A matter to be remarked is the variation in designations of the names of Indian wars of the Pacific Northwest. In some cases there is complete acceptance of a single designation. In those instances the fighting was entirely between the whites and a single tribe, or tribes which were blood relatives. Under other conditions the transition from one to another was not clearly defined, the blending of one series of hostilities often being overlaid by periods of inactivity or witnessing the passing of the warfare from the initiating tribe to some other tribe or combination of tribes. Hence it has
Topic: Yakima Indian War
It will be recalled that Governor Stevens of Washington Territory had been marooned to the northeast by the war. Fort Bennett received him late in the day on December 20, 1855. He had exhibited a rare insight into Indian character in his masterly conduct of treaty negotiations. Governor Stevens had left Walla Walla in June, 1855, with an escort of Nez Perce and had spent some time in establishing a spirit of cooperation with the Kootenai, Pend d’Oreilles, and Flathead tribes before visiting the Blackfeet. In October, having concluded a treaty with the latter tribe, he prepared to return home.
On December 21, 1855, the volunteers in the Walla Walla Valley were faced with a new snow-fall followed by a temperature of 20 degrees below zero. Their equipment and clothing did not con-form to the needs of the weather. Shoes were worn out and many of the men improvised moccasins from rawhide. Blankets and jackets had worn thin. Camp was moved from Fort Bennett to a location several miles north of present-day Walla Walla. There was plenty of beef and ample supplies of potatoes in the new camp and these provisions were supplemented by recovered caches of Indian food with
Governor Stevens sent James Doty to notify the tribes of a series of councils to be held in May, 1855, the first of which was to be attended by the Yakima, Cayuse, Walla Walla, and Nez Perce. Kamiakin, chief of the Yakima, selected as the council ground a place in the Walla Walla Valley not far from Waiilatpu. Governor Stevens and Superintendent Palmer were escorted there by Lt. Archibald Gracie and 47 dragoons. The presents for the chiefs were stored at Ft. Walla Walla. Comfortable arrangements were made at the council grounds and on May 24th the first of the
Governor Stevens soon learned that, as an adjunct to the Yakima War, there had been serious outbreaks in the Puget Sound country and that there was every prospect of more to follow soon. Often designated as “The Battles of Puget Sound” or “The Battle of Seattle” they were really a part of the Yakima War and are detailed here not alone for their intrinsic historical interest but also to show the wide-spread disaffection of the Western Washington tribes. Kamiakin, principal chief of the Yakima, was adept in his use of emissaries to incite and to threaten reprisals on any tribe
Kamiakin was a man of mixed talents and many outstanding characteristics and easily the outstanding Indian personality in the entire Columbia Basin. He was tall, muscular, and very dark, with a bearing that was regal. He had condemned the Cayuses for the Whitman massacre but was true to his race and wanted only the peaceful possession of the country for his people. On the other hand, foreseeing the inroads of the white people and the ultimate consequences, he decided that the only way through which the Indians could continue to hold their lands was by the extermination of the whites.
FREDERICK PROEBSTEL. – This pioneer of the Wallowa valley was born in Germany in 1829, and with his parents emigrated to America in 1842 and located in Missouri. In 1852 he made the crossing of the plains to Lewis County, Washington Territory, locating on Fourth Plain. Mr. Proebstel, belonging to the family of this name, a number of whose biographies are found in this volume, shared many experiences in common with others, and was one of the Indian fighters of 1855-56, and wishes to bear special testimony to the liberality of the Hudson’s Bay Company during the hard winter of
GEN. JOHN H. STEVENS. – This hero of a hundred Western adventures, and a pioneer of the great Inland Empire, was born on a town line in Windham County, Vermont. The son of Asa Stevens, a miller and farmer, he learned to use his hands and brain in practical affairs, and at the village school obtained a good working education. In his youth he followed business in Boston, and was engaged in lumbering in Pennsylvania. In 1832 he came west to Michigan, and at Coldwater, Branch County, kept a hotel, advancing his business also by taking mail contracts, and in
CAPT. PLEASENT CALVIN NOLAND. – Captain Noland, one of the most substantial farmers of Lane County, and for nearly forty years a resident of Oregon, was born in Missouri in 1830. His ancestry extends to Ireland and Wales; and his grandfather, Leadstone Noland, was a soldier in the war of the Revolution. His father, Smallwood V. Noland, became a pioneer of Missouri, and a very conspicuous man in that region, and as commissioner of Jackson County was concerned in the removal of the Mormons, by whom he nearly lost his life. In 1846, entering the service of the United States
HON. JAMES WILLIS NESMITH. – Oregon has given a few men to the nation; and the luster of their memory still shines in the galaxy of her heroes. Colonel Baker, one of the most brilliant men ever at Washington, District of Columbia, has coupled with his title that of senator from Oregon. Yet he was in no sense an Oregon-made man, but rather made use of Oregon to elevate him to a seat which it was impossible for him to attain from Illinois. With Colonel Nesmith, however, the case was the reverse. He was as truly an Oregon man as