You are on page 1of 31

CHAPTER VI.

DISCOVERY OF GOLD IN OREGON.

1850-1852.

POLITICS AND PROSPECTING-IMMIGRATION-AN ERA OF DISCOVERY-EX-


PLORATIONS ON THE SOUTHERN OREGON SEABOARD-THE CALIFORNIA
COMPANY-THE SCHOONER * SAMUEL ROBERTS' AT THE MOUTHS OF
ROGUE RIVER AND THE UMPQUA-MEETING WITH THE OREGONPARTY
LAYING-OUT OF LANDS AND TOWN SITES-FAILURE OF THE UMPQUA
COMPANY-THE FINDING OF GOLD IN VARIOUS LOCALITIES-THE MAIL
SERVICE-EFFORTS OF THURSTON
IN CONGRESS-SETTLEMENT " OF PORT
ORFORD AND DISCOVERY OF Coos BAY-THE COLONY AT PORT ORFORD
INDIAN ATTACK-THE TJVAULT EXPEDITION-MASSACRE-GOVERNMENT
ASSISTANCE.

WHILE politics occupied so much attention, the


country was making long strides in material progress.
The immigration of 1850 to the Pacific coast,by the
overland route alone,amountedto betweenthirty and
forty thousand persons,chiefly men. Through the
exertions of the Oregon delegate,in and out of con-
gress,about eight thousand were persuadedto settle
in Oregon,where they arrived after undergoing more
than the usualmisfortunes. Among other things was
cholera, from which several hundred died between the
Missouri River and Fort Laramie.1 The crowded
condition of the road, which was one cause of the
pestilence,occasioneddelayswith the consequentex-
haustion of supplies.2 The famine becomingknown
in Portland, assistance was forwarded to The Dalles
1 White, in Camp Fire Orations, MS., 9-10; DoweWsJournal, MS., 5;
Johnson'sCat. and Or., 255; Or. Spectator, Sept. 26, 1850.
2Says one of the sufferers: ' I saw men who had been strong stout men
walking along through the hot desert sands, crying like children with fatigue,
hunger, and despair.' CardwdVsEmig. Comp'y, MS., 1.
( 174 )
IMMIGRATION OF 1850. 175

ilitary post, and thence carried forward and distri


ted by army officersand soldiers. Among the arrival
were many children, made orphans en route, and it
in the interest of these and like helpless ones
that Frederick Waymire petitioned congressto amend
the land law, as mentioned in the previous chapter.
Those who came this year were bent on speculat
than any who had come before them; the gold
had unsettled ideas of plodding industry
low accumulation. Some came for p
servat 3
Under the excitement of gold-seeking and th
pirit of adventure awakened by it, all the great
north-westernseaboardwasopenedto settlement wit
marvellous rapidity. A rage for discovery and
ting possessedthe people,and producedin a sho
time marked results. From the Klamath River t
Puget Sound, and from the upper Columbia to the
sea, men were spying out mineral wealth or laying
plans to profit by the operations of those who pre-
3rred the risks of the gold-fieldsto other and more
settled pursuits. In the spring of 1850an association
of seventy personswas formed in San Francisco to
discover the mouth of Klamath River, believed at the
1Among those who took the route to the Columbia River was Henry J.
Coke, an English gentleman travelling for pleasure. He arrived at Vancouver
Oct. 22, 1850, and after a brief look at Oregon City sailed in the Mary Dare
for the Islands, visiting San Francisco in Feb. 1851,thence proceeding to
Mexico and Vera Cruz, and by the way of St Thomas back to England, all
without appearing to see much, though he wrote a book called Coke's Ride.
Two Frenchmen, Julius Brenchly and Jules Remy, were much interested in
the Mormons, and wrote a book of not much value. Remy and Brencldy, ii.
507-8.
F. G. Hearn started from Kentucky intending to settle in Oregon, but
seizedby cholera was kept at Fort Laramie till the following year, when with
a party of six he cameon to the Willamette Valley, and finally took up his resi-
denceat Yreka, California. Hearn's California Sketches,MS., is a collection
of observations on the border country between California and Oregon.
Two Irishmen, Kelly and Conway, crossedthe continent this year with no
other supplies than they carried in their haversacks,depending on their rifles
for food. They were only three months in travelling from Kansas to the Sac-
ramento Valley, which they entered before going to Oregon. Quiglry's Irish
Pace, 216-17. During Aug. and Sept. of this year Oregon was visited by the
French traveller Saint Amant, who made some unimportant notes for the
French government. Certain of his observations were apocryphal. SeeSaint
Amant, 139-391.
176 DISCOVERY OF GOLD IN OREGON.

time, owing to an error of Fremont's, to be in 0


Tl .e was holly tive. and included
es ting old pening t(
mines tl lifornia. the found f t
t the most fi o bl point the route, witl ^

t P In May thirty-five of harehold


d some others, set out in th hooner & imuel Ro
t ex ore t near th boundary.
None of them were accustomedto hardships,and not
tl tl k ything about sailing a ship.
Lyman, ^wner, was not a sa lor. but
left the managementof th 3vesselto Peter M
young Canadianwho understoodhis business,and wl
bsequently many^r y led a Steamship
tween San Francisco and Portland. Lyman s second
mat was an Englishma n med S E. Smith
so a ir s tman: whil e rest f th w were
luntqers f] mong the schooner'scomp
Tl pedit was hed with a four-pound
ide sm arms. or hot brought
toi o Is, screws,hinges, and other bit o
iron .thered ..lies of a burned 1
stor w bund ant. and tw rveyors,
their instrument w mong tl mpany,*
wl . boastedsevers c lleg men c
rts 5
By goodfortune, rather than by any knowledg
s P t. tl hooner passedsafely up
t as as mouth of Rogue River, b
without havingO seen the entrance to the Klamath
which they looked n f its right latitud A
4 Thesewere Nathan Schofield, A. M., author of a work on surveying, and
Socrates Schofield his son, both from near Norwich, Connecticut. Scholield
Creek in Douglas county is named after the laiter.
5Besidesthe Schofields
there werein the exploringcompanyHemanWin-
chester, and brother, editor of the Pacific News of San Francisco; Dr Henry
Payne, of New York; Dr E. R. Fiske, of Massachusetts; S. S. Mann, a gradu-
ate of Harvard University; Dr J. W. Drew, of New Hampshire;Barney,of
NewYork; Woodbury,of Connecticut;C.T. Hopkins,of SanFrancisco;Henry
H. Woodward,Patrick Flanagan,Anthony Ten Eyck, A. G. Able, JamesK.
Kelly, afterward a leading man in Oregonpolitics; Deaii,Tierman,Evans,
and Knight, whose nameshave beenpreserved.
ROGUE RIVER EXPLORATIONS. 177

boat with six men sent to examine the entrance was


overturned in the river and two were drowned, the
others being rescued'by Indians who pulled them
ashoreto strip them of their clothing. The schooner
meantimewas following in, and by the aid of glasses
it was discovered that the shore was populouswrith
excited savagesrunning hither and thither with such
display of ferocity as would have deterred the vessel
from entering had not those on board determinedto
rescue their comradesat any hazard. It was high
tide, and by much manoeuvring the schooner was
run over the bar in a fathom and a half of water.
The shout of relief as they entered the river was
answeredby yells from the shore, where could be
seen the survivors of the boat's crew, naked and half
deadwith cold and exhaustion,being freely handled
their captors. As soon as the vessel was well
inside,two hundred natives appearedand crowded on
board, the explorers being unable to prevent them.
The best they could do was to feign indifferenceand
trade the old iron for peltries. When the natives had
nothing left to exchangefor covetedarticles, they ex-
hibited an ingenuity as thieves that would have done
credit to a London pickpocket. Says one of the com-
pany: "Some grabbed the cook's towrels,one bit a
hole in the shirt of one of our men to get at some
beadshe had deposited there, and so slyly, too, that
the latter did not perceivehis loss at the time. One
fellow stole the eye-glassof the ship's quadrant, and
another made way with the surveyor's note-book.
Somestarted the schooner'scopperwith their teeth;
and had actually made someprogressin stripping her
as she lay high and dry at low water, before they
were found out. One enterprising genius undertook
to get possession of the chain and anchor by sawing
off the former under water with his iron knife! Con-
sciousof guilt, and fearing lest we might discoverthe
mischief he intended us. he would now and then throw
tive glancetoward the bow of the vessel,to th
HIST. OB., Vol.. II. 12
178 DISCOVERY OF GOLD IN OREGON.

great amusementof those who were watching ^^^^^him

through the hawsepipes.


