HOME



The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised



Port Orford Notes

Battle Rock, 1920s
Battle Rock, 1920s

    Some of the Port Orford people have been here lately exhibiting their piles of gold dust, with the view, it is said, of tempting some of our boys down there to try their luck. They hold out the idea that it is plenty there and can be had for the digging. The bait does not take so well. Gold hunting, many of the Oregonians have learned, is not always profitable. This many of them have learned by sad experience. The Santiam gold mines humbug is too fresh in their recollection to be fooled so easily this soon. Large gold stories are easily gotten up nowadays. Town manufacturers and provision speculators are plenty, and they are on the constant lookout for success.
Oregon Spectator, Oregon City, October 29, 1853, page 2

    DROWNED.--William Hahn, who came to California in 1850, was drowned at Port Orford by the accidental upsetting of a skiff. He was formerly a messenger for several of the New York banks.
Sacramento Daily Union, November 30, 1854, page 2


Fort Orford, O.T.
    May 6th, 1856
Sir:
    I have just learned and hasten to inform the commanding officer of this district that a self-constituted court of citizens have tried and condemned to death an Indian for a murder alleged to have been committed some two years ago. This Indian was confined in the guardhouse yesterday, by me, upon the application of the Indian agent. This morning Mr. Olney, the Indian agent, informed me he wished to have a talk with the prisoner, and requested me to turn the prisoner over to him, which I did. Soon afterwards, I was informed that a number of citizens had organized themselves into a court or jury and were trying this Indian for murder on the military reserve of this post. On receiving this information I immediately ordered all citizens, excepting those in the employ of government, off the reserve. They (the citizens) afterwards met in the village near this post and proceeded to try the Indian, whom (I am informed) they convicted and sentenced to be hung, on Battle Rock, tomorrow at 1 o'clock p.m.
    These proceedings, being entirely illegal and having a tendency to drive off the Indians on the reserve at this post, I have deemed it my duty to bring to the notice of the Col. commanding without delay.
    The Indian agent, I understand, was present during the trial and took an active part in the proceedings.
    The Indian is one of those brought from the Coquille by the volunteers several days ago. He is now confined in the blockhouse of the village.
I am sir
    Very respectfully
        Your obt. servt.
            R. Macfeely
                1st. Lieut. 4th Inf.
                    Commdg. post
For
    Lieut. J. G. Chandler 3rd Arty.
        Actg. Asst. Adjt. Genl.
            S. Ogn. & N. Cal. Dist.
NARA M689, Letters Received by the Office of the Adjutant General 1881-1889, Roll 567, Papers Relating to the Death of Mary Wagoner.


Fort Orford, O.T.
    May 7th, 1856
Sir:
    Sergt. Tate, who I started yesterday to carry an express to you, was compelled, on account of his mule giving out, to return last night. Although it is now too late for any action of the Col. commdg. to prevent the hanging of the Indian prisoner, I consider the matter reported in my letter of yesterday of sufficient importance to bring to his immediate notice.
    I have therefore concluded to send Mr. Swett, the expressman, back to your camp this morning.
    I have learned this morning that Olney, the Indian agent, was the chief mover in getting up the meeting of citizens which led to this mock trial. He made a speech to the meeting in which he proposed that a judge & jury be appointed by the meeting to try the Indian. Mr. Sutton was appointed judge, and I am informed [he] stated to the meeting "that as he was a sworn officer, he had some doubts whether or not he could act as a judge of such a court as the one proposed." The Indian agent, however, soon convinced him that he was the very person to act as judge, and being a sworn officer was only an additional reason why he should take upon himself the very important duties of judge in this case. "The people," Mr. Olney said, "being the lawmakers, their acts were always lawful."
    If these proceedings are permitted to go unchecked there is no telling where they will stop or who will be the next victim. Having no legal authority to interfere in this matter, I can only submit it for the consideration of the commdg. offcr. of the Dist.
I am sir
    Very respectfully
        Your obt. servt.
            R. Macfeely
                1st. Lieut. 4th Inf.
                    Commdg. post
For
    Lieut. J. G. Chandler
        A.A.Adjt. Genl. 3rd Arty.
            Hd. Qrs. N. C. & S. O. Dist.
                Mouth Rogue River
                    O.T.
NARA M689, Letters Received by the Office of the Adjutant General 1881-1889, Roll 567, Papers Relating to the Death of Mary Wagoner.



Headquarters, Oak Grove, Illinois River, O.T.
    Dist. Southn. Or. & Northn. Cal.
        May 17th 1856.
Sir,
    The enclosed letters from 1st Lieut. R. Macfeely, 4th Inf., together with a copy of my instructions to him upon their receipt, and respectfully submitted for the information of the Commanding General of the Department with the hope that he will bring the affair to the notice of the government. I am informed by the express rider that the Indian was hung up at the time appointed, and suffered to hang for an hour and a half, when he was taken down, and not being yet dead, was shot. he probably deserved death, but having only come in a few days previously with some 36 others of his people, was entirely within the power of the authorities, and should have been properly tried. Lynch law, hardly justifiable under any  circumstances, becomes altogether inexcusable in a community enjoying the benefits of properly constituted tribunals, and deserves the decided reprobation of all good citizens. As it is impossible for me to tell whether some of the hostile Indians, against whom I am now operating, may not be deemed worthy of a similar fate by the Indian agent at Fort Orford. I shall retain possession of those who may come in until the arrival of Genl. Palmer or the receipt of further instructions from the headquarters of the Department.
I am, sir,
    Respectfully
        Your obt. servt.
            Robt. C. Buchanan
                Bvt. Lt. Col. Major 4th Inf.
                    Commdg. Dist.
To
    Capt. D. R. Jones
        Asst. Adjt. Genl.
            Dept. of the Pac.
                Benicia, Cal.
NARA M689, Letters Received by the Office of the Adjutant General 1881-1889, Roll 567, Papers Relating to the Death of Mary Wagoner.


PORT ORFORD REMINISCENCE.
Portland, February 15, 1873.
    Editors of the Bulletin: In your paper of the 14th inst. there is a communication over the signature of J. M. Sutton, in which he states that early in the year 1850 eleven men, names unknown, were massacred on the present site of Port Orford by the Modoc Indians. Respect for the truth of his story impels me to correct the above misstatement, because it is incorrect in three important points. First, it was in the year 1851 that the expedition landed. Second, it was nine men instead of eleven that landed, and thirdly, they were not all killed by the Indians. Now for the facts in the case: In June, 1851, nine men from this city, of which the writer of this was one, were induced by Captain Tichenor, of the steamer Sea Gull, to go to Port Orford on the steamer with him to survey and locate a settlement at Port Orford. We were left there by the steamer with a promise from the Captain that he would return in ten days with more men from San Francisco, and stores, provisions and material for the use of the settlement, but, owing to circumstances over which he had no control, he did not connect. Meantime the Indians were making it pretty warm for the little colony. They attacked us at daylight, the morning after our landing, and kept it up at intervals during the next twelve days, when our provisions and ammunition being used up, and the steamer not arriving, we were obliged to clear out; so we started north for the settlement at Umpqua, where we arrived in six days of hard suffering, after forcing our way through three hostile tribes, with but the loss of a man.
    I remain your obedient servant,
        John H. Egan.
Portland Bulletin, February 18, 1873, page 1


A PORT ORFORD REMINISCENCE.
Portland, February 18, 1873.
    Editors Bulletin: In your issue of yesterday appeared a communication from John H. Egan, denying the truth of my statement in regard to the massacre of eleven men at Port Orford in 1850. I would say that Mr. Egan was simply mistaken in the affair referred to by me.
    It is true that a party of ten men (or nine men, as Mr. Egan had it) did land at this place in June, 1851, and that they were attacked by Indians and made their escape to the settlements in Umpqua Valley, and I have no doubt that Mr. Egan was one of that number. But it is no less true that the expedition from San Francisco landed eleven men at this same place in 1850, and that these eleven men were attacked and massacred by the Coquille Indians. The party in 1850 was taken by surprise, not expecting to see any Indians, while that of 1851 was fortified in a very strong position and well armed. They had in position a four-pounder (howitzer), and by it alone they were able to bid defiance to any number of Indians while their ammunition lasted.
[Sutton confabulates the Battle Rock and 1851 T'Vault Expedition stories.]
    Thus you will see Mr. Egan's mistake. I will further say that I did not accuse the Modoc Indians with this massacre, as charged by Mr. Egan.
Yours truly,
    J. M. Sutton.
Portland Bulletin, February 22, 1873, page 2


THE PORT ORFORD AFFAIR AGAIN.
Portland, February 23, 1873.
    Editors Bulletin: I see Mr. Sutton persists in his assertion, and will have it that eleven men were butchered by Indians at the present site of Port Orford in the year 1850. Now I maintain that Captain Tichenor's nine men were the first party of white men that landed at Port Orford, that they landed in 1851, and were not all or any of them killed. (Your "loss of one man," as published, should read without the loss of a man.)
    That the affair he speaks of he is not posted in, I will prove. In September, 1851, Captain Tichenor brought Mr. T'Vault--of Oregon City then, afterwards of the Jacksonville Herald--to Port Orford as guide and interpreter. He said he was acquainted with the country and language of the Indians, which the unfortunate results of his expedition seemed to disprove. He got eleven men--some of them from San Francisco and some of the original nine--to follow his lead to the then-new southern mines. After wandering about in the mountains for six days, never having been beyond the sound of the sea, they fell in with a village of Coquille Indians and had a misunderstanding, which resulted in a fight, of which our boys had the worst. This was from ten to fifteen miles north of Port Orford, and was no massacre, but as far as I could learn, had all the characteristics of a fair fight. Some of the men swam the Coquille River and came back to Port Orford. Among them was Mr. T'Vault. Some came to the Willamette Valley and are here now, and some got in safe to Umpqua. Governor Gibbs and his friends took three of them over the Umpqua to Gardiner in their boat, and they are living in the Umpqua Valley now. Their names are Captain Willing, Cyrus Hayden (or Hedden) and Mr. Davenport. Whether any of the men were killed is not certain, for they were nearly all accounted for. But that some of them were badly wounded I do know. Mr. J. L. Parrish, then Indian Agent, can tell more about that [than] anyone else. I was one of his escorts when he went to see the Indians about that fight and other "unpleasantness" we had with them. I think I have shown Mr. Sutton in error as to time and place, and the extent of damage done at Port Orford by the Indians. As to the "howitzer which served the party to which Mr. Egan belonged," it was what is called a long six, an old signal gun belonging to the Sea Gull. As a last resort I would refer the gentleman to Swan's History of the Northwest Coast, where he will get all the correct information he needs on the subject. With my excuse for having troubled you so much,
I remain yours
    J. H. Egan.
Portland Bulletin, February 25, 1873, page 1


