A REMINISCENCE OF EARLY DAYS IN THE MOUNTAINS.In the month of May, 1852, a man named Hinckley, who carried an express between Shasta City and Yreka, via the Sacramento River trail (the one then mostly traveled by those who passed between those points), brought a message to me from a party of miners, or rather prospectors, who were then encamped on the Sacramento River a mile beyond the "Sugar Loaf," a high and conical peak, as its name would indicate, which was separated from the "Devil's Backbone" by a creek that flowed into the river. This "Devil's Backbone" was a ridge which ran parallel with the river for several miles, and was vertebrated--that is, had a succession of high points and depressions, alternately.
BY DR. T. T. CABANISS.
Along this Backbone the trail passed, and over it all of the goods for Yreka were carried on mules. On this trail Indians would lie in ambush and attack the trains. Men and mules were often killed, and nothing but the indomitable pluck of the early Californians saved anything which was in their care. It was a common occurrence for a few men armed with pistols to conduct a large train along this route, and defend it against kinds of Indians, who at that time were armed with bows and arrows--the wounds of which were always fatal if a vital part was reached, as the head of the arrow came off when the sinew with which it was fastened would become softened by the warm blood.
The messenger stated that a man named James Faulds (from Louisville, Kentucky ) had been shot by an Indian thirty miles from Shasta, and that he wished me to go to him. He had been wounded three or four days, but the danger of traveling this trail was so great that no one of his party would venture to leave, and waited until the expressman came along. Between the place and Shasta there was not a habitation at that time.
Having bought a horse I made my arrangements to leave the next morning. James Coates, brother of Thomas Coates, who was a Representative in the State Legislature from Siskiyou, in 1852, also hired a mule for a man named Bill Hooper, who mined and dealt monte, accordingly as one or the other "panned out." At any rate, he was at this time mining on Dog Creek, fifty miles above Shasta, and wanted to go to his claim, as some of the sharp ones--"Keno Sam" perhaps one of the number--had drawn "waxed cards" on him and "cleaned him out to the bedrock."
Bill Hooper was an honest man, according to the estimate then put upon people. He would gamble--and win, if he could. If he lost he would pay, and like nearly all then in California, would go to the mines to recuperate. When fortune favored him again he would return, pay his hotel, gambling and other bills like an honest man, and perhaps lose the balance. He was as brave as Julius Caesar, and if you got into a "tight place" you could depend on his staying with you.
None but the old settlers in this country can appreciate the difference which existed in all the elements of honesty and true nobility of soul in favor of the pioneers against the subsequent immigration to California. Propriety would forbid comparisons being drawn, and therefore I will not do so. They came to a wild and unknown country, exposed to all dangers incident thereto, and with pick, shovel, ax and rifle opened an empire for others to follow and reap all the profits from their labor and hardship. All honor to the pioneers of California! and may the day come when their services and sacrifices will be appreciated.
Bill Hooper and myself left Shasta City in the morning and took the trail for the upper Sacramento. Nothing transpired to attract attention until we had gone about half the distance from one end to the other of the "Devil's Backbone." As we turned a point in the trail we saw two Indians coming towards us, apparently unconscious of our being near, and as it was then considered fair to shoot any or all Indians who might be found in that part of the country, preparations were made for that purpose.
Concealing ourselves behind some bushes at a turn in the trail, we drew our pistols and awaited the approach of the Indians. On they came, each one with a short pole on his shoulder. When within a few yards of us we saw that they were dressed in the clothing of white men, and we knew in a moment that they were not hostile, as the Indians at that time were in a nude state, except having a deer skin thrown over their shoulders. These men had been up the river with a pack train, and were now on their way to Cottonwood, in Shasta County. The poles were the representatives of guns, and were to deceive the wild Indians, as General Magruder did General McClellan at Yorktown with cannon made of logs.
Continuing on our route we at last came to the end of the Backbone, and descended it to a creek. There we ascended the "Sugar Loaf," and crossing it halted at the foot. Here we fed our animals some barley, and then as the sun was down, and we had not found the party of miners, discussed their whereabouts. Hooper thought that they must be about ten miles away, and that we would have to travel on.
