Biography of Bezaleel Freeman Kendall

Bezaleel Freeman Kendall, like Elwood Evans, crossed the continent in 1853 with Stevens.

He was a native of Oxford, Maine, and a graduate of Bowdoin College. His talents are highly praised by all his biographers. Evans, who knew him well, says that he possessed a grand physique, was a fine scholar, able writer, powerful speaker, hard student, and of thorough integrity, but ambitions, aristocratic in his feelings, bitter in his prejudices, and indiscreet in his utterances.

The newspapers cannot too highly paint his contempt for the opinions of others, his bitterness of expression, his unqualified style of assault upon any with whom he differed.

He carried this strong individuality into a journal, which he edited, called the Overland Press, and which was the occasion of his death, Jan. 7, 1863. Kendall had been clerk of the legislature, territorial librarian, prosecuting attorney of the Olympian Jud. Dist; had been sent on a secret mission by Gen. Scott, and appointed Indian agent in the Yakima country, but soon removed on account of his imperiousness.

After his removal he published the Press, and used it to attack whomsoever he hated. He was the attorney and warm friend of George B. Roberts of the Puget Sound Co. On the 25th of October an attempt was made to burn the buildings of this company on Cowlitz farm. Kendall boldly charged the incendiaries on Horace Howe, a farmer residing on the Cowlitz, who, on the 20th of Dec. 1S62, met Kendall in Olympia and struck him over the head with a small stick, in resentment. Kendall retreated, and Howe pursued, when Kendall drew a pistol and shot Howe, inflicting a dangerous wound. A few weeks later a son of Howe shot Kendall through the heart.

Or. Statesman, Jan. 19, 1863; S. F. Bulletin, Jan. 12, 1863; Wash. Scraps, 146; Olympia Wash. Standard, Jan. 10, 1863.


Bancroft, Hubert H. Bancroft Works, Volume 31, History Of Washington, Idaho, and Montana, 1845-1889. San Francisco: The History Company. 1890.

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