March 31, 2010
Nevada's Online State News Journal
[From Asa Merrill Fairfield, Pioneer History of Lassen County (1916)]
INDIAN TROUBLES IN NORTHWESTERN NEVADA 1865-67
Indian Troubles. 1865
There was a great deal of trouble with the Indians this year throughout northeastern California, northwestern Nevada, and probably in those part of Oregon and Idaho adjoining these sections; but only those events which took place in the country where the Never Sweats lived and traveled will be related.
The latter part of January it was reported that the Indians had robbed a camp and killed some stock in Secret valley, and about a month later they drove off some more stock from the same locality. This was the third time in about a month that they had taken stock from there and Smoke Creek. They also
HISTORY OF LASSEN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
drove off some of Jack Byrd's stock. George Thayer, the expressman, was killed north of Smoke Creek while on his way from Honey Lake to Surprise valley.
The Murder of Lucius Arcularius
During the winter of 1864-65 the Granite Creek station on the emigrant road between Shaffer's and the Humboldt river was owned by Andrew Litch, who afterwards lived many years in Honey Lake valley, and Lucius Arcularius. The latter, known to both white and red men as "Lucius," was a man who was liked by everybody. The only fault ever found with him was that he was too kind to the Indians. He hired them to work for him and loaned them guns and ammunition with which to hunt rabbits; and Mr. Lomas says "All this was quite at variance with Honey Lake gospel." Not far from the first of March Arcularius started from the station on horseback and alone to go to Susanville. Lafayette Marks says that two or three days after he started some one going toward the Humboldt stopped at the station and the men he had left there inquired if they had met him on the road. The traveler replied that he had seen nothing of him. Some of them then went to the Smoke Creek station and were told there that he had not passed that place. Lomas says that W. V. Kingsbury, who kept the Smoke Creek station, came to Shaffer's and made inquiries about Arcularius. Harper says that some one went to Susanville and told the story of the missing man and that Joe Hale and Nick Curran, and perhaps others went out to look for him. However this may have been, a party started to follow his tracks after he left Deep Hole springs. They had no trouble in following them to Wall springs, but from there they were hard to trace. Finally, after hunting for several hours, they found his body with two bullet holes in it about three hundred yards from Wall springs. It would seem from appearances that two Indians lay in ambush and shot him. His horse turned sharply to one side and ran about a hundred yards and then he fell off. The Indians stripped him of his clothes and threw him into a bunch of grease brush. They took away everything he had, and as his horse was not found, probably they got that, too. The party went to the Granite Creek station and fixed up a box and came back and buried him.
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THE YEAR 1865
The Massacre at Granite Creek Station
Soon after the middle of March Litch left the station in charge of A. J. Curry, Cyrus Creele, and Al. Simmons. A week or ten days after he was gone an Indian who used to come there quite often came into the house and said in a tantalizing sort of way, "Where Lucius? Where he gone? When he come back?" A fellow called "Puck" Waldron, who happened to be there, grabbed up a gun, and putting it into the Indian's face, told him to look into it. He then pulled the trigger and killed the Indian dead. Probably there was another Indian or two outside who saw them take the body out and bury it, and these must have gone away after more Indians and come back as soon as they could. The following from "The Humboldt Register" (Published at Unionville, Nevada) of April 15, 1865, tells the sequel.
"The Butchery at Granite Creek Station
"On the 7th, a small party, composed of W. R. Usher, Fox of Jesse, M. S. Bonnifield, Col. L. A. Buckner, and John Woodward left Unionville for a reconnoissance of a portion of the Honey Lake road. They overtook and joined another party, thirteen men from settlements along the river, out on the same mission. On the ninth the party reached Granite Creek station, eighty-five miles from here, owned by Andrew Litch and Lucius Arcularius. Arcularius had been killed by the Indians at Wall spring a month ago, and Litch was here for authority to act as administrator. The house, furnished with five guns and a good supply of ammunition, was left in charge of A. J. Curry, Cyrus Creele, and Al. Simmons. On the first of April a large column of smoke was seen rising from the vicinity, and the supposition is the station was that day attacked by the Indians. The walls of the house occupied by the men were built from thick pieces of sod. They had made ten loopholes for their rifles on the side attacked. The attack was made from a stone corral about thirty paces off, in front of the house. (To the east and lower than the house.) The whole front of the corral is bespattered with lead of the bullets fired from the house. By appearances the fight is supposed to have lasted about half a day. Curry was killed by a shot through a loophole — a body in the house having been recognized by persons acquainted with him. The legs from below the knees were missing.
HISTORY OF LASSEN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
"The Indians must have exhausted their ammunition, for they fired long missiles before leaving, made from the screw ends of wagon bolts, cut about an inch long and partially smoothed. Two of these were found — one in a bellows near the house, and the other planted two inches deep in wood. Near the lodging place of the latter was a blood stain, and it is supposed the missile had killed a dog belonging on the place — a savage animal, intolerant of Indians. His skin was tanned, but left on the ground.
"The Indians gained possession of a storehouse adjoining the dwelling by tearing out a wall. (The station house was on a little flat above the desert and faced toward the east. It was built of sod and had a shake roof. Ten or twelve feet back, or west, of it was a stone building, perhaps ten feet long and six feet wide, which was used for a storeroom. The Indians dug through the back wall of this building.) This enabled them to reach and fire the roof (of the larger building), and then it is supposed that Creele and Simmons resorted to flight, taking that desperate chance in preference to burning. (They took their guns, but didn't carry them very far.) Creele struck out across the flat towards Hot Springs. The flat is all alkali, very wet, and the tracks are left plain. Three Indians, two on horseback and one on a mule, pursued him and captured him ; brought him back to the house, and all the conditions attest that he was burned to death. A portion of the skull, a jaw-bone, and some small pieces of bone were found; the other portions of the body having been reduced to ashes. At the point where the arms would be, were large rocks piled up, everything indicated that he had been thus weighted down ; and then a large pile of sawed lumber was built up over this — stubs of the sawed lumber near these marks were found — and the poor fellow thus burned up.
"Simmons took the road to Deep Hole station. He ran about thirty or forty rods, and there the mark of a pool of blood denotes that he fared not quite so badly — having been shot down. The body was dragged off a short distance and much mutilated. The remains of all the men, such as were found, were buried by this party on the ninth."
In the foregoing narrative the explanations made in the parentheses were given by Lafayette Marks who says that he was at
THE YEAR 1865
the scene of the massacre not long after it took place, and whose account of it agrees closely with the above. He says the men at the station seem to have expected trouble and prepared for it. They had plenty of arms, ammunition and provisions, and had a barrel full of water in the house. The marks of bullets on the corral, which he and Charles Lawson think was about sixty yards away, showed that they wasted their ammunition and that the most of it was gone when the end came. Marks and others think the siege must have lasted two or three days. Alvaro Evans says that when the Indians got into the storeroom they picked up an old mattress that was lying outside, set fire to it, and put it against the roof of the house.
The "Register" continues: "The party then went to Deep Hole station to see how its occupants had fared. This place was occupied by three brothers named Partridge and a Chinaman. (If there were three men by the name of Partridge there, two of them may have been brothers.) They were entirely ignorant of the fate of the Granite Creek station, though only ten miles off ; and had not apprehended danger. They had seen the smoke on the first, but thought it nothing serious.
" The party from here spent a day — the tenth inst. — helping the Partridge Boys to cache goods they could not bring away, and on the eleventh started with them, bringing their live stock for this side of the county. At Granite creek they stopped and made further observations. The place with all its property, had been worth not less than $400. (Probably $4000 was meant.) All was burned. A large wagon was destroyed, the spokes being sawed out of the wheels. A large lot of good lumber was piled up on the haystacks and fired. The stove was broken up, and the bottoms of the pots broken in. Nothing escaped but a keg of syrup which had been overlooked. A reaper, haypress, and other tools were demolished.
