March 31, 2010
Nevada's Online State News Journal
[From Asa Merrill Fairfield, Pioneer History of Lassen County (1916)]
INDIAN TROUBLES IN NORTHWESTERN NEVADA 1861-64
Indian Troubles. 1861
There was no Indian war this year. During the first part of the year the Pahutes came into the valley as usual and both the Winnemuccas visited their old friends. Probably they tried to keep their followers from molesting the property of the settlers, for they wanted to live in peace with them. But the Indians were like white men — some of them could not stand temptation, and the cattle running on the ranges certainly were a temptation to the hungry Indians. There were a few of the Pit River Indians left and they never missed a chance to gather in a white man's property; and many of Smoke Creek's band were not averse to increasing their wealth at the expense of their white neighbors, even in time of peace. Henry E. Lomas says that in the fall of 1861 he was camped out in the Granite creek country. One day he was out a ways from camp when he saw a big Indian coming toward him. He was a little frightened, but stood his ground while the Indian slowly came up to him, and from some- where in his clothes brought forth a piece of greasy paper nearly worn out where it was folded. This paper he handed to Lomas, who read it. It stated that this was Smoke Creek Sam, one of
HISTORY OF LASSEN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
the meanest and most treacherous and dangerous Indians in that part of the country, and that it was better to give him a little of something than to have trouble with him. The paper was returned to the Indian who folded it carefully and returned it to his clothes. Lomas then took him to camp and gave him something to eat and perhaps gave him a little present. The noble chief went away smiling, and this goes to prove "That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain."
In the spring the Pahutes ran off quite a lot of cattle at different times, or at least it was laid at their door. V. J. Borrette says that in the early part of the year he and Luther Spencer bought Antelope valley northeast of Susanville from B. B. Painter and Ladue Vary. One day while they were building their house they came into Susanville leaving their provisions, two yoke of oxen, and a lot of traps of different kinds at the camp. While they were gone some Indians came down from the hills and took the largest and gentlest yoke of cattle, packed all the food and whatever else they could find that they wanted on their backs, and then went their way rejoicing. To do the packing they used all the ropes and straps they could find, and took the lines and straps off some harness that had been left there. They just cleaned out the camp. When they found out what the Indians had done they tried to raise a crowd to follow them, but no one seemed to take any interest in it and nothing was done.
Some of the early settlers say that this summer the citizens of the valley held a meeting and after talking matters over concluded to establish a sort of "dead line" between themselves and the Pahutes. They made the summit of the mountains east and northeast of the valley their "dead line" and notified the Indians that they would kill any of them who came nearer than that. Other early settlers say that nothing of the kind was done. There is no way of deciding which is the truth, and probably all of them told the truth the way they knew it.
The following was related by W. M. Cain and H. E. Lomas. Not far from the middle of December Dewitt Chandler and his hired man were killing a beef at the Chandler and Fry ranch a couple of miles southeast of Janesville. There were some Pahute Indians camped on the rock pile in the field below Janesville, and one called Jim, his father, and two or three other bucks and
THE YEAR 1861
some squaws went over and stood around while the work was going on. When it was nearly done the young man who was helping went into the house for something, and while he was gone Jim began to help himself to the liver and some of the other offal. Chandler wanted this for his hogs and he told Jim to let it alone. The Indian at once faced him and patted himself on the chest as if to defy him and at the same time made some insulting remarks. Chandler caught up a stick of hard wood and struck the Indian on the back of the head and knocked him down. He afterwards said that he had no idea of killing him, but he struck harder than he intended to. The other Indians began to string their bows, but when Chandler called to the man in the house and told him to bring out his pistol they left as fast as they could. The squaws soon dragged Jim away, and if he was not dead then he died in a short time, for his skull was broken. The Indians took his body to the rock pile where they were camped and buried it. They killed his dog and burned it on his grave along with some of his other property, and then they burned the whole camp and moved away.
This affair caused considerable excitement in the valley for many of the settlers thought the Indians would take revenge on them. There was some talk of holding an inquest — some say that Squire Stark did hold one at Janesville. They also talked of arresting Chandler and giving him a trial, hoping this would appease the wrath of the Indians. But nothing was done and the excitement gradually died away. There were several reasons for this. Chandler did not intend to kill the Indian and it was thought that he was justified in protecting his own property. Jim had always been impudent and offensive and he had a horse which he said he got by shooting a white man at the Ormsby Massacre. During the Indian troubles of the previous year many horses and saddles and other property had been taken from the whites by the Indians and when peace was made they were not given up. It was very aggravating to the settlers to see an Indian riding a horse or a saddle that he might have killed a white man to get, and besides that the most of the Never Sweats thought that the only good Indian was a dead one.
Notwithstanding these troubles there was no Indian outbreak this year although what occurred in 1861 may have had its effect upon the troubles of the following year. This summer
HISTORY OF LASSEN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
and fall there was a large travel on the road between Honey Lake and the Humboldt mines, but no one was molested by the Indians. When Tunison came in from the Humboldt in November he camped near Breed's station on Smoke creek and Smoke Creek Sam took supper with him. There were a good many Pahutes loafing around the station, but they were peaceful and this state of affairs continued until the next spring.
Indian Troubles. 1862
During this year the Indians made up for the peacefulness of the preceding year. From early in the spring until late in the year they were busy on the northern and eastern borders of the valley and along the emigrant road to the Humboldt river. Of course they committed depredations elsewhere, but at the places mentioned the people of Honey Lake valley suffered the most, and our story is about them. These depredations were committed by the Pit river Indians, the renegade Piutes under Smoke Creek Sam, and other bands of Indians that lived along the emigrant road and to the north of it. Possibly some of the mischief was done by the Pyramid lake Piutes, for their chiefs could not always keep them in sight and the sub-chiefs were not always "good Injuns."
Some time during the first part of March Thomas Bear, who was keeping a trading post and a station at Deep Hole springs
HISTORY OF LASSEN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
about sixty miles east of Honey Lake valley, came to Susanville after supplies, leaving his hired man, Dave , alone at the station. While he was in the valley a storm came on and delayed his return. A party came in from the Humboldt and told him that there was no one at his place when they came along. He and a man named John Williams at once started out on horseback and got to the station a little after noon on the second day. Bear began to get some dinner and the other man went to looking around the premises. Some say that nothing had been taken from the station but the guns and ammunition, others say that it had been plundered of a lot of flour, blankets, etc. It would be a queer thing if the Indians didn 't take everything they could find that was of value to them, for they generally did that and burned the buildings, too. There was nothing about the house to show that the missing man had been harmed. After some hunting Williams found a little distance from the house a piece of matting that Dave used to spread down before the fire to lie upon, and this had blood stains on it. He soon found some moccasin tracks and these he followed until he got near one of the springs. When he got near enough to see into the spring he saw a human hand rising and falling in the water. The Indians had split his head open with an ax and then carried him to the spring and crowded him under the sod that fringed the edge of it. Some say he was scalped, too. After burying him Bear, or Bare (it is spelled both ways), Williams, and another man started for Honey Lake. When they got within five or six miles of Smoke creek they saw eight Indians coming down the hill toward them carrying a white rag on a stick. The white men stopped a few minutes to consult together and the Indians stopped, too. When the whites came on the Indians advanced to meet them and kept in a bunch in the road as if to prevent them from going on their way. Bear, who was a fearless man, took the lead, poked the Indian leader in the stomach with his gun, and thrust the others aside with it. Four of the Indians stood on each side of the road and the whites passed between them without being molested. After they had gone a little ways they looked back and saw the Indians bring their guns to their faces as if they were going to shoot at them. Bear immediately raised his gun and they lowered their weapons, and this was repeated several times before they got out of range. Then the Indians started out across the hills as if they were try-
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ing to reach the Smoke Creek canyon first and ambush the white men there. The latter rode as fast as they could and evidently out-stripped the Indians, for they got through the canyon in safety and reached the valley without further adventure. About this time some stock was stolen from the Granite creek station and some from Deep Hole.
