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Biography of Chief Joseph – Nez Percé

Chief Joseph. Hinmaton-yalatkit. The leader of the Nez Percé in the hostilities of 1877. His mother was a Nez Percé, his father a Cayuse, who re­ceived the name Joseph from his teacher, the missionary Spalding, who was with Dr. A. Whitman and who went to the Idaho country in the late thirties of the 19th century. Chief Joseph’s native name was Hinmaton-yalatkit (Hinmaton, `thunder’; yalatkit, ‘coming from the water up over the land.’ – Miss McBeth), but both he and his brother Ollicot were often called Joseph, as if it were a family name. Joseph was a man of fine presence and impressive features, and was one of the most remarkable Indians within the borders of the Union.

Biography of General Edward McConville

In the recent trial of arms in which America won recognition and admiration never before accorded her by the older “powers” of Europe, there was no more distinguished or valiant soldier than General McConville, of Idaho, who went forth as one of the commanders of the Idaho troops and laid down his life on the altar of his country. His was a noble life and a glorious death, and his name is enduringly inscribed on the roll of America’s heroes. Though his loss is deeply mourned by his many friends, his memory will ever be cherished by all who knew him, and the cause of liberty will acknowledge its advancement to him and his compatriots who have fallen in defense of the honor of the flag and the noble principles of republicanism and justice which it represents. General McConville was a native of New York, his birth having occurred at Cape Vincent, Jefferson County, June 25, 1846. The history of the family furnishes many examples of valor, for since the days when William the Conqueror fought the battle of Hastings its representatives have won honor and fame in the military and naval service of France, England, Ireland and America. The family had its origin in France, it’s branches being found in Brittany, Gascony and Normandy. Two representatives of the name fought with William, the Norman prince, at the battle of Hastings, and their descendants went to Ireland with Sir John de Coursey’s forces in 1166 A. D., and were of the Normans of whom it was afterward said by the English that “they became more Irish than the Irish...

Biography of Joshua G. Rowton

One of the prominent farmers of Camas prairie is Joshua Graham Rowton, who was born in Benton County, Missouri, June 16, 1850. He is of English descent, his ancestors having been early settlers of Kentucky, where the family was founded by John Rowton, the grandfather of our subject. He afterward removed to Missouri and was numbered among the pioneers of that state. William Willis Rowton the father of Joshua, was born near Louisville, Kentucky, and when a young man accompanied the family on their emigration to Missouri. He made his home in Benton County but died at the early age of twenty-seven years. He married Martha Graham, who was left a widow with two little sons. She was ever faithfully devoted to her children and is still living, in her seventy-first year, her home being in Kansas. She has long been a member of the Baptist Church and is a most estimable lady. Mr. Rowton of this review was only a year old when his father died. He had little opportunity for acquiring an education, and as the family lost all their property during the civil war his school privileges were necessarily more limited than would otherwise have been the case. However, reading and experience in the practical affairs of life have added greatly to his knowledge, and he is today a very well informed man. When fourteen years of age he removed with his mother to Kansas, and since that time has been dependent entirely upon his own resources for his livelihood, so that whatever success he has achieved is due entirely to his own efforts. In the...

Biography of William H. Sebastian

Among the pioneers who came to northern Idaho in an early day to secure homes and open up this region to civilization is William H. Sebastian, now an enterprising farmer of Camas prairie. He located on the prairie in 1871, fought for the protection of the settlers in the Nez Perces Indian war, and has ever labored for the advancement and upbuilding of the section. He was born in Missouri, December 31, 185 1, but has practically spent his entire life in the northwest. His father, Daniel Smith Sebastian, was born in Missouri, November 21, 1819, and was there reared to manhood and married, and in 1852, with his wife and three children, made a safe journey across the plains to Oregon. He located in Clackamas County, where he secured a government donation-claim of six hundred and forty acres. At the time of the gold excitement, however, he went to Elk City, Idaho, in 1861, and engaged in mining there for some time, after which he returned to his family. In 1871 he took up his abode on Camas prairie, on land on Three Mile creek, and there resided until 1875, when he sold out. He died in March 1896, at the age of seventy-seven years. When the Nez Perces Indians went on the warpath he was among the volunteers who aided in defending the settlers and their homes. He was twice married, his first wife dying in 1853. By their union there were four children, and three by the second marriage. The second wife died in July 1896. William H. Sebastian was only four months old when his...

Biography of John J. Bingman

For twenty-two years this gentleman has carried on agricultural pursuits on Camas prairie and is now the owner of one of the finest farms that adorn this section of the state. He was born in Pennsylvania, in 1853, a son of Jacob and Mary Louisa (Swarts) Bingman, also natives of the Keystone state. The father was a farmer and a charcoal burner, and at the time of the civil war he enlisted in his country’s service as a defender of the Union. He was a drum major and belonged to Company E, Fifty-third Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, with which he served until injured, when he was honorably discharged. He lived to be seventy-five years of age, and died in 1882, his wife passing away when seventy-four years of age. They were the parents of fourteen children, and their three eldest sons, James, George and Charles, entered the Union army. James laid down his life on the altar of his country. He was taken prisoner, and after suffering all the hardships and privations of life in Andersonville, he passed away. Ten of the family still survive. Mr. Bingman of this review was educated in the public schools of his native state, and since ten years of age has not only earned his own living but gave his wages to his father until he had attained his majority. Leaving the Keystone state, he then went to Michigan, where he was employed as a farm hand until 1877, when, hoping to take advantage of the government’s offer of land, he came to Idaho and entered one hundred and sixty acres on Camas prairie,...

