History of Oregon (Bancroft)/Volume 2/Chapter 6

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3277112History of Oregon, Volume 2 — Chapter 6Frances Fuller Victor




Politics and Prospecting—Immigration—An Era of Discovery—Explorations on the Southern Oregon Seaboard—The California Company—The Schooner 'Samuel Roberts' at the Mouths of Rogue River and the Umpqua—Meeting with the Oregon Party—Laying-out of Lands and Town Sites—Failure of the Umpqua Company—The Finding of Gold in Various Localities—The Mail Service—Efforts of Thurston in Congress—Settlement of Port Orford and Discovery of Coos Bay—The Colony at Port Orford—Indian Attack—The T'Vault Expedition—Massacre—Government Assistance.

While politics occupied so much attention, the country was making long strides in material progress. The immigration of 1850 to the Pacific coast, by the overland route alone, amounted to between thirty and forty thousand persons, chiefly men. Through the exertions of the Oregon delegate, in and out of congress, about eight thousand were persuaded to settle in Oregon, where they arrived after undergoing more than the usual misfortunes. Among other things was cholera, from which several hundred died between the Missouri River and Fort Laramie.[1] The crowded condition of the road, which was one cause of the pestilence, occasioned delays with the consequent exhaustion of supplies.[2] The famine becoming known in Portland, assistance was forwarded to The Dalles military post, and thence carried forward and distributed by army officers and soldiers. Among the arrivals were many children, made orphans en route, and it was in the interest of these and like helpless ones that Frederick Waymire petitioned congress to amend the land law, as mentioned in the previous chapter. Those who came this year were bent on speculation more than any who had come before them; the gold fever had unsettled ideas of plodding industry and slow accumulation. Some came for pleasure and observation.[3]

Under the excitement of gold-seeking and the spirit of adventure awakened by it, all the great north-western seaboard was opened to settlement with marvellous rapidity. A rage for discovery and prospecting possessed the people, and produced in a short time marked results. From the Klamath River to Puget Sound, and from the upper Columbia to the sea, men were spying out mineral wealth or laying plans to profit by the operations of those who preferred the risks of the gold-fields to other and more settled pursuits. In the spring of 1850 an association of seventy persons was formed in San Francisco to discover the mouth of Klamath River, believed at the time, owing to an error of Fremont's, to be in Oregon. The object was wholly speculative, and included besides hunting for gold the opening of a road to the mines of northern California, the founding of towns at the most favorable points on the route, with other enterprises. In May thirty-five of the shareholders, and some others, set out in the schooner Samuel Roberts to explore the coast near the Oregon boundary. None of them were accustomed to hardships, and not more than three knew anything about sailing a ship. Lyman, the captain and owner, was not a sailor, but left the management of the vessel to Peter Mackie, a young Canadian who understood his business, and who subsequently for many years sailed a Steamship between San Francisco and Portland. Lyman's second mate was an Englishman named Samuel E. Smith, also a fair seaman; while the rest of the crew were volunteers from among the schooner's company.

The expedition was furnished with a four-pound carronade and small arms. For shot they brought half a ton of nails, screws, hinges, and other bits of iron gathered from the ashes of a burned hardware store. Provisions were abundant, and two surveyors, with their instruments, were among the company,[4] which boasted several college graduates and men of parts.[5]

By good fortune, rather than by any knowledge or superior management, the schooner passed safely up the coast as far as the mouth of Rogue River, but without having seen the entrance to the Klamath, which they looked for north of its right latitude. A boat with six men sent to examine the entrance was overturned in the river and two were drowned, the others being rescued by Indians who pulled them ashore to strip them of their clothing. The schooner meantime was following in, and by the aid of glasses it was discovered that the shore was populous with excited savages running hither and thither with such display of ferocity as would have deterred the vessel from entering had not those on board determined to rescue their comrades at any hazard. It was high tide, and by much manœuvring the schooner was run over the bar in a fathom and a half of water. The shout of relief as they entered the river was answered by yells from the shore, where could be seen the survivors of the boat's crew, naked and half dead with cold and exhaustion, being freely handled by their captors. As soon as the vessel was well inside, two hundred natives appeared and crowded on board, the explorers being unable to prevent them. The best they could do was to feign indifference and trade the old iron for peltries. When the natives had nothing left to exchange for coveted articles, they exhibited an ingenuity as thieves that would have done credit to a London pickpocket. Says one of the company: "Some grabbed the cook's towels, one bit a hole in the shirt of one of our men to get at some beads he had deposited there, and so slyly, too, that the latter did not perceive his loss at the time. One fellow stole the eye-glass of the ship's quadrant, and another made way with the surveyor's note-book. Some started the schooner's copper with their teeth; and had actually made some progress in stripping her as she lay high and dry at low water, before they were found out. One enterprising genius undertook to get possession of the chain and anchor by sawing off the former under water with his iron knife! Conscious of guilt, and fearing lest we might discover the mischief he intended us, he would now and then throw a furtive glance toward the bow of the vessel, to the great amusement of those who were watching him through the hawse pipes."

An examination more laborious than profitable was made of the country thereabout, which seemed to offer no inducements to enterprise sufficient to warrant the founding of a settlement for any purpose. Upon consultation it was decided to continue the voyage as far north as the Umpqua River, and having dispersed the tenacious thieves of Rogue River by firing among them a quantity of their miscellaneous ammunition, the schooner succeeded in getting to sea again without accident.

Proceeding up the coast, the entrance to Coos Bay was sighted, but the vessel being becalmed could not enter. While awaiting wind, a canoe approached from the north, containing Umpquas, who offered to show the entrance to their river, which was made the 5th of August. Two of the party went ashore in the canoe, returning at nightfall with reports that caused the carronade to belch forth a salute to the rocks and woods, heightened by the roar of a simultaneous discharge of small arms. A flag made on the voyage was run up the mast, and all was hilarity on board the Samuel Roberts. On the 6th, the schooner crossed the bar, being the first vessel known to have entered the river in safety. On rounding into the cove called Winchester Bay, after one of the explorers, they came upon a party of Oregonians; Jesse Applegate, Levi Scott, and Joseph Sloan, who were themselves exploring the valley of the Umpqua with a purpose similar to their own.[6] A boat was sent ashore and a joyful meeting took place in which mutual encouragement and assistance were promised. It was found that Scott had already taken a claim about twenty-six miles up the river at the place which now bears the name of Scottsburg, and that the party had come down to the mouth in the expectation of meeting there the United States surveying schooner Ewing, in the hope of obtaining a good report of the harbor. But on learning the designs of the California company, a hearty coöperation was offered on one part, and willingly accepted on the other. Another circumstance in favor of the Umpqua for settlement was the peaceable disposition of the natives, who since the days when they murdered Jedediah Smith's party had been brought under the pacifying influences of the Hudson's Bay Company, and sustained a good reputation as compared with the other coast tribes.

On the morning of the 7th the schooner proceeded up the river, keeping the channel by sounding from a small boat in advance, and finding it one of the loveliest of streams;[7] at least, so thought the explorers, one of whom afterward became its historian.[8] Finding a good depth of water, with the tide, for a distance of eighteen miles, the boat's crew became negligent, and failing to note a gravelly bar at the foot of a bluff a thousand feet in height the schooner grounded in eight feet of water, and when the tide ebbed was left stranded.[9]

However, the small boat proceeded to the foot of the rapids, where Scott was located, this being the head of tide-water, and the vessel was afterward brought safely hither. In consideration of their services in opening the river to navigation and commerce, Scott presented the company with one hundred and sixty acres of his land-claim, or that portion lying below the rapids, for a town site. Affairs having progressed so well the members of the expedition now organized regularly into a joint stock association called the "Umpqua Town-site and Colonization Land Company," the property to be divided into shares and drawn by lot among the original members. They divided their forces, and aided by Applegate and Scott proceeded to survey and explore to and through the Umpqua Valley. One party set out for the ferry on the north branch of the Umpqua, and another for the main valley,[10] coming out at Applegate's settlement of Yoncalla, while a third remained with the schooner. Three weeks of industrious search enabled them to select four sites for future settlements. One at the mouth of the river was named Umpqua City, and contained twelve hundred and eighty acres, being situated on both sides of the entrance. The second location was Scottsburg. The third, called Elkton, was situated on Elk River at its junction with the Umpqua. The fourth, at the ferry above mentioned, was named Winchester, and was purchased by the company from the original claimant, John Aiken, who had a valuable property at that place, the natural centre of the valley.