V. J. Borrette had six horses running near the mouth of Willow creek and about the middle of March he concluded to hunt them up. He and a friend, Byron B. Gray, borrowed some riding horses and saddles and started out after them. They thought they knew right where the horses were and that it would not take very long to find them, so they took neither food nor firearms. They hunted around all day, but didn't find them, and just at sundown they got up on the bluff above Willow creek where it comes out into this valley. Borrette told Gray that they were a long ways from home, that probably the horses were further up the creek where they would find them in the morning, so they would camp there that night. They made a bed out of their saddle blankets, picketed their horses just out of reach of it, and lay down and went to sleep. They were very tired and slept the next morning until the sun shone in Borrette 's face and woke him up. He saw that the horses were gone and spoke to Gray who half woke up and said he could see them down on the creek. The other man told him to wake up and look again. They both got up, and after a little investigation, found from the tracks that five Indians had come up the canyon from the creek, cut the picket ropes close to the pins, and led the horses down the canyon. They followed the trail until it struck the rocks and there they lost it. Just then Borrette happened to think that neither one of them had a gun or a knife and it would do them no good if they overtook the Indians.
Henry Arnold was running some horses and cattle in that part of the country and had a camp between Willow creek and the Soldier bridge, so they took their outfits on their backs and went down there for help. When they arrived at Arnold's camp he told them that he had no firearms excepting an old shotgun and that had been broken the day before. After trying in vain to get some one to help them they packed their saddles to Susanville and paid $75 apiece for the borrowed horses. Borrette afterwards found his horses where they had hunted for them.
HISTORY OF LASSEN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
A few days after this Jack Byrd had several head of cattle run off by the Indians. He found some of them that they had killed. They had taken only the hearts and tongues and left the rest of the animal.
The Pursuit of the Indians Who Stole the Cattle of William B. Long and Others
From the narratives of William Dow, A. L. Harper, William H. Hall, and A. G. Moon, the testimony of William B. Long, and the diary of A. L. Tunison.
Late in the fall of 1861 James Briden started from the Honcut with a large band of cattle for the Humboldt. On account of the weather he could get no further than Honey Lake valley with them, so that winter he ranged them in the country from Willow creek to the lower Hot Springs. The cattle of William B. Long and A. K. Wood, son of General Wood, the Neale Brothers, the Adams Brothers, J. D. Byers, Samuel Marriott, and Blood ranged this winter in the same locality. During the first part of the winter the Long and Wood stock was looked after by Arthur K. Long, brother of William B., and a man named Thomas Williams, but some time in January A. L. Harper went there to help them. They had twenty-five head of mares running near the mouth of Willow creek and very early in the spring the herders missed them and sent word to Long. He went from Susanville down there and after some hunting found their trails going out of the valley, and the moccasin tracks among those of the horses showed that they had been driven off by the Indians. He never found the mares nor heard anything more about them. Some time after this Harper missed some steers and sent word to Long about it. In the course of two or three weeks Long sent a message to the herders and told them to gather up the steers and said he would be down there as soon as he could. In the meantime the herders found the carcass of a steer that had been shot to death with arrows and some others with arrows in their flesh. These they caught and pulled the arrows out of them.
About the middle of March William B. Long, Briden, Henry Sidorus, Harper, and probably some others whose cattle ranged there, began to gather them up and put them into the long canyon that runs into the hills a little northwest of the Lathrop and Bradley place. In a week they had a large band of cattle there,
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estimates running from 200 to 1000 head. These cattle belonged to everybody who had any running around there and they intended to take them to Mt. Meadows for safety. On the morning of the 25th of March Long went over on foot to see the cattle and found them all gone excepting seven of Briden's Spanish steers. He followed their tracks for a while, but finding it was of no use to go on in that way, he went back and got his horse. He then took the trail and went ten or twelve miles toward Secret Valley. He found several cattle mired down but not injured and thought he saw the tracks of five or six Indians. He then came back and sent men to Janesville to raise a crowd to pursue the Indians and went himself to Susanville. Governor Roop called a meeting of the people who lived in that end of the valley and quite a number of the men agreed to go with Long.
By the morning of the 27th something like fifty men from all parts of the valley had gathered at the T. C. (Tule) Emerson ranch about a mile and a half northwest of Lathrop and Bradley's. They elected Dave Blanchard captain and Henry Arnold and Johnson Tutt lieutenants. Some of those who went on this expedition were William B. Long, Arthur K. Wood, George Taylor, William Dow, Samuel Shultz, William H. Hall, Lyman Merwin, Dave Hare, A. G. Moon, Byron B. Gray, Keefer, A. L. Harper, Miles Harper, York Rundel, Luther Spencer, John Partridge, A. L. Tunison, Stephen White, Warren Lockman, John Bradley, George W. Perry (Buckskin Mose), a Spaniard named Steve Rafael, a young man who worked for Dr. Slater, name unknown, and some say one or two Chinamen. They had horses enough to pack their provisions and blankets and a few of the men, perhaps a fourth of them, were mounted.