"Everything showed that the boys had made a gallant and protracted fight. They would have held the house, it is believed, if it had not been fired. Curry's body having been recognized, and the skeleton of Simmons being easily recognized by peculiarly marked teeth, the ashes, the piled rocks, the stubs of the burned lumber denoted that it had been Creele's fate to breathe
HISTORY OF LASSEN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
his last in flames and smoke. Charles Kyle and family with their stock, and all other settlers thereabouts left their homes and came this way.
"There is a sorrow ripening for the redskins, and as it is known that all tribes furnish fiends for these marauding parties, conviction is gaining ground that it is not good for the country to encourage the breeding of Indians. Men who have lost friends by the hands of these miscreants promise an early and a fearful vengeance."
The last of May, 1865, Captain Byrd started for Idaho with 1100 head of cattle and 165 horses. Besides himself and his son, Austin Byrd, there were twenty men to handle this stock. In the party were Thomas Harris, Thomas Votaw, William J. Seagraves, William H. Dakin, John S. Howard, Alex. Hostetter. Wheeler, Belt, L. Gillespie, "Nigger" George, an Indian named Humphrey, and a Frenchman. Andrew J. Hunt joined them at Cow Creek.
They went across the countiy until they struck the emigrant road to the Humboldt river and then followed that. In two or three days Votaw and Harris went back to attend to the Byrd stock left in Honey Lake. In the Black Rock country there was a long drive across the desert without any water and the stock got very thirsty. When they were near enough to the Rabbit Hole springs so that the horses could smell the water they out-traveled the cattle. Byrd told Austin to let the horses go and keep up with them, and to stay at Rabbit Hole until the rest of the stock came up. The horses reached the springs some time during the night, but the water was so far down in the holes that they could not get any of it and Austin let them feed along toward the foothills. About daylight he heard an "Indian yell" and then another one, and the horses all stampeded up the canyon with the Indians after them. Young Byrd stampeded on the back track down the canyon for fear they would be after him, and kept it up for five or six miles until he met the rest of the party. Jack Byrd took Dakin and several other men and followed the trail of the horses until he was satisfied that they had been driven off by the Indians. He did not go any further because he thought it was best to stay and take care of the cattle. He claims that the band stolen here consisted of one hundred and twenty-seven well-broken saddle horses.
THE YEAR 1865
They resumed their journey and on the third of July reached Cow Creek, Owyhee county, Idaho, without further mishap. This was a mile and a quarter below Camp Lyons, a military post then occupied by a part of five companies of the First Regiment Oregon Volunteers. As the feed was good there and they thought they were close enough to the Post to be safe from attack by the Indians, they concluded to stay for a while and Dakin, Hunt, Howard, Hostetter, and Wheeler were hired to take care of the stock. The night of the 15th of August the Winnetts, a band of the Snake river Indians, stole twenty-three head of their saddle horses. Austin Byrd went to Camp Lyons for help and was told by the officer in command that he could not aid him at that time. His men were so badly scattered that he could hardly take care of the Post and the Indians had stolen some of his horses. Byrd, Howard, and Dakin then followed the trail of the horses toward the Malheur mountains as far as they dared to go. It was not very safe for a few white men to be out that way just then. Shortly after this a few soldiers got out and rode around a little, but they found no horses and killed no Indians. While the three men were following the horses the Indians drove off some of their cattle. The soldiers saw it done, but were afraid to interfere. Byrd and his men followed them as far as they dared to go and then came back and made preparations to take the cattle to a safer place. While they were getting ready the Indians killed a good many of their cattle. A band of them would get on a bluff and occasionally a few would dash down among the cattle, kill several, and then run back. About the first of September they got fourteen men together and took the stock across the Snake river and four miles up the Boise. When they rounded them up they found they were out about one hundred head. The next year Captain Byrd drove all his stock out of Honey Lake and left this section for all time to come.
In 1891, while living in Walla Walla, Washington, Byrd filed a petition in the Court of Claims of the United States asking for $41,950 to pay for stock taken from him by the Indians in 1859, 1860, and 1865. He died the next year after he filed this claim, and in the course of time Austin Byrd fell heir to it. Harry Peyton of Washington, D. C, was his lawyer. The claim was cut down to about one half of what it was at first, but he never recovered any damages from the United States. The foregoing
HISTORY OF LASSEN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
was told from testimony given by the two Byrds, William H. Dakin, and others, who were witnesses for the Plaintiff.
William J. Seagraves was a witness for the United States Government and in many respect his testimony differed materially from that of the other witnesses. He testified that the loss of Byrd's stock was caused by carelessness and incompetency in handling it. He also testified that at Rabbit Hole he was put in foreman of the drive and held that position until they reached Idaho. Austin Byrd made another affidavit after this in which he denied almost everything that Seagraves said.
On the 14th of March Captain Wells with a company of cavalry surprised at daylight a camp of Pah Utes on the banks of Mud lake within the Pah Ute reservation, and killed every Indian found in camp. Major McDermit reported to Governor Blasdel that thirty-two Indians were killed.
On the night of the 30th of May two men, George Shortridge and Bissell, were killed in the lower end of Surprise valley. Olin Ward says they lived at Lake City in that valley and had been to Susanville for flour. That night they camped near Thomas Bare's cabin and the Indians killed them. Some man coming down the valley found them the next day. A man who had camped at Duck lake came along the next morning and never saw them. He went on up the valley a ways and met some men who had heard of the killing and were going down there, and turned and went back with them. For a long time people suspected that he did the killing. The "Grizzly Bear" says that the two men "were ambushed and killed, Shortridge being scalped. The Indians stole six horses and all the supplies that they could find, and made their escape. It was afterwards claimed the murder and robbery were committed by white men disguised as Indians."
On the seventh of August Col. Charles McDermit was killed while returning to Camp McDermit, then known as Quinn's River station, from a scout on Quinn's river. He was shot by an Indian lying in ambush and lived only four hours after being wounded. (In early days Quinn's river was called "Queen's river" and probably that is what is was originally named. — F. )
September 12th Captain Payne and Lieutenant Littlefield with eighteen men of Company E, First Nevada Cavalry, had
THE YEAR 1865
a fight with the Indians at Willow creek in Queen's River valley. About twenty miles northwest of Buffalo Springs they reached the top of the mountain overlooking Queen's River valley, and from there saw Indian camp fires. They separated, each officer taking half of the force, and about daylight each party got to within a mile of the Indian camp and charged it. The Indians ran, but kept up the fight, and one soldier was wounded. Thirty- five Indians were killed right there, and they thought that fifty must have been killed in all. The soldiers captured a lot of guns, ammunition, bows, arrows, provisions, and some things that the Indians had taken from the whites they had murdered.
The Murder of Bellew
On the fourth of November three or four ox teams that were hauling goods from California to the Humboldt over the Honey Lake road, were approaching Cedar springs, thirteen miles from Rabbit Hole springs. One of the teams had gone some distance in advance of the others and was captured by the Indians. The driver, a man named Bellew, was killed and mutilated and the wagons plundered and set on fire. The Indians went off toward Black Rock.
''Black Rock Tom" and his band went on the warpath about the middle of March, and were joined by the Indians living in the mountains to the north and northeast and by renegade Shoshones and Bannocks, and they kept up hostilities in Paradise valley and on the northern frontier. In May Charles Adams, a Honey Laker, started a colony in Paradise valley. In a fight there with the Indians the following July M. W. Haviland, a member of the colony and another of our Honey Lake acquaintances, was wounded. The peaceably disposed Pah Utes were afraid that the warlike attitude of this band would bring the anger of the whites upon the whole tribe and cause their destruction. Because of this, Captain Soo, the chief of the Humboldt river Pah Utes, determined to aid the soldiers in killing off the hostile Indians, regardless of tribal relations.
