The leaders among the Indians [in 1851] were Sam and Joe, who later become prominent figures in the history of this region. Upon the close of the Indian hostilities, Judge A. A. Skinner came to the valley as Indian agent and took his residence southeast of Table Rock. His donation claim was the first located in the county and his house, which was a log cabin, was the first one built on Bear Creek.
On Christmas 1851, Moses Hopwood with the oldest of his children filed their claims to what became known as the Hopwood farm. About the same time Kennedy and Dean settled at Willow Springs. Several other settlers came in at about the same time.
Mrs. Lawless was the first white woman settler, coming in the early part of 1852. Hopwood began farming and he was the pioneer farmer of the Rogue River Valley.
In December, 1851, two men named Stone and Poyntz took land claims at the crossing of Wagner Creek. They returned east for their families in 1852.
Jacob Wagner, for whom Wagner Creek and Wagner Butte were named, settled on the creek in the spring of 1852, where he resided as an esteemed citizen and was closely identified with the growth of the town for more than 35 years. He died in 1900 at his home in this city [Ashland].
In January 1852 there were some persons in all residing in the Rogue River Valley, among them being Major Barron, Russell, Patrick Dunn, John Gibbs, R. H. Hargadine, E. K. Anderson and brother who came to Wagner Creek in that month.
It was in that month also that the placers were discovered on Jackson Creek, according to Walling, and a large influx of miners immediately followed. In March 100 to 150 men were working in the vicinity of Jacksonville, mainly on Rich Gulch and the right branch of Jackson Creek. The diggings were very rich. A man known as "old man Shively" accumulated $50,000.
Gold was early discovered at the Cameron place on the Applegate and also on Forest Creek where good pay was found. On account of the scarcity of water, most of the mining was done with a rocker. Foots Creek soon became a good mining district.
By the middle of the summer of 1852, it is said fully a thousand miners were busy on the creeks of this county, most of them in the Jacksonville district.
Among those who mined on Jackson Creek that year was Oscar O. Ganiard, who built the opera house in this city. Another was Orlando Coolidge, whose widow resides on the beautiful residence site on Nob Hill in Ashland, established by Mr. Coolidge and where he died a few years ago.
With the opening of the mines there arose a strong demand for food supplies and merchants and packers did a large business with Salem where most of the provisions were bought.
The high prices started farming, but the first experiments in '52 were not successful, mainly because of the drought. The potato crop was almost a complete failure. Breadstuffs became very high. Late in the year flour sold for $1.25 a pound, where previously it had been 20 to 30 cents per pound.
Farm claims along Bear Creek were taken up rapidly, mostly by persons from the Willamette Valley. Those who went to farming were largely Oregonians, while the miners were mostly from the California placers.
The valley became populated within one year.
In 1853, 159 wagons came to this valley by the southern route, from the east, opened by Jesse Applegate.
With them were 400 men, 120 women and 170 children. They brought 2600 head of cattle, 1300 head of sheep and 140 extra horses and mules.
"Southern Oregon Annals," Rogue River Courier, Grants Pass, July 23, 1903, page 1 The source of the information was credited as the Ashland Tribune.
I have spent several days at Pleasant Armstrong's--he has a splendid farm and a considerable stock of cattle and horses--he is at this time buying cattle and driving them to the mines--he is as rich as an old Jew.
Ben T. Wood, Dayton, Oregon, "Oregon Letter," Weekly Journal, Delphi, Indiana, page 4
The Indians are quite friendly on Rogue River, yet they occasionally steal when a favorable opportunity presents. The agent, Mr. Skinner, has made his location near Table Rock. I called to see him at his residence and found him to be a very intelligent gentleman. He is exerting a good influence, as an agent, over the Indians. The Rogue River Valley is settling very fast; some twenty claims have been taken already and houses built; many are busily engaged in plowing; large quantities of stock are on the valley; grass fine, and everything seems to be moving on favorably and quietly.
J. C. Bell, "From the Mines," letter from Salem dated January 10, Oregonian, Portland, January 17, 1852, page 2
Anson Dart, Esq., U.S. Indian Agent at Oregon, is now at Washington, upon official business. He has brought with him several new pieces of cedar plank, some beautiful specimens of wild flax, which is exceedingly plentiful in that territory, and of fine quality, and several small lumps of gold from the south fork of Rogue River.
Illinois Daily Journal, Springfield, January 16, 1852, page 3
The Indians are quite friendly on Rogue River, yet they occasionally steal when a favorable opportunity presents. The agent, Mr. Skinner, has made his location near Table Rock. I called to see him at his residence and found him to be a very intelligent gentleman. He is exerting a good influence, as an agent, over the Indians. The Rogue River Valley is settling very fast; some twenty claims have been taken already and houses built; many are busily engaged in plowing; large quantities of stock are on the valley; grass fine, and everything seems to be moving on favorably and quietly.
J. C. Bell, "From the Mines," Weekly Oregonian, Portland, January 17, 1852, page 2
For the Spectator.
Oregon City, Jan. 22, '52.
Editors Spectator--Gentlemen: Having seen in your paper of the 20th inst. a communication from the Rogue River country charging a Mr. Worthington Bills with inciting the Indians to acts of hostility against the whites, and containing other serious charges against the same person, I was taken by surprise and am quite astonished.
I have known Mr. Worthington Bills for some time. Knew him in the Rogue River country, on Rogue River, and never heard or supposed from his general character that any such offense could be perpetrated by him; and my object in addressing you at this time, from this place, rather from my home at Tualatin Plains, is to testify, as far as my acquaintance as above is concerned, to his unexceptional good character--and also that to my knowledge, he used his best efforts, upon every occasion, to preserve peaceable relations between the whites and Indians. And at the recent difficulty there between the Indians and some persons engaged in driving hogs to the mines, in which one white man, Mr. Moffett, and an Indian were killed, and another white man wounded, to my knowledge Mr. Worthington Bills was one of the most active and influential in endeavoring to allay feeling and prevent disturbance and blood shed.
A. POMEROY.Oregon Spectator, January 27, 1852, page 3
To the Public.
Oregon City, O.T.
Jan. 23rd, '52.
With regard to the second assertion, quoted above from this letter, it is entirely unfounded, so far as I am concerned, and I have no knowledge of my son being engaged in any such transaction; but if he has, as I said before, he is responsible to the tribunals of his country. In this letter it is charged against me that about the 18th ult. (his letter being written in December) I left for the Willamette Valley, and that I "borrowed two or three horses from the miners and have not been heard of since." The facts are that I left there on the 10th of December to come to this valley for the single purpose of selling my improvements and claim in this valley, and of procuring a load of supplies to take back to Rogue River Valley for winter use. Before leaving I made an arrangement with a Mr. Jacob Painter, Mr. Sloan, and Mr. Lord, for two horses and one mule belonging to these gentlemen, to be brought by me to the settlements, loaded with provisions, &c., and drove back again; the loads of each of those animals, upon their arrival, to be equally divided between the owner of the horse and myself. This I have done. I loaded the animals and started them for that section, in the care of Mr. Hitt, some days since, and at this time they must have accomplished something more than half their journey.
Mr. Painter also says, "It is the opinion of the citizens that he (the old man) laid the plan to exterminate all the whites, and that Worthington, his son, was to carry it out in his absence; and they were to have the Indians rob all the pack trains and they would reap the rewards of the booty arising therefrom." It would seem to be quite idle for me to simply deny the truth of any part of this assertion, inasmuch as perhaps some evidence besides my own denial might be called for; but it is simply an assertion--and one quite easy to make--and perhaps quite as difficult for the author to prove correct, as for me to show unfounded. What the secret opinions of men may be it is impossible for others to know, and that my secret intentions and designs were not as above represented, I acknowledge would be impossible for me to prove by others. But with regard to the above assertion, I am willing and anxious that my acts while in that country should meet and undergo any examination that may be considered called for by the circumstances of the case. I am conscious of no such design, and am prepared for an investigation of all things connected with my residence there at any and all times.
With regard to the allusion in this letter to my being the same man published by Mr. Dryer, of the Oregonian, last spring, for leaving the country indebted to him, this is the first notice of such publication that I have received. When I left Portland I was not aware that I owed the editor of the Oregonian a penny, nor am I now. It is true I had some business with him in the way of advertising and having handbills printed, &c.; but I always either paid each bill thus made myself or left the means with which it should be done in the hands of my clerks, with orders to pay it to him--and if any bill has ever been left unpaid it was on account of my directions not being attended to--and in no case intentional. If by any means any just demand thus holden by Mr. Dryer has not been paid, I do now and have at all times stood ready to pay it upon presentation. With regard to his hasty publication of me in this manner (which I have never seen) I would simply say that no gentleman would thus treat another. He, nor any other man, ever had the slightest reason to suppose that I intended to leave this country, and if a bill did remain against me, due to him, he had no reason to suppose I would refuse to pay it; for I had a good deal of printing done at his office, and always paid him promptly, as he cannot deny.
In support of my own statements, as to where I resided previous to starting for the Rogue River country, as I said before, I offer the following certificates.
Lane County, Jan. 10, 1852.
We, the undersigned, have been acquainted with Lemuel Bills from five to eighteen months, and have known him to be upright and straightforward in all business transactions.
E. F. Skinner,and ten others, citizens of the same county.
E. L. Bristow,
J. W. Poindexter,
I have been acquainted six months with Lemuel Bills. He has been laboring on my mill. His dealing with me has been honest.
We agree in the above, with regard to the character of Mr. Lemuel Bills.
Louis Calhoun,Several other certificates of a like nature with the above were shown us by Mr. Bills, which it is considered unnecessary to publish--Eds.
P. F. Castleman.
Oregon Spectator, Oregon City, February 3, 1852, page 1
An Oregon paper of recent date contains the following announcement:
"A man by the name of Bills (an Oregonian) was brought down in irons on the Multnomah last week. He has for several months been among the Indians on Rogue River, instigating attacks on the whites--in consequence of which, the Indians say, about twenty whites have been killed. Judge Skinner, the Indian Agent, learned that he was among the Indians, and hired them to bring him in, giving them six blankets; but before an opportunity offered to send him into the settlements, he made his escape. The Agent then offered them forty blankets to bring him in. The second time he was caught just the other side of Table Rock, where the fight occurred, last summer, in which Lieut. Stuart was killed. He confesses his crime. He was sent down to the Superintendent of Indian Affairs, and we suppose will be tried at an early day."
"White Man Among the Indians," Daily Alta California, San Francisco, February 5, 1852, page 2
The reason assigned for attaching the counties of Douglas and Jackson to Umpqua for judicial purposes is that Judge Pratt would not have time to go into those counties to hold a court, thereby compelling the people of those two counties to consult the convenience of Judge Pratt, without reference to their own interests. These nullifying, self-styled legislators have virtually said--we will compel the people of Jackson and Douglas counties to come from one to two hundred miles, over the mountains, and subject them to a large expense, to subserve the convenience of our favorite judge, whose time will not permit him to go there, because we have given him Marion, Linn and Lane counties, which heretofore belonged to Judge Nelson's district. . . .
Will the citizens of Jackson and Douglas counties dance attendance upon the convenience of Judge Pratt, and pay so dearly for the music? Will the people of Oregon tamely submit to the imposition of all the evils, delays and losses, which must and will inevitably follow this system of legislation, by the influence, and under the advisement of Pratt and his pliant tools? Or will they rise in their majesty, and shake off this yoke of oppression, and assert their manhood by declaring themselves fully competent to think and act for themselves?
"Effect of and Excuses for Changing the Judicial Districts," Oregonian, Portland, February 7, 1852, page 2
For the Oregon Times.
Friend Waterman: Having just arrived in Portland, and learned that much interest is manifested with the people generally in regard to Shasta Butte City [Yreka], and just having arrived from that district of country, I avail myself of this opportunity of informing you with regard to my views as to the location of that place. If the Deputy Surveyor has made the correct observation at the north mouth of the Kenyon, where Mr. Knott is located, it seems to me that no doubt can exist, as he has located that point in latitude 42 deg. 51 min. [it's actually 42.9308º], consequently it can be but 51 minutes south to the 42 parallel, which is known to every traveler to be a distance of at least one hundred and fifty miles, and I should think would make a little more than 51 min.
Lieut. Emmons, in 1843, took an observation as he passed through Oregon to California and I am informed that he located the 42nd parallel on the top of Siskiyou Mountain, at a large rock well known to all travelers [Pilot Rock] which is some twenty miles north of Shasta Butte City; and still farther, Col. Fremont states that Shasta Butte is in latitude 41 deg. 28 min. and all who have ever been in that country know full well that Shasta Butte is not more than 25 minutes south of Shasta Butte City.
It is difficult to ascertain the precise location of any point inland; but every observation heretofore goes to prove that Shasta Butte City is in California, or at least south of the 42nd parallel of longitude [sic].
It is now reduced to an absolute certainty that Grave Creek, which the Oregon and California road crosses, is the principal branch of the Coquille River [it's a tributary of the Rogue River], as I have been down from the road to a point where I know that I have been exploring, during the past season, and no doubt remains of obtaining a good road from Port Orford to the Oregon road to California, and the distance of travel from the ferry on Rogue River to Port Orford will not exceed ninety miles. I have been over all the ground but about the distance of twelve or fifteen miles, and do believe a good wagon road will be made by the first of next June, and open well for settlers one of the best agricultural countries west of the Rocky Mountains.
I remain yours, &c.Oregon Weekly Times, Portland, February 14, 1852, page 2
W. G. T'VAULT.
Portland, Feb. 10th, 1852.
Our Umpqua Correspondence.
The course of trade--The Umpqua region--Routes through the valley, location, resources, advantages, prospects, etc.--The Umpqua River, etc.--A freshet.
Umpqua City, Jan. 8, 1852.Messrs. Editors --It is a matter of surprise that your community, usually so active in the discovery of every opportunity of mercantile enterprise, should have failed to notice the advantages of a point so promising as the Umpqua River. It is true that several merchants from San Francisco are and have been quietly filling their pockets with the profits of a large and lucrative trade, but the greater portion of your community seem to live in "Rip Van Winkle" unconsciousness of a location offering a rich and permanent traffic. Like the fable of the boy crying wolf until no one would heed his alarm, the people of San Francisco have so often been deluded by false allurements to splendid prospects and glittering schemes that the modest truth is received with distrust.
A large mining district, comprising Southern Oregon and Northern California, is furnished with supplies from the Umpqua River. These mines are among the richest in California. Though a three years' resident, I have never known any district where miners have met with such universal success. The route from the mines to this place is, for the most part, over a level plain, yielding an abundance of grass for animals. Through the whole distance, there is not an interval of ten miles that does not afford rich pasturage. Thousands of pack mules are passing from these mines to the Umpqua Valley, with which this river communicates. (This river has a natural opening through the Coast Range, between San Francisco and the Columbia River.) Packers prefer this route to all others, and the Umpqua Valley has, by nature, a position that will inevitably give it importance. Though the supply of goods has been large during the season, it has been insufficient to supply the demand. Large numbers of pack animals have passed on to Salem, and even to Oregon City, for goods, on account of the deficiency at this point. They have preferred even this distance, rather than the rugged and barren trails through the Coast Range.
Not only does this river command the trade of a large and populous mining district, but it furnishes supplies to the numerous settlers of the Umpqua and lower Willamette valleys. These valleys, in salubrity of climate, fertility of soil and beauty of' scenery, are unsurpassed. The abundance of fine timber on this river has led to the erection of mills. The lumber of these mills, together with piles, make up the return cargo of vessels bound to your port.
The bar of the river has three and one-half fathoms of water at low tide, and the harbor is large and secure. Certain gentlemen interested in fancy speculations upon the coast have reported a less quantity of water upon the bar. Allow us to correct them by saying that we know them to be either ignorant of the truth, or willful in misrepresentation. We have learned that the Sea Gull, on her entrance into this river, having run over the North Spit, reported a small quantity of water. This is a matter which is soon to be settled by a U.S. survey.
Yours, M.S.S.P.S. A freshet has just taken place here, carrying away one wharf and doing other considerable damage. A vessel is standing off the bar bound for this place. The mail steamer has been ordered to stop here regularly, and is expected daily.
Daily Alta California, San Francisco, March 1, 1852, page 5
The Shasta Indians, numbering from 150 to 300, assembled at the head of Rogue River Valley on a war expedition, but professed when [Mr. Kirkpatrick] passed to be "wawa-ing" about their difficulties, and were on the eve of settling them amicably. The affair is said to have originated about a squaw.
"From the Shasta Mines," Oregon Spectator, Oregon City, March 2, 1852, page 2
LETTER 60 YEARS OLD
Reflects Interesting View of Early Pioneer Conditions Here.
The time of the annual reunion of the Southern Oregon Pioneers in Ashland today seems not an inappropriate one to publish a personal letter which has just come into the possession of his family here and which was written to relatives in Iowa by the late Jacob Wagner of this city, one of the pioneers of southern Oregon and northern California nearly 60 years ago. The chief interest of course in a personal document of this kind at this time is in its age and the light it throws upon conditions in this country 60 years ago, isolated and unknown as it was in that early period before there was a single settlement in the Rogue River Valley, which at the time indicated was really just being "discovered." The letter reads as follows:
California, March 8, 1852.Esteemed Brother and Sister: It is with the greatest of pleasure that I take this opportunity to inform you that I am well and hope when these few lines reach you they will find you all enjoying the same blessing. I am now in California, near the Oregon line, and expect to stay in this part of California next summer. I am mining and have done tolerably well this winter. I spent nine hundred dollars last summer on Scotts River. I bought claims in the river and hired men to help work them; dug raises and turned the river. It proved to be a failure, and I spent my summer's work and $900 more than I made. There have been some very rich mines found in this part of the country, but I don't think they are so extensive as they are in the southern part of California. The miners generally are not making very big wages here this winter. Some may make their hundred dollars per day, while others don't make their hundred cents. But this is the best poor man's country that I was ever in, for a poor man is just as likely to win a prize as a rich one.
We have had a pleasant winter so far. There has been but little snow and but little rain. This is the pleasantest climate that I ever was in. It is never so warm in the summer or so cold in the winter as it is where you live. The valleys and mountains are now covered with green grass and the richest of flowers. It is a beautiful sight at this season of the year. Cattle have been first-rate beef all winter.
This is the healthiest country I ever saw. I have been here one year. There are about four or five thousand persons in Shasta Butte City [Yreka] and within ten miles of here, some living in brush houses, others in tents, and out of that number there have been three deaths, to my knowledge.
One year ago, when I came here where Shasta Butte City is, there hadn't been a stick of timber cut by a white man. Now there are twelve or fourteen hundred inhabitants. There are about thirty stores and about the same number of gambling houses and liquor shops. We are about three hundred miles from navigation. The provisions we get here are packed 300 miles on mules. The market is well supplied and cheap. At present flour is 25 cents per pound, beef 20 cents, coffee 50 cents, butter $1.25 per pound, boots from $8 to $16 per pair, potatoes 25 cents per pound, liquor 50 cents a drink, and there are more drunkards here than any place I ever was before. More horses are stolen here than any place I ever saw. There are a great many land pirates in California.
We had a good deal of trouble with the Indians last summer, but they have gotten more peaceable. They killed a great many whites last summer. Whenever they would catch a small party out by themselves they would take their scalps. The Rogue River Indians are the worst Indians we have in this part of the country.
I expect to come home sometime, but not until I make money enough so that I can have a living without as hard work as I used to, for I had rather work for a living here than there.
I want you to write to me and let me know how you are all getting along. I haven't had a letter from you since I left home, and but two from Mother. If you knew how I long to hear from you, you would write often. I have gotten two letters from Philip, but I have written letter after letter and don't get any answers. Direct yours to Sacramento City. I want you to let me know how Joseph is getting along and what he is doing. Give my regards to all inquiring friends.
Yours with respect,Ashland Tidings, September 7, 1911
March 22, 1852
Many people are moving away to Rogue River, north of here in Oregon, about 3 days travel from here, where one hears and believes that very rich mines have been discovered. It is thought that soon a city will be established there. The land in Rogue River Valley is believed to be extremely suitable for farming.