HENRY BALDWIN TICHENOR
    The indomitable energy of her pioneers has placed California foremost among the states of the American union. Great as are her resources, and boundless as are her opportunities for the developmentof commercial and manufacturing nidustries, these might have remained undisturbed had not the incomparable energy of the pioneer given the first impetus by which the new state soon sprang into a life of unparalleled activity and prosperity. Henry B. Tichenor is foremost among those whose claim to recognition has been acknowledged by the young state of his adoption, whose self-reliance, prudence and judgment in inaugurating and prosecuting new enterprises have made him the peer of San Francisco's best and most enterprising citizens. He combines the inherited prudence and energy of his Swiss and English ancestry, for, while his father's family originally emigrated from Switzerland, a family tradition points to his mother's ancestors as among the passengers of the historic Mayflower. His paternal and maternal grandparents were residents of New Jersey, and were distinguished in the commercial and the military circles of their day. His grandfather on the mother's side was largely engaged in the merchant trade between New York and China, and on his father's side, his grandfather, then a prosperous farmer in New Jersey, sprang to arms and engaged in the great Revolutionary War, where his determined harassing of the hated Hessians, and his faithful services as a commissioned officer, covered him with a renown which found its climax in his heroic conduct at Princeton. Among the earliest happy recollections of Mr. Tichenor are those scenes in which, as he sat upon the old soldier's knee, he eagerly listened to his tales of military exploits and drank in the stories in which the venerable hero "lived his battles o'er again." His father, Nehemiah Tichenor, married Miss Eunice Brown, and was a well-known and successful carriage manufacturer in New Jersey. Eventually he removed to the state of Virginia, and in Richmond, Henrico County, of that state, Henry B. Tichenor, the youngest of his three children, was born November 8, 1823. When the boy was about five years old his parents returned to their native state, and after a brief residence in Newark, New Jersey, they removed to the city of New York, where the youth and young manhood of Mr. Tichenor were spent. After diligent attendance at the New York schools he entered mercantile life in that city, and soon secured that practical training and experience which proved the foundation of his subsequent success in life. He first entered the wholesale commission house of Frame & Kimberly, on Front Street, and as the firm was largely engaged in the southern trade, he found ample opportunities for thorough business education. After several years spent with this firm, he entered the employment of other houses engaged in the same line of trade, and continued so until the confirmed news of the great opportunities in California determined him to make that state the scene of his future efforts. In New York he formed a copartnership with Firman Neefus for the purpose of carrying on business in San Francisco, and after arranging all the details he sailed from New York February 12, 1850, crossed the isthmus of Panama, where he suffered a detention of one month, and finally reached San Francisco, on the first trip of the steamer Tennessee, in April, 1850. The new firm of Neefus & Tichenor at once established itself on Clay Street, near Montgomery Street, and built up a large commission business. As the agent of several important New York shipping houses, Mr. Tichenor received the consignment of many vessels and their large cargoes, and his house became known as among the first and most reliable in the new city. He soon added a coasting trade to his large commission business, and the increasing demand for lumber in the fast-growing metropolis taxed to the utmost the capacity of a numerous fleet of vessels which, under his directions, traversed the Humboldt Bay and the entire coast from Puget Sound to San Francisco, and even extended their ramifications to the islands of the Pacific. In 1858 Mr. Tichenor purchased the interests of his retiring partner, Mr. Neefus, and soon after he associated Mr. Robert G. Bixby with him in business under the new firm name of H. B. Tichenor & Co., and which has continued unchanged to the present time. The increasing importance of the coast lumber trade soon induced him to withdraw from the commission business and give his entire attention to the demands of this important branch of furnishing all kinds of lumber supplies. The large interests held by him in vessel-property rendered this line of trade most remunerative, and he soon acquired the rank which he still retains as one of the largest and most important lumber dealers in San Francisco. With a view of thoroughly examining and developing this branch of coast trade he first visited Southern Oregon in 1853 [sic], and during a residence of several months there he secured large landed interests and built there the first cedar mill ever erected on the coast. This became the source of supply of ship timber and all kinds of lumber for the San Francisco market, and still continues in active and successful operation. But even these ample resources were soon found insufficient, and in 1860 he secured an extensive mill-site and a tract of some twenty thousand acres of timber land on the Navarro River, in Mendocino County, California. He at once built extensive lumber mills at the mouth of the Navarro River, which have a capacity of sawing over ten million feet of lumber annually and furnish constant employment to about one hundred men and engage the full capacity of a fleet of coasting vessels. The immense tract of adjoining land furnishes ample supplies of redwood and pine of the best quality; some of the redwood trees which grace this property are forty-five feet in circumference and more than three hundred feet high. The various appliances and machinery of the mills are models of ingenuity and mechanical skill, and the lumber there manufactured largely supplies not only the markets of San Francisco, but also those of the entire coasts of Mexico and even of the Sandwich Islands. While Mr. Tichenor retains his very large interests in much vessel property, he also gives his close personal attention to this important lumber trade, which, under his prudent and successful management, has assumed such vast proportions. The name of Henry B. Tichenor has further been identified with some of the most prominent and important projects in the city of San Francisco. In 1851, for the purpose of securing facilities for repairing and building ships, there being none previous to that time on the coast, he built the well-known marine railway or dry dock at the foot of Second Street. As an instance of the rapid appreciation in the value of property it may be stated that he bought an entire block for this purpose. The property was sold at sheriff's sale under a so-called Peter Smith judgment and execution against the city of San Francisco, and the price paid by Mr. Tichenor, twenty-seven hundred dollars, was the highest price paid for any lot at that sale. Years passed by, during which the railway remained in constant use for ship building and repairing, until, in 1868, the Central Pacific railroad company, desiring to extend its facilities in that direction, became a ready purchaser of the land at the price of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. The site is now used by the railroad company as a ferry-freight landing.
    Mr. Tichenor is well known as the builder and successful operator of the Los Angeles and San Pedro railroad, extending a distance of some twenty-one miles from the former city to the latter point. The enterprise had been projected, but had threatened to become a complete failure when, in 1868, he secured control of the project,, and threw all his characteristic energy into the work. The road was built and he continued to operate it with great financial success until 1873, when it was purchased from him by the Southern Pacific railroad company, and now forms an important branch of that main line of railroad. The Mission Rock wharves and warehouses in San Francisco constitute another monument of his sagacity and enterprise. In the face of very determined opposition he completed these improvements, established a ferry route with hourly trips between the rock and the foot of Second Street, and thus greatly developed the business conveniences of that section of the city. Another of his early and successful projects is found in the California Insurance Company of San Francisco. This oldest of all local insurance companies, which still does a very large and lucrative business in fire and marine risks, is conspicuously the offspring of his vigorous and far-seeing enterprise, and since its organization has always found him a most earnest patron and energetic director and officer. It will thus be seen that his life has been one of unusual activity, yet so thorough and systematic have been his labors that the lapse of years has been unable to make any inroads upon his splendid constitution, while constant occupation, far from wearing his mind, seems only to have increased its capacities and sharpened its acute perceptions. The steady and energetic pursuit of his business in its many details has engrossed all his attention. Few societies have attracted him to membership, and the excitement of political life has always been utterly distasteful to him. He is one of that large and estimable class of citizens who hold themselves bound to no party, and who, in the exercise of the elective franchise, follow only the judgment by which their most important acts are guided. His life has not been a scene of uninterrupted sunshine. He has at times experienced many of the annoyances and disappointments which are inseparable from active business life. The early establishment of his large lumber business in Oregon was attended by dangerous and frequent conflicts with the neighboring savages that required the highest degree of courage and tact. But the prominent characteristics of the man are his self-reliance and his determination to succeed in any and all undertakings. These, with a happy and genial temperament, have enabled him to conquer every difficulty and attain a degree of prosperity which is the worthy reward of enterprise and perseverance such as his. In May, 1868, he was married to Miss Lucy Hooker Clark, the daughter of the late Dr. Joseph W. Clark, of San Francisco, a lady whose many accomplishments are second only to the spirit of kindness and charity which have made her name a treasure to many. The active and kindly interest taken in the Protestant orphan asylum of San Francisco by Mrs. Tichenor has been fully seconded by her husband, and it may be truly said of both Mr. and Mrs. Tichenor that they live useful, happy and busy lives.
Alonzo Phelps, Contemporary Biography of California's Representative Men, A. L. Bancroft 1881, pages 400-403.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Injustice to Passengers.

    The Emily Farnham arrived a few weeks since at Astoria from San Francisco, bringing a large number of passengers. She was advertised to sail to Portland, and many of the passengers engaged passage for that place. Upon arriving at Astoria, the captain of the Emily Farnham, not wishing to incur the expense and delay of fulfilling his part of the contract, shipped his passengers at Astoria. Suit was brought against the vessel by the passengers. She was boarded by two officers at Astoria, for the purpose of detaining her until there might be a hearing had on the subject.
    The captain, having in the meantime obtained loading and supplies, water and provisions, the latter of which he forgot to pay for, and is yet due the merchants at Astoria, the anchor was hoisted and she put to sea, carrying with her the two officers already named. Some six or eight persons attempted to board her in the capacity of officers, but were foiled in the attempt by the ladder being cut away. She dropped down below the town a little out of the range of the guns and anchored till morning, when she put to sea without her clearance, with the officers still on board.
    We fear the consequences of such an abrupt departure were not fully calculated by the captain. The vessel is represented as being heavily in debt at San Francisco. Such conduct on the part of the captain merits the treatment due to a pirate, which there is no doubt he will receive when he attempts to enter any other port. The captain's name is Tichenor; we give it that persons in future may escape the misfortune of falling into such unworthy hands.
Oregon Spectator, Oregon City, December 12, 1850, page 2


    Since that time other complaints have reached us, and we are credibly informed that this kind of deception is practiced to a very considerable extent by the captains of sailing crafts.
"Sailing Vessels a Cheat,"
Oregon Spectator, Oregon City, December 26, 1850, page 2


(Correspondence of the Statesman.)
Steamer Sea Gull, off Klamath River
    July 13, 1851.
    Mr. Bush--When I was at Oregon City some few weeks since, you will remember that a project of commencing a settlement at or near Cape Blanco was at that time discussed to a considerable extent, and after leaving your place, and while Captain Tichenor was at Portland, he made an arrangement with Mr. F. M. Smith, who, together with himself, employed some eight or nine men for the purpose of taking them to Cape Blanco, preparatory to the commencement of a permanent settlement at that place, and after entering and examining the bay, the name of Port Orford was suggested as the name by which it is hereafter to be known.
    Doubtless you will have heard, prior to the receipt of this communication, that the company landed there by Messrs. Tichenor and Smith have either been massacred or taken prisoners by the Indians, and on a recent return trip of the P.M. steamship Columbia, this fact was made known, together with some important discoveries, which induced the organization of the present expedition against the Rogue River Indians, but more particularly for the purpose of recommencing at settlement at Port Orford
    The present organization consists of some five or six proprietors and sixty-five volunteers, together with four or five agents, speculators &c., making the whole number something over seventy persons, well armed and provisioned. We have six pieces of ordnance, which we intend to place upon new forts to be erected immediately on our arrival. Our men are all young and in the prime of life, and calculated to endure hardship, and several of whom have had much experience in Indian warfare. We anticipate considerable difficulty and go prepared accordingly, and we have no man but who knows what he is going for, and what he expects to meet. We have in our company some of the greatest rifle marksmen that can be found in the country, and who, we anticipate, are possessed of brave and fearless hearts. Among our arms we have seven rifles that can be fired some two hundred times to the minute; the balance of our arms are principally the United States rifle. With this company and equipment, I anticipate being able to give you some good account hereafter. More anon.
Yours, truly,            J. C. F.
Oregon Statesman, Oregon City, July 22, 1851, page 3


Correspondence of the Statesman.
Port Orford, Aug. 6, 1851.
    Dear Bush:--I have nothing more in addition to what you will have received by the San Francisco papers, which contain a full account of our doings up to the 27th ult., since which date there has nothing transpired worthy of note. Our relations with the Indians continue friendly, and no belligerent disposition, as yet, has been manifested by them, but on the contrary they manifest every disposition of peace and quietude. We are of an opinion that a formal or satisfactory treaty has been made with the Indians at the headwaters of Rogue River, which include those in our vicinity, or they are intimidated by our numbers and preparations to resist them in any numbers that they may think proper to bring against us, as we are prepared to receive them as the circumstances of the case may require. So long as they continue friendly we shall not disturb them at all, but as soon as they manifest a restless or warlike spirit, we shall not show them any more mercy than the emergency of the case may require.
    Gold, in small quantities, has been found in the bed of small streams putting into the bay in this vicinity, and some very good diggings have been discovered at a distance of about twenty-five miles from this place on a small river flowing to the northward, the name of which is not known, yet in a few days it will be explored, and in my next I shall be able to give you a full account of it and the prospects for gold that it may afford.
    The discoveries of stone coal in this vicinity seem to be quite flattering, and the gentlemen who have discovered it consider it of considerable importance and are firm in the belief that large quantities of it will be discovered as soon as sufficient excavations are made, which they consider neither laborious nor expensive. All that they have secured, thus far, has been a good quality of bituminous coal, and from all appearances there must be a large quantity of it, as it manifests itself for nearly one mile along the coast. Vessels of any size can anchor within three or four hundred yards of the main bed.
    The United States brig Lawrence, of the revenue service, is now lying in our harbor, and will probably remain for some time. For the present, adieu.
J. C. F.
Oregon Statesman, Oregon City, August 19, 1851, page 2