Having made these selections according to the best judgment of the surveyors, some of the company remained, while the rest reëmbarked and returned to San Francisco. In October the company having sold quite a number of lots were able to begin operations in Oregon. They despatched the brig Kate Heath, Captain Thomas Wood, with milling machinery, merchandise, and seventy-five emigrants. On this vessel were also a number of zinc houses made in Boston, which were put up on the site of Umpqua City. In charge of the company's business was Addison C. Gibbs, afterward governor of Oregon, who was on his way to the territory when he fell in with the projectors of the scheme, and accepted a position and shares.[11]

Thus far all went well. But the Umpqua Company were destined to bear some of those misfortunes which usually attend like enterprises. The passage of the Oregon land law in September was the first blow, framed as it was to prevent companies or non-residents from holding lands for speculative purposes, in consequence of which no patent could issue to the company, and it could give no title to the lands it was offering for sale. They might, unrebuked, have carried on a trade begun in timber; but the loss of one vessel loaded with piles, and the ruinous detention of another, together with a fall of fifty per cent in the price of their cargoes, soon left the contractors in debt, and an assignment was the result, an event hastened by the failure of the firm in San Francisco with which the company had deposited its funds. Five months after the return of the Samuel Roberts to San Franciseo, not one of those who sailed from the river in her was in any manner connected with the Umpqua scheme. The company in California having ceased to furnish means, those left in Oregon were compelled to direct their efforts toward solving the problem of how to live.[12]

But although the Umpqua Company failed to carry out its designs, it had greatly benefited southern Oregon by surveying and mapping Umpqua harbor, the notes of the survey being published, with a report of their explorations and discoveries of rich agricultural lands, abundant and excellent timber, valuable water-power, coal and gold mines, fisheries and stone-quarries. These accounts brought population to that part of the coast, and soon vessels began to ply between San Francisco and Scottsburg. Gardiner, named after the captain of the Bostonian, which was wrecked in trying to enter the river in 1850, sprang up in 1851. In that year also a trail was constructed for pack-animals across the mountains to Winchester,[13] which became the county seat of Douglas county, with a United States land office. From Winchester the route was extended to the mines in the Umpqua and Rogue River valleys. Long trains of mules laden with goods for the mining region filed daily along the precipitous path which was dignified with the name of road, their tinkling bells striking cheerily the ear of the lonely traveller plodding his weary way to the gold-fields. Scottsburg, which was the point of departure for the pack-trains, became a commercial entrepôt of importance.[14] The influence of the Umpqua interest was sufficient to obtain from congress at the session of 1850–51 appropriations for mail service by sea and land, a light-house at the mouth of the river, and a separate collection district.[15]

As the mines were opened permanent settlements were made upon the farming lands of southern Oregon, and various small towns were started from 1851 to 1853 in the region south of Winchester,[16] notably the town of Roseburg, founded by Aaron Rose,[17] who purchased the claim from its locators for a horse, and a poor one at that. A flouring mill was put in operation in the northern part of Umpqua Valley, and another erected during the summer of 1851 at Winchester.[18] A saw-mill soon followed in the Rogue River Valley,[19] many of which improvements were traceable, more or less directly, to the impetus given to settlement by the Umpqua Company.

In passing back and forth to California, the Oregon miners had not failed to observe that the same soil and geological structure characterized the valleys north of the supposed[20] northern boundary of California that were found in the known mining regions, and prospecting was carried on to a considerable extent early in 1850. In June two hundred miners were at work in the Umpqua Valley.[21] But little gold was found at this time, and the movement was southward, to Rogue River and Klamath. According to the best authorities the first discovery on any of the tributaries of the Klamath was in the spring of 1850 at Salmon Creek. In July discoveries were made on the main Klamath, ten miles above the mouth of Trinity River, and in September on Scott River. In the spring of 1851 gold was found in the Shasta Valley,[22] at various places, notably on Greenhorn Creek, Yreka, and Humbug Creek.

The Oregon miners were by this time satisfied that gold existed north of the Siskiyou range. Their explorations resulted in finding the metal on Big Bar of Rogue River, and in the cañon of Josephine Creek. Meanwhile the beautiful and richly grassed valley of Rogue River became the paradise of packers, who grazed their mules there, returning to Scottsburg or the Willamette for a fresh cargo. In February 1852 one Sykes who worked on the place of A. A. Skinner found gold on Jackson Creek, about on the west line of the present town of Jacksonville, and soon after two packers, Cluggage and Pool, occupying themselves with prospecting while their animals were feeding, discovered Rich Gulch, half a mile north of Sykes' discovery. The wealth of these mines[23] led to an irruption from the California side of the Siskiyou, and Willow Springs five miles north of Jacksonville, Pleasant Creek, Applegate Creek, and many other localities became deservedly famous, yielding well for a number of years.

Every miner, settler, and trader in this remote interior region was anxious to hear from friends, home, and of the great commercial world without. As I have before said Thurston labored earnestly to show congress the necessity of better mail facilities for Oregon,[24] the benefit intended to have been conferred having been diverted almost entirely to California by the exigencies of the larger population and business of that state with its phenomenal growth.

The postal agent appointed at San Francisco for the Pacific coast discharged his duty by appointing postmasters,[25] but further than sending the mails to Oregon on sailing vessels occasionally he did nothing for the relief of the territory.[26] Not a mail steamer appeared on the Columbia in 1849. Thurston wrote home in December that he had been hunting up the documents relating to the Pacific mail service, and the reason why the steamers did not come to Astoria. The result of his search was the discovery that the then late secretary of the navy had agreed with Aspinwall that if he should send the Oregon mail and take the same, once a month, by sailing vessel, "at or near the mouth of the Klamath River," and would touch at San Francisco, Monterey, and San Diego free of cost to the government, he should not be required to run steamers to Oregon till after receiving six months' notice.[27]

Here were good faith and intelligence indeed! The then undiscovered mouth of the Klamath River for a distributing point for the Oregon mail! Thurston with characteristic energy soon procured the promise of the secretary that the notice should be immediately given, and that after June 1850 mail steamers should go "not only to Nisqually, but to Astoria."[28] The postmaster-general also recommended the reduction of the postage to California and Oregon to take effect by the end of June 1851.[29]

At length in June 1850 the steamship Carolina, Captain R. L. Whiting, made her first trip to Portland with mails and passengers.[30] She was withdrawn in August and placed on the Panamá route in order to complete the semi-monthly communication called for between that port and San Francisco. On the 1st of September the California arrived at Astoria and departed the same day, having lost three days in a heavy fog off the bar. On the 27th the Panamá arrived at Astoria, and two days later the Seagull,[31] a steam propeller. On the 24th of October the Oregon brought up the mail for the first time, and was an object of much interest on account of her name.[32] There was no regularity in arrivals or departures until the coming from New York of the Columbia, brought out by Lieutenant G. W. Totten of the navy, in March 1851, and afterward commanded by William Ball.[33]

The Columbia supplied a great deficiency in communication with California and the east, though Oregon was still forced to be content with a monthly mail, while California had one twice a month. The postmaster-general's direction that Astoria should be made a distributing office was a blunder that the delegate failed to rectify. Owing to the lack of navigation by steamers on the rivers, Astoria was but a remove nearer than San Francisco, and while not quite so inaccessible as the mouth of the Klamath, was nearly so. When the post-routes were advertised, no bids were offered for the Astoria route, and when the mail for the interior was left at that place a special effort must be made to bring it to Portland.[34]

Troubled by reason of this isolation, the people of Oregon had asked over and over for increased mail facilities, and as one of the ways of obtaining them, and also of increasing their commercial opportunities, had prayed congress to order a survey of the coast, its bays and river entrances. Almost immediately upon the organization of the territory, Professor A. D. Bache, superintendent of the United States coast survey, was notified that he would be expected to commence the survey of the coast of the United States on the Pacific. A corps of officers was selected and divided into two branches, one party to conduct the duties of the service on shore, and the other to make a hydrographical survey.

