Biography of F. M. Naught

F.M. NAUGHT. – Mr. Naught, whose life experience contains many incidents of unique interest, was born in Illinois in 1838, and removed as a child to Texas, and in 1846 to Iowa. In 1853 he crossed the plains to Oregon and located in Polk county. Upon the outbreak of the Indian war in 1856, he joined Captain F.M.P. Goff’s Company K, Washington Territory Volunteers, and came east of the cascades. In July of that year, a part of Captain Goff’s company quartered at Fort Henrietta was summoned to the relief of Major Leighton’s command, which was surrounded on the John Day river. Starting late in the evening with ten days’ rations, they rode that night and arrived upon the scene the next evening. The Indians fled upon their approach. Encamping that night with Leighton’s command, the united force of the volunteers started up the river in pursuit of the Indians, following so closely in their track as frequently to find meat still cooking.

Finally, upon the headwaters of Burnt river, they sighted some of the savages. Lieutenant William Hunter, with twenty-seven men, was ordered forward; and a skirmish ensued in which two of the volunteers were killed and one wounded. The Indians surrounded them; and for twenty-six hours it was necessary to fight on the defensive. But at last the two companies came to his relief; and the Indians broke and disappeared. The two men that were killed had ascended a mountain with a third to keep guard but were ambushed; and this was the commencement of the fight. The volunteers followed the fugitives through Powder river and Grande Ronde, where Colonel B.F. Shaw intercepted them, giving them a severe chastisement. At Lee’s encampment the command met a detachment of men coming to meet them with supplies, which were greatly appreciated, since they had subsisted twenty-eight days upon the ten days’ rations.

Later Mr. Naught took part in some of the exciting incidents on the attack on the wagon train, where the volunteers were moving up Mill creek from the present site of Walla Walla, after the six days’ council, in which the Nez Perce, Umatilla, Walla Walla and Cayuse Indians took part. After the close of hostilities, Mr. Naught returned to Polk county, and resumed work upon his father’s farm, and a year alter learned the blacksmith’s trade at Bethel, continuing in that employment until going to the mines at Oro Fino, driving a freight team. Late in 1861 he went to the Salmon river mines, and recalls the phenomenal prices paid for provisions, – two dollars a pound for flour, three dollars and a half a pound for bacon. Returning to Polk county, he engaged, in 1863, in packing to the Idaho mines, and in 1864 enlisted in Captain Lafollett’s Company A. Being discharged June 30th, he returned to Polk county, but in 1871 found his way to the Palouse valley, engaging in the sheep business; but of late years he has made his home in the Walla Walla valley, Washington Territory, near the town of Walla Walla, where he has a productive and beautiful farm, and is one of the leading citizens in his section.


History of the Pacific Northwest Oregon and Washington. 2 v. Portland, Oregon: North Pacific History Company. 1889.

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