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Editor’s note: Documents section in the appendices is from the first edition, published 1931 by Stanford University. It was omitted in the second edition published in 1947—dea.
I. EVENTS LEADING TO THE MARIPOSA INDIAN WAR
Letter from Adam Johnston, United States Sub-Agent, to L. Lea, Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Dated March 7, 1851. Published in Senate Executive Document No. 4, Special Session, 1851.
II. PEACE TREATY MADE WITH INDIANS OTHER THAN YOSEMITES,
APRIL 29, 1851
Thirty-second Congress, First Session, “Message from the President of the United States Communicating Eighteen Treaties Made with Indians in California,” Washington, 1905.
III. DEPOSITIONS REGARDING OPENING EVENTS IN THE MARIPOSA
Claim of J. D. Savage for remuneration of losses sustained through Indian depredations. Published in Senate Executive Document No. 4, Special Session, 1851.
IV. MUSTER ROLL OF VOLUNTEERS IN INDIAN WAR
Muster Roll of Mariposa Battalion. From Elliott’s History of Fresno County, 1881.
V. SAVAGE’S ENTRY INTO YOSEMITE VALLEY
A letter from “M,” dated April 22, 1851, and published in the Daily Alta California, April 23, 1851.
VI. BOLING’S CAPTURE OF TENAYA
Boling’s letter of May 15, 1851, published in Daily Alta California, June 12, 1851.
VII. BOLING’S CAPTURE OF THE YOSEMITES
Boling’s letter of May 29, 1851, published in Daily Alta California, June 14, 1851.
VIII. CERTIFICATE OF DISBANDMENT, MARIPOSA BATTALION,
JUNE 29, 1851
From Elliott’s History of Fresno County, 1881.
IX. VIOLATION OF THE PEACE TREATY
Item in Daily Alta California, August 12, 1852.
ADAM JOHNSTON TO HON. L. LEA, COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS, WASHINGTON CITY1
1Senate Executive Document No. 4, Special Session, 1851
March 7, 1851
SIR: Since my last communication to the department I have spent most of my time among the Indian tribes of the San Joaquin valley and those located on the tributaries of that river, along the western side of the Sierra Nevada.
On my return from a tour through the valley of the Sacramento, I received information that the Indians of the San Joaquin valley were exhibiting feelings of discontent, and occasionally committing depredations on the persons and property of the whites. The mining region was threatened, and fears were entertained that serious consequences would ensue if something was not immediately done to quiet the Indians, and put a stop to their thefts, which were becoming daily more frequent and daring. I was solicited to go to that part of the country at the earliest possible day. It was thought that a few presents and fair promises might quiet them for a time—at least until I could communicate with the department and obtain instructions for future action. I was then without funds, and thought the circumstances would justify me in drawing for a small amount, and accordingly on the 15th day of November, 1850, I negotiated a draft on the Department of the Interior for the sum of eight hundred dollars. A few days were occupied in selecting and purchasing proper articles for presents and in making other necessary arrangements, previous to leaving for their location. On the 21st of November I left San Francisco intending to push as rapidly as possible to the camp of James D. Savage, situated in the mountains, on the headwaters of the Mariposa. Mr. Savage has been for some years with the Indians of California, speaks the language of several tribes fluently, and possesses a powerful influence over them. I therefore viewed his camp as the most favorable location for effecting my purpose. and especially for obtaining facilities in opening a communication with the wild Indians of the mountains. Difficulty in obtaining transportation from Stockton to Mariposa delayed me in reaching his camp until the first of December. Mr. Savage was then at another camp or trading post which he had recently established yet further in the mountains, on a river or stream called the Fresno.
I remained at his camp on the Mariposa for a few days; but, as he did not return, I procured an Indian guide and proceeded to the Fresno, where I found him in the midst of numerous wild and rather war-like Indians. The Indians in that region are quite numerous and rather war-like, quite fine looking, especially the “Chowchille” and “Chook-chancy” tribes. The most of them are wild, though they have among them many who have been educated at the missions, and who have fled from their real or supposed oppressors to the mountains. These speak the Spanish language as well as their native tongue, and have intermarried with the wild tribes. Many of the tribes are therefore in a rather doubtful state—rather inclined toward barbarism, than to cherish such ideas of civilization as they may have acquired. This may be said of all the tribes inhabiting the western side of the Sierra Nevada, along the whole valley of the San Joaquin.
Mr. Savage has done much to open communication with the Indians of California, and to keep them on terms of friendship with the Americans. He had often told them before I reached Mariposa, of the Great Father at Washington; that he had sent a man to see them, who would talk with them and make them a few presents. They were therefore expecting me for some time before I reached them. On my arrival on the Fresno the Indians there seemed greatly gratified, and dispatched couriers to the other tribes announcing the fact that I had reached them. I remained on the Fresno several days during which time I had various interviews with the chiefs, braves, and men of authority among their respective tribes, the most powerful of which is the Chouchille. In an interview with the chief of that tribe on one occasion, he said to me:
“This is our country; why do the Americans come here? They are good and brave, but they come upon the land of my people. What do they intend to do? I want to know, and must know, right now.”
I was not exactly prepared for so imperious a demand, but made such explanations as seemed to satisfy his majesty. After some time he said,
“Heretofore my people did not permit any stranger to pass over our country or stop in it, except Mr. Savage—he made us many presents;” and he added, “If you will make us presents, too, you may remain in our country awhile.”
I endeavored to explain my mission; told him that the Great Father had sent me to talk with them, and to make them some presents as a token of his friendship and regard for them, but that they must not expect many presents at this time.
At the close of our talk the chiefs seemed fully satisfied, and assured me that their people should not steal or commit any depredations on the Americans. At the same time, they told me they should not control others. I set Christmas day as the time for a general meeting; and as my presents were limited, it was my intention to procure some beef cattle and make a feast for them.
I left Fresno with the prospect of at least being able to arrest hostilities until the commissioners (of whose appointment I had then heard) should arrive. In the meantime I visited the rancherias or villages, of other surrounding tribes. They all professed great friendship for the Americans, when at the same time they contemplated hostilities, as I had before been secretly informed. I of course conferred with them in such manner as seemed to me best calculated to arrest their designs. My efforts, however, were of no avail, as there was doubtless a general understanding among the various tribes that they should commence a predatory war, at an appointed time, all along the valley of the San Joaquin, if not along the entire base of the Sierra Nevada, from the northern to the southern boundary of the State. As an evidence of this, murders and robberies were committed simultaneously at various points.
The first serious depredations committed in this region were on the Fresno, and in the very camp which I had but a few days before left. On the 17th of December about five hundred Indians assembled at the camp on the Fresno, and murdered Mr. Savage’s clerk and two other men—one alone escaping, through the efforts of the chief. I was then at the Mariposa. Soon after hearing of this outbreak we also discovered that all of the Indians in that vicinity had suddenly disappeared. Every day brought news of thefts and murders in various parts of the valley. This established beyond doubt the fact that a general hostility existed. I had obtained information that the Indians declared open war upon the whites, and every day’s report confirmed the fact.
