History of Oregon (Bancroft)/Volume 2/Chapter 19

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3277128History of Oregon, Volume 2 — Chapter 19: War and DevelopmentFrances Fuller Victor




War Departments and Commanders—Military Administration of General Harney—Wallen's Road Expeditions—Troubles with the Shoshones—Emigration on the Northern and Southern Routes—Expeditions of Steen and Smith—Campaign against the Shoshones—Snake River Massacre—Action of the Legislature—Protection of the Southern Route—Discovery of the John Day and Powder River Mines—Floods and Cold of 1861–2—Progress of Eastern Oregon.

In the summer of 1857 General Wool, who was so much at variance with the civil authorities on the Pacific coast, was removed from this department, and the command given to General Newman S. Clarke. The reader will remember that Colonel George Wright had been left by Wool in command at Vancouver in the spring of 1856. Not long after, on account of the hostilities of those tribes which had taken part in the Walla Walla treaties of 1855, Wright was removed to The Dalles, and Colonel Thomas Morris took command at Vancouver. In the mean time two new posts were established north of the Columbia, one in the Yakima country, and another in the Walla Walla Valley; and for a period of two years Wright, embarrassed by the policy of the commanding generals, outnumbered and outwitted by the Indians, was engaged in a futile endeavor to subdue without fighting them. The Indians being emboldened by the apparent weakness of the army, in the spring of 1858 the troops under Colonel Steptoe, while marching to Colville, were attacked by a large force of Spokanes and Cœur d'Alênes, and sustained a heavy loss. Awakened by this demonstration of the hostile purposes of the confederate tribes, Clarke prepared to inflict condign punishment, and in September of that year Wright marched a large force through their country, slaying and destroying as he went. This chastisement brought the treaty tribes into a state of humility. In the mean time E. R. Geary had been appointed superintendent of Indian affairs in Oregon and Washington, and in the spring of 1859, congress having ratified the treaties of 1855, he made arrangements with them for their permanent settlement on their reservations, four in number, namely: Simcoe, Warm Spring, Umatilla, and Lapwai; but unfortunately for the credit of the government with the Indians, no appropriation was made by congress for carrying out its engagements until the following year; nor was any encouragement given toward treating with other tribes in the eastern portion of the state.

By an order of the secretary of war of September 13, 1858, the department of the Pacific was subdivided into the departments of California and Oregon, the latter under the command of General W. S. Harney, with headquarters at Vancouver. This change was hailed with delight by the Oregonians, not only because it gave them a military department of their own, but because Harney's reputation as an Indian-fighter was great, and they hoped through him to put a speedy termination to the wars which had continuously existed for a period of five years, impeding land surveys and mining, and preventing the settlement of the country east of the mountains. Harney arrived at Vancouver on the 29th of October, and two days later he issued an order opening the Walla Walla Valley, closed against settlement ever since 1855, to the occupation of white inhabitants.

By this order Harney's popularity was assured. A joint resolution was adopted by the legislature congratulating the people, and asking the general to extend his protection to the immigration, and establish a garrison at or near Fort Boisé.[1] A considerable military force having been massed in the Oregon department for the conquest of the rebellious tribes,[2] Harney had, when he took command, found employment for them in explorations of the country. The military department in 1858 built a steamboat to run between The Dalles and Fort Walla Walla,[3] and about two thousand settlers took claims in the Walla Walla and Umatilla valleys during this summer. The hostilities which had heretofore prevented this progress being now at an end, there remained only the Snake,[4] Klamath, and Modoc tribes to be either conquered or conciliated. Little discipline had been administered in this quarter, except by the three expeditions previously mentioned of Wright, Walker, and Haller.

Harney, though more in sympathy with the people than his predecessors, was yet like them inclined to discredit the power or the will of the wild tribes to inflict serious injury. Yet not to neglect his duty in keeping up an appearance of protecting miners, immigrants, and others, and at the same time to carry forward some plans of exploration which I have already hinted at,[5] toward the end of April he ordered into the field two companies of dragoons and infantry mounted, under Captain D. H. Wallen, to make a reconnoissance of a road from The Dalles to Salt Lake City, connecting with the old immigrant route through the South Pass, and to ascertain whether such a road could not be constructed up the John Day River, thence over to the head waters of the Malheur, and down that stream to Snake River.[6] Wallen proceeded as directed and along the south side of Snake River to the crossing of the Oregon and California roads at Raft River, meeting on his march with none of the predatory bands, which, eluding him, took advantage of being in his rear to make a descent upon the Warm Spring reservation and drive off the stock belonging to the treaty Indians.[7] A. P. Dennison, the agent, applied to Harney for a force to guard the reservation, but the general, instead of sending troops, ordered forty rifles with ammunition to be furnished, and Dennison resorted to organizing a company among the reservation Indians, and placing it under the command of Thomas L. Fitch, physician to the reservation, who marched up John Day River in the hope of recovering a hundred and fifty head of horses and cattle which had been stolen. His company killed the men belonging to two lodges, took the women and children prisoners, and recaptured a few horses, which had the effect to secure a short-lived immunity only. In August the Snakes made another raid upon the reservation, avenging the slaughter of their people by killing a dozen or more Indian women and children and threatening to burn the agency buildings, the white residents fleeing for their lives to The Dalles. The agent, who was at that place, hastened to the scene of attack with a company of friendly Indians, but not before sixteen thousand dollars' worth of property had been stolen or destroyed.[8] It was only then that a small detachment of soldiers was sent to guard the reservation and induce the terrified Indians as well as white people to return; and a dragoon company was ordered to make a reconnoissance along the base of the Blue Mountains, to recover if possible the property carried off, returning, however, empty-handed; and it was not without reason that the old complaint of the Indian department was reiterated, that the military department would not trouble itself with the Indians unless it were given exclusive control.

From a combination of causes, the chief of which was the agitation of the question of slavery, the immigration of 1859 was larger than any which had preceded it for a number of years.[9] Owing to the care taken by Captain Wallen to insure the safe passage of the trains, all escaped attack except one company, which against his advice turned off the main route to try that up the Malheur, and which was driven back with a loss of one man severely wounded, and four wagons abandoned.[10] Major Reynolds of the 3d artillery from Camp Floyd for Vancouver, with one hundred men and eight field-pieces, escorted the advance of the immigration, and Wallen remained to bring up the rear, sending sixty dragoons four days' travel back along the road to succor some belated and famishing people.[11]

In the spring of 1860 General Harney ordered two expeditions into the country traversed by predatory Snakes, not with the purpose of fighting them, as Wallen's march through their country had been uninterrupted, but to continue the exploration of a road to Salt Lake from Harney Lake, where Wallen's exploration in that direction had ceased; and also to explore from Crooked River westward to the head waters of the Willamette River, and into the valley by the middle immigrant route first opened by authority of the legislature in 1853.