Tom Brodbeck, ed., California Gold Rush: Tales of a Swiss Prospector, J. Christoph Brodbeck, ArtBookbindery.com 2009, page 83
TROOPS FOR OREGON AND CALIFORNIA.California appears to be decidedly "in luck" in Washington this winter. The severity of the season doss not seem to have affected the atmosphere of Congress prejudicially to our interests. On the contrary, the "winter of our discontent" is vanishing before the sunshine of paternal smiles. "Cold obstruction's apathy" no longer clogs the current of our venerated Uncle's affections for his fair Cordelia, of the Pacific, whose voice "was ever gentle, soft and low"--excellent thing it appears in states, sometimes, as well as in women. While all the rivers on the Atlantic Seaboard are frozen up, there is a perfect flood of measures in Congress for the welfare and relief of California, and we only hope the thermometer will continue to indicate just that state of temperature at which this kindly flow of benevolence commenced, whether Capt. Vanderbilt's boats are compelled to cut their way out of New York harbor through fields of ice, or not. The flow of immigration to these shores will not be much impeded by the circumstance. We are only too happy to find, by the statistics of gold bullion shipped from the shores of California to the Atlantic States the past year, that we are also capable of pouring a rich flood of treasure into the coffers of our respected Uncle. That we can get up a counter-irrigation, and that the tide which serves us in its flood with men and measures will ebb again, rich in the wealth of our exhaustless mines.
In the variety of bills introduced and resolutions and amendments offered in Congress, for the benefit of California and Oregon, was a resolution submitted by Mr. Lane, inquiring whether any and what steps have been taken to protect emigrants en route to Oregon against the Indians, and in case none had been taken, directing the President to cause a regiment of mounted riflemen to be placed on duty, a part on the road from St. Joseph's, and the remainder in Rogue River Valley, on the road from Oregon to California. There was some debate on this motion, during which it was objected that the resolution assumed for the House the position of commander-in-chief of the army. Mr. Lane finally obtained information, from the Secretary of War, that troops were to be posted on the route to Oregon this season in sufficient time to protect the emigrants. He therefore moved the resolution to be laid on the table.
There is no portion of the territory of the United States where such actual necessity exists for full and efficient military protection as in that comprised in the districts of Northern California and Southern Oregon. The placing of detachments on duty on the line of travel between St. Josephs, on the Missouri, and Fort Hall is almost equivalent to stationing them at Newport, or any other of the posts within the line of the settlements, for all the active service they will see, or protection afford the settlers of Oregon and California. It is on the borders, and in the unsettled districts of Oregon and California, that regiments of troops are wanted, and the only portion of the emigrant route which absolutely requires protection is where it enters the territories on the Pacific. As for the road between Fort Hall and St. Joseph, emigrant trains should be able to protect themselves nearly the whole journey; it is when their animals fail, and their provisions become reduced, and their ranks broken, that the danger from depredatory Indians commences.
A provision of military force on our frontier is most certainly needed, and we hope Congress will not adjourn without passing a bill creating two new regiments, as the Secretary of War has recommended, for special service in California and Oregon.
Daily Alta California, San Francisco, March 24, 1852, page 2
Sacramento Daily Union, March 25, 1852, page 2
Meeting in Umpqua County.At a public meeting held at the Main Street House in Scottsburg, March 20th, 1852, pursuant to a previous call, for the purpose of taking into consideration the act of the Executive and other officials of this Territory, and the course pursued by the Legislative Assembly convened at Salem, Judge Hudson was called to the chair and E. R. Fiske appointed Secretary. After an animated discussion by several gentlemen with regard to the present position of affairs in Oregon, it was moved and voted that Messrs. Geo. L. Snelling, A. C. Gibbs and Jeb Hatfield be appointed a committee to draft and present resolutions expressive of the sense of this meeting. The committee through their chairman subsequently reported the following resolutions:
Whereas, the present Territorial system of government in Oregon is repugnant to the spirit of Republicanism, and exercises a depressing influence upon all our interests being at best but poorly adapted to the desires and necessities of a free people, subjecting us to the maladministration of strangers and sojourners, who are ignorant of our wants, and destitute of sympathy for us inasmuch as they are not responsible to the people of Oregon for their acts, therefore,
Resolved, That we are ready to cooperate with the citizens of other counties in Oregon in order to obtain a restoration of our political privileges, either through a thorough and radical modification of the existing territorial system, or by exchanging it for an independent and truly republican state organization.
Resolved, That the irregular course pursued by the Governor of this Territory in organizing this county, by which its citizens have for the past year been deprived of the privilege of maintaining and enforcing their rights, meet the entire disapprobation of this meeting.
Resolved, That the extraofficial and illegal acts of the Governor in making the so-called "Rogue River Treaty," which allowed the Indians to keep over one hundred head of horses, the stolen property of the people of this Territory, and the neglect of the Superintendent of Indian Affairs to make any treaty with the Indians in this valley while he has visited and purchased the land of those in every direction around us, and the general neglect manifested on the part of the government officers to forward the interest of the southern portion of Oregon, begets in us anything but feelings of approbation and confidence.
Resolved, That we approve the course pursued by the members of the late Legislative Assembly in meeting at Salem, and consider the attack made upon them by the federal officers of this Territory, as a direct infringement on the rights of the people, and that the effort on their part to nullify the acts of the representatives of the people should be treated with contempt.
Voted, that a copy of our proceedings be forwarded to each of the papers in Oregon.
Voted, to adjourn.
J. JUDSON, Chairman.Oregon Weekly Times, Portland, April 3, 1852, page 2
E. R. FISKE, Sec'y.
FROM THE SOUTHERN MINES.--We have just seen and conversed with an intelligent and highly respectable gentleman direct from the southern mines. He says the miners are doing well, and enjoying good health. The Indians are peaceable and quiet, and everything bids fair for a golden harvest this season among the miners.
Weekly Oregonian, Portland, April 3, 1852, page 2
The Rogue River furore has been raging here violently for the past two weeks, and has carried off many miners. I am told they will retrace their steps in a few days, and be satisfied to work for low wages when they return. Many of them will find new occupants on their old claims. . . .
P.S.--Three days after the above date [March 16], the reports are confirmed in regard to the richness of the diggings on Rogue River, and miners are flocking thither in great numbers. The deposits are said to be in dry ravines.
"Our Klamath Correspondence," Sacramento Daily Union, April 6, 1852, page 2
Indian Agency Rogue RiverSir
April 9, 1852
On or about the 17th of February last Messrs. John Gibbs & co., residing at the foot of the Siskiyou Mountain in the valley of Stuart's Creek, a tributary of Rogue River, lost a cow which at the time they supposed to have been taken by the band of Shasta Indians residing near the crossing of the Klamath River. Since that time Messrs. Gibbs & co. have procured the affidavits, copies of which I herewith enclose to you, tending to show that the cow was taken by those Indians.
As these Indians reside south of the supposed Oregon line, and within the agency of Col. McKee, I am at a loss what disposition to make of the affidavits--whether to forward them to your office for the purpose of enabling you to communicate with the Department in California, or to send them directly to Col. McKee. I should be pleased, at as early a day as convenient, to receive instructions on the subject.
There are several cases of depredations committed by the Indians of Rogue River Valley on the property of white men since my arrival at this agency, and I should be pleased to be informed of the view taken by the Department of the relation which exists between these Indians and the government of the United States, whether it is such as to bring those depredations within the provisions of the 17th sect. of "an act to regulate trade and intercourse with Indian tribes and to preserve peace on the frontiers" approved June 30th, 1834.
I have the honor to beAnson Dart Esquire
Your obt. servt.
A. A. Skinner
NARA Series M2, Microcopy of Records of the Oregon Superintendency of Indian Affairs 1848-1873, Reel 12; Letters Received, 1852, No. 28.
The news from the Rogue River mines is very encouraging to miners. New and important discoveries have recently been made, which has brought several thousand miners into Oregon Territory from Shasta, and other mines in California. They are doing well, making from one ounce to one hundred dollars the day--so says our informant. Our readers, however, will make a liberal discount--as in all cases of news from the gold mines.
Weekly Oregonian, Portland, April 17, 1852, page 2
[Yreka] is at present nearly or quite deserted--the new diggings on Rogue River having taken almost everybody from this section of country; the excitement is intense.
"J.T.H.," Weekly Oregonian, Portland, April 17, 1852, page 3
The Shasta Courier reports rich discoveries of gold on Rogue River, near the Oregon trail, and about five hundred persons had left with the intention of engaging in mining at the new location. The same paper represents that the average result of mining in that vicinity is now ten dollars per day for each man engaged.
"Late from California," Daily National Intelligencer, Washington, D.C., April 30, 1852, page 3
The steamship carrying this news left San Francisco on April 1.
Umpqua City, O.T., March 30, 1852.Messrs. Editors.--Extraordinary accounts of the recent discoveries upon Rogue River are reported by packers arriving here from that region. . . . The exciting news from Rogue River has produced a general rush to that point. I have been unable to obtain any particular information in respect to the character of these mines, other than their richness and extent, and the large number of miners already centered there. These mines are located in Southern Oregon, and in the vicinity of this river.
"Umpqua Correspondence," Daily Alta California, San Francisco, May 1, 1852, page 2
Rich mines have been discovered in Rogue River Valley. They are creek and ravine diggings. Miners there are averaging from ten to sixteen dollars. There is a great excitement in Mount Shasta City [Yreka] and on Humbug Creek, consequent on the discovery of these new and rich diggings. I saw (says a correspondent) about 200 leave for Rogue River Valley on last Sabbath. Parties are leaving town daily. Mules are selling from $100 to $140 each. Rogue River Valley is about all taken up by persons who intend to settle permanently.
"Eleven Days Later from California," Albany Evening Journal, New York, May 17, 1852, page 2
RICH DIGGINGS.--Mr. Flinn of Johnson's line of stages has received a letter from Mr. James Clugage on Rogue River, stating that he and his two partners owned a claim out of which they had taken on an average seventy ounces per day for ten weeks. This is certainly one of the richest claims we have heard of for a long time.
Daily Alta California, San Francisco, May 18, 1852, page 2
Mining News.--Rich mines have been discovered in Rogue River Valley. They are creek and ravine diggings. I have seen a miner direct from there, and he informed me that these diggings are extensive. He exhibited some of the gold, and it looked bright and beautiful. He has gone back to these mines. Miners there are averaging from ten to sixteen dollars.
There is a great excitement in Mt. Shasta City and Humbug Creek consequent on the discovery of these new and rich diggings. I saw about 200 leave for Rogue River Valley on last sabbath. Parties are leaving town daily. Mules are selling from $100 to $140 each. Rogue River Valley is about all taken up by persons who intend to settle permanently.
Daily Ledger, New Albany, Indiana, May 20, 1852, page 2
The Courier says the mining intelligence from Rogue River continues to be of the most gratifying character.
A short time since, John Brown, of Illinois, became involved with a quarrel with another miner. Upon being called a liar he shot his antagonist, who died almost instantly. We have not been furnished with the name of the deceased. Brown was tried, sentenced to be hung, and was to have been executed on the 16th inst.
"From Shasta," Sacramento Daily Union, May 24, 1852, page 2
The attention of our citizens and business men here seems to be directed towards the southern part of the Territory. Since my last, gold in considerable quantities has been discovered in the Rogue River country, Jackson County, which, together with the rich farming land in that quarter, has served to fasten nearly all eyes upon it. Emigration at this time tends toward Southern Oregon, that part of the Territory embraced within the counties of Umpqua, Douglas and Jackson, lying south of the Willamette Valley, and divided from it by the Calapooia Mountains, a spur stretching across the country from the Coast Range.
The gold mines in Northern California and those just discovered in Southern Oregon afford to the latter, by their steady demand, high prices and proximity of one of the best markets for all kinds of agricultural products in the world, and when these countries are settled it will enjoy the almost exclusive monopoly of this market. With these two occupations of mining and farming, carried on in the same vicinity, this part of Oregon must soon become densely populated.
In the Umpqua Valley there are several towns, but recently known, however, as being places of immediate importance. Winchester, situated upon the North Umpqua on the route through the Territory from north to south, and directly on the road to the mines, is a flourishing village in embryo, with its "store," blacksmith shop &c. It is an inland town, with an extensive and rich farming country surrounding it on all sides, sufficient to support, when settled, a large retail trade.
Going down this river about forty-five miles, which is some fifteen miles below Winchester, it nearly doubled in volume by receiving the South Umpqua; coming in from a southeast direction, we arrived at Scottsburg, situated on the north bank upon a narrow flat or bottom, only a few rods in width, but some two miles in length and walled in on both sides by high, steep and rocky mountains, inaccessible for all useful or practical purposes. It is an important point, however, it being the only point of entry accessible from the interior for the Umpqua, Rogue River, Klamath and Shasta counties, and the mines embraced within their limits.
Twenty-five miles further down Umpqua brings us to Gardiner, on the south side of the river, three or four miles from its mouth. Directly at the mouth, on the north side of the river, Umpqua City is situated, which makes up the list of towns on this river. These three places are beginning to attract the attention of capitalists, and owing to their location and the vast extent of country to which the river affords the only entry by water, they will soon become of importance to the business world.
"From Oregon," Daily Picayune, New Orleans, Louisiana, June 25, 1852, page 2
Murder and Execution on Rogue River.
A murder was committed at Jacksonville, a small mining village on Rogue River, on the 2nd of May, under the following circumstances: A young man named J. C. Platt, slightly under the influence of liquor, challenged any person to run a foot race with him. Several bystanders selected a man of the name of Robert Maynard, who went by the name of Brown, to accept the challenge. Platt said he was no kind of a man, and that he would not run with him; that he could beat him at anything--fighting or anything else; and that if he ran, he wanted to run against a man. Brown said he was insulted, and that he would shoot Platt. He borrowed a revolver, and afterwards meeting Platt in the street, told him he had insulted him. Platt denied having done so, but said that if Brown was disposed to "take it up," he could do so, at the same time taking off his coat for a fight. Hard words passed between them; Platt said Brown was a liar and a thief; Brown forbade him repeating it; the language was repeated, whereupon Brown drew his revolver and shot him through the left breast. Platt exclaimed, "The damn scoundrel has shot me--arrest him," and fell. He lived but three minutes. Brown was taken into custody, and on the following Tuesday tried. A judge and prosecuting attorney were appointed, and a jury summoned, and a fair trial given him. He was defended by D. B. Brenan, of Portland. An auctioneer, known by the name of "Tom Hyer," acted as prosecuting attorney. The trial lasted twelve hours, when the jury retired, and after deliberating an hour and a half, returned a verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree. Brown was heavily ironed and a guard of eight men placed over him. It was moved that he be allowed three weeks to "make his peace with God." The crowd rejected this motion by a large majority. It was then moved that he be allowed three days to prepare for the change, which motion prevailed. Accordingly on Saturday the 8th he was taken in a cart about one mile from town, where a gallows had been erected, and hanged. He has been some time in Oregon, and we learn spent the past winter at Marysville [Corvallis]. He talked freely upon the gallows; said he was not sorry for what he had done, on his own account, but he was sorry to afflict his parents and brothers and sisters. He said he should be hung and buried in that grave (pointing to a grave nearby, which had been dug), and that the traveler would point to it and say there lies a man who would not be insulted. He bid the crowd "goodbye," and was swung off. He stated that his relatives lived in Illinois. He was twenty-one years of age.
Oregon Statesman, Oregon City, June 1, 1852, page 2 For reminiscences of this incident, click here.
Judge Skinner's, Rogue River Valley,Mr. Editor--One week since I wrote you from Winchester; since then I have traveled 140 miles to this place. The country, except the Kanyon, is beautifully diversified with hill and valley, prairie and timber, rich and sterile land.
April 27, 1852.
As the country has often been portrayed in the most glowing colors, I will pass by giving my sanction to the statements of my predecessors. In passing, I will say that Rogue River is the straightest, clearest, deepest, smoothest and levelest bottom ever beheld by me; and I think the view of the valley from an eminence the most extensive prospect ever presented to my vision.
At present there are houses at which a traveler may stop every night, from Portland to Shasta, but after crossing the Kanyon we have to furnish our own beds. The Indians on Grave Creek are very troublesome. When we passed they came out of their ambush and told us to stop--mitlite, klose muckamuck ["Stay, eat well"]--and because we did not regard their request they pronounced us cultus ["worthless," "good for nothing"]. Several have recently been stabbed by them.
While at the house of Mr. Evans, I was requested by Mr. [John] Durbin (Mr. E. being absent) to speak to the people, as there was a large number present. This request being seconded by all, I commended by singing--"How tedious and tasteless the hour," etc., in which a full chorus of voices joined. This so terrified the Indians, who on account of the cold had taken shelter in the kitchen, that they began a great outcry: "Old man chahko, chahko--him sullix waw-waw--Boston memaloose siwash, hyak klootchman klatawa." ["Old man come, come, him angry talk--white man kill Indian; fast, woman, ride."] Upon this they vamoosed, and the next day at noon when I arrived at the house of A. A. Skinner, Indian Agent, twenty miles distant, they had carried a complaint [to] him, declaring that the whites had killed several Indians! My arrival solved the problem.
Families are settling into this valley quite fast, and in less than six months I predict a dense settlement all though the most eligible parts of this country. Milk is $2 per gallon, butter $1 per pound, and other things in proportion. The mines are rich. Mr. J. Skinner, Clugage and Pool made more than $100 a day every day last week. Mr. O. says he is making at least one ounce per day, and Mr. N. told me his company were getting half an ounce a day. This I am told is true of those who work, after throwing off the top of the ground 5 or 6 feet. The place is known by the name of "Hard Scrabble" or "Rich Gulch."
The place is considered very wicked; horse racing, gambling, lawsuits, trading, and the like on the Sabbath. Notwithstanding all this recklessness, the merchants and proprietors kindly offered me their houses for religious worship on the Sabbath last. The appointment was made at the store of Mr. Fowler, at 2 o'clock p.m., to avoid the bustle of horse racing, which generally occupies the forenoon. We had a respectable, attentive and orderly congregation. I take this opportunity to acknowledge the courtesy and uniform decorum of all with whom I came in contact. To enter a house of gambling and spirit vending to take a seat by the table from which gamblers have just risen, to give place to gospel preaching for an hour, is painfully pleasing. My prayers shall be for their salvation.
I have now traveled more than two hundred miles in a region where schools and meetings are unknown, and never have I been treated with indignity or neglect, nor have I been charged a dime for entertainment, and but 25 cents for ferrying. Oregon will yet be redeemed! will reflect an halo of glory upon the world! I have already superseded my bounds.
D. R. Williams.
Weekly Oregonian, Portland, June 5, 1852, page 1
SALEM, O.T., May 2nd, 1852.MESSRS. EDITORS: Sirs--I had intended to have sent you, a long time since, an extended account of Oregon affairs, including with the political "noise and confusion" now in full reign, all that pertains to her social, religious, mercantile, mechanical and agricultural elements. Even now after this long delay, I very much doubt whether I shall be able to furnish you more than an abstract of political matters, and of these you may have received so much information as to render my communication worthless. You are aware, no doubt, that during this session of our territorial legislature, or 1850-51, the location of certain public buildings devolved upon our honorables. Oregon City, prior to the general settlement of the territory, was the center of attraction, and during the existence of the crude form of government established by the Missourians and trappers was made, by common consent and the force of circumstances, "headquarters," where the wise men of the land congregated to enact laws. The "provisional government" organized by the citizens themselves had no power to say where the territorial capital should be, but by common consent the first legislature elected under its operation convened at Oregon City, and afterward under the present territorial organization, that body met there by the advice of Gov. Lane. Subsequently Gov. Lane was removed to make room for Gen. Gaines, the present incumbent. By the way, that removal was an unfortunate step for the general government, and in a great measure ruinous to the interests of our territory. Lane was truly a popular governor, possessing the unbounded confidence of the people, and solicitous of advancing their interests. He understood better than any other man how to manage the savage tribes by which the Willamette Valley is surrounded, and consequently while he was at the head of affairs Oregon had peace, and the inhabitants confiding in his skill felt secure and contented. Gaines is of an opposite nature, having neither the confidence or respect of the masses, and more, is incapable of gaining either. Haughty, insolent, wrapped up in his own self-conceit and selfishness, he has no sympathy or feeling in common with the citizens. So far, indeed, have his actions alienated him from the people, that the common civilities usually awarded to [a] total stranger are almost denied him. Thus much have I said of Gaines that you may better understand why the people's representatives did him so little reverence in the matter of the "location question."
