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Rogue River, Yakama and Klickitat War

Oregon was organized as a territory in 1848 by Congress, and its territorial government went into operation in the following spring, on the arrival of the governor, General Joe Lane, an Indianian who had won distinction in the Mexican War. Under the organic act, it embraced the country west of the Rocky Mountains north of parallel 42. The part of this north of parallel 46 to its intersection with the Columbia, and north of the Columbia thence westward to the ocean, was organized as Washington Territory in 1853. At the time of the organization of Oregon, the part afterwards erected into Washington Territory was still virtually in the hands of the Hudson’s Bay Company, except that a few families had settled in 1844 at Tumwater, now a suburb of Olympia, and one or two more at the latter place. Its first governor, Isaac I. Stevens (the Brigadier general Stevens of the Union army who fell at Bull Run), arrived, overland, in the fall of 1853, with a surveying party, examining the country which they traversed with regard to its availability as a railroad route. To these territories we must now return, for, while a restless peace has been maintained in Washington and Northern Oregon for several years, trouble has arisen in the South. Along the southern boundary, extending into both California and Oregon were several warlike tribes, who, though not very friendly among themselves, were in general sympathy in their hostility towards the whites. On the Rogue River were several bands of the Shasta family, sometimes known by the names of their chiefs, but almost always called “the Rogue...

Biography of Hon. James Willis Nesmith

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 one of his age could be, not only coming to our state with the first immigration, but gaining largely here his education, principles and manners. As a commanding historical figure, it will be proper here to notice the circumstances of his life, his political career, and his mental and moral characteristics. We do not often find distinguished ability without finding also antecedent capacity in the ancestry. The family to which our senator belonged is remotely of Scotch Presbyterian blood, but as early as 1690 removed to the north of Ireland, becoming thereafter of the Scotch-Irish race, who have made themselves famous on both sides of the Atlantic. In 1718 the family removed to America; and William Morrison Nesmith, the father of our subject, connected himself by marriage, about 1814, to Miss Harriet Willis, of a distinguished old family of New Jersey, her father owning the site of Elizabethtown in that state. The young couple, however, made their home in Maine; and their third child and only son, James Willis,...

Biography of William Munks

WILLIAM MUNKS. – Mr. Munks, an excellent portrait of whom is placed in this history, is a veteran of several wars, as well as a pioneer, trapper and scout in the early days of the Pacific coast. He is to-day one of the most widely known men on Puget Sound, being often called “king of the Fidalgo Island” as he was the first white man to locate on its shores. It was then a part of Whatcom County, Washington Territory, but is now included in the boundary of Skagit. Mr. Munk was the first white man that lived within the present confines of the latter county, and was born in Canton, Ohio. At the early age of six years he suffered the loss, by death, of his father. Upon the breaking out of the war with Mexico, he enlisted in the Fifteenth Infantry, United States volunteers, under General (then Colonel) George W. Morgan, with whom he remained until the close of hostilities. The military record of the family is rather bright, his grandfather having served in the war for independence, his father in the war of 1812, and his only brother following the fortunes of Sherman on his march to the sea. In 1849 he left the East to seek his fortune in the far West. After hunting and trapping for a time on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains, he came onto Oregon, and then proceeded to the mines of Northern California, where he followed mining with good success until 1855, during which time he took part in two Indian wars, and had many skirmishes with the...

