The Humbug War
Trouble on the Klamath and a standoff at Fort Lane in the runup to the war of 1855-56.THE HUMBUG WAR.
I arrived at Big Bend, on Rogue River, June 8th, and found George, Limpy and some of the lower river chiefs, with all of their bands, encamped with the regulars, where they had gone for protection, being closely pursued by the volunteers under Maj. Latshaw. I requested all the chiefs to make a statement, separately, why they went to war with the whites. After comparing their statements, which so far agreed as to verify each other, I was enabled to glean the following facts:
Early in the spring, '55, Old John sent a party of his warriors over to Indian Creek, to kill and rob the whites, and to purchase all the arms and ammunition they could get. They killed and robbed several of our citizens, and returned to the Illinois Valley and reported that the Klamath Indians had murdered some of our people on Indian Creek, declaring that they had not participated in the murder, and claimed the protection guaranteed them by the treaty, which was granted, and the agent, with a detachment of U.S. troops, went over to Illinois Valley to maintain peace, and to take the Indians to the Reserve. Now, this murder, fairly [sic] saddled upon the Klamath Indians, and the whites lulled into comparative safety under this impression, resumed their different vocations, never supposing for a moment that the murderers were around their firesides every day, and sharing their hospitality.
Old John, now finding the public quieted, and himself entirely free from suspicion, sent another party up Applegate Creek about the first of July, to murder and rob the whites of arms and ammunition, thus preparing for a general outbreak. This party killed and robbed two white men, and charged the same to the Klamath Indians, which the whites did not hesitate to believe. Now, to prove that the Klamath Indians did commit these murders, and to make his story plausible, Old John sent a party of warriors over to the Klamath and Humbug, there to murder and rob our citizens in the vicinity of a Klamath village, which they did, joined by a few of those Indians, killing and robbing a number of our citizens, and returning with their spoils, horses, clothing and money, went on the Reserve and claimed protection, saying that they had purchased them from the Klamath Indians. An armed force was then stationed on the Reserve to protect them and others from the enraged citizens, who came over in a body from Yreka and demanded a surrender of the murderers. There being at that time no positive proof that these Indians were engaged in that murder, they were not surrendered; however, there were two of John's party arrested on suspicion, by Capt. Smith, and held in custody and demanded by the proper authorities from California, when they were taken to Yreka and there given a fair and impartial trial. There being no evidence of their guilt, they were acquitted and told to return to their homes, when they were pursued by some persons who had witnessed the trial and killed on the road near Yreka. One of these Indians (John's son) aided in the massacre of those white men on Humbug; the other did not, but shared the spoils with them.
R. B. Metcalfe, Oregon Statesman, Salem, July 8, 1856, page 2
THE DEBATABLE LAND.The Humbug War is an episode of the Indian hostilities which extended from the year 1850 to 1856. It took place in July and August, in the latter year [it was 1855], and originated in a drunken quarrel, as described by the author of the History of Siskiyou County, California, an accurate and valuable book.
The Border of Oregon and California--Indian Wars There.
The Massacre Upon the Klamath--Two Hundred Californians Propose to Take Fort Lane--
Goodall's Account of a War for Glory.
Two Indians, Shastas probably, were drunk at Lower Humbug Creek, near Yreka, and got into a fight with a white man named Peterson, who tried to find out the individual who sold them liquor. [Contemporary accounts call him "Peters."] Peterson was shot at by one of them, but as he fell he, too, fired, wounding his adversary in the abdomen. The report of the affray was immediately circulated and the miners turned out in large numbers to revenge the "outrage" upon the natives. Two companies of volunteers were formed, who found an encampment of them upon the Klamath, and through the aid of John Alban, who swam the river and procured canoes in which to cross, a parley was had and the Indians surrendered three of their number, with whom the whites started back to Humbug. When a considerable distance had been passed over, the three Indians broke from their captors and two of them made good their escape. The other was recaptured, and, being taken to Humbug, was examined before Justice McGownd [Josiah L. McGowan?] for complicity in the killing of Peterson, but was discharged for want of evidence and sent back to the Klamath, escorted by whites.
Meanwhile, the two escaped Indians returned to their friends, and that night--July 28 --a band of the disaffected natives passed down the river and murdered all but three of the miners working between the mouths of Little Humbug and Horse creeks. The victims numbered eleven, and the others only owed their lives to the barking of a dog. The killed were Wm. Hennessey, Austin Gay, Peter Hignight, John Pollock, four Frenchmen and two Mexicans.
When the man in charge of the Indian sent back from Humbug arrived at the Klamath and learned what had taken place the night before, they promptly shot their prisoner and tumbled his body into the river. "Long John" Elliott captured an Indian who was returning from Yreka, where he had been to get his gun repaired, and the poor savage was taken to Cody's store and shot and thrown into a prospect hole.
When the news reached Yreka, the inhabitants became much excited. They found two Indians in town, whom they immediately arrested. The two were released next morning, but were again taken up by the citizens, who decided to hang them. Ropes were procured, and the savages were suspended to the limb of a pine tree opposite H. B. Warren's residence. The mob, now about two hundred strong, next made a raid upon some negro shanties belonging to George W. Tyler, the now-notorious Judge Tyler, of San Francisco, of unsavory connection with the celebrated Sharon-Hill divorce case. Tyler was ever an extremely determined man, and on the occasion of the attack by the mob he stood in front of the door, pistol in hand, and dared the leaders to advance. This cowed the mob, and they withdrew, leaving Tyler's property and his tenants intact.
Some miners on Deadwood Creek arrested an Indian who was working peacefully on a claim and took him to Yreka. A long rope was fastened to his waist and men led him as far as Lime Gulch, a mile from town, where someone fired a shot from an old cabin, which wounded the prisoner. He was galvanized into sudden action by this, and bounding forward snatched a pistol from the belt of a man in front of him, but before he could use it he was disarmed and thrown into a prospect hole and then shot to death. Several other savages were killed in a similar way, none of whom were known to have been concerned in the murders on the Klamath.
