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The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised


James A. Cardwell

Transcription of a manuscript titled "Cardwell's Emigrant Company," in Cardwell's own hand, dated January 9, 1879, in the possession of the Bancroft Library.
 
Cardwell's writing
employs many innovative spellings and is almost completely innocent of punctuation. Spelling and punctuation is here regularized to facilitate reading and searching.
 
Subjects covered are: emigrating to Oregon in 1850, prospecting Jackson County for gold in 1851, discovery of the Yreka gold strike, founding of Ashland and dealing with Indians.


    [By] J. A. Cardwell, born in state of Tennessee in the year of 1827; emigrated from that state to Iowa Territory in 1845 and to Oregon in 1850.
   Left Council Bluffs, Iowa on May 1; crossed the Absaroka [he must mean the Missouri] River on May 1 and camped in a wild Indian country for the first time. From Missouri River to Fort Dalles, Oregon I was four months traveling with a large wagon drawn by six pair of oxen. There was nothing of importance occurred on our trip across the plains until we came within about 400 miles of Dalles. It was discovered that our supplies of provisions was nearly exhausted, whereupon we divided up and put all on about half ration. We hurried along as best we could; the roads was fearfully bad; teams near worn out. Each day the trip became more tedious; hunger and privation had actually set in. We held meetings at our camps of nights and resolved in order to facilitate travel to throw away everything that was not useful on the road. Consequently there was several thousand dollars worth of property thrown away, and each and every man that was able had to walk.
    I saw men who were or had been stout, strong men walking along through the hot desert sands crying like children with fatigue, hungry and footsore. There seemed to be no wild game and our men were too much travel-worn to hunt for it, and consequently we got none. On our arrival at the crossing of the Umatilla River to our surprise and delight we there met a lieutenant of the U.S. army with an escort of ten men and 3 large government wagons loaded with provisions for the relief of the suffering emigrants. He rationed us for as many days as he thought it would take us to reach Dalles, which was amply sufficient to meet all of our wants.
   I might have stated in the beginning of this narrative that we were a company of 50 men and no women or children, fully organized and resolved to stand by and aid and assist each other through to the golden shores of the Pacific, or to civilization in the territories of the Pacific, and we kept our trust and did not lose a man. On our arrival at the Dalles in Oregon we found two companies of U.S. troops in tents, there for the purpose of erecting a government military fort.
    Our company there dissolved; each man pursued his own course from that point. We all obtained rations from the officer in charge to pursue our journey. I shipped my wagon down to Portland and drove my cattle to the mouth of Big Sandy for the winter and went to work for quartermaster Ingle of the U.S. army at Fort Vancouver and remained in his employ four months. I then got a team together and started for the California mines in company with 26 other men. Left Portland, Oregon in January '51 to go overland to California; had no particular point [i.e., destination] in view. Had a tedious trip through the Willamette Valley on account of mud and high waters; had frequent warning by the settlers of the Willamette in relation to the hostile and treacherous disposition of the Rogue River Indians, which on our arrival in that country we found too true for comfortable traveling.
   I will here state that I had since my arrival in Oregon acquired all knowledge I could of the Indian language or the jargon. I spoke it well when I left Portland; consequently I was the interpreter on all occasions when we met the Indians. On our arrival at the north end of the great Umpqua Canyon, where Canyonville now stands, we had some difficulty with the Indians. We had late in [the] afternoon killed a fine buck and made camp late. Built large log fire, all hands roasting venison. One man by name Charley Johnson had a fine piece roasted and sat on one of the wagon tongues leaning back against the box of the wagon to eat his supper when he was shot at by two Indian arrows, both striking in the wagon not more than four inches from his head. We all seized our guns and sprang into the dark but could not hear nor see anything of them; was not disturbed any more that night.
   The next three days was spent in getting through the Canyon, which was in a state of nature with the exception of some logs and brush had been cut out. There had not ever been any grading done, and the travel on the north end had to go the most of the way in the bed of the creek, occasionally meeting obstructions in the bed of the creek [that] we could not pass over in way of falls or large boulders where we had to ascend and descend over some of the steepest points that it ever had been my lot to witness before. At the south end of the Canyon we went into camp to restore teams and dry our clothing. I do not think there was a man in the company had a dry garment on him. We had, all hands of us, to get in the creek, and a great many times to lift the wagons over boulders and other obstructions that it was impossible for the teams to pull over.
