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George Gibbs’ Journal of Redick McKee’s Expedition

Through Northwestern California in 1851  

Edited and with annotations by

Robert F. Heizer  


Department of Anthropology  

University of California  




            Introduction                                                                        1  

          Gibb’s Journal                                                                     [1]  

          Indian Populations of North-western California in 1851   [80]  

          Notes                                                                                    [81]          


            George Gibbs’ Journal which is reprinted here,* was written in 1851 while he was serving as interpreter on the treaty-making expedition of Redick McKee who had been appointed as one of three Treaty Commissioners by President Fillmore.  The area which fell to McKee by lot was the Coast Ranges north of San Francisco Bay and those portions of northern California which lay beyond the area assigned to O. M. Wozencraft.  McKee made four treaties, the ones officially referred to as O, P, Q and R.  

          George Gibbs was an intelligent and perceptive person, as the reader of his Journal will see.  Gibbs was born in New York in 1815 and died in 1873.  He entered Harvard University , graduated in law in 1838, and started legal practice.  But the law did not really appeal to him and when the opportunity presented itself to go to the Far West , only recently come under American control, and with the California Gold Rush in progress, he moved to Oregon with the Mounted Rifle Regiment.  In Oregon he became deputy customs collector at Astoria and later became attached to the Indian Commission in Oregon .  In Oregon Gibbs learned the Chinook jargon.+  When and why he came to California we do not know, but in July, 1851, he was in Sonoma and was employed there by McKee to serve as interpreter for the party which was going north into an area known to be full of Indians and with whom treaties were to be made.  

          The map which Gibbs alludes to in the beginning of the second paragraph of his Journal has never been published.  If it still exists, as seems probable, it would be a valuable document to make public.  The vocabularies collected by Gibbs are published in Schoolcraft, Vol. III, pp. 428-445.  

          I have not tried to plot the expedition’s route in terms of present day geography since it can be followed without much difficulty.  Most of the place names cited by Gibbs have remained to the present.  Some have been abandoned, and the interested reader can consult O. C. Coy  (op. cit. in Note 32 infra) for many toponymic identifications of Gold Rush times.  



*  Original in Henry R. Schoolcraft, Historical and Statistical Information, Respecting The History, Condition and Prospects of The Indian Tribes of The United States .  Vol. III, pp. 99-177, 1853.  Philadelphia.  

+  These meager details of Gibbs’ life are taken from information provided by D. I. Bushnell, Drawings by George Gibbs in the Far Northwest, 1849-1851.  Smithsonian Inst., Misc. Coll., Vol. 97, No. 8, 1938.


      Since the printed text of the 1853 publication is being reproduced, it is difficult to insert numbers for notes, and I have therefore used the device of entering the note numbers in the margin opposite the underlined word in the text to which the note refers.  I trust that the reader will not construe my underlining as Gibbs’ emphases.  (These margin note numbers are along side the underlined word/words and all notes are available at the end of the Journal.  ~  Typist)  

      The page numbers of the 1853 publication have been retained, and I have added new pagination at the bottom in brackets for simpler reference citation.  

     Appended is McKee’s population table for northwestern California Indians which appeared as Section R in Schoolcraft (op. cit.) Vol. III, Chap. XV, See R, p. 634, 1853.  

     In addition to Gibbs Journal, a second and more official one entitled “Minutes Kept by John McKee, Secretary, on the Expedition from Sonoma Through Northern California” was recorded and published in Documents of the Senate of the United States During the Special Session Called March 4, 1853.  John McKee’s “Minutes” are part of Ex. Doc. 4 cited immediately above, and occupy pp. 134-187.  It would be nice to reprint this also, but it does not offer enough that is new to warrant the expense.  McKee’s Minutes are concerned largely with day-to-day occurrences of the train and does not contain nearly the amount of ethnographic fact which Gibbs’ Journal does.  In 1852Gibbs returned, as a gold miner, to northwestern California and wrote a new series of ethnographic observations entitled “Observations on the Indians of the Klamath River and Humboldt Bay , Accompanying Vocabularies of Their Languages.  This manuscript in the Smithsonian Institution Anthropological Archives will shortly be published by the Archaeological Research Facility.  

     In addition to the two detailed accounts of the 1851 expedition (Gibbs’ Journal and J. McKee’s Minutes) we also have a series of official letters written during the trip by R. McKee himself which are published in Executive Document 4 (cited above), on pp. 181-186, 191-195, 211-224, 227-228, 235-236, 239-240, 247-249, 269-270, 294-332, 345-347, 353-360, 364-365, 385-389.  Included in the last cited references is a series of letters between McKee, Governor Bigler and U.S. Army officers over responsibility to manage difficulties which had arisen between white gold miners in the “Northern Mines” and local Indians.  Letters or reports written by other members of McKee’s party or having to so with its business appear in the same source on pp. 225-226, 270-283, 347-352, 381.





      3.   J O U R N A L   O F   T H E   E X P E D I T I O N   O F   C O L O N E L   R E D I C K    M’ K E E,   U N I T E D   S T A T E S   I N D I A N   A G E N T   T H R O U G H   N O R T H W E S T E R N   C A L I F O R N I A.   P E R F O R M E D   I N   T H E    S U M M E R   A N D  F A L L   O F   1 8 5 1.


                                                                            BY GEORGE GIBBS  

                                                                  BENICIA , California , Feb. 23, 1852


      SIR : ----  Herewith you will receive a transcript of the diary kept by me during your recent expedition through the north-western part of this State, as also a map illustrating the country, and a few sketches and vocabularies of the languages in use among the Indian tribes through whom we passed,

      With regard to the map, it is proper to state that it covers a district very little known, and heretofore never surveyed.  These portions adjacent to the route traveled





100                                               PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY OF      


over, are believed to be laid down with sufficient accuracy for ordinary purposes.  As regards the rest, the best information which could be obtained has been used.  It will be readily understood, that in a rapid march through a region of such considerable extent, many details have been passed over, which, in some respects, are important; but the general features of the country may be relied on as accurate.

            As to the opinions advanced in the journal, you will of course in no wise be considered as responsible.


                                                                                    I am, sir,

                                                                                                Very respectfully yours,  

Colonel R. M’Kee                                                                                    GEORGE GIBBS.         







Monday, Aug, 11. – Colonel M’Kee and party, escorted by Major Wessells, and a detachment of thirty-five mounted riflemen, left Sonoma this morning, and moved over to Santa Rosa , encamping a little beyond Carillo’s ranch.  An odometer attached to one of the wagons, gave the distance at about 19 ¾ miles.  The general route proposed to be followed by the expedition, was up Russian river to its sources, down Eel river to Humboldt ban, and thence over to the Klamath, ascending that to the neighborhood of   Shaste [1] Valley , should the season permit.

          A large number of Indians, belonging to this and the neighboring ranches, were collected in the afternoon, and informed of the objects of the agent, who promised, at a future time, to meet them for the purpose of making a formal treaty.  Their neighborhood to the settlements, and the importance of first ascertaining the numbers and conditions of those more distant, as well as the country suitable for a reservation, rendered any immediate action here undesirable.  It is unnecessary to say, that these ranch Indians are entirely inoffensive, and perfectly under the control of the Spanish proprietors, who, in fact, have always treated them as peons, and inculcated the idea of their obligation to labor.  From their influence with these bands, or rancherias, the principal difficulty will evidently arise in disposing of the natives, or inducing them to remove to any other part of the country.  The slovenly modes of cultivation in use, comparatively unproductive as they are, have yet the merit of requiring little or no expenditure of money in wages; the Indians receiving a bare support beyond what they can steal, and then only during the summer.  Wretched as this system is, it would be difficult to eradicate it from a race so    

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wedded to old habits and ideas.  The class of extensive Spanish proprietors is however, destined to be of short duration.  The titles to their enormous possessions, which, under the imbecile administration of the Mexican laws, passed unexamined or overlooked, are now to be inquired into, and many held originally merely by sufferance, will undoubtedly be rejected.  But a more certain, and, perhaps, equally speedy agent is at work.  Before the “breaking out of the mines,” they possessed very little actual money.  Immense herds of wild cattle, and bands of horses, constituted their wealth.  Hides, for which the former were slaughtered in vast numbers, furnished a means of barter, and were, in fact, the currency of the country. 1.  A few acres of the rich soil in the valleys, barely scratched with a crooked log, produced their barley, melons, and vegetables; and they were fortunate when their Indian serfs left them even a sufficiency of these.  The discovery of the hidden riches of the country, for the most part, added noting to their prosperity.  The toil required to develop them was foreign to their habits, and although the prices of what they could sell were enormously increased, necessities before unknown were at once introduced among them.  The foresight of the newcomers, on the other hand, early led them to the acquisition of lands, and a few thousand dollars in money was a temptation too great for a Californian to resist.  Ranch after ranch has thus been parted with to those more industrious or more sagacious; without counting the acres from which the hardier race has, by main force and obstinacy, shouldered its former claimants.  Now that these, by a superior cultivation and greater labor, can undersell the Spaniard in all the productions of the soil, this ruin, and that not far distant, is certain.  A sentiment of pity may lead us to commiserate the destiny of the ancient proprietor; but we cannot lament those occurrences which promise to convert an obscure province into a powerful State; or waste many tears upon the race which, grasping such vast possessions, was too indolent to nurture the agricultural wealth of the land, and had too little enterprise even to find the mineral that glittered at its feet. 2.


Tuesday, Aug 12th. – The Santa Rosa plains, here about a mile and a half in width, a short distance beyond widen out, connecting with the Petaloma valley, and extending westward toward Bodega for about twelve miles.  A heavy sea-fog, which lingered on the plains throughout the morning, prevented our seeing them beyond a short distance; but the general character is similar to that of the Sonoma valley.  The soil, though rich, bakes in the sun, cracking to the depth of several inches, and receiving the plough only during the wet season.  The road, which at this time was good, wound along foot-hills, coming down from the right, and was shaded by oaks, here thickly scattered, from whose branches long festoons of moss depended.  Five and a quarter miles beyond the Santa Rosa ranch, we came to that of Mrs. West, the San Miguel, situated like the first upon a small creek running into Russian river.  The usual size of these estates in this part of California , appears to be from six to nine leagues of land; the league containing 5000 varas square, of thirty-three inches the vara.  Around this, as elsewhere, we saw swarms of Indians idling about, or perched on high platforms of poles and bush, keeping away the crows, apparently less



[1]   The true Indian pronunciation of this word appears to be Shastl, vido Fremont ’s Memoir.


102                                               PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY OF        

numerous and troublesome than themselves.  The common crop everywhere is barley, and the harvesting and treading out were in progress; the latter being performed by turning a drove of wild horses into a corral filled with the sheaves, and stirring them round by active use of the whip and vigorous shouting.  The average yield of barley to the acre, we were told, was sixty bushels, and the price asked for it on the spot (the same, by the way, as the market value at San Francisco ) was five cents a pound.  This is the only staple; the small quantity of Indian-corn raised being more for domestic use, than as a marketable commodity, and being inferior to that of good localities in the Atlantic States.  Potatoes and other vegetables were of fine quality, but, as a general thing, required irrigation.

          The foot-hills coming down from the higher ranges, are usually fertile, and covered with a thick growth of wild oats, which at this season are of a clear yellow.  This hue, spreading over the whole landscape, presents to our eye, accustomed to the verdure of the east, a singular, and at first by no means pleasing appearance; the only relief being the dark foliage of the various oaks which cluster in groves upon hill and valley.

          Our march of to-day brought us to Russian river, the Slavianska of the Russians themselves, about a mile and a half below Fitch’s ranch; and we encamped among the trees upon the bank, having travelled  thirteen and three-quarters miles.  This river, the valley of which we were not to ascend, is here about twelve yards in width, and a few inches in depth, running on a gravelly bed.  Its bottom, however, two or three hundred yards in width, and the marks upon its banks, indicate a very different size when the waters from the mountains come down in the rainy season.  Between two and three leagues below this point, at Cooper’s ranch, the river, which above runs a general south-easterly course, turns west toward the ocean, passing through a canon.  It empties about nine miles below Fort Ross , without any bay at its mouth, which is obstructed by a bar formed of sand and imbedded logs, passable at low tide almost dry-shod.  On the north bank commences the true Coast-range of mountains, which hereafter follows the shore of the Pacific to Cape Mendocino , where it terminates.  Above that point the rivers run chiefly from the eastward, and the course of the mountain-chains is in accordance with them.

          A number of Indians from the neighborhood came in, and a talk was held with them.  The tribe to which they belong, and which has its head-quarters at Fitch’s ranch, is called “Kai-na-meah,”  3. or as the Spaniards pronounce it, “Kai-na-me-ro.”  No opportunity afforded itself for collecting a vocabulary of their language; but I was informed that this dialect extends as far back as Santa Rosa , down Russian river about three leagues to Cooper’s ranch, and thence across to the coast at Fort Ross , and for twenty-five miles above.  On Bodega’s bay, another tribe, the Tu-ma-leh-nias, 4. use a different one.  In appearance these Indians differ entirely from the Chinooks and other Coast tribes of Oregon , being taller and darker.  They have quite heavy moustaches and  


T H E   I N D I A N   C O U N T R Y                                                                 103


beards on the chin, but not much on the cheeks, and they almost all suffer it to grow.  Several were noticed with grey heads and beards.  They are an ugly and brutish race, many with negro profiles, and some of the old men resembling Chinese figures of their deities.  Their traditions are said to be exceedingly vague, and their religious ideas even more obscure.  They have no knowledge of a God, but believe in a sort of demon who they call “Puys,” and whom they propitiate by worship, throwing up piles of stones to him, to which each passer-by contributes. 5. As to any notion of Christianity,  they have received none.  Each band has its chief, who is hereditary, and of the Kai-na-meahs there are three.  The total number of these appears to be about two hundred.  


            Wednesday, Aug. 13th. – The morning was again cloudy, and heavy dews had fallen during the night.  A mile and a half beyond camp we crossed Russian river at Fitch’s ranch, where it issues on the right from behind a high and steep bluff.  Beyond the crossing, the road ran over low hills, covered with oaks, as below.  The river here lay at some distance, a range of high hills intervening, and the valley having no longer the character of a continuous bottom, but being cut up by low spurs.  Between seven and eight miles from the crossing, we struck the river again, and thence the route, now narrowed to a horse-trail, but passable for wagons, followed its course.  We saw during the day great numbers of blue or crested quail; coveys of from twenty to fifty, exceedingly tame, and perching in the bushes when started up.  Although the young birds were nearly full grown, we had found a nest in our camp of last night containing eggs.  These birds either unite in flocks of several families, or else, as has been stated, one male has two or three females in charge; for the number seen in a flock is far too great for a single brood.  We passed another ranch, Pinas, and encamped on the river at a fine bend with abundance of wild oats around.  The odometer gave us as our distance 15.67 miles.

          The mountains opposite here come close down to the river.  They valley since we last reached it, is generally narrow, well wooded with evergreen and other kinds of oak; and the soil, for the most part, good; though occasionally, as on the hills, gravelly.  The redwood was now abundant on the mountains, to the left.  The scenery was exceedingly picturesque, and many flowering plants of great beauty were every where in bloom.  At camp we found recent signs of deer, and two were started within it.  Two grizzly bears were also seen in the neighborhood.  


Thursday, Aug. 14th. – To-day we remained in camp.  The morning was again cloudy, and with what, in the Atlantic States, would have been sure signs of rain.  Dew fell every night.

          Two or three hundred yards above camp a strong soda spring rose in the bed of the river, and on the margin of the water, as it there ran.  It boiled strongly, and tasted    


104                                                                                              PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY OF      


something like those at the “Bear Springs,” on Bear river .  The temperature was 78 (degrees), while that of the stream within a yard was 76 (degrees), and the atmosphere 73 (degrees).  Several deer were killed to-day, and a bear chased.  The Rocky Mountain hare, or, as it is libelously called, “jackass rabbit,” was abundant, and with good dogs would afford fine sport.  Quartz rock, in connection with serpentine in place, was noticed in the bed of the river.  


Friday, Aug. 15th. -  This morning, for the first time, was clear.  We left camp about seven, our road still passing up the valley, and crossing the river four times.  In this part it was heavy with sand and coarse gravel; the river at flood time evidently overflowing the whole bottom.  A little beyond that last crossing we reached Barillesas 6. ranch, situated on a spur projecting into the valley.  At this point, which is called the Rincon, we should have taken a trail leading up the right-had branch of the valley, as it would have thus avoided passing over a hill.  Russian river here emerges from the long canon, and one of the trails follows through that also.  Keeping up the valley, which beyond Barillesas is a beautiful one, we came to our first experience of the mountains.  The road ascends an exceedingly steep and long hill, where the wagons, through light, had to double teams.  From the top of one of the ascents there was a fine view down the valley.  A long descent followed, during which it was necessary to lock both wheels, and after a march of eleven miles we reached and camped in a little basin, finding good grass and sufficient water in pools in an arroya.  All these little valleys afford fine pasturage and abundant oak timber.  The lower hills also are covered with oats.  Some deer were killed at this place, and we saw signs of bear.  Great numbers of a handsome species of woodpecker frequent the oaks, chattering and quarrelling vehemently.  A peculiarity of this species, common through California and Southern Oregon , is that it imbeds the acorn for winter food, in the dead limbs of the oak and the bark of the fir, which are often thus seen riddled with holes.  


Saturday, Aug 16th. – The morning was fine, our elevation being great enough to clear the fog, and to render the night cool.  We ascended in a north-westerly course for about four and one-half miles from camp, where we had another fine view back, and from which a pretty steep, but regular descent, led us into a deep hollow or basin in the mountains.  Fronting us was a peak which forms a landmark at the entrance of Russian river into the canon; and beyond, the still higher range, part of the chain separating it from Clear Lake .  A succession of hills followed, until we struck the river again just above the mouth of the canon.  They valley here is narrow and bordered by mountains, the stream itself running between better-defined banks, edged with willows and undergrowth.  The hills passed to-day were covered with bunch grass, the wild oats having disappeared.  On one of them the big-coned pine was noticed, which among the Indians elsewhere furnishes almost as important an article


T H E   I N D I A N   C O U N T R Y                                                                 105  

of food as the acorn with those of this district.  Following the bank of the river, our wagons were sometimes compelled to make detours to avoid the steep slopes of the foot-hills.  About two miles from our first reaching it, however, the valley widened out into a fine bottom, and another mile brought us opposite to the last Spanish ranch on the river, that of Fernando Feliz, an old Mexican, who claims here some four leagues of land.  Our camp was established on the left bank of the river, near a fine clear brook, and much colder than below.  Feliz’s house, like most of those of the lower class of Californians, was a miserable adobe hut, thatched with tule, and connected with a sort of out-house by mud walls.  A horde of Indians, all scantily dressed and many stark naked, were longing in and about the enclosure, or perched in crows’-nests watching the corn.  The old man received the party with a truly Spanish courtesy, and insisted in turn upon every one sitting down upon the only chair in the establishment.  A more attractive spot to some of us was a pile of tule under the shed, where were seated the two daughters and the daughter-in-law of the host, with a visitor, eating water-melons.  The ladies were all tolerably pretty women, and their plump figures were shadowed forth agreeably beneath the thin folds of a chemisette and petticoat which constituted their costume.  Feliz’s son, a tall and rather fine-looking Californian, did the honors of the melons.  Feliz appeared very poor, and indeed complained bitterly of his reduced state.  He was too old to hunt, or to work himself.  His cattle were almost all gone, his crop of barley was but small, and a little Indian-corn and a few melons and cantelopes, picked before they were ripe to save them from the Indians, were apparently his only other resources.  On learning the business of the agent, he was in great tribulation; protesting that he should be utterly ruined were the Indians to be removed, as he could get no other labor, while at the same time he abused them as thieves who had killed his cattle and eaten his crop.  His case seemed a hopeless one.  It is that of many of his class, but the wheels of state must crush some victims in their inexorable career. 7.

          The distance travelled to-day was, by odometer, ten miles, to which one should be added for lockage, making the total from Sonoma a little over seventy-one and one-half miles.  


Sunday, Aug.17th. – Col. M’Kee started for Clear Lake , accompanied by Major Wessells and nine of the command as an escort, and a small pack-train carrying presents and provisions.  Several gentlemen from the country below, who had come up on a hunting excursion, also went over.  The men were mounted on mules to save the horses, as the road was a severe one; and the appearance of cavalcade was amusing enough, with the heavy trappings of the mounted riflemen on their diminutive chargers, especially as some of the animals were exceedingly restive under the clattering of sabers and yagers.  Our road after leaving the valley was an almost uninterrupted ascent to the summit of the great range which bounds the valley of the



106                                              PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY OF        

lake on the west, the path being an Indian trail, distinctly enough marked.  The morning had been cloudy, and towards noon it set in pretty steadily to drizzle, continuing through the day, an occurrence rare at this season.  The ascent in all was a very great one, the crest of the mountains being covered only with chemical, dwarf-oak, and marsanita bushes.  Just before reaching the summit we entered on a pretty little valley, two or three miles in length, and completely circled in the mountain, containing fine grass.  Passing the divide, we came upon a steep descent ending in an abrupt pitch into the canon of an arroya below, down which was a well-worn path, probably the equal labor of Indians and bears, guarded on either side by a thicket.  Here was our almost entire descent to the level of the valley, which is probably not less than a thousand feet above that of Russian river.  We wound down the arroya, now dry except in spots, and passing to the right of a couple of small tule ponds, crossed some low hills into Clear Lake valley, towards its head.  The bottom of the arroya widens out near these ponds, and bends to the left; the stream itself, when full, forming one branch of the principle tributary of the lake.  At the ponds we saw a number of ducks and some deer, and a little beyond found the remains of a huge grizzly bear, which some vaqueros had, during the preceding spring, lassoed and baited with bulls.  Striking the lake, our trail ran through the tule marshes which border its western side to camp.  This was in an oak grove in the bottom, upon a small stream, and some four miles from a high mountain which juts into the lake nearly equidistant from its extremities.  The march to-day was estimated at fifteen miles.  


          Monday, Aug. 18th. – The morning was again threatening, and the sky did not clear till the afternoon.  To-day about seventy-five Indians from the different bands on the lake, including the principal chiefs and head men, came into council.  The objects and wishes of the government were explained to them by the agent, and some provisions distributed.  They all appeared highly gratified, and grunted their approbation with perfect unanimity, particularly at the promise of beer.  Most of these people were entirely naked, and very filthy, and showed less sense of decency in every respect, than any we had ever met with.  Their women did not come with them, having, for the most part, been sent up to the hills.  Towards evening we rode to the lake and visited the nearest rancherias.  This, which was only a summer residence, was pitched in a clump of willow bushes in the tule, and consisted of the rudest huts of twigs and rushes.  A few old women only remained, who were pounding seeds in a pinole; and they appeared to have a considerable stock of both of these and of dried fish.  Of fish, the lake abounds with different kinds, among which, a species of bass, so called at least, is considered the best.  The fishing season is the fall and winter, when numbers of the adjoining tribes come down.  The seeds, which are of anise and of various grasses, are collected by the women, who carry suspended on their backs a conical basket, holding about a bushel, and in the hand a smaller one, suitable for a scoop.  With this they sweep among the ripe grass, and with a motion



T H E   I N D I A N   C O U N T R Y                                                                 107  

similar to that of a man cradling; throwing the seed over the left shoulder into the larger one.  The pinole is pounded in baskets of firm texture, having a hole in the bottom, which is placed upon a smooth stone, and is afterwards stored for winter use.  The acorn, however, abundant everywhere, furnishes their chief article of food.  Their principal ingenuity is shown in the making of baskets; some of these being of very fine and close texture, capable of holding water.  In fact, they boil in them by dropping in heated stones.  The women generally wear a small, round, bowl-shaped basket on their heads; and this is frequently interwoven with the red feathers of the woodpecker, and edged with the plume tufts of the blue quail.  They appeared to have no earthen or stone utensils, nor any of wood, except pipes, ladles, and pestles.  Their canoes, or rather rafts, are made of bundles of the tule plant, a gigantic bulrush, with a round, smooth stem, growing in marshy grounds to the height of ten or twelve feet.  The pipe is a straight stick, the bowl being a continuation of the stem enlarged into a knob, and is held perpendicularly.  They use a species of native tobacco of nauseous and sickening odor.  The winter houses, which are large lodges supported on poles, and covered with the universal tule, they always burn on leaving them in spring, to get rid of the vermin.  The only building of this band which remained was the “Ser-a-loo,” or sweat-house.  This, which is used by them as a species of daily indulgence, is heated simply by fires, without the aid of water, and on leaving it, they take to the stream to cool themselves.  It is generally built in a conical form, and the one here was about twelve feet high by twenty wide, with the earth excavated for a couple of feet deep within.  The circles or mounds on which they have been built, are found in many places around the lake not now inhabited, and, from their number, as well as the great size of some, afford evidence of a formerly much larger population. 8.

          As regards this fact, there is but little doubt, nor of the principal cause of the diminution in the ravages of the small-pox, at no very remote period.  Some old Indians, who carry with them the marks of the disease, state it positively; and it is reported, by native Californians, that over 100,000 (doubtful – H.R.S.) perished of this disease in the valleys drained by the Sacramento and the San Joaquin .

          Concerning the religious belief of these, as well as the adjoining Indians, it is difficult to obtain conclusive information.  One of this tribe, who had been for three or four years among the whites, and accompanied the expedition, on being questioned as to his own belief in a deity, acknowledged his entire ignorance on the subject.  As regarded a future state of any kind, he was equally uninformed and indifferent; in fact, did not believe in any for himself.  As a reason why his people did not go to another country after death, while the whites might, he assigned that the Indians burned their dead, and he supposed there was an end of them; a speculation, however, probably originating at the moment, and not forming part of the national faith.  Some of those who, during our conference, were questioned on the subject, admitted, that as  


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there were good and bad men and  animals, there might be good and bad spirits, and that it was reasonable that there should be a maker of what they saw around them; but they added, that these things were for white men to know about.  Mr. Benjamin Kelsey, who had lived some time among these people, and whose intelligence and familiarity with Indian customs renders him a reliable informant, states, on the contrary, that among themselves the old men go through ceremonies, at night and morning, of a devotional character, singing, crying, and making signs; and that an Indian in his employment, who spoke Spanish,  explained that it was like what the priests did.  The custom of burning the dead is universal here, and through the length of Russian river; and, as we afterwards found, among cognate tribes at the head of Eel  river.

          In personal appearance, many of the Clear Lake Indians are of a very degraded caste; their foreheads naturally being often as low as the compressed skulls of the Chinooks, and their forms commonly small and ungainly.  They, as well as the river tribes, cut h=their hair short.  They have also considerable beard and hair on the person.  Few of the men have any clothing at all.  The women, however, wear, even from the earliest childhood, a short fringed petticoat, generally of deer-skin, around the loins, but suffer the upper part of the body to be exposed.  Sore eyes and blindness, the result of smoke and dirt, were common.  It may be noticed that phymosis is common among all the Indian tribes of this county.

