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DISCOVERY OF THE YOSEMITE***


E-text prepared by Bryan Ness, Wayne Hammond, and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team (http://www.pgdp.net) from page images generously made
available by HathiTrust Digital Library (https://www.hathitrust.org/)










[Illustration: _L. H. Bunnell_]


DISCOVERY OF THE YOSEMITE,

And the Indian War of 1851, Which Led to That Event.

by

LAFAYETTE HOUGHTON BUNNELL, M.D.,

Of the Mariposa Battalion, One of the Discoverers,
Late Surgeon Thirty-Sixth Regiment
Wisconsin Volunteers.

Third Edition - Revised And Corrected.






Fleming H. Revell Company,
New York: | Chicago:
30 Union Square: East. | 148 and 150 Madison St.

Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1880-1892, by
L. H. Bunnell,
In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.


DEDICATION.

TO THE

HON. CHARLES H. BERRY,

THIS BOOK,

IN REMEMBRANCE OF KINDLY SUGGESTIONS,

IS RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED.




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.


PAGE

I. MAPS FRONTISPIECE.

II. PORTRAIT

III. THE YOSEMITE VALLEY 13

IV. EL CAPITAN 54

V. BRIDAL VEIL FALL 59

VI. HALF DOME 74

VII. NORTH DOME AND ROYAL ARCHES 75

VIII. CATHEDRAL ROCKS 77

IX. GLACIER FALL 84

X. VERNAL FALL AND ROUND RAINBOW 86

XI. NEVADA FALL 87

XII. CACHES, OR ACORN STOREHOUSES 129

FIRE STICK 134

XIII. THREE BROTHERS 146

XIV. YOSEMITE FALL 166

XV. MIRROR LAKE 204

XVI. SENTINEL ROCK 213

XVII. THE INDIAN BELLE 219

XVIII. LAKE TEN-IE-YA 236

XIX. LAKE STARR KING 290

XX. BIG TREE 333

XXI. RIDING THROUGH A TREE TRUNK 339

TUNNELED TREE 340




CONTENTS.


CHAPTER I.

Incidents leading to the Discovery of the Yosemite
Valley - Major Savage and Savages - Whiskey, Wrangling and
War - Skinned Alive - A brisk Fight - Repulse - Another Fight, and
Conflagration 1


CHAPTER II.

The Governor of California issues a Proclamation - Formation of
the Mariposa Battalion - The Origin and Cause of the War - New
Material Public Documents - A Discussion - Capt. Walker - The
Peace Commissioners’ Parley and the Indians’ Pow-wow - The
Mysterious Deep Valley - Forward, March! 29


CHAPTER III.

March Down the South Fork - Capture of an Indian Village - Hungry
Men - An able Surgeon - Snow Storms - Visit of Ten-ie-ya, Chief
of the Yosemites - Commander’s Dilemma - Unique Manner of
Extrication - Approaching the Valley - First View - Sensations
Experienced - A Lofty Flight Brought Down 40


CHAPTER IV.

Naming the Valley - Signification and Origin of the Word - Its
proper Pronunciation: Yo-sem-i-ty - Mr. Hutchings and
Yo-Ham-i-te - His Restoration of Yo-sem-i-te 57


CHAPTER V.

Date of Discovery - First White Visitors - Captain Joe
Walker’s Statement - Ten-ie-ya’s Cunning - Indian Tradition - A
Lying Guide - The Ancient Squaw - Destroying Indian
Stores - Sweat-houses - The Mourner’s Toilet - Sentiment and
Reality - Return to Head-quarters, 70


CHAPTER VI.

Out of Provisions - A Hurried Move - Mills where Indians take
their Grists, and Pots in which they Boil their Food - Advance
Movement of Captain Dill - A Hungry Squad - Enjoyment - Neglect
of Duty - Escape of Indians - Following their Trail - A
Sorrowful Captain - A Mystery made Clear - Duplicity of the
Chow-chillas - Vow-chester’s Good-will Offering - Return of the
Fugitives - Major Savage as Agent and Interpreter 92


CHAPTER VII.

Campaign against the Chow-chillas - The Favorite Hunting
Ground - A Deer Hunt and a Bear _Chase_ - An Accident and an
Alarm - A Torch-light Pow-wow - Indians Discovered - Captain
Boling’s Speech - Crossing of the San Joaquin - A Line of Battle,
its Disappearance - Capture of Indian Village - Jose Rey’s
Funeral-pyre - Following the Trail - A Dilemma - Sentiment and
Applause - Returning to Camp - Narrow Escape of Captain Boling 105


CHAPTER VIII.

