Oregon's Trails of Tears
The Oregon Indian agents' instructions, diaries and letters from the trail. Click here for much more information.
Elk Camp Jany. 16th 1856Sir
I left the Umpqua Reservation on the 11th inst., with all the Indians that were assembled there. It was with the utmost difficulty I got them started, and every morning since I have been on the road I have had to use all the power of persuasion I had at my command and finally threats to get them started from camp. Today they halted in the road opposite Lindsay Applegate's and refused to go any farther, but I finally succeeded in getting them this far with the exception of some of the Calapooias who were encamped near Mr. Applegate's who positively refused to move. And their refusal has been the cause of great dissatisfaction in camp, so much so that I have but little hope of being able to continue my journey without the assistance of a military force. On the refusal of these Indians to leave Applegate's today I sent an express to Col. Martin for a detachment of volunteers to assist in carrying out your instructions. And if he fails to comply with my request I look for a general stampede in camp. The indisposition on the part of the Indians to leave here is owing to the interference of some of the whites in this vicinity. When I called at Mr. Applegate's for the Indians I found nine and some other men who were there sympathizing with the Indians and told them that there were no agents here and that we were a set of inhuman men driving them from their homes and that they had rights as well as ourselves. Now you see what I have to contend with, but I am determined to take these Indians to the Yamhill at all hazard unless I am otherwise ordered. I see from the papers I am likely to have a difficulty with the citizens of Polk County. You must be the judge of that, and if there is likely to be trouble please send me an escort of regulars and I will carry out your instructions. I am just out of funds and hope you will send me five or six hundred dollars at the earliest moment by Mr. Magruder or some other person that will make no delay. If I am detained on this side of the mountain we must lose some of our stock, as there is no food of any description here. We had one death in camp this evening (Bogus' wife), the only one since we started. We have but little sickness in camp except a few chronic cases, which are likely to be no worse by traveling. I have eight wagons and find them insufficient to haul all who are not able to walk.
Very respectfully your obt. servt.Joel Palmer
R. B. Metcalfe
Supt. Ind. Affairs
NARA Series M2, Microcopy of Records of the Oregon Superintendency of Indian Affairs 1848-1873, Reel 14; Letters Received, 1856, No. 15.
Grand Ronde Yamhill Co. Oregon Ter.Hon. Joel Palmer,
Jan. 18, 1856
Dear Sir, After three days hard driving we reached this place, and the team became so far disabled that we were under the necessity of employing Mr. Eaton to forward seven hundred lbs. of our load at one dollar per hundred lbs., and then found it was all we could do [to] get here with the assistance of Mr. Chamberlin, who met us three miles from here with a fresh team.
On our arrival here we found all peace and have taken possession of the Eaton house, spending one day in fixing bunks &c. &c. We have been engaged today in slaughtering the hogs, find them very good pork. Finding ourselves under the necessity of having a grindstone we got Mr. Casper's upon conditions that he have pay for it or another as good replaced there or he would lend it just as you and he are [of] a mind. Today I sent off Mr. Clark for Tillamook with those letters for Mr. Raymond the Ind. agent. He rode one of our horses. We shall not have salt enough to keep the pork, and as there is an opportunity to procure some of Mr. Woolery for four dollars per hundred I concluded to purchase some and shall have to draw on you in his power for the amount of the same. Mr. Woolery has some four or five hundred lbs. of flour which you can purchase at three dollars per hundred here of which you must be the judge. In order to expedite the erection of the buildings for the Umpqua Inds. I have employed two hands for riving boards for I find it is utterly out of the question to get lumber from the mill, the roads being so bad it cannot be hauled. Those buildings we will commence on Monday morning and push forward with all possible dispatch. There is wanted here a bolt of drilling for bedding purposes, also some saleratus and cream of tartar for bread rising. I think it advisable to have a couple of barrels to pickle pork in, if you should find it convenient to send them. Where to locate those houses I have not been able to determine as I have not had time to examine the premises.
Respectfully yoursP.S. The bearer Mr. Woolery is going to return to this place with his wagon; if my clothes have arrived or any letters please send them by him. I have bought of Mr. Woolery some shoats and chickens to the amt. of fifteen dollars. This is a private matter. Accept of my respects for yourself and family and remember me to Mr. Geary.
Joseph JeffersI have lost my specs and Mr. C. waits for me.
NARA Series M2, Microcopy of Records of the Oregon Superintendency of Indian Affairs 1848-1873, Reel 14; Letters Received, 1856, No. 19.
The weather for the last week has been beautiful; the clear sunny skies that overhung us have turned our January into a spring month. We have had white frosts on three nights of the past week.
Oregon Argus, Oregon City, January 19, 1856, page 2
The weather has been remarkably pleasant during the past week, with every appearance of its continuing so for some time to come. The relief from the uncomfortable weather just past is quite refreshing, and instead of long and serious faces, we meet sunny looks on every hand.
Weekly Oregonian, Portland, January 19, 1856, page 2
Office Supt. Ind. AffairsSir:
Dayton, O.T. January 21st 1856
Your letter of the 16th instant from camp on Elk Creek has been received--
Upon examination of your letter taken in connection with the efforts of the legislative assembly to excite our people apparently with a view of inducing them to resist by force the consummation of the plans sought to be carried out for the colonization of those Indians, and their removal to the reservation in accordance with treaty stipulations, I have dispatched a messenger to Fort Vancouver with a request that 25 or 30 dragoons, if they can be had, or 50 infantry, be dispatched at once to your aid, and I confidently anticipate a compliance with that request. In the meantime use persuasive measures to induce the Indians to accompany you on the way until you find a convenient camp, and, if you deem it advisable, there remain until the arrival of the troops. You will use every possible effort to induce the Indians to acquiesce in the arrangements, and if you fail, select, as above indicated, some suitable camp where they can be subsisted and where forage can be obtained for your animals, and await the arrival of the troops.
The mail brought me intelligence of the designation by the President of the Coast Reservation for the Willamette, Umpqua and coast tribes, together with power to adopt such measures as I might deem necessary and proper to maintain order and secure an observance of treaty stipulations, drawing upon the Department at Washington for such an amount of funds as might be requisite to meet the exigencies.
The encampment at the head of Grand Ronde is the point selected for the concentration of the friendly bands; the point to which we look as the entering wedge of our future operations, and a failure to accomplish that would be equivalent to abandonment of the policy of the government. The threats of aspirants to intimidate and defeat the plans for the accomplishment of this important link to all successful operations will not induce me to swerve: My oath of office, and instructions, require prompt and decisive action. The Indians must be taken to the encampment at Grand Ronde. The goods are at this point (Dayton). I have persons engaged in building at the encampment. A portion of the Indians of this valley will be on the ground in a few days.
I send by Mr. Magruder one thousand dollars for use in the removal of those Indians.
Arrangements had been made to transport the Indians on one of the steamers from Corvallis to Dayton, but in the event of an escort of troops, it may not be necessary to do so. I feel encouraged in the hope that you may have succeeded in inducing the Indians, at least, to cross the Calapooia Mountains. The troops sent up will doubtless reach Corvallis by steamer, and may be looked for at that point as early as Friday next.
In the event of a necessity for additional teams, you will purchase [them] if they can be obtained at reasonable rates, as they will be required for service on the reservation. I shall secure the services of a physician and send [him] out to attend the sick, if it be practicable to do so; one has already been engaged to reside with them upon the reservation.
Say to those Indians that we are not going to take them into a wild wilderness, but to a country where they can be supplied with all the comforts of life; where there will be houses and fields, and they will be protected and supplied with provisions, clothing, and those who wish employment will find plenty to do. Say to them that, if they desire peace and wish to receive my talk and do what is right and be protected, that I shall expect them to come with you and see me as they have agreed to do; they must not listen to the talk of foolish people, that those who profess great friendship for them now only expect to get them to do their work for them; that those people do not often give them anything unless they get something in return; that our Great Chief has directed me to look after their interests and to see that they are protected, and that I wish to do them good, but unless they receive my talk and obey me I can do them no good. Tell them also that those persons who represent that our Chief is not pleased with my acts are lying to them; that he does approve them, and what is more if he finds that they lie to him in trying to prevent them (the Indians) from doing as I tell them, he will have them punished.
In the event of the troops coming you can say to the Indians that they come to protect them and not to harm them, but we shall expect them to obey you in what you say to them.
I may possibly meet you on the road, though I cannot say, for I am expecting Indians from the Lower Columbia River to negotiate a treaty.
Your obedt. servt.
Supt. Ind. Affrs.
R. B. Metcalfe
En route with Umpquas
to Grand Ronde encampment
NARA Series M2, Microcopy of Records of the Oregon Superintendency of Indian Affairs 1848-1873, Reel 6; Letter Books E:10, pages 20-21.
Office Indian AgentDear Sir
Rogue River Valley O.T.
Jan. 31st 1856
I have the honor to transmit the following report of the condition of affairs pertaining to this Agency. Circumstances have rendered it impossible for to remove these Indians for the past two months, although they are quite willing to go as soon as the necessary arrangements can be made for that purpose. The military escort asked for is not sufficient to afford them protection in view of which fact I deemed it best, both for the Indians and the country, to await a more favorable time. The inclemency of the weather also had much to [do] with that matter. Some meddlesome evil-disposed persons are in the habit of frequenting the encampment, telling the Indians all sort of stories in relation to the contemplated move, warning them of the danger they will be in if they should go, representing to them that they will surely be killed by the way by persons who are laying in wait for that purpose, that at least five hundred persons were preparing to march against them, and their only chance of safety lay in flight to the mountains in the night unknown to the authorities of Fort Lane. Such meddlesome interference keeps them in constant alarm and renders it imperatively necessary that they should be accompanied by a sufficient military force to ward off any threatened danger. In my last communication I informed you that the number of Indians belonging to the encampment had increased to three hundred and fifty-one. They now number three hundred and seventy-one. The last lot of twenty were also women and children belonging to the Upper Rogue River and Butte Creek bands of Indians who had been dispersed and scattered in various locations. From their statements I am inclined to believe all belonging to these bands are now here. During the past month five deaths have occurred, one adult male, two women and two children. The general health of the tribe is not good. Thirty of them are confined by sickness, fifteen or twenty of whom would have to be conveyed by wagons to start. I am fully satisfied that the earlier they start the better and am accordingly using every exertion to get them under way as early as possible and hope to succeed in being able to start as early in February as the 5th or 6th of the month. Of the missing cattle belonging to the Agency all have been recovered but one. The skeleton of an ox was found on the reserve the day after it had been slaughtered and destroyed by the hostile Indians. It could not be identified as one of the Agency cattle, but it most probably was one.
No war news of interest to communicate. Nothing effective has yet been done, occasionally some skirmishing, but nothing decisive on either side.