Biography of Alexander D. McKinlay

The west is peopled with brave men, as men’s bravery is measured, but it has some notable citizens whose experiences extend back into the days of constant adventure and ever present peril. Could the exploits and dangers of such men of the west be written down and put into book form, they would form a series of narratives of more absorbing interest than the most exciting romances of western life and adventure that have ever been penned. A fair representation of this class is Alexander D. McKinlay. He is a son of Henry and Barbara Clarke McKinlay, natives of Scotland, and was born in Clayton County, Iowa, February 20, 1853. His father was born in Edinburg in 1823, and died in Clayton county, Iowa, in 1872. His mother, who was born in Sollen, in 1815, lives on the old family homestead in Iowa. They came to America and to Iowa in 1847 and became successful farmers, highly respected by reason of their high character and upright lives. Of their nine children, Alexander D. McKinlay was the fifth child in order of birth. He was reared to help at the work of the farm, and for a time attended school in a primitive log school house, and remained in Iowa until 1877, when, at the age of twenty-four, he emigrated to Idaho and located in Idaho county, where he lived until 1885. He farmed until 1882 with sufficient success to acquire some capital and commercial standing, and then bought thirteen hundred head of cattle and drove them over the old Mullan road to Montana, where he turned them over to...

Nez Perce Tribe

Nez Percé Indians (‘pierced noses’) A term applied by the French to a number of tribes which practiced or were supposed to practice the custom of piercing the nose for the insertion of a piece of dentalium. The term is now used exclusively to designate the main tribe of the Shahaptian family, who have not, however, so far as is known ever been given to the practice. Nez Percé History The Nez Percé or Sahaptin of later writers, the Chopuunish (corrupted from Tsútpěli) of Lewis and Clark, their discoverers, were found in 1805 occupying a large area in what is now western Idaho, north east Oregon, and south east Washington, on lower Snake river and its tributaries. They roamed between the Blue Mountains in Oregon and the Bitter Root Mountains in Idaho, and according to Lewis and Clark sometimes crossed the range to the headwaters of the Missouri. By certain writers they have been classed under two geographic divisions Upper Nez Percé and Lower Nez Percé. The latter were found by Bonneville in 1834 to the north and west of the Blue Mountains on several of the branches of Snake river, where they were neighbors of the Cayuse and Walla Walla. The Upper Nez Percé held the Salmon river country in Idaho in 1834 and probably also at the same time the Grande Ronde valley in eastern Oregon but by treaty of 1855 they ceded a large part of this territory to the United States. The reservation in which they were confined at that time included the Wallowa valley in Oregon, as well as a large district in Idaho....

Stealthy Midnight March

At 10 o’clock at night the officer of the guard spoke to the General in a whisper, and he arose with the alacrity of a youth who goes forth to engage in the sports of a holiday. The men were called at once, and in whispered orders the line of march was speedily formed. All were instructed to preserve the most profound silence from that moment until the signal should be given to open fire on the enemy, and, under the guidance of Joe Blodgett and Lieutenant Bradley, the little band filed silently down the winding trail, threading its way, now through dark groves of pine or fir; now through jungles of underbrush; now over rocky points; frequently wading the cold mountain brook, waist deep, and tramping through oozy marshes of saw-grass; speaking only in whispers; their rifles loaded, eyes peering into the starlit night, and ears strained to catch the slightest sound that might indicate the hiding-place of any lurking foe who might perchance be on an outpost to announce to his followers the approach of danger. Five miles were thus stealthily marched without giving an alarm. Then the valley in which the troops bad been moving opened out into what is known as the Big Hole, that is, the valley of the Big Hole River. This is a beautiful prairie basin, fifteen miles wide, and sixty miles long, covered with rich bunch-grass and surrounded by high mountains. In the edge of this valley the soldiers saw the smoldering camp-fires of the enemy; heard the baying of his hungry dogs responding to the howls of prowling coyotes, and...

Retreat of the Indians under Cover of Night

The Indians claimed after their final surrender that they would have held Gibbon’s command in the timber longer than they did, and would have killed many more, if not all of them, had they not learned that Howard was at hand with reinforcements. They admit that they were warned of impending danger in some form in due time to have avoided a meeting with Gibbon, but did not heed it. They tell us that on the evening before the arrival of Gibbon’s troops at the Indian camp, a “medicine man ” had cautioned the chiefs that death was on their trail. “What are we doing here he asked. ” While I slept, my medicine told me to move on ; that death was approaching us. Chiefs, I only tell you this for the good of our people. If you take my advice you can avoid death, and that advice is to speed through this country. If we do not there will be tears in our eyes.” But the chiefs heeded not his warning. They held a feast and a war-dance that night, and then lay down to sleep, feeling as safe as they ever did on their own reservation. They claim to have received news of Howard’s coming in this way : When the troops retired to the mouth of the gulch on the morning of the 9th, the warriors were examining the dead. Among them they found a white man, a citizen, who was breathing ; his eyes were closed and he pretended to be dead, but they saw that he was not though he was severely wounded....
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