          A vocabulary of this language was obtained from the Indian who accompanied us, and who spoke Spanish sufficiently to be enabled to interpret with his people.  It was carefully taken down, and may be relied on as tolerably accurate.  Many of the words will be found identical with those of the Indians on the upper parts of Russian and Eel rivers; and indeed he was able to converse with most of these – understanding them, however, much better than he could reply.  (Vide IX., Language.)  


          Tuesday, Aug. 19. – The preliminaries of the treaty  9. were agreed upon in council this morning, a larger assemblage being present than yesterday.  In the mean time as examination of the country was made, as well as time and means afforded, with a view to a reservation.  The length of the lake has generally been stated at 60 miles, but it probably does not exceed 30 or 35.  The width near the head is from eight to ten miles.  It is divided near the middle by a spur from the high mountain below our camp, which extends nearly across it, and the lower portion is much narrower than the upper.  The general  course is from north-west to south-east.  Its waters empty by an outlet into Cache creek; a stream which heads in a high peak to the northward, and runs towards the Sacramento , losing itself in a tule swamp nearly opposite the mouth of Feather river .  The lake has been generally represented as lying within the Sacramento valley, but its actual position is in a great basin of the mountains which border it on the west; for although the waters of the lake run towards that river, it  



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is yet separated from it by a part of the chain, through a canon in which Cache creek forces its way.   Surrounded on every side by mountains, this valley is completely isolated from the adjoining country, there being no access except by difficult trails.  Of these there are several; the usual one being from Napa across Putos creek, or the Rio Dolores, as sometimes called, which heads to the south-west, and runs nearly parallel to Cache creek towards the Sacramento; losing itself, like the former, in a swamp, except during the rainy season.  The principal valley upon the lake is that upon which we encamped, lying on the western side, and extending from mount M’Kee towards the head.  The extent of this may be stated at ten miles in length, by an average width of four.  A more beautiful one can hardly be pictured.  Covered with abundant grass, and interspersed with groves of superb oaks of the most varied and graceful forms, with the lake and its green margin of tule in front, and the distance bounded everywhere by precipitous ranges, it combines features of surpassing grandeur and loveliness.  Flowers of great variety and elegance abound, the woods are filled with game, and in the season innumerable flocks of water-fowl enliven the shores.  Two or three other valleys lie within the mountains, which generally come down to the water, but none are of the size and value of this.  Upon the lake are several islands, of which the largest, called “ Battle island,” about a mile long, is at the northern end.  Several mineral springs occur in the neighborhood, and at one of them, on the eastern shore, sulphur is found in great abundance, and in solid and pure deposits.  Salt springs also exist among the mountains, from which the Indians, during the dry season, procure what they require; and further to the north-east, near the southern head of Cottonwood creek, rock-salt is obtained, for which the Lake Indians trade. 10.

          A cattle ranch was formerly maintained in this valley, and the adobe house, erected by the owners, was still standing about three miles from our camp, but at this time unoccupied.  It was here that Andrew Kelsey and Charles Stone were killed by the Indians, in December, 1849; a murder which was severely punished during the next spring, by a party of troops under Captain Lyons, who succeeded in bringing up a mountains howitzer and two boats from below.  The Indians, who had forted upon the creek, at the upper end of the lake, being driven out by a shot, were pursued in the boats to the island by a detachment of infantry, and on their trying to escape to the shore, attacked by the dragoons, who met then waist-deep in the tule.  The utter rout and severe loss which they suffered, had effectually subdued them, and undoubtedly brought about the readiness with which they now met the overtures of the agent. 11.


          Wednesday, Aug. 20th. – The council was again assembled, and the treaty explained to them as engrossed.  The tribes represented were the Hula-napo, Habe-napo, Dah-no-habo, Moal-kal, She-kom, and How-ku-ma, belonging to the lake, and the Shanel-kaya and Bedah-marek, living in a valley situated to the north of it, on the east fork  


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of Russian river.  Provision was also made for the admission of the Cho-tan-o-man-as, 12. living toward the outlet of the lake, but not present; for the settlement of any other tribes the government may remove from other places.  These are all more properly bands than tribes; each village, as is the case generally with the Indians of this part of California at least, having its separate chief.  The names have each its signification.  Thus, “Habe-napo” means stone house, “Dahno-habe,” stone mountain, “Bedah-marek,” lower people, &c.  They give to the first six tribes collectively the name of “Na-po-batin,” or many houses; an appellation, however, not confined to themselves, as they term the Russian river tribes the “Boh-Napo-batin.” Or western many houses.  The name “Lu-pa-yu-ma,” which, in the language of the tribe living at Coyote valley, on Putos river, signifies the same as Habe-napo, is applied by the Indians in that direction to these bands, but is not recognized by themselves.  Each different tribe, in fact, seems to designate the others by some corresponding or appropriate word in its own language, and hence great confusion often arises among those not acquainted with their respective names.  They have no name for the valley itself, and call the different spots where they reside after those of the bands.  In fact, local names do not seem to be applied to districts of country, though they may be sometimes to mountains.  Rivers seem to be rather described than named – thus Russian river is called here Boh-bid-ah-me, or “the river to the west.”

          The Shanekl-kayas and Bedah-marek speak a language, or more probably dialect, different from the Napo-batin, as do also the Indians of the portion of the lake south of Mt. M’Kee .  That of the latter, perhaps, resembles more the Mu-tistual between the heads of Napa and Putos creeks, or some other of those lying between the lake and the bay of San Pablo .  How many really different languages will ultimately be determined between the heads of the Russian river and San Francisco bay, it is impossible as yet to conjecture.  On a cursory examination there appear to be several; but more critical enquiry will, perhaps, reduce them.  That of the Napo-batins, in its various dialects, seems to be one of the most extensive; reaching from the Sacramento range to the coast, and up as far as the head-waters of the Eel river.

          It is difficult to ascertain the real numbers of these people.  Common report had stated it at some 2500 or 3000; 13. but the nearest approach which could be made to a count gave but 511 as the total of souls in the six tribes of the valley, and 250 to the two living in the mountains, who were represented by their chiefs only.  To this twenty five per cent, was added, as the probable number of those not returned.  The proportion of men, women, and children seemed to vary greatly.  The men of the two nearest rancherias were with great difficulty persuaded to bring their families, and their ratios were as follows:

                             Huta-napo, 85 men, 81 women, 20 children

                             Have-napo, 29 do.  42     do.      18    do.  


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            The details of the treaty appear elsewhere, 14. and need not be repeated.  It provided for the reservation of that part of Clear Lake valley lying to the northward of Mt. M’Kee, as designated on the accompanying maps, and for the assembling here of the tribes of Russian river, the coast and bay, and of the head of Eel river; the Indians to be furnished with teachers, agricultural implements, domestic animals, and seeds, and assisted in supporting themselves for the space of two years.  As regards the suitableness of the reservation for its purpose, there can hardly be a doubt.  The spot is isolated to a degree unusual, even on the Pacific; abounds in all that is necessary for a large number of people in their savage state, and is capable of being made in the highest degree productive by cultivation.  If the system pursued in this respect in the States is adhered to in California, (and in no other way can the condition of these Indians be elevated, or their extinction be averted,) it must be by removing at least their families from among the whites, and turning them to some fixed occupation.  The central position of the lake country will easily enable such numbers as can be spared, to hire themselves out during the working  season, while the stores provided at home will sustain them in the winter.  They appear sufficiently tractable to admit to teaching, and to be averse to labor from indolence, rather than from pride.  Great patience and tact will necessarily be requisite, and care should be exercised in selecting their teachers for these among other qualifications.  We started on the return route about half past twelve , and reached the top of the mountain in four hours.  The afternoon was fine, and we here enjoyed a magnificent view of the country and lake behind us.  Some of the party left the trail by which we came up, at the head of the little valley, and descended by one leading to the left.  An hour and a half of rapid travel brought us to Feliz’s, where we learned that the camp had moved up a mile and a half further for better grass.  We reached it a little after dark, and found that the rest had already arrived.  During our absence, some Spaniards and vaqueros had lassoed and killed five grizzly bears in the immediate vicinity of the ranch.  This amusement, which may be considered the national one of California , is performed by from two to four men, all mounted.  One of them rides towards the bear, and as he rears, catches a paw with the noose, takes a turn round the horn of his saddle, and immediately starts t speed.  Another following, lassoes in like manner the other foot, and spurs in a contrary direction, to prevent the bear overhauling the first rope, which he would otherwise speedily do.  It there are more, they secure his hind feet and head, and the bear, thus rendered powerless, is dragged to a tree and made fast.  Sometimes a wild bull is coupled with the bear by a riata, and the two turned loose to fight it out, the conflict generally ending with the death of both parties.  This pastime seems tolerably dangerous to the uninitiated, but it is pursued with astonishing fearlessness and dexterity by the Californians; nor are some of the American settlers much behind them in either.

          To-day a large rattlesnake of a bright green color was noticed among the hills near  


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Clear Lake .  A large yellow species is also said to be found.  Ground-squirrels, in size resembling the common grey squirrel States, but having shorter legs and a black patch between the shoulders are common.  The pine grouse and quail, geese, ducks, and cranes, abound in there proper season.  Elk, bears, and black-tailed deer, frequent the mountains throughout all this region.  


          Thursday, Aug.21st. – Arrangements had been made the day before for bringing in the adjoining river tribes, and inducing them to consent to a removal to the lake.  For this purpose also, three of the principal chiefs had come over with us to assure them of their friendly disposition.  Accordingly, four bands consented to enter into a treaty, viz., the Sah-nel, Yukai, Pomo, and Masu-ta-kaya; numbering in all, as was supposed, 1042 souls.  The chief of the Kai-no-meahs, living at Fitch’s ranch, who had come up from below, withdrew, being unwilling to consent to a removal, and the intermediate bands did not appear.  These are believed to embrace the larger part of the population of the river; many of their people being at the ranches we had visited below.  The estimate formed by Col. M’Kee of the whole number , from the head of Russian river down, was as follows: -


              In the valleys of Sonoma and Russian river   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   1200

              On Clear Lake and the adjacent mountains    .   .   .   .   .   .   .   1000

              On the coast from Fort Ross southward to the bay .   .   .   .   .     500

     I obtained here a partial vocabulary from one of the Yukai band.  These live in the vicinity of Parker’s ranch, above here.  The tribe at this place, the Sah-nels, as also the Boch-heaf, Ubak-hea, Tabah-tea, and the Moi-ya, living between them and the coast, speak the same.  The Ma-su-ta-kea and Pomo, living further up on the west branch of the river, user the same as the Shanel-kaya of the east branch, who were treated with at the lake. 15.

          In general appearance there is a similarity among all Indians between here and the bay, which indicates their common race.  So little attention has been paid to their peculiar customs that we could gather very little information, and that not very definite.

          The chiefdom is hereditary, but at present confined to small bands, each independent of the rest, though they often live together in winter.  It is probable, however, that when more numerous, they had, as elsewhere, great head chiefs with more extended dominion; for in the Clear Lake language there is a distinct name for these.  In one case we learned, where the males of a family had become extinct, and a female only remained, she appointed a chief.  The custom of burning the dead is universal.  The body is consumed upon a scaffold, built over a hole, into which the ashes are thrown and covered.  If the parties separate, the children go with the wife.  The practice of abortion, so common among the Chinooks, and some other tribes in  



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Oregon , is unknown here.  The universal disease is said gradually to be finding its way among them, though we noticed no marks of it.  A more intimate knowledge of their languages would probably discover many curious observances which have escaped observation.  At some of their dances, for instance, we were told they avoid particular articles of food, even fowls and eggs.  The flesh of the grizzly bear, few of them will eat at all.  It is said that they believe the spirits of the dead enter them, and a story was related to us of their begging the life of a wrinkled-faced old she grizzly bear, as the recipient of some particular grandam’s soul, whom they fancied it resembled.  Parker, who was our informant, stated that an Indian wife he once had, used to speak of a god called Big-head, 16. and when it thundered said that he was angry.  Most of them, however, who have any faith, worship “Pooyah,” 17. (the Puys of the Spaniards.)  One custom which had been noticed, was that of crying together night and morning, as was supposed for the dead, even after the lapse of some years.  This may however be the same ceremony alluded to above as existing on Lake .  The wilder of these tribes hunt, but do not depend on game for subsistence.  On great hunts they make brush fences of some extent with intervals containing snares, and drive the deer into them.  Sometimes also they creep upon and kill them with arrows.  Their principal food consists of acorns, roots and pinole.  Fish are taken in weirs, the salmon ascending far up Russian river.  


          Saturday, Aug. 23d. – It was decided to send four wagons we had brought with us, back to Sonoma , although it was possible to carry them, somewhat further.  Indeed an attempt had previously been made to take a train through to Humboldt Bay ; and it actually proceeded as far as the main Eel river, where the last of them was abandoned.  The trail followed the river for a couple of miles, when it diverged, passing up a narrow lateral valley.  About six miles from camp we crossed a range of low hills, and again reached the main valley, which here widened out into a handsome plain.  A couple of miles beyond, we reached the last house on the river, that of George Parker Armstrong, or, as he erroneously called, “John Parker,” to who reference has already been made.  The house was a small building of logs, or rather poles filled in with clay, and thatched with tule.  Its furniture was somewhat incongruous; for upon the earthen floor and besides a bulls’ hide partition, stood huge china jars, camphor trunks, and lacquered ware in abundance, the relics of some vessel that had been wrecked on the coast during last spring. 18.  Parker, or Armstrong, was formerly a man-of-war’s man in Captain Belcher’s squadron, which he left during the exploration of this coast, some fourteen years ago, since when he had wandered about in California , and recently posted himself here in advance of the settlements.  Near the house stood the rancherias of the Yukai band, with who we had treated below.  Three Indians had been implicated in the Clear Lake murder, and were accordingly  



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chastised by Captain Lyons on his return from Clear Lake from which place he reached Russian river by a trail leading in here.

          The valley at Parker’s is some five miles in width by eight or ten long, but it is not as fertile as at Feliz’s.  Above here the river during the dry season runs chiefly under the sand, and water is only to be obtained in occasional pools.  We halted for the night at Lyons ’s encampment, having made between fourteen and fifteen miles.  About a mile above, the east fork of Russian river comes in, after a winding course through the mountains.  Upon it lies the valley inhabited by the Shanel-kayas and others before spoken of.


          Sunday, Aug. 24th. – To obtain better grass we passed up the river for about six miles, finding the bottom narrow and worthless.  Crossing the now dry bed of the stream, we sought for a camp on the right bank, intending to make a short march, as we desired the next day to reach the head of Eel river.  Finding no water, however, we turned off to the right and halted in a small prairie, upon a spring branch.  Several deer were killed near camp, but we were all surfeited with venison, and preferred beef.  We saw during our march to-day a number of pines and firs, with the usual growth of mansanita and madrona.  The latter is a gigantic rhododendron, which occasionally attains a diameter of two or three feet at the butt.  It is a very ornamental tree; the leaves being evergreen, and of a bright color, while the bark, which scales off annually like that of the sycamore, is read.  The wood is valuable for several purposes, being very compact and fine-grained.  It is much used for saddle-trees.  In our camp were several large bay trees, which filled the air with an odor too strong to be agreeable.  This, which is also called the wild olive, bears a nut of the size of a hazel-nut, covered with a thick green rind, and is excessively oily. 19.  The Indians use it where it abounds, as a favorite article of food; roasting it, however, first.  It should be mentioned that we were joined at Feliz’s by Mr. Thomas Sebring, one of the first party that traversed the route between here and Humboldt bay , and who now acted as our guide.


          Monday, Aug. 25th. – We crossed the east fork of the river, and thence, by a high and steep ascent, gained the divide between that and the west fork; keeping, however, along the left side of the range, and looking down upon the valley of the latter.  This is apparently narrow and broken, but is said to contain some good land and is well wooded.  Water, however, is scarce during the summer.  From these hills we could look back to a great  distance, the peak at the entrance of the canon below Feliz’s standing up distinctly, with a back-ground of mountains, part of the Coast range, the continuation of which bounded on the other side the valley to our left.  Near us, one point formed a very noticeable landmark, resembling, as it did in many respects, the basaltic formations on the upper Columbia .  We found on our route the


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hills well clothed with bunch grass and wild oats, as also water in springs, but not in quantities sufficient for any considerable number of animals.  The culminating point on the divide[1] between Russian and Eel rivers, may be considered as marked by an isolated rock, about thirty feet high, standing in a level plat of grass.  From here our course ran northerly down a succession of hills, till about twelve miles from our last camp we descended into a valley running north-west and south-east.  At the foot of the hills we found running water, in a branch under an alder thicket; but the grass had been burnt off by Indians, for the purpose of collecting aniseed with greater ease, and we were obliged to proceed some four miles further down, and finally to encamp without water in our immediate vicinity, sending the animals back to it.  This valley, which the Indians called Betunki, 20. or big plain, is eight or ten miles long and four or five wide.  Two streams come into it, which form the heads of the middle fork of Eel river, here called the Ba-ka-wha,  These are not, at this season continuous, but lose themselves in the plain.  At the foot of the valley, a lagoon of a mile or two long forms in the winter, and thence the river passes out though a canon.  The valley is level, fertile in soil and sufficiently wooded, particularly in the upper or southern end.  Although its elevation is very considerable, the hills around are well clothed with grass and timber.  As being more distant, from any probable settlement of the whites, this and the next valley might have been considered as more advantageous points of reserve than the Clear Lake country.  It, however, is destitute of water sufficient for a numerous population; is too inclement in the winter season for a southern population to exist in it, and would not furnish enough of the natural productions on which they live.

          In leaving Russian river, it may be proper briefly to state its general extent, and that of the country upon it.  Taking its general course without reference to windings, it is less than a hundred miles in length, and the aggregate amount of tillable land upon it is not great.  The largest single body of prairie country is that lying between Santa Rosa and Fitch’s ranch; which, though not altogether upon the river, may yet be considered as a portion of the valley, and which embraces a tract of some fifteen miles in length, by as much in extreme width.  Above Fitch’s, the bottom consists of detached valleys, of at most a few square miles in extent, separated by wooded hills.  Small basins are also scattered among the mountains, which, however, do not greatly add to the quantity.  This country, like that around the bays of San Francisco and San Pablo , generally required irrigation for the production of green crops, but is admirably adapted to the small grains.  Beyond this its great value is for pasturage, the ranges on either side being very extensive and rich.  Large herds of cattle were formerly kept there, but the improvidence of the owners has allowed them to be almost entirely destroyed.



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The precaution had been taken of sending Indians on from Parker’s to bring in those of this valley; and, with some trouble, they succeeded in collecting part of the men.  The families abandoned their rancherias, and fled to the mountains on our approach.  There are here five small bands, corresponding in appearance with those on Russian river, with whom, as well as those on Clear Lake , they are connected.  They are much wilder than the others, having generally but little communication with the whites, though a few are said to have been employed as vaqueros.  We found that they could make themselves understood by the Russian river Indians, and generally understood them; but their dialect is still different.  A portion of their vocabulary was collected, and will be found in the Appendix. [IX. Language.]

     We remained in this camp two days.  A considerable number of men were brought in, but all attempts to assemble their families served only to excite their suspicions.  In fact, the object of the agent, in the process of double translation through which it passed, was never fairly brought before them.  The speeches were first translated into Spanish by one, and then into the Indian by another; and this, not to speak of the very dim ideas of the last interpreter, was sufficient to prevent much enlightenment under any circumstances.  But the truth was, that the gentlemen for whose benefit they were meant by no means comprehended any possible motive on our part but mischief.  That figurative personage, the great father in Washington , they had never heard of.  They had seen a few white men from time to time, and the encounter had impressed them with a strong desire to see no more, except with the advantage of manifest superiority on their own part.  Their earnest wish was clearly to be left alone.  To the last  arguments brought forward, red flannel shirts and beef, their minds were more open, and they willingly performed many offices about camp, running for water, making fires, and waiting on soldiers, who are sure to get work enough out of them always.

     These men, like the other mountain tribes we afterwards met, though small, were well formed, with prominent chests, and the muscles of the legs and body well developed.  Their arms, on the contrary, were diminutive.  Some of them had shaved the hair from the person, and they almost all wore bits of stick, four or five inches long, through the ears.  A few carried bows and arrows, and one had a spear, headed with obsidian, which is found scattered over these hills.  The names of the bands in this valley were the Naboh, Chow-e-shak, Chau-te-uh, Ba-kow-a, and Sa-mun-da. 21.  One or two others were said to be absent.  The numbers given by those who came in amounted in all to 127 men, 147 women, and 100 children.  The total, including those absent, probably does not exceed 450 to 475.

     From a high point to the west of our camp I obtained a fine view over the valley and surrounding hills.  These are well timbered with oak and fir; which latter timber as now prevalent, and interspersed with fields of bunch grass and little valleys affording good pasturage.  Water, however, is scarce.  



[1]   Used as a noun, in this Journal, for ridge. – H.R. S.



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          Thursday, Aug. 28th. -  We stared rather earlier than usual, anticipating a heavy day’s march, in which we were by no means disappointed.  The first six or eight miles, through a series of constant ascents and descents, the former much preponderating, afforded a very fair trial.  Small valleys lay scattered among the hills, covered with rich grass; and fine views opened behind, of the mountains between us and the Sacramento .  At ten o’clock we halted for half an hour, while the guide sought for the route; no easy thing in a country presenting such an endless succession of hills, and cut up every where by Indian and deer trail.  Unfortunately the wrong one was this time selected, and, after losing ourselves in a forest of redwoods, we turned directly up a mountain northward.  Reaching the top with great difficulty and on foot of course, the trail turned east and then south, and tow hours of hard work brought us back to the starting point.  The timber in these redwoods was very large; one tree that we passed measuring thirty-three feet in circumference, and a great proportion from twenty-five to twenty-eight.  Scattered among them were firs, also of great size.  On the top of the mountain we noticed, for the first time, the chestnut oak, and a species of chestnut, with leaves like those of the willow in form and size, the burrs being in clusters and containing fruit not much larger than the beach-nut.

          Taking a fresh departure we reached, in about a mile, a little valley running east and west, and lying directly behind the mountain we had ascended.  This we followed up, and again returning to our general north-westerly course, ascended to a point whence we could see the mountains beyond the Clear Lake valley, and among the intermediate peaks, “Loma Prieta,” and Mount “M’Kee.”  A deep revine or canon lay on either hand.  Here we again mistook our course, and instead of heading that to the left, kept up the divide between the two.  After a still higher climb, and a futile attempt to descend, we turned back, and succeeded in finding the right course.  From this divide a superb view opened of the Coast chain, upon one of the highest ridges of which we were traveling; range after range, heavily timbered, extending down towards the sea; and the sun, now in its decline, shone upon the distant ocean, the reflected rays illuminating the clouds above.

          We formed camp near nightfall on the side of the mountain, with but poor grass and a scanty supply of water from a muddy hole.  The animals, thirsty after their long march, had to be kept away by force, and groups of disconsolate mules stood, during the night, at a hardly respectful distance from the sentinel; their despairing bray mingling with the yelping of the coyotes.  Our march was probably sixteen miles on our course, and twenty-four in all.  It will be observed that we were crossing from the waters of the middle, towards those of the south fork of Eel river, on which is situated the valley we were next seeking.  In consequence, however, of losing the trail, we were compelled to encamp short of the place intended, and upon the summit of one range of the Coast Mountains .  


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Friday, Aug. 20th. – The animals were much strayed this morning, having wandered off in search of grass and water.  We marched only four miles, and finding both in abundance on a creek running towards the coast, concluded to encamp there, especially as all the dragoon horses had not been found.  The herd of cattle, which formed part of our cavalcade, were driven on about two miles and a half to another arroya.  A few Indians came into camp, part of a band belonging to the next valley.  They had with them a dog, the first we had seen among them, 22. and of a breed not mentioned in Youatt, being apparently a cross between a turnspit and a coyote.  When it is added that he was as great an adept in thieving as his masters, all praise of his capacity is exhausted.

     The creek on which we were, seemed to be one of the sources of a river said to enter the coast thirty or forty miles below Cape Mendocino , and which among some of the sea charts is laid down as the R. des Marons.  The deep ravine or canon facing our camp of last night, was evidently one of its heads, as during the march we perceived a gap extending to the ocean.  We were afterwards told by persons who had passed near the coast, that a quite extensive agricultural country apparently lay near its mouth.


     Saturday, Aug. 30th. – A general and very noisy mourning among the mules came off this morning, as the old white mare that had officiated as bell-wether, had fallen down the hill and broken her neck.  Our course continued northward, up high grassy hills, and then over the wooded table-land, which forms the western side of the valley.  We found the cattle camp a couple of miles beyond, upon a brook running into it, with water and grass abundant.  The men accompanying it had started three bears and wounded one, which however escaped.  Strangely enough, the mules, generally very much afraid of them, had taken it into their ears to have a little private diversion on this occasion, and surrounding a grizzly bear which they found in the tall bottom grass, had performed a war-dance around him, kicking and snorting, but keeping carefully beyond the reach of his paws.

     About a mile and a half further we reached the stream which runs through the valley, and crossing it, encamped, finding sufficient water standing in pools.  This valley, called by the Indians Ba-tem-da-kai, we supposed to be on the head of the south fork of Eel river, and so we were informed by our guide and other mountaineers; but a belief exists, as we afterwards found, among some of the parties who have traversed this country, that it is, on contrary, the head of the river before spoken of as entering the coast to the westward.  It is apparently twelve or fifteen miles in length, by for or five wide, the general course conforming to the bend of the Coast range, being from south-east to north-west.  That part lying on the easterly side of the stream consisted entirely of open prairie, fertile and producing an abundance of fine grass, while the westerly side is mostly wooded.  The timber, as on the hills around,  


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was of mixed oak and fir.  A few Indians visited us, and were directed to call in the adjacent tribes.

          The distance travelled to-day was four miles.


          Sunday, Aug. 31st. – Quite a number of Indians were assembled and presents distributed, but no treaty attempted, for our Clear Lake interpreter, although able to comprehend them, could not explain freely in turn.  Their language, however, is clearly of the same family as that of the tribes at the head of Russian river, and those last encountered.  The total number in the vicinity, as near as could be ascertained, was about six hundred souls. 23.  In general appearance they resembled the Indians in the upper valley.  They pluck their beards, and some of them tattoo.  Many had their hair cut short, but others wore it turned up in a bunch in front, or occasionally on the back of the head.  The practice of cutting the hair, so unusual among American Indians, is referred to by Jedediah S. Smith, one of the most adventurous of the whole class of fur-traders, who, during his various expeditions, constructed a map of Oregon and California .  An entry upon this, designates the tribes living on the west of the Sacramento range as the “Short-haired Indians.”  The average height of these men was not over five feet four or five inches.  They were lightly built, with no superfluous flesh, but with very deep chests and sinewy legs.  Their expression was mild and pleasant, and vastly better than their reputation warranted.  We saw no women, and the proposal to bring them in, at once excited their fear and distrust.

          I took the opportunity of to-day’s halt, to ascend the hills on the eastern side of the valley.  The view from this point was beautiful, the stream winding in serpentine form along the margin of the plain, fringed with oaks and firs, and the long slopes beyond diversified with forest and prairie.  To the east rose heavy ranges of mountains, between which and the yet more distant Sacramento chain, a wide and deep gap indicated another valley, supposed to be the source of the main fork of Eel river.  Returning to camp, Mr. Sebring pointed out a sulphur spring, the water of which was very strongly impregnated.  The temperature proved to be 70 (degree), while that of the air was 68 (degree).


