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Huntington Free Library 

Native American 



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3 1924 097 634 863 


n^^^CIFIC Northwest] : Splawn (A.J.) Ka-mi-akin, The Last Hero of 

tlfeiiYakimas. Numerous portraits and plates, 8vo, pp._454, cloth. Privately 

printed by author, 1917. $18.50. (/AXL*^ \j > ^^6a il^. [ 144 

Fine copy, almost new, of a scarce volume. Pl mr- I'LK^—^^ 

Cornell University 

The original of tiiis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 


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tlye greatest toilb tribe tl)at e»er 
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tlyroM0l^out tlfe ^ortJftocst. 






,\ BY 

AljiSPLAWN ■'^,fc 








In writing this book of historical sketches of the early days, 
the author makes no claim to literary merit. Plain facts are told 
in plain language. My hope has been to correct some statements 
which I knew to be wrong and to add some new facts that might 
be of interest to different localities. 

The writer's memory goes back to a time when the great 
Inland Empire of Eastern Oregon, Washington and the present 
Idaho was a vast country inhabited only by the Indian, coyote 
and jack rabbit. The highways of travel were the deeply worn 
trails running in every direction which had been followed by the 
wild tribes for generations. Mountain stream and boundless 
prairies were spread out before us where we roamed at will. 

It is to present the Indian side of the War of 1855-8 that 
the writer has undertaken this work. He has spent many years 
in gathering stories and statements as to why they fought and 
how they fought, descriptions of their battles, and names of the 
killed and wounded. The task was difficult since superstition 
keeps the red man from talking to the white man on such 
subjects. My long residence among them, together with the fact 
that I have always treated them right, gained me their confidence. 

I have talked, during the years, with many of their old chiefs 
and warriors who participated in the war, and they all tell prac- 
tically the same story. Having spent over 50 years among them 
and' knowing Indian character as I believe it is known to few 
men, I have no hesitation in saying that I believe their state- 
ments, at least in the main, to be true. 




Parentage of Ka-mi-akin — Prediction of his greatness — Coming of white man 


Characteristics — ^First herd of cattle in Yakima — Early garden and irrigation 
ditch — 'First Catholic mission. 



Meeting with Ka-mi-akin — Chiefs' plans for a confederacy — Grande Ronde 
council — Distribution of territory — Walla Walla named council ground — 
Plans of Lawyer. 


Alleged plot against Gov. Stevens — Speeches of chiefs — Third reservation — 
Treaty signed — Description of reservations — Annuities. 

Council of chiefs — Qualchan's oath — Miners killed at ford of Yakima — Two 
men killed near Ump-tan-um — Indian Agent Bolon murdered — Mormon am- 

Haller's campaign — ^Battle of Toppenish Creek — Night retreat — Slaughter 
starts over motintains — Parley at Edgar Rock — Retirement of soldiers — Maj. 
Rains' expedition — Battle of Union Gap — 'Retreat of Indians — ^Ah-tan-um 
mission burned — Building- of block houses — Legend of lucky stone. 


Rogue River uprising — Yakimas help Chief Leschi — Eneas' trip to Olympia — 
Col. Wright's approach — 0-w-hi declares for peace — ^Ka-mi-akin" departs to 
Palouse country — 'Lockout's intervention — Ow-hi surrenders. 

VIII. FORT SIMCOE ■ - - Page 63 

listablished in 1856 — Becomes agency in i860 — Indian agents — Purchase of 
cattle — Ft. Simcoe revisited. 


Cornelius' command attacked — Capt. Hembree killed— Yellow-wash steals 


COUNTRY Page 75 

Col. Wright's reports — Ow-hi's visit described — Bridge across Naches— 'Great 


Regulars and Volunteers camp apart — ^Stevens attacked en route- to The 
Dalles — Lo-kout's combat — Steptoe to the rescue — Post established at Walla 

Horse thief makes trouble — Quil-ten-e-nock's death — So-happy killed — Step- 
toe's defeat. 

Col. Wright ordered out — Treaty with Nez Perces — Battle of Four Lake&— 
Indians capitulate — Eight hundred horses shot. 


Death of Lieut. Allen — Mountain pursuit of Indian band— Many murderers 


Expedition to Eraser River— David McLoughlin chosen leader— Robert 
Frost's account— Death of leisurely Californian— Attack by In-no-mo-se-cha s 
band — Miners elude them — Reach Thompson River. 

CONTENTS— Continued 


Ow-hi tries to save son — Qual-chan hung — Brother Lo-kout efecapes — ^Marries 
Qual-chan's squaw — Ow-hi makes dash for liberty — 'Is shot — Ka-mi-akin in 
British Columbia — Goes to Buffalo country — Author meets him at Rock Lake 
in Palouse country in 1865 — Dies fifteen years later — Skloom buried" near 
Cascade mill — Rem.oved to Toppenish Creek. 


WAR - Page 133 

Stevens and Ka-mi-akin compared. 


Hatred of white race — ^Fought in many battles — 'Saw Custer killed on Little 
Big Horn — Sharpshooter in Steptoe battle — Theodore Winthrop's guide over 
the mountains. 


Author leaves home in the Willamette for Klickitat — Only sixteen years old — ^ 
Homes of early settlers — The Dalles, a frontier town — Sees Indian hung — 
Moo-sum-pah — Indian maiden a neighbor — 'Legend of Moo-sum-pah — -Visits the 

LEY Page 146 

F. M. Thorp, first settler — Neighbors arrive — First white women to see Kit- 
titas — Author' visits Mok-see — Indian alarms — Saved by Indian girl — Terrible 
winter of 1 86 1-2 — Cattle die by thousands — -Indians lose hundreds of ponies — 
We-i-pah brings chinook — First school teacher — Mining excitement. 


Created in 1863 — Changed two years later to Yakima — First officers — Early 

XXII. THE COWBOY OF 1861 - Page 160 

Cattle Drive to Cariboo mines — -Encounter with Chief Moses — Indian attack 
averted — Friendship with In-no-mo-se-cha Bill — -Scalp dance — ^Chief Tonasket 
— Governor Moody's gift — Major Thorp's prophecy — Wintering on. Bonaparte 
Creek — Drive resumed in spring — Boone Helm — Cattle sold — Return to 


British Columbia revisited in 1905 — Many changes — Pfediction come true — 
old trails become thoroughfares. 


MINES - - -■ Page 1,86 

Story of Moses Splawn, one of discoverers — Seekers join with another com- 
pany — Bannock Indian's story — Attack and death of Grimes — Retreat of P-ios- 

XXV. GOING HOME - Page 194 

Winter journey to Willamette — (Lal-looh's proposal — Hard going in soft snow 
— Last stage by steamboat. 


Pack horses run off — Pa-ni-na*s death — Bacon to Cariboo — Council ground at 
Che-lo-han — Packing for Oregon Jack — -Winter trip^ out — Archibald McKinley. 


Country gold mad — Suspicious visitor— 
to Rocic Island — Trip with Chinaman. 

Country gold mad— ySuspxcious^ visitor — -Horse racing at Umatilla — Freighting 
" ck Isl ' "^ * '■' '^' ' 


Bands of cattle mixed^H'unting the trial — Held up by Indians — Packer 
John's cabins — Emigrant train. 

CONTENTS— Continued 


Thre« horsemen in pursuit — Lawyer's canyon— Mule equal to einergency. 


Start for Bhckfpot mines— Doctoring Indian herder— Held up by snow— 

Coeur d Alene mission— Early butchers— A night with road agents ,Henry 

^.^r'.'n-ri^onard Thorp's narrow escape— Mok-see under water— Death of 


Cattle in whirlpool— Trouble at ferries— Ground hog bad eating— Starvation 


Racing the grand champion — English colony loses wagers — ^Cattle buying 
errand — Nan-num-kin. 


Start for I-i-yas (Fish Lake)^^Stick Indians — Howit's story — Legend of 
Speel-yi s Son — Waptus Lake. 


French squaw men in i86.-i — Nah-cheez settlement — ^William Parker — ^First in 
Ahtanum^-Wenas pioneer — Selah's first settler — ^John Goodwin in Cowiche— 
First white baby— Initial sheep venture — General store established — Catholic, 
mission rebuilt — Settlers in Kittitas — Yakima City established — First wedding 
in Kittitas — 'First irrigation ditches — Emigrant train of 1852. 


Oregon importation 'in 18.^6 — ^First to Yakima brought by Ka-mi-akin, — Indians 
trade horses for cows — ^Early cattlemen — Mines the market — Business declines 
— Trade with Portland and the Sound — Stock losses in winter of 1880-1. 


His work — His disposition — Illustrative incidents — ^Shipping cattle by rail — 
Warning to cowboys. 


Great blizzard — No feed — 'Arrangement with steamboat — Intense cold — ■ 
Decision to quit trail. 


Robbers' Roost established in 1870 — ^Trade with-Indians — Race track near by 
— New settlers — (Early wedding — Edward Whitson herding sheep. 


Buffalo Horn's conspiracy — 'Failure of plot — Yakima settlers build forts — 
Renegades cross Columbia— ;Meet Mr, and Mrs. Perkins at Rattlesnake 
Springs — Both are shot — John Edwards identifies murderers — 'Moses under 
suspicion — Encounter with posse at lava beds — Murderers arrested — Break jail 
— Hide in swamp — AH finally accounted for. 

XL. REMINISCENCES OF 1880-1 Page 318 

Finds river closed — 'Steam'boat breaks ice — Crust over whole country — 
Horses and cattle die in their tracks — ^Tliousands of dead cattle — Author loses 
hundred head in ice jam — Starts out to make fortune anew. 

XLI. EARTHQUAKE OF 1,872 Page 334 


WILBUR - - Page 336 

Twenty years at Ft. Simcoe — Gets Indians allotted to his church — Charac- 
teristics of man — ^Cattle purchase blocked — Future friendly relations. 

CONTENTS— Continued 


A great sportsman — Wonderful control of his "people — Prevents war on the 
whites — :SpIendid looking Indian. 


Guide to two white men — ^Ascent of Ta-ho-mah — Gastronomic reputation — 
Matrimonial troubles — His new wife. 


Smo-hal-la's doctrine — Ko-ti-ah-an*s version — ^Salmon dance. 


Arrive in 1847 — Mission St. Rose — Under protection of chiefs — Ah-t^-tmi 
mission destroyed — Activity of fathers in whole Indian country — Father 


Journey of Pe-peu-mox-m.ox to California — ^Death of liis son — ^Horse intro- 
duced by Spaniards — Indian tliefts — Favorite colors — The cayuse. 


Famous old packers — Saddles — ^A train starting out. 


Malheur discovery in 1845 — Failure of attempt to relocate the spot — British 
Columbia gold in 1858— Rush to new territory — Trouble with Indians — 
Williams Creek — Rich rewards — Thousands in gold washed out at rich bar. 


Drive over mountains in 1840 — First through Yakima with James Longmire 
in 1853. 


General Joel Palmer pioneer driver — 'Follow Indian trails — 'Portage by 


Tribute to early settlers — Incidents of long journey — Old west gone. 


NATIVE Page 387 

Eastern Washington tribes — Meaning of word Yakima — Government and war 
methods — Temperament — Marriage customs — Morals — i Dances — 'Gambling — ' 
Food — Treatment of sick — Arts and Crafts. 


Wish-poosh, the great beaver — Qiinook winds — Legend of I-yap-pe-ah — Stick 
Indians — ^Legend of Painted Rocks — Union Gap — 'Lone Giant Woman — Soda 
Springs tradition — Fortified villages — Indian evangelist. 


A chapter of first things. 


SPLAWN Page 439 









- 36 














, 124 


















- 288 








- 339 














- 437 



Parentage of Ka-mi-akin — Romantic Love Story of 
Ja-ya-yah-e-ha and Ka-e-mox-nith — Prophecy of 
Medicine Man Concerning Future Greatness of their 
Son — Return of Mother to Her Own Tribe. 

Before the coming of the white man there was a young 
Indian warrior named Ja-ya-yah-e-ha, whose father was of the 
Sha-hap-tan or Nez Perce tribe and his mother of the Choppenish 
or Palouse nation. Born at Asotin, Washington, near the present 
city of Lewiston, Idaho, he became a noted brave who always 
joined in the annual buffalo hunts on the east side of the Rocky 
mountains, where he and his fellow tribesmen were sure to meet 
their ancient enemies, the Blackfeet, and other nations who resented 
this encroachment of the Indians further west upon what they con- 
sidered their game preserve. Many pitched battles have been fought 
between the Nez Perces and their allies on the one hand and the 
Blackfeet, Crows and their allies on the other, during these buffalo 

Of Ja-ya-yah-e-ha it was said that he bore a charmed life. 
However that may be, it is certainly a fact that his enemies feared 
him, for he was a fierce and desperate fighter. A tall, command- 
ing figure, a superb horseman and reckless beyond the point of 
danger, he would be a remarkable man in any battle. Restless by 
nature, he was constantly on the move, so that his fame became 
widespread and he was a welcome guest in strange wigwams. Yet 
he was shiftless, accumulating little wealth in horses, his war ponies 
alone being his pride 

The thirst for adventure often carried him beyond the confines 
of his tribe. Sometimes he was to be seen with the Cay-uses in their 
forays through the country of the Sho-sho-nees or Snakes, who 
inhabited at that time the eastern part of the present Idaho and 
adjoining Utah. These expeditions were for the purpose of stealing 
horses and were often so successful that many fine steeds were driven 
home to swell the already large bands which had been captured in 
former years from this same tribe. This, indeed, was the source 
from which the Nez Perces, Cay-uses and Walla Wallas obtained 
their first horses. 

In one of these expeditions two horses of exceptional speed 
were captured, one a bay, the other a sorrel. The bay was taken by 
a Cay-use Indian, the sorrel by a Nez Perce brave. The former 
became known as the swiftest horse in the Cay-use nation, while the 
latter held like honors with the Nez Perces. The fame of these 
two animals grew to such an extent that nothing short of a contest 

2 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

between them for speed over a race course would settle the question 
which was the more fleet. 

Arrangements were made by the tribes to meet on neutral 
ground for the great race. A spot in the Palouse country was 
selected and here the Indians from far and near gathered in great 
numbers to witness the race between two of the fastest horses that 
had ever been known among the red men of the Northwest. Never 
had the plains of the Columbia seen so great a gathering. Each 
tribe backed its favorite to the limit. 

Now, Ja-ya-yab-e-ha had coveted the splendid sorrel ever since 
the horse had been captured from the Snakes. He had offered for 
it his whole band, save his few war ponies, without avail. But his 
mind was made up to possess it or die in the attempt. Knowing 
it must be done by strategy, he sought out the old gray-haired med- 
icine man who had been the companion and friend of his father. 
The aged doctor replied, "I will consult my Tam-man-na-was (guid- 
ing spirit) and see what can be done to help you. Return to me in 
two days." 

Promptly at the time set Ja-ya-yah-e-ha appeared before the 
medicine man, who told him that a certain root, dried, powdered and 
rubbed over the hand, then applied to the horse's nose, would make 
it wild and vicious towards all save the one with the odor of the 
root on his hand. 

Dressed in his best buckskin suit, with a buffalo robe tied around 
his waist, and a bow and quiver of arrows strapped over his shoul- 
ders, Ja-ya-yah-e-ha appeared at the race course on the great day. 
The race was to be a test of endurance as well as speed. Far down 
the valley a monument of rocks was piled and the ground to be 
covered was from a point near the village to and around the mound, 
then back to the starting point, a distance of several miles. Men 
were stationed at the monument to make sure that the riders went 
around it. 

All was ready for the mount, excitement running high, and 
men and women betting even their wearing apparel, all else having 
already been put up on the result. But lo ! the sorrel is rearing and 
plunging, kicking and biting at every person who comes near it. 
Ja-ya-yah-e-ha has touched its nose with the magic powder and is 
standing by to watch results. 

Known to be the greatest horseman of his day, it was small 
wonder that when he offered his services they were accepted, 
although not without some misgivings, for the horse's master spoke 
thus, "Ja-ya-lah-e-ha, lay aside your trappings. Take off the buf- 
falo hide ; it is heavy and so are the quiver of arrows and your buck- 
skin. Why wear these? Put on a su-pah-col-ext (breech clout) " 

The covetous one replied, "No ; to show you that I can ride him, 
I go as I am or not at all." 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 3 

The bystanders now interfered, pointing out their disappoint- 
ment if the race should fail. The owner wavered and finally handed 
the rope to Ja-ya-yah-e-ha, who with, outstretched arm touched the 
horse's nose. The animal's spirit subsided; it became docile again. 
Amid a silence eloquent of wonder, Ja-ya-yah-e-ha mounted, erect 
and immobile ; the sorrel, with only a hair rope in its mouth to guide 
it, stood quivering, head high, nostrils distended, showing in every 
line the strain of the desert, until the word was given, "Go!" 

They bounded forward — ^what a race! what a scene! The 
plains were colored with autumn — it was Indian summer. Away 
off hung the blue haze ; near by were the wigwams and the Indians 
standing in breathless expectancy watching the two sons of Arabia 
fly like the whirlwind down the bunch grass valley. A wild yell 
goes up from the watchers at the monument. The sorrel is in the 
lead. On! on! without lash of whip, under the steady pull of its 
clever rider, goes the pride of the Sha-hap-tans. It passes the pile 
of rocks, but what is this? It does not turn ; it keeps on going ! 

Those stationed near the monument draw back in alarm. Has 
the man lost control, or is he feigning? Woe betide him, if he is ! 
But no; they see he makes no effort to turn. He has become but 
a shadow going away from them towards the setting sun. 

Excitement ran riot in that vast gathering of red men ; disap- 
pointment and rage were heard in every wigwam. The act of a 
reckless daredevil had let Babel loose. The greatest sporting event 
of the time had been ruined. All bets were declared off. The 
village broke up forthwith, each tribe going its way, sullen and 

The owner of the stolen horse, with darkened brow and a tom- 
ahawk in hand, leaped on the fleetest mount he could procure, and, 
accompanied by a few who wished to see the end of the affair, 
started in hot pursuit, which continued till they reached the Colum- 
bia. There they stopped. Should they go further, when they were 
ignorant of the character of the tribes beyond the great river? 
Might it not rnean complete disaster? Thus they reasoned, and 
slowly turned back, beaten and outwitted. 

After leaving behind his outraged tribe, Ja-ya-yah-e-ha bent 
every energy to evading his pursuers and carrying out his well-laid 
plan. The rapid strides of his sure-footed horse were taking him 
over the bunch grass plains, along the banks of the Palouse river to 
Wastucna coulee, down which he sped! past Wastucna lake, nor 
slackened until the sun was down behind the western mountains 
and he had reached the Columbia river. As he paused for a brief 
moment before crossing the dividing line that would cut him off 
from his tribe, he looked at the mount for which he had risked exile 
and life, and he smiled. It was worth the game. 

He decided to put off the crossing till morning, snatching here 
a few hours' sleep and giving the sorrel a chance to graze. Before 

4 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

daylight he was mounted and riding slowly up the river, where he 
came upon a small encampment of the So-kulk tribe. The Indians 
treated him hospitably, and in a canoe crossed him over the river, 
swimming his horse alongside. On the spot where he landed now 
stands the town of White Bluffs. 

Ja-ya-yah-e-ha rode on up the river and a few hours later, as 
he passed around a bluff, there came into view the ancient village 
of Pi-nah, the home of the Wi-nah-pams or Priest Rapids Indians, 
whose chief, So-wap-so, was the founder of the dreamer religionf 
still practiced by that tribe and some others. So-wap-so also posed 
as a prophet. Ja-ya-yah-e-ha tarried for a day as the guest of the 
chief to learn something of the tribe beyond, for in his buffalo hunts 
east of the Rocky mountains he had met a few warriors whose coun- 
try he believed to be still further west. So-wap-so said : "Son, go 
the way I point out and after a short day's ride you will find the 
powerful Pisch-wan-wap-pams, whose chief, the great and wise 
We-ow-wicht, is my friend." 

Continuing up the river a few miles, he found the trail as 
described, leaving the stream and leading up a narrow valley in a 
westerly course. This valley is now known as Honson's canyon. 

A few hours' travel at an easy gait brought him to the summit 
of the divide between the Columbia and the beautiful E-ya-ki-ma* 
or Kittitas valley. On down the western slope he went till the 
valley was reached with its many small streams winding their way 
through the thick bunch grass which covered the surrounding plain, 
rushing on as if anxious to contribute their mite to the river below. 
Here he found a few lodges and by the sign language inquired 
for the chief, who, he learned, could be reached by following up the 
river a short distance to a white bluff called Kit-ti-tas (white 
earth). This bluff is about a mile above the present city of Ellens- 

During this day of solitary wandering in a strange land, Ja-ya- 
yah-e-ha's ardor had subsided. His mind had been actively engaged 
in solving that most perplexing problem, "What shall I do?" He 
felt that he dare not return to his own country for some little time. 
Though he had always been of a roving character and owned no 
wigwam, he thought today of his people, and of Wa-ni-nah, most 
beautiful maiden of the tribe, for whom he had offered to part 
even with his war ponies, that she might become mistress of his 
lodge. His heart was bitter as he remembered how old Ko-las-ket, 
her father, had rejected his suit, saying that she, the pride of his 
wigwam, must become the bride of one who was not a wanderer, 
one who could offer something more than a few war ponies and a 
string of wampum as assurance that in old age she might still be 
among her own people, and not a slave in some hated nation. 

tSee Chapter 27. 

*Ross in his "Fur Hunters" says the Indians called it so in 1814. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 5 

As he rode on, having these thoughts in mind, it struck him 
how like he was to the wolf howling on the hillside. He paused 
to listen. "Ah, I have it!" he cried. "No one shall know. I will 
be your brother, Ki-yi-yah (howling wolf)." 

Reaching the village at Kit-ti-tas, he became at once the cen- 
ter of attention. The lem-e-ies (old squaws) ceased weaving their 
baskets, the maidens cast shy looks of admiration, papooses scam- 
pered off to their different lodges, old men stood silently by with 
searching looks, while the young warriors with haughty mien won- 
dered if this lone rider bore a message of war. The dogs, those 
mongrel curs so numerous about an Indian encampment, which 
always set up the ki-yi at the approach of anything strange, were, 
curiously enough, mute and still. By the code sign the stranger 
asked for the chief. An Indian disappeared among the lodges, but 
soon returned and motioned to Ja-ya-yah-e-ha. Dismounting and 
throwing the hair rope to the ground, the newcomer followed, his 
trained sorrel standing as quietly as if tied. Reaching the chief's 
lodge, he was bidden to be seated on the buffalo robe beside his 
host, We-ow-wicht, a man of magnificent physique, his hair tinged 
with gray, his large head and deep, piercing eyes indicating a strong, 
intelligent character. The pipe was filled and lighted by the e-li-tee 
or slave and handed to the chief. We-ow-wicht took a few puffs, 
blowing the smoke towards the four cardinal points, then passed 
the pipe to his guest, who did likewise, a strict silence being observed 
during the ceremony. The chief then turned with inquiring eyes 
and asked, "Your name, whence come you, and why?" 

"My name is Ki-yi-yah," the guest replied. "I belong to the 
Sha-hap-tan tribe. I have been far towards the rising sun, where 
we killed the buffalo and fought the enemy beyond the stony moun- 
tains. I have captured horses and done battle with the Sho-sho-nees 
far off to the southeast. I seek knowledge. I have traveled many 
moons and visited many tribes to learn of their coimtry and habits, 
and in my wanderings have heard of this beautiful vast country 
and the warlike spirit of the Pisch-wan-wap-pams and the fame of 
their chief We-ow-wicht. I come to visit you that I may learn. 
That is all." 

"It is well,", the chief gave answer. "Your horse will be put 
with my band and cared for; this lodge will be your home while 
you remain." 

Word was passed by the slave to a courier without that the 
wanderer was a great warrior who had battled in faraway lands 
and that he was to be the house guest of the chief. Curiosity thus 
satisfied, the camp routine was resumed. 

During the same evening, while Ki-yi-yah was deep in relating 
some adventure, there entered the wigwam Ka-e-mox-nith (Spotted 
Fawn), the chief's daughter. At sight of her the story-teller 
stopped short and gazed. She was the first maiden of the tribe 

6 Ka-mi-akin—The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

that he had seen closely and he wondered if all were like her, so 
tall and lithe, with long black hair and eyes that shone like stars. 
Dressed in simple buckskin, with a necklace of haiqua shells, she 
looked a princess. The chief's eyes rested upon his guest search- 
ingly for a moment. Then he motioned the girl to retire and 
Ki-yi-yah to proced with his narrative. 

The new arrival soon became a welcome guest at every lodge ; 
his tales of adventure in distant lands were heard with wonder and 
admiration. Quickly he mastered the not difficult language of the 
Pisch-wan-wap-pams, and his strong personality and romantic his- 
tory won for him a high place in the powerful tribe. 

Summer had passed and there had come the first tinge of 
autumn — signal for these people to move to the huckleberry moun- 
tains. Following up the Ya-ki-ma river to Cle-el-um, then on be- 
yond the lake, they went into camp at I-i-yas (Fish lake). Here 
the women with their baskets sought the hills to gather berries, 
while the men, with bows and arrows, took to the mountains to kill 
the deer, mountain goat and bear which were here in abundance. 

One day Ki-yi-yah, becoming separated from the other hunters, 
found himself alone, high up among the craggy peaks. Never 
before had he seen such mountains. Stretched out before his gaze as 
far as the eye could reach stood the needle peaks covered with eter- 
nal snow. He had crossed the Rocky mountains in many different 
places and traveled over the Lo-lo trail beyond the Bitter Root 
range, but had seen nothing to compare with the picture before him. 
Sitting down on a ledge of rock, he let his mind wander back over 
the checkered past to the time he took his first scalp, when, in 
single combat, he slew the great Crow warrior Tuck-mow-nook 
in the buffalo country ; or when, in a fierce fight to save the scalp 
of his dying friend, Tam-e-luke, he had laid low with his tomahawk 
Man-i-to-wah, the pride of the Sho-sho-nees. He thought again of 
Wa-ni-nah, the fairest of the Sha-hap-tans and of her hated old 
father, Ko-las-ket. 

Glancing down to an alpine meadow just below, he espied a 
gray deer of immense size and great branching horns such as he 
had never seen before. From his quiver of arrows he selected the 
one with the longest point and crept stealthily down through the 
rocks and brush until within a short distance of this giant of his 
race, who stood unsuspecting the nearness of a lurking foe. The 
whang of the bow, and the arrow shot swiftly out on its deadly 
course. With a leap into the air and a cry that echoed from the 
surrounding crags, the great deer bounded down the mountains 
with the hunter in hot pursuit. Following the bloody trail, which 
led in the direction of the Indian camp, Ki-yi-yah came suddenly 
upon Ka-e-mox-nith alone, filling her basket with berries. Sur- 
prised, each stood looking at the other. Then Ki-yi-yah spoke, "Be 
not frightened at me, for long have I waited to meet you thus. I 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 7 

have felt that your father knew of my fondness for you and I did 
not wish to give you grief, for I am a stranger from a distant tribe, 
who has followed the warpath- in far-away lands since boyhood and 
never owned a wigwam. Back among my people I thought I 
loved Wa-ni-nah, the beautiful maid of the Sha-hap-tans, but her 
father refused my offer. So when I came among your people, it was 
to leave behind the past. I cared only for my faithful horse until 
my eyes met yours. Then Wa-ni-nah was forgotten as the passing 
winds. I love you. In the village we will meet as strangers, but 
so long as the sun shines you will hold the heart of Howling Wolf. 
I go now to follow the trail of the gray deer that I wounded far 
up in the mountains." 

"Me-ow-wah!" exclaimed the maiden. "I saw him pass only 
a short time before you came and he was reeling as he ran." 

The hunter again took up the chase. But he looked back 
once and there, as he had left her, stood the only human being that 
had ever subdued him. Hastening on he came to the stream at the 
foot of the hill not far from the camp, and there, in an open spot, 
lay the monarch of the wilderness. The savage eye of the warrior 
gleamed as he viewed his fallen prey. Never, since taking his first 
scalp, had his heart so leaped with joy. 

The deer being too large to handle alone, he went on to the 
camp for help. When he spoke of the color and great size of his 
kill, warriors and hunters gathered around him in excited inquiry. 
"It is Me-ow-wah !" they exclaimed. With pack horses made ready 
for carrying the meat, they all repaired to the spot and, gathering 
around the quarry, again yelled "Me-ow-wah !" 

This grand specimen, it seems, had made its appearance in the 
locality several years before. Hunters had seen it at different times 
and had sent their swift arrows after it at short range, to no avail. 
Many tales were told of it and the conclusion had been reached 
that a strange spirit of some sort was roaming these mountains in 
the form of a deer. Color was lent to this theory by the fact that 
no deer of this kind had ever been seen in the past. Regarding 
it as an animal of distinction, they had given it the name Me-ow- 
wah (the great chief of his tribe). 

The deer was skinned and the meat taken into camp. Two 
men were required to carry the horns. Both hide and horns were 
presented to We-ow-wicht. A ceremony was performed in the 
village to celebrate the adoption of Me-ow-wah's slayer into the 
tribe, and when it was ended, We-ow-wicht bade Ki-yi-yah wel- 
come as one of his people. Ka-e-mox-nith sat quietly looking on, 
remembering perhaps how the great hunter and warrior thus hon- 
ored had told her of his love out on the hill a few hours before, 
and wondering if she ever would become the mistress of his wig- 

8 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

Out from among the buffalo robes in the corner of his wig- 
wam arose the old gray-headed medicine man and oracle of his 
tribe, Wa-tum-nah, whose tottering limbs and withered form told 
of great age. Thus he spoke: 

"I am a very old man ; so old that I have seen generations come 
and go. The playmates of my boyhood have all gone the long trail, 
and Wa-tum-nah alone is left, the last of his race. Many summers 
have I slept in peace, for no voice called me, but today my Tam- 
man-a-was (the light) comes back to me after many years and I 
feel the fire of youth again. Memories of the past return as if of 
yesterday. Again I fight the Sno-qual-mies at Ka-sit-kees (Easton) 
and whip them for the last time. Again I meet the Pa-ho-ti-cute 
and conquer them in the beautiful Selah, then drive them down the 
Tap-teal (Yakima river) as far as Pis-co (mouth of the Satus), 
taking all the country above, which is yet ours. We-ow-wicht's 
sons now hold We-nas, Nah-cheez, Kwi-wy-chas (Cowichee), Ah-ta- 
num, Sim-co-e, Top-pen-ish, as far down as Pis-co. 

"Always have I been a great medicine man and prophet. When 
my Tam-man-a-was appears to me, I lie as asleep, and as in a 
dream I see the future. There is a vision before me now of things 
to come. Far to the east I see a pale-faced people pushing the red 
man back towards the setting sun. The red men fight this onward 
march to no avail; they are driven away from the land of their 
forefathers. Their dead lie strewn along the trails, their bones dry 
on the sandhills, while the living move ever farther west, pursued 
by their relentless foes. 

"You are now a happy people, but you will not always remain 
so. Ere many snows this same fate will come to you, for I now 
see those pale- faces with buffalo (oxen) hitched to large canoes on 
wheels moving towards us over the great plains. First they will 
pass through the country of the Cay-uses and the Walla Wallas 
and stop in the land of the Mult-no-mahs (Willamette valley). 
Thousands will follow as the years roll by. Soon they will move 
back over the big mountains and begin to take from you your beau- 
tiful valley. This will be the beginning of the end. 

"Ki-yi-yah will marry Ka-e-mox-nith, the flower of our tribe, 
and take her to his own country, where a son will be born. This 
son will return to the land of his mother and grow up among her 
people. When the Shwe-yap-pos (white men) invade this country, 
he will lead the E-ya-ki-mas in their last stand against the hated 
race. He and his warriors will fight long and hard, pursued night 
and day by these strange people, with no time to rest or gather 
food. Warriors will fall in battle ; old men and women, worn and 
weary, will die along the trail, and your head men beno more. 

"The pale-face will own your country and you will become a 
broken-hearted people — the war whoop no longer heard, your once 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 9 

great power gone midst the wailing sounds of your old women. 
You will vanish as a race. 

"The fire in my body is fast dying out. My race is run. What 
I have said will come to pass. Remember the last words of Wa- 

The old seer lay back, exhausted, on his buffalo robe. The 
people stood in a daze. Well they knew how accurate had been 
Wa-tum-nah's words in the past. In sadness each sought his lodge, 
the words just spoken by the old man sunk deep in his heart. 

As the sun went down that day behind the snowy peaks the 
spirit of Wa-tum-nah passed out to the great beyond. Wrapped 
in his robe, he was buried in the rocks on the hillside. Thus passed 
the greatest medicine man of his tribe, and where the happy sun- 
shine of life had held full sway, dark, gloomy forebodings now 
marked every face. 

We-ow-wicht sat alone in his lodge, the death of Wa-tum-nah 
weighing heavily on his heart. Not only had the old man, lying on 
the hill, been his own trusted friend and counselor, but his father's 
as well. Through his warnings the people had been saved from 
defeat in battles of the past and by bis plans they had been able to 
conquer their enemies. During the last few years, it was true, 
he had become aged and weak and had not spoken, but now that he 
was gone, all was darkness. 

Arousing himself, the chief gave orders to pack up at once and 
leave this unfortunate camp, moving to Lake I-yap^pe-ah, a day's 
travel to the south, where huckleberries and game were plentiful. 
On arriving at the new camp, it was found that Wa-tum-nah's squaw 
was missing. The news spread like prairie fire and soon the village 
was in an uproar. Ki-yi-yah mounted his horse and rode swiftly 
back to the old camp. A wail caught his ear from far up the moun- 
tainside by the grave of Wa-tum-nah. Climbing up, he found, on 
the pile of stones which marked the medicine man's last resting 
place, his faithful squaw, Wa-sas-se, lying. She was only a few 
years younger and had not wished to live without him, taking 
advantage of the bustle of moving camp to wander back to the 
grave which contained all she held dear. 

Stately and tall, Ki-yi-yah stood silently by, loath to disturb 
the last lament of the old crone. ' He built a fire to wait until morn- 
ing; and there, alone, amid the wailings for the dead, he thought 
of the last words of Wa-tum-nah and wondered if, indeed, Ka-e- 
mox-nith would be the mistress of his lodge, and if it would come 
to pass that his son should be the last hero of this tribe. The moon 
was rising slowly from behind the great mountain, casting its mel- 
low light over the rugged country. Giant mountains were on all 
sides, with deep canyons and roaring waters. The neighing of a 
horse in the valley below broke bis reverie. His sorrel sent back 
an answering call. As the sound of rolling rocks told the silent 

10 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

watcher that a horseman approached, he rose and moved forward. 
There on a milk-white horse, silvered by the moonlight, sat Ka-e- 

"You here !" cried the girl, in surprise. "How long have you 
been so?" 

"I came before the sun went down behind the big mountain," 
answered Ki-yi-yah. "I thought not to disturb her tonight, but 
to wait until morning. But you are of her tribe and have known 
her since childhood. Do as you like." 

Ka-e-mox-nith took Wa-sas-se in her arms and whispered in 
her ear. The mournful wail ceased ; a soft, happy smile stole over 
the wrinkled face. Putting her arm around the lovely girl, the 
bereaved one said, "You come to find and help me in my last grief. 
I am glad. I remember when you were born ; it was in the huckle- 
berry mountains near Lake I-yap-pe-ah. Your mother was near 
to death. Wa-tum-nah went to the snow mountains and brought 
back roots that saved her. We both sat by her side till she was well 
again. That was twenty summers ago. As you grew up so tall 
and straight and good we loved you as our own, and named you 
the 'Spotted Fawn' after the most beautiful and innocent creature 
that roams the hills. You whom we loved the most have come to 
me in my hour of grief. It makes me happy and content. From 
now on you are the light that guides Wa-sas-se; from here I go 
for the last time." 

Looking around at Ki-yi-yah, she asked when he came. Gazing 
at him for a time, she murmured, " 'Tis well ; Wa-tum-nah's words 
will come true." 

At daylight, Ka-e-mox-nith mounted her horse, taking the aged 
woman on behind, and the three started for the new encampment. 
On their arrival, there was rejoicing in the village, for Wa-sas-se 
was loved by her people. Ka-e-mox-nith was much in the company 
of the sad old squaw. It was easy to see that Wa-sas-se's strength 
was failing daily and it was not long before word was passed out 
from the lodge that she had followed Wa-tum-nah on the sunset 
trail. The snow was now well down on the mountains ; the women 
had gathered and cured enough berries, the hunters had sufficient 
dried meat for winter use, so the tribe set out for the winter quar- 
ters in the valleys below, extending from Ummish to At-sha. Dur- 
ing the early winter a party of young men, including Te-i-as, Shu-lu- 
skin and Ow-hi, sons of We-ow-wicht, then only small boys, but 
eager for sport, went down to visit their friends and relatives in the 
lower valleys of We-nas, Se-lah, Nah-cheez, Ah-tan-um and the 
ancient village of Pah-ho-ta-cute (Union Gap). They took with 
them a small band of horses to wager on the games. Ki-yi-yah 
went along, mounted on his sorrel. 

One of the chief sports indulged in at the different villages 
was ithel-le-cum, the ancient bone game. At Pis-co (tall grass), 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 11 

the point where the Satus creek empties into the Tap-teal or Yakima 
river, the Tap-teals, Whul-why-pams (Klickitats) and other visiting 
tribes were holding a jubilee of feasting, gambling and horse racing, 
and to this place came the young men from We-ow-wicht's tribe, 
bent on sport. At the bone game they were not successful. There 
had been many horse races, but none of importance, until Ki-yi-yah 
offered to wager his all on the sorrel against a brown, the pride of 
the His friends tried to dissuade him, but he had un- 
bounded faith in his horse. His boldness finally awakened their 
confidence so that they, too, put up everything on the race. Excite- 
ment ran high. Everything wagerable was stacked up, the space 
marked off and the Tap-teals, hilariously drunk with assurance, 
yelling and shouting. Off go the horses like rushing winds, up the 
valley to the turning point, then back, neck and neck ; but the sorrel 
comes calm and steady under the pull of his rider, while the brown 
is losing ground, despite the whip his rider is plying. As they come 
in, Ki-yi-yah ahead, is greeted by his yelling friends, while the Tap- 
teals, disappointed, seek their lodges, all the sport knocked out of 
them. With yells and songs the Pisch-wan-wap-pams departed 
homeward with their spoils. 

Thus the winter passed in the midst of plenty. Ki-yi-yah often 
met Ka-e-mox-nith and they became lovers, but not with the con- 
sent of her father, who treated his wandering guest with no famil- 
iarity. This made the lover restless. He was not used to being 
thwarted in his desires. The second winter passed in the same 
way, and yet he had not won the princess. When the roots were 
ready to dig, the salmon running up stream and everything in 
readiness to go into camp at Che-lo-hani again for the councils and 
sports, Ki-yi-yah sought out the chief and made a formal offer 
of all his horses for the daughter, but the chief made reply, "You 
are brave and my people like you, but my daughter must marry one 
who has the blood of chieftains in his veins." 

Ki-yi-yah, looking him full in the face, replied: "Remember 
the words of Wa-tum-nah !" Then he turned and walked away. 

The council ground was now full of wigwams, extending up 
and down the creek, while the plains were covered with horses. 
The women began to dig the kous and peluna, the bread and potato 
of the red man, while the male portion were as busy gambling and 
horse-racing. The Tap-teals had again matched the brown against 
the sorrel and lost. Their faith in their horse thus shaken, they 
had disposed of him to the victor, Ki-yi-yah, who gave for him 
the larger portion of his band. Though rejected by his sweetheart's 
father because of his bumble origin, Ki-yi-yah was not inwardly 
downcast and had plans of his own for dealing with the situation 
which required two fast horses. He went to Ka-e-mox-nith now, 
making known her father's verdict and his own hopes for the 

i2 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

"The time is now ripe," he said. "I own two of the fleetest 
horses. We can escape and go to my country, where my people 
will honor you and I will love you and care for you. We will set 
up our lodge by the great river Kim-moo-e-nim (Snake) and listen 
to its murmuring voice. The yellowbreast will sing from the tree- 
tops, and the wild flowers bloom for you." 

With eyes lighted by love she replied : "I care for my father, 
who has always been kind, but he has told me that I must marry 
Til-ko-sas, the pride of the Sno-qual-mies. Him I do not like. He 
and his tribe are canoe people, low, with broad, flat faces. They 
live upon fish and have no horses. Rather than meet such a fate, 
let the sun go out. If your people are like you, so tall and brave, 
I will love them, and on the banks of the great river of which you 
tell me we will build our lodge and hear the songs of the yellow- 
breast. While you love me, I will trust you. Let it be as Wa-tum- 
nah said." 

The following night they stole out from the village and, 
mounted on the best two horses that had ever been known among 
these tribes, made their way back over the route Ki-yi-yah had come 
two years before. 

We-ow-wicht awoke to find his daughter gone. Remembering 
the haughty warrior's defiant look and his parting words, he mur- 
mured, " 'Tis as Wa-tum-nah said. I must rest content. Some day 
she will return to me." 

Asotin was all astir when the news spread that the wanderer 
had returned with a princess of a powerful tribe. If Ki-yi-yah had 
not been a hero before, this surely made him one, and he was greeted 
royally. Old grudges were forgotten and, since the sorrel's right- 
ful owner was dead, there was no one with whom to do battle for 
the possession of the horse. Ki-yi-yah found, too, that the small 
band of horses he had left had been cared for by his brother, so 
that he did not return to poverty. 

The lodge was set up by the river and a domestic air reigned. 
The reckless spirit and thirst for blood and adventure had been 
calmed by the soft voice of Ka-e-mox-nith ; the war bonnet hung 
in the wigwam, its owner now busy hunting and fishing that his 
lodge might have plenty. The bride sat in the cool shade, a little 
apart from the tribe, weaving her baskets and doing her lord's bid- 
ding. At the end of a year (this was five years before the coming 
of Lewis and Clark) a boy was born in their lodge. They named 
him Ka-mi-akin and he was destined to become the most powerful 
man of his time. 

For ten years these simple people lived their life unmarred. 
Two more sons were born, one Skloora and the other Show-a-way, 
sometimes called Ice. Though she often thought of her own people^ 
Ka-e-mox-nith was content, until one day Ki-yi-yah, coming home 
after many hours' absence, found her unprepared to satisfy his hun- 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 13 

ger, and said : "You have too much to do now with the children 
and I have thought of taking another woman, so that your work 
might grow less. Wa-ni-nah still loves me and her father is now 

With an outward calm bom of a long line of royal ancestry, 
she quietly asked, "Is your love still warm for Wa-ni-nah ?" 

He smiled his affirmative and broke her heart. 

Ki-yi-yah shortly after joined a hunting party to be gone sev- 
eral days. After he was out of sight, Ka-e-mox-nith caught a fleet- 
footed pony and the brown horse, now grown old but still active, 
the one thing which ha,d come from her own people and which had 
always seemed a link binding her to them. When all the village 
was asleep, she put the two older boys, Ka-mi-akin and Skloom, on 
the pony and mounted the brown, with her youngest child behind, 
then turned her face towards the setting sun, with only the stars to 
guide her. Fearful lest she be followed if she took the only trail she 
knew, that of her bridal journey, she resolved to go down the hills 
and plains on the south side of the Kim-moo-e-nim and thus throw 
her pursuers off the scent. At Wal-lu-la the Indians treated her 
well and crossed her over in a canoe, swimming the horses. The 
chief's son, a few years older than Ka-mi-akin, took a great liking 
to the boy and begged to accompany them a way on their journey. 
This lad was Pe-peu-mox-mox, who became in later years one of 
Ka-mi-akin's greatest friends and strongest allies. 

Ka-e-mox-nith followed up the Tap-teal, passing several vil- 
lages of the tribe of that name, where she was given food and good 
wishes. The fourth day after leaving Asotin, she arrived at the 
village of Pah-ho-ta-cute, among her own people. Her brother, 
Show-a-way, was at this time head man for all the people from the 
mouth of the Ah-tan-um down the Tap-teal as far as Pis-co. Her 
father, previous to his death two years before, had divided his 
domain, all the country over which he held jurisdiction as head 
chief, among his eight sons. Shu-lu-skin was given the Nah-cheez 
and the mountains at its source. It became his duty to see that the 
waters flowed unmolested, that the fish might run up and the people 
in the lower valley have water to drink. 

To Sko-mow-wah was given the Kwi-wy-chas and the Ti-e-ton ; 
to Wi-na-ko, the We-nas, Ump-tan-um and Pa-ha-to (Roza sta- 
tion). This left all the Pisch-wan-wap-pam or Kittitas valley, the 
lakes and the mountains at the source of the Yakima divided among 
the four older brothers, Te-i-as, Ow-hi, Tuh-noo-num and Te-wi-net, 
each one a ruler in his own territory. 

Ka-e-mox-nith decided to stay in the lower valley with the 
four younger brothers. As the years passed, more of her people 
moved down tmtil at last the greater portion were in the lower 
valleys. Thus it was that they gradually lost their identity and 
later became known as Yakimas. 


Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas i5 



His Rise to Power — Importation of Cattle — Founding 
of Catholic Mission — ^Trouble with Cayuses — Estimates 
by Contemporaries. 

History produces its great men just as truly as great men make 
history. When the emergency arises, the master mind is there. 
Crowded into a comer of the vast country which had once been 
theirs without dispute ; forced back to the western ocean by people 
who had been for generations pushing them away from the rising 
sun, a proud, free, warlike nation could not surrender without a last 
fight. There is no fighting without a leader. That the last stand 
of the Indians of the Northwest was in keeping with the tragic dig- 
nity of their destiny was due to the genius and devotion of the 
Yakima chief, Ka-mi-akin. 

A typical North American Indian, the strongest personality 
of his time west of the Rocky mountains, the dominating charac- 
teristic of Ka-mi-akin was love for his people and his native land 
and desire for the peaceful possession of it. A self-made man, he 
rose to the highest place through sheer force of ability as an organ- 
izer and leader; not through warlike tendencies, for by nature 
Ka-mi-akin was peaceful. He was held in great esteem as a coun- 
selor. All the tribes called on him to settle matters of importance. 
The Cay-uses consulted him after the Whitman massacre. He con- 
demned the deed and refused to join with them in fighting the 
Oregon volunteers. Pe-peu-mox-mox consulted Ka-mi-akin and 
Chief Ellis of the Nez Perces about his proposed war of revenge 
on the settlers of the Willamette valley for the killing of his son, 
Elijah Hedding, in California. Both advised against it, and Chief 
Ellis was sent to Ft. Vancouver to warn Dr. McLoughlin. 

His convincing power as an orator, together with a wide 
acquaintance throughout the Northwest and a keen insight into the 
affairs of the different tribes, made him a natural leader. No man 
was so well equipped as he to form the confederacy of the nations 
for mutual protection. 

Of Ka-mi-akin's early life, not much has been told to me. In 
fact, it has taken much patient waiting and research to obtain an 
unbiased account of his life and character. There is no printed 
statement of his whereabouts after his departure with his family 
into British Columbia in 1858. Yet I saw him in 1865 in the 
Palouse country, where he lived for ten years or so longer. Though 
an old man then, he was still an impressive figure, his fine face 
yet showing the strength and dignity that had marked him through 

i6 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

Ever since my boyhood Ka-mi-akin has been a hero to me. I 
have listened eagerly to the old Indian historians when they unfolded 
anything relative to him, and put it away for future comparison, 
but, like their pale-faced brothers, they are likely to be biased, espe- 
cially in regard to this one character. 

The Pisch-wan-wap-pams, or those Yakimas who are real 
descendants of We-ow-wicht, resent having much said of him, for 
the reason that he was not wholly of their tribe and of royal lineage 
only on his mother's side. Then, too, he usurped the power of his 
uncle, Show-a-way, the son of Chief We-ow-wicht, thus breaking 
the correct line of succession. The Whul-why-pams, or Klickitats, 
who occupy the greater portion of the Yakima Indian reservation — 
the Jews of the Northwest, who would sell to the white man the land 
not of their forefathers — these interlopers tell nothing of Ka-mi- 
akin. He was of another nation. 

From his father, Ja-ya-yah-e-ha, or Ki-yi-yah, as he was known 
among the Yakimas, whom he resembled, Ka-mi-akin inherited a 
love for adventure and travel and was assured of a welcome among 
the different nations, forming strong friendships especially with 
Pe-peu-mox-mox of the Walla Wallas and A-pash-wa-hi-icht (Look- 
ing Glass), the noted war chief of the Nez Perces. In fact, he was 
as much at home in this tribe of his father as with the Yakimas. 
He often joined the Nez Perces in their annual buffalo hunts beyond 
the Rocky mountains and in their skirmishes with other nations. 
Unlike his father, he had the faculty of accumulating and in early 
manhood we find him the owner of many horses, the medium for 
comi>uting wealth in those days. His main home was in the foot- 
hills on the upper Ahtanum., now known as the A. D. Eglin ranch, 
in Tampico. It was here that Ka-mi-akin planted one of the earliest 
gardens in the agricultural history of Yakima. 

The fact that Ka-mi-akin's mother, Ka-e-mox-nith, was a prin- 
cess, naturally gave her son high standing in the tribe. But Ka-mi- 
akin's natural endowments were his best claims to leadership — 
daring, forcefulness, far-seeing good judgment and generosity. 
Small wonder that his peculiar ability as a leader was recognized 
while he was still young. 

It is said of him that when hunger came to any lodge he gave 
of his own store. He married Sal-kow, a daughter of Te-i-as, one 
of the older sons of We-ow-wicht. The four sons of We-ow-wicht 
who had inherited the Yakima country from Ump-tan-um to Pis-co 
were all weak personalities, not able to cope with great undertak- 
ings), and did nothing to prevent their nephew's rise to power. The 
young men flocked to Ka-mi-akin, and as early as 1840 the greater 
portion of the Yakimas recognized him as their head man, with 
power extending from Nah-cheez to Tap-tat (Prosser). 

At about this time he went to Ft. Vancouver to trade for cattle, 
which he drove to Yakima. This is said to have been the first herd 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 17 

to reach this valley. He showed good business sense in the importa- 
tion of the cattle, and demonstrated his intelligence as a stockman by- 
later purchases of cattle from emigrants to keep up the herd. With 
a few Nez Perces he obtained some cows from the first whites in 
exchange for horses in the Grande Ronde valley ; and again traded 
horses for cattle with emigrants at The Dalles. 

In 1847 he went to Walla Walla to ask for a Catholic piriest for 
his tribe. Two Oblate fathers, E. C. Chirouse and Paschal Richard, 
wer€ sent that same year to found a mission among the Yakimas, 
locating near Ka-mi-akin's village on the upper Ah-tan-um. 

In this year occurred the Whitman massacre, which brought on 
what is known as the Cay-use war. When the Cay-uses learned that 
the 0|regon volunteers were on their way to avenge the wanton 
murder of the mission people, they made frantic efforts to combine 
the different tribes in their defense, but failed. Ka-mi-akin refused 
to aid them, in the face of their threat to attack his own people. 

Bad feelings existed, indeed, for some time between these two 
tribes. Skloom, a brother of Ka-mi-akin, foreseeing the likelihood 
of an attack, built a fort or entrenchment on Sim-co-e creek. The 
following year, a small band of Yakimas, on a visit to the Cay-use 
tribe, stole two young women and brought them home. Wily Skloom 
knew that this rash act would give the waiting Cay-uses their oppor- 
tunity to act. Immediately he sent swift runners throughout the 
valley to tell the people to come at once to his fort. Scarcely were 
the Yakimas inside, when a large body of Cay-use warriors was 
seen approaching. A bitter two-days' fight ensued, in which three 
Cay-uses were killed and several wounded, while none of the Yak- 
imas were so much as hurt. The Cay-uses gave up the fight and 
returned home ; and this was the last of the troubles between these 
two tribes. 

The Yakimas were blessed by their isolation from the main trav- 
eled route of the whites. The great thoroughfare of the fur traders 
was the Columbia river between Ft. Vancouver and the trading 
posts in the interior, while the emigrant road was well to the south, 
passing down the Columbia. In the earlier settlement of the west, 
therefore, the Yakimas seldom came in contact with the Shwe-yap-po 
(white man), and then only when they went on trading expeditions. 
The Indians did not resent the coming of the fur traders and were 
glad to exchange SiUch skins as they had for needed articles which 
the traders carried. The missionaries, also, were well received and 
protected, since they came only to tell of the Great Spirit and point 
out the trail to the world beyond. 

It was the Koo-ya-wow-culth (white settler) whom they did 
not want at all. He was the dreaded one. In the long ago, a few 
of their greatest prophets in visions had foretold the coming of these 
people, who would wrest from them their land. The Indians have 
ideas of right and wrong which, if crude, are at least worthy of 
respect. Even to some white people there has. not seemed" much 

18 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

justice in the methods by which the red man was made to give up 
land his by right of possession and inheritance. It is certain that no 
Indian has ever seen any justice in the Walla Walla treaty. 

It is this attitude of protest which is so splendidly exemplified 
in the personality of Ka-mi-akin. His power seems to have struck 
even the man who did his best to match wits against him, Gov. 
Stevens. Speaking of the Yakima chief, as he appeared at the 
Walla Walla council, Stevens said : "He is a peculiar man, remind- 
ing me of the panther and the grizzly bear. His countenance has an 
extraordinary play, one moment in frowns, the next in smiles, flash- 
ing with light and black as Erebus the same instant. His pantomime 
is great and his gesticulation much and characteristic. He talks 
mostly in his face, and with his hands and arms."* 

"Every inch a king," is the way Theodore Winthrop charac- 
terized the chief, whom he met at the Ah-tan^um mission in 1853 
on the horseback trip through this country, of which he wrote in 
"The Canoe and the Saddle." "He was a tall, large man, very dark," 
writes Winthrop,f "with a massive square face and grave, reflective 
look. Without the senatorial coxcombry of Owhhigh, his manner 
was strikingly distinguished, quiet and dignified. He greeted the 
priests as a kaiser might a papal delegate. To me, as their friend, 
he gave his hand with a gentlemanly word of welcome. . 
Ka-mi-akin's costume was novel. Louis Phillippe, dodging the police 
as Mr. Smith, and adorned with a woolen comforter and a blue cotton 
umbrella, was unkingly and a caricature. He must be every inch 
a king who can appear in an absurd garb and yet look full royal. 
Kamaiakan stood the test. He wore a coat, a long tunic of fine 
green cloth. Like the irregular beds of a kitchen garden were the 
patches, of all shapes and sizes, combined to form this robe of cere- 
mony. . . . Yet Kamaiakan was not a scarecrow. Within this 
garment of disjunctive conjunction he stood a chieftainly man. He 
had the advantage of an imposing presence and bearing, and above 
all a good face, a well-lighted Phiros at the top of his colossal 

The two characters that stood out most prominently in the war 
of 1855-8 were Gov. Stevens and Ka-mi-akin, men alike in many 
respects and direct opposites in others. The white man was strong, 
brilliant, ambitious politically, eager to build up the new territory 
which had been entrusted to him. The red man, with some of the 
same mental attributes, was ambitious rather for his people than 
himself, bending his energ-ies to defeating any plan that might 
result in the enslaving of his tribe. Seeing clearly the meaning of 
the advance of white settlement, influenced perhaps by the prophecy 
of old Wa-tum-nah, which must have been many times repeated to 
him, in the thoughts and actions of a long life, he seems to have 
been a man of a wonderful consistency. 

*Life of General Isaac I. Stevens, by his son, Chapter XXIX, p. 38. 

tThe Canoe and the Saddle. Ed. by John Williams, Chapter XI, pp. 179-180. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 19 



Surveyors Bring Word of Coming of Governor Isaac 
Stevens — Indian Councils Held in the Grande Ronde, 
Oregon — Confederacy Formed to Resist Whites — 
Preparations for Walla Walla Council — Lawyer's Per- 

In 1853 Lieut. George B. McClellan arrived at Fort Vancouver 
with a party of men for the piirpose of exploring the Cascade moun- 
tains in the interest of the Northern Pacific railroad. His main 
object was to find, if possible, a feasible pass through this range. 
He was under the immediate command of I. I. Stevens, who had 
recently been appointed governor for Washington territory and who 
was then on his way overland from the East with a force of men, 
viewing out a route for this same railroad and making treaties with 
the different Indian tribes with which he came in contact. 

When McClellan left Fort Vancouver, Indian runners were 
dispatched to the Klickitats and Yakimas to notify the tribes of 
his coming. The first government equipped body of men to reach 
the Yakima country, it was regarded with suspicion. Skloom, a 
brother of Ka-mi-akin, was dispatched to the summit of the Cascades 
to meet the soldiers and learn of their intended movements and pur- 
poses. He returned with the additional information that Governor 
Stevens would be in their country the following year for the purpose 
of making a treaty with all the tribes ; that the Great White Father 
at Washington, D. C, wished to buy their lands and open them up 
for white settlement. Nothing more startling or undesired from the 
Indian viewpoint could have been mentioned. 

Upon his arrival at the Catholic mission on the Ahtanum, Mc- 
Clellan was met by Ka-mi-akin who, together with the priest, Father 
Pandosy, interviewed him both in regard to his own intentions and 
those of Gov. Stevens. Again, when McClellan was encamped on 
the Wenas during his exploring trip through the Nah-cheez pass, 
Ka-mi-akin visited him, and, immediately after, rode over to Ow-hi's 
home in the Kittitas valley to inform him of what he had learned. 
They made an arrangement that when the "white chief" (McClellan) 
reached Kittitas, Ow-hi should accompany him to Wen-at-sha 
(Wenatchee), with a view to confirmng what had already been 
reported and to gaining further information regarding the probable 
actions of Gov. Stevens. Ow-hi, accompanied by Quil-ten-e-nock, 
a brother of ,Sulk-talth-scos-um (Moses), did go on to Wenatchee 
with McClellan, and, a few days after his return home, rode to 
Ka-mi-akin's village on the Ahtanum to talk over the situation. The 

20 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

result of the conference was a decision to try to defeat any treaty 
with the Indians that Gov. Stevens might attempt to make. 

Word went out to all the tribes of the Northwest that the Father 
in Washington, D. C, wanted their lands for the white men and 
that a great white chief was even now on his way out to buy them ; 
and that, moreover, if they refused to sell, soldiers would be sent to 
drive them off and seize the lands. Such news naturally aroused 
the indignation of every tribe in Washington territory, creating a 
strong prejudice against Stevens, so that, upon his arrival, he was 
regarded with the suspicion that would attach to a man who had 
come to take from them their country. This was the situation at 
the beginning of 1854. 

During the summer of that year Gov. Stevens met several head 
men of the different tribes, including 0(w-hi, leader of what was 
then known as the Upper Yakima, extending from Nah-cheez river 
north to the headwaters of the Yakima. Stevens told him that he 
wished to hold a council with all the interested tribes in Eastern 
Washington and Eastern Oregon the following year to talk over 
the purchase of Indian lands. Ow-hi replied that the Indians did not 
want to sell and wished to be left alone. He was assured that, if 
the Indians would not sell, the whites would take the lands anyway 
and the Indians get no return ; also, that if they refused to make a 
treaty with him, soldiers would be sent into their country to wipe 
them off the earth. Stevens requested Ow-hi to communicate this 
fact to the different chiefs, which he did without delay. 

When the words of Stevens were repeated by Ow-hi to Ka-mi- 
akin, the latter had exclaimed: "At last we are face to face with 
those dreaded people, the coming of whom was foretold by the old 
medicine man, Wa-tum-nah, long ago. Pe-peu-mox-mox, who has 
been in California, says that the Indians there are fast dying off. I 
have traveled through the Willamette valley since its settlement 
by the whites and found only a sad remainder left of the . once 
powerful Mult-no-mahs and Cal-a-poo-yas. So it will be with us, 
if we allow the whites to settle in our country. Heretofore we have 
allowed them to travel through unmolested, and we refused to help 
the Cay-uses in their war with them, for we wanted to live in peace 
and be left alone; but we have been both mistaken and deceived. 
Now, when that pale-faced stranger. Gov. Stevens, from a distant 
land, sends to us such words as you have brought me, I am for war. 
If they take our lands, their trails will be marked with blood." 

Ka-mi-akin requested Ow-hi to bring to his village in two weeks 
Quil-ten-e-nock and Sulk-talth-scos-um (Moses). He then sent a 
courier to A-pash-wa-hi-icht (Looking Glass), war chief of the Nez 
Perces, to summon him to a meeting at the village of Pe-peu-mox- 
mox, near Wallula, at once. This done, he rode to. the Catholic 
mission, St. Joseph, a few miles below on the Ahtanum to tell 
Father Pandosy of the message sent by Gov. Stevens. The priest 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 21 

replied: "It is as I feared. The whites will take your country 
as they have taken other countries from the Indians. I come from 
the land of the white man far to the East, where the people are 
thicker than the grass on the hills. While there are only a few here 
now, others will come with each year until your country will be 
overrun with them ; your lands will be taken and your people driven 
from their homes. It has been so with other tribes; it will be so 
with you. You may fight and delay for a time this invasion, but 
you cannot avert it. I have lived many summers with you,* and 
baptised a great number of your people into the faith. I have 
learned to love you. I cannot advise or help you. I wish I could." 

Mounting his horse, the chief rode back to the village. What 
passed through his mind at that time can only be surmised. Was 
it then that he worked out his plan for a confederacy of all the red 
men west of the Rocky mountains for a last stand against the hated 
white race? 

With his brother, Skloom, and another trusted man, as well 
as a few extra horses, along, Ka-mi-akin then set out for the home 
of Pe-peu-mox-mox, where A-pash-wa-hi-icht, the Nez Perce, soon 
joined them. Here Ka-mi-akin repeated the words of Gov. Stevens, 
as told him by Ow-hi, and unfolded his plan for a confederacy of 
all the tribes from British Columbia to the southern boundary of 
Oregon, for the purpose of resisting, if it became necessary, the 
occupancy of their lands by the whites. Both of these influential 
chiefs gave their approval. After a day and night spent in con- 
sultation, a definite plan was agreed upon. A council should be 
called to meet in a month. The message from Gov. Stevens was to 
be spread broadcast and tribal councils called to select head men 
to attend the grand council. The meeting place was to be the Grande 
Ronde valley of Eastern Oregon, a rendezvous selected both because 
of its remoteness and in the hope that the Snake tribes might be 
induced to join. In order to keep the whites from learning of the 
proposed gathering, strict secrecy must be observed. 

Couriers were sent speeding to the south at once to spread 
out among the different nations, while Skloom, with another Yak- 
ima, went to the Warm Springs, Des Chutes, Tyghes and Was-co- 
pams, with the intention also of visiting the Klickitats on their return 
to Yakima. 

Ka-mi-akin returned to the Ahtanum alone. Shortly after, 
OKv-hi, Quil-ten-e-nock, Sulk-talth-scos-um and Qual-chan arrived in 
response to his summons and were informed of the result of his meet- 
ing with Pe-peu-mox-mox and Looking Glass. The Yakima chief 
urged them to busy themselves in the north, east and west, in the 
work Skloom was doing in the Des Chutes country and the cour- 
iers in the south. 

*See Chapter 27. 

22 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

These bold men were pleased with the plan and eager for action. 
An understanding was soon reached. Quil-ten-e-nock and Sulk- 
talth-scos-um were to go north ; Qual-chan to Puget Sound to meet 
Leschi and others who would look after that region; while Ka-mi- 
akin and Ow-hi would go east. 

Well equipped with tough and wiry horses, and a few men along 
to look after them, they were soon on their respective ways, full 
of hope. To the head men of 'each tribe they dwelt on the menace 
in the words of Gov. Stevens and insisted that their only hope was 
to stand together. If soldiers were sent into any part of the Indian 
country and a battle fought, it should be the signal for a general 
uprising from every quarter. 

The council which met in the Grande Ronde valley in 1854 
was the most noted gathering of red men that had ever been seen 
in this vast territory. It lasted five days, during which speakers 
were heard from nearly every tribe. Only Hal-halt-los-sot (Lawyer) 
of the Nez Perces, Stic-cas of the Cay-uses and Garry of the Spo- 
kanes were in favor of making a treaty with Gov. Stevens and sell- 
ing their lands. The Sho-sho-nees, as well as other tribes not 
directly interested in the treaty, said: "We have been for many 
years in almost constant warfare with the whites and are in a posi- 
tion to begin hostilities at any time. If you decide on war and begin 
to fight, let the signals flash from the mountain tops and we will do 
our part; but we will fight only in our own country." The Flat- 
heads were not represented in this council, though many of them 
fought in the war later on. Lawyer and Stic-cas hung out strong 
for a council with Stevens, taking the view that if all were in a 
position to hear directly what the emissary of the whites had to 
say, war might, perhaps, be avoided; but they were much in the 

All of the interested chiefs, except these two, then met and 
concluded to mark the boundaries of the different tribes so that each 
chief could rise in council, claim his boundaries and ask that the 
land be made a reservation for his people. Then there would be no 
lands for sale, the council would fail, and the contention of Lawyer 
and Stic-cas, at the same time, be met. The boundaries were agreed 
upon as follows : 

Ow-hi, for the Yakimas, Klickitats, Wick-rams and So-kulks, 
should have the territory extending from the Cascade falls of the 
Columbia river north along the summit of the Cascade mountains 
to the head of Cle-el-um, east by Mt. Stewart and the ridge of the 
We-nat-sha mountains north of the Kittitas valley, to the Colum- 
bia river and across to Moses lake, thence south to White Bluffs, 
crossing to the west side, and on down the Columbia to the point 
of beginning, including all of Klickitat, Yakima and Kittitas valleys. 

To-qual-e-can, for the Wenatshas, that country north of Ow-hi's 
boundary to Lake Chelan and east as far as Grand Coulee. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 23 

In-no-mo-se-cha, for the Chelans, that country north as far 
as Methow, then east to Grand Coulee. 

Su-cept-kain, for the Okanogans, all north of the Methow to 
the boundary of British Columbia with the Okanogan river for the 
east boundary. All of the above boundaries extended west to the 
summit of the Cascades. 

To-nas-ket claimed for the Kettle Falls tribe of the Okanogans 
all that country between the Columbia river and the east bank of 
the Okanogan north to the boundary of British Columbia. 

Chin-chin-no-wah, for the Colvilles, asked for the land east 
of To-nas-ket's boundary, including the Spokane and Colville valleys. 

Lot, for his tribe of Spokanes, wanted the land east of that 
claimed by Chin-chin-no-wah to Spokane Falls. 

Garry and Po-lat-kin, for their following of the same tribe, 
wanted that east of Lot's land from Spokane Falls to the summit 
of the Coeur d'Alene mountains and about twenty miles south of 
Spokane Falls and east of the Palouse country. 

Sal-tes, for the Coeur d'Alenes, claimed that part known as the 
eastern portion of the Palouse country south of Garry's and Po-lat- 
kin's holdings, with the Snake river at Pen-e-wa-wa for the southern 

Three Eagles asked for his band of Nez Perces the land south 
and east of Sal-tes' claim to the summit of the Bitter Root moun- 
tains and the north side of the Clearwater. 

Looking Glass' and Lawyer's following of the same tribe 
claimed all lying south of Three Eagles' land, including Kah-i-ah, 
Craig mountain and Kamas prairie. 

Joseph, for the Salmon River Nez Perces, spoke for the main 
Salmon and Little Salmon rivers and the headwaters of the Weiser, 
Payette and Willowa valleys. 

Five Crows, of the Cay-uses, wanted the Grande Ronde valley, 
Umatilla and as far down the Columbia as John Day's river in Ore- 

The Warm Springs, Des Chutes, Was-co-pams and Ty-hes 
asked for the land from John Day's river to the Cascade falls of the 
Columbia and south along the summit of the Cascade mountains 
to Mt. Jefferson, then east to the John Day river and down that 
stream to the Columbia. 

Thus a circle was completed, including practically all of the 
lands in Eastern Washington and a large portion of Eastern Oregon, 
thereby leaving no lands to treat for with Gov. Stevens. If Stevens 
now asked for a council, it was agreed that they should consent, but 
should give up no land. 

24 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

The spirit of war was now thoroughly aroused ; the fire smould- 
ering ready for the first breeze to fan it into flame. During the 
winter of 1854, many councils and feasts were held among the tribes, 
at which the talk was all of war. 

The. leading spirit and master mind of this confederacy, Ka-mi- 
akin, with an endurance that seemed to have no limit, flew from 
tribe to tribe, dispensing that fiery eloquence so potent among the 
red men. 

Reviving the memory of their wrongs, he said: "We wish to 
be left alone in the lands of our forefathers, whose bones lie in 
the sand hills and along the trails, but a pale-face stranger has come 
from a distant land and sends word to us that we must give up our 
country, as he wants it for the white man. Where can we go? 
There is no place left. Only a single mountain now separates us 
from the big salt water of the setting sun. Our fathers from the 
hunting grounds of the other world are looking down on us today. 
Let us not make them ashamed! My people, the Great Spirit has 
his eyes upon us. He will be angry if, like cowardly dogs, we give 
up our lands to the whites. Better to die like brave warriors on the 
battlefield, than live among our vanquishers, despised. Our young 
men and women would speedily become debauched by their fire 
water and we should perish as a race." 

With such words he had no difficulty in holding the compact 

When the snow had left the valleys, but was yet hanging low 
on the hills, a small party of white men rode into Ka-mi-akin's camp 
on the south side of the Yakima river, a few miles below the present 
town of Zillah. The leader proved to be James Doty, sent out by 
Gov. Stevens to arrange with the various tribes for a grand council 
to be held May 20. The Yakima chief gave his consent to the plan, 
and named Pasha, a spot in the Walla Walla valley where now stands 
the city of Walla Walla, which was an ancient council ground, for the 
meeting. Doty also visited the Walla Wallas, Cay-uses and Nez 
Perces, all of whom agreed to hold the council where Ka-mi-akin 
had suggested. 

The utmost effort was made by the Indians during the spring 
and summer to gather and store all the food possible. Every woman 
and girl was digging roots, while every man and boy was catching 
and drying salmon, as well as killing and curing meat. This activity 
continued throughout the season. 

But from the time of the Grande Ronde council, there had been 
a subtle force at work to defeat the aims of the confederacy. The 
Nez Perce, Lawyer, had notified Indian Agent A. J. Bolon of this 
council and its purpose. Lawyer was a far-seeing, cunning and 
ambitious man. With the education and knowledge gained in travel, 
he was the best posted Indian in the Northwest in regard to the 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 25 

strength and power of the whites. He knew that the Indians could 
not cope with them in war and that the inevitable result would be 
the defeat and humiliation of the red man. By showing his friend- 
ship for the whites he thought to gain advantages for his own 
tribe and promotion for himself. Politician that he was,, he played 
into the hands of the enemies of his race. White historians will 
applaud him, but from the standpoint of the Indian he was as much 
a traitor as were the Tories in the war for American independence. 
It turned out as he expected. By his perfidy he gained a larger 
reservation for his tribe and advancement for himself. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 27 



Lawyer Alleges Discovery of Plot Against Stevens — 
Speeches from Many Tribes — Commissioners Decide 
on Third Reservation — Treaty Signed— Indians Relin- 
quish Large Portions of Three Great States. 

At last the time arrived to hold the great covmcil at Walla 
Walla. Large bands of Indians from every tribe were constantly 
arriving from. May 24 to May 28. Gov. Stevens and Indian Super- 
intendent Palmer of Oregon,* with their escort of forty dragoons, 
under command of Lieut. Archibald Gracie, were already on the 

The Nez Perces were the first to appear, coming twenty-five 
hundred strong — ^men, women and children. Mounted on gaily 
caparisoned horses, which they sat like centaurs, they looked the 
part — wild warriors of the plains. Two days later the Cay-uses 
arrived, three hundred in all, their constant warfare with the Snakes 
keeping' their numbers reduced. The Cay-uses were considered the 
fiercest fighters of all the tribes and they made their entry with 
the wild dash characteristic of their mode of war. With whoops 
and yells, they circled the camp of the governor and his party, 
displaying feats of horsemanship seldom equaled ; then retired some 
little distance and went into camp. 

Ka-mi-akin and Pe-peu-mox-mox reached the council ground 
on the twenty-eighth, with Yakimas and Walla Wallas numbering 
about a thousand in all. Without any display, they set about making 
camp. This done, the two head chiefs, accompanied by Skloom and 
Ow-hi, went to Stevens' tent and were offered tobacco, which they 
refused. As soon as Ka-mi-akin and Pe-peu-mox-mox saw the 
unexpectedly large number of Nez Perces, more warriors than all 
the other tribes combined, they realized that Lawyer's plan must 
temporarily disconcert their own. 

The twenty-ninth was spent in preliminary organization, such 
as swearing in the interpreters, and making other needful arrange- 
ments. The next day, May 30, the Indians were invited to convene. 
About a thousand were present at the council, sitting about in a 
semi-circle, flat on the ground, which they termed their "mother's 
bosom." Half an hour was consumed in smoking, a ceremony which 
must precede all business with an Indian. A short address by Gen. 
Palmer then opened the council. Gov. Stevens next arose, making 
a long speech in which, in a painstaking way, he set forth the object 
of the meeting and what was desired of the Indians. At this time 
the commissioners contemplated only two reservations, one in the 

•Invited by Gov. Stevens because Oregon Indians were also affected by tlie treaties. 

28 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

Nez Perce country for that tribe, together with Cay-uses, Umatillas 
and Walla Wallas ; the other in the Yakima valley for the Yakimas, 
Klickitats, Palouses and other tribes. Two whole days were spent 
by the commissioners in long speeches on the various conditions 
of the treaty, and the prices offered by the government. 

The third day (Friday), at the request of Young Chief of the 
Cay-uses, was given up for a holiday; but the Indians, who had 
heretofore indulged freely every evening in sports of all kinds, 
remained quietly in their camps, deliberating on the proposals of the 
commissioners. Next day, after some further talk upon the treaties, 
Gov. Stevens and Gen. Palmer urged the Indians to speak their 
minds freely. Several chiefs spoke briefly in opposition to parting 
with their lands, the speech of Pe-peu-mox-mox being a sarcastic 
arraignment of the whites and an intimation of his distrust of the 
commissioners; also his reluctance to accept goods in payment for 
the earth.* 

At this juncture. Lawyer went to Gov. Stevens with informa- 
tion of a plot and a suggestion how it could be averted. Having 
become suspicious, he said, that mischief was brewing in the camp 
of the Cay-uses, he had sent a spy among them, who had found out 
that for several nights the Cay-uses had been considering the "advis- 
ability of falling upon and massacreing all the whites on the council 
ground. They had, he said, on the day Young Chief asked for a 
holiday, definitely determined to strike as soon as the consent of the 
Yakimas and Walla Wallas could be obtained. This blow was to 
mark the beginning of a war of extermination against the pale-faces. 
The captui-e of the post at The Dalles was immediately to follow. 

"I will come with my family," said Lawyer to Gov. Stevens, 
"and pitch my lodge in the midst of your camp, that the Cay-uses 
may see that you and your party are under the protection of the 
head chief of the Nez Perces." 

Stevens asserts that Lawyer, by so doing, averted the danger 
to himself and his party. During my residence of fifty years 
among the Yakimas, I have talked with many old men who were 
present at the council, some of them prominent in their tribes. All 
claimed there was no foundation of truth to Lawyer's story and 
that the Yakimas and Walla Wallas heard of it only after Lawyer 
had moved his lodge to Stevens' camp, whereupon Ka-mi-akin, 
Pe-peu-mox-mox and Looking Glass went to the Nez Perce chief 
and accused him of having a forked tongue. Personally I am con- 
vinced that Lawyer was only playing the game to procure for his 
people a larger reservation than the other chiefs would get, and that 

•The feeling of the Indian towards the earth was a part of his religion which makes 
still more understandable his reluctance to give up his lands. In his belief, the earth is 
the mother; light the father. He must not disrupt the mother's bosom by plowing, nor 
cut her hair (the grass). When he dies, his body returns to his mother earth, while his 
breath, or spirit, goes in a vapor to the father. The Indians felt that calam,ity would 
come upon them, if they should sell their mother. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 29 

his Cay-use story was "rot." In any event, he gained the end he 

It was not till Thursday, June 7, that the council got down to 
some show of business. Stic-cas, the Cay-use friendly to the whites, 
made a short speech, declaring his unwillingness to be removed 
wholly from his own country, saying that his heart was in one of 
three places, the Grande Ronde, the Touchet or the Tucanon. 

It is unnecessary here to repeat in full the different speeches 
made by either party. A few extracts from Kip's report of the 
council will suffice to illustrate both sides impartially. 

Gov. Stevens — My brothers, we expect to have your hearts 
today. Let us have your hearts straight out. 

Lawyer, Nez Perce chief, after speaking of the story of Colum- 
bus as it had come to him from the missionaries, thus described the 
manner in which the tribes of the East receded at the approach of 
the whites : The red men traveled away farther ; and from that time 
they kept traveling away farther as the white people came up with 
them. And this man's people (pointing to a Delaware Indian, who 
was one of the interpreters) are from that people. They have come 
on from the Great Lake where the sun rises, until they are near us 
now at the setting sun. And from somewhere in the center of that 
country came Lewis and Clark. That is the way the white people 
traveled and came on here to my forefathers. They passed through 
our country and became acquainted with our country and all our 
streams, and our forefathers treated them well, as well as they could ; 
and from the time of Lewis and Clark we have known you, my 
friends ; we poor people have known you as brothers. 

Lawyer concluded by expressing his approval of the treaty, 
urging only that the whites should act towards them in good faith. 

Gov. Stevens — We now have the heart of the Nez Perces 
through their chief. Their hearts and our hearts are one. We want 
the hearts of the other tribes through their chiefs. 

Young Chief, Cayuse — I wonder if the ground has anything to 
say. I wonder if the ground is listening to what is said. The ground 
says, "It is the Great Spirit that placed me here to take care of the 
Indians and feed them right. The Great Spirit appointed the roots 
to feed the Indians on." The water says the same thing, "The Great 
Spirit directs me to feed the Indians well." The grass says the same 
thing, "Feed the horse and cattle." The ground, water and grass 
say, "The Great Spirit has given us our names', we have these names 
and will hold these names; neither the Indians nor the whites have 
a right to change these names." The ground says, "The Great Spirit 
has placed me here to produce all that grows on me, trees and fruit." 
The same way the ground says; "It was from me you were made ; 
and you Indians who were given certain portions of the country 
should not trade it off, except you get a fair price." I am blind and 
ignorant. I have a heart, but cannot say much. This is the reason 

30 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

why the chiefs do not understand each other right and stand apart. 
Although I see your offer before me, I do not understand it and do 
not yet take it ; I walk as in the dark and therefore cannot take hold 
of what I do not see. Lawyer sees and takes hold. When I come 
to understand your offers, I will take hold. I do not know when. 
This is all I have to say. 

Five Crows, of the Walla Wallas — I will speak a few words. 
My heart is as Young Chief's. 

Gen. Palmer — We know no chief among the Walla Wallas 
but Pe-peu-mox-mox. If he has anything to say we will be pleased 
to hear it. 

Pe-peu-mox-mox — I do not know what is straight. I do not 
see the offer you have made the Indians. I never saw these things 
which are offered by the Great Father. My heart cried when you 
first spoke to me. I felt like I was blown away like a feather. Let 
your heart be to separate as we are and to meet another time. We 
will have no bad minds. Stop the whites from coming here until 
we can have another talk ; let them not bring their oxen with them. 
The whites may travel in all directions through our country; we 
will have nothing to say to them, provided they do not build houses 
on our lands. Now I wish to speak about Lawyer. I think he has 
given his lands, that is what I think by his words. I request another 
meeting ; it is not in one meeting only that we can come to a decis- 
ion. If you come again with a friendly message from our Great 
Father, I shall see you again at this place. Tomorrow I shall see you 
again and tomorrow evening I shall go home. This is all I have to 

Gen. Palmer — I want to say a few words to these people, but 
before I do, if Ka-mi-akin wants to speak, I would be glad to hear 

Ka-mi-akin, Yakima chief — I have nothing to say. 

Gen. Palmer — I would inquire if Pe-peu-mox-mox or Young 
Chief has spoken for the Umatillas. I wish to know further if the 
Umatillas are of the same mind. 

Ow-hi — We are together and the Great Spirit hears all we 
say. The Great Spirit gave us the land and measured it off for us, 
and for this reason I am afraid to say anything about the land. I 
am afraid of the Great Spirit. Shall I steal the land and sell it? 
The Great Spirit made our friends, but the Great Spirit made our 
bodies from the earth, as if we were different from the whites. 
What shall I do? Shall I give the land which is part of my body 
and leave myself poor and destitute? Shall I say I will give you 
my lands ? I cannot say so. I am afraid of the Great Spirit. I love 
my life. I have one more word to'say. My people are far away. 
They do not know your words. I cannot give you an answer now. 
I show you my heart. This is all I have to say. 

Gov. Stevens — How will Ka-mi-akin or Skloom speak? 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 31 

Ka-mi-akin — What have I to talk about? 

Gen. Palmer — ^We have listened and heard our chiefs speak. 
The hearts of the Nez Perces and ours are one. The Cay-uses, 
Walla Wallas and other tribes say they do not understand us. We 
were in hopes we should have but one heart. Young Chief says he 
does not know what we propose to him. Pe-peu-mox-mox says the 
same. Can we bring these saw mills, grist mills, shops, tents and 
wagons to you on our backs and show you people? Can we cause 
fields of wheat, corn and potatoes to grow up in a day that you may 
see them? Can we build these school houses and dwellings in a day ? 
It takes time to do these things. We come to make a targain with 
you, and whatever we agree to do, we will do. How long will these 
people remain bUnd? We come to try and open their eyes; they 
refuse the light. We try to do you good ; you throw it away. We 
all sometimes do wrong because we have a bad heart or bad counsel. 
How long will you listen to this bad counsel and refuse to see the 
light? We have not come to steal your land; we offer you more 
than it is worth, because our Great Father told us to take care of the 
red people. We come to you with his message to try to do you 

These extracts are specimens of the kind of talk that went on 
from day to day. All but the Nez Perces asked for a postponement, 
another meeting, but the "Iron Duke," Gov. Stevens, ably assisted 
by the crafty Lawyer, would brook no delay. What was the fate of 
these poor red people compared with a white man's ambition ? 

It certainly was a situation full of pathos, the reluctance of the 
Indians to abandon the old favorite grounds of their fathers and 
their impotent struggle against the overpowering influence of the 
whites. Gov. Stevens addressed the chiefs who had argued against 
the treaty in this manner: 

"I must say a few words, my brothers. I have talked straight. 
Have all of you talked straight? Lawyer and his people have, and 
their business will be finished tomorrow. Young Chief says he is 
blind and does not understand. What is it that he wants ? Stic-cas 
says his heart is in one of these places, the Grande Ronde, the 
Touchet, and the Tucanon. Where is the ear of Young Chief? 
Pe-peu-mox-mox says he cannot be wafted off like a feather. Does 
he prefer the Yakima to the Nez Perce reservation ? We have asked 
him before, we ask him now, where is his heart? Ka-mi-akm, the 
great chief of the Yakimas, has not spoken at all ; his people have 
no voice here today. He is not ashamed to speak ? He is not afraid 
to speak? Then speak out ! Ow-hi is afraid, too, lest God be angry 
at his selling his land. Qw-hi, my brother, I do not think God 
will be angry with you if you do the best for yourself and your 
children. Ask yourself this question tonight, "Will not God be 
angry with me if I neglect this opportunity to do them good? But 
Ow-hi says his people are not here. When, then, did he tell us. 

32 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

"Come, hear our talk?" I do not want to be ashamed of him. 
Ow-hi has the heart of his people ; we expect him to speak out. We 
expect to hear from Ka-mi-akin and Skloom. The treaty will have 
to be drawn up tonight. You can see it tomorrow. The Nez Perces 
must not be put off any longer. The business must be dispatched. 
I hope all other hearts and ours will agree. They have asked us 
to speak straight, but we have yet to hear from you. 

The council then adjourned until six o'clock the next morning. 

"In the evening," Kip adds, "I rode over to the Nez Perce camp 
and found many of them playing cards in their lodges. The fate 
of the nations hanging by a thread did not deter them. They are 
inveterate gamblers, and a warrior will sometimes stake on successive 
games his arms, and horses, and even his wives ; so that, in a single 
night, he is reduced to primitive poverty and obliged to trust to 
charity to be mounted for the hunt. In the other camps, everything 
was in violent confusion. The Cay-uses and other tribes were very 
much incensed against the Nez Perces for agreeing to the terms of 
the treaty, but, fortunately for us, the Nez Perces were as numerous 
as the others united." 

Perceiving that their only hope of overcoming the opposition 
of the dissatisfied Indians lay in acting upon the suggestion of Stic- 
cas, the commissioners decided to offer a third reservation for the 
Cay-uses, Umatillas and Walla Wallas in their own country. The 
offer was made in council June 8, and explained in a lengthy speech 
by Gen. Palmer. Some other concessions of less moment were also 
made. All of the chiefs gave their consent to the treaties as modi- 
fied, except Ka-mi-akin, who had maintained a sullen silence through- 
out the entire council and still obstinately refused to give the com- 
missioners the slightest encouragement. 

Just at the moment when the hopes of Stevens and Palmer were 
at their height and a successful termination of the business in hand 
seemed near, a new difficulty arose. A small party of Indians was 
seen approaching the encampment with much pomp and ceremony. 
Painted, armed, singing a war song and flourishing a scalp at the 
end of a pole, trophy of a recent combat, they came. The leader was 
discovered to be Looking Glass, war chief of the Nez Perces, who 
had long been absent in the buffalo country. He was not effusive 
in his greetings to the friends that gathered around him, and soon 
manifested his anger at their doings in a fierce speech, delivered 
from the saddle. 

"My people," said he, "what have you done? While I .was 
gone, you sold my country. I have come home and there is no place 
left where I can pitch my lodge. Go home to your lodges ; I will talk 
with you." 

Next day, in council, the influence of this old man was keenly 
felt. After Stevens had again explained the proposed treaty for his 
especial benefit, Looking Glass mjide a violent speech against the 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 33 

sale of the lands. The Cay-uses, ready to withdraw their assent, 
strongly supported him. So emphatic were their united assertions 
that he, Looking Glass, was head chief of the Nez Perces, that 
Lawyer retired to his lodge in apparent anger. After adjournment, 
the Nez Perces held a council among themselves, the Cay-uses doing 
the same. It was an excited gathering in the Nez Perce camp, and 
the council waxed warm, but, in the end, Lawyer was confirmed as 
head chief, with Looking Glass second in authority. Gov. Stevens 
was notified of the outcome and assured that the treaty would be 

Pe-peu-mox-mox and Ka-mi-akin, despite their unshaken oppo- 
sition, signed their respective treaties June 9. I was later told by 
Chief Moses, Nan-num-kin and other Indians present at the council 
that after the adjournment of June 7, Ka-mi-akin and Pe-peu-mox- 
mox met in the latter's lodge for a long consultation and that, on 
the follwing night, they held another conference. What argument 
Pe-peu-mox-mox used to induce the iron man of the Yakimas to 
sign, I never learned. 

The Nez Perces signed on the last day. In the council of June 
11 Gov. Stevens simply said: "Today we meet for the last time. 
Your words have been pledged to sign the treaty. I call upon 
Lawyer to sign first." 

Lawyer did so, followed by Looking Glass and the other chiefs, 
thereby ending, "in a most satisfactory manner," according to Ste- 
vens, the greatest council, all points considered, that had ever been 
held with the Indian tribes in the United States. In view of the dif- 
ficulties among the tribes themselves, as well as old troubles with 
the whites, and their deep determination not to give up their lands, 
yet with the absolute necessity before the commissioners of opening 
the country to settlement — if possible, at a saving of the enormous 
expense in Indian wars and bloodshed — this council has never been 
equaled in the importance of results obtained. 

The treaties negotiated at the Walla Walla council of 1855 
provided for the surrender by the Yakimas of 29,000 square miles, 
including the present Chelan, Yakima, Kittitas, Franklin and Adams 
counties, with large portions of Douglas and Klickitat. From it was 
reserved only the Yakima Indian reservation, as known today, com- 
prising less than 1,200,000 acres. 

The Nez Perces relinquished territory out of which was formed 
a large part of Whitman, Garfield, Columbia and Asotin counties in 
Washington; Union and Wallowa counties in Oregon, and Nez 
Perce county in Idaho. They retained, however, a very large reser- 
vation, including not only the Nez Perce reserve, as it was before 
the opening of it, a few years ago, but also large tracts between the 
Alpowa and Snake rivers and the Wallowa valley. That the Wallowa 
valley was originally included in the reservation was due to old 
Chief Joseph; and it was the surrender of it in 1863, against the 

54 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

wishes of young Joseph, which eventually resulted in the Nez Perce 
war of 1877. 

The Cay-uses, Umatillas and Walla Wallas, by their treaty, 
gave up the territory embracing Walla Walla county in Washington ; 
Umatilla, Morrow, and parts of Union and Gilliam counties in 
Oregon. Their original reservation was but little larger than that 
now known as the Umatilla reserve. 

For the whole vast area ceded, the Indians were to receive about 
$650,000, of which $200,000 was to be paid to the Yakimas in the 
form of annuities, with salaries, for head chiefs, of $500 per annum 
for twenty years, and concessions in the way of house, implements 
and tools. 

The compensation for the Nez Perce land was the same. The 
Cay-uses, Umatillas and Walla Wallas were to receive $100,000, 
the head chiefs to get the same consideration as the Yakimas and 
Nez Perces. Pe-peu-mox-mox was wily enough to have his first 
annuity of $500 paid at the council, before the treaty was ratified, 
and was given a special concession of three yokes of oxen, one 
wagon, two plows, twelve hoes, twelve axes, two shovels, a saddle 
and bridle and set of plow harness, as well as a house and five acres 
of ground, and $100 a year for his son. 

Thus, for a pittance, were these Indians compelled to give up 
their prior rights to a large portion of three great states, now so rich 
in resources. It was one of the many crimes of that century. All 
the Indians, with the exception of lawyer and his immediate fol- 
lowing, opposed the treaty. Many even of the Nez Perces did so, 
as was proved later when large numbers of this tribe took part in 
the war which followed. The speech of Pe-peu-mox-mox voiced 
the general sentiment of the Indians when he asked for a postpone- 
ment, to permit them further consideration on so important a mat- 
ter. It was no idle affair with them. It meant giving up their 
birthright; land which they believed theirs by every lawful right. 
Were they not entitled to more consideration than they received at 
the hands of Gov. Stevens, who seems to have been carried away 
by the one idea of obtaining their signatures to his documents, over- 
looking the more important question whether the Indians were satis- 
fied with the result of the council ? It should have been easy to see 
that they were not. Every word and act showed their resentment. 

Would it not have been the wiser plan to accede in part to their 
wishes, to permit them to depart and return for another council? 
In this way he might have inspired confidence, overcoming much of 
the distrust and prejudice against him caused by his reported words 
that "if they refused to sell, soldiers would be sent to wipe them 
off the earth." What proud people would not resent such a threat ? 

With delay, the confederacy of the tribes, already formed, 
would have fallen through. History has repeatedly shown this to be 
the case. If any outbreaks did occur, they would have been tribal 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 35 

merely. To criticise Gov. Stevens does not help matters, but one 
who knows the Indian nature, who has witnessed the result of the 
treaty on the moral and physical welfare of the red man, must be 
blind, indeed, to justice, if he agrees that the treatment accorded 
to the Indians at the Walla Walla council was fair. The only 
excuse to be offered for the governor is his ignorance of Indian 
nature, which no one can question, in view of his statement, "The 
council ended in a most satisfactory manner." Could he not read 
the dark, sullen looks and stolid indifference shown by the most 
powerful chiefs at the latter end of the meeting? The council had 
only served to make the compact between the tribes more solid. 
The Indians rode away to their homes full of anger and resentment. 
As a matter of fact, after Looking Glass had failed in his efforts 
to keep the Nez Perces from signing the treaty, there was held 
between himself, Pe-peu-mox-mox, Ka-mi-akin, Ow-hi and Young 
Chief a conference to determine on a course to pursue. They 
doubted Stevens' sincerity, after his refusal to grant the request for 
another council. He was put down as an enemy of their race, and, 
being savages who have only one line of treatment for their enemies, 
they determined to prepare for war. It was agreed that, if soldiers 
were sent into the country of the treaty tribes, and a battle fought, 
it should be the signal for a general uprising. 



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Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 37 



The Chiefs' Council— First Bloodshed by Qual-chan— 
Death of Indian Agent Bolon— Father Pandosy's Let- 
ter of Warning — The Mormons' Delegate to the 

An immediate result of the treaty making at the Walla Walla 
council was to intensify the already warlike feeling that had been 
kindled when Lieut. George B. McQellan's expedition passed 
through the Yakima and Okanogan countries nearly two years 
before, creating an unrest in every tribe throughout the Pacific 
Northwest. Up to now, people passing through the territory of 
those tribes represented in the treaty had been unmolested ; but soon 
after this, travelers were murdered along the trails of the border. 
The crisis was near at hand. 

About a month after his return from the Walla Walla council, 
Ka-mi-akin sent for Ow-hi, Te-i-as and Qual-chan of the upper 
Yakima ; Quil-ten-e-nock and Sulk-talth-scos-um of the Sin-ki-use or 
Ko-wah-chins, sometimes called Isle-de-Pierres, from the place after- 
wards known as Rock Island, on the Columbia river ; also So-happy 
of the Wi-nah-pams (Priest Rapids tribe). All were asked to meet 
him in council at his village on the Ah-tan-um in the Yakima val- 
ley.* On their arrival he said: 

"When we last met in Walla Walla after the great council, 
we were of one heart. Are we of the same heart today? Te-i-as 
and So-happy were not there, but the remainder of you were. Since 
that time I have been among the Walla Wallas and the Nez Perces 
and have talked with Pe-peu-mox-mox and Looking Glass. They 
are of the same heart. More white men are passing through our 
country now than ever before. They will look upon our grass-covered 
hills and begin to build their houses among us. What of us then? 
We will become like the tribes in Willamette valley, a degraded 
people. Let us stop their coming, even if we must fight. You are 
all brave men and most of you great chiefs. Let me know your 

Qw-hi-arose and said, "I do not want to fight the Shwe-yap-pos 
(whites). I want to be let alone; but if they come to settle in my 
country, or send soldiers among us, I am for war." 

Te-i-as, brother of Ow-hi, spoke thus, "I do not like to talk of 
spilling blood in our land. Our old men and women cannot follow 
us on the war path, but must fall along the trails. We had better be 
friends with these people than go to war and lose all." 

'Present Tarapico, now known as the A. D. Elgin ranch. 

38 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

The next to give his opinion was So-happy, who said, "I have 
been among the whites and they have always treated me well. If 
we go to war, we cannot win, for I have been in their country and 
they are thicker than the leaves on the trees. You may kill them, 
but when one dies, ten will come in his place. I will not join in war." 

Quil-ten-e-nock was not so peacefully inclined. "I am a tried 
warrior," he said, "and have fought the whites whenever opportunity 
offered. I fought with the Cay-uses in their war against them in 1847 
and have taken some of their scalps. I hate the race. I am the son 
of the great Talth-scos-um. The blood of warriors runs in my veins. 
If we do not kill the white man, he will take our lands and no place 
will be left to pitch our lodges. The white man's plow will disturb 
the bones of our people. If our fathers could speak to us, they would 
say 'Fight !' " 

He was followed by his brother, Moses. "My brother has 
spoken my heart," said Moses, "and I agree with Ka-mi-akin that 
it is time to fight. I believe Gov. Stevens has a forked tongue. This 
country belongs to us and not to the white man. Why do we have 
to give up our lands to the pale faces? We were born here. Our 
people are buried on the hillsides and in the valleys. Strangers from 
a far-off land, what right have they to tell us to move on ? We were 
here first and here I want to remain, for it has been the home of 
our forefathers since the beginning of time. We have plenty, our 
horses graze on many hills, the streams are full of fish, the hills of 
roots, and the mountains of berries and game. If we give up our 
country to the white man, we will be poor and hungry. Let 
Ka-mi-akin decide." 

Then arose Qual-chan, son of Ow-hi, the bravest and most 
desperate fighter of the Northwest. "I am not a chief," he said, 
"only a plain warrior. What the chiefs decide, I am ready to do. 
Let Ka-mi-akin decide. We are listening." 

Ka-mi-akin sat long, looking into the fire that was smouldering 
in the council lodge, his brow dark, his face stern and sullen. Then 
he turned his eyes towards the heavens where the stars shone 
through the top of the great lodge. At last the words came slowly 
and distinctly, "If the soldiers come into our country, we will fight. 
Let us send men to the mountain passes to warn the white men to 
go back, to cease traveling through our country. If they refuse; 
if they persist in coming, why, kill them and let us fight if we must. 
We will fight the soldiers, if sent into our country, and flash the 
signal fires from mountain top to mountain top; and blood will 
flow in every part of this country. Gov. Stevens will yet learn who 
Ka-mi-akin is !" 

Accordingly men were sent to the Nah-cheez and Sno-qual-mie 
passes, the principal routes of travel for the whites from Puget 
Sound, to serve notice on them to stop coming. Many were at this 
time passing through the Yakima country to the Colville mines. 

Ka-mi-akin—The Last Hero of the Yakimas' 39 

recently discovered. These miners were warned to go back, though 
only a few obeyed, most of them continuing, heedless, on their way. 

Ka-mi-akin went at once to Pe-peu-mox-mox and Looking Glass 
to inform them of this council and the course agreed upon ; which 
met their approval. Quil-ten-e-nock went among the Wenatshas, 
Chelans, Okanogans and other tribes to the north. He was well 
equipped by nature to arouse the warlike spirit of the red men. 
Skloom, tall, dark, a warrior of great force, was sent among the 
Was-co-pams, Wich-rams and Warm Springs tribes to the south. 
The fierce Qual-chan again went west of the mountains to notify 
Leschi, Stehi and others of the recent decision. 

Leschi* was to the Puget Sound Indians what Ka-mi-akin was 
to the tribes east of the mountains. Like an iron man, he flew from 
tribe to tribe, night and day continuing his harangue about the 
wrongs inflicted on the red man by the white. 

"The pale faces have begun at the rising sun," he said, "and 
driven the red men to the Big Salt Lake ; and now, still hungry for 
more, they are going to take the balance of our country and send us 
to distant lands of the midnight darkness where we will never again 
see the light ; and where the streams are too foul for fish to live in 
them. Yet must we drink of this water." 

He was no mean orator and his words aroused the warlike 
spirit as never before. The whole Pacific Northwest became a 
slumbering volcano, ready to burst forth at any moment. 

Ka-mi-akin extended his trip to the Palouses, Spokane and 
Coeur d'Alenes. With his fiery eloquence, he stirred the feelings of 
these tribes to the fighting pitch and they declared themselves ready 
for war. Looking Glass of the Nez Perces entrusted to the Yakima 
a war horse, together with all the appropriate trappings, saying, 
"Take this horse and equipment and present them to the bravest man 
you know. Tell him they come from a tried warrior who expects to 
hear from him." 

Towards the last of August, 1855, Qual-chan appeared at the 
lodge of Ka-mi-akin and related the results of his trip to Puget 
Sound ; reporting, also, that regardless of the warnings, white men 
were continuing to travel through the country. Ka-mi-akin called 
for the war horse which Looking Glass had given him and bestowed 
it upon Qual-chan, repeating the Nez Perce warrior's admonishment, 
and adding, as a further incentive to action, "I have thought of all 

'The following was found in the private papers of Charles H. Eaton, who had mar 
ried a. sister of Leschi, and Leschi's statement to Eaton was like a confession. It says 
Leschi did not intend to commit any crime on the west side of the mountains, but when he 
arrived on White River he found Ka-nas-ket and party all for war, and it was they that 
excited him into the murder on White River. He was in company with Tonasket, Kitsap, 
Sugrea and others, but took no part. Some were in favor of saving a captured woman, 
but Sugrea would not listen to that kind of war, drew his gun and shot her through the 
thigh, and Nelson fired the shot that killed her. Leschi was engaged in the murder of 
McCallester, but it was Tow-a-pite that shot him with two balls. This statement was taken 
down by Charles H. Eaton in 1855 or '6, and is now in the hands of Mark Wilcox, a 
descendant of Charles H. Eaton and Leschi and living on the reservation side of Ahtanum 
Creek, near North Yakima, Wash. 

W Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

the braves and counted you the bravest. Take the horse, and do as 
you are bidden." 

The animal was a grand specimen ; the accoutrements consisted 
of a buckskin shirt covered with elks' teeth, beated buckskin leggings 
and moccasins, a tomahawk and pipe combined, a long knife, rifle 
and pistol, and a war bonnet consisting of a long plume of eagle 
feathers reaching nearly to the ground. There were also beaded 
buckskin ornaments and eagle feathers with which to deck the horse. 
Qual-chan was justly proud. It was the finest outfit ever seen in 
this part of the country. 

A few days after receiving his finery, he paid a visit to the 
small but important tribe inhabiting the Kwi-wy-chas (now known 
as the Cowidie valley) of which Sko-mow-wah was head man. As 
he descended the hill onto the plain, Qual-chan went at full speed to 
attract the people's attention. Indeed, he could scarcely have escaped 
notice at an ordinary gait; so decorated was his distinguished person 
with magnificent trappings. When he was recognized, some of the 
weaker men took to cover, in fear for their lives. Qual-chan had 
been known to kill an ordinary Indian as mere pastime, to whet his 
appetite for blood. 

Dashing into the encampment, he dismounted and was met by 
E-ne-as, who invited him into his lodge, where food was placed 
before him. The wife of E-ne-as, a daughter of Tuch-noo-num, was 
an aunt of the visitor. After finishing his meal, the warrior told 
them he had just come from Ka-mi-akin's lodge, and that his regalia 
was a gift from Looking Glass. Of the message accompanying the 
gift, he spoke also, adding that he would begin action against the 
whites the first time he came upon any passing through. 

In the lodge at this time was Wi-en-ash-et, half-brother to 
Qual-chan, who, on hearing these words, reproved him, saying, 

"I have for the first time to know that a son of Ow-hi has the 
heart of a coyote ; that one would allow Ka-mi-akin to make a tool 
of him. I have no liking for the white men, but to kill them for no 
other reason than that they pass through our country will do our 
people harm." 

Qual-chan, stung by the rebuke, at once became enraged. 
Springing to his feet, he drew his knife, but was no quicker than 
Wi-en-ash-et, who stood ready, with his own knife uplifted. E-ne-as, 
knowing his men, lost no time in jumping between them. 

"Brothers must not spill each other's blood," he said. 

Like tigers brought to bay, they stood, eyeing each other ; then 
slowly put away their knives. 

Qual-chan mounted his horse and rode away towards the Nah- 
cheez river, where he picked up five relatives of his, Ap-po-len-i, 
Soh-tel-ah, Sim-mi-en, Tul-i-tu and Tam-tu-ah-an, who went along 
with him towards their home in the Kittitas valley. Reaching the 
We-nas creek at the spot where now stands the home of John 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 41 

Cleman, they spied on the trail leading down the stream, tracks of 
shod horses. Sure that this meant a party of white men, Qual-chan 
proposed that they follow and kill them. The plan was agreeable to 
the others. Soon they overtook six white men, almost at the ford 
on the Yakima river near the present dam of the Cascade Mill 

Both parties stopped for a short talk, after which the white 
men started on. As they reached the banks of the river, ready to 
ford, the Indians fired, killing four. The other two plunged into 
the stream and made their way to the opposite shore, but lost their 
fire arms in the river. Rendered thus helpless, they could offer no 
resistance to the Indians, who crossed and soon dispatched them. 
Thus did Qual-chan begin the fulfillment of his oath. 

Taking the horses and outfit of their victims, he and his 
companions went on their way, full of lust for blood, chanting their 
dreadful war song, reaching their homes that evening. 

That day's work is yet fresh in the minds of the Indians. It 
may be a matter of satisfaction to white settlers to know that the 
leader and two of his companions were afterwards hung, while the 
other two were shot. 

After comparing several reports published since, I have come 
to the conclusion the men killed at the ford of the Yakima were 
Jamison, Walker, Cummings, Huffman and Fanjoy. Reports from 
the west side speak of five men killed in the Nah-cheez, but the 
Indians have no story of any such killing in the Nah-cheez and I 
assume that the party wiped out by Qual-chan and his companions 
at the Yakima ford is the one meant. 

News of this wholesale slaughter soon spread among the tribes. 
Qual-chan immediately became a hero. Blood having been spilled, 
like hungry beasts the Indians craved more and more. Small wonder 
that they lost no opportunity to trail a victim and rejoice in his 
writhing. Not long afterward, Mow-mo-nash-et, known later as 
Charley Nasen, with another Wenatsha Indian, killed two white 
men on the hills north of the Ump-tan-um, about two miles below 
the point where the old Durr wagon road crossed that stream. In 
187i Bayless Thorp, while hunting cattle, came upon the skulls of 
two white men, one with a bullet hole in it. The place where he 
found them answered to the location described to me by Charley 
Nasen when he told me of the killing, and his description of the 
men leads me to believe that they were Mattice and Eaton, who 
disappeared in that vicinity about that time. 