While that bill providing for the location of a state house, penitentiary and territorial seminary was under consideration in the legislative department, Gov. Gaines, unable to submit his high will to the popular wish, intruded a dictatorial message, directing members under the penalty of executive displeasure to refrain from exercising their own judgment upon a matter wherein they and the sovereign people had sole interest--except that Gov. Gaines had a considerable property in Oregon City, and therefore if the legislature presumed to locate the seat of government at any other place than Oregon City (as they had undoubted right to do by act of Congress) he, "John P. Gaines," would treat them as "nullifiers" ab initio and their law as a "nullity" lib initia for want of his sanction. The fact is the governor has no voice in law making. As well might any road overseer say to the legislature, "If you change the route in my district so that neighbor A shall not receive the benefit of the road, 'I, overseer of the highways' will 'nullify' the act."
Exactly thus absurd was Gov. Gaines when he attempted to forestall the action of the legislature by dictation and threats. However, the popular branch fearing him as little as they loved him, did presume to pass the locution act naming Salem as the "seat of government." From that day the people and the government officials have been widely separated--the former believing themselves the true repositories of power, and as such, repelling all attacks upon their rights and privileges--the latter, determined to make all they can from their position. The governor and his satellites have since that date manifested a disposition to concern themselves about the interests of the people no farther than to successfully cheat them of all that the general government has or may do for them. Besides this lamentable breach between the executive and the people, there occurred from the same circumstances a serious schism in the supreme court, two of the judges declaring the "location law" a "nullity," while the third maintained that the legislature derived power from Congress "to proceed to locate the several buildings and the seat of government"--that the law would have been binding until rejected by Congress, even had no power been delegated to the legislature to act upon that particular question. The results of these several differences are, that the legislature elected last June by the people, who were fully aware of the cause and nature of the quarrel, met on the first Monday of December at Salem, with the exception of four members of the house and one of the council. The "one man of the council" proceeded to elect himself preisdent, while the house organized in a somewhat more regular manner, after which the two houses unanimously pronounced themselves "brave and honest patriots"--denounced the Salem assembly as rogues, political demagogues and "traitorous nullifiers"--addressed a "memorial to Congress," and adjourned sine die. The legislature de facto organized in the usual manner--passed law--addressed to Congress a memorila praying for a speedy relief from their present condition of vassalage, and the privilege of electing from among themselves their governor, other state officers and judges. What Congress may do in our behalf remains yet to be known. The law of Congress before alluded to provided for an annual session of the supreme court at the seat of government, commencing on the same day as that fixed for the opening of the legilature session. That day arrived finding one of the judges, Hon. O. C. Pratt, at Salem, prepared to hear causes. The other two, Nelson and Strong, remained at Oregon City--opened a session--promulgated decrees--declared the "location act" null void, and denounced the legislature sitting at Salem a putrid mass of demagogical corruption, and "I, John P. Gaines" said amen. Since the adjournment of both legislature and court, numerous mass meetings have been held in various parts ol the territory unanimously in support of the course pursued by the people's representatives, and in condemnation of the executive and judicial authorities. As the time approached for the sittings of the district courts, a tremendous excitement arose in consequence; of the announcement of Judge Nelson, that he should disregard a change made by the legislature in the districts, and hold a session in Marion County in Judge Pratt's district. The inhabitants of Marion held meetings and finally resolved to withstand any such attempt by Judge Nelson, by force if necessary. To make his displeasure more sensibly felt, Judge N. waited until Judge Pratt had closed his session and then proceeded to Salem to open court according to his notion of law and order. Arrived, he found the clerk balky, excommunicated him and then sallied out to find some loyal soul to do his bidding; but after traversing the town over, retired in disgust, finding "none so low as to do him reverence." Thus stands the quarrel at present. Of course the journals are filled with gas designed to shed light on the subjects at issue, but in my opinion the more they handle them the less capable they must become of being elucidated. I am heartily ashamed that our adopted country must necessarily be scourged with such sheets. Men of vulgar minds, unenlightened brains, immoral principles and degraded notions of honor stand at the head of our circulating literature, and scatter among our citizens weekly a mass of vulgarity, low blackguardism, trash too contemptible for remark. I observe, however, that a great number are discontinuing their Oregon papers and sending for good-toned papers in the States.
CRANDALL.Janesville Gazette, Janesville, Wisconsin, July 24, 1852, page 4
Indian Affairs in Shasta--Official Correspondence.In the Democratic State Journal of Thursday appears a most extraordinary document, over the signature of J. W. Denver, in reply to a letter of Gen. E. A. Hitchcock, relative to. the Indian difficulties in the Shasta country. It appears, by the letter of the General, that Mr. Denver had previously sent him a communication expostulating with him against establishing a military post at the mouth of Cow Creek, instead of placing it high up on that stream, or over in Trinity. The letter of the General goes on to say that in the several expeditions against the Indians of that county great numbers of them have been sacrificed, including men, women, and children--that he should not tolerate such wholesale butchery by the troops under his command, and that he is unwilling to place them in a position to witness any such proceedings. The General, therefore, refuses for the present to send any troops on the Trinity, but intends carrying out his original plan, viz: of establishing a post, if practicable, somewhere on the Oregon trail east of Port Orford, keeping the communication open between that post and the post of Cow Creek by means of a mounted force.
In his reply to the letter of Gen. Hitchcock, Mr. Denver, forsooth, expresses "the most unfeigned astonishment" at the course which the General thought fit to pursue, and considers it fair to presume that "one who is personally acquainted with the country is as competent to judge of the points necessary to be protected as one who has never been there, and who can know comparatively little about it."
Now, we can inform Mr. Denver if he is not already aware of the fact, that Gen. Hitchcock is thoroughly conversant with the geography and topography of this state--that, moreover, he is a man of clear discrimination, penetrating sagacity, and cool judgment--who examines calmly and fully all subjects which come under his supervision, and whose action, therefore, is ever the result of the maturest deliberation. Such a man the general government have placed in the position he now holds, and to such as he may the people of this state turn with confidence when their lives or property are endangered. It is in the full belief, therefore, of the eminent fitness of General Hitchcock for the station he occupies that we feel assured the measures he has adopted for the suppression of Indian hostilities in the north will prove successful, although, as he states, "he is obliged to take into view many considerations which he cannot expect will be appreciated by individuals whose interests and feelings are, naturally, directed to special localities."
That the citizens of Shasta and the upper counties of this state have suffered severely from Indian depredations is true--that they have been inhumanly butchered and their property destroyed by the ruthless hands of savages is also true; but that the whites are justified in the wholesale and indiscriminate slaughter which has been committed in revenge of the wrongs done them we deny and we do not wonder at all that Gen. Hitchcock refuses to "place his troops in a position to witness such proceedings." The plan proposed by General Hitchcock seems to us plain and practicable, and one which will have the effect to cause a complete cessation of hostilities if carried out.
The truth is, that the entire correspondence on the part of Mr. Denver shows an irresistible desire to lash the general government over the shoulders of Gen. Hitchcock. And why? Simply because it is a Whig administration that refuses to coincide with the views of Mr. Denver, who is an unrelenting partisan of the Opposition school. Mr. Denver is greatly indebted to the Locofoco party, for did they not during the last session, by their overwhelming numerical strength, declare him duly entitled to the Senatorial seat, disregarding the claims of Lyle (Whig), his contestant! And now that there is an opportunity (as he supposes) of making political capital for the dear Democracy, is he not going to repay them for all they have done for him? Certainly; and he is welcome to all the thunder he can manufacture from his condemnation of the course pursued by the general government.
The people of California are convinced that the present national executive and its appointed officers are beginning rightly to understand and appreciate the wants of California, and are willing and anxious, as far as in them lies, to use every effort to render her assistance, whether it be on the mountains of Shasta, in the gulches of El Dorado, or on the banks of the Colorado.
Sacramento Daily Union, June 26, 1852, page 2
Is hereby given to all persons passing from the Willamette Valley or Scottsburg, to Rogue River, Shasta, Scotts River or California, that the road leading through Winchester is the best and most direct route. Moreover, there is an excellent boat on the river, and ferrying done on the most reasonable terms. Rates of ferriage: For a wagon and one yoke of oxen or span of horses, one dollar; for each additional yoke of oxen, 25 cents; for horses and mules, with or without packs, 12½ cents each. Also, blacksmithing done to order on the shortest notice and most reasonable terms.
AIKEN & SMITH.Winchester, June 7th, 1852.
Oregon Statesman, Oregon City, July 10, 1852, page 4
Hiram Abbott, of Peoria (Ill.), was accidentally shot a short time since on Rogue River.
"Postscript," Sacramento Daily Union, June 10, 1852, page 2
ACCIDENT ON ROGUE RIVER.--Hiram Abbott, late of Peoria, Illinois, was accidentally shot on Rogue River a short time since. He was playing with a dog, and mimicking a Kiota. Another man, of the name of John Berry, hearing the howl and mistaking it for that of a coyote, crept cautiously up to within shooting distance, and discharged his rifle at him. The ball took effect in the right thigh. It was afterwards taken out at the heel.--He was not expected to recover.--Statesman.
Sacramento Daily Union, June 12, 1852, page 3
Many persons who left Shasta Valley for the mines on Rogue River are now returning. They report the mines on Rogue River to be exceedingly rich, but they were not of sufficient extent to afford claims to all who were attracted thither. Those who have claims upon the river are generally obtaining a great abundance of gold.
"From the Upper Sacramento," Sacramento Daily Union, June 12, 1852, page 3
I received a letter a few days ago from John Newsom at the Oregon mines. He states that a gambler shot a man there on the 10th [sic] of May last, and at the expiration of a week, the gentleman pulled hemp! There were dull times then at the mines, water failing very fast. Clark Curry and three others arrived at Rock Point City, the Rogue River, as John N. was about starting home, and detained him for a short time. His mining propensities are cured, and he will settle down on his most valuable claim near us, and be content. Scores of Illinois boys who went to the mines last fall and winter will soon return; some chopfallen, others with pretty good piles of the "dust."
David Newsom, letter of June 15 from Pleasant Valley, O.T., "From Oregon," Illinois Daily Journal, Springfield, August 9, 1852, page 2
LYNCHING ON ROGUE RIVER.--Mr. Henkle, of the Express, informs us that the man Brown, of Illinois, who killed John D. Platt, of Iowa, on Rogue River a few weeks since, has been hung. He received a fair and dispassionate trial at the hands of a committee appointed by the miners. Mr. Platt worked at his trade--carpentering--for several months in this place. He leaves a wife to mourn his sad fate, who in all probability is on her way to this country at the present time.
Daily Alta California, San Francisco, June 19, 1852, page 3
DIAGRAM OF OREGON.--Our gentlemanly Surveyor General, Mr. Preston, has sent us a lithographic diagram of this Territory, or the parts that have received the attention of the Surveyor General--for which we tender him our thanks. It is a valuable thing, giving the only correct idea of the geography of the country that can be obtained.
Oregon Weekly Times, Portland, June 19, 1852, page 2
The attention of our citizens and business men here seems to be directed towards the southern part of the Territory. Since my last, gold in considerable quantities has been discovered in the Rogue River country, Jackson County, which, together with the rich farming land in that quarter, has served to fasten nearly all eyes upon it. Emigration at this time [April 19] tends toward southern Oregon, that part of the Territory embraced within the counties of Umpqua, Douglas and Jackson, lying south of the Willamette Valley, and divided from it by the Calapooia Mountains--a spur stretching across the country from the Cascades to the Coast Range.
The gold mines in northern California, and those just discovered in southern Oregon, affords to the latter, by their steady demand, high prices and proximity of one of the best markets for all kinds of agricultural products in the world; and when these counties are settled, it will enjoy the almost exclusive monopoly of this market. With these two occupations, mining and farming, carried on in the same vicinity, this part of Oregon must soon become densely peopled.
"From Oregon," Weekly Missouri Republican, St. Louis, June 25, 1852, page 1
ELECTION RETURNS: Umpqua County--A. C. Gibbs, Dem., is elected to the House.
Jackson County--John R. Hardin, Dem, is elected by a large maj. to the House.
Douglas County--Mr. Curtiss, a Salem man, elected by Democratic voters, is elected to the House.
Oregon Weekly Times, Portland, June 26, 1852, page 2
The returns from Douglas and Jackson counties are not received yet, but the former I hear elected Curtis (Whig) over Martin, (Dem.) by a large majority. The latter elected Hardin (Dem. [sic]) over T'Vault, (Dem.). For Council, Jackson County gave Jesse Applegate 70 majority over Levi Scott. Douglas County gave Scott a maj. over Drew. Applegate was not a candidate.
Oregonian, Portland, June 26, 1852, page 2 Hardin was reportedly a Whig. See article of July 3, below.
The following is a partial summary of the returns of the election in the different papers, no two of which agree upon the vote of any one precinct . . . :
UMPQUA COUNTY--COMPLETE.--Captain Levi Scott, Legislative Assembly and anti-federal-officer Whig, received 11 votes for Councilman. Scattering 16. The election was held without reference to politics.
For Representative.--A. C. Gibbs, Democrat, 69; O. Jeffries, Whit, 14; E. K. Fiske, Whig, 12.
DOUGLAS COUNTY.--Curtis, anti-federal-officer Whig, elected representative by Democratic votes principally, and without reference to politics.
Scott received a large majority for Councilman.
JACKSON COUNTY.--John R. Hardin, Democrat, elected Representative by a large majority.
For Councilman.--Jesse Applegate received 144, and Scott 77. Mr. A. was not a candidate, and was voted for without his knowledge.
For Probate Judge.--L. A. Rose received 288 votes.
County Commissioners.--Clugage 200, Smith 200, Evans 200.
County Clerk.--L. Simens 184, R. Sykes 90.
Justice of the Peace.--Cook and Long 284 votes each.
Treasurer.--W. W. Fowler 200.
Coroner.--John Wallar [sic].
Daily Alta California, San Francisco, June 28, 1852, page 2 *"Donicinika" may be a joke--"nika" is Chinook jargon for "me." Councilman was similar to Senator--see Section 4 of the Act establishing the government of Oregon Territory.
Notice to Miners.
SAM. COLVER & T. THOMPSON
have taken claims in Rogue River Valley, eight miles from the Willow Spring, where they will take charge of all stock left in their care by miners and traders, on the following terms:
For horses or mules per month $2 each head.Being situated in the finest part of this valley for grazing, they respectfully solicit a share of the public patronage. They have a large corral well supplied with running water and packer's quarters. Provisions and groceries constantly on hand and for sale cheap.
For horses or mules per week 50 cts. each head.
Beef, wholesale or retail.
JACOB SPORES, Forks of theJan. 2, 1852.
ELIAS BRIGGS. Willamette.
SMITH & AKINS, Umpqua Ferry.
Oregon Statesman, Oregon City, June 29, 1852, page 3
Mr. Hardin, the representative-elect from Jackson County, incorrectly reported last week as a Democrat, we learn is a Whig.
Oregonian, Portland, July 3, 1852, page 2
Table Rock village is six miles from the Agency, in plain sight over the prairie plain. Judge Skinner rode there with us. The town is located at the border of the valley where the ground begins an ascent that rises gradually to mountain height, and is in the immediate vicinity of the most extensive diggings on Rogue River. It is composed of tents, sheds, shanties, and frail houses of split lumber. One respectable two-story house was being constructed. The village has a population of about 150. This mining district, within the distance of five miles, is estimated to have a population of 1500 or 2000 men. A few of the gold claims are rich and pay well. I do not think they are generally so. How long profitable digging is to continue can only be a matter of opinion.
N. Coe, "Umpqua and Rogue River Valleys," Weekly Oregonian, Portland, July 3, 1852, page 2
LATE FROM THE MINES.--We learn, from persons just in, that all who labor industriously are doing well at the Rogue River mines. The water in many places has entirely failed, which prevents the miners from washing out the dirt. Many are engaged in throwing it up, preparatory to washing when the rainy season commences.
Weekly Oregonian, Portland, July 17, 1852, page 2
Many persons who left Shasta Valley for the mines on Rogue River are said to be returning. They report the mines on Rogue River to be exceedingly rich, but they were not of sufficient extent to afford claims to all who were attracted thither. Those who have claims upon the river are generally obtaining a great abundance of gold.
"Latest from California," Rock River Democrat, Rockford, Illinois, July 27, 1852, page 2
It was over a week ere we struck the great Columbian trail, somewhere about Winchester. I see there is now a "military road" from Scottsburg to the former point; but it must be remembered there was nothing of the kind in my time to direct us--not even an Indian trail; and we traveled entirely by compass and "the lay of the country." No wonder we were so long a time on the march. I was terribly disappointed when we did strike the aforesaid "great Columbian trail," for I had expected to see a wide, beaten road; but, on the contrary, it was by no means so well defined as a sheep track, though now and then there were marks of wheels. Soon we overtook a cattle train from Columbia, with three or four wagons drawn by oxen.
The manner in which these Oregon men get their two-wheeled wagons through streams and mountain passes is truly wonderful. Where even a perambulator would be in danger, these wagons are fearlessly taken. The indomitable perseverance of their conductors is wonderful. When the trail gets so bad that the oxen can no longer draw the laden wagon, it is the commonest of incidents for them to "hump" their load, piece by piece, for perhaps half a mile. Sometimes they are compelled to hew a way through a forest, now to construct a "corduroy" road over a morass. It is done without a grumble. At first I used to be surprised by seeing the mark of only one tire along the sloping crest of a precipice, and in spite of the cattle tracks accompanying it, imagined it must be a wheelbarrow, as the idea of taking a wagon along a slope at an angle sharp as the roof of a house seemed too incredible. Yet such was really the fact; for I found afterwards that it was quite usual for these energetic voyagers to uphold, by main force, the outer wheel of the wagon, while the inside wheel alone touched the ground for long distances at a time, along the edge of a precipice, when one slip must have consigned wagon, driver, and oxen, to destruction.
There was, however, one part of the trail we had yet to pass, which even these hardy men dreaded. This was the passage of the Great Cañon Creek. Indeed, so much was said about it by all the travelers we met or overtook, that it became my bête noir, and I longed yet feared to arrive at it.
Meanwhile we journeyed on from day to day over vast tracts of land on which not a sign of civilization appeared, and yet, in all the elements of wood, water, and pasture, admirably adapted for the support of man. I could not but realize the force of the song--"There's room enough for all"--as I cast my regards over this beautiful region, unexceptional in climate and fertility, now lying fallow, while we are struggling with each other for elbow room, only two or three months' journey distant. To prate of the waterless, burnt-up Australia, the bitter Canada, or the torrid Cape, in comparison with Oregon, is absurd. New Zealand alone of our colonies approximates to it, but is in every way inferior. Not from "guide books" do I inscribe these opinions, but from personal experience; for I have penetrated into the interior of all the countries I have named. Often in Oregon have I ridden for hours and hours at a time through a gently undulating district covered with short green grass, sparsely sprinkled with fine oak trees, and I have been so carried away with its extraordinary similitude to an English gentleman's well-kept park that I have begun to wonder when I should come to the park palings. Oh, sad and shortsighted policy of English statesmen, who lost possession of this delightful region, and ended by consenting to fix the boundary line as far north as Vancouver! Lame and impotent conclusion! I declare--and someday my words shall be verified--that we have lost a pearl of invaluable price, which coming generations shall appreciate and deplore. Already, in addition to its wonderful resources, gold has been discovered in vast quantities by its streams. Even the Umpqua has now its diggings.
