[About this transcript: Items inside italicized square brackets have been added for clarity. Page and chapter numbers are hyper-linked to facsimiles of the original pages, with the kind permission of the 1st-Hand-History Foundation ( www.1st-hand-history.org ).
Walling, A. G. History of Southern Oregon, comprising Jackson, Josephine, Douglas, Curry and Coos Counties, compiled from the most authentic sources. Portland, Oregon, 1884, pages 83-176.]
CAPTAINS LEWIS AND CLARKE TRAVERSE THE CONTINENT.
Situation at the Beginning of the Nineteenth Century--Colonial Limits of the United States--The Louisiana Purchase--England and America Rivals in the West--Expedition of Lewis and Clarke--Their Winter Among the Mandans--Journey up the Missouri, Across the Rockies, Down Clarke's Fork, Through the Lolo Trail, Down Clearwater, Snake and Columbia Rivers to the Pacific--They Winter at Fort Clatsop--Discovery of the Willamette--The Walla Wallas, Cayuses and Nez Perces--Arrival in St. Louis--What the Expedition Accomplished.
"Take the wings
Of morning, pierce the Barcan wilderness,
Or lose thyself in the continuous woods
Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound
Save his own dashings."
So sang Bryant of the mighty Columbia and the land of "continuous woods," through which it majestically rolls. The name Oregon which Carver had given to the Great River of the West was for years applied to the Columbia and the whole region through which it passes, stretching from the Rocky mountains to the Pacific, and from California indefinitely northward. The name bestowed upon the stream by its discoverer gradually crowded Carver's title from the field, until it is now recognized as the only proper one, while the significance of Oregon has gradually been contracted until that title now applies only to the state of which we write.
At the dawning of the present century, now rapidly drawing near to the "sear and yellow leaf," three powerful nations claimed dominion on our coast, the indefinite boundaries of their alleged possessions conflicting and overlapping to such an extent as to be a constant menace of war. England, Spain and Russia claimed territorial sovereignty gained by the discoveries and acts of persons officially empowered by their respective governments, while in common with them representatives of the merchant fleets of the United States, France, Portugal and Austria sought the Pacific waters to reap the harvest of wealth that lay in the fur trade of the coast.
Suddenly and almost unexpectedly a new nation stepped upon the plain to contest with her powerful rivals the palm of territorial dominion, and this was the new-born republic, the United States of America. In the few years which had elapsed since her
long struggle for independence had been crowned with success, and especially since a constitutional bond had firmly cemented the states into one grand, united nation, her growth in population, wealth, power and importance had been wonderful, and she now prepared to assert her natural right to extend her borders in the direction plainly indicated by the hand of nature.
The position the United States then occupied in relation to Oregon may be briefly stated as follows: At the treaty of 1783, where Great Britain formally acknowledged the independence of her valiant colonies, her commissioners for a long time refused to relinquish to them that portion of her possessions lying between the Alleghanies and the Mississippi; but as the colonies had been accustomed to exercise jurisdiction as far west as the great river of DeSoto, being the extreme western limit of British possessions since it was the eastern boundary of Louisiana, the American commissioners insisted upon that territory being included, and finally carried their point. Even then it was eleven years before England surrendered the seven military posts within that portion of the United States and then only after much pressure had been brought to bear. England was, therefore, only represented in America after the revolution, so far as western exploration and settlement was concerned, by the powerful Hudson's Bay Company, and its new rival, the Northwest Company, whose struggle for possession of the unclaimed fur regions west of Canada and Hudson's bay has been already alluded to and will again occupy attention further on. The boundary agreed upon between England and the United States followed up the St. Lawrence from a certain initial point, through the chain of great lakes and the smaller ones lying west of Superior as far as the Lake of the Woods, whence the line cut across to the headwaters of the Mississippi, and followed down that stream to the Spanish Florida line. This left within the limits of the United States a portion of that extremely desirable region spoken of by Lahontan, Hennepin and others, and but recently described by Captain Jonathan Carver, while the new nation bordered upon the remainder with nothing but the theoretical title of Spain to stand between her and an indefinite extension westward. On the other hand, only above the United States line did Great Britain's possessions border upon this terra incognita and in a region universally recognized as being fit only for the occupation of wandering fur traders.
The title to Louisiana which Spain had acquired by purchase from France in 1762, she reconveyed to that powerful nation in 1800; but Napoleon, recognizing the fact that his ambitious designs in Europe would only be hampered by the possession and necessary protection of vast territorial interests in the United States, and desiring to spite England and place her face to face in America with an energetic and powerful rival, sold the whole province with all the right and title of France to the United States in 1803. The eastern boundary was the Mississippi; its southwestern limit the Spanish, Mexican and California possessions, while to the northwest there was no limit whatever. This action, so entirely unexpected by England, changed the whole aspect of affairs in America, and left the United States without any bar whatever to prevent the extension of her dominions toward the Pacific.
At the time John Ledyard undertook to organize a company in Paris to engage in the Pacific fur trade, Thomas Jefferson was residing there as representative of the United States at the court of France, and became deeply interested in his project of
exploring the northwestern wilderness of America, which was defeated by the Russian traders. In 1792 Mr. Jefferson proposed to the American Philosophical Society that a subscription be raised for the purpose of engaging some competent person to explore that region "by ascending the Missouri, crossing the Stony mountains, and descending the nearest river to the Pacific." Meriwether Lewis, a native of Virginia and a lieutenant in the United States army, warmly solicited the position, and was selected at the request of Mr. Jefferson. Mr. Andre Michaux, a distinguished French botanist, was chosen as his traveling companion. This gentleman was in the employ of the French government, and when he had proceeded as far as Kentucky upon the overland journey, he was recalled by the French minister, and the expedition was abandoned. On the eighteenth of January, 1808, Mr. Jefferson, as president of the United States, incorporated into a special message to congress on the Indian question a suggestion that such a journey as he had before advocated be made by representatives of the government. This proposition was approved by congress and an ample appropriation made to carry it into effect. Lewis had then become a captain and was acting in the capacity of private secretary to the president, and upon urgent solicitation received the direction of the enterprise. Captain Lewis selected William Clarke as an associate in command, and that gentleman accordingly received a captain's commission and was detailed for this duty.
In the instructions drawn up for the guidance of the party, the president says: "The object of your mission is to explore the Missouri river, and such principal streams of it, as, by its course and communication with the waters of the Pacific ocean, whether the Columbia, Oregon, Colorado, or any other river, may offer the most direct and practicable water communication across the continent, for the purposes of commerce." They were directed to acquire as intimate a knowledge as possible of the extent and number of Indian tribes, their manners, customs and degree of civilization, and to report fully upon the topography, the character of the soil, the natural products, the animal life and minerals, as well as to ascertain by scientific observations and inquiry as much as possible about the climate, and to inquire especially into the fur trade and the needs of commerce. Since Louisiana had not yet been formally conveyed to the United States, Captain Lewis' instructions contained a paragraph saying: "Your mission has been communicated to the ministers here from France, Spain and Great Britain, and through them to their governments; and such assurances given them as to its objects, as we trust will satisfy them. The country of Louisiana having been ceded by Spain to France, the passport you have from the minister of France, the representative of the present sovereign of the country, will be a protection with all its subjects; and that from the minister of England will entitle you to the friendly aid of any traders of that allegiance with whom you may happen to meet."
All arrangements were completed and Lewis left Washington on the fifth of July, 1803, only a few days subsequent to the receipt of the joyful intelligence that France had ceded Louisiana to the United States. He was joined by Clarke at Louisville, and the two selected their men and repaired to St. Louis, near which they encamped until spring. The party which finally started on this great journey May 14, 1804, consisted of Captain Meriwether Lewis, Captain William Clarke, nine young men from Kentucky, fourteen soldiers, two French watermen, known in the parlance of
fur traders as voyageurs, an interpreter and hunter and a negro servant of Captain Clarke. Besides these were a number of assistants who accompanied the expedition as far as the Mandan country.
The party ascended the Missouri as far as the region inhabited by the Mandan Indians, with whom they spent the winter, and while there negotiated treaties of peace between their hosts and the Ricarees, and informed themselves carefully upon the condition of Indian affairs and the geography of the surrounding country.
In the spring of 1805 the journey westward was resumed, by following up the Missouri, of whose course, tributaries and the great falls they had received very minute and accurate information from their Mandan friends. Passing the mouth of the Yellowstone, which name they record as being but a translation of Roche Jaune, the title given it by French-Canadian trappers who had already visited it, they continued up the Missouri, passed the castellated rocks and the great falls and cascades, ascended through the mighty canyon, and reaching the headwaters of the stream crossed the Rocky mountain divide and came upon the stream variously known along its course as Deer Lodge, Hellgate, Bitterroot, Clarke's Fork of the Columbia and Pend d'Oreille river. Upon this they bestowed the name Clarke's river, and so it should be called from its source in the Rocky mountains to where it unites with the main stream in British Columbia. From this river the advance party under Clarke crossed the Bitterroot mountains by the Lolo trail, suffering intensely from cold and hunger, and on the twentieth of September reached a village of Nez Perce Indians situated on a plain about fifteen miles from the south fork of Clearwater river, where they were received with great hospitality. This first passage of the mountains by representatives of the United States and their warm reception by the Indians, contrast strongly with a scene witnessed by this same Lolo trail, when in 1877 Howard's army hotly pursued Chief Joseph and his little band of hostile Nez Perces, who were fleeing before the avengers from the scene of their many bloody massacres.
The almost famished men partook of such quantities of the food liberally provided by their savage hosts that many of them became ill, among them being Captain Clarke, who was unable to continue the journey until the second day. He then went to the village of Twisted-hair, the chief, situated on an island in the stream mentioned. To the river he gave the name Koos-koos-kee, erroneously supposing it to be its Indian title. The probabilities are that the Nez Perces, in trying to inform Captain Clarke that this river flowed into a still larger one, the one variously known as Lewis, Sahaptin or Snake river, used the words "Koots-koots-kee," meaning "This is the smaller," and were understood to have meant that as the name of the stream. The Nez Perce name is Kaih-kaih-koosh, signifying Clearwater, the name it is generally known by.
Having been united the two parties a few days later journeyed on down the Clearwater.
Concerning their deplorable condition and their method of traveling the journal says: "Captain Lewis and two of the men were taken very ill last evening, and to-day he could scarcely sit on his horse, while others were obliged to be put on horse-back and some, from extreme weakness and pain, were forced to lie down alongside of the road. * * * The weather was very hot and oppressive to the party, most of whom are now complaining of sickness. Our situation, indeed, ren-
dered it necessary to husband our remaining strength and it was determined to proceed down the river in canoes. Captain Clarke, therefore, set out with the Twisted-hair, and two young men, in quest of timber for canoes. * * * Having resolved to go down to some spot calculated for building canoes, we set out early this morning and proceeded five miles, and encamped on low ground on the south opposite the forks of the river." The canoes being constructed they embarked in the month of October on their journey down the Clearwater and connecting streams for the Pacific, leaving what remained of their horses in charge of the friendly Nez Perces. They had for some time been subsisting upon roots, fish, horse meat and an occasional deer, crow, or wolf, but having left their horses behind them their resort when out of other food now became the wolfish dogs they purchased from the Indians.
Upon reaching Snake river which was named in honor of Captain Lewis, the canoes were turned down that stream, which they followed to the Columbia, naming the Tukannon river Kim-so-emim, a title derived from the Indians, and upon the Palouse bestowing the name Drewyer, in honor of the hunter of the party. They then followed down the Columbia passing a number of rapids, and arriving at the Cascades on the twenty-first of October. A portage was made of all their effects and a portion of the canoes, the remainder making the perilous descent of the cascades or falls in safety. The mouth of the Willamette was passed without the addition of so large a stream being noticed. Cape Disappointment was reached November 15, and the eyes of the weary travelers were gladdened with a sight of the great ocean which had been their goal for more than a year. The season of winter rains having set in, they were soon driven by high water from the low land on the north bank of the stream, eleven miles above the cape, which they had selected for their winter residence. They then left the Chinooks, crossed the river, and built a habitation on the high land on the south side of the stream, which they called Fort Clatsop, in honor of the Indians who inhabited that region. Here they spent the winter, making occasional short excursions along the coast. The departure for home was delayed with the hope that some trading vessel might appear from which sadly-needed supplies might be obtained, but being disappointed in this they loaded their canoes and on March 23, 1806, took final leave of Fort Clatsop. Before going they presented the chiefs of the Chinooks and Clatsops, with certificates of kind and hospitable treatment, and circulated among the natives several papers, posting a copy on the wall of the abandoned fort, which read as follows: "The object of this last is, that through the medium of some civilized person, who may see the same, it may be made known to the world, that the party, consisting of the persons whose names are hereunto annexed, and who were sent out by the Government of the United States to explore the interior of the continent of North America, did penetrate the same by the way of the Missouri and Columbia rivers, to the discharge of the latter into the Pacific ocean, where they arrived on the fourteenth day of November, 1805, and departed the twenty-third day of March, 1806, on their return to the United States by the same route by which they had come out." To this was appended a list of the members of the expedition. One of these copies was handed by an Indian the following year to a fur trader whose vessel had entered the Columbia, by whom it was taken to China and a transcription of it forwarded to the United
States; thus, even had the party perished on the return journey, evidence of the completion of their task was not wanting.
Upon taking an invoice of their possessions before starting upon the return, they found that their goods available for traffic with the Indians consisted of six blue robes, one scarlet robe, one U. S. artillery hat and coat, five robes made from the national ensign, and a few old clothes trimmed with ribbon. Upon these must they depend for purchasing provisions and horses and for winning the hearts of stubborn chiefs.
They proceeded up the south bank of the stream, until they came unexpectedly upon a large river flowing into it from the south, On an island near its mouth, known to the early trappers as Wapatoo and now called Sauvie's island, they came upon an Indian village, where they were refused a supply of food. To impress them with his power, Captain Clarke, entered one of their habitations and cast a few sulphur matches into the fire. The savages were frightened at the blue flame and looked upon the strange visitor as a great medicine man. They implored him to extinguish the "evil fire," and brought all the food he desired. The name of the Indian village was Multnomah, but Captain Clarke understood the name to apply to the river, of whose course he made careful inquiry. Upon the map of this expedition the Multnomah is represented as extending southward and eastward into California and Nevada, and the Indians who resided along the streams that flow from southeastern Oregon into the Snake are represented as living on the upper branches of the Multnomah. The true Indian name of the river and valley is Wallamet, which has been corrupted to Willamette by those who conceived the idea that it was of French origin. The confusion between, Indian, French and English names in this region has resulted in many very peculiar and ridiculous appellations.
At the mouth of Lapage river, the stream later named John Day, in memory of the bold mountaineer who met such a tragic fate, the canoes were abandoned, and the party proceeded up the Columbia on foot, packing their baggage upon the backs of a few horses purchased from the natives. Crossing the Umatilla, which they called You-ma-lolam, they arrived at the mouth of the Walla Walla, on the twenty-seventh of April. Yellept, the Walla Walla chief, was a man of unusual capacity and power, and extended to them the most cordial and bountiful hospitality they had enjoyed since leaving the abodes of civilization. How different would have been the reception extended them could the old chief have gazed into the future with prophetic eye, and seen his great successor, Peo-peo-mux-mux, murdered while unjustly a prisoner by members of the same race and tribe to which these white guests belonged! It is related of Yellept that in after years, having seen the last of five noble sons perish in battle or by the hand of disease, he called together the tribe, and throwing himself upon the body of his last son sternly bade them to bury him with his dead. With loud lamentations and heart-broken sobs they did as he commanded, and buried alive the great chief they both loved and feared. This was the man who extended his hospitalities to Lewis and Clarke, and because of the important part the Walla Wallas and Cayuses played in the after history of this region, the following account given by those gentlemen of their entertainers is presented: Their journal says: "Immediately upon our arrival, Yellept, who proved to be a man of much influence, not only in his own, but in the neighboring nations, collected the inhabitants, and after having made a
harrangue, the purport of which was to induce the nations to treat us hospitably, set them an example, by bringing himself an armful of wood, and a platter containing three roasted mullets. They immediately assented to one part, at least, of the recommendation, by furnishing us with an abundance of the only sort of fuel they employ, the stems of shrubs growing in the plains. We then purchased four dogs, on which we supped heartily, having been on short allowance for two days past. When we were disposed to sleep, the Indians retired immediately on our request, and, indeed, uniformly conducted themselves with great propriety. These people live on roots, which are very abundant in the plains, and catch a few salmon-trout; but at present they seem to subsist chiefly on a species of mullet, weighing from one to three pounds. * * * Monday, twenty-eighth, we purchased ten dogs. While this trade was carrying on by our men, Yellept brought a fine white horse, and presented him to Captain Clarke, expressing at the same time a wish to have a kettle; but on being informed that we had already disposed of the last kettle we could spare, he said he would be content with any present we should make in return. Captain Clarke, therefore, gave his sword, for which the chief had before expressed a desire, adding one hundred balls, some powder, and other small articles, with which he appeared perfectly satisfied. We were now anxious to depart, and requested Yellept to lend us canoes for the purpose of crossing the river. But he would not listen to any proposal of leaving the village. He wished us to remain two or three days; but would not let us go today, for he had already sent to invite his neighbors, the Chimnapoos (Cayuses), to come down this evening and join his people in a dance for our amusement. We urged, in vain, that by setting out sooner, we would the earlier return with the articles they desired; for a day, he observed, would make but little difference. We at length mentioned, that, as there was no wind, it was now the best time to cross the river, and would merely take the horses over, and return to sleep at their village. To this he assented, and then we crossed with our horses, and having hobbled them, returned to their camp. Fortunately there was among these Wollawollahs, a prisoner belonging to a tribe of Shoshonee or Snake Indians, residing to the south of the Multnomah, and visiting occasionally the heads of the Wollawollah creek. Our Shoshonee woman, Sacajaweah, though she belonged to a tribe near the Missouri, spoke the same language as this prisoner, and by their means we were able to explain ourselves to the Indians, and answer all their inquiries with respect to ourselves and the object of our journey. Our conversation inspired them with much confidence, and they soon brought several sick persons, for whom they requested our assistance. We splintered the broken arm of one, gave some relief to another, whose knee was contracted by rheumatism, and administered what we thought beneficial for ulcers and eruptions of the skin, on various parts of the body, which are very common disorders among them. But our most valuable medicine was eye-water, which we distributed, and which, indeed, they required very much; the complaint of the eyes, occasioned by living on the water, and increased by the fine sand of the plains, being now universal. A little before sunset, the Chimnapoos, amounting to one hundred men and a few women, came to the village, and joining the Wollawollahs, who were about the same number of men, formed themselves in a circle round our camp, and waited very patiently till our men were disposed to dance, which they did for about an hour, to the tune of the violin. They
then requested to see the Indians dance. With this they readily complied, and the whole assemblage, amounting, with the women and children of the village, to several hundred, stood up, and sang and danced at the same time. The exercise was not, indeed, very graceful, for the greater part of them were formed into a solid column, round a kind of hollow square, stood on the same place, and merely jumped up at intervals, to keep time to the music. Some, however, of the more active warriors entered the square, and danced round it sidewise, and some of our men joined in the dance, to the great satisfaction of the Indians. The dance continued till ten o'clock the next morning. In the course of the day we gave small medals to two inferior chiefs, each of whom made us a present of a fine horse. We were in a poor condition to make an adequate acknowledgment for this kindness, but gave several articles, among which was a pistol, with some hundred rounds of ammunition. We have, indeed, been treated by these people with an unusual degree of kindness and civilty. * * * We may indeed, justly affirm that of all the Indians whom we have met since leaving the United States, the Wollawollahs were the most hospitable, honest and sincere."
Bidding adieu to these hospitable people, they left the Columbia on the twenty-ninth of April and followed eastward what is known as the Nez Perce trail. They went up the Touchet, called by them White Stallion because of the present Yellept had made to Captain Clarke, the Patet and Pataha and down the Alpowa to Snake river, which they crossed and followed up the north side of Clearwater until they reached the village of Twisted-hair, where had been left their horses the fall before. The Lolo trail was not yet free from snow and for six weeks they resided among the Nez Perces, a tribe closely woven into the history of this region. Of them and the intercourse held with them the fall before, the journal says: "The Chopunnish or Pierce-nosed nation, who reside "on the Kooskooskee and Lewis' rivers, are in person stout, portly, well-looking men; the women are small, with good features, and generally handsome, though the complexion of both sexes is darker than that of the Tushepaws. In dress they resemble that nation, being fond of displaying their ornaments. The buffalo or elk skin robe decorated with beads, sea shells, chiefly mother-of-pearl, attached to an otter skin collar, and hung in the hair, which falls in front in two queues; feathers, paint of different kinds, principally white, green and light blue, all of which they find in their own country; these are the chief ornaments they use. In winter they wear a short shirt of dressed skins, long painted leggings and moccasins, and a plait of twisted grass around the neck. The dress of the women is more simple, consisting of a long shirt of argalia or ibex skin, reaching down to the ankles without a girdle; to this are tied little pieces of brass and shells, and other small articles; but the head is not at all ornamented. The dress of the female is indeed more modest, and more studiously so, than any we have observed, though the other sex is careless of the indelicacy of exposure. The Chopunnish have very few amusements, for their life is painful and laborious; and all their exertions are necessary to earn even their precarious subsistence. During the summer and autumn they are busily occupied in fishing for salmon, and collecting their winter store of roots. In the winter they hunt the deer on snow-shoes over the plains, and towards spring cross the mountains to the Missouri, for the purpose of trafficing for buffalo robes. The inconveniences of that comfortless life are increased by frequent encounters with their
enemies from the west, who drive them over the mountains with the loss of their horses, and sometimes the lives of many of the nation. Though originally the same people, their dialect varies very perceptibly from that of the Tushepaws; their treatment of us differed much from the kind and disinterested services of the Shoshonees (Snakes); they are indeed selfish and avaricious; they part very reluctantly with every article of food or clothing; and while they expect a recompense for every service, however small, do not concern themselves about reciprocating any presents we may give them. They are generally healthy--the only disorders, which we have had occasion to remark, being of a scrofulous kind, and for these, as well as for the amusement of those who are in good health, hot and cold bathing is very commonly used. The soil of these prairies is of a light yellow clay, intermixed with small, smooth grass; it is barren, and produces little more than a bearded grass about three inches high, and a prickly pear, of which we now found three species." It is very evident that these gentlemen were not acquainted with the attributes of the succulent bunch grass, the stockman's friend, nor of the soil, for the country they denominated "barren" is now producing thirty bushels of wheat to the acre without any irrigation or fertilizing of any kind.
On the fifteenth of June an effort was made to cross the Bitterroot mountains, but it was unsuccessful, and not until the thirtieth were the mountains safely passed. On the fourth of July the company separated into two parties, one of them under Captain Lewis striking across the mountains to the Missouri, down which it passed, exploring the larger tributaries and learning much of the geography of Montana; the other was led by Clarke to the headwaters of the Yellowstone, down which it passed to the Missouri, uniting with the first party some distance below the mouth of the Yellowstone on the twelfth of August. They then continued down the stream, arriving at St. Louis September 25, 1806, having been gone more than two years, and having achieved honor for themselves and rendered inestimable services to their government.
THE ASTORIA ENTERPRISE.
The Northwest Company Establishes a Post on Fraser Lake--Result of the Journey of Lewis and Clarke--Fort Henry Built by Americans on Snake River--Organization of the Pacific Fur Company--Canadian Voyageurs-- Astoria Founded--Sad Fate of the Tonquin--Terrible Sufferings of Hunt's Party--Success of the Business in 1813--McDougal Sells the Property to the Northwest Company--The Other Parties Return to the Atlantic Coast.
When Great Britain was officially notified that an expedition was about to be dispatched by the United States government to explore that much-claimed region lying to the west of the Mississippi, much anxiety was felt, especially by the Northwest Company of Montreal, whose traders were operating farther west and south than were the employees of the Hudson's Bay Company. They could not be expected to submit
without a struggle to the loss of so vast a territory in which to prosecute their peculiar industry. The line of division west of the Lake of the Woods was undefined, and the extent of territory to be occupied in the future by England and America depended largely upon the actual occupancy by the contending parties. The Northwest Company consequently, in 1804, dispatched a trusted agent named Laroque, in command of a party, with instructions to establish trading posts on the Columbia. Laroque failed utterly to accomplish the purpose of his journey, since circumstances conspired to prevent him from progressing beyond the Missouri river in the Mandan country. The next year Simon Fraser left the company's headquarters at Fort Chipewyan, and following the course pursued thirteen years before by Mackenzie, reached Fraser lake, where he founded a trading post. This post of the Northwest Company was the first establishment made by Englishmen or Americans west of the Rocky mountains, and lies one hundred miles north of the international line subsequently established. The name New Caledonia was bestowed upon that region, which was considered to lie north of the country known as Oregon.
The return of Lewis and Clarke was the cause of great rejoicing in the United States. Mr. Jefferson says: "Never did a similar event excite more joy throughout the United States. The humblest of its citizens had taken a lively interest in the issue of this journey, and looked forward with impatience to the information it would furnish. Their anxieties, too, for the safety of the corps had been kept in a state of excitement by lugubrious rumors, circulated from time to time on uncertain authorities, and uncontradicted by letters, or other direct information, from the time they had left the Mandan towns, on their ascent up the river in April of the preceding year, 1805, until their actual return to St. Louis." Captain Lewis was soon after his return appointed governor of Louisiana, with which his journey had rendered him more familiar than any other man except his associate; and Captain Clarke was appointed general of militia of the same territory and agent for Indian affairs in that vast region he had explored. During a period of temporary mental derangement Captain Lewis died by his own hand, in September, 1809, before he had fully completed his narrative of the journey. The history of the expedition was prepared from his manuscript under the direction of Captain. Clarke and was first published in 1814. The general details, however, were spread throughout the country immediately upon their return, especially on the frontier. During their absence other exploring parties were traversing Louisiana in various directions in search of information for the government. Lieutenant Pike ascended the Mississippi to its headwaters in 1805, and the following year journeyed southwestward from the mouth of the Missouri to the sources of the Arkansas, Red and Rio Bravo del Nortè. At the same time Dunbar, Hunter and Sibley explored Red river and its companion streams. These explorations served to greatly stimulate the fur trade carried on from St. Louis and Macinaw, as well as to strengthen the government in its purpose of adhering to its right to Louisiana, acquired by the tripple method of purchase, discovery and exploration. To these was soon added the fourth and most important--occupation.
One of the first results of the expedition was the organization of the Missouri Fur Company, in 1808, with headquarters at St. Louis. Trading posts were established on the affluents of the Mississippi and Missouri, and that same year Mr. Henry, one of
the agents of the company, crossed the mountains and founded Fort Henry on the headwaters of Lewis or Snake river, being the first American establishment west of the Rocky mountains. The first effort to occupy the mouth of the Columbia was made by the captain of one of the American vessels trading in the Pacific, whose name is variously given by historians as T. Winship, Nathaniel Winship, and Captain Smith. In 1810 this gentleman built a small house for trading purposes at Oak Point, on the south bank of the Columbia some sixty miles above its mouth, far enough up the stream to meet even the requirements of Captain Vancouver's idea of what constituted a river.
During the first decade of the nineteenth century American fishing and trading vessels crowded the Pacific, while other nations were not entirely unrepresented. The fur trade developed into a great industry, being conducted by them in the most practical manner. All furs collected by the Russian American Trading Company were sent to China or Russia by land from Kamtchatka, since their vessels were not granted the privilege of entering Chinese ports. It was this fact and because England had granted to monopolies the control of her Pacific commerce, that the fur trade by sea was conducted chiefly by Americans. That this condition of affairs should be especially distasteful to the subjects of Great Britain is natural. They looked upon the enterprise and success of these "Yankee adventurers" with jealous eyes, nor were they willing to give them the least credit for their skill as navigators or energy as tradesmen. Because they conducted the details of their traffic in such a way as to render it highly successful, they were classed by the English traders as adventurers, though often the representatives of wealthy and substantial business houses. Archibald Campbell thus contemptuously reviews their method of carrying on the Pacific commerce: "These adventurers set out on the voyage with a few trinkets of very little value. In the Southern Pacific, they pick up a few seal skins, and perhaps a few butts of oil; at the Gallipagos [=Galapagos], they lay in turtle, of which they preserve the shells; at Valparaiso they raise a few dollars in exchange for European articles; at Nootka, and other parts of the northwest coast, they traffic with the natives for furs, which, when winter commences, they carry to the Sandwich islands, to dry and preserve from vermin; here they leave their own people to take care of them, and, in the spring, embark, in lieu, the natives of the islands, to assist in navigating to the northwest coast in search of more skins. The remainder of the cargo is then made up of sandal, which grows abundantly in the woods of Atooi and Owyhee (Hawaii), of tortoise shells, sharks' fins, and pearls of an inferior kind, all of which are acceptable in the China market; and with these and their dollars they purchase cargoes of teas, silks and nankins, and thus complete their voyage in the course of two or three years."
This may be considered a correct statement of the general manner of conducting the trade by Americans, with the exception of the "few trinkets" slur, for the majority of vessels, which were large and valuable ones, took out with them quite extensive cargoes of English, American and other manufactured goods and products, with which they supplied the Spanish and Russian settlements, the latter in particular relying almost wholly upon the Americans for their supplies of ammunition, sugar, spirits and manufactured articles. That a large proportion of furs procured from the natives were paid for in "trinkets" is true, but this practice was as much indulged in by English
traders on the Atlantic side as by Americans on the Pacific, and such articles have always in every land and by every nation been deemed a valuable consideration in dealing with uncivilized races. The Americans are deserving of much credit for their economical, energetic and highly practical method of conducting their commercial ventures in the Pacific.
In one particular, however, some of these independent traders, who might, perhaps, merit the contemptuous title of adventurers bestowed upon them all by their rivals, were guilty of conduct very reprehensible when viewed from a certain standpoint. Caring only for present profits and heedless of the effect of their conduct upon the future of their trade, they supplied the Indians with whisky and fire-arms. Upon the first glance it would seem that, as the Indians were chiefly depended upon to provide the furs, any addition made to their facilities for accomplishing this would be beneficial to the business and that the giving of guns to them would result in an increase of the trade; but the opposite was the case. Irving says: "In this way several fierce tribes in the vicinity of the Russian posts, or within range of their trading excursions, were furnished with deadly means of warfare, and rendered troublesome and dangerous neighbors." The fact is that the Russian intercourse with the natives was often marked by conduct so illiberal and heartlessly cruel that it is no wonder they objected to their victims being supplied with means of asserting their rights. Representations were made by the Russian government to the United States of this objectionable conduct of American traders, but since no law or treaty was infringed the government could do nothing. It, however, applied to John Jacob Astor, a merchant of New York, who had long been engaged in the fur trade about the lakes and headwaters of the Mississippi, to see if he could not suggest a remedy.
Mr. Astor conceived the idea of establishing a post at the mouth of the Columbia, from which the Russian traders could be supplied annually by a vessel sent out from New York, and which would be the headquarters for a large trade with the interior. By this systematic conduct of the business he expected to supersede the independent traders, remove the cause of irritation to Russia, and found permanent establishments of the United States along the Columbia. Mr. Astor imparted his idea to the president and cabinet, by whom it was heartily endorsed, and he was assured that all the support and encouragement would be his which the government could properly offer. President Jefferson had, as we have seen, always been a warm advocate of American supremacy in this region, and in a letter written in later years to Mr. Astor, said: "I considered, as a great public acquisition, the commencement of a settlement on that part of the western coast of America, and looked forward with gratification to the time when its descendants should have spread themselves through the whole length of that coast, covering it with free and independent Americans, unconnected with us but by the ties of blood and interest, and enjoying like us the rights of self-government." Grand as was that great statesman's conception of the destiny of this coast, it is transcended by actual, living reality. Not only the "ties of blood and interest," but of national union and loyal brotherhood, bind together the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, while the great interior wilderness has now become more potent as a bond of union to hold them together, than it then was as a barrier to keep them apart.
Mr. Astor associated with himself as managing partners several experienced men, some of whom had formerly been connected with the Northwest Company. This was a very unwise, and, as it afterwards proved, an unfortunate step. These men were thoroughly competent to manage the details of the business, being energetic and able men and completely familiar with the management of the successful English company; but they were subjects of Great Britain, their interests and instincts were British, and in forming an American settlement none but Americans should have been placed in command. Washington's injunction to "put none but Americans on guard," should have been borne in mind. These men made no pretense of Americanizing themselves or transferring their allegiance; on the contrary they took the precaution to provide themselves before leaving Canada with proofs of their British citizenship, to be used for their advantage in case of future difficulties between the two nations. These were Alexander McKay, who had accompanied Mackenzie on both of his journeys, Duncan McDougal, David and Robert Stuart, and Donald McKenzie. Wilson Price Hunt, of New Jersey, the only American at first interested as a partner, was given the chief direction of the enterprise on the Pacific coast. Mr. Astor owned a half interest in the enterprise and furnished the capital, while the other half was divided among the four partners, who managed the details of the work in the field. These gentlemen incorporated as the Pacific Fur Company, with Mr. Astor as president.
