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Fleming h. Revell Company, 


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Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1880-1892, by 


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I. Maps, Frontispiece. 

II. Portrait, 

III. The Yosemite Valley, 13 

IV. El Capitan, 54 

V. Bridal Veil Fall, 69 

VI. Half Dome, 74 

VII. North Dome and Royal Arches, .... 75 

VI II. Cathedral Rocks, 77 

IX. Glacier Fall, 84 

X. Vernal Fall and Round Rainbow, .... 86 

XI. Nevada Fall, 87 

XII. Caches, or Acorn Storehouses, 129 

XIII. Three Brothers, 146 

XIV. Yosemite Fall, 166 

XV. Mirror Lake, 204 

XVI. Sentinel Rock, 213 

XVII. The Indian Belle, 219 

XVIII. Lake Ten-ie-ya, 236 

XIX. Lake Starr King, 290 

XX. Big Tree, 333 

XX: Riding through a Tree Trunk, ... 325 

Fire Stick, 184 

Tunneled Tree •...,... 340 



Incidents leading to the Discovery of the Yosemite Valley — Major Savage 
and Savages — Whiskey, Wrangling and War — Skinned Alive — A brisk 
Fight — Repulse — Another Fight, and Conflagration, ... 1 


The Governor of California issues a Proclamation— Formation of the Ma- 
riposa Battalion— The Origin and Cause of the War— New Material 
Public Documents— A Discussion— Capt. Walker— The Peace Com- 
missioners' Parley and the Indians' Pow-wow— The Mysterious 
Deep Valley— Fonvard, March! 29 


March Down the South Fork — Capture of an Indian Village — Hungry Men 
— An able Surgeon — Snow Storms — Visit of Ten-ie-ya, Chief of the Yo- 
semites — Commander's Dilemma — Unique Manner of Extrication — Ap 
proaching the Valley — First View — Sensations Experienced — A Lofty 
Flight Brought Down, 40 


Naming the- Valley — Signification and Origin of the Word — Its proper Pro- 
nunciation : Yo-sem-i-ty — Mr. Hutchings and Yo Ham-i te — His Resto- 
ration of Yo-sem-i-te, .57 


Date of Discovery — First White Visitors — Captain Joe Walker's Statement 
Ten-ie-ya' 3 Cunning — Indian Tradition — A Lying Guide — The Ancient 
Squaw — Destroying Indian Stores — Sweat-houses — The Mourner's Toi- 
let — Sentiment and Reality — Return to Head-quarters, . . 70 



Out of Provisions — A Hurried Move — Mills where Indians take their 
Grists, and Pots in which they Boil their Food — Advance Movement of 
Captain Dill — A Hungry Squad — Enjoyment — Neglect of Duty — Escape 
of Indians — Following their Trail — A Sorrowful Captain — A Mystery 
made Clear — Duplicity of the Chow-chillas — Vow-chester's Good- will 
Offering — Return of the Fugitives — Major Savage as Agent and Inter- 
preter, 92 


Campaign against the Chow-chillas — The Favorite Hunting Ground — A 
Deer Hunt and a Bear Chase — An Accident and an Alarm — A Torch- 
light Pow-wow — Indians Discovered — Captain Boling's Speech — Cross- 
ing of the San Joaquin — A Line of Battle, its Disappearance — Capture 
of Indian Village — Jose Key's Funeral-pyre — Following the Trail — A 
Dilemma — Sentiment and Applause — Returning to Camp — Narrow Es- 
cape of Captain Boling, ..... , . 105 


A Camp Discussion — War or Police Clubs — Jack Regrets a Lost Opportuni- 
ty — Boling's Soothing Syrup — A Scribe Criticises and Apologises — In- 
dian War Material and its Manufacture — The Fire-stick and its Sacred 
Uses — Arrival at Head-quarters, 123 


starvation Subdues the Chow-chillas, and the Result is Peace — Captain 
Kuykendall's Expeditions — An Attack — Rout and Pursuit — A Wise Con- 
clusion — Freezing out Indians — A Wild Country — ATerrific View — Yo- 
semite versus King's River — Submission of the Indians South of the San 
Joaquin — Second Expedition to Yosemite — Daring Scouts — Capture of 
Indians— Naming of *♦ Three Brothers," 135 


A General Scout — An Indian Trap — Flying Artillery — A Narrow Escape — 
A Tragic Scene — Fortunes of War — A Scout's Description — Recovery 
from a Sudden Leap — Surrounded by Enemies, . . , 148 



Camp Amusements— A Lost Arrow — Escape of a Prisoner — Escape of An- 
ther — Shooting of the Third — Indian Diplomacy — Taking His Own 
Medicine — Ten-ie ya Captured — Grief over the Death of His Son — Ap- 
petite under Adverse Circumstances — Poetry Dispelled — Really a Dirty 
Indian, 160 


Bears and Other Game— Sickness of Captain Boling — Convalescence and 
Determination — A Guess at Heights — A Tired Doctor and a Used-up 
Captain — Surprising an Indian — Know-nothingness, or Native American- 
ism — A Clue and Discovery — A Short-cut to Camp, but an Unpopular 
Route, 175 


The Indian Names — Difl&culty of their Interpretation — Circumstances Sug- 
gesting Names of Vernal, Nevada and Bridal Veil Falls — Mr. Richard- 
son's Descriptions of the Falls and Round Rainbow — Py-we-ack Mis- 
placed, and ''Illi/iieUe" an Absurdity — An English Name Suggested for 
Too-lool-lo-we-ack, Pohono and Tote-ack-ah nli-la — Indian Supersti- 
tions and Spiritual Views — A Free National Park Desirable — Off on the 
Trail, . . • 198 


A Mountain Storm — Delay of Supplies — Clams and Ipecac — Arrival of 
Train — A Cute Indian — Indian Sagacity — A Dangerous Weapon — Cap- 
ture of Indian Village — An Eloquent Chief — Woman's Rights versus 
Squaw's Wrongs — A Disturbed Family — A Magnificent Sunrise — On a 
Slippery Slope — Sentiment and Poetry — Arrival at the Fresno, 222 


The Flora of the Region of the Yosemite — General Description of the Val- 
ley and its Principal Points of Interest, with their Heights, . 240 



A Trip to Los Angeles— Interview with Colonel McKee— A Night at 
Colonel Fremont's Camp — Management of Cattle by the Colonel's 
Herdsmen— Back to Los Angeles— Specimen Bricks of the Angel 
City — An Adoiiioii to our Party — Mules versus Bears — Don Vincente 
—A Silver Mme -Mosquitos— A Dry Bog— Return to Fresno— Mus- 
ter out of Battalion— A Proposition, . . . , . 357 


Captain Boling elected Sheriff— Appointment of Indian Agents— Ten-ie- 
ya allowed to Return to Yosemite — Murder of Visitors — Lieut. 
Moore's Expedition and Punishment of Murderers — Gold Discoveries 
on Eastern Slope of Sierras — Report of Expedition, and First Pub- 
lished Notice of Yosemite — Squatter Sovereignty — Assault upon 
King's River Reservation — The supposed Leader, Harvey, Denounced 
by Major Savage — A Rencounter, and Death of Savage — Harvey 
Liberated by a Friendly Justice — An A.stute Superintendent — A Mass 
Meeting — A Rival Aspirant — Indians and Indian Policy, . 272 


Murder of Starkey — Death of Ten-ie ya and Extinction of his Band — A 
few Surviving Murderers— An Attempt at Reformation— A Failure 
and Loss of a Mule— Murders of Robert D Sevil and Robert Smith 
— Alarm of the People— A False Alarm, .... 291 


Engineering and History— Speculation and Discouragement — A New 
Deal — Wall Street — A Primitive Bridge— First Woman in the Yose- 
mite— Lady Visitors from Mariposa and Lady Teachers from San 
Francisco— Measurements of Heights — First Houses and their Occu- 
pants—A Gay Party and a Glorious Feast. .... 301 


Golden Theories and Glaciers 319 


Big Trees of California or Sequoia Gigantea— Their Discovery and 
Classification, 333 


Statistics— Roads and Accommodations — Chapel and Sunday School — 
Big Farms and Great Resources— A Variety of Products— Long 
Hoped for Results, 843 





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The book here presented is the result of an attempt to correct existing 
errors relative to the Yosemite Valley. It was originally designed to 
compress the matter in this volume within the limits of a magazine article, 
but this was soon found to be impracticable; and, at the suggestion ol 
Gen. C. H. Berry, of Winona, Minnesota, it was decided to ** write a 

This, too, proved more difficult than at first appeared. 

Bom in Rochester, New York, in 1824, and earned to Western wilds 
in 1833, the writer's opportunities for culture were limited; and in this, 
his first attempt at authorship, he has found that the experiences ol 
frontier life are not the best preparations for literary efi'ort. Beside this, 
he had mainly to rely upon his own resources, for nothing could be ob- 
tained in the archives of California that could aid him. It was not deemed 
just that California should forget the deeds of men who had subdued hei 
savages, and discovered her most sublime scenery. Having been a mem- 
ber of the "Mariposa Battalion," and with it when the Yosemite was 
discovered, having suggested its name, and named many of the princi- 
pal objects of interest in and near the valley, it seemed a duty that the 
writer owed his comrades and himself, to give the full history of these 
events. Many of the facts incident thereto have already been given to 
the public by the author at various times since 1851, but these have been 
so mutilated or blended with fiction, that a renewed and full statement 
of facts concerning that remarkable locality seems desirable. 


While engag-ed upon this work, the writer was aided by the scientific 
researches of Prof. J. D. Whitney, and by the ** acute and helpful criti- 
cism " of Doctor James M. Cole of Winona, Minnesota. 

Since the publication of the second edition of this book, and an arti- 
cle from the autlior's pen in the Century Magazine for September, 1890, 
numerous letters of approval from old comrades have been received, 
and a few dates obtained from old oflQcial correspondence that will now 
be introduced. 

In addition to what may properly belong to this history, there have 
been introduced a few remarks concerning the habits and character of the 
Indians. This subject is not entirely new, but the opinions expressed are 
the results of many years acquaintance with various tribes, and may be 

The incidental remarks about game will probably interest some. To 
the author, the study of nature in all its aspects has been interesting. 

The author's views regarding the gold deposits and glaciers of the 
Sierras are given simply as suggestions. 

His especial eflforts have been directed to the placing on record events 
connected with the discovery of the Yosemite, for description of its 
scenery he feels to be impossible. In reverent acknowledgment of this, 
there are submitted as a prologue, some lines written while contemplating 
the grandeur of his subject. 


Hail thee, Yosemite, park of sublimity! 

Majesty, peerless and old! 
Ye mountains and cliffs, ye valleys and rifts. 

Ye cascades and cataracts bold! 
None, none can divine the wonders of thine, 

When told of the glorious view 1 


The wild world of light — from '* Beatitude's" height, 
Old " Rock Chief," » "El Capitan " true! 

Thy head proud and high! white brow to the sky! 

Thy features the thunderbolts dare! 
Thou o'erlookest the wall would the boldest appal 

Who enter Yosemite's " Lair."' 
Fair '• Bridal Veil Fall! " the queen over all, 

In beauty and grace intertwined! 
Even now irom thy height water-rockets of light 

Dart away, and seem floating in wind ! 

And thou, high " Scho-look! " proud "Ah-wah-ne! " Invoke 
To receive from " Kay-o-pha" " a boon! 

That flowing from pines, in the region of vines, 
May temper the heat of bright noon. 

** Nevada" and " Vernal," emblems eternal 
Of winter and loveliest Spring, 

No language so bold the truth can unfold- 
No pen can thee offerings bring ! 

And yet dare I say, of the cool "Vernal Spray," 

In the flash of the bright sun's power, 
I welcome thy " ring," * though a drenching it bring, 

The smile of a god 's in the shower! 
And thuu, " Glacier Fall,'" ^ from thy adamant wall. 

And winter-bound lakes at thy head — 
Thy nymphs never seen, except by the sheen 

So fitful from "Mirror Lake's" bed. 

Te North and South Domes, ^ '* Ten-ie-ya's" lake homes, 

" Cloud's Rest," and high " Tis-sa-ack" lone; 
Mute " Sentinel," " Brothers," ye "Starr King," ye others — 

*"Rock Chief,' a literal translation of " Tote-ack-ah-noo-la," rendered " El Cap- 
itan" in Spanish, from the likeness of a man's head upon the wall. 

2 The Yosemites were known as the " Bear tribe." " Ten-ie-ya" was chief. 

8"Scho look" is the Indian name for the 'High Fall;" "Ah wah ne," the old 
name of Valley, and " Kay o pha" (the sky), the name of highest or snow-clad 

* At intervals at the Vernal a round rainbow is formed, perfect as a finger-ring. 

6 " Glacier Fall," in place of "Too loo lo-we ack." 

« "Sentinel Dome" was known to the discoverers as the "South Dome, " and " Tis 
sa ack." meaning cleft rock, as ihe " Half Dome." 


Oh! what of the past have ye known? 
To you has been given the mission from heaven 

To watch through the ages of earth! 
Your presence sublime is the chronicled time, 

From the seon the world had birth! 

Looking up the valley from a 
height of about 1,000 feet above 
the Merced River, and above sea 
level 5,000 feet, giving some 
faint idea of the beauty, grand- 
eur and magnitude of this mao:- 
nificent work of nature. 




Incidents leading to the discovery of the rosemite Valley — Major Savage 
and Savages — Whiskey, wrangling and War — Skinned Alive— A brisk 
Fight — Repulse — Another Fight, and Conflagration. 

During the winter of 1849-50, while ascending the old 
Bear Yalley trail from Ridley's ferrj, on the Merced river, 
my attention was attracted to the stupendous rocky peaks 
of the Sierra Kevadas. In the distance an immense clilf 
loomed, apparently to the summit of the mountains. Al- 
though familiar with nature in her wildest moods, I looked 
upon this awe-inspiring column with wonder and admira- 
tion. While vainly endeavoring to realize its peculiar 
prominence and vast proportions, I turned from it with re- 
luctance to resume the search for coveted gold; but the im- 
pressions of that scene were indelibly fixed in my memory. 
Whenever an opportunity afforded, I made inquiries con- 
cerning the scenery of that locality. But few of the miners 
liad noticed any of its special peculiarities. On a second 
visit to Ridley's, not long after, that towering mountain 
which had so profoundly interested me was invisible, an in- 
tervening haze obscuring it from view. A year or more 
passed before the mysteries of this wonderful land were sat- 
isfactorily solved. 


During the winter of 1850-51, 1 was attached to an expe- 
dition that made tlie first discovery of what is now known 
as the Yosemite Yallej. While entering it. 1 saw at a 
glance that the reality of my sublime vision at Ridley's 
ferry, forty miles awaj^, was before me. The locality of the 
mysterious cliff was there revealed — its proportions en- 
larged and perfected. 

Tlie discovery of this remarkable region was an event in- 
timately connected with the history of the early settlement 
of that portion of California. During 1850, the Indians in 
Mariposa county, which at that date included all the terri- 
tory south of the divide of the Tuolumne and Merced riv- 
ers within the valley proper of the San Joaquin, became 
very troublesome to the miners and settlers. Their depre- 
dations and murderous assaults were continued until the 
arrival of the United States Indian commissioners, in 1851, 
when the general government assumed control over them. 
Through the management of the commissioners, treaties 
were made, and many of these Indians were transferred to 
locations reserved for their special occupancy. 

It was in the early days of tlie operations of this commis- 
sion that the Yosemite Yalley was first entered by a com- 
mand virtually employed to perform the special police du- 
ties of capturing and bringing the Indians before these rep- 
resentatives of the government, in order that treaties might 
be made with them. These wards of the general govern- 
ment were provided with supplies at the expense of the 
])ublic treasury: provided that they confined themselves to 
the reservations selected for them. 

My recollections of those early days are from personal 
observations and information derived from the earlier set- 
tlers of the San Joaquin valley, with whom I was person- 
ally acquainted in the mining camps, and through business 
connections; and also from comrades in the Indian war of 


1850-51. Among these settlers was one James D. Savage. 
a trader, who in 1849-50 was located in the mountains near 
the mouth of the South Fork of the Merced river, some 
fifteen miles below the Yosemite valley. 

At this point, engaged in gold mining, he had employed 
a party of native Indians. Early in the season of 1850 his 
trading post and mining camp were attacked by a band of 
the Yosemite Indians. This tribe, or band, claimed the 
territorj^ in that vicinity, and attempted to drive Savage off. 
Their real object, however, was plunder. They were con- 
sidered treacherous and dangerous, and were very trouble- 
some to the miners generally. 

Savage and his Indian miners repulsed the attack and 
drove oif the marauders, but from this occurrence he no 
lonu^er deemed this 1 cation desirable. Being fully aware 
of tlie murderous propensities of his assailants, he removed 
to Mariposa Creek, not far from the junction of the Aqua 
Fria, and near to the site of the old stone fort. Soon after, 
he established a branch post on the Fresno, where the min- 
ing prospects became most encouraging, as the high water 
subsided in that stream. This branch station was placed 
in charge of a man by the name of Greeley. 

At these establishments Savage soon built up a prosper- 
ous business. He exchanged his goods at enormous profits 
for the gold obtained from his Indian miners. The white 
miners and ])rospecting parties also submitted to his de- 
mands rather than lose time by going to Mariposa village. 
The value of his patrons' time was thus made a source of 
revenue. As the season advanced, this hardy pioneer of 
commerce rapidly increased his wealth, but in the midst 
of renewed prosperity he learned that another cloud was 
gathering over him. One of his five squaws assured him 
that a combination was maturino^ amonor the mountain 
Indians, to kill or drive all the wlu'te men from the coun- 


try, and plunder them of their property. To strengthen 
his influence over the principal tribes, Savage had, accord- 
ing to the custom of many mountain men, taken wives from 
among them, supposing his personal safety would be some- 
what improved by so doing. This is the old story of the 
prosperous Indian trader. Rumor also came from his Indian 
miners, that the Yoseraites threatened to come down on him 
again for the purpose of plunder, and that they were urging 
other tribes to join them. 

These reports he affected to disregard, but quietly cau- 
tioned the miners to guard against marauders. 

He also sent word to the leading men in the settlements 
that hostilities were threatened, and advised preparations 
against a surprise. 

At his trading posts he treated the rumors with indiffer- 
ence, but instructed the men in his employ to be continu- 
ally on their guard in his absence. Stating that he was go- 
ing to " the Bay^'' for a stock of goods, he started for San 
Francisco, taking with him two Indian wives, and a chief 
of some note and influence who professed great friendship. 

This Indian, Jose Juarez, was in reality one of the lead- 
ing spirits in arousing hostilities against the whites. 

Notwithstanding Juarez appeared to show regard for Sav- 
age, the trader had doubts of his sincerity, but, as he had 
no fears of personal injury, he carefully kept his suspicions 
to himself. The real object Savage had in making this trip 
was to place in a safe locality a large amount of gold which 
he had on hand; and he took the chief to impress him with 
the futility of any attempted outbreak by his people. He 
hoped that a visit to Stockton and San Francisco, where 
Jose could see the numbers and superiority of the whites, 
would so impress him that on his return to the mountains 
his report would deter the Indians from their proposed hos- 


The trip was made without any incidents of importance, 
but, to Savage's disappointment and regret, Jose developed 
an instinctive love for whiskey, and having been liberally 
supplied with gold, he invested heavily in that favorite In- 
dian beverage, and was stupidly drunk nearly all the time 
he vvas in the city. 

Becoming disgusted with Jose's frequent intoxication. 
Savage expressed in emphatic terms his disapprobation of 
such a course. Jose at once became greatly excited, and 
forgetting his usual reserve, retorted in abusive epithets, 
and disclosed his secret of the intended war against the 

Savage also lost his self-control, and with a blow felled 
the drunken Indian to the ground. Jose arose apparently 
sober, and from that time maintained a silent and dignified 
demeanor. After witnessing the celebration of the admis- 
sion of the State into the Union — which by appointment 
occurred on October 29th, 1850, though the act of admis- 
sion passed Congress on the 9th of September of that year — 
and making arrangements to have goods forwarded as he 
should order them. Savage started back with his dusky re- 
tainers for Mariposa. On his arrival at Quartzberg, he 
learned that the Kah-we-ah Indians were exacting tribute 
from the immigrants passing through their territory, and 
soon after his return a man by the name of Moore was 
killed not far from his Mariposa Station. From the 
information here received, and reported murders of emi- 
grants, he scented danger to himself. Learning that the 
Indians were too numerous at " Cassady's Bar," on the San- 
Joaquin, and in the vicinity of his Fresno Station, he at 
once, with characteristic promptness and courage, took his 
course direct to that post. He found, on arriving there, 
that all was quiet, although some Indians were about, as 
if for trading purposes. Among them were Pon-wat-chee 


and Yow-ches-ter, two Indian chiefs known to be friendly. 
The trader had taken two of his wives from their tribes. 

Savage greeted all with his customary salutation. Leav- 
ing his squaws to confer with their friends and to provide 
for their own accommodations, he quietly examined the 
memoranda of his agent, and the supply of goods on hand. 
With an appearance of great indifference, he listened to the 
business reports and gossip of Greeley, who informed him 
that Indians from different tribes had come in but had 
brought but little gold. To assure himself of the progress 
made by the Indians in forming a union among themselves, 
he called those present around him in front of his store, and 
passed the friendly pipe. After the usual silence and delay. 
Savage said: "I know that all about me are my friends, 
and as a friend to all, I wish to have a talk with you before 
I go back to my home on the Mariposa, from which I have 
been a long distance away, but where I could not stop until 
I had warned you. 

" I know that some of the Indians do not wish to be 
friends with the white men, and that they are trying to unite 
the different tribes for the purpose of a war. It is better 
for the Indians and white men to be friends. If the Ind- 
ians make war on the white men, every tribe will be exter- 
minated; not one will be left. I have just been where the 
white men are more numerous than the wasps and ants; 
and if war is made and the Americans are aroused to anger, 
every Indian engaged in the war will be killed before the 
whites will be satisfied." In a firm and impressive manner 
Savage laid before them the damaging effects of a war, and 
the advantages to all of a continued peaceful intercourse. 
His knowledge of Indian language was sufficient to make 
his remarks clearly understood, and they were apparently 
well received. 

Not supposing that Jose would attempt there to advocate 


any of his schemes, the trader remarked, as he finished his 
speech: "A chief who has returned with me from the place 
wliere the white men are so numerous, can tell that what I 
have said is true — Jose Juarez — jou all know, and will be- 
lieve him when he tells you the white men are more pow- 
erful than the Indians." 

The cunning chief with much dignity, deliberately stepped 
forward, with more assurance than he had sliown since the 
belli Querent occurrence at the bay, and spoke with more en- 
ergy than Savage had anticipated. He commenced by saying: 
"Our brother has told his Indian relatives much that is truth; 
we have seen many people; the white men are very numer- 
ous; but the white men we saw on our visit are of many 
tribes; they are not like the tribe that dig gold in the moun- 
tains." He then gave an absurd description of what he had 
seen while below, and said: "Those white tribes will not 
come to the mountains. They will not help the gold dig- 
gers if the Indians make war against them. If the gold 
diggers go to the white tribes in the big village they give 
their gold for strong water and games; when they have no 
more gold the white tribes drive the gold-diggers back to 
the mountains with clubs. They strike them down (refer- 
ring to the police), as your white relative struck me while I 
was with him." (His vindictive glance assured Savage that 
the blow was not forgotten or forgiven.) " The white tribes 
will not go to war with the Indians in the mountains. 
They cannot bring their big ships and big guns to us; we 
have no cause to fear them. They will not injure us." 

To Savage's extreme surprise, he then boldly advocated 
an immediate war upon the whites, assuring his listeners 
that, as all the territory belonged to the Indians, if the 
tribes would unite the whole tribe of gold-diggers could be 
easily driven from their country ; but, if the gold-diggers 
should stay longer, their numbers will be too great to make 


war upon, and the Indians would finally be destroyed. In 
liis speech Jose evinced a keenness of observation inconsist- 
ant with his apparent drunken stupidity. Savage had 
thought this stupidity sometimes assumed. He now felt 
assured that the chief had expected thereby to learn his 
plans. To the writer there seems to be nothing inconsist- 
ent with Indian craft, keenness of observation and love of 
revenge in Jose's conduct, though he was frequently drunk 
while at "the bay." While Jose was speaking other In- 
dians had joined the circle around him. Their expressions 
of approval indicated the effects of his speech. During this 
time Savage liad been seated on a log in front of the store, 
a quiet listener. When Jose concluded, the trader arose, 
and stepping forward, calmly addressed the relatives of his 
wives and the Indians in whom he still felt confidence. 
The earnest and positive speech of the cunning cliief had 
greatly surprised him ; he was somewhat discouraged at the 
approval with which it had been received; but with great 
self-possession, he replied, "I have listened very attentively 
to what the chief, who went with me as my friend, has been 
saying to you. I have heard all he has said. He has told 
you of many things that he saw. He has told you some 
truth. He has told of many things which he knows noth- 
ing about. He has told you of things he saw in his dreams, 
while "strong water " made him sleep. The white men we 
saw there are all of the same tribe as the gold-diggers here 
among the mountains. He has told you he saw white men 
that were pale, and had tall hats on their heads, with cloth- 
ing different from the gold-diggers. This was truth, but 
they are all brothers, all of one tribe. All can wear the 
clothing of the gold-diggers; all can climb the mountains, 
and if war is made on the gold-diggers, the white men will 
come and fight against the Indians. Their numbers will 
be so great, that every tribe will be destroyed that joins 
in a war against them." 


Jose observing the effects of tliese statements, excitedly 
interrupted Savage by entering the circle, exclaiming: " He 
is telling you words that are not true. His tongue is forked 
and crooked. He is telling lies to his Indian relatives. 
This trader is not a friend to the Indians. He is not our 
brother. He will help the white gold-diggers to drive the 
Indians from their country. We can now driv^e them from 
among us, and if the other white tribes should come to their 
help, we will go to the mountains; if they follow after us, 
they cannot find us; none of them will come back; we will 
kill them with arrows and with rocks." While Jose was 
thus vociferously haranguing, other Indians came into the 
grounds, and the crisis was approaching. As Jose Juarez 
ended his speech, Jose Rey, another influential chief and 
prominent leader, walked proudly into the now enlarged 
circle, followed by his suite of treacherous Chow-chillas, 
among whom were Tom-Kit and Frederico. He keenly 
glanced about him, and assuming a grandly tragic style, at 
once commenced a speech by saying: " My people are now^ 
ready to begin a war against the white gold-diggers. If all 
the tribes will be as one tribe, and join with us, we will 
drive all the white men from our mountains. If all the 
tribes will go together, the white men will run from us, and 
leave their property behind them. The tribes who join in 
with my people will be the first to secure the property of 
the gold-diggers." 

The dignity and eloquent style of Jose Key controlled the 
attention of the Indians. This appeal to their cupidity in- 
terested them; a common desire for plunder would be the 
strongest inducement to unite against the whites. 

Savage was now fully aware that he had been defeated at 
this impromptu council he had himself organized, and at 
once withdrew to prepare for the hostilities he was sure 
would soon follow. As soon as the Indians dispersed, he 


started with his squaws for home, and again gave the settlers 
warning of what was threatened and would soon be at- 

These occurrences were narrated to me bj Savage. The 
incidents of the council at the Fresno Station were given 
during the familiar conversations of our intimate acquaint- 
anceship. The Indian speeches here quoted are like all 
others of their kind, really but poor imitations. The Indian 
is very figurative in his language. If a literal translation 
were attempted his speeches would seem so disjointed and 
inverted in their methods of expression, that their signifi- 
cation could scarcely be understood; hence only the sub- 
stance is here given. 

The reports from Savage were considered by the miners 
and settlers as absurd. It was generally known that moun- 
tain men of Savage's class were inclined to adoj)t tlie vaga- 
ries and superstitions of the Indians with whom they were 
associated; and therefore but little attention was given to 
the trader's warnings. It was believed that he had listened 
to the blatant palaver of a few vagabond " Digger Indians," 
and that the threatened hostilities were only a quarrel be- 
tween Savage and his Indian miners, or with some of his 
Indian associates. Cassady, a rival trader, especially scofied 
at the idea of danger, and took no precautions to guard him- 
self or establishment. The settlers of Indian Gulch and 
Quartzberg were, however, soon after startled by a report 
brought by one of Savage's men called "Long-haired 
Brown," that the traders' store on the Fresno had been 
robbed, and all connected with it killed except himself. 
Brown had been warned by an Indian he had favored, known 
as Polonio-Arosa, but notwithstanding this aid, he had to 
take the chances of a vigorous pursuit. 

Brown was a large man of great strength and activity, 
and as he said, had dodged their arrows and distanced his 


pursuers in the race. Close upon the lieels of this report, 
came a rumor from the miners' camp on Mariposa creek, 
that Savage's establishment at that place had also been plun- 
dered and burned, and all connected with it killed. This 
report was soon after corrected bj the appearance of the 
trader at Quartzberg. Savage was highly offended at the in- 
difference with which his cautions had been received at Mari- 
posa, and bj the county authorities, then located at Agua-Fria. 
He stated that his wives had assured him that a raid was 
about to be made on his establishment, and warned him of 
the danger of a surprise. He had at once sought aid from 
personal friends at Horse Slioe Bend — where he had once 
traded — to remove or protect his property. While he was 
absent, Greeley, Stiifner and Kennedy had been killed, his 
property plundered and burned, and his wives carried oif 
by their own people. These squaws had been importuned 
to leave the trader, but had been faitliful to his interests. 
The excitement of these occurrences had not subsided be- 
fore news came of the murder of Cassady and four men near 
the San Joaquin. Another murderous assault was soon 
after reported by an immigrant who arrived at Cassady's 
Bar, on the upper crossing of the San Joaquin. His shat- 
tered arm and panting horse excited the sympathies of the 
settlers, and aroused the whole community. The wounded 
man was provided for, and a party at once started for the 
'' Four Creeks," where he had left his comrades lighting the 

The arm of the wounded man was amputated by Dr. Lew- 
is Leach, of St. Louis, Mo., an immigrant who had but just 
come in over the same route. The name of the wounded 
man was Frank W. Boden. Lie stated that his party — four 
men, I believe, besides himself — had halted at the " Four 
Creeks" to rest and graze their horses, and while there a 
band of Indians (Ka-we-ahs) came down from their villagf^ 


and demanded tribute for crossing their territory. Looking 
upon the demand as a new form of Indian beggary, but lit- 
tle attention was paid to them. After considerable banter- 
ing talk, some tobacco was given them, and they went off 
grumbling and threatening. Boden said: "After the In- 
dians left we talked over the matter for a while; none re- 
garded the demand of the ' Indian tax-gathers' but as a triv- 
ial affair. I then mounted my horse and rode off in the di- 
rection in which we had seen some antelopes as we came 
on. I had not gone far before I heard tiring in the direction 
of our halting-pLace. 

" Riding back, I saw the house near which I had left my 
comrades was surrounded by yelling demons. I was dis- 
covered by them at the same instant, and some of them 
dashed toward me. Seeing no possibility of joining my 
party, I turned and struck my horse with the spurs, but be- 
fore I could get beyond range of their arrows, I felt a be- 
numbing sensation in my arm, which dropped powerless. 
Seeing that my arm was shattered or broken, I thought I 
would give them one shot at least before I fell into their 
hands. Checking my horse with some difficulty, I turned 
so as to rest my rifle across my broken arm, and took sight 
on the nearest of my pursuers, who halted at the same 

At this point in his story the hardy adventurer remarked 
with a twinkle of satisfaction in his bright, keen eye: "I 
never took better aim in my life. That Indian died sud- 
denly. Another dash was made for me. My horse did not 
now need the spurs, he seemed to be aware that we must 
leave that locality as soon as possible, and speedily distanc- 
ed them all. As soon as the first excitement was over I 
suffered excrutiating pain in my arm. My rifle being use- 
less to me, I broke it against a tree and threw it away. I 
then took the bridle rein in my teeth and carried the broken 
arm in my other hand." 


The party that went out to the place of attack — Dr. 
Thomas Pajn's, now Yisalia, named for Nat. Vice, an ac- 
quaintance of the writer — found there the mangled bodies 
of Boden's four companions. One of these, it was shown 
by unmistakable evidence, had been skinned by the merci- 
less iiends while yet alive. 

These men had doubtless made a stout resistance. Like 
brave men they had fought for their lives, and caused, no 
doubt, a heavy loss to their assailants. This, with their re- 
fusal to comply with the demand for tribute, was the motive 
for such wolfish barbarity. 

It now became necessary that some prompt action should 
be taken for general protection. Rumors of other depreda- 
dations and murders alarmed the inhabitants of Mariposa 
county. Authentic statements of these events were at once 
forwarded to Governor John McDougall, by the sheriff and 
other ofldcials, and citizens, urging the immediate adop- 
tion of some measures on the part of the State for the de- 
fense of the people. Raids upon the miners' camps and the 
" Ranch" of the settlers had become so frequent that on 
its being rumored that the Indians were concentrating for 
more extensive operations, a party, without waiting for any 
official authority, collected and started out to check the rav- 
ages of the marauders that were found gathering among 
the foothills. With but limited supplies, and almost with- 
out organization, this party made a rapid and toilsome 
march among the densely wooded mountains in pursuit of 
the savages, who, upon report of our movements, were now 
retreating. This party came up with the Indians at a point 
high up on the Fresno. In the skirmish which followed a 
Lt. Skeane was killed, William Little was seriously 
wounded and some others slightly injured. 

This engagement, which occurred on January 11th, 
1851, was not a very satisfactory one to the whites. 
The necessity of a more efficient organization was shown. 


The Indians had here taken all the advantages of position 
and successfully repulsed the attack of the whites, who 
withdrew, and allowed the former to continue their course. 

Some of the party returned to the settlements for sup- 
plies and reinforcements, taking with them the wounded. 

Those who remained, reorganized, and leisurely followed 
the Indians to near the North Fork of the San Joaquin 
river, where they had encamped on a round rugged moun- 
tain covered with a dense undergrowth — oaks and digger 
pine. Here, protected by the shelt3ring rocks and trees, 
they defiantly taunted the whites with cowardice and their 
late defeat. They boasted of their robberies and murders, 
and called upon Savage to come out where he could be 
killed. In every possible manner they expressed their 
contempt. Savage — who had joined the expedition — be- 
came ver}^ much exasperated, and at first favored an imme- 
diate assault, but wiser counsels prevailed, and by Captain 
Boling's prudent advice, Savage kept himself in reserve, 
knowing that he would be an especial mark, and as Doling 
had said, his knowledge of the Indians and their territory 
could not very well be dispensed with. This course did 
not please all, and, as miglit have been expected, then and 
afterwards disparaging remarks were made. 

The leaders in exciting hostilities against the whites were 
Jose Juarez and Jose Rey. The bands collected on this 
mountain were under the leade ship of Jose Rey, who was 
also known by his English name of " King Joseph." The 
tribes represented were the Chow-chilla, Cliook-chan-cie, 
Noot-chu, Ho-nah-chee, Po-to-en-cie, Po-ho-no-chee, Kah- 
we-ah and Yosemite. The number of fighting men or war- 
riors was estimated at about 500, while that of the whites 
did not exceed 100. 

It was late in the day when the Indians were discovered. 
A general council was held, and it was decided that no at- 


tack sliould be made until their position could be studied, 
and the probable number to be encountered, ascertained. 
Captain Kuy-ken-dall, Lieutenants Doss and Chandler, and 
others, volunteered to make a reconnoissance before night 
should interfere with their purpose. 

The scouting party was not noticed until on its return, 
when it was followed back to camp by the Indians, where 
during nearly the whole night their derisive shouts and 
menaces in broken Spanish and native American^ made in- 
cessant vigilance of the whole camp a necessity. A council 
was again called to agree on the plan to be adopted. This 
council of war was general; official position was disregarded 
except to carry out the decisions of the party or command. 
The scouts had discovered that this rendezvous was an old 
Indian village as well as stronghold. 

The plan was that an attack should be undei-taken at day- 
light, and that an effort should be made to set fire to the 
village, preliminary to the general assault. This plan was 
strongly advocated by the more experienced ones who had 
seen service in Mexico and in Indian warfare. 

Kuy-ken-dall, Doss and Chandler, "as brave men as ever 
grew," seemed to vie with each other for the leadership, and 
at starting Kuy-ken-dall seemed to be in command, but 
when the assault was made, Chandler's elan carried him 
ahead of all, and he thus became the leader indeed. 

But thirty-six men were detached for the preliminary 
service. Everything being arranged tb.e attacking party 
started before davli2:ht. The Indians had but a little while 
before ceased their annoyances around the camp. The re- 
serve under Savage and Boling were to follow more lei- 
surely. Kuy-ken-dall's command reached the Indian camp 
without being discovered. Without the least delay the 
men dashed in and with brands from the camp fires, set the 
wigwams burning, and at the same time madly attacked 


tlie now alarmed camp. The light combustible materials 
of which the wigwams were composed were soon in a bright 
blaze. So rapid and so sudden were the charges made, 
that the panic-stricken warriors at once fled from their 
stronghold. Jose Eey was among the first shot down. 
The Indians made a rally to recover their leader; Chandler 
observing them, shouted "Charge, boys! Charge!!" Dis- 
charging another voile}-, the men rushed forward. 

The savages turned and fled down the mountain, answer- 
ing back the shout of Chandler to charge by replying, 
"Chargee!" "Chargee!" as they disappeared. 

The w^hole camp was routed, and sought safety among the 
rocks and brush, and by flight. 

This was an unexpected result. The whole transaction 
had been so quickly and recklessly done that the reserve 
under Boling and Savage had no opportunity to participate in 
the assault, and but imperfectly witnessed the scattering of 
the terrified warriors. Kuy-ken-dall, especially, displayed a 
coolness and valor entitling him to command, though out- 
run by Chandler in the assault. The fire from the burning 
village spread so rapidly down the mountain side toward 
our camp as to endanger its safety. While the whites were 
saving their camp supplies, the Indians under cover of the 
smoke escaped. No prisoners were taken; twenty-three 
were killed ; the number wounded was never known. Of 
the settlers, but one was really wounded, though several 
were scorched and bruised in the fight. None were 
killed. The scattering: flio^ht of the Indians made a further 
pursuit uncertain. The supplies were too limited for an 
extended chase; and as none had reached the little army 
from those who had returned, and time would be lost in 
waiting, it was decided to return to the settlements before 
taking any other active measures. The return was accom- 
plished without interruption. 



The Governor of California issues a Proclamation— Formation of the Ma- 
riposa Battalion — The Origin and Cause of the War— New Material 
Public Documents— A Discussion — Capt. Walker— The Peace Com- 
missioners' Parley and the Indians' Powwow— The Mysterious 
Deep Valley— Forward, March! 

The State authorities had in the meantime become 
aroused. The reports of Indian depredations multiplied, 
and a general uprising was for a time threatened. 

Proclamations were therefore issued by Gov. McDougal, 
calling for volunteers, to prevent further outrages and to 
punish the marauders. Our impromptu organization formed 
the nucleus of the volunteer force in Mariposa county, as a 
large majority of the men at once enlisted. Another bat- 
talion was organized for the region of Los Angelos. Our 
new organization, when full, numbered two hundred mount- 
ed men. This was accomplished in time, by Major Savage 
riding over to the San Joaquin, and bringing back men from 
Cassady's Bar. 

The date from which we were regularly mustered into the 
service was January 24th, 1851. The volunteers provided 
their own horses and equipments. The camp supplies and 
baggage trains were furnished by the State. This military 
force was called into existence by the State authorities, but 
by act of Congress its maintenance was at the expense of 
the general government, under direction of Indian commis- 
sioners. Major Ben McCullough was offered the command 
of this battalion, but he declined it. This position was 
urged upon him with the supposition that if he accepted it 
the men who had once served under him would be induced 


to enlist — many of the " Texan Kangers" being residents 
of Mariposa county. 

Major McCullough was at tliat time employed as Collec- 
tor of " Foreign Miners' Tax," a very lucrative office. As 
a personal acquaintance, he stated to me that the position 
was not one that would bring him honor or pecuniary ad- 
vantages. That he bad no desire to leave a good position, 
except for one more profitable. 

The officers, chosen by the men, recommended to and 
commissioned by Governor McDongall, were James D. 
Savage, as Major; John J. Kuy-ken-dall, John Boling, and 
William Dill, as Captains; M. B. Lewis, as Adjutant; 
John I. Scott, Eeuben T. Chandler, and Hugh W. Farrell, 
as First Lieutentants ; Robert E. Russell, as Sergeant 
Major; Dr. A. Bronson, as Surgeon, and Drs. Pfifer 
and Black as Assistant Surgeons. A few changes of 
Lieutenants and subordinate officers were afterward made. 

Upon the resignation of Surgeon Bronson, Dr. Lewis 
Leach, was appointed to fill the vacancy. 

While writing up these recollections, in order to verify 
my dates, which I knew were not always chronologically ex- 
act, 1 addressed letters to the State departments of California 
making inquiries relative to the "Mariposa Battalion," 
organized in 1851. In answer to my inquiry concerning 
these known facts, the following was received from Adj. 
General L. H. Foot. He says: ''The records of this of- 
fice, both written and printed, are so incomplete, that I am 
not aware from consulting them that the organization to 
which you allude had existence." It is a matter of regret 
that the history of the early settlement of California is, to 
so great an extent, traditionary, without public records of 
many important events. It is not deemed just that the 
faithful services of the " Mariposa Battalion," should be 
forgotten with the fading memory of the pioneers of that 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851, 106 

period. There is in the State, an almost entire absence of 
any public record of the "Indian war," of which the dis- 
covery of the Yoseraite valley was an important episode. 

Until the publication of Mr. J. M. Hutching's book, "In 
The Heart of The Sierras, Yo-Semite, Big Trees,etc.," which 
contains valuable public documents, the author of "Dis- 
covery of The Yosemite" was, as stated on page 30, un- 
able to obtain any official records concerning the operations 
of the Mariposa battalion, or of the events which preceded 
and caused the Indian War of 1851. Now that Mr. 
Hutching's persistent industry has brought light from dark- 
ness, I interrupt my narrative to make clear the origin of 
the war, and to justify the early Pioneers engaged in it. 
As a sample, also, of many obstructions encountered, I in- 
sert a few extracts from letters relating to the "Date of 
Discovery, "furnished the Century Magazine. 

The attack made upon Savage on tlie Merced river in 
1850, had for its object plunder and intimidation, and as 
an invasion of Ten-ie-ya's territory was no longer threatened 
after the removal of Mr. Savage to the Mariposa, the Yo 
Semities contented themselves with the theft of horses 
and clothing, but a general war was still impending, as 
may be seen by reference to page 31 of ''In The Heart of 
The Sierras," where appears : Report of Col. Adam John- 
ston, a special agent, to Gov. Peter H. Burnett, upon his 
return from Mariposa county to San Jose, then the (capital 
of California, and which I here present: San Jose, Janu- 
ary 2, 1851. Sir: 1 have the honor to submit to you, as 
the executive of the State of California, some facts con- 
nected with the recent depredations committed by the 
Indians, within the bounds of the State, upon the persons 
and property of her citizens. The immediate scene of 
their hostile movements are at and in the vicinity of the 
Mariposa and Fresno. The Indians in that portion of your 


State have, for some time past, exhibited disaffection and 
a restless feeling toward the whites. Thefts were contin- 
ually being perpetrated by them, but no act of hostility 
had been committed by them on the person of any in- 
dividual, which indicated general emnity on the part of 
the Indians, until the night of the 17th December last. 
I was then at the camp of Mr. James D. Savage, on 
the Mariposa, where I had gone for the purpose of re- 
conciling any difficulty that might exist between the Indi- 
ans and the whites in that vicinity. From various conver- 
sations which I had held with different chiefs, I concluded 
there was no immediate danger to be apprehended. On 
the evening of the 17th of December, we were, however, 
surprised by the sudden disappearance of the Indians. 
They left in a body, but no one knew why, or where they 
had gone. From the fact that Mr. Savage's domestic In- 
dians had forsaken him and gone with those of the ranch- 
eria, or village, he immediately suspected that something 
of a serious nature was in contemplation, or had already 
been committed by them. 

The manner of their leaving, in the night, and by stealth, 
induced Mr. Savage to believe that whatever act they had 
committed or intended to commit, might be connected with 
himself. Believing that he could overhaul his Indians 
before others could join them, and defeat any contemplated 
depredations on their part, he, with sixteen men, started 
in pursuit. He continued upon their traces for about 
thirty miles, when he came upon their encampment. The 
Indians had discovered his approach, and fled to an adja- 
cent mountain, leaving behind them two small boysasleep^ 
and the remains of an aged female, who had died, no 
doubt from fatigue. Near to the encampment Mr. Savage 
ascended a mountain in pursuit of the Indians, from which 
he discovered them upon another mountain at a distance. 


From these two mountain tops, conversation was com- 
menced and kept up for some time between Mr. Savage 
and the chief, who told him that they had murdered the 
men on the Fresno, and robbed the camp. The chief had 
formerly been on the most friendly terms with Savage, but 
would not now permit him to approach him. Savage said 
to them it would be better for them to return to their vil- 
lage — that with very little labor daily, they could procure 
sufficient gold to purchase them clothing and food. To 
this the chief replied it was a hard way to get a living, 
and that they could more easily supply their wants by 
stealing from the whites. He also said to Savage he 
must not deceive the whites by telling them lies, he must 
not tell them that the Indians were friendly; they were 
not, but on the contrary were their deadly enemies, and 
that they intended killing and plundering them so long 
as a white face was seen in the country. Finding all 
efforts to induce them to return, or to otherwise reach 
them, had failed, Mr. Savage and his company concluded to 
return. When about leaving, they discovered a body of 
Indians, numbering about two hundred, on a distant 
mountain, who seemed to be approaching those with 
whom he had been talking. 

Mr. Savage and company arrived at his camp in the 
night of Thursday in safety. In the mean time, as news 
had reached us of murders committed on the Fresno, we 
had determined to proceed to the Fresno, where the 
men had been murdered. Accordingly on the day fol- 
lowing, Friday, the 20th, I left the Mariposa camp with 
thirty-five men, for the camp on the Fresno, to see the 
situation of things there, and to bury the dead. I also 
dispatched couriers to Agua Fria, Mariposa, and several 
other mining sections, hoping to concentrate a sufficient 
force on the Fresno to pursue the Indians into the mouB- 


tains. Several small companies of men left their respec- 
tive places of residence to join us, but being unacquainted 
with the country they were unable to meet us. We 
reached the camp on the Fresno a short time after day- 
light. It presented a horrid scene of savage cruelty. The 
Indians had destroyed everything they could not use or 
carry with them. The store was strip|)ed of blankets, 
clothing, flour, and everything of value; the safe was 
broken open and rifled of its contents; the cattle, horses 
and mules had been run into the mountains; the murdered 
men had been stripped of their clothing, and lay before us 
filled with arrows; one of them had yet twenty perfect 
arrows sticking in him. A grave was prepared, and the 
unfortunate persons interred. Our force being small, we 
thought it not prudent to pursue the Indians farther into 
the mountains, and determined to return. The Indians in 
that part of the country are quite numerous, and have been 
uniting other tribes with them for some time. On reach- 
ing our camp on the Mariposa, we learned that most of the 
Indians in the valley had left their villages and taken their 
women and children to the mountains. This is generally 
looked upon as a sure indication of their hostile intentions. 
It is feared that many of the miners in the more remote 
regions have already been cut off, and Agua Fria and 
Mariposa are hourly threatened. 

Under this state of things, I come here at the earnest 
solicitations of the people of that region, to ask such aid 
from the state government as will enable them to protect 
their persons and property. I submit these facts for your 
couBideration, and have the honor to remain, 

Yours very respectfully, 

Adam Johnstow. 

To his excellency Peter H. Burnett. 


The report of Col. Johnston to Gov. Burnett had the 
desired result, for immediately after inauguration, his suc- 
cessor, Gov. McDougal, on January 13, 1851, issued a 
proclamation calling for one hundred volunteers, and this 
number by a subsequent order dated January 24:th, 1851, 
after receipt of Sheriff James Burney's report, bearing 
the same date of the governor's first call for one hundred 
men, was increased to "two hundred able bodied men, 
under officers of their own selection." 

To insure a prompt suppression of hostilities, or a vig- 
orous prosecution of the war, on January 25th, 1851, Gov. 
McDougal appointed Col. J. Neely Johnson of his staff a 
special envoy to visit Mariposa county, and in an 
emergency, to call out additional forces if required, and 
do whatever seemed best for the interests and safety of 
the people endangered. 

Col. Adam Johnston, before leaving for San Jose, had, 
as he reported, "dispatched couriers to Agua Fria, Mari- 
posa, and several other mining sections, hoping to concen- 
trate a sufficient force on the Fresno to pursue the Indians 
into the mountains. Several small companies of men left 
their respective places of residence to join us, but being 
unacquainted with the country they were unable to meet 

The same apparent difficulties beset Sheriff Bnrney, as 
he was able to collect, but seventy-four men, but want of 
knowledge of the country was not the sole cause of delay. 
The Indians of the mountains at that time having been 
accustomed to the occupation for many years of despoiling 
the Californians, were the most expert bare back riders 
and horse thieves in the world, and when many of us who 
had horses and mules herding in the valley ranches of the 
foot-hills and Merced bottoms, sent for them to carry us 
into the distant mountains of the Fresno, where we had 


heard the Indians were concentrating, our messengers in 
many instances found the animals stolen or stampeded, and 
hence the delay in most instances, though some of the 
mining population who had arrived in California by water, 
never seemed able to guide themselves without a compass, 
and would get lost if they left a beaten trail. As for 
myself, I could scarcely become lost, except in a heavy 
fog or snow storm, and upon two occasions in the moun- 
tains was compelled to leave my comrades, who were 
utterly and wilfully lost, but who, finding me the most 
persistent, finally called to me and followed out to well 
known land marks. 

It will appear by the letter of Major Burney that **The 
different squads from the various places rendezvoused not 
far from this place ( Agua Fria), on Monday, 6th, and num- 
bered but seventy- four men." 1 was at Shirlock's Creek 
on the night before, Jan. 5th, 1851, and had promised to 
join the Major in the morning; but when the morning 
came, my animals were gone, stolen by Indians from my 
Mexican herdman. 

Mr. C. H. Spencer had sent his servant *'Jimmy,'' to 
Snel ling's ranche, on the Merced River, for his animals, 
and after a delay of perhaps two or three days, they were 
brought up for use. Mr. Spencer kindly loaned me a 
mule for temporary use, but upon his having his saddle 
mule stolen a few nights after, I gave back his mule and 
bought a fine one of Thos. J. Whitlock, for whom Whit- 
lock's Creek was named. I had previously been able to 
start with a small squad on the trail of Major Burney and his 
brave men, but met some of them returning after the fight, 
among whom I remember, were Wm. Little, shot through 
the lungs, but who finally recovered, a Mr. Smith, known 
as "Yankee Smith,'' sick, as he said, "from a bare-footed 
fool exposure in the snow," and Dr. Phifer, who had been 


^iven the caie of the wounded and sick men. There were 
several others unknown to me, or whose names I have now 

The differeat accounts I received from the men enffaered 
in the fight, were so conflicting, that in referring to it 
in previous editions, on page 25, I could only say that it 
"was not a very satisfactory one to the whites." I could 
only state the general impression received from Mr. 
Little's account, which was that the men had been unne- 
cessarily exposed to cold and danger, and that only by the 
dash and bravery of the officers and men engaged in the 
affair were they able to withdraw into a place of tem- 
porary safety, until joined by re-inforcements. 

Indian fighting was new to most of the men engaged, 
and, like the soldiers on both sides at the outbreak of 
the Rebellion, they had been led to expect a too easy 

But we have now the report of Major Burney to Gov. 
McDougal, and also a letter from Mr. Theodore G. 
Palmer, of Newark, IS'ew Jersey, to his father, written 
&\e days after the battle, and which has been kindlv 
placed at my disposal. Military men will readily per- 
ceive and enjoy the entire artlessness and intended truth- 
fulness of Mr. Palmer's letter, as well as his modest 
bravery. The two letters read in connection with that of 
Col. Adam Johnston, are most valuable in fixing dates 
and locations for any one with a knowledge of the top- 
ography of the country, and of the events they nariate. 
They set at rest forever the absurd claim that the 
first battle of the Indian War of 1851 was fouirht in 
the Yosemite valley, for the battle was fought on a 
mountain. Mr. Ilutchings, to whose industry so much 
is due, has strangely overlooked the fact, that the refer- 
ence to '^Monday 6th," in Major Burney'g letter, could 


only have reference to Monday, January 6th, 1851, the 
month in which the letter was written, and not to De- 
cember, 1850, as given by Mr, Hutchings, in brackets. The 
6th of December, 1850. occurred on a Friday; on Tuesday, 
December 17, 1850, the three men were killed on the 
Fresno river station of James D. Savage; on Friday, De- 
cember 20th, 1850, they were buried; on Monday, January 
6th, 1851, Major Burney, sheriff of Mariposa County, 
assembled sl strong posse to go in pursuit of the Indian 
murderers, and coming up with them on a mountain 
stronghold on Jan. 11th, 1851, destroyed their villages, 
and then retreated down the mountain some four miles to 
a plain in the Fresno valley, where he erected a log 
breastwork for temporary defense. Nothing but the most 
vivid imagination, coupled with an entire ignorance of the 
region of the Yosemite, could liken the two localities to 
each other. The Hetch Hetchy valley of the Tuolumne 
river and some of the cliffs of the Tuolumne and of the 
King's river, bear a general resemblance to some of the 
scenery of the Yosemite, but when the Yosemite valley 
itself has been seen, it will never be forgotten by the 

Major Burney's Letter to Gov. McDougal. 

Agfa Fria, January 13, 1851. 
Sir: Your Excellency has doubtlessly been informed 
by Mr. Johnston and others, of repeated and aggravated 
depredations of the Indians in this part of the State. 
Their more recent outrages you are probably not aware of. 
Since the departure of Mr. Johnston, the Indian agent, 
they have killed a portion of the citizens on the head of 
the San Joaquin river, driven the balance off, taken 
away all movable property, and destroyed all they could 
not take away. They have invariably murdered and 
robbed all the small parties they fell in with between here 


and the San Joaquin. News came here last night that 
seventy-two men were killed on Rattlesnake Creek; several 
men have been killed in Bear Yallej. The Fine Gold 
Gnlch has been deserted, and the men came in here yes- 
terday. Nearly all the mules and horses in this part of 
the State have been stolen, both from the mines and the 
ranches. And I now, in the name of the people of this 
part of the State, and for the good of our country, appeal 
to your Excellency for assistance. 

In order to show your Excellency that the people have 
done all that they can do to suppre&s these things, to secure 
quiet and safety in the possession of our property and 
lives, I will make a brief statement of what has been 
done here. 

After the massacres on the Fresno, San Joaquin, etc., 
we endeavored to raise a volunteer company to drive the 
Indians back, if not to take them or force them into 
measures. The diffei-ent squads from the various places 
rendezvoused not far from this place on Monday, 6th, and 
numbered but seventy-four men. A company was formed, 
and I was elected captain; J. W. Riley, first lieutenant; E. 
Skeane, second lieutenant. We had but eight day's 
provisions, and not enough animals to pack our provisions 
and blankets, as it should have been done. We, however, 
marched, and on the following day struck a large trail of 
horses that had been stolen by the Indians. 1 sent for- 
ward James D. Savage with a small spy force, and I fol- 
lowed the trail witli my company. About two o'clock in 
the morning, Savage came in and reported the village near, 
as he had heard the Indians singing. Here I halted, left 
a small guard with my animals, and went forward with the 
balance of my men. We reached the village just before 
day, and at dawn, but before there was light enough to see 
how to fire our rifles with accuracy, we were discovered by 


their sentinel. When I saw that he had seen us, I ordered 
a charge on the village (this had been reconnoitered by 
Savage and myself). The Indian sentinel and my com- 
pany got to the village at the same time, he yelling to 
give the alarm. I ordered them to surrender, some of 
them ran off, some seemed disposed to surrender, but 
others fired on us; we fired and charged into the village. 
Their ground had been selected on account of the advan- 
tages it possessed in their mode of warfare. They num- 
bered about four hundred, and fought us three hours 
and a half. 

We killed from forty to fifty, but cannot exactly tell 
how many, as they took off all they could get to. Twenty- 
six were killed in and around the village, and a number of 
others in the chaparrel. We burned the village and pro- 
visions, and took four horses. Our loss was six wounded, 
two mortally; one of the latter was Lieutenant Skeane, 
the other a Mr. Little, whose bravery and conduct through 
the battle cannot be spoken of too highly. We made lit- 
ters, on which we conveyed our wounded, and had to 
march four miles down the mountain, to a suitable place 
to camp, the Indians firing at us all the way, from peaks 
on either side, but so far off as to do little damage. My 
men had been marching or fighting from the morning of 
the day before, without sleep, and with but little to eat. 
On the plain, at the foot of the mountain, we made a rude, 
but substantial fortification ; and at a late hour those who 
were not on guard, were permitted to sleep. Our sentinels 
were (as I anticipated they would be) firing at the Indians 
occasionally all night, but I had ordered them not to come 
in until they were driven in. 

I left my wounded men there, with enough of my com- 
pany to defend the little fort, and returned to this place 
for provisions and recruits. 1 send them to-day re-inforce- 


meats and provisions, and in two days more I march by 
another route, with another re-inforcement, and intend to 
attack another village before going to the fort. The Indi- 
ans are watching the movements at the fort, and I can 
come up in the rear of them unsuspectedly, and we can 
keep them back until I can hear from Your Excellency, 

If Your Excellency thinks proper to authorize me or 
any other person to keep this company together, we can 
force them into measures in a short time. But if not 
authorized and commissioned to do so, and furnished with 
some arms and provisions, or the means to buy them, and 
pay for the services of the men, my company must be 
disbanded, as they are not able to lose so much time 
without any compensation. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

James Burnet. 

In a subsequent letter of Major Bnrney, addressed to 
Hon. W. J. Howard, occurs the following passage: 

"The firFt night out you came into my camp and re- 
ported that the Indians had stolen all your horses and 
mules — a very large number; that you had followed their 
trail into the hill country, but, deeming it imprudent to go 
there alone, had turned northward, hoping to strike my 
trail, having heard that I had gone out after Indians. I 
immediately, at sunset, sent ten men (yourself among the 
number) under Lieutenant Skeane — who was killed in 
the fight next day — to look out for the trail, and report, 
which w^as very promptly carried out." 

Page 35, "In Heart of S. and Legislative Journal" for 
1851, page 600. 

It is only required of me to say here that re-inforced 
by such leaders of men as Kuykendall, Boling, Chand- 
ler and Doss, there was no delay, and the campaign waa 


completed at "Battle Mountain," a water shed of the San 

I now introduce a letter of great value, to ne, as it 
fixes the date of the first battle, and disproves assertions 
made in the Century Magazine: 

Hart's Ranch, Califoenia, January 16th, 1851. 

My Dear Father : When I wrote my last letter to you I had 
fully determined to take a Ranch near Pacheco's Pass, as I in- 
formed you, but before three days had passed the report of Jim 
Kennedy's murder on the Fresno was confirmed, and I started 
for the mountains in pursuit of the Indians who were commit- 
ting depredations all through the country and had sworn to kill 
every white man in it. Four hundred men had promised to go, 
but at the appointed time only seventy- seven made their appear- 
ance. With these we started under the command of Major 
Burney, Sheriff of Mariposa County, guided by Mr. Jas. D. 
Savage, who is without doubt the best man in the world for 
hunting them out. 

From his long acquaintance with the Indians, Mr. Savage has 
learned their ways so thoroughly that they cannot deceive him. 
He has been one of their greatest chiefs, and speaks their lan- 
guage as well as they can themselves. No dog can follow a 
trail like he can. No horse endure half so much. He sleeps 
but little, can go days without food, and can run a hundred. miles 
in a day and night over the mountains and then sit and laugh for 
hours over a camp-fire as fresh and lively as if he had just been 
taking a httle walk for exercise. 

With him for a guide we felt little fear of not being able to 
find them. 

On Friday morning about ten o'clock, our camp again moved 
forward and kept traveling until one that night, when ''haltl 
we are on the Indians," passed in a whisper down the line. 
Every heart beat quicker as we silently unsaddled our animals 
and tied them to the bushes around us, Commands were given 
in whispers and we were formed in a line. Sixty were chosen 
for the expedition, the balance remaining behind in charge of 


Savage said the Indians were about six miles off; that they 
were engaged in a feast. He pointed out their fires, could hear 
them sing and could smell them, but his eyes were the only ones 
that could see ; his ears alone could hear, and his nose smell 
anything unusual. Still, there was such confidence placed in 
him that not one doubted for an instant that everything was as 
he said. 

About two o'clock we started in Indian file, as still as it was 
possible for sixty men to move in the dark, for the moon had 
set. For three long hours did we walk slowly and cautiously 
over the rocks and bushes, through the deepest ravines and up 
steep and ragged mountain, until within a half mile of the 

Here every one took off his boots, when we again pushed for- 
ward to about two hundred yards from the camp. Another halt 
was called to wait for daylight, while Savage went forward to 
reconnoitre. He succeeded in getting within ten paces of the 
Kancharia, and listened to a conversation among them in which 
his name was frequently mentioned. He found that it was a 
town of the Kee chees, but that there weie about one hundred 
and fifty of the Chow-cbil la warriors with them and several of 
the Chuc chan-ces. Had be found only the Kee chees as he ex- 
pected, we were to surround the Rancharia and take all prison- 
ers, but the presence of so many Chow-chil-las, the most warlike 
tribe in California, made a change of plan necessary. 

Daylight by this time began to appear. We had been lying in 
our stocking-feet on the ground on the top of a mountain within 
a few paces of the snow for more than an hour, almost frozen 
by the intense cold, not daring to move or speak a word. 

It was not yet light enough to see the sight of our rifles, when 
an Indian's head was seen rising on the hill before us For a mo- 
ment his eyes wandered, then rested on us, and with a yell like 
a Coyote he turned for the Rancharia. Never did I hear be- 
fore such an infernal howling, whooping and yelling, as saluted 
us then from the throats of about six hundred savages, as they 
rushed down the hill into the gim-o-sell bushes below. 

Our huzzahs could, however, hardly have sounded more 


pleasant to them, as when finding we were discovered, we 
charged on their town. Fifty rifles cracked almost instantane- 
ously; a dozen Indians lay groaning before their huts, and many 
supposed we had undisturbed possession. Our firing had ceased 
and we were looking around for plunder, when a rifle fired from 
the bushes below, struck a young Texan, Charley Huston, stand- 
ing by my side. He fell with a single groan, and we all supposed 
him dead. My first impression was that I was shot, for I plain- 
ly heard the ball strike and almost felt it. This was a surprise 
that almost whipped us, for not knowing that the Indians had 
fire-arms, we were only expecting arrows. Before that shot was 
fired, I had always entertained the idea that I could run about as 
fast as common men (and I was one of the first in the charge), 
but by the time I had collected my wandering senses, I was nearly 
alone; the majority of the party some thirty paces ahead, and 
running as if they never intended to stop. 

Captain Burney and Mr. Savage were on top of the hill using 
every exertion to make the company halt and form. He had 
partly succeeded, when a pistol ball struck a man in the face, he 
fell, but raising himself up said, "if we stay here we will be all 
shot" and a break was made for the trees. 

Still some few remained in rank and others slowly answered 
to the orders to form, when our Second Lieutenant fell mortally 
wounded. He was carried off, and every man took his tree. 

The Indians had again possession of their Rancharia, and of 
a slight eminence to the left, and were sending showers of bul- 
lets and arrows upon us from three sides. These two points had 
to be gained even if it cost half our men. Leaving then, enough 
to guard our present posidon, the rest of us charged on the hill, 
took it, stormed the Baacharia, took and burnt it, and returned 
to our former position with only one man wounded, Wm, Little, 
shot through the lungs. 

The close fighting was now over, for we could not give chase 
and were forced to lie behind trees and rocks and pick out such 
as exposed themselves. It was about half past ten when, finding 
it useless to remain longer, litters were made for the wounded 
and we started for camp. Then again we had warm work, for 


all down the pass, the Indians had stationed themselves to fire 
on us, forcing us to charge on them several times, for while we 
were in plain sight, they were completely hid behind the gim-o- 
sell brush. 

In our march back, the rear guard was kept at work about as 
hard as at any time during the morning, but not a single man 
was hurt, and only one mule was killed. 

We moved our camp that night, six miles lower down, where 
we laid the foundations of a fort and left thirty men to guard it 
and take care of the wounded. 

The rest of us started below the next morning, after burying 
Lieutenant Skeane, who died in the night. 

The Indians acknowledged to eleven men killed, though fifty 
killed and wounded would be a moderate estimate. Our 
loss was seven wounded — two mortally (as we then supposed, 
but Mr. Little finally recovered. — Author.) 

The force of the Savages consisted of, as near as could be as- 
certained, four hundred warriors. We burned a hundred wig- 
wams, several tons of dried horse and mule meat, a great number 
of bows and arrows, and took six mules. 

Several amusing incidents occurred during the fight and 
others of the most heroic bravery on the part of the Indians. 
One old squaw was wounded accidentally at the first charge, and 
was unable to get off. One of our men was going to finish her 
with his knife, but seeing it was a woman he left her. No 
sooner had he gone than she picked up a bow and lodged three 
arrows in another man. I believe she was not touched after 

The whole body of Indians seemed bent on killing Mr. Savage 
partly because he would not be their chief and lead them against 
the whites, and partly because he was, they knew, our greatest 
dependence as guide, and their particular dread. To kill him, 
many of them sacrificed their own lives. They would come one 
at a time and, standing in open ground, send arrows at him 
until shot down ; and one old chief who used to cook for Savage, 
would ask him after every shot where he had hit him. They 
would talk to him to find out where he was, and as soon as he 


would answer, the balls and arrows would fly thick around his 
head: but he escaped unhurt; but as he said, worse frightened 
than he ever was before. He did not fancy such partiality. 

A large party has started on a second expedition, but I believe 
I am perfectly satisfied with Indian fighting. 

T. G. Palmer. 

Note.— It will haye been observed that especial reference has twice 
been made to Gim-o-sell brush, a shrub that grows only on warm 
slatey soil, on Southern exposures, sought by Indians for winter 
quarters, and not on the granite cliffs and mountains of the Yosemite. 
I had not thought it necessary to draw upon nature for testimony, 
but a new generation has sprung into existence, and the eternal hills 
may speak to them. 

The mining camp or village of Agua Fria, at the date 
of the organization of the battalion, vt^as the county seat 
of Mariposa County, and the residence of the Sheriff, 
Major James Burney. Whittier's Hotel was the head- 
quarters for enlistment. Finding the number called for 
incomplete, while yet in daily expectation of the arrival of 
the mustering officer, James D. Savage made a rapid ride 
to the San Joaquin diggings, and returned with men enough 
to complete the organization. 

We were formally reported for duty, and went into camp 
about two miles below Agua Fria, on about the 10th of 
Feb,, 1851, but when mustered in, the rolls were dated to 
include service from Jan. 24th, 1851, the date of the last 
order of enlistment. An informal ballot was taken to show 
the preference of the men for officers to command us, 
Major Burney having previously declined, and when that 
had been demonstrated, other aspirants were withdrawn by 
their friends, a formal ballot was taken and a regular organ- 
ization of three companies completed. The Governor was 
duly notified of our proceedings, and in a few days the 
commissions were received by our respective officers. 

After a few days in camp on Agua Fria Creek, we moved 
down to a camp in the foot hills, known afterwards as 


Lewis Ranch, were we had abundant grass and good water, 
and there was established our head-quarters, while waiting 
for Col, J. Neely Johnson and the U. S. Indian Com- 
migsion, as stated in this chapter. 

After instructions were given us by Col. Johnson, and 
the Commission had exhausted its eloquence upon the 
"Children of the Great Father at Washington," and had 
started for the Fresno, we were allowed to go in pursuit of 
some very sly marauders who had stolen into our camp in 
the night, loosened and run off some of our animals, and 
taken some others herded in the foot hills, but no extended 
operations were allowed, as Major Savage ordered us to be 
in readiness for a campaign against the Yosemities, when 
the first big storm should come, that would prevent their 
escape across the Sierra Nevada. After a few days* delay 
the storm did come with continued violence, as recorded. 

In view of the facts and dates here given how absurd 
the statement that we did not go to the Yosemite "until 
about the 5th or 6th of May, 1851." Our idleness in camp 
from Feb. 10th and the patient indulgence of the (Commis- 
sioners, while waiting for the results of our first opera- 
tions, surpass belief. 

And now I reluctantly notice an error of statement by 
Mr. Julius N. Pratt in the Century Magazine for Decem- 
ber, 1890. 

Had the usual courtesy been extended of allowing me to 
see and answer Mr. Pratt's erroneous impressions in the 
same number, I am convinced that he would have kindly 
withdrawn his article. I am led to this belief, not alone 
from letters received, but from the internal evulence oi an 
upright character conveyed by Mr. Pratt's graphic account 
of "A Trip to California by way of Panama in 1849," 
in the Century for April 1891. 

The Century Magazine is a most powerful dissemina- 


tor of truth, or error, and though I cannot hope for a com- 
plete vindication through this volume, its readers shall have 
the facts of ''The Date of Discovery" set before them, "for a 
truthful regard for history" and my own self-respect re- 
quire it. 

In the Century Magazine for September, 1890, page 
795, is an article from my pen which gives the date of 
discovery of the Yosemite as March, 1851. Mr. Pratt, in the 
December number following, assumes, with ''a truthful 
regard for history," that I was in error, and gives about 
"January 10th, 1851, as the approximate, if not exact date 
of discovery." Many of the men whom Mr. Pratt sup- 
posed to have been the discoverers, were, or became, my 
own comrades. When Mr. Pratt's article appeared, I at 
once sent a reply, but it received no recognition. 

Knowing that Mr. Theodore G. Palmer, of Newark, New 
Jersey, was in the only engagement occurring with Indians 
in Mariposa county at the time given by Mr. Pratt as the 
date of his supposed discovery of the Yosemite, I wrote, 
requesting Mr. Palmer to call on the editor of the Century 
in my behalf. 

In a letter of January 9th, 1891, Mr. Palmer wrote: **It 
is the unexpected which always happens, and your com- 
munication to the Century in response to Pratt's 'Cali- 
fornia,' was never received. Mr. Johnson, the associate 
editor, received me very pleasantly. He assured me that 
although he sent you an advance copy of Pratt's article, 
nothing had been received in the office from you since in 
reply, and he presumed you had given up the case in 

"I so completely satisfied him that Mr. Pratt is in 
error, that he requested me to express my reasons in the 
Century^ and to assure you that any communication from 
you will always have respectful attention.'' 


On January 24th, 1891, Mr. R. W. Johnson, associate 
editor, wrote rae, saying: "Since telling your friend, Mr. 
Palmer, that we had not received an article from you in 
reply to Mr. Pratt, we have discovered the manuscript. 
We have in type a short note from Mr. Palmer which 
will be acceptable to you." 

A few days after Mr. Johnson kindly sent me the proof. 
On March 12th, 1891, Mr. Johnson wrote me: "Mr. Pratt, 
after examination of the subject, has written us a short 
letter, withdrawing his contention of your claim to the 
discovery of the Yosemite, the publication of which we 
trust will be satisfactory to you and also to Mr. Palmer. 
Will you now tell us whether there is anything in this new 
claim that Walker was the discoverer of the Valley?" 

I at once saw that if Mr. Pratt's i-etraction was pub- 
lished there would be no need of the publication of Mr. 
Palmer's communication. About this time a letter 
of earlier date, January 28, 1891, was sent me by Mr. 
Palmer, received from Mr. Pratt, in which the latter gen- 
tleman says: "I enclose a letter which seems to prove that 
the party about whicli I wrote to the Century was not 
your party. One went to the North fork, the other 
(yours) to the South." That statement left no base what- 
ever for Mr. Pratt's imaginary "fight at the Yosemite, and 
thus of the discovery," for the North Fork affair was 
not a battle at all, but "a scare" on a fork which enters 
the Merced river thirty-five miles below the Yosemite, and 
as for the battle fought on the 11th of January, 1851, by 
Major Burney's company, in which Mr. Pahner was 
engaged, it was not fought on the South fork or in any 
valley, but upon a high mountain of the Fresno river. 