But the murder which precipitated the war was that of Indian 
Agent A. J. Bolon, a man known both among the Indians and whites 
as brave and honest. It took me years to ferret out the manner of 
his death. Even today the old blanket men are ashamed of this deed 
and refuse to discuss it. The blame for the murder of Agent Bolon 

42 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

has hitherto been placed at the door of Ka-mi-akin or Qual-chan ; * 
but as a matter of fact neither of these men knew that Bolon had been 
in the vicinity until told of his death by the father of the man who 
was responsible for it. Ka-mi-akin had much to answer for, but 
not this. 

Bolon was near The Dalles, on his way to meet Gov. Stevens 
at Spokane, when word reached him from miners returning to the 
Sound, of the murders committed by Qual-chan and his companions. 
He concluded to change his route, going to Colville via the Yakima 
country in order to visit Ka-mi-akin on the Ah-tan-um and learn 
the facts in this matter. He traveled alone, at his own desire, leaving 
the Dalles Sept. 20, 1855, and following the trail which the govern- 
ment later built into the wagon road to Ft. Sim-co-e. At Toppenish 
creek, a few miles from the present Ft. Simcoe, he came upon the 
lodge of Ice, or Show-a-way, a younger brother of Ka-mi-akin, to 
whom he explained his mission. 

Ice told him to mount and return to The Dalles at once; that 
if he went on further, he would surely be killed, and that it would 
be useless to see Ka-mi-akin. Ice and Bolon were friends of some 
standing. The Indian admired the white man. The agent had visited 
him before, and, in the time of huckleberry picking in the mountains, 
had joined in the Indian sports. 

Acting on Ice's advice, Bolon started back over the trail, 
camping that night in the Sim-co-e mountains. He made an early 
start the next morning, doubtless expecting to reach The Dalles 
that same day. Rain, which had begun in the night, was continuing 
to fall. 

The day previous, only a short time before Bolon had arrived 
at Ice's camp, Me-cheil, a son of Ice, with a few companions and 
some horses, had left camp by another trail, en route for the 
fisheries above The Dalles to trade for dried salmon. They, too, 
slept that night in the Sim-co-e hills, breaking camp early next day. 
Going at an easy pace until they reached the intersection of their 
trail with that used by Bolon, they discovered the fresh shod-horse 
tracks going in the direction of The Dalles. Knowing full well that 
the traveler was a white man, Me-cheil with two Indians began a 
pursuit. They were not long in overtaking the agent, who, having 
recent evidence of the friendliness of Me-cheil's father, was probably 
not alarmed. They had traveled together for a few miles, before 
Me-cheil quietly suggested to his companions that they kill Bolon 
for fear he might tell what he knew about Qual-chan's deeds. The 
other two agreed to help. 

When, coming to a dry windfall, Me-cheil proposed that they 
build a fire and warm themselves, Bolon assented readily. Standing 

*By Bancroft's History as well as Snowden's. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 43 

about the fire, which was built at a short distance from the road, 
the agent, for a moment turned his back upon the Indians. Wap-pi- 
wap-pi-clah, a powerful fellow, sprang at once, pinning Bolon's 
arms to his side, so that he was rendered helpless. Stok-an-chan 
threw back his head and cut his throat. They put the murdered man, 
together with his horse and saddle, into the fire, leaving only ashes to 
tell the story of their foul deed. 

Ice cried when he learned that his own son had been the cause 
of his friend's death. His feelings were shown at the council which 
was held shortly after to decide what course to pursue should troops 
be sent in to avenge the crime. Ice voted to give up the murderers, 
declaring that he would not protect his son for such a deed; but 
Ka-mi-akin replied that they "had no children to give to the whites 
to hang." Ice was altogether sincere in his warning given to Bolon. 
He did not know that his son had gpne the same way. All the Indians 
have told me this was the case; and during a half century spent 
among the Indians, I have heard only praise for Bolon. 

The military authorities had had ample warning of the 
dangerous state of unrest among the Indians. Father Pandosy had 
written from St. Joseph's mission, on the Ah-tan-um, to Father 
Mesplie at The Dalles under date of April, 1854, "A chief from the 
upper Nez Ferces had killed thirty-seven cattle for a feast, to unite 
the hearts of the Indians for war against the Americans. Through- 
out the whole winter, I have heard such reports, that the Nez 
Perces and Cay-uses have united for war. During the spring of 1854 
the Cay-uses gave a similar feast and it was there agreed that all 
the Indians on the north or left bank of the Columbia were to 
assemble at Simcoe; those on the right or south bank were to 
assemble with the Cay-uses, for they believe the whites are going 
to make war on them and take their lands." 

This news was given to Maj. Alvord at The Dalles and by him 
communicated to Gen. Hitchcock. Both Alvord and Pandosy were 
set down as alarmists; information so authentic as this was passed 
over carelessly, and many lives lost through indifference. 

Another contributing cause to the war, not generally understood, 
but of some weight, was the Mormons. At a council held at about 
this time at the lodge of Ka-mi-akin, then encamped at Sim-co-e, 
there was present a Bannock Indian who claimed that he was sent 
out by the Mormons of Salt Lake to arouse the Indians against the 
whites. He said that, far to the east, in a desert country, there lived 
a white race that controlled the sun ; and that he had lived among 
them and talked with them. These people had sent him there to tell 
about them and that they could strike dead anybody at any distance. 
They made powder and muskets and were friends of the Indians, 
while the Americans were their enemies. He said they wanted the 
Indians to kill all the whites in their land, and that they would furnish 
arms and ammunition. 

44 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

That the Mormons did sell the Indians the means of making 
war, there can be little doubt, for Capt. B. F. Shaw found among 
the Walla Wallas and Cay-uses, muskets and powder balls with the 
Mormon brands on them. 

Much anxiety was felt at The Dalles when Bolon did not return 
in a reasonable time. Nathan Olney, sub-Indian agent, who knew 
much of Indian character, had his suspicions regarding conditions in 
the Yakima valley. He sent a Des Chutes chief to Ka-mi-akin as a 
spy, who soon returned with the much sought information. As soon 
as the facts were known, Maj. Rains, who regarded Ka-mi-akin 
and Pe-peu-mox-mox as the leaders most to be dreaded, ordered 
Maj. Haller, who was at The Dalles, to proceed with eighty-four 
men to the Yakima country to co-operate with a force sent out from 
Ft. Steil-a-coom under command of Lieutenant Slaughter. 

46 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 



Haller's Campaign — Battle at Toppenish Creek — Lieut. 
Slaughter's Retreat — Fight at Union Gap. 

Ka-mi-akin, who was expecting such a turn of aflFairs, had col- 
lected a considerable force and gone into camp on the Toppenish 
creek. Runners had been sent out in all directions to call in the 
more distant Indians, some going even up into the mountains where 
many of the fighting men were hunting while the women gathered 
huckleberries. Moses and Quil-ten-e-nock were not far off with a 
band of warriors moving towards Ka-mi-akin's camp. Qual-chan 
had gone to Kittitas, Nah-cheez and We-nas to gather all the forces 

The evening of October 3, a lone Indian rider burst into Ka-mi- 
akin's camp with the news that soldiers had crossed the Columbia at 
The Dalles that morning and were even now on their way to fight 
the Yakimas. Signal fires were ordered lighted from the tall 
peaks ; couriers dispatched to Qual-chan and others with instructions 
to hurry in all the fighters; and scouts posted at various points to 
report the progress of the soldiers. 

The expected had happened. Soldiers were about to invade the 
Indian country and war would become general. Every precaution 
which they could devise had been made by the Indians to check the 
invaders. It was the last trump card they had to play, and they 
meant to play it for all it was worth. 

At noon, two days later, the last scout came in, reporting the 
soldiers only a few miles away from the ford of the Toppenish, a 
point where, later, the military road from The Dalles to Ft. Sim-co-e 
crossed that stream. About three hundred warriors had been or- 
dered to conceal themselves in the brush and rocks along the creek 
to dispute the crossing. 

It is claimed by the Indians that Ka-mi-akin intended to ask 
Haller to retire and only if he refused, to attack him ; but that, 
when the command had come within a short distance of the stream, 
some Indians showed themselves and were fired upon. Haller 
contends that the Indians fired first. However, that may be, the 
fight was on. Beginning about 3 p. m., October 5, it raged till 
dark. In the encounter two Indians were wounded, both having 
fallen at the first volley. Quas-ha-lem-i lay where he fell till night 
came on, then managed to crawl to the Indian camp; while Spe-ah- 
han, after sinking to the ground, got up and ran, through a hail 
of bullets, making his escape. 

With daylight, the fight was resumed with great fierceness, but 
the Indians could make no headway against the stubborn band of 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas V7 

soldiers. Tovvards noon, the red men began to weary. Ka-mi-akin's 
stentorian voice could be heard above the noise of battle, urging 
his braves to stand, promising them that Qual-chan would soon be 
there with re-inforcements. Despite his efforts, however, some 
were beginning to skulk away. 

Realizing that they could not drive back the soldiers with their 
present exhausted force, Ka-mi-akin had some time before sent his 
swiftest rider to tell Qual-chan to make haste or the battle would 
be lost. That warrior had set out from the Selah valley with two 
hundred' men and had reached Pah-ho-ta-cute (Union Gap) when 
he was met by the courier with the news of the hard fighting. The 
march at once became a race. On flew the band of braves like a 
whirlwind over the desert. 

Ka-mi-akin had stationed an Indian on the table rock east of 
the battle ground, to signal when he saw the dust from the re- 
inforcements. It came just as the Indians were giving way. Haller 
had forced them across the creek to the north side. Ka-mi-akin's 
voice was no longer able to hold them together, though Quil-ten-e- 
nock and Skloom, with their foUowings were still fighting stubborn- 
ly. Almost in despair the chief looked towards the hill whence 
news must come; and at that moment, the signal was given. Re- 
inforcements were in sight. Riding along the line of battle, he 
cried out, "Qual-chan is coming! Hold your ground!" 

Now the war whoop from the oncoming reds could be heard; 
soon the two hundred thundered into sight. At their head rode 
Qual-chan, the Murat of his tribe, while close on his heels was the 
fiery E-ne-as. Ka-mi-akin, worn and haggard, rode up to his 
cousin and said, "My people and I are exhausted. Go in !" And 
in went the two hundred red devils, meeting the soldiers at the creek 
and fighting them desperately until nightfall. Haller was driven 
back, leaving most of his pack mules and provisions. The Indians 
did not profit by this as much as they might; for they feared that 
the food was poisoned and burned it up. 

As darkness came on, the Indians drew off to eat and sleep, 
leaving Haller to move back into possession of the battle ground of 
the day. He, like Ka-mi-akin, perceived the need for re-inforce- 
ments and by means of a Was-co Indian known as Cut-mouth John, 
sent a message to The Dalles. John, mounted on Haller's favorite 
"siskiyou" (bob-tail) horse, a noted Indian racer which he had 
captured in the Snake country during a previous campaign, made 
his way undiscovered past the Indian sentinels and sped swiftly 
on his mission. , ^ , , 

Next morning the combined Indian forces, led by Qual-chan, 
attacked Haller with energy, pushing him back to an eminence 
which they surrounded. He was forced to remain there all day 
with his idead and wounded, and without food or water. With the 
situation thus splendidly in hand, the Indians, at night, relaxed 

^8 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

their vigilance, believing that all they had to do was to go in, next 
morning, and finish their work. But in the darkness Haller made 
his escape. It was not until nearly daylight that it was found the 
bird had flown. Far up the mountain, on the trail leading to The 
Dalles, a blazing tree top told of the enemy's whereabouts. The 
soldiers were burying their cannon and all the impedimenta they 
could not carry. 

Some 250 Indians at once set out in pursuit, harrassing the 
retreat until the Sim-co-e mountains were crossed; killing some of 
the soldiers and wounding others. 

The Indian casualties in the encounter with Halkr's men were 
two killed — Kas-la-hama and Po-hipe; four wounded and one, 
Tow-tow-na-he, captured. 

Two white men, Ferguson and Ives, who were following up 
Haller's force with beef cattle, narrowly escaped with their lives 
and made their return to the settlements only after much hardship. 
Twenty Indians set upon them, taking the cattle and wounding one 
of the men. As the attack was at dusk, they were able to secrete 
themselves in the brush until the darkness made it safe to travel. 
Daylight showed the Indians still near and again they hid, this time 
in a bunch of logs, continuing their journey at night. Once more 
the Indians discovered and fired upon them. This time, in making 
their escape, they became separated. Ferguson did not get back to 
The Dalles for two weeks, arriving starved, wounded and ex- 

Thus ended Haller's campaign against the Yakimas. He and 
his men fought well. The stubborn endurance and bravery of the 
little band make it deserving of a place in the history of Indian 
warfare. His losses were eight killed and seventeen wounded'. The 
soldiers met their re-inforcements in the Klickitat valley. Cut- 
mouth John having delivered his message; but it was decided not 
to return. 

During the hottest part of the last day's fight on the Toppenish, 
an Indian rider had brought to the battlefield information that a 
force of soldiers under command of Lieut. Slaughter had left 
Steil-a-coom by way of the Nah-cheez pass to attack the Indians 
in the rear. Now that Haller was on the retreat, it was thought 
that 250 warrious would be sufficient to follow him; so Qual-chan 
was dispatched, with an equal number, to meet Lieut. Slaughter. 

Qual-chan camped in the Selah valley long enough to procure 
the supplies of salmon and roots which were cached there; and 
while there a couple of Indian scouts from the Nah-cheez pass 
brought him word that the soldiers would cross the summit that 
day. Early morning found the Indians on their way up the Nah- 
cheez river to meet the enemy, a small party of scouts in advance. 
Te-i-as, an uncle of Qual-chan, was eager to go ahead with the 

*The writer later became acquainted witli Ferguson and heard him relate his story. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 49 

scouts, and Qual-chan, who was doubtful of the old man's discre- 
tion, finally consented, against his better judgment. When the scouts 
arrived at a prominent rocky point of mountain where the trail leaves 
the river to the north, now known as Edgar rock, two Indians, riding 
in advance, discovered a white man coming along the trail from 
Puget sound. Returning to the main body of scouts to report, it 
was decided to secrete themselves in the rocks and await the approach 
of the lone horseman. As he came into sight, making his way down 
the narrow trail, they silently rose and' surrounded him. He was 
recognized as an Indian trader, named Edgar. Being entirely fa- 
miliar with Indian character, having, indeed, married a niece of 
Te-i-as, Edgar exclaimed, in pretended astonishment, "What man 
among you would kill the husband of a descendant of We-ow- 

Te-i-as approached him, to ask what he was doing on the trail 
at this time. The white man replied that he was on his way to 
warn them that soldiers were crossing the divide to attack them. Old 
Te-i-as, afraid that if Qual-chan met the messenger, he would have 
him killed, advised him to return to the west side at once. What is 
more, the simple old fellow gave him the news of Haller's defeat and 
the purpose of the present expedition. 

Edgar was glad to take his relative's advice, for he had obtained 
quite all the information he was after. No sooner was he out of 
sight of the Indians, than he put spurs to his horse and flew back 
to Lieut. Slaughter, for whom he was acting as guide and scout. In 
view of Haller's retreat. Slaughter lost no time in beginning the 
return march, keeping it up all night. 

When Qual-chan, coming up with the main force of warriors, 
learned what had transpired, he was furious. He instantly ordered 
Te-i-as to mount his horse and join the old men and women in the 
Kittitas valley, remaining with them until the end of the war. With 
all possible speed, the war party hastened on after the soldiers, but 
at the summit a Nisqually Indian informed them that Slaughter's 
men were well down towards the settlements, so it was decided to go 
no further. Qual-chan returned, disgusted with his uncle, and swear- 
ing vengeance on Edgar, who had tricked them ; a vengeance which 
some Indian carried out shortly after, for the marked man was 

These activities of the Indians served at last to arouse both the 
military authorities and citizens in general. Several companies of 
mounted volunteers were raised in Oregon and Washington and 
sent at once to the seat of war, reaching The Dalles in time to 
join Maj. G. J. Rains who, October 30, 1855, began his march into 
the Yakima country with 350 soldiers. The volunteers with him were 
William Strong's mounted company from Clark county, Washing- 
ton; and Robt. Newel's thirty- five men from Champoeg, Oregon. 
Four days later, Maj. Rains was further reinforced by four com- 

50 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

panies of Oregon mounted volunteers under Col. J. W. Nesmith, 
making his force, in all, over 700 men. 

They reached the Toppenish November 7. The Indians had 
word of their approach, and had decided to give battle at what is 
now known as Union Gap, on the Yakima, just below the mouth 
of the Ah-tan-um creek, where they had gathered a force not to 
exceed 300 warriors. Many of the Indians who had fought against 
Haller had gone over to help Pe-peu-mox-mox, who was expecting 
an invasion of his country. 

There were many noted chiefs in this battle at the gap, includ- 
ing Ka-mi-akin, Skloom, Ice, Ow-hi and Qual-chan of the Yakimas ; 
Moses and Quil-ten-e-nock of the Ko-wah-chins, and Lot of the Spo- 
kanes. Prominent among the fighters were Lo-kout and Penah, 
young sons of Ow-hi ; E-ne-as, a Yakima, and Nan-num-kin, an 
Entiatj son-in-law of Ow-hi. 

Most conspicuous among the fighters on the other side, by rea- 
son of his later prominence, was P. H. Sheridan, then a young lieu- 
tenant, seeing in this Indian war his first active service. 

In this battle at Union Gap, these Indians met for the first time 
the bugle and the howitzer. They were not long left in doubt of the 
meaning of the former ; and the latter seriously interfered with their 
defense, putting out of business, almost at the start, some stone 
breast works which had been built in the narrow defile on the west 
bank of the river. When the big gun scattered the stones in all 
directions, the Indians took to the brush for protection, a move 
better suited, anyway, to their mode of warfare. 

The families and old men of the tribe, with their livestock, were, 
for the most part, camped in the Selah andi Wenas valleys, though 
a goodly number were in the Mok-see near the battlefield, indicat- 
ing how certain the Indians felt of defeating Maj, Rains as they 
had Haller. But this was a larger force than they had reckoned 
upon; larger than they had ever met. Then, too, the mounted 
volunteers, reckless and impetuous, were a different fighting prop- 
osition from the slow, plodding soldier with the red tape encum- 
brances of the regular army. Between them and the red men, it 
was Greek meet Greek in horsemanship and courage. 

Maj. Rains took up his march from the Toppenish on the 
eighth, across the sage brush plains toward the Yakima river. 
Being now in the heart of the Yakima country, he looked for a 
battle at any time. Ka-mi-akin, with some fifty men, had gone 
down the river to the site of the present Toppenish to reconnoiter. 
Returning about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, near the place where 
Wapato is now located, they unexpectedly encountered a detach- 
ment of soldiers in advance of the main force. A fight ensued. 
When the rest of the army came up, the Indians fell back, pursued 
by the mounted volunteers and soldiers who drove them across the 
Yakima. In the swift waters of the river, two of the soldiers 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 51 

were drowned. Failing to overtalse the Indians, who had fresh 
horses, the pursuers recrossed and encamped at the edge of timber 
just above Wapato. 

From the hills at Union Gap the Indians heard the noise of 
fighting. A hundred braves started in the direction of the firing 
and soon ran into a large force of men, which proved to be Capt. 
Cornelius' rnounted volunteers. Fighting then began in earnest and 
lasted till night — ^the result one wounded Indian and two wounded 
white men, George Holmes and Stephen Waymire of Polk county, 

At a council called that night by Ka-mi-akin, it was decided 
to make the stand at Union Gap. Rains continued his march up 
the river next day. Small squads of the enemy would dash up, 
fire and retreat. It was no use trying to follow ; the horses of the 
volunteers were too jaded to overtake the Indians. Col. Nesmith 
had his horse shot under him, but not totally disabled. About noon 
the soldiers arrived at the gap. The Indians were in the rocks 
and brush on both sides of the river, while on top of the hill on the 
east drums were beating, and women dancing and singing their war 
song. Rains halted until the full command came up. Then, at 
the bugle call (which aroused the Indians' wonder), soldiers fell 
into line, moved forward — the fight was on. 

The Indians held their ground until about four o'clock when 
Maj. Haller and Capt. Anger, with a detachment of regulars, charged 
the hill where a force of Indians had fortified themselves. The 
howitzer sent their stone breastworks in many directions and the 
red men fled to the brush at the mouth of the Ah-tan-um in a panic. 
The noise and the destructiveness of the big guns caused consterna- 
tion among the Indians. They were sure that the "big medicine" 
gun was an evil spirit. 

With darkness, hostilities ceased, the soldiers returning to 
their camp. A night attack was discussed by the Indians, but the 
idea abandoned, since the whites outnumbered them two to one. 
Instead, they decided on an immediate retreat of the families and 
horses. Ka-mi-akin moved over to the east side of the Columbia at 
White Bluffs ; Ow-hi, Te-i-as and their following went off through 
Selah, Wenas, Pa-ha-to and on up Squaw creek to La-cos-tum (the 
saddle mountain above Priest Rapids). Here they swam the 
Columbia, losing many horses in the swift current; and went into 
camp at the mouth of Crabb creek, the present Beverly. Their 
cattle they had abandoned altogether, since they were too fat to 
stand the fast driving of a retreat. The army did not capture the 
cattle, however, since Maj. Rains failed to follow up his victory. 
Had he done so, he could have gathered in the whole band, ihe 
Indians suffered terribly on their retreat, many old men and women 

52 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

With the families and horses well on their way to a place of 
safety, the greater part of the warriors, to cover the retreat, re- 
newed the battle at the gap. After some skirmishing, Maj. Arm- 
strong, of the volunteers, with Capt. Hayden's company and part 
of another under Lieut. Hanna, charged through the narrow defile 
in an effort to surround the enemy; but the Indians were not to 
be caught. Well mounted, they were able to fall back towards the 
Nah-cheez river. A running fight was kept up across the plains 
and over the ground where the city of North Yakima now stands. 
Here the volunteers gave up the pursuit, moving instead up the 
Ah-tan-um to the Catholic mission, which they burned, on the 
ground! that the priest was in sympathy with the Indians. They 
also destroyed Ka-mi-akin's house, which stood a few miles further 
on, on land now owned by A. D. Eglin in Tampico. 

During the last day's fighting, one Indian was killed at the 
little pond just above the old Thomas Chambers place, by Cut- 
mouth John, the Was-co-pam Indian, who had carried Haller's call 
for re-inforcements to The Dalles, and who in this campaign was 
acting as scout for Maj. Rains. 

I have been told by a number of Indians who were in this fight 
that this was the only Indian killed diuring the two days' skirmish- 
ing, and that there were only two wounded, both slightly. Military 
reports from commanding officers are too often highly colored in 
recounting the number of the enemy killed. 

On the day following the burning of the mission. Col. Nesmith.. 
with two hundred mounted volunteers moved up the Nah-cheez 
river towards the pass, believing the Indians to have gone in that 
direction; but it proved a fruitless search, and they returneidi to 
the mission after three days' absence. After Nesmith's return, a 
consultation of officers was held and the conclusion reached to 
return to The Dalles to recruit, since the men were worn out and 
without sufficient clothes, and the horses weak from hard usage and 
scant feed. 

On their return, they met Capt. Wilson's company with a pack 
train of supplies, which reported great loss of horses and supplies 
from deep snow in the mountains. The whole expedition reached 
Klickitat river twenty-five miles from The Dalles November 17, and 
went into camp. 

Thus ended the campaign. Col. Nesmith on his reconnoiter up 
the Nah-cheez river overlooked a large encampment of Indians 
on the Wenas not over six miles away. 

By Major Rains' command they built a block house on the 
site of their camp. There never was at any time an attack on this 
post. Although it had always been a favorite camping ground 
of Chief Skloom, a brother of Ka-rai-akin, it was used as a supply 
point by Captain Dtent while he had charge of the work of building 
a wagon road between the fort and The Dalles. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 53 


A few miles north of this block house and a short distance 
from the road on the west is located what is known as "the lucky 
slide." It is a large rock with a groove in it. The Indian who 
wants a chance at good luck, sits in the groove and slides down, feet 
foremost, a distance of about ten feet. When I first visited the 
stone in 1864, I took a slide, just for luck, but failed to notice any 
sudden development of prosperity. The groove was worn smooth 
by continuous use, the Indians having observed the custom of trying 
for luck in this way for centuries. Where the sliders' feet had 
struck the ground, a large hole was worn in the earth. 

The legend concerning it says that way back in the days when 
Speel-yi was god a young hunter fell in love with a maiden of his 
tribe, but he had a rival in a young man of royal blood who seemed, 
moreover to be in greater favor with the girl. The hunter resolved 
to go to the Snow mountains and consult the Speel-yi. The Coyote 
god told him where to find this peculiar stone, to sit on top, repeat 
his greatest wish and slide immediately down the groove. The 
young Indian followed .directions and won his girl. 

It did not work so well in the writer's own case. 

54 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 



Uprising of Rogue River Indians — Attack on Seattle — 
Qual-chan's Fight at Connell's Prairie — E-ne-as's Trip 
to Olympia — Wright's Yakima Campaign of 1856— 
Rupture Between Ka-mi-akin and Ow-hi — Ow-hi's 
Agreement to Surrender. 

Allegiance to the confederacy of nations formed at the Grande 
Ronde council to resist the whites, prompted an outbreak in South- 
ern Oregon almost simultaneous with the Yakima activities. Four 
days after the fight at Toppenish, where Ka-mi-akin had ordered 
the signal fires lighted on the hills, the Rogue River Indians rose 
and fell upon white settlers in their neighborhood who had had no 
intimation of approaching hostilities. The first act of that dark and 
memorable day, October 9, 1855, was the murder of William Goings, 
a teamster, on his way to the mining camps at Yreka, Cal., or at 
Jacksonville, Ore. The Indians then went on down the Rogue 
river along the Oregon and California road till they came upon a 
pack train loaded with mill irons near Jewell's ferry, where they 
killed a man named Hamilton and wounded his companion, shoot- 
ing him four times. Reaching Evans' ferry about daybreak, they 
shot Isaac Shelton, who died of his wounds shortly afterwards. 
The home of a family named Jones came next. Mrs. Jones was 
shot through the body, but ran for the brush, closely pursued by the 
Indians. Though she begged piteously for her life, they shot her 
again and left her for dead. She was still alive, however, some 
time later when a party of volunteers found her and carried her 
to a place of safety, where she died' the following day. Between 
Jones' and Waggoner's, the Indians killed four men, two of whom 
were driving a wagon loaded with apples.* The wagons and 
contents were burned and the horses appropriated. 

At this point they were joined by Chief George's band of 
Indians. Early that morning, Waggoner had left home to escort 
Miss Tillet, a traveling temperance lecturer, to the Illinois valley, 
having intrusted his wife and four-year-old daughter to the pro- 
tection of Chief George, who had been a frequent guest at the 
house and shown every evidence of friendliness. Upon the arrival 
of the war party, Mrs. Waggoner and the child were murdered and 
the house burned over them. The house of George W. Harris 
stood a few miles beyond. Mr. Harris was making shingles near by 
and Mrs. Harris washing behind the house. At 9 o'clock Harris 

*There were a number of orchards by this time. Besides the famous appl« tree at 
Ft. Vancouiner, there were trees set out by the early settlers at French Prairie which had 
been bearing for some time. The author remembers, a tree on the edge of the prairie 
which was a big tree when he was a small boy. Among the varieties he recalls Golden 
Russets, Rambos and Pippins. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 55 

came in, axe in hand, saying to his wife, "We are surrounded by 
Indians whose movements indicate that they are on the war path." 
He got Mrs. Harris into the house, but in trying to shut the door, 
he was shot in the breast. The 11-year-old daughter, seeing her 
father shot, attempted to close the door and was shot through the 
right arm. Mr. Harris revived sufficiently to tell his wife to bar 
the door and to load all the guns in the house, a rifle, shotgun, 
revolver and three pistols. He livedi just long enough to show 
her how to load the pieces. 

Left to her own resources, the brave woman began firing upon 
the savages and continued to defend herself for eight hours, until 
near sundown. She kept watch on one side of the house, and her 
daughter on the other. At this time, shots were heard on the flats 
about a mile away and the Indians disappeared. Taking advantage 
of their absence, Mrs. Harris and the girl, with only a brace of pistols 
for protection, hurriedly hid themselves in a growth of willows 
near by. Hardly were they out of sight, when the Indians returned, 
and finding the house deserted, began searching the willows. When 
they came too close, the women fired on them. The Indians sur- 
rounded the clump of brush to wait till daylight, but daylight brought 
the volunteers and rescue. The little son of Mrs. Harris, who had 
gone to a neighbor's house in the morning, was killed, as was also 
Frank Reed, Harris' partner. Four of the volunteers who rescued 
Mrs. Harris and her daughter, I came to know well later. They 
were Jack Long, Levi and A. J. Knott and J. W. Ladd, and I have 
often heard them tell the story of this uprising. The massacre in 
Southern Oregon, coming like a bolt out of the blue, was the cause 
of much anxious perplexity to the settlers in that region who had 
supposed the natives in their locality peaceably disposed. The Grande 
Ronde confederacy, of course, furnishes the key to the riddle. The 
Rogue River Indians were carrying out their promise to answer 
in this way the message of the signal fires. 

The Western Washington Indians were slower in getting under 
way. After Major Rains had retired from the Yakima country 
and the snow had covered! the valley, Indian spies who had been 
set to watch the enemy, reported no signs of immediate activity 
among soldiers or volunteers. Ow-hi and his following then re- 
crossed the Columbia and moved back to their home in the Kittitas 
valley. A portion of Ka-mi-akin's band returned to Yakima, but 
he, with the larger part, spent the winter on the Columbia near 
White Bluffs. 

About the middle of January, 1856, a worn and weary Indian 
arrived at Ow-hi's village, having crossed the Cascades on snow- 
shoes He bore a message from Chief Leschi asking that a band of 
warriors be sent him to aid in his contemplated attack upon Seattle. 
Leschi was closely related to the Yakimas, his mother havmg been 

56 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

a daughter of Chief We-ow-wicht. He and Qual-chan, therefore, 
were cousins. 

At the council which Ow-hi called, Qual-chan offered to lead 
some braves over the mountains. About one hundred men were 
ready to go and they were soon on their way. When they got as 
far as Ka-sit-kees (Easton), their horses had to be sent back on 
account of the deep snow. The warriors, proceeding on snowshoes, 
reached Leschi's camp the fourth day out. Here they found about 
300 warriors under the leadership of Leschi and Coquilton near 
Lake Washington, awaiting the arrival of their Yakima relatives 
before making the attack. They outlined' to Qual-chan the tactics 
they had decided to pursue. Their plan did not appeal to him as 
- the best and he asked time to reconnoiter. With one of his braves, 
he visited the camp of Su-e-quardles (Curley), after which they 
sauntered about town in a manner calculated not to attract the 
attention of the whites. On their rounds they were accosted by 
an officer in uniform, who, with a few men, seemed to be on guard, 
and who demanded who they were. 

"Friends of Curley's," they answered. "We are just on a visit 
to him." After a sharp scrutiny, the officer allowed them to pass, 
but his look warned them it would be wise to get out of town. Re- 
turning to Lake Washington, Qual-chan told the Nisqually leaders 
that he disapproved of their plan of attack, though, after much par- 
leying, he finally gave assent to it. He also informed them that 
he had learned enough to convince him that Yark-ke-man, known 
as Jim, would give their plot away and that he ought to be placed 
under guard' until after the battle. Both Leschi and Coquilton 
were sure that Qual-chan's suspicions were unjust and would not 
consent to make Yark-ke-man a prisoner. It was fortunate for the 
white settlers, perhaps, that Qual-chan's plan was not put into 
effect. The West Side leaders' method of attack did not work out 
successfully, and Qualchan and his braves returned to the Kittitas 
valley disgusted. The casualties of the Yakimas in this battle 
were zero; not even a man wounded. 

Yet, when about the first of March, 1856, an Indian runner 
from Puget Sound came to Ow-hi's village on the Wenas with 
word from Leschi that the soldiers were pressing his people so hard 
that they had time neither to rest nor sleep, Qual-chan and E-ne-as 
set out at once with fifty braves via the Nah-cheez pass. Reaching 
Connell's prairie on the White River, they found Leschi, Stehi and 
Qui-em-uth with about 300 warriors, skirmishing with Col. Casey's 
command. Remembering, probably, the disastrous results of failure 
to take Qual-chan's advice concerning the attack upon Seattle, he 
was now made commander in chief of all the forces. He decided 
to begin hostilities at once and an energetic attack ensued. The 
two forces were about equal, the fight, which raged all day, result- 

Ka-mi-akin~The Last Hero of the Yakimas 57 

ing in a drawn battle. The Indians had seven killed and about 
twenty wounded.* 

At a council held that night, Qual-chan expressed the opinion 
that further fighting would be useless. "Today's fight has con- 
vinced me,"- he said, "that you cannot cope with the whites. I 
noticed reinforcements constantly arriving in the camp of the 
enemy, and these will continue, whereas you have the greater 
portion of your fighting men now on the ground. I advise you to 
move all your people at once to the Yakima valley." 

It was decided to act upon this advice and the retreat began 
at once. These people had made their brave fight ; their last stand 
for their homes against a fate too strong for them. Worn and 
weary they took their way, with what little food they had hastily 
gathered the morning after the battle, over the snow and across the 
icy streams. In that dreadful retreat over the winter mountains, 
many old men and women and little children perished by the way- 
side and were buried in the snow. The wails of the women and the 
crying of the children touched even the stout heart of Qual-chan 
who said to his friend E-ne-as, "The suffering of these people, 
caused by the whites, has determined me never to surrender or quit 
fighting them so long as I live." He kept his word. 

About May 1, 1856, Gov. Stevens sent Tuh-noo-num, Muck- 
ulth and Smock-a-way, three Yakima Indians who were temporarily 
on Puget Sound, as emissaries to their own people, requesting, the 
Yakimas to appoint some of their head men to meet him in council 
at Olympia, for the purpose of making a treaty of peace and ending 
the war. The Indians met in council. Ka-mi-akin was not present. 

It was decided to send E-ne-as, who left on his mission about 
May 15. His journey was not without incident for, before arriving 
at Tu-la-lip, he was fired on several times by the whites, but fortu- 
nately escaped injury. At Tu-la-lip, he went to the home of Pat- 
kan-im, a Snoqualmie chief, who was on friendly terms with the 
whites, and who accompanied him to Olympia. On his arrival at 
the capital, E-ne-as says the white people tried to kidnap him, but 
were prevented by Gov. Stevens, who had met the Yakima at the 
Walla Walla council, and who took him to his own home and put 
a guard over him. The next morning the two crossed the bay in a 
canoe to a Catholic mission where the priest in charge could talk 
the Yakima language. E-ne-as says that- there, in the presence of 
the priest, Stevens made him the following offer for the capture and 
delivery of the chiefs whom he knew were with the Yakimas — for 
Leschi, $400 and for Stehi and Qui-em-uth, $300 each. 

E-ne-as replied, "I did not come here to get a reward for the 
blood of my friends. When I want blood, I take it from the enemies 

*My accounts of these battles were obtained from many of the old Indians belonging 
to different tribes who fought in that war, and in about every instance they agree as to 
numbers engaged, also names and numbers of the killed and wounded. 

58 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

of my race. I came at your request, for the benefit of my people 
only. Rather than see those three men you mention captured and 
hung by you and your people, we will fight until the last man of us 
is killed. Give us honorable peace and we will accept it, not other- 

Stevens replied, according to my informant, "Return to your 
people and try to get them to make peace. Say to Leschi, Stehi and 
Qui-em-uth to stay where they are in Yakima and not to return to 
Puget Sound for a long time, when the past may be forgotten."* 

E-ne-as returned to his people in Yakima and reported his 
interview with Gov. Stevens, advising Stehi, Leschi and Qui-em-uth 
not to return to the West Side for many years. The governor's 
offer of peace was rejected by the principal Yakima chiefs. They 
now gathered their families and warriors for moving in a body to 
Che-loh-an, in the north-east corner of Kittitas valley which, from 
time immemorial, had been the favorite kous ground and council 
place for all the tribes of the Northwest. Here the squaws began 
digging roots ; the hunters were sent into the mountains for game, 
fishermen were strung along the river to catch the salmon, which 
had just begun to run — every person busy laying in provisions, 
since war was likely to be resumed at any time. 

About two weeks after they had made camp here, a courier 
came in with news that Col. Wright, with a large force, had crossed 
the Columbia at The Dalles and was headed for the Yakima coun- 
try. Swift riders were sent to the hunters and fishermen with 
instructions to bring in at once such provisions as they had obtained. 
The work of caching the surplus supplies took a day. On the third 
day, most of the men had returned to the encampment, and on the 
next, all was in readiness for a move forward to meet the enemy. 

Ka-mi-akin advised that they wait until Col. Wright had left 
Ft. Sim-co-e before starting. A few days later, a lone rider sped 
in with the word that the soldiers had left Sim-co-e that morning. 
The war idrum began to beat. The horses were driven in from the 
hills and a guard left to watch over the old men and families in- 
structed to be ready, in case of defeat, to move them to the east 
side of the Columbia. The warriors then mounted, the great chiefs 
in their war costumes, ready for the word. Out from his lodge rode 
Qual-chan, the eagle feather of his war bonnet waving in the breeze. 
With a fierce yell, he struck his horse and headed at full speed 
towards Ft. Sim-co-e, followed by 400 yelling red men; their war 
whoops and the sound of their horses' hoofs, as they rushed over 
the plain in a cloud of dust, arousing the jack rabbit and coyote as 

*Gen. Hazard Stevens, in his Life of Isaac Ingalls Stevens, Vol. II, page 204, says 
it was Ow-hi who went to Olympia, makes the visits of the Indians to the governor sub- 
sequent to the arrival of Col. Wright in the Yakima country, and does not indicate that 
the embassy was invited by the governor, but accuses the Indian of base motives. Having 
my information direct from the man who made the trip, I naturally feel that Hazard 
Stevens was incorrect in these statements. 

Ka-mi-akin—The Last Hero of the Yakimas 59 

never before. At night they camped on the north bank of the 
JMah-cheez river,* a scout having brought in word that Col. Wright 
would spend the night on Ki-wy-chas creek.f 

Differences now arose between Ka-mi-akin and Ow-hi. Ka- 
mi-akin had not risen to the leadership of so many Indians without 
mcurrmg a vast amount of jealousy. The fact that he did not 
receive his chieftanship by inheritance; that he was only partially 
of royal lineage was often brought up against him by those who 
resented his accumulation of power. It was this argument which 
Moses and Quil-ten-e-nock advanced now, in announcing their 
determination to take sides with Ow-hi. Moses and his brother 
were chiefs in royal line, as was Ow-hi. Why should they take 
orders from one of less high rank than they? Ow-hi wanted peace— 
at least for a time, until he could be better prepared for fighting ; 
while Ka-mi-akin was for war, now and all the time. 

The next day the sun rose beautiful and bright. The Indians 
swam the river several miles above, and moved cautiously over to 
the Kwi-wy-chas, striking it just below the junction of the North 
fork, where are many rocky cliffs. The Indians dismounted and 
crawled so close to the soldiers' camp that they could hear them 
talk and see them cooking their meals. The warriors remained in 
the rocks all day, expecting momentarily orders to fire; but none 
came, and towards evening they were ordered to return to their 
camp of the night before. 

In the morning Ow-hi called a council of chiefs at which 
Ka-mi-akin did not appear. Indians sent in search of him, found 
him up a small gulch asleep. When he entered the council, Ow-hi 
rose and said, "I want to spill no more blood on this land of ours. 
I will this day go to Col. Wright's camp and make peace." 

Ka-mi-akin rose in his place and said, "I did not start in this 
war to quit at the first battle. The war has just begun. I see no 
reason why we should stop fighting and ask for peace, like women, 
until we have tried longer. I am a warrior, and not a woman. 
I say, let us fight today. If you conclude today to ask for peace 
from the invaders of your country and forever after become slaves 
to the white race and a disgrace to your proud ancestry, I cannot 
help it. I will leave my country and among the Palouses and Spo- 
kanes hope to find true warriors. With them I will fight." 

When it was clear that Moses and Quil-ten-e-nock sided with 
Ow-hi in his peace plan, Ka-mi-akin straightaway mounted his horse 
and rode away to the Palouse country. From that moment, he never 
again set foot in the Yakima country. Fully half of the warriors 
were loyal, and went with him leaving the strictly royal chiefs only 
about 200 to surrender to the soldiers. Not all those, indeed, who 
stayed, were in sympathy with the peace talk, it proved. Col. 

*Kershaw Farm. 

tA. J. Splawn's lower ranch. 

60 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

Wright moved over on to the Nah-cheez,* camping on the side 
opposite to Ow-hi at a point where the river was not fordable. 
For a day the soldiers and the Indians lay in camp with only the 
water between them. The next morning Ow-hi went around to 
the camp fires, saying, "We must not fight any more." Lo-kout, 
one of Ow-hi's sons, felt ashamed on hearing his father thus talk 
of peace. Mounting his horse he said in a loud voice, "I am the 
son of a chief and a tried warrior. After hearing my father talk 
thus of peace, I do not want to live. I will swim the river on. my 
horse. I will go to the soldiers' camp and be killed." 

Armed only with bow and quiver, he rode his horse into the 
Nah-cheez and swam to an island; resting for a few moments, he 
then swam on to the other shore which was lined with blue-coated 
soldiers. He was instantly surrounded and taken to Col. Wright's 
tent where he was surprised to be addressed in his own language. 
A Klickitat Indian, called Sam, acting as interpreter, told him not 
to be afraid. Lo-kout said to Col. Wright, "My father, Ow-hi, 
wants peace. I do not, for I am a warrior. I would rather die, 
and that is what I have come for. If I am killed, my father and 
brother will fight on, which is what I want them to do. I have but 
one life to give and am ready to give it now, that war may continue 
until the whites are driven from our country. If I live, Ow-hi 
will fight no more. You now know the object of my coming. I 
am waiting.* 

Wright sat quiet for a long time. Then he said, "Take these 
presents to your father and say to him — "If he wants to fight, then 
let it be fight ; if he wants peace, let it be peace ; and if it be peace, 
let him send five of his head men over to my camp tomorrow." 

When Lo-kout returned, he said to his father. "Here is to- 
bacco. Get together and decide if you are going to fight or not." 

Peace was decided on and the next morning Lo-kout, Toh-a- 
watus and three others swam over to deliver this message, "Ow^hi 
is glad to quit fighting. His people are tired and poor. It seems 
when he drinks water or eats food that it tastes of blood. He is 
sick of war." 

Wright answered that he was glad Ow-hi felt that way and 
that he would send ah officer and interpreter over to Ow-hi's camp 
to tell him that a treaty could be made next day. Ow-hi sent a 
hundred warriors over the river before he followed with Moses, 

*Isaac Hays' ranch. 

*Lo-kout was the Loolowcan of Theodore Winthrop's "The Canoe and the Saddle," 
his ^uide across the mountains whom he gives such a poor character in his book, ^ Ac- 
cording to Lo-kout, the criticism was not all on one side. He says that Winthrop kicked 
him — 'deadliest of insults to an Indian. It is a wonder that Lokout did not knife him then 
and there. Snowden, in his History of Washington, III, 333, identified Loolowcan with 
Qual-chan, which is, of course, incorrect. John Williams, in a footnote to his edition of 
The Canoe and The Saddle, page 166, says that Gen. Hazard Stevens wrote him from 
Boston that he is "convinced that Loolowcan and Qual-chan were the same." Lo-kout, I 
gathered, did not have a much higher opinion of Winthrop than Winthrop did of his guide. 

Ka-mi-akin—The Last Hero of the Yakimas 61 

Quil-ten-e-nock, Qual-chan and Nan-num-kin, all dressed in their 
war costumes. 

^ ^•^} ,*^ '^^'^h *^y ^^'■^ "^«t by Wright with a line of soldiers 
behind him. This is a bright day," said Ow-hi, "when we can 
meet and make peace. As the sun now shines, bright at noon day 
so my heart feels bright when we know there will be no more war. 
We can build our wigwams by the running waters without fear. 
Our children can play and our old men sleep in safety." 

11 i}^u,^^*5 replied, "I am glad of this day. We will wipe off 
all the blood on our hands. You can take care of your people and 
I will take care of mine." 

Then Indians and soldiers feasted together for a day, the 
former afterwards returning to the Kittitas valley, while the soldiers 
remained at the Nah-cheez camp for a month or more, meeting other 
Indians and building what was known later by the early settlers 
as the basket fort. It was made of baskets of twisted willows 
filled with rocks and sand and stacked one on top of the other. 
This was named Ft. Nah-cheez and the land is now owned by Isaac 

Sohappy, head man of the Priest Rapids tribe, had heard of 
the peace made with Ow-hi and other of the chiefs. Since he had 
taken nopart in the war, he thought he would inquire into the matter 
and see if something could not be done to prevent the hostiles from 
running off his horses, as they had been constantly doing for some 
time. A delegation of ten, headed by Me-cheil was sent to Wright's 
camp without arms. Stopping in the Selah valley to eat and let 
the horses graze, they were surrounded by soldiers, among them a 
Klickitat Indian who called out to them not to run ; that there was 
no danger. Me-cheil replied, "We are not afraid ; we have no arms 
and are on our way to Col. Wright's camp." Upon reaching the 
camp, they were surrounded by armed guards. Soon Wright ap- 
peared, wearing an angry look and saying to Me-cheil, "I want the 
truth out of you. If I find you lie, I will hang every one of you. 
Who are you and where did you come from?" Me-cheil explained 
that they were Priest Rapids Indians and unarmed, who had not 
fought in the war, but remained quietly at home. "Because of 
this," he said, "the hostiles have stolen our horses by twos and threes. 
We are here to ask you what we shall do." Wright now put on 
a pleasant look and said, "I am glad such is the case, for I had 
expected to have to fight you. If I ever get hold of another outlaw 
Indian who stirs up strife with either Indians or whites, he shall 
surely die. Return to your home at Priest Rapids ; remain at peace. 
I will be your friend. If, as you say, it is die birthplace of your 
race since the footprints of the first man is embedded in rocks on 
the island in the rapids, let it then be the land of peace and you 
will never be harmed." 

62 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

About this time Col. B. F. Shaw, of the Washington Volunteers 
who had been sent from Puget Sound over the Nah-cheez pass to 
Walla Walla, arrived on the Nah-cheez where Wright was camped 
and ofifered to co-operate with the regulars. His offer being re- 
fused, he moved on to the Columbia opposite the mouth of the 
Umatilla and then into the Grande Ronde valley in Eastern Oregon 
where he fought a hard battle with a large force of Indians, killing 
about thirty. Shaw was a fine officer. He died recently near Van- 
couver, Wash., more than eighty years old. 

In spite of his big talk about peace, Ow-hi failed to carry out 
his promise to Col. Wright and bring in his men. About two months 
after his arrangement at the Nah-cheez he and his tribes were en- 
camped two miles above the present city of Ellensburg, on the spot 
known later as the Snyder ranch. Qual-chan said to his father, "I 
want to go on a visit to the Palouse and Spokane tribes." Since 
Ka-mi-akin and his warriors were then on the border of the Snake 
river in the Palouse country, watching like the eagle for its prey, 
it is likely that this turbulent spirit had other ideas than a friendly 
visit. Moses and Quil-ten-e-nock, too, who had perhaps changed 
their minds about peace, went along, with fifty horses and Ki-yu-ya, 
a Khckitat known as David, to look after the horses. Unfortunately 
for their comfort, the trusted David was a spy in the employ of 
Maj. Garnett of Ft. Sim-co-e. When the three great warriors 
lay down to rest in their camp above Priest Rapids that night, David 
started the horses for Ft. Sim-co-e, sixty miles distant, which they 
reached about ten the next morning. The warriors arose late after a 
good night's sleep, ate their breakfast of dried salmon and kous, and 
wondered why David was so late. By the time the sun had got up 
pretty high, they showed signs of anxiety and went out afoot to 
look for tracks of the horses. Before long Moses returned with a 
poor old yellow horse which had been too slow to travel with the 
others, and reported the tracks of the whole band going towards 
Ft. Sim-co-e. Putting his saddle on the yellow beast, he headed 
that way himself, while Qual-chan and Quil-ten-e-nock made their 
way back to 0^v-hi's camp on foot, a humiliating experience for great 
chiefs. Arrived at Sim-co-e Moses appealed to Maj. Garnett for 
the return of his horses and after much parleying and objection on 
the part of David, they were restored. 

Perhaps Ow-hi, if left to himself would have carried out the 
terms of his treaty with Col. Wright, but Qual-chan and the other 
warriors were constantly urging against it ; urging the continuation 
of the war. He finally yielded to their persuasions to the extent 
that he did not return to Col. Wright's camp, as he had promised. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 63 



One of the historic spots of Eastern Washington, Fort Simcoe. 
was estabhshed as a military post, August 8, 1856, in pursuance of 
Order No. 10, Headquarters for the Northern District of the Pacific, 
Colonel George Wright commanding. Its establishment was a part 
of a general plan to place a number of military posts along the border. 

Its site and name were recommended by Colonel Wright who 
had made a personal reconnaissance of the vicinity a month previous. 
Some of the reasons for the selection of this particular location are 
indicated in the following extract from a letter written by Colonel 
Wright dated, "Headquarters Northern District of the Pacific, Camp 
To-pan-ish Creek, W. T., Aug. 3, 1856," and reading as follows : 

"On the 29th ultimo I marched from the Ah-tah-num to this 
place and since that time I have carefully examine'd the Simcoe 
valley and I have come to the conclusion that my present position is 
the most desirable one for a station for the winter. In front of 
us in an open plain extending to the Yakima river and both up and 
down that river are good trails over a level country; one leading to 
Selah and Kittitas valleys and another to Walla Walla. On the 
To-pan-ish there are oak and cottonwood and at a distance of a 
few miles west of us there is an abundant supply of the best of 
pine timber accessible with wagons. 

"This valley is much warmer in winter than any of those further 
north and the Indians now at Kittitas, Naches and along the Yakima 
will all winter here, for it is a central point. The roads from The 
Dalles, Oregon, Kamas lake and from the north and Walla Walla 
all unite here. The Simcoe valley is extensive, affording grass for 
our animals and sufficient good land for gardening." 

Major Robert Seldon Garnett was given the task of estab- 
lishing Fort Simcoe. With Companies G and F of the Ninth in- 
fantry he at once commenced building temporary quarters for four 
companies. These he had finished before the first of the year. The 
buildings were constructed of logs and some of them are standing 
yet, grim reminders of early days. 

The fort was established in one of the numerous ravines here- 
abouts in an oak grove called by the Indians "Mool-mool," mean- 
ing "Many Springs." It was about half way between Toppenish 
and Simcoe creeks, a distance- of sixty-five miles from The Dalles, 
and in latitude 46 degrees 14 minutes, longitude 120 degrees 40 

From about August 13 to September 15, 1856, Captain Fred- 
erick Dent, with Company B of the Ninth infantry was at work 
upon a wagon road from The Dalles to Fort Simcoe and so far as 
any records are concerned, one is led to believe that the road was 

64- Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

finished m that time.* From such information as is available, it 
seems that Captain Dent's company was never permanently stationed 
at the fort. 

All of the Indians which had surrendered to Colonel Wright at 
Wenatchee, principally Klickitats, were brought to the Simcoe valley 
for the winter of 1856. 

In a letter dated Washington, D. C, January 8, 1857, we find 
that Major R. S. Garnett, temporarily in the capital, recommended 
to the war department that Fort Simcoe, Washington Territory, be 
officially recognized as one of the permanent military posts of this 
region, a recommendation which was subsequently approved. 

The records also contain a statement that Fort Simcoe was gar- 
risoned June 30, 1858, by Major R. S. Garnett and three companies 
of the Ninth infantry, but as several companies of that regiment 
were at that very time established at the fort under Major Garnett, 
who had reassumed command of the post May 17, 1858, it is pos- 
sible that the paragraph refers to the permanent establishment of 
this post. 

During the year 1857 there were little or no hostilities in the 
Yakima valley. The building of the garrison was continued, how- 
ever, more commodious buildings of lumber being put up. It has 
been stated a number of times that the material for part of the 
buildings was cut and fitted in the East and shipped around Cape 
Horn. There is no record in the Secretary of War's office that 
such was the case. Neither do I believe it, for along the Columbia 
and Willamette rivers at this time were a number of sawmills.** 

In May, 1858, Ki-yu-ya, known as David, a Klickitat scout in 
the employ of the military at Fort Simcoe, made a series of horse 
stealing excursions into the Kittitas and We-nat-sha valleys, driv- 
ing off about all the horses belonging to Ow-hi's and Quil-ten-e- 
nock's bands, leaving them scarcely enough animals to move camp.*** 

After Major Garnett's campaign, which completely conquered 
the tribes in the country he was sent out to cover, we do not find 
him again commanding at Fort Simcoe. 

In a letter from Headquarters, Department of Oregon, dated 
Fort Vancouver, W. T., Nov. 4, 1858, Brigadier General W. S. 
Harney commanding, reported as follows : 

"I have the honor to inform the general in chief of the receipt 
of a report from Captain J. J. Archer of the Ninth Infantry com- 
manding at Fort Simcoe in which it is stated that two of the three 

•From the great amount of work done, I, personally, am slow to believe it was accom 
plished in that space of time. 

••Since writing the above, I have made further investigations and find that the lumber 
for the main buildings was whipsawed in the timber near the fort itself. The doors and 
windows and what hardwood was used were hauled by wagons from The Dalles. Where 
they were purchased no one at this time seems to know. 

Whipsawing by hand is accomplished by rolling a log onto an elevated platform. 
Sometimes a pit is dug. One man stands on the platform and another below and, with 
an upright saw, the upper man pulls up and the lower man down. 

•••See Chapter X, Indians troubles with Ft. Simcoe. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 65 

murderers of Bolon, viz. : Stohan and Wap-pi-choh have been brought 
into the post by friendly Indians on the 10th ultimo, and that. he 
had caused them to be hung. Captain Archer further reports ttiat 
Su-gmtch, the remaining murderer, had committed suicide in order 
to disappoint the Indians who were endeavoring to capture him. 
This prompt action on the part of Captain Archer I approve." 

This Indian, Su-gintch, was known as Me-cheil. He was the 
ringleader in the murder of Agent Bolon. He was the son of Ice 
and had been educated to some extent at the missionary school of 
Jason Lee near Salem.* 

The discontinuance of Fort Simcoe as a military post in May, 
1859, was apparently due to changed strategic conditions in Wash- 
ington Territory. In a letter dated January 10, 1859, General Har- 
ney states: 

"In my communication of November 5, 1858, I recommended 
the establishment of a military post in the vicinity of Colville for 
the purpose of restraining the Indians who were so lately hostile 
in this department. In the event of this suggestion being approved 
by the War Department, I would further state that a military posi- 
tion at Colville will dispense with the necessity of a command at 
Fort Simcoe, as the Indians now held in check by Simcoe are more 
easily reached from Colville and the difficulties to be overcome in 
reaching the two points are not comparable. 

"From its peculiar position Fort Simcoe is cut off in the winter 
from communication with these headquarters except at great risk, 
while Colville is accessible all the year round. Supplies can be fur- 
nished Colville about as cheap as Simcoe. It would be well, there- 
fore, to throw the garrison at Simcoe to Colville, strengthen it by a 
company from Walla Walla and to turn the buildings at Simcoe over 
to the Indian Department for an agency." 

No specific order directing the permanent abandonment of Fort 
Simcoe as a military post has ever been found. It appears, how- 
ever, it was evacuated and finally abandoned in pursuance of special 
orders Nos. 35 and 36, dated at Fort Vancouver April 13 and 14 
respectively, 1859. The first order directed Companies C and I of 
the Ninth infantry to join the Northwestern Boundary Commission 
as escort. The second assigned Company G of the Ninth infantry 
to Fort Dalles by the 15th of the following May, leaving one officer 
and fifteen men in charge of the property at Fort Simcoe until 
further orders. 

Company G left for The Dalles May 11, and the final evacu- 
ation of the post took place eleven days later. Captain Archer 
with Companies C and I, on their way to Osooyos lake to join the 
Boundary Commission, discovered gold on a number of the bars 
of the Columbia. I have heard from some of those who served on 
the Boundary survey that Captain Archer was an efficient officer. 

*See Chapter V. 

66 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

The first agent to be established at Fort Simcoe after it was 
placed under the management of the Department of Indian Affairs 
was R. H. Lonsdale, appointed in 1860. Concerning his tenui-e of 
office is the following report, to be found among the files at Simcoe : 

Superintendent of Indian Affairs, Washington, D. C, 1861. 
Reports serious charges have been brought E^ainst Agent R. H. 
Lonsdale now in charge of Simcoe agency during the months of 
November and December last year which induced Superintendent 
of Indian Affairs for Washington Territory, Mr. Geary, to suspend 
that officer from the exercise of his office until an investigation could 
be made regarding said charges, and ordered C. M. Walker, in- 
spector of Indian agencies in the territory, to proceed to Fort Simcoe 
and relieve Mr. Li>nsdale, which he did, arriving at Simcoe on 
January 3, 1861, and took charge on the Sth. 

The inspector's report to his superior officer says that Mr. 
Lonsdale acted strangely, refusing to recognize the authority of 
the superintendent or turn over the property, books or belongings 
of the agency. The inspector, therefore, took possession forcibly. 
On investigation the affairs of the agency were found to be in bad 
shape and Lonsdale was relieved, the inspector remaining in charge 
until A. A. Bancroft was appointed by President Lincoln, several 
months later, in 1861. 

Bancroft was a brother of George Bancroft, the great historian 
and United States minister to Prussia in 1867 and father of Hubert 
Bancroft, whose histories of the Northwestern States have never 
been equalled, yet he proved a dismal failure at Fort Simcoe, and 
was, in so far as opportunities offered, one of the rankest Indian 
agents ever in the West. 

Head men of the different tribes belonging to the Simcoe reser- 
vation often consulted F. M. Thorp, the first Yakima settler, living 
in the Mok-see, regarding this agent. They said that their annuities, 
which, by their treaty with the government they were to receive at 
Fort Simcoe on September 1, were growing less and by the second 
year of Bancroft's administration had become so small that they 
were not worth making the trip for. Many, indeed, refused to go 
after their goods, believing, as they stated to Mr. Thorp, that the 
Great White Father at Washington must be angry with them and 
meant to do them harm, or he would not have sent to look after them 
such a "narrow-eyed, hump-backed and skinny" man as Bancroft, 
who "kept the greater part of the things sent them by the govern- 

Their anger was so near the breaking point that Father Wilbur, 
superintendent of schools, whom the Indians held in great respect, 
remonstrated with Bancroft many times in regard to his treatment 
of the Indians. The immediate result was Wilbur's removal as 

•Letter from C. M. Walker to F. M. Thorp, dated April, 1863, now in my possession. 

Ka-mi-akin—The Last Hero of the Yakimas 67 

superintendent of the Simcoe school by C. N. Hale, a newly ap- 
pointed Commissioner of Indian Affairs. 

This dismissal aroused Wilbur, who was a strong character and 
despised dishonesty. Gathering up an abundance of data, he jour- 
neyed to Washington and laid the matter before President Lincoln, 
who immediately recalled Bancroft and appointed Wilbur in his 
place. This was in 1864. Wilbur remained agent for twenty years, 
during which time the Indians got justice. He was an inveterate 
worker for the betterment of the Indians in his charge. They made 
some progress in education and agriculture. Grazing privileges 
were granted to a few stockmen and several thousand dollars an- 
nually thus secured were used for the benefit of the Indians. A 
good sawmill was put up nine miles from the agency on the old 
military road leading to The Dalles. Indians would haul their logs 
to the mill and saw them into lumber. Many good dwellings began 
to spring up on the reservation. 

Wagons, plows, harrows and harness were bought and given 
to such Indians as desired to cultivate the soil. Soon there were 
■grain fields and gardens scattered about on the reservation. 

Then the purchase of cattle began. They were branded I D 
(Indian Department). The brand grew by increase and purchase 
till, in 1878, the I D cattle numbered 3500 head. The Indians, as 
individuals, owned at that time as many as 16,000 head of horses. 

With things going so well for the red men, the Indian agencies 
were in the next few years very unwisely turned back to the military, 
whose first move was to sell the band of I D cattle. I purchased 
the greater part of them myself. If any benefit was ever derived 
from the ill-advised sale of that useful band of Indian cattle, it 
never showed up on the Simcoe reservation. Fortunately for the 
Indians, the rotten military administration was short-lived. About 
the only thing it succeeded in accomplishing was the partial undoing 
of Father Wilbur's good work and the debauching of a few native 

Many councils with the Indian were held at this post in the 
earlier days. In the cemetery at Simcoe rest the remains of two 
prominent men. Lieutenant Jesse K. Allen, killed in Major Gar- 
nett's campaign, and Nathan Olney, who died on the Ahtanum and 
was taken there for burial. 

The spot, known as Mool-mool, where the agency orchard 
stands, was the garden spot of Skloom, a brother of Ka-mi-akin, 
a noted warrior, who died and was buried on the Yakima river in 
1859 near the present Cascade mill. His body was taken up later and 
carried to Toppenish creek, a few miles from Fort Simcoe, and 
now rests in the land he loved and fought to retain. One of his 
favorite camping grounds is at the southern base of the Simcoe 
mountains at the historic spot later known as the Block House 
in the Klickitat valley, a few miles from Goldendale. This block- 

68 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

house was built by a detachment of Major Rains' men, as a border 
post, on his return from his Yakima campaign in 1855. 

In June, 1915, I revisited Fort Simcoe, which I had not seen 
for forty-three years. I arrived early in the morning, before the 
inhabitants were up, and wandered alone about the grounds and 
buildings of the old historic spot. 

Fifty-four years before I had ridden up to the place for the first 
time. A. A. Bancroft was in charge of the agency. Of all the 
officers and employes at the fort then, I can recall only two who 
are alive now, Mr. and Mrs. J. P. Mattoon, who reside in North 

Of the old Indians whose faces were familiar and upon whom 
Father Wilbur relied in council, Joe Stwire (White Swan), Eneas, 
Spencer, Thomas Pearne and Stick Joe, are no more. Klickitat 
Peter is the only one I can recall who is still alive. The block 
houses built of hewed pine logs, surrounding the garrison, have 
disappeared save the one which stands on the hill, weather-beaten, 
a grim reminder of long ago. 

During the military occupancy of this post it must have been 
a busy place — freight wagons and pack trains constantly arriving 
and departing for The Dalles, bringing in supplies for the army 
and material for the new buildings. Indian spies in the employ of 
the military were going and coming, keeping in touch with the 
movements of the restless bands to the north; and scouting detach- 
ments of cavalry were constantly on the move. 

In front of the old seven-gabled house, which has been occu- 
pied by every agent, stands the oak tree into which I saw Father 
Wilbur drive a large iron staple with an iron ring attached, to be 
used for hitching. The tree has grown about a third in size since 
then, and the ring is almost covered. 

In the long ago, I remember looking down from this point over 
the Simcoe valley and seeing the smoke rising from many Indian 
villages, while hundreds of horses grazed the plains. Beyond lay 
the vast empire of the Yakima valley, without a settler below Union 
gap and only four above. 

There was an Indian school at the fort then, but the children 
looked different from those of today, nearer their native state, their 
eyes like eagles' and with an independent air. As I viewed the 
little ones on this later visit, they showed all too. clearly the effects 
of their contact with the white man's civilization and disease. 

In June, 1915, I revisited Fort Simcoe, which I had not seen 
for forty-three years. I arrived early in the morning, before the 
inhabitants were up, and wandered alone about the grounds and 
buildings of the old historic spot. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 69 



Col. Cornelius, after extending his expedition through a part 
of the Palouse country north of Snake river and as far up as 
White Blufifs on the Columbia in search of hostile Indians, moved 
dowm opposite the mouth of the Yakima, where he divided his 
forces as shown by the following order : 

Headquarters First Regiment, Oregon Mounted Volunteers, Mouth 
of Yakima River, W. T. 

March 31, 1856. 
Major James Carl, 

Recruiting Battalion : 

You will assume command of the companies ordered to report 
to you this morning for duty, consisting of the following com- 
panies : B, H and K of the First Regiment, and A, D and E of the 
Second Battalion. You will proceed to Walla Walla river and 
there form a camp. You will then scour the valley of that river 
as far as the base of the Blue Mountains, occupying the country 
till you are satisfied that the United States troops have come into 
the valley. You will then proceed with your command to Ten Mile 
creek near The Dalles, there form a camp and wait further orders. 
On your march from Walla Walla you will drive in all the horses 
and cattle found on the road. Signed W. H. Farrar, by order T. R. 
Cornelius, Colonel Commanding Reg't. 

Col. Cornelius, with companies A, E and D of the First Regi- 
ment, and B and C of the Second Battalion, numbering 241 men, 
crossed the Columbia April 8, 1856, and moved up the Yakima, 
reaching Satus creek at the narrow canyon several miles above its 
mouth the afternoon of April 9. During this time, Cornelius had 
heard that Indians had attacked the Cascades and massacred the 
inhabitants. He was debating whether to go on towards the Cas- 
cades on the chance of intercepting hostiles returning from that 
point, or to move on to The Dalles. 

That evening a guard came in and reported seeing several 
hundred Indians moving in the direction of The Dalles. Believing 
a battle imminent. Col. Cornelius and Capt. Absolam J. Hembree 
rode out to make a reconnoissance. Capt. Hembree was skeptical 
about there being any Indians in the vicinity. 

That night, at a council called by Cornelius, it was decided to 
send a squad of picked scouts to scale the hills the following morn- 
ing to spy out the enemy, if he were about. Capts. Wilbur, Wilson, 
Hembree and Lieuts. Stillwell* and Hutt of Company C, with four 

*Lieut. Stillwell was wounded by an arrow in the Cayuse War of 1847, and left for 
dead. He made his escape by hiding in the rocks and working his way down the Des- 
chutes Canyon. 

70 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

privates volunteered for the service and set out at an early hour. 
They were cautioned by Col. Cornelius against going up the rocky 
trail he and Hembree had taken the evening before when Cornelius 
thought he had seen some Indians. Capt. Hembree called back 
that he would be on the lookout, but was convinced that no Indians 
were near. 

When the scouts were a mile and a half from camp, but had 
not reached the top of the hill, they were fired on by a band of 
Indians. At the first volley, Capt. Hembree fell, mortally wounded. 
The rest of his party made their escape, amidst a hail of bullets. 
Indians straightway appeared from among the rocks and hills on all 
sides overlooking camp. 

The most accessible entrance to the volunteers' camp being from 
the hills opposite the place where Hembree had' been shot, the greater 
part of the Indians hastened in that direction for the purpose of 
throwing themselves on the camp. The Volunteers, divining their 
purpose, were fortunate enough to gain the most prominent and 
dangerous hill in advance. 

They had witnessed the firing upon Hembree and the scouts 
from camp and Lieut. Hibler with part of Company E and Lieut. 
Caldwell with part of Company D rushed at once to the rescue of 
the fallen captain. Dashing to the deadly point, they drove the 
enemy from their position. 

Capt. Wilbur here rejoined the detachment and handled it in 
its further operations. Capt. Ankeny, with a detachment of Com- 
pany C, attacked and drove the Indians from an eminence on 
the extreme right. Maj. Cornoyer rescued the body of Capt. Hem- 

Lieut. Powell, of Company E, cleared and held the bottom to the 
west, while Lieut. Hayten, with a part of Company B, held that 
on the east, thus preventing the occupation of the brush along the 

On the south, before the return of Capt. Wilson, Lieut. Pillon, 
with Company A, charged and carried a steep and elevated position 
which had been occupied by the enemy. Capt. Wilson then re- 
joined his company and was ordered to retain the butte, as it af- 
forded complete protection to the camp. 

Lieut. Myers, with the greater part of Company D, assailed 
a force that had collected in the rear of Company A, dispersing 
and pursuing them until they had joined a party with which Lieut. 
Hutchinson was warmly engaged. 

Lieuts. Hutt and Stillwell swept the hills northwest of the 
butte and drove the Indians up the creek. Capt. Burch ascended 
the hills on the south and led detachments of Companies B and C 
in eager chase of the Indians for several miles. Capt. Nevins 
gallantly participated in the attack and pursuit, though not in charge 
of any company, his own being at Walla Walla. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakinias 71 

Col. Cornelius had taken his station on the hills to the south 
where he had full view of the battle. The fighting was hot until 
noon, when the Indians disappeared in all directions. 

The Volunteers had fought nobly. The battle ground was a 
particularly difficult one, broken by rocky hills and canyons, in 
unknown country. Scouts now returned with information that 
the Indians were fortifying on a rocky eminence a few miles further 
up Satus creek. 

The colonel ordered Maj. Cornoyer with detachments of all 
the companies except A, to dislodge them. Lieut. Dillon was as- 
signed to the command of a company of reserves which should go 
to Cornoyer's assistance, if needed, while Capts. Burch and Wilson 
were retained in camp to resist any attack which might be made. 
The force of Indians, fortified in the rocks, was estimated at 300. 
Their position was well protected ; difficult to attack. 

Maj. Cornoyer dismounted a part of his men and had them 
go up the hill, facing the enemy's fire. Firing as they ran, dropping 
down to reload, then on again, they reached a point near the top 
of the hill. The Indians then broke and ran. One Indian was killed 
here and three wounded. 

Ka-mi-akin, the Indian leader in this battle, when too far away 
for his voice to carry, had a system of signals which his warriors 
seemed to understand perfectly. He used a black flag, moving it 
to right and left, up and down, to indicate his orders. By sun- 
down there was not an Indian in sight. 

The Indians tell me that many of their people who took part 
in this battle were without arms. They say, too, that the Volunteers 
seemed to have no fear of death, advancing in a hail of bullets. 

Aside from Capt. Hembree, no white man was killed in this 
engagement, and strange to say, but one was wounded. 

No Indians were to be seen next day. 

Carrying the body of Hembree on a litter, the command started 
for The Dalles, proceeding up the Satus canyon cautiously, then 
moving on over the narrow trail, scouts out on either side. Meet- 
ing two lone Indians, they shot them, without asking any questions. 

Ken-e-ho, a Klickitat Indian, told me years ago that one of 
these Indians was his brother who had not taken any part m the 
war, but was hunting lost horses. He had seen the Volunteers and 
rode in among them, not anticipating danger. 

The command was now about out of provisions, only hour 
enough for one meal remaining. They had: not been able to procure 
horse meat, even in the Yakima valley, where they expected to find 
thousands of the animals. Consequently, they had to kill a few of 
their own jaded horses for subsistence, till they reached Five Mile 
creek near The Dalles, where they went into camp and procured 

12 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

At this camp a band of warriors headed by a Klickitat Indian, 
Yellow-wash, who had been following, captured and drove off about 
all the horses of the command. He was not overtaken. 

I knew Yellow-wash well in later years and he enjoyed telling 
me of that successful raid of his. It was only five years after its 
occurrence, indeed, that I formed his acquaintance, and he still had 
some of the captured horses in his band. 

The command had carried the body of Capt. Hembree to The 
Dalles where the Masons took the remains in charge. He was 
buried at his home place in Yamhill county, Oregon. 

Col. Cornelius left the command in charge of Maj. Cornoyer 
and went to Portland to meet the Governor. Here he received 
orders to disband his Volunteers. The dispersal began April 30 
and continued until the last company was mustered out. May 15. At 
this time, Col. Cornelius met Col. Steptoe of the regular army, 
who was in command at The Dalles, and spoke to him of the diffi- 
culties of a campaign in Indian country. Steptoe is said to have 
haughtily replied, "With raw volunteers like yours, it may seem 
difficult, but with trained soldiers like mine, it is different." 

It was not long after this that the Indians defeated Steptoe 
in the Spokane country and came near to massacring his whole 
command, taking much of the conceit out of him. 

In Indian wars in the West, the Volunteers have always proved 
the more effective fighting force. A brave and hardy class of men, 
they understood frontier life. Their self-reliance and resource- 
fulness fitted them for Indian warfare. Moreover, they understood 
the nature of their wily foe and knew how to combat him. Bold 
and daring riders, they were the terror of the red men. 

I have spent much time in ascertaining the facts regarding 
this fight which I will term the Battle of the Satus. As soon as 
Col. Cornelius' men had started crossing the Columbia, it seems, 
scouts of Ka-mi-akin had lighted the signal fires. Riders were sent 
out in all directions to gather in the warriors. It was not expected, 
however, that the Volunteers would make so quick a crossing. They 
arrived at the Satus a day sooner than the Indians had expected, 
so that the forces of the latter were too small to attack on the ninth. 
Re-inforcements coming in that night, the Indians were ordered 
early the following morning to take their positions among the rocks 
all along the high ground. They had instructions to watch for 
scouting parties from the white camp. 

One band of about fifty Indians, under We-sah-ne-berts, head 
man of the Rock creek band of Klickitats, tied their horses in a 
deep ravine on the north side of the hill which stands on the north 
side of what is known as Dry creek, east of the Toppenish and 
Goldendale road and about a mile south of the top of the Toppenish 
hill on this road. They ascended the hill on foot. Soon they saw 
three white soldiers riding towards them. They remembered that 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 73 


Ka-ma-akin had told them that the white scouts would have spy- 
glasses and would hunt the high points to get a lookout for Indians. 
They secreted themselves, therefore, in the rocks and sage brush 
just behind the top of the hill and lay in wait for the horsemen. 
We-ah-ke-lo-later, known as Satus George, was in a ledge of rocks 

74 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

near the summit where he could watch every movement of the 
scouts as they made their way up hill into the jaws of death. 

Reaching the top. Capt. Hembree in advance, mounted on a 
mule, began to adjust his spy glasses to sweep the hills. He was 
not more than 30 feet from the Indian who fired. A bullet passed 
through his stomach. Mortally wounded, he turned and fled down 
the hill towards camp. About a hundred yards from where he 
received his wound, he fell from his mule between two large sage 
bushes. The Indians made a rush for his body, believing him 
dead. The first to reach him would be entitled to his scalp and 

Hembree, however, was still alive and accounted for three of 
the red skins with his revolver, before he was shot and scalped by 
We-sah-ne-berts. The Indians killed by Hembree were Pah-ow-re, 
Shu-wim-ne and Waken-shear, all Yakimas. 

The two scouts, the Indians tell me, were a little behind the 
captain and had not reached the top of the hill when their leader 
was fired on. As they fled down the hill, they were followed by 
a rain of bullets. Over 50 shots poured over them, but they were 
untouched, a fact which convinced the Indians that they bore a 
charmed life. 

Though I have long hunted it, it was just recently that I had 
pointed out to me the spot where Hembree was shot; also where 
he fell. I have put up monuments of stones at both places and hope 
that sometime a more fitting memorial to this dead hero, may be 

Ka-mi-akin~The Last Hero of the Yakimas 75 



Operations on the Nah-cheez Described by Col. 
Wright — Attitude of Gen. Wool to Volunteers — 
Wright's Journey to Wenatchee — Fort Simcoe Gar- 

The regulars and volunteers did not work in harmony during 
the Indian uprisings. Gov. Stevens did not hesitate to say that the 
failure of the federal troops to co-operate with him unnecessarily 
lengthened the war. The opposite point of view is expressed in a 
letter dated June 6, 1856, from Gen. Wool, commander of the fed- 
eral troops for the Pacific Coast in this part of the country, to 
Assistant Adjutant General Thomas at New York City, who says: 
"Col. Wright is now in the Yakima country with eleven companies 
well appointed and prepared, a force sufficient to crush these In- 
dians at once, if I can only bring them to battle. I shall pursue 
them and they must fight or leave the country. He has had several 
interviews with a number of the chiefs who appear to want peace, 
and remarks, 'I believe these Indians desire peace and I must find 
out what outside influence is operating to keep them from coming 
in.' It is reported to me that Gov. Stevens has ordered two hun- 
dred volunteers to the Yakima country, and that they arrived in 
the vicinity of Col. Wright's camp on the Matches river about 
17th of May. If this should be true, I should consider it very un- 
fortunate, for they are not wanted in that region, as there is not a 
settler or white man in the Yakima country to protect or defend. 
Col. Wright required no volunteers to bring the Indians to terms 
and he so informed Gov. Stevens. The latter, however, as I believe, 
is determined if possible, to prevent the regulars from terminating 
the war. Nevertheless, I think it will be accomplished soon." 

Col. Wright, reporting to his superior officer, Assistant Adjutant 
General D. R. Jones, at Benecia, Cal., under date of May 30, 
states that his camp is still on the Natches, and that the river is 
still impassable, the Indians crossing by swimming their horses. 

"The salmon have not commenced running in any great num- 
bers," he writes, "and hence the Indians are compelled to go to the 
mountains to seek subsistence. It is reported that Ka-mi-akin has 
gone over to see some of the Nez Perce chiefs who were engaged 
with him in getting up this war, and is expected back in a few days 
from this time. I believe most of these chiefs desire peace, but 
some of them hold back in fear of the demands that may be made 
upon them for their murders and thefts. They seem to think and 
say they had strong reasons for the murders they committed, both 

76 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

of the miners and the Indian agent. The outrages of the former 
and the injudicious and intemperate threats of the latter, if true, 
as they say, I doubt not maddened the Indians to murder them." 

He notes that Col. Steptoe joined him the day before with 
four companies, his pack train returning immediately to Fort Dalles 
to bring up supplies. Inclusive of detachments with pack trains. 
Col. Wright states that he has about 500 men With him and that 
as soon as the river can be crossed, he will advance to the Wenas 
and the fisheries and "if I do not bring the Indians to terms, either 
by battle or desire for peace on their part, I shall endeavor to harrass 
them to such an extent that they will find it impossible to live in the 
country. I am now throwing up a field work of earth and gabions 
of dimensions sufficient to contain a compaiiy or two and all our 
stores. This depot will enable us to move unencumbered by a 
large pack train:" 

Writing to Gen. Jones June 11, still from the camp on the 
Natches, Col. Wright says, "On the 8th inst., a party of Indians 
numbering thirty-five men with a chief at their head paid a visit ' 
to my camp. , These Indians live up in the mountains on the branches 
of the Natches river. They do not consider themselves under the 
authority of any of the great chiefs of the Yakima nation, not 
being engaged in any hostilities and evidenced a friendly disposi- 
tion. On the following day a party of fifteen Priest Rapids Indians 
with a chief came to see me. The chief presented me a letter from 
Father Pandosy. It appears that these Indians at the commence- 
ment of the war were living on the Ahtanum near the mission, but 
fled to the north; the chief has many testimonials of good feeling 
for the whites. I have also received a visit from other delegations 
headed by smaller chiefs. They all want peace for they doubtless 
see the probability, if the war continues, that their own country 
will be invaded. On the evening of the 8th of June, two men came 
to me from Chief Ow-hi, saying himself and other chiefs would 
come in next day. These men brought in two horses belonging 
to the volunteer express recently sent over to the Sound. The 
men remained with us and on the evening of the 9th, Ow-hi, Ka- 
mi-akin and Te-i-as encamped on the other side of the Natches river. 
The chiefs all sent friendly messages, declaring they would fight 
no more, and were all of one mind for peace. I answered them, 
if such was the case, they must come and see me. After a while 
Ow-hi and Te-i-as came over and we had a long talk about the 
war and its origin. Ow-hi related the whole story of the Walla 
Walla treaty; concluded by saying that the war commenced from 
that moment and the treaty was the cause of all the deaths by 
fighting since that time. 

"Ow-hi is a very intelligent man and speaks with great energy ; 
and is well acquainted with his subject, and his words carry con- 
viction of truth to his hearers. I spoke to these chiefs and asked 

Ka-mi-akin—The Last Hero of the Yakimas 77 

them what they had to gain by war and answered them by enumerat- 
mg the disasters which must befall them— their warriors all killed, 
°uMj '^^" "^ *^''" *^°""*^''y "ever to return; their women and 
children staving to death. But if peace were restored, they could 
live happily in their own country where the rivers and earth offered 
ample food for their subsistence. 

"I gave them to understand in no uncertain tones if they wanted 
peace they must come to me and do all I required of them; that 
I had a force large enough to wipe them off the earth, but I pitied 
their condition and was willing to spare them, and help make them 
happy if they complied with my demands. I have never seen In- 
dians more delighted than these were. Five days were allowed 
for them to assemble here; to surrender everything they had cap- 
tured or stolen from the white people and to comply with all 
my demands. 

"Ka-mi-akin did not come over to see me, but remained during 
the conference on the opposite bank. I informed them they were 
all children in my hands. I sent word to Ka-mi-akin if he did 
not come over and join in the treaty, I would pursue him with my 
troops, as no Indian can remain a chief here in this land that does 
not make his peace with me. Skloom and Show-a-way, two chiefs 
belonging here, have crossed the Columbia river east of here. They 
are properly Palouse Indians,* but their people are incorporated in 
Ow-hi's band. Leschi was here. He came with Ow-hi and Te-i-as, 
as he is a relative of those chiefs and believes he would prefer to 
remain with them than to return to the Sound. 

Col. Wright tells of completing a bridge "across the Natches 
after great labor," and June 11 eight companies went over it and 
marched nine miles to Wenas creek. Leaving the Wenas at sun- 
rise June 17 they moved north, crossing the deep canyon of Ump- 
tan-um, where the howitzer had to be dismounted and packed on 
mules, reaching the Kittitas valley the afternoon of the 19th. Col. 
Steptoe with three companies of the 9th infantry and a mounted 
howitzer with artillerymen were left to occupy Ft. Natches. Wright 
spent several days in the Kittitas country, setting out July 4 up 
the "Swuck", the march next day being very difficult, "over steep 
mountains and obstructed trails where were many fallen trees." 

"On the 6th," he writes, "we came to Pish-Pish-aston, a small 
stream flowing into Wenatchee river; arriving on that stream we 
were met by the Indians who had visited me at Natches and with 
them was Father Pandosy. They are willing to go at once to the 
Toppenish, or any place I suggest, but express fear as to their 
subsistence, which I believe is well taken, as they can procure food 
much easier and surer when they are scattered. This is beyond 
question the greatest fishery that I have seen. I have consented 
for those Indians to remain here and fish, and later move on to 

•Their father's mother only was a Palouse, they should be termed Yakimas. 

78 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

Yakima. Te-i-as, Ow-hi's brother and father-in-law of Ka-mi- 
akin, is here." 

They followed the Wenatchee river to its junction with the 
Columbia, and then returned in three days to Kittitas where he 
reports he has about 500 Indians, men, women and children, and a 
much larger number of horses and cattle. 

"The Indians brought in," he notes, "about twenty horses that 
had been stolen or captured from the government. Left in my camp 
at Kittitas, Leschi, Nelson and Kitsap*." 

Col. Wright located Ft. Simcoe in August, 1856, gathering 
all the captured Indians at this point. He says of the Yakima 
valley, "The whole country between the Cascade mountains and 
Columbia river should be given over to the Indians, as it is not 
necessary to the whites." He was a fine soldier, but a poor agri- 
culturist and not much of a prophet. 

Maj. Haller with one company of the 4th Infantry and two of 
the 9th Infantry was camped in the Kittitas at this time, while Maj. 
Garnett was at Simcoe with two companies erecting temporary 
quarters for twice that number. Capt. Dent was in charge of the 
construction of a military road from The Dalles to Ft. Simcoe, a 
distance of sixty-five miles. 

*Sound Indians. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 79 



Another Walla Walla council — Lo-kout's story of the 
Attack — Col. Wright Parleys with Indians. 

Early in September one of Ow-hi's spies rode into camp with the 
information that Gov. Stevens had left The Dalles with many wagons 
and pack horses loaded with presents to meet in council at Walla 
Walla the chiefs of the different tribes. Ow-hi, with his sons Qual- 
chan and Lo-kout, and with Moses, Quil-ten-e-nock and a few 
warriors, started to meet him. They found him encamped with one 
company of volunteers as guard, Col. Steptoe and four companies of 
regulars being encamped five miles away. 

"We could not understand," Lo-kout told me, "why all the 
soldiers and volunteers were not camped together until Ka-mi-akin 
explained to us that the soldiers and volunteers were not identical. 
He said that he had talked with Col. Steptoe and was informed by 
that officer that Gen. Wool, his and Col. Wright's superior officer, 
had given orders to drive all the whites, both settlers and volunteers, 
except those belonging to the Hudson's Bay company, from the 
Indian country. He said also, that the regular army had no respect 
for Gov. Stevens and he thought that Col. Steptoe's command would 
not help Gov. Stevens if the Indians should attack him ; wherefore 
he thought it a good time to kill Stevens and all his escort. Several 
councils of chiefs were held and it was decided to make the attack, 
though the objection of some of the Nez Perces caused delay." 

Lo-kout said that Stevens now began to show signs of uneasiness 
and sent to Steptoe for reinforcements. When these reinforcements 
failed to come, Ka-mi-akin was the more eniboldened. But it seenis 
that at this juncture Steptoe advised the governor to move his 
encampment up by the regulars, and this was done on the very night 
Ka-mi-akin had planned for his attack. Surprised and disappointed 
when he came upon Stevens near Steptoe's camp, Ka-mi-akin retired 
in sullen anger to await the time when the governor should set out 
again for The Dalles. By the 19th of September Stevens realized 
that no treaty could be made at this time, and ordered the return 
march. When a few miles away from Steptoe's camp, Qual-chan and 
Quil-ten-e-nock, under Ka-mi-akin's orders, began the attack. Charge 
after charge was made by the Indians on the governor's forces, which 
were marching in battle order. Quil-ten-e-nock had two horses shot 
under him. Qual-chan was fighting with his usual reckless bravery 
and had killed two volunteers, when Gov. Stevens ordered a corral 
made of his wagons near a creek, and used this as a breast work. As 
the sun was going down, Qual-chan, at the top of his voice, called 
out to some fifty Nez Perce warriors who were fighting on the 

80 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

governor's side, "We did not come here to fight red men, only the 
whites ; and if you do not leave at once, we will wipe from the earth 
your women and children." The Nez Perce camp was only a few 
miles away. The threat of damage to their families had the desired 
effect, and the warriors withdrew from the fight. 

It was now dark and the Indians advanced closer to the breast 
work. While the battle was at its fiercest, Lo-kout says, an officer 
of the volunteers* rushed out with a number of men and charged a 
portion of Indians under command of a Cay-use chief ; then started 
to retreat. Qual-chan ordered a rush to cut them off in the rear. 
When the officer saw that Indians were between him and the breast 
work, a hand-to-hand encounter ensued, the soldiers succeeding in 
making their way back through the Indians, though with some loss. 
Lo-kout himself had an encounter with a powerful volunteer. In this 
duel the volunteer was killed and Lo-kout, with two bullet holes 
through his breast fainted. A volunteer, in passing, struck him with 
his gun stock, in the forehead, crushing in his skull and leaving 
him for dead. 

But Lo-kout was not dead. Fifty years after that fight, hale and 
hearty at the age of 84, he came to visit me in 1906. His skull had a 
hole in it that would hold an egg. How he ever survived such an 
injury I do not know. 

Finally it became too dark to fight longer. During the night 
Steptoe sent soldiers to escort Stevens and his outfit back to his camp. 
When Ka-mi-akin, in the morning, learned what had been done, he 
was very bitter. "Steptoe has lied to me," he said. "Only for his 
interference, I should have got Stevens and ended the war. He will 
yet learn who Ka-mi-akin is ! I will be revenged on him." 

Realizing that no further attack would be successful at this time, 
the Indians went home. 

A month later, Oct. 19, Col. Wright left Ft. Vancouver under 
orders from Gen. Wool to establish a post at Walla Walla and, as 
senior officer, to ascertain from the tribes in that region their 
demands and their feelings towards the whites. "Warned by what 
has occurred,", the order ran, "the General trusts you will adopt 
prompt and vigorous measures to prevent further trouble by keeping 
the whites out of the Indian country," — a fair sample of the ignorance 
and downright unfairness of that arch imbecile. Gen. Wool. At this 
council there were present about fifty unimportant Indians, including 
Red Wolf and Eagle of the Light of the Nez Perces and Howl-ish, 
Wam-po, Tin-tin-metse and Sticcas of the Cay-uses. None of the 
Yakimas, Walla Wallas or Spokanes were in attendance. These 
latter Indians had had more treaty than they wanted in that made 
by Gov. Stevens in 1855, which they claimed was forced on them 
by the action of Chief Lawyer of the Nez Perces. During my many 

*Col. B. F. Shaw. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 81 

years' residence among the Yakimas, I have heard their side of the 
story many times and from many sources. I am convinced that, had 
a cooler-headed, less domineering and more fair-minded man than 
Gov. Stevens been sent to treat with them, the war of 1855-6 at least 
would not have occurred. 

The policy of Col. Wool played into the hands of Ka-mi-akin 
without doubt. The Indians listened to Col. Wright, who said that 
his superior officer had sent him to offer them peace and good will. 
"The bloody shirt shall now be washed," said Wright, "and not a 
spot left on it. The great spirit created the white and the red man 
and asked us to love one another. All past differences must be thrown 
behind us. The good talk we have had here today should grow up 
in our hearts and drive all bad feelings away ; the hatchet must be 
buried to be dug up no more. Let peace and friendship remain for- 
ever. Go to your wigwams and tell the warriors, the old men and 
women what we have said today and let there be peace." 

The Indians took back to their tribes the words of Col. Wright. 
War slumbered for awhile, only to be fanned again into flame 
in 1858. 

82 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 



Horse Thefts by David — Quil-ten-e-nock's Death — 
Qual-chan's Fight with the Miners — Steptoe's Defeat. 

In the early spring- of 1858 Ow-hi and his people were camped 
on the Swuck creek at the west end of the Kittitas valley gathering 
roots. Their horses, many hundreds, were grazing in the valley 
below. One night Ki-yu-ya, — ^the same David who had previously 
played a similar trick on Qual-chan, Moses and Quil-ten-€-nock, — 
stole nearly all the horses of the tribe and drove them towards Ft. 
Sim-co-e, where he was employed as a scout by Maj. Garnett, in com- 
mand of the post there. On learning of this theft, Qual-chan was 
for going to the fort to demand their return, but Ow-hi, more pacific, 
said "No, let them keep the horses ; we may get them back later on." 

But they moved up into the We-nat-sha country to be farther 
away from the Ft. Sim-co-e raider. Here Quil-ten-e-nock was 
camped with his people, while Moses was at his favorite place, 
twenty miles below, in the coulee which bears his name.* The horses 
of the two brothers and their followers had been driven up the 
We-nat-sha river to a small creek, where they were considered safe, 
but Ki-yu-ya still hovered near and found opportunity to drive ofif 
most of the band, not leaving, indeed, sufficient numbers to carry 
the camp equipage. In such manner was the Indian traitor in the 
government employ helping to keep the peace. Ft. Simi-co-e, at that 
time, seemed to the Indians to furnish an asylum for all the robbers 
and renegades among their kinsmen. 

The feelings of Quil-ten-e-nock were so outraged by the loss of 
his horses in such a way that he fell to brooding. "Col. Wright is 
now far away," he said, "and those who are in charge are not keeping 
faith. We have made peace, but our enemies still hound us and steal 
our horses with the permission of the commander at Ft. Sim-co-e. 
We are now so poor that we cannot move our camps. Our squaws 
are wailing, our old men discouraged and our papooses no longer 
play around our wigwams. Everything seems dead. The rushing 
waters speak our doom. I have now enough. The word of a pale 
face shall pass by my ears as the idle wind. In my poverty and 
humiliation I blush. I have been a bold man, born of a race of 
warriors who never turned their back on a foe. My father was the 
bravest of the brave. His name struck terror to his enemies. I have 
always been a free man, and shall be again. I will disgrace his name 
no longer by keeping this false peace." 

Going into his tent he lay down upon his blankets. Shortly 
after an Indian came in to tell him that white men were fording the 

*The place was owned by Otto Smith in igoo. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 83 

Wen-at-sha river. It proved to be a small company of miners on 
their way to the Fraser river in British Columbia. Quil-ten-e-nock 
rose and saddled a spotted horse, the last he had. Taking- his gun 
and ammunition, he crossed the river, telling no one of his intentions. 
Following up the Columbia, he overtook one of the miners who had 
fallen behind to fix his pack. Quil-ten-e-nock shot him. Without 
stopping to investigate whether the white man were wounded or 
dead, the Indian rode on after his companions. They had turned 
at the sound of the gun and had seen their comrade fall. They now 
opened fire on Quil-ten-e-nock, but the bullets failed to reach him. 
The chief retreated towards the We-nat-sha river, pursued by the 
miners. They recrossed the river and in the night were surrounded 
by hostile Indians who had joined in the fight. Sometime before 
daylight the Indians ceased the attack, in ordei: to sleep, leaving a 
few guards on watch, who, also, must have fallen asleep, for in the 
morning the miners had disappeared. The Indians were soon in 
pursuit and overtook them among the large rocks just below the 
present city of Wenatchee, where a running fight was kept up for 
some time. 

0|w-hi, at this juncture, rode up to ask Qual-chan and the others 
who had joined Quil-ten-e-nock to return to their lodges and keep 
the peace promise they had made to Col. Wright. Reluctantly the 
famous warrior obeyed his father, but Quil-ten-e-nock refused to go, 
saying, "Return if you will, but with me, from now on, it is war," 

Alone and on foot he continued the unequal battle ; all the fire 
now centered on the solitary warrior whose proud spirit had made 
its final revolt, the limit of insult and humiliation reached at last. 
It was a fight to the death with Quil-ten-e-nock. 

About six miles below Wenatchee there is a small creek, Quil- 
tuh-cheen, flowing from the mountains near by. The miners had 
crossed this and were continuing their retreat when they discovered 
the lone warrior still following relentless upon their trail. Three of 
their men had already been wounded. One of the miners decided to 
take the chance of dropping behind a rock, just at the creek crossing, 
to lie in wait for the Indian. Quil-ten-e-nock did not see him until, 
only twenty feet away, the miner fired. With one wild yell, the 
Indian, whose wrongs had driven him to this madness, fell dead. 

Thus perished Quil-ten-e-nock, the Roland of his tribe. When 
the Indians, who were following up behind, but taking no part in the 
action, came to where the chief lay dead, they threw a blanket over 
him and sent for Qual-chan and Ow-hi. When these two looked upon 
their favorite comrade, cold in death, the friend with whom they had 
shared so many battles and hardships,— hardened warriors that they 
were, they shed tears. On the spot where he fell, the tribe built a 
little mound of stones and for years, afterwards, as they traveled by, 
they kept the pile heaped up. When I passed the place in 1861, 

84 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

Indians were at work replacing rocks which had fallen off the 

Wrapping the dead chief in his blanket, they took him across 
to the north bank of the Columbia and buried him. When the last 
rocks had been thrown upon his grave, Qual-chan said, "I am to 
blame. Had I refused my father and stayed to help Quil-ten-e-nock 
fight, doing my duty as a warrior, he would not now be dead. I will 
take up his fight where he left off. I will follow the pale faces." 

Hurrying back to the camp, he mounted a sorrel which had 
been overlooked, and, armed with gun and pistol, set out after the 
retreating whites, overtaking them just below La-cost-um* near 
Priest Rapids. For over half a day he fought the miners till, shot 
through the intestines, he became too weak to continue. He had seen 
two of his opponents fall, — whether dead or only wounded he did 
not know. Bleeding profusely, he was near to death when he reached 
Wen-at-sha. He had been shot twice, his stomach was badly swollen 
and he was in evident distress. Moses, hearing of Qual-chan's 
condition, hastened to him and was deeply moved to think that these 
wounds had been received in an effort to avenge his brother's death. 
They had been boys together and had grown to manhood side by 
side, — friends in sport and in war. Taking his woven drinking cup, 
Moses threw cold water on the wounds, washed off the blood and 
then sat down by Qual-chan's side to watch for signs of improvement. 
They came before long and Qual-chan, in time, recovered. 

Soon after this, Ow-hi met another party of miners, headed 
by W. H. Pierson*, at the crossing of the We-nat-sha. The chief 
warned them of danger if they proceeded, telling them of the 
experience of the party of two weeks before and stating that Quil- 
ten-e-nock had many friends and relatives among the Okanogan 
tribes who would be only too ready to avenge his death on the first 
white men who undertook to pass through their country. How 
rightly Ow-hi judged the situation, later events were to prove. 

Ow-hi explained to Pierson the theft of their horses by the 
renegade David and told how bitterly they resented this breach of 
good faith permitted by a representative of the government. Pierson 
said, "This company of white men will return to Puget Sound; 
while I will take thirty or forty of your young men and go to Ft. 
Sim-co-e and see if I can get the commander to return the horses 
to you." 

Ow-hi's sons, Qual-chan, Lo-kout and Pe-nah, with twenty-five 
others accompanied Pierson. Ojn Sim-co-e creek, about five miles 
from the fort, they came upon mounted soldiers who, they afterwards 
learned, were looking for some deserters from the garrison. The 

*Saddle Mountain. 

*Gov. Stevens' noted scout. It was he, with Doty, who carried the word from 
Stevens to Ka-mi-akin, arranging for the council of all the tribes in 1855. Pierson also 
acted as scout and messenger for Stevens on his trip into Montana as far as Ft. Benton. 
The governor said of himl that he was a man to be trusted in any place of danger, brave, 
cautious, a wonderfully tough rider, a man to be relied upon. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 85 

soldiers, discovering the Indians, dismounted and drew their guns. 
Pierson, who was mounted on a spotted sorrel pony belonging to 
Pe-nah, rode forward, waving his hat and calling, "Don't shoot!" 
After talking with the soldiers for a few minutes, he motioned the 
Indians to come up, saying "I have Ow-hi's and Te-i-as' boys 
with me." 

"We all had a good talk," said Pe-nah, in relating the incidents 
of the trip to me many years later, "and the soldiers took out their 
lunches and we all ate together. When we had finished, the soldiers 
returned to the fort and with them went Pierson and an Indian 
named Sto-chan." 

Pierson explained to the commander how David's theft of the 
horses had so aroused Quil-ten-e-nock that he had set out on the war 
path by himself and had succeeded in wounding five miners before 
falling. He told also of the friendly warning given his party by 
Ow-hi and urged that the horses be returned. He emphasized the 
fact that his interest was of a purely friendly nature, and said he 
believed that if the horses were sent back, peace might be maintained ; 
otherwise war was likely to break out at any time. The commander 
summoned David, who said that if Ow-hi had his horses back he 
would fight again anyway. Pierson remained at the fort, but Sto-chan 
returned to the Indian camp bearing word to Qual-chan from 
Pierson that if the commander decided to return the horses, he, 
Pierson, would be at the Indian camp by noon the next day. He did 
not appear at the appointed time and he kept Pe-nah's spotted horse. 
The Indians always believed that the commander would not allow 
him to return. 

Next morning David, riding one of the horses which had 
belonged to Qual-chan, dashed towards the camp, making war 
whoops and bantering the Indians to fight, while not far behind 
were soldiers on foot and on horseback. The sight of the thief on 
one of his favorite mounts, made Qual-chan fiercely angry. When'the 
soldiers came close enough, they fired on Qual-chan and his warriors. 
Then Qual-chan said, in a loud voice, "The peace we made is broken. 
Soldiers have renewed the war. Now let us fight." A battle of several 
hours' duration ensued, in which there were no casualties on either 
side. The Indians, seeing a man herding mules, surrounded him. 
Lo-kout captured him, and after relieving him of his spy glass, turned 
him loose. 

Starting back towards We-nat-sha, the Indians went by way 
of the Kwi-wy-chas, thence to the Nah-cheez and up the river to the 
mouth of the Nile, where they found So-happy encamped with a 
portion of the Priest Rapids tribe. Qual-chan, who had married a 
daughter of So-happy, urged him to pack up and go with them to 
We-nat-sha. He related the happenings at the fort that day, told 
how the peace had been broken and spoke of the likelihood of war, 
coaxing the old man to go along and help fight. So-happy stubbornly 

86 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

refused, saying, "I have not fought the soldiers tefore and I will 
not now. We are friends. Go your way and let us alone." And he 
pulled out a letter which Lieut. Allen had given him. 

"Then," said Qual-chan," if you will take no part in the defense 
of your country and wish to become the slave of the white man, you 
will not need your horses. We, who do need horses, in order to fight 
your battles as well as our own, will take them." 

As he began at once to round up the two hundred or so head of 
horses belonging to the Priest Rapids people. So-happy rode out to 
prevent it. Low-e-chicht, a Kittitas Indian with the Priest Rapids 
aimed his rifle at Qual-chan, but another Indian kept him from 
shooting. At this critical moment, a Flathead from Montana, a 
brother-in-law of Qual-chan's, shot So-happy dead, and then fired 
a shot through the heart of Wol-e-koot, another of the tribe. 
Shocked by the killing of their chief, the Priest Rapids made no 
further resistance and Qual-chan's band drove oflf all the horses 
in sight. 

About the first of May, it seems, an old Priest Rapids Indian 
named E-la-to-moh, who had gone to Ft. Sim-co-e as a spy, was 
captured near the fort and taken before Lieut. Allen, who questioned 
him. When it was learned that E-la-to-moh belonged to the tribe of 
So-happy, he was instructed to go back to the chief and tell him to 
bring all of his people and horses to the fort, leaving nothing behind, 
for soldiers would be sent to all parts of the country and any Indians 
found would be treated as hostiles. So-happy took the advice and 
went to the fort, where Lieut. Allen suggested that he take his 
people to Wich-ram, the falls on the Columbia, there to remain until 
the war was over. Half of So-happy's tribe did this, but, at the 
instigation of Low-e-chicht, the other half had moved over to the 
mouth of the Nile. When the Indians at Wich-ram heard of So- 
happy's death, they hastened to the Nile with horses and the whole 
tribe returned to Priest Rapids. But the guiding hand which had 
held them together was gone. Their sun had set. 

Qual-chan and his band, on arriving at We-nat-sha separated. 
The greater portion of the Indians, including Ow-hi, Moses, Qual- 
chan, Lo-kout, Nan-num-kin and Lot, a Spokane, and other prom- 
inent men with about 300 warriors crossed to the east bank of the 
Columbia opposite the present city of Wenatchee. E-ne-as and his 
following, about 500 men and women, remained on the left bank, 
refusing to fight longer. When Qual-chan returned to beg E-ne-as, 
his friend of long standing, to stay with him in the fight, E-ne-as 
replied, "I have seen enough to know we cannot win. The longer 
we continue this unequal fight, that much longer will our wives and 
children suffer. I see so much suffering among our old men that I 
cannot longer take the war path, for the wails of our wives and 
daughters have touched my heart. That I am brave, you well know. 
I have been in the thickest of the fight, side by side with the bravest, 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 87 

and I am not afraid to die; but I believe that further fighting 
would be a crime against the future of our race." 

Qual-chan then took the hand of his friend, whom he was 
destined to see no more and said, "We may never meet again, but 
we differ. When the time comes that my race is conquered, our 
country no longer ours ; when the hated white man shall plow up 
and desecrate the graves of our ancestors, I will not be here to see it. 
I prefer death." 

So he rode away to join the warriors on the opposite bank. 
Had David not stolen from these people their horses, and had not 
the commander at Ft. Sim-coe, Maj. Garnett, justified him in the 
act by refusing to return the animals, I firmly beUeve that this tribe 
of brave men would not again have gone upon the war path. 

Ka-mi-akin, who, after the fight with Gov. Stevens at Walla 
Walla, had repaired to the Palouse country, was during this time 
busy working out his plans for his promised revenge on Col. Steptoe. 
Visiting the Spokanes and Coeur d'Alenes, he used the same argu- 
ments which had been effective three years before when, he formed 
one of the greatest federations of Indian tribes ever recorded in 
history. His point that no white travelers or soldiers should pass 
through Indian country was in line with the feeling of the tribes 
and quickly met their approval. Til-cosx, a noted Palouse horse 
thief and raider, was called into council and listened eagerly to the 
suggestion that the best way of keeping the white men out of his 
country was to kill them on sight. Ka-mi-akin emphasized the fact 
that the peace recently made between Col. Wright and a few unim- 
portant Indians would not amount to anything, though it would 
encourage miners to travel to the Colville mines. Whether or not as 
a result of this talk, several miners on their way to Colville were 
killed in the spring of 1858. These murders came to the notice of 
the few white settlers in the Colville valley who- reported them to 
Col. Steptoe at Walla Walla, and he, in turn, to Col. Wright at 

Ka-mi-akin kept himself informed of the soldiers' movements 
by means of Nez Perce Indians, supposedly friendly to the whites, 
who hung about Ft. Walla Walla. He now called upon Til-cosx 
to drive off, if possible, all the horses and cattle belonging to the 
garrison. Delighted at the prospect, Til-cosx and a few followers 
at once crossed the Snake and by following his usual methods, was 
successful in getting away with a large amount of stock. 

This raid helped to hasten Steptoe's advance into the Colville 
valley. On May 6, the command, amounting to 136 draggoons besides 
officers and packers, marched out from Walla Walla. Word was 
instantly sent to the different tribes by Ka-mi-akin that the soldiers 
were on their way to Colville, a mere handful, easy to exterminate. 
Leisurely wending their wav to the Snake, the soldiers reached it 
at Red Wolf, crossing near the mouth of Alpowa creek. Here 

88 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

Timothy, a chief of the Nez Perces, ferried the commander across 
and went on with him as a guide, a circumstance which later proved 
extremely fortunate for the expedition. 

Ka-mi-akin met the main body of his Indians at the point 
selected for the attack, site of the present Rosalia in Whitman 
county. Here were about 400 warriors, Palouses, Spokanes, Coeur 
d'Alenes and some Nez Perces ready to give battle. The forces of 
Col. Steptoe came into sight May 17. Said Ka-mi-akin to his 
warriors, "We now have the opportunity to kill this whole command, 
thereby making the white man afraid forever to attempt to pass 
through our country." 