Letter from an Oregon Emigrant.
    The following letter is from a former citizen of Newark, now living at Port Orford, a new settlement upon Rogue River, South Oregon, which was founded by Capt. Tichenor of this city. It exhibits the incidents and arduous labor of pioneer life in our western territories:
Correspondence of the Newark Daily Advertiser.
Port Orford, Sept. 10th, 1851.
    Nothing has transpired here since my last, of any importance, if you except the incidents which generally attend a new settlement. Six houses have been already completed, and eight more are projected. Fifteen building lots out of the 980 that have been laid out have been sold to the volunteers, at the low price of $125, on condition of being immediately improved. The town is laid out on a liberal scale, each block or square being 320 ft. long, with an alley in the center 20 ft. wide. The main street is 100 ft. wide, and all the others 80 ft. The situation of the town is very pleasant, having a southern exposure to the sea, and extending from the beach northward, one mile, the ground gradually rising upward from the shore. On the east and west, the land is heavily timbered with cedar, fir and hemlock trees of immense size, so that a person who wishes to erect a house at Port Orford has not far to go for his timber. On Saturday last, we cut down a tree out of which 10,000 shingles have been riven, and it will yield at least 20,000 more.
    Fred. Crockett (son of D. B.) came here on the Sea Gull from San Francisco, and while I am writing is engaged in shaving shingles, at which I have been employed for some time, about eight hours a day, being in great haste to finish a building for the Superintendent of Indian Affairs and his suite. The road hence to the mines has not yet been opened, but it has been ascertained that it is practicable and will no doubt be accomplished in a few weeks. A convention of all the Indian tribes will assemble here next week, having been summoned by the Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the purpose of treating concerning their lands.
    In answer to a natural question "how I like this life," I must candidly answer it is a little tough. I do not mind washing my own clothes, mending &c., but sleeping in the room with a dozen persons, being deprived of the privilege of undressing and getting into a bed, is not very comfortable. Vermin also abound, and are very annoying, some of our bedroom companions not being very cleanly. But notwithstanding we do not possess the comforts and luxuries of a civilized life, I never had better health, or enjoyed more contentment of mind. I am in hopes that in a few months we shall be able to live as well as comfortably as they do at San Francisco. We have now eggs, milk and game in abundance. A party of eight went out a few days since, and in ten hours killed eight deer and six elk.
    I was not a little pleased to hear of the celebration of the 17th anniversary of the Union Blues. I saw by the Daily that they paraded about 40 muskets. I should have liked very much to witness that militia muster at Bergen, and to have assisted you in the closing scenes of the evening.
    7 o'clock p.m.--I have shaved 500 shingles this afternoon, had a good wash and sat down with a glorious appetite to a supper of venison steak, broiled (very fine), hard bread, and black tea. I do not expect to return home before June next.
    Yours, &c.            J. S. G. [James S. Gamble]
Newark Daily Advertiser, November 7, 1851, page 2


Report of General Hitchcock.
Headquarters Pacific Division
    Benicia, October 25, 1851.
    Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your instructions of the 3rd ultimo, accompanied by a copy of a communication of the 13th of June last from Governor Gaines, and addressed to his Excellency the President of the United States, in which communication Governor Gaines urged the necessity of establishing a military post on the Umpqua, Klamath or Rogue rivers, and I beg to refer in the first place to my letter of the 29th of August to the Adjutant-General, reporting my having ordered a post to be established at Port Orford, with an express view to the country referred to by Governor Gaines.
    Port Orford has been recently ascertained to be one of the very best harbors on the Pacific Coast, accessible to the largest class of vessels and situated at a convenient intermediate point between the outlets of the Umpqua and Rogue rivers. It is a point from which that whole range of country may be readily commanded.
    I have now to report that on hearing a few days since of the murder of several Americans on the Coquille River, some forty miles north of Port Orford, I immediately ordered an expedition to that country, instructing the commander to punish and subdue the Indians on that river, or any other hostile Indians within reach, and to open a communication to the "trail'' from Oregon to California, the results of which expedition will be communicated as soon as reported at these headquarters.
    I am convinced that the measures adopted in view of the country in question are the best practicable at this time. Port Orford being the most available harbor (for supplies) on that coast, it being central and the Oregon [trail] not being it is supposed over sixty miles east of the harbor, whereas access to the country from the north or the south by the interior requires a march of some three hundred miles.
    I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. A. HITCHCOCK
    Col. 2nd Infantry, Brevet Brigadier-General Commanding.
Hon. C. M. Conrad
    Secretary of War.
Executive Documents of the Senate, First Session of the Thirty-Second Congress, 1852, vol. 1, pages 148-149


Report of Major Allen.
Division Depot
    California, October 30, 1851.
    Colonel: I have the honor to report that a detachment of troops consisting of one hundred and thirty men, fifty of which are to be mounted, sailed from this post for Port Orford, on the fifth instant, under command of Lieutenant Colonel Casey, 2nd Infantry.
    I was ordered by General Hitchcock to provide transportation for this command (including horses, mules and stores) by steam vessels, it being a war movement, the successful issue of which, in the judgment of the general, required haste and speed.
    The Indians, according to report, have recently been committing outrages upon certain parties of white men in the vicinity of Port Orford, have killed some five or six peaceable citizens of Oregon, refuse to treat with the commissioners, and avow determined hostility. I mention these facts to advise you that Indian expeditions are not diminishing, or Indian troubles subsiding, and I may again repeat what I have in previous letters written, that it is in vain to hope for any diminution in expenditures in this division, unless the troops become stationary and remain at rest.
    The transportation to Port Orford will sum up as follows: officers at sixty-five dollars each, one hundred and thirty men, at thirty-five dollars each: eighty horses and mules, at forty dollars each, one hundred tons of freight, at thirty dollars per ton.
    This is but the commencement of the movement. I cannot tell how long the land march will continue, nor how much it will cost per month, until I have better information of the nature of the service to be performed and the amount of land transportation which may be employed or required. The command will of course return at very little less cost than it went out.
    The command of Major Wessells is still on the march. He has required supplies to be sent to meet him at Redding's ranch; wagons cannot make the trip in less than thirty days, and at this season of the year there is not a spear of grass growing at any point on the route. As the animals must be fed full rations going and coming, each wagon is half loaded with forage for the consumption of its own team. Thus the amount of transportation is necessarily double what it would be if the country afforded grazing.
    Major Wessell's command may be expected here in about fifteen days. He has now been absent since the 6th of August. His employees will return entirely destitute, and I will be obliged to draw upon you for funds to pay them, and to meet other pressing dues.
    I have the honor to be your obedient servant,
ROBERT ALLEN
    Brevet Major and .Assistant Quartermaster
    P.S. Enclosed please find a copy of my letter of instructions to Capt E. K. Kane, assistant quartermaster, who went as quartermaster and commissary of the expedition to Port Orford.
    The summary of the cost of the outset may be thus stated:--
      7  officers, at $65 each $    455
130  men, at $35 each 4,550
87  animals, at $40 each 3,480
100  tons freight, at $30 per ton     3,000
$11,485
Executive Documents of the Senate, First Session of the Thirty-Second Congress, 1852, vol. 1, pages 149-150


Port Orford, O.T.
    October 31, 1851
Colonel,
    On the 29th inst. the Sea Gull arrived and yesterday finished unloading.
    I send off today Lt. Stanton with the horse to take a position in the vicinity of the Coquille. We have been directed if possible to receive the services of the Chief of the Cape Blanco Indians as guide. I feel the more sanguine that his sincere services can be obtained from the fact that within a few days it has been reported that one of his men has been killed, and several wounded by the Indians of the Coquille.
    I have directed the A.I.M. to engage the services of the Sea Gull for a short time and shall myself embark tomorrow morning with the [illegible] of the command, and the howitzers, for the purpose of effecting a landing at the mouth of the river. I shall take with me one of the surf boats, with the purpose, if possible, of placing it in the river.
    If successful in effecting a landing, I shall make a combined attack on the village of the murderers from both banks of the river.
    I regret that no waterproof bags were sent for the purpose of packing our bread, sugar, etc. I have been obliged to cut up ten tents for bags, and a tarpaulin for covers. It has rained almost every day since we arrived and a waterproof covering becomes indispensable for parts of the ration.
    I have enclosed a return of the troops for the month of October 1851.
    I have also enclosed a roll of the citizens employed in the I. Dept. Brush and [Bruner?] were employed by my order. I think the services of the latter can be dispensed with very shortly.
Very respectfully
    Your obt. servant
        S. Casey
            Bvt. Lt. Col. U.S.A.
                Commanding Detachment
Bvt. Lt. Col. J. Hooker
    A. Ad. Gen.
        Pacific [Div.]
            Benicia
Transcribed from a typescript pdf in the collection of Mark Tveskov, SOULA. This letter also transcribed, from the same typescript, on orww.org.