Mr. Palmer now felt that his note to The Century was 
too long delayed, and wrote asking for its withdrawal or its 
publication. Mr. K. U. Johnson replied: '^The Cent^iry 


is made up two months in advance," but that he intended 
inserting it in the April number, &c. Mr. Palmer added 
in his letter to me, **I think he will." 

The matter had now become not only interesting, but 
amusing to me; for very soon Mr. Palmer wrote, '^whether 
my answer to Pratt will be published or not, is doubtful. 
I infer (from a letter) that Pratt will not rest quiescent 
under my contradiction." Again Mr. Palmer wrote, en- 
closing copy of letter to Mr. Johnson of March 14th, 1891, 
answering Mr. Johnson's Statement, "that Mr. Pratt, while 
being convinced of his injustice to Dr. Bunnell and being 
ready himself to withdraw his former statement, takes 
issue with you as to the identity of the two parties,'' and 
then Mr. Johnson asks, "would it not be just as well and 
more effective if we were simply to print from Mr. Pratt 
that he is 'pleased to withdraw all contention of the claim 
made by Dr. Bunnell that he was the original discov- 
erer?'" Let me here say, in passing, that I never made 
such a claim. 

Mr. Palmer very properly objects to becoming the 
"scapegoat" for me or any one else, and replying to Mr. 
Johnson, says: '^Whether my letter is printed or not, is a 
matter of entire indifference to me, (personally) * * it 
was only at your desire, and to please Dr. Bunnell, that I 
wrote the little I did. I left you under the impression 
that you desired to get at the exact facts and would be glad 
to rectify the injustice done to the doctor by the publica- 
tion of Mr. Pratt's communication. * * * I believe 
that the publication of my letter would not only gratify 
him, but also place the Century right upon the record, 
where it surely desires to stand." 

Mr. Palmer could say no more, but to his great chagrin, 
but not surprise, oil March 17th, he received a letter of 
thanks from the associate editor of the Century, in which 


Mr. Johnson says: 'Tlease accept our thanks for your 
letter of the 14th, and for your obliging attitude in the 
matter." Whether any retraction from Mr. Pratt will ever 
appear in the Century is now, in view of the long delay, a 
a matter of great indifference to me."^ 

Now a few facts in regard to the Discovery of the Yose- 
mite Yalley by Capt. Joseph Reddeford Walker, for whom 
Walker's river, Lake and Pass were named. It is not a 
new claim, as supposed by Mr. E.. U. Johnson, but appears 
in the Peoples Encyclopcedia and was set up in the San 
Jose Pioneer soon after Capt. Walker's death, and an- 
swered by me in the same paper in 1880. 

I cheerfully concede the fact set forth in tlie Pioneer 
article that, '''His were the first white inan's eyes that ever 
looked upon the Yosemite" above the valley, and in that 
sense, he was certainly the original white discoverer. 

The topography of the country over which the Mono 
trail ran, and which was followed by Capt. Walker, did not 
admit of his seeing the valley proper. The depression indi- 
cating the valley, and its magnificent surroundings, could 
alone have been discovered, and in Capt. Walker's conver- 
sations with me at various times while encamped between 
Coultersville and the Yosemite, he was manly enough to 
say so. Upon one occaision I told Capt. AValker that 
Ten-ie-ya had said that, "A small party of white men once 
crossed the mountains on the north side, but were so guided 
as not to see the valley proper." With a smile the Captain 
said: "That was my party, but 1 was not deceived, for the 
lay of the land showed there was a valley below ; but we had 
become nearly bare-footed, our animals poor, and ourselves 
on the verge of starvation, so we followed down the ridge to 
Bull Creek, where, killing a deer, we went into camp." 

*Mr. Pratt's retraction has finally appeared in the June number for 
1891. • 


The captaiD remained at his camp near Coulters ville for 
some weeks, and disappeared as suddenly as he came. He 
once expressed a desire to re-visit the region of the Yosemite 
in company with me, but could fix no date, as he told me 
he was in daily expectation of a government appointment 
as guide, which I learned was finally given him. 

Captain Walker was a very eccentric man, well versed 
in the vocal and sign languages of the Indians, and went 
at his will among them. He may have visited the 
Yosemite from his camp before leaving. I was strongly 
impressed by the simple and upright character of Cap- 
tain Walker, and his mountain comrades spoke in the 
highest praise of his ability. Fremont, Kit Carson, Bill 
Williams, Alex Grody, Yincenthaler (not Yincent Haler, 
as erroneously appeared in the March number of the 
Century), Ferguson and others, all agreed in saying that 
as a mountain man, Captain Walker had no superior. 

Rev. D. D. Chapin, of Maysville, Kentucky, formerly 
rector of Trinity Church, San Jose, and of St. Peter's 
Church, San Francisco, as well as editor of Paoific Church- 
man^ kindly called my attention to a seeming neglect 
of the claim for Captain Walker as the discoverer of the 
Yosemite. All that I have ever claimed for myself is, 
that I was one of the party of white men who first entered 
the Yosemite valley, as far as known to the Indians. 

The fact of my naming the valley cannot be disputed. 
The existence of some terribly yawning abyss in the moun- 
tains, guarded at its entrance by a frightful "liock Chief," 
from whose head rocks would be hurled down upon us if we 
attempted to enter that resort of demons, was frequently 
described to us by crafty or superstitious Indians. Hence 
the greater our surprise upon first beholding a fit abode for 
angels of light. As for myself, I freely confess that my 
feelings of hostility against the Indians wer« overcome by 


a sense of exaltation ; and although I had suffered losses of 
property and friends, the natural riglit of the Indians to 
their inheritance forced itself upon my mind. 

The Mariposa Battalion, was assigned by Governor Mc- 
Dougall to the duty of keeping in subjection the Indian 
tribes on the east side of the San Joaquin and Tulare val- 
leys, from the Tuolumne river to the Te-hon Pass. As soon 
as the battalion was organized, Major Savage began his 
preparations for an expedition. There was but little delay 
in fitting out. Scouting parties were sent out, but with no 
other effect than to cause a general retreat of the Indians 
to the mountains, and a cessation of hostilities, except the 
annoyances from the small bands of thieving marauders. 
No Indians were overtaken by those detachments, though 
they were often seen provokingly near. When about to 
start on a more extended expedition to the mountains, Major 
Savage received an order from the Governor to suspend 
hostile operations until lie should receive further instruc- 
tions. We learned at about the same time through the news- 
papers, as well as from the Governor's messenger, that the 
United States Commissioners had arrived in San Francisco. 
Their arrival had for some time been expected. 

Up to this period the Indian affairs of California had 
not been officially administered upon. Public officers had 
not before been appointed to look after the vast landed es- 
tates of the aboriginal proprietors of this territory, and to 
provide for their heirs. After some delay, the commission- 
ers arrived at our camp, which was located about fifteen 
miles below Mariposa village. Here the grazing was most 
excellent, and for that reason they temporarily established 
their head-quarters. These officials were Colonels Barbour 
and McKee, and Dr. Woozencroft. They were accompanied 
by Col. Keely Johnson, the Governor's aid, and by a small 
detachment of regulars. The commissioners at once pro- 



ceeded to make a thorough investigation into the cause of 
the war, and of the condition of affairs generally. Having 
secured the services of some of the Mission Indians, these 
were sent out with instructions to notify all the tribes that 
the commissioners had been directed by the President to 
make peace between them and the white settlers; and that 
if they would come in, they should be assured protection. 

The so-called Mission Indians were members of different 
tribes who had been instructed in the belief of the Catholic 
Church, at the old Spanish Missions. These Indians had 
not generally taken part in the war against the white set- 
tlers, although some of them, with the hostiles, were the 
most treacherous of their race, having acquired the vices 
and none of the virtues of their white instructors. 

During this period of preliminaries a few Indians ven- 
tured in to have a talk with the commissioners. They were 
very shy and suspicions, for all had been more or less im- 
plicated in the depredations that had been committed. 
Presents were lavishly distributed, and assurances were 
given that all who came in should be supplied with food 
and clothing and other useful things. This policy soon be- 
came generally known to the Indians. 

Among the delegations that visited the commissioners 
were Yowches-ter,* chief of one of the more peaceful bands, 
and Russio, a Mission Indian from the Tuolunme, but who 
in former years had belonged to some of the San Joaquin 
tribes. These chiefs had always appeared friendly, and had 
not joined in the hostile attitude assumed by the others. 
At the outbreak on the Fresno, Yow-ches-ter had been tem- 
porarily forced into hostilities by the powerful influence of 
Jose Rey, and by his desire to secure protection to his rela- 
tive, one of Savage's squaws. But with the fall of Jose 
Rey, his influence over Yow-ches-ter declined, and he was 
once more left free to show his friendship for the whites. 

•An Indian corruption of Bautista. 


As for Rnssio, his intelligent services were secured as peace- 
maker and general Indian interpreter by the conimissioners, 
while a much less competent Mission Indian, Sandino, 
served in the capacity of interpreter during expeditions into 
the mountains. 

Having been assured of safety, these two chiefs promised 
to bring in their people and make peace with the whites. 
All that came in promised a cessation, on the part of their 
tribes, of the hostilties begun, for which they were rewarded 
with presents. 

Yow-chester, when questioned, stated " that the mountain 
tribes would not listen to any terms of peace involving the 
abandonment of their territory; that in the fight near the 
North Fork of the San Joaquin, Jose Rey had been badly 
wounded and probably would die; that his tribe were very 
angry, and would not make peace." We had up to this 
time supposed Jore Rey had been killed at " Battle Moun- 
tain." Russio said: " The Indians in the deep rocky valley 
on the Merced river do not wish for peace, and will not come 
in to see the chiefs sent by the great father to make treaties. 
They think the white men cannot find their hiding places, 
and that therefore they cannot be driven out." The other 
Indians of the party confirmed Russio's statements. Yow- 
chester was the principal spokesman, and he said: " In this 
deep valley spoken of by Russio, one Indian is more than 
ten white men. The hiding; places are many. They will 
throw rocks down on the white men, if any should come near 
them. The other tribes dare not make war upon them, for 
they are lawdess like the grizzlies, and as strong. We are 
afraid to go to this valley, for there are many witches 

Some of us did not consider Yow-chester's promise of 
friendship as reliable. We regarded him as one of the hos- 
tile mountain Indians. He, however, was never again en- 


gaged in liostilities against the wliites. I afterwards learn- 
ed that Yow-cliester and Savage had once professed a strong 
friendship for each other. The trader at that time had 
taken a bride who was closely allied to tlie chief. Alter the 
destruction of Savage's trading posts, in which Yow-ches- 
ter had taken an active part in procuring a forcible divorce 
and division of property (though the murders were ascrib- 
ed to the Chow-chillas), all forms of friendship or relation- 
ship had ceased. At this interview no sign of recognition 
passed. After listening to this parley between the Com- 
missioners and the Indians, I asked Major Savage, who had 
been acting as interpreter, if he had ever been into the deep 
valley the Indians had been speaking of. He at first re- 
plied that he had, but on a subsequent conversation he cor- 
rected this statement by saying, "Last year while I was 
located at the mouth of the South Fork of the Merced, I was 
attacked by the Yosemites, but with the Indian miners I 
had in my employ, drove them off, and followed some of 
them up the Merced river into a canon, which I supposed 
led to their stronghold, as the Indians then with me said it 
was not a safe place to go into. From the appearance of 
this rocky gorge I had no difficulty in believing them. 
Fearing an ambush, I did not follow them. It was on this 
account that I changed my location to Mariposa creek. I 
would like to get into the den of the thieving murderers. 
If ever I have a chance I will smoke out the Grizzly Bears 
(the Yosemites) from their holes, where they are thought 
to be so secure." 

'No peace messengers came in from the mountain Indians, 
who continued to annoy the settlers with their depredations, 
thieving from the miner's camps, and stealing horses and 
mules from the ranches. While we were awaiting the ac- 
tion of the commissioners, we lost some horses and mules, 
which were stolen from the vicinity of our camp. After 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 18r>1. 35 

the commissioners had decided upon the measures to be 
adopted, our battalion was ordered into line and we were 
then officially informed by Col. Johnson, that our opera- 
tions as a military organization, would henceforth be under 
the direction of the United States Commissioners. That 
by their order we were now assigned to the duty of subdu- 
ing such Indian tribes as could not otherwise be induced to 
make treaties wit'i them, and at once c ase hostilities and 
depredations. " Your officers will make all reports to the 
commissioners. Your orders and instructions will hereaf- 
ter be issued by them." The colonel then complimented 
the soldierly appearance of the battalion (very customary 
in later years) and then said: " While I do not hesitate to 
denounce the Indians for the murders and robberies com- 
mitted by them, we should not forget that there may ]:>er- 
haps be circumstances which, if taken into consideration, 
might to some extent excuse their hostility to the whites. 
The}^ probably feel that they themselves are the aggrieved 
party, looking upon us as trespassers upon their territory, 
invaders of their country, and seeking to dispossess them 
of their homes. It may be, they class us with the Spanish 
invaders of Mexico and California, whose cruelties in civil- 
izing and christianizing them are still traditionally fresh in 
their memories," etc. In conclusion the colonel said; "As 
I am about to leave, I will now bid you ' good bye,' with 
the hope that your actions will be in harmony with the 
wishes of the commissioners, and that in the performance 
of yonr duties, you will in all cases observe mercy where 
severity is not justly demanded." 

Colonel Johnson gave us a very excellent little speech; 
but at that time we were not fully impressed with the just- 
ness of the remarks which had been made from l<inrlness 
of heart and sincerely humane feelings. Many of ns had 
lost — some heavily — by the depredations of the Indians. 


Friends and relatives liad been victims of their atrocities. 
Murders and robberies had been committed without provo- 
cations then discernible to us. Many of us would then have 
been willing to adopt the methods of the old Spanish mission- 
aries, who, it was said, sometimes brought in their converts 
with the lasso. However, these orders and the speech from 
Col. Johnson were received with cheers by the more impa- 
tient and impulsive of the volunteers, who preferred active 
service to the comparative quiet of the camp. 

The commissioners selected a reservation on the Fresno, 
near the foot-hills, about eighteen or twenty miles from our 
camp, to which the Indian tribes with whom treaties had 
been made were to be removed, and at this locality the com- 
missioners also established a camp, as head-quarters. 

The deliberative action on the part of the commissioners, 
who were very desirous of having the Indians voluntarily 
come in to make treaties with them, delayed any active co- 
operation on the part of our battalion until the winter rains 
had fully set in. Our first extended expedition to the moun- 
tains was made during the prevailing storms of the vernal 
equinox, although detachments had previously made excur- 
sions into the country bordering upon the Sierras. This re- 
gion, like parts of Virginia, proved impassable to a mount- 
ed force during the wet season, and our operations were con- 
fined to a limited area. 

It was at last decided that more extended operations 
were necessary to bring in the mountain tribes. Although 
fliere was no longer unity of action among them, they re- 
fused to leave their retreats, and had become even suspicious 
of each other. The defeat of Jose liey, and the desertion 
of the tribes who had made, or had promised to make, trea- 
ties with the commissioners, and had ceased from all hostile 
demonstrations, had e m:1 jealousies and discontent to 
divide even the most turbulent bands. For the extended 


operations of the battalion among the mountains, it was 
decided that Major Savage, with the companies of Captains 
Boling and Dill, should make expeditions which would re- 
quire him to traverse the regions of the San Joaquin and 
Merced rivers. Captain Kuy-ken-dall with his company 
were to be detached to operate for the same purpose in the 
regions of the Kings and Kah-we-ah rivers. The Indians 
captured were to be escorted to the commissioners' camp 
on the Fresno. Notwithstanding a storm was gathering, 
our preparations were cheerfully made, and when the order 
to "form into line" was given, it was obeyed with alacrity. 
'No "bugle call" announced orders to us; the "details" 
were made quietly, and we as quietly assembled. Prompt- 
ly as the word of command "mount," was given, every 
saddle was filled. With " forward march," we naturally 
filed ofi" into the order of march so readily assumed by 
mounted frontiersmen while traveling on a trail. 

We left our camp as quietly and as orderly as such an un- 
disciplined body could be expected to move, but Major Sav- 
age said that we must all learn to be as still as Indians, or 
we would never find them. 

This battalion was a body of hardy, resolute pioneers. 
Many of them had seen service, and had fought their way 
against the Indians across the plains; some had served in 
the war with Mexico and been under military discipline. 

Although un uniformed, they were well armed, and their 
similarities of dress and accoutrements, gave them a general 
military appearance. 

The temperature was mild and agreeable at our camp 
near the plain, but we began to encounter storms of cold 
rain as we reached the more elevated localities. 

Major Savage being aware that rain on the foot-hills and 
plain at that season of the year indicated snow higher up, 
sent forward scouts to intercept such parties as might at- 


tempt to escape, but the storm continued to rage with such 
violence as to render this order useless, and we found the 
scouts awaiting us at the foot of a mountain known as the 
Black Kidge. This ridge is a spur of the Sierra l^evada. 
It separates the Mariposa, Chow-chilla, Fresno and San 
Joaquin rivers on the south from tlie Merced on the north. 
While halting for a rest, and sipping his coffee. Savage ex- 
pressed an earnest desire to capture the village he had 
ascertained to be located over the ridge on the south fork 
of the Merced. He was of the opinion that if it could be 
reached without their discovery of us, we sliould have no 
fighting to do there, as that band would surrender at once 
rather than endanger their women and children, who would 
be unable to escape through the snow. Toward this village 
we therefore marched as rapidl}^ as the nature of the steep 
and snow-obstructed trail would permit us to travel. An 
Indian that answered to the name of '" Bob," an attache of 
the Major, serving as guide. Climbing up this steep black 
mountain, we soon reached the region of snow, which at 
the summit, was fully four feet deep, though the cold was 
not intense. By this time, night was upon us. The trail 
led over the ridge at a point where its tabled summit was 
wooded with a forest of pines, cedars and firs, so dense as 
almost to exclude the light of the stars that now and then 
appeared struggling through the gloom. 

We laboriously followed our guide and file leader, but 
this trail was so indistinctly seen in the darkness, that at in- 
tervals deep mutterings would be heard from some drowsy 
rider who missed the beaten path. As we commenced the 
descent of the ridge, the expressions became more forcible 
than polite when some unlucky ones found themselves 
floundering in the snow below the uncertain trail. If left 
to their own sagacity, a horse or mule will follow its lead- 
er; but if a self-willed rider insists upon his own judgment, 


the poor animal has not only to suffer the extra fatigue in- 
curred bv a mistep, but also the punishment of the spur, and 
hear tlie explosive maledictions of the master. The irrita- 
ting responses of his comrades that " another fool lias been 
discovered," was not then calculated to sooth the wrath that 
was then let loose. 

With short halts and repeated burrowings in the deep, 
damp snow, the South Fork of the Merced was at length 
reached about a mile below what is now known as 
Clark's, or Wah-wo-na, from Wah-ha wo-na, a Big Tree. 
We here made a halt, and our weary animals were provided 
with some barley, for the snow was here over a foot deep. 
The major announced that it was but a short distance below 
to the Indian village, and called for volunteers to accom- 
pany him — it might be for a fight or perhaps only a foot- 
race — circumstances would determine which. The major's 
call was promptly and fully answered, although all were 
much fatigued with the tedious night march. The animals 
were left, and a sufficient number was selected to remain as 
a reserve force and camp guard. At daylight we filed away 
on foot to our destination, following the major who was 
guided by " Bob." 



March Down the South Fork— Capture of an Indian Village— Hungry 
Men— An able Surgeon— Snow Storms- Visit of Ten-ei-ya, Chief of 
the Yosemites — Commander's Dilemma — Unique Manner of Extrica- 
tion — Approaching the Valley — First View — Sensations Experienced 
— A Lofty Flight Brought Down. 

There was a very passable trail for horses leading down 
the riirlit bank of the river, but it was overlooked on the 
left bank by the Indian village, which was situated on a 
high point at a curve in the river that commanded an exten- 
sive view up and down. To avoid being seen, the Major led 
us along down the left bank, where we were compelled, at 
times, to wade into the rushing torrent to avoid the precipi- 
tous and slippery rocks, which, in places, dipjDcd into the 
stream. Occasionally, from a stumble, or from the decep- 
tive depths of the clear mountain stream, an unfortunate 
one was immersed in the icy fluid, which seemed colder 
than the snow-baths of the mountain. With every precau- 
tion, some became victims to these mischances, and gave 
vent to their emotions, when suddenly immersed, by hoarse 
curses, which could be heard above the splash and roar of 
the noisy water. These men (headed by Surgeon Bronson) 
chilled and benumbed, were sent back to the camp to " dry 
their ammunition." (?) After passing this locality — our 
march thus far having alternated in snow and water — we ar- 
rived, without being discovered, in sight of the smoke of 
their camp-fires, where we halted for a short rest. 


Major Savage gave some orders to Captain Boling which 
were not then understood by me. On again resuming oiir 
march, the Major, with " Bob," started at a rapid step, while 
the others maintained a slow gait. 

I followed the Major as I had been accustomed during the 
march. I soon heard an audible smile^ evidently at my ex- 
pense. I comprehended that I had somehow "sold" my- 
self, but as the Major said nothing, I continued my marcli. 
I observed a pleased expression in the Major's countenance, 
and a twinkle of his eyes when he glanced back at me as if 
he enjoyed the fun of the "boys ' behind us, while he 
increased his speed to an Indian jog-trot. I determined to 
appear as unconscious, as innocent of my blunder, and ac- 
commodate my gait to his movements. My pride or vanity 
was touched, and I kept at his heels as he left the trot for a 
more rapid motion. After a run of a mile or more, we 
reached the top of a narrow ridge which overlooked the vil- 
lage. The Major here cast a side glace at me as he threw 
himself on the ground, saying: "I alwa3^s prided myself on 
my endurance, but somehow this morning my bott( m fails 
me." As quietly as I could I remarked that he had prob- 
ably been traveling faster than he was aware of, as "Bob" 
must be some way behind us. After a short scrutiny of my 
unconcerned innocence, he burst into a low laugh and said: 
"Bunnell, you play it well, and you have beaten me at a 
game of my own choosing. I have tested your endurance, 
however; such qualifications are really valuable in our pres- 
ent business." He then told me as I seated niys'lf near 
him, that he saw I had not understood the order, and had 
•increased his speed, thinking I would drop back and wait 
for the others to come up, as he did not wish to order me 
back, although he had preferred to make this scout alone 
with "Bob," as they were both acquainted with the band 
and the region they occupy. While we were resting '' Bob " 


came up. The Major gave him some direction in an Indian 
dialect I did not understand, and he moved on to an adjoin- 
ing thicket, while the Major and myself crawled to the 
shelter of a bunch of blue brush (California lilac), just 
above where we had halted. 

After obtaining the desired information without being 
seen, Bob was sent back to Captain Boling to "hurry him 
up." While awaiting the arrival of our command, I, in 
answer to his inquiries, informed the Major that I had 
come to Detroit, Michigan, in 1833, when it was but little 
more than a frontier village; that the Indians annually 
assembled there and at Maiden, Canada, to receive their 
annuities. At that time, being but nine years of age, and 
related to Indian traders, I was brought in contact with 
their customers, and soon learned their language, habits and 
character, which all subsequent attempts to civilize me had 
tailed entirely to eradicate. This statement evidently 
pleased the Major, and finding me familiar with frontier 
life, he continued his conversation, and I soon learned that 
I was acquainted with some of his friends in the l^orth- 
west. I have related this incident because it was the begin- 
ning of an intimate friendship which ever afterward existed 
between us. 

On the arrival of Captains Boling and Dill with their 
respective companies, we were deployed into skirmish line, 
and advanced toward the encampment without any effort 
at concealment. On discovering us the Indians hurriedly 
ran to and fro, as if uncertain what course to pursue. See- 
ing an unknown force approaching, they threw up their 
hands in token of submission, crying out at the same time 
in Spanhh, ^' Face/ pace/ ^^ (peace! peace!) We were at 
once ordered to halt while Major Savage went forward to 
arrange for the surrender. The Major was at once recognized 
and cordially received by such of the band as he desired to 


confer with officially. We found the village to be that of 
Pon-wat-chee, a chief of the Noot-chii tribe, whose people 
had formerly worked for Savage under direction of Cow- 
chit-tv, his brother, and from whose tribe Savage had taken 
Ee-e-ke-no, one of his former wives. The chief professed 
still to entertain feelings of friendship for Savage, saying that 
he was now willing to obey his counsels. Savage, in re- 
sponse, lost no time in preliminary affairs. 

lie at once told the chief the object of the expedition, and 
his requirements. His terms were promptly agreed to, and 
before we had time to examine the captives or their wig- 
wams, they had commenced packing tlieir supplies and re- 
moving their property from their bark huts. This done, 
the torch was applied by the Indians themselves, in token 
of their sincerity in removing to the Keservations on the 

By the Major's orders they had at once commenced their 
preparations for removal to a rendezvous, which he had se- 
lected nearly opposite this encampment, which was accessi- 
ble to horses. This plateau was also the location designated 
for our camp. This camp was afterwards used by an 
employe at the agency, whose name was Bishop, and was 
known as Bishop's Camp. It is situated on an elevated 
table, on the right side of the valley of the South Fork. 

"While the Indians were preparing for their transfer to 
the place selected, our tired and hungry men began to feel 
the need of rest and refreshments. We had traveled a 
much longer distance since the morning before than had 
been estimated in expectation of a halt, and many of the 
men had not tasted food since the day before. 

John Hankin told Major Savage that if a roast dog could 
be procured, he would esteem it an especial lavor. Bob 
McKee thought this a capital time to learn to eat acorn 
bread, but after trying some set before him by "a young 


and accomplished squaw," as the Major cynically termed 
her, concluded he was not yet hungry enough for its enjoy 

A call was made for volunteers to go back to bring up 
the reserve and supplies, but the service was not very 
promptly accepted. McKee, myself and two others, how- 
ever, offered to go with the order to move down to the se- 
lected rendezvous. Three Indians volunteerd to go with us 
as guides; one will seldom serve alone. We found the trail 
on the right bank less laborious to travel than was expected, 
for the snow had mostly disappeared from the loose, sandy 
soil, which upon this side of the river has a southwesterly 
exposure. On our. arrival in camp prej^arations were begun to 
obey the order of the Major. Wh ile coffee was being prepared 
Doctor Bronson wisely prescribed and most skillfully admin- 
istered to us a refreshing draught of ''^Aqtia Ardente.'^^ 

After a hasty hreahfast^ we took to our saddles, and tak- 
ing a supply of biscuits and cold meat, left the train and 
arrived at the new camp ground just as our hungry com- 
rades came up from the Indian village. The scanty sup- 
plies, carried on our saddles, were thankfully received and 
speedily disposed of. The Indians had not yet crossed the 
river. We found that we had traveled about twelve miles, 
while our comrades and the captives had accomplished only 

From this camp, established- as our headquarters, or as a 
base of operations while in this vicinity. Major Savage 
sent Indian runners to the bands ^vho were supposed to be 
hiding in the mountains. These messengers were instruct- 
ed to assure all the Indians that if they would go and make 
treaties with the commissioners, they would there be fur- 
nished with food and clothing, and receive protection, but 
if they did not come in, he should make v/ar upon them 
until he destroyed them all. 

AND INDIAN WAR OF :1851. 45 

Pon-wat-chee had told the Major when his own village 
was captured, that a small band of Po-ho-no-chees were en- 
camped on the sunny slope of the divide of the Merced, 
and he having at once dispatched a runner to them, they 
began to come into camp. This circumstance afforded en- 
couragement to the Major, but Pon-wat-chee was not en- 
tirely sanguine of success with the Yosemites, though he 
told the Major that if the snow continued deep they could 
not escape. 

At first but few Indians came in, and these were very cau- 
tious — dodging behind rocks and trees, as if fearful we would 
not recognize their friendly signals. 

Being fully assured by those who had already come in, of 
friendly treatment, all soon came in who were in our imme- 
diate vicinity. None of the Yosemites had responded to 
the general message sent. Upon a special envoy being sent 
to the chief, he appeared the next day in person. He came 
alone, and stood in dignified silence before one of the guard, 
until motioned to enter camp. He was immediately rec- 
ognized by Pon-wat-chee as Ten-ie-j^a, the old chief of the 
Yosemites, and was kindly cared fur — being well supplied 
with food — after which, with tlie aid of the other Indians, 
the Major informed him of the wishes of the commission- 
ers. The old sachem was very suspicious of Savage, and 
feared he was taking this method of getting the Yosemi- 
tes into liis power for the purpose of revenging his per- 
sonal wrongs. Savage told liim tliat if he would go to tlie 
commissioners and make a treaty of peace with them, as the 
other Indians were going to do, there woukl be no more 
war. Ten-ie-ya cautiously inquired as to the object of tak- 
ing all the Indians to the plains of the San Joaquin valley, 
and said: " My people do not want anything from the 'Great 
Father' you tell me about. The Great Spirit is our father, 
and he has always supplied us with all we need. We do 


not want anything from white men. Our women are able 
to do our work. Go, then; let us remain in the mountains 
where we were born ; where the ashes of our fathers have 
been given to the winds. I have said enough!" 

This was abruptly answered by Savage, in Indian dialect 
and gestures: "If you and your people have all you desire, 
why do you steal our liorses and mules? Why do you rob 
the miners' camps? Why do you murder the white men, 
and plunder and burn their houses?" 

Ten-ie-ya sat silent for some time; it was evident he un- 
derstood what Savage had said, for he replied: "My young 
men have sometimes taken horses and mules from the 
whites. It was wrong for them to do so. It is not wrong 
to take the property of enemies, who have wronged my 
people. My young men believed the white gold-diggers 
were our enemies; we now know they are not, and we will 
be glad to live in peace with them. We will stay here and 
be friends. My people do not want to go to the plains. 
The tribes who go there are some of them very bad. They 
will make war on my people. We cannot live on the 
plains with them. Here we can defend ourselves against 

In reply to this Savage very deliberately and firmly said: 
"Your people must go to the Commissioners and make 
terms with them. If they do not, your young men will 
again steal our horses, your people will again kill and plun- 
der the whites. It was your people who robbed my stores, 
burned my houses, and murdered my men. If they do not 
make a treaty, your whole tribe will be destroj^ed, not one 
of them will be left alive." At this vigorous ending of the 
Major's speech, the old chief replied: "It is useless to talk 
to you about who destroyed your property and killed your 
people. If the Chow-chillas do not boast of it, they are 
cowards, for they led us on. I am old and you can kill me 


if you will, but what use to lie to you who know more than 
all the Indians, and can beat them in their big liunts of 
deer and bear. Therefore I will not lie to you, but promise 
that if allowed to return to my people I will bring them in." 
He was allowed to go. The next day he came back, and 
said his people would soon come to our camp; that when 
he had told them they could come with safety they were 
willing to go and make a treaty with the men sent by the 
"Great Father," who was so good and rich. Another day 
passed, but no Indians made their appearance from the 
" deep valley," spoken of so frequently by those at our camp. 
The old chief said the snow was so deep that they could not 
travel fast, that his village was so far down (gesticulating, 
by way of illustration, with his hands) that when the snow 
was deep on the mountains they would be a long time climb- 
ing out of it. As we were at the time having another storm 
Ten-ie-ya's explanation was accepted, but was closely watch- 

The next day passed without their coming, although the 
snow storm had ceased during the night before. It was 
then decided tliat it would be necessary to go to tlie village 
of the Yosemites, and bring them in; and in case they 
could not be found there, to follow to their hiding-places in 
the deep canon, so often represented as sucli a dangerous 
locality. Ten-ie-ya was questioned as to the route and the 
time it would take his people to come in; and when he 
learned we were going to his village, he represented that 
the snow was so deep that the horses could not go through it. 
He also stated that the rocks were so steep that our horses 
could not climb out of the valley if they should go into it. 
Captain Boling caused Ten-ie-ya's statements to be made 
known to his men. It was customary in all of our expeditions 
where the force was divided, to call for volunteers. The men 
were accordingly drawn up into line, and the call made that 


all who wished to go to the village of the Yosemites were to 
step three paces to the front. When the order to advance was 
given, to the surprise of Captains Boling and Dill, each com- 
pany moved in line as if on parade. The entire body had vol- 
unteered. As a camp-guard was necessary, a call was then 
made for volunteers for this duty. When the word " march " 
was again repeated, but a limited number stepped to the 
front. Captain Boling, with a smile on his good-natured 
face, said: "A camp-guard will have to be provided in some 
way. I honor the sentiment that prompted you all to vol- 
unteer for the exploration, and I also appreciate the sacrifice 
made by those who are willing to stay; but these are too 
few. Our baggage, supplies and Indian captives must be 
well guarded. I endeavored to make the choice of duty 
voluntary, by representing the difficulties that might rea- 
sonably be expected, and thus secure those best suited for 
the respective duty of field and camp. I am baffled, but not 
defeated, fori have another test of your fitness; it is a foot- 
race. You know it has been represented to us by Ten-ie-ya 
that the route to his village is an extremely difficult one, and 
impassable for our horses. It may not be true, but it will 
be prudent to select men for the expedition who have proved 
their endurance and fleetness, I now propose that you de- 
cide what I have found so difficult." 

This proposition was received with shouts of laughter, and 
the arrangements for the contest were at once commenced, 
as it aflforded a source of frolicsome amusement. A hun- 
dred yards were paced oflP, and the goal conspicuously 
marked. A distance line was to determine who should con- 
stitute the camp-guard. I doubt if such boisterous hilarity 
and almost boyish merriment was ever before seen while 
making a detail from any military organization. 

The Indians were at first somewhat alarmed at the noisy 
preparations, and began to be fearful of their safety, but on 


learning the cause of the excitement, they, too, became in- 
terested in the proceedings, and ex])ressed a desire to par- 
ticipate in the race. Two or tliree were allowed to join in 
as proxies for the " heavy ones " who concluded not to run, 
though willing to pay the yonng Indians to represent them 
in the r;ice, ])rovided they came out ahead. One young In- 
dian did bent eveiy man, except Bob McKee, for whom he 
manifested great admiration. Many anxious ones ran bare- 
footed in the snow. The Indian's motions were not impeded 
by any civilized garments; a modest waist cloth was all 
they had on. In subsequent races, after a long rest, several 
of our men demonstrated that their racing powers were su- 
perior to the fastest of the Indian runners. Captain Bo- 
ling's racing scheme brought out the strong points of the 
runners. Enough were distanced in both companies to se- 
cure an ample camp-guard. The envious guard raised the 
point that this method of detail was simply a proof of legs, 
not brains. It was reported in camp that Captain Boling 
had kept a record of the speedy ones which he had tiled away 
for future use in cases where fleetness of foot would be re- 
quired for extra duties. 

Preparations were made for an early start the next mor- 
ning. The officer to be left in charge of the camp was in- 
structed to allow the Indians all liberty consistent with 
safety^ and to exercise no personal restraint over them un- 
less there should be an evident attempt to leave in a body; 
when, of course, any movement of the kind was to be de- 
feated. The Major said: "I deem tlie presence of the wo- 
men and children a sufficient hostage for the peaceful con- 
duct of the men, but do not allow any of them to enter our 
tents, or we may lose possession." 

This last injunction was to guard against annoyance from 
vermin. The pediculi of the Indian race have an especial 
affinity for them. White people have but little to fear from 



Indian vermin except the temporary annoyance that is ex- 
perienced from some species that infest animals and birds. 
They do not find the transfer congenial, and soon disappear. 
This fact may not be generally known, bnt I believe it to 
be a normal arrangement for the exclusive comfort of the 

To me this is quite suggestive, when considered as evi- 
dence of a diversity of origin of the races. I have been 
very particular in my observations in this matter, and have 
compared my own with the experiences of others, and have 
been led to the conclusion that each separate race has para- 
sites indigenous to that race, although the genus may be 
common to each. 

This reluctant adaptability of these " entomological in- 
conveniences" saved us from one of the curses of the an- 
cient Egyptians, when contact was unavoidable. 

As no information had been received from the camp of 
the Yosemites, after an early breakfast, the order was passed 
to " fall in," and when the order '' march " was given, we 
moved otf in single file, Savage leading, with Ten-ie-ya as 

From the length of time taken by the chief to go and 
return from his encampment, it was supposed that with 
horses, and an early start, we should be able to go and re- 
turn the same day, if for any cause it should be deemed 
desirable, although sufficient supplies were taken, in case 
of a longer delay. 

While ascending to the divide between the South Fork 
and the main Merced we found but little snow, but at the 
divide, and beyond, it was from three to five feet in depth, 
and in places much deeper. The sight of this somewhat 
cooled our ardor, but none asked for a '-'furlough.-^ 

To somewhat equalize the laborious duties of making a 
trail, each man was required to take liis turn in front. 


The leader of the column was frequently changed; no horse 
or mule could long endure the fatigue without relief. To ef- 
fect this, the tired leader dropped out of line, resigning his 
position to his followers, taking a place in the rear, on the 
beaten trail, exemplifying, that "the first shall be last, and 
the last shall be first." The snow packed readily, so that a 
very comfortable trail was left in the rear of our column. 

Old Ten-ie-ya relaxed the rigidity of his bronze features, 
in admiration of our method of making a trail, and assured 
us, that, notwithstanding the depth of snow, we would soon 
reach his village. We had in our imaginations pictured 
it as in some deep rocky canon in the mountains. 

While in camp the frantic efforts of the old chief to de- 
scribe the location to Major Savage, had resulted in the 
unanimous verdict among the " boys," who were observing 
him, that "it must be a devil of a place." Feeling encour- 
aged by the hope that we should eoon arrive at the residen- 
ces of his Satanic majesty's subjects, we wallowed on, alter- 
nately becoming the object of a joke, as we in turn were ex- 
tricated from the drifts. When we had traversed a little 
more than half the distance, as was afterwards proved, we 
met the Yosemites on their way to our rendezvous on the 
South Fork. 

As they filed past us, the major took acconnt of their 
number, which was but seventy-two. As the}^ reached our 
beaten trail, satisfaction w^as variously expressed, by grunts 
from the men, by the low rippling laughter from the squaws, 
and by the children clapping their hands in glee at the 
sight. On being asked where the others of his band were, 
the old Sachem said, "This is all of my people that are wil- 
ling to go with me to the plains. Many that have been 
with me are from other tribes. They have taken wives 
from my band ; all have gone with their wives and children 
to the Tuolumne and to the Monos." Savage told Ten-ie- 


ja that he was telling him that which was not true. The 
Indians could not cross the mountains in the deep snow, 
neither could tliej go over the divide of the Tuolumne. 
Tliat he knew they were still at his village or in hiding 
places near it. Ten-ie-ya assured the major he was telling 
him the truth, and in a very solemn manner declared that 
none of his band had been left behind — that all had gone 
before his people had left. His people had not started 
before because of the snow storm. 

With a belief that but a small part of Ten-ei-ya's band 
was with this party. Major Savage decided to go on to the 
Indian village and ascertain if any others could be found or 
traces of them discovered. This decision was a satisfactory 
one and met with a hearty approval as it was reported 
along the line. 

This tribe had been estimated by Pon-wat-chee and Cow- 
chit-tee, as numbering more than two handred; as about 
that number usually congregated when they met together 
to ''''cache''' their acorns in the valley, or for a grand an- 
nual hunt and drive of game; a custom which secured an 
abundant supply for the feast that followed. 

At other times they were scattered in bands on the sun- 
ny slopes of the ridges, and in the mountain glens. Ten-ie- 
ya had been an unwilling guide thus far, and Major Savage 
said to him: " You may return to camp with your people, 
and I will take one of your young men with me. There 
are but few of your people here. Your tribe is large. I 
am going to your village to see your people, who will not 
come with you. They will come with me if I find 

Savage then selected one of the young " braves " to ac- 
company him. Ten-ie-ya replied, as the young Indian 
stepped forward by his direction, " I will go with my people; 
my young man shall go with you to mj^ village. You will 


not find any people there. I do not know where they are. 
My tribe is snia^l — not large, as the white chief has said. 
The Pai-utes and Mono's are all gone. Many of the people 
with my tribe are irom western tribes that have come to 
me and do not wish to return. If they go to the plains and 
are seen, they will be killed by the friends of those with 
whom they had quarreled. I have talked with my people 
and told them I was going to see the white chiefs sent to 
make peace. I was told that I was growing old, and it was 
well that I should go, but that young and strong men can 
find plenty in the mountains; therefore why should they 
go? to be yarded like horses and cattle. My heart has been 
sore since that talk, but I am now willing to go, for it is 
best for my people that I do so." 

The Major listened to the old Indian's volubility for 
awhile, but interrupted him with a cheering "Forward 
march!" at which the impatient command moved briskly 
forward over the now partly broken trail, leaving the chief 
alone, as his people had already gone on. 

We found the traveling much less laborious than before, 
,and it seemed but a short time after we left the Indians 
before we suddenly came in full view of the valley in 
which was the village, or rather the encampments of 
the Yosemities. The immensity of rock I had seen in my 
vision on the Old Bear Yalley trail from Kidley's Ferry 
was here presented to my astonished gaze. The mystery 
of that scene was here disclosed. My awe was increased by 
this nearer view. The face of the immense cliff was shad- 
owed by the declining sun; its outlines only had been seen 
at a distance. This towering mass 

" Fools our fond gaze, and greatest of the great, 
Defies at first our Nature's littleness, 
Till, growing with (to) its growth, we thus dilate 
Our spirits to the size of that they contemplate.'* 



That stupendous cliff is now known as "El Capitan " 
(the Captain), and the plateau from which we had our first 
view of the valley, as Mount Beatitude. 

It has been said that " it is not easy to describe in words 

the precise impressions which 
great objects make upon us." 
I cannot describe how com- 
pletely I realized this truth. 
None but those who have vis- 
ited this most wonderful val- 
ley, can even imagine the feel- 
ings with which I looked upon 
the view that was there pre- 
sented. The grandeur of the 
ti|i|^^'scene was but softened by the 
yf\ haze that hung over the val- 
ley, — light as gossamer — and 
by the clouds which partially 
dimmed the higher cliffs and 
II mountains. This obscurity of 
vision but increased the awe 
with which I beheld it, and as 
I looked, a peculiar exalted 
sensation seemed to fill my whole 
I being, and I found my eyes in tears 
;|with emotion. 

During many subsequent visits to 
this locality, this sensation was never 
again so fully aroused. It is prob- 
able that the shadows fast clothing all 
before me, and the vapory clouds 
at the head of the valley, leaving the view beyond still unde- 
fined, gave a weirdness to the scene, that made it so impres- 
sive; and the conviction that it was utterly indescribable 

(3,300 feet in height.) 


added strength to the emotion. It is not possible for the 
same intensity of feeling to be aroused more than once by 
the same object, although I never looked upon these scenes 
except with wonder and admiration. 

Richardson, in his admirable work, "Beyond the Missis- 
sippi," says: "See Yosemite and die! I sliall not attempt 
to describe it; the subject is too large and my capacity too 
small. * * * Painfully at first these stupendous walls 
confuse the mind. By degrees, day after day, the sight of 
them clears it, until at last one receives a just impression 
of their solemn immensity. ^ * * Yolumes ought to 
be and will be written about it." 

Mr. Richardson has expressed in graphic language the 
impressions produced upon nearly all who for the first time 
behold this wonderful valley. The public has now, to a cer- 
tain degree, been prepared for these scenes. 

They are educated by the descriptions, sketches, photo- 
graphs and masterly paintings of Hill and Bierstadt; 
whereas, on our first visit, our imagination had been mis- 
led by the descriptive misrepresentations of savages, whose 
prime object was to keep us from their safe retreat, until 
we had expected to see some terrible abyss. The reality so 
little resembled the picture of imagination, that my aston- 
ishment was the more overpowering. 

To obtain a more distinct and quiet view, I had left the 
trail and \nj horse and wallowed through the snow alone to 
a projecting granite ruck. So interested was I in the scene 
before me, that I did not observe that my comrades had all 
moved on, and that I would soon be left indeed alone. My 
situation attracted the attention of Major Savage, — who 
was riding in rear of column, — who hailed me from the 
trail below with, "you had better wake up from that dream 
up there, or you may lose your hair ; I have no faith in 
Ten-ie-ya's statement that there are no Indians about here. 


\Ye had better be moving; some of the murdering devils 
may be lurking along this trail to pick off stragglers." I 
hurriedly joined the Major on the descent, and as other 
views presented themselves, I said with some enthu- 
siasm, " If my hair is now required, I can depart in peace, 
for I have here seen the power and glory of a Supreme 
being; the majesty of Ilis handy-work is in that 'Testi- 
mony of the Eocks.' That mute appeal — pointing to El 
Capitan — illustrates it, with more convincing eloquence 
than can the most powerful arguments of surpliced priests.'' 
" Hold up. Doc ! you are soaring too high forme; and per- 
haps for yourself. This is rough riding ; we had better 
mind this devilish trail, or we shall go soaring over some 
of these slippery rocks." We, however, made the descent 
in safety. When we overtook the others, we found blazing 
tires started, and preparations commenced to provide supper 
for the hungry command; w4iile the light-hearted "boys" 
were indulging their tired horses with the abundant grass 
found on the meadow near by, which was but lightly cov- 
ered with snow. 

Mr. J. M. Hutchings has recently cited Elliott's History 
of Fresno Connty and dispatches from Major Savage as 
proof that it was May 5th or 6th, 1851, that the Mariposa 
Battalion first entered the Yosemite, As a matter of 
fact, our adjutant was not with us when the discovery was 
made in March, nor was there ever but two companies 
in the Yosemite at any time, Boling's and part of Dill's. 
Captain Dill himself was detailed for duty at the Fresno, 
after the expedition in March, as was also the adjutant. 
In making out his report, Mr. Lewis must have ignored 
the first entry of tlie valley by the few men who discovered 
it, and made his first entry to appear as the date of the 
discovery. This may or may not have been done to give 
impoitaiice to the operations of the battalion. I have 
never seen the report. 



Naming- the Valley — Sig-nification and Orio^in of the Word — Tts proper 
Pronunciation: Yo-sera-i-ty — Mr. Hutchings and Yo-Ham-i-te— His 
Restoration of Yo-sem-i-te. 

My d voiit astoTiisliment at the supreme grandeur of tlie 
scenery by which I was surrounded, continued to engross 
my mind. The warmth of the fires and preparations for 
supper, however, awakened in me other sensations, which 
rapidly dissipated my excitement. As we rode up, Major 
Savage remarked to Capt. Boling, " We liad better move on 
up, and hunt out the "Grizzlies" before w^e go into camp 
for the niglit. We shall yet have considerable time to look 
about this hole before dark." Captain Boling then reported 
that the young guide had halted here, and poured out 
a volley of Indian lingo which no one could understand, 
and had given a negative shake of his head when the course 
was pointed out, and signs were made for him to move on. 
The Captain, not comprehending this performance, had fol- 
lowed the trail of the Indians to the bank of the stream 
near by, but had not ventured furtlier, thinking it best to 
wait for Major Savage to come up. After a few inquiries, 
the Major said there was a ford below, where the Indians 
crossed the Merced; and that he would go with the guide 
and examine it. Major Savage and Captains Boling and 
Dill then started down to the crossing. They soon re- 
turned, and we were ordei-ed to arrange our camp for the 
night. Captain Boling said the Merced was too high to 


ford. The river had swollen during the day from the melt- 
ing of the snow, but would fall again by morning. 

The guide had told the Major there was no other way up 
the valley, as it was impossible to pass the rocks on the 
south side of the stream. From this, it was evident the 
Major had never before seen the valley, and upon inquiry, 
said so. One of our best men, Tunnehill, who had been 
listening to what the Captain was saying, very positively 
remarked : *'I have long since learned to discredit every- 
thing told by an Indian. I never knew one to tell the 
truth. This imp of Satan has been lying to the Major, and 
to me his object is very transparent. He knows a better 
ford than the one below us." A comrade laughingly ob- 
served : " Perhaps you can find it for the Major, and help 
him give us an evening ride; I have had all the exercise I 
need to-day, and feel as hungry as a wolf." Without a 
reply, Tunnehill mounted his litcle black mule and left at 
a gallop. He returned in a short time, at the same rapid 
gate, but was in a sorry plight. The mule and rider had 
unexpectedly taken a plunge bath in the ice-cold waters of 
the Merced. As such mishaps excited but little sympathy, 
Tunnehill was greeted with : " Hallo 1 what's the matter, 
comrade?" "Where do you get your washing done?" 
"Been trying to cool off that frisky animal, have you?" 
" Old Ten-ie-ya's Canon is not in as hot a place as we sup- 
posed, is it?" "How about the reliability of the Indian 
race?" To all these bantering jokes, though in an uncom- 
fortable plight, Tunnehill, with great good nature, replied : 
" I am all right ! I believe in orthodox immersion, but this 
kind of baptism has only confirmed me in previous convic- 
tions." The shivering mule was rubbed, blanketed, and 
provided for, before his master attended to his own com- 
fort, and then we learned that, in his attempt to explore a 
way across the Merced, his mule was swept off its feet, and 



both were carried for some distance down the raging tor- 

After Slipper, guards stationed, and the camp fires plen- 
tifnllj provided for, we-gatliered around 
the burning logs of oak and pine, found 
near our camp. Tlie hearty supper and 
cheerful blaze created a general good 



(630 feet in height.) 

feeling. Social converse and anecdotes — mingled with jokes 
— were freely exchanged, as we enjoyed the solace of our pipes 
and wanned ourselves preparatory to seeking further refresli- 
ment in sleep. While thus engaged, I retained a full con- 


scioiisness of our locality; for being in close proximity to 
tlie huge cliff that had so attracted my attention, my mind 
was frequently drawn away from my comrades. After the 
jollity of the camp had somewhat subsided, the valley be- 
came the topic of conversation around our camp fire. E'one 
of us at that time, surmised the extreme vastness of those 
cliffs; although before dark, we had seen El Capitan look- 
ing down upon our camp, while the " Bridal Yeil'- was 
being wafted in the breeze. Many of us felt the mysterious 
grandeur of the scenery, as defined by our limited opportu- 
nity to study it. I had — previous to my descent with the 
]\Xajor— observed the towering height above us of the old 
"Kock Chief,'- and noticing the length of the steep descent 
into the valley, had at least some idea of its solemn im- 

It may appear sentimental, but the coarse jokes of the 
careless, and the indifference of the practical, sensibly jarred 
my more devout feelings, while this subject was a matter 
of general conversation; as if a sacred subject had been 
ruthlessly profaned, or the visible power of Deity disre- 
firarded. After relatins: mv observations from the " Old 
Bear Yalley Trail," I suggested that this valley should have 
an appropriate name by which to designate it, and in a tone 
of pleasantry, said to Tunnehill, who was drying his wet 
clothing by our fire, " You are the first white man that ever 
received any form of baptism in this valley, arid you should 
be considered the proper person to give a baptismal name 
to the valley itself." He replied, " If whisky can be pro- 
vided for such a ceremony, I shall be happy to participate; 
but if it is to be another cold water affair, I have no desire 
to take a hand. I have done enough in that line for to- 
night." Timely jokes and ready repartee for a time changed 
the subject, but in the lull of this exciting pastime, some 
one remarked, " I like Bunnell's suggestion of giving this 


valley a name, and to-night is a good time to do it." "All 
right — if yon have got one, show yonr liaiid," was tlie re- 
sponse of another. Different names were proposed, but 
none were satisfactory to a majority of onr circle. Some 
romantic and foreign names were offei'ed, but I observed 
that a very large number were canonical and Scripture 
names. From this I inferred that I was not the only one 
in whom religious emotions or thoughts had been aroused 
by the mysterious power of the surrounding scenery. 

As T did not take a fancy to any of the names ])roposed, 
I remarked that "an American name would be the most 
appropriate; " that " I could not see any necessity for going 
to a foreign country for a name for American scenery — the 
grandest that had ever yet been looked upon. That it would 
be better to give it an Indian name than to import a strange 
and inexpressive one; that the name of the tribe who had 
occupied it, would be more appropriate than any I had 
heard suggested." I then proposed " that we give the 
valley the name of Yo-sem-i-ty, as it was suggestive, eu- 
phonious, and certii'] n\y Amerlca7i; that by so doing, the 
name of the tribe of Indians which we met leaviuir their 
homes in tliis valley, perhaps never to return, would beper- 
•etuated." I was here interrupted by Mr. Tunnehill, who 
tiipariently exchiimed: "Devil take the Indians and their 
:anies! Why should we honor these vagabond murderers 
>y perpetuating their name? " Another said: " I agree with 

rnntiehill; the Indians and their names. Mad An- 

hony's plan for me! Let's call this Paradise Valley." In 
reply, I said to the last speaker, "Still, for a young man 
with such religious tendencies they would be good objects 
'»n which to develop your Christianity." Unexpectedly, a 
earty laugh was raised, which broke U]) further discus 
>ion, and before opportunity was given for any others to 
object to the name, John O'Neal, a rollicking Texan of 


Capt. Boling's company, vociferously announced to the 
wliole camp the subject of our discussion, by saying, " Hear 
ve! Hear ye! Hear ye! A vote will now be taken to decide 
what name shall be given to this valley." The question of 
giving it the name of Yo-sem-i-ty was then explained; and 
upon a viva voce vote being taken, it was almost unani- 
mously adopted. The name that was there and thus adopted 
by us, while seated around our camp fires, on the tirst visit 
of a white man to this remarkable locality, is the name by 
which it is now known to tlie world. 

At the time I proposed this name, the signification of it 
(a grizzly bear) was not generally known to our battalion, 
although " the grizzlies " was frequently used to designate 
this tribe. Neither w^as it pronounced with uniformity. For 
a correct pronunciation. Major Savage was our best author- 
ity, tie could speak the dialects of most of the mountain 
tribes in this part of California, but he confessed that he 
could not readily understand Ten-ie-ya, or the Indian guide, 
as they appeared to speak a Pai-ute jargon. 

Major Savage checked the noisy demonstrations of our 
"Master of Ceremonies," but approvingly participated in 
our proceedings, and told us that the name w^as Yo-sem-i-ty, 
as pronounced by Ten-ie-ya, or 0-soom-i-ty, as pronounced 
by some other bands; and that it signified a full-grown griz- 
zly bear. He further stated, that the name was given to 
old Ten-ie-ya's band, because of their lawless and predatory 

As I had observ^ed that the different tribes in Mariposa 
County diftered somewhat in the pronunciation of this 
name, I asked an explanation of the fact. With a smile 
and a look, as if he suspected I was quizzing him, the 
Major replied : "They only difier, as do the Swedes, Danes 
and Norwegians, or as in the different Shires of England; 
but you know well enough how similar in sound words may 


be of entirely different meaning, and how much depends 
on accent. I have found this to be the greatest difficulty a 
learner has to contend with." 

After the name had been decided upon, the Major nar- 
rated some of his experiences in the use of the general 
"sign language" — as a Eocky Mountain man — and his 
practice of it when he first came among the California 
Indians, until he had acquired their language. The Major 
regarded the Kah-we-ah, as the parent language of the 
San-Joaquin Yalley Indians, while that in use by the 
other mountain tribes in their vicinity, were but so many 
dialects of Kah-we-ah, the Pai-ute and more JSTorthern 
tribes. When we sought our repose, it was with feelings 
of quiet satisfaction that I wrapped myself in my blankets, 
and soundly slept. 

I consider it proper, to digress somewhat from a regular 
narrative of the incidents of our expedition, to consider 
some matters relative to the name '' Yosemity." This was 
the form of orthography and pronunciation originally in 
use by our battalion. Lieutenant Moore, of the U. S. A. 
in his report of an expedition to the Yalley in 1852, substi- 
tuted e as the terminal letter, in place of y, in use by us; 
no doubt thinking the use of e more scholarly, or perhaps 
supposing Yosemite to be of Spanish derivation. This 
orthography has been adopted, and is in general use, but 
the proper pronunciation, as a consequence, is not always 
attainable to the general reader. 

Sometime after the name had been adopted, I learned 
from Major Savage that Ten-ei-ya repudiated the name for 
the Yalley, but proudly acknowledged it as the designation 
of his band, claiming that " when he was a young chief, 
this name had been selected because they occupied the 
mountains and valleys which were the favorite resort of 
the Grizzly Bears, and because his people were expert in 


killing them. Tliat his tribe had adopted the name because 
those who had bestowed it were afraid of ' the Grizzlies' 
and feared his band." 

It was traditionary with the other Indians, that the band 
to which the name Yosemite had been given, had originally 
been formed and was then composed of outlaws or refugees 
from other tribes. That nearly all were descendants of the 
neighboring tribes on both sides of "Kay-o-pha," or " Skye 
Mountains/^ the " High Sierras." 

Ten-ie-ya was asked concerning this tradition, and re- 
sponded rather loftily: "I am the descendant of an Ah- 
wah-ne-chee chief. His people lived in the mountains and 
valley where my people have lived. The valley was then 
called Ah-wah-nee. Ah-wah-ne-chee signifies the dwellers 
in Ahwahnee.". 

I afterwards learned the traditional history of Ten-ie-ya's 
ancestors. His statement was to the effect, that the Ah- 
wah-ne-chees had many years ago been a lai-ge tribe, and 
lived in territory now claimed by him and his people. 
That by wars, and a fatal black-sickness (probably small- 
pox or measles), nearly all had been destroyed. Tlie survi- 
vors of the band fied from the valley and joined other 
tribes. For years afterward, the country was uninhabited; 
but few of the extinct tribe ever visited it, and from a 
superstitious fear, it was avoided. Some of his ancestors 
had gone to the Mono tribe and been adopted by them. 
His father had taken a wife from that tribe. His mother 
was a Mono woman, and he had lived with her people while 
young. Eventually, Ten-ie-ya, with some of his fatlier's tribe 
had visited the valley, and claimed it as their birth-right. 
He thus became the founder of the new tribe or band, 
which has since been called the " Yosemite." 

It is very probable that the statement of Major Savage, 
as to the origin of the name as aj) pi i cable to Ten-ie-ya's 


band, was traditional with his informants, but I give credit, 
to Ten-ie-ya's own history of his tribe as most probable. 

From my knowledge of Indian customs, I am aware that 
it is not uncommon for them to change the names of per- 
sons or localities after some remarkable event in the history 
of either. It would not, tlierefore, appear strange that Ten- 
ie-ya should have adopted another name for his band. I 
was unable to lix upon any definite date at which the Ah- 
wah-ne-chees became extinct as a tribe, but from tlie fact 
that some of the Yosemites claimed to be direct descend- 
ants, the time could not have been as long as would be in- 
ferred from their descriptions. When these facts were 
communicated to Captain Boling, and Ali-wah-ne was as- 
certained to be the classical name, the Captain said that 
name was all right enough for liistory or poetry, but that 
we could not now change the name Yosemite, nor was it 
desirable to do so. I made every etlbrt to ascertain the sig- 
nification of Ah-wali-ne, but could never fully satisfy my- 
self, as I received diiferent interpretations at different times. 
In endeavoring to ascertain from T^n-ie-ya his explanation 
of the name, he, b}^ the motion of his hands, indicated de])th, 
while trying to illustrate the name, at the same time ])lnck- 
ing grass which he held up before me. From .he e ''.s/ v/.v '" 
I inferred that it must mean the deep ii"i':i:~>y valley :v !!, 
it may not mean that. Sandino was unahle to gi\ c iKs tnie 
signification, saying by way of ex])lanation that A li-w li- 
ne was a name of the old tribe, that he d(l not kn<'\\ . o\v 
to translate. Major Savai^e also said that Ten-ie-ya a;id a 
few of the old Indians in his band used words which he did 
not full}^ understand, and which the others could neitiier 
use nor explain. 

The dialect of the Yosemites was a composite of that of 
almost every tribe around them; and even words of Spanish 
derivation were discovered in their conversations. 


It is not uncommon for tlie mountain men and traders, 
to acquire a mixed jargon of Indian dialects, which they 
mingle with Spanish, French or English in their talk to an 
extent sometimes amusing. The Indians readily adopt 
words from this lingo, and learn to Anglicize Indian names 
in conversation with " Americans." This, when done by 
the Mission Indians, who perhaps have already made efforts 
to improve the Indian name with Mission Spanish, tends 
to mislead the inquirer after "j^z^re" Indian names. 

The Mission Indians after deserting, introduced and ap- 
plied Spanish names to objects that already had Indian 
designations, and in this way, new words are formed from 
corrupted Mission Spanish, that may lead to wrong inter- 
pretations. I learned from Knssio, the chief interpreter, 
that sometimes more than one word was used to express the 
same object, and often one word expressed different objects. 
As an illustration of corrupted Spanish that passes for In- 
dian, the words Oya (olla) and Hoya, may be taken. Oya 
signifies a water pot, and Hoya, a pit hole. From these 
words the Mission Indians have formed " Loj-a," which is 
used to designate camp grounds where holes in the rocks 
may be found near, in which to pulverize acorns, grass 
seeds, &c., as w^ell as to the " Sentinal Rock," from its fan- 
cied resemblance to a water pot, or long water basket. 
Another source of ditficulty, is that of representing by 
written characters the echoing gutteral sounds of some In- 
dian words. While being aware of this, I can safely assert 
that Yosemite, is purer and better Indian than is Missis- 
sippi, (" Me-ze-se-be," the river that runs every where; that 
is, *•' Endless rivei-) or many other names that are regarded 
as good if not pure Indian.^ 

* According to the Rev. S. G. Wright, of Leach Lake, Minnesota Res- 
ervation, and '^ Wain- ding''' (the source of the wind), the best interpreters 
of the Chippewa perhaps now living, but few, if any, of the Chippewa 
names for our lakes and rivers have been preserved in their purity. 


Our interpreters were, or had been, Mission Indians, who 
rendered the dialects into as good Spanish as they had at 
command, but rather than fail in their office, for want of 
words, they would occasionally insert one of their own 
coining. This was done, regardless of the consequences, 
and when chided, declared it was for our benefit they had 
done so. 

Attempts were made to supersede the name we had given 
the valley, by substituting some fancied improvements. At 
first, I supposed these to be simply changes rung on Yose- 
mite, but soon observed the earnestness of the sponsors in 
advocating the new names, in their magazine and news- 
paper articles. They claimed to have acquired tlie correct 
name from their Indian guides, employed on their visits to 
the Yosemite. 

In 1855 Mr. J. M. Hutchings, of San Francisco, visited 
the Yosemite, and published a description of it, and also 
published a lithograph of the Yosemite Fall. Through his 
energetic efforts, the valley was more fully advertised. He 
ambitiously gave it the name of Yo-Hamite, and tenaciously 
adhered to it for some time ; though Yosemite had already 

The Rev. Doctor Scott, of San Francisco, in a newspaper 
article — disappointing to his admirers — descriptive of his 
travels and sojourn there, endeavored to dispossess both 
Mr. Hutchings and myself of our names, and named the 
valley Yo- Amite : probably as a jpeace offering to us 

I did not at first consider it good policy to respond to 
these articles. I had no desire to engage in a newspaper 
controversy with such influences against me; but after so- 
licitations from Mr. Ayers, and other friends, I gave tlie 
facts upon which were based editorials in the " California 
Ciironicle," " Sacramento Union," the Mariposa and other 


Bj invitation of Mr. Hntchings, I had a personal inter- 
view with him in San Francisco, relative to this matter, and 
at his request furnished some of the incidents connected 
with our expedition against the Indians, as hereinbefore 
narrated. These he published in his magazine, and after- 
wards in his " Scenes of Wonder and Curiosity in Cali- 

This statement of facts was signed by myself, and certi- 
fied to by two members of the State legislature — James M. 
lioan and George H. Crenshaw — as follows: "We, the un- 
dersigned, having been members of the same company, and 
tlirough most of the scenes depicted by Doctor Bunnel', 
liave no hesitation in saying that the article above is cor- 

Mr. Hutchings says: *' We cheerfully give place to the 
above communication, that the public may learn how and 
by whom this remarkable valley was first visited and 
named; and, although we have ditr'ered with the writer and 
others concerning the name given, as explained in several 
articles that have appeared at different times in the several 
newspapers of the day, in which Yo-llamite was preferred; 
yet as Mr. Bunnell was among the first to visit the valley. 
we most willingly accord to him the right of giving it wh;.; 
si^ever name he pleases." 

Mr. llutcliin,s then goes on to explain how he obtained 
tlie name Yo-llamite trum his Indian guide Kos-sum; that 
its correctness was affirmed by John Hunt, previous to tin 
publication of the lith()gra])h of the great falls, etc., and 
during this explanation, says: ''Up to this time we ha^. 
never heard or known any other name than Yosemite; " 
and farther on in a manly way says: " Had we before known 
that Doctor Ihnmell and his ])arty were the first whites 
who ever entered ihc valley (although we have the honor of 
being tliefimt in later years to visit it and call public at- 


tention to it), we should long ago have submitted to the 
name Doctor Bunnell had given it, as the discoverer of the 

After my interview with Mr. Hatchings — for I had never 
heard the word Yo-Hamite until it was published by him— r 
I asked John Hunt, the Indian trader referred to, whei-e 
he had got the word furnished to Mr. Hatchings. John, 
with some embarrassment, said, that " Yo-IIem-i-te was the 
way his Indians pronounced the name." I asked what 
name? " Why, Yosemite," said John. But, I replied, you 
know that the Indian name for the valley is Ah-wah-ne ! 
and the name given by us was the name of Ten-ie-ya's band 'i 
"Of course, (said John,) but my Indians now apply the 
word Yo-Hemite to the valley or the territory adjacent, 
thouonh their name for a bear is Osoomity." John Hunt's 
squaw was called, and asked by him the meaning of the 
woi'd, but confessed her ignorance. Mr. Cunniniiham was 
also consulted, but could give us no certain information ; 
but surmised that the word had been derived from *'Le- 
Hamite 'The Arrowwood.'" Another said poss bly from 
"Heui-nock/' the Kah-we-ah word for God. As to Yo- 
Amite, insisted on by Doctor Scott, I made no effort to find 
an interpretation of it. 



Date of Discovery— First White Visitors— Captain Joe Walker's State- 
ment— Ten-ie-ya's Cunning— Indian Tradition— A lying Guide— The 
Ancient Squaw — Destroying Indian Stores — Sweat-houses — The 
Mourner's Toilet— Sentiment and Reality— Return to Head-quarters. 

The date of our discovery and entrance into the Yosemite 
was about the 21st of March, 1851. We were afterward 
assured by Ten-ie-ya and others of his band, that this was 
the first visit ever made to this valley by white men. Ten- 
ie-ya said that a small party of white men once crossed the 
mountains on the North side, but were so guided as not to 
see it; Appleton's and the People's Encyclopedias to the 
contrary notwithstanding.^ 

It was to prevent the recurrence of such an event, that 
Ten-ie-ya had consented to go to the commissioner's camp 
and make peace, intending to return to his mountain home 
as soon as the excitement from tlie recent outbreak subsid- 
ed. The entrance to the Yalley had ever been carefully 
guarded by the old chief, and the people of his band. As 
a part of its traditionary history, it was stated: "That 
when Ten-ie-ya left the tribe of his mother and went to 
live in Ah-wah-ne, he was accompanied by a very old Ah- 

* Captain Joe Walker, for whom " Walker's Pass " is named, told me 
that he once passed qu'te near the valley on one of his mountain trips; 
but that his Ute and Mono guides gave such a dismal account of the 
canons of both rivers, that he kept his course near to the divide until 
reaching Bull Creek, he descended and went into camp, not seeing the 
valley proper. 


wah-ne-chee, who had been the great * medicine man' of 
his tribe." 

It was through the influence of this old friend of his 
father that Ten-ie-ja was induced to leave the Mono tribe, 
and with a few of the descendants from the Ah-wah-nee- 
chees, who had been living with the Monos and Pai-Utes, 
to establish himself in the valley of his ancestors as their 
chief. He was joined by the descendants from the Ah-wah- 
ne-chees, and by others who had fled from their own tribes 
to avoid summary Indian justice. The old " medicine man" 
was the counselor of the young chief. ]^ot long before the 
death of this patriarch, as if endowed with prophetic wis- 
dom, he assured Ten-ie-ya that while he retained possession 
of Ah-wah-ne his band would increase in numbers and be- 
come powerful. That if he befriended those who sought 
his protection, no other tribe would come to the valley to 
make war upon him, or attempt to drive him from it, and 
if he obeyed his counsels he would put a spell upon it that 
would hold it sacred for him and his people alone; none 
other would ever dare to make it their home. He then cau- 
tioned the young chief against the horsemen of the lowlands 
(the Spanish residents), and declared that, should they enter 
Ah-wah-ne, his tribe would soon be scattered and destroyed, 
or his people be taken captive, and he himself be the last 
chief in Ah-wah-ne. 

For this reason, Ten-ie-ya declared, had he so rigidly 
guarded his valley home, and all who sought his protection. 
No one ventured to enter it, except by his permission; all 
feared the " witches" there, and his displeasure. He had 
"made war upon the white gold diggers to drive them 
from the mountains, and prevent their entrance into Ah- 

The Yo-sem-i-tes had been the most warlike of the 
mountain tribes in this part of California; and the Ah- 


wah-ne-chee and Mono members of it, were of finer build 
and lighter color than those commonly called " California 
Digger Indians." Even the " Dii>'gers " of the band, from 
association and the better food and air afforded in the moun- 
tains, had become superior to their inheritance, and as a 
tribe, the Yosemites were feared by other Indians. 

The superstitious fear of annihilation had, however, so 
depressed the warlike ardor of Ten-ie-ya, who had now be- 
come an old man, that he had decided to make efforts to 
conciliate the Americans, rather than further resist their 
occupancy of the mountains; as thereby, he hoped to save 
his valley from intrusion. In spite of Ten-ie-ya's cunning, 
the prophecies of the "old medicine" man have been 
mostly fulfilled. White horsemen have entered Ali-wah- 
ne; the tribe has been scattered and destroyed. Ten-ie-ya 
was the last chief of his people. He was killed by the 
chief of the Monos, not because of the prophecy; nor yet 
because of our entrance into his territory, but in retribu- 
tion for a crime against the Mono's hospitality. But I 
must not, Indian like, tell the latter part of my story 

After an early breakfast on the morning following our 
entrance into the Yosemite, we equipped ourselves for duty; 
and as the word was passed to "fall in," we mounted and 
filed down the trail to the lower ford, ready to commence 
onr explorations. 

The water in the Merced had fallen some during the 
night, but the stream was still in appearance a raging tor- 
rent. As we were about to cross, our guide with earnest 
gesticulations asserted that the water was too deep to cross, 
that if we attempted it, we would be swe])t down into the 
canon. That later, we could cross without difficulty. These 
assertions angered the Major, and he told the guide that he 
lied ; for he knew that later in the day the snow would melt. 


Turning to Captain Boling he said: "I am now positive 
that the Indians are in the vicinity, and for that reason the 
guide would deceive us." Telling the young Indian to re- 
main near his person, he gave the order to cross at once. 

The ford was found to be rocky; but we passed over it 
without serious difficulty, although several repeated their 
morning ablutions while stumbling over the boulders. 

The open ground on the north side was found free from 
snow. The trail led toward ^' El Capitan," which had from 
the first, been the particular object of my admiration. 

At this time no distinctive names were known by which 
to designate the clifi"s, waterfalls, or any of the especial ob- 
jects of interest, and the imaginations of some ran wild in 
search of appropriate ones. None had any but a limited 
idea of the height of this cliff, and but few appeared con- 
scious of the vastness of the granite wall before us; although 
an occasional ejaculation betrayed the feelings which the 
imperfect comprehension of the grand and wonderful exci- 
ted. A few of us remarked upon the great length of time 
required to pass it, and by so doing, probably arrived at 
more or less correct conclusions regarding its size. 

Soon after we crossed the ford, smoke was seen to issue 
from a cluster of manzanita shrubs that commanded a view 
of the trail. On examination, the smoking brands indicated 
that it had been a picket fire, and we now felt assured that 
our presence was knowm and our movements watched by the 
vigilant Indians we were hoping to find. Moving rapidly 
on, we discovered near the base of El Capitan, quite a large 
collection of Indian huts, situated near Pigeon creek. On 
making a hasty examination of the village and vicinity, no 
Indians could be found, but from the generally undisturbed 
condition of things usually found in an Indian camp, it was 
evident that the occupants had but recently left; appear- 
ances indicated that some of the wigwams or huts had been 



occupied during tlie night Kot far from the camp, upon 
posts, rocks, and in trees, was a large cache of acorns and 
other })rovisions. 