Biography of Charles A. Splawn

CHARLES A. SPLAWN. – This veteran of Indian wars was born in Clay County, Missouri, in 1831. He went from there to Davis County, near Galiton, and was there during the Mormon trouble. His mother, in the absence of his father, was compelled to leave her home by the “saints” who threatened to burn the house over her head if she remained another night. In 1844 he moved with his father’s family to Hold county, and in 1851 crossed the plains to Oregon. After reaching this territory he became alternately trader, miner and packer, until in 1853 he joined the forces under General Lane in the war on Rouge River. It was in this trouble that the Indians were decoyed into a fort on Grave creek where they were all killed. Again he became packer and miner until 1855, when his train narrowly escaped capture on Bear creek. After this he went with his express friend to the Pend d’Oreille with a party of miners, receiving fifty dollars for a horse or one hundred and fifty dollars for each two miners who had three horses. On his return he heard at John Day river that General Stevens had been cut off by Indians in the upper country. The miners whom he had taken up came back with him on account of the Indian trouble. He sold his train to the Oregon government, and became a packer for the army in the field under John Fortune. Mr. Splawn was married to Miss Dulcinea H. Thorpe in 1861, by which union they had one daughter, Viola. Mrs. Splawn died ten years...

Biography of Joseph Pinkham

Canada has furnished to the United States many bright, enterprising young men who have left the Dominion to enter the business circles of this country with its more progressive methods, livelier competition and advancement more quickly secured. Among this number is Mr. Pinkham. He has somewhat of the strong, rugged and persevering characteristics developed by his earlier environments, which, coupled with the livelier impulses of the New England blood of his ancestors, made him at an early day seek wider fields in which to give full scope to his ambition and industry his dominant qualities. He found the opportunity he sought in the freedom and appreciation of the growing western portion of the country. Though born across the border, he is thoroughly American in thought and feeling, and is patriotic and sincere in his love for the stars and stripes. His career is identified with the history of Idaho, where he has acquired a competence and where he is an honored and respected citizen. Thrice has he served as United States marshal of Idaho, and is accounted one of her bravest pioneers. Mr. Pinkham was born in Canada, on the 15th of December, 1833 and is a representative of an old New England family who were early settlers of Maine. The first of the name to come to America was Thomas Pinkham, a native of Wales, who established his home in the Pine Tree state. Henson Pinkham, father of our subject, was born, reared and married in Maine, and a short time prior to the birth of his son, Joseph, removed to Canada. The latter was reared upon a...

Biography of Joseph K. Vincent

More than thirty-seven years have passed since Judge Vincent arrived in Idaho, and he is justly numbered among her honored pioneers and leading citizens. He has been prominently identified with her business life, being connected with mining, agricultural and commercial interests, and although he has rounded the psalmist’s span of three-score years and ten, and although the snows of many winters have whitened his hair, he has the vigor of a much younger man, and in spirit and interest seems yet in his prime. Old age is not necessarily a synonym of weakness or inactivity. It needs not suggest, as a matter of course, want of occupation or helplessness. There is an old age that is a benediction to all- that comes in contact with it, that gives out of its rich stores of learning and experience, and which, in its active connection with the affairs of life, puts to shame many a younger man, who grows weary of the cares and struggles and would fain shift to other shoulders the burdens which he should carry. Of such an honored type Judge Vincent, now in the evening of life, is a representative. A native of New England, he was born in Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, June 26, 1822, and is of Welsh and English ancestors, who were early settlers of Salem. His grandmother, his father and he himself were all born in the same house, one of the oldest residences of Salem, and long occupied by his ancestors. His paternal grandfather was one of the heroes of the Revolution. Joseph Vincent, the father of the Judge, married Letitia Pease,...

Biography of John J. Peebler

JOHN J. PEEBLER. – Among the very first settlers of the Grande Ronde valley, if not the first actual one to begin residence here, we mention the esteemed gentleman and worthy pioneer whose name appears above, and who has been identified with the interests of Union county since its organization and with this section before Union county was in existence, laboring ever for the promulgation of sound principles and the inauguration of good government and the material progress and substantial improvement of both his state and county. John J. Peebler was born to Samuel C. and Dorothy Peebler in Jefferson county, Iowa, on July 25, 1836, and when he was six years of age his parents both died, leaving him an orphan at that tender age. There was but one intervening day between these deaths, which made it doubly sad. The struggles that must have come to the young lad from this date until we next see him are veiled and we necessarily pass them by. In 1853, when he was a youth of seventeen summers, he made the arduous and yet exciting trip across the plains with his uncle, David Peebler. The entire distance was covered with ox teams and the train was composed of forty or more wagons, and it is of note that they made the whole trip without accident or molestation. They located in the vicinity of Salem, and there he assisted his uncle in the work of the farm for two years and then participated in the well known Rogue river war with the Indians. Following this struggle he went to the mines, remaining...