This joint expedition was under the command of Major E. Steen, who was to take the westward march from Crooked River, while Captain A. J. Smith was to proceed southward and eastward to the City of Rocks. About six weeks after Smith and Steen had set out from The Dalles, news was received that the hostile bands, so far from hiding from the sight of two dragoon companies, had attacked Smith after his parting with Steen, when he was within twenty miles of the Owyhee; and that he had been no more than able to protect the government property in his charge. It being unsafe to divide his command to explore in advance of the train, he was compelled to retreat to Harney Lake Valley and send an express after Steen, who turned back and rejoined him on the head waters of Crooked River.[12] Accompanying, or rather overtaking, Steen's expedition on Crooked River was a party of four white men and five Indians escorting Superintendent Geary and G. H. Abbott, agent at Warm Springs, upon a search after some chiefs with whom they could confer regarding a treaty, or at least a cessation of hostilities. Without the prestige of numbers, presents, or display of any kind, Geary was pushing his way into the heart of a hostile wilderness, under the shadow of the military wing which, so far from being extended for his protection, completely ignored his presence.[13]

During Geary's stay at Steen's camp, on the 15th of July two refugees from a party of prospectors which had been attacked by the Indians came in and reported the wounding of one man, the loss of seventy horses, and the scattering of their company, which had fled into Harney Lake Valley after being attacked a second time. This incident, with the general hopelessness of his errand, caused Geary to return to The Dalles, while an express was sent forward to warn Smith, then two days on his march toward the City of Rocks. Steen also moved his camp to Harney Lake to be within communicating distance in case Smith should be attacked, and he spent two days looking for Indians without finding any. A few days later Smith was attacked, as above related.

In the mean time Harney had been summoned to Washington city on business reputed to be connected with the war debt of Oregon and Washington territories, and Colonel Wright was placed in command of the department of Oregon. On hearing of the interruption of the explorations, Wright at once ordered three companies of artillery under Major George P. Andrews to march to the assistance of the explorers, while a squadron of dragoons under Major Grier was directed to move along the road toward Fort Boisé to guard the immigrant road, and be within commanding distance of Steen, who it was supposed would also be upon the road in a few weeks.

When Steen had been reënforced by the artillery companies, he marched on the 4th of August toward a range of snow mountains east of Harney Lake, extending for some distance southward, near which he believed the Indians would be found, taking with him a hundred dragoons and sixty-five artillerymen. The remainder of the command under Major Andrews moved eastward to a camp near the Owyhee to await orders. Major Grier being on the road to Boisé with his dragoons, looking out for the immigration, Steen hoped to catch the Indians and drive them upon one or the other of these divisions. Attached to Steen's division was a small company of scouts from the Warm Spring reservation, who on the fourth day discovered signs of the enemy on the north slope of a high butte, which now bears the name of Steen Mountain, and on the morning of the 8th a small party of Indians was surprised and fled to the very top of this butte to the region of perpetual snow, hotly pursued by the troops. Arrived at the summit, the descent on the south side down which the Indians plunged, looked impassable; but, with more zeal than caution, Steen pursued, taking his whole command, dragoons and artillery, down a descent of six thousand feet, through a narrow and dangerous cañon, with the loss of but one mule. The country about the mountain was then thoroughly reconnoitred for three days, during which the scouts brought in three Indian men and a few women and children as prisoners.

On the 16th the command returned to camp, after which Smith made a forced march of a hundred miles on a supposed trail without coming upon the enemy. Steen then determined to abandon the road survey and return to The Dalles. Dividing the troops into three columns twenty miles apart, they were marched to the Columbia River without encountering any Indians on either route. Early in September the companies were distributed to their several posts.[14] Yet the troops were not more than well settled in garrisons before the Snakes made a descent on the Warm Spring reservation, and drove off all the stock they had not before secured. When there was nothing left to steal, twenty dragoons under Lieutenant Gregg were quartered at the reservation to be ready to repel any further attacks.[15]

Colonel Wright reported to headquarters, September 20th, that the "routes of immigration were rendered perfectly safe" by the operations of troops during the summer; that nothing more needed to be done or could be done, with regard to the Shoshones, before spring, when the superintendent would essay a treaty at Salmon River, which would serve every purpose;[16] but urged the construction of a fort at Boisé, which had already been directed by the secretary of war, delayed, however, for reasons connected with the threatening aspect of affairs in the southern states. Major Grier's command, which had taken the road to Boisé to look after the immigration, returned to Walla Walla in September.

The troops were no sooner comfortably garrisoned than the local Indian agent at the Umatilla, Byron N. Davis, notified the commander at Fort Walla Walla that a massacre had taken place three weeks previous on Snake River, between Salmon Falls and Fort Boisé, wherein about fifty persons had been killed, or scattered over the wilderness to perish by starvation. Davis also reported that he had immediately despatched two men with a horse-load of provisions to hasten forward to meet any possible survivors; and at the same time a loaded wagon drawn by oxen, this being the best that he could do with the means at his command. As soon as the disaster became known to the military authorities, Captain Dent with one hundred mounted men was ordered to proceed rapidly along the road and afford such assistance as was required by the sufferers, and if possible to punish the Indians. At the same time it was thought that the report brought in by the three known survivors might be exaggerated.[17]

The story of the ill-fated party is one of the most terrible of the many terrible experiences of travellers across the Snake River plains. On the 13th of September, between nine and ten o'clock in the morning, a train of eight wagons and fifty-four persons was attacked by Indians about one hundred in number. An escort of twenty-two dragoons had travelled with this company six days west of Fort Hall, where Colonel Howe was stationed with several companies of troops for the purpose of protecting the immigration to California and Oregon. Thinking the California road more dangerous, and aware that there were or had been troops from the Oregon department in the neighborhood of Boisé, Colonel Howe deemed further escort unnecessary, and the train proceeded for two weeks before meeting with any hostile Indians.

On the morning named they appeared in force, surrounding the train, yelling like demons, as the emigrants thought with the design of stampeding their cattle, which they accordingly quickly corralled, at the same time preparing to defend themselves. Seeing this, the savages made signs of friendship, and of being hungry, by which means they obtained leave to approach near enough to receive presents of food. They then allowed the emigrants to pass on, but when the wagons had gained a high point which exposed them to attack, a fire was opened on the train with rifles and arrows from the cover of the artemisia. Again the company halted and secured their cattle. But before this was accomplished three men were shot down. A battle now took place, which lasted the remainder of the day, and in which several Indians were seen to fall. The firing of the savages was badly directed, and did little harm except to annoy the horses and cattle, already irritable for want of food and water. All night the Indians fired random shots, and on the morning of the second day recommenced the battle, which continued until the second night, another man being killed. Toward sunset the company agreed upon leaving four of their wagons for booty to the Indians, hoping in this way to divert their attention long enough to escape with the other four. They accordingly started on with half the train, leaving half behind. But the savages paid no heed to the abandoned property, following and attacking the emigrants with fresh activity. The men labored to hasten their cattle, but in spite of all their efforts the hungry creatures would stop to snatch a mouthful of food. With the company were four young men, discharged soldiers from Fort Hall, well armed with rifles and revolvers belonging to the company, and mounted on good horses, who were to ride in advance to keep the way open. Instead of doing their duty, they fled with the horses and arms.[18] Two other men, brothers named Reith, succeeded in reaching Umatilla the 2d of October, by whose report, as well as the story of the other surviving fugitives, the massacre became known.