   While here at this camp there was some 50 Indians came into camp. All seemed peaceable. We hardly knew how to get rid of them, so we moved camp about two miles. They attempted to follow us, but we informed them that we preferred traveling without them. They all left and went away, but one large buck we could not drive him away. On our striking camp again we put out guard and put this Indian under guard and determined to hold him prisoner all night, which we did. The next morning we persuaded him to leave and we traveled on. At noon one of our men had fell back a short distance; on his coming up he saw the same Indian a-skulking along, watching our movements. He made his discovery known to our men. We immediately took our guns and went in pursuit of him with the intention of shooting him, but he made his escape by outrunning us and getting into thick brush.
   We crossed the Cow Creek Hills and camped for the night as usual; put out our guard. About midnight one of the guard heard one of the horses snort as if he was a little frightened. The animal was not more than 15 feet from him. The snort startled him, and on looking around he saw an Indian had him by the halter and was in the act of mounting him. The guard fired two shots at him. That caused him to leave the horse, and the other guard fired at him with a double-barreled shotgun, which caused him to yell out.
   There was nothing more worthy of note until Grave Creek was reached. We there met three Indians that inquired the object of our visit. On being informed that we were hunting for gold, they offered their services as guides to show where we could find it in abundance, large lumps promiscuously scattered all over the surface of the earth for several miles. Their statements were made with such accuracy we believed them to be telling the truth. I spoke with all three of them and took them separately, and they all made the same statements. We engaged them to go with us; traveled on to the flat that is now known as the Harris place that was afterwards taken up as a ranch by a gentleman of that name, whom both him and his son was murdered by the Indians, his wife and daughter keeping the Indians at bay by their bravery, shooting through the cracks of the log house every time an Indian dared to show his head until help reached them from Jacksonville the next day.
   At Harris Flat went into camp at the suggestion of our Indian guides, dividing our company, leaving eleven men in camp with the wagons and teams and sixteen of us taking to pack horses. Going with the Indians, they led us to Rogue River at the mouth of Applegate Creek. On our arrival at the river we saw an Indian on the opposite shore mounted on a fine horse. There was a canoe tied to the willows. Our guides said we had to cross at that place and go up Applegate. This was about 2 in the afternoon, and we would reach the gold fields by about 9 the next day.
   We unpacked our animals and swam them by the side of the canoe. When the Indian on the opposite shore on horseback saw that we were intending to cross he immediately galloped off up the Applegate all hard. We packed up and went [up the] Applegate a short distance and came to quite [a] large Indian village, not a living thing to be seen except the Indian that we had seen at the river on horseback still sitting on his horse some two hundred yards away. He had taken shelter behind a large pine tree. This did not look altogether right to us, as there was evidence that they had all left on our approach. The fires was all burning. I inquired of our guide the meaning of all this and told them we were peaceable people and meant to do them no harm, that we were hunting for gold and to call the people back to their village; that we wished to see them. Accordingly the oldest one of our guides began to speak at the top of his voice. He spoke something I think near five minutes in his own tongue.
   On the opposite side of the creek, which I think was some 30 yards wide and at the deepest 18 inches, there was a heavy growth of willows covering several acres. The Indians had all taken shelter in this dense willow thicket. At the close of the guide's speech the chief of the village began to reply; I should think from the sound of his voice that he must have been two hundred yards away in the thick brush. He came nearer and near[er] as he spoke, his voice sounding terrible. He seemed to walk very slow and kept on talking until he came in plain view of us. At the water's edge he ceased talking, waded over to where we were a-waiting to receive him. We arranged ourselves all in a line and approached him one by one and shook hands with him, and each and every man of us give him a small present of some kind. Some gave him tobacco, some gave up their pipes, while some others gave handkerchief, pocket knife; all made a present of something. He seemed to be highly pleased and called all the village to come in, and it seemed the surrounding woods was alive with Indians. All seemed to be on the most friendly terms possible.
   We then consulted this chief in relation to what the Grave Creek guides had told us. He confirmed their statements and said he himself would accompany us to the place, and we set out immediately with the 4 Indians. Soon after our departure from the village we could look back and see that all the Indians was coming after us. We traveled I think about 6 miles. The chief halted in about the center of a small prairie and suggested that we camp there for the night for, said he, the country is full of Indians; you will have to look out and promise to take his band and return home and leave us with our former guides when [he] would fetch us to the gold in the forenoon of the next day. He departed with his tribe, and everything was lovely that night.