Steptoe, before reaching this spot, was met by a Catholic 
priest, Father Joset, who warned him of an attack scheduled for 
the morrow. The battle ground selected by the Indians was a 
ravine through which led the trail Steptoe was following and where 
the hostiles could assail him on three sides. The commander, who 
saw no way of avoiding a fight, was not to be caught, however, in 
the ravine. Turning to the left, he went on for about a mile and 
camped at a small lake. The horses were kept in hand ; not even 
unsaddled. A few Indians came into the camp and acted in an ugly 
manner, saying, "Tomorrow we will fight," but they disappeared at 
dark. There was no sleep in the camp that night. 

Before sunrise on the morning of May 18 Steptoe's command 
was on its way back to Walla Walla. The soldiers had not gone 
more than a mile when, in the morning gloom, Indians could be 
seen riding on both sides of them. Steptoe, who wanted, if possible, 
to avoid a fight, ordered that the Indians fire should not be returned, 
unless some one was hit by a bullet. The attack was not long delayed. 
A squad of Indians in war costume and on gaily caparisoned horses, 
made a charge on the rear. Their bullets failing to take effect, they 
came closer ; with only a hand and a foot on the back of each horse, 
and a painted face peering out from under his neck, they kept up 
the firing. At this charge, Lieut. Gaston's horse was shot under 
him, but the soldiers pressed on, still without returning the fire. A 
little later Gaston's new horse fell under him and a ball tore across 
his hand. The first volley then was sent among the howling pursuers. 
It was not long before Gaston fell, mortally wounded, — the first 
man to die in the fight, and the victim of an incompetent officer. 

Ka-mi-akin was openly rejoicing as the soldiers fell one by one. 
Remembering how Steptoe had foiled his attempt on Gov. Stevens, 
he urged his warriors on to further slaughter. Towards evening, as 
they were approaching Te-hot-a-mi, now known as Steptoe Butte, 
Capt. Oliver H. T. Taylor fell from his horse, wounded. Two men, 
Howard and Hill, started to replace him in the saddle, when a 
second bullet struck him, killing him instantly. Taylor was a young 
officer whose wife had just come out from New York to join him 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 89 

in this western land. Another promising young life cut short and a 
young widow left without home or friends ! 

Close up under Te-hot-a-mi, on the north side, water was 
found and the command halted for rest. Many were near to 
exhaustion from the long day's work and the wounded were in 
particularly bad shape for the want of water. The sun was fast 
setting in the western horizon and as darkness fell the Indians, for 
some unknown but fortunate reason, drew oflf. The soldiers had 
scarcely three rounds of ammunition left and could not have lasted 
much longer. They proceeded to bury the dead, including the brave 
Taylor. The howitzer also was buried here, the pack train unloaded 
and preparations made for a rapid retreat. John O'Neil, Mike 
Kennedy and J. J. Roan, with eight others, were placed on guard 
with the understanding that the retreat would start in the early 
morning, but during the night the guards discovered that it had 
already begun and they had been left behind. Hastening to the 
camp, they caught up the best mounts they could find and took the 
trail of the flying command, leaving behind seventy pack mules and 
their burdens. These eleven men never knew why they had not 
been notified of the retreat, the most charitable belief being that, in 
the mad rush to escape, they had been forgotten. 

It was Timothy, the Nez Perce, who was responsible for the 
change in the time of the retreat. Knowing the country, and knowing 
Indian nature and methods, he realized that the escape by night 
offered their best chance for safety. 

The guards, following on after the command, came upon a man 
mounted on a mule and holding by a rope another upon which a 
wounded man was lashed. In his weakness, the injured soldier had 
turned the saddle and fallen, his body resting on the ground, while 
his feet were still fastened to the animal. They untied him and \yere 
about to lash him on again in as comfortable a position as possible, 
but he begged to be left where he was. Believing that he could live 
but a short time, they laid him gently on the bunch grass, with no 
covering but the canopy of heaven, and bade him good-bye. A short 
distance further on they came upon a Frenchman named Le May, 
lying on the ground, but holding his horse. This man had not been 
very popular with his mess, being notoriously lazy. It was found, 
later, by an examination of his effects at Walla Walla that he held 
a captain's commission in the French army. When urged by the 
guards to continue the journey, he declared it impossible and said, 
"I have in this revolver six loads. Five are for the Indians." 

Next they overtook Sergeant Williams, who had received a 
serious thigh wound. He, too, had given up the fight and would not 
attempt to go on. It was afterwards learned that he fell into the 
hands of some Indians whom he begged to shoot him to end his 
sufferings, but who, instead, cared for him till he died. 

90 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

It was not till daybreak that the guards came up with Steptoe. 
The whole command proceeded without halting, except for an 
occasional rest of a few minutes, until they reached the Snake river 
that night opposite the mouth of the Alpowa. Here Timothy's 
Indians were encamped, and they halted so that the wornout company 
might get some rest while the Nez Perce scouts kept guard. In the 
morning the squaws helped to ferry them across the river, the men, 
by Timothy's orders, still remaining on the watch for the enemy. 
With all the command safely over, they checked up the casualties 
and found they had lost twenty-five men, including a Nez Perce 
scout, or about one-fifth of the entire force. Next day, while slowly 
winding their way over the hills towards Walla Walla, with no 
further anxiety as to their safety, some one, chancing to look back, 
saw a great cloud of dust. Soon they could distinguish a large band 
of horsemen at full gallop. Though filled with consternation, they 
made preparations at once to give battle. Qn came the flying 
column and when the war whoop was heard, it seemed no longer 
possible to doubt their identity. The thought that must have come 
to many a man in that little band was the irony of having passed 
through the sufferings of the past two days only to be wiped out 
after all. Imagine their joyful relief when, the horsemen coming 
nearer, their leader unfurled the Stars and Stripes. Lawyer of the 
Nez Perces, consistently faithful to the whites, had come up with 200 
painted and plumed warriors, having had news of Steptoe's defeat 
through the wonderfully quick mode of Indian signals. He urged 
Steptoe to return, promising that he would gather 800 warriors 
and accompany the soldiers, without cost to the government, making 
war upon the victorious Indians and effectually crushing them for 
all time. But Steptoe had had enough and would not go back; 
which was perhaps as well since his incapacity had been shown. It 
is said that when Gaston and Taylor, who with a handful of men 
had been defending the rear and doing practically all the fighting, 
had asked their commander to halt until they could come up to the 
main body, he had refused and continued his rapid retreat. These 
two officers won a place in the hearts of their countrymen by that 
day's fight, but at the cost of their lives. 

This disastrous expedition of Col. Steptoe had been almost 
wholly lacking in arrangement. There seemed to be no guiding 
hand behind it. The men were totally unprepared for the sort of 
work which was to be expected. Then take, for instance, the 
quartermaster's wanton disregard of human life when, to lighten 
up the loads of the pack mules, he left behind the greater part of 
the anununition to fall into the hands of the enemy. Such facts go 
to prove how incompetent were many of the military men sent into 
the west at this time. 

When Steptoe had begun his retreat, Ka-mi-akin said, "Let us 
see that these soldiers do not escape. They have found out we are 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 91 

prepared to defend our country so that now they want to go back 
and get reinforcements and return. Let us show them we can fight." 
He had accordingly ordered his Palouses to make the attack and 
soon the battle became general. Lieut. Gaston's brave defense was 
defeating the aims of the Indian commander, who had expected that 
the sudden onslaught by his redskins would demoralize the command 
and that then the whole force of the Indians would come down on 
them with one fell swoop. But when Gaston and his men held the 
rear intact, Ka-mi-akin saw that he had an obstacle in this officer's 
fighting qualities and marked him for death. It was no accident that 
his horses were shot under him. To a PaJouse warrior who was 
considered a deadly marksman, Ka-mi-akin said, "Two horses have 
gone down under that officer. See that he dies." From that moment 
Gaston was a target for the best shots among the Indians and his 
death was a foregone conclusion. 

In an attempt of the Indians to cut off part of the column there 
was a hand-to-hand struggle in which Jacques Zachery, a brother- 
in-law of Chief Vincent of the Coeur d'Alenes, as well as victor of 
that tribe, fell. The rage of the Indians at his loss was terrible and 
they began to fight like demons, avenging themselves, as the number 
of whites killed bore witness. 

Capt. Oliver Taylor, upon whom fell the burden of the fight 
after Gaston's death, soon attracted the attention of Ka-mi-akin and 
became in his turn marked for slaughter. 

If the Indians had only known, in this and other wars, when 
they had their battles won, the history of the country might have 
been different. It was night and their incapacity for sustained 
action which beat them rather than any soldiers. When they quit 
firing at Te-hot-a-mi and drew ofiE to water, many unsaddled their 
horses and prepared to sleep. Ka-mi-akin at once remonstrated, 
crying, "Our work is not finished. Let us keep up the fight. No 
doubt their ammunition is about exhausted. One more battle and 
they are ours. The dead and wounded are with them and the sight 
will make them fear us more. We have them now in anguish. Let 
them not escape. We can finish them' in a short time and then we 
can lie down to sleep. If we do not get them now, dawn of day will 
not find them there, for that wily old Nez Perce Timothy knows these 
hills well. There is a pass up the Te-hot-a-mi by which they may 
escape. Remember my word. Maj. Haller eluded me in the Yakima 
because of our sleeping. I want this man Steptoe." 

But, alas for the Yakima chief, the talk fell on deaf ears. The 
rest of the chiefs and warriors insisted on resting, saying that if 
guards were put along the edge of the butte between them and 
the Snake river the soldiers could not move without their knowledge 
and that when morning came, with renewed strength they could go 
in and finish them. 

92 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

Ka-mi-akin, sorely disappointed, feeling his victory and revenge 
slipping away, turned to one of his Palouse warriors and said 
bitterly, "If I had the brave Qual-chan here but for an hour, there 
would not be a soldier left alive. He is the greatest fighter of them 
all ; fierce as the twe-tas (grizzly bear) and swift as the whirlwind. 
He saved the day at the battle of the Toppenish when we defeated 
Maj. Haller in the Yakima." 

One against many, the best he could do was to put out Indians 
to watch the troops, and his scouts certainly fell asleep. At break 
of day, Ka-mi-akin and a few warriors rode over to see if the soldiers 
were still there. They found a large amount of baggage and pro- 
visions and about seventy mules, but not a soldier. Arousing the 
sleeping warriors with the news, Ka-mi-akin harangued them sharply, 
calHng them women. "Had we kept on," he said, "there would have 
been none of that band of soldiers left to tell the tale. All the tribes 
throughout the country would have raised the hatchet and taken the 
war path." 

Horses were quickly mounted and the pursuit begun. The first 
wounded soldier they found was quickly dispatched. They came 
upon another, apparently lifeless, but when they rode up, he began 
firing his revolver, wounding two Indians and putting a hole through 
the war bonnet of another. The red men fled a short way, during 
which time another shot was fired. At a safe distance, they dis- 
mounted. The soldier's body was in plain sight on the bunch grass 
and they riddled it with bullets. This probably was the French 
soldier who was going to save the last shot for himself. After 
mutilating his body, they hastened on, the swiftest riders going in 

In the evening the van guard returned to the main body, then 
about ten miles from the Snake river, to report that the soldiers 
had reached Timothy's camp and that Timothy's men were mounted 
and on guard. To attack the soldiers while under the protection of 
the Nez Perces would surely bring on a war between the tribes, so, 
at a council of chiefs, it was decided to give up the pursuit. 

Once more the prize, well within his hold, had slipped from the 
hand of Ka-mi-akin. It was the blow which broke his spirit. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 93 



Wright's Alliance with Nez Perces — Battle of Four 
Lakes — Destruction of Indian Horses — Final Sub- 

After receiving Col. Steptoe's report of his defeat by the 
Indians under Ka-mi-akin, the war department at Washington 
ordered Col. Wright, then stationed at The Dalles, to proceed with 
a suitable force against the Spokanes, Palouses and Coeur d'Alenes. 
Wright marched to Walla Walla, where he further increased his 
strength with the available men at that fort. While there he made 
a treaty of friendship with the Nez Perces binding these Indians to 
aid the United States in war against the other tribes, and requiring 
the United States to assist them in the same case at the cost of the 
government, and to furnish them arms whenever their services were 
required. The Indian signers were twenty-one Nez Perce leaders, 
including Timothy, Richard, Three Feathers and Speaking Eagle, 
but there were among them none of the greater chiefs conspicuous 
in the other councils. The treaty was witnessed by six army officers, 
signed by Col. Wright and approved by the commander of all the 
forces on the Pacific, Gen. Clark. 

This treaty was the subject for much criticism. It certainly 
worked well both for Wright and for the Nez Perces. It gave the 
former the Indian scouts who were of so much assistance in the 
campaign. Their knowledge of the Indian's mode of warfare and 
their familiarity with the country' kept the army safe from ambush 
and sudden attack. They also knew the murderinig- outlawed Indians 
whom Wright felt must be captured and executed before peace 
could be maintained throughout the country. The Nez Perces, by 
such an ofifensive and defensive arrangement acquired the standing 
of the most powerful tribe in the Northwest. 

On Aug. 17, 1858, Capt. D. E. Keyes left Walla Walla with a 
detachment of dragoons for Snake River, where, by the advice of 
Col. Steptoe, -a fortification was to be erected at the junction of the 
Tucanon and Snake rivers. The fort was built in a deep gorge 
overhung by cliffs on either side from one to two hundred feet high 
and was named Ft. Taylor, in honor of Capt. O. H. P. Taylor, who 
had been killed May 17 at the battle of Steptoe Butte. The place 
would have afforded little security against a civilized foe, but was 
thought to be safe from Indian attack. A reservation of 640 acres 
was laid out and preparations made for a permanent post. 

Col. Wright arrived at Ft. Taylor the next day and a few days 
later the march began, the dragoons numbering 190, infantry 90, 
artillery 400 and Nez Perce scouts about 30. By Aug. 31 the army 

94 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

had reached the headwaters of the Che-ran-eh creek, seventy-five 
miles north of Ft.Taylor and some twenty miles south of the Spokane 
river. Here the Indians showed themselves in some force on the 
hills and exchanged a few shots with the scouts, who were not so 
disguised by their uniforms as to escape detection and who, indeed, 
did not seem to desire it. The attacking Indians fired the grass, 
intending, no doubt, to make an attack under cover of the smoke. 
But when the grass failed to burn well, they merely discharged their 
guns and went back to the hills. 

Camp was made in the neighborhood of Four Lakes, Col. 
Wright intending to give his men a rest after the long march before 
attempting battle, but the Indians gave him no time to rest. The 
next morning they were to be seen in considerable numbers collecting 
on the summit of a hill a couple of miles away. Wright with two 
squadrons of dragoons commanded by Maj. W. N. Grier, four 
companies of the Third artillery armed with rifle muskets commanded 
by Capt. Keyes" and the rifle battalion of two companies of the Ninth 
infantry commanded by Capt. F. T. Dent, one mountain howitzer 
under the command of Lieut. J. L. White and the thirty Indian 
scouts under command of Lieut. John Mullen set out about half 
past nine o'clock to make a reconnaissance and drive the enemy from 
their position, leaving the equipage and supplies guarded by a com- 
pany of artillery commanded by Lieuts. H. G. Gibson and G. B. 
Dandy. A howitzer mounted and guard of 54 men under Lieut. 
H. B. Lyon was also left, the whole being under the command of 
the officer of the day, Capt. J. A. Hardy. Wright had on this cam- 
paign 400 pack mules for the transportation of supplies and 

Grier was ordered to advance with his cavalry to the north 
and east around the base of the hill in order to intercept the Indians' 
retreat when the foot soldiers should have driven them from the 
summit. The artillery and rifle battalion with the Nez Perces were 
marched to the right, where the ascent was easier. It was not a 
difficult matter to drive the Indians over the crest, but once on the 
other side they took a stand, showing no disposition to avoid combat. 
In fact they were keeping up a constant firing upon the two squad- 
rons of dragoons, who were awaiting the foot troops on the other 
side of the ridge. On this side was spread out a vast plain. At the 
foot of the hill was a lake and just beyond lay three other lakes 
surrounded by rocks, while between them, spreading to the south- 
west as far as the eye could see was level ground, with a dark range 
of pine-covered mountains in the distance. No more picturesque 
battle ground could have been selected. 

Mounted on their fleetest horses, the Indians were decorated for 
war, their gaudy trappings flashing in the sunlight, their horses 
painted in white, crimson and other colors, bead fringes hanging from 
their bridles, plumes of eagles woven in their manes and tails. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 95 

Singing and shouting their battle cries, the warriors made a brilliant 
moving picture that bright September morning. 

The troops were in possession of the elevated ground and the 
Indians held the pine groves, plains and ravines. The dragoons were 
drawn up on the crest facing the plain, behind them the two 
companies of Keyes' artillery battalion acting as infantry and with 
the infantry deployed as skirmishers to advance down the hill and 
drive the Indians from the coverts out onto the plain. The riflemen 
under Dent were ordered to the pine forests at the right and the 
howitzer was moved towards a lower plateau to be in position for 
effective firing. Moving steadily down the long slope, the infantry 
fired a volley into the ranks at the bottom of the hill. The Indians 
now got a big surprise. Instead of seeing the soldiers drop before 
their muskets as at the Steptoe Butte battle, the experience was 
quite the contrary. It was the Indians who fell, reached by the 
rifles of the infantry before the troops came in range of their 
muskets. This unexpected disadvantage, together with the orderly 
movement of so large a number of men — exceeding their own force 
by at least one or two hundred — caused the Indians to retire, slowly 
at first, many of them taking refuge in the woods, where they 
were met by the rifle battalion and the howitzer. 

The Indians continued to fall back before the advancing in- 
fantry. The dragoons were in the rear, leading their horses. As 
soon as the latter reached the plain they mounted and, charging 
between the divisions of the skirmishers, created a panic from 
which the Indians did not recover. They scattered in all directions, 
pursued by the dragoons for about a mile, when their horses gave 
out. The foot troops, weary after their long march from Walla 
Walla, followed the enemy but a short distance. The few Indians 
who still lingered on the neighboring hilltops fled when the how- 
itzers were discharged in their direction. By 2 p. m. the whole 
army had returned to camp without a man or a horse having been 
killed. This fight was known as the battle of Four Lakes. 

For three days Wright rested unmolested in camp and resumed 
his march Sept. 5. After advancing five miles, he came upon Indians 
collecting in great numbers, apparently with the intention of oppos- 
ing his progress. They rode along in a line parallel to the troops, 
augmenting in strength and becoming more demonstrative, evi- 
dently awaiting the right moment for attack. 

As the column progressed, the grass was fired about them 
and, being dry, burned with great fierceness, the wind blowing it 
towards the troops. Then, under cover of the smoke, the Indians 
spread out in a crescent, half surrounding the troops. 

Qirders were given for the pack train to close up and a strong 
guard was placed over it. The companies were then deployed to the 
right and left, and the men dashed through the smoke and flames 
towards the Indians, driving them to the cover of the timber. 

96 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

where they were assailed by the howitzers. As they fled from the 
havoc of the shells, the foot soldiers again charged them. This pro- 
cedure was repeated from, cover to cover for about four miles, 
and from rock to rock as the face of the country changed, until the 
red men were driven out on the plain, where the cavalry charge 
was sounded and the circumstances of the battle of Four Lakes 
were repeated. 

But the Indians were obstinate parties, gathering in the forest 
through which the route led ; also on a hill to the right. Here again 
the riflemen and howitzers forced them to give way. This skirmish- 
ing continued during a march of fourteen miles. That afternoon 
the army encamped on the Spokane river, thoroughly worn out, 
having marched twenty-five miles without water, fighting half the 

About the same number of Indians appeared to be engaged in 
this battle as in the first. Only one soldier was wounded. The 
Coeur d'Alenes lost two chiefs ; the Spokanes two. Ka-mi-akin, 
who had been trying to inspire the Indians with courage, had been 
hit by a falling tree blown off by a bursting shell. The total loss 
to the Indians was unknown, their dead having been carried off the 
field. One of their villages a few miles away they burned to pre- 
vent the soldiers from despoiling it. 

The troops rested a day in the Spokane river camp without 
being disturbed. Indians, indeed, appeared in small parties on the 
opposite bank and showed a disposition to hold communication, 
but did not venture across. Next day, while the march was con- 
tinued up the river, they reappeared, conversing with the Nez Perces 
and the interpreter. It was learned that they desired to come 
across with Chief Garry and have a talk with Col. Wright, who 
accordingly appointed a meeting at the ford two miles above the 
falls. Garry arrived soon after the soldiers and stated the diffi- 
culties of his position between the war and peace parties in his 
tribe. The war party, he said, was greatly in the majority, and 
included his friends and the principal men of the nation, who were 
exceedingly angry with him for favoring peace. The chief said that 
he had either to take up arms against the white man or be killed 
by his own people. There was no reason to doubt this assertion, 
since his previous friendliness to the whites was well known. 

But Wright responded in the tone of a conqueror, saying the 
soldiers had beaten Garrys' people in two battles without the loss 
of a man or a horse and that he was prepared to beat them as 
often as they wished to make the attempt. If they were tired of 
war and wanted peace, he said, they must come with everything 
they had and lay it at his feet, trusting to his mercy. When they 
had brought in their arms, women and children, he would give 
them his terms. If they did not do this, he would continue to make 
war on them through the year and on through the next until they 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 97 

were exterminated. With this harsh message he sent Garry back 
to his people. 

The same day Po-lat-kin, a noted Spokane chief, with nine 
warriors, presented himself at Col. Wright's camp. They had 
left their arms on the opposite shore to avoid surrendering them, 
but Wright sent two of the warriors back after the guns. One of 
them mounted his horse and rode away, but the other Indian re- 
turned with the guns. To Po-lat-kin Wright repeated what he had 
said to Garry, and as this chief was known to have been in the 
attack on Col. Steptoe, as well as a leader in the recent battles, he, 
with another Indian, was detained, while the rest of the warriors 
were sent back to bring in the people and all their belongings. 
The Indian kept with Po-lat-kin was recognized as one who had 
been at Walla Walla in the spring and was suspected of being con- 
cerned with the murder of two miners in the Palouse country 
about that time. 

Wright resumed his march Sept. 9, but had gone only a few 
miles when a great cloud of dust was seen where the road entered 
the mountains, which betrayed the vicinity of the Indians. Maj. 
Grier was ordered ahead with three companies of dragoons, fol- 
lowed by the foot troops. At the end of a brisk trot of a couple 
of miles, they overtook the Indians with all their stock, which they 
were attempting to drive to a place of safety. Instead of surrend- 
ering, as requested, they showed fight and a skirmish ensued, 
resulting in the capture of 800 head of horses. Returning with this 
booty, the dragoons were met by the foot soldiers who assisted in 
driving the animals to camp, sixteen miles above Spokane Falls. 
Since the captured horses were too wild for white riders and it 
would be impossible to take them on the long march yet ahead of 
them, Wright decided to have them killed, reserving only a few 
of the best for immediate use. Accordingly two or three hundred 
were shot that day and the balance the day following. The effect 
of dismounting the Indians was quickly apparent in the offer of 
Big Star to surrender. Since he was without horses, he was per- 
mitted to come with his village when the army passed and make his 
surrender in due form. The Indian suspected of murder was tried 
at this encampment, found guilty and hanged at sunset. 

On Sept. 10 the Coeur d'Alenes made proposals of submission 
and, as the troops were within a few days' march of the Coeur 
d'Alene mission, Wright directed that they meet him there. At 
Coeur d'Alene lake, all the provisions which the Indians had cached 
were destroyed by the soldiers to prevent the continuance of hos- 
tilities that year. Beyond the lake the road ran through a forest 
so dense that the troops were compelled to march in single file and 
the wagons of Lieut. Mullen had to be l6ft behind, as well as the 
timber belonging to the howitzers, the big guns having to be 
packed on mules. The country was rough, making it very tire- 

98 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

some going for the foot soldiers, who after the first day began 
falling out of the ranks through exhaustion, necessitating the offi- 
cers dismounting and loaning their horses. On the thirteenth the 
army camped within a quarter of a mile of the mission, situated in 
a beautiful mountain valley. The church stood in the midst of a 
group of houses consisting of a grist mill, residences of the priests, 
barns for storing the produce of the farms and homes of a few 
of the more civilized Indians. 

The following day Chief Vincent, who had not been in the 
recent battles, returned from a circuit he had been making among 
his people in an effort to induce them to surrender to Wright. Ter- 
rified by what they had heard of the severity of that officer, how- 
ever, the Indians declined toi see him. But a few came in next day, 
bringing some articles taken in the battle with Steptoe May 17, and 
finding that no harm befell these, others followed their example. 
They were still more encouraged by the release of Pp-lat-kin, who 
was sent to bring his people in to a council, which was held Sept. 17. 

The submission of these Indians was complete and pitiable. 
They had fought for home and country as brave men fight and 
they had lost all. The strong hand of a conquering power, the 
more terrible because civilized, lay heavy upon them and they 
yielded. An arbor of green tree branches had been constructed in 
front of the commander's tent, and here in state sat Col. Wright, 
surrounded by his officers, to pass judgment on the vanquished 
chiefs. Oine can imagine how bitter it must have been to those 
who believed this country rightfully their own to humiliate them- 
selves before this pale-faced chief from a distant land. 

Father Joset and the interpreters were present. Chief Vincent 
opened the council by saying briefly to Col .Wright that he had 
committed a great crime and was sorry for it and that he was glad 
his people were promised forgiveness for it. To this humble 
acknowledgment Wright answered that what the chief said was 
true, that a great crime had been committed, but since he had 
asked peace, peace should be granted on certain terms, namely, 
delivery to him of the men that struck the first blow in the attack 
on Col. Steptoe, that they might be sent to Gen. Clark. He wanted 
also the delivery of one chief and four warriors and their families 
to be taken to Walla Walla; the return of all the property taken 
from Steptoe's command; consent that troops and other white men 
should pass through their country; the exclusion of the turbulent, 
hostile Indians from their midst and a promise to commit no fur- 
ther acts of hostility towards white men. Should they consent to 
such terms, he said, they could have peace forever and he and his 
troops would leave their country. An additional stipulation was 
then made — that there should be peace between the Coeur d'Alenes 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 


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and the Nez Perces. Vincent asked to hear from the Nez Perces 
direct. One of the scouts, a Nez Perce chief, declared that he was 
satisfied with the terms, and that if the Coeur d'Alenes were friends 
of the white men they were also his friends. Vincent consented 
that past differences between the tribes be forgotten. A written 
agreement containing all these articles was then signed. Po-lat-kin, 
speaking for the Spokanes, declared himself satisfied, and the coun- 
cil ended by smoking the pipe of peace. 

iOO Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 



Death of Lieutenant Allen — Capture of Cathote's 
Band — Pursuit Into the Mountains. 

About August 8, 1858, Major Garnett, commanding at Fort 
Simcoe, received orders to march at once with a sufficient force 
to subjugate completely the warlike tribes of the Yakima and 
We-nat-shas and to continue on as far north as the mouth of the 
Okanogan. He was to hunt out and put to death those Indians 
who had committed murder and attacked the company of miners 
at the mouth of the We-nat-sha. 

Major Garnett was on his way by August 11. The third day 
out his Indian scouts reported a band of Indians, supposed to belong 
to Ow-hi, camped on the Te-an-a-way, a tributary of the Yakima. 
Lieutenant Jesse K. Allen, with fifteen mounted men, was ordered 
to proceed to capture them, moving up the Yakima river to near 
the mouth of Swuck creek. He hid his force until the village was 
located, and in the darkness surrounded the encampment. But the 
Indians had discovered the approach of the soldiers. Lieutenant 
Allen was wearing a white shirt, which could be plainly distin- 
guished; it never has been definitely known which side fired first, 
but Allen fell mortally wounded. The troops charged among the 
lodges, surrounding them on all sides; not an Indian made his 
escape. Their lodges, blankets and provisions were burned and 
their horses captured, and the Indians were all made prisoners, 
except five men, among them believed to have been concerned with 
the attack on the miners at We-nat-sha — Schu-pascht, Too-we-no- 
pahl, Soo-pap-kin, Shut-tow-weh and Tom-e-nick. These men 
were tied to trees and shot. Afterwards the ropes were cut and 
the bodies fell to the ground, food for the coyotes, which abounded 
in that locality. During the afternoon of the same day Tom-e-nick 
revived and, though shot in the groin, pulled himself by his hands 
to the creek where, in attempting to drink, he fell into the stream 
and followed it down in some manner through the dense growth 
of brush and timber for the distance of a mile, when he was rescued 
by friends frohi another camp of Indians. Tom-e-nick was one of 
my cowboys from 1871 to 1876. 

The troops, after finishing their work, moved down the Tean- 
away and crossed just above its mouth to the south bank of the 
Yakima, a spot later known as Indian John's ranch, a few miles 
below the present Cle-el-um, the place called by the Indians Tot- 
ton-eik-sha. Here Lieut. Allen died from his wounds and his body 
was taken to Ft. Sim-co-e to be buried.* 

•After Allen had been wounded, an Indian scout was sent to Kittitas valley for re- 
inforcements and Major Garnett with a company of dragoons rode forward and met the 
force under Allen just before he expired. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 101 

An Indian named Cat-hote, with his following of about twenty 
lodges, Ow-hi's people, was camped on the Teanaway several miles 
above the battleground. When he heard of the fight and the sol- 
diers' manner of dealing with the captured Indians, he saddled his 
horse and rode in to talk with the commanding officer. He was 
immediately taken prisoner and tied hands and feet. 

A detachment of cavalry with the Indian scouts were sent to 
Cat-hote's camp, where they made prisoners all the men, women 
and children, burned the lodges, provisions and blankets and drove 
back with them to the main camp one hundred horses and cattle, 
nearly all of which belonged to Cat-hote. The next day the com- 
manding officer turned all the Indians, except Cat-hote, loose with- 
out horses, food or blankets. They took the leader, together with 
the stock, to Ft. Sim-co-e. After being held there a short time, 
Cat-hote was given his liberty, but regained neither horses nor 

Cat-hote had taken no part in the war. I knew him for twenty 
years and am sure he was in no way guilty of the crime of which 
he was accused, but was a victim of the jealousy and hatred of 
old Shu-shu-skin, who was acting as scout and identifier for Major 

The following report explains itself: 

"Headquarters Yakima Expedition, 

Camp on the Upper Yakima River, 
August 15, 1858. 

Major : It has become my painful duty to communicate to you, 
for General Qarke's information and that of the adjutant general 
of the army, the sad intelligence of the death of Second Lieutenant 
Jesse J. Allen, of the Ninth Infantry, who expired at this camp 
at half past 2 o'clock today. Lieutenant Allen died the death of a 
soldier. He fell at 3 o'clock this morning at the moment of accom- 
plishing a successful surprise of a camp of hostile Indians. There 
is a reason, however, to fear he was shot accidentally by oiie of his 
own men, in the darkness of the hour. 

I must be permitted to express here my own sorrow at the 
untimely death of this young officer and to thus offer officially 
my tribute to his worth. He was an officer of rare energy and zeal, 
and an acquaintance with our army of seventeen years' duration 
warrants me in uttering the conviction that his place will not again 
readily be filled in our service. His loss to this command can 
scarcely be overestimated. His remains will be taken back tonight 
to Fort Simcoe by his company commander and personal friend. 
Captain Frazier, Ninth Infantry, who will take charge of his 
effects required by regulations. It is perhaps proper to report 
in this connection that Lieutenant Allen's party, fifteen mounted 

102 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

men, captured in this sad affair 21 men, about 50 women and chil- 
dren, 70 head of horses and 15 head of cattle, besides considerable 
other Indian property. Three of the men, having been recognized 
as participants in the attack on the miners, were shot, in accord- 
ance with my general instructions on this subject. 

Robert Seldon Garnett." 

The command then returned to Kittitas valley, where Garnet 
divided his forces, ordering Lieuts. Crook, McCall and Turner 
with one hundred men to move by way of the Swuck at the west 
end of the Kittitas valley over the We-nat-sha mountains by Pish- 
pish-ash-tan creek to We-nat-sha river. He, with the main force, 
marched directly to the Columbia at the mouth of the We-nat-sha. 
The plan was that, if one command found the enemy, it should 
drive it against the other. 

Crook, McCall and Turner, on reaching the We-nat-sha, moved 
up to the falls, a famous fishing place. Scouts reported an Indian 
encampment there. A plan of attack was agreed on and the troops 
moved forward. The Indians were taken by surprise and many 
captured, but some escaped to the mountains north of the We-nat- 
sha river. Among those captured were four murderers, who were 
strung up to trees and then shot. The balance of those captured 
were women and children, who were released with orders to move 
back at once to Kittitas valley. Those hung were Hign-shum, Click- 
clew-washet, Clum-stool and Has-sa-lo. Click-clew-washet revived, 
after being cut down, survived his wounds, and lived to a good old 

Those who escaped were led by Bat-to-wah, Quol-ask-en and 
Snu-chiext. The latter I knew well. When the scouts from the 
rear reported the soldiers still advancing, the Indians moved fur- 
ther back into the most rugged and inaccessible parts of the moun- 
tains, up among the crags, where only the wild goats had their 
abode. Here they believed themselves safe, but, unfortunately for 
them, the Indian guides with the soldiers belonged to their own 
tribe and were as good at following as Snu-chiext's little band was 
at eluding pursuit. The fugitives concluded to make a circuit 
through the most difficult part of the mountains, then return to the 
fishery from which they had fled. In this they were successful, 
only to find their provisions gone. They set at once to catching 
salmon, and for two days feasted. They had some salmon partly 
dried when their scouts brought in news that" the soldiers were only 
a few miles away. Again the horses were run in, saddled and 
packed, and the retreat began. Another race ensued between the 
soldiers and this band of Indians. On, up into the loftiest moun- 
tains they went, the red men bent on saving their women and chil- 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 103 

Quo-lask-en took command of the rear guard, in narrow places 
obliterating the horses' tracks in such a manner as to delay pursuit. 
For two days and nights without sleep, the little band of natives 
kept up the march. On the third day the women and children, 
under the immediate care of Bat-to-wah, came to a fifty-foot gorge, 
hemmed in by perpendicular cliffs. It was twenty feet wide and 
there was no way around. They began to cry, thinking themselves 
trapped. At this juncture Quo-lask-en, who had delayed the troops 
several hours, came up and took in the situation. He went at once 
to felling several trees which grew at the edge of the gorge, order- 
ing the others to help him. Soon they had three trees over the 
chasm,, filled in between with limbs so that their horses could pass 
over in safety. When all had crossed the bridge was destroyed. 
Before the Indians were out of sight the soldiers came into view, 
but there were no more trees to cut and they could not get over. 
Quo-lask-en, Snu-chiext and others who were lying in wait to watch 
the soldiers, sadly saw how eager were the Indian scouts, men of 
their own tribe, to find a way over that they might kill their kins- 

One of Garnett's spies called At-wine was hired to herd horses 
for me in 1871 in Kittitas and he often told me of this pursuit of 
his relatives. My brother, Moses Splawn, in company with Nan- 
num-kin, an Entiat Indian, saw the fallen trees at this spot in 1872. 

Maj. Garnett, with his command, marched from the crossing 
of the Yakima over what was later known as the Nanum trail to 
We-nat-sha, and there awaited the arrival of the troops sent via 
Swuck and Pish-pish-ash-ten, which finally came in after their long 
chase through the mountains, and the whole force moved on up the 
Columbia by Chelan to the mouth of the Okanogan, where they 
learned of Col. Wright's victories over the Indians. Then, since 
everything seemed quiet, a return to Ft. Sim-co-e was ordered. 

Reporting the expedition to Maj. Mackall, Maj. Garnett says, 
under date of Aug. 30: "The Indians here allege that there were 
only twenty-five engaged in the attack upon the miners. Ten of 
these have already met with their merited punishment. Six, as I 
have just said, are in the mountains west of us. The balance of 
them are with Owhi, Qualchin, Moses' brother and Skloom. All 
these, as I predicted to you in my letter of July 4 (I think), have 
fled to the country east of the Columbia. The three former, until 
a few days after the capture of Katihote's party by Lieutenant 
Allen, were encamped on the opposite side of the Columbia between 
the mouths of the Wenatcha and Su-te-at-kwa rivers. I presume 
it was news of that event which caused them to move further off. 
They are now opposite Fort O'Kanagan, some distance back from 
the river, and on their way, the Indians say, either to the mountains 
north of that place, in the British possessions, or towards the Black- 
foot country. Skloom has joined Kamiakin, who is said to be in 


Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 


the country about the headwaters of the Spokane river. If I knew 
whether Colonel Wright's route would be such as to drive these 
Indians towards me, I would wait for them. As it is, however, 
I shall move tomorrow for O'Kanagan to show my force in that 
region and to see what chance I may have of catching Owhi and 
his party. The Indians here state that the Indians at the north 
of O'Kanagan* are friendly and have committed no act of hos- 
tility against whites. Into this, however, I propose to inquire fur- 
ther. The story of the massacre of 25 miners from Walla Walla 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 105 

by these Indians is here said to be untrue. One of their number 
was killed in 'Moses' ' camp on the other side of the Columbia and 
nearly opposite to Priest Rapids. The remaining 24 went through 

Some of the officers mentioned in this expedition made names 
for themselves in the Civil war — Maj. Garnett as a Confederate 
general, Lieut. Crook as a Union general. Gen. Crook, indeed, is 
probably best known as the famous Indian fighter to whom credit 
is due for the complete subjugation of the Sho-sho-nees, who were 
at one time the terror of Idaho and Nevada. McCall also became 
a general and an excellent commander. It is safe to say that the 
lessons they learned while after the little fugitive band of Yakimas 
in the We-nat-sha mountains were not without their influence in 
their later successes. 

*The spelling of Indian names, it will be seen, is highly divetsified. The Irish sound- 
ing fort mentioned by Maj. Garnett is the Hudson's Bay Post, Ft. Okanogan. 

i06 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 



McLoughlin's Expedition to Fraser River — Loss of 
Leisurely Californian — Battle of McLoughlin Canyon 
— Story of Robert Frost. 

In the spring of 1858 miners began to arrive at Walla Walla 
on their way to the Fraser river in British Columbia, where gold 
had been found in paying quantities. Thousands were flocking to 
this Eldorado of the north by many a different route, the greater 
portion going by steamer to Victoria and then up the Fraser, though 
a good many traveled the overland route. 

When Col. Steptoe reached Walla Walla after his defeat, he 
found there a party of men on their way to these mines and warned 
them against it, stating that they would not be able to make their 
way through the hostile Indian country. Little he understood the 
stuff of which frontiersmen are made. 

A few weeks previous some twenty-five or thirty men living at 
The Dalles had made up a party to go through, but decided, after 
reaching the mouth of the Yakima river, that the actions of the 
Indians made it a dubious proposition for so small a company and 
turned back to Wallula, where a few weeks later, they joined forces 
with a larger party of Californians. Three of this first expedition, 
however — ^Joe Winlock, a man known as Sanborn and another as 
Charlie — continued the journey. 

Three years later, when I was driving cattle through the Okan- 
ogan country, I found at the north end of Palmer's lake bones 
which the Indians told me were those of a white man. They were 
lying in a meadow on the west side of the valley not far from the 
trail leading up to Mt. Chopaka, the present home of James Kinchlo. 
I often wondered about the man who had met his fate in this lonely 
spot, and forty years later learned through Robert Frost, of Olym- 
pia, that in 1858 three men had continued on their way to the 
Fraser river when the rest of the party, of which he was a member, 
turned back at the Yakima. It occurred to me that the bones I 
had seen were those of one of these men, and I wrote to Mr. Frost 
for further information. 

"The three men, Winlock, Sanborn and Charlie," wrote Mr. 
Frost in reply, "did not make their way back over the Cascades 
through the Yakima valley, but pushed right along up the river 
and must have struck the Hudson Bay Fort Hope trail, as they 
came out about Fort Hope. I have since become well acquainted 
with the Okanogan valley and the Loomis and Palmer lake district 
and am well satisfied that Palmer lake is where they had the fight, 
and that you saw the remains of Joe Winlock." 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 107 

Mr. Frost says, in describing his own trip during this time of 
Indian activities, speaking of the three who went on, "It turned 
out afterwards that the Indians waylaid them and killed Winlock. 
Sanborn and Charlie got away, losing their outfit, and had to live 
on berries and anything they could find for six weeks in the moun- 
tains before they got out on the west side of the Cascades. I met 
Charlie and Sanborn the following winter in Olympia and got their 
story. It was a miracle they ever got out alive. Joe Winlock was 
a first cousin of the late Gen. W. W. Miller, who was one of Olym- 
pias' pioneers." 

From Frank Richter, who settled at Keremeos on the Similki- 
meen in British Columbia in the early sixties, I learned that Hus- 
te-kiah was the Indian leader of the party which had attacked these 
men. Na-hum-son, an aged Indian, living on the Similkimeen near 
the place where the bones were found, said that he was traveling 
behind and had witnessed the fight. The three men were retreating, 
firing as they gave way, when one man fell from his horse mortally 
hurt. When Na-hum-son came up, the wounded man was not able 
to talk, but made motions to him, requesting that he be shot and put 
out of his misery. Na-hum-son, however, continued on after the 
fighters and saw the other two men leave their horses and take to 
the rocks, thereby making their escape. The Indians, returning, 
found the first man dead, stripped him, scalped him and mutilated 
his body. 

Sanborn and Charlie, it seems, made their way around Mt. 
Chopaka to the west, striking the Ashenola, a tributary of the Sim- 
ilkimeen, and went down that stream to its junction, where they took 
the Fort Hope trail, used at that time by the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany. They were forced to live on roots, berries, etc., and reached 
Fort Hope in sorry plight. 

Such tragedies were common in the settling of the West. But 
in this valley which, in a short half century, has become of the 
home of prosperous white settlers whose herds now graze the 
quiet meadows and where the iron horse goes whistling by, I think 
it not inappropriate to mark by some sort of monument the place 
where lay the bones of this early traveler, Joe Winlock — in a sense, 
the first white man who came to stay. 

After the departure of their three more adventurous comrades, 
the remainder of this expedition returned to Wallula, going into 
camp on the Walla Walla river a mile or so above the old fort. 

"We had heard," relates Mr. Frost, the only member of the 
famous McLoughlin expedition in this part of the country known 
to be living in 1901, "that a party were coming overland from Cali- 
fornia and quite a party from Oregon piloted by Dave McLoughlin 
from Oregon City were on the way, so we concluded to take it easy 
until they came along, when we would join them. 

108 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

"While we were in camp at this time Col. Steptoe went out from 
Fort Walla Walla on his famous picnic and ran up against the 
Indians somewhere near where Colfax now stands, and where Cap- 
tain Taylor, Lieutenant Gaston and several men were killed. We saw 
the men when they came back, and a sorry looking sight it was." 

"It was a queer outfit," he says of the party which finally 
started out, "men from all over the coast; some well armed and 
well supplied, and some with hardly anything. I think we mustered 
about 150 men and fully one-half had no arms of any kind." 

There was some dispute about the leadership of the party. 
The men had organized themselves into a company and were to 
elect a captain. Three men were placed in nomination, one a former 
captain in the United States army who had served in Mexico under 
Gen. Scott, and was considered a good Indian fighter ; the second a 
Californian making his first trip to the frontier, and the third David 
McLoughlin, son of the famous chief factor of the Hudson's Bay 
Company stationed at Vancouver. His mother was an Indian woman 
from an eastern tribe. Young McLoughlin was a magnificent speci- 
men of manhood, standing over six feet high and weighing more 
than two hundred and fifty pounds. He had been well educated 
and had grown up under the influence of the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany employes. A man who knew Indian character well, and one 
well acquainted with the country through which they were to pass, 
it is small wonder that when the votes were counted, he was found 
to have two-thirds of them. The choice was then made unanimous, 
both competitors agreeing that he had knowledge in his favor 
which neither of them possessed. 

The command was divided into different companies, beginning 
with the letter A, and in the march they took their positions in a 
sort of alphabetical progression, the company in advance one day 
being in the rear the next, and so on. Two men were appointed 
captains of scouts which should always be in advance of the main 
body. One of the men appointed to this place, and who proved 
himself exceptionally fitted, had been one of the candidates for 
the general leadership. The pack mules, which numbered about 450, 
always had a strong guard over them, for upon their safety de- 
pended not only the success, but indeed the lives of the party. It 
was expected that there would be Indians constantly hanging upon 
their trail, an expectation in which they were not disappointed. 

Keeping on the right side of the Columbia, they crossed the 
Snake river at its mouth and went to the site of the present town 
of Ringold, then struck northerly to Crab creek through a coulee by 
Scooten springs. By way of Crab creek they came to Moses lake, 
went north to Soap lake and then to what is now known as Dead 
Man's spring, just south of Coulee City. 

There was a Californian in the party who had always been 
slow about getting under way in the morning, despite the fact that 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 109 

he had been repeatedly told that he was taking too many chances in 
lagging behind. The warning seemed to have no effect on him, and 
one morning, when the start was made, he was stitll lingering, fuss- 
ing with his pack. He never caught up with the party. 

Just what happened to the man who was too leisurely I learned 
from Lo-kout, who was one of a party of Indians lying in wait to 
steal the horses of the expedition. Ow-hi's band of Indians, he 
said, was camped at We-nat-sha, both Moses and Qual-chan being 
with the old chief, when a rider brought in word of the McLoughlin 
party when they were on Crab creek. Qual-chan and Lo-kout with 
fifty warriors at once set out to intercept them and either give battle 
or steal the horses. Catching sight of the white men on upper 
Crab creek, they realized that the force was too large to attack 
and sent back to camp for re-inforcements, while they hung on the 
trail of the expedition. The vigilance of this party of experienced 
men, however, gave the Indians no show. They could have killed 
the man who lagged behind on two different occasions, but thought 
it better not to molest him, believing that if it were seen that he 
could follow behind in safety, the vigilance of the company might 
be relaxed. 

When no re-inforcements arrived, the Indians decided to quit 
and return to We-nat-sha. Moses and Qual-chan then remembered 
the man who was always behind. Hiding in the rocks near the 
white men's camp, they waited until the rest of the party was out 
of hearing, then crept up and shot the laggard. Both Indians fired, 
but it was thought that Qual-chan's bullet killed him, and that he 
was therefore entitled to the scalp, horses and outfit. 

Reaching We-nat-sha, they learned why no re-inforcements had 
been sent to them. Most of the men were fishing and hunting in 
the Chelan country. 

Word came to Qual-chan at this time to bring his braves and 
join Ka-mi-akin in the Palouse country. Moses was interested in 
having an attack made on the McLoughlin expedition. He was 
eager for revenge for Quil-ten-e-nock's death and thought that some 
of the miners who had killed his brother were returning north with 
this party. He rode to Chelan where he found In-no-mo-se-cha, 
his cousin, and a chief of the Chelan tribe. In-no-mo-se-cha thought 
favorably of an attack on McLoughlin's party when they should 
reach the Okanogan and immediately set out to stir up the Okano- 
gans to avenge Quil-ten-e-nock, who had been a great favorite in 
that tribe, being related, indeed, to many of their chiefs and head 

In-no-mo-se-cha went to Su-sept-kane, the head chief, whose 
home was on the Sin-le-he-kin creek near the present town of 
Loomis. Su-sept-kane took kindly to the proposition and sent out 
riders to gather his forces for an attack on the miners when they 
should reach his country. In-no-mo-se-cha returned to Chelan and 

no Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

got together his warriors, forwarding them to Su-sept-kane, who 
was to command the combined forces. 

At about the time they lost the Californian, says Mr. Frost, 
there was some dissatisfaction in regard to McLoughlin's leader- 
ship. "One afternoon in camp," he continues, "all hands held a 
council and quite a number favored a change, making a white man 
by the name of Jim Laughlin captain of the company. Jim was 
a Californian and a natural leader and typical frontiersman. (A 
few years ago — this was written in 1901 — Okanogan Smith told me 
Jim was still living on the Okanogan river.) There was consider- 
able feeling shown during the 'pow pow' and Jim expressed himself 
pretty freely. Dave McLoughlin picked up his rifle and drew a 
bead on Jim, who was not more than fifteen feet away. I shall 
never forget the picture of Jim who, unarmed, stood like a statue, 
upright and looking Dave straight in the face saying something like 
'Shoot, you dirty coward.' Dave dropped his rifle when the boys 
jumped in and stopped it. It was smoothed over, after a fashion, 
somehow, and we proceeded on. 

"At the mouth of the Okanogan, where we struck the Columbia, 
stood the old Hudson's Bay fort. Here we had to get canoes and 
Indians to ferry us and our supplies over, and then we had to 
swim our horses. We lost three or four horses in the stream and 
I was unfortunate enough to lose my saddle horse. I felt that I 
had truly lost my best friend. I bought him from an Indian in 
Walla Walla, perfectly wild and unbroken, but in three or four 
days I had, him a perfect pet ; he would follow me around and when 
I stopped he would come up and lay his head on my shoulder for a 
caress. After all these years I have not and never shall forgiet him. 

"We found at the fort that the very devil was in the Indians, 
but they kept themselves pretty scarce and mostly out of sight. 
Right here I will say that I had lost all dates since the Fourth of 
July, when we were camped on the Walla Walla river." 

In-no-mo-se-cha met the miners at Ft. Okanogan, professing 
great friendshio, but he was really there to gather information and 
if possible, to induce the white men to take the route which would 
lead them through the narrow defile where the Indians had made 
plans to attack them. As soon as the miners moved on up the river, 
In-no-mo-se-cha went at once to Su-sept-kane's camp at Eneas 
creek and the whole force of warriors then repaired to the defile 
where they felled trees across the trail at the north entrance and 
piled up stone breastworks on the cliffs ovierhanging the canyon 
through which the miners would have to pass. Their plan was 
to let the whole company get part way through before they were 
fired upon, expecting that, when attacked, they would rush to get 
out of the canyon, run into the barricade of trees and bunch up 
so as to be easy prey for them to massacre. 

Ka-mi-akin—The Last Hero of the Yakimas 111 

Scouts were constantly coming and going, reporting the prog- 
ress of the miners. I have questioned several Indians who par- 
ticipated in this fight and they all place the number of red men en- 
gaged at about two hundred. 

Though the miners did not know what was in store for them, 
they were constantly on the lookout for trouble.' They camped 
one night on a small bottom on the river opposite the present town 
of Riverside. Next morning they advanced to the mouth of Tuhk 
creek where the trail leaves the river on account of a projecting 
niountain, then followed the trail to a grassy flat on top of the 
hill. The first man to arrive at the top waited for those in the rear 
to come up, it being part of their plan of march never to scatter. 
While the main body were fixing their packs upon their horses, the 
scouts proceeded until they came to the narrow defile, the appear- 
ance of which they did not like. One of the party thought he saw 
an Indian in the nearby rocks. They had started back when the 
Indians fined on them. 

"As quickly as possible," says Mr. Frost in an account of the 
fight which he sent to me, "the horses were rushed to the rear, 
back to the river and all those available took what shelter they 
could get behind scrub trees and rocks and drew a bead on an 
Indian whenever chance offered. After the animals were down on 
the flat, every available man with a gun was up at the front. There 
were six of our men killed at the start. I do not remember their 
names except one, Jesse Rice, from Cache creek, California. He 
was a fine man and everybody liked him. I recollect Tom Menifee, 
who was after prominent to Cariboo men, having kept a road house, 
I think, on, or about, William's lake. Tom was very badly wounded, 
having been shot in several places with slugs. Wm. P. Wright, a 
brother of Captain Tom Wright, prominent as an old steamboat 
man on the Sound in early days, and Jim Lower from Vancouver, 
Washington; these are the only names I can recollect. Here oc- 
curred an act of bravery seldom witnessed. Jim Lower and Bill 
Bunton were partners. They were of the first to take shelter, 
Indian fashion, and fight. I think they were about twenty yards 
apart, having scrub pines for partial shelter. After a while Lower 
was badly shot down. However, he could call to Bunton, who 
deliberately left his shelter, ran over to Jim, picked him up, got 
him on his shoulder and carried him to the rear. About noon we 
had to give way and back across to a side hill at the mouth of the 
canyon where a portion played long shots with the Indians that 
afternoon and night. The rest were engaged in building rafts 
and carrying freight across the river where it was open. (An 
Indian will never fight you in the open unless he has a decided 
advantage.) Another portion were busy carrying water from the 
river to the men on the side hill. During the night we ferried 
everything across the river and by daylight we had the horses 

ii2 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

together. We ran them down the river a few hundred yards to a 
ford and got them safely across. The Indians followed us to the 
ford on a parallel on the mountain and gave us a parting shot, but 
the shots were too long and did no harm. We stayed in camp here 
several days attending to our wounded. 

"Now it is very well known that the average old sailor is very 
handy and generally a good all-around man most anywhere, and 
here comes a practical illustration of it. We had an Irish sailor 
in the party (I have forgotten his name) who had been in the 
English navy and had been through the Crimean war at Sebastapol ; 
he was the nearest we had to a doctor. Several of the boys were 
provided with a box of pills. He selected one and gave each 
wounded man a dose, then made a clean pointed stick to probe the 
wounds with, enough to keep them open and after washing them, 
laid a piece of wet cloth on the wounds and would go around twice 
or more during the day and probe and wash. The pills, stick, cloth 
and water did the whole business; they all got well, but it took 
Menifee the longest to get over it." 

The miners kept guards out all the time and by the second day 
knew that the Indians had broken up, since they could be seen in 
small parties on the plain working towards Chelan and the Columbia 
river. The third day about a dozen miners went over to the battle- 
field to bury their dead. The Indians had stripped the fallen and 
mutilated them. They were buried as well as could be under the 

The journey was continued, the worst wounded — Lower and 
Menifee — ^being carried on horse litters — ^two long poles with two 
cross pieces and a blanket or two lashing them together, drawn 
by gentle horses. The rest of the wounded could ride without 
much assistance. Soon after starting some of the Californians 
picked up an Indian and held him as a hostage. This Indian ad- 
mitted that the white men's rifles had accounted for several of his 
people, but he would not tell how many. 

There was no more trouble until the miners reached the mouth 
of the Similkimeen about where Oroville now stands. Here they 
camped, arranging their packs in a semi-circle and picketing the 
horses and the captured Indian with them. There were three guards 
out this night, one at each end and one in the center. The guards 
at the south end were Californians who had a "Digger" Indian with 

"The 'Digger' was pretty well trained by them," says Mr. Frost, 
"but he was Indian all the same, and the Indian instinct served us 
well on this occasion. This night was the only time in my life that 
I think my hair really stood on end. I was not on guard this night 

Ka-mi-akin—The Last Hero of the Yakimas 113 

but my pack was about in the center of the circle. A friend by the 
name of Homer McKinney from Oregon City, who was not on 
guard, and myself, spread our blankets and were soon sound asleep, 
dreaming of home and everything pleasant, when all at once it 
seemed that the lower regions' had broken loose. We jumped out 
of sleep dazed; it was pitch dark and the rifles were cracking all 
around us, the men yelling like mad. If anyone reading this has 
ever been jumped up out of sound sleep on such an occasion, he 
can understand it. I cannot describe the feeling; I can only say 
that once in a lifetime is enough for me. 

'"When we got quieted down a little it turned out to be this way : 
The Cahfornians, on guard at the south end of the camp, were sit- 
ting down quietly when the 'Digger's' ears caught something below 
him. He told them quietly to 'look out, the 'Indians are coming,' 
and sure enough a mounted party of them were sneaking on to the 
camp with the intention of stampeding our horses by making a dash 
through the camp and liberating their Indian, but thanks to the 
'Digger', they only had time to start their dash when the boys turned 
their guns loose on them and sheered them off on the outside. Of 
course, quicker than I can tell it, every man was on his feet and 
luckily no horse got away and no damage was done. 

"We stayed in camp next day and in the afternoon the Indians 
showed themselves on the hills. Some of McLoughUn's men were 
halfbreeds and could talk with them, and went out with a white 
signal and finally coaxed them into camp. I recollect Chief Tenas- 
quot among them, and a fine looking lot of Indians they were. We 
made a sort of truce with them, gave them a lot of trinkets and they 
went off." 

The miners were not troubled any more by the Indians. They 
went up the Similkimeen over the divide and made the Thompson 
river about twenty miles above its junction with the Fraser. At the 
(unction the party broke up, some going up and some down river. 
Mr. Frost located on Foster's Bar, thirty miles up river, where he 
mined with indifferent success and operated a ferry with a large 
Indian canoe. In October he and five companions decided that the 
proposition did not look promising and returned to the West Side, 
by way of Fort Hope and Victoria. 

I have never been able definitely to determine whether or not 
Chief Tonasket took part in this fight. Some Indians claim that he 
did, but a large majority deny it, claiming that he was at the time 
on his way from Ft. Kamloops, B. C, and that when he returned, 
he went with some of his men to the miners who were then camped 
at the mouth of the Similkimeen and talked with them. The miners, 
they say, gave him presents and he told them they would not again 

li^ Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

be molested. Neither were they. Mr. Frost's story would seem to 
corroborate the latter assertion. 

Tom Menifee, who was an old neighbor of my family in Mis- 
souri before we all came west, I met in British Columbia a few 
years after the McLoughlin party made its trip ; also Marion Wood- 
ward, who was in the company, and have heard them both tell the 
story. Of the six men killed in the McLoughlin's Canyon I have 
been able to learn names of but three, Jesse Rice, Hurley and Evans, 
all from California. I saw their graves three years after at the 
south end of the defile while travelinsf to the Cariboo mines. 


\ ' ■"- ^"■■' ■ . 

ii6 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 



Qual-chan Hung — Death of Ow-hi — Lo-kout Goes to 
Blackfeet — Last Hope of Ka-mi-akin. 

After the kilHng of So-happy on the Nah-cheez, Ow-hi, Qual- 
chan and Moses left the We-nat-sha and gave up the pursuit of 
the McLoughlin party of miners, whose extermination they turned 
over to the Chelan and Okanogan tribes, while they moved on 
towards Spokane to avoid the troops under Maj. Garnett. They 
were encamped on the spot where now stands the town of Wilbur, 
in the Big Bend, when their scouts reported that Col. Wright was 
advancing in the front, fighting the united forces of Pol-at-kin, 
Sal-tes, Garry and Ka-mi-akin, while in their rear the soldiers 
under Garnett were killing, hanging and pursuing the hostiles into 
the mountain fastnesses. Dark clouds were gathering, forecasting 
the end for the red men of the Northwest. Moses, with some war- 
riors, joined the forces of Ka-mi-akin and Pol-at-kin against 
Wright, fighting their last battle at White Bluffs Prairie, near 
Spokane. Qual-chan and Ow-hi were guarding the Indians' rear 
against a possible attack from Garnett. 

During Qual-chan's absence from camp, word came to Ow-hi 
that Col. Wright had been victorious in all his battles, that the 
Indians had sued for peace, that Pol-at-kin was held a prisoner, 
Garry had surrendered and the Coeur d'Alenes had made a treaty, 
while Ka-mi-akin had fled to the Kootenai country in British Colum- 
bia. Ow-hi saw that the war was ended. Since he knew Col. 
Wright, having made a treaty with him in the Yakima country two 
years before — which, to be sure, he did not keep — the old chief 
decided to go alone to the soldiers' camp and throw himself upon 
the colonels' mercy, hoping thus to save the life of his son Qual- 
chan, upon whom he had every reason to believe Wright would 
wreak a terrible vengeance. Qual-chan had the reputation of being 
the bravest warrior among all the tribes, a bold leader, the worst 
with whom the army had to contend. 

Col. Wright's opinion of Qual-chan, indeed, was much what 
Ojw-hi supposed. In a report to Maj . Mackall at Ft. Vancouver, writ- 
ten Sept. 24 on the Lahtoo river, he says : "This man Qual-chew, 
spoken of above, is the son of Ow-hi. His history for three years 
past is too well known to need recapitulation. He has been actively 
engaged in all the murders, robberies and attacks upon the white 
people since 1855, both east and west of the Cascade mountains. 
He was with the party who attacked the miners on the Wen-nat-che 
river in June last and was severely wounded; but, recovering rap- 
idly, he has since been committing assaults on our people whenever 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 117 

an opportunity offered. Under these circumstances I was very 
desirous of getting Qual-chew in my power." 

Ow-hi wanted to save his son, even at the sacrifice of his own 
life. He saddled his horse and set out alone for Wright's camp 
near Spokane. Upon his arrival, he was at once recognized, taken 
prisoner, tied with ropes and ordered to send word for Qual-chan 
to come to him; if he refused, or if Qual-chan did not come in, his 
life, he was told, would pay the forfeit. Ow-hi refused to summon 
his son. 

When Qual-chan returned to the Yakima camp from his scout- 
ing trip, he found his father gone and heard the old man's message 
to him not to go to Col. Wrights' camp until Ow-hi sent for him ; 
or, if he felt he must go, to wait until evening, but by no means to 
go in the morning. "If one must die, it better be Ow-hi," ran the 
message. Qual-chan heard this while eating his supper, and when 
he had finished, he bade his younger brother Lo-kout bring up three 
of the best horses and accompany him and his young squaw, a 
daughter of the Spokane chief, Pol-at-kin, to Wright's camp. They 
rode the first night to the camp of some Indians on the present 
site of Davenport, Wash. After a long day's ride, the second night 
was passed at a small spring, with the horses hobbled that they 
might eat. A few hours' ride next morning brought them in sight 
of Wright's camp on the Spokane near the mouth of Hangman's 
creek. Soldiers were scattered over the plains near the main camp. 
Qual-chan, Lo-kout and the squaw stopped to put on their finery 
of beaded buckskin, etc., before riding into camp. By doing this, 
they missed some Indians of their own tribe, who were returning 
from the military camp up a small ravine. In this band was Moses, 
whom the soldiers had not recognized, though he was near at hand 
when Wright delivered his ultimatum to Ow-hi, Moses' father- 
in-law. He was then on his way to warn Qual-chan, but fate 
decreed that they should not meet. 

While passing the soldiers' tents on the gallop, Qual-chan in 
the lead, they heard the voice of their father and saw him tied 
among some pack saddles. 

"Why did you come ?" shouted Ow-hi. "We are all as good as 
dead now!" 

A Spokane Indian showed Qual-chan Wright's tent and he rode 
straight for it. When Wright asked, "Is this Qual-chan?" he 
answered, "It is." After talking a short time, Wright wrote on a 
piece of paper and handed it to a soldier, who went out and gave 
it to an officer. The bugle sounded, a posse of soldiers marched 
up, placed their guns against Qual-chan's body and marched him 
off. Lo-kout lost sight of his brother then, for soldiers attacked 
him, knocking him down and jumping on him, thus frightening his 
horse, which started to run. The hair rope became entangled in 
Lo-kout's feet and the horse dragged him a little ways, but the sol- 

ii8 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

diers were on him again. Looking up, he saw Qualchan's squaw 
cutting her way through the troops with a sword she had seized 
from one of them. After that he was unconscious for a time. When 
he revived, he saw Qual-chan fighting his way towards his father; 
Qual-chan was in the act of cutting Ow-hi loose, when a rope was 
thrown over his head, he was dragged to a small tree and hanged. 

Lo-kout now discovered that he had a rope around his own 
neck, that his feet were tied together and his hands behind his 
back. A voice in his native tongue said, "Jump on your horse and 
flee or you are a dead man. Qual-chan is dead, hanging on yonder 

He looked up to see a half-breed Colville Indian cutting him 
loose. Springing upon Qual-chan's horse, which was still stand- 
ing where its owner had dismounted, Lo-kout fled, pursued by bul- 
lets and mounted soldiers. He headed his horse, noted for its 
swiftness and endurance, straight for a mountain, and the mounted 
dragoons were not long able to keep up the pace. Making his way 
back to the Yakima camp, he was surprised to find Qual-chan's 
squaw, who had given up all hope of ever seeing either of the 
brothers again. She said that when she saw the rope go over Qual- 
chan's head, she knew all was lost and, grabbing a sabre from a 
soldier, she started on the run out of camp. Lo-kout afterwards 
married this squaw and 50 years later (1907) they were living 
together at the mouth of the Spokane. 

Following the execution of Qual-chan, Lo-kout did not wish 
to run further chances of falling into the hands of the government, 
so he and Pol-at-kin's daughter went into the Flathead country, 
joining buffalo hunts east of the Rockies, where battles with the 
Blackfoot tribe were common. After the Flatheads made peace 
with the Blackfoot, Lo-kout, who wanted fighting, joined the latter 
in their wars with the Sioux. After several years spent in turbu- 
lent warfare, he settled down. Lo-kout died in 1914, aged 85 years. 

Col. Wright thus tersely reports the execution of the great 
warrior of the Yakimas : "Qual-chew came to me at 9 o'clock this 
morning and at 9^ a. m. he was hung." Gen. Qarke, in reporting 
to army headquarters, says of Qual-chan: "This man was impli- 
cated in the murder of the Indian agent, Bolon, previous to the 
outbreak of 1856, and since then has been most determined in hos- 
tility. He was executed." The Bolon murder charge against him 
we now know was not true. 

Ow-hi, tied among the saddles, witnessed the death of the son 
for whom he had come to give his life. "I do not want to live 
now," he said to a Nez Perze scout with Wright. "My favorite 
son is dead. We have fought together for our country and our 
people and lost all. There is no place for me now. The white man 
will take our country. I can now hear the wail of my distracted 
people left homeless. Better we had died in battle !" 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas HO 

A few days later, while the army was on the march near the 
Snake river, Ow-hi, who was riding beside one of his guards, as 
their horses stopped to drink in the middle of a small stream, made 
a dash for liberty. He was soon overtaken and shot by Lieut. 
Morgan, dying two hours later. The shooting was unjustifiable, 
since the prisoner was unarmed and had his feet tied beneath his 
horse's body. Col. Wright intended to deliver him to Gen. Clarke, 
who was to send him to Washington, D. C. 

The old chief, when he made his desperate attempt to escape, 
must have known it was a forlorn hope, but perhaps he saw the 
curling smoke from signal fires and knew that his friends were 
near. A few Yakima warriors, indeed, were hanging on Wright's 
trail during his march back to Walla Walla to learn, if possible, 
the fate of their leader. They found his grave, and returned to the 
tribe with the sad news which sounded to these forlorn people as 
the death song of their race. For Qual-chan, the ever-vigilant and 
brave, their mainstay to whom they looked for help in times of 
distress, and for their fine old chief, We-ow-wicht's son, sorrow- 
ing wails came from every lodge of the fugitive band. 

After remaining together for several weeks, they broke up in 
small bands, many staying with Moses, who was now the principal 
chief of lineal descent. His country embraced about all of what is 
now Douglas and the greater portion of Lincoln and Chelan coun- 
ties. That portion of the Yakimas belonging to the Kittitas valley 
eventually reached their homes to find that the traitors among them, 
only common men before the war, were now made chiefs and in 
authority. Jealousy or antagonism towards their head men had 
caused many Indians to act as spies and scouts for the soldiers, and 
on the strength of their word, or their identification, men were 
hung, some of whom, no doubt, were innocent. 

Different histories of Washington, including Bancroft's, say 
that Ka-mi-akin, at the conclusion of the war, went into British 
Columbia and never returned to Washington. In this they are mis- 
taken. I saw and talked with him in the Palouse country in 1865. 

When Col. Wright arranged for his council with the Spokanes, 
Sept. 23, 1858, he invited Ka-mi-akin, giving him assurance that 
no harm would come to him. The Yakima chief refused to attend, 
sending the following message: "All the fighting chiefs, Pe-peu- 
mox-mox, Ow-hi, Qual-chan, Quilt-en-e-nock and Big Star, are 
dead. There are none left to keep up the fight. Those who fell 
in this war were my comrades. I will not disgrace their mem.ory 
by surrendering to a hated race. With my few remaining horses, 
I will take my family and journey to find a different people." 

Ka-mi-akin went to a friend, a fur trader whom he called 
Wap-chien, living in Kootenai, B. C, and remained there about a 
year. Then he moved east of the Rocky mountains into the buffalo 
country and spent two years with the Crow tribe. In the meantime 

120 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

the difficulties between the Indians and whites in his own coun- 
try had been settled, his wife was homesick and he weary of being 
a wanderer in a strange land. He resolved to return, even though 
it might mean death. 

One day in 1861 there came riding down the Mullen road to 
the Coeur d'Alene mission an old Indian with his family, who 
stopped at the Indian village and dismounted. The people gathered 
around him full of curiosity, none recognizing him until Kil-mo-see, 
a Palouse chief, who was visiting the tribe, walked up and grasped 
the newcomer by the hand, leading him to his own lodge. 

Word flew through the village that Ka-mi-akin had returned, 
and a council of chiefs was called. Sal-tes, Pe-al and Stil-lah were 
present, the two former being in favor of delivering Ka-mi-akin 
over to the military authorities, fearing that, if they did not, they 
would be involved in trouble with the government. Arguments 
waxed warm, but all through the proceedings the subject of the 
discussion sat in silence, smoking his pipe. At last Kil-mo-see asked 
quietly but firmly what crime Ka-mi-akin had committed that he 
should be handed over to the soldiers. "He has done no more than 
we did," said Kil-mo-see, "in fighting for our country, except that 
he refused to surrender, which is to his credit. He was my friend 
all through the war. Now I will be his. He will go with me to my 
home. If the soldiers want him, they will know where to find 
him. I and my tribe will be responsible, not you." 

Rising, he took the old chief to his lodge and shortly after 
they departed for Rock lake in the Palouse country, Kil-mo-see's 
home. Here Ka-mi-akin fenced some land, built a house and raised 
crops. Though, under the terms of the Walla Walla treaty, Ka-mi- 
akin was entitled to receive from the government $500 a year for 
twenty years, I have the authority of Maj. Jay Lynch, for a num- 
ber of years Indian agent at Ft. Simcoe, that Ki-mi-akin never 
collected a cent of this money. 

Willis Thorp and I, in 1865, making our way back from a 
cattle driving trip in the Palouse country, came upon a lone Indian 
wigwam. The household consisted of an old man, a woman and 
some children. We had been out in the rain the night before and 
wanted to find a trading post. Willis was sick and our provisions 
gone. The man told us there was one a short distance away, just 
off the trail we were traveling. We hired him to show us the store. 
On our way we talked and found him very interesting. But when 
we happened to say that we were going to Yakima, his eyes flashed 
fire, he seemed to take on new life and he became at once the inter- 
rogation point. He wanted to know all about the white settlements 
and all the prominent Indians we knew, saying that they were his 
friends and that he had once lived above the mission on the Ahtanum. 

It never occurred to me that this fine old man could be the 
great Yakima chief, because I had always supposed that Ka-mi-akin 

Ka-mi-akin—The Last Hero of the Yakimas 121 

was dead or at least in British Columbia. But when at the store I 
heard the trader call him Ka-mi-akin, I quickly asked if he had once 
been chief of the Yakimas. For a moment he was silent; then 
with proud mien, he stood erect and said, "Yes." Once, he said! 
his horses could be counted by the thousands and his cattle grazed 
many hills. He had fought for his country until his warriors were 
all dead or had left him. With none remaining to fight, he had 
gone into the buffalo country for a few years, but had come back 
and was now living at Rock lake, cultivating land. 

"There is no more war," he said. "I wish to live in peace until 
the Great Spirit calls me to take the long trail. I have lived to 
see Wa-tum-nah's words fulfilled." 

And he rode off, head bowed. 

It took me years to learn the meaning of his parting words, but 
after much questioning among the Indians, I at last discovered the 
tradition of his family contained in the first chapter of this book. 

He looked to me a hero that day. Certainly he was a superior 
type of the North American Indian, with his strong, sad face, and 
his eagle's eye, in which the fire was only smouldering now — a 
proud spirit subdued. 

Ka-mi-akin died about fifteen years later under the delusion 
that an Indian medicine man had used the evil tam-man-a-was on 
him. Maj. Lynch learned through Mr. ,T. M. May, an old friend 
of his at Dayton, that at the time of Ka-mi-akin's death there were 
at his camp only his wife, two or three women and some children, 
and Mr. May and two or three white men living in the neighbor- 
hood made a box and buried the chief. Maj. Lynch took some 
steps towards erecting a monument on the spot where Ka-mi-akin 
was buried, but learned that the body had been removed to Nes- 

A year after Ka-mi-akin's death, according to a custom exist- 
ing among the Indians, his son, Tesh Palouse Ka-mi-akin, and a 
nephew opened the grave and wrapped him in a new blanket. A 
few years later the same son and nephew hired Indian doctors to 
remove the body to Nespelem, but when they opened the grave it 
was found that the head and shoulders had been cut off and 
removed. Now, Indians do not do this sort of thing, and white 
people, though claiming to be civilized, have too many times been 
caught in similar vandalism. 

After Ka-mi-akin's death there was no one to defend the old 
squaw and children. They were driven off their land by a white 
man named Hansen, who never even reimbursed them for their 

His brother Skloom never went into British Columbia. When 
he died, he was buried where the Cascade mill now stands at North 
Yakima, but his remains were later removed to the Toppenish creek 
near Ft. Sim-co-e, where they now rest. 

122 Ka-nii-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 



In summing up the war of 1855-8, the two characters which 
stand out are Governor Stevens and Ka-mi-akin. The former was 
a strong, forceful man of great ability. He was politically ambi- 
tious, and wished to make a reputation for himself in his new field 
quickly. He certainly acted too hastily in dealing with the Indians. 
It is contrary to Indian nature to act without due deliberation. 

Had Stevens understood the red man's nature better, shown less 
the military, arrogant, domineering spirit and displayed more fair- 
ness and consideration, at the Walla Walla council, granting the 
powerful chiefs their request for another council later, the war 
might have been avoided. The Indians might reasonably ask for 
time to consider so vital a matter as disposing of their heritage. 

As in many dealings between the government and the Indians, 
it was the civilized intellect pitted against the simple savage and, 
of course, the weaker party lost. 

Governor Stevens had a valuable ally in Hal-hal-tlos-sots (Law- 
yer), the Nez Perce chief, who was looking out for promotion for 
himself and a larger reservation for his tribe, and who got both by 
joining Stevens in forcing the signing of the treaty against the 
wishes of every prominent chief in the council but himself. Even 
his own tribe was not a unit back of him, many resenting his inter- 

In consequence, the great chiefs left the council ground angry, 
feeling ill-used. When Governor Stevens, in his report to his 
superior, stated that this council had ended in the most successful 
and satisfactory treaty signing of any hitherto held by the govern- 
ment, he showed clearly his ignorance of Indian nature. Could he 
have failed to note the dark, sullen looks of those great chiefs ? 

Had Governor Stevens been more tactful, the war of 1855 would 
not have occurred. Minor disturbances there might have been, but 
not the great uprising and the prolonged depredations which fol- 

Ka-mi-akin ranks with the best of the great American Indians 
of history. He had visited the Willamette valley many times after 
its settlement by the whites and seen how the tribes there were 
perishing through disease as a result of their contact with the 
settlers. He was intelligent enough to know that civilization and 
savagery could neighbor only at the expense of the latter. He 
loved his people and he wanted to protect them from the baneful 
influence which had come into their country. 

Fate was against him., of course, for the march of civilization, 
like the rising tide, cannot be stayed. Up to 1853 Ka-mi-akin's 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 123 

actions towards the newcomers had always been friendly. He 
advised, indeed, his powerful friend Pe-peu-mox-mox against rag- 
ing a war of revenge on the Willamette settlers when the latter 
wanted to demand of them satisfaction for the murder of his son, 
Elijah Hedding, by a white man at Sutter's fort in California. 

He refused to join the Cayuses in 1847 on account of the Whit- 
man massacre, a refusal which brought this warlike tribe to attack 
the Yakimas at Fort Simcoe, a battle in which, however, the Yak- 
imas were victorious. During the Cayuse war Ka-mi-akin visited 
The Dalles for the express purpose of meeting Colonel Gilliam, who, 
with his volunteers, had been waging war on the Cayuses in the 
Walla Walla and Umatilla country. The meeting did not take 
place, because, on returning to The Dalles, Col. Gilliam was 
killed by the accidental discharge of a rifle. To Capt. Maxon, who 
succeeded to the command, Ka-mi-akin did speak, and in this lan- 
guage, according to the white leader: 

"i am sorry for the death of Col. Gilliam, for he was my 
friend. I and my people are friends of the Americans. We will 
not harbor or let pass through our country any of the murderers 
of Dr. Whitman and his people." 

Capt. Maxon says he rriade a sensible speech, which was 
reported to the governor and, printed in the Oregon Spectator, then 
published at Oregon City. Maxon further says of him that he was 
a remarkable Indian, both mentally and physically, a veritable giant, 
over six feet high and likewise proportioned. His appearance indi- 
cated the strength of three or four men, 

Ka-mi-akin was the Tecumseh of the Pacific Coast. Had he 
attempted at the time of this meeting, as he did, a few years later, 
to unite the Indians against the whites, the f>esult would have been 
a massacre which would have depopulated the entire country. 

Not until a powerful reason was given him did Ka-mi-akin 
display bitter feeling against the whites. In 1847, indeed, he went 
to Walla Walla and asked that Christian missionaries be seiit to his 
people. It was in this way that the first Olblate fathers came to 
the Yakima valley. The chief made it his special business to pro- 
tect the priests. He helped them build their missions. 

White men traveled through his country unmolested until after 
the Walla Walla council. There he had witnessed his country torn 
from his people by a pale-faced stranger. He resolved to fight for 
it, just as the American people would do if their land were invaded. 

From that time on, Ka-mi-akin was no friend of the whites, 
and from their viewpoint of greed and conquest gets no praise. 
But from the standpoint of an Indian he was a hero and a patriot, 
who did his duty to his people as he saw it. 


Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 125 


"I did not come to tell you the things you want to hear for 
any friendship I hold for you, but to please this young man, Nan- 
num-kin, whose father was your friend as well as mine. He now 
cares for me and my aged wife. I hate the white race. Hear what 
I have to say. 

"I am a son of the great Ow-hi and a descendant of We-ow- 
wicht. My mother was the daughter of Talth-scosum, the bravest 
warrior of his time on either side the Rocky mountains when the 
whites first came among us. It was said of him that in his wigwam 
hung many scalps of the enemy taken in battle on the buffalo plains. 
I am now an old man. The snows of many winters have passed 
over my head. I was born a warrior and have followed the trail 
since boyhood. I have taken the scalps of white men and in return 
have received many wounds. 

"Seven bullets have passed through my body and you see my 
skull has been crushed. This wound I received in the fight with 
Gov. Stevens' force at Walla Walla. 

"I am proud of these scars. They are the emblems of a war- 
rior, a reminder of long ago when this country was ours and we 
were a proud and happy people. Once these valleys and mountains 
were ours. Our hunters brought in fish and game; our women, 
roots and berries. Our horses grazed on many hills. Our children 
played along the streams, while our old men and women slumbered 
in their lodges. 

"The coming of the pale-face changed all things as a cloud 
obscures the mid-day sun. They took our country and drove us 
from the homes we loved so well. The bones of our ancestors lay 
buried along these mountains and streams, which to us were both 
the cradle and the grave. 

"This land you now claim as yours was once the favorite camp- 
ing ground of Sko-mow-wa, my uncle. He now sleeps beside this 
stream, a short distance below your house. On yonder hillside, 
within your fence, are the last remains of Tuh-noo-num, another 
uncle, whom Governor Stevens sent as an emissary of peace to this 
tribe during the war. That pile of rocks on the opposite hill holds 
the bones of Sokes-e-hi, my cousin. 

"Such is the history of all this country. Is it any wonder that 
we fought to keep it. All our great warriors are dead. They 
have gone the long trail ; and it is well. They are not here now to 
witness the sad remnants of their once proud people debauched 
and a vanishing race, despised by their pale-faced conquerors. The 
red man's sun has set. Let the white man behold his work. 

"I am Lx)-kout, the son of Ow-hi. I have spoken." 

i26 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

This old warrior had an interesting- history, had seen hard 
service in the war, was in the first battle when Major Haller was 
defeated at Toppenish, and again at Union Gap (the two Buttes) 
when they fought Major Rains ; also at the battle of Walla Walla, 
when the great chief Pe-peu-mox-mox was killed; also partici- 
pated in the attack on Governor Stevens, a few miles above the 
present city of Walla Walla ; was in the fight that defeated Colonel 
Steptoe in the Palouse country; was in the attack on Seattle in 
1856, and again at Connell's Prairie. When the Indians surrendered 
to Colonel Wright in the Spokane country, he took his brother 
Qualchan's wife, and together they went to live among the Flathead 
tribe, who were at war with the Blackfeet, on the opposite side of 
the Rofky mountains. When these two tribes made peace, this 
soldier of fortune joined the Blackfeet in fighting their ancient 
enemies, the Sioux, but the invasion of the whole Indian country 
along the Missouri put an end to the tribal wars. They were com- 
pelled to join together against the common foe, the United States 
soldiers. He was at the battle of Little Big Horn, when Custer 
and all his men were massacred. When Sitting Bull and all the 
warriors retreated into Canada, he did not follow them, but told his 
faithful squaw, who was a daughter of Polatkin, a Spokane chief, 
that she could run things from now on to suit herself, as all the 
chiefs and warriors had gone ; there would be no more war with the 
whites and his work was done. The squaw said, "We will now return 
to my country and live in peace." They packed up and returned 
and settled at the mouth of the Spokane. 

When Col. Steptoe was defeated in 1858, he was one of the 
Indian sharpshooters selected by Ka-mi-akin to pick off Captain 
O. H. P. Taylor and Lieutenant William Gaston, saying, "These two 
men must die if we are to win," after which these officers were special 
targets of those unerring rifles. Thus fell two gallant men, vic- 
tims of an ill-advised expedition. 

In this old warrior I found the Indian guide Loolowcan, made 
famous in Winthrop's book, "Canoe and Saddle," being a son of 
Ow-hi and about the right age. I asked if in his younger days he 
was known by the name of Loolowcan and was guide to a white man 
from Fort Nisqually on Puget Sound to The Dalles, Oregon. He 
looked at me for a time and asked why I wanted to know. I said the 
man had written a book about that trip and had given the guide a 
bad reputation. He quickly arose to his feet ; with flashing eyes, he 
said, "Yes, I was then Loolowcan, but changed my name during the 
war later. 

"We were camped near Fort Nisqually at that time, when the 
fur trader brought the white man to our camp and asked Ow-hi to 
furnish him a guide, as he wanted to make a trip through Nah-cheez 
pass, and the Yakima country, to The Dalles, Oregon. My father 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 127 

made a bargain with him and told me to go. I did not Hke the 
man's looks and said so, but was ordered to get ready and start. 
He soon began to get cross and the farther we went the worse he 
got, and the night we stayed at the white men's camp who were 
working on the road in the mountains, he kicked me with his boot 
as if I was a dog. When we arrived on Wenas cteek, where some 
of oui- people were camped, I refused to go farther; he drew his 
revolver and told me I had to go with him to The Dalles. I would 
have killed him only for my cousin and aunt. I have often thought 
of that man and regretted I did not kill him. He was me-satch-ee."t 



Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 129 


The Author Leaves His Home in the Willamette — 
Passes Through Early Settlements — Reminiscences of 
the Pioneers — First Visit to The Dalles — Arrival at 
Brother's Cabin — Indian Neighbors — First Trip Into 
Yakima Country. 

In the spring of 1859 Congress ratified the treaty made at 
the Walla Walla council in 1855 with the Indian tribes of Eastern 
Washington and Oregon by Gov. I. I. Stevens, of Washington 
territory, and Gen. Joel Palmer, superintendent of Indian affairs 
for Oregon. The president issued a proclamation extinguishing 
the Indian title to the vast country relinquished by the tribes, declar- 
ing it open to settlement. Immediately men began to move their 
families and livestock out of the Willamette valley in Oregon over 
the Cascade mountains by the Barlow route along the southern base 
of Mt. Hood, and to settle along the streams and in the valleys of 
Eastern Oregon and Washington. Qf the various settlements, 
Walla Walla became the largest. 

A few, among whom were F. M. Thorpe and my brother, 
Charles A. Splawn, had crossed the Columbia at The Dalles and 
located in the KUckitat valley. They passed the winter where 
Goldendale now stands, with little loss of cattle, for the hills and 
dales were one big field of waving bunch grass. In the summer 
of 1860 my brother returned to the Willamette with glowing tales 
of his new home. His description aroused in me, a boy of fifteen, 
the slumbering restlessness of the pioneer. I wanted to see this 
wild land, inhabited only by the red man. After much persuasion, 
my mother finally consented to let me go with my brother. 

It was an early September day when we mounted our horses for 
the trip at Brownsville, Linn county, where we had lived for two 
years. With a faithful old pack animal carrying bed and provisions, 
we rode on down the Willamette valley, Mecca of the early emi- 
grants who had braved the desert to build their homes in a paradise ; 
truly an empire in itself, the cradle of American settlement in the 

Before the pale-face appeared, this country had been the home 
of the powerful Mult-no-mah, the most noted chieftain of his time, 
who counted his warriors by the thousands, in the days before they 
had horses. In later years, Dr. John McLoughlin, for a quarter 
century chief factor of the Hudson's Bay Company, from his head- 
quarters at Ft. Vancouver, ruled all the land from California to the 
Russian possessions on the north, and from the Rocky mountains 
to the Pacific ocean. His batteaux plied the Columbia and its trib- 

iSO Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

utaries for a distance of 2,000 miles, supplying the various trading 
posts. From these posts were sent out pack trains, called brigades, 
loaded with Indian goods and trinkets to be traded among the tribes 
for furs. The furs were either taken back to the posts or to the 
forts on the Columbia, from which they were sent by boat to Van- 
couver to be loaded on ships for all parts of the world. 

McLoughlin was a man of noble qualities, a master mind that 
governed with an iron will. A better man never set foot on Oregon 
soil and few have been his equal. I remember seeing him in 1852 ; 
and, though I was only a small boy, the tall, broad-shouldered man 
with the long white hair made a picture which stuck in my memory. 
The Indians called him "the White Eagle of Oregon." The last 
years of McLoughlin's administration of the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany's affairs marked the coming of the pioneer American settlers, 
whose wagon tracks have left a road from the Missouri to the 
Oregon. These people had come to stay and to hold the territory 
for the United States, thus laying the foundation for the present 
Western Empire. 

Passing through Salem, we went by the grave of Anna Maria 
Pitman, wife of Jason Lee, the first missionary of any denomination 
to reach the Oregon country, arriving in 1834. Mrs. Lee was the 
first white woman married and buried in the far-off land. By her 
side lay her infant child. She gave her young life for the benefit of 
the Indian. Was he worth it ? 

We traveled over the historic ground of French Prairie. Here 
the early trappers, who had pursued the beaver from the Great 
Lakes to the Pacific Ocean, and had roamed all over this wild 
country inhabited only by the red man, had made their homes when, 
grown old and tired in the service, they had sought a haven of rest 
with their Indian wives and half-breed children. The trappers had 
always been welcome guests in the wigwams of all the tribes, for the 
Indians realized that these men wanted only their furs, not their 

It was at French Prairie that Etienne Lucier located in 1830, 
the first settler in all the Oregon country. Lucier was one of the 
Astor party under Wilson P. Hunt, which reached the mouth of the 
Columbia in 1811. Nearby was the Samuel Brown farm, now the 
town of Gervais. The farm was located in 1831 by Montour, 
another of the Astor company. A little way further we saw where 
Joseph Gervais had settled about the same time. He was also one 
of the Astor party and for many years an independent trapper. 
Some distance beyond we passed the old homestead of Louis Pas- 
chette, one of a party of twenty-five trappers who left Canada in 
1817, wintered on the plains, where they lost seven of their number, 
finally reaching Astoria in 1818. Further along were the homes of 
Louis Shangarette, Payette, Roudeau and Michel La Framboise, 
the latter for many years in command of the southern brigade of 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas iSl 

the Hudson's Bay Company, which annually extended its trading 
excursions into Southern Oregon and California. It was La Fram- 
boise who rescued furs captured from Jeddiah Smith by Indians 
at the mouth of the Coquille. Smith, and two others had escaped, 
the rest of the party being killed. When they reached Ft. Vancou- 
ver and reported the attack, McLoughlin sent out La Framboise, 
with pack horses, to bring in the furs. La Framboise got them 
from the Indians and the factor bought them, paying all they were 
worth, and charging nothing for the service, which made Smith 
his everlasting friend. 

We next reached the home of Francois Dupre at Champoeg, a 
familiar crossing of the Willamette in Hudson's Bay days. I 
remember the death of Dupre, which occurred in 1853 at the age of 
99 years. Here we found also Robert Newell, a Rocky mountain 
trapper. When he chose to quit that line of business, he had bought 
the wagon left by Missionary Parker at Fort Hall in Idaho and, 
with Joe Meek, who drove another wagon sent by Chief Trader 
Grant to Walla Walla, they set out for Oregon, arriving in 1840. 
Thus came the first wagons from the Missouri river to the Columbia. 

We spent the night with Charles McKay, brother of the cele- 
brated Thomas McKay, the most daring and dreaded officer of the 
Hudson's Bay company. No Indian tribe cared to attack Tom, he of 
the strong medicine. Charlie had accompanied his brother on many 
of his dangerous trading trips, so here for the first time I listened 
to tales of Indian warfare from one who had taken part in it for a 

After a hard ride next day, we reached Foster's, a noted stop- 
ping place at the western base of the Cascade mountains. Camped 
here were many families with their household goods and livestock, 
bound for the North, — as all of Eastern Oregon and Washington 
was called at that time. These were a people thirsting for the great 
broad plains and valleys where they could once again build their 
homes away from the newcomer who had brought what he claimed 
was civilization — with its adjuncts of lying, deceit, dishonor and 
hypocrisy. They preferred to brave the dangers of Indian warfare, 
with all its cruelties, rather than to endure those camp followers 
who furnished the embezzler, forger and blackmailer. This class 
of undesirable citizens always followed the pioneer; they never 
went with him. 

With an early start next morning, we began to climb the foot- 
hills along the banks of the Sandy. The day was beautiful. The 
song birds were out in full force, cheering us on our way. The roar 
of rushing water came from below. Now and then we passed a log 
cabin where the care-worn, sad-looking housewife, poorly clad, 
surrounded by gaunt children, hovered about the door to watch 
us. Scattered about the yard lay bunches of old lop-eared pot hounds, 
the only signs of thrift and contentment. I wondered if the possessor 

132 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

of all this starved the family to feed the dogs. Was it not a mis- 
fortune, I thought, to be hitched for life to a creature with so little 
gray matter that he would try to dig out a farm in those days among 
the hazel brush, fern and timber, while the great plains and fertile 
valleys, all ready for the plow, lay not more than sixty miles away. 

Passing over a high ridge, I looked back. Spread out before me 
was the river, with the old swimming hole, and its many haunts of 
my boyhod. I was leaving behind me everything held dear, — 
schoolmates, the neighbors; pioneers whom I had learned to love 
for their goodness in time of need, who had been kind to my mother 
when she arrived in Oregon penniless. I wiped away the tears with 
my coat sleeve, lest my brother should see, and rode on away from 
that land of poetry and romance. The time will come when the 
descendents of the pioneers of Old Oregon will have and hold, in 
the hearts of the American people, a title equivalent to a patent of 

We camped at Laurel Hill, a historic spot which many an old- 
timer had cause to remember. Here were the remains of wagons 
which could not be taken any farther by the emigrants and piles 
of bones of the oxen which had perished from cold and starvation. 
The families had been rescued by parties sent out from the settle- 
ments with supplies to relieve belated emigrants ; for such was the 
fine spirit of those first people. Hundreds of lives were saved in this 
way. A sad fate to encounter, after spanning the long miles between 
the Missouri and the Columbia, bearing all the hardships of a six 
months' journey fraught with every danger, to meet a Waterloo 
on Laurel Hill, at the very door of the promised land. 

My brother pointed to the spot where our own oxen had fallen 
to die from hunger in the deep snow, and to the remains of the last 
wagon out of three with which mother started from Missouri in 
1852. Some of the wood and iron was still left to recall the suffering 
and distress of those unforgotten years. 

All the way up the hill we encountered washed-out and torn-up 
roads, caused by melting snows. I noticed many trees marked with 
a ring around the trunk. These rings, my brother said, were made 
by the emigrants letting down wagons with a rope ; it being impossi- 
ble to get them down otherwise, on account of the steepness. In 
slacking the rope with a heavy wagon attached, the rings had been 
cut into the trees. Some of them had been made thirteen years 

Joel Palmer,* Samuel Barlow, with the few others who were 
the first to mark this trail, what had they not suffered and endured 
in attempting to take their wagons through this way in the late fall 
of 1845 ! Their families had been thirty days reaching the Willam- 
ette, a distance of sixty miles. The wagons had to be abandoned 

*Later Superintendejit of Indian Affairs for Oregon. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas i33 

till the following year, when these men cut out a way through the 
timber and made a road which was for many years thereafter the 
main thoroughfare across the range. Brave men and women it 
required to settle the west! 

Passing over the summit of this mighty barrier, source of so 
much distress to a womout but unconquerable people, we beheld 
Mt. Hood, towering above us, only a few miles away. Now the 
country and climate changed very rapidly ; rain, mud, heavy timber 
and fern giving way to sunny skies and grassy slopes with scattering 
pines until we reached Barlow's Gate at the eastern base of the 
Cascades. Beyond this an entirely new world of sunshine, beautiful 
valleys and waving bunch grass hills lay before us When I gazed 
on that enchanting sight, I felt an independent freedom such as had 
never stirred me before. My spirit had obeyed the call of the wild. 

That night we camped in the Tygh valley, one of the earlier 
settlements of eastern Oregn. The lost emigrants of 1845,* under 
the guidance of Stephen Meek, had crossed the Des Chutes river at 
the point where this small stream empties into it. The story of those 
emigrants makes an interesting chapter in the history of the West. 
While encamped at Ft. Boise on the Snake, there rode into the fort 
a man of some reputation as a guide and plainsman, who told them 
that he knew a better and shorter route to The Dalles than the way 
usually traveled over the Blue mountains and down the Columbia. 
His services were engaged and the party struck out into the unknown 
land which was to prove for them a death trap. After weeks of wan- 
dering, becoming desperate from hardship and starvation, they con- 
cluded that Meek had lied to them, and was himself lost. Men and 
women became crazed from grief and hunger. The graves scattered 
along the trail tell the rest of the dark story. 

It was finally decided to hang Meek, but the guide had intima- 
tion of what was about to occur and made his escape at night, 
finding his way to The Dalles, where he told the few settlers of the 
desperate condition of his party. Provisions were hastily gathered. 
Moses Harris, known among trappers and mountain men as "the 
Black Squire," who chanced to be at the settlement, volunteered to 
carry relief to the stricken party and, with several pack horses 
loaded with supplies, reached the emigrants in time to save many 
lives, and bring them safely into port. 

After leaving this pretty valley, we wound our way up the 
steep mountain on the north and reached a high, rolling prairie 
where we followed the old emigrant wagon road to The Dalles. 
This was a typical frontier village, the rough-and-tumble element 
predominating. In fact, it was the first tough town I had ever 
seen, though I was destined to see many more of its kind in the 
next few years. We tarried here for a few hours, waiting for a 


i34 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

friend of my brother, Gilbert Pell, who wanted to accompany us to 
the Klickitat valley. 

Curious, I began to look around town. Saloons occupied the 
principal street, and from within came sounds of revelry. Stepping 
inside of one, for the first time in my life I saw debauchery running 
wild. Here were men and women trying to dance to the music of 
the violin and harp, so drunk they could hardly stand on their feet. 
Above the noise and tumult could be heard the voice of the spieling 
gambler as he cried his wares, "Come down, come down! This is 
the squarest game on earth ! Bet on this game and stand a chance 
to win ten to one !" while standing up to the long bar were reckless, 
desperate men, clinking their glasses with wild yells and foul oaths. 
I had seen enough. 

As I was standing on the sidewalk, outside the saloon, a man 
rode up on a fine mule. Dismounting, he untied a long rope from his 
saddle, fastened one end to the mule, took the other and disappeared 
into the saloon. I noticed that he jerked the rope at intervals. 
Presently from within came a man who cut the rope, tied it to a 
post, got on the mule with its silver mounted saddle and bridle, and 
rode away. The rope was still jerked occasionally, while the man 
at the other end continued, presumably, to drink and be merry. At 
last he came out, sized up the situation at a glance, and demanded 
of me if I had observed anyone cut the rope and ride the mule away. 
I told him what I had seen and the sheriff was soon in hot pursuit. 

I crossed the street to a saddle shop where a man was putting 
upon a fine roan a new and elegantly stamped saddle. After cinching 
it securely, he said to Mr. Gordon, the proprietor, "I will try the 
saddle to see if I like it." Gordon replied, "Certainly." The man 
mounted and rode towards a rocky bluff which he started to climb 
at a good pace. One of the bystanders remarked, "That man does 
not intend to come back; look out for your saddle." Search was 
made for the sheriff, but he was busily engaged hunting the mule, 
and no officer could be found to go after the saddle thief. 

Wandering down the street towards a group of men on the 
corner discussing the mule episode, I noticed a man riding up on a 
beautiful sorrel horse. Old Bill Howard, proprietor of the Mt. 
Hood Saloon (the one I had looked in at), said to the crowd, "That 
man rides a stolen horse. Watch me get him." As the rider was 
passing, Howard, in a voice like a trumpet, sang out, "That is my 
horse. Get off double quick and drop the reins or daylight goes 
through you!" The man jumped and lit running, nor did he stop 
to look back till he had reached the bluff at the mouth of Mill creek. 
Howard took the animal and kept him. He certainly was a judge of 
criminal character. 

My brother and his friend were now ready to start. We crossed 
the Columbia on a ferry to Rockland and for the first time I set 
foot in Washington, which has been my home for half a century. It 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas i35 

was new country then, with only a few straggling settlements in all 
this inland empire. The coyote^ jackrabbit and Indian held full sway. 
From'down river came a shrill whistle ; a steamboat hove into sight 
around the point of rocks. On the pilot house in large letters was 
the word "Idaho."* Her decks were covered with passengers, all 
eager to land. 

The Dalles, at that time, was the head of navigation on the 
Columbia and the main outfitting point for all of Eastern Oregon, 
Washington and the present Idaho, as well as the larger part of 
Montana. The freight and passenger traffic was large and profitable 
for the Oregon Steamer Navigation company, and the service a 
godsend to the country and its people. In later years I took many 
trips on the Idaho with Capt. John McNulty and Purser Meigs, the 
silver-tongued story teller. These men were typical employes of the 
company, faithful to their trusts ; dying at their posts if need be. 

We camped on Five Mile creek and next morning I rode in 
advance up the mountain. When nearly to the top, I spied an Indian 
on horseback, coming at full speed. Turning off down the hill where 
there was a bunch of brush, he dismounted. Wanting to see a real 
Klickitat Indian, I followed. He was drinking at a spring which 
came out of the mountain side ; his horse was breathing hard. After 
looking anxiously back in the direction he had come, as if expecting 
some one, he took out his pipe from under the blanket tied aroimd 
his waist and proceeded to fill it with kin-ne-kin-nick and tobacco. 
He drew in long whiffs with upturned face, then gradually let the 
smoke esca,pe from both nose and mouth, apparently the picture of 
content. My admiration was cut short by the clatter of horses' hoofs. 
My Indian arose and gazed in the direction of the sound. A band 
of Indian horsemen at full speed hove into sight. When they dis- 
covered the lone Indian, wild yells rent the air. Realizing the 
meaning of those cries, the Indian stood, looking defiantly at his 
pursuers, then began a chant which I afterwards learned was the 
death song. On came the savage band, dismounted, bound the lone 
stranger hand and foot, put a rope around his neck, dragged him to 
a nearby bunch of birch brush, threw the rope over the largest 
sapling, hauled him up and choked him to death. 

Things were happening so thick and fast that I was dazed, 
wondering whose turn next. My thoughts went back anxiously to 
my companions, — would they never come? Yet I felt that I must 
stand my ground, for so many people had told me that Indians hated 
cowards and admired brave men. After the victim was pronounced 
dead, the rope was unfastened, re-coiled, tied again to the saddle. 
Leaving the body where it lay, the Indians mounted and, with 
whoops and yells indicating satisfied revenge, disappeared down a 
canyon leading to the ancient village of Wich-ram, below Ce-Ii-lo 
on the Columbia. 

*A Sho-sho-ne, word in«aning "Gem of the Mountains." 

i36 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

I learned later that this Indian was a doctor who had just lost 
one of his patients, a chief's son, and according to the ancient custom 
among the different tribes, had thus forfeited his life. That vengeance 
follows swift and sure, can be judged by what happened before my 
eyes that day. Many an Indian doctor has been prematurely sent 
to the happy hunting ground because his tam-man-na-was (or 
medicine) was not strong enough. The thought has often occurred 
to me that if the whites had some such rule and enforced it, what 
havoc would be wrought among the M. D.'s of today. 

When my companions came up and heard my story, my 
brother said, in no mild tone, "Hereafter, you stay nearer me. You 
can nose around and see more things in less time than anyone I 
ever knew." We left the dead Indian to the mercy of the coyote, 
and in a short time reached the top of the hill which we had been 
climbing steadily since morning. Before us was the Klickitat 
valley, the land I had longed to see. My expectations were fully 
realized. Off to the north lay the Sim-co-e mountains, covered with 
towering pines. To the east, not far from the present city of Golden- 
dale, stood two tall, grass-covered buttes, silent sentinels, for ages 
past the red man's watch towers, from^ which were flashed the signal 
fires of the Whul-why-pams (or Klickitats) when their country was 
invaded by the warlike Cay-uses. To the northwest, rose one of 
those giants of the .Cascades, Pah-too (Mt. Adams), while 
the valley below us was a plain of waving bunch grass interwoven 
with Indian trails. Of these paths, there were sometimes as many 
as sixty running side by side, worn deep into the earth, showing 
that they had been traveled for a century or more by these wild 
people whose history is yet unsolved. The eye could trace the course 
of these great trails as they rose and sank in the bosom of the 
prairie, holding on to a straight course regardless of the contour of 
the country. Indians make their trails as nearly as possible on an air 
line, which frequently provides disagreeable traveling. 

As we wended our way through this valley we met many bands 
of Indians with their families, pack horses and dogs, en route to the 
great fishery of the Wich-rams at Tumwater, or the falls of the 
Columbia, just above The Dalles, where they traded furs and other 
articles for dried salmon. Tumwater has always been the great 
trading mart where Indians of the interior met and exchanged goods 
with those from the lower Columbia. It was so before the coming 
of the white man and has been so ever since. 

Passing over what is known as the Swale, a low, broad flat 
which drains the snow water from the valley in early spring, we 
found located there a few of the pioneer settlers. Among the log 
cabins were those of J. B. Nelson and family, John Golden and wife 
and Mr. Parrott, who had the distinction of having two of the best 
looking daughters on the whole frontier. One married Ben E. Snipes, 
the cattle king, and the other Charles Pond. Farther on were the 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 137 

families of Boots and Burgans; on the Little Klickitat stood the 
homes of McFarland, Jack Ker, Alfred Henson and F. M. Thorpe, 
the latter having settled on the spot where Goldendale now stands. 
On up the creek were Guliford and old man Waters. The latter had 
a beautiful little black-eyed girl. Women and children were scarce 
in those days, so we always noticed them. 

Riding through a narrow canyon for a couple of miles, we 
came into a beautiful valley hemmed in by rocky walls. Here was 
the home of Calvin Pell and his son Gilbert, who, with Charles 
Splawn, claimed all the land in this little paradise, the Indian name 
of which was Moo-sum-pah. Here was the little log cabin, my home 
for almost a year. It was located on the main trail between the 
Yakima valley and The Dalles and the men returning from the 
Si-mil-ki-meen and other mines to the north, as well as the Indians 
to and from Yakima, passed our door. 

Here for the first time I saw a white man with a squaw. When 
they spread their blankets on the ground for a bed and rolled in 
together, I turned my back and wondered if perhaps somewhere an 
aged mother might be sighing for her wandering boy. 

One evening a small band of Indians set up their lodges a 
short distance above our cabin. The next morning they moved 
away, leaving one lone wigwam. My curiosity was aroused and I 
proceeded to pay a visit of inspection. The only occupant was an 
old gray-haired Indian of noble and commanding appearance, his 
features indicating him to be considerably above the average of his 
race. His squaw, who came in later, was equally remarkable. The 
two dogs were of the same mongrel type usually found at an Indian 
encampment; but, contrary to the general rule, they were well fed. 
The lodge was neatly arranged, new tule mats covered the ground, 
making a neat and comfortable floor, and upon these were laid 
beautifully colored blankets and rich new buffalo robes. On the 
lodge poles hung buckskin moccasins, shirts and women's apparel 
covered with bead work in various designs. As I stood gaping, 
wondering if these people were of royal origin, sprung from a long 
line of warrior chieftains, or merely wealthy and aristocratic like 
some of their pale faced brothers I had met, the mat used for the 
door of the wigwam was raised and in stepped a young girl. She 
looked me over. I was equally interested in her. Her face, painted 
red, was clean cut, her eyes like stars and her black braids hung 
far down over her shoulders. She was dressed in beaded buckskin. 