A Camp Discussion - War or Police Clubs - Jack Regrets a Lost
Opportunity - Boling’s Soothing Syrup - A Scribe Criticises
and Apologises - Indian War Material and its Manufacture - The
Fire-stick and its Sacred Uses - Arrival at Head-quarters 123


CHAPTER IX.

Starvation Subdues the Chow-chillas, and the Result is
Peace - Captain Kuykendall’s Expeditions - An Attack - Rout
and Pursuit - A Wise Conclusion - Freezing out Indians - A
Wild Country - A Terrific View - Yosemite _versus_ King’s
River - Submission of the Indians South of the San
Joaquin - Second Expedition to Yosemite - Daring Scouts - Capture
of Indians - Naming of “Three Brothers” 135


CHAPTER X.

A General Scout - An Indian Trap - Flying Artillery - A
Narrow Escape - A Tragic Scene - Fortunes of War - A Scout’s
Description - Recovery from a Sudden Leap - Surrounded by
Enemies 148


CHAPTER XI.

Camp Amusements - A Lost Arrow - Escape of a Prisoner - Escape
of Another - Shooting of the Third - Indian Diplomacy - Taking
His Own Medicine - Ten-ie-ya Captured - Grief over the Death
of His Son - Appetite under Adverse Circumstances - Poetry
Dispelled - Really a Dirty Indian 160


CHAPTER XII.

Bears and Other Game - Sickness of Captain
Boling - Convalescence and Determination - A Guess at
Heights - A Tired Doctor and a Used-up Captain - Surprising an
Indian - Know-nothingness, or Native Americanism - A Clue and
Discovery - A Short-cut to Camp, but an Unpopular Route 175


CHAPTER XIII.

The Indian Names - Difficulty of their
Interpretation - Circumstances Suggesting Names of Vernal,
Nevada and Bridal Veil Falls - Mr. Richardson’s Descriptions
of the Falls and Round Rainbow - Py-we-ack Misplaced, and
“_Illiluette_” an Absurdity - An English Name Suggested for
Too-lool-lo-we-ack, Pohono and Tote-ack-ah-nü-la - Indian
Superstitions and Spiritual Views - A Free National Park
Desirable - Off on the Trail 198


CHAPTER XIV.

A Mountain Storm - Delay of Supplies - Clams and
Ipecac - Arrival of Train - A Cute Indian - Indian Sagacity - A
Dangerous Weapon - Capture of Indian Village - An Eloquent
Chief - Woman’s Rights _versus_ Squaw’s Wrongs - A Disturbed
Family - A Magnificent Sunrise - On a Slippery Slope - Sentiment
and Poetry - Arrival at the Fresno 222


CHAPTER XV.

The Flora of the Region of the Yosemite - General
Description of the Valley and its Principal Points of
Interest, with their Heights 240


CHAPTER XVI.

A Trip to Los Angeles - Interview with Colonel McKee - A
Night at Colonel Fremont’s Camp - Management of Cattle by
the Colonel’s Herdsmen - Back to Los Angeles - Specimen
Bricks of the Angel City - An Addition to our Party - Mules
_versus_ Bears - Don Vincente - A Silver Mine - Mosquitos - A Dry
Bog - Return to Fresno - Muster out of Battalion - A Proposition 257


CHAPTER XVII.

Captain Boling elected Sheriff - Appointment of Indian
Agents - Ten-ie-ya allowed to Return to Yosemite - Murder
of Visitors - Lieut. Moore’s Expedition and Punishment
of Murderers - Gold Discoveries on Eastern Slope of
Sierras - Report of Expedition, and First _Published_ Notice
of Yosemite - Squatter Sovereignty - Assault upon King’s River
Reservation - The supposed Leader, Harvey, Denounced by Major
Savage - A Rencounter, and Death of Savage - Harvey Liberated
by a Friendly Justice - An Astute Superintendent - A Mass
Meeting - A Rival Aspirant - Indians and Indian Policy 272


CHAPTER XVIII.

Murder of Starkey - Death of Ten-ie-ya and Extinction of his
Band - A few Surviving Murderers - An Attempt at Reformation - A
Failure and Loss of a Mule - Murders of Robert D. Sevil and
Robert Smith - Alarm of the People - A False Alarm 291


CHAPTER XIX.