An examinationmore laborious than profitable was
made of the country thereabout, which seemed to
offer no inducements to enterprise sufficient to war-
rant the founding of a settlement for any purpose
Upon consultation it was decided to continue the
voyageas far north as the Umpqua River, and hav-
ing dispersedthe tenaciousthieves of Rogue River by
firing among them a quantity of their miscellaneous
ammunition, the schoonersucceededin getting to sea
aain without accident.
Proceedingup the coast,the entranceto CoosBay
was sighted,
O 7 but the vessel being becalmed could not

enter. While awaiting wind, a canoe approached


from the north, containing Umpquas, who offered to
show the entrance to their river, which was made the
5th of August. Two of the party went ashorein the
canoe,returning at nightfall with reports that caused
the carronade to belch forth a salute tp the rocks and
woods,heightened by the roar of a simultaneousdis-
charge of small arms. A flag made on the voyage
was run up the mast, and all was hilarity on board
the Samuel Roberts. On the 6th, the schooner crossed
the bar, being the first vesselknown to have entered
the river in safety. On rounding into the cove called
Winchester Bay, after oneof the explorers,they came
upon a party of Oregonians;Jesse Applegate, Levi
Scott, and Joseph Sloan, who were themselvesex-
ploring the valley of the Umpqua with a purpose
similar to their own.6 A boat was sent ashore and a
joyful meeting took placein which mutual encourage-
ment and assistancewere promised. It wasfound that
Scott had already taken a claim about twenty-six
miles up the river at the placewhich now bears the
name of Scottsburg, and that the party had come
down to the mouth in the expectation of meeting
6Or. Spectator,March 7 and Sept. 12, 1850. Seealso PioneerMag., i.
.282, 350.
THE UMPQUA COMPANY. 179

there the United States surveying schooner Ewincj


\i\ the hope of obtaining a goodreport of the h *
But on learning the designs of the California com-
pany, a hearty cooperationwas offered on one part
willingly acceptedon the other. Another cir-
tance in favor of the Umpqua for settlem
was the peaceabledisposition of the natives, wl
hen they murdered Jedediah Smitt
ty had been brought under the pacifying
encesof the Hudson's Bay Company,and sustained
a good reputation as compared with the other coast
es. *

On the morning of the 7th the schoonerproceeded


up the river, keeping the channel by soundingfrom a
small boat in advance,and finding it one of the love-
liest of streams;7at least, so thought the explorers,
oneof whom afterward becameits historian.8 Finding
a good depth of water, with the tide, for a distance
of eighteen miles, the boat's crew becamenegligent,
and failing to note a gravelly bar at the foot of a bluff
a thousand feet in height, the schoonergrounded in
eight feet of water, and when the tide ebbedwas left
stranded.9 "

However, the small boat proceededto the foot of the


rapids, where Scott was located, this being the head
of tide-water, and the vessel was afterward brought
safely hither. In consideration of their servicesin
7It is the largest river between the Sacramentoand the Columbia. *Ves-
sels of 800 tons can enter.' Mrs Victor, in Pac. Rural Press, Nov. 8, 1879.
4The Umpqua is sometimessupposed to be the river discovered by Flores in
1C03, and afterwards referred to as the "River of the West.5" Davidson's
Coast Pilot, 126.
8This was Charles T. Hopkins, who wrote an account of the Umpqua ad-
venture for the S. F. Pioneer, vol. i. ii., a periodical published in the early
days of California magazine literature. I have drawn my account partly from
this source, as well as from Gibbti* Notes on Or. Hist., MS., 2-3, and from
historical Correspondence, MS., by S. S. Mann, S. F. Chadwick, H. H. Wood-
ward, membersof the Umpqua company, and also from other sources,among
which are Williams' S. W. Oregon,MS., 2-3.; Letters of D. J. Lyons, and the
OregonSpectator, Sept. 5, 1850; Deady's Scrap-Book, 83; S. F. Evening Pica-
yune, Sept. 6, 1850.
9Gibbs says: 'The passengersendeavoredto lighten the cargo by pouring
the vessel'sstore of liquors down their throats, from which hilarious proceed*
ing the shoal took the name of Brandy Bar.' Notes, MS., 4.
180 DISCOVERY OF GOLD IN OREGON.

openingthe river to navigation and commerce,Scott


*" presented
y*fc^ the
" 1 company
1 » with-» one hundred
<* and sixty
**

acres of his land-claim, or that portion lying below


the rapids, for a town site. Affairs having progressed
so well the membersof the expedition now organize
regularly into a joint stock association called the
"Umpqua Town-site and Colonization Land Com-
pany," the property to be divided into shares and
drawn by lot among the original members. They
divided their forces, and aided by Applegate and
Scott proceededto survey and explore to and through
the UmpquaValley. One.party setout for the ferry
on the north branch of the Umpqua, and another for
the mainvalley,10comingout at Applegate'ssettlement
of Yoncalla, while a third remained with the schooner.
Three weeks of industrious search enabled them to
select four sites for future settlements. One at the
mouth of the river was named Umpqua City, and
contained twelve hundred and eighty acres, being
situated
" on both sides of the entrance. The second
location was Scottsburg. The third, called Elkton,
was situated on Elk River at its junction with the
Umpqua. The fourth, at the ferry abovementioned,
was named Winchester, and was purchased by the
company from the original claimant, John Aiken,
who had a valuableproperty at that place,the natural
centre of the valley.
Having madethese selectionsaccordingto the best
judgment of the surveyors, some of the company
remained, while the rest reernbarked and returned to
San Francisco. In October the companyhaving sold
quite a number of lots were able to begin operations
in Oregon. They despatchedthe brig Kate Heath,
Captain Thomas Wood, with milling machinery,mer-
chandise,and seventy-fiveemigrants. On this vessel
were also a number of zinc houses made in Boston,

10Oakland, a few miles south of Yoncalla, was laid out in 1849by Chester
Lyman, since a professor at Yale College. This is the oldest surveyed town
in the Umpqua Valley. Or. Sketches,MS., 3.
GIBBS AND CHADWICK. 181

which were put up on the site of Umpqua City. In


charge of the company's business was Addison C.
Gibbs, afterward governor of Oregon, who was on his
way to the territory when he fell in with the projectors
of the scheme,and accepteda position and shares.11
Thus far all went well. But the Umpqua Com-
pany were destinedto bear someof thosemisfortunes
which usually attend like enterprises. The passage
of the Oregon land law in September was the first
blow, framed as it was to prevent companiesor non-
residentsfrom holding lands for speculativepurposes,
in consequence of which no patent could issueto the
company,and it could give no title to the lands it
was offering for sale: They might, unrebuked,have
carried on a trade begun in timber; but the loss of
one vesselloadedwith piles,and the ruinous detention
of another, together with a fall of fifty per cent in
the price of their cargoes,soonleft the contractors in
debt, and an assignment was the result, an event
hastened by the failure of the firm in San Francisco
with which the company had deposited its funds.
Five months after the return of the Samuel Roberts to
San Frariciseo, not one of those who sailed from the
river in her was in any manner connectedwith the
Umpqua scheme. The companyin California having
ceasedto furnish means,those left in Oregon were
compelledto direct their efforts toward solving the
problem of how to live.12
member of the association, was a
» *-' Heath, a man well known in
cles in the state.
12Drew remained at Umpqua City, where he was subsequently Indian
agent for many years, and where he held the office of collector of customsand
subsequently
4 " of" "inspector. He
" * was unmarried.
* * Marysville
_-m . . Appeal,
i " Jan.
'"' 20,
^-^
1864. Winchester remained in Oregon,residing at Scottsburg, then at Rose-
burg and Empire City. He was a lawyer, and a favorite with the bar of the
SecondJudicial district. ' He was generousin dealing, liberal in thought, of
entire truth, and absolutely incorruptible/ Salem Mercury^ Nov. 10, 1876,
Gibbs took a land claim sevenmiles above the mouth of the Umpqua, laying
out the town of Gardiner, and residing there for several years, during which
time he returned to the east and married Margaret M. Watkins, of Erie
county, N. Y. Addison Crandall Gibbs, afterward governor of Oregon, was
born at East Otto, Cattaruugus county, N. YM July 9, 1825,and educatedat
the New York State Normal school. He became a teacher, and studied law,
182 DISCOVERY OF GOLD IN OREGON.