Very respectfully your obt. servt.Joel Palmer Esqr.
G. H. Ambrose
Supt. Ind. Affairs
Dayton O.T. NARA Series M2, Microcopy of Records of the Oregon Superintendency of Indian Affairs 1848-1873, Reel 14; Letters Received, 1856, No. 63.
For the last week the weather has been beautiful, and everything gives promise of a successful spring campaign.
Edward Sheffield, writing from Roseburg, Oregon, in the Weekly Oregonian, Portland, February 2, 1856, page 2
The weather has been warm and cloudy, with but little rain, during the past week.
Oregon Argus, Oregon City, February 9, 1856, page 3
Office Superintendent Ind. AffairsSir,
Dayton, O.T. February 20th 1856
I herewith enclose you a copy of an account and letter received by me in relation to the transportation of the Corvallis Indians from your place to Westin. The bill presented is for a much greater sum than I feel myself authorized to pay inasmuch as the aggregate number of Indians transported was only 78--including children.
The claim is based by the captain of the steamer, it seems, upon a contract (whether verbal or written, it is not stated) made by you for the transportation of 250 Indians. Of such contract, if one was made, I am as yet totally ignorant and desire you will inform me of all the facts in connection with the matter.
My instructions to Mr. Flett (who was directed to show them to you) were to the direct point that transportation should be provided for those that choose to come and that he would apply to you to make the arrangements.
In order that a just and equitable settlement of the matter may be effected, I would be pleased if you would see the captain of the steamer and make with him such an issue as will be just and satisfactory to all. I have no disposition to evade the payment of a just claim, but it appears to me if an allowance of this kind should be made the accounting officers would disallow the voucher, and unless I am legally bound by specific contract I shall feel warranted in protesting against such a charge, the amount of which would undoubtedly be thrown back upon this office.
Very respectfully &c.To
Joel Palmer, Supt. &c.
Nat H. Lane, Esq.
NARA Series M2, Microcopy of Records of the Oregon Superintendency of Indian Affairs 1848-1873, Reel 6; Letter Books E:10, page 46.
Office Superintendent Ind. AffairsSir:
Dayton, O.T. February 22nd 1856
You will take charge of the immigrating train of Indians now on their way to the Grand Ronde Encampment and proceed with as much dispatch as possible to that point. Three days rations are issued them this morning. Should you be detained on the road a longer period you will purchase additional supplies from the persons along the route. Forage also will be procured for the teams along the road. The train consists of six wagons and two carts, with 24 yoke of cattle, and about 80 horses belonging to the Indians, all of which owing to the scarcity of grazing will be supplied with forage, if deemed by you requisite to ensure a speedy passage to the point designated.
You will remain a few days at the encampment, or until my arrival, and in the event of Mr. Metcalfe's coming down you will remain at that point until school. I understand the time of issuing rations is on Saturdays; in issuing to the Indians now on their way, after their arrival arrange the quantities so as to terminate with a view of having the entire camp supplied on the same day. Should there be an insufficient quantity of supplies on hand you will proceed at once (should Mr. Metcalfe come down) to purchase at least two weeks supply and make the arrangements to have it in store, drawing checks on this office for the amounts, one each person, specifying the article and price, so that a proper voucher can be taken. But should Mr. Metcalfe decline coming down you will at all events remain and assist him until you hear from me.
It is my wish that Mr. Chamberlain should devote his time to nursing and attending the sick, until the school house be in readiness, and he will be relieved from all the duties during that time. This wish you will communicate to him and to Dr. Westerfield should he be in attendance. And in order to enable him to attend to that duty properly, one building in some one of the valleys will be assigned for his use, and he will be supplied with rations, blankets and other articles to enable him to act efficiently in his vocation. The necessary camp equipage for that use will be sent up by Mr. Hash.
Joel Palmer, Supt. &c.
W. W. Raymond Esq.
now at Dayton O.T.
NARA Series M2, Microcopy of Records of the Oregon Superintendency of Indian Affairs 1848-1873, Reel 6; Letter Books E:10, pages 48-49.
Journal of the Removal of the Rogue River Tribe of IndiansFriday. Quite a pleasant morning. Had previously made the arrangements. After collecting the wagons & teams together, we found our means of conveyance too limited to make ordinary progress. After driving (3) three miles we encamped on the bank of Rogue River.
Commencing on the 22nd Day of February
23rd Saturday. The weather still continues pleasant. It was found necessary to have more teams than at first contemplated. I accordingly proceeded to Jacksonville for that purpose, and also to procure some articles, such as clothing and blankets, to add to the comfort of the Indians. Although the weather is set down as pleasant, it certainly would be regarded as such, especially at this season of the year; however, the nights are quite frosty and the mornings cool, sufficiently so to render it necessary that they should be provided with tents, blankets, shoes & such necessaries as would tend to promote their comfort while on their journey, which being procured the day was spent in distributing the articles among them. Also two additional teams were secured to convey the sick, aged and infirm. Our teams now number eight, which I fear will not be sufficient. Thirty-four Indians are disabled from traveling by reason of sickness aside from the aged & infirm, who will as a matter of course have to be hauled.
24th Saturday. Remained in camp. A fine and beautiful day too. Our first cold day spent in camp.
25th Monday. A heavy frost last night. In consequence of Indian horses straying off during the night we were unable to get an early start. About eleven o'clock we all got under way. Our route lay immediately down the river on the south bank of said stream, a level, good road. We traveled today a distance of eight miles, encamped on a small stream near its outlet in Rogue River.
26th Tuesday. Frosty and cool. All things being arranged, we took up our line of march, which still lay immediately down Rogue River. In about four miles we arrived at Jewett ferry, which occupied several hours in crossing, which being done we encamped for the night, it being the only camp we could reach before nightfall.
27th Wednesday. The weather continues cool & frosty. Our route still lay down Rogue River, over rough, rocky ground. We marched today a distance of ten miles and camped at Patterson's old ranch. Good water but not much grass.
28th Thursday. Frosty & cool again. This morning, while about preparing to leave camp some person killed an Indian who had wandered off some distance from camp in search of his horse, which had strayed off during the night, which caused some considerable excitement among the Indians, as it went to prove the statement previously made by some evil-disposed persons, to wit: that they would be killed by the way. We learned this evening that a party of evil-disposed persons have gone in advance of us as is supposed to annoy us, or kill some friendly Indian. A messenger was immediately dispatched to Capt. Smith at Fort Lane for an additional force to escort us to or through the Canyon if it should be found necessary. We also learned that an individual by the name of Timoleon Love was the person who killed the Indian this morning and that he was one of the party that had just passed. We drove today a distance of seven miles and encamped on the west bank of Jumpoff Joe Creek, where we will most probably remain till the arrival of Capt. Smith.
27th Friday. We remained in camp all day, quite a pleasant day. Capt. Smith arrived about two o'clock today. We had an
Saturday. Quite a pleasant spring-like morning. Everything being in readiness by time we took up our line of march over a rough, hilly, mountainous country, and the roads were truly in a horrible condition. I omitted to mention that on Thursday last we took a northward direction and left Rogue River to the south of us, which brought us among some rough hills between the Umpqua and Rogue River. After passing the Grave Creek Hills we learned that Mr. Love and some others were awaiting us at the house, intending to kill an Indian. Upon going to the house I found it to be a fact, talked with the gentlemen & told them the consequences, went back & requested Capt. Smith to arrest Mr. Love and turn him over to the civil authorities. We passed the house, however, without any difficulty and encamped on a small stream two miles north of Grave Creek. We drove today a distance of eight miles. We are now in the midst of a hostile Indian country & not entirely free from danger.
2nd Sunday. Clear & frosty. Upon consultation it was deemed best to move forward, as we were in an enemy's country & neither forage nor grass could be had for our animals. We found the roads horrible as we traveled on. After traveling hard all day we made a distance of twelve miles & encamped for the night on the west bank of Cow Creek one mile above the crossing.
3rd Monday. The mornings still continue quite cool & frosty. Our route lay almost directly north over somewhat better ground than for five days previous. Our cattle was jaded considerable by our continuous marches without forage or grass, neither of which could be procured. We drove a distance of seven miles & encamped just within the mouth of the Canyon.
4th Tuesday. The weather still continues fine for the season. During the night our cattle deserted us, passing through the Canyon & crossing South Umpqua, a distance of twelve miles. Some few of them took the other end of the road. Finding it impossible to collect the cattle in time to move I took the Indians in advance & went through the Canyon before night in order to obtain supplies, of which we were getting quite short. In passing through I found some heavy obstructions. The high water during the forepart of the winter had thrown in large drift logs & a slide from the mountains had filled up the channel of the creek, all of which required to be removed before wagons could pass, which was accordingly done by Lieut. Underwood, who sent a detachment in advance for that purpose. The persons who were sent in search of the missing cattle returned with all but four head.
5th Wednesday. The Indians remained in camp today at the mouth of Canyon Creek awaiting the arrival of the wagons. About three or four o'clock in the evening they made their appearance. The cattle are very much jaded & tired. As no forage could be had I secured the best pasture I could find & turned them in that. An Indian girl died this evening. We were now a distance of eleven miles from our camp of the evening of the third, being occupied two days in making it. Mr. Love, who still continued to follow us, was arrested & put under guard.
6th Thursday. This morning the cattle were collected together preparatory to making a start, five of the cattle still missing. I sent a man back through the Canyon in search of those that went in that direction. Towards noon these were discovered in the hills on the north side of South Umpqua & brought up to camp this evening. Good road this morning until we reached South Umpqua, which stream was ascertained we could ford with the wagons. The foot passengers were all ferried whilst the teams were crossing & ready to resume their march. Here we ascended a considerable hill & passing through some oak knolls come to a very narrow pass around the spur of a mountain which projected down to the water's edge, and around which a road had been dug out of the rock wide enough for wagons to pass. Emerging from here we came out in full view of an open prairie, found the road good. We traveled today a distance of eight miles & camped on the north bank of South Umpqua near Weaver's.
7th Friday. The weather still continued cool & frosty of nights and pleasant through the day. Our road today [was] hilly & in places quite rocky. An Indian woman died this morning & the number of sick increasing it was found necessary to hire or buy another team. I soon procured one & continued our march. We drove today a distance of ten miles & encamped in Round Prairie. On the South Umpqua yet.
8th Saturday. From camp this morning we had a good road for about two miles. Here we commenced ascending a mountain on the summit of which a wagon upset & broke out a tongue which caused considerable delay. After fixing a temporary arrangement we were enabled to go down the mountain a distance of four miles and encamped on Roberts Creek about two o'clock in the afternoon in order to repair our wagon before proceeding further which was accordingly done before night. We traveled today a distance of eight miles.
