William Green T'Vault
For more about T'Vault's 1851 mission, click here.
On motion of Mr. Johnston of Knox,
The House proceeded to the election of an assistant clerk, and on counting the ballots, it appeared that
William Sheets received 31 votes,Journal of the House of Representatives of the State of Indiana, 1829, page 6
Austin W. Morris 19
William G. Tevault [sic] 7
The Tippecanoe Academy was incorporated February 9, 1843. The trustees named in the act of incorporation are George W. Stacey, Pleasant Grubb, William G. Tevault [sic], James Hall and Albert Bass. . . . The first meeting of the trustees was to be held in the town of Monoquet, Kosciusko County.
It could not be ascertained whether this academy ever materialized or not.
John Hardin Thomas, "The Academies of Indiana," Indiana Magazine of History, December 1914, page 338
December 23, 1845, [the Oregon provisional government] passed "an act to create and establish a Post Office Department, under which William G. T'Vault became Postmaster-General. February 5, 1846, he advertised in the Spectator for the carrying of mails on the following routes: (1) From Oregon City to Fort Vancouver, once in two weeks by water. (2) From Oregon City to Hills in Twality County; thence to A. J. Hembree's, in Yamhill County; thence to N. Ford's, Polk County; thence to Oregon Institute, Champoeg County; thence to Catholic Mission and Champoeg to Oregon City, once in two weeks on horseback."
Clarence B. Bagley, "Transmission of Intelligence in Early Days in Oregon," Oregon Historical Quarterly, December 1912, page 352
APPOINTMENTS BY THE GOVERNOR, February 4.--Wm. G. T'Vault prosecuting attorney for the Territory, vice M. A. Ford resigned.
Oregon Spectator, Oregon City, February 5, 1846, page 2
Mail Contracts to Let.
Sealed proposals will be received at the office of the postmaster general, in Oregon City, until the 20th inst., for carrying the mail on the following routes:
Route No. 1.--From Oregon City to Fort Vancouver, once in two weeks, by water.
Route No. 2.--From Oregon City to Hill's, in Tualatin County; thence to A. J. Hembree's, in Yamhill County; thence to Andrew Smith's, Yamhill County; thence to N. Ford's, Polk County; thence to Oregon Institute, Champoeg County; thence to Catholic Mission and Champoeg to Oregon City, once in two weeks, on home back.
The contractor will enter into bond and security, to be approved of by the postmaster general.
W. G. T'Vault, P.M. Gen.Oregon City, Feb. 5, 1846.
Oregon Spectator, Oregon City, February 19, 1846, page 3
The editorial connection of the undersigned with the Oregon Spectator will close with the present number.
To obtain a printing press in Oregon has been an object much desired; that object has been accomplished, and the publication of a semi-monthly paper commenced at Oregon City on the 5th of February last.
The proprietors of the press are the shareholders of the Oregon Printing Association. The constitution of the association was published in the first number of the Spectator, also the names of the officers of said association, consisting of a president, vice president, treasurer, secretary and three directors. The 7th article of said constitution, in substance, says: "It shall be the duty of the officers and board of directors to manage and superintend, or procure a suitable person to do so, the entire printing and publishing concern of the association; to employ all persons required in the printing or editorial departments of the press," &c. After the organization of said board of directors, it was deemed expedient to employ an editor. For the purpose of ascertaining who, and upon what terms, a committee of three was appointed, consisting of Robert Newell, J. E. Long and J. W. Nesmith. Mr. Newell, being the first on the committee, was considered chairman, but on account of his absence, J. E. Long acted as the chairman of the committee and was the entire committee doing all, or very near all, the time that the board of officers were figuring in selecting their editor. It will be recollected that, at that time, the acting chairman of the committee to obtain an editor was secretary to the house of representatives, and when he did report to the board of directors upon the subject, his report was that Mr. Lee, the then-speaker of the house of representatives, would undertake the duties of editor for the sum of six hundred dollars per annum. The sum asked by Mr. Lee was, by the board, who by some of the shareholders, thought to be high, yet no person was employed as editor. Considerable excitement prevailed during the managing and maneuvering of the parties concerned, the acting chairman of the committee presented to the board of directors proposals from Mr. Lee for leasing the press, type &c. This, however, could not be collected, consequently they were withdrawn. The undersigned was finally employed as editor, at a salary of three hundred dollars per annum--salary to commence the 1st of January, 1846.
In making his bow to the public as the conductor of a public journal, he declared and gave his reasons for so doing--that reason and good sense argued against the Spectator becoming a political paper--advocating the expediency of a neutral paper in this new, and at present unprotected, colony. Notwithstanding he belonged to the Jeffersonian school, believing the principles taught by that great apostle of liberty to be the true principles of a republican government--that it is the great object of such governments to devise ways and means by which the greatest amount of good can be done to the greatest number of its citizens. The political sentiments here avowed were at war with some of the present aristocracy of the land, notwithstanding the avowal that the columns of the Spectator should be kept within the construction of the constitution of the printing association, that to discuss politics in Oregon would be no advantage to any--that there is two distinct parties in Oregon, no one will for a moment doubt--differing, however, not upon those great fundamental principles which is to govern a powerful nation, as is the case with our fellow citizens in the United States, but upon subjects less worthy of the name. We have amongst us a class of mongrels, neither American nor anti-American--a kind of foreign hypocritical go-betweens, as we would say in the States, fence men, whose public declarations are "all for the good of the public, and not a cent for self." However, the great object has not yet been accomplished. The press has got into operation, and it will not meet the interest of those who wish bolstering up in the estimation of the emigration just arrived, and the one expected this year, the present is the time for action. The political sentiments of the conductor are at variance with ours. Now is the time to effect whatever we wish to make available at some subsequent time. His syntax is bad; his orthography not good; he is a stranger to our country, and we will avail ourselves of our advantage at present, and place ourselves beyond the reach of danger for fear that if we procrastinate the time of his removal, it may be that his thorough acquaintance in the territory will endanger our prospects. A legal course will shield us, and we will say to the world, without giving him a chance to resign, that we have triumphed--that we have the ascendancy--that we will teach him a lesson--that he should not avow his political sentiments publicly, but to console him and his political friends, if he has any, we will say, you, sir, are not qualified; you do not suit that class that has to be served in and about the city; your syntax is bad; you do not work in our traces; your object is to assert and maintain the cause of democracy at the hazard of a few demagogues and political aspirants; you will please to accept the resolve that at the expiration of one month from the 5th of March, 1846, your services will be discontinued as editor of the "Oregon Spectator."
If in the course of my short editorial career I have written aught which has wounded or done injustice to the feelings of friends or foes, I trust it may be attributed to the head, not the heart of the offender. If I know my own heart, it never has, and I hope never will, harbor malice towards a fellow being.
In bidding a farewell to the readers of the Spectator, I feel it my duty to express, thus publicly, my gratitude for the uniform kindness extended to me by my fellow citizens of all parts of Oregon .Wherever my lot may be cast at any subsequent time, it shall be my proudest boast that "I am an American citizen."
W. G. T'VAULT.Oregon Spectator, Oregon City, April 2, 1846, page 2
Oregon City, April 2, 1846.
Well, the fiat has gone forth. The board of directors of the printing association have said that H. A. G. Lee, Esq., one of the ex-members of the last legislature, must be their editor. Of Mr. Lee we have nothing to say. He has placed himself in no enviable station. We sincerely hope that the interest of the Spectator and the association has been much advanced by his promotion.
It is due to the public that we should make an acknowledgment for accepting the station as editor, also of other responsible situations, with which we are no longer burdened. The great diversity of opinion in Oregon renders it impossible for one man to please many. The junto of aristocracy in and about Oregon City think they have the right to manage matters as best suit their views, and the citizens in the country will tamely submit to whatever mandate the favored few may think proper to issue.
My lords and masters, you may be mistaken; Oregon territory is settling with the hardy freemen--as independent as the air they breathe--knows no master--acknowledges no superior, and believes there is no government equal to that of the U. States.
Oregon Spectator, Oregon City, April 2, 1846, page 2
T'Vault delivered the Fourth of July oration at Salem in 1846.
Among the evidences of the prosperity of the settlement is the fact that a newspaper is regularly issued at Oregon City, edited by Mr. T'Volt [sic], formerly of this state, and furnished to subscribers at $5 per annum. The editor appears to be a business man, he not only attends to the editorial department of his paper--the Oregon Spectator--but serves in the capacity of Postmaster General, and Prosecuting Attorney, and tends to other matters connected with the welfare of the community.
"From Oregon," Indiana State Sentinel, July 30, 1846, page 2
The first newspaper commenced in Oregon has found its way into the States, and the St. Louis Reveille has received a copy. It is dated February 5, 1846. Its motto is "Westward the Star of Empire Takes its Way." It contains a copy of the constitution passed by the legislature of the territory; also, an act to prevent the introduction and sale of ardent spirits in Oregon. The editor, Wm. G. T'Vault, says, in his opening leader, that the paper will be neutral in politics, and devoted to the general interest of the territory; but he, at the same time, informs them that he is a Democrat of the Jeffersonian school. Besides being editor of the Spectator, he is prosecuting attorney and postmaster general of the territory. There is also a list of arrivals and departures of vessels from the Columbia River. Nine had arrived from March 17th to October 18th, and the same number departed. The Reveille, knowing the propensities of his countrymen, says we should not be surprised if the settlers in our far-off territory were looking around for some lone star of an island in the Pacific to annex to their state; or rather, to throw the light of empire over it.
Indiana State Sentinel, July 30, 1846, page 2
TO THE PUBLIC.--The last Legislature of Oregon passed a law creating a Post Office Department. Accordingly, in the month of February last, post offices and postmasters were appointed in the several counties south of the Columbia. Since that time, the mail has been regularly carried to said offices semi-monthly. The revenue arising from the postage falls far short of paying the expense of transporting the mail. It is deemed advisable to stop the transportation of the mail for the present, the last legislature having only appropriated fifty dollars for the purpose of establishing a Post Office Department in Oregon, and fixing the rate of postage so high as almost to amount to a prohibition of carrying letters by mail. Notwithstanding [that] the strictest economy has been used, the last quarter the mail has been carried, having been paid entirely by contribution: yet the whole revenue arising from the postage of three quarters will not pay the transportation for one quarter, and to attempt taxing the people for the transportation of the mail is a responsibility the Postmaster General declines at the present time.
If there should important news arrive from the States, the mail will be dispatched immediately to the several offices.
W. G. T'VAULT,
EXPLORING COMPANY.--We are requested to state that the company to explore the Klamath and Rogue river valleys will rendezvous at the Jefferson Institute, on the Rickreall, and positively start on the 10th day of June next, provided twenty men can be raised for the expedition. We are informed that Gen. Gilliam, Col. Ford, Maj. Thorpe and W. G. T'Vault, Esq., are using their exertions to raise the company and will accompany it should it start.
Oregon Spectator, Oregon City, May 27, 1847, page 2
Geo. L. Curry, Esq.
Dear Sir--It would probably be interesting to you to know some of the occurrences that passed after I left you at Messrs. Foster & Barlow's camp on the east side of the Cascade Mountains. On the 28th ult., after Messrs. Foster, Barlow and myself had proceeded to within twelve miles of the Dalles, we met the advance company of wagons, consisting of 16, under the guidance of Capt. Nat. Bowman.
We were informed that Mr. Waller had pursued the company some six or eight miles, desiring assistance to return and protect his family and Mr. Parker who was wounded in the affray that took place at the Dalles on Monday the 23rd ult.
We then halted for the night. After the wagons had all formed in corral we learned that Mr. Shively, who has been for some time in Washington City, was in company with a large quantity of papers and letters for the settlers in Oregon. We learned from Mr. Shively that nothing further was done for Oregon than the establishment of two post offices, one at Oregon City, the other at Astoria, and the appropriation for the transportation of the mail via the Isthmus of Panama.
