The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Rowena Nichols
Most of Rowena Nichols' manuscript titled "Notes on Indian Affairs in Oregon" concerns the history of the Palouse in Eastern Washington. It contains an essay on William Patterson Breeding, founder of Palouse, Washington; a transcription of a memoir by Father Joseph Joset of the Coeur d'Alene Mission; notes on Father Point of the Cataldo Mission; and capsule histories of the Washington towns of Colfax, Palouse City, Lincoln, Farmington and Almota. It also contains the following:

Scenes from the Rogue River War
The First Battle
    Capt. Lupton surrounded the Indians at the mouth of Little Butte Creek on the north side of Rogue River. Just at daybreak they opened fire on the Indians, killing nearly all the braves and many squaws and papooses. Some of the braves escaped by plunging into the river and swimming to the opposite shore. At the close of the battle Lupton remarked to his companions that an old tree which had fallen near and was half covered with vines was the very place an Indian would seek to hide in. He stepped forward, parted the vines with the muzzle of his rifle, and as he did so a concealed brave shot him with a poisoned arrow. He lived but a few days.
    All the people near forted at McDaniels' on Butte Creek. In sight of the fort lived some young men, the Seyferth brothers and McDowell. Next day after the battle they were preparing to move to the fort when Indians fired upon them. A ball struck McDowell on the hip, passing through a powder horn and carrying a portion of the horn deep into the flesh. Seyferth bade him hasten to the fort, and the brave boys continued hitching up their teams and succeeded in bringing to the fort their team and effects under a heavy fire of the Indians. A few brave men hastened from the fort and carried McDowell in, yet he lived but a short time.
    On the 6 of July 1856 a pack train belonging to John H. Taylor [Rowena Nichols' uncle] and Alex McNary was crossing the Siskiyou Mountains. There were three men with the train, McNary, Bishop and Solomon Fogle. The train was returning to Jacksonville and was about four miles from the Mountain House. As the train entered a deep canyon McNary observed an ambuscade "built behind a large fallen tree." He called out to his companions to save themselves. They were surrounded by Indians. McNary and Bishop sprang for the brush. The Indians killed Fogle while he was endeavoring to jump from his horse. Bishop and McNary succeeded in reaching the Mountain House. A company of volunteers pursued the Indians. They retreated as fast as possible till they reached a favorable ambuscade. They fired upon the soldiers. A sharp engagement followed in which Keene was killed and Tabor wounded. [Compare this Keene/Tabor account with that of Mary M. Dunn.] The Indians outnumbered the volunteers and had the advantage ground. The soldiers were forced to retreat, carrying the dead and wounded with them. The train was all lost. [Find 
correspondence on the Taylor/McNary pack train here.]

    [On October 6, 1855 Holland] Bailey was driving hogs to Jacksonville. When he reached Cow Creek an Indian waylaid him. The Indian was hid behind a log.

    Killed by the Indians--I do not remember the dates--Newton, Hamilton (Frasier wounded), Angel killed.
Rowena Nichols, "Notes on Indian Affairs in Oregon," 1879, Bancroft Library MS P-A 54, pages 20-22

- - - - -

    Mrs. Rowena Nichols, who has been in attendance at the art school of the Academy of the Sacred Heart, took her departure for Tacoma yesterday.
"Personal Mention," Statesman Journal, Salem, December 25, 1889, page 1

MRS. ROWENA NICHOLS, ARTIST--Art studio 1016 Jackson Street; drawing, crayon, pastels, oils and lustro painting. In class, 50 cents per hour, private, 75 cents; decorative painting done to order; visitors welcome.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, February 15, 1890, page 3

    H. J. Davys to Rowena Nichols, lot 20, block 9, Holmes' add., $3,600.
"Real Estate Sales,"
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, September 4, 1891, page 7

    . . . "The Old Church at Tacoma," by Miss Rowena Nichols.