Camp at the mouth of the Coquille
    November 9th, 1851
Colonel,
    In my last communication I stated that I was about combining an operation against the enemy by land and water. In pursuance of that object, I left Port Orford on the evening of the 31st of October with Companies A & E, 1st Dragoons, and the two mountain howitzers on board the Sea Gull. About 11 o'clock same day Lt. Stanton with C Troop started by land. I arrived off the mouth of the Coquille River at daylight on the morning of the 1st of November, found a heavy surf beating on the shore, but succeeded in landing Lt. Wright with about 20 men, the six men at the immediate danger of their lives, as the boat capsized in the surf about two hundred yards from the shore and in two fathoms of water. After the capsizing, it was with the utmost difficulty that the sailors could be prevailed upon to make another attempt. In the meantime, the surf having increased, it was found impossible to land any more men.
    We remained until daylight the morning of the 2nd, awaiting an opportunity to land, but the prospect at the time appearing worse than ever, I directed the Capt. to leave for Port Orford. By the time the imminence of the danger to the vessel had become such that it was only by shipping one anchor, and applying all force possible to the other, that we were enabled (fortunately having a full head of steam) to escape from our anchorage, just as the sea broke in the place where we had laid, and in seven fathoms of water.
    We arrived in Port Orford 9 p.m. same day, landed the men that night, and left the next day with A Company and the part of E Company who had not succeeded in landing at the mouth of the river, and arrived at Lt. Stanton's camp (which we found two miles from the mouth of the river) on the afternoon of the 4th.
    I had previously sent an express to Lt. Stanton, directing him to concentrate the troops and await my arrival, in the meantime to construct a raft for the purpose of enabling us to cross the river. I found Lt. Wright encamped at the mouth of the river and constructing a raft.
    The morning after the landing of Lt. Wright, while walking a short distance from camp, he perceived four Indians behind a rock. On beckoning to them, they approached him. After a little while the Indians, becoming alarmed at some movement of the Lt.'s men, started running. The Indian nearest to Lt. Wright made an effort before leaving to snatch his gun from him. He jerked it from him, and shot the Indian dead as he ran from him.
    The Indians showed themselves in number on the opposite side of the river, when the men commenced in making the raft, firing across a number of rifle balls, brandishing their knives, shaking their bows, and evincing every bravado possible.
    On the morning of the 5th, I visited Lt. Wright's camp at the mouth of the river. About 50 Indians made their appearance, and went through the performances of the previous day. Soon after my leaving, the numbers increased to 100, who fired several shots across the river.
    On the 6th, I sent Lt. Stanton with 30 dismounted dragoons, and with four days' rations in their haversacks, to take a station about ten or fifteen miles above the mouth and on [the] left bank of the river, for the purpose of intercepting any canoes that might pass up. On the morning of the 7th, I crossed the river on a raft, with the two companies of dragoons on foot, with four days' rations in our haversacks, and one blanket, each man.
    After marching about 15 miles through marsh and over mountains which were rendered very slippery, and difficult to cross, by the incessant rains, we arrived on the morning of the 8th about 10 o'clock, within sight of fires of an Indian village, directly on the bank of the river.
    I made my dispersion to attack, but on entering the place, found that the enemy had fled. We saw but two who were within rifle range. The Indians had evidently taken their salmon and fled up the river.
    I should have remarked that the day before I left, an Indian crossed the river and came to my camp. He appeared somewhat alarmed. Whether he came as a spy, or for other purposes, I could not tell, as I have no interpreter. I concluded, however, to keep him a prisoner, believing that should I obtain an interpreter, I could make him extremely useful. Lt. Stanton unfortunately became entangled in the challenges of the country and did not reach the position marked out for him, and consequently did not succeed in intercepting any of the enemy who had been driven from the right bank. At the village (which Mr. Brush recognized as the one where the men were murdered) we found a fishery, the nets extending across the river.
    The Indians are frightened, and have fled up the river. I am well satisfied from the few trails leading into the interior that their villages are all on the river. I am also satisfied that their principal means of subsistence is the salmon obtained from the river, and that their principal fisheries are at the mouth, and within a short distance  of the mouth. The nature of the country is such that the incessant rain renders the hills near the river very difficult to cross, and by keeping directly upon the river, impassable [rapids?] would be encountered.
    Under all the circumstances, I have resolved to operate upon the river in boats. It is 30 miles to Port Orford from this point, and although the road is very difficult at points, I am in hopes I will be able to get through the two surf boats which I have. One of them is now on the road.
    The Coquille River is 200 yards wide at its mouth at low water, with probably 9 ft. of water on the bar, but the channel is narrow and leads out among the mouths. The mouth [illegible] is so exposed to the prevailing winds that there are breakers constantly almost quite across its entrance. Once over the bar and it appears to be a large navigable stream affected by the tide water to its forks about 40 miles up.
    I am encamped in a fine position at the mouth and on the left bank of the river and shall make here my depot for supplies while operating up the stream. Should I succeed in putting my boat party in open water, I am in hopes now to incline the enemy to peace if they are not so now.
    The service of a good interpreter would be invaluable.
    I shall endeavor to start the party for the Oregon road soon, although the season is so far advanced that I fear they will not succeed.
    I would like to have two or more surf boats, with the necessary articles for repair sent up immediately. Should we not need them, they will be useful in the camp.
    Inasmuch as there is an extensive farming country in the vicinity of Port Orford, extending to and up this river, which if an adequate protection was afforded, would I think speedily settle. I suggest that another supply of subsistence stores be furnished to Port Orford.
Very respectfully
    Your ob. servant
        Silas Casey
Bvt. Lt. Col. J. Hooker
    Ass. Ad. Benicia
Transcribed from a typescript pdf in the collection of Mark Tveskov, SOULA. This letter also transcribed, from the same typescript, on orww.org.
 

Camp at the mouth of the Coquille
    November 11th, 1851
Colonel
    One of my surf boats has just arrived safely, and is now launched in the river. Tomorrow the team will start for the other boat and will also bring up a small launch which Lt. Wyman has in possession, provided it can be repaired. I have just had a report of the result of some soundings. The tide at little more than half flood gives but seven feet in the channel at the mouth of the river. Thereby demonstrating that at Port Orford, must be the depot for all supplies required for this portion of the country. As soon as my boats arrive, which will be in a few days, I shall organize a party to operate up the river in boats, with a confident expectation of speedily bringing the Indian to terms. In fact, I believe I could treat with them now, had I an interpreter.
    I would respectfully suggest that authority be given me to leave, if it should be necessary, a company of dragoons at this point. By the aid of the boats which will be on the river, they will be able effectually to [curb?] the Indians of this region, and give confidence to settlers, who are inclined, I learn, to come in considerable numbers to this, one of the finest portions of Oregon.
    Horses, I have but little doubt, could be subsisted here all winter on the grass alone, but inasmuch as their services would be but little required, I would consider it more expedient that the force here be footmen. The force here could be supplied from Port Orford, either by wagon or pack mule.
    I shall tomorrow lay off a government reservation, which will combine good water, plenty of firewood, good land for cultivation, fine timber for building, with [beauty of situation?]. Sufficient log buildings for a company can be put up at trifling expense.
    I consider it expedient to make a reservation at once, for by the Oregon land bill, some person would be sure to lay their claim. Should the government not wish to retain, they can but give it up.
Very respectfully
    Your obt. servant
        S. Casey
            Commanding Detachment
Bvt. Lt. Col. J. Hooker
    Ass. Ad. Gen. Pac. Div.
    Benicia, Cal.
   

P.S.  Lt. Stanton leaves tomorrow for Port Orford with 30 [horses?], preparatory to starting as an escort to Lt. Williamson, who will leave in a few days on the route for the Oregon trail.
Transcribed from a typescript pdf in the collection of Mark Tveskov, SOULA. This letter also transcribed, from the same typescript, on orww.org.


    There is quite an excitement at this time in the Willamette Valley about the Port Orford country. This excitement, it is thought,
will carry off a goodly number of our enterprising men. The spirit of adventure is nearly as rife now as it was at any previous time. While some are seeking fortunes way in the north at Queen Charlotte's Island, comparatively but little known not a few are directing their steps to the mines south, the greater part of whom are of this year's immigration, and the rest of the floating portion still unsettled are taking up their line of march for the Coquille country, down the coast, where the prospects for rapid improvement are very flattering. Thus we go in Oregon--there is a paradise somewhere, but all have not yet found it.
Oregon Spectator, Oregon City, November 11, 1851, page 2


Camp Abbeyville, mouth of the Coquille, O.T.
    November 24th, 1851
Colonel
    At the date of my last communication I was at this place awaiting the arrival of my boats.
    Being convinced of the impracticability of pursuing the Indians to advantage by land, owing to the dense nature of the undergrowth, and for other reasons, I resolved if possible to organize a boat party, and in continuation of the narrative of my expedition, I have the honor to report as follows.
    Having succeeded in obtaining, by land transportation from Port Orford, two boats, and by means of pitch obtained from pine trees rendering them possibly tight, I left this place before daylight on the morning of the 17th inst. with a party 60 strong (including officers) and nine days' provisions.
    After crossing up the river about 25 miles, passing a number of lodges which had been dilapidated and abandoned in haste, we perceived a fire on the left bank of the river. The officer in charge of the leading boat saw a canoe with one Indian in it going up the river.
    I immediately ordered the boats to land, and attack. We found two large lodges, covered with boards and matting, from which the Indians had just escaped. In one of them salmon was cooking.
    They contained large quantities of the different articles used by the Indians, fishing nets etc., together with three or four tons of dried salmon. I again embarked, landed above the lodges about half a mile, and sent back a party of ten men by land, with orders to approach as carefully as possible. I then ordered Lt. Wright to go down in his boat with his company and burn everything except canoes, which I took for our use.
    When the land party reached the vicinity of the lodge, they perceived several of the Indians returning to them. They fired, but with what result, I do not know.
    Suffice it to say that by the time we reached the forks of the river (about 45 miles from the mouth) on the morning of the 20th inst., we had destroyed a number of lodges and large quantities of their food and implements. On the 21st, I ordered Lt. Stoneman with a scouting party in one of the surf boats to ascend the south fork of the river, and Lt. Wright with a party in the other surf boat to ascend the north fork, with special orders that they both should return the same day. Lt. Wright proceeded up the north fork about ten miles and returned, having perceived no fresh sign.
    Lt. Stoneman returned in a few hours and reported that six or seven miles up the fork, he came upon a number of Indians, one of whom commenced talking in a loud voice and motioned him away. They continued to advance, and perceiving one of the Indians loading his rifle, he fired at him. Several shots from guns and a shower of arrows were delivered in return, and replied to by a volley from our men.
    Agreeably to the instructions, given by me to the Lt. in case a large party was met, he returned to camp. It was the opinion of Lt. Stoneman, as he reported, that the Indians were in a fork (made by the stream which ascended, and another stream coming into it) in large number awaiting our approach.
    I again sent him out with a few men to make a reconnaissance by land, and ascertain if possible the true position of the enemy. He succeeded in approaching within about one mile of their position. His examination at this time (which owing to the density of the woods and undergrowth was of necessity imperfect) rather shook his former opinion that the enemy were in the fork, but now was of the opinion that they occupied the left bank of the stream which he had ascended. The next day, on the 22nd, I resolved to attack the Indians, who were evidently collected in position and awaiting my approach.
    Believing that they were in considerable number, and having but 55 men, exclusive of officers (from whom taking ten men, for boat crews, leaving but 45 men for the attack), I directed that the men should leave everything in camp, excepting one day's rations in haversacks, their bivouacs standing, their fires burning, and the remaining boat, and the remaining canoe tied to the bank.
    I could not afford one man for guard. I directed Lt. Gibson, with 20 men, in the surf boats to ascend the river and take a position as near the enemy as he could, without being perceived by them, and then await further orders.
    With the remainder of the command, I went up by land, and met the boats on the river.  I will here mention that on our arrival up, we discovered about one ton of dried salmon, which the Indians had hid on scaffolds.
    On joining Lt. Gibson, I directed Lt. Stoneman with his company, who together with Asst. Surgeon Campbell and two hospital attendants, constituted one half of the command, to cross to the left bank of the stream, [creep?] up to the enemy position, and commence the attack.
    I directed the boats to ascend the river, keeping in rear of the commands on the banks, take up some safe position out of reach of the enemy fire, then land and protect the boats, awaiting further orders. At the same time with Lt. Wright's Comp. E, I ascended the right bank of the stream, resolving to attack, should the Indians be found on that bank, if not to await the attack of Lt. Stoneman, and take them as they fled from him, or cross the river in the boats to his assistance if necessary.
    On arriving near the position of the enemy, I perceived that there was a fork, separated from my bank of the river by a small creek, that the greater portion of the Indians were in the forks, and that from the canoes on the left bank at the junction of the other branch of the fork with the main stream, there was about 20 of the Indians. I took up a position (the river here bending in an arc) admirably commanding the position of the enemy, should they attempt to take their canoes, or to come out of their [coverts?].
    I there anxiously awaited for about 15 minutes the attack which I expected to be made by Lt. Stoneman, a number of the enemy being all the time in plain sight, and within the complete command of my fire. Unfortunately the boats at this juncture, mistaking the position of the Indians, commenced advancing until they came within their fire, who it was apparent were wholly unapprised of the dispersion against them by land, and were prepared for a boat attack alone, being placed in such position that they would have completely surrounded the boats, had they advanced.
    Immediately, I perceived that we were in the close proximity of about 200 Indians. They raised the war-whoop, and for about 15 minutes contested the ground with us, when the deliberate fire of the men proving too galling, they abandoned their ground and fled in every direction. In the meantime, Lt. Stoneman being detained by the impracticable nature of the thickets from ascending the stream, took a broad trail which he supposed would lead to the position of the enemy. He found, however, that it struck the right stream of the fork about one mile above the junction.
    On hearing our firing, he deployed his men as skirmishers and came down to our position, killing a number of the Indians as they fled.
    Although but five of the enemy were found dead, I have reason to believe that about 15 were killed. Many were seen to be carried off in the midst of the fight, and we made no search after the engagement. Although a number of my men were struck by the missiles of the enemy, both balls and arrows, they were all grazing shots which merely tore their clothes. Not one man was wounded. We recovered from the enemy one old U.S. musket and several balls which were recognized  as having been taken from the party who were murdered last summer. One of the Indians who was wounded was seen to throw a rifle into the river.
    I have enclosed a rough sketch of the ground in which the engagement took place, which will probably throw light on the subject. During the operation on the river, we took and destroyed 20 large lodges, with quantities of implements invaluable to them. We destroyed about 2000 feet of boards, which had been split out from logs, some of them three feet in width.
    We took 15 canoes, and destroyed about thirteen tons of dried salmon. Both officers and men have been zealous in the performance of their duties. From Lt. Gibson I have received efficient and zealous aid. I feel much indebted to Lt. Stoneman for his practical knowledge of things, and for his zeal and efficiency in the performance of his duties. Although from a mistake he did not participate in the heat of the action, still as soon as the firing commenced he came down with gallantry, and performed good service. Lt. Wright with 22 men sustained the heat of the contest, and for the gallantry and firmness exhibited by him, merits the warmest praise.
    The Indians having scattered and fled in all directions, and my supplies being nearly out, [I] resolved to return to the mouth of the Coquille. Should my supplies, however, have been ample, I would still doubt the expedience of pursuing further.
    The Indians were evidently on the outskirts of their country, and pursuing further, friendly tribes would be involved. Mr. Brush, who is with me, and was one of the survivors of the massacre, states that he found the Indians a little further up the fork friendly and evidently on bad terms with the Coquille tribe.
    I lament every day that I have no interpreter, and feel confident that the Indians would now be glad to make peace. At any rate, before any further steps are taken against them, humanity demands that peace should be offered. I still have the Indian who came in to me.
    I am now putting up a few log buildings for the accommodation of a company, which I intend to leave here for the present. Should the Indians not feel disposed for peace, a company at the mouth of the river with a few boats could control them completely, inasmuch as they would hold in their hand their means of subsistence, keeping them from their best and principal fisheries and depriving them of their mussels, which they obtain at the mouth of the river, and which forms their chief subsistence one portion of the year.
I have the honor to be
    Very respectfully
        Your obt. servant
            S. Casey
Bvt. Lt. Col. U.S.A.
    Bvt. Lt. Col. J. Hooker
        Ass. Ad. Gen. Pac. Div.
            Benicia, Ca.
Transcribed from a typescript pdf in the collection of Mark Tveskov, SOULA. This letter also transcribed, from the same typescript, on orww.org.