As soon as they could get ready they started out across the hills to the northeast. It had been an extremely wet winter and the ground was very soft. Where it was the driest the horses sank into the mud up to their fetlocks and where they crossed the creeks, for there was water in every canyon, they went in up to their bodies. Sometimes the pack horses mired down and their packs had to be taken off before they could get out of the mud. Where the men could not step on the rocks they went into the mud ankle deep. They saw the tracks of only eight Indians and evidently these were too few to handle so many cattle, for every little ways some of them left the band and they could not
HISTORY OF LASSEN COUNTY, CALIFOENIA
get them back. They crossed the creek that flows from Mud Springs three or four miles east of Secret valley and there they found about sixty head of cattle dead in the mud, and some live ones which they pulled out. The leaders of the band had sunk into the mud and the others had gone over them and mashed them down so deep that they had smothered. That night they camped northwest of Mud Springs, having traveled about twenty miles. It snowed some that night. The next day they went to the northeast across a mountainous country and at night struck Smoke creek seven or eight miles above the station. Every little while during the day they had found a few cattle mired down. These and all the cattle that mired down or gave out from this time on were mutilated or killed by the Indians. They knocked them on the head, pushed an arrow into their bodies, cut open their sides, hamstrung them, or ruined them in some other way. Sometimes they took the heart and tongue of an animal or perhaps a little of the meat and tallow. It snowed on them all that day and they reached camp, which was where they struck Smoke creek, cold, wet, and hungry, after a march of about twenty miles. Here they found a young steer which they killed and ate. It snowed on them nearly all that night. Harper says they camped that night within a mile and a half of some of the Indians they were after. The next day they concluded that they could get along better without the horses to bother them, so they sent the pack train and the men on horseback by way of the road to Deep Hole, probably thinking that the trail they were following would lead them close to that place. They also wanted to get some more provisions if they could. That same morning Perry, Partridge, and a Chinaman took the road back to Honey Lake because their boots had got stiff and hurt their feet so they could not travel fast enough to keep up with the others. Their force was now reduced to thirty-three men, and each one of these took a pair of blankets and enough food for three or four meals and once more started out on the trail of the cattle which kept to the northeast toward Buffalo Meadows. Late in the forenoon Steve White saw an Indian on a ridge about three quarters of a mile ahead and he fell back and told the others. They thought they had come up with the whole band of Indians and there might be a good many of them, so they stopped and held a consultation. Some of the party wanted to wait until night and then attack
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them and the others wanted to go ahead and overtake them as soon as possible. Finally the majority decided to go on. They went to the foot of the ridge on which White had seen the Indian, sneaked part way up it, and crawled the rest of the way. Long, Harper, Taylor, Keefer, and some of the older men went up a little canyon and the others crawled up on each side of it. The four men named got to the top of the ridge first and though they found no Indians there they found about forty head of cattle. The Indians were driving them in two bands and this was the hind one. Long and Harper went on through the cattle looking for Indians and left the other two men a little behind. When they got through the band and looked over the edge of the ridge they saw three Indians about a hundred yards away. They sneaked up to within seventy-five yards of them and saw one Indian standing up and the other two cutting meat from the body of an animal. Harper drew a bead on one of them, but he didn't shoot at once, and never could tell why he didn't do it. In the meantime the other men had come up and just then Long motioned for them to come on. Taylor, who had his dog Bob with him, was the first one of them to get where he could see over the ridge. When he saw the Indians he yelled "There they are. See the sons of -------. Sic 'em, Bob!" The Indians dropped to the ground as quick as a flash and rolled down the steep side hill into the canyon out of sight, and when next seen they were running up the side of a hill three or four hundred yards away. A good many shots were fired at them, but the snow was blowing and they were so far away that none of them were hit. All of the men then threw down their loads and started on the run after them. When they had gone a couple of miles they concluded to send a party back to bring up the loads so they would not have so far to come back to camp. Eight or ten men returned and got the blankets, etc., and left two men to guard the cattle that the Indians had left on the ridge. The others went on after the three Indians who followed the trail of those ahead. At the lower end of Buffalo Meadows, or near there, they came to a place where evidently the Indians in the lead intended to camp for the night and wait for the others to come up, but for some reason they had taken alarm and gone on. Until they reached this place the Indians had killed only the cattle that could go no further, but after this they killed all of them that they could. Some of the cat-
HISTORY OF LASSEN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
tle left behind by them were found standing up, but they were so badly mutilated that they had to be killed. The trail went northwest from Buffalo Meadows. Since losing sight of the three Indians with the hindmost cattle not an Indian had been seen, but about half an hour before sundown when they had chased them ten or twelve miles they saw them a mile and a half away on the other side of a big canyon. They had seventeen head of the strongest cattle and they were running them as fast as they could. Some say there were only five Indians with the cattle, others tell all the way from that number up to fifteen. Harper says they saw the tracks of only nine Indians at any time.
It was getting late and there was no hope of catching up with the Indians that night and they didn't know how far back they would have to go to find the men who were bringing up the loads that were left behind. Besides this they had very little food left and they concluded to give up the pursuit. It was long after dark when they reached camp. The men sent back had brought the outfit up to where the Indians intended to camp and they stayed there that night. They traveled about as far as usual that day. It snowed all day and during the night nearly a foot of snow fell. They built sagebrush fires and heated up the ground, and then spread down brush and made their beds on it. Between the warm ground and the snow on their beds they were so warm that they all took colds the next day. That night they stood guard for the first time since leaving home. Dow, who slept with Hall, stood guard the first part of the night, and when he came to bed he crawled in just as he was and with his boots covered with snow. Hall wasn 't used to hunting Indians and he had undressed when he went to bed. The snow felt pretty cold to him and he complained to Dow about coming to bed with ten pounds of snow on his boots. When Dow found that the other man had taken off his clothes he asked him what he would do without any clothes or boots on if the Indians attacked them suddenly in the night and he had to get out of bed and run or fight. Probably that ended the conversation. The next morning Long, Dow, and Tunison (the latter says there were ten of them) went across to Deep Hole to turn back the pack train. The others went back to Smoke creek, picking up the cattle as they went along, and camped about two
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miles above the station, being too tired to go any further. It snowed nearly all that day and night. The next day they moved down to the station and waited for the pack train to join them.
The Spaniard and the man who worked for Dr. Slater had a fight that day. There had been some trouble between them before that and some little thing brought on a row. The Spaniard had no scabbard for his knife and he had made one by cutting slits, one above the other, in a piece of rawhide. During the fight he tried to draw his knife, but the rawhide had dried and shrunk down on it and he could not get it out and probably that saved the other man 's life.
That night the pack train and the mounted men came in and also a party of thirty or forty men under the command of Jack Byrd. They intended to follow the trail, but after talking with the men who went back the third day they concluded to follow the road. The next day, April 1st, they all went to the valley excepting a few men who stayed to drive in the cattle. Byrd and his party went on toward home. Some of the Honey Lakers stayed that night at the Lathrop and Bradley ranch, some at Emerson's, and some went on home. It was no trouble for men like Dow and Tunison to go on to Toadtown after having walked in from Smoke creek that day.
The Indians had decidedly the best of this affair. Probably the whites would have killed the three Indians they found on the ridge if Taylor had not yelled when he saw them. After having crawled up that ridge they must have been greatly disappointed at the way matters turned out, and without any doubt he was chaffed and ''cussed" unmercifully by the other men. For a long time after that "Sic 'em, Bob" was a common expression in Honey Lake. As it was, all that the white men had to show for their trouble and suffering was forty-four or forty-five head of cattle which they recovered, and four or five of them died on the road home. Long claimed that he was out 220 head — lost in this raid by the Indians and before this — and others who had cattle running in this vicinity lost a good many, too. After they got back from this trip Long's herders found that the Indians had camped for a week at the head of the canyon above the Lathrop and Bradley ranch waiting for the cattle to be gathered up.
HISTORY OF LASSEN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
Two Indians Killed at the Lathrop and Bradley Ranch
From the narratives of A. L. Harper and William W. Asbury and A. L. Tunison's Diary.
