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The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised


Rowena Nichols
Most of Rowena Nichols' manuscript titled "Notes on Indian Affairs in Oregon" concerns the history of the Palouse in Eastern Washington. It contains an essay on William Patterson Breeding, founder of Palouse, Washington; a transcription of a memoir by Father Joseph Joset of the Coeur d'Alene Mission; notes on Father Point of the Cataldo Mission; and capsule histories of the Washington towns of Colfax, Palouse City, Lincoln, Farmington and Almota. It also contains the following:

Scenes from the Rogue River War
The First Battle
    Capt. Lupton surrounded the Indians at the mouth of Little Butte Creek on the north side of Rogue River. Just at daybreak they opened fire on the Indians, killing nearly all the braves and many squaws and papooses. Some of the braves escaped by plunging into the river and swimming to the opposite shore. At the close of the battle Lupton remarked to his companions that an old tree which had fallen near and was half covered with vines was the very place an Indian would seek to hide in. He stepped forward, parted the vines with the muzzle of his rifle, and as he did so a concealed brave shot him with a poisoned arrow. He lived but a few days.
    All the people near forted at McDaniels' on Butte Creek. In sight of the fort lived some young men, the Seyforth brothers and McDowell. Next day after the battle they were preparing to move to the fort when Indians fired upon them. A ball struck McDowell on the hip, passing through a powder horn and carrying a portion of the horn deep into the flesh. Seyforth bade him hasten to the fort, and the brave boys continued hitching up their teams and succeeded in bringing to the fort their team and effects under a heavy fire of the Indians. A few brave men hastened from the fort and carried McDowell in, yet he lived but a short time.
    On the 6 of July 1856 a pack train belonging to John H. Taylor [Rowena Nichols' uncle] and Alex McNary was crossing the Siskiyou Mountains. There were three men with the train, McNary, Bishop and Solomon Fogle. The train was returning to Jacksonville and was about four miles from the Mountain House. As the train entered a deep canyon McNary observed an ambuscade "built behind a large fallen tree." He called out to his companions to save themselves. They were surrounded by Indians. McNary and Bishop sprang for the brush. The Indians killed Fogle while he was endeavoring to jump from his horse. Bishop and McNary succeeded in reaching the Mountain House. A company of volunteers pursued the Indians. They retreated as fast as possible till they reached a favorable ambuscade. They fired upon the soldiers. A sharp engagement followed in which Keene was killed and Tabor wounded. [Compare this Keene/Tabor account with that of Mary M. Dunn.] The Indians outnumbered the volunteers and had the advantage ground. The soldiers were forced to retreat, carrying the dead and wounded with them. The train was all lost. [Find paperwork on the Taylor/McNary pack train here.]
   

    [On October 6, 1855 Holland] Bailey was driving hogs to Jacksonville. When he reached Cow Creek an Indian waylaid him. The Indian was hid behind a log.
   

    Killed by the Indians--I do not remember the dates--Newton, Hamilton (Frasier wounded), Angel killed.
Rowena Nichols, "Notes on Indian Affairs in Oregon," 1879, Bancroft Library MS P-A 54, pages 20-22




Last revised March 10, 2017