Engineering and History - Speculation and Discouragement - A
New Deal - Wall Street - A Primitive Bridge - First Woman in
the Yosemite - Lady Visitors from Mariposa and Lady Teachers
from San Francisco - Measurements of Heights - First Houses and
their Occupants - A Gay Party and a Glorious Feast 301


CHAPTER XX.

Golden Theories and Glaciers 319


CHAPTER XXI.

Big Trees of California or Sequoia Gigantea - Their Discovery
and Classification 333


CHAPTER XXII.

Statistics - Roads and Accommodations - Chapel and Sunday
School - Big Farms and Great Resources - A Variety of
Products - Long Hoped for Results 343


[Illustration:

By Courtesy of the Publishers.]

[Illustration:

MAP OF THE YO SEMITE NATIONAL PARK

SITUATED IN TUOLUMNE, MARIPOSA, FRESNO, AND MONO COUNTIES, STATE OF
CALIFORNIA.

_COMPRISING 42 TOWNSHIPS, COVERING AN AREA OF ABOUT 1,500 SQUARE
MILES, BEING APPROXIMATELY 960,000 ACRES OF LAND; LESS 36,111 ACRES
CONTAINED IN THE “YO SEMITE VALLEY GRANT.” ABOUT 700,000 ACRES OF THE
“YO SEMITE NATIONAL PARK” IS MOUNTAINOUS, WELL WATERED, AND HEAVILY
TIMBERED WITH PINE, FIR, SPRUCE, HEMLOCK, TAMARACK, OAK, CEDAR,
MADROÑA, LAUREL, SEQUOIAS, AND MOUNTAIN MAHOGANY. 260,000 ACRES
COMPOSED OF MOUNTAIN VALLEYS, MEADOWS, LAKES, STREAMS, E.T.C._

_Copyrighted 1892_]




INTRODUCTION.


The book here presented is the result of an attempt to correct existing
errors relative to the Yosemite Valley. It was originally designed to
compress the matter in this volume within the limits of a magazine
article, but this was soon found to be impracticable; and, at the
suggestion of Gen. C. H. Berry, of Winona, Minnesota, it was decided to
“write a book.”

This, too, proved more difficult than at first appeared.

Born in Rochester, New York, in 1824, and carried to Western wilds in
1833, the writer’s opportunities for culture were limited; and in this,
his first attempt at authorship, he has found that the experiences
of frontier life are not the best preparations for literary effort.
Beside this, he had mainly to rely upon his own resources, for nothing
could be obtained in the archives of California that could aid him.
It was not deemed just that California should forget the deeds of men
who had subdued her savages, and discovered her most sublime scenery.
Having been a member of the “Mariposa Battalion,” and with it when the
Yosemite was discovered, having suggested its name, and named many of
the principal objects of interest in and near the valley, it seemed
a duty that the writer owed his comrades and himself, to give the
full history of these events. Many of the facts incident thereto have
already been given to the public by the author at various times since
1851, but these have been so mutilated or blended with fiction, that a
renewed and full statement of facts concerning that remarkable locality
seems desirable.

While engaged upon this work, the writer was aided by the scientific
researches of Prof. J. D. Whitney, and by the “acute and helpful
criticism” of Doctor James M. Cole of Winona, Minnesota.

Since the publication of the second edition of this book, and an
article from the author’s pen in the _Century_ Magazine for September,
1890, numerous letters of approval from old comrades have been
received, and a few dates obtained from old official correspondence
that will now be introduced.

In addition to what may properly belong to this history, there have
been introduced a few remarks concerning the habits and character of
the Indians. This subject is not _entirely new_, but the opinions
expressed are the results of many years acquaintance with various
tribes, and may be useful.

The incidental remarks about game will probably interest some. To the
author, the study of nature in all its aspects has been interesting.

The author’s views regarding the gold deposits and glaciers of the
Sierras are given simply as suggestions.

His especial efforts have been directed to the placing on record
events connected with the _discovery_ of the Yosemite, for description
of its scenery he feels to be impossible. In reverent acknowledgment
of this, there are submitted as a prologue, some lines written while
contemplating the grandeur of his subject.


WONDER LAND.

Hail thee, Yosemite, park of sublimity!
Majesty, peerless and old!
Ye mountains and cliffs, ye valleys and rifts.
Ye cascades and cataracts bold!
None, none can divine the wonders of thine,
When told of the glorious view!
The wild world of light - from “Beatitude’s” height,
Old “Rock Chief,”[1] “El Capitan” true!