The news of Bellew 's murder was taken to Dun Glen and Lieutenant Penwell was ordered out with twenty-six men in pursuit of the Indians. Captain Soo, who had been the leader in the Williams massacre in 1860, acted as their guide. When he examined the signs about the scene of the murder he came to
HISTORY OF LASSEN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
the conclusion that Black Rock Tom was the guilty party, and the command moved north in pursuit. On the ninth of November they overtook the Indians, and found them intrenched upon a mountain west of Pah Ute Meadows. After an unsuccessful attempt to dislodge them, they fell back about seven miles into the valley and camped for the night. The next morning they started for Dun Glen without having killed any Indians or lost any men themselves.
On the 13th of November Lieutenant E. A. Hosmer of Company B, Second California Cavalry, with sixty soldiers, four citizens, and Captain Soo with fourteen of his warriors started from Dun Glen to make another effort to punish the bold outlaw. On reaching the sink of Queen's river a hundred miles north- west of Dun Glen, the wagons were left in charge of fourteen men and the rest continued the march. At daylight on the morning of the 17th, after having passed through the swampy sink of Queen's river during the night, Captain Soo declared, as the summit of some low hills was reached, that he could see the smoke of the enemy 's camp fires some nine miles away to the northeast. He also insisted that the smoke came from the camp fires of Black Rock Tom. The march was continued, and when they got to within five miles of the point where he said he could see the smoke, it could be seen by all. The Indians did not see them until they were about two miles from them, when Lieutenant Hosmer said "Come on, boys, we can't go around. The best man will get there first." The command then struck out, every man for himself, for a two mile charge. Captain Soo, who was riding on an old McClellan saddle given him by the soldiers, finding that some of the whites were likely to pass him, reached down and cut the girth of his saddle with a knife and threw out the saddle from under him. He kept on barebacked, and was the first to charge in among the enemy who were doing their best to escape. A skirmish battle that extended over several miles of country followed. Along the last of it Captain Soo used an old cavalry saber with good effect. Only one prisoner was taken, and that was a squaw whom a citizen was trying to kill, but was prevented by a soldier. Only six Indians and five squaws escaped, among whom was Black Rock Tom. David O'Connell was killed and Sergeant Lansdon and another man were wounded. The bodies of fifty-five Pah Utes were found, but
THE YEAR 1865
this does not account for all the Indians killed. Many of them must have remained hidden on the battle ground which extended over an area of possibly three square miles and which contained many gullies and quantities of sage brush.
After the battle was over a corporal was called by a comrade as he was coming down the side of the mountain. He went to him and found him trying to stop the blood that was flowing from the wounds of an Indian mother. Beside her lay an infant that had been struck by an accidental shot and near by was another child about two years old. The private wanted the corporal to help him carry the squaw down to the camp, for he thought it was too bad to let her die and the children starve. The corporal said he was in a hurry and told him to call a citizen near by to help him. Soon after reaching the foot of the hill he heard several pistol shots in the direction of where he had left the two men and the squaw, and looking up that way saw the soldier coming down alone. When he came up the corporal said "Where is that squaw?" "That was a fine specimen you called to help me," was the reply. "The bush-whacker shot the whole lot of them, babies and all, before I knew what he was up to."
A part of Company B from Dun Glen and Company I from Camp McDermit, both of California regiments, met at Kane springs in December for a scout under Captain Conrad. Black Rock Tom had gathered in the scattered families of his followers, and joined by those of other bands that were committing depredations, had rendezvoused at another place on Queen's river. The snow was lying on the ground at the time, and one night while out the command was forced to lead their horses in a circle to keep from freezing. They were allowed to build no fires to keep the Indians from knowing that they were there. Finally the Indians were discovered on, or near, Fish creek and surrounded before daylight. One squaw, a boy, and an old man were captured, and the balance, about forty in all, were killed. None of the white men were killed. This ended organized hostilities on the part of any band of the Pah Ute tribe, but some of the more desperate went in with the Shoshone and Bannock renegades and kept up the fight the following year, some of them going into Paradise valley.
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HISTORY OF LASSEN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
The Death of Black Rock Tom
Black Rock Tom, who was absent when his band was destroyed, went down to the sink of the Humboldt and gave himself up to Captain Soo. "The Humboldt Register" of December 30th has the following:
"Black Rock Tom all Right''
"Several messengers have come lately from Captain Soo to citizens here, asking them to come down to the Big meadows and be put in possession of the notorious cut-throat known as 'Black Rock Tom.' Those who have been accustomed to attend to such business were busy, and Tom remained on the meadows doubtless each day feeling more secure. "When Captain Street came that way Tuesday, Soo notified him of the opportunity to capture this leading marauder. Street took him in charge." Some citizens then went to Tom and told him that the people were going to take him away from the soldiers and hang him, and that he had better make his escape if he wished to live. Street put him in charge of a squad of soldiers and gave them particular orders not to allow him to escape. Probably the soldiers knew what the citizens had told Tom and they gave him a chance to get away. He took the opportunity and the soldiers shot and killed him.
The following is also from the "Register" of December 30th.
"Black Rock Tom's Pale Horse
All hunters of Indians who came to an engagement any- where between this and Owyhee, and almost all parties attacked on that road during the past season, remarked a white horse of extraordinary qualities, the rider of which seemed to take great pride in his efforts 'to witch the world with noble horsemanship.' The white horse was ever spoken of as a wonder of strength and fleetness. The rider — a stalwart Indian — delighted to dally just out of musket range from the white men, caricoling most provokingly, and darting off occasionally with the fleetness of the wind. The rider was Black Rock Tom. He has quit this vale of tears, but the horse has not been taken. Tom did not bring the pale horse on his last trip, and the much-coveted animal is still in Indian hands."
THE YEAR 1865
A part of the foregoing was told to show how northwestern Nevada was freed from the marauding Indian bands that infested it. Many of these Indians were desperadoes and renegades from the neighboring tribes and would have preyed upon the travelers and outside settlers of that section as long as they were allowed to live. They were like wild beasts and were treated like them — followed to their hiding places and exterminated. This had to be done sooner or later, and it saved life and property to do it as quickly as possible.
Indian Troubles. 1866
This year was another busy one for both Indians and whites in northeastern California, northwestern Nevada, and the adjoining portions of Oregon and Idaho. In a year or two the citizens and soldiers together had killed off the most of the Indians who, from the beginning of their settlement, had committed depredations in the valleys of northeastern California and along the roads from Honey Lake valley to the Humboldt and Idaho mines.
January 12, 1866, Captain G. D. Conrad of Company B, Second California Volunteer Cavalry, with thirty-five soldiers, nine citizens, and twelve Piutes had a fight with the Indians near where Fish creek runs into Queen's river. The first night out they were joined by twenty-five men from Company I, same regiment, under Lieutenant Duncan. Dr. Snow, a citizen doctor, went with him. The night of the eleventh they had to run in a circle on the desert to keep from freezing. The Indians got into a place covered with rye grass and tules and full of gullies. They used poisoned arrows and fought bravely for two hours and a half. Their leader was Captain John, a chief of the Warner lake Shoshones, who killed Colonel McDermit and a soldier named Rafferty the previous year. Captain Rapley shot him through the head. Thirty-five Indians were killed and two squaws were killed by mistake. Seven soldiers were wounded. One Indian was wounded in the back. It was said that every Indian died rather than surrender. The Indians' camp and their supplies were destroyed.