We resumed our journey, and going a few hundred yards saw a fire on a large flat to the right of the trail. To this we rode, and there were the men whom we sought. I found Faulds shot in the stomach, and suffering intensely with hiccough. Having administered something to relieve him, we then listened to the recital of the affair. The party had encamped on this fiat, and had when night came tied their animals to trees nearby. Two fires were made, one at either end of the camp, and Faulds and Bill Fox stood guard.
Just before day Faulds heard the horses at his end of the camp make a noise, and went to them. He stood within the light of the fires, and was visible to anyone on the outside. He thought he saw an object moving along the flat towards a large tree nearby, and he brought his gun to his shoulder. The object was stationary, and he might be deceived. The gun was dropped across his arm, and again the object moved. The second time he failed to shoot, and the gun was dropped as before. At that moment he felt a stinging pain, and heard the rebound of the bow. An arrow had pierced his body. As quick as thought he drew it from his body, but the barb remained buried within his stomach. No surgical aid could relieve him, and he was destined to fill a grave near the banks of the Sacramento, one of the hundreds of victims to Indian arrows, many of whose bones lie scattered in the gulches and on the mountains of California.
The day following Faulds died, and we dug a grave for him. Wrapping the body in his blankets, we lowered him into his resting place, and then partly filled the grave with stones and logs, that the coyotes and Indians might not disturb his remains.
The task being done, it was necessary for me to return to Shasta. To go alone was not very pleasant, and filled with much danger. While thinking of the best thing to be done, three sailors came along, en route for Shasta, and they would act as an escort. We started, and proceeded on the way without anything of note to disturb us until we reached the "Backbone." At the foot of this we had dismounted and prepared to walk to the top. Being in advance of the party, I had reached the ridge, and there to my surprise and apprehension found a fence, made of poles and brush, across the trail. The tracks of Indians were fresh and numerous, and it was evident they were nearby. In a moment I took shelter in a cluster of manzanita bushes, and stood on the defensive, awaiting the attack. None was made, and my companions coming up we wended our way along the trail. Having gone a few miles we met a party of men, Major Lane and Grant Aury, now in Arizona, among them, who were on their way to Oregon to purchase cattle. Two of my companions remained with this party, and with the other I continued the trip. We came to Squaw Creek, and left the trail to give our animals a little grass. Here we remained for a few minutes, but as if some guardian angel had whispered to me, the thought occurred that we were in a dangerous situation. We left the place and made our way back to the trail. In a moment afterwards we heard a voice, and looking up to the side of the mountain, and within a few hundred yards, sat an Indian watching, with the intention of ambushing us as soon others would join him, had we remained near the river. We reached Shasta safely that night. Before we did so, however, we met a large pack train on the way up, and knew then why the Indians had made the fence, and why they had not attacked us. They were expecting the pack train, and when the mules came to this fence they would huddle together, and in the confusion some would be killed or stampeded, and the Indians would get the goods.
A few days after the events here narrated, Dr. Horsley was going up to Yreka, and having camped on the flat upon which Faulds was buried, found his body above ground, and his blankets taken away. The Indians had done this, and there he remained until the doctor and his party reinterred him. A few days after the Indians again went to the grave, and with sharp sticks dug to his body, and finding no blankets left him to rest.
Of the eighteen men who composed the party with Faulds, Olmstead, of Yreka, is the only one living.
The West Shore, Portland, February 1, 1880, pages 26-27
DOWN THE KLAMATH.
The Early History of Some Famous Mining Camps.
How Happy Camp Received its Name--The Tragedy of Buckeye Bar--
Sailor Diggings and "Sidney Ducks" Reminiscences.
(Written for the Sunday Oregonian.)