Port Orford, O.T.
    November 28, 1851
Colonel,
    I have just arrived at this place from the mouth of the Coquille, and find the steamer Columbia just anchored.
    I have left temporarily at the mouth of the Coquille Comp. A, commanded by Lt. Stoneman, with direction to complete his quarters to make the men comfortable while remaining. I consider the Indians subdued, and if I had an interpreter, I could treat with them at once.
    However, until that event transpires, I would respectfully suggest that the following disposition be made. Let A Comp. be continued at the mouth of the Coquille until the arrival of [C?] Comp. (now mounted) from the Oregon trail. As it will be difficult to get their horses on board without a [float?], [I] would recommend that Comp. be left, and A Comp. relieve. There are now three good boats and six captured canoes at the mouth of the Coquille. Should the Indians refuse to treat, it is the grand strategic [point?] as regards operations against them. It controls their best fisheries, and prevents them from obtaining mussels from the mouth of the river.
    The boats offer a cheap transportation to follow the enemy to their places of abode. It is necessary that the Columbia stop here on her next trip up to furnish supplies, and if it should meet with the approbation of the General, I will on my return from Oregon proceed to carry out my suggestion.
    I thought of leaving Capt. Kane here for the present. What should be done with Asst. Surgeon Campbell?
Very respectfully
    Your obt. servant
        S. Casey
            Bvt. Lt. Col. U.S.A.
                Com. Detachment
Bvt. Lt. Col. J. Hooker
    Asst. Ad. Gen. Pac.
        Benicia, Ca.
Transcribed from a typescript pdf in the collection of Mark Tveskov, SOULA. This letter also transcribed, from the same typescript, on orww.org.


    ARRIVAL OF THE SEA GULL.--Yesterday morning at four o'clock the steamer Sea Gull, Capt. Tichenor, arrived in our harbor from Port Orford, Trinidad and Humboldt.
    We learn by her that the troops have left for the Coquille River to chastise the Indians that murdered five men belonging to T'Vault's exploring party. The company that had been sent out to search for a trail having been successful, had returned reporting favorably. A road is being cut to join the road from Oregon to California.
    From Port Orford we have favorable accounts. The coal mines in that vicinity are attracting considerable attention. Col. Casey had produced some fine specimens. Everything was brisk at the settlement. It was stated that some fifteen or twenty families were to arrive there from Oregon by the next steamer. Houses were building for their accommodation. The land at the north of this port is said to be very fertile.
Oregon Spectator, Oregon City, December 2, 1851, page 2


    The steamer Columbia, Captain Le Roy, had arrived from Oregon, at Port Orford, on the 22nd, landed 121 United States officers and soldiers, under the command of Col. Casey, destined to act against the Indians in the vicinity of Rogue River. The Columbia brings treasure to the amount of $25,000.
"Two Weeks Later from Oregon," Newark Daily Advertiser, December 1, 1851, page 2

 

Port Orford
    Dec. 6th, 1851
Colonel,
    In my communication of the 28th ult., I mentioned that I had left A. Comp. at the mouth of the Coquille, and intended that it should remain there for the present. I expected that the Sea Gull, on her return from the Columbia River, would bring down an Indian agent and interpreter. I knew that the mouth of the Coquille would be the best place from which to communicate with [them], and at which to assemble the Indians of that river for a treaty.
    The only boat of any description which has touched at this place since the landing of the troops was the Columbia on her return from Astoria, the 28th ult. I then learned that the Sea Gull was still at San Francisco, when she left, and as she has not yet made her appearance, I can make no calculation  on her movements.
    Two days since, I received information that a wagon which left here with supplies for Camp Abbeyville, on the 1st inst., had gone but 10 miles, being stopped by the high water in the river which empties into the ocean near Cape Blanco.
    Yesterday, an experienced rider and horse were unfortunately drowned in attempting to cross that river. Inasmuch as there are three rivers between here and Camp Abbeyville, which at times are [illegible] and from the almost incessant rains, will become more and more difficult to cross. I have considered that the immediate advantages of keeping up that 
[illegible], are more than counterbalanced by the difficulties of supplying it, and shall consequently abandon it as soon as the public property can be removed.
I have the honor to be
    Very respectfully
        Your obt. servant
            S. Casey
                Bvt. Lt. Col. U.S.A.
                    Comm. Detail
Bvt. Lt. Col. J. Hooker
    Asst. Ad. Gen. Pac. Div.
        Benicia, Ca.
Transcribed from a typescript pdf in the collection of Mark Tveskov, SOULA. This letter also transcribed, from the same typescript, on orww.org.
 

Headquarters, Det. Pac. Div.
    Fort Orford, Oregon Ter.
        Dec. 9, 1851
Order No. 22
    I.--Unless contrary orders shall be received by the steamer Columbia, which is expected to arrive here on the 10th inst., the following disposition will be made of the troops of this Detachment.
    II.--Companies "A" & "C", 1st Dragoons, and Asst. Surgeon S. Campbell, will embark on board the Columbia for Benicia.
    III.--First Lt. H. G. S. Gibson will remain at this post until further orders and will report to Lieut. Stanton for duty upon arrival of the latter at Fort Orford. Lt. Gibson will continue in charge of the ordnance and [illegible] stores and will send by the first opportunity one of the mountain howitzers to the ordnance officer at Benicia.
    IV.--All the men of "C" Troop Dragoons now at this post with the exception of Sergeant Hill will remain at this post in charge of Lt. Gibson until the arrival of their company.
    V.--Captain E. R. Kane, A.Q.M., will remain on duty at this post until further orders. He will secure as soon as possible a supply of forage for the horses of C Troop, 1st Dragoons.
    VI.--First Lieut. H. W. Stanton, upon his return from an exploration of a route to the Oregon trail, will remain with his troop at this post until further orders.
    VII.--Lieutenant R. S. Williamson, Topographical Engineers, now with Lieut. Stanton, will upon his return to Port Orford proceed by the first opportunity to Benicia, and report in person at the Head Quarters of the Division.
By order of Lt. Col. Casey
    (signed) Lt. H. G. S. Gibson
        Asst. [illegible]
Transcribed from a typescript pdf in the collection of Mark Tveskov, SOULA. This letter also transcribed, from the same typescript, on orww.org.
 

Benicia, California
   December 12, 1851
Colonel,
    I have the honor to report that I have arrived here this afternoon from Port Orford, O.T., with A & E Comp., 1st Dragoons.
    I have explained in a former communication the reason for abandoning the mouth of the Coquille. [Ordering] the Companies to leave Port Orford without express orders to that effect, I was actuated by what I considered the good of the service, and for the following reasons.
    I considered the object of the expedition as required by my orders fulfilled. In the next place, I had received no orders which conflicted with my act. The troops were exposed to almost incessant rains, without any covering but tents. But the principal reason for my withdrawing the troops without orders to that effect was the fear that our supply of subsistence stores would be exhausted before a new supply could be received.
    The Sea Gull, which I understood had left with supplies on the 20th of November, I had reason to believe was lost. I was informed by the A.C.S., Capt. Kane, that but two months' supplies of Subsistence had been brought from Benicia, and that already some of the [parts?] of the ration were gone.
    I have enclosed a copy of the order issued by me on leaving.
    In conclusion, I can only say that my time and best abilities has been devoted to the good of the service, and if I have erred, it has been an error of judgment alone.
Very respectfully
    Your obt. servant
        S. Casey
            Bvt. Lt. Col. U.S.A.
Capt. F. Steele
    A.A.A. Gen.
        Pac. Div.
            Benicia, Ca.
Transcribed from a typescript pdf in the collection of Mark Tveskov, SOULA. This letter also transcribed, from the same typescript, on orww.org.
 

Benicia, Dec. 12, 1851
S. Casey
    Bvt. Lt. Col.
        Reason for leaving Port Orford
    The [illegible] has read the written report with every disposition to put a favorable construction upon the movement of Lt. Col. Casey in returning to Benicia without orders, but is constrained 
[illegible] that the reasons assigned for the movement are altogether unsatisfactory; and the General is persuaded that Col. Casey himself, had he been sitting in judgment upon the movement instead of having been engaged in it, would be among the first to see the anomaly of an officer assuming to make such a movement on the alleged absence of orders "conflicting" with it--a principle that would disorganize in a very brief period any army whatever, and make it impossible for a general officer to know where to find his troops, after specifically posting them in view of purposes only known to himself; and, in regard to supplies, the apprehension of deficiency had no sufficient foundation. Supplies were shipped to Fort Orford the 4th inst.--while by the reports of the Commissary Dept. there should have been supplies on hand at Fort Orford of the substantial parts of the ration not subject to injury from rain until the 1st, if not the 10th of January. Besides, the return trip of the Columbia might readily have been counted upon by the 20th inst. The discomfort of being in tents is an incident to the profession and ought rather to be considered a convenience, as troops in the field are not always supplied with them.
E.A.H.  [Ethan Allen Hitchcock]
    Benicia 13 Dec., 1851
Transcribed from a typescript pdf in the collection of Mark Tveskov, SOULA. This letter also transcribed, from the same typescript, on orww.org.