On the 20th day of December I left the Mariposa, with thirty-five men to bury the murdered men on the Fresno, and, if possible, to punish the Indians. We expected to meet them there, not only in considerable numbers, but to some extent fortified. Our force being small, we thought it necessary to take them by surprise. In order to do so, we must travel all night, which we did, and reached the Fresno about daylight, but found no Indians there. The destruction of property, however, and the bodies of the dead before us, filled with arrows, presented a horrible scene. We immediately proceeded to inter the remains of the deceased. Our force being small, we concluded not to pursue the Indians further into the mountains, but to return that evening on our way back to Mariposa. This determination was perhaps fortunate for us, as I have since learned the Indians were not far distant, knew of our arrival, and intended to attack us that night, had we remained on the ground.
On reaching Mariposa we learned that most of the Indians in the valley had hurriedly taken their women and children to the mountains. This is always looked upon as a sure indication of hostilities.
Knowing the meager force of the United States troops here and having no authority to call upon them, I immediately repaired to the seat of government to ask aid from the State.
My communication to the governor (a copy of which I herewith transmit) was laid before the legislature, and that body acted as promptly as possible in furnishing aid and protection to the mining region of this country. Two hundred volunteers, under authority of the State, are at this time encamped within a few miles of this place. They are ordered by the governor to await the arrival of the commissioners, who desire to make an effort for peace before opening the campaign. I have been in company with the commissioners for the last few days, during which time we met several of the more friendly Indians, of the few who yet remain in the valley. Some of them have been induced to go to the mountains for the purpose of inducing the wild tribes to meet the commissioners near this point. I fear, however, even if they can be induced to come in, which I doubt, no good can be accomplished with the hostile Indians until they are severely dealt with. In the first place, they are entirely ignorant as to the strength of the Americans. So rapidly have the whites emigrated into this country, that but few of the mountain Indians have any idea of their number. They see the miners among them, and believe the whites have moved their camps from the old camping grounds upon their own. Others who know something of the numbers in various towns and cities here, look upon San Francisco, Sacramento, and the United States, as about the same size. The commissioners entertained some hopes of effecting a peace, but I am satisfied that nothing can be done, for some time to come, with many of the mountain tribes. They are now in the valleys and cations of the mountains, living on animals and provisions plundered from the whites and if not subdued before the snows leave the Sierra Nevada, they will doubtless give the government much trouble, and in all probability a protracted war.
Again: if a treaty could be effected, my opinion is, it will not be respected by either Indians or Americans. The Indians are notoriously treacherous and thievish, and doubtless will continue their depredations. On the other hand, many of the whites in this region have lost either property or friends by the Indians, and openly declare they will shoot down any and all Indians they meet with, whether a treaty be made or not.
There is one way, and one alone, by which peace can be maintained between the whites and the Indians here; and that is, by establishing a line of small fortifications along the valley of the San Joaquin. Let the Indian agent of such district reside at a post of this kind, and punish the white man who murders an Indian, as promptly as an Indian who would commit the same crime. In my opinion, about five posts of this kind, with from ten to twenty soldiers and a few extra stands of arms, would be sufficient to maintain order and peace throughout this border. Some such regulation, under the present state of society here, is in my opinion indispensable.
I have obtained some of the Indian language of the San Joaquin valley, and other matters of interest, which I will transmit with the present mail.
I have the honor to remain, your most obedient servant, &c.
A TREATY OF PEACE AND FRIENDSHIP, APRIL 29, 1851
2Thirty-second Congress, First Session, “Message from the President of the United States Communicating Eighteen Treaties Made with Indians in California,” Washington, 1905, pp. 1-69. Read June 7, 1852, and, with the documents and treaties, referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs, and ordered to be printed in confidence for the use of the Senate; injunction of secrecy removed January 18, 1905; ordered reprinted January 19, 1905.
Made and concluded at Camp Barbour, on the San Joaquin River, California, between Redick McKee, George W. Barbour, and O. M. Woozencraft, commissioners thereto especially appointed on the part of the United States, and the undersigned chiefs, captains, and head men of the tribes or bands of Indians now in council at this camp, known as the Howechees, Chookchances, Chowchillas, Pohoneechees, and Nookchoos, which five tribes or bands acknowledge Naiyakqua as their principal chief; also the Pitoatchees, Cansons, Toomnas, Tallinches, and Poskesas, which five tribes or bands acknowledge Tomquit as their principal chief; also the Wachaets, Itachees, Choenemnees, Chokimenas, Wewahches, and Notonotos, which six tribes or bands acknowledge Pasqual as their principal chief.
ARTICLE 1.—The said tribes or bands acknowledge themselves jointly and severally, under the exclusive jurisdiction, authority, and protection of the United States, and hereby bind themselves to refrain hereafter from the commission of all crimes of hostility or aggression toward the Government or citizens thereof, and to live on terms of peace and friendship among themselves and all other Indian tribes, which are now, or may hereafter come, under the protection of the United States.
ART. 2—Lest the peace and friendship hereby established between the United States and the said tribes should be interrupted by the misconduct of individuals, it is expressly agreed that for injuries on either side no private revenge or retaliation shall take place or be attempted; that instead thereof complaint shall be made by the party aggrieved to the other, through the Indian Agent of the United States in their district, whose duty it shall be to investigate, and if practicable, to adjust the difficulty; or in case of acts of violence being committed upon the person or property of a citizen of the United States, by an Indian or Indians. belonging to, or harbored by, either of said tribes or bands, the party or parties charged with the commission of the crime, shall be promptly delivered up to the civil authorities of the State of California for trial; and in case the crime has been committed by a citizen or citizens of the United States, upon the person or property of an Indian or Indians of either of said tribes, the agent shall take all proper measures to bring the offender or offenders to trial in the same way.
INDIANS QUITCLAIM THEIR LANDS
ART. 3—The said tribes or bands here by jointly and severally relinquish and forever quitclaim to the United States all the right, title, claim, or interest of any kind, they or either of them have, or ever had, to lands or soil in California.