          Monday, Sept. 1st. – Following the principal valley down for a mile or two, it narrowed and became broken by spurs and deep ravines coming down from the mountains, until at a distance of three or four miles from camp, the stream abruptly turned to the left into a canon.  Beyond this the route became excessively mountainous, crossing deep arroyas and then ascending a broken ridge between the waters of the south and middle forks.  The day proved cold and rainy, and the clouds prevented our seeing to any considerable distance, though occasionally we had glimpses of a vast circle of mountains closing around us.  These seemed to follow the general chain, but were broken and erratic to a degree that rendered it almost impossible to trace


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continous chains.  The character of the country, so far as vegetation was concerned, was the same as that recently passed over; the higher and steeper crests being covered with chemical, dwarf oak, holly, and other similar shrubs, and the less elevated with fir and oaks of various kinds, but of smaller size than those in the lower country.  Grass was abundant, even at considerable heights, and water was to be found frequently in the arroyas; but it is to be remembered that reports of water streams, derived from those who have travelled these mountain regions at an earlier season, where the snow was but lately melted, are seldom borne out during the later summer months.  We passed to-day in a deep arroya the wrecks of some of the wagons which Mr. Huestas had attempted to take through to Humboldt bay .  This expedition started from Sonoma , in the spring of 1850, following the discovery of that harbor, and unfortunately proved abortive.  The last wagon was finally abandoned upon the main fork, and the company struck across the mountains for the mines on the Trinity.  But one family of Indians were met with on our march, and they fled incontinently; the women carrying with them their few effects, the man gallantly waiting to cover their retreat.  He was evidently under great alarm, and with difficulty could be induced to accept a present of tobacco which a soldier offered him.  These had robes of deer skin, dressed with the hair on, over their shoulders.  They belonged to a wild mountain tribe, the terror of the valley Indians, and with whom earlier parties of whites had one or two encounters.  Even their women are said to wield the bow and arrows with dexterity and courage.  Of their language and affinities, nothing is known.

     We camped this night on a deep ravine, opposite to two remarkable crags called the “Pilot rocks.”  Our elevation was great, and the night cold and uncomfortable.  The pine grouse, well known in Oregon , were now abundant, and seemed to gather in flocks, as the fall approached.  Some of our people here prospected for gold, and believed that, in miner’s phrase, they had “raised the color,” but without any degree of certainty.  The distance travelled was twelve miles.  


     Tuesday, Sept. 2d. – In the morning Indian signs were visible round our camp, but nothing was missing.  The day was again cloudy and threatening.  Our march was over a succession of ridges, separating the waters of the south and main forks of Eel river, and was severe, not only on the animals, but the men, who were continually obliged to dismount and lead.  A dozen or twenty Indians appeared upon a large swell near the road, after the column had passed, vociferating abusively, but offering no actual molestation to those in the rear.  Near this place a party, to which our guide belonged, had been attacked the year before, and had killed a chief and two others.  These apparently, had had no notice of our approach, having probably little communication with the tribes above, who fear them.  Indeed, the valley Indians informed  


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us, that they were always whipped back when they attempted to penetrate the mountains.

          A few miles from camp, the South Fork, other heads of which we had turned, passed behind a mountain to the left, and for some distance was entirely lost sight of, its course lying some ten or fifteen miles from the dividing ridge.  The main fork had, apparently, an average distance of five or six miles, but was visible during the day but once, at a conspicuous point called “Saddle Rock.”  Beyond it a steep ascent led to another part of the divide, a sharp and very narrow comb, covered with chemical and other shrubs, and exceedingly rough.  Following this for five or six miles, we descended abruptly, and made camp about three o’clock on a ridge between two ravines.  Here we found the skeleton of another wagon, and wondered at the obstinacy which had brought it thus far.  It was the last relic of the ill-fated expedition which we encountered, as the party had here taken another route.

          Our distance to-day was seventeen miles.  Water was in sufficient quantity near camp, but the grass was poor, and we were compelled to tie up the animals, as well to prevent their straying, as from fear of Indians.  The frequent occurrence of showers in these mountains during the summer months, seems probable, as we found new grass sprouting where it had been burnt over.  


          Wednesday, Sept. 2d. – We mounted a further continuation of the dividing ridge, and kept along its crest, still in a general north-westerly direction.  Five or six miles on, we came to one of the most elevated points on our route, a mountain marked on its summit by a fir-tree, bearing a gigantic parasite.  The scenery from here was magnificent, the mountains being interminable to view, and piled up in the wildest confusion.  On the left lay the Coast range; on the right a vast basin opened, amidst which rose numerous peaks, sometimes in sharp serrated ridges, elsewhere in regular cones, surmounted with large bare rocks like truncated pyramids or broken columns.  Here their tops were yellow with grass – there shrouded with the dark foliage of the chemical, or crowned with forests of oak and fir.  Deep ravines and canons intersected them, amidst which occasionally lay small green patches, whence the blue smoke of an Indian camp-fire curled upward, the rare signs of human life in this vast desert of mountains.

          Our dogs started, this afternoon, a couple of half-grown grizzly bears, and chased them smartly up a hill, the bears limbering along at a rapid though clumsy pace.  A little further on, an old she, with two cubs, was roused from an arroya.  A soldier who was in advance, broke her back with a rifle-shot, the cubs in the mean time escaping, pursued by one of the dogs.  The other attacked the bear most resolutely.  In the scuffle she rolled back into the water-course, and the soldier leaping in with his saber, ran her twice through the heart.  The fight, which lasted some minutes, created a general excitement, and some pistol-shooting was volunteered; but the credit of first  


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blood and the death-wound, was unanimously given to the rifleman.  The meat was packed into camp, but proved tough and unsavory.  Leaving the crown of the ridge, our trail ran alongside hills to its left for some distance, until, descending a long and very steep declivity, we came upon the South Fork, or, as it is now called, “Kelsey’s river,” at the junction of a small stream named, after our guide, “Sebring’s creek.”  The river was, at this time, not more than thirty or forty feed wide, and about eight deep.  The low bottom furnished good grass, but was of small extent; the hill-sides, however, almost everywhere afford pasturage.  What little land there is upon the river is very loose, resembling, in fact, a bed of ashes; but there is nowhere enough to attract settlers, even could any convenient route be found through this country.  The mountains are much more craggy than those on Russian river; huge rocks standing out on their sides and summits.  A grey sandstone, noticed to-day upon the ridge, forms the canons of the streams.

     The Indians at this point, unlike those of the past two days’ march, are said to have been friendly to the whites who have passed through, and to have visited them freely.  Owing probably to the size of the party, we could not get them in.  No estimate can be formed of their number, but it cannot be great; nor is it probable that a large population exists anywhere among these mountains.  One of the rancherias was near our camp; a wretched affair, and with no character of permanence.  The tribe is said to have a practice, so far as known, peculiar to itself, of cutting the tongue, and allowing the blood to stream down over the person. 24.  Whether the custom is a religious ceremony or not, is unknown; it seems to be too universal for a mark of mourning.  Their dress, like that of the last seen, consists of a deer-skin robe thrown over the shoulders.  The severity of the climate renders some clothing necessary, for in winter the snow lies here to a great depth, and for a considerable time.

     Our march was about seventeen miles, and a severe one on the animals, as for the two nights past they had but little grass, and the trail was very mountainous.  The day was cool, and some rain fell.  


     Thursday, Sept. 4th.  – We remained in camp to recruit the animals, and with the hope of finding some Indians, but none were seen.  The morning was again rainy.  An elk and two or three deer were killed.  This country seems to be the paradise of the grizzly bear, for their signs are visible everywhere.  A high mountain, which rises a few miles from camp, takes its name of the “Bear Butte,” from an attack made by two or three upon a man belonging to a former party.  The man escaped with his life, though fearfully crippled.  


     Friday, Sept. 4th. – The trail here crossed the river, and, skirting a grove of redwoods, ascended the mountain beyond.  This timber had now reappeared, and was abundant in the bottoms, often attaining a gigantic size.  Higher on the hills the fir


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and oak yet prevailed.  The mountain sides and tops were generally very rich, and, where not wooded, covered with abundant and fine bunch grass; in fact, almost the only open country was upon these high slopes; the valleys, if the narrow bottoms can be so called, being generally filled with forest.  Reaching the top of the ascent, we found the fog so dense that the advance party had stopped; and we were compelled to halt for about an hour.  From this the trail descended to the foot of the Bear Butte, a high serrated crest, which forms a conspicuous landmark for many miles, and is even visible from the Bald Mountains , between Humboldt bay and the Klamath.  Our route thence lay alongside hills, cut up by ravines coming down from the Butte , and running toward Canon creek, a branch of which enters the river about a mile above our camp of last night.  There were all living streams, and would afford good camping places, as grass was abundant.  Leaving them, and crossing another ridge, we came upon the feeders of Wood’s creek, another branch emptying some four miles above our next proposed camp, and which here ran on our right.  The road was excessively bad, being a constant succession of ascents and descents upon sidelong hills intersected by arroyas, the beds of which lay deep below the surface.  The ground too was soft, and added much to the labor of the animals.

          During the day we met a party of half a dozen Indians, and induced them to stop.  They were exceedingly pleased with the small presents given them, but could not be prevailed upon to accompany us into camp.  Two or three of them were of larger stature than usual, and one was really a fine-looking young fellow.  They wore the deer-skin robe over the shoulder, and carried the common short bow, backed with sinew, and arrows pointed with stone, both tolerably well made.  With all these Indians, the arrow-points are fastened into a short piece of wood, which in turn is fixed, though but loosely, into the shaft.  The quiver, of dressed deer-skin, holds both bow and arrows.  They had also, suspended round the neck, small nets, neatly made after the fashion of the common game-bag; the twine, which was very even, being of course their own work.

          The last part of our march led us into a thick redwood forest, upon a mountain, through which we were obliged to cut our trail, the ground being covered with under-brush and fallen timber.  A fatiguing climb and an excessively bad descent brought us again to the South Fork.  On the other side was a small prairie of about eighty acres, from which, however, the grass was mostly burnt, a bare sufficiency only remaining.  As it was already evening, and the march had been the most laborious we had yet made, we had no opportunity of seeking further.  It had drizzled a good part of the day, and the night was still wet.  Our estimated distance was fifteen miles.  


          Saturday, Sept. 6th. – Frequent showers again fell to-day.  A piece of grass having been found about a mile off, it was determined to remain over until something definite could be ascertained of the trail ahead, of which accounts from the hunting and  



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prospecting[1] parties were unfavorable.  Several Indians, among them some of our acquaintances of yesterday, came into camp.  They were very dirty in person, and equally so in their habits; in disposition amiable and thievish.  An attempt to collect the tribe proved futile; nor would it have been of any service except for the purpose of enumeration, as we could make them understand nothing, their language differing wholly from those above. 25  They are said to be of a different tribe from the one so much dreaded by the valley Indians, but are probably of the same race.  I endeavored in vain to get from them the names of articles at hand, parts of the body, &c., as they either could not or would not understand the object of the inquiry; nor was our Clear Lake Indian more successful after his method.  We soon got tried of these gentry, as they did not render themselves useful, and required too much watching.

     Our camp was a very pretty one, the little prairie being level and rich, and encircled by a magnificent redwood forest.  One tree near the tents I measured, and fount it to be fifty-two feet in circumference, at four or five feet from the ground, and this although the bark and a portion of the wood were burned away.  It was still erect and alive at the top, notwithstanding the interior had been hollowed out to the height of probably eighty feet, and the smoke was even yet escaping from a hole in the side.

The diameter, measured through a chasm at the bottom, was eighteen feet.  Another, likewise much burnt, measured forty-nine feet in circumference, at five feet from the ground.  The stump of a group rising from one root was twenty-two feet ten inches across.  Those above mentioned were single trees, and without swell, the measurements given being he fair size of the shaft.  Colonel M’Kee measured a fallen truck near camp, which was three hundred and twenty-five feet in length, though not of extraordinary thickness.  Larger trees than this are known to exist, but none were noticed by ourselves.  Their shafts, often disposed in groups, rise to a vast height free from limbs, and their foliage is delicate and feathery.  The bark is of an ash color, very thick, but not rough; the branches small in proportion, and the leaves resemble those of the hemlock rather than the cedar.  The wood, however, is like that of the latter tree, and of a red color.  It splits very readily, so much so, that the Indians, without the use of iron, get out immense planks for their huts.  In a manufactured state, it is unsurpassed for shingles, ceiling, and weather-boarding.  The redwood appears to belong exclusively to the coast region; nowhere, it is believed, at least in northern California, extending inland more than twenty-five or thirty miles, and it does not reach a more northern latitude than the parallel of 42 (degree).



     Sunday, Sept. 7th. – Our route to-day led down the bed of the river, crossing it some twenty times, and only occasionally turning into the woods.  Some ten miles from camp we reached the junction of the South fork with the main Eel river, which had


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previously received other considerable branches.  The two, at this time, however, contained nearly the same quantity of water.  Below, the bed of the river is much wider, consisting as before of sand and coarse gravel, or large rounded pebbles, of every variety of color, and intersected with quartz, over which it spread, being fordable almost anywhere.  In winter, however, both streams bring down immense quantities of water, the drainage of a vast mountain region.  No falls occur in their course, or rapids of importance, and the salmon ascends far toward their sources.  With the exception of the valleys already mentioned, and, perhaps, two or three others upon other branches, all of them too distant to be valuable, Eel river may, above this point, be considered as destitute of arable land; but should hereafter the wants of California demand, it affords facilities for a lumber trade of the first importance.

     Near the forks, we met a canoe, the first seen on our journey.  It was a dug-out, square at both ends, and sufficiently rude and clumsy.  The river was now filled with stakes, driven into the sand at pretty regular intervals, to which the Indians fasten baskets of wicker-work to take the eels, and which at certain seasons, it abounds, and which have given their name to the stream. 26  These, smoked and dried, constitute a principal article of food among the natives.


     Monday, Sept. 8th. – We pursued our route down river.  Except two small prairies, the banks afforded no open land till near the close of our day’s march.  Bluffs of sandstone occurred here and there, apparently resembling that in the Coast range of Oregon , and bearing fossils similar to those at the mouth of the Columbia .  About fourteen miles from camp we reached “Van Dusen’s Fork,” a branch coming in from the east.  Its bed was nearly as wide as that of the main river; and though an inconsiderable stream at the time, it is said, during the freshets, to supply about half as much water as the other.  The two united were now about fifty yards in width; but when flooded are some six hundred yards across, and very deep.

     This, the last large branch of Eel river, we are told heads with the Mad river; a stream entering the coast above Humboldt bay, and, with the south fork of the Trinity, in the Sacramento range of mountains.  It resembles in general character the other eastern branches.  Some prairie land occurs some fifteen or twenty miles above its mouth; but the greater part of its course is through mountains, except that on the upper waters, as is generally the case on the western slope of that chain, are rolling hills, wooded with oak, and affording good pasturage.  A short distance above its junction with the main river, the open country commences on both, and extends to the mouth.  This point is distant about twelve or fourteen miles above the entrance of Eel river into the sea.  The tide backs up to it, and at low stages renders the water brackish to within four miles.  Below the forks the river is crooked, generally covering  



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a wide space with sand and gravel.  We encamped on the northern bank, about half a mile from the main stream.  Our march was fifteen miles.


          Tuesday, Sept .9th. – As it was intended to remain in this neighborhood for some days, in order to recruit the animals, and hold a council with the Indians of the lower Eel river and of Humboldt bay , the party moved this morning in search of a suitable camp.  About a mile out, the road ascended a high table prairie, exceedingly fertile, watered with springs, and well timbered.  Here quite a settlement had been made; a number of houses built, or in the course of construction, and a considerable quantity of land enclosed, and under cultivation.  Some crops of potatoes, planted late in the season, looked well; others were in bloom, or even just out of the ground; but the owners seemed to have no fear of their not reaching maturity.  We were informed that rain had fallen occasionally during the summer, and that the same was the case last year; and the appearance of the vegetation indicated its frequency, as compared with the valley of the Sacramento .  Some six miles from our starting place, we again struck the river, and followed it down, encamping a short distance off, upon a small branch, which we named “Communion Creek.” – This camp was situated about eight miles from our last, as far from the sea, and twelve from the town of Humboldt .  We here remained until the 15th.

          Several of the neighboring settles visited the camp soon after our arrival, and we learned that there were, including those on the south side of the river, about thirty.  Preparations were made to call in the Indians; but unfortunately only persons who spoke the language with any facility were absent.  One or two others could barely communicate with them on a few subjects; but too short a time had elapsed since the arrival of the whites generally to have created any considerable intercourse.  Still we were able to gather some particulars.  The tribes on the coast from Cape Mendocino to Mad river speak substantially the same language, though the dialect of the Bay differs from that lower down.  How far back this tongue extends we had no means of ascertaining.  On Van Dusen’s fork it constantly varies, so that they with difficulty understand the others.  From the Indian wife of a settler on Eel river, I managed to procure some words, afterwards corrected and increased by another, which will be found among the vocabularies.  No resemblance, as will be seen, exists between this and the Russian river languages; and, in fact, the appearance and habits of the Indians indicate a different race.  As in all the others noticed on this coast the F is wanting; and the Indians supply its place in pronouncing English names with the letter P.  Unlike the Oregon and some of the California tongues, however, this contains the R, in which respect it is like those of the Klamath.  No attempt could be made towards learning its construction; and there was much difficulty in obtaining even the words with certainty, owing to the indistinctness with which they pronounce; the first and last syllable being often hardly articulate.  I noticed that


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several words from the “Jargon” or trade language of Oregon were in use, undoubtedly obtained from Hudson ’s Bay trappers. 27.  Such is the word “ma-witch,” a deer, by them applied to all kinds of meat, as well as to the animal, though they have a corresponding name of their own.  The word “pappoose,” too, has wandered from its Atlantic home, to become a familiar one on the lips of this race, long after those have passed away to whom it was vernacular.  The name given to this people by their neighbors is Wee-yot, and Eel river is know by the same.

          As salmon were abundant, the Indians were all fat.  They are generally repulsive in countenance as well as filthy in person.  The men, like those in the mountains, wore a deer-skin robe over the shoulder; but evidently not for purposes of decency.  The women were usually naked to the waist, wearing round the loins the short petticoat of fringe.  This dress, in its various modifications of fashion and change of material, from dressed deer-skins, often beautifully worked and ornamented, to a rude skirt of grass, or the inner bark of the cedar or redwood, prevails over an extensive country and among widely different tribes.  The close round cap of basket-work, is likewise their ordinary head-dress.  These Indians have as many wives as they please, or more probably, as they can purchase, and allow themselves the privilege of shooting such as they are tired of; a method of divorce that obviates all difficulty as to subsequent maintenance. 28.  One of the whites here, in “breaking in” his squaw to her household duties, had occasion to beat her several times.  She complained of this to the tribe, and they informed him that he should not do so; that if he was dissatisfied he must kill her and get another.  As this advice came from her brother, it is fair to suppose that there was no offence to the family in such a procedure.  The woman are said to be chaste, and especially to admit no intercourse with the whites except on permanent conditions; a peculiarity which, as elsewhere, will probably disappear with the advance of civilization.  Both men and women generally crop their hair very short all over the head, giving it much the appearance of a well-worn blacking-brush.  The former pluck their beards out, but leave the hair on the rest of the person.  Their heads are disproportionately large; their figures, though short, strong and well developed.  Both sexes tattoo; the men on their arms and breasts; the women from inside the under lip down to and beneath the chin.  The extent of this disfigurement indicates to a certain extent, the age and condition of the person, whether married or single.

          As far as regards their number, we could not ascertain it with any exactness.  As usual, it was much overrated in general report, and it is probable that those on the Eel river below Van Dusen’s fork, and around the bay, fall short of five hundred.  Their food consists principally of fish, eels, shell-fish, and various seeds, which, like those in the southern valleys, they collect after burning the grass.  A small species of sunflower furnishes a very abundant supply of these last.  The sallal, salmon, and berries, hazel-nuts, &c., also abound.  Occasionally the more enterprising snare the elk, which are very numerous.  They do not appear to be warlike, or disposed to aggression,  


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although one or two murders were committed when the whites began to come in.  It appeared to us singular that at first they would not eat beef; but so few cattle had been brought here that the settlers used more themselves, and had probably spread the idea that it was not good, in order to save their stock.  We found, however, that they readily learned the lesion when an opportunity was afforded them.  The grizzly bear, which is found here in great numbers, they will not eat, because, as they say, it eats them, the lex talionis not applying in this case.  The principal diseases noticed, were sore eyes and blindness, consumption, and a species of leprosy; not, however, the result of syphilis, which had never been introduced.  From their own accounts, their numbers have been greatly thinned by a disease, from the description appearing to have been gastritis.  Of the religious notions of these people nothing could be learned.  They bury instead of burning their dead.

          During our stay I devoted several days to an examination of the country, though a very complete one was impracticable for want of guides and facilities of transportation.  The best portion is apparently that lying near the mouth of Van Dusen’s fork, on either side of the margin stream.  Lower down, the land on the right bank, with the exception of a narrow strip along the river, consists of rolling hills, covered with low shrubs, extending to the end of “Table Bluff,” a promontory between the mouth of Eel river and the bay, and reaching back to the redwoods, behind the town of Humboldt.  The soil of these hills is excellent, but the difficulty of breaking them up, the want of timber on the ground, and of running water, has hitherto prevented claims being taken there.  On the south, what may be called the valley of Eel river is bounded by the Coast range, which terminates at Cape Mendocino .  These mountains run back, in an easterly direction, some eighteen miles.  They present a fine grazing country on the slopes, and good situations for farms at their base.  The bottom land on the river is low and level, and in width averages perhaps five miles.  Much of this is, however, covered with thickets of willows, &c., and is subject to floods in the rainy season.  Those tracts above the reach of the freshets are generally of fern prairie, rich, but not easily subdued.  In approaching the coast, the country is much cut up with sloughs, communicating with the river, and near the mouth consists of salt marsh and tide-land.  The extent of the whole is not far from twenty miles square.  For farming purposes, as carried on in the northern States, such as the production of green crops, the available portion of this is admirably calculated.  On our return to the bay, later in the season, we were shown vegetables, particularly potatoes, turnips, beets, &c., of the finest quality, and of enormous size; some of the potatoes weighing from three to four pounds each.  The climate, as has been mentioned, is much more moist than that of southern California , or the Sacramento valley.  It is, however, apparently healthy.  The winders are mild; snow never lying for any length of time, except in the mountains.  Game is excessively abundant, including deer, elk, bears; and all the fall and winter, ducks, geese, brandt, cranes, and other water-fowl.


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          Partly from the difficulty of communicating with the Indians, and partly from the jealousy with which each little band seems to view the rest, the efforts to collect them from the country around proved abortive, a few only visiting the camp from the nearest villages.  It was an additional drawback, that the head chief of Eel river, to whom the whites have given the name of “Coon-skin,” and who is said to possess considerable influence, was sick.  To those who came in, small presents, together with hard bread, and beef, were distributed; but they could not be made to understand the object of our visit, and clearly remained to the last, in doubt whether the agent was simply a philanthropic individual, possessed of more red flannel shirts and cotton pocket-handkerchiefs than he knew what to do with, and who therefore indulged in the benevolent amusement of giving them away; or one who had some designs upon them, and was fishing for Indians with that particular bait.  It being considered advisable, however, to bring in as many as possible, in order to produce an impression favorable to future efforts, I went down the river in a canoe, accompanied by Mr. Duperru, a gentleman of Humboldt, and Mr. Robinson, with three Indians, visiting the different rancherias on our way.  These were very numerous, but consisting  generally of only two or three families.  Their appearance, as well as that of their inhabitants, was wretched, and we found sickness to prevail everywhere, the disease being apparently consumption.  No inducement that we could offer would bring the Indians together, their dislike of one another amounting almost to hostility; each village assuring us that the next one was very bad, and dissuading us from going on. 29.  Indeed, our own crew could hardly be forced to land at some places.

          We descended as far as the tide-lands, a couple of miles from the mouth, where we had a fine view of the nearer, or “False Cape Mendocino,” with its terraced sides.  The banks of the river, to this point, were generally covered with thickets, occasionally interspersed with small prairies, bearing an enormous growth of fern.  We attempted in one place to travel on shore; but after funning out an old trail, lost ourselves in the rank weeds, and were glad to bet back to our boat.  Our Indians proved worthless boatmen, and the canoe leaking badly, we returned without going to the entrance.  The river empties into the ocean through a sort of lagoon, made by the union of a number of large sloughs, or tide creeks, which intersect the low lands.  A communication by one of these exists to within a mile of Humboldt bay , and with but a little labor could be readily established throughout.  The depth  of water on the bar is sufficient to admit, the smaller class of vessels.  In fact, a schooner, called the “Jacob Ryerson,” entered it in the spring of 1850, and proceeded up some miles; but the narrowness of the entrance, and the fact that the sea, except in very calm weather, breaks across it, will prevent its becoming available to any extent.  The natural outlet for the produce of the country is, and will continue to be, the bay.

          About nine o’clock in the evening, we reached the village from which we took the canoe, and stopped for the night, making our suppers of smoked eels, a cup of coffee,  


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and of course a pipe of tobacco.  These Indians, by the way, do not smoke; a glaring evidence of ignorance and debasement, to remedy which, it is to be hoped the earliest efforts of their future guardians will be directed!  The eels proved excessively fat and oily, and seem to be a more favorite article of food, with them at least, than the salmon.  The river bed near their villages, was everywhere filled with stakes, to which the eel-pots are attached; and the lodges farther down had, in some places, erected strong weirs of well-driven posts, to sustain nets.  The band with whom we were encamped appeared to be among the laziest o the race, and even they had an abundant supply.  We had brought with us our blankets, as a usual precaution, and now spread them on the sand, not far from the juts.  A nearly full moon shone down upon us, a good fire blazed at our feet, and we sat till a late hour, drying our boots, and listening to the wailings of a new-born savage, or watching with humane interest the semi-occasional fights of a  swarm of dogs belonging to the village.  Two imps, of about ten and fourteen years of age, persisted in giving us their company, entertaining us with information which might have proved valuable had we understood it, and finally amusing themselves by gambling for the shirts we had given them, their only garments.  The largest, of course, won, but was magnanimous enough to permit the loser to wear his lost property for the night; and both tucking up the skirts, that the genial warmth of the fire might reach them without interruption, stretched themselves on the damp sand, and slept like innocence itself.  The next morning, as it was Sunday, we directed a general washing of faces throughout the village; a ceremony evidently of rare occurrence, and which happily settled a question before agitated in our camp.  The representative of the Van Dusen’s Fork Indians, who was present, was not darker, but only dirtier than the rest.