Fight with the Indians in Guano Valley
During the winter of 1865-66 the Indians had been making raids into Paradise valley and bothering the settlers in the country to the west of it. Major S. P. Smith, stationed at Smoke Creek, an officer who generally found Indians when he hunted for them, organized an expedition to follow a band that had just wounded a settler and driven some stock from Surprise valley. The Humboldt Register" of March 17th says that on the second of February Major Smith left Smoke creek with Lieu-
HISTORY OF LASSEN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
tenant Robinson and thirty-six men of Company D, Second Cavalry, California Volunteers. At Ft. Bidwell they were joined by thirty-two men of the same company and regiment and nine men of Company F of the same regiment. The next day they were joined by Major Mellen and Captain Starr with ten men of Company F of the same regiment. Nineteen citizens of Surprise valley went with the soldiers. On the fifteenth of February they found the Indians in Guano valley in the extreme northern part of Washoe county, Nevada. The Indians were at the mouth of Rock Canyon on the east side of the valley. The soldiers got onto a table-land where they could have a fair fight, and when within a mile of the Indians Major Smith divided his command giving Captain Starr with twenty men the left, Major Mellen and Lieutenant Robinson with twenty-one soldiers and nineteen citizens the center, and sent six citizens to the extreme right to hold the mouth of the canyon. He also left a guard in camp with the pack animals. (Something wrong in that count of the citizens. Bancroft's History says there were fifty-one soldiers and thirty citizens in the expedition. — F.) At half past nine the order to charge was given; and the boys broke through the Indian ranks, scattering and shooting down everything that wore paint. The Indians fought sullenly and asked for no quarter, but at length they took shelter under a bluff of rocks. The men then dismounted and marched up to the rocks under fire and brought down every Indian that would show himself. They fought seven hours, but could not kill the whole band because a good many of them were in the rocks where they could shoot without being seen. It was thought that there were two hundred or two hundred and fifty Indians in the fight. There were eighty warriors and thirty-five squaws killed. The squaws were dressed the same as the bucks and were fighting, and they had to kill them to tell whether they were men or not. The whites recovered sixty horses, one a valuable animals belonging to a lady in Surprise valley. They captured and turned loose nine squaws and ten children, and destroyed three tons of dried beef. The whites lost one private killed and Major Smith and six privates wounded.
This fight was a little out of the range of the people of Lassen county unless some of the Indian depredations were committed in the lower end of Surprise valley. It is given here
THE YEAR 1866
because it is said to be the last fight ever made by some of our old Indian acquaintances. W. H. McCormick and C. T. Sharp, both among the very first settlers in Surprise valley, say that the Indians engaged in the battle were Smoke Creek Sam and his band and that he was killed. Probably they had been joined by other Indians. McCormick says that out in that country the chief was known as "Smoke Creek Jim." He also said that he was piloted over the battle ground by a trooper who was in Major Smith's command. The soldier said that during the fight, after both his legs were broken, Sam would pull himself up with his gun and yell to encourage his men. He died soon after the fight, having been wounded fourteen times. In 1912 Sharp told William T. Cressler, to whom I am indebted for the information, that he was among the settlers who went with Major Smith, and that he was the only one of them who was alive at that time. He said that Joseph Marks, Samuel Matney, C. C. Rachford, himself, and four or five other settlers were in the Guano valley fight, and that Matney, known as "Tuledad," scalped Smoke Creek Sam. Probably this Indian and his band did more devilment in a small way than any other band in this section, and their destruction saved the lives and property of a good many white men.
Along the last of March the Indians drove some stock out of Willow Creek valley.
Streshly, Mulroney, and Hough's Mules Stolen by the Indians
The following narrative was taken from the testimony of Streshly, Hough, and others. In the spring of 1866 Orlando Streshly, a Honey Laker, went to Idaho with three six-mule teams loaded with freight. Two of the teams had reached Silver City and the other one was at Osborn 's ranch twenty miles west of there, and about a mile and a half from Camp Lyons where there were two companies of soldiers. The team camped at the Osborn ranch not far from the first of April. The next morning half the mules were gone — stolen by the Indians. The three left were in the yard close to the house ; the ones taken had gone down on a flat about a hundred and fifty yards away. Streshly followed the tracks of the mules as soon as he discovered their
HISTORY OF LASSEN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
loss, and they led him to Camp Lyons; but there he lost them, for the herd at the Fort had been turned out before he got there and they had trampled out the tracks he was following. He went back to the Osborn ranch and got Asa Adams, also from Honey Lake, and they both went back to Camp Lyons. They could not follow the tracks any further so they went back to camp. The next day Adams went down to Inskip's ranch, sixteen miles below there, where the pack train of Edward Mulroney, another Honey Laker, had camped the previous night. When Mulroney 's packer got up that morning he found that his mules were all gone, but he immediately started in pursuit and got part of them and also one of Streshly's. This animal was slow and she had been whipped unmercifully by the Indians to make her keep up, but failing to do this they left her. The packer said he saw the tracks of the other Streshly mules. They were large animals and had on heavy work shoes, and their tracks could easily be told from those of the pack mules. He thought the Indians rode Streshly's mules when they stole Mulroney 's, for their tracks were behind those of the others when they were driven off.
Three weeks after this Levi F. Hough of Indian valley lost twenty-eight pack mules, a bell mare, and two saddle horses on Jordan creek six miles from Silver City. They followed the animals sixteen miles southwest, and there they turned and crossed a lava bed about five miles wide where it was impossible to track them on the rocks. They went to the other side of the lava and there found the tracks again. Streshly and Hough and three or four of their hired men and six soldiers from Camp Lyons followed them to the lower crossing of the Owyhee river, between twenty-five and thirty miles west of Camp Lyons, and there they could see the tracks of the two shod mules going into the water behind the pack mules. It was of no use to go any further, so they returned to camp.
Not long after this Mr. Streshly was in Boise City, and there he learned from a stable keeper that some Bannock Indians had brought in two mules that answered the description of the ones he had lost, and sold them to a party that was going to Montana to prospect. This was in the country of the Bannocks, so it was I supposed that they stole the animals lost by the Honey Lakers and Hough. These Indians were at peace with the whites, and
THE YEAR 1866
at that time the government was feeding a great many of them in that section. The stealing appears to have been done by small parties of Indians, perhaps without the knowledge of their chiefs. They took the stock of travelers and teamsters, but did not molest the large bands of horses and cattle running in that part of the country which belonged to people living there.
Cattle Stolen from Honey Lakers at Soldier Meadows, Nevada
From the testimony of Robert Johnston, Samuel Swearingen, Henry Talbert, E. V. Spencer, and A. L. Tunison's diary.
The second of May, 1866, a train of twelve ox teams reached Soldier Meadows, west of the Black Rock range and about 180 miles from Susanville, and camped near the station at the lower end of the Meadows. Six of the teams belonged to Robert Johnston and the others belonged to Jesse Williams, Henry Wright, James Walters, and A. L. Tunison. They stayed there the next day and let their cattle rest. When they got up the morning of the fourth they found that seventy-three or seventy-five oxen out of one hundred and fourteen had disappeared. They had been feeding on the flat close by without any guard. There were twelve or fifteen men in camp, and Johnston, Samuel E. Swearingen, Lee Button, Henry Reppart, " General" Weiler, a man called "Curley" and another one called "Alex" at once followed the tracks of the cattle which led them in a northwesterly direction. After going a short distance, two or three miles, they saw a band of Indians on the rocky side of a large mountain. Some of them were on foot, others on horseback, and Johnston estimated their number at twenty-five or thirty. They got within a quarter of a mile of the nearest Indians who abused them and told them to come on. The white men were on foot and not very well armed, so they did not accept the "invite," but went back to camp. Along the trail they found seven or eight head of cattle shot to death with arrows. At that time there was a military post at Summit Lake, twelve miles north of where they were camped, and a few soldiers were stationed there under the command of Captain Mehers. Johnston immediately sent a man to him and requested that some soldiers be sent in pursuit of the Indians.