On the 29th, early in the morning, Mr. F. and myself joined a company of men for the purpose of returning to the aid of Mr. Waller. About 12 o'clock we arrived at the Dalles and found that the Superintendent of Indian Affairs for Oregon had arrived and about five wagons of the emigrants; we therefore thought Mr. Waller and family as well as all others at that place in perfect safety. Accordingly about sunset on the 29th we left the Dalles for this place, where on the 1st inst. I arrived. About fifty miles from Oregon City at the foot of Laurel Hill, one of the principal peaks of the Cascades, we found three of the men that were in the affray at the Dalles on the 23rd ult. They were much fatigued and very hungry, having subsisted for the last six or seven days on dry flour, as they were too fearful to make a fire to bake bread. We soon came up with a company of packers and they obtained provisions and joined them for the purpose of coming into the valley.
In haste, your friend,Oregon City, 2nd Sept. 1847.
W. G. T'VAULT.
Oregon Spectator, Oregon City, September 2, 1847, page 2
T'VAULT & THURSTON,
Attorneys and Counselors at Law and Solicitors in Chancery.
W. G. T'Vault & S. R. Thurston
have formed a partnership in the practice of law, and will attend to business entrusted to their care in any of the courts established by law in Oregon Territory.
Office, Oregon City, where one of the partners can always be consulted.
Oregon City, October 13, 1847.
Oregon Spectator, Oregon City, October 14, 1847, page 3
T'VAULT and THURSTON,
ATTORNEYS AND COUNSELORS AT LAW,
Solicitors in Chancery,
Will practice in the Supreme and Circuit Courts of Oregon Territory. Office in Oregon City.
Oregon City, April 1.
Oregon Free Press, April 8, 1848, page 1
Notice is hereby given that letters of administration on the estate of George Tevault dec'd. have been granted to the undersigned. All persons having claims against said estate are requested to present them for settlement. Said estate is supposed to be solvent. Notice is also hereby given that the undersigned will sell at public auction at the courthouse door in Evansville, on the 2nd day of December A.D. 1848, all the personal property belonging to said estate consisting of one land warrant for 160 acres.
Terms of Sale.--One-half in cash, the balance in three moths from day of date, to be secured by note with approved security.
THOS. E. GARVIN, Adm'r.Evansville Daily Journal, Indiana, November 20, 1848, page 3
Columbia River opposite Mr. Burns'My dear wife
December 8, 1849
Here I am again going ahead leaving my kind and loving wife and family anxiously preparing ahead to roll on the billows of the great Pacific asking for favorable winds to widen the distance between me and all that is dear to me but enough I have to go and the sooner I am back the better. I want you to take more than special care of the girls; there is more danger of their men now than of any other kind which grieves me to be away at this time--for God's sake do prevent them from going out of night to parties no matter who courts after them and although Capt. Jones is [from] a highly respectable family yet there is great danger to be found from our daughters' staying all night there or going to parties with them--do prevent them from doing either.
I do not want to dictate in small matters, but for god's sake look well to the foregoing, as also to our dear little George, do not let him go about or cross the river without you. I have written to Capt. Couch to send you all shoes, also George a pair of boots.
Walter Pomeroy says that if you want any money he will let you have it. I only say so to you to let you know what he says.
Do not sell any of our property till I get back, which shall be soon.
Tell my old friend the gov [i.e., Joseph Lane] to write me by every ship that leaves for California and to advise me what is best to do, whether to buy a vessel or come home with goods, and if so what kind of goods. It seems to me that furniture is a good article to bring to Oregon.
My dear wife, take care and do as you think best, and I will be satisfied. Let me here suggest that you employ a cook and for god's sake save yourself in your old age--my kind love to the children may God bless them and the richest of all blessings on you is the desire of your affectionate husband.
W. G. T'VaultJo Lane Papers.
On board the brig JosephineMy dear son
December 9th, 1849
I am now going down the Columbia and will not have an opportunity of writing to you after we leave Astoria.
I hope you, your mother and sisters are all well and may kind providence guard and bless you with good health until I return.
My dear George I want you to be a good boy do not run about in the streets go to school, obey your mother and Gov Lane be careful do not go about the river take good care of yourself do not quarrel nor dispute with other boys.
Write to Capt. Couch for your boots and your mother's and sisters' shoes.
My dear son I do hope and pray you will do well until I return I will come home as soon as I can nothing will stop me but death or disappointment from being back by first of February next.
God bless you all I want you to be careful of yourselves do [so] for my sake.
Give my best respects to Gov Lane tell him I will write from San Francisco as soon as I arrive--your affectionate father
W. G. T'Vault
Tell Gov Lane that I will write him every opportunity and do hope that Judge Bryant will not be detained by the [illegible]; she is aground. All is well with me; hoping that it may continue so with all at home and elsewhere.
December 9thJo Lane Papers.
W. G. T'Vault
Articles of agreement made and entered into this 7th day of January 1850 between W. G. T'Vault of the first part and H. G. Parks of the other, witnesseth the said parties agree to form a partnership for carrying on the slaughtering of beeves, hogs etc., also the establishing [of] a market of meat, vegetables etc. in the town of Oregon City, said partnership to commence from this date and continue unless dissolved by mutual consent for the term of three months, upon the terms following, that is to say--
The said T'Vault is to furnish a house and lot, the house to be for a slaughter and market house, the market house to house [a] store, the lot to be suitable for keeping cattle and hogs, also to furnish a capital of two hundred and fifty dollars and to superintend and purchase beeves and cause them to be delivered in the slaughter pen or lot, said T'Vault is to charge no mill for said house and lot nor for any service for delivering stock in the slaughter lot, the said T'Vault is to take a receipt for all monies that he may pay out for marketable supplies and cause the same to be entered on the books of the firm.
In consideration of the same, said Parks agrees to furnish two hundred and fifty dollars capital stock and to cause the necessary quantity of beeves suitable for the market to be slaughtered provided the same can be obtained, and to market the same, and superintend the sale of all marketable articles and in fact the said Parks is to superintend the slaughtering of all beeves and hogs and sale of the same as well as all other marketable articles and keep an exact account of the amount of sales and enter the same each day on a book to be kept for those purposes and at the end of each week there shall be a settlement made; each party accounting for this amount he may expend if the same has been expended for the use of the firm it is to apply to the same use of the firm. Said Parks is to charge nothing for his services.
The above agreements are mutual between the parties.
In witness whereof we have hereunto put our hands this day and date above written.
[signed] W. G. T'Vault
H. G. Parks
Witness: R. R. Thompson
Jo Lane Papers.
As a general thing, the men have resorted to industrious pursuits, and engaged themselves in the manufacturing of shingles, cutting and preparing piles for shipment, and prospecting the country in the vicinity of all the small streams for gold. . . . This kind of employment will continue for a few days longer and then another expedition for opening a trail to the Shasta mines will be fitted out under the direction of Mr. [William G. T'Vault]. This gentleman was employed by the United States government as guide for the company of rifles under the command of Captain Stuart, who recently marched through the Indian country from Oregon to California. We have the utmost confidence in the ability of Mr. T. as being every way qualified to conduct a party in an enterprise of this character. It is the intention of the party to prospect all the streams over which they pass, and I have no doubt but what they will make some discoveries that will comprise no small degree of interest. In my next I anticipate imparting something of more importance.
For the present, adieu. CLINTON. [probably William Clinton Tichenor]
"Our Port Orford Correspondence," Daily Alta California, San Francisco, August 26, 1851, page 2
Mr. T'Vault's Letter.
Dr. A. Dart, Superintendent of Indian Affairs for Oregon Territory:
Dear Sir:--I hasten to lay before you the result of one of the most fatal occurrences that has taken place within the limits of Oregon since its settlement. Your letter addressed me under date August 14th, was duly received.
I proceeded to this place on board the steamer Sea Gull, leaving Portland August 15, and on the 24th Aug., with a company of 18 persons, took up my line of march for the purpose of exploring and ascertaining the practicability of locating a road or roads from Port Orford to the upper Rogue River country. For the first three days' travel our route was down the coast in a southern direction to or near the mouth of Rogue River. We informed the Indians, whom we found very numerous, that you would be at Port Orford in from fifteen to twenty-five days for the purpose of making them presents of blankets and clothing and also treating with them for their illahe (lands), at the same time making them small presents myself. When near the mouth of Rogue River, while riding some distance in advance of the company, there were some manifestations of hostility--two Indians drawing their bows and presenting their arrows at me. However, upon raising my gun to present, they immediately ran.
From this place our course bore about northeast, until the 31st of August. Here nine of the company started on their return to Port Orford, and the remaining nine continuing with me up Rogue River in a northeast direction, until the 7th September, our provisions having given out, we laid by this day for the purpose of curing elk meat. Our road up to this place lay over mountains and canyons, densely set with chaparral (underbrush); not being able to proceed more than from three to eight miles per day. From this place I could examine the upper Rogue River country sufficiently well to satisfy myself that we were not more than from twenty-five to thirty-five miles west of the Oregon trail leading to Shasta mines. Here a consultation was had, and our scarcity of provisions as well as the country's opening out to the north, influenced by a plain Indian trail, we were induced to travel to the north, believing that we could soonest obtain supplies in that direction. On Tuesday night, the 9th, we reached the headwaters of a stream flowing into the ocean at or near Cape Blanco. We traveled down it some distance, through an open country, and on Wednesday picked up an Indian boy who acted as our guide. On Thursday we started in a northern direction, crossing some low hills, and on Friday, the 12th, fell onto the southern branch of the Coquille River--which flows into the ocean in latitude about 43 deg. 10 mts. In passing down the southern branch, we had several beautiful views from high points of the large and extensive valley of the Coquille, which appeared to be generally level bottom land, densely covered with ash, maple, birch, some oak, and rich vegetable undergrowth of vines, nightshade, &c., such as is produced in the Missouri and Wabash bottoms. On Saturday morning, 13th, being entirely out of provisions, and not having had one-quarter's allowance for the last several days, it was thought advisable to abandon our animals, as we could make but little progress with them, and that too not in a direction so as to warrant the obtaining of any provisions. We, therefore, obtained Indian canoes and Indians to transport us to the mouth of the Coquille River. After passing a few miles we came to the junction of the south and north forks, which form a stream about eighty yards wide, where the tide ebbs and flows from two to three feet, at a distance of fifty miles from its mouth. From the junction of the forks, the course of the river is north of west, passing through a valley from ten to twenty miles wide. During Saturday, the 13th, Saturday night and Sunday, up to 9 or 10 o'clock a.m., we descended with rapidity and ease. When within a few miles of the mouth of the river, one of the party, a Mr. Hedden, recognized the river to be the Coquille, which he had rafted in going from Port Orford to Oregon in Kirkpatrick's company, and that the Indians, which had become very numerous, were then hostile, and it would be necessary for us to be on our guard. We were now in sight of the place where we intended to leave the canoes, at the same time passing several Indian lodges on the right bank, where vast numbers of the naked Indians were promenading the banks. One of our party, whose name I will not here insert, insisted most strenuously that we land on the northern bank, at the largest Indian lodge we had seen, and there get our breakfast. To this, Mr. Brush and myself remonstrated. We, however, drew in so near the bank that the Indians could reach the side of the canoe with their hands while in their canoes lying along the shore. They immediately grabbed our canoe and refused to let us push off. On one occasion we succeeded in pushing off some six or eight feet, but they jumped in and pulled our canoe to the shore and commenced boarding us and seizing hold of our arms. We made one instantaneous rush for the shore. I think Mr. Brush fired a pistol, the only one I recollect of hearing. In less than fifteen seconds we were completely disarmed; as there were ten Indians to one white man in the rencounter, and not less than from one hundred to a hundred and fifty standing around. In drawing my six-shooter, I was knocked down. The first thing I remember, I was some fifteen yards in the river in swimming water. I looked around and saw upon the shore the most awful state of confusion--it appeared to be the screams of thousands--the sound of blows, the groans and shrieks of the dying--at the same time I noticed my friend Brush, not far distant from me, in the water, and an Indian standing in a canoe striking him on the head with a paddle, causing the water to become bloody around him. My attention was then directed to a small canoe with an Indian lad in it but a short distance from me. I swam to it; he helped me in, put a paddle in my hand, pointed to the southern bank, and immediately ran to the other end of the canoe. On looking around, I saw him helping Brush to get into the canoe, and he immediately jumped overboard. We then paddled for the southern bank of the river. Upon landing we succeeded in getting to shore, then stripped ourselves of our clothing and, crawling on our bellies up the bank, succeeded in escaping to the thicket. We then continued in our naked condition traveling south, through the worst of hammocks and dense briery chaparrals during the day; at night we approached the beach, traveled all night, and about daylight on Monday morning reached Cape Blanco. On Monday we were taken by the Indians living near Cape Blanco, treated with a great deal of kindness, kept all night on Monday night with every accommodation they were able to afford, and on Tuesday brought into Port Orford in the situation that you saw us in. Mr. Brush and myself are all of a party of ten that remain to tell the melancholy fate of our companions--Mr. Brush being severely wounded by having several inches of the scalp of the top of his head cut off.