The Honey Lakers got back to the Lathrop ranch, for that is what it was called, on Tuesday, April 1st. During the afternoon of the Sunday before this two Indians were seen coming toward the house on that ranch. In the house at that time, as nearly as can be ascertained, were Lathrop and his Wife, Samuel Marriott, a lame man named Hobbs, and a Chinaman. They thought that the Indians were spies and they planned to get them into the house and question them and then tie them and take them out and kill them. The Indians came into the house and put down their guns when told to do so, but when questioned would only say that there were twelve more of them at the Hot springs. Before long the white men started in to tie them. In the scuffle that followed Hobbs was left alone with the larger Indian while the rest of them were wrestling with the other one. The Indian tried to draw his knife and Hobbs called for help. Lathrop ran to his aid, caught up an old Minnie rifle that belonged to the Indian, and told Hobbs to let go so he could shoot him. But Hobbs was like the man who had the tiger by the tail, he couldn 't let go. The Indian was big and strong and he kept his adversary between himself and Lathrop. Once while this was going on Mrs. Lathrop, who had been put into the back room to keep her out of danger, looked through the door and told her husband not to shoot Hobbs. Finally the white man succeeded in pushing the Indian away from him and Lathrop shot him, the bullet going through his body and the side of the house, too. Lathrop then helped tie the other Indian and when this was done he looked around for the one that had been shot. He had gone out of the house and walked a couple of hundred yards north toward the emigrant road and sat down under a sagebrush. Lathrop went out there and when he got close to the Indian the latter 's eyes turned green with rage and he cursed the white man and called him vile names. Lathrop put his pistol to the Indian's head and killed him. He then returned to the house and they took the other Indian outside. The Chinaman wanted to kill him because he knew that the Indians had killed three Chinamen "a long time ago." Marriott shot him with a shotgun, but did not kill him dead and they let
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the Chinaman finish him. They took him out to the other Indian and buried both of them there. They then put the carcass of a steer on the grave, put some brush on it, and burned it. The next day some of them went to Susanville and took the ponies of the two Indians with them as they did not want to keep them on the ranch.
In the pouch of the Indian shot by Lathrop they found some short pieces cut from endgate rods. The Indians managed to get hold of a few guns, but it was hard for them to get any ammunition and these pieces of iron were to be used for bullets.
Fight with the Indians at the Lathrop Ranch
This story is a continuation of the previous one. It is said that a day or two after these Indians were killed two Piutes came to Lathrop 's ranch and told him they had seen them killed and buried and that in a few days they were going to kill him and burn his house and kill all the whites in the valley. Whether this is true or not, Lathrop got frightened and sent to Susanville for help and Frank Drake, Fielding Long, and Robert Johnston went down there. B. E. Shumway was living there at the time. The afternoon of the 2nd of April the men who were bringing in the cattle recovered from the Indians reached the valley. Part of them stayed that night at the Lathrop ranch and the others went up to the Emerson place. James C. La Tour, William James, John Hyder, "Texas," Slidell, Osborn, and George (Dutch) Harris, Shasta county teamsters coming in from the Humboldt, stayed at Lathrop 's that night. Lathrop, Bradley, and Tom Harvey were there and perhaps a man or two more. It is impossible to be exact about their number or their names.
Drake got up at daylight the next morning, and happening to look toward the northeast, saw a party of mounted men, Indians as he supposed, outlined against the sky as they came over the hill. He awoke the boys and told them that the Indians were coming and then got on his horse and rode up to the Emerson ranch and told them about it. The men there went to Lathrop 's as fast as they could, but being on foot didn't get there until the trouble was over.
The men awakened by Drake arose and dressed, prepared their guns, and got out of sight. Just about this time the Indians,
HISTORY OF LASSEN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
twelve in number, who had ridden very rapidly, reached the flat in front of the house and rode around as if looking for some- thing. Finally they stopped at the place where the Indians were buried and then two of them rode toward the house. One of them was "Pike," the young Indian Harvey had almost raised and who had saved the lives of Harvey and Weatherlow in 1860. Harvey told this to the other men and said he hated to see the boy shot and would go out and try to save his life. No one made any objection and he went out to meet the two Indians. Lathrop had met them as they came near the house and one of them asked him what had become of the Indians who came there a few days before that. He was told that they had gone away. The Indian said " You heap lie. Me stay out on the hill. See um come here, no see um go away. " Lathrop made no reply to this, but asked them to get off their horses and eat some of the food he had brought out and to ask the other Indians to come there and eat, too. They motioned for the others to come up and then dismounted. The rest of the band rode up, got off their horses, put down their weapons, and began to eat. So far things had gone well for the Never Sweats and it looked as though they were going to get some Indians this time. While this was going on Harvey had got out there and told Pike to go with him to the house and get some coffee. When they got close to the door the white men came around the corner of the house and fired on the Indians. Pike started to run and Shumway shot him in the back with a handful of five-shooter bullets; but he kept on running until he got to the corral, and he stayed there until the Indians came to him with the horses. As soon as the whites fired they rushed toward the Indians who all ran away, the most of them taking their guns, but only one getting his horse. They ran out as far as the grave of the Indians, the white men following and shooting at them with their pistols. The Indian with the horse, though the whites were shooting at him all the time, circled around behind them and drove the ponies out to the other Indians and they mounted and rode away. One of them was slow in getting on his horse, and Long, Johnston, Harris, and Slidell ran toward him. He raised his gun and fired at them. Those in front had swung out to one side and Harris caught the bullet. Slidell was the only one who had brought his gun along and he snapped it at the Indian, but it failed to go off. It was a rifle with the
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hammer on the under side, the cap had dropped off, and he had no more with him. The Indian kept trying to mount his horse by getting on a sagebrush, but every time he tried it the bush mashed down. Slidell kept following him up and snapping his gun at him until he left his pony and ran away. The whole thing was over in almost no time. The Indians went out to the corral and got Pike and rode off to the east where they gathered up some horses that were running there. Drake rode out toward them and they invited him to come on if he wanted to.
Thus ended what looked like a good chance for the Honey Lakers to get revenge upon the Indians. It seems to have been a very badly managed affair. Harris was mortally wounded and died on the sixth of April. The Indians left four guns and one pony. From their actions it was supposed that seven Indians were wounded and that they died later on, but it was also reported that Pike got well and no one ever knew for certain that any of the others died.
John F. Hulsman says that early this spring Winnemucca and eight or ten warriors came to the Ward and Titherington ranch (the Lassen ranch south of Susanville). Hulsman gave them something to eat and let the chief sleep in his bed. Winnemucca said they could kill no game with their bows and arrows and they must have something to eat. He said that if the white men would give him some ammunition, he would see that it was put to a good use. The Indians would kill game with it and would not have to kill the white men's cattle. Ward and Titherington hitched up and went to town and with the help of Roop and some others got a lot of blankets and ammunition which they brought out and gave to the Indians. They at once packed this on their ponies and went away, the chief saying that they would do no mischief and would not bother anybody.
On the 5th of April a man out hunting stock was chased by three Indians. He was within a hundred yards of them when he first saw them, but he had a good horse and soon was out of their reach.
This spring a few soldiers were stationed at Smoke creek, probably under the command of Lieutenant Wells. They stayed there until the following spring and then a much larger force was sent to that place.
HISTORY OF LASSEN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
Hall's Trip to the Humboldt
April 8th William H. Hall and fifty-four others left Lathrop 's ranch for the Humboldt mines, there being a great mining excitement in that section. On the third day out they fell in with Thomas Bare, who traveled along with them, and the next day they reached the station at Deep Hole. Here a sad spectacle met their view. The Indians had returned and dug up the body of Dave , whom they had killed about a month previous to that time, and pieces of it were scattered around. This sight drove Bare almost crazy and he swore that henceforth he would kill every Indian he could, no matter where he was.