"Art Loan Exhibition,"
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, October 2, 1891, page 8

    Mrs. Rowena Nichols, of Seattle, is visiting Mrs. S. McFadden in this city.
"Personal Mention," Statesman Journal, Salem, December 22, 1891, page 4

    Mrs. Rowena Nichols (nee Bunyard), a former resident of Jacksonville, returned one day last week, and will spend several months here. She has gained considerable reputation as an artist.
"Personal Mention," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, January 1, 1892, page 3

    Mrs. Rowena Nichols opened an art studio in the Ryan building on California Street. She will spend a good deal of time in the next few months in collecting a series of historical sketches, etc., for the world's fair next year at Chicago.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, January 22, 1892, page 3

    Mrs. Rowena Nichols, the artist, is receiving considerable encouragement here and has organized a large class in painting.

"Here and There," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, January 29, 1892, page 3

    The success of Mrs. Rowena Nichols as a teacher of art is best illustrated by the results achieved, and from the talk of the art critics of this section many of the pictures painted have been genuine gems of art, indicating careful training as well as native talent.
"Here and There," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 4, 1892, page 3

    Miss Rowena Nichols is spending the week at Ashland, the guest of an old-time friend, Miss Corda Smith. The lady will endeavor to organize an art class there. All who are interested in art should avail themselves of the excellent opportunity to secure her instruction. Her ultimate object is to reproduce Oregon scenery for a grand World's Fair exhibit.
"Jacksonville Items," Ashland Tidings, March 4, 1892, page 3

    Mrs. Rowena Nichols of this place has been engaged in the work of organizing an art class at Ashland during the week, meeting with much encouragement in the granite city.
"Here and There," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 11, 1892, page 3

    Mrs. Rowena Nichols will instruct an art class at Ashland, at the residence of Mrs. D. L. Rice, every Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 o'clock p.m. She ought to be liberally patronized, as she is an artist of ability.

"Here and There," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 18, 1892, page 3

The Famous Table Rocks.
    Mrs. Rowena Nichols is making sketches from the best points of view of the historic Table Rock Mountains, with the intention of returning to San Francisco, where she can get the necessary studio accommodations and there finish a large painting of the mountains, showing Mt. Pitt in the background and giving due prominence to the point from which tradition says the braves of Indian war days flung themselves when overpowered and corralled by the white volunteers. It will be one of the greatest objects of interest at the exposition to residents of all parts of the coast, where the story is generally believed. It is a pretty legend, at any rate, and should by all means be made the most of in such a connection.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 25, 1892, page 3

    Mrs. R. Nichols, the artist, is meeting with much success, having several classes in painting in different portions of the county.

"Here and There," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 25, 1892, page 3

    Jacksonville, Or., March 17.--The Woman's World Fair Club of Jacksonville has decided that its exhibit shall be a historic oil painting of Table Rock, in the northern part of the valley. One of the most desperate battles of pioneers was fought between the Table Rocks by the Indians and volunteers in 1852, and when the Indians were completely routed they fled to the highest point on the rock and dashed madly over the precipice. [This is myth.] Many pioneers are still living who participated in that battle, among them Col. J. N. T. Miller, of Jacksonville. [An interview with Miller contradicts this.] Table Rock at this point will be the foreground of the painting, with Rogue River at its base. Butte Creek Valley with the Cascade Range will be the background with fine views of Mount Pitt and Diamond Peak. The painting will be 7½x5 feet, and will be framed in a most beautiful mosaic of Southern Oregon woods, with an inner setting of natural native ores. Mrs. Rowena Nichols, a Southern Oregon artist, who has attained eminence in art circles, has been employed to paint the picture, which is to be completed in six months.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, April 1, 1892, page 1

Preliminaries Commenced.
    Mrs. P. P. Prim, while at Portland, made investigations relative to securing an appropriate frame for the contemplated picture of the historic Table Rock Mountains, to be painted by Mrs. Rowena Nichols, who will shortly go to San Francisco for the purpose of securing studio accommodations to carry on the work. The Ladies' World's Fair Club of Jacksonville is doing good service, and the painting will be one of the greatest objects of interest at the exposition from Oregon. A most advantageous point of view for an effective picture of those grand plateaus, with old McLoughlin or Pitt in the background, has been discovered in Sams Valley, and the preliminary sketch of the work has been made from that point. No more complete outline for the picture could be imagined than the snowy cone of Pitt, viewed through the gap between the upper and lower Table Rocks.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, April 15, 1892, page 3

