Governor Stevens, Washington Legislature, Building a New State

Washington State Seal
Washington State Seal

Isaac Ingalls Stevens, the man who had been sent to organize the government of Washington, was one fitted by nature and education to impress himself upon the history of the country in a remarkable degree. He was born at Andover, Massachusetts, and educated in the military school of West Point, from which he graduated, in 1839, with the highest honors. He had charge for a few years of fortifications on the New England coast. He had been on the staff of General Scott in Mexico, and for four years previous to his appointment as governor of Washington had been an assistant of Professor Bache on the coast survey, which gave him the further training which was to make his name prominent in connection with the survey for the Northern Pacific railroad-the historic road of the continent-the idea of which had for thirty years been developing in connection with the Columbia River and a route to China.

Congress having at length authorized the survey of this and other routes to the Pacific, Stevens was placed in charge of the northern line, whose terminus, by the progress of discovery and events, was now fixed at Puget Sound. He was to proceed from the head waters of the Mississippi to this inlet of the Pacific, and report not only upon the route, but upon the Indian tribes along it, with whom he was to establish friendly relations, and, when practicable, to treat. The manner in which the survey was conducted is spoken of in another portion of my work, and I proceed here with the narration of territorial affairs.[1] The day appointed by Governor Stevens for electing a delegate to congress and members of a council and house of representatives was the 30th of January, 1854, the members chosen to convene at Olympia February 27th following. In the time intervening, two political parties organized and enacted the usual contest over their candidates. The democratic candidate for delegate to congress, Columbia Lancaster, is not unknown to the reader. He had served the county of Lewis in the council of the Oregon legislature, if service it could be called, in which he did nothing but cover himself with ridicule. His Whig opponent was William H. Wallace,[2] and the independent candidate M. L. Simmons, who, notwithstanding his popularity as a man and a democrat, received only eighteen votes.[3] Wallace received 500, and Lancaster 690. Democracy was strong on the north side of the Columbia, as it was on the south, but it had not yet assumed the same dictatorial tone,[4] and Lancaster, who had affiliated with the whips in 1851 in Oregon, was a thorough enough democrat in 1853.[5] He had a talent for humorous story telling, which in debate often goes as far as argument or forensic eloquence before a promiscuous assemblage. The unsuccessful candidates were John M. Hayden,[6] surgeon at Fort Steilacoom, F. A. Chenoweth, Judge Strong, Gilmore Hays,[7] and W. H. Wallace.

In the legislature, which organized by choosing G. N. McConaha[8] president of the council, and F. A. Chenoweth speaker of the lower house, there was a democratic majority of one in the council[9] and six in the house of representatives; but there was no undue exhibition of partisan zeal, nor any occasion for it, the assembly being impressed with the importance of the public duties which had been assigned to them. The organization being completed on the 28th, Governor Stevens was invited to communicate to the legislature a message, in which he made certain statements which will not be out of place here as an introduction to his administration and the history of the territory.

After a just encomium upon the country and its natural advantages for commerce, he reminded them that as the Indian title to lands had not been extinguished, nor a law passed for its extinguishment, titles could not be secured under the land law of congress, and the public surveys were languidly conducted. He spoke of the importance of a road to Walla Walla, another to the Columbia, and one along the eastern shore of the Sound to Bellingham Bay, and advised them to memorialize congress on the urgent necessity for these roads, to prevent suffering and loss to the immigrations. He counseled them to ask for a surveyor general of the territory, and that liberal appropriations might be made for the surveyors, that they might keep in advance of the settlements. He proposed to request an amendment to the land law making it possible to acquire title by the payment of the minimum valuation, by a residence of one year, or by improvements equal to the minimum valuation, and that single women should be placed on the same footing with married women. He recommended the early settlement of the boundary line between Washington and the British territory on the north, and that congress should be memorialized on this subject, and on the importance of continuing the geographical and geological surveys already commenced. He made the usual prophetic remarks on the Pacific railroads,[10] referred to the inefficient mail service, of which I have spoken at length in the history of Oregon, gave same advice concerning the preparation of a code of laws, and adverted to the importance of organizing new counties east of the Cascade Range, and readjusting the boundaries of some of the older ones.

In referring to the position occupied by the Hudson’s Bay and Puget Sound Agricultural companies, the governor declared them to have certain rights granted to them, and lands confirmed to them, but that the vague nature of their limits must lead to disputes concerning their possessions, and recommended that congress should be memorialized to extinguish their title. As to the right of the Hudson’s Bay Company to trade with the Indians, that he said was no longer allowed, and under instructions from the secretary of state he had already informed the company that they would be given until July to wind up their affairs, after which time the laws regulating intercourse with the Indians would be rigidly enforced.

He recommended a special commission to report on a school system, and that congress should be asked to appropriate land for a university; also that some military training should be included in the curriculum of the higher schools. An efficient militia system was declared to be necessary in a distant territory, which must in case of war be compelled for a time to rely upon itself; and this he thought, with the arms and ammunition to which the territory would be entitled under the laws of congress, would enable it to protect itself from any foreign invader.[11] Such is a brief abstract of the first message of the first governor of Washington, which is an epitome also of the condition, needs, and prospects of the new commonwealth. Most of the suggestions made by the governor were carried out in some form.

Immediately after organization, the house adopted for the territorial seal a device furnished by Lieutenant J. K. Duncan of Stevens’ surveying expedition.[12]

The first bill passed was on the 1st of March, an act providing for a board of commissioners to prepare a code of laws for the territory; the board appointed consisting of judges Edward Lander, Victor Monroe, and William Strong, who adopted as many of the laws of Oregon as they found practicable, and other suitable ones from other codes,” the laws originated by the legislature being chiefly local.

The counties of Sawamish,[13] Whatcom,[14] Clallam, Chehalis, Cowlitz, Wahkiakum, Skamania, and Walla Walla[15] were created, the latter with the county seat “on the land claim of Lloyd Brooks,” now the site of the city of Walla Walla. The county seat of Clarke County was fixed at Vancouver,[16] “on the east side of Mrs Esther Short’s land claim,” and by the same act Mrs Short’s dwelling was made the legal place of holding courts until suitable buildings should be erected by the county.[17] The county seat of Chehalis County was fixed temporarily “at the house of D. K. Weldon;” of Cowlitz, at Monticello ; and of Skamania, at the “south-east corner of the land claim of F. A. Chenoweth.”

Olympia was fixed upon as the temporary seat of government, the judicial districts were defined, and the judges assigned to them as follows: the first district comprised Walla Walla, Skamania, Clarke, Cowlitz, Wahkiakum, and Pacific counties, Judge McFadden; second district, Lewis, Chehalis, Thurston, and Sawamish counties, Judge Monroe; third district, Pierce, King, Island, Clallam, Jefferson, and Whatcom, Judge Lander. At the second session of the legislature Lander was assigned to the second district, and the judge of that district to the third, which brought the chief justice to the more central portion of the territory. In their districts the judges were required to reside, and to hold two terms of the district court annually in each county, except in those which were attached to some other for judicial purposes, like Walla Walla, which was attached to Skamania, and Chehalis to Thurston.

The first federal court held in Washington after the organization of the territory was by the proclamation of the governor on the 2d day of January, 1854, at Cowlitz landing, by Judge Monroe, who in May held regular terms in all the counties of his district according to the act of the legislature, and to the  satisfaction of the people. Yet in October he was removed, upon the false representation of some persons unknown that he had absented himself from the territory.[18] P. A. Chenoweth was appointed in his place, and was present as the judge of the 2d judicial district at the meeting of the supreme court in Olympia in December,[19] the bench now containing but one of the original appointees for Washington, Lander, the chief justice.[20]

There was none of that romantic attempt at creating something out of nothing in the first acts of the Washington legislature which invested with so much interest the beginnings of government in Oregon, for the legislators had at the outset the aid of United States judges and men familiar with law, besides having the government at their back to defray all necessary expenses. There is therefore nothing to relate concerning their acts, except in instances already pointed out in the message of Governor Stevens, where certain local interests demanded peculiar measures or called for the aid of congress.