HISTORY OF LASSEN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
E. V. Spencer, a young lawyer named Martin, Henry Talbert, Henry Parish, James Elliott, and Edward Labott, who had been prospecting west of there in the High Rock canyon, were camped on the east side of Mud Meadows about two miles below the Johnston camp. Johnston went to them, told what had happened, and asked them to go after the cattle. The six prospectors got ready as soon as they could and started on horseback after the Indians. Swearingen and perhaps another man went with them but the former said he went only part way. Probably there were no horses with the ox teams, or more men would have gone with them. The trail led to the northwest, and after leaving the valley it went up the side of a steep mountain. From there on it followed a sort of rocky table-land very much cut up by deep canyons, and over which it was impossible to travel very fast, even if there had been no trailing to do. Where the ground was soft the trail was easy to follow, but the Indians often drove the cattle over rocky ground where they left little or no trail, and it took time to hunt it up on the other side of the, rocks. Besides this, the cattle were driven through places where it would seem impossible for them to go. They judged from the pony and moccasin tracks that there were about a dozen Indians, and they appeared to be getting away as fast as they could. The first day out the pursuers found an ox that had been killed with arrows and a little piece had been cut out of the brisket. They made about twenty-five miles that day, and camped because they could not follow the trail during the night. The next day they followed the trail, still going toward the northwest, over almost the same kind of a country as that of the previous day. They began to wonder why the soldiers did not overtake them, and debated the question whether it was safe for them to go any further. They knew that Captain Mehers had only a few men and there was nothing certain that he would send any of them. The night of the second day they were about fifty miles from camp, probably near the head of High Rock canyon, and might run into a large band of Indians at any time. They had taken only two day's provisions with them, so they concluded to give up the pursuit. The next day they went back to camp, and on arriving there found that Captain Mehers had only seven or eight men and refused to let any of them go away from the post.
The foregoing testimony was given in 1896 when Robert
THE YEAR 1866
Johnston was claiming pay from the government for the loss of his cattle. According to Spencer and Tunison the officer at Summit Lake would send no soldiers after the Indians who stole the cattle, and the other witnesses seem to have said nothing about it. In 1905, while testifying in behalf of Mr. Johnston, William Brockman said that he came to Soldier Meadows several days after the cattle were stolen. He and some others followed the tracks of the cattle for ten or twelve miles and then returned because they had no hope of overtaking the Indians. He also said that he saw a small squad of soldiers, perhaps ten or twelve, coming back from the pursuit of the Indians. Perhaps they were from some other army post.
As soon as the news reached Honey Lake Henry Hatch, Johnston 's partner, William Dow, and A. L. Tunison went out there and found the train camped at Summit Lake. They had hauled their wagons there with the remaining cattle. Tunison says that Johnston lost thirty-five head of oxen, Williams fourteen, Wright twelve, Walters six, and that he lost eight.
Part of the freight was taken on to Idaho, and the rest of it left at Summit Lake where it wasted or was destroyed. Mr. Johnston said that the officer there would not let him leave it near the post on the land owned by the government for fear that they would be responsible for it. These men put in their claims against the United States government for damages done by the Indians, but up to this time few, or none of them, have received any pay.
Indians Killed at Papoose Valley
Told by William Dow
Late in June Joe Hale was hunting horses in Cheney valley. While engaged in this he passed the camp of "Old Tom," an Indian valley Indian, and one of the first of this tribe who came into Honey Lake with their families. At this camp Hale noticed some Indians who looked as though they didn't belong in this locality, and when he returned to Susanville he told what he had seen. The same day William Dow, Robert Johnston and Wife, Holla Arnold, and A. U. Sylvester came into town from Pine creek where they had been fishing. On their way home Mr. Dow, who was on horseback, left the road and went along south
HISTORY OF LASSEN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
of it to do some hunting. He saw a band of about a dozen Indians and tried to get up to them, but as he rode toward them they kept edging off. He called to them and they answered that they were Indian valley Indians, but he could see they were Piutes. When he got into town and told about seeing these Indians, Hale said "Those are the same Indians that I saw at Old Tom's camp," and expressed the opinion that they had traded with him for a lot of ammunition. People were satisfied that they were wild Indians and that they might be going out to the Summit lake country where the ammunition would be used to kill white men. Several men said that if Dow would go along and guide them, they would see that these Indians made no further trouble. The next morning when he got to town there were only four men ready to go with him — Joe Hale, Byron B. Gray, Charlie Drum, and E. V. Spencer. They went out and struck the trail just a little this side of Bridge creek, and camped that night at what is now known as Martin springs. It looked as though the Indians had camped there, too. Somewhere they had divided into two or more bands, and the next day the white men followed one of them to where they crossed Pine creek at what is now known as Champ's headquarters. By a direct route this would be thirty-five or forty miles from Susanville. They then came back and went down Pine creek to Eagle lake and camped there that night. The next morning Dow and Gray had some sore-footed horses and could not keep up with the rest of the party. When those in the lead got to Papoose valley at the southern end of Eagle lake, they saw some squaws camped there and went down and spoke to them. They could speak good English and said that they were Indian valley Indians and that the men were out hunting. The white men then turned back and met Dow and Gray and told them that these were some of the Indians they were hunting for. They also said that nothing could be done at present, for the men were all away from camp, and they had better wait until night and then take them in. They camped at a little spring just southeast of Papoose valley and the following morning, a little after daylight, they went over to the Indian camp and killed four bucks. One other buck was shot, but he got on his horse and escaped. Another buck and some squaws got away without injury. The white men returned to Susanville that day.
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"Old Tom" Killed
Told by "William Dow and Fred Hines
Something was told about this Indian in the preceding article. He was here in 1857 when Mr. Dow came into the valley, and for some time after that he and the other Indian spoken of were the only Indian valley Indians who lived here. He had long been suspected of selling ammunition to the wild Indians living in northwestern Nevada. For some time previous to his death whenever he went to a house in the nighborhood of his camp and found no men there, he would demand ammunition from the women in a threatening manner. He generally wanted powder and caps, and he picked up all the tea lead he could find. Another thing that looked suspicious was the fact that he had the skins of animals which he could not get in this part of the country. Added to all this, just about this time a large band of Indian valley Indians came into Susanville and told that Old Tom was selling ammunition to the wild Indians.
After killing the Indians in Papoose valley the whites went into Susanville and told what they had done. That same day Old Tom's case was discussed and six or seven men went out to his camp, which was then on Gold Run near the old Lanigar place, then owned by John R. Perkins. Perkins went along with them, and after going a short distance south from his house they scattered out and went through the timber. Finally Perkins ran across him. Evidently he had heard something of what was going on, for when he saw Perkins he started off as fast as he could. Perkins followed and caught up with him, and told him they wanted him to come in and make some explanation about selling the ammunition. He refused to come and started away, but was headed off. The same thing was done two or three times, and at last Tom threatened to yell to some other Indians who were camped near by if he was stopped again. He started off once more and then Perkins shot him several times with his pistol. He ran a short distance and fell down dead.