    Early in the morning we broke up camp, all of us excited with our prospect ahead. One of the Indians, the younger one, wanted to leave us at this camp, and we consented. We traveled on until about 9 a.m., when the oldest of the [guides] seemed to get sulky, and he wanted to go back, said he had headache, but it was only a short distance and the other Indian would go to the place with us. We consented to let him go [and] went on with the one. He had not gone more than one mile after the old man left when he sat down and pointed down to the bars on the creek [and] said that was the place.
    We all went to prospecting. We could not find it [the gold] lying 'round but we could raise the color, and we became satisfied that we were in a gold country. The Indian said he could not account for the absence of the gold and still declared that the last time he was here there was great quantities in sight. He thought the high waters had taken it all off. He said there was one more place he would go to, and he knew he would find it there. [He] went on [a] mile farther [and] showed [a] place not as favorable as [the] first one. He then wanted to leave. We discharged him and went gold hunting on our own hook.
   Shortly after the last one had gone the Indians began to show themselves in large numbers on the hills above us, and they would yell horribly and roll stones down as if to try to frighten us away. They did not approach to within rifle shot of us, but kept from three to four hundred yards away and followed us up all that day. Late in the afternoon we went up a gulch that came in from the divide between Applegate and Rogue River. Some few miles up this gulch where it forked we set in to prospect and found fair prospects. The Indians came nearer, and some of us had to stand rifle in [order] to keep them back while others were sinking the prospect hole. Between sundown and dark we moved farther up the gulch to [a] small prairie and camped, started [a] fire, cooked and eat supper. After we had supper over, the moon came up nearly full. It was a beautiful night; not an Indian had been seen or heard since we went into camp.
    It was my opinion that they intended to attack us that night. I made it known to the balance of the men and suggested that we immediately pack up and move in the direction of Rogue River. All hands immediately went to work, and I think we were moving within five minutes, and we did not move slow. We walked to the summit of the mountain and ran from there to Rogue River, which we reached sooner than we expected. We went into camp about midnight.
    After daylight next morning we could see the first cabin, about one mile above us on the opposite side of the river, that was built on Rogue River. It was built by a man by the name of Perkins. He had put in the first ferry boat that ever had been put in that river, and he had an arrangement with old Indian Joe, the head chief of the Rogue River tribes, who at that time was stopping with Perkins for protection. We had breakfast ready and while at breakfast we heard the noise of horses' feet running. Soon after, we saw the redskins coming in hot pursuit on our track. We all sprang to our arms.
    They halted some seventy-five yards away, and they did not fire and we did not. We stood in this position until one of our men ran to the ferry and called Perkins and the chief to come down and see what they wanted. Joe spoke the jargon well. He stated to us that they was a hunting party going out in pursuit of game, and they came so near our camp before they saw us and, seeing us pick up our guns, that they was fearful if they started to run we would fire on them--a very sensible conclusion. With this explanation, and the promise of the old chief that they would disperse and that we should have a safe passage through the country, we let them go.
    We moved camp up to the ferry and sent two men on horseback to let the party whom we had left in charge of the wagons know of our whereabouts and to have them move. They all came in that day, and we had no further difficulty with Indians on that trip in the Rogue River country.
    We traveled on and crossed the Siskiyou Mountains and discovered gold on Cottonwood Creek; did not think it rich enough to work. Went on, crossed the Klamath River and arrived at Shasta Flats, discovered the mines of Yreka on the 12 day of March 1851. [Joseph Lane's party had discovered the Yreka diggings the previous year but left in fear of the Indians.] Scotts Bar had been discovered the fall before, and there had been gold found on the head of Greenhorn [Creek], also on a bar on Shasta River below the mouth of Greenhorn, but our party discovered the Yreka or Shasta Flats on the day and date above written.
   We all took up mining claims [and] went to work to making rockers. Some of us made our rockers out of the trunks of trees, while some others worked out boards with ax and drawing knife. We had procured our picks and shovels and rocker irons at Portland, Ogn. We were all of us in a very short time at work digging the gold, and we were happy. Everyone was doing well, and all seemed to enjoy the best of health.
