The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Mary Belknap

    In this city, by Rev. Mr. Neale, Mr. JOHN B. PAINE, to Miss AMANDA ALEXANDER.
    By the same, Mr. ROLLINS S. BELKNAP, to Miss MARY A. SMITH.
"Marriages," Christian Reflector, Boston, December 19, 1844, page 3

    Watchmen Appointed--Luther Hutchins, Rollin S. Belknap, Seth W. Fogg, Walter W. Homer, John Ewers.
"Municipal Affairs," Boston Daily Bee, August 24, 1847, page 1

    A Mrs. Belknap showed equally remarkable cool and deliberate bravery. Five Indians went to the house and threatened to kill her and burn the house. She presented one of Colt's revolvers and told them to "klatawa" ["leave"] or she would shoot them all, and they left, and she and the family were saved.
A. G. Henry, Letter of October 11, 1855,
Oregon Statesman, Corvallis, October 20, 1855, page 2

    On a consultation with Major Bruce, Capt. Judah, of the regulars, and the captains of the several companies, a plan of attack was arranged for the following morning, Nov. 26th, subject in the meantime to be modified by the report of R. S. Belknap and James P. Barns, the spies who had ascended the river.
William J. Martin, letter of December 10, 1855, Table Rock Sentinel, Jacksonville, March 22, 1856, page 1

[signed] R. S. Belknap, Steward.
"Hospital Report," Table Rock Sentinel, Jacksonville, January 5, 1856, page 2

    Mr. R. S. Belknap carried his family to high land, from his house, on horses. His valuable orchard is almost entirely destroyed. His loss in fence, hay and grain is heavy.
"Floods--Great Destruction of Property," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, December 21, 1861, page 2

Notice to Stock Raisers.
    The undersigned takes this method of informing the public that persons, not stockholders in the company, who may be desirous of breeding to the celebrated MORGAN HORSE "VERMONT" can do so by applying IN TIME to him, as he has yet a number of shares unengaged for this season. He will always be found with the horse. Good mares will be bred for half the issue, and those bred upon his shares will be furnished pasturage free of charge.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, April 8, 1865, page 3

    R. S. Belknap, Esq., gives notice to stock-raisers that he has a full-blooded Morgan horse--a horse whose lineage can be easily traced back to the original Justin Morgan of Vermont. The Morgan horses, taken as a whole, are justly considered the best race of horses in the world. They are spirited, yet gentle and kind; they are surefooted, healthy, hardy--good under the saddle and in harness--and possessed of extraordinary powers of endurance; and withal very beautiful in form and color. Our opinion is that there is nothing in nature more beautiful than a noble horse except a beautiful and noble woman!
"New Ads," State Rights Democrat, Albany, Oregon, April 4, 1868, page 3

    EAST OF THE MOUNTAINS.--Mr. R. S. Belknap has just returned from a prolonged prospecting and exploring trip east of the mountains. He reports many interesting facts relative to the size, fertility and future importance of several fine valleys, including Sprague's River, Goose Lake and numerous other smaller valleys, all capable of sustaining a large population. He also reports the route proposed for the branch railroad to this valley from the Central Pacific, as traversing a beautiful country, through passes of easy grade, and making, in his opinion, the best mountain route ever surveyed for the same distance. Lalakes, chief of the Klamath Indians, had quite a lengthy wawa with Mr. B., and, presuming upon his early acquaintance, became quite confidential and grumbled very much because the Superintendent of Indian Affairs had not yet distributed the annuities promised them more than a year ago. He intimated, rather savagely, that if the Indian Department did not adhere more strictly to the conditions of the treaty, the tomahawk would be unearthed and the innumerable tribes of noble red men on our borders would, with one fell swoop, exterminate the last Boston.
Albany Register, Albany, Oregon, October 2, 1869, page 2

Eugene City June 5th 1872
A. C. Gibbs
    Dear Sir
        I send by express a small bottle of water from the springs that I have located upon, that are said to be good for their healing qualities, which I wish you would give to your best chemist to be analyzed. The springs are located on the McKenzie fork of the Willamette about sixty miles from the place. They are boiling hot and produce quite a quantity of steam and have been used more or less since /59, but nobody has attempted to improve them until I took hold of them almost two years ago. Please send the returns to this place to Doct. G. W. Odell, of this place, as I am not down here very often, and he will settle charges if any. I ask this as a personal favor, and I will pay you for your trouble. We are all well and have been at the springs with my family since last Aug. Come up and see us in the mountains and all of the curiosities of which will be published soon.
Yours in haste
    R. S. Belknap
University of Oregon Special Collections, CA1872

    R. S. Belknap has located at Sams Valley, Jackson County.
"Brief Mention," Eugene City Guard, August 12, 1876, page 3

    On the evening of the 2nd inst., says the Plaindealer, R. S. Belknap, postmaster at Angora, Coos County, took to Roseburg Billy Stillwell, a lad 16 or 17 years of age, and Wesley Donee, aged 18 years, who were accused of robbing the mail on the 19th ult. on the route between Myrtle Point and Camas Valley.
"Youthful Mail Robbers Arrested," The Coast Mail, Marshfield, Oregon, January 10, 1884, page 3