The mouth of Rogue River in the 1930s.
The names of our companions who were murdered are:
A. S. Doherty aged 30 Texas
Patrick Murphy " 22 New York
Thos. J. Davenport " 26 Mass.
John P. Holland " 21 New Hamp.
Jeremiah Ryan " 25 Maryland
Cris Hedden " __ Newark, N.J.
J. P. Pepper " 28 Albany, N.Y.
The loss of property--seven United States rifles, with accoutrements and ammunition; one rifle, with fixtures, &c.; one musket; one double-barreled pistol; one Sharp's patent 36 shooting rifle, with implements and ammunition; one Colt's six-shooter, revolving pistol; one brace holster pistols, together with a number of blankets.
The foregoing contains, substantially, the facts as they transpired. I, however, might say much more, but my feeble state of health and the severe pains from my wounded and bleeding limbs forbid my saying more at present.
It will afford me much pleasure, at all times, to give such information as I may possess.
I have the honor to be, sir,
Your ob't serv't,
W. G. T'Vault.
Port Orford, Sep. 19, '51.
Weekly Oregonian, Portland, October 4, 1851, page 2
For the first time since I parted with you at San Francisco I embrace an opportunity of writing to you. I assure you I have seen sights since we parted; I took passage on the Sea Gull and arrived at home on the 12th of August, and on the 15th again set out for Port Orford after having expended all my money for horses and outfit. As I was taken into the partnership of the Port Orford Company upon condition that I should furnish four horses with their packs complete and return to Port Orford by the then-returning Sea Gull and go myself to superintend and make if practicable a road from Port Orford to the interior; in consideration I was to receive one-eighth of [the] entire enterprise.
Accordingly I embarked on the 15th August from Portland and on the 21 took up my march from Port Orford with 18 men. [For] the result of my expedition see Oregon Statesman October 7th, enclosed.
But I will enter more particulars into my sufferings as I can do so without it appearing egotistical, as my report was intended for publication and this is not. On the morning of the 14th Sept about ten o'clock myself and some of my men (for 9 had abandoned me two weeks before) were descending the Coquille River within 2 miles of its mouth on latitude 43°10' longitude 124°8' we came near the shore to try and get something to eat, for we had been without provisions for several days and were very weak and hungry, when within a few yards of the shore the edge of our canoe was seized by Indians who were in their canoes and near the shore and we were dragged near the shore; however, no manifestations of hostility were yet made, yet there was a great number of canoes & Indians in them also some 200 on the bank. We made signs and tried to get some provisions, but could not get any. We then tried to push off, but the Indians held onto our canoe. From the great number and our peculiar position we were anxious to get away without an attack [illegible]; as we would push off they would hold onto our canoe; finally they made a rush. Not less than fifty of them rushed upon us, sank our canoe and seized our arms before we could raise our guns to our [illegible], our arms was instantly taken from us and the most murderous attack made with clubs and knives. I was struck and hardly able to sit up in the canoe, but as I rushed to the shore was stabbed and knocked down by 2 blows, one on the breast, the other on the back, and suppose I was thrown into the river for dead or to be drowned if not dead. The first thing I remember I was some 20 or 30 feet from the shore in swimming water and was helped by a young Indian lad about 15 years old to get into a small canoe. The boy then ran to the other end of the canoe and assisted a Mr. Brush to get in the same canoe. He then jumped overboard and Brush and myself paddled the canoe to the opposite bank. When we got there, neither of us able to stand, we rolled out and crawled a few yards, pulled off our clothes and crawled up the bank. During the whole time there was the most dismal screams, the sound of strokes from clubs that it is possible to imagine, yet none of the Indians followed us. We continued our course by the sun, keeping in the thick chaparral all night, then went to the beach, traveled all night and the next day, and on the 16th arrived at Port Orford in so feeble a state there it required two Indians (as we had met with some friendly Indians on Monday night) to assist us to walk. It has been ascertained that three others of my party made their escape and went north to Umpqua. Some friendly Indians sent their squaws and found five dead bodies and buried them. Thus ended my first expedition. In a short time I am going to start upon a second overland expedition and [I] pray God that I shall have better luck. Genl. Hitchcock has established a military post at Port Orford and ordered troops there. It is a good location, and I hope that he will continue it. When I arrived there on the 16th Sept. Lieut Wyman of the Artillery was there building winter quarters. Since my defeat he ordered 150 men, part of the same troop that I went to California with last summer, back to Port Orford. They are under the command of Col Casey. If you can do us any good, do it.
Political matters are as you left them. I think you are gaining popularity as far as I can learn.
I want you to write to Capt Tichenor (his name is William Tichenor) and give me as favorable a recommend as you can, also to T. Butler King and Judge Pratt; those men are all my friends, but I wish them to know that I have other friends. King is popular with the army, also in California, yet he is a Whig, and it might be of service to me.
You will see from the papers that my prospects are in the ascendancy, and by the help of God I will keep it there, for I will not drink or gamble.
A. Holbrook goes to Washington. You must watch & pray; he's a Whig.
You ought to write letters to the Oregonian, also to the Oregon Times.
I have got a quiver of arrows & bow that I got from them damnable Rogue River Indians that I am going to send you by Newell's express or by Holbrook. I want you to exhibit them on all occasions and tell how you got them, who from, how I got them, who from, and how you have seen me and where.
Now I will say that we are all in better health just at this time than ever you saw us. I am getting not only fat but corpulent. Mrs. T'Vault is fleshy to corpulent. Upon my honor you would be astonished.
Gen. I hope you & your good family are all well.
I remain your old friend
W. G. T'Vault
Oregon City Nov. 1 1851
The date on this letter was misread as being from 1857; it can be found on the second microfilm reel of the Jo Lane Papers.
Squire T'Vault has returned from the country in the neighborhood of Port Orford, where he was not successful in viewing out a road from Fort Umpqua to Port Orford. He and three others are still surviving out of a party of nine whites, the other five having been murdered by the Indians of the Coquille River. T'Vault says that he discovered the most fertile valley on that river that mortal has ever been permitted to look upon. Ash, maple and other timber familiar to the Ohio and Wabash bottoms with the wild cucumber vine is to be found there in its most flourishing state, and he is of opinion that corn could be raised there in great abundance.
Nathaniel H. Lane, letter of October 6, 1851, Oregon Historical Society MSS 1146, Lane Family Letters
T'Vault has not been 3 weeks at home since you left. He is now up in the Umpqua pretending to look out a road to Port Orford, but I fear he will do no good neither for himself nor country.
Nathaniel H. Lane, letter of January 20, 1852, Oregon Historical Society MSS 1146, Lane Family Letters
For the Oregon Times.
Friend Waterman: Having just arrived in Portland, and learned that much interest is manifested with the people generally in regard to Shasta Butte City [i.e., Yreka], and just having arrived from that district of country, I avail myself of this opportunity of informing you with regard to my views as to the location of that place. If the Deputy Surveyor has made the correct observation at the north mouth of the Kenyon, where Mr. Knott is located, it seems to me that no doubt can exist, as he has located that point in latitude 42 deg. 51 min. [it's actually 42.9308º], consequently it can be but 51 minutes south to the 42 parallel, which is known to every traveler to be a distance of at least one hundred and fifty miles, and I should think would make a little more than 51 min.
Lieut. Emmons, in 1843, took an observation as he passed through Oregon to California and I am informed that he located the 42nd parallel on the top of Siskiyou Mountain, at a large rock well known to all travelers [Pilot Rock] which is some twenty miles north of Shasta Butte City; and still farther, Col. Fremont states that Shasta Butte is in latitude 41 deg. 28 min. and all who have ever been in that country know full well that Shasta Butte is not more than 25 minutes south of Shasta Butte City.
It is difficult to ascertain the precise location of any point inland; but every observation heretofore goes to prove that Shasta Butte City is in California, or at least south of the 42nd parallel of longitude [sic].
It is now reduced to an absolute certainty that Grave Creek, which the Oregon and California road crosses, is the principal branch of the Coquille River [it's a tributary of the Rogue River], as I have been down from the road to a point where I know that I have been exploring, during the past season, and no doubt remains of obtaining a good road from Port Orford to the Oregon road to California, and the distance of travel from the ferry on Rogue River to Port Orford will not exceed ninety miles. I have been over all the ground but about the distance of twelve or fifteen miles, and do believe a good wagon road will be made by the first of next June, and open well for settlers one of the best agricultural countries west of the Rocky Mountains.
I remain yours, &c.
W. G. T'VAULT.
Portland, Feb. 10th, 1852.
Oregon Weekly Times, Portland, February 14, 1852, page 2
April 10, 1852 Weekly Oregonian
W. G. T'Vault is on the eve of moving his family to Rogue River, where he says he has taken a claim. They are all well and send their regards. T'V. is the most cultus tillicum ["worthless person"] in these parts. I am glad he is going to move.
Nathaniel H. Lane, letter of April 20, 1852, Oregon Historical Society MSS 1146, Lane Family Letters
We have upon our table the first number of the long-expected Mountain Herald, published at Yreka, Siskiyou County. It is a small though spirited and in every way creditable sheet, and will prove a valuable auxiliary no doubt to our interior exchange list. It is to be published every Saturday, by Thornbury & Slade. We cordially extend a welcoming hand to our border cotemporary. The number before us contains the following items of news:
ELECTION NEWS.--The following is the result of the election in Jackson County, O.T., as far as heard from at Jacksonville, on Thursday last, at 1 o'clock.
For Delegates to Congress.
Sacramento Daily Union, June 15, 1853, page 2
Mountain Camp, Aug. 26, 1853.Mr. Bush--Dear Sir:--I have to inform you of the melancholy news which at this time pervades the entire settlements of Rogue River; that is war with all its horrors, between the whites and the combined Indian tribes of Southern Oregon and Northern California. You have, no doubt, ere this been informed of the Indian depredations up to the murder of Dr. Rose and John R. Hardin. Since that time many of the first men of our country have fallen either by assassination or in open battle. Time and opportunity will not permit me to enter into detail of the many smaller depredations committed by these savages--suffice it to say that for craftiness and bravery, they are equal to the Florida Indians, and their mode of war very similar, using the canyons in the mountains instead of the Florida hammocks.
