The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Jackson County News: 1854

    A woman tavern keeper on Applegate Creek in Jackson County wrote to her niece in 1854: "Em, I should like to have you here, but a young lady is so seldom seen here that you would be in danger of being taken by force."
Federal Writers Project, Oregon: End of the Trail, 1940, page 6   I've been unable to locate the source of the letter. Anyone?

Another Indian War.
    It will be seen by the following letter, just received, that the Indians in the neighborhood of Coquille are not inclined to remain peaceable only while they have the fear of powder and American promptness and bravery before their eyes. We are rather inclined to think this the shortest Indian war on record.
Randolph City, Coquille Mines
    January 29, 1854.
    Mr. Bush--Dear Sir:--We have had a difficulty with the Indians, the details of which may be interesting to your numerous readers.
    The Indians located at the mouth of the Coquille have repeatedly warned the people residing here, and the miners scattered along the beach, that if they did not leave they would compel them to, or kill them. They have also committed several thefts, breaking into the houses of miners when they were absent at work, and stealing their provisions, ammunition &c. Two days since a messenger arrived together with an interpreter from the Indian agent at Port Orford and requested the Chief to come in and have a talk. He replied that he did not want to talk, that he wanted to fight, that he was an enemy to the whites and always would be an enemy. He also said that the Bostons were gone (meaning the soldiers) and that the rest of the Americans were all women and could not fight and that he intended to kill them all.
    Yesterday morning a small party from this place and vicinity together with a few resident at the Coquille attacked them at their rancharee and killed fifteen Indians; the rest fled--they then burnt the rancharee. The Chief was wounded, being shot through the shoulder. Two squaws were killed by accident. Eight squaws were taken prisoner. Later in the day the Chief came in and gave himself up. He said he was sorry that he was hostile to the whites and promised to behave better in future, that his heart was now changed. He also said that he had thought that it was only the soldiers who could fight, but that he had now found out his mistake. After some talk the prisoners were all set at liberty, some provisions were given them, and they were told that as long as they remained friendly and did not steal or molest the whites in their avocations they should be unmolested, and that if any white men injured them they should come in and make it known and have the matter investigated, and if wronged they should receive reparation.
    So the matter stands--war was declared, the enemy conquered, and peace restored in less than twelve hours. How long they will remain peaceable time will show.
    There was one thing which happened at which humanity shudders, but it is believed on all hands to have been purely accidental. After the firing had ceased a squaw was found in a swamp shot dead with her helpless infant lying by her side, so young as to be unconscious that its mother had ceased to live; she was endeavoring to get away with her child when a ball struck her which was intended for a man. Before the attack it was expressly agreed and understood that no women or children should be killed, and I repeat that it was purely accidental and is deplored by all. In connection with the case above named allow me to record an act of humanity: the men endeavored to persuade the squaws who were taken prisoners to go and bring in the child which lay by its dead mother, but they positively refused, saying that their chief would kill them if they touched it. One of the company then went out and brought the child in his arms and pulled off his shirt and wrapped it in it and gave it to one of the squaws and compelled her to nurse it. To the honor of the men concerned, be it recorded that there were none of those barbarous scenes enacted which make civilization blush for its name! No scalping or other desecration of the dead. They turned away feeling that they had performed a melancholy duty and sick at heart at the blood they shed. The people here are very poorly armed.
    A meeting was held in this place yesterday, the proceedings of which were ordered to be published, which I expect you will receive in due time. I will, however, give a copy of one resolution which was passed with but one dissenting voice.
    "Resolved, That if any person or persons shall sell, give, barter, or in any manner dispose of any gun, rifle, pistol, carbine or other firearms, or any powder, lead, caps or other ammunition, to any Indian or Indians, such person or persons so offending shall be deemed guilty of a high misdemeanor, and for the first offense shall receive thirty-nine lashes upon the bare back, and for the second offense shall suffer death."
Yours, respectfully,
    Wm. J. Berry.
Undated Oregon Statesman clipping, NARA Series M234, Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, Reel 608 Oregon Superintendency 1853-1855, frame 562.