On the second of August, 1810, the ship Tonquin sailed for the mouth of the Columbia. She carried ten guns, had a crew of twenty men and was under the command of Jonathan Thorn, a lieutenant of the United States navy, on leave of absence. She carried a large cargo of supplies and merchandize for trading with the natives, the frame of a small schooner designed for use along the coast, and seeds and implements for the cultivation of the soil. In the Tonquin sailed four of the partners, McKay, McDougal, David Stuart and Robert Stuart, twelve clerks, several artisans and thirteen Canadian voyageurs.
The voyageurs were a special outgrowth of the fur trade and are deserving of more than a passing notice. Irving thus describes them: "The voyageurs may be said to have sprung up out of the fur trade, having originally been employed by the early French merchants in their trading expeditions through the labyrinth of rivers and lakes of the boundless interior. In the intervals of their long, arduous, and laborious expeditions they were wont to pass their time in idleness and revelry about the trading posts or settlements; squandering their hard earnings in heedless conviviality, and rivalling their neighbors, the Indians, in indolent indulgence and an imprudent disregard of the morrow. When Canada passed under British domination, and the old French trading houses were broken up, the voyageurs were for a time disheartened and disconsolate, and with difficulty could reconcile themselves to the service of the new comers, so different in habits, manners and language from their former employers. By degrees, however, they became accustomed to the change, and at length came to consider the British fur traders, and especially the members of the Northwest Company, as the legitimate lords of creation. The dress of these people is generally half civilized, half savage. They wear a capot or surcoat, made of a blanket, a striped cotton shirt, cloth trowsers, or leathern leggings, moccasins of deer skin, and a belt of variegated worsted, from which are suspended the knife, tobacco pouch, and other implements.
Their language is of the same piebald character, being a French patois, embroidered with Indian and English words and phrases. The lives of the voyageurs are passed in wild and extensive rovings. They are generally of French descent and inherit much of the gaiety and lightness of heart of their ancestors, being full of anecdote and song, and ever ready for the dance. Their natural good will is probably heightened by a community of adventure and hardship in their precarious and wandering life. They are dexterous boatmen, vigorous and adroit with the oar and paddle, and will row from morning until night without a murmur. The steersman often sings an old traditionary French song, with some regular burden in which they all join, keeping time with their oars. In the course of years they will gradually disappear; their songs will die away like the echoes they once awakened, and the Canadian voyageurs will become a forgotten race, or remembered among the poetical images of past times and as themes for local and romantic associations."
The Tonquin reached the mouth of the Columbia on the twenty-second of March, 1811, much jealousy and ill-feeling having been engendered during the voyage between the commander and the Scotch partners. Captain Thorn was a martinet, a strict disciplinarian, with a high opinion of the power and dignity of the commander of a vessel. He was headstrong and stubborn in the extreme. When the ship arrived at the river the bar was very rough, and the captain feared to enter until the location of the channel was ascertained. He ordered Mr. Fox, the chief mate, to take one seaman and three Canadians in a whale boat and explore the channel, and though the mate protested that it was certain death to attempt it, he insisted upon obedience to his orders. The boat left the ship and was soon swallowed up in the angry billows. The next day he sent out another crew to seek the channel, and their boat was swept out to sea by the tide and current, only one of the crew finally reaching land. The vessel succeeded in getting just inside of the bar when darkness came on and she was compelled to cast anchor for the night, while the ebbing tide threatened to sweep her from her precarious hold upon the sand and swamp her amid the breakers. Irving says: "The wind whistled, the sea roared, the gloom was only broken by the ghastly glare of the foaming breakers, the minds of the seamen were full of dreary apprehensions, and some of them fancied they heard the cries of their lost comrades mingling with the uproar of the elements."
In the morning the Tonquin passed safely into the river and came to anchor in a secure harbor. On the twelfth of April, a point on the south side of the river which Broughton had called Point George having been selected, the erection of a fort and buildings was begun; and on that spot, which was then christened Astoria in honor of the projector of the enterprise, now stands one of the most important commercial and manufacturing cities of the Pacific coast. After much delay in preparing a place for the reception of the goods and in landing those to be left at Astoria, during which the captain and partners constantly wrangled about their authority, and before the fort was completed, the Tonquin sailed, on the fifth of June, to engage in trade with the natives along the northern coast, and eventually to reach the Russian settlements in Alaska, with the hope of opening a friendly communication with them.
The Tonquin anchored in a small harbor on Vancouver island, and Alexander McKay, one of the partners, landed upon the island. During his absence the vessel
was surrounded by a host of savages in their canoes, who soon swarmed upon the decks. They were eager to trade, but had evidently had considerable experience in dealing with the whites and were well posted upon the value of their furs, for they resolutely demanded a higher price than Captain Thorn was willing to pay. Provoked beyond measure at their stubbornness, Thorn refused to deal with them, whereupon they became exceedingly insolent. The captain at last completely tost his temper, and seizing the old chief, Nookamis, who was following him about and taunting him with his stinginess, rubbed in his face an otter skin he had been endeavoring to sell. He then ordered the whole band to leave the ship and added blows to enforce his command. The tragic ending of this adventure is thus related by Irving:
"When Mr. M'Kay returned on board, the interpreter related what had passed, and begged him to prevail upon the captain to make sail, as, from his knowledge of the temper and pride of the people of the place, he was sure they would resent the indignity offered to one of their chiefs. Mr. M'Kay, who himself possessed some experience of Indian character, went to the captain, who was still pacing the deck in moody humor, represented the danger to which his hasty act had exposed the vessel, and urged upon him to weigh anchor The captain made light of his councils, and pointed to his cannon and fire-arms as a sufficient safe-guard against naked savages. Further remonstrances only provoked taunting replies and sharp altercations. The day passed away without any signs of hostility, and at night the captain retired, as usual, to his cabin, taking no more than the usual precautions. On the following morning, at day-break, while the captain and Mr. M'Kay were yet asleep, a canoe came alongside in which were twenty Indians, commanded by young Shewish. They were unarmed, their aspect and demeanor friendly, and they held up otter skins, and made signs indicative of a wish to trade. The caution enjoined by Mr. Astor in respect to the admission of Indians on board of the ship, had been neglected for some time past, and the officer of the watch, perceiving those in the canoes to be without weapons, and having received no orders to the contrary, readily permitted them to mount the deck. Another canoe soon succeeded, the crew of which was likewise admitted. In a little while other canoes came off, and Indians were soon clambering into the vessel on all sides.
"The officer of the watch now felt alarmed, and called to Captain Thorn and Mr. M'Kay. By the time they came on deck, it was thronged with Indians. The interpreter noticed to Mr. M'Kay that many of the natives wore short mantles of skins, and intimated a suspicion that they were secretly armed. Mr. M'Kay urged the captain to clear the ship and get under way. He again made light of the advice; but the augmented swarm of canoes about the ship, and the numbers still putting off from shore, at length awakened his distrust, and he ordered some of the crew to weigh anchor, while some were sent aloft to make sail. The Indians now offered to trade with the captain on his own terms, prompted, apparently, by the approaching departure of the ship. Accordingly, a hurried trade was commenced. The main articles sought by the savages in barter, were knives; as fast as some were supplied they moved off and others succeeded. By degrees they were thus distributed about the deck, and all with weapons. The anchor was now nearly up, the sails were loose, and the captain, in a loud and peremptory tone, ordered the ship to be cleared. In an instant a signal
yell was given; it was echoed on every side, knives and war clubs were brandished in every direction, and the savages rushed upon their marked victims.
"The first that fell was Mr. Lewis, the ship's clerk. He was leaning, with folded arms, over a bale of blankets, engaged in bargaining, when he received a deadly stab in the back, and fell down the companionway. Mr. M'Kay, who was seated on the taffrail, sprang to his feet, but was instantly knocked down with a war-club and flung backwards into the sea, where he was dispatched by the women in the canoes. In the meantime, Captain Thorn made desperate fight against fearful odds. He was a powerful as well as resolute man, but he had come upon deck without weapons. Shewish, the young chief, singled him out as his peculiar prey, and rushed upon him at the first outbreak. The captain had barely time to draw a clasp-knife, with one blow of which he laid the young savage dead at his feet. Several of the stoutest followers of Shewish now set upon him. He defended himself vigorously, dealing crippling blows to right and left, and strewing the quarterdeck with the slain and wounded. His object was to fight his way to the cabin, where there were fire-arms; but he was hemmed in with foes, covered with wounds, and faint with loss of blood. For an instant he leaned upon the tiller wheel, when a blow from behind, with a war-club, felled him to the deck, where he was dispatched with knives and thrown overboard.
"While this was transacting upon the quarterdeck, a chance medley fight was going on throughout the ship. The crew fought desperately with knives, handspikes and whatever weapons they could seize upon in the moment of surprise. They were soon, however, overpowered by numbers and mercilessly butchered. As to the seven who had been sent aloft to make sail, they contemplated with horror the carnage that was going on below. Being destitute of weapons, they let themselves down by the running rigging, in hopes of getting between decks. One fell in the attempt, and was instantly dispatched; another received a death-blow in the back as he was descending; a third, Stephen Weekes, the armorer, was mortally wounded as he was getting down the hatchway. The remaining four made good their retreat into the cabin, where they found Mr. Lewis still alive, though mortally wounded. Barricading the cabin door, they broke holes through the companionway, and, with muskets and ammunition which were at hand, opened a brisk fire that soon cleared the deck. Thus far the Indian interpreter, from whom these particulars are derived, had been an eye-witness of the deadly conflict. He had taken no part in it and had been spared by the natives as being of their race. In the confusion of the moment he took refuge with the rest, in the canoes. The survivors of the crew now sallied forth and discharged some of the deck guns, which did great execution among the canoes and drove all the savages to shore.
"For the remainder of the day no one ventured to put off to the ship, deterred by the effects of the firearms. The night passed away without any further attempt on the part of the natives. When the day dawned the Tonquin still lay at anchor in the bay, her sails all loose and flapping in. the wind, and no one apparently on board of her. After a time, some of the canoes ventured forth to reconnoitre, taking with them the interpreter. They paddled about her, keeping cautiously at a distance, but growing more and more emboldened at seeing her quiet and lifeless. One man at length made his appearance on the deck and was recognized by the interpreter as Mr. Lewis.
He made friendly signs and invited them on board. It was long before they ventured to comply. Those who mounted the deck met with no opposition; no one was to be seen on board, for Mr. Lewis, after inviting them, had disappeared. Other canoes now pressed forward to board the prize; the decks were soon crowded and the sides covered with clambering savages, all intent on plunder. In the midst of their eagerness and exultation, the ship blew up with a tremendous explosion. Arms, legs and mutilated bodies were blown into the air, and dreadful havoc was made in the surrounding canoes. The interpreter was in the main chains at the time of the explosion, and was thrown unhurt into the water, where he succeeded in getting into one of the canoes. According to his statement the bay presented an awful spectacle after the catastrophe. The ship had disappeared, but the bay was covered with fragments of the wreck, with shattered canoes, and Indians swimming for their lives or struggling in the agonies of death; while those who had escaped the danger remained aghast and stupefied, or made with frantic panic for the shore. Upwards of a hundred savages were destroyed by the explosion, many more were shockingly mutilated, and for days afterwards the limbs and bodies of the slain were thrown upon the beach.
"The inhabitants of Neweetee were overwhelmed with consternation at this astounding calamity which had burst upon them in the very moment of triumph. The warriors sat mute and mournful, while the women filled the air with loud lamentations. Their weeping and wailing, however, was suddenly changed into yells of fury at the sight of four unfortunate white men brought captive into the village. They had been driven on shore in one of the ship's boats, and taken at some distance along the coast. The interpreter was permitted to converse with them. They proved to be the four brave fellows who had made such desperate defense from the cabin. The interpreter gathered from them some of the particulars already related. They told him further that, after they had beaten off the enemy, and cleared the ship, Lewis advised that they should slip the cable and endeavor to get to sea. They declined to take his advice, alleging that the wind set too strongly into the. bay, and would drive them on shore. They resolved, as soon as it was dark, to put off quietly in the ship's boat, which they would be able to do unperceived, and to coast along back to Astoria. They put their resolution into effect; but Lewis refused to accompany them, being disabled by his wound, hopeless of escape and determined on a terrible revenge. On the voyage out he had frequently expressed a presentiment that he should die by his own hands-- thinking it highly probable that he should be engaged in some contests with the natives, and being resolved, in case of extremity, to commit suicide rather than be made a prisoner. He now declared his intention to remain on the ship until daylight, to decoy as many of the savages on board as possible, then to set fire to the powder magazine and terminate his life by a signal act of vengeance. How well he succeeded has been shown. His companions bade him a melancholy adieu and set off on their precarious expedition. They strove with might and main to get out of the bay, but found it impossible to weather a point of land, and were at length compelled to take shelter in a small cove, where they hoped to remain concealed until the wind should be more favorable. Exhausted by fatigue and watching, they fell into a sound sleep, and in that state were surprised by the savages. Better had it been for those unfortunate men had they remained with Lewis and shared his heroic death; as it was, they perished in
a more painful and protracted manner, being sacrificed by the natives to the manes of their friends with all the lingering tortures of savage cruelty. Some time after their death the interpreter, who had remained a kind of prisoner at large, effected his escape and brought the tragical tidings to Astoria."
Meanwhile affairs were progressing at Astoria. On the fifteenth of July the partners were astonished by the appearance in the river of a canoe manned by nine white men, who proved to be representatives of the Northwest Company, under the leadership of David Thompson, a partner in that powerful organization. When the company had learned the year before of the projected enterprise of Mr. Astor, it dispatched Mr. Thompson from Montreal with a large party to hasten across the continent and forestall the American trader by taking possession of the mouth of the Columbia. Many of his party had deserted him, and now after ruinous delay and with but these few faithful ones to aid him, he had arrived at the goal of his journey too late to accomplish his purpose. Thompson was received with great cordiality by Mr. McDougal, the partner in charge at Astoria, who had a kindly feeling for all representatives of the Northwest Company; and though he was but a spy upon his hosts, he was bountifully supplied with provisions for his return journey. He set out upon his return to Montreal on the twenty-third day of July, bearing a letter to Mr. Astor telling of the safe arrival of the vessel, and accompanied by a party of nine, headed by David Stuart, who were instructed to establish a post on the upper Columbia. Mr. Stuart selected a spot near the mouth of the Okinagan river, and establishing a post there opened trade with the natives.
On the second of October the schooner was completed and launched. She was named the Dolly, and was the third vessel built on the Northern Pacific coast, and the first in the Columbia river. A few days later half of Stuart's party returned, having been sent back for the winter because of a lack of provisions to subsist them. The winter months were passed without fresh disasters flowing in upon them.
When the Tonquin sailed from New York Wilson P. Hunt was preparing to cross overland with another party. He finally left St. Louis with a party of sixty men, among whom were Donald McKenzie and three other partners, Ramsey Crooks, Joseph Miller and Robert McLellan. With them went John Day, a noted Kentucky hunter, and Pierre Dorion, a French half-breed, to act as an interpreter. The party arrived at Fort Henry, on Snake river, October 8, 1811. Small detachments were, from time to time, sent out in the Rocky mountains to trap in various localities, who were to use Fort Henry as a supply station, and for concentration with their furs. The remaining members of the party, after a temporary halt, moved on down Snake river enroute for the general rendezvous at the mouth of the Columbia; and a continued succession of hardships and disaster seemed to follow them. First, the unfortunate Antoine Clappin was drowned in passing a rapid, then famine came to rob them of human instincts, as they were led to the verge of starvation. They were finally forced to separate into small detachments, one party going under Ramsey Crooks, another with Donald McKenzie for leader, while a third remained with Mr. Hunt, hoping by such division to increase their chances of finally reaching the Columbia.
Once the parties under Crooks and Hunt camped with the narrow, deep waters of Snake river only separating them. The Hunt party had killed a horse and were
cooking it, while their starving companions on the opposite side of the stream, with no means of crossing it, were forced to look on as they starved. Not a man in Mr. Hunt's camp would make an effort to send them food, until the arrival of Mr. Crooks, who, discovering the condition of his men on the opposite side, called to the forlorn band to start fires for cooking, that no time might be lost while he constructed a canoe out of skins, in which to take meat across to them. In vain he tried to shame the more fortunate into helping to succor their famishing companions, but: "A vague, and almost superstitious terror," says Irving, "had infected the minds of Mr. Hunt's followers, enfeebled and rendered imaginative of horrors by the dismal scenes and sufferings through which they had passed. They regarded the haggard crew, hovering like spectres of famine on the opposite bank, with indefinite feelings of awe and apprehension, as if something desperate and dangerous was to be feared from them."
When the canoe was finished, Mr. Crooks attempted to navigate the impetuous stream with it, but found his strength unequal to the task, and failing to reach his companions on the opposite bank, made another appeal to Hunt's men. Finally, a Kentuckian, named Ben Jones, undertook and made the passage, conveying meat to them, and then came back. Irving, in describing the sad scene, says: "A poor Canadian, however, named Jean Baptiste Prevost, whom famine had rendered wild and desperate, ran frantically about the banks, after Jones had returned, crying out to Mr. Hunt to send the canoe for him, and take him from that horrible region of famine, declaring that otherwise he would never march another step, but would lie down there and die. The canoe was shortly sent over again, under the management of Joseph Delaunay, with further supplies. Prevost immediately pressed forward to embark. Delaunay refused to admit him, telling him that there was now a sufficient supply of meat on his side of the river. He replied that it was not cooked, and he should starve before it was ready; he implored, therefore, to be taken where he could get something to appease his hunger immediately. Finding the canoe putting off without him, he forced himself aboard. As he drew near the opposite shore, and beheld meat roasting before the fires, he jumped up, shouted, clapped his hands, and danced in a delirium of joy, until he upset the canoe. The poor wretch was swept away by the current and drowned, and it was with extreme difficulty that Delaunay reached the shore. Mr. Hunt now sent all his men forward excepting two or three. In the evening, he caused another horse to be killed, and a canoe to be made out of the skin, in which he sent over a further supply of meat to the opposite party. The canoe brought back John Day, the Kentucky hunter, who came to join his former commander and employer, Mr. Crooks. Poor Day, once so active and vigorous, was now reduced to a condition even more feeble and emaciated than his companions. Mr. Crooks had such a value for the man, on account of his past services and faithful character, that he determined not to quit him; he exhorted Mr. Hunt, however, to proceed forward and join the party, as his presence was all important to the conduct of the expedition. One of the Canadians, Jean Baptiste Dubreuil, likewise remained with Mr. Crooks."
The occurrences at this starvation camp were on the twentieth of December, 1811, both parties being on their way back up Snake river after having found the descent of that stream impossible. It was now their intention to strike across the country for the Columbia, as soon as it was practicable to do so. On the twenty-third of December,
Mr. Hunt's followers crossed to the west side of the stream, where they were joined by Crooks' men, who were already there. The two parties, when united, numbered thirty-six souls, and on the next day they turned from the river into a trackless country; but, before starting, three more of their number had concluded to remain among the savages rather than face the hardships and trials that lay before them. December 28, 1811, the head waters of Grand Ronde river were reached, and the last day of that year found them camped in the valley of that name. Through all their perils and wanderings since leaving St. Louis, one woman, the Indian wife of Pierre Dorion, a guide, interpreter and trapper, had accompanied them, bringing with her two children, and, as the party entered the Grand Ronde valley, she gave birth to another. The next day she continued the journey on horseback as though nothing had happened, but the little stranger only lived six days.
Mr. Hunt, after halting one or two days to enable his followers to celebrate, in their forlorn way, the advent of a new year that had presented to them the Grand Ronde valley, a kind of winter paradise in the mountains, continued his course to the west. The Blue mountain ridge was passed, and January 8, 1812, an Indian village on the Umatilla river close to the mountains was reached, where they were hospitably received. From there their route was down this stream to the Columbia river, thence to the mouth of the latter, arriving at Astoria February 15, 1812.
Since leaving Fort Henry, October 19, 1811, out of Mr. Hunt's party, two men had been drowned on Snake river, and poor Michael Carriere, when exhausted, had straggled behind in Grand Ronde valley and was never heard from afterwards. Ramsey Crooks, John Day and four Canadian voyageurs, had been left half dead on Snake river to remain in the Indian country, die, or reach the Columbia as they best could. Eleven men, among whom were Donald McKenzie, Robert McLellan and the unfortunate John Reed, had been detached on Snake river, and following that stream until its waters mingled with the Columbia, had reached Astoria a month in advance of Mr. Hunt. Mr. Stuart, when returning from his post on the Okinagan, during the first days of April, found Mr. Crooks and John Day on the banks of the Columbia river without weapons, nearly starved, and as naked as when born, having been robbed and stripped by the Dalles Indians. They had wintered in the Blue mountains about Grand Ronde valley, and had reached the Walla Wallas in the spring, who had fed, succored, and sent them on their way rejoicing down the river. When found, they were making their way back to these early friends of the Americans, who never failed to assist our people when in trouble. At length all but three of those starting from the head waters of Snake river for Astoria had reached that place except the four voyageurs, and later they, too, were found by a return party. On the ninth of May, after Mr. Hunt's arrival, the ship Beaver, with reinforcements and supplies, anchored at Astoria, and the Pacific Fur Company was in condition to enter upon a vigorous fur gathering campaign.
Mr. Hunt, who was at the head of affairs, set out in July for Alaska to fulfill the mission upon which the ill-fated Tonquin had sailed, and his departure left Duncan McDougal in charge. Prior to this, however, the various expeditions to trap waters and trade with natives between the Rocky and Cascade mountains had started, sixty-two strong, up the Columbia. Among the number was the unfortunate John Day,
and, as the party approached the scenes of his former sufferings his mind became delirious, and the mere sight of an Indian would throw him into a frenzy of passion. He finally attempted his own life, but was prevented from taking it, after which a constant guard was kept over him. It was at length determined to send him back to Astoria, and being placed in charge of two Indians, he was delivered by them at the fort where he died in less than a year. His old compeers and staunch friends, who had shared perils and privations with him, were forced to continue their journey with a sad memory of this companion, whose brain had been shattered by his many misfortunes. The stream which had witnessed his many sufferings still bears the heroic trapper's name.
The arrival of trappers at the present site of Wallula, on the twenty-eighth of July, 1812, was the signal for general rejoicing among the friendly Walla Wallas, who greeted them with bonfires, and a night dance, in which they sang the praises of their white friends. Here the four expeditions were to separate, Robert Stuart to cross the continent by Hunt's route; David Stuart to go up the Columbia to Okinagan; Donald McKenzie to establish a post in the Nez Perce country; and John Clarke to locate one among the Spokane Indians. Of these several expeditions, Robert Stuart, with his party, including Crooks and McLellan, reached St. Louis eleven months later, bearing news to Mr. Astor of his enterprise on the Pacific coast. McKenzie's operations were a failure; David Stuart's success was equal to his most sanguine hopes, and Mr. Clarke's efforts resulted second only to those of Mr. Stuart.
On the twenty-fifth of May, 1813, Mr. Clarke started from his post on the Spokane to reach the Walla Walla, the place agreed upon as a general rendezvous, where the different expeditions were to meet and return to Astoria with the furs obtained in their operations during the past season. On his way up, Mr. Clarke had left his canoes in charge of a Palouse chief, living at the mouth of the river of that name, with whom he found them on his return. He had twenty-eight horse packs of furs, and all his men were in high spirits because of the success that had attended their year's work. While stopping at the mouth of this stream to repair their canoes, in which to embark upon the river, an incident happened that cannot well be passed in silence.
Mr. Clarke was a strong disciplinarian, something of an aristocrat, and disposed to inpresss [=impress] those with whom he came in contact with the dignity of his presence and person. He was in the habit of carrying a silver goblet to drink from, and its glittering presence, carefully guarded by its possessor, became an object of strange and strong attraction to the superstitious Indians. In all their land, no such wondrous device had been seen before. They talked to each other concerning it, watched its appearance, and the care with which its lucky possessor laid it away after using. Possibly it was a great medicine, like the spotted shirt and the white quilt among the Coeur d'Alenes, or a powerful talisman to ward off danger or shield its owner from harm, a sort of ark near which the great Manitou dwelt. One night it disappeared, and Mr. Clarke was enraged. He threatened to hang the first Indian detected in stealing, and the next night an unfortunate one was caught in the act. A hasty trial followed, and the prisoner was condemned to die, when Mr. Clarke made the assembled savages a speech. He recounted the numerous gifts that had been bestowed, the benefit the white man's
presence had been to their people, and then, upbraiding them for thefts, told the Indians that he should kill the thief he had captured with pilfered goods. The old chief and his followers besought him to not do this. They were willing that he should be punished severely, and then let go, but the trapper was inexorable, and the poor groveling wretch was dragged to a temporary scaffold, constructed from oars, and was launched into eternity. The other partners of the Pacific Fur Company were unanimous in condemning this act, and Gabriel Franchere, who was one of the company clerks, wrote concerning the killing of the unfortunate John Reed and his party by Indians the ensuing winter: "We had no doubt that his massacre was an act of vengeance, on the part of the natives, in retaliation for the death of one of their people, whom Mr. John Clarke had hanged for theft the spring before." Immediately after this hanging the party embarked for the mouth of the Walla Walla, where Stuart and McKenzie were waiting, and from this point they all continued their way down the river, arriving at Astoria, June 12, 1813.
Upon re-assembling at headquarters, the return expeditions found that, upon the whole, it had been a successful year's labor, that the peltry brought in, amounting to 157 packs, if sold at market rates in Canton, would pay well for the time spent, and reimburse them for local losses. In addition to this, they had become well established in the fur producing regions, and the outlook was very encouraging except for one thing. War had been raging between Great Britain and the United States for over a year, and they had recently become aware of this fact.
On their arrival at Astoria, J. G. McTavish with nineteen men was found camped near by, awaiting the appearance of a vessel called the Isaac Todd, sent by the Northwest Company with stores for them, with letters of marque, and instructions from the British government to destroy everything American found on the Pacific coast. This latter fact was unknown at Astoria at the time, however, but the non-arrival of supplies by sea, combined with the unfavorable news of British success in arms, led the partners to fear that none whatever would reach them. They, consequently, determined to abandon the country, and start on their return overland the ensuing year, if their misgivings proved well founded. They sold their Spokane fort to McTavish for $848, and then furnished that gentleman with provisions to enable him to return to the upper country; and, in July, they visited the interior themselves to gather what furs they could before taking final leave of the country.
Three months later, McTavish returned to Astoria with a force of seventy-five men for the purpose of meeting the vessel that had caused his former visit, bringing, also, the news that her coming to the Columbia was for the purpose of capturing Astoria, and to assist the Northwest Company in gaining ascendancy on the coast. He offered to buy the furs of the Astorians, and, on the sixteenth of October, 1813, a transfer of the entire stock, worth at least $100, 000, was made for less than $40, 000. Two months later, on December 12, the fort was surrendered to the English under command of a naval officer, Captain Black of the Raccoon, when the American flag was lowered to give the British colors place, and the name of Astoria was changed to Fort George. An amusing incident of this transfer is related by John Ross Cox. "The Indians, at the mouth of the Columbia, knew well that Great Britain and America were distinct nations, and that they were then at war, but were ignorant of the arrangement made between
Messrs. McDougal and McTavish, the former of whom still continued as nominal chief at the fort. On the arrival of the Raccoon, which they quickly discovered to be one of 'King George's fighting ships,' they repaired, armed, to the fort, and requested an audience of Mr. McDougal. He was somewhat surprised at their numbers and warlike appearance, and demanded the object of such an unusual visit. Concomly, the principal chief of the Chinooks, (whose daughter McDougal had married, ) thereupon addressed him in a long speech, in the course of which he said that King George had sent a ship full of warriors, and loaded with nothing but big guns, to take the Americans and make them all slaves, and that, as they (the Americans) were the first white men who settled in their country, and treated the Indians like good relations, they had resolved to defend them from King George's warriors, and were now ready to conceal themselves in the woods close to the wharf, from whence they would be able, with their guns and arrows, to shoot all the men that should attempt to land from the English boats, while the people in the fort could fire at them with their big guns and rifles. This proposition was uttered with an earnestness of manner that admitted no doubt of its sincerity. Two armed boats from the Raccoon were approaching; and, had the people in the fort felt disposed to accede to the wishes of the Indians, every man in them would have been destroyed by an invisible enemy. Mr. McDougal thanked them for their friendly offer, but added, that, notwithstanding the nations were at war, the people in the. boats would not injure him or any of his people, and therefore requested them to throw by their war shirts and arms, and receive the strangers as their friends. They at first seemed astonished at this answer; but, on assuring them, in the most positive manner, that he was under no apprehension, they consented to give up their weapons for a few days. They afterwards declared they were sorry for having complied with Mr. McDougal's wishes; for when they observed Captain Black, surrounded by his officers and marines, break the bottle of port on the flag-staff, and hoist the British ensign, after changing the name of the fort, they remarked that however he might wish to conceal the fact, the Americans were undoubtedly made slaves."
Seventy-eight days after the surrender of Astoria to the British, Mr. Hunt arrived at that fort in the brig Pedlar, and judge of his astonishment, to learn that McDougal was a partner no longer of the Pacific, but of the Northwest Company; that he held possession not under the American, but under the English flag; and that all in which Mr. Hunt was interested on this coast had passed, without a struggle, through treachery, into the hands of his country's enemies. Mr. Hunt, finally, secured the papers pertaining to business transactions of the Pacific Fur Company from McDougal, and then sailed, April 3, 1814, from the shore that had seemed to yield only misfortune and disaster in return for the efforts of himself, and those with whom he was associated. The next day, David Stuart, McKenzie, John Clarke and eighty-five other members and employès [=employees] of the Pacific Fur Company started up the Columbia river in their boats on their way across the continent, and while passing Wallula, learned from the widow of Pierre Dorion, of the massacre of John Reed and his eight associates, among the Snake Indians near Fort Henry.
JOINT OCCUPATION OF OREGON.
The Russian Settlements--They Establish Themselves at Bodega Bay--Treaty of Ghent--Restoration to the United States of Astoria, or Fort George--Treaty of Joint Occupancy in 1818--The Florida Treaty of 1819--Fierce Rivalry between the Hudson's Bay and Northwest Companies--The War on Red River--Consolidation of the Rival Companies--Description of the Hudson's Bay Company.
During the years that had elapsed since the Russian American Trading Company was chartered, that organization had become exceedingly powerful, establishing many posts on the Alaskan coast and carrying on the fur trade in a systematic and successful manner. In 1799 a settlement was made on King George III. archipelago near Mount Edgecumb, near the 56th parallel. This was destroyed by the natives in 1803, and was rebuilt in 1805, and was then called New Archangel of Sitka. This became the capital of Russian America and so remained until Alaska was purchased by the United States. This was the most southerly settlement at that time, but in 1806 preparations were made to occupy the mouth of the Columbia, which was considered by the company to be embraced within the limits of the country over which their monopoly charter from the czar extended. The execution of this project was deferred for a time, and, as we have seen, was in a few years rendered impossible because of prior possession of the Americans and English. In 1812 the governor of the company, whose headquarters were at Sitka, requested and received permission of the Spanish governor of California to leave a few men on the shore of Bodega bay, a few miles north of Yerba Buena (San Francisco) for the purpose of preparing meat and supplies for their posts in the north. In a few years this little station had become a fortified settlement, and the governor's request and peremptory order to vacate were treated with contempt; nor were they ever driven from their post, but abandoned it in 1840 at the request of the United States government. During the years of their occupancy many voyages of trade and exploration were made, some of them at the expense of much suffering and many lives, adding materially to the geographical knowledge of the upper portion of the Pacific and the Arctic ocean above Siberia and about Behring's strait.
