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The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised


John W. Redfield


Commissioner's No. 3,696.
Dowell's 3 Docket, 190.
In the Court of Claims.
To the Hon. W. A. Richardson, Chief Justice of
the Court of Claims.
Petition filed Mar 28th 1891
John W. Redfield
vs.
The Rogue River Indians,
The Cow Creek Indians,
and the United States.
    I. Your petitioner, John W. Redfield, by his attorney. B. F. Dowell, states that he is a citizen of the United States, and he resides in Douglas County, Oregon; that his post office address is Glendale, Douglas County, in the state of Oregon.
    II. That at the time of committing the grievances hereinafter mentioned, he was the owner of property which was of the gold cash value herein set forth and described as follows, namely:
3 head of large gentle work oxen at $100 (killed) $300.00
1 large roan Durham cow (killed) 100.00
4 large red American cows at $60 (killed) 240.00
4 two-year-old heifers at $60 (killed) 240.00
1    "       "      "    steer (killed) 60.00
1 hewed log house, 22x20 feet, 12 feet to eaves, one door and one window, covered with clapboards (burned) 200.00
1 frame henhouse, 15x12 feet (burned) 75.00
80 chickens at 50 cents (burned) 40.00
4 augers, one each 2 in., 1½ in., 1¼ in., 1 in. at $1 (burned) 4.00
1 brace and 12 bits (burned) 8.00
1 draw shave (burned) 1.50
1 set gunsmith's tools, such as drills, reamers, countersinks, files, etc. (burned) 20.00
1 table, sugar pine, split out and planed (burned) 5.00
2 bedsteads (burned) 8.00
600 lbs. flour at 15 cents per lb. (carried away) 90.00
50 lbs. coffee at 33⅓ cents per lb. (carried away) 16.66
50 lbs. sugar at 25 cents per lb. (carried away) 12.50
50 gallons syrup at $1.50 (carried away) 7.50
100 lbs. salt at 6 cents (carried away) 6.00
1 dozen plates (carried away) 4.00
½ dozen cups and saucers (carried away) 2.00
½     "      knives and forks (carried away) 2.50
½     "      tin cups (carried away) 1.00
½     "        "   plates      "         " 1.00
½     "      tea spoons     "         " .75
½     "      table spoons  "         " 1.00
1 large wash tub (burned) 3.50
1 pork barrel (burned) 2.50
1 wash board       " .75
9 milk pans at $1 (burned) 9.00
2 brooms (burned) 1.50
2 chopping axes (carried away) 5.00
1 hand ax (carried away) 2.50
1 coffee pot   "         " 1.00
1 tea          "     "         " 1.25
1 butter ladle (carried away) .50
2 buffalo robes     "          " 15.00
1 cast iron bake oven (carried away) 3.00
1 tea kettle (carried away) 3.50
1 coffee mill    "          " 1.25
1 grain cradle   "          " 6.00
2 pitch forks     "          " 3.00
1 garden hoe     "          " 2.00
2 frying pans     "          " 2.00
1 hay rake (burned) 1.00
1 harrow          " 6.00
10 lbs. tea at $1 (carried away) 10.00
600 dozen bundle oats at $3 per dozen (burned) 1,800.00
1 shed covering the oats (burned) 100.00
½ acre of Irish potatoes (destroyed) 100.00
Garden destroyed       40.00
Total $3,565.91
    III. Your petitioner is informed and believes that on or about the 24th day of October, 1855, at Cow Creek, Douglas County, in the state of Oregon, a band of thirty or forty of the Rogue River Indians and Cow Creek Indians stole and carried away, burned, killed and destroyed said property without just cause or provocation on the part of the owner, or his children, or the agent in charge of this property.
    IV. That said property, at the time it was so destroyed, was not on any Indian reservation and the same was near the main traveled road from Portland, Oregon to Yreka, California, and the loss of said property was not caused by any fault or negligence of the owner, and he is informed and believes it was not caused by any of your petitioner's agents.
    V. That at the time said property was destroyed the said tribe of Indians was under treaty stipulations, and in amity with the United States.
    VI. That on the 13th day of February, 1884, your petitioner duly presented said claim for the loss of said property to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, by his own affidavit, and the affidavits of two disinterested witnesses. Your petition has been informed and believes his claim was rejected twice. Afterwards, on the [blank] day of [blank], 18[blank], said claim was examined by the Secretary of the Interior and allowed for the sum of about $3,140.
    VII. That the claim of your petitioner was pending for payment in the Senate and House of Representatives at the time of the passage of an act entitled "An Act to Provide for the Adjudication and Payment of Claims Arising from Indian Depredations," approved March 3, 1891, and the claim had been referred by both houses of Congress to their respective special Committees on Indian Depredations, and it was pending before Congress when the last mentioned act was passed.
    VIII. Your petitioner on the [blank] day of [blank], 18[blank] employed B. F. Dowell to prosecute said claim, and since he has taken a large amount of evidence in the neighborhood where the property was destroyed, and your petitioner is informed and believes that your petitioner's attorney, at great expense, has written, printed and published in many papers arguments to get Congress to pay this class of cases, and he has traveled across the continent twice every year since he was first employed to get evidence and to make arguments, and he did make good arguments, before congressmen and committees of both houses of Congress when this class of cases were under consideration, and he has taken and filed a large amount of evidence in this case. He wrote, printed and distributed 500 copies of it containing sixty-four pages to which was added an appendix, which increased the petition to eighty-three pages. Afterwards, and prior to the Fiftieth Congress, the appendix was increased to ninety-six pages and distributed the same amount. He also wrote and published many articles in various newspapers for the purpose of inducing Congress to assume this class of claims up to the passage of said act. All of this was done on contingent fees at his own expense, except about $60 to pay for the petition and argument which has been referred to the committees at every session of both houses of Congress since June 6, 1887, except I paid for my own affidavits, and a few others for their own affidavits to the notary.
    IX. That no part of said property has ever been returned or paid for to the claimant or to anybody else; therefore he prays for judgment on said facts and said statute against said Indians and the United States for amount of the original claim, and for such other relief as the nature of the case may require.
B. F. Dowell
Attorney for the Claimant.
Beinecke Library




Last revised October 15, 2015