The most important matter to which the attention of the national legislature was called was a change in the land law, to effect which congress was memorialized to grant them a surveyor-general of their own, and a land system “separate from, and wholly disconnected with, that of Oregon territory.[21]

By comparing the demands with the memorials of the Oregon legislature from time to time, it will be perceived that the earth hunger was not all confined to the people south of the Columbia. And by reference to my history of Oregon, the reader may learn to what extent congress responded to the demands of both legislatures in the matter of amount of bounty and limit of tine.[22] A surveyor-general and register and receiver were given to Washington; in no other wise was a separate land system granted; but the new territory was entitled to the same privileges with Oregon, no more or different.[23]

Next in importance was a memorial relative to the extinguishment of the Indian title, congress being urged to make provisions for the immediate purchase of the lands occupied by the natives; and this request was granted, as I shall soon proceed to show. Congress was also asked to change the organic act of the territory, which apportioned the legislature by the number of qualified voters, so as to make the apportionment by the number of inhabitants, which was not allowed. Not less important than either of these was a memorial concerning the Puget Sound Agricultural Company, and the difference of opinion existing between the company and the citizens of Washington in relation to the rights of the association under the treaty of 1846. The memorial set forth that the then present moment was an auspicious one for the extinction of their title, and gave as a reason that “buildings, once valuable, from long use are now measurably worthless; and lands once fertile, which paid the tiller of the soil, are now become destitute of any fertilizing qualities; that said farms are now less valuable than the same amount of lands in a state of nature;” and congress was entreated to save the country from this deterioration.[24] The memorial also stated that at the period of the ratification of the treaty the amount of land enclosed by the Puget Sound Company at Cowlitz and Nisqually did riot exceed 2,000 acres, yet that the company claimed 227 square miles, or in other words, all the land over which their herds of wild stock occasionally roamed, or to which they were from time to time removed for change of pasture. The Americans held that the treaty confirmed only the lands enclosed by fences. They had settled upon and improved the unenclosed lands in many instances; yet they had received written notices from the agents of the company commanding them to vacate their homes or be served with writs of ejectment and trespass; for which causes congress was petitioned to take steps to ascertain the rights of the company, and to purchase them.[25]

A joint resolution was also passed instructing the delegate to congress to use his influence with the administration to effect a settlement of the disputed boundary between the United States and Great Britain, involving the right to the islands of the archipelago of Haro, the matter being afterward known as the San Juan question, and to take some steps to remove the foreign trespassers from the islands-a resolution suggested, as we already know, by the message of Governor Stevens.[26]

The selection of territorial officers by the legislature resulted in the appointment of William Cook treasurer, D. B. Bigelow auditor, F. A. Chenoweth prosecuting attorney of the first judicial district, D. R. Bigelow for the second, and F. A. Clarke for the third. B. F. Kendall[27] was chosen territorial librarian., The legislature adjourned May 1st, after passing 125′ acts, and conducting its business harmoniously.

That which appears as most deserving of comment in the proceedings of this body is a resolution passed early in the session, that, in its opinion, no disadvantage could result to the territory should the governor proceed to Washington city, “if, in his judgment, the interest of the Pacific railroad survey and the matters incident thereto could thereby be promoted.” Stevens was anxious to report in person on the results of the railroad survey. In anticipation of this, he made a voyage down the Sound, looking for the best point for the terminus of the Northern Pacific, and he named Steilacoom, Seattle, and Bellingham Bay as impressing him favorably.[28] But there were other matters which he wished to bring to the attention of the government in his capacity of superintendent of Indian affairs for Washington, and as a commissioner to ascertain what were the rights and what was the property of the Hudson’s Bay and Puget Sound companies in Oregon and Washington, as well as to urge the settlement of the northern boundary of the latter territory.[29]

The matter of the boundary line between the island of Vancouver and Washington was a later question. The earliest conflict arose in 1854 between I. N. Ebey, in the discharge of his official duties as collector of customs, and a justice of the peace under the colonial government of Vancouver Island, named Griffin. Ebey finding San Juan Island covered with several thousand head of sheep, horses, cattle, and hogs, imported from Vancouver Island without being entered at the custom-house, was questioned by Griffin as to his intentions in paying the island a visit, and declined to answer, but proceeded to encamp near the shore. On the following day the Hudson’s Bay Company’s steamer Otter ran over from Vancouver and anchored in front of Ebey’s encampment, sending a boat ashore, in which was Mr Sankster, collector of customs for the port of Victoria, who also desired to know Ebey’s, errand, and was told that he was there in his official capacity of collector for the district of Puget Sound. Sankster then declared that he should arrest all persons and seize all vessels found navigating the waters west of Rosario strait and north of the middle of the strait of Juan de Fuca.

This growl of the British lion, so far from putting to flight the American eagle, only caused its representative to declare that an inspector of customs should remain upon the island to enforce the revenue laws of the United States, and that he hoped no persons pretending to be officers of the British government would be so rash as to interfere with the discharge of his official duties. Sankster then ordered the British flag to be displayed on shore, which was done by hoisting it over the quarters of the Hudson’s Bay Company on the island.

During these proceedings James Douglas, governor of Vancouver Island and vice-admiral of the British navy, was on board the Otter, waiting for Ebey to capitulate. Sankster even proposed that he should go on board the Otter to hold a conference with his Excellency, but the invitation was declined, with a declaration that the collector of Puget Sound would be happy to meet Governor Douglas at his tent. Soon after, the steamer returned to Victoria, leaving a boat and crew to keep watch; and Ebey next day appointed and swore into office Inspector Webber, whom he stationed on San Juan Island.[30]

This occurrence was in the latter part of April or first of May 1854, about the time that Governor Stevens left the territory for Washington city, and was probably occasioned in part by the intimations given in the message of the governor and resolution of the legislature that the question of boundary would be agitated, with a desire and determination on the part of Douglas to hold the islands in the Fuca straits when the struggle came.  This subject furnished a valid reason for wishing to secure the attention of the heads of government. The extinguishment of the Indian titles was perhaps more imperative than any other, and to this Stevens addressed himself with the energy, ability, and straightforwardness which were his characteristics, supplementing the feebler efforts of Lancaster, and with Lane of Oregon coming to the rescue of the most important bills for Washington,[31] and really doing the work of the delegate. In his readiness to assume every responsibility, Stevens resembled Thurston of Oregon, but was more solidly and squarely built, like Napoleon, whom he resembled in figure, and less nervously irritable. No amount of labor appalled him; and when in the midst of affairs of the gravest importance, he was alert and buoyant without being unduly excited.

The appropriations obtained for Washington by Lancaster, assisted by Stevens and Lane, were $30,000 for a military road from the great falls of the Missouri to intersect the road leading from Walla Walla to Puget Sound. This was a scheme originating with Stevens, who thought by making the Missouri River a highway, and constructing a road from its head waters to the navigable waters of the Columbia, or to intersect with the old immigrant road, to shorten the distance travelled by wagons and lessen the hardships of immigration, as well as to avoid the danger from Indian attacks on a portion of the road by the South pass. For this reason, and to cultivate the friendship of the Indians, as well as to make a more thorough exploration of the Blackfoot country for railroad passes, he left Lieutenants Grover and Mullan and Mr Doty in the mountain region west of the Missouri through the winter of 1853-4, during which the line of road across the Rocky Mountains, from Fort Benton to Coeur d’Alene Lake, was marked out, and afterward used as the route for the expenditure of the congressional appropriation named above, and which, from the fact that Mullan was appointed to construct it, took the name of the Mullan road.

An appropriation of $25,000 was made for the construction of a military road from Fort Dalles to Fort Vancouver, and of $30,000 for a road from Vancouver to Fort Steilacoom; for light-houses at Cape Shoalwater, Blunt’s Island, Cape Flattery, and New Dungeness, $89,000; and for buoys at the entrance of Dungeness and the anchorages on Puget Sound, $5,000. Some increase was made in the salaries of territorial officers, and a liberal appropriation for the Indian service, including $100,000 to enable Stevens to treat with the Blackfoot and other tribes in the north and east portions of the territory.