Sunday 9th. Quite a pleasant day, but owing to our proximity to the hostile Indians it was deemed advisable to continue our march which was accordingly done. Mr. Cain who had been sent in search of the missing cattle returned. He stated that he had found the cattle on the morning of the sixth and corralled them on the south side of the Canyon, that during the night he believed they were stolen by the Indians, as hostile Indians were seen in that vicinity & appearances went to show that they had taken them. Our road still continued down the South Umpqua River over a broken, uneven country, the roads growing worse as we went north. We traveled today a distance of eight miles & encamped on the bank of a little muddy branch about two miles north of Roseburg.
10th Monday. A very fine morning, indeed we got an early start this morning. Found the roads very bad. In about two miles we arrived at Winchester, situated on the south bank of the Umpqua, and we had to ferry the river, which occupied us about three hours. We then ascended a considerable hill and traveled over a rough prairie country. Very muddy roads. We found a very pleasant camp about four miles north of Winchester on Camas Swale Creek, a distance of seven miles. This morning a writ of habeas corpus was served on Lieut. Underwood to show cause why he detained & held in custody unlawfully the person of Timoleon Love, to which he made a return that he held him by the authority of a legal Indian agent & according to law & that said Love was held only to be turned over to the civil authorities according to law. Lieut. Hazen was left at Winchester in charge of the guard to turn the prisoner over to the proper officers of the law.
11th. This morning the teams were got up quite early and preparations were made for starting. I then proceeded to Judge Deady's and caused a writ to be issued for the arrest of Timoleon Love for the murder of a friendly Indian on the 28th day of February last. Before the service of the warrant Mr. Love had effected his escape. We found the roads in a horrible condition and grass quite scarce. The teams drove but three miles today & [we] encamped for the purpose of attending the trial [sic].
12th Wednesday. Cloudy & threatening rain. We had some trouble in finding our cattle. We however succeeded in getting them to gather about ten o'clock. After traveling through a canyon about one and a half miles we arrived at Calapooia Creek. Our route lay directly up the creek for two & a half miles over hilly but prairie country where we crossed the stream on a bridge at Baker's mill. For the remainder of the day our route lay northward & over some steep hills. About four miles from the mills we struck camp at what is called Oakland. Two deaths occurred today since we camped, one man & one woman.
13th Thursday. This morning we had quite a shower of rain, rendering it quite unpleasant traveling. After burying the dead we took up our line of march over a rough, hilly & uneven country. Our cattle traveled quite brisk today. About two o'clock we struck camp on the bank of a small stream by the name of Elk Creek, near Jesse Applegate's. The day was quite cool with frequent showers, rendering it unpleasant traveling. We however traveled about twelve miles.
14th Friday. Cloudy & showery. By keeping our cattle in pasture we were enabled to get an early start. Our route lay down Elk Creek through a rough canyon which we found quite muddy. We crossed Elk & Pass creeks & several other streams. After crossing Pass Creek our road lay immediately up the creek & bounded by high mountains on either side. We drove eight miles today & camped at the foot of the Calapooya Mountains.
15th Saturday. Cloudy. This morning our cattle were missing, and upon search we ascertained they had crossed the mountain. Pursuit was immediately made & they were found about ten miles from camp. They were brought back and we were ready to start by two o'clock. From camp we commenced our ascent up the mountain, at first quite gradual. After ascending some distance we arrived at the summit. We then followed the ridge of the mountain some distance before we commenced the descent. The road was quite dry over the mountain and till we were near the base, where we found some very heavy mud. The last team arrived in camp after traveling a distance of eight miles. One woman died today.
16th Sunday. Cloudy with the occasional sunshine. Remained in camp all day to rest. Nothing occurred worthy of relating.
17th Monday. This morning we took up our line of march in [a] northward direction. The roads were quite hilly and in places very muddy. This morning while crossing a small stream a teamster broke a wagon tongue, which delayed us an hour to repair, after which we proceeded without any further difficulty for the remainder of the day. We encamped tonight on the west bank of Rich Creek, a distance of thirteen miles from where we started. Arrived in camp by four o'clock.
18th Tuesday. Cloudy & threatening rain. During the night an Indian died, which delayed us a short time to bury, however by nine o'clock we were in readiness to start. We traveled over a level flat country, in places quite muddy. The greatest difficulty we experience is in obtaining grass for our cattle, which we find to be exceedingly scarce. We drove today a distance of twelve miles. Camped on an oak grove near the claim of Mr. Smith.
19th Wednesday. Cloudy & threatening rain. Quite showery through the day. We continued our march down Long Tom & passed over some very muddy roads. We traveled today a distance of fourteen miles & encamped on the bank of Long Tom at Starrs Point.
20th Thursday. The weather still continues cloudy and threatening rain. We secured a good pasture last night for our cattle & this morning quite early were under way. Our route lay immediately down Long Tom over a level prairie country. In consequence of the recent rains our wagons dragged along heavily all day. We drove a distance of fifteen miles and encamped on the bank of Marys River at the ferry. A very hard day's drive, but no camp could be found short of this.
21st Friday. Clear & pleasant. This morning we were two or three hours in ferrying the river. For two or three miles we found the roads very muddy. About three miles north from Corvallis our road improved very much, becoming rolling & dry. We traveled today a distance of twelve miles and encamped near the claim of Mr. Reed.
22nd Saturday. Cloudy weather again. This morning for several miles our road was in excellent condition. We then found some very bad road and sloughy prairie to cross over after which we arrived at the South Luckiamute, which we crossed on a bridge. Still continuing our course northward, in a few miles we arrived at Little Luckiamute, which we also crossed on a bridge & passed upon the north bank of the stream a short distance and encamped near a little oak grove. Traveled twelve miles.
23rd Sunday. Remained in camp all day. Quite pleasant weather.
24th Monday. Got an early start this morning and had an excellent road. We drove a distance of fifteen miles & encamped near Mr. Frederick's.
25th Tuesday. Clear & pleasant. We got an early start this morning and after driving hard all day reached the reservation about four o'clock in the evening, after driving a distance of sixteen miles. So ends my journey & journal after a period of thirty-three days, in which time we traveled a distance of two hundred & sixty-three miles. Started with three hundred and ninety-five Indians. Eight deaths and eight births, leaving the number the same as when started.
Yours respectfullyNARA Series M2, Microcopy of Records of the Oregon Superintendency of Indian Affairs 1848-1873, Reel 14; Letters Received, 1856, No. 165.
G. H. Ambrose
The weather has been delightful for some two weeks past. Not a cloud obstructs the horizon either night or day. The heavy frosts of nights is the only objection we have to the weather.
Oregon Argus, Oregon City, March 1, 1856, page 2
Business active; weather warm and pleasant.
"Graham," writing from Dayton, Oregon, in the Weekly Oregonian, Portland, March 1, 1856, page 2
Canyonville O.T.Dear General
March 3rd 1856
I have but time to say one word. We are now in the Canyon, and in a little [while] the worst mud I ever did see. When we will get through God only knows, but I have hopes of getting through in two or three days. I started through in advance this morning to get supplies & expect to get the Indians through by night. The wagons will probably be detained for several days. Lieut. Underwood sent a detachment of twenty men in the Canyon to remove the obstructions which were thrown in the road during the winter by high water. There was also a slide from the mountain of a ledge of rocks, completely blocking up the Canyon, which will require some time to remove. After passing the Canyon I know of no cause of delay and will make all possible haste. I would like to hear from you where you desire the Indians. Shall they be taken to the Grand Ronde or Coast Reservation. I yesterday heard of the death of Sub-Agent Wright & twenty-five others said to have fallen by the hand of the Indians. I regarded it as doubtful at first but it seems pretty well authenticated. I learned none of the particulars, but a volunteer company was in the field & ready to do battle, and it was with them that hostilities commenced, so vague rumor has it. The next mail or express will most probably bring the particulars.
In haste yoursGenl. Palmer Esq.
Geo. H. Ambrose
Supt. Ind. Affairs
NARA Series M2, Microcopy of Records of the Oregon Superintendency of Indian Affairs 1848-1873, Reel 14; Letters Received, 1856, No. 99.
Camp on South Umpqua RiverDear Sir
Near Myrtle Creek
March 6th 1856
Immediately after starting the Indians I dispatched a messenger to your office for information & funds. The messenger, meeting with Mr. Metcalfe, returned and met us at the mouth of the Canyon, where I see from a letter addressed to Mr. Metcalfe that you desire to be informed of our approach. I according to that request [will] start Mr. Jewett to your office again tomorrow morning.
In a former communication I informed you of the killing of an Indian by a white man. On yesterday Lieut. Underwood arrested the person supposed to be guilty of that act. He is now under guard, to be handed over to the civil authorities by them to be tried. The individual's name is [Timoleon] Love. He does not deny the act but pleads justification, that the Indian was known to be a bad Indian etc. We have got along very well; so far no difficulty at all except in the Canyon, which we found in a miserable condition. We were near three days getting the wagons through. The wagon way had been entirely obstructed in places by driftwood and rock falling in from the steep hillside above. Very many of the Indians are sick and some are dying. Two have died since we started, one man and one woman. I find I will have to engage some more teams in order to make ordinary speed, as many of the Indians are tiring down and giving out & will have to be hauled to get them along. We experience great difficulty with our cattle; no forage can be had for them, nor is there any grass of consequence on the way. I think it not unlikely that forage can be had after we cross the Calapooia Mountain, which would enable us to travel much faster. We today discovered a band of hostile Indians but were unable to get a talk with them. They were on the south side of Umpqua & just above the mouth of Cow Creek. Capt. Smith gave us an escort of (105) one hundred & five men to accompany us through the Canyon & on to South Umpqua. Tomorrow Lieut. Crook returns & Lieut. Underwood & Lieut. Hazen accompany us, one with sixty men. Mr. Metcalfe deems it necessary & Lieut. Underwood request that you get an order from Col. Wright of Fort Vancouver to that effect & transmit to Fort Lane.
Very respectfully yoursJoel Palmer Esqr.
G. H. Ambrose
Supt. Ind. Affairs
NARA Series M2, Microcopy of Records of the Oregon Superintendency of Indian Affairs 1848-1873, Reel 14; Letters Received, 1856, No. 97.
Winchester March 8th 1856Sir
Agreeably to instructions I send a messenger to inform you of the condition, time of starting and progress in the removal of the Rogue River Indians and accompanied them two days on their march to this place where I left them to make some arrangement for the trial of a man who killed an Indian whilst unarmed and under the protection of the U.S. troops. We may conclude to take him down with us, and if we do I should like to hear from you at the earliest moment. Dr. Ambrose does not like to take any responsibility, and if we do wrong in retaining him it rests upon me. If such miscreants are suffered to shoot down with impunity friendly Indians whilst under our protection and put all law at defiance it is time for us to introduce some such of laws that will reach their case, and nothing short of the aid of a strong military force will enable us to reach the reserve. I have therefore thought it advisable to recommend an escort of sixty men under Lieuts. Underwood & Hazen, an order for which you will please get as early as possible and forward by express to meet us. Dr. Ambrose has written and I suppose has given you all the particulars which renders it unnecessary for me to write at length.