          Sunday, Sept.14th. – As it had become evident that nothing could be effected with the Indians at present, for want of interpreters, it was concluded to break up camp the next day, and proceed on. 30.  With a view to the prevention of difficulty hereafter in the selection of a reserve, Colonel M’Kee decided upon setting apart provisionally, a tract sufficient for the tribes inhabiting Eel river, Humboldt bay, and generally the central portion of his district, - The reservation could at this time be made without embracing the Indians themselves.  The tract was selected after obtaining the best information practicable, and comprised the country between Eel river and the Mendocino range, extending from the coast up to a point opposite to our camp.  This it was believed would furnish sufficient agricultural land, together with the fisheries upon which they chiefly depend.  An arrangement was also entered into, with a Mr. Charles A. Robinson, one of the settlers, on Eel river, to plant with potatoes a few acres of ground for the benefit of such Indians as could be induce to labor upon it.



[1]  A local phrase employed by miners. – B.R.S.


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          Monday, Sept. 15th. – To-day the camp was broken up, and we moved down to “ Humboldt City .”  The road, for the grater part of the distance, ran over hills covered with low brush.  It is passable for wagons from the settlement near Van Dusen’s fork, to an embarcadero on a slough putting up from the bay, whence produce is taken by water.  The town, if it may be called so, is situated upon a little plateau of about forty acres, nearly opposite the entrance, and under a bluff, rising from the midst of a tract of low ground.  It contains only about a dozen houses, and was at this time nearly deserted; Uniontown, at the head of the bay, having proved a more successful rival in the packing trade.  Vessels of considerable size can lie close to the shore here; but the place is not destined to any importance, at least until the settlement and cultivation of the adjoining country shall make it a point of export for provisions.

          Humboldt Bay (Plate 43) is probably a lagoon lying within a sand beach, and undistinguished by any prominent land-mark; for which reason it probably so long escaped observation from sea.  Its extreme length is about eighteen miles; its width opposite the town not more than one, but greater near the upper end; averaging probably four or five.  Somewhat singularly, no stream of any size enters it; the largest being Eel river, called Ka-sha-reh by the Indians, a creek emptying a mile or two above Humboldt.  The bay was discovered, so far as we have any knowledge of its existence, in the fall of 1849, by a party under Dr. Josiah Gregg, well known as the author of a work entitled “The Commerce of the Prairies.”  This party had started from the Sacramento valley with a view of exploring Trinity valley, under the supposition that it emptied into Trinidad bay.  Perceiving, however, that it finally turned to the northward, they left it, and crossed the country to that point, and subsequently came down upon this bay, which at first they supposed to be a lake.  The party here divided, Dr. Gregg, with Mr. Charles Southard and some others, following down the coast to about lat. 39 (degree) 26’, and thence striking over the mountains to Clear Lake, beyond which Dr. Gregg died, in the attempt to reach Napa valley.  Others of the party, among whom was our guide, Mr. Thomas Sebring, and David A. Buck, took the route up Eel river, reaching Sonoma in February.  Both parties experienced great suffering in their winter journey through the mountains.  It is greatly to be regretted that Dr. Gregg’s notes, which are said to have been very minute, and accompanied with observations of latitude and longitude, have never been published.  In the spring of 1850, Mr. Sebring returned to the bay, guiding two parties; and the attempt to bring the wagon train across, the failure of which has been mentioned, was made by another. – A vessel called the “Eclipse,” started from San Francisco , chartered by some of the new settlers.  Before her arrival, however, or that of the expeditions by land, information of the existence of the harbor was received at Trinidad, through a party of sailors who had been landed at the mouth of Eel river, and found their way thence up the coast; and the “Lama Virginia,31. Capital Ottinger, came down, entering first, and but


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a little after Captains Dennison and Tichenor had entered Eel river in the Ryersen.  Such seems to have been the history of the discovery of this bay and the adjoining country.  It may be added that Van Dusen’s fork, so named after one of Dr. Gregg’s party, was explored to a considerable height by Captain Tichenor while the vessel lay in the river.  Whether the existence of the bay was previously known to the Hudson ’s Bay Company, is doubtful.  They certainly trapped in the mountains between it and the Sacramento range, and there seems to be some evidence of the previous visit of whites, but no record of it has been preserved32.  


          Tuesday, Sept. 16th. – We started up the edge of the bay, over salt marshes, crossing Elk river near its mouth.  This stream is only fordable at low water, and even then we found it over girth deep to our horses.  Its width is about twenty-five yards.  A mile beyond we reached Bucksport, a settlement of half a dozen houses, with a fine prairie behind it; and finding that we could reach no other camp that day, halted, making but a little over three miles.  


          Wednesday, Sept.17th. – One trail ran for nine or ten miles, in some places through fern prairie, but chiefly in heavy forest of fir and redwood.  Beyond this we came upon the salt marshes which border much of the bay on the landward side, rendering travel by land at all times difficult, and which in summer add to the annoyance of miry ground, that of myriads of mosquitoesThe distance from Bucksport to Union is about eighteen miles; there is another intermediate place named Eureka , which we did not visit, our trail running too far inland.  Union is at the head of the bay, but at some distance from the water, and goods are brought in boars to an embarcadero, within half a mile of it.  It is built upon a nearly level plateau under a low table-land, and contains about one hundred houses.  Its population, which at one time was over five hundred, had fallen off; few persons remaining, except a company of State volunteers, recently called out.  Its importance was derived from its trade with the Klamath and Trinity mines; and we learned that until recently, an average of an hundred mules a week had been packed, taking some four or five thousand dollars worth of goods.  The miners, having lately moved higher up, into the neighborhood of the Sacramento and Oregon trails, the business had fallen off.  Trinity, upon the coast, eighteen miles distant, has been the principal rival of Union in this trade, and was suffering under the same depression.  It contains about the same number of houses, and probably about the like population.

          What available land there is upon Humboldt bay is of a similar character to that on Eel river.  Too much of it is, however, covered with forest; the cost of clearing which would be much greater than its value afterwards.  Near Union , and upon Mad river, a few miles distant, there is some farming country, but as yet very little under cultivation.  


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          We encamped upon the table-land behind the town, and found the grass much eaten and trampled; our animals suffered further from the swarms of mosquitoes.  The

Goods destined for the Klamath Indians had been sent to Trinidad ; and as it was concluded to take the trail leading from here direct to the Klamath, without passing through that place, they were brought down in packs.  A few of the Mad River Indians came in and received presents, but nothing was effected with them.  I obtained a partial vocabulary of their language, which resembles substantially that used round the bay, and at Eel river.  Beyond Mad river a different one prevails.  The Bay Indians call themselves, as we were informed, Wish-osk; and those of the hills, Te-ok-a-wilk; but the tribes to the northwest denominated both those of the Bay and Eel river, We-yot, or Walla-walloo.  The Indians of Trinidad are called by them Chori, and those of Gold Bluff, between Trinidad and the Klamath, Osse-gon. 33.  Of these two last we saw nothing.  


          Wednesday, Sept. 24th. – Major Wessells, with the command, had moved the day before to a camp on the Bald Hills, beyond Mad river; and to-day the agent followed with his party, starting about noon .  We took, as guide for our future route, Mr. Benjamin Kelsey, an old resident of California, and one of the most experienced mountaineers in the State, who had trapped, in former years, through the country we were about to enter on.

          The trail, a short distance from town, turned into the redwoods.  It had been cut out by the inhabitants for the convenience of packing, and at this season was pretty good; but during the rains, the soil in these forests becomes a deep and greasy mud, very difficult to pass over.  About five miles out, we reached the crossing of Mad river.  This stream, as has been mentioned, heads with the south fork of the Trinity, Van Dusen’s Fork of Eel river, and Cottonwood creek, a tributary of the Sacramento .  Its length is about one hundred miles, the general course being from east to west.  It enters the sea six miles above Union, but it possibly once ran into the bay itself; for a dry channel remains, which, with but little cutting, would connect it with one of the slough near the town.  Some fifteen or twenty miles from the coast, the redwood timber disappears, and oak-covered hills extend back to the foot of the mountains, affording good pasturage, and some farming land.  The immediate bottom of the river is narrow, and covered with alder and balm of Gilead.  At this time it was about thirty or forty feet across, and knee-deep to our horses; but in winter it swells to sixty or seventy yards in width.  The Humboldt trail to the Trinity crosses it some fifteen miles farther up.

          Leaving the river, we ascended a long spur of mountain to the top of the dividing ridge between it and Redwood creek, through alternate forest and prairie land.  The character of the mountains, from this to the Klamath, differs widely from those we had before passed over.  Their summits are broader, and the declivities less steep and  


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broken.  Prairies of rich grass lie on their southern slopes, and especially on their tops, from whence their name of Bald Hills is derived.  This grass was now yellow with ripeness, and the wind, sweeping over its long slender stems, gave it a beautiful appearance.  The Indians use the stalks in their finer basket-work; and, when split, in the braids with which they tie up their hair, and other ornamental fabrics.  The timber here becomes much more open, and fir, white and yellow, predominates over the redwood.  This last is now chiefly confined to the immediate neighborhood of the coast.  Springs of good water occur near almost all these prairies, and camps are therefore selected on their skirts.  Late in the season, however, the grass is often burned, and dependence cannot always be placed upon the usual grounds.  In winter, snow lies on them for several weeks, and to a considerable depth.  Elk are very abundant in these mountains, and the ground was marked everywhere with their footprints.

          We found the command encamped upon the summit of the mountain, at a point overlooking the whole of Humboldt bay and the ocean beyond.  The men had here surprised a party of Indians, who fled at sight, leaving their squaws and baskets to follow as best they could.  These Bald Hill Indians, 34. as they were called, have a very bad reputation among the packers, and several lives, as well as much property, have been lost through their means.  They appear to lead a more roving life than those of the Klamath and Trinity rivers; with the latter of whom they seem, however, to be connected.  


          Thursday, Sept. 25th. – Our route to-day led down to a small branch of Mad river, and thence up another still higher mountain than the last, where we encamped upon another prairie.  It had been our intention to go on to Redwood creek, but a train of packers returning, informed us that the only accessible camps there had been burnt over.  Owing to the circuitous course of the trail, we made about four miles on our direction, with some seven or eight of travel.  From this summit there is even a more magnificent prospect than from our last camp; but unfortunately a dense fog had settled over the ocean and bay.  Even this, however, afforded a superb spectacle; for it penetrated up between the different points of highland, lying only upon the bottoms, and from our elevated position, appeared itself a sea, whose long series of waves were as distinctly marked as in that it concealed and imitated.  Our guide pointed out the position of the settlements on the coast, and the mouths of the streams, distinguishable by a break in the vapor.  


          Friday, Sept. 26th. – The first business of the morning was of course to descend the mountain which we had climbed the day before.  About five miles from camp, we reached and crossed Redwood creek, a fine mountain stream, running over a stony bed, and now easily fordable, but which, in the wet season, is both deep and rapid.  As we approached, we saw the signal-fires of the Indians, who had themselves decamped.  


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On the northern bank lay a small prairie we had intended to have reach last night.  The trail now ran down the river for two or three miles, over very broken and rocky ground, and then again ascended the hills.  We halted as before upon a mountain prairie, at a place known as “Indian cam;” making a distance of about twelve miles of travel, and with our last camp still in sight.  From here the view opened, to the north, of the ranges dividing the Trinity from the Klamath, and the latter from the coast and Rogue’s river; while to the south, the Bear Butte on Eel river, which we had passed on the 5th, was visible.  It was too late in the afternoon to permit the ascent of “Kelsey’s Point of View,” a high craggy hill rising about a mile to the left of the trail, which would have given us a better view of this whole mountain region than any other we could have found.  


          Saturday, Sept. 27th. – Our march to-day was both hilly and circuitous as before; the trail, after a long detour, descending to Pine creek, the first of the waters of the Klamath which we reached.  The Trinidad trail, it should be mentioned, united with that from Union , about three miles from our last camp.  Beyond Pine creek, which is a turbulent brook, with a very bad crossing, the route led over a ridge to a small branch in a deep ravine, and thence ascended another mountain beyond, on the summit of which we stopped.  The place was known as “Bloody camp,” from the murder of two whites, committed some time previous by the Indians of the hills.  We passed to-day two other well-known halting places, - “French camp,” between the junction of the trails and Pine creek, and “Burnt ranch,” so called from an Indian village having been destroyed there, between Pine creek and the ravine.  Our march was about twelve miles, and we had the satisfaction of finding that we were only two miles and a half from our next destination, the forks of the Klamath and Trinity.  Water and grass were abundant, and it was accordingly determined to leave the animals here under a guard, while the talk was being held at the ferry.  The next day we remained stationary, reparations in the mean time being made for assembling the Indians and for the accommodation of the party below.  


          Monday, Sept. 29th. – Col. M’Kee moved this morning to the ferry at the junction of the two rivers, Major Wessells remaining for a day or two longer at Bloody camp.  The road was a continuous descent through woods, and our new camp was selected near the ferry, on the south bank, in a fine grove of bay trees.  We were somewhat amused at finding a notice posted on the trail, advising whom it might concern, that Mr. Durkee, who kept the ferry, was at peace with his neighbors, and requesting that they therefore should not be killed without just provocation; a piece of intelligence to which our red guides called our attention.

          The Klamath river is here, during its lower stages, about fifty yards in width, and very swift.  Its course in fact is obstructed at a short distance by rapids throughout


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its whole length, till within ten miles of the sea, the descent from the source to the ocean being very considerable.  There are, however, no falls of any height; the largest which is a few miles below the forks, being little more than a rapid.  Much error has existed in maps relating to this river; its mouth having by many (among others, Captain Wilkes and Col. Fremont,) been placed in Oregon , about 42 (degree) 35’ N. L., and it was for a long time supposed that Rogue’s river, which actually empties about that latitude, was a branch of the Klamath.  The distinctness of the two streams has since been ascertained, but the source of the mistake is nowhere noticed.  The manuscript map of Oregon and California, by Jedediah S, Smith, which was, till lately, the best source of information as to this part of the country, although in general singularly accurate, considering the extent of the region traversed and laid down by him, gave rise to it.  Smith in 1828 ascended the Sacramento valley, and crossing the mountains, struck on what apparently was the south fork of the Trinity.  This he followed down to its junction with the Klamath, and to the mouth of the latter; thence pursuing his route up the coast to Rogue’s river, and the Umpqua, and over into the Willamette valley.  Supposing Rogue’s river, or the Too-too-tutnis, to be the one which headed in Klamath lake, he so represented it on his map; and to the Klamath he gave the name of Smith’s river, by which it is yet called upon all the English sea-charts.  Smith was a fur-trader, and one of the most adventurous of that class; and was, as is believed, for some time at least, a partner of General Ashley of Missouri .  His Travels, from about the year 1821 to 1830, as traced upon his map, cover not only the heads of the Missouri, the Yellowstone, the two forks of the Columbia river, and the Colorado, but encircle the whole of the great basin of California, (which he moreover claims to have crossed in 1826 from San Francisco to the Great Salt Lake,) and on the Pacific extend from the Pueblo de los Angelos to Fort Vancouver.  He was finally killed by the Comanches, and not, as is often supposed, on the river of his name.  He however lost a party of fifteen men upon the Umpqua , on his route up from the Klamath, escaping himself with some difficulty.  His furs and goods were recovered for him by Dr. M’Laughlin of the Hudson ’s Bay Company, who sent out a party for the purpose.  Smith’s map, it is believed, was recently purchased in Oregon by the Joint Commission of Army and Navy Officers, and is probably now in Washington .

          The real course of the Klamath, after leaving the lesser lake of that name, is a little south of westerly, to about forty miles from the coast, where it turns nearly to the south of the forks, there again bending north-west to its mouth, which, as fixed by the United States Coast Survey, is in about latitude 41 (degree) 85’, some fifteen miles below Point Saint George, and thirty-five from the junction of the Trinity.  The whole of it, after leaving the lake, is therefore in California .  The country traversed by the Klamath from hear its head waters, is a succession of mountains coming down to its banks, leaving but little, even occasional bottom land, and affording no inducement to others than miners.  During the winter the snow falls to a great depth,  


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rendering travel difficult if not impracticable, and its tributaries are swollen to torrents.  No settlement can be maintained at its mouth, as the shifting sands are liable during any severe storm, to close it almost entirely.  An instance happened during the past winter, when a bar preventing any access, formed across it; although at the time of the Ewing’s visit during the preceding summer, there was fifteen feet of water at the entrance.

          The Trinity, so called by its more recent explorers, from the idea that it emptied into Trinidad bay, rises in the neighborhood of the Sacramento , and pursues a south-westerly course for a considerable distance, turning afterwards west and then north-west to its junction with the Klamath.  It receives a number of branches, the largest of which come from the north, with one exception, the South Fork.  This heads in the Sacramento range, its sources being near those of Bottomwood creek, and it joins the main river about thirty miles above the entrance of that into the Klamath.  Like the Klamath, the Trinidad runs during its whole length through mountains, only two small valleys occurring on its banks, of which the principal is between the south fork and its mouth.  It is in size about half that of the Klamath, and its waters, likewise rapid, are of transcendent purity; contrasting with those of the latter stream which never lose the taint of their origin.  The other principal branches of the Klamath, Salmon, Scott’s and Shaste rivers, will be spoken of hereafter.

          The name of “Smith’s river,” which, as a matter of tradition, has been bandied from pillar to post, shifting from Eel to Rouge’s river, has recently vibrated between a stream running into Pelican bay, and another, called by some Illinois river , and supposed to be the south fork of Rogue’s river.  Of the former, called by the Klamath Indians the Eenag’h-paha, or river of the Eenagh’s, we received, at different times, information from those who had visited it.  A small bay or rather lagoon, lies within the beach at its mouth; and the river, where it falls into it, is some sixty yards wide.  From fifteen to twenty miles from the coast, the principal forks occur; the northern taking its rise in the Rogue’s river divide, and the southern, or more properly eastern, is that of the Klamath.  Various other branches join it, draining quite an extensive tract.  Near its mouth is said to lie a belt of good agricultural land, some fifteen miles in width, similar to that on Humboldt bay; and we were further informed, that immense quantities of iron ore are to be found on its branches; a fact which would account for the magnetic sand thrown up with the gold at Gold Bluff and other points on the cost, which could not have come from the Klamath.

          Although the value of the country upon the Klamath and the Trinity, as an agricultural region, is too small ever to have attracted a population, it, notwithstanding, possesses great importance in its mines.  The district through which gold is found, extends from the Shaste river, on the former, and the head-waters of the latter, to the forks.  Below there, although it exists, the particles are fine, and the amount insufficient to pay for collecting.  With perhaps one or two exceptions, the diggings have  


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not been as enormously rich as at points on the tributaries of the Sacramento , but they cover a very extensive region, afford a fair renumeration to labor, and will, apparently, be of considerable duration.  The details of the subject will be hereafter given, in speaking of various points.  At present it is sufficient to say, that the metal appears to be distributed, in greater or less quantities, throughout all these mountains; as it is found in most of the small streams, as well as the main rivers.  The quantity is, however, greatest high up; and the apparent source of the most abundant supply is the group of granitic peaks at the head of Scott’s, Salmon, and the Trinity.  Approaching the coast, the amount diminishes or disappears.  With regard to the origin of the gold at what is called “Gold Bluff,” a high cliff of indurated sand and clay, upon the coast between Trinidad and the mouth of the Klamath, as well as at some other points on the Pacific, the accounts given of it all point to the Klamath.  The metal, which is in very fine particles, is found on the beach only after north-westerly storms; and it is said that different objects, among them a human body, known to have been lost in the river, have at various times been drifted ashore, indicating the general set of the current.  The extreme comminution of the dust is conclusive as to the distance from which it comes; and the presence of iron sand is accounted for, by its existence, in ore, upon the small river in Pelican bay.

          The name of the Klamath or Tlamath, belonging to the tribes on the lake where the river rises, is not known among those farther down; nor could I learn that any other name for the stream exists among them then that derived from relative position.  Thus, at the forks, the Weits-peks call the river below Poh-lik, signifying down; and that above,

Peh-tsik, or up; giving, moreover, the same name to the population, in speaking of them collectively.  Three distinct tribes, speaking different languages, occupy its banks between the sea and the mouth of the Shaste, of which the lowest extends up to Bluff creek, a few miles above the forks.  Of these there are, according to our information, in all, thirty-two villages.  It was the opinion of some, who were acquainted with the river, that each village would average nine houses, of ten souls to the house; but this estimate, which would give a population of nearly three thousand, and a village to about every mile and a half on the river, seems clearly too large.  It is probable that some are but summer residences; and a very liberal conjecture of the number of the inhabitants, would be fifteen hundred. 35.  The names of the principal villages may be useful in determining analogies.  They are the Weits-pek (at the forks), Wah-sherr, Kai-petl, Morai-uh,

Noht-scho, Meh-teh, Schre-gon, Yau-terrh, Pec-quan, Kanweh, Wauh-tecq, Sche-perrh, Oiyotl, Nai-a-gutl, Schaitl, Hopaiuh, Rek-qua, and Weht’l-qua; the two last at the mouth of the river. 36.  The Weits-pek village, on the north bank at this point, as well as the two smaller ones, situated respectively between the forks, and opposite on the south side, 37. were burnt during the last spring, in consequence of some murders committed in the neighborhood; and, at the time of our visit, had not been rebuilt, the people living in temporary huts.  The first contained  


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about thirty houses, and was one of the most important of all.  The same was the case with the Kai-petl, or, as it was called by the whites, Capel village, ten miles below.  There was formerly a ferry there also, at  which the trail then generally used from Trinidad, crossed; but the jealousy of the Indians being in some manner aroused, they attacked the house, killing four persons, and their town was therefore destroyed, 38. and several of them shot.

          Upon the Trinity, or Hoopah, below the entrance of the south fork or O-tah-wei-a-ket, there are said to be eleven ranches, the Oke-noke, Agaraits, Up-le-goh, Ollep-pauh’l-kah-teht’l and Pepht-soh, all lying in the little valley referred to; and the Has-lintah, A-hel-tah,So-kea-keit, Tash-huan-ta, and Wits-puk above it. 39.  A twelfth, the Me-yemma, now burnt, was situated just above “New,” or “ Arkansas river .”  The total number of inhabitants belonging to these, is probably six hundred.  They differ in no respect, except in language, from the lower Klamaths.  Of the Indians above the forks on the main Trinity, or those on the south fork, we obtained no distinct information, except that they speak distinct languages and are both excessively hostile to the whites.  The latter are described as large and powerful men, of a swarthier complexion, fierce and intractable, and are considered by the mountaineers as of another race, agreeing more with the wild tribes inhabiting the western base of the Sacramento range, and in the neighborhood of a large lake reported to lie there.  The lower Trinity tribe is, as well as the river itself, known by the Klamaths by the name of Hoopah; of which, however, I could not learn the signification.  A vocabulary of their language is appended; but it cannot be as altogether perfect, being obtained through the means of the Klamath interpreter.

          Of the Indians of Redwood creek, called by the whites Bald Hill Indians, little was learned, and none of them could be induced to come in.  They are termed Oruk by the Coast Indians, and Teho-lo-lah 40. by the Weits-peks.  The general opinion is, that they arm ore nearly allied to the Trinity than to the Klamath tribes.  The names of some of their bands, as given me by an Indian, were, commencing at the coast, the Cherr’h-quah, Ot-teh-petl, Oh-nah, Oh-pah, and Rouge-choh. 41.

          Still less is known of the Indians to the north of the Klamath; but we were informed that the first tribe on the coast were a warlike band called Tol-e-wahs, of whom the Klamaths stand in some awe.  Above them on Smith’s river are the Eenahs or Eenaghs, and on the head waters of that stream the Sians or Siahs.  All these are said to speak different languages, or more probably dialects.  Of the first I obtained a few words from and old Klamath, but they are hardly to be relied on.

          With regard to their form of government, at least that of the Klamath and Trinity tribes, the mow-ce-ma, or head of each family, is master of his own house, and there is a sci-as-lau, or chief, in every village.  There are also head chiefs to the different tribes; but whether their power has definite limits, is confined to peace or war, or extends to both, seems very doubtful.  It certainly is insufficient to control the


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relations of the several villages, or keep down the turbulence of individuals.  The courage and energy of a warrior, as we saw, often gives greater influence than the rank of a head chief.

          The lodges of these Indians are generally very well built; being made of boards riven from redwood or fir, and of considerable size, often reaching twenty feet square.  Their roofs are pitched over a ridge-pole, and sloping each way; the ground being usually excavated to the depth of three or four feet, and a pavement of smooth stones laid in front.  The cellars of the better class are also floored and walled with stone.  The door always consists of a round hole in a heavy plank, just sufficient to admit the body; and is formed with a view to exclude the bears, who in winter make occasional and very unwelcome visits. 42.  The graves, which are in the immediate neighborhood of the houses, exhibit very considerable taste, and a laudable care.  The dead are inclosed in rude coffins, formed by placing four boards around the body, and covered with earth to dome depth; a heavy plank, often supported by upright head and foot stones, is laid upon the top; or stones are built up into a wall, about a foot above the ground, and the top flagged with others.  The graves of the chiefs are surrounded by neat wooden palings; each pale ornamented with a feather from the tail of a bald eagle.  Baskets are usually staked down by the side, according to the wealth or popularity of the individual; and sometimes other articles, for ornament or use, are suspended over them. 43.

          The funeral ceremonies occupy three days, during which the soul of the deceased is in danger from O-mah-a, 44. or the devil.  To preserve it from this peril, a fire is kept up at the grave, and friends of the deceased howl round it, to scare away the demon.  Should they not be successful in this, the soul is carried down the river; subject, however, to redemption by Peh-ho-wan on payment of a big knife.  After the expiration of the three days it is all well with them.  Such, at least, is their belief, as related to us by residents, so far as could be gathered from the Indians themselves.  A qualification must probably be made on the score of incorrect translation and misunderstanding.  In person these people are far superior to any that we met below; the men being larger, more muscular, and with countenances denoting greater force and energy of character, as well as intelligence.  Indeed, they approach rather to the races of the plains, than to the wretched “diggers” of the greater part of California .  Two young men in particular, a young chief and his brother, from a neighboring village on the Trinity, were taller than the majority of whites, superbly formed, and never noble in feature.  The superiority, however, was especially manifested in the women, many of whom were exceedingly pretty; having large almond-shaped eyes, sometimes of a hazel color, and with the red showing through the cheeks.  Their figures were full, their chests ample, and the younger ones had well-shaped busts, and rounded limbs, graces all profusely displayed, as their only dress was the fringed petticoat, or at most, a deer-skin robe thrown back over the shoulders, in addition.  


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The petticoat with the wealthier, or perhaps more industrious, was an affair on which great taste and labor were expended.  It was of dressed deer-skin; the upper edge turned over and embroidered with colored grasses, the lower cut into a deep fringe, reaching nearly to the knee, and ornamented with bits of sea-shell, beads, and buttons.  Sometimes an apron, likewise of heavy fringe, made of braided grass, the ends finished off with the nuts of the pine, hung down in front, and rattled as they walked. 45.  These dames, though bearing a high, and apparently well deserved reputation for morals, were exceedingly social; coming up in bands to our camp, to beg for beads and trinkets, and playing off a thousand airs of wild coquetry.  Indeed, for powers of wheedling and coaxing they are unsurpassed; and when a rustic beauty established herself beside one, her plump arms resting on his knees, and her large eyes rolled up to his, the stock in trade of the victim was pretty sure to suffer.  They made themselves perfectly at home; bringing their basket-work, and sitting round the tents, or romping under the bay trees; their jolly laughter ringing through the woods, and their squeals echoing far and wide, as some mischievous young savage pinched a tempting spot, or hugged them in his tawny arms.  The manner of these Indians towards one another was generally caressing, the young men lolling about in pairs, and the girls sitting with their arms round each other.  In justice and truth, however, it must be added that this Californian Arcadia was not all sunshine, even during the halcyon days of treaty-making, and that various habits and customs indulged in, were the reverse of inviting.