    The cost of the Rogue River War, exclusive of the pay of soldiers, is said to have been $93,511.25.
    The Legislature has changed a number of the names of rivers and towns: for instance, Rogue River is now Gold River; Grave Creek, Leland Creek; Albany, Takenah; Marysville, Corvallis &c.
    A law has been passed prohibiting labor and public amusements on Sunday.
    Further difficulties had occurred with the Indians on Coquille River. Some alleged outrages by the red men were avenged by a party of fifty miners, who attacked an Indian village and killed 16 of the aborigines.
"Oregon," New York Times, March 13, 1854, page 3

Letter from Oregon.
Randolph City, Oregon Territory,
    April 29, 1854.
    Messrs. Editors: I will give you some few items as they have transpired here. I wrote you last fall giving you the general news up to that time (November). Since which time nothing of importance has taken place of a general character, except we have had quite a severe winter for Oregon; snow fell about Christmas to the depth of two feet upon a level about the seashore, and a great deal deeper back in the mountains. I was on Cape Blanco at the time; this is the most westerly point of land on the Pacific Coast in the boundaries of the United States, and about two hundred feet above the level of the sea. While there the Indians gave us some trouble. (And this brought to my mind what my father had often told me, that I would keep going west until I come to the jumping-off place. I thought then I had found it.) There is at present a great deal of mining done on the seashore. Miners could do but little during the winter months on account of high tides caused by the southwest wind and a current in the ocean, that sits down the coast or south, but during the summer months the prevailing wind is from the northwest and blowing with the current causes much lower tides than in winter. These beach diggins are the best I have seen since I have been in this country. Miners make from one ounce ($16.00) to four hundred dollars per day (but few of the latter, I understand). All the mines are full and hundreds prospecting for new diggins and many  young men preparing to go to Sonora and Lower California, and if the United States does not purchase the above places, I do not know where we will tramp to next. We all like traveling, but we want the protection of Uncle Sam.
    I expect to quit mining after the summer and return to the old North State; times are getting quite dull in Oregon; wheat is only worth $2 per bushel; butter 3½ per pound; beef 12 to 16; potatoes 3 cents per pound; lumber will not pay for sawing, &c.
    There are several new towns springing upon on the coast of Oregon, at Port Orford, Paragon Bay, Coos Bay, &c.
    There is but little doing in politics except President Pierce's trouble to get judges in Oregon to suit him; he first appointed Judge Deady, and then thought he would not do; removed him and appointed C. B. McFadden of Penn. to fill his place. Some of the unwashed Democracy here did not like this and wrote to Gen. Lane and Pierce; they then removed McFadden and appointed Deady again his place. I suppose by this time he has the latter removed again.
    I occasionally come across a stray Carolinian; I saw yesterday Mr. James Bynum, whose father lives near Germanton in Stokes County. I will close for the present, but I will write you occasionally while here. I remain yours, &c.
The Greensborough Patriot, Greensboro, North Carolina, June 17, 1854, page 3

    On Tuesday, April 27, by Rev. T. F. Royal, Dr. Jesse Robinson of Jacksonville, to Miss Lutitia [sic] Constant, of Jackson Co.
    On the 9th inst., by Judge T. McF. Patton, Mr. J. H. Russell, to Miss Ann H. Hill, all of Jackson County.
Oregon Statesman, Salem, May 30, 1854, page 3

    NEW PAPER IN OREGON.--The Umpqua Weekly Gazette is published at Scottsburg; D. J. Lyons, editor, and Wm. J. Beggs, publisher.
    Indian difficulties, says the Oregonian, are not at an end in the Rogue River country. It seems that nothing short of extermination will suffice to prevent Indian murders and thefts.
New York Times, June 24, 1854, page 2

