Topic: Modoc

War With The Modoc – Indian Wars

Early April 16th, the Modoc had a big fire in their camp. Major Thomas dropped a shell directly into it, provoking a frantic war whoop, and causing the sudden extinguishing of the fire. Another shell was dropped in the same locality, and was followed by yells of pain and dismay. The Modoc then appeared and challenged the soldiers to come out and fight. Another shell was the answer, and they were driven back. At 4 o’clock A. M. , after another fight, the Modoc gave up the attempt to break through the line and retired. Scattering shots were fired on the...

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The Capture of Captain Jack

The Modocs were a small band of Indians, located on Lost River, Oregon. Lost River empties into Tule Lake, which lies partly in California and partly in Oregon. These Indians, numbering about seventy-five or eighty adult men capable of bearing arms, were camped near the mouth of the river, and bordering on the lake. They traded back and forth to Yreka, California, and many could speak a little broken English. So far as I could learn they were entirely peaceful, and, according to tradition, their ancestors for many generations had inhabited that region. This, however, was not included in the Indian Reservation; therefore this small band of Indians must be removed from the home of their childhood, the land of their ancestors, that the white man might possess it. To this the red men demurred and it was, therefore, decided to send Jackson’s troop of the First Cavalry from Fort Klamath, Oregon, by a sudden and stealthy march at night, surround them at daylight, and move them forcibly on to the reservation they hated. To the Indian Department this apparently seemed an easy matter. How easy subsequent events show. Jackson made the attempt and appeared before the astonished Indians on the morning of November 29, 1872. The latter, evidently considering this treatment a declaration of war, opened fire upon the troops and then fled to the lava-beds. They had...

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The Last Fight of the Campaign

From the Report of Brig.-Gen. H. C. Hasbrouck, United States Army (Retired) I marched from Redding, California, my Battery B, Fourth Artillery, being equipped as cavalry, under the command of Captain John Mendenhall, Fourth Artillery, April 19, 1873, and arrived at Promontory Point, April 28th. April 29th marched under Captain Mendenhall to Captain Jack’s old stronghold in the lava-beds. May 7th I left the stronghold in command of my own battery and Troops B and G, First Cavalry, and arrived at Peninsula Camp, May 8th. May 9th, under verbal instructions of the Department Commander, marched to Sorass Lake in command of my battery, Captain Jackson’s Troop B, Lieutenant Kyle’s Troop G, First Cavalry, and Warm Spring Indian scouts under Donald McKay, Act – Asst.-Surg. J. S. Skinner, medical officer. Camped at the lake with the cavalry and Indians, and sent the battery to camp in the timber about one mile to the southeast. May loth was attacked by the Modocs just before daylight. Their main line occupied a line of bluffs about four hundred yards distant, and a smaller party soon took possession of a lower line about two hundred yards nearer. Outposts had been established the night before upon the higher bluffs, but the Modocs succeeded in getting possession without their knowledge. The horses were stampeded by the first volley and Indian yells and ran through the camp...

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Jackson’s Expedition

The Modoc Indians belong generally to the races known as “Digger Indians” – from living largely upon esculent roots which the squaws dig, dry and cache for winter subsistence, – but they are much superior to the average Digger Indian, and are more nearly allied in character -and by intermarriage -to the “Rogue Rivers,” a warlike tribe, now about extinct, inhabiting at one time the western slope of the Cascade Mountains in Oregon. Schonchin was chief of the tribe when the treaty was made with the Klamaths, Modocs and Yainaskin Snakes, by which these tribes, for the consideration offered by the Indian Bureau, agreed to live upon the Klamath Reservation, then just established. The Indian title to the Lost River and Tule Lake country was thus extinguished, and the land thrown open to settlement. The Klamath Reserve proving to have a much colder climate than the Modocs were accustomed to, and the Klamath Indians, their ancient foes, taunting them with living on “their”‘ land, catching “their” fish, and killing “their” game, the Modocs became discontented. The governing chief, “Old Schonchin,” with a large part of the tribe, got as far away from the Klamaths as he could, and lived up to the terms of the treaty; but the restless and desperate spirits of the tribe, under the leadership of the Indian afterward widely known as “Captain Jack,” and John...

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First Battle of the Modoc War

Perhaps few places on earth, of like area, have cost so much in blood and treasure as Klamath land, and yet it may be worth the price, dear as it was, for it is one of nature’s brightest gems. The native possessor held it with a tenacity which compels us to admire his patriotism, his reverence for the land of his ancestors, while we deprecate the methods of his warfare. As he would put it: “Here is the dust of my fathers. Better for me to die here than to be removed to any other country. If I die here I go down to dust with my father and my people. If I die in some other land I shall be lost forever.” The Modocs stood as bloody sentinels along the line of the emigrant road. As far back as 1852 they began the work of ambush and slaughter, and Modoc land was for a quarter of a century the scene not only of savage treachery and cruelty, but of heroic deeds and tragic incident. Weary immigrants toiling onward toward the setting sun – no record tells how many – were here sacrificed almost on the very threshold of their land of promise. Later, when the enterprising white man, having seen and appreciated this land of green meadows, silvery lakes and crystal streams, determined to possess it, brave settlers,...