As the trail showed that it had been used bj Indians go- 



(4,737 feet in height.) 

ing up, but a short halt was made. As we moved on, a 
smoke was again seen in the distance, and some of the more 
eager ones dashed ahead of the column, but as we reached 
the ford to which we were led by the main trail leading to 



the right, our dashing cavaliers rejoined us and again took 
their places. These men reported that " fallen rocks " had 
prevented their passage up on the nortli side, and that our 
only course was to cross at the ford and follow the trail, as 
the low lands appeared too wet for rapid riding. Recrossing 
the Merced to the south-side, we found trails leading both 
up and down the river. A detacliment was sent down to 
reconnoitre tlie open Imd below, while the main column 
pursued its course. The smoke we had seen was soon dis- 
covered to be rising from another encampment nearly 


(3,568 feet in height.) 

south of the "Royal Arches;" and at the forks of the 
Ten-ie-ya branch of the Merced, near the south-west base of 
the " Half Dome," still another group of huts was brought 
to view. 

These discoveries necessitated the recrossing of the river, 
which had now again become quite swollen; but by this 
time our horses and ourselves had become used to the icy 
waters, and when at times our animals lost their footing at 
the fords, they were not at all alarmed, but vigorously 
swam to the shore. 


Abundant evidences were again found to indicate that 
the huts here had but just been deserted; that they had 
been occupied that morning. Although a rigid search was 
made, no Indians were found. Scouting parties in charge 
of Lieutenants Gilbert and Chandler, were sent out to ex- 
amine each branch of the valley, but this was soon found 
to be an impossib e task to accomplish in one day. While 
exploring among the rocks that had fallen from the " Eoyal 
Arches " at the southwesterly base of the E'orth Dome, 
my attention was attracted to a huge rock stilted upon 
some smaller ones. Cautiously glancing underneath, I was 
for a moment startled by a living object. Involuntarily 
my rifle was brought to bear on it, when I discovered the 
object to be a female; an extremely old squaw, but with a 
countenance that could only be likened to a vivified Egyp- 
tian mummy. This creature exhibited no expression of 
alarm, and was app irently indifferent to hope or fear, love 
or hate. I hailed one of my comrades on his way to camp, 
to report to Major Savage that I had discovered a peculiar 
living ethnological curiosity, and to bring something for it 
to eat. She was seated on the ground, hovering over the 
remnants of an almost exhausted fire. I replenished her 
supply of fuel, and waited for the Major. She neither 
spoke or exhibited any curiosity as to my presence. 

Major Savage soon came, but could elicit nothing of im- 
portance from her. When asked where her companions 
were, she understood the dialect used, for she very curtly 
replied "You can hunt for them if you want to see them"! 
When asked why she was left alone, she replied " I am too 
old to climb the rocks"! The Major — forgetting the gal- 
lantry due her sex — inquired " How old are you?" With 
an ineffably scornful grunt, and a coquettish leer at the 
Major, she maintained an indignant silence. This attempt 
at a smile, left the Major in doubt as to her age. Subse- 



quentlv, wlien 
Ten-ie-ya was in- 
terrogated as to 
the age of tliis 
old squaw, he re- 
plied that "T^o 
one knows her 
age. That when 
he was a boy, it 
w^as a favorite 
tradition of the 
old members of 
h i s band, that 
when she was a 
child, the peaks 
of the Sierras 
were but little 
lills.'^ This free 
was given by the 
Major, while 
seated around 
the caujp fire at 
night. If not 
reliahle^ it was 
amusing to the 
"Boys," and ad- 
ded to the Ma- 
or's po])ularit3^ 
On a subsequent 
visit to the Yal- 
ley, an attempt was made to send the old 
freatiire to the commissioner's camp; she 
wa. i)laced on a mule and stai-ted. As 


she could not bear the fatigue, she was left with another 
squaw. We learned that she soon after departed ^' to the 
happy land in the West."^^ 

The detachment sent down the trail reported the discovery 
of a small rancheria, a short distance above the "Cathedral 
Rocks," but the huts were unoccupied. They also reported 
the continuance of the trail down the left bank. The other 
detachments found huts in groups, but no Indians. At all 
of these localities the stores of food were abundant. 

Their caches were principally of acorns, although many 
contained bay (California laurel), Fiiion pine (Digger pine), 
and chinquepin nuts, grass seeds, wild rye or oats (scorched), 
dried worms, scorched grasshoppers, and what proved to be 
the dried larvae of insects, which I was afterwards told were 
gathered from the waters of the lakes in and east of the 
Sierra Nevada. It was by this time quite clear that a large 
number of Ten-ie-ya's band was hidden in the cliffs or 
among the rocky gorges or canons, not accessible to us from 
the knowledge we then had of their trails and passes. We 
had not the time, nor had we supplied ourselves sufficiently 
to hunt them out. It was therefore decided that the best 
policy was to destroy their huts and stores, with a view of 
starving them out, and of thus compelling them to come in 
and join with Ten-ie-ya and the people with him on the res- 
ervation. At this conclusion the destruction of their prop- 
erty was ordered, and at once commenced. While this work 
was in progress, 1 indulged my curiosity in examining the 
lodges in which had been left their home property, domes- 
tic, useful and ornamental. As compared with eastern 
tribes, their supplies of furniture of all kinds, excepting 
baskets, were meagre enough. 

These baskets were quite numerous, and were of various 
patterns and for different uses. The large ones were made 
either of bark, roots of the Tamarach or Cedar, Willow or 


Tiile. Those made for gathering and transporting food 
supplies, were of large size and round form, with a sharp 
apex, into which, when inverted and placed upon the back, 
everything centres. This form of basket enables the car- 
riers to keep their balance while passing over seemingly 
impassable rocks, and along the verge of dangerous preci- 
pices. Other baskets found served as water buckets. 
Others again of various sizes were used as cups and soup 
bowls; and still another kind, made of a tough, wiry grass, 
closely woven and cemented, was used for kettles for boil- 
ing food. The boiling was effected by hot stones being 
continually plunged into the liquid mass, until the desired 
result was obtained. 

The water baskets were also made of "wire-grass;" be- 
ing porous, evaporation is facilitated, and like the porous 
earthen water-jars of Mexico, and other hot countries, the 
water put into them is kept cool by evaporation. There 
were also found at some of the encampments, robes or 
blankets made from rabbit and squirrel skins, and from 
skins of water-fowl. There were also ornaments and musi- 
cal instruments of a rude character. The instruments 
were drums and flageolets. The ornaments were of bone, 
bears' claws, birds' bills and feathers. The thread used by 
these Indians, I found was spun or twisted from the inner 
bark of a species of the asclepias or milk-weed, by inge- 
niously suspending a stone to the iibre, and whirling it with 
great rapidity. Sinews are chiefly used for sewing skins, 
for covering their bows and feathering their arrows. Theii 
fish spears were but a single tine of bone, with a cord so 
attached near the centre, that when the spear, loosely placed 
in a socket in the pole, was pulled out by the struggles of 
the fish, the tine and cord would hold it as securely as 
though held by a barbed hook. 

There were many things found that only an Indian could 


possibly use, and which it would be useless for me to at- 
tempt to describe; such, for instance, as stag-horn ham- 
mers, deer prong punches (for making arrow-heads), ob- 
sidian, pumice-stone and salt brought from the eastern 
slope of the Sierras and from the desert lakes. In the 
hurry of their departure they had left everything. The 
numerous bones of animals scattered about the camps, in- 
dicated their love of horse-flesh as a diet. 

Among these relics could be distinguished the bones of 
horses and mules, as well as other animals, eaten by these 
savages. Deers and bears were frequently driven into the 
valley during their seasons of migration, and were killed 
by expert hunters perched upon rocks and in trees that 
commanded their runways or trails ; but their chief de- 
pendence for meat was upon horseflesh. 

Among the relics of stolen property were many things 
recognized by our *^boys," while applying the torch and 
giving all to the flames. A comrade discovered a bridle 
and part of a riata or rope which was stolen from him with 
a mule while waiting for the commissioners to inquire 
into the cause of the war with the Indians! No animals 
of any kind were kept by the Yosemites for any length of 
time except dogs, and they are quite often sacrificed to 
gratify their pride and appetite, in a dog feast. Their 
highest estimate of animals is only as an article of food. 
Those stolen from the settlers were not kept for their use- 
fulness, except as additional camp supplies. The acorns 
found were alone estimated at from four to six hundred 

During our explorations we were on every side astonished 
at the colossal representations of cliffs, rocky canons and 
water-falls which constantly challenged our attention and ad- 

Occasionally some fragment of a garment was found, or 


other sign of Indians, but no trail could be discovered by 
ov/r eyes. Tired and almost exhausted in the fruitless search 
for Indians, the footmen returned to tlie place at which they 
had left their horses in the canons, and in very thankfulness 
caressed them with delight. 

In subsequent visits, this region was thoroughly explored 
and names given to prominent objects and localities. 

While searching for hidden stores, I took the opportu- 
nity to examine some of the numerous sweat-houses noticed 
on tlie bank of the Merced, below a large camp near the 
mouth of the Ten-ie-ya branch. It may not be out of place 
to here give a few words in description of these conve- 
niences of a permanent Indian encampment, and the uses 
for which they are considered a necessity. 

The remains of these structures are sometimes mis'aken 
for Tumuli. They were constructed of poles, bark, grass 
and mud. The frame- work of poles is first covered with 
bark, reeds or grass, and then the mud — as tenacious as the 
soil will admit of — is spread thickly over it. The structure 
is in the form of a dome, resembling a huge round mound. 
After being dried by a slight fire, kindled inside, the mud is 
covered with earth of a sufficient depth to shed the rain from 
without, and prevent the escape of heat from within. A 
small opening for ingress and egress is left; this comprises 
the extent of the house when complete, and ready for use. 
These sweat-baths are used as a luxury, as a curative for 
disease, and as a convenience for cleansing the skin, when 
necessity demands it, although the Indian race is not noted 
for cleanliness. 

As a luxury, no Russian or Turkish bath is more enjoyed 
by civilized people, than are these baths by the Mountain In- 
dians. I have seen a half dozen or more enter one of these 
rudely constructed sweat-houses, through the small aper- 
ture left for the purpose. Hot stones are taken in, the 


aperture is closed until suffocation would seem impending, 
when they would crawl out reeking with perspiration, and 
with a shout, spring like acrobats into the cold waters of 
the stream. As a remedial agent for disease, the same 
course is pursued, though varied at times by the burning 
and inhalation of resinous boughs and herbs. 

In the process for cleansing the skin from impurities, 
hot air alone is generally used. If an Indian had passed the 
usual period for mourning for a relative, and the adhesive 
pitch too tenaciously clung to his no longer sorrowful coun- 
tenance, he would enter, and re-enter the heated house, un- 
til the cleansing had become complete. 

The mourning pitch is composed of the charred bones 
and ashes of their dead relative or friend. These remains 
of the funeral pyre, with the charcoal, are pulverized and 
mixed with the resin of the pine. This hideous mixture 
is usually retained upon the face of the mourner until it 
wears off. If it has been well compounded, it may last 
nearly a year; although the young — either from a super- 
abundance of vitality, excessive reparative powers of the 
skin, or from powers of will — seldom mourn so long. When 
the bare surface exceeds that covered by the pitch, it is not 
a scandalous disrespect in the young to remove it entirely; 
but a mother will seldom remove pitch or garment until 
both are nearly worn out. 

In their camps were found articles from the miners' 
camps, and from the unguarded " ranchman." There was 
no lack of evidence that the Indians who bad deserted their 
villages or wigwams, were truly entitled to the soubriquet 
of " the Grizzlies," " the lawless." 

Although we repeatedly discovered fresh trails leading 
from the different camps, all traces were soon lost among 
the rocks at the base of the cliffs. The debris or talus not 
only afforded places for temporary concealment, but provi- 


ded facilities for escape without betraying the direction. If 
by chance a trail was followed for a while, it would at last 
be traced to some apparently inaccessible ledge, or to the 
foot of some slippery depression in the walls, up which we 
did not venture to climb. While scouting up theTen-ie-ya 
canon, above Mirror Lake, I struck the fresh trail of quite 
a large number of Indians. Leaving our horses, a few of 
us followed up the tracks until they were lost in the ascent 
up the cliff. By careful search they were again found and 
followed until finally they hopelessly disappeared. 
. Tiring of our unsuccessful search, the hunt was abandoned, 
although we were convinced that the Indians had in some 
way passed up the cliff. 

During this time, and while descending to the valley, I 
partly realized the great height of the cliffs and high fall. 
I had observed the height we were compelled to climb before 
the Talus had been overcome, though from below this ap- 
peared insignificant, and after reaching the summit of our 
ascent, the cliffs still towered above us. It was by insti- 
tuting these comparisons while ascending and descending, 
that I was able to form a better judgment of altitude; for 
while entering the valley, — although, as before stated, I had 
observed the towering height of El Capitan, — my mind had 
been so preoccupied with the marvelous, that comparison 
had scarcely performed its proper function. 

The level of the valley proper now appeared quite dis- 
tant as we looked down upon it, and objects much less than 
full size. As night was fast approaching, and a storm 
threatened, we returned down the trail and took our course 
for the rendezvous selected by Major Savage, in a grove of 
oaks near the mouth of " Indian Canon." 

While on our way down, looking across to and up the 
south or Glacier Canon, I noticed its beautiful fall, and 
planned an excursion for the morrow. I almost forgot my 



fatigue, in admiration of the solemn grandeur within my 
view; the lofty walls, the towering domes and numerous 
water-falls; their misty spray blending with the clouds set- 
tling down from the higher mountains. 

The duties of the day had been severe on men and horses, 
for beside fording the Merced several times, the numerous 

branches pouring 
over cliffs and 
down ravin es 
from the melting 
snow, rendered 
the overflow o f 
the bottom lands 
so constant that 
we were often 
compelled to 
sp ash through 
the water-courses 
that later would 
be dry. These 
torrents of cold 
water, command- 
ed more especial 
attention, and ex- 
cited more com- 
ment than did the 
grandeur of the 
cliffs and water- 

(550 feet in height.) 

falls. We were not a party of tourists, seeking recre- 
ation, nor philosophers investigating the operations of 
nature. Our business there was to And Indians who were 
endeavoring to escape from our charitable intentions toward 
them. But very few of the volunteers seemed to have any 
appreciation of the wonderful proportions of the enclosing 


granite rocks; tlieir curiosity had been to see the stronghold 
of the enemy, and the general verdict was that it was 
gloomy enough. 

Tired and wet, the independent scouts sought the camp 
and reported their failures. Gilbert and Chandler came in 
with their detachments just at dark, from their tiresome ex- 
plorations of the southern branches. Only a small squad 
of their commands climbed above the Yernal and Nevada 
falls; and seeing the clouds resting upon the mountains 
above the Nevada Fall, they retraced their steps through the 
showering mist of the Yernal, and joined their comrades, 
who had already started down its rocky gorge. These men 
found no Indians, but they were the first discoverers of the 
Yernal and Nevada Falls, and the Little Yosemite. They 
reported what they had seen to their assembled comrades at 
the evening camp-fires. Their names have now passed from 
my memory — not having had an intimate personal acquaint- 
ance with them — for according to my recollection they be- 
longed to the company of Capt. Dill. 

While on our way down to camp we met Major Savage 
with a detachment who had been burning a large cacJie lo- 
cated in the fork, and another small one below the mouth 
of the Ten-ie-ya branch. This had been held in reserve for 
possible use, but the Major had now fired it, and the flames 
were leaping high. Observing his movements for a few 
moments we rode up and made report of our unsuccessful 
efibrts. I briefly, but with some enthusiasm^ described my 
view from the cliff up the North Canon, the Mirror Lake 
view of the Half Dome, the Fall of the South Canon and 
the view of the distant South Dome. I volunteered a sug- 
gestion that some new tactics would have to be devised be 
fore we should be able to corral the " Grizzlies " or " smoke 
them out." The Major looked up from the charred mass 
of burning acorns, and as he glanced down the smoky val- 



ley, said: "This affords us the best prospect of any yet dis. 
covered; just look!" "Splendid!" I promptly replied, 
To-sem-i-te must be beautifully grand a few weeks laten 
when the foliage and flowers are at their prime, and the 
rush of water has somewhat subsided. Such cliffs and wa- 
ter-'alls I never saw before, and I doubt if they exist in any 
other place." 

I was surprised 
and somewhat ir- 
ri tated by the 
hearty laugh with 
which my reply 
was greeted. The 
Major caught the 
expression of my 
eye and shrugged 
his shoulders as 
he hastily said: "I 
suppose that is all 
right, Doctor, 
about the water- 
falls, &c., for there 
! are enough of 
them here for one 
|| 1 o c a 1 i t y , a s w e 
-i have all discover- 
ed; but my re- 
mark was not in 
reference to the 
scenery, but tlie 
prospect of the 
Indians being starved out, and of their coming in to sue for 
peace. We have all been more or less wet since we rolled up 
our blankets tliis morning, and this fire is very enjoyable, but 

(350 feet in height.) 



the prospect that it offers to mj mind of smoking out the 
Indians, is more agreeable to me than its warmth or all the 
scenery in creation. I know, Doc, that there is a good 
deal of iron in 
you, but there is 
also considerable 
sentiment, and I 
am not in a very 
mood." I replied 
that I did not 
think that any of 
us felt very much 
like making love 
or writing poetry, 
but that Ten-ie- 
ya's remark to 
him about the 
"Great Spirit" 
providing so 
bountifuUy for 
his people, had 
several times oc- 
curred to me since 
entering here, and 
that no doubt to 

Ten-ie-ya, this ^'°° ^''' •" ''''-''''^ 

was a veritable Indian paradise. "Well," 
said the Major, " as far as that is con- 
cerned, although I have not carried a 
Eihle with me since I became a nioiint- 
ain-man, I remember well enough that 
Satan entered paradise and did all the mischief lie could, 
but I intend to be a bigger devil in this Indian i^!ara:;Ise 


than old Satan ever was; and when I leave, I don't intend 
to crawl out, either. Now Doc. we will go to camp but 
let me saj while upon the subject, that we are in no con- 
dition to judge fairly of this valley. The annoyances and 
disappointments of a fruitless search, together with the cer- 
tainty of a snow-storm approaching, makes all this beau- 
tiful scenery appear to me gloomy enough. In a word, it 
is what we supposed it to be before seeing it, a h — of a 
place. The valley, no doubt, will always be a wonder for 
its grouping of cliffs and water-falls, but hemmed in by 
walls of rock, your vision turned in, as it were, upon your- 
self — a residence here would be anything but desirable for 
me. Any one of the Eocky Mountain parks would be pref- 
erable, while the ease with which buffalo, black-tail and big- 
horn could be provided in the " Eockies" would, in compar- 
ison, make your Indian paradise anything but desirable, 
even for these Indians.'' 

The more practical tone and views of the Major damp- 
ened the ardor of my fancy in investing the valley with all 
desirable qualities, but as we compared with each other the 
experiences of the day, it was very clear that the half had 
not yet been seen or told, and that repeated views would be 
required before any one person could say that he had seen the 
Yosemite. It will probably be as well for me to say here 
that though Major Savage commanded the first expedition 
to the valley, he never revisited it, and died without ever 
having seen the Yernal and Nevada Falls, or any of the 
views belonging to the region of the Yosemite, except those 
seen from the valley and from the old Indian trail on our 
first entrance. 

We found our camp had been plentifully supplied with 
dry wood by the provident guard, urged, no doubt, by the 
threatening appearances of another snow-storm. Some 
rude slielters of poles and brush were thrown up around the 


fires, on which were placed the drying blankets, the whole 
serving as an improvement on our bivouac accomodations. 
The night was colder than the previous one, for the wind 
was coming down the canons of the snowy Sierras. The 
fires were lavislily piled with the dry oak wood, which sent 
out a glowing warmth. The fatigue and exposure of the 
day were forgotten in the hihirity with wliich supper was de- 
voured by the hungry sc »ut> while steaming in their wet 
garments. After su!)pe:- Major Savage announced that 
*'from the very exteii i ve draft on the commissary stores just 
made, it wa.-* neces iry to r 'turn to the 'South Fork.' " He 
said that it would l)c a'lvirtai»le f >r us to return, as we were 
not in a con<li ion to endure delay if the threatened storm 
should prove to be a sev re one; and ordered both Captains 
Boling and Dill to have their companies ready for the 
march at davlio^lit the next morning. 

While enjoying the warmth of the fire preparatory to 
a night's rest, the incidents of our observations during 
the day were interchanged. The probable heights of the 
cliffs was discussed. One official estimated "El Capitan" 
at 400 feet!! Capt. Boling at 800 feet; Major Savage was 
in no mood to venture an opinion. My estimate was a 
sheer perpendicularity of at least 1500 feet. Mr. C. H. 
Spencer, son of Prof. Thomas Spencer, of Geneva, N. Y., — 
who had traveled quite extensively in Europe, — and a 
French gentleman. Monsieur Bouglinval, a civil engineer, 
who had joined us for the sake of adventure, gave me their 
opinions that my estimate was none too high; that it was 
probable tliat I was far below a correct measurement, for 
when there was so much sameness of height the judgment 
could not very well be assisted by comparison, and hence 
instrumental measurements alone could be relied on. Time 
has demonstrated the correctness of their opinions. These 
gentlemen were men of education and practical experience 


in observing the heights of objects of which measurement 
had been made, and qnietlj reminded their auditors that it 
was difficult to measure such massive objects with the eye 
alone. That some author had said : " But few persons have 
a correct judgment of height that rises above sixty feet." 

I became somewhat earnest and enthusiastic on the sub- 
ject of the valle}^, and expressed myself in such a positive 
manner that the '' enfant terrible*^ of the company deri- 
sively asked if I was given to exaggeration before I became 
an " Indian fighter." From my ardor in description, and 
admiration of the scenery, I found myself nicknamed "Yo- 
semity" by some of the battalion. It was customary among 
the mountain men and miners to prefix distinctive names. 
From this hint I became less f.xjyressive^ when conversing 
on matters relating to the valley. My self-respect caused 
me to talk less among my comrades generally, but with in- 
timate friends the subject was always an open one, and my 
estimates of heights were never reduced. 

Major Savage took no part in this camp discussion, but 
on our expressing a design to revisit the valley at some fu- 
ture time, he assured us that there was a probability of our 
being fully gratified, for if the renegades did not voluntarily 
come in, another visit would soon have to be made by the 
battalion, when we could have opportunity to measure the 
rocks if we then desired. That we should first escort our 
"captives" to the commissioners' camp on the Fresno; that 
by the time we returned to the valley the trails would be 
clear of snow, and we would be able to explore to our sat- 
isfaction. Casting a quizzing glance at me, he said: " The 
rocks will probably keep, but you will not find all of these 
immense water-powers.^^ 

IS^otwithstanding a little warmth of discussion, we cheer- 
fully wrapped ourselves in our blankets and slept, until 
awakened by the guard; for there had been no disturbance 


during the night. The snow had fallen only to about the 
depth of an inch in the valley, but the storm still contin- 

By early dawn " all ready" was announced, and we start- 
ed back without having seen any of the Indian race except 
our useless guide and the old squaw. Major Savage rode 
at the head of the column, retracing our trail, rather than 
attempt to follow down the south side. The water was rel- 
atively low in the early morning, and the fords were passed 
without difficulty. While passing El Capitan I felt like sa- 
luting, as I would some dignified acquaintance. 

The caehc.'i below were vet smoulderino', but the lodo^es 
had disappeared. 

At our entrance we had closely followed the Indian trail 
over rocks tliat could not be re-ascended with animals. To 
return, we were compelled to remove a few obstructions of 
poles, brush and loose rocks, placed by the Indians to pre- 
vent the escape of the animals stolen and driven down. 
Entire herds had been sometimes taken from the ranches or 
their ranges. 

After leaving the valley, but little difficulty was encoun- 
tered. The snow had drifted into the hollows, but had nut 
to any extent obscured the trail, which we now found quite 
hard. TTe reached the camp earlier in the day than we had 
reason to ex})ect. During these three days of absence from 
headquarters, we had discovered, named and partially ex- 
plored one of the most remarkable of the geographical won- 
ders of the world. 



Out of Provisions— A hurried Move— Mills where Indians take Their 
Grists, and Pots in which they Boil their Food— Advance Movement 
of Captain Dill— A Hungry Squad— Enjoyment— Neglect of Duty- 
Escape of Indians— Following their Trail — A Sorrowi'al Captain— A 
Mystery made Clear — Duplicity of the Chow-chillas — Vow-chester's 
Good- will Offering— Return of the Fugitives— Major Savage as Agent 
and Interpreter. 

On our arrival at the rendezvous on the South Fork the 
officer in charge reported: "We are about out of grub." 
This was a satisfactory cause for a hurried movement; for 
a short allowance had more terrors for men with our appe- 
tites than severe duties; and most of us had already learned 
that, even with prejudice laid aside, our stomachs would 
refuse the hospitalities of the Indians, if it were possible 
for them to share with us from their own scanty stores. 
The Major's experience prompted him at once to give the 
order to break camp and move on lor the camp on the 

Our mounted force chafed at the slowness of our march; 
for the Indians could not be hurried. Although their cook- 
ery was of the most primitive character, we were very much 
delayed by the time consumed in preparing their food. 

While traveling we were compelled to accommodate our 
movements to the capacities or inclinations of the women 
and children. Captain Dill, therefore, with his company 
was sent on ahead from the crossing of the South Fork, 
they leaving with us what food they could spare. When 


Dill reached the waters of the Fresno about one hundred 
''' captives ^^ joined him. These Indians voluntarily sur- 
rendered to Captain Dill's company, which at once hurried 
them on, and they reached the commissioners at the Fresno. 

Captain Boling's company and Major Savage remained 
with the " Grand Caravan," keeping out scouts and hun- 
ters to secure such game as might be found to supply our- 
selves with food. We had no anxiety for the safety or se- 
curity of our "captives;" our OAvn subsistence was the im- 
portant consideration ; for the first night out from Bish- 
op's camp left us but scanty stores for breakfast. Our halt- 
ing places were selected from the old Indian camj^ing 
grounds, which were supplied with hoyas (holes or mor- 
tars). These peimanent mortars were in the bed-rock, or 
in large detached rocks that had fallen from the cliffs or 
mountains. These " hoyas " had been formed and used 
by past generations. They were frequent on our route, 
many of them had long been abandoned; as there was no 
indications of recent uses having been made of tliem. From 
their numbers it was believed that the Indians had once 
been much more numerous than at that date. 

By means of the stone pestles with which they were pro- 
vided, the squaws used these primitive mills to reduce their 
acorns and grass seeds to flour or meal. While the grists 
weie being ground, others built the fires on which stones 
were heated. 

When red hot, these stones were plunged into baskets 
nearly filled with water; this is continued until the water 
boils. The stones are then removed and the acorn meal, or 
a cold mixture of it, is stirred in until thin gruel is made; 
the hot stones are again plunged into the liquid mass and 
and again removed. When suflSciently cooked, this "Atola" 
or porridge, was poured into plates or moulds of sand, pre- 
pared for that purpose. During the process of cooling, the 


excess of water leaches off through the sand, leaving the 
woody fibre tannin and unappropriated coarse meal in dis- 
tinctive strata; the edible portion being so defined as to be 
easily separated from the refuse and sand. This prepara- 
tion was highly prized by them, and contrary to preconceiv- 
ed ideas and information, all of the Indians I asked assured 
me that the hitter acorns were the best when cooked. This 
compound of acorn meal resembles corn starch blanc mange 
in color, but is more dense in consistency. Although it 
was free from grit, and comparatively clean, none of us 
were able to eat it, and we were quite hungry. From this, 
I was led to conclude that to relish this Indian staple, the 
taste must be acquired while very young. 

Old Ten-ie-ya's four wives, and other squaws, were dis- 
posed to be quite hospitable when they learned that our 
supply of provisions was exhausted. None of the com- 
mand, however, ventured to sample their acorn -jellies, grass- 
seed mush, roasted grasshoppers, and their other delicacies; 
nothing was accepted but the Pinon pine nuts, which were 
generally devoured with a relish and a regret for the scar- 

Certain species of worms, the larvse of ants and some 
other insects, common mushrooms and truffles, or wood- 
mushrooms, are prized by the Indian epicure, as are eels 
shrimps, oysters, frogs, turtles, snails, etc., by his white 
civilized brother. Are we really but creatures of educa- 
tion ? 

The hasl'ets used by the Indians for boiling their food 
and other purposes, as has been before stated, are made of 
a tough mountain bunch-grass, nearly as hard and as strong 
as wire, and almost as durable. So closely woven are they, 
that but little if any water can escape from them. They 
are made wholly impervious with a resinous compound 
resembling the vulcanized rubber used by dentists. This 


composition does not appear to be in the least affected by hot 
water. The same substance, in appearance at least, is used 
by Mountain Indians in attaching sinews to bows, and 
feathers and barbs to arrows. 

I endeavored to ascertain what the composition was, bnt 
could only learn that the resin was procured from small 
trees or shrubs, and that some substance (probably min- 
eral) was mixed with it, the latter to resist the action of 
heat and moisture. I made a shrewd guess that pulverized 
lava and sulphur (abundant east of the High Sierras) was 
used, but for some cause I was left in ignorance. The In- 
dians, like all ignorant persons, ascribe i-emarkable virtues 
to very simple acts and to inert remedies. Upon one occa- 
sion a doctor was extolling the virtues of a certain root, 
ascribing to it almost miraculous powers; I tried in vain to 
induce him to tell me the name of the root. He stated 
that the secret was an heir-loom, and if told, the curative 
power of the plant would disappear; but he kindly gave 
me some as a preventive of some imaginarj^ ill, when lo ! I 
discovered the famous remedy to be the cowslip. 

After a delayed and hungry march of several days, we 
halted near sundown within a few miles of the Commis- 
sioner's headquarters, and went into camp for the night. 
The Indians came straggling in at will from their hunts on 
the way, their trophies of skill with their bows being the 
big California squirrels, rabbits or hares and quail. Our 
more expert white hunters had occasionally brought in ven. 
ison for our use. We had ceased to keep a very effective 
guard over our " captives; " none seemed necessary, as all 
appeared contented and satisfied, almost joyous, as we neared 
their destination on the Fresno. 

The truth is, we regarded hostilities, so far as these In- 
dians were concerned, as ended. We had voted the peace 
policy a veritable success. We had discussed the matter in 


camp, and contrasted the lack of spirit exhibited by these 
people with what we knew of the warlike character of the 
Indians of Texas and of the Northwestern plains. In these 
comparisons, respect for our captives was lost in contempt. 
" The noble red man " was not here represented. The only 
ones of the Pacific Slope, excepting the Navahoes, Pimas and 
Maricopahs, that bear any comparison with the Eastern 
tribes for intelligence and bravery, are the You-mahs of the 
Colorado river, the Modocs, and some of the Kogue and 
Columbia river tribes, but none of these really equal the 
Sioux and some other Eastern tribes. 

Hardly any attention had been paid to the captives dur- 
ing the preceding night, except from the guard about our 
own camp; from a supposition that our services could well 
be spared. Application was therefore made by a few of us, 
for permission to accompany the Major, who had determin- 
ed to go on to the Fresno head-quarters. When consent 
was given, the wish was so generally expressed, that Captain 
Boling with nine men to act as camp guard, volunteered to 
remain, if Major Savage would allow the hungry " boys" to 
ride with him. The Major finally assented to the proposi- 
tion, saying: " 1 do not suppose the Indians can be driven 
off, or be induced to leave until they have had the feast I 
promised them; besides, they W'ill want to see some of the 
commissioner's finery. I have been delighting their imag- 
inations with descriptions of the presents in store for them." 

When the order was passed for the hungry squad to fall 
in, we mounted with grateful feelings towards Captain Bo- 
ling, and the "boys" declared that the Major was a trump. 
for his consideration of our need. With the prospect of a 
good "square" meal, and the hope of a genial "smile" from 
our popular commissary, the time soon passed, and the dis- 
tance seemed shortened, for we entered the Fresno camp 
before our anticipations were cloyed. Head -quarters was 


well supplied with all needful comforts, and was not totally 
deficient in luxuries. Our Quarter-Master and Commissa- 
ry was active in his duties, and as some good women say of 
their husbands, " He was a good provider.'* We had no 
reason to complain of our reception ; our urgent require- 
ments were cheerfully met. The fullness of our entertain- 
ment did not prevent a good night's rest, nor interfere with 
the comfortable breakfast which we enjoyed. While taking 
coffee, the self denial of Captain Boling and his volunteer 
guard was not forgotten. Arrangements were made to fur- 
nish the best edible and potable stores, that could be secured 
from our conscientious and prudent commissary. We were 
determined to give them a glorious reception; but — the 
Captain did not bring in his captives! Major Savage sent 
out a small detachment to ascertain the cause of the delay. 
This party filled their haversacks with comforts for the 
" Indian guard." After some hours of delay, the Major be- 
came anxious to hear from Captain Boling, and began to 
be suspicious that something more serious than the loss of 
his animals, was the cause of not sending in a messenger, 
and he ordered out another detachment large enough to 
meet any supposed emergency. Not far from camp, they 
met the Captain and his nine men (the ^''Indian guarcV) 
and one Indian, with the relief party first sent out. Our 
jovial Captain rode into ^^Head-quarters" looking mure crest 
fallen than he had ever been seen before. When asked by 
the Major where he had left the Indians, he blushed like 
a coy maiden and said: ''They have all gone to the moun- 
tains, but the one I have with me." 

Af er Captain Boling had made his rej^ort to the i>rajor, 
and made all explanations to the commissioners, and when 
he had refreshed himself with an extra ration or two of th 
potable liquid, that by SjieeiMl stipulation had hpen reserved 
for the '* Indian Guard," something of his old humor re- 


turned to him, and he gave us tlie details of his annoyances 
by the breach of trust on the part of " our prisoners." 

The Captain said: "Soon after you left us last night, one 
of my men, who was out hunting when we camped, came 
in with a deer he had killed just at the dusk of the even- 
ing. From this we made a hearty supper, and allowed the 
youth who had helped to bring in the deer to share in the 
meat. The Indian cooked the part given to him at our 
fire, and ate with the avidity of a famished wolf. This ex- 
cited comment, and anecdotes followed of the enormous 
appetites displayed by some of them. The question was 
then raised, 'how much can this Indian eat at one meal?' 
I su^o-ested that a fair trial could not be had with only one 
deer. Our hunter said he would give him a prelimi- 
nary trial, and when deer were plenty we could then test 
his full capacity, if he should prove a safe one to bet on. 
He then cut such pieces as we thought would suffice for our 
breakfast, and, with my approval, gave the remainder to his 
boy, who was anxiously watching his movements. I con- 
sented to this arrangement, not as a test of his capacity, for 
I had often seen a hungry Indian eat, but as a reward for 
his services in bringing in the deer on his shoulders. He 
readily re-commenced his supper, and continued to feast un- 
til every bone was cracked and picked. When the last 
morsel of the venison had disappeared he commenced a 
doleful sing-song, ' Waj^-ah-we-ha-ha, Wah-ah-we-ha-ha ' 
to some unknown deity, or, if I was to judge from my ear 
of the music, it must have been his prayer to the devil, for 
I liave heard that it is a part of their worship. His song was 
soon echoed from the camp where all seemed contentment. 
After consoling himself in this manner for some time he 
fell asleep at our fire. 

"The performance being over, I told my men to take their 
&]eep and I would watch, as I was not sleepy; if I wanted 


tlieiii I would call tliein. I then tliouo'ht, as Major Savao:e 
had declared, the Indians could scarcely be driven off, until 
they had had their feast and the presents they expected 
to have given them. I sat by the fire for a long time 
cogitating on past events and future prospects, when think- 
ing it useless to require the men to stand guard, I told them 
to sleep. Moving about and seeing nothing but the usual 
appearance, I decided it to be unneccessary to exercise any 
further vigilance, and told one of the men, who was partial- 
ly aroused by my movements, and who offered to get 
up and stand guard, that he had better lie still and 
sleep. Toward morning I took another round, and finding 
the Indian camp wrapped in apparently profound slumber, 
I concluded to take a little sleep myself, until daylight. 
This now seems unaccountable to me, for I am extremely 
cautious in my habits. Such a breach of military disci- 
pline would have subjected one of my men to a court- 
martial. I confess myself guilty of neglect of duty ; I 
should have taken nothing for granted. 

"Ko one can imagine my surprise and mortification when 
I was called and told that the Indian camp was entirely de- 
seMed, and that none were to be seen except the one asleep 
by our camp fire. My indifference to placing a guard over 
the Indian camp will probably always be a mystery to me, 
but it most likely saved our lives, for if we had attempted 
to restrain them, and you know us well enough to believe 
we would not have let them off without a fight: they would 
probably have pretty well used us up. As it was, we did 
not give them up without an eftbrt. We saddled our horses 
and started in chase, thinking that as while with us, their 
women and children would retard their pi-ogress, and that 
we would soon overtake them. We took the young brave 
with us, who had slept by our fire. He knew nothing of 
the departure of his people, and was very much alarmed, 


as he expected we would at once kill liim. I tried to make 
him useful in following tlieir trail; he by signs, gave me to 
understand he did not know where they had gone, and 
seemed unwilling to take the trail when I pointed it out to 
him. He evidently meant to escape the first opportunity. 
I kept him near me and treated him kindly, but gave him 
to understand I should shoot him if he tried to leave me. 

" We pursued until the trail showed that they had scattered 
in every direction in the brushy ravines and on the rocky 
side of a mountain covered with undergrowth, where we 
could not follow them with our animals. Chagrined and 
disgusted with myself for my negligence, and my inability 
to recover any part of my charge, and considering farther 
pursuit useless, we turned about and took the trail to head- 
quarters with our one captive." 

Major Savage took the youngster under his charge, and 
flattered him by his conversations and kindly treatment. 
The Commissioners lionized him somewhat; he was gaily 
clothed and ornameiited, loaded with presents for his own 
family relations, and was given his liberty and permitted to 
leave camp at his leisure, and thus departed the last of the 
'' grand caravan " of some three hundred and fifty " cap- 
tives," men, women and children, which we had collected 
and escorted from the mountains. 

The sight of the one hundred brought to them by Cap- 
tain Dill, and his report that we were. coming with about 
three hundred and fifty mure, aroused sanguine hopes in the 
commission that the war was over, and that their plans had 
been successful. " Now that the prisoners have fled," we 
asked, " What will be done? " 

To a military man, this lack of discipline and piecaution 
— through wliich the Indians e^CM])tHi — will seem unpar- 
donable; and an ofticer who, like our Captain, should leave 
his camp unguarded, under any circumstances, would be 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 101 

deemed disgracefnllv incompetent. In palliation of these 
facts, it may not occur to the rigid disciplinarian that Cap- 
tain John Boling and the men under him — or the most of 
them, had not had the advantages of army drill and disci- 
pline. The courage of these mountain-men in times of 
danger was undoubted; their caution was more apt to be 
displayed in times of danger to others, than when they 
themselves were imperiled. 

In this case Captain Boling was not apprehensive of dan- 
ger to those under his charge. His excessive good nature 
and good will toward his men prompted him to allow, even 
to command them, to take the sleep and rest that an irreg- 
ular diet, and the labor of hunting while on the march, had 
seemed to require. No one had a keener sense of his error 
than himself The whole command sympathized with him 
— notwithstanding the ludicrous aspect of the affair — their 
finer feelings were aroused by his extreme regrets. They 
determined that if opportunities offered, he should have 
their united aid to wipe out this stigma. Major Savage 
was deceived by the child-like simplicity with which the 
Indians had been talking to him of the feast expected, and 
of the presents tliey would soon receive from the commis- 
sioners. He did not suppose it possible that they would 
make an attempt to escape, or such a number would not 
have been left with so small a guard. We had men with 
us who knew what discipline was, who had been trained to 
obey orders without hesitation. Men who had fought un- 
der CoL Jack Hays, Majors Ben McCullough and Mike 
Chevallia, both in Indian and Mexican warfare, and they 
considered themselves well posted. Even these men were 
mistaken in their opinions. The sudden disappearance of 
the Indians, was as much a surprise to them as to our offi- 

With a view to solving this mystery Yow-ches-ter was 


sent for from his camp near by, where all the treaty tribes 
were congregated, and when questioned the Chief said that 
during the night Ohow-chilla runners had been in the camp, 
and to him in person with their months filled with lies; they 
had probably gone to the camp of those who were coming 
in, and they were induced to leave. Evidently he felt as- 
sured of the fact; but until questioned, his caution. Indian- 
like, kept him silent. Yow-ches-ter's sincerity and desire 
for peace was no longer doubted. Those who were suspic- 
ious of his friendship before were silenced, if not convinced, 
when he volunteered to go out and bring in such of the fu- 
gitives as he could convince of the good will of the com- 
missioners. The young Indian liad not yet left the camp, 
but was found relating his adventures and good fortune, 
and was directed to accompany Yow-ches-ter on his mis- 
sion of good will. The Chief was instructed to give posi- 
tive assurances of protection against hostilities, if any were 
threatened by the Chow-chillas. He was also instructed to 
dispatch runners to aid his efforts, and was told to notify 
all that the commissioners would not remain to be trifled 
with; if they wished peace they must come in at once. 
That if the commissioners should go away, which they soon 
would do on their way south, no further efforts for peace 
would be made. That the niountain men and soldiers of 
the whites were angry, and would no longer take their word 
for peace, but would punish tliem and destroy their sup- 
plies. After a few days Yow-ches-ter came back with about 
one hundred of the runaways; these were followed by 
others, until ultimately, nearly all came back except Ten- 
ie-ya and his people. All then in camp expressed a readi- 
ness to meet for a grand council and treaty. 

The reasons given by those who returned for their flight, 
were that just before daylight on the morning of their 
departure Chow-chilla runners (as had been surmised by 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 103 

Yow-ches-ter) came to their camp with the report that they 
were being taken to the plains, where they would all be 
killed in order to evade the promises to pay for their lands, 
and for revenge. 

In reply to the statements that they had been treated by 
the whites as friends, the Chow-chillas answered sneeringly 
that the whites were not fools to forgive them for killing 
their friends and relatives, and taking their property, and 
said tlieir scouts had seen a large mounted force that was 
gathering in the foot-hills and on the plains, who would 
ride over them if they ventured into the open ground of the 
reservation, or encampment at the plains. This caused 
great alarm. They expected destruction from the whites, 
and in the excitement caused by the Chow-chillas, threat- 
ened to kill Captain Boling and his men, and for that pur- 
pose reconnoitered the Captain's camp. The Chow-chillas 
dissuaded them from the attempt, saying: " The white men 
always sleep on their guns, and they will alarm the white 
soldiers below by their firing, and bring upon you a mounted 
force before yon could reach a place of safety." 

The young fellow that was asleep in Boling's camp was 
not missed until on the march; his appearance among them 
gaily clothed, after being kindly treated, very much aided 
Vow-ches-ter in his statement of the object of the council 
and treaty to be held. The runaways told the commission- 
ers that they felt very foolish, and were ashamed that they 
had been so readily deceived; they also expressed a wish 
that we would punish the Chow-chillas, for they had caused 
all the trouble. The reception they received soon satisfied 
them that they had nothing to fear. They were given food 
and clothing, and their good fortune was made known to 
other bands, and soon all of the tribes in the vicinity made 
treaties or sent messengers to express their willingness to 
do so, excepting the Chow-chillas and Yosemites. Even 


Ten-ie-ya was reported to have ventured into the Indian 
quarter, but taking a look at the gaudy c(jlored handker- 
chiefs and shirts offered him in lieu of his ancient and well- 
worn guernsey that he habitually wore, he scoffingly re- 
fused the offers. Turning towards his valley home, he sor- 
rowfully departed; his feelings apparently irritated by the 
evidences of vanity he saw in the gaudy apparel and weak 
contentment of those he was leaving behind him. Major 
Savage, who it was supposed would be the Indian agent at 
the end of the war, was absent at the time of Ten-ie-ya's 
visit, but "the farmer" showed the old chief all proper re- 
spect, and had endeavored to induce him to await the Ma- 
jor's return, but failed. 

Major Savage, though still in command of the battalion, 
now devoted most of his time to the commissioners; and 
the energy with which our campaigns had opened, seemed 
to be somewhat abating. The business connected with the 
treaties was transacted principally through his interpreta- 
tion, thouoh at times other interpreters were employed. 
The mission interpreters only translated the communica- 
tions made in the Indian dialects into Spanish; these were 
then rendered into Enulish by Spanish interpreters em- 
ployed by the commission. 

A pretty strong detail of men was now placed on duty 
at head-quarters on the Fresno, principally drawn from 
Captain Dill's Company. Adjutant Lewis had really no 
duties in the field, nor had he any taste or admiration for 
the snowy mountains — on foot. His reports were written 
up at head-quarters, as occasion required, and often long 
after the events had transpired to which they related. I 
was an amused observer upon one occasion, of Major Sav- 
age's method of making out an official report, Adjutant 
Lewis virtually acting only as an amanuensis. 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 105 


Campaigrn against the Chow- chHlas— The Favorite Hunting Ground— A 
Deer Hunt and a Bear Chase — An Accident and an Alarm — A Torch- 
light Powwow — Indians Discovered — Captain Boling's Speech — 
Crossing of the San Joaquin — A Line of Battle, its Disappearance — 
Capture of Indian Village — Jose Key's Funeral-pyre— Following the 
Trail — A Dilemma — Sentiment and Applause — Returning to Camp — 
Narrow Escape of Captain Boling. 

Major Savage now advised a vigorous campaign against 
the Chow-chillas. The stampeding of our captives was one 
of the incentives for this movement; or at least, it was for 
this reason that Captain Eoling and his company most 
zealously advocated prompt action. The commissioners 
approved of the plan, and decided that as the meddlesome 
interference of these Indians prevented other bands from 
coming in, it was necessary, if a peace policy was to be 
maintained with other tribes, that this one be made to feel 
the power they were opposing; and that an expedition of 
sufficient strength to subdue them, sliould be ordered im- 
mediately to commence operations against them. Accord- 
ingly, a force composed of B. and C. companies, Boling's 
and Dill's, numbering about one hundred men, under com- 
mand of Major Savage, started for the San Joaquin Eiver. 
The route selected was by way of " Coarse Gold Gulch," to 
the head waters of the Fresno, and thence to the North 
Fork of the San Joaquin. 

The object in taking this circuitous route, was to sweep 
the territory of any scattered bands that might infest it. 


We made our first camp on the waters of " Coarse Gold 
Gulch," in order to allow the scouts time to explore in ad- 
vance of the command. No incident occurred here to claim 
especial notice, but in the morning, while passing them, I 
made a hastj examination of one of the "Figured Eocks" 
to the left of the trail. 

I saw but little of interest, for at the time, I doubted the 
antiquity of the figures. Subsequently, in conversation with 
Major Savage he said that the figures had probably been 
traced by ancient Indians, as the present tribes had no 
knowledge of the representations. I afterwards asked San- 
dino and other Mission Indians concerning them, but none 
could give me any information. The scouts sent out were 
instructed to rendezvous near a double fall on the north 
fork of the San Joaquin in a little valley through which the 
trail led connecting with that of the north fork, as grass 
would there be found abundant. 

Major Savage was familiar with most of the permanent 
trails in this region, as he had traversed it in his former 
prospecting tours. As we entered the valley selected for 
our camping place, a flock of sand-hill cranes rose from it 
with their usual persistent yells; and from this incident, 
their name was aflSxed to the valley, and is the name by 
which it is now known. 

The scouts, who were watching on the trail below, soon 
discovered and joined us. " It is a little early for camp- 
ing," the Major said; "but at this season, good grass can 
only be found in the mountains in certain localities. Here 
there is an abundance, and soap root enough to wash a reg- 

We fixed our camp on the West side of the little valley, 
about half a mile from the double falls. These falls had 
nothing peculiarly attractive, except as a designated point 
for a rendezvous. 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 107 

The stream above the falls was narrow and very rapid, but 
below, it ran placidly for some distance through rich meadow 
land. The singularity of the fall was in its being double; 
the upper one only three or four feet, and the lower one, 
which was but a step below, about ten or tweh^e feet. In 
my examination of the locality, I was impressed witli the 
convenience with which suc-h a water-power could be utilized 
for mechanical purposes, if the supply of water would but 
prove a permanent one. 

From this camp, new scouts were sent out in search of 
Indians and their trails; while a few of us had permission 
to hunt within a mile of camp. While picketing our ani- 
mals, I observed the flock of sand-hill cranes again settling 
down some way above ns, and started with Wm. Hays to 
get a shot at them. We were not successful in getting 
within range; having been so recently alarmed, they were 
suspiciously on the look out, and scenting our approach, 
they left the valley. Turning to the eastward, we were 
about entering a small ravine leading to the wooded ridge 
on the j^orthwest side of the Fork, when we discovered 
two deer ascending the slope, and with evident intention of 
passing through the depression in the ridge before us. 

They were looking hach on their trail, assurance enough 
that ive had not been seen. We hurriedl}^ crept up the ra- 
vine to head them off, and waited for their approach. Hays 
became nervous, and as he caught a glimpse of the leader, 
he hastily said, " Here they come — both of them — I'll take 
the buck!" Assenting to his arrangement, we both fired 
as they rose in full view. The doe fell almost in her 
tracks. The buck made a bound or two up the ridge and 
disappeared. While loading our rifles Hays exclaimed, as 
if in disgust, "A miss, by jingoes! that's a fact." I re- 
plied, not so, old fellow, you hit him hard; he switched his 
tail desperately; you will see him again." We found him 


dead in the head of the next ravine, but a few rods off. 

Hanging up our game to secure it until our return with 
horses, we started along the slope of the ridge toward camp. 
Hajs was in advance, stopping suddenly, he pointed to 
some immense tracks of grizzlies, which in the soft, yielding 
soil appeared like the foot prints of huge elephants, and 
then hastily examining his rifle and putting a loose ball in 
his mouth (we had no fixed ammunition in those days, ex- 
cept the old paper cartridges), started on the tracks. At 
first I was amused at his excited, silent preparations and 
rapid step, and passively accompanied him. When we had 
reached a dense under-growth, into which the trail led, and 
which he was about to enter, I halted and said : "I have 
followed this trail as far as I design to go. Hays, it is 
madness for us to follow grizzlies into such a place as that." 
Hays turned, came back, and said in an excited manner, 
" I didn't suppose you would show the white feather with 
a good rifle in your hands; Cliandler gives you a different 
character. You don't mean to say you are afraid to go in 
there with me; we'll get one or two, sure. 

I was at first inclined to be angry, but replied, " Hays, I 
am much obliged to you for the good opinion you have had 
of me, but I know what grizzlies are. / am afraid of 
grizzlies unless I have every advantage of them; and don't 
think it would be an}^ proof of courage to follow them in 
there." Hays reached out his hand as he said: " If that is 
your corner stake, we will go back to camp." We s' ook 
liands, and that question was settled between us. After- 
wards Hays told of bis experience among Polar bears, and I 
rehearsed some of mine among cinnamon and grizzly bears, 
and he replied that after all he thought " we had acted 
wisely in letting the latter remain undisturbed. When in 
the brush they seemed to know their advantage, and were 
more likely to attack, whereas at other times, they would 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 109 

get out of your way, if they could." I replied by asking: 
*' Since you know tlieir nature so well, why did you want to 
follow them into the brush?" He retorted, ^'Simply be- 
cause I was excited and reckless, like many another man." 

Taking the back trail, we soon reached camp, and with 
our horses brought in the game before dark. While enter 
ing camp, several of our men rushed by with their rifles. 
Looking back across the open valley on our own trail, I saw 
a man running toward us as if his life depended on his 
speed. His long hair was fairly streaming behind as he 
rushed breathless into camp, without hat, shoes or gun. 
When first seen, the " boys " supposed the Chow-chillas 
were after him, but no pursuers appeared in sight. As 
soon as he was able to talk, he reported that he had left the 
squad of hunters he had gone out with, and was moving 
along the edge of a thicket on his way to camp, when he 
struck the trail of three grizzlies. Having no desire to en- 
counter them, he left their trail, but suddenly came upon 
them while endeavoring to get out of the brush. 

Before he could raise his rifle, they rushed toward him. 
He threw his hat at the one nearest, and started off at a 
lively gait. Glancing back, he saw two of them quarreling 
over his old hat; the other was so close that he dare not 
shoot, but dropped his gun and ran for life. 

Fortunate'y, one of his shoes came off, and the bear 
stopped to examine and tear it in pieces, and here no doubt 
discontinued the chase, as he was not seen afterwards, though 
momentarily expected by the hunter in his flight to camp. 

The hero of this adventure was a Texan, that was regarded 
by those who knew him best as a brave man, but upon this 
occasion he was without side arms, and, as he said, '* was 
taken at a disadvantage." The Major joked him a little 
upon his continued speed, but " Texas Joe" took it in good 
part, and replied that the Major, **or any other blank fool, 


would have run just as he did." A few of us went back with 
Joe, and found his rifle unharmed. The tracks of his pur- 
suers were distinctly visible, but no one evinced any desire 
to follow them up. 

We considered his escape a most remarkable one. 

A little after dark all the scouts came in, and reported 
that no Indians had been seen, nor very fresh signs discov- 
ered, but that a few tracks were observed upon the San Joa- 
quin trail. 

The news was not encouraging, and some were a little de- 
spondent, but as usual, a hearty supper and the social pipe 
restored the younger men to their thoughtless gayet}^ My 
recollections bring to mind many pleasant hours around the 
camp-fires of the " Mariposa Battalion." Many of the 
members of that organization were men of more than ordi- 
nary culture and general intelligence; but they had been 
led out from civilization into the golden tide, and had ac- 
quired a reckless air and carriage, peculiar to a free life in 
the mountains of California. 

The beauty of the little valley in which we were camped 
had so attracted my attention, that while seated by the camp- 
fire in the evening, enjoying my meal, I spoke of it in the 
general conversation, and found that others had discovered 
a *' claim" for a future rancho, if the subjection of the In- 
dians should make it desirable. The scouts mentioned the 
fact of there being an abundance of game as far as they had 
been, but that of course they dare not shoot, lest the Indi- 
ans might be alarmed. These men were j^rovided with ven- 
ison by Hays and myself, while many a squirrel, jack rab- 
bit, quail and pigeon was spitted and roasted by other less 
fortunate hunters. Our deer were divided among im- 
mediate friends and associates, and Captain Boling slylj^ 
remarked that " the Major's appetite is about as good as an 
Indian's." Major Savage seemed to enjoy the conversation 


in praise of this region, and in reply to the assertion that 
this was the best hunting ground we had yet seen, said: 
'* Where you find game plenty, you will find Indians not 
far off. This belt of country beats the region of the Yo- 
semite or the Poho-no Meadows for game, if the Indians 
tell the truth; and with the exception of the Kern River 
country, it is the best south of the Tuolumne River. It 
abounds in grizzlies and cinnamon bears, and there are some 
black bears. Deer are very plenty, and a good variety of 
small game — such as crane, grouse, quail, pigeons, road-run- 
ners, squirrels and rabbits — besides, in their season, water 
fowl. This territory of the Chow-chillas has plenty of black 
oak acorns (their favorite acorn), and besides this, there are 
plenty of other supplies of bulbous roots, tubers, grasses 
and clover. In a word, there is everything here for the 
game animals and birds, as well as for the Indians." 

I now thought I had a turn on the Major, for he was 
quite enthusiastic, and I said: "Major, you have made out 
another Indian Paradise; I thought you a skeptic." With a 
smile as if in remembrance of our conversation in the 
Yosemite, he replied: "Doc, I don't believe these Ohow- 
chilla devils will leave here without a fight, for they seem 
to be concentrating; but we are going to drive them out 
with a 'flaming brand.' I think we shall find some of them 
to-morrow, if we expect good Inck." Turning to Captain 
Boling he continued, " Captain, we must make an early 
move in the morning; and to-morrow we must be careful 
not to flush our game before we get within rifle-shot. You 
had better caution the guards to be vigilant, for we may 
have a visit from their scouts to-night, if only to stampede 
our horses." 

Taking this as a hint that it was time to turn in, I rolled 
myself in my blankets. My sleep was not delayed by any 
thoughts of danger to the camp, — though I would have 


admitted the danger of loss of animals — ^but I was awakened 
by a stir in camp, and from hearing the Major called. 

Sandino, the Mission Indian interpreter, had just come 
in from head-quarters, guiding an escort that had been sent 
for the Major. The Sergeant in command handed a letter 
to Savage, who, after reading it at the camp fire, remarked 
to Captain Boling, " the commissioners have sent for me to 
come back to head-quarters ; we will talk over matters in 
the morning, after we have had our sleep." He was snor- 
ing before I slept again. 

In the morning Major Savage stated that be had been 
sent for by the Commissioners to aid in treating with a d 1- 
egation of Kah-we-ah Indians sent in by Capt. Kuykendall, 
and regretted to leave us just at that time, when we were 
in the vicinity of the game we were after. That we would 
now be under the command of Captain Boling, etc. The 
Major made us a nice little speech. It was short, and was 
the only one he ever made to us. He then drew an outline 
map of the country, and explained to Captain Boling the 
course and plans he had adopted, but which were to be va- 
ried as the judgment of the Captain should deem to his 
advantage. He repeatedly enjoined the Captain to guard 
against surprise, by keeping scouts in advance and upon 

He then said he should leave Sandino with us, and told 
me that Spencer and myself would be expected to act as 
interpreters, otherwise Captain Boling could not make San- 
dino available as a guide or interpreter, as he cannot speak 
a word of English. 

" As surgeon to the expedition, I will see that you are 
paid extra. The endurance of those appointed, has been 
tried and found wanting; therefore I preferred to leave 
them behind." The Major then left us for head-quarters, 
which he would reach before night. 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 113 

Captain Boling crossed the North Fork below the falls, 
but after a few horses had passed over the trail, the bottom 
land became almost impassable. As I had noticed an old 
trail that crossed just above the falls, I shouted to the rear 
guard to follow me, and started for the upper crossing, 
which I reached some little distance in advance. Spurring 
my mule I dashed through the stream. As she scrambled 
up the green sod of the slippery shore I was just opening 
my mouth for a triumphant whoop, when the sod from the 
overhanging bank gave way under the hind feet of the 
mule, and, before she could recover, we sli])ped backwards 
into the stream, and were being swept down over the falls. 
Comprehending the imminent peril, I slipped from my sad- 
dle with the coil of my " riata " clasped in hand (fortunately 
I had acquired the habit of leaving the rope upon the mule's 
neck), and, by an eflfort, I was able to reach the shore with 
barely length of rope enough to take one turn around a sap- 
pling and then one or two turns around the rope, and by 
this means I was able to arrest the mule in her progress, 
with her hind legs projecting over the falls, where she re- 
mained, her head held out of the water by the rope. I held 
her in this position until my comrades came up and re- 
lieved me, and the mule from her most pitiable position. 
This was done by attaching another rope, by means of 
which it was drawn up the stream to the shore, where she 
soon recovered her feet and was again ready for service. 
Not so my medicines and surgical instruments, which were 
attached to the saddle. 

While Captain Boling was closing up his scattered com- 
mand, I took the opportunity to examine my damaged stores 
and wring out my blankets. Being thus engaged, and out 
of sight of the main column, they moved on without us. 
I hastily dried my instruments, and seeing that my rifle 
had also suffered, I hastily discharged and reloaded it. We 


passed over the stream below the falls, and were galloping 
to overtake the command, when I discovered a detachment 
with Captain Boling at the head, riding rapidly up the trail 
toward ns. As we met, the Captain returned my saluta- 
tion with ''Hallo, Doc, what the devil is the matter?" I 
explained the cause of our delay and the reason for the dis- 
charge of my rifle, when the Captain said: "We heard the 
report of your rifle, and I thought you were about to have 
a quilting party of your own, for I knew you would not 
waste lead foolishly, so came back to have a hand in the 
game." I apologized for tiring without orders and for caus- 
ing anxiety; but said, that to be frank, I had thought that 
my rifle being so wet, would only "squib." He good humor- 
edly replied, '* I am glad I found nothing worse, for you 
have had a narrow escape, and I think we had now better 
keep closed up." 

We soon overtook the command which was following the 
main trail to the upper San Joaquin. Crossing the aflSu- 
ent tributaries of the North Fork, we finally reached a 
branch now known as the Little San Joaquin. Here we 
again camped for the third time since leaving head-quarters. 
Lieutenant Chandler and a few of our most experienced 
scouts were detailed and sent out on duty. Captain Boling 
with a small guard accompanied Chandler for some distance 
out on the trail, and after exploring the vicinity of the 
camp and taking a look at "Battle Mountain" to the west- 
ward of us, returned without having discovered any fresher 
signs than had been seen by the scouts. That night the 
camp-guard was strengthened and relieved every hour, that 
there might be no relaxation of vigilance. A little before 
daybreak. Lieutenant Chandler and his scouts came in, and 
reported that they had discovered a number of camp fires, 
and a big pow-wow, on the main San Joaquin river. Satis- 
fied that Indians were there assembled in force, and that 

AND INDIAN WAU OF 1851, 115 

tliej were probably holding a war-dance, they returned at 

once to report their discovery. 

The camp was quietly aroused, and after a hasty break- 
fast in the early dawn, we mounted. Before giving the 
order to march, Captain Boling thought it advisable to give 
us a few words of caution and general orders in case we 
should suddenly meet the enemy and engage in battle. 
Thinking it would be more impressive if delivered in a for- 
mal manner, he commenced: " Fellow citizens! " (a pause,) 
"fellow soldiers!" (a longer pause,) "comrades," tremu- 
lously; but instantly recovering himself, promptly said: "In 
€o/uius{o7i, all 1 have to say, boys, is, that I hope I shall 
fight better than I speak." The Captain joined with his 
" fellow citizens " in the roar of laughter, amidst which he 
gave the order " march," and we started for the San Joa- 
quin at a brisk trot. 

No better or braver man rode with our battalion. His 
popularity was an appreciation of his true merit. On 
this occasion he was conscious of the responsibility of his 
position, and, for a moment his modesty overcame him. 
Although his speech lacked the l^ady flow of language, it 
eloquently expressed to his men the feelings of their Cap- 
tain, and we comprehended what he designed to say.* A 
short ride brought us in sight of the main river. As we 
drew near to it a party of about one hundred Indians were 
discovered drawn up as if to give us battle, but we soon 
found their line had been established on the opposite side 
of the stream ! while the swelling torrent between us seemed 
impassable. Our scouts discovered a bark rope stretched 
across the river, just above the mouth of the South Fork, 
which had been quite recently used. Their scouts had un- 

* In some way unaccountable to me, this speech appears in my article 
in Hutcbing's work, as if delivered before the fight at '* Battle Moun- 


doubtedlj discovered our rapid approach, and in their haste 
to report the fact, had neglected to remove this rope, by 
means of which, the crossing was made. The Indians of 
Northern climes are equally expert in crossing streams. 
In winter, they sprinkle sand upon the smooth ice, in order 
to cross their unshod ponies. The discovery of the rope be- 
ing reported to Cajitain Boling, he proposed to utilize it by 
establishing a temporary ferry of logs. On examination, the 
rope was found to be too slender to be of practical use, but 
was employed to convey across a stronger one, made from 
our picket ropes or '' riatas," tied together and twisted. 

•Two of our best swimmers crossed the river above the 
narrows, and pulled our rope across by means of the bark 
one. To protect the men on the opposite side, Captain 
Middleton, Joel H. Brooks, John Kenzie and a few other 
expert riflemen, stood guard over them. A float was made 
of dry logs while the rope was being placed in position, and 
this was attached to the one across the stream by means of 
a rude pulley made from the crotch of a convenient sapling. 
By this rude contrivance, we crossed to and fro without ac- 
c'dent. The horses and baggage were left on the right 
bank in charge of a small but select camp guard. As we 
commenced the ascent of the steep aclivity to the table 
above, where we had seen the Indians apparently awaiting 
our approach, great care was taken to keep open order. 
We momentarily expected to receive the fire of the enemy. 
The hill-side was densely covered with brush, and we cau- 
tiously threaded our march up through it, until we emerged 
into the open ground at the crest of the hill. Here, not 
an Indian was in sight to welcome or threaten our arrival. 
They had probably fled as soon as they witnessed our cross- 
ing. Captain Boling felt disappointed; but immediately 
sent out an advance skirmish liue, while we moved in 
closer order upon the village in sight, which we afWwai-ds 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 117 

found to be that of Jose Key. Arrived there, we found it 
forsaken. This village was beautifully situated upon an el- 
evated table lying between the South Fork and the main 
river. It overlooked the country oa all sides except the 
rear, which could have only been approached through the 
rugged canons of the forks. It would therefore have been 
impossible for us to surprise it. We found that the In- 
dians had left nothing of value but the stores of acorns 
near by. Captain Boling's countenance expressed his feel- 
ings, with regard to our lack of success. He ordered the 
lodges to be destroyed with all the supplies that could be 

While entering the village, we had observed upon a little 
knoll, the remnant of what had been a large fire; a bed of 
live coals and burning brands of manzanita-wood still re- 
mained. The ground about it indicated that there had been 
a large gathering for a burial-dance and feast, and for other 
rites due the departed; and therefore, I surmised that there 
had been a funeral ceremony to honor the remains of some 
distinguished member of the tribe. I had the curiosity to 
examine the heap and found that I was correct. On raking 
open the ashes of the funeral-pyre, the calcined bones were 
exposed, along with trinkets and articles of various kinds, 
such as arrow-heads of difi'erent shapes and sizes, for the 
chase and for warfare; a knife-blade, a metal lookino-.Mass 
frame, beads and other Articles melted into a mass. From 
these indications — having a knowledge of Indian customs 
— I inferred that the deceased was probably a person of 
wealth and distinction in Indian society. Calling Sandino 
to the spot, I pointed out to him my discoveries. Devout- 
ly crossing himself, he looked at the mass I had raked from 
the ashes, and exclaimed: ^' Jose Rey, ah! he is dead!" I 
asked how he knew that it was the body of Jose Eey that 
had been burned. He said: (picking up the knife-blade) 


" This was the knife of Jose Rej." He then told me " that 
a chief's property was known to all of liis people and to 
many other tribes. That many had been here to take part 
in the funeral ceremonies, and only a great chief would 
have so many come to do honor to his remains; besides we 
have known for a longtime that he would die." I reported 
this statement to Captain Boling, who thought it was cor- 
rect. It was afterwards confirmed by some of the followers 
of the dead chief 

Sandino was or had been a Mission Indian, and prided 
himself on being a good Catholic. I asked liim why the 
Indians burnt the bodies of their dead. He replied after 
devoutl}^ crossing himself, for no Indian will wilLngly speak 
of their dead. "The Gentiles (meaning the wild Indians) 
burn the bodies to liberate the spirit from it." After again 
crossing himself, ''We being Christians by the favor of 
God, are not compelled to do this duty to our dead. They 
enter into the spirit-world through the virtue of the blood 
of Christ; " then with his face gleaming with religious fer- 
vor, he said, *'0h! is not this a great blessing — no labor^ 
no pain^and where all have plenty .'^'^ On a more intimate 
acquaintance with Sandino, I found that he had an implicit 
belief in all the superstitions of his race, but that the saving 
grace of the blood of Christ was simply superior to their 
charms and incantations. 

My experience among other Indians, particularly the 
Sioux, Chippewa, and other tribes that have long had mis- 
sionaries among them, leads me to the conclusion that San- 
dino's views of Christianity will not be found to difier 
materially from those of many others converted. I after- 
wards had a much more satisfactory conversation with 
"Eussio," who verified Sandino's statement concerning 
their belief, and object in burning their dead. This Chief 
also gave me in detail some of their traditions and mythol- 
ogies, which I shall reserve for future description. 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 119 

Our scouts reported that the fresh trails followed by them 
led to the main trail up the canon of the river. Every- 
thing having been set on fire that would burn, we followed 
in pursuit toward the " High Sierras." Before starting the 
scouts that had gone up the South Fork canon were called 
in, and we lightened our haversacks by taking a hasty but 
hearty lunch. We followed the trail continuously up, 
passed a rocky, precipitous point, that had terminated in a 
ridge at the rear of the village, and pursuing it rapidly for 
several miles, we suddenly found that the traces we had been 
following disappeared. We came to a halt, and retracing 
our steps, soon found that they had left the trail at some 
bare rocks, but it was impossible to trace them farther 
in any direction. Sandino expressed the opinion that the 
Indians had crossed the river; and pointing across the 
foaming rapids said: "They have gone there!" He was 
denounced by the scouts for this assertion, and they swore 
that " an otter would drown if he attempted to swim in 
such a place." Captain Boling asked: "Is he a coward 
afraid of an ambush, or is he trying to shield his people by 
discouraging our advance?" After Spencer and myself had 
talked with him a few moments, we both expressed our 
faith in his loyalty, and told the Captain that we thought 
he was sincere in the opinion expressed, that the Indians 
had crossed to the other side. I stated that I did not think 
it impossible for them to do so, as they were all most excel- 
lent swimmers. That I had seen the Yumas of the Colo- 
rado river dive, time after time, and bring up fish caught 
with their bare hands, and perform other seemingly impos- 
sible feats. I would not, therefore, denounce Sandino 
without some proof of treachery. Captain Boling was not 
convinced, however, by my statements. It was decided 
that the Chow-chil-las had not crossed the river, and that 
we should probably find their trail further on. 


With scouts in advance, we resumed our march up the 
canon. The trail was rough, and, in places, quite precipi- 
tous; but we followed on until reaching a point in the canon 
where we should expect to iind " signs,^^ for there was no 
choice of routes, but this only trail up the canon had not 
been used by any one; and the advance were found await- 
ing the Captain's arrival at the gorge. The Captain was 
puzzled, and ordered a halt. A council was held, about as 
satisfactory as tlie other had been, but all agreed in the con- 
clusion that the Indians had beaten us in wood craft, and 
had artfully thrown us from their trail; though their signal 
fires were still to be seen at intervals on the high rocky 
points of the river. This was a common mode of commu- 
nication among them. By a peculiar arrangement of these 
fires during the night, and by the smoke from them during 
the day, they are able to telegraph a system of secret cor- 
respondenco to those on the look out. An arrow, shot into 
the body of a tree at a camp ground, or along a trail; or 
the conspicuous arrangement of a bent busli or twig, often 
shows the direction to be traveled. A bunch of grass, 
tied to a stick and left at the fork of a stream or trail, or at 
a deserted camp, performed the same service. Upon the 
treeless deserts or plains, a mark upon the ground, by camp 
or trail, gave the required information; thus proving that 
these people possess considerable intelligent forethought. 

After looking at the signal fires for some time, Captain 
Boling said; " Gentlemen, there is one tiling 1 can beat 
these fellows at, and that is in building fires. We will go 
back to the crossing, and from there commence a new cam- 
paign. We will build fires all over the mountains, so that 
these Indians will no longer recognize their own signals. 
We will make ours large enough to burn all the acorns and 
other provender we can find. In a word, we are forced in- 
to a mode of warfare unsuited to my taste or manhood, but 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 121 

this campaign has convinced me of the utter folly of at- 
tempting to subdue them unless we destroy their supplies 
of all kinds. Gentlemen,you can take my word for it, they 
do not intend to fight us, or they would have tried to stop 
us at the crossing, where they had every advantage." 

There is no point in the mountains more easy to defend 
than their village. It was located most admirably. If the}' 
had the liglit in them, that was claimed by Major Savage 
and the Indians at head-quai-ters, we could never have 
crossed the river or approached their village. Their cour- 
age must have died with Jose Rey. His courage must have 
been su]>posed to be that of the tribe. They have become 
demoralized, being left without the energy of the chief. 
Their warlike nature is a humbug. Talk about these In- 
dians defeating and driving back the Spanish Californians, 
after raiding their ranches, as has been told! If they did, 
they must have driven back bigger cowards than themselves, 
who have run away without even leaving a trail by which 
they can be followed. I don't believe it." The Captain 
delivered this serio-comic discourse while seated on a rock, 
with most inimitable drollery; and at my suggestion that 
they might perhaps yet show themselves, he replied rather 
impatiently: "Nonsense, they will not exhibit themselves 
to-day I " and with this convincing remark, he ordered our 

As we filed away from the narrow gorge, those left in 
rear reported "Indians!" Instinctively turning, we dis- 
covered on the opposite side of the river, a half dozen or 
more, not encumbered with any kind of garment. A halt 
was called, and Chandler and a number of others instantly 
raised their rifles for a shot. Thev were within range, for 
the canon was here quite nari-ow, but the Captain promptly 
said: "No firing, men! I am anxious for success, but would 
rather go back without a captive, than have one of those 


Indians killed, unless," he added after a moment's pause, 
" they are fools enough to shoot at us." Just at the con- 
clusion of this order, and as if in burlesque applause of the 
sentiment expressed by the Captain, the savages com- 
menced slapping their naked swarthy bodies in a derisive 

The laugh of our men was parried by the Captain, and 
although annoyed by this unexpected demonstration, he 
laughingly remarked that he had never before been so pecu- 
liarly applauded for anything he had ever said. The ab- 
surdity of the scene restored us all to a better humor. 
Again the order was given to inarch, and we resumed our 
course down the cailon, with the renewed demonstrations 
of the Indians. The orders of the Captain alone prevented 
a return salute, which would have promptly checked their 
offensive demonstrations. 

