Lewis Publishing Company. cn.

A memorial and biographical history of northern California, illustrated. Containing a history of this important section of the Pacific coast from the earliest period of its occupancy...and biographical mention of many of its most eminent pioneers and also of prominent citizens of today online

. (page 11 of 138)
Online LibraryLewis Publishing Company. cnA memorial and biographical history of northern California, illustrated. Containing a history of this important section of the Pacific coast from the earliest period of its occupancy...and biographical mention of many of its most eminent pioneers and also of prominent citizens of today → online text (page 11 of 138)
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fusion both parties commenced shootiug, Mil-
ler's Charley being wounded and another Indian
killed. One of the squaws rushed out with
her baby in her arms, which latter was acci.
dently killed by a stray bullet. Not knowing
her baby was dead, and still clasping it in her
arms, she mounted a horse, exclaiming, " Don't
shoot; me squaw, me squaw." They did shoot,
and she was wounded in the ankle and fell from
her horse.

Maddened by this apparently wanton attack
and slaughter. Hooka Jim, wiio had the most
cruel and blood-thirsty disposition of them all,
pursuaded the others to go with him and take
revenge on the settlers. One of the attacking
parties was killed while walking about tlie camp
after he supposed the fight was over. Hooka
.Jim's band hastened to the settlements along
the river, bent upon murdering all they saw;
and now commenced a scene of carnage and
massacre. The settlers, who had been promised
notice of trouble, but in vain, were exposed to
this raid, and many therefore fell victims.
Fourteen settlers, comprising men, women and
children, were killed before armed parties could
protect them. Jim and his party reached the
lava beds, at the south end of Tule Lake,

whither Captain Jack and his band had already
retreated. This peculiar spot consists of a mass
of rocks some ten miles square, cut up with
fissures, deep gulches and high, abrupt cliffs,
abounding in caves, and almost impassable.
The whites were ignorant of this labyrinthian
section, while the Indians were familiar with it.

Some communications were had with Captain
Jack in this rocky fastness, vs^ho claimed that he
did not know any i-eason why he and his men
should be attacked. In the mean time great
preparations were made to expel him from his
stronghold. A company of twenty-six whites,
with John A. Fairchilds as Captain, prepared
for the attack, and while the Indians were un-
expectedly appearing here and there in the
vicinity, white troops were gradually brought
in, preparing for a general battle. The first act
of this series was the attack of the Indians upon
six soldiers who were escorting a wagon of sup-
plies near Barnard's Camp. One soldier was
killed and scalped and three wounded, one of
whom-died. One Indian was killed.

But the grand assault was ordered for Friday,
January 17, 1873. The morning was foggy,
and Colonel Wheaton would have postponed the
assault had he been able to communicate with
Captain Barnard. He advanced, and was op-
posed at every point by a hidden and unseen foe.
The troops charged over several almost inac-
cessible places, meeting a shower of bullets but
finding no enemy. So rapidly did the Indians
change their positions and so incessant a fire
did they maintain, that although there were but
about twenty good warriors there seemed to be
many times that number. The troops lost
many, while the enemy lost none. Soon the air
in all the country was filled with wild rumors
of hundreds of disaffected Indians of other
tribes, flocking to Jack's standard. Captain
Jack was shrewd enough to place upon the
upper edges of rocks great numbers of blocks of
volcanic scoria resembling human heads, so as
to make it appear that he had many more men
than were really with him.

Of course the Government could not retreat

nisi our OF northern California.


Tlie Indians must go. Therefore more troops,
with more guns and amimmition and military
supplies must be brought in. In tlie meantime
the Indians frequently sallied out in their
characteristic manner, attacking wauons, ranches
and any passing straggler who might happen
within sight. They had the additional advan-
tage of understanding the English language,
while the white soldiers did not understand the
Modoc tongue. The Indians could hear and
understand all the orders given by the white
officers and thus be ready to oppose any move-
ment. They shouted their orders from one to
another in their own language, which were as
Greek to our men. The Government saw that
it had to get down to a tedious war. It ap-
pointed a peace commission to investigate the
condition and complaints of the Indians, and
General Caiiby was ordered to go to the front
with the commissioners and take full command
of the military, Colonel Gillem commanding
under him. Two women were sent to Captain
Jack X.O arrange for a compromise. Pie said he
did not want to talk to women, but wanted the
commissioners to pay him a visit, and they
would not be harmed. They reported that the
Indians were nearly out of provisions and cloth-
ing, and that there was dissension in their
midst. An agreement was made to hold a con-
ference on tiie 25th, a mile and a half from the
lava beds, where there could be no ambuscade;
but Captain Jack, not being satisfied with the
men on the commission, requested three of his
friends to be added to it; and conference by
messengers caused a delay of the time for the
meeting. He designated the Government of-
ficers who should meet him at the appointed
place, including among them General Canby.
Details of the conference could not be agreed
upon, and delay followed. April 3d, Captain
Jack stated that his terms were to have the
soldiers removed and a reservation on Lost
River giveti to him; but this was refused him.
Communications were again had with our
Government and messages exchanged until
finally it was agreed to meet on the 11th.