    The news of the discovery of the Yreka mines soon spread far and near. It was but a short time until there was a great many men collected in there. Mining and prospecting was carried on vigorously all that year. Humbug Creek, some 8 miles from Yreka, was struck early in the spring, and it also was immensely rich and afford[ed] room for a great many men to work. I was acquainted with a man by name of Jones that took out 95 thousand dollars on Humbug that summer.
    There was a great scarcity of water at Yreka to work out the mines. My rocker claim dried up, and I put in the first long tom into the Greenhorn ever put in that creek. Cut my wagon in two; made two carts of it and carted my dirt three-quarters of a mile from the claim to the tom. The water dried up on all together in [the] forepart of June. I heard of the discovery of the mines in Josephine County, Ogn. and went to that place, found a great many miners had collected in there. Prospected some, did not like the country.
    Started back to Yreka, was met at Perkins ferry on Rogue River by Jesse Applegate, who suggested that it would be well enough for us to assist the government troops and Captain Lamerick's volunteers to clean out the Indians in the Rogue River Valley. Promised him to lend a hand. Thirty of us, well mounted and armed and provisioned, went at the suggestion of Mr. Applegate and camped at Willow Springs that night, the date of which I do not recollect. Colonel Kearny, it was understood, was to attack the Indians at or near the mouth of Bear Creek the next morning, as it was thought they would move in the direction of Willow Springs, and our company would engage them and give them battle until the troops might come up, and all together we would get the best of the Indians.
   At daylight the following morning we heard the firing commence. It was kept up quite brisk for something like fifteen minutes. There was a terrible yelling and crying kept up by the Indians, and terrible howling of dogs all the while of the battle. Captain Stuart of [the] U.S. army received a fatal wound in this fight that caused his death. The next day he saw an Indian lying in the grass wounded. He was trying to get up and could not do so. The Indian had his back broke. The captain thought to ride up and finish him with his pistol. The Indian drew his bow and shot an arrow, striking him in the groin and ranging upward. When the arrow was pulled out the point was left in which caused the captain to die in about 24 hours.
    Our company remained at Willow Springs until about 10 a.m., and no news reaching us [and] not seeing any Indians, we saddled up and moved up to Kearny's camp. The soldiers had got there before we did. We reported ourselves to Col. Kearny as an independent company of volunteers, told him we had all the arms and provisions we needed, and we was ready and willing to do any duty he might wish us to do, but we would not engage for any particular length of time. The colonel then said he was much obliged to us for the offer we had made him and said we had better camp near him, and wait for further orders. We moved up about one mile from Kearny's camp, and camped at the place where a gentleman by the name of Dilley had been killed about one month previous by the Indians.
    Mr. Dilley had a small pack train consisting of eleven mules he had brought up from California with him. When he arrived at Yreka provisions was extremely high. He took his train of mules and went to Scottsburg after a load of flour. On his return at this camp, he had two hired men with him. Two Indians came into camp and wanted to stay overnight with Dilley and his men. They consented to let them stay. One of the hired men was put on guard. He went to sleep. The other man and Dilley was both sleeping at the same time. One of the Indians took up Dilley's gun and shot him with his own gun, breaking his neck.
   The report of the gun woke both of the hired men, and they both of them ran away as fast as they could, leaving everything behind, and came to Yreka as quick as they could get there on foot. Dilley was cousin to my partner in the mines. The Indians got away with all of the mules and the entire outfit except the flour. They ripped open the flour sacks and emptied them onto the ground, taking the sacks, and threw away the flour.
    We remained in this camp a couple of days. Capt. Stuart was buried inside of one of the tents and as little sign left of the grave as possible. His remains was not disturbed by the Indians, but they were removed about 18 months afterwards and taken, I was informed, back to some of the eastern states.
    The third day, no orders coming to us from the col., we mounted and went to Yreka.
    On my arrival back at Yreka I found the mining season at an end for that year, on account of the failure of water. I went to whipsawing lumber, which I found ready sale for at 25 cents per foot. I remained at that business until about the following Christmas, when myself and three other men, E. Emery, J. Emery and David Hurley, determined to go to the Rogue River Valley and build a sawmill. We left Yreka about the first of Jan. ’52 and came over to the place where Ashland now stands and took up that claim and mill site and went to work to build [a] mill.