  
Benicia, California
    December 14th, 1851
Captain,
    Yours of yesterday's date with a copy of the endorsement (made by the Brig. Gen. Comm. Pacific Division) on the communication of mine of the 12th inst., has just been received. I would respectfully make a few explanatory remarks to be laid before the General. In my desire promptly to comply with the direction of the General Commanding, calling immediately for my reasons for the movement which was made by me, I did not, it appears, take sufficient time properly to consider the order, and in consequence have been misunderstood in one of the reasons rendered by me.
    As a general principle, I do not think that a subordinate officer has a right to make the movement which was made by me on the alleged absence of conflicting orders merely. I did not make it on that ground. It will be admitted, I think by the Commanding General, that circumstances might arise in which a subordinate may be justified in anticipating, or even in disobeying the orders of his superior officer. I sincerely believed that such justifying circumstances had arisen in my case. The Gen. will probably remember that I was placed in command of the expedition at a short notice.
    I had no opportunity before leaving to inform myself with regard to the supplies. I looked for information on that subject to the A.Q.M. & A.C.S. Capt. Kane. I was informed by him that two months' supply of subsistence stores had been brought along, which was in agreement with the [illegible] order No. 18, dated Benicia October 16th, 1851. He informed me a short time previous to my issuing the order for the movement that most of the supplies would be out on the 18th or 20th inst., and that the sugar and coffee was already exhausted.
    The only vessel of any kind which had touched at Port Orford since the landing of the troops, and before I embarked, was the Columbia on the 18th day of November, then on her way from the Columbia River (I had on that day returned to Port Orford from the Coquille). By the Columbia I learned that the Sea Gull had left San Francisco on the 10th November for Port Orford. I had strong reasons to believe that the Sea Gull was lost.
    I accordingly availed myself of the first opportunity and embarked on the 10th inst. with two companies of dragoons for Benicia, fearing that if I waited longer, I might be out of stores.
    I knew that the military operation for the season had ceased, inasmuch as the requisitions of that order directing them had been complied with, and consequently that no urgent military reasons existed, which made it expedient to remain longer. Had I known then what I afterwards knew, I should have acted differently, but possessed only of the knowledge which I had at the time, there was then no doubt on my mind that circumstances were such that justified me in anticipating orders, and for doing which I regret much that I have incurred the censure of one for whose military opinion I have the highest regard.
Very respectfully
    Your obt. servant
        S. Casey
Bvt. Capt. F. Steele
    A.A.A. Gen.
        Pacific Div. 
            Benicia

Transcribed from a typescript pdf in the collection of Mark Tveskov, SOULA. This letter also transcribed, from the same typescript, on orww.org.



    RETURN OF THE SEA GULL.--This steamer arrived in our harbor yesterday, having again put back, this time owing to a breakdown in her machinery. The Sea Gull, whose departure for Oregon we noticed a day or two since, is quite an unfortunate vessel. On the 26th instant she experienced a severe gale in lat. 38.05, long. 230 W. She carried away her air pumps and both piston rods during the gale. By the aid of her canvas she reached this harbor, as reported.--Alta [California].

Oregon Spectator, Oregon City, December 23, 1851, page 3


    One of the first events which led to the settlement of Coos Bay and which caused Mr. [Henry Hewitt] Baldwin to become a pioneer of Coos County, was the wreck of the government transport Captain Lincoln on January 3, 1852, north of the Coos Bay bar. The former soldier and pioneer tells some interesting facts regarding the incident. He was a member of Troop C, First U.S. Dragoons. The boat, with 35 troopers and stores aboard, was bound for Port Orford, then a military post, to protect the place against the Indians. It had sailed from a California port, and the storm had carried it past Port Orford.
    When the transport was wrecked the men made their way to shore and found scores of Indians, who at first were not inclined to greet the castaways, but who afterward made friends and furnished the soldiers and sailors flesh and fish for which was exchanged hardtack and old clothing and uniforms. Most of the cargo was saved and stored on an improvised warehouse built where the Coos Bay lifesaving station is now located, and the sails of the wrecked and beached vessel were used to make a little village of tents.
    In a few weeks the party was visited by several men from the Umpqua who had heard of their condition. Among these were Patrick Flanagan and James Flanagan, who had also been shipwrecked and who afterward became prominent in the development of the country.
    In telling of the incidents following the wreck and the establishment of the camp, Mr. Baldwin says:
    "Our horses had been sent to Port Orford on a steamer, thrown overboard and allowed to swim ashore, so we were without mounts. We made efforts to  signal the steamer Columbia which passed, but without success. We had the government stores on hand and there was nothing to do but get word in some way to headquarters at San Francisco. Port Orford was the nearest place from which mail could be sent out. I was one of six men with an officer who formed a 'forlorn hope' to make the trip over the mountains and through the woods to Port Orford. We did not know what savages we would encounter and we had no guide, but we started out.
    "It was a terrible trip, and for five days in the woods we were without food. Nearly exhausted, we reached Port Orford and sent word to San Francisco. The mails were slow, and it was not until three months later that a relief boat came. She was the Nassau, commanded by Captain Johnson and a boat of 105 tons, piloted by Captain Nagle of the wrecked transport Captain Lincoln, who had sounded the bar. She was the first white man's boat to enter Coos Bay. This was on May 3, 1852.
    "Our little 'forlorn hope' band, after sending its message to headquarters, had remained three days at Port Orford and then returned to Coos Bay to join the rest of the troop. When the last of the government stores had been loaded on the Nassau the whole troop marched down to Port Orford. where we established ourselves and built barracks.
    "Word came by way of Roseburg that Indian troubles had broken out in the Rogue River Valley, and it was necessary for us to abandon Port Orford and go to save Jacksonville from the Indians. It was the first time that white men had ever crossed those mountains, and our guide was the celebrated Indian Eneas, who joined the whites to avenge himself upon the red men, and who afterwards was hanged by the white people as a traitor. Let me say a word for Eneas. He never would have turned against his chosen allies had it not been that he was forced to do so by the cruel treatment and brutality of the volunteers to which he was subjected.
    "Our campaign into Jackson County was successful. The settlers had all fled from their ranches and had gathered in Jacksonville for safety. We saved the town. General Lane was the federal governor of the territory, and he was at the head of a body of volunteers encamped near Jacksonville. These volunteers were not of much use as Indian fighters compared to the regulars, and General Lane was glad to see us arrive. We established Fort Lane in the sight of Table Rock in Jackson County and had more or less fighting with the Indians. We captured and hanged the Indian murderers and finally brought the war of '52 and '53 to a close when General Lane and Captain Smith signed a treaty with the Indian leaders."
Henry Hewitt Baldwin, quoted in "Men and Women Who Were Makers of Oregon History," Oregon Journal, Portland, March 21, 1909, page 54


Correspondence of the Newark Daily Advertiser.
Life in Oregon.
Port Orford, Oregon, Feb. 1st, 1852.
    Some time has elapsed since I last wrote to you, but our opportunities of communicating with the rest of the world are few, owing in a great measure to the severity of the weather on the Pacific coast at this season. A vessel left San Francisco for this place one month ago last Thursday, but has not yet arrived, and fears are entertained for her safety. A brother of D. W. Lockwood of your city is on board of her. Such severe weather has not been known on this coast for many years.
    Our place is quite dull this winter. The Indians have caused us a good deal of trouble by stealing. Some time ago they entered a ranch while the men who occupied it were in the woods at their work, and stripped it of everything it contained that was worth carrying away. Among the things were four rifles, fourteen blankets, four coats, a broadax, some ammunition, cooking utensils &c. A week ago this morning a party of 14 Indians came to the store just after breakfast. They were all dressed in war costume, their faces painted, their hair tied up and their bows and arrows in their hands. Among them were several who had been engaged in the robbery, and one of them had the broadax and one of the coats with him. The men who owned the property were in the store at the time, and recognized some of them as the same who had been lurking about their tent for some time previous to the robbery. Upon being accused of having stolen the coat and broadax, they became very saucy and drew their bows and one of them a knife. The men then ran for their arms and the Indians left, but several shots were fired and one of them was killed. One of our men was arrested a few days after by the commanding officer of the port for shooting the Indian, and a number of witnesses were examined, but it is impossible that the death of the Indian can be found against any one man. At the time of the affray, I was not at the store, but in my office, which is on the opposite side of the street. Had I been there, I think it would not have occurred, and I much regret that it did, although I think the Indians were entirely at fault for appearing in a hostile attitude. Had they come as they generally do, without arms, nothing would have happened, but I am satisfied it will put a stop to their stealing for some time to come.
    My new house or office is 16 ft. square, built entirely by lumber got out at this place. Its furniture consists of a large French bedstead, a sofa, half a dozen curled maple chairs, a mahogany table, wash stand and fixtures, a mirror, Brussels carpet, a stove and a rocking chair. I moved into it last Tuesday week, and for the first time since I arrived at this place did I entirely undress and sleep between sheets. We retire between 9 and 10 and rise at daybreak, and breakfast at sunrise. I have a man cook whom I pay $50 per month, and 9 boarders who pay me $5 a week. Most of them are in my employ getting out timber and cordwood, and they make about $15 to $20 a week. My intention is to put up a couple of small houses between this and spring, and I think I can make good use of them when emigration comes in. Captain Tichenor's family will move here as soon as his house is completed, which will be about the 1st of April.
    This is the holy Sabbath, but I regret to say that God is not worshiped here in earthly temples. The voice of prayer and the song of praise is not heard in the sanctuary at Port Orford. When in Portland some time since, I saw and conversed with a reverend gentleman connected with the Methodist Church, and he informed me that it is in contemplation to send a missionary to Port Orford. I have offered to give any Christian society who will erect a house of worship here as much land as they may require for that purpose. I sincerely hope that the time is not far distant when we shall enjoy the stated preaching of the gospel, for I am well assured that no place can prosper without its sacred and hallowing influences.
Yours, &c.,        J. S. G.
Newark Daily Advertiser, May 4, 1852, page 2


From Port Orford.
Indian Troubles--Stealing--Shooting the Indians--Trial of a White Man for the Murder--His Acquittal, &c.
    From a private letter from Port Orford to Mr. Egan in this place, which we had the privilege of perusing; it would seem that affairs at the place are in a bad state. The Indians, true to their mother nature, are habitually stealing all they can lay hands upon. It is represented that the Indians, since the treaties, have entertained the notion that they might steal without being punished. Some Indians having stolen $200 worth of property from different white men--complaint was made, and seven or eight Indians were put in the guard house, but they got away. Sometime after one of them returned; Mr. Summers, whom he had stolen from, went to Lieut. Gibson and informed him of the fact and asked to obtain satisfaction, and Lieut. G told him to take it, as he had nothing to do with it. He permitted the Indian to go that time--but returning with 14 more soon after, who were armed for fighting. The Indian attempted to stab a Mr. Lount, whom he had robbed. Lount went for his gun--the Indians drew their bows--whereupon five or six shots were fired by the whites and the great thief was killed.
    Lieut. Gibson had Mr. Lount arrested for murder of the Indian. From the evidence it would seem that it cannot be ascertained which of the six whites shot him--as they all fired together. Lount is still in the guard house. The writer asks that a copy of the law be sent down to Lieut. Gibson. These Indian difficulties occur, we have no doubt, from the neglect of government to carry out the Indian law. A detachment of troops was stationed among them to keep them in subjection, but the effect intended seems directly to the contrary, thus far. What reason can be given for stationing troops among Indians without an interpreter or an authorized Indian agent to accompany them, as the law requires, we cannot see; but one thing seems plain, that it is folly to attempt keeping Indians in subjection, and have them respect treaties, where no one can talk with them to explain their relation and duties toward the whites. Is it sound policy to kill off the ignorant barbarians without their knowing what it is for?
Oregon Weekly Times, Portland, May 1, 1852, page 2



    Capt. William Tichenor and family (formerly of Newark, N.J.) came down from Portland recently, and stopped at Port Orford, for the purpose of investigating a new road to Rogue River, the success of which is said to be of great importance to the citizens of that region.
New York Times, October 14, 1852, page 3


    The Pacific Mail Steamship Company's steamer Isthmus arrived at San Francisco on the 14th ult., three days' passage from Oregon. 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," New York Herald, October 14, 1852, page 2