Preparations for a regular campaign against the Indians were made generally, and about the 1st of August five companies of volunteers, chiefly from Yreka and Humbug, were organized, commanded by Captain John X. Hale, William Martin, R. M. Kelly, Dr. Daniel Ream, and Lynch. Seventeen of the men were mounted, the rest, numbering about 180, went afoot. Traveling north, they followed the trail of a band of Indians, men, women and children, who started from the north side of the Klamath and went toward the Fort Lane reservation. They went on, upon the natives' heels, crossing the Siskiyou Range and traveling down Applegate Creek. They halted first above the mouth of Sterling Creek, where Capt. Ankeny's great hydraulic mine now is, and held a meeting to resolve on a plan of future action. It was clear to them that the suspected Indians had got to the reservation at Table Rock and taken refuge behind the guns of the regular army, whose practice was in such cases to shelter and protect the natives against white men, regardless of what outrages were laid to their charge. It accordingly seemed well to the volunteers to hold a meeting and pass resolutions by which their feelings and grievances would become known to Capt. A. J. Smith, commander at Fort Lane. E. S. Mowry was chairman of this meeting, and Dr. Ream secretary. The resolutions were as follows [full text here]:
WHEREAS, Certain Indians * * * ruthlessly and without provocation murdered eleven or more of our fellow citizens, a portion of whom have escaped to the Fort Lane Reservation * * *
We respectfully request Capt. Smith and Mr. Palmer, the Indian agent, that they would if in their power deliver up to us the fugitive Indians * * * in three days from date, and if at the end of that time they are not delivered up, we would most respectfully beg of Capt. Smith and the Indian agent free permission to go and apprehend the Indians and take them wherever found.
Resolved, if at the end of three days the Indians are not delivered to us, and the permission to seek for them is not granted, then we will on our own responsibility go and take them wherever they can be found, at any and all hazards.
E. S. MOWRY,These resolutions being presented to Capt. Smith, he said that the Indians would not be surrendered. It was then announced to him that they would be taken by force if not surrendered peaceably. Smith, a very eccentric and choleric man, fell into a rage and ordered the committee from his presence, defying them to proceed in their intention. The Siskiyou soldiery then removed their camp from Sterling Creek to a point on Jackson Creek, two miles below Jacksonville, and set about maturing plans to take the fort, or at least the fugitive Indians, two of whom were known to be in the guardhouse.
J. N. HALE,
A. D. LAKE,
The first plan devised was to entice most of the regulars out of the fort and make them drunk upon whiskey, whereby the defenses would be much weakened and the fort's capture result. Smith mounted two howitzers at the entrance to the fortification, made preparations for a siege, and waited. Owing to the strict regulations in force at all military posts, the regulars could not obtain leave to visit the "besiegers," and consequently could not be made drunk in the wholesale way necessary to the success of the plan. By the time its failure became manifest, dissensions broke out in the camp of the volunteers, and some of them seceded and left for home. The remainder followed within a few hours, convinced that a war against the government was not a sensible project. So closed the Humbug War. It is a surprising fact, but nevertheless a fact, that the men engaged in this insane attempt received pay from the government for the time they were out! Appropriations made by Congress for this purpose were distributed to the survivors and heirs some fifteen years since.
WAR AGAINST THE MODOCS.It had become the fashion in Northern California and Southern Oregon to carry on a military campaign each recurring summer against the Indians. At first these "wars" were not of much consequence in a pecuniary point of view, but after Congress, in 1855, set the fashion of paying the bills incurred on account of these expeditions, war was popularized in all ranks of society. Individuals of political tendencies embraced it as a ready and efficient means of attaining popularity. Thrifty speculators loved it because there was money in it. Farmers favored it because it raised the price of farm produce. The riffraff, the ragtag and bobtail of towns, cities and mining camps favored it because it afforded them ready means of at once getting a living at public expense, and of gratifying their tastes for bloodletting, particularly Indian blood. In 1856, John D. Cosby and David D. Colton, respectively major general and brigadier general of the California militia, put their heads together at Yreka and concocted a scheme for a campaign which, for the acquisition of political influence, glory and renown, should throw all other and previous Indian campaigns into the shade, from the time of Mad Anthony Wayne down to the Humbug War, which men were not yet done laughing about down in Siskiyou. This campaign was to be thorough; it was to be expensive; it was to leave no form or occupation for succeeding campaigners. What was done was never so well told as is set forth below by Capt. Goodall, who like Ulysses, might have said, "All of which I saw and part of which I was." The captain held a position upon the staff of Cosby, who was well surrounded by generals, colonels, majors, captains, adjutants and quartermasters, to such an extent that it has often been said in joke that all grades were well represented in this campaign excepting privates. Capt. Goodall's account, while doing more than justice to the conduct and results of the expedition, has the merit of being a most concise relation, unsurpassable for vigor and point:
MODOC INDIAN DISTURBANCES OF 1856.Early in the summer of 1856, Maj. Gen. John D. Cosby and Brig. Gen. Colton, at the mining camp of Yreka, held a conference about repressing Modoc hostilities, which had been going on more or less since the close of the Ben Wright campaign against these Indians in the summer and fall of 1852. These Indians had evinced implacable hostility to the whites from the earliest influx of the latter--to dig gold and develop the rich valleys of the mountain and lake region lying on the watershed of Klamath and Pit rivers. In alliance with the Klamath River and lake Indians to the north and west of them, and of the Pit River Indians to their south and southeast, who were equally hostile and implacable, and occupying the tules of Tule Lake for themselves, with Lost River and its rich valley for hunting and fishing, as well as Tule Lake itself, into which they could retreat in canoes to islands constructed of masses of tule, with the lava beds immediately adjacent to the lake on the south to fall back into, their position and surroundings were rather formidable in a military point of view, or to use a frontier phrase the "Injuns was hard to get at, and when you kotch him he wuzzent thar." Under these well-known circumstances and difficulties of the situation, the general commanding, who was determined to protect the settlements at all hazards, determined to call for volunteers and picked men, and to appoint an able and efficient staff, all of which was immediately done, and with three companies under Captains Martin, Williams and Ballard, and a fair equipment of arms, ammunition and horses, the troops being all mounted for scouting service, and a good supply of subsistence and boats, taken in wagons, the command headed by the general in person marched promptly to the Lost River country, distant seventy miles, and took post at Willow Springs, on Clear Lake, in close juxtaposition to the Modoc stronghold and in the heart of their country. During this march, which lay along the line of Little Klamath Lake, and thence across Lost River at the natural bridge, and thence across the desert to the north and in front of Tule Lake, the general sent out strong scouting parties to feel of the Indians, in which Lieut. Warmouth and John Alban were killed. Alban, an intrepid scout and frontiersman, was deeply regretted, and was buried with the honors of war. He had served under Jo Lane in the disturbances in Rogue River Valley in 1853, and had been in that war one of the picked scouts whenever Lane wanted important information.