When the Siskiyou Mountains shall have been pierced, and the last spike driven at the Cottonwood Junction of the Oregon & California and the California & Oregon railroads, then will there be opened up a new country of varied promise along the southern base of the mountains, which has hitherto yielded to the world of commerce aught but its little mite of gold. The adjacent mountains and hills on either side of the Klamath River are rich in minerals; the valleys and the river and creek bottoms are fertile, while the extensive timber resources of pine and oak will, ere long, invite capital to their development. The tourist will find ample and majestic scenery down the rapid river to satisfy his mind, be it ever so craving for that which is majestic and weird. But a short distance below Cottonwood Junction the river enters something like a canyon, through which it continues till past its confluence with Shasta River, when the hills on the south become lower and rolling, of a conspicuous granite formation, and covered with pine and white oak. This general aspect continues for a little over twenty miles when the hills on the south rise higher and granite gives place, in a great degree, to slate, which is thickly seamed with quartz. Below Scott River and to its mouth the river is in a canyon, through numerous and extensive bottoms are found along its course. Its channel is from eighty to 100 yards wide. Fifty miles from its source it strikes the southern base of the Siskiyou Mountains and sweeps often in angry turbulent rapids, as often in calm, deep volume, or smiling ripples, close under the shadows of their rugged summit and forest-clad sides, in nearly a westerly course till, piercing the rocky range of the coast, it winds grandly among timbered heights and grass-clothed hills till lost in the foaming sea. The timber around Cottonwood Junction is of fine growth, and grows better as the miles decrease toward the ocean. Much of the pine is of the large cone-bearing species (Pinus lambertiana of Douglas), though the cones are not so large as they are on the Klamath marsh, or in Josephine County, Oregon. The white oak (Quercus densiflora) [actually Quercus garryana] is found in profusion; it is tough, and equal in all respects to that imported from the East. The black or red oak is not met with till below the mouth of Scott River, thence it continues on to near the coast. The madrone (Arbutus menziesii), or, as Bret Harte terms it, "the harlequin of the woods," is met with. It has a fine grain, but is not susceptible of high polish, nor is it noted for its lasting qualities, so it has not yet been introduced into any kind of work with marked satisfaction. The country south of the junction, for about eight miles, ought properly to be termed the Klamath Valley, but beyond that the long, fertile valley of Shasta River takes control. During our rambles down the Klamath's tortuous course we will glance at its past history, as rich in materials for romance as in stubborn facts for sober recitation. From Cottonwood Junction to the sea its channel, bars and beaches have yielded bountifully in gold to the patient miner; to the farmer its rich alluvial bottoms have not withheld their bounties, while its hillsides and bars yield immense
CROPS OF LUSCIOUS FRUITSwhich will, ere long, find its way into the Portland market and the East. For near 100 miles from Cottonwood Junction it flows close to the Oregon line, and has been in the past, as it will continue to be in the future, closely allied in history and interests to our state of Oregon. Early in 1850 miners from the south came upon its waters near Cottonwood and prospected down the river for gold. Oregonians en route to the lower mines followed the first explorers, but no gold was found in paying quantities, and the first prospectors left it to its solitude as a nonproductive stream. Several creeks coming into it from the north and south were also prospected and with like results. One of these small streams, of considerable length, coming into the river from the south, attracted sufficient attention to be christened, in the bluff parlance of the day, "Humbug" Creek. This creek eventually proved immensely rich and drew to the Klamath another rush of sturdy miners in 1852. Down the river, over a hundred miles away, prospectors came over the Siskiyou Mountains from the Shasta mines late in 1849, and built their cabins on the yet pure stream. In 1850 the miners below were fully content with their prospects, and but few of them ventured to go above. From the advent of the miners upon the stream below the natives became morose; the first half-year passed by and many had been killed and two villages burned. With the white man came death to the tribes, and today you can ride a hundred miles on the middle river and an Indian cannot be seen. Instead of the miner's tent and Indian's camp of sticks and mats today the painted house
AND FLOWERS AND FRUITShave softened the early harshness, and relieve the eyes and gladdens the heart of the thrifty owner--perhaps of some old and bent and shattered miner, who remembers the sufferings of the past and rejoices that comfort and plenty now rule the hour.
