oregon). On July 14, they stopped two travelers and wanted to seize their horses. Meeting a determined resistance, they let the party alone and went to a nearby white settler, asking for a white child in exchange for an Indian child. On the refusal of the owner, they demanded cattle, horses and money. Still getting nothing, they retired, but with an air that boded no good. Two days later, a group of whites had a meeting with twenty-one Indian warriors to try to amicably resolve the existing differences, but before an arrangement had been made an Indian shot an arrow at a white, and this act of aggression became the signal for a melee. The Indians were defeated and left eighteen dead on the field. In the afternoon of the same day took place a second battle in which thirteen more Indians were killed. Finally, the next day, a third battle took the lives of four of them. In all, thirty-five were killed in three battles. Not a white soul perished, and very few received injuries.
On July 18, over 200 Indians gathered at Table Rock, and the people of Jacksonville and surrounding areas, expecting a warm attack for the next day, made great preparations for defense.]
Courier des Etats-Unis, New York, September 3, 1852, page 1
(By Dugan & Co.'s Express.)We learn from M. G. Kennedy, of Dugan & Co.'s Express, who arrived just as we are going to press, that the miners at Jackson were doing first rate. Jacksonville is reported as growing fast, and some ten houses were raised there the week previous to the leaving of the express. One company of five took out in one day $1272. There are many emigrants from overland coming into the mining country direct. Flour is worth from 18 to 20 cts. at Jacksonville, and bacon 75 cts. per lb.; and everything else in proportion. He reports that a man was found at the coast fork of the Willamette, shot in the breast, about ten days since, and the horse's throat cut.
Oregon Weekly Times, Portland, September 4, 1852, page 2
A GREAT SLAUGHTER OF INDIANS.--The Shasta (California) Courier contains a letter from Yreka, dated July 21st, describing some serious conflicts between the whites and the Indians on Rogue River. On the 17th ultimo, at a friendly meeting for the settlement of previous existing difficulties, an Indian is stated to have drawn an arrow on a white man, which became the signal for a general fight, resulting in eighteen Indians being killed. At a subsequent engagement on the same day thirteen more were left on the field. On the succeeding day (Sunday) another fight took place, and four were slaughtered--making in all thirty-five. What will seem strange, perhaps, is the fact that no white men were killed in these bloody onslaughts. The letter, which is from Cram, Rogers & Co.'s Express office, says further:
"On Monday the Indians were collecting at Table Rock, where there were already gathered about two hundred warriors. The citizens of Jacksonville and vicinity were preparing for a desperate struggle on Tuesday morning, when another engagement would take place. The women and children were all brought into town, where there is a strong guard stationed. A requisition has been received in this place for arms and ammunition. All communication to the north is cut off, and the road to this place is very dangerous. The citizens of Jacksonville and vicinity are organized into two companies, under the command of E. Steel and J. K. Lamerick. The distance from this place to Rogue River is about eighty miles."
Daily National Intelligencer, Washington, D.C., September 6, 1852, page 3
From Shasta Mines.
Correspondence of the Times.
Table Rock Village
August 23, 1852
Mr. Editor:--This place has become the chief trading point between the Umpqua country and the Shasta mines, and is the general place of supply for the whole Rogue River Valley, as well as the mines both at and in its immediate vicinity, and those of Rogue River bar, Smith's River, Cow Creek and other near places. The gulches here require much labor thoroughly to prospect. The veins of gold appear and disappear very suddenly, making the diggings what is here called very spotted. $1000 was taken from one claim last week in one day, and the claim has paid and still pays 20 and 30 oz. of gold to the hand per week. A few others pay very well, but generally the diggings cannot be worked yet for want of water. Claims are from 30 to 50 yards each, and today a meeting is held to try and have them reduced, when the idle ones kakwa nika ["like me"] can come in.
The town is shut in by the mountains containing in their ravines the gold, on the south [sic] by Gold Creek [Jackson Creek?] on the west by Dairy Creek on the north to the east, the prairie slopes gradually into the wide valley of Rogue River--the nearest part being the valley of Stuart's Creek [Bear Creek], (named from the late Capt. Stuart, when he was shot). There is little or no water in the creeks now, and the plains are parched, but in the high lands scattered about are little valleys of good pasturage, with springs of water. Milk is sold from the dairy near town at 25 cts. per quart; Beef in town, 10 to 15 cts.; Flour, 20 to 25 cts.; Blankets, $10 to $15 per pair; Molasses, $4 per gal.; Sugar, 40 cts.; Coffee 40 cts.; Tea, $1; Boots, $5 to $10; Cotton cloth, 30 cts.; Tobacco, $1 and $2. These are retail prices--Bacon, 60 and 75 cts.; Butter, $1 and $1.25; Salt, 20 and 30 cts. Horses and saddles are cheap, and many articles the same price or cheaper than at Portland. Horses are kept on ranchos at 50 to 75 cts. per week, and very good pasturage.