Jacksonville, O.T., May 5th, 1854.       
    Mr. Editor:--A few days since, information was received here that the Gazette would make its appearance on the first of May. Presuming that to have been the case, I venture to give you an item or two concerning matters here.
    Our valley, for the past year, has been seriously affected by the Indian war--so much so that a great pressure has been felt during the past winter, throughout the entire valley, both in money and in merchandise, but at this time things are improving, and will, if they continue, soon be placed upon the same footing as they were in the prosperous days of Jacksonville. The valley never looked finer, and in no part of Oregon does there appear to be an equal amount of enterprise, and, considering the destruction of property the last year, great credit is due to the residents here, for the spirit and determination manifested.
    The Indian troubles are no doubt at an end, and the efforts of our efficient Indian agent, Mr. Culver, are untiring to keep them so.
    Our merchants are much encouraged by the appearance of miners, who are daily returning to their old but never-failing field of labor, with strong hopes of success in the mines about here.
    The present week has been one of some little interest, it being court week. Yet I believe that but little business of importance was transacted. One Patrick Starr, a soldier, shot David Harris, with intent to kill him, in February last. The grand jury found an indictment against him, at this court, upon that charge, upon which he was tried, convicted and sentenced by Judge Deady to hard labor in the penitentiary for ten years. Starr was defended by S. C. Graves, Esq., and Messrs. Brenan and Prim. The prosecution was conducted by S. F. Chadwick, Esq., Prosecuting Attorney, assisted by L. F. Mosier, Esq.
    Lieut. Ogle, after ten days' search for Tyee Tipsey, returned without finding him. The continuance of peace depends in a great measure upon the death of this rascal Tipsey, who is the perpetrator of nearly all the thefts in the valley. Capt. Smith, of Fort Lane, is very mindful of his duty, and the settlers have full confidence in him, and believe him equal to their demands at any moment.
    The political conventions have met, and for district offices nominated the following gentlemen. The Democrats nominated R. E. Stratton, Esq., of Douglas, for Prosecuting Attorney. The Whigs nominated Mr. Prim, of Jackson, for the same office. Ex-Judge McFadden received the nomination for councilman at the Democratic convention. This was intended as a mark of respect to Judge McFadden, with the understanding, as I am credibly informed, that when made the Judge would resign in favor of another gentleman of his party, Capt. Mosier, which was accordingly done, and Capt. Mosier is in the field. The Whig convention nominated Dr. Cleveland, a gentleman of ability and standing, who, it is said, will decline to run, should Judge McFadden change his mind. A committee of Dr. Cleveland's friends have waited on Judge McFadden to receive an answer from him on the subject of his running.
    There will be a ball at the Robinson House on the 10th inst., which no doubt will prove a good one. It is regretted very much that it could not have come off during the session of the court, thereby giving our friends from abroad an opportunity to enjoy themselves. Mr. Ives, Deputy Surveyor, has arrived in our valley, and began his work on the meridian line. Yours,
Umpqua Weekly Gazette, Scottsburg, May 12, 1854, page 2

    J. Applegate and party will leave about the 20th inst. to explore a road from the south fork of the Coquille to the Rogue River Valley, which, from all accounts, will be found practicable. A party from San Francisco [illegible] a railroad to connect the south pass with the Coquille, which can be done at little expense, as it will not exceed four miles over level ground or nearly so; the greatest rise does not exceed 30 feet, and width 300 yards--I have been over the route myself.
Nathaniel Crosby, Jr.,
Umpqua Weekly Gazette, Scottsburg, May 12, 1854, page 3

U.S. District Court, May Term.
Jackson County, O.T.
    HON. M. P. DEADY, Judge.
    J. W. DREW, Esq., U.S. Marshal.
    R. E. STRATTON, Esq., U.S. Attorney.
    S. F. CHADWICK, Esq., District Attorney.
    ATTORNEY IN ATTENDANCE--Messrs. T'Vault & Kinney; Messrs. Graves & Pierson; Messrs. Brenan & Prim; R. E. Stratton, Esq.; S. F. Chadwick, Esq.; T. F. McPatton, Esq., and S. F. Mosier, Esq.
    Territory of Oregon vs. Thomas Anderson. Indictment for rape. Not found. Discharged.
    Territory of Oregon vs. Isaac Constant. Recognizance discharged.
    Territory of Oregon vs. Jacob Dobson. Indictment for murder, alias bench warrant.
    Territory of Oregon vs. Rouse. Indictment for maliciously killing hogs; alias bench warrant.
    Territory of Oregon vs. Mitchell. Indictment for murder; alias bench warrant.
    Territory of Oregon vs. Patrick Starr. Indictment for shooting with intent to kill. Tried. Verdict, guilty. Sentenced to ten years' hard labor in the penitentiary.
    Territory of Oregon vs. Samuel Kinney. Indictment for aiding and abetting. Continued.
    Samuel Smith vs. P. U. Stowe. Motion to quash suit. Allowed.
    Samuel Kincaid vs. Morgan W. Davis. Judgment for plaintiff, $61.80.
    T. S. Harris vs. James Rostel. Continued.
    Samuel Weeks vs. John F. Miller. Continued.
    Wm. Yates vs. Daniel Langdon. Assumpsit. Defendant withdrew plea and demurrer. Damages assessed by Clerk of the Court.
    R. W. Shockley vs. John Huber. Dismissed.
    Avery Stearns was admitted to the bar upon certificate.
Umpqua Weekly Gazette, Scottsburg, May 12, 1854, page 2