ART. 4—To promote the improvement of said tribes or bands, it is hereby stipulated and agreed, that the following district of country in the State of California shall be, and is hereby set apart forever for the sole use and occupancy of the aforesaid tribes of Indians, to wit: Beginning at a point in the middle of the Chowchilla River, near an old Indian rancheria, called Tahaleel, and immediately at the junction of the first two mainforks of said river, in the foot-hills, running thence in a straight line in a southwesterly direction to the top of the point of the Table Mountains, on the San Joaquin River, being the first high hill or mountain above and adjoining the valley in which the camp known as Camp Barbour is established, on the southside of the San Joaquin River; continuing thence a straight line in the same southwesterly direction to the eastern base of what is known as the Line or Lost Mountain, on the south side of King’s River; continuing thence in a line in the same direction to the middle of the Cowier River, generally known as the first of the Four-creeks; thence down the middle of said stream to a point fifteen miles distant, in a straight line from where the first line strikes it; thence back to the middle of the Chowchilla River, to a point fifteen miles distant, in a straight line from where the first line strikes it; thence back to the middle of the Chowchilla River, to a point fifteen miles distant in a straight line from the starting point as aforesaid, on said river, the said line from the Cowier River, or first of the Four-creeks, to be so run as to cross King’s, San Joaquin, and Fresno Rivers, at the distance of fifteen miles in a straight line from where the first-mentioned line herein crosses each one of said rivers, and from where the last-mentioned line strikes the Chowchilla River, up the middle of said stream to the beginning. To have and to hold the said district of country, for the sole use and occupancy of said Indian tribes forever. Provided, that there is reserved to the Government of the United States, the right of way over any portion of said territory, and the right to establish and maintain any military post or posts, public buildings, school-houses, houses for agents, teachers, and such others as they may deem necessary for their use or the protection of the Indians; and provided further that said tribes of Indians, or any portion of them, shall at all times have the privilege of the country east of the aforesaid district and between the waters of the Chowchilla and Cowier Rivers, or first of the Four-creeks, to the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, to hunt, and to gather fruit, acorns, etc., but in no event are they, or any of them to remove or settle their families beyond the limits of the first described district or boundary of lands, without the permission of the Government of the United States through their duly authorized agent, and also that the said tribes shall never sell or dispose of the right or claim to any part thereof, except to the United States; nor shall they ever lease to, or permit, white men to settle, work or trade on any part thereof, without the written permission of the Indian Agent for the district; and it is also expressly understood that the Mono or wild portion of the tribes herein provided for, which are still out in the mountains, shall, when they come in, be incorporated with their respective bands, and receive a fair and equal interest in the lands and provisions hereinafter stipulated to be furnished for the whole reservation; and the tribes above named pledge themselves to use their influence and best exertions to bring in and settle the said Monos at the earliest possible day; and when the Yosemite tribe comes in, they shall in like manner be associated with the tribes or bands under the authority of Naiyakqua.
ART. 5—To aid the said tribes or bands in their subsistence while removing to, and making their settlement on, said reservation, the United States, in addition to the numerous and valuable presents made to them at this council, will furnish them, free of charge, 500 head of beef cattle, to average in weight 500 pounds, and 260 sacks of flour, 100 pounds each, during each of the years 1851 and 1852, to be divided among them by the agent, according to their respective numbers.
ART. 6—As early as convenient, after the ratification of this treaty by the President and Senate, in consideration of the premises, and with a sincere desire to encourage said tribes in acquiring the arts and habits of civilized life, the United States will also furnish them with the following articles to be divided among them by the agent according to their respective numbers and wants, during each of the two years succeeding the said ratification, viz:
Two pairs strong pantaloons and two red flannel shirts for each man and boy; one linsey gown for each woman and girl; 3,000 yards calico and 3,000 yards brown sheetings; 30 pounds Scotch thread; 6 dozen pairs scissors, assorted; 1 gross thimbles and 5 needles, assorted; one 2 1/2 pt. Mackinaw blanket for each man and woman over 15 years of age; 3,000 pounds iron and 800 pounds steel. And in like manner in the first year for the permanent use of the said tribes and as their joint property, viz: 75 brood mares and 3 stallions; 150 milch cows and 3 bulls; 12 yoke of work cattle, with yokes, chains, etc.; 12 work mules and horses; 30 plows (10 large and 20 small); 30 sets plow harness for horses or mules; seeds of all proper kinds for planting and sowing; 100 chopping axes; 100 hatchets, 300 mattocks or picks; 300 garden or corn hoes, 100 spades; 15 grindstones; 3 United States flags (one for each principal chief).
The stock enumerated above and the product thereof shall be marked or branded with such letters as will at all times designate the same to be the property of the said tribes, and no part or portion thereof shall be killed, exchanged, sold, or otherwise parted with, without the consent and direction of the agent.
ART. 7.—The United States will also employ and settle among said tribes, at or near their town or settlement, one practical farmer, who shall act as superintendent, or director of agricultural operations, to reside at some central point and to have two assistants, also of practical knowledge and industrious habits; one carpenter, or worker in wood, to direct and aid in the construction of houses, repairing floors, etc.; one blacksmith, to reside at some central point; three principal school-teachers, and as many assistant teachers as the President may deem proper, to instruct said tribes in reading, writing, etc.; and in the domestic arts of sewing, house-keeping, etc., upon the manual labor system; all the above-named workmen and teachers to be maintained and paid by the United States, for the period of five years and as long thereafter as the President may deem advisable; the United States will also erect suitable school-houses, shops, and dwellings for the accommodation of the school-teachers and mechanics above specified, and for the protection of the public property.
These articles to be binding on the contracting parties when ratified and confirmed by the President and Senate of the United States.
In testimony whereof the parties have hereunto signed their names and fixed their seals this 29th day of April, Anno Domini 1851.
Signed and sealed and delivered, after being fully explained in presence of
JOHN McKEE, Secretary
JOHN HAMILTON, Interpreter
ADAM JOHNSTON, Agent
C. D. KEYS, Capt. 3d Art’y, Escort
W. S. KING, Ass’t Surg. U.S.A.
I. H. LANDRAM, Lieut. 3d Art’y
H. J. G. GIGSON, 2nd Lieut. 3dArt’y
N. H. M. LEAN, Lieut. 2nd Inf’t
T. H. A. MARS
(Signed), REDICK MCKEE, G. W. BARBOUR, O. M. WOOZENCROFT
For and in behalf of the Howechais—Nai-yak-qua, No-cheel, Chal-wak-chee, Por-sa, Po-qui.
For and in behalf of the Chookchaney—Co-tum-si, Tim-oh, Sa-wa-lui, A-chat-a-wa, Mi-e-wal.
For an in behalf of the Chowchillas—Po-ho-leel, E-keen-o, Kay-o-ya, A-pem-shee, Cho-no-hal-ma.
For and in behalf of the Pohonoeeches—Po-tol, Chee-ko, Mooch-ca-te, Ho-has-see, Cow-wal.
For and in behalf of the Nookchoos—Pan-wach-ee, Ket-ta, Mullu-ee, Taw-wich, Wal-lin.
For and in behalf of the Pitcachees—Tom-quit, Ya-ko-wal, Too-tro-mi, Cho-lul, Ne-sa-plo.
For and in behalf of the Capoos —Domingo Perez, Tom-mas, Jose Antonio.
For and in behalf of the Toomaneh—Hat-chu-too, Tap-pa, Po-sha.
For and in behalf of the Tallinchy—Cho-kate, Pal-lo-koosh, How-il-me-na, So-kuch.
For and in behalf of the Poskesas—Ko-shish, Ko-itch, Cop-pi, Wo-wal.
For and in behalf of the Wachahets—Pasqual, Wa-keen, Jose Antonio.
For and in behalf of the Itaches—Wa-too, A-por-trai, To-hai-chee.
For and in behalf of the Choenemnes—Wau-toi-ki, Ho-let-tee, Ta-ween.
