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Captain Jack, Modoc Indian Tribe

Posted By Dennis Partridge On In Native American | No Comments

The famous warrior, more correctly called Keiutpoos, was born about the year 1840. Little is known of his early history. His fame rests upon his desperate fighting in the lava beds in the winter of 1872-73. In some respects the most extraordinary warrior in the annals of Indian fighting, it is yet a very difficult matter to decide whether Keiutpoos is to be regarded as an accident or a veritable Indian Hannibal. The location of that war was so singular, the forces of the Indians so small in comparison with those of the Whites, the slaughter of the latter so great and so unaccountable. The deliberate treachery of the Indians towards Canby and Thomas so coldly diabolical, the cost of exterminating the little band of savages so vast, and the final execution of Jack and his men so coolly and laconically met, that the attention of every read of history has been enchained; and, even with the execration which we must all feel for the atrocities of that savage band, we cannot avoid a lurking admiration for their amazing energy and daring.
At the time of his execution Jack was apparently thirty-four or thirty-five years old, small of stature, with a large head, shaggy hair, and restless, piercing eyes. There was little in him to show his tiger blood, though the remark that he made to one of the commissioners early in the war showed the philosophy which guided his life. Refusing to go to the reservation to starve, as he said, he added; “Not hurt to be killed with gun. Hurt much to starve to death!” He seemed to have thought that the war would not end except in his death.

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