At the precipice, which we had so guardedly passed on 
our way up the canon, we came near losing our Captain. 
In passing this locality he made a mis-step, and slipped to- 
wards the yawning abyss at the foot of the cliff; but for a 
small pine that had been "moored in the rifted rock," no 
earthly power could have saved him from being dashed to 
the bottom. He fortunately escaped witli some severe 
bruises, a lacerated elbow and a sprained wrist. This acci- 
dent and our tired and disappointed condition, gave a more 
serious appearance to our line, and a more sombre tone to 
our conversations than was usual. We reached camp in a 
condition, however, to appreciate the supper prepared by 
our guard. 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 123 


A Camp Discussion — War or Police Clubs — Jack Regrets a Lost Opportu- 
nity — Boling-'s Soothing- Syrup — A Scribe Criticises and Apologises — 
Indian War Material and its Manufacture — The Fire-stick and its Sa- 
cred Uses — Arrival at Head- quarters. 

It was not until after we bad partaken of a hearty snp- 
per and produced onr pipes, that tlie lively hum of conver- 
sation and the occasional careless laughter indicated the 
elastic temperament of some of the hardy, light-hearted, if 
not light-headed, "boys," while in camp. The guard was 
duly detailed, and the signal given to turn in, but not au- 
thoritatively; and tired as we were, many of us sat quite 
late around the camp-fires on that evening. The excite- 
ments and disappointments of our recent excursion did not 
prove to be promoters of sleep; some of us were too tired 
to ^leep until we had somewhat rested from our unusual fa- 
tigue. The events of the day — the t^^tie method of subdu- 
ing Indians^ and the probable results of the plans proposed 
by Captain Boling for future operations in this vicinity, 
were the general topics of conversation among the different 
groups. Tins general inclination to discuss the " pence pol- 
icy" of the commissioners and the plans of our officers, did 
not arise from anything like a mutinous disposition, nor from 
any motives having in view the least opposition to any of 
the measures connected with the campaign in which we were 
then engaged. 


We had expected that this tribe would resist onr invasion 
of their territory and show fight. In this we had been dis- 
appointed. The self-confident and experienced mountain 
men, and the ex-rangers from the Texan plains, felt annoy- 
ed that these Indians had escaped when almost within range 
of our rifles. Our feelings — as a military organization — 
were irritated by the successful manner in which they had 
eluded our pursuit, and thrown us from their trail. Wc 
had heen outwitted hy these ignorant Indians; but as in- 
dividuals, no one seemed inclined to acknowledge it; our 
lack of success was attributed to the restraints imposed on 
the free movements of our organization by orders of the 
commissioners. Although none designed to censure our 
Captain for his failure, the free speech intimations, that we 
might have been successful, if Major Savage had i-emained 
to aid us with his knowledge, was not soothing to the Cap- 
tain's already wounded pride. The popularity of Captain 
Boling was not affected by our camp-fire discussion. Had 
a charge, or intimation even, been made by any one of in- 
capacity or neglect of duty in our free expressions, the per- 
sonal safety of the individual would have been immediate- 
ly endangered; although no excess of modesty was observed 
in expressing opinions. Lieut. Chandler was at our own 
fire, and our officers talked over the solution of the enigma 
in a quiet conversational tone. The usual cheerful counte- 
nance of the Captain had a more serious expression. His 
attention was as much attracted to the groups around us, 
as to the remarks of Lt. Chandler. 

The energetic Lieutenant was our most rigid disciplinarian 
when on duty. His fearless impetuosity in the execution 
of all his duties, made him a favorite with the more reckless 
spirits; his blunt and earnest manner excited their admira- 
tion; for, though possessed of a sublime egotism, he was 
entirely free from arrogance. Instead of his usual cheerful 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 125 

and agreeable conversation, he was almost morosely taciturn ; 
lie refilled his capacious mouth with choice Yirginia, and 
settled back against the wood-pile. After listening to us 
for a while, he said: "I am heartily sick of this Quaker- 
stjde of subduing Indians. So far, — since our muster-in — 
we have had plenty of hard work and rough experience, 
with no honor or profit attending it all. We might as well 
be armed with clubs like any other police." There was 
none in our group disposed to dispute the assertion of 
Chandler. As a body, we were anxiously desirous of bring- 
ing the Indian troubles to a close as soon as it could be 
practically accomplished. Many of us had sufiered pecu- 
niarily from the depredations of these Mountain tribes, 
and had volunteered to aid in subduing them, that we might 
be able to resume our mining operations in peace. Many 
of us had left our own profitable private business to engage 
in these campaigns for the public good, expecting that a 
vigorous prosecution of the war would soon bring it to a 
close. I will here say that some sensational newspaper 
correspondents took it upon themselves to condemn this 
efibrt made by the settlers to control these mountain tribes, 
which had become so dangerous; charging the settlers with 
having excited a war, and to have involved the government 
in an unneccessary expense, for the purpose of reaping 
pecuniary benefits; and that our battalion had been organ- 
ized to afibrd occupation to adventurous idlers, for the pay 
afibrded. Knowing the ignorance that obtains in regard to 
real Indian character, and the mistaken philanthropy that 
would excuse and probably even protect and lionize murder- 
ers, because they were Indians; but little attention w^as at 
first paid to these falsely slanderous articles, until one was 
published, so personally ofiensive, and with such a false 
basis of statement, that Captain Boling felt it his duty to 
call for the name of its author. His name was given by 


the editor of the paper on a formal demand being made. 
The Captain then intimated through a friend, that a public 
retraction of the article was desirable. In due time, the 
Captain received a very satisfactory apology, and a slip of 
a published retraction of the offensive correspondence. 
The investigation developed the fact that the writer — who 
was an Eastern philanthropist — had been played upon by 
certain parties in Stockton, who had failed to get the con- 
tract to supply the battalion. 

At an adjoining fire a long-haired Texan was ventilating 
his professed experience in the management of Indians 
^* down thar." Observing that Captain Boling was within 
hearing of his criticism, he turned, and without any inten- 
tional disrespect, said: " Cap., you orter a let me plunk 
it to one o' them red skins up in the canon thar. I'd a bin 
good for one, sure; and if I'd a had my way o' treatin' with 
Injuns, Cap., I reckon I'd a made a few o' them squawk by 
this time." 

Captain Boling was suffering from his bruises and 
sprained wrist, and he evidently was not pleased to hear 
these liberal criticisms, but knowing the element by which 
he was surrounded, he did not forget the policy of concilia- 
ting it in order to prevent any feelings of discontent from 
arisino^ so soon after bavins: assumed full command. He 
therefore quickly replied: " I have no especial regard for 
these Chow-chillas; you are probably aware of tliat. Jack; but 
the orders and instructions of the Commissioners will have to 
be disregarded if we shoot them down at sight. It would 
have been almost like deliberate murder to have killed those 
naked Indians to-day, becanse, Jack, you know just what 
you can do with that rifle of yours. If you had fired you 
knew you was sure to kill; but the Indians did not know 
the danger there was in coming inside your range. It was 
lucky for the cowards that you did not shoot." This allu- 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 127 

sion to the Texan's skill with his rifle disposed of the sub- 
ject as far as he was concerned, for he " turned in," while a 
broad grin showed his satisfaction as he replied, "I reckon 
you're about on the right trail now, Cap," and disappeared 
under his blanket. 

Captain Boling sat for some time apparently watching 
the blazing logs before him. He took no part in the dis- 
cussion of Indian affairs, which continued to be the engros- 
sing subject among the wakeful ones, whose numbers grad- 
ually diminished until Spencer and one or two others be- 
side myself only remained at our fire. The Captain then 
said: " I do not despair of success in causing this tribe to 
make peace, although I cannot see any very flattering pros- 
pects of our being able to corral them, or force an imme- 
diate surrender. They do not seem inclined to figlit us, and 
we cannot follow them among the rocks in those almost 
impassable canons with any probability of taking them. 
Bare-footed they rapidly pass without danger over slippery 
rocks that we, leather-shod, can only pass at the peril of our 
lives. My mishap of to-day is but a sineile illustration of 
many that would follow were we to attempt to chase them 
along the dizzy heights they pass over. Being lightly clad, 
or not at all, they swim the river to and fro at will, and 
thus render futile any attempt to pursue them up the river, 
unless we divide the force and beat up on both sides at the 
same time. I have thought this matter over, and have 
reached the conclusion that, unless some lucky accident 
throws them into our hands, I see but one course to pur- 
sue, and that is to destroy their camps and supplies, and 
then return to head-quarters." 

After having had the bandages arranged on his swollen 
arm he bade us good night, and sought such repose as his 
bruised limbs and disappointed ambition would permit. 
Having ended our discussions, we came to the sage conclu- 


sion that Captain Boling was in command, and duty re- 
quired our obedience to his orders. Satisfied with this de- 
cision, we readily dropped off to sleep. 

The next morning the usual jocular hilarity seemed to 
prevail in camp. A refreshing slumber had seemingly given 
renewed vigor to the tired explorers of the rough trail up 
the canon. The camp guard assigned to duty at "our fer- 
ry" were on duty during the night, so tliat the breakfast call 
was promptly responded to with appetites unimpaired. 
Captain Boling's arm was dressed and found to be somewhat 
improved in appearance, though very sore. He would not 
consent to remain in camp, and ordered his horse to be sad- 
dled after breakfast. Before the morning sun liad risen we 
were in our saddles, endeavoring to explore the region north 
of the San Joaqnin. Small detachments were detailed from 
both companies to explore, on foot, up the Soutli Fork, and 
the territory adjacent. Upon the return of this command, 
their report showed that quite a large number of Indians 
had passed over that stream, though none were seen. A 
considerable supply of acorns was found and destroj^ed by 
this expedition; but after they left the oak table-land, near 
the fork, they reported the country to the east to be about 
as forbidding as that on the main river. Captain Boling 
detailed a few footmen to scatter over the country on the 
north side, to burn any caches they might find, while we on 
horseback swept farther north, towards the Black Ridge. 
We found the soil soft and yielding, and in places it was 
with difficulty that our weak, gra s-fed animals could pass 
over the water-soaked land, even after we had dismounted. 
I thought this boggy ground, bard enough later in the sea- 
son, another obstacle to a successful pursuit, and so expressed 
myself to the Captain. I told him that in '49 I stayed over 
night with Mr. Livermore of the Livermore Pass, and that 
now I fully comprehended why he thought the mountain 



tribes could not be entirely subdued, because, as he said, 
" they will not fight except sure of victory, and cannot be 

Mr. Livermore said he had followed up several raiding 
parties of Indiaus who were driving off stock they had 
stolen from the Ranches, but only upon one occasion did 
they make a bold stand, when his party was driven back, 
overcome by numbers. Captain Boling was silent for some 
time, and then said: "Perhaps after all I have done these 

Indians injustice in calling 
them cowards; probably they 
feel that they are not called 
upon to fight and lose any of 
their braves, when by strategy 
they can foil and elude us. 
Human nature is about alike 
in war as in other thin^^s; it is 
governed by what it conceives 
to be its interest." 

There were in the country 
we passed over, some beau- 
tiful mountain meadows and 
most luxuriant forests, and 
^ome of the sloping table lands 
looked like the ornamental 
parks of an extensive domain. 
These oak - clad tables and 
ridges, were the harvest fields 
of the San Joaquin Indians, 
and in their vicinity we found 
an occasional group of deserted huts. These, with their 
adjacent supplies of acorns, were at once given to the flames. 
The acorns found and destroyed by the scouting parties, 
were variously estimated at from eight hundred to one thou- 



sand bushels; beside the supply of Pinon pine-nuts and 
other supplies hoarded for future use. The pine-nuts were 
not all destroyed by fire; most of them were confiscated, 
and served as a dessert to many a roast. 

From the total amount of acorns estimated to have been 
destroyed, their supplies were comparatively small, or the 
number of Indians on the San Joaquin had been, as in 
other localities, vastly overrated. Our search was thor- 
oughly made — the explorations from day to day, extend- 
ing from our camps over the whole country to an altitude 
above the growth of the oaks. During these expeditions, 
not an Indian was seen after those noticed on the upper 
San Joaquin; but fresh signs were often discovered and 
followed, only to be traced to the rocky canons above 
where, like deceptive " ignes fatui^'^ they disappeared. 

Being allowed the largest liberty as surgeon to the expe- 
dition, I had ample time to examine the various things 
found in their camps, and obtain from Sandino all the infor- 
mation I could concerning them. The stone arrow-heads 
and their manufacture, especially interested me. I found 
considerable quantities of the crude material from which 
they were made, with many other articles brought from 
other localities, such as resin, feathers, skins, pumice-stone, 
salt, etc., used in the manufacture of their implements of 
war, and for the chase as well as for domestic uses. 

At this time but few guns were in the possession of these 
mountain tribes. Their chief weapons of war and for tlie 
chase were bows and arrows. With these they were very 
expert at short range, and to make their weapons effective 
were disposed to lay in ambush in w^ar, and upon the trails 
of their game. Their bows were made from a species of 
yew peculiar to the West, from cedar and from a spinated 
evergreen tree, rare in Southern California, which, for want 
of scientific classification, I gave the name of " nutmeg 

AND INDIAN WAU OF 1851, 131 

pine." It bears a nut resembling in general appearance 
that agreeable S23ice, while the covering or pulpy shell looks 
very much like mace. The nut is, however, strongly im- 
pregnated with resin. The leaves are long, hard, and so 
sharp that the points will pierce the flesh like sharp steel. 
The wood is stronger and more elastic than either the yew, 
cedar or fir. It is susceptible of a fine polish. I made a 
discovery of a small cluster of this species of tree at the 
foot of the cascades in the caiion, two miles below the 
Yosemite valley, while engaged in a survey of that locality.* 

The shafts of their arrows are made of reeds, and from 
different species of wood, but the choicest are made of what 
is called Indian arrow- wood (Le Ilamite). This wood is only 
found in dark ravines and deep rocky canons in the moun- 
tains, as it seems to require dampness and shade. Its scar- 
city makes the young shoots of a proper growth a very val- 
uable article of barter between the mountain tribes and 
those of the valleys and plains. A locality in the Yosemite 
valley once famous for its supply of this arrow-wood, was 
the ravine called by the Yosemites " Le-Hamite," (as we 
might say " the oaks," or " the pines,") but which is now 
designated as " Indian Canon." 

Their arrow-shafts are first suitably shaped, and then pol- 
ished between pieces of pumice stone. This stone was also 
used in fashioning and polishing their bows, spear-shafts 
and war clubs. Pumice stone is found in abundance in the 
volcanic regions of California and Oregon, and east of the 
Sierra Nevada. The quality of the best observed by me, 
was much finer and lighter than that seen in the shops as 
an article of commerce. The arrow heads are secured to 
the shaft by threads of sinew, and a species of cement used 

* I have learned through the kindness of Dr. A. Kellogg-, of the Cali- 
fornia Academy of Sciences, that this tree is now known as the " Torreya 
Calif ornica.'' 


for that and other purposes. The arrow-heads made and in 
most common use by the California Indians, as well as by 
many other tribes in the mountain ranges of the West and 
Southwest, are of the same shape and general appearance, 
and of similar material, with the exception of obsidian and 
old junk bottles, as the arrow heads found in all parts of the 
United States. They have been generally supposed to have 
been made and used by the pre-historic races that once in- 
habited this continent. The bow and arrows were in com- 
mon use by the aborigines when America was first discov- 
ered, and their use has been continued to the present time 
among the tribes whose limited territories were not to any 
extent intruded upon by the whites. 

The Indians of California, unlike those of Southern Mex- 
ico and South America, who use the woorara (strychnos 
toxifera), poison their arrow-heads with the poison of the 
rattlesnake. Some animal's liver is saturated with the poi- 
son and left until it reaches a state of thorough decomposi- 
tion, when the barbs are plunged into the festering mass, 
withdrawn and dried. The gelatinous condition of the liv- 
er causes the poison to adhere to the stone, and the strength 
of the poison is thus preserved for some days. Only those 
arrow-heads that are inserted into a socket, and held in 
place by cement, are thus poisoned. These are easily de- 
tached after striking an object (the concussion shattering 
the cement, and the play of the shaft loosening the barb), 
and are left to rankle in the wound. 

According to Kussio, however, this practice is now sel- 
dom resorted to, except in revenge for some great or fancied 
injury, or by the more malignant of a tribe, Indian policy 
seeming to discountenance a former custom. 

The introduction ot fii-e arms among them, has been from 
the frontiers of civilization. The '^^m^," or more properly 
cherty rock, when first quarried, is brittle and readily split 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 133 

and broken into the desired shapes required, even with the 
rude implements used by the Indians; tliough it is not 
probable that any but themselves could use them, as con- 
siderable skill seems to be required. The tool commonly 
used in the manufacture of arrow-heads, is a species of 
hammer or pick, made by fastening the sharp prong of a 
deer's horn to a long stick. 

With these instruments of various sizes laminated pieces 
of rock are separated, snch as slate, with qnartz in filtra- 
tion s, and scales are chipped from rocks, volcanic and other 
glass, with a skill that challenges admiration. Stone ham- 
mers, or pieces of hard stone, were secured by withes and 
used in some of the processes of flaking; and I have been 
assured that steel implements have been stolen from the 
miners and used lor the same purpose, but I never saw 
them nsed. Arrow-heads were found, made from bones, 
from chert, obsidian or volcanic glass, and even old junk 
bottles, obtained for the purpose, during their gushing days, 
from the deserted camps of the libative miners. 

The most approved tire- arms are now found among many 
of the western tribes, where but a few years ago bows and 
arrows were in common use. Although these hereditary 
implements of war and of the chase are almost wholly dis- 
carded, occasionally an old-fashioned Indian may be seen, 
armed with his bow and arrows, his fire-stick a foot long, 
occupying the hole punctured in the lobe of one ear, and 
his reed-pipe tilling the like position in the other, while 
his skunk-skin pouch contained his kin-ne-kin-nick, a piece 
of spunk and dry charred cedar, on which a light was ob- 
tained by rapid friction with his tire-stick. This method 
of procuring fire, has, even among the Indians, been super- 
seded by the flint and steel, and they in turn by the labor- 
saving friction matches. 

I have, however, recently witnessed the process of light- 



ing a fire by this primitive process, among the priests of the 
Winnebago and other eastern tribes, who still use and pre- 
serve the fire-stick in making fire for their sacred rites, dur- 
ing which they chant in a traditionary Indian dead language, 
an interpretation of which they do not pretend they are able 
to make. The priests told me that bad spirits would inter- 
fere with their ministrations if they did not preserve the 
customs of their fathers, and tliat the dead language made 
their ceremonies all the more impressive and awe-inspiring 
to their auditors. 

During our explora- 
tions up the San Joa- 
quin and branches, 
the rapidly melting 
snow on the moun- 
tains above flooded 
the streams which we 
were required to cross 
in our excursions, and 
we were often com- 
pelled from this cause 
to leave our horses 
and proceed on foot; 
hence our work was 
toilsome and slow. 

As soon as Captain 
Boling was satisfied 
that we had accomplished, in this locality, all that could 
be expected of his command, we started for head-quarters. 
The route selected for our return was by way of "Fine 
Gold Gulch," and down the San Joaquin to a camp oppo- 
site the site of Fort Miller, that was about being estab- 
lished for the protection of the settlers. This was done 
upon recommendaticiU of the commissioners. 


AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 135 


Starvation subdaes the Chow-chillas, and the Result is Peace— Captain 
Kuykendall's Expeditions— An Attack— Rout and Pursuit- A Wise 
Conclusion — Freezing out Indians — A wild Country — A terrific View 
— Yosemite versus King's River— Submission of the Indians South 
of the San Joaquin — Second Expedition to Yosemite — Daring Scouts 
— Capture of Indians— Naming of " Three Brothers." 

A FEW days after our return from the campaign against 
the Chow-chil-las, asmall delegation from a Kah-we-ah band 
on King's river was sent in by Captain Kuykendall, whose 
energy had subdued nearly all of the Indians in his depart- 
ment. The chief of this band informed Major Savage that 
Tom-kit and Frederico, successors in authority to Jose Rey, 
had visited his camp, and had reported that they were very 
hungry. They came, they said, to hold a council. The 
chief told the Major that he had advised them to come in 
with him and make a treaty, but they refused. They said 
the white man's "medicine" was too powerful for them; 
but if their great chief had not died, he would have driven 
the white men from the mountains, for he was "a heap 
wise." The white soldiers liad killed their great chief; they 
had killed many of their best warriors; they had burned up 
their huts and villages and destroyed their supplies, and 
had tried to drive their people from their territory, and 
they would kill their women and children if they did not 
hide them where they could not be found; and much more 
in a similar vein. 

A small supply of acorns had been given these fugitives, 


and when the chief left, they had promised to return and 
hear what the commissioners had said. Major Savage re- 
ported this, and with the commissioners' approval, decided 
to return with the Kah-we-ah chief and meet in counsel 
with the Chow-chil-las. He took with him sufficient "beef" 
on foot to give the Indians a grand feast, which lasted sev- 
eral days; during which time arrangements were completed 
for treaties with all of the remaining bands of the Kah-we- 
ah tribe, and with the Chow-chillas. The result of the 
Major's negotiations were in the highest degree satisfactory. 
Captain Boling, however, claimed some of the honor, for, 
said he, I defeated the Chow-chillas hj firing at long range. 
This once tm*bulent and uncompromising tribe became 
the most tractable of the mountain Indians. They were 
superior in all respects to those of most other tribes. 
They had intimate relations with the Monos, a light col- 
ored race as compared with the Yalley or Kah-we-ah tribe, 
and were very expert in the manufacture and use of the 
bow and arrow. The Mono's had intermarried with the 
Ohow-chil-las, and they aided them in their intercourse 
with the Pah-u-tes in their barter for salt, obsidian, lava and 
other commodities. The Chow-chil-las now being disposed 
of, and a treaty signed by the other tribes, it was decided 
by the commissioners that our next expedition should be 
against the Yo-sem-i-tes. This had been recommended by 
Major Savage as the only practical method of effecting any 
terms with their old Chief Every inducement had been 
offered them that had been successful with the others; but 
had been treated with contempt. The liberal supplies of 
beef they refused, saying they preferred horse-flesh. The 
half-civilized garbs and gaudy presents tendered at the 
agency were scorned by Ten-ie-ya as being no recompense 
for relinquishing the freedom of his mountain home. Ma- 
jor Savage announced that the expedition would start as 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 137 

soon as the floods had somewhat subsided, so that the 
streams could be crossed. As for ourselves, we had learned 
to take advantage of any narrow place in a stream, and hy 
means of ropes stretched for feet and hands, we crossed 
without diflScnltj streams that we could not ford with 
horses. As this delay would allow an opportunity for some 
of the battalion to see to such private business as required 
their attention, short furloughs were granted to those most 
anxious to improve this occasion. 

While the companies of Captains Boling and Dill were 
exploriuir the vicinities of the Merced and San Joaquin in 
search of Indians, Captain Kuykend .11, with the able sup- 
port of his Lieutenants and his company, were actively en- 
gaged in the same duties south of the San Joaquin. Captain 
Kuykendall vigorously operated in the valleys, foot-hills 
and mountains of the King's and Kah-we-ah rivers, and 
those of the smaller streams south. The Indians of Kern 
river, owing to the influence of a mission Chief, "Don-Yin- 
cente," who had a plantation at the Tehon pass, remained 
peaceful, and were not disturbed. The success of Captain 
Kuykendall's campaigns enabled the commissioners to make 
treaties with all the tribes within the Tulare valley, and 
those that occupied the region south of the San Joaquin 

Owing to lapse of time since these events, and other 
causes, I am unable to do justice to him, or the officers and 
men under him. My personal recollections of the inci- 
dents of his explorations, were acquired while exchanging 
stories around camp fires. Operating as they did, among 
the most inaccessible mountains in California, with but one 
company, they successfully accomplished the duties assign- 
ed them. 

It was supposed that some of the tribes and bands among 
whom they were sent were extremely hostile to the whites, 


and that they would combine and resist their approach; but 
after a single engagement on King's river, the Indians 
were put to flight without the loss of a man, and could not 
be induced to hazard another like encounter. The plans of 
operation were similar to those of Captains Boling and 
Dill: the destruction of the camps of all who refused to 
come in and have a talk with the commissioners. Cap- 
tain Kuykendall's company found these people almost with- 
out fire-arms and civilized clothing of any kind, and 
depending wholly on their bows and arrows. Except in the 
vicinity of King's and Kah-we-ah rivers, the savages were 
scattered over a large range of country. Their camps were 
generally in the valleys and among the foot-hills; when 
alarmed, they fled to the rocky canons among the moun- 
tains. In one of our conversations, during a visit of Cap- 
tain Kuykendall to the Fresno, he said: "When we first 
started out, we learned from our scouts and guides, that a 
large body of Indians had collected well np on King's river. 
Making a rapid march, we found, on arriving in sight, that 
they were inclined to give us battle. We at once charged 
into their camp, routed and killed a number, while others 
were ridden down and taken prisoners. We followed the 
fugitives, making a running fight, until compelled to leave 
our horses, when they eluded pursuit. Eot yet discourag- 
ed, we followed on toward the head waters of the Kah-we- 
ah, seeing occasionally, upon a ridge just ahead of us, 
groups of Indians; but upon our reaching thai locality, 
they were resting on the next ridge; and as we came into 
view, turned their backs upon us, applauding our efforts to 
overtake them, in a \qvj peculiar manner. They fled into 
a worse country than anything before seen in our explora- 
tions, and I soon perceived the folly of attempting to follow 
them longer. As to this region east and southeast of the 
termination of our pursuit, 1 have only this to say, that it 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851, 139 

is simply indescribable. I did not see any ' dead Indians ' 
after leaving the village, and during the pursuit, although 
some of the boys were sure they had ' fetched their man.' It 
is certain that a number were killed in the assault, but how 
many, we were unable to ascertain, for upon our return, as 
usual, the dead had been carried off. We lost no men in 
the fight, and had but one wounded. The wound was very 
painful, having been inflicted by one of the glass arrow- 
heads that it is designed shall be left rankling in the wound; 
but after that was extracted, the wound soon healed without 
serious results." 

After this chase on foot into the " High Sierras," the 
operations of Capt. Kuykendall were more limited, for, as he 
had stated, he regarded it as the height of folly to attempt 
to follow the lightly-armed and lighter clad "hostiles " with 
cavalry, into their rocky mountain retreats. In the saddle, 
except a few sailors in his company, his men felt at home, 
and were willing to perform any amount of severe duty, 
however dangerous or difficult it might be, but on foot, the 
Texans, especially, were like "Jack ashore, without anything 
to steer by." When required to take a few days, provisions 
and their blankets on their backs, their efforts, like those of 
our command, were not very effective, so far as catching 
the natives was concerned. These foot expeditions were 
designed by the officers to keep the enemy alarmed, and in 
the cold regions, while their supplies were being destroyed 
by the mounted force ranging below. By this strategy. 
Captain Kuykendall kept his men constantly occupied, and 
at the same time displayed his genius as a soldier. 

His foot expeditions were generally made by a few en- 
thusiastic scouts, who were as much induced to volunteer 
to perform this duty fi-om a love of nature as from a desire 
to fight. Here were found 


*' The pala,ces of Nature, whose vast walls 

Have pinnacled in clouds their snowy scalps, 

And throned eternity in icy halls 

Of cold sublimity, where forms and falls 

The avalanche — the thunderbolt of snow! 

All that expands the spirit, yet appals, 

Gather around these summits, as to show 
How earth may pierce to Heaven, yet leave vain man below." 

The stories told by the men in Kuykendall's command 
were received with doubts, or as exaggerations. Their de- 
scriptions represented deeper valleys and higher cliffs than 
had been seen and described by sconts of the other com- 
panies. It was intimated by ns, who had previously de- 
scribed the region of the Yosemite, '^ that the man who told 
the first story in California stood a poor chance." Having 
read Professor J. D. Whitney's reports of that region, I can 
better appreciate the reports of Captain Kuykendall and 
those under him, of the character of the mountain territory 
to which they had been assigned. Mr. Whitney, State Geo- 
logist, in speaking of the geological survey of this vicinity, 
says: "Of the terrible grandeur of the region embraced 
in this portion of the Sierra, it is hardly possible to convey 
any idea. Mr. Gardner, in his notes of the view from Mount 
Brewer, thus enumerates some of the most striking features 
of the scene: ' Canons from two to five thousand feet deep, 
between thin ridges topped with pinnacles sharp as needles; 
successions of great crater-like amphitheatres, with crown- 
ing precipices, over-sweeping snow-fields and frozen lakes, 
everywhere naked and shattered granite without a sign of 
vegetation, except where a few gnarled and storm-beaten 
pines * * -^ cling to the rocks in the deeper canons; such 
were the elements of the scene we looked down upon, while 
cold gray clouds were drifting overhead.' " 

This description applies more properly to the territory 
east of any point reached by Captain Kuykendall, but it 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 141 

verifies the statements made by liim and those of some of 
his men. 

While on our second expedition to the Yosemite, some of 
Captain KuykendalPs company, who had come to headquar- 
ters and had been allowed the privileges, volunteered to ac- 
company our supply train, as they said : " To see what 
kind of a country we were staying in." One, an enthusi- 
astic lover of nature, said on his return : " The King's river 
country, and the territory southeast of it, beats the Yosem- 
ite in terrific grandeur, but in sublime beauty you have got 
us." As the furloughs granted to the members of B. and 
C. companies expired, all promptly reported for duty, and 
preparations were completed for another campaign against 
the Yo Semites. 

Captain Dill, with part of his company, was retained 
on duty at headquarters, while Lt. Gilbert with a detach- 
ment of C. Company, was ordered to report for duty to Cap- 
tain Boling. Dr. Pfifer was placed in charge of a tempora- 
ry hospital, erected for the use of the battalion. Surgeon 
Bronson had resigned, preferring the profits received from 
his negro slaves, who were then mining on Sherlock's creek 
to all the romance of Indian warfare. The doctor was a 
clever and genial gentleman, but a poor mountaineer. Doc- 
tor Lewis Leach was appointed to fill the vacancy. Doctor 
Black was ordered to duty with Captain Boling. Major 
Savage ofi*ered me a position, and it was urged upon me 
by Captain Boling, but having a number of men engag- 
ed in a mining enterprise, in which Spencer and myself 
were interested, we had mutually agreed to decline all oftice. 
Beside this, when Mr. Spencer and myself entered into ser- 
vice together, it was with the expectation that we would 
soon be again at libert3^ But once in the service, our per- 
sonal pride and love of adventure would not allow us to be- 
come subordinate by accepting ofiice. 


As it was the design of Major Savage to make a tborongh 
search in the territory surrounding the Yosemite, if we failed 
in surprising the inhabitants in their valley, a few scouts and 
guides were provided for the expedition to aid in our search 
among the " High Sierras," so distinctively named by Prof. 
Whitney. Among our ample supplies ropes were furnished, 
by order of Major Savage, suitable for floats, and for establisli- 
ing bridges where needed. These bridges w^ere suggested 
by myself, and were useful as a support while passing 
through swift water, or for crossing narrow but rushing tor- 
rents. This was accomplished expeditiously by simply 
stretching " taut^^ two ropes, one above the other, the up- 
per rope, grasped by the hands, serving to secure the safe 
passage of the stream. Where trees were not found in suit- 
able position to make the suspension, poles were lashed to- 
gether so as to form shears, which served for trestles. I al- 
so suggested that snow-shoes could probably be used with 
advantage on our mountain excursions. The use of these I 
found entirely unknown, except to Major Savage and a few 
other eastern men. My experience favored their use, as I 
had often found it easier to travel over deep snow than to 
wallow through it. My suggestion caused a '''heap^^ of mer- 
riment, and my friend Chandler laughed until he became 
^^ powerful wealc,^^ and finally I was assailed by so many 
shafts of witty raillery from my southern comrades, that I 
was willing to retreat, and cry out, ' hold, enough!' " 

The services of Major Savage being indispensable to the 
Commissioners, it was decided that the expedition would be 
under the command of Captain Boling. In making this 
announcement, the Major said: he expected Ten-ie-ya and 
his people would come in with us if he was formally invit- 
ed, and a sufficient escort provided. Captain Boling very 
seriously assured the Major, that if the Yosemites accepted 
the invitation, he should endeavor to make the trip a secv/re 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851, 143 

one; there should be no neglect on the part of the escort if 
suitable supplies were provided for subsistence. Major 
Savage laughingly replied that as the expedition would be 
under the especial command of Captain Boling, he had no 
fears that ample supplies would not be provided. 

Our preparations being made, we again started for the 
Merced in search ot the Yosemites. It was the design of 
Capt. Boling to surprise the Indians if possible, and if not, 
to cut off the escape of their women and children, the cap- 
ture <of whom, would soon bring the warriors to terms. 
With this plan in view, and leaving Chandler virtually in 
command of the column, we made a rapid march direct for 
their valley, crossing the streams without much difficulty, 
and without accident. 

The advance, consisting of Captain Boling with a small 
detachment, and some of the scouts, quietly entered the 
valley, but no Indians were seen. A few new wigwams 
had been built on the south side near the lower ford, to 
better guard the entrance as was supposed. Without 
halting, except to glance at the vacant huts, the advance 
rode rapidly on, following a trail up the south side, which 
our Pohonochee guide informed the captain was a good 

On entering the valley and seeing the deserted wigwams 
I reached the conclusion that our approach had been her- 
alded. As my military ardor subsided, my enthusiastic love 
of the beautiful returned to me, and I halted a moment to 
take a general view of the scenery; intending also to direct 
the column up the south side. While waiting for Chan- 
dler, I examined the huts, and found several bushels of 
scorched acorns that had been divested of their covering, as 
if for transportation. I knew that the natives had no more 
fondness for burnt acorns than Yankees have for burnt 
beans, and the interpreter Sandino, who was with me at this 


moment, muttered in Indian Spanish, " Yosemite very poor 
— no got much eat; acorns, fire burn — pull 'em out." In 
one of the huts we found a young dog, a miserable cur that 
barked his affright at our approach, and fled into the brush 
near by. I told Lt. Chandler of the directions left for his 
guidance, and as he expressed his intention to bring up the 
rear of the column into closer order, I received permission 
to move slowly on with his advance, consisting of Fire- 
baugh, Spencer, French, Fisher, Stone, a few others and 
myself. We were soon overtaken by Chandler, who had 
given his orders to the rear-guard. As we rode along, I re- 
ported the conclusions of Sandino and my knowledge of the 
fact that nearly all the acorns had been burnt. I also told 
him what Sandino had previously said, that the Indians 
took the shells off the acorns they carried over the moun- 
tains, and from this cause, thought the hulled acorns found 
were designed for a distant transportation. Again referring 
the matter to Sandino, who was called up for the purpose, 
he said, "!N'o fire when take off skin; no like 'em; Yosem- 
ite close by, want 'em acorn." Upon telling Chandler that 
Sandino's opinion was that the acorns found were saved 
from some of the burning supplies fired at our first visit, 
and that the Yosemites were transporting them to some 
mountain retreat, the Lieutenant could not credit it, and said 
that "- Sandino's opinions are unreliable." 

Sandino was not popular, either with our officers or with 
the "boys," Captain Boling doubted his integrity, while 
Charidler said he was a most arrant coward and afraid of 
the wild Indians. Chandler was right; but, nevertheless, 
Sandino told us many truths. At times his timidity and 
superstition were very annoying; but if reproved, he be- 
came the more confused, and said that many questions made 
his head ache; a very common answer to one in search of 
knowledge among Indians. Sandino had been sent along 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 145 

by the Major as our interpreter, but a Spanish interpreter 
was necessary to make him of any use. As a scout he was 
inferior — almost useless. We afterwards found that San- 
dino's surmises w^ere true. It was evident that the fire had 
been extinguished at some of the large heaps, and many 
acorns saved, though in a damaged condition. 

As we rode on up the valley, I became more observant 
of the scenery than watchful for signs, when suddenly my 
attention was attracted by shadowy objects flitting past 
rocks and trees on the north side, some distance above El 
Capitan. Halting, I caught a glimpse of Indians as they 
passed an open space opposite to us. Seeing that they w ere 
discovered, they made no further efforts to hide their move- 
ments, but came out into open view, at long rifle range. 
There were five of them. They sahited us w^ith taunting 
gestures, and fearlessly kept pace with us as we resumed 
our march. The river was here a foaming impassable tor- 
rent. The warriors looked with great indiflerence on our 
repeated efforts to discover a fording place. As we ap- 
proached a stretch of comparatively smooth water, I made 
known to Chandler my intention of swimming the stream 
to capture them. His answer was: "Bully for you. Doc; 
take 'em, if you can, alive, but take 'em anyhow.'^'' I start- 
ed with Spencer, Firebaugh, French, young Stone and two. 
others, for a sloping bank where our animals would most 
willingly enter the stream; but Stone spurred passed me as 
we reached the bank, and when Firebaugh's mulish mus- 
tang refused the water, though given the spur, and all the 
other mules refused to leave the horse. Stone backed his 
mule over the bank, and we swam our mules after the "boy 
leader" across the Merced. 

The Indians, alarmed by this unexpected movement, fled 
up the valley at the top of their speed. By the time we 
had crossed, they had nearly reached a bend in the river 



above ou the north side. We followed at our best gait, but 
found the trail obstructed by a mass of what then appeared to 
be recently fallen rocks. Without hesitation, we abandoned 
our mules, and continued the pursuit on foot, up to the 



l.3,GoO feet in height.) 

rocky spur known as the " Three Brothers," where entering 
the Talus, they disappeared. Find them, we could not. 
The obstructing rocks on the old north side trail were 
known as " We-ack," " The Rocks," and understood to 
mean the " fallen rocks," because, according to traditions 
they had fallen upon the old trail. The modern trail for 
horses crossed the stream a short distance below, where 
there was a very good ford in a lower stage of water, but 
at this time, the early part of May, the volume of water 
rushing down the Merced was astonishing. We had cross- 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 147 

ed readily enough in the heat of excitement; but it was with 
feelings of rehictance that we re-entered the cold water 
and swam onr mules hack to where a few of our com- 
rades had lialted on the south side. 

Mr. Firebaugh, having failed to get his mustang to 
follow us, had run him up on the south side as if to cut off 
the fugitives, and saw them hide behind a ledge of rocks. 

When informed of the situation, Capt. Boling crossed to 
the north side and came down to the ledge where the scouts 
were hidden; but the Captain could scarcely at first credit 
Firebaugh's statement, that he had seen them climb up the 
cliff. Our Indian scouts were sent up to hunt out the hid- 
den warriors, and through the means of fair promises, if 
they came down voluntarily. Captain Boling succeeded in 
bringing in the five Indians. Threo of the captives were 
known to us, being sons of Ten-ie-ya, one of whom was 
afterwards killed; the other two were young braves, the 
wife of one being a daughter of the old chief. The 
Indian name for the three rocky peaks near which this 
capture was made was not then known to any of our bat- 
talion, but from the strange coincidence of three brothers 
being made prisoners so near them, we designated the 
peaks as the "Three Brothers." I soon learned that they 
were called by the Indians "Kom-po-pai-zes," from a fan- 
cied resemblance of the peaks to the heads of frogs when 
sitting up ready to leap. A fanciful interpretation has 
been given the Indian name as meaning "mountains play- 
ing leap-frog," but a literal translation is not desirable. 

They hear the plaintive bull-frog to his mistress trilling sweet; 
They see the green-robed sirens plunge down in waters deep. 
But leap these mountains may not; they watch, with clouded brow, 
Ketum of young Ten-ie-ya— heard not his death's pow-wow. 



A General Scout — An Indian Trap — Flying Artillery — A Narrow Es- 
cape — A Tragic Scene — Fortunes of War — A Scout's Description — 
Recovery from a Sudden Leap — Surrounded by Enemies. 

While Captain Boling was engaged in capturing the In- 
dians we had " treed " on the north side of the valley, scout- 
ing parties were sent out by Lieut. Chandler. They spread 
over the valley, and search was made in every locality that 
was accessible. Discovering fresh signs on a trail I had 
unsuccessfully followed on my first visit, I pursued the 
traces up to a short distance below Mirror Lake. Being 
alone I divided my attention between the wonders of the 
scenery and the tracks I was following, when suddenly I 
was aroused by discovering a basket of acorns lying by the 
trail. Seeing that it was a common carrying basket, such 
as was generally used by the squaws in " packing," I at 
first came to the conclusion that it had been thrown off by 
some affrighted squaw in her haste to escape on my ap- 
])roach. Observing another on a trail leading toward the 
Talus, I felt confident that I had discovered the key to the 
hiding-place of the Indians we were in search of. Secur- 
ing my mule with the "riata " I continued the search, and 
found several baskets before reaching the walls of the cliff, 
up which, in a kind of groove, the trail ascended. By this 
time I began to be suspicious, and thought that there was 
too much method in this distribution of acorns along the 
trail for frightened squaws to have made, and it now occurred 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 149 

to me what Sandino had said of acorns being hulled for 
transportation up the cliffs; and these had not heen hulled! 

Before reaching the Talus, I observed that tlie foot-prints 
were large, and had been made by the males, as the toes 
did not turn in, as was usual with the squaws; and it now 
began to appear to me, that the acorns were only left to lead 
us into some trap; for 1 was aware that " warriors " seldom 
disgraced themselves bj " packing," like squaws. Taking 
a look about me, I began to feel that I was venturing too 
far; my ambitious desire for further investigation vanished, 
and I hastened back down the trail. While descending, I 
met Lt. Gilbert of C company, with a few men. They too 
had discovered baskets, dropped by the ''^scared Indians^'' 
and were rusliing up in hot pursuit, nearly capturing me. 
I related my discoveries, and told the Lieutenant of my sus- 
picions, advising him not to be too hasty in following up 
the " leadP After I had pointed out some of the peculiar- 
ities of the location above us, he said with a sigh ot disap- 
pointment, '' By George! Doc. I believe you are right — ^you 
are more ©f an Indian than I am any way; I reckon we 
had better report this to the Captain before we go any fur- 
ther." I replied, " I am now going in to report this strategy 
to Captain Boling, for I believe he can make some flank 
movement and secure the Indians, without our being caught 
in this trap." But while we were descending to the trail, I 
seriously thought and believed, that Lt. Gilbert and his men 
as well as myself, had had a narrow escape. The bit of his- 
tory of the rear guard of Charlemagne being destroyed by 
the Pyrenians flashed through my mind, and I could read- 
ily see how destructive such an attack might become. 

After taking the precaution to secrete the baskets on the 
main trail, Lt. Gilbert, with his scouts, continued his ex- 
plorations in other localities, saying as he left that he would 
warn all whom he might see " not to get into the trap." I 


mounted my mule and rode down the valley in search of 
Captain Boling, and found him in an oak grove near our old 
camp, opposite a cliff, now known as " Hammo" (the lost 
arrow). I here learned the particulars of his successful cap- 
ture of the five scouts of Ten-ie-ya's band, and at his request 
asked them, through Sandino, who had come over with the 
^'kitchen mules^^ why they had so exposed themselves to 
our view. They rcj )lied that Ten-ie-ya knew of our approach 
before we reached the valley. That by his orders they were 
sent to watch onr movements and report to him. That they 
did not think we could cross the Merced with our horses 
until we reached the upper fords; and therefore, when dis- 
covered, did not fear. They said that Ten-ie-ya would come 
in and " have a talk with the white chief when he knows 
we are here." 

After repeated questioning as to where their people were, 
and where the old chief would be found if a messenger 
should be sent to him, they gave us to understand that they 
were to meet Ten-ie-ya near To-co-ya, at the same time 
pointing in the direction of the " North Dome." Captain 
Boling assured them that if Ten-ie-ya would come in with 
his people he could do so with safet}^ That he desired to 
make peace with him, and did not wish to injure any of 
them. The young brave was the principal spokesman, and 
he replied : "Ten-ie-ya will come in when he hears what 
has been said to us." 

Having acquired all the information it was possible to 
get from the Indians, Capt. Boling said that in the morn- 
ing he would send a messenger to the old chief and see if he 
would come in. When told this the young "brave" ap- 
peared to be very anxious to be permitted to go after him, 
saying: " He is there now," pointing towards the "North 
Dome," " another day he will be on the ' Skye Mountains,' 
or anywhere," meaning that his movements were uncertain. 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 151 

Capt. Boling had so much confidence in his statements, 
that lie decided to send some of the scouts to the region of 
the E'orth Dome for Ten-ie-ya; but all efforts of our allies 
and of ourselves, failed to obtain any further clue to Ten-ie- 
ya's hiding-place, for the captives said that they dare not 
disclose their signals or countersign, for the penalty was 
death, and none other would be answered or understood by 
their people. I here broke in upon the captain's efforts to 
obtain useful knowledge from his prisoners, by telling him 
of the discovery of baskets of acorns found on the trail; and 
gave him my reasons for believing it to be a design to lead 
us into an ambush — that the Indians were probably on the 
cliff above. I volunteered the suggestion that a movement 
in that direction would surprise them while watching the 
trap set for us. 

Captain Boling replied: " It is too late in the day for a 
job of that kind; we will wait and see if Ten-ie-ya will 
come in. I have made up my mind to send two of our 
prisoners after him, and keep the others as hostages until 
he comes. To make a sure thing of this. Doctor, I want 
you to take these two," pointing to one of the sons and the 
son-in-law of Ten-ie-ya, "and go with them to the place 
where they have said a trail leads up the cliff to Ten-ie-ya's 
hiding place. You will take care that they are not molest- 
ed by any of our boys while on this trip. Take any one 
with you in camp, if you do not care to go alone." 

Taking a small lunch to break my fast since the morning 
meal, I concluded to make the trip on foot; my mule hav- 
ing been turned loose with the herd. Arming myself, I 
started alone with the two prisoners which Capt. Boling had 
consigned to my guardianship. I kept them ahead of me on 
the trail, as I always did when traveling with any of that 
race. We passed along the westerly base of the ITorth 
Dome at a rapid gait, without meeting any of my com- 


rades, and had reached a short turn in the trail around a 
point of rocks, when the Indians suddenly sprang back, and 
Jumped behind me. From their frightened manner, and 
cry of terror, I was not apprehensive of any treachery on 
their part. Involuntarily I cried out, "Hallo! what's up 
now?" and ste])ped forward to see what had so alarmed 
them. Before me, stood George Fisher with his rifle lev- 
eled at us. I instantly said: "Hold on George! these 
Indians are under my care!" He determinedly exclaimed 
without change of position, " Get out of the way. Doctor, 
those Indians have got to die." Just behind Fisher was 
Sergeant Cameron, w^ith a man on his shoulders. As he 
hastil}^ laid him on the ground, I was near enough to see 
that his clothing was soiled and badly torn, and that his 
face, hands and feet were covered with blood. His eyes 
were glazed and bloodshot, and it was but too evident that 
he had been seriously injured. From the near proximity 
of the basket trail, I instantly surmised they had been on 
the cliff above. The scene was one I shall long remember. 
It seemed but a single motion for Cameron to deposit his 
burden and level his rifle. He ordered me to stand aside 
if I valued my own safety. I replied as quietly as I could, 
"Hold on, boys! Captain Boling sent me to guard these 
Indians from harm, and I shall obey orders." I motioned 
the Indians to keep to my back or they would be killed. 
Cameron shouted: "They have almost killed Spencer, and 
have got to die. As he attempted to get sight, he said: 
" Give way, Bunnell, I don't want to hurt you." This I 
thought veri/ condescending, and I replied with emphasis: 
"These Indians are under my charge, and I shall protect 
them. If you shoot you commit murder." The whole 
transaction thus far seemingly occupied but a moment's 
time, when to the surprise of us all, Spencer called my 
name. I moved forward a little, and said to them, " Throw 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 153 

up jour rifles and let me come into to see Spencer." " Come 
in! you are safe," replied Fisher — still watching the Indians 
with a fierce determination in his manner. Spencer raised 
himself in a sitting position, and at a glance seemed to take 
in the situation of affairs, for he said: "Bunnell is right; 
boys, don't shoot; mine is but the fortune of war;" and telling 
Cameron to call me, he again seemed to fall partly into stu- 
por. As I again moved towards them with the Indians behind 
me, they with some reluctance, put up their rifles. Fisher 
turned his back to me as he said with sarcasm, " Come in 
with your friends. Doctor, and thank Spencer for their 
safety." They relieved their excitement with volleys of im- 
precations. Cameron said that 1 " was a sight too 

high-toned to suit friends that had always been willing to 
stand by me." 

This occurrence did not destroy good feeling toward each 
other, for we were all good friends after the excitement had 
passed over. 

I examined Spencer and found that, although no bones 
were broken, he was seriously bruised and prostrated by 
the shock induced by his injuries. Fisher started for camp 
to bring up a horse or mule to carry Spencer in. I learned 
that they had fallen into the trap on the "basket trail," and 
that Spencer had been injured while ascending the clifl:'as 
I had suspected. He had, unfortunately, been trailed in^ 
as I had been. The particulars Cameron related to me and 
in my hearing after we had arrived in camp. As the In- 
dians represented to me that the trail they proposed to take 
up the cliff" was but a little way up the north branch, I con- 
cluded to go on with them, and then be back in time to ac- 
company Spencer into camp. Speaking some cheering 
words to Spencer I turned to leave, when Cameron said to 
him: "Yon ain't dead yet, my boy." Spencer held out his 
hand, and as he took it Cameron said, with visible emotion, 


but emphatic declaration: "We will pay them back for 
this if the chance ever comes; Doc. is decidedly too con- 
scientious in this affair." I escorted the Indians some way 
above " Mirror Lake," where they left the trail and com- 
menced to climb the cliff. 

On my return I found that Cameron had already started 
with Spencer; I soon overtook them and relieved him of his 
burden, and from there carried Spencer into camp. We 
found Fisher vainly trying to catch his mule. The most 
of the horses were still out with the scouts, and all animals 
in camp had been turned loose. Sergt. Cameron, while 
Fisher was assisting me in the removal of Spencer's cloth- 
ing aad dressing his wounds, had prepared a very comfort- 
able bed, made of boughs, that the kind-hearted boys 
thoughtfully brought in; and after he was made comfort- 
able and nourishment given him, the Sergeant related to 
Captain Boling the details of their adventure, which were 
briefly as follows: Cameron and Spencer while on their 
way back to camp discovered the baskets on the trail. 
Feeling certain that they had discovered the hiding-place 
of the Indians, as we had done, they concluded to make a 
reconnoisance of the vicinity before making a report of their 
discovery. Elated at their success, and unsuspicious of any 
unusual danger, they followed the trail that wound up the 
cliff, along jutting rocks that in places projected like cor- 
nices, until the converging walls forced them to a steep ac- 
clivity grooved in the smooth-worn rock. Not daunted by 
the difficult assent, they threw off their boots and started 
up the slippery gutter, when suddenly a huge mass of 
granite came thundering down towards them. But for a 
fortunate swell or prominence just above they would both 
have been swept into eternity; as it was, the huge rock 
passed over their lieads; a fragment, however, struck Spen- 
cer's rifle from his hand and hurled him fifty feet or more 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 155 

down the steep wall, where he lay, entirely senseless for a 
time, while a shower of rocks and stones was passing over 
him, the shape of the wall above sending them clear of his 

Cameron was in advance, and fortunately was able to 
reach the shelter of a projecting rock. After the discharge, 
an Indian stretched himself above a detached rock, from 
which he had been watcliing his supposed victims. Cam- 
eron chanced to be looking that way, and instantly tiring, 
dropped his man. 'No doubt he was killed, for the quantity 
of blood found afterward on the rock, was great. The ech- 
oing report of Cameron's rifle, brought back howls of rao-e 
from a number of rocks above, as if they were alive with 
demons. Anticipating another discharge from their bat- 
tery, Cameron descended to the spot where Spencer had 
fallen, and taking him in his arms, fled out of range. 

After supper, the explorers having all come in, the boys 
gathered around the Sergeant and importuned him to give 
the history of his adventures. After reflectivt'ly bringing 
up the scene to view, he began: "We got into mighty close 
quarters! Come to think of it, I don't see how we happened 
to let ourselves be caught in that dead-fall. I reckon we 
must have fooled ourselves some. The way of it was this. 
We -vent up on the south side as far as we could ride, and 
after rummaging around for a while, without finding any- 
thing, Spencer wanted to go up the North Canon and get a 
good look at that mountain with one side split oft'; so I told 
tlie boys to look about for themselves, as there were no 
Indians in the valley. Some of them went on up the S >uth 
Canon, and the rest of us went over to the INorth Canon. 
iVfter crossing the upper ford, Spencer and I concluded to 
walk up the canon, so we sent our animals down to graze 
with the herd. Spencer looked a good long while at that 
split mountain, and called it a 'half dome.' I concluded 


he might name it what he liked, if he would leave it and 
go to camp; for I was getting tired and hungry and said so. 
Spencer said ' All right, we'll go to camp.' 

On our way down, as we passed tliat looking-glass pond, 
he wanted to take one more look, and told me to go ahead 
and he'd soon overtake me; but that I wouldn't do, so he 
said: "No matter, then; I can come up some other time." 
As we came on down the trail below the pond, I saw some 
acorns scattered by the side of the trail, and told Spencer 
there were Indians not far off. After looking about for a 
while Spencer found a basket nearly full behind some rocks, 
and in a little while discovered a trail leading up towards 
the cliff. We followed this up a piece, and soon found sev- 
eral baskets of acorns. I forgot about being hungry, and 
after talking the matter over we decided to make a sort of 
reconnoisance before we came in to make any report. Well, 
we started on up among the rocks until we got to a mighty 
steep place, a kind of gulch that now looked as if it had 
been scooped out for a stone battery. The trail up it was 
as steep as the roof on a meeting-house, and worn so slip- 
pery that we couldn't get a foot-hold. I wanted to see what 
there was above, and took off my boots and started up. 
Spencer did the same and followed me. 1 had just got to the 
swell of the steepest slope, where a crack runs across the face 
of the wall, and was looking back to see if Spencer would 
make the riffle, when I heard a crash above me, and saw a 
rock as big as a hogshead rolling down the cliff toward us. 
I sprang on up behind a rock that happened to be in the 
right place, for there was no time to hunt for any other 

I had barely reached cover when the bounding rock struck 
with a crash by my side, and bounded clear over Spencer, who 
had run across the crevice and was stooping down and steady- 
ing himself with his rifle. A piece of the big rock that was 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 157 

shattered into fragments and thrown in all directions, struck 
his rifle out of his hands, and sent him whirling and clutch- 
ing down a wall fifty feet. He lodged out of sight, where 
in going up we had kicked oflP our leathers. I thought 
he was killed, for he did not answer when I called, and I 
had no chance then to go to him, for a tremendous shower 
of stones came rushing by me. I expected he would be ter- 
ribly mangled at first, but soon noticed that the swell in the 
trail caused the rocks to bound clear over him onto tlie 
rocks in the valley. I looked up to see where they came 
from just as an Indian stuck his head above a rock. My 
rifle came up of its own accord. It was a quick sight, but 
with me they are generally the best, and as I fired that In- 
dian jumped into the air with a yell and fell back onto the 
ledge. He was hit, I know, and I reckon he went west. 
Every rock above was soon a yelling as if alive. As I ex- 
pected another discharge from their stone artillery, I slid 
down the trail, picked up Spencer, and " vamoused the 
ranche," just as they fired another shot of rocks down after 
us. I did not stay to see wliere they struck after I was out 
of range, for my rifle and Spencer took about all of my at- 
tention nntil safely down over the rocks. While I was 
tliere resting for a moment, Fisher came up the traiL He 
heard me fire and had heard the rocks tumbling down the 
clifl'. Thinking some one was in trouble, he was going to 
find out who it was. 

"We concluded at first that Spencer was done for; for 
his heart beat very slow and he was quite dumpish. We 
had just started for camp with him, and met Bunnell going 
out with the two Indians. I reckon we would have sent 
them on a trip down where it is warmer than up there on the 
mountains, if Spencer hadn't roused himself just then. 
He stopped the game. He called for the Doctor; but Bun- 
nell was as stubborn as Firebaugh's mustang and would 


not leave the Indians. We had to let them pass, before he 
would take a look at Spencer. Doc. is generally all right 
enough, but he was in poor business to-day. When I told 
him it was his own messmate, he said it didn't matter if it 
were his own brother. If Captain Boling will make a 
shooting match and put up the other three, I'll give mj- 
horse for the first three shots. Shooting will be cheap after 


I have given the substance only of Sergt. Cameron's 
talk to the group around him, though but poorly imitating 
his style, in order to show the feeling that was aroused by 
Spencer's misfortune. Spencer's uniformly quiet and gen- 
tlemanly manners, made no enemies among rough com- 
rades, who admired the courageous hardihood of " the little 
fellow," and respected him as a man. Many expressions 
of sympathy were given by the scouts who gathered around 
our tent, on learning of his injury. For some days after 
the event, he could scarcely be recognized, his face was so 
swollen and discolored. But what Spencer seemed most to 
regret, was the injury to his feet and knees, which had been 
cruelly rasped by the coarse granite in his descent. 

The injury from this cause was so great, that he was un- 
able to make those explorations that footmen alone could 
accomplish. He was an enthusiastic lover of nature, an ac- 
complished scholar and man of the world. Having spent 
five years in France and Germany in the study of modern 
languages, after having acquired a high standing here in 
Latin and Greek. 

We thought him peculiarly gifted, and hoped for some- 
thing from his pen descriptive of the Yoseinite that would 
endure; but he could never be induced to make any effort 
to describe any feature of the valley, saying: "That fools 
only rush in where wise men stand in awe." We were bed- 
fellows and friends, and from this cause chiefly, perhaps, all 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 169 

the incidents of his accident were strongly impressed on my 
memory. After his full recovery his feet remained tender 
for a long time, and he made but one extended exploration 
after his accident while in the battalion. 

During the camp discussion regarding my course in saving 
the two captives, Captain Boling and myself were amused 
listeners. No great pains were taken as a rule to hide one's 
light under a bushel, and we were sitting not far off. The 
Captain said that he now comprehended the extreme anxiety 
of the captives to see Ten-ie-ya, as doubtless they knew of 
his intentions to roll rocks down on any who attempted to 
follow up that trail; and probably supposed we would kill 
them if any of us were killed. As he left our tent he re- 
marked: *' These hostages will have to stay in camp. They 
will not be safe outside of it, if some of the boys chance to 
get their eyes on them." 



Camp Amusements— A Lost Arrow— Escape of a Prisoner— Escape of 
Another— Shooting of the Third— Indian Diplomacy— Taking His 
Own Medicine — ^Ten-ie-ya Captured— Grief over the Death of His 
Son — Appetite under Adverse Circumstances— Poetry Dispelled— 
Really a Dirty Indian. 

Although our camp was undisturbed during the night, 
no doubt we were watched from the adjacent cliffs, as in 
fact all our movements were. The captives silently occu- 
pied the places bj the camp fire. They were aware of Spen- 
cer's mishap, and probably expected their lives might 
be forfeited; for they could see but little sympathy in the 
countenances of those about them. The reckless demon- 
strations of the more frolicksome boys were watched with 
anxious uncertainty. The sombre expressions and energetic 
remarks of the sympathizers of Spencer induced Captain 
Boling to have a special guard detailed from those who 
were not supposed to be prejudiced against the Indians, as 
it was deemed all-important to the success of the campaign 
that Ten-ie-ya should be conciliated or captured ; therefore, 
this detail was designed as much for the protection of the 
hostages as to prevent their escape. The messengers had 
assured the Captain that Ten-ie-ya would be in before 
noon, but the hostages told Sandino that possibly the mes 
sengers might not find him near To-co-ya, where they ex 
pected to meet him, as he might go a long distance away 
into the mountains before they would again see him. They 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 161 

evidently supposed that the chief, like themselves, had be- 
come alarmed at the failure of his plan to draw us into am- 
bush, and had fled farther into the Sierras; or else doubted 
his coming at all, and wished to encourage the Captain 
to hope for the coming of Ten-ie-ya that their own chances 
of escape might be improved. 

Sandino professed to believe their statement, telling me 
that they — the five prisoners — expected to have trailed us 
up to the scene of Spencer's disaster; failing in which — ow- 
ing to our having forced them to hide near the ''Frog 
Mountains" — they still expected to meet him on the cliff 
where the rocks had been rolled down, and not at To-co-ya. 
In this conversation, the fact appeared — derived as he said 
indirectly from conversations with the prisoners — that there 
were projecting ledges and slopes extending along the cliff 
on the east side of Le-hamite to To-co-ya, where Indians 
could pass and re-pass, undiscovered, and all of our move- 
ments could be watched. The substance of this communi- 
cation I gave to Captain Boling, but it was discredited as 
an impossibility; and he expressed the belief that the old 
chief would make his appearance by the hour agreed upon 
with his messengers, designated by their pointing to where 
the sun would be on his arrival in camp. Accordingly the 
Captain gave orders that no scouts would be sent out until 
after that time. Permission, however, was given to those 
who desired to leave camp for their own pleasure or diver- 

A few took advantage of this opportunity and made ex- 
cursions up the North Canon to the " basket trail," with a 
view of examining that locality, and at the same time in- 
dulging their curiosity to see the place where Cameron 
and Spencer had been trailed in and entrapped by the In- 
dians. Most of the command preferred to remain in camp 
to repair damages, rest, and to amuse themselves in a gen- 


eral way. Among the recreations indulged in, was shoot- 
ing at a target with the bows and arrows taken from the 
captured Indians. The bow and arrows of the young brave 
were superior to those of the others, both in material and 
workmanship. Oat of curiosity some of the boys induced 
him to give a specimen of his skilL His sliots were really 
commendable. The readiness with which he handled his 
weapons excited the admiration of the lookers on. He, 
with apparent ease, flexed a bow which many of our men 
could not bend without great effort, and whose shots were 
as liable to endanger the camp as to hit the target. This 
trial of skill was witnessed by Captain Boling and per- 
mitted, as no trouble was anticipated from it. 

After this exercise had ceased to be amusing, and the 
most of those in camp had their attention engaged in other 
matters, the guard, out of curiosity and for pastime, put up 
the target at long range. To continue the sport it was 
necessary to bring in the arrows used, and as it was difficult 
to find them, an Indian was taken along to aid in the search. 
The young brave made a more extended shot than all others. 
With great earnestness he watched the arrow, and started 
with one of the guard, who was unarmed, to find it. While 
pretending to hunt for the " lost arrow," he made a dash 
from the guard toward " Indian Canon," and darted into 
the rocky Talus, which here encroached upon the valley. 
The guard on duty hearing the alarm of his comrade and 
seeing the Indian at full speed, fired at him, but without 
effect, as the intervening rocks and the zig-zag course he 
was running, made the shot a difficult one, without danger 
of hitting his comrade, who was following in close pursuit. 

This aggravating incident greatly annoyed Capt. Boling, 
who was peculiarly sensitive on the subject of escaped pris- 
oners. The verdant guard was reprimanded in terms more 
expressive than polite; and relieved from duty. The re- 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 163 

iiuiiiiing Indians were then transferred to the special care of 
Lt. Chandler, who was told by Capt. Boling to " keep them 
secure if it took the whole command to do it." The Indians 
were secured by being tied back to back, with a *' riata" or 
picket rope, and then fastened to an oak tree in the middle 
of the camp, and the guard — a new one — stationed where 
tliey could constantly watch. The morning passed, and tlie 
hour often arrived, without Ten-ie-ya. Capt. Boling tlien 
sent out Sandino and the scouts to hunt for him, and if 
found, to notify him that he was expected. Sandino soon 
came back, and reported that he liad seen Ten-ie-ya and 
talked with him; but that he was unable to reach him from 
below, on account of the steepness of the ledge. Sandino 
reported that Ten-ie-ya was unwilling to come in. That he 
expressed a determination not to go to the Fresno. He 
would make peace with the white chief if he would be allow- 
ed to remain in his own territory. Neither he nor his 
people would go to the valley while the white men were 
there. They would stay on the mountains or go to the 

When this was communicated to Capt. Boling, he gave 
orders for a select number of scouts to make an effort to 
bring in the old malcontent, alive if possible. Lt. Chand- 
ler, therefore, with a few Noot-chii and Po-ho-no-chee scouts, 
to climb above the projecting: ledge, and a few of our men 
to cut off retreat, started up the Ten-ie-ya branch, led by 
Sandino as guide. After passing the " Royal Arches,'' San- 
dino let Chandler understand that he and his scouts had 
best go up by the Wai-ack or Mirror Lake trail, in order to 
cut off Ten-ie-y a's retreat ; while he w^ent back to the rock 
he pointed out as the place where he had seen and talked 
with Ten-ie-ya; and which commanded a view of our camp. 
This was distasteful to Chandler; but after a moment's re- 
flection said : " Let the converted knave go back to camp ; 


I'll act without him, and catch the old chief if he is on the 
mountain, and that without resorting to Indian treachery," 

While in camp Sandino had seemed to convey some mes- 
sage to the hostages, and when asked the purport of it had 
answered evasively. This had prejudiced Chandler, but it 
had not surprised me, nor did it appear inconsistent wuth 
Sandino's loyalty to Captain Boling; but the Indian was 
unpopular. As to his code of honor and his morality, it 
was about what should have been expected of one in his 
position, and as a frequent interpreter of his interpretations 
and sayings, I finally told the Captain and Chandler that it 
would be best to take Sandino for what he might be worth; 
as continued doubt of him could not be disguised, and 
would tend to make a knave or fool of him. On one occa- 
sion, he was so alarmed by some cross looks and words giv- 
en him, that he fell upon his knees and begged for his life, 
thinking, as he said afterward, that he was to be killed. 

During the night, and most of the time during the day, 
I was engaged in attendance on Spencer. Doctor Black 
understood it to be Spencer's wish that I should treat him. 
I gave but little attention to other matters, although I could 
see from our tent everything that was going on in camp. 
Not long after the departure of Chandler and his scouts, 
as I was about leaving camp in search of balsam of fir and 
other medicinals, I observed one of the guard watching 
the prisoners with a pleased and self-satisfied expression. 
As I glanced toward the Indians I saw that they were 
endeavoring to untie each other, and said to two of the 
detail as I passed them, "That ought to be reported to 
the ofiicer of the guard. Tliey should be separated, and 
not allowed to tempt their fate." I was told that it was 
" already known to the ofiicers." 1 was then asked if I was 
on guard duty. The significance of this I was fully able to 
interpret, and passed on to the vicinity of " The High 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 165 

On my return an hour afterwards, I noticed when near- 
ing camp, that the Indians were gone from the tree to 
which they were tied when 1 left. Supposing that they had 
probably been removed for greater security, I gave it no 
further thought until, without any intimation of what had 
occurred during my sliort absence, I saw before me the 
dead body of old Ten-e-ya's youngest son. The warm blood 
still oozing from a wound in his back. He was lying just 
outside of our camp, within pistol range of the tree to 
which he had been tied. 

I now compreliended the action of the guard. I learned 
that the other Indiaii had been fired at, but had succeeded 
in making his escape over the same ground and into the 
canon where the other brave had disappeared. I found on 
expressing ni}^ unqualified condemnation of this cowardly act, 
that I was not the only one to denounce it. It was a cause 
of regret to nearly the whole command. Instead of the 
praise expected by the guard for the dastardly manner in 
which the young Indian was killed, they were told by Cap- 
tain Boling that they had committed murder. Sergeant 
Cameron was no lover of Indians, but for this act his boil- 
ing wrath could hardly find vent, even when aided by some 
red hot expressions. I learned, to my extreme mortifica- 
tion, that no report had been made to any of the officers. 
The Indians had been permitted to untie themselves, and 
an opportunity had been given them to attempt to escape 
in order to fire upon them, expecting to kill them both; 
and only that a bullet-pouch had been hung upon the 
muzzle of one of the o^uard's rifles while leanino^ as^ainst a 
tree (for neither were on duty at the moment), no doubt 
both of the captives would have been killed. 

Upon investigation, it was found that the fatal shot had 
been fired by a young man who had been led by an old 
Texan sinner to think that killing Indians or Mexicans 



was a duty; aod surprised 
at Captain Bolino^'s view of 
liis conduct, declared with 
. an injured air, that he 
"would not kill another In 
dian if the woods were full 
of them." Although no 
punishment was ever inflict- 
ed upon the perpetrators of 
the act, they were both soon 
sent to Coventry, and feeling 
their disgrace, were allowed 
to do duty with the pack- 
train. Captain Boling had, 
before the occurrence of this ^^ 
incident, decided to establish 
his permanent camp on the 
south side of the Merced. V; 
The location selected was ^ 
near the bank of the river, 
in full view of, and nearl 
opposite, "The 
Fall." This camp 
was head - quar- 
ters during our 
stay in the valley, 
which was ex- 
tended to a much 
longer time than 
we had anticipat- 
ed. Owing to 
several mountain 
storms, our stay 
was prolonged 
over a month. 

Y O S l>; M I 1 K FALL 
(2,634 feet in height.) 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 167 

The bottoms, or meadow land, afforded good grazing for 
our animals, and we were there more conveniently reached 
by our couriers and supply-trains from the Fresno. 

From this point our excursions were made. All Indians 
attach great importance to securing the bodies of their dead 
for appropriate ceremonials, which with these was " crema- 
tion." They with others of the mountain tribes in this part 
of California, practiced the burning of their dead in ac- 
cordance with their belief in a future state of existence, 
which was that if the body was burned, the spirit was re- 
leased and went to " tlie happy land in the west." If this 
ceremony was omitted, the spirit haunted the vicinity, to 
the annoyance of the friends as well as the enemies of the 
deceased. Knowing this. Captain Boling felt a desire to 
make some atonement for the unfortunate killing of the son 
of Ten-ie-ya, the chief of the tribe with whom he was en- 
deavoring to '*make peace," and therefore made his ar- 
rangements to take advantage of this custom to propitiate 
the Indians by giving them an opportunity to remove the 
body of the youth. Accordingly, the order was at once 
given to break camp. 

While the pack animals were being loaded, Lt. Chandler 
with his party brought in Ten-ie-ya. The Indian scouts, 
who were iirst sent out with Sandino and who knew wliere 
the talk with the chief had been held, passed on in advance 
and saw that he was still at his perch, watching tlie move- 
ments below him. Some of those out on leave discovered 
him also, seated on a ledge that appeared only accessible 
from above. The Pohonochee scouts, thinking to capture 
him by cutting off his retreat, followed an upper trail and 
reached the summit of the wall, while a few of Chandler's 
men, who were apprized of the situation by some of the 
pleasure-seekers whom they met, took a lower trail, and 
thus were in advance of the Indian scouts when Ten-ie-ya's 


retreat was reached. To their disappointment, the old chief 
could not be found, though at intervals fresh signs and heaps 
of stones were seen along the south-western slope of the 

The sequel to the disappearance of Ten-ie-ya, as explained 
by Sandino, was simply as follows: When sent back by 
Chandler, Sandino resolved to make another effort to in- 
duce Ten-ie-ya to come in, lest Chandler should kill him if 
found. Accordingly he again climbed to the foot of the 
old chief's perch, and was talking with him, when some 
small loose stones came rolling down towards them. Seeing 
that his retreat above had been cut off, Ten-ie-ya at first 
ran along westerly, on the slope of the mountain towards 
Indian Canon ; but finding that he was cut off in that di- 
rection also, by the ]^eut-chii and Po-ho-no-chee scouts, he 
turned and came down a trail through an oak tree- top to 
the valley, which Sandino liad by this time reached, and 
where he had been attracted by the noise made in the pur- 
suit. Lt. Chandler had not climbed up the trail, and hear- 
ing Sandino's cry for help, and the noise above him, he was 
able to reach the place when Ten-ie-ya descended, in time 
to secure him. Ten-ie-ya said the men above him were 
rolling stones down, and he did not like to go up, as they 
broke and flew everywhere; for that reason he came down. 

Ten-ie-ya accompanied his captors without making any 
resistance, although he strongly censured the Indians for 
being instrumental in his capture. They did not reach the 
valley in time to take part in the capture, but as Ten-ie-ya 
had said: "It was their cunning that had discovered the 
way to his liiding place." 