Gen. Cosby's plan of operations were carried on by sending out detachments in the direction of Pit River in the southeast, to the east and northeast towards Goose Lake--and to the north and west to the country of Lalakes, a chief of the Klamaths, living on Wocus Lake. In one of these expeditions the wigwam of Lalakes was burnt and an Indian camp nearby was surprised and destroyed, and a day or two after on the march to Big Klamath Lake, through a country magnificent and grand in mountain scenery, lakes, portages, valleys, mammoth springs of sparkling water, fish and Indian roots used as food, an almost perfect paradise for Indians or anybody else--we succeeded in destroying another Indian fishing and hunting camp and in killing one buck Indian, on the river that debouches into Big Klamath Lake, and just above the lake. Camping for the night on the left bank of this river in front, just before dark a mounted Indian, evidently a chief, approached the camp, having the river in his front for protection, and in classic Chinook jargon told us that we had invaded his country and had that day killed one of his braves and destroyed a camp. That his heart was good to the whites, and his hands and the hands of his tribe were unstained by the blood of any white man. In reply to this the general informed the chief that he was at war with the Modocs and their allies, and if the chief's heart was as good as he said it was he would send a mounted detachment, early in the morning, to inspect his camp in the tules of the lake, and, if the chief's heart was good, a favorable and friendly reception of the detachment would prove it.
At daylight a detachment under Bob Williams were in the saddle, crossed the river above at a shoal, and proceeded to the Indian camp at the tules, proceeding to the latter part of the way on foot, the muck and mire being impracticable for horses. Their reception in the Indian camp was friendly. They proffered hospitalities and protested friendly feelings for the whites, and the result was that Tu-tup-carks, a chief, promised to come to our camp speedily for a peace talk and treaty of amity, and that he would confer with the Modoc chiefs on his way, as there were relations between his tribe and the Modocs, and friendly relations with all the tribes might in this way be brought about.
In one of the expeditions to Pit River a camp was destroyed and some prisoners brought in, and in a scout one day along the line of Tule Lake a strong south wind forced some Indian canoes within range of our rifles, and we captured two canoes with squaws and papooses, the squaws telling us afterwards that the bucks, to escape our rifles, had got into the water and clung to the tule with only their heads out. This was very near the scene of the Bloody Point massacre of immigrants in 1852, which called out the campaign of Ben Wright. As we all got wet in this skirmish and were nearly chilled to death by the cold, stiff breeze, the bucks concealed in the tule must have had a merry old time, and as we remained some time on the ground the bucks must have thought the Bostons wake klose ["Americans not good"].
The boat operations were carried on by a special detachment, the boats, working with both oars and paddles, being made to hold six men with arms and subsistence, and every dry tule-bed island that could be found was burned to the water's edge. The greatest loss, however, to the Modocs was the burning of their winter houses, built in the surrounding hills, with cellars for warmth in winter and deep snow, and with considerable pretensions to architecture and especially to comfort. It seemed a pity to burn these winter houses and leave the poor Modocs out in the cold, but Gen. Cosby decided to do it and detailed Capt. Goodall to perform the duty with a special detachment, and it was effectually done by drumming around in the hills and in concealed places and setting them on fire.
The most arduous and fatiguing of these scouts was the one to Little Klamath Lake. Connected to this lake is a vast bed of tule, interspersed with lagoons and patches of water, and in the midst a mountain, a very Indian stronghold.
The general headed the expedition to this point in person, and quite a lot of the mats, baskets and fishing tackle was taken and destroyed, but halo siwash ["no Indians"]--that is, the Indians had flown, expired or evaporated--that is, taken to the lake in their canoes and hid in the tule, and, fortunately for the Indians, but unfortunately for us, our boats were all over in Tule Lake. So the Indians, who have eyes, got away this time also.
When this campaign was over Gen. Cosby, as a state senator, from his place in the senate, modestly and properly asked an appropriation to pay the troops for their gallant and arduous services. The discussion on this subject was short and sweet. One senator asked Gen. Cosby how many Indians he had killed, and the general answered: "Sir, more than you have--and more than you ever saw, perhaps!" and with this the house came down, and an appropriation of $200,000 was readily had from the great Gold State. It is true this was paid in scrip, and the faith and credit of the state pledged, but at the instance of Governor Low the United States assumed it and it was paid in greenbacks from the office of the proper state officer at the capitol at Sacramento in 1866, or ten years after.
Before closing this true account of the "Modoc disturbances of 1856," it is correct to say that old Tu-tup-carks, the chief, true to his word, went over to Tule Lake, stirred up the Modocs, had a long talk and some big powwows with the Modoc chief and braves, and then put in an appearance in our camp. Cosby being absent on a scout, the preliminaries of a treaty were drawn up, written out and signed, and on Gen. Cosby's return, approved and confirmed, and Tu-tup-carks himself accompanied us to Yreka, and with all due formality placed the treaty of peace with the Modocs on record.
Shortly after the main body of Modocs--old men, squaws and papooses--came into Yreka to receive presents from Gen. Cosby, and from that time to the opening of hostilities again in 1872, or for more than fifteen years, peace was had with the Modocs under the Cosby treaty.
At this time disturbances in Oregon were going on, and Capt. A. J. Smith of the dragoons, a gallant officer commanding at Fort Lane, was powerless to suppress them with his small force. At Fort Jones in Scotts Valley, Capt. Judah, another brave and gallant officer, was in a like fix, with a small infantry force, totally inadequate to keep order and suppress disturbances on the frontier. Under this state of things, Gen. Cosby (since dead) was deserving of this country and of the esteem of his compatriots in gallantly taking the field in person and gathering around him an able and efficient corps of picked men and officers, to aid him in protecting the frontier.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, December 8, 1885, page 2
The number of creeks and mining camps baptized "Humbug" by some disappointed miner, who had expected too much and realized too little, was legion in the early days of gold mining. Some of these have been rechristened, while others still bear their honors proudly, and live to prove that a homesick and disappointed miner is not always the best individual to decide on the merits of a mining camp. The one where occurred the event which, like the little cloud, grew till it covered the whole heavens and threatened to strike the United States from the map of the world, is the Humbug so well known in Siskiyou County, a few miles northwest of Yreka. In no portion of California and Oregon did the people suffer so much at the hands of hostile savages as in the region of Klamath and Rogue rivers. The mountain tribes were more fierce and warlike than were their humble and lazy brethren of the valleys and sunny slopes of the Sierras and Cascades, and from the time the miner first set his foot in the mountains that roll away in all directions from the feet of their white-haired monarch, the noble Shasta, a constant warfare marked their intercourse with the native proprietors of the soil. Scarcely a year passed by without a war of extermination being carried on with some of the many tribes, and a continual state of skirmish existed in several localities. For an Indian to appear in any mining camp immediately after an outrage had been committed was an insult to be punished with instant death. The miners were busy and could not spare the time to try an Indian. They occasionally tried a white man who had fallen under their displeasure, but time was too valuable to be wasted upon a dirty Indian, and a rope or a bullet soon settled matters. It was a favorite practice. "Good Indians" were in demand, and this was the usual method of making them. A number of natives always lived at peace with the whites, and these had frequently to suffer for the iniquities of their more turbulent relatives.