The treaty of Ghent, which ended the war of 1812, provided that "all territory, places, and possessions, whatsoever, taken by either party from the other during the war, or which may be taken after the signing of this treaty, shall be restored without delay." It failed, however, because the commissioners could not agree, to define a dividing line between the American territory of Louisiana and the possessions of the British, west of the Lake of the Woods. In pursuance of this treaty, Mr. Astor, who was eager to recover possession of Astoria and resume his trading operations in the Pacific, applied to the president for restitution of his property. The minister of Great
Britain at Washington was accordingly notified in July, 1815, that the United States would at once reoccupy the captured fort at the mouth of the Columbia; but no apparent notice was taken of this by the English government. It was not until September, 1817, that actual steps were taken to carry into effect this resolution, and then the sloop of war Ontario was dispatched on this errand, the captain, J. Biddle, and J. B Prevost, his associate commissioner, being instructed to assert the claim of the United States to the sovereignty of the country adjacent to the Columbia, but to do so in a friendly and peaceable manner.
Soon after the departure of the Ontario the representative of Great Britain officially inquired of Secretary Adams the destination and object of the vessel, and was informed that it was directed to take possession of the post at the mouth of the Columbia, which, since no attention had been paid to the notification of two years before, it had been assumed Great Britain had no idea of claiming as rightfully hers. This was answered by saying that the post had been purchased by the Northwest Company, subjects of his majesty, from private individuals, and as it was situated in a region which that company had long occupied it was considered as forming a portion of his majesty's dominions. Much controversy was carried on between the two governments on the questions of abstract right and actual possession. It was finally agreed that the post should be restored to the United States but its property should still belong to its purchasers, while the right of dominion over the country should be left for future negotiation. The Ontario arrived at Valparaiso in February, 1818, where Mr. Prevost landed to transact official business with the Chilean government. Captain Biddle continued to the Columbia, sailing into that stream in the month of August and taking formal possession of the surrounding country in the name of the United States. He then departed for other portions of the Pacific. In the meantime Captain Sheriff, of the English navy, having orders to deliver up Fort George, met Mr. Prevost in Chili [=Chile] and offered him passage to the Columbia for that purpose in the frigate Blossom. They entered the river early in October, when Mr. Keith, the gentleman in charge surrendered possession, having been instructed to that effect by the officers of the company. A paper was given to Mr. Prevost setting forth the fact that, in pursuance of orders from the government, Fort George, on the Columbia river, was surrendered to him as the representative of the United States, and he in return gave the officers a written acceptance of the transfer. The British flag was then lowered and the American ensign was temporarily displayed over the walls of Fort George, while it was courteously saluted by the guns of the Blossom. Thus the matter stood, the Americans nominally and the British actually in possession of Oregon.
During the time the Northwest Company had occupied this post many improvements had been made, so that the Fort George of 1818 was far different from the Astoria of five years before. A stockade of pine logs, twelve feet high above the ground, enclosed a parallelogram of 150x250 feet, within which were dwellings, storehouses, magazines, shops, etc., all defended by two eighteen-pounders, six six-pounders, four four-pound carronades, two six-pound cohorns, and seven swivels, armament sufficient for a strong fort in those days. The population consisted of twenty-three whites, twenty-six Kanakas and sixteen Canadian half-breeds. The company was not disturbed in the possession of this important post, and Mr. Astor was finally compelled
to abandon all hope of recovering his property through the action of the government, and not deeming it advisable to found a rival establishment, was reluctantly compelled to abandon his projects in the Pacific altogether.
Negotiations still continued between the two governments during these transactions of their agents, and on the twentieth of October, 1818, a treaty of compromise was signed, providing that all territories and their waters west of the Rocky mountains should be free and open to the vessels and to the use and occupation of the citizens and subjects of both nations for the period of ten years, and that no claim of either party should in any manner be prejudiced by this action, and that neither should gain any right of dominion by such use or occupation during the time specified. On the twenty-second of February, 1819, a treaty was concluded between the United States and Spain, generally known as the Florida treaty, by which Spain ceded to the United States her province of Florida and all her rights, claims and pretensions to any territories north and east of a line drawn from the source of the Arkansas north to the 42d parallel and thence west to the Pacific. The 42d parallel remained the boundary between the United States and Mexico until Texas, then California, and still later New Mexico and Arizona were conquered or purchased by the former, and was considered the southern boundary of Oregon.
Fierce rivalry had existed for many years between the Hudson's Bay Company and its energetic competitor. The despised rival had grown in wealth and power until the Northwest Company, though not protected by royal charter and not having vast territories over which to exercise the right of dominion, had become an organization even more wealthy and powerful than the chartered monopoly. In the plenitude of its power it gave employment to 2, 000 voyageurs, while its agents penetrated the wilderness in all directions in search of furs. The Hudson's Bay Company had confined itself to its granted territory, and had not even explored that with enlightened energy, their method of conducting the business being to build a few posts at central points, to which the Indians repaired for purposes of trade. On the contrary, it was the policy of the rival organization to send its agents far and wide, to trade with the natives and open up new fields of operation. This aggressive policy soon had the effect of arousing the old company to a realizing sense of the precarious condition of its affairs, and the necessity for taking energetic steps to recover the ground it was rapidly losing. The result of the rivalry, growing chiefly out of the improvident methods of the Northwest Company, was so alarming a decrease in the fur-bearing animals as to threaten their complete extinction. A systematic effort was made to crush the old company, or to at least drive its representatives from the most valuable beaver country, with the hope of finally compelling a surrender of its charter.
The first act of actual hostility, other than mere trade rivalry, was committed in 1806, when a trader of the Hudson's Bay Company was forcibly deprived of 480 packs of beaver skins, and a few months later of fifty more. The same year another trader was attacked and robbed of valuable furs by servants of the Northwest Company, and received similar treatment again the following spring. These acts of plundering were numerous, and since no law but the law of might existed in the wilderness, there was no redress for the despoiled company nor punishment for the offenders, since the latter were Canadians and their victims citizens of England and not possessed of facilities
for securing redress in the courts of Canada. In twelve years but one case was brought to trial, in 1809, when a Hudson's Bay Company man was convicted of manslaughter for killing an agent of the other company who was making an attack upon him with a sword; and this result was accomplished by the powerful influence of the Northwest Company in Montreal.
In 1812, having received a grant of fertile land from the Hudson's Bay Company, Lord Selkirk, a man of energy and an enthusiast on the subject of colonial emigration, commenced a settlement on Red river near its junction with the Assiniboine, south of Lake Winnipeg. No sooner was this accomplished than the rival company expressed a determination to destroy the settlement, and in the autumn of 1814 fitted out an expedition for that purpose at its chief establishment, Fort William, on the shore of Lake Superior. After harrassing the settlement for some months, an attack was made upon it in June, 1815, which was repulsed. Artillery having been brought up, the buildings of Fort Gibraltar, the strong hold of the settlement, were battered down and the place captured. The governor was sent to Montreal a prisoner, the remainder of the settlers were expelled from the country, the cattle were slaughtered and the buildings demolished. In the fall, however the colonists returned with a great accession to their numbers and again established themselves under the leadership of Colin Robertson, being accompanied by Robert Semple, governor of the Hudson's Bay Company territories. In the spring of 1816, Alexander McDonnell, a partner of the Northwest Company collected a strong force with the design of crushing the settlement completely. After capturing the supply train on its way to Red river, the invading force came upon Governor Semple and a force of thirty men all of whom they killed, except one who was made a prisoner and four who escaped. The settlers still remaining in the fort, seeing the hopelessness of resistance, surrendered, and to the number of 200 were sent in canoes to Hudson's bay. They were chiefly Scotch, as were also the attacking party; but the love of gain was stronger than the ties of blood.
In 1821 parliament put an end to this bloody feud and ruinous competition by consolidating the rival companies under the name of The Honorable Hudson's Bay Company, by which was created an organization far more powerful than had either been before, and England gained a united and potent agent for the advancement of her interests in America. The settlements on the Red, Assiniboine and Saskatchewan rivers were renewed, and Winnipeg became in a few years the center of a prosperous community. The new company took possession of Astoria and the posts along the Columbia, and as it thereafter became closely woven into the history of this region, a brief description of its founding, growth and methods becomes necessary to a full understanding of subsequent events. Dr. William Barrows gives the following description of that powerful corporation.
"Its two objects as set forth in its charter, were 'for the discovery of a new passage into the South Sea, and for the finding of some trade for furs, minerals and other considerable commodities.' It may well be suspected that the first was the face and the second the soul of the charter, which grants to the company the exclusive right of the 'trade and commerce of all those seas, straits and bays, rivers, lakes, creeks, and sounds, in whatsoever latitude they shall be, that lie within the entrance of the straits commonly called Hudson straits,' and of all lands bordering them not under any other
civilized government. This covered all territory within that immense basin from rim to rim, one edge dipping into the Atlantic and the other looking into the Pacific. Through this vast extent the company was made for 'all time hereafter, capable in law, to have, purchase, receive, possess, enjoy, and retain lands, rents, privileges, liberties, jurisdiction, franchise, and hereditaments of what kind, nature, or quality soever they be, to them and their successors.' The company held that region as a man holds his farm, or as the great bulk of real estate in England is now held. They could legislate over and govern it, bound only by the tenor and spirit of English law, and make war and peace within it; and all persons outside the company could be forbidden to 'visit, hunt, frequent, trade, traffic, or adventure' therein. For all this, and as a confession of allegiance to the crown as a dependent colony and province, they were to pay annually as rent 'two elks and two black beavers.' Cheap rent that, especially since the king or his agent must collect it on the ground of the company. To dwell in the territory or even to go across it would be as really a trespass as if it were done on the lawn of a private gentleman in Middlesex county, England.
"Such were the chartered rights of a monopoly that growing bolder and more grasping became at last continental in sweep, irresistible in power, and inexorable in spirit. In 1821 the crown granted to this and the Northwest Company united, and for a term of twenty-one years, the exclusive right to trade with all Indians in British North America, north and west of the United States, and not included in the first charter. This granted only trade, not ownership in the soil. Thus, while the chartered territory was imperial, it grew, by granted monopoly of trade, to be continental. By degrees the trappers and traders went over the rim of the Hudson basin, till they reached the Arctic seas along the outlet of the Coppermine and the Mackenzie. They set beaver traps on the Yukon and Fraser rivers, around the Athabasca, Slave and Bear lakes, and on the heads of the Columbia. From the adjacent Pacific shore they lined their treasury with the soft coats of the fur seal and the sea-otter. They were the pioneers of this traffic, and pressed this monopoly of fur on the sources, not only of the Mississippi and Missouri, but down into the Salt Lake basin of modern Utah. What minor and rival companies stood in the way they bought in, or crushed by underselling to the Indians. Individual enterprise in the fur trade, from Newfoundland to Vancouver, and from the headwaters of the Yellowstone to the mouth of the Mackenzie was at their mercy. They practically controlled the introduction of supplies and the outgoing of furs and peltries from all the immense region between those four points.
"Within the Canadas and the other provinces they held the Indian and the European equally at bay, while within all this vast unorganized wilderness, their hand over red and white man was absolute. At first the company could govern as it pleased, and was autocratic and irresponsible. By additional legislation in 1803, the civil and criminal government of the Canadas was made to follow the company into lands outside their first charter, commonly called Indian countries. The governor of Lower Canada had the appointing power of officials within those countries. But he did not send in special men; he appointed those connected with the company and on the ground. The company, therefore, had the administration in those outside districts in its own hands. Thus the commercial life of the Canadas was so dependent upon the
Hudson Bay Company that the government could be counted on to promote the wishes of the company. In brief, the government of British America was practically the Hudson Bay Company, and for all the privilege and monopoly which it enjoyed without seeming to demand it, there was an annual payment if called for of 'two elks and two black beavers.'
"This company thus became a powerful organization. It had no rival to share the field, or waste the profits in litigation, or in bloody feuds beyond the region of law. [Except the contest between it and the Northwest Company prior to their consolidation.] It extended its lines, multiplied its posts and agents, systematized communication through the immense hunting grounds, economized time and funds by increased expedition, made many of its factories really fortifications, and so put the whole northern interior under British rule, and yet without a soldier. Rivers, lakes, mountains and prairies were covered by its agents and trappers. The white and the red men were on most friendly terms, and the birch canoe and the pirogue were seen carrying, in mixed company, both races, and, what was more, their mixed progeny. The extent of territory under this company seems almost fabulous. It was one-third larger than all Europe; it was larger than the United States of to-day, Alaska included, by half a million of square miles. From the American headquarters at Montreal to the post at Vancouver was a distance of twenty-five hundred miles; to Fort Selkirk on the Yukon, or to the one on Great Bear lake, it was three thousand miles, and it was still further to the rich fur seal and sea-otter on the tide waters of the Mackenzie. James bay and Bed river at Winnipeg seem near to Montreal in comparison. These distances would compare well with air-line routes from Washington to Dublin, or Gibraltar or Quito.
"One contemplates this power with awe and fear, when he regards the even motion and solemn silence and unvarying sameness with which it has done its work through that dreary animal country. It has been said that a hundred years has not changed its bill of goods ordered from London. The company wants the same muskrat and beaver and seal; the Indian hunter, unimproved, and the half-breed European, deteriorating, want the same cotton goods, and flint-lock guns, and tobacco and gew-gaws. To-day, as a hundred years ago, the dog sled runs out from Winnipeg for its solitary drive of five hundred, or two thousand, or even three thousand miles. It glides, silent as a spectre, over those snow fields, and through the solemn, still forests, painfully wanting in animal life. Fifty, seventy, an hundred days it speeds along, and as many nights it camps without fire, and looks up to the same cold stars. At the intervening posts the sledge makes a pause, as a ship, having rounded Cape Horn, heaves to before some lone Pacific island. It is the same at the trader's hut or factory as when the sledgeman's grandfather drove up, the same dogs, the same half-breeds, or voyageurs to welcome him, the same foul, lounging Indians, and the same mink skin in exchange for the same trinkets. The fur animal and its purchaser and hunter, as the landscape, seem to be alike under the same immutable, unprogressive law of nature,
'A land where all things always seemed the same,'
as among the lotus-eaters. Human progress and Indian civilization have made scarcely more improvement than that central, silent partner in the Hudson Bay Company--the beaver.
"One feels towards the power of this company, moving thus with evenness and immutability through a hundred years, much as one does towards a law of nature. At Fort Selkirk, for example, the fifty-two numbers of the weekly London Times came in on the last sledge arrival. The first number is already three years old, by its tedious voyage from the Thames. Now one number only a week is read, that the lone trader there may have fresh news weekly until the next annual dog-mail arrives, and each successive number is three years behind time when it is opened ! In this day of steamers and telegraphs and telephones, does it seem possible that any human, white habitation can be so outside of the geography and chronology of the world ? The goods of the company, packed and shipped in Fenchurch street, leave London, and at the end of the third year they are delivered at Fort Confidence on Great Bear lake, or at any other extreme factory of the company; and at the end of three years more the return furs go up the Thames and into Fenchurch street again. So in cycles of six years, and from age to age, like a planet, the shares in the Hudson Bay Company make their orbit and dividends. A run of three months and the London ship drops anchor in Hudson bay. 'For one year' says Butler in his 'Great Lone Land,' 'the stores that she has brought in lie in the warehouse of York Factory; twelve months later they reach Red river; twelve months later they reach Fort Simpson on the Mackenzie.'
"The original stock of this company was $50,820. In fifty years it was trippled twice by profits only, and went up to $457,380, while not one new dollar was paid in. In 1821 the company absorbed the Northwest Company of Montreal, on a basis of value equal to its own. The consolidated stock then was $1,916,000, of which $1,780,866 was from profits. Yet, meanwhile, there had been an annual payment of ten per cent, to stockholders. In 1836 one of the company's ships left Fort George for London, with a cargo of furs valued at $380,000. * * * When the English government, in 1846, conceded the claims of the United States to Oregon, property of the Hudson Bay Company was found within Oregon for which that company claimed $4,990,036.67. One cannot but admire the foresight, compass, policy, and ability with which those English fur traders moved to gain possession, and then keep in wilderness for fur-bearing, so much of North America. * * * Travelers tell us of an oppressive, painful silence through all that weird northland. Quadruped life, and the scanty little that there is of bird life, is not vocal, much less musical. This company has partaken of the silence of its domain. It makes but little noise for so great an organization. It says but few things and only the necessary ones, and even those with an obscurity often, that only the interested and initiated understand. The statements of its works and results are mostly in the passive voice."
This description carries us somewhat beyond the era of which this chapter treats, but it is done for a purpose, that the reader might fully comprehend the full power, methods and objects of this potent corporation which represented England in its contest with the United States for the fair land of Oregon. If he will study it he will discover the fatal points of weakness, which will be developed more and more as the story of that long contest is unfolded. The company desired to win Oregon for England, not that the power and dominion of that great empire might be extended, but that the company might be left unmolested to dominate this region and fill its treasure
boxes with the products of the wilderness; for its officers well knew that from England they might hope for an indefinite extension of its monopoly rights, but from the United States nothing. It was an effort to beat back the wave of progress and civilization, and failure could have been the only result. For two centuries it had reigned supreme in British America, and had defeated every effort to make of that region anything but a vast hunting ground for its representatives. It was from the first its policy to discourage and prevent if possible any exploration of its dominions, and instances are not wanting where expeditions sent out by the home government came to grief through the machinations of the company. It occasionally sent out explorers in search of new fields in which to operate, but was careful to keep the knowledge thus obtained a secret, and to make no record of anything save what was necessary in the prosecution of its business. This policy it endeavored to carry out in Oregon; but it miscalculated its strength and was swept away before the resistless march of American progress.
RIVALRY OF ENGLISH AND AMERICAN FUR COMPANIES.
Outlook for Joint Occupation--American and English Fur Traders Compared--Fort Vancouver Founded--Described by John Dunn--American Trapping History--Expeditions of Jedediah S. Smith--The Hudson's Bay Company Enters California--Ewing Young's Party--Bonneville and Wyeth--Failure of American Trappers in Oregon--Cause of their Ill Success.
When joint occupation of Oregon was agreed upon in 1818, the only Caucasians in the country, as we have seen, were representatives of the Northwest Company, or, as they became in a few years, of the Hudson's Bay Company. Not an American was to be found along the Columbia from its source to its mouth. After the disastrous venture of Mr. Astor and his unsuccessful efforts to secure a restoration of his property through the medium of the government, which, could it but have recognized the fact, was far more deeply interested in retaining under American control the mouth of the Columbia than any private citizen could possibly have been, traders hesitated to enter this region and undertake to compete with the powerful organization already entrenched. The question of taking military possession of the Columbia was frequently discussed in congress, committees reported favorably on it at various times, and a number of plans were advocated, among them being one to send a body of troops overland to occupy the disputed territory, and another to construct a chain of forts across the continent, which should form a basis of supplies and protection for emigrants. None of these plans were adopted, and it was then a little early for emigrants.
The great drawback was the fact that there was no American company sufficiently powerful to enter the field in competition with the English corporation. The Americans were nearly all independent traders, operating individually or in partnerships of two or three. Separately they had not the capital to carry on a business in the systematic and comprehensive manner in which the Hudson's Bay Company operated. One unsuccessful season with them was often financially disastrous, while to the great company a completely unsuccessful year was impossible. Covering such a vast scope of country, dealing with so many tribes, and handling such varied classes of furs, such a thing as a total failure was unknown. Losses in one section were certain to be compensated for by unusual gains in another. Whenever two trapping parties met in open competition for the trade of a tribe, the Americans had to go to the wall, except in the few cases where they outwitted their opponents. The English trader was instructed to do anything he chose to spoil the trade of his rivals. No spectre of bankruptcy shook its bony finger before his face, no vision of an angry and distrustful partner rose up before him. He could sit quietly down and give away every dollar's worth of goods he had, if it were necessary so to do in order to prevent the Indians from trading with his rivals. On the other hand the American trader, with the last dollar he possessed invested in this one venture, could neither give away his goods nor could he afford to lose the trade before him; for often the chance he then had to secure a good stock of furs was the only opportunity offered during the season, and to miss it meant ruin. Not only this, but the American traders carried on such sharp competition among themselves that they were the more unable to hold their ground against a harmonious organization. The fact that congress in 1815 passed an act expelling all foreign traders from the territories east of the Rocky mountains is of importance only as it signifies the desire of the government to aid our struggling pioneer traders; for the act was practically inoperative, since agents of the Hudson's Bay Company continued to monopolize the Indian trade on the upper Missouri and its affluents.
In 1821 the Northwest Company established a post on the north bank of the Columbia, a few miles above the mouth of the Willamette, which was called Fort Vancouver, since this was the highest point reached by the exploring party of the Vancouver expedition in 1792. In 1823 the Hudson's Bay Company removed its Pacific headquarters from Astoria to that point because it possessed the desirable features for such an establishment more fully than any other in this whole region. It was near the mouth of the Willamette and therefore the center and natural converging point of trapping parties coming down the Columbia from the vast wilderness to the east or with the annual overland express from Montreal, from the rich trapping grounds to the south, or from the upper coast and Puget sound; agriculturally, the surroundings were all that could be desired to raise the large crops of grain and vegetables required at all the company's posts and to furnish pasturage for the beef and dairy cattle; it was easily approachable by deep-water vessels of large draft, and presented excellent natural facilities for loading and discharging cargo. The vessels that came at stated periods to bring supplies and carry away the accumulated furs, could spare the few days of extra time required to ascend the river better than the employees of the company could spare it in passing to and from headquarters in the transaction of business. Vancouver was the most eligible site on the Columbia for the chief trading post, and
remained the company's headquarters until it abandoned this region entirely in 1858.
During the next four years the company spread out in all directions, from California to Alaska and from the Pacific to the Rocky mountains. Some idea can be gained of its power and methods in Oregon from the following description given by John Dunn, for seven years a clerk and trader of the company:
"Fort Vancouver is the grand mart and rendezvous for the company's trade and servants on the Pacific. Thither all the furs and other articles of trade collected west of the Rocky mountains from California to the Russian territories, are brought from the several other forts and stations; and from thence they are shipped to England. Thither too all the goods brought from England for traffic--the various articles in woolens and cottons--in grocery--in hardware--ready-made clothes--oils and paints--ship stores, etc., are landed; and from thence they are distributed to the various posts of the interior, and along the northern shores by sailing vessels; or by boat; or pack horses; as the several routes permit; for distribution and traffic among the natives, or for the supply of the company's servants. In a word, Fort Vancouver is the grand emporium of the company's trade, west of the Rocky mountains; as well within the Oregon territory, as beyond it, from California to Kamstchatka.
"The fort is in the shape of a parallelogram, about 250 yards long, by 150 broad; enclosed by a sort of wooden wall, made of pickets, or large beams fixed firmly in the ground, and closely fitted together, twenty feet high, and strongly secured on the inside by buttresses. At each angle there is a bastion, mounting two twelve pounders, and in the center there are some eighteen pounders; but from the subdued and pacific character of the natives, and the long absence of all apprehension, these canon have become useless. The area within is divided into two courts, around which are arranged about forty neat, strong wooden buildings, one story high, designed for various purpose--such as offices, apartments for the clerks and other officers--warehouses for furs, English goods and other commodities--workshops for the different mechanics; carpenters, blacksmiths, coopers, wheelwrights, tinners, etc.; in all of which there is the most diligent and unceasing activity and industry. There is also a school house and chapel; and a powder magazine built of brick and stone.
"In the centre stands the governor's residence, which is two stories high--the dining hall; and the public sitting room. All the clerks and officers, including the chaplain and physician, dine together in the hall; the governor presiding. The dinner is of the most substantial kind, consisting of several courses. Wine is frequently allowed; but no spirituous liquors. After grace has been said, the company break up. Then most of the party retire to the public sitting room, called 'Bachelor's Hall,' or the smoking room; to amuse themselves as they please, either in smoking, reading, or telling and listening to stories of their own and others' curious adventures. Sometimes there is a great influx of company, consisting of the chief traders from the outposts, who arrive at the fort on business; and the commanders of vessels. These are gala times after dinner; and there is a great deal of amusement, but always kept under strict discipline, and regulated by the strictest propriety. There is, on no occasion, cause for ennui, or a lack of anecdote or interesting narrative; or indeed of any intellectual amusement; for if smoking and story-telling be irksome, then there is the
horse ready to mount, and the rifle prepared. The voyageur and the trapper, who have traversed thousands of miles through wild and unfrequented regions; and the mariner, who has circumnavigated the globe, may be found grouped together, smoking, joking, singing and story telling; and in every way banishing dull care, till the period of their again setting out for their respective destinations arrives. The smoking room or 'bachelor's hall,' presents the appearance of an armoury and a museum. All sorts of weapons, and dresses, and curiosities of civilized and savage life, and of the various implements for the prosecution of the trade, may be seen there. The mechanics, and other servants of the establishment, do not dine in the hall or go to the smoking room.
"The school is for the benefit of the half breed children of the officers and servants of the company, and of many orphan children of Indians who have been in the company's employment. They are taught English (sometimes French), writing, arithmetic and geography; and are subsequently either apprenticed to traders in Canada; or kept in the company's service. The front square is the place where the Indians and trappers deposit their furs, and other articles, and make their sales, etc. There may be seen, too, great numbers of men sorting and packing the various goods; and scores of Canadians beating and cleaning the furs from the dust and vermin, and coarse hairs, previous to exportation. Six hundred yards below the fort, and on the bank of the river, there is a neat village, of about sixty well built wooden houses, generally constructed like those within the fort; in which the mechanics, and other servants of the company, who are in general Canadians and Scotchmen, reside with their families. They are built in rows, and present the appearance of small streets. They are kept in a neat and orderly manner. Here there is an hospital, in which the invalided servants of the company, and, indeed, others who may wish to avail themselves of it, are treated with the utmost care.
"Many of the officers of the company marry half breed women. They discharge the several duties of wife and mother with fidelity, cleverness and attention. They are, in general, good housewives; and are remarkably ingenious as needlewomen. Many of them, besides possessing a knowledge of English, speak French correctly, and possess other accomplishments; and they sometimes attend their husbands on their distant and tedious journeys and voyages. These half breed women are of a superior class; being the daughters of chief traders and factors, and other persons, high in the company's service, by Indian women of a superior descent or of superior personal attractions. Though they generally dress after the English fashion, according as they see it used by the English wives of the superior officers, yet they retain one peculiarity--the leggin or gaiter, which is made (now that the tanned deer skin has been superseded) of the finest, and most gaudy coloured cloth, beautifully ornamented with beads. The lower classes of the company's servants marry native women, from the tribes of the upper country; where the women are round-headed and beautiful. These, too, generally speaking, soon learn the art of useful housewifery with great adroitness and readiness; and they are encouraged and rewarded in every way by the company, in their efforts to acquire domestic economy and comfort. These, too, imitate, in costume the dress of the officers' wives, as much as they can; and from their necessities of position, which exposes them more to wet and drudgery, they retain the moccasin, in place of adopting the low-quartered shoe.
"Attached to the fort there is a magnificent farm; consisting of about 3,000 acres; of which 1,500 acres have been already brought to the highest state of tillage. It stretches behind the fort, and on both sides, along the banks of the river. It is fenced into beautiful corn fields--vegetable fields--orchards--gardens--and pasture fields, which are interspersed with dairy houses, shepherds' and herdsmen's cottages. It is placed under the most judicious management; and neither expense nor labour has been spared to bring it to the most perfect cultivation. There is a large grist mill, and a threshing mill, which are worked by horse power; and a saw mill worked by water power. All kinds of grains and vegetables, and many species of fruits, are produced there in abundance and of superior quality. The grain crops are produced without manure; and the wheat crop, especially, is represented by practical farmers to be wonderful.
"Besides this farm, which they are every day extending, they have commenced farming on a large scale on the Cowlitze, to the north; Umpqua, to the south; and in other parts of the territory, where they have established posts, the produce of all of which they use for exportation bath to the Russian stations in Kamskatka (as they entered into a contract with the Russians, in 1839, to supply their posts in those regions with provisions at fixed prices), and to the islands in the Southern Pacific; and to British and American whalers and to other merchant ships. They also keep scores of wood cutters, employed to fell timber, which is sawed up in large quantities--3,000 feet a day, and regularly shipped for the Sandwich islands, and other foreign ports. And as they can afford to sell the goods purchased in England under a contract of old standing, together with the productions of the territory and their own farms--fish, beef, mutton, pork, timber, etc., at nearly half the American price, they are likely to engross the whole trade of the Pacific, as they do already the trade of the Oregon; especially since they command all the ports and safe inlets of the country. This the Americans feel and declare; and it is this which whets their cupidity, and excites their jealousy and hatred.
"Trapping parties leaving Vancouver are some weeks preparing for the mountains and prairies. The blacksmiths are busily engaged making beaver traps for the trappers--the store keepers making up articles for trade, and equipping the men, the clerk in charge of the provision store packing up provisions for them, to last until they get into hunting ground, the clerk in charge of the farm providing horses, and other requisite articles. The party generally consists of about fifty or sixty men--most of them the company's servants--others, free hunters. The servants have a stated salary, while the freemen receive so much per skin. Previous to leaving the fort for the arduous adventure they are allowed a small quantity of rum per man; and they generally enjoy a grand holiday and feast the night previous to starting. Each man has a certain number of horses, sufficient to carry his equipment. The free trappers generally provide their own animals. Both the company's servants and the freemen frequently take their wives and families with them; the women are very useful on the expedition, in preparing meals and other necessaries for their husbands during their absence from the camp. In summer and winter, whether they have a sort of a traveling camp or a fixed residence, they select the localities that most abound in fur-bearing animals. Though a party may be obliged, from a variety of circumstances, to winter in the plain,
or in the recesses of the mountains; or on the borders of lakes and rivers, some numbers of it return to the fort at the fall, with the produce of the season's hunt, and report progress; and return to the camp with a reinforcement of necessary supplies. Thus the company are enabled to acquire a minute knowledge of the country and the natives; and extend their power and authority over both."
Such was the hold the Hudson's Bay Company had upon Oregon when Americans attempted to enter the country and exercise their rights under the 'treaty of joint occupancy. To show how American trappers first extended their operations into the disputed country, requires a short sketch of the American fur trade.
In 1762, while Louisiana was still a province of France, its governor chartered a fur company under the name of Pierre Ligueste Laclède, Antoine Maxan & Co. Laclède established St. Louis the following year, and it became a headquarters for the fur trade similar to Mackinaw and Montreal. The business of this company and many others that engaged along the Missouri in the trapping of beaver became very large. The acquisition of Louisiana by the United States threw this trade into the hands of the Americans. In 1815, congress passed an act expelling British traders from all the territories east of the Rocky mountains, and the American Fur Company, at the head of which Mr. Astor had been for many years, began to send trappers to the headwaters of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. American trappers also penetrated into New Mexico and established a trade between St. Louis and Santa Fè. Up to this time but one attempt had been made by trappers to penetrate the Rocky mountains, and that was in 1808, by the Missouri Fur Company, at the head of which was a Spaniard named Manuel Lisa. Posts were established on the upper Missouri and one on Lewis river, the south branch of the Columbia; but the failure of supplies and the hostility of the savages caused its abandonment by the manager, Mr. Henry, in 1810.
In 1823, Gen. W. H. Ashley, a St. Louis merchant long engaged in the fur trade, pushed a trapping party into the Rocky mountains. He went up the Platte to the Sweetwater, and up that stream to its source, discovered the South pass, explored the head-waters of the Colorado (or Green) river, and returned to St. Louis in the fall. The next year he again penetrated the mountains and built a trading fort on Lake Ashley, near Great Salt Lake, both of which bodies of water were discovered by him that year, and returned, leaving there one hundred men. From that time the headwaters of the Missouri and its tributaries, the Green and Columbia rivers and their tributaries, were the trapping-ground of hundreds of daring men, whose wild and reckless life, privations and encounters with the savages, make a theme of romance that has occupied the pen of Washington Irving and many authors of lesser note, and been the source from which the novelists of the sensational school have drawn a wealth of material. It was the custom to divide the trappers into bands of sufficient strength to defend themselves against the attacks of savages, and send them out in different directions during the trapping season, to assemble the next summer at a grand rendezvous previously appointed, the head-waters of Green river being the favorite locality for the annual meeting.