This fatal day arrived fair and calm. The
commissioners and officers went forward to the
place of meeting with many fearful misgivings,
some of their number warning the others that
treachery would be exhibited and they would
be probably killed. Canby and Thomas con-
sidered it their duty to attend, and that duty
was more sacred than life. Arriving at the
council tent, Canby and Thomas were cordially
welcomed with hand-shaking and words of
friendship. Canby distributed cigars, and they
all sat about the tire and smoked in silence.
Soon the remainder of the party arrived and
met with the same hearty welcome, even before
they could dismount. Eight Indians were
present, instead of five, and they all had revolv-
ers under their coats. The officers saw signs
of treachery, but their pride of the soldier char-
acter prevented them from exhibiting any fear.
The council was formally opened. The Indians
at first pretended that they desired no blood-
shed but simply a certain tract of land. An
argumentation followed, during which the
speaker in behalf of the Indians declared that
there was no more use in talking. Captain
Jack gave the signal and the Modoc war-whoop
rent the air. At the same time he drew a
revolver from under his coat and presented it at
Cauby's head, exclaiming Ha-tuk (all ready)!
It missed fire. Quickly revolving the chamber,
he again pulled the trigger and buried a bullet
in his victim's head. Canby soon fell, shatter-
ing his jaw upon the rocks, and he was then
stabbed in the neck by a knife as a butcher kills
a hog; and furthermore another Indian sent a
bullet through his brain. He was then stripped
of his clothing and left naked on the rocks.

Simultaneously with .lack's attack upon
Canby, Boston Charley shot Dr. Thomas in the
breast. As he partially fell to the ground, he
begged them to shoot no more, as he had a
death wound; but soon they buried a bullet also
in his brain. The other officers escaped, except
that Meacham, who was almost fatally wounded
by several shots, got away with his life by the
i-arest contingency.


Wliile these events were happening at the
council tent, still another tragedy was being
enacted at Colonel Mason's camp at Hospital
Rock. Colonel Mason was suspicious of treach-
ery, but Major Boyle ventured to go out and
investigate, accompanied by Lieutenant Sher-
wood. Making their way to a point where a
white flag was elevated, they noticed a gun
peeping over the top of the rocks and started on
a run for camp, one exclaiming to the other,
" Run for your life! " Two volleys were fired
in quick succession by the concealed savages,
Sherwood falling at the second one with a bullet
in his thigh. The troops from the camp in-
stantly charged, and the treacherous devils fled
to their stronghold.

As soon as the news of the tragedy at the
council tent reached the camp of the United
States troops, the latter rushed out to the ill-
fated spot, but found no enemy. In their stead
there lay the inanimate forms of the brave
soldier and the white-haired peacemaker, covered
with blood, the one entirely stripped of his
clothing, and the other nearly so. Tears sprang
to the eyes of that rude soldiery, while the
friends of the murdered men wept with the
depth of their emotions. Cautiously they ad-
vanced, momentarily expecting to receive a vol-
ley from their unseen foe. The caution was
needless, however, for the Modocs, content with
what they had accomplished, had retired to
their retreat in the rocks, to rejoice over their
hellish work.

All thought of everything but a vigorous
prosecution of the war was now abandoned.
The troops, under Colonels Mason and Miller,
surrounded the Indians' retreat, and closed in,
the artillery meanwhile dropping shells into
the recesses of the hostiles. These "double-
shooting" guns were a mystery to the uninitiated
savages. They did not like them, although
little damage was done by them except to knock
the rocks about and make the strongholds an
exceedingly uncomfortable place to stay in.
They had the effect of keeping the Indians on
the move and of taking away the confidence

and sense of security they had previously en-
joyed. One of these shells was picked up by
two Indian boys, and it exploded in their hands,
blowing the boys to atoms.

