The Winter of 1855-1856

Governor Isaac Stevens

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,



Colonel Wright Arrives with his Regulars

Old Fort Walla Walla

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



The Yakima War, 1855-56

Ahtanum Mission

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



Battle of Seattle

Map of Battle of Puget Sound

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



Affairs Other than Major Rains’ Expedition

Peu-Peu-Mox-Mox of the Nez Perce 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



Pacific Northwest Indian Wars

Old Fort Walla Walla

The last of the Indian wars of the Pacific Northwest was fought barely three-quarters of a century ago. People still living have childhood recollections of those perilous days. Those wars have been adequately recorded, either separately or geographically by States as well as in the general histories. However, no one has heretofore compiled the story of all of them into a single history. The period from the early 1840’s to 1879 was filled with danger and death from the warring tribes and is replete with the struggles incident to the settlement of new territory. Blame for hostilities did not always rest with the Indians. These struggles brought out the best and the worst traits in men, white and Indian alike. Their history is sometimes poignant, sometimes tragic, and occasionally humorous.



The Leaven Begins to Work

The first affirmative action was the formation of a company of about fifty officers and men under the captaincy of Henry A. G. Lee. It was to proceed at once to the mission station at The Dalles, to hold that place in case of trouble, and to await reinforcements. In less than twenty-four hours the



Incidents – Coincidental and Following

While Kearney and Lane were busy with the foregoing, other Indian troubles were in progress. In May 1851, Captain William Tichenor, who was operating the steamer Seagull between Portland and San Francisco, announced that he intended to found a town on the Southern Oregon coast and build a road into the Southern Oregon gold district.



A Change of Commanders

Colonel Gilliam decided to accompany the escort column, chiefly because he could take that opportunity for conferring with the Governor and of acquainting him with the situation, it being quite apparent that the peace commission had failed. Accordingly, Gilliam, with two companies and some casuals, left Waiilatpu on March 20. They camped that evening beyond



Events between the Cayuse and the Rogue River War

While the Cayuse War was in progress some tribes nearer the Willamette Valley took advantage of the absence of the many men at the front. Both the Klamaths and Molalla conducted raids. There was an attack in Lane County; cattle were stolen in Benton County; a farmhouse was attacked in Champoeg County. This latter instance



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