But although the Umpqua Companyfailed to carry


out its designs, it had greatly benefited southern
Oregon by surveying and mapping Uinpqua harbor,
the notesof the survey being published,with a report
of their explorations and discoveriesof rich agricul-
tural lands, abundant and excellent timber, valuable
water-power,coal and gold mines, fisheriesand stone-
being admitted to the bar in May 1849at Albany. He is descended from a
long line of lawyei^sin England; his great grandfather was a commissioned
officer in the revolutionary war. In Oregon he acted well his part of pioneer,
carrying the mail in person, or by deputy, from Yoncalla to Scottsburg for a
period of four years through the floods and storms of the wild coast mount-
ains, never missing a trip. He was elected to the legislature of 1851-2.
When Gardiner was made a port of entry, Gibbs became collector of customs
for the southern district of Oregon. He afterward removed to the Umpqua
Valley, and in 1858to Portland, where he continued the practice of law. He
was ever a true friend of Oregon, taking a great personal interest in her de-
velopment and an intelligent pride in her history. He has spared no pains
in giving me information, which is embodied in a manuscript entitled. Notes
on the History of Oregon.
Stephen Fowler Chadwick, a native of Connecticut, studied law in New
York, where he was admitted to practice in 1850,immediately after which he
set out for the Pacific coast, joining the Umpqua Company and arriving in
Oregon just in time to be left a stranded speculator on the beautiful but
lonely bank of that picturesque river. When the settlement of the valley
increased he practised his profession with honor and profit, being elected
county and probate judge, and also to represent Douglas county in the con-
vention which framed the state constitution. He was presidential elector in
1864and 1868,being the messenger to carry the vote to Washington in the
latter year. He was elected secretary of state in 1870,which office he held
for eight years, becoming governor for the last two years by the resignation
of Grover, who was elected to the U. S. senate. Governor Chadwick was also
a distinguished member of the order of freemasons,having beengrand master
in the lodge of Perfection, and having received the 33d degree in the Scotch
rite, as wrell as having been for 17years chairman of the committee on foreign
correspondencefor the grand lodge of Oregon, and a favorite orator of the
order. He married in .1856Jane A. Smith of Douglas county, a native of
Virginia, by whom he has two daughters and two sous. Of a lively and ami-
able temper and courteous manner, he has always enjoyed a popularity inde-
pendent of official eminence. His contributions to this history consist of
letters and a brief statement of the Public Recordsof the Capitol in manuscript.
I shall never forget his kindness to me during my visit to Oregon in 1878.
James K. Kelly was born in Center county, Penn., in 1819,educatedat Prince-
ton college, N. J., and studied law at Carlisle law school, graduating in 1842,
and practising in Lewiston, Penn., until 1849,when he started for California
by way of Mexico. Not finding mining to his taste, he embarked his fortunes
in the Umpqua Company. He went to OregonCity and soon came into notice.
He was appointed code commissionerin 1853,as I have elsewhere mentioned,
and was in the sameyear elected to the council, of which he was a member for
four years and president for two sessions. As a military man he figured con-
spicuously in the Indian wars. He was a member of the constitutional con-
vention in 1857, and of the state senatein 18GO. In 1870he was sent to the
U. S. senate, and in 1878was appointed chief justice of the supreme court.
His political career will be more particularly noticed in the progress of this
history.
1

BIRTH OF TOWNS. 183


"

uarries. These accountsbrought population to that


part of the coast,and soon vesselsbegan to ply
tween San Francisco and Scottsburg. Gard
d after the captain of the Bostonian* which was
wreckedin trying to enter the river in 1850, sprang
in 1851. In that year also a trail was constructed
for pack-animalsacrossthe mountainsto Winchester,13
hich became the county seat of .Douglas county
ith a United States land office. From Winchester
the route was extended to the mines in the Umpqua
and Rogue River valleys. Long trains of mules
aden with goods for the mining region filed daily
along the precipitous path which was dignified with
the nameof road, their tinkling bells striking cheerily
the ear of the lonely traveller plodding his weary way
to the gold-fields. Scottsburg, which was the point
of departure for the pack-trains,becamea commercial
entrepot of importance.14The influence of the Ump-
qua interest was sufficient to obtain from congressat
the sessionof 1850-51 appropriations for mail ser-
vice by sea and land, a light-house at the mouth of
the river, and a separatecollectiondistrict.15
As the mineswere opened permanent settlements
weremadeupon the farming landsof southernOregon,
and various small towns were started from 1851 to
13Winchester was laid out by Addison C. Flint, who was in Chile in 1845,
to assist in the preliminary survey of the railroad subsequently built by the
infamous Harry Meigs. In 1849Flint came to California, and the following
year to Oregon to make surveys for the UnapquaCompany. He also laid out
the town of Roseburg in 1854for Aaron Rose,where he took up his residence
in 1837. Or. Sketches, MS., 2-4.
14Allan, McKinlay, and McTavish of the Hudson's Bay Company opened
a trading-house at Scottsburg; and Jesse Applegate also turned merchant..
Applegate's manner of doing business is described by himself in Burnett's
Recollection*of a Pioneer: '1 sold goodson credit to those who needed them
most, not to those who were able to pay, lost $30,000, and quit the business.'
15The steamerscarrying the mails from Panamd to the Columbia River
were under contract to stop at the Umpqua, and one entry wrasmade, but
the steamer was so nearly wrecked that no further attempt followed. The:
merchants and others at Scottsburg and the lower towTns,as well as at
Winchester, had.to wait for their letters and papers to go to Portland and be
sent up the valley by the bi-monthly mail to Yoncalla, a delay which was
severelyfelt and impatiently resented. The legislature did not fail to repre-
sent the matter to congress,and Thurston did all he could to satisfy his con-
stituents, though he could not compel the steamship company to keep its
contract or congress to annul it.
184 DISCOVERY OF GOLD IN OREGON.
"

1853 in the region south of Winchester,16notably the


town of Roseburg, founded by Aaron Rose,17who
purchased the claim from its locators for a horse,
and a poor one at that. A flouring mill was put in
operation in the northern part of Umpqua Valley, and
another erectedduring the summer of 1851 at Win-
chester.18 A saw-mill soon followed in the Rogue
River Valley,19many of which improvements were
traceable,more or less directly, to the impetus given
to settlement by the Umpqua Company.
In passingback and forth to California, the Oregon
miners had not failed to observe that the same soil and
geological structure characterized the valleys north
of the^- supposed20
northern boundary of California that
16The first housein Rogue River Valley was built at the ferry on Rogue
River established by Joel Perkins. The place was first known as Perkins'
Ferry, then Long's Ferry, and lastly as Vannoy's. The next settlement was
at the mouth of Evans creek, a tributary of Rogue River, so called from a
trader named Davis Evans, a somewhat bad character, who located there.
The third was the claim of one Bills, also of doubtful repute. Then came the
farm of N. C. Dean at Willow Springs, five miles north of Jacksonville, and
near it the claim of A. A. Skinner, who built a house in the autumn of
1851. South of Skinner's, on the road to Yreka, was the place of Stone
and Points on Wagner creek, and beyond, toward the head of the valley,
those of Dunn, Smith, Russell, Barron, and a few others. Duncan's Settle-
ment, MS., 5-6. The author of this work, L. J. C. Duncan, was born in
Tennessee in 1818. He came to California in 1849, and worked in the Mari-
x)samines until the autumn of 1850,when, becoming ill, he came to Oregon
"or a change of climate and more settled society. In the autumn of 1851he
determined to try mining in the Shasta Valley, and also to securea land claim
in the Rogue River Valley. This he did, locating on Bear or Stuart creek,
12miles south-east of Jacksonville, where he resided from 1851to 1858,during
which time he mined on Jackson's creek. He shared in the Indian wars which
troubled the settlements for a number of years, finally establishing himself in
Jacksonville in the practice of the law, and being elected to the office of
judge.
Deathfs Hist. Or., MS., 72-3.
18Or. Spectator, Feb. 10, 1852.
19J. A. Cardwell was born in Tennesseein 1827,emigrated from Iowa to
Oregon in 1850,spent the first winter in the service of Quartermaster Ingalls
at Fort Vancouver, and started in the spring for California with 26 others to
engage in mining. After a skirmish with the Rogue River Indians and vari-
ous other adventures they reached the mines at Yreka, where they worked
until the dry seasonforced a suspensionof operations, when Cardwell, with
E. Emery, J. Emery, and David Hurley, went to the present site of Ashland
in the Rogue River Valley, and taking up a claim erected the first saw-mill
in that region early in 1852. I have derived much valuable information from
Mr Cardwell concerning southern Oregon history, which is contained in a
manuscript entitled Emigrant Company9in Mr Cardwell's own hand, of the
incidents of the immigration of 1850,the settlement of the Rogue River Val-
ley, and the Indian wars which followed.
*° As late as 1854the boundary was still in doubt. * Intelligence has just
MOVEMENT OF MINERS. 185