Washington territory, or that portion of it to which its early history chiefly relates, was surrounded by and at the mercy of the most numerous, if not the most warlike, native tribes of the original territory of Oregon. The census in Stevens’ report, 1853-4, gave the whole number of Indians in western Washington as between seven and eight thousand, and east of the Cascade Mountains between six and seven thousand.[32] Besides the tribes actually resident about the Sound, the settlements were liable to incursions from the Haidahs of Queen Charlotte Island, and even from the tribes of the coast as far north as Fort Simpson, these tribes being good seamen, and possessing large and strong war canoes, in which they made long voyages to commit a murder or a theft.[33] The Indians on the sea-coast of Washington and along the strait of Fuca were sometimes guilty of murder, and those about the settlements could not always withstand the temptation to commit a robbery, for which they were promptly punished when detected, but no serious outbreaks had yet occurred since the organization of the territory.

In July 1852 the United States coast surveying steamer Active, James R. Alden commanding, with a surveying party under Lieutenants Davidson and Lawson, entered Neah Bay, and encamped on the shore near the trading post of Samuel Hancock, having gained the full consent of the Makahs living there in order not to give offence. The steamer then proceeded on a preliminary survey up the strait to Dungeness and Port Townsend, Davidson establishing astronomical stations at the latter place and Port Angeles, after which he returned to Neah Bay, and the Active again left for Shoalwater Bay to make a survey there before the close of the season, leaving the party of nine persons at Neah Bay without the means of quitting that station until she should return. The camp was well armed with rifles, cavalry pistols, shot-guns, and revolvers, and although not apprehending any danger, were prepared for an attack. All went well for a few days after the departure of the steamer, when a fleet of canoes containing between 150 and 200 Nitinats from Vancouver Island anchored in the bay, most of them remaining in their boats. Thinking this a precautionary measure to avoid quarrels between the resident tribes and the strangers, the surveying party remained in negligent satisfaction, pleased with this apparent discretion of the visitors.

But Hancock, who was buying fish oil of them, had discovered, by overhearing on the second day a conversation not intended for his ears, a plot to massacre himself and the surveying party, and possess themselves of the goods and arms of both. He hastened to impart this information to Davidson and Lawson, who immediately loaded all their arms, threw up a breastwork, and detailed a night watch. Hancock, who had two men at his post, made preparations for an attack, and himself mounted guard. During the night some Indians came ashore and proceeded in the direction of the surveyors’ camp, but being challenged by the guard, retreated to their canoes, which took their departure at daybreak. The plot originated with the Vancouver Island Indians, the Makahs being reluctant accomplices, fearing the vengeance of the white people. Happily nothing came of it, and nothing was said about it to the Makahs.[34]

Not long afterward the schooner Cynosure, Fowler master, from San Francisco, visited Noah Bay, having on board two Makahs, and a white man sick with what proved to be smallpox. The disease had been communicated to Indians, who soon fell ill and spread the contagion among their tribe, who perished by scores from its ravages. Not being able to control it, they conceived the idea of running away from the scourge, and fled to Vancouver Island, where they communicated it to the Nitinats. The beach at Neah Bay was strewn with the unburied bodies of the miserable Makahs, who were no longer able or willing-to attend the sick or bury the dead. At the end of six weeks the disease abated, but the tribe had lost a large percentage of its members, and was plunged in grief. After a few months of brooding over their losses, they came to the conclusion, as they had never experienced such a visitation before Hancock came to live among them, that he must have originated the plague, and he was threatened with death if he remained. His trading post was therefore vacated in the spring of 1853.[35]

In September 1853 a large party of the Makahs visited New Dungeness in their canoes, encamping on a sand-spit at the entrance to the harbor, having among them an Indian who had killed Albert Pettingill near Port Townsend in the previous spring. On being informed of this by a Clallam, McAlmond, Bradshaw, Abernethy, Cline, Brownfield, and Moore, being all the settlers who were in the neighborhood at the time, met, and having sent for re-enforcements, finally delegated Brownfield to seek an interview with the Indians and demand the surrender of the murderer. But upon visiting their camp, the Makahs refused to deliver up the guilty one, challenging the white men to battle. Being re-enforced by J. C. Brown, H. W. Watkins, and William. Failing, the settlers attempted to enter the Indian camp, when they were fired upon. Firing followed from both sides, and in the affair two Indians were killed, two wounded, and one white man slightly hurt by a ball in the neck. Darkness put an end to the engagement, which was conducted in canoes, and the Indians dispersed, the murderer going to Port Townsend.[36]

On hearing of the attempted capture and the escape of the murderer, Captain Alden pursued him from port to port in the Active, and succeeded in overtaking him at Port Ludlow, where the chiefs of his tribe coining on board were detained until the criminal was given up. He was tried arid found guilty at the October term of the 3d district court in 1854, together with an accomplice.[37]

Early in March 1854 William Young, in the employment of C. C. Terry at Alki, while looking for a land claim with a canoe and a crew of three Snohomish, was killed and robbed, two of the Indians being found with his clothing and other property in their possession. Suspecting themselves about to be arrested, they fled to Holme Harbor, Whidbey Island; whither they were pursued by the sheriff, T. S. Russell, of King County, with a posse of four men, who made the arrests, but were fired upon by the friends of the prisoners and four of their number wounded, one of whom, Charles Cherry, died soon after returning to Seattle.[38] Nine Indians, including one of the murderers, were killed, and the other one secured, who confessed not only the killing of Young, but also of one of his confederates in a quarrel over the spoil. This Indian was imprisoned for several months, but finally discharged.

About the same time the Clallams at Dungeness having killed Captain Jewell and his steward, Lieutenant Floyd Jones, 4th infantry, with a squad of men repaired to the disturbed district, where two Indians were killed and several slightly wounded in an encounter between the Clallams and the military and settlers. On hearing of these troubles, Governor Stevens made a visit to the lower Sound; but in the mean time the murderers, three in number, were arrested, and three others underwent flogging for theft.[39]

In consequence of the affair at Holme Harbor, Major Larned, who took command of Fort Steilacoom in July previous, proceeded to Whidbey Island with a detachment of nine soldiers, to endeavor to restore peace to the settlement at that point. While returning in a government surf-boat, navigated by John Hamilton of Steilacoom, all were lost by the sudden upsetting of the craft in a squall off Port Madison, except two privates, who clung to the boat and drifted ashore near Seattle.[40]

No Indian agents as yet having been commissioned for Washington, Governor Stevens, as superintendent of Indian affairs, appointed M. T. Simmons special agent for the Puget Sound district. Simmons entered upon his duties by publishing a request to all good citizens to aid in the suppression of liquor-selling to Indians, by informing him of every such infraction of the law which became known to them; by advising persons employing Indians to have a written contract witnessed by a white man; and by refraining from punishing suspected Indian criminals except upon certain proofs of their crimes. With this caution observed, he hoped to be able to preserve the peace. Soon after the appointment of Simmons west of the Cascade Mountains, Stevens appointed A. J. Bolan, member of the legislature from Clarke county, special agent for the district extending east of the Cascades to the Bitter Root Mountains, and W. H. Tappan, councilman from Clarke county, special agent for the Columbia River district.

In April 1854 the Snohomish voluntarily hanged two of their own people at Seattle for the murder of a white man at Lake Union, in July previous, and the most friendly relations seemed established in that quarter About the same time James Burt murdered an Indian of Fort Simpson, near Olympia, was tried and acquitted, but fled the territory to avoid the vengeance of the tribe. In the estimation of the public, the white man should have been punished,[41] and apprehensions of the consequences of this act were expressed in the Olympia, newspaper.