Finding it impossible to drive the famished cattle, and seeing that in a short time they must fall victims to the savages, the ill-fated emigrants determined to abandon the remainder of the loaded wagons and the cattle, and if possible save their lives. The moment, however, that they were away from the protection of the wagons, two persons, John Myers and Susan Utter, were shot dead. Mr Utter, father of the young woman, then made signs of peace, but was shot while proposing a treaty. Mrs Utter refused to quit her dead husband, and with three of her children, a boy and two girls, was soon despatched by the savages.

Eleven persons had now been killed, six others had left the train, and there remained thirty-seven men, women, and children. They were too hard pressed to secure even a little food, and with one loaf of bread hastily snatched by Mrs Chase, fled, under cover of the darkness, out into the wilderness to go—they knew not whither. By walking all night and hiding under the bank of the river during the day they eluded the Indians. The men had some fish-hooks, the women some thread, which furnished lines for fishing, by which means they kept from starving. As the howlings of the Indians could still be heard, no travel was attempted except at night. After going about seventy miles, the men became too weak from famine to carry the young children. Still they had not been entirely without food, since two dogs that had followed them had been killed and eaten.

After crossing Snake River near Fort Boisé they lost the road, and being unable to travel, encamped on the Owyhee River. Just before reaching this their final camp, a poor cow was discovered, which the earlier emigration had abandoned, whose flesh mixed with the berries of the wild rose furnished scanty subsistence, eked out by a few salmon purchased of some Indians encamped on the Snake River in exchange for articles of clothing and ammunition. The members of the party now awaiting their doom, in the shelter of the wigwams on the banks of the Owyhee, were Alexis Vanorman, Mrs Vanorman, Mark Vanorman, Mr and Mrs Chase, Daniel and Albert Chase, Elizabeth and Susan Trimble, Samuel Gleason, Charles and Henry Utter, an infant child of the murdered Mrs Utter, Joseph Myers, Mrs Myers, and five young children, Christopher Trimble, several children of Mr Chase,[19] and several of Mr Vanorman's.

Before encamping it had been determined to send an express to the settlements. An old man named Munson, and a boy of eleven, Christopher Trimble, were selected to go. On reaching Burnt River they found the Reith brothers and Chaffey, one of the deserting soldiers. They had mistaken their way and wandered in the wilderness, having just returned to the road. Munson went on with these four men, two of whom succumbed before reaching any settlement, and young Trimble returned to the Owyhee to encourage the others in the hope that help might come. They therefore made what effort they could to keep themselves alive with frogs caught along the river.

During the first fortnight the Indians made several visits to the camp of the emigrants, and carried away their guns. A considerable quantity of clothing had been disposed of for food, and as there was nothing to replace it, and the nights were cold, there was an increase of suffering from that cause. The Indians took away also by force the blankets which the fleeing men and women had seized. Alarmed lest another day they might strip him of all his clothing, and end by killing him, Vanorman set out with his wife and children, five in number, Samuel Gleason, and Charles and Henry Utter, to go forward on the road, hoping the sooner to meet a relief party. As it afterward appeared, they reached Burnt River, where all their bodies were subsequently discovered, except those of the four younger children, who, it was thought, were taken into captivity.[20] They had been murdered by the savages, and Mrs Vanorman scalped.

Not long after the departure from camp of this unfortunate party, Mr Chase died from eating salmon, which he was too weak to digest. A few days later, Elizabeth Trimble died of starvation, followed shortly by her sister Susan. Then died Daniel and Albert Chase, also of famine. For about two weeks previous, the Indians had ceased to bring in food, or, indeed, to show themselves, and thus helped on the catastrophe, the indirect cause of which was their dread of soldiers. Young Trimble had been in the habit of visiting the Indian camp before mentioned, and one day on returning to the immigrant camp brought with him some Indians having salmon to sell. As Trimble was about to accompany them back to their village, he was asked by Myers to describe the trail, "for," said he, "if the soldiers come to our relief we shall want to send for you." It was an unfortunate utterance. At the word soldiers the Indians betrayed curiosity and fear. They never returned to the white camp; but when sought they had fled, leaving the body of the boy, whom they murdered, to the wolves.

At length, in their awful extremity, the living were compelled to eat the bodies of the dead. This determination, says Myers, was unanimous, and was arrived at after consultation and prayer. The bodies of four children were first consumed, and eaten of sparingly, to make the hated food last as long as it might. But the time came when the body of Mr Chase was exhumed and prepared for eating. Before it had been tasted, succor arrived, the relief parties of the Indian agency and Captain Dent reaching the Owyhee, forty-five days after the attack on Snake River. When the troops came into this camp of misery, they threw themselves down on their faces and wept, and thought it a cruelty that Captain Dent would not permit them to scatter food without stint among the half-naked living skeletons stretched upon the ground, or that he should resist the cries of the wailing and emaciated children.

The family of Myers, Mrs Chase and one child, and Miss Trimble were all left alive at the camp on the Owyhee. Munson and Chaffey were also rescued, making twelve brought in by the troops. These with the three men who first reached the Columbia River were all that survived of a company of fifty-four persons. Thirty-nine lives had been lost, a large amount of property wasted, and indescribable suffering endured for six weeks. When Captain Dent arrived with the rescued survivors at the Blue Mountains, they were already covered with snow, which a little later would have prevented his return.[21]

The Oregon legislature being in session when news of the Snake River massacre reached the Willamette Valley, Governor Whiteaker, in a special message, suggested that they memorialize the president, the secretary of war, and the commander of the department of Oregon, on the necessity for greater security of the immigration between forts Hall and Walla Walla. He reminded them that they had just passed through an Indian war from which the country was greatly depressed, and left it with the legislature to determine whether the state should undertake to chastise the Indians, or whether that duty should be left to the army.[22] Acting upon the governor's suggestion, a memorial was addressed to congress, asking for a temporary post at the Grand Rond, with a command of twenty-five men; another with a like command on Burnt River; and a permanent post at Boisé of not less than one company. These posts could be supplied from Walla Walla, which, since the opening of the country to settlement, had become a flourishing centre of business.[23] The troops at the two temporary posts of Grande Ronde and Burnt River could return to Fort Walla Walla to winter, and remain in garrison from November till May. Another permanent post at or near the Great Falls of Snake River, garrisoned by at least one full company, was asked for, where also an Indian agent should be stationed. This post it was believed would hold in check not only the Indians, but lawless white men, fugitives from justice, who consorted with them, and could be supplied from Fort Hall.