IS'one of the party of explorers or those under Chandler 
were aware of the event that had occurred during their ab- 
sence. As Ten-ie-ya walked toward the camp, proudly con- 
scious of being an object of attention from us, his eye fell 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 169 

upon the dead body of his favorite son, which still lay where 
he had fallen, without having been disturbed. He halted 
for a moment, without visible emotion, except a slight quiv- 
ering of his lips. As he raised his head, the index to his 
feelings was exhibited in the glaring expression of deadly 
hate with which he gazed at Capt. Boling, and cast his eyes 
over the camp as if in search of the remains of the other son, 
the fellow captive of the one before him. Captain Boling 
expressed his regret of the occurrence, and had the circum- 
stances explained to him, but not a single word would he ut- 
ter in reply ; not a sound escaped his compressed lips. He pas- 
sively accompanied us to our camp on the south side of the 
river. It was evident that every movement of ours was 
closely scrutinized. Sandino was instructed to notify the 
chief that the body could be taken away. This permission 
was also received in silence. 

Upon riding over to the camp ground the next morning, 
it was found that the body had been carried up or secreted 
in Indian Canon ; as all of the tracks led that way. This 
ravine became known to us as " Indian Canon," though 
called by the Indians "Le-Hamite," " the arrow wood." It 
was also known to them by the name of " Scho-tal-lo-wi," 
meaning the way to " Fall CreekP The rocks near which 
we were encamped, between "Indian Canon" and "The 
Falls," were now called by the Po-ho-no-chee scouts who 
were with us, " Hammo," or "Ummo," " The Lost Arrow," 
in commemoration of the event. On the morning folio vv- 
ing the capture of Ten-ie-ya, Capt. Boling tried to have a 
talk with liim; but he would not reply to a question asked 
through the intepreter; neither would he converse with 
Sandino or the Indians with us. He maintained this 
moody silence and extreme taciturnity for several days af- 

Finding that nothing could be accomplished through the 


old chief, Captain Boling gave orders to re-commence our 
search for his people. Scouting parties were started on 
foot to explore as far as was practicable on account of the 
snow. Although it was now May, the snow preven- 
ted a very extended search in tlie higher Sierras. On 
the first day out these parties found that, although they 
had made a faithful and active search, they had not per- 
formed half they had planned to do when starting. Dis- 
tances were invariably under-estimated. This we after- 
ward found was the case in all of our excursions in the 
mountains, where we estimated distance by the eye; and 
calling attention to the phenomena, I tried to have the 
principle applied to heights as well. The height of the 
mountainous cliffs, and the clear atmosphere made objects 
appear near, but the time taken to reach them convinced 
us that our eyes had deceived us in our judgment of dis- 
tance. To avoid the severe labor that was imposed upon 
us by carrying our provisions and blankets, an attempt was 
made to use pack-mules, but the circuitous route we were 
compelled to take consumed too much time; besides the 
ground we were desirous of going over was either too soft 
and yielding, or too rocky and precipitous. We were com- 
pelled to leave the mules and continue our explorations on 
foot. Later in the season there would have been no difii- 
culty iu exploring the mountains on horse-back, if certain 
well established routes and passes were kept in view; but 
aside from these our Indian guides could give us little or 
no information. This we accounted for upon the theory 
that, as there was no game of consequence in the higher 
Sierras, and the cold was great as compared with the lower 
altitudes, the Indians knowledge of the " Higher Sierras " 
was only acquired while passing over them, or while con- 
cealed in them from the pursuit of their enemies. All 
scouting parties were, therefore, principally dependent upon 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 171 

their own resources, and took with them a supply of food 
and their blankets for a bivouac. In this way much time 
and fatigue of travel was saved. Some were more adven- 
turous than others in their explorations. These, on re- 
turning from a scout of one or more days out, would come 
in ragged and foot-sore, and report with enthusiasm their 
adventures, and the wonders they had seen. Their de- 
scriptions around the camp fire at night were at first quite 
exciting; but a few nights' experience in the vicinity of the 
snow-line, without finding Indians, soon cooled down the 
ardor of all but a very few, who, from their persistent wan- 
dering explorations, were considered somewhat eccentric. 

Through our Indian scouts, we learned that some of the 
Yosemites had gone to the Tuolumne. These were Tuo- 
lumne Indians who had intermarried with the Yosemites, 
and had been considered as a part of Ten-ie-ya's band. 
Taking their women and children, they returned to the 
Tuolumne tribe as soon as it waf known that Ten-ie-ya had 
been captured; fearing he would again promise to take his 
band to the Fresno. Our orders prohibited us from dis- 
turbing the Tuolumne Indians; we therefore permitted 
them to return to their allegiance without attempting to 
follow them. 

Ten-ie-ya was treated with kindness, and as his sorrow 
for the loss of his son seemed to abate, he promised to call 
in some of his people, and abide by their decision, when 
they had heard the statements of Capt. Boling. At night 
he would call as if to some one afar off*. He said his peo- 
ple were not far from our camp and could hear his voice. 
We never heard a reply, although the calls were continued 
by order of Capt. Boling for many nights. 

Although he was closely watched by the camp guard, he 
made an attempt to escape while the guard's back was mo- 
mentarily turned upon him. Sergt. Cameron, who had es- 


pecial charge of him at the time, saw his movement, and 
as he rushed from his keeper, Cameron dashed after and 
caught him before he was able to plunge into and swim the 

As Ten-ie-ya was brought into the presence of Capt. Bol- 
ing hy Sergt. Cameron, after this attempt to escape, he sup- 
posed that he would now be condemned to be shot. With 
mingled fear of the uncertainty of his life being spared, and 
his furious passion at being foiled in his attempt to regain 
his liberty, he forgot his usiial reserve and shrewdness. His 
grief for the loss of his son and the hatred he entertained 
toward Copt. Boling, who he considered as responsible for 
his death, was uppermost in his thoughts, and without any 
of his taciturn, diplomatic style he burst forth in lamenta- 
tions and denunciations, given in a loud voice and in a style 
of language and manner of delivery which took us all by 
surprise. In his excitement, he made a correct use of many 
Spanish words, showing that he was more familiar with 
them than he had ever admitted even to Sandino; but the 
more emphatic expressions were such as may often be heard 
used by the muleteers of Mexico and South America, but are 
not found in the Lexicons. As he approached Capt. Boling, 
he began in a highly excited tone: '•''Kill me^ sir Captain! 
Yes, Icill rne^ as you killed my son; as you would kill my 
people if they were to come to you! You would kill all my 
race if you had the power. Yes, sir, American, you can 
now tell your warriors to kill the old chief; you have made 
me sorrowful, my life dark; you killed the child of my 
heart, why not kill the father? But wait a little; when I 
am dead I will call to my people to come to you, I will call 
louder than you have had me call; that they shall hear me 
in their sleep, and come to avenge the death of their chief 
and his son. Yes, sir, American, m}^ spirit will make 
trouble for you and your people, as you have caused trouble 

AND INDIAN WAR OF i851. 173 

to me and my people. "With the wizards, I will follow the 
white men and make them fear me." He here aroused him- 
self to a sublime frenzy, and completed his rhapsody by say- 
ing: '^ You may kill me, sir. Captain, but you shall not live 
in peace. 1 will follow in your foot-steps, I will not leave 
my home, but be with the spirits among the rocks, the 
water- falls, in the rivers and in the winds; wheresoever you 
go I will be with you. You will not see me, but you will 
fear the spirit of the old chief, and grow cold.* The great 
spirits have spoken! I am done." 

Captain Boling allowed the old orator to finish his talk 
without interruption. Although he did not fully understand 
him, he was amused at his earnest style and impetuous ges- 
tures. On hearing il interpreted, he humorously replied: 
" I comprehended the most of what he said. The old chief 
has improved. If he was only reliable he w^ould make a 
better interpreter than Sandino. As for speech-making, 
Doc, I throw up. The old Pow-wow can beat me all hol- 
low." Ten-ie-ya earnestly watched the countenance of the 
good natured Captain, as if to learn his decision in the mat- 
ter. The Captain observing him, quietly said: "Sergeant 
Cameron ! the old sachem looks hungry, and as it is now 
about supper time, you had better give him an extra ration 
or two, and then see that he is so secured that he will not 
have a chance to escape from us again." 

I watched the old incorrigible while he was delivering 
this eloquent harangue (which, of course, is necessarily a free 
translation) with considerable curiosity. Under the ex- 
citement of the moment he appeared many years younger. 
With his vigorous old age he displayed a latent power which 
was before unknown to us. I began to feel a sort of vene- 

*It is claimed by all Indian "Medicine Men" that the presence of a 
spirit is announced by a cool breeze, and that sometimes they turn cold 
and shake as with an ague. 


ration for him. My sympathies had before been aroused 
for his sorrow, and I now began to have almost a genuine 
respect for him; but as I passed him half an hour after- 
wards, the poetry of his life appeared changed. He was 
regaling himself on fat pork and beans from a wooden dish 
which had been brought to him by order of Cameron. This 
he seemed to enjoy with an appetite of a hungry animal. 
His guard had provided his wooden bowl and ladle by chip- 
ping them out of an alder tree, but failing to finish them 
smoothly, they could not hQ properly washed; but this fact 
seemed not to disturb his relish for the food. As I looked 
at his enjoyment of the loaded dish, I now saw only a dirty 
old Indian. The spiritual man had disappeared. I ad- 
dressed him in Spanish, but not a word of reply; instead 
he pointed to his ear, thereby indicating that he was deaf 
to the language. Afterwards he even repudiated his ''Med- 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 175 


Bears and Otlier Game — Sickness of Captain Bolin^? — Convalescence and 
Determination — A Guess at Heifrhts— A Tired Doctor and a Used-up 
Captain — Surprising an Indian — Know- nothingness, or Native Amer- 
icanism — A Clue and Discovery — A Short-cut to Camp, but an Un- 
popular Route. 

Considerable hilarty has been exhibited by modern vis- 
itors when told that the Yosemite and its environs were 
once the favorite resort of the grizzly bear. After these vis- 
itors have returned to Xew York or Boston, they tell the 
public not to be afraid of bears, as they were quite harm- 
less; rather inclined to become domestic, etc. That is well 
enough now, perhaps, although grizzlies may 3'et be found; 
but at the date of the discovery ; their trails were as large 
and numerous, almost, as cow-paths in a western settle- 
ment. Several bears were seen by us, and one was killed. 
The Yo-sem-i-tes used to capture these monsters by lying 
in wait for them on some rock or in some tree that com- 
manded their thoroughfare, and after the bear had been 
wounded, all the dogs in the village were turned loose upon 
him. After being brought to bay, he was dispatched with 
arrows or the spear. A medium sized terrier or two will 
so annoy a large grizzly, keeping out of his way in the 
meantime, that he is apt to become stubborn and stand his 

In such cases, there is less danger to the hunter. I have 
known of two being killed in this way at short range. The 
approach of the hunter was disregarded by the bear. Their 


hams had been so bitten by the dogs that they dared not 
run, for fear of a fresh attack. I killed a large one as he 
came out of the Merced river, a little above where the town 
of Merced has since been built, and the same day, being in 
a whale-boat, 1 had to back from an old she-bear and her 
two cubs, encountered in a short turn of the river. I tried 
to kill these also, but my rifle had got soaked in the rain 
that was pouring at the time; as for the pistol shots, fired 
by some of the oarsmen, they only seemed to increase her 
speed, and that of her cubs, as they reached the shore and 
plunged through the willows. I had, previous to the kill- 
ing of the grizzly, killed a large black bear with a rifle 
of small calibre, and gaining confidence, I attacked the 
grizzly, and was fortunate in cutting a renal-artery, from 
which the bear soon bled to death; but upon viewing the 
huge monster, I fully realized the folly of an open attack 
upon this kind of game, and ever afterwards, so far as I 
could, when alone, avoided their noted haunts. With all 
my caution and dread of an unexpected encounter with 
them, I met several face to face during mountain explora- 
tions; but invariably, they seemed as anxious to get away 
from me as I was that they should do so. Once while ma- 
noeuvering to get a shot at a deer, a grizzly came out in full 
view but a few yards in advance of me. I was tempted to 
give him a sliot, but as I had no refuge of dog or tree, if I 
made a poor shot, and knowing that I was not seen by the 
bear, I did not molest him, but felt relieved as he entered 
a chinquepin thicket, and if there had been fifty of them, 
no doubt they might have all gone without my saying a 

I have seen a good deal of nonsense in print about bears, 
but will venture to give these incidents. Joel H. Brooks 
and John Kenzie, ex-members of "The Battalion," were 
the least susceptible to fear of them, of any persons I ever 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 177 

knew. Their skill as marksmen, was something wonder- 
derfnl. They nsed to go througli a drill on foot, firing at 
some imaginary grizzly, tlien with a representative shot, 
the bear was wounded, and pnrsuing them; they would 
turn and flee, loading their rifles as they ran, and then turn 
and fire witli deliberation at the imaginary bear in pursuit. 

This theory of bear hunting, they determined to put in- 
to practice, and after the close of the Indian war, and the 
disbanding of tlie hattalion, they establislied themselves in 
a camp near the Tehon Pass, a locality even more famous 
for bears than the Yosemite. They were successful, killed 
a number, and were daily acquiring more confidence in the 
practicability of their theory and plans of attack; when one 
day, while Kenzie was out hunting by himself, he unexpect- 
edly met a huge grizzly face to face; both were for a mo- 
ment startled. 

Contrary to the usual, and almost invariable, habit of the 
bear when surprised or about to attack, he did not rise 
upon his hind feet; but instead of aflfording Kenzie the ad- 
vantage of the usual opportunity to aim at the small, light- 
colored spot on his neck, which, if centered, is instant death 
to the animal, the bear made a direct dash for the hunter. 
Seeing his peril, Kenzie at once fired with all the delibera- 
tion the urgency of the occasion would permit. The shot 
proved a fatal one, but before Kenzie could avoid the fu- 
rious charge of the animal, he was fatally injured by blows 
from the terrible monster. His bowels were literally torn 
out; he was unfortunate in being tripped by the tangled 
brush, or he might have escaped, as the bear fell dead with 
his first charge, Kenzie succeeded in dragging himself to 
their camp. He described the locality of the adventure, 
and requested Brooks to go and bring in the liver of the 
bear. He said it would afl'ord him some consolation to eat 
more of the bear than the bear had been able to eat of him. 


Brooks brought in and cooked some of the liver, fully grati- 
fying Kenzie's whim; but it was the hunter's last poor tri- 
umph — he died soon after. Brooks swore off from this 
method of hunting, at least for a season, and accepted a 
position offered him at the Indian Agency. 

Another member of our battalion killed a grizzly that for 
a time made him quite famous as a bear-fighter. As this 
man was an Indian, an attempt has been made to weave the 
incident into a legend, giving the honor of tlie combat to 
one of the Yosemites. The truth is, that a full-blooded 
Cherokee, known as " Cherokee Bob," or Robert Brown, 
wounded a grizzly, and to keep the bear from entering a 
thicket, set his dog on the game. While "Bob" was re- 
loading his rifle, and before he could get the cap on, the 
bear, disregarding the dog, charged upon Bob, and bore him 
to tlie ground. The dog instantly attacked the bear, biting 
his hams most furiously. The grizzly turned from Brown 
and caught the dog with his paw, holding him as a cat 
would hold a mouse. By this means Bob was released, and 
but slightly bruised. In an instant he drew his hunting 
knife and plunged it to the heart of the bear, and ended the 
contest. The dog was seriously injured, but Bob carried 
him in his arms to camp, and attended his wounds as he 
would a comrade's or as he might have done his own. As 
"Cherokee Bob's" bear fight was a reality known to his 
comiades, I have noticed it here. 

The various routes to the Yosemiteare now so constantly 
traveled that bears will rarely be seen. They possess a 
very keen scent, and will avoid all thoroughfares traveled 
by man, unless very hungry; they are compelled to search 
for food. Strange as it may appear to some, the ferocious 
grizzly can be more reliably tamed and domesticated than 
the black bear. A tame grizzly at Monterey, in 1849, was 
allowed the freedom of the city. Capt. Chas. M. Webber, 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851, 179 

the origiDal proprietor of the site of Stockton, had two that 
were kept chained. They became very tame. One of these, 
especially tame, wonld get loose from time to time and 
roam at will over the city. The new inhabitants of Stock- 
ton seemed not to be inspired by that faith in his docility 
and uprightness of character that possessed the owner, for 
they found him rav^enonsly devouring a barrel of sugar that 
belonged to one of the merchants, and refused to give up 
any portion of it. This offended the grocer, and he sent 
word to Mr. Webber to come and remove his truant thief 
The Captain came, paid for the damaged sugar, and giving 
him, like a spoiled child, some of the sweets he had confis- 
cated to induce him to follow, led the bear home. But 
bruin remembered his successful forav, and breakino^ his 
chain as^ain and again, and always returning to the mer- 
chant's premises for sugar, Mr. Webber rid himself and the 
community of the annoyance by disposing of his grizzlies. 
During a hunt in company with Col. Byron Cole, Messrs. 
Kent, Long and McBrien of San Francisco, I caught a good 
sized cub, and Mr. Long, with a terrier dog, caught an- 
other; the mother of which was killed by the unerring aim 
of McBrien. These cubs were taken by Cole and McBrien 
to San Francisco on their return, and sent to New York. 
I was told that they became very tame. I hope they did, 
for the comfort and security of their keepers; for in my 
£rst efforts to tame a grizzly, I became somewhat prejudiced 
against bear training as an occupation. Not long after my 
experience, I heard of poor Lola Montez being bitten by 
one she was training at Grass Yalley for exhibition in 
Europe; and I now lost all faith in their reported docility 
and domestic inclinations. The California lion, like the 
wolf, is a coward, and deserves but little notice. Among 
the visitors to the Yosemite, some will probably be inter- 
ested in knowing where to find the game; fish, birds and 


animals, that may yet remain to gratify the sportsmen's love 
of the rod and the chase. Most of the game has been killed 
or driven off by the approach of civilization. Deer and oc- 
casionally a grizzly, cinnamon or black bear may be found 
on the slopes of the Tuolumne, Merced, Fresno and San 
Joaquin, and on all the rivers and mountains south of these 
streams. The cinnamon bear of California is much laro^er 
than the common brown bear of the Kocky Mountains. 

The blue black-tailed deer of California are distinct from 
the black tuft- tailed deer of the eastern ranges; a very 
marked difference will be observed in their horns and ears. 
This distinction has been noticed by naturalists; but the 
species are often confounded in newspaper correspondence. 
The habits of the California deer are more goat-like; they 
are wilder, and more easily startled than the '^mule-eared" 
deer of the Rockies, and when alarmed, they move with the 
celerity of the white-tailed Virginia deer. The bare, tuft- 
tailed and big-eared Rocky Mountain deer, seem but little 
alarmed by the report of a gun; and their curiosity is nearly 
equal to that of the antelope. 

The California deer are still abundant upon the spurs of 
the Sierras during their migrations to and from the foot- 
hills. These migrations occur during the Autumn and 
Spring. As the rainy season sets in, they leave the higher 
mountains for the foot-hills and plains, keeping near the 
snow line, and as the Spring advances, they follow back the 
receding snow to the high Sierras and the Eastern Slope, but 
seldom or never descend to the plain below. On account 
of these migratory habits, they will most likely endure the 
assaults of the sportsmen. The haunts of the grizzly are the 
same as those of the deer, for they alike prefer the bushy 
coverts to the more open ground, except when feeding. 
The deer prefer as food the foliage of shrubs and weeds to 
the richest grasses, and the bear prefers clover, roots, ants 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 181 

and reptiles; but both fatten principally on acorns, wild rye 
and wild oats. 

California grouse are found in the vicinity of the Yosem- 
ite. During the months of July and August they were 
formerly found quite numerous concealed in the grass and 
sedges of the valley and the little Yosemite; but as they 
are much wilder than the prairie chicken, they shun the 
haunts of man, and are now only found numerous in mid- 
summer upon or bordering on the mountain meadows and 
in the timber, among the pine forests, where they feed upon 
the pine seeds and mistletoe, which also afford them ample 
concealment. Their ventriloquial powers are such that 
while gobbling their discordant notes, they are likely to de- 
ceive the most experienced ear. It is almost impossible to 
feel quite sure as to which particular tree the grouse is in 
without seeing it. He seems to throw his voice about, now 
to this tree and now to that, concealing himself the while 
until the inexperienced hunter is deluded into the belief 
that the trees are full of grouse, when probably there is but 
one making all the noise. His attention having been di- 
verted, the hunter is left in doubt from sheer conflicting 
sounds as to which particular tree he saw a bird alight in. 
It is generally pretty sure to '^ fetch the hird,^^ if you shoot 
into the bunch of mistletoe into whicli you sujpjposed you 
saw the grouse alight. 

Beside the mountain grouse and mountain quail, among 
the most beautiful of birds, that afford the sportsman a di- 
versity of sport, an occasional flock of pigeons, of much 
larger size than those of the Atlantic States, will attract 
attention; though I have never seen them in very large 
flocks. In most of the mountain streams, and their branch- 
es, brook trout are quite abundant. They are not, however, 
so ravenously accommodating, as to bite just when they are 
wanted. I learned Irom the Indians that they would bite 


best in foaming water, when they were unable to see the 
angler, or the bait distinctly; their curiosity stimulating 
their appetites. It is important that the trout do not see 
the angler, and when very wary, the rod even should not be 
conspicuous. Below the caiion of the Yosemite, young 
salmon were once abundant. The Indians used to catch 
fish in weirs made of brush and stones; but during the ex- 
tensive mining operations on the Merced and other rivers, 
the salmon seemed to have ahnost abandoned their favorite 
haunts, for the mud covered spawn would not hatch. Large 
salmon were speared by the Indians in all the rivers, with 
a curious bone spear of but one tine, while the smaller fry 
were caught in their weirs. In the Tulare lakes and in the 
San Joaquin, King's, Kern and other rivers, fish, frogs and 
turtle are abundant, and water fowl literally swarm during 
the winter months in many parts ot California. 

Among the foot-hills of the Sierra Nevada, as well as in 
all the lesser mountain ranges, may be found the common 
California blue quail, and a very curious brush or chapparel 
cock, known to the Spanish residents of California and 
Mexico as "El Paisano" (The Countryman), and as the 
" Correo Camino" (Koad-runner), and to ornithologists as 
the Geo-coG cyx Cal-ifornicus.^ They have received the 
name of " country mari^^ because of their inclination to run 
like country children at the sight of strangers, and that of 
" road-rum- -t" from the habit of frequenting roads and trails, 
for the purpose of wallowing in the dust, and when alarmed 
darting off along the road with the speed of an ostrich or 
wild turkey. The object they have in wallowing in the 
dust is like that of the ruffled grouse, which indulge in 
the same practice — they sun themselves and at the same 
time are rid of vermin. Trnsting to their legs to escape 
when alarmed, they take the open ground — the road — until 
outrunning pursuit they hide in the chapparel, and thus 

*Known as the Mexican Pheasant, though not very good to eat. 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851, 183 

acquire the name of " road-runner" or " chapparel cock." 
I have never seen any ruffled grouse in the Sierra 
Kevada, but a species of these fine birds, are quite abun- 
dant in Oregon and Washington territory. I have been able 
to solve a question regarding them, upon which naturalists 
have disagreed, that is, as to how they drum. Whether the 
sound is produced by the wings in concussive blows upon 
their bodies, the air, logs or rocks? I am able to say from 
personal and careful observation, that the sound of '•' drum- 
ming^^^ is made, like the sound of tlie " night jar,^^ exclu- 
sively by a peculiar motion of the wings in the air. It is 
true, the American "pheasant" or American "partridge," 
commonly stands upon a log while drumming, but I have 
watched them while perched upon a dry small branch or 
twig, drum for hours most sonorously, calling upon their 
rivals to encounter them, and their mistresses to come and 
witness their gallantry. Darwin has aptly said: "The 
season of love, is that of battle." IN^otwithstanding the 
acuteness of observation of Mr. Darwin, he has been led 
into error in his statement that wild horses "do not make 
any danger signals." They snort and paw the earth with 
impatience, when they cannot discover the cause of their 
alarm, and almost invariably circle to the leeward of the 
object that disturbes them. A mule is the best of senti- 
nels to alarm a camp on the approach of danger. Deer and 
elk whistle and strike the earth perpendicularly with their 
feet when jumping up to discover the cause of alarm. Deer 
and antelope are both so inquisitive, that if the hunter has 
not been seen, or has been but imperfectly seen, by dropping 
into the grass or brush, and raising some object to view and 
suddenly withdrawing it, the deer or antelope will fre- 
quently come up within a few feet of the object. Antelope 
are especially curious to know what disturbs them. 

The coyotes, or small wolves, and the grey or tree climb- 


mg foxes of California, make a kind of barking noise, more 
like the bark of a small dog than the howl of a wolf, and 
therefore barking is not so much of ^' an acquired ^^ art as 
has been supposed, though the " laughter" of dogs is more 
or less acquired. 

The whistle of the elk is as complete a call to his mis- 
tress, and is as well understood, as though the female had 
said, " Whistle and I'll come to jou." Elk and antelope 
are still to be found in California, as well as wild horses, but 
they are now quite timid, and resort to unfrequented ranges. 
The best hunting now to be found in California, except for 
water-fowl, is in the region of Kern River. IS'ear its source 
big-horn or mountain sheep may be killed, and from along 
the base of the eastern slope, antelope range into the des- 
ert. Deer and bear may be found on either slope of the 
range, and among the broken hills south of the head of Tu- 
lare valley. 

Wolves, foxes, badgers, coons, and other fur-clothed ani- 
mals, are also quite numerous. I have dared to question 
some of Mr. Darwin's facts, and as I expect this to be my 
last literary effort (oh, ye reviewers!), I wish to remind the 
publishers of Webster's Dictionary that a beaver is not an 
" amphihious^^ animal, neither is a muscalonge " an over- 
grown pickerel." 

A few days after we had moved camp to the south side 
of the Merced, Captain Boling was prostrated with an at- 
tack of pneumonia. From frequent wettings received while 
crossing the ice-cold torrents, and a too free use of this 
snow-water, which did not agree with many, he had for 
some days complained of slight illness, but after this at- 
tack he was compelled to acknowledge himself sick. Al- 
though the severe symptoms continued but a few days, his 
recovery was lingering, and confined him to camp; con- 
sequently he knew but little of his rocky surroundings. 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 185 

Although reo^ular reports were made to him by the scout 
ing parties, he had but an imperfect conception of the la- 
bors performed by them in clambering over the rocks of 
the canons and mountains. He would smile at the re- 
ports the more enthusiastic gave of the wonders discov- 
ered; patiently listen to the complaints of the more practi- 
cal at their want of success in, what they termed, their fu- 
tile explorations; and finally concluded to suspend opera- 
tions until the fast-melting snow had so disappeared from 
the high mountain passes as to permit our taking a supply- 
train, in order to make our search thorough. The winter 
had been an unusually dry and cold one — so said the In- 
dians — and, as a consequence, the accumulations of snow 
in the passes and lake basins had remained almost intact. 
A succession of mountain storms added to the drifts, so 
that when the snow finally began to melt, the volume of 
water coming from the "High Sierras" was simply pro- 
digious — out of all proportion to the quantity that had fal- 
len upon the plains below. 

Sandino persisted in trying to make the Captain believe 
that most of the Yosemites had already gone through the 
Mono Pass, and that those remaining hidden, were but the 
members of Ten-ie-ya's family. This theory was not ac- 
cepted by Capt. Boling, and occasional scouting parties 
would still be sent out. A few of us continued to make 
short excursions, more for adventure and to gratify curiosity, 
than with the expectation of discovering the hiding places 
of the Indians; although we kept up the form of a search. 
We thus became familiar with most of the objects of in- 

The more practical of our command could not remain 
quiet in camp during this suspension of business. Beside 
the ordinary routine of camp duties, they engaged in ath- 
letic sports and horse-racing. A very fair race track was 


cleared and put in condition, and some of the owners of 
fast horses were very much surprised, to see their favorites 
trailing behind some of the fleet-footed mules. A malttse 
Kentucky blooded mule, known as the "Yining Mule," dis- 
tanced all but one horse in the command, and so pleased 
was Oapt. Eoling with its gracefully supple movements, 
that he paid Yining for it a thousand dollars in gold. 

For a change of amusement, the members of our "Jockey 
Club" would mount their animals and take a look at such 
points of interest as had been designated in our camp-fire 
conversations as most remarkable. Tlie scenery in the Yo- 
semite and vicinity, which is now familiar to so many, was 
at that time looked upon with varied degrees of individual 
curiosity and enjoyment, ranging from the enthusiastic, to al- 
most a total indifference to the sublime grandeur presented. 
It is doubtful if any of us could have given a very graphic 
description of what we saw, as the impressions then receiv- 
ed were so far below the reality. Distance, height, depth 
and dimensions were invariably under-estimated; notwith- 
standing this, our attempts at descriptions after our return 
to the settlements, were received as exaggerated "yarns." 

While in Mariposa, upon one occasion not very long after 
the discovery of Yosemite, I was solicited by Wm. T. Whit- 
achre, a newspaper correspondent from San Francisco, to 
furnish him a written description of the Yalley. This, of 
course, was beyond my ability to do; but I disinterestedly 
complied with his request as far as I could, by giving him 
some written details to work upon. On reading the paper 
over, he advised me to reduce my estimates of heights of 
cliffs and waterfalls, at least fifty per centum, or my judg- 
ment would be a subject of ridicule even to my personal 
friends. I had estimated El Capitan at from fifteen hun- 
dred to two thousand feet high; the Yosemite Fall at about 
fifteen hundred feet, and other prominent points of interest 
in about the same proportion. 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 187 

To convince me of mv error of judgment, he stated that 
he had interviewed Captain Boling and some others, and 
that none had estimated the higliest cliffs above a thousand 
feet. He further said that he would not like to risk his own 
reputation as a correspondent, without considerable modifi- 
cation of mj statements, etc. Feeling outraged at this im- 
putation, I tore up the manuscript, and left the " newspaper 
man" to obtain where he could such data for his patrons as 
would please him. It remained for those who came after 
us to examine scientifically, and to correctly describe what 
we only observed as wonderful natural curiosities. With 
but few exceptions, curiosity was gratified by but superfi- 
cial examination of the objects now so noted. We were 
aware that the valley was high up in the regions of the Sier- 
ra Nevada, but its altitude above the sea level was only 
guessed at. The heights of its immense granite walls was 
an uncertainty, and so little real appreciation was there in 
the battalion, that some never climbed above the Vernal 
Fall. They knew nothing of the beauties of the Nevada Fall, 
or the " Little Yosemite." We, as a body of men, were 
aware that the mountains, canons and waterfalls were on a 
grandly extensive scale, but of the proportions of that scale 
we had arrived at no very definite conclusions. 

During our explorations of the Sierras, we noticed the 
effects of the huge avalanches of snow and ice that had in 
some age moved over the smooth granite rocks and plowed 
the deep canons. The evidences of past glacial action were 
frequently visible; so common, in fact, as hardly to be ob- 
jects of special interest to us. The fact that glaciers in 
motion existed in the vast piles of snow on the Sierras, was 
not dreamed of by us, or even surmised by others, until 
discovered, in 1870, by Mr. John Muir, a naturalist and 
most persistent mountain explorer, who by accurate tests 
verified the same, and gave his facts to the world. Mr. 


Muir has also brought into prominent notice, by publica- 
tions in " Scribner's Monthly Illustrated Magazine," some 
ofthe beautiful lakes of the Sierras, having discovered many 
unknown before. Mr. Muir's descriptions combine the 
most delightful imagery with the accuracy of a true lover 
of nature. His article upon the water-auszel, "The hum- 
ming-bird of the California waterfalls," in the same maga- 
zine, proves him a most accomplished observer. 

All of the smaller streams that pour their tribute into the 
valley during the melting of the snow, become later in the 
season but dry ravines or mere rivulets, but the principal 
tributaries, running up, as they do, into the lake and snow 
reservoirs, continue throughout the dry season to pour their 
ample supply. After returning from my mountain explor- 
ations, 1 freely questioned Ten-ie-ya of the places we had 
visited. The old chief had gradually assumed his custom- 
ary manner of sociability, and if convinced by outline maps 
in the sand that we were familiar with a locality, he would 
become quite communicative, and give the names of the 
places described in distinct words. Our English alphabet 
utterly fails to express the sounds of many of them, for 
they were as unpronounceable as Apache. This difficulty 
is owing more or less to the guttural termination given by 
the Indians. 

Another important fact which causes a confusion of these 
names is, that owing to the poverty of their language, they 
use the same word, or what seems to be the same, for several 
objects, which by accent, comparison and allusion, or by 
gestures, are readily understood by them, but which it is dif- 
ficult for one not familiar with the dialect to comprehend, 
and still more difficult to illustrate or remember. This I 
shall endeavor to demonstrate in giving the names applied 
to different localities in the valley and vicinity. 

While I was endeavoring to ascertain the names of local- 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 189 

ities from Ten-ie-ja, he was allowed some privileges in 
camp, but was not permitted to leave his guard. The cun- 
ning old fellow watclied his opportunity, and again made 
an attempt to escape by swimming tlie river; but he was 
again foiled, and captured by the watchfulness and surpris- 
ing strength of Sergeant Cameron. 

From this time Ten-ie-ya was secured by a rope which 
was fastened around his waist. The only liberty allowed 
was tlie extent of the rope with which he was fastened. He 
was a hearty feeder, and was liberally supplied. From a 
lack of sufficient exercise, his appetite cloyed, and he suf- 
fered from indigestion. He made application to Captain 
Boling for permission to go out from camp to the place 
where the grass was growing, saying the food he had been 
supplied with was too strong; that if he did not have grass 
he should die. He said the grass looked good to him, and 
there was plenty of it. Why tlien should he not have it, 
when dogs were allowed to eat it? 

The Captain was amused at the application, with its iro- 
ny, but surmised that he was meditating another attempt 
to leave us; however, he good humoredly said: "He can 
have a ton of fodder if lie desires it, but I do not think it 
advisable to turn him loose to graze." The Captain con- 
sented to the Sergeant's kindly arrangements to tether him, 
and he was led out to graze upon the young clover, sorrel, 
bulbous roots and fresh growth of ferns which were then 
springing up in the valley, one species of which we found a 
good salad. All of these he devoured with the relish of a 
hungry ox. Occasionally truffles or wood-mushrooms were 
brought him by Sandinoand our allies, as if in kindly sym- 
pathy for him, or in acknowledgment of his rank. Such 
presents and a slight deference to his standing as a chief, 
were always received with grunts of satisfaction. He was 
easily flattered by any extra attentions to his pleasure. At 


such times he was singularly amiable and conversational. 
Like many white men, it was evid.nt tliat his more liberal 
feelings could be the easiest aroused through his stomach. 

Oar supplies not being deemed sufficient for the expedi- 
tion over the Sierras, and as those verdureless mountains 
would provide no forage for our animals, nor game to 
lengthen out our rations unless we descended to the lower 
levels, Capt. Baling sent a pack train to the Fresno for 
barley and extra rations. All of our Indians except Sandino 
and Ten-ie-ya were allowed to go below with the detachment 
sent along as escort for the train. While waiting for these 
supplies, some of the command who had been exploring 
up Indian Canon, reported fresh signs at the head of that 
ravine. Feeling somewhat recovered in strength, Captain 
Boling decided to undertake a trip out, and see for himself 
some of our surroundings. Accordingly, the next morning, 
he started with some thirty odd men up Indian Canon. 
His design was to explore the Scho-look or Scho-tal-lo-wi 
branch (Yosemite Creek) to its source, or at least the South- 
ern exposures of the divide as far east as we could go and 
return at night. Before starting, I advised the taking of 
our blankets, for a bivouac upon the ridge, as from experi- 
ence I was aware of the difficult and laborious ascent, and 
intimated that the excursion would be a laborious one for 
an invalid, if the undertaking was accomplished. The Cap- 
tain laughed as he said: "Are your distances equal to 
your heights? If they correspond, we shall have ample 
time!" Of course, I could make no reply, for between us, 
the subject of heights had already been exhausted, although 
the Captain had not yet been to the top of the inclosing 

Still, realizing the sensitive condition of his lungs, and 
his susceptibility to the influences of the cold and light 
mountain air, I knew it would not be prudent for him to 

AND INDIAN ]VAR OF 1851. 191 

camp at the snow-line; and jet I doubted his ability to re- 
turn the same day; for this reason 1 felt it my duty to cau- 
tion him. A few others, who had avoided climbing the 
cliffs, or if they had been upon any of the high ridges, 
their mules had taken them there, joined in against my 
suggestion of providing for the bivouac. I have before re- 
ferred to the Texan's devotion to the saddle. In it, like 
Camanche Indians, he will undergo incredible hardships; 
out of it, he is soon tired, and waddles laboriously like a 
sailor, until the unaccustomed muscles adapt themselves to 
the new service required of them; but the probabilities are 
against the new exercise being continued long enough to 
accomplish this result. Understanding this, I concluded 
in a spirit of jocularity to make light of the toil myself; 
the more so, because I knew that my good Captain had no 
just conception of the labor before him. By a rude pro- 
cess of measurement, and my practical experience in other 
mountains in climbing peaks whose heights had been es- 
tablished by measurements, I had approximately ascer- 
tained or concluded that my first estimate of from fifteen 
hundred to two thousand feet for the height of El Capitan, 
was much below the reality. I had so declared in discuss- 
ing these matters. Captain Boling had finally estimated 
the height not to exceed one thousand feet. Doctor Black's 
estimate was far below this. I therefore felt assured that 
a walk up the canon, would practically improve their judg- 
ments of height and distance, and laughed within myself 
in anticipation of the fun in store. On starting, I was 
directed to take charge of Ten-ie-ya, whom we were to take 
with us, and to keep Sandino near me, to interpret anything 
required during the trip. As we entered Indian Canon, 
the old chief told the Captain that the ravine was a bad 
one to ascend. To this the Captain replied, " No matter, 
we know this ravine leads out of the valley; Ten-ie-ya's 
trail might lead us to a warmer locality." 


Climbing over the wet, mossy rocks, we readied a level 
where a halt was called for a rest. As Doctor Black came 
lip from the rear, he pointed to a ridge above us, and ex- 
claimed, "Thank God, we are in sight of the top at last.'' 
" Yes, Doctor," said I, " that is one of the first tops." " How 
so? " he inquired; " Is not that the summit of this ravine? " 
To this I cheerfully replied, "You will find quite a number 
of such tops before jou emerge from this canon." Noticing 
his absence before reaching the summit, I learned he took 
the trail back, and safely found his weary way to camp. 
Captain Boling had over-estimated his strength and endur- 
ance. He was barely able to reach the table land at the head 
of the ravine, where, after resting and lunching, he visited the 
Falls, as he afterwards informed me. By his order I took 
command of nine picked men and the two Indians. With 
these I continued the exploration, while the party with the 
Captain exjplored the vicinity of the High Fall, viewed the 
distant mountains, and awaited my return from above. 

With my energetic little squad, I led the way, old Ten- 
ie ya in front, Sandino at his side, through forest openings 
and meadows, until we reached the open rocky ground on 
the ridge leading to what is now known as Mt. Hoffman. 
I directed our course towards that peak. We had not trav- 
eled very far, the distance does not now impress me, when 
as we descended toward a tributary of Yosemite creek, we 
came suddenly upon an Indian, who at the moment of dis- 
covery was lying down drinking from the brook. The bub- 
bling waters had prevented his hearing our approach. We 
hurried up to within fifty or sixty yards, hoping to capture 
him, but were discovered. Seeing his supposed danger, he 
bounded off, a fine specimen of youthful vigor. 'Eo race- 
horse or greyhound could have seemingly made better time 
than he towards a dense forest in the valley of the Scho-look. 
Several rifles were raised, but I gave the order "don't shoot," 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 193 

and compelled the old chief to call to him to stop. The young 
Indian did stop, but it was at a safe distance. When an at- 
tempt was made by two or three to move ahead and get 
close to him, he saw the purpose and again started; neither 
threatening rifles, nor the calls of Ten-ie-ya, could again 
stop his flight. 

As we knew our strength, after such a climb, was not 
equal to the chase of the fleet youth, he was allowed to go un- 
molested. I could get no information from Ten-ie-ya concern- 
ing the object of the exploration; and as for Sandino, his 
memory seemed to ha«i^e conveniently failed him. With this 
conclusion I decided to continue my course, and moved off 
rapidly. Ten-ie-ya complained of fatigue, and Sandino 
reminded me that I was traveling very fast. My reply to 
both cut short all attempts to lessen our speed; and when 
either were disposed to lag in their gait, I would cry out 
the Indian word, " We-teach," meaning hurry up, with 
such emphasis as to put new life into their movements. 

We soon struck an old trail that led east along the south- 
ern slope of the divide, and when I abandoned my purpose 
of going farther towards the Tuolumne, and turned to the 
right on the trail discovered, Ten-ie-ya once more found 
voice in an attempt to dissuade me from this purpose, say- 
ing that the trail led into the mountains where it was very 
cold, and where, without warm clothing at night, we would 
freeze. He was entirely too earnest, in view of his previous 
taciturnitj^; and I told him so. 

The snow was still quite deep on the elevated portions 
of the ridge and in shaded localities, but upon the open 
ground, the trail was generally quite bare. As we reached 
a point still farther east, we perceived the trail had been 
recently used; the tracks had been made within a day or 
two. From the appearances, we concluded they were made 
by Ten-ie-ya's scouts who had followed down the ridge and 


slope west of the l^orth Dome to watch our movements. 
The tracks were made going- and returning, thus showing a 
continued use of this locality. As the tracks diverged from 
the trail at this point, thej led out of the direct line of any 
communication with the valle}'', and after some reflection, 
I was satisfied that we had struck a clue to their hiding 
place, and realizing that it was time to return if we expected 
to reach the valley before dark, we turned about and started 
at once on the down grade. 

We found the Captain anxiously awaiting our return. 
He was pleased with our report, and agreed in the conclu- 
sion that the Indians were encamped not very far off. Cap- 
tain Boling had suffered from fatigue and the chill air of 
the mountains. In speaking of a farther pursuit of our 
discoveries, he said: " I am not as strong as I supposed, and 
will have to await the return of the pack train before tak- 
ing part in these expeditions." 

I told Captain Boling that upon tlie trip, Sandino had 
appeared willfully ignorant when questioned concerning 
the country we were exploring, and my belief that he stood 
in fear of Ten-ie-ya; that as a guide, no dependence could 
be placed upon him, and that his interpretations of Ten-ie- 
ya's sayings were to be received with caution when given 
in the old chief's presence, as Ten-ie-ya's Spanish was 
about equal to his own. Captain Boling instructed me to 
tell Sandino, that in future, he need only act as interpreter. 
He seemed satisfied with this arrangement, and said that 
the country appeared different from what it was when he 
was a boy and had been accustomed to traverse it. 

"When we commenced our descent into the valley Ten-ie- 
ya wanted us to branch off to the left, saying he was very 
tired, and wanted to take the best trail. Said he, " There 
is a good trail through the arrow-wood rocks to the left of 
the canon." I reported this to the Captain, and expressed 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 195 

tlie opinion that the old chief was sincere for once; he had 
grumbled frequently while we were ascending the canon in 
the morning, because we were compelled to climb over the 
moss covered bowlders, while crossing and re-crossing the 
stream, and he told Sandino that we sliould have taken the 
trail along the cliff above. Captain Boling replied: "Take 
it, or it will be long after dark before we reach camp." 
Accordingly I let Ten-ie-ya lead the way, and told him to 
travel fast. He had more than once proved that he possess- 
ed an agility beyond his years. As his parole was at a dis- 
count, I secured a small cord about his chest and attached 
the other end to my left wrist to maintain telegraphic com- 
munication with him; but as the hidden trail narrowed and 
wound its crooked way around a jutting point of the cliff 
overlooking the valley and ravine, I slipped the loop from 
my wrist and ordered a halt. 

Captain Boling and the men with him came up and took 
in the view before us. One asked if I thought a bird could 
go down there safely. Another wanted to know if I was 
aiding " Old Truthful" to commit suicide. The last ques- 
tion had an echo of suspicion in my own thoughts. I im- 
mediately surmised it possible the old sachem was leading 
us into another trap, where, by some preconcerted signal, 
an avalanche of rocks would precipitate us all to the bottom. 
I asked Ten-ie-ya if this -trail was used by his people; he 
assured me it was, by women and children; that it was a 
favorite trail of his. Seeing some evidences of it having 
been recently used, and being assured by Sandino that it 
was somewhere below on this trail that Ten-ie-ya had de- 
scended to the valle}^ when taken a prisoner, a few of us 
were shamed into a determination to make the attempt to 
go where the old chief could go. 

Most of the party turned back. They expressed a will- 
ingness to fight Indians, but they had not, they said, the 


faith requisite to attempt to walk on water, much less air. 
They went down Indian Canon, and some did not reach camp 
until after midnight, tired, bruised and footsore. We who 
had decided to take our chances, re-commenced our descent. 
1 told Ten-ie-ja to lead on, and to stop at the word " halt," 
or he would be shot. I then dispatched Sandino across 
the narrow foot- way, which, at this point was but a few 
inches in width, and which was all there was dividing us 
from Eternity as we passed over it. Telling them both to 
lialt on a projecting bench in view, I crossed this yawning 
abyss, while Sandino, aided by a very dead shot above, held 
the old man as if petrified, until I was able once more to 
resume my charge of him. 

This I found was the only really dangerous place, on 
what was facetiously called, by those who were leaving us, 
" a very good trail." The last fifty or sixty I'eet of the de- 
scent was down the sloping side of an immense detached 
rock, and then down through the top of a black oak tree at 
the south-westerly base of the vast clifi:' or promontory 
known as the "Arrow- wood Cliff." The^Koyal Arches," 
the " Washington Column," and the " North Dome," occu- 
py positions east of this trail, but upon the same vast pile 
of granite. 

I sometime afterward pointed out the trail to a few vis- 
itors that I happened to meet at its foot. They looked up- 
on me with an incredulous leer, and tapped their foreheads 
significantly, muttering something about " Stockton Asy- 
lum." Fearing to trust my amiability too far, I turned and 
left them. Since then I have remained cautiously silent. 
Now that the impetuosity of youth has given place to the 
more deliberative counsels of age, and all dangers to my- 
self or others are past, I repeat, for the benefit of adventur- 
ous tourists, that on the southwesterly face of the cliff 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 197 

overlooking the valley and Indian Canon, there is a trail 
hidden from view, that they may travel if they will, and 
experience all the sensations that could ever have been felt, 
while alive, by a Blondin or LaMountain. 

This portion of the cliff we designated as Ten-ie-ya's 
Trail, and it accords well with the scene in the Jungfran 
Mountains, where Manfred, alone upon the cliffs, says: 

"And you, ye craigs, upon whose extreme edge 
I stand, and on the torrent's brink beneath 
Behold the tall pines dwindled as to shrubs, 
In dizziness of distance; when a leap, 
A stir, a motion, even a breath, would bring 
My breast upon its rocky bosom's bed 
To rest forever— wherefore do I pause? 
I feel the impulse— yet I do not plunge; 
I see the peril— yet do not recede; 
And my brain reels— and yet my foot ie firm: 
There is a power upon me which withholds. 
And makes it my fatality to live." 



The Indian Names — Difficulty of their Interpretation — Circumstances 
Sug-g-esting Names of Vernal, Nevada and Bridal Veil Falls — Mr. 
Richardson's Descriptions of the Falls and Round Rainbow — Py-we- 
ack Misplaced, and ^^Illiluette'''' an Absurdity — An English Name 
Suggested for Too-lool-lo-we-ack, Pohono and Tote-ack-ah-nii-la — 
Indian Superstitions and Spiritual Views — A Free National Park De- 
sirable — Otf on the Trail. 

During our long stay in the Yosemite, I discovered that 
almost every prominent object and locality in and about it, 
had some distinctive appellation. Every peak and cliff, every 
canon or ravine, meadow, stream and waterfall, had a desig- 
nation by which it could be distinguished by the Yosemites. 
I made considerable effort to acquire these names in their 
native purity. Although I did not at that time learn all 
of them, I did in subsequent visits to the valley and to the 
camps of the remnants of the tribes, acquire, as I then be- 
lieved, a very nearly correct pronunciation of most of them. 
I used all the advantages afforded by my position as one of 
the Spanish interpreters, and a])plied myself perseveringly 
to the task of preserving these names; for even at that early 
day I realized that public interest would, in time, be at- 
tached to that wonderful locality. I was ridiculed for the 
idea, or at least for the supposition that it probably would 
be awakened during my life-time. 

I obtained many of the names of objects and locations 
from old Ten-ie-ya himselt, whenever I could find him in 
a communicative mood. As he was reputed to be quite a 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 199 

linguist, speaking, besides his native Ah-wah-ne-cliee, the 
Pai-ute, and other dialects, I regarded his authority as 
•superior to that of either the Po-ho-no or l^oot-chii Indians, 
who difiered from him in the pronunciation of some of the 

I was unable to converse with Ten-ie-ya except through 
an interpreter, but tlie words I noted down from the old 
chief's lips as they sounded to my ear at the time, getting 
the signification as best I could, or not at all. There is 
really no more sentiment or refined imagery of expression 
among Indians than will be found among ignorant people 
of any kind. But living as they do in close affinity with 
nature, natural objects first attract their attention, and the 
dominant characteristics of any object impress themselves 
upon their language. Hence many of their words are sup- 
posed to be representative of natural sounds. OurPo-ho-no- 
chee and Noot-chii scouts were familiar with the dialect 
in common use by the Yosemites, and they also aided me, 
while at times they confused, in acquiring the proper names. 
The territory claimed by the Po-ho-no-chees, joined that of 
tlie Yosemites on the south. During the Summer months, 
they occupied the region of the Po-ho-no Meadows, and the vi- 
cinity of the Pohono Lake. Their territory, however, extend- 
ed to the right bank of the South Fork of the Merced. It was 
there we found a little band on our first expedition. Some 
of this band were quite intelligent, having with the ]S"oot- 
chiis, worked for Major Savage. It was from them that 
tlie Major first learned that the Yosemites were a composite 
band, collected from the disaffected of other bands in that 
part of California, and what is now Nevada; and as the 
Major said, the dialect in common use among them was 
nearly as much of a mixture as the components of the band 
itself, for he recognized Pai-ute, Kah-we-ah and Oregon 
Indian words among them. 


Major Savage was intimately familiar with the dialects 
of his Indian miners and customers, and was probably at 
that time the best interpreter in California of the different 
mountain dialects. 

I consulted him freely as to the pronunciation of the 
names, and learned his interpretation of the meaning of 
them. These names, or most of them, were first given for 
publication by myself, as received from the Yosemites and 
Po-ho-no-chees ; together with English names which had been 
given to some of the same points by the battalion. I pur- 
posely avoided all attempts at description, giving instead, 
a few estimates of heights. The data then furnished by 
myself was published in editorials, and has been mostly 
preserved, though in an imperfect state, from some fault in 
my writing or that of the proof-reader. Reference to old 
files of the " California Chronicle," " Sacramento Union," 
" California Farmer " and the Mariposa papers, will show a 
somewhat different orthography from that now in use.* 

While in the valley I made memoranda of names and 
important events, which I have preserved, and which, with 
interpretations kindly furnished me by Mr, B. B. Travis, an 
excellent modern interpreter, I am now using to verify my 
recollections and those of my comrades. While acquiring 
these names, I employed every opportunity to make them 
familiar, but this proved to be a thankless task, or at least 
it was an impossible one. The great length of some of the 
names, and the varied pronunciations, made the attempt an 
impracticable one. I then gave attention to the substitution 

*Mr. Winchester, connected with some eastern publication, accompa- 
nied Captain Doling and myself, in the latter part of June, 1851, as far 
as the Tehon Pass. During the trip I gave him a full account of the op- 
erations of the battalion, which he took notes of, and said he should pub- 
ish on arriving home. His health was very poor, and I doubt if his 
manuscript was ever published. I never heard from him afterwards. 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851, 201 

of suitable English names in place of the Indian words, and 
to supersede the fantastic and absurd ones already suggest- 
ed and affixed by some of the command. It is so custom- 
ary for frontiersmen to give distinctive names of their own 
coinage, that we had great difficulty in getting any of the 
Indian names adopted; and considerable judgment had to 
be exercised in selecting such English names as would 
" stick" — as would displace such names as the " Giant's 
Pillar," "Sam Patch's Falls," "The Devil's Night-Cap," 
etc., etc. Many English names were given because they 
were tliought to be better than the Indian names, which 
could not be remembered or pronounced, and the meaning 
of which was not understood. The English names airreed 
upon and adopted at that time have since been retained, not- 
withstanding some adverse criticisms and effijrts to super- 
sede them by some fancied Indian or mythological substi- 
tute. Some of these names were the selection of my com- 
rades — " Cloud's Kest," for one; because upon our first visit 
the party exploring the " Little Yosemite" turned back and 
hastened to camp upon seeing the clouds rapidly settling 
down to rest upon that mountain, thereby indicating the 
snow storm that soon followed. 

The most of the names were however, selected by myself, 
and adopted by our command. This deference was awarded 
to my selections because I was actively interested in acquir- 
ing the Indian names and significations, and because I was 
considered the most interested in the scenery. 

I have related in a previous chapter the incident of se- 
lecting the name "Yosemite" for the valley, not then 
knowing its Indian name. As the " High Fall," near 
which we were encamped, appeared to be the principal one 
of the Sierras, and was the fall jpar excellence, I gave that 
the name of "Yosemite Falls," and in so naming it I but 
followed out the idea of the Indians who called it " Choo- 


look" or "Scholook," which signifies in this case " The 
Fall. " A comparison of the Yosemite Falls with those known 
in other parts of the world, will show that in elements of 
picturesque beauty, height, volume, color and majestic sur- 
roundings, the Yosemite has no rival upon earth. The 
Zambesi and Niagara are typical of volume, but the Yo- 
semite is sixteen times greater in height than Niagara, and 
about eight times that of the Victoria Falls. The upper 
part of the Yosemite is more than twice the height of the 
Svoringvoss, of Norway, and lacks but thirty feet of being 
twice as high as the highest of the Southerland waterfalls, 
of New Zealand. The three falls of the Southerland 
aggregate but 1,904 feet, 730 less than the Yosemite. 

The Ribbon Fall of the El Capitan has a sheer descent 
of 2,100 feet, but its beauty disappears with the melting 
snow. The other falls were only designated by the names 
of the streams upon which they are situated. The 
river Merced was spoken of as the river of Ah-wah- 
ne; but the three principal branches were variously desig- 
nated; the main, or middle, up to the Vernal Fall, as 
"Yan-o-pah," the "Water Cloud" branch, and above the 
Vernal, as "Yo-wy-we-ack," "the twisting rock branch." 

The north and south branches had their distinctive names; 
the north, Py-we-ack, meaning the branch of the " Glis- 
tening Rocks," and the south, Too-lool-we-ack, or more 
definitely, Too-lool-lo-we-ack. The modern interpretations 
of some of these names may be regarded as quite fanci- 
ful, though Major Savage would declare that Indian lan- 
guages were so full of figures of speech that without imag- 
ination they could not be understood. 

The strictly literal interpretation of this name would be 
inadraissable, but it is well enough to say, that to the un- 
conscious innocence of their ])rimitive state, the word sim- 
ply represented an efibi't of ii;iture in the difiicult passage of 
the water down through the rocky gorge. It is derived from 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 203 

Too-lool and We-ack, and means, 6 -Korafio^^ 6(^ did nerpdt; ovpet. 
This name has been published as if by anthoritj to signify 
'^TTie BeautifuV* — how beautiful, the learned in Greek may 

This really beautiful fall was visited by few of our bat- 
talion, and owing to the impracticability of following up 
the canon above the fall, and the great difficulty of access 
to it, it was left neglected; the command contenting itself 
with a distant view. In view of the discoveries of Mr. 
Muir that there were glaciers at its source, and that the 
cliff now known as " Glacier Point" may be said to mark 
the entrance to this *' South Cailon," a name often con- 
founded with " South Fork," and especially because of the 
impropriety of translating this Indian name, I think it ad- 
visable to call this the Glacier Fall, and, therefore, give it 
that name in this volume. The name of " Illeiiette " is not 
Indian, and is, therefore, meaningless and absurd. In ac- 
cordance with the customs of these mountain people of 
naming their rivers from the most characteristic features of 
their source, the North or Ten-ie-ya branch of the Merced, 
which comes down the North Canon from the glistening 
glacial rocks at its source, was called Pv-we-ack, " the river 
of glistening rocks," or more literally, perhaps, " the river- 
smoothed rocks." Whether from Pai, a river, or from Py- 
ca-bo, a spring, I am in doubt. If the first syllable of the 
name Py-we-ack be derived from Py-ca-bo, then, probably, 
the name signified to them '' the glistening rock spring 
branch," as the ice-burnished rocks at the head of Lake Ten- 
ie-ya stand at the source of the river. 

I have never been satisfied with the poetical interpreta- 
tion given the name, nor with its transfer to " Yan-o-pah," 
the branch of the "little cloud," as rendered by Mr. Travis. 
But as Py-we-ack has been displaced from Lake Ten-ie-ya 
and Hs or^et, it is proper and in accordance with the cus- 


torn to call the branch Ten-ie-ja also. The name of Ten- 
ie-ya was given to the lake at the time of its discovery. 
It was there we captured the remnant of the Yosemite 
band, as will be explained in the next chapter. The name 
of Ten-ie-ya Canon, Ten-ie-ya Fork and Lake Ten-ie-ya, 
has for this reason superseded the original name of Py-we- 
ack; but in naming the lake, I preserved an Indian name 
that represented the central figure in all of our operations. 

"Wai-ack was the name for "Mirror Lake," as well as for 
the mountain it so perfectly reflected. The lake itself was 
not particularly attractive or remarkable, but in the early 
morning, before the breeze swept up the canon, the reflec- 
tions were so perfect, especially of what is now known as 
Mt. Watkins, that even our scouts called our attention to it 
by pointing and exclaiming: "Look at Wai-ack," interpre- 
ted to mean the "Water Rock." This circumstance sug- 
gested the name of " Mirror Lake." The name was opposed 
by some, upon the ground that all still water w^as a mirror. 
My reply established the name. It was that other condi- 
tions, such as light and shade, were required, as when look- 
ing into a well, the wall of the Half Dome perfecting the 
conditions, and that when shown another pool that was 
more deserving, we would transfer the name. Captain 
Boling approved the name, and it was so called by the bat- 

The middle or main branch was designated by the Yosem- 
ites — from the fork of the Glacial Branch up to the Yernal 
Fall — as Yan-o-pah, because they were compelled to pass 
through the spray of the Yernal, to them a "little cloud," 
while passing up this canon. The Indian name of the ]N'e- 
vada Fall, " Yo-wy-we," or Yo-wy-ye, and that of Too-lool- 
lo-we-ack, afforded innumerable jests and amusing com- 
ments, and when the suggestion of naming these falls was 
made, it was received with rude hilarity. Names without 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 205 

number were presented as improvements on the originals. 
These names were indeed more than mj own gravity would 
endure; Yo-wy-we being represented at first to signify the 
" wormy" water, from the twist or squirm given to the wa- 
ter in falling upon an obstructing rock; and therefore, after 
consultation with a few of my personal friends, I suggested 
Yernal, as an English name for Yan-o-pah, and Nevada, for 
that of Yo-wy-we. The IS'evada Fall was so called because 
it was the nearest to the Sierra Nevada, and because the 
name was suflSciently indicative of a wintry companion for 
our spring. 

It would be a difficult task to trace out and account for 
all of oar impressions, or for the forms they take; but my 
recollection is that the cool, moist air, and newly-springing 
Kentucky blue-grass at the Yernal, with the sun shining 
through the spray as in an April shower, suggested the sen- 
sation of sjDring before the name of Yernal occurred to me; 
while the white, foaming water, as it dashed down Yo-wy- 
we from the snowy mountains, represented to my mind a 
vast avalanche of snow. In concluding my advocacy of 
these names, I represented the fact that while we were en- 
joying the vernal showers below, hoarj^-headed winter was 
pouring his snowy avalanches above us. Then, quoting 
from Byron, I said: 

The Yernal ** * mounts in spray the skies, and thence again 
Returns in an unceasing shower, which round 
With its unemptied cloud of gentle rain, 
Is an eternal April to the ground, 
Making it all one emerald." 

These names were given during our long stay in the val- 
ley, at a time when 

** The fragrant strife of sunshine with the mom 
Sweeten'd the air to ecstasy! " 

It is agreeably complimentary for me to believe that our 
motives in giving English names were comprehended, and 


oiir action in the matter appreciated by others. Mr. Rich- 
ardson, in " Beyond the Mississippi," shows an ahuost in- 
tuitive perception of our reasons for adopting the English 
names given to the principal falls in the Yosemite. He 
says: " These names are peculiarly fitting — Bridal Yeil in- 
deed looks like a veil of lace; in summer when Bridal Yeil 
and Yosemite dwarf, Yernal still pours its ample torrent, 
and Nevada is always white as a snow-drift. The Yosemite 
is height, the Yernal is vohime, the Bridal Yeil is softness, 
but the Nevada is height, volume and softness combined. 
South Fork cataract, most inaccessible of all, we did not 
visit. In spring each fall has twenty times as much water 
as in summer. On the whole Yosemite is incomparably 
the most wonderful feature on our continent." Speaking 
of the Yernal Fall, Mr. Richardson says: ^'I saw what to 
Hebrew prophet had been a vision of heaven, or the visible 
presence of the Almighty. It was the round rainbow — the 
complete circle. There were two brilliant rainbows of 
usual form, the crescent, the bow proper. But while I looked 
the two horns of the inner or lower crescent suddenly 
lengthened, extending on each side to my feet, an entire 
circle, perfect as a finger ring. In two or three seconds it 
passed away, shrinking to the first dimensions. Ten min- 
utes later it formed again and again, and again as suddenly 
disappeared. Every sharp gust of wind showering the 
spray over me, revealed for a moment the round rainbow. 
Completely drenched, I stood for an hour and a half and saw 
fully twenty times that dazzling circle of violet and gold on 
a ground- work of wet, dark rocks, gay dripping flowers and 
vivid grasses. I never looked upon any other scene in na- 
ture so beautiful and impressive." Mr. Richardson has 
with a great deal of enthusiasm given a vivid description of 
what appeared to me as a glowing representation of youth- 
ful spring; and to which the name of "vernal "was, I 
think, consistently and appropriately applied. 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 207 

Mr. Hutchings, in criticising the name Yernal, has mis- 
stated the Indian name for this fall, fnrnished him by 
myself, and pnl)lis]ied in his magazine and his " Scenes of 
Wonder; " and wliile neglecting to speak in terms of the 
vivid green of tlie yielding sod^ that "squirts" water, he 
eloquently describes the characteristics of a vernal shower; 
or the Yosemites "little water clond," Oan-o-pah ; or, if 
it pleases him better, Yan-o-pah. The name given by the 
Yosemites to the Ten-ie-ya branch of the Merced was un- 
mistakably Pj'-we-ack. This name has been transferred 
from its original locality by some romantic preserver of 
Indian names, "While passing over to Yan-o-pah, it was 
provided with an entirely new signification. It is indeed 
a laughable idea for me to even suppose that a worm and 
acorn-eating Indian would ever attempt to construct a name 
to mean "« shower of s^arHing crystals;'''^ his diet must 
have been improved by m.odern intelligent culture. The 
signification is certainly poetical, and is but one step re- 
moved from the sublime. One objection only can be raised 
against it; it is a little too romantic; something after the 
style of the tradition furnished Mr. Bancroft.* 

^Names were given to the numerous little streams that 
poured into th§ valley during the melting of the snow, and 
formed many beautiful water-falls and cascades, but I shall 
not attempt to describe them, as it would serve no useful 
purpose to give the common-place, and in some instances, 
very primdtive names of these ephemeral streams. In any 
other mountains, in any other country, great interest would 
attach to them; but in the Yosemite, they are but mere 
suggestions to the grander objects that overshadow them. 

Another witness to the propriety of the English names is 
Professor J. D. Whitney, State Geologist. In his admira- 
ble "Yosemite Guide Book" he says: "The names given 
by the early white visitors to the region, have entirely re- 

* From an elaboration of legend interpreted by Stephen M. Cunningham, in 


placed the native ones; and tliey are, in general, quite suffi- 
ciently euphonious and proper, some of them, perhaps 
slightly inclined to sentimentality; for if we recognize the 
appropriateness of the * Bridal YeiP as a designation for the 
fall called Po-ho-no by the Indians, we fail to perceive why 
the * Yirgin's Tears' should be flowing on the opposite side 
of the valley." 

This criticism is undoubtedly just. It seems as if some 
one had made an enormous stride across from the poetically 
sublime to ridiculous sentimentality. It is fortunate that 
the fall dries up early in the season! 

The name of " Bridal- Yeil " was suggested as an appro- 
priate English name for the Fall of the Pohono by Warren 
Bser, Esq., at the time editor of the " Mariposa Democrat," 
while we were visiting the valley together. The appro- 
priateness of the name was at once acknowledged, and 
adopted as commemorative of his visit. Mr. Bser was a 
man of fine culture, a son of the celebrated Doctor Bser 
of Baltimore, 

The Pohono takes its rise in a small lake known as Lake 
Pohono, twelve or fifteen miles in a southernly direction 
from the Fall. The stream is fed by several small branches 
that run low early in the season. 

The whole basin drained, as well as the meadows adja- 
cent, was known to us of the battalion, as the Pohono 
branch and meadows. 

The band who inhabited this region as a summer resort, 
called themselves Po-ho-no-chee, or Po-ho-na-chee, meaning 
the dwellers in Po-ho-no, as Ah-wah-ne-chee was understood 
to indicate the occupants of Ah-wah-nee. This delightful 
summer retreat was famous for the growth of berries and 
grasses, and was a favorite resort for game. The black seeds 
of a coarse grass found there, were used as food. When 
pulverized in stone mortars, the meal was made into mush 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851, 209 

and porridge. I found it impossible to obtain the literal 
signification of the word, but learned beyond a doubt that 
Po-ho-no-chee was in some way connected with the stream. 
Ihave recently learned that Fo-ho-no means a daily puffing 
wind, and when applied to fall, stream, or meadow, means 
simply the fall, stream, or meadow of the puffing wind, 
and when applied to the tribe of Po-ho-no-chees, who occu- 
pied the meadows in summer, indicated that they dwelled 
on the meadows of that stream. 

Mr. Cunningham says: "Po-ho-no, in the Indian lan- 
guage, means a belt or current of wind coming in puffs and 
moving in one direction." There is such a current, in its 
season, on the Old Millerton Eoad, where the dust is 
swept off clean. The Chow-chilla Indians call that the 
Po-ho-no. The Po-ho-no of the Yosemite makes its 
appearance where the two cascade creeks enter the canon, 
and this air current is daily swept up the canon to the 
Bridal Veil Fall, and up its stream, in puffs of great power. 
The water is thrown back and up in rocket-like jets, far 
above the fall, making it uniquely remarkable among the 
wonders of the valley. 

Mr. Hutching's interpretation is entirely fanciful, as are 
most of his Indian translations." 

The name for the little fall to which the name of "Vir- 
gin's Tears" has been applied, was known to us as " Pigeon 
Creek Fall." The Indian name is "Lung-yo-to-co-ya"; its 
literal meaning is ''Pigeon Basket," probably signifying to 
them *' Pigeon Nests," or Boost. In explanation of the 
name for the creek, I was told that west of El Capitan, in 
the valley of the stream, and upon the southern slopes, 
pigeons were at times quite numerous. Near the southwest 
base of the cliff" we found a large cache. The supplies were 
put up on rocks, on trees and on posts. These granaries 


were constructed of twigs, bark and grass, with the tops 
covered in and rounded like a large basket. 

If this cac/ie had any connection with the name of "Pig- 
eon Baskets," Lung-yo-to-co-ja would probably designate 
-=' The Pigeon Creek CachS:' 

After a reverential salutation, "El Capitan" must now 
receive my attention. 

It has been stated in print that the signification of Tote- 
ack-ah-noo-la was " Crane Mountain," and that the name 
was given because of the habit sand-hill cranes had of en- 
tering the valley over this cliflP. I never knew of this habit. 
Many erroneous statements relating to the Yosemite have 
appeared — some in Appleton's Encyclopaedia, and one very 
amusing one in Bancroft's Traditions — but none appear to 
me more improbable. 

During our long stay at our second visit, this cliff was 
invariably called by our scouts Tote-ack-ah-noo-la, and with 
some slight difference in the terminal syllable, was so called 
by Ten-ie-ya. This word was invariably translated to mean 
the "Eock Chief," or ''The Captain." 

Upon one occasion I asked, " Why do you call the cliff 
Tote-ack-ah-noo-la?" The Indian's reply was, " Because he 
looks like one." I then asked, " What was meant by hef^^ 
at the same time saying that the cliff was not a man, to be 
called " he." His reply was, " Come with me and see." 
Taking Sandino with me, I went, and as the Indian reached 
a point a little above and some distance out from the cliff, 
he triumphantly pointed to the perfect image of a man's 
head and face, with side whiskers, and with an expression 
of the sturdy English type, and asked, " Does he not look 
like Tote-ack-ah-noo-la?" The " Kock Chief," or "Cap- 
tain," was again Sandino's interpretation of the word while 
viewing the likeness. 

This was the first intimation that any of us had of the 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851, 211 

reason why the name was applied, and it was shown in re- 
sponse to the question asked, why the rock had been per- 

To-tor-kon, is the name for a sand-hill crane, and ni-yul- 
ii-ka, is the Pai-ute for head ; but '' crane-head " can scarce- 
ly be manufactured out of Tote-ack-ah-noo-la. It appears 
to me most probable that Tote-ack-ah-noo-la is derived from 
"ack," a rock, and To-whon-e-o, meaning chief. I am not 
etymologist enough to understand ju&t how the word has 
been constructed, but am satisfied that the primates of the 
compound are rock and chief If, liowever, I am found in 
error, I shall be most willing to acknowledge it, for few 
things appear more uncertain, or more difiicult to obtain, 
than a complete understanding of the soul of an Indian 
language; principally because of tte ignorance and suspi- 
cion with which a persistent and thorough research is met 
by the sensitively vain and jealous savages. 

In leaving this subject, I would say that before it be too 
late, a careful and full collection of vocabularies of all the 
tongues should be made. I am aware of what has already 
been done by the labors of Schoolcraft, and the officers of 
the army in more modern times; but there is yet left a 
large field for persistent labor, that should be worked by 
the Smithsonian Institute or ethnological societies. 

In adopting the Spanish interpretation, "El Capitan," 
for Tote-ack-ah-noo-la, we pleased our mission interpreters 
and conferred upon the majestic cliff a name corresponding 
to its dignity. When this name was approved it set aside 
forever those more numerous than belong to royal families. 
It is said by Mr. Hutchings that a profile likeness is read- 
ily traced on the angle of the clifil Tiie one pointed out 
to me was above the pine tree alcove on the southern face 
of the clifi", half way up its wall. It appeared to have been 
formed by the peculiar conformation of the rock and oxida- 

212 dislOvery of the yosemite, 

tion. The chemical stain of iron, or other mineral sub- 
stance, had produced this representation, which was looked 
upon with superstitious awe. 

''The Fallen Kocks," "The Frog Mountains," or "Three 
Brothers," the "Yosemite Falls," "The Lost Arrow," "In- 
dian Canon " and " The Arrow-wood Eocks " have already 
been noticed in these pages. It remains for me to briefly 
notice a few more objects and close this chapter. The 
names " North Dome," " South Dome " and " Half Dome " 
were given by us during our long stay in the valley from 
their localities and peculiar conflguration. Some changes 
have been made since they were adopted. The peak called 
by us the " South Dome " has since been given the name 
of "Sentinel Dome," and the " Half Dome," Tis-sa-ack, 
represesented as meaning the " Cleft Eock," is now called 
by many the "South Donie.""^ The name for the "North 
Dome" is To-ko-ya, its literal signification "The Basket." 
The name given to the rocks now known as " The Eoyal 
Arches " is Scho-ko-ya when alluding to the fall, and means 
the " Basket Fall," as coming from To-ko-ya, and when re- 
ferring to the rock itself it was called Scho-ko-ni, meaning 
the movable shade to a cradle, which, when in position,- 
formed an arched shade over the infant's head. The name 
of "The Eoyal Arch" was given to it by a comrade who 
was a member of the Masonic Fraternity, and it has since 
been called "The Eoyal Arches." The " Half Dome" was 
figuratively spoken of as "The Sentinel" by our mission 
Indians, because of its overlooking the valley. The present 
"Sentinel " they called "Loya," a corruption of 011a (Oya), 
Spanish for an earthen water-pot. The mountain tribes 
use, instead, a long-pointed basket, shaped somewhat like 
that rock, which the basket is supposed to resemble. 