In the latter part of May ten large war canoes, containing several hundred northern Indians, appeared at Vancouver Island, and a party of eight coining on shore, shot Charles Bailey, an Englishman, whom they mistook for an American. Governor Douglas ordered out a force from the fort at Victoria, pursuing them to their canoes, two of which proceeded to Bellingham Bay, landing at the claim of a settler named Clayton, who, perceiving from their demeanor that hostilities were intended, fled to the woods, pursued by the Indians, and escaped to the house of Captain Battle, where some of the Lummi tribe were found and sent to alarm the settlements. Clayton, Battle, and five others, in order to avoid being taken should the enemy have found the trail of the fugitives, embarked in a canoe, and anchored off the house of Pattie, in readiness to escape by water should the Indians attack by land. Here they remained from Saturday afternoon to 10 o’clock Sunday night, when all went ashore except two, David Melville and George Brown, who were left to keep guard. During the night Richard Williams, one of the shore party, discharged his gun to clean it, the arm having been wet the day before. His fire was returned by a volley out of the darkness and from the water. At the sound of the firing, some friendly Indians came to the rescue, and the enemy was driven off. The two men in the boat were never seen again, but as their canoe was found on the beach the next morning, covered with blood, it was supposed that they were surprised while asleep and beheaded, as was customary with these northern Indians. The murderers then robbed several houses on Bellingham Bay and Whidbey Island, and disappeared. Secretary and acting governor Mason and Agent Simmons, on learning that armed northern Indians had appeared in the waters of Washington, immediately repaired to Fort Steilacoom, and with a small detachment of soldiers proceeded down the Sound to ascertain the condition of affairs in that quarter. Nothing, however, was effected be-yond making a display of there intention of the United States to punish crimes committed against its citizens, when able. Upon receiving advices from the Secretary, Governor Stevens called the attention of the war department to the inadequacy of the force stationed at Puget Sound, and the necessity for some means of transporting troops other than by canoes.

The absence of steam-vessels on the Sound made the communication of news slow and uncertain, as it also made the chance of succor in case of need nearly hopeless. The Fairy, which ran for a short time, had been withdrawn, and for the period of nine months nothing faster than a sailing vessel or canoe could be had to transport passengers or troops from point to point, while land travel north of Seattle was impracticable. At length, in September 1854, the steamer Major Tompkins, Captain James M. Hunt, owned by John H. Scranton, was brought from San Francisco and placed upon the Sound to ply regularly between Olympia, where a wharf had been erected by Edward Giddings, Jr, on the flat north of the town,[42] and Victoria, calling at the intermediate ports. Very soon afterward the custom-house was removed from Olympia to Port Townsend, and the revenue-cutter Jefferson Davis, Captain William C. Pease, arriving for service on the Sound, sensibly relieved the feeling of isolation of the inhabitants of the northern counties.

In October the murderers of Captain Jewell and Church escaped from Fort Steilacoom, and Acting Governor Mason offered a large reward for their re- apprehension. These Indians were retaken in December, when the Major Tompkins, with the revenue-cutter carrying troops in tow, proceeded to a camp of the Clallams on Hood Canal, to demand the surrender of the convicts. Already Simmons had secured Church’s murderer, but the tribe refused to give up the others. When the soldiers under Lieutenant Nugent landed, the savages fled, and the only result of this expedition was the destruction of their camp and winter supply of salmon. The cutter also fired some shots into the woods before leaving, by which five Clallams were reported to have been killed. On the return down the canal, Simmons succeeded in capturing a Clallam chief known as the Duke of York,[43] and detained him as a hostage for the surrender of the escaped convicts, who were finally delivered, and taken to Steilacoom. The Indians were terrified by the rapidity with which the Major Tompkins followed them, and the certainty with which they were overtaken in flight, and it was believed the moral effect of the fear inspired would be effectual to prevent crimes. To the chagrin of the white population and the relief of the Indians, the Major Tompkins was lost the night of the 10th of February, 1855, by being blown on the rocks at the entrance to Esquimalt Harbor, Vancouver Island, her passengers all escaping to land. Her place was filled soon after by the Water Lily, owned by C. C. Terry.

Governor Stevens returned to Olympia with his family[44] on the 1st of December, in time to be present at the opening of the legislature[45] on the 4th of that month.

In his message the governor referred to the Indian disturbances on the immigrant road to Oregon and Washington,[46] as well as the troubles on the lower part of the Sound, and the effect they were likely to have upon the immigration of the following years,[47] and again recommended the enrolment of the militia, before which an application to the secretary of war for arms and ammunition must fail, and expressed the hope that the people would give him their support in arranging “on a permanent basis the future of the Indians in the territory.” Feeling the necessity of this work, the governor very soon set about it, and concluded on the 26th of December a treaty with the several tribes at the head of the Sound. Three small reservations were made, as follows: an island opposite Skookum Bay, two sections of land on the Sound west of the meridian line, and an equal amount on the Puyallup River near its mouth. Under this treaty the Indians had the right to fish as usual, to pasture their horses on any unclaimed land, and to gather their food of berries and roots wherever they (lid not trespass upon enclosed ground, or to reside near the settlements provided they did nothing to make their presence objectionable. Between six and seven hundred signed the treaty, which, besides their annuities, gave them teachers, a farmer, mechanics, and a physician, and manifested their satisfaction.[48] This treaty was immediately ratified by the senate.

On the 22d of January 1854, a treaty was concluded with about 2,500 natives on the eastern shore of the Sound. The treaty was held at Point Elliott, near the mouth of Snohomish River. Speeches were made by Seattle, Patkanim, and other chiefs of influence, all expressive of friendship for the white people and pleasure at the treaty, and a reservation was agreed upon on the Lumimi River. Then followed a treaty with the tribes farther north, at which a thousand were present, who consented readily to the terms, the chiefs using the occasion to display their oratory, but in a friendly fashion. A reservation was selected about the head of Hood Canal. Soon afterward the Makahs of Cape Flattery and other tribes at the entrance to the straits were treated with; and lastly a council was held with those on the Chehalis River and the coast, the whole business being transacted in less than three months, and in the winter season, such was the energy with which the governor addressed himself to the duties of Indian superintendent.[49]

But after a week of negotiation, in the latter case the council broke up without coming to any agreement on account of each of the fragments of tribes, five in number, desiring a separate reservation, to which Stevens refused his consent.[50]

Having completed the labor of extinguishing Indian titles west of the Cascade Mountains, with the exception of the Cowlitz, Chinooks, Chehalis, and Queniults, who together numbered about eight hundred, Stevens next prepared to enter upon the same duties in eastern Washington. While on his surveying expedition, he had been at much pains to become acquainted with all the tribes upon his route within or bordering; upon his-district, and to prepare their minds for treaty- making. He had particularly commissioned James Doty, one of his assistants, who remained at Fort Benton in charge of the meteorological post at that place for a year, to inquire into all matters pertaining to the Indian tribes in that quarter, and who was made a special agent for that purpose.[51] Lieutenant Mullan, who was employed in the Flathead country for the same length of time, was instructed to give much attention to Indian affairs, and apparently gained a strong influence over them; and Lieutenant Saxton also remained some time with the Nez Perces in order to give and obtain information.

In October Mullan and Doty arrived, the first at Vancouver and the second at Olympia, and when Stevens returned a few weeks later from Washington City, they were ready to report in person. In January 1855 Doty was despatched with a small party east of the Cascade Mountains to make arrangements with the Yakimas, Walla Wallas, Nez Percé, and Palouses, for a grand council, which, by agreement with Superintendent Palmer of Oregon, was appointed for the 20th of May, Kamiakin, chief of the Yakimas, himself directing that the council should be held in the Walla Walla Valley, near the site of the present city of that name, because it was an ancient council-ground.