Very much in the manner of a fairy story she seemed to have 
come from another world, — a red angel. She spoke, but I did not 
understand her language. I had yet to learn the Chinook jargon, 
that medium of conversation invented by the Hudson's Bay company 
for intercourse with the tribes of the Northwest. She placed before 
me a small basket of bulb-like roots and, taking one, motioned me 
to do likewise. She ate hers, and I mine. It was the kamas, a 

138 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

favorite food of the Indians. It tasted good then, and I still like it. 
She then brought out from under the buffalo robes, several pieces of 
dried venison and we had a feast to be remembered. 

Her name was Lal-looh (Sparkling Water). I went back to 
our cabin firmly resolved to learn the Chinook language, which my 
brother spoke very well. With the incentive before me of better 
acquaintance with my little Indian friend. I made good progress 
and in a week I could talk it, too. 

The old Indian was Squim-kin of the Klickitat tribe. He was 
said to be nearly a hundred. He afterwards told me of having seen 
the first white man to descend the Columbia,* of their having with 
them an Indian woman whoi belonged to the Snake tribe and of how, 
when the snow was gone the following year, they returned, on their 
way back to their native land, which, they said, was beyond the lofty 
mountains and down a river as large as the Columbia, f Squim-kin 
said that he was camped at the mouth of the Klickitat at that time. 
About five years later he was at the village of the Wich-rams after 
the last pack horse loads of dried salmon, when two canoe loads of 
white men came floating down the Columbia. They did not look so 
well, he said, as those of a few years before ; but were poor, worn 
and hungry, with scarcely any clothing on them. Telling a tale of 
starvation, they traded a few trinkets for dried salmon, which they 
eagerly devoured. From them the Indians obtained the beads, the 
first Squim-kin said he had seen. The white men loaded their canoes 
with dried salmon and continued their journey to the land of the 

This was the advance party of the Astor expedition in command 
of Wilson P. Hunt, sent out from St. Louis the year before to locate 
a fur trading post at the mouth of the Columbia. Starvation 
threatened them on the Snake river, near the present town of 
Huntington. Here McLillen, McKenzie and others, who had been 
with the Northwest Fur company, were inured to hardships, and 
of superior judgment in dealing with difficulties of the wilderness, 
suggested to Hunt that the company divide, the leader, with the 
weaker members, continuing on the western course, while they, 
with a smaller party, try to make their way down the Snake. This 
was agreed upon and the smaller company, reaching the present 
Asotin, obtained two canoes and made their way down the Snake 
and the Columbia to its mouth, where they found that the ships with 
supplies and men had preceded them many months. Hunt, with the 
main body, had- followed much the same trail that later became the 
emigrant road and is the present line of the O.-W. R. & N. railway 
from Huntington to the mouth of the Umatilla. The main body 

*It was a Yakima Indian, a Chem-na-pam, who drew the map of the Columbia river 
from Wallula to its mouth in 1805 foi* Lewis and. Clark. The map was drawn on a skin, 
Indian! villages were indicated by tepees, trails by moccasin tracks. Clark afterwards 
transferred the map tCK paper. The original was sent to Jefferson and hung by him at 

tLewis and Clark Expedition. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 139 

suffered even more than did the men who went down the Snake 
river canyon. 

At the mouth of Burnt river, where it empties into the Snake, 
one member of Hunt's party, John Day, was taken very sick. When 
it was found that he was unable to travel, his friend Crooks, who 
had been with him on many trips in the mountains, refused to desert 
him ; so Hunt left them food sufficient for two days, — all they could 
spare from their scanty store, — and farewells were said, nobody 
thinking but that John Day would be dead before two days had 
passed. The fight these two men put up with sickness and hunger 
was nothing short of heroic, and the fact that they safely won 
through to the settlements one of the romances of pioneer history. 
Alexander Ross, of the Hudson's Bay company, landed at the Indian 
village of Chief Yak-a-tat, on his return trip 'down the Columbia 
after locating Fort Okanogan, just after Crooks and Day had left 
the place ; but glancing back, the two men saw the canoes and 
returned. The gaunt, weather beaten creatures were speechless with 
joy at beholding Ross and his party. They were just leaving the 
river on the long return trip to St. Louis and having given up all 
hope of reaching the coast. 

The John Day's river in Oregon serves by its name to recall 
the incident. 

Out from the little cabin in the Moo-sum-pah I rode almost daily 
looking after the horses and cattle, making sure that they did not 
wander off the range or get stolen. During my rides up and down 
the small streams and narrow valleys or bottoms along the foothills 
of the Sim-co-e mountains, I have seen old excavations, holes in the 
ground, — used as winter abodes in ancient times by the Indians, — 
with pine trees, at least a hundred years old, growing out of them ; 
showing that the ground habitations had long been abandoned. My 
curiosity concerning the origin of the red man became aroused. To 
my boyish mind the wind whistling through the pines and the music 
of the mountain streams seemed voices of the Indian dead come back 
to commune with the present. I resolved to look into their history, 
to learn more of this strange people. Yet, after more than fifty 
years' intercourse with them, I still hear the voices and still wonder 
whence the Indians came. 

One day, while following the tracks of some lost horses along 
the Sim-co-e foothills, I came on a horse, a short distance from the 
trail, with a pack on it. This struck me as queer, so I rode closer. 
As I neared the horse, which was tied to a tree in a brush thicket, 
two white men jumped up, guns in hand. I yelled, "Are you crazy?" 
They lowered their guns, saying, "We were asleep. The noise of 
your horse awakened us. We have been dodging Indians for two 
days. We were fired on over on the Yakima, so left the main trail 
and have been wandering among these hills without food. How near 
are we to the settlement ?" I told them how to reach my brother's 

IM Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

cabin, then went on after my horses. After a few hours of swift 
riding, I overtook the animals driven by four Indians, who drew 
their guns when I came up and ordered me to go back. 

"No," I said; "I want the horses. They are ours. We live at 
Moo-sum-pah. Old Indian Squim-kin and Lal-looh are our friends." 

They conversed among themselves awhile, then said, "If that 
old man and his daughter are your friends, take the horses. We 
will not molest them again." 

It was late at night before I arrived at our cabin and corralled 
the horses. 

The two men I had encountered proved to be old friends of 
my brother, Levi Knott and J. W. Ladd. They had last met in 
southern Oregon during the Indian war. The travelers lived in 
Portland and were returning from the Si-mil-ki-meen mines, two 
hundred miles to the north. I met Ladd many times in after years 
and he never forgot the manner of our introduction. 

There rode up to our cabin, one evening, a fine looking gentle- 
man on an elegant horse, with silver mounted saddle and bridle 
with spurs to match. The latter, especially, took my eye and I won- 
dered if I should ever own such an outfit. He remained with us for 
the night, staking out his horse with a rawhide rope, to graze on 
the hill. After we had gone to bed, the coyotes began to howl. The 
stranger asked me to take a grass rope and put on his horse instead 
of the rawhide, fearing that the coyotes would chew through the 
other and his horse get away. Not yet familiar with the coyote and 
his cunning ways, I approached the hill with some misgivings, but 
managed to finish the job. Next morning, before mounting to ride 
on, the man handed me five dollars. I wondered if there were many 
of his kind in the world ; experience has shown me they are few. 
It was A. P. Ankeny, father of former United States Senator Levi 
P. Ankeny of Walla Walla. 

One December day two Indians on jaded horses rode up. 
Brother Charles recognized them as Wilson and Stanley (names 
evidently bestowed on them by the whites), whom he had met the 
previous summer when prospecting on the upper Columbia above 
Ft. Colville. They remained all winter with us. Being Spokanes, 
they could not speak the language of our neighbors, the Klickitats, so 
never visited the village, returning to their own country in the spring. 

Many hours I spent in the lodge of old Squim-kin and his aged 
squaw, who remained all winter near our cabin. The little girl and 
I became good friends. We talked of many things ; the legends of 
our people and my home in the Willamette valley, which had once 
been inhabited by the Cal-a-poo-yas, which her tribe, led by her 
father and other chiefs, had conquered long ago. Five years before 
(1855) the government had driven the Klickitats back from this 
famous hunting ground to their native country. Lal-looh told me 
that the little valley Moo-sum-pah (Paradise) was the birthplace of 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 1^1 

her father and his people, that they had always been brave and 
strong, leaders in war and the chase, their strength and power 
coming to them from away back in the beginning when the world 
was young and Coyote was God. 

"The Coyote, in his wanderings," she said, "had come to this 
little valley on a summer's day. He was tired and lay down in a 
damp spot to rest. He fell asleep and slept a long time. On 
waking, he found that he had sunk deep in the earth, nothing but 
his head remaining above ground. An Indian hunter came upon 
him in this predicament and removed the mud from around him so 
that he could help himself by using his fore legs. With his strong 
elkskin rope, the Indian managed to extricate the Coyote. Coyote 
said to the hunter, 'You and your race shall forever be strong and 
brave, victors in war and the chase. This hole I have made in the 
ground shall become a spring. The taste of its waters shall bring 
all of the animals here to drink. They will seek the marshy ground 
as food. This valley shall be your home ; you and your descendents 
will live here in peace and plenty.' " 

This is the Indian legend of the small salty spring in the middle 
of Moo-sum-pah, which the early settlers called "the deer lick." 

When the cattle men began to move their herds to the Yakima 
valley for the winter, Mr. Allen and his son Bart were among those 
driving by our cabin. He asked me if I would go along to help. I 
was glad of the chance. My preparations were hastily made; they 
consisted of tying a pair of blankets behind my saddle. 

Just after crossing the summit of the Sim-co-e mountains, we 
camped for the night. The ground was covered with a light fall of 
snow. The cattle were turned loose and supper cooked. The old 
man and his son then began to prepare a bed for the night, opening 
a new bale of blankets they had brought along to trade with the 
Indians. Deciding that not all of the blankets were necessary for a 
comfortable bed, they rolled up the rest and put them away. I 
watched the performance in silence. They did not offer me any 
blankets. Then and there a feeling of contempt for that old man 
and his son arose in my bosom and has never grown less. There 
was a self-reliant young Indian along who had been carrying wood 
to the campfire. After he had built a good blaze and piled up a bed 
of fir boughs, he sat down to smoke while I curled up in my scanty 
blankets, with my saddle on top of me for warmth. Waking up 
damp and cold, I found that the fire had died down and the Indian 
was comfortably asleep. I hesitated for a while, because I had 
always heard that Indians were covered with vermin ; but, as I began 
to get colder, my pride grew less. So, throwing my blankets on top 
of his, I softly raised the cover and crawled in beside Koos-e-nute 
(Man-with-no-horses). Half a century spent on the border has 
failed to reveal to me a more contemptible pair than old man Allen 
and his son. 

/42 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

Next morning we moved on down the mountain to Satus creek, 
where we found no snow, continuing along the creek, whose high 
sides gave it the name of Canyon trail. At that night's camp we 
were joined by Ken-e-ho, a son of Squim-kin, who had been hired to 
help. The following day we reached the lower crossing of Satus 
creek, where Allen paid us all off. Ken-e-ho asked me if I wanted 
to see big country. I said "yes" ; so we rode on across what is known 
as Dry creek and up to the top of the hill overlooking the Toppenish 
with the whole Yakima valley spread out. before us. It seemed an 
empire. As I gazed upon its vastness, with no settler within its 
borders, I wondered why the pioneers had located in the Klickitat 
and other small valleys, leaving this Eden of the Northwest un- 
touched. I little dreamed then that this country was to be for so 
long my home. 

Ken-e-ho broke the spell with "We have a hard day's ride back 
to Moo-sum-pah and had better go." On the north side of Dry 
creek he pointed out to me the spot where "the great woman from 
the north" disappeared into the earth.* 

That winter was mild, with no loss of stock on the range. A 
very large village of the Klickitats was located about a mile and a 
half below our cabin. The incessant pounding of the war drum, 
intermingled with whoops and yells, was a constant reminder to us 
of an ever lurking danger. One day we observed great commotion 
in the village. Horses were run in, paint daubed on the men's faces, 
arms gathered from out the lodges and scouts dispatched. Word 
had come in that the Cay-uses were on the warpath to attack them. 
Next morning I noticed two rock monuments, one on each of the 
grassy buttes southeast of the present Goldendale. The village 
Indians had placed them there, I learned, to deceive the raiding 
party, which would believe they were sentinels. It proved a false 
alarm, after all. In a few days the village quieted down, but the 
rocky mounds remained for years. 

I was the handy boy of the neighborhood. Whenever a man 
was compelled to be absent from home over night, I was pressed 
into service to protect the family. In short, I represented the military 
force of the community. There was little money in our family and 
my clothes were by now showing signs of distress. One day, as I 
passed a cabin where lived a pretty little girl two years younger than 
myself, I paused to converse with her. Martha came out to meet 
me, but before saying anything, she stopped and looked me all over. 
Then she remarked, "You are ragged all over, but your pants are 

I was a sensitive boy and this harsh criticism took my breath 
away. Hastily I mounted and rode away broken-hearted. A short 
distance down the trail I met an Indian friend, Tat-to-gus, wearing 
an old pair of buckskin pants. After unloading my troubles on him, 

*See Chapter on Legends. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas l^S 

I bantered him for a trade. He was sympathetic and we proceeded 
to exchange then and there. Emboldened by my acquisition, I rode 
up to see Martha again, a few days later. She was still critical, her 
first words being, "Jack, where did you get those pants ?" I told her 
and she laughingly said, "I thought they were familiar. Old Tat-to- 
gus had been wearing them ever since we came here three years 

This was the end. We met years afterwards and she apologized. 

During this winter (1860) Stick Jo, an Indian, carried the mail 
for the government, once every two weeks, between Ft. Sim-co-e and 
The Dalles. He also brought the mail for us, which included the 
only newspaper in our part of the country, "The Dalles Moun- 
taineer," which we eagerly read for news of the Civil war. 

It was here I witnessed my first Chinook. The surprise of it, 
to awaken in the morning and find the snow gone ! The magic of that 
wind I learned to reverence in after years. Many a time it has stood 
between wealth and poverty with the early stockman. 

By April, 1861, miners and their outfits began to pass along 
the trail bound for the various camps up north. Then came the 
stock men ; first John J. Jeffries and Ben E. Snipes, with their crew 
of cowboys to gather up the cattle which Tiad wintered in the 
Yakima ; their own, and all others, which they had bought, to drive 
to the Cariboo mines. 

At this time, a reckless squaw man, Tom Reeves, built a small 
log cabin at the summit of the Sim-co-e mountains on the Satus 
trail and opened a trading post. His chief commodity was whisky, 
which he doled out to the Indians, thereby incurring the displeasure 
of "the powers that be" at Ft. Sim-co-e. He was persuaded to 
move on. 

During the reign of "Fire Water" Reeves I traveled the trails 
frequently, looking after cattle, and one day had an encounter with 
his deadly dope which was almost my undoing. As I came over a hill, 
I spied ahead two Indians and a squaw dismounted. The men came 
running towards me. I spurred my horse, in an effort to make a 
get-away, but he balked. The Indians caught him by the bridle and 
led him to their outfit, telling me to dismount. They had a gallon 
of some of Reeves' firewater in a blue keg, and considerably more in 
their own stomachs. They ordered me to drink. I put the keg to my 
lips, but swallowed none. I was then told to mount. They did like- 
wise, one riding in front, leading my horse, one behind, with the 
squaw and the blue keg bringing up the rear. When we got to the 
top of the hill above the three creeks, some seven miles from Golden- 
dale, the big fellow in front, Ap-pol-li-klet, an Indian I knew well, 
accidentally dropped the rope. I gathered it up and tied it to my 
saddle. He rushed at me with his elkhom whip. My horse refused 
to go despite the spurs. I only succeeded in dodging, which angered 
him, so that, maddened by drink, he came at me again and again 

i44 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

with all the force he could master. My only weapon, a pocket knife, 
it flashed across me to stab him in the neck when he leaned over 
me. On he came, missing me. I scratched his neck and managed 
to slash his shoulder. The sight of blood both sobered and maddened 
him. Running his hand down into his legging, he pulled out a knife 
which looked to me longer than a fence rail. A demon now, with a 
fierce war whoop which rang through the woods, he came at me ; 
but leaned too far over and lost his balance. The knife fell several 
feet from where he landed. I swung off to get it and finish the 
throat job while he was down; but a scream from the squaw made 
me look back. The Indian behind was drawing his gun. Back in 
the saddle, I dug the knife into the cayuse's hip and the spurs into his 
sides. He reared with a snort and dashed down the hill, tearing out 
rocks and dirt. The report of the gun rang out, but I did not turn 
my head until further removed from the scene of action. They did 
not follow and I reached home safely. We quit the cabin for a few 
nights and slept in the brush ; but there were no further develop- 
ments. Two years later I met Ap-pol-li-klet ; neither of us men- 
tioned the episode. 


1^6 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 



First Settler — First Cattle for Grazing — First Wagon 
and Cook Stove — Indian Difficulties — The Chinook 
Dance — First School — Establishment of Yakima 
County — First Survey. 

The Klickitat valley was becoming too populous to suit our 
neighbor, F. M. Thorp. He was a pioneer of the old school who 
had crossed the plains with ox teams from the Missouri river to 
the Willamette valley in 1844. When newcomers settled around 
him there, his spirit rebelled. Preferring to run the risk of Indian 
warfare with all its cruelties rather than to live in a thickly settled 
community with its bickerings and backbitings, he moved into the 
Klickitat. Here again he was followed. Without more ado, he 
packed up and started for a new wilderness. 

It was in February, 1861, that with his family of nine , small 
children, four boys and five girls, mounted on horses and with the 
household goods carried likewise, he moved out on the trail leading 
over the Sim-co-e mountains. The snow was several feet deep in 
places. They went down the Satus to the Toppenish, crossing about 
two miles above what was later known as the Indian Department 
cattle ranch. Then they passed over the sage brush plains to the 
Yakima river at Pah-ho-ta-cute, now called the Union gap, forded 
the river above the mouth of the Ahtanum and settled in the lower 
end of Mok-see, now known as Moxee valley. 

They moved into a little log cabin, with dirt roof and floor, 
and a fireplace in the comer to serve as cook stove, which Thorp 
had built the previous October for his herders, John Zumwalt and 
A. C. Meyers, who had looked after a band of cattle wintered here. 
These were the first cattle driven into the Yakima valley for the 
purpose of grazing. 

A new home was soon under construction, 25 x 16 feet, one 
and a half stories high with a dirt roof and puncheon floor. The 
floor was made from logs hewn flat on one side and placed on sills, — 
the pioneer's only kind of floor. One of the herders, John Z'umwalt, 
had helped Thorp to move. He was also accompanied by Charles A. 
Splawn, my oldest brother, who married Thorp's daughter, Dulcena 
Helen, a women who would be a credit to any country at any time, 
one of God's noble creatures, as was her mother, Margaret Bounds 
Thorp, a real pioneer who bore the trials, privations and dangers with 
a smile, the sunshine of that little settlement. 

Thorp was a man of granite and iron, possessed of an indom- 
itable will and the courage to back it. Being inured to the hardships 
of frontier life, he was well fitted for the role of first settler. He 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimm iV7 

knew Indian character as few others did and his dealings with the 
tribes were such as to command both their admiration and their fear. 
When other outlying settlements at that time were compelkd, on 
account of Indian depredations, to abandon their homes and flee to 
Walla Walla or to The Dalles for safety, — ^points where United 
States troops were stationed, — he stayed and held the country when 
at times he seemed to be tempting Providence. 

A few days after his arrival in Mok-see, his favorite saddle 
horse, a gray, was missing. He knew it had been stolen. Calling to 
his house a few of the head men of the tribe, he told them to see to 
it that the horse was returned, as he had come to live among them 
and desired peace and friendship ; if the horse was not forthcoming, 
he would pursue and punish the thief in his own way. When some 
months later Thorp succeeded in capturing the Indian who had 
stolen the horse, he tied him to a tree, stripped the clothes from his 
back and, with a rawhide rope doubled, flayed the culprit till he 
fainted. The Indian lived but a short time, his death serving as a 
warning to others not to molest Thorp's property. The treatment 
was effective. The Mok-see settler never had any more stock stolen 
by the red men, and from that time on Thorp had a standing among 
the surrounding tribes that no white man before or since ever had. 

Even here Thorp was not long allowed to enjoy his new home 
in solitude. About two weeks after he had left the Klickitat, his old 
neighbor, Alfred Henson, with his wife and five children, under the 
guidance of How-milt, a We-nat-sha Indian, moved over the same 
route taken by Thorp, but passed through the Yakima valley on 
over the hills to Kittitas, then to Pish-pish-ashten creek in the 
We-nat-sha country, where gold had been found the previous year. 
It was generally believed that many men would be working there the 
next year and it was Henson's plan to be first in with goods and 
provisions. He had about fifteen pack horses loaded with such goods 
as miners would require, also a few milk cows. Two white men, 
John Gubser and George Rearfield, were his helpers. 

Arriving at his destination, he found no miners. A few came 
later, but failed to find sufficient pay, so moved on to Similkimeen, 
Rock Creek and Cariboo to the north. Henson sold out to the 
Indians and went down to the Mok-see, still under watchful care of 
the faithful old How-milt. The constant rumors of Indian depre- 
dations, reports of lone travelers found murdered by the wayside 
in different parts of the frontier state, caused him to be fearful of 
the safety of his family, so about Sept. 1, 1861, he returned to the 
Klickitat. In 1864 he came back to the Mok-see and settled near 

There is little doubt that Mrs. Henson and her young daughters 
were the first white women to see the beautiful Kittitas valley and 
the We-nat-sha country. A few months after Thorp's arrival, Levi 
Armsworthy with his family, from Klickitat, built a house and 

M8 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

fenced some land in Mok-see, but became alarmed about Indian 
uprisings and moved back to Klickitat, never returning to Yakima. 

My first visit to Mok-see was in June, 1861, when Jack Ker 
and I helped Noble Saxon drive a herd of cattle from Klickitat. We 
reached the Yakima on the third day and found Thorp with a ferry 
at Union gap. He had whipsawed the lumber for his boat and 
operated it with a rope cable. We ferried the horses and swam the 
cattle. Saxon, later in the season, drove the cattle back to the 
Klickitat because of the Indian scare. 

The morning after our arrival Thorp sent Leonard and Willis, 
his two oldest boys, to the ferry with a yoke of oxen to bring a 
wagon which had just arrived from their old home in the Klickitat 
around to Mok-see. Leonard was about my age, sixteen; Willis 
two years younger. We had an Indian guide, Shar-low. As it was 
impossible to take the wagon up over the narrow trail, our guide 
struck down the river on horseback ahead of us. With an ax we 
cut our way through the timber and brush to a point just above the 
present Parker bridge, where we took to the hill, coming back to 
the valley at the old Robert Dunn place. We then followed the 
Indian trail to where now stands Dan McDonald's home. Here we 
found our first wild currants and we feasted. We followed the sage 
brush plain in a northerly direction; passed through the Mok-see 
gap and reached Thorp's at sundown. This was the pioneer wagon 
road, whose tracks marked the beginning of settlement. 

In May of the same year Major John Thorp, father of the first 
settler, accompanied by Joe Evans, drove in 150 steers from Polk 
county, Oregon, to graze in the Mok-see. Shortly after the Major 
and my brother Charles gathered up a bunch of horses and pack 
saddles and went to The Dalles for a load of provisions to take to 
the newly discovered gold diggings at Orofino in the Nez Perce 
country. Their route lay back through Yakima to White Bluffs, 
then east through the Palouse to Lewiston and on up the regularly 
traveled trail along the Qearwater to the mines. At Orofino they 
found many men and little money, though it later proved to be a 
good mining camp. They sold the supplies and returned to Yakima 
just as the Indian excitement was at its height, narrowly escaping 
an attack in the Palouse country. 

I was back in the Klickitat, and about this time decided to visit 
the Thorp boys in the Mok-see. Saddling my tough and wiry roan 
horse, Clat-a-wa, early one morning, I reached the Mok-see, seventy- 
five miles away, by sundown. Thorp wanted to know if I had heard 
any rumors of Indian troubles. When I told him that all the 
Klickitat families except Burgon, Pell and a few others, had moved 
into The Dalles, he saddled his fine gray and started for The Dalles 
to learn more about it. 

After two days with the Thorp boys, I set out for home, going 
by way of Ft. Sim-co-e, which I had never seen. It had been estab- 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 1^9 

lished in 1856 by Col. Wright, who afterwards went down with 
the ship Brother Jonathan when she sank off the southern coast of 

I expected to find at the fort, Agent A. A. Bancroft and the 
agency employes, but instead saw only an old Indian, who said of 
the white officials, "Yock-a charko quash pe clat -a-wa copa. Dalles," 
meaning that they had got frightened and gone to The Dalles. 
After asking me where I was going, he said there were many bad 
Indians traveling about, some of them on the road I would follow. 
He advised me to leave the trails and take to the hills. At that age, 
I was not afraid of the red men, so lit out on my journey. 

Striking the military road leading to The Dalles, built in 1856 
under the supervision of Capt. Dent, a brother-in-law of Gen. Grant, 
my horse had free rein up the steep slope to the plateau of the 
Sim-co-e mountains. Though I had to cover eighty miles to reach 
my destination before night, I had no fear that my noble roan would 
fail me, so went on, enjoying the beautiful mountain road, with the 
wild birds constantly flying up through the tall grass and lighting 
in the tree tops on either side. All along to the west the tall peaks 
of the Cascades loomed up far as the eye could reach. Not twenty 
miles away stood the great white giant, Mt. Adams, which seemed 
so near that one could almost feel the chill of its glaciers. It struck 
me that it was no wonder the red men should bitterly contest the 
invasion of such a country by the pale faces. 

The country became more broken, the hills frequent. The sun 
was hanging low and would soon sink behind the western hills. At 
a small mountain stream with a grassy bottom, I rode in a ways 
from the road, let my horse graze and devoured my lunch. Resting 
here, I heard the clatter of hoofs from the direction of The Dalles. 
Since neither the horse nor myself could be seen from the road I 
crawled to a patch of brush where I could get a view of any passerby. 
A lone rider soon dashed into sight at full gallop. It was Thorp on 
his powerful gray, his long black hair hanging down his shoulders, 
sitting straight in the saddle, a fine specimen of western frontiers- 

As I stepped out into the road, he halted to ask, "When did you 
leave my home and was everything safe?" I replied, "This morning, 
and all was well." He said, "I met Indian Agent Bancroft about 
noon today near The Dalles. He told me he had left Ft. Sim-co-e 
temporarily, fearing an Indian outbreak. This news made me uneasy 
regarding the safety of my family and I have been riding hard. 
The many rumors of Indian depredations along the border are such 
that no one can tell what a few hours may bring forth. I must reach 
my family tonight." 

He gave me a few instructions as to what I should do in case 
of hostilities, and galloped off, reaching home that night, covering 

150 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

one hundred miles in sixteen hours without changing horses, — a 
wonderful feat for both man and horse. 

Reaching the summit of the mountains as darkness gathered, a 
grand sight met my eyes. Down the southern slope, on the road I 
must travel, the woods were ablaze. Off to the east from a high 
mountain signal fires were flashing out their messages, and there 
was the same thing to the west. I felt there was danger lurking in 
this neck of the woods. 

Riding through the burning trees, I struck a spot where the 
tracks showed a large band of Indians had come to the road from 
both sides only a few hours before, — after Thorp had passed, indeed. 
I was on the alert and when, a little further on, the barking of dogs 
and neighing of horses warned me, I left the road, going up a small 
ridge to the left, from which point I caught a glimpse of their 
encampment. The fires shone brightly and here and there could be 
seen men and women, hurrying to and fro. Soon the great drum 
sounded. The throng gathered about the big log pile that had been 
set on fire, throwing its glare far out into the surrounding darkness. 
The dance began, whoops and yells ringing out through the once 
quiet woods. Tying my horse, I crawled up as near as I felt safe 
to watch this strange ceremony which, I afterwards learned, was the 
scalp dance. I had read some of the wild tales of the Wooly West, 
and here I was getting the whole show at first hand. 

I did not return to the road, but made my way over the hills 
to the cabin of Calvin Pell in the Moo-sum-pah, where I made my 
home. The old man let me in and was glad of my return. Not long 
after I had gone to bed, a gentle tapping at the door awoke me. 
The door slowly opened and in stepped my little Indian girl friend, 
Lal-looh. She said, "Wake the old man up. You and he must get 
out of this place quick. Two Indians are now at my father's lodge 
who were watching this house when you rode up. They have only 
one gun and want to get another from my father, who is detaining 
them as best he can." 

We were soon ready. "Follow up this creek to the forks and 
stay there till I come," she said. We stayed there till the following 
afternoon, when Lal-looh looked us up and said that the two Indians 
had gone, but that a big council was to be held, beginning next day, 
to decide on peace or war. She advised us to keep our horses hidden 
away in the brush along the creek and to have some food cooked 
ready for a start at a moment's notice. Her brother, Ken-e-ho, was 
to be at the council and had promised, if war was decided on, to ride 
swiftly to her with the news. 

That little Indian girl has always been a sweet memory. The 
council lasted two days and two nights and for a time fate hung in 
the balance, but the advice of the older men, who had just passed 
through a two years' war with the whites, prevailed. Lal-looh 
brought us the news that war was averted and the Indians had 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas i51 

returned to their homes. The older and wiser heads, it seems, had 
not forgotten the hardships and sufferings they had endured from 
war and the loss of their greatest warriors weighed heavily upon 
them. They knew that, though they killed some whites, far towards 
the rising sun this people were thicker than the grass on the hill- 
sides ; there would always be more to come on. The mournful wails 
of the old men, women and children, who were likely to perish in 
case of war, sounded all through the council. 

The little settlement in the Yakima, the most remote territory, 
escaped without harm because of Thorp's methods, skill and bravery 
in handling Indian questions. In all the country no settlers remained 
except Thorp and his family, Charles Splawn and wife and William 
Hall, an old man who operated a ferry for two years on the Yakima 
just below the west end of Snipes mountain, a short distance above 
the present home of Wren Ferrell. The boat was used to ferry 
over the miners to and from the Similkimeen, Rock Creek and 
Fraser river mines in British Columbia. Hall had been buffeted 
about on the sea of adventure, and tossed by the waves of adversity 
common to a frontiersman until he had grown indifferent to life, and 
could adapt himself to any circumstances. He gave all the proceeds 
of his business for a young squaw of the Yakima tribe. During the 
winter of 1861-2 he basked in the sunshine of her smiles, but when 
the birds came in the spring, the grass grew green and the salmon 
began to run up stream, he stole quietly away, leaving the dusky maid 
to ponder over the fickleness of the pale face. 

The first winter that Thorp and his family passed in their 
isolated home was the memorable one of 1861-2, noted for its 
extreme severity. Indian tradition has nothing to equal it and no 
white man ever saw its like before or since in the Yakima valley. 

Snow fell in December to a depth of eighteen inches. Then it 
rained and froze up, leaving the whole country a glare of ice over 
which stock could not travel without cutting their legs. Men had to 
make wooden flails and break the ice crust on the snow, to enable 
the cattle to graze the tall rye grass that completely covered the 
Mok-see. In this manner did Thorp and my brother Charles save 
their cattle, while fully eighty per cent of the livestock in the 
Northwest perished from cold and hunger. The Yakima river was 
frozen over to a great thickness. When the water began forcing its 
way through, it caused great jams. In the swirl and crush vast bodies 
of ice were thrown high and dry out on the mainland, covering 
hundreds of acres along the low bottoms. In the breaking up of these 
immense gorges, the noise was at times terrific, resembling a hard 
fought battle where artillery held the right of way. 

In April, 1862, Thorp, with two Indians went to The Dalles 
for supplies. From Alder creek at its mouth at the Columbia to the 
mouth of the Des Chutes river thousands of dead cattle, he said, lay 
in piles and heaps, showing that they had sought companionship in 

152 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

the hour of death. For forty miles the dead and dying were strewn 
along the way and the stench was almost unbearable. Here and 
there small bands of cattle would be grazing, so weak that they 
reeled as they walked. Bands of horses were seen with their manes 
and tails eaten off, showing that in their fight for life this sort of 
cannibalism had been resorted to. 

After this terrible winter, some of the stockmen of the North- 
west never again engaged in that line of business; others kept 
bravely on, winning fortunes later. Ben E. Snipes was one of the 

If the winter was hard on the white settlers, it was equally so 
on the Indians. There were hundreds of villages strung along the 
Yakima from Satus creek to Nah-cheez. The Indian ponies, though 
accustomed to pawing the snow off to reach the grass beneath, 
could not stand the icy crust which cut them whenever they moved 
their legs. They simply stood stupefied and died in their tracks. In 
the two-year war with the whites, the Indians had lost the greater 
portion of their horses and it seemed as if this dreadful winter 
would take the remainder. 

They called a council at Ko-ti-ahen's village, just below Union 
gap. All the medicine men of the tribe were invited, large offerings 
of horses being made to these fakirs if they could induce the Great 
Spirit to send the Chinook wind. Sko-mow-wa and his son, Soke- 
se-hi, brought cattle to the council and slaughtered them for food. 
Ne-sou-tus, the farmer and gardener of the tribe, brought wheat, 
corn and potatoes; others roots and dried salmon in abundance. 
The commissary being well supplied, the ceremony began in earnest. 
Day and night for nearly a month the great drum sounded the pum- 
pum. Wails from the old squaws were intermingled with the whoops 
and yells of the fiery dancers, — but to no avail. The tam-man-na-was 
of all the medicine men who had participated up to this time had 
failed to work. There was one veteran doctor, We-i-pah, over whose 
head the snows of eighty winters had passed, who, up to this time 
had taken no part. He was held to be the wisest of all the medicine 
men of the surrounding tribes, which accounted for his longevity, 
since it is a custom among Indians that when a doctor loses a patient, 
he must himself die, or pay a satisfactory price to the relatives of the 
deceased. This cunning old fox seems to have been wonderfully 

During the weeks of the ceremony, We-i-pah had remained 
silent in his lodge, smoking his pipe, with his eyes watching for the 
dark clouds to roll up over the summit of the Cascades. He knew 
the signs which were the forerunners of the Chinook wind and was 
waiting for the psychological moment to go in and win. 

When, worn and discouraged, some of the head men sought 
We-i-pah, imploring his aid, saying that the medicine of the other 
dancers was weak, and asking him to set his price for bringing the 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 153 

wind, he arose, cast his eye at the long sweep of sky above the 
Cascades, and knew that his hour of victory had come. 

"Go back to the council fire," he said, "and tell our people that 
We-i-pah has been the salmon man of the tribe since boyhood. I 
have kept the waters of the Yakima flowing constantly from the 
great lakes at the head to the Columbia at its mouth so as to enable 
the salmon to make their way up this stream to the home of the red 
men. I have been the first to announce their arrival in the spring 
and have been the leader in the annual dance which celebrates their 
coming. I am old and poor and not long for this world. I need 
horses and blankets and buffalo robes. Give to me what I need is 
all I ask. You must send away the evil doctors who have been 
conducting this ceremony and give me full charge. Come back to 
me when the sun goes down." 

It was decided to give the old man ten horses, ten blankets and 
five buffalo robes if he brought the wind. At sundown a committee 
waited upon We-i-pah and announced the terms of the bargain. "It 
is well," said We-i-pah. "When I notify you, send two of your 
strongest men to carry me to the medicine lodge. Stop the present 
dancing ; eat and rest. I want swift work when I begin." 

He brought out his great medicine costume which had served 
him well in the past. If he succeeded tonight, he would be known 
as the greatest medicine man of his time, — it had been the ambition 
of his life. At the lodge, whither To-mas-kin and Pah-hi-ute carried 
him, he was greeted with whoops and yells, for they all believed 
him to be the "Skookum Tam-man-na-was" who had an inside pull 
with the Great Spirit. Stepping to the front, he ordered the dancers 
to fall into line, men first, with women and children following. At a 
wave of his hand the great drum sounded the pum-pum, the men at 
the sticks sitting flat on the ground. The shrill voice of old We-i-pah 
was heard above the song of the dancers, as he leaped and bounded 
like a frightened deer. The whole tribe catching the spirit of the 
leader, the dance grew fierce and wild. Men, women and children 
fell from exhaustion and were removed to another lodge while the 
seething, boiling mass of red humanity, led by the wonderful old 
man who had never failed, kept rushing on like an avalanche that 
carries everything before it. Far into the night, this feat of endur- 
ance was kept up at the pace that kills. More than half the dancers 
had fallen by the wayside and still the ringing voice of We-i-pah 
could be heard urging them on to greater effort. When Pah-he- 
wa-tus rushed into the lodge exclaiming, "The Chinook has come !" 
all were silent, listening to the strong puffs of the warm wind against 
the lodge. Dancing ceased and the feast began. At daylight, all lay 
down to sleep, believing that while half their horses were dead, the 
remainder would live. We-i-pah enjoyed his re;putation for many 
years more, dying a tragic death later at the age of over a hundred. 

i5l^ Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

When spring came and the stock again grazed in the midst oi 
plenty, the hardships of the settlers were soon forgotten. With 
renewed zeal they began to make plans for the next winter, having 
firmly resolved to make this new land of sunshine their home. Those 
first people builded better than they thought. After a lapse of half 
a century some of those same settlers' children look with pride upon 
that work of long ago. 

In the summer of 1862 Albert Haynes with his young bride, 
Lutitia Flett Ha)aies, descendent of a pioneer family of Puget Sound, 
crossed the Cascades and settled near Thorp in the Mok-see. He 
was of good, straight, honest, industrious stuff and his wife a woman 
of mental training, well fitted for the part she was to play as first 
school teacher in the land. The school room was the upstairs of the 
Thorp house and the Thorp children were the pupils. 

This same summer A. Blatchly, a mining expert, en route to 
the Clearwater mines, was a fellow passenger on the steamer Idaho 
with C. M. Walker, a former employe at the Ft. Sim-co-e agency. 
Walker had in his possession a piece of ore which had been given to 
him by an Indian. He showed it to Blatchley, who asked the priv- 
ilege of assaying it and found it to be fifty per cent silver. The 
miner was all excitement and eager to know where the ore had been 
found, but Walker had neglected to ask the Indian this important 
question. Blatchley, however, abandoned his contemplated trip and 
set out for the Yakima country to hunt up the Indian and his mine. 
He enlisted the aid of Thorp and Charles Splawn, who had an 
extensive acquaintance with the different tribes. All the mountains 
from Adams on the south to We-nat-sha on the north were searched 
and every Indian legend run down to no avail. Neither the Indian 
nor his mine were ever found. That Walker received the ore from 
an Indian there is no doubt, but it might have been an Indian from 
some distant tribe, possibly a Coeur d'Alene. The Coeur d'Alenes 
often visited the Yakimas in the early days, and the description of 
the ore corresponds with the rich silver deposits found in the Coeur 
d'Alene mountains later on. 

Another mine excitement was caused by a piece of ore resem- 
bling the Walker sample given to J. B. Nelson by Nathan Olney, 
then of the Ahtanum, who had obtained it from Soges-e-hi, a 
Kwi-wy-chas Indian. Provided with a chart made by So-ges-e-hi's 
squaw, who had been with her husband when he found the ore, and 
accom,panied by the finder's son, I went to the spot and found 
scattered along a small stream not far from Bumping lake a strange 
looking ore, heavy and of dark color. When analyzed it was found 
to contain nickel, cobalt, manganese, antimony and some gold. It 
was located, however, in an almost inaccessible mountain. I never 
considered it worth much and did not look for a lead. 

Those days were teeming with tales of treasure hidden by the 
Indians. The red men had learned what was the thing most prized 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 155 

by the pale faces and for various reasons would lead prospectors on 
the most arduous adventures. In very few instances have I known of 
anything worth while developing. It was much the same here as 
when the Spaniards conquered Mexico. The whole western hemis- 
phere was a mineral country and most of the discoveries came from 
the invaders, not from the natives. 

In 1863, in the summer, there settled in the Mok-see on what 
was later known as the Parrish ranch, two brothers named Casner 
with their families. Thorp took a dislike to these people and was 
not slow in showing his feelings. They moved out that fall and were 
never heard of again in this part of the country. In November two 
men, returning from the Similkimeen mines camped near Thorp's. 
The younger, Thomas Butler, was destitute, a subject for charity. 
When Thorp offered him a home, he gladly accepted, remaining for 
several years and finally going to California. 

One day, during their second summer in the new home, a long 
string of dust was to be seen coming along the Priest Rapids trail. 
Thorp, with his spy glass, discovered it to be a band of Indians. 
When they reached the valley near the present Cameron home, they 
formed in line, with whoops and yells that could be heard at Thorp's, 
rode around and around, then formed two abreast, dashed at full 
speed towards the Thorp home. The settler had prepared at first 
sight of them for just such an emergency. With his sons, Leonard, 
Willis and Bayless and C. A. Splawn, he awaited them. On came 
the red devils, riding like demons ; resolute and firm stood the little 
band of white men. Smo-hal-la, dreamer and head man of the 
Wi-nah-pums, with war bonnet streaming from his head, and closely 
followed by his men, rushed to where Thorp stood, but the sight 
of the white man, leveling his gun on a bee line with the red rnan's 
carcass, brought him to a sudden halt. "I was only showing you 
how well drilled I have my men," said Smo-hal-la. Thorp knew this 
was the time to show his nerve if he expected to remain in the 
country. Walking up to Smo-hal-la, he took him by the shoulders, 
jerked him from his horse and proceeded to beat the old renegade 
till he cried for mercy. Smo-hal-la's bluff had been called and Thorp 
had established a reputation that no Indian ever afterwards ques- 
tioned. Such a man was the first settler in the Yakima valley. 

i56 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 



The county of Ferguson was created by an act of the legislature, 
January 12, 1863. It was bounded on the south by the summit of 
the Simcoe mountains, on the west by the summit of the Cascades, 
on the east by Walla Walla and Stevens counties and on the north 
by the Wenatchee river. 

Of the officers appointed by the legislature, only one, F. M. 
Thorp, was an actual settler and none of them qualified, so that 
there was no county organization. 

The settlers did not need it. They had protected themselves 
up to this time and felt they were abundantly able so to do for a 
number of years to come. What money they got from time to time 
they very much needed for their own support, and did not feel like 
being taxed for the upkeep of a bunch of office holders over at 

On January 12, 1865, the act creating Ferguson county was 
repealed and an act creating Yakima county was passed, with the 
boundaries reduced to some extent, making the Columbia river from 
below Wallula up to Wenatchee the eastern boundary. The men 
appointed county commissioners were Charles A. Splawn, William 
Parker and J. H. Wilbur. Gilbert Pell was sheriff, William Wright 
auditor and F. M. Thorp treasurer. The county seat was located 
at the home of William Wright, who was an employe at Ft. Simcoe, 
thirty miles from the main settlement. 

Not wishing to go to an Indian agency, where there were no 
actual settlers, to transact business, the people felt there was no 
need of a county organization and went on attending to their own 
affairs in their own way. 

The governor, believing it imperative that Yakima county 
should have a government, in 1867 appointed the following officers 
to hold until the next general election : Commissioners, C. P. 
Cooke, F. M. Thorp and Alfred Henson; sheriff, Charles A. 
Splawn; auditor, J. W. Grant; treasurer, E. W. Lyen. The county 
seat was established at Thorp's school house in the Mok-see. 

There was but little to do. I can recall but one instance where 
an appeal to the law was made — when the turbulent Irishman, Mc- 
Allister, who then lived in Selah, threatened to kill his neighbor, 
Alfred Henson, a quiet, inoffensive man. McAllister was tried and 
bound over to keep the peace, but he had to stay some time under 
guard in Thorp's old log school house, before his hot Irish blood 
cooled off. At last he gave the required bond and went home. 

Being deputized by the sheriff, I was ordered to guard him 
part of the time. Noticing that the upper buttons were off his 
pants, I asked him if he did not want a needle and thread. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 1S7 

"It is no use," he replied. "Every time I think of my situation 
my stomach swells until I burst the buttons off my breeches." 

The following spring, 1868, deputized by the sheriff and 
assessor, I assessed the property of Yakima county for the first 

At the general election that year the following county officers 
were elected: Commissioners, Alfred Henson, G. W. L. Allen 
and Thomas Goodwin; sheriff, Charles A. Splawn; assessor, John 
Lindsey; treasurer, E. W. Lyen; school superintendent, S. C. 
Taylor ; coroner, Henry Davis. 

While assessing the property of Yakima county, I had no dis- 
putes with the people. If they were poor, I passed them up ; if well 
to do, they set their own valuation. We needed but little and wanted 
no surplus. 

I only touch on this period of the county's organization. The 
balance will be left for future historians. 

In 1864 the third standard parallel was established in Yakima 
county by a Mr. White, the first surveyor to reach this valley. 
In 1865 L. P. Beach passed through Yakima on his way to White 
Bluffs on the Columbia river for the purpose of surveying a few 
townships on the east side of that stream. A barren waste it was — 
over forty years later before a settler filed on any of the land. 
Thus was the money thrown away. The following year we find him 
back in the Yakima valley, where he surveyed a few townships, 
including Selah, Cowiche, Nah-cheez and Ahtanum valleys. He 
fell into bad ways, his survey was rechecked and found wrong. 
He was an Olympia politician with all the qualifications of that tribe. 
The first organized effort to get mail service in the Yakima valley 
was made by the settlers in 1867, who agreed to take their 
turns every other Tuesday of going to Umatilla, Oregon, after it. 
This service continued for about a year, when it was turned over 
to a Mr. Parson for a stipulated price, until the government mail 
route was established in 1870. L. H. Adkins was the first govern- 
ment mail carrier. 

In the early settlement of the Yakima valley the only wagon 
road from The Dalles, Oregon (the main trading point), was the 
military road from there to Fort Simcoe, over about the highest 
part of the Simcoe mountains ; consequently, the early snows closed 
it to travel, and delayed traffic until late spring. 

About the year 1875, the settlers of Yakima valley got together, 
and by donating labor and time they constructed a wagon road from 
Yakima City to the summit of Simcoe mountains, over the route 
known as the Canyon trail, which followed the Satus creek. 

The citizens of Klickitat county banded together and built a 
wagon road from Goldendale, Washington, to the summit of the 
mountain, connecting with the Yakima end, thereby finishing a 

158 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

through wagon road between The Dalles and Yakima City, which 
could be used all the year. 

Over this route all the traffic passed for about ten years, or 
until the coming of the railroad, which ended its romantic history. 
Over this road passed the first stage coach with passengers and 
mail; freight teams were strung along, and thousands of cattle 
passed that way for the Portland and Puget Sound markets. 

On the summit of the Simcoe mountains, Al Lillie kept a road- 
house, noted for its splendid meals, and the angel face of Mrs. 
Lillie, who always made it pleasant for those who tarried awhile. 

The coming of the railroad, which diverted the traffic from 
this way, was a sad blow to the old freighters who had learned to 
love this old route, and took from them their happy home, as every 
load of freight contained more or less whiskey. They had discov- 
ered how to tap a keg, draw from the bottom, and fill up at the top, 
thereby making life one continuous round of pleasure. 






h- 1 





i60 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 



An 800-Mile Journey to Cariboo, B. C. — Indians True 
and False — How Chief Moses Saved Our Scalps — A 
Hard Winter in the North— The Outlaw. 

In the year 1861, when I was only sixteen, Maj. John Thorp 
hired me to hel,p drive a band of cattle from the Yakima valley to 
the Cariboo mines in British Columbia. With our outfit were also 
Joe Evans, Paul, a half-breed, and the Indians, Ken-e-ho, Eliza, 
his squaw, and Cultus John. Leaving the Mok-see Aug. 26, on the 
third day we had reached Kittitas. This valley, as it looked to me 
that day, was the loveliest spot I had ever seen — to the west the 
great Cascade range, to the northwest the needle peaks of the Pish- 
pish-ash-tan stood as silent sentinels over the beautiful dell below, 
where the Yakima wound its way the length of the valley and dis- 
appeared down the grand canyon. From the mountains to the north 
flowed many smaller streams, while the plain was dotted here and 
there with groves and thickly carpeted with grass. It was truly the 
land of plenty. Sage hens, jack rabbits and prairie chickens were 
on all sides; many sweet-throated song birds were warbling their 
hymns to the parting day, to be followed, a little later by the coyote's 
howl, echoing from hill to hill. 

As we gazed, wondering how long before the settler would 
discover this Eden and we should see the smoke curling from the 
chimney of his log cabin, a horseman approached, a splendid speci- 
men of Indian warrior. Painted and feathered, his war bonnet of 
eagle plumage — ^the first I had seen — fitted his high forehead and 
set off his prominent cheek bones. He had seen the smoke from 
our campfire and wanted to know where we were going with the 
cattle. We gladly accepted, when he offered his services to guide 
us over the mountains to the. Columbia. His home, he informed 
us, was towards the foot of the mountains a few miles away. 

Our guide was on hand next morning when we were ready to 
start. He was so intelligent and friendly that we were loath to part 
with him, but, on the main trail leading to We-nat-sha, we met 
another Indian, of similar get-up in dress, who said he was going 
our way and would gladly point the road. This was Nan-num-kin, 
who in many instances later proved true blue at the most critical 
times, when scalps were but toys to dangle on a string around the 
red man's belt. 

We reached the Columbia and followed up its banks to where 
now stands the Great Northern railway depot at Wenatchee. Here, 
on the opposite side of the river, we could see an Indian village, 
apparently greatly excited at our appearance. Out from it came 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas i61 

a solitary horseman and rode straight across the river towards us, 
we lining up on our side to watch his daring feat. Coming up on 
the bank, he asked me to whom the cattle belonged. I pointed to 
the Major, who was on horseback nearby. As the Indian turned 
to ride towards Thorp, I asked him his name. I have always 
thought that Providence prompted me to do it, since there was no 
particular reason why I should have inquired. Looking me squarely 
in the eye, he said, "Sulk-talth-scosum, but known to white men as 
Ch'ief Moses." 

I had heard of Chief Moses before, and was destined to meet 
him many times afterward. He and the Major conversed for some 
time. As I watched them, it came to me what a splendid picture 
they made of contrasting types of strong men. Maj. Thorp was an 
Oregon pioneer, who had crossed the plains in 1844, a magnificent 
specimen of manhood, standing over six feet tall, with the un- 
daunted eye which marks the fearless soldier — and truly he knew no 
fear. Moses was tall and commanding, with a massive frame, a 
large head set on broad shoulders and keen eyes ever on the alert ; 
he sat his blue roan like a centaur. 

After finishing the parley, Moses rode back as he had come, 
and we moved the cattle on, crossed the We-nat-sha river and camped 
where now stands the beautiful home of Michael Horan, where our 
stock was on fine grass. Supper over, we retired, but the mosqui- 
toes were so numerous that we could not sleep. I got up and went 
to a nearby hill (later the Horan peach orchard), which seemed to 
be freer from the pests. I shared my discovery with the rest of 
the party and we all picked up our beds and moved. We had not 
been asleep long before we were wakened by the sound of horses' 
feet. In the moonlight we could see approaching a band of Indians, 
painted and feathered, from which arose loud voices suggesting 
argument. Presently there dismounted an aged Indian, who spoke 
in low, earnest tones as if pleading, but we could hear only a few 
murmurs of assent. Not realizing our danger, I was fascinated. 
To me it was just a wonderfully interesting sight, the moon shining 
full and bright, the war bonnets bobbing around ; but to the Major, 
who had gathered knowledge of Indian character from a long life 
on the border, it meant something more. His set lips and flashing 
eyes warned me of danger. 

Now there rode out in plain view one who seemed to be of some 
note. He was mounted on a milk white horse and commenced a 
loud harangue, which seemd to strike a responsive chord, for whoops 
went up on all sides and the war cry was raised. At this exciting 
moment, we heard horses fording the river. The Indians heard 
it, too, and waited. Two horsemen came riding swiftly past us 
towards the war party. The foremost one jumped from his horse, 
threw his blanket on the ground before him and waved back the 
hostile Indians with his hands till the hill was cleared. 

i62 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

Our deliverers were Chief Moses and our friend the guide, 
Nan-num-kin, who had arrived thus opportunely. A few years 
later I learned from Nan-num-kin that he had overheard the plan 
to massacre us and steal our cattle. Some, he said, did not want 
to do this, but went along, hoping to persuade the others that Moses 
would disapprove such an act. Nan-num-kin knew how futile 
would be any attempt on his part to dissuade them, so he stole away, 
swam the Columbia and told Moses what was about to occur. Moses, 
who admired pluck above everything, said, "No. The old man is 
brave; he must not die. And the boy with the white hair is no 
cowardly dog to be killed so. My people are bloodthirsty." Mount- 
ing the blue roan, which he always kept staked at the door of his 
lodge, he and Nan-num-kin rode hard and managed to be there 
in time. 

As I looked at Moses that night, realizing how heavy the odds 
had been against us, and the unselfishnes of his act, I knew that he 
claimed no reward beyond the friendship one man gives to another. 
We shook hands and went our separate ways. I would not meet 
many such men, I knew, even among my own race. 

A few miles further up the Columbia next day we came to a 
narrow trail leading around a perpendicular rock, where only one 
animal could pass at a time. Along the shore below us were many 
canoe loads of Indians, all eager and expectant. They were wait- 
ing in the hope that some of the cattle would stumble and fall. 
The year before, it seems, a band of cattle had passed that way 
and many had fallen over the bluffs, the Indians getting the car- 
casses. When all our cattle passed over safely, an angry murmur 
arose. The Indians threatened to take one by force and left their 
boats to come towards us, but we paid no heed, driving along 
indifferently, while they continued their uproar. After a while they 
sullenly returned to their canoes and floated back down to their 

That night we camped at Entiat, next day reaching beautiful 
Lake Chelan, and crossed the river at its foot to camp on the north 
bank. Here we saw a lone grave and learned that a man named 
Matheny had been killed a few months before by Tomlinson, a 
squaw man. During my early years on the frontier those solitary 
graves, scattered by the wayside, unmarked and unknown, were no 
uncommon sight. Usually no one could tell who the dead was or 
whence he came. Many homes have waited and watched for loved 
ones who never returned, the desert sands, hillsides and plains of 
the far west seldom giving u,p the secret of their graves. Such 
sights always made my heart softer. One was apt to grow harsh 
in this rough life on the borderland. 

It was at this last camp that we met In-no-mo-se-cha, chief of 
the Chelans, a noted warrior, who had taken part in the Indian war 
of 1855-56. His was not a pleasant face to look upon; a sullen. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas i63 

cruel expression and a combative head marked him as an ugly foe. 
He had with him his young son, a boy about my own age. During 
our day's travel together the boy and I became good friends and 
afterwards he saved my life at the crossing of the Chelan river 
when I was attacked by Indians. When he grew to manhood he 
was known as In-no-mo-se-cha Bill, and was one of Chief Moses' 
ablest lieutenants, a splendid type, brave to a fault, but with a fatal 
weakness for the fire water distilled by his white-faced brothers, 
which sent him to the happy hunting ground long before his race 
was run. 

At the end of three days' travel from Chelan we camped on the 
Okanogan river near Loop Loop creek. Here we found a large 
encampment of Indians covering a flat of more than a hundred 
acres. Hundreds of horses grazed the hillsides, while swift riders 
dashed here and there keeping their individual bands separated from 
the others. The neighing of the horses, barking of dogs, whoop- 
ing, yelling and wailing, the cries of those watching the gamblers 
and horse racing made one grand tumult, the like of which I had 
never heard before. The only thing lacking to make this a red 
man's inferno was fire water. It was so nearly dark that we were 
forced to camp near the village. Qur Indians herders protested 
loudly and bewailed our fate if we did so, but necessity compelled — 
and oftentimes, in dealing with the Indians, a brave stroke saves the 

The cattle were turned loose to graze up the river. After sup- 
per our Indians took the horses into a bend of the river to guard - 
during the night and I believe that they did not sleep. For a while, 
after darkness came on, the stillness was unbroken. Then, suddenly, 
the sound of the great war drum rang out on the night ; wild whoops 
and piercing yells told us the war dance was on. I was curious to 
see it, but knew that the Major would certainly object, so I stole 
away without telling him, worked through the Indians, sometimes 
crawling, sometimes running, until I reached the great wigwam 
where the warriors were in the midst of their wild dance. As fas- 
cinating a sight as I ever beheld was my first war dance. But after 
a while, looking on did not satisfy me. To be one of them was 
the call of the wild which had made me worm my way into the 
circle; catching the rhythm, my long tow hair streaming behind, 
I was soon swaying and chanting with the best of them. 

Suddenly I was conscious that the other dancers had withdrawn 
to one end of the room, leaving me alone in the center. Whether to 
run or to stand my ground became a serious problem, but only that 
day the Major had said, "Don't show the white feather and you 
win an Indian's respect nine times out of ten." So I stuck to my 
dance — and a blessed thing it was that I was ignorant of the tre- 
mendous risk I was running. 

iSlf Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

After a short parley, the celebration went on as before. A 
scalp fastened to a rope was brought out, thrown in the air, then 
trailed in the dust. Men and women jumped on it and kicked^ it 
with their feet. That grewsome plaything had belonged to a white 
man's head, for these Indians were not at war with any other 
tribe then, nor had been for some time; and the scalp was fresh, 
with short hair. As it came close to me, I wondered whose head 
it had covered and whose would furnish the next one. The thought 
sobered me, and while they were at the height of their mad frenzy, 
I slipped back to our camp where, you may be sure, I received 
one of the severest lectures of my life. 

We were up and away early next morning. We found the 
cattle a short distance up the river and had driven them several 
miles before we counted them. To my chagrin, the Major reported 
"Six head shy, boy; but we are lucky at that." I didn't look at 
it that way. I was mad to think that we had let a band of breech- 
clouts steal from us. Wh-en I made a proposition to go back after 
them, Joe Evans refused to accompany me; in fact, they all did, 
thinking more of their cowardly hides than of those six steers. 
I wheeled my horse and lit back on the trail. I had gone only a 
few miles when I spied twenty Indians driving our cattle towards 
their camp. Hurrying along, I rode in front of the cattle to turn 
them back, but it was no time at all before it dawned on me that 
twenty could do more driving than one. Those cattle had become 
like friends to me and my mind was made up to have them. Wliip 
in hand, I rode hard into their midst, striking at the Siwashes in 
all directions, hitting as many as possible. The Indians rode off to 
a hill and did not follow me. The Major shook his head when 
informed of my proceedings. "Don't do it again, Jack," he said. 
"I don't want to lose you." 

As I learned more of Indian nature, their reason for not killing 
me and taking the cattle became clear. They knew that to do the 
latter necessitated the former and they remembered the talk of the 
head men the evening before, when leniency had been shown me 
at the dance. They deemed it best to let me go this time for fear 
of being called to account ; another time, perhaps, they would dangle 
my head dress from their belts. My hair caused me much annoy- 
ance in those days. There seemed to be a premium on the yellow- 
haired scalps. 

By next night we had made the mouth of Johnson creek, where 
now stands the little town of Riverside. Here a band of Indians 
passed us, going up the Okanogan, and among them I recognized 
some of the cattle thieves of the previous day. That night, with a 
blanket tied behind the saddle, I followed the cattle. When they 
lay down, I did likewise; when they traveled, I trailed behind, 
resolved to be strictly on the alert so that no redskin might run 
off any. Just at break of day, six Indians approached from a 

Ka-mi-akin—The Last Hero of the Yakimas 165 

nearby canyon and before I could move around in front had three 
steers cut out and on the run. A full well-directed shot did the 
required work. One Indian reeled and would have fallen from his 
horse had not his companions supported him. They beat a hasty 
retreat up the canyon. When the Major overtook me and was told 
of the skirmish, he was grave and shook his head. "We must make 
the boundary tonight," he said, "though it is a hard drive." 

Next morning, having reached an ideal spot between the Simil- 
kimeen and Okanogan rivers, where the town of Oroville now 
stands, where there was plenty of grass, no mosquitoes, and we 
were only a few miles from the Canadian customs house with its 
sturdy inhabitants, Mr. Cox, collector, and Okanogan Smith, the 
well known pioneer, we resolved to rest up for a day. The Major 
was clearly uneasy and had told me to stay close in. About noon, 
while we were resting quietly about camp, our Indians sleeping 
near the river bank, we heard a sound from the nearby hill and 
saw a band of red men coming towards us headlong. The leader 
was a grand-looking fellow, big and strong. The Major, gun in 
hand, stepped forward with arms upheld as if ordering a halt. Just 
at this stage of the proceedings, our Indians began their "death 
song." I felt like choking them. In no mild tones the Major bade 
them cease. The strange Indians came to within fifty yards of us, 
then halted and their leader advanced. He was dressed in buckskin 
from tip to toe, his war bonnet the finest I had seen yet, and he was 
mounted on a beautiful spotted horse with eagle feathers tied in 
its foretop, mane and tail. Dismounting, this man of importance 
approached us. The Major advanced and shook his hand. The 
Indian looked to me like a good fellow. 

"I am Chief To-nas-ket," he said. "I was told that a boy with a 
band of cattle had shot and fatally wounded an Indian. They are 
now singing the death song for him. I come to find out." When 
the Major had explained to him the circumstances, he replied: 
"Well done. I hope he dies. He is a bad one, a renegade, not of 
my tribe. He has killed one white man, maybe many, but the spill- 
ing of blood is always'bad medicine for young warriors. If they 
smell it, they want to taste more. I will send some of these men of 
mine along with you for a distance of fifty miles, till you reach 
Lake Okanogan, where your danger from this source will be 

These newcomers were attractive, all wearing buckskin suits, 
neatly made, the artistic decoration of which in silk and beads 
showed much skill in needlecraft and original designing. They were 
on the whole the most peaceful and thrifty set we met. _ 

To-nas-ket himself was intelligent and fine-looking, without 
the harshness which had characterized some of the head men of 
other tribes. He was a Catholic, I learned in after years, and was 
always the white man's friend. There is an Indian school, built 

166 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

at the mouth of Bonaparte's creek on the Okanogan, named in 
honor of this good chief, and a town on the railroad from Pateros 
to Oroville bears his name. 

At the customs house we paid the duty of two dollars per head 
and were allowed to enter British territory, where I was destined 
to spend over a year. Under guidance of the escort given us by 
Chief To-nas-ket, we reached the foot of Okanogan lake on the 
third day. This perfect inland sea, ninety miles long and from one 
to three wide, was good to look upon. Our route lay up the west 
side through a country that was sometimes mountainous and where, 
in places, the trail was only a narrow line between the lake and 
hill. Many small streams flowed into the lake and these were so 
full of trout that we killed them with rocks in the shallows. I 
have seen in my day many creeks and lakes accounted excellent 
fishing ground, but none to compare with these trout streams. The 
Indians had acres of scaffolding full of trout drying in the sun. 

One afternoon we overtook the Major sitting by the lake in 
deep study — he was a man of moods. Looking up as I came along, 
he said : "Jack, some day this lake will be full of steamers and 
the hillsides dotted with towns. You will live to see that day and 
may travel this way, but not I." I decided I had better keep a close 
watch on him; he was certainly taking leave of his senses. Forty- 
four years afterward I went back over the old trail and down the 
lake on a first-class steamer. How truly the Major had prophe- 
sied ! 

Somewhere along here we were overtaken by a man, much 
dressed up. He wore a British uniform and rode — or tried to ride — 
a beautiful sorrel horse with one of those "pancake" saddles, the 
scorn of the cowboy. His system of riding seemed ridiculous to 
me, that constant pitty-pat, now up, now down, with every jog 
of the horse's trot. It was ungraceful, to say the least. The man 
was a courier for Gov. Moody of British Columbia, who was only 
a short distance ahead, making treaties and establishing reserves 
for the Indians. We overtook the party next day. The governor 
was much taken with us and, to show his good will, sent his page 
to our camp with a sack of beans and his compliments. The Indians 
and I danced for joy. Our rations were not over abundant, and to 
have food thrust upon us could not be taken calmly. 

Ken-e-ho, whose sense of humor was not anywheres up to his 
appetite, suggested that we put some of the beans on to boil at once. 
As we were resting that day, we kept up the fire, holding the beans 
at a steady boil, hoping to have them for supper done to a "queen's 
taste." By supper time, alas ! they had parted with none of their 
flinty characteristics. We were so disappointed that Ken-e-ho, un- 
daunted, resolved to put in the night cooking the beans. Picture 
his chagrin in the morning to find them much as they were before 
cooking at all. He looked at me and said, "Jack, don't laugh. I 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 1&7 

have a hungry stomach. Tell me, do you think British beans are 
different from American ?" I thought they must be, but he packed 
that kettle, resolved to make one more attempt when next we camped. 
It was all in vain. We held a council and decided, after due delib- 
eration, to follow Ken-e-ho's suggestion, bury the beans and pile 
up a monument of rocks to the memory of the governor's generosity 
and good will. 

We traveled five days up this lake before reaching the head, 
which opened out into beautiful valleys and hill slopes, well watered 
and covered with grass. It was a deUghtful country, one I have 
always remembered. After leaving it, we passed through a heavily 
timbered belt and then into the open again, well named Grand 
Prairie. As we rode along, the Major's cheery notes rang out. 
He would ride for hours deep in study, then burst out with that 
old familiar ditty, "Polly, put the kettle on, the kettle on, the kettle 
on, and we'll all take tea." When we heard this, we always knew 
that ' something pleasing was about to occur. This time it meant 
that we should soon reach white man's abode again. Not far ahead 
was Kamloops, a trading post established by David Stuart of Astor's 
Pacific Fur company in 1812. 

Stuart and his companions were the first white men to visit 
this part of the country in 1811. They had passed the winter with 
Shus-shwap Indians on a fur trading expedition, which proved 
highly profitable. The post later passed into the hands of the Hud- 
son's Bay company, which had continued to occupy it. It was here 
that Black, a Hudson's Bay factor, was murdered by an Indian boy. 
The boy was later captured. While crossing the Thompson river, 
he saw the Indians lined up on the opposite shore, under their old 
chief, Ni-ko-li, waiting to kill him. He overturned the canoe and 
floated along with the current singing his death song. Ni-ko-li shot 
him. It was the first and only trouble the whites ever had with 
the red men at this point. 

At Kamloops we overtook a Mr. Cock, who had driven a 
band of cattle over the trail ahead of us. He was in trouble; his 
money had been stolen and he suspected a man who had been travel- 
ing with him for some time. The frontiersman's court convened, 
consisting of a jury of six men, the pick of Kamloops. I was one 
of the number. The prisoner was brought before us. He was 
unable to give any account of himself, or of his suddenly acquired 
wealth; in fact, he had a sullen, hang-dog expression that we did 
not like. After talking the matter over, we decided that he had a 
thief's face, anyway, and that, if not guilty of this particular theft, 
it was probably because he had not had just the right opportunity. 
We thought he had better hang to avoid future complications. As 
the rope was being prepared for the execution, a former magistrate 
of Kamloops, Mr. McLean, appeared and demanded an explana- 
tion. Mr. Cock gave it. To hang a man on that kind of evidence 

i68 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

was hardly safe, McLean thought, and he advised that we give the 
prisoner the benefit of the doubt. Not being wise to British laws, 
we turned him loose. 

Mr. Cock and the Major decided to join forces and drive their 
herds together. The first day brought us to Cherry creek, where 
we found a man in charge of a band of cattle belonging to Snipes 
& Murphy of The Dalles. The stock had been driven up from the 
Klickitat valley several months previous to our arrival and, as no 
sale could be found for it at the time, the owners had left it to 
be wintered here, while they returned to Klickitat. 

We crossed the Thompson river at the old landmark kept by 
Savanos, a French-Canadian, who had come to the New Caledonia — 
the name first given to all of British Columbia — with the Hudson's 
Bay company at a very early date. He had a small ferry, on which 
we crossed the horses, while the cattle swam. Another day found 
us on the Bonaparte, near the mouth of Cash creek, where was the 
main road from Ft. Yale, the head of navigation on the Fraser 
river, to the Cariboo mines 200 miles to the north. Hundreds of 
miners were coming out for the winter. The outlook for beef was 
not good. The Major did not sing now; he was at his wits' end 
to know what to do. He went for advice to Mr. McLean, who had 
been for forty years Hudson's Bay factor in this northern territory, 
though retired now from active duty and living on a farm. A 
good brainy Scotchman he was, even if he did have a squaw for a 
wife and a dozen half-breed children. He told the Major to move 
the cattle to Hat creek, twenty miles further, where the grass was 
better, and to hold them there for a while. The Major decided to 
do this, if he could not sell. 

Mr. Cock and I went on to Lillooet, fifty miles distant on the 
Fraser river, to get provisions, of which we were in sore need. This 
town was full of drunken miners, packers, traders and all-around 
men of the border, all on a prolonged debauch. It was my first 
experience with reckless, wanton disregard for decency and with 
the pure cussedness of man. What came under my observation that 
night and next day was worth more to me than all the temperance 
and moral lectures I could hear in a lifetime. I had a deep feeling 
of relief when we packed our horses and bade good-bye to this 
inferno of the north. 

Major Thorp said, after our return to Hat creek, that he would 
have no further use for our Indian helpers and would send them 
all back to Yakima. I was truly sorry to part with them. They 
had been my companions over that long, dangerous trail, they had 
been faithful and willing. I had learned to like them, and when they 
set out for home, I could not keep back the tears. 

Time hung heavy on our hands now. Visitors did not often 
come our way, but one day there rode into camp a typical frontiers- 
man — a finer looking or better one I never met — Bill Parker. I 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas i69 

had seen him in the Klickitat when, with his pack train, he had 
camped a few miles above us. We met many times in my wander- 
ings through the Northwest, but it was in the Yakima valley that 
we became fast friends. 

One morning we awoke to find the ground covered with snow 
and prospects good for a heavy fall. Mr. Cock and I gathered the 
cattle and started them down the mountain for Bonaparte. It was 
well into the night when we reached the wayside house of Scotty. 
This was a real hostelry of the early type, built of logs and consisting 
of two rooms, one a kitchen, and the other a general purpose affair. 
Just now it was filled with sleeping miners. The proprietor cooked 
supper for us and gave us, for bedding, some old blankets which 
had done service under someone's pack saddle for a score of years 
at least. We lay on the floor, finding in one corner a place to 
squeeze in. 

Bright and early I was up next morning and out after the 
cattle. Scotty hailed me as I passed the kitchen door. Standing 
with his arms akimbo, his hands dripping dough, he talked earnestly 
to me, asking my age, who I was, where I came from, and ending 
up by begging me to go home to my mother out of that God- 
forsaken country. All the time I was thinking what a good medi- 
cine talk it was, I was enjoying a good joke I should have at Mr, 
Cock's expense. On each side of Scotty's nose, as he talked to me, 
there was a patch of dough. He had cleared his organ, frontiers- 
man's style, during the process of bread-making. Mr. Cock loved 
biscuit, but was so particular. 

The Major and the pack horses arrived next day and we 
camped near Scotty's. A few days later a man giving his name 
as James Batterson rode into camp and bought our cattle, agree- 
ing to return in ten days to receive and pay for them. We ^yere 
hilarious, our thoughts turned homeward. The Major was anxious 
to get back to his business and I wanted to see Yakima again. Our 
hopes were destined to be dashed on the rocks of despair. Ten days 
brought no Mr. Batterson. The Major ceased his merry jingle, 
"Polly, put the kettle on," and sat with drooping head. At the end 
of three days' grace, the lawful limit, the Major said: "I am a 
fool, sure, to have put confidence in that smooth, oily-tongued 
individual. I believed him so thoroughly that no bonus was asked. 
Nothing but honor bound the bargain and that seems a weak 
string in this case. He did not suggest a part payment and I 
hated to ask it." 

This wily gentleman of the crooked way, it seems, had a deal 
of his own on. Our cattle were in his way for a little while, so he 
pretended to buy them, rightly understanding that the Major would 
consider himself bound by his word. By the time the Major 
awakened to the situation, he was well out of the way. It was my 
first experience with deceit and dishonor and it taught me a lesson. 

170 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

Whenever after that I encountered an oily tongue, I came up sharp 
on the bit, put both hands in my pockets and had to be shown. 

Our disappointment was keen. Our feathers draggled in the 
snow again; we were down below zero. Nothing remained but to 
winter the cattle and await another summer. Ob the advice of 
McLean, we moved back to Cash creek, fifteen miles down the 
Bonaparte, while Mr. Cock went into winter quarters eight miles 
above. We settled down for the winter, the stock ranging between 
Cash creek and Thompson river and along the Bonaparte. The 
cattle made no attempt to wander away, except to a barren flat 
adjoining Cash creek, where I would find them every morning 
and drive them back to the bunch grass. One day Mr. McLean saw 
me and asked me why I did it. The weed-like growth on the flat, 
he said, was wormwood, or white sage, and contained great fat- 
tening qualities. I guess he was right, for the stock insisted on 
going back to it, and I concluded that cattle knew better than man 
what was good for them. 

The Major was very anxious about his business in Oregon. 
One day he asked me if I thought I could take care of the cattle 
during the winter. Very readily I answered, "Yes, we can make 
it." Joe Evans was still with us, but a very weak man. After mak- 
ing arrangements with a merchant at Lillooet to forward me provis- 
ions and clothes, the Major started for home. An early storm set in 
and the stuff never reached me. Mr. McLean let us have some flour 
and coffee. When it was gone, and no provisions had come, we 
killed a beef and sent word to Mr. Cock to bring down a horse and 
take part home. He brought in exchange some salt, of which we 
were out. He, too, was reduced to a beef diet. For seventy days 
we ate beef straight, part of the time garnished with icicles. It 
was a case where the pot could not call the kettle black. 

In about a month the packers began to arrive with their mules 
and horses to go into winter quarters. Small log cabins went up 
in no time. Among the packers I remember Harry Haws, Jesse 
Kent, Charley Conner, Marion Woodward and Red-headed Davis, 
besides a number of Spaniards. On the Thompson river not far 
away was another camp of them, consisting of John Cluxton, Louis 
Campbell, Bates and others. Like all the men I knew up there, 
they had squaws. Nevertheless, they were brainy, though environ- 
ment had lowered their moral standard. Most of them became 
wealthy later on. 

Grown gaunt from hunger and almost naked, I had patched 
and repatched my clothes with every conceivable old thing I could 
get my hands on, until I was only a patch. About this time Red- 
headed Davis took pity on me. If I would carry wood and water 
for his squaw, he said, I could have my board at his wickiup. I 
was astonished at the offer, since there was wood all about him, 
but gladly accepted and immediately changed my abode. His 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas ill 

house was made of poles covered with canvas, fashioned after a 
wigwam. His squaw — well, she was the limit for looks ; a big-, 
coarse creature, weighing 160, while Davis was a little fellow of 
125 pounds. She had fish eyes, her large face was tattooed all 
over, and from her ears dangled rings as big as cart wheels. With 
all this, and her thick lips, she looked like an escaped side show. 
But to a hungry boy, these things were of small consequence. 

I counted the cattle every day, rain or shine. Sometimes the 
wind whistled around the corners pretty freely, but I had ideas about 
doing my duty with which comfort could not interfere. The north 
wind kept up for over ninety days. There were horses to ride, 
but my attire was too scanty to permit of this mode of traveling ; I 
should have quickly frozen. Becoming discouraged with the long 
siege of cold, the cattle left the hills for the river bottoms, where 
the rushes grew. The day they made the change was the severest 
of the winter. I had become so exhausted from short rations that 
my growing body was about to quit on me. The packers warned 
me not to go out that day, but I had to know that the cattle were 
all right. I tramped all over the hill without finding them, and by 
the time I got down to the bottom, where they were, my limbs 
ached, the wind had cut my face, and I was so tired and sleepy 
that I sought shelter behind some brush and lay down to be cov- 
ered up with snow. Just as my eyes were closing, something called 
me. Arousing my half-numbed senses, I struggled on down the 
river on the ice. Borne on the wind came a dog's bark. How it 
revived me ! I halloed as loud as I could, again and again. Finally 
an answering voice came out of the distance; then nearer and 
nearer, guided by my feeble cry, until an old Indian stood over 
me. He took me to his dug-out, fed me and kept me for the night, 
sending word to camp that I was safe. This escapade cost me two 
frozen toes, and it taught me to be more careful. 

We never knew how cold it was. The only thermometer in 
camp registered 39 degrees and it froze up early in the fall and 
remained so until nearly spring. A packer came by the camp one 
day to tell me that Mr. Sanford, better known as "Boston," who 
was herding Davis' horses and mules near Thompson river, had a 
suit of clothes for me, left by a man who had been to Lytten. How 
I prayed that the provisions might be there also! Christmas day 
I started for Boston's camp and ran the whole twenty miles, so 
anxious was I to get my clothes. Boston was expecting me and 
had made doughnuts. Not a doughnut had I tasted since leaving 
my mother a year and a half before. That Christmas dinner was 
glorious, the clothes fitted; I felt a new boy. But the provisions 
had not come and the clothes were not those the Major had ordered. 
They had been left for me by someone who had seen me in my 
patches and knew how badly they were needed. 

172 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

On my return to camp, I was greeted with admiration by the 
squaw, Davis and the pappoose. I had not taken many trips up the 
river, however, before my clothes were falling apart and in two 
weeks they were rags. I bought a pair of Hudson's Bay blankets 
from Davis and made myself a suit. Well, I looked like the stuffed 
man our old Quaker neighbor used to put in his corn patch to keep 
off the crows, but at least those pants never ripped nor bagged at 
the knees. 

There had been a storm brewing in the Davis family for some 
time. In the still hours of the night the rumbling of the sleeping 
volcano would burst out and then subside. One night, when Davis' 
hot blood had reached the limit of endurance, pandemonium broke 
loose. He stroked Mrs. Davis' face with a heavy underclip. It 
was a free fight. Pans and kettles went over. The pappoose was 
knocked down and tramped on. I hastened to its rescue. Davis 
was the better man at the start, but he did not last. The squaw 
gained strength with each round. Grasping a burning stick from 
the fire, she brandished it, striking Davis on the head and setting 
his long red hair on fire. The coals from the blazing stick fired 
the tent and I was busy for some moments putting it out and fixing 
the pappoose O. K. Then I followed the combatants outside. She 
had chased him to the creek ; he had crossed it and there they stood, 
two smoking wraiths. 

I finally persuaded the squaw to make peace by drawing her 
attention to the neglected child, trampled underfoot and left to die. 
Her mother's heart touched, she ran to the tent, the fight all gone 
out of her. It then became my duty to examine Davis. His hair 
was badly singed, he had a slash over his left ear and he had been 
completely worsted in the fray. He hesitated about returning to 
the tent, and finally did, but from that moment ceased to be the 
power behind the throne. Peace reigned forever after in that wig- 
wam. To Mrs. Davis all praise must be given for the many kind 
things she did for me. She had a whiter heart than her pale- 
skinned husband. 

At the main camp of packers down the creek the social season 
was on. Squaw dances became the rage, at which the elite in full 
dress held high jinks. This particular set consisted of Skookum 
Dan and Cultus Liz, Tenas George with Klat-a-wa Kate, Mam-ma- 
loose Jim and Hi-u Jane, with several others, who would trip the 
light fantastic toe to the music of tin pans beaten by relays of the 
strongest natives they could find. The breeze bore the sound of 
the revelry of these hardy but depraved men to our ears into the 
small hours of the morning. 

The long continued season of cold and snow, the severest that 
had been known in that country, began to tell on the cattle. I had 
been moving them into new rushes as they ate out the old, but they 
finally became so weakened that they refused to cross another rocky 

Ka-mi-akin—The Last Hero of the Yakimas 173 

point around a bend to a new field. They stayed where they were, 
feeding on brush. I was terribly blue and discouraged. Still I 
went every day to look at them. They seemed to expect me, and 
would look up at me so reproachfully that tears came to my eyes ; 
I was only a boy. I should have been broken-hearted if one had 
died. I knew how much they meant to the old Major, who was at 
an age where it would be hard for him to make another start. 

Oiie night near the first of April I was awakened by a great 
roaring. Hastily getting into my clothes, I went out to investigate. 
A soft, warm breeze brushed my face. Oh, joy! It was the royal 
old chinook blowing in its grandest style. A burden slipped off 
my shoulders, and I danced. Daylight found me among the cattle. 
They, too, seemed to know, for they grazed towards the hill. By 
night they were there eating grass and not a dead one in the band ! 
Like the Major, I sang "Polly, put the kettle on." 

Mr. Cock paid us a visit a few days later. He had lost only 
six, but was still on a beef diet. Warm sunshine came. The grass 
fairly sprang up. Joe Evans had made his way through the winter 
with the packers. The Indians now began coming out of their 
holes in the ground, where they lived like bears all winter. 

In the latter part of April — it was now 1862 — I was going 
towards the packers' camp when a man came slowly climbing the 
hill towards me. He sat down to await my approach; it was the 
Major. When he recognized me, in my strange garb, he grasped 
my hand, saying, "Thank God, you are alive. How did you make 
it, boy? I have been wondering how I should ever face your 
mother and tell her where I had left you." 

When he heard my story, he was astonished. He wept frankly 
and said, between the chokes, "Jack, there is no one like you." That 
was reward enough for me. It seems that when he got to Lillooet, 
navigation was blocked and he could not get home. Neither could 
he get back to me on account of the deep snow. So he had spent 
the winter only sixty miles away. 

With the coming of May, the packers gathered up their horses, 
mules and squaws and moved nearer the head of navigation, where 
they could get freight for the mines. Boston brought Red-headed 
Davis' mules in and now became one of the family. His name 
implied his origin. I believe he was of good stock, a man of edu- 
cation and fair intelligence. Though all the earlier precepts had 
been forgotten, still he was not vicious. As the major part of his 
information about the west, before coming out, was stories of 
border ruffians and their gun plays, he arrived equipped with the 
belt and necessary implements, a bowie knife and six-shooter, 
which girded his loins by day and served as a pillow by night. He 
fell in love with Jessie, the daughter of the Indian who had saved 
me from freezing to death, married her, became an adopted Eng- 

i74 Ka-mi-akin^-The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

lishman, homesteaded land on Cash creek and took to raising wheat 
and children. Before long he was wealthy. 

The Major had procured provisions and we now occupied 
the best of the cabins deserted by the packers. We still had 200 
miles of our drive to Cariboo to make, and preparations were under 
way. While at Lytten, procuring supplies and having our horses 
shod, a measly white cayuse with cream-colored eyes struck me with 
his forefeet, the rough nails in the shoe tearing my eyelid. When 
I came to, I was in a little hotel kept by a woman, a one-armed 
doctor standing over me. He did the best he could, and the woman 
was kind, but the eyelid was badly frayed and the pain almost 
unbearable. I was just able to be about when a note came from 
the Major, saying they had lost the cattle and the whole crew had 
been unable to find them. Seizing my coat and hat, I started on 
foot, des;pite the protests of the doctor and the landlady. The loss 
of an eye seemed a small thing to me then as compared with the 
Major's loss of his cattle. I reached camp after two days' tramping 
through the hot sun, covering the sixty miles on foot. Next day, 
mounted on a good horse, I went over to the Thompson river and 
in four hours had brought back every head. I told the Major he 
had better fire his whole gang and hire an Indian boy. I knew that 
we could make it better than a lazy outfit which could not find 
150 cattle in eight days, and they only five miles from camp. The 
Major did as I suggested. 

The evening before we started there rode into camp William 
Murphy, a partner of Ben E. Snipes, one of the owners of the 
cattle on Cherry creek. He had ridden 600 miles overland from 
The Dalles. From him we learned of the hard winter throughout 
Eastern Washington and Oregon. He said that dead cattle by 
the thousands were piled up all over the hills. He had come to see 
if by any chance a few of those left to winter here had survived. 
He felt pretty good to find them all right and sold the band later 
for $150 apiece. 

We went a short distance up the Bonaparte, through beautiful 
country, then over a high plateau covered with tall, scattering tim- 
ber, to Clinton, thence to Loon lake. There we saw more ducks 
and geese in one-half hour than I have ever seen since. The whole 
country was covered with them during our four days' drive along 
this chain of lakes. The mouth of Canoe creek on the Eraser was 
our next stop. The creek got its name from being the point where 
Simon Eraser of the Northwest Fur company, after descending the 
Eraser river to this place in 1807, cached his canoe and traveled on 
foot to the site of Ft. Yale. Here we found a farmer with a herd 
of cows, and for the first time in eighteen months we had milk to 
drink, at the minimum cost of twenty-five cents a bowl. 

At Williams lake the road divided, one branch going by the 
forks of the Quesnel river and the other by the mouth of the Ques- 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 175 

nel for the Cariboo. It was here that the Major was offered $150 
a head for the cattle and here again we met Mr. Cock and joined 
forces. At Soda creek we learned that there was a slide between 
there and the mouth of the Quesnel which it would be impossible to 
get over. A trapper, familiar with the geography of the country, 
knew of a way around by cutting a trail ten miles through the tim- 
ber. We eagerly set to work and were soon at the Quesnel river, 
all safe and sound. Mr. Cock disposed of his cattle here and started 
a ferry. When it became known that a way had been made around 
the obstacle, the pack trains began to arrive and our friend had a 
thriving business. 

The Major went to Lightning creek with part of the cattle, 
while I remained here with the balance. While in this village, I 
was surprised to see, one day in September, a large raft, with 
people on it, floating down the Fraser river. I aroused the inhabi- 
tants of the place, who were all in the store and saloon, playing 
poker. Picking up ropes, they ran to the river bank. The occu- 
pants of the strange craft were pulling towards the shore with oars. 
When near enough, they threw a rope to us and willing hands pulled 
them in. They were a sorry sight, twenty men, gaunt and almost 
naked, with four poor oxen, all that was left of their once promising 
outfit. They were a portion of a party of over a hundred men who 
had left Canada overland for Cariboo via Edmonton and Peace 
river. At the Rocky mountains the party had separated, a small 
portion aiming to reach Thompson river and descend it. They 
never reached Kamloops, nor were they ever heard of again. The 
present party had kept on the course of the main traveled trail of 
the Hudson's Bay company to Ft. George, where carts were aban- 
doned and the oxen killed for food. Many had already lost their 
lives in the long stretch of uninhabited country, and many more had 
starved or been drowned in the turbulent waters. This handful of 
men, without means or implements of labor, was the sum total 
of that expedition. This was pioneering, hewing the way, with 
blood, for a succeeding generation. 

During my wandering through the mountains after my cattle, 
I came one day to a camp of golden-haired Indians, with fine 
features and the most musical language humans ever spoke. Their 
throat sounds were like the notes of the forest birds around them. 
There were several lodges, about forty in all. I never saw them 
again, nor learned anything further about them. 

I got orders to move on to Cottonwood creek, thirty miles fur- 
ther north, where there was plenty of grass. Here we first got 
sight of the mining. All along the gravelly bed of the creek were 
Chinamen with rockers washing gold out of the ground. They 
worked with their tongues as well as with their hands, making a 
gabble worse than a flock of geese flying south. Besides these there 
were a hundred men on the lower Lightning. We killed an occa- 

i76 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

sional beef. It was worth a dollar and a half a pound and the 
offal brought us thirty dollars. The main meat market was thirty- 
five miles up Lightning creek at Van, Winkle, where a bunch of 
cattle was driven every week. On one of these drives I met a Mr. 
Mosher, son-in-law of Gen. Joe Lane, of Oregon. We had met 
before at The Dalles, his home being below that town on the Colum- 
bia. He was coming as fast as his horse could carry him. Without 
stopping, he shouted to me to turn back ; robbers from whom he had 
just escaped were ahead. Mosher was no coward and would not 
take the back track without cause ; but, having no money, and feeling 
sure they would not want cattle, I felt safe enough. Shortly after 
we came to the spot where the hoof prints told that the pursuers 
had given up the chase. 

The incident aroused my suspicions. A strange man had been 
in Cottonwood a couple of weeks and had become quite friendly 
with me. One evening we had a talk. He asked me if my people 
had not come from Missouri, said that his parents and mine had been 
neighbors back in the good old state, and that my older brothers had 
been his playmates. Then, looking steadily at me, he said, "My 
name is Boone Helm. Did you ever hear of me ?" 

His was the most revolting face a man ever had, the look in 
his eyes was indescribable — something like that of a fiery vulture — 
and they were turned full upon me when I replied in the affirma- 
tive. Who had not heard of Boone Helm ? The very name spelled 
blood and crime. He came closer and almost hissed in my ear: 
"You waste your time here. You are young and you will never 
get ahead. Join me ; make big money. This country is tame. We 
will make one big haul, then skip." 

I shuddered at the thought of being linked with such a creature. 
He had stopped at nothing. Cannibalism, even, had been laid at his 
door. When he and his companions had been driven to the wall 
and starvation stared them in the face, it was said that he had killed 
his partners in crime and sustained himself by living on their 
bodies; had been seen, it was claimed, with the shoulder of a 
human being. 

Chief Justice Begbie, of British Columbia, who was considered 
authority on all matters pertaining to mining, as well as all other 
law, came with his retinue of court officials to abide among us at 
this central point of the mining district. He was an inexorable 
man, the only kind which could quell the spirit of the border ruf- 
fian. Among the inhabitants of the village was a negro of much 
self-importance, a braggart and always in search of trouble. My 
people were of southern origin and I had had instilled into me the 
difference between the black and the white. This negro had heard a 
remark of mine to the effect that he could not eat at the same table 
with me. He came in one day as I was eating a late dinner, his 
hands covered with mud, fresh from daubing a log cabin, and began 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas i77 

diving into the food. I inquired if he had not already eaten. He 
made a retort; my fist flew out. He was larger than I. Blinded 
with rage, my hand sought the nearest weapon, a hand-ax, and after 
him, up the trail, I flew. My ax had grazed his shoulder when a 
friend stopped the fray. A few hours later Judge Begbie's page, 
a boy about my own age, rigged out in green velvet and brass but- 
tons, called to summon me to court. It was with some misgivings 
that I approached this iron man of the law, who sentenced to the 
chain garig for merely looking crosswise. It was a hard place to 
do time in, too. My charge was assault with a deadly weapon upon 
the person of one Mr. Johnson. The judge asked what there was 
to be said in my defense and I told him the story straight, adding 
that I had to defend my honor ; my mother had raised me that way. 
He dismissed me with the admonishment not to repeat the offense. 

The Major seemed to stand godfather for all the miners on 
lower Lightning creek. They ate beef and I delivered it, but they 
never paid a red cent. It became monotonous. One day they 
came in to get drunk and ordered their beef delivered. I flatly 
refused to carry another pound. They appealed to the boss, who 
gave them the beef, but thereafter they carried it away with them. 
We were on foot one day, the Major and I, not far from where 
these individuals camped, and sat down on a log off the road to 
rest. Voices could be heard coming down the trail and from the 
conversation it could be guessed that they belonged to the Major's 
late friends, leaving the country, their meat bills unpaid. One 
bewailed his hard luck. "I would have been out of here long ago," 
he said, "if it hadn't been for that darned old Major's beef. Ha! 
ha ! We fooled him. Hope others do the same. He's easy." An- 
other loud "Ha! ha!" and they had passed. The Major sat, limp 
as a rag, staring in amazement. Finally he said, "Did you hear 
that? Well, profit by my weakness." 

Summer had come and gone and now the snow was to be 
seen on the highest mountain peaks. How I yearned to lea,ve this 
inhospitable region, where the yellow metal was the only induce- 
ment for entering its borders. The Major wanted all the cattle 
brought in so that they could be slaughtered and packed in the snow 
for winter use. They were hard to gather and it took time. A 
man had to go ahead to break the trail. Finally we got to Beaver 
pass and stopped at a road house, where we found the Major on his 
way out. He had given up expecting me back and thought the cattle 
lost entirely, but there it was, every hoof, and it meant $10,000 to 
him. After much persuasion, he consented to go to Cottonwood and 
wait till I got there; if it continued to snow, he was to go to the 
mouth of the Quesnel, where he would avoid the possible danger 
of being snowed in. I drove the cattle to Van Winkle and procured 
the butcher who had done the work for us during the summer. 
The miners were overjoyed to see more beef. They paid me on the 

i78 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

spot for most of it; the remainder was left with the butcher to sell 
and collect for. I learned afterward that it brought a big- price. 
With a light heart and $7000 in gold dust I set out for Cottonwood 
and when I reached there that night, the Major was overjoyed. 

Now that we were ready to go out, the horses must be gathered. 
Going after them, I found that they had been driven off down the 
road towards the Quesnel River. Next day, with one horse and 
$20,000 in dust, the Major and I struck out through the snow. At 
Quesnel we overtook two friends. The Major and these men 
embarked in a canoe for Ft. Alexander while I, with the horse, 
followed the trail, hoping to overtake a pack train ahead which, 
I believed, had driven off our horses. Sure enough, when I came 
up, there were the horses, but the drivers refused to give them up, 
saying that they had a license from the government to drive out all 
horses left in the mountains. I cut out my horses and drove them 
off, but before departing, I asked them if their government licensed 
thieves for their business. They bluffed around, but I quietly worked 
my horses ahead and made my getaway. That evening I overtook 
the Major at Ft. Alexander where we bought saddles and camp 
outfit for the 200 mile trip to the head of navigation at Ft. Yale. 

During all the Indian skirmishes through which we had passed 
the Major, if he felt it, had never expressed any fear. We were 
traveling along now as merrily as two children, the Major humming 
his jingle and I just bubbling over to think we were leaving that 
awful country behind. The second night out, I woke up to find 
my companion sitting up by a big fire, his weapons close at hand. 
When I sang out to know what the trouble was, he motioned silence. 
I rose and went over to him. "Jack," he said, "Boone Helm is in 
this neighborhood. He hung around Van Winkle, you know, till a 
short time ago, then disappeared. Well, I dreamed just now that 
he was creeping up to camp with an ax ready to strike. I saw 
that fiendish look in his eye right over me." The Major actually 
shuddered. If Helm were around, the Major must have been be- 
side himself to sit in the glare of the campfire as a target. We 
smothered the fire and sat in darkness till morning, and we kept 
guard after this. Passing our old camp at Bonaparte, I cast it a 
farewell, vowing never to go back there again. We were six days 
reaching Yale where we sold our outfits and took a canoe, propelled 
by three Indians, for New Westminster which we reached the second 
day. Our passage was expensive, but they held a monopoly of the 
transport business up the Fraser river and this was their harvest 
time. It. was on this voyage that I saw, for the first time, the ebb 
and flow of the tide. When the water began to flow uphill near the 
mouth of the river, I was in a panic and wished for the hurricane 
deck of a cayuse horse — his habits being more familiar to me. 

We took passage for Victoria on the Caledonia, a slow old craft 
which had long since outlived its usefulness. As we crossed the Gulf 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 179 


of Georgia, a storm came up, the. waves played football with the 
old tub and we were a sorry sight when she reached port. Two 
days later we took the steamer Eliza Anderson for Olympia. The 
first person to greet me aboard was Boone Helm. He was full of 
whisky and his tongue wagged at both ends. Grasping my shoulder, 
he burst out with an oath, "What's the matter with the old man? 
What's his card, bub ? Hey ? I would have had you at Deep creek, 
but the old son-of-a-gun got up. A knock in the head is good 
medicine, damn you, when there's dust around. What did he build 
that big fire for, and you sit up too?" 

Eluding the ruffian, I hunted up the Major and told him that 
dreams sometimes were true. He intended having Helm arrested 
at Olympia, but during the night the outlaw raised a disturbance, 
shouting for Jeff Davis, and was taken off at Seattle. The vigilantes 
hung him a few years later in Montana. 

Once I traded for a beautiful gray horse which, it turned out, 
was one Helm had trained and with which he had eluded a posse 
for seven days. The horse was windbroken, but alert and active as 
a cat. If he heard another horse on the trail, he told me, but never 
would he call to horsekind. When his bridle was removed that he 
might graze, he would come as fast as he could to me, if I whistled. 

iSO Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

I believe the animal delighted in work, and certainly a better cow 
■horse never lived. 

At Olympia we met Henry Cock, our friend of the North. In 
•a two horse hack to Monticello on the Columbia we had the time 
of our lives, walking most of the way and carrying a rail to pry the 
rig out of the mud holes. At last we were aboard a steamer bound 
for Portland. It was homelike to hear the rain's gentle patter on 
the roof singing the same lullaby that used to put me to sleep and 
keep me there when I was a little boy in the Willamette valley. 

At Portland we parted company. The Major went to his home 
at Independence, Polk county, while I returned to Yakima. At 
The Dalles I met a Satus Indian from whom I hired a horse and 
on the third day reached my brother's home in the Mok-see. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 181 


In the month of August, 1905, having occasion to visit British 
Columbia, I found myself in New Westminster on the Fraser river. 
Here, back in 1862, I had stepped! from a large, Indian propelled 
canoe to board a steamer for Victoria on my way home from the 
Cariboo mines. The desire seized me to return to Yakima over the 
old trail and witness the changes wrought by time. 

New Westminster, when I first saw it, was a busy, important 
town, the head of navigation for all sea-going vessels. On this 
later visit, it appeared as a city, but the busy life was gone. The 
old, hustling pioneers who started the place are either dead or 
have moved on elsewhere. Their places, it seemed to me, were 
filled by a sleepy people who showed not the slightest signs of vim 
or spirit. I wondered, indeed, if they could be aroused when 
Gabriel toots his horn. 

A Canadian Pacific east-bound train took me to Yale, which 
had been forty- four years ago the head of navigation for river steam- 
boats, a busy, outfitting point for the Cariboo and other mines. 
There was nothing but the locomotive's whistle and the conductor's 
cry of "Yale" to remind of the once hustling town. 

Up through the big canyon the iron horse pufifed and groaned 
with its load of human freight, packed sardine-like in their seats, 
sweltering in the heat. I looked out from the window upon the 
overhanging cliffs to see if the old wagon road, built by the gov- 
ernment in 1862 with its sappers and miners, was still there. A 
great work, it was, the road blasted out from the cliffs which pro- 
jected over the turbulent waters of the Fraser. Along it, in the 
old days, the stage coach whirled with its load of passengers. Look- 
ing over the side, they could see, hundreds of feet below, the boil- 
ing waters, rolling and dashing against the rock walls on either 
side. In such places, the list of a wheel or the shy of a horse meant 
death to all concerned. The old road, I learned, is now used but in 
a few places. 

The little village of Lytten at the mouth of Thompson river, 
once an important point, has gone to decay. One misses the wild 
yell of the drunken miner, the reckless actions of the fearless packer, 
the cold nerve of the well-dressed gambler and the slovenly-looking 
squawman. The present inhabitants are more civilized, but less 

Ashcroft is a modern town, built with the advent of the rail- 
road and is the point of departure for Cariboo, Chilcatan and other 
northern points. 

At Savanos, in the long ago, a French trapper settled, at the 
foot of Kamloops lake, and when the Fraser river gold excitement 

i82 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

started, he built a ferry. All the overland miners crossed the 
Thompson river here. The ferryman was there in 1861. How long 
he had been there, previous to that time, only the annals of the 
Hudson's Bay Company could tell. 

Historic Kamloops brings to mind David Stuart and his French 
companion of the Astor Fur Company who passed the winter of 
1811 among the Shu-shwap tribe, being the first white man to visit 
the country between this point and the mouth of the Okanogan 
river. They returned the following year with pack horses and 
established a trading post. The war of 1812 compelled Astor to 
dispose of all his fur trading interests to the Northwest Fur Com- 
pany, and Kamloops was maintained for seventy years by the Hud- 
son's Bay Company. 

It was here in 1841 that Chief Trader Black of the Hudson's 
Bay Company was killed by an Indian, and old John Todd, later 
in charge of the fort, surrounded by a thousand warriors under 
Chief Nicoli. Rolling out of the fort three kegs of powder, crush- 
ing the heads with his heel and holding his flint in hand, Todd 
yelled defiance at the painted band, saying that the first shot would 
be the signal to ignite the powder which "would blow up every 
inhabitant from there to Okanogan lake." Knowing the man, and 
understanding powder, the savages raised the siege and the fort was 

When I first saw it in 1861, the fortress stood on the north 
bank of the Shu-shwap river at its confluence with the Thompson 
and was surrounded by a fifteen-foot palisade with gates on two 
sides and bastions on two opposite angles. J. W. McKay was chief 
trader in charge at the time and Major Thorp and I, who were 
camped across the river, visited the fort and were well received. 
It was the first establishment by white men we had seen since leaving 
Yakima. It is on the spot where we camped that now stands the 
busy city of Kamloops. Its citizens are intelligent and energetic, 
the surrounding country is productive and the people wealthy. The 
old fort has long since disappeared. 

At Shu-shwap I spent the night with a Mr. Shaw, owner of a 
farm of several hundred acres of bottom land. Rising to catch the 
early morning train, I made my way on foot to the railroad depot 
a mile away. What a change fifty years had wrought here ! Along 
these banks, when I first saw them, dwelt the flower of the Shu- 
shwap nation. There were still to be seen along the river bank a 
few old holes in the ground spared by the plow, which had once 
been their winter abodes. Indians by thousands used to winter in 
this country and their abodes covered many acres. I stood in a 
city of the dead. From across the river came a mournful wail, the 
familiar sound taking me back to my boyhood days. They were the 
loving notes, I knew, chanted by some faithful old squaw in memory 
of dear ones long since gone to their happy hunting grounds. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 183 

Another of my old camps was encountered at the head of 
Okanogan lake, where the little town of Vernon stands. Here, for 
the first time on this trip, I met the enterprising real estate man, 
he of the gladl hand, the bland smile and the wonderful staying 

From Vernon the journey is by steamer to Penticton, eighty 
miles away at the southern end of this beautiful lake, a body of water 
varying from one to three miles wide. Now towns are strung along 
on either side, the shores and hillsides covered with orchards. The 
sight reminded me of what Major Thorp had said on one of our 
cattle drives many years before: "Jack, when I came to Oregon in 
1844 the Willamette valley was little more than a wilderness. This 
is a beautiful body of water here and a fairly good country. You 
will live long enough to see steamers running on the lake and the 
shores and hillsides cultivated." 

I had thought he was losing his mind at the time, but here 
was his prophecy come true 'before me. And I am the only one 
left alive of the little band which passed this way over the trail 
the time those words were spoken. 

Penticton was well supplied with its real estate men trying to 
start a land boom, and diligently fishing for suckers, apparently 
with small success. It was not the biting season. 

Here we took stage for Keremeos on the Similkimeen river. 
The driver was a good sample of the English remittance man who 
gets his timely contribution from the old folks at home. When he 
gathered up the lines of his four horses, I blushed to think of such 
a successor to the drivers of the Oregon and California stage lines 
of half a century ago— Hank Monk, Cal Scovel, Jack Morgan, Ed 
Payne and many others worthy of mention who had graced the 
profession. To a man who had ridden behind one of those princes 
of the lash, it was humiliating to have to ride with this man, who 
was constantly getting his lash mixed up with his back-seat pas- 
sengers, in his efforts to touch the leaders. 

At Keremeos, my friend Frank Richter and his big-hearted 
wife urged me to stay over night with them. Mr. Richter was the 
first settler in the Similkimeen valley and owned the first farm in 
British Columbia. He owned also, several thousand cattle, and 
was a man in every way. 

Next morning his good-natured son, Haunce, was ready with 
two spirited horses hitched to a fine buggy to take me to the bound- 
ary line at Nighthawk mine. Another rig landed me at Loomis at 
3 o'clock that afternoon. Loomis I had seen eight years before for 
the last time. The same old houses were still there m the ' sand ; 
the same old faces on the street. With the same old confident look 
on his face that no misfortune could mar, the proprietor of the 
Hotel Wentworth met me as I alighted. John was still talking 

iSi- Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

of the great mines yet to be found in the recesses of the Okanogan 
hills. In the matter of hope, Nature had dealt kindly with him. 

Looking across the street toward Woodward's old saloon, I 
noticed that the hole in the ground' near-by was vacant. I asked 
at once for old Whisky Riley. In all my visits to Loomis, covering 
a period of ten years, I always saw Riley. When his load grew too 
heavy to carry comfortably on his legs, he would lie down in this 
sand hole and wait "till the clouds rolled by." 

"He died two weeks ago," said John, "and we buried him on 
yonder hill." 

Thus passed away a frontier character who for twenty years 
was seldom sober. 

On the spot where we used to camp under the lone pine tree 
on the banks of the Similkimeen near its junction with the Okano- 
gan, stood the thriving town of Oroville. In the old days it was a 
council ground for several tribes of Indians. With the railroad 
passing through the town, it had become the largest place in the 
county. When I first knew it, it had the distinction of being the 
only town where fat cattle could be gathered from the streets. 

Riverside had been built on another old camping site, at the 
mouth of Johnson creek — which, by the way, derived its name 
from a friend of mine, Jake Johnson, who was connected with 
John Jeffries in a cattle drive from Yakima to Cariboo in 1864. 
He cut out all the poor and weak animals and remained with them 
at this point for two months. 

Pard Cummings who had settled here many years ago and 
developed a fine ranch, was the whole push in the village now. 
He had seen hard days while pioneering, his bill of fare had not 
always been of the best and his clothes sometimes showed signs of 
rapid decay, but he had borne these inconveniences with a smile. 
I was glad to know that the clouds of adversity had passed and 
the sunlight of life come to stay with the fine old man. 

A great flood, a few years before, had swept houses and fences 
away, doing much damage, and when the waters receded there was 
left near Pard's house a carp pond which he was still enjoying. 
Needing a housekeeper, he had hired a beautiful widow with two 
sweet little girls. There was no limit to the value of this little 
woman. She was dressmaker, barber, doctor, artist and cook all 
in one. Pard was tall and strongly built with massive frame and 
mild eye and it was no surprise to anybody that he should win the 
affection of this splendid woman whom he married. 