    C. S. Drew, Esq., Jacksonville, is authorized to act as agent for the Gazette.

Umpqua Weekly Gazette, Scottsburg, May 26, 1854, page 2

Jacksonville, O.T., May 10, 1854.
    Mr. Editor: Permit me to tender you my acknowledgments for the receipt of the first number of your paper--The Umpqua Weekly Gazette.
    This portion of Oregon, since its early settlement, has labored under very many serious disadvantages for the want of a medium through which its citizens might advocate their own rights and make their wants known to the world, and to this object I have no doubt you will lend a helping hand, inasmuch as such a course, if properly pursued, would prove of vital importance to every citizen of Southern Oregon, to say nothing of its beneficial results to the northern counties of California. It is true the Mountain Herald has generously espoused our cause, and has at all times and on all occasions used every exertion to promote the best interests of this section of the country. Yet from the fact of that valuable sheet being located south of the forty-second parallel, in a country of more than ordinary interest, whose citizens are noted for their enterprise, industry and generosity, we must not claim nor expect to receive the boon to which they are justly entitled.
    Southern Oregon and Northern California possess superior advantages over any other portion of the Pacific coast, and in view of its agricultural and mineral resources, its metes and boundaries fixed by the God of Nature, together with the general good feeling existing among all classes of its citizens towards each other, it seems to be almost a Nation of itself.
    Nothing can appear more beautiful to the eye than a glance over our exceedingly rich and fertile valleys--to gaze with wonder and delight at the permanency of our improvements, which have sprung into existence in the short space of three years--the indomitable energy of our citizens in securing to themselves homes, not inferior to those they left behind them--while on our placers and in our ravines and mountain gorges you behold the "hardy miner," toiling on, toiling ever--constantly looking for his "pile," which will enable him to return to his loved ones at home, or perhaps furnish the means of bringing them to their future home in this land of gold.
    With my best wishes for your success in your laudable undertaking, I remain
    Respectfully yours,                Philom.
Umpqua Weekly Gazette, Scottsburg, May 26, 1854, page 2