Look at the Oregon men--coming of the finest state, they are the finest men of the States. Ardently do they love the beautiful country in which they have thriven; and in that affection, which amounts to a proverb, I join them heartily, for did I not also thrive there? Can I ever ungratefully forget that while I was in Oregon, in spite of mean fare I was a stone heavier than I ever was before or have been since? Seriously, in my enthusiastic admiration of that country, had I represented our government in the Oregon boundary question, I would almost have ingloriously winked at the annexation of Cuba, and given up a slice of Canada, to gain this fairest region of the West.
After three days traversing the devious trail, much intersected by streams, that caused great delay in fording, we came to a halt on a prairie close to the Cañon Creek, which was represented, as far as I could see, by a gloomy mountain range. On this prairie we found several horse, mule, and cattle trains camped, as it is usual to attempt this dangerous pass in company with other parties, so that each can render the other assistance when required. As the morrow was Sunday, it was agreed by all that it should be a day of rest for man and horse, to recruit their strength for the work before them.
Long before daylight on Monday morning everybody was up, getting breakfast and making preparations for the start, in order to take advantage of every minute of daylight, which is absolutely required for the passage of the great Cañon. My heart beat faster with anxiety, as our party, having the least encumbrances, led the way into the deep, gloomy mountain gorge, which is the mouth of the Cañon. A rapid stream ran at our right hand; but as we advanced, the mountain's sides got higher and more precipitous, and seemed closing in upon us. At last we came to a dead standstill, for there was an end of terra firma, and before us there lay nothing but a deep stream, fiercely and noisily tearing along, throwing its spray over the huge boulders of rocks which studded its bed and appeared above the current.
"Hallo!" sung out one of "ours" to those behind, "which way now?"
"Right away upstream," was the reply.
Right away upstream! I began to believe in the Cañon Creek. It was evident there was an end of equestrianship for some time to come; so, dismounting, we drove our animals into the water and followed ourselves, and thus, half swimming, half wading, our painful journey began. How am I to describe the scene that ensued! As I have said before, our party was the lightest, having neither pack animals nor wagons; yet we had quite enough to do to push on, for the bed of the rapid stream was very irregular, and every now and then a deep pool occurred, into which man and horse would flounder. But whenever, through this or other obstacles, a slight halt took place, "forward" was the hoarse cry that arose, and staggering, tumbling, scrambling, and splashing, on we pressed. Now, a pack mule or horse would fall under its load, and was drowned ere it could be released: load and animal were left to lie together. Then, a wagon would break down, and the wreck and its contents were abandoned; for, with hostile Indians at hand, no one cared to linger. The passage must be accomplished ere nightfall. So, as vehicles and animals gave out, the struggling, fighting, tumultuous and desperate crowd swept over them.
This fierce struggle was rendered all the more gloomy by the shade which the high mountain walls on either hand cast over us. Half the day and half the passage were accomplished about the same time, and, the ordeal of water being at an end, that of mud commenced. In a word, having arrived at the end of the stream, the remaining portion of six miles lay through a deep sea of thick liquid mud. In making this change, we only got from bad to worse, for the opaque, oleaginous semifluid liquid through which we now floundered concealed deep and treacherous holes, which it was impossible to avoid, and in a short time men and animals had all the appearance of animated plaster casts. Many animals were lost in these quagmires, in which they would get mired down, in some cases with only their poor mud-bedaubed heads and ears above the surface. The Spanish muleteers, of which one or two were generally attached to the large trains, in these emergencies upheld their name as the best muleteers in the world. When a mule or horse was mired down, they would strip to the skin, dive unhesitatingly into the pool of mud, knife in hand, and cut away loads and saddles; then ropes would be attached to the unencumbered animals, and they would be dragged from their perilous position. If, however, the pack animals once lost their footing in the quagmires, it was all over with them; and, as if they were aware of their danger, the piteous looks and cries of those that found themselves gradually succumbing was heartbreaking in the extreme.
It was quite nightfall when, weary and exhausted, our mud-stained cavalcade emerged from the Cañon, and camped on a little prairie beyond. On counting losses, it was found that five wagons and about thirty head of cattle had been left behind. My own party had passed scathless. The next day we halted, while a fatigue party retraced their steps to try to save some of the property that had been abandoned; but they returned, I believe with very bad success. That day, by the camp fire, I heard many a curious legend of the Great Cañon Creek.
In company with the different trains, we crossed the Rogue River by a ferry established by a number of white men. Here I saw the first specimen of a Rogue River Indian. He was only a boy of fourteen, but was the son of a powerful chief, under whose protection the men at the ferry lived. This was an Indian of a very different stamp from our friend of the Umpqua. He of the prairie had a red skin, his eye was well opened, and his pleasing features gleamed with the light of intellect. He was attired in dressed deerskin, and in the chaplet around his head were placed the feathers of an eagle. On his feet he wore moccasins beautifully embroidered with beads, and necklaces of teeth and bands of wampum encircled his neck and crossed and recrossed his chest. The young chief was well armed, with a long rifle with flint lock, and a knife and tomahawk rested in his girdle. As we sat round our camp fire that night, chatting to a number of strangers, a tall Yankee with an immense rifle, dressed in an old hunting shirt and deerskin trousers, stalked into our circle, and without the least preface said, "Lookee h'yar, gents, I wish some of ye would jist shoot down yon young spy of an Injun--he hadn't orter to be here nohow." Perceiving no encouragement of his proposal, he continued, "If ye don't, gents, ye'll have 'trouble,' take this hos's word for't, sure as shooting. Now, do shoot him, gents"; and, with the same impassable face and cry, he went the round of the camp fires.
I could not refrain from smiling at the cool, bloodthirsty appeal of the man to put to death the unoffending young Indian chief; but my American companions did not quite coincide with me. "Maybe old Dave's right," said one. "He knows Injun nature, he does; so, if 'trouble' comes, look out for your scalps, boys." With these prophetic words ringing in my ears, I went to sleep that night, but was aroused about midnight by an alarm in camp, caused by the report of a shot or two, which proceeded from some distance off in the direction of where our horses were feeding; for, as there were so many trains assembled, none of them had taken the usual precautions to extinguish fires, or place separate guards, but all the cattle were allowed to feed near the camp, under the surveillance of two or three armed men. In an instant we all flew to arms, and it was discovered that a stampede had been tried, and partly succeeded, by two or three Indians, who had been fired at, but had escaped. Amongst the horses lost by this stampede were unfortunately included the gallant little "mustangs" which had carried myself and companions so far and so well, and we were thus reduced to the condition of pedestrians--a very great calamity on the prairie--as, of course, it necessitates the transport of one's provisions and blankets. How we abused the Rogue River Indians! Well do they deserve their dishonest appellative, which was given to them originally by the Hudson's Bay people, who found it impracticable to bring this tribe of Indians alone under their sway, from their inherent fierceness and utter intractability. It is a striking proof of these characteristic traits, that, at the time of which I write, hardly a single train passed through their country but lost men or cattle, or suffered some annoyance at their hands.
Fortunately for us, the next day a light return horse train passed us, and our party were fortunate enough to secure each a mount at no very exorbitant prices. For example, I purchased a prime young American horse of good points, with saddle and bridle included, for 150 dollars. Once more mounted, we determined to leave the other trains, and push forward in advance, having every confidence in our rifles for the protection of ourselves and horses.
Early the next morning, ere the other trains were stirring, our party, in company with another composed of three strapping young Columbian men, all brothers, took up the trail. Our trio of fellow travelers, who were fine samples of their countrymen--for though the eldest was not much over twenty years of age, each of them stood above six feet in height--had left the old Columbian roof tree with a venture of flour packed on about ten fine mules. We had taken a great fancy to this stalwart "band of brothers," which feeling they had reciprocated, as their presence with us on the present occasion testified. A more guileless, frank, lighthearted lot I had never met before, and it was excessively refreshing to hear these brave simple giants detailing reminiscences of the "old folks at home"--of father and mother, and "little Archy," their youngest brother, who was taller than any of them--in the same breath that they recounted terrific narratives of "Injun" warfare, when, once upon a time, they joined the Columbian Rangers in an expedition to chastise a tribe of outlying redskin marauders.
An almost ludicrous family resemblance was seen in the comely features and robust forms of the young Columbians, from which a similarity of attire by no means detracted. Some portions of the national costume which they wore had something of the "Hibernian at home" about it; for instance, the long grayish-blue frieze coat, the low-crowned rough beaver hat, and gay silk neckerchief. Somewhat formidable scriptural names had been given to them by their progenitors; but, as they were invariably addressed by brief alliteratives, this did not much matter. Young braves sans peur et sans reproche [without fear or reproach], "Zeph," "Jess," and "Eph!" what, indeed, was in a name to such as ye, so good, so tender, and so true! No doubt, in the old Bible at home, in ancient calligraphic characters, that speak more of the plow than the plume, those patriarchal names are painfully written in full; but where are the young giants that bore them? Father, mother, and "little Archy," do ye yet live to answer? In mercy, perhaps, 'twere better not.
In the greatest accord our two parties rode along together; till on the second day, the sun being very hot, our "cavalcade" halted for a midday siesta; but our friends considering it best to push on and camp early in the evening, we separated. Most unfortunately, most fatally, as it turned out, our siesta lasted far longer than we had intended; for we slept between two and three hours, and though we hastened along the trail, darkness began to close upon us, and still no signs of our friends' campfire appeared. Under these circumstances, it only remained for us to camp alone, which we did with a certain feeling of disappointment; for, so accustomed had we grown to be enlivened by the company of the brothers, that we missed them greatly. A little gloom, therefore, hung over our evening repast, and everyone seemed somewhat silent and "distrait"; neither did the aspect of the night add to our cheerfulness, for it was intensely dark. So I, for one, was not sorry when, supper being over, the horses were brought in, the guard set, and we betook ourselves to our blankets.
After a very troubled sleep I was roused, at about 3 a.m., to take the last guard, which lasted till daybreak. As I armed myself for the purpose, the man whom I relieved told me that just before he awoke me, he had fancied that he had heard, very faintly, the report of a shot or two in a southerly direction, and advised me to outlie towards that point. Although not attaching much importance to my comrade's report--for he appeared half asleep--I did not neglect his advice, but crawled out of camp about one hundred yards, in the direction he indicated; but though I listened there most attentively, no sound, save the gentle night breeze and the mournful cry of the distant coyote, met my ear. I should think my guard must have lasted about twenty minutes, and I was impatiently wishing the two or three hours which would bring morning were passed away--for I felt cold and cheerless--when I fancied I distinguished a faint sound borne on the breeze, that blew from the south; but, as this lulled, I lost it. Unwilling to disturb my comrades by a false alarm, I bent my head down, and with suspended breath tried to catch the sound once more, when, as I was trying to convince myself that imagination had deceived me in the first instance, there it was again; and now, clearly and distinctly, I recognized a horse's gallop rapidly approaching.
It was time for action; so, with a hail to my party, in a minute they were all awake and under arms; and, falling back upon them, according to instructions, I first of all discharged my piece in the direction of the nocturnal visitor, but it was answered by an unmistakable English hail, and the next instant Zeph--the youngest of the three brothers--on a barebacked steed, followed by a young filly, burst into the midst of us. Bleeding and breathless, with his apparel hanging in tatters round his person, it became painfully apparent that he had just emerged from a death struggle, and we foreboded the worst.
"My brothers! my brothers!" he ejaculated, as soon as he could speak; "a rifle--quick--and follow me." Gathering round the excited youth, we gleaned from his hurried narrative that after his party had left us they had fallen in with two Indians, whose tribe they did not know, but who were very friendly, and bartered some venison against a portion of flour. In an evil hour they were allowed by the white men to sleep in their camp, though they were both armed with Hudson's Bay Company's muskets and an old pistol. The brothers, however, took the precaution to set a guard, and Zeph had undertaken the duty, and sat down by the fire, while the two brothers slept near the mules, some fifty yards off. As it seemed to Zeph, the greatest portion of the night had passed away, when there was a loud crash, and something grazed his forehead. In haste he sprung to his feet, and looked round for the Indians. They were gone. Half giddy with the blow he had received, and beset with the most terrible foreboding, he yet managed to rush to the spot where his brothers slept by the mules. The darkness was intense, and the outline of the bed on the ground was alone perceptible. Kneeling beside it, he distinguished low moans proceeding from its occupants, whose forms seemed to writhe, and whose hands beat the air in a strange unnatural fashion. Then a warm slimy semi-fluid encountered his touch, and the horrible thought struck him that his hands were imbrued in his brothers' gore! At this juncture, a crowd of Indians, who had stealthily approached, cast themselves upon him, knife in hand; but in his desperation, the young backwoodsman threw them off him, and, wrenching a knife from one of them, a desperate conflict ensued. In the thick of it, Zeph called to mind that a mare and her filly were picketed by themselves in the wood a little distance away, and, bursting through his foes in that direction, he cut the mare's lasso, threw himself on her back, and so escaped. As with frantic gestures and incoherent ejaculations the unfortunate boy bewailed his unutterable misfortune, he still begged of us to return with him to his camp, to rescue or avenge his brothers. Such a proceeding, however, with our small muster, would have been sheer madness, as there was little doubt that the attack had been a concerted one, and the Indians were now pillaging the camp in force, after having wreaked their worst on the two unfortunates. Under these circumstances, we refused to consent to Zeph's request while the darkness continued, but promised to advance upon the camp by the first streak of dawn. Having come to this conclusion, Zeph would have taken a weapon and proceeded thither himself, but we withheld him, half by force, half by entreaty; but by neither one nor the other would he consent to have his numerous wounds attended to.
"Zeph," said I, as I took him on one side, "remember the poor father and mother at home. Are not two sons enough for them to lose, that you wish to add a third? If not for your own sake, at least for theirs, preserve yourself."
"Father and mother! do you think I can go back and look them in the face? I dare not," he said distractedly.
"Zeph!" I said, as I fixed my eye significantly on his, "you have not told us all--tonight you slept at your post!" The conscience-stricken boy flung himself on his knees and covered his face. "Be comforted," I continued; "older and wiser men than you have been surprised by sleep: and above all, remember your family."
"I shall never see them again," he said, rising with a ghastly smile. "There's only one thing I've got to live for now--and that's to punish my brothers' murderers."
"But there were several wretches engaged in it," I said.
"Yes; but the chief man--him that plotted it. Look here," continued Zeph, grasping my arm tightly. "When I were struggling with the Injuns, we fought round till we got near the fire, and just then the blaze kinder flickered up, and I saw him close by on his horse."
"Who is him?" I asked, deeply interested.
"One that's plotted this, ay, and scores of murders besides." Zeph would say no more.
When morning broke, we were prepared for action; rifles and revolvers had been fired off, cleaned, reloaded, primed, and capped with the greatest care; and saddle girths were nicely adjusted and tightened. Then with Zeph as our leader we threw ourselves on the trail which led to the scene of the night attack. As in the dim morning light I looked around at our little band, I could not but feel that the adventure I was engaged in was, perhaps, the most desperate of all my vagabond longings for travel had yet led me into; for on each stern face I read a determination, without any concern for mere personal safety. Half an hour's canter over broken ground, thinly wooded, brought us to a pretty little cleared area, and, fastening our horses to a tree, we walked forth into the plain for the distance of thirty or forty yards, and then gazed upon a scene such as the diabolical fantastic imagination of a savage could alone realize. Stripped to the skin, and with raw heads, from which the reeking scalp had been torn, lay the bodies of the two brothers, over which the savages in horrid mockery had emptied a quantity of flour. The death of each man must have occurred almost instantaneously, as they were both shot through the head, and the muzzles of the weapons had been held in such close proximity, that the skin was completely singed. Silently, with feelings of horror and pity, we gazed on these ghastly forms so lately the embodiments of vigorous vitality. When that morbid fascination which rivets our regards on the dangerous or horrible allowed me to lift up my eyes, it was not an instant too soon, for lo! from the other side of the plain a troop of Indian horsemen advanced upon us, while another band on foot on our right were stealing up the creek to endeavor to cut off our horses.
"Quick! Quick!" I shouted, "to your horses, for your lives!" In hot haste we made towards our tethered steeds, and, cutting away the halters with our knives, with great difficulty we mounted, for the Indians now raised their war whoop, which caused the animals to rear and plunge in wild attempts to stampede. At length, however, we got away in a headlong gallop, not the less fleeter, perhaps, because the balls of the Indians on foot, who were now within range, "pinged" over our heads in unpleasant proximity. A volley from our saddles checked somewhat the pursuit of the horsemen; but the enemy was far too numerous for us to think of engaging in a hand-to-hand fight, his numbers, as far as we could judge, being in relation to ours at least twenty to one.
Two methods of proceeding now presented themselves, either to fall back on the trains in our rear, which could not be very far off, or to encamp and defend ourselves till they came up. The latter course was ultimately adopted. By the advice of Zeph, we pressed our horses so as to utterly distance the mounted Indians, who still pursued us, till we came on to a small prairie, of two or three miles across, and on which there was no cover except a small tree nearly in the center. This spot was admirably adapted for our purposes; so, ranging up to the tree, each man attached his horse's head firmly to it by means of lasso and bridle; then arranging our saddles and baggage in a circle round, we reloaded our rifles and lay down behind this somewhat inefficient cover. Our preparations were hardly completed ere the mounted Indians debouched onto the open, and were followed in a short time by those on foot; and while the latter hung on the edge of the prairie, the former galloped round us, to make a reconnaissance of our position.
To our astonishment, we counted no less than 150 of these Indian cavalry, all well armed and mounted. The fact is, this display of force had not been assembled together for our benefit, as we afterwards found, but to oppose a body of Californian Rangers, who had been enlisted by a States officer to chastise the Indians for their numerous misdeeds [probably in August 1852]. Having recognized our rudely entrenched camp, the Indians drew off, apparently to hold a council of war. Could they have made up their minds to have charged down upon us, there is not the slightest doubt that we should have been "wiped out" to a man; but then, under the fire of our rifles and revolvers some of the enemy must of necessity have been brought down, as they charged across the open for our cover. Now, this certainty of losing more or less men on their own side is, as I have remarked before, utterly opposed to redskin received notions of fighting. In cold blood they would not sacrifice one man, to be able to slay a hundred of their enemies. But on the other hand--for it is absurd to say that the prairie Indian is wanting in courage of his kind--he is perfectly ready to risk the life of every man of the tribe in the fortunes of an ambuscade or surprise. In fact, in the present instance, had not their appetite been sharpened by their late whet of bloodshed, there is not a doubt they would have gone sway without the least demonstration when once our position had been fairly ascertained. Now, however, after a short council the Indians thought proper to circle round us in Indian file, as if looking for an opening, or undecided whether to attack or not. In this order, though out of rifle shot, one could mark each man separately, and their fine appearance and complete equipment completely took us by surprise, for every redskin possessed a rifle, and rode an American horse.
Of this last point there could exist no doubt, the American horse being a very different animal from the undersized "mustangs" generally pertaining to these Indians; and this fact tends strongly to show the amount of depredations these Rogue River Indians must commit, for of course every one of the 150 horses we now saw in their possession had at some time or other been stolen from white men.
By and by, the red horsemen again formed into close order, and in a dashing gallop circled around us, whooping and waving their rifles as if in derision. Every moment I expected them to swoop down upon us. For myself, though braced up with the resolution of making a good fight of it to the last, I confess I gave up all thoughts of ultimate escape. This comes of reading Cooper's novels, I thought. Tonight my mother will be gazing in the fire meditating as is her wont, and near her my dear old aunt will be at her side, yet little will they imagine that on a lonely prairie far away, outnumbered and outmatched, I lay stark and stiff by the side of my five brave companions. Meantime, the chief, an old man with long white hair which floated on the wind, mounted on a magnificent charger, several times swooped down upon us much nearer than the others, from bravado or to encourage his followers.
"Down with the hoary-headed murderer, anybody that can," called out young Zeph, "or he'll bring the rest down upon us."