Sam, the great war chief, with Joe, the civil chief, and Jim, a chief of smaller grade, took a position five or six miles north of Table Rock, in a canyon of dense brush. There they reported that they intended to give battle to our forces under the command of Col. John Ross and Capt. Alden, of the U.S.A. About the 15th August, the forces proceeded to the Indian camp to give them battle, sending an independent detachment under Capt. H. Elliff in their rear to bring on the attack while the main force was to charge them in front. But when they arrived, the Indians were nowhere to be found, having moved their camp several days before. 1st. Lieut. Ely of Capt. Goodall's company, from Yreka, was sent in search of the Indian camp, and the main force returned to headquarters on Stuart's Creek, for the purpose of obtaining supplies to pursue the Indians into the mountains. On the morning of the 17th Lieut. Ely, with 22 men, discovered the Indian camp, some 10 miles north of their former camp, upon the right-hand creek called Evans Creek. We immediately fell back some two or three miles to an open prairie interspersed with small washed gullies and branches of willows and sent two men as an express to headquarters, remaining with 20 men to await the arrival of a sufficient force to attack the Indians; the Indians in the meantime, availing themselves of the advantages of the gullies and brush, crawled up and commenced an attack at a distance of a few yards, say 20 or 30, killing two men at their first fire and causing the small force to make a precipitate retreat to a ridge covered with pine trees, a distance of 250 yards, when they took a position covered in the rear by elevated ground and prairie in front. The Indians flanked and very near if not quite surrounded them. The men were brave and most valiantly sustained their position for three hours and fifteen minutes, when J. D. Carly, Esq., of Yreka, arrived with five other men, in advance of the main force. The Indians, seeing this new arrival, immediately took to flight, carrying off 18 horses and mules with their caparisons together with blankets and camp equipage. The loss on our side was, killed, J. Shane, P. Keath, Frank Perry, A. Douglass, A. C. Colburn, and L. Lockting. Wounded--1st Lieut. Ely, shot through the wrist, John Albin, James Carrol, and Zebulon Shutz, all slightly. The entire forces in the field again returned to headquarters on Stuart's Creek, to complete their supplies.
On the morning of the 21st inst., Gen. Jo Lane arrived at headquarters and joined the army under the command of brevet Col. Alden and Col. Ross, and on Monday morning by sunrise the whole force was en route, the battalion under Col. Ross, consisting of Capts. Miller and Lamerick's company, going down Rogue River and then up Evans Creek till they found the trail of Sam and Joe, or until they met with the battalion of Col. Alden, consisting of the companies of Capts. Goodall and Rhodes, which marched in the direction of the battleground of Lieut. Ely. The orders were that which attachment found the main Indian trail was to pursue it, and the other follow on when they came up, if they did not meet before finding the trail. Gen. Lane and myself joined Col. Alden's command, and late in the evening we found that the Indian trail had taken to the mountains in a north direction from Evans Creek. Tuesday morning we made an early start, pursued the trail all day, passing over the most difficult mountains, as they were barely "passable, not practicable" to pass. Tuesday night we tied our animals to brush with grass, and Wednesday morning was in early march on the Indian trail, ascending a high mountain. Passing along the summit four or five miles, we heard the Indians a short distance ahead in a ravine, at a distance of about six hundred yards.
The order was instantly given to dismount, and Col. Alden, with Capt. Goodall and about thirty of his company, proceeded down the Indian trail to attack them in front. Capt. Rhodes, with some fifteen or twenty men, was sent down a ridge to the left, to attack them on the left and prevent an escape down the canyon. In a few minutes the Indians fired on Col. Alden when within some 30 years of the camp, and the battle commenced, raging with much fury. Col. Alden was badly wounded the first fire, also Pleasant Armstrong, of Yamhill, was shot through the breast, exclaiming as he fell--"a dead center shot." The battle continued raging with great fury, the yells of the Indians, the howling of dogs and the sharp continuous crack of the rifles lasted about one hour, when our pack train arrived and furnishing ten men more, Gen. Lane at the head of those ten, followed down the trail to the battleground, and with brave determination, ordered a charge, leading himself. When he arrived near the camp he received a wound through the right arm. The battle continued for about four hours, and the Indians called for quarter, or a parley. When finding that Gen. Lane was there, they insisted on his coming into their camp. The old hero, although pretty badly wounded, and suffering much, immediately went into the Indian camp (or fortifications, for it was represented to be a stronger place to charge than "Chapultepec") and had a talk with Sam, Joe and Jim. An armistice was agreed upon for a short time. We buried our dead, and in a short time Col. Ross with his command arrived, and a general treaty was talked of, and an armistice with Joe and Sam was agreed upon for seven days, at which time they were to meet Gen. Lane and give up their rifles.
Our loss in battle was three killed on the ground--Pleasant Armstrong, F. Bradley, one name not known. Wounded, Col. Alden, Gen. Lane, ---- Hays and two names not known.
The Indians say 12 killed dead, and 20 wounded--most all mortally. Much talk of a continuous war, and many are anxious for peace. If there is not peace Rogue River will be the grave and resting place of many a brave and good man. The best men generally are the first to fall, and the most clamorous for extermination are not the most interested, yet many good men go for a war of extermination.
On the 25th, I am informed that the Indians attacked Wm. Dunn's house, in the south part of the valley, killed three men, wounded two or three, robbed the house, burnt the hay and grain. On the same day they attacked a pack train, killed 2 men, wounded 2, and captured 2 animals and cargo. This was on Applegate Creek.
I will have to give you more anon.
W. G. T'VAULT."Latest from the Indian War," Oregon Statesman, Oregon City, September 6, 1853, page 2
MARRIED.Sacramento Daily Union, March 6, 1855, page 2
In Rogue River Valley, on the 18th Feb., at the residence of Col. T'Vault, by E. A. Stearns, Judge of Probate, D. M. Kenney, attorney at law, to Miss Lizzie T'Vault, eldest daughter of Col. T'Vault, all of Rogue River Valley.
For the Statesman.
Jacksonville, April 15th, 1855.
Dear Sir:--Last night, at the Eldorado, when under the influence of liquor, Charley Mason struck Col. T'Vault in the abdomen with a knife, opening so large a wound that the bowels protruded. Mason has fled. T'Vault is under the care of Drs. Alexander & Books, and is yet, at 10 a.m., living. There is not a probability of his recovery, nor that he can survive many hours.*
A great effort will be made for the Argus, which, I have it under the publisher's "broad seal," is to be thoroughly and radically Know-Nothing--though it appears in its prospectus as a very religious and very honest thing. It would be a good time to put the unsuspecting on their guard.
Several men are now on their way below, to draw war money. Lane stock is good here.
Yours, &c.,*Dr. Robinson, who left at a later date than the above, informs us that Mr. T'Vault was getting better, and that it was thought he would recover.--Ed. Statesman.
Oregon Statesman, Oregon City, April 28, 1855, page 2
By a letter received from Jacksonville we learn that Col. T'Vault, and a man by the name of Mason had a fight recently. Mason stabbed T'Vault, and it was supposed he would not recover from the wound.
Umpqua Weekly Gazette, Scottsburg, April 28, 1855, page 2
[In October 1855 I approached W. G. T'Vault,] editor of the Oregon Sentinel, with an offer of ten dollars for its insertion, about a column and a half of matter. He answered, "No I have been denounced enough already for what I have published for Indians. I hate them; damn them; I wish that they were all dead, and I don't believe that there is ten men in the two counties (Jackson & Josephine) but what have the same feeling." I have reason to believe that this editor spoke as a representative for the great majority of people west of the Mississippi River.
John Beeson, September 17, 1867; NARA Series M234 Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs 1824-81, Reel 615 Oregon Superintendency, 1866-1869, frames 378-381
We have received the first number of the Jacksonville paper. It is called the Table Rock Sentinel, and is published by Messrs. T'Vault (Col. Wm. G. T'Vault), Taylor and Blakely, the two first named being the editors, we understand. It is published on the Umpqua Gazette materials, and resembles that paper in typographical appearance.
Oregon Statesman, Salem, December 8, 1855, page 2
THE JACKSON COUNTY ELECTION.--Contrary to our expectations, Gen. Miller was beaten for the council. John E. Ross, Whig, or K.N., was elected by a vote of 305 to 181 for Miller. We have not heard the particulars, but we think that Gen. Miller was deserted by a portion of the Democrats. Is it not a little singular that in these war times, the patriotic Know Nothings should have brought out a candidate? Oh, hypocrisy! The Know Nothings are opposed to "party" when out of power, or in the minority, but uncompromisingly in favor of it where they are in power, or in the majority.
The election for representative resulted in the election of Hale, Democrat. He received 307, and T'Vault 132.
Oregon Statesman, Corvallis, January 1, 1856, page 2
Salem January 4th 1856Joel Palmer
Superintendent of Indian Affairs of Oregon Territory
In the month of August 1851, Anson Dart, then Superintendent of Indian Affairs for Oregon, gave me [a] letter appointing me to the duty of notifying the Indians along the coast in the neighborhood of Port Orford when he would be at Port Orford and treat with them.
The letter was copied in a book kept in the Superintendent's office.
You would confer a favor on me by forwarding me a copy of the letter to this place at your earliest convenience; the original was destroyed by the Indians.
Respectfully your obt. servt.Microcopy of Records of the Oregon Superintendency of Indian Affairs 1848-1873, Reel 14; Letters Received, 1856, No. 41.
W. G. T'Vault
Salem, January 19th 1856.
To His Excellency
Geo. L. Curry
Governor of the Terry. of Oregon
In compliance with your personal request I hasten to give you such information as I possess. Much of the information that you desire is not in my possession, and in fact there is no means of obtaining the same.
The first murder was in May last on Indian Creek, which occasioned considerable excitement. In the last of May, or first of June, John's band of Indians killed Philpot on Deer Creek. A few days afterwards the same band killed Dyer and McCue near the ferry on Applegate River. In July the Indians killed some seventeen persons on the Klamath and Humbug rivers, whose names I have not been able to obtain. On the 2nd of September Fields and Cunningham were killed on the Siskiyou Mountains, and 12 or 15 head of oxen; Sept. 3rd, Warner was killed on Cottonwood. In September Keene was killed some six miles from the Mountain House, and another man wounded; 8th of October Lupton and Shepard were killed; 9th of October, Goen. [sic] W. Hamilton, Isaac Skelton, Hague and a man name not known, John P. Jones and his wife, Samuel Belcher, Cartwright, Mrs. Wagner and daughter, Mr. Harris, one other man, name not known, Frank Reed, Mr. Harris, Mrs. Harris and daughter [sic--they survived]; 10th of October, Saml. Grahame, John B. Powell and George Fox; 17th of October, Picket, Saunders, Ben Taft, J. D. Adams and John, a Chinaman; 18th of October, a Spaniard near Mooney's ranch; 23rd of October, Bailey and Charley Johnson; 30th of October, Mr. Wiley on Althouse. In Jany. 1856 Martin Angel, Hull and Dr. Myers.
The foregoing is a correct list of those persons that were killed, except those that were killed in battle. There is but little doubt that many murders have been committed of which I have no information. The Indians also report that they have two white women prisoners and it is probable that they have. If so it is conjectured that they are Mrs. Haines and daughter, or Mrs. Harris and Mrs. Wagner.
In the meantime should I obtain any further information it will give me pleasure to inform you at an early period.
Your obedient servant
W. G. T'Vault
Jo Lane Papers.
March 15th 1856
E. M. Barnum
Yours of March 11th was received last night by express, and I hasten to say that I have only in part done my duty to my country, and am pleased that I at least have one testimony that finds no fault with my duty in raising the three new companies.
