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The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised


Correspondence of the Oregon Superintendency
1844
Southern Oregon-related correspondence with the Oregon Superintendency for Indian Affairs.



    I saw and had an interview with the Indian in June following & settled all differences to appearance satisfactorily & but four months subsequently having occasioned the authorities constituted among the Indians to flog one of his connections for violently entering the house of the Rev. H. R. Perkins, seizing his person and attempting to tie with a view to flog him, he took fire afresh and in November last came with a slave to my house with the avowed object of shooting me down at once, but finding me absent after a close search in every part of my house, he commenced smashing the windows, lights, sash and all, from my house and office with the breech of his gun, and it is but just to say he did his work most effectually, not leaving a sound window in either. He next started hotly in pursuit of my steward, who was most actively retreating, but soon overtaken, and seized by the shoulder, but his garment giving way saved the frightened young man from further violence. I returned late in the evening, this having occurred at 3 p.m., when the villains were too far away to be overtaken, though I pursued them with the best men of the colony during the whole night and as long after as we could trace them.
    This was regarded a great outrage and created a strong sensation throughout the community, especially as none knew where to trace it until within a few weeks past.
    Some four weeks subsequently fifteen Indians came in open day, riding into the neighborhood, painted & well armed. I was the first with one exception that observed them and learned they were Molallas and Klamaths and felt confident they were on an errand of mischief, being well informed of their marauding and desperate habits and this quite out of their province, the proper homes of the Klamaths being at least 300 miles to the south and the Molallas, with whom they intermarry, having their lodges in the Cascade Mountains a distance of from 40 to 80 miles.
Elijah White, report of April 3, 1844 to Thomas Hartley Crawford, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, NARA M234 Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, Reel 607, frames 154-155. A copy of the passage (in a clearer hand) begins on frame 262.





Last revised August 14, 2016