One day in the latter part of July, 1855, two Indians, under the influence of liquor, that vile product of civilization that has done more to exterminate the savage races than the bullets of their enemies, were riding along the lower Humbug, and were met by a man named Peters, who endeavored to learn from them where they had procured the whisky. One of them resented such undue familiarity by shooting Peters with a pistol, and was himself wounded in the abdomen by the dying man, who drew his revolver and fired as he fell to the ground. The two then dashed off toward the Klamath River at full speed, while the news that the Indians had killed a man spread like wildfire along the creek. Men swarmed out of their claims, seized their weapons, and prepared for revenge. Two companies were organized, and started that night for the rancheria, on the Klamath, to capture the murderer and bring him back for punishment. The next morning they came upon the Indians on the opposite bank of the stream, a narrow but deep, rocky and turgid torrent. All overtures to the savages to send over a canoe were refused, and, finally, a noted Indian fighter, who rejoiced in the name of Greasy John, sprang into the stream and swam over, covered by the rifles of his companions. He secured the canoes, brought them back, and the men crossed over, had a talk, and took Tyee John and two young bucks prisoners, leaving the wounded one, as he was expected to die in a few hours. While going up the divide between Little and Big Humbug, the captives took off most of their clothing, innocently remarking, "Too muchee hot," an opinion perfectly in accord with that held by a majority of the party. Suddenly, at a predetermined signal, they made a leap for liberty, plunging down the mountainside with leaps and springs such as a man running down a steep declivity only can make. One of them was seized and secured before he had taken six steps, but Tyee John and the other escaped, followed first by a few scattering shots, and then a rattling volley of harmless bullets. The remaining prisoner was taken to Humbug City, and the unusual course of a regular trial was followed. Justice McGowd discharged him and sent him back the next morning under guard.
The return of Tyee John and his companion to the rancheria was the signal for a general massacre. That night they passed down the Klamath, and thirteen men met their death in the darkness and silence of night. When the men in charge of the returning prisoner reached the Klamath the next morning, and learned of the cruel work of death its banks had just witnessed, they promptly shot the young buck, threw his body into the stream and returned to Humbug with the horrible news. If the miners had been excited before, they were now doubly so. Men were sent out in all directions to warn the miners to be on their guard, as there was no telling where the blow would fall next. An Indian was captured on the creek and taken to Cody's trading post, where he was shot and tumbled into a "coyote hole." Two Shasta Indians were caught the name afternoon in Yreka, and put in jail on suspicion. The next morning Dave Colton, the sheriff, since famed in railroad circles of California, let them out into the hands of a mob, and they were quickly strung up to the limb of a convenient pine tree. This was done in a most heartless and barbarous manner. Men crawled out on the limb and raised and lowered the strangling men by the rope about their necks. The mob then made a raid on the negro quarters, claiming it was there that Indians procured whisky and ammunition. Here they were overawed by the determination of one man, and the better element of the town soon suppressed them. The same day the people of Deadwood bethought them of a friendly Indian who was working in a claim on McAdam's Creek. He did not belong to the tribe that committed the massacre, and had not even heard of it, but that made no difference--he was an Indian, and that was crime enough. They took him into custody and sent him with an escort to Yreka, where they well knew he would take his place with the others on the tree, but before going far the prisoner was shot from an ambuscade, when his escort tumbled him into a mining shaft, and returned to Deadwood to report progress.
When the news reached Scott River, the rougher element captured Rising Sun and another peaceable Indian, who were working in a claim, and took them to Scott Bar. By this time night had set in, and the crowd gathered about in the darkness to see their champion, Ferd. Patterson, a noted desperado, who finally met his death in Walla Walla, shoot the two prisoners. One of them he killed, but Rising Sun sprang through the crowd, brandishing a huge knife some friend had given him, and rushed down to the river. He ran nimbly across the footlog, and then dropped silently into the stream and lay under the log with only his nose and mouth out of the water, while his pursuers passed over his head and ranged up and down the river, firing at every stump and shadow their imagination could torture into the semblance of an Indian. When all was quiet, Rising Sun departed for happier scenes The next day alter this, a large party of half-drunken men went from Humbug City to the mouth ol Humbug Creek, where was a small rancheria of peaceable Indians, and killed two old bucks, two boys and a squaw, the others escaping across the Klamath. While these twelve innocent Indians were being killed, preparations were going on for a pursuit of the guilty ones. About the first ol August four companies, one from Scott River, under Captain John Hale, and three from Humbug, under Captains Lynch, William Martin and Daniel Ream, left the Humbug for the north side of Klamath River. They numbered, in all, one hundred and seventy men. As the volunteers approached, the Indians retreated toward Oregon, and finally scattered, so that they could not be followed. Two of these men were found to have gone to the Fort Lane reservation, on Rogue River, and proved to be members of the Rogue River tribe, living on the reservation.
Here was a difficulty. The fugitives were under the sheltering wing of the United States. The first instinct of an American citizen, when dangers threaten or calamities fall, is to meet and pass resolutions. It is the great safety valve of the nation. Having met and given vent to his feelings, the American citizen feels that his duty has been nobly done, and retires to his home with quiet satisfaction. The volunteers called a meeting and drew up resolutions, preceded by a long "whereas," which stated their grievances, and wound up with the following significant passage: "That if at the expiration of three days, the Indians and property are not delivered to us, and the permission to seek for them is not granted, then we will, on our own responsibility, go and take them wherever they can be found, at all and every hazards."
A committee of one from each company was deputed to present these resolutions to the commandant of Fort Lane. This individual was "Old Baldy," well known to the nation as Gen. A. J. Smith. To him the committee presented themselves and made known their errand, placing in his hands the formidable document that was to make the army of the United States quake with fear, and turn pale the cheek of the brave captain who received it. He read it, but his cheeks blanched not; instead, they were suffused with crimson. The paper trembled in his hand, but it was passion, and not fear, that shook his frame. He burst out with an oath, and said he had a notion to arrest them all; that the Indians were under his protection, and would be delivered up to the proper authorities when demanded in a legal manner; that the settlers of the valley were then gathering in their crops, and to excite the Indians on the reservation would bring ruin and desolation to the whole valley, a statement that bloody deeds and burning cabins but a few months later amply verified; that he understood his business, and did not propose to be dictated to by a set of irresponsible volunteers, who were determined to stir up trouble and inaugurate a devastating Indian war; that it any volunteers came near the fort with arms in their hands, he would blow them higher than Fortuna's servant blew the dragon.