          The dress of the men consists, generally, of a pair of deer-skins with the hair on, stitched together.  Sometimes, however, a noted hunter wears a couple of cougar skins, the long tails trailing behind him; and other again, on state occasions, display a breech-clout of several small skins, sewed into a belt or waistband.  Their moccasins are peculiar, having soles of several thicknesses of leather.  They are not as skilful in the preparation of dressed skins as the Oregon Indians, and use of those dressed on both sides is mostly confined to the women.  Their bows are short, and strongly backed with sinews, which are put on by means of a glue extracted from fish, and they are often neatly painted.  The arrows are well made, the points of stone or iron being secured to a movable piece fitting into the shaft.  Among the skins used for quivers, I noticed the otter, wild-cat, fisher, fawn, grey fox, and others.  The skins of a species of raccoon, of the skunk, and a small animal called the cat fox, were also employed for different purposes.  In dressing their hair, which the men wear clubbed behind, considerable taste is sometimes shown; wreaths of oak or bay leaves, or the broad tails of the grey squirrel, being twisted round the head.  Their pipes were made of wood, generally eight or ten inches long, and tapering from a broad muzzle to the mouth-piece.  They are held erect when smoking, and the same species of wild tobacco is used that was noticed at Clear Lake .  Both sexes pierce the nose, and wear some kind of ornament in it; the favorite one being the shell known as the “haiqua,” 46.  


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among the fur traders.  This, under the name of the “ali-qua chick,” or Indian money, is more highly valued among then than any other article.  Their canoes are fashioned like those of the bay and of Eel river, blunt at both ends, with a small projection in the stern, for a seat; and they manage them with wonderful dexterity, by means of a sort of half pole, have paddle.  The women are adepts in basket-making of various kinds, as well as the making of thread and twine from a species of grass. 47.  They also manufacture a very pretty kind of narrow ribbon, by interweaving grass and thread.  In this, as well as in their basket-work, they use several colored dyes, apparently of vegetable origin.  The same round basket-cap noticed before, is worn by the Klamath women, figures of different colors and patterns being worked into it.  They tattoo the underlip and chin in the manner remarked at Eel river; the young girls in faint lines, which are deepened and widened as they become older, and in the married women are extended up above the corners of the mouth.  It is somewhat singular, that the Mohohoes and others, on the lower waters of the Colorado , tattoo in the same fashion.  The children are carried in baskets suspended from the head, after the manner shown in the sketch.  Their persons are usually clean, as they use both the sweat-house and cold-bath constantly.

          The different bands, even of the same tribes, if not at actual war, are exceedingly jealous of each other, and it was with great difficulty that they could be prevailed upon to convene from any distance, or kept together when brought in.  They have a reputation for treachery, as well as revengefulness; are thievish, and much disposed to sulk if their whims are not in every way  indulged.  Whether this character is stronger with them than with any other tribe, is, however, doubtful. 48.  Deception is always one of the shields of the weak or ignorant; and as to dishonesty, it must be remembered that the articles in commonest use among the whites, and often improperly exposed, are the very ones which have the greatest value in the eyes of the savage.  An axe, a blanket, a large knife, or tin pan, are of almost incalculable value to him; and it is not, therefore, to be wondered at, that the temptation to steal is seldom resisted, or that the ingenuity displayed in doing so is very great.  What capacity they may hereafter show for civilization, can hardly be foreseen; but there appears to be no greater obstacle than existed in some of the Oregon Indians, who are now partially domesticated, and who, under the steadier and better directed auspices, would have been much more so.  The objects of the Hudson ’s Bay Company, the best of their earliest instructors, tended rather to make those people useful servants in their own peculiar occupation, than cultivators of the soil; while the missions failed almost entirely.  The Indians of the Klamath and its vicinity afford a field for a new experiment.  Their country furnishes food of different kinds, and a quantity sufficient to supply their absolute wants.  Game, fish, and acorns are abundant.  Improvident, however, as are all savages, they have their season of scarcity; and the climate of their country renders clothing and shelter requisite.  It is through their wants that the desire of


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civilization can most readily be excited.  Articles of dress and of food, at first mere objects of fancy or luxury, speedily becomes absolute necessaries; and an inducement to labor for these, especially when the obvious fruits of their industry are directly applied to their own use, arises as they become accustomed to them.

          Dependence upon the whites follows invariably the discontinuance of their own habits.  The bow and arrows are laid aside, and the blanket takes the place of the deer-skin.  The value of their own productions first, and the wages of their labor afterwards, become essential to procure those articles which they cannot manufacture or supply.  Thus the Indians of the Willamette valley, when urged to remove to another place where they should be free from molestation by the whites, absolutely refused; saying that they should starve, that they had lost their old modes of subsistence, and were obliged to work for a living.  Such a result would of course not be that of a day; but a persistence in the system would undoubtedly bring it about here also.  The education of the savage should first be directed to the improvement of his physical condition.  With the generation which is already grown, at least, conversion to Christianity, or, as it frequently attempted, the inculcation of the peculiar doctrines of some particular sect, is impossible.  The millions that have been expended upon this object in the past ages, have produced no more lasting impression than the tread of the moccasin on the sea-shore.  These Indians already afford one great point, by means of which, the influence of civilization can be exerted in their fixed habitations.  If collected as occasion may offer, and its advantage be shown to them, upon reservations, where their fisheries can still be carried on, where tillage of the soil shall be gradually introduced, and where the inducements to violence or theft will be diminished or checked, they may possibly be made both prosperous and useful to the country.  They have as yet none of the vices which so generally follow intercourse with the whites.  They have never acquired a taste for spirits, and their ideas of chastity; as well as their remote situation, have hitherto excluded disease.  So far as regards treaties between them and the whites, however, it may well be doubted whether, even if made in good faith, they can be kept, unless in the neighborhood of small military posts, and under the surveillance of military authority.  Broken up into small bands or villages, each having its separate chief, and with no common controlling head, there is no influence which can be made to reach all the individuals of any tribe.

          We too often give a general character to savage races, derived from a few, and those most probably the worst of their nation; forgetting that there may be as great diversity of disposition among them as among ourselves.  Thus the majority may be well disposed, and yet implicated in crime by the acts of a very few; for knowing by experience the indiscriminate manner in which punishment is meted out, they are driven in self-defense to abet or defend them.  But besides this, a constant source of provocation is to be feared from such of the whites as, transiently passing


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through their country, offer them insult and violence, without, perhaps, endangering themselves, but insuring revenge and retaliation upon others, and probably quite innocent persons.  A population drawn together, like that of California, necessarily contains reckless and unprincipled characters, too many of who regard the life of an Indian as of no more account that that of a dog; and who, in murdering them without provocation, five cause for the reprisals which have sacrificed many innocent lives and brought about expensive wars and barbarous devastation.  That a protective military force should consist of regular troops there can be no question; for although volunteers may be more effective in revenging outrages committed, they can never afford security against their occurrence, and sometimes commit greater ones themselves.  The mountainous and broken character of this country does not offer scope for cavalry in its usual form; but a light-armed force, especially if consisting of riflemen, provided with mules, would be highly effectual.  The season for active operations is the winter, when flight to the mountains is impossible, and where the Indians are all concentrated in their villages upon the river.  Troops moving upon the usual trails, would, if they did not reach the bands sought for, drive them among other and hostile tribes, who would soon cut them off.  But it is as a preventive rather than an offensive force, that they would be needed.  Possessing no fire-arms, these Indians are too much in awe of the whites not to remain quiet in the face of a permanent post; while, on the other hand, a source of trouble arising from needless provocation can thus only be put an end to.  The proper strategic point for such a post on this frontier, is clearly at, or near, the forks of the Klamath or Trinity, where the principal trails from the coast to and up these rivers pass, and which commands the country lying below, that upon both rivers above, and also the Redwood, upon which a numerous and trouble-some bard are settled.  Its supplies could be derived from a depot established on Humboldt bay , or at Trinidad , and brought up by pack-mules.  The ground immediately at the forks, though well enough adapted for buildings, does not afford the necessary pasturage for animals; but a small valley on the Trinity a few miles above, and included in the reservation made for the tribes, would give every necessary facility, as well as land for cultivation. 49.

          In leaving the subject, one remark seems not out of place.  The policy early adopted by the Hudson’s Bay Company, (who, better than any other body or individuals, succeeded in the management of the Indians with whom they came in contact,) was to break down the power and influence of petty chiefs, by placing in the hands of one man of energetic character, and secured to their interests, the supreme control of the whole tribe; governing entirely through him, raising him to the rank of a white man, and giving him the means of supporting the dignity and state of which the savage is so fond.  Such was their course with Com-comly, and with Case-nau; and such should be adopted in the treatment of the wild and turbulent nations of the Klamath and Trinity.  


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          Dr. Durkee, who owns the ferry at the forks, and who was to act as interpreter, was absent at our arrival, and did not return for several days.  In the mean time, Mr. Thompson, of Gold Bluff, who had joined the party at Bloody camp, went down the river to induce the lower bands to come up; and Mr. Patterson, of Union , undertook to assemble the Trinity Indians.  Both were partially successful; but full deputations, particularly of the Pohlik-Klamath villages, could not be got together.  Some progress was, however, made in conciliation, and pretty good feeling finally established.  The Indians persisted in assuming that their burnt villages were to be paid for; 50. and were in great doubt as to the propriety of a final settlement, while they remained one life in arrears.  The chief, with great formality, displayed bone, marked on one edge with twenty-six notches, being the number of white men admitted to have been killed upon the Klamath; while the other side of it contained twenty-seven, as the number of Indians killed by the whites.  The difficulty was finally compromised by giving sixteen pairs of blankets for the extra Indian, and a squaw and child not enumerated, and furnishing four dozen axes, wherewith to rebuild their lodges. 51.  Their own jealousies, however, were the occasion of the greatest difficulty; and even after the treaty had been formally concluded, a portion of them refused to sign at the ferry, and had to be waited on at a point some distance down the river.  The treaty embraced the usual stipulations of peace with the citizens of the United States ; and provision to be made for them in a reserve.  It unfortunately happened that during our stay the weather was too unfavorable to permit a survey being made of the district proposed.  A description of this, with its natural boundaries, as laid down upon the map, was, however, obtained from the citizens present.  In general terms, it embraced the country around the forks, extending on the Klamath, from the mouth of Pine creek, to the foot of Red Cap’s bar, as it is called, a distance of some fifteen miles; and on the Trinity to John’s creek, about as far.  It embraced the valley on the latter river, before spoken of, and which is supposed to contain six or seven miles of farming land.  This latter track has always been the country of the Hoo-pahs; and at the time of our visit there were no white settlers upon any part of it, except Mr. Durkee, who kept the ferry, and who, possessing the confidence of the Indians, and speaking their language, will, no doubt, be permitted to remain.


          Thursday, Oct 9th. – The business of the treaty being concluded, the camp broke up to-day, and the train crossed, our route lying up the opposite bank.  Since the destruction of the lower ferry, all travel on the Klamath has passed at this point, although further up many prefer the eastern side.  The ferry is managed by a scow, working on a rope suspended over the river.  The house is a log building, capable of standing against a siege, in which arrows alone are used, and covered with a huge ten which gives an additional room in the front.  The trail followed the stream, ascending and descending low, rugged points, but well made, considering the nature


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of the ground, the short space of time that it has been travelled, and the circumstances that have called it forth.  Indeed, when it is remembered that all these trails, forming as they do a net-work over this whole mountain region, have either been entirely cut out, or at least rendered passable for animals, with little more than a year; and that by men whose occupations and objects permitted no loss of time, one rather wonders at their not being worse.  The main trails have in general been made by parties interested in the various towns from which goods are forwarded, or by the packers who carry them to the mines; and the expense of exploring and laying them out has been considerable.  Much improvement could, however, be effected in all of them, both in distance and facility; as they are frequently carried over mountains, either to avoid rocky points, where a little blasting would afford a remedy, or to obtain places for observation.  A couple of miles above the forks, we reached the Hai-am-mu village, and visiting one of the lodges, found the inhabitants engaged in cooking and eating.  The meal consisted of fish and acorn porridge, made by mixing the flour in a basket, in which the water is kept boiling by means of hot stones.  Of the acorn flour they likewise make a sort of bread, which they bake in the ashes.  They had several spoons, very neatly made of bone or horn.  At this village there was a large fish-dam; a work exhibiting an extraordinary degree both in enterprise and skill.  It crossed the entire river, here about seventy-five yards wide, elbowing up stream in the deepest part.  It was built by first driving stout posts into the bed of the river, at a distance of some two feet apart, having a moderate slope, and supported from below, at intervals of ten or twelve feet, by two braces; the one coming to the surface of the water, the other reaching to the string pieces.  These last were heavy spars, about thirty feet in length, and were secured to each post by withes.  The whole dam was faced with twigs, carefully peeled, and placed so close together as to prevent the fish from passing up.  The top, at this stage of the water, was two or three feet above the surface.  The labor of constructing this work must, with the few and insufficient tools of the Indians, have been immense.  Slight scaffolds were built out below it, for which the fish are taken in scoop-nets; they also employ drag –nets, or spear them, the spear having he barb movable, and fastened to the shaft with a string, in order to afford the salmon play.  Similar dams to this exist on the Klamath, a few miles below the forks, and about fifteen above this one; and there is another upon the Trinity; thirteen or fourteen miles from its mouth. 52.  They form a frequent cause of quarrel among the bands inhabiting different parts of the rivers.  Some understanding, however, seems to exist as to opening portions of them at times, to allow the passage of fish for the supply of those above. 53.

          The salmon, which form so important an article of food to the Indian tribes inhabiting the rivers of the Pacific, are of several species.  No naturalist, that I am aware of, has examined their varieties and habits, and there are some points in regard to them, about which much dispute exists.  Seven kinds are


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usually said to visit the Columbia ; two of which, it is probable, are the bull trout and grey fin of the English waters, and another, perhaps, owes its peculiarities either to age or food.  The spring salmon, which is by far the best, is apparently identical with that of the eastern States and of Europe .  Towards fall, a darker colored kind makes its appearance, which, like the former, wends its way up such of the streams as afford sufficient water, and which is not the returning and exhausted fish.  Later still comes the hump-backed salmon.  This is hardly eatable, its flesh being dry and rank, and its appearance disgusting.  The back, as its name indicates, is protuberant, and snout is depressed over the eyes, and the jaws furnished with large hooked teeth.  Almost all the fish taken in the autumn have a diseased appearance; the skin being discolored in large blotches.  The several species found in the Columbia , seem to inhabit the Klamath likewise.  Besides the salmon, there is also the salmon trout, a beautiful fish, and excellent eating.  Of the brook trout, the only variety I have noticed, differs from that of the eastern States is having black instead of red spots, and a narrow red line extending down each side, from the gills to the tail.  The fins are also less bright than in the eastern fish.  The salmon rarely, if ever, is taken in fresh water, with the fly or other bait; though in salt water at the bay, and in the mouths of the rivers, they will sometimes bite even at salt pork.  The Indians dry them without salt, splitting them open, taking out first the backbone, next a thin slice of flesh on each side, for the whole length, leaving the skin covered with another layer.  All parts, even the head and spine, are preserved alike.

          Our march to-day, in consequence of a late start, and the distance of any grazing point above, was only five miles; the course being first north-west, and then changing to the north.  We camped opposite the high point which forms a landmark from the Bald Hills, and which give the name of Bluff Creek to a stream entering from the north-west, called by the Indians Otche-poh.  Upon the other side of the river was an Indian village, the Sehe-perrh; the first belonging to the tribe occupying the middle section of the river, and of which the Quoratein or Salmon river Indians may be considered as the type.  The grass at this camp is scanty, except at a considerable height on the mountain behind us.  


          Friday, Oct. 10th. – About a mile and a half from camp, we reached Bluff creek, which is crossed on a bridge, erected by Mr. Durkee, and for which he has a toll license.  The creek is about ten yards wide, with steep banks, and is not fordable in the rainy season.  At this point the trail from the lower ferry comes in.  The extent of the travel on the now united routes may be judged from the fact, that since March last, 6000 mules have crossed at this place.  From the narrow ridge separating the creek and the river, we could look down on both; the latter being far below the level of the first, which has a rapid descent to the junction.  Another mile and a half brought us to what is called Big Bar, where excavations had been made to a consider-


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able extent by the miners, but which were now abandoned.  These bars, as they are called, are flats formed at the bends of the river, of boulders and sand; and it is upon them that most of the washings are carried on.  The richest deposits are usually found on the bed-rock beneath the debris, or in crevices in the strata of slate, which here lies in place.  In fine sand it cannot be obtained by mere washing, but is usually extracted by means of quicksilver.  As a general thing, however, the gold of the Klamath is coarse.  The more elevated spots are usually preferred, as they are less exposed to access of water, and the smaller bars are considered the richest.  The space allowed, by “miner’s law,” to each man, as his “claim,” is thirty feet square.  On some bars, the earth pays with considerable equality throughout; but this is unusual.  Most of them will yield from five to ten cents to the bucket; and an average of from eight to ten is good yield.  The ordinary process is for one man to dig the earth, and another to wash it; each carrying one half from the hole to the water.  To dig and wash 200 buckets is considered a fair day’s work for two men, with the common rocker.  This machine is shaped like a shallow cradle, having a movable cover of sheet-iron, pierced with holes, upon which the earth is thrown.  It is moved with one hand, while the other is employed in throwing on water.  The gravel is thrown off from the cover as I is washed, the greater part of the earth being carried away, while the gold remains in the reservoir below, from which, at the end of the day, it is taken and cleaned in a pan.  Another process of washing is by what is called a Long-tom, a trough through which a stream of water is conducted.  These, of course, are capable of producing more, with less labor, than the rocker; but their use depends on the convenience of the place, and they cannot, like the others, be easily transported.  Miners usually work in parties of two or three; but several of these are often associated together, for protection or other purposes.  Occasionally the heads of companies employ themselves in “prospecting” for good spots, while the others are at work; or in packing provisions and other necessaries from the towns to the diggings.  Many men, whose want of experience will not insure them good returns, or who want the means of supplying themselves, hire out to others, either for specified wages, or on half profits; receiving, in each case, their board. 54.

          A couple of miles beyond, we came to Red-Cap’s bar, so called from a sub-chief living there.  Here we found a trading-post, and a small party of miners at work; a portion of whom were hired for $75 per month, and their board.  The average yield was probably half an ounce a day per man.  The price of provisions varied according to circumstances; flour having lately ranged from 12 ½ to 25 cents a pound, and pork from 25 to 40 cents.

          The village contained twelve or fourteen lodges, substantially built, and commodious.  This band, the Oppegach, 55. was included in the treaty made at the ferry.  It belongs, like the rest of those above Bluff creek, to the Peh-tsik division; their language differing materially from that below the forks.  At this place, however, they are said no to use



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it in its purity; having, like other borderers, adopted words from their neighbors.  “Red-Cap,” so called from a greasy-looking woolen head-piece, with which some miner had presented him, and which ordinarily constituted his sole dress, was a short, thickset individual, with a droll countenance, reminding one of the most authentic likenesses of Santa Claus.  He is a man of considerable influence, friendly to the whites, and enjoying a high character for honesty.  An instance of his justice, coupled with a display of financial ability, was related to us, as exercised on the occasion of a gun being stolen by one of his band.  The weapon could not be found, but Red-Cap promised that it should be paid for, the price being fixed at thirty dollars.  To raise this, he imposed an excise on all salmon sold to the packers and miners, of fifty cents; which, besides the usual price in beads, was to be exacted in a “waugie chick,” or silver white man’s money.  The amount was soon raised and handed over, and the oppressive tax abated. 56.

          At this place there is a ferry, where trains bound for Salmon river usually cross, keeping up the eastern side of the Klamath.  A creek, of considerable size enters opposite the village, and takes its name, the “Oppegach,” from it.  Above, the river, for some distance, passes through a deep and wild canon; and although an Indian trail follows it on the west side, it is rendered impassable for mules, by a point of projecting rock.  To avoid this, the pack trail which we followed turned up the mountain behind the bar, over which, and at a considerable height above the water, it afterwards ran.  This portion of the route was dangerous even now, and four of the animals fell over; two mules breaking their backs, and a dragoon-horse being so much injured that he was afterwards abandoned.  From this we descended to a considerable flat, known as “ Orleans bar,” crossing another branch of some size, the Ochetoh, 57. at the mouth of which there was another dam, similar to that already mentioned, and apparently in every respect its equal.  Formerly a ferry was kept here also, and several houses had been commenced.  Attached to one of them, a fine piece of ground had been broken up and planted, from which we obtained a few tomatoes, a very welcome addition to our supper.  The miners had, however, all left, either in consequence of difficulty with the Indians, or attracted by the reports from Shaste and Scott’s valleys above.  There were, in fact, at the time of our passing, but few on the lower Klamath; for although a good average could be made almost anywhere, it is always the case, that discoveries of a large amount at any particular point will drain the whole neighboring country.  So far as we could learn, the bars on the entire course of the river, from the forks of Trinity up, will yield from five to eight dollars per day.  A few spots produce more, but as these are of comparatively limited extent, and soon exhausted, the mining in this part of the gold region may be considered as simply a matter of high wages for hard work; a much more desirable state of things, where it is permanent, than the occasional “finds” of other placers.

          We were here visited by a number of Indians from the neighboring villages, of


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which there are several on both sides of the river; the principal of which is the

Techai-noi, 58. or Skeina, as commonly pronounced, also represented at the late council.  Our camp was pitched opposite the ferry, the distance travelled being about twelve miles.  Owing to the accident befalling the mules, the train did not arrive till late in the afternoon.  


          Saturday, Oct 11th. – The march recommenced with the ascent of another mountain; the trail keeping along the ridge, at some distance from the river, and then down rolling hills to a small plat, about a mile above the entrance of Salmon river, a distance of about seven miles.  Here we encamped, as it was the intention of the Agent to hold a council with the Indians of this neighborhood also.

          Salmon river , or as it is called by the Indians, the “Quoratem,” 59. is the largest of the affluents of the Klamath, with the exception of the Trinity; and its general course is nearly parallel with that of the latter.  It has two principal branches, which unite about fifteen miles from its mouth, the northernmost heading in the mountains, near Scott’s river, the southern on the Trinity range.  On both of these, mining operations have been extensively carried on, and they still continue productive.  Trading posts are established at the forks, and at “Bestville,” a mining village of some fifteen houses on the north fork, established by a trader of that name.  Pack trails lead hence up both these streams to the head of Scott’s river and the north fork of Trinity.  The price of freight from the coast towns to these diggings, has at times been as high as two dollars a pound!  The whole course of the Salmon is destitute of valleys, and some of the severest trails and sufferings which the miners have undergone, have been during their winter journeys through the high and broken mountain ranges which border it; many persons and whole trains of mules having perished in the snow.

          The scenery at the mouth of the Salmon is exceedingly wild and picturesque.  In the forks a high conical point of rock stands up, evidently once connected with the western bank of the Klamath, but which, broken off from the rest of the range by some convulsion, has now given passage to the river between; the strata of slate dipping abruptly to the south and west, showing the subsidence in that direction.  Upon the Klamath, both above and below the junction, are Indian villages of some size, prettily situated on high platforms of rock projecting over the water, and shaded by groves of oaks and bay trees; while below, the river, compressed in its channel, rushes boiling over rapids.  The accompanying sketches were taken, one from near out camp, representing the Tish-rawa village, and the Klamath, below the entrance of the Salmon; the other from a mile higher up, showing the course of the Klamath through the mountains above the forks.  The tree on the right hand of the latter represents one of the signal or “telegraph” trees of the Klamath Indians.  These, which are among the most conspicuous features of the scenery upon the river, occur near every village.  They are always selected upon the edge of some hill, visible to a considerable  


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distance in either direction.  Two trees, one trimmed in the form of a cross, the other with merely a tuft on the top, represent each lodge; and in time of danger or of death, a fire kindled beneath them, informs the neighboring tribes of the necessity or misfortune of its occupants. 60.  


          Sunday, Oct 12th. – WE remained in camp for the purpose of treating with the rest of the bands belonging to this division of the Klamath.  They do not seem to have any generic appellation for themselves, but apply the terms “Kahruk,” up and “Youruk,” down, to all who live above or below themselves, without discrimination, in the same manner that the others do “Peh-tsik,” and “Poh-lik.” 61.  The name Quoratem, that of one of the bands on the Salmon river , and frequently used for the river itself, appears to be a suitable one to designate the dialect of the middle section and those speaking it.  The language extends on the Klamath from Bluff creek to a considerable distance above here; according to some reports, to the Eenah-met, or Clear creek, between thirty and forty miles further up, and on the Salmon to the principal forks.  Higher on the main river, the prevailing language is the Shaste, and on the Salmon is said to be one of those used on the Trinity.

          It was proposed to bring the whole of these into the reserve on the Trinity; leaving the Shaste, upper Klamath, and upper Trinity Indians, to fall within that intended to be established above; and a treaty, supplemented to that at Durkee’s ferry, was accordingly concluded on that basis.  Four bands, the Sche-woh, Oppe-yoh, Eh-qua-nek, and Eh-nek, were present, numbering in all probably 250 souls.  The total number of the Quoratems may perhaps be set down at 600 or 700. 62.  They are very much scattered, some of their villages having been burnt.  On the Salmon river , for instance, there are said to be now not more than fifty below the forks.  No difference, except in language, is noticeable between these and the lower Indians; and intermarriages frequently take place among them.  


          Monday, Oct. 13th. – To-day our route lay along the bank, occasionally crossing small bottoms, for about six miles.  Here the river made a large bend, to avoid which the rail passed over the mountain.  Another, also much travelled by packers, crosses the Klamath about a mile beyond, and follows the east bank for sixteen or eighteen miles, when it recrosses and joins that on the west side.  Continuing on, over high spurs, we descended again to the river, and found camp after a march of twelve miles.  A portion of the road was dangerous, and one mule rolled down with his pack, but was recovered.