On down the old trail another camp is passed at Loop Loop. 
Here I had seen the scalp dance with a white man's scalp in evi- 
dence. The place was now owned by Mr. Mallott, a fine gentle- 
man, who kept the postoffice. Eighteen miles below was Brewster 
where we had often camped, and where used to reign supreme such 
characters as Dancing Bull, Tenas George, Whistling Bill, Wild 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas i85 

Goose Bill, John Harrison, Jack Ingraham and Bill Hughes, all 
squawmen. They had purchased their women for about two ounces 
of gold per head and were for many years the lords of this part 
of the Columbia. 

Another camp, at the mouth of the Methow, has now become 
Pateros. Chelan stands on the spot where was buried one of the 
pioneers of old Oregon, Mr. Matheny, killed by a squawman named 

Entiat was the home of my loyal old Indian friend, Nan-num- 
kin, who passed over the long trail many years ago. On our old 
camp ground at Wenatchee I found the fine home of Mike Horan, 
one of nature's noblemen. Meadows and orchards cover the spot 
where our cattle and horses grazed. On the hill where we were 
once surrounded by Indians and our fate hung in the balance, 
grows Koran's fine peach orchard. The old ford is no more, super- 
seded by a modem bridge. 

In five hundred miles of country where, in our forty-day drives, 
we never saw a white man, there is a succession of cities and towns. 
Practically all of our camps have become settlements. Fields and 
orchards have arisen in the desert, the old trail has been obliterated 
and great thoroughfares taken its place. 

I am glad to have lived in those days ; to have had experiences 
which a later generation can never share. 

i86 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 


My brother, Moses Splawti, and ten other prospectors were 
the first white men to discover the gold fields of the Boise Basin 
and news of the discovery started a stampede of ore hunters in 
that direction. I give the story in my brother's own words : 


While I was mining in Elk City, Idaho, in the summer of 1861, 
there often came to our camp a Bannock Indian who would watch 
us clean up the sluices and gather the gold after the day's work 
was done. Towards the end of the summer I went to a new dis- 
covery near Salmon river. I was among the first arrivals in the 
camp at Florence. Here again I met this Bannock Indian who 
still showed his interest in the yellow metal that was being taken 
out of the ground. Wlien the early snow had come, rendering min- 
ing difficult, I saddled and packed my horses and started for Walla 
Walla, where I intended to pass the winter. While camped at the 
mouth of Slate creek on the Salmon, I met the Indian for the third 
time. While we smoked and talked around the campfire that night, 
he told me that in a basin of the mountains far to the south, he, 
as a boy, had picked up chunks of yellow metal such as he had seen 
me work out of the gravel. His look was so earnest and his de- 
scription of the mountains so painstaking, that I not only believed 
his story, but felt that I should recognize the place he described, 
if I ever came upon it. 

I thought about the Bannock's story often during the winter 
and in the spring determined to find, if possible, the country he 
had talked of. It was no easy matter, as the Indians were known 
to be hostile, and it was necessary for a reasonable number of men 
to travel together to insure any degree of safety. At Auburn we 
found Captain Tom Turner with fifty men from the Willamette 
valley, bound for Catherine creek above the Owhee mines in search 
of the "Blue Bucket Diggin's," a lost mine, reported by a company 
of emigrants in 1845. The name was derived from the fact that 
the emigrants claimed that they could have picked up a blue bucket 
full of gold — the blue bucket being a large kind of water pail used 
in those days. We agreed to join Captain Turner's company with 
the provision that, if he failed to find the lost mine, he would go 
with us, on the north side of Snake river, to search for my basin. 
The agreement being accepted by both parties, we started on our 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 187 

A diligent search for the "lost mine" failed to reveal it any- 
where. Here we found, however, what was later known as the 
"Silver City Diggin's." The men who found gold here were 
Jordan, Jack Reynolds and some others of Turner's party. All this 
time something seemed to keep telling me that I could look into the 
distance and see the mountains for which I was searching. I asked 
Turner to fulfill his part of the agreement. I made a speech to 
the company reminding them of the arrangement, in case the "lost 
mine" was not discovered, and telling them of what I hoped to 
find. My position was then voted upon, several of Turner's men 
voting to go with me. Turner then said : "If you will go with me 
to the next creek emptying into Snake river above here and we 
fail to find what we are looking for, then I agree to go on the 
north side of Snake river with you." 

We went with him to the creek. But when, next morning I 
heard him giving orders to move further up the river, I called his 
attention to his promise. He made no reply. I then made another 
speech and called for a vote. Only seven men answered. With 
these seven, I turned back. Below the Oiwhee river we met George 
Grimes and seven men, hurrying to overtake and join Turner's 
company. We told of our experience with Turner, our fear of total 
failure, and our reasons for wanting to go over towards the Payette 
river. They decided to go with us, making our party sixteen strong. 

We camped that night on Snake river, just above where old 
Ft. Boise stood on the opposite side. We could see cottonwood 
trees on the other bank and decided to cross here, making a raft 
with our tools, and to use the trees for building a boat. We got 
over safely on the raft, but landed on a bar just below the mouth 
of the Boise river and had to wade a slough before reaching the 
main shore. Once on land we discovered that every gun excepting 
mine was wet. To add to our dismay, we saw an Indian boy riding 
over a hill not far distant. Since, in order to guard the men who 
were building the boat, we must have ammunition, we resolved to 
return to camp for more. We shoved the raft out into the stream, 
but did not make the full crossing, landing on an island where 
we fastened the raft to a pole which we stuck into the ground, 
cooked our supper and went to sleep, leaving one man on guard. 
In the morning our raft was gone, and of the five of us on the 
island, one could not swim. Out of a few sticks lymg about, we 
constructed a small raft, so small, indeed, that when we put our 
outfit on it, and Silvi, the man who could not swim, it sank so low 
that the water came up to his knees. There was another island just 
below us and we had to float down to the lower end of it before we 
could strike out for the opposite shore. The cold water began to 
chill and numb us. Two Portuguese grew tired of helping push 
the raft and swam to the shore. Grimes followed them, but re- 
turned to help me push the raft with Silvi on it. We took turns 

i88 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

pushing, the one oif duty beating his breast and throwing his arms 
about to keep up the circulation. In this way we reached shore, 
more dead than alive. Seeing an alkali lake near, we ran and 
jumped into it. It was in July and its waters were warm. The 
Portuguese who had deserted us in the river now came up and we 
all returned to camp. 

When we were rested a debate arose. Part of the men wanted 
to continue the trip; the others to return to their homes. D. H. 
Fogus and I held out to continue and cross the river, but all the 
others positively refused to attempt the river again. I stated that 
I had every reason to believe we could go back to Owhee and find 
timber to make a boat with which we could cross safely. It was 
finally decided that Fogus and I should see if there was suitable 
timber at Owhee, and if so, they would help with the boat. We 
found the timber and all returned to Owhee except John Casner, 
Silvi, Martin and one other, who returned to Walla Walla. It 
took us twenty-one days to build the boat which we ran down to the 
Snake and crossed just below the mouth of the Owhee. One horse 
we led beside the boat, the others swimming loose. Grimes, the 
two Portuguese and myself were the last over. Having the riding 
saddles, our load was very heavy, the boat was leaking and we 
had to bail constantly. When about twenty feet from the shore, 
it sank, but the men who had crossed before came to our rescue 
and we saved everything aboard. 

I had said all along that I wanted to follow up the Payette 
river, but on leaving here our course was up the right bank of the 
Boise in quest of a ford. At the first canyon, we saw granite hills. 
Here we constructed a raft and crossed to the north bank. When 
they asked me if we should go towards Payette, I said, "No, for 
in this granite formation we may find what we are looking for." 

We went into the hills and camped. Here something occurred 
which made me uneasy. Grimes and Westenfelter were in advance 
of us and I heard the report of a gun. When they returned, I asked 
if they had shot anything. They said "No," but I had my doubts 
and made up my mind to be on guard. We hobbled and staked 
our horses, dug holes in the ground for defense and put out a 
double guard that night, for I believed that the men had shot or 
fired at an Indian while ahead of us. At daylight we were up, 
brought in our horses and tied them good and fast in camp. I 
then told the men I would go to a nearby butte and take a view of 
the country; if they saw me start to run towards camp, they were 
to get out their firearms and make ready for battle. While stand- 
ing on the hill, I saw a party of Indians, stripped naked, all mounted 
and riding at full speed up the creek towards our camp. I ran, 
barely getting to camp before the Indians. Our men were all in 
line to do battle. With outstretched arms I cried, "Don't shoot 
until I tell you." 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 189 

_On came the Indians till not twenty yards away. I stood 
motionless, the men ready with their guns waiting for the word. 
Our nerves were well tested for the Indians did not halt till within 
twenty feet of us. Had we been less firm, there would have been 
one more fearful tragedy enacted on the frontier. After standing still 
and waiting for a moment, one of the Indians called out in good 
English, "Where are you going?" It was Bannock Louie. I re- 
plied that we were going into the mountains to find gold. He asked 
if we did not think he spoke good English. We said he did, and 
invited them to breakfast with us. They readily accepted the 
invitation. The Indian who spoke English said the trail we were 
following would lead us over the mountains to a large basin. My 
heart leaped at the words, for I had been thinking how much our 
surroundings tallied with the description given me the year before 
by my Bannock friend. Louie also told us that in this basin were 
more than a hundred warriors of the worst type and that, unless 
we were on the lookout, we would lose our scalps. After breakfast 
we saddled, packed our horses and moved on to the top of the 
mountain where we camped for noon. 

When the time came to start out after dinner, Grimes and I 
differed as to the route we should take. He wanted to follow the 
ridge leading to Payette. Now this had been my first idea, but I felt 
convinced, from my own impressions and from what Louie had 
said, that the basin to the right was the spot described to me by the 
Indian with whom I had talked on the Salmon river. We called 
for a vote. As all the men but one, voted with Grimes, we fol- 
lowed him. We had not gone far, however, when Westenfelter, 
who had been behind, overtook us and, riding up to Grimes, asked 
him where we were going. When he learned, he said;, "I under- 
stood Splawn wanted to go down into the basin. We are following 
him now, not you. I want you to remember that he is the one to 
say where we are to go." 

Some sharp words passed between them, they both dismounted 
leveling their guns, the barrels coming in contact. I jumped off my 
horse, got between them and succeeded in making peace. Both 
were brave men and we did not have any brave men to spare. 
When Grimes was asked why he did not want to go down into the 
basin, he answered frankly, "I am afraid of the Indians." Westen- 
felter said, "If we are afraid of the Indians, we should not have 
come here at all and had better return home." This confession of 
fear on the part of Grimes struck me as strange, for he was well 
known to be bravest of the brave. I spoke to Westenfelter, saying 
that we had put the question of our route to a vote, and Grimes 
had won, so I would follow him. We had not gone far, however, 
when Grimes stopped and said, "I will get behind and bother no 

190 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

I then turned back on the trail, the pack horses driven behind 
me, and we went down into the basin and camped. I walked on to 
look out our future trail and see if there were any signs of Indians, 
remembering the words of caution given us that morning. I soon 
saw freshly blazed trees and returned to camp for my horse. Joe 
Branstetter rode back with me. From the top of a little hill we 
saw Indian lodges. Turning back, we concluded to go around the 
lodges, but seeing an Indian dog, thought the Indians were in the 
lodges ready to shoot. Making up our minds to have it out, we rode 
at full speed towards the lodges, but found them empty of Indians, 
though well filled with salmon, both fresh and dried. After we had 
gone a little further up the creek, it occurred to me that the squaws 
had probably seen us and gone to tell the bucks. We went back 
to the lodges and I took all the salmon I could carry back to camp. 
We had not been there more than a few minutes when we saw fifty 
warriors riding at full speed towards us. Some of our party were 
in favor of giving them blankets and trying to make friends with 
them, but I had been raised in an Indian country and knew too much 
of Indian nature to think of such a thing. "Get out your guns," 
I said, "and remember to be firm ; no gifts." 

Insisting on this display of bravery, I took up my gun and went 
forward to meet them, as I had no intention of allowing them to 
run into camp. I waved my hand at them, thinking they would 
stop, but still they came on. When I leveled my gun, they halted. 
Branstetter and Grimes were soon at my side. Grimes could talk 
good Chinook jargon and I asked him to tell them that if they wanted 
to come into camp, they must lay down their arms, take off their 
blankets and leave them out where they were ; also that not more than 
ten at a time could come in. The Indians agreed to this and the 
two chiefs, each wearing a plug hat and a cutaway coat, doubtless 
the spoils from the massacre of some defenseless emigrants, came 
first. Grimes, stepping some little distance in front of us, smoked 
the pipe of peace with them, while we stood, guns in hand. 

The parley was soon over and we prepared to move again. 
Some of our men wanted to return the way we came, but the majority 
were for going on. Again I led the way, with the pack horses driven 
after me. We had gone only a short distance when I heard the 
clattering of horses' feet just over a small hill to our right. I ex- 
pected trouble when we came to the crossing of the creek a short 
distance above. At this place Branstetter rode up beside me and 
said, "We see Indians on our right riding at full speed and they may 
intend cutting us off somewhere." 

I said, "We are in for it. The only way to act is with total 
indifference. Be on the alert, ride on and if we have to, we will 

A little further on, near the crossing of the trail, stood an 
Indian. I asked him how far it was to the stream. He pointed in 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 191 

that direction, though knowing- that I had been there before, since 
our horses' tracks could be plainly seen. At the crossing there were 
more Indians, but we paid no attention to them, continuing on our 
way and camping on the creek at the place where the tovvn of Center- 
ville now stands. It was here that Fogus put his shovel into the 
dirt and gravel and from the first shovelful washed out about fifteen 
cents worth of gold. I felt then that we had found the basin of my 
dreams. The story of my Indian friend was true. This basin has 
proved a benefit to mankind, and a direct cause of the birth of a 
new and great state, so that the story of its finding should have its 
place in history. 

We moved on to where Pioneer City now stands, camped here 
two days, then went over to Pilot Knob and camped on the creek 
at noon. Mounting a horse, I rode to the head of the creek where 
I climbed a tall fir tree and cut a Catholic cross in the top of it. 
From this tree I could see a cut-off which we afterwards used in 
our retreat. Coming down from the tree, I saw Indian and bear 
tracks in the snow. Riding down the hill and through the under- 
brush to the creek, the entanglement was so dense that my pants 
were torn off, my shirt in shreds and my limbs and body cut in many 
places. I arrived in camp after dark, bruised and sore. The men 
made mustard plasters and put on my back, and gathered fir pitch 
to put on my cuts. 

The next day the men were busy sinkiiig prospect holes. Pro- 
visions were getting low about this time. About 3 o'clock in the 
afternoon, while one of the Portuguese was making me a pair of pants 
out of seamless sacks, and I was sleeping, Grimes came in and woke 
me, saying: 

"There is trouble here. These Portugese say the Indians have 
been shooting at them while they were sinking prospect holes." 

I got up and looked around, but, seeing nothing, and being 
still sick and sore, I fell asleep again. The sound of voices and of 
fire-arms awakened me. I got up and saw George Grimes with his 
shot gun in band, close by. Taking my gun, I went to him, and to- 
gether we made a charge up the hill in the direction of the shots. 
As we reached the top, it seemed as if twenty guns were fired in 
our faces. Grimes fell, his last and only words being, "Mose, don't 
let them scalp me." 

Thus perished a brave and honorable man at a time when he 
was about to reap his reward. I called for the rest of the men to 
come to the top of the hill. Leaving a guard there, we carried Grimes' 
body to a prospect hole and buried it, in a deep silence. He was our 
comrade ; we had endured hardships and dangers together ; and we 
knew not whose turn would come next. 

We now commenced our retreat. It was nearly dark and we 
had nothing to eat. I decided to take the route I had seen the 
day before and rode in the lead for about a mile. When near Pilot 

i92 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

Knob, we saw a small campfire on a creek below. Feeling it neces- 
sary to know if this was a band of warriors, I told the others to wait 
until I went down to find out. I left my rifle with them, taking only 
the pistol ; and told them if they heard firing and I did not return 
within a reasonable time, they were to assume that I was killed and 
go on. Going down a ravine, I crawled to within a few yards of 
the creek, but saw no sign of life. Becoming impatient and making 
up my mind to end the anxiety, I rose and walked rapidly to the 
creek bank. To my joy and surprise there was no camp ; the blaze 
I thought I saw was only fox fire, the first I had ever seen in the ' 
mountains. I hurried back to the men and we rode on to where 
Centerville now stands and tied our horses until morning. We then 
climbed a steep hill, over which our horses had grazed a few days 
before, leaving tracks all over the slope. This put the Indians off 
our trail and they failed to find the route we had taken. From the 
top of a peak, which I climbed, I could see them riding in a circle, 
their war whoops reaching me faintly from the plain which we 
had left. 

We made our way towards the Boise over the same route we 
had come in. In a little valley on the way down we saw some 
squaws digging camas. A little further on some of the men pointed 
out a wonderful sight. "A thousand Indians," they said, "on white 
horses, ready to bar our way." 

I was dazed for a moment. Then it occurred to me that there 
could be no such number of white horses. Taking a good look at 
the seeming Indians, I saw that there were only white rocks. Turn- 
ing to tell my companions, I found not one of them in sight. Hurry- 
ing after, I asked where they were going. They said they wanted 
to avoid those Indians, At last I persuaded them that there were no 
Indians about, only a few squaws. We camped at the Boise river, 
still without anything to eat. Coming next morning to the place 
where we had crossed on our way into the basin, we saw behind 
us a great dust. Through our field glass it looked like a string of 
Indians two miles long. There was also a cloud of dust on the 
opposite side of the river, going down, and we thought it must be 
Indians going to attack Auburn. We decided the best plan for us 
was to get into a bunch of timber nearby on the Snake river and 
fight it out until morning. Just then I was startled by the report 
of a gun behind me. Looking back, I saw Joe Branstetter who called 
out that he had killed a rattlesnake. The report of the gun brought 
into view on the opposite shore several white men camped behind 
some timber. Some of them came to the river and we learned that 
the dust was caused by emigrant trains of which Tim Goodell was 
captain. We crossed by raft to where the emigrants were camped. 
Though we had been without food for two days, at first the emigrants 
thought we were allies of the Indians and would not permit us to 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 193 


come into camp or give us anything to eat. Next morning, however, 
they relented and fed us. 

When we got to Walla Walla and told of our find, fifty men 
joined us and we returned to the Basin. 

The only shadow on our joy at discovering the gold country 
was the death of Grimes. They day before he was killed, he shaved 
and afterwards took out the picture of his little girl and gazed at it 
for an hour. He remarked that a fortune teller had told him he 
would be killed by Indians. "Wouldn't that be hell," Grimes had 
added. When he was killed on the hill, the bark and slivers from 
a fir tree flew in my face and knocked me down, so that I was dazed 
for a few seconds. Fogus and some others were fighting to prevent 
the capture of our horses. 

The names of the band of prospectors were George Grimes, 
Moses Splawn, Jake Westenfelter, Joe Branstetter, D. G. Fogus, 
Jack Reynolds, Wilson, an Englishman and four Portugese. The 
Basin was found in August, 1862. 

i94 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 



Winter Trip from the Yakima to the Willamette — 
An Indian Sweetheart — Life at The Dalles — ^Two 
Months in Civilization. 

After wandering for two years over the Indian trails along the 
border of civilization, reaching as far north as the Cariboo mines 
in British Columbia, my soul began to long for home and mother. 
I was only fifteen when I left her three years before in the Willam- 
ette valley. In January of 1863, though the snow was deep and the 
weather bitterly cold, I was ready to go home. A hungry longing 
kept gnawing at me and mother's good face came before me to urge 
me on. I was at the Thorps in the Mok-see. A band of Satus 
Indians, headed by Ken-e-ho, who had been one of my companions 
on the long forty days' cattle drive to Cariboo two years before, were 
visting the Yakimas whose main village stood south of Union gap. 
I sent word to him that I wished to join his party when they re- 
turned home, since their route and mine were the same for about 
forty miles. Two days afterwards, when I saw the Indians winding 
their way around the bluff south of Mok-see, I saddled in a hurry, 
tying on behind a pair of blankets which were to stand between 
me and zero. There were no spring mattresses in those days and not 
a very bounteous supply of covering, either. 

The Indians, when they came up, said "Hi-ack" (Hurry), so we 
started at once, wading the deep snow. At Parker Bottom, at a 
point later known as Eugene Flint's ranch, there was an Indian 
village of fifty lodges where my friends halted for refreshments, 
dried salmon, kous and camas being set before us. I joined in the 
banquet with an appetite unsurpassed by any. Then the pipe of 
peace was brought forth, filled and lighted. After the headman 
of the village had blown a whiff to each of the cardinal points, it 
was handed to the headman of the visitors and so on down the line. 
When it came my turn, I sent the smoke whirling towards the top 
of the lodge. 

The Yakima river was running full of ice, but we waded it with- 
out any mishaps and struck out over the plains where Toppenish 
now stands, reaching the Indian camp at dark. As there was no 
grass near camp, I tied my horse to a tree and left him to the 
mercy of the elements. Ken-e-ho took me to his lodge, the largest 
in the village, where Eliza, his squaw met me. How well I re- 
member her noble character. Though her skin was red, her heart was 
spotless white. Kind and good, she was the peer of many of her 
pale faced sisters. She arranged a place where I could roll up in my 
blankets, and placed food before me; so, amid smoke and smell, I 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 195 

began to devour dried salmon and olalies (berries). Soon the 
familiar songs that belonged to an Indian village arose from the 
surrounding lodges. Some were singing; others wailing. Some 
danced, while the rest gambled. Dogs snarled and fought. Above 
it all could be heard the pum-pum of the medicine man as he 
vigorously pounded the drum to drive away evil spirits and render 
homage to the great Me-ow-ah. 

In the midst of the noise and confusion a young girl in beaded 
buckskin dress, with great strings of beads hanging round her neck, 
entered the wigwam. After speaking a few words to Ken-e-ho, 
she came to where I was resting by the fire. There, before me, 
stood the little princess, Lal-looh, whom I had not seen for two 
years. She was as beautiful as she was good, she had saved my 
life, and', as she stood there trying to persuade me to join her tribe, 
she looked every inch a queen. She said I was too good a boy to 
belong to the white race who, with their forked tongues and fire- 
water, were trying to destroy her people. She said that she could 
pick berries, dig roots, dry salmon, set up the lodge and keep it 
clean, that she would cover my buckskin coat and moccasins with 
the wonderful beadwork she had learned to make. Her aged father, 
Squim-kin was no more and her mother's eyes were blind. When 
first I had seen her, all was sunshine ; now her sky was dark and 
the birds no longer sang. When I told her where I was going, she 
replied that it was right for me to visit my mother but, when the 
grass came in the spring, to return to her. I never saw her again, 
but learned, afterwards, that she died two years later. 

I left the Indians and set out alone for the remainder of my 
journey shortly after midnight. Morning found me in the timber 
with the snow getting deeper all the time. My horse floundered so 
that I dismounted, going ahead to make a path for him. We had 
seven hours of such traveling before we reached the summit where 
the snow was frozen hard enough to hold up the horse. Then I 
mounted and rode towards the Klickitat valley which, at that time, 
contained very few settlers. It was not long before we got into soft 
snow again and had to repeat the experience of the morning. After 
digging the horse out many times, we reached Mr. Pell's cabin, two 
miles above the present Goldendale at midnight, more dead than 
alive. Lal-looh had given me a little sack of dried beef and salmon 
when I left the Indian village and it kept me alive that day. 

After resting here a couple of days with my old friend, I set 
out again. At the Columbia the privilege was given me of turning 
my horse out on the hills with a band belonging to a Mr. Hicken- 
■bothom. With so many horse thieves infesting the banks of the 
Columbia, I feared, when I unsaddled and turned him loose, that I 
was taking a last farewell of him ; but curiously enough, on my re- 
turn, I found him still there. 

i96 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

I reached Celilo on foot the same night. There were above 
fifty men here, most of them miners returned from the different 
camps throughout the upper country, broke and making a living as 
best they could by gambling, drinking and robbing travelers. This 
bunch of outlaws was making Rome howl. No doubt it was my 
youth and ordinary looks which kept me from being robbed. The 
night carousal soon took on a gait that was fast and furious, re- 
sulting in one dead and two wounded, besides the usual number of 
black eyes and ear marks common in those days. Daylight found 
me on the road to The Dalles. In my hasty departure from the 
roughhouse I forget to ask if it were more than an average night. 

The Dalles at that time was a typical frontier town. Virtually 
the head of navigation on the Columbia and the most important out- 
fitting point east of the Cascades, it was the rendezvous of border 
ruffians. Gambling hells with music and songs were on every side ; 
clinking of coins around the tables told the old story that the fools 
were not all dead yet. I noticed a young man bucking what was 
known as the ten dice game, a feat requiring more nerve than an 
attack on a buzz saw. When his pockets could not longer produce 
the cash, he lost his nerve, began to cry and beg for the money he 
had lost. A knock on the head with a heavy revolver closed the 
scene. He was dragged to the door and thrown out into the street. 
Business went steadily on; it would take more than a human life 
to stop the game. Matt Bledso, a red-headed cut-throat who had be- 
come notorious for killing a few innocent men, was here. The 
noted Hank Vaughn, then a boy, was also attending this school of 
science ; his later career showing him to have been an apt pupil. 

As I was eating supper at the Empire hotel, kept by big-hearted 
Tom Smith and his noble wife, a tall dare-devil looking man, came 
in and sat down at the table. Smith went up to him and said', "Frank, 
you have been boarding with me for six months and have never paid 
a cent. I am no Vanderbilt and I can't stand it." 

With a sympathetic look, Frank replied, "Then, Tom, sell out 
to some one who can, for I must eat." 

I later came to know Frank Tompkins well and a better-hearted 
man never hit the trail. In coiirse of time, too, he paid his board 
bill to Tom Smith. 

On the Steamer Idaho, with Capt. John McNulty at the wheel, 
I set out on the last stage of the trip to the Willamette and the place 
where I used to swipe the big, red apples from the old Quaker. On 
reaching Corvallis I found mother who had received no word of my 
coming and was surprised enough to see a big, hardy boy in place of 
the pale-faced youth of three years before. Mother wanted me to 
remain with her and become a minister of the Gospel, but I had not 
seen a school house for three years and had grown some, conse- 
quently could not bear the idea. It brought to mind the calf class 
I was put into as a two-year old. Realizing that I had eaten too 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 197 

much bunch grass ever to become a preacher, I turned the proposition 

I remained two months at home and saw something of what 
was called civilization where push and energy seemed to be no part 
of the people's make-up and sleep their long suit. I longed to be- 
hold again the vast, wild country with its mountains, streams and 
valleys, its rolling bunchgrass plains interwoven with Indian trails, 
the country where the jackrabbits roamed at will, where sage hens 
and prairie chickens had their peaceful abode, where the warbling 
birds sang their noonday songs and the voice of the coyote was 
borne on the evening breeze, where, in the quiet night the rising 
moon revealed to one's gaze the boundless plains, unmarred by the 
habitations of man or by barbed wire fences with trespass notices 
to make it sure. The feeling would not let me rest. I bade good-bye 
to mother and, with her blessing, departed again for the promised 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 199 



A Pack Train Through Pa-ni-na's Country in 1863 — 
Another Trip to Cariboo — Early Gold Camps. 

During the month of March, 1863, my brother, William, and I 
gathered about thirty horses and rigged them up with pack saddles 
and other necessary equipment, loaded them with supplies and set 
out from The Dalles for Canyon City in the present Grant county, 
Oregon, where some prospectors on their way from California to the 
Boise basin, had discovered gold. This was a wild country then, 
uninhabited save by thieving, treacherous Snakes and Piutes under 
the leadership of that redoubtable old warrior, Pa-ni-na, who proved 
a barrier to the approach of white men into his country. There 
were one or two settlers without families in Antelope valley, a 
beautiful spot about sixty miles from The Dalles, but beyond that, 
for 120 miles to Canyon City, roving bands of Indian raiders con- 
stantly hovered along the trail, stealing horses and murdering the 
whites whenever an opportunity offered. Many lives had been lost 
on this route, and many pack trains had their horses and mules 
stolen, never to be recaptured. The cargoes and rigging were left by 
the road, to be carried later to their destination, by some more 
fortunate pack train on its return trip, empty after delivering its 

We encountered one of these raiding parties of about forty 
warriors. During the day they could be seen riding along the nearby 
hills, but lacking the courage to attack us. They seemed to want 
only our horses and preferred to take the chance of stealing them, 
to fighting for them. We always camped early in the evening, so 
as to give our horses a chance to graze under guard, then tied them 
up in camp for the night, selecting the camping site with a view to 
defense. There were four of us, two standing guard, while the other 
two slept. At night we could see the Indians on all sides crawling 
through the grass, their bodies smeared with salmon grease, the 
odor of which was very distinct, making the horses restless and 
causing them to snort and pull back on their ropes in an effort to 
break loose. We were expecting this, however, and always saw to 
it that they were securely fastened. One night they crawled up so 
close that my brother, not wishing to fire on them except as a last 
resort, and yet wanting to let them know that he was there to de- 
fend his property, picked up a rock and threw it, strikine an Indian 
so hard that it made him howl. If they attempted to rush in and 
capture the horses ,they must have known that it meant some of them 
would pay the price with their lives. This was the fifth night we 
had been thus annoyed. By this time we were all awake and ready 

200 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

to do battle. If they intended to put up a fight, we felt this was the 
time it would happen. But nothing did. 

At Camp Watson, which we reached next night, there was a 
military post of fifty soldiers, established for the purpose of giving 
protection to travelers. Here we looked for relief and a chance to 
sleep, but when my brother asked for a detail of soldiers to guard 
our camp for the night, he was refused on the grounds that the 
captain had no men to spare, the Indians being so numerous he feared 
an attack on the post. He offered to lend us a howitzer, but since 
it could not well be dragged from the horn of his saddle, Billy told 
the captain our little band had come so far unaided and he guessed 
we would be able to get along without help from his cowardly bunch. 
The night passed alongside this garrison of United States troops 
was the hardest of any yet. 

Next day two officers overtook and passed us on their way to a 
trading post twelve miles in the direction of Canyon City. An hour 
afterwards they came flying back on the trail, shouting to us, "Turn 
back. The country is full of Indians." We went on, however, and 
soon discovered the cause of their haste — ^two Indians, who rode out 
of our way, continuing with whoops and yells their hot pursuit of 
the officers who were lying low on their horses and riding for the 
lives they held most dear. Such were specimens of the men the 
government first sent out to conquer the savage. 

Much to our delight, this was the last we saw of the Indians. 
They turned back on the trail and next night captured fifty animals 
belonging to a pack train loaded for Canyon City, leaving no horses 
behind on which the owners might follow. Such depredations con- 
tinued along this trail for three or four years. The military took up 
the task of keeping this and other ways of travel clear from the 
raiding bands, but this particular trail was not safe until a bullet 
from the rifle of Howard Maupin put an end to old Pa-ni-na, the 
scourge of that part of eastern Oregon. Pa-ni-na and seven warriors 
had stolen some cattle from the ranch of Clarno and Casper on the 
Canyon City road. J. N. Clark, whose house they had burned, with 
William Ragan and Howard Maupin, all ranchers, took up their 
trail, coming on the Indians as they were feasting on one of the 
stolen animals. The white men opened fire, killing four out of the 
eight, and one of the four was Pa-ni-na. With his death, the raiding 
in this territory ceased. 

Pa-ni-na had spent the latter part of his life repelling the white 
faced invaders from his country. He waged such a merciless war- 
fare that the emigrant road leading through his country in the early 
days was abandoned. After his death, his tribe was constantly 
harrassed by the great Indian fighter, Gen. Crook, to whom they 
finally surrendered. Such was the difference between the first 
military men and those who came later on. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 201 

Though, after my first trip to Cariboo, I had vowed never to 
go there again, in April, with my brother Billy, Philip Phillips, his 
brother Charles, and the owner of the cargo, Long Tom, I found my- 
self once more on the way to the British Columbia mines. We had 
a pack train of forty animals loaded with bacon. The owner of the 
bacon was Long Tom whose real name I have forgotten. We called 
him so because he had recently arrived from the locality of that 
name in the Willamette valley, Oregon, where his father, a well- 
to-do farmer, had grown rich in the hog business. Wishing to start 
his son on the right road to prosperity, he had given him this bacon 
to sell, the proceeds of that year on the homestead. 

We met Long Tom at The Dalles and bargained tO' carry his 
bacon for fifty cents a pound. As he had no money, we advanced 
him sufficient for his personal expenses. A few days after the start, 
while encamped on Toppenish creek where the bridge on the Satus- 
Goldendale road now crosses, there rode up an Indian on a splendid 
gray bob-tailed horse. I was riding a beautiful spotted one which 
did not possess sufficient stamina to keep him alive. I struck the 
Indian for a trade ; without making much headway, however. During 
our parley, he had espied a blue keg which contained gin and from 
which he had seen the boys take an occasional drink. He wanted 
to know what it contained, and, when we told him, to taste it. We 
said it was too expensive to give away. 

The Indian remained all night in camp, and, knowing Indian 
nature pretty well, I took the keg to bed with me. Next morning 
he still insisted on sampling it. We had begun packing our horses 
when he offered me all the money he had, fifty cents, for a drink. I 
refused, but said I would give him the spotted horse and a small 
bottle of the fire water in exchange for his hob-tail. He agreed. 
I put the saddle on his horse and handed him the bottle of gin, very 
much weakened with water. He proceeded without delay to pour its 
contents down his throat and by the time our horses were loaded, 
had finished the bottle, without showing any signs of intoxication. 
He made pronounced objections to the results of his booze; said he 
had got some at The Dalles which put him to sleep after the second 
drink. He had supposed ours was that kind, but since it had totally 
failed to meet his expectations, he wanted his horse back. We 
casually remarked thaf we had not understood we were doing busi- 
ness with a woman; had, indeed, thought we were dealing with a 
man who would be too proud to go back on his word. He then 
threatened to go to Ft. Sim-co-e and notify the Indian agent, A. A. 
Bancroft. We needed that bob-tail for the long, hard journey ahead 
of us and thought we had better do something to delay the arrival 
of the Indian at the agency. So we left him tied hand and foot, 
with the spotted horse hitched to the brush nearby and the partmg 
injunction that, if he told the agent, we would fight him next time 
we met. It was two years before I saw him again. He told me that 

202 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

after we had gone, he whooped and yelled all day to attract atten- 
tion, and that about sundown two squaws came and cut him loose. 
We were good friends ever afterward. 

A few days later we came to the great council and root ground 
at Che-loh-an,* where the plain was covered with hundreds of wig- 
wams. It was one of the largest encampments I ever saw. Thou- 
sands of horses grazed the hillsides and valley. In the village the 
medicine men were beating the pum-pum in ceremonial devotion to 
the Whee-me Me-ow-ah (the far-away chief). Groups of men and 
women were scattered here and there engaged in their native game 
of ithel-e-cum (bone game), the gambling going on amid weird 
song and clatter of sticks. Now and then came the wail of some old 
crones weeping for the dear ones gone on the long road. The 
earth seemed to tremble with the whoops, yells and clatter of hoofs 
while swift riders dashed by with their great droves of horses on the 
run. It was a wild sight, not to be forgotten, and never to be seen 

We camped a few miles above the village in a canyon where 
we were soon visited by about twenty Indians. One hard-faced 
fellow, in taking inventory of our stock, espied the blue keg, asked 
for a drink and was refused. On taking leave, he informed us that 
he would return, take the keg, our scalps, horses, in fact everything 
that we had. I spoke up and said that if we had been cowards, we 
should have remained at home with the women, and I warned him 
to stay away, but when they were gone, I told the boys we were up 
against it. I was the only one of the party that could talk the 
Chinook jargon so I translated for them the Indian's threat. How- 
ever, I had been over the same trail when things looked much 
worse. The more level-headed Indians knew that a party as large 
as ours would be missed and vengeance follow swift and sure. The 
two Phillips boys began to bemoan the day they had ever joined 
us on such a perilous trip. Recalling to mind some remarks previously 
made by these two in regard to the manner in which Long Tom 
would act were we to meet difficulties, we asked Tom to take his 
rifle, go down the trail to a certain rocky point and watch for Indians, 
reporting if any passed that way. He shouldered his gun and went 
off without a word. We guarded the camp that night, while Long 
Tom watched the trail. The Indians did not bother us. 

While we were loading next morning, an old Indian came riding 
by and we hired him to guide us to the Columbia river since the 

*Che-Ioh-an (place of plenty food) is situated in northeast part of Kittitas Valley, 
Washington. Its location is described thus: southwest of the southeast (,%) quarter of 
Section 8, Township i8, Range 20 East. The large spring of water marks the meeting 
place covering many acres. The council ground for the surrounding tribes. 

Alexander Ross makes mention of it in his Fur Traders. He was here trading for 
horses while in the employment of the Northwest Fur Co. in 1814, and he and his com- 
panions narrowly escaped with their lives. He states that he had been at this spot before 
while in. the employ of the Pacific Fur Co. dTiring the year 1812. Without a doubt he and 
his companions were the first white men to behold this beautiful valley and the Yakima 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 203 

trail I had traveled two years before over the We-nat-sha mountains 
was covered with snow. We struck the river at Quil-quil-meen, 
where the guide left us. Before going, he told me that the Indian 
who, the night before, had threatened us with annihilation, was Me- 
cheil, a desperate renegade of Smo-hal-la's tribe of the Wi-nah-pams 
(Priest Rapids) and that he had tried to get up a party to attack 
us. Several chiefs, it seemed, had called a council and decided to 
keep Me-cheil under guard till we were well on our way. One of 
the chiefs who had seen us passing the encampment had said, "That 
young boy belongs to the Thorp settlement in the Mok-see; he 
passed this way two years ago, and if any trouble comes to these 
peopk, we will have soldiers after us." This old Indian who acted 
as our guide, Chief Shu-shu-skin, later became a good friend of 

At the mouth of the Methow river, about a week later, we came 
upon another Indian village. The water was high and we had to 
ferry our cargo across. The Indians wanted $150 to ferry over 
the freight, which was highway robbery. When, after two days, we 
failed to come to a better understanding, I concluded to swim the 
Methow and ride up to the Okanogan on the chance of finding some 
miners on the bar at the mouth of the latter river. We had heard 
before leaving The Dalles that gold had been found on this bar the 
previous fall. Selecting a powerful roan, known to be a good 
swimmer, I started. The Indians on the opposite shore immediately 
wanted to know where I was going. Learning my intention, they 
came down to the water's edge, guns pointed at me and said, "If 
you attempt to cross, we will kill you. No white men are near." 
I sang back, "You cross our freight for $20 or I swim across. Kill 
me if you can. There won't be any left to mourn for you. You 
will all be dead 'before two moons." As I made for the water, they 
shouted for me to wait until they came across. We soon made a 
bargain and they did the work for the $20. 

A few miles above we found about fifty miners at work on the 
south side of the Columbia. The place was afterwards known as 
Richbar, a spot where many thousands of dollars were taken out by 
white men and later by Chinamen. 

We moved on up the Okanogan valley, rich in grass, fish and 
game. The Indians here were well dressed in buckskin clothes worked 
in designs with beads and silk thread. At the boundary we met Mr. 
Haynes, the British customs ofificer, and a Mr. Low, two very fine 
gentlemen, who treated us well. On reaching Cariboo, we found 
the price of provisions much lower than we had imagined. Bacon, 
which constituted our entire cargo, was selling for fifty cents a 
pound Upon weighing ours, we found that it had shrunk about one- 
fourth since we left The Dalles because of the long trip through 
the hot sun. We were therefore shy on our freight, while Long 
Tom was completely put out of business. We left him, a dejected 

20i Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

object, his overcoat made from a green blanket with a hole cut in 
the center to put his head through, his pants thread-bare and his 
shoes worn. He was a thousand miles away from his old dad and 
home, penniless. He secured a job with a pack train and I met him 
the following winter, none the worse for wear and still in the hog 
business with the home folks on the farm. 

My brother and I sold our pack train of horses to an Irishman 
known as Oregon Jack. We received part payment down, the balance 
to come in sixty days. Those days were long drawn out, for Jack 
was too crooked to lie straight in bed and truth held no place in his 
make-up. We entered his employ until the time was up and we were 
paid. Jack was an interesting character. During the few months 
we worked for him, certainly, he never washed his face or hands. 
We notified him he could not eat with us in that condition, and 
always set his food to one side. He said, "Gentlemen, you are en- 
tirely too particular. I want you to know that for ten years I was 
chief cook in the St. Charles hotel. New Orleans." 

One day we were on the bald mountain between Quesnel river 
and Williams creek, the Cariboo mines proper. The snow was gone, 
but the mud was deep and horses were floundering with their packs 
and falling down. We would unpack, get a horse up, repack him 
and a few minutes later have to do it all over again. Our progress 
was very slow, with about two^thirds of the horses down at one time. 
To make matters worse there came up one of those fierce mountain 
storms. The rain fell in torrents, thunder shook the mountain sides, 
while the lightning tore through the trees. Oregon Jack had given 
us a code of signals. Our train was strung out for some distance 
along the narrow trail in the timber and when help was wanted in 
front, we were to yell "Ya-ho;" if in the rear, "Ya-ho" twice. 

In the midst of this terrible din, I heard the "Ya-hoo" of Jack 
and moved forward. The horses were down all along the line. Jack 
was standing on a log. No doubt he had been yelling "Ya-ho" for 
some time, but such peals of thunder could silence even his strong 
lungs. Evidently he had reached the limit of forbearance for, shak- 
ing his fist at the fiery elements which seemed to have no terrors 
for him, he shouted, "Roll on, thunder and lightning. Lay low the 
trees and roll the rocks down the mountain sides. Make all the 
damn noise you can. I will get out of this in spite of you." 

Looking around, he saw me and wanted to know why I had 
not come before ; said he had been yelling for nearly an hour. Worn 
out and disgusted, I replied, "You are not the only one in trouble. 
We are all in the same boat. Because you were not created with 
a voice strong enough to be heard above the thunder, is no fault of 
mine. You should know that the storm king is in the saddle and 
the Lord is running things to suit himself. Fewer 'Ya-ho's' and 
more work would sound something like business." 

Ka-mi-akin—The Last Hero of the Yakimas 205 

Txrir'^^*^'* ^'^^^ ,^^y' ,°* ^^^^ ^o""^ we reached Barkersville on 
Williams creek, the richest spot I have ever seen, where gold was 
almost as thick as the gravel and nearly the size. That mining camp 
IS still being worked, a constant producer for fifty years. 

We made our last trip into the mines about the first of Novem- 
ber, loaded with turnips raised near the forks of the Quesnel The 
freight to Barkers, a distance of fifty miles, was thirty cents a pound 
All the other pack trains had gone out for the winter. I was anxious 
that Oregon Jack should make the trip since it would mean money 
enough to finish paying for the horses and my wages— my brother 
had gone out a month before. 

On the second day out it began to storm and continued until we 
reached our destination, the snow reaching a depth of several feet. 
When the owner of the cargo began to weigh out for Jack the amount 
of dust due him for freight, I asked that the amount due me be 
weighed out of that. Jack said, "No." A pick handle was standing 
by. After that landed on his head, he said, "Weigh the boy out 
what I owe him." With the dust in my pocket, I was a happy lad and 
when news came that a party of miners was about to start out on 
a different and less difficult route, I concluded to join them. At 
this point Oregon Jack came to me with tears in his eyes and begged 
me not to desert him. The other two men who had come in with us 
refused to help. Feeling that I was partly responsible for the trip, 
I promised to see him beyond the snow. 

At daybreak we left Barkersville and struck up on the great 
bald mountain. The snow was up to the horses' sides, but it was 
light, and by changing lead horses, we made about ten miles that day. 
Since there was nothing for the animals to eat, we tied them to the 
trees and left the rigging on them. As soon as we could see, we 
started again, and felt better when we were descending to the 
lower level. Still the snow began to fall rapidly and our horses, 
having been four days without fooci, tired easily. We had a steep 
mountain to climb. The large black horse which had been our main- 
stay in breaking trail, quit on us. Oregon Jack then broke down and 
wept. His pitiful cries, as they echoed through the great white wild- 
erness, almost chilled the marrow in my bones. I moved up through 
the snow to where he was leaning against a giant cedar, sobbing out 
what he thought was his last lament. Since the horses could not 
climb the mountain, our only alternative was to leave the trail and 
go down towards the Quesnel river where by chance we might find 
a swamp in which the horses could feed. I made out to Jack that 
we could surely do this successfully and he consented. 

Putting the bell on the roan horse, I led him, the rest following. 
The snow became less and we were fortunate enough not to en- 
counter any fallen timber. Before dark we had reached a spot of 
grass. As fast as the horses came up we removed the saddles which 
had not been off their backs for five days. Jack came up singing. 

206 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

We cooked supper and went to bed. The sun came out bright next 
morning and we could see the lay of the land. We were on the first 
bench above the Quesnel. While the horses were eating, we went 
down the ridge to locate our route and a few miles further on 
found another spot of grass, to which we moved down that day. 
We made slow progress next day, encountering much fallen timber. 
There was no grass, but we felt we were near the little town of 
Quesnel Forks. We reached it next day. The people there had 
given us up for lost. 

Here I quit Oregon Jack and on foot followed the Cariboo road 
to Ft. Yale. About thirty miles along I came to a roadhouse kept 
by a man named Bates, one of the packers who had wintered on the 
Bonaparte two years before when I had charge of Major Thorpe's 
cattle. It was 3 o'clock in the afternoon. The place was full of 
lawless men, drinking, gambling, swearing and fighting. With all my 
worldly possessions in my pocket, I felt uncomfortable. I was stand- 
ing in a corner behind the stove when three men came in from the 
barroom drunk and discovered me. One sang out, "Here is a boy. 
We will initiate him." They all made for me. I always carried a 
stiletto. Drawing it, I backed against the wall, ready for trouble and 
said, "Bates, I came to stay with you, expecting to find a friend and 
a gentleman. During the last two years you certainly have degen- 
erated. If you value your lives, don't attempt to touch me, you 
cowardly dogs !" 

Bates, in a changed tone, asked me who I was and where I 
had known him. When I told him, he ordered the men off, saying 
I was his friend. I started for the door. Bates asked where I was 
going and when I said, "To Tom Menifee's," exclaimed, "Why, 
Jack, that's twenty miles." 

At that age, and under those conditions, twenty miles did not 
mean much to me. I got a welcome at Menifee's as he had been 
an old neighbor of mother's in Missouri. Next morning, on my way, 
I overtook an elderly man, of fine physique, though slightly stooped, 
with sandy hair and a rugged face which was somehow familiar 
and yet which I could not place until he told me his name was 
McKinley. He had visited at my home in Champoeg, Oregon, ten 
years before, but did not know me until I told him mother's name. 
During the day's travel he became reminiscent. He was sad and 
disappointed. All his possessions, a large store and grist mill on the 
Willamette, had been swept away in a flood two years before. He 
had come up here to make a new start, but, after wandering over the 
mountains and along the streams of the Fraser between Alexander 
and Peace river, he had failed to find gold in paying quantities. 

Archibald McKinley had been a factor with the Hudson's Bay 
company as early as 1831, first at York Factory, then at Ft. Geary 
and later at Ft. St. James on Stuart's lake west of the Rocky moun- 
tains where he traveled in one year 2400 miles on snowshoes. He 

Ka-mi-akin—The Last Hero of the Yakimas 207 

was then placed in charge of Ft. George on the Fraser river, going 
next to Ft. Alexander and then to Ft. Hall. He married, in 1840 
Sara Julia Ogden, daughter of Peter Skeen Ogden. His wife had 
^en the first white woman to live in the Salt Lake country Mc- 
Kinley was a great friend of Marcus Whitman, whom he knew while 
m charge of Ft. Walla Walla from 1841-1846. While there onldly it 
became necessary to chastise a young Indian for theft His chief 
with fifty warriors came in, bent on revenge. Rushing into the store, 
McKmley picked up a copper can of powder, took off the lid, showed 
them the contents and stood over it with flint and steel ready to 
strike. You cowardly curs," he said, "you are many and we are few 
You seek to scare us. One hostile move, and we all die together." 

A few years ago, while at Kamloops, B. C, I learned that 
Archibald McKinley was buried on the banks of Thompson river at 
Savanos, where the old brigade trail from Ft. Okanogan to Alexander 
crossed the river— a fitting resting place, near the great trail he 
helped' to build. 

After a forty mile walk, we reached Deep creek, where Mc- 
Kinley remained. During the night Fred White, whom I had met 
two years before in the Klickitat, arrived on a mule. He persuaded 
me to buy a horse and ride out with him instead of taking the stage. 
I hunted up an outfit and we reached our destination that night the 
same time as the stage. Fred had been a packer with Bill Parker 
for the government in 1858 during the military occupancy of Ft. 
Sim-co-e. In that capacity they had accompanied Maj. Garnett on 
his campaign against the Indians through We-nat-sha to Ft. Okano- 
gan. He said that once he was captured by Skloom, Ka-mi-akin's 
brother. It happened just previous to this campaign of Garnett's. 
Fred was herding a band of mules on Toppenish creek. Skloom took 
him to White Bluffs and held him a prisoner for two weeks, though 
treating him well. At the end of that time his captor gave him a 
horse and saddle and sent him back to the fort. 

The second day, as we were nearing Lillooet on the Fraser, we 
came to a tent near the road with a sign "Horses Bought." I told 
Fred here was my chance to cash in my horse, since it was only 
ten miles to the point where I would take the steamer, and any- 
way, the stage was coming behind. I sold the horse, but the buyer 
insisted on a bill of sale; nothing else would do him. The stage 
was close behind and had passed before the paper was made out. 
The passengers, guessing my predicament, threw fun at me. We 
had been bantering back and forth with the stage people for two 
days. I started on foot, but soon began to throw off ballast — first 
my blanket, then my old fur coat. Striking a lively clip then, I came 
to a large trail leading down hill. While debating where it led, a man 
on horseback came by and told me it was the trail to the ferry, the 
road making a long detour around the hill. This was fun. It was 
my turn to laugh when the stage drew up and found me arrived 

208 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

ahead. The passengers could not figure out how I made time, but 
I said that all that had kept me from traveling faster before was my 

From Lillooet I went by the lake and Portage route to Fraser 
river and down to New Westminster; then by steamer to Victoria, 
where the old side wheeler, Eliza Anderson, was waiting to go to 
Olympia. I reached Olympia too late to get the stage out that day, 
so they gave me a horse to ride, a roan of the old Spanish type, with 
instructions to take two days for the trip. Distance riding was my 
long suit. I landed in Monticello, ninety-six miles, a few minutes 
after the stage, and in time for the boat next morning to Portland ; 
then on to The Dalles and by hired horse to Yakima. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 209 


An Indian Raid— The Strange German — Encounter 
with Matt Bledso, the Desperado — Packing to Rock 
Island — Chinese Passengers— Meeting with Chief 
Moses — Sil-co-saskt. 

By 1864 this part of the country was gold-mad. Every steamer 
from Portland to The Dalles was loaded with miners and prospectors. 
Hundreds were outfitting at this point for the different camps 
throughout the Northwest. Spreading out like a fan, the gold 
hunters invaded every hole and corner of the mountains. Horses 
were in great demand. My brother, William, and I had brought a 
few horses up to The Dalles from the Willamette and quickly dis- 
posed of them. It looked like a good business opportunity for us, 
an undertaking in which my long acquaintance with the Indians was 
an asset. I would cross the Columbia to the north side, go a few 
miles out among the rocks and wait till some Indians passed by, then 
bargain with them for horses. Trade was brisk. We made money 
fast, buying horses from the Indians and selling to the outfitting 
miners. By this means we became possessed of a fair sized train 
of animals, with sufficient means to equip it with riding and pack 
saddles, so advertised to carry passengers to Boise basin for $100 
per head. In a few days we had thirty passengers, our required 
number. It was in March. With a few extra pack horses for 
baggage and provisions, we struck out over the old emigrant trail 
by the Des Chutes and John Day's rivers, via Butter creek to 
Umatilla and over the Blue mountains, through deep snow, to the 
Grande Ronde valley ; then, through Powder river valley, where now 
stands Baker city, to Burnt river. Here we were nearing Indian 
country and we were constantly on the watch. Riding ahead of the 
train down the long hill leading to the Burnt ranch, a noted camp- 
ing place, I noticed on a tall peak to the south a figure which dis- 
appeared while I was looking. Sure that it was an Indian scout, and 
suspecting that plans were on foot for a raid, I told my brother, as 
soon as we had reached the ranch, and arranged for hay and the big 

corral for our horses. . , , , u 

There were several packers camped here but, when we told 
them of the scout, they said to me, "You are a great boy if you get 
frightened at this stage of the game. You had better go bade. My 
brother and I both slept at the corral gate that night. Towards 
midnight we heard a stampede of horses and mules, bells ringing, 
hoofs beating, Indians yelling— there was some uproar on that creek. 
Gradually the noise receded. At daybreak sonie of the packers came 
to us wanting horses to follow the Indians. Picking out the fellow 
who had laughed at me, I said, "You had your warning, and spoke 

210 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

discourteously to me last night when I gave it. My advice to you is 
to return to a more densely populated community. If you overtook 
the Indians, they would whip you and no doubt we should lose the 
horses we loaned you. Besides we have contracted to carry these 
passengers through in a certain time." 

There were nine pack trains camped there at the time and they 
all every animal they had. Later, I learned that none of the 
horses and mules were ever recovered. 

Next day we put as many miles behind us as possible, since we 
were in Pa-ni-na's country, and at the section of the trail where 
many raids had been made. After making camp above Old's ferry 
on the Snake, I took a ride around the hills. I saw no signs of 
Indians, but did discover a bend in the river with good grass, a spot 
which could be easily guarded. After dark, we drove the horses 
up there, tying two of them to a bunch of brush and spreading our 
blankets nearby. Either Billy or I were on guard all the time. I 
was on the last shift and sometime after midnight heard horses' hoofs 
on the trail moving towards our camp. Then I heard them back on 
the hill, growing fainter. When daylight came, there were signs 
that a large war party had been near, but, failing to find our horses, 
had probably moved on to get the horses of those less vigilant. 

Reaching the mines, a few days later, we found the whole camp 
covered several feet deep with snow. The town bore the name, Idaho 
City. Hundreds of men were at work here, night and day, taking 
out good pay. Saloons and gambling houses were also working 
over time. Our passengers were about all Irish and they soon began 
to fill up their tanks on bald face whisky ; in less than an hour there 
was not one sober enough to stand on his feet. We, however, rec- 
ognizing the national characteristics of our passengers, had been 
thoughtful enough to say good-bye when they dismounted. They 
were a fine, agreeable band of men. 

During our stay, the horses were compelled to stand in snow 
three feet deep, tied to a log, without food, so we did not linger, 
starting back over the trail at daylight, reaching grass that night. 
At the road house, near which we camped, were many pack trains on 
their way to the mines. A big, red-headed tough stood behind the 
bar, dishing out rot gut whisky to the packers who were leaned up 
against the bar, their backs towards us as we entered. One of them 
had the seat of his pants patched with a flour sack which bore the 
brand, "Self rising." It looked original to me and I wondered who 
the man was. He turned around and it was my old friend Bill 
Parker. Since we parted in Cariboo two years before, he had 
settled in Yakima, in the district which now bears his name. 

Traveling down the Payette next day we met many miners and 
packers. Towards evening a lone horseman came up, claiming to 
have been lost three days. While we were eating, he told us of a 
beautiful valley hidden away to the north which he had discovered. 

Ka-mi-akin—The Last Hero of the Yakimas 211 

As we did not consider this dangerous Indian country, we hobbled 
the horses and turned them loose, but, when we heard them stampede 
in the night decided we had been mistaken. As we could not follow 
Indians on foot, we sat there till morning, trying to make the best 
"T ^t f, "^^ friend, who was a German, consoled us by saying 
hope all our horses are stolen and that we will never see them 
again That would give us an excuse to steal others, and we can 
hide them away in my beautiful valley. We will not steal from the 
rich, for they might follow. We will steal from the poor, who can't 
follow and make them poorer." He certainly had the dope. 

At daylight Billy and the Dutchman went to look for the horses 
and, surprisingly enough, found them quietly grazing a few miles 
further on. Something had frightened them in the night. Billy and 
I held a consultation and decided to inform our guest that he better 
move on, putting as many miles between this neck of the woods 
and hiniself as possible, or his weight at the end of a rope might 
break his neck. He lost no time in going. Doubtless the vigilantes 
got him later on. 

We remained two weeks at Umatilla, one of the principal 
freighting and outfitting points on the Columbia, but failed to get 
a load of freight for the mines. We did make a little money in 
horse racing, having a few swift ones in our bunch. Our principal 
opponent in the races was Matt Bledso, a big, red-headed desperado 
who had six men to his credit and always seemed to be hunting for 
more. We had him about broke. One day, in his anger, he started a 
wordy war with Brother Billy, but he had found his match and beat 
a hasty retreat. A few night later he shot and killed a stranger, 
whom no one knew — a common occurrence on the border. 

Since the outlook for a cargo was discouraging, I decided to 
visit my older brother, Charles, in the Yakima. At the mouth 
of the Yakima river I found the family of my old friend, J. B. Nelson 
whom I had known in the Klickitat. At this time, he and his oldest 
son were in Montana in pursuit of some horses which had been 
stolen from them. They found them, too, and brought them home. 
Starting from Nelson's early in the morning, my horse being a good 
one, I made my brother's home in the Mok-see by dark, the dis- 
tance over the winding trails being over eighty miles. A trader 
named Comstock was there. He kept a post on the Columbia at 
Rock Island below Wenatchee. Hundreds of Chinamen were at 
this time mining along the bars of the Columbia for a distance of 
150 miles, and the trade with them, he said, was good, and I made 
a bargain to carry his freight. 

I stayed a day in the Mok-see, then started back. Reaching the 
lone tree near where Prosser now stands, I saw a trail leading in the 
direction I wanted to go, over the hill to the south. The day was 
hot and I knew that a desert lay between me and the Columbia. 
I took a big drink from the river, then started up the hill on the 

212 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

new trail. I got to our camp, seven miles below Umatilla that night, 
a ride which, I believe, came near to the hundred mile mark. 

For the rest of the year we carried freight from The Dalles to 
Rock Island, a splendid road, wood, grass and water all the time. 
There was another trading establishment a few miles above Rock 
Island on the southwest bank of the Columbia where the Great 
Northern railway crosses, kept by a Mr. Wing. Here was perhaps 
the largest camp of Chinamen on the river. About a hundred 
yellow men had bought this large gravel bar from white miners 
the year previous and finished a large ditch which the former owners 
had started to build. From my observations as they were sluicing, 
I believe that in the few years that they worked the bar they took 
out a large amount of money. I know I carried many big buckskin 
purses of dust to be deposited for them in Portland, during the two 
years we ran the pack train between Rock Island and The Dalles. 

On one of these trips we found at Rock Island B. F. Yantis, an 
old man, traveling alone to Olympia. His son was trading with 
Chinese miners further up the river. Yantis expected to travel by 
way of The Dalles, since it was November and there would be 
considerable snow in the Cascades, and went part way with us ; 
but, at Chief Shu-shu-skin's village in the Kittitas he learned that 
a party of Indians was to start over the mountains via the Sno- 
qual-mie pass. This would shorten his journey by more than half, 
so he joined the Indian party, making the hard trip safely. I met 
hirn a few years later, a very old man. He had been a pioneer of 
Thurston county, filled many public offices with honor, and had a 
good, comfortable home, but his spirit was restless and he was only 
happy when roaming along the border. 

While stopping in the Mok-see, en route for The Dalles, there 
came along one July day two Chinamen headed for the Columbia 
below Wenatchee. They had two pack horses, but they were walk- 
ing. They wanted to hire two saddle horses and buy two beef 
cows of Thorp, having them driven to the camp. We agreed to 
furnish saddle horses and drive the cows to their destination for 
$100, they to board me on the way so that I need not take an extra 
pack horse. After I had the cows tied up and the chores finished 
round our first camp, at Squaw creek, I went up, good and hungry, 
for supper. There was just one little kettle of rice with a slice of 
ham boiling in it on the fire. I wondered if that constituted the 
bill of fare. It did. Having learned to get in early and avoid the 
rush, when we sat down to eat, I dived for the ham and got it. 
Next morning it was rice straight. I hoped we would meet some 
Indians from whom I might buy dried salmon, but not an Indian 
appeared. That kettle of rice got on my nerves, but there was 
nothing to do but humble my pride and eat it. When we reached 
the Columbia, about eight miles below their camp, the Chinaman, 
who had always been in the rear, now rode in front. Shortly after. 

Ka-mi-akin—The Last Hero of the Yakimas 213 

I saw two Indians, coming towards us. When they met the China- 
man one of the Indians began to beat the yellow men with the elk- 
horn handle of his riding whip, while the other Indian came straight 
for me. He was a powerful man and he grabbed my horse by the 
bridle, setting him back on his haunches. When I jumped off and 
shoved a gun up against his body, he yelled, "Wake pooh, nika 
cultus he-he" (Don't shoot. I was only joking). With the gun 
still pointing towards his red body, I ordered him to go back and 
make his companion stop beating the Chinaman. He did this, then 
turned to me and said, "I am Chief Moses. Mika skookum tum tum 
ancutta nika nanich mika copa We-nat-sha." (You are brave. I 
saw you before at Wenatchee.). I remembered well, but did not care 
for his actions at this time. The Indians rode away and I gathered 
up my Chinaman, badly bruised, but no bones broken. When at 
the camp, the bunch of Chinese saw their mutilated brethren, a 
howl went up like the noise from a flock of wild geese fired into 

One of the cows was soon slaughtered and we had beef for 
supper, after which I felt better, though the memory of that three 
days' diet of rice never left me. Next day, when they weighed me 
out my gold dust, they gave me an extra ounce for saving the lives 
of their comrades. Driving the saddle horses in front, I made the 
ninety miles to Mok-see by evening, and the ninety-five to The 
Dalles where our train was next day. They were tough horses 
and tough riders in those days. 

We made our last trip to Rock Island in December, 1865. The 
snow was heavy in the Sim^co-e mountains and we had to break 
trail through four feet of it. Finding grass at Satus creek, after 
dark, we turned out the horses and set about getting supper. We 
heard cattle coming over the trail we had made and soon a horse- 
man rode up to our fire. It was Ben E. Snipes. 

"I am glad to find you here. Jack," he said, "for I am hungry 
and about worn out, following your trail all day with those cattle." 
His cattle would follow down the creek now to the winter range, so 
he stayed with us till morning. 

We had snow from there on to our journey's end. At the 
crossing of the Yakima, near the present Granger, my brother left, 
to go to the mouth of the Ahtanum to build a cabin to winter in; 
An Indian we had with us also left, fearing he would die from cold. 
This left Al Churchill and myself to look after twenty animals. 
We were both young, but not quitters. We packed up and started 
for the Columbia. When we got to Priest Rapids the wind was 
blowing a gale from the north. It was so cold that the atmosphere 
looked blue. Finding some cord wood cut up on the bank — evi- 
dently the work of white men— we used it freely, for no amount of 
covering would keep us warm. Passing an Indian village next 
morning, we tried to hire two helpers, but the inhabitants only 

2i4 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

looked out from their wigwams and shook their heads, saying 
"Halo" (No). So we had to go it alone. The snow was getting 
deeper, and the grass was covered. By the time we reached Quil- 
quil-meen, our horses were worn out — and twenty miles yet to go. 

Camped here was Sil-co-saskt, head man of the Entiat tribe, 
who owned many horses. We bargained with him to take our horses 
down the. river twenty miles to grass, hiring us twenty of his to 
carry our packs to Rock Island. We also wanted an Indian herder 
to look after them, and horses to carry our pack saddles down to 
our own horses. Most of the Indian horses were unbroken, but we 
knew how to load a horse and when we put the pack on one, it 
generally stayed, no matter how much it kicked and bucked. After 
they had been traveling a few hours in the deep snow, it was easy 
enough to catch them. We tied them in camp that night to keep 
them from leaving us, and next day came to an almost perpendicular 
hill. If we did not tackle the hill, we would have to return two 
miles and take a long way around. With some misgivings, I picked 
out a fine looking white horse belonging to the Indian and tried to 
lead him up the hill. His pack tipped him over backwards and he 
rolkd down several hundred feet. Six more, attempting to follow, 
went the same way. It did not seem possible that any of them 
could be alive, but when we reached them, they were suffering only 
from some cuts about the head. Even the packs were O. K., the 
loads consisting of flour. After we got them repacked and back 
on the flat, we decided that we had better go back and around a 
trail that the Indian boy, who was along with the horses, told us 
about. It was nearly dark when we reached our road again, so we 
concluded to travel all night, to save the trouble of unpacking and 
packing. The snow was about three feet deep ; the night was bright 
with moonlight, and cold. After several hours, the Indian boy, who 
was in the lead, stopped, saying, "Here is where the route to the 
store leaves the main trail." Since I had been over this part of 
the trail many times, I now took the lead, which turned out just 
as well, for a little further on, I found a dead Indian lying in the 
snow. Since it was only a mile from the trading post, I concluded 
there had been trouble up there. I did not want the boy to see or 
know about the dead Indian, so I dragged him to a rocky bluff nearby 
and threw him into the Gslumbia. With some of the lead horses, I 
tramped out the marks in the snow. 

The post was in charge of Jack Ingraham who had bought 
out Mr. Comstock's interests. He had given us up, believing that we 
could not get through. When I told about finding the Indian, he 
said that the fellow had given him much trouble and, to get rid of 
him for all time, he had given him strychnine. He was very glad to 
know the body was now in the river. 

When, on our return, old Sil-co-saskt saw his favorite white 
horse scarred up, he began to roar, wanting an extra hundred dollars 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 215 

for damages. I concluded that one was enough at a time to get 
angry, so let him kick. He informed me that if I did not pay the 
amount he asked, I would not live to see another sun. When I told 
Al Churchill, who could not understand the jargon, what he said— 
"For God's sake, pay him," cried Al. "If necessary, I will pay 
half out of my wages." I told Al to let me work it out my own wav. 

When he started to spread out our blankets, I told him, "I am 
going to sleep in that old Indian's lodge." Al thought it would be 
walking into the lion's den, but, picking up our blankets, we went 
into the lodge, crowding the dogs, dried roots and salmon sacks. 
Sil-co-saskt looking astonished, asked if there were no room out- 
side. I said it was not often we had a chance to sleep in a great 
chief's lodge, so would sleep there tonight. He made no further 
objections. I knew well that it was not their custom to kill an 
enemy in their own lodges, fearing it would anger the Great Spirit. 
The Indian boy who had been with us on the trip slept next to me 
and when the old chief was asleep, I woke the boy and gave him a 
dollar to bring the horses into camp early. We heard them coming 
about daybreak. I said to Churchill that either the old Indian or I 
had to weaken, and I did not expect it to be me. I told him to go 
on catching and tying the horses, paying no attention to the old 
chief or to me. 

While we were getting the horses ready, Sil-co-saskt came 
out of the lodge and made straight for me. He grabbed me and, 
with a jerk, said, "Give me the extra hundred dollars, or you will 
not leave this place alive." Believing it to be a bluff, I said, "You 
will get only what was agreed upon and no more. If your horses 
could not stand up, it was no fault of mine. I had not the power 
of the Great Spirit to give them wings. Although you are a chief, 
you are no braver than I am. If nothing but a fight will do you, 
then let us fight like men. You take your gun. Only a coward and 
a dog would ask his warriors to kill one man. If you have a chief's 
heart, either fight, or let us have the horses to take our saddles and 
rigging to our own horses. Let us not stand here and quarrel like 

He turned and went into his lodge. It was up to him. In a 
few minutes he returned with my saddle blanket and said, "Give me 
this, and I will furnish you both with fresh saddle horses and send 
another Indian along to help drive the loose horses with the pack 
saddles on." I threw him the blanket, saying : "It is well." 

We found our horses rested up. It was Christmas night, and 
one of the dreariest I ever spent. As we humped up around the 
fire on the dreary banks of the Columbia with the north wind chilling 
the marrow in our bones, Al and I thought of the many happy 
homes surrounded with plenty and considered ourselves ill-used. 
Two days later we were home on the Yakima. 

216 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 


Hunting the Trail — Indian Highwaymen — Ups and 
Downs of the Beef Market. 

In April, 1865, I entered the employ of James Barnes to help 
him drive into the Boise basin, Idaho, some cattle which had been 
wintered in the Selah valley. The stock numbered a hundred head 
and there were only Barnes and myself to look after them. The 
first night found us in what was later known as the Hog ranch and 
now as Pleasant valley ; the second night at Cold creek, where the 
green grass was tall enough for the cattle to graze it. Camped at 
th'e same place was H. D. Hald, who had arranged with Thorp 
of the Mok-see to drive 200 head of cattle to the mines on a per- 
centage basis. Two of the Thorp boys, Willis and Bayless, were 
with him. During the night our herds became mixed, so we drove 
them together to the Columbia, swimming them across near the 
present Hanford. It was while camped here that we received from 
a miner traveling through news of the assassination of President 

It took us two days to get across the river. Our cattle were 
all steers, easy to handle, but Hald's were cows and calves, the 
cause of continual annoyance. I made up my mind not to continue 
with Mr. Barnes if he insisted on driving with Hald, and told him 
so, as soon as we got the cattle across the river. I proposed that 
we cut out our steers and go by ourselves. He said that we were 
in a strange uninhabited country and perhaps could not find our 
way. I ventured to suggest that what Hald could do, we might at 
least try. Besides, I was suspicious of Hald. I thought he was 
trying to discourage Barnes and buy his cattle on credit, since I 
knew he had no money. 

Barnes decided to make the venture, so we cut out our cattle 
and moved down the river to what was later known as the Coonse 
ranch. That evening I rode over the hills and found a large 
Indian trail leading east. So far as the eye could reach it led 
through desert, but it was the direction we wanted to go, so we 
moved out at daybreak. Twelve miles along we came to a coulee, 
now known as the Washtucna coulee. We had come to no w^ter 
all day, so, taking the pack and loose horses, I went ahead, leaving 
Barnes with the cattle. Towards dusk, I found an alkali lake so 
strong that nothing would touch it, but around on the south end of 
the shell rock was a spring of fresh water. I unpacked, hobbled 
the horses and cooked supper. 

Midnight had passed before Barnes called from the opposite 
side of the lake. While getting a steer out of a mire hole, he had 

Ka-mi-akin—The Last Hero of the Yakimas 217 

lost the cattle. Knowing that the stock would start back over 
the trail, I saddled my horse and lit out after them, but it was 
twenty miles before I overtook them, on the trot, bound for the 
Columbia river. Fortunately they were together, so I turned them 
back. Our progress was slow. When morning came the sun was 
beating down and they were tired, but by dark next day we were 
back to the lake where Barnes was waiting. The cattle lay down 
to rest and when they started again it was with new life. After 
several rests, they began to trot, then to run— they smelt water. 
At daylight the second day we were on the banks of a large fresh 
water lake, and remained here all day to restj since we had been 
continuously in the saddle for thirty-six hours. 

At the head of the lake was a very large spring. The place is 
now owned by Harder Bros, and is used as a stock ranch. Reach- 
ing the Palouse river, we found the water too high to ford, so 
swam the cattle. Our problem was to find a way of getting across 
our packs of provisions. In searching among the willows along 
the banks for a canoe, I picked up several bundles of tules tied 
together. After pondering over what they had been used for, it 
suddenly dawned on me that the Indians had made of them a raft 
for crossing the stream. Floating them down to camp, I loaded on 
our outfit and we crossed the river in good shape. About this time 
Hald rode up and told us his cattle were a short distance back; he 
wanted us to help him over the river. We did. It took all day. 

The trails were numerous now. Next morning we took the 
wrong one and landed back on the Palouse river ten miles above 
where we had left it. We traveled the following day without 
water until sundown, when we found some sinkholes and a spring. 
After this experience, I resolved to ride ahead after the camp of 
each day and locate our route. That night I went about ten miles 
in a northeasterly direction and found a small creek with a large 
Indian trail following it. The creek came from the direction in 
which we supposed Lewiston to lie. It flowed, as we found out 
next day, through a beautiful country with a perfect carpet of grass, 
the like of which I never saw before or since. After three days' 
travel up it, we found the hills on either side not so high, so knew 
we must be nearing the source. At the end of a five-mile climb 
to the top of the hill, to explore the route for the following day, I 
was delighted to find Lewiston lying below me. I rode back glee- 
fully to tell Barnes, who immediately saddled his old yellow mare 
and struck out on the run to see for himself. On his return he 
expressed much satisfaction that we had made it without Hald, 
especially as that gentleman had assured Barnes that he would not 
be able to find the route. 

We remained here several days, while Barnes went to Lev/is- 
ton to see about selling the cattle. He was offered $70 a head, 
and had paid but $30, but hoped to do better, so decided to go on to 

218 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

the Boise basin. While we were waiting here, Hald came up with 
his drove. He had followed our trail; we had beaten him to it. 
It was agreed to keep both herds together till after we had crossed 
the Clearwater. When we reached that stream the water was so 
high it took a whole day to swim the cattle. By the fourth day 
we had crossed Craig's mountain and come to Camas prairie on the 
west side, called Cottonwood creek. 

When I gathered the horses in the morning, a large bay of 
my own was missing. After circulating around, I found his shod 
tracks going towards a large Indian trail, with pony tracks along- 
side. Knowing that he had been taken by an Indian, I told Barnes 
I was going to find him. When he tried to discourage me, I gave 
him the privilege of getting another herder if he wished, but insisted 
on going after my horse. Three miles down the creek I found a 
trading post and, upon inquiry, learned that twenty Indians had 
passed two hours before. The trader had noticed with them a 
large bay with shoes on. He told me the Indians belonged to 
Blacktail's band of Nez Perces, camped twenty miles away on the 
east side of the valley at Eagle Delight creek, near the present 
Grangeville. Following their trail, I reached a very large village 
of about a hundred lodges, and proceeded to ride through their 
horses. Mine I found tied in a bunch of timber. I unfastened him 
and started back, but had not gone far when two ugly-looking 
Indians overtook me and demanded if that were my horse. On 
receiving an affirmative reply, they requested ten dollars for having 
taken him so far. I refused to pay them for their trouble. We 
had reached a rough part of the road near Black canyon, where 
a dead man could easily be hidden, so I resolved to part company 
with the rascals. They were conversing in their native tongue, which 
I did not understand, but I had every reason to believe the talk 
boded me no good. Halting suddenly, with my six-shooter pointed 
at them, I bade them "Qat-a-wa" (go). They went, with solemn 
and disappointed looks. 

The next night we camped only a few miles from that same 
Indian village and I saw the two Indians of yesterday riding near 
us. We tied up the horses and stood watch over them till morn- 
ing. At noon next day we camped at White Bird creek and 
expected to swim the Salmon river on the morrow. While Barnes 
was down interviewing A. D. Chapman, who had a trading post 
where the creek empties into the Salmon and to procure a canoe 
to cross our provisions, I stretched a tent, since it was a very hot 
day, and proceeded to get some sleep, so as to be fresh for guard 
duty at night. I was rudely awakened by harsh words spoken in 
English. I looked up into the muzzles of two rifles in the hands 
of my recent Indian acquaintances. One said, "Give me ten dollars 
or you are a dead man." That amount represented my total capi- 
tal and I was loath to part with it, but discretion seemed the better 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 219 

part of valor, especially since I had been careless enough to leave 
my gun on the horn of the saddle outside the tent. They backed 
out of the tent with the money, tearing off the front of it in their 
retreat. My brains suddenly got to working. They had overlooked 
my six-shooter. I made a jump towards the saddle. They both 
fired, but missed me. Grabbing my gun, I ran after them, but 
they escaped in the brush. I felt deeply humiliated to know that 
those red devils had actually held me up and got away with it. 

Mr. Chapman, in penciling for us a map of the route we were 
to travel, warned us that it would be a rough one, since no one had 
passed over the trail for more than a year. The Bannock Indians 
were especially to be feared; they were the terror of the miners 
and prospectors, and we were going right into their stronghold. 
He thought, however,, that it was a little early for them to be in the 
Payette valley, their favorite camas ground, through which our trail 
would lead. 

After spending half a day climbing a mountain, we found 
ourselves on top of a narrow ridge dividing the waters of the Snake 
and the Salmon rivers. Before us the mountains seemed to be piled 
one on top of the other. Way down below, like a silver thread, 
rushed the Snake river, boiling and seething on its way. By noon 
next day we had reached the foot of the mountain. The trail up 
the Little Salmon was so narrow at times that we had to roll off 
rocks which had slid down and blocked it. Often we had to repair 
bridges. No tracks of human kind were visible. For six days we 
tramped up this canyon, filing around one shell rock point after 
another. The roar of the lea,ping water was deafening; to see the 
sun one had to look straight up. 

On the seventh day, with no regrets, we left this turbulent 
little stream and slowly climbed the last great mountains, with the 
broiling sun beating down. Below us lay a little valley which our 
map said was Little Salmon Meadows. Here we found a large 
log house of several rooms, with a cook stove, and about forty acres 
of fenced meadow. We learned afterwards that the cabin had been 
built two years before by a man known as Packer John when the 
miners from Orofino, Florence and Elk City had passed over that 
trail bound for the new diggings of Boise basin. A company of 
dragoons from Ft. Lapwai to Ft. Boise had followed this route 
that same year, but when the rush of miners was over it had 
become a deserted trail. Packer John, leaving his house and furni- 
ture, followed up the rear. 

After resting the cattle, worn, hungry and footsore from the 
rocky trail, for three days at these meadows, we set out in a 
southeasterly direction, over an open pine-covered ridge with an 
abundance of grass. There was a little creek flowing out from the 
valley, which I believed to be a tributary of the Weiser, for it ran 
to the south, while all the streams we had encountered after cross- 

220 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

ing the Salmon flowed to the north. We felt sure that the summit 
of the Little Salmon had been passed. 

On taking a survey of the country into which the trail de- 
scended, I spied smoke curling from a mountainside. It made me 
uneasy. When I pointed it out to Barnes, he said, "Oh, never mind 
what it is. Go on." I obeyed, but with misgivings. 

Soon we heard the roar of water and knew it must be a stream 
of some size. Galloping ahead, I came to a big stream, high with 
muddy water. A hasty inspection of the bank convinced me that 
we could not ford and, as the lead cattle were now in sight, and 
since cattle are much easier to swim if not allowed to stand, we 
decided to drive them in without stopping. Barnes was bothered 
to know how he was going to get across. I told him how to swim 
beside his horse, taking a firm hold on the mane, allowing his body 
to float, and guiding the horse by slapping the water on either 
side of his head to keep him straight. When Barnes weakened on 
trying this, the only way left, I told him, was to tie a firm knot 
in the yellow mare's tail, drive the other horses in after me and, 
when we had landed, to take a good tail-hold and turn the mare 
loose. My horse was accustomed to swimming. After we were 
across, Barnes let the mare go. She came, splitting the water, 
and pulling the old man after her. 

Still my mind was not easy about that smoke, so when we camped 
I set out to investigate.. Locating the smoke from the hill, I swam 
back over the river and, when near the place, dismounted and 
crept up carefully on foot. Looking out from behind some brush, 
I saw nothing more alarming than two white men sitting by a 
fire ; so I made my presence known and found them to be prospec- 
tors. They thought the Indians would not be in the valley for a 
month yet, but said there was always danger from that source. I 
returned to our camp and put Barnes' mind at rest. 

Next day we reached a beautiful valley several miles in width 
and came to a stream that literally stood on end. It was impossible 
for ourselves or the horses to swim it, but we did get the cattle 
across. Upstream a ways we found two pine trees growing close 
together and leaning towards the opposite shore. Barnes, who was 
a good axman, succeeded, with a very dull ax, in felling them side 
by side. We filled in between the trunks with brush and crossed. 
The cattle had been left to herd themselves for a day. 

The valley had widened out. The blue blossoms of the camas 
root, the favorite food of the Indians, were out in abundance. Along 
the stream hundreds of lodge poles were standing, just as the -red 
men had left them, evidence that this spot was a resort of the Ban- 
nock tribe. This valley extended for fifty miles. On the north fork 
of the Payette river we found another log house built by the same 
Packer John, a smaller one this time. Who he was, we never 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 221 

learned, but history should count him among her hardy and ven- 
turesome frontiersmen. 

Chapman's niap showed us now to be only forty miles from 
the Boise basin and Barnes concluded to leave the cattle here 
while he rode on to find a sale for them. Being nearly out of pro- 
visions, we decided to kill a small beef. After Barnes left, I built 
a scaffold, cut the meat into strips and began the drying process. 
As night approached "that lonely feeling" came over me. The 
lodge poles standing around awakened memories, not too pleasant. 
I resolved to spend the night elsewhere than in camp. Taking a 
nosebag, some beef, my blankets and my horse, I went to the hill- 
side. The bay was tied to a tree, with the nosebag on to keep him 
from squelaling after the other horses and thus betraying my 
hiding place. While I lay there awake, I heard the tramping of 
horses' feet coming from the direction of Boise. My horse raised 
his head, but the squeal was smothered by the nosebag. 

Crawling nearer the road, I could see the forms of horses in 
the darkness and could hear the pans and kettles rattling on the 
packs as they moved by. They were strung out for such a distance 
I felt sure they must be Indians. Suddenly a voice from the foot 
of the hill at our camp sang out, "We have found a white man's 
camp and a beef already cut up." 

I got to camp, to find them helping themselves to our meat. 
It proved to be a party of miners bound for a newly discovered 
mining camp in the Coeur d'Alene mountains. They told me they 
were the first to leave Boise, but that hundreds would follow them. 
So it proved. Fully two hundred passed by next day in their mad 
rush, some well equipped, others destitute; some on horseback, 
others on foot. I hid what was left of our beef to keep them from 
carrying it off. 

The third day Barnes returned discouraged. He could find no 
sale for the cattle, after all we had gone through to get them there. 
It was face about and back over the same route to Cania? prairie, 
a distance of 200 miles, which we covered in twelve days. The 
cattle were so pleased that they would travel twelve miles on their 
way at night, which made it easier. 

After reaching the prairie, I quit Barnes and went to work 
for Hald, who was selling the Thorp cattle at Warren's diggings. 
I had no faith in Hald, felt that he did not intend to tote fair with 
Thorp, and resolved to watch him. At the end of two weeks, I 
concluded that the best plan was to return to Yakima and report 
my suspicions to Thorp. Willis Thorp went back with me, over the 
same road we had come. 

When we reached White Bluffs, where we crossed the Colum- 
bia, we were surprised to find many new houses, a store, blacksmith 
shop, and one of those indispensable adjuncts of the border land, 
a saloon. A few months before there had been but one house in 

222 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

the place, occupied by A. R. Booth. Now it was a busy burg. 
Teams were loading for the newly discovered mines at Blackfoot, 
Montana, goods which had been brought up from Portland by 
steamer. All of these people believed that White Bluffs would make 
a great city. The following year, however, steamers on the Mis- 
souri river had reached Ft. Benton, opening up a much cheaper 
freight route and putting an end to several of these little mush- 
room towns along the Columbia. 

When we reached Yakima and told Thorp what we thought 
about Hald, he at once sent Leonard, his oldest son, and my brother, 
Charles Splawn, to relieve him of his charge. 

224 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 



During the year 1866 Leonard Thorp and I were furnishing 
beef cattle to several mining camps in Idaho. Our headquarters 
were on Camas prairie, not far from the present town of Grange- 
ville. Some money was due us at Orofino. It was late in the fall 
and we wanted to close up our business, so I saddled "Jack Rabbit," 
a small, wiry, sure-footed mule, named because of his resemblance 
to the common denizen of the sage brush, and went out to collect. 
I started back, after getting what was due us, in company with 
Bob Grostein, a packer and trader, who had considerable money 
with him, also. We kept company for mutual protection against 
the highway robbers who infested that part of the world in those 
days. When at 4 o'clock in the afternoon we came to the parting 
of our ways and bade each other good-bye, we felt it was horse 
and horse which had the more dangerous route. Mine lay over a 
high rolling prairie without a trail, and with Lawyer's canyon in 
front, which could not be crossed on horseback for a distance of 
ten miles. I had chosen this unknown way, rather than face the 
foes known to be waiting my return on the trail I had come. Kind 
providence had helped me through a great many difficulties before, 
so I felt confident this time. 

The sun was hanging low over the top of Craig's mountain, 
the ground owl came out of his hole to hoot at me as I passed, 
while from over the prairie, to add to the loneliness, came the coy- 
ote's howl. Soon it would be dark — and that nightmare of a canyon 
not far ahead that I must cross. 

I looked back. Three horsemen were following me at full 
gallop. At first sight, they were welcome — ^human companionship. 
Then came the awful fear that they were human vultures after my 

I touched my little Jack Rabbit with the spurs. He seemed to 
take in the situation and away he flew as never before. After a run 
of a mile, my pursuers had not gained. My mind had been busy 
working out a way to cross the canyon. Of course, the mule could 
be deserted and I take to the rocks and probably escape, but I 
hated to leave my loyal mount, who was straining every nerve to 
help me. Just ahead the country began to be broken, with scatter- 
ing trees — the canyon. By a backward glance, I saw that my pur- 
suers were separating, one to the right and two to the left, intend- 
ing to cut me off from going either up or down, if it were impossi- 
ble to cross. Our chance was a desperate one, and should we fail, 
I resolved that my heavy Colt's revolver should speak for me from 
behind the rocks. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 225 

At last at our feet, deep, dark and dangerous, lay the fateful 
canyon, while coming up on either side behind were the blood- 
thirsty creatures. Quick action was necessary. We spied, the mule 
almost as soon as I, a rabbit trail down the almost perpendicular 
side. Dismounting, I tied a long rope to his halter and started to 
lead him down. With great difficulty I kept my footing. Often the 
brink of some yawning abyss would open out as if reaching for a 
victim. I had a feeling somehow that my guardian angel was 
near me that night. The mule, still following, seemed to huvf 
wings instead of feet. Like a ghost of the air, he never missed, 
though the falling rocks we loosened sent back echoes from a world 
below. At last the bottom was reached. We stopped only a mom.ent 
to rest and listen. No sound came from the steep hill, so we felt 
safe. It was almost dark and we had found the same little trail 
leading up the further side. At the end of an hour of struggling, 
every moment fraught with the greatest danger, we at last reached 
the top, torn and bleeding. After a short rest, we made the thirty 
miles to camp with the stars to guide, reaching it just before day- 

226 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 



Held Up by Snow— Visit With Angus McDonald — 
Collecting Methods at Blackfoot Mines — Major 
Thorp's Illness — The Flood. 

In February, 1867, Leonard Thorp and I, with an Indian 
called Wa-tus (Washington) as helper, started out with a band of 
cattle from Yakima for the Blackfoot mines near Deer Lodge, Mon- 
tana. The winter in the Yakima valley had been very mild, so our 
anxiety and enthusiasm to be up and doing got the better of our 
judgment. We had no sooner started than the weather turned 
loose. At White Bluffs the cattle suffered considerably from their 
swim across the Columbia, owing to a gale from the north. We 
remained ten days on Crab creek, hoping that the weather would 
moderate. While here, our Indian was taken sick and would not 
move out of camp. When asked concerning his ailment, he ex- 
pressed surprise that we did not know; he informed us he was 
doomed to die soon. The day we had eaten dinner at White Bluffs, 
it seems, To-wad-de, a doctor with a bad medicine, had been pres- 
ent. To-wad-de's tam-man-na-was was the evil eye which had 
killed many of his tribe. He had gazed during dinner intently at 
Washington's plate and so poisoned the food. 

Washington requested me to get a paper and write his last 
will and testament. First he divided his horses between his wife 
and children, and asked me to see that a just division was made. 
Then he dwelt on his own noble qualities, viz., that he had never 
disturbed the whites when they came to settle in his country; that 
he had been baptized as a child by the first priest who came to the 
Yakima country, and that his heart was good. Having finished this 
strange paper, I walked off and sat down as if in meditation. 
Returning to him, with a serious look, I bade him not be downcast. 
I had the medicine, I said, to break the power of the evil-doer. 
I recalled how the year before, when the day was so hot that some 
of the cattle dropped dead, and we still had a forty-mile desert to 
cross before reaching water at Wash-tuc-na lake, Washington had 
done me a kindness. Coming to me in the night, he asked what I 
would give him tO' bring rain by early morning. I offered $10. 
This was satisfactory and he immediately began his ceremony of 
contortions and song. We were driving through the night, but the 
cattle gave out within five miles of the lake. Suddenly a dark cloud 
appeared. It rained for an hour — we were saved. I told Wash- 
ington that in return for saving my cattle I would save him. I gave 
him a big dose of Ayer's pills — but no results. The next day I gave 
him a larger one. Still nothing doing. He was discouraged and 
so were we. He said my medicine was only for white men. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 227 

Leonard and I held a consultation and decided that the best 
thing was to give him enoug];i either to kill or cure, so we gave 
him a good half bottle — a dozen ordinary doses. He still lived. 
When we continued the journey next day, Washington's work was 
to drive the horses in front of the cattle. That day he was quite 
as much out of the saddle as in, but towards evening he lay down, 
fully intending to die. We went on with the horses, leaving him 
there. During the night the wind came up very cold. It revived 
the Indian and he came into camp. A blizzard raged and we 
remained in bed until noon. Washington arose, built a fire, and 
after he had had a bite to eat, went to hunt the horses and cattle. 
He found them a few miles away in a large grassy bottom on Crab 
creek and came back to report. 

The storm was over in a few days and we moved on. At our 
next camp we found plenty of trout holes full of fish. Rigging up 
a gunny sack, we dipped up all we could use during the two weeks 
we remained here hoping for the snow to disappear. We had only' 
traveled one day when we ran into it again, and a gloomy wait of 
ten days did not soothe our restless spirits any. We did not know 
the country ahead, but surmised we were near the Spokane river. 
To be sure, we sent our Jndian to find out. He returned next day 
and reported having reached the river at Spokane Jimmie's bridge. 
Joyfully we moved forward, though making slow progress. The 
second day we found by the road a horse with a pack saddle under 
his belly. Evidently he had been out this way all winter. We took 
him along, but never discovered his owner. 

We were glad to see Spokane Jimmie at the bridge. For forty 
days we had not met a soul. 

The year before Bill Parker had sold a band of cattle to Angus 
McDonald of the Hudson's Bay Company at Ft. Colville. It oc- 
curred to us that we might find a sale there for ours. After a two 
days' ride over muddy roads, my mule and I reached the fort. 
Though I failed to make a sale, I felt more than repaid for the 
trip by meeting McDonald, one of the last of the old factors, and 
his charming daughter, Christine, a half-blood Indian. She was 
a girl of education, possessed of a fine intellect, a strong person- 
ality and was a noted horsewoman. She was beloved by all who 
knew her. 

When I got back to the cattle, we moved camp up to Spokane 
prairie at Schnebley's bridge, not far from the old landmark, An- 
toine Plant's house. We had passed by where the old Spokane 
house had stood, a fur trading establishment built in 1810 ; also the 
Chemakane mission established in 1839. The snow in the Coeut 
d'Alene mountains was so deep that we were compelled to remain 
here two months. 

228 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

A few days after our arrival Capt. Gray, of the Steamer Mary 
Moody,* told us that we could drive cattle from Cabinet landing 
on the lake to the Kootenai mines. As anything was better than 
the present inactivity, we drove a small band to the lake. They 
pushed out a gang plank from the steamer and we drove the cattle 
aboard, a feat I should never have believed could be done. Leonard 
and Washington accompanied them. Scarcely were they out of 
sight when news came from Colville that new diggings had been 
discovered on Forty-nine creek. My friend, Len White,t was cap- 
tain of the little steamer, Forty-nine, which plied on the Columbia 
above Kettle Falls, and I kept in touch with him to know if there 
was likely to be a rush of miners to those diggings, so that we might 
be first on the ground with our cattle. We were doomed to dis- 
appointment in this direction. 

Two weeks passed with no word from Leonard, though I knew 
from Capt. Gray that the cattle had been unloaded in two feet of 
snow. One day he and Washington came straggling into camp on 
foot, ragged and worn, with only one horse, carrying the pack. 
The rest of the horses had died the second day after leaving the 
steamboat from eating a poison weed resembling the tobacco plant. 
They had walked the whole seventy-five miles to the Kootenai mines, 
and back, besides having to drive the cattle, going with no feed. 
Leonard and the Indian, after resting up in camp, returned to the 
Yakima, the former to pay off the indebtedness on our cattle, and 
the latter to remain. 

While Leonard was gone, I visited Spokane Falls, which was 
then only an Indian fishery. Near our camp, in a bend of the river, 
were the bones of the thousand horses that had been rounded up and 
shot by Col. Wright nine years before, a wanton destruction, since 
some chiefs had already surrendered and others were gathering their 
horses preparatory to surrendering. 

By the first of July Leonard had returned and we moved out 
over the Mullen road, reaching the Coeur d'Alene mission the second 
day, a beautiful spot surrounded by mountains. Father Caruna 
was in charge. He had a good church and a number of smaller 
buildings. Right under the shadow of the mission that night we 
lost two horses. After searching unsuccessfully all the morning, 
we concluded they had been stolen, and interviewed the Father 
about the matter. He certainly sent the word out, for the horses 
were soon brought in. 

Pack trains now began to fall in behind us. They, too, had been 
waiting back on the Spokane. We broke the trail, crossing and re- 
crossing the river, then going over the summit of the mountain 
with no feed for our cattle until we reached the St. Regis river, 
where we lay by for three days to give them a chance to eat. Here 

*The Mary Moody had been built the previous year to ply on Lake Pend d'Oreille. 
tLen White was the best pioneer steamboat man on the coast. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 229 

the packers overtook vis and thanked us most heartily for our 
pioneer work on the trail. 

The Bitter Root valley which we reached three days later was 
truly the gem of the mountains. Here a few old trappers with their 
Indian wives and half-breed children had settled, making a wise 
choice in their habitation. Missoula was a small frontier town con- 
taining several men possessed of large fortunes, retired frontier 
traders. Close by was Hellgate where the river rushed through a 
canyon. We finally reached the Blackfoot mines located on a small 
stream in a bunch grass plain. We camped on Nevada creek and 
found our worst disappointment at this end of the road. The whole 
country was full of cattle driven there fropi all parts, even from 
so far away as Texas. Competition was fierce and it required hus- 
tling to make a sale at all. Energy was our greatest asset, so we 
set to work. We made the rounds of the camps every day, deliver- 
ing cattle to the various pens — then lying awake most of the night 
devising ways and means whereby we could collect the money due 
us. It was a strenuous life. 

The butchers were a disreputable, unreliable bunch. All the 
requirements for entering the business were to cut down a tree, 
saw off a block or two, get a knife, steel and cleaver and announce 
the house open for trade. Men would fall over themselves to 
furnish beef. We were bad enough ourselves, as we were anxious 
to get rid of our stock and get out of the country. If selling was 
hard, collecting became a science. 

One of our customers, a young, robust man to whom I men- 
tioned our account, told me that he had never paid for a beef yet 
and did not propose to now. While I admired his frankness, I dis- 
liked his style. He further informed me that when we grew tired 
of delivering cattle to him, we could stop, as there were other cat- 
tlemen ready to fall into line. We gave him a demonstration of our 
collecting methods and — well, he paid his bill in full, remarking 
that we were the only ones who had ever pulled even with him. 

Our largest customer was the firm of Simpson & Guthrie. 
Simpson's reputation had reached me before — ^black as could be — 
but Guthrie was a stranger, and paymaster for the firm. They were 
supposed to pay each Monday morning, since the miners generally 
came in on Sunday and settled up. So Monday mornings we were 
strung out like a bread line, or like hungry buzzards over a dead 
carcass. The paymaster paid what and whom he pleased, but some- 
how it never pleased him to pay us. Our account was getting large 
and it occurred to us that we had better be finding a way to get it 
paid. In order to diagnose the case, it was advisable to know some- 
thing of Guthrie's hopes, aspirations and habits, so I cultivated his 
acquaintance and found him not a bad fellow at heart. He told 
me that he andi his partner had an agreement that the first one to 
take a drink of liquor was to forfeit to the other his interest in the 


Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

business. One day he called me into his bed room and confided in 
me. We had not been receiving fair treatment, he said, at his hands. 
The other cattle men who pretended to be our friends, had been 
paying him regularly for favors. "We owe them very little now," 
he burst out. "They have money which I should have paid you. 
Now, I am sure that Simpson gets liquor. If you will arrange it 
so that I can have a good drunk, you will be taken care of here- 

The information regarding our friends was interesting. We 
made up our minds that they should swallow some of their own 
medicine. Guthrie had his drunk in due time, and we received our 
reward — our money in full. Our foxy friends came out at the end 
of the season in the hole, where they had expected us to be. 

Major Thorp, Leonard's grandfather, arrived in camp, accom- 
panied by "Dirty Tom." The Major's companion did not appeal 
to us. He soon went away. About October IS we had sold out 
and collected our money and were prepared to return home, when 
the Major was taken ill. Dirty Tom reappeared and asked to be 
allowed to go back with us. I was nursing the old man one day 
when Leonard came in and said that Dirty Tom had gone on ahead 
to wait for us at Missoula. 

I had buried our money near camp and had told no one where. 
Feeling uneasy about it, I rode out to dig it up, and found that the 
hole had been opened. The larger purse was still there, but the 
smaller one, containing $900 in selected nuggets, was missing. 
The Major insisted that I should stay with him and that Leonard 
should go after Tom. I was a caged lion, roaring and kicking, till 
the sick man said, "Go, for God's sake, go. You'll kill me if you 
stay here." 

Securing the best horse in the stable, I followed two hours 
behind Leonard. At the forks of the road, twenty-five miles on 
the way, I saw from the horse tracks that Leonard had taken the 
wrong trail. Some time after dark I came to a roadhouse. When 
I inquired of the proprietor, who was outside, if he had seen a man 
on a black horse pass, he replied that a man answering the descrip- 
tion was inside eating supper. I explained my business and the 
proprietor advised me to do nothing until morning, promising me 
that he would guard one door while I looked after the other. The 
guilty expression on Tom's face when I entered was sufficient 
evidence. When he expressed suriprise at seeing me so soon, I 
told him some business below had to be attended to before we started, 
so I had come to arrange it. 

Next morning, when our horses were saddled, waiting near 
the door, I told him what the business was; also that he was to 
return with me and dig up the money — I knew he did not have it 
on him. He refused, but when I grabbed my six-shooter and pointed 
the way back, he obeyed. I drove him on ahead. Leonard overtook 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 231 

us, after we had gone a short distance. At camp Leonard held the 
gun on him while I fixed the noose in the rope to hang him. He 
knew we meant business. He took up a pick and went up the hill 
to a black stump. After sticking the pick in a time or two, he 
brought forth the can containing the purse. We let him go then. 
When we weighed the gold it was short over thirty dollars. 

Next morning I saw Tom in town surrounded by a bunch of 
fellows generally conceded to be outlaws. The head of the vig- 
ilantes, a blacksmith and a friend of mine, came to ask me con- 
cerning the affair, and when I told him of the circumstances, said: 
This bunch of outlaws have it in for you boys, but we will see you 
through." Tom rode by the blacksmith's shop a short time later. 
The smith stepped out and handed him a slip of. paper. It was a 
warning, as I learned afterwards, for him to leave town within 
fifteen minutes, signed by the vigilantes. 

Superior court was to convene next day at Deer Lodge. Three 
nights later, as I was up late taking care of the Major, the clatter 
of hoofs was heard coming from the direction of Deer Lodge. They 
stopped at our door, and our friend, the blacksmith, stepped in to 
inform us that a warrant for our arrest was now in the hands of 
the sheriff. Our friend was foreman of the grand jury then sit-, 
ting. Dirty Tom had brought three witnesses before them, who 
had testified that we had held Tom up and threatened to hang him. 
While the blacksmith felt sure that we would not be convicted, he 
knew that it would delay us, when we were anxious to get home 
before cold weather. 

"You go into hiding a few days," he said, "until I fix it." 
We thanked him, I gathered up our money and walked to camp, 
promising the Major that we would be back Wednesday night. 
Arousing Leonard and telling him the story, we packed up and 
moved out towards the mountains. It was snowing, so our tracks 
were covered. About daylight we found a grassy spot for our 
horses and camped. Wednesday night, true to our promise, we 
tied our horses in the brush out of town and crept up to the Major's 
room. He was feeling better. The blacksmith had been to see 
him and told him in a few days everything would be all right. 
We arranged that, if all was well, and he wished Leonard to return 
and stay with him to help him home, he was to drop us a letter 
addressed to a little postoffice down the road. We then prepared 
to leave. At the postoffice mentioned there was a letter from the 
Major asking Leonard to return. Silently shaking hands, we parted. 
With my saddle and pack horse I headed for home, glad to leave 
a country where a man had to fight morning, noon and night to 
maintain his own against thieves and cutthroats, but loath to leave 
my friend and partner behind. 

At Missoula, after stabling the horses and eating supper, as I 
was leisurely coming out of the restaurant, confident that my worries 

232 Ka-nii-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

were over, a man standing in the alley beckoned to me. It was 
Charley Conner, whom I had known in the Cariboo five years 
before. He asked me if I had been having trouble with any one. 
When I told him he said, "Yes, your description taUies with that 
of the fellow I saw at the sheriff's office. The sheriff is paying 
me three dollars a day and my board to watch for you. You had 
better move on. Jack. I won't report you." 

After thanking him, I moved. Charley Conner never forgot a 
favor. I camped off the road that night and rose early. Towards 
noon two men came riding towards me along the trail' at a break- 
neck pace. Without slacking, the yelled as they passed, "Turn back. 
We were just robbed two miles ahead of you !" With the sheriff 
hot on my trail behind and robbers in front, I had little choice, so 
rode on. About 4 o'clock came a clatter of hoofs from the rear, 
which made me apprehend the sheriff, but it was the two men who 
said they had been robbed. I told them there would be no reason 
for a highwayman holding me up. I was perfectly safe. 

From a ridge off the trail that evening I heard the sound of 
rushing water. I went down to it for the sake of the grass. While 
unpacking, the cracking of brush caused me to look around. A 
footman eyed me closely, asking what I was doing there. When 
I explained, he said, "I have a cabin near here," and bade me fol- 
low. I finished unpacking, throwing it all down as carelessly as 
if it did not contain all my worldly wealth. I even left my six- 
shooter on the saddle. After the horses were hobbled, I followed 
my host to the house. He had a bad face, but it was up to me to 
play a part. I never touched anything but my blankets, which he 
told me to bring in and make a bed on the floor. He asked me a 
great many questions before going to sleep. 

Awakened from a deep slee;p by the sound of horsemen outside 
the cabin, I gathered myself to be ready. Four men entered. My 
host arose, lighted a candle and conducted the visitors into the 
kitchen, where they talked over the situation in low tones. I peeped 
at them. They certainly were tough lookers. While they were eat- 
ing and talking I pretended to sleep. One of the men came and 
held a candle close to my face ; then went out again. "On trial for 
life with a packed jury" kept running through my brain. They 
whispered again and once more the man with the candle came in 
and looked at me. Thumping through my mind went thoughts of 
home, of my money, of why I had not delivered Dirty Tom over to 
the proper authorities. When the man went out, I breathed again, 
relieved but exhausttd. 

Next morning we all ate breakfast together. They plied me 
with questions. When I lifted the pack on the horse I knew 
from the weight that all my gold was still there. Bidding my host 
good-bye, I moved on, glad that another day and night had passed. 
Fifteen miles along I came to a band of thirty men, who had 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 233 

encamped and were awaiting reinforcements before attempting to 
cross the mountains. They feared robbers; some of them, indeed, 
had already encountered them. The two men who had passed me 
the evening before were waiting here. I hated to be dallying along, 
so started on alone, but had traveled only a few miles when shots 
were heard ahead and two men who had made the attempt to get 
through, came back on the run, saying that a band of highwaymen 
shot at them when they failed to obey the command to stop. I 
hesitated, but not for long. Three men appeared on the trail ahead, 
then disappeared, thinking perhaps that there were more men 
following me. I retreated back to camp. 

Next day ten men swelled our numbers, so we went forward 
on the alert. We were not molested that day. We remained over 
night at a roadhouse kept by a man named Skinner, whom I had 
known for some time, having last seen him when passing through 
in July. I was fully convinced that he worked in conjunction with 
the road agents. When I told my suspicions to some of the more 
conservative men of the party, they agreed to watch his actions 
closely that night. He had a small stack of swamp hay, which he 
refused to sell, so we confiscated it. Towards midnight we heard 
out on the road the sound of an owl hooting. It was not a good 
imitation. Skinner stole out of the cabin — we were watching in 
the dark — and crawled along the trail in the direction of the hoot. 
When he came close to the tree where another man and I were 
hiding, we grabbed him. When questioned regarding his midnight 
maneuvers, he replied that sleeplessness caused him to take a walk. 
My "pardner" kicked him back to his cabin and shoved him in, 
impressing on him the necessity of remaining there for the balance 
of the night. 

When in the morning some of the men went back to investi- 
gate the owl's hoot, they found that a party of horsemen must have 
had quite a wait there, eventually going back over the road they 
came. The men were going to hang Skinner before leaving, but 
I was anxious to be going. Time was too precious to waste on 
the like of him. We warned him that we would scatter the word 
far and wide what he was doing. Later I learned that he left the 
roadhouse a few days after our warning. We reached Spokane 
bridge next day, out of the zone of danger from robbers. As the 
party with which I had come this far were bound for Walla Walla, 
we separated. 