The land is high and climate delightful. There has been but two showers this month. New houses are being put up every day, not like those of your place, left unoccupied. Families move in or stores are opened. Let this do for a hasty description of all I can now think of, of interest.
Yours, G. S.Oregon Weekly Times, Portland, September 11, 1852, page 2
The Pacific Mail Steamship Company's steamer Isthmus arrived last evening, three days' passage from Oregon. She brings thirty-three passengers, a list of which together with her memoranda will be found in another column. Mr. Culver, sub-Indian agent, together with his interpreter, "Chilliman," stopped at Port Orford to appease the disappointed Indians. Capt. William Tichenor and family also stopped there with the intention of remaining for some time. Capt. Tichenor designs investigating the new road that has been opened by Lieut. Stanton to Rogue River, the success of which is of great interest to the citizens in that region. Lieut. Williamson, who has been residing fifty miles back of Port Orford, was a passenger on the Isthmus, on his way to the States. He says that gold is plenty in that neighborhood.
"Later from Oregon," Daily Alta California, San Francisco, September 14, 1852, page 2
LARGE LUMP.--I. N. Bronson & Co. took out on Monday last, from a creek two miles from Jacksonville, Rogue River, a lump of gold weighing twelve hundred and seventy-two dollars. It contained but eight dollars in weight of quartz. The above named company took out upwards of $2000 on the same day.--Statesman.
"Interesting from Oregon--Thirteen Days Later," Daily Placer Times and Transcript, San Francisco, September 14, 1852, page 2
THE SOUTHERN IMMIGRATION.--We learn that the immigrants on the southern route have had much difficulty with the Indians, and several have been killed. In one skirmish also a number of Indians were killed. There was much suffering among the immigrants, and parties had gone out from Yreka and Jacksonville to relieve them and protect them from the hostilities of the Indians.--Statesman.
"Letter from Oregon," Daily Alta California, San Francisco, September 28, 1852, page 2
For the Alcalde Rogers/superior court affair, click here.
From the Oregon Mines.
Dugan & Co.'s Express has recently arrived, and by the favor of the same, we have received the following from our correspondent:
Table Rock, Sept. 20, 1852.Oregon Weekly Times, Portland, October 9, 1852, page 2
Editor Times:--Mining continues the same as usual. One in twenty get something--nineteen not successful. New diggings have been discovered some thirty miles from here. The following are about the prices of the market here:
Flour is now 30¢ per lb.; Bacon, 62 and 75¢, Sugar 40 and 50; Coffee, 30 and 40; Eggs, $1.75 per doz.; Butter, $1 per lb.; Molasses, $4 per gal.; Potatoes 30¢ per lb. Peas, Beans and Onions, 30 and 40 per lb. Green garden vegetables are supplied from the vicinity, and bring good prices. The town increases very fast. No rain. One or two immigrant companies are here.
Yours truly, G. S.
(By Dugan & Co.'s Express.)
By this Express, through the kindness of Mr. Steward, we learn that all is quiet in the Yreka and Rogue River valleys, and that the yield of gold continues good. He also lays us under obligations for the copy of a letter from Mr. Alexander, giving the account of finding the skeletons of four persons, who it is supposed had been killed by the Indians--one of the four being a female. Near the skeletons were found the following papers:
"Received of G. Pillason, seventy dollars, being part payment for Company to California.
"Alquamee, March 22, 1852.
W. D. MARVINE,"Purchase whatever provisions you may wish on the road and keep a regular account of it.
"Ask Mrs. Stout if Mr. Stout left any money for me.
"Cross at Henry. You will go past Albert Myer's. He will tell you the road or Gaytonia will.
"Before you leave the farming settlements in Iowa, buy 20 bushels of corn so as to have a plenty to feed.
"I have got a letter from my brother. He is going, so you need not look for me before the 10th May." &c., &c.
"Change all your paper money at Burlington.
"Get two halters at Magnolia, and pay him 46 cents."
There were also with these papers a portion of a Greek lexicon, and the scattered leaves of some old law book.
These skeletons were found by some of Capt. Ross' company near Lost River--and the appearance indicated that there had been hard fighting. Capt. Ross left Jacksonville with twenty-four men, and provisions for the relief of the immigration, and traveled Applegate's road to Klamath Lake, had no fight, and as it was impossible to get at the Indians, they being in a lake some ten miles in width, filled in with small islands. The immigration is reported to be pretty well across towards Yreka, and there is still a company at the lake from Yreka to protect any who may yet come along.
This makes about twenty persons that have been killed on this road this season, previous to the company from Yreka arriving there.