          Tuesday, Oct. 14th. – The trail followed the same general southerly course as yesterday, gradually diverging from the river, which, five or six miles from camp, makes another bend to the eastward.  Here we again ascended, passing over high



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mountain spurs, much of the route being rough and broken.  Eight or ten miles from camp, a trail known as the “Serra-goin-trail,” now no longer used, comes in.  It leaves the Klamath at a village of that name, a considerable distance below the mouth of the Trinity.  A long descent brought us again to the river, which made a sharp turn round a spur from the other side.  A considerable branch entered here on the west, which we crossed.  The trail was excessively bad, running along the edge of the river, in short abrupt pitches, and over broken rocks.  A fatigue party had been sent out in the morning to work the more dangerous places; but we were notwithstanding detained at one of these, known as the “Tent Rock,” for an hour and a half.  At low stages of the river, however, as we afterwards learned, this can be passed through the water.  From here we rode through scrub-oak thickets and low woods for two or three miles, and encamped on the river, the distance travelled being about fourteen miles.  Much of the route was the worst we had passed over.  We found very poor grass on the river bench where we halted, and the animals began to suffer, the feed having generally been poor since the start.  The small benches, which occur at intervals on the river, are, for the most part, sterile, and being camps of necessity to the various pack trains, are easily exhausted.  The mountains also bear evidence of a poorer soil in the diminished luxuriance of the forest, and the absence of those prairies which form so marked a feature south of the Trinity.  The woods are much more open, and a variety of timber; firs and pines being intermixed with various species of oak, the willow-leaved chestnut, the bay, and the madronia.  Of the oaks there is a great variety; several of hem evergreens, including the chestnut and live-oaks.  The acorns, bay-nuts, and pinones, or nuts of the edible pine, all contribute to the subsistence of the Indians, who use them in various forms, roasted whole, or pounded into flour, and made into bread or porridge.  Piles of the husks are to be seen round every lodge.  We passed several small villages during the march, the inhabitants of which were of the poorer class, and appeared sickly.  They complained too of hunger, though they had the usual store of acorns, and side that they were too weak to obtain fish or game.  The principal complaint seemed to be a disease of the lungs.  Blindness or sore eyes was universal among the aged, as in fact in almost every tribe we have visited.  It struck me that there was a general aspect of decay among the Indians of this part of the Klamath, and we saw remains of numerous ruined lodges.  These, however, are not of themselves conclusive evidence; as, although their habitations are generally permanent, they are accustomed to remove from a site where much sickness has occurred. 63.  Notwithstanding their poverty, they had the usual complement of wolfish-looking dogs, which came out of the lodges to look at us and went silently back.  These fellows do not make much noise at any time, beyond a complaining yelp when kicked, unless they are engaged in one of their customary battles.  Their voice, when they do bark, resembles that of the coyote.  Their color is usually black and white, or brown and white.  They have bushy tails and sharp noses, and in fighting,




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snap viciously, much after the manner of the wolf.  The Indians, we were told, used them in hunting to drive deer to their snares, but I saw no instance of their being employed in this or any other way.  They are most arrant and expert thieves, and it is said, carry their plunder to the lodge; a statement probably true only as regards what is not eatable.  One peculiarity which they exhibit is inquisitiveness.  They will follow and watch strangers with no other apparent motive than curiosity.  I was often much amused at the expostulations of the squaws with the dogs, who were usually in the way or in worse mischief, and paid but momentary attention either to the cuffs they received, or to the exclamations of “chishe, chishe,” by which they were accompanied.  For the rest, they usually wear an expression of misanthropy and disgust at the world, which, as they are always half starved, is by no means singular.  Unfortunately salmon blood does not kill them, as it does dogs of a more generous breed.  The Indians, it may be remarked, do not appear to confer proper names on animals. 64.



          Wednesday, Oct. 16th. – The trail, for the first two miles, followed the river bank upon a steep slope, and sometimes at a considerable height.  It being very narrow, there is some danger of sliding off.  Here we lost a mule carrying the whole kitchen furniture of our pack train; as he did not fall, but deliberately jumped into the water, it seemed probable that, disgusted with life, he had chosen the surest way of terminating his sufferings, and taking revenge on his persecutors.  Beyond, the river made another great bend to the eastward, the road again taking up the mountains.  This is, if not the highest, one of the most elevated points passed on the route.  Though steep, the ascent was pretty good; but the toil, added to poor food, began to tell upon the dragoon-horses, which were now every day in a worse plight.  Indeed, for American horses, even in better condition than ours were when we started from Sonoma, these trails are too severe; and the smaller and lighter Californian horses, or still better, mules, are the only fit animals.  We were two hours in an almost continuous ascent of the mountain, another, winding upon its summit; and a fourth, in rapid and steep descent to the river.  Here we encamped at the mouth of Clear creek, a stream some ten yards wide.  Good grass was found about half a mile down the river, on to which the horses were sent, the mules being driven across the creek.

          From the summit to-day we had a fine view of the mountains which everywhere surround us, the vastness of which appeared as we rose towards their level.  Heavy ranges lay between us and the coast, and divided us from the Salmon and Trinity; while to the north was seen the chain separating the waters of the Klamath and Rogue rivers.  In clear weather, “ Mount Shaste ” itself is visible.  Our march today was twelve miles.

          A few Indians, the remnant of a large band, that once lived on our camp-ground, and now were settled on the creek near by, came in65.  One of them, with great delight,  


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recognized a man in our party, and recalled himself to his recollection by signs.  He had buried the Indian’s child for him the year before, when sickness had prevented the father from doing it himself, and had hung beads over the grave.  He evinced, much gratitude, and a high sense of obligation for an Indian.  These Indians complained of hunger, and seemed really destitute.  As a temporary relief, by order of Colonel M’Kee, an ox was killed for them and the adjoining village.


          Thursday, Oct. 16th. – Our departure was considerably delayed this morning, the mules having strayed in quest of grass.  The last of the train did not, in fact, leave till nearly noon .  Crossing the creek, we ascended a steep hill of some height; coming down to the river again about a mile above, at a place called “Wingate’s bar,” where we found a trading-house, and a party of miners.  From this up, the number at work was greater.  The amount made we presumed to be about half an ounce.  Board was charged at twenty dollars per week.  A little further on is another bar, known as the “Big Oak Flat,” from a superb live-oak tree growing upon it, beyond which we again ascended, keeping along the brow of the mountain, on a very precarious path, and rising to the height of over a thousand feet from the river.  A steep descent brought us to a deep hollow, only to climb another hill equally trying; and, after about four hours and a half of travel, we encamped, having made only eight miles.  The animals were much exhausted, and a dragoon-horse and pack-mule were abandoned.  Our camp was upon a level bottom, about a mile and a half long, and elevated fifteen or twenty feet above the river; sandy, but with better grass than we had met since leaving the ferry.  Opposite us, a large creek entered, upon which there was also some level land.

          During the marches of yesterday and to-day, we noticed, for the first time, a number of sugar-pines.  This tree, which grows only on the mountains, resembles generally he large-coned pine, except that  its bark is smoother.  The cones are almost equally large, and the leave long and coarse.  The sugar is found exuding, in rough hard lumps, from the interior, but only where the tree had been partially burned, and is said not to follow the axe; though this may perhaps be questioned.  Its color is an opaque white, its taste agreeable, partaking very slightly of a resinous flavor, and it is often used by mountaineers to sweeten their coffee.  It is a very active purgative when dissolved in cold water, and much medicinal virtue is ascribed to it.  The sugar found nearest the bark is of a darker color, and more vitreous in appearance, and is reputed to posses these properties in a greater degree than that taken from towards the heart.  Some that was found had a peculiar sub-acid taste.  While adhering to the tree, we were told, it withstands the changes of the weather; but after being separated from it, rapidly absorbs moisture, and falls to pieces.  In some parts of the mountains, where the trees are numerous, a man can gather as much as five pounds a day.  The pinon,


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or nut of this species, is considered better even than that of the nut-pine.  The tree produces pitch, in addition, as abundantly as other kinds.


          Friday, Oct. 17th. – After our arrival in camp yesterday, it was found that a mule carrying bedding had strayed into the woods; and to-day it was arranged that Major Wessells with the command should move on, while the Agent’s party waited to seek for it.  Mr. Kelsey and Colonel Sarshel Woods were at the same time sent forward to Scott’s valley to call in the Indians.  The mule was found by the miners at Wingate’s bar, and in the course of the day was brought in.  Two gentlemen, Messrs. T. J. Roach and W. J. Stevens, came down to-day from “Murderer’s bar,” a short distance above, where they had been located for some time past. 66.  They, with others of their party, had prospected extensively in the neighborhood, and communicated much information respecting the country.  The creek opposite our camp, called by the Indians the Yoteh, we learned form them heads in the mountains between the north fork of Salmon and Scott’s river, and is of considerable length.  Mr. Roach and Mr. Charles M’Dermit had recently also ascended the “Batinio,” or Indian creek, a branch emptying from the west; two or three miles above, and heading in the Sis-kin mountains, between the Klamath and Rogue’s river.  From thence they crossed to the head of Canon creek, which runs into a larger stream, now called Illinois river .  Of this last there has been much dispute; some supposing it to be a distinct river, emptying into the Pacific near the Oregon line.  The better opinion, however, seems to be that it is a fork of Rogue’s river, which it enters ten or twelve miles from its mouth.  Upon it is a large and fertile valley.  The country upon Rogue’s river itself, is spoken of with great praise, by all who have seen it, as containing fine farming valleys.  The Indians of the Illinois valley are said to speak the language of this part of the Klamath (the Shaste), and not that of Rogue’s river. 67.  We were further informed that Joe, the head chief of the Rogue’s river Indians, the same with whom Major Kearney had his contest during the past summer, and who is now living in peace with the whites, at the ferry on the Oregon trail, claims the Shaste tribes as properly his subjects, although they yield him no allegiance.  Be this as it may, the fact of a pretty intimate connection between the Indians on the upper part of both rivers, is clear.  We heard of one custom prevailing in the Illinois valley, which is different from the practice here; that of burning he bodies of those killed in battle, instead of burying them, as they do in cases of natural death.


          Saturday, Oct. 18th. – Our trail ran through oak thickets for a couple of miles, to “Happy camp,” as the station at Murderer’s bar is called.  Some seventy persons make this their head-quarters; a portion of them being, however, almost always absent, either in packing, or mining, and prospecting, at a distance.  They were, at this time, living in tents, but preparations were making to erect log-houses for the winter.


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            The amount averaged a day, was about six cents to the bucket of 20 to 25 lbs; but it has been much higher.  This, however, is considered a good paying rate.  The miners on this part of the Klamath have not only been led away by brilliant reports from other parts, but to some extent discouraged by the murders and robberies of the Indians, which have rendered mining in small parties dangerous.  The bar itself takes its name from the killing of three men, by the people living on the creek opposite our last night’s camp.  Lately, however, the greater part of the Indians have themselves disappeared, some of their ranches having been burnt by the whites, and it is supposed have moved either to the valleys above, or to that on the Illinois river.  Their number between Clear creek and the mouth of the Shaste, does not appear to have been great, and judging from the number and size of the ranches, is probably not now over 300 or 400.  On the creeks there are a few more, but not many at any distance from the Klamath, except in Scott’s and Shaste valleys.  Of the numbers above the mouth of the Shaste, and extending up to the foot of the Cascade range , we had no definite information.  The name of Shaste may perhaps be found applicable to the whole tribe extending from Clear creek up; as, with perhaps some trifling variation, the same language appears to prevail as in the valley of that name.

          The bottom at Murderer’s bar is one of the largest on the whole Klamath, being about two miles in length, and containing some little arable land.  Good pasturage can also be obtained on the hills around.  Indian creek, which has been already mentioned, enters the Klamath just above the station.

          Leaving here, we rode up the bottom for a couple of miles, and thence commenced an ascent over wooded hills to a high mountain, from the summit of which he had an extensive view.  “ Mount Shaste ” was, however, not visible, nor had the weather been clear enough at any time as yet, to permit us to see it.  The Klamath above Murderer’s bar runs through a deep canon, making a great bend to the south; its general course being here more westerly than southerly.  It was seen at times from the mountain, much contracted by its narrow channel; but above, it again widened out apparently to its full volume, at the junction of the Trinity.  So much of its water is in fact absorbed by the soil, or carried off by evaporation during its tortuous course, that it preserves a very uniform size, at least from the mouth of Scott’s river down.  A very steep descent from the mountain top brought us again to its banks, and we encamped where Major Wessells had stopped the night before, having made about nine miles.

          The pine, which till recently had formed no feature in the landscape, was now common; at least three distinct kinds being seen – the yellow or pitch-pine, the sugar-pine, and the big-cone.  The true nut-pine was not noticed.  Cedars of the large white-barked species, common in Oregon , were also frequent.  The leaves of the deciduous trees are fast falling, and the maple which mingled with the growth  


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in the damp bottoms had assumed a brilliant yellow; almost the only approach to the gorgeous autumnal hues of the Atlantic that here meets the eye of the traveler.


          Sunday, Oct. 29th. – About a mile beyond our camp we crossed a large brook or creek, which was afterwards fixed upon as part of the boundary of the “reservation,” and as such is referred to in the treaty made at Scott’s valley.  We had no high points to pass to-day, the trail running along the river upon narrow benches.  It was, however, rugged, and broken by ledges of slate, a part of it being excessively bad.  About eight miles of travel brought us to what is known as the “Big Bottom,” a tract covering a few miles square, which  forms the nearest approach to a valley that we had seen upon the Klamath.  Here is the usual trail for packers bound to Scott’s and Shaste valleys, and a ferry or crossing to the eastern shore; the trail on the left bank being a dangerous one.  It is kept by Indians, who pass goods in canoes, the animals swimming.  Major Wessells had halted here the preceding night, expecting us to join him, and was to make but a short march beyond.  As it would, however, take some to cross the baggage, and there was fine grass in the bottom, we remained over.  The mules were left on the north bank for the night, and we camped on the other side.

          There were two Indian villages near this spot, but the lodges had been burnt by the whites.  Messrs. Kelsey and Woods had visited them, and invited them to the council to be held in Scott’s valley; but the men with a few exceptions had run off to the mountains on the approach of the command, leaving their families behind.  These people were in a great state of destitution.  Several of he early miners had been murdered in this neighborhood, and much property stolen, in revenge for which their successors had destroyed the lodges and killed some of the men.  Of late they had been more peaceably disposed, but were still regarded with suspicion, having in their possession a few stolen animals and fire-arms.  Those that we saw were evidently of the lowest caste, a little boy of nine or ten years of age being the solitary and remarkable exception.  His features were regular, and even beautiful.  These Indians keep up a constant intercourse with Rogue’s river, whither it is probable many of them have recently gone.  From many circumstances, it would appear that their place of residence, being the centre through which numerous trails led, has been a sort of common ground; the Alsatia of the neighboring country.  We found here a young Indian, who spoke a few words of the Oregon jargon, and through him were enable to communicate a little with the rest.  By his means I collected enough of the language to ascertain its similarity to the Shaste, and also a partial vocabulary of his own tongue, which I presume to be one of the Rogue’s river languages.  His proper home he could not be made to tell; for although intelligent enough generally, he became very stupid when questioned as to where he belonged. 68.

          The bottom here seemed to be from two to three miles in length, and about a mile



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wide; a portion o f it affording good pasture, but not apparently fit for agriculture.  Two creeks enter the Klamath here; one from the south-east, at our camp; the other from the north-east, a mile above.  It is along the latter that the Rogue’s river trail passes.  A miner who we found here informed us that he had crossed over by it to that stream.


          Monday, Oct. 30th. – The morning broke with a heavy fog, which, however, cleared off about eight o’clock .  The sky of this region, it may be remarked, is, when unobscured, of a blue as pure and deep as that even of the Rocky Mountains .

          The trail during the day followed the river bank.  It was exceedingly rocky, and much obstructed with brushwood.  We made only about ten miles, passing the spot where the command had encamped about a mile and a half.  The grass was very poor, but we were informed that none could be found elsewhere, within the distance which we could drive.  In camping on the Klamath, it is necessary to seek the neighborhood of the brooks, especially at this season; as the water, never pure, is now offensive from the number of dead salmon. 69.  Fortunately springs and small streams are abundant, and of the finest quality.  We passed to-day only one Indian village, a small one, and that deserted, but saw a number of the people upon a hill beyond the river, and sent a messenger, who with some difficulty, brought them to a talk, and invited them to come in.  Large heaps of the shells of a species of Unio lay along the banks of the river, at different places.  These form a favorite article of food with the Indians, who boil them in baskets by means of hot stones.

          The approach of winter was now indicated by the appearance of numbers of duck in the river, and by flocks of the banded-tailed pigeon, on their way to the south. Except the omnipresent raven and fish crow, we have hitherto seen but few birds in this whole region; a bald eagle on the look-out for salmon, a blue heron starting with dissonant scream from his perch on a dead fir tree, a few hawks and jays, and now and then a sparrow, being all.

          The prevailing rock is not the white granite, resembling that of New Hampshire , which forms many of the highest peaks, particularly those at the head of the Salmon and Scott’s rivers.  The bed-rock of the Klamath is, however, still dark blue slate, containing veins and seams of quartz.  Of this the strata are everywhere displaced and broken up.  A coarse sandstone or conglomerate of volcanic formation occurs.  Without attempting to give any scientific description of this region, it may not be unimportant to mention that the blue slate is continuous along the whole route followed.  Talcose and mica slates and serpentine are likewise in place; the last in greatest abundance, and covering the greatest extent.  When gold is found in the original rock, it seems to be always in the quartz veins of the blue slate; and these are more abundantly interposed farther up, than in the lower district.  Thus the gold of the upper Klamath is much coarser than that found below the Salmon.  Where it


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exists on the soil, independent of the gravelly bars of the rivers, it is most frequently in a reddish earth, as in the dry diggings in Shaste valley, and elsewhere.  It is, however, impossible to account for the occurrence of large deposits in particular localities, while in others, seemingly as favorable, it is nearly or altogether absent.


          Tuesday, Oct. 21st. – Passing over a point of mountain, we reached Scott’s river, abut a mile and a half from camp.  This, which, next to the Shaste, is the largest of the upper forks of the Klamath, is here about fifteen yards wide, running through a narrow mountain gap, and over a bed filled with large boulders.  Its sources are in the immediate neighborhood of the Trinity and the Salmon, and after their junction its general course is from south-west to north-east.  Like all other mountain streams, its volume of water fluctuates greatly with the season; the amount brought down in winter being very considerable, while in the summer and fall it is fordable almost everywhere.  It was formerly a well-known trapping ground of the Hudson ’s Bay Company, by whom it was called Beaver river .  Its present name was given it from that of a miner who first developed its mineral wealth.  Our trail now left the Klamath, and followed up this branch.  Scott’s river is the most thoroughly explored of all the gold-producing streams of northern California , and the extent of the works upon it is astonishing, even to those acquainted with the energy with which mining operations have been carried on.  Between the mouth an the upper end of Scott’s bar, three or four miles above, almost the whole river has been turned from its bed, and carried through canals, regularly built, with solid stone or log embankments, several feet in height and thickness.  Many of these are from 100 to 200 yards in length.  They were constructed by companies consisting usually of from ten to twenty persons; and we were informed, that at a court or convention of delegates, held in July to decide upon a contested claim, thirty-two companies were represented.  The number of persons at work in the dams at the time of our passing, was small, certainly not exceeding a hundred; most of the miners having, at least temporarily, abandoned them.  We made careful inquiries as to the productiveness of these enterprises, and were satisfied that, like most operations of the kind attempted elsewhere, they had been losing ones.  Although very considerable sums had in some cases been taken out by single companies, and the total amount must have been very great, the average daily earnings for the whole working time was comparatively inconsiderable.  It was variously estimated at from two to five dollars; the lowest being probably nearest the truth.  Those who remained were doing better than this, the different dams yielding to the present workers from five dollars to an ounce a day.  The gold was chiefly found in crevices of bed-rock, and was very coarse.  One piece was said to have weighed twelve, and another, found in the bank, fifteen pounds troy.  Besides the dams, other washings were carried on with success, and the ground in front of the town of “Scott’s bar” was literally riddled with what are called “coyote diggings.”


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          This mining town contains some fifty houses, and, when we passed, numbered perhaps 150 inhabitants.  Through the summer, however, the population had been far greater.  In September, 600 votes were polled in the two precincts of Scott’s bar and the mouth of the river; and even this was only a partial representation.  The packing from this place is chiefly carried on from Reading ’s springs, or, as it is now called, “Shaste city,” near Clear creek, in the Sacramento valley; the traders being, for the most part, their own packers.  The price of freight was at this time twenty-five cents a pound, and the time taken in the journey seven or eight days.  Flour was selling at thirty-five, and pork at fifty cents; but during the year they had been respectively as high as $1.50 and $2.25, and as low as twenty and twenty-five cents.  We saw here a fair supply of other commodities used by miners.  Fluctuations in the prices of  provisions, goods, and transportation, are constant at all these places; depending in some measure upon the state of the trails, as regards supply, and  upon the rush of buyers for the time being, as to demand.

          Leaving town, and following the right bank of the river for two or three miles, over a very broken trail, we again crossed and passed the high mountain on the left, to avoid a canon which extends from here to the valley.  The descent, though considerable, was gradual, and the trail good, in contrast with execrable path from our camp to its foot.  An hour and a half brought us to the top, and we then caught a glimpse of the valley of Scott’s river below us, with the mountains beyond, and the snowy peak of Shaste lying to the south0east, towering above all.  The view was a beautiful one, and not the less so, from its being the first for many a weary day’s travel, in which the habitations of civilized man seemed not out of place.  A rapid descent led us down to the plain, and to the log-house of a settler, and here we saw another unwonted sight, an ox-wagon laden with hay.  Again crossing the river, here rippling gently over a bed of sand and gravel, we reached Major Wessells’s camp, pitched about a mile beyond, on a small branch entering from the south, at about half past three in the afternoon, our march being about fifteen miles.


          Wednesday, Oct. 22d. – Thin ice formed in our buckets this morning, but the weather continued to be fine.  To-day we rode across the valley to a ranch on the eastern side, a distance of about eight miles, stopping on our way to ascend a hill from which we had a good view of a portion of it.

          Scott’s valley is, with the exception of Shaste, the largest either on the Klamath, or any of its tributaries, and is the only one in which any considerable quantity of good soil is to be found.  Its extreme length is, however, not more than twenty-five or thirty miles, and its width, at the northern end, from eight to ten, diminishing towards its head to a narrow strip.  Its total area does not much exceed one hundred square miles.  By far the greater part of this, even, is suited only to pasturage, being too dry and gravelly for cultivation.  Tracts of a better quality are nevertheless  


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found chiefly upon the river, and the two or three small branches which continue to flow during the dry season; these seem well suited to the growth of potatoes and other vegetables, as well as small grain.  The richest is in the neighborhood of old beaver-dams, and, by proper care, would become exceedingly productive.  Timber is abundant on the hills on the western or northern sides; consisting of pine, of a quality not inferior to that of the Atlantic States.  The slopes on the eastern side are covered with fine bunch-grass, affording excellent and most abundant pasturage.  Salmon ascend the river in large numbers, before the waters subside in the spring.  In the rainy season, travel in the valley is exceedingly difficult, and parts of it are even covered with water.  Eight or ten houses, mostly small log buildings, had been put up at the northern end, and preparations were making for ranching animals on a pretty extensive scale.  We found a good deal of hay mowed and stacked either for feeding at the corrals or transportation to Scott’s bar, whither it is carried on mules.  The price there was twenty-five cents a pound!  The bunch-grass becomes a natural hay without cutting, and retains all its nutritive qualities.  Animals, with any reasonable degree of work, will keep fat on it throughout the year.  A second growth always springs up after the commencement of the rainy season.  Wild clover abounds, also, in the valley.  But little snow is said to fall here, and that does not remain long.  


          Thursday, Oct, 23d. – Mr. Kelsey returned last evening from Shaste valley, whither he had gone to invite the Indians.  He found great difficulty in persuading them of the peaceful intentions of the expedition; as they had taken up the idea that the escort was a war party sent against them.  Some of them, however, accompanied him a part of the way to satisfy themselves, but still lingered behind.  Messengers sent to the neighboring lodges reported that eh men had gone to the mountains to hunt.  A few were finally collected, and the object of the Agent in visiting their country was explained to them through an Oregon Indian named “Swill,” who lived with the tribe, and spoke their language.  This man was afterwards dispatched with Mr. Abel, one of the interpreters, to make another effort to assemble the Shaste tribe, and Indian runners were sent to the Klamath and the upper lodges of Scott’s river.

          Several gentlemen from the neighborhood, among others, Major Theodore F. Rowe, Mr. Charles M’Dermit, Mr. Roach and Dr. M’Kinney, visited our camp to-day, and were requested to remain for the purpose of giving information and advice regarding arrangements with the Indians.  Col. M’Kee, further in view of the importance of rendering the treaty satisfactory to the miners and settlers, determined to invite them to be present from the different placers, either in person or by delegation, and notes to that effect were dispatched both to Shaste, Butte city, and Scott’s bar.

          It had become evident immediately on our arrival, that more serious obstacles would interpose to a pacific arrangement with the Indians of this district, than at either of


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those before visited.  On the one hand, the number of all the tribes intended to be included, was very large, being variously estimated at from four to six thousand; and their disposition was decidedly hostile to the whites, against whom they had several grounds of complaint; some of them more or less just.  The great influx of miners had crowded them from their fisheries and hunting-grounds, and the commencement of permanent settlements, threatened to abridge their movements still more.  Many of their villages had been burned and their people shot; generally, it is true, in retaliation for murders or robberies, but in some instances no doubt wantonly; the result in either case being the same in rendering their families destitute and stimulating their desire for revenge.  Animals stolen from others and sole to them had been seized, and not least, their women had been occasionally taken away.  On the other side, a number of whites had been killed; some under circumstances of atrocious barbarity.  Several whole trains had been plundered, reducing their owners to actual ruin; and a large amount of property stolen from time to time, in blankets, tools, provisions, and animals, upon which the miners depended for their subsistence.  The number of mules and horses, and the quantity of fire-arms in their possession furnished, to some extent, proofs of the Indian outrages.  To such a degree had the feeling of exasperation risen on the part of the whites, that they had determined on the setting in of winter to wage a war of extermination against the Indians on the upper Klamath and its tributaries generally.  Two or three men were not considered as sage anywhere; and as the mode in which mining is carried on here involved the scattering of detached parties or individuals through the hills, they conceived the only way of protecting themselves would be to extirpate or drive off the enemy altogether.  Such was the state of things when the Agent arrived.  Supposing, however, that a treaty of peace could be effected which the majority of the whites and Indians would respect, there was great danger that it might be broken by outlaws of one race or another, whose conduct was beyond control; and that as discrimination is out of the questions in such cases, a renewal of the strife would follow, with more violence than before.  Another very serious difficulty remained.  To fix upon a reserve, into which the Indians could be collected where they could be placed under the government of suitable officers; where game and fish would be abundant, and a sufficient tract of agricultural country could afford the means of civilization, and partial support, and where, at the same time, the interests of the whites would not tempt encroachment, seemed to be next to impossible. 70.  The removal of the Indians beyond the limits of the State was clearly so; for Oregon had its own savage population, and the introduction of others was not only beyond the authority of the Agent, but would have been resisted to the knife.  The Territory of Utah furnished no suitable home for them, or means of maintenance, and the intervening country embraced in Shaste county had already a larger number than the safety of the whites rendered desirable.  The only bodies of level land in their own country were known to be the valleys of Scott’s and Shaste rivers, and the amount  


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of arable soil in either of them was comparatively small; far less than would suffice for a considerable number of permanent white settlers.  A very considerable part of this was already taken up in claims, and to some extent improved.  Further, it was impossible to find any district whatever, in which gold did not exist, or where miners were not carrying on their occupation.  Under all these circumstances, the only possible method of accomplishing the proposed object seemed to be for the Agent to invite the concert of the citizens themselves, and after obtaining the best information in his power, and hearing the suggestions and objections offered, to adopt such a course in reference to the reservation, as, with the least inconvenience to the whites, should furnish a refuge for the Indians.  Into this it was proposed to collect them as speedily as possible, in order to prevent further collisions.