The same memorial urged that treaties should be made with all the Indians of Oregon, removing them to reservations; and asked for military posts at Warm Springs and Klamath Lake. In connection with these military establishments, the legislature recommended the construction of a military road from the foot of the Cascades of the Columbia to Fort Walla Walla, which should be passable when the Columbia was obstructed by ice. In a briefer memorial the secretary of war was informed of the want of military protection on the routes of immigration, and asked to establish three posts within the eastern borders of Oregon; namely, a four-company post at Fort Boisé; a two-company post on the Malheur River, for the purpose of protecting the new immigrant trail from Boisé to Eugene City; and a one-company post somewhere on Snake River between forts Boisé and Walla Walla. This memorial also asked that a military road be constructed on the trail leading from Eugene City to Boisé.[24]

The Umpqua district being attached to the department of California, it devolved on General Clarke in command to look after the southern route to Oregon. This he did by ordering Lieutenant A. Piper of the 3d artillery, stationed at Fort Umpqua, to take the field in southern Oregon with one company June 27th, and proceed to the Klamath Lake country to quiet disturbances there, occasioned by the generally hostile attitude of the Indians of northern California, Nevada, and southern Oregon at this time. Piper encamped at a point seventy-five miles west of Jacksonville, which he called Camp Day. In September a train of thirty-two wagons arrived there, which had escaped with no further molestation than the loss of some stock. Another train being behind, and it becoming known that a hundred Snake Indians were in the vicinity of Klamath Lake, under a chief named Howlack, sixty-five men were sent forward to their protection. They thus escaped evils intended for them, but which fell on others.

Successes such as had attended the hostile movements of the Snake Indians during the years of 1859–60 were likely to transform them from a cowardly and thieving into a warlike and murderous foe. The property obtained by them in that time amounted to many thousands of dollars, and being in arms, ammunition, horses, and cattle, placed them upon a war footing, which with their nomadic habits and knowledge of the country rendered them no despicable foe, as the officers and troops of the United States were yet to be compelled to acknowledge.[25]

The continual search for gold which had been going on in the Oregon territory both before and after its division[26] was being actively prosecuted at this time. An acquaintance with the precious metal in its native state having been acquired by the Oregon miners in California in 1848–9, reminded some of them that persons who had taken the Meek cut-off in 1845, while passing through the Malheur country had picked up an unfamiliar metal, which they had hammered out on a wagon-tire, and tossed into a tool-chest, but which was afterward lost. That metal they were now confident was gold, and men racked their brains to remember the identical spot where it was found; even going on an expedition to the Malheur in 1849 to look for it, but without success.

Partial discoveries in many parts of the country north of the Columbia again in 1854 induced a fresh search for the 'lost diggings,' as the forgotten locality of the gold find in 1845 was called, which was as unsuccessful as the previous one. Such was the faith, however, of those who had handled the stray nugget, that parties resumed the search for the lost diggings, while yet the Indians in all the eastern territory were hostile, and mining was forbidden by the military authorities.[27] The search was stimulated by Wallen's report of his road expedition down the Malheur in 1859, gold being found on that stream; and in 1860 there was formed in Lane county the company before mentioned, which was attacked by the Snakes,[28] and robbed of several thousand dollars' worth of horses and supplies. In August 1861 still another company was organized to prosecute the search, but failed like the others; and breaking up, scattered in various parts of the country, a small number remaining to prospect on the John Day and Powder rivers, where sometime in the autumn good diggings were discovered.[29] Two men working half a day on Powder River cleaned up two and a half pounds of gold-dust. One claim yielded $6,000 in four days; and one pan of earth contained $150. These stories created the liveliest interest in every part of Oregon, and led to an immediate rush to the new gold-fields, though it was already November when the discovery was made known.

Taken in connection with the discoveries in the Nez Percé country, which preceded them by about a year and a half, these events proved that gold-fields extended from the southern boundary of Oregon to the British possessions. Already the migration to the Nez Percé, Oro Fino, and Salmon River mines had caused a great improvement in the country. It had excited a rapid growth in Portland and The Dalles,[30] and caused the organization of the Oregon Steam Navigation Company,[31] which in 1861 had steamboats carrying freight three times a week to The Dalles for the country beyond. Walla Walla had grown to be a thriving town and an outfitting station for miners, where horses, cattle, saddles, harness, clothing, and provisions were required in large quantities and sold at high prices. Lewiston had also sprung up at the junction of the Clearwater and Snake rivers, besides several mining towns in the gold-fields to the east. Nor were mining and cattle-raising the only industries to which eastern Oregon and Washington proved to be adapted. Contrary to the generally received notion of the nature of the soil of these grassy plains, the ground, wherever it was cultivated, raised abundant crops, and agriculture became at once a prominent and remunerative occupation of the settlers, who found in the mines a ready market. But down to the close of 1861, when the John Day and Powder River mines were discovered, the benefits of the great improvements which I have mentioned had accrued chiefly to Washington, although founded with the money of Oregonians, a state of things which did not fail to call forth invidious comment by the press of Oregon. But now it was anticipated that the state was to reap a golden harvest from her own soil, and preparations were made in every part of the Pacific coast for a grand movement in the spring toward the new land of promise.

Before the vivid anticipations of the gold-hunters could be realized a new form of calamity had come. Toward the last of November a deluge of rain began, which, being protracted for several days, inundated all the valleys west of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade ranges, from southern California to northern Washington, destroying the accumulations of years of industry. No flood approaching it in volume had been witnessed since the winter of 1844. All over the Willamette the country was covered with the wreckage of houses, barns, bridges, and fencing; while cattle, small stock, storehouses of grain, mills, and other property were washed away. A number of lives were lost, and many imperilled. In the streets of Salem the river ran in a current four feet deep for a quarter of a mile in breadth. At Oregon City all the mills, the breakwater, and hoisting works of the Milling and Transportation Company, the foundery, the Oregon Hotel, and many more structures were destroyed and carried away. Linn City was swept clean of buildings, and Canemah laid waste. Champoeg had no houses left; and so on up the river, every where.[32] The Umpqua River rose until it carried away the whole of lower Scottsburg, with all the mills and improvements on the main river, and the rains destroyed the military road on which had been expended fifty thousand dollars.[33] The weather continued stormy, and toward christmas the rain turned to snow, the cold being unusual. On the 13th of January there had been no overland mail from California for more than six weeks, the Columbia was blocked with ice, which came down from its upper branches, and no steamers could reach Portland from the ocean, while there was no communication by land or water with eastern Oregon and Washington; which state of things lasted until the 20th, when the ice in the Willamette and elsewhere began breaking up, and the cold relaxed.