From Port Orford.
    We are indebted to Col. McKnight for the following information respecting that point:
    "Port Orford is a military post situated on Ewing Harbor, at the north latitude 42 deg. 43 min., 10 miles south of Cape Blanco or Orford, 18 miles north of the mouth of Rogue River, and 43 miles north of the boundary line between California and Oregon. The harbor at Port Orford is the best on the coast between San Francisco and the mouth of the Columbia River, and must be the outlet by sea for Southern Oregon--a region of country rich in mineral and agricultural resources, and containing at this time a majority of the inhabitants of the Territory.
    "The government troops have just opened a trail from this place to the California and Oregon road, intersecting the latter near the ferry on Rogue River, distance 70 miles. This trail is the best on the coast, running all the way on the main divide between the waters of the Coquille and Rogue rivers, crossing no stream, canyon or gulch, and with little labor can be made a wagon road."
Correspondence of the Times.
PORT ORFORD, O.T., Oct. 18, 1852.
FRIEND WATERMAN--
    An exploring party, composed of ten soldiers, Capt. Tichenor and Lieut. Stolman [Stoneman?] in command, started from here on the 17th September, and reached what is called the big bend of Rogue River on the 24th. Found a good trail to connect with the one already found from the bend into Rogue River Valley. On the 25th he commenced his march towards home; traveled a few miles, when he come upon a large body of Indians, stationed behind rocks. Their position was such that he could not get at them; they dared him to fight, but very wisely it was not attempted at that time. It was managed so as to get around and past the Indians before they were aware of it.
    Another party of four men from Yreka come in on the 13th Oct. Seven Indians come to them at this "big bend," appeared friendly, and offered to guide them to Port Orford. They paid one of the Indians to do so; three others traveled with them during the day. At night one of them remained up with the guard, motioning out many fine things; among others he explained to the guard how the soldiers maneuvered with their guns. After a little it became necessary to take the guard's gun to do it with, and during the exercise the Indian took aim at the guard's head and pulled [the] trigger, but it missed him. The Indians left in a hurry.
    Well, now, I have been provoked several times in my life, but never to such an extent as now. Judge of the reasons. Once each week, or nearly so, the mail steamer has passed within from one to two miles of this place, the sea as smooth as could be, plenty of water, and they know it. We could see her, and they us, as plain as you could see it, if it should pass up by Portland. It would not detain them more than 30 minutes to stop and exchange mails. This line of steamers have stopped at this place ten or eleven times and their average receipts is over two thousand dollars. They have not passed this place either way for the last two months but what if they had put in they would have had some passengers. Still they pass. Of course I have not heard a word from any of you since I left. Am nearly dying to hear from you all. When the mail does arrive, I hope to hear from you by letter and receive a file of the Times. If you have not already written, please do so. I will write to you again soon.
Yours very truly, S.H.C. [Samuel H. Culver]
Oregon Weekly Times, Portland, October 30, 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.
    Claims are now being located in this vicinity, and the claimants are making considerable preparation for doing a good business in farming during the coming season. We have also two or three sawmills in course of construction, and will be put in operation within a few months. The lumber will be manufactured from white cedar of a superior quality and shipped to your market.
    The Indians are quiet and peaceable in this vicinity, and no manifestations of a belligerent character are now heard. There is, however, a band occupying what is called the "Great Bend," on Rogue River, known as the "Shasta Scotans," who have, on two or three occasions, manifested signs of difficulty, but nothing of a serious character.
Daily Picayune, New Orleans, Louisiana, January 10, 1853, page 2


    An elk was killed recently near Port Orford, Southern Oregon, which weighed 830 pounds. His horns were 5 feet and 7 inches in length.
Lancaster Gazette, Lancaster, Ohio, December 23, 1852, page 1


Gold Discoveries in Oregon.
    The following letter from Captain Wm. Tichenor, formerly of this city, communicates some intelligence of new discoveries of gold in Oregon, which we have not seen stated elsewhere. The same letter mentions that J. S. Gamble, also formerly of this city, had previously left Port Orford:
Port Orford, Oregon Territory,
    March 1st, 1853.
    This is a beautiful country, and is settling very fast. There are a great number of men employed here in getting out timber for the San Francisco market. It is mostly white cedar, the most beautiful wood I ever saw. There is a great abundance of it in this section of Oregon, but there is very little in the other sections. It surpasses white pine, and sells, in San Francisco, in the square hewn form, for more than the ready-sawed Oregon lumber. There is a very large Indian trade, and there are generally from ten to thirty in one place at a time. Otter skins are worth here from $50 to $100 per skin. A person here with a 50-horse engine, lath and planing machine, two uprights and one circular saw, which would cost about $8,000, could make about $100,000 a year. The price for lumber dressed per M. would not exceed $16, and the freight from here to San Francisco $15, making an expense of $31; the lumber will sell for $90, and thus a profit of $59 will be made per M. If there should be only $30 profit a smart and industrious man could make $75,000 a year. There is no timber on this side of the continent at this time of the kind, and Eastern manufacturers cannot ship it and sell it for less than $85 per M.
    I am now washing out gold at the rate of ten dollars an hour. Two others by the side of me, with the assistance of a squaw (for an Indian man is not worth his food) are making $50 a day. We will have thousands of inhabitants here in a few months, as gold is everywhere in this vicinity. All the soldiers in the garrison are at work making from $20 a day upwards, but none less than $16. No person would work for the gold, until my partner tried, and after two or three hours work he was offered $35 for what was in his machine, which he took. The next day he worked about 1 hour, and again sold his sand for $40. On investigation it was found that he had sold $60 worth of gold for $25 [sic], and $80 worth for $40. We have taken out $80 worth in two hours and forty minutes, and then let escape $10 worth. This was the first mining done here, and now it is ascertained that it will yield a rich reward, everywhere along the beach.
W. T.
Newark Daily Advertiser, August 4, 1853, page 2


Correspondence of the Times.
ON BOARD M.S.S. COLUMBIA
    August 12th, 1853.
    SIR:--You are no doubt aware of the excitement raised here and in California about the lately discovered gold placers at Port Orford, and perhaps you would be pleased to lay before the public a few facts about them, from one who has just prospected those "diggings." From the reports in the San Francisco papers, I had supposed in common with many others that the black sand mixed with gold was found in heaps along the seashore, requiring no other labor than to be shoveled from the surface into the pan and that then the black was easily washed or blown from the yellow dross, the latter quickly filling the pockets of the operator. So much indeed was this idea prevalent that one person who has been mining for the last three years in California came up with the intention of having those heaps of golden sand barreled up and forwarded to some eastern port for purification. But what is the real fact? Why, that the labor and method required are precisely the same as in other mines. The miner must take his pickax and shovel, dig the earth from the base of the hills that slope down to the shore, and washing it carefully in sluices and toms, he will obtain as the result that black sand more or less mixed with the precious metal. He has then the further labor of separating the sand from the gold, which is generally done by blowing, but as this method is not effectual, the gold being so extremely minute and light, the miner preserves the residuum sand for future amalgamation or for sale. So much for the main point. Now for the actual state of things.
    On the shore, directly at Port Orford, there are four toms in operation, belonging to as many different companies, and giving work to some 12 or 16 men. One of these claims pays well, say from $40 to $60 a day. Another pays pretty well, while the other two barely pay expenses. Eight miles north there are some two or three claims worked, which pay but very moderately. Such are the whole of the mining operations carried on for an extent of 16 miles along the coast, that is, for eight miles above and eight below Port Orford. There are also two or three rich claims and several poor ones at the Coquille, some 30 miles north.
    The great want along the whole coast is water for washing. Were that element more abundant, I have no doubt there are many rich spots which would yield largely, but as things are, all operations will prove to be only as so much labor and capital thrown away. A further objection exists against those coast placers; they cannot be worked in winter, say from November to May, for during that season the sea dashes so furiously against the gold-bearing banks as to send all sluices and some [men] prospecting on their own account over the broad bosom of the Pacific. Further inland among the mountains there are said to be numerous streams, and that placers of coarse gold exist there. On the morning of the day I left six men with three horses loaded with provisions &c. had gone on a prospecting expedition, proposing to explore the mountains toward the southeast for the distance of 60 or 70 miles.
    But to fill up the gap left left by these departures, a new batch of 35 prospectors had arrived on the Cecil from San Francisco, but assuredly only to meet with the same dreary reality that dissipated the glittering imaginings of those who had arrived on the week previous.
    On the whole, I would say that the prospect of Port Orford ever becoming the center of a great mining district is very poor indeed. The town at present consists of some eight or ten houses, in four of which are liquor bars and provision stores. There are only four permanently resident families. Half a mile north from the town stand the U.S. barracks, in which 50 men under the command of Capt. Smith are now stationed. These, with the few miners of the neighborhood, support the place. The time of all those men will have expired in three months, when it is intended I understand to break up the station, and then I believe Port Orford must break up too. At present there are no accommodations whatever for strangers there--every man must cook for himself and will do well to bring his own provisions. As for beds, everyone has the comfortable privilege of stretching himself upon the floor in his own blanket. Now for a few items on the state of the markets at Port Orford.
    Flour 18 cts. per lb.; bacon 25 cts. per lb.; butter 62 cts. per lb.; sugar 18 cts.; coffee 25 cts.; brandy $1 a bottle; whiskey, soda water, ale, beer, champagne--none in market. Coarse clothing--none in market, and in demand.
    The U.S. steamer Active is at present stationed at Port Orford, surveying the harbor and coast.
    I cannot close without saying a word about the mail steamer Columbia. It is one of the most orderly and comfortable steamers I ever traveled on, and its officers are gentlemen, not merely of broadcloth and jewels, but of feeling and principle, and I venture to say that the traveling public are fortunate in having such a boat on the coast.
C-----
Oregon Weekly Times, Portland, August 20, 1853, page 2


    MINING AT CRESCENT CITY.--But little news is stirring at present in town. From the coast above, Port Orford and vicinity, we have had several arrivals. All hands agree as to the diggings being good, but were compelled to leave their claims for want of provisions, and unite in saying that no work can be done to advantage until the spring of the year, on account of the high winter tides and gales. Within a mile of the town the beach is staked off into mining claims, and quite a good color can be found. I hear of quite an important discovery of gold a few miles from here, and back from the coast. Along Smith's River, low down, good wages are obtained. By the way, both ditches at Sailor Diggings are now completed, and miners may have as much water as they will need, if they do not have too much from the clouds. We shall hear from Sailor's shortly. [Yreka Herald.
New York Daily Herald,
January 25, 1854, page 6


Our Oregon Correspondence.
Work in the Mines--Effects of the Storm--Report of the
Indian Agent--Peace on the Rogue River, &c.
Port Orford, O.T., Dec. 14, 1853.
    This point may have escaped the observation of our eastern friends, but it is destined to emerge from that obscurity, and very soon too. The beach diggings are very extensive; an immense number of claims have been taken for fifty miles up and down the coast, and they will all be worked at the first lull in the wintry storms on the approach of spring. The storm of the 25th of November did much damage; one house, several temporary establishments, and fences and trees were blown down. The serviceable boat and the only lighter belonging here were destroyed. It had been very stormy for two weeks previous, and for a week or more since, so that neither steamer nor sail vessel could enter here, the harbor being open to the south. Consequently provisions decreased in amount and increased in price, so as to create apprehensions among the inhabitants. There is not an ounce of flour for sale in the place.
    The weather is fair today and the steamer in sight; she brings relief to us all.
    The Indian agent, Frederic M. Smith, has recently returned from a friendly visit to the Siskiyou Costa [sic] Indians, at the big bend of Rogue River. He established friendly relations with them, though they have heretofore been very hostile. Mr. Smith reports the country along the river as a rich mining district. Elizabethtown, at the mouth of Rogue River, is a new and flourishing mining village, with about two hundred miners in the vicinity. The mines at the mouth of the Coquille River are also very rich.
    Everything remains quiet in the vicinity. The Indians are not at all troublesome to the whites, though there is trouble amongst themselves. They are fighting over a dead whale that washed ashore in the harbor day before yesterday.
    Notwithstanding the season, the settlers and miners are coming in very fast, and Port Orford is destined to look up this coming season.
New York Herald, February 6, 1854, page 3