The three lines advanced slowly on all sides,
the most severe fighting being the capture of a
blufl" on the lake shore. The men crept along^
until at the base of the hill, and then charged
up with a yell, the hostiles beating a precipi-
tate retreat. Here the troops rested for the
night, during which time the Indians built a
huge fire at their camp; but Major Thomas
trained a gun on it, and scattered them and
their fire in all directions. All the next day
the shells were freely dropped into the lava
beds, keeping the enemy on the "anxious seat,"
while the soldiers cautiously advanced. Early
on the morning of the third day they suddenly
charged into the strongliold of the savages,
only to find that they had escaped through a
gap in the lines to the south. The loss in the
three days' fight was six killed and twelve
wounded, but not a Modoc was slain!

The whereabouts of the savages was now a
question of great interest, not only to the
soldiers, but also to the settlers for miles
around. They were soon found, still in the
lava beds, occupying a position nearly as strong
as the old one, and about six miles south of it.
They did not remain inactive, but emerged
from their retreat in small parties, firing upon
scouts and couriers, attacking provision trains,
and even firing into headquarters. Their bold-
ness and the rapidity with which they moved
from point to point completely puzzled and
nonplused the military. They maintained that
2,000 men would not be suflicient to surround
the lava beds and capture the hostiles in a place
where 1,000 men could lie concealed in a small
area, and where the besieged could fly to new
strongholds as fast as driven from ihe old ones.
Accordiiicrly more troops were sent for, and
those present had to wait.

Major Thomas, to whom idleness was a source
of uneasiness, obtained permission to recon-
noiter. Starting on the morning of iVpril 26,


tliey halted at noon in a narrow sage-brush
plain for dinner, without having seen any one
of the enemy, and while there the savages
rushed upon them and scattered them. Some
of the troops reached camp, while others gath-
ered in small parties in hollows among the
rocks and fought desperately all the way. Otily
one Modoc lost his life in this affair, while
twenty five of the whites were killed! Major
Green, at the camp, hearing the tiring, at oiice
dispatched with a force to the scene of trouble,
but owing to ignorance of the ground did not
arrive until daylight the next morning, before
which time the Indians had safely retreated.

On the 3d of May, General Jefferson C.
Davis, who had been assigned to succeed Gen-
eral Canby, arrived and took charge of opera-
tions One morning, very soon afterward, a
party of tiiirty-four Modocs crept up to the
camp and fired into it, killing one and wound-
ing eight. This attack was intended to stam-
pede the troops, but it failed, and a quarrel
arose among the hostiles which resulted in a
division. The entire cavalry force was then
sent out to scour the country and find Captain
Jack, who had so strongly developed the quali-
ties of the Irishman's flea: three times had
they put their hand on him, and he wasn't
there. Some days afterward the troops found
the savages on the bluffs at the head of Langell
Valley, to the eastward, when the latter came
out of their retreat and said they wanted to
surrender. Captain Jack, however, and some
others had departed for other scenes; but his
lease of liberty was short, as he had fled directly
toward a detachment under Captain Perry, and
to whom he was obliged to surrender. A few
others were still at liberty, and these, with a
number of scattered ones who had not partici-
pated in the hostilities, were soon taken and
conveyed to Boyle's camp on Tule Lake. On
the 4th of June, more than six months after
the flrst fight, the Oregon volunteers captured
a few braves with their families, ten miles east
of Lost River Springs, turned them over to
General Davis, and thus ended this peculiar war.