Thy head proud and high! white brow to the sky!
Thy features the thunderbolts dare!
Thou o’erlookest the wall would the boldest appal
Who enter Yosemite’s “Lair.”[2]
Fair “Bridal Veil Fall!” the queen over all,
In beauty and grace intertwined!
Even now from thy height water-rockets of light
Dart away, and seem floating in wind!

And thou, high “Scho-look!” proud “Ah-wah-ne!” invoke
To receive from “Kay-o-pha”[3] a boon!
That flowing from pines, in the region of vines,
May temper the heat of bright noon.
“Nevada” and “Vernal,” emblems eternal
Of winter and loveliest Spring,
No language so bold the truth can unfold -
No pen can thee offerings bring!

And yet dare I say, of the cool “Vernal Spray,”
In the flash of the bright sun’s power,
I welcome thy “ring,”[4] though a drenching it bring,
The smile of a god’s in the shower!
And thou, “Glacier Fall,”[5] from thy adamant wall,
And winter-bound lakes at thy head -
Thy nymphs never seen, except by the sheen
So fitful from “Mirror Lake’s” bed.

Ye North and South Domes,[6] “Ten-ie-ya’s” lake homes,
“Cloud’s Rest,” and high “Tis-sa-ack” lone;
Mute “Sentinel,” “Brothers,” ye “Starr King,” ye others -
Oh! what of the past have ye known?
To you has been given the mission from heaven
To watch through the ages of earth!
Your presence sublime is the chronicled time,
From the æon the world had birth!

[Illustration: VIEW OF THE YOSEMITE.

Looking up the valley from a height of about 1,000 feet above the
Merced River, and above sea level 5,000 feet, giving some faint idea
of the beauty, grandeur and magnitude of this magnificent work of
nature.]




DISCOVERY OF THE YOSEMITE.




CHAPTER I.

Incidents leading to the discovery of the Yosemite Valley - Major
Savage and Savages - Whiskey, wrangling and War - Skinned Alive - A
brisk Fight - Repulse - Another Fight, and Conflagration.


During the winter of 1849-50, while ascending the old Bear Valley trail
from Ridley’s ferry, on the Merced river, my attention was attracted
to the stupendous rocky peaks of the Sierra Nevadas. In the distance
an immense cliff loomed, apparently to the summit of the mountains.
Although familiar with nature in her wildest moods, I looked upon
this awe-inspiring column with wonder and admiration. While vainly
endeavoring to realize its peculiar prominence and vast proportions,
I turned from it with reluctance to resume the search for coveted
gold; but the impressions of that scene were indelibly fixed in my
memory. Whenever an opportunity afforded, I made inquiries concerning
the scenery of that locality. But few of the miners had noticed any
of its special peculiarities. On a second visit to Ridley’s, not long
after, that towering mountain which had so profoundly interested me was
invisible, an intervening haze obscuring it from view. A year or more
passed before the mysteries of this wonderful land were satisfactorily
solved.

During the winter of 1850-51, I was attached to an expedition that made
the first discovery of what is now known as the Yosemite Valley. While
entering it, I saw at a glance that the reality of my sublime vision
at Ridley’s ferry, forty miles away, was before me. The locality of
the mysterious cliff was there revealed - its proportions enlarged and
perfected.

The discovery of this remarkable region was an event intimately
connected with the history of the early settlement of that portion of
California. During 1850, the Indians in Mariposa county, which at that
date included all the territory south of the divide of the Tuolumne
and Merced rivers within the valley proper of the San Joaquin, became
very troublesome to the miners and settlers. Their depredations and
murderous assaults were continued until the arrival of the United
States Indian commissioners, in 1851, when the general government
assumed control over them. Through the management of the commissioners,
treaties were made, and many of these Indians were transferred to
locations reserved for their special occupancy.

It was in the early days of the operations of this commission that the
Yosemite Valley was first entered by a command virtually employed to
perform the special police duties of capturing and bringing the Indians
before these representatives of the government, in order that treaties
might be made with them. These wards of the general government were
provided with supplies at the expense of the public treasury: provided
that they confined themselves to the reservations selected for them.

My recollections of those early days are from personal observations
and information derived from the earlier settlers of the San Joaquin
valley, with whom I was personally acquainted in the mining camps, and
through business connections; and also from comrades in the Indian war
of 1850-51. Among these settlers was one James D. Savage, a trader,
who in 1849-50 was located in the mountains near the mouth of the South
Fork of the Merced river, some fifteen miles below the Yosemite valley.

At this point, engaged in gold mining, he had employed a party of
native Indians. Early in the season of 1850 his trading post and mining
camp were attacked by a band of the Yosemite Indians. This tribe,
or band, claimed the territory in that vicinity, and attempted to
drive Savage off. Their real object, however, was plunder. They were
considered treacherous and dangerous, and were very troublesome to the
miners generally.