Back went the committee to their anxious comrades, and detailed the reception they had met with at the hands of Captain Smith. It was then unanimously agreed to attack the fort on the third day if their demands were not complied with by that time. Plans of attack were suggested and rejected; observations were made of the surroundings. Finally, a most strategic scheme was evolved, such as has no equal in the most brilliant idea of Caesar or Napoleon. If there was any one weapon the miner understood as well as, or better than, he did the revolver, it was whisky. Just what could be done with whisky they all knew. They had seen its effect upon others, and had tested it upon themselves. They resolved to entice the private soldiers away from the reservation, get them all drunk, and then march in and occupy the premises. The whole thing was so easy it made them laugh to think of it; in imagination they could see themselves marching boldly up, while the valiant captain shrieked and howled for his blue-coated minions to repel the attack, and silence alone gave answer. It was funny. They met around the camp fire to talk it over and poke each other in the ribs. The United States seemed about to be plunged into a war, in which the first victory would perch upon the banner of armed rebellion. The West Point hirelings were to be utterly routed and demolished before the forty-rod tarantula juice that flowed from the sutler's teat. Alas, for the schemes of the brave volunteers! Captain Smith planted the two cannons at the fort in a commanding position [there were no cannon at Fort Lane], put the whole camp in a state of defense and sat down with impatience to await the coming of the volunteers who proposed to whip the United States army. They came not. They saw the preparations made to receive them, and were satisfied that an advance on headquarters would be no picnic excursion. This of itself was enough to discourage them, but what finally broke the back of their plans was the utter failure of the liquor scheme. Not that the liquor was not strong enough, but the soldiers could not be inveigled from the reservation. The strategists learned that the fatal defect in their plan was their ignorance of the usages of the army. They then discovered that, in times of peace, leave of absence is granted to but few at a time, and in times of war to none. This was an occasion demanding the presence of every member of the garrison, and the whisky lay in the sutler's tent with no one to drink it.
The volunteers lay in their camp on Sterling Creek on the night of the third day, preparing for the work of the morrow. Captain Martin sat beside his camp fire absorbed in thought. The whole United States rose and passed in procession before his mind, and at last the little mining camp of Humbug and the few volunteers on Sterling Creek, who proposed to inaugurate a war against this mighty power. He laughed. He sauntered over to the headquarters of Lynch's company, where the men were busily getting ready for what was before them.
"Well, boys, getting ready, are you?"
"Bet your life."
"Well, I am not."
"What's the matter?"
"I've been thinking this thing all over, and have come to the conclusion not to
let my men go into it."
"Well, we take a pretty big contract when we undertake to whip the United States government, and those of us who don't get killed will most probably spend the remainder of our days in Alcatraz. The view from there is lovely, I know, but I am inclined to the opinion that it would soon become monotonous--too much of the same thing, you understand."
It was wonderful how quickly the opinion gained favor among the others. The belligerent volunteers became as harmless as doves. They were at once reminded that their claims were lying idle, and that they had started without a supply of provisions or sufficient clothing, and that the nights on the mountains were cold. Back they hastened to the familiar haunts of Humbug, to delve again for the shining ore, and tell what they would have done to the army if the whisky had not gone back on them. California and Oregon are full of men sitting around and telling what they would have done, or how rich they might have been, if something had not happened, while their meat and grocery bills steadily increase.
In the following September was commenced that great Indian war that devastated Southern Oregon from the head of Rogue River Valley to the ocean, and from Port Orford to Crescent City in California. Scores of whites and Indians were killed, and the smoke of burning cabins filled the air. When this was over and peace was restored, the two Indians implicated in the Klamath massacre were surrendered by Captain Smith to the sheriff of Siskiyou County, and lodged in jail in Yreka. The grand jury met, but failed to find evidence sufficient to bring an indictment against them. This made no difference, for their death was as certain as if the sheriff had the warrant for their execution. Friends of the murdered men were about town awaiting developments. Sheriff Colton released the prisoners, but he had taken pains to let these men know when it would be done. The irons were stricken from the Indians’ limbs, the door was opened, and they were told to go, that they were free. They went, but some men walked up, locked arms with them, and led them just south of town, where they were shot and thrown into an old mining shaft, where their bones lie to the present day. One of the most absurd features of this whole affair in that the volunteer companies which besieged Fort Lane have actually been paid for their services by the government.
HENRY LAURENZ WELLS.
West Shore, September 1887, pages 666-670 Originally printed under the byline "Job Ticket" in the San Francisco Examiner of July 17, 1881, page 1. The last sentence was added in this 1887 version.
THE HUMBUG WAR.On the twenty-seventh of July, 1855, two Indians under the influence of liquor were riding along the lower Humbug, when they were met by a man named Peterson who endeavored to ascertain who had sold them the whiskey. One of them resented such undue familiarity by shooting him with a pistol. As he fell, Peterson drew his revolver and wounded his slayer in the abdomen. The two Indians then dashed off towards the Klamath at full speed. The deed had been witnessed by a man who stood near by, and the news that Peterson had been killed by Indian Bill soon spread along the Humbug and created great excitement. Two companies, one from upper and one from lower Humbug, started for the Klamath to capture the murderer and bring him back, for punishment. They came upon the Indians the next morning when they reached the river, standing upon the opposite bank. They were requested to send over some canoes for the men to cross in, but declined, exhibiting a hostile spirit. The men ranged themselves along the river with presented rifles, warning those on the opposite bank that if they made any hostile demonstration it would be followed by a volley into their midst, while John Alban (Greasy John) swam across the stream and secured the canoes. Going over to the other side in these, the whites had a talk which ended in their starting back to Humbug with three prisoners, Tyee John and two young Indians.
While going up the divide between Humbug and Little Humbug, the prisoners took off most of their garments, saying "Too muchee hot," when questioned about it. Suddenly, at a preconcerted signal, they plunged down the hill with leaps and springs such as a man running down a steep declivity only can make. One of them was seized and secured before he had taken six steps, but Tyee John and the other young buck escaped, followed first by three or four scattered shots, and afterwards by a volley of harmless bullets. The remaining captive was conveyed to Humbug, examined before Justice Josiah L. McGownd [sic], and discharged the next day, being sent back to the Klamath under guard.
It is supposed that the Indians had meditated an outbreak for some time, and were making arrangements for it, and that these circumstances hastened the beginning of hostilities. At all events the return of Tyee John and his companion fugitive to camp, was the signal for a general massacre. That night, July 28, 1855, they passed down the Klamath, killing all but three of the men on the river between Little Humbug and Horse creeks. Eleven men met their death in the darkness and silence of night. To the vigilance of a savage dog the men who escaped owed their lives. The victims were William Hennessey, Edward Parrish, Austin W. Gay, Peter Hignight, John Pollock, four Frenchmen, and two Mexicans.