Such a season as this coming upon miners and travellers in the sparsely settled upper country was sure to occasion disaster. It strewed the plains with dead men, whose remains were washed down by the next summer's flood, and destroyed as many as twenty-five thousand cattle. A herder on the Tucannon froze to death with all the animals in his charge. Travellers lay down by the wayside and slept the sleep that is dreamless. A sad tale is told of the pioneers of the John Day mines, who were wintering at the base of the Blue mountains to be ready for the opening of spring, many of whom were murdered and their bodies eaten by the Snakes.[34]

The flood and cold of winter were followed in May by another flood, caused by the rapid melting of the large body of snow in the upper country. The water rose at The Dalles several feet over the principal streets, and the back-water from the Columbia overflowed the lower portion of Portland. On the 14th of June the river was twenty-eight feet above low-water mark. The damages sustained along the Columbia were estimated at more than a hundred thousand dollars, although the Columbia Valley was almost in its wild state. Added to the losses of the winter, the whole country had sustained great injury. On the other hand, there was a prospect of rapidly recovering from the natural depression. The John Day mines were said by old California miners to be the richest yet discovered. This does not seem to have proved true as compared with Salmon River; but they were undoubtedly rich. By the 1st of July there were nearly a thousand persons mining and trading on the head waters of this river. New discoveries were made on Granite Creek, the north branch of the North Fork of John Day, later in the season, which yielded from twenty to fifty dollars a day. Nor were the mines the sole attraction of this region: the country itself was eagerly seized upon; almost every quarter-section of land along the streams was claimed and had a cabin erected upon it,[35] with every preparation for a permanent residence.

About a dozen men wintered in the Powder River Valley, not suffering cold or annoyed by Indians. This valley was found to contain a large amount of fertile land capable of sustaining a large population. It was bounded by a high range of granite mountains, rising precipitously from the western edge of the basin, while on the north and south it was shut in by high rolling hills covered with nutritious grass. To the east rose a lower range of the same rolling hills, beyond which towered another granite ridge similar to that on the west. The river received its numerous tributaries, rising in the south and west, and united them in one on the north-east side of the valley, thus furnishing an abundance of water-courses throughout.

In this charming locality, where a little handful of miners hibernated for several months, cut off from all the world, in less than four months after the snow blockade was raised a thriving town had sprung up and a new county was organized, a hundred votes being cast at the June election, and the returns being made to the secretary of state as "the vote of Baker county."[36] The Grand Rond Valley had always been the admiration of travellers. A portion of the immigration of 1843 had desired to settle here, but was prevented by its distance from base of supplies. Every subsequent immigration had looked upon it with envying eyes, but had been deterred by various circumstances from settling in it. It was the discovery of gold, after all, which made it practicable to inhabit it. In the winter of 1861–2 a mill site had been selected, and there were five log houses erected all at one point for greater security from the incursions of the Snake Indians, and the embryo city was called La Grande. It had at this date twenty inhabitants, ten of whom were men. It grew rapidly for three or four years, being incorported in 1864,[37] and after the first flush of the mining fever, settled down to steady if slow advancement.

The pioneers of Grand Rond suffered none of those hardships from severe weather experienced in the John Day region or at Walla Walla. Only eighteen inches of snow fell in January, which disappeared in a few days, leaving the meadows green for their cattle to graze on. La Grande had another advantage: it was on the immigrant road, which gave it communication with the Columbia. Another road was being opened eastward fifty miles to the Snake River, on a direct course to the Salmon River mines; and a road was also opened in the previous November from the western foot of the Blue Mountains to the Grande Ronde Valley, which was to be extended to the Powder River Valley.[38]

Such was the magical growth of a country four hundred miles from the seaboard, and but recently opened to settlement. In twenty years it had become a rich and populous agricultural region, holding its mining resources as secondary to the cultivation of the soil.