According to the report of the Indians, they
had but forty-six men capable of bearing arms
when the war commenced. Five braves, two
boys and three squaws lost their lives. Oppo-
site these figures can be placed the statement
that more than 150 white soldiers were killed
and wounded, three times of all the enemy, and
the Secretary of War reported that the Modoc
war had cost $338,009.78, exclusive of hay and
equipment of troops; and after all this, many
claims were put in for damages, and many

The prisoners of war were tried by court-
martial, and Captain Jack, Schonchin John,
Boston Charley, Black Jim, Watch-in-tate and
Slolox were found guilty and sentenced to
death; while Hooka Jim, Bogus Charley and
Shacknasty Jim were entitled to their lives for
services rendered in capturing their compan-
ions; and Ellen's Man had already met his
death in battle. On the day before the execu-
tion, the sentence of Watch-in-tate and Slolox
was commuted to imprisonment for life in Al-
catraz; they both died in confinement. The
others were executed. There was some clash
of authority between the local civil and the
military oflicers concerning the Lost River mur-
derers, ending with nothing being done. The
remainder of the Modocs, 155 in number, were
then peaceably removed to the Indian Territory,
where Scar-face Charley was invested with the

It appears from Joaquin Miller's account that
the Pit River Indians were massacred during
the Modoc war.


The first mention of gold in California was
made in Hakluyt's account of the voyage of
Sir Francis Drake, who spent five or six weeks,
in June and July, 1579, in a bay on the coast
of California. It has always been a question
and will remain a question, whether this bay
was that of San Francisco or one further to the
north. In the narrative of Ilakluyt it is writ-
ten : " There is no part of the earth here to


be taken up wherein there is not a reasonable
quantity of gold or silver." At this day we
know that this statement must have been un-
true, and was doubtless written for the purpose
of attracting attention to the importance of the
expedition of Sir Francis Drake. California
was then a comparatively unknown country. It
had been visited only by early explorers, and its
characteristics were merely conjectured. When
Hakluyt wrote there could hardly be a " hand-
ful of soil taken up wherein there is not a rea-
sonable quai'.tity of gold or silver;" in the light
of the present the statement was absurd, for
neither gold nor silver has ever been found in
the vicinity of the point where Drake must
have landed.

Other earlj' explorers stated that gold had
been found long before the discovery by Mar-
shall; and there is no doubt that a well-founded
surmise prevailed that gold existed in California.
The country had been explored at times since
the sixteenth century, by Spanish, Russian and
American parties. It was visited by Commo-
dore Wilkes, who was in the service of the Uni-
ted States on an extensive exploring expedition;
and members of his party ascended the Sacra-
mento River and visited Sutter at the fort, while
others made explorations by land.

James D. Dana, a celebrated author of several
works on mineralogy, was the mineralogist of
this expedition and passed by land through the
upper portion of California. In one of his
works he says that gold rock and veins of quartz
were observed by him in 1842 near the Umpqua
River, in Southern Oregon; and again, that he
found gold near the Sierra Nevada and on the
Sacramento River; also, on the San Joaquin
River and between those rivers. There is, in
the reports of the Fremont exploring expedition,
an intimation of the existence of gold.

It has been said that in October and Novem-
ber, 1845, a Mexican was shot at Yerba Buena
(San Francisco) on account of having a bag of
gold dust, and when dying pointed northward
and said, " Legos! Legos!" (yonder), indicating
where he had found the gold dust.

It has been claimed, and with a considerable
degree of probability, that the Mormons who
arrived in San Francisco on the ship Brooklyn
found gold before the famous discovery of Co-
loma. The circumstances in connection with
this discovery are somewhat romantic. The
Mormon people had established themselves at
Nauvoo, Illinois, a point where they believed
themselves to be beyond the reach of perse-
cution. However, the country there became
populated by those not of their faith, and the
antagonism against the Mormons resulted finally
in bloodshed, and the founder of the church.
Joseph Smith, was shot by a mob and killed.
The Mormons then determined to remove farther
west, and into a section of country beyond the
reach of the Government of the United States.
They selected California as their future home.
Their land expedition started across the plains,
and a siiip named the Brooklyn carried from the
eastern side of the continent a number of tlie
believers. Samuel Brannan, who was prominent
in the early history of Sacramento, San Fran-
cisco and the State, was one of their leading
men who came with the sea voyagers. When
the Brooklyn emigrants landed at Yerba Buena
(San Francisco) they found that the United
State? forces had taken possession of California,
and that they had landed upon soil possessed by
the nation from which they were endeavoring
to flee. Couriers were sent overland to inter-
cept the land party, and it is said that they
found them at the place where Salt Lake City
is now located. The overland jtarty determined
to locate at that place, although it was then
sterile and unpromising. Those who came on
the Brooklyn dispersed in California, and some
of them located at Mormon Island, in Sacra-
mento County; and it is claimed that they found
gold long before the discovery at Coloma, but
that they kept their discovery a seci-et. How-
ever that may be, ft is a fact that mining was
prosecuted by them about the time of Marshall's

