The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

James P. Goodall

Cambria, Va.
    Nov. 24, 1902.
Dear Judge Day:
    Immediately after mailing my letter to you of the 20th inst., I rec'd. the enclosed information from the Bureau of Pensions at Washington D.C., from which it seems to me that bro. James is entitled to pensions for his services in the Indian wars of the South as well as those of the West.
    If it is in your line of official work, or if you can spare time from your regular work and can secure the pensions referred to and will remunerate yourself for the work from the pensions when secured, it will not only be a kindness to my brother in his needy old age, but a favor most highly appreciated by me. If, however, it is impossible for you to undertake the matter and push it through at once, will you kindly suggest an efficient person to take it up and let me hear from you as promptly as possible?
    I notice in the enclosed application blank, just received from Washington, that the marriages of pension applicant must be stated. Bro. James told me that his first wife (who was an Oregon lady, I think) died several years after their marriage & that her name was (as I remember it) Miss Mary [Jane] Johnson. In 1872 when bro. James was in Georgia he was married to a lovely lady, Mrs. Margaret Sams, a well-to-do widow who lived on a good farm with her two young sons. The marriage was a most happy one until bro. James developed his incapacity for managing and furthering the interests of a Southern farm. The sons, feeling that their property was decreasing in value, persuaded their mother to give them the management of the farm. Bro. James went west again, with the understanding between himself and wife that when he was able to support her & his (then) infant daughter he would send for them. You know with my brother's unfrugal habits of a miner and soldier that time never came. None of his sisters, except Mrs. Wardlaw, have ever seen this lady. His daughter, "Miss Mary Lee Goodall," developed into a lovely Christian woman and died in 1898 at the age of twenty-five, having been born in 1873, all of which I learned through her obituary, which appeared in the Georgia Methodist Church paper published in Atlanta, Ga. I do not know the maiden name of bro. James' second wife, nor do I know whether she is still living, but I will take immediate measures to find out if possible, as it will be necessary or at least helpful for you to have this information in order to fill out the blanks in his pension application. I send you the obituary above referred to, and as it is the only one in the family I wish you please to return it to me after you have let bro. James read it. Do not leave it with bro. James, as he will in all probability lose it. I should be very glad if bro. James will consent to have you write the names of his first wife and of his second wife opposite his name in the family paper I sent you in regard to our Revolutionary ancestor, as it would make the family record more complete.
    Leaving to your good judgment & kindness of heart the best means of accomplishing what is mentioned in my letters of this date & the 20th inst. I remain
Very gratefully yours
    J. S. Pollock
    Copy of statements made for me by my brother, James P. Goodall, in his own handwriting during my visit to him in Oregon 1887-'90 in reference to my request to give me the history of his life--
    James P. Goodall born 19 Feb. 1818 at Milledgeville, Georgia, educated at Columbus, Georgia & Montgomery, Ala., did service under Scott and Jessup in the Creek and Seminole disturbances in Ala., Ga. & Florida in 1835 & 1836 during Jackson's presidency. * * * Went to Texas under Pres. Sam Houston and Pres. Lamar, served in Indian & frontier wars & skirmishes as lieut., captain [and] major of ordinance &c. until annexation in 1845 & '6 and then served in the volunteer army of Texas during the whole of the Mexican War as an officer of said volunteers both in Texas & Mexico.
    In 1849 left Corpus Christi for California to hunt gold & with Col. Jake Snively & Major Ben McCulloch (afterwards Genl. McCulloch of the Confederate army); went with a party of thirty via Durango & Mazatlan & thence by sea to San Francisco & dug gold on the American River in Dec. 1849 * * * thence to Yuba & dug gold, thence to Trinity River and dug gold & thence to Yreka & dug gold for 7 or 8 years.
    During my mining operations at Yreka found time to operate against hostile Indians in Rogue River Valley, Oregon, & under Gen. Jo Lane did some of what was said to be effective service at the head of a compy. of 90 or 100 Yreka volunteers, who were mostly miners who on short notice armed and mounted themselves for said service, which was soon over after some short, sharp & quick service, in which Gen. Lane & Capt. Alden of the army were severely wounded and quite a number of my own compy. were shot to pieces with arrows & bullets, all of which occurred in Augt. & Sept. 1853.
    In 1856 served on the staff of Major Gen. Cosby of the California [line of text cut off on image] rank of inspector general & the title of colonel, against the Modoc Indians, these same Indians having broken out 4 years before in 1852, when they were beaten by Capt. Ben Wright, who had very material aid & comfort from me in planning and carrying out the campaign. * * *
    This closed out my military operations in Oregon & California, & years and years after I saw a notice & account of my operations in [Walling's] History of Southern Oregon, and also in Bancroft's History of Oregon, & in regard to which I have to say these two histories were
[line of text cut off on image]

    I recall something which bro. J. told me & which may help in getting data to secure the pension for him. He said that after the Rogue River or the Modoc Indian War that he wrote the official account of the campaign, including the payroll (I think) and forwarded it to the Secretary of War, Jefferson Davis, & that Mr. Davis in acknowledging its reception complimented him on the conciseness and accuracy of the report. He also stated that he was in Montgomery, Alabama several years after when Mr. Davis was inaugurated President of the Confederate States (1861) and that after his inauguration he introduced himself to Mr. Davis as one of the "Oregon Indian fighters," and that Mr. Davis immediately recognized his name and complimented him again on his Indian war report that he had received when Sec. of War under Franklin Pierce.
Silas J. Day Papers, Lilly Library, Indiana University.  Ellipses are in the original.

Last revised September 7, 2016