At the time and place agreed upon the council was held, and treaties signed by the chiefs of the Yakimas, Walla Wallas, Nez Perces, and Cayuses, the narrative of which is contained in another volume.[52] Several weeks were consumed at the treaty-grounds, and it was the middle of June before Stevens was ready to proceed to the Blackfoot country, where arrangements had been made for a treaty council in October. While en route every opportunity was used to cultivate confidential relations with the Indians, and treaties were entered into with the upper Pend d’Oreilles, Kootenais, and Flatheads. A delegation of the Nez Perces, under the special agency of William Craig of Lapwai, attended him to the Blackfoot council, where a treaty of peace was entered into between the Blackfoot nation and this tribe, and where a successful conference was held with this powerful and predatory people.[53] The news of the Blackfoot treaty was dispatched to Olympia by the governor’s special expressman, W. H. Pearson, who returning October 29th met Stevens’ party two days’ travel west of Fort Benton, on their way home with the intelligence that, so far from keeping their treaty obligations, the Yakimas, Walla Wallas, Cayuses, Palouses, and a part of the Nez Perces were at war with the white people, and that it would be impossible for him to reach Olympia through the Indian country, advices from army officers recommending him to go down the Missouri River, and return to Washington territory by the way of New York. Instead of taking this humiliating advice, Stevens at once determined to push forward at all hazards. Sending Doty back to Fort Benton for a large supply of ammunition, with additional arms and horses, he encamped his men to await Doty’s return, and on the 31st, with only A. H. Robie and a Delaware Indian interpreter, started to ride express to Bitter Root Valley, to communicate with Agent R. H. Lansdale, in charge of the Flatheads. At Fort Owen[54] he overtook the Nez Force delegation, whom he found informed of the war which had broken out in the Yakima country, and also that a portion of their own tribe were disaffected and some of them hostile, while all the other tribes who had been parties to the treaty of Walla Walla were undoubtedly so. However, after a conference, the whole party of fourteen, including the war-chiefs Looking Glass, Spotted Eagle, and Three Feathers, promised friendship, and agreed to accompany Stevens as a part of his escort, offering if he should go through the Nez Percé country to send a large party of young men with him to The Dalles. He halted but one day, and moved down to Hell Gate pass to wait for Doty, who overtook him on the 11th of November, and where he was detained until the 15th completing preparations for the contemplated march. He crossed the Bitter Root Mountains on the 20th, in three feet of snow, the horses of the train being one night without grass. When twenty-five miles from the Coeur d’Alene Mission, he again travelled in advance of the train, with only Pearson, Craig, and four of the Nez Perces.

Information had been brought to Stevens that it was the intention of the hostile tribes to cut off his return, and he had no means of knowing to what extent the Coeur d’Alenes and other tribes on his route had been influenced or brought into the combination for war. But judging it best to seem unconscious of danger, he did so, “throwing ourselves into the midst of the Indians with our rifles in one hand, and our arms outstretched on the other side, we tendered them both the sword and the olive-branch.” To the Nez Perces he had given instructions to entertain the C0eur d’Alenes with stories of the Blackfoot council, and talk of the advantages of the treaty which would relieve them in the future of the depredations to which they from time immemorial had been subjected by this people.

The plan succeeded. The Coeur d’Alenes, taken by surprise, met the governor and his party with a cordial welcome; but when the first involuntary pleasure of meeting was over, they began to remember what the emissaries of Kamiakin, who were but five days gone, had told them of him, their manner changed, and they seemed undecided whether to commit themselves to peace or war.

Without giving them time to retract, Stevens hastened on, as soon as his train had overtaken him to the Spokane country, where he had resolved to hold a council. Arrived at the place of Antoine Plant,[55] Indian runners were dispatched to the lower Spokanes, Pend d’Oreilles, and Colville Indians, and invitations sent to Angus McDonald at Fort Colville, and also to the Jesuit fathers Ravelli and Joset of the Colville and Coeur d’Alene missions, to bring them together in conference.

Several days elapsed before all arrived, and when they were met, it seemed doubtful if peace could be obtained. “I had there,” said Stevens in his official report, “one of the stormiest councils, for three days, that ever occurred in my whole Indian experience,” because he would not promise the Indians that the United States troops should not cross to the north side of the Snake River. “Of course,” says Father Joset, “the governor could not promise such a thing. He made several promises, but he evaded that question.”[56]

But when the Indians had heard a complete refutation of the tales told them by the agents of Kamiakin, and been assured of protection so long as they remained friendly, they took heart and appeared satisfied; and Stevens conquered, as he had at the Walla Walla council, by force of personal will as well as argument, the chiefs ending by consulting him on all points as if he had been their father, and confiding to him all their vexations and anxieties.

But there was another danger to be encountered. The Spokanes insisted that the Nez Perces were hostile, though Stevens had hitherto had entire confidence in their good faith. Being put upon his guard when he was rejoined by the party from the Blackfoot council under Looking Glass, he set his interpreter to spy upon this chief; who was at length overheard explaining to a Spokane chief a plan to entrap the treaty-maker when he should arrive in the Nez Perce country, and advising the Spokanes to a similar course. Says Stevens: “I never communicated to Looking Glass my knowledge of his plans, but knowing them, I knew how to meet them in council. I also knew how to meet them in his own country, and it gave me no difficulty.”[57]

The Spokanes offered to escort him through the country of the “hostile Nez Percé,” but Stevens declined, to show that he had no favors to ask, as well as to lessen the danger of collusion between Looking Glass and the Spokanes. He dispatched Craig with a part of the Nez Percé delegation to Lapwai in advance, to invite their people to and arrange for holding a council, as also to procure him an escort to The Dalles. To enlarge his party of white men, he organized a battalion of miners and others waiting to get through the hostile country, called the Stevens Guards and Spokane Invincibles, by which means he added twenty men to his escort who wished to go to The Dalles. When all were mustered in he had a company of fifty. For these he procured the best horses in the country, reducing every pack to eighty pounds, in order that he might fight or fly[58] as occasion required; and thus equipped, set out to encounter, for aught he knew, the combined war force of the confederated tribes. But a forced march for four days in rain and snow brought him to Lapwai, where Craig was awaiting him, with the Indians prepared for a council, which was immediately called.[59]

In the midst of it an Indian express arrived from Walla Walla with the news of four days’ fighting and the death of Peupeumoxmox. It had been previously agreed that a large force of Nez Perces should accompany Stevens to The Dalles, but the knowledge of the occupation of the country by the Oregon troops rendered this unnecessary, and the next day, accompanied by sixty-nine well-armed Nez Force volunteers, in addition to the Stevens Guards, he set out for The Dalles by the way of the seat of war.