*This cliff was climbed for the first time by Mr. George G. Anderson, 
on October 12th, 1875. It has now a stair- way running over the difficult 
part of the ascent. 



The name of " Glacier Point" is said to be Pa-til-le-ma, 
a translation of wliicli I am unable to give. Ilo-jas, and 


(3,043 feet in height.) 

not Lo-ja, as bas been stated by some, referred to certain 
holes in detached rocks west of the Sentinel, which afforded 


"milling privileges" for a number of squaws, and hence, 
the locality was a favorite camp ground. "The Sentinel" 
or "Loja," simply marked the near locality of the Ho-yas 
or mortars, or ^'The camp ground;" as it does now The 
Hotels. It was a common practice for visitors to confer 
new names on the objects of their enthusiastic admiration, 
and these were Irequeuly given to the public through let- 
ters to newspapers, while others may be found in the more 
enduring monuments of literature. It is a matter of no 
surprise that so few of them ever stuck. But little change 
has really been made in the English names for the more 
important objects within the valley and in its immediate 
vicinity. The Cathedral Eocks and spires, known as Poo- 
see-na-chuc-ka, meaning " Mouse-proof Rocks," from a 
fancied resemblance in shape to their acorn magazines or 
caches, or a suitability for such use, have been somewhat 
individualized by their English names. 

Of Ko-sii-kong, the name of the "Three Graces," I never 
learned the meaning. Ta-pun-ie-me-te is derived from Ta- 
pun-ie, meaning the toes, because of walking on tip-toes 
across, and referred to the " stepping stones " that were at 
the lower ford. Mr. Travis' "succession of rocks" simply 
indicated the turning -off place. There are other names 
that it appears unimportant for me to notice. They have 
been sufficiently well preserved in Professor "Whitney's val- 
uable Guide Book. 

Some romantic believers in the natural tendencies of the 
Indians to be poetical in their expressions, twist the most 
vulgar common-place expressions and names into significa- 
tions poetically refined, and of devotional sincerity. 

Others have taken the same license in their desire to cater 
to the taste of those credulous admirers of the noble ked man, 
the ideal of romance, the reality of wliora is graded low 
down in the scale of humanity. Mr. Hutchings, who, were 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 215 

it not for his exuberant imagination, might have learned 
better, gives the signification of " Lung-oo-to-koo-va " as 
•'Long and Slender," and applies it to what he calls the 
Kibbon Fall. Ilis name is better than his interpretation. 
Mr. H. also says that the signification of To-toc-ah-nii-la is 
"a Serai-Deity;" that of " Tissa-ack " "Goddess of the 
Yallej," and that Po-ho-no means " The Spirit of the Evil 

These interpretations, like the " sparkling shower of crys- 
tals " are more artistically imaginative than correct. The 
Pai-ute for wind, is Ni-gat, and the Kah-we-ah, is Yah-i, 
one or the other of which tongues were used bj the Yosem- 
ites; though the Pai-ute, or a dialect of it, was given the 

The savages have a crude, undefinable idea of a Deity or 
Great Spirit, a Spirit of Good, who never does them harm, 
and whose home is in the happy land they hope to reacli 
after death. This happy hereafter, is supposed by most on 
the western slope of the Sierras to be located in the West, 
while those on th^ eastern slope or within the Colorado 
Basin, in Arizona and in Mexico, locate it in the East. 
They all have a superstitious fear of evil spirits, which they 
believe have the power to do them great harm, and defeat 
their undertakings. 

They do not as a rule look to the Great Spirit for imme- 
diate protection from evil, but instead, rely upon amulets, 
incense and charms, or ^' medicine^^ bags. Through these 
and certain ceremonies of their priests or " mediums," they 
endeavor to protect themselves and their families from the 
evil influence of spirits in and out of the flesh. 

They believe that .the spirits of the dead who have not, 
through proper ceremonies, been released from the body 
and allowed at once to go to the happy land, were evil spir- 
its that were doomed to haunt certain localities. They 


looked with superstitious awe upon objects and localities, 
which to them were of mysterious character. Even familiar 
objects were sometimes looked upon as having been taken 
possession of by spirits. These spirits it was supposed 
could do injurj^ to those who might venture near them 
witliout the protection afforded by their charms, or certain 
offerings to tlieir priests for indulgences from the spiritual 
inhabitants. Streams were often said to be controdod by 
spirits, and for this reason, offerings of tobacco and other 
substances were at times thrown in as a propitiation for 
past offenses, or as an offering for something in expectancy. 
They believe that the elements are all under control, or may 
be used by the more powerful spirits, and, owing probably 
to its infrequency in California, lightning seemed to be an 
especial object of awe and wonder to them. 

Waterfalls seemed not to engage their attention for their 
beauty, but because of the power they manifested; and in 
none of their objections made to the abandonment of their 
home, was there anything said to indicate any appreciation 
of the scenery. Their misfortunes, accidents and failures 
were generally believed to have resulted from evil spiritual 
interference, and to insure success in any undertaking, 
these dark or evil spirits must first be conciliated through 
their " medicine men," from whom they obtain absolution. 

All spirits that had not been released and taken their 
flight to their happy Western spirit-land were considered as 
evil; and only the Great Spirit was believed to be very good. 
The Indians of the Yosemite Valley did not look upon Tote- 
ack-ah-nii-lah as a veritable Deity or " semi-Deity." They 
looked upon this cliff, and the representation of the likeness 
of a human face, with the same mysterious awe and super- 
stitious feeling that they entertained for some other objects; 
though perhaps their reverence was in a somewhat higher 
degree stimulated by this imposing human appearance; and 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 217 

their ability, therefore, the better to personify it. They re- 
garded this vastrnountain as an emblem of some mysterious 
power, beyond their comjn-ehension. From my knowledo^e 
of their religious belief, I have come to the conchision that 
tlieir ideas in this direction are wholly spiritual, without 
material representation, except as stated, tlirough symbolic 
ideas, growing out of their superstitious ignorance, like 
some ignorant Christians. They have in imagination peo- 
pled the rocks and mountains, woods and valleys, streams 
and waterfalls with innumerable spiritual occupants, pos- 
sessed of supernatural or spiritual powers, none of which 
are believed by them to equal the power of the Great Spirit 
whose home is in the West, and who prohibits the return 
of the evil ones, until a probationary existence here upon 
this earth shall have given them such knowledge of and 
disgust with evil as will fit them for the enjoyment of good. 

The special inconsistency of this belief seems to be, that 
if one of these demons can lure any one to destruction, the 
victim will be compelled to take the place and occupation 
of the evil spirit, who is at once liberated and takes its flight 
to join its family or such members of it, as are already with 
the blessed. This idea seemed to be based upon the natural 
selfishness of human nature, that would gladly fix its respon- 
sibilities and sufierings upon another. A writer in his 
descriptions of the Yosemite says: " The savage lowers his 
voice to a whisper, and crouches tremblingly past Po-ho-no, 
while the very utterance of the name is so dreaded by him, 
that the discoverers of the valley obtained it with difiiculty." 
These statements were prefaced by the assertion that 
" Po-ho-no is an evil spirit of the Indians' mythology." On 
our second visit to the valley, it will be remembered, we 
found huts built by the Yosemites not far from the Po-ho-no 

I never found any difficulty in learning the name of this 


fall, or observed any more fear of spirits exhibited at this 
fall than at the Yosemite fall; but in later years, for causes 
that will appear in the course of this narrative, the little 
meadow and detached rocks west of Po-ho-no, and near to 
the foot of the Mariposa trail; became haunted ground to 
tlie remnant of the band, for disaster and death followed 
the commission of crime at that locality. 

Savages are seldom able to trace to themselves the cause 
of misfortune, and hence evil spirits must bear the burden 
of their complaint. For this service they are well paid 
through their representatives, the " medicine men." I have 
often been amused, and agreeably entertained while listen- 
ing to their traditionary literature. 

Among the Chippewa and Dahcota tribes, my likeness to 
a bi'other, who was a trader, was recognized, and many 
times I was honored by a prominent place being given me 
in their lodges and at their dances. Some of their myste- 
ries I was not permitted to witness, but the consecration of 
the ground for the dance, which is performed with great 
ceremony, I have several times seen, and had its signification 
fully explained to me. The ceremony differs but little among 
the different tribes, and consists of invocations, burning in- 
cense, scattering down, feathers and evergreens upon the 
pathway or floor of the dance, lighting of the sacred fires 
with their ancient fire-sticks, which are still preserved 
among the priests, and repeating certain cabalistic words, 
the meaning of which they do not even pretend to under- 
stand, but which are supposed to have a most potent influ- 
ence. They also have their pantomimes and romances, 
which they repeat to each other like children. This legen- 
dary literature is largely imaginative, but I found the Cali- 
fornia Indians less poetical in thought and feeling than east- 
ern tribes, and less musical, though perhaps as primitively 
figurative in expression. 



Tliougli seemingly unimpressed by their sublime sur- 
roundings, their figures and comparisons, when not objec- 
tionable, were beautiful, because natural. The Pai-ute and 
Mono Colony originally established by Ten-ie-ya, was the 
i-esult of a desire to improve their physical condition. They 
were attached to this valley as a home. The instinctive 
attraction that an Indian has for his place of nativity is 
incomprehensible; it is more than a religious sentiment; 
it is a passion. Here, sheltered in a measure from the 
storms of winter, and the burning heat of summer, they met 
as in an earthly paradise, to exchange the products of either 
side of the Sierras, to engage in a grand hunt and festival 
offer up religious sacrifices, and awaken the echoes of the 
valley with their vociferous orations. Should their skill 
fail them in the chase, and the mountain or brook refuse 
their luscious ofterings, they had a never-failing resource in 
the skill with which they could dispossess the native Cali- 
fornian, or the newly arrived immigrant of his much prized 
herds, and translate them to their mountain home. Nor 
was there need of herd-men to guard their fleecy flocks or 

roving herds, for the 
prancing horse or gen- 
tle kine, having once 
been slid over the slip- 
pery gateway, avoided 
the obstruction ever 
after; and remained 
contented in their 
fields of blue grass 
and clover. 

But, when the in- 
fluence of the " gold . 
en era" finally reached 
this once blissfully ig- 



norant people, and wants were created that their belles and 
beaux had never known before, their imaginations excited 
bv the superfluities of civilization, their natural cunning 
came at once to their aid, and lo! the "honest miner" 
or timid Cliinaman contributed from their scanty stores 
and wardrobes, or the poorly sheltered goods of the moun- 
tain trader opened their canvas walls to the keen arguments 
of their flinty knives, and wants real or fancied w^ere at once 

"What then was there lacking, to make the Yosemites a 
happy people, removed as they were from the bad influences 
of whiskey and the white man^s injustice? Only this: " the 
whites would not let them alone." So Ten-ie-ya had said, 
as if aggrieved. Like all his race, and perhaps like all ig- 
norant, passionate and willful persons, he appeared uncon- 
scious of his own wrong-doing, and of the inevitable fate 
that he was bringing upon himself and his people. 

In his talk with Major Savage, he had spoken of the 
verdure clothing the valley, as sufticient for his wants, but 
at the time, knowing that acorns formed the staple of their 
food, and that clover, grass, sorrel and the inner bark of 
trees were used to guard against biliousness and eruptive 
diseases, little heed was given to his declaration. Now, 
however, that we saw the valley clothed with exquisite and 
useful verdure, for June was now at hand, Ten-ie-ya's re- 
marks had a greater significance, and we could understand 
how large flocks and herds had been stolen, and fattened to 
supply their wants. The late claimants to this lovely lo- 
cality, " this great moral show," have been relieved of their 
charge by act of Congress, and fifty thousand dollars given 
them for their claims. It will probably now remain for- 
ever free to visitors. The builders of the toll roads and 
trails should also receive fair compensation for their pioneer 
labors in building them, that they may also be free to all. 


When this is done, this !N"ational Park will be esteemed en- 
tirely worthy of this great republic and of the great golden 
State that has accepted its guardianship.* 

Perhaps no one can better than myself realize the value 
of the labors performed by the early pioneers, that has made 
it possible for tourists to visit in comfort some of the most 
prominent objects of interest; but ** a National Park " 
should be entirely free. In suggesting a new name for 
the fall of Too-lool-lo-we-ack, or the absurd " Illiluette," I 
wish to honor Mr. Muir for his intelligent explorations 
and discoveries, and at the same time feel that the word 
glacier is the most appropriate. Of this, however, the resi- 
dents of the valley will judge. 

The names of the different objects and localities of espe- 
cial interest have now become well established by use. It 
is not a matter of so much surprise that there is such a dif- 
ference in the orthography of the names. I only wonder 
that they have been retained in a condition to be recognized. 
It is not altogether the fault of the interpreters that dis- 
crepancies exist in interpretation or pronunciation, although 
both are often undesignedly warped to conform to the ideal 
ity of the interpreter. Many of the names have been mod- 
ernized and adorned with transparencies in order to illumi- 
nate the subject of which the parties were writing. Those 
who once inhabited this region, and lave distinctive appel- 
lations, have all disappeared. The names given by them 
can be but indifferently preserved or counterfeited by their 
camp followers, the " Californi-i Diggers; " but June is now 
with us, and we must hasten on to our work of followint/ 
up the trail. 

* All trails within the original grant have now been made free. 



A Mountain 'Storm — Delay of Supplies — Clams and Ipecac — Arrival of 
Train— A Cute Indian— Indian Sagacity— A Dangerous Weapon- 
Capture of Indian Village— An Eloquent Chief— "Woman's Rights 
versus Squaw's Wrongs — A Disturbed Family — A Magnificent Sun- 
rise — On a Slippery Slope — Sentiment and Poetry — Arrival at the 

A MOUNTAIN storm raged with such violence as to stam- 
pede the mules of the pack-train while the escort were en- 
camped on the South Fork. The mules were not overtaken 
until they reached the foot-hills of the Fresno. In the mean- 
time, while impatiently awaiting their return, our rations 
gave out. In order to somewhat appease our hunger, Dr. 
Black distributed his hospital stores among us. There were 
some canned fruits and meats, and several cans of oysters 
and clams. The southerners of the command waived 
their rights to the clams, but cast lots for the oysters. 
Thinking we had a prize in the clams, we brought to bear 
our early recollections of Eastern life, and compounded a 
most excellent and, what we supposed would be, a most 
nourishing soup. Our enjoyment, however, of this highly 
prized New England dish was of short duration; for from 
some cause, never satisfactorily explained by Dr. Black, or 
other eminent counsel^ our Eastern mess, as if moved by 
one impulse of re-gurgitation, gave up their clams. For- 
tunately for us our supplies arrived the next morning; for 
the game procurable was not sufficient for the command. 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 223 

Major Savage sent Cow-chitty, a brother of Pon-watch-ee, 
the chief of the Noot-choo baod, whose village we surprised 
before we discovered the valley, as chief of scouts. He was 
accompanied by several young warriors, selected because 
they were all familiar with the Sierra Nevada trails and 
the territory of the Pai-utes, where it was thought probable 
the expedition would penetrate. 

Captain Boling had in his report to Major Savage, com- 
plained of the incapacity of Sandino as guide, and expressed 
the opinion that he stood in awe of Ten-ie-ya, By letter, 
the Major replied, and particularly advised Captain Boling 
that implicit confidence could be placed in Cow-chitty and 
his scouts, as the sub-chief was an old enemy of Ten-ie-ya, 
and was esteemed for his sagacity and wood-craft, which 
was superior to that of any Indian in his tribe. Captain 
Boling had improved in health and strength, and concluded 
to venture on his contemplated expedition over the moun- 
tains. He at once ordered preparations to be made. A 
camp-guard was detailed, and a special supply train fitted 
out. All was ready for a start in the morning. During 
the evening Captain Boling consulted our new guide as to 
what trail would be best to follow to the Mono pass and over 
the mountains. Cow-chitty had already learned from our 
Po-ho-no scouts and those of his own tribe, the extent of our 
explorations, and had had a long talk with Sandino as well 
as with Ten-ie-ya. The mission Indian and the old chief 
tried to make the new guide believe that the Yosemites 
had gone over the mountains to the Monos. Indian-like, 
he had remained very grave and taciturn, while the prepar- 
ations were going on for the expedition. Now, however, 
that he was consulted by Captain Boling, he was willing 
enough to give his advice, and in a very emphatic manner 
declared his belief to the Captain that Ten-ie-ya's people 
were not far off; that they were either hiding in some of 


the rocky canons in the vicinity of the valley, or in those 
of the Tuolumne, and discouraged the idea of attempting 
the expedition with horses. Although this did not coin- 
cide with the views of our Captain, the earnestness of Cow- 
chitty decided him to make another attempt in the near vi- 
cinity before crossing the mountains. The horses and sup- 
ply-train were accordingly left in camp, and we started at 
daylight on foot, with three days' rations packed in our 
blankets. We left the valley this time by way of the Py- 
we-ack canon, and ascended the north cliff trail, a short 
distance aboye "Mirror Lake." Soon after reaching the 
summit, Indian signs were discovered near the trail we 
were on. The old trail up the slope of the canon, was here 
abandoned, and the fresh trail followed up to and along the 
ridges just below the snow line. These signs and the ^(.r- 
tuous course pursued, were similar to the tracks followed on 
our trip up Indian Canon, and were as easily traced until we 
reached an elevation almost entirely covered with snow from 
five to ten feet deep, except on exposed tops of ridges, where 
the snow had blown off to the north side or melted away. 
I had accompanied our guide in advance of the command, 
but observing that our course w^as a zig-zag one, some 
times almost doubling on our trail, I stopped and told the 
guide to halt until the Captain came up. He had been fol- 
lowing the ridges without a sign of a trail being visible, 
although he had sometimes pointed to small pieces of coarse 
granite on the rocky divides, which he said had been dis- 
placed by Ten-ie-ya's scouts. That in going out or return- 
ing from their camps, they had kept on the rocky ridges, 
and had avoided tracking the snow or soft ground, so as to 
prevent the Americans from following them. As we stop- 
ped, he called me a little out of hearing of those with me, 
and by pantomime and a few words indicated his belief in 
the near presence of Indians. 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851, 225 

When the Captain came up he said : " The hiding-place 
of the Yosemites is not far off. If they had crossed the 
mountains their scouts would not be so careful to hide their 
trail. They would follow the old trail if they came to 
watch you, because it is direct, and would only liide their 
tracks when they were again far from the valley and near 
their rancheria." This was, in part, an answer to Captain 
Boling's inquiry as to why we had left the old trail, and 
gone so far out of our way. I explained to him what Cow- 
chitty had stated, and pointed out what the guide or scout 
said was a fresh trail. The Captain looked tired and dis- 
heartened, but with a grim smile said: "That maybe a 
fresh Indian track, but I can't see it. If left to my own 
feelings and judgment, I should say we were on another 
wild-goose chase. If the guide can see tracks, and thinks 
he has got 'em this time, I reckon it is better to follow on; 
but if there is any short-cut tell him to give us some land- 
marks to go by; for I find I am not as strong as I thought. 
Let us take another look at thisyr^^A trail, and then you may 
get Cow-chitty's idea as to the probable course this trail 
will take further on." As we moved up the trail a little 
fartlier, the expert scout pointed out more fresh signs, but 
Captain Boling failed to discern a trail, and gave up the 
examination, and as he seated himself for a momentary rest, 
said: "I reckon it is all right, Doc. The Major says in his 
letter that I can bet on Cow-chitty every time. But I can't 
see any more of a trail on this rocky ridge than I can see 
the trail of that wood-pecker as he flies through the air, but 
I have some faith in instinct, for I reckon that is what it is 
that enables him to follow a trail that he imagines should 
be there. We shall have to trust him to follow it, and let 
him have his own way as you would a fox-hound; if he 
don't, puppy-like, take the back track, or run wild with us 
over some of these ledges." Old Ten-ie-ya was now ap- 




pealed to for information concerning the fresh signs, but he 
only reiterated his former statement that his people had 
gone over the mountains to the Monos, and the signs he said 
were those of Tuolumne Indians. Captain Boling had 
taken the old chief along with us on this trip, hoping to 
make him of some use, if not directly as guide, indirectly; 
it was thought he might betray his people's hiding-place. 
But the Captain was disappointed in this, for no finished 
gamester ever displayed a more immovable countenance 
than did Ten-ie-ya when questioned at any time during the 
expedition. A cord had again been placed around his 
waist to secure his allegiance, and as we were about to 
move ahead once more, he very gravely said that if we fol- 
lowed the signs, they would take us over to the Tuolumne. 

Before this Sand i no had professed to agree with Ten-ie-ya, 
but now he carefully withheld his own opinions, and as 
carefully rendered his interpretations. He feared Cow- 
chitt}^ more than Ten-ie-ya; and he was frequently seen to 
cross himself while muttering his prayers. Spencer and 
myself re-assured the timid creature, and made him quite 
happy by telling him that we would guard him against the 
*' Gentiles," as he called the natives, 

I explained to Cow-chitty our inability to follow the 
tracks as he did over the bare granite. This flattered 
him, and he then pointed out his own method of doing so, 
which was simple enough with one of keen sight. It con- 
sisted entirely in discovering fragments of stone and moss 
that had been displaced, and broken off and scattered upon 
the ground. The upper surface of the broken fragments 
of stone were smooth and bleached, while the under sur- 
face was dark or colored. It was impossible to walk over 
these stony ridges without displacing some of the frag- 
ments, and these the quick eye of Cow-chitty was sure to 
discover. Cow-chitty was pleased when told of Captain 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851, '227 

Boling's appreciation of his sagacity, and honored by the 
confidence the Captain began to show him. He expressed 
his gratification by being more communicative than he had 
been before. He said, ''These signs tell me that the Yo- 
Semite scouts have been watching all the movements of the 
Americans, and the trails that will take you to their camps. 
They will not look for you on this trail. They are watch- 
ing for you from the ridges nearer the valley. AVe will 
not have to go far to find their camps. This trail will lead 
us to the head of the Py-we-ack, where the Pai-ute or Mono 
trail crosses into the upper vallej^ of the Tuolumne; and if 
we don't find them at the lake, we will soon know if they 
have crossed the mountains." 

He then proposed that Captain Boling send out scouts to 
intercept and capture the Yosemite scouts, who might be 
below us watching the valley. This being interpreted to 
Captain Boling, he at once adopted the suggestion of the 
icout. He selected three of our best runners, and directed 
Cow-chitty to select three of his. These were sent out in 
pairs — an Indian and a white man. The scouts were 
placed under direction of the sub-chief, who followed the 
trail, and indicated to the Captain the most direct route for 
the main body to follow. In health Captain Boling was 
athletic and ambitious on the march. He had now, how- 
ever, over-estimated his strength, and suffered considera- 
bly from fatigue; but the halt afforded him a rest that very 
much refreshed him. I traveled with him duriuir the re- 
mainder of the march, so as to be near him as interpretor, 
and took charge of Ten-ie-ya. The Captain, Ten-ie-ya, San- 
dino and myself traveled together. Our march was more 
leisurely than in the earlier part of the day. This allowed 
Captain Boling to somewhat recover from his fatigue. 

On an ascending spur that ran down to the Py-we-ack, we 
found Cow-chitty quietly awaiting our approach. As we 


halted, he pointed out to Captain Boling a dim circle of blue 
smoke, that appeared to eddy under the lee of a large gran- 
ite knob or peak, and said, " Eancheria." Old Ten-ie-ja 
was standing in front of me, but exhibited no interest in 
the discovery. As I lowered my line of vision to the base 
of the cliif, to trace the source of the smoke, there appeared 
the Indian village, resting in fancied security, upon the bor- 
der of a most beautiful little lake, seemingly not more than 
a half mile away. To the lake I afterwards gave the name 
of Ten-ie-ya. The granite knob was so bare, smooth and 
glistening, that Captain Boling at once pointed it out, and 
selected it as a landmark. He designated it as a rallying 
point for his men, if scattered in pursuit, and said that we 
should probably camp near it for the night. 

While the Captain was studying the nature of the ground 
before us, and making his arrangements to capture the vil- 
lage, our scouts were discovered in full chase of an Indian 
picket, who was running towards the village as if his life 
depended upon his efforts. In the excitement of the mo- 
ment Captain Boling ordered us to double-quick and charge, 
thinking, as he afterwards said, that the huts could not be 
much more than half a mile away. Such a mistake could 
only originate in the transparent air of the mountains. The 
village was fully two miles or more away. We did, how- 
ever, double-quick, and I kept a gait that soon carried Ten- 
ie-ya and Sandino, with myself, ahead of our scattering col- 
umn. Finding the rope with which I held Ten-ie-ya an 
encumbrance in our rapid march, I wound it round his 
shoulder and kept him in front of me. While passing a 
steep slope of overlapping granite rock, the old chief made 
a sudden spring to the right, and attempted to escape down 
the ragged precipice. His age was against him, for I caught 
him just as he was about to let himself drop from the pro- 
jecting ledge to the ground below; his feet were already 
over the brink. 

AND INDIAN W AR OF 1851. 229 

I felt somewhat augered at the trick of the old fellow in 
attempting to relieve himself from my custody, and the 
delay it had occasioned me; for we had taken the most 
direct although not the smoothest course. I resumed our 
advance at a gait that hurried the old sachem forward, per- 
haps less cai-efully and more rapidly than comported with 
the dignity of his years and rank. I was amused at the 
proposition of one of the " boys " who had witnessed the 
transaction, to " slioot the old devil, and not be bothered 
with him any more." I of course declined this humane 
proposition to relieve me of further care, and at once be- 
came the chief's most devoted defender, which observing, he 
afterwards told Captain Boling that I was " very good." As 
we reached the more gently descending ground near the 
bottom of the slope, an Indian came running up the trail 
below us that led to the Eancheria. His course was at an 
acute angle to the one pursued by us toward the village, 
which was now but a few rods off. I ordered Sandino to 
cut him off and capture him before he should reach the 
camp. This was accomplished with great energy and a 
good degree of pride. 

The Yosemites had already discovered our approach, but 
too late for any concerted resistance or for successful escape, 
for Lt. Crawford at the head of a portion of the command, 
dashed at once into the center of the encampment, and the 
terror-stricken Indians immediately threw up their bare 
hands in token'of submission, and piteously cried out '' pace! 
pace!" (peace, peace). As I halted to disarm the scout 
captured by Sandino, I was near enough to the camp to 
hear the expressions of submission. I was compelled to 
laugh at the absurd performances of Sandino, who to terrify 
his prisoner, was persistently holding in his face an old 
double-barreled pistol. I was aware the weapon was a 
harmless one, for one hammer was gone, and the other could 


not be made to explode a cap. I took the bow and arrows 
from tlie frightened savage, and as Captain Boling came up 1 
reported the capture, telling hira at the same time of the 
surrender of the village or Kancheria to Lt. Crawford. See- 
ing some of the Indians leaving the camp, and running down 
the lake to a trail crossing its outlet, the Captain and the 
men with him sprang forward through the grove of pines 
near the crossing, and drove them back. No show of resist- 
ance was offered, neither did any escape from us. 

While Captain Boling was counting his prisoners and cor- 
ralling them with a guard, I,bj his previous order, restrained 
Ten-ie-ya from any communication with his people. The 
chief of this village was a young man of perhaps thirty 
years of age. When called upon by the Captain to state 
how many were under his command, he answered that those 
in the encampment were all that was left; the rest had scat- 
tered and returned to the tribes they sprung from. Ten- 
ie-ya seemed very anxious to answer the interrogations 
made to the young chief, but Captain Boling would not 
allow his farther interference, and jokingly told me to send 
him over among the women who were grouped a little aside, 
as he was now about as li armless. I acted upon the sug- 
gestion, and upon his being told that he had the liberty of 
the camp if he made no further attempts to escape, the old 
fellow stepped off briskly to meet his four squaws, who 
were with this band, and who seemed as pleased as himself 
at their re-union. 

Captain Boling felt satisfied that the answer given by tliis 
half-starved chief, and the few braves of his wretched look- 
ing band, were as truthful as their condition would corrob- 
orate. Finding themselves so completely surprised, not- 
withstanding their extreme vigilance, and comparing the 
well kept appearance of their old chief with their own worn 
out, dilapidated condition, they with apparent anxiety ex- 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 231 

pressed a willingness for the future to live in peace with the 
Americans. All hopes of avoiding a treaty, or of prevent- 
ing their removal to the Reservation, appeared to have at 
once been abandoned; for when the young chief was asked 
if he and his band were willing to go to the Fresno, he re- 
plied with much emotion of gesture, and as rendered by 
Sandino to Spencer and myself: " Not only willing, but 
anxious; " for, said he: "Where can we now go that the 
Americans will not follow us? " As he said this, he stretched 
his arms out toward the East, and added: " Where can we 
make oar homes, that you will not find us?" He then went 
on and stated that they had fled to the mountains without 
food or clothing; that they were worn out from watcliing 
our scouts, and building signal-fires to tire us out also. 

They had been anxious to embroil us in trouble by draw- 
ing us into the canons of the Tuolumne, where were some 
Pai-utes wintering in a valley like Ah-wah-ne. They had 
hoped to be secure in this retreat until the snow melted, so 
that they could go to the Mono tribe and make a home with 
them, but that now he was told the Americans would follow 
them even there, he was willing, with all his little band, to 
go to the plains with us." After the young chief had been 
allowed full liberty of speech, and had sat down, Ten-ie-ya 
again came forward, and would have doubtless made a con- 
fession of faith., but his speech was cut short by an order 
from Captain Boling to at once move camp to a beautiful 
pine grove on the north side of the outlet to the lake, which 
lie had selected for our camping-place for the night. By 
this order he was able to have everything in readiness for an 
early start the next morning. There was an abundance of 
dry pine, convenient for our camp fires, and as the night was 
exceedingly cold, the glowing fires were a necessity to our 
comfort. The Indians were told to pack such movables as 
they desired to take with them, and move down at once to 
our camp-ground. ^ 


The scene was a busy one. The squaws and children ex- 
hibited their delight in the prospect of a change to a more 
genial locality, and where food wonld be plenty. While 
watching the preparations of the squaws for the transfer of 
their household treasures and scanty stores, my attention 
was directed to a dark object that appeared to be crawling up 
the base of the first granite peak above their camp. The pol- 
ished surface of the gleaming rock made the object appear 
larger than the reality. We were unable to determine what 
kind of an animal it could be; but one of our scouts, to 
wliom the name of " Big Drunk " had been given, pro- 
nounced it a papoose, although some had variously called it 
a bear, a fisher or a coon. " Big Drunk " started after it, 
and soon returned with a bright, active boy, entirely naked, 
which he coaxed from his slippery perch. Finding himself 
an object of curiosity his fright subsided, and he drew 
from its hiding-place, in the bushes near by, a garment that 
somewhat in shape, at least, resembled a man's shirt. " The 
Glisteiiing Rocks " had rendered us all oblivious to the color, 
and that was left undetermined. This garment swept the 
ground after he had clothed himself with it. His ludicrous 
appearance excited our laughter, and as if pleased with the 
attentions paid to him, the little fellow joined heartily in 
the merriment he occasioned. It will not be out of place 
to here relate the sequel of this boy's history. Learning 
that he was an orphan and without relatives. Captain Bo- 
ling adopted him, calling him " Reube," in honor of Lt. 
Reuben Chandler, who after Captain Boling was the most 
popular man in the battalion. 

Some three or four years afterward, the boy, as if to il- 
lustrate the folly of the Captain in trying to civilize and 
educate him, ran away from his patron, taking with him 
two valuable, thorough-bred Tennessee horses, much prized 
by the Captain; besides money, clothing and arms belong- 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 233 

iDg to the Captain's brother-in-law, Col. Lane, of Stockton, 
in whose charge Captain Boling had placed him, that he 
might liave the advantages of a good school. After collect- 
ing togetlier all the Indians found in this encampment; the 
total number was found to be but thirty -five, nearly all of 
whom were in some way a part of the family of the old 
patriarch, Ten-ie-ya. These were escorted to our camp, the 
men placed under guard, but the women and children were 
left free. 

This was accomplished before sun down, and being re- 
lieved of duty, a few of us ran across the outlet of the lake, 
and climbing the divide on the south side of the lake, be- 
held a sunset view that will long be remembered. It was 
dark when we reached camp, and after a scanty repast, we 
spread our blankets, and soon were wrapped in slumber 

We were awakened by the cold, which became more un- 
comfortable as night advanced, and finding it impossible to 
again compose ourselves to sleep. Captain Boling aroused 
the camp, and preparations were made by the light of the 
blazing camp-fires for an early start for the valley. Desir- 
ing some clean, fresh water, I went to the lake as the neai-est 
point to obtain it, when, to my surprise, I found that the 
new ice formed during the night and connecting the old ice 
with the shore of the lake, was strong enough to bear me 
up. At a point where the old ice had drifted near, I went 
out some distance upon it, and it appeared strong enough 
to have borne up a horse. This was about the 5tli of June. 
1851. The change of temperature from summer in the val- 
ley to winter on the mountains, without shelter, was felt by 
us all. After a hast}^ breakfast, the word was ])assed to as- 
semble, and we were soon all ready for the order to march. 
All at once there was turmoil and strife in camp, and what 
sounded to my ears very much like a Chinese c :icert. Cap- 


tain Boling was always a man of gallantry, and in this in- 
stance would not allow the sqnaws to take the burden of the 
baggage. Hence the confusion and delay. He ordered the 
Indians to carry the packs — burdens they had imposed on 
their women. This order brought down upon him the vi- 
tuperations of the squaws and sullen murmurs from the 
" noble red men ;" as often happens in domestic interference, 
the family was offended. Ten-ie-ya rose to explain, and 
waxed eloquent in his protest against this innovation on 
their ancient customs. 

As soon as the Captain was made aware of the old fel- 
low's object in having " a talk," he cut short the debate by 
ordering one of the lieutenants to see that every Indian, as 
well as squaw, was properly loaded with a just proportion 
of their burdens. The real object of the Captain was to fa- 
cilitate the return to the valley, by making it easy for the 
squaws and children to accompany us through without de- 
lays. One amusing feature in this arrangement was, that 
long after the men had been silenced, their squaws continued 
to murmur at the indignity practiced on their disgraced 
lords. I have my doubts, even to this day, whether the 
standard of women's rights was ever again ivaved among 
the mountain tribes after this " special order" was issued by 
our good -hearted Captain. 

In order to take the most direct route to the valley. Cap- 
tain Boling selected one of the young Yosemite Indians to 
lead the way with our regular guide. Being relieved of the 
charge of Ten-ie-ya, I took my usual place on the march 
with the guide. This position was preferred by me, because 
it afforded ample opportunity for observation and time for 
reflection; and beside, it was in my nature to be in advance. 
The trail followed, after leaving the lake, led us over bare 
granite slopes and hidden paths, but the distance was mate- 
rially shortened. A short distance below the bottom land 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 235 

of the lake, on the north side of the canon and at the head 
of the gorge, the smooth, sloping granite projects like a vast 
roof over the abyss below. As we approached this, our 
young guide pointed toward it. 

By close observation I was able to discover that the trail 
led up its sloping surface, and was assured by the guide 
that the trail was a good one. I felt doubtful of the Cap- 
tain's willingness to scale that rocky slope, and halted for 
hinj to come up. The Captain followed the trail to its ter- 
mination in the soil, and saw the cause of my having halted. 
Upon the discoloration of the rock being pointed out as the 
continuation of the trail, he glanced up the granite slope 
and said, " Go on, but be watchful, for a slide into the 
gorge would bring as certain death as a slide from that San 
Joaquin trail, which I have not yet forgotten." Some of 
the command did not fancy this any more than they did the 
Ten-ie-ya trail down "Indian Caiion." We all pulled oif 
our boots and went up this slope bare-footed. Seeing there 
was no real danger, the most timid soon moved up as fear- 
less as the others. I, with the advance, soon reached the 
soil above, and at the top halted until the Indians and our 
straggling column closed up. As I looked about me, I dis- 
covered, unfolding to my sight, one of the most charming 
views in this sublimest scenery of nature. During the day 
before, we had looked with astonishment on the almost 
boundless peaks, and snow-capped mountains, to be seen 
from the Mt. Hoffman divide. But here some of the same 
views appeared illuminated. In our ascent up the moun- 
tain, we had apparently met the rising sun. The scene was 
one long to be remembered for its brilliancy, although not 

Mr. Addison, in the Spectator^ says: "Our imagination 
loves to be filled with an object, or to grasp at anything 
that is too big for its capacity. We are flung into a pleasing 


astonishment at such unbounded views, and feel a delightful 
stillness and amazement in the soul." Mr. Addison has here 
expressed the feelings entertained by some of us, as the view 
met our gaze while looking out to the east, the south and 
the west. Although not sufficiently elevated to command 
a general outlook, the higher ridges framing some of the 
scenery to the north and eastward of us, the westerly view 
was boundless. The transparency of the atmosphere was 
here extreme, and as the sun illumined the snow-clad and 
ice-burnished peaks, the scene aroused the enthusiasm of the 
command to a shout of glad surprise. 

The recollections of the discomforts of the night were 
banished by the glory of the morning as here displayed. 
Even the beauties of the Yosemite, of which I was so ardent 
an admirer, were for the moment eclipsed by this gorgeously 
grand and changing scene. The aurora that had preceded 
the rising sun was as many-hued, and if possible more glo- 
rious, than the most vivid borealis of the northern climes. 
But when the sun appeared, seemingly like a sudden flash, 
amidst the distant peaks, the climax was complete. My 
opportunities for examining the mountain scenery of the 
Sierra ^Nevada above the immediate vicinity of the Yosem- 
ite,' were such as to only enable me to give a somewhat gen- 
eral description, but the views that I had during our explor- 
ations afforded me glimpses of the possibilities of sublime 
mountain scenery, such as I had never before comprehended, 
although familiar with the views afforded from some of the 
peaks of Mexico and of the Eocky Mountains. I doubt 
even if the Yellow Stone, supreme in some of its attractions, 
affords such varied and majestic beauty. 

Looking back to the lovely little lake, where we had been 
encamped during the night, and watching Ten-ie-ya as he 
ascended to our group, I suggested to the Captain that we 
name the lake after the old chief, and call it " Lake Ten- 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 237 

ie-ya." The Captain had fully recovered from his annoy- 
ance at the scene in camp, and readily consented to the 
name, but added that I had evidently mistaken my vo- 

]S"oticing ray look of surprise, he jokingly said that if I 
had only studied divinity instead of medicine, I could have 
then fully gratified my passion for christening. This, of 
course, brought out a general guifaw, and thinking me an- 
noyed, he said: "Gentlemen, I think the name an appro- 
priate one, and sliall use it in my report of the expedition. 
Beside this, it is rendering a kind of justice to perpetuate 
the name of the old chief." 

When Ten-ie-ya reached the summit, he left his people 
and approached where the Captain and a few of us were 
halting. Although he had been snubbed by the Captain 
that morning, he now seemed to have forgotten it, and his 
rather rugged countenance glowed witli healthful exercise 
in the sunlight. I had handled him rather roughly the day 
before, but as he now evidently wished to be friendly, I 
called him up to us, and told him that we had given his 
name to the lake and river. At first, he seemed unable to 
comprehend our purpose, and pointing to the group of 
Glistening peaks, near the head of the lake, said: "It al- 
ready has a name; we call it Py-we-ack." Upon my telling 
him that we had named it Ten-ie-ya, because it was upon 
the shores of the lake that we had found his people, who 
would never return to it to live, his countenance fell and he 
at once left our group and joined his own family circle. 
His countenance as he left us indicated that he thought the 
naming of the lake no equivalent for the loss of his ter- 

I never at any time had real personal dislike for the old 
sachem. He had always been an object of study, and I 
sometimes found in him profitable entertainment. As he 


moved off to hide his sorrow, I pitied him. As we resumed 
our march over the rough and billowy trail, I was more 
fully impressed with the appropriateness of the name for the 
beautiful lake. Here, probably, his people had built their 
last wigwams in their mountain home. From this lake we 
were leading the last remnant of his once dreaded tribe, to 
a territory from which it was designed they should never 
return as a people. My sympathies, confirmed in my own 
mind, a justness in thus perpetuating the name of Ten-ie- 
ya. The Indian name for this lake, branch and canon, 
"Py-we-ack" is, although a most appropriate one, now 
displaced by that of the old chief Ten-ie-ya. Of the signifi- 
cation of the name Ten-ie-ya, I am uncertain ; but as pro- 
nounced by himself, I have no doubt of its being pure 

The whole mountain region of the water- sheds of the 
Merced and Tuolumne rivers afford the most delightful 
views to be seen anywhere of mountains, cliffs, cascades 
and waterfalls, grand forests and mountain meadows, and 
the Soda Springs are yet destined to become a favorite 
summer resort. Mr. Muir has well said that the " upper 
Tuolumne valley is the widest, smoothest, most serenely 
spacious, and in every way the most delightful summer 
pleasure park in all the High Sierras." 

Now that it has become a part of the new National 
Park surrounding the old grant ( see new map ), and good 
trails reach it, wagon roads will soon be extended into the 
very " heart of the Sierras " 

We reached our camp in the valley without accident. 
Captain Boling at once gave orders to make preparations 
for our return to the Fresno. The next day we broke camp 
and moved down to the lower end of the valley near where 
we camped on the first night of fmr discovery, near the lit- 
tle meadow at the foot of the Mz^riposa Trail. 


At sunrise the next morning, or rather as the reflections 
on the cliffs indicated sunrise, we commenced our ascent 
of the steep traiL As I readied the height of land where 
the moving column would soon perhaps forever shut out 
from view the immortal " Kock Chief," my old sympa- 
thies returned, and leaving the command to pursue its 
heedless way, I climbed to my old perch where Savage had 
warned me of danger. As I looked back upon El Capitan, 
his bald forehead was cooling in the breeze that swept by 
me from the ^'-Summer land^^ helow, and his cheerful 
countenance reflected back the glory of the rising sun. 
Feeling my own inferiority while acknowledging the majes- 
ty of the scene, I looked back from Mt. Beatitude, and 
quoting from Byron, exclaimed: 

Yosemite ! 
"Thy vale(s) of evergreen, thy hills of snow 
Proclaim thee Nature's varied favorite now/* 

We reached the Fresno without the loss of a captive, and 
as we turned them over to the agent, we were formally com- 
mended for the success of the expedition. 



The Flora of the Region of the Tosemite— General Description of the 
Valley and its Principal Points of Interest, with their Heights. 

A MARKED and peculiar feature observed in the landscape 
of the Merced River slopes, while going to the Yosemite, 
especially on the Coultersville route, is the dense growth of 
the chamiso and the manzanita. These shrubs are found 
most abundant below the altitude of the growth of sugar- 
pine, upon dry, slaty ground ; though a larger variety of 
manzanita, distinguishable by its larger blossoms and fruit, 
and its love of shade and moist clay-slate soil, may be found 
growing even among the sugar-pine. A peculiarity of this 
shrub is, that like the Madrona and some trees in Australia, 
it sheds a portion of its outer bark annually, leaving its 
branches beautifully bright and clean. The manzanita, when 
in full bloom, is one of the most beautiful of shrubs; its 
delicately tinted and fragrant blossoms filling the air with 
the perfume of an apple-orchard, while its rich evergreen 
leaves are only shed as others put forth. The name, man- 
zanita, IS Spanish, signifying little apple — tlie fruit in flavor, 
but more especially in smell, resembling the apple. 

These chamiso and manzanita thickets are almost impen- 
etrable to large animals, except the California lion and griz- 
zly bear. At certain seasons of the year, during their trips 
to and from the High Sierras, when the berries are ripe, 
these coverts are the resort of such visitors. The grizzly 
comes to indulge his fondness for the little apples, and the 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 241 

lion (how hath the mighty fallen!) to feed upon the wood- 
rats, mice and rabbits that he surprises in these furzy thick- 
ets. Occasionally a deer, as he comes along unconscious 
of danger, but too near the feline lair, is pounced upon by 
the lion, or perhaps a straj^ horse or mule may fall a vic- 
tim ; but in no case dare the lion attack his savage associate 
the bear, or any of his progeny. 

In going to the Yosemite by way of the Mariposa route, 
after reaching the summit of the gap or pass in the "Black 
Ridge" or Chow-chilla mountain, over which the Mariposa 
route passes, to the South Fork of the Merced River, the 
yellow pine, the sugar pine, the Douglass fir and two other 
species of fir, are seen in all their glory. Here, too, is to 
be found the variety of white or yellow cedar {Liho cedrus 
decun'ens\ growing to a size not seen at a less altitude^ 
unless perhaps on the north side of some spur from these 
mountains. If the ridge be followed to the right as far as 
the Big Trees, instead of descending the road to the South 
Fork, some very large pine, cedar and fir trees will be seen, 
in addition to the great attraction, the Sequoia. 

At the time I first passed over this route there was but 
a dim Indian trail; now, a very good stage or wagon-road 
occupies it. As the descent to the South Fork is com- 
menced, dogwood will be observed growing at the head of 
a little mountain brook that has its source in the pass, to- 
gether with willows and other small growths of trees and 
shrubs. The " bush-honeysuckle," when in bloom, is here 
especially beautiful; and several fragrant-blossomed shrubs 
will attract attention — the kalmia, especially. The forest 
on this route is equaled by few in California, and it extends 
to the Yosemite almost uninterrupted, except by the river 
and a few mountain meadows. The Coultersville route also 
affords like views of uninterrupted forest, even to the verge 
of the valley, but confined as the trail was when it was first 


made to the narrow divide, one could not so well appreciate 
the beauty of the trees while looking down upon their tops 
as he would while riding among them. A few sequoias can 
be seen on this route, near Hazel Green and near Crane 

Mr. Greeley says : " The Sierra !N"evadas lack the glorious 
glaciers, the frequent rains, the rich verdure, the abundant 
cataracts of the Alps, but they far surpass them; they sur- 
pass any other mouii ains I ev^er saw, in wealth and grace 
of trees. Look down from almost any of their peaks, and 
your range of vision is filled, bounded, satisfied, by what 
might be termed a tempest-tossed sea of evergreens, filling 
every upland valley, covering every hillside, crowning every 
peak but the highest with their unfading luxuriance. 

"That I saw, during this day's travel, many hundreds of 
pines eight feet in diameter, with cedars at least six feet, I 
am confident; and there were miles of such and smaller 
trees of like genus, standing as thick as they could grow. 
Steep mountain sides, allowing these giants, to grow rank 
above rank, without obstructing each other's sunshine, seem 
pecul iarly favorable to the production of these serviceable 
giants. But the summit meadows are peculiar in their heavy 
fringe of balsam fir of all sizes, from those barely one foot 
high to those hardly less than two hundred; their branches 
surrounding them in collars, their extremities gracefully 
bent down by weight of winter snows, making them here, I 
am confident, the most beautiful trees on earth. The dry 
promontories which separate these meadows are also cov- 
ered with a species of spruce, which is only less graceful 
than the firs aforesaid. I never before enjoyed such a tree- 
feast as on this wearying, difficult ride." 

Had Mr. Greeley taken more time, it would not have been 
so wearying to himself or mule. He rode sixty miles, on 
one mule the day he went to the Yosemite, but his observa- 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851, 2i3 

tions of what he saw are none the less just and valuable, 
though but few of tlie pine trees will measure eight feet in 
diameter. It is true, probably, that few forests in the Uni- 
ted States are so dense and beautiful in variety as those seen 
on the old Mariposa route to the Yosemite by way of the 
meadows of tlie Pohono Summit. About these meadows 
the firs especially attract attention, from the uniform or geo- 
metrical regularity their branches assume. No landscape 
gardener could produce such effects as are here freely pre- 
sented by the Great Architect of the universe for the admi- 
ration of his wayward children. Here in this region will 
also be found the California tamarack pine, and a variety 
of pine somewhat resembling the Norway pine, called Pi- 
nus Jeffreyi. There is still another pine, to be found only on 
the highest ridges and mountains, that may be said to mark 
the limit of arbol vegetation; this dwarf is known sls pinus 
alhicaulis^ and could it but adapt itself to a lower altitude, 
and retain its dense and tangled appearance, it would make 
good hedge-rows. 

Professor Whitney speaks of still another one of the pine 
family, growing about the head of King's and Kern Pi vers, 
which he calls jpinus aristata, and says it only grows on 
those highest peaks of the Sierras, although it is also found 
in the Rocky Mountains. Of the more noticeable under- 
growth of these mountain forests and their borders, besides 
grasses, sedges, ferns, mosses, lichens, and various plants 
that require a better knowledge of botany than I possess to 
describe properly, may be mentioned the California lilac 
and dogwood, the latter of which is frequently seen growing 
along the mountain streams, and in the Yosemite. It grows 
in conjunction with alder, willow, poplar, or balm of Gilead, 
and a species of buckthorn. In isolated patches the Indian 
arrow-wood is found. This wood is almost without pith, 
and warps but little in drying. For these qualities and the 


uniformity of its growth, it was especially esteemed for ar- 
row-shafts; although sprouts from other shrubs and trees 
were also used. 

It will have been observed, while going to the Yosemite, 
that the chimaso, white-oak and digger-pine are upon the 
soutliern slopes, while the thickets of mountain -ash, shrub 
or Oregon maple, and shrub live-oak, chinquepin and trail- 
ing blue and white ceanothus and snow plant are found upon 
the north side of the ridges, except when found at a greater 
altitude than is usual for their growth. On descending into 
the Yosemite, the visitor will at once notice and welcome 
the variety of foliage. 

Upon the highest lands grow pine, fir, cedar, spruce, oak 
and shrubs. In the meadows and upon open ground, ac- 
cording to the richness of the soil and moisture, will be 
seen flowers and flowering shrubs of great brilliancy and 

The whole valley had the appearance of park-like grounds, 
with trees, shrubbery, flowers and lawns. The larger trees, 
pines, firs, etc., are of smaller growth than are usually found 
on the mountain slopes and tables. Still, some are of fair 
dimensions, rising probably to the height of one hundred 
and fifty feet or more. One large pine, growing in an alcove 
upon the wall of Tote-ack-ah-noo-la, — apparently without 
soil — is quite remarkable. The balm of gilead, alder, dog- 
♦vood, willow and buck- thorn, lend an agreeable variety to 
the scenery along the river. Their familiar appearance 
seem, like old friends, to welcome the eastern visitor to this 
strange and remarkable locality. The black-oak is quite 
abundant in the valley and upon the slopes below. It was 
the source of supply of acorns used by the Yosemites as 
food, and as an article of traffic with their less favored 
neighbors east of the Sierras. 

Along the river banks and bordering the meadows are 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 245 

found the wild rose, and where the soil is rich, dry and mel- 
low, the wild sunflower grows luxuriantly. Of wild fruits, 
the red raspberry and strawberry are the only ones worthy 
of mention, and these are only found in limited quantities. 
A thornless red raspberry grows upon the mountains, but its 
blossoms are apt to be nipped by frosts and the plant is not 
a prolific bearer. 

The meadows of the valley are generally moist, and in the 
springtime boggy. Later in the season they become firmer, 
and some parts of them where not in possession of sedges, 
afford an abundant growth of " wild Timothy;" blue joint, 
Canada red-top and clover. In addition to these nutritious 
meadow-grasses, there is growing on the coarse granite, 
sandy land, a hard, tough wire bunch grass unfit for graz- 
ing except when quite young. This grass is highly prized 
by the Indians for making baskets and small mats. Its 
black seeds were pulverized and used as food, by being con- 
verted into mush, or sometimes it was mixed with acorn 
meal and was then made into a kind of gruel. The com- 
mon "brake" and many beautiful species of rock ferns and 
mosses are quite abundant in the shady parts of the valley, 
and in the canons, and more especially are they found grow- 
ing within the influence of the cool, moist air near the falls. 
Growing in the warm sunlight below El Capitan, may be 
seen plants common among the foot hills and slaty moun- 
tains. Of these plants, the manzanita, the bahia conferti- 
flora and the California poppy are the most conspicuous. 

The climatic and geologic or local influences upon vegeta- 
tion in this part of California, is so remarkable as to con- 
tinually claim the notice of the tourist, and induce the 
study of the botanist. So peculiar are the influences of ele- 
vation, moisture, temperature and soil, that if these be 
stated, the flora may be determined with almost unerring 
certainty, and vice vei^sa^ if the flora be designated, the 


rock's exposure and mineral character of the soil will be at 
once inferred. The extreme summer temperature of the 
valley rises but little over 80° Fahrenlieit, during the day, 
while the nights are always cold enough to make sleeping 
comfortable under a pair of blankets. 

Thus far in narrating the incidents connected with the 
discovery of the Yosemite, I have not been particularly defin- 
ite in my descriptions of it. Unconsciously 1 have allowed 
myself to assume the position, that this remarkable locality 
was familiarly known to every one. 

From the discovery of the valley to the present day, the 
wonders of this region of sublimity, have been a source of 
inspiration to visitors, but none have been able to describe 
it to the satisfaction of those who followed after them. The 
efforts that are still made to do so, are conclusive evidences 
that to the minds of visitors, their predecessors had failed 
to satisfactorily describe it to their comprehensions; and so 
it will probably continue, as long as time shall last, for 
where genius even, would be incompetent, egotism may 
still tread unharmed. 

Realizing this, and feeling my own utter inability to con- 
vey to another mind any just conception of the impressions 
received upon first beholding the valley, I yet feel that a 
few details and figures should be given with this volume. 
Prof. J. D. Whitney in his " Yosemite Guide Book " says, 
in speaking of the history of the discovery and settlement of 
the Yosemite Yalley : " The visit of the soldiers under Cap- 
tain Boling led to no immediate results in this direction. 
Some stories told by them on their return, found their way 
into the newspapers; but it was not until four years later 
that so far as can be ascertained, any persons visited the 
valley for the purpose of examining its wonders, or as regu- 
lar pleasure travelers. It is, indeed, surprising that so- 
remarkable a locality should not sooner have become known; 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 247 

one would suppose that accounts of its cliffs and waterfalls 
would have spread at once all over the country. Probably 
they did circulate about California, and were not believed 
but set down as" travelers' stories." Yet these first visitors 
seem to have been very moderate in their statements, for 
they spoke of the Yosemite Fallas being "more than a 
thousand feet high," thus cutting it down to less than half 
its real altitude." 

At the time of our discovery, and after the subsequent 
lengthy visit under Captain Boling, our descriptions of it 
were received with doubt by the newspaper world, and with 
comparative indifference by the excited and overwrought 
public of the golden era. The press usually more than 
keeps pace with public opinion. Although height and depth 
were invariably under-estimated by us, our statements were 
considered " too steep" even for the sensational correspond- 
ents, and were by them pronounced exaggerations. These 
autocrats of public opinion took the liberty to dwarf our 
estimates to dimensions more readily swallowed by their 

I have made many visits to the Yosemite since "our" 
long sojourn in it in 1851, and have since that time furnished 
many items for the press descriptive of that vicinity. My 
recollections of some of these will be given in another chap- 
ter. Although many years have rolled off the calendar of 
time since the occurrences related in these chapters, no ma- 
terial change has affected that locality. Human agency can 
not alter the general appearance of these stupendous cliffs 
and waterfalls. 

The picturesque wildness of the valley has since our first 
visits been to a certain degree toned down by the improve 
ments of civilization. The regions among the foot-hills and 
mountains that serve as approaches to the valley, where we 
hunted for savages to make peace with our National Gov- 


emment, now boasts of its ranchos and other improvements. 
The obscure trails which we followed in our explorations, 
and on which we first entered, have long since been aban - 
doned, or merged into roads or other trails used by the pro- 
prietors of the territory in the vicinity. The white man's 
civilized improvements have superseded them. Instead of 
the stormy bivouacs of our first visits, or the canvas of oui 
longer stay, the visitor now has the accommodations of first- 
class hotels with modern improvements. The march of civ- 
ilization has laid low many of the lofty pines and shady 
oak trees that once softened the rough grandeur and wildnes;^ 
of the scenery. Stumps, bridges and ladders now mark 
the progress of improvements. These, however, only affect 
the ornamental appendages of the scenery — the perishable 
portion of it alone. The massive granite walls are invul- 
nerable to modern ingenuity of adornment. The trail over 
which we approached the valley on our first visit was below 
the more modern trails, and its general course has now been 
appropriated by the stage road over which the tourist visits 
the Yosemite. The rocky slabs and stretches down which 
we then slid and scrambled, have since been graded and im- 
proved, so that the descent is made without difficulty. 

The " Mariposa Trail " first approached the vQrgQ of the 
cliffs forming the south side of the valley, near what is 
known as " Mount Beatitude," or, as the first full view above 
has been designated, "Inspiration Point"; which is about 
3,000 feet above the level of the valley. In a direct line 
from the commencement of the first descent, to where the 
trail reaches the valley, the distance is probably less than a 
mile, but by the trail, it is nearly four miles in a circuitous 
zigzag westerly course. The vertical descent of the trail 
in that distance is 2,973 feet.* 

I have adopted the statistics of measurements gi^en by 
Prof. Whitney in his " Yosemite Guide Book" as my stand- 

* A wagon road now enters upon a lower level. 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1801. 249 

ard, so as to be modernlj correct. These statistics were 
from the State Geological Survey, and are scientifically re- 
liable. From a point on this descending trail, my most im- 
pressive recollections of a general view were first obtained. 
My first sight of the Yosemite was suddenly and unexpect- 
edly unfolded from its junction with the old Indian trail; 
the view was made complete by ascending to a granite 
table. The first object and the principal point of attrac- 
tion to my astonished gaze was " El Capitan," although its 
immensity was far from comprehended, until I became 
familiar with the proportions of other prominent features 
of the valley. After passing it close to its base, on the 
next day, I made up my mind that it could not be less than 
1,500 or 2,000 feet above the level of the valley. 

Prof. Whitney in speaking of this object of grandeur and 
massiveness, says: " El Capitan is an immense block of 
granite, projecting squarely out into the valley, and present- 
ing an almost vertical sharp edge, 3,300 feet in elevation. 
The sides or walls of the mass are bare, smooth, and entirely 
destitute of vegetation. It is almost impossible for the 
observer to comprehend the enormous dimensions of this 
rock, which in clear weather can be distinctly seen from the 
San Joaquin plains at a distance of fifty or sixty miles. 
Nothing, however, so helps to a realization of the magnitude 
of these masses about the Yosemite as climbing around and 
among them. Let the visitor begin to ascend the pile of 
debris which lies at the base of El Capitan, and he will 
soon find his ideas enlarged on the point in question. And 
yet these debris piles along the cliff's, and especially under 
El Capitan, are of insignificant size compared with tlie 
dimensions of the solid wall itself. They are hardly notice- 
able in taking a general view of the valley. El Capitan 
imposes on us by its stupendous bulk, which seems as if 
hewed from the mountain on purpose to stand as the type 
of eternal massiveness. 


" It is doubtful it any where in the world there is pre- 
sented so squarely cut, so lofty and so imposing a face of 
rock." The foregoing is the most concise and best descrip- 
tion of El Capitan I have ever seen, and yet, it cannot im- 
part the ecstacy of reverence for the sublime one feels in its 

Another peculiarity of El Capitan, is one that belongs to 
headlands that are designated points-no-point; that is the 
apparent difficulty of passing them. While passing at a 
distance, the convexity of the wall seems to remain imme- 
diately opposite the observer. 

From the Mariposa trail as it descends, can be seen most 
of the prominent cliffs which form its massive side walls. 
This trail reaches the bottom of the valley near its lower 
extremity. Below this trail, it narrows to a rocky canon, 
almost impassable except for the Merced river, which leaves 
the valley through this gorge. I shall again refer to this 
canon in another chapter. 

The valley is about six miles long and from half a mile 
to over a mile in width at the head of the valley proper. 
It is irregular in shape, but its general direction is nearly 
east towards its upper end. Its outlines will be better un- 
derstood from a view of the accompanying map, which has 
been mostly copied from that of the State Geological Sur- 
vey — Prof. Whitney's. The three canons which open into 
the valley at its upper end, are so intimately connected with 
it that a general description will include them all, particu- 
larly the parts of them in close proximity to the valley. 
They will be specially described when reached. 

The sides of the valley are walls of a grayish-white granite, 
which becomes a dazzling white in a clear sunlight. This 
intensity of reflection is, however, toned to a great extent 
by the varying haze which permeates the upper atmosphere 
of the valley for most of the time. This haze has some- 

AND INDIAN iVAR OF 1851 251 

times the appearance of a light cloud of blue smoke, with 
its borders fringed with a silvery vapor. At other times — 
during August and September — the tint is enriched, and at 
sunrise and sunset for the valley the golden light seems to 
permeate the haze, and lend its charm to the gossamer 
film that shields the sight from the glare of the reflecting 

The walls on each side are in many places perpendicular, 
and are, from the level of the valley to the top of the cliffs, 
from 2,660 to 4,737 feet in height, or, as they are generally 
described, from half a mile to a mile in height. Prof. 
Whitney, however, says: ''The valley is sunk almost a mile 
in perpendicular depth below the general level of the adja- 
cent region." This is undoubtedly correct, for in his descrip- 
tion, he says: "The Yosemite Yalley is nearly in the center 
of the State, north and south, and just midway between the 
east and west bases of the Sierras; here a little over seventy 
miles wide." 

Prof. Whitney's estimate of the depth of the valley must 
be literally correct, for the general slope of that region is 
toward the valley, except from the west, its lower end. 

At the base of these cliffs is a comparatively small amount 
of debris, consisting of broken rocks which have fallen from 
above. A kind of soil has accumulated on this talus, which 
is generally covered with vegetation. Trees of considerable 
size — oaks, pines, firs, cedars, maples, bay and dwarf oak, 
and lesser shrubs, are frequent. Although this dehi'is is 
scarcely observed in a general view, its height above the bot- 
tom of the valley is in many places from three hundred to 
five hundred feet n,ext to the cliff, from which it slopes some 
distance into the valley. In a few places the bases of the 
cliffs appear as if exposed nearly to the level of the valley. 
The valley proper is generally level through its entire length. 
The actual slope given is "only thirty-five feet between the 


junctions of the Ten-ie-ya Fork and the Bridal Yeil Creek 
with the main river, four miles and a half in a straight 
line." The elevation of the valley above the sea level is 
3,950 feet. The Merced Eiver, which is about seventy feet 
wide in an ordinary stage of water, courses down through 
the middle canon, meanders through the valley, being re- 
strained or confined to near the centre of it by the sloping 
talus at its sides — the sloping debris piles occupying nearly 
one-half of the bottom of the valley. 

Although the soil is principally of a sandy character, the 
marshy land subject to overflow, and some of the dry bot- 
tom land, have a deep, rich alluvial soil. 

The two beautiful little meadows in the lower section of 
the valley, afford forage for animals. On the slope above, 
not far from the Pohono Falls, the Yosemities built their 
huts, as if unconscious of "The Spirit of the Evil Wind," 
near their habitations. 

Not far from the foot of the descent of the Mariposa trail, the 
original trail branched; one trail continuing on up the south 
side of the valley, the other crossing the Merced toward El 
Capitan. Another original trail came up on the north side 
trom the gorge below. A small foot- trail entered this from 
the northern summit of the Coultersville trail, but it was 
purposely left so obscure by the Indians, as to lead to the 
belief that it was impassable for horses. This trail was 
modernized, and is now known as the "Coultersville Trail." 
On angle of El Capitan is '' Ribbon Falls." The cliff over 
which the water pours is nearly 3,000 feet high, but the 
perpendicular height of the fall is but little over a thousand 
feet. This fall is " a beauty " while it lasts, but it is as 
ephemeral as a spring shower, and this fact must have been 
known to the sponsors at the baptism. 

Just above El Capitan are the Three Brothers, the high- 
est peak of these rocks is 3,830 feet. 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 253 

Next above these is the Yosemite Fall. The verge of the 
cliff over which this fall begins its descent is 2,600 feet 
above the level of the valley. Prof. Whitney in describing 
this fall, says: "The fall is not in one perpendicular sheet. 
There is first a vertical descent of 1,500 feet, when the water 
strikes on what seems to be a projecting ledge; but which, 
in reality, is a shelf or recess, almost a third of a mile back 
from the front of the lower portion of the cliff. From here 
the water finds its way, in a series of cascades, down a de- 
scent equal to 626 feet perpendicular, and then gives one 
final plunge of about 400 feet on to a low takis of rocks at 
the base of the precipice." He also "estimates the size of 
tlie stream at the summit of the fall, at a medium stage of 
water, to be twenty feet in width and two feet in average 
depth." The upper portion of the full spread of its base is 
estimated to be a width of from one hundred to three hun- 
dred feet at high water. The wind gives this fall a vibra- 
tory motion; sometimes equal to the width of the column 
of water itself at the base of the perpendicular descent. 

The ravine called Indian Canon is less than a mile above 
the Yosemite Fall; between the two, is the rocky peak 
called the " Lost Arrow," which, although not perpendicular, 
runs up boldly to a height of 3,030 feet above the level of the 

The Indian name for the ravine called Indian Canon was 
Lehamite, and the cliff extending into the valley from the 
East side of the Caiion is known as the " Arrow-wood Rocks." 
This grand wall extends almost at a right angle towards the 
East, and continues up the Ten-ie-ya Caiion, forming the 
base of the North dome (To-co-ya) which rises to an eleva- 
tion of 3,568 feet above the valley. 

In the cliff which forms the base of this dome-shaped 
mass of rocks, are the " Eoyal Arches," an immense arched 
cavity evidently formed by portions of the cliff becoming 


detached from some cause, and falling out in sections to the 
depth of seven tj-five or one hundred feet from the face of 
the cliff. The top of the arch appears to be 1,200 feet or 
more above the valley. The extreme width of the cavity is 
about the same, or perhaps a little more than the height. 
Adjoining the "Koyal Arches" on the East, is what is 
called the " Washington Column." This projecting rounded 
mass of rock, may be said to mark the boundary of the val- 
vey proper and the Ten-ie-ya Canon, which here opens into 
the valley from a Northeasterly direction. 

On the opposite side of Ten-ie-ya Canon is the Half Dome 
(Tis-sa-ack) the loftiest peak of the granite cliffs that form a 
part of the walls of the Yosemite Yalle}^ Its height above 
the valley is 4,737 feet. On the side next to Ten-ie-ya 
Canon this cliff is perpendicular for more than 1,500 feet 
from its summit, and then, the solid granite slopes at about 
an angle of 60 degrees to its base. The top of this mass 
of rock has the appearance of having been at one time a 
dome-shaped peak, now however, but half remains, that por- 
tion split off has by some agency, been carried awa}^ At 
its Northerly base is Mirror Lake, and farther up the Canon 
is Mt. Watkins, Cloud's Rest, a cascade, and Lake Ten-ie-ya. 

This brief outline of description includes the principal 
points of interest on the north side of the valley. From 
the lower part of the valley, the first prominent object 
reached on the south side, is the Bridal Yeil Fall. The 
water of the "Po-ho-no" here falls over a cliff from a per- 
pendicular height of 630 feet, onto a sloping pile of debris^ 
about 300 feet above the level of the Merced, in reaching 
which it rushes down the slope among the rocks in cascades 
and branching outlets. The total height of the cliff over 
which the water falls is about 900 feet. The trees on the 
slope below conceal the lower part of the fall, so that at a 
distance it appears as if reaching to the bottom of the val- 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 255 

ley. Just above the Bridal Yeil are what have been termed 
the " Three Graces," and not far above these, are the pecu- 
liar appearing pinnacles of rocks to which the names of 
Cathedral Eock and Cathedral Spires have been given. 
Cathedral Eock is 2,660 feet high. The spires just bej^ond 
are about the same height from the level of the valley. 
They are pointed columns of granite 500 feet high, attached 
at their base with the cliff forming the side of the valley. 
The next prominent object on the south side is Sentinel 
Eock, 3,043 feet high. This pinnacle of granite is on the 
extremity of a point of rocks extending into the valley. 
For a thousand feet or more, it has the form of an obelisk, 
below which it forms a part of the projecting rocks. The 
next object is the massive point projecting into the valley, 
and which here forms an angle towards the south; it is 
called Glacier Point. This has an elevation of 3,200 feet 
above the valley. From this point some of the finest views 
of the vicinity can be seen. Behind Glacier Point and Sen- 
tinel Eock, appearing as if these clifts formed a part of its 
base, is the South Dome, known also as the Sentiual Dome. 
The name of " South Dome " was originally given to this 
dome-shaped mass of granite by our battalion. It is 4,150 
feet above the valley. The South or Glacier Canon is just 
above Glacier Point. At the head of this rocky impassable 
canon, is the beautiful fall I have named " Glacier Fall." 
This fall is about 600 feet high. The middle canon, Yan- 
opah, opens from the east. The Merced river comes down 
this canon into the valley. 

In a distance of two miles, a descent from over 2,000 feet 
of perpendicular height is made. This includes the Yernal 
and Nevada Falls. The Yernal is about 350 feet high; the 
JS'evada something over 600 feet. The rapids between the 
falls have a descent of adout 300 feet. The Yernal and Ne- 
vada are about one mile apart. On the north side of the 


middle canon is the Cap of Liberty, rising to a height of 
2,000 feet above its base near the foot of the ISTevada Fall. 
This stupendous mass of rock stands nearly perpendicular 
on all sides but one. Farther up, on the south side of Ten- 
ie-ya Canon, is Clouds Eest, whicli is 6,000 feet above the 
bottom of the Yosemite. Between Glacier Canon and 
Yanopah is the Noble Starr King. The immense cliff form- 
ing the extreme westerly point of the divide between Ten- 
ie-ya Canon and the Yanopah branch, has had various names 
affixed to it, none of which seems to have been satisfactory. 
It was between the lower face of this wall and Glacier Point 
that Capt. Boling laid off and had cleared for use his race- 
course; and hence, in speaking of the locality, it was some- 
times designated as Boling's Point, as the starting place for 
the race. 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 257 


A Trip to Los Angeles — Interview with Col. McKee — A Night at Col. 
Fremont's Camp — Management of Cattle by the Colonel's Herdsmen- 
Back to Los Angelos — Specimen Bricks of the Angel City — An Addi- 
tion to our Party — Mules Versus Bears — Don Vincente — A Silver 
Mine — Mosquitos— A Dry Bog — Return to Fresno — Muster out of Bat- 
talion — A Proposition. 

On arriving at head-quarters on the Fresno, with the 
remnant of the once numerous and defiant band of Yosem- 
ite Indians, whose thieving propensities and murderous 
attacks had made them a dread to miners and " ranche " 
men; we found a oreneral feelino^ of confidence that the " In- 
dian war" was ended. The commissioners, with a special 
escort of U. S. soldiers which had accompanied them from 
San Francisco, had gone to King's River to treat with the 
bands collected for that purpose; and were then to visit the 
region farther South on their way to Los Angelos, where 
they expected to meet and co-operate with Gen. Bean, who 
was stationed with his volunteer force at the Gabon Pass. 
Major Savage liad learned from his Indians, who once more 
seemed to idolize him, that all the bands in the vicinity of 
the Kings and Kah-we-ah rivers, had " made peace," and 
that the commissioners had started for Te-jon Pass. 

Considering the Indian outbreak as completely sup- 
pressed, the major at once reported the condition of aftairs 
to the governor, and recommended that the " Mariposa Bat- 
talion" be mustered out and honorably discharged from 


further service. He sent Captain Boling to report in per- 
son to the commissioners. I was detailed as one of the 
Captain's escort, and Mr. Winchester, a newspaper corres. 
pondent, accompanied us. Captain Boling expected to over- 
take the commissioners at Te-hon Pass. 

This trip was in no way objectionable to me, for I was 
desirous to visit that part of the country with a view of 
selecting a location, if I found my plans to be practicable. 
Through the advice of Major Savage, I had in contempla- 
tion a design to establish a trading post in the vicinity of 
Te-hon Pass. In this project, I was assured of the Major's 
friendship and co-operation as soon as the battalion was 
mustered out. He designed to extend his trading opera- 
tions, and thought that a post in the vicinity of the pass 
w^ould control the trade destined to spring up on both sides 
of the mountains. I was provided with recommendations 
to the commissioners, to use in case I desired a trader's per- 
mit on one of the reservations. The commissioners were 
while en route prospecting for locations and selections of 
public lands for the Indians. The object of these selections, 
was to make the experiment of engaging them in .agricul- 
tural pursuits under the management of the general gov- 
ernment. I had but little confidence that the latter could be 
made self-supporting wards of the nation; but I was will- 
ing in political as in religious affairs, that each zealot should 
believe that he had discovered a sovereign balm for the 
wants of humanity. However, self-interest prompted me to 
be observant of passing events. 