    We here found an Indian village of perhaps about one hundred souls all told, effective fighting men about thirty-five. We made agreements with them to allow us to take up and improve our claims and paid them some small payments and vouchers for the general government making its obligation good. There had already been treaty made, and Judge Skinner, the Indian agent, was at that time in the valley. We went to work to building, put [up a] log house and went to work putting up [the] sawmill.
    Shortly after we settled here the Jacksonville mines was discovered, and people began to come in fast. [After] a few days there was plenty of white men in the valley for any emergencies that might take place. The little band of Indians at Ashland seemed to have two headmen, namely Tipsoe [called by others "Tipsy" or "Tipsu Tyee"], which means "hair" in jargon. He had extremely long hair and [a] heavy beard. The other chief we called Sullix, on account of his bad temper. Sullix is "mad" in jargon. He seemed to always be in a bad humor, and had the other Indians been of as bad temper as this one we could not have got along with them. After the discovery of the Jacksonville mines, and the emigration had set in from California, they came in so fast that they discouraged the Indians, who I am confident intended shortly to clean us all out.
    This same old Sullix sat on one of the mill sills while I was at work boring & mortising on it, and while the road seemed to be alive with men coming in all day. And he remarked to me there, that day, that it never had been his nor the intention of any of the Indians to give up the country, but that they meant to let a few whites settle in here, and get as much property around them as they could, and then go to work and wipe them all out.
    He then consoled himself by telling me of one of his adventures. He said some time ago himself and two other Indians was over on the Klamath River, and that late in the day, near night, they saw two white men slipping along and trying to hide themselves. The Indians watched them and saw where they went, and that night they crept up nearby and memaloosed [jargon for “killed”] both of them, and he seemed to rejoice over the treacherous and bloody deed, but now, said he, we have waited and put our designs off too long. The whites have overpowered us, and he almost went into fits with rage. His eyes were green. I drew my chisel up one time and came near striking him when he told me of the murder on Klamath. I then and there upon that occasion made up my mind that if an opportunity ever presented to me I would kill that Indian, and afterwards had the pleasure of shooting him, but it did not kill him. I will refer to the shooting of him hereafter.
    A few days after our arrival at this place the Tipsoe band had a fight with a small band over in Shasta Valley, and Tipsoe was wounded by a ball, taking effect in [the] point of his chin and ranging along his jawbone, and two of his braves was killed by the Shastas. Also one Shasta chief was killed by Tipsoe’s band, that was worth about as much as Tipsoe. They made it up by making a standoff so far as the two chiefs, but the Shastas had to pay several head of horses as damages to the Tipsoe tribe for the two braves they had killed, with the understanding that if Tipsoe got well they were to have all of the cuitons [horses] back and make a standoff with the Shasta chief against the two braves of Tipsoe. Tipsoe had recovered, and the Shastas came over about one hundred strong and demanded the horses. The Tipsoes would not give them up, so they sent to Butte Creek for help and determined to give the Shastas battle. Reinforcements came from Butte Creek to join the Tipsoe tribe. [This] swelled their numbers to about 150, and reinforcements came over the Siskiyous from Shasta and made it about equal on both sides.
    They went into battle, and it was diverting in the extreme to see them maneuver. The prairie where Mr. Lindsay Applegate’s farm now is [near the intersection of Pioneer and East Main in Ashland] was the battle field. The Shastas would all collect at the edge of the prairie on one side, and the Rogue Rivers would all collect on the opposite side, and each army would build large log fires at the spot where they were assembled, and some 10 or perhaps 15 and sometimes perhaps 50 from one side would go scampering and jumping, skipping, across to within something like from sixty to 80 yards of the opposing party, and about the same number from the opposing party would start after them and shoot at them all the way back, and a new or fresh party would start in and chase the pursuing party back again. This kind of warfare was kept up about six hours each day for three such successive days. They then came on to peaceable terms.
    Their supplies of provisions had all given out, and they all came down on us for what we had. We had bought a fine fat steer from a drove that was passing and butchered him and laid a good supply of flour & groceries from a packer that came on the road. The Indians seemed to be determined to have it. It was understood by the Indians that I was Judge Skinner’s son, and both the judge and us thought it might be of some benefit to us to keep them so thinking.