The former duty devolved upon assistant-superintendent, James S. Williams, Brevet-Captain D. P. Hammond, and Joseph S. Ruth, sub-assistant. The naval survey was conducted by Lieutenant W. P. McArthur, in the schooner Ewing, which was commanded by Lieutenant Washington Bartlett of the United States navy. The time of their advent on the coast was an unfortunate one, the spring of 1849, when the gold excitement was at its height, prices of labor and living extortionate, and the difficulty of restraining men on board ship, or in any service, excessive, the officers having to stand guard over the men,[35] or to put to sea to prevent desertions.

So many delays were experienced from these and other causes that nothing was accomplished in 1849, and the Ewing wintered at the Hawaiian Islands, returning to San Francisco for her stores in the spring, and again losing some of her men. On the 3d of April, Bartlett succeeded in getting to sea with men enough to work the vessel, though some of these were placed in irons on reaching the Columbia River. The first Oregon newspaper which fell under Bartlett's eye contained a letter of Thurston's, in which he reflected severely on the surveying expedition for neglect to proceed with their duties, which was supplemented by censorious remarks by the editor. To these attacks Bartlett replied through the same medium, and took occasion to reprove the Oregonians for their lack of enterprise in failing to sustain a pilot service at the mouth of the Columbia, which service, since the passage of the pilotage act, had received little encouragement or support,[36] and also for giving countenance to the desertion of his men.

The work accomplished by the Ewing during the summer was the survey of the entrance to the Columbia, the designation of places for buoys to mark the channel, of a site for a light-house on Cape Disappointment, and the examination of the coast south of the Columbia. The survey showed that the "rock-ribbed and iron-bound" shore of Oregon really was a beach of sand from Point Adams to Cape Arago, a distance of one hundred and sixty-five miles, only thirty- three miles of that distance being cliffs of rock where the ocean touched the shore. From Cape Arago to the forty-second parallel, a distance of eighty-five miles, rock was found to predominate, there being only fifteen miles of sand on this part of the coast.[37] Little attention was given to any bay or stream north of the Umpqua, McArthur offering it as his opinion that they were accessible by small boats alone, except Yaquina, which might, he conjectured, be entered by vessels of a larger class.

It will be remembered that the Samuel Roberts entered the Umpqua August 6, 1850, and surveyed the mouth of the river, and the river itself to Scottsburg. As the Ewing did not leave the Columbia until the 7th, McArthur's survey was subsequent to this one. He crossed the bar in the second cutter and not in the schooner; and pronounced the channel practicable for steamers, but dangerous for sailing vessels, unless under favorable circumstances. Slight examination was made of Coos Bay, an opinion being formed from simply looking at the mouth that it would be found available for steamers. The Coquille River was said to be only large enough for canoes; and Rogue River also unfit for sailing vessels, being so narrow as to scarcely afford room to turn in. So much for the Oregon coast. As to the Klamath, while it had more water on the bar than any river south of the Columbia, it was so narrow and so rapid as to be unsafe for sailing vessels.[38]

This was a very unsatisfactory report for the projectors of seaport towns in southern Oregon. It was almost equally disappointing to the naval and post-office departments of the general government, and to the mail contractors, who were then still anxious to avoid running their steamers to the Columbia, and determined if possible to find a different mail route. The recommendation of the postmaster-general at the instance of the Oregon delegate, that they should be required to leave the mail at Scottsburg, as I have mentioned, induced them to make a special effort to found a settlement on the southern coast which would enable them to avoid the bar of the Umpqua.

The place selected was on a small bay about eight miles south of Cape Blanco, and a little south of Point Orford. Orders were issued to Captain Tichenor[39] of the Seagull, which was running to Portland, to put in at this place, previously visited by him,[40] and there leave a small colony of settlers, who were to examine the country for a road into the interior. Accordingly in June 1851 the Seagull stopped at Port Orford, as it was named, and left there nine men, commanded by J. M. Kirkpatrick, with the necessary stores and arms. A four-pounder was placed in position on the top of a high rock with one side sloping to the sea, and which at high tide became an island by the united waters of the ocean and a small creek which flowed by its base.

While the steamer remained in port, the Indians, of whom there were many in the neighborhood, appeared friendly. But on the second day after her departure, about forty of them held a war-dance, during which their numbers were constantly augmented by arrivals from the heavily wooded and hilly country back from the shore. When a considerable force was gathered the chief ordered an advance on the fortified rock of the settlers, who motioned them to keep back or receive their fire. But the savages, ignorant perhaps of the use of cannon, continued to come nearer until it became evident that a hand-to-hand conflict would soon ensue. When one of them had seized a musket in the hands of a settler, Kirkpatrick touched a fire-brand to the cannon, and discharged it in the midst of the advancing multitude, bringing several to the ground. The men then took aim and shot six at the first fire. Turning on those nearest with their guns clubbed, they were able to knock down several, and the battle was won. In fifteen minutes the Indians had twenty killed and fifteen wounded. Of the white men four were wounded by the arrows of the savages which fell in a shower upon them. The Indians were permitted to carry off their dead, and a lull followed.

But the condition of the settlers was harassing. They feared to leave their fortified camp to explore for a road to the interior, and determined to await the return of the Seagull, which was to bring another company from San Francisco. At the end of five days the Indians reappeared in greater force, and seeing the white men still in possession of their stronghold and presenting a determined front, retired a short distance down the coast to hold a war-dance and work up courage. The settlers, poorly supplied with ammunition, wished to avoid another conflict in which they might be defeated, and taking advantage of the temporary absence of the foe essayed to escape to the woods, carrying nothing but their arms.

It was a bold and desperate movement but it proved successful. Travelling as rapidly as possible in the almost tropical jungle of the Coast Range, and keeping in the forest for the first five or six miles, they emerged at night on the beach, and by using great caution eluded their pursuers. On coming to Coquille River, a village of about two hundred Indians was discovered on the bank opposite, which they avoided by going up the stream for several miles and crossing it on a raft. To be secure against a similar encounter, they now kept to the woods for two days, though by doing so they deprived themselves of the only food, except salmon berries, which they had been able to find. At one place they fell in with a small band of savages whom they frightened away by charging toward them. Again emerging on the beach they lived on mussels for four days. The only assistance received was from the natives on Cowan River which empties into Coos Bay. These people were friendly, and fed and helped them on their way. On the eighth day the party reached the mouth of the Umpqua, where they were kindly cared for by the settlers at that place.[41]

When Tichenor arrived at San Francisco, he proceeded to raise a party of forty men to reënforce his settlement at Port Orford, to which he had promised to return by the 23d of the month. The Seagull being detained, he took passage on the Columbia, Captain Le Roy, and arrived at Port Orford as agreed, on the 23d, being surprised at not seeing any of his men on shore. He immediately landed, however, with Le Roy and eight others, and saw provisions and tools scattered over the ground, and on every side the signs of a hard struggle. On the ground was a diary kept by one of the party, in which the beginning of the first day's battle was described, leaving off abruptly where the first Indian seized a comrade's gun. Hence it was thought that all had been killed, and the account first published of the affair set it down as a massacre; a report which about one week later was corrected by a letter from Kirkpatrick, who, after giving a history of his adventures, concluded with a favorable description of the country and the announcement that he had discovered a fine bay at the mouth of the Cowan River.[42] This important discovery was little heeded by the founders of Port Orford, who were bent upon establishing their settlement on a more southern point of the coast.