Oregon Weekly Times, Portland, October 16, 1852, page 2
The following statement has been furnished us by J. S. Gamble, Esq., a gentleman of respectability and veracity:
PORT ORFORD.--It is not over seventy-five miles from Port Orford to the Oregon Trail. The route is well supplied with grass and water and may be traveled the greater part of the year. A good practicable wagon road can be made the whole distance. It can be expressed in twenty-four hours, and traveled by pack trains in four days. It intersects the Oregon Trail at Simmons' store, which is thirteen miles from the Rogue River ferry.
There is an abundance of land well adapted to agricultural purposes in the neighborhood of Port Orford, and four half sections have been located within the past week by persons from Scotts River.
Lieut. Stanton, of the U.S. dragoons, with thirty men of his command, left Port Orford on Thursday, twenty-first inst., for the purpose of paying a visit to the Rogue River Indians, who have recently shown signs of hostility. He is accompanied by the Indian agent, with his interpreter. Capt. Tichenor also goes out with this expedition, and will proceed to Yreka.
Weekly Oregonian, Portland, October 30, 1852, page 2
FROM THE MINES.--We learn from Capt. Hoyt, who is just in from the mines, that quartz mining promises to yield a rich reward to those interested in the two establishments that have recently been put into operation in our southern mines; also, that upon Rogue River and other points the miners are doing unusually well.
Weekly Oregonian, Portland, October 30, 1852, page 3
The Rogue River mines are yielding well in some places. A lump of gold of the value of $523 was taken out near Jacksonville, in the southern part of the Territory.
"Postscript," Sacramento Daily Union, November 1, 1852, page 2
DROWNED IN ROGUE RIVER.--We learn from a gentleman recently from the mines that a young man named Weymouth was drowned in Rogue River a short time since, in the rapids near Evans' bridge [sic]. Mr. Weymouth crossed the plains this season. He was from the state of Maine, and was about twenty-four years of age.
Weekly Oregonian, Portland, November 6, 1852, page 2
LARGE LUMP.--Mr. E. L. Perkam (formerly of Morgan County, Indiana), just in from the Rogue River mines, showed a lump of pure gold one day this week, weighing five hundred and twenty-three dollars. It was taken out near Jacksonville, in the southern part of the Territory, and was as fine a specimen as we ever saw. Mr. P. will return to the "diggings" in a day or two, and we hope he will succeed in finding a "pile" of the same sort.
"Items from the Oregon Papers," Indiana State Sentinel, Indianapolis, December 9, 1852, page 3
Near Table Rock City, in Rogue River Valley, Oct. 7th, by Rev. J. E. Benton, Henry R. Frame to Rachel S. Tait, lately of Iowa.
Daily Alta California, San Francisco, November 16, 1852, page 8
MILL PROPERTY FOR SALE.--In the appropriate columns will be found advertised for sale one of the best mills and mill privilege in the country, that of J. W. Nesmith of Polk County. This mill is situated in the heart of a fine agricultural country, and [is] the nearest mill to the Rogue River and Shasta mines on the west side of the Willamette. A better investment cannot be found in the country.
J. B. McClain, it will be seen, also offers his mills at Salem for sale. This likewise affords a capital opportunity for investment and the realization of a fortune.
Oregon Statesman, Oregon City, November 20, 1852, page 2
At Althouse Creek, Klamath County, California [sic], Oct. 24th, by Hon. Thomas J. Roach, county judge of Klamath County, Mr. Wellington C. Cochran to Mrs. Lucy Smith, all of Althouse Creek.
Daily Alta California, San Francisco, November 22, 1852, page 2
Correspondence of the Oregon Statesman.
Jacksonville, O.T. Dec. 9, '52
Mr. Editor--As our friend Mr. McDermott is about visiting your section of the Territory, I am induced to write you a few words giving the current news of this place. Though still a stranger I find enough to interest in the welfare of the place, and of its inhabitants. A short year since and this was but a barren wilderness. New farms, ranches and miners' cabins fill the wide plain, and the rude traces of the savage give place to the onward step of civilization, commerce and thrifty industry. An old California miner come on a visit, and well satisfied I am with the prospects, notwithstanding the dissatisfaction manifested by many newcomers, who, in hopes of an immediate reward for their long and tedious journey, look for hundreds a day, when five or six dollars should at first content them. This is less than they expected, and hence discontent and grumbling at their hard fate. Hence, also, something almost akin to despair, which leads many to offer their services for the nominal pay of their food and lodging.