Savage and his Indian miners repulsed the attack and drove off the
marauders, but from this occurrence he no longer deemed this location
desirable. Being fully aware of the murderous propensities of his
assailants, he removed to Mariposa Creek, not far from the junction
of the Agua Fria, and near to the site of the old stone fort. Soon
after, he established a branch post on the Fresno, where the mining
prospects became most encouraging, as the high water subsided in that
stream. This branch station was placed in charge of a man by the name
of Greeley.

At these establishments Savage soon built up a prosperous business. He
exchanged his goods at enormous profits for the gold obtained from his
Indian miners. The white miners and prospecting parties also submitted
to his demands rather than lose time by going to Mariposa village. The
value of his patrons’ time was thus made a source of revenue. As the
season advanced, this hardy pioneer of commerce rapidly increased his
wealth, but in the midst of renewed prosperity he learned that another
cloud was gathering over him. One of his five squaws assured him that
a combination was maturing among the mountain Indians, to kill or
drive all the white men from the country, and plunder them of their
property. To strengthen his influence over the principal tribes, Savage
had, according to the custom of many mountain men, taken wives from
among them, supposing his personal safety would be somewhat improved by
so doing. This is the old story of the prosperous Indian trader. Rumor
also came from his Indian miners, that the Yosemites threatened to come
down on him again for the purpose of plunder, and that they were urging
other tribes to join them.

These reports he affected to disregard, but quietly cautioned the
miners to guard against marauders.

He also sent word to the leading men in the settlements that
hostilities were threatened, and advised preparations against a
surprise.

At his trading posts he treated the rumors with indifference, but
instructed the men in his employ to be continually on their guard in
his absence. Stating that he was going to “_the Bay_” for a stock of
goods, he started for San Francisco, taking with him two Indian wives,
and a chief of some note and influence who professed great friendship.

This Indian, Jose Juarez, was in reality one of the leading spirits in
arousing hostilities against the whites.

Notwithstanding Juarez appeared to show regard for Savage, the trader
had doubts of his sincerity, but, as he had no fears of personal
injury, he carefully kept his suspicions to himself. The real object
Savage had in making this trip was to place in a safe locality a large
amount of gold which he had on hand; and he took the chief to impress
him with the futility of any attempted outbreak by his people. He hoped
that a visit to Stockton and San Francisco, where Jose could see the
numbers and superiority of the whites, would so impress him that on his
return to the mountains his report would deter the Indians from their
proposed hostilities.

The trip was made without any incidents of importance, but, to Savage’s
disappointment and regret, Jose developed an instinctive love for
whiskey, and having been liberally supplied with gold, he invested
heavily in that favorite Indian beverage, and was stupidly drunk nearly
all the time he was in the city.

Becoming disgusted with Jose’s frequent intoxication, Savage expressed
in emphatic terms his disapprobation of such a course. Jose at once
became greatly excited, and forgetting his usual reserve, retorted in
abusive epithets, and disclosed his secret of the intended war against
the whites.

Savage also lost his self-control, and with a blow felled the drunken
Indian to the ground. Jose arose apparently sober, and from that time
maintained a silent and dignified demeanor. After witnessing the
celebration of the admission of the State into the Union - which by
appointment occurred on October 29th, 1850, though the act of admission
passed Congress on the 9th of September of that year - and making
arrangements to have goods forwarded as he should order them, Savage
started back with his dusky retainers for Mariposa. On his arrival
at Quartzberg, he learned that the Kah-we-ah Indians were exacting
tribute from the immigrants passing through their territory, and soon
after his return a man by the name of Moore was killed not far from
his Mariposa Station. From the information here received, and reported
murders of emigrants, he scented danger to himself. Learning that the
Indians were too numerous at “Cassady’s Bar,” on the San-Joaquin, and
in the vicinity of his Fresno Station, he at once, with characteristic
promptness and courage, took his course direct to that post. He found,
on arriving there, that all was quiet, although some Indians were
about, as if for trading purposes. Among them were Pon-wat-chee and
Vow-ches-ter, two Indian chiefs known to be friendly. The trader had
taken two of his wives from their tribes.

Savage greeted all with his customary salutation. Leaving his squaws to
confer with their friends and to provide for their own accommodations,
he quietly examined the memoranda of his agent, and the supply of goods
on hand. With an appearance of great indifference, he listened to the


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