Very respectfullyJoel Palmer
Your obt. servt.
R. B. Metcalfe
Supt. Ind. Affairs
NARA Series M2, Microcopy of Records of the Oregon Superintendency of Indian Affairs 1848-1873, Reel 14; Letters Received, 1856, No. 96.
Business good, especially for farmers, weather being very fine.
"Jim," writing from Lafayette, Oregon, in the Weekly Oregonian, Portland, March 22, 1856, page 2
The weather has been unusually pleasant for several weeks. Fruit trees of all kinds are in full blossom; grass and all kinds of vegetation have grown wonderfully since recent rains.
Weekly Oregonian, Portland, March 22, 1856, page 2
Office Supt. Ind. AffairsCol.
Dayton, O.T. March 25th 1856
The Rogue River Indians under charge of Indian Agent Ambrose will, it is expected, reach the Grand Ronde Reservation today. I started out on Sunday morning to meet them and found them at Dallas, moving forward very slowly. There are but twenty troops with them under Lieut. Hazen which I think wholly insufficient to preserve order and maintain discipline upon the reservation. A force of forty or fifty is in my opinion requisite to ensure the necessary maintenance of order and preventing disturbance on whatsoever form or quarter arising. I have therefore to request you will furnish to the Grand Ronde the twenty additional troops mentioned in the instructions of Col. Wright conveyed by me.
I am sirTo
Your obt. servant
Col. T. Morris
4th Infantry U.S.
NARA Series M2, Microcopy of Records of the Oregon Superintendency of Indian Affairs 1848-1873, Reel 6; Letter Books E:10, page 91.
The weather has been warm and showery for a few days past. The grass is coming forward rapidly, and we hope that enough of it will soon be converted into butter to reduce the price something below 60 cents, or editors and other poor men will have to forgo this luxury.
Oregon Argus, Oregon City, April 5, 1856, page 3
After several days of cold, wet, drizzling weather, we again have the beauties of spring upon us.
Weekly Oregonian, Portland, April 26, 1856, page 3
To show how determined the people of Oregon are to exterminate the Indians, it is only necessary to represent their conduct towards four hundred friendly Indians waiting on the military reserve at Fort Lane to be conducted to the Coast Range reservation. Capt. Smith, commanding at that post, with companies of regulars, reported to me that it took a large part of his command to prevent the citizens from murdering those four hundred Indians. I have been informed by those whose character for truth and veracity is not to be questioned that meetings of the citizens of Oregon had been held when it was resolved if the attempt was made to conduct those Indians to the Coast Reserve, they would not only kill them, but all who might accompany them. After the Indians recently started for the reserve, although escorted by over 100 soldiers, they were followed by a citizen, who shot one of the Indians, declaring at the same time he intended to follow them and kill all he could.
General John E. Wool, "The Indian War in Oregon," New York Herald, May 3, 1856, page 2
The report [of the Oregon Superintendent of Indian Affairs] further states that "these outrages and those in Southern Oregon have created a state of feeling among our citizens almost uncontrollable. Active operations were on foot to gather in the scattering bands upon the Grand Ronde and Coast Reservation, but this unexpected outburst of popular frenzy came well nigh upsetting and defeating the whole project."
The order for furnishing troops to guard and protect this reservation could not be complied with. A lieutenant and twenty privates were all that could be obtained, and the threatening attitude of the community caused apprehensions of a general and combined attack upon the camps of friendly Indians located at the Grand Ronde, and the slaughtering or driving into a hostile position of all who might be residing in that valley. Consequently a force of armed citizens were organized and placed upon the eastern line of the reservation, thus cutting off all communication between the settlements and the Indians. Instructions were also issued for the construction of a fence from mountain to mountain, as a line of demarcation across which none could pass, which course it is thought will effectually protect these friendly Indians.
In the meantime, active measures were taken to collect all the scattering bands--many of whom were found to be in a destitute condition, and if left to themselves, would, most assuredly, have gone over to the hostile tribes--and place them on this reservation. Among those who were provided for are named the Upper Klamaths, who have for several years past been in the habit of residing in this valley during the winter season. With the exception of a few families, scattered along the Columbia River below the mouth of the Willamette, all the bands of this valley have been placed on the Grand Ronde purchase, together with those of the Umpqua Valley and three hundred and ninety-one friendly Rogue River Indians. The confidence of these Indians, it is stated, though shaken at times, still appears to be unbounded, and they cheerfully come forward and deliver up their arms of every description, and seem to be willing to conform to any rules which may be imposed.
No recent intelligence had been received from the Port Orford district. Agent Olney went down on the steamer on the 28th of March last, with instructions to collect the Indians at an encampment near the fort, and, as soon as an escort could be obtained, to remove them to the Coast Reservation.
"Department News: Interior Department," Daily Union, Washington, D.C., June 7, 1856, page 3
The weather has finally settled. After one or two excessively warm days this week have ordinary May weather.
Oregon Argus, Oregon City, May 10, 1856, page 2
The weather is warm and showery; everything is flourishing in our gardens (especially the weeds in ours).
Oregon Argus, Oregon City, May 31, 1856, page 2
Head Qrs. Big Meadows, June 6, '56.To His Excellency Geo. L. Curry, Governor of Oregon.
DEAR SIR--Enclosed I send the report of the expedition under the command of Maj. Latshaw down Rogue River. You will see by it that the troops are doing good service to the country, and rendering themselves worthy of being citizen-soldiers of Oregon. The prisoners taken have been most kindly treated, and on yesterday I had them delivered to the Indian agent, Mr. Metcalfe, who came to this place with me and will start today with the command in pursuit of Applegate John, or any other hostile Indians we may fall in with. Should Col. Buchanan, of the U.S.A., act in concert with the command under myself, we will soon bring the war to a close; should he not, I will leave him to reconcile his acts to his country, and shall do the best I can with such troops as are still left, subject to my order.
All the forces now in the field will be out of the service on the 28th of this month, and we must move with alacrity to accomplish anything. Nevertheless, I shall leave nothing undone to bring peace to the country. I shall move in about one hour, with the force now under my command, amounting to 150 men, down to the Big Bend of Rogue River, where we shall be likely to fall in with Capt. Bledsoe's company of 50 men. Hoping to render good service to the country, I have the honor to remain,
Very respy. your obdt. servt.
JOHN K. LAMERICK,
Brig. General, O.T.
While I was in Portland [in June 1856], the Steamer came up from Port Orford, with six hundred Indians, on their way to the Reserve. They consisted of men, women, and children, of all ages, and had been associated with the Rogue River Indians in the war. Many of them were nearly naked; but they appeared sprightly, and full of play, probably on account of their altered circumstances, being provided for, instead of being hunted and murdered. Many of the women, as well as the men, took the opportunity to bathe in the river. They are a strong, muscular people, and some of them had fine foreheads, indicative of good intellect; and doubtless, if provided with the means and motives, they would soon become as valuable citizens as the Dutch, Irish, or any other Emigrants that come to our shores.
John Beeson, A Plea for the Indians, 1858, page 94
The weather has settled down at last, after weeks of stormy weather with occasional sunshine. Vegetation was never in a more advanced condition at this season since we have been in the country. Spring crops bid fair to "pan out" well.
Oregon Argus, Oregon City, June 14, 1856, page 2
Port Orford Correspondence of the Statesman.
Port Orford, June 18, 1856.Ed. Statesman--Gen. Palmer has now, by the assistance of various companies of volunteers, and also the U.S. troops, collected on the military reserve near this place something over one thousand Indians, all of whom (Providence permitting) will be immediately removed to the permanent Indian reserve set apart for them, north of the Umpqua River.
We understand that a large number of the coast Indians have been prevailed upon to go by steamer (providing that Capt. Dall will receive them) to Portland, and from thence by land to the place of their destination, and the remainder go direct by land.
The number that are here ready for their departure comprise all or nearly all the tribes at the mouth of Rogue River, and extending up the river some thirty or forty miles, and including George and Limpy's bands, and all the coast Indians from Rogue River to Coos Bay.
The notorious chief, Old John, will not accept of any terms except those of a belligerent character, and he has associated himself and band with a few other bands occupying the coast south of Rogue River, with the determination to fight until they are "cleaned out."
Port Orford, June 21, 1856.Ed. Statesman--Since writing our communication of the 18th inst., we have received intelligence of another engagement between the volunteers and a band of Indians occupying the coast south of Rogue River towards Crescent City. During this engagement some three or four Indians were killed, and thirty taken prisoners. Immediately after the departure from Rogue River of the Indians that are now en route for their permanent home, a messenger was dispatched to give the Indians south of Rogue River, towards Crescent City, the privilege of accepting the same terms of peace, but they indignantly refused, and returned the proposition with a challenge, saying that "if you want to fight, come on." As a matter of course, the volunteers, who are always ready, accepted the challenge, and their labors were crowned with success.
Oregon Statesman, Salem, July 8, 1856, page 2 "J.C.F." is James C. Franklin.
Office Superintendent Ind. AffairsSir:
Dayton, O.T. June 23rd 1856
(written at Portland)
The departure of the mail steamer early tomorrow (and it being now nearly midnight) leaves me no time to make a detailed report of my proceedings in the Port Orford District: I may say, however, that I reached here today at 11 a.m. with six hundred Indians from that place, on their way to the Coast Reservation. At 3 p.m. they were put en route for Oregon City, and will leave there tomorrow morning for Dayton. I start from here tomorrow, on horse, in time to reach Dayton on their arrival.
I now regard the war in Southern Oregon as closed. All the hostile bands, with the exception of "John's"--who has about thirty warriors--and the Chetco and Pistol River Indians, numbering, perhaps, fifty warriors, have come in, and unconditionally surrendered themselves as prisoners of war. The two bands last named have sent word they will surrender, and come in, when word is sent them where to go. The old chief "John" has sent in two of his sons asking the retention of other bands at Port Orford until he can get there with his people--that he is tired of war, and has resolved to seek for peace and will submit to go on the Reservation.
We now have at Port Orford about six hundred, and about two hundred and fifty at the mouth of Rogue River, all of whom have unconditionally surrendered. They will be escorted to the southern part of the Coast Reservation by U.S. troops, together with any of the other bands that may come in.
I deemed it best, under all the circumstances, to transport by steamer from Port Orford here the six hundred just arrived--the views and causes of influencing that determination will be presented you in my detailed report of the operations in that district, which will be transmitted by the next mail.