It rained the following night and they could not cross the desert on account of the sticky mud, so Hall and James Bailey, the Father of William R. Bailey of Janesville, this county, went out hunting for mountain sheep. They could not find any and at eleven o'clock they started for the station. As they were going along about half a mile from camp Bailey said "You go over the hill and I will go around it, and we may strike something here. " When Hall reached the summit of the hill he saw a pile of rocks seventy-five yards ahead of him and there was an Indian's head sticking up above it. The Indian stood up and they both took aim and fired at the same time. The bullet from the Indian's gun struck the ground about three feet behind Hall, but the latter 's gun failed to go off. He saw another Indian holding a couple of horses on the side hill below him and he turned and ran down the hill toward the station. He says that he was not afraid himself, but he wanted to get help so they would not kill Mr. Bailey. He must have been in earnest about "getting there," for it is said that he stepped twelve or fifteen feet at a time while he was going down the hill. When he reached camp a dozen men got on their horses and went around the hill to Mr. Bailey and then chased the Indians. But they had too much of a start and the white men never got anywhere near them.
When they resumed their journey Bare, who was also going to the Humboldt, went along with the crowd. He was a little ahead of the rest of the party when they got to Antelope Springs, and captured an Indian whom he found trying to get into the house there. He told the others that he was going to take his captive to the Humboldt river, but instead of going along the road he took him up a trail behind a ledge of rocks. He was punching
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him with his cocked gun to make him go and the Indian turned around and caught hold of the muzzle of it and tried to take it away from him. In the scuffle he got the muzzle of the gun against his body and Bare pulled the trigger and killed him dead. When the party reached the Humboldt river everybody, Indians and all, seemed to know about the affair, and Hall says the Indians in that section kept up a war for three years on account of it.
The Burning of the Mud Flat Station
Told by A. L. Harper
Along in December, 1861, Samuel Marriott started for the Humboldt with four or five ox teams loaded with freight. On the evening of their arrival at Rush creek they unyoked their cattle and drove them down on the flat below to feed. When they got back to the wagons they found some Indians plundering them, but they ran away as soon as they saw the teamsters coming. The next morning it was raining and snowing by spells and this weather continued for three or four days. When the storm was over the cattle were scattered and all of them could not be found, but Marriott used what he had, and by taking part of a load at a time, managed to get his freight back to the Mud Springs Station and store it in one of the buildings there.
Hobbs, Robert Ross, and two men coming in from the Humboldt stayed there that winter. About the middle of March Hobbs came out to Honey Lake valley. Early one morning a few days after he had gone Ross heard the dog bark and a shot fired. An Indian had crawled up behind a bunch of willows until he was only fifty or sixty yards from the house. The dog discovered him, and not liking Indians, made an attack on him and the Indian had to shoot him in self defense. The bullet struck the dog back of the head and went the whole length of his body just under the skin. Ross thought that the Indians might be around and he jumped out of bed, grabbed his gun, and went out without putting on his clothes, for he wanted to get there before the Indian had time to reload his gun. The dog was still fighting the Indian and Ross got a shot at him. He ran a little ways and then dropped his bow and arrows and a rabbit skin cloak. He succeeded in going a short distance further and there was met by two other Indians who helped him
HISTORY OF LASSEN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
mount his horse. He hung to his gun and carried it away with him. The blood on the ground showed that he had been severely wounded.
In some way the Honey Lakers heard about the shooting of the Indian, and thinking there might be trouble about it, they hitched up five ox teams and went out there after Marriott's freight. When they got there they loaded it as rapidly as possible and left the place — the men who had been staying there going along with them. A night or two afterwards the buildings at the station were all burned. H. L. Spargur was coming in from the Humboldt and intended to stay there that night, but he saw the buildings burning and struck across the hills leaving the station to one side. This must have occurred during the first week in April.
Horses and Cattle Stolen by the Indians from Susanville
Told by John T. Long
One night in the latter part of May eight or ten Indians, as near as could be told from their tracks, came into Susanville. They went into Mr. Jenison's chicken house and walked along the street past the few houses then in the place. When they went away they took a work steer belonging to Milton Craig out of a corral near the Roop cabin. This was one of an extra fine yoke of cattle. They also took six horses owned by William B. Long from the little flat just north of the cabin. They stayed on the Antelope hill the next day and the people in town could see them walking around a fire. From the signs left there they built a fire and had a feast and jerked what was left of the steer's flesh. Nobody went out after them, it being the only case on record where the Never Sweats stood anything of that kind from the Indians without giving them a fight if there was any chance to do so.
That same spring a man named William R. Hill lived with his family in the little valley on Piute creek about half a mile northwest of Susanville. One evening as they were milking their cows near the house a band of Indians came into the corral. They didn't try to hurt any one, but drove the cattle out of the corral and went off to the northeast with them toward the Antelope hill. One of the Hill boys ran down the canyon to Susanville and gave the alarm and several men took their guns
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and set out toward the hills. They succeeded in heading the Indians off and fired on them when they came along. They never returned the fire, but left the cows and departed in great haste. It is hard to understand why they were so inoffensive. While the men were gone the rest of the people living in town, not knowing what would happen next, gathered at Arnold's hotel.
On the fifth of June eighty soldiers (cavalry) came into the valley, but they stayed only a few days.
The last of June or the first of July a party of men were coming along the emigrant road from the Humboldt river to Honey Lake valley. Dr. H. S. Borrette was with them. Near Deep Hole an Indian joined the crowd and rode along with them. Among the men there was one whose brother had been killed by the Indians and he had sworn vengeance on them. This man worked around until he got on the right hand side of the Indian so his gun, which he carried on the saddle in front of him, would be pointed toward the red man. He rode in this way beside the Indian until he managed to get him out on the left hand side of the crowd where there was no danger of hitting any one else. Then he aimed his gun the best he could while it was in that position, fired and killed the Indian. It is very probable that some other white man had to suffer to pay for this.
The Murder of James Bailey and William Cook
It has been told that Mr. Bailey went out to the Humboldt mines in April. He settled up his business in Star City and in company with his partner, William Cook, started with five yoke of cattle and a wagon for their homes in Shasta county. On the night of the eighth of July they reached Antelope Springs fifteen miles west of Lassen's Meadows on the Humboldt river. Appearances indicated that they got there late at night, and after turning their cattle loose, they made their bed a short distance from the wagon and went to sleep. Early the next morning Cook took a little keg and a dipper and went to a spring not far away. It looked as though Bailey was rolling up the bed when some one slipped up behind him and struck him on the head with his own ax. This did not kill him and he fought his way to the wagon and tried to get his gun, but he failed to do it and was killed a short distance from the wagon. There
HISTORY OF LASSEN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
were some bushes on the point of a hill between the wagon and the spring and the tracks showed that ten or twelve Indians had been concealed there. When Cook heard the noise of the fighting at the wagon he started to help Bailey, but the Indians who were in the bushes rushed out to meet him and killed him. It is not known whether any Indians were killed or not. Cook had a pistol and probably he gave a good account of himself before he died. Both men were stripped of their clothes and mutilated and left where they fell. The Indians took their weapons and the cattle and everything the wagon contained excepting some ground coffee which they scattered around the ground. They carried away quite a sum of money which the men had with them. They left the yokes and chains and did not burn the wagon. That night John C. Dow and John Prichard, who were coming from the Humboldt mines, reached the scene of the murder. They rolled the bodies of the men in some blankets and buried them where they found them and they still lie there.