Edward (Ned) Mulroney Wounded by the Indians
Some time this spring Mulroney and Wisbern's pack train started for Silver City, Idaho, in charge of Robert Wisbern. Wisbern was killed at Camp McDermit in northern Nevada on the
HISTORY OF LASSEN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
28th of June, and soon after the news reached Honey Lake Mulroney started from Susanville on the Chico and Idaho stage to look after the pack train. Somewhere between the 15th and 20th of July he reached White Horse valley in southeastern Oregon, about 225 miles from Shaffer's station in Honey Lake valley. Henry E. Lomas was living there at the time, he, Frank Drake, Henry Tussler, and Wood Hough having gone there from Honey Lake the year before. Lomas tells the following : He and some of the others had just got back from a trip to Camp Alvord, about thirty miles away, where they had been for some poles to use for ridgepoles in a sod house they were building. When they reached home they found the stage was there from Chico and Susanville, and Ned Mulroney was a passenger. The arrival and departure of the stage was quite an event in their little colony, especially when one of their acquaintances was on board. About sundown the stage started for Silver City. It was a six-horse coach driven by a man named Kelley, and Mulroney was the only passenger. The Indians were very bad and Captain Smith detailed two soldiers, both Irishmen, to go with them. When the stage got ready to start they both climbed inside. Kelley said "Look here. Who is going to ride outside with me?" Mulroney said "Let them ride inside. I will ride with you." He afterwards said that at the time he thought from appearances that the soldiers would not amount to much in case of trouble with the Indians.
In two hours they returned to the station. When they had gone about eight miles they were attacked by the Indians, and there were so many of them that Kelley made up his mind he had better turn around and go back to White Horse. He did so, and Charles Lawson says the team made so short a turn that one hind wheel of the stage never left the track. The Indians gave chase, shooting at them as they ran, and Mulroney and the driver returned their fire, but the soldiers did nothing. The other men told them to shoot, and if they could not do that, to yell and let the Indians know there were more men than they could see. Of course the driver ran his team as hard as he could and probably outran the Indian ponies, but one Indian who was mounted on a white horse had no trouble in keeping up with the stage. (Perhaps it was the horse once owned by Black Rock Tom.) He rode up beside it and shot Mulroney in the left leg, the bullet passing
THE YEAR 1866
under the kneepan. After a time, either the Indians gave up the chase or the stage team ran away from them, and then the soldiers wanted the driver to stop and let them out and whip the savages. Kelley cursed them and made them keep still. When they got back to the station these heroes, in a very dramatic manner, thanked Kelley and Mulroney for saving their lives. Mulroney's wound kept him at White Horse for a while and left him with a stiff leg the rest of his life. Tunison says that Captain Walker with some soldiers followed the Indians who attacked the stage. He overtook them, but their force was so large that he had to retreat.
Drake and Tussler 's Fight with the Indians
The names of the Honey Lake colonists in White Horse valley have already been told. They went there in 1865 and took teams, tools, provisions, clothing, and all sorts of supplies with them; but the next year just before harvest time they saw it would be necessary for them to have mowers and reapers and some other tools.
Frank Drake and Henry Tussler went back to Honey Lake and rigged up two four-horse teams, loaded them with the necessary machinery, and started for White Horse. A few days before the 20th of July, probably the 18th, as they were going up the hill toward the summit about eight miles south of Camp McGarry at Summit Lake, they heard a shot fired and each one accused the other of doing it accidentally. They soon found out, however, that they were attacked by the Indians, and they both began to shoot. Tussler asked Drake what they should do and he replied that they had better get off on the upper side of the grade and fight from the shelter of the wagons. They both got down, and while doing this Tussler discovered that he had been struck by a bullet which had broken his leg. When Drake heard this he told Tussler to get back onto his wagon if he could, lie as low as possible, drive his team, and shoot whenever he had an opportunity to do so. He said he would do the same and in that way they might keep off the Indians until they could get to the summit, which was only a short distance ahead of them, and from there they could be seen by the soldiers at the post. They both got onto their wagons and drove slowly up the steep grade, firing a shot whenever they thought it would do any good. Before long
HISTORY OF LASSEN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
Drake lost his off lead line and his team climbed the side of the grade to the left. When the fore wheel struck the bank the coupling-pole broke, and they pulled the front wheels from under the wagon bed and the end of it dropped to the ground. Drake's team was in the lead and at that place the other team could not pass him, so there they were. Drake had a Henry rifle, a gun almost like a Winchester rifle, and plenty of cartridges. He fastened his team with the lines the best he could, took his rifle and all of his ammunition, and went back to the other team. He told Tussler he wanted him to get on his horse and go to the post and tell the soldiers. Tussler was willing to do this if the other man would go, too ; but Drake told him he was going to stay there, and that the Indians should not have their loads as long as he was alive. Finally Tussler consented to go, and Drake got his saddle horse out of the team and helped him to mount it. Then he fired at the Indians who were trying to head him off until he got out of sight over the summit. While doing this he was shot three times, through one thigh from front to back, through the other from side to side, and through the side between the hip bone and the rib, all flesh wounds. Both his boots were full of blood when he got Tussler started, but he said nothing about it. After the other man got out of sight Drake tied up both teams as securely as he could, and then got under the hind end of the wagon and watched for Indians. He counted eight of them. Pretty soon he saw one of them going around as if trying to get behind a bush about fifty yards down the canyon. He watched the bush and when he thought it was about time for the Indian to get there, took careful aim at the top of it. Soon the Indian's head appeared above it and he pulled the trigger, but the cartridge failed to explode. Just then a bullet went through his hat and grazed his head. He threw in another cartridge and fired, this time hitting the Indian square in the forehead. Shortly afterwards he saw another Indian running across in front of him. It looked as though he was out of range, but Drake concluded to take a shot at him anyway. He fired and the Indian went down, throwing his gun as he fell. After two or three attempts he got up, picked up his gun, and ran away. This one was found dead a mile or more from the place where he was shot. Then another one came in sight, and from long range shot Drake's riding horse.
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Tussler rode as fast as a man in his condition could, and succeeded in reaching the house of a citizen who lived near the post. The man saw that something was wrong and went out to him, and Tussler told his story and then fainted. The man, after carrying him into the house, went to the post and told the officer in command what had happened. The latter immediately went to Drake's assistance with a troop of cavalry, (Lomas says that in less than five minutes after the officer received the word they were on their way.) leaving orders for an ambulance to follow. By the time the soldiers reached the wagons Drake had driven the Indians away, and there was not one in sight. He was still under the wagon, but was covered with blood and dust and lay so quiet that the first man to reach him called to the others, ''Frank is gone." Drake turned and said "No, boys, I am all right." They gave him some brandy and he told them what had happened after Tussler left him. When they got ready to take him to the post they asked him if there was anything he wanted done, and he replied that he would like to have them bring up that dead Indian so he could look at the son of a -----. They took him to the post, gave him the quarters of one of the officers, and showed him every attention. After he had rested the commanding officer told him they had brought the wagons in and would have the broken one repaired, and that he had sent a detachment of soldiers to White Horse to tell his friends about the fight. He then inquired if there was anything else they could do for him. After protesting a while about their taking so much trouble for him, Drake said there was just one more thing he would like to have done, and that was to have the wounded horse brought to the post. The officer said the horse would die before morning. Drake told him that the horse was just as good as so much beef to the Indians, and as long as they hadn't got anything yet, he would like to keep them from getting even that. The horse was brought in and died the next morning.
When the news reached White Horse Captain Walker detailed two soldiers to go with Lomas and some of the other men, and they went to Summit lake to see the wounded men and brought the wagons back with them.
The surgeon at the post did the best he could for Drake and Tussler. The former's wounds got well in a very short time, but Tussler did not get off so easily. In ten days they opened
HISTORY OF LASSEN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
up his wound and found that the bone had not knit, and that the flies had got into it. He was taken to Susanville in a freight wagon, a painful trip for a man in his condition, where he could have better care. There his leg was broken over twice and he almost lost his life. At last he got well, but he had one short leg and was crippled for life. The foregoing was related by Henry E. Lomas who knows the facts in the case better than any one else. Probably he is the only one of the White Horse colony who is still alive.