Buckeye Bar, twenty miles below Cottonwood, was located in 1852, and was worked with indifferent success until, two years later, it became of importance as a mining camp, and worked up a little history of its own in August, 1855. Prior to the above date, many of the bars and upper benches of the river had been brought into cultivation, upon which all of the necessary vegetables of garden culture were produced in abundance, and the miners' habitual meal of beef, bread and tea or coffee was supplemented by potatoes, turnips and cabbage; the luxury of tomatoes and melons were enjoyed at the same time, and a few garden flowers added to the homelike beauty of budding civilization. Keeping pace--but slowly--with the march of progress on the banks of the beautiful mountain stream, the church and the school house rose up in bold relief on the river flat, on the elevated bench, on the lovely hillside. Back of all this mountain beauty and wealth and enlightenment, in the years when the Indian roamed at will through the oak openings and pine-clad hills, and the bear and the deer had first learned to fear the thunder of the white man's gun, and the limpid streams were changing to red by the wash from the mines, the flaming torch, and treachery and murder were at work to bring about the changes that we see today. At Buckeye Bar, on the south side of the river, twenty men were living and mining on the flats. Opposite their cabins, on the other side of the stream, was a farm house, with a few acres of cultivated ground around it. Three miles below, another small farm and a few mining claims. About the same distance below this was another farm of larger size, at which was a ferry across the river. At several places in the vicinity were Indian camps. Thus matters stood early in the month of August, 1855. It was but a few miles from this vicinity to the Oregon line up on the Siskiyou Mountain. Over the mountain, in the close neighborhood of Buckeye Bar, passed a trail which entered Rogue River Valley near the middle Applegate. Six miles below another trail crossed the mountains to the bend of a creek, which entered Applegate lower down. For several months prior to this time a number of strange Indians, presumably from Rogue River, had resided up the Klamath in the vicinity of these farms and mines, and a change as soon noted in the deportment of the Klamaths, and the apparent institution among them of a new order of officers; or, which would probably be better to say, an order of supervisors, whose duty it was to particularly note and hedge the intercourse of the other Indians with the whites. A suspicion of this was aroused in the minds of the settlers by the fact that after the departure of the strange Indians from the vicinity there were four of the native and well-known Indians who seemed to be invested with a delegated authority to supervise the others of the tribe. Often and in the hearing of white men did these supervisors repeat a few words at a time of something, which the Indian to whom it was applied repeated after them, something like the administration of
A LONG IRON-CLAD OATH,in which the expression "Boston cad-e-quitay"--which means bad white men--was frequent and prominent. Whenever an Indian was found in the company of the whites by one of these supervisors he was sure to be immediately required to repeat this oath of allegiance to the great combination of the tribes of the North Pacific Coast, which broke out into an open war a little later known as the Indian war of 1855-6. Sometime in the preceding month of July a few of the river Indians went over the ridge a distance of six miles to a little mining town on Humbug Creek, where they obtained a sufficient amount of whiskey to get them up to a raving spree. One of them, who had for a number of years previous been a "bell boy" (rider of the bell horse which led a pack train) for "Coyote" Evans--who was at that time a noted packer--and rejoiced in the not euphonious name of "Saltpeter," and considered himself fully up in knowledge and importance to any white man who would enter into conversation with him, became so inflamed that he declared that he must whip some white man on general principles. This resulted, later in the day, in the death of the Indian, and the throwing of his dead body into a deep "shaft" or prospect hole. The other Indians returned to their homes on the Klamath. The next day they repaired to the house of a miner who had, a few months previously, entered into an agreement with the tribe that, for a certain consideration which he had received, he would at all future times act as their attorney in any and all difficulties or disputes which they might in the future have with the whites. This was the first time that they had called upon him to act, and were much disappointed and angered when he stubbornly refused to fulfill his engagements. So they went away and plotted death to this man, and to all other whites on the river. The man left his house