The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Correspondence of the Oregon Superintendency
News articles and Southern Oregon-related correspondence with the Oregon Superintendency for Indian Affairs.

Click here for Superintendency correspondence 1844-1900.

The Indians Drive the Agent and a Lady Teacher Off the Reservation.
    From the express messenger who came over yesterday on the Oregon Pacific train from Yaquina, particulars were obtained of a serious trouble which has arisen on the Siletz Reservation near that place.
    A short time ago a surveyor named Lackland was sent there by the government to do some surveying. He did his work and at the same time wooed and won the affections of a half-breed Indian maiden, with whom he ran away, going to Portland. In leaving the couple, after crossing the ferry, left the two horses they were riding on the ferry-boat, and set it adrift. It floated down the river about six miles, and in getting it back one old Indian named Catfish was drowned. This, together with the manner in which Lackland had carried away the half-breed girl, made the Indians very angry. Lackland had boarded with the Indian agent, J. B. Lane, and they blamed him for the whole affair. Finally their wrath was nursed to such a degree that they gave Agent Lane peremptory notice to leave the reservation. To avoid trouble Mr. Lane left for Portland with the intention of returning to investigate the matter. The Indians also notified Miss Hattie Hansell, a highly respected young lady, who was engaged in teaching on the reservation, to leave, and yesterday she quit the reservation and started for her home in Portland.
    It is stated that certain white men who were opposed to Mr. Lane as agent have been assisting toward inciting the Indians to their present action.
Albany Democrat, Albany, Oregon, April 13, 1888, page 3

    TROUBLE AT THE RESERVATION.--From a passenger who came over from the Siletz Reservation yesterday, the following particulars are learned about the trouble with the Indians on the reservation: It seems that the Indians have been having considerable trouble among themselves of late, and in the settlement of these troubles the Indians became dissatisfied with their agent, J. B. Lane, and last Monday they held a council of war and notified Agent Lane to leave the reservation by Tuesday noon, or take the consequences, and also gave Miss Henshaw, a school teacher, notice to leave; the agent and teacher both took their departure for Toledo, on receipt of the notice, and Agent Lane immediately telegraphed to Washington concerning the trouble. Three families of whites still remain on the reservation but no fears of further trouble is anticipated, at least at present. The reservation is in charge of the clerk, Mr. Gaither.
    Later--Since writing the above, information has been received that Agent J. B. Lane has come out from Toledo and is on his way to Salem to intercede with the Governor to send troops over to the reservation, to keep down the trouble.
Corvallis Gazette, April 13, 1888, page 5

TOLEDO, April 9, 1888.
    EDITOR STATESMAN:--Siletz Agency was thrown into quite a state of excitement on Monday night, April 2nd, by the elopement of a surveyor by the name of S. W. Lackland and a half-breed Indian girl by the name of Annie Pierre, a cook in the boarding hall. Lackland was employed last summer to do the surveying in the allotment of the lands to the Indians on the Siletz Reservation. But when winter set in the work was suspended, and the surveyor, instead of leaving the reservation, took up his quarters at the agent's house, ostensibly for the purpose of fishing and hunting; but his real purpose in staying, as the sequel will show, was to ruin and capture Miss Pierre. This he did by writing letters, by making promises, by giving presents, and by the aid of other parties.
    Miss Pierre was educated at the Chemawa school, near Salem, and was rather a good-looking and intelligent girl. This is a good case for an inspector to investigate. The girl will doubtless be put in a house of ill fame.
Oregon Statesman, Salem, April 13, 1888, page 1

    A CROOKED AGENT.--A correspondent in the Yaquina Post, in an article upon the elopement of the surveyor Lackland and the girl Anna Pierre from the Siletz Reservation, thus pays his respects to Lackland and Jo Ben Lane, the agent: "He (Lackland) is guilty of theft of government property; has corrupted one ol the very nicest girls on the agency; has disgraced the finest family there, making good men and women bow their heads in shame, and yet Lane makes no effort to punish the offender. Of course, no one knows it to be absolutely so, but everything points toward Lane's conniving in the matter. If he is not in cahoots with Lackland, he has bungled the matter as he did the Jake Rooney affair, making the county a lot of expense, and not allowing the officer to subpoena the prosecuting witness. She was subpoenaed against his will, and he would not assist her to go out, and thus Benton County has an expense bill to pay and no conviction. Later--It has developed that Lane tried to buy off John Adams, Anna's uncle, by offering him $50, and telling him that Lackland would send him $100 from Portland. It is time this rottenness was broken up."
Oregon Statesman, Salem, April 18, 1888, page 3

The Agent is Warned to Leave Inside of Twenty-Four Hours--Trouble Feared.