When the men in charge of the Indian sent back from Humbug arrived at the Klamath and learned of the work of death that had been done there the night before, they promptly shot their prisoner, threw his body into the swift-running stream, and returned to Humbug. The same day John Elliott (Long John) rushed into Cody's trading post at Humbug, and shouted the news that eleven men had been massacred on the Klamath the night before. Men went out in all directions to spread the news and warn miners to be on their guard. While going up the creek on this mission Elliott met an Indian returning from Yreka, where he had been to get his gun fixed, and captured him. Back to Cody's he went with his prisoner, who was there promptly shot and thrown into a "coyote hole," a name for a shaft sunk in the ground in the process of hill mining, called "coyoteing."
News reached Yreka the same day, and created considerable excitement. Two Shasta Indians were found that afternoon skulking in the willows that fringed the creek below Miner Street, and were immediately arrested and put in jail. The next morning they were released, but were instantly pounced upon by the citizens and again taken into custody. They were very insolent, and as they were being conducted up the street it was decided to hang them. A call was made for a rope, which was instantly forthcoming, the sight of which served to depress the hitherto insolent savages. No one cared enough about the life of an Indian to object or resist the mob, and they executed their purpose unopposed. In the street opposite H. B. Warren's residence there stood three pine trees, and to one of these the two men were taken, the rope thrown over a limb of one of them, and the victims were drawn up by the neck to hang strangling in the air. Not content with this, some of the rough characters that always abound and generally predominate in a mob stretched themselves out on the limb and, seizing hold upon the rope, raised and lowered the dangling and strangling wretches several times. The whole affair was an exhibition of the most unjustifiable and heartless cruelty, an act the parallel to which had never been committed upon the whites by any of the tribe to which these men belonged. Many, whose excitement and anger at the recent murders had led them to assent to the hanging of these two men, withdrew in disgust before the barbarous act was accomplished.
The next move by the mob, then some two hundred strong, was to make a raid upon the negro quarters, to see if they could not find more Indians and to sate their appetite for blood upon the negroes, whom they accused of selling whiskey and ammunition to the savages. Here they exhibited the usual cowardice and shame of a mob when faced by a determined man. They were about to break into a house occupied by negroes and owned by George W. Tyler. The owner jumped upon a cart that stood before the door, drew his revolver and swore that the first man who touched the door of that house, or disturbed his tenants, should die, if it was the last act of his life. They knew him; they saw the fire in his eye and the resolute firmness of his mouth; they saw the revolver with its six chambers of death; and they hesitated, fell back and dispersed. A like resolute action by a few brave men might have saved the wretches hanging to the pine limbs beyond, but who would risk his life for a worthless Indian? Let them hang, they are only Indians.
The same day of this occurrence, C. H. Pyle went over to Deadwood with intelligence of the Indian difficulty, and with several men went along McAdams, Deadwood and Cherry creeks warning the miners "to flee from the wrath to come." They all congregated in Deadwood, and while there bethought them of a solitary Indian, working a distance up the creek with some Kanakas. They did not know what tribe or band he belonged to, or whether he knew anything about the murders or not. All they knew was that he was an Indian, a misfortune that was fatal to him. Of course it was not his fault; he was born so; but that was no palliation for the crime of being an Indian. He was speedily captured and brought to town, where an animated discussion was going on as to the best disposition to make of him. All admitted that nothing was known against him, except that he was an Indian, but that, alone, was a serious matter. Some were in favor of hanging him on the spot, while others, who wanted to get rid of him, but did not like to take the responsibility of aiding him to "shuffle off," opposed such action. It was at last decided to send him to Yreka, where it was well known his span of life would be abbreviated in short order. They would not kill him themselves, but they would consign him to the tender mercies of a crowd that was only too eager to do so.
A committee was selected to escort the inoffensive native to Yreka. A long rope was procured, the middle to which was secured tightly about the prisoner's waist, while two men marched a distance in front, grasping one end of the rope, and two brought up the rear with the other. The procession having thus been formed, it moved out of town amid the shouts of the jubilant crowd. They had proceeded only as far as Lime gulch, about a mile above the town, where stood a small log cabin, when smoke was seen to issue from the rude structure, the report of a rifle was heard, and the Indian leaped into the air, wounded. He gave a bound forward, jerking the rope from the hands of the men behind, rushed upon those in front and snatched a revolver from the belt of one of them, before the astonished men could realize what was taking place. They soon understood it and acted promptly, closing in upon the savage before he could use the weapon and knocked him into a prospect shaft, where they dispatched him with their revolvers. Having thus disposed of their charge, they left him in his unexpected grave, and returned to town. No unpleasant questions were ever asked about who fired the shot from his ambush in the cabin, but it was supposed to have been a well-known citizen, whose brother had been killed by Indians, and who had vowed to have revenge.
Two days after the massacre, some thirty or forty roughs from Humbug City, having imbibed a copious quantity of "tanglefoot," started down the creek to a rancheria that stood some half mile below its mouth. At the house of a man named Crockett, on Rocky Bar, two miles up the creek from the river, they found an old Indian named Smoothy and two boys. They captured these and took them to the river. The two boys were tied together and shot, when old Smoothy, seeing the fate in store for him, made a break for liberty. Several shots were fired at him, some of which took effect, and he was so closely pursued by one man that he dodged behind a bush, came out on the other side and made a lunge at his pursuer with an old case knife that had been ground to a point, cutting the man's shirt but inflicting no other damage. He was then shot, and a number of the braver ones of the party advanced to where their dead victim lay and boldly shot into his lifeless body until it was riddled with bullet holes. From this place they went to the rancheria, where they found an old buck and a squaw, both of whom were killed, the buck, old Sam, being led out with a rope, and his head blown off by someone who came up behind him with a shotgun. Some half dozen squaws, old and young, escaped across the river into the mountains, where they were soon afterwards captured, as were also two white men, Ewing and Owens. They were all taken to Humbug City and examined before the justice of the peace; the two men were discharged and the squaws sent to Fort Jones.
There was never any evidence discovered that at all implicated these Indians, who were of another band, in the murders on the Klamath, nor was it ever supposed that they even knew that any massacre was intended. Their fault was that God had made them Indians and located them near the scene of difficulty.