werefound in the known mining regions,and prospect-


ing-
O was carried on to a considerable extent early*: in
1850. In June two hundred miners were at work in
the Umpqua Valley.21 But little gold was found at
this time, and the movementwas southward,to Rogue
River and Klamath. According to the best authori-
ties the first discovery on any of the tributaries of the
Klamath was in the spring of 1850 at Salmon Creek.
In July discoverieswere made on the main Klamath,
ten miles above the mouth of Trinity River, and in
Septemberon Scott River. In the spring of 1851
gold wasfoundin the ShastaValley,22at variousplaces,
been received from the surveying party under T. P. Robinson, county sur-
veyor, who was commissionedby the governor to survey the boundary line
between California and Oregon. The party were met on the mountains by
several gentlemen of this city, whose statement can be relied on, when they
were informed by some of the gentlemen attached to the expedition, that the
disputed territory belonged to Oregon,and not California, as was generally
supposed. This territory includes two of the finest districts in the country,
Sailor's Diggings and Althouse Creek, besides someother minor places not of
much importance to either. The announcementhas causedsomeexcitement in
that neighborhood, as the miners do not like to be so suddenly transported
from California to Oregon. They have heretoforevoted both in California and
Oregon,although in the former state it has causedseveral contested election
cases,and refusedto pay taxes to either. It is also rumored around the city,
for which we will not vouch, that Yreka is in Oregon. But we hardly think
it possible, from the observations heretofore taken by scientific men, which
brings Yreka 15 miles within the line.' CresentCity Herald, in J}. Alta
Cala., June 28, 1854.
218.F. Courier, July 10, 1S50.
22In the early summer of 1850Gen. Lane, with a small party of Orego-
niaiis, viz. John Kelly, Thomas Brown, Martin Angell, Samuel and John
Simondson, and Lane's Indian servant, made a discovery on the Shasta river
near where the town of Yreka was afterward built. The Indians proving
troublesome the party removed to the diggings on the upper Sacramento,but
not finding gold as plentiful as expected set out to prospect on Pit River, from
which placethey were driven by the Indians back to the Sacramentowhere
they wintered, going in February 1851 to Scott River, from which locality
Lane was recalled to the Willamette Valley to run for the office of delegate
to congress. Speaking of the Pit river tribe, Lane says: 'The Pit River
Indians were great thieves and murderers. They actually stole the blankets
off the men in our camp, though I kept one man on guard all the time. They
stole our best horse, tied at the headof my bed, which consisted of a blanket
spread on the ground, with my saddle for a pillow. They sent an arrow into
a miner becausehe happened to be rolled in his blanket so that they could
not pull it from him. They caught Driscoll when out prospecting, and were
hurrying him off into the mountains when my Indian boy gave the alarm and
I went to his rescue. He was so frightened he could neither move nor speak,
which condition of their captive impeded their progress. When I appeared
he fell down in a swoon. I pointed my gun, which rested on my six-shooter,
and ordered the Indians to leave. While they hesitated and were trying to
flank me my Indian boy brought the canoe alongside the shore, on seeing
186 DISCOVERY OF GOLD IN OREGON

tably on Greenhorn Creek, Yreka, and Hum


Creel
The Oregonminerswereby this time satisfiedthat
old existed north of the Siskiyou range. Tl
plorations " resultedi "in finding the metal on Bigr
^ Bar of

Rogue River, and in the canon of Josephine Cre


Meanwhilethe beautiful and richly grassedvalley of
Rogue River becamethe paradise of packers,who
grazedtheir mules there, returning to Scottsburg or
the Willamette for a fresh cargo. In February 1852
Sykes who worked on the placeof A. A. Sk
found orcld on Jackson Creek, about on the w
of the present town of Jacksonville, and soon a
two packers,Cluggageand Pool, occupyingthemsel
prospecting while their animals were feed
discovered Rich Gulch, half a mile north of Syl
discovery. The wealth of these mines23led to an
ption from the California side of the Siskiy i
Willow Springs five miles north of Jacksonvill
Pleasant Creek, Applegate Creek, and many otl
lities becamedeservedlyfamous,yielding well f<
a number of years.
i

Every^ miner,
. settler,
. and trader in this remote in-
terior region was anxious to hear from friends, home,
and of the great commercial world without. As
have before said Thurston labored earnestly to show
congressthe necessityof better mail facilities for Ore-
gon,24the benefit intended to have been conferred
which they beat a hasty retreat thinking I was about to be reenforced. Dris-
coll would never cross to the east side of the river after his adventure.' Lane's
Autobiographic MS., 104-5.
23Early Affairs, MS., 10; Duncan's Southern Or,, MS,, 5-6; DowelVs
Scrap-book,31; Victor's Or., 334. A nugget was found in the Rogue River
diggings weighing $800 and another $1300. See accounts in S. F. Alt a,
Sept. 14, 1852; S. F. Pac. News, March 14, 1851; and S. F. Herald, Sept.
28, 1851.
24In October 1845the postmaster-generaladvertised for proposalsto carry
the United States mail from New York by Habana to the Chagre River and
back; with joint or separate offers to extend the transportation to Panama
and up the Pacific to the mouth of the Columbia, and thenceto the Hawaiian
Islands, the senate recommending a mail route to Oregon. Between 1846
and 1848the government thought of the plan of encouragingby subsidiesthe
MAIL SERVICE. 187

having beendiverted almost entirely to California by


the exigenciesof the larger population and business
of that state with its phenomenalgrowtl
The postal agent appointed at San Francisco for
the Pacific coast discharged his duty by appoint
postmasters,25 but further than sending the mails to
Oregon on sailing vesselsoccasionallyhe did nothing
for the relief of the territorv.26 Not a mail steamer
ppeared on the Columbia in 1849. Thurston wrot
home in December that he had beenhunting up tl
locuments relating to the Pacific mail service,and tl
reason why the steamers did not come to Ast
The result of his search was the discovery tl
te secretary of the navy had agreed with
Aspinwall that if he should send the Oregon mail
take the same,once a month, by sailing vessel,
"at or near the mouth of the Klamath River." and
would touch at San Francisco, Monterey, and
Diego free of cost to the government, he should not
e required to run steamersto Oregon till after re-
g six months' not
Here were good faith and intelligence indeedI Tl
establishment of a line of steamersbetween Panama,and Oregon, by way of
someport in California. At length Rowland and Aspinwall agreed to carry
the mails once a month, and to put on a line of three steamersof from 1,000
to 1,200tons, giving cabin accommodationsfor about 25 passengers,as many
it was thought as would probably go at one time, the remainder of the vessel
being devoted to freight. Crosby'sStatement, MS., 3. Three steamerswere
constructed under a contract with the secretary of the navy, viz.: the Cali-
fornia, 1,400 tons, with a single engine of 250 horse-power, handsomely fin-
ished and carrying 46 cabin and a hundred steeragepassengers; the Paitamd
of 1,100 tons, and the Oregon of 1,200 tons, similarly built and furnished.
32d Cong., IxtSess., S. Doc. 50; Hon. Polynesian,April 7, 1849; Otis' Panama
It. 7?. The California left port in the autumn of 1848, arriving at Val-
paraiso on the 20th of December,seventy-four days from New York, proceed-
ing thence to Callao and Panama, where passengers from New York to
Habana and Chagre were awaiting her, and reaching San. Francisco on
the 28th of February 1849, where she was received with great enthusiasm.
She brought on this first trip over 12,000 letters. S. F. Alta California in
Polynesian, April 14, 1849. See also Hist. Gal. and Cat. Inter Pocula, this
series.
25John Adair at Astoria, F. Smith at Portland, George L. Curry at Oregon
City, and J. B. McClane,at Salem. J. C. Avery was postmaster at Corvallis,
JesseApplegate at Yoncalla, S. F. Chadwick at Scottsburg.
26Or. Spectator, Nov. 29, 1849; Kept, of Gen. Smith, in 31st Cong., 1st
Bess., 8. Doc. 47, 107.
27Or.Spectator, April 18, 1850.
188 DISCOVERY OF GOLD IN OREGON.