When the news reached the Humboldt mines ten men, Captain Weatherlow, William Jackson, and John Pool being among the number, started out on the trail of the Indians and followed them to the northwest into the Queen's river country. They found a camp of nine Indians and succeeded in surrounding it and killing eight of them. The ninth one, who was a big fellow, got into the rocks, and thinking himself safe, climbed out onto a point and began to yell and make insulting gestures. Jackson borrowed Weatherlow 's gun, a Sharp's rifle, and taking careful aim, shot the Indian through the body killing him instantly. One of the Indians had on a pair of Mr. Bailey's trousers and in one of the pockets was a promissory note for $50, but it was so badly worn out that the name of the maker could not be read. A. L. Harper says that the Indian killed by Jackson had the gun that Peter Lassen was carrying when he was murdered. It was taken to Susanville and the people there recognized it because it had a black walnut stock the whole length of the barrel. It was given to Governor Koop and Mrs. Arnold says that Harper's account is correct.
The following story was also told by Mr. Harper. The last of July seven or eight Indians came into Star City with some fine nuggets. The people of the place were much excited about it and two or three parties tried to hire the Indians to tell
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where they found them. Finally, after they had tried all sorts of plans, such as shutting them up, feasting them, etc., the Indians agreed to show them the place, but they wanted a good many blankets for doing it. But they kept coming down with their price and at last four of them said they would go with a party of twelve or fifteen white men and show them where they found the gold. For their pay they were to receive a few ponies and some provisions and their board while they were on the trip. They went up the east side of the Humboldt river, but after they had traveled a few days two of the Indians left in the night and before long another one did the same thing. Harper doesn't know whether the other one got away or they killed him. The party then started back toward Star City. "When they got down to Gravelly Ford they ran across a band of Indians who were fishing camped by the river and they killed a lot of them, perhaps ten or twelve, and scalped them. They brought the scalps into Star City with them and some of the crowd wore them on their belts around town. There were a good many tame Indians who frequented the place, and probably some wild ones, too, and they all knew where the scalps came from. The sequel to this will be told later on.
Early in September a man coming to this valley from Red Bluff with a load of fruit had three arrows shot into him by the Indians. About the same time an emigrant train camped in the valley and they reported that they had buried fourteen men, women, and children on the Humboldt. They supposed that the Indians had killed them. A week afterwards a man was killed at Fredonyer's house in Mt. Meadows, twenty arrows being shot into him.
Two Indians Shot Near Bankhead's
September 26th two Washoe Indians came into Lomas and Bankhead's blacksmith shop in what is now Janesville. James Doyle of Milford says they had a couple of old guns and they wanted Bankhead to fix them. They were of no account and he threw them down on the ground and said he could not fix the old things. The Indians didn't understand English very well and they went around the place saying " old things" until the women got frightened. H. E. Lomas tells the rest of the story. He says the Indians were very impudent
HISTORY OF LASSEN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
while they were in the shop, and because there had been a great deal of trouble with the Indians that year, it made him a little nervous. Their actions frightened the few women who lived in the place. A man named Tunnel was in the shop at the time and he felt himself insulted by what they said and did. When they started off up the road Tunnel and another man went around and got in ahead of them and lay behind a log by the side of the road at the top of the hill about half a mile west of Fort Janesville. When the Indians came along they fired on them killing one and wounding the other. The wounded one, who was lame, ran straight up toward the mountain and escaped. He went down the valley where some one dressed his wounds and he got well. The men who did the shooting put the body of the dead Indian on a log and burned it.
This affair was not very creditable to the whites, but there was some excuse for it from the fact that they had been driven almost to desperation by the Indians that year. Besides the stealing and murdering done by them, for which they escaped punishment the most of the time, they would come into the valley with property taken from the whites and sometimes boasted of it. The young bucks delighted in being as mean and impudent as they could and seemed to think that the whites dare not resent it. There is a limit to what men can stand, and between fear of invasion by the Indians and anger at what they had already done, the Honey Lakers had reached that limit.
Four Men Attacked by the Indians Near the Shaffer Ranch
Told by H. E. Lomas and the "Quincy Union."
On the 28th or 29th of October Mr. Lomas was putting a roof on his cabin at the Shaffer Ranch (Lathrop and Bradley had sold out to the Shaffer Brothers) when a man came to the station from the emigrant road. He was very much excited and said that four of them had been attacked by the Indians not far out on the road to the northeast. There were two teams, one an ox team and the other a mule team, and they were going from the Humboldt to Red Bluff. The ox team was somewhat behind the other one, and when they were about two miles from Shaffer's fifteen Indians rose up from among the sagebrush some thirty yards away and fired on the teamster and a passenger that he had. While the latter was trying to get his gun out from under
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some blankets he was slightly wounded in the wrist by an Indian more brave than the others, who had come close to the wagon. He got the gun, however, and handed it to the driver who fired at the Indians. One of them fell, but soon got up and ran off. Several shots were fired by the passenger, who had a revolver, but upon the nearer approach of the Indians they were compelled to leave their wagons and go to Shaffer's. They came in one at a time, and as each one arrived he was received like one risen from the dead by those of the party already there. They raised a small crowd and went back to the scene of the fight and found the coast clear of Indians. They recovered the wagons and the teams, but the ox wagon had been plundered of the driver's trunk which contained $250.
An Attack by the Indians on Mud Flat
From the narratives of A. L. Harper, William R. Bailey, William W. Asbury, William Pool, H. E. Lomas, A. L. Tunison's diary, and from what was written from Susanville to the "Quincy Union."
The last of October a party started from the Humboldt mines to go to Honey Lake valley. There were eleven of them, John Green, George H. Dobyns, Joseph Block, "Bobby" Jordan, John Spencer, John McCoy, Theodore C. Purdom, G. Loomis Kellogg, and perhaps Dr. Baker. The names of the other two can not be ascertained. Purdom and Kellogg belonged in Honey Lake and the rest of the party, so far as is known, were from Shasta county, and all of them were on the way to their homes. Some of them had been in business in the Humboldt mining towns and the others were prospectors and teamsters. Dobyns had a four-horse team, Purdon and Kellogg, who were partners, had another one, and there was some kind of lighter rig drawn by two horses or two mules. Stories regarding the details of the affair are conflicting, but the writer has been able to get the truth in regard to the principal facts.