The richness of the mines is yet untold, and I am confident that the wealth of California herself will not exceed the resources of Southern Oregon. Yreka City is but a few months older than Jacksonville, yet its prosperity and increase are still undiminished, and from all appearances will continue long and steadily. A few days prior to my departure from there large and extensive deep diggings were discovered prospecting from ten cents to twelve dollars a pan, and in a claim not far from our own pieces as high as fifty dollars were taken out by some Iowa boys who crossed the plains this season, by the Yreka route, [and] entered California. These young men, having industry and stout hearts, must and will succeed. At first they were somewhat discouraged at their want of success, and accident leading them to change their diggings, also led them to this rich spot. By the way, while speaking of immigrants, let me also speak of one to whom hundreds of immigrants, with their wives, families and property, are indebted for safety at this moment--I mean Mr. Wright, long and well known in this country--upon whose conduct and that of his companions too high an eulogy cannot be paid. Sometime in the early part of August last, Mr. Wright and about twenty-eight others, whose names I regret cannot be obtained, left their homes and business on the first intimation of the difficulties from the Indians experienced by the immigrants near Shasta Butte, and proceeded to the spot to protect them. For three months and more did these gallant spirits, forgetful of self and personal interest, spend both time and money in this dreary region, and until all the wagons coming that way were safe through the dangers of the route. During this time supplies were freely afforded by the open-hearted citizens of Yreka City as often as the call was made, and until the snows of the winter set in, and then, and not until then, did Mr. Wright and his party return, having first contrived to meet the Indians, and destroying, as nearly as can be ascertained, a hundred of the tribe. For these services we trust to see them well recompensed. They have earned a noble reward, and soon may they reap it.
I should be glad to see a small press established in Yreka City. There is an excellent opening for one there, and I believe a lucrative one. It would better enable us to blazon forth the histories of these men, among other things, so that their light should not be hid under a bushel.
By the hands of these indefatigable young men--Messrs. Cram, Rogers & Co., of the Express, and who now connect with Adams & Co.'s old and known line--we are put in possession of the news of the death of the Hon. Daniel Webster of Massachusetts. Calhoun, Clay and Webster, three mighty pillars of our great national fabric, have fallen; yet their remains bear the seal of majesty, and their acts the monuments of a nation's glory.
By the same invaluable means of communication, we hear of the destruction of the greater portion of Shasta City (Reading's Springs) by fire, and I am sorry to say to you that the editors of the Shasta Courier are among the sufferers. They sent to San Francisco immediately for a new press, and we hope soon to see that favorite little sheet again amongst us in full success.
I shall remain here sometime prospecting the gulches and hills of this place, and should you desire further communications of reliable source, you may depend upon
Oregon Statesman, Oregon City, January 8, 1853, page 2
From the Southern Mines--Indian Hostilities--47 Killed.
(By Cram, Rogers & Co.'s Express.)
We are indebted to Mr. Hereford of Cram & Co.'s Express for important news from that interesting portion of our country. He left Yreka on the 25th of Nov.--remained at Jacksonville several days, and arrived in this city on the 10th inst.
He informs us that Capt. Wright with his company of 24 men, near the great Tule Lake near the southern trail, had a fight with the Indians, in which he was completely victorious, having killed forty-seven--and brought in 47 scalps, several horses, bows and arrows, and various Indian ictas ["things"]. Two men only were wounded.
The appearance of the victors on their entrance into Yreka is represented as being highly exulting--every rifle bore a scalp, and Capt. Wright's horse was bedecked with the trophies of valor. The citizens of Yreka gave them a grand reception--dinner--&c., &c.
Capt. Wright has been out ever since August, with a small company of volunteers, on the immigrant trail to protect the immigration from Indian depredations; but has never before been able to get an open fight with them. The Indian hostilities, it is thought, are now at an end in that vicinity by this decisive stroke made by Captain Wright and his men. Capt. Wright, it seems to us, is deserving of the thanks of the people of Oregon for his efficient services--and as the Legislature is now in session, we suggest the propriety of their presenting him a sword in behalf of the people of the Territory, whom he has served so well.
THE MINES.--The news from the mines is of a cheering character--miners were now generally doing well. New diggings had been discovered 18 miles east of Table Rock on Rogue River, which are reported to pay $16 per day to the man. The Shasta mines are reported as paying well. The Shasta River Company is organized to turn Shasta River through the mines. It is estimated that it will cost $750,000, and about two-thirds of the stock is already taken, the other third will be taken no doubt soon. They take the water some 18 miles.
Miners on South Umpqua are making 5 to 6 dollars per day, 6 miles above the Kenyon.
Oregon Weekly Times, Portland, December 18, 1852, page 2
The San Francisco Whig has the following letter from Port Orford, dated December 1st:
The trail leading from this place to the Oregon trail is now open and ready for business. A small party came through from Scott's River a few days since, and we learn by them that the miners are doing exceedingly well in the vicinity of Rogue River, and also at a place called "Sailors' Dry Diggings," which is located some forty miles south and west from Rogue's Ferry. Provisions and breadstuffs have advanced at an unusual rate during a few weeks past.
Daily Picayune, New Orleans, Louisiana, January 10, 1853, page 2
Correspondence of the Oregon Statesman.