As the old chief made another swoop opposite to our position, just as his semicircular career brought him to the point of his nearest approach to us, and ere he swerved to his own people again, two rifles spoke out. The rider sprung up in his saddle, and tossed his arms aloft, reeled for a moment from one side to the other, and then fell with a crash to the sward. A ringing cheer from our little band sounded high above the hoarse cry of rage and sorrow that burst from the enemy, and Lincoln sprang forth to secure the well-trained charger that stood still by the side of his dead master. But, anticipating him, a young Indian swooped down upon the body, and by a wondrous feat of horsemanship drove away the chieftain's horse into his own ranks again, and at the same moment, in full career, bent down from his saddle, picked up the rifle, and regained his party in safety. This time the cheer of triumph came from the Indians. But I believe the chieftain's death would not have been allowed to pass by without an attempt to avenge it; and we certainly expected that we should have had to stand the burst of a charge, so excited were the whole band of our enemies, as we could see by their gestures as they again held council together. An anxious half hour passed away, when, to our astonishment and relief, the wild horsemen suddenly drew off the prairie, and the cloud of footmen melted away in the cover. This movement was soon explained by the long line of trains we had left behind us appearing on the trail in the distance. Having heard the firing, they had pushed rapidly forward, and were in too great numbers to allow of the Indians to dream of making head against them in open fight. When the Indians withdrew, our party formed a circle round the old chief's body as it lay face upwards on the sward, and marked that the hands wore clenched, and the knitted brows still wore a frown, as if even in death the savage soul of the red freebooter defied his conquerors. Should we not wonder if that case-hardened soul, impervious to all but evil, had been otherwise, when we know that no whisper of the religion of peace or of a saving faith had ever been breathed into his infidel ear, when its sole creed, fed and fostered from the mother's milk, had been that of our own stern borderers of the olden time--
"Theirs was the plan,When the assembled trains came up, after a short halt to view the body of the Indian chief, and to listen to the unpleasant relation of our sad loss, we moved on in force to the scene of the night attack, and there camped, to show defiance to our enemies--not without a wish that they would again attack, and give us an opportunity of redressing our wrongs. This latter expectation caused us to keep on the alert during the night; but our extra watchfulness was thrown away, as not the slightest alarm disturbed us, to the evident mortification of all the young men in the camp. In the morning, ere we started, the mournful duty of interring the remains of the two brothers was performed. We buried them in a grave dug by the side of the creek; a few sheets of bark were substituted for a coffin, and I repeated as much of the burial service as I remembered. When these funereal rites were at an end, the names of the victims and the manner of their death were rudely inscribed on a neighboring tree. I stood next to poor Zeph as the sad ceremony was performed; but, contrary to my expectation, he evinced no outward demonstrations of sorrow, save by a wild, restless eye, and an excessive pallor. When all was over I led him aside to a retired spot by the creek, where my four comrades met us. To a tree the young Columbian's mare was tethered, completely caparisoned, while near her lay a rifle, pistols, blankets, and bag of provisions--in fine, every requisite for the equipment of a traveler on the prairies.
That he should take who had the power,
And he should keep who can."
"Zeph," I said, taking his hand, "we know you have lost everything; but with these things, which are yours, you can reach the Columbia. A return mule train is already in sight; you will join it and return home, and break the sad news to your parents. It is a duty you owe to yourself and them, and we are much deceived in you, Zeph, if you hesitate to perform it."
"I have another duty to perform first," replied Zeph, in a voice that put an end to all argument. More gently he said, "Friends, I thank ye from my heart for all ye've done for me, and I will take these things very gladly, but I have money, and I must pay for them"; and in spite of all we could say, he remunerated us in full for his equipment, with some gold he took from a waist belt.
"And now, friends," he said, "I must begone; don't think hardly of me if I can't take your advice, for I can't."
"But, Zeph," I said, detaining him; for, having gathered up his arms and outfit, by this time he was mounted, "whither go you now?"
"To seek him," he whispered, as he bent down his head to my ear, and in another minute the unhappy boy was stretching across the prairie at a speed that set pursuit at defiance.
Heartsick and wearied by the sad events and dangers of the last day or two, and thoroughly arrived at the conclusion that it is infinitely more conducive to pleasure and safety to "sit at home at ease," and read tales of travel, than to go abroad and collect materials for them, generally against one's will, I was not sorry when the Siskiyou Mountains came in view, and we approached the scene of our future mining operations. The range of the Siskiyou Mountains is to be the boundary between California and Oregon. I cannot imagine a greater change of climate, soil, etc., anywhere more rapidly experienced than by the one day's journey which is required to cross this chain from one state to the other. From early morn we commenced the ascent from the Oregon side, and toiled upwards till about four o'clock in the afternoon, when we gained the highest point. Ere I looked down on the plains, which lay like a map at my feet, I exclaimed instinctively, "California"; for, as the harsh, arid wind of the clime blew with a peculiar cutting sensation on the lips, I remembered I had experienced the same feeling often and often before in San Francisco. Yet a few hours ago, and I was inhaling the softest and most genial atmosphere of all the temperate zones.
A couple of hours sufficed to make our descent, which was terribly steep, into the plains below. By this time our animals showed signs of distress, so that my company and a large German band from Columbia determined to camp at the foot of the mountains; but the majority of the trains continued on to the regular camping ground, two or three miles ahead. We had reason, however, to regret our determination of remaining behind; for at night the bitter Californian breeze swept down the mountain hollows with a piercing, marrow-freezing effect that made one wince again. Not a wink of sleep could any of us obtain from this circumstance, throughout the entire night, and I did not much regret being called to take the last watch before morning. The Germans also placed sentries, who, to my utter disgust, huddled together and chatted away all my watch, perfectly reckless of the vigilant enemy, who is always on the alert. How we escaped an onslaught that night I know not. The only outlying sentry, I stood with my back against a tree, and once a smart tap against the other side of the trunk startled me, and I looked around, but could distinguish nothing. When day broke, however, to my astonishment I saw the shaft of an Indian arrow lying at the foot of the tree, and, carefully examining the trunk, deeply embedded in the bark I found the iron head, from which the shaft had broken off. It was evident that I had escaped a great danger.
Anonymous, "My Adventures in the Far West," serialized in The Leisure Hour, London, 1862, pages 61+
FROM THE INTERIOR.
The following interesting intelligence from the Shasta country was handed us yesterday at an early hour by the manager of Adams & Co.
Indian Difficulties on Rogue River--Three Battles with the Indians--Thirty-Five Indians Killed--Anticipated Hostilities--The Pit River and Shasta Indians--Capture and Hanging of the Notorious Indian Chief Scar Face.
EXPRESS OFFICE OF CRAM, ROGERS & CO.,Editors Courier: By the arrival of Dugan & Co.'s Express, from Oregon, we are put in possession of particulars of the difficulties now existing on Rogue River. It seems for some time past the Indians have been preparing to meet the whites in battle; and to bring on the difficulty, last Thursday, the 14th instant, the Indians stopped two travelers and demanded of them their horses. After a short resistance they (the Indians) left and proceeded to a white settler's house, and demanded an exchange of an Indian child for a white one. On being refused, they demanded cattle, horses and money, when finding their demands would not be complied with, they departed in a very sulky mood.
YREKA, July 21st, 1852.
On Saturday, a party of whites went to settle any difficulty there might be existing between them, and met a deputation of twenty-one warriors; but before they had come to any terms an Indian drew an arrow on a white man, which was the signal for a general fight. The Indians were whipped, leaving eighteen of their number cold on the sod. A second engagement took place in the afternoon of the same day, when thirteen more Indians were killed. On Sunday a third meeting took place, when four Indians were killed, making thirty-five in all. No white men were killed in any of these engagements, and but few wounded.
On Monday the Indians were collecting at Table Rock, where there were already gathered about two hundred warriors. The citizens of Jacksonville and vicinity were preparing for a desperate struggle on Tuesday morning, when another engagement would take place. The women and children were all brought into town, where there is a strong guard stationed. A requisition has been received in this place for arms and ammunition. All communication to the north is cut off, and the road to this place is very dangerous. The citizens of Jacksonville and vicinity are organized into two companies, under the command of E. Steele and J. K. Lamerick .The distance from this place to Rogue River is about 80 miles.
The above difficulties are but little worse than those around our town. A party of Pit River Indians came last night within a few miles of town, and killed three of our Shasta Indians, and took away all their squaws and children, as well as a quantity of stock belonging to white men. They are still lurking among the hills near town, and a party of our citizens have left in pursuit of them.
Yours respectfully, E.A.R.
P.S. The party that left town yesterday, under Mr. D. D. Colton, have just returned. They encountered the Indians at the head of Shasta Valley about dark last night. They succeeded in taking but one, a notorious old rascal called Scar Face, whom they immediately put to death by hanging. When first discovered, he was in the act of drawing his rifle on one of the whites. The company were shot at several times, but none were injured. R.
Sacramento Daily Union, July 29, 1852, page 2
In the '50s it was [John Durbin's] custom to drive bands of cattle into the Rogue River Valley to graze off of nature's rich pastures. He had a large band in the valley at the time of the threatened outbreak of the Rogue River Indians. It was Mr. Durbin's good fortune to get along peaceably with the Indians, even when they were hostile toward the government settlers. He treated with the Rogue River Indians at the start by promising them two head of fat cattle a year for the privilege of pasturage, and he always lived up to the treaty.
An accident [sic] occurred while he was looking after his cattle in the Rogue River Valley, to which Mr. Durbin attributes his total abstinence from tobacco since. He had stopped on the mountainside to light his pipe, when he heard the snap of an Indian's gun only a few rods away. "The thought came to me," he afterwards said, "that that pipe might be the cause of my death, so I threw it away, and haven't used tobacco since."
"Is Over a Hundred: John Durbin, of Marion County, Oregon, Is 102," Oregon Mist, St. Helens, Oregon, September 18, 1896, page 1
Many persons who left Shasta Valley for the mines on Rogue River are said to be returning. The mines on Rogue River are exceedingly rich, but not of sufficient extent to afford claims to call.
"Mining News," Flag of the Union, Jackson, Mississippi, July 30, 1852, page 3
OREGON.--The Oregon Statesman of June 1st contains some items of interest. The people were preparing for the election of a Territorial Legislature, which was to take place June 7th. Robt. S. Maynard, from Illinois, shot a man by the name of J. C. Platt, at Jacksonville, because he had been insulted by him. Maynard was tried by a court jury selected from the citizens, found guilty of murder in the first degree, and executed in three days after.
Illinois Daily Journal, Springfield, July 31, 1852, page 2
FROM ROGUE RIVER.--A gentleman in the city from Rogue River this week reports the miners, who have claims so situated as to have a supply of water, to be doing well there--making from $8 to 12 per day. He was one of a party of four who, the last fortnight he worked there, averaged $50 a day per man. We saw some specimens of the gold, which is coarse and free from quartz. There are many persons lying idle in consequence of the low stage of the water.
Weekly Oregonian, Portland, July 31, 1852, page 2
Late and Important from Shasta and Rogue River.
MORE INDIAN DIFFICULTIES.--We learn from persons just in from Rogue River that a regular pitched battle was fought a few days ago near Table Rock, between a large party of Indians and the whites. Several Indians (some say between 30 and 40) were killed. The whites sustained no loss whatever. We learn, also, that Judge Skinner was enabled to make a treaty of peace with these Indians immediately after the fight on the most advantageous terms.
----Weekly Oregonian, Portland, August 7, 1852, page 2
STILL LATER!--FURTHER PARTICULARS!--Since the above was set in type, we learn from Mr. Kennedy of Dugan & Co.'s Express, who has just arrived from Shasta and the Rogue River country, that the late difficulty between the Indians and whites grew out of a determination on the part of "Sam," the war chief, to get possession of a little child of Doct. Ambrose, formerly of Vancouver; and upon refusal of Doct. A. to comply with his wishes, the chief demanded three beef cattle to be given him, or the Doct. must leave the valley; whereupon the Doct. made the miners at Jacksonville acquainted with the facts and his situation, who immediately formed a company of seventy-five--marched down to Big Bar and sent for the chief, to have a talk and make a treaty. The chief came over, but declined to enter into any terms, and asked for a parley until the next day, with the understanding that in case he did not come over with his warriors by 10 o'clock, the whites might consider it as a declaration of war. The chief came over, but nothing definite could be arranged with him, and after returning, sent over a party of his warriors. The whites made prisoners of these Indians as hostages for the good faith of "Sam" the chief. Soon after, one of the prisoners drew his bow upon one of the whites, and was about to shoot, when the sudden fire of a miner killed the Indian instantly. A regular engagement immediately followed this event, which lasted about half an hour, and which resulted in the whites killing all but three or four of the Indians engaged in the contest. After this, a party of whites, numbering about forty men, marched down to Evans' ferry--attacked a body of Indians encamped there--killed eleven, and captured three of the chief's family. The next day, two white men and a Klickitat Indian who had wandered from the camp were surrounded by some two hundred Indians. The Klickitat was shot through the body, but is now recovering. The three escaped, after killing several of the "redskins." That night, the whites, under cover of the darkness, surrounded the whole band of Indians in their encampment, and on the approach of daylight, made their appearance. The Indians, finding themselves completely surrounded, threw away their arms, and upon their knees begged for quarter. The miners complied, and they were all marched over to the Indian Agency, when Judge Skinner made a treaty of peace, which was signed by all the chiefs.
Mr. Kennedy informs us that the miners on Klamath, Salmon and Rogue rivers are doing well; that supplies are abundant at present--the health of the miners good--the water unusually low, and that preparations are in progress for mining on a large scale the coming winter. Several new and rich discoveries have recently been made. One man, Mr. Rice, who is now here with Mr. Kennedy, washed out of one sack of dirt--(50-lb. flour sack)--one thousand seventeen dollars and fifty cents! Another, Col. Woods, took out at Rogue River one piece of gold weighing over five hundred dollars. Many parties are making very large sums daily, while others are doing but little. On the whole, the mines are yielding much better than ever before.
MR. HARDIN, of Jackson, said he believed in the supreme power of the Legislature over the Territory. He was anxious to do his duty, but he must do it upon principle. He represented a large constituency--the land of golden flowers. He denied that the Legislative Assembly had any power to authorize the commissioners to purchase the land to erect the public buildings on. They had no authority to buy land or authorize others to do it for them--even if there was any land to purchase. It was an extraordinary doctrine that Uncle Sam, who owned every foot of land in Oregon, was required to purchase sites from those who held no title to erect his own buildings on!
He contended that the absolute title to all land in Oregon was vested in the United States. Congress had agreed to give it to settlers, under certain regulations--requiring four years bona fide occupation and cultivation. There was no compulsion on the part of Congress to force anyone to become a land holder. And the title yet remained in Congress--as nothing short of the patent gives a title to anyone. So far as Dr. Wilson of Salem was concerned, he had always been ready and willing to do whatever the commissioners required relative to a site for the Capital.
The gentleman from Clackamas (Mr. Wait) had not probably looked at the land law recently. Had the location law provided for purchase of sites by commissioners, as it is now wished to be done, it would have been in direct contravention of the Act of Congress, which expressly declares that "the Legislature shall pass no law interfering with the disposal of primary right of the soil." There was certainly no reason why the public buildings should not be commenced at once. The commissioners were competent men; they were ready to give bonds, and proceed with the work.
The message, he said, had intimated doubts as to how far the location act had been confirmed by Congress. He, for one, had no doubts. The joint resolution of Congress confirmed the location of the Penitentiary at Portland and the University at Marysville, just the same as it did the location of the seat of government at Salem. He said that the voice of the people had settled that question last June in a voice not to be misunderstood and it should remain undisturbed until that voice was heard to speak differently. He believed that men were sometimes as much governed by passion and prejudice as by judgment and feared such might have been the case in Oregon. With all due deference to the Judges of the Territory, he feared that our troubles are less attributable to the knowledge of their duty than to the high-handed abuse and usurpation in their official capacity, in taking upon themselves the exercise of an authority unknown to the laws of Congress.
"Oregon Legislature: Debate in the House," Oregon Weekly Times, Portland, August 7, 1852, page 1
The gold mines in Southern Oregon have drawn so largely upon the laboring population that the price of labor, in ordinary vocations, is enormous, and wheat is selling for $2, flour $16, oats $1.25 and hams 37½ cts.
"News Items," Albany Evening Journal, Albany, New York, August 11, 1852, page 2
From Rogue River.
The continued reports that the Rogue River Valley is rich in gold seem to be no longer a matter of doubt. We have conversed with a number of reliable men from that section recently. The southern portion of Oregon is settling fast; and already the surplus products of the upper Willamette Valley seem to have taken a turn in that direction; and large drafts are made upon our merchants for goods to supply the mining districts. We append an extract from a letter written by H. P. O'Bryant, to D. P. Fuller in this place:
Table Rock City, July 21, 1852.
"The Bostons and Indians have had a fight here, and the result is ten Indians were killed and three wounded. All is now peace and quiet, now and for always in the Rogue River Valley. Times are brisk. The miners are all having a 'time,' in consequence of the victory over the Indians. This is the place to make the 'slugs,' and always will be. There is plenty of gold here. Messrs. Wood & Hammon took out one slug the other day that is worth $523.25. They are doing well."
Oregon Weekly Times, Portland, August 14, 1852, page 2
AN INDIAN HUNG BY THE WHITES.--We learn from Mr. Stewart, of Dugan and Co.'s Express, that an Indian called Warty was hung by the whites at Rogue River a few days ago. This Indian is said to have committed many robberies and other crimes upon the whites and to have been the most reckless one among them. In this case he entered the house of a Mr. Weaver and demanded bread, which was refused him by Mrs. Weaver, who was alone with her children. The Indian proceeded to help himself, and upon being opposed by Mrs. W. drew his knife upon her; an alarm was given by the children, when some men who were at work nearby, hearing the alarm, and knowing the Indian character, arrested him, summoned the neighborhood, tried, condemned, and hung him the same day.
Weekly Oregonian, Portland, August 14, 1852, page 2
FROM THE MINES.--Several miners and packers are just in from Rogue River and Shasta mines. They represent the mines as yielding from $5 to $12 per day to the man, wherever they can get water to wash out the dirt. Several large specimens of gold, one over $500, have recently been found. Rogue River promises to become an important mining region.
Weekly Oregonian, Portland, August 14, 1852, page 2
Public Dinner at Rogue River.
Mr. Editor--I send you a copy of the proceedings at a public dinner tendered to Capt. Lamerick and company of volunteers, on Sunday, July 25th, 1852, at the town of Table Rock, Jackson County, O.T. Present, twenty-two ladies and about one hundred soldiers, officers and citizens. At 3 o'clock Capt. Lamerick marched his company to the table, where they were welcomed by the following tender by D. M. Kenny, one of the committee of arrangements:
CAPT. LAMERICK'S OFFICERS AND COMPANY OF VOLUNTEERS IN THE LATE CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE INDIANS:
Sirs--Allow me, in behalf of the citizens of this place and vicinity, to tender to you and comrades in arms, this collation, as a public demonstration of gratitude and respect so well merited by you for your undaunted and persevering management, which has inevitably been the cause of so speedy a termination of hostilities and conclusion of peace unrivaled in the history of Indian warfare. Accept, through me, the heartfelt thanks of the citizens of this place and surrounding country.
CAPT. LAMERICK'S REPLY.MR. SPEAKER, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN--The very flattering manner in which the citizens of this town and the surrounding country tender their thanks to myself and the volunteers under my command are as warmly appreciated as they are hospitably offered.
The manner in which you welcome us here--the pleasant and intelligent faces that we see around us, the favorable manner in which you are pleased to mention our humble efforts in bringing the war to a speedy close, contribute to make such a lasting impression on our memory as will only be erased when life is extinct, and the ruby drops cease to warm our heart.
You, my comrades in arms, I can never speak too highly of. A more valuable or orderly set of men I have never seen. For, to their promptness in obeying orders, their coolness and intrepidity in action, is mainly to be attributed the speedy termination of hostilities. You may rest assured, sir, that, should occasion require, and war again show his hostile front amongst us, either by Indians or whites, the Table Rock volunteers shall not be found wanting, and more especially where the ladies require our protection.
For the very flattering tokens of your esteem and regard this day offered to my comrades and myself, by the citizens of this town and surrounding country, receive, for yourself and them, the lasting and heartfelt thanks of the Table Rock volunteers.