In the spring of 1825, Jedediah S. Smith led a company of this kind, consisting of about forty men, into the country west of Great Salt Lake, discovered Humboldt
river and named it Mary's river, followed down that stream and crossed the Sierra Nevada into the great valley in July. He collected a large quantity of furs, established a headquarters on the American river near Folsom, and then, with two companions, recrossed the mountains through Walker's pass, and returned to the general rendezvous on Green river, to tell of the wonderful valley he had visited. Cronise speaks of American trappers having penetrated into California as early as 1820, but is evidently mistaken, as there is no record of any party crossing the Rocky mountains previous to the expedition of Mr. Ashley in 1823, save those already mentioned. Jedediah S. Smith must stand in history as the first white man to lead a party overland into California. The return of Smith with such a valuable collection of furs, and specimens of placer gold he had discovered on his return journey near Mono lake? led to his being sent again the next season, with instructions to thoroughly inspect the gold placers on the way. This time he went as a partner, Mr. Ashley having sold his interest to the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, consisting of William Sublette, Jedediah S. Smith and David Jackson. He passed as far south as the Colorado river, and there had a battle with the Indians, in which all but himself, Turner and Galbraith were killed. They escaped and arrived at the Mission San Gabriel, where they were arrested as filibusters and sent to San Diego, but were released upon the certificate of the officers of some American vessels who chanced to be on the coast, that they were peaceful trappers and had passports from the commissioner of Indian affairs. This certificate bears date December 20, 1826, and in the ensuing May we find them in camp near San Josè, where the following letter was written to Father Duran, who had sent to know what their presence there signified:--
REVEREND FATHER:--I understand, through the medium of one of your Christian Indians, that you are anxious to know who we are, as some of the Indians have been at the mission and informed you that there were certain white people in the country. We are Americans on our journey to the River Columbia; we were in at the Mission San Gabriel in January last. I went to San Diego and saw the general, and got a passport from him to pass on to that place. I have made several efforts to cross the mountains, but the snows being so deep, I could not succeed in getting over. I returned to this place (it being the only point to kill meat), to wait a few weeks until the snow melts so that I can go on: the Indians here also being friendly, I consider it the most safe point for me to remain, until such time as I can cross the mountains with my horses, having lost a great many in attempting to cross ten or fifteen days since. I am a long ways from home, and am anxious to get there as soon as the nature of the case will admit. Our situation is quite unpleasant, being destitute of clothing and most of the necessaries of life, wild meat being our principal subsistence. I am, Reverend Father, your strange but real friend and Christian brother.
J. S. SMITH.
May 19th, 1827.
Smith had united himself with the party he had left in 1825 on the American river, and who had been very successful during his absence, and now that he could not cross the Sierra Nevada, decided to penetrate north to the Columbia and follow up that stream to the Rocky mountains, expecting to join his partners at the Green river rendezvous. Near the head of the Sacramento valley the party crossed the Coast Range to the west, reaching the ocean near the mouth of Russian river, and continued up the coast to the Umpqua. While stopping here to construct a raft for the purpose of ferrying their effects across the stream, their camp was suddenly attacked by Indians with whom they were holding friendly intercourse, and all but three were slain. Smith, Daniel Prior, and an Indian were on the raft at the time of the attack,
and when the signal yell was given the Indian seized Smith's rifle and sprung into the water; but the old mountaineer grasped his companion's gun, and as soon as the treacherous rascal thrust his head out of water to catch a breath, sent a bullet through his brain. The two men then landed on the opposite side of the river and started on foot for Vancouver, which they eventually reached in safety. The third one who escaped was Richard Laughlin, who seized a burning brand from the fire and with vigorous blows upon the naked bodies of the savages cleared a passage for himself through the assailants and escaped uninjured. After enduring many hardships he, too, reached the company's headquarters on the Columbia.
The Hudson's Bay Company had made it an inflexible rule to treat the natives justly and even liberally, to give them no cause of offense or complaint; but to maintain respect for their power and authority and to show the natives that their conduct was not inspired by fear, they never failed to punish offending tribes or individuals in such a manner as would be a perpetual warning to them in the future. It happened that Governor Simpson was at Fort Vancouver at the time Smith arrived in such a forlorn condition, and he sent out a party under Thomas McKay, son of Alexander McKay, the partner of Mr. Astor who perished on the Tonquin, to punish the Indians and recover the captured property, both as a necessary step to maintain the company's authority and as an act of courtesy to the despoiled trader. Accounts vary as to the degree of punishment inflicted, but at all events the furs were recovered and conveyed to Vancouver, and since he could not carry them, having no means, and since the company, from a business point of view, could not afford to provide him with facilities for carrying on opposition to it, he sold the whole lot to the company for $40,000. Though this was much below the market price in St. Louis, it was a pretty fair valuation for them on the Columbia. The most minute account of this transaction is given by Rev. Gustavus Hines, to whom it was related by Dr. McLaughlin, chief factor of the company, a few years subsequently. But one writer has seriously questioned the correctness of these statements. Gray's History of Oregon states that the property was recovered "by giving them presents of blankets and powder, and such things as the Indians wished, as stated to us by a Frenchman, a servant of the company, who was one of Mr. McKay's party that went to get the furs. They found no bodies to bury, and had no fight with the Indians about the property, as stated by Mr. Smith, also. But, as the Hudson's Bay Company tells the story through Mr. Hines, they 'spread terror through the tribes' * * Mr. Hines says his Umpqua party 'returned in triumph to Vancouver.' And well they might, for they had made the best season's hunt they ever made, in getting those furs and the property of Smith, which paid them well for the expedition, as there was no market for Smith, except London, through the hypocritical kindness of Mr. Simpson. By this time, Mr. Smith had learned all he wished to of this company. He preferred giving them his furs at their own price to being under any further obligations to them. Mr. Sublette, Mr. Smith's partner, did not speak as though he felt under much obligation to Mr. Simpson or the Hudson's Bay Company, which was not long after the transaction referred to. I do not know how the company regard these statements of Mr. Hines, yet I regard them as true so far as Mr. Hines is concerned, but utterly false as regards the company. * * * According to the testimony given in the case of the
Hudson's Bay Company vs. United States, the amount of furs seized by the company at that time was forty packs, worth at the time $1,000 each, besides the animals and equipments belonging to the party, a large portion of which was given to the Indians, to compensate them for their services rendered to the company, in destroying Smith's expedition and killing his men.'
When it is known that the author of the above bears such bitter hatred towards the Hudson's Bay Company and the officers who represented it in Oregon that he cannot even hear the name mentioned without bristling up in anger, and that this feeling grew out of early missionary feuds, the hated company having supported the Catholic missionaries, opponents of this gentleman and his associates in the Protestant missions it will be understood how, having been thus carried beyond the verge of reason, he could make such deliberate charges of inhumanity against men well known to have been possessed of more than ordinary integrity, benevolence and morality That the company's policy was to break down all opposition, is true; that in order to do this they strictly enjoined all Indians over whom they exercised any control from dealing with independent traders or selling them supplies, and instructed the agents at their various posts to refuse supplies and ammunition to them, except when it became a case of pure humanity, is also true; but that it ever encouraged the thought among the natives that it would be pleased by the murder of Americans is not susceptible of proof, and the idea is as inconsistent with well known facts as it is with the character of the men who administered the company's affairs in Oregon. Dr. John McLaughlin was one of nature's noblemen, kind and benevolent in character and in manners a thorough gentleman. Undeserved abuse has been heaped upon his head by his enemies without stint, many of whom display the basest ingratitude in so doing. Though instructed by the company to oppose the settlement of Americans and to refuse to sell them supplies, his kind heart would not permit him to carry out the injunction. The needy pioneer never applied to him in vain. He not only sold them supplies but gave them credit, many of them never settling their scores, and for this he was in later years dismissed from his position and compelled by the company to pay from his own pocket all that was owing from these ungrateful men who at that very time were vilifying his name, being thus brought to the verge of bankruptcy. It is needless to go into further details, for all, save a few whom blind prejudice holds in chains, bear testimony to the grandeur of Dr. McLaughlin's character. As for Tom McKay he was universally respected by whites and Indians for his sterling integrity, and because of this held greater influence over the Indians of this region than any man before or since. He took up land in the Willamette valley and lived as an American citizen, loved and respected to the day of his death. To ascribe such conduct to men like this is to show that judgment has been so distorted by prejudice as to be valueless.
Smith's party was the first band of American trappers to visit this region, and as their presence was unsuspected by the company it is impossible that the Indians could have been stirred up against them. A few years later, when the American traders were better known here and settlers began to arrive, the distinction between the Bostons (Americans) and King George men (Englishmen), became better known, and the Indians became prejudiced against the former for reasons that will be given in speaking of American settlements. Dunn relates an incident which shows this spirit in after
years among the savages, and which also shows that it was not fostered by the company, He says:
"On one occasion an American vessel, Captain Thompson, was in the Columbia, trading for furs and salmon. The vessel had got aground, in the upper part of the river, and the Indians, from various quarters, mustered with the intent of cutting the Americans off, thinking that they had an opportunity of revenge, and would thus escape the censure of the company. Dr. M'Laughlin, the governor of Fort Vancouver, hearing of their intention, immediately dispatched a party to their rendezvous; and informed them that if they injured one American, it would be just the same offense as if they had injured one of his servants, and they would be treated equally as enemies. This stunned them; and they relinquished their purpose; and all retired to their respective homes. Had not this come to the governor's ears the Americans must have perished."
A party of trappers was then sent out from Vancouver to penetrate into California, headed by Alexander Roderick McLeod and guided by one of the survivors of the Umpqua massacre. They passed through Rogue river valley, over Siskiyou mountain, and entered California by the way of the Sacramento river, trapping along the streams that course through the valley. In the early part of the winter they were caught in a severe snow storm on one of the tributaries of the Sacramento, in Shasta county, and narrowly escaped starvation. They lost their horses and were in a sad plight. Joe McLaughlin, son of the chief factor, set out on foot with a companion to procure aid from Vancouver, and reached that place after much hardship and privation. McLeod did not wait, however, but cached his furs, which were extremely valuable, and struggled through to Vancouver with the remainder of his men. Another party was then dispatched to recover the peltries, but found them spoiled. The stream which witnessed his misfortune was ever afterwards called McLeod (now improperly spelled McCloud) by his companion trappers.
Before the return of this unfortunate party to the fort, another, under Peter Ogden and accompanied by Smith, started for the new trapping grounds by another route. They passed up the Columbia and Lewis rivers to the source of the latter, at which point Smith left them and returned to the rendezvous on Green river, to report his manifold misfortunes. He sold his interest in the Rocky Mountain Fur Company in 1830, and the next year was treacherously killed by Indians while digging for water in the dry bed of the Cimeron river, near Taos, New Mexico, and was buried there by his companions. After Smith took his leave on Lewis river Ogden's party continued south to Mary's or Humboldt river, which was thereafter known as Ogden's river by the English, continued down that stream to the sink and crossed over the mountains to California through Walker's pass. They trapped along the Sacramento and followed McLeod's trail back to Vancouver. From that time till it became a portion of the United States in 1846, California was one of the regular trapping grounds of the Hudson's Bay Company.
The second party of American trappers to enter Oregon was that of Major Pilcher. They left Green river in 1828, and passed along the western base of the Rocky mountains to Flathead lake, where they wintered. In the spring they descended Clarke's Fork and the main Columbia to Colville river, up which they ascended to its source and started on their return eastward. Gray says: "This party of Major Pilcher
were all cut off but two men, besides himself; his furs, as stated by himself to the writer, found their way into the forts of the Hudson's Bay Company." The writer, though not stating it positively, intends to convey the impression that these men were murdered at the instigation of the Hudson's Bay Company, or at least with its sanction. That the captured furs were sold to the company is true, but as that was the only market open to the Indians it is a very small foundation upon which to lay a charge of murder against the purchasers. The next band of American trappers was that of Ewing Young, who had been for years a leader of trapping parties from Santa Fè to the head waters of the Del Norte, Rio Grande and Colorado rivers. He entered California through Walker's pass in 1829, and returned the next year. In 1832 he again entered California and followed Smith's route into Oregon as far as the Umpqua, when he turned eastward, crossed the mountains to the tributary streams of the Columbia and Snake rivers, entered Sacramento valley again from the north, and finally crossed out by the Tejon pass, having been absent from Santa Fè two years. Mr. Young soon returned, and became one of the first and most energetic of the American settlers in Oregon.
When Smith sold his interest in the Rocky Mountain Fur Company in 1830, William Sublette and David Jackson retired also, and the new partners were Milton Sublette, James Bridger, Robert Campbell, Thomas Fitzpatrick, Frapp and Jarvais. In 1831 the old American Fur Company, which had been managed so long by Mr. Astor but was now directed by Ramsey Crooks, began to push into the trapping grounds of the other company. Great rivalry sprung up between them, which was the following year intensified by the appearance of two other competitors in the persons of Captain B. L. E. Bonneville and Nathaniel J. Wyeth. Captain Bonneville was a United States army officer, who had been given permission to lead a party of trappers into the fur regions of the northwest, the expedition being countenanced by the government only to the extent of this permit. It was supposed, that, by such an undertaking, sufficient additional information of the region explored would be obtained to warrant authorizing an officer to engage in a private venture. The captain first reached the Rocky mountains in 1832. In 1833 he sent Joseph Walker with forty men to California over the route formerly pursued by Smith, and on Christmas of the same year started with three companions from his camp on Portneuf river, upon an expedition to Fort Walla Walla. His object, as given by Irving, was: "To make himself acquainted with the country, and the Indian tribes; it being one part of his scheme, to establish a trading post somewhere on the lower part of the river, so as to participate in the trade lost to the United States by the capture of Astoria." He reached Powder river on the twelfth of January, 1834, whence his journey was continued down Snake river and by the Nez Perce trail to Fort Walla Walla, where he arrived March 4, 1834.
This journey, in mid-winter, was attended with its accompanying detail of hardships incident to the season, including the absence of game and presence of snow in the mountains. At one time, they had wandered among the Blue mountains, lost amid its canyons and defiles east of the Grand Ronde valley, for twenty days, nearly frozen and constantly starved, until they were at the verge of despair. At length, a Nez Perce chief was met, who invited them to his lodge some twelve miles further along the trail they were traveling, and then galloped away. So great had been the strain
upon the captain's system in sustaining these successive days of unnatural exertion, that when the chief disappeared, he sunk upon the ground and lay there like one dead. His companions tried in vain to arouse him. It was a useless effort, and they were forced to camp by the trail until he awoke from this trance the next day and was enabled to move on. They had hardly resumed their tedious journey, when some dozen Nez Perces rode up with fresh horses and carried them in triumph to their village. Everywhere, after this, they were kindly received by this hospitable people, fed, cared for and guided on their way by them.
Bonneville and his two companions were kindly received at Fort Walla Walla by Mr. P C. Pambrun, who, with five or six men, was in charge of that station at the mouth of the Walla Walla river. This Hudson's Bay Company representative was a courteous, affable host, but when asked to sell the captain supplies that would enable his return to the Rocky mountains: "That worthy superintendent, who had extended all the genial rights of hospitality, now suddenly assumed a withered up aspect and demeanor, and observed that, however he might feel disposed to serve him personally, he felt bound by his duty to the Hudson's Bay Company, to do nothing which should facilitate or encourage the visits of other traders among the Indians in that part of the country." Bonneville remained at the fort but two days, for his destitute condition, combined with the lateness in the season, rendered it necessary for him to return immediately; and he started on the back trail with his Nez Perce guide, and finally reached the point of general rendezvous for his various expeditions. This is a true statement of the position assumed by the Hudson's Bay Company; its agents would not themselves, nor would they permit the Indians under their control to deal with or in any manner assist opposition traders; but that Bonneville traversed the country in safety with but three companions after the company was aware of his intention to return and found a rival establishment on the Columbia, is convincing evidence that assassination was not one of its methods of overcoming competition, however much such charges may be reiterated by its enemies.
In July, 1834, Bonneville started on a second expedition to the Columbia, with a formidable number of trappers and mountain men, well equipped, and with an extensive stock of goods to traffic with Indians. He still contemplated a restoration of American trade in this country, and designed establishing a post for that purpose in the Willamette valley. This time he passed the Blue mountains by way of Grand Ronde valley and the Umatilla river, and upon his arrival at the mouth of that stream, was surprised to find the natives shunning him. They ran from his men, hid themselves, and when intercepted, refused to have anything to do with the Americans. Not a skin, a horse, a dog, or a fish could be obtained from them, having been warned by the Hudson's Bay Company not to traffic with these new comers. It now seemed a question of immediate evacuation or starvation, and Bonneville decided to abandon his attempt at joint occupancy. Once more he turned his back upon the Columbia and left the English company in undisputed possession of the field.
A contemporaneous effort was made by Nathaniel J. Wyeth, a Boston merchant. With eleven men who knew nothing of trapper-life, he crossed the plains to Humboldt river with Milton Sublette in 1832. From this point the twelve pushed north to Snake river, and by way of that stream to Fort Vancouver, where they
arrived October 29. The fortune of Mr. Wyeth was invested in this enterprise and he had brought a stock of goods with him not well adapted to the Indian market. He was hospitably received by the Hudson's Bay Company. The next spring he left for the East, a financial bankrupt, deserted by all of his followers except two. It is not recorded that the company's officers in any way contributed towards producing this result; but, if they did not, it was because they believed it unnecessary, knowing that failure would follow without their manipulation. Arriving in Boston, Mr. Wyeth organized The Columbia River Fishing and Trading Company, with a view of continuing operations on the Pacific coast under the same general plan that had formerly been pursued by Astor, proposing, however, to add salmon fishing to the fur business. A brig, called the May Decres, sailed for the Columbia river with stores, and Mr. Wyeth, with sixty experienced men, started for the same place across the continent in 1834. Near the head waters of Snake river, he established Fort Hall as an interior trading post, named in honor of one of his partners, where he left twelve men and a stock of goods. He then pushed forward to the Columbia and erected a fort on Sauvie's island at the mouth of the Willamette river, which he called Fort Williams, in honor of another partner; and again the American flag waved over soil west of the Rocky mountains.
The officers of the company again received him with much hospitality, and though they continued to treat him with courtesy, this did not prevent them from taking the steps necessary to protect the company's interests. Fort Boise was established as an opposition to Fort Hall and drew the bulk of the trade of the Indians of Snake river. On the Columbia Wyeth found that the natives were so completely under the control of the company that he could establish no business relations with them whatever. In two years he was compelled to sell all his possessions, including Fort Hall, to the rival company, and abandon this second effort at joint occupation.
In 1835 the two rival American companies were consolidated as the American Fur Company, Bridger, Fontenelle and Briggs being the leaders. The retirement of Bonneville and the sale of Fort Hall by Mr. Wyeth left only the consolidated company and a few "lone traders" to compete with the English corporation. For a few years longer the struggle was maintained, but gradually the Hudson's Bay Company absorbed the trade until the American trappers, so far as organized effort was concerned, abandoned the field.
The chief secret of the failure of Americans and the success of the English--and it is best to be candid in this matter--was the radical difference in their methods of conducting the business. The American trappers were, to a large extent, made up of a class of wild, reckless and brutal men, many of them fugitives from justice. With them might made right, and the privilege of shooting Indians was considered an inherent right which should be exercised as often as circumstances permitted. They were insubordinate and quarrelsome, and the histories of their adventurous lives, even those written for the glorification of Kit Carson, Joe Meek, Jim Beckwourth and others, convince us that these men composed the lowest stratum of American society. Irving, in one of many similar passages, says: "The arrival of the supplies gave the regular finish to the annual revel. A grand outbreak of wild debauch ensued among the mountaineers; drinking, dancing, swaggering, gambling, quarreling and
fighting. Alcohol, which, from its portable qualities, containing the greatest quantity of fiery spirit in the smallest compass, is the only liquor carried across the mountains, is the inflammatory beverage at these carousals, and is dealt out to the trappers at four dollars a pint. When inflamed by this fiery beverage, they cut all kinds of mad pranks and gambols, and sometimes burn all their clothes in their drunken bravadoes. A camp, recovering from one of these riotous revels, presents a serio-comic spectacle; black eyes, broken heads, lack lustre visages." Alcohol was a leading article of merchandise, and the annual assemblage at the points of rendezvous and the meetings with Indians for the purposes of trade, were invariably the scenes of drunken debauchery like the one described. Many impositions were practiced on the Indians, and the men, being irresponsible and without restraint, were guilty of many acts of injustice. The Indians learned neither uprightness nor morality from contact with them, and had respect only for their bravery.
On the other hand the servants of the Hudson's Bay Company were men, chiefly half-breeds and French Canadians, who had been reared in the business, as were their fathers before them, and cheerfully submitted to the rigid discipline maintained by the company. It was the policy of the company to avoid all trouble with the natives, to whom they gave no liquor whatever, and, by just and even generous treatment, bind the Indians to them by a community of interest; yet it never let an act of treachery or bad faith go unpunished. Thus, by an exhibition of justness and moral behavior on one hand and power on the other, it maintained unquestioned authority among the savages of a hundred tribes and over thousands of miles of wilderness. Had the American companies pursued the same policy as their great English rival, far different would have been the result of their enterprises. Fortunately for America she was not compelled to rely upon reckless trappers for her dominion in Oregon. Fur traders could not gain it for her, nor could they hold it for Great Britain. Plows and not steel traps were to settle the question between them.
During these years of competition in the fur business, diplomacy was also at work. Several expeditions were sent to the Rocky mountains by the United States government, to report upon the nature of the country and its adaptability to settlement. From these as well as from the reports of trappers, the idea was spread abroad, that the country west of the rocky mountains was valueless except for its fur-bearing animals; and this idea was fostered by the Hudson's Bay Company both in America and England. The consequence was that when the ten years of joint occupancy had expired, such was the apathy of congress and American statesmen on the subject, that an indefinite extension of the treaty was agreed upon, to be terminated by either party upon giving notice one year in advance. This was done in 1828, and it was while the extended treaty was in force that Bonneville and Wyeth made a practical test of its workings.
OREGON MISSIONS AND SETTLEMENTS.
Four Flathead Indians in St. Louis--The Methodist Mission--The Congregational Missions--Whitman Takes a Cart to Fort Boise--American Settlements--The Wallamette Cattle Company--Progress of Missions and Settlements--Advent of Catholic Missionaries--Population in 1840.
There suddenly appeared in St. Louis in 1832 four Flathead Indians. It was a common sight to see Indians of a dozen tribes lounging about the streets of that busy mart and mingling with the conglomerate crowd of idlers; but these were different. They had not come to carouse or drink the white man's firewater. In the far off land of Oregon the Flatheads had heard that the white man had a different religion and a different God from that of his red brother, and that this was the secret of his knowledge, wealth and power; and these four braves had been delegated by their tribe to go in search of someone who would teach them this new religion, that they, too, might become a mighty people. Two of them died in the city, and the other two set out, dejected, upon their return home without the great book of the white man, and one of them perished on the return journey. But their pilgrimage was not fruitless, for both the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, a Congregational organization, and the Methodist Board of Missions, were aroused to a knowledge of the fact that Oregon was an inviting field for missionary labor. Each delegated suitable persons to proceed to Oregon and lay the foundation for missions among the natives.
The Methodists were prepared first, and in 1834, Rev. Jason Lee, Rev. Daniel Lee, Cyrus Shepard, and P. L. Edwards started for Oregon in company with the party of Nathaniel J. Wyeth, previously alluded to. They left Mr. Wyeth's party, who were delayed in the erection of Fort Hall, and passed over the remaining distance in company with A. R. McLeod and Thomas McKay of the Hudson's Bay Company, reaching Fort Walla Walla September 1, and by boats, Vancouver, the fifteenth day of the same month. A location for a mission was immediately selected at a point on the Willamette river, some sixty miles above its mouth, and ten below the site of Salem. Their mission goods, brought around by Wyeth's vessel, landed at this place twenty-one days after their arrival at Vancouver. A house was soon constructed of logs, 32 feet by 18, which they entered November 3, there being at the time but ten feet of the roof completed. So eager were they to commence labor as missionaries, that before the roof was all on their building, Indian children were received into it as pupils. December 14, Jason Lee, while at Vancouver, baptized twenty-one persons, among whom were seventeen children; and he received a donation of twenty dollars to aid in missionary work from persons living at the fort.
They were in Oregon with the sole purpose of elevating the mental and spiritual condition of the inhabitants, regardless of nationality, race, color or condition. Be-
cause of this, they were kindly and hospitably received by all, including the monster corporation. Their plan was to educate the Indian, and teach him how to make the soil yield a livelihood. To do this they proposed opening a school for children, where they could live, learn to read, worship God, and till the soil. To carry out this design, it was necessary for the missionaries to become farmers, and produce the food required for themselves and the support of their pupils. The agricultural branch of their enterprise was inaugurated in the spring of 1835. Their first harvest yielded them two hundred and fifty bushels of potatoes, a quantity of wheat, barley, oats and peas, to which were added six barrels of salmon procured from the Indians. In September of this year, the mission people were attacked by an intermittent fever, from which four Indian pupils died. This was a misfortune, as it caused the superstitious natives to look with mistrust upon an institution where the Great Spirit killed their children instead of benefiting them. One Indian visited the mission for the purpose of killing Daniel Lee and Cyrus Shepard because his little brother had died there, but was prevented from doing so by a companion, when he crossed to the opposite side of the river and murdered several of his own race, to satisfy his wrath at the "white medicines." During the fall of 1835, a 16 by 32 foot addition was built to their premises, and the close of the year found them with comfortable log buildings, a reasonable supply of provisions for the winter and only ten pupils.
The parties sent by the American Board were Rev. Samuel Parker and Dr. Marcus Whitman, who started in 1835 with a trapping party of the American Fur Company, intent upon selecting some suitable place for the founding of a mission. They reached the rendezvous of the company in the Rocky mountains, where they encountered a large band of Nez Perce Indians, who had come there to trade with the company. There was a young chief among them, whom the whites called Lawyer, because of a marked ability displayed by him in repartee and discussion, which could readily be awakened into active play by reflecting upon the acts or motives of his American friends. Upon consultation with this chief, it was determined to establish a mission among his people, this decision being hastened because of the peculiar characteristics of the two missionaries, which rendered them ill-calculated for traveling companions. To carry out this arrangement Dr. Whitman was to return home, accompanied by two Nez Perce boys, and come back the ensuing year with the necessary material and associates for an establishment. Rev. Samuel Parker was to continue his way to the Pacific ocean, decide upon the best point for a mission among the Nez Perces, and then send, by Indian source, a letter of advice, to meet Whitman in the mountains on his way out the next season.
To carry out this arrangement, they separated August 22, 1835, one turning back upon the trail that led him to a martyr's grave; the other, with an interpreter, pushing forward in a triumphal journey among the Indians to the sea. No white man, before or since, has been received with such cordiality and ceremonious distinction, as greeted Mr. Parker on his way through Eastern Oregon to Walla Walla. His approach to an Indian village was the signal for a general display of savage grandeur and hospitality. Since their first knowledge of white men they had seen that the pale face belonged to a superior race, and had heard that he worshiped a Great Spirit, a mysterious unseen power, that made him what he was. The Indians now hoped to
learn, too, how they could gain favor with this being, whose smiles gave power to his followers and happiness to those who worshiped him. Now, when one had come among them, who, they believed, could bring them the favor of the white man's God, they received him everywhere with outstretched arms and demonstrations of unbounded joy. Services were held at various places, and the eager natives were to a degree inducted into the mysteries of the white man's religion.
October 5, Mr. Parker, with his interpreter and guides, passed down the Touchet river and reached Fort Walla Walla the next day, where he was hospitably received by P. C. Pambrun, the commandant in charge. From there he continued his way down the Columbia to Fort Vancouver, where he spent the winter. In the spring he revisited the Nez Perces, went as far north as Spokane and Colville, and returning to Vancouver embarked for home by way of the Sandwich islands in June, 1836.
The efforts of Dr. Whitman resulted in his obtaining the necessary funds and associates for the establishment of two missions in Oregon. He had married in February, 1835, Miss Narcissa Prentiss, a lady of refined nature, rare accomplishments and with commanding appearance. She possessed a voice of winning sweetness, was affable to all with whom she came in contact, firm in purpose and an enthusiast. Her sympathies had been enlisted in the cause, and yielding all her fair prospects for the future in the country where she was born, she devoted her life to banishment and isolation among savages, in a country so far away that its name even conveyed to the mind a sense of loneliness and mystery. The associate workers were W. H. Gray and Rev. H. H. Spalding and wife, a lady of much firmness of character and excellently adapted for the labor she had chosen to perform.
The missionary party brought with them three wagons, eight mules, twelve horses and sixteen cows. In those wagons were farming utensils, blacksmith and carpenter tools, seeds, clothing, etc., to enable them to become self-supporting. In crossing the plains they traveled under protection of the American Fur Company. Sir William Drummond, an English nobleman, under the alias of Captain Stewart, with a companion and three servants, and Major Pilcher, a celebrated mountaineer, were also of the party. On arriving at Fort Laramie the wagons were all abandoned except one, which was retained by Dr. Whitman for the ladies to ride in, and then the fur company concluded to try the experiment of taking one of their carts along. After reaching the trappers' rendezvous on Green river, the mission party were introduced by Captain Wyeth--who was on his way home after having sold his forts and trapping interests to the Hudson's Bay Company--to Thomas McKay and A. R. McLeod, with whom they were to continue to the Columbia river. Upon resuming the journey, the Doctor, contrary to a manifest hostility evinced to his doing so, insisted upon taking the one remaining wagon with him, but was obliged on reaching Fort Hall, to reduce it to a two-wheel truck, and the men insisted upon his leaving even that when they reached Fort Boise. Such was the result of the first effort to cross the continent with a wagon, which demonstrated that the Rocky mountains were not an impassable barrier to American immigration. The party arrived a Fort Walla Walla September 2? 1836, where they were received by Mr. Pambrun with demonstrations of heartfelt cordiality that caused the travel-worn missionaries to feel as though they had reached a home in this land of the setting sun. A few days later they passed down the Co-
lumbia to Fort Vancouver, where Dr. McLaughlin gave them a most hearty welcome. Here the ladies enjoyed his hospitalities for some time, while the gentlemen returned to Fort Walla Walla to seek suitable locations for their two missionary establishments. With the aid of Mr. Pambrun, and after careful examination of the country, they decided to establish one mission among the Cayuses and one among the Nez Perces. The former was located at the junction of Walla Walla river and Mill creek, near the present city of Walla Walla, and was called Waiilatpu, the proper name of the Cayuse tribe, being placed under the direction of Dr. Whitman and his noble wife; the latter, called Lapwai and put in charge of Mr. Spalding and wife, was situated on the Clearwater, above the site of Lewiston. By December suitable accommodations were provided at both missions and the founders began their labor of love.
Additions were also made to the force at work in the Methodist mission in the Willamette valley. In July, 1836, Elijah White and wife, Alanson Beers and wife, W. H. Wilson, Annie M. Pitman, Susan Downing and Elvina Johnson, sailed from Boston, but did not reach their destination until May, 1837. The scourge of fever still afflicted them, and. the-mission in consequence bore an ill repute among the natives, in spite of the most earnest and conscientious efforts of its people to win the good will of those whom they had come so far to benefit.
The attaches of the missions were not the only Americans that were now living in Oregon. From the trappers who had visited the coast, some of them with the American companies, some as roving "free trappers" and still others in the service of the Hudson's Bay Company, knowledge of the beautiful and fertile Willamette and Sacramento valleys was spread along the American frontier, and the thoughts of many of the hardy western people were turned in this direction. The breaking up of the American trapping companies left many mountaineers without an occupation, unless they engaged in trapping on their own account, and these men began to find their way into California and Oregon for the purpose of building for themselves homes, the majority of them, however, going to the former country. At the close of 1836 there were some thirty white persons in Oregon not connected with the Hudson's Bay Company, including the missionaries and their wives.
The presence of these people, in the capacity of settlers, was regarded by the company with much disfavor; not simply because they were Americans, but because the settlement of any persons whatever, over whom the company had no control, was calculated to weaken its hold upon the natives. It had been the policy of the company to discourage settlements, even of its own employees whose terms of service had expired, though it could exercise control over them almost as much as when still in its service; consequently the settlement of Americans beyond the pale of their authority was very distasteful. The Methodist missionaries, also, who had been so cordially welcomed by the company's officers when it was supposed they were simply to engage in missionary work, now that they encouraged these settlers and sided with them against the company, were classed in the same category and deprived of the aid of the company's influence.
In order to be still more independent of the company, Ewing Young, who was the leading spirit among the American trappers who had located in the valley, and Jason Lee, the missionary, set on foot a scheme to procure a supply of cattle from California. The effort was opposed by the company, but with the aid of William A.
Slocum, an officer of the United States navy, who advanced money and gave a free passage to California in his vessel to those who went after the cattle, it was completely successful, and the "Wallamette Cattle Company" was organized. The party which went to California was under the leadership of Mr. Young, and was composed of P. L. Edwards, who kept a diary of the expedition which is now preserved in the State Library at Sacramento and numbered 23,989, Hawchurst, Carmichael, Bailey, Erequette, DesPau, Williams, Tibbetts, Gay, Wood, Camp, Turner, and enough others to make a company of about twenty men, all inured to the dangers and privations of mountain life. They collected a band of 700 cattle at three dollars per head, and, with much labor and difficulty succeeded in bringing 600 of them into the valley. They had much trouble with the Indians on Siskiyou mountain and along Rogue river, and Gray, without any foundation charges the company with stirring up the Indians to cut them off. The fact is, as Edwards' diary plainly shows, the trouble grew out of the unprovoked murder by one of the party of an Indian who visited their camp on Klamath river. Turner, Gay and Bailey were three of four survivors of an American party which had been attacked on Rogue river two years before, and shot this Indian in a spirit of revenge. It is certainly difficult to trace any agency of the company in this affair, or to assign any other cause than wanton murder for their trouble with the Indians.