More Indian Difficulties.
    On Wednesday evening last, a gentleman of reliable veracity informed us that on the night previous five fine American horses, and one mule, had been stolen by the Indians near the Siskiyou Mountain, from some gentlemen who were driving them through from Oregon to the Sacramento. They were run off during the night. The Indians stopped within one-half mile of the camp of the whites, killed the mule, built a fire, roasted and ate part of his carcass, and left the remainder. The horses were choice American stock.
    Late in the evening, a gentleman arrived from Cottonwood with the melancholy information that the train of Messrs. [Gage] & Claymer had been taken. Mr. Claymer arrived at Cottonwood in the evening. He stated that he was at the head of his train of fourteen pack mules, on the way from Crescent City--that the Indians attacked them near the top of the Siskiyou Mountain--that he saw his partner, Mr. [Gage], fall. They then fired at him. He fled, his mule fell, and he escaped to a log in the thicket, behind which he concealed himself until the Indians passed, when he made his escape to Cottonwood. He saw two men coming up the hill, and afterwards heard them hallo, and heard several reports from guns, which he supposes was the Indians killing them.
    On receiving this information from our Indian agent, Mr. Rosborough, [he] repaired to the camp of Charles Adams--who is a resident amongst the Deschutes Indians now on the war path against the Shastas. Adams informed him that the Deschutes Indians had removed their camp down the Shasta River to the crossing, in accordance with the request or orders of Lieut. Bonnycastle, now in command at Fort Jones.
    Mr. Rosborough informs us that Lieut. Bonnycastle was encamped between the Shasta and Klamath rivers on the evening of the day of this sad event, and that upon being informed of the same promised to proceed to the Siskiyou Mountain for the purpose of protecting the trail.
    Thursday Evening.--Lieut. Hood arrived, and reports that the Indian sent to the Cave by Lieut. Bonnycastle, to demand the perpetrator of the late crime on Shasta River, had not returned. The Deschutes Indians join Lieut. Bonnycastle on Friday and proceed against Tipsey and Bill, who are supposed to be combined. Lieut. Hood takes a plentiful supply of ammunition.
    Friday Morning.--The old Indian who was sent by Lieut. Bonnycastle to the Cave returned this morning. Tyee Bill came with him as far as Mr. Price's ranch, and says he is ready to give up the Indian who committed the depredation on the river to Lieut. Bonnycastle at any moment. He states that it was Tipsey's band who committed the recent murders and robbery on the mountains, and that Tipsey has been trying to persuade him to join against the whites, but that he wishes to be friendly.
    We believe it is the intention of Lieut. Bonnycastle to take the track of Tipsey where the recent murder was committed on the mountain, which he will be able to follow by the aid of the Deschutes Indians.
    Yesterday, about noon, Mr. Sanbauch, who resides at the Mountain House, on the new trail over the Siskiyou Mountain, arrived. Mr. S. says they found the body of Mr. Gage, and twelve of the sixteen mules which were stolen, with the greater portion of the cargo, a part of which only was destroyed. The Indians, it appears, were in search of some particular article, ammunition, perhaps. Mr. S. thinks the Indians went up the Klamath, and that they were part of Tipsey's band.
    A gentleman residing on the Shasta River has also arrived, who says some Indians came to his house and threatened his life last evening. Some excitement prevails amongst the people of our place, a party of whom, we believe, will accompany him to his house for the purpose of removing his effects to town and chastising the Indians if they remain in that neighborhood.--Yreka Herald.

Umpqua Weekly Gazette, Scottsburg, June 9, 1854, page 3

    According to the statements which appear in the Oregon papers, the extent of the Indian disturbances in that territory has been greatly exaggerated. We make the following extract:
    "Gen. Palmer, the Superintendent of Indian Affairs for Oregon and Washington, has just returned from a visit of near two months [to] the Indians. He informs us that he succeeded in getting all the Indians in the Rogue River vicinity to go on to the reserves under the treaty, with the exception of Tipsu's band. From Deer Creek and Illinois River the Indians have all removed, and there is now no tribe or band between Jacksonville and Crescent City. He found the Indians on the coast rather quiet. On the Coquille River, however, there had been some disturbances, in which two whites and several Indians were killed. The real murderers were afterwards found, and after trial, hung. He left Mr. Parrish, Indian agent, with his party at Port Orford. He met two hundred Port Orford Indians in council. The chief complained that the whites ill treated their women, by coming about their lodges in the night, and, in case of denial, the whites would threaten to shoot them. At Gen. Palmer's request, Wool has detached twenty-four men for Port Orford to keep the rowdies quiet. He thinks the number of Indians in the Port Orford district does not exceed two thousand."
Evening Star, Washington, D.C., July 11, 1854, page 2

    The Yreka Herald states that the people in Rogue River Valley are anticipating another outbreak of the Indians in that vicinity. It says:
    On Monday and Tuesday nights of last week, signal fires were seen in the neighborhood of Table Rock. On Wednesday a man was shot at by the Indians on Bear Creek, about six miles from Jacksonville, and a week ago last Tuesday they stole four animals from a packer, near the Mountain House, on the other side of the Siskiyou. Culver, the Indian agent, on receiving information of the above, proceeded to the Cave, found the animals, and told the Indians if they did not give them up he would send the troops and whip them. They delivered the animals up on Wednesday evening last.
Oneida Weekly Herald, Oneida, New York, August 29, 1854, page 2

D. B. BRENAN                                                          P. P. PRIM
Jacksonville, O.T.
Umpqua Weekly Gazette, Scottsburg, June 16, 1854, page 3