I was aware, even at that early day, that the California 
Indians had become objects of speculation to the " rings " 
that scented them as legitimate prey. The trip to the Te- 
jon Pass was made without incident or accident to delay 
our movements, but on our arrival it was found that the 
Commissioners had been gone several days, and were prob- 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 259 

ablj then in Los Angelos. This we learned from an Indian 
styled by his " christian name''' Don Yincente. This chief 
was a Mission Indian, and spoke some Spanish. His peo- 
ple, although in appearance hardly equal to the mountain 
tribes, provided themselves with fruit and vegetables of their 
own raising. 

From " Senor Don Yincente" we obtained roasting ears 
of corn, melons, etc., which were an agreeable surprise. 
While on the trip we had found game in abundance, and, 
surfeited with fresh meat, the vegetables seemed better than 
any we had ever before eaten. Yincente's system of irriga- 
tion was very complete. 

Captain Boling was not anxious to follow the trail of the 
Commissioners beyond this camp. I had already informed 
him of my desire to see the Commissioners and make some 
examination of that locality before our return. He there- 
fore decided to retrace his own steps, but to send me on as 
a special messenger to the Commissioners. 

He instructed me to make all possible despatch to deliver 
his report and messages, but on my return trip I had liberty 
to make such delays as suited my convenience. He also 
wished me to convey a verbal message from Major Savage 
to Colonel Fremont, to the effect that the Indians congrega- 
ted at the Fresno were anxiously awaiting the arrival of 
some of his cattle. Col. Fremont had already made a large 
contract for supplying them with beef, and was supposed to 
be in Los Angelos or vicinity, buying up animals for the 
agencies. My arrangements for following the Commission- 
ers were hardly commenced, before Col. William T. Hen- 
derson, a ranchman from near Quartzberg, rode up to our 
camp. He was an acquaintance, and was on his way to Los 
Angelos with a King's Hiver Indian guide. I at once sad- 
dled my mule, and taking an extra animal furnished for the 
occasion, joined Henderson, making the trip a more agree- 
able and pleasant one than I had anticipated. 


Col. Henderson afterwards became famous, at least 
among his friends, as chief instrument under Ca})tain 
Harry Love, of causing the death of " Joaquin Muriata " 
and " Three fingered Jack," and in capturing two or three 
of Muriata's band of robbers. On entering the city of Los 
Angelos, 1 found Col. McKee at his hotel. Neither Col. 
Barbour nor Col. Fremont were in the city. Doctor Woo- 
zen-croft was in San Francisco. I was cordially received 
and hospitably entertained by Col. McKee while I made 
my report, and answered his questions. At his request, I 
stated a few facts relating to the Yosemite Yalley, and he 
appeared an interested listener; but distinguishing a look 
of incredulity, when I gave him rny estimates of heights, I 
made the interview as brief as possible. Ascertaining that 
Col. Fremont was only a few miles from the city, I rode 
out to his camp, delivered my message, and gave him a 
general view of the situation in Mariposa county, where his 
famous estate is situated. I staid over night with him and 
was hospitably provided for. 

The Colonel's whole bearing was that of an accomplished 
man of the world, and I felt that I was in the presence of a 
gentleman of education and refinement. During the morn- 
ing I watched his vaqueros or herdsman training the cattle 
preparatory to starting north for their destination. This 
breaking-in process was accomplished by driving them in 
a circle over the plain near the camp, and was done to fa- 
miliarize them with each other, and with the commands of 
the herdsmen, before attempting to drive them from their 
native grazing grounds. 

On my return to the city I again called on Colonel Mc- 
Kee to see if he had any return message to Major Savage. 
On my first visit the subject of reservations was not pre- 
sented. Upon this occasion it was naturally brought up by 
an allusion to the Colonel's plan of " christianizing thejpoor 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 261 

Indians. My doubt of the feasibility of this work was 
better concealed than were his doubts of my heights of the 
Yosemite, and with considerable fervor the good old gentle 
man unfolded his plans for the christianizing of the Indians. 
His estimate of the number in Mariposa county was sim- 
ply fabulous, and when I quietly asked him if he supposed 
there were really so many, he, with some choler, answered, 
" Why, sir, these figures are official." 

During this conversation, I was informed that the Fresno, 
King's Elver and Te-jon Pass selections would be recom- 
mended, although it appeared that the latter was claimed 
as an old and long disputed Spanish grant. On stating 
that I had had some idea of locating in the vicinity of the Te- 
jon Pass as soon as that selection was decided upon, I was 
advised by Colonel McKee to be in no haste to do so, but 
was assured of his good will in any application I might make 
after their policy was established; for, added the Colonel, 
" Major Savage has already spoken of you as an energetic 
and efficient person, and one calculated to materially aid us 
in future work with these Indians." 

Let it suffice here to say, that I never made application 
for a permit as a licensed trader on any Indian reservation; 
and I am not yet aware that any of tliese reservations have 
afforded the Indians means of self-support. I was some- 
what familiar with the management of the Fresno agency, 
and do not hesitate to say that it was not wholly commend- 
able. I was not personally familiar with that of the Te-jon 
Pass agricultural manao^ement. This was one of the most 
delightful regions of California; and the region covered by 
the Mexican or Spanish grant was, in my opinion, intrin- 
sically more valuable than the whole of the celebrated Mar- 
iposa estate of Col. Fremont, which had " millions in it." 
After a vast amount of monej* had been expended on this 
reservation by the general government, I believe it was con- 


firmed as a Spanish or Mexican grant, and finally passed in- 
to tlie possession of General Beal, who was for some years 
Superintendent of Indian Affairs in Californi:^, I never 
f^aw General Beal, and therefore was only able to judge of 
him or his management through his official reports and let- 
ters relating to the Indian Affiiirs of California. These will 
receive some special notice further on. 

My recollections of the interviews with Colonel McKee, 
are of a most agreeable character. The sincerity wi th which 
he advised me with regard to my individual affairs, and the 
correctness of his representations of the prospective condi- 
tion of the Tejon Pass, if it should prove a valid Mexican 
grant, was serviceable to me, and subsequent events verified 
his judgment. Colonel McKee was a high-minded christian 
gentleman, but really nnsuited to deal with the political 
element then existing on the Pacific coast. The other 
two commissioners, Colonel Barbour and Dr. Woozencroft, 
I never became acquainted with, though upon one occasion 
I met Colonel Barbour at head-quarters, and received a very 
favorable impression of his character. In leaving Colonel 
McKee after my second interview, I could not at once relin- 
quish my design of ultimatel}^ establishing myself near the 
Tejon. Having completed my business, I reported myself 
to Henderson as ready, and found that he also had been able 
to despatch his affairs, and had no business to detain him 
longer. Together we took a stroll through the principal 
street, and visited some popular resorts. However angelic 
the unseen portion of this city — of then less than two thous- 
and inhabitants — may have been, it appeared to us as a city 
of fallen angels with their attendant satellites. x\lthough 
our observations were made in a dull portion of the day, we 
witnessed on the street one pugilistic encounter, two shoot- 
ing affrays, and a reckless disregard of life, and property 
rights generally, never allowed in a civilized community. 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 263 

We soon discovered that good arms and a firm demeanor 
were the only passports to respectful consideration. 

The authorities seemed too indifferent or too timid to 
maintain order, or punish the offenders against law. Satis- 
fied that the "City of Angels" could exhibit more unadul- 
terated wickedness than any other town in the State at that 
time, we shook the dust from our feet, and in order to get 
an early start the next morning, rode out to the vicinity of 
Col. Fremont's camp. Our party was increased by tlie ad- 
dition of two gentlemen, who joined us for protection and 
guidance. The name of one of them has escaped m}^ mem- 
ory; the other was Doctor Bigelow, of Detroit, Michigan, 
a geologist, who at one time was engaged in a geological 
survey of a portion of Lake Superior. We left our camp 
before sunrise, Henderson and myself riding in advance; 
our guests, Indian and pack-mule bringing up the rear. 
This order of traveling was maintained as a matter of con- 
venience, for being well mounted, Henderson and myself 
were able to secure deer, antelope and a supply of smaller 
game, without hardly leaving the trail or delaying our pro- 

Among the foot-hills of the mountain slopes we saw sev- 
eral black bears cross the trail ahead, but not being out of 
meat, we did not urgently solicit their company. We did, 
however, once have our appetite aroused for "bar meat," 
but failed to supply the material for the feast. Halting for 
a rest at the foot of a ravine, and being very thirsty, we fol- 
lowed the indications to water exhibited by our mules. 
These were secured while we explored the brushy ravine for 
the water-hole. As we reached the desired water, two fat 
cubs came waddling out of the pool, and ran into a clump 
of dwarf willow. 

Congratulating each other on the prospect of roast cub 
for supper, we tried to get a shot with our revolvers, but a 


rousing demonstration from the parental bear, which sud- 
denly appeared, alarmed our cautiousness, and we retreated 
hurriedly, but in good order, to the place where we had care- 
lessly left our rifles. Hastily mounting, we returned the 
compliment by at once charging on the bear and her cubs, 
which were now endeavoring to escape. 

As we approached near enough for the mules to see and 
scent the game, they halted, and commenced marking time. 
Neither spurs or the butts of our rifles could persuade them 
to make a forward movement. Thinking I might secure a 
cub that stood temporarily in sight, I raised my rifle, but in 
so doing slackened the reins, when with the ease and celer- 
ity of a well-drilled soldier, my mule came to an " ahout 
face^'' and instantly left that localit}^ Henderson's mule 
became unmanageable, and after a lusty " we-haw ! we- 
haw! " followed me, while the afii'ighted bear family scram 
bled ofl" in search of a place of security. Pulling up as 
soon as we could control our frightened animals, Henderson 
congratulated me on possessing one so active on a retreat, 
while I complimented the intelligence of his own, which 
would not voluntarily endanger his master. 

After a hearty laugh at our comic illustration of a bear 
hunt, it was mutually agreed that a mule was not reliable 
in a charge upon bruin. 

A mule may be the equal of a horse in intelligence, but 
his inferiority of spirit and courage in times of danger pre- 
vents his becoming a favorite, except as a beast for work or 
mountain travel. 

On arriving at the rancheria of the chief Yincente, I in- 
duced Henderson to stop and explore the country. The lus- 
cious watermelons and abundant supplies of vegetables were 
strong arguments in favor of a few days' rest for our ani- 
mals and recreation for ourselves. In the meantime Doctor 
Bigelow had told us of a traditional silver mine that he had 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 265 

been informed existed somewliere in the locality of the Te- 
jon. I found the pompous old chief fond of displaying his 
knowledge of agriculture, which was really considerable, 
and I complimented him upon his success, as was deserved. 

After paying him for the things liberally supplied our 
party, and wliich with a show of Spanish courtesy he intima- 
ted he had given us because he was "a good Christian" — 
though he frequently crossed himself while expressing his 
fear of " witches " or demons — I opened up the subject of 
the old silver mine. I designated it as some kind of a mine 
that had once been worked by an Englishman. We were 
told by " Don Yincente" that such a mine had been dis- 
covered many years before, by white men, who, after work- 
ing it for awhile, had been driven off or killed; " but for 
the love of God " he could not tell which. A¥e expressed a 
wish to visit the old mine, and asked permission of the chief 
He told us it was not in the territory claimed by him, and 
he was thankful that it was not, as the location was haunt- 
ed. When asked if he would furnish us a guide, who should 
be well paid for his service, he answered, " Go, and God go 
with you, but none of my people shall go, for it would bring 
upon us evil." AYe were shown the mouth of the ravine, 
after some persuasion, but no argument or inducement could 
procure a guide to the mine. 

" Don Yincente," like all the Mission Indians of Califor- 
nia, I found to be strongly imbued with the superstitions 
of the wild tribes^ and a firm believer in the power of hu- 
man departed spirits to harm the living. Many, like those 
of the east, believed that the wizards or sorcerers could put 
a spell npon a victim, that if not disenchanted would soon 
carry him to his grave. 

Leaving our extra animals in the care of Yincente, we 
took our course towards the mouth of the ravine pointed 
out to us, southwest of the Tejon. After a tedious and dif- 


ficult search, a discovery of some float mineral was made, 
and following up these indications, we found some very rude 
furnaces, and a long distance above discovered the mine, 
which had evidently been abandoned for years. We 
procured some of the best specimens of the ore, and being 
unable to determine its value, forwarded some to assayers 
in San Francisco. Doctor Bigelow pronounced the mineral 
to be that of antimony, but said that it might possibly con- 
tain some of the precious metals, but it was quite evident 
that he placed but little commercial value upon the mine. 
The reports finally received from the assayers were very un- 
favorable, and our visions of untold wealth vanished with 
the smoke of the assay. 

On our return from the exploration of the ''^Silver Mine^'' 
we carefully concealed our discovery from Yincente and his 
people, and avoided exciting their curiosity. Our animals 
were rested, and in an improved condition, for the grass 
was rich and abundant. Don Yincente was as much de- 
lighted with our presents of tobacco and trinkets, which we 
had carried with us for such occasions, as any of the *' Gen- 
tile''^ nations would have been. We took our departure 
from the hospitalities of the Mission Chief without having 
had any occurrence to divert the mutually friendly feelings 
that had been fostered in our intercourse. We had de- 
signed, on starting from the rancheria of Don Yincente, to 
leave the direct trail to Mariposa, and explore the lake re- 
gion of the Tulare valley. Unfortunately for the success 
of this undertaking, we made our first camp too near the 
marshy shore of Kern Lake. We had selected the camp 
ground for the convenience of water and fresh grass for our 
animals, but as night closed in, the mosquitoes swarmed 
from the surrounding territory, making such vigorous 
charges upon us and our animals, that we were forced to 
retreat from their persistent attacks, and take refTige on the 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 267 

high land away from the vicinity of the Tule or Bullrush 
marshes. Having no desire to continue the acquaintance 
of the inhabitants who had thronged to welcome our ap- 
proach, our ambition for making further exploration was so 
much weakened, that we silently permitted our mules to 
take their course towards the direct trail. Col. Henderson 
declared that the mosquitoes on these lakes were larger, more 
numerous, and in greater variety, than in the swamps of 
Louisiana, and Doctor Bigelow said that hitherto he had 
ratlier prided himself, as a Michigander, on the earnest char- 
acter of those of Michigan, but that in future, he should be 
willing to accept as a standard of all the possibilities of mos- 
quito growth, those that had reluctantly parted with us at 
Kern Lake. Keeping the rich alluvial low lands on our 
left, we crossed a strip of alkali plain, through which our 
animals floundered as if in an ash heap. This Henderson 
designated as a " dry hog?- Deviating still farther to the 
right to avoid this, an old trail was struck, either Indian or 
animal, which led ns into the main trail usually traveled 
up and down the valley. At the crossing of one of the 
numerous mountain streams, we found a good camping 
place on a beautiful table overlooking this rich territory, 
where we would be secure from the assaults of enemies. 

After a refreshing bath in the cool waters of the stream, 
we slept the sleep of the blessed, and mosquitoes once more 
became to us unknown objects of torture. The next morn- 
ing we found ourselves refreshed and buoyant. 

Our animals, like ourselves, seemed to feel in elevated 
spirits, and as we vaulted into our saddles at an early hour, 
they moved rapidly along in the cool and bracing air. As 
we rode, drove after drove of antelope and elk were seen, 
and one small band of mustangs approached from the west, 
when, after vainly neighing to our mules, they turned and 
galloped back toward their favorite resort, the west side of 


the valley. Sometimes, with a halting look of scrutiny, a 
coyote would cross our trail, but their near vicinity was 
always recognized by our vigilant mules with a snort and 
pause in their gait, that was probably designed to intimate 
to us that it might be another bear. We beguiled the time 
in discussing the amazing fertility of the country we were 
traversing, and the probability of its future occupancy. 
At the present time, thriving cities and immense wheat 
fields occupy localities where in 1851 game and wild mus- 
tangs roamed almost undisturbed by the white man's tread, 
or the flash or gleam of his unerring rifle. There is still 
room for the enterprising settler, and the upper end of the 
San Joaquin Yalley may yet be called the sportsman's 
paradise. The lakes and streams swarm with fish, and are 
the resort of water-fowl, and deer, elk and antelope are still 
plentiful in secluded localities. 

We reached the Fresno in safety without interrupting in- 
cidents, and without further attempt at exploration. Col- 
onel Henderson, Doctor Bigelow, and his companion du 
voyage, after a short halt passed on to Qnartzberg, while I 
stopped over to make my report to the Major. To my ex- 
treme surprise, Major Savage questioned me as to the cause 
of my tardiness, saying he had been expecting me for two 
or three days past, and that the cattle were now within the 
valley and would in a short time be at the reservation. Af- 
ter sufiiciently enjoying my astonishment at his knowledge 
of my movements and those of Fremont's herders, he in- 
formed me that his old power and influence over the Indians 
had been re-established, and that reports came to him 
from the difierent chiefs of all important events transpiring 
in their territory. He soon satisfied me that through a ju- 
dicious distribution of presents to the runners, and the es- 
teem in which he was held by the chiefs, he was able to 
watch the proceedings of strangers, for every movement of 


our party had been reported to him in detail. I was cor- 
dially received by the Major, as a guest in his new trading 
house, which he had erected during our absence. We dis- 
cussed the probable future of the management of Indian 
affairs in California, and tlie incidents of my trip to Los 
Augelos. The Major informed me that the battalion had 
beed mustered out of service during my absence (on July 
25th, 1851), but that my interests liad been properly repre- 
sented and cared for, as far as he had been able to act with- 
out my presence. But in order to receive compensation as 
interpreter and for extra medical services, it was discovered 
that separate accounts and vouchers would be required, 
which he and Captain Boling would at any time certify. 
The major then informed me tliat he had made his arrange- 
ments to recommence his trading operations on as large a 
scale as might be required. That he could make more as a 
trader than as an employe of government, and at the same 
time be free from their cares and anxieties. He advised me 
to take a subordinate position until I should be able to de- 
cide upon a better location. He said he could make my 
position a profitable one if I desired to remain with him. 

The major gave me a general insight into his future 
plans, and some of the sources of his expected profits. After 
this conversation, I gave up all idea of establishing at the 
Tejon or any where else as a government trader. Having 
been so long absent from my private business, which I 
had left under the management of a partner; I made this 
a sufficient excuse for my departure the next morning and 
for my inability to accept the major's kindly ofier. As I 
was leaving, the major said: " I was in hopes to have secured 
your services, and still think you may change your mind. 
If you do, ride over at once and you will find a place open 
for you. 

This confidence and friendship I felt demanded some re- 


turn, and I frankly said ; " Major Savage, you are surrounded 
by combinations that I don't like. Sharp men are endeavoring 
to use you as a tool to work their gold mine. Beside this, 
you have hangers-on here that are capable of cutting your 
throat." Contrary to my expectation the Major was not in 
the least offended at my frankness; on the contrary, he 
thanked me for my interest and said : " Doc, while you study 
books, I study men. I am not often very much deceived, 
and I perfectly understand the present situation, but let 
those laugh who win. If I can make good my losses hy the 
Indians out of the Indians, I am going to do it. I was the 
best friend the Indians had, and they would have destroyed 
me. Now that they once more call me " Chief," they shall 
build me up. I will be just to them, as I have been merci- 
ful, for after all, they are but poor ignorant beings, but 
ray losses must be made good." Bidding the Major good 
morning, I left him with many kindly feelings, and as I 
rode on my solitary way to Mariposa, I thought of his many 
noble qualities, his manly courage, his generous hospital- 
ity, his unyielding devotion to friends, and his kindness to 
immigrant strangers. These all passed in review before ray 
mind, and then, I reversed the picture to see if anything 
was out of proportion, in the picture I had drawn of my 
hero. There were very serious defects, but such as would 
naturally result from a misdirected education, and a strong 
will, but they were capable of becoming virtues. As to the 
Major's kindly offer, although I appreciated his feeling's 
towards me, I could not accent it. 

With many others, I had joined in the operations against 
the Indians from conscientious motives and in good faith 
to chastise them for the numerous murders and frequent 
robberies they were committing. Our object was to com- 
pel them to keep the peace, that we might be permitted to 
live undisturbed by their depredations. We had sufficient 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 271 

general intelligence and knowledge of tlieir character to 
know that we were looked upon as trespassers on their ter- 
ritory, but were unwilling to abandon our search for gold, 
or submit to their frequent demands for an ever- increasing 
tribute. Beside other property, I had lost four valuable 
horses, which were taken to satisfy their appetites Neither 
Bonner's nor Yanderbilt's love for horses, was ever greater 
than was that of those mountain Indians. No horse was 
considered too valuable for them to eat. Notwithstanding 
all this sense of injury done to my personal interests, I 
could not justify myself in joining any scheme to wrong 
them, or rather, the government; and it was too plainly 
evident that no damages could be obtained for losses, 
except through the California Indian Ring that was now 
pretty well established. During the operations of the Bat- 
talion, the plans of the Ring were laid, and it was deter- 
mined that when the war should be ended, "a vigorous 
peace policy" should be inaugurated. Estimates of the 
probable number of Indians that it would be necessary to 
provide for in Mariposa county alone, accidentally fell un- 
der my observation, and I at once saw that it was the design 
to deceive the government and the people in regard to the 
actual number, in order to obtain froln Congress large ap- 
propriations. These estimates were cited as official by 
Col. McKee, and w^ere ten times more than the truth w^ould 
warrant. Major Savage justified his course in using the 
opportunity to make himself whole again, while acting as 
a trader, and in aiding others to secure ^'a good thing," by 
the sophism that he was not responsible for the action of 
the commissioners or of Congress. 



Captain Boling elected Sheriff— Appointment of Indian Agrents — Ten- 
ie-ya allowed to return to Yosemite — Murder of Visitors — Lt. 
Moore's Expedition and Punishment of Murderers — Gold Discoveries 
on Eastern Slope of Sierras — Report of Expedition, and first Pub- 
lished Notice of Yosemite— Squatter Sovereignty — Assault upon 
King's River Reservation — The Supposed Leader, Harvey, De- 
nounced by Major Savage — A Rencounter and death of Savage — 
Harvey Liberated by a Friendly Justice — An Astute Superintendent 
— A Mass Meeting — A Rival Aspirant — Indians and Indian Policy. 

After being mustered out, the members of the battalion at 
once returned to tlieir various avocations. I was fully occu- 
pied with mining and trading operations, and hence gave 
little heed to affairs at the Fresno. Through Captain Bol- 
ing, however, who was elected Sheriff of the county, and 
whose business carried him to all parts of the country, I 
learned of the appointment of Col. Thomas Henly as agent 
for the tribes of Mariposa county, and as sub-agents M. B. 
Lewis for the Fresno and Wm. J. Campbell for the King's 
River Agencies. I afterwards met Coi. Henly and Mr. Lewis 
in Mariposa, and was much pleased with the Colonel. Both of 
these gentlemen were kind and genial; but Mr. Lewis soon 
tired of his office as unsiiited to his taste, and accepted a 
position in the State Government under Major Roman. 
His successor, I believe, was Capt. Yincinthalor. Old 
Ten-ie-ya, and his band, were never recipients of friendly 
favors from Savage, nor was he in very good standing with 
the agent. This was known to the other chiefs, and they 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 273 

frequently taunted him with his downfall. The old chief 
chafed under the contemptuous treatment of those who had 
once feared him and applied to the sub-agent or farmer for 
permission to go back to his mountain home. He claimed 
that he could not endure the heat at the agency, and said 
he preferred acorns to the rations furnished him by the Gov- 

To rid itself of the consequences engendered by these petty 
squabbles with the old chief, the management at the Fresno 
consented to a short absence under restrictions. Ten-ie-ya 
promised to perform all requirements, and joyfully left tlie 
hot and dry reservation, and with his family, took the trail 
to the Yosemite once more. As far as is known, Ten-ie-ya 
kept faith and disturbed no one. Soon after his departure, 
however, a few of his old followers quietly left the Fresno 
as was supposed to join him, but as no complaints were 
made by their chiefs, it was understood that they were glad 
to be rid of them ; therefore no effort was made to bring 
them back. During the winter of 1851-52 a considerable 
number of horses were stolen, but as some of them were 
found in the possession of Mexicans, who were promptly exe- 
cuted for the theft, no charge was preferred against the 

Early in May, 1852, a small party of miners from Coarse 
Gold Gulch, started out on a prospecting tour with the in- 
tention of making a visit to the Y^osemite Yalley. 

The curiosity of some of these men had been excited by 
descriptions of it, made by some of the ex-members of the 
Battalion who had gone to Coarse Gold Gulch, soon after 
their discharge. This party spent some little time prospect- 
ing on their way. Commencing on the south fork of the 
Merced, they tested the mineral resources of streams tribu- 
tary to it; and then, passing over the divide on the old trail, 
camped for the purpose of testing the branches leading 

27-1 DISCO y EH i: of the yosemite, 

into the main Merced. While at this camp, thej were vis- 
ited by begging Indians; a frequent occurrence in the min- 
ing camps of some localities. The Indians appeared friend- 
ly, and gave no indications of hostile intentions. Tliey 
gave the party to understand, however, that the territory 
the}^ were then in, belonged to them, although no tribute 
was demanded. The miners compreliended their intima- 
tions, but paid no attention to their claim, being aware that 
this whole region had been ceded to the Government by 
treaty during the year before. 

Having ascertained that they were a part of the Yosemite 
Band, the miners by signs, interrogated them as to the 
direction of the valley, but this they refused to answer or 
pretended not to understand. The valley however, was 
known to be near, and no difficulty was anticipated, when 
the party were ready to visit it, as an outline map, fur- 
nished them before starting, had thus far proved reliable. 
Unsuspicious of danger from an attack, they reached the 
valle3% and while entering it on the old trail, were am- 
bushed by the Indians from behind some rocks at or near 
the foot of the trail, and two of the party were instantly 
killed. Another was seriously wounded, but finally suc- 
ceeded in making his escape. The names of the two men 
killed were Rose and Shurbon; the name of the wounded 
man was Tudor. 

The reports of these murders, alarmed many of the citi- 
zens. They were fearful that the Indians would become 
excited and leave the reservations, in which case, it was 
thought, a general outbreak would result. The management 
of the Fresno agency was censured for allowing Ten-ie-ya to 
return to the valley, and for allowing so considerable a num- 
ber of his followers to again assemble under his leadership. 
Among the miners, *ihis alarm was soon forgotten, for it was 
found that instead of leaving the reservations, the Indians 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 275 

camped outside, fled to the agencies for protection, lest thej 
should be picked off in revenge for the murders perpetrated 
by the Yo-sem-i-tes. The officer in command at Fort 
Miller, was notified of these murders, and a detachment of 
regular soldiers under Lt. Moore, U. S. A., was at once dis- 
patched to capture or punish the red-skins. Beside the 
detachment of troops, scouts and guides, and a few of the 
friends of the murdered men accompanied the expedition. 
Among the volunteer scouts, was A. A. Gray, usualy called 
" Gus " Gray. He had been a member ot Captain Eoling's 
company and was with us, wlien the valley was discovered, 
as also on our second visit to the valley under Captain Bol- 
ing. He had been a faithful explorer, and his knowledge 
of the valley and its vicinity, made his services valuable to 
Lt. Moore, as special guide and scout for that locality. 
The particulars of this expedition I obtained from Gray. 
He was afterward a Captain under Gen. Walker, of Nic- 
aragua notoriety. Under the guidance of Gray, Lt. Moore 
entered the valley in the night, and was successful in sur- 
prising and capturing a party of five savages; but an alarm 
was given, and Ten-ie-ya and his people fled from their 
huts and escaped. On examination of the prisoners in the 
morning, it was discovered that each of them had some ar- 
ticle of clothing that had belonged to the murdered men. 
The naked bodies of Rose and Shurbon were found and 
buried. Their graves were on the edge of the little 
meadow near the Bridal Yail Fall. 

When the captives were accused of the murder of the 
two white men, they did not deny the charge; but tacitly 
admitted that they had done it to prevent white men from 
coming to their valley. They declared that it was their 
home, and that white men had no right to come there with- 
out their consent. 

Lieutenant Moore told them, through bis interpreter, that 


they had sold their lands to the Government, that it belonged 
to the white men now; that the Indians had no right there. 
They had signed a treaty of peace with the whites, and had 
agreed to live on the reservations provided foi* them. To 
this they replied that Ten-ie-ya had never consented to the 
sale of their valley, and had never received pay for it. The 
otlier chiefs, they said, had no right to sell their territory, 
and no right to langh at their misfortunes. 

Lieutenant Moore became fully satisfied that he had cap- 
tured the real murderers, and the abstract questions of title 
and jurisdiction, were not considered debatable in this case. 
He promptly pronounced judgment, and sentenced them 
to be shot. They were at once placed in line, and by his 
order, a volley of musketry from tlie soldiers announced 
that the spirits of five Indians were liberated to occupy 
ethereal space. 

This may seem summary justice for a single individual, 
in a republic, to meet out to fellow beings on his own 
judgment; but a formal judicial killing of these Indians 
could not have awarded more summary justice. This 
prompt disposition of the captured murderers, was wit- 
nessed by a scout sent out by Ten-ie-ya to watch the move- 
ments of Lieutenant Moore and his command, and was 
immediately reported to the old chief, who with his people 
at once made a precipitate retreat from their hiding places, 
and crossed the mountains to their allies, the Pai-utes and 
Monos. Although this was in June, the snow, which was 
lighter than the year before at this time, was easily crossed 
by the Indians and their families. After a short search, in 
the vicinity of the valley. Lieutenant Moore struck their trail 
at Lake Ten-ie-ya, and followed them in close pursuit, with 
an expressed determination to render as impartial justice 
to the whole band as he had to the five in the valley. It 
was no disappointment to me to learn from Gray, that 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 277 

when once alarmed, old Ten-ie-ya was too much for Lieu- 
tenant Moore, as he had been for Major Savage and Captain 
Boling. Lieutenant Moore did not overtake the Indians 
he was pursuing, neither was he able to get any informa- 
tion from the Pai-utes, whom he encountered, while east 
of the Sierras. Lieutenant Moore crossed tlio Sierras 
over the Mono trail that leads by the Soda Springs through 
the Mono Pass. He made some fair discoveries of gold 
and gold-bearing quartz, obsidian and other minerals, 
wliile exploring the region north and south of Bloody 
Canon and of Mono Lake. Finding no trace whatever of 
the cunning chief, he returned to the Soda Springs, and 
from there took his homeward journey to Fort Miller by way 
of the old trail that passed to the south of the Yosemite. 

Lieutenant Moore did not discover the Soda Springs nor 
the Mono Lake country, but he brought into prominent no- 
tice the existence of the Yosemite, and of minerals in pay- 
ing quantities upon the Eastern Slope. Mr. Moore made a 
brief descriptive report of his expedition, that found its way 
into the newspapers. At least, I was so informed at the 
time, though unable to procure it. I saw, however, some 
severe criticisms of his display of autocratic power in order- 
ing the five Yosemites shot. 

After the establishment of the "Mariposa Chronicle" by 
W. T. Witachre and A. S. Gould, the first number of which 
was dated January 20, 1854. Lieutenant Moore, to more 
fully justify himself or gratify public curiosity, published 
in the "Chronicle" a letter descriptiive of the expedition 
and its results. In this letter he dropped the terminal let- 
ter "y" in the name " Yosemity," as it had been written 
previously by myself and other members of the bat- 
talion, and substituted "e," as before stated. As Lieuten- 
ant Moore's article attracted a great deal of public attention 
at that time, the name, with its present orthography, was ac- 


cepted. A copy of the paper containing Moore's letter was 
in my possession for many years, but, finally, to my ex- 
treme regret, it was lost or destroyed. 

To Lieutenant Moore belongs the credit of being the first 
to attract the attention of the scientific and literary world, 
and "The Press" to the wonders of the Yo^emite Yalley. 
His position as an officer of the regular army, established 
a reputation for his article, that could not be expected by 
other correspondents. I was shown by Gray, who was ex- 
hibiting them in Mariposa, some very good specimens of 
gold quartz, that were found on the Moore expedition. 
Leroy Yining, and a few chosen companions, with one of 
Moore's scouts as guide, went over the Sierras to the place 
where the gold had been found, and established themselves 
on what has since been known as Yining's Gulch or Creek. 

On the return of Lieutenant Mooi'e to Fort Miller, the 
news of his capture of the Indians, and his prompt execu- 
tion of them as the murderers of Rose and Shurbon, occa- 
sioned some alarm among the timid, which was encouraged 
and kept alive by unprincipled and designing politicians. 
All kinds of vague rumors were put in circulation. Many 
not in the secret supposed another Indian war would be in- 
augurated. Political factions and " Indian Pings " encour- 
aged a belief in the most improbable rumors, hoping thereby 
to influence Congressional action, or operate upon the War 
Department to make large estimates for the California Indian 

This excitement did not extend beyond the locality of 
its origin, and the citizens were undisturbed in their in- 
dustries by these rumors. During all this time no indica- 
tions of hostilities were exhibited by any of the tribes 
or bands, although the abusive treatment they received at 
the hands of some, was enough to provoke contention. 
They quietly remained on the reservations. As far as I was 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 279 

able to learn at the time, a few persons envied them the 
possession of tlieir King's river reservation, and determined 
to '^ squat ^^ upon it, after tliey should have been driven off. 
This " border element" was made use of by an unprincipled 
schemer by the name of Harvey, whom it was understood 
was willing to accept office, when a division of Mariposa 
county should have been made, or when a vacancy of any 
kind should occur. But population was required, and the 
best lands had been reserved for the savages. A few hang- 
ers-on, at the agencies, that had been discharged for want 
of employment and other reasons, made claims upon the 
King's river reservation; the Indians came to warn them 
off, when they were at once fired upon, and it was reported 
that several were killed. 

These agitations and murders were denounced by Major 
Savage in unsparing terms, and he claimed that Harvey 
was responsible for them. Although the citizens of Mari- 
posa were at the time unable to learn the details of the affair 
at King's river, which was a distant settlement, the great 
mass of the people were sati.->fied tliat wrong had been done 
to the Indians. There had been a very decided opposition 
by the citizens generally to the establishment of two agen- 
cies in the county, and the selection of the best agricultural 
lands for reservations. Mariposa then included nearly the 
whole San Joaquin valley south of the Tuolumne. 

The opponents to the recommendations of the commis- 
sioners claimed that "The government of the United States 
has no right to select the territory of a sovereign State to 
establish reservations for the Indians, nor for any other pur- 
pose, without the consent of the State." The State Legis- 
lature of 1851-52, instructed the Senators and Kepresenta- 
tives in Congress to use their influence to have the Indians 
removed beyond the limits of the State. These views had 
been advocated by many of the citizens of Mariposa county 


in good faitli; but it was observed that those who most 
actively annoyed and persecuted those located on King's 
river reservation were countenanced by those who professed 
to advocate opposite views. These men were often to be 
seen at the agency, apparently the welcome guests of the 
employes of government. 

It soon became quite evident, that an effort was beiiiir 
made to influence public opinion, and create an impression 
that there was imminent danu^er; in order that the general 
government would thereby be more readily induced to 
continue large appropriations to keep in subjection the 
comparatively few savages in the country. 

It was a well known fact that these people preferred horse- 
flesh and their acorn jelly to the rations of beef that were 
supposed to have been issued by the Government. During 
this time, Major Savage was successfully pursuing his trad j 
with the miners of the Fresno and surrounding territory, 
and with the Indians at the agency. Frequently those from 
the King's River Agency, would come to Savage to trade, 
thereby exciting the jealous ire of the King's river traders. 
Self-interest as well as public good prompted Savage to use 
every means at his disposal to keep these people quiet, and 
he denounced Harvey and his associates as entitled to pun- 
ishment under the laws of the Government. These denun- 
ciations, of course, reached Harvey and his friends. Har- 
vey and a sub-agent by the name of Campbell, seemed 
most aggrieved at what Savage had said of the aflray, and 
both appeared to make common cause in denouncing the 
Major in return. Harvey made accusations against the 
integrity of Savage, and boasted that Savage would not dare 
visit King's river while he, Harvey, was there. As soon as 
this reached the Major's ears, he mounted his horse and at 
once started for the King's River Agency. 

Here, as expected, Harvey was found, in good fellowship 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 281 

with Marvin, the quartermaster, and others connected with 
the agency. Walking up to Harvej, Major Savage de- 
manded of him a retraction of his offen&.ve remarks 
concerning himself. This Harvej refused to do, and said 
something to the effect that Savage had talked about Harvey. 
'' Yes," replied Major Savage, " I have said that you are a 
murderer and a coward." Harvey retreated a pace or two 
and muttered that it was a lie. As quick as the word was 
uttered, Savage knocked Harvey down. Harvey appeared 
to play 'possum and made no resistance. As Savage stooped 
over the prostrate Harvey, a pistol fell from Savage's waist, 
seeing which, Marvin picked it up and held it in his hand 
as the Major walked off. Harvey rose to his feet at this 
moment, and seeing Marvin with the pistol in 'his hand ex- 
claimed, "Judge, you have got my pistol!" Marvin re- 
plied, "No! 1 have not. This belongs to Major Savage." 
When, instantly, Harvey commenced firing at Major Sav- 
age, who, though mortally wounded by the first shot, and 
finding his pistol gone, strove hard to once more reach 
Harvey, whom he had scorned to further punish when pros- 
trate before him. 

This was in August, 1852. Harvey was arrested, or gave 
himself up, and after the farce of an examination, was dis- 
charged. The justice, before whom Harvey was examined, 
was a personal friend of the murderer, but had previously 
fed upon the bounty of Savage. Afterwards, he commenced 
a series of newspaper articles, assailing the Indian manage- 
ment of California, and these articles culminated in his re- 
ceiving congenial employment at one of the agencies. 
Harvey, having killed his man, was now well calculated for 
a successful California politician of that period, and was 
triumphantly elected to oflfice; but the ghost of Major Sav- 
age seemed to have haunted him, for ever after, he was 
nervous and irritable, and finally died of paralysis. The 


body of Major Savage was afterwards removed to the Fresno, 
near his old trading post. A monument was there erected 
to liis memory by I)r. Leach, his successor in business. 

I was in San Francisco at the time of these troubles at 
the agencies; but upon my return, obtained the main facts 
as here stated, from one of the actors in the tragedy. 

At about this time, the management of California Indian 
affairs, became an important stake in the political circles of 
Mariposa. I took but little interest in the factions that 
were assaulting each other with charges of corruption. 
IN'otwithstanding my lack of personal interest, I was 
startled from my indifference by the report of the Superin- 
tendent dated February, 1853. His sweeping denunciations 
of the people of Mariposa county was a matter of surprise, 
as I knew it to be unjust. This report was considered in a 
general mass meeting of the best citizens of the county, 
and was very properly condemned as untrue. Among those 
who took an active part in this meeting were Sam Bell 
(once State Comptroller), Judge Bondurant, Senator James 
Wade, and other members of the State Legislature, and 
many iniiuential citizens, who generally took but a minor 
interest in political affairs. 

The records of the meeting, and the resolutions condemn- 
ing the statements of the Superintendent of Indian Affairs, 
which were unanimously adopted, and were published in 
the "Mariposa Chronicle" after its establishment, I have pre- 
served as a record of the times. The meeting expressed the 
general sentiment of the people, but it accomplished noth- 
ing in opposition to the Superintendent's policy, for the 
people soon discovered that the great '^Agitator " at these 
meetings was a would-be rival of the Superintendent. We 
therefore bowed our heads and thought of the fox in the 
fable. I never chanced to meet the gentleman who was at 
that time Superintendent of Indian Affairs, and know noth- 

AND INulAN WAR OF 1851. 283 

ing of him personally, but upon reading an official letter of 
his dated at Los Angeles, August 22ud, 1853, in which he 
speaks of " The establishment of an entire new system of 
government, which is to change the character and habits of 
a hundred thousand persons." And another letter dated 
San Francisco, September 30th, 1853, saying that his farm 
agent, Mr. Edwards, " Had with great tact and with the 
assistance of Mr. Alexander Gody, by traveling from tribe 
to tribe, and talking constantly with them, succeeded in 
preventing any outbreak or disturbance in the San Joaquin 
Yalley." I came to the conclusion that the Superintendent 
of Indian Affairs was under astute management, or that he 
was one of the shrewdest of the many shrewd operators on 
the Pacific Coast. The schemes of the Indian Ring were 
not endorsed by Governor Weller, but were practically con- 
demned in a public letter. The charges against the people 
of Mariposa by tlie Superintendent of Indian Affairs were 
absurd and grossly insulting to their intelligence. There 
had been no assault upon the Indians, except that at King's 
river, led by the hangers-on at one of his own agencies. 
These men continued to be honored guests at the tables of 
his employes, and one of his most vigorous assailants was 
given employment that silenced him. 

The estimates made by him in his letters and report, were 
on an assumed probability of a renewal of Indian hostili- 
ties. It was true, murders were occasionally committed by 
them, but they were few as compared with those committed 
by the Mexicans and Americans among themselves. The 
estimate of a hundred thousand Indians in California, was 
known by every intelligent man who had given the subject 
' any attention, to be fabulous. There was probably not a fifth 
of the number. But that was of no consequence, as the 
schemes of the " Eing " wore successful. Large appropria- 
tions were made by Congress in accordance with stipuia- 


tions of the treaty made between these ignorant tribes, and 
the Republic of the United States of America. The rec- 
ommendations were generally carried out in Washington. 

The making of a treaty of peace with Indian tribes, may 
be correctly defined as procuring a release of all claims 
of certain territory occupied by them. Congress may make 
appropriations to provide for the promises made, but it is a 
well known fact that these appropriations are largely ab- 
sorbed by the agents of the government, without the pro- 
visions being fulfilled. The defrauded victims of the treaty 
are looked upon as pauper wards of a generous nationality; 
and the lavish expenditure of the Government, is mostly 
consumed by the harpies who hover around these objects of 
national charity. This farce of making treaties with every 
little tribe as a distinct nationality, is an absurdity which' 
should long ago have been ended. With formal ceremony, 
a treaty of peace is made with people occupying territory 
under the jurisdiction of our national organization. A 
governmental power is recognized in the patriarchal or 
tribal representatives of these predatory bands, and all the 
forms of a legal and national obligation are entered into, 
only to be broken and rebroken, at the will of some suc- 
ceeding administration. 

An inherited possessive right of the Indians to certain 
territory required for their use, is acknowledged, and should 
be, b}" the Government, but to recognize this as a tribal or 
national right, is but to continue and foster their instinctive 
opposition to our Government, by concentrating and in- 
flaming their native pride and arrogance. 

The individual, and his responsibilities, become lost in 
that of his tribe, and until that power is broken, and the in- 
dividual is made to assume the responsibilities of a man, 
there will be but little hope of improvement. The indi- 
vidual is now scarcely recognized by the people (except he 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 285 

be representative); he is but an integral number of a tribe. 
He has a nationality without a country, and feels that his 
people have no certain home. He knows that lie has been 
pauperized by contact with the whites and the policy pur- 
sued by the Government towards him, and he scorns, wliile 
he accepts its bounty. These native-born residents of our 
common country, are not citizens; their inherent rights are 
not sufficiently protected, and, feeling this, they in turn, 
disregard the law or set it at defiance. The best part of my 
life has been spent upon the frontiers of civilization, where 
ample opportunities have been afforded me to observe our 
national injustice in assuming the guardiansliip and man- 
agement of the Indian, without fulfilling the treaty stipula- 
tions that afford him the necessary protection. The policy 
of the Government has seemed to be to keep them under 
restraint as animals, rather than of protective improvement 
as rational human beings. What matters it, though the 
National Government, by solemn treaty, pledges its faith to 
their improvement, if its agents do not fulfill its obligations. 
I am no blind worshipper of the romantic Indian, nor ad- 
mirer of the real one; but his degraded condition of pauper- 
ism, resulting from the mismanagement of our Indian 
affairs, has often aroused in me an earnest sympathy for the 
race. They are not deficient in brain-power, and they 
should rise from degradation and want, if properly man- 
aged. I am not classed as a radical reformer, but I would 
like to see a raJical chano^e in their raana^j^ement. 

I would like to see the experiment tried by the Govern- 
ment and its agents of dealing justly with them, and strictly 
upon honor. I would like to see those who have the man- 
agement of Indian affairs selectea because ot their fitnese 
for their positions, without making pi^litical or religious 
considerations pre-requisitt, qualiricaiions. Mondity anc 
strict integrity of character, should be indispensable re- 


qnirements for official positions; but a division of patron- 
age, or of Indian souls among the various religious sects or 
churches, is contrary to the spirit, if not the letter, of our 
Federal Constitution, and the strife this policy has already 
engendered among the various sects, is not calculated to 
impress even the savage with a very high estimate of Chris- 
tian forbearance and virtue. The cardinal principles ot 
Christianity should be taught the children by example, 
while teaching them the necessity of obeying God's moral 
and physical laws. I would like to see the Indian individ- 
ually held responsible for all his acts, and as soon as may 
be, all tribal relations and tribal accountability done away 
with, and ignored by the Government. 

The question of a transfer of the Indian Bureau to the 
War Department, has been for some time agitated, but it 
seems to me that some facts bearing on the subject have not 
beea sufficiently discussed or understood. These are that 
the various tribes are warlike in their habits and character, 
and have been engaged in wars of conquest among them- 
selves ever since they first became known to the white set- 
tlers of the country. Their iTYimediate right to tlie territory 
they now occupy is derived from the dispossession of some 
other tribe. They recognize the lex talionis as supreme, 
and their obedience to law and order among themselves is 
only in proportion to their respect for the chief, or power 
that controls them. Hence, for the Sioux and other unsub- 
dued tribes, military control, in my opinion, would be best 
suited to their war-like natures and roving habits. The ob- 
jection that their management by the War Department had 
proved a failure, is not a valid one, as when formerly the 
Bureau was under its nominal control, all appointments ot 
agents were n]ade from civil life, as political rewards from 
those in power. The political kites, scenting the fat things 
hidden away in the office of an agent, pounced down upon 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 287 

tliera, exclaiming: "To the victors belong the spoils." 
The title of "Major" given the agent was due to courtesy 
and the legitimate pay afforded, being that of a major in 
the army. 

The duties of the office are anything but agreeable to an 
officer who has been educated for the profession of a soldier. 
Few are disposed to do the incessant drudgery required of 
an effective agent. As a rule, the permanency of office, the 
education and amour jpTojpre of military life, raises the army 
officer above the temptations of the ordinary politician; 
therefore, the chances oi an honest administration of affairs 
are very much in favor of the War Department. To make 
that management more effective, reasonable pay should be 
given competent men, as the expenses of frontier life are 
usually considerable. Years are required to comprehend 
and order, a pi-actical m;iiiau:ement of people who are, in one 
lense, but overgrown, vicious children. Such agents 
should be retained as long as they remain honest and effec- 
tive, rega^'dless of church or political creeds. 

As the wild tribes recognize no authority but that of the 
lex-talioneSj' by this law they should be governed. Any 
attempt to govern or civilise them without the power to com- 
pel obedience, will he looked upon hy harharians with de- 
rision^ and all idea of Christianizing adult Indians, while 
they realize the injustice done them by the whites, will 
prove impracticable. The children may be brought under 
some moderate system of compulsory education and labor, 
but the adults never can be. Moral suasion is not com- 
prehended as 2.power^ for the Indian's moral qualities seem 
not to have been unfolded. 

The savage is naturally vain, cruel and arrogant. He 
boasts of his murders and robbmes, and the tortures of his 
victims very much in the same manner that he recounts his 
deeds of valor in battle, his prowess in killing the grizzly, 


and his skill in entrapping the beaver. His treachery, is to 
him but cunning, his revenge a holy obligation, and his re- 
ligion but a superstitious fear. The Indians that have re- 
sorted to labor as a means of future support, should be 
encouraged and continued under the care of civilians. 
Their religious instruction, like that of the whites, may 
safely be left to their own choice; but for the wild savage 
a just and humane control is necessary for their own well- 
being, as well as that of the white people; for even in this 
nineteenth century, life is sometimes sacrificed under some 
religious delusion. 

The war between different tribes is a natural result of 
their efforts to maintain indejpendent sovereignties. The 
motives that influence them are not very unlike those that 
operate upon the most highly favored Christian nations^ 
except that religion, as a rule, has but little to answer for, 
as they are mostly of one religious faith. All believe in the 
influence of and communion with departed spirits. The 
limited support afforded by the game of a given territory, 
frequently compels encroachments that result in war. Am- 
bition for fame and leadership prompts young aspirants for 
the honors awarded to successful warriors, and they bear an 
initiatory torture in order to prove their fortitude and 
bravery, that would almost seem beyond human endurance. 
After a reputation has been acquired as a successful leader, 
old feuds must be maintained and new wars originated to 
gratify and employ ambitious followers, or the glory and 
influence of the successful chieftain will soon depart or be 
given to some new aspirant for the leadership of the tribe. 
In their warlike movements, as in all their private affairs, 
their " medicine men " are important personages. They are 
supposed to have power to propitiate evil spirits or exorcise 
them. They assume the duties of physicians, orators and 
advisers in their councils, and perform the official duties of 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851, 289 

priests in their religious ceremonies. In my inquiries con- 
cerning their religious faith, I have sometimes been sur- 
prised, as well as amused, at the grotesque expressions used 
in explanations of their crude ideas of theology. With their 
mythology and traditions, would occasionally appear ex- 
pressions evidently derived from the teachings of Christian- 
ity, the origin of which, no doubt, might have been traced 
to the old Missions. The fugitive converts from tliose Mis- 
sions being the means of engrafting the Catholic element on 
to the original belief of the mountain tribes. Their recita- 
tions were a peculiar mixture, but they vehemently claimed 
them as original, and as revealed to them by the Great 
Spirit, through his mediums or prophets (their "medicine 
men"), in visions and trances. These " mediums," in their 
character of priests, are held in great veneration. 

They are consulted upon all important occasions, let it be 
of war, of the chase, plunder or of marriage. They pro- 
vide charms and amulets to protect the wearer from the evil 
influence of adverse spirits and the weapons of war, and 
receive for these mighty favors donations corresponding to 
the support afforded Christian priests and ministers. The 
sanctification of these relics is performed by an elaborate 
mysterious ceremony, the climax of which is performed in 
secret by the priestly magnate. The older the relic, the 
more sacred it becomes as an heirloom. 

Marriage among the Indians is regarded from a business 
standpoint. The preliminaries are usually arranged with 
the parents, guardians and friends, by the patriarch of the 
family, or the chief of the tribe. When an offer of mar- 
riage is made, the priest is consulted, he generally desig- 
nates the price to be paid for the bride. The squaws of 
these mountain tribes are not generally voluptuous or ar- 
dent, and notwithstanding their low and degraded condition, 


they were naturally more virtuous, than has been generally 

Their government being largely patriarchal, the women 
are subjects of the will of the patriarch in all domestic re- 
lations. The result is, that they have become passively 
submissive creatures of men's wilL Believing this to be 
the natural sphere of their existence, they hold in contempt 
one who performs menial labor, which they have been 
tau2:ht belongs to their sex alone. 

The habits of these mountain tribes being simple; their 
animal passions not being stimulated by the condiments 
and artilicial habits of civilized life; they, in their native 
condition, closely resembled the higher order of animals in 
pairing for offspring. The spring time is their season of 
love. When the young clover blooms and the wild anise 
throws its fragrance upon mountain and dell, then, in the 
seclusion of the forest are formed those unions which among 
the civilized races are sanctioned by the church and by the 
laws of the country. 



Murder of Starkey — Death of Ten-ie-ya and Extinction of his Band — A 
few Surviving Murderers — An Attempt at Reformation — A Failure 
and loss of a Mule — Murders of Robert D. Sevil and Robert Smith — 
Alarm of the People— A False Alarm. 

During the winter of 1852-3, Jesse Starkey and Mr. 
Johnson, comrades of the Mariposa battalion and expert 
hunters, were engaged in supplying miners along the Mari- 
posa Creek with venison and bear meat. They were en- 
camped on the head waters of the Chow-chilla and fear- 
ing no danger, slept soundly in their encampment. They 
had met Indians from time to time, who seemed friendly 
enough, and even the few escaped Yosemites who recog- 
nized Starkey, showed no sign of dislike; and hence no 
proper precautions were taken against their treachery. 

A few days only had passed in the occupation of hunting, 
when a night attack was made upon the hunters. Starkey 
was instantly killed, but Johnson, though wounded, es- 
caped to Mariposa on one of their mules. 

James M. Roan, Deputy Sheriff under Captain Boling, 
took direction of the wounded man, and with a posse of 
but 15 miners, went out to the Chow-chilla, where they 
found the naked and mutilated remains of poor Starkey, 
which they buried uncoffined at the camp. 

After that sad duty was accomplished, the little party 
of brave men pursued the trail of the savages into the 
Snowy Mountains, where they were overtaken and given 
merited chastisement. Three Indians fell dead at the 
first fire, while others were wounded and died after- 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851, 291 

.No united effort was made to repel the whites, and 
panic-stricken, the renegade robbers fled into their hidden 
recesses. Cossom, an Indian implicated, confessed, long 
uftervvards,that their loss in the attack was at least a dozen 
killed and wounded, and that the robber murderers of 
iStarkey were renegade Yosemite and other Indians who 
had refused to live at the reservation. It was several 
months after Mr. Roan's encounter with those Indians 
before I learned the full particulars, and when any of the 
remnants of the band of Yosemites appealed to me for 
aid, I still gave them relief. 

During the summer of 1853, Mr. E. G. Barton and myself 
were engaged in trading and mining on the Merced. We 
had established a station on the north side of the river, sev- 
eral miles above the mouth of the "North Fork. We here 
had the patronage of the miners on the river and its branches 
above, as well as in our own vicinity, and from the North 
Fork. From some of the miners who visited our store from 
the vicinity of the South Fork, I learned that a short time 
before, a small party of the Yosemities had come to their 
diggings and asked for food and protection from their ene- 
mies, who, they said, had killed their chief and most of 
their people, and were pursuing themselves. The affrighted 
and wounded wretches reported to them that they had been 
attacked while in their houses by a large party of Monos 
from the other side of the mountains, and that all of their 
band had been killed except those who had asked protec- 

The miners had allowed the Indians to camp near by, but 
refused to give them any but a temporary supply of food. 

Knowing that I was familiar with the Yalley, and ac- 
quainted with the band, they asked mj advice as to what 
they ought to do with their neighbors. 


Feeling some sympathy for the people who had made 
their homes in the Yosemite, and thinking that I might 
aid and induce them to work as miners, I sent them word 
to come down to our store, as there were plenty of fish and 
acorns near by. A few came, when I told them that if in 
future they were good Indians^ the whites would protect 
them from their enemies, and buy the^r gold. They ex- 
pressed a willingness to work for food and clothing if they 
could find gold. 

I furnished them some tools to prospect, and they came 
back sanguine of success. A Tu-ol-um-ne Indian named 
*'Joe," and two or three families of Yosemities came 
down and camped on Bull Creek and commenced to gather 
acorns, while " Joe" as head miner, worked with the others 
in the gulches and on the ITorth Fork. This experiment 
of working and reforming robbers soon proved a failure, 
for upon the death of one of them who had been injured, 
they could not be induced to remain or work any longer, 
and " Joe,'' and his new followers stampeded for the Retch- 
Hetchy Yalley. 

From these Indians, and subsequently from others, I 
learned the following statements relative to the death of Old 
Ten-ie-ya. After the murder of the French miners from 
Coarse Gold Gulch, and his escape from Lieut. Moore, Ten- 
ie-ya, with the larger part of his band, fled to the east side 
of the Sierras. He and his people were kindly received by 
the Monos and secreted until Moore left that locality and 
returned to Fort Miller. 

Ten-ie-ya was recognized, by the Mono tribe, as one of 
their number, as he was born and lived among them until 
his ambition made him a leader and founder of the Pai-Ute 
colony in Ah-wah-ne. His history and warlike exploits 
formed a part of the traditionary lore of the Monos. They 
were proud of his successes and boasted of his descent from 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851, 293 

their tribe, although Ten-ie-ya himself claimed that 
his father was the chief of an independent people, whose an- 
cestors were of a different race. Ten-ie-ja had, by his cun- 
ning and sagacity in managing the deserters from other 
tribes, who had sought his protection, maintained a reputa- 
tion as a chief whose leadership was never disputed by his 
followers, and who was the envy of the leaders of other 
tribes. After his subjugation by the whites, he was de- 
serted by his followers, and his supremacy was no longer 
acknowledged by the neighboring tribes, who liad feared 
rdtlier than respected him or the people of his band. Ten- 
ie-ya and his refugee band were so hospitably received and 
entertained by the Monos that they seemed in no hurry to 
return to their valley. 

According to custom with these mountaineers, a portion 
of territory was given to them for their occupancy by con- 
sent of the tribe; for individual right to territory is not 
claimed, nor would it be tolerated. Ten-ie-ya staid with 
the Monos until late in the summer or early autumn of 
1853, when he and his people suddenly left the locality that 
had been assigned to them, and returned to their haunts in 
the Yosemite valley, with the intention of remaining there 
unless again driven out by the whites. Permanent wig- 
wams were constructed by the squaws, near the head of the 
valley, among the rocks, not readily discernable to visitors. 
Not long after Ten-ie-ya had re-established himself in his 
old home, a party of his young men left on a secret forag- 
ing expedition for the camp of the Monos, which was then 
established at or near Mono Lake. According to the state- 
ment made to me, there had just been a successful raid and 
capture of horses by the Monos and Pai-Utes from some of 
the Southern California ranchos, and Ten-ie-ya's men con- 
eluded, rather than risk a raid on the white men, to steal from 
the Mono's, trusting to their cunning to escape detection. 


Ten-ie-ya's party succeeded in recajpturing a few of the 
stolen horses, and after a circuitous and baffling route 
through the pass at the head of the San Joaquin, finally 
reached the valley with their spoils. 

After a few days' delay, and thinking themselves secure, 
they killed one or more of the liorses, and were in the en- 
joyment of a grand feast in honor of their return, when tlic 
Mono's pounced down upon them. Their gluttony seemed 
to have rendered them oblivious of all danger to themselves, 
and of the ingratitude by which the feast had been sup- 
plied. Like sloths, they appear to have been asleep aftci- 
having surfeited their appetites. They were surprised in 
their wig-wams by the wronged and vengeful Monos and 
before they could rally for the fight, the treacherous old 
chief was struck down by the hand of a powerful young 
Mono chief. Ten-ie-ya had been the principal object of at- 
tack at the commencement of the assault, but he had held 
the others at bay until discovered by the young chief, who 
having exhausted his supply of arrows, seized a fragment 
of rock and hurled it with such force as to crush the skull 
of " the old grizzly." As Ten-ie-ya fell, other stones were 
cast upon him by the attacking party, after the Pai-ute cus- 
tom, until he was literally stoned to death. All but eight 
of Ten-ie-ya's young braves were killed; these escaped 
down the valley, and through the canon below. 

The old men and women, who survived the first assault, 
were permitted to escape from the valley. The young 
women and children were made captives and taken across 
the mountains to be held as slaves or drudges to their cap- 
tors. I frequently entertained the visitors at our store on 
the Merced with descriptions of the valley. The curiosity 
of some of the miners was excited, and they proposed to 
make a visit as soon as it could be made with safety. 
I expressed the opinion that there would be but little dap- 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 295 

ger from Indians, as the Mono's and Pai-utes only came for 
acorns, and tliat the Yo-sem-i-ties were so nearly destroj'^ed, 
that at least, while they were mourning the loss of their 
chief, and their people, no fear need be entertained of them. 

Three of these miners, from the JSTorth Fork of the Merced, 
visited the valley soon after this interview. These men 
were from Michigan. Their glowing descriptions on their 
return, induced five others from the North Fork to visit it 
also. On their return trip they missed the trail that would 
have taken them over the ridge to their own camp and kept 
en down to the path which led to our establishment. While 
partaking of our hospitalities, they discussed the incidents 
of their excursion, and I was soon convinced that they had 
been to the Yosemite. They spoke of the lower and the high 
fall rather disparagingly, and expressed disappointment, 
when told of the existence of cascades and cataracts, that 
they had not known of or seen. I questioned them as to 
Indians, and learned that they had not seen any on the trip, 
but had seen deserted huts below the canon. 

I learned soon after, from some miners from the mouth of 
the " South Fork," that all of the Yosemites who had camped 
on the flats below the canon, had left suddenly for the 
Tuolumne. These two parties were the first white men that 
visited the Yosemite Yalley after the visit of Lieut. Moore, 
the year before (1852). The names of these miners have 
now passed from my memory, but I afterwards met one of 
these gentlemen at Mr. George W. Coulter's Hotel, in 
Coultersville, and another at Big Oak Flat, and both seemed 
well known to Lovely Kogers and other old residents. I 
was shown, by the first party, some good specimens of gold 
quartz that had been found on the north side of the Merced 
below the canon. Late in the fall of this year ^1853j, three 
of the remnant of Ten-ie-ya^s band came to our store. They 
did not offer to trade, and when questioned, told me that they 


had been camping on the Tuolumne, and had come down to 
the Merced to get some fish. I gave them some provisions, 
and they left, apparently satisfied if not thankful. A few- 
nights afterwards, one of our best mules disappeared. This 
mule was a favorite mountain animal, sure footed and easy 
gaited under the saddle. In following up its tracks, I dis- 
covered that it had been stolen by Indians, and my sus- 
picions were that my Yosemite friends were the culprits. 
I made every efibrt to recover the animal, but without suc- 

After the close of the mining season in the fall of 1853, 
we left our trading establishment and mining works in 
charge of two men in our employ, Eobt. D. Sevil, of 
Smyrna, Delaware, and Robt. Smith, a Dane. The estab- 
lishment was visited from time to time, by either Barton or 
myself during the winter of 1853-54, when upon one occa- 
sional visit, it was found by Mr. Barton to have been 
plundered. With Nat. Harbert, a brave Texan, I at once 
started for the establishment, only to find it a scene of des- 
olation. I was informed by some miners who had been out 
prospecting, that the body of Smith had been found on a 
slaty point in the river below, but that nothing could be 
discovered of Sevil, or the murderers. "We found the tracks 
of Indians and traced them to the mountains, but failed to 
find their hiding places. We lost their trail over the bare, 
slaty ground above the river. The tracks had indicated to 
us that Indians were the murderers, before we had learned 
from the miners the circumstances connected with the find- 
ing of Smith's body. It had been pierced by nine arrows, 
five of which were still found quivering in his flesh. Upon 
the discovery of the body by the miners, a burial party was 
led by Doctor Porter, from the North Fork, to the scene of 
the murders; and with the assistance of his associates, Mr. 
Long, and others, it was given proper burial. The body of 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 297 

Sevil was not found until long afterwards. Wlien discov- 
ered, it was undistinguishable, but from the location in the 
river, we had no doubt of its identity. I reported the 
murders and robbery to the authorities of Mariposa county. 
Captain Boling was sheriff; but having business that re- 
quired his urgent attention, deputized me to act for him in 
the matter. He expressed a decided belief that the mur- 
ders had been committed by the Yosemities. He recom- 
mended me to take a strong posse with me, and to be 
cautious and guarded against treachery; saying: "You 
know as well as I do, that all of the Yosemities are murder- 
ers and thieves." In reply, I informed him of the killing 
of Ten-ie-ya and nearly all of his band by the Monos; and 
told him that I had ridden alone through the country wher- 
ever business called me, and that whenever T had met any of 
the old band they seemed quite friendly. The Captain said he 
would not visit the valley without sufficient force to protect 
himself. Upon telling him of the encampment on the 
Tuolumne, Captain Boling said that was beyond his juris- 

Mr. Harbert and myself concluded to make a thorough 
exploration for the murderers, and with this object in view, 
rode to Marble Springs, and commenced our search 
along the Tuolumne divide, hoping to find some place where 
the tracks would be found once more concentrated. After 
a tiresome search, without success or encouragement, we 
went down to the camp of the miners, on the North Fork, 
to consult with them. We found old acquaintances among 
these gentlemen, and Dr. Porter and Mr. Long were esj^ec- 
ially hospitable. It was the opinion of these intelligent gen- 
tlemen, that the murderers had gone to the Upper Tuo- 
lumne river and were banded with the renegades of the 
Tuolumne tribe that had once been under Ten-ie-ya. They 
expressed the belief that not less than twenty men should 


undertake an expedition against them. As the principal 
articles stolen from our store were clothing and blankets, it 
was supposed the murderers would probably be found near 
some of the acorn caches in the mountain canons. 

Feeling it would be useless to attempt anything further 
without an authorized expedition, we left the ]N"orth Fork 
and our hospitable friends, and at once returned to Mariposa, 
where I reported to Sheriff Boling and Judge Bondurant 
the result of our trip. These officials decided that the ter- 
ritory which it would be necessary to explore, was not 
within their jurisdiction. That they had no authority to 
declare war against the Tuolumne Indians, but said that 
they would report the circumstances of the murders and 
robberies to the military authorities, to the Governor, and 
to the officials of Tuolumne county. Here the matter 
rested, and nothing more was ever done by public authority. 
I was afterwards advised to put in a claim on the two hun- 
dred and fifty thousand dollars voted by Congress for the 
Indians of California; but after some consideration of this 
advice, my conclusion was that the original claimants to 
this money would scarcely be willing to make any division 
of their legitimate spoils. 

Although no action had been taken by the authorities, 
the murders of Sevil and Smith soon became generally 
known, and the inhabitants of Mariposa became alarmed 
from the rumors in circulation, of another general out- 
break. I visited the Fresno Agency and found that the 
Indians there had heard of the raid on our establishment, 
and, on interrogating them, they expressed the opinion that 
the Yosemites were the ones who had murdered the men. 
Their theory of the attack was, that they had first killed the 
men for the sake of the clothing on their persons, and after- 
wards had robbed the store of the clothing and blankets, 
because they were cold in their mountain retreat, and yet 


dared not live among other people. Some of these, at the 
Fresno, said that if the whites would fit out an expedition, 
they would go and helpM^ the murderers; "for," said they, 
** those are bad Indians. They dare not visit the reserva- 
tion, for we know that they would steal from us and the 
white people, and then we would all be made to sniffer from 
their misconduct. We are now afraid to leave the reserva- 
tion to hunt, lest we be mistaken and killed for what they 
have done." 

I was convinced by my visit to the agency, that there was 
no grounds for fear of another outbreak among the Indians. 
I traveled about as I had usually done before. I was cau- 
tious in out-of-the-way places, but I cannot say that I hesi- 
tated at any time to prospect. When I heard people 
express an opinion that it would be dangerous to enter the 
Yosemite Yallcy without a strong escort, I refrained from 
expressing my convictions. I felt unwilling to publicly 
oppose the opinions of some of my late (;omrades, more 
especially after my recent experience with the Yosemites. 
During the summer of 1854 no visits were made to the 
valley, as far as I know, and if there had been, I was so 
situated as likely to have been acquainted with the fact. 
Many of my old companions in the battalion, never shared 
my admiration for the Yosemite. Their descriptions were 
so common-place as to lead the people of the village of Mar- 
iposa to suppose that, as a curiosity, the scenery would 
scarcely repay the risk and labor of a visit. The murders 
of Smith and Sevil deterred some who had designed to visit 
the valley that season. The nervous ones were still further 
alarmed by a general stampede of the miners on the South 
Fork of the Merced, which occurred in the summer of that 
year (1854). Tliis was caused by a visit to their neighbor- 
hood of some Pai-Utes and Monos, from the east side of the 
Sierras, who came to examine the prospects for the acorn- 


harvest, and probably take back with them some they had 

This visit of strange Indians to some of thie miners' 
camps, was not at first understood and a wild alarm was 
raised without a comprehension of the facts of the case. 
Captain Boling, as sheriff, summoned to his aid a number 
of the old members of his company. I was one of the 
number. We made a night ride to the place of alarm, and 
on arriving, found that we had been sold. "We felt cha- 
grined, although it was gratifying to learn that alarm had 
been made without a cause. An old '49er, that we found, 
apologized for the v^erdants. He said : " Probably, as long 
as men continue about as they now are, we must expect to 

find fools in all communities; but, if a premium for d 

fools should be offered by any responsible party, you will 
see a bigger stampede from these diggings than these In- 
dians have made." The whiskey was ordered for the old 
stager, and the apology considered as acceptable. We re- 
turned to Mariposa wiser, if not better men. 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 301 


Engineering a«nd History — Speculation and Discouraorement — A New 
Deal— Wall Street— A Primitive Bridge— First Woman in the Yosem- 
ite — Lady Visitors from Mariposa and Lady Teachers from San Fran- 
cisco — Measurements of Heights — First Houses, and their Occupants 
— A Gay Party and a Glorious Feast. 

Although no visits were made during the year 1854 to 
the Yosemite Yalley, it was at this time tliat the existence 
of such a locality began to be generally known outside of 
the limits of Mariposa county. Many of the inhabitants of 
that county, however, were still incredulous of its beinij any 
more remarkable than some other localities among the Sier- 
ras. As a matter of early history, I will give a few details 
of occurrences indirectly connected with the bringing of 
this valley to the attention of the public as a wonderful 
natural curiosity. 

During the year 1854 an effort was made by a party of 
engineers from Tuolumne county, to explore a route by 
which water could be brought from the South Fork of the 
Merced river into the "diy diggings." After a reconnois- 
sance, the route was pronounced too expensive to be profit- 
able, as the supply of water would be insufficient, unless 
the ditch should be extended to the main river, which was 
not considered practicable. 

Notwithstanding this adverse report, the Mariposa 
"Chronicle" continued to advocate the practicability of the 
proposed plan, and made some effort to induce capitalists to 
take an interest in the enterprise, claiming that like invest- 


ments had proved profitable in the northern mines. To test 
the feasibility of such a project, Colonel Caruthers and 
Angevine Key iiolds, tlien of Stockton, came up to explore and 
ruD aline of levels over the route. They brought with them, 
as engineer, Capt. Kiel, a practical surveyor, and a most ac- 
complished mathematician. Captain Boling, having referred 
these gentlemen to me as one most likely to aid in their 
undertaking, and practically familiar with that part of the 
country, I joined them in their enterprise. We started our 
survey at the *'Snow Creek" divide. Col. Caruthers was 
enthusiastic over the prospect of success, as we advanced, 
but after rounding the point at '^ Devil's Gulch," and while 
Mr. Reynolds and myself were establishing a flag station 
on the opposite side, the Colonel collapsed and Ordered a 
discontinuance of the survey. 

Not feeling satisfied with this decision, Mr. Reynolds 
and myself, mutually agreed to complete the survey. Rey- 
nolds was a man of energy and indomitable perseverance. 
He was the first to establish an express to the Southern 
mines, and afterwards was for fourteen years successively 
elected to responsible offices in Mariposa county. I handled 
the instrument, and Mr. Reynolds acted as rodman. We 
continued the line up, passed all real obstacles, and then 
Captain Kiel, who was quite an old gentleman, completed 
the survey and mapped oiit the route. During this survey, 
Mr. Reynolds and myself crossed the South Fork and ex- 
plored along the divide. We were within six or seven miles 
of the Yosemite, but did not go to it. This was the only 
year since its discovery^ that it was not visited hy white 
men. No Indians were seen by our party, during the time 
of this survey. 

The next season, 1855, the survey began by Caruthers, 
Reynolds and myself, was pushed with vigor, and although 
the subject matter of extending the ditch to the main 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851, 303 

stream was freely discussed and advocated by the Chronicle^ 
no action was taken. Up to this time, the Yosemite was 
scarcely thought of by the generality of gold hunters and 
denizens of Mariposa county ; that is, in connexion with its 
stupendous clitFs and wonderful scenery. The solemn 
grandeur of the locality, and the immensity of the rocks 
which formed the sides of its inclosing walls, as well as its 
lofty water-falls, were but barely noticed by Lt. Moore in his 
report, to which allusion has been made in a previous chapter. 
Lt. Moore made no measurements, nor attempted to give 
any specific descriptions. He onl}'' stated unadorned facts 
and practical impressions. These, however, had in 1854 
gone out into the world, and the wonders of the place were 
more generally known and appreciated by the literary and 
scientific, than by those in its more immediate vicinity. 
During the summer of 1855, Mr. J. M. Hutchings, editor 
and publisher of " Hutchings' California Magazine," con- 
ceived the idea of visiting the Calaveras " Big Trees " and 
the Yosemite Yalley. As a literary man he was aware that 
these objects of wonder and curiosity would provide many 
interesting articles for his periodical. He engaged the ser- 
vices of a well-known artist of San Francisco, Mr. Thomas 
Ayres, to provide sketches for his descriptive articles. He 
first visited "The Big Trees" of Calaveras; at Coulters- 
ville and Horse Shoe Bend, Mr. Alex. Stair and Wesley 
Millard joined his party. Mr. Hutchings' announcement 
at Mariposa that he was on his way to visit " their loonder- 
ful valley r was considered as an indifferent joke by some; 
others, who had heard of it in connection with the " Indian 
war," asked him if he was not afraid of the Indians; if it 
was worth the risk to go there. Mr. Hutchings failed to 
get much information from those of whom he made in- 
quiries at Mariposa. He finally interviewed Captain Bol- 
ing, who told him where he could procure a guide. 