The Indians were troublesome, but large parties felt secure from attack by them. The night of the last day of October the party stayed at Smoke creek. One of them showed three Indian scalps, said to be some of those taken from the Indians killed at Gravelly Ford the last of July, and said he wanted more of them. He had a Sharp 's rifle and two revolvers and he thought
HISTORY OF LASSEN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
he could whip all the Indians they could bring to him, and he wanted some brought. When the fight began his horse ran away with him and so the red men escaped with their lives. The next morning all the men excepting Green rolled their guns up in their blankets because they thought they were out] of danger of an attack by the Indians. Green said he was going to stick to his gun until he got home and was ridiculed, for his timidity. When they came down off the bluffs onto the east end of Mud Flat, about nine miles from Shaffer's, a band of Indians, estimated at from fifteen to fifty, rose up from behind some sagebrush that had piled up a short distance from the road and poured a volley into them. Purdom was shot just under the shoulder blade. It was a serious wound and he fell, from the wagon. The horses then swung around and tipped the wagon over. Green, Spencer, McCoy, and another man were on horseback and a little distance ahead of the wagons, but ; the three first named immediately turned and rode back to them. (Lomas says that Spencer was in one of the wagons.) In the fight that followed Kellogg was shot through the heart and instantly killed. McCoy was shot through the hip and Spencer was struck between the shoulders, almost on the neck, but either the bullet had not much force or he had on a good many clothes, and it only raised a big lump. It is said that Block ran toward the Indians, some say making Masonic signs, others that he offered them money to spare his life, but they killed him before he got very far. It was not much of a fight on the part of the whites, and the man they had laughed at that morning for his cowardice did the most of the fighting. He fired at the Indians several times and killed one of them at least. (Another story is that not an Indian was killed.) He got between them and the white men, a correspondent of the "Sacramento Union" writing from Susanville says he got off his horse and threw rocks at them, and kept them back until his companions, part of them, got into the light rig and drove off. Harper says they were going to leave Purdom there on the ground, but Green made them come back and get him. McCoy's wound made it very difficult for him to ride and Green held him on his horse until they reached a place of safety. Lomas says he came to the station across his horse face down. George R. Dobyns says that his Father cut his horses loose from the wagon
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and got Jordan on one of them, then mounting a race mare, he took his blacksnake whip and drove the other horses toward Shaffer's as fast as he could. Another story is that Jordan hung onto the hind end of the light wagon for three or four miles before they would stop and let him get in. The Indians pursued them for some distance, but they reached the station in safety. The two dead men were left behind where they fell.
The next day five or six men took Shaffer's wagon and brought in the bodies of Kellogg and Block. The former was not mutilated a great deal, but Block was scalped and badly cut up. Purdom and Kellogg 's team had been taken away and the two wagons plundered. It was known that Block had $500 in money on his person and the Indians got that. They took from Dobyns' wagon an express box containing some jewelry and considerable money, and from the other wagon a sack in which was all the money Purdom and Kellogg had received for their Humboldt mines. Mrs. M. J. McLear, who was Purdom 's wife, says it was a goodly sum. Lomas and another man made some boxes and buried Kellogg and Block out in the sagebrush northwest of the Shaffer station. It was north of the road to Susanville and west of the Humboldt road, perhaps twenty or thirty rods from each one of them. They were never moved from there. Purdom recovered to some extent, but two years later he died in San Francisco from the effects of his wound. McCoy was crippled for life.
The Pursuit of the Indians
This murder caused great anger in Honey Lake valley. On the third and fourth of November meetings were held in Susanville for the purpose of raising a company to pursue the Indians. The following account is from the diary of A. L. Tunison who went with the expedition.
There were twenty-six well mounted men under the command of Captain John Byrd and nineteen soldiers under Major McMillan and they started from the Shaffer ranch on the 12th. Excepting Byrd, William Dow, and Tunison the names of none of the men were given. They went to Smoke creek, Painter Flat, the east end of Madeline Plains, and then northwest and camped in one of the north arms of the Plains. The next day they went north and camped on a branch of Pit river. That
HISTORY OF LASSEN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
afternoon they went out on a scout and again at night, and the last time they saw one camp fire and one blind or signal fire. "November 17th. Twelve of us went to Tula valley on branch of Pit river ten or twelve miles on foot to form on one side of a supposed camp of Indians, and twenty-one mounted men went on horseback to come up on the other side of the supposed camp, but before getting there saw a trail of Indians and followed them. Came up with them and killed seven Indians, and squaws and papooses." They then returned to Tula valley, went from there northeast across two branches of the Pit river, and then east towards Surprise valley. They went into that valley and down it to within three or four miles of Wall lake. " November 22. Traveled thirty or thirty-five miles in a southeast direction without water. Left one pack mule which tired out. Camped on Deep Hole creek. Went on to Deep Hole, several soldiers got pretty tight here. Indians stole six head of cattle from here four days ago." November 26th they arrived at Shaffer's and Tunison went home the next day. A short time previous to this the Indians robbed a camp at the Big spring fifteen miles west of Susanville.
It was thought by some that the attack on the whites at Mud Flat was made by Smoke Creek Sam's band. Others claimed that the Indians who made it had followed the party from the Humboldt river and were taking revenge for the killing of the Indians at Gravelly Ford.
A Complaint from Susanville about the Indians
From the "Sacramento Union" of November 20, 1862
Their Susanville correspondent says in part : " The only aid we have received from any one is when the government sends a few soldiers in the summer during emigration when we do not need them, excepting when Lieutenant Warner with twenty men stayed here one winter. A fort was established at Ft. Churchill but that was too far away to do Honey Lake any good. There is a barrier of snow to the west several months in the year, and not knowing whether we are in California or Nevada, the Indians steal our stock and murder our people. We are abandoned by California except when her officers collect taxes which they do not fail to demand. Last winter and spring we were constantly harassed by the Indians. At last Captain Price with part of a
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company was sent here, but he stayed only a few days and then he returned to Ft. Churchill and reported everything quiet in the valley. At the time Captain Price was in the valley the Indians were stealing all along the Humboldt road and it was not safe for a company of less than ten or twelve armed men to travel that road. Is it possible that Governor Stanford and Governor Nye and General Wright are so ignorant of Indian character as to think they would find bands of Indians prowling around the valley when we were ready to receive them ? On the first day of November eleven men were attacked by fifty or seventy-five Indians when within eight miles of the valley and two men killed and three wounded. The Indians got several of their animals, some provisions, and several hundred dollars in money and escaped. Last week Captain Byrd was chased by five Indians while he was looking after some horses. All these depredations are looked upon with apathy by those whose duty it is to protect us. Soldiers are stationed on the road from Carson to the Humboldt, and people can travel along the road with safety. Thousands of people from northern California travel through here on their way to the Humboldt mines, and risk their lives and property in doing so. If the governor of Nevada could see anything outside of Storey and Washoe counties, things might be different. This condition of things should be remedied at once."
Soldiers Promised to Honey Lake
The "Sacramento Union" of November 22, 1862, says the following letter was received by Governor Nye of Nevada Territory from General Wright :
"Headquarters of the Pacific,
Sacramento, Nov. 13, 1862.
" Governor : I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Excellency's communication of the 9th inst. Rest assured that I shall afford all the protection in my power to the settlers. I have received a petition from the settlers of Honey Lake valley asking for the presence of United States troops and I have given orders for a detachment of cavalry to take post at or near Susanville, and in the spring I will make arrangements for a permanent post in that section of the country.
HISTORY OF LASSEN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
"With great respect, I have the honor to be your Excellency's obedient servant,
Brigadier General, U. S. A., Commanding.