  1. Clarke and Wright's Campaign, 85; Or. Laws, 1858–9, app. iii.; Or. Statesman, Feb. 8, 1859.
  2. Besides the companies stationed to guard the Indian reservations in Oregon in 1857, there were 3 companies of the 9th inf. at The Dalles, one of the 4th inf. at Vancouver, one of the 3d art. at the Cascades, 3 of the 9th inf. at Fort Simcoe in the Yakima country, and at Fort Walla Walla 2 companies of inf., one of dragoons, and one of art. U. S. H. Ex. Doc. 2, vol. ii. pt ii. 78, 35th cong. 1st sess. In the autumn of 1858 three companies of art. from S. F., one from Fort Umpqua, now attached to the department of Cal., and an inf. co. from Fort Jones were sent into the Indian country east of the Cascade Mountains. Kip's Army Life, 16–18; Sac. Union, Aug. 23, 1858.
  3. This steamer was owned by R. R. Thompson and L. Coe, and was named the Colonel Wright. Harney mentions in a letter to the adjutant-general dated April 25, 1859, that a steamboat line had been established between The Dalles and Walla Walla, and that in June when the water of the Columbia and Snake rivers should be high, the steamer should run to the mouth of the Tucannon, on the latter river. U. S. Mess. and Docs., 1859–60, 96, 36th cong. 1st sess.; S. F. Bulletin, April 28, May 13 and 30, and Sept. 13, 1859. It is worthy of remark that the first steamer to ascend the Missouri to Fort Benton made her initial trip this year. This was the Chippewa. Id., Sept. 17, 1859; Or. Argus, Sept. 3, 1859.
  4. I use the term Snake in its popular sense and for convenience. The several bands of this tribe, the Bannacks, and the wandering Pah Utes were all classed as Snakes by the people who reported their acts, and as it is impossible for me to separate them, the reader will understand that by Snakes is meant in general the predatory bands from the region of the Snake and Owyhee rivers.
  5. Harney was much interested in laying out military roads, and in his reports to the general-in-chief called the attention of the war department to the necessity for such roads in this portion of the United States territory. Among other roads proposed was one through the south pass to the head of Salmon River, down that stream to the Snake River, and thence to Fort Walla Walla, which was never opened owing to the roughness of the country. F. W. Lander made an improvement in the road from the south pass to the parting of the Oregon and California routes which enabled most of the immigration to arrive at the Columbia several weeks earlier than usual. The new route was called the Fort Kearney, South Pass, and Honey Lake wagon road, and appears to have been partially opened in 1858, or across the Wachita mountains. Appended to Lander's report is a long list of names of persons en route for California and Oregon who passed over it in 1858 and 1859. A party left Fairbault, Minnesota, in July 1858, and travelled by the Saskatchewan route, wintering in the mountains with the snow in many places twenty feet deep. They experienced great hardships, but arrived at The Dalles May 1, 1859, in good health. Their names were J. L. Houck, J. W. Jones, J. E. Smith, E. Hind, William Amesbury, J. Emehiser, J. Schaeffer, J. Palmer, J. R. Sandford. Olympia Herald, May 27, 1859.
  6. Wallen crossed the Des Chutes at the mouth of Warm Spring River, proceeded thence to the head of Crooked River, 160 miles, finding a good natural road with grass and water. He detached Lieutenant Bonnycastle with part of his command to explore the country east of the route followed by himself, who travelled no farther than Harney Lake Valley, to which he probably gave this name in honor of the commanding general, from which point he turned north to the head waters of John Day River and followed it down, and back to The Dalles, on about the present line of the road to Canyon City. Harney reported that Bonnycastle brought a train of 17 ox-wagons from Harney Valley to The Dalles in 12 days without accident. U. S. Mess. and Docs, 1859–60, 113; U. S. Sen. Doc., 34, ix. 51, 36th cong. 1st sess.
  7. Though Wallen met with no hostile savages in his march to Camp Floyd, he found no less than three commands in the field from that post pursuing Indians who had attacked the immigration on the California road. He mentions the names of a few persons killed in 1859, S. F. Shephard, W. F. Shephard, W. C. Riggs, and C. Rains. Olympia Herald, Sept. 16, 1859. E. C. Hall and Mr and Mrs Wright are mentioned as having been attacked. Hall was killed and the others wounded.
  8. Ind. Aff. Rept, 1859, 389. Indemnity was claimed for the losses of private persons and the Indians.
  9. Horace Greeley estimated that 30,000 people and 100,000 cattle were en route to California. This estimate was not too large, and instead of all going to California about one third went to Oregon, many of them settling in Walla Walla Valley—at least 800. About 20 families settled in the Yakima Valley, 30 families on the Clickitat, and others in every direction. Some settled in the Grande Ronde and south of the Columbia, but not so many as in the following years. Olympia Pioneer and Democrat, Sept. 30, 1859; Or. Argus, Oct. 15, 1859.
  10. Dalles Journal, in Or. Argus, Sept. 24, 1859; Portland Oregonian, Oct. 15, 1859.
  11. See letter in Olympia P. S. Herald, Sept. 16, 1859. Colonel Wright sent forward from Fort Walla Walla to meet the later trains which were destitute of provisions 250 sacks of flour, 50 barrels of pork, and other necessaries. Or. Statesman, Sept. 6, 1859.
  12. Rept of Captain Smith, in U. S. Sen. Doc., i. 119, 36th cong. 2d sess.; Sac. Union, July 20, 1860; S. F. Alta, July 13, 1860.
  13. In the reports of military and Indian departments there is found a mutual concealment of facts, no mention being made by Steen of the presence of the head of the Indian department of Oregon and Washington at his camp, in his communication to his superiors; nor did Geary in his report confess that he had been disdainfully treated by the few savages to whom he had an opportunity of offering the friendship of the United States government, as well as by the army. To his interpreter they replied that powder and ball were the only gifts that they desired or would accept from white men. Int. Aff. Rept, 1860, 174–5; Dalles Mountaineer, in Or. Statesman, July 10, 1860; Olympia Pioneer and Democrat, July 20, 1860.
  14. U. S. Sen. Doc. 1, vol. ii. 131, 36th cong. 2d sess.; Olympia Pioneer and Democrat, Sept. 14, 1860.
  15. Ind. Aff. Rept, 1860, 176; 1861, 156; Puget Sound Herald, Oct. 26, 1860.
  16. U. S. Sen. Doc. 1, vol. ii. p. 136, 1860–61, 36th cong. 2d sess.
  17. Report of Colonel Wright, in U. S. Sen. Doc. 1, vol. ii. p. 141, 1860–1, 36th cong. 2d sess.
  18. These men were named Snyder, Murdoch, Chambourg, and Chaffey. Snyder and Chaffey escaped and reported the other two as killed. Account of Joseph Myers, in Olympia Standard, Nov. 30, 1860; see also Sac. Union, Oct. 10, 1860.
  19. These are all the names mentioned by Myers in his account of the sojourn on the Owyhee; but there are other names given by the Reith brothers who first arrived at Umatiila. These were William Anttly, a soldier from Fort Hall; A. Markerman, wife and five children; an old man named Civilian G. Munson; and Charles Kesner, a soldier from Fort Hall. U. S. Sen. Doc. 1, vol. ii. 143, 1860–61, 36th cong. 2d sess. Munson was among the rescued; all the others must have been killed in flight. Myers of course could not see all that was transpiring in the moment of greatest emergency.
  20. 'Eagle-from-the-Light, a Nez Percé, had just returned from the Snake country, and there came with him four Snake Indians, who informed Agent Cain that they knew of four children, members of that unfortunate party, that were yet alive. Arrangements were made with them by which they agree to bring them in, and accordingly have left their squaws, and returned to their country for that purpose.' Letter from Walla Walla, in Or. Argus, Dec. 22, 1860. The Indians who went after the children, one of whom was a girl of thirteen, returned on account of snow in the mountains. They were heard of within 150 miles of the Flathead agency, and were sent for by Mr Owen, agent at that place, but were never found.
  21. Washington Standard, Nov. 30, 1860; Or. Statesman, Nov. 26, 1860; Portland Advertiser, Nov. 7, 1860; Hay's Scraps, v. 191; Or. Argus, Nov. 24, 1860; Olympia Pioneer and Democrat, Oct. 19, 1860; Ind. Aff. Rept, 1861, 155; U. S. H. Ex. Doc. 46, vol. viii., 36th cong. 2d sess.; Cong. Globe, 1860–61, part ii. p. 1324–5; Or. Jour. Senate, 1860, 63; Special Messaye of Gov. Whiteaker, in Or. Statesman, Oct. 15, 1860; S. F. Bulletin, Nov. 14 and 23, 1860.
  22. Or. Statesman, Oct. 15, 1860.
  23. The beneficial results of the military post at Walla Walla, erected by order of General Wool in 1857, had been great. 'Where but recently the bones of our countrymen were bleaching on the ground, now all is quiet and our citizens are living in peace, cultivating the soil, and this year have harvested thousands of bushels of grain, vegetables are produced in abundance, mills have been erected, a village has sprung up, shops and stores have been opened, and civilization has accomplished wonderful results by the wise policy of the government.' Memorial to Cong., Or. Laws, 1860, ap. 2.