then undiscovered
^p mouth of the Klamath River for
a distributing point for the Oregon mail! Thurston
with characteristicenergy soonprocured the promise
of the secretarythat the notice should beimmediately
given, and that after June 1850mail steamersshould
go "not only to Nisqually, but to Astoria."28 The
postmaster-generalalso recommendedthe reduction
of the postageto California and Oregon to take effect
bv the end of June 1851.29
At length in June" 1850 the steamship"*" Carolina,
Captain R. L. Whiting, made her first trip to Port-
land with mails and passengers.30She was withdrawn
in August and placed on the Panamd route in order
to complete the semi-monthly communication called
for betweenthat port and San Francisco. On the 1st
of September the California arrived at Astoria and
departed the same day, having lost three days in a
heavy fog off the bar. On the 27th the Panama ar-
rived at Astoria, and two days later the Seagull,51
a
steam propeller. On the 24th of October the Oregon
brought up the mail for the first time, and was an32
object of much interest on account of her name.
There was no regularity in arrivals or departures
until the coming from New York of the Columbia,
28This quotation refers to an effort on the part of certain personsto make
Nisqually the point of distribution of the mails. The proposition was sus-
tained by Wilkes and Sir George Simpson. 'If they get ahead of me,' said
Thurston in his letter, ' they will rise early and work late.'
*31«t Cong., 2d Se.ss.,//. Ex. Doc. 1, 408, 410. This favor also was
' chiefly the result of the representations of the Oregon delegate. A single
letter from Oregon to the States cost 40 cents; from California 12^ cents,
before the reduction which made the postage uniform for the Pacific coast
and fixed it at six centsa single sheet, or double the rate in the Atlantic states.
Or. Statesman, May 9, 1851.
30McCrackeri'sEarly Steamboating, MS., 7; Salem Directory, 1S74, 95;
Portland Oregonian, Jan. 13, 1872. There was an incongruity in the law
establishing the mail service, which provided for a semi-monthly mail to the
river Chagre, but only a monthly mail from Pauamd,up the coast. Rept. of
P. M. Gen., in 31st Cong., 2d Sess.,H. Ex. Doc. 1, 410; Or. Spectator, Aug.
8, 1850.
' 31The Seagull was wrecked on the Humboldt bar on her passageto Ore-
gon, Feb. 26, 1852. Or. Statesman,March 2, 1852.
32Or. Spectator, Oct. 31, 1850. The Oregonwas transformed into a sail-
ing vessel after many years of service, and was finally sunk in the strait of
Juan de Fucaby collisionwith the bark Germaniain 1880. Her commander
when shefirst cameto Oregon was Lieut. Charles P. Patterson of the navy.
COAST SURVEY. 189
"

brought out by Lieutenant G. W. Totten of tl


y, in March 1851, and afterward commandedby
William Ball.8*
The Columbiasupplied a great deficiency in com
munication with California and the east, though
Oregonwas still forced to be content with a monthly
mail, while California had one twice a month. The
postmaster-general's
directionthat Astoria shouldb
made a distributing- office was a blunder that th
delegatefailed to rectify. Owing to the lack of
gation by steamerson the rivers, Astoria was but
remove nearer than San Francisco, and while not
quite so inaccessibleas the mouth of the Klamath
wasnearly so. When the post-routeswereadvertised
no bids were offered for the Astoria route, and when
the interior was left at that place a
effort must be made to bring it to Portland.34
Troubled by reasonof this isolation, the peopleof
Oregon had asked over and over for increased mail
facilities, and as one of the ways of obtaining them,
and also of increasingtheir commercialopportunities,
had prayed congressto order a survey of the coast,
its bays and river entrances. Almost immediately
33'The Columbiawas commenced in New York by a man named Hunt,
who lived in Astoria, under an agreement with Coffin, Lownsdale, and Chap-
man, the proprietors, of Portland, to furnish a certain amount of money to
build a vessel to run between San Francisco and Astoria. Hunt went east,
and the keel of the vessel was laid in 1849,and he got her on the ways and
ready to launch when his money gave out, and the town proprietors of Port-
land did not send any more. So she was sold, and Rowland and Aspinwall
bought her for this trade themselves.. .She ran regularly once a mouth from
San Francisco to Portland, carrying the mails and passengers/ Shewas very
stanchly built, of 700 tons register, would carry 50 or 60 cabin passengers,
with about as many in the steerage,and cost $150,000. JV. Y. Tribune, in Or.
Spectator,Dec. 12, 1850; Deadtfs Hist. Or., MS., 10-11.
34The postal agent appointed in 1851was Nathaniel Coe, a man of high
character and scholarly attainments, as well as religious habits. He was a
native of Morristown, New Jersey, born September 11, 1788, a whig, and a
member of the Baptist church. In his earlier years he representedAlleghany
county, New York, in the state legislature. When his term of office in Oregon
expired he remained in the country, settling on the Columbia River near the
mouth of Hood River, on the eastern slope of the CascadeMountains. 'His
mental energy was such, that neither the rapid progressof the sciencesof our
time, nor his own great age of eighty, could check his habits of study. The
ripened fruits of scholarship that resulted appeared as bright as ever even
in the last weeks of his life. He died at Hood River, his residence, October
17, 1868.' VancouverRegister,Nov. 7, 1868;Dalles Mountaineer, Oct. 23, 1868.
190 DISCOVERY OF GOLD IN OREGON.

upon the organization of the territory, Professor A.


D. Bache, superintendent of the United States coast
survey, was notified that he would be expectedt
commence the survev of the coast of the Unit e
States on the Pacific. A corps of officers was se-
ected and divided into two branches,one party t
conduct the duties of the service on s
ther to make a hydrographical
The former duty devolved upon assistant-sup
tendent, James S. Williams, Brevet-Captain D
Hammond, and Joseph S. Ruth, sub-assistant
survey was conducted by Lieutenant W
McArthur, in the schoonerEwing, which was corn-
led by Lieutenant Washington Bartlett of t
United States navv. The time of their advent on
the coastwas an unfortunate one, the spring of 1849
when the gold excitement was at its height, prices
of labor and living extortionate, and the difficulty of
restraining men on board ship, or in any service,
the officershaving to stand guard over tl
men,35 or to put to seato prevent desert
many delays were experiencedfrom th
ther causesthat nothing was accomplishedin 1849
Ewinq wintered at the Hawaiian Isl
turning to San Francisco for her stores in
spring, and again losing some of her men. On th<
3d of April, Bartlett succeededin getting to sea witl
men enoughto work the vessel,thouh some of thes<
were placedin irons on reaching the ColumbiaRiver.
The first Oregon newspaperwhich fell under Bart
tt's eye containeda letter of Thurston's, in which 1
ected severely on the surveying expedit
lect to proceedwith their duties, which was sup
nted by censoriousremarks by the editor.
35A mutiny occurred in which Passed Midshipman Gibson was nearly
drowned in San Francisco Bay by five of the seamen. They escaped,were
pursued, captured, and sentencedto death by a general court-martial. Two
were hanged on' board the Ewinrj and the others on the St Mary's, a ship of
the U. S. squadron. Letter of Lieut. Bartlett, in Or. Spectator',June 27, 1850;
Lawsoifs Autobiog., MS., 2; Davidsoii's Biography.
WORK ACCOMPLISHED. 191
»

these attacks Bartlet't replied through the same


medium, and took occasionto reprove the Oregonians
for their lack of enterprise in failing to sustain a pilot
service at the mouth of the Columbia, which service,
since the passageof the pilotage act, had received
little encouragementor support,36and also for giving
countenance to the desertion of his men.
The work accomplishedby the Ewing during the
summerwas the survey of the entranceto the Colum-
bia, the designationof placesfor buoys to mark the
channel,of a site for a light-house on Cape Disap-
pointment, and the examinationof the coastsouth of
the Columbia. The survey showed that the " rock-
ribbed and iron-bound" shore of Oregon really was
a beachof sand from Point Adams to CapeArago, a
distance of one hundred and sixty-five miles, only
thirty-three miles of that distancebeing cliffs of rock
where the ocean touched the shore. From Cape
Arago to the forty-second parallel, a distance of
eighty-five miles, rock was found to predominate,
36Capt White, a New York pilot, conceived the idea of establishing
himself and a corps of competent assistants at the mouth of the Columbia,
thereby conferring a great benefit on Oregon commerce, and presumably a
reasonableamount of reward upon himself. But his venture, like a great many
others projected from the other side of the continent, was a failure. On bring-
ing his fine pilot-boat, the Wm G. Hag staff9up the coast, in September 1849,
he attempted to enter Hogue River, but got aground on the bar, was attacked
by the Indians, and himself and associates,with their men, driven into the
mountains, where they wandered for eighteen days in terrible destitution
before reaching Fort Umpqua, at which post they received succor. The
Hay staff was robbed and burned, her place being supplied by another boat
called the Mary Taylor. The Pioneer, i. 351; Davidson's CoastPilot, 112-
13; Williams9 8. W. Or., MS. 2. It was the neglect of the Oregonians to
make good the loss of Captain White, or a portion of it, to which Bartlett
referred. For the year during which White had charge of the bar pilot-
age 69 vesselsof from 60 to 650 tons crossed in all 128 times. The only loss
of a vessel in that time was that of the Josephine,loaded with lumber of the
OregonMilling Company. She was becalmed on the bar, and a gale coming
tip in the night she dragged her anchor and was carried on the sands, where
shewas dismasted and abandoned. She afterward floated out to sea, being
a total loss. GeorgeGibbs, in Or. Spectator, May 2, 1850. The pilot commis-
sioners,consisting at this time of Gov. Lane and captains Couch and Crosby,
"madea strong appeal in behalf of White, but he was left to bear his losses
and go whither he pleased. Johnson'sCaL and Or., 254-5; Carrol's Star of
the West, 290-5; Stevens,in Pac. R. R. Rept., i. 109, 291-2, 615-16; Poly-
nesian,July 20, 1850. The merchants finally advanced the pay of pilots so
as to be remunerative, after which time little was heard about the terrors of
the Columbia bar.
192 DISCOVERY OF GOLD IN OREGON,