    At the time I am now writing [of] there was no one at home of our party but Mr. Eber Emery & myself. The Indians all came down to our house, and they filled the house as full as they could stand and said they would have everything we had. I told them if they did not disperse and let everything be that they would get no pay from [the] government, and there would be soldiers sent to kill the entire tribes all off. At that time one large buck took up a firebrand and began to kindle fire against the wall of the cabin. I sprang at him and knocked him with all [my] power, sending him away. Just as I kicked him, one of them standing outside of the door struck at me with a fish spear and struck one of my ribs [which] stopped it. If it had went between the ribs it would have killed me. I caught the spear and jerked it out of his hands and ran after him, and aimed such a blow at him that the pole broke short off near my hands. At this moment there was a large stout young buck, the son of old Sullix, one that I was well acquainted with, sprang at me. He came up and run his arm around my back and caught his fingers in my mouth and pulled as if he was trying to tear it. I put my arm around his waist and gathered him up on my hip and threw him his length flat of his back over my head. He sprang up and seized me by the hand and said I was the skookum-est man he had ever seen before, and that his heart would not permit of his doing me any injury, and he told the Indians to disperse, and they did and did not trouble us any more that night. All the while Mr. Emery sat on a seat outside of the house and did not utter one word, and not an Indian seemed to take any notice of him.
    Early the next morning Tipsoe and Sullix came to the door and said that their difficulties had lasted longer than they anticipated, and that their supplies were all gone, and the Indians were all hungry and we must give up what we had. I told them not one bite should they have. I did think at that time that they had killed our ox team, for we had not seen them since the previous day, and it had been our custom to corral them every night. But on that occasion they made it so hot for us we could not go after them. Shortly after daylight they all came down and we [tried to] appear to them as best we could to think all was right. I made inquiries of them if they had seen our cattle. One small boy said they were on the opposite side of Bear Creek. I told Emery that I was a-going to start as if I was going after the cattle, and as soon as I was out of sight I would strike down the valley and let the settlers know and have Judge Skinner to come up.
    I ran all the way to Wagner Creek, to the first house. Found one man there. Went on to the place where Colonel Stone now owns [the future poor farm site, between Phoenix and Talent]. Jo Wilson, Jesse Adams, Jo & Firm Anderson [Eli Knighton "Joe" Anderson and James Firman Anderson] lived there. I met Sam Culver at that place. He was on horseback. I told him how the Indians they were acting. He asked me if I actually believed they meant hostilities to the whites. On my telling him I did, and requesting him to go after Judge Skinner and old Sam, who was stopping at that time with the agent, Judge Skinner, he started immediately and made a quick trip.
    The agent and old Tyee Sam and three of his brothers all came up shortly after I got back. There was about 15 white men altogether collected in. Skinner made a short speech to Sam and then Sam began to talk to the Indians. He had not spoken more than one or two minutes when they began to break up and start off in small parties. In a short time all had left that did not belong there. We had no further trouble with Indians from that time, which was in February 1852, until July following.
    We pushed our work on at the mill as fast as we could. The mines at Jacksonville began to attract considerable attention. A great many miners came in, and people began to take up land for ranches all over the country and have them surveyed. While the surveying was in progress, the Indians seemed to be at a great loss to know how it was that the white men would take compass & chain and go round and cry stick stuck and set up a few stakes and call the land their own, when the government had not paid them for the land.
    We had our mill in operation sometime in May, and the demand for lumber was good. We could sell all we could make at $80 per thousand. The mines proved excellent; all was lovely up to July when news came up from Rogue River that the Indians was mustering their forces under Tyee Sam for war, and had already killed some of Dr. Ambrose’s cattle at the Dardanelles, and they had threatened him and his family with violence if they did not immediately leave. I was at Jacksonville when the news came there, and it raised quite an excitement. Capt. Lamerick, who had raised a company the year before at Yreka and came over here and fought the Indians, was at the time in Jacksonville, and the miners said if he would raise [a] company they would volunteer. Lamerick consented and raised a large company that night. I went to Ashland that night to warn the settlers in [the] upper end of the valley that hostilities was about to set in. Mr. E. Emery & myself started back to Jacksonville as early the next morning as we could get our horses off the range to join Lamerick.
    When we arrived at Jacksonville the company had been gone three hours. We went on, and when we came within about half a mile of Big Bar on Rogue River we heard the firing commence. It did not last more than two minutes. We were going as fast as we could. Before we reached the place where the battle was going on we met a large portion of the company coming from the battle on horseback as fast as their horses could run. The foremost man was Charley Johnson. He called to me to come with him. I said have the Indians whipped you? He said nothing, but kept on running and crying come this way. We wheeled and went with the crowd. They went to Dr. Ambrose’s house. The Indians had started toward the house, and it was supposed they meant to charge on the house and murder the family. The house was something near half [a] mile from the battleground. In a few minutes the entire company was all collected at Dr. Ambrose’s house.