  24. The committee that prepared this memorial evidently was under the impression that Steen had completed a reconnoissance of the middle route, which was not the case, his time being chiefly spent, as Wright expressed it, in 'pursuing an invisible foe.' Steen's report was published by congress. See Cong. Globe, 1860–1, part ii., 1457.
  25. In the summer of 1858 G. H. Abbott, Indian agent, went into the Indian country, afterward known to military men as the Lake District, with a view to make treaties with the Snakes, Bannocks, Klamaths, and Modocs, the only tribes capable of making war, who had neither been conquered nor treated with, and selected a place for an agency north of the Klamath Lakes, and about 75 miles from Jacksonville in a north-easterly direction. On his return his party discovered the remains of five men, prospectors, who had been murdered, as it was believed, by Klamaths, on the head waters of Butte creek, the middle fork of Rogue River. They were Eli Tedford, whose body was burned, Robert Probst, James Crow, S. F. Conger, and James Brown. Ind. Aff. Rept, 1859, 391–2. A company of volunteers at once went in search of the murderers, three of whom, chiefly by the assistance of the agent, were apprehended, and whom the Klamaths voluntarily killed to prevent trouble; that tribe being now desirous of standing well with the U. S. government. Five other renegades from the conquered tribes of the Rogue River mountains were not captured. In June 1859 a prospecting party from Lane county was attacked on the head waters of the Malheur River, and two of the men wounded. They escaped with a loss of $7,000 or $8,000 worth of property. Sac. Union, July 7, 1860. Of the emigrants of 1859 who took the southern route into the Klamath Lake valley, one small train was so completely cut off that their fate might never have been discovered but for the information furnished by a Klamath Indian, who related the affair to Abbott. The men and women were all killed at the moment of attack, and the children, reserved for slavery, were removed with their plunder to the island in Tule Lake, long famous as the refuge of the murderous Modocs. A few days later, seeing other emigrant trains passing, the Indians became apprehensive and killed their captives. Abbott made every effort to learn something more definite, but without success. By some of the Modocs it was denied; by others the crime was charged upon the Pit River Indians, and the actual criminals were never brought to light. In the summer of 1858, also, that worthy Oregon pioneer, Felix Scott, and seven others had been cut off by the Modocs, and a large amount of property captured or destroyed. Drew made a report on the Modocs, in Ind. Aff. Rept, 1863, 59, where he enumerates 112 victims of their hostility since 1852, and estimates the amount of property taken at not less than $300,000.
  26. As early as July 1850 two expeditions set out to explore for gold on the Spokane and Yakima rivers, S. F. Pac. News, July 24 and Oct. 10, 1850; but it was not found in quantities sufficient to cause any excitement. M. De Saint-Amant, an envoy of the French government, travelling in Oregon in 1851, remarked, page 365 of his book, that without doubt gold existed in the Yakima country, and added that the Indians daily found nuggets of the precious metal. He gave the same account of the Spokane country, but I doubt if his knowledge was gained from any more reliable source than rumor. There were similar reports of the Pend d'Oreille country in 1852. Zabriskie's Land Law, 823. In 1853 Captain George B. McClellan, then connected with the Pacific railroad survey, found traces of gold at the head-waters of the Yakima River. Stevens' Narr., in Pac. R. R. Rept, xii. 140. In 1854 some mining was done on that river and also on the Wenatchie. Or. Statesman, June 20, 1854; S. F. Alta, June 13, 1854; and prospecting was begun on Burnt River in the autumn of the same year. Ebey's Journal, MS., ii. 39, 50, and also in the vicinity of The Dalles. S. F. Alta, Sept. 30, 1854. In 1855 there were discoveries near Colville, the rush to which place was interrupted by the Indian war. In 1857–8 followed the discoveries in British Columbia, and the Frazer River excitement.
  27. In August 1857 James McBride, George L. Woods, Perry McCullock, Henry Moore, and three others, Or. Argus, Aug. 8, 1857, left The Dalles, intending to go to the Malheur, but were driven back by the Snake Indians, and fleeing westward, crossed the Cascade Mountains near the triple peaks of the Three Sisters, emerging into the Willamette Valley in a famishing condition. Victor's Trail-making in Oregon, in Overland Monthly. In August 1858 McBride organized a second expedition, consisting of 26 men, who after a month's search returned disappointed. Or. Argus, Sept. 18, 1858. Other attempts followed, but the exact locality of the lost diggings was never fixed.
  28. This party was led by Henry Martin, who organized another company the following year.
  29. There were three companies exploring in eastern Oregon in 1861; the one from Marion county is the one above referred to, seven men remaining after the departure of the principal part of the expedition. It appears that J. L. Adams was the actual discoverer of the John Day diggings, and one Marshall of the Powder River mines. The other companies were from Clackamas and Lane, and each embraced about 60 men. The Lane company prospected the Malheur unsuccessfully. In Owen's Directory the discovery of the John Day mines is incorrectly attributed to Californians. Portland Advertiser, in Olympia Herald, Nov. 7, 1861; Portland Oregonian, Nov. 7, 1861; Sac. Union, Nov. 16, 1861; N. Y. Engineering and Mining Journal, in Portland D. Herald, March 22, 1871; Cal. Farmer, Feb. 27, 1863. Previous to the announcement of the discoveries by the Oregon prospectors, E. D. Pierce returned to Walla Walla from an expedition of eight weeks in extent, performed with a party of 20 through the country on the west side of Snake River, taking in the Malheur, Burnt, Powder, and Grande Ronde rivers. He reported finding an extensive gold-field on these streams, with room for thousands of miners, who could make from three to fifteen dollars a day each. Pierce brought specimens of silver-bearing rocks to be assayed. About forty persons in Oct. had taken claims in the Grande Ronde Valley, prepared to winter there. Portland Oregonian, Aug. 27, 1861; Or. Statesman, Oct. 21, 1861; S. F. Bulletin, Oct. 24, 1861; Sac. Union, Nov. 4 and 16, 1861.
  30. Wasco county was assessed in 1863 $1,500,000, a gain of half a million since 1862, notwithstanding heavy losses by flood and snow. Or. Argus, Sept, 28, 1863.
  31. The James P. Flint, a small iron propeller, built in the east, was the first steamboat on the Columbia above the Cascades. She was hauled up over the rapids in 1852 to run to The Dalles, for the Bradford brothers, Daniel and Putnam. The Yakima war of 1855–6 gave the first real impulse to steamboating on the Columbia above the Willamette. The first steamer built to run to the Cascades was the Belle, owned by J. C. Ainsworth & Co., the next the Fashion, owned by J. O. Van Bergen. J. S. Ruckle soon after built the Mountain Buck. Others rapidly followed. In 1856 between the Cascades and The Dalles there were the Mary and the Wasco, built by the Bradfords. In 1857 there was no steamboat above The Dalles, and Captain Cram of the army confidently declared there never could be. I. J. Stevens contradicted this view, and a correspondence ensued. Olympia Herald, Dec. 24, 1858. In 1858 R. R. Thompson built a steamboat above the Cascades, called The Venture, which getting into the current was carried over the falls. She was repaired, named the Umatilla, and taken to Fraser River. In the autumn and winter of 1858–9, R. R. Thompson and Lawrence W. Coe built the Colonel Wright above The Dalles, which in spite of Cram's prognostics ran to Fort Walla Walla, to Priest's Rapids, and up Snake River. The Hassaloe was also put on the river between the Cascades and The Dalles in 1858, and below the Cascades the Carrie A. Ladd. There was at this time a horse-railroad at the portage on the north side of the Cascades, owned by Bradford & Co., built in 1853. In 1858 J. O. Van Bergen purchased the right of way on the south side of the Cascades, and began a tramway, like that on the north side, but used in connection with his steamers. Subsequently J. S. Ruckle and Henry Olmstead purchased it to complete their line to The Dalles. At this stage of progress a company was formed by Ainsworth, Ruckle, and Bradford & Co., their common property being the Carrie A. Ladd, Señorita, Belle, Mountain Buck, another small steamer running to The Dalles, and five miles of horse-railroad on the north side of the river. The company styled itself the Union Transportation Company, and soon purchased the Independence and Wasco, owned by Alexander Ankeny, and the James P. Flint and Fashion, owned by J. O. Van Bergen.