Jacksonville, O.T., Dec. 9, '52.Mr. Editor--As our friend, Mr. McDermott, is about visiting your section of the Territory, I am induced to write you a few words giving the current news of this place. Though still a stranger I find enough to interest in the welfare of the place, and of its inhabitants. A short year since and this was but a barren wilderness. New farms, ranches and miners' cabins fill the wide plain, and the rude traces of the savage give place to the onward step of civilization, commerce and thrifty industry. An old California miner come on a visit, and well satisfied I am with the prospects, notwithstanding the dissatisfaction manifested by many newcomers, who, in hopes of an immediate reward for their long and tedious journey, look for hundreds a day, when five or six dollars should at first content them. This is less than they expected, and hence discontent and grumbling at their hard fate. Hence, also, something almost akin to despair, which leads many to offer their services for the nominal pay of their food and lodging.
The richness of the mines is yet untold, and I am confident that the wealth of California herself will not exceed the resources of Southern Oregon. Yreka City is but a few months older than Jacksonville, yet its prosperity and increase are still undiminished, and from all appearances will continue long and steadily. A few days prior to my departure from these large and extensive deep diggings were discovered prospecting from ten cents to twelve dollars a pan, and in a claim not far from our own pieces as high as fifty dollars were taken out by some Iowa boys who crossed the plains this season, by the Yreka route, [and] entered California. These young men, having industry and stout hearts, must and will succeed. At first they were somewhat discouraged at their want of success, and accident leading them to change their diggings also led them to this rich spot. By the way, while speaking of immigrants, let me also speak of one to whom hundreds of immigrants, with their wives, families and property are indebted for safety at this moment--I mean Mr. Wright, long and well known in this country--upon whose conduct and that of his companions too high a eulogy cannot be paid. Sometime in the early part of August last, Mr. Wright and about twenty-eight others, whose names I regret cannot be obtained, left their homes and business on the first intimation of the difficulties from the Indians experienced by the immigrants near Shasta Butte, and proceeded to the spot to protect them. For three months and more did these gallant spirits, forgetful of self and personal interest, spend both time and money in this dreary region, and until all the wagons coming that way were safe through the dangers of the route. During this time supplies were freely afforded by the open-hearted citizens of Yreka City as often as the call was made, and until the snows of the winter set in, and then, and not until then, did Mr. Wright and his party return, having first contrived to meet the Indians and destroying, as nearly as can be ascertained, a hundred of the tribe. For these services we trust to see them well recompensed. They have earned a noble reward, and soon may they reap it.
I should be glad to see a small press established in Yreka City. There is an excellent opening for one there, and I believe a lucrative one. It would better enable us to blazon forth the histories of these men, among other things, so that their light should not be hid under a bushel.
By the hands of these indefatigable young men--Messrs. Cram, Rogers & Co. of the Express, and who now connect with Adams & Co.'s old and known line--we are put in possession of the news of the Hon. Daniel Webster of Massachusetts. Calhoun, Clay and Webster, three mighty pillars of our great national fabric, have fallen, yet their remains bear the seal of majesty, and their acts the monuments of a nation's glory.
By the same invaluable means of communication we hear of the destruction of the greater portion of Shasta City (Redding's Springs) by fire, and I am sorry to say to you that the editors of the Shasta Courier are among the sufferers. They sent to San Francisco immediately for a new press, and we hope soon to see that favorite little sheet again amongst us in full success.
I shall remain there some time prospecting the gulches and hills of this place, and should you desire further communications of reliable source, you may depend upon
FELIX.Oregon Statesman, Oregon City, January 8, 1852, page 2
Portland, Dec. 13, 1852.Editor Statesman--On account of the large number of immigrants that are now in this city who seem undetermined what to do or where to locate, I take great pleasure in stating the facts that I have personally become acquainted with during the few months last past, while traveling in Southern Oregon.
It is a fact well known that all, or nearly all, the available claims in this region are now taken up, and consequently the next best will now be sought after. During my travels in Jackson County I was greatly surprised to find so much good farming land and so little of it taken up, especially near the coast. In the valley of Rogue River there is a sufficient amount of prairie and woodland for a large settlement, and so, also, in the valleys of Elk River, Sixes River, Coquille River, and in the vicinity of Flores Creek there are two prairies, one containing about twenty-two hundred acres, and the other about fourteen hundred. These lands are all right and well adapted to agricultural purposes, and every way worthy the attention of immigrants who wish to select homes in this Territory.
Yours, &c., F.Oregon Statesman, Oregon City, December 18, 1852, page 1
A correspondent of the Oregon Times, writing from Jacksonville, a mining town, under date of Dec. 30th, says: "A mail is expected to run soon to Canyonville. An express runs between Jacksonville and Yreka, California. The rain had been constant, and the inhabitants leaving. 'Yreka,' says the writer, 'take our flour away as fast as the price becomes as low as fifty cents per pound. The population of the town is about 1000.'"