Indian Agency, Sunday morning,
July 25, 1852.
And allow me to propose the following sentiment.
The citizens and miners of Rogue River Valley--Quick to discover, and prompt to repel, danger. Worthy descendants of the heroes and patriots of '76.
your ob't. serv't.
A. A. Skinner.
Messrs. Fowler, Kinney and Miller, committee, &c.
REGULAR TOASTS.That the true sons of Ireland may never be wanting in courage and strength to protect the citizens of this great republic, and to oppose all savages and tyrants, who would oppose her constitution and laws.
Thomas McNamara.Oregon Statesman, Oregon City, August 14, 1852, page 1
The American Flag--The only thing that is American which will never have a stripe.
Here are the boys that are honored by the American Eagle--May they ever be able, with their rifles on their shoulders, to bring both the heathen world as well as the civilized world to quarters.
The Sons of Freedom and the Daughters of Liberty--May their progeny never be the slaves of tyrants or the tools of demagogues.
J. K. L. [John K. Lamerick]
For the Ladies--Though their numbers are small among us, yet their influence is mighty.
Judge Skinner--A gentleman worthy of the position he occupies--that of Indian Agent of this valley--and the respect and confidence of all.
In behalf of those who contributed to this dinner--May your generous acts on this occasion be honored throughout this valley; may its emblematical influence excite the independence of our Union, and may you live to see the time when the Indians of Rogue River are extinct.
J. W. Davenport.
Our Captain, our guest--A man in whom we had confidence before the late campaign and since, a man who has but to command and receive our services when necessity shall require.
Capt. Lamerick's Company of Volunteers--The nerve and sinew of the country, the ladies' guards, undaunted by numbers, know no fear, and fatigue is but pleasure when fighting for their rights.
The Citizens of the Valley--Noble, manly and grateful; whenever necessity calls, their purse strings are loosed.
The following song was sung by Mrs. Appler:
SONG . . . By W. H. Appler.
Columbia's sons' adopted daughters
Shriek aloud o'er land and waters
The Indians have come to quarters.
Rise, rise, ye Oregon's rise,
Rise, rise, ye Oregon's rise,
Hark, hark, hark, how the eagle cries
Rise, rise, ye Oregon's rise on the Indians, rise.
Sam, he was a great warrior,
He was corralled between two waters,
Capt. Lamerick brought him to quarters.
Rise, rise, rise, &c.
Table Rock is a pretty elevation,
A splendid view o'er the Indian nation,
The place where the chieftain took his station.
Rise, rise, rise, &c.
The Indians now are in subjection,
Old Sammy made a bad selection,
His chaparral was no protection.
Rise, rise, rise, &c.
To all those who were at the first public dinner ever given in Southern Oregon, on August 4th, 1852, in honor of Captain Lamerick and the brave boys who came back victorious from the first Indian skirmish in Southern Oregon, at that table, which fairly groaned under the load of plain substantials of the early days, where champagne flowed as did the spirits of the boys, and toasts and songs were given by the happy boys, although clad in buckskin and well mounted with the crude implements of war--please come forward and give us a shake of your old trusty hand.
"Pioneer Reunion," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, August 29, 1890, page 2
ROGUE RIVER.--The miners on Rogue River still meet with unremitting success. The Indians in that quarter are now quiet.
"From the Interior," Sacramento Daily Union, August 17, 1852, page 3
San Francisco August 21st 1852General Hitchcock
I took the liberty a few months since of addressing a letter to you urging the necessity of stationing a military force at the mouth of the Umpqua River in Oregon. I learned with pleasure that a company have been ordered for that station, and are now in course of transportation for that place, but have heard it intimated by some persons that they might still be ordered to some other point where the Indians are more hostile. I can assure you that the settlement at the mouth of the river Umpqua River [sic] viz. Umpqua City is very much exposed to the depredations of the Indians, and by letters I have just received I am informed that they have recently broken into my house during the temporary absence of my son and have taken many valuable articles therefrom. They have robbed a Mr. Lewis of clothing and other articles to the value of one or two hundred dollars, and we have no means of redress. The citizens cannot muster in sufficient force to compel the Indians to return the stolen goods. This is the third time my house has been robbed by them. I hope you will consider the propriety of issuing such orders to the officers in command of the company destined for this place as will tend to an investigation of the matter and recover the goods in whatever condition they may be found, and teach them that they cannot rob us in this manner with impunity. I have written to Mr. Dart, the Indian agent of Oregon, [missing paper] some time since, but we have received no attention from him. If this was merely a personal matter with us and a settlement of merely a private enterprise we would abandon it at once, and not trouble the government for our protection, but we are confident that not only ourselves but the public are deeply interested in protecting this place, as it must soon rise to much commercial importance. I am also informed that the Indians recently had a hostile meeting on the south side of the river which resulted in the death of two or three of their number, among whom was one said to be the tyee.
Very respectfullyNARA. Transcribed from scans of the ms.
Your obedient servant
Port Orford and Shasta Road--Indian Affairs.
Port Orford, O.T., Aug. 27, 1852Messrs. Editors--The trail so long talked of leading from this place to the Shasta mines is now open, and ready for business. The work was accomplished under the supervision of Lieut. Stanton, and by him pronounced an excellent trail. It intersects the Oregon trail south of the Canon, and within a few miles of the crossing of Rogue River. The celebrated "Shasta mining district" can now be reached in four or five days' travel from this place.
Provisions of all kinds are high, and in fact all kinds of goods bring good prices, and we have no trouble but the demand will increase at a great ratio before a sufficient supply can be obtained.
The Indians continue troublesome, and hostile appearances among some of the bands in the vicinity are frequent. Their petty thefts have increased to horse stealing, and not unfrequently have they declared they would burn our houses over our heads. We anticipate the arrival of the Superintendent of Indian Affairs by the steamer now due. If he should arrive, all will be right; if not, I cannot say what will be the result.
Yours, &c. CLINTON.Daily Alta California, San Francisco, September 15, 1852, page 1
The gold mines in Southern Oregon have drawn so largely upon the laboring population that the price of labor in ordinary vocations is enormous, and wheat is selling for $2, flour $16, oats $1.25 and hams 37½.
Belvidere Standard and Boone County Advertiser, Belvidere, Illinois, September 7, 1852, page 2
The mines at Rogue River and Shasta were engrossing much attention. Provisions were high. The Oregon farmers are congratulating themselves upon the prospect of having a home market for their flour.
"Two Weeks Later from Oregon," Daily Alta California, San Francisco, August 31, 1852, page 2
COMBATS CONTRE LES INDIENS.--Les Indiens se montrent très hostiles près de la rivière Rogue (Orégon). Le 14 juillet dernier, ils arrètèrent deux voyageurs et voulurent s'emparer de leurs chevaux. Rencontrant une résistance déterminée, ils quittèrent la partie et s'en allèrent chez un colon blanc du voisinage demander un enfant blanc en échange d'un enfant indien. Sur le refus du propriétaire, ils demandèrent des bestiaux, des chevaux et de l'argent, et, n'obtenant encore rien, ils se retirèrent, mais d'un air qui ne présageait rien de bon. Deux jour aprés, une troupe de blancs s'aboucha avec vingt-et-un guerriers indiens pour tâcher de régler à l'amiable les différents existants; mais, avant qu'aucun arrangement n'eut pu être convenu, un Indien lança une flèche contre un blanc, et cet acte d'agression devint le signal d'une mêlee. Les Indiens furent battus et laissèrent dix-huit des leurs sur le terrain. Dans l'après-midi du même jour eut lieu un second engagement dans lequel succombèrent encore treize Indiens. Enfin, le lendemain, une troisième rencontre coûta la vie à quatre d'entre eux. En tout, trente cinq de tués dans les trois combats. Pas un seul blanc n'a péri, et fort peu ont reçu des blessures.
Le 18 juillet, plus de 200 Indiens étaient réunis à Table Rock, et les habitants de Jacksonville et des environs, s'attendant à une chaude attaque pour le lendemain, faisaient de grands préparatifs de défense.
[FIGHT AGAINST INDIANS.-- The Indians became very hostile near the Rogue River (Oregon). On July 14, they stopped two travelers and wanted to seize their horses. Meeting a determined resistance, they let the party alone and went to a nearby white settler, asking for a white child in exchange for an Indian child. On the refusal of the owner, they demanded cattle, horses and money. Still getting nothing, they retired, but with an air that boded no good. Two days later, a group of whites had a meeting with twenty-one Indian warriors to try to amicably resolve the existing differences, but before an arrangement had been made an Indian shot an arrow at a white, and this act of aggression became the signal for a melee. The Indians were defeated and left eighteen dead on the field. In the afternoon of the same day took place a second battle in which thirteen more Indians were killed. Finally, the next day, a third battle took the lives of four of them. In all, thirty-five were killed in three battles. Not a white soul perished, and very few received injuries.
On July 18, over 200 Indians gathered at Table Rock, and the people of Jacksonville and surrounding areas, expecting a warm attack for the next day, made great preparations for defense.]
Courier des Etats-Unis, New York, September 3, 1852, page 1
(By Dugan & Co.'s Express.)We learn from M. G. Kennedy, of Dugan & Co.'s Express, who arrived just as we are going to press, that the miners at Jackson were doing first rate. Jacksonville is reported as growing fast, and some ten houses were raised there the week previous to the leaving of the express. One company of five took out in one day $1272. There are many emigrants from overland coming into the mining country direct. Flour is worth from 18 to 20 cts. at Jacksonville, and bacon 75 cts. per lb.; and everything else in proportion. He reports that a man was found at the coast fork of the Willamette, shot in the breast, about ten days since, and the horse's throat cut.
Oregon Weekly Times, Portland, September 4, 1852, page 2
A GREAT SLAUGHTER OF INDIANS.--The Shasta (California) Courier contains a letter from Yreka, dated July 21st, describing some serious conflicts between the whites and the Indians on Rogue River. On the 17th ultimo, at a friendly meeting for the settlement of previous existing difficulties, an Indian is stated to have drawn an arrow on a white man, which became the signal for a general fight, resulting in eighteen Indians being killed. At a subsequent engagement on the same day thirteen more were left on the field. On the succeeding day (Sunday) another fight took place, and four were slaughtered--making in all thirty-five. What will seem strange, perhaps, is the fact that no white men were killed in these bloody onslaughts. The letter, which is from Cram, Rogers & Co.'s Express office, says further:
"On Monday the Indians were collecting at Table Rock, where there were already gathered about two hundred warriors. The citizens of Jacksonville and vicinity were preparing for a desperate struggle on Tuesday morning, when another engagement would take place. The women and children were all brought into town, where there is a strong guard stationed. A requisition has been received in this place for arms and ammunition. All communication to the north is cut off, and the road to this place is very dangerous. The citizens of Jacksonville and vicinity are organized into two companies, under the command of E. Steel and J. K. Lamerick. The distance from this place to Rogue River is about eighty miles."
Daily National Intelligencer, Washington, D.C., September 6, 1852, page 3
From Shasta Mines.
Correspondence of the Times.
Table Rock Village
August 23, 1852
Mr. Editor:--This place has become the chief trading point between the Umpqua country and the Shasta mines, and is the general place of supply for the whole Rogue River Valley, as well as the mines both at and in its immediate vicinity, and those of Rogue River bar, Smith's River, Cow Creek and other near places. The gulches here require much labor thoroughly to prospect. The veins of gold appear and disappear very suddenly, making the diggings what is here called very spotted. $1000 was taken from one claim last week in one day, and the claim has paid and still pays 20 and 30 oz. of gold to the hand per week. A few others pay very well, but generally the diggings cannot be worked yet for want of water. Claims are from 30 to 50 yards each, and today a meeting is held to try and have them reduced, when the idle ones kakwa nika ["like me"] can come in.
The town is shut in by the mountains containing in their ravines the gold, on the south [sic] by Gold Creek [Jackson Creek?] on the west by Dairy Creek on the north to the east, the prairie slopes gradually into the wide valley of Rogue River--the nearest part being the valley of Stuart's Creek [Bear Creek], (named from the late Capt. Stuart, when he was shot). There is little or no water in the creeks now, and the plains are parched, but in the highlands scattered about are little valleys of good pasturage, with springs of water. Milk is sold from the dairy near town at 25 cts. per quart; Beef in town, 10 to 15 cts.; Flour, 20 to 25 cts.; Blankets, $10 to $15 per pair; Molasses, $4 per gal.; Sugar, 40 cts.; Coffee 40 cts.; Tea, $1; Boots, $5 to $10; Cotton cloth, 30 cts.; Tobacco, $1 and $2. These are retail prices--Bacon, 60 and 75 cts.; Butter, $1 and $1.25; Salt, 20 and 30 cts. Horses and saddles are cheap, and many articles the same price or cheaper than at Portland. Horses are kept on ranchos at 50 to 75 cts. per week, and very good pasturage.
The land is high and climate delightful. There has been but two showers this month. New houses are being put up every day, not like those of your place, left unoccupied. Families move in or stores are opened. Let this do for a hasty description of all I can now think of, of interest.
Yours, G. S. [George Sherman]Oregon Weekly Times, Portland, September 11, 1852, page 2
From the South.
Correspondence of the Times.
South Umpqua, Aug. 18th, 1852FRIEND WATERMAN: Our usually quiet course of life was a little disturbed a few days ago by a little difficulty with the Indians in this section, the facts of which I will narrate as far as I am acquainted with them
Two settlers here found arrows sticking in the sides of two of their oxen, which of course they charged to the Indians and, meeting with one shortly after, they arrested him, but upon comparing the arrows found in the oxen with those in the possession of the Indian, they concluded that they were not his, and set him at liberty.
The next morning, I think it was, three Indians came to the house of Mr. Roberts and one of them stepped in and demanded what the "Bostons" were sollux [solleks] at the siwash for? To this inquiry a man by the name of Peters answered that he (the Indian) had been shooting cattle. The Indian then replied that it was a lie, that he had not shot cattle. Peters then picked up an ax handle, knocked the Indian down and beat him pretty severely, as I am told. (I was not present.) The Indian's gun was also broken. Finally the Indian got up and started off and stated that he was going to get the Shastas to kill the whites. Peters then called for a gun to shoot the Indian with, and one being handed him he followed the Indian a few steps, when he drew up the gun and shot the Indian as he was making off, at a distance of about 150 yards.
The Indian fell to the ground, the ball having broken one of his legs above the knee. Taking alarm, the other Indians ran off down the creek in the direction which a large party of them took early in the morning and in the afternoon a number of Indians and squaws returned, dressed the wound of their comrade and carried him off.
The following day a party of men followed up the retreating Indians, for the purpose of giving them a fight, and warning them not to come back. They saw but few Indians, however, and those were chiefly children and squaws.
Respectfully, &c.Oregon Weekly Times, Portland, September 11, 1852, page 2
The Pacific Mail Steamship Company's steamer Isthmus arrived last evening, three days' passage from Oregon. She brings thirty-three passengers, a list of which together with her memoranda will be found in another column. Mr. Culver, sub-Indian agent, together with his interpreter, "Chilliman," stopped at Port Orford to appease the disappointed Indians. Capt. William Tichenor and family also stopped there with the intention of remaining for some time. Capt. Tichenor designs investigating the new road that has been opened by Lieut. Stanton to Rogue River, the success of which is of great interest to the citizens in that region. Lieut. Williamson, who has been residing fifty miles back of Port Orford, was a passenger on the Isthmus, on his way to the States. He says that gold is plenty in that neighborhood.
"Later from Oregon," Daily Alta California, San Francisco, September 14, 1852, page 2
LARGE LUMP.--I. N. Bronson & Co. took out on Monday last, from a creek two miles from Jacksonville, Rogue River, a lump of gold weighing twelve hundred and seventy-two dollars. It contained but eight dollars in weight of quartz. The above named company took out upwards of $2000 on the same day.--Statesman.
"Interesting from Oregon--Thirteen Days Later," Daily Placer Times and Transcript, San Francisco, September 14, 1852, page 2
THE SOUTHERN IMMIGRATION.--We learn that the immigrants on the southern route have had much difficulty with the Indians, and several have been killed. In one skirmish also a number of Indians were killed. There was much suffering among the immigrants, and parties had gone out from Yreka and Jacksonville to relieve them and protect them from the hostilities of the Indians.--Statesman.
"Letter from Oregon," Daily Alta California, San Francisco, September 28, 1852, page 2
For the Alcalde Rogers/superior court affair, click here.
From the Oregon Mines.Dugan & Co.'s Express has recently arrived, and by the favor of the same we have received the following from our correspondent:
TABLE ROCK, Sept. 20, 1852.EDITOR TIMES:--Mining continues the same as usual. One in twenty get something--nineteen not successful. New diggings have been discovered some thirty miles from here. The following are about the prices of the market here--
Flour is now 30¢ per lb.; Bacon 62 and 75¢; Sugar 40 and 50; Coffee, 30 and 40; Eggs, $1.75 per doz.; Butter, $1 per lb.; Molasses, $4 per gal.; Potatoes 30¢ per lb.; Peas, Beans and Onions 30 and 40¢ per lb. Green garden vegetables are supplied from the vicinity and bring good prices. The town increases very fast. No rain. One or two immigrant companies are here.
Yours truly, G.S. [George Sherman]Oregon Weekly Times, Portland, October 2, 1852, page 2
DUGAN & CO.'S
will hereafter connect with ADAMS & CO.'S EXPRESS, PORTLAND, OREGON, and through them to
CALIFORNIA, THE ATL'C. STATES & EUROPE.We have established agencies at all the principal towns and camps in the Umpquas, Rogue River and Shasta mines, and parties wishing to send letters or packages to any of the mining districts of Northern California and Oregon, can forward by this express by leaving the matter at the office of ADAMS & Co., Portland and Oregon City.
TREASURE FORWARDED UNDER INSURANCE.Collections made, and all express business attended to with promptness and dispatch.
DUGAN & CO.Olympia Republican, Olympia, Washington, October 8, 1852, page 4
(By Dugan & Co.'s Express.)
By this Express, through the kindness of Mr. Steward, we learn that all is quiet in the Yreka and Rogue River valleys, and that the yield of gold continues good. He also lays us under obligations for the copy of a letter from Mr. Alexander, giving the account of finding the skeletons of four persons, who it is supposed had been killed by the Indians--one of the four being a female. Near the skeletons were found the following papers:
"Received of G. Pillason, seventy dollars, being part payment for Company to California.
"Alquamee, March 22, 1852.
W. D. MARVINE,"Purchase whatever provisions you may wish on the road and keep a regular account of it.
"Ask Mrs. Stout if Mr. Stout left any money for me.
"Cross at Henry. You will go past Albert Myer's. He will tell you the road or Gaytonia will.
"Before you leave the farming settlements in Iowa, buy 20 bushels of corn so as to have a plenty to feed.
"I have got a letter from my brother. He is going, so you need not look for me before the 10th May." &c., &c.
"Change all your paper money at Burlington.
"Get two halters at Magnolia, and pay him 46 cents."
There were also with these papers a portion of a Greek lexicon, and the scattered leaves of some old law book.
These skeletons were found by some of Capt. Ross' company near Lost River--and the appearance indicated that there had been hard fighting. Capt. Ross left Jacksonville with twenty-four men, and provisions for the relief of the immigration, and traveled Applegate's road to Klamath Lake, had no fight, and as it was impossible to get at the Indians, they being in a lake some ten miles in width, filled in with small islands. The immigration is reported to be pretty well across towards Yreka, and there is still a company at the lake from Yreka to protect any who may yet come along.
This makes about twenty persons that have been killed on this road this season, previous to the company from Yreka arriving there.
Oregon Weekly Times, Portland, October 16, 1852, page 2
OREGON.It is curious to mark the growth of Young America on the shores of the Pacific. Life there is fast assuming precisely the same form it wears on the Atlantic coast. The newspapers are just like ours, in all respects. A newspaper in Oregon has nothing to distinguish it from one published in Wisconsin. Its selections and news items belong to the same class; it enters with the same relish into the discussion of Pierce and Scott politics. Its advertisements differ in no respect. They indicate, in fact, a maturity of social existence that we are not in the habit of attaching to the Oregon community. Choice wines, rare perfumes, elegant fancy goods, luxurious refectories, spacious hotels spread their attractions in every column.