there being only fifteen miles of sand on this part of


the coast.37 Little attention was given to any bay or
stream north of the Umpqua,MeArthur offering it
as his opinion that they wereaccessibleby small boats
alone,except Yaquina, which might, he conjectured,
be entered by vesselsof a larger class.
It will be remembered that the Samuel Roberts
entered the Umpqua August 6, 1850,and surveyed
the mouth of the river, and the river itself to Scotts-
urg. As the Ewing did not leave the Columbia
until the 7th, McArthur's survey was subsequent
to this one. He crossed the bar in the second cutter
and not in the schooner; and pronouncedthe channel
practicable for steamers, but dangerousfor sailing
vessels,unlessunderfavorable circumstances. Slight
examination was made of Coos Bay, an opinion being
formed from simply looking at the mouth that it would
be found available for steamers. The Coquille River
was said to be only large enough for canoes; and
Rogue River also unfit for sailing vessels,being so
narrow as to scarcely afford room to turn in. So
much for the Oregon coast. As to the Klamath,
while it had more water on the bar than any river
south of the Columbia, it was so narrow and so rapid
as to be unsafe for sailing* vessels.33
This was a very unsatisfactory report for the pro-
jectors of seaporttowns in southern Oregon. It was
almost equally disappointing to the naval and post-
officedepartmentsof the general government, and to
the mail contractors, who were then still anxious to
avoid running their steamers to the Columbia, and
determined if possible to find a different mail route.
The recommendationof the postmaster-generalat the
instance of the Oregon delegate,that they should be
required to leave the mail at Scottsburg, as I have
mentioned, induced them to make a special effort to
rv News, Jan. 18, 1851.
M
M
PORT ORFORD ESTABLISHED. 193

found
* a settlement on the southern coast which would
enablethem to avoid the bar of the Umpqua.
The place selectedwas on a small bay about eight
miles south of CapeBlanco,and a little south of Point
Orford. Orders were issuedto Captain Tichenor39of
the Seagull,which was running to Portland, to put in
at this place, previously visited by him,40and there
leave a small colony of settlers, who were to examine
the country for a road into the interior. Accord-
ingly in June 1851 the Seagull stoppedat Port Or-
ford, as it was named, and left there nine men, com-
mandedby J. M. Kirkpatrick, with the necessarystores
and arms. A four-pounderwas placed in position on
the top of a high rock with onesidesloping to the sea,
and which at high tide becamean island by the united
waters of the ocean and a small creek which flowed
by its base.
While the steamer remained in port, the Indians,
of whom there were many in the neighborhood,ap-
peared friendly. But on the second day after her
departure,about forty of them held a war-dance,dur-
ing which their numberswere constantly augmented
by arrivals from the heavily woodedand hilly country
back from the shore. When a considerable force was
gathered the chief ordered an advanceon the fortified
39William Tichenor was born in Newark, N. J., June 13, 1S13,his ances-
tor Daniel Tichenor being one of the original proprietors of that town. He
followed the sea,"making his tirst voyage in 1825. In 1833 he married and
went to Indiana, but could not remain in the interior. After again making
a seavoyage he tried living in Edgar county, Illinois, where he represente
the ninth senatorial district. In 1846 he recruited two companies for the
regiment commanded by Col. E. D. Baker, whom he afterward helped to
elect to the U. S. senatefrom Oregon. Tichenor came to the Pacific coast in
1849,and having mined for a short time on the American River, purchased
the schoonerJ. M. Ryerson^and sailed for the gulf of California, exploring
the coast to San Francisco and northward, discovering the bay spoken of
above. He finally settled at Port Orford, and was three times elected to the
lower houseof the Oregon legislature, and once to the senate. He took up
the study of law and practised for 16 years, and was at one time county
judge of Curry county. Yet during all this time he never quite gave up sea-
faring. Letter of Tichenor, in Historical Correspondence,
MS.
40Port Orford was established and owned by Capt. Tichenor, T. Butler
King, collector of the port of San Francisco, James Gamble, Fred M. Smith,
M. Hubbard, and W. G. T'Vault. Or. Statesman, Aug. 19, 1851.
HIST, OB.. YOL, II. 13
194 DISCOVERY OF GOLD IN OREGON.

rock of the settlers, who motioned them to keep back


or receive their fire. But the savages,ignorant per-
haps of the use of cannon,continued to come nearer
until it became evident that a hand-to-hand conflict
would soon ensue. When one of them had seized a
musket in the handsof a settler, Kirkpatrick touched
a fire-brand to the cannon,and discharged it in the
midst of the advancingmultitude, bringing severalto
the ground. The men then took aim and shot six at
the first fire. Turning on those nearest with their
guns clubbed,they were able to knock down several,
and the battle was won. In fifteen minutes the
Indians had twenty killed and fifteen wounded. Of
the white men four were wounded by the arrows of
the savageswhich fell in a shower upon them. The
Indians were permitted to carry off their dead, and a
lull followed.
But the condition of the settlers was harassing.
They feared to leave their fortified camp to explore
for a road to the interior, and determined to await
the return of the Seagull, which was to bring an-
other companyfrom San Francisco. At the end of
five days the Indians reappeared in greater force,
and seeingthe white men still in possessionof their
stronghold and presenting a determinedfront, retired
a short distance down the coast to hold a war-dance
d work up courage. The settlers, poorly suppli
i ammunition, wished to avoid another conflict
which they might be defeated,and taking advant
f the temporary absenceof the foe essayedto es-
capeto the woods,carrying nothing but their arms.
It was a bold and desperatemovementbut it prove
ful. Travelling as rapidly as possible in
Imost tropical jungle of the Coast Range, and keep
&JL A.J.the forest
V*-J-VX A- V/ for
V^-A.V^K^7 V^-*_the
-»- X-'
-*- firstP^r^/ *-J-
J-V^ A.^^. five^^ ^X^
or six
AA*. miles,
p^_/ *.fc-fc
*.«fc * tl
-vi^_/ v------x^I/

emerged at night on the beach,and by using great


tion eludedtheir pursuers. On comingto Coq
River, a village of about two hundred Indians w
discoveredon the bank opposite,which they avoided
THE ABANDONED SETTLEMENT. 195
*

by going up the stream for severalmiles and crossing


it on a raft. To be secure against a similar en-
counter, they now kept to the woods for two days,
though by doing so they deprived themselvesof the
only food,except salmonberries,which they had been
able to find. At one place they fell in with a small
bandof savageswhom they frightened away by charg-
ing toward them. Again emerging on the beach
they lived on musselsfor four days. The only as-
sistance received was from the natives on Cowan
River which empties into Coos Bay. Thesepeop
friendly, and fed and helped them on tl
hth day the party reached the mouth
le Umpqua, where they were kindly cared for by
the settlers at that place.4
When Tichenor arrived at San Francisco, he
ceededto raise a party of forty men to reenforce his
settlement at Port Orford, to which he had promised
to return by the 23d of the month. The Seagull
detained, he took passage on the Columb
Le Roy, and arrived at Port Orford as
'to d, on the 23d, being surprised at not seeing
f his men on shore. He immediately landed, b
th Le Roy and eight others, and saw p
ions and tools scatteredover the ground, and on every
side the signs of a hard struggle. On the ground was
a diary kept by one of the party, in which the begin-
ning of the first day's battle was described,1
Jbruptlywhere the first Indian seizeda cornrad s
Hence it was thought that all had beenkill(
le account first published of the affair set it
down as a massacre;a report which about one wee
later was correctedby a letter from Kirkpatrick, who,
after giving a history of his adventures, concluded
^^rvH^«r-"
July 25, 185
strongs
^^ */ Or., C * _c. f f *sf *
Portland Bulletin, Feb. 25, 1873; Or. Spectator, July 3, 1851; Or. Statesman,
July 4th and 15, 1851; Parrish's Or. Anecdotes,MS., 41-5; Harper's Mag.,
xiii. 590-1; S. F. Herald, June 30, 1851; Id., July 15, 1851; Lawson's
Autobioa.. MS.. 32-3: 8. F. Alta. June 30. 1851: Taylor's Snec. Press. 19.
196 DISCOVERY OF GOLD IN OREGON.