Tichenor left his California party at Port Orford well armed and fortified and proceeded to Portland, where he advertised to land passengers within thirty-five miles of the Rogue River mines, having brought up about two dozen miners from San Francisco and landed them at Port Orford to make their way from thence to the interior, at their own hazard. On returning down the coast the Columbia again touched at Port Orford and left a party of Oregon men, so that by August there were about seventy persons at the new settlement. They were all well armed and kept guard with military regularity. To some was assigned the duty of hunting, elk, deer, and other game being plentiful on the coast mountains, and birds of numerous kinds inhabiting the woods and seashore. A whitehall boat was left for fishing and shooting purposes. These hunting tours were also exploring expeditions, resulting in a thorough examination of the coast from the Coquille River on the north to a little below the California line on the south, in which distance no better port was discovered.[43]

The 24th of August a party of twenty-three[44] under T'Vault set out to explore the interior. T'Vault's experience as a pioneer was supposed to fit him for the position of guide and Indian-fighter, a most responsible office in that region of hostile savages, particularly as the expedition was made up of immigrants of the previous year, with little or no knowledge of the country, or of mountain life. Only two of them, Williams and Lount, both young men from Michigan, were good hunters; and on them would depend the food supply after the ten days' rations with which each man was furnished should be exhausted.

Nothing daunted, however, they set out on horses, and proceeded southward along the coast as far as the mouth of Rogue River. The natives along the route were numerous, but shy, and on being approached fled into the woods. At Rogue River, however, they assumed a different air, and raised their bows threateningly, but on seeing guns levelled at them desisted. During the march they hovered about the rear of the party, who on camping at night selected an open place, and after feeding their horses burned the grass for two hundred yards around that the savages might not have it to hide in, keeping at the same time a double guard. Proceeding thus cautiously they avoided collision with these savages.

When they had reached a point about fifty miles from the ocean, on the north bank of Rogue River, having lost their way and provisions becoming low, some determined to turn back. T'Vault, unwilling to abandon the adventure, offered increased pay to such as would continue it. Accordingly nine went on with him toward the valley, though but one of them could be depended upon to bring in game.[45] The separation took place on the 1st of September, the advancing party proceeding up Rogue River, by which course they were assured they could not fail soon to reach the travelled road.

On the evening of the 9th they came upon the head-waters of a stream flowing, it was believed, into the ocean near Cape Blanco. They were therefore, though designing to go south-eastwardly, actually some distance north as well as east from Port Orford, the nature of the country and the direction of the ridges forcing them out of their intended course. Finding an open country on this stream, they followed it down some distance, and chancing to meet an Indian boy engaged him as a guide, who brought them to the southern branch of a river, down which they travelled, finding the bottoms covered with a thick growth of trees peculiar to low, moist lands. It was now determined to abandon their horses, as they could advance with difficulty, and had no longer anything to carry which could not be dispensed with. They therefore procured the services of some Indians with canoes to take them to the mouth of the river, which they found to have a beautiful valley of rich land, and to be, after passing the junction of the two forks, about eighty yards wide, with the tide ebbing and flowing from two to three feet.[46] On the 14th, about ten o'clock in the morning, having descended to within a few miles of the ocean, a member of the party, Mr Hedden, one of those driven out of Port Orford in June, and who escaped up the coast, recognized the stream as the Coquille River, which the previous party had crossed on a raft. Too exhausted to navigate a boat for themselves, and overcome by hunger, they engaged some natives[47] to take them down the river, instead of which they were carried to a large ranchería situated about two miles from the ocean.

Savages thronged the shore armed with bows and arrows, long knives,[48] and war-clubs, and were upon them the moment they stepped ashore. T'Vault afterward declared that the first thing he was conscious of was being in the river, fifteen yards from shore and swimming. He glanced toward the village, and saw only a horrible confusion, and heard the yells of savage triumph mingled with the sound of blows and the shrieks of his unfortunate comrades. At the same instant he saw Brush in the water not far from him and an Indian standing in a canoe striking him on the head with a paddle, while the water around was stained with blood.

At this juncture occurred an incident such as is used to embellish romances, when a woman or a child in the midst of savagery displays those feelings of humanity common to all men. While the two white men were struggling for their lives in the stream a canoe shot from the opposite bank. In it standing erect was an Indian lad, who on reaching the spot assisted them into the canoe, handed them the paddle, then springing into the water swam back to the shore. They succeeded in getting to land, and stripping themselves, crawled up the bank and into the thicket without once standing upright. Striking southward through the rough and briery undergrowth they hurried on as long as daylight lasted, and at night emerged upon the beach, reaching Cape Blanco the following morning, where the Indians received them kindly, and after taking care of them for a day conveyed them to Port Orford. T'Vault was not severely wounded, but Brush had part of his scalp taken off by one of the long knives. Both were suffering from famine and bruises, and believed themselves the only survivors.[49] But in about two weeks it was ascertained that others of the party were living, namely: Williams,[50] Davenport, and Hedden, the other five having been murdered, their companies hardly knew how.

With this signal disaster terminated the first attempt to reach the Rogue River Valley from Port Orford; and thus fiercely did the red inhabitants of this region welcome their white brethren. The difficulties with the various tribes which grew out of this and similar encounters I shall describe in the history of the wars of 1851–3.

Soon after the failure of the T'Vault expedition another company was fitted out to explore in a different direction for a road to the interior,[51] which was compelled to return without effecting its object. Port Orford, however, received the encouragement and assistance of government officials, including the coast survey officers and military men,[52] and throve in consequence. Troops were stationed there,[53] and before the close of the year the work of surveying a military road was begun by Lieutenant Williamson, of the topographical engineers, with an escort of dragoons from Casey's command at Port Orford. Several families had also joined the settlement, about half a dozen dwelling houses having been erected for their accommodation.[54] The troops were quartered in nine log buildings half a mile from the town.[55] A permanent route to the mines was not adopted, however, until late the following year.

Casey's command having returned to Benicia about the 1st of December, in January following the schooner Captain Lincoln, Naghel master, was despatched to Port Orford from San Francisco with troops and stores under Lieutenant Stanton. The weather being foul she missed the harbor and went ashore on a sand spit two miles north of the entrance to Coos Bay. The passengers and cargo were safely landed on the beach, where shelter was obtained under sails stretched on booms and spars. Thus exposed, annoyed by high winds and drifting sands, and by the thieving propensities of the natives, Stanton was forced to remain four months. An effort was made to explore a trail to Port Orford by means of which pack-trains could be sent to their relief. Twelve dragoons were assigned to this service, with orders to wait at Port Orford for despatches from San Francisco in answer to his own, which, as the mail steamers avoided that place after hearing of the wreck of the schooner, did not arrive until settled weather in March. Quartermaster Miller replied to Stanton by taking passage for Port Orford on the Columbia under a special arrangement to stop at that port. But the steamer's captain being unacquainted with the coast, and having nearly made the mistake of attempting to enter Rogue River, proceeded to the Columbia, and it was not until the 12th of April that Miller reached his destination. He brought a train of twenty mules from Port Orford, the route proving a most harassing one, over slippery mountain spurs, through dense forests obstructed with fallen timber, across several rivers, besides sand dunes and marshes, four days being consumed in marching fifty miles.

On reaching Camp Castaway, Miller proceeded to the Umpqua, where he found and chartered the schooner Nassau, which was brought around into Coos Bay, being the first vessel to enter that harbor. Wagons had been shipped by the quartermaster to the Umpqua by the brig Fawn. The mules were sent to haul them down the beach by what proved to be a good road, and the stores being loaded into them were transported across two miles of sand to the west shore of the bay and placed on board the Nassau, in which they were taken to Port Orford,[56] arriving the 20th of May.