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Treaty of October 14, 1864

Articles of agreement and convention made and concluded at Klamath Lake, Oregon, on the fourteenth day of October, A. D. one thousand eight hundred and sixty-four, by J. W. Perit Huntington, superintendent of Indian affairs in Oregon, and William Logan, United States Indian agent for Oregon, on the part of the United States, and the chiefs and head-men of the Klamath and Moadoc tribes, and Yahooskin band of Snake Indians, hereinafter named, to wit, La-Lake, Chil-o-que-nas, Kellogue, Mo-ghen-kas-kit, Blow, Le-lu, Palmer, Jack, Que-as, Poo-sak-sult, Che-mult, No-ak-sum, Mooch-kat-allick, Toon-tuck-tee, Boos-ki-you, Ski-a-tic, Shol-las-loos, Ta-tet-pas, Muk-has, Herman-koos-mam, chiefs and head-men of the Klamaths; Schon-chin, Stat-it-ut, Keint-poos, Chuck-e-i-ox, chiefs and head-men of the Moadocs, and Kile-to-ak and Sky-te-ock-et, chiefs of the Yahooskin band of Snakes. Article I.The tribes of Indians aforesaid cede to the United States all their right, title, and claim to all the country claimed by them, the same being determined by the following boundaries, to wit: Beginning at the point where the forty fourth parallel of north latitude crosses the summit of the Cascade Mountains; thence following the main dividing-ridge of said mountains in a southerly direction to the ridge which separates the waters of Pitt and McCloud Rivers from the waters on the north; thence along said dividing-ridge in an easterly direction to the southern end of Goose Lake; thence northeasterly to the northern end of Harney Lake; thence...

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In the Land of Burnt Out Fires

In the Land of Burnt Out Fires A Tragedy of the Far NorthwestBy Dr. BradyThe most costly war in which the United States ever engaged, considering the number of opponents, occurred in the winter of 1872-73 in the lava-beds of Oregon. Fifty Modoc 1According to some etymologies, the word means a stranger. Indians, under the leadership of one Kientpoos – commonly known as Captain Jack, held that pedregal against overwhelming numbers of regular soldiers upon whom they inflicted defeat after defeat with little loss to themselves. They were not captured until treachery had played its maleficent part. To understand this tremendous drama a knowledge of the first act is essential. In September, 1852, an emigrant train, comprising sixty-five men, women and children, was making its way northward into the lake region of southern Oregon. The California-Oregon trail led between Lower Klamath and Tule Lakes. Huge bluffs several hundred feet high approached nearly the shore of Tule Lake, leaving a narrow road between the cliffs and the water. There the emigrant party mentioned was overwhelmed by Modoc Indians led by old Schonchin. The Modocs closed both ends of the trail and attacked from the bluffs. The settlers fought bravely, but to no avail. Those not killed were captured and tortured to death with every device of savage malignity. One man, desperately wounded, and left for dead, escaped to tell the...

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Kumbatuash Tribe

Kumbatuash Indians. The native name of the inhabitants of Kumbat, a rocky tract of land southwest of Tule or Rhett Lake, California, extending from the lake shore to the Lava beds. These people are a mixture of Klamath Lake and Modoc Indians, and are said to have separated from these after 1830. Alternate Spellings Cum-ba-twas – Meacham, Wigwam and Warpath, 577, 1875. Gumbatkni – Gatschet in Cont. N. A. Ethnol., II, pt. II, 160 1890. Kumbatkni – Ibid. Kumbatuash – Ibid. Kumbatuashkni – Ibid. Kum-batwash – Ibid., pt. I, XXXIV, 1890. Hock Indians – Meacham, op. cit.,...

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Modoc Tribe

Modoc Indians (from Móatokni, ‘southerners’). A Lutuamian tribe, forming the southern division of that stock, in south west Oregon. The Modoc language is practically the same as the Klamath, the dialectic differences being extremely slight. This linguistic identity would indicate that the local separation of the two tribes must have been comparatively recent and has never been complete. The former habitat of the Modoc included Little Klamath Lake, Modoc Lake, Tule Lake, Lost River Valley, and Clear Lake, and extended at times as far east as Goose Lake. The most important bands of the tribe were at Little Klamath Lake, Tule Lake, and in the Valley of Lost River. Frequent conflicts with white immigrants, in which both sides were guilty of many atrocities, have given the tribe an unfortunate reputation. In 1864 the Modoc joined the Klamath in ceding their territory to the United States and removed to Klamath Reservation. They seem never to have been contented, however, and made persistent efforts to return and occupy their former lands on Lost River and its vicinity. In 1870 a prominent chief named Kintpuash, commonly known to history as Captain Jack, led the more turbulent portion of the tribe back to the California border and obstinately refused to return to the reservation. The first attempt to bring back the runaways by force brought on the Modoc War of 1872-73. After some...

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Captain Jack, Modoc Indian Tribe

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

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