When the news of the massacre on the Klamath reached Scott River the excitement was intense. Some of the murdered men had many friends on the river and a volunteer company was raised to aid the Humbug miners in punishing the murderers. There were two Indians working in a claim, both peaceable, well-disposed natives, especially Rising Sun, whom everyone believed to have been a good friend to the whites, and had nothing to do with killing the miners. Although discountenanced by the better class, the roughs and gamblers arrested Rising Sun and his companion, Bill, and locked them up in a cabin on the lower end of Scott Bar. When night came on, they decided to kill the inoffensive savages. They took the prisoners out of the cabin, and a large crowd surrounded them, to see Ferd. Patterson, a noted rough, play the part of executioner. Patterson took a firm hold in Bill's hair with his left hand, pressed his head back, and with his pistol placed against his breast shot him through the heart. Rising Sun stood with his blanket folded about him and calmly witnessed the death of his companion, but when Patterson advanced to do the same office for him, he suddenly threw off the blanket and brandished in his hand a huge knife that someone had given him to defend himself with. The crowd fell back like sheep, and the Indian sprang through them and was half way across the river on the footlog before they fully realized the situation. As soon as he reached the other side, Rising Sun dropped into the water, swam under the footlog, and lay quietly there with just his nose and mouth above water, invisible in the darkness. The pursuers came rushing across, passing but a few inches above his head, and had no idea but that he had continued his flight up the mountain or up or down the river. Every object that their imagination could torture into a semblance to the fugitive was fired at, and for some minutes the hills echoed to their rifle shots. Some even asserted that he had swum down a large flume towards the mouth of the river, diving under the large wheels that the current turned as it ran. The chase was abandoned, each one having his own theory of how the Indian had escaped, and Rising Sun lay quietly listening until all was still, when he came out of the water and took his departure. Nothing was heard of him for several years, and then he came back and told how he lay within a few inches of where their feet rested as they crossed the river and laughed to hear them shoot at the stumps and shadows on the mountain. He went the way of all Indians last year.
Preparations for a campaign against the Indians were rapidly made, and about the first of August five companies of volunteers started for the north side of the Klamath. One of these was sixty strong, from Scott River, commanded by Capt. John X. Hale; the other three were from Humbug and Klamath River, Captain Lynch with thirty-two men, Capt. William Martin with sixty men, Capt. T. M. Kelly with a small company, and Capt. Daniel Ream with seventeen men. This last company was mounted while the others were on foot.
As they approached, the Indians fled towards Oregon, the volunteers following on their trail, pushing them so close near the head of Horse Creek that they captured half a dozen of their animals. The Indians were carrying along with them the buck whom Peterson had wounded, and whom the first party that captured Tyee John had not thought necessary to take, as he appeared to have his death wound. The trail led over the summit of Siskiyou Mountain and down Applegate Creek, towards the reservation at Fort Lane. Camping on Sterling Creek, the five companies held a meeting and "resoluted" like true American citizens, with the following result:--
STERLING, OREGON, August 5th, 1855.At a meeting of the Volunteer Companies of Siskiyou County and State of California, who have been organized for the purpose of apprehending and punishing certain Indians who have committed depredations in our country, E. S. Mowry, Esq., was elected Chairman, Dr. D. Ream, Secretary, and the following resolutions were unanimously adopted.
RESOLVED.Whereas, certain Indians, composed of the Klamath, Horse Creek and a portion of the Rogue River Tribe, on or about the 27th and 28th of July, A.D. 1855, came upon the Klamath River and there ruthlessly and without provocation murdered eleven or more of our fellow citizens and friends; a portion of whom we know to have escaped into the reservation of the Indians near Fort Lane, Rogue River Valley, Oregon Territory, from the fact of having tracked them into said valley and from the testimony of certain responsible and reliable witnesses:
It is therefore resolved that a committee of five men, one from each company now present, be chosen to present these resolutions to Capt. Smith. U.S.A., Commandant of Fort Lane, and Mr. Palmer, the Indian Agent of Oregon Territory.
We would respectfully request Capt. Smith, U.S.A., and Mr. Palmer, the Indian Agent, that they would, if in their power, deliver up to us the fugitive Indians who have fled to the reservation, in three days from this date, and if at the end of this time they are not delivered to us, together with all the stock and property, then we would most respectfully beg of Capt. Smith, U.S.A., and the Indian Agent, free permission to go and apprehend the fugitive Indians and take the property wherever it can be found.
Resolved--That if at the expiration of three days the Indians and property are not delivered to us, and the permission to seek for them is not granted, then we will, on our own responsibility, go and take them wherever they can be found at all and every hazard.
Resolved--That the following named gentlemen compose the
E. S. Mowry,E. S. Mowry, Chairman.
J. X. Hale,
A. D. Lake,
Dr. D. Ream, Secretary.
The delegated gentlemen went to the fort and found that some of the stock stolen by the Indians was there, and that two Rogue River Indians who had taken part in the massacre were then in the guard house. The committee waited upon the captain in command, afterwards Gen. A. J. Smith, presented their credentials, and demanded the surrender of the stock and criminals. The captain said that the animals would be delivered up upon proof of ownership, but that the Indians would not be surrendered. The farmers in Rogue River Valley were then getting in their crops, and he feared an outbreak if he surrendered the Indians that would result in the death of many settlers and the destruction of much property. Lieutenant Mowry then told him that they came after the Indians and proposed to have them, and if they were not given up they would be taken by force. This was too much for Captain Smith to stand; such language and threats from a citizen to an officer in the regular army were not to be endured. He stormed and stamped about, said he knew his business, and would submit to dictation from no one; that when the proper time came the prisoners would be delivered up to the proper authorities. The committee left, assuring Captain Smith that in three days, if the Indians were not surrendered, they would capture the fort. The camp was then moved two miles below Jacksonville, and nearer the fort, where the volunteers remained two days, maturing plans for the capture.
Being ignorant of garrison rules, and not knowing that leave of absence was allowed to but few at a time, they evolved the scheme of enticing most of the soldiers out of the fort and getting them drunk, thus making the capture an easy task. The cannon at the fort were brought out and placed for defense, and preparations were perfected for repelling the threatened attack. Thus matters stood on the second night, when Captain Martin put an end to the brainless project. He had been thinking about the matter and came to the conclusion that it was a ridiculous undertaking, this effort to whip the United States government, and refused to let his company have anything more to do with it. This knocked the bottom out of the whole scheme, the companies broke up and returned home, the mounted company paying a visit to the cave near Cottonwood, but finding no Indians. This cloud-speck of war having been removed from his horizon, Captain Smith withdrew his cannon, and the humdrum life at the fort was resumed for a while, soon to be followed by the outbreak of the Rogue River Indians and the consequent activity among the soldiers.
When the war in Rogue River Valley was over and a treaty was made, the two Indians which the Humbug troops had demanded were surrendered to the sheriff of Siskiyou County, upon a warrant for murder. They were brought to Yreka and kept in jail until the grand jury met, when no indictment was found for lack of evidence, and they were released. It was "out of the fat and into the fire" for the prisoners, for in the town was a man named Parrish, whose brother had met his death in the massacre, and a few others, who were determined the savages should die. They were informed of the time the sheriff intended to let them go, and stationed themselves near the jail. No sooner were their victims without the jail gate, than these men locked arms with them, and took them a little south of town, where they were summarily shot and tumbled into an old mining shaft, at the bottom of which their bones lie to the present day.