In anticipation of meeting with iiumerons difficulties on 
the way, or for other reasons, he hired two guides and 
started for the valley. The difficulties of the journey 
vanished as he approached. The excitement of the trip 
made the party forgetful of the fatigue and roughness of 
the mountain journey. 

I met Stair and Millard, — who were especial friends of 
mine, — not long after their return from this trip. They 
were very enthusiastic on the subject of the Yosemite. The 
enthusiastic descriptions given by the Hutchings party, on 
its return, aroused the curiosity of the people, staggered the 
skeptics, and silenced the croakers. Not long afterwards, 
two parties visited it; one from Sherlocks and the other 
from Mariposa. With the party from Sherlocks, were the 
Mann brothers, who afterwards built a trail from Mariposa 
to the valley. They commenced it in the fall of that year, 
1855. Mr. Hutchings' publications and lithographic illus- 
tration of the Yosemite, or highest fall, served to advertise 
the attractions. From this period may be dated the com- 
mencement of the visits of tourists. His influence has 
aided materially in affording improved facilities of access to 
it, and in providing for the comfort of visitors. The inter- 
est growing out of Mr. Hutchings' visit to the Yosemite, 
together with the rumored prospect that Fremont & Co. 
were about to do something with the "Mariposa Estate," 
aroused the energy of local capitalists, and encouraged the 
advent of settlers and miners. Another company was or- 
ganized to bring water from the foot of the valley into the 
" dry diggings." The limited supply from the South Fork, 
it was thought, would be insufficient for the prospective de- 
mand. Sufficient inducements having been offered to war- 
rant the undertaking, Mr. George K. Peterson, an engineer 
by profession, and myself, joined in making the necessary 
survey. We leveled two lines down through the canon, be- 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851, 305 

low the Yosemite, on to the divide of the South Fork. To 
cross the South Fork without expending too much altitude, 
we found a long tunnel would be required, besides a suspen- 
sion of over 800 feet. 

This, for a time, discouraged a continuance of the survey. 
We returned to Mariposa and frankly reported the results 
of our work and explained the difficulties of the route to 
those who were most interested in the project. For certain 
reasons it was deemed advisable to complete the survey be- 
tween the branches of the river; when it was thought that 
some equitable arrangement could be made witli the South 
Fork Company for a union of interests in case of sale. 
The Yosemite Company proposed to convey water over or 
near the same route as the other, and also to supply Vater 
to the miners on the north side of the Merced. By this 
stroke of policy, it was supposed that a legal division of 
water could be obtained, that the 'New Yorkers (Fremont & 
Co.) would only be too glad to pay for. I did not feel san- 
guine in the success of this scheme, and so expressed myself 
My experience in the canon with Peterson taught me that 
an equivalent in cash, which was offered for my services 
(and which I accepted), was better than any speculative in- 
terest in Sjpain^ or even New York. The survey was ac- 
cordingly recommenced. Four of the company put up the 
body of a house in the valley. This was the first house 
ever erected there. It was of white cedar ^^ jpuncheons^'' 
plank split out of logs. The builders of it supposed that a 
claim in the valley would doubly secure the water privil- 
eges. We made this building our headquarters; covering 
the roof with our tents. We continued work on this sur- 
vey until late in November; and until the falling snow 
rendered the hillside work most difficult; we then returned 
to Mariposa. 

During this survey, while exploring the dividing ridges of 



the Merced river and the South Fork, our party ran on to 
an encampment of the wretched Yosemites ; mostly old 
men and women. They had gone out on the extreme south- 
western point of the divide on the slope of the South Fork. 

As Peterson planted liis instrument for an observation, 
the Indians cried out in alarm, thinking no doubt that he 
was aiming some infernal machine to destroy them. I ap- 
proached to see if I could recognize any of them as those 
who had visited our store, before the murders of our men. 
I also scrutinized their clothing ; but their ragged garments 
would not admit of even a surmise as to their quality or 

Although I failed to recognize our visitors among these 
miserable people; it was quite evident that I was known 
to them. I asked "who it was that had killed the men at 
our store?" They at first pretended not to understand me ; 
but seeing that they were not believed, one came forward, 
and in a mixture of Spanish and Indian informed me that 
it was the Tuolume Indians that were the criminals; while 
they themselves (if not the cleanest) were certainly the best 
Indians in the mountains. Upon being asked why they 
were camped in such a place^without water, they said 
they were at first afraid of our party and the glistening 
instrument that had been aimed at them; but, that when 
they saw we were measuring the ground, and marking the 
trees, they were no longer alarmed, but were afraid of the 
Monos, whom they said were still angry with them. I told 
them that it was because of their treachery and dishonesty 
that they had been made to suffer, and then left them in 
their wretchedness. 

Quite early in the next year (1856), the survey for the 
water supply was recommenced under instructions from 
Colonel Fremont, and, under direction of his chief engineer, 
Mr. J. E. Clayton, Mr. Peterson was placed in charge of the 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 307 

field-work. This work was executed with great care, as on 
its accuracy the estimates depended. Thej were to be made 
by a very eminent engineer of the Erie Canal, upon whose 
report, it was supposed, Wall street would be governed. 
Peterson engaged me as his assistant in this survey. Dur- 
ing this season the Mann Brothers finished their trail to tlie 
Yosemite, so that it was used by visitors. Hearing that 
they had felled some immense trees and bridged the South 
Fork, Mr. Peterson had hopes to reach the valley earlier in 
the season by crossing the river at that place. 

On reaching the South Fork, where we supposed the 
bridge to be, we found that a large tree had been felled 
across the stream with the design of forming the foundation 
of a bridge, but it had fallen so low, or so near the water on 
the opposite side, that a flood would be likely to sweep it 
away, and it had, therefore, been abandoned. This was a 
great disappointment to Mr. Peterson. As we could not 
ford the stream, we would have to go into camp or wait for 
the water to fall or go back, for the snow-clad ridges were 
impassable. While Peterson was considering the matter, 
I took an axe and sloped and notched the butt of the tree so 
that I was able to get my horse, an intelligent animal, to 
clamber up on the prostrate trunk; when, without difficulty, 
I led him safely across and landed him on the other 
side of the stream. We had two mules, whose natural tim- 
idity caused them to hesitate before attempting to climb the 
log, but their attachment for the horse, which they had seen 
safely cross, with some per'suasion effected with a stout cadgel 
counteracted their fears, and they too were safely led over. 

The tree was about six feet in diameter. Its cork-like 
bark afforded sure footing for the animals. Peterson — 
very much pleased — pronounced this the most primitive 
bridge ever crossed b}^ a pack-train, and declared that it 
should be recorded as an original engineering feat. 


While we were re-loading our animals the Mann Broth- 
ers came down to us, as thej said to learn how we had 
crossed the rushing torrent; and were surprised to hear that 
we had utilized the tree abandoned bj them. They in- 
formed us that the3^ were constructing a bridge further up 
the stream, which would be ready for crossing in a week or 
two. We found no further difficulty in reaching the val- 
ley. Not long after we had gone into camp, and com 
menced our survey again, visitors began to come into the 
valley. Several gentlemen from San Francisco visited our 
camp, one of whom I remember was the Rev, Doctor Spier, of 
the Chinese Mission, in San Francisco. Mr. Peterson had, 
upon my solicitation, " roded up " to the level of the Pohona 
Fall, and made as accurate an estimate of the probable 
height of El Capitan as could be done without the aid of 
his transit. Mr. Peterson was therefore able to enlighten 
some of the gentlemen from " the Bay," as to the approxi- 
mate height of El Capitan and other prominent" objects. 
Mr. Peterson afterwards made more accurate measurements 
of heights. 

I have no doubt that the four gentlemen referred to as liv- 
ing in the valley, noticed in the note on page 18, in " Whit- 
ney's Yosemite Guide Book," were of our party, who had 
notified the public of their claim and intention to make 
that their residence. The house erected, however, was 
never honored with a roof, and the material of which it was 
composed, soon disappeared, after we ceased to occupy it. 
The difficulties developed by our survey, disheartened the 
claimants. The claim rights, as well as the claim shanty 
were alike abandoned. 

The first white woman that ever visited the Yosemite 
was a Madame Gautier, the housekeeper at the Franklin 
House, Mariposa. A few days afterwards Mrs. Johnny 
Neil, of Mariposa, and Mrs. Thompson, of Sherlocks, came 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 809 

up. Their courage and endurance should certainly be made 
a matter of record. The next ladies to visit the place were 
of the party with Mr. Denman, of " Denman's High School," 
in San Francisco. After this it ceased to be a novelty to 
see ladies in the Yosemite. Mr. Denraan published an ac- 
count of his trip. His communication was a well written 
and instructive article. It was the Jl7'st description that 
gave the public any definite idea of the magnitude of the 
scenery, or any accuracy of measurements of the heights of 
the cliffs and water- falls. I was present when Mr. Peterson 
gave to Mr. Denman the results of his observations, and 
consequent estimate of heights. I was amused at Mr. 
Denman's expressions of surprise, and his anxious but 
polite inquiries of Mr. Peterson if he was sure his angles 
had been correctly marked. Peterson colored slightly at 
the doubt implied of his professional skill, but with unusual 
politeness and apparent cheerfulness offered to make a re- 
survey of El Capitan or any other prominent cliff that 
Mr. Denman would select for measurement. 

The offer was quickly accepted, and a new determination 
of several points of interest were made. 

From the notes taken, each of the gentlemen computed 
ihe heights. 

Mr. Peterson soon figured up the result of his work, and 
^)atiently awaited the result of Mr. Denman's, before he an- 
.\ounced his own. 

After figuring for sometime, Mr. Denman expressed a 
oelief thathe had made a grand mistake somewhere in his 
calculations, for he had made tlie result more than the pre- 
vious estimates and above all seeming probabilities. They 
then compared figures and found but little difference in 
their heights. Mr. Denman again worked up the notes,and 
was convinced of their correctness and reported his con- 
clusions in his descriptions. The first house erected in the 


valley for the accommodation of visitors was commenced 
in 1856, by Mr. Walworth and Mr. Hite. It was made of 
"boards" rived out of pine logs. The site was that of 
our old camp-ground of 1851, or a little above it, and nearly 
opposite the Yosemite Fall. 

The next season a blue canvas-covered building was put 
up just above. In 1858, Mr. Beardsley joined with Mr. 
Hite, and erected a wooden house. This was afterwards 
kept by Mr. Peck, Mr. Longhurst, and after 1864, by Mr. 
Hutchings. Other accommodations for the public were 
also opened, a popular one of which was a house kept 
by G. F. Leidig, known to tourists as Leidig's Hotel." The 
first permanent resident, was J. C. Lamon, who made a 
claim in the upper part of the valley in 1860, and who 
occupied it both summer and winter for many years. The 
other residents in the valley only remaining during the 
season of tourists visits. Before hotel accommodations 
were provided for the public, visitors to the valley carried 
with them camp equipage and supplies according to the 
necessities and inclinations of the parties interested. 

In order to dispense with a retinue of camp followers, and 
the expense of numerous employees, the duties of camp life 
were ordinarily divided among the party, without regard to 
wealth, rank, or station in life. It was usually made a point 
of honor, to at least try to share in the necessary laborious 
requirements of their associates; although the various 
duties were not always assigned to the capacity of the 
individual, or to his adaptation to the position. Tlie blunders 
were as often sources of amusement, as serious inconven- 
iences. As illustration, I will narrate an incident with a 
party of excursionists in those early days. 

By invitation, I met and accompanied a party from San 
Francisco on a visit to the Yosemite. The gentlemen com- 
posing the party, were Mv. Thomas Ayers, Mr, Forbes, of 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 311 

the firm of Forbes & Babcock agents of Pacific Mail 
S. S. Co.; Mr. Holladay, of same company; Mr. Easton, 
of San Francisco, and Col. Riplj, of the Commodore 
Perry expedition, who, I believe, afterwards became Gen- 
eral Riply, Chief of Ordinance, U. S. A. Mr. Ayers was 
the artist who accompanied Mr. Hntchings on his first visit 
to the valley. He was the first to sketch any of the 
scenery of the Yosemite. He was afterwards employed 
in sketching by the Harpers, of New York. While so 
employed, he was lost off the Farrilones Islands by the cap- 
sizing of the schooner "Laura Beven." Mr. Ayers was a 
gentleman in feeling and manners. His ingenuity and 
adaptability to circumstances, with his uniform kindness 
and good nature, made him the very soul of the party. 

This party spent several days in the valley. On the last 
day, it was proposed to have a grand dinner. To make the 
event a memorable one, it was decided that each one should 
have a representative dish of his owm individual prepara- 
tion. We had a plentiful supply of canned meats, fruits, 
etc., but it was proposed that our bill of fare should consist 
of game and fish. Trout, grouse and quail, were then 
tolerably abundant. To guard against a possibility of failure 
to supply a full variety, Colonel Riply volunteered to pro- 
vide a dish of beans of his own cooking, which he thought 
he was prepared to furnish. The cooking of beans was 
theoretically familiar to him, the Colonel said, from having 
frequently observed the process among his soldiers. He 
admitted that, practically, he had never tested the thiory, 
but he felt confident that hew^ould not disgrace his position 
as a soldier in the cooking of such a prominent army dish. 
From my knowledge of their haunts, it was assigned to me 
to provide the game, while Messrs. Easton, Ayers and Hol- 
laday, engaged to supply the spread with trout. Mr. Forbes 
engaged to perform the duty of supplying wood and water, 


— a verj important office, he claimed, the very foundation 
of all our endeavors. I left tlie Colonel busy on his part of 
the programme, and soon acquired a liberal supply of grouse 
and quail. 

As I came into camp from my hunt, my nostrils were 
saluted with the smell of burnt beans. Mr. Forbes had sup- 
plied the fire most liberally, and was resting from his la- 
bors to the windward. I removed the kettle and inquired 
for the Colonel. Mr. Forbes replied that " Col. Riply went 
down where the fishermen are engaged, and has been gone 
an hour or more; no doubt he has forgotten his beans." I 
hastened to repair damages as far as I was able by removing 
those not scorched from off the burnt ones. After scour- 
ing the kettle with sand, I succeeded in getting them over 
a slow fire before Col. Riply returned. He soon came 
hurriedly into camp, and after taking a look at his cookery, 
pronounced them all right, but said he had almost forgotten 
that he was on duty as cook. 

Observing that he was about to charge the kettle with an 
undue proportion of salt pork, I again saved the beans, 
this time from petrifaction, by remarking that their delicacy 
would be enhanced by parboiling the pork. 

"With my guardianship, the Colonel's dish was brought 
on to the board in a very good condition for eating, and all 
united in bestowing upon him unstinted praise for provid- 
ing so palatable an addition to our feast. Col. Riply re- 
gretted that he had not provided more^ but explained by 
saying that he had supposed they would swell more while 

The secret of the hurnt heans, was known to all the oth- 
ers, but was kept inviolate from the Colonel. He was un- 
conscious of the joke, and bestowed more attention on this 
standard IsTew England dish than he did upon the delicious 
trout and game. Our dinner was finished in bumpers to 
Colonel Riply as chef de cuisine. 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1861. 313 

During the survey of tlie year, in addition to measure- 
ments, we gave some attention to the geological features 
of the country we were passing over. We found that the 
canon below the Yosemite is about six miles long, and so 
tilled with vast granite bowlders and talus, that it is im- 
possible for any but the agile and sure-footed to pass safely 
through. The river has to be crossed and recrossed so many 
times, by jumping from bowlder to bowlder, where the water 
goes whirling and dashing between — that if the rocks be 
moss-grown or slimy, as they may be outside of continuous 
current — one's life is endangered. During our survey through 
this canon, in the month of November, 1855, we failed to get 
through in one day on our preliminary survey, and were 
compelled to camp without food or blankets, only sheltered 
from a storm — half snow, half rain — by an overhanging 
rock. The pelting mountain storm put out our fires, as it 
swept down the canon, and baffled all our attempts to kindle 
a new flame. 

The fall through the cafion is so great, that none but the 
largest bowlders remain in the current. Some of these im- 
mense rocks are so piled, one upon another, as to make falls 
of nearly one hundred feet. The fall for the entire distance 
is about fifteen hundred feet. Notwithstanding the fall is 
so great in so sliort a distance, advantage may be taken of 
the configuration of the walls on either side to construct a 
railroad up through the canon into the valley, upon a grade 
and trestle, that may be made practicable. This will, of 
course, cost money, but it will probably be done. By tun- 
neling the divide and spanning the South Fork with a 
bridge, a narrow-gauge road could very readily be built 
that would avoid the necessity of going entirely through 
the canon. This could be accomplished most economically 
by trestling over the talus — at a favorable point — high 
enough to obtain and preserve a suitable grade, until the 


sloping mountains below can be reached, when the line can 
be run without difficulty to the most favorable point of 
crossing the divide and the South Fork. 

The obstructions from snow, encountered in a winter trip 
to the vallej, would bj this route, be entirely avoided. Be- 
side, the distance would be somewhat lessened. By rail and 
stage it is now about 225 miles from San Francisco. 

After emerging from the canon, with its precipitous 
granite cliffs and water falls, the entire character of the river's 
bed and banks are changed. The cliffs have now all disap- 
peared with the granite, and although the steep high moun- 
tain divides encroach hard upon the river; high bars or low 
flats continue on down to the mouth of the South Fork on 
one side or the other, and then the flats rise higher to the 

The fall of the Merced river from the foot of the canon to 
the valley of the San Joaquin, averages about thirty-five 
feet to the mile as estimated by Mr. Peterson. 

The outcroppings from the rocky divides below the canon, 
are porphyritic, metamorphic, and trappean rocks, silicious 
limestone, gneiss, green stone, quartz and several varieties 
of slate. At a point on the left bank of the Merced, near 
the plain, there is an outcropping of very good limestone, 
and it is also found, at one point in the Yosemite. 

The quartz lodes drained by the Merced river, especially 
those of Marble Springs, Gentry's gulch and Maxwells creek, 
bore a good reputation in early days; and as the drainage 
may be made complete, no difficulty in working them need 
be encountered. In some cases, the more prominent lodes, 
maintain their general direction and thickness (seldom rich- 
ness) on both sides of the Merced; as, for instance, the 
celebrated Carson vein. This vein outcrops at the Pena 
Blanca, near Coulters ville, and again south of the Merced 
river, on a spur running down from Mount Bullion. Here 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 315 

the vein is known as tlie Johnson Lode, and is divided into 
the Pine Tree and Josephine sections. These were made 
famous as the subject of a legal dispute, and were occupied 
bv opposing and armed forces in the interest of "The 
Merced Mining Company," on the one side, and Col. Fre- 
mont and liis associates on the other. 

This lode was discovered in the winter of 1850-'51, by a 
progressive Virginia liberal, named B. F. Johnson, famil- 
iarly known as " Quartz Johnson." 

His discoveries led to the investment of millions of cap- 
ital in mining enterprises, and if the share-holders of Mar- 
iposa Stock have not yet realized upon their investments, it 
cannot be for want of material ; but, I must return to my 
subject. After having completed the survey of this year, 
1856, and having interests at Marble Springs, I joined with 
George W, Coulter, of Coultersville, and other citizens in 
constructing what became known as '''The Coultersville Free 
TraiV^ We thought the scheme advisable, but the ^'•general 
^'w5Zt<? " thought the trail a little too progressive for the 
wants of Coultersville, and the burden of construction was 
left to be borne by a few. I never realized any return from 
this investment. This trail was well located, and consider- 
ing the amount expended, a comparatively easy one, for the 
trip to and from the valley was made with comfortable ease. 

The trail completed this year by the Mann brothers re- 
quired greater labor, and was not as good a route, but the 
views of the Yosemite from their trail, were the best. The 
Mann brothers did not find theirs a paying investment. They 
never realized their expenditures, and eventually sold the 
trail at a loss. 

In locating the Coultersville trail, little or no aid was 
afforded me by the Indian trails that existed at that time; 
for horses had not seemingly been taken into the valley on 
the north side, and the foot trails used by the Indians left 


no traces in the loose granite soil of the higher ridges, but 
what were soon obliterated by the wash from the melting 
snow. "Where trails were found, they had been purposely 
run overground impassable to horses, and they were, conse- 
quently, unavailable for our use. Through liberal aid from 
the " Empire State Mining Company," located at their quartz 
lode near the Marble Springs, Mr. Barton and myself had 
built a wagon road from Coultersville to Bull Creek. This 
road afforded a good commencement for the Yosemite trail. 

The first encampment reached after leaving Bull creek, 
was " Deer Flat," so named by us from having startled a 
small drove, as we went into camp here. One of the deer 
was shot, and afforded an addition to our camp supplies. 

The next camp named was " Hazel Green," from the num- 
ber of hazel bushes growing near a beautiful little meadow. 

Our next move was to " Crane Flat." This name was 
suggested by the shrill and startling cry of some sand-hill 
cranes we surprised as they were resting on this elevated 
table. Going from this camp, we came to what I finally 
called " Tamarack Flat," although the appealing looks of 
the grizzlies we met on their way through this pass to the 
Tuolumne, caused me to hesitate before deciding upon the 
final baptism; the Grizzlies did not stay to urge any claim, 
and being affectionately drawn to the trees, we named the 
camp " Tamarack Flat." From this flat I blazed out two 
trails, the lower one for early, the upper for later use; as 
from this point the snow remains upon the upper trail until 
quite late; and although much nearer, the snow renders it 
difficult to travel in the early part of the season. From 
" Tamarack Flat" to the edge of the valley is but little 
more than three miles. The whole distance from Coulters- 
ville being 41^ miles as stated by Prof. "Whitney. 

With but little fatigue to one accustomed to the saddle, 
the trip down to Coultersville or to Mariposa was made in 
a day. 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 317 

The wagon roads now opened, are calculated to avoid the 
deep snow that delays the use of higher trails, or roads, 
until later in the season; but one traveling by these routes, 
loses some of the grandest views to be had of the High 
Sierras and western ranges of hills and mountains; on tiie 
old Coultersville Trail, or by way of the old Mariposa 
Trail. In winter or early spring, in order to avoid the snow, 
visitors are compelled to take the route of the lowest alti- 
tude. The route by Hite's cove is called but thirty-two 
miles from Mariposa to the valley; while that by Clark's, on 
the South Fork, has been usually rated at about forty-two 
miles. Where the time can be spared, I would suggest that 
what is called "the round trip" be made; that is, go by 
one route and return by another; and a " Grand Bound " 
trip will include a visit to the " High Sierra:" going by one 
divide and returning by anotlier. 

As to guides and accommodating hosts, there will 
always be found a sufficient number to meet the increasing 
wants of the public, and the enterprise of these gentlemen 
will suggest a ready means of becoming acquainted with 
their visitors. Soon, no doubt, a railroad will be laid into 
the valley, and when the " iron horse " shall have ridden 
over all present obstacles, a new starting point for summer 
tourists will be built up in the Yosemite; that the robust 
lovers of nature may view the divine creations that will 
have been lost to view in a Pullman. The exercise incident 
to a summer lounge in the "High Sierras," will restore 
one's vigor, and present new views to the eyes of the curi- 
ous; while those with less time or strength at their disposal, 
will content themselves with the beauties and pleasures of 
the valley. 

The passes and peaks named in Prof. Whitney's guide- 
book are only the more prominent ones; for turn the eyes 
along the course of the Sierra Nevada in a northerly or 


eoutherly direction at the head of Tuolumhe, Merced, San 
Joaquin, King's, Kah-we-ah or Kern rivers, and almost 
countless peaks will be seen, little inferior in altitude to 
those noted in his table. 

The highest of these peaks, Mount Whitney, is, accord- 
ing to Prof. Whitney, at least 200 feet higher than any 
measured in the E-ocky Mountains by the topographers of 
the Hayden survey. A writer in the Virginia (Nevada) ^n- 
ierprise says: "Whitney stands a lordly creation amid a 
rugged and grand company of companion peaks, for his 
nearest neighbor. Mount Tyndall, rises 14,386 feet, and 
Mount Kah-we-ah, but a few miles olF, is 14,000 feet." 
Whitney affords " the widest horizon in America; a dome 
of blue, immeasurable, vast sweeps of desert lowlands, 
range on range of mighty mountains, grand and eloquent; 
grace, strength, expansion, depth, breadth, height, all 
blended in one grand and awful picture. And as the eye 
takes in these features, a sense of soaring fills the mind, 
and one seems a part of the very heavens whose lofty places 
he pierces. The breadth and compass of the world grows 
upon the mind as the mighty distances flow in upon the 
view like waves of the sea. * * * * The best that 
can be said or written but suggests; the eye alone can 
lead the mind up to a true conception of so mighty and 
marvelous a group of wonders." 

It is true that one standing upon the dividing ridges of 
the Ttio Grande, Arkansas, Colorado or Platte, is charmed 
by the views presented of far reaching plains and noble 
mountains, but it is doubtful if any one view can be found 
in North America so grand and thrillingly sublime as may 
he seen in the Sierra Nevadas. The scenery of the Yellow 
Stone and of the Colorado canyon have characteristic won- 
ders that are sui generis; but those localities are not desir- 
able for continuous occupation. 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 319 


Golden Theories and Glaciers. 

The many inquiries that the author has received con- 
cerning liis views upon the gold deposits of California, 
has induced him to add this chapter to his work. 

It has been said by an earnest and astute observer, that 
"The cooled earth permits us no longer to comprehend 
the phenomena of the primitive creation, because the fire 
which pervaded it is extinguished," and again that " There 
is no great foundation (of truth), which does not repose 
upon a legend." There has been a tradition among the 
California Indians, that the Golden Gate was opened by 
an earthquake, and that the waters that once covered the 
great plain of the Sacramento and San Joaquin basins 
were thus emptied into the ocean. This legendary geology 
of the Indians is about as good and instructive as some 
that has been taught by professors of the science, and as 
scarcely any two professors of geology agree in their the- 
ories of the origin and distribution of the gold in Cali- 
fornia, I have thought it probable that a few unscientifie 
views upon the subject will interest my readers. 

The origin of the gold found in California seems to me 
to have been clearly volcanic. The varying conditions 
under which it is found may be accounted for by the vary- 
ing heat and force of the upheaval, the different qualities 
01 the matrix or quartz that carried the gold and tilled the 


fissures of the veins or lodes, the influence that resistance 
of the inclosing walls may have exerted when it was sliijht 
or very great, and finally the disintegrating influences of 
air, water, frost and attrition of the glaciers, and the depo- 
sition in water. 

The theories of aqueous deposit (in the lodes) and of elec- 
trical action, do not satisfy my understanding, and I go 
back in thought to the ten years of observation and practi- 
cal experience in tlie gold mines, and to the problems that 
were then but partially solved. Looking at California as it 
is to-day, it will be conceded that its territory has been 
subjected to distinct geological periods, and those periods 
greatly varying in']tlieir force in difterent parts of the'State. 
Within the principal gold-bearing region of California, and 
especially along the Hue of or near the Carson vein or lode? 
coarse gold has been found, and in such large masses, free 
of quartz, as to force the conviction upon the mind that 
the gold so found had been thrown out through and heyond 
its matrix into a bed of volcanic ashes, very nearly assuming 
the appearance that lead might assume when melted and 
thrown in bulk upon an ash heap. Where the resistance 
was great, as when thrown through wall rocks of gneiss, or 
green stone, the liquefaction of the quartz seems to have 
been more complete, and the specific gravity of the gold 
being so much greater than that of the quartz, its momen- 
tum, when in large quantities, carried it out beyond its ma- 
trix, leaving the more diflfused particles to be held suspend- 
ed in the fast cooling quartz, or to settle into *'pockets," or 
small fissures. 

Prof. Le Conte says: "The invariable association of 
metaliferous veins with metamorphism demonstrates the 
agency of heat." Experiments of Daubre and others prove 
that water at 750° Fahr. reduces to a pasty condition nearly 
all rocks. Deposits of silica in a gelatinous form, that 


hardens on cooling, may be seen at some of the geysers of 
the Yellowstone; the heat; no doubt, being at a great depth. 
Quartz, like glass and lava, cools rapidly externally when 
exposed to air, or a cool surface, and would very readily 
hold suspended any substance volatilized^ or crudely mixed 
into its substance. Its difficult secondary fusion is no ob- 
stacle to a belief in the capacity of heat under great press- 
ure, to account for the phenomena that may be observed 
in the gold mines. Ashes derived from lavas have been 
found rich in crystalline substances. Crystals and micro- 
liths, and pyrites in cubes are, no doubt, of volcanic origin. 
The eruptions of moderate character seem to be the result 
of igneous fusion, while those of an explosive type are prob- 
ably aquae-igneous. 

It is altogether probable from experiments tried by Stan- 
islas Muenier and others, that the sudden removal of press- 
ure is a sufficient cause of superheated water and mineral 
substances flashing into steam and lava. The geysers are 
evidently formed by varying temperature and interruption 
of flow by removal of pressure. Mr. Fanques, in an article 
in the Popular Science Monthly for August, 1880, says: 
" Discovery of microliths enclosed in volcanic rocks is a 
proof of immediate formation of crystals." 

The phenomena attending the recent eruptions in Java 
demonstrate the incredible force and chemical effects of su- 
perheated steam. Modern researches and experiments in 
mechanical and chemical forces have greatly modified the 
views once entertained by geologists, and I think that it 
will now be conceded that repeated volcanic disturbances, 
taken in connection with the action of glaciers, will account 
for most, if not all, the phenomena discoverable in the 
gold fields and mountains of California. As a rule, gold- 
bearing veins in clay or talcose slates have the gold more 
evenly diffused than those found in the harder rocks, where 


pockets of crystals, pyrites and gold will most likely be 
found. If gold is found in seams or masses it will be very 
free from impurities, and the quartz itself will be most 
likely white and vitreous. When gold is found in or near 
to a lode that has been decomposed, it will be found porous 
and ragged, but if it has been deposited some distance from 
its source it will be more or less rounded and swedged by 
contact with the stones and gravel that were carried with 
it by the stream of water or ice that conveyed it to its 
placer. In the beds of the ancient and more modern rivers 
the gold is much more worn than that found in the ravines 
or gulches, and the coarser gold will be found at the bot- 
tom, the scale gold in the gravel above, and the fine or 
flour gold in the mixture of clay, gravel and sand nearer 
the surface. The scale gold, no doubt, has been beaten by 
repeated blows of stones brought in contact with it while 
moving in the bed of the stream, and the flour gold is that 
reduced by the continual attrition of the moving mass 
upon the gold. 

Prof Le Conte says: " There are in many parts of Cali- 
fornia two systems of river beds — an old and a new. * * 
The old, or dead, river system runs across the present drain- 
age sj^stem in a direction far more southerly; this is es- 
pecially true of northern members of the system. Farther 
south the two systems are more nearly parallel, showing 
less movement in that region. These old river beds are 
filled with drift gravel, and often covered with lava.'' The 
lava referred to is* relatively of modern origin, and the 
molten streams have in many instances covered the ancient 
streams, and in others cut them in twain. The " Blue Lead " 
is a very old river bed that has been the principal source of 
supply of the placer gold of the northern mines, and it 
must have existed as a river long anterior to the more 
m t.lern upheavals that disturbed its course by forming 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 323 

mountain torrents to rend its barriers and cut across its 
channel. That channel crosses some of the present tribu- 
taries of the Sacramento and San Joaquin and contains 
fossil remains of trees, plants and fruits not now indigenous 
to California. 

The well rounded boulders and pebbles found in the beds 
of these ancient rivers render it probable that they were 
of considerable length, and that they may have been the 
channels of very ancient glaciers. It is also probable that 
the region covered by glaciers at different epoclis is much 
more extensive than has been generally supposed. To me 
it appears probable, that during some of the eras of forma- 
tion, thej^ may have stretched across the entire continent. 
I have not space to give in detail the evidences of glacial 
action, but will simply state that remains of glaciers may 
be seen by an observing eye at intervals from the Atlantic 
to the Pacific; in Minnesota and in the Rocky Mountains, 
they are especially abundant. Prof. Le Con te says: "The 
region now occupied by the Sierra range was a marginal 
sea bottom, receiving abundant sediments from a continent 
to the east. At the end of the Jurassic, this line of enor- 
mously thick off-shore deposits yielded to horizontal thrust, 
was crushed together and swollen up into the Sierra range. 
All the ridges, peaks and canyons, all that constitutes the 
grand scenery of these mountains are the result of an al- 
most inconceivable subsequent erosion." 

1 have no doubt of the truth of this theory of formation 
as it relates to the Sierra Nevada ranges as they exist to- 
day, for the intrusion of the granite into the slate forma- 
tions suggests a force far greater than can be ascribed to vol- 
canic action alone. The previous condition of the ^'conti- 
nental mass" can not be so well imairined; yet reasoning 
from what we know of the present condition of the Sierras we 
may with propriety assume that great changes had occurred 


in the territory embracing the Sierras TS'evada long prior 
to their upheaval. The changes that have occurred since 
are too abundant and enduring to require more than a ref- 
erence to the localities. The "glacier pavements" of the 
Sierras are so conspicuous that, as Mr. John Muir says: 
"Even dogs and horses gaze wonderingly at the strange 
brightness of the ground, and smell it, and place their feet 
cautiously upon it, as if afraid of falling or sinking." These 
glacier-smoothed rocks '*are simply flat or gently undu- 
lating areas of solid granite which present the unchanged 
surface upon which the ancient glaciers flowed, and are 
found in the most perfect condition in the sub-alpine 
region, at an elevation of from 8,000 to 9,000 feet. Some 
are miles in extent, only interrupted by spots that have 
given way to the weather, while the best preserved portions 
are bright and stainless as the sky, reflecting the sunbeams 
like glass, and shining as if polished every day, notwith- 
standing they have been exposed to corroding rains, dew, 
frost and snow for thousands of years." 

This statement of Mr. Muir will especially apply to the 
"glistening rocks" at the sources of the Merced and Tuo- 
lumne rivers, in view on this trail through the Mono Pass. 
The evidences of past glacial action in polishing the domes, 
mountains and valleys above the Yosemite valley, are too 
undeniable for controversy, but how much of the Yosemite 
itself may have been produced by glacial action will proba- 
bly always remain a theme for discussion among geolo- 

Prof. Samuel Kneeland, the well known author of " Won- 
ders of the Yosemite," in a letter to me upon the subject, 
says: "I think there can be no doubt that the valley was 
filled, and 1,000 feet above, by ice — that while the mass 
above, moved, that in the valley, conforming to its configur- 
ation, was comparatively stationary, lasting much longer 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 325 

than the first, gradually melting to a lake, now represented 
by the Merced river. 

" I agree with Prof. Whitney that the valley was the re- 
sult of a subsidence, long anterior to the glacial epoch, and 
that the valley itself, except upon its edges and upper sides, 
has not been materially modified by the glacier movement." 
Prof. J. D. Whitney, in his geological report says: "The 
Yosemite valley is a unique and wonderful locality; it is 
an exceptional creation; * * * cliffs absolutely vertical, 
like the upper portions of the Half Dome and El Capitan, 
and of such immense height as these, are, so far as we 
know, to be seen nowhere else. * * How has this unique 
valley been formed, and what are the geological causes 
which have produced its wonderful cliffs, and all the other 
features which combine to make this locality so remark- 
able? These questions we will endeavor to answer, as well 
as our ability to pry into what went on in the deep-seated 
regions of the earth in former geological ages will permit." 
Mr. Whitney explicitly states his belief that most of the 
great canyons and valleys have resulted from aqueous de- 
nudation and erosion and cites the cutting through the 
lava of Table Mountain at Abbey's Ferry on the Stanislaus 
river as proof, and, continuing, to the exception, says: "It 
is sufficient to look for a moment at the vertical faces of El 
Capitan and the Bridal Yeil Rock turned down the valley, 
or away from the direction in which the eroding forces 
must have acted, to be able to say that aqueous erosion 
could not have been the agent employed to do any such 
work. * * Much less can it be supposed that the pecul- 
iar form of the Yosemite is due to the erosive action of 
ice. * * Besides, there is no reason to suppose, or at 
least no proof, that glaciers have ever occupied the valley, 
or any portion of it. * ^ So that this theory, based 
on entire ignorance of the whole subject, may be dropped 
without wasting any more time upon it. 


" The theory of erosion not being admissible to account 
for the formation of the Yosemite valley, we have to fall 
back on some one of those movements of the earth's crust 
to which the primal forms of mountain valleys are due. 
The forces which have acted to produce valleys are complex 
in their nature, and it is not easy to classify the forms, which 
have resulted from them, in a satisfactory manner." After 
describing the generally received theories of mountain and 
valley formations, Mr. Whitney says; '* We conceive that, 
during the process of upheaval of the Sierra, or possibly at 
some time after that had taken place, there was at the Yo- 
semite a subsidence of a limited area, marked by lines of 
' fault ' or fissure crossing each other somewhat nearly at 
right angles. In other and more simple language, the bot- 
tom of the valley sank down to an unknown depth, owing 
to its support being withdrawn from underneath, during 
some of those convulsive movements which must have at- 
tended the upheaval of so extensive and elevated a chain, no 
matter how slow we may imagine the process to have been. 
Subsidence over extensive areas of portions of the earth's 
crust is not at all a new idea in geology, and there is 
nothing in this peculiar application of it which need excite 
surprise. It is the great amount of vertical displacement 
for the small area implicated which makes this a peculiar 
case; but it would not be easy to give any good reason why 
such an exceptionable result should not be brought about 
amid the complicated play of forces which the elevation of 
a great mountain chain must set in motion. By the adop- 
tion of the subsidence theory for the formation of the Yo- 
semite, we are able to get over one difficulty which appears 
insurmountable to any other. This is the very small 
amount of debris at the base of the cliffs, and, even at a few 
points, its entire absence." In the space allotted to this 
chapter, I am able only to oiiote a i^^N passages from Prof. 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 327 

Whitney, but refer the curious to his recent work, " Cli- 
matic Chancres of Later Geological Times." 

In contrast to the conclusions arrived at by Prof. Whit- 
ney, I extract from Prof. Le Conte's Elements of Geology, 
pages 526 and 52T, the following: " 1st. During the epoch 
spoken of (the glacial) a great glacier, receiving its tribu- 
taries from Mount Hoffman, Cathedral Peaks, Mount Lyell 
and Mount Clark groups, filled Yosemite valley, and 
passed down Merced canyon. Tlie evidences are clear 
everywhere, but especially in the upper valleys, where the 
ice action lingered longest. 2nd. At tlie same time tribu- 
taries from Mount Dana, Mono Pass, and Mount Lyell 
met at the Tuolumne meadows to form an immense glacier 
which, overflowing its bounds a little below Soda springs, 
sent a branch down the Ten-ie-ya canyon to join the 
Yosemite glacier, while the main current flowed down the 
Tuolumne canyon and through the Hetch-Hetchy valley. 
Knobs of granite 500 to 800 feet high, standing in its path- 
way, were enveloped and swept over, and are now left 
round and polished and scored in the most perfect manner. 
This glacier was at least 40 miles long and 1,000 feet 
thick, for its stranded lateral-moraines may be traced so 
high along the slopes of the bounding mountains." In an 
article by John Muir, published in the New York Tribune, 
and kindly furnished me by Prof. Kneeland, will be seen 
views difi'ering from those of Prof. Whitney, but Mr. Muir 
has spent long years of stud}' upon the glacial summits of 
the Sierras, and if an enthusiast, is certainly a close student 
of nature. The paper was written to his friend Prof. 
Kunkle, of Boston, who had views similar to his own. 
Mr. Muir says: "I have been over my glacial territor}^, 
and am surprised to find it so small and fragmentary. The 
work of ancient ice which you and I explored, and which 
we were going to christen ' Glacial System of the Merced ' 


is only a few tiny topmost branches of one tree, in a vast 
glacial forest. 

" All of the magnificent mountain truths that we read 
together last Autumn are only beginning sentences in the 
grand Sierra Nevada volume. The Merced ice basin was 
bounded by the summits of the main range and by the 
spurs which once reached to the summits, viz.: the Hoff- 
man and Obelisk ranges. In this basin not one island ex- 
isted; all of its highest peaks were washed and overflowed 
by the ice — Starr King, South Dome and all. Vast ice 
currents broke over into the Merced basin, and most of the 
Tuolumne ice had to cross the great Tuolumne canyon. 

" It is only the vastness of the glacial pathways of this 
region that prevents their being seen and comprehended at 
once. A scholar might be puzzled with the English alpha- 
bet if it was written large enough, and, if each letter was 
made up of many smaller ones. The beds of those vast ice 
rivers are veiled with forests and a network of tiny water 
channels. You will see by the above sketch that Yosemite 
was completely overwhelmed with glaciers, and they did 
not come squeezing, groping down to the main valley by 
the narrow, angular, tortuous canyons of the Ten-ie-ya, 
Nevada or South canyons, but they flowed grandly and 
directly above all of its highest domes, like a steady wind, 
while their lower currents went mazing and swedging down 
in the crooking and dome-blocked channels of canyons. 

"Glaciers have made every mountain form of this whole 
region; even the summit mountains are only fragments of 
their pre-glacial selves. 

"Every summit wherein are laid the wombs of glaciers 
is steeper on its north than its south side, because of the 
depth and duration of sheltered glaciers, above those ex- 
posed to the sun, and this steepness between the north and 
south sides of summits is greater in the lower summits, as 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 329 

those of the Obelisk group. This tells us a word of glacial 
climate. Such mountains as Starr King, Cloud's Kest, and 
Cathedral Peak do not come under this general law because 
their contours were determined by the ice which flowed 
about and above them, but even among these inter-basin 
heights we frequently find marked difference of steepness 
between their north and south sides, because many of the 
higher of these mountains and crests extending east and 
west, continued to shelter and nourish fragmentary gla- 
cierets long after the death of the main trunk to which 
they belonged. 

" In ascending any of the principal streams of this re- 
gion, lakes in all stages of decay are found in great abun- 
dance, gradually becoming younger until we reach the al- 
most countless gems of the summits with basins bright as 
their crystal waters. Upon the Nevada and its branches, 
there are not fewer than a hundred of these lakes, from a 
mile to a hundred yards in diameter, with countless glis- 
tening pondlets about the size of moons. Both the Yo- 
semite and the Hetch-Hetchy valleys are lake basins filled 
with sand and the matter of morains easily and rapidly sup- 
plied by their swift descending rivers from upper morains. 
The mountains above Yosemite have scarce been touched 
by any other denudation but that of ice. Perhaps all of 
the post glacial denudation of every kind would not average 
an inch in depth for the whole region. 

" I am surprised to find that water has had so little to do 
with the mountain structure of this region. None of the 
upper Merced streams give record of floods greater than 
those of to-day. The small water channel, with perpendic- 
ular walls, is about two feet in depth a few miles above the 
Little Yosemite. The Nevada here, even in flood, never 
was more than four or five feet in depth. Glacial striae and 
glacial drift, undisturbed on banks of streams but little 


above the present line of high water mark, is sufficient 

The views entertained by Mr. Muir are, for the most 
part, in consonance with my own. That the valley was 
originally formed as supposed by Prof. Whitney I do not 
doubt, but to suppose that the vast bodies of ice, stated by 
Mr. Whitney to have existed at the sources of the Merced 
river, could have halted in their glacial flow down the steep 
declivities of its canyons, seems as absurd as to suppose 
one entertaining opposite views *' ignorant of the whole 
subject." As a matter susceptible of eternal proof, I will 
state that in the canyon below the Yosemite there are ex- 
isting to-day, large, well rounded bowlders that I think a 
geologist would say had been brought from above the valley; 
and if so, water alone could scarcely have brought them 
over the sunken bed of the valley, or if filled to its present 
level of about thirty-five feet descent to the mile, the laws 
that govern aqueous deposits would have left those huge 
masses of rock far above their present location in the can- 
yon. Some of the bowlders referred to will weigh twenty 
tons or more, and, in connection with flat or partially 
rounded rocks fallen, probably, from the adjacent clifi', form 
waterfalls in the middle of the canyon, of from fifty to one 
hundred feet of perpendicular height. The fall through 
the canyon averages over two hundred feet to the mile. 
Well rounded bowlders of granite and other hard stones 
may be seen for long distances below the Yosemite, on hill- 
sides and flats far above the present bed of the river, and, 
in some instances, deposited with those bowlders, have 
been found well rounded and swedged masses of gold. The 
experiments and observations of Agassiz, Forbes and others, 
render it probable that the valley of the Yosemite was filled 
with ice, but that the upper surface moved more rapidly, 
carrying down most of the material brought from mountains 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1861. 331 

above the vallej. The observations of Prof. Tyndall ren- 
der it almost certain that a glacier does not move as a rigid 
mass or on its bed, but as a plastic substance, as asphalt for 

Partial liquefaction by pressure would enable a glacier 
in the Yosemite to conform to the inequalities of its con- 
figuration, and regelation would perhaps retard its flow 
sufficiently to enable the more rapid moving surface and 
center of the glacier to carr}^ its burden on from above 
without marking the lower portion of the inclosing walls, 
as for instance, may be seen at Glacier Point. It has been 
suggested that "the immense weight of ice that once filled 
the Yosemite had an important part in the formation of it." 
This idea is untenable, because the valley must have 
already been formed, in order for space to have exist d for 
"the immense weight of ice;" and unless the earth's crust 
under the valley was previously broken as suggested in the 
able theory of Prof. Whitney, no possible weight of any 
kind could exert a depressing influence upon the surface. 

If it were possible, for the reconciliation of geologists, 
to believe that the subsidence in the valley occurred at 
about the close of the glacial flow, thereby changing the 
appearace of the inclosing walls, yet still leaving material 
to fill the chasm, a great part of the mystery that will al- 
ways remain as one of the " Wonders of the Yosemite," 
would then disappear. As it is, we are compelled to be- 
lieve, not in miracles, but that the glacier that flowed over 
the Yosemite was so great in depth as to leave, like some 
deep sea or ocean, its bottom undisturbed by the tumultu- 
ous aeriel strife upon its surface. 

Now, those glacial heights have, at times, a solitude un- 
utterly profound! iNot a bird or beast to break the still- 
ness, nor disturb the solemn charm. !N'or does the Indian, 
even, loiter on his way, but hastens on down to his mount- 


ain meadows or wooded valleys. There, if anywhere, the 
poet's idea can be realized, that: 

" Silence is the heart of all things; sound the fluttering of its pulse, 
Which the fever and the spasm of the universe convulse. 
Every sound that breaks the silence only makes it more profound, 
Like a crash of deafening thunder in the sweet, blue stillness drowned 
Let thy soul walk softly in thee, as a saint in heaven unshod. 
For to be alone with silence, is to be alone with God." 

(Height, 325 feet; circumlereuce. 

100 feet. 



Big Trees of ^^^lifornia or Sequoia Gigantea— Their Discovery and 

In speaking of the discovery of the ''Big Trees'''' of Cala- 
varas, Mr. Hutcliings, in his " Scenes of Wonder and Curios- 
ity," says that: " In the spring of 1852 Mr. A. T. Doud, a 
hunter, was employed by the Union Water Company of 
Murphy's camp, Calavaras county, to supply the workmen 
with fresh meat from the large quantity of game running 
wild on the upper portion of their works. Having wound- 
ed a bear, and while industriously following in pursuit, he 
suddenly came upon one of those immense trees that have 
since become so justly celebrated throughout the civilized 

" So incredulous were Doud's employers and compan- 
ions, when told of his discovery, that a ruse had to be resort- 
ed to, to get men to go and view the trees." 

Big trees in Mariposa county, were first discovered by 
Maj. Burney, of ]N^orth Carolina, first sheriff of Mariposa 
county (after its organization), John Macauly of Defiance, 
Ohio, and two others, whose names I have now forgotten. 
The discovery was made in the latter part of October, 1849, 
while in pursuit of some animals stolen by the Indians. 

The trees seen and described by Major Burney and his 
party, were only a few scattering ones on the Fresno and 
South Fork divide. The major sj oke of the trees as a new 


variety of cedar, and when he gave the measurements that 
he claimed the party had made with tlieir picket-ropes tied 
together, his auditors thought he was endeavoring to match 
some " big yarns " told around our camp fire at the mouth 
of the Merced river. Afterwards, while sheriff, the Major 
indicated the locality and size of the trees, in reply to some 
one's description of the big yellow pine that lay prostrate on 
what became the Yosemite trail, and when rallied a little 
for his extravagance of statement, declared that though true, 
he should not speak of the big trees again, for it was un- 
pleasant to be considered an habitual joker, or something 

I asked tlie major, seriously, about the trees he had de- 
scribed, and he as seriously replied that he measured the 
trees as stated, but did not regard them as very remarkable, 
for he had seen accounts of even taller ones, if not larger, 
that were growing in Oregon.* In referring to these large 
trees, they were spoken of as being on the ridge known to 
us afterwards as the Black Hidge. The big trees of the 
Kah-we-ah and Tu-le river regions, were first noticed by a 
party of miners returning from the " White River''^ excite- 
ment of 1854, but as these men were uncultured, and the 
Calavaras grove was already known, no notice was taken by 
"J7i6 /^^^55" of the reports of these miners, who were re- 
garded by their friends as entirely truthful. 

It has been thought strange that no member of the 
" Mariposa battalion" should have discovered any of the 
big trees, but they did not. 

Among forests of such very large pines, cedar and fir trees, 
as grow adjacent to and among the sequoia, an unusually 
large tree would not probably have attracted much attention. 
Had a grove of them, however, been discovered, the fact 
would have been spoken of in the battalion. As the species 
was not known to any of us at the time, even had any been 

* See Gen. John Bidwell's account in Century magazine for Nov. 1890. 


seen, and even the pendant character of their branches 
noticed, doubtless they would have been classed and spoken 
of as " cedar J^ I do not believe, however, that any of the 
battalion ever noticed these trees, for the reason that strict 
orders were given against straggling, and our explorations 
were, for the most part, in the mountains above the line of 
growth of the sequoia. While hunting for game, during 
our first expeditions, the depth of snow forced the hunt be- 

A few of the Mariposa big trees were first brought into 
notice bv the discoveries of Mr. Hogg in the summer of 
1855. The year previous, Mr. Hogg was in the employ of 
Reynolds, Caruthers and myself, and proving an able assis- 
tant and expert hunter, he was employed by our successors, 
the " South Fork Ditch Company," to supply them with 
game. During one of his hunting expeditions, Mr. Hogg 
discovered sonje sequoia on a branch of " Big Creek," and 
relating his discoveries to Mr. Galen Clark, Mr. Mann and 
others, the exact locality was indicated, and became known. 
During the autumn of this year (1855), other trees were 
discovered by Mr. J. E. Clayton, while exploring and test- 
ing, by barometrical measurements, the practicability of 
bringing water from the branches of the San Joaquin to 
increase the supply from the South Fork of the Merced. 
Upon Mr. Clayton's second visit, a few days later, I accom- 
panied him, and was shown his discoveries. 

About the first of June, 1856, Galen Clark and Milton 
Mann discovered what has now becom 3 famous as the " Mar- 
iposa Grove." The next season Mr. Clark came upon two 
smaller groves of sequoia in the near vicinity of the big 
grove. Kot long after, he discovered quite a large collec- 
tion at the head of the Fresno. This grove was visited two 
days after its discovery by L. A. Holmes, of the " Mariposa 
Gazette," and Judge Fitzhugh, while hunting; and after- 


wards bj Mr. Hutchings in 1859, accompanied by the dis- 
coverer, Mr. Clark. 

The groves of big trees on the North and South Tule 
rivers, said to contain thousands, were discovered in 1867, 
by Mr. D'Henreuse, of the State Geological Survey. From 
the foregoing statement concerning the Sequoia, or Big 
Trees, and the well known fact of their easy propagation 
and distribution over the whole civilized world, it is no 
longer feared that the species is in any immediate danger 
of becoming extinct. 

Upon the tributaries of the Kah-we-ali river, these trees 
are converted by the mills into lumber, which is sold about 
as cheap as pine. The lumber is much like the famous 
red-wood of California, and is equally durable, though per- 
haps not so easily worked. Although of the same genus as 
the red-wood, the species is distinct, the " Big Trees " being 
known as the Sequoia Gigantea, while the California red- 
wood is known as the Sequoia Sempervirens. This state- 
ment may seem unnecessary to the botanist, but the two 
species are so frequently confounded in respectable eastern 
periodicals, that the statement here is deemed proper. Be- 
sides this, absurd fears have been expressed by tliose unin- 
formed of the facility with which these trees have been cul- 
tivated in Europe and in this country, that the species will 
soon become extinct.* Professor Whitney says: "It is as- 
tonishing how little that is really reliable is to be found in 
all that has been published about big trees. ^NTo correct 
statement of their distribution or dimensions has appeared 
in print; and if their age has been correctly stated in one 
or two scientific journals, no such information ever finds its 
way into the popular descriptions of this tree, which are 
repeated over and over again in contributions to newspapers 
and in books of travel. * * * * ^ ]^o other plant 
ever attracted so much attention or attained such a celebrity 

* Most o. the Big Trees of Tulare County are within the new "Sequoia Park." 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851, 337 

within 80 short a period. * « « ♦ ♦ geed were first 
sent to Europe and to the Eastern States in 1853, and since 
that time immense numbers have found their way to 
market. They germinate readily, and it is probable that 
hundreds of tliousands of tlie trees (millions it is said) are 
growing in diiferent parts of the world from seed planted. 
They flourish with peculiar hixuriance in Great Britain, 
and grow with extraordinary rapidity. ***** The 
genus were named in honor of Sequoia or Sequoyah, a 
Cherokee Indian of mixed blood, better known as George 
Guess, who is supposed to have been born about 1770, and 
who lived in Wills Yalley, in the extreme northeastern 
part of Alabama, among the Cherokees. He became known 
to the world by his invention of an alphabet and written 
language for his tribe. ***** 

The big tree is extremely limited in its range, even more 
80 than its twin brother, the red-wood. The latter is strictly 
a coast-range or sea-board tree; the other, inland or exclu- 
sively limited to the Sierra. Both trees are also peculiarly 
Calfornian, A very few of the red-wood may be found 
just across the border in Oregon, but the big tree has never 
been found outside of California, and probably never will 
be." In a note Prof. Whitney says: 

" There are several fossil species of the genus sequoia.^^ 
Also, "that the Calavaras Grove contains, as will be seen 
in the table on page 125 (Whitney's Yosemite Guide Book), 
four trees over 300 feet high, the highest one measured in 
the Mariposa Grove being 272 feet. The published state- 
ments of the heights of these trees are considerably exag- 
gerated, as will be noticed, but our measurements can be 
relied on as being correct. The Keystone State has the 
honor of standing at the head, with 325 feet as its elevation, 
and this is the tallest tree yet measured on this continent, 
80 far as our information goes." 


"When we observe how regularly and gradually the trees 
diminish in size from the highest down, it will be evident 
that the stories told of trees having once stood in this grove 
over 400 feet in height, are not entitled to credence. It is 
not at all likely that any one tree should have overtopped all 
the others by seventy-five feet or more. The same condi- 
tion of general average elevation and absence of trees very 
much taller than any of the rest in the grove will be noticed 
among the trees on the Mariposa grant, where, however, 
there is no one as high as 300 feet." 

The average height of the Mariposa trees is less than that 
of the Calavaras Grove, while the circumference of the 
largest is greater. Prof. Whitney measured the annual 
growths of one of the largest of the Calavaras group that had 
been felled, which he made out to be only about 1,300 
years old. The Professor says: 

"The age of the big trees is not so great as that assigned 
by the highest authorities to some of the English yews. 
Neither is its height as great, by far, as that of an Austral- 
ian species, the eucalyptus amygdalina, many of which 
have, on the authority of Dr. Miiller, the eminent govern- 
ment botanist, been found to measure over 400 feet; one, in- 
deed, reaches the enormous elevation of 480 feet, thus over- 
topping the tallest sequoia by 155 feet. 

"There are also trees which exceed the big trees in diame- 
eter, as, for instance, the baobab (adansonia digitata), but 
this species is always comparatively low, not exceeding 
sixty or seventy feet in height, and much swollen at thQ 

Mr. Whitney concludes his chapter on the sequoia by 

" On the whole, it may be stated, that there is no known 
tree which approaches the sequoia in grandeur; thickness 
and height being both taken into consideration, unless it be 



AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 339 

the eucalyptus. The largest Australian tree jet reported , 
is said to be eight j-oiie feet in circumference at four feet 
from the ground. This is nearly, but not quite, as large as 
some of the largest of the big trees of California." 

Prof. Whitney gives the measurement of the largest tree 
in the Mariposa Grove as ninety- three feet seven inches, at 
the ground, and sixty-four feet three inches at eleven feet 
above. This tree is known as the "Grizzly Giant;" its two 
diameters were, at the base, as near as could be measured, 
thirty and thirty-one feet. This tree has been very much 
injured by fire, no allowance for wliich was made. It is 
probable that could the tree — and others like it — have 
escaped the fires set by the Indians, to facilitate the gather- 
ing of their annual supplies and the pursuit of game, exact 
measurements would show a circumferenceof over 100 feet. 
But, even as large as it is, its size does not at once impress 
itself upon the understanding. 

Tiiere are nine or ten separate groves of " Big Trees," in 
California, and all lie upon the western slopes of the Sierra 
Nevada at an altitude of from five to seven thousand feet 
above the sea. Mr. A. B. Whitehall has given a very in- 
teresting account of these in the Chicago Tribune., from 
which I extract such portions as will best serve to interest 
my readers. 

''The wood is soft, light, elastic, straight grained, and 
looks like cedar. The bark is deeply corrugated, longitudi- 
nally, and so spongy as to be used for pin cushions. The 
branches seldom appear below 100 feet from the ground, 
and shoot out in every direction from the trunk. The 
leaves are of two kinds — those of the younger trees and the 
■ lower branches of the larger set in pairs opposite each other 
on little stems, and those growing on branches which have 
flowered, triangular in shape, and lying close down to the 
stem. The cones are remarkable for their diminutive size, 


being not much larger than a hen's q^^^ while the cones of 
much smaller conifers are larger than pine-apples. The 
seeds are short and thin as paper. * * * The magnif- 
icent proportions of the trees and the awful solitude of the 
forest gives an almost sublime grandeur to this part of the 
Sierra. The Tuolumne grove is situated almost due north 
of the Merced, and is on the Big Oak Flat trail to the Yo- 
semite. There are about thirt}^ trees in the group, and 
they are excellent representatives of the sequoia family. 
The Siamese Twins, growing from the same root and uniting 
a few feet above the base, are thirty-eight feet in diameter 
and 114 feet in circumference at the base. A unique piece 
of road making is here seen. In the construction of the 
highway for coaches and wagons to the Yosemite, the en- 
gineers suddenly found themselves face to face with one of 
these monster trees, and not choosing to build around it, 
they cut through it, thus forming a tunnel, the like of 
which can only be found in the Mariposa grove. .The 
diameter of the tree being over thirty feet, there remained 
an abundance of material on each side of the cut to retain 
the tree in a standing position, and the hole ten feet high 
and twelve feet wide is sufficiently large to allow the pas- 
sage of any coach or team." 

"In the South Park and Calaveras groves there are some 
remarkable trees. One tree in the South Park grove will 
hold forty persons in the hollow of its trunk; another has 
sheltered sixteen horses. The four highest trees in the 
Calaveras grove, are the Keystone State, 325 feet high, 
Gen. Jackson, 319 feet, Mother of the Forest, 315 feet, and 
the Daniel Webster of 307 feet high. The Husband and 
Wife are a pair of trees gracefully leaning against each 
other, 250 feet high, and each sixty feet in circumference. 
The Hermit is a solitary specimen of great proportions; 
the Old Maid, a disconsolate looking spinster, fifty-nine 



AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 341 

feet around, and tlie Old Bachelor, a rough, unkempt old 
fellow nearly 300 feet in height. The Father of tlie 
Forest is prostrate, hollow, limbless and without bark; 
yet across the roots the distance is twenty -eiglit feet. * * 
Into the tree a tourist can ride ninety feet on horseback. 
One of the largest trees of the Calaveras grove was bored 
down with pump augurs, and the stump smoothed off and 
converted into a floor of a dancing hall. Thirty-two per- 
sons, or four quadrille sets, have ample room to dance at 
one time, and yet leave room for musicians and spectators." 
I can give my readers no better idea of the solemn im- 
mensity of the trees, than by again quoting Mr. Whitehall. 
He says in conclusion: "Although it was then June, yet 
the eternal snows of the mountains were everj'where around 
us, and, as the huge banks and drifts stretched away off in 
the distance, the melting power of heat and the elements 
was on every side defied. Not a weed or blade of grass re- 
lieved the monotony of the view; not the chirping of an 
insect or the twittering of a bird was heard. The solemn 
stillness of the night added a weird grandeur to the scene. 
Now and then a breath of wind stirred the topmost branches 
of the pines and cedars, and as they swayed to and fro in 
the air the music was like that of Ossian, * pleasant but 
mournful to the soul.' There were sequoias on every side 
almost twice as hio^h as the falls of Niao^ara; there were 
pines rivaling the dome of the capitol at Washington in 
grandeur; there were cedars to whose tops the monument 
of Bunker Hill would not have reached. There were trees 
which were in the full vigor of manhood before America 
itself was discovered; there were others which were yet old 
before Charlemagne was born ; there were others still grow- 
ing when the Savior himself was on the earth. There were 
trees which had witnessed the winds and storms of twenty 
centuries; there were others which would endure long after 


countless generations of the future would be numbered 
with the past. There were trees crooked and short and 
massive; there were others straight and tall and slender. 
There were pines whose limbs were as evenly proportioned 
as those of tlie Apollo Belvedere; there were cedars whose 
beauty was not surpassed in their counterparts in Lebanon; 
there were firs whose graceful foliage was like the fabled 
locks of the gods of ancient story. It was a picture in nat- 
ure which captivated the sense at once by its grandeur and 
extent; and, as we drove back to Clark's through six miles 
of this forest luxuriance, with the darkness falling about us 
like a black curtain from the heavens, and the mighty can- 
yons of the Sierra sinking away from our pathway like the 
openings to another world, then it was not power, but 
majesty, not beauty but sublimity, not the natural but the 
supernatural, which seemed above us and before us." 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1^51. 343 


statistics — Roads and Accommodations — Chapel and Sunday School — 
Big Farms and Great Resources— A Variety of Products — Long Hoped 
for Results 

Kecords of the number of visitors to the Yosemite down 
to and inclusive of 1875, show that in 1852 Rose and Shur- 
ban were murdered by the savages, while their companion, 
Tudor, though wounded, escaped. The next year, 1853, 
eight men from the North Fork of the Merced, visited the 
valley, returning unharmed. Owing to murders of Starkey, 
Sevil and Smith, in the winter of 1853-'4, as it was believed, 
by the Yosemites, no visitors entered the valley during the 
summer of 1854. In 1855 Messrs. Hutchings, Ayers, Stair 
and Milliard,visited it without being disturbed by the sight 
of any of the original proprietors, either Indians or grizzlies. 
Mr. Hutchino^s, on his return to San Francisco, beo^an to 
draw the attention of the public to the Yosemite, through 
his magazine and otherwise. Notwithstanding the ample 
means afforded by his magazine, and his facilities as a 
writer, Mr. Hutchings found it difficult to bring the valley 
into prominent and profitable notice, and few Californians 


could be induced to make it a visit. A peculiarity of those 
days was a doubt of the marvelous, and a fear of being 
'^soldy Anj statements of travelers or of the press, that 
appeared exaggerated, were received bj the public with ex- 
treme caution. Not more than twenty-five or thirty 
entered during that year, though Mr. Hutchings' efforts 
were seconded by reports of other visitors. 

The following season, 1856, it was visited by ladies from 
Mariposa and San Francisco, who safely enjoyed the 
pleasures and inconveniences of the trip; aroused and ex- 
cited to the venture, no doubt, by their traditional curiosity. 
The fact being published that ladies could safely enter the 
valley, lessened the dread of Indians and grizzlies, and after 
a few hrave reports had been published, this fear seemed to 
die away completely. 

From this time on to 1864, a few entered every season ; 
but during these times California had a wonder and interest 
in its population and their enterprises, greater than in any 
of its remarkable scenery. Everything was at higli pressure, 
and the affairs of business and the war for the Union were 
all that could excite the common interest. In 1864, there 
were only 147 visitors, including men, women and children. 
The action of Congress this year, in setting the Yosemite 
and big trees apart from the public domain as national 
parks, attracted attention to them. The publicity given to 
the valley by this act, was world-wide, and since 1864 the 
number visiting it has steadily increased. 

According to the Mari/posa Gazette, an authentic record 
shows that in the season of 1865 the number was 276, in 
1866, 382, in 1867, 435, in 1868, 627, and increasing rap- 
idly; in 1875 the number for that year had reached about 
3,000. The figures are deemed reliable, as they were ob- 
tained from the records of toll-roads and hotels. They are 
believed to be very nearly correct. 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 345 

The Gazette " estimates the proportion of eastern and 
European in the total number to be at least nine-teuths," 
and saj^s: " It is safe to place the Atlantic and European 
visitors for the next ten years at 2,000 per annum." 

I have no doubt the number has been greater even than 
was estimated, for improved facilities for entering the val- 
ley have since been established. Seven principal routes 
have been opened, and a post office, telegraph and express 
offices located. A large hotel has been built by the State, 
the trails have been purchased and made free, and the 
management is now said by travelers to be quite good. 
There is no reason why still farther improvements should 
not be made. A branch railroad from the San Joaquin 
Valley could enter the Yosemite by way of the South Fork, 
or by the Valley of the Merced river. Mineral ores and 
valuable lumber outside and below the valley and grant, 
would pay the cost of construction, and no defacement of 
the grand old park or its additions would be required, nor 
should be allowed. 

With cars entering the valley, thousands of tourists of 
moderate w^ealth would visit it; and then on foot, from 
the hotels, be able to see most of the sublime scenery of 
the mountains. 

If horses or carriages should be desired, for the more 
distant points of interest, they may readily be obtained in 
the valley at reasonable rates. At present, the expense of 
travel by stage, carriage and horseback, is considerable, 
and many visiting California, do not feel able to incur the 
extra expense of a visit to the Yosemite. 

Visitors intending to see both the big trees and the Yo- 
semite Valley, should visit the trees lirst, as otherwise the 
forest monarchs will have lost a large share of their inter- 
est and novelty 


The hotel charges are not much higher than elsewhere 

in the State, ai)d the fare is as good as the average in cit- 
ies. If extras are required, payment will be expected 
as in all localities. There is more water falling in the 
spring months, but the water-falls are but fractions of the 
interest that att ches to the region, Yosemite is always 
grandly beautiful; even in winter it has attractions for the 
robust, but invalids had better visit it only after the snow 
has disappeared from the lower levels, generally, from 
about the first of May to the middle of June, 

From that date on to about the first of November, the 
valley will be found a most delightful summer resort, 
with abundant fruits and vegetables of perfect growth and 
richest flavor. 

All modern conveniences and many luxuries of enlight- 
ened people are now to be found, gathered m fuil view of 
the great fall and its supporting scenery. The hotels, tele- 
graph, express and post offices are there, and a Union 
Chapel dedicated at a grand gathering of the National 
Sunday School Onion, held during the summer of 1879, 
is regularly used for religious services. Those who may 
wish to commune with Nature's God aione while in the 
Yosemite, will be in the very innermost sanctuary of all 
tliat is Divine in material creation for the va.iey is a holy 
Temple, and if their hearts are attuned to the harmony 
surrounding them, **the iestimony of the Rocks'^ wil^ 
bring conviction to their souls. 

The unique character of Mirror Lake will leave its 
indelible impressions upon the tourist's mind, and resi- 
dents of the Yosemite will gladly inform him of the vary- 
ing proper time in the morning when its calm stillness 
will enable one to witness its greatest charm, the ^'Double 
Sunrise.'''' That phenomena may be ascribed to the lake's 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 347 

sheltered closeness to the perpendicular wall of the Half 
Dome (nearly 5,000 feet high), and the window-like spaces 
between the peaks East and South, looked through by the 
sun in his upward, westward flight. 

As a matter of fact, differing according to the seasons of 
the year, "sunri.^eon thelake"may beseen In its reflections 
two or more times in the same morning, and, if the visi- 
tor be at the lake when the breeze tirst comes up on its 
daily appearance from the plains, shattering the lake mir- 
ror into fragments, innumerable suns will appear to dazzle 
and bewilder the beholder. 

The wonderful scenery and resources of California are 
becoming known and appreciated. A large additicm has 
been made to, and surrounding: the Yosemite and Bio^ 
Tree Parks, which in time may become one (see map); 
and another very large National Park has been es- 
tablished in Tulare County, to be known as the 
/Sequoia Park, which includes most of the Big Trees 
of that entire region ; but it is not so generally 
known in the Eastern States that there are such vast landed 
estates, such princely realms of unbroken virgin soil 
awaiting the developments of industry. Official reports of 
the California State Board of Equalization show tliat there 
are 122 farms of 20,000 acres each and over. Of these there 
are 67 averaging 70,000 acres each, and several exceed 
100,000 acres. 

These figures are published as official, and were well cal- 
culated to make the small farmers of the east open their 
eyes; they will yet open the eyes of the land owners them- 
selves to the importance of bringing their estates under 
successful and remunerative cultivation. This will have to 
be done in order that these acres may be made to pay a just 
taxation. Thousands of acres that are of little use to the 
owners or the public — of no value to the state— can, by the 


ludicious introduction of water, be made to pay well for 
the investment. Irrigating ditches or canals from the Mer- 
ced, one on the north side and the other on the south, a 
short distance above Snelling, in Merced county, were loca- 
ted by the writer, and soon after completion, the arid and 
dasty land was transformed into blooming gardens and fer- 
tile vineyards. These were the first irrigating ditches of 
any considerable magnitude, constructed in Mariposa or 
Merced counties, though irrigation was common enough in 
other parts of the state. The advance that has since been 
made in California agriculture is wonderful. New meth- 
ods adapted to the peculiarities of soil and climate have 
been introduced, and new machinery invented and applied 
that cheapen the cost of production and lessen manual la- 
bor to a surprising degree: for instance, machinery that 
threshes and cleans ready for the market, over 5,000 bushels 
of wheat to the machine per day. Capital is still being 
largely invested in railroads, and in reclaiming the Tule 
(Bull Kush) lands. 

These lands are among the richest in the world. They 
grow cotton, tobacco, rice and other southern staples, equal 
to the best of the Southern States, with much less danger 
from malaria. The valleys of the San Joaquin and Sacra- 
mento, which are simply local divisions of the same great 
valley, produce according to altitude, moisture and location, 
all the cereals, fruits and vegetables of a temperate clime, 
as well as those of semi-tropical character; even the poorest 
hill-side lands grow the richest wine and raisin grapes. The 
yield is so astonishing, as to appear incredible. 

The raisins grown and cured in California are said to be 
equal to the best Malaga; while the oranges, lemons, olives, 
figs, almonds, filberts and English walnuts, command the 
highest prices in the market. Peaches, pears, grapes and 
honey, are already large items in her trade; and her wheat 

AND INDIAN WAR OF 1851. 349 

crops now reach a bulk that is simply enormous. 

The grade of horses, cattle, swine, sheep and wool, are 
being brought to a high degree of perfection; for the climate 
is most salubrious and invigorating. Her gifts of nature 
are most bountiful and perfect. No wonder, then, that the 
Californian is enthusiastic when speaking of his sublime 
scenery, salubrious climate and surprising products. 

But I must no longer dwell upon my theme, nor tell of 
the fruitful Fresno lands, redeemed from savage l)arl)a 
rity. Those scenes of beauteous enchantment I leave to 
those who may remain to enjoy them. And yet — 

El Capitan, I turn to gaze upon thy lofty brow, 
With reverent yearnings to thy Maker bf Q4j'\ 
But now farewell, Yosemite; 

If thou appeare&u not again in sight, 
Thou'lt come, I know, in life's extremity. 
While passing into realms of light. 



ftt'Kl959 ■