For and in behalf of the Chokimenas—Ko-heel, Tra-ta-it-se, Woh-ton.
For and in behalf of the Notohotos—Pasqual.
For and in behalf of the Narmelches — Pasqual.
The above Indian names are signed by an “X,” his mark.
ADAM JOHNSTON, UNITED STATES SUB-AGENT FOR THE VALLEY OF SAN JOAQUIN, TO COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS3
3Senate Executive Document No. 4, Special Session, 1851.
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
December 3, 1851
SIR: In accordance with the laws and regulations in regard to “depredations of Indians on the property of white persons,” I herewith transmit a claim of Major James D. Savage for remuneration. The facts set forth in the application are known to me to be true. I was near to the place at the time the murders and robbery were committed among the Indians residing on the Little Mariposa. On hearing of this outbreak on the Fresno, I immediately repaired to the spot, where I found the bodies of the murdered men and had them interred. The house was stripped of everything valuable, and safe broken open and robbed of its contents. Major Savage had applied to me some time previous for a license to trade with those Indians. I did not then give him formal license, but gave him permission to go on and erect his trading-house in Fresno, and to trade with the Indians until I could visit that part of the country. I therefore supposed he was “lawfully within the Indian country.” I had only reached the neighborhood at the time of the outbreak and was visiting the Indians on the Little Mariposa. On this occurrence all the Indians of that region fled to the mountains, and a predatory war was the result. Since treaties have been entered into in that region, I have inquired of the Indians engaged in the robbery in regard to the cause. They acknowledge the act, but say they were “hungry, and their heads got bad.” I submit the claim for consideration and directions.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
United States Sub-Agent for the Valley of the San Joaquin
JAMES D. SAVAGE TO ADAM JOHNSTON,4 UNITED STATES SUB-AGENT, VALLEY OF SAN JOAQUIN
To ADAM JOHNSTON,
U. S. Indian Agent, Valley of San Joaquin:
The undersigned respectfully represents to you that on or about the 6th day of October, A. D. 1850, after obtaining your consent to erect a trading-house on the headwaters of the Fresno river, for the purpose of trading with the Indians on said stream, I have erected a house for my goods, and a corral for my cattle, and continued to do business on said stream until about the 17th day of December, A. D., 1850, when the Chouchilla, Chookchuney, and Pohuniche tribes or bands of Indians broke out, killing my clerk, Mr. Greely, a Mr. Stiffner, and Mr. James Kennedy, and robbed my store of all goods, broke open my iron safe and abstracted a large amount of money and valuable papers, and destroyed all of my furniture and property.
The losses sustained by me were as follows:
Goods and provisions actually on hand, which
were taken and destroyed by the Indians
$13,000 Money in my safe 5,000 Iron safe 150 Two riding-mules, at $150 each 300 Twelve head of work-oxen 900 Two fine horses 300 One house, furniture and fixtures 1,000 Two canvas tents and fixtures 500 At the same time at my tent on the Little Mariposa,
sixteen mules, at $100 each
1,600 Forty head of beef cattle, at $60 each 2,400 ——— Making in all the sum of 25,150
The undersigned further represents that all of the above-named property was taken by force, with an intent to steal, and that the property was appropriated by the said Indians to their own use.
JAMES D. SAVAGE
I, James D. Savage, being duly sworn, do solemnly aver that all of the matters and things set forth in the foregoing statement are true, and that neither myself, representative, attorney, nor agent, has violated the provisions of the law by seeking or attempting to obtain private satisfaction or revenge in the premises.
J. D. SAVAGE
Subscribed and sworn to before me, this 21st day of October, A. D. 1851.
United Stater Sub-Agent, Valley of the San Joaquin
I, Anthony Brown, do solemnly swear in the presence of Almighty God, that I was at the house of James D. Savage, on the Fresno river, on or about the 17th day of December, A. D. 1850, when the Indians of the Chouchilla, Chook-chuney, and Pohuniche tribes or bands commenced the robbery and massacre as above stated by James D. Savage; that Mr. Greely, Mr. Stiffner, and Mr. Kennedy were killed by said Indians in my presence, and that I narrowly escaped with my life after having my arm broken, my head fractured, and being elsewhere hurt; that the attack was unprovoked, and the property was taken by force, with an intent to steal, or be otherwise maliciously destroyed; that all of the matters and things set forth in the statement of Mr. James D. Savage are true in every particular.
A. S. BROWN
Subscribed and sworn to before me, this 21st day of October, 1851.
United States Sub-Indian Agent
I, William H. Hays, being duly sworn, depose and say: That I was at the house of James D. Savage, on the Little Mariposa, about the 17th day of December, A. D. 1850, and know that the forty head of beef cattle and nine mules mentioned in the claim of James D. Savage were stolen by the Indians, as stated by him. Deponent further states that he was familiar with the business of Mr. James D. Savage, and has been at his store, on the Fresno, before the robbery and massacre alluded to above; that he is satisfied that the attack and robbery were unprovoked, and that the goods were taken by force, with an intent to steal, and that his property was maliciously destroyed by the Indians.
WILLIAM H. HAYS
Subscribed and sworn to before me, this 21st day of October, A. D. 1851.
U. S. Sub-Indian Agent, Valley of San Joaquin
MUSTER ROLL, MARIPOSA BATTALION5
5From Elliott’s History of Fresno County, 1881.
Muster Roll of a Volunteer Battalion under the command of Major James D. Savage, mustered into the service of the State of California by James Burney, Sheriff of Mariposa, pursuant to an order from his excellency, the Governor of the State of California, bearing date January 24, 1851, at Aqua Frio, February 10, 1851:
|1. James D. Savage, Major||5. Francis Laumiester, Quartermaster and Commissary|
|2. M. B. Lewis, Adjutant||6. Theodore Wilson, Quartermaster Sergeant|
|3. A. Brunston, Sergeant||7. Vincent Haylix, Guide|
|4. Robert E. Russell, Sergeant-Major|
1. Kuykendall, John I., Captain, 36, Harris County, Texas
2. Scott, John I., First Lieutenant, 30, Clark County, Alabama
3. Rodgers, Thomas T., Second Lieutenant, 46, Red River County, Texas
4. Smith, Elisha M., Second Brevet, 25, Steuben County, NewYork
5. Hector, M. Forbz, Ordnance Sergeant, 40, Monterey, California
6. Aldrich, Julius, Private, 24, Southwich, Massachusetts
7. Bell, George, Private, 26, Camdon County, Massachusetts
8. Blanchard, Aaron, Private, 29, Calais, Vermont
9. Brison, James, Private, 21, Boston, Massachusetts
10. Brundidge, V. D., Private, 21, Steuben County, New York
11. Burnham, H., Private
12. Barrett, Joseph, Private, 20, New York City
13. Burgess, Joseph, Private, 34, Erie County, New York
14. Criper, Henry, Private, 34, St. Louis, Missouri
15. Crookshank, Wm. T., Private, 28, Troy, New York
16. Cheoiles, Henry, Private, 27, New York City
17. Dudley, Wm., Private, 34, City of York
18. Davis, Walter L., Private, 28, District of James Town [Jamestown], U.C.
19. Ellis, John, Private, 23, Boston, Massachusetts
20. Fulton, Francis, Private, 21
21. Folsome, Daniel, Private, 21, Norfolk County, Massachusetts
22. Freeman, Wm. F., Private, 21, Charles Town, Massachusetts
23. French, Clent, Private, 25, Steuben County, New York
24. Fearon, Samuel, Private, 23, New York City
25. Green, Wm., Private, 29, Covington, Rhode Island
26. Gidian, Charles, Private, 23, Philadelphia (a black boy)
27. Gosmer, Joseph, Private, 29, St. Louis, Missouri
28. Hugh, Martin, Private, 25, Neward [Newark], New Jersey
29. Hill, Richard, Private, 32, Australia
30. Hill, R. E., Private, 32, Australia
31. Huffman, Henry A., Private, 25, Clark County, Ohio
32. Hunter, Bob, Private, 38, Lion [Leon] County, Texas
33. Herman, John, Private, 30, Philadelphia
34. Hazelrig, Charles, Private, 20, Genesee, Iowa
35. Hunter, William C., Private, 26, St. Louis, Missouri
36. Isham, Claburn, Private, 30, Faning [Fannin] County, Texas
37. James, John, Private, 29, St. Landre Parish, Louisiana
38. Leach, Lewis (Dr.), Private, 28, St. Louis, Missouri
39. Leander, Joseph, Private, 25, Albany, New York
40. Luker, Wm., Private
41. Lewis, Samuel H., Private, 22, Jasper County, Texas
42. Loyd, Sim M., Private, 30, Leon County, Texas
43. McSlay, Andrew, Private, 38, Harris County, Texas
44. McKey, Thomas, Private, 28, New Orleans, Louisiana
45. McFadden, O. P., Private, 24, Cass County, Texas
46. Myers, Charles P., Private, 26, Monmouth, New Jersey
47. Milhouse, Gustavis, Private, 25, Santa Barbara, California
48. Miller, R. F., Private, 18, Lamar County, Texas
49. McKenzie, David, Private, 21, Travis County, Texas
50. McCloud, Wm., Private
51. O’Donel, Joseph, Private, 30, California
52. Pilkington, Mathew, Private, 34, Buffalo, New York
53. Puples, A. H., Private, 28, Cado [Caddo] Parish, Louisiana
54. Potter, James W., Private, 32, Hanson, Maine
55. Petchford, Washington, Private, 19, Holms [Holmes] County, Mississippi
56. Robertson, W. W., Private, 25, Cass County, Texas
57. Rheem, Charles W., Private, Carlisle, Pennsylvania
58. Riley, John S., Private, 30, Franklin, Mississippi
59. Stone, Samuel S., Private, 22, Lexington, Missouri
60. Seybola, Conrad, Private, 23, Newton, Texas
61. Selar, John, Private, 28, Natchez, Mississippi
62. Smith, Hyram C., Private, 18, Genesee, New York
63. Stone, John E., Private, 19, Henderson County, Kentucky
64. Small, Wm. B., Private, 32, Boston, Massachusetts
65. Still, Vendell, Private, 28, New Orleans, Louisiana
66. Sutton, John D., 34, [Lawrence] County, Ohio
67. Thomas, Isaac P., Private, 25, Dallas County, Texas
68. Wilson, Robert, Private, 26, New Orleans, Louisiana
69. Wright, Wm., Private, 28, Morgan County, Illinois
70. Westcott, Varnum, Private, 25, Jefferson County, New York
1. Bowling [Boling], John, Captain
2. Chandler, Reuben T., First Lieutenant
3. Gilbert, Thomas J., Second Lieutenant
4. Hancock, Thomas J., Second Brevet
5. Hawkins, John J., First Sergeant
6. Gray, James, First Corporal. All the time.
7. Adams, Edward S., Second Corporal. All the time.
8. Allen, Joseph A., Private
9. Anderson, Philip, Private
10. Bradly, Thomas N., Private
11. Black, Norman, Private
12. Black, John C., Private
13. Burnell, Lafayette H., Private [Editor’s note: Lafayette H. Bunnell—dea]
14. Brooks, Israel H., Third Corporal. All the time.
15. Brown, Wm. P., Private
16. Blakey, Everett C., Private
17. Berdon, Joseph S., Private
18. Chambers, James H., Private
19. Crenshaw, George H., Private
20. Crenshaw, Wm. A., Private
21. Cameron, Alexander M., Third Sergeant. All the time.
22. Clark, Francis B., Private. Place taken by R. McKee Mar. 20th.
23. Chase, George, Private
24. Drinkwater, Nelson, Private
25. Davis, Wm. H., Private
26. Edmunson, John C., Private
27. Fermon, Edward, Private
28. Flanegan, Patrick, Private
29. Folsome, Joseph B., Private
30. Ford, George M., Private
31. Fisher, Wm. P., Private
32. Fairchilds, John, Private
33. Gordon, Ennis B., Second Sergeant. All the time.
34. Graham, Jesse J., Private. A. D. Fireball [Firebaugh] substituted Mar. 10th.
35. Gray, Augustus A., Private
36. Hill, Pembleton, Private. Place taken by G. W. Camron
37. Howard, Wm. H., Private [Editor’s note: William H. Howard—dea]
38. Hall, Robert L., Private. Time served out by P. Hussery
39. Houghton, Edward W., Private
40. Hale, Johnson B., Private
41. Hunt, John L., Private
42. Hayes, Wm H., Private
43. Kerr, John C., Private
44. Kerney, James, Private
45. Lendrum, George, Private
46. Lyles, Isaac, Private
47. Lloyd, George W., Private
48. Lustor, Sterling H., Private
49. Lowring, James, Private. Time served out by Clint French.
50. McKenney, Andrew, Private
51. McKenney, James M., Private
52. McGarrah, James, Private
53. Miller, John I., Private
54. Morris, Thomas, Private
55. Mallard, Charles W., Private. Time served out by Joseph Young.
56. Nolin, Joseph, Private
57. O’Neill, John, Private
58. Peirpont, Daniel L., Private
59. Perry, Willis C., Private
60. Roundtree, Wm., A., Private
61. Rankin, John I., Private
62. Rainbolt, Peter A., Private
63. Roane, James H., Fourth Corporal
64. Stracy, Alpha H., Private
65. Slaughter, Edward J., Private
66. Spencer, Champion H., Private