in the evening and was shot while on his way to a neighbor's cabin. At the moment of his death, a canoe containing five white men was crossing the river several hundred yards above. In front of their landing a number of Indians were concealed in the bushes. As the canoe reached the shore the Indians fired and killed three of the five, and wounded fatally the other two. Swimming out to the canoe, they towed it to the shore and dispatched the wounded men. All this had occurred before the people on Buckeye Bar were aware of what was being done, though the murders were committed only a few hundred yards from their homes, but on the opposite side of the river. The canoe which was captured by the Indians was the only one belonging to the little settlement, and the miners could not cross the river and attack the Indians, who danced a greater part of the night over their victims, in plain view of the people on the bar. These murders were committed after sunset and the miners on the bar did not care to traverse the lonely and rocky trail to the settlements below until the next morning. Then it was too late. The Indians divided their forces into three squads. One small force remained to threaten the miners on the bar; another party went down the river six miles to Pickens' place, another still remained concealed at the place midway between Buckeye Bar and Pickens'. At the latter place a man went out at daylight to feed the stock. As he entered the yards a rifle ball put
AN END TO HIS LIFEand he did not return to the house. All men went armed in those days, and the report of the shot did not arouse suspicion, and another man went out to help him in his morning work. Anther shot and he did not return. Again another man went out to call them to the morning meal, but he quickly returned severely wounded. Some horses and mules were taken from the stables and the Indians decamped and went along an unfrequented trail to aid in the attack on the place above, where a small company of Frenchmen were camped near the house, and who were just over from Illinois Valley on a prospecting tour. It was only fairly light when three Indians went to their camp in a friendly manner. Soon four more came from below, and the Frenchmen, with their usual considerations, offered the savages food as they sat down to enjoy their morning meal. The offered food was accepted by the savages, but eaten in a hurried manner. While the kindhearted men were yet seated around their humble board upon the ground the savages fell upon them suddenly, killing seven and wounding severely the remaining four. The wounded men escaped, but left all their stores and the arms of eight of their number to the Indians. From this place the savages started up the mountains, firing the dry grass as they fled, and by noon of that day the whole side of the mountain for six miles of its length was enveloped in smoke. They were pursued the next day, but to no purpose. They went over the mountains, down to the Applegate, and applied the torch to the long-smoldering Indian hostility to the whites, the flames of which were not subdued till the summer months of the following year. Fifteen miles below Buckeye Bar, Scott River comes in from the southeast. Rich in gold, it was long the
ULTIMA THULEof the Oregon drover and packer. With three trails from the Oregon side over the Siskiyous, the interests of the two sections were so linked together that they were as one people, so long as prejudices inimical to one another were not allowed to rule, for at that time there was a strong line of demarcation between the Webfeet [Willamette Valley residents] and the Tarheads [Southern Oregonians]. Three miles below Scott River we come to Hamburg Bar, which yielded much gold in early days and is now a thriving place in new industries, and may yet contribute to the Oregon markets quantities of fine fruit and nuts, for the raising of which no place in the two states is better adapted. There is a bit of early history attached to the place that might properly attract our attention. A month after the perpetration, by the upper Indians, of the murders just mentioned, the citizens of this bar collected all the friendly Indians in the vicinity, and many from up Scott River, with the avowed purpose of taking them below and there placing them in a safe place during the war on the Oregon border, for the Oregonians were liable at any time to step across the line and destroy all Indians coming under their observation. All the males, eleven in number, were collected at the bar and started down the river under the lead of a white man in whom they had implicit confidence. A mile below this bar, as they were passing a narrow defile, a volley of rifles was fired into the moving line, and before the smoke rose up from the awful scene all lay dead in the dust and rocks save two, who were severely wounded, but made their escape and were subsequently found dead in the willows on the bank of the river several miles below.