The latest intelligence from the Yakima county indicates a favorable prospect for peace. It was determined by Colonel Buchanan, the military officer in command of the district, to retain and hold all those Indians now at Port Orford as prisoners of war until they reached the Reservation, when they would be turned over to the proper officers of the Indian Department.
The six hundred Indians just arrived, being mostly of the friendly bands, will be located on the northern portion of the Reservation, near the Siletz River. The company of troops under Captain Augur, 4th Infy., who came up with them--numbered seventy-two men--will be posted at the Grand Ronde, as a permanent post.
I take a moment to remark that the official acts of Agent Olney have been such at Port Orford as to call for my immediate attention, and that such measures will at once be taken as to effectually shield the Indian Department on account thereof. The next mail will convey to you the specialties [sic] of the matters to which I here refer.
I have the honor to beTo
Your obedt. servt.
Supt. Ind. Office
Hon. G. W. Manypenny
Commissioner Ind. Affairs
NARA Series M234 Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs 1824-81, Reel 609 Oregon Superintendency, 1856, frames 773-776. The original can be found in NARA Series M2, Microcopy of Records of the Oregon Superintendency of Indian Affairs 1848-1873, Reel 6; Letter Books E:10, pages 155-156. Another original is in NARA Series M234, Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, Reel 609 Oregon Superintendency 1856, frames 775-778.
Portland O.T. June 24th 1856Sir,
I am pleased to be able to inform you that the steamer arrived here on yesterday at 11 a.m. The Indians all well and in good spirits. Not an accident occurred to cause a doubt in the minds of the Indians; a few were seasick, but all was forgotten on entering the Columbia River. They were landed at this point and allowed time to prepare dinner and then took passage on steamer for Oregon City, and today go to Dayton. It was wholly impracticable to take a correct census. I set two men at it, but on leaving the vessel it was impossible to keep them quite long enough to do it. I will do so at Dayton and send you the result by next steamer. Capt. Augur remained at Vancouver and Lieut. Hodges accompanies the troops to the reservation where he awaits the arrival of the captain. I send back two Indian boys, a Tututni and Foo-sheet. If George, Limpy, the Cow Creeks and Galice Creeks could be induced to come up by steamer it would be well, as they are to be located on the northern end of the reservation, but the other bands would require a land transportation from this point as great as from Port Orford. It would therefore, I think, be improper to send them by steamer, for there is but little prospect of effecting a landing along the reservation. The old and decrepit of other bands might however be sent up if you are unable to obtain transportation.
Colonel Wright is holding a council with the Indians in the Yakima country--so says report--the Nez Perces are all right. I learn that all is quiet at the Grand Ronde, where we have now assembled over fifteen hundred Indians. Upon mature reflection I have determined to suspend Agent Olney, or perhaps give him an opportunity to resign--his functions as an agent of this Dept. will cease immediately on the arrival of this steamer at Port Orford.
Sub-Agent Metcalfe has been instructed to accompany some one of the detachments to be sent up by you to the reservation and will take charge of the Indians upon their arrival at the Siuslaw. Upon reaching suitable points for temporary encampment upon that reservation I would glad to have you direct an officer to accompany Mr. Metcalfe in examining the reservation with reference to permanent settlements for those tribes heretofore residing on Rogue River below the Big Bend, and along the coast south of Port Orford--settlements south of Tal-quona River.
In the event of the business of this Suptcy. warranting it I will visit in person that district at an early day.
Permit me to congratulate you and those under your command in the favorable issue of your campaign and express a hope that circumstances may be such as to enable you to return from that field to your family, leaving the country in peace and quietude, and your command to a district less hazardous and laborious.
I am sir most respectfullyTo
Your obt. servt.
Lieut. Col. R. C. Buchanan
4th U.S. Infantry
NARA Series M2, Microcopy of Records of the Oregon Superintendency of Indian Affairs 1848-1873, Reel 6; Letter Books E:10, pages 156-157.
Office Supt. Ind. AffairsSir
Dayton O.T. July 1st 1856.
You have been appointed by the Supt. Ind. Affairs as conductor and local agent for the Indians now residing and to be located upon that portion of the Coast Reservation between the mouth of Salmon River and fifteen miles south of Siletz River, and extending east an average distance of twelve miles. The first object that will claim your attention will be the removal of the coast bands now encamped at Dayton to the mouth of Salmon River or in the vicinity or around Fresh Lake. And for this object you will take charge of the immigrating party and conduct them to that point. Sixteen ox teams, two yoke to each team, will be furnished at Dayton and if possible additional ones at the Grand Ronde. With this number it is believed you will be able to carry all the property belonging to the Indians, the old, infirm and helpless, and rations of flour for twelve days. Care should be used and allow the aged and infirm to occupy seats low in the wagon beds, and that they may not be crowded out by able and healthy persons and left to perish on the road.
As soon as practicable you will correct the ration list and so arrange that each family will draw from the company the proportion of provisions to which they may be entitled instead of relying upon the chiefs to distribute it. The ration of flour may for the present be one lb. per day to each person, not including infants, and one lb. of fresh beef to each of the same class, together with a reasonable quantity of salt. The flour will be furnished you on the way and at Grand Ronde; from thence you will cause its transportation in the baggage wagons to your encampment on the coast. The beef cattle will be driven along by Mr. Fuller & Stewart and slaughtered from time to time as you may want.
It is desirable to throw the subsistence of these Indians upon their own exertions & resources as far as possible and for this end you will seek to induce them as soon as they reach the reservation to contribute something by way of hunting, fishing, gathering berries, roots &c. The object is to locate those people at or near Siletz River, but for a first encampment and until the arrival of other bands they may be placed at any point deemed by you suited to their condition and the convenience of attention to ensure peace and good order.
Lieut. Hazen with a detachment of twenty United States troops will accompany you to the coast, and you will cooperate with that officer in such arrangements relative to travel, encampments and the general government of the emigrating party as will best tend to promote peace, ensure good order and facilitate the removal of those Indians. Mr. Wm. Chance will accompany you and act as commissary and aid you in all proper duties. He will be regarded as assistant conductor and remain with you until further instructed. You will retain two yoke of cattle which with the wagon now at the mouth of Salmon River will enable you to transmit your supplies and do other hauling at that point. The balance of the teams you will cause to return immediately. Mr. Jeffries will be instructed to examine the country north of Salmon River. You will render him such assistance as to enable him to fulfill his mission.
Should Capt. Rinearson arrive at or near your camp before my arrival you will inform him that it is my wish to have the Coquilles placed south of Siletz River--but for a temporary encampment it is not material as to the particular point. He will remain with them until my arrival or until further advised. The flour turned over to you has been purchased by direction from this office; you will therefore sign and forward me duplicate receipts and be particular in your distributions and secure accurate provision returns.
You will call upon Sub-Agent Raymond for axes and other tools to use in perfecting the wagon road, receipting to him for the same. The beef delivered you by Mr. Fuller and Stewart as per contract will be certified to by you, showing the quantity slaughtered each day, and at the end of each month a certificate given by you of the aggregate amount used during the month. Monthly returns of provisions issued, properly certified to and witnessed, must be forwarded in duplicate to this office. You will keep me advised of matters at short intervals.
I am sir very respectfullyC. M. Walker Esq.
Your obt. servt.
Supt. Ind. Affs.
Conductor & Local Agt.
NARA Series M234, Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, Reel 610 Oregon Superintendency 1857, frames 1162-1165.
MORE INDIANS FOR THE RESERVE.--The Columbia brought up last trip seven hundred more Indians from Southern Oregon, on their way to the Grand Ronde Reserve. Among them are George and Limpy. John is coming overland, and was at Port Orford when the steamer left.
Oregon Statesman, Salem, July 15, 1856, page 2
Port Orford Correspondence of the Statesman.
Port Orford, July 6th, 1856.Ed. Statesman--The disturbed state of affairs through which we have passed since the Indian outbreak have now subsided and settled down into a permanent peace and security of life and property. Nearly all the belligerent bands have now decided upon peace, and signified their willingness to submit to a removal to the reserve. The notorious chiefs George, Limpy and John are now here on the military reserve, ready for a departure to the military reserve that has been set apart for them, with other bands, north of the Umpqua.
There are yet remnants of several bands scattered through the mountains, which it is thought will not come in or consent to remove to the reserve, and should they remain obstinate, and refuse the demands of government, their career will, we apprehend, meet with many incidents of a dark and foreboding character that will tend to lessen their future happiness and prosperity.
A large number of the Indians now ready for their departure for the reserve will leave by the steamer now due, and the balance will immediately go by land.
Yours &c. J. C. F.Oregon Statesman, Salem, July 22, 1856, page 2
Office Supt. Ind. AffairsSir
Dayton O.T. July 13th 1856
Your letter of the 12th inst. by the hand of Mr. Brown has been received. I have only to say that it is important that your train depart and arrive at its destination at the earliest moment so that we may have the use of the teams, which you will forward back at once.
729 Indians came up on the last steamer, all of whom will go to the coast, but portions of them may ultimately be located along Salmon River. Col. Buchanan informs me that Old John and his people, and all the other bands along the coast, have come in and are to start the next day after the date of his letter on their way up the coast. He states, however, that 10 or 12 have skulked into the woods, but an effort will be made to get them in. Capt. Jones with fifty-five men came up with these Indians and are to be located at the Grand Ronde. You speak of Sambo, he is to go to the coast, peaceably if you can, but forcefully if you must, and if it requires force call upon the military and take him in chains and do not let him free very soon. An example of disobedience will doubtless have a good effect, and I know of no one more richly deserving it than he; he was in the last fight and is a vicious and crabby fellow and may do great harm. Call upon him quietly, and if he refuses to go take him if it requires all the force at the Grand Ronde. The appeals of the whole Rogue River tribe must not deter you from taking this man. It has been told him that he must go, and I shall not falsify my word, but be discreet; at the same time use no soft soap. I dwell upon this rather because he is the first Indian who has openly violated and disregarded my orders, and to yield in this instance would be the beginning of an evil harm.
I shall be over on the coast as soon as possible; in the meantime maintain peace, keep good order and get along with as little expense to the government as possible. Inform me as to the amount of flour and other articles required from time to time--I shall send over nails, tools &c. so as to build houses. Encourage them to erect some good houses. No intelligence from Washington.
C. M. Walker Esq.
Local Ind. Agent
NARA Series M2, Microcopy of Records of the Oregon Superintendency of Indian Affairs 1848-1873, Reel 6; Letter Books E:10, page 182.