67. Starkey, Jesse S., Private
68. Shaw, John B., Private
69. Stone, Thomas H., Private
70. Shepherd, Joseph, Private. (Feb. 10th)
71. Tannihill, Benjamin H., Fourth Sergeant
72. Thompson, Robert H., Private
1. Dill, William, Captain, 30, Texas
2. Ferrell, Hugh W., First Lieutenant, 21, Beauford [Beaufort] District, South Carolina
3. Russell, F. W., Second Lieutenant, 22, Fulton, Missouri
4. Fletcher, Crawford, Second Brevet, 26, Jackson, Mississippi
5. Bishop, S. A., First Sergeant, 25, Halloway [Callaway] County, Missouri
6. Taylor, George, Second Sergeant, 27, Augusta, Virginia
7. Wingfield, A. A., Third Sergeant, 25, Johnson County, Missouri
8. Durlle, R. G., Fourth Sergeant, 24, Antonia County, New York
9. Lee, H., First Corporal, 24, Fulton County, New York
10. Kirkpatrick. I., Second Corporal, 29, Will County, Illinois
11. Carson, William, Third Corporal, 21, Augusta County, Virginia
12. Reynolds, I. S., Fourth Corporal, 25, Columbia County, New York
13. Burry, E. J., Private, 22, England
14. Bachman, B. F., Private, 21, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
15. Barrow, Julian, Private, 35, France
16. Coy, J., Private, 23, San Jose, California
17. Canfield, C. T., Private, 39, New York City
18. Coy, Mathew, Private, 21, San Jose, California
19. Chandelera, Private, 40, Santa Fe, New Mexico
20. Draper, William, Private, 21, Johnson County, Missouri
21. Ecleston, Robert, Private, 21, New York City [Editor’s note: Robert Eccleston—dea]
22. Fifer, M. W., Private, 28, New York City
23. Gray, J. F., Private, 22, Fulton County, Missouri
24. Godkin, Thomas, Private, 25, New York City
25. Hart, James W., Private, 20, Callaway County, Missouri
26. Hodgson, John, Private, 32, York, England
27. Huchett, A. C., Private, 39, France
28. Jones, J. W., Private, 24, England
29. John, A., Private, 19, France
30. Kenny, Thomas B., Private, 28, Petersburg, Virginia
31. Long, Thomas A., Private, 20, Jackson County, Missouri
32. Lewis, Henry D., Private, 29, Henry County, Missouri
33. McGathy, James C., Private, 24, Bonce County, Illinois
34. McGathy, James S., Private, 25, Bonce County, Illinois
35. McEwing, Felix, Private, 24, Montgomery County, Missouri
36. McVicker, Henry, Private, 40, Pennsylvania
37. Prather, George, Private, 19, Linn County, Missouri
38. Pate, Francis, Private, 27, Harrison County, Texas
39. Poittesin, Arista, Private, 37, France
40. Parkinson, John, Private, 29, New York
41. Randolph, Wm. F., Private, 20 [Fauquier] County, Virginia
42. Rail, Edmond, Private, 20, Cooper County, Missouri
43. Rodgers, Charles A., Private, 24, Fulton County, Missouri
44. Soto, Jose, Private, 19, Calaway [Callaway] County, Missouri
45. Sims, Parris, Private, 48, St. Clair County, Missouri
46. Slavin, Charles S., Private, 27, Patterson County, Virginia
47. Smith, James, Private, 23, New York
48. Saucer, Ferdinand, Private, 43, France
49. Stevens, Elbert C., Private, 24, Collinville City
50. Simeon, Augustus, Private, 29, France
51. Talbott, Thomas J., Private, 22, Cooper County, Missouri
52. Valentine, Charles T., Private, 30, Aberdeen County, Mississippi
53. Varney, George, Private, 26, Perkatgues County, Missouri
54. Winfield, Charles R., Private, 25, LaFayette County, Missouri
55. Winters, John D., Private, 31, York County, Pennsylvania
|Staffs, Surgeon, Quartermaster, and Adjutant||7|
|Battalion rank and file||204|
P.S. Russell and Hayhr detached from Captain Dills’ Company.
A LETTER6 FROM “M,” PUBLISHED APRIL 23, 1851
6Daily Alta California, San Francisco, April 23, 1851.
SAN JOSÉ, April 22, 1851
MESSRS. EDITORS: I have just had a conversation with Judge Lewis, the Adjutant of Maj. Savage’s Battallion of mounted Volunteers, and Lieut. Brooks of the same Battallion, who are recently from the seat of the Indian war in Mariposa County. From them I learn the following particulars: On the 19th of March Major Savage, with Captains Bowling and Dill’s Companies started from Camp No. 3 for the head waters of the Merced river to subdue the Yo Semites and Neuch-Teus who refused to come into the treaty made with the tribes in that vicinity by the Indian Commissioners at Camp Frémont. The volunteers after three days march arrived in the neighborhood of the Indians and on the morning of the fourth day surprised the Neuch-Teus and took them prisoners. The march was over rugged mountains and through deep defiles covered with snows and was one of considerable exposure and hardship. The command upon the 21st marched all day and during the night until about 4 o’clock on the morning of the 22d, some forty-five miles, when the troops arrived at the South Fork of the Merced river about seven miles above the rancheria of the Neuch-Teus. During the march the volunteers were without food and marching continually through the snow. Upon arriving at the stream above mentioned, the pack train was left with a guard who succeeded by removing the snow in procuring a few rushes for the animals. The volunteers, after resting a few moments took up the line of march for the rancheria, where they arrived about seven in the morning of the 23d.
This part of the march was exceedingly difficult and dangerous. It lay along a deep canyon and a part of it had to be made through the water and a part over precipitous cliffs covered with snow and ice. Major Savage had with him an Indian boy from the Chowchilla tribe who had married a Neuch-Teus wife who was living in the rancheria at this time. He told the boy that in case the Neuch-Teus attempted to run from the rancheria the whole of them would be killed. The boy was much alarmed at this, went a short distance ahead of the volunteers, and by creeping on his hands and knees through the bushes managed to get within a short distance of the rancheria before being discovered by the Indians. He communicated to them what Savage had told him and finding themselves entrapped surrendered without showing any disposition to fight and without a gun being fired. Almost the first question asked by Pan-Wache, their Chief, was whether Savage was there? When Savage answered in their own language that he was, the Chief came out and met the Major who told the Chief the object for which they had come. The Major told him that he had before said that some day the white people would come for them and that now since his Indians were enemies of the whites he had come to kill them all unless they could consent to live like good Indians.