    As there was no law in Oregon at this time under which corporations could be established, the above-named company obtained from the legislature of Washington an act incorporating it under the name of the Oregon Steam Navigation Company. When the Oregon legislature passed a general incorporation act granting the same privileges enjoyed under the Washington law, the company was incorporated under it, and paid taxes in Oregon. In 1861 the railroad portage on the south side of the Cascades was completed, and the following year the O. S. N. Co. purchased it, laying down iron rails and putting on a locomotive built at the Vulcan foundery of S. F. The first train run over the road was on April 20, 1863, and the same day the railroad portage from The Dalles to Celilo was opened. Meantime the O. S. N. Co. had consolidated with Thompson and Coe above The Dalles in 1861, and now became a powerful monopoly, controlling the navigation of the Columbia above the Willamette. Their charges for passage and freight were always as high as they would stand, this being the principle on which charges were regulated, rather than the cost of transportation.

    In 1863 the People's Transportation Company built the E. D. Baker to run to the Cascades; another, the Iris, between the Cascades and The Dalles; and a third, the Cayuse, above The Dalles. They lost the contract for carrying the government freight, and the O. S. N. Co. so reduced their rates as to leave the opposition small profits in competition. A compromise was effected by purchasing the property of the people's line above the Cascades, paying for the Cayuse and Iris in three boats running between Portland and Oregon City, and $10,000; the O. S. N. Co. to have the exclusive navigation of the Columbia and the people's line to confine their business to the Willamette, above Portland. In 1865 all the boats on the lower Columbia were purchased. In 1879 the O. S. N. Co. sold its interests, which had greatly multiplied and increased, to the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company, a corporation which included river, ocean, and railroad transportation, and which represented many millions of capital. Ainsworth formerly commanded a Mississippi River steamboat. Ruckle came to Oregon in 1855, and became captain of Van Bergen's boat, the Fashion. Then he built a boat for himself, the Mountain Buck, and then the railroad portage. He was a successful projector, and made money in various ways. In 1864–5 he assisted George Thomas and others to construct a stage road over the Blue Mountains; and also engaged in quartz mining, developing the famous Rockfellow lode between Powder and Burnt rivers, which was later the Virtue mine. S. G. Reed came from Massachusetts to Oregon about 1851. He was keeping a small store at Rainier in 1853, but soon removed to Portland, where he became a member of the O. S. N. Co. in a few years. He has given much attention to the raising of fine-blooded stock on his farm in Washington county. Parker's Puget Sound, MS., 1; Dalles Inland Empire, Dec. 28, 1878. John H. Wolf commanded The Cascades; John Babbage the Julia and the Emma Hayward; J. McNulty the Hassaloe and Mountain Queen. Thomas J. Stump could run The Dalles and the Cascades at a certain stage of water with a steamboat. Other steamboat men were Samuel D. Holmes, Sebastian Miller, Leonard White, W. P. Gray, Ephraim Baughman of the E. D. Baker and later of the O. S. N. Co.'s boats above The Dalles; Josiah Myrick of the Wilson G. Hunt and other boats; James Strang of the Rescue and Wenat; Joseph Kellogg of the Rescue and the Kellogg; William Smith of the Wenat; William Turnbull of the Fannie Troup; Richard Hobson of the Josie McNear; James M. Gilman and Sherwood of the Annie Stewart; Gray, Felton, and Holman, whose names are associated with the ante-railroad days of transportation in Oregon. See McCracken's Early Steamboating, MS.; Deady's Hist. Or., MS.; Deady's Scrap-book; Or. Argus, Feb. 22, 1862; Portland Oregonian, Dec. 26, 1864, and July 31, 1865; Or. Statesman, April 7, 1862; Olympia Pioneer and Democrat, Sept. 10, 1858; Olympia Herald, Sept. 10, 1858; Land Off. Rept, 1867, 69; U. S. Sec. War Rept, ii. 509–11, 40th cong. 2d sess.; Cong. Globe, 1865–6, pt v. ap. 317, 39th cong. 1st sess.; Or. City Enterprise, Dec. 29, 1866; Dalles Mountaineer, Jan. 19, 1866; Rusling's Across America, 231, 250; S. F. Bulletin, July 20, 1858; S. F. Alta, March 4, 1862; Or. Laws, 1860, ap. 2; Census, 8th, 331; Ford's Road-makers, MS., 31; Or. Reports, iii. 169–70; McCormick's Portland Directory, 1872, 30–1; Or. Deutsch Zeitung, June 21, 1879; Portland Standard, July 4, 1879; Astorian, July 11, 1879; Portland Oregonian, April 20 and June 15, 1878; Richardson's Mississ., 401; Owen's Directory, 1865, 141; Bowles' Northwest, 482–3.

  32. In the following summer the first saw-mill was erected at Gardiner.
  33. Or. Statesman, Dec. 9 and 16, 1861. The rain-fall from October to March was 71.60 inches. Id., May 19, 1862.
  34. Of the perilous and fatal adventures of a party of express messengers and travellers in this region, John D. James, J. E. Jagger, Moody, Gay, Niles, Jeffries, Wilson, Bolton, and others, also of a party bound for the John Day River mines, full details are given in California Inter Pocula, this series.
  35. Ebey's Journal, MS., viii. 237–8.
  36. 'They assumed to organize,' said the Statesman of June 23, 1862, 'and named the precincts Union and Auburn, and elected officers. One precinct made returns properly from Wasco county.' The legislative assembly in the following September organized the county of Baker legally by act. Sydney Abell was the first justice of the peace. He died in May 1863, being over 50 years of age. He was formerly from Springfield, Ill., but more recently from Marysville, Cal. Portland Oregonian, May 28, 1863. At the first municipal election of Auburn Jacob Norcross was elected mayor; O. M. Rowe recorder; J. J. Dooley treasurer; A. C. Lowring, D. A. Johnson, J. Lovell, D. M. Belknap, J. R. Totman, aldermen. Or. Statesman, Nov. 17, 1862. Umatilla county was also established in 1862.
  37. Owens' Directory, 1863, 140; Or. Jour. House, 1864, 83. The French voyageurs sometimes called the Grand Rond, La Grande Vallée, and the American settlers subsequently adopted the adjective as a name for their town, instead of the longer phrase Ville de la Grande Vallée, which was meant.
  38. The last road mentioned was one stipulated for in the treaty of 1855 with the Cayuse and Umatilla Indians, which should be 'located and opened from Powder River or Grand Rond to the western base of the Blue Mountains, south of the southern limits of the reservations.' The explorations were made under the direction of H. G. Thornton, by order of Wm H. Rector. The distance by this road from the base to the summit is sixteen miles; from the summit to Grand Rond River, eighteen miles; and down the river to the old emigrant road, twelve miles. It first touched the Grand Rond River about midway between Grand Rond and Powder River valley, and turned south to the latter from this point. Ind. Aff. Rept, 1861, 154; Portland Oregonian, Feb. 6, 1862.