Footnotes

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  1. The officers appointed to assist Stevens in the survey of a railroad route were W. T. Gardiner, Captain 1st dragoons; George B. McClellan, brew. Captain, assigned to duty as Captain of eng.; Johnson K. Duncan, 2d Lieutenant 3d art,; Rufus Saxton, Jr, 2d Lieutenant 4th art.; Cuvier Grover (brother of L. F. Grover of Oregon), 2d Lieutenant 5th art.; A. J. Donelson, 2d Lieutenant corps of engineers; John Mullan, Jr, brev. 2d Lieutenant 1st art.; George F. Suckley and J. G. Cooper, surgeons and naturalists; John Evans, geologist; J. M. Stanley, artist (the same who was in Oregon in 1847-8); G. W. Stevens and A. Remenyi, astronomers; A. W. Tinkham and F. W. Lander (brother of Judge Lander), civil engineers; John Lambert, draughtsman. Washington (City) Republic, May 7, 1853. The survey was to be commenced from both ends of the route, to meet somewhere west of the Rocky Mountains. McClellan, who had charge of the west end of the line, arrived in S. F. in June 1853, and proceeded to explore the Cascade Range for passes leading to Puget Sound, starting from Vancouver, and dividing his party so as to make a reconnaissance on both sides of the range the same season. The narratives of these surveys contained in the Pacific R. R. reports are interesting. Several persons connected with the expeditions remained on the Pacific coast; others have since revisited it in an official capacity, and a few who are not mentioned here will be mentioned in connection with subsequent events.
  2. Wallace was born in Miami County, Ohio, July 17, 1811, whence he removed when a, child to Indiana, and in 1839 to Iowa, where he served in both branches of the legislature. He was appointed receiver of public moneys at Fairfield, Iowa, holding the office until Pierce’s administration, when he removed to Washington, in 1853. His subsequent career will be given hereafter. His death occurred Feb. 8, 1879. Olympia Standard, Feb. 15, 1879; New ‘Tacoma Herald, Feb 14, 1879.
  3. Simmons’ influence naturally declined when he was put in comparison and competition with men of different degrees of education, and he felt the embarrassment and humiliation of it keenly. To it he ascribed the loss of his property, which occurred later. Although a man of large frame and good constitution, he died at the age of 53 years, Nov. 15, 1867. He was buried with imposing ceremonies by the Masonic order, of which he was a member, having subscribed liberally toward the erection of a Masonic Ball at Olympia in 1834. Olympia Standard, Nov. 23, 1867.
  4. Joseph Cushman
  5. P. W. Crawford relates how by a little sharp practice he procured the nomination in convention of his friend Lancaster, who lived on or near the Columbia, against the candidates of the Sound district, by dividing the votes against him, and as they failed, gathering them in solid for the remaining candidate. Narr., MS., 267.
  6. Hayden was strongly supported by Pierce County, having resided at the fort ever since its establishment, practicing his profession also outside the military reservation. Being recalled to the east in 1854, companies A and C, 4th infantry, presented him a flattering farewell address, published in Olympia Pioneer and Dem., Jan. 21, 1854.
  7. Gilmore Hays
  8. McConaha was drowned, in company with P. B. Barstow, in the Sound, on the 23d of May 1854. His widow, Ursula, had a series of other losses and misfortunes. An 8-year old daughter was burned to death in March 1858, a son was killed by a vicious horse, and another son terribly maimed by an accident. In August 1859 she married L. V. Wyckoff of Seattle.
  9. Washington First Legislative Assembly
  10. In my judgment, with such aid as the government can rightfully furnish as a proprietor in making surveys and granting lands, the energies of our people are adequate to building not simply one, but three or four roads. Our commerce doubles in 7 years, our railroads in 4 or 5 years, and we have reason to believe that for some years to come this rate of increase will be accelerated. I am firmly of opinion, however, that these great undertakings should be controlled and consummated by the people themselves, and that every project of a government road should be discountenanced.’ Wash. Jour. Council, 1554, 14.
  11. Wash. Jour. Council, 1854, 10-18.
  12. On one side, a log cabin and an immigrant wagon, with a fir forest in the background; on the other, a sheet of water being traversed by a steamer and sailing vessels; a city in perspective; the goddess of hope and an anchor in the centre, the figure pointing above to the significant Indian word ‘Alki’ by and by. Olympia Pioneer and Dem., Feb. 25, 1854; Wash. Jour. House, 1854, 14.
  13. Strong’s Hist. Oregon, MS., 62. J. W. Wiley of the Pioneer and Democrat, a new name for the Columbian, was elected territorial printer by the legislature, but A. M. Berry, Wiley’s partner, was appointed to superintend the printing of the laws in the east. He died of malignant smallpox soon after reaching his home in Greenland, New Hampshire, at the age of 29 years, and the laws were not in readiness for the next legislature. Alfred Metcalf Berry came to the Pacific coast in 1849, and to Oregon in 1850 for his health. In Dec. 1853 he formed a partnership with Wiley, and the name of Columbian being no longer significant, the publishers changed it to Washington Pioneer. In Jan. 1854 R. L. Doyle brought a press and material to Olympia, with the intention of starting a new paper to be called the Northwest Democrat, but finally consolidated with the Pioneer, which then became the Pioneer and Democrat. See Wash. Pioneer, Jan. 28, 1854. Soon after the death of Berry, George B. Goudy, another young man, became associated with Wiley as publisher, the firm being Wiley, Goudy, & Doyle, but Doyle retired before the end of the year (1855), and only Wiley and Goudy remained, Wiley being editor. Goudy was elected territorial printer Jan. 27 1S55, the Pioneer and Democrat remaining the official paper of the territory until a republican administration in 1861. He was a native of Indianapolis, Ind., and born in 1828. He came to Oregon in 1849, and for a year had charge of the publication of the Spectator. He married Elizabeth Morgan of Lafayette, Oregon, in Sept. 1854, and removed to Olympia early in 1853. His connection with the Pioneer and Democrat ceased in Aug. 1856. He died Sept. 19, 1837, leaving a wife and child. E. Furste succeeded Goudy as publisher of the Pioneer and Democrat. In May 1858 Wiley retired, leaving Furste publisher and editor. Wiley died March 30, 1860, at the age of 40, the victim of intemperate drinking. He was born in Ohio, was possessed of brilliant talents, and impressed his mind and energy upon the history of his adopted country, but fell by a power mightier than himself. Pioneer and Dem., March 30, 1860. In November 1860 Furste sold the paper to James Lodge, who found the change in public sentiment against the democratic antecedents of this journal, which lost precedence, and was discontinued not long after. Historically, the Pioneer and Democrat is of more importance than any other journal or journals.
  14. Washington Counties Organized.
  15. Washington Counties Organized.
  16. Washington Counties Organized.
  17. Washington Counties Organized.
  18. Olympia Pioneer and Dem., Oct. 21, 1854. Monroe died at Olympia Sept. 15, 1856, aged 40 years. He was buried on the point on Budd Inlet near the capitol at Olympia, but 15 years afterward the remains were reinterred in the Masonic cemetery. Olympia Transcript, March 13, 1869.
  19. Id., Dec. 9, 1854.
  20. Edward Lander was a native of Salem, Mass. He was graduated at Harvard in 1836, and soon after entered the law school at Cambridge. His first law practice was in Essex County, but in 1841 he removed to Indiana, where he was soon appointed prosecuting attorney for several counties, and subsequently judge of the court of common pleas of the state. His habits were said to be correct, his manners dignified and polished, and his legal and literary attainments of a high order. Boston Times, in Olympia Pioneer and Dec., Jan. 7, 1854. For McFadden’s antecedents, see Hist. Oregon, ii., chap. xi., this series. He died of heart disease, at the age of 58 years, at the residence of his son-in-law, W. W. Miller of Olympia, in June 1875, after a residence of 22 years in the territory, during which he was a member of the legislature and delegate to congress. Spirit of the West, June 26, 1875; Olympia Transcript, July 3, 1875; U. S. House Jour., 43d cone. 1st sess., 13. F. A. Chenoweth was born in 1819, in Franklin co., Ohio, and admitted to the practice of law in Wisconsin at the age of 22 years. He came to Oregon in 1819, and settled on the north side of the river near the Cascades, being elected to the legislature from Lewis and Clarke counties in 1852. In 1863 he removed to Corvallis, where he was again elected to the Oregon legislature, and to the presidency of the Willamette Valley and Coast railroad. Portland West Shore, July 1877.
  21. Washington Petitions for Land Law separate from Oregon
  22. Hist. Oregon, ii., chap. x., this series. The points gained by an act of congress passed July 17, 1854, were the withdrawal of town sites from the provisions of the donation act, and subjecting them to the operation of the act of May 23, 1844, ‘for the relief of citizens of towns upon lands of the United States, under certain circumstances,’ and the reduction of the time of occupancy before purchase to one year; the repeal of that portion of the land law which made void contracts for the sale of land before patent issued, provided that sales should not be valid unless the vendor should have resided four years upon the land; the extension of the preemption privilege to Oregon and Washington; the extension of the donation privilege to 1855; the grant of two townships of land for university purposes; the donation of 160 acres of land to orphans whose parents, had they lived, would have been entitled to a donation; and the appointment of a register and receiver for each of the two territories. Wash. Ter. Statutes, 1854, 53-5.
  23. The subject of amended land laws for their territory was not permitted to drop with this attempt. When the privileges of the old donation act expired in 1835, a petition signed by 200 settlers was presented to congress, asking that the clause in that act which required than to reside for 4 years consecutively on their claims before receiving a certificate should be expunged, and that they be allowed to purchase them at the rate of $1.25 an acre, counting the value of their improvements as payment; the amount of labor bestowed being taken as evidence of an intention to remain a permanent settler. Olympia Pioneer and Dem., Aug. 19, 1855. No change was made as therein requested. Tilton, the surveyor-general appointed for Washington, was directed to join with the surveyor-general of Oregon in starting the survey of his territory, carrying out the work as already begun, and using it as a basis for organizing the Washington surveys in that part of the country where the settlers most required a survey. U. S. H. Ex. Doc., vol. i., pt 1., 33d cong. 1st sess. In his first report, Sept. 20, 1855, Tilton asked for increased compensation per mile for contractors, owing to the difficulty of surveying in Washington, where one enormous forest was found growing amidst the decaying ruins of another, centuries old, in consequence of which horses could not be used, and provisions had to be packed upon the backs of men, at a great cost. Id., vol. i., pt i., 292, 34th cong. 1st sess.