The San Francisco papers, received yesterday, have advices to the 12th of July, brought by the steamship Columbia, Capt. Dall, who reported--
"On the outward trip of the Columbia received on board at Port Orford a band of Indians, prisoners of war, numbering five hundred and ninety with their chiefs, George and Limpy, to be placed on the government reservation in Oregon. The remainder of the Indians who had surrendered (John's band), numbering about one hundred and eighty, were taken by land to the reservation, under escort of Brevet Major Reynolds, thus closing the Indian war in the Rogue River Valley."
"Letter from Oregon," Daily Picayune, New Orleans, Louisiana, August 13, 1856, page 2
Saturday, June 14.
This morning we reached Port Orford, where we found all things quiet, so far as Indians are concerned. There had been great excitement. Families had been in the habit of lodging in the citizens' fort, and guard kept round the town. But the circumstances were not such as to justify such wild excitement. It has been generally induced by a set of grog shop dealers and squaw men.
Today I returned and met Col. B.'s train, and at 4 P.M. all arrived in camp on the military reservation. Port Orford Indians all agreed to go quietly to the reservation, and with the exception of the Upper Coquilles, would go by steamer. Joshua [illegible] band of [illegible] would do the same. News came this evening that 200 Indians had arrived at the mouth of Rogue River, and were in the custody of Major Reynolds.
Today I held a council with the Port Orford Indians. A good deal of dissatisfaction is expressed by the Indians just come in, on account of camp ground and attendance upon the sick and proper distribution of the. rations. But as they are held as prisoners of war, I am unable to remedy it .
Nothing occurring worthy of note.
Today we received intelligence that an additional number of Indians had come in at the mouth of Rogue River.
The day has been spent in counciling with the Indians, in which many of them agreed to go by steamer. In the evening, a rumor gained circulation that a plan was on foot to murder all my men, then the soldiers, and then attack the town. This became so general that I deemed it best to take charge of the chiefs and keep them in custody till morning.
The chiefs were liberated early this morning, and I went with them to their camp. Their whole deportment indicated that the reports were groundless. I spent the greater part of the day in their camps. Great excitement among the people. It appears the business of many persons to cause alarm in order to retain the people in town.
Last night the steamer Columbia arrived at about 12 or 1. I visited the Indian camps so as to have them in readiness, and by 9 A.M. about 600 were on board. A convoy of troops were sent down, which delayed us until eleven o/c. The Indians comprise portions of nearly all the tribes in South Oregon, but chiefly those friendly ones who have been, during the war, camped at Port Orford. Many were sick. They are very much crowded on the forward deck.
Today we crossed the bar at about 6 P.M. The passage has been rather rough. The Indians suffered on account of seasickness and being crowded up, and for want of proper covering and diet.
This morning at about 9 A.M. we reached [illegible], where we were detained 2 hours. Paid for transferring baggage at Portland 1.00. Paid Blanchard $200. He pays Chamberlin. paid Blanchard 100.
Paid Sambo, an Indian, 5.00.
This morning the arrangements being ready, the Indian camp took up the line of march to the [illegible]. Directions were given to take the road by Newby's mill, and a person sent ahead as guide. But by design of teamsters and conductors, or some other cause, the train got separated, twelve wagons taking the Comegys road, as also about one third of the Indians. The result was that most of the Indians were without blankets and cooking fixtures, nor could we obtain beef for supper, but used flour alone.
This morning beef was slaughtered. 700 lbs. distributed to Indians. At 8 A.M. the train started on. The day was warm. We made crossing of Willamina.
Today goods designed for the coast band of Indians arrived, but not in time to do anything towards giving them out. We commenced separating them.
Today we commenced the distribution of goods, but did not complete it. A desire to obtain an accurate enumeration of the different bands rendered it slow and tedious paying out the goods. One object was to ascertain the relative strength of the bands compared to the last census.
Oregon Superintendent of Indian Affairs Joel Palmer, Pocket Diary 1856, Oregon Historical Society Research Library MSS 114, folder 1/6
Office Supt. Indian Affrs.Sir:
Dayton, O.T. 14th July 1856
Believing you willing and desirous of aiding in removing the Indians from Umpqua Valley, I address to you this communication and request that you will assist us in that service. Letters from sundry persons have been received at this office informing me that several Indian families are still in the Umpqua Valley, and from Genl. Lamerick I learn that quite a band are along the base of the mountain between the north and south forks of the Umpqua, and that they have recently committed acts of robbery and have burned a house.
I contemplate sending Louis (or Lew-ey), formerly of your valley--an Indian, with whom I presumed you are acquainted--and who, I believe, is familiar with all the locations where Indians would be likely to collect--to assist in hunting them out, and I have to request that you will act as local agent in collecting and removing all the Indians in the Umpqua Valley to the Grand Ronde Reservation in this valley.
Captain Smith, of the United States army, will shortly be coming with his command from Fort Lane to the Grand Ronde, and I wish you to collect all the Indians in the Umpqua Valley and concentrate them at some point where they may join him and come on with them to the reservation.
It may be necessary to employ a few teams to transport the aged, the infirm and the children, together with such of their effects as are of sufficient value to warrant it, but the healthy and athletic will not be furnished transportation.
I will send you, by Louis, or some other messenger, funds to defray the expense of subsisting the Indians, after collected and on their way to the reservation, but it is expected you will use all economy and incur no expense not absolutely demanded--the object is to gather up every Indian in that country.
Certain individual settlers have their favorites amongst the Indians whom they desire to live among them to do service, or for some other object, but none are to be left, old or young. It matters not how long they may have lived with them, or from whence they came. The entire Indian population is to be removed, and at present there can be no exceptions unless, indeed, some woman has been legally married to a white man. In that case, we do not seek to control her or her offspring.
Please inform me, by letter, if you can act in this matter and give me such information as to the whereabouts, condition &c. of these Indians as you possess.
Your obt. servt.
Supt. Ind. Affairs
Jas. P. Day
NARA Series M234, Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, Reel 610 Oregon Superintendency 1857, frames 1333-1335.
State of Oregon )
Coos County ) ss.
W. H. Harris of said county, being duly sworn, says that on or about the 3rd day of July 1 A.D. 1856 I did personally by direction of Capt. Rinearson, a sub-Indian agent or person employed to remove the Coquille Indians to the Siletz Reservation, employ A. N. Foley M.D. to visit & medically attend as physician upon a sick Indian called "Ben" & to provide for the said Indian Ben & his mother food & things requisite & necessary.
And affiant further says that the said A. N. Foley did to the personal knowledge of affiant visit & medically attend continuously from or about the 3rd day of July to the 19th day of October 1856 or about that day and that he also fed and furnished provisions for the said Indian named Ben & his mother and rendered them "every assistance necessary." And affiant further states that the above-named "Ben," an Indian, and his mother were left at Empire City in the county of Coos, Oregon by Capt. Rinearson on or about the third day of July A.D. 1856 (who was then employed in removing the Coquille Indians to the Siletz Reservation) on account of the sickness of the said "Ben" and their inability to travel to said reservation and that the said Rinearson, agent or person employed in the removal of said Indians as aforesaid, directed me to employ medical aid for said Indian and that said service rendered by said A. N. Foley M.D. was rendered at my request by reason of the direction and request of the said Rinearson continuously from time to time as required by the necessities of the said Indians during the time aforesaid.
W. H. HarrisSubscribed and sworn to before me this 18th day of March A.D. 1862.
B. B. Brockway
Justice of Peace
State of Oregon )
Coos County ) ss.
I, J. S. Macnamara, Clerk of said county, do hereby certify that B. B. Brockway, whose genuine signature is attached to the foregoing affidavit, was at the time of signing the same a justice of the peace for said county, and that full faith and credit are due to all his acts as such. In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my official seal this 13th day of May A.D. 1862.
J. S. MacnamaraNARA Series M234 Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs 1824-81, Reel 613 Oregon Superintendency, 1862-1863, frames 417-418.
THE INDIANS IN SOUTH OREGON.--The Oregonian of June 28th says:
It is said that the Indian war in Southern Oregon is at an end. We hope this is so. If the 600 specimen Indians from that region, which passed through this city last week, under charge of Superintendent Palmer, are the sort of warriors to contend against, we wonder it has lasted so long. They were mostly either old decrepit specimens of the race or filthy squaws and naked children. We noticed but few among the whole number able to bear arms, carry a torch or run away. Our opinion is that these were sent off to enable to real warriors the better to plunder and lay waste the country. This idea of the general government protecting and feeding the lame, halt and blind, to enable the young, athletic, bloodthirsty of the race greater scope of operation and more freedom to rob, murder, burn and steal is a kind of patriotic humanity we cannot fully comprehend.
Sacramento Daily Union, July 9, 1856, page 2
OFFICIAL REPORT OF TRANSACTIONS SOUTH.
Headquarters, Port OrfordTo His Excellency Geo. L. Curry:
June 25th, 1856.
SIR--Since my last, from the Big Bend of Rogue River, my command has completed the campaign of Rogue River, Pistol and Chetco rivers, and I am happy to inform you that the command has met with complete success, and that the war in Southern Oregon is now ended, with much credit to those who so nobly endured the hardships and privations of so arduous a campaign.
On the 10th of June, my command took up its line of march from the Big Bend to the mouth of Illinois River, where Major Reynolds was camped with a command of U.S. troops. On the 11th we crossed to the south side of Rogue River and camped at [the] volunteer camp, fifteen miles from the crossing of the river. On the 13th, I ordered a detachment of 75 men, under the command of Major Latshaw, to move down the river to its mouth and meet my command. The command under Major Latshaw was composed of detachments from the companies of Capts. Bledsoe, Blakely, Keith, Noland and Capt. Barnes' spy company. The orders given them were completely executed--burning all the Indian villages, capturing forty canoes (twenty of which were left for the use of Lt. Sweitzer in bringing his wounded men to the mouth of the river), and destroying a great number of caches of the enemy.
I then sent out an expedition under Maj. Bruce to Pistol River, to drive those Indians into the camp of the regulars, who arrived at the mouth of the river on the evening of the 13th, and took up their camp on the north side, where they remained some four or five days. I procured the services of Mr. McGuire, special Indian agent, to go with the command under Maj. Bruce, and take one of Chief Joshua's boys with him to notify all those who wished to come in and deliver up their arms that they would be received as prisoners of war. Maj. Bruce sent an express to my camp, on the night of the 14th, to inform me that he had sent the Indian boy out, and that he had a talk with the Pistol River and Chetco River Indians--that they said they would not come in, but would kill all the whites who came into their country, and also all the Indians who came to talk for the whites. On the 15th, I sent a command of 40 men with six days' rations to the assistance of Maj. Bruce, with orders to scour the country of Pistol and Chetco rivers and drive into the camp of the regulars all of the Indians they could not capture. By moving in the night, they succeeded in surprising a band of Indians on Pistol River, where they killed two and captured some fifteen or more. On the 16th the command proceeded to Chetco, where, on the night of the 17th and the morning of the 18th, they surprised a band of Chetco Indians, killing one and capturing over twenty others. These eight movements have had the desired effect and compelled the Indians to come to terms. All of them are now in, or are coming in, to camp daily. On the 20th and 21st, the command of Maj. Bruce reached my camp and brought with them thirty-one prisoners, leaving two men and one woman to notify the others Indians to come in, or the volunteers would again be sent out against them.