Indian Troubles. 1867
In a small way the Indians kept up their depredations this year. They stole a few head of stock occasionally from travelers and from the ranchers and off the ranges. They prowled around the stations on the Humboldt and Idaho roads, once in a while attacking, and sometimes killing a lone traveler or teamster.
Gaddy Shot at by an Indian
About the middle of February Collins Gaddy was coming in from the Black Rock mines with a two-horse team. When near Stovepipe Springs he came to a little stream of water where there was a high ledge of rocks close to the road. He was walking beside the wagon on the side next to the ledge, and when he reached the creek he sprang over it. Just as he did this an Indian who was hidden in the rocks fired at him. That spring saved his life, for the bullet went behind him and went through the bed of the wagon, killing a puppy that he was taking home. Gaddy said that when he heard the shot he looked in that direc-
HISTORY OF LASSEN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
tion and the Indian was so close he could have shot his eye out with a pistol. But he had no weapon, so he ran around the hind end of the wagon and when he got to the other side threw himself over into it and lay down. He then yelled to the horses, and not having any load, they soon carried him out of danger. It seems queer that a man should be so foolhardy as to start out on a journey through a country infested with hostile Indians with- out taking some kind of a weapon. The fool-killer was likely to get him if the Indians didn't.
About this time the Indians drove off cattle from Mud Meadows and Deep Hole springs. A band of them was seen prowling around Mud flat, and one of a scouting party of soldiers was shot while on guard not far from Summit lake.
Old Winnemucca Pays Susanville Another Visit
Told by the "Sage Brush," John J. Mcllroy, A. L. Harper, Mrs. A. T. Arnold, A. E. De Forest, I. N. Jones, C. E. Hurlbut, and T. J. Lomas.
The following is from the "Sage Brush" of August 17, 1867, and gives an account of Winnemucca 's visit to Honey Lake. "This noted chief of the Piute tribe of Indians, having their headquarters on the Indian reservation at Pyramid lake, made Susanville a visit on Tuesday last. He came with letters purporting to have been written by the Indian Agent at their reservation and others of Washoe and vicinity. He brought with him some fifteen warriors whom he stationed about two miles from the town to await the result of a conference with the citizens of Susanville, wishing to gain permission to proceed into the adjacent hills of the surrounding country for the ostensible purpose of hunting. A letter written by Mr. Alvaro Evans of Long valley to Governor Roop urged the granting of the passport. The citizens of Honey Lake valley have suffered much from the ravages of the Piutes, and having declared eternal war against them, became considerably excited at their presence, and set about making immediate preparations for 'taking them in.' In less than half an hour some eight of the citizens of the valley were in their saddles, armed with Henry carbines, and with swift pace crowding down upon the band. The Indians took the alarm at the first sound of the tocsin, and succeeded in gaining the foothills before the war party could reach them. They
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passed into the timber on the mountains to the north of town, and were thereby enabled to elude their pursuers. Winnemucca, being personally known to several of our citizens as an 'honorable' Indian, was removed to the jail for safe keeping.
" The Agent at Pyramid lake and all others whom it may concern, should be cautious about the sending in of their pet Indians into this locality. Enough has been said to satisfy outsiders what course the people here are liable to pursue. No Piute can under any circumstances be allowed to remain among us. What the object of the Indians was we are left to surmise. They have no love for Honey Lakers, and may be the advance guard of a large marauding party, seeking lodgement upon the Ft. Crook and Red Bluff routes of travel. "
The foregoing quotation tells briefly a part of what occurred during this visit. In the past years the Indians had caused them so much trouble that the Honey Lakers had sworn vengeance. Probably the most of these depredations had been committed by the Pit Rivers and the renegade Piutes living north of the reservation, but the Honey Lakers were in no mood to discriminate and it was not safe for any Piute to come into the settled part of the valley. Old Winnemucca wanted to visit his old-time friends and he also wanted to hunt around Eagle lake. He was smart enough to know the danger, so he got all the papers he could, thinking they would serve to protect him. Probably he talked to his acquaintances along the road and told them what he wanted to do, for it is said that Robert Johnston followed him to Susanville to see if he could prevent him from going any further north. William Dow and Tunison were coming from Oregon with cattle and Johnston was afraid that the Indians would attack them. When he got close to Susanville Winnemucca sent his warriors to the edge of the hills a mile or more northeast of town, no doubt telling them to be on the lookout for trouble. Taking one Indian with him he went on into the town, and having found his old friend Governor Roop, he dismounted and entered into a conversation with him. When the people of Susanville heard that Winnemucca was there a good many of them became much excited and a crowd gathered around Roop and the Indians. A few of them got their horses and guns and things began to look rather dangerous for the redskins. Joe Hale and Hank Wright seemed to be the leaders of the crowd and they wanted to take
HISTORY OF LASSEN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
the Indians and hang them. Roop told them that he had smoked the pipe of peace with Winnemucca, that he had many times been at the mercy of the chief and the latter had always taken care of him, and that they would have to kill him before they hanged the Indians. Captain Weatherlow, Cap. Hill, John Ward, Cutler Arnold, and some other prominent men who were old timers, joined Roop and they kept the crowd back. Just about this time the Indian who was with Winnemucca and who was still mounted on his horse, got frightened and started off down the road toward Toadtown with Wright and some others in pursuit. The Indian was mounted on a small, beautiful horse that looked like a thoroughbred, and he knew how to ride him. When they got across Piute creek Wright, who was in the lead, raised his gun to shoot. As he did this his horse stumbled and gave him a hard fall. De Forest thinks that Wright went no further, but Mcllroy says he went on to the Dobyns place. The white men went on, some one being considerably in the lead. George Funk had stopped his team in front of the Dobyns place, about a mile below where the road crosses Piute creek. The Indian went past before he had time to do more than notice him; and when the white man who was following him came along Funk, thinking that it was another Indian, almost shot him before he discovered his mistake. McIlroy says that a small party of soldiers followed close in pursuit of the white men, and that Funk stopped them at a bridge near the Dobyns place. He cursed and abused them and said he would shoot the first man who crossed it. They all believed him and stayed where they were. I. N. Jones, who then lived about a mile and a half below Susanville, saw the Indians going toward town and expected they would have trouble. A while after they passed he hunted up his rifle, and when he heard a horse cross the bridge close by on a run he hastily put a cap on his gun and ran outside. The Indian was passing the house, running his horse easily and keeping just out of gunshot of the man who was nearest to him. Jones snapped his gun at him three times, but had been loaded a long time and failed to go off. The two went on down the road and more men soon followed. When the man close to the Indian got down to the Johnston place near the gristmill his horse gave out. A horse with a saddle on stood near the gate and he took it and went on. At the gristmill the Indian took the left hand road and after going a short distance went
THE YEAR 1867
into the willows. Thomas J. Lomas came along at that time on his way from the Shaffer ranch to town. He saw a man with a gun looking through the willows and soon met another man riding furiously. They hunted the Indian out of the willows and he rode off toward the northeast, keeping just far enough ahead of his pursuers to make them think they were going to overtake him. When he reached the hills he let his horse go and left them as though they had been on foot.
A party went after the Indians who stopped northeast of town; but they must have taken the alarm when they saw the chase going on down the road, for they struck out into the hills to the north and were soon out of danger.
The officer in command of the soldiers talked about shooting people who molested the Indians, and this was told to Hale and the others as soon as they got back to town. Of course this made them feel very hostile toward him and he soon had a row with Hale. Some say that Hale met him on the street and insulted him shamefully, others that the row took place in the saloon and that Hale raised a chair to strike him, but was prevented from doing it. The officer went away, but the soldiers and the citizens kept on quarreling. The latter asked what was going to be done with Winnemucca and were told that they intended to hold him as a hostage. Hale said ''Well, why don't he come out and say so ? " The officer then came out of the Steward House and lined his men up across the street near the Pioneer saloon, and the citizens, with their rifles in hand, lined up not far away. The officer began talking to Hale as if he was a dog, but Joe told him to stop that and talk like a gentleman or he would shoot him. This brought the officer to his senses and his explanation was made without any more trouble. The Honey Lakers were thoroughly aroused, and had the soldiers taken any hostile steps, probably they would have all been killed. T. J. Lomas heard the conversation between Hale and the officer.