The knowledge of the country obtained in these forced expeditions, added to the exploration of the Coquille Valley by road-hunters in the previous autumn, and by the military expedition of Casey to punish the Coquilles, of which I shall speak in another place, was the means of attracting attention to the advantages of this portion of Oregon for settlement. A chart of Coos Bay entrance was made by Naghel, which was sufficiently correct for sailing purposes, and the harbor was favorably reported upon by Miller.[57]

On the 28th of January the schooner Juliet, Captain Collins, was driven ashore near Yaquina Bay, the crew and passengers being compelled to remain upon the stormy coast until by aid of an Indian messenger horses could be brought from the Willamette to transport them to that more hospitable region.[58] While Collins was detained, which was until the latter part of March, he occupied a portion of his time in exploring Yaquina Bay, finding it navigable for vessels drawing from six to eight feet of water; but the entrance was a bad one. In the bay were found oysters and clams, while the adjacent land was deemed excellent. Thus by accident[59] as well as effort the secrets of the coast country were brought to light, and although the immigration of 1851 was not more than a third as much as that of the previous year, there were people enough running to and fro, looking for new enterprises, to impart an interest to each fresh revelation of the resources of the territory.

  1. White, in Camp Fire Orations, MS., 9–10; Dowell's Journal, MS., 5; Johnson's Cal. and Or., 255; Or. Spectator, Sept. 26, 1850.
  2. Says one of the sufferers: 'I saw men who had been strong stout men walking along through the hot desert sands, crying like children with fatigue, hunger, and despair.' Cardwell's Emig. Comp'y, MS., 1.
  3. Among those who took the route to the Columbia River was Henry J. Coke, an English gentleman travelling for pleasure. He arrived at Vancouver Oct. 22, 1850, and after a brief look at Oregon City sailed in the Mary Dare for the Islands, visiting San Francisco in Feb. 1851, thence proceeding to Mexico and Vera Cruz, and by the way of St Thomas back to England, all without appearing to see much, though he wrote a book called Coke's Ride. Two Frenchmen, Julius Brenchly and Jules Remy, were much interested in the Mormons, and wrote a book of not much value. Remy and Brenchly, ii. 507–8.

    F. G. Hearn started from Kentucky intending to settle in Oregon, but seized by cholera was kept at Fort Laramie till the following year, when with a party of six he came on to the Willamette Valley, and finally took up his residence at Yreka, California. Hearn's California Sketches, MS., is a collection of observations on the border country between California and Oregon.

    Two Irishmen, Kelly and Conway, crossed the continent this year with no other supplies than they carried in their haversacks, depending on their rifles for food. They were only three months in travelling from Kansas to the Sacramento Valley, which they entered before going to Oregon. Quigley's Irish Race, 216–17. During Aug. and Sept. of this year Oregon was visited by the French traveller Saint Amant, who made some unimportant notes for the French government. Certain of his observations were apocryphal. See Saint Amant, 139–391.

  4. These were Nathan Schofield, A. M., author of a work on surveying, and Socrates Schofield his son, both from near Norwich, Connecticut. Schofield Creek in Douglas county is named after the latter.
  5. Besides the Schofields there were in the exploring company Heman Winchester, and brother, editor of the Pacific News of San Francisco; Dr Henry Payne, of New York; Dr E. R. Fiske, of Massachusetts; S. S. Mann, a graduate of Harvard University; Dr J. W. Drew, of New Hampshire; Barney, of New York; Woodbury, of Connecticut; C. T. Hopkins, of San Francisco; Henry H. Woodward, Patrick Flanagan, Anthony Ten Eyck, A. G. Able, James K. Kelly, afterward a leading man in Oregon politics; Dean, Tierman, Evans, and Knight, whose names have been preserved.
  6. Or. Spectator, March 7 and Sept. 12, 1850. See also Pioneer Mag., i. 282, 350.
  7. It is the largest river between the Sacramento and the Columbia. 'Vessels of 800 tons can enter.' Mrs Victor, in Pac. Rural Press, Nov. 8, 1879. 'The Umpqua is sometimes supposed to be the river discovered by Flores in 1603, and afterwards referred to as the "River of the West."' Davidson's Coast Pilot, 126.
  8. This was Charles T. Hopkins, who wrote an account of the Umpqua adventure for the S. F. Pioneer, vol. i. ii., a periodical published in the early days of California magazine literature. I have drawn my account partly from this source, as well as from Gibbs' Notes on Or. Hist., MS., 2–3, and from Historical Correspondence, MS., by S. S. Mann, S. F. Chadwick, H. H. Woodward, members of the Umpqua company, and also from other sources, among which are Williams' S. W. Oregon, MS., 2–3.; Letters of D. J. Lyons, and the Oregon Spectator, Sept. 5, 1850; Deady's Scrap-Book, 83; S. F. Evening Picayune, Sept. 6, 1850.
  9. Gibbs says: 'The passengers endeavored to lighten the cargo by pouring the vessel's store of liquors down their throats, from which hilarious proceeding the shoal took the name of Brandy Bar.' Notes, MS., 4.
  10. Oakland, a few miles south of Yoncalla, was laid out in 1849 by Chester Lyman, since a professor at Yale College. This is the oldest surveyed town in the Umpqua Valley. Or. Sketches, MS., 3.
  11. D. C. Underwood, who had become a member of the association, was a passenger on the Kate Heath, a man well known in business and political circles in the state.
  12. Drew remained at Umpqua City, where he was subsequently Indian agent for many years, and where he held the office of collector of customs and subsequently of inspector. He was unmarried. Marysville Appeal, Jan. 20, 1864. Winchester remained in Oregon, residing at Scottsburg, then at Roseburg and Empire City. He was a lawyer, and a favorite with the bar of the Second Judicial district. 'He was generous in dealing, liberal in thought, of entire truth, and absolutely incorruptible.' Salem Mercury, Nov. 10, 1876. Gibbs took a land claim seven miles above the mouth of the Umpqua, laying out the town of Gardiner, and residing there for several years, during which time he returned to the east and married Margaret M. Watkins, of Erie county, N. Y. Addison Crandall Gibbs, afterward governor of Oregon, was born at East Otto, Cattaraugus county, N. Y., July 9, 1825, and educated at the New York State Normal school. He became a teacher, and studied law, being admitted to the bar in May 1849 at Albany. He is descended from a long line of lawyers in England; his great grandfather was a commissioned officer in the revolutionary war. In Oregon he acted well his part of pioneer, carrying the mail in person, or by deputy, from Yoncalla to Scottsburg for a period of four years through the floods and storms of the wild coast mountains, never missing a trip. He was elected to the legislature of 1851–2. When Gardiner was made a port of entry, Gibbs became collector of customs for the southern district of Oregon. He afterward removed to the Umpqua Valley, and in 1858 to Portland, where he continued the practice of law. He was ever a true friend of Oregon, taking a great personal interest in her development and an intelligent pride in her history. He has spared no pains in giving me information, which is embodied in a manuscript entitled, Notes on the History of Oregon.

    Stephen Fowler Chadwick, a native of Connecticut, studied law in New York, where he was admitted to practice in 1850, immediately after which he set out for the Pacific coast, joining the Umpqua Company and arriving in Oregon just in time to be left a stranded speculator on the beautiful but lonely bank of that picturesque river. When the settlement of the valley increased he practised his profession with honor and profit, being elected county and probate judge, and also to represent Douglas county in the convention which framed the state constitution. He was presidential elector in 1864 and 1868, being the messenger to carry the vote to Washington in the latter year. He was elected secretary of state in 1870, which office he held for eight years, becoming governor for the last two years by the resignation of Grover, who was elected to the U. S. senate. Governor Chadwick was also a distinguished member of the order of freemasons, having been grand master in the lodge of Perfection, and having received the 33d degree in the Scotch rite, as well as having been for 17 years chairman of the committee on foreign correspondence for the grand lodge of Oregon, and a favorite orator of the order. He married in 1856 Jane A. Smith of Douglas county, a native of Virginia, by whom he has two daughters and two sous. Of a lively and amiable temper and courteous manner, he has always enjoyed a popularity independent of official eminence. His contributions to this history consist of letters and a brief statement of the Public Records of the Capitol in manuscript. I shall never forget his kindness to me during my visit to Oregon in 1878. James K. Kelly was born in Center county, Penn., in 1819, educated at Princeton college, N. J., and studied law at Carlisle law school, graduating in 1842, and practising in Lewiston, Penn., until 1849, when he started for California by way of Mexico. Not finding mining to his taste, he embarked his fortunes in the Umpqua Company. He went to Oregon City and soon came into notice. He was appointed code commissioner in 1853, as I have elsewhere mentioned, and was in the same year elected to the council, of which he was a member for four years and president for two sessions. As a military man he figured conspicuously in the Indian wars. He was a member of the constitutional convention in 1857, and of the state senate in 1860. In 1870 he was sent to the U. S. senate, and in 1878 was appointed chief justice of the supreme court. His political career will be more particularly noticed in the progress of this history.