I have ordered Maj. Latshaw to take the companies of Capts. Noland, Blakely and Keith, and proceed to the military station at the Big Meadows and attend to moving all government property from there and deliver it over to the proper officers at Roseburg, and on his way up, if he can fall in with old John's band of Indians, to drive them into the camp of Col. Buchanan, as that is the only safe place for them to remain, all the others having come to terms. Maj. Latshaw has orders, so soon as he shall have performed those duties to proceed with his command to Eugene City, and there to have his men honorably discharged. The spy company, under Capt. James Barnes, came to this place with me. I have ordered them to proceed to Roseburg, and there to be honorably discharged. Capt. Bledsoe's company will arrive here today from the mouth of Rogue River, with some prisoners, amongst whom is the noted Chetco chief. His people will soon follow, as most of his leading warriors have been either killed or captured. The captured are now at this place.
I have not had means to feed and transport the prisoners captured by my command, and I have turned them over to the different Indian agents, whenever it was most convenient for safety as follows: To Mr. Metcalfe, at the Big Meadows, 19; to Mr. McGuire, at the mouth of Rogue River, 32; to Mr. Olney, at Port Orford, 33, and a number will be in soon, with Capt. Bledsoe's command. These do not include 32 which were taken by Capt. Bledsoe, prisoners, [up] to this time, 20 of which were turned over to Gen. Palmer, at Port Orford, and 12 to Major Reynolds, at the confluence of Illinois and Rogue rivers. This he was bound to do, as the service at that time required prompt and rapid movements.
I am happy to state that every time the volunteers have met the Indians they have completely routed them, killing and capturing them at all times, under circumstances even the most disadvantageous. Great credit is due to both officers and men for their gallantry, and the manner in which they have endured fatigue--having to march a good portion of the time, both day and night, over the roughest country on the Pacific Slope. Some of the men were frequently without boots or shoes, and going on half rations, on account of the long night marches, when it was not possible for us to take our pack animals with us.
I understand that Gen. Wool has given Col. Buchanan orders not to act in concert with the territorial troops, but the manner which the U.S. troops were dealt with, at the Big Bend of Rogue River, convinced the Colonel that the volunteers were superior to even his best troops--especially for Indian fighting.
I am most happy to bear testimony to the gallant bearing of the officers under Col. Buchanan. They have rendered the country eminent service. And, from what I can learn, would have acted more cordially with the volunteers, had it not been, perhaps, for superior orders. Still the U.S. troops were of some advantage to us, as they kept their net open, as it were, and the volunteers drove the Indians into it--for they had not a prisoner in their camp until Maj. Latshaw's command made the attack upon the bands of Limpy and George, on the 28th of May--and in fact the only prisoners taken during the war have been taken by the volunteers.
In the late campaign, I am under many obligations to the officers and men of the command. Majors Bruce and Latshaw were as usual always ready whenever duty called. Adjutant Munson has also rendered efficient aid in the discharge of his duties, and is a most excellent officer. Capts. Keith, Blakely and Noland have been prompt and efficient in the discharge of their duties--both officers and men of these companies have rendered the country distinguished service, and have nobly represented the counties from which they came as citizen soldiers. To Capt. Bledsoe's company this section of the coast as well as the whole Territory are under many obligations. The officers and men of this company deserve the highest commendation for their zeal and promptitude in bringing about a speedy peace. The spy company under Capt. Barnes has acted with the utmost alacrity, and have rendered a great deal of service both night and day, being always ready at a moment's notice. The men of this company deserve well of their country. My present aide, Lieut. Hawley, has rendered me important assistance, as well as the command under me, and as he is well known to the Department, it is not necessary for me to say any more.
I was agreeably surprised to find one of the finest grazing countries I have ever seen on the western coast during our last expedition from the Big Bend to the mouth of Rogue River. On this trail there are numerous bald hills covered with grass and clover of the richest growth, and to the height of three feet in some places. There is also a large belt of country along the coast which is better adapted to stock-growing than any other portion of Oregon Territory. For forty miles up the Coquille River from the coast, we also found beautiful pasturage for stock. There are great inducements here to persons engaged in stock-growing.
During our last campaign we have passed over a vast extent of country fraught with every indication of gold, and I have no doubt that there will be extensive gold discoveries made in this region so soon as a permanent peace is restored to this portion of the country. There is quite a large extent of country at the mouth of Rogue River which is susceptible of cultivation, and there will be heavy settlement here soon, as the landholders will always find a ready market for the products of their labor on Gold Beach, the mines of which are very extensive.
This war will be a benefit to Oregon in some respects--it will be the means of opening the resources of the country, and it has given hundreds of men a more extensive knowledge of Southern Oregon than would have been gained for years without it.
I will leave tomorrow for Salem. I can there give you things more in detail.
I am, respectfully, your obdt. servt.,
JOHN K. LAMERICKOregon Statesman, Salem, July 22, 1856, page 2
Brig. General Commanding the Vols.
Luther C. Hawley, Aide-de-camp.
A. J. Barlow, formerly a resident of Grants Pass, has left us an addendum that needs to be quoted. Barlow was General Lane's nephew. His letter follows:
Uncle David Gilmore of Woodville relates an interesting reminiscence of pioneer history. In June of 1856, soon after the Rogue River Indians were subjugated and were being taken to the Siletz reservation by Indian Agent Robert Metcalfe, about a dozen bucks and three or four squaws, who could not endure the idea of being forced by the hated whites on a reservation not of their own choice, concluded to desert and betake themselves to the mountains, which they did at Myrtle Creek in Douglas County.
They were unarmed and had but little provisions, just what they stole from the camp on the night before they deserted. They soon managed to make themselves bows and arrows with which to kill game.
Not many weeks after they went into the mountains, the settlers along the Umpqua River noticed that they commenced to miss provisions and wearing apparel. These little thefts became more and more frequent, so much so, indeed, that the settlers laid all sorts of traps to catch the midnight marauders but to no avail, the redskins being too foxy.
This business continued uninterruptedly until the summer of 1857, when one hot moonlight July night, the Gilmores were awakened from their slumbers by the stampeding of their horses. When daylight came they went to the pasture to find that the Indians had shot their horses with arrows. Some had been shot through the bowels and afterward died. This so exasperated the settlers that they determined to hunt the red devils down.
General Lane had just been elected to Congress, and he was consulted in relation to the matter. He at once organized a searching party, consisting of himself, Col. Wm. Martin of Jacksonville [sic], A. J. Burnett, David Gilmore, John Fitzhugh and his younger son, Lafayette, a lad of 15 years, and three friendly Klamath Indians named Sampson, Captain Chief and Joe Snakes.
The searching party set out in the direction of Camas Valley and the head of Coquille River. After they had been out about three or four days the General divided his forces. He sent Burnett and Gilmore, accompanied by Captain Chief and Joe Snakes in the direction of Camas Valley, with instructions that if they discovered Indian signs to return to a certain place and report.
Burnett and Gilmore had not proceeded many miles until they found unmistakable signs of the close proximity of Indians. They at once wheeled about and joined Lane's party about sundown of the same day they started. The next day, bright and early, all hands were in their saddles.
The General cautioned the men not to make any noise, such as shooting at game, which was forbidden. However, about noon the party came suddenly in sight of an unusually large black bear. The temptation was irresistible, and the General sang out, "Let us give it to him, men." In an instant every man in the party sent his leaden missile into bruin's carcass, killing him instantly.
One of the Indians wanted the itchfoot's hide, and accordingly they skinned him. They were detained at this about an hour, when they proceeded to move along cautiously in pursuit of the Indians. They soon found Indian signs, but by this time the day was drawing to a close. The party concluded to return to the gulch where they had shot the bear, in order to get water.
When they arrived at the spot they were dumbfounded to find that the Indians had preceded them to the same spot and cut and carried the bear to their own camp, which evidently could not be far away. A guard was kept out all night. The next morning the searching party started down the gulch. Col. Martin discovered smoke on the left-hand side of the gulch.
The party cautiously crossed over and soon went unobserved into the Indian encampment, which was a genuine surprise. In an instant the Indians were in a fearful commotion. They evidently thought they would all be murdered. Gen. Lane, with characteristic coolness, informed the Indians that his party did not come to kill them, but to capture them and send them to the reservation where they belonged--that they had to submit at once, and that any resistance on their part would cause all of them to be shot.
The General ordered his men to keep their hands near their pistols and to proceed to gather up the bows and arrows of the Indians. Soon all their traps were gathered and loaded on the horses, and the captors and captives started for the Umpqua Valley. They traveled all day and at night camped at a beautiful stream called Snowberry Creek. A close watch was kept over the Indians during the night.
In the meantime, however, it should be stated that two young Indians named Jim Burnteye and Bogus had the day before gone on a hunting tour. When they returned to their camp and ascertained that the whites had captured their comrades, their bewilderment and grief can be imagined.
However, they followed the tracks of the captors into the valley to ascertain what the whites intended to do with their friends. When Jim Burnteye and Bogus found that the whites did not contemplate killing them, they also came in and gave themselves up.
It turned out that the Indians, when they heard the shooting of the bear, merely supposed it was a hunting party out for game and little dreamed that they, themselves, were the game sought. They were taken to Winchester and there remained until officers from Alsea arrived and removed them unwillingly, as usual, to the reservation, from whence most of them doubtless, long ere this, have passed to the happy hunting ground.
Daily Courier, Grants Pass, April 2, 1960, Indians and Mining Section, page 12
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Oregon's Trail of Tears was not quite the horror it has been painted to be. If you want horror, THIS is the story to repeat:
Office Sub-Ind. AgentGen.--
Umpqua City O.T. June 16 / 58
By an express just arrived from the south I learn that Wm. Tichenor Esqr., formerly spec. Ind. agent, is a few miles below this station with (67) sixty-seven Indian squaws & children of the Chetco & Pistol River bands beside the squaws & children which he now has with him. He had when he left Chetco fifteen (15) men, all of which were shot by Tichenor's party near Port Orford while attempting to escape. They had threatened to leave for the mountains two days previous. The regulars were sent into that country, sixty (60) men under Lieut. Ihrie, yet as they had orders (as I understand) to remain only ten (10) days, nothing was accomplished, their orders being such that they were bound to obey & they left with a loss of one man (a packer) killed & twelve (12) mules shot.