    So I passed on up the valley in quest of Doc Paxton & to find out what was the matter. The valley here is about ¾ of a mile wide, a smooth, nice prairie land; to the left is a rise of 10 or 15 feet, and the land is heavily timbered & covered with a thick growth of underbrush. I rode on for half a mile and thought I saw someone up on the bench or side hill. I put spurs to the mule and rode directly up there and was somewhat taken aback to find a woman & 2 children. The woman I discovered was a Yankee & she had a dirk stuck in her belt and a double-barreled shotgun in her hands and a pr. of blankets the children was sitting upon.
    She looked and acted brave--poor, frail woman, she did not realize that herself & children's lives were spared simply because she lived in Timoleon Love's house. Of course I inquired for Paxton and asked for an explanation, when she made the following statement. She said Umpqua Joe (a Cherokee that came out with Fremont [and] was killed near there a year or two ago by his son-in-law) had come down from Jacksonville about 2 hours before in hot haste & reported to them that the Indians had broke out that morning in the Upper Rogue River Valley, and that they were massacring all the whites and burning everything before them, and told Doc Paxton who was there at the house to take her & the children up to Vannoy's and that he, Joe, had a canoe down at the river; [he] would get in that, make a run down to Galice Creek in one hour (river very rapid) and would tell Capt. Belknap, her husband & his partner Mr. White to come right up that night, that Mr. Paxton had taken her & the children & cached them out in the brush and for her to stay there while he went down to the other house and got his horses. This was several hours before, and she was there waiting for him. Poor, frightened man, he never came back. I then told her it was no place for her out there; she must go to the house and that being personally acquainted as I was with nearly every Indian in that part of the country, I did not place much confidence in Joe's report, thought it was only a tease, that our folks would expect me home that night, but under the circumstances I would not desert her till someone came, so we all went to the house. Mr. Love's pack train she said would be in that night. I picketed out my mule; we got supper; waited till 10 o'clock. No one came and so we lay down with our clothes on ready for any emergency. It was a long night. The house was of hewn logs, but not chinked--all open. Daylight came at last; [we] got up and went out but not a living thing was to be seen except my mule. Stayed there all that day, all the second night, but not a soul came to our relief. What did it mean? This was Wednesday morning and I began to get fidgety and nervous, till about 10 a.m. I heard a rumbling noise, looked up the valley, saw bright flashes up & down, and thought it must be Indians coming on horseback. We all got inside; I barricaded the door with sacks of flour and then took a look at them through the sights of a gun. They came swooping down upon us in a dead run. Soon I discovered it to be a party of six white men & I breathed easier. We opened the door. They seemed much surprised to find us living and especially me, for Harkness told them that I was to be home Monday, but that Doc Paxton had come in through the mountains, got to the Grave Creek House about 12 o'clock that night and reported that he barely escaped with his life, that everybody had been murdered, and of course I had been waylaid & killed, that they had just been sent down from Vannoy's to look for the Belknaps, that the Indians, without a moment's notice had begun to shoot the settlers & burn their homes. They named the Jones family, the Wagoners, the Harrises as all killed and the Haines family not heard from. This recital raised my hair, and the boys said I turned white as a sheet. There was no time to be wasted at that stage of the game. I saddled my mule; we packed Mrs. B. & her 2 children onto two of the men's horses with a few articles of clothing. The men leading the horses, they started for Vannoy's 7 or 8 miles up the river.
James H. Twogood, 1886, Silas J. Day Papers, Lilly Library, Indiana University


    GREENLEAF, April 19.--Mrs. Mary A. Belknap, the oldest inhabitant of this section, was born in New Hampshire in 1822. Her maiden name was Smith. In her native state she married R. S. Belknap, who left for California in 1849. In the course of five years he had drifted to the Rogue River mines, where he took up a homestead and sent for his wife, who made the trip around the Horn. The Indian war broke out about this time. Runners warned the settlers of the danger, and left with Mrs. Belknap a pistol, the use of which she knew nothing. Her husband was away, and she had two small children. Six redskins in war paint appeared soon after, but she cowed them with the revolver and a big dog. They passed on, and murdered a family at the next house. After living on the homestead 10 years the Belknaps sold the property and went to Albany. About 1871 they bought what is known as Belknap Springs, on the Mackenzie. They traveled in a wagon, and camped along the route for several weeks, cutting the road. They opened the bathing resort at the springs, and kept the place four years. Mrs. Belknap has three daughters and a son. She is living with her daughter, Mrs. F. R. Pepiot, of this place. Within the past three years she has had three strokes of paralysis. Since the last of these attacks she has not enjoyed the best of health, although she is quite active for one of her years.
Portland, April 21, 1901, page 5

    March 19.--Died, Mrs. Mary Belknap died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. F. R. Pepiot of Greenleaf, Wednesday night, March 16, about 12 o'clock. She leaves to mourn her loss a husband, R. S. Belknap of Canyon City, Ore., one son and three daughters. Mrs. Belknap has suffered from paralysis for several years, and has been entirely helpless for over a year. She was past 80 years of age. Deceased was laid to rest in the cemetery at Deadwood.
"Blachly," Morning Register, Eugene, Oregon, March 22, 1904, page 3

CHAP. 1284.--An Act Granting a pension to Rollin S. Belknap.
    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Secretary of the Interior be, and he is hereby, authorized and directed to place on the pension roll, subject to the provisions and limitations of the pension laws, the name of Rollin S. Belknap, of Captain M. F. Alcorn's Company G, Second Regiment Oregon Mounted Volunteers, Oregon and Washington Indian wars, and pay him a pension at the rate of eight dollars per month.
    Approved, February 25, 1907.

Statutes of the United States of America, December 1905 to March 1907, Vol. XXXIV, page 2483

Last revised August 5, 2022