  13. Winchester was laid out by Addison C. Flint, who was in Chile in 1845, to assist in the preliminary survey of the railroad subsequently built by the infamous Harry Meigs. In 1849 Flint came to California, and the following year to Oregon to make surveys for the Umpqua Company. He also laid out the town of Roseburg in 1854 for Aaron Rose, where he took up his residence in 1857. Or. Sketches, MS., 2–4.
  14. Allan, McKinlay, and McTavish of the Hudson's Bay Company opened a trading-house at Scottsburg; and Jesse Applegate also turned merchant. Applegate's manner of doing business is described by himself in Burnett's Recollections of a Pioneer: 'I sold goods on credit to those who needed them most, not to those who were able to pay, lost $30,000, and quit the business.'
  15. The steamers carrying the mails from Panamá to the Columbia River were under contract to stop at the Umpqua, and one entry was made, but the steamer was so nearly wrecked that no further attempt followed. The merchants and others at Scottsburg and the lower towns, as well as at Winchester, had to wait for their letters and papers to go to Portland and be sent up the valley by the bi-monthly mail fa Yoncalla, a delay which was severely felt and impatiently resented. The legislature did not fail to represent the matter to congress, and Thurston did all he could to satisfy his constituents, though he could not compel the steamship company to keep its contract or congress to annul it.
  16. The first house in Rogue River Valley was built at the ferry on Rogue River established by Joel Perkins. The place was first known as Perkins' Ferry, then Long's Ferry, and lastly as Vannoy's. The next settlement was at the mouth of Evans creek, a tributary of Rogue River, so called from a trader named Davis Evans, a somewhat bad character, who located there. The third was the claim of one Bills, also of doubtful repute. Then came the farm of N. C. Dean at Willow Springs, five miles north of Jacksonville, and near it the claim of A. A. Skinner, who built a house in the autumn of 1851. South of Skinner's, on the road to Yreka, was the place of Stone and Points on Wagner creek, and beyond, toward the head of the valley, those of Dunn, Smith, Russell, Barren, and a few others. Duncan's Settlement, MS., 5–6. The author of this work, L. J. C. Duncan, was born in Tennessee in 1818. He came to California in 1849, and worked in the Mariposa mines until the autumn of 1850, when, becoming ill, he came to Oregon for a change of climate and more settled society. In the autumn of 1851 he determined to try mining in the Shasta Valley, and also to secure a land claim in the Rogue River Valley. This he did, locating on Bear or Stuart creek, 12 miles south-east of Jacksonville, where he resided from 1851 to 1858, during which time he mined on Jackson's creek. He shared in the Indian wars which troubled the settlements for a number of years, finally establishing himself in Jacksonville in the practice of the law, and being elected to the office of judge.
  17. Deady's Hist. Or., MS., 72–3.
  18. Or. Spectator, Feb. 10, 1852.
  19. J. A. Cardwell was born in Tennessee in 1827, emigrated from Iowa to Oregon in 1850, spent the first winter in the service of Quartermaster Ingalls at Fort Vancouver, and started in the spring for California with 26 others to engage in mining. After a skirmish with the Rogue River Indians and various other adventures they reached the mines at Yreka, where they worked until the dry season forced a suspension of operations, when Cardwell, with E. Emery, J. Emery, and David Hurley, went to the present site of Ashland in the Rogue River Valley, and taking up a claim erected the first saw-mill in that region early in 1852. I have derived much valuable information from Mr Cardwell concerning southern Oregon history, which is contained in a manuscript entitled Emigrant Company, in Mr Cardwell's own hand, of the incidents of the immigration of 1850, the settlement of the Rogue River Valley, and the Indian wars which followed.
  20. As late as 1854 the boundary was still in doubt. 'Intelligence has just been received from the surveying party under T. P. Robinson, county surveyor, who was commissioned by the governor to survey the boundary line between California and Oregon. The party were met on the mountains by several gentlemen of this city, whose statement can be relied on, when they were informed by some of the gentlemen attached to the expedition, that the disputed territory belonged to Oregon, and not California, as was generally supposed. This territory includes two of the finest districts in the country, Sailor's Diggings and Althouse Creek, besides some other minor places not of much importance to either. The announcement has caused some excitement in that neighborhood, as the miners do not like to be so suddenly transported from California to Oregon. They have heretofore voted both in California and Oregon, although in the former state it has caused several contested election cases, and refused to pay taxes to either. It is also rumored around the city, for which we will not vouch, that Yreka is in Oregon. But we hardly think it possible, from the observations heretofore taken by scientific men, which brings Yreka 15 miles within the line. Cresent City Herald, in D. Alta Cala., June 28, 1854.
  21. S. F. Courier, July 10, 1850.
  22. In the early summer of 1850 Gen. Lane, with a small party of Oregonians, viz. John Kelly, Thomas Brown, Martin Angell, Samuel and John Simondson, and Lane's Indian servant, made a discovery on the Shasta river near where the town of Yreka was afterward built. The Indians proving troublesome the party removed to the diggings on the upper Sacramento, but not finding gold as plentiful as expected set out to prospect on Pit River, from which place they were driven by the Indians back to the Sacramento where they wintered, going in February 1851 to Scott River, from which locality Lane was recalled to the Willamette Valley to run for the office of delegate to congress. Speaking of the Pit river tribe, Lane says: 'The Pit River Indians were great thieves and murderers. They actually stole the blankets off the men in our camp, though I kept one man on guard all the time. They stole our best horse, tied at the head of my bed, which consisted of a blanket spread on the ground, with my saddle for a pillow. They sent an arrow into a miner because he happened to be rolled in his blanket so that they could not pull it from him. They caught Driscoll when out prospecting, and were hurrying him off into the mountains when my Indian boy gave the alarm and I went to his rescue. He was so frightened he could neither move nor speak, which condition of their captive impeded their progress. When I appeared he fell down in a swoon. I pointed my gun, which rested on my six-shooter, and ordered the Indians to leave. While they hesitated and were trying to flank me my Indian boy brought the canoe alongside the shore, on seeing which they beat a hasty retreat thinking I was about to be reënforced. Driscoll would never cross to the east side of the river after his adventure.' Lane's Autobiography, MS., 104–5.
  23. Early Affairs, MS., 10; Duncan's Southern Or., MS., 5–6; Dowell's Scrap-book, 31; Victor's Or., 334. A nugget was found in the Rogue River diggings weighing $800 and another $1300. See accounts in S. F. Alta, Sept. 14, 1852; S. F. Pac. News, March 14, 1851; and S. F. Herald, Sept. 28, 1851.
  24. In October 1845 the postmaster-general advertised for proposals to carry the United States mail from New York by Habana to the Chagre River and back; with joint or separate offers to extend the transportation to Panamá and up the Pacific to the mouth of the Columbia, and thence to the Hawaiian Islands, the senate recommending a mail route to Oregon. Between 1846 and 1848 the government thought of the plan of encouraging by subsidies establishment of a line of steamers between Panamá and Oregon, by way of some port in California. At length Howland and Aspinwall agreed to carry the mails once a month, and to put on a line of three steamers of from 1,000 to 1,200 tons, giving cabin accommodations for about 25 passengers, as many it was thought as would probably go at one time, the remainder of the vessel being devoted to freight. Crosby's Statement, MS., 3. Three steamers were constructed under a contract with the secretary of the navy, viz.: the California, 1,400 tons, with a single engine of 250 horse-power, handsomely finished and carrying 46 cabin and a hundred steerage passengers; the Panamá of 1,100 tons, and the Oregon of 1,200 tons, similarly built and furnished. 32d Cong., 1st Sess., S. Doc. 50; Hon. Polynesian, April 7, 1849; Otis' Panamá R. R. The California left port in the autumn of 1848, arriving at Valparaiso on the 20th of December, seventy-four days from New York, proceeding thence to Callao and Panamá, where passengers from New York to Habana and Chagre were awaiting her, and reaching San. Francisco on the 28th of February 1849, where she was received with great enthusiasm. She brought on this first trip over 12,000 letters. S. F. Alta California in Polynesian, April 14, 1849. See also Hist. Cal. and Cal. Inter Pocula, this series.