Winnemucca was taken into Roop's house for safe keeping. Later on, Mrs. A. T. Arnold says, all the men went away and left her with a pistol to guard him. While they were gone Hale came to the door. She told the chief to go into the bedroom and then told Hale to come in at his peril.
The soldiers stayed in town a few days and then took Winnemucca to Ft. Bidwell, staying one night at the Hurlbut and
HISTORY OF LASSEN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
Knudson ranch in Willow Creek valley. It nowhere appears that Winnemucca ever visited Susanville again. Perhaps he thought he was too popular — his presence attracted the attention of too many people.
The Murder of Charles League
Told by "The Eastern Slope," Alvaro Evans, Mrs. J. A. Forkner, and Mrs. Sarah McClelland.
In the latter part of October Charles League, a resident of Honey Lake valley, hauled a load of freight to Summit lake in northwestern Nevada for Griffin and Williams. He arrived at his destination in safety, and after unloading his freight, started for home. On the evening of the second of November he reached the Flowing Springs station where Charles P. McClelland and Louis M. Crill were taking care of stage stock for the Chico and Idaho line. Robert Elliott stayed there that night, too. During the night the dogs barked and made a great deal of fuss as though there were Indians around, and the next morning they tried to keep League from starting out. Their talk had no effect on him and he hitched up his team and took the road to Honey Lake.
After he had gone McClelland went to looking around the house and found some arrows that had been shot at the dogs. Shortly before this some signal fires had been seen on the mountain, and all this made them sure that a party of Indians was lurking around. It is said that soon after League started Elliott saw a smoke in the direction he had gone and called the attention of the other men to it. They became alarmed for League's safety and McClelland and Crill took their rifles, mounted their horses, and followed him. After going about a mile and a half they saw five Indians going up the side of the mountain leading League 's four horses with their harness on. They followed them for some distance, and finding they could not be overtaken, shot at them, but were too far away to do any execution. They then turned their attention to League and found him lying in the road near his wagon. Evidently the Indians had shot him from ambush, stripped him of his clothes, and hastily departed. Perhaps the smoke was caused by an unsuccessful attempt to set the wagon on fire. McClelland then went across the desert to Hardin City where Alvaro Evans was building a quartz mill, and told
THE YEAR 1867
him what had happened. Evans at once sent a messenger to Camp McGary and then sent a spring wagon after League 's body. He made a rough coffin and the remains were taken to Honey Lake.
The commanding officer at Camp McGary came with twenty- five soldiers, half a dozen men from the camp at Hardin City joined them, and they took the trail. They followed it south along the summit of the mountain for a part of two days until they were north of Wall springs. A snow storm then came on and they gave up the pursuit. The newspapers accused the Pyramid lake Piutes of committing this murder, but Evans says that the Pit Rivers were the guilty ones.
Indians Killed in Dry Valley
A week or two after League was killed Alvaro Evans left Hardin City and went to his home in the north end of Long valley. "While on his way there he crossed the trail of some Indians near Wall springs, and they were going south toward the Pyramid Lake reservation. When he got home he sent word to Old Winnemucca, with whom he was well acquainted, to come and see him right away. When he came Evans told him about the murder of League and about the trail toward Pyramid lake, and told him to let him know as soon as he learned anything about the Indians who made that trail. He also told him that if he didn't do something about it, the Honey Lakers would rise and clean out the Piute reservation. (Old Winnemucca had good cause to hunt up that band of Pit Rivers. Besides the killing of League, the occasional depredations of small bands of Pit Rivers in the Long valley country were laid to the Piutes. — F.)
The morning of the last day of November, shortly after Alvaro Evans had left home, Winnemucca came to the ranch with twelve warriors and said that the Indians who killed League were camped in Dry valley about six miles east of the Evans ranch, and that if the Evans Boys would arm his men, he would go up there and kill them. They gave the Piutes some guns and pistols, and Allen Evans, J. N. (Newt.) Evans, Ans. Marsh, Elijah Miller, and five or six other men living in that part of the valley, went along to see the fun. They all started from the ranch about two o 'clock the next morning and in an hour reached what is called "The Sierra camp." The chief said "Wait till
HISTORY OF LASSEN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
daylight. Then we kill them. " About daylight he and his braves went up to the camp of the Pit Rivers. "When they got close to it an old Indian came out and saw them and ran back and awoke the others. They came running out and fired at the Piutes, killing one of them, and this had the effect of sending them back to the white men for protection. The latter immediately charged the Pit Rivers, of whom there were ten bucks and five or six squaws and children. They took to the junipers, but the whites followed them and killed nine of the bucks and captured the squaws and children. The other Indian got away. During the fight the horse ridden by Allen Evans was shot through the withers a couple of inches below the top, and the whites received no other damage. One of the newspapers of western Nevada in commenting on this affair said "Here is the way to fight Indians; ten killed out of eleven — more severe punishment than the whole military force of the government has been able to display in the state for the last twelve months."
Winnemucca took the captives home with him to the reservation and about six weeks afterwards they all ran away. A Piute named George, who had worked for the Evans Brothers and then gone back to the reservation, followed them. He overtook them on the east side of the Fort Sage mountain (State Line Peak), and killed them all excepting a little boy six years of age and a girl of twelve. Probably they hid in the brush and he did not find them. Charles Cramer, who lived in the northeastern corner of Long valley, says that two men from Virginia City were out hunting and found the little girl and brought her to his house. They took her home with them and raised her. The next day after the Indians were killed Allen Evans was hunting cattle in that locality. While riding around in the brush he heard a noise that attracted his attention. After considerable searching he found a little boy sitting on his feet in the snow with a rabbit-skin robe over him. Evans took him on his horse and brought him home. On examination it was found that both his feet were frozen hard clear up to his ankles. He was put into an outhouse and some Indians who were camped close by took care of him. In a short time the frozen flesh began to decay and one morning he was missing. Evans supposed that the Indians killed him and took him away.
THE YEAR 1867
Summers and Hurlbut's Horses Stolen
From Tunison 's Diary
On the night of December 7th the Indians stole two horses from Willow Creek valley. One belonging to P. D. Hurlbut was stolen from the stable and one running outside from Thomas Summers. They shot an arrow into a eolt belonging to another man and scattered the cattle a good deal. The horse belonging to Summers got away before they had taken it very far.
On the 8th Hurlbut, Knudson, Summers, and Tunison followed the trail of the Indians north toward Eagle lake and found out that two of them were on horseback and that there were perhaps six of them in all. Four days later William Dow, Robert Johnston, Tunison, Hurlbut, Gowenlock, and two or three other men, went to the upper end of the valley and left their horses at Quilty 's place. From there they went on foot and tracked the Indians to the place where they killed Hurlbut's mare. They tracked them a little further and then went back to Quilty 's. The following day they tracked them on to another camp, and from there to one at the east end of Eagle lake. The 14th they started out on horseback and followed the trail to the north end of the east arm of the lake, and there the trail left it. They camped there, and Dow, Tunison, and Gowenlock went on a scout over into Grasshopper valley. They got up before three o'clock the next morning and all of them tramped until sunrise, but saw no Indians — nothing but tracks going north. That day they returned home, having hunted Indians with the same result as that obtained by many an expedition sent out by the Never Sweats in days gone by.