          Friday, Oct. 24th. – Major Wessells having concluded to return from here by the way of Reading ’s springs and the Sacramento valley, started this morning; the reduced condition of his horses rendering it important to him to reach quarters before the rains set in; which, from the lateness of the season, might now be expected at any time.  The route was up the valley, and following a branch of the north fork over the mountains to Trinity river , thence down nearly to Weaver-town, crossing to the head of Clear creek, and down that stream to the springs.

          Mr. Kelsey and myself, accompanied by Colonel Woods and Mr. Marshall, left to examine the valley, following the branch on which the camp is situated to its head, and thence turning eastward towards the river.  About four miles up, we stopped to examine a quartz vein in the hills to the left, which a company had opened, and were preparing to work.  The quartz, which was quite solid, lay a few feet beneath the surface, under a bed of broken slate, dipping to the east under the hill.  The gold was visible only in particular specimens; but was said to pervade the whole mass.  No correct estimate could be formed of its productiveness, from the very imperfect trials made; but it was said to yield from five to forty cents to the pound of ore.  The rock where the metal is not seen by the eye is, nevertheless, often as valuable, and yields more uniformly than the other.  We found some good land in the little valley of a creek near by, which is about five miles long and from half a mile to a mile wide.  Crossing some low hills to the main valley, we followed the western side to the foot of a mountain, which afterwards was made one of the land-marks of the reserve, by the name of “Seino’s hill.”  This part of the valley is little more than a pine barren, the land being gravelly, and cut up with arroyas from the mountains.  Here Colonel Woods and Mr. Marshall left us, and continued up.  Six or eight miles above, they met a considerable creek, entering from the south-west, which they followed up.  This stream forked three miles above; and upon one of the branches they found a small prairies.  Both headed in the high granite peaks separating the Salmon from Scott’s river; Mr. Kelsey and myself struck across the valley to the main stream.  We had  


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hitherto been accompanied by an Indian runner, who was sent out with invitations to some of the more distant villages.  This man had kept our mules in a brisk trot during almost the whole distance, and he left us in the same long swinging walk which he had preserved from the first, apparently as fresh as when he started.

          In crossing the valley we found ourselves at first entangled in the sloughs made by old beaver-dams, of which there seemed to be no end.  Beyond these lay the main prairie, which afforded fine grazing; and here and there, in places upon the river, land well suited for cultivation,  but in tracts comparatively limited.  Considerable grass had here been cut and staked for the use of the ranches.  We followed the river down to camp, which we reached about dark.


          Sunday, Oct. 26th. – Accompanied by Mr. Mulkey, one of our visitors, I rode to Shaste Butte city, a distance of about twenty-five miles from camp.  This, it should be mentioned, is not to be confounded with Shaste city, or Reading ’s springs, near the junction of Clear creek and the Sacramento .  Our route lay up narrow spurs of the valley, extending to the dividing ridge between the waters of the two streams, and crossing over descended by another.  The arroyas in these were dry, water occurring only here and there in them.  In both, but more particularly on the Shaste side, numbers of miners had been at work, and large quantities of earth were thrown up ready for washing when the rains should come on.  These were almost all “surface diggings;” the gold being found very near the top of the soil, and most abundantly in the “gulches,” or beds of small water-courses.  The earth was of a reddish color, and generally free from stones of any size; though small fragments of quartz were interposed throughout.  The hills here were well timbered; and I noticed another variety of pine, more nearly resembling the eastern white pine than those before seen.  To-day being Sunday, but few of the miners were at work in the diggings; most of them were either engaged in cleaning up, or gone into town.

          Shaste Butte city, as it is called, is a place of some 800 houses, built on two streets in the form of an L, and at this time numbered, including the immediate vicinity, about 1000 souls.  It has sprung into existence since May last, in consequence of the rich diggings discovered here.  It is situated, not on the river, but three or four miles from it, on a small creek, called by the Indians the Koostah, running into the Shaste from the west side some eight miles above its mouth.  The diggings here are not merely in the hills, but in the valley itself, immediately round the town, and the ground was literally rooted up for many acres in extent; - large heaps of dirt having been collected, in anticipation of a supply of water.  This is expected to yield ten cents a bucket on the average.  We found in the town a plentiful supply of provisions, and, in considerable variety; game being abundant, and beef, butter, and vegetables regularly supplied from Oregon .  The price of board was three dollars a day, without bed, and a dollar for horses or mules standing at hay in a yard.  The  


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restaurants were fitted up in approach to San Francisco style; and in the evenings, music invited the lovers of liquor and of monte.

          The next morning, accompanied by Mr. Moses Dusenbury, of Peoria, Illinois, whom I met here, I rode to the top of a range of hills about four miles distant, for the purpose of obtaining a view of the country.  The prospect here was every extensive, commanding the northern and eastern orations of the plain, and extending south-easterly, to Mount Shaste , which was distant about thirty miles.  In this direction, however, it was intercepted by the range of hills which break the level of the valley.  Mount Shaste, or, as it is usually called, the “Shaste Butte,” is not situated upon any connected chain, but rises by itself near the connecting point of several; the head-waters of the Sacramento separating it from the great range bounding the western side of its valley, and from the peaks which form the source of the Trinity.  It is this mountain, and not Mount Pitt , as was supposed by Mr. Greenhow, which was designated as Mount Jackson by the sponsors of the “President’s Range;” and it is the same as the Rogers’ Peak of Smith.  By the Shaste Indians it is called Wy-e-kah.  Its height is stated to be 14,300 feet.  In form, it possesses singular beauty; far surpassing any of its Oregon sisters, and rising thus alone from the plain, is seen to the utmost advantage.  The crater stands out from its western side in the form of a truncated cone.  From the same point of view we could see Mount Pitt , or more property, Pitt mountain, so called from the traps formerly dug near it, by the Indians; and the noted land-marks of the Oregon trail , the “Pilot Knob,” on the Siskire range to the north, and the “Black or Little Butte,” to the south.  Pitt mountain is the same as Mount Madison , and apparently as Mount Simpson of other geographers.

          Shaste valley is of irregular shape, but its extent may be stated, in general terms, as thirty-five miles in length, by an average width of eight; though there are some points where It is much wider.  Ti extends from the foot of the Butte in a north-westerly direction, to the canon through which the river enters the Klamath.  That portion lying toward the mountain is occupied by fine forests, and is represented as sterile and rocky.  Through the centre runs a singular range of mounds or buttes, rising separately from the general level, and of every conceivable form and size; among which are said to be tracts covered with an alkaline deposit, similar to those found on the North Platte , and the Sweetwater.  The western side of the valley is an extensive plain, covered with a fine growth of bunch-grass, but barren, and destitute of water or wood.  The same remark applies both to the ranges of hills scattered through it, and to those on its sides.  The grass being at this time ripe, gave them, at a distance, exactly the appearance of ridges of blown sand.

          Shaste river, the highest considerable tributary of the Klamath, rises, not in the Butte , but considerably to the north of it, in the extensive plains beyond the low range bounding the valley to the east, through which it has found a way.  It has


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several branches, some of considerable length, but all losing themselves in the soil during the dry season.  The river itself, wandering through arid plains, becomes tepid and unfit for use.  Through the whole extent of the valley, we could not learn that any lands fit for agriculture existed, even did its climate permit; for at this great elevation frost occurs during almost every month of the year.  As a pasturing district, the want of water is the only drawback; for although snow falls occasionally in the winter, it does not remain long.  Returning to town, we started in the afternoon on our return, and camped with some miners in the hills.


          Tuesday, Oct. 28th. – On reaching camp, we found delegations from Shaste Butte city, and Scott’s bar, present, together with other citizens from different parts of the valley, amounting in all to forty or fifty.  But few Indians had as yet arrived, but towards evening the chiefs of the Shaste and Scott’s river tribes, with some of the head men, came in.  We learned from every quarter, that apprehensions existed that the object of assembling them was to kill the whole together; and this fear had prevented the chief of the Klamaths from coming.  This man was the most important of all, from the number under his control, and his influence with the others.  He had sent his son, a young man of seventeen or eighteen, to observe what was passing.  A preliminary talk was held this evening, with those present, through the Indian “Swill.” 

          At night we had a very beautiful aurora, first visible towards the north-east, and nearly in the direction of the town.  It was of a rose color, and the light so brilliant that for some time we supposed Shaste Butte city to be on fire.


          Wednesday, Oct. 29th. – Intelligence arrived of further depredations by the Pitt river Indians.  That tribe, inhabiting a country difficult to penetrate, has long been considered as the worst of those of northern California .  Their hostility to the whites has been unremitting; and their incursions being planned with great ingenuity and executed with daring and celerity, they have always been the terror of those pursuing the northern trails.  Lately they had extended them into the mining region of Shaste and the Klamath.  It has been supposed , and apparently with reason, that a number of white outlaws are connected with them, who furnish information and share the plunder.  Some weeks before our arrival, a party had started from the Shaste to retake a large band of animals recently driven off; and as no tidings were heard from them, it was believed that they had been killed.  Since then, several corrals, where mules and horses were ranched by the miners, had been robbed; and on one occasion forty were taken.  Horse and mule stealing, both by Indians and whites, is, in fact, the most common, and one of the most serious crimes of the mining region; and as men’s lives are constantly dependent upon their animals, the frequency of these occurrences creates great disquiet.

          Another conference with the Indians took place to-day, when the subject was fully


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entered into.  They professed a willingness to divide their country with the whites, and to receive the Trinity and Klamath tribes into the reserve.  They promised to desist from all hostilities, provided they were not molested in the first place.  It was found impossible, at present, to effect anything with the Trinity Indians, as their distance and wild habits would prevent access to them in season; but the son of the head Klamath chief, “Ishack.” Was dispatched after his father; first receiving the present of a blanket, and being provided with a safe conduct.  Until he should return the council was adjourned.

In regard to the location and limits of a reserve, no conclusion could be arrived at, on consultation with the citizens present; and it was seen that private interests would interfere with any selection.  Claimants, or squatters, had been rapidly occupying what tillable land existed in the country; and every mountain and stream seemed liable to the objection of producing gold.  On the other hand, it was most essential to the observance of a treaty, that, if possible, it should be rendered generally satisfactory.  All saw the justice of leaving to the Indians the means of support, and the opportunity of improving their condition; and all saw likewise the importance of secluding them, so that the occupations of the miners could be elsewhere pursued with safety; but there was no place known where the interests of some would not be affected. 71.  Suggestions were made of the small valleys upon the creeks emptying into the Klamath from the north; but these were clearly insufficient in extent, even if otherwise suitable; and an insurmountable obstacle presented itself in this locality.  The line between Oregon and California had never been run; nor was the position of any land-mark known with certainty; but it was very certain that the 42 (degree) parallel could not lie far enough north of the Klamath to afford the necessary country.  Under these circumstances, it was determined to make a further examination of Scott’s and Shaste valleys, and the intermediate country, although little more information could be hoped for than that previously collected; and Messrs. Charles M’Dermit and Alva Boles were chosen by the citizens to accompany Mr. Kelsey, Colonel Woods, and myself, for that purpose, detailed by Colonel M’Kee.  The time allowed us was, unfortunately, limited; but for this there was no remedy.


          Thursday, Oct. 30th. – A hard rain fell during the night, and our departure was delayed until eleven o’clock , when it partially cleared off, but the day continued cloudy.

          We followed the west side of the valley up as far as Seino’s hill, and thence struck diagonally across it.  Its width was here contracted to five or six miles.  The soil on the river was good, and on the eastern side consisted of a light sandy loam, well adapted to potatoes and other roots.  Farther up, the valley became still narrower, the land continuing good, but much broken by slough formed by the beaver-dams.  This animal appears, since the discontinuance of trapping, to be again multiplying  


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throughout the country.  We crossed back and forth several times, and towards dark camped opposite the creek explored by Colonel Woods some days previous.  


          Friday, Oct. 31st. – WE followed the course of the river for a couple of hours, the valley gradually becoming narrower and more broken and rocky.  At its head the two principal branches, generally designated as the North and South Forks, unite at the foot of a high peak.  The trail to Salmon river follow the latter; that to the Trinity, one part of the former.  On the south fork, about a mile and a half up, there is another quartz vein from which ore had been taken out.  We had no time to visit it, but a number of specimens were shown us.  The gold was not visible, and we did not learn the amount it yielded.  About the same distance farther on, washings also occur.  A trading shanty had been established at the forks, and we met several miners here.  No diggings, it may be mentioned, are carried on in the valley itself, nor any in the hills around, excepting those already mentioned, at the northern end.  It is, however, probable that in the high granite mountains lying between its head and the waters of Salmon river , gold will be found in numerous veins of the quartz, which appears to be abundant.

          As regards the principal object of our journey, the agricultural capacity of the valley, its total extent is about one hundred square miles; of which not more than fifteen, or at farthest twenty, are of good tillable land, and of this a full half lies towards  the

southern end.  A further portion might perhaps be rendered so by irrigation, but the only source from which water could be drawn would be the river.

          We took the north fork, which turns sharply round the base of the eastern range.  Between two and three miles above the junction, this again branches; the Trinity trail running up the right-had branch.  Our route lay up the left, on which there is a valley which we wished to examine.  The course of this is from the north, and it runs almost exactly parallel to the main river, but in an opposite direction.  The valley is nine or ten miles long, its width nowhere exceeding one.  The soil is barren, and we found water but in one or two pools, the stream sinking into the ground.  Grass was abundant, both in the bottom, and one the hills on either side.  There was but little wood, and that pine.  Reaching the head of the valley, we ascended the mountains to our right, and found ourselves at the top of a high ridge in turning to the northward and eastward; on the other side of which headed a corresponding branch, running into the lower end of the valley.  Before us, at a distance of about three miles, stood the “Sheep-rock,” a very remarkable point, which is visible for many miles around.  We had supposed this to be on the dividing ridge between the waters of Scott’s and Shaste rivers, but found it to lie within those of the former.  It is said to be one of only three places, where the big-horn, or mountain sheep, is at present found, west of the Sierra Nevada .  Another is a precipitous crag upon the Sacramento range, and the third, a mountain visible to the west of the Klamath, from some of the high  


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points of view on the trail, and situated probably on the source of Smith’s river.  To our great regret, we had no time to visit the rock and hunt them.  Turning to the right, we followed the crest of the ridge; ascending to one of the highest points of the mountains between the two valleys.  From here, a superb view opened of the great chains around us; the heads of the Sacramento, the Trinity, and the Salmon, extending from south-east to south-west, and there dividing the Klamath from the coast, and from the waters of Rogue’s river, on the west and north; while to the east, the Shaste peak loomed up, a slender horizontal cloud resting upon its summit.  To the north-east, a wide gap was visible, between the Cascade range of Oregon , and its continuation in the Sierra Nevada , through which the Klamath emerges from the lesser Klamath lake.  We had, however, but short time to spend in admiration, for the sun was near setting, and it was necessary to seek camp.  Seeing no hope of obtaining water, without descending into the canon on our left, we finally halted for the night, upon the top, under the cover of a clump of red cedars.  These trees, which from the size of their gnarled trunks, must have been of enormous age, were not more than from twelve to fifteen feet high, and bore evidence of their long conflicts with wind and snow.  From  the dead limbs around, we made a fire that gleamed for and wide over the mountains; and having, with much pains, leveled a spot large enough to lie upon without rolling down the side, tied up our mules, and went, not exactly to bed, but to sleep.  


          Saturday, Nov. 1st. – We started at day-break, winding along the summit of the ridge in a north-easterly direction, enjoying the effects of a glorious sunrise upon the peak.  It was not until after ten o’clock that we found water, and then only a small hole.  It sufficed, however, for our own breakfast, and to refresh our thirsty mules, after nearly twenty-four hours’ abstinence.  This done, we pushed down the mountain, starting, as we rode along, troops of black-tailed deer, which, after a stare at the unusual intruders, bounded away into the woods.  About two o’clock we reached a narrow arm of the valley, where also we found a pool of water.  The soil here, as it had been, in fact, on the mountains we had passed over, had the strongest appearance of yielding gold; being strewed with small fragments of rotten quartz, slate, and volcanic rock.  The slate observed in place, on the summit, everywhere contained thin seams of quartz, and was often curled, as if by the action of fire.  No prospecting seems to have been attempted, probably on account of the absence of water.  We followed this ravine to the main valley, which we struck at a point about west of Shaste Butte, and thence kept down its western side.  Herds of antelopes sprang up from time to time before us, their sentinels alarmed by the clattering of our baggage mule, and scampered across the plain.  These animals are here abundant, and we saw as many as a hundred at once.  A couple of hours brought us to the main trail from Oregon , which we took.  As the sun sunk behind the western range, its rays lingered  


170                                                  PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY OF  

on the “ Butte ,” gilding it summit, and turning he grey rock beneath to a burning crimson.  Fading away, the snow assumed that peculiar death-like hue which nothing else in inanimate nature resembles; and then the grey veil of dusk fell over all.  By dint of hard riding, or what to our tired mules was such, we reached the town of Shaste Butte city, an hour after dark.        

Two of our number were already familiar with every part of the valley, and although the time allotted to us did not permit us to do more than traverse the principal plain, we had a full view of its entire extent, and saw enough to satisfy us fully, that it nowhere contained a suitable tract for “a reserve.”  It is utterly destitute of wood, except in the pine-barrens at its south-eastern extremity; and of water, except in the main stream.  It affords none of the wild productions, such as acorns, berries, &c., from which the Indians derive so large a part of their subsistence, and its parched and barren soil would produce no substitute, by cultivation.  On reaching town, we found that Colonel M’Kee had that evening addressed a large public meeting of the citizens, on the subject of the treaty, and that they had, with great unanimity, appointed a committee, to enforce its observance, on the part of the whites, should one be effected.  


          Sunday, Nov. 2d. – The weather, fortunately, still continued fine.  We returned to camp by the trail usually travelled, a different one from our route on the previous occasion.  Like that, it pursued a long and narrow arm to a gap in the dividing ridge, and thence down another, leading to the ranch before mentioned, at the lower end of Scott’s valley.  Wagons pass up these ravines on either side, to the foot of the mountain, and the road could easily be made passable across.  A wagon road already exists from Oregon to Shaste Butte city, on which produce is brought in; and wagons also reach it from the great trail to the States; but none has, as yet, been cut to the Sacramento valley direct.  It is the opinion, however, of M. Kelsey and other experienced mountaineers, that a perfectly practicable route exists over the low range to the east of Shaste Butte.  The pack trail now travelled, runs to the west of that mountain, between it and the land-mark known as the “Black Butte.”      

          We reached camp some time after dark.  The distance from the town of Brown ’s ranch, by the route we took to-day, is usually called sixteen miles, and to our camp twenty-four or five.  


          Monday, Nov. 3d. – The day was spent in arranging the details of the treaty.  Our exploring party united in a report to the Agent, stating the result of the journey, and our belief that Scott’s valley would afford the only resource for the agricultural part of the reserve.  Colonel M’Kee, upon consideration, accordingly decided to set apart the lower, or northern end of the valley, for that purpose.  In determining the other limits, it was held important to embrace, in a compact a space as possible  


T H E   I N D I A N   C O U N T R Y                                                                 171  

tract which would afford sufficient hunting and fishing grounds for the expected population, and which should leave the most valuable mineral lands to the whites.  As regarded the first object, a portion of the Klamath was essential for the fishery, and the northern boundary was therefore extended across it to the Oregon line, which, it was supposed, could not be far distant.  As respect the latter, it was believed that, with the exception of the lower portion of Scott’s river, the most valuable diggings lay upon Humbug creek, and eastward, including the Shaste valley; and these were therefore avoided.  The earth already thrown up in the hills of Scott’s valley would be washed out in the course of the winter, and no loss would therefore ensue to the miners there, the first of June being fixed as the period of occupancy.  As to Scott’s bar, and the river from thence to the mouth, they would probably be exhausted in a year; but that no real ground of complaint should be left, two years were stipulated for working them.  The details of the “reserve” in other respects, will be seen from the accompanying map.

          Into this reservation it was proposed to collect all the tribes on the Klamath, Scott’s and Shaste rivers, speaking the Shaste tongue, and also those of the upper Trinity river .  A census of these was attempted, but the chiefs present were unable to proceed in arithmetic as far as the number of souls under them.  They, however, gave that of “grounds” or villages, as follows: --

                   On the Klamath, the O-de-ellah tribe, at 24 grounds

                   In Shaste valley, the Ika-ruck

                                                  Kose-tah, and

                                                  Ida-ka-riuke, at       19      “

                   In Scott’s valley, the Watsa-he-wa, and

                                                   E-ch, at                    7       “

Affording a total of fifty grounds or villages, averaging, as supposed, sixty souls each, or three thousand in all; in addition to which the Trinity Indians, it was calculated, would furnish another thousand, or perhaps fifteen hundred.

          The reserve, though the only one that could be made, taking into consideration the rights and necessities of the Indians, or course was unsatisfactory to some of the miners and settlers.  In fact, without sacrificing the former entirely, it was impossible to select a district which would not interfere with the interests of adventurers among the whites.  Those who had taken claims with a view to permanent residence, (which in general means a resident of one or two years, a long period in California,) and cultivation of the soil, and who had erected rude improvements thereon, naturally viewed the selection of the agent with feelings of particular disappointment.  Many of them had purchased preemptions  or claims from others at high prices, and no idea seemed to have been entertained that the land would not be open to settlement, and that the same rights would not be granted them, as had been given to the emigrants to Oregon .  At the same time a laudable spirit, of acquiescence in the necessity


172                                                  PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY OF

of the case was everywhere shown, and petitions for indemnity, setting forth strongly the unexpected hardships sustained, were confided to the Agent, for presentment to the Indian Department or to Congress; petitions, it may not be impertinent to add, which have strong claims on the consideration of the national legislature.  The Indians, though at first claiming the whole of the valley, appeared perfectly satisfied with the district allotted them, and expressed their desire to settle upon it at once.  The promise that they should be instructed in the arts of the whites especially pleased them.  A stipulation which was introduced, that they should deliver up all stolen animals, produced great disgust on the part of one chief whose reputation at home seemed to be a bad one; but he reconciled by the threat, on the part of his own people, of killing him on the spot, if he declined to fulfill it, and thus endanger the general arrangement.

          In regard to the number of reservations made in California , it is to be remembered  that, so far, at least, as this portion of the State is concerned, the circumstances both of country and population are widely different from those existing in the frontier States of the Mississippi valley.  No great neighboring hunting-grounds, covered with buffalo and other game, offer a place of removal of the Indians beyond interference with the whites, and without changing their mode of life, or affecting their means of subsistence; nor could they without horses or fire-arms obtain food there, did they exist.  Broken up into comparatively insignificant tribes, speaking distinct languages, and varying greatly in their habits and character, the collecting them together would be impracticable, even if natural obstacles did not interpose.  But the features of the country have a greater influence upon the savage than the civilized man.  The one conquers them – the other is moulded by them; and it would prove almost as impossible to reconcile the Indian of the mountain to prairie life, as to naturalize the bit-horn in a cattle pasture.  These people are not nomadic.  Even those without permanent habitations have at least permanent abiding places, or a country, and their attachment to localities is excessive.  They may indeed be driven off, but they cannot be persuaded to go voluntarily.  The singularly broken character of this whole region has tended more to render them distinct in every respect, by isolating them from all but very unfrequent, and then hostile, intercourse with on another, and this too prevents their being assembled in any one district; none existing which could contain them.  So far the Klamath country is concerned, moreover, the gold alone affords any attraction to the white man; and should this hereafter fail, it would soon be again abandoned to its former possessors.  The true policy of the government is to allow to our own citizens every facility, consistent with justice and humanity to the Indian, of reaping that harvest which they alone know how to use, and by the establishment of small military posts, to check collision or encroachments, which may endanger the safety of either.  As respects those mineral lands which lie within  


T H E   I N D I A N   C O U N T R Y                                                                 173  

The reservation, licenses to work them might hereafter be issued, subject only to such control as the principal object would render necessary.

          In the evening we were entertained with a grand peace-dance, by a party of about fifty.  Its main features resembled those of most other performances of the kind.  The majority contented themselves with performing the part of chorus, beating time with their feet to a monotonous chant.  Two young men were the principal actors, and kept up the exercise with great spirit.  Both were slightly built, but with forms of great perfection; clean-limbed, straight, and lithe.  Two ladies also joined in; one of them the new bride of our interpreter.  This dame had, according to custom, bewailed her virginity from the three nights past, and rivaled the coyotes in the melancholy variety of her howls.  She was an immense woman, but with a superb figure; and her competitor, unmarried, though not so tall, was almost as robust and as well built, according to the embonpoint order of symmetry.  One of the male dancers carried a sort of whistle in his mouth, on which he played, apparently much to his own satisfaction.  This was the only musical instrument that we noticed among them, except a species of flute, open at both ends, and with three finger-holes, out of which a Klamath Indian contrived to extort a noise.  In the morning, November 4th, the treaty was explained carefully as drawn up, and the bounds of the reservation pointed out on a plat.  In the afternoon it was signed in the presence of a large concourse of whites and Indians, with great formality. 73.  The usual presents were then distributed, and they separated in very good humor, the Klamath chief, “Ishack,” and his son, remaining for the benefit of our escort home.  


          Thursday, Nov. 6th. – It had been arranged that Mr. John M’Kee, Secretary to the Commission, should remain here for the purpose of seeing to the delivery of the property stolen by the Indians, and to exercise a temporary supervision over them.  Mr. Kelsey and Co. Woods also concluded to stay in the valley, and the balance of the party, now reduced to Col. M’Kee, Mr. Walter M’Donald, and myself, with three men, started about noon on our return.  We camped that night on Scott’s river, at the foot of the mountain.  The next day it rained slightly, but our mules being light we reached the crossing of the Klamath, at the Big Bottom.  In passing through Scott’s bar, we had an opportunity of seeing the rapidity with which downfall, as well as rise, can take place in this region.  The town was literally deserted, and upon the extensive dams on the river we did not see a dozen men at work.  All had left for Humbug creek or Shaste valley!  On the 8th, we made Happy camp, the rain continuing, and the road excessively bad.  Here we remained over Sunday; and on the 10th, the weather having cleared, travelled to the further side of the mountain, about three miles above our camp of October 14th.  We had been recommended to cross the Klamath near this place, and to take the eastern side for a day’s journey, thereby avoiding the passing of “Tent rock” and the mountain beyond it.  We


174                                                  PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY OF  

accordingly crossed the animals at an early hour on the 11th, the Indians ferrying ourselves and our baggage.  The trail followed the river down for some distance, then diverging, crossed a high ridge, and again reached the water below the bend.  From there it again pursued the course of the river, not leaving it for any great distance, though at times ascending high up on its banks.  Although considerably shorter than the other route, and by no means so mountainous, it was excessively rough.  We however made a rapid drive, and towards sunset reached the lower crossing, a distance probably of sixteen miles.  The river, in places, was very winding, with narrow bottoms on the eastern side.  We passed several Indian villages, mostly of two or three houses only, and exhibiting every trace of poverty.  The sun at mid-day, notwithstanding the lateness of the season, was very warm, and the bay trees were everywhere coming into bloom.  A few butterflies were still visible, and some late flowering plants still retained their blossoms.  It should have been mentioned before, in connection with this part of the river, that in going up we noticed frequently near the trail, small piles of stone, generally consisting of three or four, placed upon one another; sometimes a dozen of them in a cluster.  Supposing them to have some particular object or signification, I made particular inquiry through the interpreter, and was assured to the contrary; that they were merely built by the Puys worshippers of Russian river.  The signal-trees, before spoken of, seem, however, to be the only monuments of the Klamath Indian, excepting their graves.