At my first night's camip I found a new miner on the Columbia, 
returning with a wagonload of supplies from Walla Walla. The 
next evening I saw ahead of me something quite rare, a fresh 
wagon track. My curiosity caused me to follow it, for I knew that 
here was another restless pioneer seeking a beauty spot for a home. 
I found him on the beautiful Crab creek meadow, where our cattle 
had grazed in the spring blizzard, Henry Marlin, an old Oregon 

23i- Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

pioneer of 1845. I made a late start next morning, so interested 
was I in the history of the old man, who had been one of the party 
of "lost emigrants."* 

During the day I had noticed tracks of a shod horse crossing 
and recrossing the trail, and I thought the robbers were still about. 
I did not camp until after dark and went to bed without fire or 
supper. In the morning, while gathering wood, I saw a man rise 
from a bunch of brush in front of me. My wood went down and 
my gun up. He threw up his hands, shouting, "Don't shoot!" I 
saw then that it was Henry Neverson, who kept a trading post at 
the mouth of the Okanogan. He was returning home from Walla 
Walla with a train of supplies and had remained to visit A. R. 
Booth, the storekeeper at White Bluffs, sending his Indians and 
pack horses ahead, and it had been their tracks which I had seen. 
He and Mr. Booth had celebrated and, unable to go further, Never- 
son had fallen asleep here. Hjs horse was found not far away 
with its foot tangled in the bridle. 

Home never seemed so good to me as it did after this long, 
unprofitable trip. The only gain I got out of it was a better 
knowledge of human nature. Major Thorp's recovery was slow. 
When he was able to travel the Coeur d'Alene mountains were 
blocked with snow, so the only way out was by stage to Salt Lake 
and thence to Umatilla, Oregon. The Major and Leonard rode 
night and day in all kinds of weather. At Umatilla Leonard ran 
out of money and did not know how to ask for credit — he had 
never had to. He started on foot for Yakima for help in getting 
the Major over. 

The settlers had at that time an arrangement whereby one of 
their number would make a trip every two weeks to Umatilla for 
the mail. Tuesday was the day to start and it was Charles Splawn's 
turn. After climbing the hill at the present Prosser, he found the 
snow a foot deep, making it difficult to follow the trail, and it was 
very cold. Suddenly his horse pricked up its ears at a dark object 
ahead. Hurrying on, he saw it was a man on the trail. He got 
down, turned the body over, and it was Leonard Thorp, his own 
brother-in-law, almost frozen. Charles revived Leonard, put him 
on the horse and continued on to Umatilla, where arrangements 
were made for bringing Leonard and the Major home in a sleigh. 
It became necessary to amputate all of Leonard's toes, Dr. Nelson 
of Sim-co-e performing the operation. He had only crude instru- 
ments to do it with, and no anaesthetics. Leonard was a soldier 
of the old type, duty first and self afterward. After we had paid 
our debts there was no money left, but I had health and an abund- 
ance of energy, while Leonard was crippled for life. We remained 
partners for two years, during which time we retrieved our lost 

•Bancroft's History of Oregon, Vol, I, pp. Si6-si7. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 235 

fortunes, after which we dissolved a partnership which had been 
unmarred by even a harsh word. 

During 1867 early snows had fallen in the mountains. On 
December 11 warm rains, accompanied by a chinook wind, came on. 
On the twelfth Bayless Thorp and I drove all the cattle from the 
river bottom to a higher bench on the Mok-see, for fear that the 
river would rise. We were staying in the house of my brother 
Charles, a short distance north of the Riverside schoolhouse. We-i- 
pah, the salmon man of the tribe, with a few other Indian families, 
had a temporary encampment on the east bank of the river near 
the lone pine, a short distance above the present Mok-see bridge. 
This old Indian, with a small boy, had gone to the agency at Sim- 
co-e after his annuities, which were distributed once a year in 
accordance with the treaty. 

About midnight of the twelfth the rain began pouring in tor- 
rents. The noise of the rushing waters was terrific. They swept 
everything before them, tearing out trees and cutting new channels. 
Amid the crash and roar of the wild night an occasional human 
voice could be heard from the opposite shore and answering voices 
from the Indian camp near the lone pine. We knew that their 
camp was under water, but had no canoe in which to go to the 
rescue. They escaped by climbing into the trees until the water 

When We-i-pah heard the cries from his encampment, he said 
to the boy with him: "The wail of my old woman, who is blind 
and almost helpless, comes to me. I must go. If I should not 
reach her, tell her I heard her calling." He rode into the raging 
torrent and was seen no more. He was more than a hundred years 
old. It was a noble deed of a noble man, even though he was a 

Next day Bayless and I started on horseback for the high 
ground near the present home of H. B. Scudder. The whole Mok- 
see bottom was one vast sheet of water as far as Union Gap. The 
families of C. P. Cooke and E. A. Thorp, two new settlers of that 
year, were on the second floors and roofs of their houses. The only 
canoe we knew of was tied to a bunch of willows in a slough far 
over towards the river. We decided to try to reach it. Unsaddling 
our horses, we took off our coats and boots. Bayless had a long 
rope and I thought of a pole. Mounting bareback, we headed our 
horses down through this sheet of water, sometimes wading, some- 
times swimming. As we passed the houses of those two families, 
they cheered us, as they knew we were working for their relief. 
The canoe was still there, but with only the rear end out of 
water. The bow was down with the willows to which it was tied. 
To get it loose was a problem. Bayless, with his rope, threw a loop 
over the rear end, then fastened the rope in a collar around his 
horse's neck. He started up and the pull broke the smaller rope 

236 Ka-"mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

which held the canoe to the willows. We pulled it in to a shallower 
place and dumped the water out of it. Bayless then went back with 
the two horses, while I pulled for the shore. At F. M. Thorp's 
house I found two paddles. With the help of these, I moved up 
stream and took the families off their submerged houses and landed 
them at Thorp's. 

That night, H. D. Cock, who was running a ferry just above 
Rocky Ford, a few miles below the present Mabton, was at Thorp's. 
By starting early, he reached his home before the flood got there 
and so saved his boat. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 237 


A Drive in 1868 — Indian Difficulties All Along- 
Many miles on an Empty Stomach. 

Borrowing money to buy a hundred head of beef cattle, also 
enough to pay the duty on them into Canada, Willis Thorp and I 
set out in June, 1868, for the mines at the north. We traveled by 
way of Selah, Squaw creek, over the We-nat-sha mountains to 
Ko-lock-um creek and down this to the Columbia at Rock Island. 
The water was high and we knew there would be difficulties in 
crossing the We-nat-sha, Entiat, Chelan and Methow rivers if we 
went up the left side, so concluded to cross the Columbia here, go 
up to Moses Coulee and swim back at the mouth of the Okanogan, 
avoiding in this way not only the streams on the west side, but also 
the rocky trails, which were hard on the cattle's feet. 

We arranged for four canoes, three Indians to a canoe, the 
place selected for the crossing being about four miles above Rock 
Island, with a good bank and the current setting to the opposite 
shore. The cattle were swimming in fine shape and had reached 
the middle of the river, when I saw a canoe move out from behind 
and shoot up towards the lead cattle. Though I yelled to them to 
go back, the Indians continued to push forward till they were in 
front and deliberately turning the cattle back. The animals, bewil- 
dered, began swimming around in a circle and drifting with the 
current towards the rapids. Willis and I rode on down the bank, 
powerless to do anything but await results. 

Soon that rolling, seething mass of cattle struck the awful 
whirlpool. Nothing could be seen but heads, horns and tails. I 
never expected to see any come alive out of that fierce mix-up, but 
fortune was with us. The cattle continued to drift with the current, 
we following along the bank on horseback. From behind a rocky 
bluff sped two canoes with Indians in them armed with poles, who 
tried to kill some of the cattle by hitting them on the head just 
back of the horns. A couple of shots from our side soon stopped 
that part of the performance. 

At Black's bar, ten miles below, where we put the cattle in a 
position, a tall mountain threw a shadow across the river. With the 
dazzling sun taken from the eyes of the cattle., they swam ashore 
on the same side from which they had entered the water. Though 
we found on counting them there was only one missing, the bitter 
experience we had just undergone had certainly shaken, for a time 
at least, our confidence in the noble red man. The next morning 
four of those Indians had the nerve to come to camp to ask for pay 
for their services of the day before. Such impudence was too much 

238 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

for us. We waded into them with clubs and, if necessary, would 
have resorted to guns. 

Packing our horses, we drove on up the river, followed by a 
band of Indians, a short distance behind, who were singing and 
yelling, no doubt in the hope of intimidating us. But we were in 
no humor to stand for any more of their work and would not have 
gone much out of our way to avoid a fight. 

Though the waters of the We-nat-sha were high, we got the 
cattle across safely, but still had to figure on getting our horses 
and packs over. An Indian with a canoe wanted the modest sum 
of $20 for ferrying our packs. Nothing less would do this red 
brigand. We loaded our things in the boat and paddled across. 
Once over, packs, horses and cattle, I gave the old salmon eater 
$5, and shoved him and his canoe out into the river with the parting 
suggestion that he get back to the other side and stay there. 

The cattle we turned on the flat and they grazed on up the 
Columbia. After hobbling the horses near camp, we prepared to 
cook supper. All this time the band of Indians were on the opposite 
side of the river, yelling and dancing. Their war whoops seemed 
to drown the noise of the rushing waters. After giving this per- 
formance time to strike terror into us, they rode closer. One, riding 
out by himself, said: "Wake le-le-cUp sun, cupit okoke sunmika 
nanich — okoke polikely mika memaloose." (In a short time the 
sun will be down. This is the last sun you will see. Tonight you 
die.") We shot back at the braggart this remark: "Mika-wa-wa. 
Kock-wa Speel-yi. Pe komox mika tum-tum. Klosh mika killapi. 
Kah kloochman mitlite. Mika quas-copa sullox." You talk like 
the coyote and a dog's heart you have. It is well you go back 
where the women are. You are afraid to fight.) 

They disappeared for some reason. We took turns sleeping. 
Next morning there was not an Indian to be seen. We gathered 
our cattle on the way up the river. About four miles above where 
we had camped the trail ran around a rocky point, where only one 
animal could pass at a time. It was a dangerous place, since a 
misstep would plunge a steer over a precipice. I had gone that 
way before successfully, however. We had the additional fear that 
some of the Indians who had threatened us the night before might 
be lying in the rocks, waiting for us. Willis offered to ride around 
first, and returned, reporting no signs of Indians, so we moved 

At the Entiat we were fortunate enough to find a canoe on 
our side of the river, in which we crossed our saddles and camp 
outfit. But before we got out of camp in the morning an Indian 
came along and discovered we had used the canoe. He was very 
angry and told us we must pay him $10 or expect trouble. We 
were in no frame of mind to have much patience with these free- 
booters of the Columbia. I pulled him off his horse and beat him 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 239 

till he had a change of heart. When he stopped demanding his $10, 
I let up and invited him to breakfast. When I asked him why he 
had acted so, he told me that a negro named Antoine lived in a 
cabin a short distance up the Entiat, mining, for gold. The negro 
had told the Indians to make it as unpleasant as possible for any 
whites traveling through. I had found the ear marks of that negro 
before in different parts of the Indian country. He could talk the 
language of almost every tribe of the Northwest and was a con- 
stant menace to travelers along the border. It seemed a good time 
to interview this son of the desert. ^Vhen he saw me coming, he 
knew me — we had met previously — and made a run for his hut, 
but I cut him off from the cabin and gave him a few facts to think 
about. If it ever came to my ears that travelers were again har- 
rassed in these parts, I told him that some of us would hunt him 
down and rid the border of such a ruffian. As a matter of fact, 
after that he never gave any more trouble. 

During my call upon Antoine, Willis had packed up and we 
moved to the mouth of the Okanogan, where we found another 
canoe. Two miles up, on the spot where stood Ft. Okanogan of 
the Hudson's Bay company, was Foster's trading post. We went 
up on foot and found there an eccentric old character known 
throughout Eastern Washington, Nick McCoy. He had driven up 
a small band of cattle from the Willamette valley. Nick cooked 
dinner for us and had fresh meat, of which we ate heartily. As 
evening drew on, we returned to our camp. On the way Willis 
was taken very sick, but, after emptying his stomach, grew better 
and we reached camp. Soon after the earth began to turn upside 
down with me and I became unconscious. When I lay down, I 
was on a hill; when I came to, I was at the bottom, with Willis 
standing over me. He was glad enough to find that I was alive. 
He had worked over me all night and thought I was as good as 
dead. I felt as if I were full of pancakes — ^Willis had poured flour 
and water down me all night. It was the first time I had heard of 
that treatment and asked Willis where he got the idea. He said 
that his father always used it when the cows were poisoned. 

I went up to the store for medicine and while there learned that 
the fresh meat we had eaten was a ground hog Nick had killed two 
days before. I felt so weak next day that I concluded to stay at 
the store and sent Nick back to help Willis get the cattle across 
the Okanogan to a place where they could be herded easier. Towards 
noon I noticed that the cattle were across, but could see nothing of 
Willis or Nick. Later I made out that they were wrangling with a 
bunch of Indians. I got down to the river just as Nick came down 
the hill as fast as his horse could travel, with an Indian in hot pur- 
suit. I hid in the brush to watch the turn of affairs. Nick jumped 
into the canoe, with the Indian right after him. I could hear their 
conversation. Nick wanted to hold the canoe till Willis came up 

2M Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

with the pack horses, but the Indian shoved off, and commenced 
paddling to my side. The minute the canoe landed, I stepped out 
and took charge of the Indian, holding him until I learned the cause 
of the diflficulty. 

The Indians, it seemed, had demanded $20 of Willis prehm- 
inary to swimming the cattle, on the ground that the water was 
theirs as well as the grass, and they did not want the water pol- 
luted nor the grass grazed without pay. He had managed, how- 
ever, to get the cattle into the water ; whereupon they told him he 
would have to pay $20 for the canoe to cross the packs. He had sent 
Nick on to take possession of the canoe, but the Indians had over- 
heard and the race which I had witnessed ensued. When Willis 
came up with the horses I had the canoe and the ferry was operated 
to our satisfaction. 

At that season of the year the mosquitoes were so bad further 
up the Okanogan that we concluded to hold the cattle here while 
Willis made the trip to the head of Lake Okanogan and arranged 
a sale for them. He was gone ten days. As he sold the cattle to 
be delivered on this side the boundary line, we went up to where 
Oroville now stands, where the stock was turned over to Mr. Simp- 
son, who had purchased it. Willis agreed to help him drive to his 
home, where Vernon now stands, using my horses and camp outfit, 
while I returned home. 

Starting from the boimdary line, with a lunch for my dinner 
and a pair of blankets tied behind the saddle, I expected to reach 
Foster's store, seventy-five miles away, by night. Foster was at 
that time the only white man living between Yakima and the boun- 
dary. There had been miners strung out along the Columbia, but 
they had all moved on. Making a short stop at noon to let the 
horse graze and to eat my lunch, I fell asleep before eating. When 
I awoke, the lunch had disappeared, and coyote's tracks indicated 
where it had gone. What was worse, upon reaching Foster's store, 
I found the place locked. From an Indian who happened to be pass- 
ing I learned that Mr. Foster had gone up the Columbia and would 
not be back for three days. There was plenty of grass for my 
horse, but that night I feasted on scenery. On one side a beautiful 
timbered mountain stood out in bold relief; on the other side was 
the great river of the west rushing on to lose its roaring waters in 
the ocean. The one thing needful for a complete enjoyment of the 
lovely scene was a full stomach. 

I thought next day I might find a miner's camp of either 
white men or Chinese where Bridgeport now stands, but they, too, 
had gone. I realized that it was a case of endurance, as my trail 
from here went over a plain, where I would meet no one, to Moses 
Coulee, eighty miles from last night's camp. Disappointment awaited 
me at the coulee, where I had hoped to find Moses encamped. By 
this time I was beginning to have some misgivings. Would I find, 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 2i^l 

I wondered, any Indians at the Columbia where I expected to cross ? 
The sun was sinking behind the We-nat-sha mountains when I rode 
up to the bank. Not a wigwam in sight. My heart went down Hke 
the sun. Casting a longing look at the other shore, I thought of 
my creditors and of the girl I left behind me. Out from behind 
a projecting rock on the opposite shore was a lone Indian poling 
his canoe upstream. When I yelled he came over, but he had no 
food. He had been trying all day to catch salmon and had failed. 
He carried me and the saddle across, swimming the horse alongside. 
I camped with him that night. He tried to kill a rabbit with rocks, 
but was unsuccessful. My horse, having had plenty of grass, was 
still in good condition ; I was far from it. 

Off at daybreak, I rode for the Kittitas valley, where I felt 
sure I would find the village of Chief Shu-shu-skin. It was 
deserted. I hobbled the horse and proceeded to search for dried 
salmon or roots cached somewhere about. I did find a sack of dried 
kous and began to devour it, but it made me sick. Feeling that life 
was now a gamble in which I held a poor hand, I took out my 
pocketbook,and made a farewell announcement to this effect: "I 
arrived here from British Columbia June 20, 1868. After two days 
without food I found in the brush by the creek a cache of kous 
that the Indians had put there. After eating, I became sick and 
weak. Not knowing what the results may be, I take this means 
of letting those who may find me know the facts so that no one 
may be accused of foul play. Covered over by leaves under the 
pine tree to the west are my six-shooter and four thousand dollars 
in Canadian bills. Notify my brother in the Mok-see valley forty 
miles below. — Jack Splawn." 

I lost consciousness soon after and when I awoke it was night. 
Too weak to hunt for my horse, I lay where I was till daylight, 
when, feeling better, I hunted and found him near by. Afterwards 
I learned that only two miles away there were two white men, 
Fred Ludi and Dutch John, just settled there. I went over the 
Umptanum hills into the Selah. While passing McAllister's cabin, 
he called me in. This turbulent, big-fisted and quarrelsome Irish- 
man was the terror of the settlement. He had quarreled with about 
everyone except me within a radius of fifty miles. I wanted no dis- 
agreement with him, so dismounted and went in. He said, "You 
are hungry ; you will eat with me." 

I insisted on going down to the Hensons', who lived about 
a mile below, but he would not listen. Bringing out a pan of clab- 
bered milk, he put in it a handful of old-fashioned brown sugar 
and stirred it into the milk. Then some bread was laid on the table 
and, handing me a spoon, he told me to eat my fill. It did not look 
good and it tasted worse. After taking a few spoonfuls I could 
feel that its effects would be bad. I laid down the spoon, saying, 
"Excuse me, but I must eat only a little at a time." This answer 

242 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

aroused his ire and he was soon in a rage, saying: "You are too 
high-toned to eat what I Hve on. I have a notion to pour the whole 
panful down your throat." Knowing the man, I expected him to 
undertake the job, and feeling that it would be an unequal scrap, 
I decided that a good honorable retreat was better than a poor fight. 
When I got to Henson's and told Mrs. Henson my experience, a 
chicken was killed and my hunger appeased. She was one of those 
wholesome, honest women to be found among the pioneers. Now, 
after half a century, her kindness is still fresh in my memory. 

I reached home in the Mok-see next day, Willis coming in 
with the horses ten days later. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 2i3 


Beating the Grand Qiampion — The English Colony — 
A Narrow Escape. 

Those early years with the pack trains were full in incident. 
The year 1869 was one of excitement and escapes. Brother Billy 
and I drove a band of horses to Kamloops, B. C, taking along a 
couple of fast ones as a means of speculation. At Che-loh-an there 
was a large village of Yakimas, Wi-nah-pums and Sin-ki-uses. 
When they bantered us for a race, we appeared shy and they called 
us women. Assuring them that though we knew nothing about 
horse racing, we were not cowards, we promised them a race next 
day. The Indian fits his horse for a race by tying it up over night, 
to gaunt him, since horses do not run as fast or last as long on a 
full stomach. We pursued the same tactics with ours. In the 
morning the flat was covered with men, women and children, inter- 
ested in the race, and ready to make wagers on the outcome. Chief 
Smo-hal-la, of the Wi-nah-pums, on his race horse painted red and 
white in stripes, with feathers in mane and tail, rode up to me, 
saying, "Today we will see who first gets tired of betting, the 
white man or the red." 

"There are only two of us," I replied, "while you are many. 
Give us a fair deal and we will show you who quits first. We have 
not much with us, but such as .it is, you are welcome to it, if you 
win. If we win, you must let us go on our way unmolested and 
not try to steal back, like cowardly dogs, the horses you have 

He spoke earnestly, saying: "I am a great chief. If you 
win, we will not try to steal them back. This is the word of a 

They named the course, down to and around a rocky point a 
mile below us, so I got our long distance horse ready. The system 
of betting was for them to tie one of their horses to one of ours, 
then to fasten together another pair and so on. It continued till all 
of our horses were tied. Then we suggested that the winner take 
both race horses, but here they quit. All the money they could 
gather was put on a blanket. It amounted to $150 and we put in an 
equal amount. I rode our horse, while Brother Billy stood guard 
over the stakes. We started off, mid whopps and yells, a small 
Indian riding our rival's horse. On down the valley we flew over 
badger and coyote holes, turning the pole together. I knew by this 
time that I had much the better horse. A quarter of a mile from 
the outcome, many mounted Indians fell in behind to whip up their 
horse, but he was gone. I let my horse out and began to run away 
from my opponent, coming in many yards in advance. 

244 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

The chief came up, shook my hand and said, "Take the money 
and the horses, but tell me where you got your horse, so that I may 
go and buy one for myself." 

We packed up and went on, with our winnings of twenty 
horses and $150. Neither at our camp at Ko-lockum nor at Entiat 
were we bothered by Indians. They are game sports. 

At Osooyos lake, vyhere the British customs house stands, we 
camped a couple of days. Mr. Haynes, one of the inspectors, 
had just married an educated English lady, who was now the only 
white woman in that wild country. Here I first saw a horse jump 
hurdles. Mrs. Haynes had a number of hurdles set up on the flat 
near the house and used to spend much time on horseback jumping 
them. She had the cowboys and vacqueros pushed off the map for 
riding. We had met Mr. Haynes and Mr. Low on a previous trip 
and became fast friends. Both of these gentlemen later became 

Living at Penticton, at the lower end of Lake Okanogan, was 
a Mr. McFarland, whom I had met in the Yiakima. With him at 
that time was a young Irishman named Tom Ellis, who had come 
out that year. McFarland later returned to Scotland, but Ellis 
remained, becoming one of the strong men of British Columbia. 
He married and had a large family. Somewhere about 1903 he 
sold out all his cattle and land holdings, netting a big fortune. 

It was here that we learned of a great racing meet forty miles 
further up, along the road we were to travel. When we got to the 
point where the Indians had been racing, we learned that they had 
disbanded, going further up the lake. Before long we overtook an 
Indian leading a gray horse, striped with vermillion all over his 
body, and with the eagle feathers, emblem of victory, in mane and 
tail — evidently the grand champion. 

Riding up, I asked the Indian why all this paint and feathers. 
"This is the fastest horse in all the nation," he said; "swifter than 
the shooting star. He can outstrip the wind." 

I told him that we were going to camp at Simpson's near the 
head of the lake and if he wanted to find out that his horse was no 
good, we would give him a race. 

He said, "I will be there tomorrow. I hope your tongue is not 
forked and that you are no coward." 

When we told Simpson what we were going to do, he warned us 
that, unless we had a very fast horse, we had better not run, since 
the gray was the speediest animal in the Shus-shwap tribe. Next 
morning the Indians were on hand in great numbers. They possessed 
few horses but had more money than our friends in Kittitas. They 
wanted a long distance race, so we used the same horse as before. 
When they had wagered their six horses, all they had, we bet 
money, the blanket holding $300 from each side. At this juncture 
there rode up some high-bred Englishmen who had been granted 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 2^5 

large tracts of land around the head of Lake Okanogan where now 
stands the town of Vernon. They were gentlemen of leisure, with 
pedigrees longer than their purses; their only financial resources 
being the little stipends sent from time to time by the old folks at 
home. Some of them, it seems, had just received their remittances. 
They were enthusiastic regarding the running qualities of the In- 
dian's horse, seeing a chance to double their capital. 

They insisted on putting up their money with the Indians' 
wager and when we asked them if they could get along without the 
cash in the event of the gray's failure to win, they resented it, say- 
ing, "That is our business, not yours." When they had put their 
money on the blanket and we had matched it, there was $300 each, 
a neat little pile for those days. I asked Simpson, whom I had 
known before, to keep out of the game. When I suggested that if 
we skinned the bunch of Englishmen, they might give us trouble, 
he said, "No, they are too game for that. I do hope that you win, 
though, just to give them a lesson, even if I have to feed them till 
they receive another remittance." 

A Capt. Horton, a man past middle age, seemed to be the guid- 
ing spirit of that band of exiled thoroughbreds. He had seen service 
in the English army, but was now retired. His ability to squander 
wealth, I later learned, far exceeded his skill in accumulating it, and 
the time came when his bank account showed such a prodigious 
growth on the wrong side of the ledger that his family and friends 
concluded that the far away mountains of British Columbia with 
pure air and scenery in abundance would be a splendid change. 
With bar maids and revelry a long way off, the great expense of his 
up-keep would be considerably reduced. Capt. Horton and I later 
became good friends. He was a good old scout. 

The course was along the lake shore. As I mounted, Capt. 
Horton came riding up on a fine looking gray, offering to bet it 
against two of our smaller horses. We arranged the matter. As 
we turned the horses and approached the starting point, an English- 
man cried "Go." No one had given him any authority, but I did 
not question it, preferring that the Indians should have every ad- 
vantage at the start, so that there would be less ground for them to 
quarrel with the result. It was all I could do to hold our horse in, 
while the Indian rider was kicking and whipping. Near the out- 
come, I loosened rein and darted in at least 200 feet in the lead. 

The Indian, who owned the race horse, led him to one side, 
cut off his tail, split his ears and turned him loose to graze. He 
had disgraced his master. The horse Capt. Horton had wagered, my 
friend Simpson told me, was the only one he had, about all he 
owned on earth, and his only comfort outside of expectations. Call- 
ing the captain aside, I said : "You don't want to part with that 
horse. Accept him as a present from me. Some time we may be 
friends." He thanked me. 

246 Ka-mi-akih — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

The Indians lcx)ked sorrowfully at their mutilated favorite. The 
Englishmen stood dazed. I heard one of them remark to his com- 
panion, looking at our horse. "That's a deucedly fast one for the 
looks of him dpntcherknow." The other answered, "E's a rummer 
to look at, but a beggar to go." 

At Kamloops, which we reached next day, we sold all our 
horses at good prices, including the racers. The latter were taken 
up the Cariboo trail and for years raced all comers, making a for- 
tune for their owner. With two saddle horses and a pack animal 
we started for home. I tried to contract with Mr. Simpson to deliver 
him a band of cattle, but we could not agree on the price. He asked 
if he could go with us to Yakima and buy his own stock. We were 
glfld to have him, so he gathered up a few pack and riding horses 
and his young squaw whom he had just purchased at a large price. 
Capt. Horton went along to help bring the cattle back. 

We camped with Tom Ellis at the foot of the lake. He had 
heard of our cleaning out the English colony. He had known some 
of the fellows in the old country ; said they had been high rollers at 
home. At Foster's trading post at the mouth of the Okanogan, 
Simpson, who was well along in years, had had traveling enough. 
I had noticed he was getting tired. He gave me what money he 
had and said, "Buy me a band of cows and calves in Yakima. I 
will remain here until your return and pay you whatever price 
you ask. Take Capt. Horton along and give him as little money 
to spend as possible. He will be of little use to you, so do not 
depend on him for work." I bought a hundred cows and calves and 
started back. When I sent the captain and an Indian down to 
French's store with packhorses for supplies, they did not return as 
they ought. I rode after them and towards dark found the pack 
horses near the trail, the captain and the Indian lying drunk in the 
sage brush, 'down and out. I tied their saddle horses near them 
and took the pack animals home. When my herders came in next 
morning, it was difficult to tell which was the worse looking. 

A few days later, when nearing the Columbia where the Great 
Northern now crosses, I sent the captain ahead with the pack horses 
to select a camping sight, explaining that wood, water and grass 
were the essentials. We found him down among the rocks calling 
to us, "Here is our camp." When asked why he had picked out a 
series of rocky cliffs with neither wood nor grass in sight, he ex- 
claimed, "Look at that beautiful bathing spot in the river." We 
repacked and a little later came to a fine camping spot, even to the 
bathing place. About the time supper was ready, there approached 
a man on foot, presumably a white, since the Indians seldom traveled 
that way. It proved to be a prospector named Doc. Flynn, who 
said he was quitting the mountains and intended to settle some- 
where and prepare for old age. I advised him to go to the Yakima 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 247 

country and on my return from this trip found him settled in the 
We-nas where he made his home till his death a few years ago. 

At the mouth of the We-nat-sha where we had trouble the 
previous year with the Indians, I met my old friend Nan-num-kin, 
whose home was at Entiat, a day's drive up the river. We were glad 
to see each other once more. It was he and Chief Moses who had 
saved my life at this same spot five years ago. Nan-num-kin was 
now about fifty, a great hunter, most of his time being spent in the 
mountains at the headwaters of the We-nat-sha, Entiat and Chelan 
rivers. He had fought in the Yakima war of 1855-56, been in the 
battle of Toppenish when Ka-mi-akin defeated Maj. Haller, and in 
the later battle of Union Gap. He had been the companion of such 
warriors as Qual-chan, Ow-hi, Quil-ten-e-nock and Moses. He 
married the oldest daughter of Ow-hi. I never knew a better or 
more faithful Indian. He accompanied me up the river as far as 
We-al-e-gan's, known as Wapato John. From here I sent the 
captain on ahead to tell Simpson we were near, and hired a boy of 
Wapato John to help me. When within a few miles of our next 
camp. Lake Chelan, I rode on in advance to see if we could ford 
the stream. I was riding a mule that was not very gentle. There 
was a band of Indians on the opposite side of the river. I forded 
and was trying to climb the other bank when they swooped down 
on me from all sides, attacking me with clubs and knives. They 
were holding the mule by the bridle, but he jumped and kicked, 
knocking some of them down and preventing others from striking 
me. Things were getting so hot I was about to jump into the Chelan 
river to save myself. Just then it flashed over me that the river 
at that point was swift, and only two miles below it leaped over a 
precipice three hundred feet high. At this crucial moment there 
came a yell from the top of the hill. A horseman was seen ap- 
proaching at full speed. The Indians stood still, but the lone horse- 
man began knocking them right and left with his elkhorn whip 
until they began to skulk away. Then I saw that my saviour was 
In-no-mo-se-cha Bill. He called all the Indians back and said "Look 
well at this man, my friend. If ever he is molested again, I will 
shoot the man who does it on the spot where I find him." 

I shook hands with Bill and told him of the cattle a short way 
behind. He rode back with me. We crossed the cattle, Bill re- 
maining with us all night. My friendship with this young son of 
the chief of the Chelans, too, dated back five years to my first trip 
through the country. We had run horses together and I had made 
him a present of a fast one that brought him wealth. In later years 
the white man's fire water did its deadly work. He was killed at 
Ellensburg. Though his skin was red, his heart was true blue. 

Simpson was so well pleased with the cattle that he gave me a 
hundred dollars more than I charged him. 

24S Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 



In the summer of 1869 I hired an old Indian named Mowit to 
guide me to a trout fishing lake, I-i-yas, of which he had told me. 
The lake is situated at the head of the Cle Elum river. 

We struck out early one morning with a pack horse loaded 
with the necessaries for our trip. We were on horseback and fol- 
lowed the old Indian trail by Swuck and Te-an-a-way creeks. Reach- 
ing Cle Elum lake, we traveled on the east side of this beautiful 
body of water and camped on the stream known as Salmon-le-Sac. 

It was my first trip into this part of the country. After making 
supper off some fine trout we caught here, my companion brought 
forth his pipe, filled it and proceeded to smoke. In silence he drew 
in the whiffs of smoke, letting it escape through his nose. As I 
lay on my blankets studying his features, I thought he looked the 
picture of contentment. 

Laying aside his pipe at last, he fell into deep meditation. It 
was growing dark. The hoot of an owl came from the hillside to 
the west. My companion at once was on the alert. Another hoot ; 
and he arose to his feet. 

"Do you hear it?" he asked. 

I said I did; that it was an amulth (owl). 

He said it was no amulth, but the voice of a Stick Indian, a 
wild tribe of dwarfs supposed to inhabit the snowy mountains in 
this region. 

Mowit said he knew their chief well. His name was Tal-le- 
lasket and he thought he could fix it so that we would not be mo- 
lested by the Sticks. 

Rising, he shouted, "Tal-le-lasket, nica Mowit chaco lolo schwe- 
yap-po, kopa okoke illahee. Wake mika mamock cultus kopa nesika" 
(I, Mowit, come bringing a white man into this country. Don't do 
us any harm." 

Two hoots from the owl on the hill answered him and the old 
Indian gave a satisfied grunt and sat down. 

Of course I immediately asked him about Tal-le-lasket and 
the Stick Indians, and he told me the story found elsewhere in 
this book. Realizing that I had at hand a fountain head of in- 
formation, I passed Mowit a plug of tobacco and some matches and 
asked him to talk of the old legends. With its snowy peaks, lakes 
and many streams, it must have been a paradise for hunters, I said, 
and I wondered what things had happened here in the long ago. He 
sat silent for a long time, with his face turned to the west and his 
eyes peering into the darkness. Turning, finally, he said to me, "I 
will tell you my story. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 249 

"Long ago when I was young I roamed* these hills and was 
considered the greatest hunter in the tribe. I loved the chase and 
often, when in pursuit of game, was led far up among the snowy 
crags where frequently I met the Stick Indians who inhabited that 
region. Their chief, Tal-le-lasket, and I became good friends. In 
fact, I was the only stranger they welcomed into their tribe. 

"I always jerked or dried the meat of the animals I killed and 
stored it in some of the many caves in which the country abounded. 
When the Stick Indians were unsuccessful in their hunts, I sup- 
plied them from my stores, so I had many friends among them. 

"Seldom did I visit my tribe in the Kittitas valley. Young 
maidens of the tribe tried to make love to me, but to no avail. I 
loved the wild life of the hunter and I had no use for a woman. 

"One day, while high up in the mountains, I killed a large, fat 
deer and was lugging it towards the Why-ne-mick creek, just over 
the hill west of here, to a large cave where I already had much 
meat in store. Nearing the creek, I espied a lone tepee. Approach- 
ing the solitary lodge, I flung down the deer and went inside. 
Seated on wild goat robes that covered the floor were an old man 
and an old woman and a young girl dressed in beaded buckskin and 
moccasins, her long locks hanging down her back. As she arose 
to welcome me, my eyes were blurred and my knees were weak. 

"Her voice was like the yellow breast that sings from the 
trees in the early morn. Her piercing eyes seemed to read my inmost 

"The old man spoke, saying, 'What is your name and what your 

" 'Mowit,' I answered ; 'I belong to the Pish-wan-wap-pams 
and am known as the lone hunter of the Why-ne-mick.' 

"He rose and took me by the hand, saying, 'I have heard of 
you as a great hunter with a big heart and we moved our lodge here 
that we might find you. I am Tal-le-kish, known as the old man 
of the mountains. Many summers my old woman and I have pitched 
our lone tepee among the big mountains around Kachess lake. We 
have grown old and cannot much longer pursue the mountain sheep. 
We want you in our lodge, that we may be free from the fear of 
starvation. Wa-ke-ta is good to look upon and the sunshine of 
our lives, our hope in old age. Take her for your own and become 
master of this lodge. While it is contrary to Indian custom to give 
away a daughter, the deer you have brought will pay the price. 
Tal-le-kish, the son of Swo-mow-wah, has spoken.' 

"The old man then lay down and he and the old squaw were 
soon sound asleep. Wa-ke-ta came over and sat by my side, say- 
ing, 'Stay with us. My father has talked of you so much since 
he learned of your prowess as a hunter. The old Speelyi who rules 
these mountains told me in my dreams that he would send me for 
a husband a great hunter who was brave of heart and strong of 

250 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

limb. When you stepped inside the lodge I felt that Speelyi had 
sent you here. I love you, for you seem all one could wish.' 

"As I looked on her beautiful face and listened to her kind 
words, I thought of old Speelyi who talks to the Great Spirit and 
how good he had been to guide my footsteps to this lone lodge, 
when I had really intended to cross the creek below. 

"Taking her in my arms, I said, 'Mowit will always love Wa- 
ke-ta. This lodge will be my home, here in these mountains with 
the many lakes where game, fish and berries are in abundance we 
will live. The old folks will slumber in the wigwam while I pursue 
the deer and the mountain sheep. The old Speelyi will protect us 
from the dreaded Twe-tas (grizzly bear) and we will be happy. 
While my past life seemed satisfactory, now I find I did not know 
what pleasure was. My past will now be forgotten and go with the 
wailing wind.' 

"My breath came warm, my heart leaped with joy at this great 
happiness, so sudden and so vast. 

"The old people lived but a short time. We buried them in 
the shell rock on the mountain side. Alone with Wa-ke-ta thirty 
summers came and went. We were happy. My people often visited 
us and begged me to return to their village. I told them it was 
Wa-ke-ta's wish to remain here and we would stay. 

"At last, returning from the hunt one day, I found Wa-ke-ta 
sick. For two weeks I kept a silent vigil in our lodge. We talked 
of our love and happiness. She told me her end would come soon 
and that I should go back to my people and live the straight life. In 
a few more years we would meet again in the happy hunting grounds 
beyond the skies. 

"When she had passed out on the long trail, I wrapped her in 
her best robes. Alone I carried her to the hill and laid her besides 
her parents. They sleep there now in the mountains they loved 
so well." 

"Soon some of my people came by and I returned to Kittitas 
valley with them. I am only drifting like a canoe on the water with- 
out a guiding hand, waiting for the call of the Great Spirit. Mowit, 
the son of Skin-mit has spoken." 

Rolling himself in his blankets the old Indian lay down to sleep, 
in his dreams once more to talk to the Speelyi, chase the mountain 
sheep and relive the days in the lone lodge with Wa-ke-ta. 

Early next morning we moved up the trail which followed the 
banks of the Cle Elum river. The scenery was grand with great 
rugged snow-capped peaks off to the west as far as the eye could 
reach and mountain streams flowing in from either side. 

We reached I-i-yas lake about noon and it was a sure enough 
fish lake. The water seemed to be alive with them. 

Making our camp in a beautiful mountain meadow, we pro- 
ceeded to catch the mountain trout. No sooner would our hooks 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 251 

touch the water than hundreds would rush to grab the bait. We 
remained here for three days and for once, I had fish enough. It 
was a spot Httle known to white men at that time; only a few, in- 
deed, had ever passed that way. I saw here an abundance of quartz 
croppings, but knew nothing of mineral ore at that time. 

Many quartz claims have since been located in this district and 
much money spent in development work. One of the best known 
of these mines belongs to John Lynch, located over thirty-five years 
ago. It has been Mr. Lynch's home ever since and he has been at 
work all these years tunnelling into the great hill which overlooks 
the lake. Like every old prospector, his courage has never flagged 
and he goes on believing that only a few feet more separate him 
from a fortune. 

I visited I-i-yas lake again in 1897 and found that twenty-eight 
years had wrought some changes. A wagon road had takfen the 
place of the old Indian trail. Instead of my solitary camp, there were 
many cabins and a hotel. Miners were tunnelling into the great 
mountains and blasts were heard on every side. When I went fish- 
ing, I could not catch enough to eat. 

Again about the campfire, on that early trip, Mowit, my com- 
panion, became communicative. He told me the trail we had fol- 
lowed had been the main thoroughfare of the Pisch-wan-wap-pams 
to the huckleberry mountains. Over this trail all the great chiefs of 
the past had traveled, — We-ow-wicht, Te-i-as, Ow-hi, Ka-mi-akin, 
Qual-chan, as well as Quil-ten-e-nock and his brother, Sulk-talth- 
scosum. During the hunting and berry season, he said, this spot 
became a great camp for sporting and feasting. Our campfire was 
built on the site of an ancient village and we lay down to sleep on 
historic ground. 

There was a solitary shaft of rock standing well up on the 
mountain about which I asked Mowit, knowing that the Indians 
nearly always have a legend attached to such a conspicuous feature 
of the landscape. This was no exception. Mowit told me the story 
as he had heard it repeated since childhood. 

"Away back in the long ago when Speelyi was God and when 
there were more people than now, Speelyi had a prodigal son who 
became a menace to the surrounding tribes. He was a giant with 
such strength and power that none dared encounter him. Many 
arrows had been shot at him, but every one failed to penetrate his 

"He passed from village to village, picking out the most beauti- 
ful maidens and carrying them off to the mountains where he kept 
them till tired of their charms, then turned them loose to make their 
way back to their people as best they could. 

"Under these distressing conditions a council was called to meet 
on this very spot where we are now camped. People from all the 
surrounding tribes were present and many suggestions were made 

252 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

of how to get rid of the monster. Finally the old medicine man, 
Wah-tum-nah, arose and said, 'For eighty summers I have gone to 
the old Speelyi for advice when I needed it and I will go to him now. 
In three days look for my return.' 

"The council gladly accepted the old man's offer, for Wah-tum- 
nah had never failed them. Going up into the snowy peaks, Wah- 
tum-nah lay down to sleep and in his dreams the Speelyi came and 
spoke thus: 'I know your mission. Go back to your people and 
tell them, on the third day from now, to keep their eyes on the hill 
to the west of their camp, for I intend to make an example of my 
son, that he may be a warning to any who undertake to follow his 
course hereafter.' 

"Promptly on the third day the giant son of Speelyi was seen 
to walk out in plain view on the mountain side and, while his tall 
form stood erect, he was turned to stone. The tall shaft of rock still 
stands as a warning to evil-doers." 

A few miles down the trail, on our return journey, my com- 
panion pointing to the west, said, "Over there is Wap-tus lake. In 
the long ago it was the home of a huge water serpent which had 
swallowed so many people who were traveling along the shores of 
the lake that finally no one dared travel that way any more. This 
serpent had been seen many times, raising its head far above the 
waters and, with a hissing noise, spouting fire from its mouth while 
its tail lashed the waters into a fury. One day the Twe-tas came 
down to the lake for a drink and was attacked by the serpent. A 
fierce fight ensued which shook the mountains around the lake. 
Sunset saw both the serpent and the grizzly bear lying exhausted, 
mangled. The old Speelyi, appearing on the battle ground, observed 
the condition these two disturbers were in and decided to get rid 
of them both and put an end to the trouble they had been causing 
the people. He cut them up into small bits and scattered them in all 
directions. To the serpent, he said, 'All your kind from now on 
will be small and shall crawl on their bellies. They can be easily 
overtaken and will be pursued and destroyed by all mankind.' To 
the Twe-tas, he said: 'You will be the last of . your race in this 
locality. Others of your kind will be much smaller. Their skins 
will be of value and they shall be hunted and slain by all nations.' 
From that time on the people lived in peace." Mowit, my interesting 
companion, died a few years after this fishing trip of ours. 


254 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 



Settlers in Yakima 1863 — First Settlement on Nah- 
cheez River and in Nah-cheez Valley Made by J. B. 
Nelson, 1867 — Parker Bottom by William Parker, 
1864 — Ahtanum by A. Gervais, 1864 — Wenas by 
Augustan Cleman, 1867 — Selah by Alfred Henson, 
1865 — Kwi-wy-chas (Cowiche) by John W. Good- 
win, 1867 — First White Girl Born, 1864 — First 
Sheep Came, 1867 — First General Store, 1867 — Re- 
establishment of the Catholic Mission on the Ahtanum, 
1867 — First Catechism in Yakima Language, 1867 — 
First Actual Settler in Kittitas Valley, 1867— First 
White Woman Settler in Kittitas Valley, 1868— First 
White Child Born in Kittitas Valley, 1869— Yakima 
City, 1869— First Wedding in Kittitas Valley, 1870— 
First Irrigation Ditch, by Indians — First Irrigation 
Ditch, by Whites, 1871. 

The settlers who come to the Yakima valley in the year 1863 
were three French squaw men. Broshea located, on the river bottom, 
where is novS' the extension of East Yakima Avenue, in the city of 
North Yakima. Doshea weiit onto the river bottom just below 
Broshea and half a mile above the present Mok-see bridge, on the 
west side of the river. Both of these men were old Hudson's Bay 
trappers, who had always led a nomadic life, and were at home 
only with the Indians. The third was Colbert F. Nason, another one 
of those shiftless and reckless characters often found on the border- 
land. He was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1820, served in the 
Mexican war under General Price, went to California in 1852, then 
to The Dalles, Oregon in 1855, serving there as a blacksmith for 
the army. It was there that he met Lieut. U. S. Grant, Capt. Dent, 
a brother-in-law of the lieutenant, and Lieut., P. H. Sheridan. He 
was also in The Dalles when Maj. Haller met defeat at the hands of 
the Yakimas. From there he went to Lapwai in the Nez Perce 
country, finally coming to Yakima, and settling in the upper part 
of the Mok-see. His house stood about 500 feet northwest of the 
present Riverside school house. His squaw was a sister of Mow-mo- 
nashet (known as Charley Nason), the Wenatchee- Yakima Indian 
who, with two companions, had killed two white men on the north 
side of Umptanum about two miles below where old Durr wagon 
road crossed that stream. In 1871 Bayless Thorp saw their bones. 
One showed a bullet hole in the skull. After comparing different 
histories of the war of 1855-6, I believe that those victims of 
treachery were Eaton and Mattice, who were on their way from 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas ^55 

Puget Sound to Colville. This Indian was fortunate in escaping 
the punishment meted out to others of his kind by Major Garnett 
on his campaign of vengeance from Fort Simcoe to Fort Okanogan 
in 1858, when he executed ten Indian murderers. 

After a two-year's residence in the Mok-see, Nason sold out 
to an Irishman named McAllister. In 1869, I fovind him again, 
located in the lower end of Kittitas valley on the west side of the 
Yakima river. He sold his claim in the same year to Mathias Becker, 
who, with his excellent wife and family had crossed the Cascades 
from Puget Sound to find a home. This same place is now owned 
by J. B. Fogarty. 

In November of 1863 William Parker and Fred White, with 
their pack train of horses, came from Cariboo mines, B. C., where 
they had been carrying freight, and wintered high up on Satus 
creek near the timber line. There they built two big cabins, one 
for themselves and one for the pack outfit. It was a fine wintering 
ground, for the snow seldom lay long on the ground. 

In June, 1864, while traveling from Umatilla to Mok-see I 
found the family of J. B. Nelson located on the south side of the 
Yakima river not far above the mouth. Nelson and his son Jasper 
were following horse thieves who had taken nearly all their horses. 
He traced the horses into Montana and brought them back. The 
winter of that same year he moved to the north side of the Yakima 
river near what was later known as the Jock Morgan ranch, just 
opposite the town of Mabton. The following spring, 1865, we find 
him on the Nah-cheez river, a few miles above the present city of 
North Yakima, on what was later known as the Dan Lesh orchard. 

The high water of 1867 washed away a good portion of his 
ranch, and he awoke one morning to find one corner of his house 
hanging over the river bank. He again moved, this time to the old 
Nelson homestead in the Nah-cheez. 

Nelson was the first settler on the Nah-cheez river. A typical 
pioneer, big-hearted and brave, it has truly been said of him that 
no man ever passed his door hungry ; the latch string always hung 
out. His good wife did a noble part and will be remembered so 
long as the pioneers and their descendants live to repeat the early 

In 1864, William Parker and John Allen drove in a band of 
cattle and settled in Parker Bottom on what was later known as 
the Snipes ranch. They were the first to build there. The locality 
was named after Mr. Parker, who was a noble, generous man, very 
remarkable in appearance, with dark eyes and long black hair hang- 
ing down to his shoulders, handsome, not only outwardly, but to the 
core. If I were called upon to select the best man I ever knew it 
would be Bill Parker. 

Gilbert Pell came in this year and built on the north side of 
Yakima river in the bend just below the mouth of Satus creek. 

256 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

Afterward he settled on the Nah-cheez river just above the old Dan 
Lesh orchard in Fruitvale. 

John Cartwright located on the Yakima opposite Pell's first 
place, but found that he was on the reservation and moved down 
the river to a place about six miles above its mouth. 

In the spring of 1864 Andrew Gervais, who had been tem- 
porarily staying with Thorp, located on the Ahtanum at the big 
spring about one mile above its mouth. He was the first settler in 
that valley. 

During the fall, Nathan Olney also settled on the Ahtanum, 
about eight miles above Gervais. He was the second .settler. He 
had crossed the plains to Oregon with the emigration of 1843, which 
furnished many of the ablest men who reached the Oregon country. 
As a boy he had done his part, and in 1847 had taken part in the 
Cayuse war to avenge the Whitman massacre. He was Indian sub- 
agent at The Dalles when the Indian war of 1855 broke out and 
received the first news of the murder of Indian Agent Bolan by the 
Yakimas. He was with Major Haller on his expedition against the 
Sho-sho-nes or Snake Indians for the purpose of capturing and 
executing the murderers of the Ward company near the Owyhee ; 
he was in the two days' battle of Walla Walla where the great 
Pe-peu-mox-mox (Yellow Serpent) was captured and killed. In 
the summer of 1864, he, with Captain Darrah, some volunteer soldiers 
and Warm Spring Indians were guarding the trail from The Dalles 
to Canyon City in the John Day country to prevent depredations by 
old chief Pa-ni-na the terror of that portion of the country. I re- 
member well when at the head of the Warm Spring scouts he rode 
out of The Dalles to take the Canyon City trail. He wore a plume 
in his hat, and sat his noble dun-colored horse like a picture I had 
seen of Napolean's greatest cavalry leader. Marshal Murat. 

Late in the fall of 1864 there arrived in the Yakima L. F. 
Mosier, Mr. Warbass and Captain James Barnes. The last named 
had been captain of a band of scouts in southern Oregon during the 
Indian war of 1855-6, and was an old friend of my brother Charles, 
they having served together during that war. These men had brought 
in a drove of cattle from southern Oregon by way of Klamath 
Lake and Warm Springs to The Dalles, had swum them arcoss the 
Columbia at the mouth of the Klickitat and taken them over the 
military road to Selah valley, where they turned them loose for the 
winter. Their band was very much diminished by theft and by 
straying away enroute, but none were lost during the winter. These 
were the first cattle grazed on the Selah and Wenas ranges by white 

William L. Splawn and wife came in this year, and their eldest 
daughter, Nettie, born in 1864, was the first white girl born in the 
Yakima valley. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 257 

In 1865, Jack Carr, a resident of Klickitat valley for several 
years, located in Parker Bottom and worked for William Parker 
for many years. He had been a soldier in the Indian war of 1855-6, 
and was with Col. Wright in his campaign through the Yakima 
country in 1856. He was at Fort Nah-cheez, where Wright estab- 
lished his base of supplies, then marched into the Wenatchee country 
where about four hundred Indians, men, women and children sur- 
rendered and were removed to what is now Fort Simcoe. Major 
Garnett was left in command to keep the prisoners together and to 
protect them, as well as the country from hostile Indians. Carr 
helped erect the buildings at the fort and was there when the war 
wa:s renewed in 1858; he was also in the campaign with Garnett 
from Simcoe to the mouth of Okanogan when they hung the Indians 
and conquered the tribes enroute, thus ending the war. 

This year Alfred Henson with his family moved from Mok-see 
and settled in the lower end of Selah valley. He was the first settler 
there, a most excellent person, and so was his wife. Some of the 
family are still living in this country, Philena, now Mrs. L. L. 
Thorp, Sarah, now the wife of Clifford Cleman, and Nora, the wife 
of Charles Seward. The writer has many reasons to remember 
Mrs. Henson for her many acts of kindness. 

In the spring of 1867, Mr. Wommack, with his wife and several 
children, settled in the bottom where Yakima City now stands. He 
was of a free and easy nature, neither good nor bad. After three 
years he moved to Tygh Ridge, south of The Dalles, Oregon, and 
there remained. The place was afterwards known as the Wommack 

In October, 1865, a Mr. Moore, who had been associated with 
William Connell in the cattle business — Connell's home was in 
Rockland opposite The Dalles — ^built a cabin in the upper end of 
Parker Bottom. The place is now owned by W. P. Sawyer and the 
cabin still stands there as a reminder of early days. It is the oldest 
house standing in Yakima county. Moore was an educated man 
of high tastes ; the frontier was not suited to his kind. Closing up 
his business here he returned to New Hampshire and became a 
minister of the gospel. 

One day in the latter part of September, 1865, while at the 
home of my brother Charles, which was only a few hundred feet in 
a northwesterly direction from the Riverside school house in Mok- 
see, I saw a great dust on the trail leading through the Mok-see 
Gap from Parker Bottom. As it drew nearer^ the wind, blowing 
the dust away, revealed a train of covered wagons, the like of which 
we had never seen before in Yakima. Soon the train of emigrants — 
for such it proved to be — were passing the house. They inquired 
where they could ford the river, saying they were on their way to 
Puget Sound. The next day the Thorp boys and myself followed 
them up and found them encamped on Kwi-wy-chas creek near its 

258 Ka-mi-akin—The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

mouth by the Painted Rocks. They were undecided whether to at- 
tempt to cross the Cascade mountains or to remain and settle in this 
valley. Finally they decided to remain. 

The emigration was led by Dr. L. H. Goodwin, a man of ex- 
cellent qualities and a valuable addition to our settlement. The 
remainder of the party were George W. Goodwin, son of the doctor, 
who proved to be a man of sterling qualities as he grew up, and 
who did his part towards the building up of the country (he died 
twenty years ago), Thaddeus, another son, and Christopher Columbus 
the youngest, who at this time is living in Wenas ; an adopted 
daughter who married Alva Churchill, and is now a widow living 
in North Yakima; Thomas Goodwin, a nephew of L. H. Goodwin, 
I believe, and his brother Bent, a mute but a very intelligent man. 
Both are living yet somewhere in the Yakima valley. Then there 
was Walter Lindsey and his family, John and Ed, and Sarah, the 
youngest, who afterwards married Willis Thorp. She had the 
sweetest disposition of any woman I ever knew. Another daughter, 
Mrs. Elizabeth Grant, a widow, was very handsome, and many a 
bachelor cast longing eyes toward her. She married Andy McDaniel 
and several children were born to them. There was John Rozelle 
and family of two sons. Mart and William^ and William Harrington, 
a son-in-law. The Rozelles and Harrington moved on up the Kittitas 
valley and settled that same year. During the winter they ran out 
of provisions and were in a destitute condition. The report was 
brought to Thorp by the Indian chief Shu-shu-skin. 

Thorp immediately dispatched Andy Gervais with horses and an 
Indian to bring them back to Yakima, which he did, encountering 
deep snow on the trail. Rozelle then settled on the bottom just 
below the mouth of Nah-cheez. The Cascade lumber mill and many 
fine residences of North Yakima are now built on his original claim. 

L. H. Goodwin settled on the river bottom just above Yakima 
City. Walter Lindsey took a place half a mile above him, which 
is now owned by Thomas Chambers. Thomas Goodwin settled on the 
river bottom about a mile above the present Mok-see bridge. Among 
the many owners of land on that old homestead recently was L. V. 
McWhorter. All of these settlers were on the west side of the 
Yakima river. John Lindsey settled on the Ahtanum, as did also 
William Harrington. 

This year a wandering soldier named Brown settled in Parker 
Bottom, and built a small cabin on a tract adjoining William Parker 
above. It was afterward known as the Dave Murray ranch. When 
Brown had nothing to eat he would work where there was a chance, 
but would cease his labors when he had earned enough to live on 
for a month. One day I needed a man to cut logs for a corral, and 
asked Parker if he thought I could get Brown to cut them. He re- 
plied, "It's doubtful. I passed his cabin and saw half a beef steer 
hanging by his door." However, I rode up to his cabin. Sure enough, 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 259 

the beef was there, but I concluded to dismount and go in. Brown 
was lying on his bed, and when I told him what I had come for he 
replied, "Jack, did you notice that beef hanging by the door ? Look 
over in the corner. There are two sacks of flour. Did you ever 
hear of a soldier working in the midst of plenty?" I passed him 
up without further argument. 

I think Ben E. Snipes came to The Dalles from southern Oregon 
in 1858. He had followed the mining camps there for several years 
previous. I first met him in The Dalles in September, 1860. He was 
then a young man of extra hustling qualities, which marked him as 
a coming man. In October of that year he drove a band of cattle 
from Klickitat, belonging to himself, John Golden and William 
Parrot, whose daughter he afterward riiarried, to the Yakima valley 
to winter. These were among the first herds of cattle grazed in 
the Yakima valley by white men. 

1865, Elisha McDaniel and A. J., better known as Andy Mc- 
Daniel drove nine hundred head of horses and cattle from Butter 
creek, Oregon. They first located on the Yakima river about three 
miles below the west end of Snipes mountain, the place now owned 
by Oliver P. Ferrell. After ten years, Elisha sold out his interest 
in the cattle business to Ben E. Snipes, having accumulated a fortune. 
Though he was a hardy, industrious pioneer, accustomed to thrift 
and economy, the fortune vanished and he died a poor man on Kwi- 
wy-chas creek some years afterward. His companion, a good natured 
man with no bad habits, married Elizabeth Lindsey Grant, a grand 
woman. He died on the Nile in the Upper Nah-cheez. 

Oscar Van Syckle came this year and made his home with J. B. 
Nelson, whose daughter, Mrs. Mauldin, he afterwards married. Mr. 
Van Syckle died recently. 

The first settler on the Wenas' arrived in the person of Augustan 
Cleman, who selected the farm now owned by David Longmire. 
He brought a few cattle and a band of sheep, the first to graze in 
the Yakima: valley. From this little band of stock Cleman accum- 
ulated enough so that we were all borrowing from him. He might 
be said to have been our first banker. Being somewhat of a cripple, 
Cleman seldom left his house. He was a very agreeable and in- 
teresting man, the best posted on affairs in the community. No one 
passed his door without tarrying awhile, and in that short time 
their host would absorb all they knew. His children live in this 
country, highly respected citizens. 

Sometime later in this year Joseph Brown also settled in the 
Wenas valley, where the old Kittitas trail crossed that stream. After 
two years he sold to a Mr. Bell. His brother, James Brown, also 
came and located a few miles above him on the place later known 
as the George S. Taylor farm. 

The year 1866 brought James W. Allen and family, with their 
married daughter, Mary A. Benton. They selected a home nearly 

260 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

two miles below the present Ahtanum Academy. The daughter's 
husband, H. M. Benton, took an adjoining farm in 1870. 

Other comers to the same valley were Joseph Bowzer, whose 
wife was from the Klickitat tribe of Indians, and Joe Robbins, who 
also had an Indian wife. They were old neighbors from the Cascade 
Falls on the Columbia river. Robbins took the farm adjoining that 
of Bowzer, now a part of what was once known as the Embrie ranch. 
He sold this and located on the North Fork of the Kwi-wy-chas. He 
afterwards removed to the Simcoe reservation where the mother 
and children all took allotments and they became wealthy. 

A very eccentric character, in the person of David Heaton, came 
to the valley that year and settled a short distance above James W. 
Allen. His very peculiar way of expressing mirth was the talk of 
all the settlements. So much noise did he make in doing it that 
he could be heard for a considerable distance. 

Though William L. Splawn had arrived two years before, he 
did not locate permanently until this year, in Parker Bottom. 

The year 1866 added one of the most substantial of all the 
pioneers, a man whose word was as good as gold, whose character 
was in every way beyond reproach, and who held many offices of 
trust until his death. This was George S. Taylor, who brought 
his family and went into the upper part of Selah valley. He was the 
third in that portion and the first to locate land on the east side of 
the Yakima river in Selah. Like all of the other earliest settlers, 
his business was raising and dealing in livestock. 

The next to arrive this year was E. Bird, who turned his band 
of cattle loose on the south side of the Yakima river below the 
mouth of the Satus and located his cabin on the north side of the 
river. After a few years he moved down and located a ranch on 
the north bank of the Yakima a few miles above its mouth, re- 
maining in business there for some years. 

Mr. Moore was succeeded in the cattle business this year by 
William Hickenbottom as part owner with Thomas Connell. They 
occupied the Moore cabin on the present W. P. Sawyer ranch. This 
same year there came to the Kittitas valley one of those nomads 
sometimes found on the outskirts of civilization. William Wilson 
was not a bad man, just an aimless wanderer whose nature craved 
the habits and life of an Indian. He was a Missourian by birth; 
his parents had crossed the plains to Oregon in 1850. He came to 
this section in company with Chief Shu-shu-skin, and for a time 
made his home with the chief. He then built the body of the first 
cabin in this famous valley on the spot when Ellensburg now stands. 
(The writer located the place in 1870.) He soon left and settled 
among the Nez Perces near Kamiah on the Clearwater, Idaho. There 
he married an Indian woman who took an allotment on the reserve. 
He was still living three years ago, a very old man. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 261 

The first settler of 1867 was Egbert French, who came from 
the mouth of the KHckitat on the Columbia, and took the place 
in Parker Bottom now owned by Dan McDonald. He started the 
first general store in the Yakima valley. His wife was of the 
Klickitat tribe, shrewd as a Jew, and her husband's superior from 
a business standpoint, withal a good woman. 

William L. Splawn sold his ranch in this year to James S. 
Foster. Foster's family consisted of three sons, Samuel, James and 
John, and two daughters, Margaret (Mrs. Merwin), and Anna, who 
married a Mr. Holland. This ranch for years was known as the 
Eugene Flint place and then as a part of the P. J. Flint ranch. 

The settlers were fortunate this year in having added to their 
number two of God's chosen ones, Purdy J. Flint and his wife Lucy 
Burch Flint, whose religious influence and ever ready charity gave 
them a unique place in the development of the Yakima valley. They 
are pointed to with pride by their fellow men, the same yesterday, 
today and tomorrow. 

Mr. Irby was also a settler this year. He had several sons and 
one daughter, Kate, who was at that time the belle of the Yakima 
valley. She married John Goodwin and they are still living in 
Parker Bottom. The Irby ranch was later known as the Dave 
Murry farm. 

This year Sam. Chappell and family located on the north side 
of the Yakima river above Mabton. They later moved to the small 
■bottom just above Zillah. The place is now owned by E. O. Keck. 
Chappell came later to North Yakima and went into the grocery 

A valuable addition came this year in the person of C. P. 
Cooke, who settled in Mok-see with his family. He was an educated 
man; his wife, likewise, was a brainy woman. He filled many 
offices of trust with honor and fidelity. He was one of those men 
whom it is an honor to know, a credit to any country or time. He 
moved to Kittitas valley in 1870, where his children grew up, all 
honored and respected. 

Mr. Lyen and family are chronicled this year as having settled 
in Mok-see, but after a short time moved onto the west side of the 
Yakima river above the present Mok-see bridge, and again moved 
in 1871 to Kittitas, where some of his children still live. 

There came this year from Olympia across the Nah-cheez pass 
H. D. Cock and family, and with them their band of cattle. They 
settled just above Rocky Ford on the west side of the Yakima a short 
distance below Mabton. There they established a ferry and general 
stopping place for travelers. The writer had met Mr. Cock in the 
fall of 1861 on Bonaparte creek near the present Ashcroft, B. C, 
where we were companions in distress. We both passed that long 
hard winter near each other, watching our separate bands of cattle 
and living on beef straight for two months. He was a remarkable 

262 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

man. He sold his cattle business to David Murry and moved to 
Walla Walla but soon returned and took the homestead on the 
present Summit View road where the Sanitarium, Huxtable, Gilbert 
and other homes now stand. We thought him a "little off" when he 
chose this piece of high desert land but time has proven his wisdom. 

Father Napoleon St. Onge, a Jesuit, this year re-established the 
mission St. Joseph. This mission, the Oregon and Washington 
volunteers under command of Col. J. W. Nesmith had burned in 
the late fall of 1855. They firmly believed that the priests in charge 
had aided the hostile Yakimas in securing ammunition, etc., during 
their war on the whites. This intelligent and zealous worker pub- 
lished the first catechism of Catholic prayer and doctrine in the 
Yakima language. 

In 1871, President Grant acceded to the earnest entreaties of 
the Rev. James H. Wilbur, who was Indian agent at Fort Simcoe, 
and transferred the spiritual welfare of the Indians of the Yakima 
reservation to the Methodist church. After this the Jesuit priests 
took charge of the missionary work among these Indians. 

This same year came Mrs. Mary J. Hart, who afterwards 
married the first settler on the Ahtanum, Andrew Gervais. 

One of the most substantial citizens to come this year was 
Hugh Wiley, who settled on the spot where Wiley City now stands 
as a monument to this worthy pioneer. His large family grew to 
make some of Yakima's best citizens. Near to Hugh Wiley, Copeland 
settled, but sold to Alonzo Durgon in 1870. 

Kwi-wy-chas' first settler came in 1867 in the person of John 
W. Goodwin. He sold in 1870 to J. W. Stevenson who still lives 
on the old homestead. Goodwin later located in Parker Bottom and 
married Kate, the famous beauty whose fortress had been bombarded 
by many an earnest swain. 

We have in the Wenas valley this year Alfred Miller who 
married a daughter of A. Cleman. His homestead is at present 
known as the Miller homestead. He was an eccentric man, but 

Mr. Bell bought the holdings of Joseph Brown in this valley but 
later sold to A. Cleman. At present the land is owned by John 
Cleman, a worthy son of a worthy sire. 

Of the settlers of 1868, a number went to the Ahtanum. Among 
them was William Henderson, who sold to Elisha Tanner in the fol- 
lowing year. Tanner moved his family here in 1870. He was an 
excellent citizen. His daughter, Alice Tanner Vivian, still lives 
in Yakima. Edward Henderson settled near his brother William. 
He married a daughter of Mr. Bland who came in the following 

W. L. Stabler came this year with a band of cattle, put up 
hay to feed them through the winter, then went to his home near 

Ka-mi-akin—The Last Hero of the Yakimas 263 

Vancouver, Wash. He came back the following year and filed 
on the land which was his home until his death. 

A short distance below the Catholic mission St. Joseph, Daniel 
Lynch settled in this year. 

In 1869, Sumner Barker, who had been post trader at Fort 
Simcoe in 1868 came to where Yakima City now stands and opened 
a general store. It was located near where the Grist mill used to 
stand at Yakima City. He was accompanied by his clerk, Charles 
Harper, who later settled on the Ahtanum where he still lives. 

A year later O. D. Barker, a brother, joined Sumner Barker 
and the firm name became Barker Brothers until the death of both 
men. A few years before Sumner Barker died, he married Mrs. 
Laura D. Yunkin, a woman with keen business sagacity. She con- 
tinued the business successfully after his death until she married 
D. B. May, a smooth tongued adventurer, whose methods soon left 
a bad impression on the business. She left him, but too late to save 
anything from the wreck — a sad ending for such an excellent woman. 

During the month of June, 1868, Tillman Houser located a 
farm in Kittitas valley a few miles northeast of Ellensburg, then 
went back to Puget Sound and brought his family in the fall. 

During August, of this year, Charles Splawn took his wife and 
moved on the Taenum creek in I^ittitas county. Mrs. Splawn was 
the first white woman to settle there, and their daughter, Viola, 
was the first white child born — March, 1869. She died in 1897. 

William Flynn, an Irishman, settled in the Wenas near the 
present home of John Cleman. The writer had met him the previous 
year just below Wenatchee, while enroute with cattle to British 
Columbia. Flynn was in a sorry plight, on foot, without provision, 
his blankets on his back, trying to make his way from the mines in 
B. C. to Puget Sound. After remaining in camp with us that night 
he concluded to take up land in the Yakima. We gave him pro- 
visions to last him to his destination. 

The year 1869 brought one of Ahtanum's most respected citizens, 
William P. Crosno and family. He was a most exemplary man, and 
had children who would be a credit to any time or place. 

Mr. Bland also came to this same valley that year. 

Another of God's noble men, A. J. Tigard, settled on the south 
side of the Nah-cheez river on what was later known as the Powell 
ranch. Two years later he moved to Kwi-wy-chas where he lived 
until his death, beloved by his neighbors, respected by all. 

Eli Lachappelle went on the north side of the Yakima river 
where the Parker bridge now stands and put in a ferry. He had 
come to the valley three years before and lived with Jondro, but 
had been kept too busy splitting rails for the settlers to take up land 
before this year. 

Martin Holbrook located in the bottom on the east side of the 
Yakima river about two miles above the present Granger. 

264 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

George Goodwin, a pioneer of 1865, opened up another store 
this year, 1870, near Barker Bros. The place now took on the 
name of Yakima City. J. P. Mattoon, who had been chief farmer 
on the Yakima Indian reservation since 1864, settled this year in 
Parker Bottom and occupied the Moore cabin built in 1865. Mr. 
and Mrs. Mattoon were pioneers of the good true material. 

During this year Yakima lost some of her settlers and Kittitas 
began her substantial settlement. Our loss was their gain. F. M. 
Thorp grew restless. Too many people had come to suit him, so 
he i>acked up and moved to a newer country and settled on the 
Taenum creek in the upper part of Kittitas. This was his last move ; 
he and his good wife died there. His was a turbulent, fiery, volcanic 
nature to the last. 

The writer's intention is to give only the early settlements in the 
Kittitas, since it is so closely allied with Yakima county and since 
that ground is covered much better in the "History of Central Wash- 
ington" than the Yakima valley proper. 

In the year 1860, Hald and Meigs had trading posts at the 
ford near the mouth of the Menashtash creek, where the bridge 
crosses the Yakima river. Shu-shu-skin, the chief at that time had 
his main village on the P. T. Tjossem ranch. 

The first actual settlement was made by two wanderers, Fred- 
rick Ludi and John Galler (Dutc*h John) in 1867. While enroute 
to Puget Sound they camped in this valley and were so well satisfied 
with the prospects, seeing everything that was necessary to make 
them happy, decided to settle on the Menashtash. The following 
spring, however, they crossed the Yakima river and located just 
below the present city of Ellensburg. 

The following settlers came in 1869: Walter A. Bull, an ec- 
centric but good man ; Thomas Hailey, a man of sterling stuff, to be 
trusted at all times ; George Hull, a peculiar nature, but honest to 
the core; Charles B. Reed, and wife, fine people; George Gillispie, 
a horse raiser; John Gillispie, an elegant young man (who married 
Miss Caroline Gerlick a year later. This was the first wedding in 
Kittitas valley and is given in detail in another chapter) ; Mathias 
Becker, and family, whose wife was the sister to Caroline Gerlick. 
Becker was a good steady man but was not gifted with that push 
necessary for success in this new section. What he lacked, how- 
ever, his wife made up. She was a most energetic good woman. 

Then there was John Schmidt, who came with Becker ; George 
Smith, an all round trader; Jefferson Smith, a man with an Indian 
wife, honest, but unfortunate; George H. Keister, a citizen who 
attended to his own business, and permitted others to do the same; 
S. R. Geddis and family, a brave old pioneer who was no quitter 
when Fortune frowned but smiled when she gave him of her store — 
his head never turned; Patrick Lynch, pure Irish, who combined 
every peculiarity of his race, reveling in discord; Windy Johnson, 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 265 

another son of Erin, of many qualities, whose main object in life 
it seems was to stir the seething pot of disturbance with his neighbof 
Lynch ; George Shaser, who was a Hudson Bay man of early days, 
and his wife, a descendant of that sterling family of pioneers, the 

The Snyder family settled on the farm adjoining Shaser; this 
particular spot had been the home of Chief Teias. 

Martin Daverin and family, while enroute to Puget Sound, 
camped on what was later known as the old Bull ranch. That night 
beneath the shelter of a thorn bush Mrs. Daverin gave birth to twins. 
Mrs. Emma Daverin Fritterer of Ellensburg lives within three miles 
of her birthplace, while the other twin, John Daverin, was a business 
man in North Yakima, who bore the reputation of having never told 
a lie. He is now dead. 

Fred Bennett located half a mile west of the present N. P. 
Round House ; C. C. Coleman came with Bennett and settled nearby. 
Later they sold out their holdings and relocated at the foot of 
Wenatchee mountains near where C. P. Cooke first settled, in 1871. 

This year the first cattle were driven in from the lower Yakima 
to Kittitas valley for summer grazing. They belonged to J. S. 
Foster and P. J. Flint, with Leonard Thorp as guide. From this 
time on for ten years the herds were driven into this cow heaven 
for summer range and from this point driven over the Snoqualmie 
pass to the Puget Sound market. It was in this year that our trade 
to the Sound began which has kept up until the present time. The 
year previous to this Ike Carson drove a band of cattle from Parker 
Bottom to Puget Sound over the Nah-cheez pass. The writer drove 
many thousands over the Snoqualmie pass. 

This year, 1870, many new settlers arrived in the Yakima. 
Among those I recall are A. J. Pratt, D. Munn, Mr. Craft and family, 
and Tom Wolsey, all on the Ahtanum. Martin Daverin and family 
moved down from Kittitas valley and settled in the bottom on the 
Yakima river at the foot of Yakima Avenue, North Yakima, on the 
old Broshea place. Walter P. Mabry and family settled on the 
old Rozelle farm on the south side of Yakima just below the mouth 
of Nah-cheez above the Cascade mill. It is generally known as the 
old Mabry ranch. Charles Schanno and family, with his brother 
Joseph Schanno, business men, located on the sage flat between 
Yakima river and Ahtanum creek. Yakima City is built upon this 
location. They at once set to work erecting a large store house and 
went into the mercantile business, soon winning most of the trade. 
This was the third store in Yakima City. The following year, 1871, 
they built an irrigating ditch to bring water to town from a branch 
or slough of the Ahtanum creek at a point near the Charlie Carpenter 
ranch. This was the first irrigating ditch in the Yakima valley built 
by white men. The first one was built by the Indians many years 
before. I saw it in 1864, and it was then an old ditch. It was on 

266 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

Chief Kamiakin's place, at present owned by A. D. Eglin. The 
ditch was taken out of a prong of the Ahtanum and ran about one- 
fourth of a mile. It irrigated the garden of Chief Ka-mi-akin. The 
Chief was a close personal friend of the Catholic missionaries and 
they, I presume, suggested the ditch to him. 

James Cook and family settled just west of Yakima City on 
the Ahtanum; Sebastiam Lauber and wife accompanied them here 
and settled on the sage flat just north of their friends, the Schannos. 
Moses Boleman bought the Brosier farm on the Ahtanum. Frank 
Spon went to the Ahtanum. 

The new settlers in Kittitas during. 1870 were August Nessel- 
house, A. J. Splawn, Ben F. Burch, Robert Wallace, William Taylor, 
James S. Dysart, C. P. Cooke and family, Moses Splawn and Wm. 
H. Crocket. 

The principal settlers of the following two years on Ahtanum 
as I remember were J. P. Marks and family, a hardy old pioneer 
who had always been identified with the progress of the country, an 
industrious, energetic, law abiding citizen. He died in March, 1915. 
Mr. Simpson, the Imbries, John Polly, who bought the Joseph 
Robbins ranch and went largely to horse raising, A. D. Eglin, Mr. 
Knox and Mr. Herke were early settlers of 'J'ampico. 

Willis Thorp, the second son of F. M. Thorp, the first settler 
in the Yakima valley, was born in Oregon in 1847 a^nd is one of the 
oldest native sons of that state. He was twelve years old when his 
father settled on the spot which is now the city of Goldendale. Two 
years later he came with his parents to Yakima. 

Raised on the frontier, he was bold and aggressive, would fight 
a buzz saw if he thought it necessary. Steadfast in his friendships, 
he was a man to be relied on. In business, however, he was a plunger, 
over self-confident, without the necessary balance wheel in' his head. 
He was often in financial difficulties. 

We were companions in youth, fast friends in manhood and 
the same in old age. Willis Thorp sent the first cattle to the interior 
of Alaska. They arrived at the Klondike with the first rush. He 
was in the butchering business many years at Juneau and built the 
first electric lighting plant in that city. He has always been a hustler 
and a credit to mankind. 

Bayless Thorp, the third son, was born in Oregon about 1850 
and was about eleven years old when he came to Yakima. He 
died many years ago. He was my chum in boyhood days. His 
wife and children still live in the Yakima valley. 

Thomas Chambers was born in Nashville, Tenfl., in 1823, in 
the old home of Andrew Jackson who was a cousin of his mother. 
In 1867 he settled with his family on the Ahtanum creek about a 
mile above Yakima City. His family consisted of two sons, A. J. 
and John and two daughters, Lutetia and Jane. Lutetia married 
Ira Livengood and they now live in the Cowiche valley. Jane married 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 267 

Frank Spon who settled on the Ahtanum in 1869 aiyl who built the 
first sawmill in the Yakima valley. 

Charles Carpenter settled on the Ahtanum two miles above 
Yakima City in 1868. He was a master of the violin and became 
indispensible at our country dances. We wanted the music and he 
needed the money so our interests became mutual. His wife was 
a fine dancer and taught many a broncho cowboy how to keep his 
feet off his partner's toes and from treading on her skirts. He 
raised the first hops in Yakima and continued in the business until 
he accumulated a modest fortune. 

Joseph Bunting aftd family settled on the Ahtanum a short 
distance above Yakima City in 1867. The Buntings and the Cham- 
bers came together from Puget Sound. Bunting had one son, Robert, 
and two daughters, Charlotte who married William Granger, and 
Blanche who married Lorenzo Perkins, whose murder by the Indians 
is told elsewhere. Joseph Bunting was the man who drove a 
dagger into the heart of Qui-e-muth, a Nisqually chief who had 
participated in the war of 1855-6 and had given himself up to James 
Longmire with the request that he be taken to the home of Governor 
Stevens in Olympia. The reason Bunting gave for the deed was 
that he thought Qui-e-muth had killed his father-in-law, McAllister. 
He left Yakima many years ago for Arizona and never returned. 
Robert Bunting is now living in North Yakima. 

Charles Stewart settled on the Ahtanum in 1867. He was a 
bachelor, a good, every day citizen, well along in years. He made 
love to every woman that looked at him, but his age was against 
him and he never succeeded in getting married. 

Thomas Pierce settled in the Selah valley in 1867. He was 
elected sheriff of Yakima county in 1870. He died many years ago. 

Nicholas McCoy, generally known as "Old Nick," was a native 
of Austria, born in 1836. Leaving home at the age of 16, he went 
on a sailing vessel to Africa for two years, then to Cuba in a slave 
trader, making the post of Havana in safety ; thence to New York 
and to New Orleans where he remained seven years, migrating later 
to California. In 1858 he joined the Fraser river gold rush, toiling 
at various jobs, among them acting as cook at a road house at a place 
known as Alkali lake, where he became known as "dirty Nick" by 
patrons of the house. It was at this famous hostelry that I met 
him first in 1862. He was cook for Ben Snipes and John Jeffery 
on a cattle drive to the Cariboo in 1864, still keeping, his name and 
making it good. The following year, while on a cattle buying trip 
and having a buckskin purse containing several thousand dollars in 
coin wrapped in a blanket which was tied to the rear end of the 
saddle, he lost the purse somewhere along the road just south of 
Eugene, Ore., and never recovered it. No doubt some honest man 
with a suffering family found it and decided it was his by right of 

268 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

A few months later in the same year Nick became a partner 
of Major John Thorp and passed through the Yakima valley with 
200 beef cattle which they wintered on the Okanogan river, just 
below the mouth of the Similkimeen, driving them to Deer Lodge, 
Mont., to the Blackfoot mines the following year. In 1867 Leonard 
Thorp and I bought from Nick a band of young cattle which he 
brought to Yakima from the Willamette valley. The next year 
saw him again in Yakima with a band of ISO very poor cattle on 
his way to British Columbia, his only companion and helper, his 
faithful dog, which he called Logan. Willis Thorp and I, starting 
out over the same trail shortly after with ISO fine beef cattle, 
overtook Nick at the mouth of the Okanogan. 

I was deputy sheriff of Yakima county at that time and when 
Willis and I walked in on him at Foster's store, he looked wild, 
asked if we were after him and declared he did not steal any cattle 
while passing through Yakima. After worrying him a little, we 
eased his mind. The Indians had treated him rough on his way up 
the Columbia, saying that he was neither a white man, an English- 
man, a Frenchman or a Chinaman, but belonged to a strange race 
they knew not of. They said that they did not want him passing 
through their country, for all they knew, he might be bad medicine. 

In 1869 Nick located permanently in Yakima ; though, of a 
migratory nature, he moved his camp frequently from place to 
place. For a number of years he camped alone on Cold creek near 
Priest Rapids. He never cared for companionship and would rather 
be among Indians than with whites. One day an Indian slapped 
him for bothering his wife. Nick came to Yakima City a few days 
later and bought some strychnine and a dollar's worth of sugar. 
When the Indian went to his cabin next time, Nick invited him to 
dinner and when the Indian wanted sugar for his coffee, Nick 
shoved him what he desired. The next day the Indian was dead 
and all the pum pum, beating of sticks, and yelling of a whole tribe 
could not save him. 

Not long after this, while traveling from Yakima to White 
Bluffs, I stopped over night with Nick. His cabin was a dugout 
in a bank on Cold creek. It was then that he told me how he had 
settled with the Indian. In 1877 I bought all his cattle, horses, 
cabin and outfit which were on the north side of the Columbia for 
the firm of Phelps & Wadleigh, giving him $S,SOO for the brand as 
they ran on the range. It proved a good investment, for his herd 
was much larger than we expected, for the reason, no doubt, that 
when other cattle owners were at home during the fall and winter 
months, he was alone on the range, working his brand overtime. 

With his money in cash secreted on his person, Nick set out for 
Austria to see his mother. Arriving in New York, he fell in with 
some fine countrymen of his. The second day after his arrival, 
they had separated him from his money, leaving him destitute and 

' Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 269 

away from friends. Mr. Wadleigh forwarded him sufficient to 
bring him back to Yakima and loaned him enough to buy a small 
band of cattle. With his usual energy, coupled with the staying 
qualities of his old dun horse and the branding iron, Nick was soon 
back in business and closed out once more with a snug fortune 
which, however, did not stay by him long, for he became the common 
prey of the gamblers and prostitutes. He died about ten years 
later, penniless. He was an eccentric character with many good 

Henry Burbank arid family came to Yakima in 1870, settling 
first on the lower Yakima above Mabton. The next year he moved 
his family and cattle up to what is now known as the Burbank canyon, 
on the east side of the Yakima a short distance below Roza station. 
Still later, he went up into the Wenas where he made his home for 
many years. He had several sons and one daughter, who made 
good citizens. 

John W. Beck and family came in 1869, settling on the river a 
mile above Yakima City. He had four sons, James, Ross, Douglas 
and Orlando. James and Orlando are still living, the former being 
often spoken of as "the Sage of the Nile:." John Beck was an 
honest and useful citizen, but a poor judge of human nature. For 
many years he held the office of justice of the peace in Yakima City. 
In . those . early days there wandered into' Yakima City one J. W. 
Hambleton, a man far above the average in brains and education, 
but who, like many of his kind, had only two useful organs' in his 
body^ — his mouth and his throat. He had the giff of gab, and his 
throat was the canal for conveying the large quantities of firewater 
necessary to keep his stomach going. He claimed to be a lawyer. 
At any rate, he was prosecuting attorney for Yakima county for 
one term. 

At the time, two border ruffians, Ingraham and McBride, kept 
an Indian trading post at the mouth of the Wenatchee, where I saw 
a Mr. Warren employed as the handy man, an important position in 
the line of business conducted by Ingraham and McBride. In 
traveling through that country I often found in the Indian villages, 
kegs of whisky with tin cups near by where all, big, little, old and 
young could help themselves. I was told the Indians bought it 
of this firm. 

In November, early in the '70s, Mr. Warren appeared in 
Yakima City. I chanced to meet him and he told me he had come 
to swear out a warrant for the arrest of Ingraham and McBride for 
selling liquor to the Indians. They had had a row among them- 
selves, it seems, and Warren was going to get even. I told him he 
was taking chances, since he was equally guilty with the other two, 
but he swore to the information and the warrant was put in the hands 
of the deputy sheriff who with a small posse soon brought in In- 
graham and McBride. E. P. Boyle, a weak man as well as a poor 

270 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

lawyer, was engaged to defend theae.two. scoundrels, who, for pure 
cussedness, could not be excelled anywhere on the border. 

When Hambleton, the prosecuting attorney, read the complaint 
to the court, as there was no jury, and stated that he could prove 
all the allegations and plenty besides, with some other remarks not 
complimentary to the prisoners, the judge, looking over his spec- 
tacles at the two men searchingly, remarked that he believed all 
the prosecuting attorney said and thought moreover that it was 
high time to suppress the lawlessness running rampant on the fron- 
tier, and adjourned the court till 2 p. m. 

During all this time, E. P. Boyle, the defendant's attorney, was 
sitting dazed. The pace had become too swift for his feeble mind. 

Meeting me outside the courthouse, Mr. Ingraham said, "Jack, 
do you believe I could buy off the prosecuting attorney?" 

I told him that I was no go-between, but that th« prosecuting 
attorney was in bad with the saloon, neither having paid a cent nor 
missed a drink since Adam's time. A little later Ingraham and 
Hambleton came into Schanno's store, where I happened to be. 
The latter stepped up to Jo Schanno and asked if he had gold 
scales. The scales were brought and Hambleton gave orders that 
Jo should weigh out one hundred and fifty dollars. Ingraham then 
took from his pocket a buckskin purse and poured the dust into 
the scales until it balanced the weight Jo had fixed. Hambleton 
poured the gold from the scale into his own purse and the two left 
the store. 

Having witnessed that transaction, Jo and I thought it would 
be interesting to see how he disposed of the case and we were in 
the court room promptly on the hour. Hambleton arose and with 
a grave and solemn look addressed the court thus: 

"Your Honor, while I am a firm believer in law enforcement, 
yet as prosecutor we oft go too far. In our eagerness to convict, 
we too often overlook justice. I sincerely hope that it will never 
fall to my lot to convict innocent men. Far be it from me to lend a 
helping hand to ruin any one. Since the adjournment of this court 
for the noon hour, I have learned the true facts in this case. It 
is appalling to think how near we came to convicting two innocent 
men. This culprit, Mr. Warren, should not be allowed to remain 
longer in our midst. The base ingrate has been fed and clothed by 
these defendants and like the viper he is, seeks to destroy his bene- 
factors. I refuse longer to be the means of helping this cowering 
cur in his hellish plot and wish to dismiss the case." 

The judge, believing the prosecutor, became aroused and call- 
ing upon Warren to stand up before the court said: "By all justice 
you ought to be hung. Go hence from here and as quickly as pos- 
sible shake the dust of Yakima from your contaminated feet. Go 
now and keep going. See to it that you never return, lest this court 
lose its patience and give you what is coming." 

Ka-mi-akin-^The Last Hero of the Yakimas 27t 

Ingraham and McBride went back to their trading post and 
continued to sell liquor to the Indians. Hambleton a few years later 
was lecturing temperance in Iowa. -■ Warren -went., over to Walla 
Walla and there got Ingraham and McBride convicted and sen- 
tenced to a year each in the penitentiary. 

Captain William L. Splawn was born in Missouri, September 
15, 1838. His father, John Splawn, was born in Tennessee, of 
English- Scotch parents. His mother, Nancy McHaney Splawn, 
was born in Virginia of Scotch-Irish parents. William Splawn 
crossed the plains to Oregon in 1852 at the age of 14, arriving, with 
his mother, three brothers and two sisters, at Champoeg penniless. 
All their oxen, horses and wagons had been lost before reaching 
the settlements. 

Billy, as he was generally known, was given his first job by 
a Mr. Peabody who kept a store and saloon combined at a cross- 
road point on French Prairie, where now stands the town of Gervais. 
The people who patronized the store were old French trappers and 
their half-breed progeny, the latter a vicious and lawless bunch. 
They were afraid of Peabody but when, one morning he left to 
be gone over night, word went out that the proper time had come 
to rob the store and saloon. By night time the half-breeds for 
miles around had congregated at the store and begun to drink and 
carouse. Pretty soon they ordered Billy to come out from the bar 
and let them run things. 

Billy stepped into the bedroom where hung two six-shooters 
and a shot gun. With the six-shooters in his pocket and shotgun 
in hand, both barrels cocked, he walked back into the store where 
everybody was helping himself. He ordered them out and after 
a good look at the gun and the determined face of the boy, they 
tumbled over themselves in their haste to get out. When Peabody 
returned, he took Billy home for fear some of the gang might 
assassinate him. He gave him for defending his property a fifty 
dollar slug, an eight cornered gold coin used in those days, minted at 
San Francisco, He told my mother, "You .have .a brave boy ; every 
inch a soldier." 

Billy was only seventeen when the Indian war of 1855-6 broke 
out and he joined the Oregon Volunteers from Benton county 
under command of Col. John Kelsey. There were many in this 
company under 21. On their arrival in Southern Oregon they were 
dubbed the two-year-olds, but ere long had made for themselves the 
name of being the best fighters in the war zone. 

While camped near the present Grant's Pass, they discovered 
Indian signs. Lieutenant Marble, with a detachment of fifty men, 
was sent to reconnoitre the mountains to the south of Rogue river., 
The first night, though they had seen plenty of Indian signs and 
should have known better than to camp in the open surrounded by 

272 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

timber, they selected a prairie with a deserted cabin in the center 
for their camp. 

Promptly at daylight, the Indians began firing on them from the 
shelter of the trees. Most of the command had not yet got up. As 
Billy and a boy called "Tow-Head" were rolling up their blankets, a 
sergeant of the guard came around to my brother and told him Lieu- 
tenant Marble wanted a volunteer to carry a message to Colonel 
Kelsey, sixteen miles away, asking him to help them out of their pre- 
dicament, for the camp was surrounded. 

"I have been to every man in the camp," he said, "and none 
will volunteer, as it looks like sure death." 

"Where is Morgan Lillard," asked Billy, "and Tom Brown and 
Jim Henderson and the others who are Mexican war veterans and 
have been fighting battles around the camp fire ever since we left 

The sergeant said nobody would volunteer. 

"I will carry the message," said Billy, "if I can have Tow- 
Head's riding horse all through the war." 

The sergeant gave Tow-Head his choice of loaning Billy the 
horse or carrying the message himself, and he promptly took the 
former alternative. The message was written while the horse was 
saddled. Indians were firing from all sides and the Mexican veter- 
ans had taken shelter in the old house. As Billy mounted, the whole 
command yelled good-bye and "God bless you." 

The trail leading to the main command was on the south side 
and half a mile away. The Indians' fire was centered on Billy as he 
raced through the open prairie. He could ride like a centaur and 
was lying down on the side of his horse. Though he could hear the 
rattle of the guns, as he fled, he never flinched and as soon as he 
reached, the edge of the timber, straightened up and flew down the 
trail. There were shots from the rear to keep him moving, one 
where he slowed up descending a mountain, and the horse made the 
greater part of the distance to Kelsey's camp at top speed. 

When Billy dismounted at the colonel's tent and handed over 
his message, the colonel looked at Billy and his horse, foaming with 
sweat, nostrils expanded, and flew into a rage. 

Using his customary by-word, "Jo's dead !' if I send any re- 
inforcements to Lieutenant Marble," he exclaimed. "The Indians 
can scalp every man for aught I care. The cowards, to send a young 
boy on such a desperate errand." And he gave orders for his 
company to march at once to the Big Meadows on the Rogue river, 
taking Billy along, and leaving the surrounded company to extri- 
cate themselves as best they could. 

There had been one place on the trail where Billy had to slow 
down, descending a mountain and where he had heard a shot behind 
him. That shot was explained soon after by Mike Bushey, captain 
of scouts, who stepped into Colonel Kelsey's tent to say to Billy 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 273 

that he had had a narrow escape at the bottom of the hill. An 
Indian Bushey had been tracking- for some time, it seems, arose 
near the trail after Billy had passed and had taken deadly aim at 
his back, but Bushey shot him in time. He had the Indian's scalp 
dangling from his belt. 

Bushey was an Indian fighter of the old school. They finally 
got his scalp many years later in Nevada, but not until they paid the 
long price of eleven killed by him alone in his last fight. 

Scouts had come in reporting a large force of the enemy near 
the Big Meadows on Rogue river and the following morning began 
an all-day battle in which the Indians outnumbered the whites two 
to one. In this fight a Mr. Lewis was killed. Billy was only a few 
feet from him when he was shot. This battle resulted in calling off 
the Indians who had surrounded Lieutenant Marble and his com- 
mand was able to make its get-away. The commanding officer re- 
ceived a severe reprimand, however, for sending the youngest 
volunteer in the entire war on such a desperate errand. Colonel 
Kelsey kept Billy with him till the end of the war. 

Forty-four years after this, in 1899, in the hotel at Corvallis, 
Oregon, where I had spent the night, I recognized in a very old 
man Colonel Kelsey. 

"Is this Mr. Splawn," he asked. 

"Yes," I said, "but not the one you are looking for. I am 
Jack, the little boy that you once knew." 

"I was in hope it was Billy," he said. "Jo's dead,' but he was 
the bravest boy I ever saw and every inch a soldier." 

In 1863 when I went back to Corvallis to visit mother, after 
an absence of nearly three years, during which I had been all over 
Eastern Oregon and Washington and as far north as the Cariboo 
mines, I found Brother Billy barely eking out an existence. I told 
him of the great country I had been in and he decided to return 
with me. At The Dalles, a great outfitting point, we bought horses 
from the Indians and sold them to the miners and in a short time 
had a 'pack train of our own. Our first trip was to the Canyon City 
mines on John Day's river and later that same year we went to 
Cariboo. We made a trip to the Boise basin and for two years 
ran a pack train between The Dalles and Rock Island, below 

In 1866 Billv and Mr. Parker went to the Willamette valley 
and bought cattle, driving them over the Barlow road across the 
Cascades to Yakima. He continued raising cattle till he had over 
2,000 head running along the east side of the Columbia, but the 
severe winter of 1880-1 killed over eighty per cent. Billy quit the 
cattle business and went to raising horses which ranged from the 
mouth of the Yakima up the Columbia as far as Priest Rapids, 
Mok-see, Cold creek and Selah. It took eternal vigilance at this 

^^ Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

time to keep the horse thieves from stealing all the animals on the 

About 1886 there appeared in Yakima a Bill Nelson, whose 
make-up did not appeal to honest men. It soon developed that he 
was organizing a band of horse thieves and suspicion pointed to 
Ed Webster as an accomplice. The horse raisers, under the leader- 
ship of William L. Splawn, took Webster into a room, told him 
they had reason to believe he was a member of the gang, and that 
his only chance to survive was to do just as he was told. When 
they let him go, he had promised to keep them posted about the 
movements of the gang. Ten days later he told them that the 
thieves had a plan to swim some stolen horses across the Columbia 
at The Junipers, a few miles below Priest Rapids. 

A possee consisting of W. L. Splawn, George Taylor, Andy 
Burge, John Edwards, George Hull, Barney Moore and others set 
out on horse back to capture them. They were successful in get- 
ting two of the thieves, Taylor and Smooks, but Nelson, who was 
riding a swift horse, was outrunning the possee, headed down river. 
Now Billy Splawn had the reputation of owning and riding the best 
horses in the Northwest and it became a race of endurance as well 
as of speed between him and Nelson. At the end of six miles, 
Splawn was gaining. Nelson, seeing this, turned towards the river, 
intending to swim, but, having his chapps on, stopped to remove 
them, which gave Splawn time to get within shooting distance. 
For a time Nelson kept his saddle horse between himself and Billy, 
but when a shot was heard behind and Barney Moore appeared, 
Nelson yelled that he would surrender ; and he did. 

The thieves were tried, convicted and sentenced to seven years 
in the penitentiary. 

Billy Splawn's adventurous and busy life will long be re- 
membered by all pioneers who knew him. More of his useful work 
is found in another chapter dealing with the capture of the Perkins 

J. L. (Jordie) WilHams went to Portland, Oregon, in 1853. 
He was a deck hand on the pioneer steamer Lot Whitcomb, on the 
Willamette and Columbia rivers. He was with Lieutenant Phil 
Sheridan when he went to the rescue of the besieged whites at the 
Cascades. He was a laborer on board the Colonel Wright when 
she made her first trip from Celilo up the river to Priest Rapids, 
when she took the cargo of Joel Palmer, who loaded it on wagons 
there and hauled it to the Thompson river in 1858. This was the pio- 
neer journey for wagons in that territory. They followed for the most 
part a broad Indian trail, having to ferry the wagons around several 
points and sometimes do a little road building. Later they followed 
the old Hudson's Bay brigade trail. 

Williams came to Yakima in 1866 and was in the cattle busi- 
ness with John Allen. They moved their herd from Yakima to the 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 275 

east side of the Columbia, where they located, their cattle ranging 
principally on Crab creek. In 1870 Egbert French also moved his 
herd and family there. Allen soon left the country but Williams 
remained. His herd increased to a goodly number till the winter 
of 1880-1 left him poorer than when he first came. Men came and 
went with their herds, but Jordie stayed for twenty years, often 
alone, except for old Indian Jim and his few people. He was an 
eccentric man, but a true friend. He died a few years ago in North 

Jock Morgan, born in Burlington, Iowa, in 1844, crossed the 
plains to Oregon with his mother, his father having died on the 
plains in 1850. The mother, with her family of small children, 
settled on a donation claim near Albany, Oregon, where Jock 
Morgan grew up. 

At the age of fifteen, he was working as stable boy for the 
Oregon and California Stage Company, but was soon promoted to 
driver and became one of the best stage drivers in the employ of 
a company which had the best ever known. This stage company 
was organized and equipped to carry the first overland mail between 
Portland and Sacramento, and became noted for its efficient service. 
The first stage of the company left Portland at 6 a. m., Sept. 14, 
1860, with mail, express and eleven passengers, E. S. Payne being 
the driver. The same day and hour another stage left Sacramento, 
with H. C. Ward as driver and arrived in Portland the evening of 
September 20, making the trip in seven days. The citizens of 
Portland turned out with a brass band to welcome it, as it marked 
a new era in the progress of the country. 

Jock Morgan stayed with this company as long as' it was in 
existence, then came to Yakima with his wife and two sons and 
located on the Simcoe reservation, just below the present city of 
Toppenish, in 1871. He started a dairy ranch, about the first dairy 
ranch in the Yakima valley. His market for butter was The Dalles, 
and he hauled it overland by wagon, always finding a ready sale. 
About 1881 he bought the ranch then owned by J. B. Huntington, 
on the north side of the Yakima, and there built a home where he 
resided for many years. He was a peculiar man, of a happy-go- 
lucky disposition ; never known to be serious about anything. When 
financial difficulties overtook him, which was quite often, they 
passed him as the idle winds, making no dent in his happy disposi- 
tion. He was a friend to everybody and about everybody was his 
friend. His wife was of a more serious nature, with a heart of gold. 
No one deserves more praise than Temperance Morgan. 

Like most men with his disposition, Morgan died poor, but his 
sunny nature and open heart will be remembered by all who knew 

him. „ ^T 

In the early 'seventies I first met Thomas Fear. He was m 
the employ of Jock Morgan on the reservation as a dairyman. He 

276 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

remained with Mr. Morgan several years until he accumulated 
enough to go into the dairy business for himself. He bought the 
ranch of Peter Leonard in the Cowiche valley in the early 'eighties. 
For 25 years he could be seen on- his regular days on the road from 
his ranch to North Yakima with butter to supply his customers. 
His life well proves what industry and. economy can do. He ac- 
cumulated a fortune honestly and by the sweat of his brow and 
held an honored and respected position in the community. Mr. Fear 
died suddenly of heart trouble in the spring of 1916. 

David' Longmire, a distinguished early settler of the Wenas 
valley, made his home on his present ranch in 1871 and has lived 
there ever since. In 1878 he was elected county commissioner on 
the Democratic ticket and held that office for four years. He was 
nominated on the Democratic ticket for representative and was 
beaten by only eleven votes ; lost indeed, because he refused to give 
$100 to Gip Wills, a saloonkeeper, who controlled a lot of saloon 
bums. His opf)onent being a Republican and wiser politically, fixed 
Gip and won the election. 

Through industry and business ability Mr. Longmire has ac- 
cumulated a modest fortune, owning many broad ' acres of fertile 
soil. He has always been active and enterprising in public affairs. 

With his noted pioneer father, he passed through Yakima valley 
with the first emigration of 1853, these being the first wagons to 
cross the Cascades over the Nah-cheez pass. The Longmires set- 
tled on Yelm prairie on Puget Sound. Of pioneer stock, Mr. 
Longmire has endured about all that comes to the first settler. 

James Gleed occupies a unique place in the development of the 
Yakima valley. His soldier's homestead, taken up in 1878 on the 
bench land of the Naches valley proved the fertility of this class of 
soil when water was put upon it. Most of the farming at that time 
was done in the bottoms and the lowlands. A practical farmer, he 
was one of the first to undertake intensified farming and made a 
success of it. He raised and shipped through the commission mer- 
chant, R. S. Morgan, the first alfalfa hay grown in Yakima. That 
first carload was given away to Puget Sound feeders because no- 
body would buy it. Those who tried it, however, soon sent over 
for more and a market was thus established and alfalfa demon- 
strated a profitable crop. Mr. Gleed was one of the originators of 
the Nachez Canal Company, known as the Gleed ditch. 

In 1878 there came to Yakima City, D. W. Stair and wife. 
Mrs. Stair was a remarkably fine looking woman, well educated and 
brilliant. When I first saw her, I wondered what strange fate had 
brought her to this wild land. She proved of utmost value to the 
county in educational work for which she was so well equipped. 
She was school superintendent for a number of terms and teacher in. 
the public schools many years. Through her kindly interest in her 
pupils, she won their lasting gratitude and even now, after long 

, Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 277 

years, they cherish her memory. In all matters fbr the betterment 
of community interests she was found in the front ranks. I know 
of no woman in Yakima valley that has done more for its citizens 
or will be remembered longer than Ella S. Stair. She later married 
George von Hagel and now lives in San Francisco. 

Francis Marion Splawn, a cousin of the writer, was another 
of those trail blazers of the frontier. He crossed the plains to 
Oregon in 1852, having been born on the frontier of Missouri in 
1833. His father, Mabry Splawn, was from Tennessee and his 
mother, Bethena McHaney Splawn, a Virginian. Of pioneer stock 
for generations back, about the whole Splawn race heard again the 
call of the West, hitched up their oxen to the covered wagons, 
loaded in their families and provisions and, with loose stock driven 
behind, turned their faces westward. 

Some of their friends had made the trip before and returned 
with glowing accounts of the great western land, its splendid climate 
and great possibilities, where one was entitled to 640 acres free. 
That was "enough to arouse their wandering spirit. They crossed 
the Missouri at Iowa point, where now stands Forrest City. At 
that time old Bill Banks kept an Indian trading post there and a 

The Splawn party was joined by other emigrants here until 
the train numbered about fifty wagons. They encountered Indians 
in the Cheyenne country. One evening, just as the wagons had been 
formed in a circle to ward against a night attack, there rode over 
the hills about two hundred whooping and yelling Indians, in war 
paint. They rode at full speed around the camp, performing 
wonderful deeds of horsemanship. Some of them were carrying 
slim poles from which dangled many fresh scalps. 

Every man in the train had his gun ready, waiting the out- 
come of this strange performance. The Indians finally halted and 
formed in a body. One, who was taken to be the chief, rode out 
in front and said, in fairly good English, "We are friendly and want 
you to send a man out to us that we may have a talk." 

Some of the men said it was treachery and whoever went would 
surely be killed. Francis Splawn, however, stepped up and said, "I 
will go." Immediately several women of the train said to his 
mother, a tall, strong woman standing near, "Do not let your son 
go." The mother answered, "I realized before starting on this long 
journey the dangers we would meet and have made up my mind to 
meet them. Some one must go, so let it be Frank." 

As he moved out to meet that band of warriors, all eyes were 
on him. The chief came forward and shook his hand, saying, "We 
do not intend to disturb your people. We are a war party just re- 
turning from a battle with the Sioux tribe who had invaded our 
hunting grounds. The scalps you see are our trophies of the fight." 

278 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

He went on 'to give much information of the country beyond 
and the points where we were most likely to have difficulty with 
the Sioux, the most warlike tribe of the plains. Though I was only 
seven years old at the time, I have a vivid recollection of that day. 

In all the dangers through which we passed on that trying 
journey, where we were seldom out of sight of graves, showing the 
heavy toll of life paid on the onward march to "where rolls the 
Oregon," Frank was the man who volunteered to perform all the 
hazardous undertakings, and they were many. In the Indian war 
of 1855-6 he enlisted as a volunteer in the company from Lane 
county and marched to Southern Oregon, where he had various 
exciting experiences. He settled in the Klickitat valley about 1871. 
F. M. Splawn was well known for his bravery and honesty. He 
is living now in the mountains near Tillamook, Oregon, a very old 

Charles Aarmenus Splawn was born in Clay county, Missouri, 
in 1831. He went later to Davis county near Gallatin, and in 1844 
moved with his parents to Holt county, and in 1851 crossed the 
plains to Oregon with the noted mountain man, Jonathan Keeney, 
who settled near the present Brownsville, Linn county, Oregon. 
The following year Charles Splawn was with a pack train in South- 
ern Oregon, and in 1853 a volunteer under General Jo Lane, fight- 
ing Indians in the Rogue river country. After many skirmishes 
they rounded upon a bunch of Indians on Grave creek and killed 
them all, which ended the outbreak. 

