網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版
[graphic][subsumed][merged small]

the season-distributed as follows: at the saw-mill there were living Mr. and Mrs. Young from Missouri, three grown sons; Mr. Smith and wife, Illinois, five children, oldest child a daughter sixteen years of age. In the blacksmith shop, Mr. Canfield and wife, of Iowa, five children, oldest daughter of sixteen; Mrs. Hays and child; Mr. Marsh and daughter, and Mr. Gill, a tailor. In the Indian room, Mr. Osborne and wife, of Oregon, with three children, all sick, Mrs. Osborne dangerously. The Doctor's family at the time consisted of twenty-two persons, viz.: himself and wife; Mr. Rogers, a missionary ; seven adopted children of one family by the name of Sager, whose parents had died on the plains in 1844; three adopted half-breed children, one a daughter of the mountaineer, Bridger, and one a daughter of J. L. Meek, and a half-breed Spanish boy, whose mother had cast him into a pit to perish, in revenge for having been deserted by her Spanish husband; Miss Bewerly, a pious young lady of twenty-three, sick up-stairs ; her brother and Mr. Sails, both sick in the sleeping-room ; Mr. Hoffman of New York; J. Stanfield, a Canadian . Joe Lewis, a Catholic half-breed, from Maine; two half-breed boys, of Hudson Bay Company, in the school; and my own daughter Eliza, ten years of age. Mr. Marsh was running the mill; Mr. Hall was lying on the floor in the cook-room; Mr. Saunders teaching the school, which was just taken up for the afternoon; Messrs. Hoffman, Kimball, and Canfield were dressing the beef between the mill and the blacksmith shop; Mr. Rogers upon the river bank; John, oldest of the Sager family, a stout young man of seventeen, and the Bridger girl lay in the kitchen sick; Doctor Whitman, his wife, Catharine Sager, thirteen years old, in the sitting-room with three very sick children. The Indians, with weapons concealed under their

[graphic][merged small]

blankets, were ready at all these points, waiting a signal from Joe Lewis, who stood at the south door, watching both the Doctor and those without. Mrs. Osborne, for the first time in six weeks, had just stepped upon the floor, and stood talking with Mrs. Whitman near the sick children. An Indian opened the kitchen door and called to the Doctor for medicine. The Doctor went in and sat down by the Indian, who kept his attention while Tamahos stepped behind the Doctor and buried the hatchet in his head. * * * With this the terrible work commenced at all points at the same time. * * * The women naturally ran to the Doctor's house, meeting savages naked, painted, yelling, laughing, frantic, hewing, cutting down their victims everywhere.”

The children were in the school when the yells commenced. The teacher was dragged out and killed, and the little ones driven by a

crowd of the screeching fiends from the school door to the kitchen, with tomahawks, guns and knives brandishing over their innocent heads. These children were huddled in a corner, and the Indians, filling the room like so many maniacs, scraped up the blood that was deep upon the floor, Airted it about, painted their guns and tomahawks with it, and flourishing them, kept crying out “ Shall we shoot ?" “Shall we shoot?” Mr. Spalding continues : “Eliza, who could understand the language, says, ' I covered my eyes with my apron, that I might not see the bloody tomahawk strike that was just over my head.' The head chief (afterward hung at Oregon City) stood in the door to give the order. In this fearful situation these dear

[graphic][subsumed][merged small]

children were held for an hour. * * * Ups and Moolpod, the Doctor's Indian herdsmen, crawled in, threw their robes around the children, and huddled them out of the north door into the corner. But here the Indians, who seemed to have finished up the bloody work elsewhere, soon collected in great numbers, arranging themselves three or four deep the whole length of the seventy-foot ell, with their guns drawn and pointing to the same door." This would bring the group of terrified children in range. About this time another scene of demoniac violence commenced, which the children were compelled to witness, entirely beyond the reach of pen or words to describe. Mr. and Mrs. Osborne escaped with their sick family, all of whom had had the measles, by removing the loose floor and dropping under it, pulling the floor over them. They could hear the roar of guns, the yell of the savages, and the crash of the clubs and the knives and the

groans of the dying until dark. Then the naked, painted demons danced the scalp-dance around a large fire. Enough, however, has been told. The Walla Walla valley, for ages unknown, was “now to pass into the hands of another race by this covenant of the missionaries' blood.”

During the next twelve years little progress was made in the cultivation of the soil of the Walla Walla valley. The acquisition of land presented limited attractions so long as it could be had for the taking nearer the centers of civilization. The Indian was during that period comparatively secure in his Walla Walla hunting grounds. But the discovery of gold in California demoralized the whole of Oregon. Farmers left their grain uncut in the fields; claims were abandoned; homes were pledged to raise means to enable the father of a family to seek the glittering treasure. Men risked everything and suffered unspeakable disappointments. When in 1855 gold was discovered in the Pend d'Oreille, or Clarke's River, where it empties into the Columbia, a home sensation was cretated between the Cascade and Rocky Mountains. Following close upon this, and in view of the rush of white men into the gold regions, Governor Stevens procured the signing of treaties with various tribes, who ceded to our government an area of a little over 20,000 square miles of territory. The payments were carefully agreed upon, and to the Indians generally the purchase money was a glittering temptation. But the head chief was hostile to the transaction. The Walla Wallas, Cayuses and Umatillas would not have sold their country to the whites but for the stain upon their hands of the blood of the murdered Dr. Whitman. Many of them, remembering the scene of butchery, believed avengeful spirits were bringing misfortune upon the guilty. The leading chief of the Walla Wallas was sullen and declined to talk business when the Council met at Camp Stevens, on the site of what is now the city of Walla Walla. He remembered that his own son had been educated at the Whitman mission; had visited California by invitation of Captain Sutter, and had been mur. dered in that gentleman's fort. Great favors promised finally induced him to append his signature to the document. This treaty was concluded at Walla Walla on the gth of June, 1855. But at Colville the Indians were even more seriously averse to coming to terms. Suspicious danger-clouds appeared in the horizon. The treaties in any instance could not be made obligatory on either party until ratified by the Government at Washington; and nearly four long years elapsed before that ratification. Meanwhile, gold-seekers flocked to the Colville mines, occupying the land, and the Indians grew more and more hostile. Thus commenced an Indian war of the most desolating character. The beautiful valley of Walla

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][merged small]

Walla was changed into a battle-field. This was a critical period. But after many months the Indians were promised that no white men should be allowed to settle in their country, except by their permission, or “on land not confirmed by the Senate and approved by the President of the United States;" and Colonel Steptoe was to build a fort and live in peace among them. None of the Indians were to be punished for past offenses. This final surrender to the savages occurred November 21, 1856, and the war ended. The new fort was ready for comfortable occupation on Christmas-day, 1856. And this event was really the beginning of the rise of the inland metropolis.

In 1858 the Walla Walla country was practically thrown open to settlement; a few farmers located along its streams. In 1859 there was a marked increase in the immigration, and it began to be generally understood in the United States that the “uninhabitable desert, not worth a pinch of snuff," was suited for agricultural purposes, and, in fact, one of the most promising regions on the continent. There was as yet, however, no market for farm products outside of the garrison. In 1860 gold was discovered at a place in the mountains, which afterward became the fa

« 上一頁繼續 »