  25. John Adair at Astoria, F. Smith at Portland, George L. Curry at Oregon City, and J. B. McClane, at Salem. J. C. Avery was postmaster at Corvallis, Jesse Applegate at Yoncalla, S. F. Chadwick at Scottsburg.
  26. Or. Spectator, Nov. 29, 1849; Rept. of Gen. Smith, in 31st Cong., 1st Sess., S. Doc. 47, 107.
  27. Or. Spectator, April 18, 1850.
  28. This quotation refers to an effort on the part of certain persons to make Nisqually the point of distribution of the mails. The proposition was sustained by Wilkes and Sir George Simpson. 'If they get ahead of me,' said Thurston in his letter, 'they will rise early and work late.'
  29. 31st Cong., 2d Sess., H. Ex. Doc. 1, 408, 410. This favor also was chiefly the result of the representations of the Oregon delegate. A single letter from Oregon to the States cost 40 cents; from California 12½ cents, before the reduction which made the postage uniform for the Pacific coast and fixed it at six cents a single sheet, or double the rate in the Atlantic states. Or. Statesman, May 9, 1851.
  30. McCracken's Early Steamboating, MS., 7; Salem Directory, 1874, 95; Portland Oregonian, Jan. 13, 1872. There was an incongruity in the law establishing the mail service, which provided for a semi-monthly mail to the river Chagre, but only a monthly mail from Panamá up the coast. Rept. of P. M. Gen., in 31st Cong., 2d Sess., H. Ex. Doc. 1, 410; Or. Spectator, Aug. 8, 1850.
  31. The Seagull was wrecked on the Humboldt bar on her passage to Oregon, Feb. 26, 1852. Or. Statesman, March 2, 1852.
  32. Or. Spectator, Oct. 31, 1850. The Oregon was transformed into a sailing vessel after many years of service, and was finally sunk in the strait of Juan de Fuca by collision with the bark Germania in 1880. Her commander when she first came to Oregon was Lieut. Charles P. Patterson of the navy.
  33. 'The Columbia was commenced in New York by a man named Hunt, who lived in Astoria, under an agreement with Coffin, Lownsdale, and Chapman, the proprietors, of Portland, to furnish a certain amount of money to build a vessel to run between San Francisco and Astoria. Hunt went east, and the keel of the vessel was laid in 1849, and he got her on the ways and ready to launch when his money gave out, and the town proprietors of Portland did not send any more. So she was sold, and Rowland and Aspinwall bought her for this trade themselves… She ran regularly once a mouth from San Francisco to Portland, carrying the mails and passengers.' She was very stanchly built, of 700 tons register, would carry 50 or 60 cabin passengers, with about as many in the steerage, and cost $150,000. N. Y. Tribune, in Or. Spectator, Dec. 12, 1850; Dandy's Hist. Or., MS., 10–11.
  34. The postal agent appointed in 1851 was Nathaniel Coe, a man of high character and scholarly attainments, as well as religious habits. He was a native of Morristown, New Jersey, born September 11, 1788, a whig, and a member of the Baptist church. In his earlier years he represented Alleghany county, New York, in the state legislature. When his term of office in Oregon expired he remained in the country, settling on the Columbia River near the mouth of Hood River, on the eastern slope of the Cascade Mountains. 'His mental energy was such, that neither the rapid progress of the sciences of our time, nor his own great age of eighty, could check his habits of study. The ripened fruits of scholarship that resulted appeared as bright as ever even in the last weeks of his life. He died at Hood River, his residence, October 17, 1868.' Vancouver Register, Nov. 7, 1868; Dalles Mountaineer, Oct. 23, 1868.
  35. A mutiny occurred in which Passed Midshipman Gibson was nearly drowned in San Francisco Bay by five of the seamen. They escaped, were pursued, captured, and sentenced to death by a general court-martial. Two were hanged on board the Ewing and the others on the St Mary's, a ship of the U. S. squadron. Letter of Lieut. Bartlett, in Or. Spectator, June 27, 1850; Lawson's Autobio., MS., 2; Davidson's Biography.
  36. Capt White, a New York pilot, conceived the idea of establishing himself and a corps of competent assistants at the mouth of the Columbia, thereby conferring a great benefit on Oregon commerce, and presumably a reasonable amount of reward upon himself. But his venture, like a great many others projected from the other side of the continent, was a failure. On bringing his fine pilot-boat, the Wm G. Hagstaff, up the coast, in September 1849, he attempted to enter Rogue River, but got aground on the bar, was attacked by the Indians, and himself and associates, with their men, driven into the mountains, where they wandered for eighteen days in terrible destitution before reaching Fort Umpqua, at which post they received succor. The Hagstaff was robbed and burned; her place being supplied by another boat called the Mary Taylor. The Pioneer, i. 351; Davidson's Coast Pilot, 112–13; Williams' S. W. Or., MS. 2. It was the neglect of the Oregonians to make good the loss of Captain White, or a portion of it, to which Bartlett referred. For the year during which White had charge of the bar pilotage 69 vessels of from 60 to 650 tons crossed in all 128 times. The only loss of a vessel in that time was that of the Josephine, loaded with lumber of the Oregon Milling Company. She was becalmed on the bar, and a gale coming up in the night she dragged her anchor and was carried on the sands, where she was dismasted and abandoned. She afterward floated out to sea, being a total loss. George Gibbs, in Or. Spectator, May 2, 1850. The pilot commissioners, consisting at this time of Gov. Lane and captains Couch and Crosby, made a strong appeal in behalf of White, but he was left to bear his losses and go whither he pleased. Johnson's Cal. and Or., 254–5; Carrol's Star of the West, 290–5; Stevens, in Pac. H. R. Rept., i. 109, 291–2, 615–16; Polynesian, July 20, 1850. The merchants finally advanced the pay of pilots so as to be remunerative, after which time little was heard about the terrors of the Columbia bar.
  37. Coast Survey, 1850, 70; S. F. Pac. News, Jan. 18, 1851.
  38. McArthur died in 1851 while on his way to Panamá and the east. Lawson's Autobiog., MS., 26.
  39. William Tichenor was born in Newark, N. J., June 13, 1813, his ancestor Daniel Tichenor being one of the original proprietors of that town. He followed the sea, making his first voyage in 1825. In 1833 he married and went to Indiana, but could not remain in the interior. After again making a sea voyage he tried living in Edgar county, Illinois, where he represented the ninth senatorial district. In 1846 he recruited two companies for the regiment commanded by Col. E. D. Baker, whom he afterward helped to elect to the U. S. senate from Oregon. Tichenor came to the Pacific coast in 1849, and having mined for a short time on the American River, purchased the schooner J. M. Ryerson, and sailed for the gulf of California, exploring the coast to San Francisco and northward, discovering the bay spoken of above. He finally settled at Port Orford, and was three times elected to the lower house of the Oregon legislature, and once to the senate. He took up the study of law and practised for 16 years, and was at one time county judge of Curry county. Yet during all this time he never quite gave up seafaring. Letter of Tichenor, in Historical Correspondence, MS.
  40. Port Orford was established and owned by Capt. Tichenor, T. Butler King, collector of the port of San Francisco, James Gamble, Fred M. Smith, M. Hubbard, and W. G. T'Vault. Or. Statesman, Aug. 19, 1851.