"To his Excellency J. W. Nye,
Governor of Nevada Territory, Carson City."
The last of November the Indians stole ten head of stock from Deep Hole springs. This closes the long list of their depredations for this year.
Indian Troubles. 1863
Comparatively little trouble was made by the Indians this year. Probably more or less stock was stolen from the ranges by the hungry red men, but no travelers along the Humboldt road were attacked by them, no one was killed in Honey Lake valley, and only one man, so far as is known, was killed in this section.
Miss Susan Roop arrived at Carson City from the East
December 26, 1862. Governor Roop was there as a member of the legislature from this section, but as the session was to last only a few days longer, he and his daughter went to Virginia City the next day. They had not been there long before they met Old Winnemucca on the street and he was so glad to see Roop that he threw his arms around him and hugged him vigorously. Roop said to him, "I have told you that I had two boys and a little girl. This is the girl. " The chief said " I thought you got um mahala. " Roop told him that he must go home to Honey Lake in a few days and did not want to be bothered by the Indians. The chief said that if he would wait five days he would not see any Indians. Roop then said that he did not want the man who took him home to be molested when he came back, and the reply was that the Indians would not trouble him either. They left Carson City on the fourth of January and reached Susanville without seeing any Indians. Amos Conkey went back with the man who brought them here and they had the same good fortune. A few days afterwards the Indians killed a man in Red Rock valley. A party went in pursuit, but failed to find any of them.
One night about the middle of January the Indians stole two horses from Isaac Coulthurst's corral and shot one of his hogs with arrows. They also tried to catch C. T. Emerson's
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mules, but they broke out of the corral and got away from them. On the night of February eighth they had better luck and succeeded in stealing one of them. The last of February two men who were in Willow Creek valley saw a couple of Indians and shot at them, wounding one, as they supposed. The Indians left their ponies and took to the rocks. A short time after this the Indians stole four head of cattle from Deep Hole.
This spring a permanent military post was established at Smoke Creek, thus making good the promise of General Wright the fall before, and during the summer buildings were put up for the officers and the soldiers. Troops were kept at this post for several years afterwards, and when under the command of Captain Smith (shortly after going there he was promoted to Major) did some good Indian fighting. Some time during the year Captain Hassett camped with twenty-five or thirty soldiers at the foot of the bluff above Susanville, and stayed there all winter and perhaps longer. There was about the same number of soldiers at the Soldier bridge this fall. For several years after this whenever there was an excitement about the Indians a few soldiers came into the valley and camped at one or the other of these places for a short time.
One of Old Winnemucca 's Escapes from Susanville
Some time during this year, as near as can be told, Winnemucca paid a visit to his old friends in Susanville. The Indian troubles of the previous year had left in the minds of the people of Honey Lake a feeling of ill will toward them greater than usual. He had not been in town very long before it began to look as though it was dangerous for him to stay there, and his friends thought it best to get him away as soon as possible. William H. Hall says he came to Susanville that day and soon met Cap. Hill with whom he was great friends. Cap. said he wanted him to help get a Masonic friend out of trouble. He knew he was a Mason because he had given him the Masonic sign of distress. He then said it was Winnemucca and that the citizens of the town, some of them, wanted to hang him. He wanted to keep the chief from being hurt, but wanted as few people as possible to know that he had anything to do with it. Cap. Hill surely must have thought that Winnemucca was a Mason, for he, like other men in the valley at that time, had lost relatives in an
HISTORY OF LASSEN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
Indian massacre and, also like them, killed a redskin whenever there was any excuse for doing it, and sometimes just because there was a good chance to do it. Hall said he was willing to help the chief get away and they made up a plan for doing it. Hall, John Robinson, and three other young fellows rode out to the north side of town and Hill brought the Indian out there with as little fuss as possible. He started off down the old emigrant road on the north side of the river, the young men following him. In a short time he began to run his horse and they struck out after him yelling and firing their pistols. They did this in order to keep between him and any one else who might pursue him, and also to make people in town think they were trying to kill or capture him. They kept up the chase for a couple of miles, and then seeing that no one else was coming, fired a final volley and scattered. None of them said anything about it and the matter was dropped.
Telling that an Indian knew Masonic signs may sound rather fishy, but this is not the only time it has been told. Governor Roop said that Old Winnemucca gave him Masonic signs the first time he saw him. George W. Harrison of Susanville tells the following: His father, Judge W. R. Harrison, and family crossed the plains in 1858. They had reached Box Elder creek above Fort Kearney, and that afternoon the Judge, as was his custom, went on a little in advance of the train to select a camping place for the night. Not far ahead was an Indian camp and as he drew near it an Indian came out to meet him. Not knowing what might happen, several men of the train hurried on and caught up with him just as the two met. The Indian immediately threw his arms around the white man and some of the latter 's friends, thinking that he was going to be hurt, drew their pistols. As soon as he could the Judge told them to put up their weapons, for he understood it and it was all right. The Indian was a Sioux chief called "Black Bear" who with his braves was on the warpath against the Pawnees. Judge Harrison said the chief gave a Masonic sign as soon as they met, and when he returned it the Indian threw his arms around him. The whites camped close by and that night Black Bear and his warriors came over and smoked the pipe of peace. The next morning he presented the Judge with a war club which was made by putting a stone into the end of a split stick and wrapping it
THE YEAR 1863
with rawhide, and the Judge in return made him a present of his sheath knife. The chief's wife brought a lot of jerked meat to Mrs. Harrison and was given some sugar and coffee. The chief told the whites that they need not fear trouble with the Indians as long as they were in his country and that his runners would go along and keep them in sight until they came to the territory of the next chief. The war club is now in the possession of one of Judge Harrison's daughters who lives in Iowa.
In the early 60 's a Susanville man named Frank Peed made a business trip to Fall River valley. He had not been there long before a Pit River Indian told him he had better get out of that section as soon as he could for the Hat Creek Indians were watching for a chance to kill him. Before the Indian told him this he made Peed understand that he knew something of Masonry. It is also told that when he got part way home he suddenly came upon a band of Indians. He was afraid to go up to them, and when they saw him he made a Masonic sign. They then motioned for him to come on, and when he hesitated they unstrung their bows. He went to them, and after talking a while they told him they were on a fishing trip and that he could proceed on his journey without any danger from them. Perhaps he thought they might change their minds, for when he got out of their sight he caused his beast to strike a lively gait and to keep it up until he reached Susanville.
"Fifty Years of Masonry in California" tells the following concerning the man who was master of the lodge opened under the charter brought to California by Peter Lassen. It says that Brother Woods with a small party of men were captured by the Indians on the road back to St. Louis from Santa Fe. While the Indians were making ready to burn them Woods got his arms loose and gave a Masonic sign. The chief immediately sprang to him and cut him loose and eventually they were all set free. This was just before he met Lassen.
Lafayette D. McDow crossed the plains in the early 50 's and while on his journey he fell in with some Indians who evidently knew something of Masonry. It is said that the head men of the Hudson Bay Company taught the rudiments of Masonry to the chiefs of all the tribes with which they came in contact.
Indian Troubles. 1864.
The people of Lassen county seem to have had a peaceful time with the Indians during this year. Probably they stole a few cattle from the ranges, but did no other damage.