Letter from Gen. Lane.
Washington City, April 29, 1854.
    My Dear Ladd:--
    I have the pleasure to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of 10th March, and am much obliged to you for much interesting news and information.
    I am glad to learn that gold is found, or is likely to be found, [in] plenty on our coast near us, and am also happy to know that vessels have found a good entrance to Coos Bay.
    Some time since I wrote a letter for publication in relation to the division of Oregon Territory, as proposed by the people of Jacksonville and Yreka, in which I gave my views in opposition to such division, and urged the establishment of a state government, for reasons that I think will be considered legitimate and proper. A new Territory cannot be made as proposed. The delegation from California don't think of entertaining the idea of clipping their state.
    Now, my dear friend, you may rely on my doing for Scottsburg all that mortal man can do. I feel the importance of that point, and the wants, necessities, interests and wishes of the people of Scottsburg, and all Southern Oregon, and I am as anxious as a man can be to procure such legislation as may be necessary for the advancement of their interests. I have a bill now pending for continuing the military road from Myrtle Creek to Scottsburg, and have the promise of the Postmaster General that the mail steamers shall stop and deliver the mail at Scottsburg, and in addition to this we have a bill pending for separating our services (that is mail service from the company's line at San Francisco and for letting all north of that point to an independent company, to stop at Port Orford, Coos Bay, Scottsburg and Astoria, and deliver the mail going and returning. Indeed everything has been and is being done that can be, for the promotion of our interests in your section, and all others of our Territory, and you may rest assured that I shall not neglect any portion of my duty, or of the Territory.
    Our Territorial business has been made the special order for the first week in May. I feel confident of success in most matters pending. I will give you the result. . . .
    Your obdt. servt.
        JOSEPH LANE.
Umpqua Weekly Gazette, Scottsburg, June 23, 1854, page 2

Military Road South.
    Major B. Alvord, of the army, has just arrived in our city from an inspection of the military road in Southern Oregon. He reports that it will be completed in about ten days. The appropriation has been expended in improving the road from the mouth of the Umpqua Kanyon to the summit of the hills south of Grave Creek. It was located over new ground, avoiding a majority of the vexatious crossings in the Kanyon, and the steepest portions of the Grave Creek Hills. A good practical wagon road is opened, but the travel by pack mules over it this spring has made it very rough. On the 20th of May, a wagon with a load of 3,000 pounds passed through the Canyon [sic]. It contained iron castings for a mill in Rogue River Valley. The people of Scottsburg are opening a wagon road from Winchester to that place, and by August it is believed, wagons will travel between Scottsburg, Jacksonville and Yreka. Oregon Times.
Umpqua Weekly Gazette, Scottsburg, June 23, 1854, page 2

"Late and Interesting from Port Orford."
    This is the caption of a letter from Port Orford to the San Francisco Sun, dated June 1st, and if one-half of it was true, there would be no other town between San Francisco and the mouth of the Columbia River. We extract the following paragraph to show how things may be exaggerated:
    "Rich and extensive mines have been found on 'Galice Creek,' directly upon the trail which leads from this place to Jacksonville. There are now about six hundred men there, averaging from eight to ten dollars per day to the man, while some are making 'big strikes.' The distance from Port Orford to Galice Creek is about 75 miles, over a most excellent road. . . . The trail from Port Orford to Jacksonville is now completed--entire distance ninety-five miles. It is said to be the best trail on the coast leading to the interior."

Umpqua Weekly Gazette, Scottsburg, June 30, 1854, page 2

    RECENT GOLD DISCOVERIES AT PORT ORFORD.--We have reliable information from private letters that the recent gold discoveries within 25 or 30 miles of Port Orford are yielding well, and are as rich as the best mines in California. Mr. Arnold, purser of the steamship Peytona, brought up a quantity of dust from these new gold mines, which resembles the coarse gold from Feather River, Cal.