We have before us the Oregon Weekly Times, of September 11, published by Waterman & Carter, at $7 a year. It is well printed, on a sheet of respectable dimensions, and contains nearly nine columns of advertisements of every variety of necessity and luxury. Among them is Leonard Scott's long advertisement of his reprints of foreign quarterlies. One column is filled with the proceedings of the Oregon Tract Society, and with the appointments of the Oregon conference, held at Portland in September.
The editor has a leader vindicating General Lane against divers accusations. He complains in another article that the Pacific mail steamer Columbia, which commenced last December running up to Portland, was ordered last month to make St. Helens, thirty miles below, its terminus. He insists that it is quite practicable and always safe to extend the trips to Portland. Then follows an outburst of indignation against proscription and removal from office.
A letter from South Umpqua shows that the Indians are to be dealt with in the usual manner. A horse having been found with arrows sticking in his sides, the Indians were of course suspected, and one was seized, but no proof was found against him. The arrest incensed them, and one of them fell into an altercation with a settler named Peters. Peters knocked him down. The Indian went off, threatening him. Peters followed at once, with his gun, and shot him. A party of white men the next day started out with their guns to give fight to the retreating tribe to which the poor fellow belonged, but fortunately it was out of reach. Thus things go. Extinction is the doom of the Indian.
National Era, Washington, D.C., November 11, 1852, page 182
We find in the Oregon Times the following list of prices as prevailing in the Table Rock mines.
Flour is now 30 cents per lb.; bacon 62 and 75 cents; sugar 40 and 50 cents; coffee 30 and 40 cents; eggs $1.75 per dozen; butter $1 per lb.; molasses $1 per gallon; potatoes 30 cents per lb.; peas, beans and onions, 30 and 40 cents per lb. Green garden vegetables are supplied from the vicinity, and bring good prices. The town increases very fast. No rain.
"From Oregon," The Republic, Washington, D.C., November 11, 1852, page 2
October 24, 1852
It took me three days to reach Jacksonville, or now called Table Rock City, the most important, or better said, the only town, in the Rogue River Valley. I saw several pieces of land which would have been very suitable for us, but found that the area was too far from Yreka and passing the Siskiyou Mountains between California and Oregon would have made the way there too difficult.
Tom Brodbeck, ed., California Gold Rush: Tales of a Swiss Prospector, J. Christoph Brodbeck, ArtBookbindery.com 2009, page 87
The following statement has been furnished us by J. S. Gamble, Esq., a gentleman of respectability and veracity:
PORT ORFORD.--It is not over seventy-five miles from Port Orford to the Oregon Trail. The route is well supplied with grass and water and may be traveled the greater part of the year. A good practicable wagon road can be made the whole distance. It can be expressed in twenty-four hours, and traveled by pack trains in four days. It intersects the Oregon Trail at Simmons' store, which is thirteen miles from the Rogue River ferry.
There is an abundance of land well adapted to agricultural purposes in the neighborhood of Port Orford, and four half sections have been located within the past week by persons from Scotts River.
Lieut. Stanton, of the U.S. dragoons, with thirty men of his command, left Port Orford on Thursday, twenty-first inst., for the purpose of paying a visit to the Rogue River Indians, who have recently shown signs of hostility. He is accompanied by the Indian agent, with his interpreter. Capt. Tichenor also goes out with this expedition, and will proceed to Yreka.
Weekly Oregonian, Portland, October 30, 1852, page 2
FROM THE MINES.--We learn from Capt. Hoyt, who is just in from the mines, that quartz mining promises to yield a rich reward to those interested in the two establishments that have recently been put into operation in our southern mines; also, that upon Rogue River and other points the miners are doing unusually well.
Weekly Oregonian, Portland, October 30, 1852, page 3
The Rogue River mines are yielding well in some places. A lump of gold of the value of $523 was taken out near Jacksonville, in the southern part of the Territory.
"Postscript," Sacramento Daily Union, November 1, 1852, page 2
LARGE LUMP.--Mr. E. L. Perham (formerly of Morgan County, Indiana) just in from the Rogue River mines, showed a lump of pure gold one day this week, weighing five hundred and twenty-three dollars. It was taken out near Jacksonville, in the southern part of the Territory, and was as fine a specimen as we ever saw. Mr. P. will return to the "diggings" in a day or two, and we hope he will succeed in finding a "pile" of the same sort.
Oregon Statesman, Oregon City, October 23, 1852, page 2
DROWNED IN ROGUE RIVER.--We learn from a gentleman recently from the mines that a young man named Weymouth was drowned in Rogue River a short time since, in the rapids near Evans' bridge [sic]. Mr. Weymouth crossed the plains this season. He was from the state of Maine, and was about twenty-four years of age.
Weekly Oregonian, Portland, November 6, 1852, page 2
Flour was selling at Rogue River and Shasta mines at 30 cents per pound.
"From Oregon," New York Herald, November 9, 1852, page 2
Near Table Rock City, in Rogue River Valley, Oct. 7th, by Rev. J. E. Benton, Henry R. Frame to Rachel S. Tait, lately of Iowa.
Daily Alta California, San Francisco, November 1, 1852, page 2
MILL PROPERTY FOR SALE.--In the appropriate columns will be found advertised for sale one of the best mills and mill privilege in the country, that of J. W. Nesmith of Polk County. This mill is situated in the heart of a fine agricultural country, and [is] the nearest mill to the Rogue River and Shasta mines on the west side of the Willamette. A better investment cannot be found in the country.
J. B. McClain, it will be seen, also offers his mills at Salem for sale. This likewise affords a capital opportunity for investment and the realization of a fortune.
Oregon Statesman, Oregon City, November 20, 1852, page 2
At Althouse Creek, Klamath County, California [sic], Oct. 24th, by Hon. Thomas J. Roach, county judge of Klamath County, Mr. Wellington C. Cochran to Mrs. Lucy Smith, all of Althouse Creek.
Daily Alta California, San Francisco, November 22, 1852, page 2 There was no Klamath County in Oregon in 1852.
Correspondence of the Oregon Statesman.
Jacksonville, O.T. Dec. 9, '52
Mr. Editor--As our friend Mr. McDermott is about visiting your section of the Territory, I am induced to write you a few words giving the current news of this place. Though still a stranger I find enough to interest in the welfare of the place, and of its inhabitants. A short year since and this was but a barren wilderness. New farms, ranches and miners' cabins fill the wide plain, and the rude traces of the savage give place to the onward step of civilization, commerce and thrifty industry. An old California miner come on a visit, and well satisfied I am with the prospects, notwithstanding the dissatisfaction manifested by many newcomers, who, in hopes of an immediate reward for their long and tedious journey, look for hundreds a day, when five or six dollars should at first content them. This is less than they expected, and hence discontent and grumbling at their hard fate. Hence, also, something almost akin to despair, which leads many to offer their services for the nominal pay of their food and lodging.
The richness of the mines is yet untold, and I am confident that the wealth of California herself will not exceed the resources of Southern Oregon. Yreka City is but a few months older than Jacksonville, yet its prosperity and increase are still undiminished, and from all appearances will continue long and steadily. A few days prior to my departure from there large and extensive deep diggings were discovered prospecting from ten cents to twelve dollars a pan, and in a claim not far from our own pieces as high as fifty dollars were taken out by some Iowa boys who crossed the plains this season, by the Yreka route, [and] entered California. These young men, having industry and stout hearts, must and will succeed. At first they were somewhat discouraged at their want of success, and accident leading them to change their diggings, also led them to this rich spot. By the way, while speaking of immigrants, let me also speak of one to whom hundreds of immigrants, with their wives, families and property, are indebted for safety at this moment--I mean Mr. Wright, long and well known in this country--upon whose conduct and that of his companions too high an eulogy cannot be paid. Sometime in the early part of August last, Mr. Wright and about twenty-eight others, whose names I regret cannot be obtained, left their homes and business on the first intimation of the difficulties from the Indians experienced by the immigrants near Shasta Butte, and proceeded to the spot to protect them. For three months and more did these gallant spirits, forgetful of self and personal interest, spend both time and money in this dreary region, and until all the wagons coming that way were safe through the dangers of the route. During this time supplies were freely afforded by the open-hearted citizens of Yreka City as often as the call was made, and until the snows of the winter set in, and then, and not until then, did Mr. Wright and his party return, having first contrived to meet the Indians, and destroying, as nearly as can be ascertained, a hundred of the tribe. For these services we trust to see them well recompensed. They have earned a noble reward, and soon may they reap it.
I should be glad to see a small press established in Yreka City. There is an excellent opening for one there, and I believe a lucrative one. It would better enable us to blazon forth the histories of these men, among other things, so that their light should not be hid under a bushel.
By the hands of these indefatigable young men--Messrs. Cram, Rogers & Co., of the Express, and who now connect with Adams & Co.'s old and known line--we are put in possession of the news of the death of the Hon. Daniel Webster of Massachusetts. Calhoun, Clay and Webster, three mighty pillars of our great national fabric, have fallen; yet their remains bear the seal of majesty, and their acts the monuments of a nation's glory.
By the same invaluable means of communication, we hear of the destruction of the greater portion of Shasta City (Reading's Springs) by fire, and I am sorry to say to you that the editors of the Shasta Courier are among the sufferers. They sent to San Francisco immediately for a new press, and we hope soon to see that favorite little sheet again amongst us in full success.
I shall remain here sometime prospecting the gulches and hills of this place, and should you desire further communications of reliable source, you may depend upon
Oregon Statesman, Oregon City, January 8, 1853, page 2
An elk was killed recently near Port Orford, Southern Oregon, which weighed 830 pounds. His horns were five feet and 7 inches in length.
Easton Star, Easton, Maryland, December 6, 1852, page 2
From the Southern Mines--Indian Hostilities--47 Killed.
(By Cram, Rogers & Co.'s Express.)
We are indebted to Mr. Hereford of Cram & Co.'s Express for important news from that interesting portion of our country. He left Yreka on the 25th of Nov.--remained at Jacksonville several days, and arrived in this city on the 10th inst.
He informs us that Capt. Wright with his company of 24 men, near the great Tule Lake near the southern trail, had a fight with the Indians, in which he was completely victorious, having killed forty-seven--and brought in 47 scalps, several horses, bows and arrows, and various Indian ictas ["things"]. Two men only were wounded.
The appearance of the victors on their entrance into Yreka is represented as being highly exulting--every rifle bore a scalp, and Capt. Wright's horse was bedecked with the trophies of valor. The citizens of Yreka gave them a grand reception--dinner--&c., &c.
Capt. Wright has been out ever since August, with a small company of volunteers, on the immigrant trail to protect the immigration from Indian depredations; but has never before been able to get an open fight with them. The Indian hostilities, it is thought, are now at an end in that vicinity by this decisive stroke made by Captain Wright and his men. Capt. Wright, it seems to us, is deserving of the thanks of the people of Oregon for his efficient services--and as the Legislature is now in session, we suggest the propriety of their presenting him a sword in behalf of the people of the Territory, whom he has served so well.
THE MINES.--The news from the mines is of a cheering character--miners were now generally doing well. New diggings had been discovered 18 miles east of Table Rock on Rogue River, which are reported to pay $16 per day to the man. The Shasta mines are reported as paying well. The Shasta River Company is organized to turn Shasta River through the mines. It is estimated that it will cost $750,000, and about two-thirds of the stock is already taken, the other third will be taken no doubt soon. They take the water some 18 miles.
Miners on South Umpqua are making 5 to 6 dollars per day, 6 miles above the Kenyon.
Oregon Weekly Times, Portland, December 18, 1852, page 2
The San Francisco Whig has the following letter from Port Orford, dated December 1st:
The trail leading from this place to the Oregon trail is now open and ready for business. A small party came through from Scott's River a few days since, and we learn by them that the miners are doing exceedingly well in the vicinity of Rogue River, and also at a place called "Sailors' Dry Diggings," which is located some forty miles south and west from Rogue's Ferry. Provisions and breadstuffs have advanced at an unusual rate during a few weeks past.
Daily Picayune, New Orleans, Louisiana, January 10, 1853, page 2
Correspondence of the Oregon Statesman.
Jacksonville, O.T., Dec. 9, '52.Mr. Editor--As our friend, Mr. McDermott, is about visiting your section of the Territory, I am induced to write you a few words giving the current news of this place. Though still a stranger I find enough to interest in the welfare of the place, and of its inhabitants. A short year since and this was but a barren wilderness. New farms, ranches and miners' cabins fill the wide plain, and the rude traces of the savage give place to the onward step of civilization, commerce and thrifty industry. An old California miner come on a visit, and well satisfied I am with the prospects, notwithstanding the dissatisfaction manifested by many newcomers, who, in hopes of an immediate reward for their long and tedious journey, look for hundreds a day, when five or six dollars should at first content them. This is less than they expected, and hence discontent and grumbling at their hard fate. Hence, also, something almost akin to despair, which leads many to offer their services for the nominal pay of their food and lodging.
The richness of the mines is yet untold, and I am confident that the wealth of California herself will not exceed the resources of Southern Oregon. Yreka City is but a few months older than Jacksonville, yet its prosperity and increase are still undiminished, and from all appearances will continue long and steadily. A few days prior to my departure from these large and extensive deep diggings were discovered prospecting from ten cents to twelve dollars a pan, and in a claim not far from our own pieces as high as fifty dollars were taken out by some Iowa boys who crossed the plains this season, by the Yreka route, [and] entered California. These young men, having industry and stout hearts, must and will succeed. At first they were somewhat discouraged at their want of success, and accident leading them to change their diggings also led them to this rich spot. By the way, while speaking of immigrants, let me also speak of one to whom hundreds of immigrants, with their wives, families and property are indebted for safety at this moment--I mean Mr. Wright, long and well known in this country--upon whose conduct and that of his companions too high a eulogy cannot be paid. Sometime in the early part of August last, Mr. Wright and about twenty-eight others, whose names I regret cannot be obtained, left their homes and business on the first intimation of the difficulties from the Indians experienced by the immigrants near Shasta Butte, and proceeded to the spot to protect them. For three months and more did these gallant spirits, forgetful of self and personal interest, spend both time and money in this dreary region, and until all the wagons coming that way were safe through the dangers of the route. During this time supplies were freely afforded by the open-hearted citizens of Yreka City as often as the call was made, and until the snows of the winter set in, and then, and not until then, did Mr. Wright and his party return, having first contrived to meet the Indians and destroying, as nearly as can be ascertained, a hundred of the tribe. For these services we trust to see them well recompensed. They have earned a noble reward, and soon may they reap it.
I should be glad to see a small press established in Yreka City. There is an excellent opening for one there, and I believe a lucrative one. It would better enable us to blazon forth the histories of these men, among other things, so that their light should not be hid under a bushel.
By the hands of these indefatigable young men--Messrs. Cram, Rogers & Co. of the Express, and who now connect with Adams & Co.'s old and known line--we are put in possession of the news of the Hon. Daniel Webster of Massachusetts. Calhoun, Clay and Webster, three mighty pillars of our great national fabric, have fallen, yet their remains bear the seal of majesty, and their acts the monuments of a nation's glory.
By the same invaluable means of communication we hear of the destruction of the greater portion of Shasta City (Redding's Springs) by fire, and I am sorry to say to you that the editors of the Shasta Courier are among the sufferers. They sent to San Francisco immediately for a new press, and we hope soon to see that favorite little sheet again amongst us in full success.
I shall remain there some time prospecting the gulches and hills of this place, and should you desire further communications of reliable source, you may depend upon
FELIX.Oregon Statesman, Oregon City, January 8, 1853, page 2
Jacksonville Oregon Territory Dec. 9th / 52Dear Uncle
It has been a long time since I heard from you and still longer since I wrote you anything concerning myself--so long that I scarcely remember where I was or what I was doing, not doubting that after so long a silence a line from me will be acceptable, I have set down to write.
You will observe from the heading of this that I am not now in the Willamette Valley. I left there in September last and do not intend to return before spring. My family are with me. We were sent here by the conference of the M.E. Church for this country, so you perceive that I am again an itinerant Methodist preacher. I have been traveling in that capacity only since last September, and it is doubtful whether the state of my health will admit of my continuing to do so after the termination of the present conference year. In case it should not, and my life should be spared so long, I shall probably return with my family to the States next fall. In that case you will see us in Pennsylvania about Christmas. My family consists of my wife and two children--one more than when you last heard from us. Our youngest is a boy, and he is now ten months old; we call him Walter. He is at this time teething and is very sick in consequence. Anna and Mrs. Smith are in usual health; the former is about three years old and is considered intelligent and interesting by all who know her.
Jacksonville, the town in which we live, is a mining town in Rogue River Valley about three hundred miles south of Portland and near the line between California and Oregon. It is not a very pleasant place to live, although in a fine country and agreeably situated--the very bad state of society is what makes it disagreeable.
In a letter I received from H. J. Daugherty dated May 1st 1852 he speaks of stock and provisions being so high in Pennsylvania that he doubts if prices in Oregon can exceed those at home. I will give him a few items:
Flour is worth 50 cts. per poundThese are the lowest prices in this part of Oregon at the present time for these articles, and most other things are in proportion to these. In the valley of the Willamette prices are much lower, flour being worth but 15 cts. The great difference in price is owing to the cost of transportation by packing on mules and horses.
Pork is worth 50 cts. per pound
Potatoes are worth 20 cts. per pound
Onions are worth 30 cts. per pound
Beef is worth 25 cts. per pound
Butter is worth $1.25 per pound
Fowls (apiece) are worth 2.50
Cows per head 100 dollars
I expect to return to Portland in April, and I shall hope to receive a letter from you at that time and at that place, there being no mail to this place. In writing to me you will do me a favor by giving me any information concerning James and William that you may have.
They wrote me last fall that they would start for Oregon last spring, and as I have heard nothing from them since then and they have not arrived in Oregon I am quite concerned about them. I have heard nothing from my father for years, and to learn anything concerning him I presume I shall need to hunt him up in person. I believe it to be my duty to acquaint myself with his circumstances and, as far as I can, contribute to his comfort in his old age. This consideration weighs much in my concluding to return to the States. If you know anything of the state of his health or of his pecuniary affairs I shall be greatly obliged by your letting me know about them.
Some two years since I received a very welcome letter from my uncle John Hertig--welcome on account of the information it contained, the spirit of kindness it manifested and the promise of a continued correspondence which it held out. I replied to it almost immediately and have been waiting ever since for another but in vain, as none has yet arrived. Tell him for me that he stands in my debt and that a letter addressed to me at Portland will make all right and contribute very much pleasure.
I see my last page is rapidly filling up, and I have said almost nothing of what I desired and intended to say. I shall need to defer it until I see you or until my next letter.
Although in the mines I am not mining, nor striving to obtain the "gold that perisheth," but I am striving by the grace of God to lay up treasure in heaven. My daily prayer to God is that you and all around [to] whom my affections cling in my native land may be followers of them who through faith and patience inherited the promises and that we all may with them join in the song of Moses and the Lord around the eternal throne in heaven.
Give my love to all the friends and the affectionate regards of my wife to allMss 1500 Joseph Showalter Smith, folder 5/44, Oregon Historical Society Research Library
I remain your afft. nephew
Joseph S. Smith
Portland, Dec. 13, 1852.Editor Statesman--On account of the large number of immigrants that are now in this city who seem undetermined what to do or where to locate, I take great pleasure in stating the facts that I have personally become acquainted with during the few months last past, while traveling in Southern Oregon.
It is a fact well known that all, or nearly all, the available claims in this region are now taken up, and consequently the next best will now be sought after. During my travels in Jackson County I was greatly surprised to find so much good farming land and so little of it taken up, especially near the coast. In the valley of Rogue River there is a sufficient amount of prairie and woodland for a large settlement, and so, also, in the valleys of Elk River, Sixes River, Coquille River, and in the vicinity of Floras Creek there are two prairies, one containing about twenty-two hundred acres, and the other about fourteen hundred. These lands are all right and well adapted to agricultural purposes, and every way worthy the attention of immigrants who wish to select homes in this Territory.