The arrival of the cattle was hailed with joy by the settlers, as it guaranteed them complete independence of the company and demonstrated that Americans could settle in the Willamette valley with an assurance of being self-supporting. At the close of 1837 the independent population of Oregon consisted of forty-nine souls about equally divided between missionary attaches and settlers. Of these Rev. David Leslie and wife, Rev H. K. W. Perkins and Margaret Smith were new recruits for the Methodist mission.
In 1838, W. H. Gray, who had returned East the year before to procure reinforcements for the Congregational missions, came out with Revs. E. Walker, Gushing Eells and A. B. Smith and the wives of the four, also a young man named Cornelius Rogers and John A. Sutter, the honored pioneer of the Sacramento valley. At Fort Hall, Gray's associates were induced to trade the fourteen cows they were bringing with them, all of a superior breed, for a like number of cows to be delivered to them by the Hudson's Bay Company after reaching their destination. They failed to fully appreciate the advantages of that trade until after arriving at Whitman's mission in September, where they found that only an expert vaquero could catch one of the wild heifers roaming with the herds belonging to the company.
The Methodists enlarged the field of their missionary labors in the spring of 1838, by establishing a mission at The Dalles, under the charge of Daniel Lee and H. K. W. Perkins. The Protestant method of benefiting the Indians, aside from merely preaching Christianity to them, was to teach them how to live, how to procure food and clothing by their own labor intelligently applied, so that they should no longer be subjected to alternate seasons of feasting and famine. They thought to make a farmer of the Indian, and thus destroy his roving habits. To do this it was necessary that those being taught be supported by them until they could be rendered self-sustaining; and this required money. Consequently when it was decided to establish a mission at
The Dalles, Rev. Jason Lee started East to procure financial aid, accompanied by P. L. Edwards, F. Y. Ewing and two Indian boys. During his absence his wife died, also Cyrus Shepard, who was teaching the school at the Willamette mission.
In 1838 a new element was introduced into Oregon in the form of a delegation of Catholic missionaries; and immediately upon their arrival was begun anew that same sectarian rivalry, that battle of religious creeds, which has caused so much of bloodshed, horror and misery in the world. Intolerance and bigotry were displayed as much by the one side as the other, and responsibility for the terrible results which followed their contest for spiritual control of the Indians rests equally upon the shoulders of both. Revs. Francis N. Blanchet and Modest Demers reached Vancouver on the twenty-fourth of November, having come overland from Montreal, and having baptized fifty-three persons during their passage down the Columbia. The Congregational missions were extended during the year by the establishing of a new one among the Spokane Indians by Revs. Gushing Eells and E. Walker.
During the following year but little advancement was made, either in missionary work or settlements. The Catholics traveled extensively among the tribes, while the Protestants confined their attention to their various stations. The Indians learned that the white man had two ways of going to heaven, and naturally were themselves divided in opinion as to which was the better one; or, as they themselves expressed it, all their bad feelings towards each were stirred up, and those quarreled who had before been friends. A printing press was presented in 1839 to the Protestant missionaries, by their co-laborers in the Sandwich islands; and it was taken to Lapwai with its accompanying material, and there E. O. Hall and Messrs. Spalding and Rogers used it to print portions of the New Testament in the Nez Perce tongue. This was the first appearance of the typographic art on the Pacific coast of North America.
In the latter part of 1839 A. B. Smith located among Ellis' band of Nez Perces and began missionary work. The next year he undertook to cultivate a small patch of ground, when he was ordered by Ellis to desist upon pain of death. Smith not only abandoned his potato patch but his mission as well, and departed for the Sandwich islands. The failure of this effort gave great satisfaction to the Catholics, as is indicated by the published writings of Father P. J. DeSmet, who had located a mission among the Flatheads the same year.
In June, 1840, Jason Lee returned with a party of forty-eight, of whom eight were clergymen, and nineteen ladies. The names of the new arrivals in 1839 were Rev. J. S. Griffin and wife and Mr. Mungar and wife, who had intended to found a mission on Snake river but had not succeeded, Ben Wright, Lawson, Keiser, Geiger, Sidney Smith, Robert Shortess and Blair, a blacksmith. In 1840 the arrivals were more numerous. They are thus named and summarized by Gray:
"In 1840, Mrs. Lee, second wife of Rev. Jason Lee; Rev. J. H. Frost and wife; Rev. A. F. Waller, wife and two children; Rev. W. W. Kone and wife; Rev. G. Hines, wife and sister; Rev. L. H. Judson, wife and two children; Rev. J. L. Parish, wife and three children; Rev. G. P. Richards, wife and three children; Rev. A. P. Olley and wife. Laymen--Mr. George Abernethy, wife and two children; Mr. PI. Campbell wife and one child; Mr. W. W. Raymond and wife; Mr. H. B. Brewer and wife; Dr. J. L. Babcock, wife and one child; Mrs. Daniel Lee; Mrs. David Carter; Mrs.
Joseph Holman; Miss E. Phillips. Methodist Episcopal Protestant mission--Rev. Harvy Clark and wife; P. B. Littlejohn and wife. Independent Protestant mission-- Robert Moore, James Cook and James Fletcher, settlers. Jesuit priests--P. J. DeSmet, Flathead mission. Rocky mountain men with native wives: William Craig, Doctor Robert Newell, Jos. L. Meek, Geo. Ebbert, William M. Dougherty, John Larison, George Wilkinson, a Mr. Nicholson, and Mr. Algear and William Johnson, author of the novel, 'Leni Leoti; or, the Prairie Flower.' The subject was first written and read before the Lyceum at Oregon City, in 1843." He classifies the population as follows: American settlers, twenty-five of them with Indian wives, 36; American women, 33; children 32; lay members, Protestant missions 13; Methodist ministers 13; Congregational 6; American physicians 3; English physicians 1; Jesuit priests, including DeSmet, 3; Canadian French, 60; total Americans, 137; total Canadians, including priests, 63; total population, not including Hudson's Bay Company operatives, within what now is a portion of Montana and all of Idaho, Washington and Oregon, 200.
OREGON FOR THE UNITED STATES.
First Efforts at Government--Petition to Congress in 1840--Plans of the Hudson's Bay Company--Unfounded Charges against the Company--Unsuccessful Attempt to Organize in 1841--Visit of Commodore Wilkes-- The Hudson's Bay Company Imports Settlers from Red River--Visit of Governor Simpson -Whitman's Winter Journey--The Ashburton Treaty--Emigrants and Wagons for Oregon--Names of Oregon Residents in 1843--A Provisional Government Organized--Treaty of 1846 Gives Oregon to the United States.
In 1839 was made the first attempt at any form of government, other than the enforced rules of the Hudson's Bay Company. The Methodist missionaries in the Willamette valley selected two persons to act as magistrates, and though this was done without the co-operation of the settlers the action was acquiesced in and their authority respected. The most important case before this tribunal was that of T. J. Hubbard, who was tried for murder before Rev. David Leslie, having killed a man who was attempting to enter his house through the window. The jury acquitted the prisoner on the grounds of justifiable homicide. In 1840, soon after this event, a petition was forwarded to congress, asking the establishment of a territorial government in Oregon, which had the effect of drawing attention to this country and of reminding those who had formerly thought the Willamette valley a desirable spot for a home that now was a good time to emigrate.
There was still another and more important effect produced by this petition and the apparent determination of the American settlers to have a government of their
own, and that was to arouse the Hudson's Bay Company to a realization of the precarious condition of its authority in Oregon. It began to recognize the fact that as a company it could not control these new-comers nor could it prevent the influx of others who were inimical to its interests. This conviction wrought a change in policy, and with it was made a bold stroke to gain possession of the prize. It has been stated that the company was opposed to settlements of any kind, preferring that the country should remain uninhabited by all save the natives and actual servants of the corporation. It had even gone so far as to send to Canada at its own expense employees whose terms of service had expired, to prevent them from settling here. It is to this policy, wise if all that was desired was to keep this region as a fur-bearing wilderness, but very unwise if it was the expectation to gain possession of it for Great Britain, that England can charge the loss to her of the disputed territory. Had the company from the first planted colonies in the Willamette like those of Lord Selkirk at Winnipeg, or had it even encouraged the settlement of its discharged employees, there would now have been enough British subjects to have controlled local affairs and laid a foundation for a claim of permanent ownership. During the past few years the company had been gradually realizing the unpleasant fact that it could not hope to exclude settlers, and had therefore withdrawn its objection to the location of permanent homes here by its old servants, and, preferring them to the Americans, had even encouraged them in so doing; but now it realized that it must adopt a more comprehensive and aggressive policy, it must colonize Oregon with subjects of Great Britain or submit to being itself expelled from the country. A deep plan was laid, which, but for the foresight and energetic patriotism of Dr. Marcus Whitman, would have been completely successful; and this plan was to bring a large emigration from the Red River settlements to overwhelm the Americans, and at the same time to open negotiations between the home governments for a final settlement of the mooted question of title, in which the preponderance of English subjects here was to be urged as a reason why Great Britain's claim to the country should be conceded.
There was nothing criminal nor even dishonorable in this; and yet some American writers speak of this and other steps of the company to obtain or retain possession of Oregon as though they were the most heinous of crimes. The subjects of Great Britain certainly had as much right to make an effort for possession as had citizens of the United States; and the actual fact is that they were less active, less aggressive than were the Americans, to which is due in a large measure their defeat in the contest. Because they made these efforts, parties who were equally active on the other side, looking at the matter through their party-colored spectacles, have charged the company's officers with the commission of grave crimes, not the least of which was the inciting of Indians to murder American settlers. These charges rest upon evidence which is entirely inferential and circumstantial, and even of this kind of testimony the greater portion is favorable to the company. There is no evidence to prove that the officers of the Hudson's Bay Company were guilty of any acts that would not be looked upon in any country and by any people as proper and necessary for the protection of their interests could they have been placed in the same position. It is certainly questionable if some of those gentlemen, whose bitter enmity caused them to make these charges, had possessed the great power of the company, whether they
would have used it as honorably and conscientiously as did Dr. McLaughlin and his associates. It is certain that these narrow-minded views were not entertained by the master mind of them all, the martyred Whitman. His brain was large enough to keep personality and politics separate, and he honored and respected these men and enjoyed their personal friendship even while doing his utmost to defeat their plans. It was the active part taken in the struggle by the Protestant missionaries which had lost them the support of the company, and caused that organization to encourage and aid the Catholics, who, as subjects of Great Britain, could be counted upon to further the company's interests. It was this union of interest and action which was the true cause of the bitter enmity of the Protestant historians to the company. The mutual intolerance of the two creeds, and the especially bitter spirit engendered by the contest for control of the Indians, sufficiently explain why those whose minds were thus educated to believe their Catholic opponents could be guilty of fiendish acts, should extend their prejudices to the company which supported them. It is time these unfounded charges were dropped and prejudice give way to reason. The workings of the company's new plan will be unfolded as this narrative progresses, as will also the circumstances which have called out these precautionary remarks.
Although so few white people resided in Oregon at this time, still the objects which brought them here had resulted in their division into four classes, with interests to a greater or less extent adverse to each other. The Hudson's Bay Company, the Catholics, the Protestant missionaries, and the independent settlers, constituted the four interests, and they were elements not easy to harmonize. The first two seemed to have but the one opinion, though there were a few members of the Catholic church who were favorable to American rule. The Methodist mission had served as a rallying point for settlers, who cared nothing for the religious creed it represented, their object in seeking homes in the Willamette having been to better their worldly condition. Such favored the mission influence to the.extent only that it served their purpose of settling in the country. In February, 1841, Ewing Young died, leaving considerable property and no heirs. This naturally raised the question of what was to be done with his estate and who was to take charge of it. He was neither a Catholic, a Protestant, nor a Hudson's Bay Company employee; he had only been an American citizen, was dead in Oregon, and what was to be done ? Had he been one of the company's employees it would have attended to the property; if he had belonged to the Catholic family the priests would have taken charge; if a Methodist, the mission could have administered; but, as he was an outsider, and as no one had the color of right to officiate, it became a matter in which all were interested and a cause for public action. His funeral occurred on the seventeenth, and after the burial an impromptu meeting was held, at which it was determined to organize a civil government over Oregon, not including the portion lying north of the Columbia river. A Committee was to constitute the legislative branch of the government; a governor, a supreme judge with probate powers, three justices of the peace, three constables, three road commissioners, an attorney-general, a clerk of the courts and public recorder, one treasurer and two overseers of the poor were to constitute its official machinery. Gentlemen were put in nomination for all of these offices and the meeting adjourned until the
next day, at which time, citizens of the valley were notified to be present at the American mission house to elect officers, and to perfect the governmental organization.
At the time and place specified, nearly all the male population south of the Columbia congregated, the several factions in full force. Most prominent among these was the Methodist mission; second, the Catholics as allies of the Hudson's Bay Company; and third, the independent settlers whose interests were not specially identified with either. The proceedings of the previous day were not fully indorsed. Two were added to the legislative committee, and the following gentlemen were chosen to serve in that capacity: Revs. F. N. Blanchet, Jason Lee, Gustavus Hines, Josiah L. Parrish, and Messrs. D. Donpierre, M. Charlevo, Robert Moore, E. Lucia, and William Johnson. The main point at issue seemed to be, as to which faction should secure the governorship. Revs. Leslie and Hines, and Dr. J. L. Babcock were the Methodist mission candidates and were liable to divide the vote sufficiently to secure the selection of Dr. Bailey, a man of strong English prejudices, who was opposed to religion generally, but could secure the French Catholics, and a majority of the settlers' votes. He drove the latter portion of his support into the opposition ranks, however, by his want of modesty in nominating himself for that position. It was finally determined to have no governor, and Dr. J. L. Babcock having been chosen supreme judge, was instructed to render decisions in matters coming before him in accordance with the New York code. This was an order easy to give, but difficult to fulfill, as there was not a New York statute book in Oregon at the time. The Methodists having secured the bench, and prevented the adverse interests from securing the executive branch of the embryo government, the Catholic influence was given a representation in Geo. LeBreton, who was made clerk of the court and recorder. Wm. Johnson was chosen from the English element for the office of high sheriff, and the following named gentlemen were elected constables: Havier Laderant, Pierre Billique, and Wm. McCarty. The offices of justice of the peace, road commissioner, attorney general, treasurer and overseer of the poor, were not filled. After the transaction of this business, and the issuance of an order for the legislative committee to draft a constitution and.code of laws, the meeting adjourned until the following June.
On the first of June, the people assembled at the new building near the Catholic church in the Willamette, and learned that the committee had failed to either form laws, or even meet for that purpose. Rev. F. N. Blanchet withdrew as a member of it, and Dr. Bailey was chosen to fill the vacancy. The committee was then ordered to, "Confer with the commodore of the American squadron and John McLaughlin, chief factor of the Hudson's Bay Company, with regard to forming a constitution and code of laws for this community." The meeting then adjourned until the following October. In 1838 the United States Government sent out a fleet of vessels, under the command of Commodore Charles Wilkes, on an extensive voyage of exploration which lasted five years. Wilkes was now in Oregon with the purpose as much of ascertaining the actual state of affairs as of gathering geographical and scientific information. The committee applied to him for advice, and after visiting the Catholic and Protestant missions and consulting with Dr. McLaughlin, the missionaries and settlers, he ascertained that though all had participated in the meetings, but a minority, chiefly connected with the Methodist missions, were in favor of an organization. He therefore advised them to
wait until they were stronger and until the "government of the United States should throw its mantle over them." The committee accepted his advice, the adjourned meeting never convened, and the attempt at organization was abandoned.
During 1841 the first regular emigration from the East arrived, consisting of 111 persons, and these came without wagons, since it was the general belief both in England and the United States, that wagons could not cross the continent to Oregon. This idea was industriously supported by English authors, several of whom published books on Oregon about this time, and was strongly urged as a reason why Oregon should be given up to the British. As our statesmen derived their information on this subject chiefly from English sources, they held the same views about the inpracticability of overland emigration from the United States to Oregon. Sir George Simpson, governor of the Hudson's Bay Company, visited the country the same year, crossing overland from Montreal. Just east of the Rocky mountains he passed the emigrants the company was importing from Red river, consisting of "twenty-three families, the heads being generally young and active." They reached Oregon in September, and spent the winter on the Cowlitz. During 1841, also, there was the greatest clash yet experienced between the rival religions. The Catholics went among the Cascade Indians, who had been under the influence of the Methodist mission at The Dalles, and induced them to renounce the Protestant for the Catholic creed. This served to intensify the bitterness existing between the religious factions. The Catholic missions were rapidly growing in power and influence, the Methodist were as rapidly retrograding, while the Congregational missions in the interior were progressing but slowly.
There was quite an immigration in 1842. Seventeen families started from Independence in March, with Stephen H. Meek as a guide. At Green river they were overtaken by Fitzpatrick's brigade of trappers on the way to Fort Hall, and several of the families cut up their wagons and made pack saddles, and packing their effects on their animals, accompanied the brigade. The remainder of the wagons Meek conducted safely through Sublette's cut-off, reaching Fort Hall the same day as the others, much to their surprise. Here, owing to the positive assertions of the company's officers that it was impossible to take wagons any further, they were abandoned, and the party proceeded without them, passing down Snake river, across the Blue mountains, down the Umatilla and Columbia to The Dalles, and by the Mount Hood trail to Oregon City, which town was laid out that fall by L. W. Hastings, one of the new emigrants, as agent for Dr. McLaughlin. The greater portion of this party, being dissatisfied with the rainy winter, were guided to California in the spring by Meek. Among these emigrants was Dr. Elijah White, who had authority to act as Indian agent, being the first official of the United States government to enter Oregon,
We now approach the turning point in the long struggle for possession of this region, and as in the most popular accounts truth and fiction have been sadly mixed, the fiction will be given first and the reality afterwards. Gray's History of Oregon says: "In September, 1842, Dr. Whitman was called to visit a patient at old Fort Walla Walla. While there a number of boats of the Hudson's Bay Company, with several chief traders and Jesuit priests, on their way to the interior of the country, arrived. While at dinner, the overland express from Canada arrived, bringing news that the emigration from the Red river settlement was at Colville. This news excited
unusual joy among the guests. One of them--a young priest--sang out: 'Hurrah for Oregon, America is too late; we have got the country.' 'Now the Americans may whistle; the country is ours!' said another. Whitman learned that the company had arranged for these Red river English settlers to come on to settle in Oregon, and at the same time Governor Simpson was to go to Washington and secure the settlement of the question as to the boundaries, on the ground of the most numerous and permanent settlement in the country. The Doctor was taunted with the idea that no power could prevent this result, as no information could reach Washington in time to prevent it. 'It shall be prevented,' said the Doctor, 'if I have to go to Washington myself.' 'But you cannot go there to do it,' was the taunting reply of the Briton. 'I will see,' was the Doctor's reply. The reader is sufficiently acquainted with the history of this man's toil and labor in bringing his first wagon through to Fort Boise, to understand what he meant when he said, 'I will see.' Two hours after this conversation at the fort, he dismounted from his horse at his door at Waiilatpu. I saw in a moment that he was fixed on some important object or errand. He soon explained that a special effort must be made to save the country from becoming British territory. Everything was in the best of order about the station, and there seemed to be no important reason why he should not go. A. L. Lovejoy, Esq., had a few days before arrived with the immigration. It was proposed that he should accompany the Doctor, which he consented to do, and in twenty-four hours' time they were well mounted and on their way to the States."
Such is the fiction upon which has been founded a most extended controversy, the result of which has been to show that Dr. Whitman was moved to take this journey by a deep and gradually formed resolution and that long and thoughtful consideration and not the sudden impulse ascribed by Gray had led him to form the resolution. That this scene depicted by Gray is a pure fiction is evident for several reasons:--First, because the Red river immigration was all in and reached the Cowlitz in September, 1841, as surviving members testify, and there was no emigration from there in 1842; second, because Archibald McKinlay, who was in charge of the fort and was a warm personal friend of Dr. Whitman, says that at the time of the visit spoken of there was no one at Walla Walla but the half dozen regular attaches of the fort, and that the Montreal express did not arrive until two weeks after Whitman had departed for the East, during which time Mrs. Whitman remained his guest and then proceeded down the river under its protection; third, because the question of such a journey had been discussed by Whitman and his associates at a special meeting for that purpose several weeks before and the journey agreed upon and a day set for the departure. Let us pass from the realm of fiction to the domain of facts.
Dr. Whitman was a true American, an enthusiastic patriot and lover of his country's institutions. From the time he first set foot in Oregon to the hour of his death, the Americanization of this fair land was one of his proudest hopes. Dr. William C. McKay, son of Thomas McKay, says that in 1838 his father, who was then in charge of Fort Hall, decided to send him to Scotland to be educated. When they reached Waiilatpu, where they were to separate, William to go by the Manitoba route and his father to Fort Hall, Dr. Whitman strongly urged McKay to send his son to the United States to be educated, and "make an American of him," since Oregon would surely belong to the Americans. McKay was convinced, William's destination was
changed and he proceeded by the way of Fort Hall to the States. He received his education at Fairfield, N. Y., where Whitman himself had attended school. This incident reveals the Doctor's abiding faith in the destiny of Oregon. Gifted with a philosophical mind and keen perceptive faculties, he gathered from the visit of Governor Simpson and the arrival of Red river immigrants in 1841, an inkling of the plans of the company for acquiring Oregon. His mind dwelt on the subject during the following spring and summer, and when the American immigrants arrived that fall with intelligence that negotiations were in progress between the United States and Great Britain to settle definitely the boundary line, he realized the deep-laid plan of the company. With A. Lawrence Lovejoy, one of the immigrants who had stopped near the mission to recruit, he often conversed about the situation, and one day asked if he would accompany him on a journey back to the States. Though the winter season was just coming on, Lovejoy consented to thus aid him in his effort to save Oregon to the United States. Whitman summoned his associates from Lapwai and the Tshimakain mission among the Spokane Indians, to consult in regard to the matter. Spalding, Gray, Eells and Walker soon assembled at Waiilatpu, and when the Doctor laid before them his plan for saving Oregon, they unanimously opposed it, on the ground that missionary work and politics should not be confused with each other. To this Whitman replied that his first duty was to his country, and if his mission interfered with the discharge of it he would resign. Knowing his inflexible character and deep convictions of duty, they dared no longer oppose him for fear of losing the master spirit of their mission, and gave a reluctant assent. That he might have official authority to leave his charge and that the real object of his journey might not be known by the officers of the Hudson's Bay Company, they delegated him to proceed to Boston to transact certain business in the interest of the missions. The day of his departure was set for the fifth of October, and the several members departed to their fields of labor to prepare reports of their missions for him to take to Boston. The proceedings of this meeting were recorded in a book, which was lost at the time of the Whitman massacre. The papers having arrived, and all being in readiness for the journey, Whitman went to Fort Walla Walla, some authorities say to administer to a sick person, while Dr. Geiger, whom Whitman left in charge of Waiilatpu during his absence, says that it was to interview McKinlay in regard to the situation. At all events, his conversation with McKinlay whetted his anxiety to depart, and he resolved to start at once. Twenty-four hours later he and his traveling companion turned their backs upon Oregon and entered boldly upon a journey they knew would be attended with hardships and suffering such as they had never before experienced. The only record of that memorable journey is a letter written by Mr. Lovejoy, and the only accounts of what Whitman did and where he went come from those who conversed with him on the subject and several who saw him at different places in the East including the emigrants with whom he returned to Oregon. From the noble martyr himself there corner no word, save a letter written while at St. Louis the following spring, yet these are enough to place him first oil the list of those whose names should be linked with Oregon so long as history shall last. Of that memorable journey Lovejoy says
"We left Waiilatpu October 3, 1842, traveled rapidly, reached Fort Hall in eleven days, remained two days to recruit and make a few purchases. The Doctor engaged a guide and we left for Fort Wintee. We changed from a direct route to one more southern, through the Spanish country via Salt Lake, Taos and Santa Fè. On our way from Fort Hall to Fort Wintee we had terribly severe weather. The snows retarded our progress and blinded the trail so we lost much time. After arriving at Fort Wintee and making some purchases for our trip, we took a new guide and started for Fort Uncumpagra, situated on the waters of Grand river, in the Spanish country. Here our stay was very short. We took a new guide and started for Taos. After being out some four or five days we encountered a terrific snow storm, which forced us to take shelter in a deep ravine, where we remained snowed in for four days, at which time the storm had somewhat abated, and we attempted to make our way out upon the high lands, but the snow was so deep and the winds so piercing and cold we were compelled to return to camp and wait a few days for a change of weather. Our next effort to reach the high lands was more successful; but after spending several days wandering around in the snow without making much headway, our guide told us that the deep snow had so changed the face of the country that he was completely lost and could take us no further. This was a terrible blow to the Doctor but he was determined not to give it up without another effort. We at once agreed that the Doctor should take the guide and return to Fort Uncumpagra and get a new guide, and I remain in camp with the animals until he could return; which he did in seven days with our new guide, and we were now on our route again. Nothing of much import occurred but hard and slow traveling through deep snow until we reached Grand river, which was frozen on either side about one-third across. Although so intensely cold, the current was so very rapid about one-third of the river in the center was not frozen. Our guide thought it would be dangerous to attempt to cross the river in its present condition, but the Doctor, nothing daunted, was the first to take the water. He mounted his horse-- the guide and myself shoved the Doctor and his horse off the ice into the foaming stream. Away he went completely under water, horse and all, but directly came up, and after buffeting the rapid, foaming.current he reached the ice on the opposite shore a long way down the stream. He leaped from his horse upon the ice and soon had his noble animal by his side. The guide and myself forced in the pack animals and followed the Doctor's example, and were soon on the opposite shore drying our frozen clothes by a comfortable fire. We reached Taos in about thirty days, suffered greatly from cold and scarcity of provisions. We were compelled to use mule meat, dogs, and such other animals as came in our reach. We remained at Taos a few days only, and started for Bent's and Savery's Fort, on the head waters of the Arkansas river. When we had been out some 15 or 20 days, we met George Bent, a brother of Gov. Bent, on his way to Taos. He told us that a party of mountain men would leave Bent's Fort in a few days for St. Louis, but said we would not reach the fort with our pack animals in time to join the party. The Doctor being very anxious to join the party so he could push on as rapidly as possible to Washington, concluded to leave myself and guide with the animals, and he himself taking the best animal with some bedding and a small allowance of provision, started alone, hoping by rapid travel to reach the fort in time to join the St. Louis party, but to do so he would have to travel on the Sab-
bath, something we had not done before. Myself and guide traveled on slowly and reached the fort in four days, but imagine our astonishment when on making inquiry about the Doctor we were told that he had not arrived nor had he been heard of. I learned that the party for St. Louis was camped at the Big Cottonwood, forty miles from the fort, and at my request Mr. Savery sent an express, telling the party not to proceed any further until we learned something of Dr. Whitman's whereabouts, as he wished to accompany them to St. Louis. Being furnished by the gentlemen of the fort with a suitable guide I started in search of the Doctor, and traveled up the river about one hundred miles. I learned from the Indians that a man had been there who was lost and was trying to find Bent's Fort. They said they had directed him to go down the river and how to find the fort. I knew from their description it was the Doctor. I returned to the fort as rapidly as possible, but the Doctor had not arrived. We had all become very anxious about him. Late in the afternoon he came in very much fatigued and desponding; said that he knew that God had bewildered him to punish him for traveling on the Sabbath. During the whole trip he was very regular in his morning and evening devotions, and that was the only time I ever knew him to travel on the Sabbath."
He at once pushed on with the mountaineers, leaving Lovejoy at Bent's Fort, and readied St. Louis in February. There he inquired eagerly about the status of negotiations on the Oregon question, and learned that the Ashburton-Webster treaty had been signed on the ninth of the preceding August, been ratified by the senate, and had been proclaimed by the president on the tenth of November. He was too late by more than three months to have prevented the treaty; but his journey was not in vain, for the Oregon boundary had not been included in the treaty, had not even been discussed, in fact, as appears from Mr. Webster's speeches and correspondence. This intelligence brought relief to the Doctor's overwrought feelings. There was still an opportunity for him to accomplish his purpose. He found great preparations being made all along the frontier to emigrate to the Willamette valley, notwithstanding the prevailing opinion that wagons could not proceed beyond Fort Hall. He immediately wrote a small pamphlet describing Oregon and the nature of the route thither, urging people to emigrate and assuring them that wagons could go through, and that he would join them and be their pilot. This pamphlet and his earnest personal appeals were efficacious in adding somewhat to the number of emigrants, though it is a fact that probably the greater portion of those who started from the border of Missouri in May never heard of Dr. Whitman until he joined them on the route; for the emigration was chiefly the result of the reports of Oregon received from trappers, letters written to friends in Missouri by Robert Shortess, who came out in 1839, and debates in congress the year before. That Whitman's efforts added somewhat to the number of emigrants is true, but that he initiated the movement or even contributed largely to it does not appear. He was too late for that; the movement was well under way before his arrival.
After writing his pamphlet his next anxiety was to reach Washington before congress adjourned, so that he might have an opportunity to meet congressmen and urge upon them the claims of Oregon. He did not undertake to change his apparel, which is thus described by Dr. William Barrows, who met him in St. Louis: "The Doctor was in coarse fur garments and vesting, and buckskin breeches. He wore a buffalo
coat, with a head-hood for emergencies in taking a storm, or a bivouac nap. What with heavy fur leggings and boot moccasins, his legs filled up well his Mexican stirrups. With all this warmth and almost burden of skin and fur clothing, he bore the marks
of the irresistible cold and merciless storms of his journey. His fingers, ears, nose and feet had been frost-bitten, and were giving him much trouble." Such was Whitman when in St. Louis, such was he still when on the third of March he appeared in Washington, having been to Ithica, New York, to ask for the co-operation of Dr. Samuel Parker, his first missionary associate, and such was he still later in Boston, where he treated the rebukes of the officers of the American Board with a quiet contempt that astonished and disarmed them.
He found in Washington that the prevalent ideas of Oregon were far different from those along the frontier. Public men possessed but little knowledge of the territory west of the Rocky mountains, and deemed it of but little value because of its supposed sterile soil and inhospitable climate. Such had been the prevailing idea since Lewis and Clarke had subsisted on dog meat and Hunt's party had experienced such terrible privations in passing through it; such, also, was the idea fostered by the Hudson's Bay Company and urged by England. It was the Great American Desert, fit only for the abode of Indians and trappers. A year later in a congressional debate it was asserted that: "With the exception of the land along the Willamette and strips along a few of the water courses, the whole country is among the most irreclaimable barren wastes of which we have read, except the desert of Sahara. Nor is this the worst of it. The climate is so unfriendly to human life that the native population has dwindled away under the ravages of its malaria to a degree which defies all history to furnish a parallel in so wide a range of country."
To prove the contrary of this and to demonstrate that Oregon could be settled by emigration from the States was Whitman's task. He had interviews with Secretary Webster, President Tyler and many members of congress, in which he urged the importance of securing for the United States as much of the indefinite region known as Oregon as possible, asserting that its agricultural and timber resources were unbounded. He told them of the large emigration preparing to start thither, and declared that he would accompany them and show them a route by which they could take wagons clear to the Willamette. His earnest protestations made a deep impression upon many, especially President. Tyler, and he was assured that if he could demonstrate these things it would have a powerful effect upon the solution of the Oregon question.
Whitman then visited Boston to discharge the official object of his journey, and was severely censured for leaving his mission upon so trivial a pretext. Then, after spending a few days at home, he hastened to the frontier to join the emigrants, some of whom had already started and were not overtaken by him till they had reached the Platte, His appearance among them was the first time the majority of them knew of the existence of such a man; yet even these universally acknowledge that his services as guide and advisor on the route were almost indispensable. Reaching Fort Hall the earnest representations made by the official in charge that wagons could not cross the mountains between that post and the Columbia had a most demoralizing effect. Had it not been for Whitman many would have changed their destination to California, while the remainder, leaving their wagons, plows and implements behind, would have
continued the journey to Oregon with only what they could pack upon their animals. Earnestly he pleaded with them, assured them that he would guide them safely through, that they had found his counsel good in the past and should trust him for the future. They did trust him; the wagons passed on, and after surmounting every obstacle he led them to the open plain in front of the mission at Waiilatpu. He had won the day for his country.