    ST. PAUL, April 19.--A Portland, Ore., special says: A gentleman who arrived here last evening from Yaquina reports that the dissatisfaction which has existed among the Indians on the Siletz Reservation has culminated in a large number of Indians collecting at the agency and giving Joe Ben Lane, the agent, warning to leave the reservation within twenty-four hours. They also sent a similar notice to the Indian woman who has been acting as housekeeper for Mr. Lane. It is said that Lane left the reservation and boarded an Oregon Pacific train at Toledo early in the morning. The gentleman bringing this report states that there has been much dissatisfaction among the Indians for some time in regard to the manner in which things have been going on at the reservation, and the Indians at last became worked up to a pitch which boded danger.
Sioux City Journal, Sioux City, Iowa, April 20, 1888, page 3

    Jo Ben Lane, agent at the Siletz Indian Reservation, is again in peaceful possession of affairs at the reservation. A special agent accompanied him on his return, after being driven off by the Indians, and a peace has been patched up, and things are again moving along quietly without danger of any further disturbance on the part of the Indians.
"Oregon News," Oregon Scout, Union, Oregon, June 15, 1888, page 6

    BALL GAME.--The Chemawa and Grand Ronde base ball clubs (Indians) will play a match game at the former place tomorrow afternoon. A red-hot contest is anticipated, as both clubs will play for blood.
Oregon Statesman, Salem, July 1, 1888, page 3

The Siletz Agency.
    Mr. Jo Ben Lane has been removed from the agency of the Siletz Reservation and Mr. D. Gaither has been appointed in his stead. Mr. Gaither has been the clerk of the agency for some two years. The removal of Mr. Lane was caused by the trouble in the spring with the Indians, an account of which was published in the Herald. A government surveyor ran away with a half-breed girl employed at the agency and the Indians blamed the agent for it. The trouble was fomented by persons outside the agency under threats of personal harm by the Indians. The girl was sent to the school at Chemawa. Mr. Lane secured an investigation of the matter by a special agent of the government. The result of the investigation was a request for Mr. Lane's resignation. He went to Washington to vindicate  himself but with no effect. Mr. Grady, a brother of the famous Georgia editor, is industrial teacher at the reservation.
Albany Weekly Herald, Albany, Oregon, August 24, 1888, page 7

Archbishop Gross Arranges Matters So That
the Catholic Indians Will Have Service.

    Archbishop W. H. Gross has returned from a week's visit to the Siletz Indian Reservation, where he had a pleasant time. Agent Lane and all the government officials showed him the greatest courtesy, and he returns to them his sincere thanks for the attentions.
    Archbishop Gross was accompanied by Father Croquet, of the Grand Ronde Reservation, who is past his 70th year. He has been engaged in missionary work among the Indians for twenty-eight years. The reverend gentleman went by rail to Toledo, thence by conveyance to the reservation, which is about ten miles from that place.
    Last Saturday Archbishop Gross visited all the Indians on the reservation, and Sunday he preached to them in the schoolhouse. He had a mixed audience of bucks, squaws and their papooses and government officials. At the conclusion of the sermon, which occupied an hour in its delivery, the Indians crowded around the archbishop and complimented him highly, at the same time extending him an invitation to come again.
    "Although many of the Indians are at present engaged in hop picking, 1 found more on the reservation than I expected," said Archbishop Gross. "I was very much pleased with everything I saw on the reservation, it is so well kept. There are many houses on it, built and owned by Indians. There are many Catholic Indians on the reservation, and I have made arrangements so that they will have services at least once a month."
    Archbishop Gross is said to be the first Catholic archbishop who has ever visited the Siletz Reservation.
Albany Weekly Herald, Albany, Oregon, September 28, 1888, page 7

Wachener's Mistake.
    PORTLAND, Oct. 15.--An Indian named Wachener, who has been acting as chief of police on the Grand Ronde Reservation, was held to answer before the United States commissioner here today on a charge of selling liquor to Indians. Wachener considered his salary of $8 per month too small, and to eke it out engaged in supplying his red brethren with whiskey on an extensive scale, imagining that as he was the highest officer on the reservation he could not be arrested. The United States marshal, hearing of his actions, went out and brought him in. In default of bail he will lie in the county jail till his trial.
Daily Sentinel, Garden City, Kansas, October 16, 1888, page 1

    There are about 700 Indians on the Siletz Reservation, twelve miles north of Newport.
"Occidental Jottings," Capital Journal, Eugene, November 20, 1888, page 4

Last revised April 30, 2021