The weather at the Dalles at last accounts was excessively cold. It commenced snowing on the 8th December, and continued 22 days and nights.
Sacramento Daily Union, February 9, 1853, page 2
On the 15th of September  I returned to Portland on the steamer Columbia. We continued to work off our goods and closed out the entire stock the following April. Everything in Portland then was very dull, so after settling up I took a notion to go out to Jacksonville and take a look at the country and the mines. Jewett went onto a ranch above Oregon City on this side and went into raising eggs for the market, but did not succeed in it.
The gold mines of Jacksonville were the first ever worked in Oregon.
TRIP TO JACKSONVILLE WITH SOME EXPERIENCE IN MINING.Mr. Wilson, the jeweler who worked with Pillow & Drew (you may remember him) wanted to go out there. William Frazer, who had got back from San Francisco, also wanted to go. I had on hand, that came from Boston by the Page, a handcart and no sale for it, so I had some shafts put to it, bought a mule that was used to going in shafts. In this we put our traps and some few articles to sell to miners to help pay expenses. This William was to drive. Mr. Wilson had two horses of his own; one he packed with his tools and rode the other. I bought a Canadian pony of Lloyd Brooks, one he had ridden across the plains in a cavalry company of 1850, and a most gentle and faithful animal he proved to me (once probably saved me from drowning). So we started out about the first of June 1852. The first day when a few miles over the mountains Will got his cart into some deep ruts and somehow managed to mash down both wheels, so I had to return to Portland and send out a dray and took the cart back to Portland and had the wheels built over stronger. In two days we got another start and went on very well, except Will managed to upset the cart twice, but did no damage. Before starting I had Miller, the drayman, make me a canvas large enough to cover over the entire cart, with eyelet holes all around and staples in the cart. This we could lash down and keep everything secure, even if it did upset. I also oiled it, and this kept everything dry. It was very pleasant weather all the way out. We slept outdoors most every night. It was also bright moonlight. We got our meals as we went along from one farmhouse to another. The middle of the days generally very warm. We would find some cool shade and water and lay off until towards night and then travel way into midnight. One night we camped on the side of quite a high hill and in hitching up in the morning I lifted up the shaft to turn the cart round a little when it took a start downhill over and over until it brought up by the side of a large fallen tree, otherwise it would have gone down into a deep ravine, but we managed to get up again and nothing hurt. We finally arrived at Jacksonville safely. I do not remember how many days we were on the road, about ten I think. A very pleasant trip, to take it all together. There were then but few families in Jacksonville, more of a mining camp. We looked round a while and then went round to some of the diggings. Went to the first that was discovered in or around Southern Oregon. It was discovered in 1850 or 1851 by a packer by the name of George Frazier. He was packing goods from Scottsburg to Yreka, California. The first discoveries took from this "Rich Gulch" (this was the name given it and still retained) something over $30,000, in a few months' time, mostly coarse gold from $1 to $20 pieces. The second workers the next year took out $12,000 to $15,000, working over the old tailings. When we got there two men were at work on the same tailings for the third time, and making six to eight dollars per day. We found a man mining at the head of this gulch. He had two men working with him digging and washing out the gold in a small rocker. He had been taking out from $30 to $40 per day. We took a survey of the mine. Mr. Wilson had had some experience in mining in California. I had had none. Everything looked so favorable we concluded to buy the man out and work it ourselves and might find something better. He asked $300. We got it for $200. The first day we took out $30, next $25, and so on down to $16, but the water from the ditch gave out and we had to abandon it before we quite got our money back.
We then went to prospecting among the hills and gulches. Up one ravine we found very good prospect of fine gold, but no water near to wash it. Near the foot of this ravine was a small spring. This we tried to utilize by building a dam below it in the hopes that during the night it would hold water enough for us to work during the day. So we set the mule and cart to work and one dug and another run the washer, but we could not get the supply of water needed, so we abandoned it after two days' trial and taking some $16. So we continued prospecting round for some two weeks. We found several good prospects on the hills but too far from water. So I turned my attention to the mercantile business, and Mr. Wilson opened a watchmaker and jeweler's stand. William got hold of a small plot not far from town on the side hill where he could make very good wages, coyoteing, as it's called. You excavate a hole some 5 to 6 feet in diameter and 4 to 6 feet deep. From three to five feet down you find a strata of small cobblestones embedded in a kind of brown clay, and when wet quite sticky. In this cement you would find coarse gold from twenty-five cents to several dollars. The pieces looked, many of them, in shape like pumpkin seeds. He took out some days as high as $16, two or three dollars every day. The dirt thrown out was supposed to have still more. This was shoveled out in heaps to work with water in the springtime, but after washing it hardly any was found, having all been picked out as it was dug from day to day.