  41. Williams' S. W. Oregon, MS., 1–6; Alta California, June 30th and July 25, 1851; Wills' Wild Life, in Van Tromp's Adventures, 149–50; Armstrong's Or., 60–4; Crane's Top. Mem., 37–40; Overland Monthly, xiv. 179–82; Portland Bulletin, Feb. 25, 1873; Or. Spectator, July 3, 1851; Or. Statesman, July 4th and 15, 1851; Parrish's Or. Anecdotes, MS., 41–5; Harper's Mag., xiii. 590–1; S. F. Herald, June 30, 1851; Id., July 15, 1851; Lawson's Autobiog., MS., 32–3; S. F. Alta, June 30, 1851; Taylor's Spec. Press, 19.
  42. Now called Coos, an Indian name.
  43. Says Williams in his S. W. Oregon, MS., 9: 'It was upon one of these expeditions, returning from a point where Crescent City now stands, that with a fair wind, myself at the helm, we sailed into the beautiful Chetcoe River which we ever pronounced the loveliest little spot upon that line of coast.'
  44. I give here the number as given by Williams, one of the company, though it is stated to be only 18 by T'Vault, the leader, in Alta California, Oct. 14, 1851.
  45. This was Williams. The others were: Patrick Murphy, of New York; A. S. Doherty and Gilbert Brush, of Texas; Cyrus Hedden, of Newark, N. J.; John P. Holland, of New Hampshire; T. J. Davenport, of Massachusetts; Jeremiah Ryan, of Maryland; J. P. Pepper, of New York. Alta California, Oct. 14, 1851.
  46. On Coquille River, 12 miles below the north fork, is a tree with the name 'Dennis White, 1834,' to which some persons have attached importance. Armstrong's Or., 65.
  47. One of the Indians who paddled their canoes had with him 'the identical gun that James H. Eagan had broken over an Indian's head at Port Orford in June last.' Williams' S. W. Or., MS., 28.
  48. These knives, two and two and a half feet long, were manufactured by the Indians out of some band iron taken from the wreck of the Hagstaff. They were furnished with whalebone handles. Parrish's Or. Anecdotes, MS., 60.
  49. Lawson's Autobiog., MS., 45–6; Portland Bulletin, March 3, 1873; S. F. Herald, Oct. 14, 1851; Ashland Tidings, July 12th and 19, 1878; Portland West Shore, May 1878.
  50. The narrative of Williams is one of the most thrilling in the literature of savage warfare. When the attack was made he had just stepped ashore from the canoe. His first struggle was with two powerful savages for the possession of his rifle, which being discharged in the contest, for a moment gave him relief by frightening his assailants. Amidst the yells of Indians and the cries and groans of comrades he forced his way through the infuriated crowd with the stock of his gun, being completely surrounded, fighting in a circle, and striking in all directions. Soon only the barrel of his gun remained in his hands, with which he continued to deal heavy blows as he advanced along a piece of open ground toward the forest, receiving blows as well, one of which felled him to the ground. Quickly recovering himself, with one desperate plunge the living wall was broken, and he darted for the woods. As he ran an arrow hit him between the left hip and lower ribs, penetrating the abdomen, and bringing him to a sudden stop. Finding it impossible to move, he drew out the shaft which broke off, leaving one joint of its length, with the barb, in his body. So great was his excitement that after the first sensation no pain was felt. The main party of Indians being occupied with rifling the bodies of the slain, a race for life now set in with about a dozen of the most persistent of his enemies. Though several times struck with arrows he ran down all but two who placed themselves on each side about ten feet away shooting every instant. Despairing of escape Williams turned on them, but while he chased one the other shot at him from behind. As if to leave him no chance for life the suspenders of his pantaloons gave way, and being impeded by their falling down he was forced to stop and kick them off. With his eyes and mouth filled with blood from a wound on the head, blinded and despairing he yet turned to enter the forest when he fell headlong. At this the Indians rushed upon him sure of their prey; one of them who carried a captured gun attempted to fire, but it failed. Says the narrator: 'The sickening sensations of the last half hour were at once dispelled when I realized that the gun had refused to fire. I was on my feet in a moment, rifle barrel in hand. Instead of running I stood firm, and the Indian with the rifle also met me with it drawn by the breech. The critical moment of the whole affair had arrived, and I knew it must be the final struggle. The first two or three blows I failed utterly, and received some severe bruises, but fortune was on my side, and a lucky blow given with unusual force fell upon my antagonist killing him almost instantly. I seized the gun, a sharp report followed, and I had the satisfaction of seeing my remaining pursuer stagger and fall dead.' Expecting to die of his wounds Williams entered the shadow of the woods to seek a place where he might lie down in peace. Soon afterward he fell in with Hedden, who had escaped uninjured, and who with some friendly Indians assisted him to reach the Umpqua, where they arrived after six days of intense suffering from injuries, famine, and cold, and where they found the brig Almira, Capt. Gibbs, lying, which took them to Gardiner. All Williams' wounds except that in the abdomen healed readily. That discharged for a year. In four years the arrow-head had worked itself out, but not until the seventh year did the broken shaft follow it. Davenport, like Hedden, was unhurt, but wandered starving in the mountains many days before reaching a settlement. Williams was born in Vermont, and came to the Pacific coast in 1850. He made his home at Ashland, enjoying the respect of his fellow-men, combining in his manner the peculiarities of the border with those of a thorough and competent business man. Portland West Shore, June 18, 1878.
  51. Or. Statesman, Nov. 4, 1851.
  52. Probably stories like the following had their effect: 'Port Orford has recently been ascertained to be one of the very best harbors on the Pacific coast, accessible to the largest class of vessels, and situated at a convenient intermediate point between the Umpqua and Rogue Rivers.' Rept. of Gen. Hitchcock, in 32d Cong., 1st Sess., H. Ex. Doc. 2, 149; S. F. Alta, July 13th and Sept. 14, 1852.
  53. Lieutenant Kautz, of the rifles, with 20 men stationed at Astoria, was ordered to Port Orford in August, at the instance of Tichenor, where a post was to be established for the protection of the miners in Rogue River Valley, which was represented to be but 35 miles distant from this place. After the massacre on the Coquille, Col. Casey, of the 2d infantry, was despatched from San Francisco with portions of three dragoon companies, arriving at Port Orford on the 22d of October.
  54. Saint Amant, 41–2, 144; Or. Spectator, Dec. 16, 1851.
  55. 32d Cong., 2d Sess., H. Ex. Doc. 1, pt. ii. 105–6; S. F. Herald, Nov. 8, 1852.
  56. The Nassau was wrecked at the entrance to the Umpqua a few months later. Or. Statesman, Sept. 18, 1852. From 1850 to 1852 five vessels were lost at this place, the Bostonian, Nassau, Almira, Orchilla, and Caleb Curtes.
  57. 32d Cong., 2d Sess., H. S. Ex. Doc. 1, pt. ii. 103–9.
  58. Dr McLoughlin, Hugh Burns, W. C. Griswold, and W. H. Barnhart responded to the appeal of the shipwrecked, and furnished the means of their rescue from suffering. Or. Statesman, March 2d and April 6, 1852.
  59. Of marine disasters there seem to have been a great number in 1851–2. The most appalling was of the steam propeller General Warren, Captain Charles Thompson, which stranded on Clatsop spit, after passing out of the Columbia, Jan. 28, 1852. The steamer was found to be leaking badly, and being put about could not make the river again. She broke up almost immediately after striking the sands, and by daylight next morning there was only enough left of the wreck to afford standing room for her passengers and crew. A boat, the only one remaining, was despatched in charge of the bar pilot to Astoria for assistance. On its return nothing could be found but some floating fragments of the vessel. Not a life was saved of the 52 persons on board. Or. Statesman, Feb. 10th and 24, 1852; Id., March 9, 1852; Swan's N. W. Coast, 259; Portland Oregonian, Feb. 7, 1852; S. F. Alta, Feb. 16, 1852.