Weekly Oregonian, Portland, July 15, 1854, page 2

    The steamship Peytona leaves for San Francisco and intermediate points this p.m. at 7 o'clock. This is a favorable opportunity for those who desire to visit Port Orford and the new gold fields to take passage.
Weekly Oregonian, Portland, July 15, 1854, page 2

    In the autumn of 1854, while on a business trip to southern Oregon, I was overtaken by ex-Judge [Oliver C.] Pratt, on his way to Jacksonville to get acquainted with the people, as he intended to become a candidate before the Democratic convention to be held in the following spring to nominate a delegate to Congress. As I was for Lane and knew pretty well how he stood in the estimation of the people in the southern counties, I ventured to suggest to him that he would encounter much opposition in that section. He, however, nothing daunted, believed that he could readily overcome it. He was a man of rare qualities, a good lawyer and a learned judge. He was very proud and dignified, a fine talker and a very entertaining man. He was readily the peer of the foremost men of the Territory, and by many regarded the superior of all. We stopped at the Robinson House, kept at that time by its proprietor, Dr. Robinson, who was a Whig. He treated his guests with great courtesy and much consideration, as his name was well known, and he had been much in evidence in the papers of that day.
    I left the judge with the host, with the request that he introduce him to persons who might come into the hotel, which he promised to do, and I went out to see some people on business. On returning to the hotel later, I found the judge busily engaged in "making his canvass." He stood before the bar, a thing he was never known to do before in Oregon. He was arrayed in a faultless suit, including a silk hat and a high shirt collar. In the parlance of the times, he wore a "stovepipe hat" and a "biled shirt with a stake-and-ridered collar." His boon companions were miners in their rough garb, ranged along the bar on both sides of him. The judge was a good talker, and he was giving them the best he had for the occasion, and they were listening with apparent interest. As soon as they caught his drift, however, they looked at each other knowingly, as they were ardent admirers of General Lane, having met him during the Indian war of the year previous. One tall miner reached down to his boot, drew out a long knife and took the silk hat off the judge's head, saying, "This stovepipe is too high by a j'int." Suiting the action to the word, he slashed it into two parts, and slapping the parts together, put it back on the judge's head. Pratt took this all in good part and set up the drinks, which at this juncture was the only thing in order.
    Pratt had long, curly hair, black and glossy. The miner's next performance was to cut off a lock, saying as he did so that it was the "puttiest ha'r he had ever seed," that he must have just one lock for a keepsake, and that he hoped no offense to him, as he loved him. With that he threw his arms around the judge and gave him a good hug. With a wonderful exhibition of good nature and tact, Pratt took it all pleasantly. This somewhat nonplussed the miner, and if he had any further designs upon his victim he evidently abandoned them, as he remarked, on putting away his knife, that he would not take off the top rail of his "stake-and-ridered" collar.
    They bade each other good-night, and parted, apparently the best of friends. The next morning I complimented the judge upon his successful entrance upon his canvass, and he seemed to be very well satisfied with the outcome of it. He had seen much of the world, but this was the first time he had seen this corner of it. He went over to Sterling the next day and then returned to the Willamette Valley.
George E. Cole, Early Oregon: Jottings of Personal Recollections of a Pioneer of 1850, 1905, pages 66-68

    The following items are from the Umpqua Gazette:
    ROGUE RIVER AND JACKSONVILLE.--We learn that the crops in the Rogue River Valley do not turn out as well as was anticipated. The wheat crop, however, is generally good. The new mines near Jacksonville are paying pretty well, and give profitable employment to a large number of miners. There is much apprehension of difficulty with the Indians this fall.
Daily Crescent, New Orleans, Louisiana, September 23, 1854, page 2

    I have just taken from the office a letter from Bros. Tobin, Seivers & Bryan. They seem to enjoy the spirit of promise where they are, although in a secluded spot, shut out from the rest of the world. Bro. Tobin said he had just come out of the hospital after an illness of 50 days. They were kept in hourly apprehension from the constant depredations of the Indians, with whom they often had to fight. He said they had written several times to the valley, but as yet had recd. no answer. They send their love to you all and especially to the girls. If you should write to them address John Tobin, Comp. E 1st Dragoons, Fort Lane, Oregon Territory.
Daniel Smith Mills to Joshua K. Whitney, letter of October 31, 1854, BYU Harold B. Lee Library

    COOS BAY.--We understand that our neighbors at Coos Bay are making extensive preparations for working the coal mines at that place during the present winter. Several vessels have been chartered by persons of that place for carrying the coal away. We learn that one of these vessels had arrived off the bar. The opening of these extensive coal banks, added to other commercial facilities which she possesses, is destined to make Coos Bay a place of considerable importance, and that at no distant day. May success attend her and her enterprising citizens.