The balance of that year was spent in prospecting and mining. 
The next year he ran a pack train to the mines in the mountains and 
on one trip, while his train was loaded with bacon belonging to 
Hayman Lewis of the Willamette valley, he was attacked by Indians 
and had one man killed and another wounded. The owner of the 
bacon began to bemoan his fate and lament the probable loss of his 
bacon. Splawn said : "Your bacon seems to be your only care. 
Get busy now and drive the horses after this bell mare. We will 
travel and fight. I will mount her and lead the way." 

There were four men left and they started exchanging shots 
with the Indians, when along came a small company of volunteers, 
who had heard of a pack train being in the vicinity, had feared they 
would get into trouble and come to help. They arrived pust on time. 
The train got through to Jacksonville and old Hayman Lewis had 
saved his bacon. 

In 1855 Charles Splawn took a trainload of passengers from 
Corvallis to Fort Colville, where gold had been discovered, but the 
discovery proved a false alarm, and the whole party returned to the 
Willamette, barely escaping the Indian hostilities of that year, which 
broke out only a few days after they left The Dalles. As the Indian 
war proved general, Splawn sold his pack horses and went to work 
for John Fortune, who owned a large train and had a contract for 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 279 

carrying freight to the army in Southern Oregon. In 1859, together 
with Gilbert Pell, he drove a band of cattle over the Cascade moun- 
tains via the Barlow route and settled in Klickitat valley a few 
miles above the present Goldendale. Their homestead constituted 
what was later known as the Alexander ranch. 

The following year he and Pell prospected the Columbia for 
gold from Foh Colville to Wenatchee, with no results. They over^ 
looked the rich bar just above the mouth of the Methow, where two 
years later an old man and an Indian took out a fortune and where 
others in 1863 worked out of the red gravel thousands of dollars. 

In 1861 he helped F. M. Thorp move his family from the 
Klickitat to the Yakima valley, later in the fall marrying Dulcena 
Helen, Thorp's eldest daughter. They were married by Father 
Wilbur at Fort Simcoe. 

He remained in the Yakima valley until 1868, when he went 
to Taenum creek in Kittitas. He was appointed first sheriff of 
Yakima county and served one term. He was re-elected and later 
served two years as county commissioner. For two years he was 
probate judge and for seven years justice of the peace in Yakima 
and Kittitas counties. 

Jared Armstrong came, to Yakima from Clark county, Oregon, 
and settled on the Ahtanum near the Carpenter ranch in 1871. He 
has lived there ever since. With industry, he has , accumulated a 
fair amount of this world's goods, has lived an honest and unassum- 
ing life, attended to his own business and allowed others to do the 
same. He has proved, therefore, a splendid and agreeable neighbor. 

In the earlier days of Yakima City he loved to play the favorite 
old game of euchre, and when he came to town and found some 
others of his kind, they would forget time altogether. Many a time 
have I seen his old dun horse standing tied to the rack with a hump 
in his back and tail turned to the breeze in the wee small hours of 
the night. 

Hon. John Cleman was born in Mohawk valley. Lane county, 
Oregon, July 29, 1855. He is a native son of the golden west. With 
his father, A. Cleman, he settled on Wenas creek in 1865, the 
first family to make their home there. He has proved a valuable 
citizen in the upbuilding of the country. He has represented Yak- 
ima county in the legislature with honor and credit and filled a 
number of minor offices of trust with satisfaction. He owns a 
large property accumulated honestly, and no man ever passed his 
way hungry. He is a landmark in Central Washington. 

Moses Splawn was born in Davis county, Missouri, in 1835. 
He crossed the plains with the family in 1852, and at the aee of 17, 
thrown on his own resources, went to work with a will. The next 
year saw him in the gold mines in Southern Oregon, sometimes with 
pack trains, but most of the time prospecting. Here he had many 
narrow escapes from hostile Indians, experiences which served him 

280 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

well in later years. In 1859 he joined the rush of settlers to East- 
ern Washington and Oregon. Having no taste for land and no 
inclination to till the soil, he took to prospecting. He drove an ox 
team from Priest Rapids to Similkimeen for Jacobs Brothers that 
same year and in 1860 was in the Orofino mines in Clearwater 
county, Idaho. 

Soon after he joined a party of prospectors, who discovered 
the Elk City mines. Not finding that spot rich enough, he joined 
another party,, which discovered the Florence mines in the Salmon 
River mountains. They were rich enough, but the roving spirit of 
the prospector had taken hold of him. Selling a claim, which proved 
very rich, to a couple of men whom he had never seen before, and 
taking their note for $5000, he moved on. He never saw nor 
heard of the men again. 

In the spring of 1862 he organized a party to prospect the 
country around the headwaters of the south fork of the Payette and 
Boise rivers. An Indian had made him a chart of a locality where 
gold was plenty and he started out to find it. The story of his dis- 
covery of the Boise basin is found in another chapter. 

Moses Splawn did nearly the same thing here he had done at 
Florence. He turned his claim over to a partner, while he gathered 
up a company of volunteers to fight the Snake Indians to keep 
them from attacking the miners while they worked. On his return, 
the partner had the gold and Moses only a bunch of experience. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 281 


With the exception of a, very few shipped by vessel to the 
Hudson's Bay company at Ft. Vancouver, the first cattle to reach 
the Oregon country came in 1836. They were brought in from 
California by the Willamette Valley Cattle com,pany, an organization 
made up of a few missionaries and the trappers who had settled on 
French Prairie. After the settlers had contributed what money 
they had, Mr. Slacum, a special agent sent by the President of the 
United States to report on the condition of the settlers in the Ore- 
gon country, advanced $500 to the company, making a total capital 
of $2,880. Ewing Young was made manager and G. L. Edwards 
treasurer. With nine assistants, these men boarded the brig Loriot 
Feb. 10, 1836, bound for San Francisco. 

Upon arrival, they were delayed in the purchase of cattle, and 
it was not until June. 22 that they began their memorable drive 
home, a drive lasting 120 days and involving many hardships and 
privations. They traveled over the old Hudson's Bay trail, after- 
wards used by the Oregon & California railroad between Sacramento 
and Portland, and arrived in the Willamette with 630 cattle, having 
lost 200 head on the way. The cattle were divided in proportion 
to the amount each individual had subscribed. They were known 
as Spanish cattle, with long horns and slim bodies, and were very 

In 1838 the Hudson's Bay company drove up from California 
2,000 cattle over the same trail. They sold a few to settlers not 
interested in the Willamette Valley Cattle company, and traded 
some to the Indians for horses. The early emigrants, notably Sol- 
omon Smith, of King valley, brought across the plains some fine 
Durham cattle. To Mr. Smith belongs much credit for improving 
the stock of Oregon. During the early sixties the King's valley 
cattle were much sought after by buyers. From 1850-1859 thou- 
sands of cattle were driven from the Willamette valley back to 
California over the same route by which the original stock had 
come into Oregon. The first cattle to cross the Cascade mountains 
were fourteen in number, driven in 1838 from the Willamette over 
the trail north of Mt. Hood by Daniel Lee of The Dalles mission. 
Jason Lee in 1834 had brought a few cattle with him across the 
plains as far as Ft. Walla Walla, the present Wallula. 

Chief Ka-mi-akin, about the year 1840, brought the first cattle 
to the Yakima valley from Ft. Vancouver, having exchanged horses 
for them with the Hudson's Bay company. Not long afterwards 
Chief Ow-hi, of the Kittitas, procured cattle from the same com- 
pany at Ft. Nisqually, on Puget Sound, driving them over the 
Nah-cheez pass. Talth-scosum, chief of the Ko-wah-chins, living 

282 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

at Rock Island below Wenatchee, traded horses for cattle with the 
Hudson's Bay people at Ft. Nisqually and drove them to his range. 
Other Indians soon followed their example, driving horses over the 
Nah-cheez pass and returning with cattle until many bands grazed 
the Yakima valley and beef became one of their staple food sup- 

During the war of 1855-6 the military forces, during their 
caniipaign in the Yakima, captured many of these cattle. The 
Indians, too, being kept on a forced march, without time to gather 
food, had to subsist to a certain extent on beef, so that their herds 
were greatly reduced in this way. When the whites began to settle 
in the Yakima in 1861 they found many small herds owned by 
different men of the tribe. The cattle were evidently of Spanish 
origin. A few were large, splendid specimens of the beef type, of 
dun color, answering in every way the description of the Russian 

In the spring of 1860 John Jeffries passed through the Yakima 
valley with a herd of beef cattle from near The Dalles, bound for 
the Fraser river mines. During October and November of that 
year white men for the first time drove in cattle to graze here. 
They were F. M. Thorp, who turned his cattle on the Mok-see 
range, John Jeffries, Ben E. Snipes, John Golden and a Mr. Green, 
in charge of cattle belonging to Dr. D. R. Baker, of Walla Walla; 
also John Allen and his son Bart. These men turned their herds 
on both sides of the Yakima^ at the mouth of Satus creek, there 
being in all 2,000 head. The cattle wintered well and in the spring 
all were driven to the Cariboo mines, except Thorp's and those of 
John Golden, the latter taking his stock back to Klickitat, where, he 
had settled. John Jeffries bought the herds of Dr. Baker and of 
John and Bart Allen and started them for the Cariboo in 1861. 
He was followed by Ben Snipes and William Murphy, who were 
partners, and had a herd numbering several hundred. On reach- 
ing Bonaparte creek, Jeffries sold out his entire herd and returned 
to The Dalles to buy more, which he turned on the range in the 
Klickitat, where they grazed along the north bank of the Columbia 
as far up as Alder creek, below the present Arlington, Oregon. He 
intended to drive them to the same market the following spring. 

Snipes and Murphy, following in the rear, found the market 
dull and left 125 of the cattle for the winter on Cherry creek near 
Ft. Kamloops, in charge of a Frenchman. With the remainder 
they drove on to Williams lake, now the One Hundred and Fifty 
Mile post on the Cariboo road, where they disposed of them, and 
returned to The Dalles, which was the rendezvous for all cattle 
dealers from the different camps of the northwest, as well as for 
those who made a business of buying stock in the Willamette valley 
and driving them to The Dalles to sell to the dealers from the 
mining regions. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 283 

Snipes and Murphy bought all the cattle they could pay for 
and turned them on the same range with Jeffries. Then came that 
memorable winter of 1861-2, the longest and coldest ever known 
before or since, during which 80 per cent of the stock of Eastern 
Oregon and Washington perished. The stockmen were nearly all 
broke and discouraged. Gathering up their remains, Jeffries, Snipes 
and Murphy set out as soon as they could travel in the spring to 
drive to Cariboo. Murphy went on in advance to learn if any of the 
band left on Cherry creek had survived, and was surprised and 
delighted to find them all alive. He sold them for $150 a head 
and turned back to meet Snipes with the money and the good news. 
It was decided that Murphy, with the receipts from the Cherry 
creek herd, should return to The Dalles to buy another herd of 
300 and bring them through so as to arrive on the Thompson river 
in July. At the Thom,pson river Snipes sold his herd of 200 for 
$100 a head and then awaited the arrival of Murphy. The second 
herd was sold for the same figure, so that the partners now had 
as much money as before the hard winter. Jeffries had 400 cattle, 
all that remained from a herd of 2,000. They brought him $125 
per head, leaving him a fair amount of money with which to resume 

Such were the fortunes of the pioneer cattlemen. Prosperity 
did not dazzle them ; neither did adversity appal. They were men 
of iron and granite. There were no chances they would not take, no 
dangers they would not meet. They were the only class of men that 
could fill the bill. 

The Cariboo mines at that time and for several years there- 
after furnished by far the largest market for the beef raised on the 
ranges of Eastern Washington. It was a drive of about 600 miles 
through uninhabited Indian country for the most part, but with 
plenty of grass and water the stock went through in good shape. 

Snipes and Murphy wintered stock, as did Jeffries, on the 
Yakima in 1862, driving to the Cariboo in the spring with the usual 
success. In 1863 two Frenchmen wintered 200 cattle on the west 
side of the river below Union Gap. Jeffries and Snipes formed a 
partnership and drove a much larger herd to Cariboo in the spring 
of 1864, cleaning up a fortune for those days. The Frenchmen 
also drove over the same trail. 

The next winter Snipes and Murphy were both back on the 
Yakima with cattle, but no longer partners. Each had large herds, 
though the Snipes herd was by far the larger. Jeffries decided 
to abandon the cattle trade because of ill health. He was a noble 
man, brave and generous. He died a few years later at The 


William Connell, of Rockland, entered the cattle trade at this 
tiine, having with him a Mr. Moore. They wintered 400 cattle 
on the range around Parker Bottom. This same winter found 

284 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

Hosier, Wabbass and James Barnes on the Selah and Wenas ranges 
with 400 cattle. John and Bart Allen had cattle near Mabton. 

William Parker and -John Allen this year brought in cattle 
to Parker Bottom and settled there, the first to make their homes 
in that section. The following spring, 1865, all these cattlemen 
moved out over the Cariboo trail, taking all the stock except that 
belonging to the settlers and a large portion of the Snipes herd, 
the Hosier and Wabbass^ herd, which went to Kootenai, and the 
Barnes herd to Boise Basin. I helped to drive this latter band. 

During the summer of 1865 Elisha HcDaniel brought in 900 
cattle from Butter creek, Oregon, and turned them loose on the 
north side of the Yakima river opposite the present Habton. He 
settled on a ranch on the river bottom opposite the mouth of the 
Toppenish, now owned by Wren Ferrell. HcDaniel also brought 
in a large number of horses. He became wealthy in a few years, 
selling out his holdings to Ben Snipes, who then became the cattle 
king of Washington Territory. This same year H. D. Hald was in 
charge of a band of 200 cattle belonging to F. H. Thorp, which 
were driven to Warren's Diggings in Idaho. He was not able to 
dispose of them all and Leonard Thorp, with Tom Butler, was 
sent to look after the remainder. During the winter the cattle 
ranged along the banks of Salmon river and were sold the fol- 
lowing summer. 

In the fall of this year Connell and Hoore were again on the 
Yakima with 600 cattle to winter. They built a cabin on the 
spot now known as the W. P. Sawyer ranch in Parker Bottom. 
After fifty years the cabin still stands there as a reminder of long 

In 1866 Snipes changed his base of operations, driving 1,000 
cattle to Little Blackfoot mines in Hontana, where a gold discovery 
had been made the previous year. He traveled by way of White 
Bluffs, over the plains of Big Bend to Spokane, then up the west 
side of Pend d'Oreille lake to Thompson Falls, and through the 
Bitter Root valley to Hissoula, ending the journey at Deer Lodge. 
It was a long, hard drive, and many of the cattle were left behind 
because of weakness and sore feet. He found the market there 
overdone, and it was not a money-making experiment. 

E. Bird came in this year with 300 cattle belonging to a Hr. 
Chapman and turned them loose at the mouth of the Satus. Two 
years later he moved the cattle down to the mouth of the Yakima 
on the north side of the river and settled on a ranch, where he 
remained many years. H. H. Allen, who had been interested in 
the drives with Snipes, now had cattle on the range. Dr. L. H. 
Goodwin, who had settled the previous year on the Yakima just 
above the present Yakima City, had cattle on the Ahtanum range. 
William Hurphy had been the first white man to graze cattle on 
the Ahtanum, having wintered 300 there in 1864. 

Ka-mi-akm — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 285 

In 1866 Leonard Thorp and I bought 200 beef cattle in the 
Klickitat and drove them to Warren's Diggings. Tom Burch bought 
300 steers from Elisha McDaniel and drove them to Boise Basin 
by Umatilla and Baker City. In the fall of 1866 Snipes put more 
cattle on the range, Parker and Allen enlarged their herd by sev- 
eral hundred and Connell turned a thousand out to winter. In 
1867 Connell drove to Cariboo, George W. Goodwin to Warren's 
Diggings, Leonard Thorp and I to Montana with ISO head. This 
year marked the. arrival of many new settlers with their herds 
from the Willamette valley. 

In 1868 William Splawn and William Parker took 200 cattle to 
Idaho and McAllister 200 to British Columbia. I drove 200 to 
Okanogan lake. Connell made his last trip to the Cariboo this year. 
He quit the business then, investing his money in city property in 
Portland. Dying a few years later, he never enjoyed the vast for- 
tune that would have come to him. After this year there were no 
more drives to the Cariboo. The country round about was now 
raising all the cattle the miners could use. Many fortunes were 
made in the cattle business in the palmy days of this favorite route. 
But now the tramping hoofs of the great herds along the old trail 
were heard no more. The stockman's right arm was gone when he 
lost the Cariboo trade. 

Ike Carson in 1868 bought 200 cattle of Egbert French in 
Parker Bottom and drove them over the Nah-cheez pass to Puget 
sound. It was the first drive that way to market. When the cattle 
started on that drive it was so smoky from forest fires that it was 
impossible to see the lead cattle more than 200 yards away. 

No cattle were driven from the Yakima to any mining camp 
in 1869, for those territories were all raising their own stock. 
Summer range in the Yakima was getting short. Many herds were 
now driven into the Kittitas for summer range. Here was a cattle 
heaven, indeed, and thousands of cattle spent the 'summer months 
there for a number of years. It became the gathering place for the 
droves that furnished Puget sound for many years before the rail- 
road came. This same year Joseph Borst came over the Cascades 
by the Snoqualmie pass and bought a band of beef cattle, driving 
them to Seattle. It was the real beginning of our cattle trade with 
the west side, which has kept up ever since and been a Godsend to 
the cattle business. 

This year marked the entrance of Phelps and Wadleigh into 
the cattle business in the Yakima valley. They bought the two 
ranches of Parker and Allen, together with their cattle, and later 
bought the adjoining ranch of Johndro. They kept buying differ- 
ent herds until they owned several thousand cattle, which grazed 
from Parker Bottom down the north side of the Yakima as far as 
the present Kiona. They afterwards bought out the butchering 
business of Booth, Foss and Borst in Seattle, continuing until 

286 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

1881, when they closed out all their interests. They were both good 
men and a great help to the stock growers. For about seven years 
I was in their employ as head buyer. They put confidence in me 
which I feel I never betrayed. In 1870 I drove a band of beef 
cattle to Seattle from the Kittitas valley. I continued to drive over 
the Snoqualmie pass route for seven years. During the time I 
was in the employ of Phelps & Wadleigh I bought about ninety 
per cent of the cattle that traveled that route. 

The cattle business now began to decline, due to the fact that 
thousands had been annually driven over the mountains from the 
Willamette since the settlement of Eastern Washington and Oregon 
began in 1859, that there has been a rapid increase in the herds of 
the settlers located all along the streams and valleys of this great 
range country, and that there was only a moderate market. We 
were facing an over-production, and by 1873 we were up against it. 
While the trade with Portland and Puget Sound increased slowly, 
the demand from the mining camps decreased rapidly. From 1873 
to 1880 were dark days for the settlers. Raising livestock was 
their only means of support. In 1875 came a ray of light. A few 
buyers from Wyoming came in and took stock out over the old 
emigrant trail to the great ranges of Wyoming and Montana. Dur- 
ing the next five years tens of thousands of cattle went that way, 
large corporations as well as individuals stocking up those fresh 
and vast ranges. Our country was so overstocked that prices con- 
tinued low until after the hard winter of 1880-1, which killed ofif at 
least fifty per cent of the cattle in Eastern Washington and Oregon. 
Then prices revived. 

Many a stockman met his Waterloo that year. The ranges 
being overcrowded, stock went into the winter thin. In the Yakima 
valley at that time there were fully 150,000 cattle, and I do not 
believe over 50,000 survived. Southeastern Oregon did not suffer 
nearly so great a loss. The eastern drives had now ceased and we 
were confined to our western trade with Portland and Puget Sound, 
with an occasional shipment of young stock to Montana helping to 
relieve us of our increase for a few years. 

Yakima valley and the white sage and sand grass plains on 
the Columbia river on the east side from the mouth of the Snake to 
Priest Rapids and eastward as far as Wash-tuc-na lake, furnished 
about all the winter and spring beef used. I have bought thousands 
during the winter and spring months from these ranges and driven 
them to The Dalles, where they were shipped by steamboat to 
Portland or to Kalama and then by rail to Puget Sound. 

These winter gatherings of beef cattle from the ranges and the 
drives to The Dalles were attended with extreme hardships. The 
average man was unfit for the undertaking; only the hardy could 
stay with it. With pack horses to carry the camp outfit, whether 
sunshine or storm, we were compelled to camp wherever night 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 287 

overtook us, cook our food as best we could, spread our already 
wet blankets maybe on the frozen ground, or sometimes with the 
snow for a bed, and lie down to sleep. Or we had to take our turn 
standing guard over the cattle during the night to prevent their 
wandering, the watchers being relieved at midnight by others who 
kept guard till morning. This meant working an eighteen-hour 
day and often in weather twenty degrees below zero. 

The cowboys did their work willingly and well, without a 
murmur. There were no strikes those days, for men were made in 
a different mould. They knew their duty and were honest enough 
to perform it. I have always kept a warm place in my heart for 
the old boys. Some of them are living now, forty years later, in 


Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 289 


With the advent of spring comes the business end of the cattle 
industry, the roundup. All the cattle owners within certain bound- 
aries were notified to meet at a certain time and place, where they 
would organize for the season's work by electing a captain; some 
times he was named by general consent, and at other times by a 
majority vote. The captain was in command and his orders must 
be obeyed ; to hold the respect of the cowboys he must have a strong 
and pleasant individuality, which he generally had. 

The work consisted of ear marking and branding calves and 
gathering beef; which on the larger ranges were generally held 
separate, in what they called the beef herd, until a sufficient number 
were together to make a train load, and then they were moved to 
the nearest shipping point on the railroad ; so the shipments continued 
until the end of the season. The work was hard and the success 
of the cattle owngrs depended upon the cowboys who were made 
up from all classes of men, but held certain standards of manhood 
beyond which they would not go. Brave and reckless daredevils, 
yet they were always dependable; no chances they would not take, 
nor suffering they would not endure for the Old Man (the owner). 
Their life was a variety of romance, hardship and peril. No coward 
would stay at, or weakling endure, the constant work of the cow- 
boy. His love of the wild held him to the work of the range. From 
early morn to the evening twilight, and even later, his work never 
ceased ; he grumbled but obeyed his orders to the letter, for he 
must be a good soldier or the camp would have none of him. There 
were no layoffs or vacations except on occasional days spent midst 
the glitterings of some frontier hell at the end of the beef drive. 
No man ever worked harder through longer hours of hardships and 
dangers for so small a wage. He broke the wild horse and taught 
him the rudiments of the cow pony ; thus mounted he dashed into the 
stampeding herd when the thunder rolled and the lightning flashed, 
knowing it was a gamble with death. He was a part of the range 
he ruled and loved; and was never happier than when singing a 
sweet lullaby as he rode around the guarded herd in the midnight 
hours to calm their fears ; riding alongside the traveling herd midst 
the dust of a thousand hoofs, and again out on the sand hills, a 
mere speck, he could be seen riding hard to bring in the last bunch 
of beef for the drive. Chary of speech and short on ceremony, yet 
quickly aroused when duty called, always ready for any emergency, 
he was a soldier and a scout as well as a herder, and a minute man 
in time of danger. He was of great help to the border settlements 
in Indian warfare, and a protection against thieves and ruffians. 
A product of the West, none has been more misunderstood than he ; 

290 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

the yellow novels have painted his picture falsely. Beneath his 
sombrero hat, hairy chaps, quirt and spurs, beats the heart of a 
brave man who was faithful to his trust, and charitable to a fault; 
a knight errant of the plains ; a type of man indispensible in settling 
the West — he kept his word, and his friendship was worth while. 

We recall an incident in 1880. The roundup was in the lava 
beds on Crab creek. The cattle were wild, and the horses worn 
out, and the men tired. The cattle were driven up a narrow defile 
to the top of a plateau. There being no place where the cattle 
could get down from this high plateau but by the narrow defile they 
were driven up, one man was sufficient to guard this point. The 
last watch was given to a boy named Roarick, who was only 15 years 
old, and was riding a mule. When the next relief went on duty, there 
was no boy, only mule tracks leading to the brink of the precipice. 
The boy and the mule were found dead at the foot of the cliff. 
Running in the dark they had jumped over the edge and fallen over 
a hundred feet. 

The boy was taken to White Bluffs. From there the Indians 
carried the body in a canoe down the Columbia to Wallula and word 
was sent to his parents at Walla Walla. 

A chapter on the coyboy cannot be concluded without a word 
for his inseparable companion, the cow pony. Possessed of almost 
human intelligence, made of something closely resembling rawhide, 
tough, wiry, resourceful, faithful, cheerful and alert, he scarcely 
needed the guiding hand of his master to tell him what to do. 

Incidents of the roundup were amusing as well as pathetic and 
illustrate vividly the character of the men who followed the cattle 
as a profession. In 1879, when we were rounding up on the 
Columbia, camped a few miles above the present Pasco, the night 
was very cold. We were huddled around a small fire when one 
of our number, Texas Bill, who had been to Ainsworth, a railroad 
town of the frontier type, rode up, turned his horse loose and 
crowded his way up to the fire. With much palaver and smell of 
whisky, he appropriated a front seat. The boys told him to cease 
prattling or turn in. His answer was to take the cartridges out of 
his belt and throw them into the hot coals, casually remarking that 
the fire was only large enough for one man, anyway. Then he 
lay down, with the challenge, "Let's see who is brave enough to 
stay on the job." 

We weren't cold any longer ; too busy beating a retreat. The 
explosion threw sand and pebbles in all directions and sounded like 
a battle. After the cannonading ceased, we all went over to see 
what was left of Bill. And by some miracle. Bill was all there, not 
even scratched. 

One day in 1880 Samuel Hunter, a well-educated young fellow, 
applied for a job. He worked for a number of months and proved 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 291 

himself industrious and trustworthy. As he seldom talked, we 
styled him Silent Sam. 

While encamped at Washtucna lake near the Snake river, where 
we expected to remain a few days, he asked permission to go to 
Walla Walla. He returned four days later, pale and haggard. Call- 
ing me to one side, he told me his story and its tragic ending. Six 
years before, it seems, he had had a sweetheart. They had their 
plans made to be married, when along came a smooth-tongued travel- 
ing salesman to their town. The girl went off with him, leaving 
behind a broken-hearted mother who begged the discarded lover 
to hunt her daughter and bring her home. Sam had been searching 
for the girl ever since, working long enough at times to get money 
to continue his hunt. The other day something had told him to go 
to Walla Walla. 

There, in a house of ill repute, he found her dying. She had 
barely time to tell him her pitiful story before she passed away. 
Sam wanted to fulfill his promise to the mother and take the dead 
girl back to her. He proposed to spend the balance of his days 
hunting down her betrayer. 

I bought his horse and outfit. When the other boys heard his 
story, they quickly made up a purse, telling Sam that he owed us 
nothing, and if he needed more, to let us know. Every cowboy's 
Godspeed went with Sam Hunter as he rode to Walla Walla, ac- 
companied by Dana Gillett to bring back his horse. We never saw 
or heard of him again, but wherever he is, we hope he accomplished 
his mission. 

I shipped the first trainload of cattle to go over the Northern 
Pacific from north of the Snake river in 1881. The company built 
a corral and loading chute at a station called Twin Wells, north of 
the present Connell Junction. It stood in a ravine, surrounded by 
a great wide plain. 

The iron horse, hitched to the long string of cars, with its 
puffing and snorting, set me to thinking. Like a wild Indian, I 
scented danger in this forerunner of civilization, this advance agent 
of a great migration of settlers, which signalled the beginning of 
the end of that vast cattle range which had been ours for so many 

Facilities for shipping by rail put an end to the long cattle 
drives overland to The Dalles and the steamer trip down the Colum- 
bia to the markets of Portland and Puget Sound. 

With twenty as good cowboys as ever sat the saddle to help, 
our ingenuity was taxed to the utmost loading that wild bunch. I 
was apparently the only otle who realized what the coming of the 
railroad meant to the cowboy. Reckless and happy, they joked about 
the loading, oblivious of the future. 

Though not much given to preaching and praying, but wishing 
to unburden myself of a feeling of responsibility which was weigh- 

292 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

ing me down, I mounted a box car, just before we pulled out. The 
boys' gathered around, all mounted ready to return to the Crab 
creek camp. I told the boys that though, as they well knew from 
long association with me, that I was no philosopher, prophet or 
witch, I had a hunch that the iron horse and steel rails would prove 
our undoing. The East and the West were no longer separated. 
The wild, happy life we had been leading would soon be only a 
sweet memory. That we had an illustration of what to expect in 
that I, single handed, was taking a trainload of cattle to market, 
whereas, on the old trail, it would have taken five men. 

"Grab all the land you can, boys," I said. "Buy a few cows 
and prepare for judgment day." 

I thought I had worked up a fitting climax, when one of the 
most reckless fellows. Alkali Dan, rode out in front and asked, "On 
what range, Jack, did you gather all that dope ? Did you get kicked 
on the head? Next we hear you will want to be a sky pilot and 
go to preaching. Maybe the stampede upset you. You sure have 
got cold feet. Take a jolt. It'll set your rnachinery goin' right 
again." And he pulled out his flask and held it up to me. 

Nevertheless, as my train pulled out and the boys rode off, my 
brain revolved to the one idea, "Get land, and plenty of it." 

Twenty-five years later I met Alkali Dan and he mentioned 
that box car speech of mine at Twin Wells. 

"Your hunch was sure right," he said. "I have drifted ever 
since. Once, in Wyoming, I settled down on a small creek and 
tried to farm and raise cattle, and was getting along fairly well 
when along came a big cattle company, bought up a few small 
ranches and appropriated all the water. Got into court and that 
finished me. Moved into Montana and went to punching for Nick 
Beilinburg. The winters were too hard around Cut Bank and he 
sold out. Nothing left for me. I am for Mexico. It was a great 
day. Jack, while it lasted !" He smiled reminiscently. "The whole 
West was ours to ride where we pleased, shoot who, when and where 
we wanted to and no questions asked. We drove out the Indians 
and the coyotes, but now we have to hit the long trail for the 
Greaser's country or else become a common drudge for these 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 293 


My last drive on the trail was in November, 1896. I had taken 
several herds out of the Okanogan valley during the fall of that 
year; had, indeed, been buying beef cattle in that country for the 
ten years previous, but the hardships experienced on this trip con- 
vinced me that I had reached the age limit where men should use 
their brains more and their brawn less. 

There were six hundred and eighty cattle in the herd. It began 
to snow the day we left Louden's ranch, just below the present 
Oroville, and by the time we reached Ophir it had certainly got 
down to business. At Ophir we cut out a hundred and twenty-five 
head which I wanted to feed on my Yakima ranch, turned them 
over to Guy Fruit, a trusted cowboy, with Jim Black as helper, and 
started them to Coulee City to be shipped over the Northern Pacific 

The main drive was on down to Wenatchee where they were to 
be shipped over the Great Northern to Seattle. 

I went with the Yakima bunch as far as Bridgeport to help in 
ferrying the cattle. This done, and the storm still raging, I went 
to the hotel for the night. In the morning it registered 20 degrees 
below zero. I thought how the boys with the main herd must be 
feeling and struck out to overtake them, hoping to find the outfit 
at the mouth of the Methow. When I came up with them, the boys 
were undecided what to do, the cattle bunched up steaming hot and 
sullen, refusing to move, and the wind blowing a gale from the 
north with the snow still falling — an old-fashioned blizzard. 

The boys needed cheering up, so I acted as master of cere- 
monies and they responded readily. When they heard that they 
would not have to go on night herd, there was an audible sigh 
of relief. 

Two miles below there was a narrow pass around a grade 
where we could build a fire. This would keep the cattle from going 
back. Near by a small rancher had put up some wheat hay and 
bunch grass. I went ahead to buy him out, instructing the boys 
to move the cattle on. 

The homesteader's family consisted of a wife, two children and 
a grandmother. Their food supply was short and they had nothing 
to spare except eggs. The grandmother, however, had knit a 
number of pairs of socks and mittens, all of which I bought. The 
proprietor of the hay was glad to sell it for $100. My boys were 
in bad shape, half-clad, not having anticipated any such weather, 
and the socks and mittens helped to cheer them up a little. 

By the next morning the snow was two feet deep. We camped 
at night at the Dave Corrall ranch where we found hay and an 

294 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

enclosure for the cattle, but next night, at the ranch of I. A. 
Navarre, we turned them up a coulee which the trail followed to the 
Columbia, tied our horses to trees, with nothing for them to eat 
and put in such a night ourselves as may be indicated from the fact 
that when we tried to arise at daylight, our hair was frozen fast to 
the snow. There being nothing for breakfast, we set out at once 
to find the cattle, whose tracks had been covered during the night. 

It was after dark when we moved down the long hill to Knapp's 
ferry on the Columbia where we found feed for the horses but none 
for the cattle. About noon the next day we got to the old Charley 
Navarre place, where we found a little hay stack, not more than 
two tons — a taste only. I gave him a cow for it, however. Three 
miles further on we found a small field of corn fodder for which 
we paid $100, though under less abnormal conditions, no one would 
have asked us more than $20. 

This being the night the steamboat plying between Wenatchee 
and Virginia City would pass down the river, I borrowed a lantern 
and sat on the bank to wait for it. It was after midnight when it 
came along, but it pulled up to the bank at my signal and took my 
order for hay to be brought from Wenatchee and distributed at 
two points where I expected to camp on the way down river. 

We were delayed a day in getting around the narrow and diffi- 
cult trail of Kock-shet mountain, so I had to ride on to Entiat and 
pay a man $20 to haul me a ton of hay after I had paid for it. 

Looking down the river, I saw the steamer land at Orondo. 
She whistled as if she meant to come on up, though not her day 
for up river, and drew in at our camp. Captain Bruce Greggs, it 
seems, had figured on an emergency and had brought five more tons 
than ordered. It was a Godsend to me, for the cattle were dis- 
couraged. The boys guarded that night, the big pot of coffee and the 
log fire keeping them alive through the bitter cold. 

Bill Hayden, whose cabin we passed next morning, stuck his 
head out to inquire why we were out in that storm. I told him we 
didn't know it was a storm. Glancing at a thermometer hanging 
by his door, he called out to us : "Thirty-six below zero." 

That night was a repetition of the one before and the next day 
a stiff wind set in, making it the coldest yet. When I suggested 
that we tie a pair of blankets on our saddle to wrap around us, all 
the boys liked the idea but Tennessee John, who had been lightly 
clad all the time. He said he had done without blankets so far and 
would stick it out. 

Returning from a ride ahead to look over a dangerous trail 
around a cliff and to locate a camping place where there was plenty 
of wood and a bunch of my hay, I missed Tennessee John. The 
boys told me he was back ; had given up ; was just too cold to go on. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 295 

I found him leaning up against a sage bush, his horse tied near 
by. He positively refused to move, saying that he was unworthy 
the time I was spending on him. 

Though his folks back East were good people, he was no credit 
to them and I told him so, slapping him in the face. He got up at 
once, full of fight, and chased me around that sage bush so hard 
that I was glad enough to have him stop. After some persuasion, 
he wrapped the blanket around him and came on. 

We hauled the hay by the horn of the saddle, a bale at a time, 
and scattered it, and after dinner saddled up and broke a trail 
around the cliff. We packed up ten sacks of sand and scattered 
over the most dangerous part, where, if an animal stumbled, over 
he went. 

That night was almost unbearable. Even the coffee pot seemed 
to have no warmth and the cattle were hard to hold, milling and 
moaning. Our breakfast was eaten in silence. The limit of our 
endurance had been reached. Telling the boys that it was the last 
day, and how much it meant to me to get the cattle over this bad 
place in safety, I concluded with "Use your best judgment, boys." 
They nodded silently. 

I took the lead, theti came the pack horses with a man to keep 
them moving, then a few cattle, with a man to keep them close to 
the horses, and so on, till all were over in safety. We had passed 
them over inside of two hours without a mishap. I gave the war 
whoop and the boys replied. At noon we turned the band into 
Sam Miller's pasture near Wenatchee, where they were fed, and we 
took shelter in a shed which seemed a palace. Here I got the 
pleasant information that the Great Northern, over which I expected 
to ship, was snow-bound. t 

The next day being Thanksgiving, we rode into Wenatchee to 
celebrate. I ordered dinner at Hotel Bell, a regular cowboy's 
banquet, and around the table, supplied with everything we wished, 
our troubles were for a time forgotten. The feast ended, I stood at 
the end of the table and made a speech. 

"I am going to quit the trail, boys," I said. "During my 35 
years in the saddle, I have followed about every old Indian trail 
in the Northwest. Long before the smoke curled from the settlers' 
cabins, I was following them. But the old trails are being oblit- 
erated by the barbed wire fence and the plow. The cowboy will soon 
be out of a job. This trail we have just come over will perhaps 
be the last to go. I have traveled it when no white man was to 
be seen. The roaring waters of the Winah, the wild yells of the 
noble red man and the howls of the coyote were the only sounds 
we heard. 

"Today I turn my back on the old trail to face our boasted 
civilization where selfishness, dishonor and deceit lurk in every 
corner, where money counts for more than manhood and fashion 

296 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

will keep us poor. I am going into politics and will mix mustard 
with that wily bunch which seems to be running our government, 
in order that I may learn their ways." 

I did ; and I have learned considerable. 

Tennessee John promptly got drunk, struck a gambling game 
and was fleeced of the small amount I had given him in camp. To 
make sure that he would not lose everything in this way, I bought 
him a suit of clothes, overcoat, shoes and hat, leaving about $10 
due him. In the morning he found the outfit, dressed up and was 
immensely pleased with himself. 

"I wonder what old Schoolhouse Mary will say when she sees 
me in this rig, he inquired of the cook. Schoolhouse Mary was an 
Okanogan squaw with whom he had fallen in love. 

When the boys bade me good bye at Wenatchee and started 
home, I felt pretty sad as I watched them, knowing full well that 
nowhere on earth outside of a cow camp could such men be found. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakiinas 297 


In the year 1870 Ben Burch, who was camped in the Kittitas 
valley looking after Purdy Flint's cattle, and I decided to start a 
store. We bought a hewn log house, 14x18 feet, which stood a few 
miles away and contracted with Martin Daverin to haul and put it 
up near our old camp. We bought goods and November 20 our 
pack train and loaded wagons arrived. When we got through un- 
loading the stuff, the cabin was so full that it looked as if there 
would be no room inside for customers. John Gillispie, a young, 
settler of the previous year and a good friend of mine, rode up and 
asked how I was going to get inside to do business. I told him 
that I should sell first the goods nearest the door and thus grad- 
ually work my way in. He said that I needed a sign and volunteered 
to make me one. I accepted his offer. A few mornings later I 
read over my door, "Robber's Roost." It staggered me for a 
moment, but, on second thought, I concluded that perhaps John knew 
more about the sign business than I did. Though it did look very 
suggestive, I decided to let it stay. 

Robber's Roost soon became famous throughout the land. , Set- 
tlers were very few and poor, so we could expect but little revenue 
from that source and must depend upon the Indian trade. We 
had bought three hundred traps which we distributed among the 
Indians free of charge. As soon as they learned that they were 
getting something for nothing they came after the traps from far 
and near. As a result the fur trade was good that winter. I knew 
nothing of the value of furs and had taken no steps to inform 
myself, so our dealing was largely guess work, though I did try to 
be sure that the prices on my goods were high enough. I felt 
that we were on the safe side when an Indian came in with a pack 
horse load of furs and went away carrying all the goods he received 
in exchange in his hip pocket. 

My brother, Moses Splawn, was with me that winter and one 
day, during my absence, when a customer wanted a box of pills, 
the price of which was 25 cents, Moses charged him $2.50. The 
man remonstrated, saying that he had bought them before for 
two-bits. They finally agreed to leave it to me on my return. 
When I told Moses that the man was right, my brother was dis- 
gusted with me and said that I would never be a success in busi- 
ness and had better sell out ; when conditions were such that a man 
must have pills, it was business to make him pay an emergency price. 

In the spring I bought Burch's interest and became sole pro- 
prietor of the Roost. Gathering up the pack train, I loaded on 
the furs and set out for The Dalles for more supplies. I found a 
good sale for the furs, but discovered that, in my ignorance, I 

298 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

had paid for some kinds many times their worth, and for others, 
nothing near their value. On the whole I broke about even on the 
furs, and the prices charged for the goods left me considerably 

Knowing that the Indians would congregate in numbers in 
June at Che-loh-an, the great council and root ground, in prepara- 
tion for the sporting events which always followed the annual gath- 
ering, I bought a number of race horses and a hundred decks of 
cards and made a half-mile race track below the store. Then I was 
ready to meet the noble red man in any game he desired. 

Che-loh-an was only about ten miles away and the Indians 
gathered there by hundreds, digging roots and sporting among 
themselves. I traded for horses, sometimes paying a little money 
with the goods taken in exchange, assured that it was only a matter 
of a few days until it would find its way back into my pockets. 
After the roots were dug, the Indians moved on down to my race 
track in order to sport with me. I was not so well up in the bone 
game, but could hold my own at cards, and I skinned them in the 
horseracing. After two weeks of matching skill with them, I was 
somewhat ahead of the game. 

It was a representative Indian gathering, not only the men, but 
the squaws and pappooses gambling among themselves, dogs fight- 
ing and snarling, drums beating and old women wailing for loved 
ones long since gone. In the village stood a hundred-foot lodge 
covered with mats. Here they held their ceremonies and they made 
an imposing sight, in beaded buckskin suits, haiqua shells and 
wampum hung about their necks, faces painted both red and yellow, 
going through their drills and dances, keeping time to the music 
of songs, beating of sticks and the sound of the pum-pum. Spring 
and fall saw such gatherings; they were the Indian's jubilees. They 
enjoyed them, and it helped my trade. 

One day a band of Indians from a distant tribe came to the 
store and bantered me for a horse race. They wanted a long dis- 
tance race; in fact, suggested the foot of We-nat-sha mountain, six 
or seven miles away for the start, and the finish at the store. In 
order to keep up my reputation as a sport, I had to accommodate 
them. Two horses were matched and money and blankets bet on 
the result. There was no other white man at the store and about 
now it dawned upon me that in the time it would take me to ride 
up to the mountain and run back, I could do a big business in brass 
rings, red paint and spotted handkerchiefs. There was a young 
Indian standing by and I offered him a dollar to ride my horse. 
He took it eagerly and mounted bareback, while I began a brisk 
trade with the visitors. Just then my faithful old horse herder, 
At-wine, came in and learned about the race. He promptly informed 
me that my rider belonged to my opponent's tribe. Having antici- 
pated as much, I sent him out to Craig's hill to watch and signal 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 299 

me when the horses came in sight. I had my best race horse 
saddled and when I thought it about time for the racers to show 
up, I moved all the Indians out of the store and locked up. 

Getting the signal from At-wine, I met the riders about half a 
mile away. My opponent's horse was in the lead, its rider whipping 
it; behind carne mine, under a heavy pull. Riding alongside, I 
. gave my rider one lick with the whip and the horse another, with the 
word "Clat-a-wa" (Go). They lit out and we soon passed the other 
horse and won by a long distance. The Indians made no complaint, 
simply saying that it had not occurred to them that I would do that. 

The summer of 1871 found many new settlers building their 
homes along the different streams. Thousands of cattle, driven in 
from the lower Yakima for summer range, grazed the beautiful 
valley, whose fine bunch grass grew even up to the water's edge. 
There were no flies of any kind to disturb the stock and there was 
cool, clear water in numerous small streams that wound through 
the grassy plain. The cattle became so fat that they had to hunt 
the shade early in the morning. It was a veritable cattle heaven. 

With no market for agricultural products, everybody was in 
the cattle business. The only labor attached consisted in putting up 
wild hay and fencing the ranches. Commercial crazes and get-rich- 
quick schemes had not yet reached this wild and beautiful land. 
The people were honest and happy. They sold their cattle once a 
year, and consequently paid their bills only once a year, but the 
trader knew that he would get his money. . 

I fenced in a pasture adjoining the store which enclosed the 
ground where the Northern Pacific railroad depot, yards and round- 
house now stand at Ellensburg. In this pasture for ten years 
thousands of cattle were gathered preparatory to the drive over the 
Sno-qual-mie pass to Seattle and other Sound points. 

I remember one day in the summer of 1872, seeing a line of 
travelers approaching the store along the trail from the Lower 
Yakima. When within half a mile, one horseman rode ahead. He 
was well dressed and intelligent looking. I was sitting out in front 
with my chair tilted against the wall. He asked if I were the pro- 
prietor, then pointed above the door and said: "Isn't that an un- 
common sign ?" I admitted that it was, but said that I had always 
heard that, no matter how bad a man might be, he had somewhere 
in his make-up a redeeming quality. Mine was that I wouldn't 
deceive. "There is my sign," I said, "that all may read and if any 
one meets with disaster around here, he has only himself to blame." 

He went silently back to his companions and they gave the store 
and its strange proprietor a wide berth. I had lost a sale, but felt 
more than compensated with the knowledge that I had put it over 
a tenderfoot. 

One day two cowboys rode up to ask if we had any whisky. 
They said they had come "to hold a big drunk." They were in- 

300 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

formed that if they contemplated holding such a carousal, they 
must go to an old cabin half a mile away and remain there until 
sober. They agreed to this and rode off, each supplied with a bottle 
and some crackers and cheese to eat. After dark I sent At-wine, 
my herder, down to see how they were making it. He promptly 
returned with an order for two more bottles. The cowboys ar- 
ranged with At-wine to carry what drinks would be needed during 
the night, and he was kept busy. In the morning, when I asked the 
Indian if the boys were still alive, he said, "Yes, but yock-a-hi-yu- 
pight (they are fighting). A little later he reported them as hi-yu- 
moo-sum (having a big sleep). That afternoon they appeared at 
the store, with blackened eyes and bruised heads, looking as if they 
had been run through a threshing machine, paid their bills and rode 
off together to their camp, the best of friends. 

Fred Bennett, an old German who lived nearby on the other 
side of Wilson creek, used to come in pretty often and sample the 
free bottle that sat on the shelf. I suggested one day that he better 
go slow or he would not be able to get over the foot log across the 
creek. "I just bet you fife to liar," he said, "I can trink all in dot 
bottle and den valk ofer dot log." It seemed to me a good gamble, 
for if I won, I would be reimbursed for all the free whisky he had 
drank. He finished the bottle and struck out for home, I following 
close behind. He was so sure of himself and so happy that he was 
holding conversation with himself thus: "I haf got Jack dis time; 
I yust get his visky and his fife tollar for noddings." He came to 
the log. Straightening up, he set his eyes on the opposite shore 
and started over. A little way out on the log, he began to reel. A 
single cry, "O Gott," and the sound of splashing water told of 
Bennett's bath — no doubt his first for many years. I pulled him 
out on his own side of the creek and sent him home. 

On the way from Yakima to Kittitas lived Matthias Becker and 
his jewel of a wife. Mrs. Becker had a heart full of goodness and 
an ability as cook which could not be equalled in that neck of the 
woods. I flattered myself that there always awaited me a welcome 
there, but what was my surprise, one day in November, 1870, to be 
greeted at the Becker place by a cold stare. In the house sat my 
friend, John Gillispie and Mrs. Becker's sister, Caroline Gerlick, 
whom we all called Linnie. I wondered what I had done to lose 
their friendship, but without inquiring, beat a hasty retreat to my 
horse, where stood my friend Willie, patting him. 

"Don't go, Mr. Splawn," said Willie. "John and Linnie are 
going to get married and don't want any one to know." 

That being the case, I returned to the house and sat down, 
remarking that the unusually chilly atmosphere certainly boded ill 
for some one ; if a catastrophe were hanging over the premises, I 
hoped to be near to avert it. Mrs. Becker laughed then and said, 
"We can't fool Jack and might just as well tell him. We are wait- 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 301 

ing for the justice (my friend Bennett of the log-walking episode) 
to marry this couple," and she pointed to the bashful lovers sitting 

A few moments later the Hon. Frederick Bennett arrived. He 
had rigged up for the occasion in Ben Burch's old pants, a mite 
too short, and my best coat, which fitted him likewise, but my shirt 
with a large striped collar set him off for any social emergency. The 
ceremony was brief — "Shoin your right hands. By this you signify 
that you lofe one anuder. Py de laws of our coundry and de bower 
in me, I bronounce you vife and vife." I caught his eye and shook 
my head. He hastened to correct the inistake with, "I don't mean 
dot ; I means usband and vife." 

Thus was performed the first marriage ceremony in the Kittitas 

The year 1871 developed two characters which furnished a 
disturbing element which, up to this time, had been lacking. They 
were Pat Lynch and Windy Johnson, both sons of Erin. Innumer- 
able quarrels soon brought on fistic encounters between them. Tom 
Haley acting as referee. The fight usally began by Windy saying 
to Pat, "Are yez ready to die?" The invariable reply was, "Sure 
not, ye blatherskite" ; then the encounter. One day Pat, on his gray 
mare, with a shot gun across his saddle, was hailed by Windy where 
the trail crossed his land. When Pat attempted to go forward. 
Windy fired, taking away part of Pat's hat brim. Pat dismounted, 
and gave a return salute which tore off some of Windy's coat. The 
latter sought redress in the court. Justice Fred Bennett presided, 
with a selected jury. Pat had no defense, but a good idea — to 
"trate" the judge and jurors. Robber's Roost had nothing stronger 
on hand than vinegar bitters at the time, but Pat, undismayed, took 
seven bottles. By the time the evidence was all in, there were but 
three jurors in their seats with no likelihood of a greater number 
present any time that night. So they rendered a verdict of "Not 
guilty," and the first court ever held in the Yakima country ad- 

Jacob Becker, the pioneer blacksmith, was not a man to be for- 
gotten, a giant in stature, full of industry, an acquisition to the 
settlement which learned to rely on him at any and all times. Becker 
became interested in a quartz mine on the Swuck and when a few 
hundred dollars had been taken out, he quit work, waiting for his 
mine, the Selma, to make him rich. As he expressed it to me when 
I wanted my horse shod, "I works no more." When I passed the 
shop two weeks later, I heard the anvil ringing and rode up to 
inquire the cause. "Say nothing to me," cried Becker. "Yesterday 
I was worth millions. Today I am poorer than a dog." The Selma 
had pinched out. 

The monotony of the landscape was broken that winter by a 
boy and a band of sheep. Whenever I looked out, there was that 

302 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

boy following the sheep, faithfully tending them in all kinds of 
weather, while the negro whom his father had left to help him, did 
the heavy standing around. A lasting friendship sprang up between 
the young herder and myself. He was a credit to the community 
in which he grew to manhood. Edward Whitson was true to a trust, 
faithful in the discharge of his duty and achieved a reputation on 
the federal bench. 

The call of the mountains and plains was too constant and too 
strong for me to remain long in any one place. In the early summer 
of 1872 I sold my stock of goods to John A. Shoudy. Afterwards 
I made him a present of my squatter's right to the 160 acres of land 
comprising the present site of Ellensburg. Shoudy platted the 
townsite and named it after his good little wife. The settlers, how- 
ever, for many years, still clung to the old name. Robber's Roost. 


504 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 



Years have elapsed since the Bannock and Piute war and the 
Perkins murder. Time has effaced the differences which then 
existed between the Indians and the whites. Today one should be 
in a position to give an unbiased account of these events and the 
incidents which led u,p to them, doing justice to all concerned. 

This review is based on my own personal knowledge of condi- 
tions which prevailed and upon a long acquaintance with one of 
my most frequently mentioned characters in this connection, Chief 
Moses. I also have first hand information from the men who pur- 
sued and captured the murderers. 

During the excitement which followed the killing of Perkins 
and his wife, all kinds of rumors were afloat. Every movement 
made by the Indians was held suspicious. The position of Chief 
Moses in the matter was far from clear. 

As a matter of fact, Moses had pursued the same policy as in 
1877, when he refused to join his cousin. Chief Joseph, on the war- 
path. Moses always disclaimed any connection with the Perkins 
murder, saying that the responsibility lay with a band of outlaws not 
in any way connected with his tribe, a band which had been fighting 
the whites on the south side of the Columbia in Oregon and whose 
members were making their escape from the military. I talked with 
him many times about it and he always told me the same story. 
Moses said he had driven these Indians away from his village when 
he learned what they had done. 

When General Howard was pursuing Chief Joseph's band in 
the Nez Perce war of 1877, he had a number of Bannock scouts 
with him. It was on this pursuit that it occurred to one of these 
scouts, Chief Buffalo Horn, that a propitious time was at hand to 
form a confederacy of red men to throw off the yoke of the white 
men. The Bannocks had joined General Howard because of their 
ancient tribal hatred of the Nez Perces, rather than from any 
friendly feeling towards the whites. When, too, Buffalo Horn 
heard General Howard speak highly of the splendid generalship of 
Joseph and the fighting quality of his warriors ; and when, still 
later, he witnessed the kind treatment accorded the vanquished Nez 
Perces by General Miles, while he, Buffalo Horn, who had helped 
the whites to their victory, was passed by without even a word of 
thanks, his resentment was aroused. Clearly the Indians who fought 
against the government got better treatment than those who helped 
it to fight its battles. 

Moreover, what he had seen of the ability of Joseph's small, 
encumbered band to keep up a long running fight against the whole 
military force of the Northwest, convinced him that the United 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 305 

States army was weak in the Indian mode of warfare. He had seen 
Joseph captured, but not dishonored, and jealousy of the Nez Perce 
chieftain's miHtary fame played its part in the plan upon which he 
set to work. 

A confederacy of red men to wipe out entirely the white race 
in the Northwest was his ambitious design, and had he possessed 
the ability of Joseph, the settlers of Idaho, Eastern Washington and 
Oregon might have paid heavily for it. For the country was sup- 
posed to be at peace, the settlers had no thought of an uprising, and 
were unarmed and defenseless. 

If he had not Joseph's military genius, Buffalo Horn must 
have had gifts of diplomacy, for I feel confident that he had the 
promise of aid in his Indian outbreak from most of the tribes in the 
above mentioned territory. It was unfortunate for his cause, too, 
that Buffalo Horn was killed early in the hostilities. The leader- 
ship fell to Egan, war chief of the Piutes, a man not big enough 
for the job. Some of the allies, seeing even before it reached 
Pendleton, Oregon, that the raid was doomed to failure, not only 
refused to give their promised assistance, but turned on the leader, 
Egan, and treacherously murdered him in the Blue mountains. 

With no leader, the hostiles broke up into small squads and 
made their way back to Harney county, Oregon, where they sur- 
rendered to the army. 

Buffalo Hoi-n's plan, as carried out in the beginning, was to 
strike out westward on his marauding trip from Fort Hall in Idaho. 
He and his Bannocks were joined by a large force of Piutes under 
Chief Egan, the confederated force numbering 500 warriors and 
over 1,000 women and children. He proposed a sudden dash which 
should take him swiftly down through Southeastern Oregon to the 
Umatilla reservation, where the Cayuses, Umatillas and Walla 
Wallas were to join him. A portion of the Indians were then to 
cross the Columbia, which was to be the signal for the Yakimas 
and other tribes to the north to commence hostilities. 

During this raid a great many Chinamen, who were mining 
in Southern Idaho, were murdered, as were isolated sheepherders 
and cattlemen and a few settlers. Near Stein's mountain Pete 
French and ten of his cowboys had an encounter with part of this 
band of raiders. French was a large cattle owner, whom I knew 
for years. He told me that the cowboys got to a rocky bluff, 
which afforded them protection, and that, after a few shots had 
been exchanged the Indians moved on. 

The whole country by now had become alarmed. At Silver 
Creek in Idaho there was a fight between a small company under 
Colonels Robbins and Bernard, in which the former, in a hand-to- 
hand encounter with Chief Egan, gave the red man some bad 
wounds. Captain Wilson, with only thirty men, had several skir- 
mishes with them and it is generally understood that it was in one 

306 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakiinas 

of these encounters with Wilson's command that Buffalo Horn met 
his death. 

Consternation reigned in Eastern Oregon at word of the near 
a,pproach of the hostiles. In wagons, on horseback and on foot the 
settlers flew to the nearest towns for protection. Pendleton, Uma- 
tilla, Walla Walla, Milton and Wallula were crowded with refugees. 
Homes had been abandoned in such haste that clothes and provisions 
were forgotten. Some of these places were mere hamlets at the 
time and could have offered but slight resistance, had not fortune 
interceded for the whites. 

When Buffalo Horn fell, the command went to Egan, and 
the Piute chief, severely wounded, made slow progress, which 
allowed Howard and Throckmorton time to join forces to oppose 
him, and gave the settlers a chance to organize to some extent. 
Counting the raid a forlorn hope, with one leader dead and the 
other badly wounded, the Oregon tribes which were to have joined 
the expedition joined forces with the whites. The Cayuses lured 
Egan into a trap and killed him. The Yakimas looked in vain for 
the signals to announce that the hostiles had crossed the river. The 
war had fizzled out. 

The captive Piutes were placed on the Simcoe reservation for 
the winter and allowed to return to their own country the following 
spring. During their stay on the reservation, Sarah Win-na-muca, 
an educated daughter of their great chief, Win-na-muca, who had 
refused to join Buffalo Horn in his raid, remained at Fort Simcoe 
as a guest of the Indian agent. Father Wilbur, looking after the 
welfare of her people. She was instrumental in bringing about 
permission for them to return home in the spring. 

During the height of the excitement in the Yakima valley, the 
settlers had banded together for protection in many places. A sod 
fort was built on the farm of J. B. Dickerson in the Ahtanum, 
about a mile southeast of the Woodcock academy. The walls were 
of mud piled eight feet high and three feet thick. A trench was dug 
around the outside of the fortification. The plan was to keep pro- 
visions and the families on the inside, while the men would defend 
the fort from the entrenchment. Tunnels were dug at intervals to 
permit communication between the trench and the fort, wells were 
sunk at convenient places so that the refugees might be prepared 
to withstand a long siege. 

Another fortification of smaller dimensions was built on John 
Cleman's ranch in the Wenas to protect settlers at Selah, Wenas 
and Nah-cheez. Most of the settlers from the lower Yakima con- 
gregated at Yakima City, using the Centennial and Schanno halls 
as forts. Not all of the settlers, however, went to the forts, many 
taking their chances at home. 

Shortly after the death of Buffalo Horn, when Egan's lack of 
leadership began to show up, the Columbia river Indians from 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 307 

Wallula down as far as The Dalles, who had joined the hostile 
Bannocks and Piutes in the John Day's country and had participated 
in several massacres of settlers, deserted and started north to join 
Chief Moses at the mouth of the We-nat-sha. Here Moses had 
gathered together, as the year before during the Nez Perce war, 
all the disaffected Indians in his vicinity. 

When this deserting band reached the lower end of Long Island, 
in the Columbia below Umatilla, and began to cross, a steamer 
which had been converted into a gunboat for the purpose of pre- 
venting just this thing, appeared and began firing, killing several 
Indians and keeping the larger portion from crossing at this time. 

A small party, however, had succeeded in making the landing 
on the north side and it included some of the most desperate rene- 
gades of the Northwest tribes, Has-sa-lo (Star), How-wil-lis, Til- 
la-toos, Wi-ah-na-cat, Ta-mah-hop-tow-ne and others. They were 
greatly angered at the killing of some of the tribesmen by the 
steamer and, while some remained behind to help the others cross, 
a hundred more succeeding in reaching the opposite shore the fol- 
lowing night, a band including Wi-ah-ne-cat, Shu-lu-skin, Ta-mah- 
hop-tow-ne, Te-wow-ne, Chuck-chuck, Moos-tonie and Ki-pe 
started north at once. 

They reached the Rattlesnake Springs the afternoon of July 
9. Here they came upon Mr. and Mrs. Perkins, who were on their 
way to Yakima City to visit Mrs. Perkins' mother, Mrs. Cheney. 
They had left their cabin on the east side of the Columbia that morn- 
ing, being ferried over by Mr. King, who with three other cattle- 
men — Jordie Williams, Fred Rolen and A. Duncan — were then liv- 
ing at White Bluffs. 

At the first trial in the j ustice court when the Indian murderers 
were bound over to the superior court, I acted as interpreter. Each 
and every one of the Indians told practically the same story, con- 
victing themselves without need for any other testimony. 

When they found the man and his wife at the springs, they 
said, Wi-ah-ne-cat suggested that they kill them. Ta-mah-hop- 
tow-ne said that two of their own people had been killed by the gun- 
boat, one of them a friend of his, and that he wanted revenge. 

During their argument, Perkins and his wife, no doubt becom- 
ing alarmed, began to saddle their horses. Wi-ah-ne-cat and Ta- 
mah-hop-tow-ne drew their guns and ordered Perkins to stop. He 
had his own horse saddled by this time and mounted. Mrs. Perkins, 
who was a splendid horsewoman, did not wait to saddle, but 
mounted her mare bareback, and with only a rope around her neck 
to guide her, they started on the run. A shot from Ta-mah-hop-tow- 
ne's gun wounded Perkins, but he kept on till a shot from Wi-ah-ne- 
cat reached him, when he fell from his horse and soon died. 

Mrs. Perkins' mount now began to run and was outdistancing 
her pursuers, when a deep ravine appeared, which the brave little 

308 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

mare failed to clear. The animal fell, throwing her rider, who 
lay stunned until the Indians came up. 

She raised her hands, they said, as if in prayer, then begged 
them, if they must kill someone, to let it be her, and to save her 
husband, she not knowing that he was already dead. While the 
Indians who had come up with Mrs. Perkins sat upon their horses, 
undecided, Wi-ah-ne-cat rode up and asked why they sat there like 
women, instead of killing her. He promptly drew his gun and 

Thus perished Blanche Bunting, whom I had known from 
childhood, her young Hfe cut short by a bullet from a fiendish 
savage out on the lonely hills of the Rattlesnake. Such was the toll 
the pioneers had to pay. 

By the terms of the original treaty, the Indians of this band 
of murderers belonged to the Simcoe reservation, but they had 
never lived there, residing with several smaller bands along the 
Columbia between the mouth of the Umatilla and the Wichrams at 
Celilo. These tribes had always been known as freebooters since 
the coming of the whites. This crime, therefore, is not justly 
chargeable to the Yakima reservation. 

After finishing their hellish deed, the Indians rode on up the 
Columbia. When they were opposite my Figure 2 ranch at Priest 
Rapids, where I had Dana Gillett, a white man, and two Indians — 
Sam, a Priest Rapids, and Barney, a Klickitat Indian — working, 
they called across. Barney and Sam went over in a canoe, but 
recognizing some of the party as "bad men," they declined to land. 
They were asked if there was "any white man at Jack Splawn's 
camp," and they said "No." The Indians moved on, bvit shouted 
back that they would cross above and come down on the other 
side, and if they found Sam and Barney had lied, they would give 
them a beating — which they later got. 

The two faithful fellows prevailed on Gillett to pack up and 
go down to White Bluffs, where four cattlemen were living. The 
renegades showed up in the morning and, finding that a white man 
had been there and made his escape, they kept their promise to my 

Because of sickness I was compelled to go at this time to Port- 
land for medical treatment. Before starting I arranged with Adam 
Duncan to go over to the Figure 2 and tell Dana Gillett to leave 
the camp and remain at Yakima City until the question of Indian 
hostilities was settled. There was an element of danger in the trip, 
so I gave Duncan my famous riding horse, Crazy Jim, noted for 
his speed and endurance. He arrived at the camp the day after 
Gillett had left for White Bluffs. After learning from my Indians 
of the raiding party, he went on down to White Bluffs, and the 
two, with E. M. King, made their way to Yakima City. Upon 
arrival there, they inquired if Perkins and his wife had got through 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 309 

safely. Learning they had not arrived, Duncan and John McAllister, 
an uncle of Mrs. Perkins, set out at once for the Rattlesnake springs, 
the first place to water after leaving White Bluffs. 

They found at the springs, upon close search, a piece of quilt 
and a broken dish which, upon their return to Yakima City, were 
identified as the property of the missing pair. Agent Wilbur, upon 
appeal for assistance, sent three Indian scouts. Stick Joe, Joe Eneas 
and a California Indian named Dick. These, with six white men — ■ 
John M. Edwards, J. H. Conrad, Adam Duncan, Andrew Chambers, 
John A. Splawn and John McAllister — from Yakima City set out 
once more to the springs, forty miles east. Stick Joe found the 
bodies in the bottom of a shallow ravine near where the old White 
Bluffs wagon road crossed the little stream. They were covered 
with rocks and brush. A partial island made by flood waters sep- 
arated them. 

John Splawn rode back to Yakima City for a conveyance in 
which to take the remains to Yakima, while the rest of the party 
stood guard over the dead. They were laid to rest in the Httle 
graveyard around which Blanche Bunting had gathered flowers in 
her girlhood. 

A few days after the murder of Mr. and Mrs. Perkins and 
before it had become known, Walter Burbank and his cousin, 
Albert Burbank, believing that horses belonging to Harry Burbank, 
the father of Walter, were in danger of being run off by some 
roving band of Indians, rode over to the range between the Hog 
ranch and the head of Cold creek to gather up the stock and drive 
it to the Wenas. When the young men had reached a point about 
a mile beyond the big willows, later known as the Hog ranch, 
they were fired upon. Walter's coat and vest were pierced by a 
bullet, while another tore off a portion of the horn of his saddle. 
Seeing eight Indians come out from behind a small hill, the young 
men began a hasty retreat, with bullets whistling all about them. 
Albert, who was not so well mounted, jumped his horse over a 
small precipice and hid, while the Indians followed Walter, whose 
fleeter horse carried him out of danger. Albert was able to esca,pe 
notice and rejoin Walter near Selah springs. When they rode into 
Yakima with their story, excitement ran high. There was much 
uneasiness in the little village, though the inhabitants were as yet 
in ignorance of the Perkins murder. 

Walter Burbank, William L. Splawn, Ed Lindsey and John 
M. Edwards went at once to the scene of the attack to discover the 
Indians and, if possible, bring in the band of horses. The former 
they did not find, but succeeded in getting the horses. It was after- 
wards learned that this band of Indians included such desperados 
as Has-sa-lo, Eel-spike and Til-la-toos, on their way to join Chief 

310 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

During the summer and fall efforts were made to discover the 
Perkins murderers, the only definite information obtained being- that 
they had joined Moses. About this time, when John M. Edwards 
and an Indian boy named Jim Nelson were looking after William 
L. Splawn's cattle on the east side of the Columbia, a Yakima 
Indian, Wow-nat-tee, rode into their camp and said that the mur- 
derers were then at White Bluffs in a great gambling game. Wow- 
nat-tee said that he would go with Edwards and point out the mur- 
derers to him, by placing his foot behind each one as he passed 
around the circle. 

Edwards went, though it was a perilous undertaking both for 
the white man and the Indian. As Wow-nat-tee extended his foot 
behind each of the seven guilty ones, Edwards carefully noted their 
features. As he started to return to his canoe, the game ceased and 
there was loud talking and much gesturing. He kept on, however. 
A big, powerful Indian stepped up in front of him, and asked what 
he was looking for. Edwards replied, "Just watching the game." 
The Indian answered, with oaths, "You are looking for me." By 
this time Edwards had reached the bank where the Indian boy, 
Nelson, was waiting in the canoe. He shoved the boat out into 
the current and crossed the river. Looking back, he observed 
commotion in the Indian camp. Mounting his horse, he sent the 
boy back to the Indian camp with the canoe, and rode on down river. 

When out of sight, he left the trail. As night came on, he 
hunted up an old dug-out he knew of hidden in a bunch of brush. 
It was in bad shape, but he got it into the water, tied an old saddle 
blanket around it as best he could and, swimming his horse along- 
side, crossed the river. He rode into Yakima City at daylight and 
told William L. Splawn what he had seen and done. A call was 
made for volunteers, but that course seeming too slow, Splawn, 
Edwards and my cowboy, Dana Gillett, started for White Bluffs, 
intending to make the arrests for themselves. They found, how- 
ever, that the renegades had gone. 

The information obtained by Edwards was sent on to Agent 
Wilbur at Fort Simcoe. About the first of December Agent Wilbur 
sent an invitation to Chief Moses to visit him at Fort Simcoe. Moses 
went and, after talking it over, both Wilbur and Moses went to 
Yakima City to hold a council with the citizens. Centennial hall 
was packed to hear what the great chief had to say. Wilbur pre- 
sided. He emphasized what a crime it was for one person to kill 
another, said that the murder of Perkins and his wife was an out- 
standing crime done by a renegade band of Indians without cause 
or provocation, and that the guilty ones must be caught and pun- 
ished. In introducing Moses, Wilbur said, "The greatest chief in 
our territory is present and can, if he will, be of great help in cap- 
turing this band of outlaws." 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 311 

Moses made a long talk, denying any complicity in the crime, 
and said he had not, and would not, harbor the murderers in his 
tribe. He gave it as his belief that the renegades were in hiding 
among the lava beds on Crab creek and offered, if Agent Wilbur 
would send some of his Indian police and the whites some volun- 
teers, to send ten of his men to assist in their capture. 

Agent Wilbur at once sent for ten of his policemen, with Eneas 
as captain and John Lumley as first lieutenant. A call for volun- 
teers was made and the following men came forward : William L. 
Splawn, Moses Splawn, John A. Splawn, John M. Edwards, Pleas 
Rader, William Eaton, George S. Taylor, D. B. May, Dana Gillett, 
Mai Shaw, Tom Shaw, Eugene FHnt, S. Munson, James Simmons, 
Dan Simmons, Berwick, George W. Goodwin, W. E. Thornton, 
Ed Lindsey, Dave Corrall and John Perkins, brother of the mur- 
dered man. These twenty-two were joined the following morning 
by the ten Indian policemen. 

On reaching their first camp, not far from Priest Rapids, they 
organized, electing William L. Splawn, captain ; George S. Taylor, 
first lieutenant, and James Simmons, second lieutenant. John A. 
Splawn was a deputy sheriff and held warrants for the arrest of the 
murderers so that this force was in the nature of a posse. 

The arrangements made with Moses were that these men should 
cross the Columbia at his village, where ten men from Moses' band 
would join them. Captain Eneas of the Yakima Indian police, 
however, was fearful of treachery on Moses' part and so stated to 
Captain Splawn. The plan, to cross at Moses' village was therefore 
abandoned, the party crossing the river a short distance above the 
Figure 2 ranch. After breakfast Ca,ptain Eneas mounted and rode 
to a point where he could see several miles up river. Soon there 
came into sight around the narrow trail at Saddle mountain, just 
below the present Beverley, a long string of Indians. Riding back, 
he reported to Captain Splawn, who ordered his men to get ready 
for battle. 

Lieutenant Taylor and some others suggested that half the 
force should get among the drift logs to protect the canoes, but 
before this could be done the oncoming warriors hove in sight. In 
giving the order to line up. Captain Splawn remarked, "We may not 
have any use for canoes by the time this thing ends." 

Mounting his horse then, six-shooter in hand, he rode out alone 
to check the mad rush of the red devils, stripped for battle. Chief 
Moses was in the lead and by his side rode In-no-mo-se-cha Bill, 
the terror of his tribe and the bravest warrior in the Northwest. 
The Yakima Indians had by now stripped, appearing only in breech 
clout, but there were no yells and whoops, the big band bearing 
down on the little one iti silence. 

Splawn met Moses about fifty yards in advance of his force. 
Putting his six-shooter against the Indian's body, he ordered him to 

312 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

halt. Moses obeyed promptly. Ca,ptain Splawn asked him what 
he meant by coming in this manner and the chief replied : "This is 
the way I met General Howard." 

He was informed that the present company did not care for 
that particular style of approach. 

"If you come for a fight, turn loose; we are ready," said my 

iBut Moses said he had nothing against the whites and did not 
come to fight them, but that Eneas was a traitor to him. He was 
told that- this company of volunteers was out after the Perkins mur- 
derers and proposed to get them. 

At a command from Moses, his warriors formed in line of 
battle and some fifteen guns were leveled at the captain. Lieuten- 
ant Lumley of the Indian police gave orders to his men to cover 
the Indians who had drawn on the captain. My brother was still 
holding his six-shooter against the body of Moses, the two regard- 
ing each other, eye to eye. At last Captain Splawn said : "Moses, 
if there is a shot fired, it means death to you and to me. Give the 
signal at once or order your men to move back." The latter order 
was given, and the Indians rode back up the river, thus concluding 
what had for a time looked like a hopeless battle. Captain Splawn's 
iron nerve had saved the day. 

This volunteer command then moved on down the river a 
dozen miles to Smo-hal-la's village of fifty lodges, which they 
searched, finding only old men and women. The fighting men were 
no doubt with Moses. They kept the village under watch that 
night and in the morning found and made prisoner Moos-tonie, one 
of the murderers. 

Having learned that the rest of the murderers, with a consid- 
erable force, were fortified in the lava beds of Crab creek, and 
having reasons for believing that Moses and his warriors would 
lend them aid, it was decided to send to Yakima City for reinforce- 
ments, George W. Goodwin being selected to carry the message. 

Upon Goodwin's arrival, the call went out for volunteers. The 
following day seventy well-armed men were on the way to White 
Bluffs, the rendezvous. Here they found the other band of volun- 
teers and Indians waiting them. 

Sixty men left about dark for the lava beds, the rest staying 
behind to guard the horses and camp. The expedition was joined in 
the night by Sheriff F. D. Schnebly, Charles Schnebly, Charles B. 
Reed, Charles Kenneth and John Catlin, all brave men, from Kitti- 
tas, who would prove a valuable addition in case of difficulties. 

From the top of the ridge overlooking the Crab creek country, 
a fire was to be seen on the plain not far from the upper crossing 
of the creek where it rises out of the sand below Moses lake. 
Believing that this fire had been made by the horse herders of the 
hostiles, they decided to attempt a capture. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 313 

Upon approaching nearer, the volunteer company was divided, 
Captain Splawn leading one division and Lieutenant Taylor the 
other. The former dashed in above the encampment, vi^hile Taylor 
threw his force in below to cut off retreat. 

Great was the surprise of the besiegers when they heard Chief 
Moses' famiHar voice calHng out to Captain Splawn not to shoot. 
Splawn ordered the camp surrounded, but no shooting. Moses and 
nine of his warriors, including In-no-mo-se-cha Bill, were made 
prisoners and disarmed. It was with much difficulty that Captain 
Splawn, Lieutenant Taylor and Captain Eneas prevented some 
of their men from kilhng Moses. Those most desirous of scalping 
the great chief were Dave Corrall, William Eaton and a man named 

Moses gave as his reason for being- so far away from his village 
his discovery of the hiding place of the murderers and his wish 
to guide thither the white volunteers, whom he was trying to locate. 

All started for Crab creek about daylight and by 7 o'clock 
came upon a deserted camping ground. Moses appeared anxious and 
asked Captain Splawn what they were going to do with him. He 
was told that no decision had yet been made in his case. 

"You have made a great mistake," said my brother. "The 
whites have always thought you truthful, but now we believe that 
you warned the murderers and so they have fled." 

Powerful man that he was, Moses cried and said he regretted 
the way he had acted. He also gave it as his opinion that the rene- 
gades were still encamped not far below in the rocks. Moses said 
that if Captain Splawn and his brother Jim might go with him, he 
thought they could catch sight of the camp, without themselves 
being seen. About three miles down the canyon, they came upon 
horse tracks coming from out the rocks. There was a skift of snow 
on the ground, which showed them plainly. Further on was the 
place where the Indians had camped, but they were gone, though 
fresh tracks showed in what direction they had passed that morning. 

Captain Splawn returned to his camp, with the intention of 
sending part of his force to follow the murderers, and the rest back 
to Fort Simcoe with the prisoners. Captain Eneas, when the mat- 
ter was broached to him, flatly refused to follow any further. 
Captain Splawn then asked him to take back the prisoners and he 
declined that, too. Moses then proposed that he stay with the com- 
mand, and send his sixteen warriors to get the fugitives. 

This proposition was accepted. Moses' warriors brought back 
one of the murderers, Ta-mah-hop-tow-ne, and reported that another, 
Chuck-Chuck, had committed suicide. The command then went 
back to White Bluffs, where a message reached them from Indian 
Agent Wilbur to bring in all the Indians that belonged on the Sim- 
coe reservation. This order did not cover Moses and his people. 

3i4 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

as they had never belonged on this reservation.* The command 
collected all the Indians along the Columbia from the mouth of the 
Snake to Priest Rapids, crossed them over and put them on the 

Lieutenant Taylor, with a portion of the command, took the 
prisoners to Yakima City. The Yakima settlers had already sent 
a runner to Goldendale to ask aid of the only militia company in 
the territory at that time, one organized and armed for home 
defense at the time of the Bannock and Piute war, with Enoch Pike 
as captain, George Latimer, first lieutenant, and G. J. Google, 
second lieutenant. It had on its muster roll sixty-six names. 

The Yakima messenger arrived on Christmas day and Captain 
Pike at once called out his company and set out to answer the appeal 
for help. Some of his men were unable to procure horses on such 
short notice, so loaded their saddles on the supply wagon and struck 
out on foot. Arriving at the Simcoe reservation, they appropriated 
as many horses as required and pushed on to the assistance of 
Captain Splawn. 

Before their arrival at Yakima City, however, the Yakima 
volunteers had returned with some of the murderers. The Klickitat 
men were, however, called into service to gu^rd the jail, as it was 
feared that some of the citizens, greatly enraged, might attempt to 
break in and hang the Indians. 

At the request of Agent Wilbur, the Klickitat militia escorted 
Chief Moses from Yakima City, where the feeling ran so high, to 
the agency at Ft. Simcoe. One member of Captain Pike's own com- 
pany, indeed, made an attempt to kill the chief, but the kick of the 
gun warned the captain and the man was quickly disarmed. 

Moses remained at the agency, rather as a guest than as a 
prisoner, until February, 1879, when he was permitted to start for 
his home on the Columbia. On reaching the Yakima, near the 
present Parker station, however, he was arrested by Sheriff Schne- 
laly and Deputy Conrad on a warrant charging him with complicity 
in the murder of Perkins and his wife. He was tried, released on 
bonds furnished by Agent Wilbur, and allowed to proceed on his 

Soon after Moses was called to Washington, D. C, where he 
succeeded in getting a large reservation set aside for his tribe on 
the west side of the Okanogan river, a gift which he never would 
have received had it not been for the notoriety he gained in con- 
nection with the Perkins murder. It was the mistaken policy of this 
government to make heroes of warlike chieftains, thus paying a 
bonus for hostilities. 

*"I talked freely with him (Moses) in- reference to comingf to this a8:ency with his 
people. He replied General Howard had given him encouragement that a reservation 
would be given him and his people." Report of James Wilbur to Commissioner of Indian 
Affairs, August 25, 1879. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 315 

Moses always disclaimed any connection with the Perkins mur- 
der. When I asked him why he rode into Captain Splawn's volun- 
teers in the way told of above, he answered : 

"That was my great mistal<e. You know my young men and 
you know I have some that are hard to control. When I informed 
them of the coming of the volunteers and of the Indian police with 
Eneas as captain, they became angry, asking why the whites had 
to bring Eneas and his bunch of traitors along. I tried to calm 
them, but to no avail. They wanted to fight the Yakima Indian 

Captain Eneas and Moses had not been friendly since the 
war of 1856. Moses said that when he saw it was Billy Splawn 
who rode out to meet them, he was surprised, realizing then that, 
in order to fight the police, it would be necessary to fight Billy 
and the other whites, against whom they had no grievance. In-no- 
mo-se-cha Bill spoke up and said: "Billy Splawn is our friend. 
We will return." 

I have always believed Moses' story, and that when he said he 
wanted no more war, they were his true sentiments, not because 
he had any love for the whites, but because he was clever enough 
to recognize that the whites were too powerful for the Indians to 
cope with. 

Two of the murderers were captured near the mouth of Satus 
creek and two above The Dalles, thus completing the party known 
to have been concerned in the killing of Mr. and Mrs. Perkins. All 
of them, except Moos-tonie, who turned state's evidence, and Chuck- 
Chuck, who had committed suicide, appeared in the district court, 
to which they had been bound over in October, 1879. 

Samuel G. Wingard was federal judge for Eastern Washing- 
ton territory at the time and he presided at the trial. T. J. Anders 
prosecuted the case, while J. W. Hamilton and Edward Whitson 
appeared for the defense. Wi-ah-ne-cat, Shu-lu-skin, Te-won-ne, 
Kipe and Ta-mah-hop-tow-ne were convicted and sentenced to be 

But many things were to happen ere this fiendish bunch was 
sent to the happy hunting grounds. A few days after the trial 
the prisoners all escaped, but were recaptured at Union Gap. A 
short time later, they again made their escape and were located in 
the tules and brush near the Toppenish creek by Deputy Sheriff 
York, who asked for aid. J. H. Conrad, the sheriff, together with 
Captain WilHam L. Splawn, John A. Splawn and a Mr. Nash, left 
Yakima City at once and on reaching an Indian house near the 
place where the murderers were supposed to be in hiding, they 
encountered two Indians, covered with mud, who had been captured 
by two Indian policemen, who suspected them of carrying provis- 
ions to the escaped prisoners. Sheriff Conrad turned the matter 
of recapturing the murderers over to Captain Splawn, who straight- 

316 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

way proceeded to sweat the two suspicious Indians in such an 
effective way that they shortly confessed that they had been carry- 
ing food and had made an arrangement with the refugees that after 
dark that day they would meet them at a stated point with more 

One of these Indians was detained by Sheriff Conrad, while 
Captain Splawn took the younger one along as guide and decoy, 
with instructions to obey orders under penalty of death. After dark 
the posse set out for the rendezvous, and on reaching it the young 
Indian was given certain instructions. The place selected was a 
small opening among the tules. Here the posse secreted themselves, 
and the decoy built a small fire as a signal that he was there with 
the food. No one appeared, however. 

Captain Splawn whispered to the Indian to halloa, which he 
did, but there was no response. When he had hallooed several 
times, however, Ta-mah-hop-tow-ne cautiously ventured out from 
his hiding place, and was soon followed by Wi-ah-ne-cat. Two 
others had raised up from among the tules to go out towards the 
fire, when the voice of Deputy Sheriff York and the ringing of his 
heavy spurs, which had bells on them, were heard not far off. 
It has always seemed strange to me that a man would go hunting 
hidden prisoners with a voice like a trumpet and Spanish spurs on. 

Hearing York's voice, the Indians said to the decoy, "White 
men are near." 

"But the decoy answered, "You are women to get up and run 
for nothing more than the voice of a white man." 

Then, just as they were rising. Captain Splawn stood up from 
his place in the tules and called upon them to surrender. With a 
wild yell, Wi-ah-ne-cat made a run for liberty, bounding from side 
to side as he ran, but his pursuer was used to that kind of work 
and kept close behind. When opportunity came, with his six- 
shooter he sent a bullet through the worthless body of the ringleader 
of the band, the one who had shot the beautiful and beloved Blanche 

Ta-mah-hop-tow-ne made his escaipe, because he shaped his 
course so as to keep Captain Splawn between himself and the posse. 
Next day Kipe and Shu-lu-skin were captured in the tules and 
Te-wow-ne by the reservation Indians. Wi-ah-ne-cat had already 
paid the penalty for his crime. The others were taken back to 
Yakima City, but a few days before their execution they broke 
jail again. 

Through some means unknown the prisoners had obtained a 
moccasin with a good-sized stone in it, and during a time when 
Jailor York was off his guard, they struck him on the head with 
the stone, rendering him for a time unconscious. He soon rallied, 
however, and began firing on the fleeing Indians. Judge Brooks, 
in the sheriff's office at the time, heard the noise and, snatching up 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 317 

a loaded rifle, joined in the fight. Other citizens were quickly on 
the scene and the Indians recaptured. In this fight Te-wow-ne 
was wounded and died before execution day. Shu-lu-skin's arm 
was shattered, but he lived to be hung, in company with Kipe, at the 
appointed time. 

Ta-mah-hop-tow-ne was killed in July of 1880 by James Tag- 
gart and Bob Bunting, the latter a brother of Mrs. Perkins. Thus, 
after two years of constant pursuit and watchfulness, the last of 
the Perkins murderers were disposed of and a conclusion brought 
to the saddest incident that has yet occurred in the Yakima valley. 

S18 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 



The winter of 1880-1881 was a close second to that of 1861- 
1862 for severity and loss of stock. I had been for a number of 
years buying and selling cattle as well as raising them on the range. 
In 1880, I was furnishing beef cattle to many butchers in Portland. 
About the first of December I began sending over the trail from 
Yakima to The Dalles my fancy Christmas cattle, to be shipped by 
steamer to Portland. 

After starting two bands two days apart, I started the third 
and rode on in advance to overtake the leading herd. I stopped 
to purchase another lot to follow and in starting on again met the 
stage. The driver told me that the Columbia was frozen over at 
The Dalles and that my cattle had arrived and could not be ferried 
over; neither was there any hay at Rockland, on the opposite side 
of the river from The Dalles. 

Reaching the top of the mountain between Klickitat valley and 
The Dalles, I discovered the ground there bare of snow, with plenty 
of grass and soon was delighted to see my cowboys with the cattle 
returning to graze on the bare spot which they had noted. Taking 
one of the boys with me, I went on to The Dalles. We found that 
we could cross the river on foot, but that the ice was not strong 
enough to hold up the cattle. 

In the evening Captain Fred Wilson of the steamer running 
to the Upper Cascade, where there was a portage of five miles, came 
into the Umatilla House where I was sitting and I told him the fix 
I was in. It was either get the cattle to Portland or go broke. Wilson 
said he thought he could break through the ice and get up to the 
landing and would try it the next night. If he succeeded, he was to 
blow the whistle long and loud which would be the signal for my 
boys, out with the cattle ten miles away, to bring in the stock. Then 
I turned in to bed, leaving it all to Captain Fred. 

It was with immense relief, however, that I heard the next 
night the steamer's whistle and saw the boat plowing through the 
ice, up past the town then down to the wharf on the south side, 
thereby opening up the ferry. When Captain Fred got up town, 
there was nothing too good for him. The ferryman was ready for 
work by daylight, my cowboys soon hove in sight and by good luck, 
the cattle I had left in Yakima had caught up, so we crossed them 
all together. When a boat load was landed on the opposite side, 
my friends, among them Ben Snipes, drove the cattle down to tlie 
stock yards where the steamboats landed. We had them all across 
by evening. An extra steamboat was made ready, and we had 
the whole bunch in Portland that night. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 319 

A down stream wind from the east developed into a blizzard, 
the river became blocked with ice and steamboat navigation was at 
an end for sixty days. Dame Fortune had saved me once more by 
the skin of my teeth. There was nothing too good for my cow- 
boys, who had been in the saddle twenty-four hours, without food 
or sleep, when that job was finished. 

On my return to Yakima, a little before Christmas, snow came 
on and reached a depth of fifteen inches by New Year's. A Chinook 
wind settled it to twelve, then came a freeze, leaving a heavy crust 
on top. There was more snow about January 10, another Chinook 
and another freeze, leaving the whole country covered with snow and 
ice to a depth of from eighteen to thirty inches. With the weather 
clear and extremely cold, there was a glare of crust and ice over 
everything. The cold weather lasted about two months, making the 
length of this memorable winter over ninety days. 

The live stock industry constituted about all the business of 
Eastern Oregon and Washington at that time. Especially was this 
true of the Yakima valley. People did not pretend to put up hay 
for all their cattle. It had been a great and mild range country and 
they were not uneasy. Even had they had hay, they could have 
gotten but a small portion of their cattle in to it, for they were 
scattered out miles in every direction. Stock could not travel in 
the ice-covered snow. It cut their legs so that, whenever they had 
attempted to move about, the snow was covered with blood. Many 
cattle perished in their tracks. 

The cattlemen made rawhide leggings for their horses, which 
fitted below the knee and hocks down to the hoofs. The sharpness 
of the snow and ice soon cut them up, so we were kept busy making 
new ones. With our horses thus equipped, we were constantly 
on the move, breaking trails to the different watering places where 
the cattle had banded together during the different storms and by 
moving around had kept the crust broken. At such places what was 
alive and able to travel we brought home to feed. At least, those 
did who had hay. 

We took our pack horses along and camped wherever night 
overtook us. We had grain for the horses, but often had to melt 
snow to get water for man and beast. 

I shall never forget the sight, after we had succeeded in break- 
ing trail from Parker Bottom to Willow spring in Moxee coulee, 
about eight miles east of Yakima City. At the spring and strung 
along up the coulee were hundreds of dead and dying cattle, piled 
up in heaps, as if seeking companionship in the hour of death. 
Gathering up those strong enough to travel, we started them on 
the trail to Parker Bottom. From the top of the hill, I looked back 
on that valley of death. As far as the eye could reach, it was a 
vast plain of ice-covered snow glistening in the sun. Then and 
there I resolved to own no more cattle than I could take care of. 

320 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

When we reached Parker Bottom we met David Murry and 
his young wife who had been enjoying their honeymoon in Cali- 
fornia. He was an old man and a large owner ofcattle. His loss 
was heavy. 

He gasped when I told him how great the general loss would 
be and said, "Is it possible that I will lose my fortune after marrying 
so happily?" 

"You are fortunate," I said, "to have your beautiful wife left. 
You no doubt have enjoyed yourself during your honeymoon, 
ranibling with your Minnie May. While you were having the time 
of your life mid sunshine and flowers, we fellows were sleeping 
in the snow and breaking trails through the crust to help save a few 
cattle for you. Your cabin is still there. Get into it and feel glad 
you are still alive and have your pretty May." 

We found the Rattlesnake hills and canyons piled' high with 
dead cattle. Over on Alder creek and the Glade, however, was the 
worst sight to look upon. The cattle were here piled up by the 
thousands. It was in the heart of the Snipes and Allen range. 
They had, before the winter set in, fully 40,000 head. No one 
believed over 10,000 survived. In the bottom along the Yakima 
river, within a mile of Yakima City, at least 500 lay dead, most 
of them belonging to Thomas Chambers. The Indian department 
went into the winter with 3,000 head, coming out with less than 
1,000 and they had fed out at least three hundred tons of hay. On 
the east side of the Columbia, from the Snake to Priest Rapids and 
on Crab creek and up the Snake to Lewiston, the loss was fully as 

Conditions were just as bad about Walla Walla and Umatilla 
as well as all the strip up and down the Columbia on both sides. 
The John Day's country, Prineville and that section, however, did not 
suffer over half the loss sustained in the higher altitudes which 
had more Chinook winds. 

The Indians suffered no less than the whites. Their ponies 
were scattered over hill and plain and they died in their tracks. 
At Ko-ti-ah-an's village near the present Parker, the noise and din 
of the medicine men was kept up for two months. The Chinook 
dance was going on every night with whooping, yelling, pounding 
of sticks and the ceaseless noise of the pum-pum. The medicine 
men were called on for their best efforts, but their tam-man-a-was 
was not strong enough to bring the wind. Old We-i-pah, the last 
of the great medicine men, had died thirteen years before. 

While that winter proved a great calamity to many of the 
earliest settlers, wiping out their accumulation of wealth at a stroke 
and putting them back twenty years, most of them continued in the 
business with the remnants of their herds and eventually retrieved 
their fortunes. Others disposed of what little was left, quit the 
business and gradually drifted out of the country. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 321 

About the last of February the weather had moderated and I 
had gathered in something over a hundred of the four hundred 
cattle I had on the range. I concluded to go home for a few days 
and said to the man who was feeding the cattle on the old Brooks 
ranch just below the present Donald, "If the Chinook wind begins 
to blow, drive the cattle out from the feed yard (which was down 
in the brush) and put them in the corral on the hill, for whenever the 
break-up comes, there is bound to be a jam in the river and no one 
can tell just where they may occur. Take no chances." 

He said that high water had never covered the ground where 
the cattle were. Again I said to him, "If there is any doubt about 
your obeying my instructions, I will stay. I know what I am talking 
about." He said, "Go on, for I will certainly do what you ask." 

With a lingering doubt still in my mind, I rode on home. The 
Chinook began to blow that afternoon, but in a mild form, and I 
was not uneasy. During the night, however, it grew stronger and 
warmer and was certainly melting the snow. 

Saddling my horse, I started early for my cattle. On reaching 
the ferry where now stands the bridge at Parker a sight met my 
eye — the ice piled up mountain high. The ferry boat had been put 
out of commission; the water, confined to a narrow channel, was 
a boiling, seething mass of broken ice. Robert Dunn, whose ranch 
was a short distance below, was standing on the opposite side of the 
river. His voice could hardly be heard. What he had to tell me was 
that my cattle were all dead; that the jam had nearly destroyed his 
house, from which he had barely escaped with his family, and then, 
passing on down the bottom, had covered my cattle beneath ten 
feet of ice and debris. 

Crossing at this point being out of the question, I rode down 
to an Indian camp where I found a canoe but nobody who wanted 
to take me across in such water. Finally, a big, fearless Indian 
said he would do it for ten dollars. No sooner were we in the canoe, 
then we shot down stream like an arrow. The swift water was 
running in a narrow channel between two great walls of ice. When 
I asked the Indian where we could land, he made no reply, did not 
even look up. But his brain was working. A rift in the wall of ice 
could be seen at a bend in the river and here we succeeded in making 
a landing. 

Working our way up over the jam we came to the place where 
my cattle had been. Looking down through the crevices, we could 
see heads, tails and horns scattered throughout the pile of debris. 
One little calf was still alive, on top of a cake of ice, the lone sur- 
vivor of that awful mix-up. While we were viewing the ghastly 
sight, some men and a boy came out from the shore. I told the boy 
to take the calf with my good wishes, as I did not want any remnant 
of cattle left behind to ponder over. I would start all over again 
and make another stake. 

322 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

When we got back to the camp where my horse was tied, instead 
of feeling down . hearted, I was actually happy. I had done all I 
could, shirked no duty to save my stock, yet they were completely 
wiped out in a few minutes. I was always a believer that whatever 
happens is for the best. I felt that Dame Fortune, who had helped 
me out so many times before, was running things to suit herself, 
and let it go at that. 

When I got back to Yakima City and my friends came around to 
sympathize, I would have none of it, telling them I had my saddle 
horse and my pack horse and would soon come back. 

While the Chinook had taken the snow off the higher points 
and softened the crust, there was still about six inches all over the 
valley and it turned cold again. I was soon on the way to The 
Dalles. The first night I spent with my friend Jock Morgan who 
lived just below the present Toppenish, and the second at an Indian 
village on what is now known as Me-nin-ick's ranch on Satus creek. 
The village was on the same spot where I had spent the night in a 
similar village eighteen years before as guest of Ken-e-ho. With 
no grass in sight, I tied the horses, fed them oats and went into 
the lodge of Ap-pal-li-klet, a brother of Ken-eho. The odor of 
salmon was strong, dogs were fighting and snarling, there came 
the sound of the pum-pum, and the whooping and wailing of the 
old women. The north wind began to blow fierce and wild. 

I took part of my blankets out to the horses and returned to sit 
by the lodge fire. I missed many familiar faces. Ken-e-ho and 
Eliza, his squaw, and the beautiful Lal-looh, who were here in 
1863, had gone the long trail. 

Bidding my red friends good-bye the next morning, I set out 
once more, stopping at the summit of the Simcoe mountains that 
night, where Al Lillie with his splendid little wife kept a stage 
station. Goldendale was reached the following day. Snow had 
drifted all over the town and the people were discouraged. It was 
a dry town, but a sympathetic druggist let me have a bottle on the 
ground that my looks indicated I needed a stimulant. 

As the regular traveled road to The Dalles was very circuitous, 
I decided to take the direct course. I had no trouble getting over 
fences. The snow had drifted and packed hard, so I got over the 
stake and rider fences with ease. At The Dalles that night, people 
flocked into the Umatilla house to ask about the cattle losses in the 
Yakima country, for I was the first man through. Ben Snipes 
was among those who came and when I told him what I had seen 
on his range, he asked me if when I was in Portland I would make 
it a point to tell the facts to W. S. Ladd the banker, for Snipes 
wanted to borrow all the money he could to buy up the remnants 
of the herds as he knew many people would be quitting the cattle 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 323 

I said that I would not lie to Mr. Ladd, but that I could cer- 
tainly say it would be a profitable thing for a man to do. 

Mr. Ladd let Snipes have all the money he needed and in a 
few years Ben Had regained his fortune. 

At Portland I called upon A. H. Johnson, the largest and 
wealthiest butcher in the Northwest. When I told him I had lost 
all my cattle, was broke and wanted a job, he replied, "I am sorry 
you are broke, but glad you came to me. You can go to work at 
$250 a month. Provide me with what cattle I want for my own 
market and sell as many as you can to others. We will divide the 
profits and I will put up the money." 

I certainly took up that offer and was with Mr. Johnson three 
years. We both made money on the deal. 

324 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 



In the late fall of 1872, we cowboys, having finished marking 
and branding the calves on the range, came into Yakima City to 
disband and celebrate the season's work at the Sagebrush saloon, 
the first in the county. About ten o'clock at night when things 
were coming along fairly swift there came a sound like some one 
hitting the side of the house with a flat board; then the building 
began to shake. The boys ran to the outside to see who was trying 
to turn the house over; when we reached the outside we saw the 
flagpole at Schanno's store waving to and fro, people were running 
out of their homes in their night clothes, the dogs set up the howl 
while the chickens crowed. A friend of mine who preferred to visit 
his best girl than to celebrate with the bunch, when the quake struck 
the house, thought it was the gang trying to upset the small build- 
ing. Out he came with gun in hand and full of fight. I was the 
first one he met and he wanted to know if I was mixed up in trying 
to turn the house over that he was temporarily occupying? If so, 
friendship would cease and war begin. We informed him that he 
was on the wrong trail, as he was not of so much importance that 
we cared where he went or what he did; but this was a bigger 
circus than cowboys could start, and was run by a higher authority. 
It was an earthquake. When the fact dawned on him his eyes bulged 
out, resembling two drops of indigo in a pan of buttermilk. Turning, 
he ran for the house he had just come out of, saying, "I must save 
Hattie." A woman in her nightdress, barefooted and bareheaded 
passed me on the run yelling, "Where is John?" John, her husband, 
was in a poker game at the saloon. 

Near Schanno's store stood an old Indian with his blanket 
wrapped around him, silently gazing at the stars, apparently un- 
mindful of the things happening around him. When I asked him 
if anything like this had ever occurred here before, he turned his 
eyes on me, saying: "This land, before the coming of the whites, 
was only inhabited by the Indians who worshipped the Great Spirit 
in ceremony and song, and who obeyed the teachings of our fore- 
fathers and were happy until the paleface came among us with their 
forked tongue, religion and fire water. Since that time this country 
has been going to the bad. Look at these white men and women 
running out of their homes screaming. They have been wicked and 
are afraid to die. Indians are always ready when the Great Spirit 
calls. The palefaces are a strange people. This is a warning they 
had better heed." 

Soon I saw him light his pipe, mount his horse and ride off in 
the darkness for his lodge down on the reservation. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 325 

There was no damage done in the Yakima valley. In the Tieton 
Basin south of Soda Springs, there were many slides and uprooted 
trees. Further north and above the Wenatchee, the quake was much 
harder, especially just above the mouth of the Entiat river. Part of a 
large mountain broke off and slid into the Columbia river, almost 
damming it up for a short time. This slide caused what is now 
known as Entiat Rapids. Wapato John, an Indian who had a small 
farm and a trading post a few miles above where the mountain 
slid into the river, had it destroyed by back water. He thought it 
was a bad Ta-man-na-was, and moved up to Lake Chelan where 
he and his following settled and are now residing. 

Lighter shocks, forming many small fissures in the earth, were 
felt for several years in the surrounding mountains. 

S26 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 


Among the various officials who presided over the affairs of 
the Yakima Indians at Ft. Sim-co-e, "Father" Wilbur held a unique 
place in the esteem of his charges. Nothing could give me more 
pleasure than to pay a just tribute to a man whom I knew for thirty 
years to be the soul of honor. 

James H. Wilbur was a pioneer of Old Oregon, arriving in 
1847. He went to Ft. Sim-co-e in 1860 and remained there more 


than twenty years. Born on a farm in the village of Louisville, 
New York, September 11, 1811, he married when he was twenty, 
Lucretia Ann Stevens. Though his parents were Presbyterians, 
both Wilbur and his wife joined the Methodist Episcopal church in 
his native village. He became more and more interested in the 
work of the church and when in his twenty-ninth year was granted 
a license as exhorter, in accordance with the customs and usages 
of the church at that time. Two years later he was given the usual 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 327 

license to preach, and did so throughout northern New York until 
.called to the missionary field in the west. In company with Will 
Roberts, who had been appointed superintendent of the Oregon 
mission established by Jason Lee in 1834, Wilbur took passage on 
the bark Whitton to go around Cape Horn and arrived at Oregon 
City June 22 of the next year. Some of his co-workers at that time 
were David Leslie, George Garry, A. F. Waller, Gustavus Hines, 
William Roberts and T. F. Royal. 

A strong man, both mentally and physically, Wilbur was not 
only a forceful preacher, but a great executive. Inured to the hard- 
ships and privations of pioneer life, he labored as a common work- 
man in the construction of the old Taylor street church and the 
Portland academy, of both of which he was the founder. He preached 
the first sermon in the church in 1850, the academy being finished 
in the next year. He also founded the Umpqua academy in the town 
named after him in Douglas country, Oregon. In 1860, Wilbur 
was appointed superintendent of schools of the Yakima Indian res- 
ervation at Ft. Sim-co-e and four years later became agent, holding 
the position for nearly twenty years. Continuously in the Indian 
service for so long a period, he learned the character of the red 
men as few ever do. His firm and just dealing with his charges 
won for him a place among the tribes of the Northwest that no 
Indian agent before or since ever attained. 

Wilbur's only daughter, became the wife of the Rev. St. Michael 
Falcher, first Episcopal clergyman in the Oregon country. She 
was married in 1849 and died the next year. 

After leaving Ft. Sim-co-e, the Wilburs went to Walla Walla 
to live and Mrs. Wilbur died there September 13, 1887, in her 70th 
year. Her husband survived her only a month, being seventy-seven 
when he died. Mrs. Wilbur was my first Sunday school teacher — 
and my only. She and my mother were friends and she spent a good 
deal of time at our home in Oregon. 

I acquired one of the worst whippings of my life on account 
of the Rev. James Wilbur. My mother was a devout Methodist. 
When Father Wilbur stopped in one day, she welcomed the oppor- 
tunity to have family prayers. I was summoned, and obeyed with 
extreme reluctance. I took the precaution, indeed, to sit near the 
door and to leave the door partly ajar. But Wilbur had observed 
my objections to attending the prayer meeting, I guess, and he began 
to pray for my soul. This embarrassed me considerably; so much 
so, in fact, that I chose a moment when he was at the height of ex- 
hortation, and slipped through the door. It was long before I heard 
the last of it. My mother said I disgraced the family. She whipped 
me as hard as she could when I returned to the house, and various 
times afterward when she happened to remember how I had ab- 
sconded from prayer meeting. 

328 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

Wilbur, through his excellent service at Ft. Sim-co-e, gained the 
confidence of the authorities at Washington and when, in 1873, a 
commission was appointed to meet at Linkville, Oregon, to make a 
peace treaty with the Modoc Indians, Wilbur was named to serve 
on it with A. B. Meacham and T. B. Odneal. Meacham refused 
to act with either Wilbur and Odneal, so two other men were ap- 
pointed. They failed to make any treaty. I am not alone in thinking 
that, had Wilbur been present and Meacham many miles away, the 
life of Gen. E. R. S. Canby would not have been sacrificed. The 
Indians had faith in Wilbur, but none in Meacham. 

Whatever he might have been at times, Wilbur was always a 
Methodist. He built churches and turned out Methodist preachers 
from among the Indians. In his zeal to Christianize his wards, he 
would preach for them in the church houses and pray with them in 
their wigwams. He was certainly a crusader. Sometimes, he would 
bribe an Indian to go to church on Sunday by plowing for him 
a day in the fields, and as the agent was a giant of a man, able 
to do a splendid day's work, the Indians were only too glad to attend 
church under these conditions. 

When Father Napoleon St. Onge, in 1867, was sent to re- 
establish the mission, St. Joseph, on the Ahtanum which had been 
burned by the Oregon Volunteers in the Indian war of 1855-56, a 
religious rivalry at once sprang up between him and Wilbur. There 
were already many Catholics among the Indians, as the mission 
had been in existence seven or eight years previous to the out- 
break, and the priest was a brilliant and worthy man. While some 
of the Catholic Indians had subsequently joined the Methodist 
church, they were now returning to the mission. So dissatisfied 
did Wilbur become at this state of affairs, that he made a trip to 
Washington, D. C, in 1870 to lay the matter before the Indian 
department, with the result that President Grant issued an order 
allotting the spiritual welfare of the Yakima Indians to the Methodist 
church. Father St. Onge left the mission, but the Catholic work was 
continued there by the Jesuits. Wilbur, however, had won his point 
and he maintained it. 

There is no possible question of the earnest effort Father Wilbur 
made to benefit the Indians as he saw it. It is equally true that, 
had he made the same investment of time and labor among his 
own race, there would have been much more to show for it. After 
a pretty long observation of the Indian, I have come to the con- 
clusion that, where he sees a worldly advantage in it, he will stick 
to Christianity ; but, if not, his religious ardor quickly cools. 