These Indians as well as most of the tribes on this side of the Sierra’s believe in wizards and witches. A man distinguished for his superior knowledge and power is regarded as a wizard. The Major told the Chief that three wizards had been sent to the Indian country by the great wizard of the white men to make the Indians presents, to learn them how to till the soil and live like the whites, and that the great wizard wanted all the Indians to be good and honest and to come out of the mountains and reside on the plains, and that the white people were very numerous, and if the Indians did not do as the three wizards desired the great wizard would tell the white men to kill all of the Indians. The chief replied that he had heard at different times the same thing that was now told him but that he did not believe it was true—since he (Savage) had come and told him he believed it true and would go with him. The volunteers having selected camping ground about two miles from the rancheria, sent up for the mules, and the next day made preparation to march against the Yo Semitees, living about twenty-five miles distant, on the middle fork of the Merced. In the mean time an Indian courier had been dispatched by Maj. Savage to the Indians informing them of his approach to their country and the objects of his mission, with a request that the chief, Yo Semite [Tenaya], together with his tribe should come into the camp. The chief obeyed the summons but brought none of his tribe with him except two sons. Upon arriving he made many excuses for not bringing with him his people, among which were that they were all good Indians—that they never stole animals nor killed white men—that it was now in the dead of winter and the snows deep—that they were well supplied with acorns and living happy and contented. These Indians, nevertheless, have committed numerous depredations about Burn’s Diggings and Mariposa and the assertions of their goodness and peaceable intentions obtained no credence, and the chief and his people were peremptorily ordered to be in camp within three days. Major Savage, doubting whether Yo Semitee would obey the order, started on the morning of the 25th with a part of his command and three days’ provisions for the Middle Fork. On the way he met the Yo Semitees coming in, but still doubting whether they were all on the road, he pushed forward through the snows, and a snow storm, to the rancheria, taking with him the chief. Upon arriving there he found a large quantity of acorns put up in cribs which he destroyed, as well as their huts. He found also a very old Indian and his wife, the father and mother of Yosemitee, who had been left behind to perish or to take care of themselves as best they could. They were living in a cave in which was kindled a small fire, but will doubtless perish during the winter. The Major had a large pile of wood carried to them, and acorns, but they were old, decrepid, and Yo-Semitee [Tenaya] remarked that he had thrown them away and must leave them since they could not travel and take care of themselves.
Quite a number of Indian tracks led toward the Sierras and upon inquiry it was ascertained that they were those of some Monas, a tribe of Indians living the other side of the Sierras, and whilst on a visit last fall were caught this side by early snows, and unable to return. Upon learning that the Yo Semitees were likely to have difficulties, they became alarmed and started for their tribe. The Monas are nearly white and are much superior, mentally and physically, to the Indians this side of the mountains. Maj. Savage despatched Yo Semitee [Tenaya] on their trail to bring them back, but after traveling several hours he was unable to overtake them. During the night the snow fell to the depth of three or four feet which obliterated all trace of their footsteps. Being satisfied that no more Indians were in that quarter, the command commenced the march back. The snows impeded their progress very much, and the volunteers were obliged to go in advance of their animals and break a path in order to get them along. On the march several animals became exhausted from the want of food and from fatigue, and were left on the road. Upon returning for them the next day, they were found dead. Upon arriving in camp, the Volunteers with the Indians started for the headquarters on the Fresno, on the 29th. The rancheria of the Yo Semitees is described as being in a valley of surpassing beauty, about 10 miles in length and one mile broad. Upon either side are high perpendicular rocks, and at each end through which the Middle Fork runs, deep cations, the only accessible entrances to the Valley. The forest trees, such as pine, fir, red wood and cedar, are of immense height and size. There is a species of pine tree here from which exudes a sacharine substance nearly resembling in looks and taste brown sugar. The Indians gather and use it as an article for food, and Judge Lewis informs me that excepting a slight piney taste, it cannot be distinguished from common brown sugar. On the first day of April the whole command arrived at the head quarters of the regulars on the Fresno, and the Indians were turned over to the Commissioners. The Commissioners declined treating with them until the Chow-Chillas came in, but furnished them with a supply of food and some clothing.
Judge Lewis and Lieut. Brooks left Camp No. 4 on the Fresno on the 13th of April, upon which day the regulars started for Cassady’s on the San Joaquin, and Maj. Savage with his command on an expedition against the Chow-chillas. This, the most powerful of the Indian tribes in California, is believed to have at its command 1,000 warriors. A portion of the Pyanches [Piutes] from the other side of the Sierras are known to be allied with them and other tribes this side of the mountains. A hard fight is anticipated with them since they have refused all overtures of peace and have committed the most daring robberies and unprovoked murders in the neighborhood of fine and coarse Gold Gulches. Large quantities of snow have fallen since the expedition started, which will render the march exceedingly difficult, and perhaps defeat the ultimate success of the troops. However, the Major and the officers and the men under him will not turn back for any ordinary difficulties, and we may expect soon to hear of the complete subjection of the Chow-chillas. The next treaty will be made with the Indians at some point on the San Joaquin. The best of feeling exists between the regular and volunteer forces, and in the course of a month it is believed that the Indian difficulties will be satisfactorily settled from the Calaveras to the Tulare Lake, opening to miners some of the best mining and agricultural districts in the State. May future success attend the negotiations with the Indians, and the volunteers receive the meed of praise which they deserve, and the money which they have earned by numerous hardships incident to a border warfare carried on in the snow hills in mid-winter.
BOLING’S LETTER ABOUT MAJOR SAVAGE’S BATTALION7
7Daily Alta California, San Francisco, June 12, 1851.
We publish below two more letters touching the movements of the battalion of State troops under Major Savage—one from Captain Bowling and the other from the Sergeant Major of the command.
MERCED RIVER, YO-SEMETY VILLAGE
May 15, 1851
SIR: On reaching this valley, which we did on the 9th inst. I selected for our encampment the most secluded place that I could find, lest our arrival might be discovered by the Indians. Spies were immediately despatched in different directions, some of which crossed the river to examine for signs on the opposite side. Trails were soon found, leading up and down the river, which had been made since the last rain. On the morning of the tenth we took up the line of march for the upper end of the valley, and having traveled about five miles we discovered five Indians running up the river on the north side. All of my command, except a sufficient number to take care of the pack animals put spurs to their animals, swam the river and caught them before they could get into the mountains. One of them proved to be the son of the old Yo-Semety chief. I informed them if they would come down from the mountains and go with me to the United States Indian Commissioners, they would not be hurt; but if they would not, I would remain in their neighborhood as long as there was a fresh track to be found; informing him at the same time that all the Indians except his father’s people and the Chou-Chillas had treated, and that you were then after the Chou-chillas with two companies of volunteers, determined upon chasing them as long as a track could be found in the mountains, and that all the Indians which had been treated with were well satisfied with their situation. He then informed me that we had been discovered by their spies and that we would not have got so close had they have known we could run over the river so quick on horseback, and that if I would let him loose with another Indian, he would bring in his father and all his people by twelve o’clock the next day. I then gave him plenty to eat and started him and his companion out. We watched the others close intending to hold them as hostages until the despatch-bearers returned. They appeared well satisfied and we were not suspicious of them, in consequence of which one of them escaped. We commenced searching for him, which alarmed the other two still in custody, and they attempted to make their escape. The boys took after them and finding they could not catch them, fired and killed them both. This circumstance connected with the fact of the two whom we had sent out not returning, satisfied me that they had no intention of coming in. My command then set out to search for the Rancheria. The party which went up the left towards Canyarthia found the rancheria at the head of a little valley, and from the signs it appeared that the Indians had left but a few minutes. The boys pursued them up the mountain on the north side of the river, and when they had got near the top, helping each other from rock to rock on account of the abruptness of the mountains; the first intimation they had of Indians being near was a shower of huge rocks which came tumbling down the mountain, threatening instant destruction. Several of the men were knocked down, and some of them rolled and fell some distance before they could recover, wounding and bruising them generally. One man’s gun was knocked out of his hand and fell seventy feet before it stopped, whilst another man’s hat was knocked off his head without hurting him. The men immediately took shelter behind large rocks, from which they could get an occasional shot, which soon forced the Indians to retreat, and by pressing them close they caught the old Yo-semity chief, whom we yet hold as a prisoner. In this skirmish they killed one Indian and wounded several others.