As we descend the river, the country bordering the stream maintains its general aspect until we reach Happy Camp, thirty miles below Scott River. Here a creek of considerable size comes down from the Siskiyou and empties into the Klamath through a wide bottom, on which, even in those early days, large crops of vegetables were grown to feed the thousand miners who rambled from camp to camp or sought new diggings in the neighboring hills. In the summer of 1850, miners from the lower river slowly made their way up along the stream, prospecting every creek and bar on their route with fair results. On reaching the spot where now stands the mining town of Happy Camp, their efforts were rewarded with more than usual success, and a stop was made for further search. Little by little, their numbers increased, till a hundred or more were camped on the picturesque bar. At first, their supplies came from Shasta City, by the way of Salmon River, then down that stream to the Klamath, then up to the miners above. The goods were packed on horses and mules, and the prices of all things were high. The advent of a train into these mountains was like the coming of a ship from a foreign sea. The winter months came slowly on; the mountaintops began to whiten with snow. Many of the miners returned to the source of the food supply below, intending to return the following year. Trains had met with much difficulty in getting up the river, for the mountainsides were rough and passable trails there were none. Many large creeks came down the mountains, which were difficult and dangerous to cross, and often the Indians barred their way. When winter came on, the tall, rugged mountains all around them were
DEEPLY COVERED WITH SNOW.They were constrained to be content, though against their will, to remain in their beautiful mountain home, until the snows should melt on the mountaintops. They built a large house of rough pine logs; their bunks were placed in there along the sides. In one end was their fire, in the other their door, while the roof was covered with bark and boards. By the middle of winter their food supply was exhausted, but the snow on the mountains was deep and frozen hard and the deer came down to the flats and were easily caught for food. A jolly set were these miners of early days; they took hard times as they came, with the good, without complaint. For three long, dreary months, while the ground was hard so that they could not mine, and the mountains were covered with snow so that they could not get away, they sang and danced and told their yarns and began to think that they were really the happiest lot of men on earth. And thus it was that the name of "Happy Camp" came into vogue, but it has held it own from that day to this. The Indians were numerous when the whites came among them, but they quickly began to decrease, and before five years had passed by, but few remained to mourn for those who were gone. Their houses were burned and their trails along the river were dug away. Today but a score of men are left of all those numerous bands who dwelt near that--to them--unhappy camp. The men who founded the camp were English sailors, and convicts, and all of their quality were known in those days as "Sydney ducks," who had found their way to the mines among the first of the pilgrims to the land of gold. The creek upon which the present town now stands was known then, as now, as Indian Creek. Along this creek from Happy Camp a trail runs up to the summit of the low divide, then down another of equal size into Illinois Valley. This was then an old Indian trail, but has now been developed into something like a road. Up this trail in the following spring some of the sailors went in search of gold. They prospected the flats and gulches and streams, but found no prospects worthy of note until in a wide, flat gulch on the Oregon side they found enough pay to make them stop and go to work in earnest. In a few months the fame of their camp as "Sailor Diggings" became widely spread. The camp is yet a place of note. It is frequently called Waldo, and is the depot of supplies for the miners and farmers for miles around. It is in Josephine County, Oregon, and on the most direct and only line of travel from Crescent City to Happy Camp.
The winter passed away, and the spring of 1851 was open and bright. The miners from below came up to the camp, and miners from above came down in droves, and in the space of a month the benches and bars resounded with the din of a mining camp of unusual size. Stores and saloons and miners' cabins went rapidly up, and its fame as a camp of note spread quickly abroad. As years went by its fame declined as a rich mining camp, yet business went on, but at a slower gait. When Crescent City was built up in 1859 Happy Camp again came up as a favorite place, for it was on the road from the city to the mines above and below. The rich
ALLUVIAL BOTTOMSwere brought into cultivation, and today what was once a silent wilderness is smiling in plenty. The pine and the oak have given place to fruit-bearing trees, and where the Indian roamed without control and chanted his uncanny song the feet of enlightened youth now press the green, and their joyous shouts echo in the surrounding hills. The ancient haunts of the bear and the deer in the valleys and timbered hills are now occupied by lowing herds, while the nightly howls of the growling wolves are stilled by the watchful dogs.