          Wednesday, Nov. 12th. – We started in the morning to recross the river, and passed the baggage over in a canoe, but the mules proved troublesome, and on a second attempt, two of them, including my riding mule, got into a deep eddy, and were drowned.  This crossing is a bad one, the water being swift, with a strong counter current on the west side, and a rapid just below.  Our principal boatman was crippled in both legs, apparently by rheumatism, and walked only by the assistance of two sticks.  His wife was a hunchback, the second deformed Indian of either sex that I saw on the Klamath.  About a mile from the crossing we struck an old trail, and near by saw the carcase of my unlucky saddle-mule lodged upon a bar.  The accident had delayed us till late, and the mules were so much exhausted by their stay in the water, that we made but a short drive, camping at our old ground of a month before, near the mouth of the Salmon.  Several of our old acquaintances among the Indians visited us; and I succeeded in persuading a pretty girl, the chief’s daughter, to sit for her portrait.  The likeness was sufficiently good to be recognized, thou it certainly did not flatter the very gentle and pleasing expression of her face, or the plump graces of her figure.  The operation caused very considerable interest in the savage portion of the bystanders, who, one and all, pronounced it “schoyeh.”  We found the Indians of the village  


T H E   I N D I A N   C O U N T R Y                                                                 175  

which had been burnt down, rebuilding their houses for the winter.  The style was very substantial, the large poles requiring five or six men to lift.  These lodges, it may be mentioned, are usually dismantled in summer, when the inhabitants live in temporary bush huts, probably to get rid of vermin.  The salmon fishing was still going on; but the greater part of the fish exhibited an unhealthy appearance.

          A miner who joined us during part of our journey, and who had lived some time in this neighborhood, mixing much with Indians, described to us some of their customs.  The marriage ceremony is thus conducted.  The purchase of a wife is consummated by the payment of a certain quantity of “aliqua chick.”  After its delivery, however, the parties are not allowed to come together till the expiration of two days, during which the bride goes through the operation of the sweat-bath, the impatience of her lover being in the meanwhile moderated by confinement to a vegetable diet, such as acorn porridge and pinole bread.  The groom, moreover, must not club his hair after the usual fashion, but wears it loose, typical perhaps of his readiness to have it pulled, when occasion justifies.  The season of probation closes with a dance, and the woman is thenceforward entitled to have the tattooing on her face extended above the corners of her mouth.

          On the death of a person, the friends assemble, and raise a peculiar cry or wail, which is caught up from one to another, and can be heard to a great distance.  The body is always kept over one night, before interment.  If the deceased was one of any consideration, all the girls of the village unite in making baskets, to be placed round the grave; otherwise, one only is staked down at the head, and another at the foot.  The “chick,” or ready money, is placed in the owner’s grave, but the bow and quiver become the property of the nearest male relative.  Chiefs only receive the honors of a fence, surmounted with feathers, round the grave.

          Their medical practice consists chiefly of pow-wows over the patient.  One that my informant witnessed was held over a young girl, and was conducted, in the first place, by four maidens of her own age, relieved afterward by four old women.  These stood one at either shoulder and foot, and went through a series of violent gesticulations, throwing up the arms, and stamping with the feet until exhausted, when they sat down, and went on with them in that posture, keeping up, all the time, a low cry; sucking the supposed seat of pain till they raised blisters, and kneading the flesh of the patient, or rather victim. 75.  This performance was sustained until they frothed at the mouth, and sank down almost insensible; the sick person meantime subsiding into a sort of stupor, from fatigue and excitement.  Whether the result was what might have been expected, death, or not, the relator did not know.  The raising blisters by suction of the mouth seems to be a favorite and common piece of surgery among them, and we heard of whites who had submitted to it for the relief of headache, with advantage.  


176                                                  PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY OF  

          Thursday, Nov. 13th. – Colonel M’Kee and myself started from a little below camp, a canoe with three Indians, leaving the rest of the party to go on by the usual route.  The Klamath, for some distance below the mouth of the Salmon, runs through a canon, taking a bend to the eastward.  Rapids occurred at short distances, down which we shot swiftly, the Indians managing the canoe with singular dexterity, by means of a sort of half pole, half paddle.  At the most dangerous, or where the water was too shallow for our load to pass safely, they made up get out and walk.  Our fellows chattered and shouted in great glee at the excitement, yelling the friendly salutation of “Ai-ye-queh.” As they passed the different villages, and were apparently much elated at the praises bestowed on their skill.  The stoics of these woods are, in fact, anything but the impassive being that poetry has handed down as the sole type of the Indian; and so far from being tearless, they can cry as naturally as a woman at the death of a friend, or, it is said by those who have tried the experiment, blubber like a school-boy at the application of a switch, or the end of a lariat.

The high banks of the river above us were clothed with the mixed growth of oak and fir, characteristic of the Klamath country.  Huge masses of slate, broken up and inclining at every angle, here and there overhung us, while the stream was, throughout, confined between walls, on which the water-marks indicated the swelling height of the winter torrent, and the polished surfaces of the rocks, the terrific rapidity with which it speeds towards the ocean.  In some of these canons it is said to reach forty feet above the usual level.  An hour and a half brought us to our old camp of October 10th.  We stopped to visit the several villages here, and starting again, entered the canon below Orleans bar; finding, to our regret, and, as we passed, nearly to our disaster, that the fish-dam at the mouth of Ocketoh creek had been washed away by a recent flood.  From here to Red-Cap’s bar, the river is again confined between precipices, and broken by rapids, and indeed, with few interruptions, such continued its character to the ferry at Mr. Durkee’s.  We were compelled frequently to get out and follow the bank as best we could, while our boatmen sped merrily down.  Nearing the Kaiammu fish-dam, we found that part of that also had been carried off.  We reached Durkee’s ferry about sunset, well pleased with the exchange from mule to canoe travel, and having accomplished about thirty miles by the course of the river.  It should be noticed, as illustrating the relations of these Indians with one another, that we had considerable difficulty in inducing one crew to descend the whole distance with us; and the we succeeded only by promising to set them right with the Weits-peks for trespassing on their waters, and to prevent their stipulated reward from being taxed for “right of way;” the international principle not being recognized by them, that nations occupying part of the waters of a river, are entitled to the enjoyment of the whole.

          We were detained at the ferry several days, a heavy rain occurring in the mean time, by which the river was raised with great rapidity to a height of about eight or ten  


T H E   I N D I A N   C O U N T R Y                                                                 177  

feet above the previous level.  The mountains between the Trinity and Salmon rivers were at the same time whitened with snow.  On the 19th, we left Durkee’s and reached “French camp.”  The next night we stopped near our previous camp of September 25th, having had rain all day; and the succeeding afternoon got to Union .  The latter part of the road, particularly that between Mad river and the town, was extremely bad, the deep black soil in the redwood timber becoming an unctuous and slipping paste in wet weather.  After two or three days spent in Union , for the purpose of disposing of the mule train, &c., the party having been broken up, we proceeded to Humboldt.  No opportunity, however, presented itself for leaving until the 8th of December, when the steamer

“Sea-Gull” arrived on her way to Oregon; and as this might prove the last opportunity, we concluded to proceed in her as far, at least , as Port Orford, hoping to meet the “Columbia: on her way down.  In this we were disappointed; and were finally compelled to go on to the Columbia river .  An accident occurring in the machinery, we did not reach Portland till the 19th; and on the 23d, left in the Columbia for San Francisco, where we arrived December 28th, 1851; having been absent on the Expedition nearly five months. 76.












                                  INDIAN POPULATIONS OF NORTH WESTERN CALIFORNIA .








                                                                  REPORTED BY REDICK M'KEE, U. S. AGENT.




























  Huta Napo, by count





  Habe Napo,   "






























              Clear lake and surrounding mountains










  Valley of Sonoma and Russian river, by estimate










  Road from Fort Ross south to St. Francisco bay, by est.










  Na-loh, Car-lots-a-po





  Chow-e-chak, Che-do-chog





  Choi-ie-eu, Mis-a-lah





  Ba-cow-a, Tu-wa-nah





  Sa-min-da, Cach-e-nah





               Betumke, south fork of Eel river










  On the Klamath:













































        Pec-quan          }























































Klamath river . . . . 24  }





Scott's valley . . . .  7  }  50 villages, at 60 souls each





Shasta valley . .  . 19  }










Trinity Indians










                         Grand total










  1. Described in R. Dana’s Two Years Before the Mast, and A. Robinson’s Life in California.


  1. This is an expression of the concept of Manifest Destiny.


  1. The Kainamero (or Gallinomero) are Southern Pomo.  The dialect area indicated by Gibbs does not agree with either that of the Southern or South-western Pomo as shown by Kroeber, Handbook of the Indians of California, Bur. Amer. Ethnol., Bull. 78, 1925  (Pl. 36).  This work is cited below as Kroeber, Handbook.


  1. Tamaleno apparently referred to the people and Coast Miwok dialect of the Tomales Bay region rather than Bodega Bay (of, Kroeber, Handbook, Fig. 22).


  1. Votive stone piles, accumulated over time by the method Gibbs describes, are known generally for the tribes north of San Francisco Bay .


  1. Gibbs gives here the Spanish orthography for the more familiar Berryessa.  The Mexican land owner of this name achieved some attention from the Americans in 1853 because of his activities in kidnapping and selling Indians into servitude; See R. Heizer an A. Almquist, The Other Californians, 1970 (pp. 40-41); Executive Document No. 57, Senate, 32nd Congress, Second Session, 1853, pp. 9-11.


  1. Again, an expression of Manifest Destiny.


  1. Gibbs is correct in suggesting that the Clear Lake Pomo had been hard hit by European disease and homicide.  In the following paragraph he is probably in error as to the cause of disease by smallpox since he is referring to the 1833 epidemic of malaria, for which see S. F. Cook, Univ. of Calif. Publs . In Amer. Arch. And
    Ethnol., Vol. 43, pp. 303-386, 1955.


  1. This was Treaty “O” signed the next day.


  1. Gibbs is referring here to the North-eastern or Salt Pomo near Stonyford.  Their territory is shown by Kroeber, Handbook,  P1. 36.


11. Captain N. Lyon’s ruthless attack upon the Indians of Bloody Island was officially reported by him to Major E. R. S. Canby on May 22, 1850 .  Persifor Smith also reported on this incident to Captain Irvin McDonnell, Asst. Adj. General.  These reports are published in Senate Executive Document 1, Part 2, pp. 75-83, 31st Congress, Second Session, 1850.  Portions are quoted in Heizer and Almquist, The Other Californians, 1970 pp. 27-28.  Indian versions of the murder of Stone and Kelsey and the  



Bloody Island massacre are published in California Historical Society Quarterly, Vol. 6, No. 3, pp. 266-273, 1932.  See also S. A. Barrett, Material Aspects of Pomo Culture.  Bull. Milwaukee Museum , Vol. 20, Part 11, 1952 (pp. 407-413) for another Indian version.  See also J. McKee (Minutes, p. 142).


1.      These are the Pomo groups signatory to Treaty “O”.  Using present day accepted spellings, Kulanapo,  Habenapo, Danoxa (= Danohabe), Moalkai, Shigom, and Shanel are Pomo tribelets.  Kauguma (= Howkuma) is a village of the Elem tribelet of Rattlesnake Island in Clear Lake .  Bidamawins (= Bidahmarek in Gibbs and Me-dam-a-dec in the treaty) is a village of the Habenapo tribelet.  Shotsiu, doubtfully identified with Gibbs’ Chotanomanas, is a tribelet east of Willits; this group did not sign the treaty.


2.      If Gibbs means the entire Pomo-speaking population, his estimate is too low.  Kroeber (Handbook, p. 237) estimates the number at 8,000.   J. McKee (Minutes, pp. 139-140) tells how the population count was made.


3.      Reprinted in part, in R. Heizer, The Eighteen Unratified Treaties of 1851-52 Between the United States Government and the Indians of California , Archaeological Research Facility, 1972.


4.      These Pomo groups can be identified by consulting Kroeber (Handbook, pp. 230-231) and S. A. Barrett, The Ethno-geography of the Pomo and Neighboring Indians, U.C. Publis. Amer. Arch. and Ethnol., Vol. 6, No. 1, 1908.  R. McKee (letter dated September 12, 1851 and written at Big Bend of Eel River and printed in Executive Document 4, 1853 (cited in Introduction), pp. 181-186) gives a fuller detailed estimate:


                                    1.  Sonoma and Russian River Valley                             1,200

                                    2. Clear Lake and adjacent mountains                           1,000

                                    3.  First two valleys of south fork of Eel River                1,100

                                    4. Coast, Fort Ross to San Francisco                                500

                                    5.  Mountains and valleys of south and middle

                                         forks of  Eel River and Van Duzen’s fork and

                                         mouth of Eel River                                                             500

                                    6.  Mouth of Eel River south to Fort Ross                              400

                                    7.  Humboldt Bay to mouth of Mad River                              300



                                                                                                Total                5,000


  1. A reference to the chief god of the Kuksu religion who is associated with thunder.  See Kroeber, Handbook, index entry “Kuksu cult” p. 971.
  1. Perhaps identifiable with T’uya, the name of the Big Bend spirit among the Patwin who neighbor the Pomo to the east.
  1. Historical archaeologists please note.


  1. The California laurel or bay.
  1. Identified by Kroeber Handbook, p. 230) as probably the valley in which modern Willits stands.
  1. Villages near modern Willits.  A few of these can be identified with villages shown by Barrett (op. cit. in Note 15), map 1.  R. McKee (in litter referred to above in Note 16 provides these details:

Tribe                            Men                 Women                        Children                       Total


Na-boh                          30                         26                                19                            75


Chou-e-chuck                25                         25                                27                             77


Chor-ti-u                        34                         42                                13                             89


Ba-cow-a                       23                         29                                28                             80


Sa-mun-da                    15                         25                                19                             59

                                    ____                     ____                            ____                        _____

                                     127                       147                              106                           300


  1. For the odd and still unexplained absence of the dog among certain Indian groups in Central California , see A. L. Kroeber, Salt, Dogs, and Tobacco. Univ. Calif. Anthropological Records, Vol. 6, No. 1, 1941.
  1. R. McKee (letter referred to in Introduction and Notes 13 and 22,) speaking of Ba-tim-da-kiah Valley, notes that there were here two principal chiefs, Lum-ka and Com-a-cho-ka, whose “rancherias were reported to contain 153 men, 200 women, and 144 children = 497
  1. The expedition is now in Yuki territory.  The story of cutting the tongue may refer to a special ritual for initiating boys into manhood where, among other happenings, an obsidian blade is thrust down the throat of the children to cause bleeding (Kroeber, Handbook, p. 193.
  1. Probably by this time the expedition has passed north of Yuki territory and is now among the Athabascan-speaking Wailaki.
  1. It is clear from a later note in Gibbs’ journal (p. 142) that this is the Yurok type of canoe.  On ell-traps see A. L. Kroeber and S. A. Barrett, Fishing Among the Indians of Northwestern California, Univ. Calif. Anthrop. Records, Vol. 21, No. 1, 1960, pp. 70-72.
  1. Gibbs is correct in recognizing that the Chinook jargon had some currency in northwestern California in 1851, but it is doubtful that HBC trappers introduced it here.  It is more likely that Indians from further north, accompanying white gold seekers, were the bearers of the jargon.


  1. Gibbs’ statement that wives in which a husband had lost interest were killed is to be doubted.  To have done so would incur a financial indemnity as well as a possible blood feud.
  1. This inter-village antipathy, at least for the Wiyot, is not otherwise reported.  Possibly it is something which was of recent development due to the presence of whites.  For the Wiyot towns on lower Eel River see G. Nomland and A. L Kroeber, Wiyot Towns , Univ. Calif. Publs. Amer. Arch. and Ethnol., Vol. 35, No. 5, 1936.
  1. This instance illustrates one of the many imperfections in the effort to make treaty arrangements with the California Indians. (Cf. Heizer, op. cit. in Note 14).
  1. Correctly, “Laura Virginia”.
  1. Humboldt Bay , of course, had been entered before 1850.  See O. C. Coy, The Humboldt Bay Region, 1850-1875.  Calif. State Hist. Ass’n., Los Angeles , 1929  (Pl. opp. P. 29 of Winship’s chart of Humboldt Bay, 1806).
  1. On this, and the preceding Indian names, see Kroeber, Handbook, pp. 14, 112; L. L. Loud, Ethno-geography and Archaeology of the Wiyot Territory Univ. Calif. Publs. Amer. Arch. And Ethnol., Vol. 14, No. 3, 1918 (p. 289).
  1. These were the Chilula Tribe.
  1. For a discussion of number of villages and population of the river Yurok see Kroeber, Handbook, pp. 16-19, Fig. 1.
  1. These names are given in their correct order proceeding downstream from Weitchpec to Requa.  Compare with Kroeber (Handbook, Fig. 1) who shows many more villages than those listed by Gibbs.
  1. For their locations see Kroeber, Handbook, Fig. 2.
  1. That is, by whites.
  1. These are Hupa villages on Trinity River .  Gibbs gives here the Yurok names of these towns (cf. Kroeber, Handbook, p. 129).  For the Hupa names and village locations see P. E. Goddard, Life and Culture of the Hupa Univ. Calif. Publs. Amer. Arch. And Ethnol., Vol. 1, No. 1, 1903 (map opp. P. 88).
  1. This is, Chilula.  For their territory and villages see Kroeber, Handbook, Fig. 13.
  1. Kroeber (Handbook, p. 138) reconstructs these names as Charhkwer, Otepetl, Ono, Opau, and Rotso.  Their locations are not known, these being the Yurok names of Chilula towns.


  1. While this may have been reported to Gibbs by the Yurok, it seems more probable that the round entryway is so made in order to be able to close it for privacy and to conserve heat.
  1. Excellent drawings of Yurok plank houses and graves depicted exactly as Gibbs describes them are shown in J. Goldsborough Bruff, Gold Rush.  Ed. by G. W. Read and R. Gaines.  Columbia Univ. Press, 1949.
  1. Kroeber (Handbook, p. 67) describes the Yurok Uma’a as “people who have learned or bought a mysterious thing”, and also as the charms themselves which are used to destroy persons who are hated or feared by their possessors.
  1. Such dresses are shown by P. E. Goddard (op, cit., Note 40), Pls. 5, 7.
  1. Kroeber (Handbook, p. 77) specifically states that the Yurok did not pierce the nasal septum during life, and that this was done only at the time of burial.
  1. Rather than grass, the native iris (Iris macrosiphon).
  1. Gibbs sensitively perceived some of the distinctive features of Yurok personality.  Compare with Kroeber’s Handbook, Chaps. 1, 2)assessment.  See also A. L. Kroeber, Yurok National Character. Univ. Calif. Publs. Amer. Arch. And Ethnol., Vol. 47, pp. 236-240, 1959.
  1. In time, but not until a long 13 years after Gibbs wrote this, the Hoopa Reservation was established.  See O. C. Coy, The Humboldt Bay Region, 1850-1875.  Los Angeles , 1929  (pp. 192-195); report of the Commissioner for Indian Affairs for 1864, pp. 137-139.
  1. This position is completely consistent with the native view of legal responsibility.  The whites had burned certain villages of the Yurok, and in order for good relations to be re-established they must pay indemnity.  For the Indian view of settling such problems see Kroeber (Handbook), pp. 20-22, 49-52.
  1. In Indian terms the McKee party acknowledged their whites’ liability and paid indemnity in conformity with native custom.
  1. For various fish-dams in northwestern California see Kroeber and Barrett, op. cit. in Note 27.
  1. Dams or weirs which completely closed the stream to fish ascending to spawn could have been effective in preventing salmon from proceeding further upstream than the dam and thus denying others from partaking in the run.  The Kepel dam on Klamath River (Kroeber, Handbook, pp. 58-60)

was torn down after ten days of operation, not because it was inefficient, but becausetribes upstream (Hupa, Karok and Shasta) would insist on their share of the salmon run.

54. For the methods of gold mining and miners’ society in the “Northern Mines” see M. E.      Wilbur, A Frenchman in the Gold Rush California Historical Society, Spec. Publ. No. 2,      1927;   O. C. Coy, In the Diggings in ’Forty-Nine Calif. State   Hist. Ass’n., Los      Angeles, 1948 

55. It seems that this is Opegoi, the Yurok name for the lowermost Karok village on the      Klamath.  The Karok name was Wopum or Wupam.  At least in the region of tribal  borders (Yurok-Hupa, Yurok-Karok) most people were bilingual; often trilingual.  See   Kroeber, Handbook, p. 99 and A. L. Kroeber, Karok Towns Univ. Calif. Publs. Amer.  Arch. And Ethnol., Vol. 35, No. 4, 1936.

56. This is an interesting case study of Karok law.  If an Indian had stolen the gun from another    Indian it would have been a matter between two persons.  But with the whites as one party and     the Indians as the other, Red Cap imposed a general levy to settle the collective responsibility,     something that would surely not have been done in the days before the whites were present in      numbers.  “Waugie chick” means woge (white man) tsik (money – in Indian meaning, shells      of Dentalium but in white man’s terms, silver coin.)

57. More correctly, Oketur, the Yurok name for the Karok village named Chamikininich      (Kroeber, Handbook, p. 99).

58. Tachanak, the next Karok village upstream from Oketur (Kroeber, Handbook, p. 99) 

59. A Karok village at the mouth of the Salmon River was named by the Karok Ashapipmam; by the Yurok, Kworatem.  A derivative, Quoratean, was earlier used as a label for the Karok language  (Kroeber, Handbook, p. 100).

60. Gibbs’ statement sounds like it was based on direct report, but to my knowledge it is not verified by ethnographers.  It is more probable that these are trees from which were trimmed limbs used in sweathouses (cf. Kroeber (Handbook. pp. 41, 81) speaking of the Yurok).

61.    Gibbs is wholly correct in this statement of directional terms.

62.    By Quoratean Gibbs means the Karok.  Gibbs’ estimate of populations is too low.  Kroeber

       (Handbook. p. 101) 900.figured their numbers at 1,500, but later (op. cit., Note 56, pp. 34-35) raises this to 1,900.

63.    The causes for abandoning a village are of interest to archaeologists.  This


cause is also said to have operated with the Yurok.  See R. F. Heizer, Village Shifts and Tribal Spreads in California Southwest Museum Masterkey, Vol. 36, pp. 60-67, 1962.

64.    For the rather unusual beliefs about dogs in this area see A. L. Kroeber Salt, Dogs and Tobacco. Univ. Calif. Anthrop. Records, Vol. 6, No. 1, 1941.

65.    According to Kreober (op. cit., Note 56, p. 30).  This would have been the Karok village of

             Apaoa’i’ pan.

66.    Murderer’s Bar was better known as Happy Camp.

67.    On this matter of the Oregon Shasta see R. R. Heizer and T. R. Hester, Shasta Villages and Territory.  Archaeological Research Facility, Contribution No.9, pp. 119-158, 1970.

68.    The young Indian probably was merely exercising deliberate caution in informing the whites about the details of where his people were settled.

69.    There may be some connection between the Yurok idea that the waters of the Klamath River are “poisonous” (Kroeber, Handbook, p. 69), and the dead salmon which, after the spawning run, contaminate it.

70.    Gibbs here anticipates the objections which were later raised to ratification of the treaties.

71.    Here is a remark which states a recurring moral dilemma of the federal government of the United States:  whether to act with justice and honest fair-dealing in terms of what is obviously the true situation regardless of consequences, or to equivocate, rationalize, and bend to the pressures applied by special –interest groups, whether these be the 1849-50 gold miners with their claims established through “mining camp law” (C., H. Shinn, Mining Camps:  A Study in Frontier Government.  A. Knopf, 1948), or would-be gold miners who decided in California to establish farms rather than follow mining; or, to bring us more up to date, whether in 1972 it be the Nixon administration, in preparation for its continuance for another quadrennium in power, making its “heroic” )and quite public) attempt to achieve an end to the Indochina war.  The “lesson of history” seems not to have been learned by the American public, and that is one of the reasons why this reprinting of Gibbs’ journal seems justified.

72.    For the ethnographically documented Shasta villages (‘grounds”) and sub-groups see R. Heizer and T. Hester, Shasta Villages and Territory.  Archaeological Research Facility, Contribution No.9, pp. 119-158, 1970.

73.    This was Treaty “R”.  For its provisions see reference in Note 14.


Comparing large things to small, it was an event of “great formality” of the same order as Chamberlain’s meeting with Hitler in Munich which promised “peace in our time”, and since then any number of other diplomatic encounters which promised much but yielded nothing.  The good faith of the Treaty Commissioner, R. McKee, and of the natives being treated with is not to be questions.  But since neither the California Indians nor McKee were running the federal government, each was a party to an agreement which could be honored (i.e. observed) only by third agents who were so completely removed in space and understanding (call it relativism) that they found it easy to ignore the moral responsibility.  

            In mid-1972, one is struck by the century-old parallel to the treatment of California Indians of the callous indifference of the American public, U.S. Congress, the U. S. Defense Department, and the U. S. Executive Department to the brutal infliction of death via B52 bombers on the Indochina population.  What is similar in 1972 to 1850 (ignoring the exponential improvement of explosives and delivery systems) is that the U. S.  government, either directly through the Army or Navy, or indirectly through its various trade, security-intelligence, and other agencies, still deals with non-American people as though they were populations of non-persons.  

            It is possible, I believe, that the brutalization of the American people is something historically engendered, and important among the earlier shaping influences is that of the public attitude and treatment accorded to the native Americans since fist settlement by Europeans on the east coast.

74.    Yurok for “good”.

75.    I do not recall reading any ethnographic account of Yurok curling by a group of female doctors or shamans which seems to be what Gibbs is reporting.

76.    Redick McKee, who left his son, John, in Scott Valley to clean up certain details of Indian relations, recorded the events of the expedition from November 6 1851 , when the party started its return from Scott Valley , until its arrival in San Francisco on December 29, 1851 .  His closing words, no doubt intended to be encouraging and prophetic, refer to the journey whose “results will, I hope, promote the interest of the Indian tribes visited, the peace and prosperity of the State, and tend to carry out the benevolent policy of our government.”  Because of the refusal of the U. S. Senate on July 8, 1852 to ratify the eighteen treaties entered into with various California Indian groups, his prophecy came to nothing.  





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