Father Wilbur told me a story once which shows the character- 
istics of the man. In his church work in the Willamette valley, in 
the very early days when settlers were few and far between, he 
was requested to preach on a certain Sabbath in the Santiam district. 
He started out on horseback with a hard day's ride before him. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 329 


Rain began to pour in torrents and darkness came on before he 
had reached his destination. Seeing at last a Hght, he rode up and 
halloed. The door opened and a voice inquired what he wanted. "A 
place to stay over night," said Wilbur. "I cannot find my way 
further in this darkness." The answer came back, "We cannot 
keep you, but about a mile further on you will find another house. 
Perhaps they can accommodate you there." "Thanks for your kind 
information," said Wilbur. "I expect to preach in this neghborhood 
tomorrow. This action of yours will furnish me the text for my 
sermon." When the man learned who the stranger was, he said, 
"Mr. Wilbur, I am a member of your church. Come right in. I 
will take your horse to the stable." But the rider quickly replied, 
"No, sir, if you would not care for the poorest hireling who might 
be so unfortunate as to travel this way on a dark and stormy night 
such as this, your roof cannot shelter James H. Wilbur." And he 
rode on to find more hospitable people. 

Father Wilbur came nearer representing the type of Bayard 
of old, a man without fear and without reproach, than any one I 
ever knew. While the Indians sometimes got angry at him for his 
autocratic methods, they realized that he had their interests at heart, 
and they knew him to be fair and good. His credulity was often 
imposed upon, it is true, by men from time to time arrested for 
infringement of the rules and regulations of the reservation. If 
the culprits did not already know, they soon learned Wilbur's weak- 
ness for a convert. The prisoners would ask to attend prayers, 
profess to repent of their sins and sometimes join his church, a line 
of conduct which never failed to bring about their release, with 
presents thrown in. That he favored the Methodist Indian there 
is no doubt. He had little use for the Catholic red man and still 
less for the wild, blanket Indian who still clung to his ancient 
ceremony and believed in his tam-man-a-was. That he faithfully 
endeavored to Christianize them all by making Methodists of them, 
no one will deny; and he failed only because, nature, a stronger 
force, was working against him. 

I had always supposed, and others had the same idea, that 
Wilbur had at one time, before entering the ministry, been a police- 
man on the bowery in New York, but now that I come to write of 
him, I cannot say that he actually ever told me so. I do recall, 
however, that he spoke about having to handle toughs, and we as- 
sumed that he meant on the Tenderloin. He certainly knew the 
trick, wherever he learned it. Two Indian friends of mine, while 
on a visit to some of their relatives near the agency, got hold of 
some whisky and became troublesome. They were fine specimens 
of their race, both athletes priding themselves on their wrestling, 
and good fellows except for their weakness for fire water. Word 
came to Father Wlibur of the racket they were making, and he 
dispatched two of his Indian policemen to bring them in to the 

330 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 


agency. In a short time, the poHcemen returned without the 
prisoners, but showing signs of having tried to make the arrest. 
Wilbur himself mounted his mule — he weighed 300 pounds and 
could not find horses strong enough to carry him — and, with two 
other Indians, immediately set out for the scene of the disturbance. 
The boisterous Indians came out promptly, thinking to treat him 
as they had the policemen. Father Wilbur just took one in each 
hand by the neck and bumped their heads together until the blood 
ran from their noses; after which they went to jail meekly enough. 
Word of this exploit was carried from mouth to mouth through 
the tribes and no one, after that, cared to measure strength with the 
powerful agent. The Indians that received the chastisement, laugh- 
ingly told me about it, saying that Wilbur was not human, but 
part an-e-hoo-e (bear). 

Another time when a few of the tribes which believed in the 
dreamer religion, began a series of spiritual seances. Father Wilbur 
took a hand. The high priests of the cult were supposed to have 
visions from the other world. The ceremony always works the 
people into, a frenzy ; and, if the high priest should advocate trouble, 
or arouse resentment against the whites perhaps, a crime might be 
committed. Col-wash, head man of the Wich-rams was conducting 
this seance of dreamer religion at his home village above The Dalles. 
The Wich-rams were the most thieving and treacherous band of 
freebooters in the west and Wilbur thought best to interfere. He 
sent a couple of policemen to arrest Col-wash and bring him to Ft. 
Sim-co-e. They found the high priest in the midst of his ceremony, 
and his orders to the policemen to depart were of such a nature that 
they promptly obeyed. Wilbur hitched up a two seated rig and 
started for Wich-ram accompanied by the same policemen. He 
fought his way into the great lodge, knocking right and left and 
piling up a bunch of Indians near the entrance. The balance took 
to their heels and hid in the rocks. Wilbur grabbed old Col-wash, 
dragged him to the hack and loaded him in, thus ending the cere- 

Late in the fall of 1864 a Frenchman named Francois Jondro 
settled in Parker Bottom. He had come to the Northwest from 
Canada with the Hudson's Bay company ; had trapped all over what 
is now British Columbia, Montana, Oregon, Idaho, Washington and 
Nevada; had been with Peter Skeen Ogden in the buffalo country 
at Salt Lake as early as 1825 and was with Trader McKinley at 
Ft. Walla Walla in 1830. Later he was with Chief Trader Black 
at Ft. Kamloops in the Shus-shwap country and with John Todd at 
Ft. Alexander on the Fraser river. When old age came on, he, 
with his Indian wife and two half-breed daughters, settled in Walla 
Walla in 1858. Half a dozen years later he sold his squatter's 
rights and moved to Yakima where settlers were not so numerous. 
Civilization held no charms for him. His eldest daughter was a 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 331 

horse thief, gambler, highwaywoman, and an all-round tough. She 
bore many scars of bullet and knife and could ride any horse that 
stood on legs. Her sister, Mary Ann, was the direct opposite, 
sensible, kind and gentle. 

One day in 1868, Leonard Thorp and I were at the home of 
William Parker, a neighbor of Jondro when Father Wilbur and 
five of his policemen rode up to summon us to assist in the arrest 
of Jondro, charged with selling whisky to the Indians. As he was 
a government officer, we had no choice but to go, though it was 
a great array of force to parade before one little, dried up old 

When told the cause of his arrest, Jondro said, "I no taste whisky 
for ten years ; never had it around my house. I cannot understand." 
Picking up a shovel, Wilbur said, "Come with me." He led the 
way to a hog pen, dug a few minutes, and, very much to the disgust 
of Jondro, unearthed a five gallon keg of whisky. The Frenchman's 
horses were confiscated, and he and the keg taken to Parker's house 
for the night. As I was guarding the prisoner, he moaned and asked 
me to tell him how to get out of his trouble. "I know Father Wilbur 
pretty well," I said. "He sets great store on religion, and, if you 
take my advice, you get religion just as quick as you can. Then 
you will come out all right; perhaps a little better than you are now." 

Next morning Jondro said to Wilbur, "I am going with you and 
will give you no trouble. With you and your good wife I will 
learn much and be well treated. I am very old, and my wife is also 
old and blind. Neither of us are long for this world." O'n arriv- 
ing at Ft. Sim-co-e, he lost no time in joining the Methodist church, 
showed great penitence, diligently attended prayers and in about a 
month was back home again with all his horses, with plenty of seed 
grain, plows and harrows. 

When next I met Jondro, he said, "Jack, you save me and I 
be no more bad man." From that time, indeed, he was a good 

I once had a difference of opinion with Father Wilbur which 
came near to costing him dear. I was buying cattle, paying twenty 
dollars in gold a head, and went on to the reservation to buy stock 
held there. I dealt direct with the Indians, without asking per- 
mission at the agency, and after I had bought and paid for what I 
wanted, it occurred to me that maybe Wilbur would not like it, so 
I sent Willis Thorp, who was with me, up to see him. Wilbur did 
not like it at all, would not listen to Willis and ordered me off at 
once and would not permit the transaction. I was mad and told 
the Indians what I thought about it. "You have been selling your 
cattle to Connell, haven't you," I said, "with Father Wilbur's per- 
mission, and he has paid you twenty dollars in greenbacks? When 
you went to get gold for the greenbacks, you got just half as much, 
didn't you. (Greenbacks at this time were discounted fifty per 

332 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

cent.) Now I have been paying you in gold, so that you got twice 
as much from me as from Connell. Yet Father Wilbur says not 
to sell to me, but to sell to Connell. Do you know what I think? 
I think Connell is a Methodist." 

They rode away, mad clear through, after returning my money, 
to the last gold piece, and arranging for a later meeting between 
myself and the cattle in the Mok-see out of the jurisdiction of the 

On my way back from the mines, after selling the cattle, I 
overtook Father Wilbur one day on the road. He was amiable and 
pleasant and we conversed for a while. Then he said, "What did 
you say to those Indians that day. Jack?" I told him. "Well, you 
ought not to have done that, Jack," he replied. "I know it," said 
I, "but you see I was pretty angry." "Well, I guess you were right 
about the greenbacks," he said, "though I never thought about it that 
way before. I wrote to Mr. Connell and told him to send on the 
rest of the money, but he never, answered." "You bet he didn't," 
said I. He then invited me up to the agency to see Mrs. Wilbur, 
and said, whenever I wanted to buy any more cattle, just to speak to 
him about it and it would be all right. At the agency, Mrs. Wilbur 
took me aside and told me never to do a thing like that again. "I 
was really fearful for Mr. Wilbur's life," she said. "The Indians 
hung around so threateningly that for three days he was not able 
to leave the house." 

After that I was able to buy all the Yakima cattle I wanted, 
and once, at least, Father Wilbur turned another buyer down for 
me. There were about 200 head of nice cattle, owned at the agency, 
that I wanted. I spoke to Wilbur about them and he said the man 
that owned them was away, and he hardly liked to sell in his absence, 
but to come back in a couple of weeks. I returned at the appointed 
time, with one of the Thorp boys to help me drive them, and went 
up to the house. Mrs. Wilbur said that her husband had just gone 
over to look at the cattle with a man from the Sound. I lost no 
time in overtaking them and was far from pleased to recognize 
in Father Wilbur's compaion, Lem Whittaker, buyer for a rival 
firm, whom I could not be expected to like. 

"Hello, Jack," said Wilbur. "Come after those cattle?" "Yes, 
sir," I replied. "Why you have never been down to look at them," 
he answered. "Maybe you wouldn't want them." I had been riding 
among therri for several months and knew them all right. I told 
him so. 

"Well, if you are sure you want them, they are yours," he said. 
"We needn't gO any farther, Mr. Whittaker." 

My, but Whittaker was mad. "You may have the cattle," he 
said to me, "but I chartered the steamboat on my way up from The 
Dalles, so you will have to figure some to get them over to the West 
side." I did figure a whole lot. If he had the boat, it meant I would 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 333 

have to hold the cattle two weeks till the next trip. I thought 
about the mountains. It was May and everybody said it would not 
be possible to cross the divide for another two months. But I thought 
I would like to try it. If I succeeded, I would not only save time, 
but several thousand dollars in money for my employers, since water 
transportation at that time was frightfully high. I sent an Indian 
herder on ahead to the summit to look over the ground and he met 
me at the present Easton, with news that we could make it all right, 
the crust would hold. And make it we did in good style, the cattle 
only two days off grass. When I sent word in to my employer from 
some meadows on the west side that I had come over the Snoqualmie 
pass, he couldn't believe it. After that, I made all my drives that 
way. Sometimes we got bogged in the deep snow, but there was 
always a crust at night, and by waiting a few hours, it would be 
possible to get a footing. 

334 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 



In his earlier days, Moses was known as Que-tal-e-can. Act 
cording to Indian custom he did not take the name of his father, 
Talth-scosm* (half sun) until the old chief had been dead a number 
of years. I saw Chief Moses for the first time September 1, 1861, 
on the spot where the Great Northern railway station now stands at 
Wenatchee, and only a few hours later he saved my life. The next 


time I met him was three years later near Rock Island when we 
met under peculiar circumstances which I have described in another 
chapter. From that time on, I believe he resolved to be my friend. 

Moses was a good sportsman. Especially was he fond of 
horse racing. Many a time we have matched horses and wagered 
all our possessions on the result when there was not another white 

•So named because a partial eclipse of tli« sun occurred at the time of his birth. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 335 

man within a hundred miles. The cheers went up just the same 
when I won as when the chief's horse beat me. 

In June, 1869, while hunting lost cattle, I found Moses en- 
camped at Rocky Ford on Crab creek. The Indians, were holding 
their spring festivities. In Moses' lodge stood a ten gallon keg of 
whisky with the head knocked out, and a tin cup dangling at its side, 
an invitation to everyone to help himself. The chief himself did 
not appear to be drinking yet, but I felt this was no health resort 
for a white man. I decided, however, to cook my dinner, and Moses 
pointed to a place where I could get down to the creek for water and 
also find grass for my horse. Just as I was finishing my meal, I 
saw in the distance a large body of Indians coming down the trail 
from Wilson creek. Great commotion arose in camp; men flew to 
arms. The new arrivals came on until only Crab creek separated 
them from Moses' warriors. My outfit was hastily packed up that 
I might move out from between the two fires, but Moses appeared 
and inquired why they had come in such a threatening manner to 
his camp. They said they were after a medicine man of their own 
tribe who was then with Moses and that, unless he was given up, 
they would take him by force. Moses replied that the man was 
indeed in his lodge. He had asked for protection and it had been 
granted. His word given as a chief was final. He would be re- 
sponsible for the fugitive, he said, only so long as he remained in 
his camp; when he left, they could do as they pleased with him. 
He then ordered them to depart, if they did not want his men to 
fire on them. Without further parley, they wheeled and filed away 
in the direction they had come. 

I went up to Moses' lodge to seek protection, like the medicine 
man, for the night, but, while we were talking the chief picked . 
up the tin cup, filled it to the brim with deadly fire water and 
drained it. I went out to my horse and stole quietly away, the 
Indians being too busy with their drinking to miss me for some 
time. Riding down a few miles to Moses lake, I hid among the 
tules and it was not long before the night was made hideous with 
the yells of the Indians looking me up. I knew my danger would 
be over as soon as they recovered from their intoxication, so, when 
the light broke in the east, I struck the trail on the west side of the 
lake and continued my way towards White Bluffs on the Columbia. 
I had not gone far when a bunch of Indians, with Moses in the 
lead, overtook me. He asked why I had left so abruptly the evening 
before. When Chief Moses drank like the common herd, I answered, 
I felt it was time to leave. He asked me to say nothing about the 
whisky, for fear soldiers might come after him, and I promised. 

During the Nez Perce war, Chief Joseph's emissaries were con- 
tinually going to and fro between the hostile camp and that of Chief 
Moses, endeavoring to induce the latter to go on the war path, which 
he steadily refused to do. E. D. Phelps, W. I. Wadleigh and I at 

336 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

the time were in partnership and had purchased several thousand 
head of cattle on the White Bluffs and Crab creek ranges, covering 
the territory from Pasco to Moses lake and as far up the Columbia as 
Moses coulee. Indians from all parts were moving towards Moses' 
encampment. Those from Snake river points had passed through 
our range, committing depredations such as burning our houses 
and corrals and driving off the saddle horses and killing cattle. 
Everything indicated an Indian uprising. People in the more isolated 
districts moved for safety into more thickly populated places. This 
state of affairs continued for about thirty days. People were afraid 
to relax their vigilance, not knowing at what moment hostilities 
might break out. 

It was well known that a large body of Indians had gathered 
around Moses. We heard that their lodges extended for many miles 
up and down the Columbia both sides of We-nat-sha. As our cattle 
were running on the range adjacent to this territory, things did not 
look bright for us financially. 

About this time I went on a visit to Kittitas valley where I 
found most of the settlers gathered on Nan-um creek. They had 
thrown up breastworks for defense. It seemed to me that, under the 
existing excitement, the greatest danger lay in the fact that an 
Indian might happen along and get fired upon. My anxiety in- 
creased when I heard the guard, a boy about sixteen, instructed to 
shoot any Indian he saw. One shot would have brought 1,000 
Indians on them in ten hours. 

Mr. Phelps, who happened to be at the fort, and I talked it 
over and decided to go to Moses and find out, if possible, his 
intentions. The settlers begged us not to go. One man, who, a few 
days before from a tall mountain, had seen the countless lodges 
extending along the Columbia for miles, assured us we would never 
return. But I knew Moses well and from the many years' ac- 
quaintance with him, felt sure that he was too much of a diplomat 
to engage in a war with the whites when he knew there was no 
possible way to win. At 2 o'clock that afternoon we reached the 
Columbia six miles below We-nat-sha and a sight not easily forgotten 
met our view. As far as we could see on the north side of the river 
Indian lodges were strung along, while the plains were covered 
by grazing horses, kept from wandering off by an occasional rider. 
Our attention was directed to the high range of hills to the north 
where a dust was rising and streaming behind like the smoke from 
a locomotive. The objects causing the disturbance were coming 
straight towards the river. We dismounted to watch the approach. 
It proved to be sixteen warriors, their gun barrels flashing in the 
sun, coming down to water their horses. They espied us and, without 
much parleying, most of the party hastily manned two canoes and 
paddled over. As they neared the shore I saw in the bow of the 
first canoe Chief Moses. Moses looked very searchingly at us as 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 337 

we greeted him. When he asked why we came, we explained the 
condition of the settlers, their excitement and the possibilities that 
might result from it, their fear that Moses was preparing for war 
and their reluctance to have us come to him. We wanted, we said, 
to talk the situation over with him, without fear of being killed 
by any of his men. He told us to ride up to Frank Freer's store, 
at the mouth of the We-nat-sha, where we would find Freer and 
Sam Miller, and to stay there over night. In the morning, he said 
he would bring some lesser chiefs and have a big talk. We found the 
Freer brothers and Sam Miller at the store feeling perfectly safe. 
On the way up we counted a hundred and ninety lodges and were 
told that, further up, In-no-mo-se-cha of the Chelans was encamped 
with a hundred lodges and a short distance above him Okanogans 
and Sans Foils numbering a hundred and fifty lodges. Moses' camp 
of two hundred lodges was at the present site of Waterville. Each 
of these lodges would turn out about six warriors, enough to have 
swept our valley. 

Moses was on hand promptly. next morning with Smo-hal-la of 
the Priest Rapids, In-no-mo-se-cha of the Chelans and some lesser 
lights. On the flat in front of the store were many Indians, among 
them, we were told, five Nez Perce chiefs of Chief Joseph's band. 
Joseph was at that time retreating up the Clearwater in Idaho, fol- 
lowed by Gen. O. O. Howard whom the Indians called "Day-after- 
Tomorrow." Moses always received news from the seat of war 
earlier than we did, through their line of swift riding couriers which 
would have been a credit to any army. 

Moses spoke first, saying that he had no intention of joining 
his cousin, Joseph, in waging a war on the whites which could 
only end in the killing of many on both sides and the humiliation 
of himself and his people. He had realized the danger, he said, 
that small parties might commit outrages on the settlers, and for 
this reason at the beginning of the hostilities, had sent word for all 
the Indians to come to him at once. Some of the Indians had 
thought the order meant war and on their way to join him had done 
as he feared. After he had all the Indians gathered around him, 
he kept them under guard continually, allowing none to leave, riding 
round the circle that enclosed them every day to make sure that no 
raiding parties had gone out during the night. This was his mission 
the day before when he met us. He told us to return and tell the 
settlers that Moses was their friend who did not intend to go to 
war, and who would hold the Indians where they were for a short 
time, until he was perfectly satisfied that all danger was passed. 

Having been on the ground at the time and understanding con- 
ditions as they were, I am in a position to say that I believe to the 
energy and foresight of Moses, together with his good control of 
his followers, must be given the credit for averting another 
Indian war. 

338 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

We found our friends still holding the fort at Kittitas, but after 
they had heard the result of our interview, they returned to their 
homes. About three weeks later Moses permitted all the Indians 
to return to their different homes. Our horses were returned to the 
range from which they had been stolen, according to the promise 
made to us by Moses at We-nat-sha. Thus ended what for a time 
looked like a general outbreak of hostilities. 

When I first saw Moses he was thirty-five years old and, the 
finest looking Indian I have ever seen. Our friendship covered a 
period of thirty-five years, from 1861 until his death. In point of 
intelligence, he was the equal of any Indian in history. He was 
greater as a diplomat than as a warrior, and might be called, in- 
deed, the Bismarck of the redmen of the Northwest. Reckless in 
morals, the renegades of the various tribes gathered around him. 
His well-known fondness for the running horse often forced him 
to pay long prices for swift animals which it was his ambition to 
possess. The Indian's love for liquor was his greatest fault, but 
he never lost the proud bearing to which his inheritance entitled him. 
To his great force of character, dash and cunning, together with his 
great ancestry, must be attributed his wonderful control of the 



3M Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 



One or two years before the Indian war of 1855, two white 
men camped over night under the lone pine which stood near the 
bank of the Yakima river at the upper end of Mok-see valley. They 
had two riding horses and two pack animals. An Indian, Nan-num- 
kin by name, saw them and rode down to the village, a short distance 
below, to report two el-li-mas (white men) camped at the tree. 

Some of the Indians had never seen a white man before. One 
of the strangers was about middle age, while the other was a young 
man who cold talk the Chinook jargon. The Indians were disquieted 
by the white men's visit. They did not want them around and when 
the strangers tried to hire a guide to take them to Ta-ho-mah, the 
great snow mountain which stood in full view, they did not take 
kindly to the idea, fearing their tracks along the trails might prove 
a bad medicine. 

Shu-lu-skin was then a young man of about twenty, a great 
hunter who knew the mountains well. Going to his father, Tal-e- 
kish, he told him what the white men wanted and together they 
rode to the lone pine. The white men, showing their field glass and 
compass, explained that they wanted to run a line and take ob- 
servation of the Surrounding country from the tall mountain. 

Tal-e-kish'told his son to go with them and see what was done 
as it might be of interest to the tribe. 

Startirtg Mp 'the Nah-cheez river, they camped the first night 
at the mouth >^f the Tieton where the two white men caught an 
abundance dfitroiit. The following day they reached the spot which 
is now the fine'fanch of John Russell in the Tieton basin, where 
they caught 'nfore trbut. The next day they camped on the head 
of the Buniping >river and the following, the fourth day out from 
the Yakima river, they reached the eastern base of Ta-ho-mah. 

Here the mgh 'took their field glass and looked the mountain 
over. Then Hhefy asked their guide if they could get around to the 
northeast sid'e. When Shu-lu-skin said they could, they packed up 
and started for "a 'new camp. Many deer were encountered. The 
white men kill a fawn. Just before going in to camp, they ran 
into a large band, of mountain goats. Here they killed a kid. 

The guide asked them why they did not kill the larger animals 
and was told the younger ones were better to eat. Next morning 
the men took another look at the mountain through their glasses, 
took off their shoes and put on heavier ones with nails in the bottom, 
picked up the compass and glass, and began to climb the great 
white giant. 

They had asked if any Indian had ever been on top and were 
told "No." When it dawned on the guide that these men were aiming 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 34i 

to reach the summit where no man had ever been, he felt that he 
should never see them again, as an Indian tradition, handed down 
from ages past, had it that the Great Spirit got angry if any one 
attempted to reach the highest peak of Ta-ho-mah and, with his 
voice of thunder, shook the mountain's top. His flashing eyes 
were the lightning which smote the rocks and trees and all who had 
failed to heed his warnings and pushed on, perished. 

After the men had disappeared up the mountain, it began to 
thunder and lighten. Shu-lu-skin felt then that the white men had 
met the same fate which had overtaken many braves of long ago. 

Just at dusk, however, the two white men returned to camp, 
tired and hungry. They ate, however, only a few bites of bread 
and lay down and slept. They remained in camp next day and did 
some writing. 

They told the guide they had reached the top and found there 
a basin which contained a small lake. They said they had built a 
monument of stones at the side of the basin and that they had 
viewed all the surrounding country. Then they drew a map on a 
large paper and asked him the names of the different streams that 
flowed into the Yakima river, which he told them. 

They gave the guide for his services, three pairs of double 
blankets, a hatchet, knife and whetstone, with abundant provisions 
for his return trip. It was the first time he had received compensation 
for labor. 

The whites went towards Puget Sound, while the Indian re- 
turned to Yakima. He never met the white men again. Who they 
were and whence they came, he did not know. They often mentioned 
the names of Stevens and Bob. He believes they reached the summit. 

One summer day in 1861, while I was traveling alone over a 
trail between Toppenish creek and the Yakima, I was overtaken by a 
fine looking young Indian, well mounted and well dressed. He 
asked me in the Chinook jargon where I was going and when I 
told him, said, "I know your brother who lives in Mok-see valley. 
He and I are friends. I will travel that way and show you where 
to ford the river." 

Before reaching my brother's home, I learned that my com- 
panion's name was Shu-lu-skin, that he was the son of Tal-e-kish, 
who was a grandson of the great We-ow-wicht, fountain head of 
royalty of what now constitutes the Yakima nation. 

In his beaded buckskin trappings, he sat that horse as if he 
were a part of it. With an honest face and eagle eyes, long black 
hair in two braids tinged with vermillion hanging down below his 
shoulders, he looked every inch the prince he was. 

We became good friends then and are still good friends after 
a lapse of fifty years. He was a great sport and one of the best 
judges of a race horse I ever knew. To own the swiftest ones was 
his greatest ambition. For many years he followed horse racing. 

342 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

visiting every place where Indians gathered for sport and was well 
known among the tribes of eastern Washington. 

He was both brave and generous. I saw him tried. I was in 
his camp one autumn day on the Yakima river where there Was a 
large gathering of Indians. Chief Moses was camped near by. A 
younger brother of Shu-lu-skin had that day bought a young girl 
for a wife who was a relative of Chief Moses and the transaction had 
seemed unsatisfactory to the great chief. 

With a band of his braves he rode into Shu-lu-skin's camp, 
dismounted and, in a loud voice announced, "Your brother cannot 
have the young girl he bought this morning for she is my relative, 
a descendent of chieftains and must marry only her equal." 

Throwing off his blanket, Shu-lu-skin stepped in front of Moses, 
saying, "Your father was a great warrior, but remember, I am 
a descendant of We-ow-wicht, your equal in peace or war — which- 
ever you choose. The young girl will remain in my brother's lodge. 
I am waiting your answer." 

Moses looked both surprised and disappointed. But he had 
met his equal and he knew it. Stepping forward, he reached out 
his hand, which Shu-lu-skin took, and they were ever afterward 

My friend then spoke a few words to his brother, who rode 
off, returning soon with ten horses. Shu-lu-skin said to Moses, 
"I now add these ten horses to the purchase price of the girl and we 
will call the matter settled forever." 

I met him one beautiful spring day in the early sixties just 
about where Yakima City now stands and we rode on together 
through the gap. A woman's wail came from the ancient burying 
ground on the hill to the west. My companion said, "We will stop 
here for a time." 

Dismounting, we sat together in the little sumach grove and 
listened to the mournful voice of the old crone which carried the 
deepest expression of grief and sorrow I have ever listened to. It 
brought involuntary tears to the eyes. After sitting in silence for 
some time, Shu-lu-skin spoke, "That old woman on the hill there, 
Wi-yi-a-ka, is loved by all the tribe. She has been going to that 
grave on this day for many years to wail for her husband, Ow-we- 
yah, who long since went the unknown trail. I will meet her here 
when the sun goes down." 

This was my first intimation of the great affection Indians 
have for relatives and friends^ 

Shu-lu-skin had the distinction of being the largest eater of 
the tribe. His gastronomical power was, to say the least, beyond 
the limit, if rumors were true. This is the story that made him 

Passing the lodge of Ne-sou-tus one night, he called in and 
found Ne-sou-tus asleep. Two old Indians, We-i-pah and Wap- 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 3i3 

po-ti-tit, the salmon men of the tribe, were sitting there trying- to 
finish the vast amount of food Ne-sou-tus had set before them. 
They had gorged themselves until sick and yet had not devoured 
all. Indian custom requires that the visitors eat all the food set 
before them. 

Shu-lu-skin, when told of their predicament, helped them finish 
their viands. Arousing their host, he said to him, "Why did you 
seek to punish these two old men who have been of such benefit 
to the tribe ? Your lodge has the reputation of being the best supplied 
with food of all the nations. I am hungry and hope you have 
enough to satisfy my appetite." 

Ne-sou-tus awakened his two squaws and said, "See that our 
friend gets plenty." 

The women began to ransack the lodge, bringing out one large 
sack of kamas, one of kous and another of dried huckleberries, be- 
sides forty dried salmon, weighing in all about 200 pounds. They 
set this before their guest and went back to bed believing that if 
he consumed all that bulk before leaving, he would be with them for 
at least a month. 

Ne-sou-tus, peeping out from his blankets at the pile of food, 
smiled at the thought that his guest was about to lose his reputation 
as an eater. But before daylight he was aroused again by Shu-lu- 
skin who said, "I came here believing I could get a square meal. 
I am yet hungry." 

Ne-sou-tus arose and looked about the lodge to see if his guest 
had not hidden some portion of the great pile of food, but failed 
to find any. He walked over and felt Shu-lu-skin and looked him 
all over. Then he called his squaws again and ordered them to 
gather all the food inside the wigwam, which amounted to about as 
much as there had been before. Then they lay down to sleep again 
in great disgust, for it meant another trip with packhorses to their 
cache of supplies several miles away. 

By noon next day, Shu-lu-skin had finished everything in sight 
and said he was sorry there was not more. He certainly had clinched 
his reputation as a feeder. 

Not long after the above experience Shu-lu-skin was at my 
brother, Billy Splawn's house in Mok-see and John Allen, a settler 
from Parker Bottom was there also. 

Shu-lu-skin was telling them of the Ne-sou-tus episode. He 
said that he could eat the bread of three sacks of flour in one 
day. Billy said to him, "You are a great sport. I will bet you 
ten horses that you cannot eat that amount and I will furnish the 

My friend said, "I have no horses with me, but in three days 
I will return with them." 

Allen spoke up. saying that he wanted half of that bet which 
was agreed to. 

344 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

Allen appeared on the third day with five horses and two 
sacks of flour. When noon had passed and the Indian had not 
arrived, the white men concluded that his bluff had been called. 
But shortly after, the noise of horses crossing the ford was heard 
and Shu-lu-skin showed up with old man Ne-sou-tus and a large 
band of horses. 

The sight of Ne-sou-tus set Splawn and Allen to thinking, for 
they knew the old man never gambled or sported in any manner and 
was considered a miser by the whole tribe. When he rode up and 
wanted to bet his whole band, the white men concluded he had a 
sure thing and they called it off. 

Billy Splawn and Shu-lu-skin often raced horses together and 
were evenly matched. Sometimes one would lose and go home 
afoot, and sometimes the other. The last race I remember between 
them, Billy bought and had in training what he considered a very 
swift animal and was on fiis way with it to the big racing event 
at The Dalles, Oregon. I told hirn Shu-lu-skin had bought of a 
Mr. McAUister, who had just located in Mok-see, a fine looking 
two-year-old colt which was proving to be fast. Billy, who was 
living at that time at Parker Bottom, said, "I will go up and get a 
race out of that old sport." 

I cautioned him, but to no avail. The morning of the second 
day after, I saw Billy come riding up to our cabin, bareback, bare- 
headed and in his shirt sleeves. He had met the old sport, lost 
saddle, bridle, coat, hat, money and all his blankets and the trip to 
The Dalles was therefore postponed. 

In the summer of 1870, while driving a band of cattle, I camped 
over night on the Yakima in what is now known as the East Selah 
valley. Shu-lu-skin rode in, saying he would spend the night with 
me for he knew he was always a welcome guest. After supper, he 
lit his pipe and smoked in silence. He seemed in deep study, an 
unusual thing for him. After finishing his smoke, he gazed for a 
long time into the fire, then turned to me and said, "I am in trouble 
and have been for two years. My old squaw has grown cross and 
disagreeable. She growls when she carries all the wood and water, 
grumbles when I do not help her take down, move and set up our 
lodge, kicks because I stay out many nights sporting and gambling. 
My moccasins are no longer covered with beads. My buckskin 
coat and leggings are minus the fancy silk adornments of days gone 
by and the old squaw no longer looks good. 

"I am the proud descendent of chieftains and it is not for me to 
do the menial labor of a squaw, gaining the contempt of the tribe and 
disgracing my royal ancestry." 

Again lighting his pipe, he lay down on his blanket. I did not 
disturb him till he had finished his smoke. Then I said, "Was the 
old squaw never good?" "For long years," he answered, "she 
was the sunshine of my lodge. Her voice vied with the birds. In 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 345 

happiness we have wandered together along mountain streams and 
listened to their rippling waters when the sun was bright. We 
have slept under the giant pines when the wailing wind's soft voice 
seemed like that of departed friends speaking to us from the spirit 
land. In the tall mountains she gathered the huckleberries, while 
I chased the wild goat. Under the shadow of old Ta-ho-mah* our 
campfire often blazed. We worshipped this great mountain whose 
flowing breast is the source of the many streams which furnish 
water to the people below and the salmon to follow up to the home 
of the red men. 

"Then my lodge was as bright as the noon day sun. Now 
it no longer feels like home. I will buy a j'oung squaw and rid 
myself of the old one." 

I cautioned him regarding this change in squaws and advised 
that he stay with the old one for the good she had done ; saying that 
matrimony was a game where no one held four aces. Also, that it was 
similar to the four seasons of the year. The honeymoon was the 
spring time when green grass waved on every hill, the birds sang 
from the tree tops and flowers blossomed by the way. The summer 
generally ran along fairly well with an occasional storm of thunder 
and lightning and some days of extreme heat. The autumn period 
followed with its windy days and chilly nights, when the leaves 
turned yellow, withered and perished, a sure sign of approaching 
storms. The supreme test of the hero comes with the winter period 
of discontent with its chill blasts and raging storms, with the waves 
of adversity running mountain high, threatening the old matrimonial 
ship with destruction. A hero at the helm will stay until the storm 
subsides and bring the ship into a safe harbor." 

When I had finished, he was gazing towards the mountains, 
remembering, perhaps those other, happier days. 

He said, "Your talk was good. I have passed through the 
different stages and am in the winter now and have had enough of 
it. I am no canoe man and could not guide a craft in the rough 
waters you mention, so will buy a young squaw and start in with 
the spring time again. I am glad you have spoken." 

There the talk ended. My efforts had only aggravated the 

The following spring I learned that my friend had bought 
the beautiful princess Wi-yi-too-yi, at a long price. True to the 
traditions of his ancestors, too proud to barter over an affair of 
that kind, he chose to give all of his possessions to the father of 
the girl. In exchange for his bride, he gave sixty horses and 
twenty cattle, reserving only four horses to ride and pack. It 
was considered a show of royalty, as well as being a game sport 
to thus dispose of all his possessions. 

*Mount Rainier. 

346 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

A few months after the purchase, Shu-lu-skin and Wi-yi-too-yi 
came to visit me at my trading post on the present site of Ellens- 
burg. Riding up, Shu-lu-skin dismounted, shook hands with me 
and said, "My friends down in Yakima tell me I paid too much 
for my young squaw. Go out and look her over and tell me what 
you think about it." 

Walking out to where she was sitting on her horse, which was 
decorated with all the fancy trappings that Indian art could devise 
for such a steed, her own costume, a dress of beaded buckskin 
with leggins and moccasions also interlaced with ornamental silk 
needle work in various colors and designs, with long strings of 
haiqua shells and wampum hanging from her neck, she looked a 
princess. Returning to my friend, I took his hand and said, "She 
is worth all you paid for her and some more." 

Wi-yi-too-yi, indeed, proved a gem and now, after a lapse of 
fort}'-five years, is the finest specimen of Indian womanhood on 
the Simcoe reservation. 

Shu-lu-skin is a typical inland or plains Indian of the Columbia 
group, adhering to his native customs and religion, believing that 
this land should be free to all people regardless of race or color. 
He cannot understand how we can claim private ownership of land 
in which we had no part in making. The Great Spirit, according 
to his ideas, intended that his children should have equal shares 
in all benefits in all things while on earth and that these possessions 
would pass on from generation to generation. 

Shu-lu-skin was opposed to and never joined in the treaty with 
Governor Stevens at Walla Walla in 1855. He felt that the Indians 
had no right to sell the land which belonged to the Great Spirit. 
All they could claim was the use of it while on earth. He never 
accepted any of the annuities distributed by the government to the 
Yakima Indians at the Simcoe agency. He never in any way rec- 
ognized the treaty. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakinias 3^7 


Smo-hal-la and His Doctrine — Ko-ti-ah-an's Version 
of the Dreamer Cult — Description of the Salmon 

Many of the tribes of eastern Washington practiced a cult 
known as the dreamer religion, a system of observance which, 
through rather peculiar circumstances, obtained a hold on a number 
of the Indian peoples throughout the whole Northwest. The dreamer 
religion seems to have originated with the Wi-nah-pams or Priest 
Rapids Indians. Long before the coming of the white man So-wap- 
so, chief and prophet of this tribe, practiced the ceremony which 
was later, used by Smo-hal-la, chief of the same tribe and now 
spoken of as the "dreamer" religion. Tradition has it that So-wap- 
so always erected a tall pole near his lodge and on this pole he 
would often find messages from the Great Spirit written on buck- 
skin and foretelling events. The chief read the messages and im- 
parted the information to his tribe. 

In this way, it is said, the Indians were informed of the com- 
ing of the white man years before his arrival. So-wap-so told his 
people of a message from the Whee-me-me-ow-ah (far-away chief) 
which read, "The first white men to appear will be travelers passing 
through the country who will not remain. The next will build 
houses and bring many things the Indians want to exchange for 
the skins of animals. These people will not want the Indian's 
country. After these will come men to tell you of the white man's 
God. Part of them will wear black gowns and be good to the 
Indians." Following these, said the message, would come the Koo- 
ya-wow-culth (white men), entirely different from any who had 
come before. These, he told them emphatically were enemies to 
be feared; that they would overrun the red man's country, the 
hunting grounds would be no more, the roots would disappear from 
the hills and the berries from the mountains. 

Ever after this prophecy the Indians had watched for the 
coming of the white people with fear and distrust. How nearly 
correct were the statements in So-wap-so's announcement, history 
tells. When So-wap-so died he left all the messages he had ever 
taken from the pole to the care of his son So-happy, with instruc- 
tions that he guard' them closely in order that succeeding genera- 
tions might know of the things that would come to pass. When 
they went to the huckleberry mountains, So-happy's favorite young 
squaw hid them in the rocks, and, when they returned was unable 
to find the spot where she had secreted them. She mourned over 

348 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

what she had done until she became insane and hung herself. Thus 
ended all hope of ever finding the lost messages. 

So-happy was killed in 1858. During his reign he had a rival 
for the chieftaincy in the person of Smo-hal-la, who had begun to 
follow in the footsteps of So-wap-so while yet very young and who 
coveted So-happy's place. After the pathetic end of So-happy on 
the Nah-cheez near the mouth of the Nile, Smo-hal-la assumed the 
leadership. The Priest Rapids were never a very large tribe. They 
roamed along both banks of the Columbia from about ten miles 
above the mouth of the Yakima to La-cos-tum, or Saddle mountain, 
near the present Beverly. 

Smo-hal-la was a strong character in many ways, obstinate, 
persevering and cunning. The ancient village of Pi-nah (fish 
weir) situated on the west bank of the Columbia at the foot of 
Priest Rapids had for generations been a great gathering place for 
Indians, especially during the salmon time. The Priest Rapids were 
thus afforded an opportunity for spreading their peculiar religious 
rites which were, in time, believed and practiced by a large portion 
of many tribes. 

No sooner did Smo-hal-la come into power than he put the 
dreamer religion on a more solid basis. At this time an incident 
occurred which wrought a great change in his life and stamf>ed 
him as an oracle and prophet, beyond any doubt giving to his re- 
ligious doctrine a force of authority which it maintained for many 
years. Smo-hal-la had already acquired considerable reputation 
as medicine man and was generally believed to be making bad medi- 
cine to accomplish the death of Sulk-talth-scosum (Chief Moses), 
of the. Ko-wah-chins or Sin-ki-use, the adjoining tribe above him 
on the Columbia. Moses became afraid of Smo-hal-la's medicine and 
concluded to put the pestiferous individual out of his way. Meet- 
ing him one day on the banks of the Columbia, Moses set upon him, 
beating him until he thought the Priest Rapids chief dead. Then 
he mounted and rode away. 

Smo-hal-la, however, revived, crawled to the banks of the river 
where he found a canoe, pushed it out into the stream and lay 
down in the bottom to float with the current. He was finally picked 
up by some white men below Umatilla and cared for until he could 
travel. Not caring to return to his people in disgrace, and fearful, 
indeed, lest Moses next time should finish him, Smo-hal-la deter- 
mined to become a wanderer. So began one of the most remarkable 
wanderings ever undertaken by an uncivilized Indian. Down the 
Columbia to Portland he went, then turned' south, stopping at 
different points in Oregon and California. He went on past San 
Diego into Mexico, then turned back, returning home by way of 
Arizona, Utah and Nevada. 

It had been supposed by his people that Moses had killed him, 
since nothing had been seen or heard of him for two years, so 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 549 

that when he returned, announcing that he had come back from 
the spirit land at the command of the Whee-me-me-ow-ah to guide 
his people, his story was accepted as truth and his words and com- 
mands henceforth had to them a peculiar significance. 

"You must retain your primitive manners," said Smo-ha-la. 
"The Great Father above sent me back to see to it that you adapt 
none of the habits of the pale face." He then explained to them 
his form of doctrine, in which he had made some changes during 
his absence and he admonished them to adhere to it in order to be 
in good standing with the Whee-me-me-ow-ah. The Indians ac- 
cepted what he said as truth. Had he not been dead two years? 
Had he not visited in his spirit form many different countries? 
Had they not heard white men confirm his descriptions of these 
countries? He had been among the Mormons and explained how 
their prophets received direct communication from heaven. He 
fell into a trance like a spiritualist medium and came out of it 
looking weak and haggard to tell his followers what he had seen 
and of things that would come to pass. 

I remember spending a night in Smo-hal-la's lodge when, after 
all were asleep, the chief came to me and asked if I knew anything 
regarding the government's probable action on any matters per- 
taining to the Indians, or any other matter which would be of inter- 
est to them, saying that he always liked to know these things in 
advance so he could tell his people what was going to happen. He 
was a wily old redskin. I gave him no information for the very 
good reason that I had none. 

Smo-hal-la's doctrine opposed everything that appertained to 
civilization. His people raised no food of any kind, had no cattle, 
sheep, hogs or chickens, not even vegetables. Their food consisted 
of fish, game, roots and berries only. They were continually warned 
to resist every advance of civilization as a thing unworthy of a true 
Indian and contrary to the faith of their ancestors. He said, "My 
young men shall never work, for men who work cannot dream, and 
wisdom comes from dreams. We will not plow the ground, for 
we cannot tear up our Mother's breast. We will cut no hay, for 
we dare not cut off our Mother's hair." 

In stature Smo-hal-la was thick set with the head of a states- 
man — very large with high forehead and deep brow and piercing 
eyes. His manner was mild in the persuasive style but when 
aroused, and in earnest, he was fiery and full of eloquence. He 
was the greatest Indian orator I ever heard. I had the pleasure of 
listening to him at a council held at We-nat-sha in 1877, when 
there were 500 warriors on the plains surrounding us, among them 
several of the hostile emissaries of Chief Joseph sent from the 
Lo Lo trail in Idaho where the great warrior chief was making his 
masterful retreat with all his people before an army many times 
the size of his own, headed by Gen. Howard. Moses had been 

350 Ka-mi-akin—The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

asked by his cousin. Joseph to help in the war by attacking the 
Yakima settlements, thus halting Howard's army in its pursuit and 
giving Joseph time to follow back and lay waste the country. It 
was an excellent military move and but for the level-headedness of 
Chief Moses would have been successful. It was upon this subject 
that Smo-hal-la made the greatest speech I ever heard from an 
Indian in favor of peace. 

Having known Smo-hal-la personally for twenty-five years, I 
am in a position to say that he was as cunning a hypocrite as I ever 
came across, red or white, and his tribe was made up of the most lazy, 
worthless vagabonds in the Northwest. Though the religion which he 
preached was directly opposed' to the advance of civilization, I 
know that he offered to advise his people to go on the Sim-co-e 
reservation, settle and cultivate the ground, providing the govern- 
ment would give him a yearly salary. 

Ko-ti-ah-an, son of Show-a-way, whose father was We-ow- 
wicht, the fountain head of royalty in the Yakima tribe, practiced 
a religion similar to Smo-hal-la's. His home was at Pa-ho-ta-cute 
near the present Parker. Ko-ti-ah-an's explanation of the begin- 
ning of the world was to the effect that at first all was water with 
the Great Spirit dwelling above it. "The Great Spirit," said Ko-ti- 
ah-an, "began throwing up large quantities of mud from the shallow 
places, thus making land. Some of the mud was piled up so high 
that it froze hard and the rains which followed were turned into ice 
and snow. Some of the earth was made hard into rocks, and this 
has not changed except that the rocks have grown harder. We did 
not know all this of ourselves, but it has been told us by our fathers 
and the knowledge handed down to us from past generations. We 
were told that the Whee-me-me-ow-ah had thrown down many 
mountains. He made it all as our fathers told us. We can see that 
it is true when we are hunting for game or berries in the moun- 
tains. He made trees to grow and man out of a ball of mud and 
instructed him in what he should do. When the man grew lone- 
some, he made a woman as his companion, teaching her to dress 
skins, gather berries, make baskets out of bark and roots which 
he taught her how to find. She was asleep and dreaming how to 
please man. She prayed to the Great Spirit for help. He blew 
his breath on her, giving her something she could neither see, hear, 
smell nor touch and it was preserved in a basket. By it all the arts 
of design and skilled workmanship were imparted to woman and 
her descendants. But notwithstanding all the benefits they en- 
joyed, there was quarreling among the people and Mother Earth 
was angry. The mountains that overhung the Columbia river at the 
Cascades were thrown down and dammed the stream, destroying 
many Indians, burying them beneath the rocks." 

Ko-ti-ah-an believed that some day the great Me-ow-ah would 
again overturn these mountains, and so expose the bones of the 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 351 

perished which, having been preserved: through all these centuries, 
would be re-occupied by the spirits which now dwell in the moun- 
tain tops, watching their descendants on earth and waiting for the 
resurrection to come. The voice of these spirits of the dead could 
often be heard, he thought, in the mountains among the murmuring 
pines. Mourners who wailed for the dead heard spirit voices re- 
plying and felt that their lost ones remained always near them. "No 
one," he said, "knows when it will come and only those who have 
observed nature's laws and adhered to the faith of their ancestors 
will have their bones preserved and so be certain to have an earthly 
tenement for their spirits." 

Ko-ti-ah-an differed from Smo-hal-la in this, that he wanted 
his young men to practice agriculture in a limited way and to re- 
main near their villages. 

Sunday has been observed as a holiday among the Indians 
ever since the Hudson's Bay Company and the missionaries came 
among the tribes a century ago. Even the wildest tribes considered 
it a great medicine day. It has taken the place of many of their 
ceremonial dances, such as the ghost and the sun dances. Among 
their periodical observances were the lament for the dead, the 
salmon dance which occurs when the salmon first begin to run in 
the spring, and the berry dance when the wild berries begin to 
ripen in the autumn. 

The salmon dance is the most ceremonial and important of 
them all. The door of the lodge, I have always observed, is in 
the east end of the house. On the roof at the east end are three 
flags, the center one blue, representing the sky, one white repre- 
senting the earthly light, and the third yellow, the light of the spirit 
world. Blue, white and yellow were the sacred colors of both the 
Smo-hal-la and Ko-ti-ah-an religions. On entering, the worship- 
pers arrange themselves in two lines along the sides of the buildings, 
men and boys standing by one wall, women and girls along the 
other, all facing towards the center. In the center, 'uctween the 
rows of men and women is a man whose business it is to see that 
every one is in his proper place. All are dressed in the best, as 
many as possible, in their ancient costumes of beaded buckskin 
and shell ornaments with their faces painted, white, yellow and 
red. At the west end of the lodge, facing the door, sits the high 
priest with the interpreter just behind him. On his left sit three 
drummers with their pum-pums before them. The high priest 
carries a large bell in one hand and a small bell in the other. Dishes 
of freshly cooked salmon and jars of water, together with an 
abundant supply of other foods are in front of those ready to 

After a preliminary ceremony in the nature of a litany in which 
the principal articles of their theology are recited, in the form of 
questions and answers by the whole body of worshippers, the high 

352 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

priest gives the command, "Take water." Everyone raises a cup 
to his lips. At the command "Now drink," each one takes a sip. 
At the words, "Now the salmon," each takes up a piece of fish and 
puts it in his mouth. When the command comes "Now eat," they 
all begin to chew. At last comes the order, "Now help yourselves" 
— a signal for a general attack on the provisions. When all have 
satisfied their hunger, the remains of the feast are cleared away 
and the dance begins. 

At a signal given by a stroke of the bell in the left hand of 
the priest all stand up in a Hne on either side of the building; at 
another stroke, all put their right hands on their breasts; a third 
stroke, and the right hand is brought out in front of the body ; 
another, and they begin to move their right hands backward and 
forward like fans in front of their breasts. Thus they continue 
throughout the dance, keeping time to the singing by balancing 
alternately upon their heels and toes without moving from their 
places. Ritual songs and chants are kept up throughout the re- 
mainder of the ceremony, time being kept to the sound of the 
drums and their movements regulated by the stroke of the bell. 

Between songs, anyone who wishes to speak may step out into 
the open space. With a single stroke of the bell, the high priest 
summons the interpreter who comes forward and stands behind 
the speaker, a few feet in front and at the right of the high priest. 
The speaker then in a low tone tells his story, usually a trance 
vision of the spirit world. The interpreter repeats it in a loud 
voice to the company. At the end of the recital, the priest gives 
the signal with the bell, when all raise their right hands with 
"Ah, yes." 

The songs are then given while standing motionless, right 
hand on the breast and eyes cast downward. One song begins, 
"Verily, our Father made our body. He gave it a spirit and the 
body moved. Then he gave us words to speak." Another will 
break in and say, "Verily, our Father put salmon in the water for 
our food." Another begins, "Oh, brothers and sisters, when first 
the light struck the world, it Hghted the world forever." 

After this the company files out singly and with formality 
while the high priest stands and rings the bell continuously. When 
all have passed from the lodge, the high priest follows and" the cere- 
mony is ended. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 353 


The first Catholic missionaries visited the Yakima Indians in 
1847. They were the Rev. Paschal Ricard and the Rev. E. C. 
Chirouse, Qblate fathers, who were sent at the request of Ka-mi- 
akin. One authority states that they established the first mission at 
Chem-na and called it St. Rose.* Chem-na is the Indian name for 
the locality around the mouth of the Yakima river. The other 
Authority, the Rev. E. M. Kauten, to whom Bishop O'Dea referred 
me for historical data, quotes from the records of A. M. A. Blanchet, 
who with Demers was the first Catholic priest to reach the North- 
west in 1838 to show that the two Oblate fathers mentioned above 
established the first mission, St. Rose, at a place called "Simkoe," 
which I will assume as correct.** 

Father Blanchet's record says : 

"Father Ricard selected a place called Simkoe and left Father 
Chirouse in charge of the mission which they called St. Rose. Dur- 
ing the following year, Father Chirouse followed the Indians as 
they moved from camp to camp and baptized sixteen children, thir- 
teen adults and married nine couples, but had to leave during the 
winter of 1848 on account of the Cayuse war." 

But Father Chirouse returned to the Yakima valley in the 
spring of 1849, bringing with him Father J. Charles Pandosy and 
Brother Blanchet, who located another place for a mission on the 
north side of the river and called it Mission St. Joseph. Here they 
erected two houses, one for a church and the other for a dwelling. 
The Indian name of the place chosen is Al-e-she-cas, meaning "Tur- 
tle land."*** 

During the same year they baptized two hundred and twenty- 
six people. Part of them, I imagine, were baptized at the temporary 
mission, Wa-ne-pe, in Mok-see valley where Father Pandosy had 
charge during the winter of 1849. Here were camped that winter 
the people of Ka-mi-akin, Te-i-as, Ow-hi, Qual-chan and Sko-mo-wa. 
The following year Wi-e-mash-et, a son of Ow-hi, told his father 
that if he wished to feed and support the che-mook-dat-pas (the 
black gown) he should take him away and keep him among his own 

*Historicus, Gonzaga magazines, 1914. 

^**If the Mission St. Rose had been established at Chem-na, the probability is that they 
would have stated that they had gone up the Yakima fifty miles and established a new 
mission on the north sidte of the river. But when they say that they established a new 
mission on the north sidel of the Yakima, it would indicate that the Mission St. Rose was 
established at Simkoe, which is on the southwest side of the Yakima and only about fifteen 
miles distant from the Mission St. Joseph. 

***W. P. Sawyer's fine residence stands within a hundred feet of the site of tlie 
old mission. 

354 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

people in the Kittitas or Selah valleys, for he would kill him if he 
remained at Mok-see.* 

Ow-hi, therefore, took Father Pandosy to live among- his people, 
sometimes in Selah and at others on Nanum creek on the Me-nash-e- 
tash. He built a log house on the latter creek about 1850. 

Chirouse with Brother Blanchet remained at St. Joseph's. After 
1849 Ka-mi-akin took Father Chirouse under his protection and most 
of the time the priest followed the wanderings of the tribe. 

About 1850 we find Father L. D. Herbonnez at St. Joseph's, 
which seems to have become the main mission among the Yakimas. 
April 3, 1852, the second Mission St. Joseph was established by 
Fathers Pandosy and D'Herbonnez on the Ahtanum, and the mission 
at Al-e-she-cas was abandoned. The Indians who camped there 
during the winter months used the log houses for firewood. In 
1865 when I first saw the place there were only a few remains of 
the buildings left. 

During the Indian war of 1855 Major Rains with his command, 
accompanied by Colonel Nesmith, in command of the Oregon and 
Washington volunteers, the next day after the battle at Union Gap, 
moved up and camped at the Ahtanum mission which the priest had 
deserted, taking refuge with some of the Indian families. Some of 
the volunteers, rustling around, found some buried potatoes and 
digging further, unearthed a keg of powder. They took this evi- 
dence, together with the fact that the priest was then with the 
Indians, to prove that the missionary was furnishing the red men 

In the excitement of the discovery, some one cried, "Let's burn 
the mission !" Almost at once the fire was started, though the un- 
fortunate affair was not justified by the facts as they appeared later. 

This put an end to the Catholic missions in the Yakima valley 
for some time. Fathers Pandosy, Chirouse and D'Herbonnez spent 
the following year among the camps of the We-nat-shas and Okano- 
gans and the winter of 1856-7 with the military at Fort Simcoe. 
The self-sacrificing spirit shown by these fathers, as well as others 
of their faith in the Spokane country merits high parise. By keep- 
ing the principles of the religion they had taught these savages 
constantly before them, they had something to do with bringing 
about peace. 

Father Chirouse left the Yakima country in 1857 and assisted 
in establishing a Catholic mission at Priest Point at the mouth of 
the Snohomish river on Puget Sound, now known as Tulalip. Father 
D'Herbonnez later became first bishop of New Westminster in 
British Columbia. Father Pandosy, as nearly as I can ascertain, 
left the Yakima country in 1857 and spent a few years with the 
Jesuits among the mountain tribes to the north, along both sides of 
the boundary line. On my first trip to the Cariboo in 1861 an Indian 

*That temporary mission was on land now owned by G. V, Harris. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 355 

helper pointed out to me midway of Okanogan lake a mission estab- 
lished by Father Pandosy. The town of Corona now occupies the 

Father Pandosy was the son of a French admiral and had re- 
ceived a splendid education. Surrounded by all the benefits that 
family influence could procure, he nevertheless gave them all up 
for a hfe consecrated to helping the Indians of the Northwest. After 
forty-six years of constant work, he died alone among his people 
at the mission of the Immaculate Conception on Lake Okanogan. 

These three early Oblate fathers were men who exemplified the 
true Christian spirit, men who would be an honor to any society or 
any church. During the eight years following 1847, they succeeded 
in converting four hundred and thirty-four souls. 

During the twelve years from 1855 to 1867, there was no Cath- 
olic church or mission in the Yakima valley, but in the latter part 
of 1867 Father St. Onge took up the work on the Ahtanum and 
commenced to rebuild. I met him just as he was preparing to erect 
his first house. The Rev. J. B. Boulet became his assistant the 
next year. Both worked hard and succeeded in publishing the first 
catechism of Catholic prayers and doctrines in the Yakima lan- 
guage. Many Indians were converted to the Catholic faith by that 
tireless worker, Father St. Onge. But when President U. S. Grant 
allotted the spiritual welfare of the Indians on the Simcoe reserva- 
tion to the Methodist Church, it is little wonder that the Catholic 
priest decided that competition was hopeless. 

After repeated requests made by the Bishop of Nisqually to the 
general Superior of the Jesuits at Rome that some one be sent to 
take over and care for the Yakima district. Father Caruana was 
assigned to the Ahtanum in 1870 and under the tutelage of Father 
St. Onge learned to speak the Yakima language which differed so 
much from that of the Salish tribes which he ihad mastered so per- 
fectly during the eight years he had been in charge at Coeur d'Alene. 

The buildings on the Ahtanum, which were started in a small 
way in 1867, were finished in 1870 and dedicated by the Right 
Reverend A. M. A. Blanchet, bishop of Nisqually, July 15, 1871. 
In 1872 these Jesuit fathers set out an apple orchard at the mission. 

Like most of the pioneer missionaries who came to this western 
country, Father Caruana had given up the comforts of a splendid 
home and sacrificed the high prospects of ecclesiastical preferment 
to which personal attainments and family connections would have 
paved the way. At his own request he was sent to Coeur d'Alene 
in 1863. He wanted to be an Indian missionary and an Indian 
missionary he was to his dying day. 

I first met Father Caruana at the Coeur d'Alene mission in 1867 
and many times later in the We-nat-sha and Okanogan country, 
alone in Indian camps, subsisting on Indian food. Once at We-nat- 
sha when I offered him provisions, he refused on the ground that, 

356 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

in order to hold his influence with them, he must live as the Indians 
did. I often saw him during the ten years he was in charge of Mis- 
sion St. Joseph. 

His territory embraced all the country from Klickitat valley 
to the Okanogan and he was constantly on the move, converting 
and baptizing. Finding some Catholics among the early whites who 
made their home at Yakima City, Father Caruana took them under 
his care and administered to their spiritual welfare. Yakima City 
by this time, 1875, indeed possessed several hundred souls, many of 
them Catholics, and the need for a school, as well as for a place 
of worship impressed Father Caruana so that he went to Fort 
Vancouver to lay the matter before Bishop Blanchet with the result 
that Nov. 6, 1875, Sisters Blandina, Dorothea and Melania made a 
six-day trip from the motherhouse at Vancouver to Yakima. 

Through the efforts of Charles Schanno, a house sufficient for 
their needs was procured and on November 13 mass was said for 
the first time in the small chapel. Nine days later the school was 
opened with nine pupils, the number being largely increased during 
the following year. These three sisters will always have a warm 
place in the hearts of those who knew them. 

Father John Baptist Raiberti, S. J., became the first chaplain 
of St. Joseph's Academy. He was a plain looking man with a 
saintly face and during the twenty-four years he remained at the 
Yakima mission he gained and maintained the respect of all. I often 
met him on the road, astride the old white horse which was his 
mount for so many years, repeating the rosary, oblivious of his 
surroundings. His body was so frail, that his friends feared he 
might pass away any time, yet he struggled on in his good work for 
nearly a quarter of a century. 

He died at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in North Yakima, September 
1, 1899. To my mind, he was a fine Christian and the most devout 
person I ever met. 

Father Urban Grassi, another of those great Jesuits, was sent 
from the Colville mission to relieve Father Caruana in 1872, as 
the work had become too burdensome for one man. Grassi proved 
a great help. He at once set out on missionary trips which took 
him into the mountains, valleys and canyons, wherever Indians were 
camped. Like Caruana, he lived in their wigwams and ate their 
food. He was what we now call "a hustler" — no road was too 
long, no journey too hard for him when he thought a soul could 
be saved. But such hardships could not go on indefinitely without 
Nature feeling the strain. In 1876 Father Grassi was transferred 
to St. Francis Regis mission near Colville where, for five years, he 
used his energies for the betterment of this mission. In 1881 
Father Caruna was called upon to take charge of the St. Francis 
Regis mission and Father Grassi sent back to the Ahtanum. Two 
years later. Father Caruana was ordered back to Yakima and Father 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 357 

Grassi sent to Spokane to take charge of the erection of the first 
Gonzaga college. 

While Father Cataldo, the superior, was absent in Rome in 
1885, Father Caruana was appointed vice superior and ordered to 
remove to the De Smet mission among the Coeur d'Alenes from 
whom he had been absent fifteen years. He was glad to get back 
to a place which seemed like home, for among that tribe he had 
done his first missionary work. 

In 1889 Father Grassi, the indefatigable, is found in charge of 
the Umatilla mission, a mission which, though in existence over 30 
years, seems not to have made the progress that others did, for at 
the time Father Grassi took it over there was nothing of value there 
except its church. Setting to work with his usual energy. Father 
Grassi moved and remodeled the building and lived just long enough 
to see a school started there by the Sisters of St. Francis from 
Philadelphia. He was called to his reward March 21, 1890, aged 
60 years, half of which had been devoted to the Indians of the 

Father Caruana succeeded Father Grassi at the Umatilla mis- 
sion. These two fathers had been almost inseparable. They were 
built in the same mould, soldiers of the cross. Father Caruana's 
health began to fail almost at once and about a year after going to 
Umatilla he was removed to the hospital in Spokane. His health 
improving somewhat, he was moved from one mission to another 
where special work was to be done, until 1896, when he was once 
more in charge at Coeur d'Alene. j 

Many of the old Indians here had passed away and with them 
had gone the religious spirit for which this tribe had been noted. 
The last link between the past and the present, the pioneer mission- 
ary, Father Joset, was now only a walking skeleton. Weakened in 
both mind and body, he was rapidly approaching the grave. He died 
about the middle of June, 1900, at the age of 90. Father Caruana, 
who revered him as a master in the apostolic life, had the sad priv- 
ilege of ministering to him in his last moments. 

Father Caruana missed his Indian friends. Chief Edward, Chief 
Vincent and Andrew Saltice, all dead now. For a few years he 
remained in quietude and waning health. The busy world had 
almost forgotten him when the unexpected happened and public 
recognition was accorded him such as is given to but few men. 

The Catholic population of Spokane on October 19, 1913, 
resolved to observe the fiftieth anniversary of the first work done 
by Father Caruana within the limits of their rapidly growing city. 
The good old man had to be coaxed out of his retreat to go to 
Spokane to take part in the ceremonies in which he was the central 
figure. And the exertion was too much for him, too, for two days 
after his return to his mission, he passed away, having been for 

358 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

fifty-one years a missionary to the Indians, giving his life to strang- 
ers and they mostly of a savage race. 

It must have been a sad disappointment to those Fathers, who 
had endured hardship and suffering, working faithfully for so long, 
when they realized that with the passing away of the early chiefs 
and head men, interest in the church began to wane. The younger 
generation, noticing that the invasion of their country by the whites 
meant the loss of fishing and hunting ground's as well as homes and 
burial places of their ancestors, became restless, discontented and 
hopeless. With gun in one hand and Bible in the other, the pale- 
faced race with its boasted civilization had come in and conquered 
them. And yet we called ourselves Christians. 

When these conditions arrived, the Fathers felt only too keenly 
that their lives had been wasted in trying to save a vanishing race. 
It was well, perhaps, that these early missionaries should pass with 
the older Indians and thus be spared the humiliation of witnessing 
the finishing touches of civilization on the red men. 

And was it any wonder that the Indian should become doubtful 
concerning our religion when the earliest missionaries of the differ- 
ent denominations, in their eagerness for their trade in souls, would 
each tell the poor savages that his particular doctrine was the right 
one, and through his church only, could they hope to reach the 
spirit land. Many times around their camp fires have I heard the 
Indians thus give voice to their perplexity and say that where all 
religions were doubtful, they would follow none. 

360 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 


Pe-peu-mox-mox's Journey to California — His Son's 
Death — The Revenge. 

Many years ago, when I first came among the Yakima Indians 
I asked a number of their older men where they had obtained their 
first horses and how long since. They all pointed to the southeast 
and stated that their grandfathers said the horses had come from 
the Sho-sho-ne or Snake tribe inhabiting the country now known as 
Southeastern Idaho. This would date the coming of the horse to 
Eastern Washington and Oregon and to the Nez Perces of Idaho 
back over 150 years, to 1750. 

In following the early history of the horse in its connection with 
the tribes of the Northwest, none of the authorities which I have 
consulted are so searching in detail as is Bancroft's history. The 
first horses to set foot on the mainland of North America were 
landed by Cortes in Mexico in 1519 and were sixteen in number. 

In Coronado's great military expedition into what is now New 
Mexico and Arizona in 1540-1542 many battles with natives are 
chronicled and it is undoubtedly from this company of Spaniards that 
the Indians obtained their first horses. I believe that the honor of 
being the first horse owners, if there is honor in it, belongs to the 
Apache nation, the most noted freebooters of the plains for over 
three centuries. 

The town of San Geronimo in Sonora was attacked by Indians 
in 1541 and both cattle and horses driven off. In the great Mixton 
revolt about that time, the most formidable and wide-spread struggle 
for liberty ever made by the native races in any part of Mexico, 
lasting two years, the Spaniards reported the loss of horses. A few 
years later the Zacatecas and other rich mines were discovered in 
Durango and other North Mexican states which rapidly filled up 
with miners. Stock ranches were started and for a few years pros- 
pered until the great hordes of Indian horse thieves came down from 
the north, making great inroads on the stock. 

In 1598 Bonilla and Humana, sent by the governor of New 
Viz Caya against some rebellious natives in the north, extended 
their expedition into New Mexico, going far up into the buffalo 
country, probably to the Pawnee country in the present Kansas. 
Here Humana murdered his chief in a quarrel, and was in turn 
himself killed with all his men save one, by the natives. Their 
horses fell into the hands of the Indians. In 1594 it is reported that 
Jironza Petrez de Crusate in a fight with Apaches and allied tribes 
in Sonora killed thirteen and captured seven of a noted band that 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 361 

had stolen one hundred thousand horses in the vicinity of Terrenate 
and Batepito. 

In the year of the great Indian uprising in New Mexico, 1680, 
when the Spaniards were driven out for thirteen years, the Indians 
captured a number of horses. When in 1693 the Spaniards under 
Diego de Vargas reconquered New Mexico, the Indians succeeded 
iff stealing many horses from the Spanish invaders. For nearly 
three-quarters of a century thereafter New Mexico was an isolated 
Spanish settlement struggling not very zealously for a bare living, 
constantly in fear of another Indian revolt. During all this time 
the country from Durango to Sonora was at the mercy of Indian 
horse thieves — Apaches, Comanches, Utahs, Navajos. 

In 1742 the Apaches captured a number of horses from Padre 
Keller on the Gila river in Arizona. Forty years later Capt. Andza, 
while preparing for his overland trip from New Mexico to Cali- 
fornia, had all his horses stolen, delaying the expedition a year. In 
1761 the Utahs and Comanches in a fight at Tpas, New Mexico, 
with a company of Spaniards captured a thousand horses, and in 
1781 Capt. Rivera Y. Moncada and sixteen men, driving horses and 
cattle to California were killed by the Yumas while encamped on 
the Colorado river, and all the stock driven off. 

The first cattle and horses to reach California came up from 
Lower California in 1769. Other stock was brought in from time 
to time from Mexico, Arizona, Sonora and New Mexico. In the 
warm climate, with an abundance of grass the year around, the stock 
increased rapidly. In 1800 there were 24,000 horses in California. 

Owing to its remoteness from the territory which for over a 
century had been infested by renegade bands of Indian horse thieves, 
who made of their stealing a regular business to fill the require- 
ments of a trade built up with the tribes to the north and west, 
California had up to this time suffered little from depredations. 
In 1820 or thereabouts there was a marked increase in the number of 
horses in California, and some wild bands were noted. Within 
the next ten years the increase was so rapid that many wild bands 
roamed from Sacramento to San Diego. Thieving which had been 
formerly practiced on a small scale only, now became wholesale. 
Indian bands began to over run the country, roaming at will and in- 
cluding representatives from almost every tribe — Apaches, Co- 
manches, Utahs, Navajos, Snakes, Klamaths, Cayuses and Walla 
Wallas. They drove off thousands of horses without interruption 
save for an occasional fight with a few Spanish soldiers who seldom 
succeeded in recovering the animals. 

In 1847 at Jumol Rancho of Rio Peca near San Diego a body 
of Indians killed Levia, the major domo, captured his two grown 
daughters, Tomasa and Ramona and drove off hundreds of horses. 
Nothing was ever heard of the daughters or the horses. 

362 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

Comanches from New Mexico in April, 1840, stole 1200 horses 
from San Luis Obispo and though pursued, were victorious in battle 
and escaped with the spoils. By 1844 the American population had 
increased to a point where the frontiersman was able to cope with 
the red man and in their battles the thieves were generally worsted. 

During the latter part of the summer of 1844 Chief Pe-peu- 
mox-mox of the Walla Wallas and his son Elijah Hedding, who had 
been educated at the Willam'ette mission, founded by Jason Lee 
near Salem, together with fifty warriors went to California to trade 
furs for horses and cattle. They reached Sutter's fort about the 
middle of September. Sutter gave them permission to hunt and 
capture the wild horses which roamed in great bands through the 
foothills and valleys. They spent the winter catching and breaking 
horses to the saddle; then traded them for cattle which they ex- 
pected to drive home to Walla Walla. On one of these excursions 
in the spring they fell in with a roving band of freebooters who 
had a bunch of stolen horses. A fight ensued in which the Walla 
Wallas captured the stolen animals. On their return to Sutter's 
fort with their booty it was all claimed by former owners. The 
chief remonstrated saying that in his country horses captured from 
an enemy belonged to the victor. 

Pe-peu-mox-mox was offered fifteen head of cattle as a reward 
for the recovery of the horses, but refused to give them up. A few 
days later Grove Cook, an emigrant of that year, found a mule 
belonging to him in the recaptured band and demanded it. Upon 
being refused he attempted to take the animal. Elijah, drawing his 
rifle, said, "There is your mule. I dare you to taJfe him." Cook 
wisely refrained. Next day, however, when a meeting was held 
by several of the horse owners to arrange with the Indians for 
delivery of the disputed stock, and when Elijah and another Walla 
Walla were present unarmed, Cook arose, during the absence of 
Sutter from the room, and said to Elijah: "Yesterday you were 
going to kill me. Now you must die." He deliberately took aim and 
shot the Indian dead. 

The Walla Wallas hastily gathered up the horses and hurried 
away, leaving behind the cattle that were due them. They succeeded 
in escaping a party sent by Sutter after the horses. An old Indian 
who was on this trip with Pe-peu-mox-mox told me many years ago 
that after the party was well on the way, part of the Indians returned 
and stole 300 more horses, so that they made their way back to 
Walla Walla with a thousand head. 

No sooner was Pe-peu-mox-mox home than he called on the 
Spokanes, Nez Perces and Cay-uses to join him in a war of exter- 
mination of the whites to avenge his son. He threatened to invade 
the Willamette valley and to kill and lay waste every white settle- 
ment, including those in California. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 363 

There was great excitement among the tribes of Eastern Ore- 
gon and Washington. Pe-peu-mox-mox was both powerful and 
brave, and had great influence. As the war clouds were gathering, 
the "White Eagle" of Ft. Vancouver, Dr. John McLoughlin of the 
Hudson's Bay Company, met Pe-peu-mox-mox by arrangement and 
explained to him that the people of the Willamette should not be 
held accountable for the deed done by a stranger in a strange land. 
He told him moreover that he could not successfully carry out his 
war of extermination; that to wage war away from home would 
require food, arms and ammunition which could be had only from 
the Hudson's Bay Company. He said that he, as chief trader, would 
refuse to sell to the Indians and that, if necessary, he would join 
forces with the white settlers. McLoughlin advised Pe-peu-mox- 
mox to send a trusted emissary to Indian Agent Elijah White at 
Oregon City. Chief Ellis of the Nez Perces was selected and after 
that conference no more was heard of the threatened invasion, though 
California had received the news of it and her people were on 
guard. Pe-peu-mox-mox was good enough diplomat to realize the 
foolishness of carrying on a war of this sort with the Hudson's 
Bay company against him, so let the hatchet lie where it was buried 
for the present ; digging it up again ten years later. 

In 1846 he went again to California with forty warriors to 
avenge the death of his son and to recover, if possible, the cattle 
abandoned in the hasty retreat of the year before. He found the 
country notified of his coming and up in arms against him, but 
the settlers believed him when he stated that he had come only for 
trade and to recover his cattle. Lieut. John C. Fremont, with his 
company of explorers and some volunteers was at this time pre- 
paring for the cofiquest of California. He had met Pe-peu-mox-mox 
previously in Oregon and he invited the chief to join forces with 
him. Ready for any adventure which had in it a glint of personal 
gain, the Walla Walla chief made an arrangement whereby a portion 
of his warriors joined Fremont's command as scouts. Bold and fear- 
less riders, of cunning and stealth, they proved of great service to 
the Americans in the campaign which followed. 

In the fight at Nitividal Rancho, where a small party of Amer- 
ican scouts and some of the Walla Wallas under command of 
George Foster, were surrounded in a small grove by Gen. Castro's 
army, when Foster fell, riddled with bullets at the foot of the tree 
he had used for protection, and the outcome seemed hopeless, the 
Walla Wallas mounted their horses, made a bold dash through the 
Spanish lines and rode to San Juan where Captains Burrough and 
Thompson were encamped with a small force. Learning of the 
situation, these officers went to the rescue of the besieged scouts. 
A desperate encounter ensued. It was a drawn battle, but most of 
the scouts had been killed. 

364 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

Pe-peu-mox-mox, with the portion of his warriors which did 
not go with Fremont, remained in the vicinity of Sutter's fort to 
watch for Grove Cook, the murderer of EHjah Hedding. Mean- 
while they gathered and broke wild horses, as well as stole some 
already broken until the middle of October when the Indians who 
had served as scouts returned with a large number of horses which 
they had captured on their way north through unprotected country. 

Indians who remember this expedition have told me that the 
California party brought back to Walla Walla from this trip 2,000 
fine horses and many Mexican saddles. Old men, fifty years ago, 
made the statement to me that Pe-peu-mox-mox began his Cali- 
fornia horse raids when only a small boy, going on a trip with his 
father and a band of warriors. This information, if correct as I 
have no reason to doubt, would place the coming of the horse 
among the Walla Wallas by way of California as early as the be- 
gining of the nineteenth century, or a little earlier. 

In view of the fact that the Indians went great distances from 
their homes for purposes of trade or war, the rapid spread of the 
horse from tribe to tribe, after they were first procured from the 
early Spanish settlements by the Apaches, is understandable. When 
the Spanish explorers came the second time within the borders of 
what is now New Mexico, they found that the red man had learned 
the value of the horse and was bent on having more. For three- 
quarters of a century the horse thieves overran the northern Mexican 
states until there was not left behind a sufficient number of horses 
to permit of pursuit. At the beginning of 1700, these freebooters 
were driving annually, thousands of horses to supply the trade with 
tribes occupying the puesent states of Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, 
Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. 

The Pawnees and Arapahoes to the north and east as well as the 
Utahs and Sho-sho-nes to the northwest — the latter Indians holding 
tribal relations with the Comanches — joined in these expeditions. 
All of the tribes occupying the vast territory from the Missouri 
river to the Pacific and from New Mexico to the frozen north would 
barter anything they had for horses — making a market which could 
absorb an almost endless supply of the animals. This raiding and 
selling continued for 150 years or until the American occupation in 
1846 when Mexico ceded a greater portion of the territory to the 
United States. 

The Indians of Eastern Washington and Oregon and also the 
Nez Perces undoubtedly obtained their first horses in the early part 
of the eighteenth century from the Sho-sho-nes or Snake tribes who 
inhabited what is now southern and eastern Idaho as well as northern 
Utah. The Sho-sho-nes secured them from the Comanches, an off- 
shoot of themselves which had migrated to the south in the sixteenth 
century. There is a tradition among the Cay-uses and Walla Wallas 
that in the long ago their people, in company with the Nez Perces, 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 365 

went in large war parties into the Sho-sho-ne country for the purpose 
of stealing horses and that, while they lost some warriors, they gained 
many horses. 

Robert Stuart, one of Astor's men, on his return overland from 
Astoria to New York, in 1812, bought a fine horse from an Indian 
at Wallula, but near Salmon Falls on the Snake river the horse was 
claimed by an Indian who said that this animal and many others 
had been stolen by a roving band of Walla Wallas a few years 
before. . Stuart refused to give up the horse, but the Sho-sho-ne 
stole it that night. 

Fifty years ago the hills and plains of the Yakima were covered 
with Indian horses, the wigwams of their owners being strung along 
the river from Kittitas to Mabton. The horses were small, seldom 
weighing over a thousand pounds, varied in color, by nature, 
treacherous and dishonest, but hardy and possessing great endurance. 
Mounted on one of the roans, duns or blues of Spanish origin with 
the black stripe down the back and black rings around the legs one 
need never fear that he would fail to reach his destination, though 
the way be long. I have ridden them a hundred miles between sun- 
rise and sunset. Never was horseflesh wrapped in a tougher hide, 
except, perhaps, the Arabian ; never was steed which could endure 
more punishment. I have ridden them unshod, with no feed, save the 
native grasses on journeys covering thousands of miles with my 
blankets and provisions tied on behind the saddle and averaging 
fifty miles a day. 

Snow white and spotted were the favorite colors for war horses. 
It was an imposing sight to behold one of these horses painted in 
fantastic colors and designs, covered with war trappings and mounted 
by a centaur-like warrior with his bonnet of eagle plums streaming 

The most important means of transportation in the settlement 
of the west was the cayuse* or Indian horse pack train. The fur 
trader and the early settler soon learned the value of the sure- 
footed, hardy animal. The cayuse became a vital element in the 
every day life of the pioneer. Side by side they conquered the 

The cayuse carried the adventurous prospector into the remotest 
parts of the desert and the mountain. The volunteers and soldiers 
used him in all the Indian wars. He was the greatest factor in 
transporting freight from the head of navigation to the different 
mines and settlements in all that vast country. Through sunshine 
and storm, subsisting on whatever he could gather by the wayside, 
he stuck to his duty, often time perishing from starvation. I know 

•The Cayuses were the first tribe in this part of the country who had horses in 

366 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

of more than one instance where the swiftness and staying qualities 
of his horse has saved a man pursued by hostile Indians. 

A man must not allow sympathy for this little animal too much 
scope or, in some unexpected moment, the cayuse will kick the pipe 
out of his mouth, break loose and run away, leaving his owner to 
travel on foot. But with all his faults, he is entitled to a place in 
pioneer history. Without him, the development of the west would 
certainly have been delayed. But the cayuse, like its owner, the 
red man, has seen its day. The Indian horses will soon be regarded 
as rare specimens of an almost forgotten race. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 367 


It was in 1861 while on the Cariboo trail that I saw the first 
well equipped pack trairis. They consisted of from thirty to sixty 
animals with two men to every fifteen animals, not including; the 
cook who was also bell boy, riding the bell mare in the lead. Here 
I met many of the packers who later became famous in Arizona 
and New Mexico — Hank and Yank, Jack Long, Jim O'Neill, Long 
Jim Cook, Old Tom Moore, Lu Campbell, Frank Louden and others. 
Afterwards Old Tom Moore was in charge of the transportation 
under Gen. George Crook in his first Arizona campaign, 1871-1875. 

That unrivalled Indian chase covered four years of constant 
fighting and moving over almost inaccessable trails. With Moore 
as packers in this campaign were a number of the men who had 
once traveled the Cariboo trail. They were the best frontiersmen 
that €very pulled a diamond hitch and they knew how to care for 
their animals. 

This train with Crook was known as the best equipped, ab- 
solutely competent military transport ever known in the field or in 
the documents. There is no other record of war, mining or com- 
mercial operations in which the same number of animals did so 
much hard work over such bad country as economically as these 
under the watchful eye of Old Tom Moore and his veteran packers. 

The best packers used aparejoes which were better in every 
way than the pack saddle. The average load for a mule was 300 
pounds. Charge for freight on the Cariboo trail in the early sixties 
was a dollar a pound from Ft. Yale at the head of navigation on 
the Fraser river to Quesnel Forks, a distance of 200 miles. From 
therfe it was fifty cents a ,pound for the remaining fifty miles to 
Williams' creek. On the latter part of the road only horses could 
be used as the small feet of the mule render it useless in a swampy 

Men made fortunes those day with their pack trains, but like 
the miners, seldom kept their money. These trains were the most 
effective means of transportation then and were to be met on every 
trail throughout the mining regions of the entire west. The pack- 
ing was generally conducted in a systematic way, the animals were 
well cared for. Their backs required constant attention to prevent 
sores from carrying the heavy loads. 

This was where the peculiar merits of the aparejo came in. 
The sweat cloth, a piece of heavy ducking, two by three feet, went 
next the animal's skin. Blankets that were placed under the aparejo 
required care and must be kept clean. The boss of a pack train was 
called the cargadero. The arrieros were the men who did the pack- 

368 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

ing and the bell mare was called the mulara. The whole train was 
known as the caballada. 

It was an imposing sight when the old mulara started out on 
the trail followed by a caballada of from thirty to one hundred 
loaded animals, with the arrieros riding alongside, watchful for a 
pack that might be shifted or unbalanced. When all the packs were 
satisfactorily adjusted, the arrieros would break out in song, the 
music blending with the rattle of the bell on the old mulara. 

An arriero had to be quick, tough and wiry. If an animal lay 
down with its pack on, when loading or unloading, it was difficult 
to get it up without repacking, which meant loss of time and was 
likely to cause sore backs. A slow man was a misfit with a pack 
train and did not last long. 

I have seen two men load fifteen aimals, after they had their 
aparejoes on, in fifteen minutes. Brother Billy Splawn and myself 
have done it often, but it means quick work. 

The cook, besides riding the mulara on the trail, was expected 
to have his meals on time. The minute camp was reached he made a 
grab for the kitchen animal, unloaded the cooking utensils and 
provisions and built the fire. By the time the rest of the animals 
were unloaded, he generally had the meal ready. If he failed to be 
on time, he had to endure the ridicule of the arrieros all the rest 
of the day. 

■throwing the diamond hitch is an art now almost forgotten, 
but nothing has yet been invented which can take its place for 
fastening a pack on a horse. It is a Spanish invention, as old as 
the pack train, which is one of the oldest means of transportation 
on either continent. 

The aboriginal method of transportation was by dogs which 
were either packed with saddles or used for hauling sleds. The 
Spanish introduction of the horse, mule, burro and ox caused a 
swift advance in land transportation. 

The pack train was the pioneer means of transportation in the 
settlement of this continent. It lasted for three hundred years. The 
great Coronada, in his long expedition into what is now Arizona 
and New Mexico in 1540-2 used the pack train. Many such trains 
have had a commercial route of 1500 miles. Captain Anza's ex- 
pedition from Sonora to San Francisco, in 1774, was much longer. 

The great colzada, the shod-mule path from Vera Cruz to 
Mexico City for centuries had carried over it the vastest amount of 
wealth ever known in the world. For the greater part of the time 
as many as 60,000 mules a year were used. Here the arriero was 
at his best. 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 369 


Emigrants' Lost Discovery — Rush to Fraser River in 
1858 — Trouble With the Indians — Richest Mine in the 
Cariboo — Place of the Miner in Development of 
Northwest — The Man Who Discovered Rich Bar. 

The first gold discovered on the Pacific Coast was in 1845 
near the head of the Malheur river in Oregon, when the party of 
"lost emigrants" were wandering through that country.* Daniel 
Herron, while hunting cattle, picked up a nugget in the rocky bed 
of a small creek separated from the Malheur river by a ridge. 
This stream ran southwest and was supposed to flow into the 
Malheur, aij erroneous supposition, which later interfered with the 
relocation of the spot. Herron carried his bit of rock to camp 
because it was bright. Another nugget was found at this camp 
by Henry Marlin, who hammered it on a wagon tire and threw it 
into his tool box, never dreaming of its value. 

The place where these nuggets were found was much talked 
of for years, especially in the sixties, and a number of parties set 
out to find it, but were led astray by the belief that it was on a 
tributary of the Malheur. By some it was called the "lost" mine, by 
others the "mine of the lost emigrants," and by still others the 
"blue bucket" mine, since one of the emigrants who had picked 
up a nugget stated that he could have filled a blue bucket — a pail 
common in those days holding about three gallons — with gold. My 
brother, Moses Splawn, in his chapter describing the discovery of 
the Boise basin, tells of an unsuccessful attempt to locate this "lost" 

Henry Marlin, the man who had hammered a nugget on his 
wagon tire, and who should have been able to find the place, if 
anyone, headed a party that left Brownsville, Oregon, in July, 1860. 
Though only fifteen at the time, I remember hearing him talk 
about the nuggets while he was in my home town securing volun- 
teers for the expedition. The route lay through a hostile Indian 
country, right into the stronghold of the relentless old raider, 
Pa-ni-na. About 60 adventurers made up the party, which went 
through McKinzie pass in the Cascades. They were well armed 
and had two pack horses and one riding horse to a man. A fine- 
looking cavalcade they were, as they passed out of the quiet village. 
They reached the country beyond the Des Chutes river in Grant 
county without any difficulty and had consequently become care- 
less. The most essential thing in an Indian country is vigilance. 
The party had encamped on a small stream where wood, water 

•Bancroft. History of Oregon, Vol. I, pp. 5i6-5i7- 

370 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

and grass were in abundance. Most of the horses were grazing 
unguarded and the prospectors were enjoying themselves with 
foot racing and similar sports, when suddenly, with whoops and 
yells, a band of Indians swooped down on them and ran off all the 
horses, save a few that were tied up at camp and a small number 
hobbled near by. Men saddled the horses which were left and set 
out in pursuit, but never recovered any of the stolen animals. It 
took all the horses left to carry the blankets and provisions, so the 
miners had to make the long journey back on foot. I remember 
them as they came straggling into Brownsville, ragged and foot- 
sore. Thus ended what should have been a successful expedi- 
tion. I niet Marlin eight years later, settled on Crab creek on 
the site of the present town of Krupp. He was a typical frontiers- 
man, standing over six feet tall, broad of shoulder, with sharp 
features and piercing eyes, clearly a man of courage. 

There is little doubt that the emigrants did pick up gold nug- 
gets, for in 1862 the Canyon City mines were discovered on the 
John Day's river and numerous rich pockets of gold were found 
in that vicinity. 

Gold was discovered on the Thompson river in British Colum- 
bia in the summer of 1858. The find was made at a point known 
as Nicommen, a short distance above the confluence of the Thomp- 
son with the Fraser, by an Indian who, lying down flat to drink 
from the river, saw a shining pebble, which he picked up. Finding 
out that it was gold, the whole tribe then went pebble hunting up 
and down the river, taking it out of the crevices of rocks along 
the bank. Shortly afterwards an American miner named Adams 
happened along and saw the Indians gathering the precious metal 
from the rocks. Moving to the Fraser, a few miles below, he 
began to search for gold and readily found it. Filling a large buck- 
skin purse with nuggets, he set out for Puget sound, where he 
reported the discovery and showed the purse to prove his story. 

The same year a number of Canadian half-breeds and men 
who were formerly in the service of the Hudson's Bay company, 
with a few Oregonians who had been prospecting in the Colville 
country, wandered on to the Thompson river and found gold only 
a few weeks after the discovery had been made by the Indians and 
by Adams. With Adams' report so soon corroborated by the Ore- 
gonians, who had taken out a considerable amount, the news flew 
far and wide by newspapers and by letters until it reached the 
remotest parts of the earth. Excitement was great. Men began to 
flock to the new Eldorado from Oregon and Washington. They 
left their farms and shops ; quit their business. Sawmills on the 
Sound had to shut down because of lack of hands and vessels were 
left without men enough to run the ship. The ripsaw and hammer 
were silent; the anvil's ring was seldom heard. The mad rush for 
the northern mines was on. 

Ka-mi-akin—The Last Hero of the Yakimas 371 

In the country south of Oregon the excitement reached its 
highest pitch. With the discovery of gold on the Fraser river, 
It was at once assumed that there would be found another Califor- 
nia. All the inhabitants of that state were seized with a desire to 
try their fortunes in the north. Every old vessel, worm-eaten or 
otherwise, was put into service, while men, with perfect reck- 
lessness, rushed aboard in order to be among the first to reach 
the promised land. Others started overland on horseback over 
Indian trails leading to the north, though the greater number trav- 
eled up the Sacramento via Shasta into Oregon by way of the 
Rogue and Umpqua rivers, through the Willamette valley to Port- 
land, this route being the main thoroughfare from California to 
Oregon for the Hudson's Bay company's brigades and trappers 
for the past thirty years. It was the road used by Ewing Young 
in driving in from California the first cattle for the settlers and 
mission in the Willamette valley in 1836, and was used in 1844 
by the earliest emigrants from Oregon to California. 

As a boy of thirteen, I remember the constant stream of men 
on horseback, driving pack animals, passing through the Willamette 
at this time. There were men of all ages and kinds, some well 
outfitted, others whose horses were worn to the bone and reeled 
while they walked. Some were well dressed and seemed to have 
plenty, while others were ragged, worn and half starved, but in 
the blind, hopeful way of prospectors, they moved on, confident 
no doubt that their fortunes merely awaited their arrival at the 
mines. No mining country was ever yet found and developed with- 
out risk and chance. 

Never before in the migrations of men had there been such a 
rush so sudden and so vast. Those who left California by vessel 
from March to July numbered thirty thousand. Most of them had 
assembled at Victoria, in British Columbia. They were a brave, 
fearless, rough-and-tumble lot of adventurous men, inured to 
hardships and dangers. They had among them the usual quota 
of thieves and gamblers, but the pickings that fell to that class 
were small and they soon returned to San Francisco, where their 
opportunities for plying their favorite professions were much better. 

The only safe in the country belonged to the Hudson's Bay 
company, of which Mr. Finla'yson was treasurer. He said that the 
miners had on deposit at one time in his safe over two million 
dollars, a vast amount for those times. The money, when presented 
to Mr. Finlayson for deposit, was in sacks, which he refused to 
accept unless they were sealed with the names of their owners. 
When any one wished for money, he would get his bag, take out 
what he needed and return it. No complaints were ever made 
regarding this mode of handling so great a sum. 

The army of gold seekers whose tents surrounded Ft. Victoria 
threatened for a time the supremacy of the crown, as well as the 

372 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

territorial claims of the Hudson's Bay company on the Pacific 
Coast. The miners were for the most part of the western stamp 
of men, orderly under ordinary conditions, but easily aroused by 
what they considered the unreasonable exactions of the Hudson's 
Bay company, which was in charge of what little government there 
was. The American miners wasted little time in ceremony, but 
gave Governor Douglas to understand that "This far shalt thou go, 
and no farther." At this crisis the United States government sent 
John Nugent to Victoria as consular agent. Many of the restric- 
tions which had been placed upon the Americans were then removed 
and things were settled to the satisfaction of both miners and author- 
ities. A number of the miners who had previously become dis- 
satisfied with the arbitrary actions of Gov. James Douglas, the 
autocrat of Victoria, had begun to seek shelter under the Stars and 
Stripes. Thousands moved over the Straits of Fuca to Whatcom 
on Bellingham Bay. Here they started a Puget sound city that 
was to be the rival of San Francisco. Town lots ran up to fabu- 
lous prices and buildings sprang up like mushrooms. Hundreds 
of miners passed the winter of 1858 at this point, but in the early 
spring packed and moved on up the Fraser river. 

By this time steamboats had made their way up the Fraser as 
far as Ft. Yale, thus demonstrating the navigability of the stream. 
Whatcom, the would-be city where so many men had invested their 
money, sank out of sight, to be raised again nearly half a century 

The first body of miners to leave Victoria in April crossed 
the Gulf of Georgia in skiffs, canoes and whaleboats. The best 
of these boats were only makeshifts and many lives were lost, the 
upturned craft floating on with the waves. All American steamers 
were at this time excluded jealously from the Fraser. Inadequate 
steamship communication being carried on by the Hudson's Bay 
company. Gov. Douglas finally allowed American steamers on the 
river, but insisted on the payment of a large royalty for each trip. 
Five or six American steamers entered the business on these terms, 
and the movements of the miners were thereby greatly facilitated. 

There were many, however, who did not have money to pay 
steamboat fare, so they continued to battle with the waves of the 
Gulf, towing their boats up along the brushy banks and climbing 
for days over fallen trees before reaching Ft. Yiale. All that suf- 
fering manhood could stand it had to stand on these trips. 

At Ft. Yale the water was over the low bar and the foaming 
torrent of the great river was hemmed in by perpendicular rocks 
on either side. Here the timid turned back, pronouncing the coun- 
try inaccessible. Others waited for months, while a daring few, 
taking what provisions they could carry on their backs, pushed on, 
climbing the rocks and the treacherous slopes of the Fraser canyon 
seventy miles further up to La Fontaine, where they found good 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 373 

diggings, but had only began to prospect when their provisions 
gave out and they had to go back. By midsummer miners were 
working the bars of the Eraser from Ft. Hope to La Fontaine, 
some very rich bars being found along the big canyon. 

Just as the miners were getting down to work and taking out 
gold in satisfactory quantities, trouble arose with the Indians. The 
red men, realizing by this time the value of gold, and seeing the 
hated white men taking it out of the gravel and soil that belonged 
to them, began a murmur of discontent. Disputes between the 
miners and the savages became common. Councils were held by 
the Indians, inflammatory speeches made by the head men, and 
finally it was decided that no white man should be allowed to mine 
above Yale. The influence of Gov. Douglas kept down hostilities 
for a time, but he was not strong enough to stem the tide of war. 
On August 7, 1858, two Frenchmen were killed on the trail above 
the big canyon. When this news reached Yale, a party of forty 
miners organized at once, under Capt. Rouse, and left, with packs 
on their backs, to force their way through to Thompson river forks, 
fifty miles above. At Boston Bar, in the big canyon, they found 140 
miners equipped for battle. August 14 the combined forces encoun- 
tered the hostile Indians at the head of the big canyon and a three 
hours' fight ensued. Seven braves were killed and all the Indians 
in the vicinity put to flight. The miners then returned to Yale, 
where they found about 2,000 miners congregated from different 
parts of the country to decide on a course with regard to the 
Indians. After much talk, it was decided to organize a strong 
force and march at once up the Fraser. When the Indians were 
met, it was the plan to have a talk to see if peace could not be 
restored, but, if this proved impossible, they were to fight it to a 

At Spuzzum, where they encamped for the night, were some 
miners who had retreated from further up the river. Here a man 
named Snyder called for a meeting to organize and agree on some 
line of action. He was chosen captain and John Centres lieutenant. 
Snyder, with the greater part of the 150 miners, here moved up to 
Long Bar, where a treaty was made with the most troublesome 
tribes, who professed a desire for peace. A man named Graham, 
with a following of about twenty men, who did not favor Snyder's 
peace policy, following up in the rear of the main force, was sur- 
prised at night by a band of scouting warriors, who had been out 
on the mountains and did not know of the treaty with Capt. Snyder 
made that day only a few miles further on. Graham and his lieu- 
tenant were killed at the first fire and the greater part of the little 
band slain, and their bodies thrown into the Fraser. Sixteen bodies 
were picked up later at different points down stream. At China 
Bar, nineteen miles above, Capt. Snyder's force fell in with another 
bunch of Indians and a treaty was made. Two more treaties were 

374 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

made August 21. Still further up the river they met Splintum, 
a noted Thompson river chief, accompanied by six other chiefs and 
300 warriors. Speeches were made on both sides with much 
reason and good sense. 

Snyder's company reached the mouth of Thompson river, after 
having made treaties with several additional tribes, and was then 
compelled to return through lack of provisions. They reached 
Yale August 25. In this campaign there were thirty-one Indians 
killed, nearly all of them by the rifle company in the first fight, 
and the sixteen white men of Graham's company. 

By the first of September miners were once more strung out 
along the bars. The Indians now came in to offer their services 
as laborers. Many were put to work digging, while others were 
employed carrying provisions on their backs from Ft. Yale. It 
was the best means of transportation. 

Of the thousands working their way to the mines overland 
from California, Washington and Oregon, many wintered at The 
Dalles and Walla Walla. Some went on to Ft. Colville. Many of 
this advance party, for lack of money, were compelled to live among 
the Indians, subsisting on whatever food the red men had, dried 
salmon, roots and berries. I have met some of the men who win- 
tered with the Indians and heard them recite their experiences. 
The things they went through with seemed almost beyond human 
endurance. It took that class of men to conquer the wilderness. 

The McLoughlin company from Walla Walla, some smaller 
companies from Washington and Palmer's wagon train from Ore- 
gon arrived on the Fraser river in 1858. The spring of 1859 saw 
all this force headed for the mines. By May they were scattered 
along the great river and its tributaries, finding gold, not in abund- 
ance, but sufficient for their needs and some to spare. By midsum- 
mer they were strung along the Fraser bars as far up as the mouth 
of the Quesnel and a short distance from that stream, finding 
plenty of coarse gold. The following year prospectors were search- 
ing the mountains and streams all over that territory from Tlionip- 
son river on the south to Ft. George on the north and between the 
Rocky mountains and the Fraser. Wandering in a vague way, not 
knowing where the richest deposits were, whether in the canyons, 
the smaller streams or along the bars of Fraser river, or on the 
slopes of the Rockies, these hardy prospectors continued in their 
blind, hopeful way and won. Of the same type of men as these 
were the conquerors of Alaska forty years later. 

The finding of coarse gold in fair quantities on the Quesnel 
river in the fall of 1859 started some of the boldest prospectors to 
working further up the stream and into the mountains. Keithley 
and Harvey creeks were discovered in the fall of 1860. They were 
good finds and the gold a few miners dug out of those two creeks, 
when exhibited, started an excitement. Here was evidence that 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 375 

coarse gold in paying quantities existed. The hardy prospectors 
now renewed their efforts during the winter, on snowshoes, with 
provisions and blankets on their backs, penetrating into the moun- 
tains around the headwaters of the Quesnel river. Cunningham and 
Antlers creeks were thus discovered. The richness of Antlers creek 
was all that was needed to fan the flame already burning. 

By the spring of 1861 miners were flocking into the Quesnel 
forks by the hundreds. Rose, McDonald and Deitz, three of the 
most famous prospectors in British Columbia, struck out for the 
streams heading in Bald mountain. Soon other rich creeks were 
found, including Grouse, Lowhee, Lightning and Jack of Clubs. 
It remained, however, for Rose, McDonald and Deitz to discover 
Williams creek, the stream that made British Columbia and the 
Cariboo famous. I doubt if the world ever turned out a better 
mining district for its size. Bald mountain stood alone, and with 
the exception of the Lesser Snowshoe by itself, conspicuous by its 
barrenness of timber, but covered with a heavy growth of fine 
grass about six inches high with brown seed heads. Packers often 
left poor, worn-out horses here to rest until the return trip, two 
weeks later, when they would find them fat and sleek. Poor cattle 
left there were fit for the butcher a month later. I saw the same 
kind of grass on a small bald mountain at about the same altitude 
between Florence and Warren's Diggings in the Salmon river moun- 
tains in Idaho. 

This faithful old mountain in the Cariboo proved a fountain 
head for gold, a reservoir from whose sides flowed all the rich 
creeks, which produced a vast amount of wealth which astonished 
the world. 

Brief mention might be made of some of the amounts taken 
from Williams creek, and the same could be said of Antler creek. 
The Hard-Curry company, consisting of three men, divided 102 
pounds of gold as the result of one days' washing. Fifty pounds 
weight for the day was a common occurrence. Six hundred dol- 
lars was taken out of one shovel of dirt. Three men, in twenty- 
four hours, on one claim took out 104 pounds. Judge Begbie, writ- 
ing to Gov. Douglas from Quesnel river, states that he knows 
there is a ton of gold now lying at different creeks ; also that he 
hears the Abbott and Steel claims are producing from forty to 
fifty pounds a day each. The Ericsson claims averaged 2,000 
ounces per day during a season of about 100 days. It was common 
to speak of gold in pounds rather than in ounces or dollars when 
they made their clean-ups. These were not isolated cases. The 
whole bed of Williams creek was covered with gold. 

I watched a clean-up at the Steel claim one evening in 1863. 
There were fruit cans fastened along the flume, where men were 
at work stirring the gravel as it was being washed down over the 
riffles. They picked up the large lumps as it passed, putting them 

376 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 

in the cans. At night the cans were nearly full and the man who 
was gathering the gold said there was at least twenty-five pounds 
in the cans, to say nothing of the finer stuff in the clean-up, which 
would be much more. It certainly was a feast for a poor boy to 

I had met the owner of this claim the year before on his way 
out from this same mine to San Francisco. He had 200 pounds of 
gold loaded on a mule. I was camj>ed on Bonaparte creek near the 
Cariboo trail and, hearing that such a man was coming out, I rode 
out every day to watch for him. I saw him next spring, too, com- 
ing back on foot and carrying his blankets on his back. As I was 
the only boy in all the interior, he recognized me and said : "Boy, 
do you remember me?" When I said, "Yes," he went on: "I have 
a little money left, but am punishing myself as a reminder of what 
fools these mortals be. I tried to run San Francisco ; did it, too, 
for a time, but one muleload of gold was not enough for the job. 
When I get another load like that I shall endeavor to keep it." 

It was his clean-up the next year that I had watched, as men- 
tioned above. He certainly had his muleload. 

In a region of rotten shale not more than fifty miles square 
forty million dollars were taken out, the largest part coming from 
Williams creek in an area of three miles. This great mining region 
not only made British Columbia, but was a great help to Oregon 
and Washington. Here was our greatest beef market. Thousands 
of cattle were driven over the trail every year to these mines. 
Many horses also found here a ready sale, as well as our surplus 
bacon. It was a Godsend to the whole Northwest. 

To those bold and hardy prospectors who in the sixties were 
spread out in the mountains of the whole Northwest, we owe a debt 
of gratitude. They did more for the development of the Pacific 
Coast than any other class of men and received less for it. It was 
their work more than any other that built our cities, furnished mar- 
kets for our produce and developed transportation. Without them 
the west would be 100 years behind its present development. 

They were a class by themselves, a brotherhood of men. In 
prosperity and adversity they clung together. Whatever one pos- 
sessed his friends were welcome to, if they needed it. They believed 
in fate ; their strongest characteristic was hope. If they failed to 
find the precious metal where they expected it, they knew they 
would find it in another place, always believing that they would 
strike it rich soon. They did not know what discouragement meant. 
In the face of starvation, into unknown mountains which contained 
little game, where even the Indians feared to go, went the pros- 
pectors, trusting to the genius of the region to take pity and guide 
them to caverns lit up by the yellow light they loved so well. 

History does not take much account of the disappointments 
and the tragedies, but they were far from few. Here is an instance : 

Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 377 

Rose, one of the discoverers of Williams creek, was in the habit of 
disappearing for long intervals on prospecting trips. Even an 
unusually long absence did not worry his friends. But one day a 
prospecting party, a good distance off, found tracks and, follow- 
ing them, came to Rose's body. Near it, hanging on a tree branch, 
was his drinking cup. On it he had scratched with the point of 
his knife, "Dying of starvation." 

While many prospectors made fortunes, few retained them. 
Either they spent their money or gave it all away. 

In 1868 I met at the mouth of the Okanogan the man who had, 
six years before, discovered gold at Rich Bar, on the south bank 
of the Columbia, five miles below the present town of Brewster. 
He had been prospecting with little success in the Kootenai coun- 
try. At old Ft. Colville he hired an Indian to take him down to 
The Dalles in a canoe. The Indian was a rover, who had acted 
as boatsman for the Hudson's Bay company years before between 
Ft. Vancouver and Ft. Colville, and knew the river well. As the 
canoe was passing the mouth of the Okanogan, he said to his pas- 
senger, "If you wish I will land you at a spot where a Hudson's 
Bay trader told me there was gold." No sooner did the white man 
see the red gravel on the bar where the Indian landed him than he 
began to pan it out and found plenty of gold. 

Using what provisions he had and what he could buy of the 
Indians, he stayed here two months. When he reached The Dalles 
and weighed up his gold he found he had about $30,000. He and 
the Indian wintered in Portland, but in the spring, his health being 
bad, and feeling that he had all the money he would ever need, 
he decided not to return to the bar. Loading up the Indian with 
all the things that pkased him, he bade him good-bye and went to 
Victoria, B. C, and made his home. 

When I met him he was going over the old ground in the hope 
of finding the Indian who had given him a fortune and whom he 
had never seen since parting with him in Portland. When he 
decided not to return to his mine, he told others of it. When I 
passed in 1863 there were 500 miners strung along the Columbia 
in a distance of fifteen miles. It is hard to tell how much gold 
was taken from the spot known as Rich Bar, but no doubt hundreds 
of thousands. After the white men worked it out. Chinamen mined 
it for years. 

S78 Ka-mi-akin — The Last Hero of the Yakimas 



When the American Fur company broke up and went out of 
business in 1840, it left the trappers and mountain men no employ- 
ment; and as it was abundantly necessary for them to seek the 
settlements to earn a living, a group of these Rocky mountain trap- 
pers assembled at Fort Hall about the latter part of July, 1840, 
consisting of Robt. Newell, Jo Meek, William Craig, Caleb Wil- 
kins and William Doty. They decided to go to Oregon. Newell 
had two wagons he had taken from the Clark company of mission- 
aries for his services as guide from Green river to Fort Hall a 
month before. Wilkins had purchased another from Joel Walker, 
and they conclud