In reply to my having fallen into an "error" or "misapprehended" your notions, I can only say that when I left Salem with "General Order No. 25" I left without any instructions in writing further than those contained in the order. We had some conversation as per the subject of a general nature, but my judgment in relation to the duties was at that time as also by written instructions. What that of any other persons would have been who knew as much in relation to the duties, as I did, I have only got to refer you to your official letters to show that if I raised and mustered in any of the three new companies "not to order them to report to the 2nd Regt. if said regt. was disbanded." This then certainly gave me to understand as I had understood that my duties were confined to enrolling and mustering in the three new companies. I never expected any further duties to be given me either by the powers these commanded or those who I knew at that time would have the commands. Yet it was unexpected to me that part of my duties that had been give me verbally and in writing should be taken away and given to anyone, much less to the very individual who you have said was recommended for that duty by the present Genl. Lamerick.
Understand me, my dear sir, I am not writing this to complain. I have no complaints to make. The time is near at hand when men will have to be weighed, and if they are found lacking it will not be that they can be sustained by recommendations but the command will go forth "depart and hunt your holes."
In the appointment of mustang officers for Southern Oregon I then and now thought I knew the duties devolving upon those officers. On the appointment of Assistant Adjt. Genl. I
I have reported in part my official conduct to Adjt. Genl. Welsh, and have been delayed making a full report on account of Capt. Abel George having gone to Yreka and not returned. Please say to me how long before I shall be required to report, and be discharged from duty. I suppose I could find out by asking Genl. Lamerick or Welsh but will prefer you on account of reasons hereafter to be stated to you.
None, no, not one, can tell what Southern Oregon will come to if we can get a few more impostors [Know Nothings?]. I think this war will last, at least during the Democratic administration of President Pierce. O [illegible] not a gold people. Tell me in your next.
I remain respectfully yours
W. G. T'Vault
Oregon State Archives, Yakima and Rogue River War, Document File B, Reel 2, Document 511.
July 7th 1856
Superintendent Indian Affairs O.T.
In relation to the publication of the treaty with the Cayuse, Walla Walla and Umatilla Indians, signed by yourself & Gov. Stephens and ordered to be published six months in the Umpqua Gazette, a newspaper published in said Territory, we have to say that it was published 3 or 4 times in the Umpqua Gazette when their office changed owners in part, also the name of the paper was changed to the "Table Rock Sentinel," Boyd, one of the proprietors of the Umpqua Gazette, selling his half interest, A. Blakely, one of the original proprietors, still retaining his interest by one half. Said treaty was published the number of times ordered in the first instance by the proprietors of the Sentinel. Will you inform us by letter whether you will pay the same, and also what is necessary for us to do to present a proper acct. We will further say that no other persons besides ourselves are authorized to receive or receipt for the pay for said publication.
T'Vault & Blakely
Proprietors of "Table Rock Sentinel"
Per W. G. T'Vault
NARA Series M2, Microcopy of Records of the Oregon Superintendency of Indian Affairs 1848-1873, Reel 30; Miscellaneous Loose Papers 1850-1873.DIED.
At Jacksonville, Oregon, June 8th, of bilious fever, G. L. T'Vault, only son of W. G. T'Vault.
Sacramento Daily Union, June 15, 1857, page 2
December 2nd 1857.
It is not my desire to trouble you often as I am well aware of your great press of business. Oregon has decided by an overwhelming vote that the people approve of their constitution and are opposed to having slaves. This is as I expected. Bush says slavery is not of itself a matter [of] which a national political issue can be made. This I think is a mistake, yet I am willing to admit it ought not to be the case.
Young America and Democracy, the constitution and the decision of the Supreme Court are the truest work I fight by, and if any abolitive Black Republican attempts to elect a President or any other officer in opposition be it national or sectional I shall oppose him.
Genl, I wish to have a regular semi-monthly correspondent at Washington during the present Congress. Try and get me one. I want young America, no old fogey.
Will Congress admit us? Will Washington Territory give us our boundaries as stated in our constitution? Will the Chinese claim be stricken out? Is Burns [?] going to be elector at the Umpqua? Who is going to be judge in place of Olney? If Oregon is admitted will Deady be ousted states judge for this district? The judge has lost popularity with the pro-slavery party since you left.
Col W J Martin of Winchester is spoken [of] for Gov of Oregon. I'll be [illegible] if he is a candidate if I don't go for him.
Grover, Williams, Delazon Smith and Deady are working hard for U.S. Senate. Smith & Williams will be hard to beat, for the free state men will urge their claims.
Tell [illegible] of SC to send me all the pro-slavery documents he can.
What a left-handed lick the President hit Dreyfuss about his father-in-law. Stephen [Douglas] will have hard work to win the President. Breckinridge, if any man from a slave state can be elected, is the man for 1860.
I saw Floed the other day; all was well.
My family are quite afflicted but are getting a little better.
I would be glad to hear a little from you occasionally to publish.
W G T'Vault
Jo Lane Papers.
The Sentinel never has advocated the organization of a pro-slavery Democratic Party in Oregon. We have time and again declared that it did not affect the Democracy of any Democrat to vote against slavery in Oregon, unless he was actuated by the Black Republican doctrine, and urged that as a reason why slavery should not exist in Oregon. In that case, just so far as he was governed, and urged it as a reason why there should not be slavery in Oregon, any of the Black Republican doctrines, then we said and still say he who done so endorsed just so much of the Black Republican doctrine as he offered as a reason why slavery should not exist in Oregon. The question is now settled, and the practical use of slaves is prohibited. Then let all good Democrats be satisfied in a national point of view with the Constitution and the decision in the Dred Scott case, and be content to have the Kansas and Nebraska measure govern in the founding of new state governments.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, January 30, 1858, page 2
In Jacksonville at that time [April 1858] were two weekly newspapers--the Sentinel, of William G. T'Vault, and the Herald, of William J. Boggs. T'Vault was an early pioneer of Oregon from Arkansas. He was editor of the Oregon Spectator in 1847, and founded the Sentinel, the first newspaper in Southern Oregon, at Jacksonville. He was aged, crafty and crooked in his walks and ways.
James O'Meara, "Our Pioneer History," Oregonian, Portland, November 9, 1890, page 16
August 31 1858
It is with some misgiving that I write you as I have not had a letter from you for the last five or six months; in all probability your other friends engross your time. Yet I have done my duty as I discern it. I have supported you with a zeal and a success hitherto unknown. It is truly gratifying to me that I have never made a political promise to a friend but what I have redeemed it to the letter. Southern Oregon has done her duty manfully in your support. Your friends Mosher, Martin, Shelby & hosts of others could tell you how successful I have been.
The Jacksonville Herald expired at No. 52 Vol. 1. I am the owner of the entire press & material and now without a rival journal in Southern Oregon. I have not called a Lane friend or the Democracy to contribute the first farthing nor do I expect to do so, but on the contrary as soon as that paper was started at this place the land office advertising was taken from me and contributed to the support of an [illegible] Lane paper.
I am under obligation to you for your kindness in paying Edwards $120 also Mr. Topping $25 for Lane correspondence during the last session. I will repay you at the earliest moment when you return.
The Portland Times is ably conducted and I suppose you may depend upon its support. The Statesman you know all about so it is unnecessary to say what it will do.
I am truly thankful to you for the many kind favors received during the last session in the way of speeches & books. Hoping that you may triumph as long as your political course merits the support of the Democracy I now am truly your friend
W. G. T'Vault
I leave tomorrow for Salem; shall visit your family on my way down. I believe Mosher & myself are on good terms again.
Jo Lane Papers.
The first regular session of the House of Representatives of the Legislative Assembly of the State of Oregon, begun and holden at Salem, the thirteenth day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty-eight, being the second Monday in September, the day fixed by the Constitution for the meeting of the Legislative Assembly of said State:
The Hon. Wm. G. T'Vault, member from Jackson County and Speaker of the House of Representatives, appeared, took the chair and called the House to order, at 2 o'clock P.M.
Whereupon, Chester N. Terry, Chief Clerk, and J. H. Brown, Door Keeper, appeared and entered upon the discharge of the duties of their respective offices.
The following members appeared and took their seats, to wit:
Messrs. Burch, Cochran, Curzan, Crooks, Dryer, Hannah, Hedges, Jennings and Tichenor.
And there not being a quorum of members present,
On Motion of Mr. Hedges, the House adjourned until tomorrow at 10 o'clock, A.M.
Salem Sept. 15th 1858.Col. B. Jennings
In accordance with my promise, I herewith forward to you enclosed a copy of the Journal of the two day session of the House.
Yours truly,Jo Lane Papers.
Chester N. Terry
December 24 1858
You may think it rather astonishing to receive two letters from me by the same steamer, but as the honorable members of the Territorial Legislature have come to Portland to spend the holidays. I have come too and on yesterday wrote you a letter giving the names of certain gentlemen who I looked upon as your opponents or siding with the "Bush" attack. While coming down here on the steamer Messrs. Jennings & Hedges of Oregon City while in conversation with me expressed some doubts as to the reliability of Wait at least Col. Jennings did--from everything that I could learn I put him down as siding in his cool manner with the opposition, and so stated the matter in my letter to you. Col. Jennings & Hedges thinking I would write you from this place and in all probability do what I did do express my opinion of his position in relation to you went to Mack and desired to know of him how he stood in relation to you they then came down here today and requested me to so write you. Therefore upon their request I write you that they say Waite is a Lane man but I have not learned enough to say that I would trust him there is [an] office to be filled by appointment and it becomes your duty to leave them filled with voluble "Lane" men.
I have not yet visited Mrs. Shelby my business preventing but I shall on tomorrow take my "Christmas" dinner with her by special invitation.
Act discreetly in all things of a political nature and your friends will do their duty--[illegible] is finding fault with Jennings' appointment.
Yours truly as ever
W. G. T'Vault
Jo Lane Papers.
THE FIRST ON THE PACIFIC COAST.--The Marysville Democrat says Gid. Nightingill, of Marysville, struck off the first paper ever issued on the Pacific Coast, and adds:
The paper was the Oregon Spectator, published at Oregon City, in 1845 [sic], owned by a joint stock association, the shares being $1,000 each, and edited by Tevault. Gid. Nightingill worked the press, and was the general superintendent of the operations of the concern. Having no roller for the press he went to work to make one--got the glue ready and obtained the molasses. The molasses proved to have been made of beets, and would not work. So Gid. concluded to substitute the old-fashioned balls for the roller, and did so, making the balls without any great degree of trouble.
The Oregon Spectator lasted for some months, and was a semi-monthly journal. It was about one-fourth or one-fifth the size of the National Democrat.
Sacramento Daily Union, November 24, 1859, page 4
William G. Tevalt [sic] and Jonathan S. Harvey, attorneys, came to Plymouth not far from 1840, and followed the practice of law among us for two or three years.
Warren Taylor, "Marshall County--Its Early History," Marshall County Republican, Indiana, April 14, 1859, page 3
December 26th 1859
Dear GenlW. G. T'Vault
I avail myself of this moment to write you a few lines. Our families have been sick during the winter, thought by many the sickness has been occasioned by the cold dry weather, as we have had very little rain within the last few days however it has clouded up and there is a prospect of rain. Mr. Kearny my son in law is laying very low and there is doubts about his recovery. The disease has been most fatal among children some families losing three and four of their children with a severe cold & a putrid sore throat stopping their breathing we have hopes that the crisis has passed & from this time the health of the country will improve.
Politically you no doubt are aware what the state convention done in the endorsing of the Stout vote as [to] the ratio and the sending of delegates to the Charleston convention. What do you think of J. F. Miller? Will he do or will he go for Bush? Many of the leading Democrats have fears of him.