This great train of hardy pioneers who had come to Americanize Oregon, contained 875 persons, of whom 295 were men over sixteen years of age. A complete roll of names was taken at the time by J. W. Nesmith, and is as follows:
Jesse Applegate, Charles Applegate, Lindsay Applegate, James Athey, William Athey, John Atkinson, William Arthur, Robert Arthur, David Arthur, Amon Butler, George Brooke, Peter H. Burnett, David Bird, Thomas A. Brown, Alexander Blevins, John P. Brooks, Martin Brown, Oris Brown, J. P. Black, Layton Bane, Andrew Baker, John G. Baker, William Beagle, Levi Boyd, William Baker, Nicholas Biddle, George Beale, James Braidy, George Beadle, ------ Boardman, William Baldridge, F. C. Cason, James Cason, William Chapman, John Cox, Jacob Champ, L. C. Cooper, James Cone, Moses Childers, Miles Carey, Thomas Cochran, L. Clymour, John Copenhaver, J. H. Catori, Alfred Chappel, Daniel Cronin, Samuel Cozine, Benedict Costable, Joseph Childs, Ransom Clark, John G. Campbell, ------ Chapman, James Chase, Solomon Dodd, William C. Dement, W. P. Dougherty, William Day, James Duncan, Jacob Dorin, Thomas Davis, Daniel Delaney, Daniel Delaney, Jr., William Delaney, William Doke, J. H. Davis, Burrell Davis, George Dailey, John Doherty, ------ Dawson, Charles Eaton, Nathan Eaton, James Etchell, Solomon Emerick, John W. Eaker, E. G. Edson, Miles Eyres, John W. East, Niniwon Everman, Ninevah Ford, Ephram Ford, Nimrod Ford, John Ford, Alex. Francis, Abner Frazier, William Frazier, William Fowler, William J. Fowler, Henry Fowler, Stephen Fairly, Charles Fendall, John Gantt, Chiley B. Gray, Enoch Garrison, J. W. Garrison, W. J. Garrison, William Gardner, Samuel Gardner, Mat. Gilmore, Richard Goodman, Major Gilpin, ------ Gray, B. Haggard, H. H. Hide, William Holmes, Riley A. Holmes, John Hobson, William Hobson, J. J. Hembre, James Hembree, Andrew Hembre, A. J.. Hembre, Samuel B. Hall, James Houk, William P. Hughes, Abijah Hendrick, James Hays, Thomas J. Hensley, B. Holley, Henry Hunt, S. M. Holderness, Isaac Hutchins, A. Husted, Joseph Hess, Jacob Hann, John Howell, William Howell, Wesley Howell, W. G. Howell, Thomas E. Howell, Henry Hill, William Hill, Almoran Hill, Henry Hewett, William Hargrove, A. Hoyt, John Holman, Daniel Holman, B. Harrigas, Calvin James, John B. Jackson, John Jones, Overton Johnson, Thomas Keyser, J. B. Keyser, Pleasant Keyser ---- Kelley, ---- Kelsey, A. L. Lovejoy, Edward Lenox, E. Lenox, Aaron Layson, Jesse Looney, John E. Long, H. A. G. Lee, F. Lugur, Lew Linebarger, John Linebarger, Isaac Laswell, J. Loughborough, Milton Little, ------ Luther, John Lauderdale, ---- McGee, William J. Martin, James Martin, Julius Martin, ------ McClelland, F. McClelland, John B. Mills, Isaac Mills, William A. Mills, Owen Mills, G. W. McGarey, Gilbert Mondon, Daniel Matheny, Adam Matheny, J. N. Matheny, Josiah Matheny, Henry Matheny, A. J. Mastire, John McHaley, Jacob Myers, John Manning, James Manning, M. M. McCarver, George McCorcle, Wil-
liam Mays, Elijah Millican, William McDaniel, D. McKissic, Madison Malone, John B. McClane, William Mauzee, John Mclntire, John Moore, W. J. Matney, J.W. Nesmith, W. T. Newby, Noah Newman, Thomas Nayler, Neil Osborn, Hugh D. O'Brien, Humphrey O'Brien, Thomas A. Owen, Thomas Owen, E. W. Otie, M. B. Otie, Bennett O'Neil, A. Olinger, Jesse Parker, William Parker, J. B. Pennington, R. H. Poe, Samuel Painter J. R. Patterson, Charles E. Pickett, Frederick Prigg, Clayborn Paine, P. B. Reading, S. P. Rodgers, G. W. Rodgers, William Russell, James Roberts, G. W. Rice, John Richardson, Daniel Richardson, Philip Ruby, John Ricord, Jacob Reid, John Roe, Solomon Roberts, Emseley Roberts, Joseph Rossin, Thomas Rives, Thomas H. Smith, Thomas Smith, Isaac W. Smith, Anderson Smith, Ahi Smith, Robert Smith, Eli Smith, William Sheldon, P. G. Stewart, Dr. Nathaniel Sutton, C. Stimmerman, C. Sharp, W. C. Summers, Henry Sewell, Henry Stout, George Sterling, ------ Stout, ------ Stevenson, James Story, ----- Swift, John M. Shively, Samuel Shirley, Alexander Stoughton, Chauncey Spencer, Hiram Strait, George Summers, Cornelius Stringer, C. W. Stringer, Lindsey Tharp, John Thompson, D. Trainor, Jeremiah Teller, Stephen Tarbox, John Umnicker, Samuel Vance, William Vaughn, George Vernon, James Wilmont, William H. Wilson, J. W. Wair, Archibald Winkle, Edward Williams, H. Wheeler, John Wagoner, Benjamin Williams, David Williams, William Wilson, John Williams, James Williams, Squire Williams, Isaac Williams, T. B. Ward, James White, John (Betty) Watson, James Waters, William Winter, Daniel Waldo, David Waldo, William Waldo, Alexander Zachary, John Zachary.
Add to these the following settlers residing here when the others arrived:
Pleasant Armstrong, Hugh Burns, ---- Brown, William Brown, ------ Brown, J. M. Black, William Baldra, James Balis, Dr. W. J. Bailey, ------ Brainard, Medorem Crawford, David Carter, Samuel Campbell, Jack Campbell, William Craig, Amos Cook, Aaron Cook, ------ Conner, William Cannon, Alien Davy, William Doty, Richard Eakin, Squire Ebbert, John Edwards, Philip Foster, John Force, James Force, Francis Fletcher, George Gay, Joseph Gale, ---- Girtman, Felix Hathaway, Peter H. Hatch, Thomas Hubbard, Adam Hewitt, Jeremiah Horegon, Joseph Holman, David Hill, Weberly Hauxhurst, ------ Hutchinson, William Johnson, ------ King, ------ Kelsey, Reuben Lewis, G. W. LeBreton, Jack Larrison, Joseph L. Meek, F. X. Mathieu, John McClure, S. W. Moss, Robert Moore, ----- McFadden, William McCarty, Charles McKay, Thomas McKay, ------ Morrison, J. W. Mack, ------ Newbanks, Robert Newell, James A. O'Neil, F. W. Pettygrove, Dwight Pomeroy, Walter Pomeroy, ------ Perry, ------ Rimmick, Osborn Russell, J. R. Robb, Robert Shortess, Sidney Smith, ------ Smith, Andrew Smith, Andrew Smith, Jr., Darling Smith, ------ Spence, Jack Sailor, Joel Turnham, ------ Turner, Hiram Taylor, Calvin Tibbetts, ------ Trask, C. M. Walker, Jack Warner, A. E. Wilson, David Winslow, Caleb Wilkins, Henry Wood, B. Williams.
Also add the following members of Protestant missions:
Dr. Marcus Whitman, A. F. Waller, David Leslie, Hamilton Campbell, George Abernethy, William H. Wilson, L. H. Judson, W. H. Gray, E. Walker, Gushing Eells, Alanson Beers, Jason Lee, Gustavus Hines, H. K. W. Perkins, M. H. B. Brewer, Dr. J. L. Babcock, Dr. Elijah White, Harvey Clark, H. H. Spalding, J. L. Parrish, H. W. Raymond.
The above list includes nearly every male resident of Oregon in 1843, exclusive of the ex-employees of the Hudson's Bay Company and those still in its service.
On the heels of the emigrant train, came the exploring party of Lieutenant John C. Fremont, who had explored the Rocky mountains the year before. After spending a few days at Vancouver, he passed south, crossed the Cascades to Eastern Oregon, continued south into Nevada, and then with much labor and suffering, crossed the snowbound Sierra Nevada to Sutter's Fort in the Sacramento valley. Though he earned the title of Pathfinder, he found his way to Oregon clearly marked by the wheels of the wagons that had preceded him.
Early in 1843 the effort to organize a provisional government was renewed by the American settlers, who were unaware of the great reinforcements already on the way to join them. Even the missionaries were not trusted in the primitive councils and operations of the organizers. The known hostility of every interest in Oregon to a government not under control of such interest, caused the settlers to plan with great caution and execute with extreme care. It became necessary for them to deceive every, one, except a select few, in regard to their designs, in order to obtain a meeting of the settlers under circumstances that would not arouse the suspicion of those adverse to such action, and array them in active hostility. The number and influence of such were sufficient, when combined, to strangle the movement at its birth, A singular device was resorted to. Wild animals had been destroying the young stock, and those who were wealthiest suffered most from such depredations. The Methodist missionaries and Hudson's Bay Company were consequently more anxious than the other settlers to be relieved of this scourge. There was but one sentiment, every one wished the depredators exterminated, and to do it necessitated a united action, an assembling of the people, and an organized movement.
The conspirators circulated a notice calling upon residents to meet for this purpose at the house of W. H. Gray on the second of February, 1843. The meeting took place and a committee of six was chosen to perfect a plan for exterminating wolves-bears and panthers, and then call a general meeting of the settlers to whom their conclusions were to be submitted. That committee consisted of W. H. Gray, William H. Wilson, Alanson Beers, Joseph Gervais, a Rocky mountain hunter named •---- Barnaby, and a Frenchman named ------ Lucie, who had formerly been a member of Astor's expedition. With the appointment of this committee, and a general exchange of views upon the subject of wolves, bears, panthers, and the best way to get rid of their destructive raids upon stock, the meeting adjourned till the first Monday in March, when the people were to meet at the house of Joseph Gervais. At the adjourned meeting, after the organization had been completed, one of the gentlemen present addressed the settlers, stating that no one would question for a moment the rightfulness of the proceedings just completed; it was a just, natural action taken by the people to protect their live stock from being destroyed by wild animals; but while they were so solicitous about their stock, would it not be a wise thing to take steps for the protection of themselves and their families. The result of this speech was the appointment of J. L. Babcock, Elijah White, James A. O'Neil, Robert Shortess, Robert Newell, ---- Lucie, Joseph Gervais, Thomas Hubbard, C. McRoy, W. H. Gray,
------ Smith and George Gay, as a committee to consider the propriety of organizing a government.
The committee soon met at Oregon City, many others being present, and a lively discussion ensued. Rev. Jason Lee, George Abernethy, Revs. Leslie and Hines, and Mr. Babcock, took strong grounds against the movement and declared in favor of a delay of four years. By striking the office of governor from the list, a unanimous vote was secured to call a meeting on the second of May. At the appointed time the people assembled, the two factions being almost equal in strength, being fifty-two Americans in favor of organization against fifty, chiefly Hudson's Bay Company men, opposed to it. Like Cameron, the great ex-boss of Pennsylvania politics, who said that a majority of one was all the majority he cared for, the Americans were satisfied with a majority of two, and proceeded with the work of organizing, their opponents leaving in disgust. The result of this action was the following organization:
Legislative Committee--Robert Shortess, Robert Newell, Alanson Beers, W. H. Gray, James A. O'Neil, Thomas Hubbard, David Hill, Robert Moore, William Dougherty. Supreme Judge with probate powers--A. E. Wilson. Clerk and Recorder--George W. LeBreton. Sheriff--Joseph L. Meek. Treasurer, W. H. Wilson. Magistrates--A. B. Smith, Hugh Burns, ------ Compo and L. H. Judson. Constables--Squire Ebbert, ---- Bridgers, Reuben Lewis and F. X. Mathieu. Major-- John Howard. Captains--William McCarty, C. McRoy and S. Smith.
The committee was instructed to report on the fifth of July at Champoeg. At the time appointed the committee made its report, which was adopted, in which the laws of Iowa were declared in force so far as they applied, and the executive management of the government entrusted to a committee of three instead of a governor. For this committee, David Hill, Alanson Beers and Joseph Gale were chosen, and at last the American settlers in Oregon had a government. The struggle was over, for the great emigration which a few weeks later came in with Whitman settled the question of American supremacy and the stability of the newly organized government.
The first regular election was held May 14, 1844, to choose officers of the provisional government, at which 200 votes were cast. P. G. Stewart, Osborn Russell and W. J. Bailey were chosen executive committee; Dr. John E. Long, clerk and recorder; James L. Babcock, supreme judge; Philip Foster, treasurer; Joseph L. Meek, sheriff. The territory had been partitioned into four legislative districts. The Tualatin district included what now is Washington, Multnomah, Columbia, Clatsop and Tillamook counties, and the persons chosen to represent it were Peter H. Burnett, afterwards governor of California, David Hill, M. Gilmore and M. M. McCarver. The Champoeg district, which has since been divided into Linn, Marion, Lane, Josephine, Coos, Curry, Benton, Douglas and Jackson counties, was represented by Robert Newell, Daniel Waldo and Thomas D. Keizer. In the Clackamas district was what is now the eastern part of Oregon, a portion of Montana, and all of Idaho and Washington territories. This immense region with its few settlers was represented by A. L. Lovejoy, Whitman's companion in 1842. The legislative committee elected met at the house of Felix Hathaway, June 18, 1844, and chose M. M. McCarver speaker of the house. A nine days' session followed, when they adjourned until December of the same year. On the 16th of December the legislative committee met again, this time
at the house of J. E. Long in Oregon City, when a message was submitted to them from the executive committee, in which an amendment of the organic law was recommended. A seven days' session followed, during which an act was passed calling for a committee to frame a constitution. Several acts were passed requiring submission to a popular vote to render them valid, among which was a change from the triumvirate to gubernatorial executive, and from a legislative committee to a legislature, which was adopted by the people.
The immigration of 1844 consisted of 800 people, of whom 235 were able-bodied men. The following list contains the names of the greater portion of them:
------ Alderman, ------ Bird, Nathan Buzzard, Charles Burch, Robert Boyd, William Black, ---- Blakely, George W. Bush, Thomas Boggs, William Bowman, Sr., William Bowman, Jr., Ira Bowman, Elijah Bunton, Joseph Bunton, William Bunton, Charles Buich, Capt. C. Bennett, Francis Bordran, Joseph Bartrough, William Bray, Nathan Bayard, Adam Brown, Peter Bonnin, David Crawford, Lewis Crawford, Daniel Clark, Dennis Clark, ------ Clemens, James Cave, Joel Crisman, Gabriel Crisman, William Crisman, Aaron Chamberlain, Patrick Conner, Samuel B. Crockett, Wm. M. Case, William Clemens, ------ Dougherty, ------ Doty, Jas. Davenport, Dr. Dagon, Daniel Durban, Edward Dupuis, C. Emery, Moses Edes, C. Everman, John Eades, Abr. Eades, Henry Eades, Clark Eades, Solomon Eades, David Evans, N. D. Evans, Robert Eddy, Jno. Ellick, Jno. Fleming, Nathaniel Ford, Mark Ford, Jas. Fruit, "Doc" Fruit, Jenny Fuller, I. N. Gilbert, David Goff, Samuel Goff, Marion Goff, David Grant, Mitchell Gilliam, Cornelius Gilliam, Smith Gilliam, Wm. Gilliam, Porter Gilliam, Wm. Gage, Jesse Gage, W. H. Goodwin, ------ Gillespie, James Gerrish, Jno. Gerrish, Martin Gillahan, William Gillahan, Charles Gilmore, Alanson Hinman, A. F. Hedges, Jacob Hutton, Fleming Hill, J. C. Hawley, Jacob Hoover, T. Holt, James Harper, Joseph Holman, John Howard, James Hunt, Norris Humphrey, Jacob Hammer, Herman Higgins, William Higgins, George Hibler, John Inyard, Abr. Inyard, Peter Inyard, William Johnson, James Johnson, David Johnson, Daniel Johnson, James Johnson. John Jackson, David Jenkins, William Jenkins, Henry Jenkins, David Kindred, Bart, Kindred, John Kindred, Daniel Kinney, Barton Lee, John Lousenaute, Charles Lewis, William Morgan, Theophilus McGruder, Ed. McGruder, John Minto, Joshua McDaniel, Elisha McDaniel, Mrs. McDaniel, ------ McMahan, Nehemiah Martin, Samuel McSwain, James McAllister, R. W. Morrison, Michael Moor, James W. Marshall, Lafe Moreland, Westley Mulkey, Luke Mulkey, ------ Murray, ------ Mudgett, George Neal, Attey. Neal, Calvin Neal, Robert Neal, Alex. Neal, Peter Neal, George Nelson, Cyrus Nelson, John Nichols, Frank Nichols, Benjamin Nichols, Ruel Owless, Henry Owens, James Owens, John Owens, John Owens, Joel Perkins, Sr., Joel Perkins, Jr., John Perkins, David Parker, ------ Priest, Joseph Parrot, S. Packwood, T. Packwood, R. K. Payne, William Prather, Theodore Prather, Eaben Pettie, Amab Pettie, J. Rowland, E. Robinson (Mountain), T. G. Robinson (Fatty), Ben Robinson, Willard H. Rees, Parton Rice, Mac Rice, Rice (Old Man), ---- Ramsey, ------ Ramsdell, Franklin Sears, Jackson Shelton, William Sebring, John Scott, Levi Scott, M. T. Simmons, ------ Springer, J. S. Smith, Charles Smith, Peter Smith, William Smith, Noyes Smith, Texas Smith, Henry Saffron, Big Sis, James Stewart, William Saunders, Joshua Shaw, A. C. R. Shaw (Sheep), Wash. Shaw, Thomas Shaw, B. F. Shaw, Capt, William Shaw,
James Stephens, ------ Sager (died on Green river), Charles Saxton, Vincent Snelling, Benjamin Snelling, ------ Snooks, Jerry Teller, Sebrin Thornton, O. S. Thomas, John Thorp, Alvin Thorp, Theodore Thorp, Mortimer Thorp, Milton Thorp, Cooper Y. Trues, Benjamin Tucker, Long Tucker, Thomas Vance (died on the Platte), George Waunch, Poe Williams, ------ Williams, Harrison Wright, Richard Woodcock, James Welsh, James Walker, Sr., James Walker, Jr., Robert Walker, Henry Williamson Joseph Watt, ------ Warmbough, Thomas Werner.
At the election held June 3, 1845, a total of 504 votes were cast, and George Abernethy was chosen the first governor of Oregon. The other officers were, John E. Long, secretary; Francis Ermatinger, treasurer; J. W. Nesmith, judge; Marcus Ford, district attorney; S. W. Moss, assessor; Joseph L. Meek, sheriff. Two new districts, or as they were subsequently called, counties, were created, being Clatsop and Yamhill. A new code of laws was framed by the legislature then elected, and was adopted by the people by a vote of 255 to 52. A memorial to congress was then adopted, praying for the formation of a regular territorial government, which was carried to Washington by Dr. E. White. The legislature also created Polk and Lewis counties, the latter embracing all of Washington west of the Cascade mountains. Joseph L. Meek, the sheriff, was instructed to take a census of the population. By this it appears that there were 2,110 people in Oregon, 1,259 males and 851 females.
A train of 480 wagons and some 3,000 people crossed the plains in 1845, guided by Stephen H. Meek, a brother of the sheriff, the same who had taken the wagons to Fort Hall in 1842. At Fort Hall about one-third severed themselves from the train and went to California, being under the command of William B. Ide, of bear flag notoriety, and guided by Greenwood, the trapper. Meek undertook to guide them by a new route across the Blue and Cascade mountains, a route over which he had never passed. He lost his way and the emigrants started out on their own responsibility. The majority of them by a terrible struggle, succeeded in passing down John Day river to the Columbia. Even this episode has been seized upon by the anti-Hudson's Bay Company men, and the charge made that Meek was employed by the company to cause the destruction of this train in the mountains. The fact is that if the emigrants had only trusted him a few days longer, the guide would have fulfilled all the promises he made them. As it was they came near hanging him, and he is roundly abused by the survivors of the train even to the present day.
The Hudson's Bay Company was enjoying a thriving trade with the emigrants passing by their posts at Fort Hall, Boise and Walla Walla, especially in purchasing for almost nothing the worn out cattle, or taking them in exchange for wild cattle which were to be delivered by the chief factor at Vancouver. The feeling against the company was very bitter; and a number of men who had settled in the extreme southern end of the Willamette valley, among whom Jesse and Lindsay Applegate were leading spirits, determined to open a new route to Oregon from Fort Hall. They organized a small party, which passed through Umpqua and Rogue river valleys, along Klamath, Tule and Goose lakes, and across northern Nevada to Fort Hall, where were found a large number of emigrants, numbering 2,000 souls and having 470 teams and 1,050 cattle. About one-half the number passed down the Humboldt to California, in separate trains, among which was the Donner party, of whom so many
perished in the mountains. Of the remainder the greater portion followed the old trail down Snake river and reached their destination after encountering the usual hardships of the trip. A train of 150 people with forty-two wagons tried the new route and found it a long one, almost devoid of grass and water until they reached Goose lake. They suffered severely and their cattle, half-starved and feeble, could scarcely pull the wagons along; nor was this the end, for upon reaching the canyon of the Umpqua mountains they found it almost impossible to proceed and many of them remained a long time in the mountain fastness, themselves and their stock in a deplorable condition, while others only reached the Willamette by abandoning everything. Much abuse has been heaped upon the heads of the men who induced the emigrants to try this new route, but it is evidently undeserved, at least so far as it imputes to them unworthy motives. They passed over the route on horseback and evidently did not realize how more frequent grass and watering places must be. for a train of wagons than for horsemen. However, this route through Nevada was a few years later used by thousands of emigrants entering Northern California and Southern Oregon, though, of course, the good camping places were well known by that time. As for the Umpqua canyon, wagons were taken through it by Stephen H. Meek in 1843, and would have been easily passable by this party had their stock been strong, instead of being barely able to stand upon their feet, such, at least, as were not lying on the burning alkali deserts of Nevada. There has been too much of this imputing of bad motives for the conduct of those who differed in opinions in the pioneer days; and if these reckless charges could be credited, instead of being properly classed as the bitter fruit of sectarian or political prejudice, we would be compelled to believe that Oregon was peopled with the moral refuse of society instead of the brave and noble-hearted men and women we well know them to have been.
Though the Oregon question had been practically settled by the American immigrants, it was not officially disposed of until 1846. For several years it was warmly discussed at every session of congress and received much prominence in the newspapers. The people at large, as well as a few members of congress, adopted a very belligerent tone and asserted the superior title of the United States to all of the coast south of the Russian possessions. In the presidential contest of 1844, "Fifty-four forty or fight" became a party cry, and upon that issue James K. Polk was elected. In his first message to congress the new president devoted one-fifth of the space to an exhaustive discussion of the question, and recommended that the required notice for a termination of the treaty of joint occupation be given, that military posts be constructed along the emigrant route and that the national laws be extended over Oregon. The debate which followed was long and earnest, and it seemed as though war would be the result. The resolution terminating the treaty of joint occupation passed the house and went to the senate, where for many days it engrossed the attention of the greatest statesmen of America. Finally the resolution passed that body, but so modified as to strip it of its pugnacious tone and admit of a compromise. It had occupied the attention of congress for four months and twenty-one days, during which time the whole country had been engaged in its discussion and the dark cloud of war hovered over the nation. Negotiations continued between the two governments until a treaty was signed on the seventeenth of July, 1846, by which the boundary line of the 49th parallel east of the Rocky
mountains was extended to the Pacific, but not including in the United States any portion of Vancouver island.
On the fourth of June, 1846, officers were elected in the various counties in Oregon, as well as representatives in the legislature. June 3, 1847, another county and legislative election was held. At the same time George Abernethy was chosen governor for a second term, the opposing candidate being A. L. Lovejoy, who had a minority of only sixteen votes. The other officers were: S. M. Holderness, secretary; John H. Couch, treasurer; George W. Bell, auditor of public accounts; A. Lawrence Lovejoy, attorney general; Theophilus McGruder, auditor; J. Quinn Thornton, judge of the supreme court; H. M. Knighton, marshal; Alonzo A. Skinner, judge of the circuit court. Another large immigration came in 1847 and still another in 1848. On the twelfth of June, 1848, county and representative officers were chosen for the last time under the provisional government.
WHITMAN MASSACRE AND CAYUSE WAR.
Sectarian Histories Unreliable--The Battle of the Creeds--Missionaries and Settlers Classed Together--Restlessness of the Indians--Dr. White's Visit to the Nez Perces-- Indians Incensed against Americans--Trouble at Oregon City--Disbandment of Methodist Mission--Catholic Method of Converting Savages--Growing Feeling of Hostility among the Cayuses--Catholics Establish a Mission in Opposition to Whitman--Joe Lewis and his Perfidy--Epidemic among the Cayuses--The Poison Theory--The Massacre at Waiilatpu-- Spalding's Charges and Responsibility of the Catholics--Rescue of the Prisoners by Peter Skeen Ogden --The Cayuses Prepare for War--The Whites March against the Indians--The Cayuses Settle the Matter among Themselves--Execution of the Hostages.
The literature of this portion of Oregon's history has flowed chiefly from sectarian sources. So bitter became the feelings engendered by the religious contest, that all accounts of the events of this period are so impregnated with personal feeling as to render them valueless as history. Their very tone is evidence of unreliability; and this applies as much to the Protestant as the Catholic writings. They are composed largely of abuse of the opposite sect, of suppression of or only obscure reference to facts detrimental to the side from which the writings proceed, and of enlargement of every trivial circumstance that can be shown to the disadvantage of the opposing party. That such writings should be dignified with the title of History is a reproach to literature. A careful examination will satisfy an unprejudiced person that this chapter reveals as nearly as possible the true facts, and does justice to both parties to the controversy.
The first gun was fired and the nature of the campaign outlined by Dr. Samuel Parker, the first associate of Dr. Whitman; and this in 1836, before the Catholics had entered the field. At the mouth of Alpowa creek, on Snake river, he came upon a burial party of Nez Perces, who "had prepared a cross to set up at the grave," and because the symbol of the crucifixion offended his sight and he feared it would make "a stepping-stone to idolatry," he took "the cross which the Indians had prepared and broke it in pieces." As the Catholics had not yet made their appearance in Oregon and consequently "didn't know they were hit," this incident is of interest simply to show the spirit of religious intolerance which held possession of Dr. Parker, and which after events proved to pervade his successors. When the two Catholic priests, Fathers Blanchet and Demers, arrived in 1838, the Methodists had missions in the Willamette valley, and at The Dalles, and the Congregationalists had one at Waiilatpu among the Cayuses, at Lapwai among the Nez Perces, and at Tshimakain among the Spokanes. The Protestants were well entrenched, and the Catholics had to enter new fields, of which there were many, or attack the others direct. It will be seen that they did both.
The Catholic plan of operations is outlined by Father Blanchet himself, who in after years thus wrote of the duties of the missionary priests: "They were to warn their flocks against the dangers of seduction, to destroy the false impression already received, to enlighten and confirm the faith of the wavering and deceived consciences, to bring back to the practice of religion and virtue all who had forsaken them for long years or who, raised in infidelity, had never known nor practiced any of them. * * * In a word they were to run after the sheep when they were in danger. Hence their passing so often from one post to another--for neither the white people nor the Indians claimed their assistance in vain. And it was enough for them to hear that some false prophet had penetrated into a place, or intended visiting some locality, to induce the missionaries to go there immediately, to defend the faith and prevent error from propagating itself." Here is a direct statement from the bishop at the head of the church, that it was the Catholic plan to counteract the influence of the Protestants where they had already located missions, as well as to hasten to any new point they might select in order to prevent the founding of new ones. The first overt act of this kind was made at Nesqualy, only a few months after they arrived. Blanchet says: "The first mission to Nesqualy was made by Father Demers, who celebrated the first mass in the fort on April 22, , the day after he arrived. His visit at such a time was forced upon him by the establishment of a Methodist mission for the Indians.
* * * After having given orders to build a chapel, and said mass outside of the fort, he parted with them, blessing the Lord for the success of his mission among the whites and Indians, and reached Cowlitz on Monday, the 30th, with the conviction that his mission at Nesqualy had left a very feeble chance for a Methodist mission there."
Some ingenious artist among the priests made a picture showing a large tree with many branches. The different Protestant sects were represented as going up the tree and out upon the various branches, from which they dropped into a fire, and this fire was kept burning by a priest who fed it with the heretical books of the roasting victims. This picture tickled the Indians immensely, and among the Nez Perces it bid fair to capture the whole tribe. As an offset Mr. Spalding had his wife paint a num-
ber of illustrations of prominent bible events, and this panorama soon crowded the Catholic cartoon from the field. Thus this contest went on for several years. In 1841 the Cascades Indians were won away from The Dalles mission in spite of Mr. Waller's strenuous efforts to hold them. This same Mr. Waller gave expression to his feelings on doctrinal points by cutting down a cross erected by the Catholics at the Clackamas village.
There was one thing which gave the Catholics a decided advantage among the natives, and that was the use of symbols and ceremonies, as Blanchet expresses it: "The sight of the altar, vestments, sacred vessels and great ceremonies, were drawing their attention a great deal more than the cold, unavailable and long lay services of Brother Waller." These were more akin to their own ideas of religion than the simple services of the Protestants. The mystery was fascinating to them, and they preferred to see the priests "make medicine" than to hear so much "wa wa" from the ministers. By thus working upon the superstitious nature of the savages and making no effort to suddenly change their habits and time-honored customs, the Catholics gained a firm hold upon them, and were thus able, gradually, to bring about the desired change. The Protestants, on the contrary, endeavored to accomplish too much at once, and having no censers to swing or imposing vestments to wear, could gain but slight influence over the natives when their opponents were about.
There was still another factor which contributed to the unpopularity of the Protestant missionaries, and one which became stronger as time rolled on, and that was their connection with American settlers, and their efforts to cultivate the soil. The Indians did not want white people to settle in the country. They recognized the fact that both races could not live here, and that if white people came the Indians must go. It was this feeling which caused Ellis to forbid A. B. Smith to cultivate a patch of ground in 1840. The Hudson's Bay Company encouraged the idea among the Indians that the missions were but stepping stones to American occupation, and this idea was supported by the conduct of those in charge of the Methodist mission in the Willamette, which had become the general headquarters for American settlers. The fur company had been here for years and had not taken their lands away from them but instead, had supplied them with a good market for such furs as they might have; yet the Americans, who were but new comers, were already taking their lands, and more kept arriving yearly. The outgrowth of this was a feeling of bitterness against the Americans, including the Protestant missionaries, in which neither the Hudson's Bay Company men nor the Catholics were included; and this feeling intensified year by year.
In 1841, Dr. Whitman was insulted and attacked at Waiilatpu in consequence of trouble between Gray and an Indian. Immediately after he left on his winter journey and before Mrs. Whitman went to Fort Walla Walla, a Cayuse chief attempted to enter her room at night, and a few days later the mission mill and its contents were destroyed by fire. About the same time Mrs. Spalding, at the Lapwai mission, was grossly insulted and ordered from her own house; and at another time Mr. Spalding's life was threatened. Dr. Elijah White, the Indian agent who arrived but a few weeks before, determined to check this growing spirit of hostility. Accordingly, in November, accompanied by Thomas McKay, who had left the company's service and settled in the valley, and six men, he left the Willamette for the interior. At Fort Walla Walla
McKinlay joined them and the party proceeded to Lapwai to hold a counsel with the Nez Perces. After a long talk, in which McKay and McKinlay took an important part, a treaty was entered into whereby whites and Indians were to be equally punished for offences, and the Nez Perces adopted a system of laws in which the general principles of right and justice were embodied in a form suitable to their customs and condition. Ellis was chosen head chief to enforce the laws. The party of Dr. White then returned to hold a council with the Cayuses. But little was accomplished with them except to appoint the tenth of the ensuing April for a general council with the whole tribe. The next tribe visited was the Wascopum, at The Dalles, and these readily adopted the same laws Dr. White had given the Nez Perces. The result of these councils was to infuse a sense of security into both the whites and Indians.