Another Distinction.
    Mrs. Rowena Nichols, the artist, who has been employed to paint the Table Rocks for Jacksonville's World's Fair Club, has been invited to furnish contributories for a book of World's Fair poems, to be published by the poet F. J. Cheshire and Wm. Clark. The publishers have also asked Mrs. Nichols to furnish illustrations for the book, and as a measure of courtesy to Jacksonville's club, she will include the Table Rocks with a historic poem, embodying the pioneers' communications connected therewith.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, April 22, 1892, page 3

    Among the meritorious pieces of work executed by Mrs. Rowena Nichols' art students in her Ashland class was the painting of "Land's End," England, which was finished last week by Mrs. W. H. Brunk, who possesses much artist ability. It is indeed a fine piece of coloring and outlining, and would do credit to an artist of far greater experience.
"Here and There," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, May 6, 1892, page 3

    An art circle was recently formed at Ashland, in the parlors of the Oregon, composed of members of Mrs. Rowena Nichols' classes at the county seat and at Ashland. The ladies of this valley are now taking a very lively interest in art matters.
"Here and There," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, May 27, 1892, page 3

    The Jacksonville World's Fair Club is progressing fairly with its work. Much interest abroad is being manifested in the painting designed by the club of historic Table Rock, and it will no doubt be one of the most interesting and attractive exhibits. The president, Mrs. P. P. Prim, was in Portland last week and visited several different places to see if the frame, which is to be inlaid in natural Southern Oregon woods, could be made there. There is no work of that kind done there, and the club will have to have it made  East. Mrs. Nichols, the artist, who has contracted to do the painting, has submitted another view taken from Sans Valley which shows Mt. Pitt in the background between the Table Rocks and which gives the true artistic balance to the picture. It will be sketched from many different points, one of them giving the place where General Lane made the treaty with the Indians. Mrs. Nichols will execute other paintings of historic scenery including old Fort Lane, Pilot Rock, the Tolman blockhouse, etc., which she will exhibit in a private collection at the World's Fair. Southern Oregon will be splendidly advertised through this medium.

"Jacksonville Items," Ashland Tidings, April 1, 1892, page 3

    Mrs. P. P. Prim said: "I am president of the Jacksonville Woman's World's Fair Club. We have contracted with Mrs. Rowena Nichols to paint the Table Rocks for our exhibit at the world's fair. The lady is a native of this county, who has studied abroad, and although her home is now in Washington, she expects to exhibit a collection from historic landmarks in this valley with us. We never contemplated attaching any fishy legends to our picture when it is placed on exhibition; neither do we take it as a compliment that the brave men who defended our homes in pioneer days should be styled 'fictitiously reminiscent.'"
"Table Rock Legend," Ashland Tidings, April 22, 1892, page 1

    Mrs. Rowena Nichols, the artist, has been at Tolo during the week, sketching on her Table Rock painting.

"Jacksonville Items," Ashland Tidings, May 6, 1892, page 3

The Last of the Mohicans.
    Old Jennie, the last representative of the famous Rogue River Indians, now living in this county and quite advanced in years, is making a burial robe, after the custom of the distinguished members of the tribe, in which to be laid away when the summons shall come, and she shall pass to the happy hunting grounds where the white man is not and firewater is unknown. The groundwork is of fine buckskin and is superbly decorated with the various kinds of money used by the tribe for generations past, and richly ornamented in a pleasing and skillful manner with jewels, pebbles, beads and other valuables used and admired by the tribe in the past. The robe, when completed, will weigh fully fifty pounds, and as a relic or reminder of the peculiar customs and practices of a nation of people now practically blotted from existence is most valuable and should be preserved. With this commendable purpose in view, Mrs. Rowena Nichols, the talented artist, who has been employed by the World's Fair committee to paint the Table Rocks, has procured a number of sketches of this interesting subject and will paint a life-size picture of old Jennie, wrapped in her gorgeous cerements, and thus happily preserve a sacred custom about to pass forever into oblivion. Old Jennie was born and raised at the foot of [the] Table Rocks, and during the wars was once captured by the whites, and later rescued by her people. She lives about a mile and a half from Jacksonville up Jackson Creek and to hear her tell, in that peculiar and impressive Indian style, the grievous outrages and nameless wrongs perpetrated upon her people, and their consequent annihilation from the face of the earth, would touch the stoutest heart with sympathy, and almost make one wish he could face again the brawny braves who fought and died for this fair heritage, and for which sad fate old Jennie's heart goes out in butter wails. This painting will be a valuable object lesson in indicating the fast-fleeting cycles of time and the rapid mutations of human customs and usages, and will serve as a most fitting companion piece to the Table Rocks, where Jennie was born and grew up, chiefly on war-whoops and camas, clad only in the free raw material of innocence and a copper complexion, happy in her native simplicity and blissfully ignorant of modern civilization and the gracious benefits of the McKinley tariff law.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, May 20, 1892, page 3