    W. W. De Lacy ran the standard meridian from Vancouver through to the northern boundary of Washington. The Willamette meridian fell in the water nearly the whole length of the Sound, compelling him to make repeated offsets to the east. One of these offsets was run on the line between range 5 and 6 east of the Willamette meridian, which line runs through the western part of Snohomish City. After the close of the Indian war, De Lacy ran and blazed out the line of the military road from Steilacoom to Bellingham Bay, with the assistance of only one Indian, Pims, who afterward murdered a settler on the Snohomish River, named Carter. Morse’s Wash. Ter., MS., xx. 36-7. The total amount surveyed under the Oregon office was 1,876 miles, the amount surveyed under Tilton previous to Dec. 1855, 3,663 miles, and the quantity proposed to be surveyed in the next 2 years, 5,688 miles, all west of the Cascade Range. The Indian wars, however, stopped work for about that length of time. It was difficult to find deputies who would undertake the work, on account of Indian hostilities, even after the war was declared at an end. Deputy Surveyor Dominick Hunt was murdered on Whidbey Island in the latter part of July 1858. Olympia Pioneer and Dem., Aug 6, 1858; Land office Rept, 1838. The field of operations in 1858 was on Shoalwater Bay, Gray Harbor, Whidbey Island, and the southern coast of the Fuca strait. As there was but one land office in the territory, and that One situated at Olympia, the land commissioner, at the request of the territorial legislature, recommended the formation of three new districts. No action was taken, and in 1858 the legislature passed another resolution asking for three additional land districts, one to be called Columbia River Land District. The commissioner again made his former recommendation, the house committee on lands recommending two new districts. U. S. Misc. Doc., 130, vol. ii., 34th cong. 1st sess.; Id., doc. 114; Id., doc. 30, vol. i., 35th cong. 2d sess.; U. S. H. Com. Rept, 376, vol. iii., 35th cong. 1st sess. On the 16th of May 1860, congress passed an act to `create an additional land district in Washington territory,’ but provided no appropriation for carrying out its purpose until the following year, when the office at Vancouver was established. In 1857 a bill was brought before the House of Representatives to extend the public surveys east of the Cascade Mountains. The senate referred the matter to the secretary of the interior, who declared there was no necessity for the bill, and that it would render emigration overland dangerous by exciting the Indians. U. S. Sen. Wish., 28, 34th tong. 3d sess. It was not until the close of the Indian war east of the mountains in 1858 that the land laws were extended to that region. In 1862 the legislature memorialized congress for a land office at Walla Walla, which was established. Wash. Stat., 1861-2, 139.