James O'Meara the present editor of the Oregon Sentinel is no friend of yours rest assured of that fact and there is many of the Democrats who have him spotted.
I fear a split in the Democracy of Jackson & Josephine and should such be the result it will require good management to secure the election of such Democrats as will do to depend upon.
I have strong hopes of your nomination at Charleston but if such should not be the result, we must elect men to the Legislature that will return you to the United States Senate every effort of mine from this henceforth will be to carry out the above policy.
In the event that the Sentinel fails to support you I have the plan matured that with forever prostrate all its future prospects and will start another paper endorsed by all the leading Democrats of Southern Oregon that is Jackson & Josephine counties.
By the bye, what the devil is the matter with Stout, no man in Oregon [has] done more to secure not only his nomination but his election for sure.
If I had not arrived at home just in time he would have been beat and now my dear sir I look upon it that he is more indebted to me for his seat in Congress than any other one man in Oregon, and still he treats me with contemptuous silence. I [illegible] have received the first scratch of a pen from him and consequently he does not deserve the support of Jackson County. I would write to any man alive before I would to him but I think I know Mr. Farrar is his prompter and he wishes to be a United States Senator hence Stout's silence & O'Meara's opposition to you.
Genl. I am as ever your devoted friend and will so arrange matters that if you should not be the nominee of the Charleston convention that you will receive the support of Southern Oregon for U.S. Senator.
It is important that the war debt should be paid also that the Pacific railroad should receive Democratic support. Something should be done to establish military posts on the Klamath Lake country an agent should be appointed for the Klamath Lake district and I know of none who would give more satisfaction than your devoted friend A. M. Berry, present Senator from Jackson County, but he will not accept until after the meeting of the next State Legislature, as he is with me distinctly in re-electing you to the Senate if circumstances require it.
Delazon Smith has taken bold ground and his paper is popular in the South.
Whenever there should be a move on the political chess board worthy of note you shall be informed but do not trust O'Meara, Farrar or any of their stripe as I do know that it is their intention to defeat you even if they have to affiliate with Bush.
Bush is politically dead himself but Nes, Harding, Waymire, Haydon, Boise, Gordon & co. with Grover & Drew are still hanging to him as a forlorn hope yet the people are with us.
Let me have all the news; yours as ever
Jo Lane Papers.
W G TVault, 53, male, lawyer, $1300 real estate, $1350 personal estate, born in Tennessee
R TVault, 52, female, born in Kentucky
St Mary TVault, 23, born in Indiana
U.S. Census, enumerated June 30, 1860
OREGON INTELLIGENCER.--We have received the first number of the above-named paper, published at Jacksonville, Oregon, and edited by W. G. T'Vault. As an index of what may be expected of the paper, the editor says:
"The Constitution of the United States shall be our political platform; it has been and is still the great charter of our Union and liberties; by it we have lived; by it the Union has prospered, and under its wise and liberal provisions the citizens of the United States have enjoyed the greatest of human blessings in the form of government; by it union of all the states must and will be restored from the present rebellion, and around which all good, Union-loving men must and will rally, so that they may perpetrate the best government ever organized by man."
The Semi-Weekly Union, Yreka, California, November 26, 1862, page 2
THE OREGON INTELLIGENCER.--This is the name of a new candidate for public favor, started at Jacksonville, Oregon, under the control of W. G. T'Vault. The typographical appearance is exceedingly neat, while its columns are well filled with news, local and foreign. The editor in his salutatory says:
"The Constitution of the United States shall be our political platform; it has been and still is the great charter of our Union and liberties; by it we have lived; by it the Union has prospered, and under its wise and liberal provisions the citizens of the United States have enjoyed the greatest of human blessings in the form of government."
The Intelligencer has our best wishes for a liberal support and long life.
Eugene Democratic Register, November 29, 1862, page 2
. . . Old T. has started a new paper at Jacksonville called the "Oregon Intelligencer." By way of a joke, we suppose, the editor says his political platform is the Constitution. If his paper stands on that platform, he will have to edit it at a distance.
"Domestic Items," Oregon Statesman, Salem, December 1, 1862, page 2
The Oregon Intelligencer has been started at Jacksonville by T'Vault.
Marysville Daily Appeal, California, December 4, 1862, page 2
OPINION OF THE GANG.--The Eugene Review, a secesh paper, which only ranks above the Salem Statesman in ability, has been carefully examining his rebel exchanges, and gives the following opinion of Pat Malone, T'Vault, Miller and Bush:
"Oregon editors are mostly a poor, harmless set of creatures with a limited knowledge of the world and men, and a less knowledge of books. Oregon editors are temporary concerns. They are generally induced by want to mount the editorial tripod in the hope of earning their bread in the capacity of editor until they can get into some respectable calling."
Oregon Argus, Oregon City, February 7, 1863, page 2
STYLE IN OREGON.--A correspondent of the Oregon Sentinel, having written that Douglas warned the people against the intrigues of Copperheads, the Intelligencer (Copperhead) thus replies in the pure Saxon of the party:
You lying, slanderous puppy, Douglas said no such thing; and you wish to put treasonable language in the mouth of a great and noble friend of the Constitution which you detest as much as the devil does the receipt of Christ. You never can approach the honored Douglas as near as T'Vault does; you are a midnight assassin, and dare not show your name and face in open day.
Sacramento Daily Union, April 16, 1864, page 2
PACIFIC REPUBLIC.--Another Democratic editor has joined old T'Vault in advocating the secession of the Pacific states. Beriah Brown, of the San Francisco Democratic Press, is one of the ablest, and at the same time one of the most malignant Copperheads on the western slope of the continent. He said lately:
"If the people of the Pacific coast, who possess within themselves the ability and power of maintaining an independent national existence, and within their territory all the elements of national wealth, are to be shorn of their municipal rights and municipal independences, to be made the mere tributaries of a central government thousands of miles away, then we say, most distinctly and emphatically, let them make for themselves a 'Pacific Republic.'"--Daily Statesman.
T'Vault must be a thorn in your side, for we cannot be in your way, either as a newspaper publisher or obtaining office from Old Abe. We admit you can outlie us, outsteal us, outtalk and outwrite us in the advocacy of treason, and the destruction of the Constitution and the rights of the people. Don't be uneasy about a Pacific Republic or Old T'Vault. Yet you are excusable, as you never was known to have an original idea, only being identified as a political teaser.
Oregon Intelligencer, Jacksonville, August 6, 1864, page 2
On last Saturday evening, the Democracy held what they called a ratification meeting. The speakers were Col. T'Vault, Counselor Neil, E. D. Foudray, Esq., and the Right Hon. Skedaddling J. B. White. The gallant Colonel was a little murky in his utterances, and considerably prophetic. His faith was strong. It reached forward to the time when he should "occupy a high and honorable position in a Pacific Republic."
"Copperhead Gatherings," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, September 21, 1864, page 2
AN INCIDENT.--While T'Vault was haranguing the Democracy at their ratification meeting on last Saturday evening, he had occasion, at the commencement of one of his eloquent apostrophes, to use the following words: "Whar's your tax collectors?" Whereupon a crowd of Chinamen, who had hitherto been listening in mute admiration, suddenly became demoralized, and fled in disorder.
Moral. A few more such speeches, and there will be a disaffection among the raw Copperhead recruits, as well as copperface.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, September 21, 1864, page 2 The Chinese gentlemen apparently thought the sheriff had arrived to collect the "poll tax" levied on all Chinese nationals in Oregon.
James O'Meara has retired from the editorial control of the Eugene Review, and is succeeded by Mr. A. Noltner, the proprietor of the paper. W. G. T'Vault is succeeded in the Jacksonville Intelligencer by P. J. Malone, formerly of the Corvallis Union. Rev. W. F. Boyakin has taken the editorial control of the Corvallis Gazette.
"75 Years Ago in Boise Basin--From Files of the Idaho World, Idaho City, 1865," Idaho Statesman, Boise, January 28, 1940, page 21
Death of a Pioneer.
The last victim of smallpox among us was Col. W. T'Vault, who died at 11 p..m. on Thursday. Although in the fullness of old age, being 62 years old, it is painful to reflect that after a busy life and prominent services he should be struck down by so dreadful a malady that not a single mourner dared follow him to the grave.
Mr. T'Vault was one of the early pioneers of Oregon, and has filled a prominent place in its territorial and state history. He was a native of Missouri [Tennessee], and came across the plains as captain of a company of emigrants, in 1845. To him is due the honor of editing the first newspapers published on the Pacific Coast, the Spectator, which was first issued in February 1846, at Oregon City. Col. T'Vault was connected as editor with the Table Rock Sentinel, the first newspapers published in Southern Oregon and afterwards published and edited the Intelligencer, which was started on the material of the Crescent City Herald, in this county. He also published and edited the Index at Silver City, Idaho, and was District Attorney for a short time in that territory. Mr. T'Vault was a member of the provisional legislature of Oregon. He was a member of the first State Legislature of Oregon, from Jackson County, and was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives over Ben Harding, afterwards U.S. Senator, which position was filled by Mr. T'Vault with honor and ability [to clarify, Harding served as U.S. Senator, not T'Vault]. He took an active part in the Indian war of 1856 in this valley, having led a company in the last battle that took place before Gen. Lane's treaty. [This reference must be to T'Vault's guiding Kearny's expedition in 1851.]
Mr. T'Vault was a prominent politician, having acted uniformly with the Democratic Party, and at the time of this death occupied the position of District Attorney of the 1st judicial district, to which he was elected in June 1868. Like all prominent men he had many bitter enemies and warm friends. He was a man of strong and generous impulses, warm in his friendship, positive in his opinions. Whatever faults he may have had are now forgotten--covered with the clods of the grave, and all that was good and generous in him should only be remembered. He was baptized into the Catholic Church a few months since, and in his last hours was faithfully nursed by the Catholic Sisters of Charity, receiving the last offices of the Church from the hands of Father Blanchet. His remains lie in the Catholic cemetery, and let us hope that his spirit is at rest.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, February 6, 1869, page 2
THE CIRCUIT COURT.--The Circuit Court for Jackson County adjourned on Thursday last. The celebrated case of T'Vault against J. N. T. Miller and others, about the prices, type and material of various Democratic journals that have flourished and died here since the Rebellion commenced, was tried and a decree rendered that the same be sold for a division among the stockholders.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, July 17, 1869, page 3
REMINISCENCE OF SOUTHERN OREGON.