Biography of Joseph F. Griffin

For more than a half century Joseph F. Griffin, of Ketchum, has resided in the northwest. A native of Kentucky, he was born in Cumberland County, December 10, 1831. The family is of Scotch origin, and the first American progenitors were early settlers of South Carolina and participants in many of the events which form the colonial history of the south. Jesse Griffin, the grandfather of our subject, was one of the pioneers of Kentucky, where occurred the birth of Burrell Bell Griffin, the father of Joseph. Having arrived at years of maturity he married Miss Sally Thogmorton a native of Tennessee, and a representative of an old family of North Carolina. They became the parents of twelve children, eleven of whom reached years of maturity, while nine are still living. In 1852 the family crossed the plains to Oregon, and settled on the Rogue River, where they took up a government donation claim, upon which the parents spent their remaining days. The father attained the age of seventy-three years, and the mother, surviving him two years, passed away at about the same age. They were members of the Christian church, and were held in the highest regard by their many friends. Mr. Griffin was educated in Missouri and Oregon. He was in his fifteenth year when he arrived in the latter state, and during his boyhood he alternated his lessons with farming and placer mining, early forming the habits of industry and diligence which have characterized his entire life and which have led to his success. From the government he secured a donation claim of three hundred and...

Biography of Philip F. Castleman

PHILIP F. CASTLEMAN. – Those who now make the trip in the palatial car across the continent from the populous cities and thickly settled districts of the union, and view the Pacific Northwest in its present development, can but faintly realize the dangers and privations the sturdy pioneers experienced in reaching here, nor yet understand the troubles they had with the red man who then roamed its confines at will, and knew no law save what pleased the savage heart the best. They often meet among its residents not a few upon whom the snows of many winters have fallen, – and fallen while braving the inconveniences of pioneer life. They see in them the man or woman whose years are well-nigh ended, with no evidences that the passing one has a history and a record which ofttimes is not only that of a pioneer, but one who undertook many a dangerous task in order to reclaim and build up this the fairest section of America. Among those who might pass unnoticed, except that he is a man of years, with kindly look and gentlemanly bearing, is the gentleman whose name heads this article, and who well might occupy a place with heroes. He was born on May 17, 1827 near Hodginsville, Kentucky, his ancestors being of Revolutionary fame. He received what education could be secured at the common schools of that time, which were not of the best, the term being usually three months in the year, and the distance to the old log schoolhouse being sometimes as much as four miles. The instructors were not always well...

Biography of Major N. A. Cornoyer

MAJOR N.A. CORNOYER. – It is sometimes complained of Oregonians that, coming to this state some time ago, they have not been able to keep up with the improved methods invented at the East since their departure. This is true only in part, if at all. The early settlers are the ones who have been most prompt and energetic to discover and apply the latest inventions and improvements. They compare very favorably in this particular with the latest arrivals; and their experience of soils and climate and methods peculiar to this coast give them a decided advantage. Major Cornoyer is an illustration of this. Born in Illinois in 1820, he came to California in 1849 in the company of Colonel Jarrot. The next year he came up to Oregon and made his home in Marion county, on French Prairie, marrying Miss Mary S. Bellique, daughter of a very early pioneer, and, in fact, the belle of the region. In 1864 the Major sought new fields to till, and turned his face towards the Umatilla. He located a claim of one hundred and sixty acres, four miles from Milton, where he has had his home ever since. He engaged largely in the horse and cattle business besides grain-raising, and cultivates an entire section of railroad land besides his own. He saw active military service during the Rouge river war of 1853 and the Yakima war of 1855-56. It was there he won his spurs and epaulets. A full account of these gallant services are noted in the main body of this history and also in the biographical sketch of Colonel...
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