e description of the country


t that he had discovered a
th of the Cowan River.42 This important
discovery was little heeded by the founders of Port
Or ford, who were bent upon establishing their settl
ment on a more southern point of the coast
henor left his California party at Port Orf
1 and fortified and proceededto Portland,
where he advertised to land passengers within thirty-
five miles of the Rogue River mines,having brought
bout two dozen miners from San Francisco and
landed them at Port Orford to make their way f
thence to the interior, at their own hazard. OH
turning down the coast the Columbiaagain touched
t Port Orford and left a party of Oregon men, so
,t by August there were about seventy personsat
new settlement. They armed and
kept guard with military regularity. To some was
o d the duty of hunting, elk, deer, and otl
game being plentiful on the coast mountains, and
birds of numerous kinds inhabiting the woods and
eashore. A Whitehall boat was left for fishing and
hooting purposes. These hunting tours were a
exploring expeditions,resulting in a thorough
nation of the coast from the Coquille River on
north to a little below the California line on the sc
in which distanceno better port was discovered.^

The 24th of August a party of twenty-three44under


T'Vault set out to explore the interior. T'Vault's
experienceas a pioneer was supposedto fit him for
the position of guide and Indian-fighter, a most re-
sponsible office in that region of hostile savages,
42Now called Coos, an Indian name.
43SaysWilliams in his S. W. Oregon, MS., 9: 'It was upon one of these
expeditions, returning from a point where CrescentCity now stands, that with
a fair wind, myself at the helm, we sailed into the beautiful ChetcoeRiver
which we ever pronounced the loveliest little spot upon that line of coast.'
AiT " 1_ 1_ 1 " l Williams,
x-rT-11* one off1 the
il company,
^^
^"^^»
-^"-
^-»
^V^K
-^
^^-^»
^^^^^
--^^
""
^^ eader, in Alta California,
Oct. 14, 1851.
TTAULT'S EXPLORATION. 197

particularly as the expeditionwas made up of im-


migrants of the previous year, with little or no
knowledgeof the country, or of mountain life. Only
two of them, Williams and Lount, both young men
from Michigan, were good hunters; and on them
would dependthe food supply after the ten days' ra-
tions with which each man was furnished should be
exhausted.
Nothing daunted,however,they set out on horses,
and proceededsouthward along the coastasfar asthe
mouth of Rogue River. The natives along the route
were numerous,but shy, and on being approachedfled
into the woods. At Rogue River, however, they
assumed a different air, and raised their bows threat-
eningly, but on seeingg«ns levelled at them desisted.
During the march they hovered about the rear of
the party, who on campingat night selectedan open
place,and after feeding their horses burned the grass
for two hundred yards around that the savagesmight
not have it to hide in, keeping at the same time
a double guard. Proceeding thus cautiously they
avoidedcollisionwith these savages.
When they had reached a point about fifty miles
from the ocean, on the north bank of Rogue River,
having lost their way and provisions becoming low,
some determined to turn back. T'Vault, unwilling
to abandon the adventure, offered increased pay
to such as would continue it. Accordingly nine
went on with him toward the valley, though but one
45
of them could be dependedupon to bring in game
The separation took placeon the 1st of September,
the advancingparty proceeding up Rogue River, by
which course they were assuredthey could not fail
soon to reach the travelled road.
On the evening of the 9th they came upon the
45This was Williams. The others were: Patrick Murphy, of New York;
A. S. Doherty and Gilbert Brush, of Texas; Cyrus Hedden, of Newark, N.
J.; John P. Holland,of New Hampshire;T. J. Davenport,of Massachusetts;
JeremiahRyan, of Maryland; J. P. Pepper,of NewYork. Alta California,
Get 14, 1851.
198 DISCOVERY OF GOLD IN OREGON.

head-watersof a stream flowing, it was believed,int


the ocean near Cape Blanco. They were therefore
though designing to go south-eastwarclly,actually
some distance north as well as east from Port Orf<
the nature of the country and the direct
cing them out of their intended course.
Finding an open country on this stream,they followed
t clownsomedistance,and chancingto meetan Ind
boy engagedhim asa guide, who brought them to th<
southernbranchof a river, downwhich they travelled
finding the bottoms coveredwith a thick growtl
trees peculiar to low, moist lands. It was now deter-
mined to abandontheir horses,as they could advance
th difficulty, and had no longer anything t
hich could not be dispensedwith. They therefore
procured the services of some Indians with canoes
to take them to the mouth of the river, which they
to have a beautiful valley of rich land, and t
be, after passingthe junction of the two forks, about
hty yards wide, with the tide ebbing and flowing
two to three feet.46 On the 14th. about ten
k in the morning, having descendedto within a
w miles of. the ocean,a member of the party, M
Hedden. r one of those driven out of Port Orf
Juvie, and who escapedup the coast,recognized
streamasthe Coquille River, which the previousparty
had crossedon a raft. Too exhaustedto navigate a
boat for themselves,and overcomeby hunger, they
ged some natives47to take them down the river,
insteadof which they were carriedto a large rancheria
situated about two miles from the ocean.
Savagesthronged the shore armed with bows and
arrows, long knives,43and war-clubs,and were upon
them the moment they stepped ashore. T'Vault
46On Coquille River, 12 miles below the north fork, is a tree with the
name ' Dennis White, 1834,'to which some personshave attached importance.
Armstrong's Or., 05.
47One of the Indians who paddled their canoeshad with him ' the identi-
cal gun that James H. Eagan had broken over an Indian's head at Port Or-
ford in June last.' Williams' S. W. Or., MS., 28.
48These knives, two and two and a half feet long, were manufactured by
THRILLING INCIDENTS. 199

aftenvard declared that the first thing he was con-


scious of was being in the river, fifteen yards from
shoreand swimming. He glancedtoward the village,
and saw only a horrible confusion,and heard the yells
of savagetriumph mingled with the sound of blows
and the shrieks of his unfortunate comrades. At the
same instant he saw Brush in the water not far from
him and an Indian standing in a canoestriking him
on the head with a paddle, while the water around
was stained with blood.
At this juncture occurred an incident such as is
3d to embellish romances, when a woman or a child
in the midst of savagery displays those feeling
humanity common to all men. While the two white
men were struggling for their lives in the stream a
canoeshot from the opposite bank. In it standing
erect was an Indian lad, who on reaching the sr
assisted
" them into the canoe,handedthem the padd
en springing into the water swamback to the si
They succeededin getting to land, and stripping
themselves,crawled up the bank and into the thicket
without once standing upright. Striking soutl
ugh the rough and briery undergrowth they hur-
d on aslong asdaylight lasted,and at night emerged
pon the beach,reaching Cape Blanco the following
morning,where the Indians receivedthem kindly, and
fter taking care of them for a day conveyedthem t
t Orford. T'Vault was not severelywounded,but
Brush had part of his scalp taken off by one of th
knives. Both were suffering from famine and
ruises, and believed themselvesthe only surviv< 49
But in about two weeks it was ascertained
others of the party were living, namely: Williams,1'
the Indians out of some band iron taken from the wreck of the Hacjstaff,
They were furnished with whalebone handles. Parrish's Or. Anecdotes, MS., 60.
s A-utobiog.,MS., 45-6; Portland Bulletin, March 3, 1873; S. F.
Herald, Oct. 14, 1851;Ashland Tidings,July 12th and 19, 1878;Portland
Wf#t Shore, May 1878.
50The narrative of Williams is one of the most thrilling in the literature
of savagewarfare. When the attack was made he had just stepped ashore
from the canoe. His first strugglewaswith two powerful savages
for the
200 DISCOVERY OF GOLD IN OREGON.

Davenport, and Hedden, the other five having been


murdered, their companieshardly knew how.
With this signal disaster terminated the first at-
tempt to reach the Rogue River Valley from Port
Orford; and thus fiercely did the red inhabitants of
this region welcometheir white brethren. The diffi-
culties with the various tribes which grew out of this
and similar encounters I shall describein the history
of the wars of 1851-3.