The next summer disaffection broke out afresh, owing to the evil counsels of Baptiste Dorion, a half breed son of Pierre Dorion who had been interpreter for Hunt's party of the Astor expedition in 1811. This man was interpreter for the Hudson's Bay Company, and upon his own responsibility informed some of the Indians about Fort Walla Walla that the Americans were coming up in the summer to take their lands. This story spread among the tribes along the base of the Blue mountains and created great excitement. The young warriors wanted to go to the Willamette and exterminate the Americans, but were held in check by the older ones. Peo-peo-mux-mux, chief of the Walla Wallas, visited Vancouver to ascertain the truth of Dorion's statements, and was informed by Dr. McLaughlin that he did not believe the Americans entertained any such idea; but if they did he could rest assured that the Hudson's Bay Company would not aid them in a war of that kind against the Indians. The return of the Walla Walla chief quieted the excitement to a certain extent, yet a feeling of apprehension still remained, and the missionaries sent for Dr. White to make another official visit to the tribes. He started in the latter part of April, accompanied by Rev. Gustavus Hines, George W. LeBreton, one Indian boy and a Kanaka. Several French Canadians were to have accompanied them, but were advised by Dr. McLaughlin to remain at home and "let the Americans take care of themselves."
The result of this visit was to restore the spirit of security, and to insure tranquility for a time at least. The Cayuses adopted the Nez Perce laws and elected for head chief Five Crows, who had embraced the Protestant faith and was favorably disposed towards the Americans. The action of Dr. McLaughlin has been severely censured and has served as an argument to prove that the Hudson's Bay Company was stirring up the Indians to drive the Americans from the country. That is certainly putting a strained construction on it, as will be admitted when it is understood that the American settlers had but a few days before unanimously signed a memorial to congress, in which Dr. McLaughlin was severely censured. Father Demers arrived from the interior at this time and informed him that: "The Indians are only incensed against the Boston people; that they have nothing against the French and King George people; they are not mad at them, but are determined that the Bostoli people shall not have their lands and take away their liberties." Is it at all unnatural that, learning that his people were in no danger and smarting under the unjust charges of the Americans, he should have said, "Let the Americans take care of themselves?"
There was trouble in the Willamette valley in 1844 which served to still more embitter the Indians against the Americans. There was a sub-chief of the Molallas named Cockstock, a man of independent nature and belligerent disposition. He had a few followers who partook somewhat of his spirit, and they were generally the prime movers in such hostile acts as the natives of the Willamette indulged in. He was rebellious of restraint, and not friendly to the encroachment of the white settlers. A relative of his having mistreated Mr. Perkins at The Dalles mission, was sentenced by the Wasco tribe to be punished according to Dr. White's laws. The sub-chief was enraged at the whipping his kinsman had received, and set out to revenge the insult upon the Indian agent. Reaching the agent's Willamette home during his absence, he proceeded to break every window pane in the house. He was pursued, but not caught, and became an object of terror to the Doctor. All depredations committed in the country were charged to this chief, and it finally resulted in the offer by Dr. White of one hundred dollars reward for the arrest of the formidable Indian. Learning that he was being accused of acts committed by others, the chief visited Oregon City March 4, accompanied by four of his band, with the avowed purpose of having a talk with the whites for the purpose of exculpating himself. He entered the town, staid for about an hour, and then crossed the river to visit an Indian village to procure an Indian interpreter. He then recrossed the Willamette, when several men undertook to arrest him and a desperate fight ensued. Cockstock was killed, and his followers, after fighting valiantly until the odds became too great, made good their escape. On the other side George W. LeBreton was killed by Cockstock, and Mr. Rogers, who was working quietly near by, was wounded in the arm by a poisoned arrow, which caused his death. It has been asserted that the Molalla chief attacked the town, but it requires too much credulity to believe that five Indians would in broad daylight attack a town containing ten times their number. The whole affair is chargeable to the rash conduct of a few men who were eager to gain the paltry reward offered by Dr. White, one of whom paid for his cupidity with his life. Fearing that trouble might follow, the executive committee of the provisional government issued a proclamation for the organization of a military company. A company was organized on the tenth of March by citizens who assembled at Champoeg. Nineteen names were enrolled, T. D. Keizer being elected captain and J. L. Morrison and Mr. Carson lieutenants. Their services were not required.
In May, 1844, Rev. George Gary arrived by sea to supersede Jason Lee in charge of the Methodist missions, the latter being already on his way East. The mission property was immediately sold and the missionary work, which had amounted to little so far as accomplishments were concerned for several years, was discontinued, except at The Dalles. While the Methodists were thus withdrawing from the field, the Catholics were largely increasing their force. Among other arrivals for that purpose were six sisters of the order of Notre Dame, who came to found a convent in the Willamette. As Father Blanchet expresses it: "The schemes of the Protestant ministers had been fought and nearly annihilated, especially Nesqualy, Vancouver, Cascades, Clackamas, and Willamette falls, so that a visitor came in 1844 and disbanded the whole Methodist mission, and sold its property." The Methodists being disposed of the next thing in order was to get rid of the Congregationalists, whose missions were
at least holding their own, and one of them, that of Mr. Spalding, at Lapwai, making considerable progress in civilizing the Nez Perces.
The most successful missionaries among the aborigines of America have been the Catholics. The extent of their operations and success of their efforts in this field, are but partially known to either the Protestant or Catholic world; and the secret of their success lies in the zeal and judgment with which their religion is impressed upon the uncultivated understanding by ceremonies and symbols. All Indians believe in immortality, in the power and influence of both good and evil spirits upon the family of man. The strongest hold that can be obtained upon that race is to bind them with cords of belief and fear to an unseen power, let that power be what it may. Their superstitious natures lead them to attribute their good or ill fortune largely to supernatural influences, and to enter the door to their understanding of spiritual matters it is necessary to keep that door ajar for such purpose. Unless the white man's God is a greater medicine than the Indian's, they want none of him. Unless he can save them more effectually now and hereafter than the one they have always worshiped, they would prefer the old God to the new one. They believe that the Great Spirit helps them to slay their enemies, directs the fish to their snares and the wild game to their hunting grounds. If he fails so to do, it is because he is angry with them and must be propitiated. A God that leaves an Indian hungry and a scalp on the head of his offending enemy, would be void of interest or attraction. The Catholic missionary teaches the credulous Indian that the white man's God not only takes heed of the hair that falls from the head of his chosen, but provides for him; and, being the God not only of peace, but of battle, makes his arms invincible in waging just war against his enemies. No stronger inducement can be given to a savage for adopting any religious faith than that of being able by that means to protect himself against his foes, to fill his stomach, and to go after death to the happy hunting grounds, where there are no enemies and no fasting. The Catholic missionary not only understands all this and teaches as stated, but he deals out to them religion in homeopathic doses. Through the sense of sight, the priest makes an impression upon the brain by ceremonies and the attractive symbols of his faith. He follows more closely than the Protestant in the line of what the Indian expects to see as typical of a mysterious something unseen. It being nearer to his conception and what he has been accustomed to, he more readily believes and adopts it. Using these levers, the missionary moves the Indian by tribes into the Catholic church. After gaining an ascendancy the priest makes a judicious use of his influence to eradicate the evil practices of his neophytes, without destroying his chance for accomplishing any good by asking too great a change suddenly. By such systematic methods as this, the Catholic power had been so increased by 1847 that there were eight missions and twenty-six priests, sixteen churches and chapels, three institutions of learning, 5,000 Indian converts and 1,500 Catholic settlers, chiefly Canadians.
On the contrary the Protestant missions were making comparatively little headway. At each station there were a few who seemed to be in full accord with them, but the great majority of the tribe were but slightly affected by their preaching. At Waiilatpu things had been going wrong for some time. From the time Whitman first went among them there was a small portion of the Cayuses who were opposed to him
and his work. At the head of this faction was Tam-su-ky, an influential chief who lived on Walla Walla river a few miles from the mission. Five Crows, the head chief, resided on the Umatilla forty miles away. It was this element which made the trouble in 1842 and burned the Doctor's mill. When Whitman returned with the great train of emigrants in 1843, these Indians pointed to it as an evidence that his missionary pretentions were but a cloak for a design upon their liberties, that he was bringing Americans here who would take away their lands. In them Baptiste Dorion found willing associates in spreading his stories about the sinister designs of the Americans. This feeling of hostility spread from year to year, especially among the Cayuses, through whose country the immigrants all passed, and who were thus better able than the other tribes to see what great numbers were coming and what a hearty welcome they all received from Dr. Whitman and his associates. As far back as 1845, a Delaware Indian, called Tom Hill, had been living with the Nez Perce tribe. He had told them how American missionaries had visited his people, first to teach religion, and then the Americans had taken their lands; and he warned them to drive Mr. Spalding away, unless they would invite a similar misfortune. This Indian visited Whitman's mission and repeated to the Cayuses his story of the ruin to his tribe that had followed the advent of American missionaries to live among them. In the latter part of 1847, another Indian came among the Cayuses, who had been taken from west of the Cascades to the States, when a boy, where he grew to manhood among the Americans. His name was Joe Lewis, and he bent all the powers of his subtle nature to the task of creating hatred of the missionaries and Americans among the Indians at Waiilatpu. He reaffirmed the statements of Dorion and Tom Hill, and said it was the American plan of operations to first send missionaries, then a few settlers every year until they had taken all the land and made the Indians slaves. It was then that Tam-su-ky and his followers were triumphant and could boast of their superior wisdom in opposing the mission from the first. The tribe was divided into three classes, a few faithful followers of the Doctor and his God, a few bitterly opposed to the mission, and the great majority of the tribe indifferent but gradually acquiring a feeling of hostility. There were many, also, who desired to exchange to the Catholic religion, of which they heard favorable reports from other tribes. The long black gowns and imposing ceremonies had captured them. Whitman perceived the gathering storm but thought it could be averted. Thomas McKay warned him that it was unsafe to live longer with the Cayuses, and the Doctor offered to sell the property to him, an offer which McKay agreed to accept if he could dispose of his claim on the Willamette. With this in view Whitman went to The Dalles in the fall of 1847, and purchased the disused Methodist mission there, and leaving his nephew, P. B. Whitman, in charge he returned to Waiilatpu to spend the winter, preparatory to moving away in the spring.
This was the condition of affairs at Waiilatpu when the Catholics decided to take advantage of the desire of a number of the Cayuses to embrace their faith and establish a mission among them. On the fifth of September, 1847, Father A. M. A. Blanchet reached Walla Walla with three associate priests, and the fort became their headquarters for a number of weeks while they were seeking a suitable place for a permanent location. Whitman found them there upon his return from The Dalles, and quite a stormy interview ensued, though it must be confessed that the storming was chiefly
done by the Doctor; and no wonder. He had just made arrangements to abandon all he had accomplished by eleven years of self-denial and labor, and here he found those to whom he attributed his misfortunes ready to take his place even before he had left it. He did not hesitate to tell them his opinion of their conduct, and the complaisant manner in which they received his complaint aggravated him the more.
Immigrants from the States in the fall of that year brought with them the dysentery and measles, which soon became epidemic among the Cayuses. Many Indians died in spite of the remedies administered by the Doctor. Joe Lewis made good use of his opportunity. He told the Indians that Whitman intended to kill them all; that for this purpose he had sent home for poison two years before, but they had not forwarded a good kind; that this year the immigrants had brought him some good poison and he was now using it to kill off the Cayuses; that when they were all dead the Americans would come and take their lands. He even went so far as to declare that he overheard a conversation between Mr. Spalding and Dr. and Mrs. Whitman, in which the former complained because the Doctor was not killing them fast enough, and then the trio began to count up the wealth they would acquire when the Indians were all disposed of. This received much credence among the tribe, especially since they knew of a somewhat similar case a few years before, when an American purposely spread smallpox among the Blackfeet and killed hundreds of that tribe. Without knowing the perfidious conduct of Joe Lewis, who was employed about the mission, Dr. Whitman perceived the signs of danger, and asked Thomas McKay to spend the winter with him, as that gentleman's influence with the natives was great; but Mr. McKay was unable to comply.
On the twenty-seventh of November, two days before the massacre, the Catholics established their mission on the Umatilla, forty miles from Waiilatpu and near the home of Five Crows, the head chief. Joe Lewis had assured the Cayuses that the priest had told him Dr. Whitman was giving them poison, which does not seem to be sustained by reason or probability. In 1882 the writer had a long interview with three of these Indians, ones who were still adherents of the faith taught them by Whitman, and since they have suffered much persecution at the hands of the Catholics in charge of the mission, were not inclined to tell untruths in their belief. They unanimously agreed that they never heard the priest say anything about Dr. Whitman giving them poison; that Joe Lewis told them that, and said he learned it from the priest; that it was generally believed the priest had said so, but afterwards in investigating the matter among themselves they could find no one to whom the priest said anything of the kind, and that it all came through Joe Lewis. One thing the Roman missionary did say, and this helped to confirm the Indians in their belief that he had also said the other, and that was that Dr. Whitman was a bad man, and if they believed what he told them they would all go to hell, for he was telling them lies. Even such a statement as that, to unreasoning and passionate savages, was almost enough, in case they believed it true, to have caused the bloody scene which followed, even had not the poison theory been so industriously circulated by the scheming Lewis.
The followers of Tam-su-ky determined to prove the poison theory. The wife of that chief was sick, and they agreed among themselves that they would get some med-
icine from the Doctor and give it to her; if she recovered, good, if not, then they would kill the missionaries. They did so, and the woman died.
Waiilatpu was centrally located, since the Cayuses occupied the country from Umatilla river to the Tukannon. Every Sunday large numbers gathered at the mission, some of them to actually participate in the services, and others because of the crowd they knew would be assembled. On week days, however, it was seldom that a dozen could be found there at a time. For this reason Tam-su-ky and his followers chose a week day for their deed, a time when they thought none of the Whitman Indians would be present to interfere. They were careful to conceal their design from the Christian Indians and from the head chief, Five Crows, for fear he would prevent its execution. About fifty Indians assembled at the mission on the twenty-ninth of November, 1847, being chiefly the relatives and friends of Tam-su-ky. Of these only five participated in the bloody work, the others simply looking on and preventing the interference of any outsiders and especially of the one or two Whitman Indians who happened to be present. The horrible details of the massacre it is needless to relate. Mr. Spalding has given them with a minuteness that is strongly suggestive of an origin in the imagination, yet his narrative is probably in the main as correct as could possibly be gathered from the incoherent stories of frightened women and children. It is only when he carries the melodramatic too far, and when he is endeavoring to make it appear that the massacre was perpetrated at the instigation of Father Brouillet and sanctioned by the Hudson's Bay Company, that his statements become unreliable. His picture is much overdrawn, though Heaven knows that in some particulars, and especially in the after treatment of the female prisoners, even those of tender age, the pen utterly fails to depict the horrors of the scene. He uses such expressions as "multitudes of Indians," "cutting down their victims everywhere," "the roar of guns," the "crash of war clubs and tomahawks," "shock like terrific peals of thunder," in referring to the discharge of a few guns, "crash of the clubs and the knives;" and yet when the whole is summed up but thirteen were killed in all, nine that day, two the next and two eight days later. He is equally reckless in his language when making charges against Father Brouillet, whom he accuses of coming up from the Umatilla the day after the massacre and "baptizing the murderers." The facts are that he came upon an invitation given him by the missionary several days before, only learning of the horrible tragedy upon his arrival; and the "murderers" whom he baptized were three sick children, two of whom died immediately after the ceremony. He also accuses him of pretending to find the poison and burying it so that it could have no more influence. The Whitman Indians stated unanimously that Joe Lewis did this and not the priest. The only interference the priest dared to make at all was when he successfully interposed to save Spalding's life.
The bloody excesses into which religious zealots were led in times past suggest the possibility of the truth of these charges, yet they are entirely unsupported by evidence, and common charity should demand convincing proof to sustain such an accusation. Though the Catholics are cleared of the charge of directly instigating the massacre by telling the Indians that Dr. Whitman was poisoning them so that he might secure their lands for his friends, yet they cannot escape the moral responsibility of the deed. In the first place they went among the Cayuses for the purpose of driving Whitman
away and obtaining control of the tribe. To accomplish this they told the Indians that Dr. Whitman was a bad man, was telling them lies, and if they believed him they would all go to hell. Father Brouillet ought by that time to have become sufficiently acquainted with the Indian character to know that such assertions, if they were credited, were calculated to bring on just such a tragedy as was enacted. Whether he knew this and acted with that end in view, or whether he expected to simply win the religious trust of the Cayuses away from Whitman, will remain a secret forever. The massacre was the result of four separate causes--the dislike of Americans, the ravages of the epidemic, the poison intrigue of Joe Lewis, and the priest's denunciations of Dr. Whitman--and Father Brouillet can never shake off the moral responsibility for one of the most potent of these causes. The victims of this conflict of creeds were: Dr. Marcus Whitman, Mrs. Narcissa Whitman, John Sager, Francis Sager, Crockett Bewley, Mr. Rogers, Mr. Kimball, Mr. Sales, Mr. Marsh, Mr. Sanders, James Young, Jr., Mr. Hoffman, and Isaac Gillen.
Immediately after the massacre Joe Lewis told the Cayuses that now they must fight, for the Americans would surely come to punish them. He advised them to send him and two others to Salt Lake with a band of horses, to purchase ammunition from the Mormons. He started with a select band of animals and two young braves, and a few days later one of the braves returned with the intelligence that Joe Lewis had killed the other one and decamped with the horses; and this was the last the Cayuses saw of that scheming villain.
Intelligence of the massacre reached Fort Vancouver by special messenger from William McBean, in charge of Fort Walla Walla. The messenger did not warn the people at The Dalles of their danger, but went directly to the fort and delivered his message to James Douglas, then the chief factor at Vancouver. When questioned about his conduct he said he was obeying instructions received from McBean. This and the conduct of McBean at Fort Walla Walla in displaying an unwillingness to receive and protect fugitives from Waiilatpu, have been cited as conclusive evidence that the Hudson's Bay Company connived at the massacre; but nothing in the conduct of other officers of the company sustains such an opinion, while much is to the contrary, and it simply shows that McBean was a narrow-minded man who, knowing the general feeling of the Indians in that region against the Americans, was afraid he would compromise the company by defending them. He had not soul enough to rise to the emergency.
Mr. Douglas sent a message to Governor Abernethy, advising him of what had taken place; and without waiting to see what steps the Americans would take, Peter Skeen Ogden, an old and influential factor of the company, departed from Vancouver with an armed force for the scene of the tragedy, advising the people at The Dalles of their danger as he passed. He reached Walla Walla on the nineteenth of December. The next day the Cayuses held a council and decided that if the Americans would call everything square and would make a treaty of peace, they would deliver up the prisoners. Three days later the chiefs came to Walla Walla and held a council with Mr: Ogden, who offered to ransom the captives and assured the Indians that they would regret it if they provoked the Americans to war, and that the company was much displeased with their conduct. The conference resulted in the surrender of forty-seven
prisoners upon the payment of a small quantity of tobacco, clothing, guns and ammunition. On the first of January fifty Nez Perces arrived with Mr. Spalding and ten others from Lapwai, receiving a similar payment from Mr. Ogden, and on the second the whole party started down the Columbia. Two hours later fifty Cayuse warriors dashed up to the fort to demand the surrender of Mr. Spalding, as they had just learned that a company of Americans had arrived at The Dalles to make war upon them. On the tenth of January they all reached Oregon City, and great was the joy of the people. For his humane conduct and prompt action Peter Skeen Ogden should always occupy a warm place in the hearts of Americans; yet there are those who ungratefully accuse him of attempting to arm the Cayuses against the Americans, simply because a few guns and a little ammunition formed a portion of the ransom paid to deliver these helpless woman from a captivity that was worse than death.
While Mr. Ogden was absent on his errand of mercy, the American settlers were not idle. On the eighth of December Governor Abernethy informed the legislature of what had been done at Waiilatpu, and by message called for volunteers. That night at a public meeting a company was organized to proceed at once to The Dalles, as an outpost to protect the missionaries there, and to dispute a passage of the Cascade mountains with hostile Indians if any attempted carrying war into the Willamette settlements. The company was commanded by Henry A. G. Lee, captain, and Joseph Magone and John E. Ross, lieutenants. The legislature pledged the credit of the provisional government to pay the expenses of procuring an outfit for this company, and appointed a committee to visit Vancouver and negotiate for the same from the Hudson's Bay Company, which they did, but were obliged to become personally responsible for the amount. December 10, the Oregon Rifles reached Vancouver, received their supplies, and pushed on for The Dalles, where they arrived on the twenty-first of the month. In the meantime the legislature entered with energy upon a series of resolutions and enactments with a view to military organization of magnitude sufficient to chastise the Indians, and the citizens by subscriptions and enlistments seconded cordially the efforts of their provisional government. Many were for pushing forward into the enemy's country at once with a formidable force, but wiser counsels prevailed, and nothing was done likely to prevent the Indians from surrendering their white captives to Mr. Ogden.
On the ninth of December the legislature authorized the equipping of a regiment of 500 men, and in accordance with the act sixteen companies were raised. Cornelius Gilliam was chosen colonel, James Waters, lieutenant-colonel, and H. A. G. Lee, major.
February 23, 1848, Colonel Gilliam reached The Dalles with fifty men. The main body of his regiment arriving at that place, he moved to the Des Chutes river on the twenty-seventh with 130 men, crossed to the east bank, and sent Major Lee up the stream about twenty miles on a reconnoisance, where he found the enemy, engaged them, killed one, lost some of his horses and returned to report progress. On the twenty-ninth Colonel Gilliam moved up the Des Chutes to Meek's crossing at the mouth of the cañon in which Major Lee had met the Indians. The next morning on entering the cañon a skirmish followed, in which were captured from the hostiles, 40 horses, 4 head of cattle and $300 worth of personal property, all of which was sold by the quartermaster for $1,400. The loss of the Indians in killed and wounded was not
known. There was one white man wounded. The result was a treaty of peace with the Des Chutes Indians. The command pushed immediately forward to the Walla Walla country and reached the mission prior to March 4. On the way to that place a battle occurred at Sand Hollows, on the emigrant road eight miles east of the Well Springs. It commenced on the plain where washes in the sand make natural hiding places for a foe, and lasted until towards night. The volunteer force was arranged with the train in the road protected by Captain Hall's company. The companies of Captains Thompson and Maxon, forming the left flank, were on the north side of the road, and those of Captains English and McKay, as the right flank, were on the south or right of the command. Upon McKay's company at the extreme right the first demonstration was made. Five Crows, the head chief of the Cayuses, made some pretensions to the possession of wizard powers, and declared to his people that no ball from a white man's gun could kill him. Another chief of that tribe named War Eagle or Swallow Ball, made similar professions and stated that he could swallow all the bullets from the guns of the invading army if they were fired at him. The two chiefs promised their people that Gilliam's command should never reach the Umatilla river, and to demonstrate their invulnerability and power as medicine chiefs, they dashed out from concealment, rode down close to the volunteers and shot a little dog that came out to bark at them. Captain McKay, although the order was not to fire, could hold back no longer, and bringing his rifle to bear took deliberate aim and shot War Eagle through the head, killing him instantly. Lieutenant Charles McKay brought his shot gun down to the hollow of his arm, and firing without sighting it, so severely wounded Five Crows that he gave up the command of his warriors. This was a serious, chilling opening for the Indians, two chiefs gone at the first onset and their medicine proved worthless; but they continued the battle in a skirmishing way, making dashing attacks and masterly retreats until late in the afternoon. At one time during the engagement, Captain Maxon's company followed the enemy so far that it was surrounded, and a sharp encounter followed, in which a number of volunteers were disabled. In fact, eight of the eleven soldiers wounded that day were of Maxon's company. Two Indians were known to have been killed, but the enemy's loss could not be known as they removed all of their wounded and dead, except two.
That night the regiment camped on the battlefield without water, and the Indians built large and numerous fires along the bluffs or high lands some two miles in advance. The next day Colonel Gilliam moved on, and without incident worthy of note, reached Whitman's mission, the third day after the battle. The main body of Indians fell back towards Snake river, and a fruitless attempt followed to induce them to give up the parties who had committed the murders at Waiilatpu. Colonel Gilliam at last determined upon making a raid into the Snake river country, and in carrying out this programme, surprised a camp of Cayuses near that stream, among whom were some of the murderers. The captured camp professed friendship, however, and pointed out the horses of Indians on the hills, which they, said belonged to the parties whom the Colonel was anxious to kill or capture, stating that their owners were on the north side of Snake river and beyond reach. So well was their part acted that the officers believed their statements, proceeded to drive off the stock indicated, and started on their return. They soon found that a grievous error had been committed in releasing the
village, whose male population were soon mounted upon war horses, and assailed the volunteers on all sides, forcing them to fight their way as they fell back to the Touchet river. Through the whole day and until evening, yes, into the night after their arrival at the latter stream, the contest was maintained, a constant, harassing skirmish. The soldiers would drive the Indians back again and again, but as soon as the retreat was resumed, the red skins were upon them once more. Finally, after going into camp on the Touchet, Colonel Gilliam ordered the captured stock turned loose, and when the Indians got possession of it, they returned to Snake river without molesting the command any further. In the struggle on the Touchet, when the retreating soldiers first reached that stream, William Taylor was mortally wounded by an Indian who sprang up in the bushes by the stream and fired with but a few yards between them. Nathan Olney, afterwards Indian agent, seeing the act, rushed upon the savage, snatched from his hand a war club in which was fastened a piece of iron, and dealt him a blow on the head with it with such force as to cause the iron to split the club, and yet failed to kill him. He then closed with his antagonist in a hand to hand struggle, and soon ended the contest with a knife. The writer has not been able to learn of any other known casualties in that affair, which ended without having accomplished anything to further the purposes of the campaign.
Colonel Gilliam started from the mission on the twentieth of March, with a small force destined to return from the Dalles with supplies, while he was to continue to the Willamette and report to the governor. While camped at Well Springs he was killed by an accidental discharge of a gun, and his remains were taken to his friends west of the Cascades by Major Lee. This officer soon returned to his regiment with a commission as colonel, but finding Lt. Col. Waters had been elected by the regiment to that position in his absence, he resigned and filled a subordinate office for the remainder of his term of enlistment. The attempt by commissioners, who had been sent with the volunteers, as requested by the Indians in their memorial to the Americans, to negotiate a peaceful solution of the difficult problem, failed. They wanted the Indians to deliver up for execution all those who had imbued their hands in the blood of our countrymen at Waiilatpu, and it included several chiefs; they wished the Cayuses to pay all damages to emigrants caused by their being robbed or attacked while passing through the Cayuse country. The Indians wished nothing of the kind. They wanted peace, and to be let alone; for the Americans to call the account balanced and drop the matter. The failure to agree had resulted in two or three skirmishes, one of them at least a severe test of strength, in which the Indians had received the worst of it, and in the other the volunteers had accomplished nothing that could be counted a success. The Cayuses finding that no compromise could be effected, abandoned their country, and most of them passed east of the mountains. Nothing was left for the volunteers but to leave the country also, which they did, and the Cayuse war had practically ended. Finally, they were given to understand that peace could never exist between them and the Americans until the murderers were delivered up for punishment.
At that time, early in 1850, Tam-su-ky and his supporters, including many relatives who had not in any manner participated in the massacre, were hiding in the mountains at the head of John Day river. The Indians who desired peace went after them, and a fight ensued, ending in the capture of nearly all of the turbulent band.
Only one, however, of the five who were actually engaged in the bloody work at Waiilatpu (so the Whitman Indians assert) was captured, and he was Ta-ma-has, a bloody-minded villain whom his countrymen called The "Murderer." It was he who commenced the work of death by braining Dr. Whitman with a hatchet. Taking him and four others, several of the older men and chiefs went to Oregon City to deliver them up as hostages. They were at once thrown into prison, condemned, and hung at Oregon City on the third of June, 1850; and even the ones who brought them, in view of this summary proceeding, congratulated themselves upon their safe return. They believed that Ta-ma-has should have been hung, but not the other four, not understanding the theory of accomplices, and so the few survivors of the tribe assert to the present day.
TERRITORIAL GOVERNMENT OF OREGON.
Discouraging News Brought by Immigrants in 1847--Letters from President Polk and Senator Benton--J. Quinn Thornton's Mission to Washington--Senatorial Struggle over the Oregon Bill--Joe Meeks' Trip Across the Continent--Arrival of Governor Lane--Discovery of Gold--Effect upon Oregon--Beaver Money-- Steps Leading to Creation of Washington Territory--Division of Oregon--First Government of Washington Territory--Indian War of 1855-6.
With the immigration of 1847, so large and so encouraging to the struggling settlers of Oregon, came the disheartening intelligence that congress had failed utterly to provide for a territorial government for this neglected region, or to extend to it in any way the benefit of the national laws. Four years had the people of Oregon governed themselves, loyal in heart and deed to their native land, and for a year had England by solemn treaty relinquished all her asserted rights, and yet the national legislature denied it the aid and protection of the law. Congress had, during the session of 1846-7, made an appropriation for a mail service via Panama to Oregon, and two post masters were appointed, one for Astoria and one for Oregon City, also an Indian agent. By one of the new officials, Mr. Shively, James Buchanan, secretary of state, transmitted a letter to the people, expressing the deep regret of President Polk that congress had been so unmindful of their needs and rights. The communication also contained the assurance that the executive would extend to this far off region all the protection within his power, including occasional visits of vessels of war and the presence of a regiment of dragoons to guard the immigration. Mr. Shively also bore a letter from Thomas H. Benton, that sturdy senator from Missouri, whose voice and pen had unswervingly championed the cause of Oregon for thirty years. In this letter, dated at Washington City, March, 1847, Mr. Benton says:
"The house of representatives, as early as the middle of January, had passed the bill to give you a territorial government, and in that bill had sanctioned and legalized your provisional organic act, one of the clauses of which forever prohibited the existence of slavery in Oregon. An amendment from the senate's committee to which this bill was referred, proposed to abrogate that prohibition, and in the delays and vexations to which that amendment gave rise, the whole bill was laid upon the table, and lost for the session. * * * But do not be alarmed or desperate. You will not be outlawed for not admitting slavery. * * * A home agitation, for election and disunion purposes, is all that is intended by thrusting this fire brand question into your bill; and, at the next session, when it is thrust in again, we will scourge it out! and pass your bill as it ought to be. * * * In conclusion, I have to assure you that the same spirit which has made me the friend of Oregon for thirty years--which led me to denounce the joint occupation treaty the day it was made, and to oppose its revival in 1828, and to labor for its abrogation until it was terminated; the same spirit which led me to reveal the grand destiny of Oregon in articles written in 1818, and to support every measure for her benefit since--this spirit still animates me, and will continue to do so while I live--which, I hope, will be long enough to see an emporium of Asiatic commerce at the mouth of your river, and a stream of Asiatic trade pouring into the valley of the Mississippi through the channel of Oregon." Would that the grand old statesman could have lived to see his prophecy fulfilled in the new era upon which far off Oregon--now far off no longer--has so propitiously entered.
These letters were both disheartening and cheering. The people felt despondent at being so neglected by the authorities of their loved country, but were cheered by the thought that warm friends were laboring for their welfare far beyond the reach of their grateful voices. Hon. J. Quinn Thornton, supreme judge of the provisional government, had been, during the past year, frequently urged by influential men, to proceed to Washington and labor with congress in behalf of Oregon. In particular had the lamented Dr. Whitman requested him so to do, asserting that only the establishment of a strong territorial government, one that the Indians would recognize as powerful, would "save him and his mission from falling under the murderous hands of savages." Mr. Thornton recognized the importance of such a delegate, and solicited Hon. Peter H. Burnett, subsequently the first governor of California, to undertake the mission, but without success. The news of the state of affairs at Washington brought by Mr. Shively, decided Mr. Thornton, and on the eighteenth of October, 1847, having resigned his judicial office, he departed on his arduous mission, armed with a letter from Governor Abernethy to President Polk. Mr. Thornton was by no means a regularly constituted delegate, since Oregon was not authorized to accredit such an official to congress, but simply went as a private individual, representing in an unofficial manner the governor and many of the prominent citizens of Oregon. In fact the legislature, deeming its functions infringed upon by this action of the governor, passed resolutions embodying their idea of the harm done the colony by the officiousness of "secret factions."