The outlook being very good for merchandising, I left Jacksonville for Portland, came back by way of Scottsburg, quite a little town on the Umpqua River. I arrived in Portland in August. In talking over my trip with Mr. Charles Birdseye he said he thought his nephew David Birdseye would like to join me in the venture, and that he would furnish him the means. So arrangements were made to that effect.
In 1852 was the large overland immigration to Oregon, when so many died and many of them lost their all. Widowers, widows and orphan children were to be met with all round Portland and up the Columbia River to the Dalles. We decided to take out with us as many goods as we could haul in two wagons, with three yoke of oxen to each wagon. The oxen would sell out there at a profit and the wagons would probably be worth all they cost us. While Mr. Birdseye was getting the goods together, I went out to Washington County and bought six yoke of nice, fat oxen. Then we went up to the lower Cascades, where many immigrants were camped, and bought from them two wagons and took them down to Portland by steamer Fashion, Captain Van Burgen. We also hired two men (immigrants) who wanted to get to Jacksonville to drive our teams. I knew we would have some very difficult places to get the wagons over and thought these men had had just the experience we needed, so we got loaded up with 2500 pounds on one wagon and 2000 pounds on the other. We started the latter part of September. Mr. Birdseye and myself rode horseback; we took along provisions and did our own cooking, but only cooked breakfast and supper. Mr. Birdseye and I would at noontime ride to some farmers and get some lunch, bread and milk generally, but could not always get that as some of the old Oregon farmers were too lazy to milk their cows. The wagons had covers; we slept in or under the wagons. I took a small wool mattress along, which made it quite comfortable sleeping. We arrived out there in about twenty days' trip, 300 miles, without much mishap, upset our wagon twice but it did not do much damage. We opened out in a rough vacant building until we could build one of our own, which we did after a little while, also a room with fireplace to cook by (no cook stoves then out there), eat and sleep in. I put upon one side some berths, same as aboard vessels, which made very comfortable sleeping and did not occupy much room. Our goods were mostly groceries and articles adapted to mining camps. We rented one side of the store to a Jew who had quite a stock of dry goods. This gave customers quite a variety. Our currency was mostly in gold dust.
The 1st Dec. it became necessary to replenish our stock of goods, and they had to come from Portland, so we engaged a packer who had thirty pack mules to meet me at Corvallis at a certain date, while I came on ahead to Portland and got my goods up to Corvallis by steamer. I started out from Jacksonville on my horse, "Billy," all alone and had on my person about $4000 in gold dust, distributed in small packets, in a buckskin vest I had made for that purpose. This way was easier and safer than all in one package. This I wore between my undershirt and white shirt. I found it quite a burden to carry so far; it troubled me most in laying down of nights. I never removed it until I got to Portland. I was about ten days making the trip, and it rained about every day I was on the road and raised the streams and flooded the bottom lands where the trail passed over in some bottoms on the Long Tom. I had to go through water most up to the horse's belly for half a mile or more at a time. I finally got to Roseburg, it then containing but two or three buildings. A man by the name of Rose owned the town site; he also kept the only place where one could eat and sleep. Being night when I got there, I was obliged to stop there too. There were a motley crowd, packers, miners, tramps, etc., etc., some 25 altogether. We all had to sleep on the floor and all in one room. Old Rose and wife and two or three children were in one corner on a feather bed on the floor. When we were all lying down one could not get round without stepping on someone.
It rained heavy all night, and the little stream not far from the house that we would have to cross (those that were bound north) was just booming. There were two pack trains with some 12 to 15 animals apiece, anxious to cross, so one of them made the attempt by forcing some 6 or 8 mules to take the water and swim over. The current was quite swift; one or two made it. One got into some driftwood and drowned; the others came back. They did not then try anymore. I also was very anxious to get on, but knew it was useless to try there. I strolled down a stream for half a mile and found a large tree had been felled across the stream so one could cross it on foot and the water did not seem so rapid, so I took my traps and Billy and went down there. I put Billy in with the lasso on his neck and leading him in part way by walking on the tree, then let him go and told him to go on; he did so and got out on the other side all right. I then took my traps and the saddle and crossed over on the tree, saddled up and went on all alone, but that day I had quite an adventure on the road near what is now called "Yoncalla." Where Mr. Jesse Applegate lived was a small stream, little water in it when we passed over it in Oct., was now bank full, but only a rod or two wide. I see the little bridge that we crossed on was afloat and I dared not attempt to cross it, so I thought I would ford it, but had forgotten how high the banks were. Some Mexican packers were on the other side, camped. I hailed and asked if I could ford it; they signed me to come on, so I told Billy to go on and as he stepped off the bank he went under the water all over and me to my armpits, but he soon came up all right and I held on to the pommel of the saddle and he took me out safely on the other side. The Mexicans laughed, but if I could have talked Spanish they would probably [have] heard from me. They no doubt would like to have seen me drowned and then robbed me. I had to ride about a mile before coming to a house; I stopped there and told them my situation and they kindly built a fire in a spare room and gave me the use of it to dry my clothes. After an hour or so I went on and arrived at Corvallis without any more mishap, but if I had lost my hold on the saddle I doubt whether, as good a swimmer as I then was, I could have kept above water with all that weight on me, some over 15 pounds.