Soon after the failure of the T'Vault expedition


another companywas fitted out to explore in a differ-
possessionof his rifle, which being discharged in the contest, for a moment
gave him relief by frightening his assailants. Amidst the yells of Indians and
the cries and groans of comrades he forced his way through the infuriated
crowd with the stock of his gun, being completely surrounded, fighting in a
circle, and striking in all directions. Soon only the barrel of his gun remained
in his hands, with which he continued to deal heavy blows as he advanced
along a piece of open ground toward the forest, receiving blows as well, one
of which felled him to the ground. Quickly recovering himself, with one
desperate plunge the living wall was broken, and he darted for the woods.
As he ran an arrow hit him between the left hip and lower ribs, penetrating
the abdomen, and bringing him to a sudden stop. Finding it impossible to
move, he drew out the shaft which broke off, leaving one joint of its length,
with the barb, in his body. So great was his excitement that after the first
sensation no pain was felt. The main party of Indians being occupied with
rifling the bodies of the slain, a race for life now set in with about a dozenof
the most persistent of his enemies. Though severaltimes struck with arrows
he ran down all but two who placed themselves on each side about ten feet
away shooting every instant. Despairing of escapeWilliams turned onthem,
but while he chased one the other shot at him from behind. As if to leave
him no chancefor life the suspendersof his pantaloons gave way, and being
impeded by their falling down he was forced to stop and kick them off. With
his eyesand mouth filled with blood from a wound on the head, blinded and
despairing he yet turned to enter the forest when he fell headlong. At this
the Indians rushed upon him sure of their prey; one of them who carried a
captured gun attempted to fire, but it failed. Says the narrator: 'The sick-
ening sensationsof the last half hour were at once dispelled when I realized
that the gun had refused to fire, I was on my feet in a moment, rifle barrel
in hand. Instead of running I stood firm, and the Indian with the rifle also
met me with it drawn by the breech. The critical moment of the whole
affair had arrived, and I knew it must be the final struggle. The first two or
three blows I failed utterly, and received some severe bruises, but fortune
was on my side, and a lucky blow given with unusual force fell upon my an-
tagonist killing him almost instantly. I seized the gun, a sharp report fol-
lowed, and I had the satisfaction of seeing my remaining pursuer stagger and
fall dead.' Expecting to die of his wounds Williams entered the shadow of
the woods to seeka placewhere he might lie down in peace. Soon afterward
he fell in with Hedden, who had escaped uninjured, and who with some
friendly Indians assisted him to reach the Umpqua, where they arrived after
six days of intense suffering from injuries, famine, and cold, and where the
found the brig Almira, Capt. Gibbs, lying, which took them to Gardiner. A
COOS BAY AND PORT ORFORD. 201

ent direction for a road to the interior,51 which was


compelledto return without effecting its object. Port
Orford, however,receivedthe encouragementand as-
sistance of government officials, including the coast
survey officersand military men,52 and throve in con-
sequence. Troops were stationed there,53and before
the closeof the year the work of surveying a military
road was begun by Lieutenant Williamson, of the
topographical engineers,with an escort of dragoons
from Casey'scommandat Port Orford. Severalfami-
lies had alsojoined the settlement,about half a dozen
dwelling houseshaving been erected for their accom-
modation.54 The troops were quartered in nine log
buildings half a mile from the town.55 A permanent
route to the mines was not adopted,however, until
late the following year.

Casey'scommandhaving returned to Benicia about


the 1st of December,in January following the schooner
Captain Lincoln, Naghel master, was despatchedto
Port Orford from San Francisco with troops and
Williams' wounds except that in the abdomen healed readily. That dis-
charged for a year. In four years the arrow-head had worked itself out, but
not until the seventh year did the bi'oken shaft follow it. Davenport, like
Hedden, was unhurt, but wandered starving in the mountains many days
before reaching a settlement. Williams was born in Vermont, and came
to the Pacific coast in 1850. He made his home at Ashland, enjoying the
respect of his fellow^men, combining in his manner the peculiarities of the
border with those of a thorough and competent business man. Portland West
Shore, June 18, 1878.
51Or. Statesman, Nov. 4, 1851.
52Probably stories like the following had their effect: 'Port Orford has
recently been ascertained to be one of the very best harbors on the Pacific
coast, accessibleto the largest classof vessels,and situated at a convenient
intermediate point between the Umpqua and Rogue Rivers.' Rept. of Gen.
Hitchcock, in 32d Cong., 1st Sess.,H. Ex. Doc. 2, 149; S. F. Alta, July 13th
and Sept. 14, 1852.
53Lieutenant Kautz, of the rifles, with 20 men stationed at Astoria, was
ordered to Port Orford in August, at the instance of Tichenor, where a post
was to be established for the protection of the miners in Rogue River Valley,
which was represented to be but 35 miles distant from this place. After the
massacreon the Coquille, Col. Casey,of the 2d infantry, was despatchedfrom
San Francisco with portions of three dragoon companies, arriving at Port
Orford on the 22d of October.
54Saint Amant, 41-2, 144; Or. Statesman, Dec. 16, 185.1.
553U Cony., U Sess.,H. Ex. Doc. 1, pt. ii. 105-6; S. F. Herald, Nov.
8, 1852.
202 DISCOVERY OF GOLD IN OREGON

stores under Lieutenant Stanton. The weatherbeing


foul she missed the harbor and went ashore on a
sand spit two miles north of the entrance to Coos
ay. The passengersand cargo were safely landed
on the beach, where shelter was obtained under sails
stretched on boomsand spars. Thus exposed,annoyed
by high winds and drifting sands,and by the thiev-
ing propensitiesof the natives, Stanton was forced to
remain four months. An effort was madeto explore
a trail to Port Orford by meansof which pack-trains
could be sent to their relief. Twelve dragoons were
assignedto this service, with orders to wait at Port
Orford for despatchesfrom San Francisco in answer
to his own, which, as the mail steamers avoided that
place after hearing of the wreck of the schooner,did
not arrive until settled weather in March. Quarter-
master Miller replied to Stanton by taking passage
for Port.Orford on the Columbiaunder a specialar-
rangement to stop at that port. But the steamer's
captain being unacquainted with the coast, and hav-
ing nearly madethe mistake of attempting to enter
Rogue River, proceededto the Columbia, and it was
not until the 12th of April that Miller reachedhis
destination. He brought a train of twenty mules
from Port Orford, the route proving a most harass-
ing one, over slippery mountain spurs, through dense
forests obstructed with fallen timber, across several
rivers, besides sand dunes and marshes, four days
being consumedin marching fifty miles.
On reaching Camp Castaway, Miller proceededto
the Umpqua, where he found and chartered the
schooner Nassau, which was brought around into
CoosBay, being the first vesselto enter that harbor.
Wagons had been shipped by the quartermaster to
the Umpqua by the brig Fawn. The mules were
sent to haul them down the beachby what proved to
be a good road, and the storesbeing loadedinto them
were transported across two miles of sand to the west
shore of the bay and placed on board the Nassau, in
YAQUINA BAY. 203
-

which they were taken to Port Orford,56arriving the


20th of May.
The knowledge of the country obtained in these
forced expeditions, added to the exploration of the
Coquille Vail j by road-hunters in the previous
autumn, and by the military expedition of Caseyto
punish the Coquilles, of which I shall speak in an-
other place,was the meansof attracting attention to
the advantagesof this portion of Oregon for settle-
ment. A chart of Coos Bay entrancewas made by
Naghel, which was sufficiently correct for sailing pur-
poses,and the harborwas favorably reported upon by
Miller.57

On the 28th of January the schoonerJuliet, Cap-


tain Collins, was driven ashorenear Yaquina Bay,
the crew and passengersbeing compelled to remain
upon the stormy coastuntil by aid of an Indian mes-
senger horsescould be brought from the Willamette
to transport them to that more hospitable region.58
While Collins was detained, which was until the latter
part of March, he occupieda portion of his time in
exploring Yaquina Bay, finding it navigable for ves-
sels drawing^_from
«--*- six
^--*-to
^^
^*feight
^-r
">^fc feet of water; but the
entrance was a bad one. In the bay were found oysters
and clams,while the adjacent land was deemedexcel-
lent. Thus by accident59as well as effort the secrets
of the coast country were brought to light, and
56The Nassau was wrecked at the entrance to the Umpqua a few months
later. Or. Statesman,Sept. 18, 1852. From 1850 to 1852 five vessels were
lost at this place, the Bostonian, Nassau, Almira, Orchilla, and CalebCuries.
Cong., 2d Sets., PL S. Ex. Doc. 1, pt. ii. 103-9.
68Dr McLoughlin, Hugh Burns, W. C. Griswold, and W. H. Barnhart
respondedto the appeal of the shipwrecked, and furnished the means of their
resciie from suffering. Or. Statesman,March 2d and April 6, 1852.
59Of marine disastersthere seemto have beena great number in 1851-2.
The most appalling was of the steam propeller General Warren, Captain
Charles Thompson, which stranded on Clatsop spit, after passing out of the
Columbia, Jan. 28, 1852. The steamer was found to be leaking badly, and
being put about could not make the river again. She broke up almost imme-
diately after striking the sands,and by daylight next morning there was only
enough left of the wreck to afford standing room for her passengersand crew.
A boat, the only one remaining, was despatchedin charge of the bar pilot to
204 DISCOVERY OF GOLD IN" OREGON.

although the immigration of 1851was not more than


a third as much as that of the previous year, there
were people enough running to and fro, looking for
new enterprises,to impart an interest to each fresh
revelation of the resourcesof the territory.
^
Astoria for assistance. On its return nothing could be found but somefloat-
ing fragments of the vessel. Not a life was saved of the 52 persons on board.
Or. Statesman,Feb. 10th and 24, 1852; Id, March 9, 1852; Swan'* N. W.
Coast,259; Portland Oreyonian, Feb. 7, 1852; 8. F. Alta, Feb. 16, 1852.

Related Interests