But a few days after the murder of the miners at Buckeye Bar, as before stated, a pack train from Sailor Diggings, on the Oregon side, was crossing the mountains to Happy Camp. The train had reached the summit, twelve miles from the camp, and was quietly winding along the level trail on the top. The large pine trees stand close together on the ridge, and patches of brush are woven between. The train was conducted by three men; one was riding the bell horse, two were driving behind. All was still, and the gentle and regular tinkle of the little bell sounded sweetly, and much like home, through the open woods. Suddenly a crash of rifle shots from flanks and rear disturbed the silent scene. One of the drivers fell dead in the trail; the other one turned and fled to the woods. The rider of the bell horse, severely hurt, made his way to the miners on the head of Indian Creek, a few miles below, and spread the alarm; from thence he went to Happy Camp. That afternoon a small company of men was raised at the camp, and went up to the miners on the creek. Before daylight they began the ascent of the mountains, and in two hours [they] had reached the top. Some mules were found dead on the side of the trail, while others were wounded, but still in sight. They searched for the wounded man till noon, and found him dead by the side of a tree to which he had crawled a short distance from the spot where he fell from his horse. The greater number of the mules were gone, and all the goods that the Indians liked. The sacks of salt and some picks and shovels which comprised a part of the load were left on the ground. The company was increased that day, and then set out on the Indians' trail along the "backbone" of the mountain. The Siskiyou Mountains are usually quite destitute of brush, so much so that to travel their sides or summit is not a work of great difficulty, except in some particular localities, and the Indians made good time in getting away with their prize. From the point where the trail from Buckeye Bar crosses the mountains to Applegate, to the summit where the train was attacked, is about twenty miles by way of the mountain ridge. As soon as the Indians reached the summit on their retreat from Buckeye Bar, they sent their women and goods ahead to the valley beyond, while the men went down to the Happy Camp trail and watched for the coming train. When they had secured their prize they turned back on their trail half way, then descended to Applegate Creek. The company from Buckeye Bar followed them to the summit, then down south in the direction of the Happy Camp trail. They obtained a distant view of the Indians on their way back from the scene of the murder below, but from some cause did not attack them and recover the train. The Happy Camp company followed the trail of the Indians till it descended the mountain to the west, when from lack of supplies they returned, and the search was over. Sailor Diggings are at the upper or southern end of Illinois Valley, and looking south from the town the Siskiyou Mountains are seen to circle around to the right like a horseshoe, and gradually merge
INTO THE COAST RANGE,which is but a few miles west of the village. The trail from this place over the mountain is the last line of travel in the south that connects Oregon and California by land. Below Happy Camp the timber gradually increases in volume and variety. The crabapple and dogwood appear, and with more vigorous growth as we descend the stream; the hills are covered with larger oaks, and the bottoms with taller trees. The bottoms are wide and the creeks are large, and seldom the mountains approach the stream too closely to admit of free passage between them. On all these bottoms in pioneer days the native villages were many and large, and today the marks of the past are seen in blackened posts or rounded holes where once the houses stood. Many miles below, a large river comes in from the south, at the mouth of which the Indians formerly resided in great numbers and annually fished for salmon, which left the Klamath and went up this river in great quantities. It received the name of Salmon River from that fact. Still lower down we come to Orleans Bar, once a noted mining camp and formerly the county seat of the late Klamath County. From this place to the coast other varieties of timber are to be seen, besides all that grow on the stream above. The natives are more worthy of study, and the climate is the most equable that we yet have found. The rain falls here in the summer months much as it does on the neighboring coast. The natives on the lower river have never used or understood the Chinook jargon, but instead taught their own language to the whites, which served all purposes very well. Below the mouth of Trinity River, which comes into Klamath from the south, about fifty miles above the coast, but little mining has been done, and for many years after the settlement of the upper river this long stretch remained a terra incognita, and was shunned by all miners as a too-dangerous locality in which to prospect. All along this stretch of river grows an assortment of the finest timber in great profusion, which will, ere long, be