New Gold Discovery.
Great Excitement at Port Orford.
    We clip the following from the memorandum of the purser of the steamship Columbia:
    "Arrived at Port Orford July 7, at 9 o'clock A.M.; found the town completely deserted. Everyone had gone to the new diggings, which have been discovered some 25 miles distant.
    "Miners are making from $20 to $150 per day. The character of the gold is much the same as the coarse gold of California, and is said to assay equally as well. One party of four men are said to have taken out some $6,000 in the short space of two weeks. About $1000 of the gold from the new diggings was on exhibition at Port Orford when the Columbia was there."--Portland Standard Extra, 10th inst.
Oregon Spectator, Oregon City, July 14, 1854, page 3


    A rush is being made for the Port Orford diggings. Late news has been received informing our people that the Coquille River, in the southern part of this Territory, is the scene of great excitement at this time on account of extensive and rich gold deposits have been very recently discovered, and that good wages can be made. Several of our citizens are leaving this week, and many making preparations to start, in a few days, for this new speculating field. We hope that all the favorable reports may prove true, for we should hate to see so large a delegation, even from "Pike," humbugged, and much more the enterprising inhabitants of the Willamette Valley.
"Port Orford Gold Mines," Oregon Spectator, Oregon City, July 21, 1854, page 2


    Late--10 o'clock A.M.--Peytona arrived! Coquille mines all a humbug!! Peytona brings back a large number of the disappointed gold seekers--just as we expected! Thanks to Wells, Fargo & Co. for the above news.
Oregon Spectator, Oregon City, July 28, 1854, page 2


Our Oregon Correspondence.
Affairs in Oregon Territory.
Port Orford, O.T., Aug. 23, 1854.
    The brig Oriental, Captain Trevitt, from San Francisco, went ashore here day before yesterday, in a southeaster. Although the wind was not blowing heavy, her chains parted, and she narrowly escaped going on some rocks. She will probably be saved. Southeasters of such severity as we have had for two days past are of unusual occurrence on this coast at this season of the year.
    The Indians are quiet, and no disturbances have taken place among them for some time.
    The mining operations are going on steadily. The excitements have died away, and business is conducted on a safer footing. The mines on the headwaters of the Coquille have ceased to attract attention for this season, as it is too late to commence operations before the high water sets in. Little is doing at present, for want of water, at Randolph. At Cape Blanco the mines are paying exceedingly well. The miners pump their water from the sea. At Gold Beach and the mouth of Rogue River, the miners are preparing for the approaching winter by collecting large piles of sand high up on the back [sic], above the tide, ready to commence working when the rain sets in. Some interest and attention have been attracted towards machines, pretending to save the gold from the sand, but none have yet been produced superior to the ordinary sluice box, with quicksilver rivulets, in the general result. Machines have been invented that save all the gold, but they require so much more work that in the result they are inferior to the sluice box.
    Farming operations have received but little attention as yet. Some claims have been taken up in the vicinity, and recently some men have gone out to cut hay on Floras Creek.
    The vigilance committee, however lawless it may be, answers the purpose of the law in your more organized communities. We have had no violations of the peace or depredations upon property since its organization, and all difficulties are adjusted by a single justice of the peace and jury.
K.
New York Herald, October 30, 1854, page 3


    PORT ORFORD.--Late advices from this place represent it as "gone in." There are some twenty-odd soldiers stationed there; the balance of the population hardly amounts to an equal number. Three stores put up a year ago at a cost of from five to eleven hundred dollars each were recently sold for a gold watch worth about a hundred dollars.

"Later from the North," Empire County Argus, Coloma, California, June 30, 1855, page 3


    Among the arrivals from California by the George Law yesterday was Mr. James S. Gamble, of this city, formerly a conductor on the Philadelphia trains of the New Jersey Railroad, who has been on the Pacific side for several years past. Since his absence he has been postmaster at Port Orford, Oregon, and recently was a conductor on the Sacramento Valley Railroad.

Newark Daily Advertiser, February 14, 1857, page 2


LETTER FROM PORT ORFORD.
INDIAN DEPREDATIONS--EXPOSED CONDITION OF THE WHITE SETTLERS.

Port Orford, June 10th, 1857.
    I take the liberty to ask you to publish in the Alta the following fair statement of the exposed and unprotected condition of the people of this place. The settlers and miners in the vicinity of Port Orford are subject to incursions and depredations from the merciless and bloodthirsty Indians, numbering about two thousand, who claim the right to leave the reservation, where they were (I cannot say compelled to go) persuaded or coaxed by Col. Buchanan, the commander-in-chief of the U.S. troops stationed in Southern Oregon to fight Indians shortly after the Indian massacre at the mouth of Rogue River on the 22nd of February 1856. From that time, up to the time of getting the Indians onto the reservation at the mouth of the Umpqua River, I forbore any comments, fearing that my personalities [sic] might preclude the publication of this communication, in which I desire to show to our government the necessity of sending troops to this point, that the Indians may be kept from coming back, by whole tribes, onto their old homesteads, killing off what whites there are here, taking all the stock in the country, and finally getting a foothold that will require a strong force to dislodge them, at an expense to Uncle Sam (including spoliation bills) that will amount to twice as much as the whole territory is worth.
    The Indians were told, if they would go onto the reserve, that they would all be fed and otherwise provided for by the great Boston tyee. In this, they say, they have been deceived, that their people are sick and dissatisfied, and they want to come back to their own country; this, of course, is denied them, and now they say they will come in spite of the soldiers, who number about thirty-five men stationed at the mouth of the Umpqua River, the southern boundary of the Indian reservation, and kill all the whites and get all their stock and guns. This threat they are about to carry out unless we get assistance, as they have already broken and left the reservation in large bodies, and are now skulking about through the thinly settled neighborhoods, stealing cattle and driving families from their homes, and all they want now is to get guns, which they can and no doubt will, from small prospecting parties, who are scattered all through the mountains, then lie in wait and capture the first pack train that shows itself. This will provide them with guns and provisions enough to take this or any point they may see fit to attack, as the number already reported to have left for this place, a part of which have been seen near here, is seven times that of the whites. We have no forts, no communication with the officer in command at the mouth of the Umpqua, no place of retreat, nor any chance to get women and children away, except by the steamer Columbia, which ought to stop here once every two weeks, but this we cannot depend on, so you can easily see from our weakness in numbers and exposed situation how easy it would be for three or four hundred Indians to massacre the last one of us, as they did the miners and settlers at the mouth of Rogue River, twenty-eight miles below here, on the 22nd of February 1856.
    My object in writing this communication is to get our situation fairly set forth through the public prints, so that those in authority may not have it to say that we never asked [for] assistance, and that our situation was never understood by them. It has been charged upon the whites as having been the aggressors, and the cause of the present war (though General Wool said in his dispatches there is no war) in Oregon, that the war was got up for private speculation. This, I assure you, is untrue, and has gone far to prejudice the rights of the people of Oregon Territory. Very respectfully, D. S. LOUNT.
Daily Alta California, San Francisco, June 13, 1857, page 1


OUR PORT ORFORD CORRESPONDENCE.
INDIAN HOSTILITIES ON ROGUE RIVER.
Port Orford, April 21, 1858.
    The Indian hostilities on Rogue River still continue to cause us much anxiety, and the life of a settler is one not merely of hardship and privation, but it is now beset with constant peril from treacherous savages--death stares him in the face by night and day.
    The Indians made another outbreak about a week ago, on Rogue River, and during the night some 20 or 30 warriors surrounded and attacked a house some 15 miles from the mouth of the river. A man and two boys were sleeping in the house, of whom two escaped, while one of the boys was killed. The Indians then burned the house and laid waste to the ranch. Thence they went down to the Whale's Head Mountain, some ten miles below Rogue River, and burned two houses. The inhabitants fortunately escaped, and arrived safely in Crescent City.
    The people on the river have formed a small company of volunteers, some ten or twelve men to fight the savages, and have applied to the Governor of Oregon to be recognized and supplied by government. Meantime private subscription supports them.
    No small anxiety is felt hereabouts regarding the conduct of the Indians this summer. This is the second murder they have committed this season, and although they only number some 40 warriors, still they are out in open war against us. Now it is seriously apprehended that the Indians from the Umpqua Reserve will break away, as they have repeatedly threatened to do, and return to their old hunting grounds. They say they would rather fight and die here than live there. If they succeed in their plans, we shall be reduced to the melancholy necessity of renewing the scenes of 1851 and '54, and shall commence a war of extermination.
    Meantime, what a disgrace to our government that such a beautiful country as the valleys about here present should be sealed to all honest, peaceful settlers, by the lack of a little energy on the part of government.
    As an offset to your Fraser River excitement, I will tell you that the mines on Sixes River have been doing well, and now diggings of great richness have just been discovered on the Coquille.
    We have the Colorado fever here, and some fifteen or twenty of our best population are up and off for Arizona. What a queer idea for such a disease to rage in such a place! It is too bad, for we can ill spare them. Goodbye!
Yours,        TERT.
Daily Alta California, San Francisco, May 3, 1858, page 1


    The earlier attempts to secure a mail service by the way of the Umpqua were a failure, on account of an imperfect coast survey and the bad character the entrance had obtained by the loss of the Bostonian on the bar in 1851. The Pacific Mail Steamship Company about this time instructed Captain William Tichenor of the Sea Gull to look for some other harbor along the coast of Southern Oregon, and when one was found to place there a colony of pioneers, who should commence a settlement and explore a route to the interior. Accordingly, in June, 1851, nine men, under the command of J. M. Kirkpatrick, were left at a small bay previously
discovered by Tichenor, under the shelter of a point of land known as Point
Orford, a few miles south of Cape Blanco, the most westerly land in Oregon or the United States. They were furnished with the necessary stores, arms and ammunition, and a four-pound cannon mounted on what was supposed to be a defensible position --a high rock, sloping on one side to the sea, and cut off at high tide from connection with the land.
    The steamer had been but two days gone on her voyage to Portland, when the natives in the neighborhood assembled for a war dance, after which they began moving upon the fortified position of the settlers. Not desiring an encounter,
Kirkpatrick motioned them away, and endeavored to intimidate them by gestures towards the cannon, which they probably did not understand, for they continued to advance, and finally swarmed into the fort, seizing the arms of the men. At this moment Kirkpatrick touched off the cannon, and brought down a number who were
still approaching.
    The men, who were struggling for the possession of their arms, now discharged
them, killing six of the attacking party, and, clubbing their guns, fought hand to hand. In a quarter of an hour there were twenty Indians dead, and almost as many wounded. The weapons of the natives, being bows and arrows, were less fatal, and of the four settlers wounded none were killed.
    The Indians retired, carrying off their slain, but at the end of five days reappeared, and, finding the settlers still occupying their fort, held another war dance. Unwilling to risk a second attack, the settlers decided to attempt a flight, although it was also attended with great danger. Carrying nothing but their arms, the little garrison, taking advantage of the temporary absence of the enemy, sought the cover of the forest, and traveling as rapidly as they were able struck the beach again six miles above Point Orford in the night, avoiding the village of the Coquille Indians near the mouth of that river. Keeping in the woods by day and traveling by night, crossing rivers on rafts, living alternately on berries and mussels, the fugitives reached the Umpqua River at the end of a week, and were kindly cared for at Umpqua City.
    Great was the surprise and consternation of Captain Tichenor, when, on his next voyage up the coast, he called at Port Orford, as the bay was now called, to find the place deserted, and the plain evidences of a terrible conflict. The only clue to the mystery was a diary picked up on the ground, the last sentence of which spoke of the Indians at close quarter, and seizing the men's guns. It was taken for granted that the men had been killed, and the facts and conclusions were so published in
the California and Oregon newspapers. This report was soon after corrected by a letter from Kirkpatrick, who claimed the discovery, during his wanderings, of the Coquille River and Coos Bay, although the Umpqua Company had before been aware of the existence of the latter.
Frances Fuller Victor, "A Province of California," Overland Monthly, July, 1893, pages 99-100



Last revised June 26, 2019