Yours, &c., F.Oregon Statesman, Oregon City, December 18, 1852, page 1
The California Chronicle gives news from Shasta, Yreka &c. It says:
The United States cavalry sent north under the command of Major Fitzgerald have done but little towards fulfilling the objects of the expedition. The troops are stationed in Scott's Valley, where they are awaiting the arrival of provisions and necessary equipments. In the meantime, Major Fitzgerald, attended by a small escort, has proceeded to the station of Capt. Wright on the emigrant road, about one hundred and fifty miles east of Yreka. As soon as he makes himself acquainted with the country it is his intention to decide upon a movement in concert with Capt. Wright, and order his command to a place of action. The citizens of Yreka do not anticipate that much will be done before winter. Then the mountains will be covered with snow and the Indians will be driven into the small valleys, and their chances of escape necessarily lessened. One of the strongholds of the Indians against whom the citizens of Siskiyou have been contending is a lake spotted with small islands. It has been their habit, when hotly pursued, to resort to this lake, where they could not be pursued by the whites. To remedy this the citizens of Yreka caused two small boats to be built, which have been forwarded to the scene of action.
We are glad to learn that the sickness which prevailed to such an alarming extent among the emigrants has almost entirely ceased. Frosts have been frequent about Yreka, and have exerted a very beneficial effect upon the health of the country.
Glasgow Weekly Times, Glasgow, Missouri, December 9, 1852, page 2
From the Southern Mines--Indian Hostilities--47 Killed.Oregon Weekly Times, Portland, December 18, 1852, page 2
(From Cram, Rogers & Co.'s Express.)
We are indebted to Mr. Hereford of Cram & Co.'s Express for important news from that interesting portion of our country. He left Yreka on the 25th of Nov.--remained at Jacksonville several days and arrived in this city on the 10th inst.
He informs us that Capt. Wright with his company of 25 men, near the great Tule Lake near the southern trail, had a fight with the Indians, in which he was completely victorious, having killed forty-seven--and brought in 47 scalps, several horses, bows and arrows, and various Indian ictas. Two men only were wounded.
The appearance of the victors on their entrance into Yreka is represented as being highly exulting--every rifle bore a scalp, and Capt. Wright's horse was bedecked with the trophies of valor. The citizens of Yreka gave them a grand reception--dinner--&c., &c.
Capt. Wright has been out ever since August with a small company of volunteers on the immigrant trail to protect the immigration from Indian depredations, but has never before been able to get an open fight with them. The Indian hostilities, it is thought, are now at an end in that vicinity by this decisive stroke made by Captain Wright and his men. Capt. Wright, it seems to us, is deserving of the thanks of the people of Oregon for his efficient services--and as the Legislature is now in session we suggest the propriety of their presenting him a sword in behalf of the people of the Territory, whom he has served so well.
THE MINES.--The news from the mines is of a cheering character--miners were now generally doing well. New diggings had been discovered 18 miles east of Table Rock on Rogue River, which are reported to pay $16 per day to the man. The Shasta mines are reported as paying well. The Shasta River Company is organized to turn Shasta River through the mines. It is estimated that it will cost $75,000, and about two thirds of the stock is already taken; the other third will be taken no doubt soon. They take the water some 18 miles.
Miners on South Umpqua are making 5 to 6 dollars per day, 6 miles above the Kenyon.
NEW POST OFFICES. Deer Creek, Jackson Co. Dardanelles, Jackson Co., W. G. T'Vault, P.M.
Oregon Weekly Times, Portland, December 25, 1852, page 2
A correspondent of the Oregon Times, writing from Jacksonville, a mining town, under date of Dec. 30th, says: "A mail is expected to run soon to Canyonville. An express runs between Jacksonville and Yreka, California. The rain had been constant, and the inhabitants leaving. 'Yreka,' says the writer, 'take our flour away as fast as the price becomes as low as fifty cents per pound. The population of the town is about 1000.'"
The weather at the Dalles at last accounts was excessively cold. It commenced snowing on the 8th December, and continued 22 days and nights.
Sacramento Daily Union, February 9, 1853, page 2
On the 15th of September  I returned to Portland on the steamer Columbia. We continued to work off our goods and closed out the entire stock the following April. Everything in Portland then was very dull, so after settling up I took a notion to go out to Jacksonville and take a look at the country and the mines. Jewett went onto a ranch above Oregon City on this side and went into raising eggs for the market, but did not succeed in it.
The gold mines of Jacksonville were the first ever worked in Oregon.
TRIP TO JACKSONVILLE WITH SOME EXPERIENCE IN MINING.Mr. Wilson, the jeweler who worked with Pillow & Drew (you may remember him) wanted to go out there. William Frazer, who had got back from San Francisco, also wanted to go. I had on hand, that came from Boston by the Page, a handcart and no sale for it, so I had some shafts put to it, bought a mule that was used to going in shafts. In this we put our traps and some few articles to sell to miners to help pay expenses. This William was to drive. Mr. Wilson had two horses of his own; one he packed with his tools and rode the other. I bought a Canadian pony of Lloyd Brooks, one he had ridden across the plains in a cavalry company of 1850, and a most gentle and faithful animal he proved to me (once probably saved me from drowning). So we started out about the first of June 1852. The first day when a few miles over the mountains Will got his cart into some deep ruts and somehow managed to mash down both wheels, so I had to return to Portland and send out a dray and took the cart back to Portland and had the wheels built over stronger. In two days we got another start and went on very well, except Will managed to upset the cart twice, but did no damage. Before starting I had Miller, the drayman, make me a canvas large enough to cover over the entire cart, with eyelet holes all around and staples in the cart. This we could lash down and keep everything secure, even if it did upset. I also oiled it, and this kept everything dry. It was very pleasant weather all the way out. We slept outdoors most every night. It was also bright moonlight. We got our meals as we went along from one farmhouse to another. The middle of the days generally very warm. We would find some cool shade and water and lay off until towards night and then travel way into midnight. One night we camped on the side of quite a high hill and in hitching up in the morning I lifted up the shaft to turn the cart round a little when it took a start downhill over and over until it brought up by the side of a large fallen tree, otherwise it would have gone down into a deep ravine, but we managed to get up again and nothing hurt. We finally arrived at Jacksonville safely. I do not remember how many days we were on the road, about ten I think. A very pleasant trip, to take it all together. There were then but few families in Jacksonville, more of a mining camp. We looked round a while and then went round to some of the diggings. Went to the first that was discovered in or around Southern Oregon. It was discovered in 1850 or 1851 by a packer by the name of George Frazier. He was packing goods from Scottsburg to Yreka, California. The first discoveries took from this "Rich Gulch" (this was the name given it and still retained) something over $30,000, in a few months' time, mostly coarse gold from $1 to $20 pieces. The second workers the next year took out $12,000 to $15,000, working over the old tailings. When we got there two men were at work on the same tailings for the third time, and making six to eight dollars per day. We found a man mining at the head of this gulch. He had two men working with him digging and washing out the gold in a small rocker. He had been taking out from $30 to $40 per day. We took a survey of the mine. Mr. Wilson had had some experience in mining in California. I had had none. Everything looked so favorable we concluded to buy the man out and work it ourselves and might find something better. He asked $300. We got it for $200. The first day we took out $30, next $25, and so on down to $16, but the water from the ditch gave out and we had to abandon it before we quite got our money back.
We then went to prospecting among the hills and gulches. Up one ravine we found very good prospect of fine gold, but no water near to wash it. Near the foot of this ravine was a small spring. This we tried to utilize by building a dam below it in the hopes that during the night it would hold water enough for us to work during the day. So we set the mule and cart to work and one dug and another run the washer, but we could not get the supply of water needed, so we abandoned it after two days' trial and taking some $16. So we continued prospecting round for some two weeks. We found several good prospects on the hills but too far from water. So I turned my attention to the mercantile business, and Mr. Wilson opened a watchmaker and jeweler's stand. William got hold of a small plot not far from town on the side hill where he could make very good wages, coyoteing, as it's called. You excavate a hole some 5 to 6 feet in diameter and 4 to 6 feet deep. From three to five feet down you find a strata of small cobblestones embedded in a kind of brown clay, and when wet quite sticky. In this cement you would find coarse gold from twenty-five cents to several dollars. The pieces looked, many of them, in shape like pumpkin seeds. He took out some days as high as $16, two or three dollars every day. The dirt thrown out was supposed to have still more. This was shoveled out in heaps to work with water in the springtime, but after washing it hardly any was found, having all been picked out as it was dug from day to day.
The outlook being very good for merchandising, I left Jacksonville for Portland, came back by way of Scottsburg, quite a little town on the Umpqua River. I arrived in Portland in August. In talking over my trip with Mr. Charles Birdseye he said he thought his nephew David Birdseye would like to join me in the venture, and that he would furnish him the means. So arrangements were made to that effect.
In 1852 was the large overland immigration to Oregon, when so many died and many of them lost their all. Widowers, widows and orphan children were to be met with all round Portland and up the Columbia River to the Dalles. We decided to take out with us as many goods as we could haul in two wagons, with three yoke of oxen to each wagon. The oxen would sell out there at a profit and the wagons would probably be worth all they cost us. While Mr. Birdseye was getting the goods together, I went out to Washington County and bought six yoke of nice, fat oxen. Then we went up to the lower Cascades, where many immigrants were camped, and bought from them two wagons and took them down to Portland by steamer Fashion, Captain Van Burgen. We also hired two men (immigrants) who wanted to get to Jacksonville to drive our teams. I knew we would have some very difficult places to get the wagons over and thought these men had had just the experience we needed, so we got loaded up with 2500 pounds on one wagon and 2000 pounds on the other. We started the latter part of September. Mr. Birdseye and myself rode horseback; we took along provisions and did our own cooking, but only cooked breakfast and supper. Mr. Birdseye and I would at noontime ride to some farmers and get some lunch, bread and milk generally, but could not always get that as some of the old Oregon farmers were too lazy to milk their cows. The wagons had covers; we slept in or under the wagons. I took a small wool mattress along, which made it quite comfortable sleeping. We arrived out there in about twenty days' trip, 300 miles, without much mishap, upset our wagon twice but it did not do much damage. We opened out in a rough vacant building until we could build one of our own, which we did after a little while, also a room with fireplace to cook by (no cook stoves then out there), eat and sleep in. I put upon one side some berths, same as aboard vessels, which made very comfortable sleeping and did not occupy much room. Our goods were mostly groceries and articles adapted to mining camps. We rented one side of the store to a Jew who had quite a stock of dry goods. This gave customers quite a variety. Our currency was mostly in gold dust.
The 1st Dec. it became necessary to replenish our stock of goods, and they had to come from Portland, so we engaged a packer who had thirty pack mules to meet me at Corvallis at a certain date, while I came on ahead to Portland and got my goods up to Corvallis by steamer. I started out from Jacksonville on my horse, "Billy," all alone and had on my person about $4000 in gold dust, distributed in small packets, in a buckskin vest I had made for that purpose. This way was easier and safer than all in one package. This I wore between my undershirt and white shirt. I found it quite a burden to carry so far; it troubled me most in laying down of nights. I never removed it until I got to Portland. I was about ten days making the trip, and it rained about every day I was on the road and raised the streams and flooded the bottom lands where the trail passed over in some bottoms on the Long Tom. I had to go through water most up to the horse's belly for half a mile or more at a time. I finally got to Roseburg, it then containing but two or three buildings. A man by the name of Rose owned the town site; he also kept the only place where one could eat and sleep. Being night when I got there, I was obliged to stop there too. There were a motley crowd, packers, miners, tramps, etc., etc., some 25 altogether. We all had to sleep on the floor and all in one room. Old Rose and wife and two or three children were in one corner on a feather bed on the floor. When we were all lying down one could not get round without stepping on someone.
It rained heavy all night, and the little stream not far from the house that we would have to cross (those that were bound north) was just booming. There were two pack trains with some 12 to 15 animals apiece, anxious to cross, so one of them made the attempt by forcing some 6 or 8 mules to take the water and swim over. The current was quite swift; one or two made it. One got into some driftwood and drowned; the others came back. They did not then try anymore. I also was very anxious to get on, but knew it was useless to try there. I strolled down a stream for half a mile and found a large tree had been felled across the stream so one could cross it on foot and the water did not seem so rapid, so I took my traps and Billy and went down there. I put Billy in with the lasso on his neck and leading him in part way by walking on the tree, then let him go and told him to go on; he did so and got out on the other side all right. I then took my traps and the saddle and crossed over on the tree, saddled up and went on all alone, but that day I had quite an adventure on the road near what is now called "Yoncalla." Where Mr. Jesse Applegate lived was a small stream, little water in it when we passed over it in Oct., was now bank full, but only a rod or two wide. I see the little bridge that we crossed on was afloat and I dared not attempt to cross it, so I thought I would ford it, but had forgotten how high the banks were. Some Mexican packers were on the other side, camped. I hailed and asked if I could ford it; they signed me to come on, so I told Billy to go on and as he stepped off the bank he went under the water all over and me to my armpits, but he soon came up all right and I held on to the pommel of the saddle and he took me out safely on the other side. The Mexicans laughed, but if I could have talked Spanish they would probably [have] heard from me. They no doubt would like to have seen me drowned and then robbed me. I had to ride about a mile before coming to a house; I stopped there and told them my situation and they kindly built a fire in a spare room and gave me the use of it to dry my clothes. After an hour or so I went on and arrived at Corvallis without any more mishap, but if I had lost my hold on the saddle I doubt whether, as good a swimmer as I then was, I could have kept above water with all that weight on me, some over 15 pounds.
Tribute to Billy: He was the most faithful horse and did me good service in traveling back and forth to Jacksonville some five times. I could unsaddle him wherever I stopped of nights, and if no stable and feed was there I let him run and look for himself. He would seldom stray more than half a mile or so from where he was turned loose; I could go up and catch him anywhere. He could not travel very fast, would take about a four-mile gait and keep it up all day, and ready for the next day. When I left Jacksonville for good I sold him to Mr. Birdseye. He bought him for his wife, and a few years ago I saw a notice from a Jacksonville paper that he was yet alive. He must have been then about thirty years old.
I left my horse at Corvallis and took the steamer for Oregon City. There I made my first purchase, some 4000 lbs. of flour, of Dr. McLoughlin at 16¢ per lb. Then on down to Portland and made the balance of my purchase in sugar, coffee, salt, tobacco and some boots. The weather at this time was getting quite cold. I finally got all my goods on the little iron steamer Bell, commanded by Wells, and Capt. Dick Williams, engineer and fireman. We had to break the ice some distance out from the wharf boat before we could get a good start. It was of a Sat. morning when we left Portland. When we got to Oregon City the horse teams would not haul goods to Canemah, the ice in the mud holes not strong enough to bear up the horses, and the ice cut their legs. The steamer at Canemah was to leave for Corvallis Sunday at 10 a.m. (they only made one trip a week then). I was very anxious to get my freight up there. I was lucky enough to find an ox team in town with a load of wood. Said he would take them up for 50¢ 100 lbs. and have them there before dark; I said go ahead. He had 3 yoke of oxen to his wood wagon. He got them all up in three loads. The boat was then full and still there were lots of goods in the warehouse. I told the Captain my situation and that the packer would be awaiting me at Corvallis, so he consented to take my freight. We left Canemah about noon on Sunday; that night and Monday and for several days it never ceased snowing. It blockaded all the travel out south and I had to lay at Corvallis 16 days before my train got in, but it was the first in of any. Some packers lost many mules; one lost 29 out of 30 head. My packer only lost one. The steamer that brought up my freight went back to Canemah and did not make another trip while I was in Corvallis. I got my goods all safely into Mr. Avery's storehouse. Mr. Barnardo's brother was clerking for Mr. Avery then. For several days before I left Corvallis I had to supply two hotels with flour.
We loaded up and started the train in three days after it got in. We got through to Jacksonville all right and were the first train in from Corvallis, and glad were the citizens to see us, as many of the families and miners were entirely out of flour and had been for some weeks. Mr. Birdseye said there were a few sacks hidden away. He had one sack hidden. We soon sold all we had for 60¢ per lb., leaving us a profit of about 12¢ per lb. Tobacco sold for $5 per lb., table salt in 5-lb. boxes sold for $2.50 per box and everything else in proportion as the town was drained of everything, so we made a very good thing out of the trip. Had I not pushed through to Portland and got my goods to Corvallis when I did it would have made a vast difference in profits. Soon other trains began to come in and prices went down. There had come into Jacksonville in the fall several families by the way of California. Other than these, it was only a mining camp, a good place to make money, but I felt I had not ought to be away from my family, so far away, any longer and Jacksonville at that time was no place to bring children to. I hated to leave, had made many good acquaintances. So I decided to sell out, and did so, to Mr. Birdseye and the Jew. I put William on a 160-acre claim I had taken for debt. It joined one owned by Mr. Birdseye, on which was Bob Mulligan (you may remember him when we were on the farm) and about 10 miles north of Jacksonville on the main traveled road. Wm. promised to keep charge of it until something could be realized from it. It was a very nice place, some grazing land and a very nice lot of fine timber, but a few months after I left he got into trouble by helping some fellow get away from the sheriff and had to leave for the Willamette Valley, abandoning the claim. He never paid me all for the mining claim in Jacksonville, so I was out on his account some $200. I had sold everything but the old mule; he I concluded to ride down to Portland on. Birdseye wanted Billy so much I let him have him, but on the road I traded the mule off for a horse, which I rode into Portland and there disposed of him.
Thomas Frazer, Family History, Oregon Historical Society Research Library Mss. 2667, pages 36-44. Frazer's dates are unclear, but his description of the Starvation Winter of 1852-53 dates this account.
New gold discoveries have recently been made near Table Rock.
----GOLD.--The gold mines of Rogue River Valley, and other localities, near the southern boundary of Oregon, are being wrought to considerable profit. Gold, in small quantities, has been discovered on several small tributaries east of the Cascades. There is considerable analogy between the gold-bearing rock of California and the talcose and other allied rocks of the Umpqua Valley. And gold has been found on most of the small streams entering the Umpqua as well as the main stream. Also on the south fork of Santiam and on Calapooia Creek.
"Later from Oregon," Sacramento Daily Union, December 29, 1852, page 2
I received this morning by stage $350.25 in coin and mailed the same to order of Cram Rogers & Co.
In reply to your inquiry concerning my agency of Clugage's town property, when I came to Jacksonville in 1852 I had almost determined to build on the hill near the old butcher shop, but there was another claimant to that lot. At the time I was boarding with Clugage at his camp; he was very anxious that I should build on his claim and start the town there. I concluded to do so. He told me he would give me a lot there and I went and took it and laid off the two streets Oregon and California streets by posting a stake at the four corners, marking the corner of my lot. The beginning point laying off the two streets sixty feet wide and making lots 50 feet front and 100 feet deep, told Clugage what I had done. It met his approbation. I then advised him to give away every other lot in order to induce more comers to settle on his town lots. He told me he wanted me to act as his agent and do what I thought was best under this arrangement. When Evans & Donisa came to the place I gave them as the agent of Clugage the corner where the Table Rock Hotel was built, also induced Jones and Metcalfe to come down and build on the lot which Fowler has sold to you by telling them I would and did give them the same. They built a lot house and it and Clugage knew that I gave it to them but never made any objection. Jones and Metcalfe dissolved and the property was divided and Metcalfe kept the lot. He then sold it to Freeman and Freeman sold it to Fowler. There never was any writings between me and Clugage concerning the agency, but he knew my acts and acquiesced in them.
This is all I can recollect about the matter only that several others hold their lots by the same title.
Respectfully yoursUndated, but written sometime before Cram, Rogers & Co.'s failure in 1856. Mss 1500, folder 3/84, Oregon Historical Society Research Library
D. M. Kenney
For news of the starvation winter of 1852-1853, click here.
Last revised March 22, 2021