The following pleasing incident is related to us by an eyewitness, and the principal actor is still a resident of this state and a well-known local politician in his own county: During the early settlement of this valley a legal individual, whom we shall call T. "for short," was engaged in carrying the mail from Yreka to Oregon City. On one of his trips, in the spring of '52, T. arrived at Willow Springs, then a lively and flourishing mining camp. The boys were on a big spree, and as T. was tired and thirsty, he concluded to hang up there for the night. His mule cared for, and the great U.S. mail sack stowed away, T. joined the festive crowd and was soon on a regular "tear." It so happened that the Indians had been committing some deviltry in the neighborhood, and the probability of a great outbreak was the prominent topic of conversation. T. considered himself a man of great executive ability, and as sundry drinks had made him rather lively, he proposed active measures at once, and with an Arkansas yell suggested a war dance to begin with. The boys responded, and soon the crowd was engaged in a performance that would have made the liveliest tribe this side of the Rocky Mountains ashamed. T. was conspicuous! With an appalling whoop, he skinned his coat. Another yell, and off came his buckskins. Snatching an old saddle blanket and throwing it over his shoulders, he danced first on one leg, then on the other; he squatted, pirouetted, waltzed, and jumped like an excited savage till the crowd stopped in breathless admiration. T. was frantic with delight. He was Big Injun! Observing an old-fashioned dinner pot standing in a corner of the camp, he concluded that it would add much to his warlike appearance and just cap the climax, which it certainly did. To seize it and thrust his head into it was the work of a moment; to get his head out was another thing. Another drink and away went the dance, led by the now-invincible warrior. Forth from the iron circumference came the most ghostly yells; the blanket flew wildly; T. bounded and leaped and yelled, till at last, in a moment of desperate frenzy while making a cut at an imaginary foe, the pot slipped over the warrior's nose, and there it stayed. The crowd roared and danced round the imprisoned chief, but in a short time the situation became very uncomfortable. The bottle was passed, but unfortunately the neck would not pass the edge of T.'s helmet. Efforts to release him were unavailing; nature had provided him with a proboscis of extraordinary dimensions, and a large portion of his head was behind his ears. Stretched on the ground,
"He lay like a warrior taking his rest,Matters were becoming serious. T.'s lips were getting parched, his head was swelling, but the pot wouldn't give a hair's breadth, and piteous groans, like a voice from the tomb, came from the sonorous depths of the unyielding prison. Various plans to release the prisoner were proposed. One suggested blowing up the pot with powder, but T. objected as well as he was able; another proposed to build a fire around it and melt it off, but the warrior writhed in agony at the idea of having his classic head roasted like an Irish potato, and with a half-smothered yell darted to his feet, and several of his tormentors became very intimately acquainted with his formidable headpiece. The scene was now indescribable. T. commenced the warrior's death song. The drunken crowd whooped madly as the now-desperate victim went butting and driving among them like a flying Mercury or blind Samson among the Philistines. Someone seized him by his flying undergarment, and down to earth he came again. A number of the boys, who thought the fun had lasted long enough, seized Don Quixote and held him fast. One stalwart fellow took the pot by the ears, and bracing himself against T.'s shoulders, gave a vigorous pull, but an awful and unearthly groan from the pot warned him to desist--T.'s nose was about to come out by the roots! One sensible fellow, not so drunk as the balance, procured an ax, and laying the pot with its precious legal contents on a rock, poised himself for a giant and decisive blow. "Strike a soft lick," moaned the prisoner. Down came the ax fair and square; the pot rang like a steamboat bell, and its sonorous tones mingled with the despairing groans of the victim. In broken accents he called for pen, ink and paper, and intimated that his last dying speech and confession might be a warning to the rising generation. He recounted the number of public positions he had filled, related in an undertone a number of little peccadilloes, and bemoaned the sad fate that forced the "Webster" of the Pacific to end his days in an infernal old three-legged pot. Fortunately no such fate awaited him. A messenger was dispatched about twenty miles for a file, and the doughty chief, who was going to eat the whole Rogue River tribe without seasoning, was filed out the next day, his handsome nose turned up like a half-peeled potato, his head swelled, and himself feeling like a man who had been in a tight place. He still lives--is quite venerable now--but loses no opportunity to administer a vicious kick to every three-legged pot that comes in his way, provided it can be done on the sly.
With his iron pot around him."
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, August 22, 1868, page 2 A marginal note on the issue preserved by the Southern Oregon Historical Society, M66E, bundle 1, identifies the victim as W. G. T'Vault. In 1957 Winifred Cantrall said that here grandfather, John E. Ross, was the man in the pot. ("Native Daughter Recalls Early Jackson County Day," October 13, 1957 Medford Mail Tribune, page 23.)
Colonel Ross evidently had a penchant for thrilling his audiences with his version of an Indian war whoop, for a story which makes its rounds in Jacksonville tells of the bachelor party given for Nat Dean upon his approaching marriage to Ann Houston, which was the first marriage in Jackson County. The party was attended by W. G. T'Vault, editor of the first newspaper in southern Oregon, The Table Rock Sentinel, and Colonel Ross was present. Following supper, Colonel Ross proceeded to give his famous Indian war whoop. The spurred T'Vault into doing a war dance, and in his entertainment, T'Vault placed a heavy iron kettle upside down on his head. In his frenzied exhibition, he failed to realize the pot had slipped well down over his forehead and nape of his neck. All because of his eagerness to outdo Colonel Ross' war whoop, the editor had so encased his head in the kettle that it could not be removed by members of the group. The party had to be broken up to deliver the victim to a blacksmith, who begrudgingly got up from bed to extricate the pot by means of his trade.
"Reminiscences of Early Days in Jackson County Told at Pioneer Group's Meeting," Medford Mail Tribune, October 2, 1949, page 12
Mrs. Rhoda T'Vault, born in Warren County, Ky., Nov. 19, 1810, arrived at Oregon City Oct. 14, 1845.
"Southern Oregon Pioneers," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, July 8, 1882, page 3
At St. Joseph they joined a train of 64 wagons under the command of Captain TeVault, but on arriving on the South Platt the train divided, Mr. King's party joining that division under the command of James McNeary.
David D. Fagan, "Solomon King," History of Benton County, 1885, page 520
. . . Mr. Smith joined a train, composed of sixty-six wagons, at St. Joseph, Missouri, and under the command of Captain TeVault commenced the difficult journey across the plains. After successive changes in the leaders of the party, that well-known veteran, Stephen Meek, undertook to conduct them into the Willamette Valley by the old Columbia route, but, unfortunately, when at the place since called Silver Lake, located west of the Blue Mountains, the guide found himself at fault, and declared himself to be absolutely lost. . . .
David D. Fagan, "Green Berry Smith," History of Benton County, 1885, page 526
T'Vault himself sometime achieved a soldierly title, but how I know not. He was a colonel but not a military colonel. His life was one of the most extraordinary that was ever lived by any Oregonian. I have not the full details of his life in Oregon, and not a word of his previous existence, but subsequent to his coming here in 1845 it was full of adventures and experiences. We find him admitted to the bar at Oregon City, along with Nathan Olney, and appearing as attorney in miscellaneous cases, divorces and such, for there were marriages and dissolutions of marriages in those days. He continued to act as postmaster general and prosecuting attorney for Oregon, but his specialty seems to have consisted in procuring divorces for people. In 1851 T'Vault guided Major Phil Kearny (the hero who fell at Chantilly in the late war), and his command of U.S. troops from Vancouver southward on their way to Benicia, California. This was in the time of the earliest placer gold discoveries in southern Oregon, and the Indians were hostile and trying to kill every white man that entered their country. Captain Stuart was of this force, and was killed in a battle, or, more properly, a skirmish, on the Rogue River near the mouth of Bear Creek. T'Vault next joined Captain Tichenor's expedition to found a city at Port Orford, in Curry County, and within a few days after landing there he set out with eight others, all well armed, to explore a route for travel between the coast and the old Oregon and California trail, some thirty miles inland. The party were out about a week and had a terrible time. They got out of provisions, and although game abounded and still abound in that region, they nearly starved. Getting down on the navigable part of the Coquille River, a long distance off their proper route, they got an Indian to take them in his boat to the mouth of the river. Landing at a native village to procure food, they were set upon by the redskins, and five of them were slain. L. L. Williams and Cyrus Hedden escaped northward, the former with a dreadful wound, and getting to Scottsburg, Williams lay there for several years--seven, I think--before he recovered sufficiently to be removed. Redden took care of and supported him throughout. They were good samples of the hardy adventurer of that period. T'Vault with a companion made his escape, naked and despairingly, and got to Port Orford by the aid of friendly Indians. He removed to Jacksonville a year or two later and took part in the various Indian wars of that section. In Nov. 1855 he, in partnership with two others, established the Table Rock Sentinel, subsequently called the Oregon Sentinel, and remained as sole or part proprietor until 1859. In 1863, in war time, he started the Intelligencer, another weekly, at Jacksonville. He was intensely Democratic, but it seems his services were not appreciated by his party, for the "secesh" leaders down there dropped him in a most shameless way, forgetting that "there should be honor among ------," and his paper died. In 1868 the old Colonel caught the smallpox which then raged and, dying, was buried at midnight, followed to the grave by no friend or relative save the Catholic priest, Father Blanchet. Mr. T'Vault filled his various stations in life with ability and credit, and if he was inferior to some in education and freedom from prejudice, he was at least equal to any of his compeers in the art of running a newspaper. Oregon was fortunate in her first, her pioneer editor. . . .
In April  Mr. T'Vault writes and prints his valedictory, a two-column manifesto, breathing hostility to the directors of the printing association who had, he said, dismissed him, pretending that his syntax was bad, his orthography not good and his principles too heavily charged with Democracy. And so with the observation that it was his proudest boast that he was an American citizen he gave place to Mr. [Henry A. G.] Lee. . . .
"The Spectator," Oregonian, Portland, August 6, 1885, page 4
WILLIAM G. L'VALT [sic] came from Plymouth, Indiana, in 1840, remaining in the county until 1846 [sic], when he removed to Portland, Oregon, and died a few years later.
Biographical and Historical Record of Kosciusko County (Indiana), 1887, page 674
Scraps of Early History.Mrs. Elizabeth Kenney, now living in Jacksonville, came to the Rogue River Valley May 12, 1852--fifty years ago. Her father, Col. W. G. T'Vault, who had been through here before, came through the valley in the spring of '51 as guide to the dragoons, en route from Vancouver to Benicia, Calif., and was present when Capt. Stuart was killed, a short distance above Phoenix. In order to obliterate the place of burial the cavalry horses were corralled about the grave, and next morning the ground was so cut up by the fresh-shod horses that no trace of the grave could be seen. Col. T'Vault, however, took bearings from the adjacent trees, so in case it was desirable to find the grave he could do so. Sometime in '53 Capt. Stuart's mother, who lived in the East, sent for the body of her son to have it shipped home. Col. T'Vault was called upon and pointed out the place of burial, and the remains were exhumed and sent east. But for this foresight and critical marking by the colonel the remains could never have been found. The colonel located the old Dardanelles place under the Donation Act, and brought the family out from Oregon City in May, 1852. Here the family lived for three years when the colonel sold the place, moved to Jacksonville and started the Table Rock Sentinel and engaged also in the practice of law. There were few people living in the upper end of the Willamette Valley at that time. The town of Eugene had not been thought of. Aaron Rose had taken up a donation claim covering the present site of Roseburg, but there was no Roseburg. There was a ferry at Winchester, on North Umpqua, and old man Riddle had taken up a claim on South Umpqua and built a small log cabin on it. There was a ferry on Rogue River, established by Perkins, and Bills and his son were mining on Big Bar, above the present railroad bridge. So far as known, there was not a fence rail in Rogue River Valley at that time. There were a few shake shacks and log houses in Jacksonville and probably not a half dozen houses of any kind in the valley. Col. T'Vault was postmaster at Dardanelles and Mrs. Kenney was deputy. She is therefore no doubt the first woman postmaster in Oregon, and as her father was absent most of the time at Jacksonville on business, she had the whole responsibility of the business. And it should be understood that it was much more difficult to conduct the business of a post office at that time than at present, for there were few printed forms at that time, and each postmaster was under the necessity of preparing his own forms.
BY W. J. PLYMALE.
Medford Mail, May 16, 1902, page 2
In 1845 the [King] family band started out as well equipped as any which undertook the hazardous venture, having five wagons with from three to five yoke of oxen each, and thirty-five head of fine Durham cattle. The entire party consisted of sixty-five wagons, under command of Captain Tevalt [sic] and Stephen Meek, and they were more than six months on the way. From Boise City they went by what was known as the Meek Cutoff, and in consequence lost their way and had to retrace their steps a long way.