Muster rolls of the companies engaged in this expedition were forwarded to the state authorities, and out of the appropriations made by Congress to defray the expenses of Indian wars in California was set aside a certain sum to pay these volunteers. Some ten years ago a number of them who made application in due form received their pay, and money now lies in the state treasury at Sacramento to pay those who through ignorance or death have never demanded it.
Harry Laurenz Wells, History of Siskiyou County, California, 1881, pages 138-141
THE INDIAN OUTBREAK.--The Shasta Courier gives further intelligence respecting the Indian disturbances on the northern frontier to that culled from the Yreka Union, and published in this paper a few days ago. The letter is written by Rev. R. B. Stratton:
YREKA, July 30th, 1855.MESSRS. EDITORS: Though a stranger, I take the liberty of saying to you that the Indian difficulties announced in the "Extra" Union of Saturday are growing more serious every moment. I write you, thinking I will then be more certain to apprise some friends, whom I expect to be at Shasta in a few days, en route for this place.
Today two Indians were hung here; they were caught last evening near Yreka, with arms and ammunition, and identified as being connected with the hostile tribe. One of them was an elderly man, obviously of a stern experience, as he was thoroughly scarred. Four more are to be hung this evening on Humbug. No further reports from Klamath (the place where the first depredations were made), except that Indians are still prowling about in that region.
Posters have been sent to all parts of Scott and Shasta valleys, that isolated families may gather to some defensible position. The excitement is intense, and likely to continue. The younger of the two Indians hung today asserted just before he swung that the "Rogue River Indians" and many others had combined to pursue a war of extermination upon the whites; and that they had vowed never to enter into a treaty again. Whatever credit may be given to his words, they will not lead to any abatement of the present excitement. He further states that they had determined the utter destruction of this town.
Stealing squaws, and selling the Indians rum and arms will prove dear traffic to the innocent (?) whites.
Yours, &c., R. B. STRATTON.Sacramento Daily Union, August 6, 1855, page 2
For the Umpqua Gazette.
Jacksonville, Aug. 17, '55.Smiley Harris, a very worthy gentleman of this place, was shot a few evenings since by a man by the name of W. H. Mitchel. Mitchel was drunk, and discharged his pistol at any and every object he saw, without reference to what it was, and before he could be arrested he shot Mr. Harris. Had his pistol gone off at the first attempt to discharge it, Mr. H. would have been killed. Mr. Flanagan (whose brother lives at Coos Bay), whom you say was killed by the Indians, is living. I have met him several times since his death was published, therefore it is a mistake, and please correct it. The several hundred of volunteers from Yreka and thereabouts, who have been here after the Indian murderers of Klamath, have returned--not, however, until arrangements were made to secure the prisoners. The volunteers have behaved well and complied with the suggestions of Capt. Smith, of Fort Lane, and Dr. Ambrose, Indian agent, which could only secure peace with the Indians in this valley. The Indian troubles are quite settled. The Indian murderers are to be delivered up to the authorities of Yreka.
Umpqua Gazette, Scottsburg, August 23, 1855, page 2
THE NORTHERN INDIANS.--The Indian excitement has subsided. A large party of mounted rangers returned on Wednesday last, and report that they did not succeed in killing a single Indian. They traced the murderers over the Siskiyou into the Indian reserve at Rogue River Valley, at which place were found several horses belonging to those who were killed. The guilty Indians placed themselves under the protection of the Indian agent at that place and Capt. Smith, who stated that they were compelled to prevent their being molested until legal authority should be produced for their arrest. The legal authority required is, of course, a regularly executed requisition from the Governor.--Yreka Union.
Empire County Argus, Coloma, California, August 25, 1855, page 2
INDIAN TROUBLES IN THE INTERIOR.--It appears that as yet none of the Indians, who lately committed such horrible outrages on the Upper Klamath, have been punished. It was useless that hundreds of miners had left their business and went out in pursuit of them. The Indians, when closely pressed, took shelter with the U.S. officers on the Rogue River Reservation from where, it seems, they can only be got by due process of law, commencing with a requisition from the Governor of California. The officers in their course of action probably do but their duty; still it is not to be expected that the unprovoked murder of some fifteen white men will be propitiated by a tedious and expensive legal prosecution of the guilty Indians, and it is not surprising to hear that the miners express their dissatisfaction with the course the officers at the reservation deemed it their duty to pursue.
On Althouse Creek, we learn, the Indians have lately amused themselves by pilfering from the miners' cabins provisions, tools, clothing &c.; in one instance they stole pot and beans from the fire. The diversion left the miners minus about one thousand pounds of provisions.
All these depredations are charged to the Indians belonging to the Rogue River Reservation, who thus accumulate upon themselves a cloud of guilt, which sooner or later will burst upon their devoted heads.
Crescent City Herald, September 5, 1855, page 2
LATER FROM ROGUE RIVER.--As the Yreka Union of the 17th instant was going to press, Capt. George with nineteen of his company arrived in that town with the two Indian prisoners who have been confined at the fort in Rogue River, awaiting the requisition of the governors of California and Oregon. They are accused of being engaged in the murder of the whites on the Klamath, at the commencement of the Indian outbreak--they will be confined in jail until they receive their trial. Capt. George states that the Indians on Cow Creek with whom the battle was fought have left their battle grounds for parts unknown. Capt. Judah has left with his men in pursuit. When last heard from they had not found the trail of the Indians. It is rumored that the different companies in the Southern Division of Oregon are for some cause or other to be disbanded on the 21st inst.
Daily Alta California, San Francisco, November 23, 1855, page 2
INDIAN PRISONERS.--The Union says Capt. George arrived at Yreka on Friday with the two Indians who for several months were confined at Fort Lane, awaiting the requisition of Gov. Bigler. They are charged with being engaged in the murder of the whites on the Klamath, at the commencement of the war. We learn throngh Horsley & Brastow's Express that a mob of citizens collected on their arrival but were prevented [from] hanging them by Sheriff Colton.
Shasta Courier, Shasta City, California, November 24, 1855, page 2
Mob Law.Some of the headstrong populace of Yreka a few days ago endeavored to incite a mob to force an entrance into the jail of that place, for the purpose of seizing two Indians, who had been brought down on the previous day from Fort Lane, Oregon Territory. The Sheriff, however, promptly prepared himself to give them a deadly reception, which so intimidated the ringleaders that they shortly dispersed.
Sacramento Daily Union, November 30, 1855, page 2
Last revised April 6, 2021