At a banquet of the Associated Pioneers of
the Territorial days of California, held in the


city of New York, on January 18, 1878, Colonel
T. B. Thorpe, a veteran of the Mexican War,
who had been on the staff of General Zacliary
Taylor, stated that while he had been employed
as a journalist in New Orleans, several years
before the discovery of gold at Coloma, a Swede,
evidently far gone into consumption, called upon
him and represented that he was what in his
country was called a " king's orphan;" that he
had been educated at a governmental institution,
on condition that after he had received his edu-
cation he should travel in foreign lands, observe
and record what he had seen, and deposit his
records with the government. He stated that
he had visited California, remained several days
at Sutter's Fort, enjoying the hospitality of
Sutter; that while there he closely examined the
surrounding country and became convinced that
it abounded richly in gold. Colonel Thorpe
stated that the Swede gave him this opinion in
writing. At that banquet General Sutter was
present, and Colonel Thorpe called upon him to
say whether he had any recollection concerning
the Swedish visitor. Sutter replied that he
did recollect the visit, which had occnri'ed about
thirty-four years before; and he also remem-
bered that the Swede expressed himself re-
garding the presence of mineral wealth in the
neighboring hills; " but," added the General, " I
was too much occupied at the time with other
concerns to devote any time or attention to it.
My crops were ripe, and it was imperative that
they should be gathered as quickly as possible;
but I do recollect the scientitic Swedish gen-

The report of the remarks delivered at that
banquet were published, and in it is contained
a copy of the manuscript to which Colonel
Thorpe referred, in which the " king's orphan "
wrote: " The Californias are rich in minerals.
Gold, silver, lead, oxide of iron, manganese and
copper ore are all met with throughout the
country, the precious metals being the most

There is another account of an early gold dis-
covery, which was published in the JVew Age,

in San Francisco, the official organ of the Odd
Fellows, in September, 1865. It purports to
have been an extract written by the Paris cor-
respondent of the London Star, who wrote that
in the city of Paris he visited a private museum,
and that its owner exhibited to him a nugget of
gold, and stated that twenty-eight years before
a poor invalid had presented himself and took
out of his tattered coat a block of quartz, and
asked the proprietor of the museum if he would
purchase it, assuring him that it was full of
gold. The stranger said: " I have come to you
to apply to the Government to give me a vessel
and a crew of 100 men, and I will promise to
return with a cargo of gold." The proprietor
of the museum presumed that the man was mad,
and gave him a napoleon as a matter of charity,
but retained a piece of the quartz. Afterward
the quartz was analyzed, and it was proved to
contain pure gold. Fifteen years elapsed, and
a parcel and a letter were left at his door. The
parcel was wrapped in a handkerchief, and was
heavy. The letter was worn and almost illegi-
ble. On deciphering it, it proved to be tlie
dying statement of the poor traveler, which,
through the neglect of the lodging-house keeper
where he had died after the interview referred
to, had never been delivered. The package
contained a block of quartz, and the letter was
thus worded:

"You alone listened to me; you alone
stretched out a helping hand to me. Alas! it
was too late! I am dying. I bequeath my
secret to you. The country from whence I
brought this gold is called California."


The credit, however, for the practical discov-
ery of gold in California is due to James W.
Marshall. It is true that a gold mine had been
worked in 1841 in the lower part of the State,
and that gold from that mine had been sent to
the Philadelphia mint for coinage as early as
July, 1843. The mine, however, proved un-
profitable and was abandoned. The story of
the discovery by Marshall, at Coloma, in Janu-


ary, 1848, is confused, and the precise date upon
which it was made can perhaps never be settled.
Marshall was employed by Captain Sutter, and
was in charge of a party of men erecting a
saw-mill at the present site of Coloma, in El
Dorado County. A race-way was dug and the
water turned in. In examining the race after-
ward, Marshall's attention was attracted by a
shining object. He picked it up. It was gold.
Other particles of the metal were collected, and
Marshall came with them to Sutter's Fort and

Online LibraryLewis Publishing Company. cnA memorial and biographical history of northern California, illustrated. Containing a history of this important section of the Pacific coast from the earliest period of its occupancy...and biographical mention of many of its most eminent pioneers and also of prominent citizens of today → online text (page 11 of 138)