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The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised


Correspondence of the Oregon Superintendency
1889
News articles and Southern Oregon-related correspondence with the Oregon Superintendency for Indian Affairs.


Oregon Letter.
    Well, my son Plato and I started for the Pacific Coast, a distance of 60 miles, to a place called big Nestucca, so called because a river of that name comes into the ocean there. Well, as we went we passed through the Indian reservation called Grand Ronde Valley, and we saw the house where Gen. Phil Sheridan had his headquarters when he was there. We saw a number of Indians there and from the number of half breeds, we think a few white men believed in Indian equality. After we crossed the reservation we began to climb the Coast Mountains, and it was over thirty miles before we got to the ocean. Sometimes we would be on fearful heights, creeping on the side of a mountain where there was barely room for the wagon track and if we had slipped off, that certainly would have been the last of us. Then we would be in deep narrow valleys, surrounded by steep high peaks. These mountains have all been covered with a heavy forest of fir timber, but the fire went through it 50 years ago and now there is nothing but naked trees and snags and black logs on the ground. Now and then there is fern and salal in abundance. When these forests burn there must certainly be smoke for hundreds of miles.
    We arrived at the ocean late in the evening. We could hear it for four miles off. There was a tall rock, called Haystack Rock, that stood one mile in the ocean. It was 150 feet tall and looked like a large round haystack. Three miles away we camped for the night and next morning we walked over a sand hill and then we had three-quarters of a mile to go before we got to the water and oh, how hot the sun did pour down upon us. We almost sank beneath the intense heat, but when we got near the water we felt a very cool breeze. Then we stood and watched the breakers or waves. They looked like a succession of waterfalls and  were from 5 to 8 feet high and if a person would stand where they would roll around him, he would feel very much like going back with them into the sea. We took off our shoes and tried that and when we got out our feet were as cold as if they had been on ice and we thought that would do, so we took a walk along the beach and saw trees, logs and lumber that had been thrown ashore during a storm. That evening while we were in camp, one old man and four young men came in somewhat excited and said they saw 5 whales, a sea horse and a sea lion.
    We stayed two nights and one day at the coast. The air was so cool at night that we found an overcoat very comfortable. As we camped near the mouth of the river named above and salmon fishing is carried on several miles up the river, we saw how they caught these; men stretch a net across the river and the salmon, in trying to pass up the river, will get their gills fast in the net and there they stay until the fisherman comes and lifts them into his boat. My son bought a salmon of one of the fishermen that measured 3½ feet long and looked almost as large as a small boy around the body. The meat of these salmon looks like a red watermelon. These fish are canned on the coast and sent out to all the world I suppose.
    We went to the state fair at Salem on the 18th. We will say it was a long way behind the Iowa state fair. Oregon does not give encouragement to men of other states. They would not give a premium on machinery that was invented outside of the state. I saw men there with fine horses from other states. Salem claims a population of 10,000, but the town looks like it was at least 50 years behind.
Yours,
    J. M. MCFEE.
Perry Chief, Perry, Iowa, October 4, 1889, page 4


Indian Depredation Claims.
    Walter H. Bishop came out from Washington Friday as a government agent for the examination of claims against the government for Indian depredations. After staying in Ashland four days, he left for Jacksonville, thence to Crescent City, from whence he will go to Coos and Curry counties. We believe the only claim presented here was one for $500, presented by John P. Walker, for horses stolen by the Klamath Indians in 1855, which has been "hung up" ever since.
    Mr. Bishop is an old friend and neighbor of B. F. Snyder and family, of the European restaurant, with whom he spent an enjoyable visit while here.
Valley Record, Ashland, October 10, 1889, page 3


Indian Agent.
    President Harrison has finally appointed Gen. E. L. Applegate as agent for the Klamath Indian agency, vice Jos. Emery resigned. This is pursuant to the request of Senator Mitchell and the Oregon delegation, since the declination of Rev. W. R. Bishop of East Portland to qualify. It was at first doubtful whether the general would actually receive the appointment, as this position has in the past been given to the Methodists as one of their quota of agencies in Oregon, they all being divided up among the churches promiscuous-like. We haven't seen 'Lish lately, but the last time he was around he had no symptoms of being much of a Methodist. But then people do choose their religions sometime. Can it be that the general, while out on his farm in the interior of Josephine, has reflected on the wickedness of the ways of himself, his party, and everybody else, and the great weight of the load of wickedness has crushed into his conscience, knocking "the world, the flesh, and the devil" out the other way, and has he been fattening upon yellow-legged chickens all this time? Who knows? We have heard of similar things before. But at any rate the Record and numerous others of the general's friends congratulate him on his appointment, which is a good one.
Valley Record, Ashland, October 10, 1889, page 3


The Fort Klamath Abandonment.
Linkville Star.]
    The question of the abandonment of Fort Klamath has been answered in the negative. Lieutenant Swift's orders to sell the military telegraph lines have been revoked or held in abeyance indefinitely. Major Burton, who built the telegraph line, says that Fort Klamath will have at least one cavalry troop this winter; that G troop is coming from Ft. Bidwell, and, if forage enough can be procured, another cavalry troop will be quartered at the Fort before snow flies. If, however, not enough forage can be obtained, the other troop will be there in the spring. Bill Webb, of Ft. Klamath, says that thirty-six wagons are going to Bidwell to haul away the "dunnage" of the cavalry.
Valley Record, Ashland, October 10, 1889, page 3



Last revised September 5, 2020