You are aware that I know this old fellow well enough to look out well for him, least by some stratagem he makes his escape. I shall aim to use him to the best advantage in pursuing his people. I send down a few of my command with the pack animals for provisions; and I am satisfied if you will send me ten or twelve of old Pon-watchez’ best men I could catch the women and children and thereby force the men to come in. The Indians I have with me have acted in good faith and agree with me in this opinion.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully,
Your most obedient servant,
*Mr. Hal Barnett of Stockton, relative of John Boling, writes under date of December 4, 1931: “As far as we know, John Boling always spelled his name and signed his name “Boling,” and his grandchildren spell their name “Boling.”
ANOTHER LETTER ABOUT SAVAGE’S BATTALION8
8Daily Alta California, San Francisco, June 14, 1851.
Subjoined is the last of the letters descriptive of the expedition of the State troops against the Indians. It is a letter from Captain Bowling to Colonel Barbour, Indian Commissioner:
FRESNO RIVER, May 29, 1851
SIR: You will no doubt have learned from my report of the 12th inst., to Major Savage, that we were at that time in close pursuit of the Yosemitie tribes of Indians, that in a slight brush with them we captured their famous chief, and that at this stage of the proceedings the further success of our proceedings was materially affected from the necessity of having to replenish our stock of provisions, which was at a distance of over one hundred miles from our encampment. Notwithstanding the number of our party being reduced to twenty-two men, by the absence of the detachments necessary to escort with safety the pack train, we continued the chase with such rapidity, that we forced a large portion of the Indians to take refuge in the plains with friendly Indians, while the remainder sought to conceal themselves among the rugged cliffs in the snowy regions of the Sierra Nevada.
Thus far I have made it a point to give as little alarm as possible. After capturing some of them I set a portion at liberty, in order that they might assure the others that if they come in they would not be harmed. Notwithstanding the treachery of the old chief, who contrived to lie and deceive us all the time, his grey hairs saved the boys from inflicting on him that justice which would have been administered under other circumstances. Having become satisfied that we could not persuade him to come in, I determined on hunting them, and if possible running them down, lest by leaving them in the mountains, they should form a new settlement and a place of refuge for other ill disposed Indians, who might do mischief and retreat to the mountains, and finally entice off those who are quiet and settled in the reserve. On the 20th the train of pack animals and provisions arrived, accompanied by a few more men than the party which went out after provisions, and Ponwatchi, the chief of the Nuch-tucs tribe with twelve of his warriors.
On the morning of the 21st we discovered the trail of a small party of Indians traveling in the direction of the Mono’s country. We followed this trail until 2 o’clock next day, 22d when one of the scouting parties reported a rancheria near at hand. Almost at the same instant a spy was discovered watching our movements. We made chase after him immediately, and succeeded in catching him before he arrived at the rancheria, and we also succeeded in surrounding the ranch and capturing the whole of them. This chase in reality was not the source of amusement which it would seem to be when anticipated. Each man in the chase was stripped to his drawers, in which situation all hands ran at full speed at least four miles, some portion of the time over and through snow ten feet deep, and in the four mile heat all Ponwatchi gained on my boys was only distance enough to enable them to surround the rancheria while my men ran up in front. Two Indians strung their bows and seized their arrows, when they were told if they did not surrender they would be instantly killed.
They took the proper view of this precaution and immediately surrendered. The inquiry was made of those unfortunate people if they were then satisfied to go with us; their reply was, they were more than willing, as they could go to no other place. From all we could see and learn from those people we were then on the main range of the Sierra Nevada. The snow was in many places more than ten feet deep, and generally where it was deep the crust was sufficiently strong to bear a man’s weight, which facilitated our traveling very much. Here there was a large lake completely frozen over, which had evidently not yet felt the influence of the spring season. The trail which we were bound to travel lay along the side of a steep mountain so slippery that it was difficult to get along barefoot without slipping and falling hundreds of yards. This place appeared to be their last resort or place where they considered themselves perfectly secure from the intrusion of the white man. In fact those people appear to look upon this place as their last home, composed of nature’s own materials, unaided by the skill of man.
The conduct of Pon-watchi and his warriors during this expedition, entitled him and them to much credit. They performed important service voluntarily and cheerfully, making themselves generally useful, particularly in catching the scattered Indians after surprising a rancheria. Of the Yosemities, few, if any, are now left in the mountains. Our prisoners say they have all gone down to Cypriano’s people.
It seems that their determined obstinacy is entirely attributable to the influence of their chief, whom we have a prisoner, among others of his tribe, and whom we intend to take care of. They have now been taught the double lesson, that the white man would not give up the chase without the game, and at the same time, if they would come down from the mountains and behave themselves, they would be kindly treated.
Since I have had those Indians in the service with me, and seen the interest they take in trying to bring all others to terms, taking into consideration the good faith in which they have acted, all the men with me who have been witnesses to their good conduct, are satisfied that if the general government furnishes them promptly, as agreed, and bad-disposed white men are kept from among them, peace and quiet will soon be restored and maintained by the Indians.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully,
Your most obed’t serv’t,
JOHN BOWLING, Capt. Comp’y B
TO COL. G. W. BARBOUR
AT THE CAMP OF DISBANDMENT9
9From Elliott’s History of Fresno County, 1881.
June 29, 1851
I certify on honor, that the entire force of volunteers under command of Major James D. Savage, was honorably discharged on the evening of the aforesaid first day of July, 1851. By order of James D. Savage, Major Commanding. Pursuant to the previous order of his excellency, John McDougal.
Given under my hand,
M. B. LEWIS, Mustering Officer
The Camp of Disbandment was at Buckeye Creek, about halfway between Bridgeport and Mariposa.
10Daily Alta California, San Francisco, August 12, 1852.
The Stockton Journal says that Maj. Fitzgerald arrived at that city last Sunday, with ninety dragoons from Benicia, and left the same day for the neighborhood of the Four Creeks. His object is to be present at the grand council of Indians summoned to meet on the 15th of this month, low down on the Tulare Valley, for the purpose of having a talk. This council was convoked by Dr. Wozencraft to adjust and settle the difficulties between the whites and Indians, caused by the doings of a certain Mr. Harvey who recently attacked a rancheria of Indians and killed a number of them. The war belt has been sent to all the tribes, and a general spirit is exhibited by all Indians to join and prosecute a war against the whites. It is to avoid this melancholy result, as it surely would be deplorable, that Dr. Wozencraft has summoned this council of the Indians together. It is not to be denied that a few restless spirits in Mariposa county have fomented this state of things, by not only disregarding the treaties made with the Indians, but by also trampling on their acknowledged rights, and setting at naught every principle of justice and humanity.
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