"Solomon King," Portrait and Biographical Record of the Willamette Valley, 1903, Part 2, page 1087
As a merchant [T. J. Kenney] met with a fair share of success. and as one of the leading members of the Whig party he was active in politics. February 18, 1855. at Dardanelles, Ore., he married Elizabeth T'Vault, who was born in Evansville, Ind. a daughter of W. G. T'Vault. Her paternal grandfather, William T'Vault, was born, reared and married in France. Emigrating to the United States in 1818, he located in Tennessee, near Nashville, where he had relatives, among them being the Claybornes, people of distinction. Removing to Indiana about the time of its admission to the Union as a state, he settled in Evansville, where he was in business as a capitalist until his death, at an advanced age. His wife, who attained a ripe old age, also spent her last years in that city. W. G. T'Vault was born March 23, 1818, on the ocean, while his parents were en route to this country. [All other indications are that he was born in 1806 in Tennessee.] Educated for the legal profession, he first practiced as an attorney at Boonville, Ind., and then in Plymouth, and while a resident of the latter city was a representative to the state legislature. [T'Vault may have served the Indiana legislature, but not as a legislator.] He subsequently lived for a short time in Warsaw, Ind., from there coming across the plains to Oregon in 1845.
Locating in Oregon City, W. G. T'Vault practiced his profession there for seven years, and under the name of The Oregon Spectator edited and published the first newspaper published on the Pacific Coast. He was active in public affairs, served as the first postmaster general of the Territory of Oregon, and represented Clackamas County in the constitutional convention. He was a man of brilliant attainments and a noted writer and journalist. Coming to Jackson County in 1852, he took up a donation claim of six hundred and forty acres, known as the Dardanelles, as it was the only trail along the east side of the Rogue River. Taking up his residence in Jacksonville in 1855, he started the first newspaper published south of the Calapooia Mountains, calling it the Table Rock Sentinel. In addition to his journalistic work he followed his profession, and for a number of terms was prosecuting attorney for the fifth judicial district. He was for several years a representative to the state legislature, and in 1858 was speaker of the house. He died in  of smallpox. He married Rhoda Boone Burns, who was born in Kentucky, and was a granddaughter of the famous hunter and trapper, Daniel Boone. She was of patriotic ancestry, her father, a corporal in the Revolutionary Army, having received a land grant for his services in that war, a tract that includes the site of the present city of Bowling Green, Ky. Of the union of Daniel M. and Elizabeth (T'Vault) Kenney, three children were born, namely: Thomas Joseph, the subject of this sketch; William G., city marshal of Jacksonville; and Rhoda, deceased. Mrs. Daniel M. Kenney is an honorary member of the State Press Association; a member of the State and Southern Oregon Pioneer Associations and of the Presbyterian Church. W. G. T'Vault was prominent in all public affairs, was acquainted with Dr. McLoughlin and Dr. Whitman, and in his house the first proclamation of the governor of the territory was written. In 1847 he went with a party to interview the Indians, and his daughter Elizabeth acted as interpreter for General Lane.
"Thomas Joseph Kenney," Portrait and Biographical Record of Western Oregon, 1904, page 906
The ship proceeded upon her voyage to Portland, at which place I purchased six horses, some provisions, some swine, and engaged a Mr. T'Vault who had been recommended highly to me by Col. Phil. Kearny,who had been a schoolmate of mine in Newark, N.J. . . . arrived at Port Orford on the 3rd day of September . A party under T'Vault had been sent with the horses to view out and cut a trail from Port Orford, connecting with the Oregon trail, another under Nolan for a similar purpose. The latter had been instructed by me to ascend to the south of the Sugar Loaf Peak on the southeast of the roadstead, believing the terminus of the great dividing range of mountains leading to the far interior, which has since proved to be such. The party did not follow the advice and consequently wandered through the gulches, ravines, underbrush and jungles. After seven days of hard labor they reached Port Orford, coming in from the north, and to palliate their gross failure named the Sugar Loaf mountain "Tichenor's Humbug." The circumstances stated is the true origin of that beautiful landmark on the eastern side of the bay or roadstead, one which cannot be mistaken by any mariner bound to that place in its approach north, west or south.
The party under T'Vault had a disastrous and fearful time. Little of mountaineer skill was ever used or exhibited in their devious wanderings. Mountain ridges were not followed or regarded. Immense gorges were plunged into without apparent hesitation. All the animals had to be abandoned; everything was disposed of as far as possible to enable them to travel or wander. In the following year Lieut. Stoneman, with his party of explorers, traced their trail, as shown by the cuttings, and found evidence of more insanity than rationality. They finally reached a point on the South Fork of the Coquille River, near which camp a depot was established the following spring, by Company C, First Dragoons, under Col. A. J. Smith. T'Vault sat down and cried like a child, and all but one of his men declared that they would abandon him. Cyrus Hedden, now a resident of Scottsburg, on the Umpqua River, a man esteemed by all who knew him, declared he would die rather than abandon a comrade, and by the influence he had over the balance of the party undoubtedly saved the life of T'Vault. They gathered roots and berries to save life, being in a state of starvation rendered greatly by fatigue and want of food, and they made slow progress in following the river down but were determined to pursue that course to the ocean. Many Indians were hovering around them. Reaching the main river they finally induced an old Indian in a canoe to approach them and, by exhibiting buttons and such articles as could be spared, engaged the canoe to carry them down the river to its mouth. When about two miles above the mouth of the Coquille River, some of the party declared that they should land and procure some food if they had to fight for it, while others protested, fearful of an encounter with the numerous savages on shore, and while there disputing the canoe drifted into shoal water. The savages from the shore rushed into the water, grasping the canoe and those in it. The fight was then inaugurated. It was everyone for himself. A portion of the men rushed for the shore while others were killed at once. A young Texan by the name of Brush was struck down by a blow of one of the canoe paddles, the sharp edge striking him on the head, glancing down the side carrying a large piece of the scalp with it; he fell into the canoe. The Indian, who had assisted in bringing them down and by signs had warned them of the danger of landing, paddled the canoe into the stream with Brush prostrated in it. T'Vault struck out to swim the river. He was picked up by the Indian and carried with Brush to the opposite shore. T'Vault made all haste to escape, leaving Brush, and pursued his way down the coast for Cape Blanco, then in sight, a cape well known by him, being near Port Orford. He reached the mouth of the "Sa-qua-mi," now called the Sixes River. His rifle was taken from him and he was stripped of all his clothing, save the remnant of what was once a shirt, and permitted by the Indians to pursue his way to the fort. He arrived there in a nude and starving condition the second day after the disaster. Brush avoided the Indians and, wounded as he was, and with only the remnants of a shirt and a pair of pants, arrived at the fort the third day.
To return to the place of the disaster. Williams and Hedden reached the shore fighting their way as best they could. The former was clinched by a heavy savage. In the struggle they fell with Williams on top. His knife finished the brute, but while down another Indian drove an arrow into his groin. He sprang to his feet and Hedden pulled out the shaft leaving a three-inch piece to which the arrowhead was attached. They escaped to the brush, holding the Indians at bay with their guns while so doing. They both had made good work and caused much mourning in the Indian camp. It was not long before the fatal arrow shaft and head began their terrible work, causing much acute pain and intense suffering. The following day his bowels commenced swelling. He could only with the greatest difficulty put his foot to the ground. His faithful companion would gather salal berries for him to eat and aid him to advance. He begged to be permitted to lie down and die. Hedden encouraged him and helped him every way he could.
Upon the ninth day after the massacre they reached the mouth of the Umpqua River where fortunately they found the brig Fawn, and Capt. Wood sent his boat to carry them seven miles up the river to the town now called Gardner. Williams was fearfully swollen, his bowels seemed ready to burst, and on the night of the landing at Gardner the wound opened and discharged. This relieved him greatly from the intense pain. Hedden never left him, but labored to earn means for his support, bandaged and tended to his wounds for nearly three years. In the spring of 1855 the shaft and arrowhead were extricated, at Roseburg, Douglas Co., Ore. All who knew L. L. Williams esteemed him for his worth. We will now return to the scene of the disaster. Here five of the party were literally cut to pieces so that the remains of them could not be identified. This disaster occurred a few days before or about the time of the arrival of Doc. Dart, Spaulding and Parrish, as they were all there at the time of T'Vault and Brush's escape to Port Orford. Mr. Parrish at once offered to proceed to the scene and was permitted to do so by Supt. Dart, taking with him the two Indian interpreters. Chief, the one who had robbed T'Vault of the rifle and poor vestige of clothing, now became the "good big Indian," having returned the rifle. They proceeded to the Coquille River, procured an interview with the murderers, gave them some presents and received promises of their being good Indians. Sa-qua-mi, the chief, had rendered himself detestable to the Indians. He started with Mr. Parrish to Port Orford as guide, but about half way there he killed Mr. Parrish, quartered his body and with the help of his squaw packed the quarters to the Indian village and buried them.
William Tichenor, quoted in Orvil Dodge, Pioneer History of Coos and Curry Counties, 1915, page 24
Col. T'Vault and General Joseph Lane have both professed religion and joined the Catholic Church. The old sinners have deceived the people and been obedient servants of the devil all their lives, but now in their dotage they are both trying to cheat the devil out of his just rights. Gen. Lane has been so strongly impressed with Catholicism that he has been remarried to his wife. Col. T'Vault ought to follow suit. It is meet for such worthies to float together, and there should be no bastards in the royal families.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, October 3, 1868, page 2
From the California papers we learn of the death of W. G. T'Vault, of smallpox, in Jacksonville, Oregon, on the 4th inst. Col. T'Vault was a pioneer of the Pacific Coast, and was well known in this portion of Idaho. He started and published for a short time the Index newspaper, here in Silver City. T'Vault, before age and dissipation impaired his faculties, was a man of no inconsiderable ability. He was born, we think, in the state of Georgia [probably not], and emigrated to Arkansas in the year 1833, where he acquired his military title by being elected colonel of the state militia; he was, about the same time, a candidate for delegate to the constitutional convention of that state, but was defeated. He afterwards studied law, and practiced his profession a short time in Arkansas, and from there moved to the state of Indiana; he was a member of the legislature of that state for several sessions, and about the year 1845 emigrated to the then Territory of Oregon, where he lived for a number of years. After Oregon became a state of the Union, he was twice elected to the assembly, and was speaker of that body one or two sessions. He joined the Catholic Church a few years ago. At the time of his death, he was acting in the capacity of district attorney, and was well advanced in years.
Owyhee Avalanche, Silver City, Idaho, February 13, 1869, page 2
BOONE'S GRANDCHILD DIES
Mrs. E. T'Vault Kenney, 79, Passes Away at Jacksonville.
Mrs. Elizabeth T'Vault Kenney, a well-known pioneer of 1845, died at her home in Jacksonville yesterday morning.
Mrs. Kenney was the daughter of Colonel William Green T'Vault and Mrs. Rhoda Boone Burns T'Vault and was born in Warrick County, Indiana, in 1833. She was of Scotch, Irish and French ancestry and was a great-granddaughter of Daniel Boone and directly descended from the Robert Burns family of Scotland. Her father was editor of the first newspaper west of the Rocky Mountains, the Spectator, first issued at Oregon City, February 5, 1846. Later he was prominent as a legislator and lawyer and in 1855 he was editor of the Table Rock Sentinel, the first newspaper in Rogue River Valley.
In 1852 the T'Vault family removed from Oregon City to Jackson County, and as a young girl Mrs. Kenney was the first postmistress there, the post office being known as The Dardanelles, and was situated on Rogue River, not far from Gold Hill of today. In 1855 she was married to Daniel M. Kenney, a native of Louisiana, a lawyer and a pioneer of 1849. He died February 18, 1860, leaving his young wife with two little boys to rear. Her father died in 1869 and her mother not long afterwards.
Mrs. Kenney was a member of the Oregon Pioneer Association and also of the Pioneer Association of Southern Oregon. Her two sons survive.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, October 21, 1911, page 12
Last revised June 25, 2017