  24. This remarkable statement is corroborated by subsequent writers, who account for the impoverishment of the soil by the substratum of gravel, which, when the sod was disturbed, allowed the rains to wash down, as through a filter, the component parts of the soil. For the same reason, the cattle-ranges, from being continually trampled in wet weather, received no benefit from the dung of the animals, and deteriorated as stated above. On the plains between the Nisqually and Puyallup rivers, where once the grass grew as tall as a man on horseback, the appearance of the country was later one of sterility.
  25. Wash. Jour. Council, 1854, 183-5. Two other memorials were passed at this session; one asking that the claim of Lafayette Batch for the expense incurred in rescuing the Georgiana’s passengers from Queen Charlotte Island be paid, and one praying congress to confirm the land claim of George Bush, colored, to him and his heirs. Id., 185-8. As to the first, congress had already legislated on that subject. Cong. Globe, xxx. 125.
  26. The other joint resolutions passed related to the establishment of a mail service, by the way of Puget Sound, between Olympia and other points in Washington to San Francisco, New York, and New Orleans; to appropriations for territorial and military roads; to light houses at Cape Flattery, en Blunt’s Island, and at New Dungeness; to an appropriation for a marine hospital; to a requisition for arms and equipments for the male citizens of the territory between the ages of 18 and 45; to the completion of the geological survey; to the building of an arsenal; to having Columbia City, Penn Cove, Port Gamble, Whatcom, and Seattle made ports of delivery; to having the office of the surveyor of customs removed from Nisqually to Steilacoom; to increasing the salary of the collector of customs; and to the advantage of annexing the Sandwich Islands; with some lesser local matters. Among the latter was one setting forth that Henry V. Colter, one of the firm of Parker & Colter’s express, had absconded with $3,875 of the government funds, and instructing the delegate to urge congress to confer authority upon the accounting officers of the treasury to place that amount to the credit of the secretary of the territory. This matter has been already referred to in Parker’s account of the earliest mails and express companies. It is said that Colter afterward fell heir to a fortune of $200,000. Olympia Transcript, Aug. 8, 1874.
  27. Wash. Jour. Council, 1854, 116. The first appropriation for a public library, $5,000, was expended by Stevens. The report of the librarian for 1854 was that there were 2,130 volumes in the library. Stevens said in his first message that he had taken care to get the best books in each department of learning, and that he had applied to the executives of every state and territory and to many learned societies to donate their publications. In 1871 the territorial library contained over 4,100 volumes, besides maps and charts. Wash. Jour. House, 1871, app. 1-813.
  28. Olympia Pioneer and Dem., Jan. 28, 1854.
  29. Hudson’s Bay Company Forts in Washington.
  30. Olympia Pioneer and Dem., May 13, 1854. For a chapter on the San Juan difficulty, see Hist. Brit. Columbia, this series.
  31. Lane added to his bill amendatory of the land law, which passed in July, a section giving Washington a surveyor-general. He consented that Washington should have the arsenal, should congress grant one jointly to both territories, and in various ways helped on the delegate, all of whose letters home complained that he could not get the attention of congress. Had he been a Thurston or a Lane, he would have compelled the attention of congress.
  32. Incl. Aff. Rept, 1854, 249.
  33. 0n the 26th of September 1852, the American schooner Susan Sturges, sailing along the coast of Queen Charlotte Island with a light breeze, was surrounded by thirty canoes, the Indians professing a desire to sell some fish. When they were near enough, they simultaneously sprang on board, taking possession of the vessel, stripping the crew naked, and taking them on shore prisoners, after which they burned the vessel. Tho captives were rescued by the H. B. Co.’s steamer Beaver, from Fort Simpson, with the exception of one man, whom the Indians refused to release. His fate it is needless to conjecture. Olympia Columbian, Jan. 1, 1863.
  34. Lawson’s Autobiography, MS., 51-3; Hancock’s Thirteen Years, MS., 273-8.
  35. Id., 278-86, 333. Swan, in his Northwest Coast, 55-6, refers to the prevalence of a light form of smallpox at Shoalwater Bay, which did not carry off white men, but was fatal to Indians. Hancock also relates that one of the Makahs who first had the disease recovered, but his people, holding him responsible for its introduction, killed him. Thirteen Years, MS., 285-6.
  36. Olympia Columbian, Oct. 8 and 15, 1853.
  37. W. H. Wallace and Elwood Evans defended Pettingill’s murderers; Joseph S. Smith and B. F. Kendall defended Jewell’s murderers, and the Indian who killed Church. Olympia Pioneer and Dem., Oct. 21, 1854.
  38. A petition was sent to congress asking relief from the loss sustained by T. S. Russell, F. M. Syner, and Robert R. Phillips by reason of their wounds and consequent inability to labor. Wash. Jour. Council, 1834, 2054.
  39. Joseph S. Smith and B. F. Kendall defended these Indians, and also the murderer of Judah Church, who was killed in March 1S53. Olympia Pioneer and Dem., Oct. 21, 1854. They were all convicted, but escaped.
  40. The drowned were Major Earned, who left a family at Fort Steilacoom, John Hamilton, Corporal Jirah T. Barlow, John McIntyre, Henry Hall, Lawrence Fitzpatrick, Charles Ross, John Clark, and Henry Lees. Id., April 8, 1854.
  41. Id., May 20, 1854; rept of Capt. Stoneman. in U. S. II. Ex. Doc., 88, x., 175-6, 35th tong. 1st sess.
  42. Sylvester’s Olympia, MS., 22; Parker’s Wash. Ter., MS., 5-6; Eldridge’s Sketches, MS., 11; Wash. Jour. Council, 1854, 209-10.
  43. This Indian and his two wives, Queen Victoria and Jenny Lind, have become historical characters in Washington, being often referred to by writers visiting Port Townsend, where they resided. Swan, in his Wash. Sketch, MS., 8, makes mention of them, saying that the Duke of York lived at one end of the beach, and at the other a remnant of the Chimakum tribe. Nothing less like the personages they were named after could be imagined than these squalid beach dwellers.
  44. Accompanying the governor on his first arrival was his nephew, George Watson Stevens of Lawrence, Mass., 22 years of age. He was a young man of talent and education, from whom much was expected; but was accidentally drowned in the Skookum Chuck, Feb. 16, 1885. Olympia Pioneer and Dem., Feb. 24, 1855.
  45. Washington Council Members, 1854
  46. The massacre of the Ward train, in (Hist. Oregon, ii., chap. xiv., this series, and the killing of George Lake, Walter G. Perry, and E. B. Cantrell, immigrants to Washington, is referred to here. Ebey’s Jour., MS., 12-15, 17, 19, 23, 25.
  47. The immigration to Washington by the road opened in 1853 to Walla Walla was not large. The road had been further improved, but was not yet good. Jacob Ebey and W. S. Ebey, with six others of the family, Harvey H. Jones, A. S.Yantis, Moses Kirtland, M. Cox, T. J. Headley, Henry Whitsill, George E. King, the families of Lake and Perry killed by tho Indians, C. P. Anderson, Charles Van Wormer, William Goodell, A. D. Neely, J. R. Meeker, M. W. Morrow, James Kirtley, W. N. Ayers, in all about 20 families and 200 head of stock, passed over this route. Olympia Pioneer and Dem., Sept. 16 and Oct. 15, 1854. In Ebey’s Journal, MS., i. 101, I find mention of A. J. Bradley, Dick Bradley, John Waste, Judson, H. H. Jones, S. P. Burr, and hints of the settlements already made and to be made in White and Puyallup valleys. Porter’s claim was the first after leaving the mountains in White River Valley. King, Kirtland, Jones, and others,’ says Ebey, will probably locate in this vicinity,’ and by reference to Morgan’s map of Puget Sound I find these names, and that of Cox on White River. Three miles from Porter’s was Connell’s prairie, and three miles farther was Fennellis’ prairie; six miles to the Puyallup bottoms, where some houses were being put up; nine miles after crossing the Puyallup to J. Montgomery’s claim east of Steilacoom, and near that place the claim of Peter Smith. According to the same authority, Judson Van Wormer and Goodell went to Mound Prairie, south of the Nisqually River, to find claims. S. P. Burr died on the road, but his family arrived. Mrs Meeker died on the Platte. Meeker and Mrs Burr were married after arriving in the territory. Ezra Meeker, later a well-known hop-grower in the Puyallup Valley, and author of a pamphlet on Washington, was already settled on a claim east of Steilacoom. Daniel Smalley and George W. Davidson settled near New Dungeness in the autumn of 1854, but they were not of the overland immigration. Many arrived by sea, or from the Columbia. Wash. Ter. Sketches, MS., GS.
  48. Wash. Jour. Council, 1854-5, 15; Olympia Pioneer and Dem., Dee. 30, 1854.
  49. Swan, in his Northwest Coast, 327-43, gives some idea of how Stevens accomplished so much work. It was greatly advanced by his habit of having agents on the ground some time beforehand. He has been accused, particularly by Tolmie, in his Puget Sound, MS., 37, of forcing treaties upon the Indians without giving them time to consider sufficiently what was proposed. But Swan makes a different statement. Special Agent Tappan was sent in advance to gather up the Indians of his district and take them to the place of meeting on the Chehalis River, where H. D. Cook and Sidney Ford, Jr, would meet him with the coast tribes. Swan, J. G. Cooper of the railroad survey, George Gibbs, and others were invited to be present. The treaty- ground was on the claim of James Pilkington, 10 miles above Gray Harbor, where a comfortable camp was arranged, and where ample time was taken to make the Indians acquainted with the propositions offered them. The principal interpreter for the white men was B. F. Shaw, colonel of the newly organized militia, who gave the speech of the governor in jargon to an Indian interpreter from each tribe, who repeated it to his people-a slow but sure method of conveying his meaning.
  50. Swan thought Stevens should have yielded. Perhaps it would have been more politic; but Palmer of Oregon, after many years of acquaintance with Indian affairs, says it is a mistake to have many reservations. It certainly is much more expensive to the government. Swan believed the Indians should have been humored in their dislike of each other and their attachment to localities.
  51. Par. R. R. Rept, xii. 113.
  52. Hist. Oregon, ii., chap. xiv., this series. Briefly, the tribes assembled gave the superintendents unexpected trouble in making treaties, Kannuk in having conspired with other chiefs to destroy the commissioners and seize the government property which was stored at Port Walla Walla. Lawyer, head chief of the Nez Perces, was able to prevent the conspiracy being carried out, but not to prevent what followed.
  53. Stevens was assisted in his labors by Special Agent Doty; by commissioned agent R. H. Lansdale, whose district this was; by Gustavus Sohon, ‘a private in the 4th infantry, who was with Mr Mullan the year previous in the Bitter Root Valley, and had shown a great taste as an artist and ability to learn the Indian language, as well as facility in intercourse with the Indians;’ by Albert H. Robie, ‘a most intelligent young man, who, from a cook-boy in 1853, had in a year and half become an intelligent herder and woodsman, and was also desirous of being engaged on the service;’ Pac. R. Rept, xii. 196; and Special Agent Thomas Adams, one of his aids in 1853. His messenger was W. H. Pearson, whom Stevens describes as ‘hardy, intelligent, bold, and resolute,’ and as being ‘acquainted with all the relations between Indians and white men, from the borders of Texas to the forty-ninth parallel.’ Pearson carried the news of the Walla, Walla council to Olympia, and returning overtook Stevens in the Flathead country in time to start back. again July 18th with the results of a council with that nation. On the 27th of August he again overtook Stevens’ party at Fort Benton, the distance to Olympia and back 1,750 miles-being accomplished in 28 days, some of which were not used in travel, He rode the 260 miles from Fort Owen to Fort Benton in less than three days. One thing which Stevens never forgot to do was to give credit where it belonged, even to his humblest servants; but this feat of Pearson’s he mentions as showing the practicability of travel in eastern Washington. His thirteen-year-old son Hazard, who accompanied him on this journey to the Blackfoot country, was sent as a messenger to the Gros Ventres to bring them to the council ground at the mouth of Judith River, and rode 150 miles from 10 o’clock of one day to half-past 2 o’clock of the next, without fatigue. Stevens was detained beyond the time contemplated by having to wait for keelboats from below on the Missouri River with the treaty goods, the water being low.
  54. Fort Owen was a stockade, the residence of John Owen and his brother, stock-raisers in the Bitter Root Valley. They had abandoned their place previous to the passage of the railroad expedition from fear of the Blackfoot tribe, but had reestablished it.
  55. Planté was a half-breed living in the Spokane country, ‘near the prairie intermediate between them and the Coeur d’Alenes.’
  56. I was so fortunate as to secure, through the industry of Mrs Rowena Nichols of Whitman county, Washington, a copy of some of Joset’s writings, in which is a pretty full account of this council of Stevens with the Spokanes and others. It is contained in a manuscript by Mrs Nichols, called Indian Affairs in Oregon.
  57. Pac. R. R. Rept, xii. 225. This incident shows that Looking Glass was no more sincere in signing the treaty of Walla Walla than was Kamiakin or Peupeumoxmox. Father Joset says that somebody having told the Indians that it was for their interest to make a treaty, ‘as the whites would have their lands anyway,’ they agreed to make a mock treaty in order to gain time and prepare for war. Nichols’ Ind. Aff , MS., 3.
  58. Ind. War Expenses Speech, 12.
  59. Washington Settlers from Oregon


MLA Source Citation:

Bancroft, Hubert H. Bancroft Works, Volume 31, History Of Washington, Idaho, and Montana, 1845-1889. San Francisco: The History Company. 1890. AccessGenealogy.com. Web. 14 September 2014. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/washington/governor-stevens-washington-legislature-building-a-new-state.htm - Last updated on Oct 25th, 2013


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