    Mrs. Rowena Nichols last week returned to Jacksonville from Grants Pass, where she has been engaged in sketching, but did not remain here long. Yesterday she left for San Francisco, where she will finish her paintings of Table Rock and the Josephine County caves.
"Personal Mention," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 22, 1892, page 3

    Mrs. Rowena Nichols, the artist, has completed her sketching in Jackson and Josephine counties, and left for San Francisco Thursday to complete her painting of Table Rock for the Woman's World's Fair Club of Jacksonville. The club is anxious to have the picture on exhibition at the Portland exposition, and Mrs. Nichols will endeavor to have it composed by that time.

"Jacksonville Items," Ashland Tidings, July 22, 1892, page 3

The Picture of Table Rocks for the Columbian Exposition.

    JACKSONVILLE, Or., July 22.--Mrs. Rowena Nichols, the artist who has contracted with the Jacksonville Women World's Fair Club to paint a picture of the Table Rocks in the northern part of Rogue River Valley for exhibition at the World's Fair, has completed her sketches, and left yesterday morning for San Francisco, where she will paint the picture. The artist hopes to have the painting completed in time for the club to place it on exhibition at the Portland Industrial Exposition this fall.--Cor. Oregonian.
Medford Mail,
July 29, 1892, page 4

    Mrs. Rowena Nichols is now actively engaged on her fine picture of the noted Table Rocks, for the historical exhibit from this valley to the world's fair. She has removed to San Francisco to procure studio facilities.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, August 5, 1892, page 3

The Picture Completed.
    The ladies who so patriotically encouraged the idea of having the oil painting of the Table Rock Mountains executed by Mrs. Rowena Nichols, and who have been uneasy lest the work should not be ready for exhibition at the Portland exposition, have had their fears for naught, for the work is already done and the picture has received many encomiums from artists of note in the bay city and others. The news was received here several days ago, and it is also learned that the best possible position has been secured for the work at the exposition, where it is sure to attract much attention by reason of its individual merit and because of its historic interest. The ladies club and Mrs. Nichols are are alike to be congratulated over the happy outcome of their efforts.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, September 16, 1892, page 3

    Mrs. Rowena Nichols, the Southern Oregon artist, was married at Seattle on September 29th to H. J. Davys, an architect and artist.
"Local and General," Medford Mail, October 14, 1892, page 3

    Mrs. Rowena Nichols, the artist, has been quite sick at Portland. Her picture of Table Rocks is on exhibition at the exposition.
"Personal Mention," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 14, 1892, page 2

   Mrs. Rowena Nichols, the well-known artist, is receiving the congratulations of her many friends upon her marriage to Mr. Davys, a prominent citizen of Seattle, Wash., where she formerly resided.
"Here and There," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 21, 1892, page 3

    SEATTLE (Wash.), December 5.--Mrs. Rowena Nichols Davys, well known on the Pacific Coast as a painter, whose death has been several times reported from the North, and particularly that she had been drowned in Lake Atlin, has returned to Seattle, a living refutation of the story.
"Canadian Trail Open to Dawson," San Francisco Examiner, December 6, 1899, page 2