A volunteer company has been organized & are now in the mountains. They have a few pack animals with them & may accomplish their object. The country at present is unsafe to travel through between Crescent City & Port Orford. Capt. Tichenor for his perseverance, his fearless & intrepid daring & more than all for his success merits the confidence & good wishes of all settlers in that remote region & the pecuniary considerations of the Indian Department.
It was my intention to start for your office today, yet Tichenor's arrival will delay me perhaps two days. After Tichenor's arrival should he arrive before the closing of the mail north I will address you further if necessary. In the meantime
Your obt. [svt.]
E. P. Drew
Gen. J. W. Nesmith
Supt. Ind. Affairs
NARA Series M2, Microcopy of Records of the Oregon Superintendency of Indian Affairs 1848-1873, Reel 16; Letters Received, 1858, No. 151.
Headquarters Fort Umpqua O.T.Sir
June 17th 1858
I hardly know how to report certain circumstances in relation to a party of Indians--mostly Chetcos--from below, who arrived here yesterday and will, I am told, remain on this reserve until sent for by the agent on the Siletz Reservation. They consist entirely of women and children, with two wounded, half-grown boys.
Mr. W. Tichenor, who has them in charge, called at my office last evening. He stated that he gathered in this party on his own responsibility. (He was acting as a sub-agent, under authority, in Jany. and Feby. last, when the party of Indians, for which Lieut. Lorain's command was sent, were assembled on the Chetco River and brought through this reservation to the Siletz.) That the Indian men in the party--say 15 in number--tried several times to effect an escape and return to their old haunts, and he was convinced from the report of some of the squaws that at a certain place on the route they would make another attempt, and that in consequence he so disposed of the men in his employ that when the point was reached they fell upon these Indians, killing fourteen of them and wounding the two boys--one Indian man, a squaw & some few children escaped.
That authority, if any, Mr. Tichenor had to act in the premises I do not know. I infer from his own statement that he had none, directly.
Doctor E. P. Drew, sub-agent for the Umpqua Indians, resides on the reservation adjoining the post. He left here yesterday for Salem O.T., where the Superintendent of Indian Affairs resides. I am told he sent a letter to Mr. Metcalfe, the agent on the Siletz Reservation, where these Indians are to be located, informing him of their arrival here, and requesting him to send for them. I further hear that neither Mr. Tichenor nor any of his employees will go farther with these Indians.
I am at no little loss what to do. These poor creatures are in a sad condition, and must not be permitted to starve, neither here, nor on their journey of at least some fourteen days travel. Doctor Drew, I learn from one of his employees, intends sending some supplies for them from Scottsburg. The regulations permit the sale of provisions to Indian agents, but for cash only--and they have not a dollar--also Indians visiting military posts can be furnished in moderation. I shall feel obliged, on the score of humanity, if these women and children cannot be subsisted otherwise, to issue provisions to them, and charge the amount on returns to the Indian Department at Washington, through the subsistence department. This is a case that can hardly happen again, and I sincerely hope it never will.
I beg to have the sanction of the general commanding the Department for whatever I may feel it my duty to do. It may be advisable and even necessary to send these people to their reservation with an escort and a small number of govt. mules for packing, etc.
Most respectfullyMajor W. W. Mackall
Your obedt. svt.
Jno. B. Scott
Major 3rd. Arty.
Asst. Adjt. Genl. U.S.A.
Hd. Qrs. Dept. of the Pacific
NARA Series M2, Microcopy of Records of the Oregon Superintendency of Indian Affairs 1848-1873, Reel 16; Letters Received, 1858, No. 178.
I am glad to see Gen. Palmer here. Last winter I had nothing to eat but fish and mussels, and if Gen. Palmer comes I know I can work for him and sometimes get flour and beef. Long ago when he was Superintendent he brought us here. I heard what he said at Port Orford in my country. He brought us from there on a fine ship. When we passed this place he called us all on the deck of the steamer and pointed out this country and told us that all below the mouth of Salmon River was to be our home. Our hearts were glad to see this country, and we have always considered it ours.
Skaley, in council July 29, 1874, NARA Series M234 Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs 1824-81, Reel 619 Oregon Superintendency, 1874, frames 568-569.
Fort Leavenworth, Ks.To
Septr. 17th 1874.
The Commissioner of Indian Affairs
Being an applicant for a land warrant, having been engaged during the war of 1854 [sic] with the Rogue River Indians in the Territory of Oregon as volunteer, I most respectfully request to be furnished with the date of the removal of that tribe of Indians, which at the close of that war were collected. They were sent under guard of a body of the 4th U.S. Infy. commanded by 1st Lieut. Bonnycastle through the Rogue River Canyon farther north to the new reservation, myself being stationed at the mouth of the Canyon with a small detachment of volunteers of Co. F Oregon Mounted Vols., as they encamped at the mouth of the Canyon on this march farther north. There being a slight variation in the copy of the muster rolls of the Adjutant General's office of the state of Oregon, probably caused by the burning of the territorial capitol building in 1855, where a good many papers was lost.
I wish respectfully to be informed of the records on file what is known and the date of the arrival of the remnants of the Rogue River Indians at the Canyon to prove by other sources the existence of Compy. F. Capt. W. A. Wilkinson, Southern Battalion Oregon Mounted Vols., commanded by Major Bruce.
Hoping sir you will obligeNARA Series M234 Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs 1824-81, Reel 620 Oregon Superintendency, 1874-1875, frames 892-894.
I am as ever
Your obedient servant
Pvt. Co. F 5th U.S. Infy.
For thirty-one weary days the settlers of Rogue River were thus imprisoned in their comfortless fortress, each day bringing its menace of death, only averted by unremitting vigilance. They hoped for deliverance, but when it would come was beyond rational conjecture. It was almost impossible for those active, daring men to submit to such a life of idleness and restraint, and many a reckless venture was made to find relief from monotony even at the risk of life. But there came a day when the welcome sight of an advancing column of soldiers greeted their vision, and a detachment of two companies of "regulars" halted nearby. The Indians moved up the river to what they regarded as a stronghold. There, after an unimportant engagement, they agreed to lay down their arms. The terms of capitulation were arranged, and the majority of the Indians were soon removed to the Siletz Reservation, about one hundred and fifty miles up the coast. But a considerable number of stragglers remained, including several of those who had been foremost in the treacherous murders of the late outbreak. One of these was seen, and instantly recognized by Mrs. Geisel as belonging to the party that murdered her husband and sons. He was seized by the citizens and taken to a point near the scene of his terrible crime, and there summarily hung to the limb of a tree. Capt. Wm. Tichenor was authorized to gather together these straggling savages, and take them to the reservation. He entered upon the difficult task, and succeeded in collecting some fifteen or twenty men, and a larger number of squaws and papooses, and with these he started north from Rogue River. They had gone but a few miles when the Indians showed signs of insubordination, and, at a point where the road passes near the ruins of the home of the unfortunate Geisels, a halt was ordered, and a number of citizens were summoned to help in keeping the refractory prisoners under control. Other settlers flocked to the place, and, roused to frenzy by the near presence of those whose hands had been so recently dyed with the blood of their kindred and neighbors, they fell upon the savages, and a bloody massacre followed. The squaws and children, in a melancholy train, moved on toward the reservation; but the soil of the prairie drank the blood of the warriors.
G. Webster, "The Rogue River Indian War of 1855-56," Overland Monthly, September 1884, pages 235-240
Not all of the Rogue River Indians were hostile; Old Sam's and Limpy's bands were friendly. These Indians were ordered to be removed to the Yamhill reservation, far down in the Willamette Valley. These Indians were very loath to leave their country and go to a land they knew nothing of. There was great weeping and wailing when the time came for them to go. I was to assist in their removal. Lt. W. B. Hazen was also of the escort.
After we had proceeded to near Imperial [sic--Umpqua] Canyon, I was ordered to return to Fort Lane. Just before I left, one morning as we were going to start, some white men slipped up in the brush, and shot one of the Indians in cold blood. I followed their trail for several miles, but had to give up the pursuit as useless.
General George Crook: His Autobiography, Martin F. Schmitt, ed., University of Oklahoma Press, 1946, page 31
ANDREW SMITH WILL TRAVELThe Observer is in receipt of the following communication from a well-known Indian from the Grand Ronde Reservation, with the request that it be printed. It will be of interest to many Polk County people:
Pioneer Rogue River Indian Will Trek to Land of His Birth.
"Grande Ronde, Ore., Oct. 9, 1912.
"Now I will please ask the Polk County Observer, being I am one of the subscribers, to have this piece published, so all my pioneer friends will know. For I am a Rogue River Indian and the only one; only man that is alive of the Rogue River tribes. I was named by Captain Smith, in Rogue River; I was named with his own name at the time of the Rogue River war, and after the war I was brought to the Grand Ronde Reservation. My mother and I sailed from the Rogue River and I am the only child living that was brought on the ship, and that was in 1855. We were brought around to Dayton and through Dayton, and I was carried by my mother in her arms to the reservation.
"I am one of the directors of Rogue River school house No. 66, Polk County, Oregon. I shall drive through Dallas the 16th of October, 1912; also go to Salem to catch the train, to visit my old country. I shall go to the Table Rock, where all my chiefs had made our treaty; and my trip may reach as far as Jacksonville, and I shall notify all the persons as I go, and as I return I shall make them a speech in some of the largest towns. I shall also visit the Chemawa Indian school as I return, which I have never visited yet. I think all my people and friends will be glad to see me. I hope this will be satisfactory to the Observer. From
"Andrew SmithPolk County Observer, Monmouth, October 15, 1912, page 1
"Grande Ronde. Born in '53."
After the Rogue River war was over, Frank Drew, the Indian agent, asked for an escort of soldiers to take Old Sam's band of Indians to the Siletz Reservation. I was one of the guard. Old Sam was a well-built man and stout as a horse. He looked like a thoroughbred and was very brave. If he hadn't been a pesky Indian he would have been considered a handsome and courageous man.
I didn't think so then, but I know now that the Rogue River Indian War was the white man's fault. If I had been an Indian I would have fought, too. The bad white men would get full of booze and bother the young squaws and pretty young girls, and when the Indian men would resent it, the drunken white would shoot the Indians. Some of those Indians were certainly good fighters. I'll say this for them: The Indians always kept their word. The white men never did.
John Sidney Montgomery, quoted by Fred Lockley, "Oregon: In Early Days," Oregon Journal, Portland, February 20, 1915, page 4
"We took about 700 Indians by boat to Portland and from there to the reservation at Grand Ronde in Polk County. We escorted Chief John's band and the Pistol River and Chetco bands from near Roseburg overland to the Grand Ronde Reservation. That settled the Rogue River War."
Michael Kinney, quoted by Fred Lockley, "Oregon: In Early Days," Oregon Journal, Portland, May 12, 1915, page 6
Last revised January 31, 2019