There was not ready money enough in the treasury to have paid the passage of Mr. Thornton, even had it been at his disposal. A collection was taken up, contributions being made partly in coin but chiefly in flour, clothing, and anything that
could be of service or was convertible into money. A contract was made with Captain Roland Gelston, of the bark Whitton, to convey Mr. Thornton to Panama, and the vessel sailed at once for San Francisco, and thence to San Juan, on the coast of Lower California. Here the Captain informed his passenger that he must decline to fulfill his contract, as he desired to engage in the coasting trade. From the perplexing dilemma he was extricated by Captain Montgomery, commanding the United States sloop of war, Portsmouth, then lying at anchor in the harbor. This gentleman deemed the mission of Mr. Thornton of sufficient importance to the government to justify him in leaving his station and returning with his vessel to the Atlantic coast. He accordingly tendered the delegate the hospitalities of his cabin, and set sail as soon as preparations could be made for the voyage. The Portsmouth arrived in Boston harbor on the second of May, 1848, and Mr. Thornton at once hastened to Washington to consult with President Polk and Senators Benton and Douglas, those warm champions of Oregon, as to the proper course to pursue. By them he was advised to prepare a memorial to be presented to congress, setting forth the condition and needs of the people whom he represented. This he did, and the document was presented to the senate by Mr. Benton, and was printed for the use of both branches of congress. Mr. Thorn ton also drafted a bill for organizing a territorial government, which was introduced and placed upon its passage. This bill contained a clause prohibiting human slavery, and for this reason was as objectionable to the slaveholding force in congress as had been the previous one. Under the lead of Senators Jefferson Davis and John C. Calhoun, this wing of the national legislature made a vigorous onslaught upon the bill, and fought its progress step by step with unabated determination, resorting to all the legislative tactics known, to so delay its consideration that it could not be finally passed by the hour of noon on the fourteenth of August, the time fixed by joint resolution for the close of that session of congress.
The contest during the last two days of the session was exciting in the extreme, and the feeling intense throughout the Union. The friends of the bill had decided upon a policy of "masterly inactivity," refraining entirely from debate and yielding the floor absolutely to the "filibusters," who were therefore much distressed for means to consume the slowly passing hours. Though silent in speech they were constantly present in force to prevent the opposition from gaining time by an adjournment. The bill was then on its second passage in the senate, for the purpose of concurrence with amendments which had been added by the house. On Saturday morning, August 12, the managers of the bill decided to prevent an adjournment until it had been disposed of, having a sufficient majority to pass it. The story of that memorable contest is thus told by Mr. Thornton, who sat throughout the scene an earnest spectator:
"I re-entered the senate chamber with the deepest feelings of solicitude, and yet hopeful because of the assurances which had been given to me by the gentlemen I have named. [Douglas, Benton and Hale.] I soon saw, however, that Calhoun and Butler, of South Carolina; Davis and Foote, of Mississippi; and Hunter and Mason of Virginia, as leaders of the opposition, had girded up their loins and had buckled on their armor for the battle. The friends of the bill, led by Mr. Benton, having taken their position, waited calmly for the onset of their adversaries, who spent Saturday until the usual hour of adjournment in skirmishing in force, as if feeling the strength
of their opponents. When the motion was made at the usual time in the afternoon for adjournment, the friends of the bill came pouring out of the retiring rooms, and on coming inside the bar they voted 'No' with very marked emphasis. * * * This state of affairs continued until after night. [Here ensued a series of filibustering tactics, daring which a personal altercation between Judge Butler and Senator Benton came near resulting in blows.] General Foote, the collegue of Jeff. Davis, then rose, and in a drawling tone assumed for the occasion, said his powers of endurance, he believed, would enable him to continue his address to the senate until Monday, 12 o'clock M., and although he could not promise to say much on the subject of the Oregon bill, he could not doubt that he would be able to interest and greatly edify distinguished senators. The friends of the bill, seeing what was before them, posted a page in the doorway opening into one of the retiring rooms, and then, after detailing a few of their number to keep watch and ward on the floor of the senate, withdrew into the room of which I have spoken, to chat and tell anecdotes and to drink wine, or perhaps something even much stronger, and thus to wear away the slowly and heavily passing hours of that memorable Saturday night. Soon great clouds of smoke filled the room, and from it issued the sound of the chink of glasses, and of loud conversation, almost drowning the eloquence of the Mississippi senator, as he repeated the bible story of the cosmogany of the world, the creation of man, the taking from his side of the rib from which Eve was made, her talking with the 'snake,' as he called the evil one, the fall of man, etc. etc. The galleries were soon deserted. Many of the aged senators prostrated themselves upon the sofas in one of the retiring rooms, and slumbered soundly, while 'thoughts that breathed and words that burned' fell in glowing eloquence from the lips of the Mississippi senator, as he continued thus to instruct and edify the few watching friends of the bill, who, notwithstanding the weight of seventy years pressed heavily upon some of them, were as wide awake as the youngest; and they sat firm and erect in their seats, watching with lynx eyes every movement of the adversaries of the bill.
"At intervals of about an hour, the speaker would yield the floor to a motion for adjournment, coming from the opposition. Then the sentinel page at the door would give notice to the waking senators in the retiring room, and these would immediately arouse the slumbering senators, and all would then rush pell mell through the doorway, and when the inside of the bar was reached, would vote 'No' with a thundering emphasis. Occasionally southern senators, toward Sunday morning, relieved Gen. Foote by short, dull speeches, to which the friends of the bill vouchsafed no answers; so that Mr. Calhoun and his pro-slavery subordinates had things for the most part all their own Way until Sabbath morning, August 13, 1848, at about eight o'clock, when the leading opponents of the bill collected together in a knot, and after con versing together a short time in an undertone, the Mississippi senator who had been so very edifying and entertaining during the night, said that no further opposition would be made to taking a vote on the bill. The ayes and nayes were then called and the bill passed."
Not alone to Mr. Thornton is due the honor of representing Oregon at Washington during that long struggle for justice. Another delegate, one with even better credentials than the first, was there to aid in the work. This was Joseph L. Meek, the mountaineer and trapper whose name is indelibly inscribed upon the early annals of the Pacific coast. When the massacre of the martyred Whitman and his associates at Waiilatpu
plunged the settlers into a state of mingled grief and alarm, it was thought necessary to dispatch a messenger at once to Washington to impart the intelligence, impress the authorities with the precarious situation of the colony, and appeal for protection. Winter had set in with all its vigors in the mountains. The terrible journey made at that season six years before by Dr. Whitman, on his patriotic mission, the same person whose martyrdom now rendered a second journey necessary, was fresh in the minds of all, and appalled the stoutest heart. Mr. Thornton had taken the longer but safer route by sea, but time was too precious, too much was at stake, to admit of the delay such a journey would impose, even if the vessel were at hand to afford the means. Nothing but a trip across the thousands of miles of snow-bound mountains, plains and deserts, would be of any avail. In the emergency all turned to Joseph L. Meek as the one man in their midst whose intrepid courage, great powers of physical endurance, long experience in mountain life and familiarity with the routes of travel and Indian tribes to be encountered, rendered him capable of undertaking the task with a good prospect of success. Unhesitatingly he accepted the mission, resigned his seat in the legislature, received his credentials as a delegate from that body, and set out on the fourth of January for Washington, accompanied by John Owens and George Ebberts, who decided to go with him and avail themselves of his services as guide and director. At The Dalles they were forced to delay several weeks until the arrival of the Oregon volunteers rendered it safe for them to proceed, since the whole upper country was overrun by hostile Indians.
They accompanied the troops to Waiilatpu, where Meek had the mournful satisfaction of assisting in the burial of the victims of Cayuse treachery, among whom was his own daughter, and then were escorted by a company of troops to the base of the Blue mountains, where they finally entered upon their long and solitary journey. By avoiding the Indians as much as possible, and whenever encountered by them representing themselves as Hudson's Bay Company men, they reached Fort Boise in safety. Here two of four new volunteers for the journey became discouraged and decided to remain. The other five travelers pushed on to Fort Hall, saving themselves from the clutch of the Bannacks only by Meek's experience in dealing with the savages. It is needless to recount the many hardships they endured, the sleepless nights and dinnerless days, the accidents, dangers, fatigues, narrow escapes from hostile Indians and the thousand discomforts and misadventures to which they were subjected. It is sufficient to say that through all these they passed in safety, never forgetting for an instant the imperative necessity for haste, and never flinching from the trials that lay in their pathway. The hearty invitation to spend a few weeks here or there in the few places where they encountered friends and comfortable quarters, was resolutely declined, and with only such delay as was absolutely required, they plunged again into the snowy mountain passes with their faces resolutely set towards the rising sun. They reached St. Joseph in but little more than two months after leaving the Willamette valley, having made the quickest trip across the continent that had been accomplished at any season of the year.
Meek was now reduced to most embarrassing straits. Dressed in buckskin and blanket clothes and wolf skin cap, ragged and dirty in the extreme, beard and hair long and unkempt, without money or friends, how to get to Washington or how
to conduct himself when there, were perplexing questions. His solution of the difficulty was a characteristic one. By making a clown of himself at one place, by assuming an air of importance and dignity at another, he succeeded in reaching the city of his destination only a week or two later than Mr. Thornton, though his news from Oregon was four months fresher than that brought by his predecessor. The united labors of these two men brought about the result which has been detailed, the passage of the act of August 14, 1848, creating the territory of Oregon.
President Polk, the staunch friend of Oregon, the man who had been elevated to the chief office in the nation amid the universal shout of "Fifty-four-forty-or-fight!" was eager to have the work consummated before the expiration of his term on the fourth of the ensuing March. To this end he appointed Meek marshal of the new territory, and delegated him to convey a governor's commission to General Joseph Lane, then residing in Indiana and unaware of the honor to be conferred, or the sacrifice to be required, in which ever light it may be viewed. With that promptness of decision and action which was General Lane's distinguishing characteristic, he accepted the commission on the spot, and in three days had disposed of his property, wound up his business affairs and begun his journey to the far off wilds of Oregon. They were escorted by a detachment of troops, and after a journey of six months, by the way of New Mexico and Arizona, seven only of the party reached San Francisco, two having died on the route and the others having deserted to try their fortunes in the new gold fields of the Sierra. These seven were General Lane, Marshal Meek, Lieutenant Hawkins, Surgeon Hayden and three enlisted men. Taking passage in the schooner Jeannette, they reached the Columbia river after a tedious voyage of eighteen days, ascended that stream to Oregon City, a distance of 120 miles, in small boats, reaching that place, then the seat of government, on the second of March, 1849. The following day Governor Lane issued his proclamation and assumed the duties of his office, being but one day before the expiration of President Folk's official term.
The first territorial officers of Oregon were: governor, Joseph Lane; secretary, Kintzing Pritchett; treasurer, James Taylor; auditor, B. Gervais; chief justice, William P. Bryant; associate justices, O. C. Pratt and P. A. Burnett; United States marshal, Joseph L. Meek; superintendent of common schools, James McBride; librarian, W. T. Matlock; territorial printer, Wilson Blain; commissioner of Cayuse war claims, A. A. Skinner. All of these officials, save the governor, secretary, marshal and judges, were appointed by the legislature when it convened in the fall.
General Lane appointed census marshals as provided for in the organic act, who reported the population of the territory as shown in the following table:
CENSUS OF 1849.
Subsequent to the departure of Thornton and Meek upon their mission to Washington, but prior to the return of the latter with Governor Lane, a new era set in on the Pacific coast. On the nineteenth of January, 1848, James W. Marshall discovered gold on the south fork of the American river, in California. Marshall had come to Oregon in the immigration of 1844, and had the next year passed south into California, where he entered the employment of Captain John A. Butter, who had crossed the plains to Oregon in 1838 and to California by way of the Sandwich islands in 1839. In the fall of 1847, Marshall went up into the Sierras east of Sutter's settlement of New Helvetia (Sacramento), and began building a saw mill for his employer, which was nearly completed at the time he accidentally discovered gold in the tail race. All California was excited by the discovery, and nearly every able-bodied man abandoned everything and hastened to the mines. The intelligence did not reach Oregon until the following August, and the effect upon such a class of adventurous spirits as composed the pioneers can well be imagined. There was at once a great rush for California, and it looked as though Oregon would be deserted and relegated back to the dominion of the Hudson's Eay Company and Indians. This, however, was but temporary. Family and business ties held many back and hastened the return of others, many bringing with them heavy sacks of the yellow treasure. What had at first promised to be an overwhelming calamity soon proved a bountiful blessing. Thousands of men poured into California from every quarter of the world, and a brisk demand at once sprung up for the grain, flour, vegetables and food products of all kinds which Oregon could produce in abundance, but for which no market had previously existed. California gold began to pour into Oregon in a steady stream, commerce began to assume large proportions, a custom house was established at Astoria, and this region made great strides on the road to wealth and prosperity. This sudden increase in business gave rise to a direct infringement of the constitutional prohibition of the coinage of money by state governments or individuals, and this forms one of the most interesting episodes of Oregon history.
During the winter of 1848-9 people began straggling back from the California mines, bringing with them sacks of gold dust, As a circulating medium gold in such a shape was inconvenient and certain to decrease in quantity as it passed from hand to hand, and an ounce was only called the equivalent of eleven dollars in trade, though intrinsically worth at least sixteen. Commerce and business generally suffered much inconvenience from the lack of coin, and to remedy the evil the legislature passed an act providing for the "assaying, melting, and coining of gold." The advent of Governor Lane and the decease of the provisional government, operated to render the act void before it could be carried into effect. Still the necessity for money increased, and the want was supplied by private enterprise. A company was organized by responsible and wealthy men, which issued five and ten dollar "Beaver" coins, bearing on one side the figure of a beaver, over which appeared the initial letters of the names of the members of the company--Kilbourn, Magruder, Taylor, Abernethy, Wilson, Rector, Campbell, Smith--and underneath "O. T. 1849." On the reverse side was: "Oregon Exchange Company, 130 Grains Native Gold, 5 D.," or "10 pwts, 20 grains, 10 D." The dies by which the coins were stamped were made by Hamilton Campbell, and the press and rolling machinery by William Rector. The workmanship was quite creditable. The intrinsic worth of these coins being greater than their representative value, they quickly passed from circulation when the government coins appeared in quantity, and are now only to be found in the keeping of pioneers, in the cabinets of curiosity preservers or the collections of numismatologists.
During the next four years the progress of the territory was marked. In 1851 gold was found to exist in great quantities in Southern Oregon, and that region soon teemed with a restless population of miners. Towns and cities sprung up, and the fertile valley lands were located on by settlers and brought under the dominion of the plow. These changes were accompanied by the inevitable trouble with the native owners of the soil, and the scenes of horror which marked them are recounted in other chapters.
By the act of March 3, 1853, congress set off the territory of Washington from that of Oregon, and gave to it a separate political existence. Oregon at that time contained 341,000 square miles, equal in area to the six great states of Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, by far too large for admission into the Union as a single state. Through it ran the great Columbia river, dividing it into nearly equal parts from the ocean to Fort Walla Walla, where it made a long sweep to the north and east. That portion of the territory lying north and west of this great stream was called Northern Oregon, and within it were a number of small settlements, which included a population, "Quite as great," declared Joseph Lane in congress, "as the whole of Oregon at the period of its organization into a territory." In 1833 the fort at Nisqually, near the head of Puget sound, was located by the Hudson's Bay Company, and soon after the Puget Sound Agricultural Company began to graze cattle and sheep in the vicinity, and to cultivate the lands. These were guarded by the stockade and buildings afterwards occupied by U. S. troops, and known as Fort Steilacoom. In 1838 the Rev. F. N. Blanchet and Rev. M. Demers, of the Society of Jesus of the Roman Catholic faith, established a mission at Fort Vancouver, and soon after one was located on Cowlitz prairie near a post that had been established by the Hud-
son's Bay Company. In 1839 the Methodists by Revs. David Leslie and W. H. Wilson, and the Catholics by Father Demers, each established missions at Nisqually.
It was the desire of Great Britain, during the decade previous to the treaty of 1846, to have the Columbia river declared the boundary line between its possessions and those of the United States. To this end efforts of the Hudson's Bay Company were directed, and they looked with disfavor upon the making of any settlements north of that stream by Americans. Nevertheless, in 1844, Col. M. T. Simmons made an unsuccessful attempt to reach Puget sound, having crossed the plains the year before. In 1845, with a few companions, he renewed his efforts and located at the head of the sound, where the Des Chutes river empties into Budd's inlet. Their little settlement was called New Market, now the town of Tumwater, but a mile from Olympia. To this, no active opposition was made by the company; and in the few following years many other Americans located along the Cowlitz and other streams, and about the head of the sound. The immigrants brought out by the company from the Red river settlements in 1841, whose arrival created so much anxiety in the minds of the Americans, located chiefly on the Cowlitz, in accordance with the plan of making the Columbia the dividing line.
June 27, 1844, the Oregon Provisional Government designated all the territory north and west of the Columbia, Vancouver county; but owing to the settlements alluded to, that portion lying west of the Cowlitz was made Lewis county; and the name of Clarke was given to Vancouver county in 1849.
Captain Lafayette Beach founded Steilacoom in January, 1851. In February of the same year Pacific county was created, because of the thriving settlements of Pacific City and Chinook that had sprung up on the north bank of the Columbia, near its mouth. In April, 1851, Port Townsend was located. Congress established the Puget Sound Collection District February 14, 1851, and a custom house was located during the year at Olympia, then the only town on the sound. On the third of November, 1851, the sloop Georgiana, Captain Rowland, sailed with twenty-two passengers for Queen Charlotte's island, where gold had been discovered. On the nineteenth the vessel was cast ashore on the east side of the island, was plundered by the Indians, and the crew and passengers were held in captivity. Upon receipt of the news, the collector of customs at Olympia dispatched the Damariscove, Captain Balch, with a force of volunteers and U. S. troops from Fort Steilacoom, which had been garrisoned after the treaty of 1846. The schooner sailed on the eighteenth of December, and returned to Olympia with the rescued men the last day of January, 1852.
In 1852 a superior article of coal was found, something much needed on the coast, and capital was at once invested in developing the mines. Three saw mills were built on the sound; and during the year quite extensive shipments of coal, lumber and fish were made. Many claims were taken up on the fine agricultural lands, and all the elements for a vigorous growth were collected there. The chief settlements then in Northern Oregon were: Pacific City; Vancouver, the Hudson's Bay Company headquarters, consisting of 100 houses occupied by its employees, chiefly Kanakas, enclosed by picket fences, and defended by armed bastions and a blockhouse; Forts Walla Walla, Okinagan and Colville, further up the Columbia; Olympia, a new town on the sound; Fort Nisqually on the sound, occupied by the Puget Sound Agricultural Company, who
owned extensive farms and supplied provisions to the Hudson's Bay Company, besides shipping products to the Sandwich islands and the Russian post at Sitka. These with many settlements along the sound and between it and the Columbia, formed a section distinct from Oregon proper, with which they had no community of interest, and from whom, being in the minority in the legislature, they were unable to obtain many of the rights they deemed themselves entitled to. Many of them were 500 miles from the seat of the territorial government.
In September, 1852, the Columbian began publication in Olympia, and advocated the formation of a new territory, expressing the wish of a majority of the people in the Sound country. As to those east of the Cascades, they were so few in number, most of them belonging to the Hudson's Bay Company, that they cared little about the matter. A convention of delegates from counties north of the river met at a little settlement on the Cowlitz called Monticello, to consider the question, November 25, 1852, A memorial to congress was prepared, stating the condition of 'this region and asking that body to create the territory of Columbia, out of that portion of Oregon lying north and west of the Columbia river. There was no conflict in this matter, the people of Oregon south of the river raising no objection to the proposed change. In fact, delegate Joseph Lane, living in Southern Oregon and elected by the votes of that section, procured the passage of the bill in congress. He first introduced the subject on the sixth of December, 1852, by procuring the passage of a resolution instructing the committee on territories to consider the question and report a bill. The committee reported House Bill No. 8, to organize the territory of Columbia, which came up on the eighth of February, 1853. Mr. Lane made a short speech and introduced the citizens' memorial signed by G. N. McCanaher, president of the convention, R. J. White, its secretary, and Quincy A. Brooks, Charles S. Hathaway, C. H. Winslow, John R. Jackson, D. S. Maynard, F. A. Clarke, and others. Richard H. Stantou, of Kentucky, moved to substitute the name of "Washington" for "Columbia," saying that we already had a District of Columbia while the name of the father of our country had been given to no territory in it. With this amendment the bill was passed through the house on the tenth with 128 votes for and 29 against it. On the second of March, it was adopted by the senate and received the President's signature the following day.
The act created a territory more than twice the size asked for in the memorial being "All that portion of Oregon Territory lying and being south of the forty-ninth degree of north latitude, and north of the middle main channel of the Columbia river, from its mouth to where the forty-sixth degree of north latitude crosses said river near Fort Walla Walla, thence with said forty-sixth degree of latitude to the summit of the Rocky mountains." This included all of Washington Territory as it now stands, and a portion of Idaho and Montana. The act was in the usual form creating territories, and provided for a governor, to be ex-officio commander-in-chief of militia and superintendent of Indian affairs, a secretary, a supreme court of three judges, an attorney, and a marshal, all to be appointed by the President for a term of four years. It also called for a delegate to congress, whose first term was to last only during the congress to which he was elected. A territorial legislature was created, with two branches--a council with nine members and a term of three years, the first ones to serve one, two and three years as decided by lot among them; and a house of eighteen members, with
a term of one year, to be increased from time to time to not more than thirty. Twenty thousand dollars were appropriated to defray the expenses of a census, after the taking of which the Governor was to apportion the members of the legislature and call an election to choose them and the delegate to congress. The first legislature was to meet at any place the Governor might select, and was then to fix the seat of government itself; $5,000 were apportioned for public buildings, and the same amount for a library. County and local officers then serving were to hold their positions until successors were chosen under acts to be passed by the legislature of the new territory. Causes were to be transferred from the Oregon courts, and the territory was to be divided into three districts, in each of which one of the supreme judges was to hold a district court. Sections 16 and 36 of the public lands, or their equivalent, were given the territory for the benefit of public schools.
Soon after his inauguration President Pierce appointed Major Isaac I. Stevens, United States engineer, governor; Charles H. Mason, of Rhode Island, secretary; J. S. Clendenin, of Mississippi, attorney; J. Patton Anderson, of Tennessee, marshal; Edward Lander, of Indiana, chief justice; Victor Monroe, of Kentucky, and O. B. McFadden, of Pennsylvania, associate justices. Marshal Anderson arrived early in the summer, and took the census provided for in the act, returning a total population of 3,965, of whom 1,682 were voters. Governor Stevens was in charge of the expedition sent out by the war department to survey a northern route for a trans-continental railroad, and was thus occupied all the summer and fall. Upon crossing the boundary line of the new territory September 29, 1853, he issued a proclamation from the summit of the Rocky mountains, declaring the act of congress and assuming his duties as executive. He arrived in Olympia in November, and on the twenty-eighth issued a second proclamation, dividing the territory into judicial and legislative districts and calling an election the following January. Until this time the counties north of the Columbia had constituted the second judicial district of Oregon, William H. Strong, associate justice, presiding. They were Clarke, Lewis, Pacific, Thurston, Pierce, King, and Jefferson, all but the first three having been created by the Oregon legislature during the session of 1852-3.
The legislature chosen in January assembled at Olympia the following month; and in accordance with provisions of the organic act, chose that place for the permanent seat of government. They created ten counties, retaining the name and general location of those set off by the Oregon legislature. The counties were Clarke, Lewis, Pacific, Thurston, Pierce, King, Jefferson, Island, Chehalis, Clallam, Cowlitz, Sawamish (now Mason), Skamania, Wahkiakum, and Walla Walla. Among these, the representation in the assembly was apportioned, and the territory was divided into judicial districts. The legislature adopted a code of procedure, substantially the same as in force at the present time. At the election in January, Columbia Lancaster, first chief justice of the Oregon provisional government, was chosen delegate to congress by the democrats, his whig opponent being Col. William H. Wallace. During the first two years, considerable annoyance was caused by hostile incursions into northern portions of the territory by Indians from British Columbia. Some difficulty was experienced, also, with Indians at home, but the energetic action of Governor Stevens and the troops at Fort Steilacoom prevented a serious outbreak until the fall of 1855, when
the Oregon-Washington Indian war was begun and waged with great expense to both territories. Hostilities were begun about the same time by the powerful Indian tribes of the Columbia river and those of Southern Oregon, which taxed to the utmost the resources and power of the two territories and that portion of the United States army stationed on the coast. The simultaneous beginning of hostilities in these two sections, so widely separated, has been pointed to by many as an evidence of a conspiracy between the natives of Rogue river valley and Columbia river; but the coincidence seems to be the only evidence of such a combination. The causes which led to the outbreak along Rogue river, and the events of the long campaign which followed, are detailed with great minuteness in succeeding chapters, and seern to be sufficient in themselves to account for the outbreak there, and to that narrative the reader is referred. The trouble at the north seems to have had its origin in an entirely different chain of causes.
Governor Stevens, soon after entering upon his career as chief executive of Washington, deemed it judicious to exercise his authority as ex-officio Indian agent, and make treaties with the powerful tribes east of the Cascades. To this step he was especially urged by the fact that in March, 1855, gold was discovered on Clarke's Fork, near its entrance into the Columbia. For miners to straggle through the Indian country, without a special treaty having been made, he knew was but to court the commission of murder by the native proprietors. He at once opened negotiations, and on the ninth of June secured the cession of the greater portion of Eastern Washington and a slice of Oregon, excepting the Umatilla and Yakima reservations. The treaty was signed by the chiefs of the fourteen tribes comprising the Yakima nation, including the Palouse Indians, and by the Cayuses, Walla Wallas and Umatillas. With the treaty none of the Indians were satisfied, and especially Kama-i-akun, head chief of the Yakimas, and Peo-peo-mux-mux, the great Walla Walla chieftain. They felt that they had been bribed to sell their country, and were resentful and bitter. This was followed by similar treaties with the Nez Perces, Flatheads and the tribes living south of the Columbia between The Dalles and Umatilla river. Governor Stevens then crossed the mountains to treat with the powerful and warlike Blackfeet.
In the fall of 1875 [=1855?] several men who were passing through the Yakima country, on their way from the Sound to the Colville mines, were killed by the Indians. Among the killed was the Indian agent, A. J. Bolan, who had gone to inquire into the circumstances of the death of the other men. Lieutenant W. A. Slaughter, with forty men, started across the mountains from Fort Steilacoom late in September, and Major G. O. Haller marched south from The Dalles with a force of more than one hundred men, to co-operate with him. Major Haller engaged the Indians on Simcoe creek, was forced to retreat to the summit of a hill, where he was surrounded by the enemy. He dispatched a courier in haste to procure aid, but before it could reach him his force was driven from the Indian country with considerable loss. Upon receipt of the intelligence of this disaster, Major G. J. Raines, commander of the post at Vancouver, addressed communications to Governor George L. Curry, of Oregon, and Acting Governor C. H. Mason, of Washington, requesting the aid of volunteer troops, since the national forces were entirely inadequate to meet the emergencies. Two companies were raised in Washington, which were mustered into the regular army, while the ten companies recruited in Oregon retained their volunteer organization, being under the com-
mand of Colonel J. W. Nesmith. This division of authority led to a want of cordial co-operation and consequent futility of action. Sixteen other companies were organized at various places in Washington territory, chiefly for home protection.
Lieutenant Slaughter, having withdrawn back across the Cascades, his force was increased, and on the twenty-fourth of October again started for the Yakima country, under the command of Captain M. Maloney. He soon learned that no troops had started from The Dalles to co-operate with him, and fearing to be caught in the mountains by snow he returned to Steilacoom. Before his dispatch, announcing this fact, reached The Dalles, Major Raines and Colonel Nesmith had jointly marched northward to form a junction with him. After an engagement, in which Kama-i-akun's warriors were defeated, the Indians abandoned the country and the troops, learning that Captain Maloney had returned to Steilacoom and required no assistance, marched back to The Dalles, having been absent about three weeks.
Prior to the return of these two commands, another force of volunteers marched up the Columbia towards Fort Walla Walla, where Peo-peo-mux-mux, was reported to be stationed with 1,000 warriors. Other volunteers marched to join them, the whole force being placed under the command of Lieut. Colonel James K. Kelly. This movement was especially designed to clear the route of hostile Indians and permit the safe return of Governor Stevens from east of the Rocky mountains, that gentleman being already on his way back and ignorant of the existing hostilities. In this movement, General John E. Wool, commander of the department of the Pacific, who had hastened to the scene from San Francisco, refused to participate with the regular troops, deeming a winter campaign unnecessary and unlikely to be successful. Nothing daunted, the Oregon volunteers proceeded alone, having a force of about 500 men.
A great battle was fought along Walla Walla river, which lasted three days and resulted in the complete defeat of the Indians, whose loss was reported at seventy-five. The troops lost seven killed and mortally wounded, and thirteen wounded. Among the dead on the Indian side was the great Peo-peo-mux-mux, who at the time of the battle was a hostage in the hands of the whites, and was shot during the excitement incident to the battle. The Indians then withdrew from the country, leaving it in the possession of the volunteers, who spent the winter there, suffering many hardships. Governor Stevens returned in safety and immediately preferred charges against General Wool, accusing him of incapacity and willful neglect of duty.
During the winter the settlements along Puget sound suffered severely from the ravages of Indians. Seattle was attacked, and all of King county beyond the limits of that place was devastated. Volunteers, regular troops, Indian auxiliaries and the small naval force on the sound, occupied block houses at all the important points from the Cowlitz to Bellingham bay, but did not engage in a regular campaign, since the hostile savages were not gathered in a large body as were those east of the mountains, but roamed about in small bands, destroying property and killing settlers wherever they could be found unprotected. The population, to a great extent, were collected in block houses for safety. Early in March, 1856, the Oregon volunteers who had occupied the Walla Walla country during the winter, again entered upon an aggressive campaign under the command of Colonel Thomas R. Cornelius. After considerable traveling about north of Snake river the command crossed the Columbia near the mouth of the Yakima and
followed down the west bank to Fort Walla Walla. From there they started upon their return to The Dalles, passing through the Yakima country. On the seventeenth of April, near Satas creek, the Yakima Indians suddenly attacked the advance forces, killing Captain A, J. Hembree, but were repulsed with the loss of two braves. An engagement ensued, in which six Indians were killed and the others driven from the field, without any loss to the volunteers. The troops then marched to The Dalles, going into camp in Klickitat valley. While there fifty of Kama-i-akun's warriors made a descent upon the camp and captured 300 horses. Thus summarily dismounted, the volunteers were mustered out and returned to their homes.
Before this, however, important events occurred nearer home. A railway portage was under construction between the lower and upper Cascades of the Columbia, on the Washington territory side of the river, and quite a force of men was at work. On the morning of March 16, a band of Yakima Indians made a sudden attack upon the Upper Cascades. The men retreated hostility to a combined store and dwelling on the river bank and defended themselves successfully till aid arrived two days later. On the morning of the third day the steamers Mary and Wasco arrived from The Dalles loaded down with troops, and the Indians hastily decamped. A like siege was sustained by parties in the block house at Middle Cascades, and quite a battle was fought at the lower landing. In all fifteen men and one woman were killed and twelve were wounded. How many Indians were killed is not known, but nine of them were hanged for their treachery immediately afterwards.
Colonel George Wright marched north from The Dalles in May for the purpose of driving the Indians out of the Cascade mountains and across the Columbia eastward. Early in July volunteers from the sound pushed across the mountains without encountering the enemy, and united at Fort Walla Walla with another battalion which had proceeded from The Dalles. The whole force numbered 350 enlisted men, and was under the command of Colonel B. F. Shaw. With a portion of his force Colonel Shaw crossed the Blue mountains and fought a severe battle on Grand Ronde river on the seventeenth of July. At the same time another detachment encountered the hostiles on Burnt river, and had an engagement with them, lasting two days. Some fifty Indians were killed in these two battles, while the loss of the volunteers was five killed and five wounded. Meanwhile, unable to concert terms of peace with Kama-i-akuu, Colonel Wright marched his force of regulars back to The Dalles.
In the fall Colonel Wright dispatched Lieutenant-Colonel E. J. Steptoe with several companies to establish a military post at Walla Walla. Governor Stevens proceeded to that region, and had an unsuccessful council with the hostiles. When he set out upon his return, he was attacked by the Indians, and his small command defended itself all day and until relieved by the regulars. In November Colonel Wright returned with a detachment of regulars and established a military post at Walla Walla, and held a council at which he procured a cessation of hostilities by promising the Indians immunity for past offenses and agreeing to prevent white settlers from entering their country. It was a practical victory for the Indians. In November Puget sound was invaded by water by a band of northern Indians, who committed many depredations; but they were severely defeated and driven away by the naval forces stationed there to guard the sound country.