    I think that the battle at Big Bar would not have come on that day had it not have been for some men that had come over from Yreka. Sometime previous there had been a white man killed on the mountains between Scotts Valley and Yreka by an Indian called Old Scarface. He had a large scar on his face, and the people at Yreka offered a reward for Old Scarface. Old Sullix of the Tipsoe band had a large scar on his face, and answered the description of the scarface over the mountain pretty well. Consequently the Yreka folks heard of Sullix and came over after him, ten of them. When they came to our house at Ashland, hunting for Sullix, the son of Old Sullix had come down from the head of Walker Creek to get his gun lock fixed, which was out of order. We inquired of him where Tipsoe and the Indians under him had gone to spend the summer. He said they had gone on the mountain at the head of Walker Creek. While he was there the Yreka men came along and took him prisoner and took him to Jacksonville. This was the day before the battle at Big Bar, and this was the same big young buck that I threw in February previous that took my part and kept the Indians from killing Mr. E. Emery and myself. The Yreka men joined Lamerick and kept the Indian prisoner with them and said they would not release him until they had captured Old Sullix or Scarface, as they believed him to be the Indian they was hunting. When Lamerick went down to meet Old Sam, Judge Skinner, the Indian agent, went along, and he set in to arrange matters without blood being shed. He went across the river to where the Indians were.
    There was nothing but the river between the Indians and the whites, and the Judge and Sam agreed to settle matters of difference without fighting, and the judge invited the Indians to cross over, as many of them as could. Consequently some thirty of them had come over, the Yreka men still holding on to their prisoner, who was very anxious to get away from them, as he was apprised of the cause of his arrest. He was all the while looking for a chance to escape, and he made a step as if he intended to run. One of the men shot him in the back of [his] head with [a] large size Colts revolver, blowing his head into atoms, instantly killing him. The Indians that had crossed over all jumped into the water to swim over, and the Indians on the opposite shore opened [fire] on the whites across the river and immediately began to retreat up the hill, the whites returning the fire. It was supposed that about all of them that was in the water was killed. There was but one of Lamerick’s men wounded, a ball from the Indians’ gun striking his finger as he held his gun in hand and came near severing it from the hand, going through and striking the gun.
    At Ambrose’s place all was confusion. The cry was extermination of all the Indians by the whites, and the company began to break up into small companies to go to different Indian rancherias to clean them out. Mr. Emery & myself went to Ashland that night to warn the others that hostilities had begun. We raised a company of 10 the following morning and went in pursuit of Tipsoe’s band. Before starting, however, and while we were preparing to start Old Sullix rode up to our house hunting his son, the same that had been captured by the Yreka men and killed the day before at Big Bar. As he approached the house one of our men, a Mr. Dodson, stepped out with a large pistol in hand and demanded his surrender. The Indian immediately began to retreat and cry out don’t shoot. Dodson fired, the ball taking effect in the hip and not dismounting him. I fired the next shot, [the] ball entering his back under [the] shoulder and coming out under [his] left breast. Mr. Emery fired, breaking [his] right shoulder. He still retained his seat, and made his escape and got back to the tribe, and warned them before we could reach them. They made their escape into the high mountains where we could not pursue on horseback. In a few days hostilities was at an end.
Bancroft Library HHB P-A 15


    James A. Cardwell, born in Jackson County, Tennessee, Feb. 22, 1827, and emigrated from Iowa to Oregon in 1850. Engaged in farming.

"Southern Oregon Pioneers," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, July 8, 1882, page 3


    James A. Cardwell, who had been ill with heart trouble for so long a time, expired peacefully yesterday morning at 6:30 o'clock, and his remains will be interred in the family lot in Jacksonville cemetery this afternoon at 2 o'clock, funeral services being held at the Presbyterian Church under the auspices of Warren Lodge No. 10. A.F&.A. Masons, of which deceased was a member. We will publish an extended obituary in our next issue.

"Personal Mention," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, April 17, 1890, page 3

Last revised February 3, 2016