Two Women Prospectors Said to Have Struck a Very Rich Ledge.
    TACOMA (Wash.), August 3.--Two women prospectors have made one of the most important mineral discoveries yet recorded in Alaska. They are Mrs. Rowena Nichols Davys, a Seattle artist, and Mrs. Baskerville of Haines Mission, who have been prospecting for some time in Porcupine district.
    Their discovery consists of a large ledge of graphite located on the Dalton trail and a wagon road near Porcupine Creek. Surface indications show a deposit of pure graphite three feet in width and traceable for two and one-half miles. This vein is part of a ledge fully 200 feet wide, all of which contains a large percentage of graphite.
    The deposit also contains a small percentage of gold and silver. Graphite is worth upward of $100 per ton. The same women have located a gold-bearing ledge in the vicinity of the graphite, and have taken specimens of rich-looking rock to Haines for assay purposes. Mrs. Baskerville has prospected in Alaska for several years, and owns a number of good placer claims in the Porcupine camp.
San Francisco Chronicle, August 4, 1901, page 3

Statue of Last Survivor of Rogue River Indians to Be in Exhibit.

    One of the most interesting works of art to be exhibited at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition which will be found in the Oregon State building will be a marble statue, one-half heroic size, of "Old Jennie," the last survivor of the Rogue River Indians, who died of old age 17 years ago in Southwestern Oregon. At the close of the fair this statue will be turned over to the Oregon Historical Society and placed in its collection.
    The statue, which is exquisitely done, is the joint work of Mrs. Rowena Nichols Leinss, a resident of this city for the last 17 years, who lives at 118 Thirtieth Avenue, and August Hubert, a German sculptor, who did a great deal of work at the Chicago and St. Louis fairs and who is employed by the exposition officials on various works of statuary.
    Mrs. Leinss is a native of Oregon, and studied art in the San Francisco Art School. She is a painter and sculptor. She spent six years in Alaska, and has a wonderful collection of pictures and curiosities of that country in her studio here.
    The statue represents "Old Jennie" clad in her buckskin burial robe, which weighed 50 pounds, which was made in accordance with the laws of her race, for she was of royal lineage, and it was proper that she should be buried in the garments peculiar to her rank. She knew that her time was short, and so expressed herself to Mrs. Leinss, who photographed her and has since produced her likeness in marble.
Spokesman-Review, Spokane, December 27, 1908, page C2

    Mrs. Rowena Nichols Leinss, 74, said to be a noted landscape artist, died at 11:45 o'clock this morning at her home on West Sixth Street. A native of Oregon, she had lived 18 years in California and six years in Madera County. She is survived by her husband, John Leinss, and one sister, Mrs. Rolinda Luce of Escalon.
Madera Tribune, Madera, California, October 2, 1931, page 1

    Funeral services for Mrs. Rowena Nichols Leinss, considered one of the world's most noted landscape painters, who died at an advanced age in her small home here Friday, were held at 11 o'clock this morning from the Jay chapel. Mrs. Julia Odren, Christian Scientist reader, conducted the services. Cremation followed in Fresno.
    Mrs. Leinss is said to have refused offers of several thousand dollars for some of her paintings. She continued to paint though she suffered a stroke of paralysis a couple of years ago. It is understood that the collection of her work, said to be valued at several hundred thousand dollars, has been left to the state of California and will be placed in the state's museum of art.

Madera Tribune, Madera, California, October 5, 1931, page 1

    In the Matter of the Estate of ROWENA NICHOLS LEINSS, Deceased.
    Notice is hereby given by the undersigned JOHN G. LEINSS, Executor of the Last Will and Testament of Rowena Nichols Leinss, deceased, to the creditors of any all persons having claims against the said decedent, to file them, with the necessary vouchers, within six months after the first publication of this notice, in the office of the clerk of the Superior Court of the State of California in and for the County of Madera, or to exhibit them, with the necessary vouchers, within six months after the first publication of this notice to the said John G. Leinss at the offices of Barcroft & Barcroft, 222-224 First National Bank Bldg., Madera, California, the same being his place of business in all matters connected with said estate of Rowena Nichols Leinss, deceased.
    Dated: November 25, 1931.
    Executor of the Last Will and Testament of Rowena Nichols Leinss, deceased.
    Barcroft & Barcroft, Attorneys for Executor, Madera, California.
Madera Tribune, Madera, California, December 9, 1931, page 3

Last revised July 4, 2019