utilized. The most notable and valuable variety, and which here grows to its greatest size, is the laurel, (Oreodaphne californica), or as it is more commonly called, "myrtle." The writer has seen groves of it on the Klamath, five miles above the coast, and nearer, growing so thickly and to such large size that not the slightest ray of sunshine could penetrate the dark shade of the groves. The groves of this peculiar and valuable tree on the Coquille are next in value to those of the Klamath, but far inferior in size and length of trunk. It was customary in early days for miners to travel on foot over the mountains and along the rivers in small companies of four or five. Wishing to cross the river, usually at or near a village, a bargain would be made with some Indian to ferry them across in his canoe. Sitting in the canoe on their packs and guns, one savage in the bow, another in the stern, they would start for the opposite side. When out in the stream where the water was deep the Indians would rock the canoe from side to side till it went clear over, and the miners went out. The Indians, being good swimmers, would soon right the canoe and gather the packs that were floating off. The white men in the water would soon be filled with arrows, and in twenty minutes the job would be done. This mode of disposing of travelers was soon understood by the whites, and
RETALIATORY MEASURES WERE ADOPTED,which, though not wholly successful at first, eventually put a stop to it, but not until the Indians had been reduced in numbers and their villages reduced to ashes. But still they continued to carry it on whenever a stranger should pass along and ask to be ferried over the stream. A man without friends they knew would never be missed, and the chances of detection were very few. They generally succeeded in escaping detection ,but when found out an Indian or two would be killed, and that would be the end for a time.
The mania for mining was then strong with the many, but that for making new counties was equally strong with the few, and as soon as the mines on the Klamath and its tributaries had been established the county of Klamath was carved out, and extended north to the Oregon line. The contest between the seaport town of Crescent City in the north, and Orleans Bar, up the Klamath, waxed warm, for the conformation of the country was such that the people of one section of the country must necessarily suffer much inconvenience in getting to the seat of justice and the county records. A compromise was at last effected, and the new county of Del Norte was born; so each section at last had a court of its own. Years rolled on, and the golden harvest on that lower Klamath and its tributary streams was gathered in, and the busy miners left for other fields. And the county was left without support. The officials held on to the cherished cribs, but the county credit was gone, and so was the cash. The county of Klamath was then quietly disrupted and added to Siskiyou and Del Norte. And now the county of Del Norte is a near neighbor to the county of Curry, in Oregon. Their interests are not inimical, and all the business of trade of the lower part of Curry is done in Crescent City. Curry County, neglected, almost unknown, will yet came to the front with her inherent resources of gold, coal, timber and extensive grazing fields. Her coastline is rich in ancient deposits for extensive and successful ethnological research. In succeeding articles, in connection with local history, the lower Klamath tribes and those of the coast from Gold Bluff to Rogue River, together with a sketch of the aboriginal Kjokken-moddings, or ancient shell heaps, will be dwelt upon. Nor will it be forgotten to notice the different species of valuable timber along the coastline, the edible native fruits and the deposits of gold in the sand on the beach.
O. W. OLNEY.Sunday Oregonian, Portland, November 29, 1885, page 3
THE DEBATABLE LAND.
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.
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 [actually, 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.
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 difficulties between the Indians and whites about Yreka have been amicably settled.
The stipulations of the treaty, as we understand from Esquire Steele, one of the commissioners appointed for the purpose of making a treaty with the Indians, are as follows:
The Indians are to give up all their firearms and ammunition; return the stock stolen from Mr. Price's farm, and to pay for the mule killed at the above place. They are to have the privilege of remaining in this, or of removing to Scott Valley during the excitement in the Rogue River country, and when those of the tribe who are fighting against the whites in Rogue River Valley shall return, they are to be given up to the whites, who shall treat them as the merits of the case may seem to deserve. When the Indians shall have complied with the above stipulations, the horses taken from them during the skirmish on Shasta River are to be returned, or an equivalent of the same.
"Siskiyou," Sacramento Daily Union, September 10, 1853, page 2
Last revised , 2019