Umpqua Weekly Gazette, Scottsburg, December 9, 1854, page 4

    NEW DIGGINGS.--We learn that on Ash Creek, about two miles from this side of Jacksonville, on a place that had been prospected and abandoned some two years ago, about one hundred miners are now at work and doing very well.--Crescent City Herald.

Umpqua Weekly Gazette, Scottsburg, December 9, 1854, page 4

Correspondence of the Weekly Gazette.
    Messrs. Editors:--Having read several communications in the Gazette relative to the course pursued by Lieut. John Withers and Jesse Applegate in locating the military road from Myrtle Creek to Scottsburg, I venture to submit a few facts concerning the expenditure of the appropriation to construct the road from Myrtle Creek to Jacksonville.
    Maj. Benj. Alvord was detailed to survey and locate the above road, and on the suggestion of the Secretary of War, Maj. Alvord employed Jesse Applegate to assist him. Gen. Lane and Gen. Adair had recommended Jesse Applegate to the Department as admirably qualified by his extended knowledge of the country and scientific attainments for such a service. Although the military road was located on the old and usually traveled route, yet the survey cost little less than five thousand dollars, or one-fourth of the whole appropriation. It seems almost incredible that so large a sum should have been squandered in locating and surveying a road only about 80 miles in length, but it must be recollected that the work was performed under direction of an officer of the army, and that the money belonged to Uncle Sam. The large company of men employed by Maj. Alvord "to drive the enemy from the route" must have drawn heavily upon the funds which should have been expended in the construction of the road. After the completion of the survey only about $15,000 remained to construct the road; $5,000 of this sum passed into the hands of Mr. Lindsay Applegate on a contract to complete the road through the Grave Creek Hills. What were the precise terms of the contract with Mr. Applegate is not known, but everyone who has passed over the new road during the past season must have been at a loss to conceive how a contract could be so worded as to obligate the contractor to do what Mr. Applegate performed and to do no more. If the road was to be cleared of timber a width of thirty, or even twenty feet, it most assuredly has never been so completed. The track was neither graded nor cleared of stumps, rocks, or other impediments--indeed, in the estimation of persons living on the route, who have enjoyed the best opportunity for knowing the facts, not more than $1,200 was ever expended by Lindsay Applegate under the contract for which he obtained $5,000. It is not the purpose of the writer of this communication to declare who is the most guilty in this odious transaction--suffice it to say that a large part of the appropriation intended for the construction of a road leading from Umpqua Valley to the mining regions was squandered, and Maj. Alvord and his adviser, Jesse Applegate, and the contractor, Lindsay Applegate, should each and all be held responsible for the manner in which that money was expended.
    When Col. Mansfield, the Inspector General of the Army, passed over the road last August, his attention was called to the scandalous condition of the work, and the people were promised that the whole affair should be investigated, and that justice should be administered to the parties in fault. Under a Democratic administration these things ought not to exist; sober-minded, honest, well-meaning Democrats will be led to believe that "all is not sound in Denmark," when all the appropriations of public money in this section of Oregon are placed under the control of leading and influential Whigs, to be squandered among their favorites and relatives. The undersigned regrets that information, from a reliable source, should not have reached Gen. Lane in time to have prevented the last appropriation from passing into the same hands. We cannot believe that the Department at Washington have acted advisedly in this matter. It must be recollected that Gen. Lane is far removed from his constituents, and cannot be presumed to know of all that transpires here in his absence. Although it is said that reliable Democrats forwarded intelligence to Washington of the conduct of Maj. Alvord and Jesse Applegate in the construction of the road to Jacksonville, yet we are of the number who refuse to credit such a report. We still think the whole affair will admit of a satisfactory explanation, and that this appropriation is the last to be expended in Oregon under the supervision of Whigs during this administration.
    Yours,             Aristides.
Umpqua Weekly Gazette, Scottsburg, December 23, 1854, page 2

    Dr. Henry of Yamhill is likely to become the leader of the Whigs in the House, though it is said that the party are relying much upon Gen. Drew of Jackson County, whose fame as a tactician and party manager has preceded him.
"Correspondence of the Weekly Gazette," Umpqua Weekly Gazette, Scottsburg, December 23, 1854, page 2

Last revised May 6, 2017