Tribute to Billy: He was the most faithful horse and did me good service in traveling back and forth to Jacksonville some five times. I could unsaddle him wherever I stopped of nights, and if no stable and feed was there I let him run and look for himself. He would seldom stray more than half a mile or so from where he was turned loose; I could go up and catch him anywhere. He could not travel very fast, would take about a four-mile gait and keep it up all day, and ready for the next day. When I left Jacksonville for good I sold him to Mr. Birdseye. He bought him for his wife, and a few years ago I saw a notice from a Jacksonville paper that he was yet alive. He must have been then about thirty years old.
I left my horse at Corvallis and took the steamer for Oregon City. There I made my first purchase, some 4000 lbs. of flour, of Dr. McLoughlin at 16¢ per lb. Then on down to Portland and made the balance of my purchase in sugar, coffee, salt, tobacco and some boots. The weather at this time was getting quite cold. I finally got all my goods on the little iron steamer Bell, commanded by Wells, and Capt. Dick Williams, engineer and fireman. We had to break the ice some distance out from the wharf boat before we could get a good start. It was of a Sat. morning when we left Portland. When we got to Oregon City the horse teams would not haul goods to Canemah, the ice in the mud holes not strong enough to bear up the horses, and the ice cut their legs. The steamer at Canemah was to leave for Corvallis Sunday at 10 a.m. (they only made one trip a week then). I was very anxious to get my freight up there. I was lucky enough to find an ox team in town with a load of wood. Said he would take them up for 50¢ 100 lbs. and have them there before dark; I said go ahead. He had 3 yoke of oxen to his wood wagon. He got them all up in three loads. The boat was then full and still there were lots of goods in the warehouse. I told the Captain my situation and that the packer would be awaiting me at Corvallis, so he consented to take my freight. We left Canemah about noon on Sunday; that night and Monday and for several days it never ceased snowing. It blockaded all the travel out south and I had to lay at Corvallis 16 days before my train got in, but it was the first in of any. Some packers lost many mules; one lost 29 out of 30 head. My packer only lost one. The steamer that brought up my freight went back to Canemah and did not make another trip while I was in Corvallis. I got my goods all safely into Mr. Avery's storehouse. Mr. Barnardo's brother was clerking for Mr. Avery then. For several days before I left Corvallis I had to supply two hotels with flour.
We loaded up and started the train in three days after it got in. We got through to Jacksonville all right and were the first train in from Corvallis, and glad were the citizens to see us, as many of the families and miners were entirely out of flour and had been for some weeks. Mr. Birdseye said there were a few sacks hidden away. He had one sack hidden. We soon sold all we had for 60¢ per lb., leaving us a profit of about 12¢ per lb. Tobacco sold for $5 per lb., table salt in 5-lb. boxes sold for $2.50 per box and everything else in proportion as the town was drained of everything, so we made a very good thing out of the trip. Had I not pushed through to Portland and got my goods to Corvallis when I did it would have made a vast difference in profits. Soon other trains began to come in and prices went down. There had come into Jacksonville in the fall several families by the way of California. Other than these, it was only a mining camp, a good place to make money, but I felt I had not ought to be away from my family, so far away, any longer and Jacksonville at that time was no place to bring children to. I hated to leave, had made many good acquaintances. So I decided to sell out, and did so, to Mr. Birdseye and the Jew. I put William on a 160-acre claim I had taken for debt. It joined one owned by Mr. Birdseye, on which was Bob Mulligan (you may remember him when we were on the farm) and about 10 miles north of Jacksonville on the main traveled road. Wm. promised to keep charge of it until something could be realized from it. It was a very nice place, some grazing land and a very nice lot of fine timber, but a few months after I left he got into trouble by helping some fellow get away from the sheriff and had to leave for the Willamette Valley, abandoning the claim. He never paid me all for the mining claim in Jacksonville, so I was out on his account some $200. I had sold everything but the old mule; he I concluded to ride down to Portland on. Birdseye wanted Billy so much I let him have him, but on the road I traded the mule off for a horse, which I rode into Portland and there disposed of him.
Thomas Frazer, Family History, Oregon Historical Society Research Library Mss. 2667, pages 36-44. Frazer's dates are unclear, but his description of the Starvation Winter of 1852-53 dates this account.
For news of the starvation winter of 1852, click here.
Last revised October 27, 2017