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I am not posted in the details of the history of the Indian war of 1856, or of subsequent wars with the savages of Oregon. The hardy pioneers knew how to fight their wily foes, whose hands were red with the blood of white families. In 1856, two young men, Mitchell Ingram and Edgar Richey, both born near Salem, Iowa, then living here in this valley, volunteered for the war. The former was helping to guard some Indian prisoners east of The Dalles, when an Indian chief named Peu-peu-mox-mox, obtained a large knife by stealth and struck at him (M. I.) With all his strength, but he missed his aim, as Ingram slightly moved back, the knife cutting his shirt in front. The stroke carried the savage around, his back to his intended victim, and ere he could turn to strike again, the Iowa boy, as brave as he, struck him a terrible blow on the head with his musket, bending it. The skull of the chieftain gave way beneath the furious stroke that sent him to the shades of the happy hunting grounds of his fathers.

The few families then living in this valley built a fort near where I am writing, for their safety in case of being attacked by Indians. The fort was standing when I was here in 1873, but has since been torn down. It was a story and a half high, with suitable portholes for defense. Near the top it projected out or over two or three feet, so that the Indians could not easily scale it. The fort was not needed, as happily, the Indians did not extend their depredations to this peaceful valley. Some of the settlers here, as well as in other localities, were very much alarmed and moved to Portland for a while for greater safety. A messenger came about midnight, one night, to warn the people of this neighborhood to move as soon as possible to Portland, that the Indians were massacring the whites only eight or ten miles away, across the Columbia river. The most of the settlers thought it best to heed the warning rather than to attempt to hold the little fort against, perhaps, vastly superior number of savages. Hence they moved to Portland to stay till the war cloud had passed over. All went except James Ingram and Stuart Richey and their families, who refused to go, as they did not seem willing to give up the fort nor their homes to the marauding Indians. They resolved, that, having braved the dangers and hardships of crossing the plains, through numerous tribes of Indians, they would not leave Pleasant Valley, but that they would stay and take the consequences, and, if need be, defend themselves to the last extremity. They were not willing to be drive off by the hated Indians. Had the red warriors been united under some able chief like Sitting Bull, they might have annihilated all the white inhabitants of Oregon, as they were mostly widely dispersed in feeble settlements.

But the pioneers were brave in the defense of their homes against fearful odds of savages. Their hard-fought battles are over, and war no longer summons them to the gory fight in the wilderness.

Since the famous march of General Howard and his brave band, in march of 2,180 miles eastward over mountains and desolate regions, in pursuit of the war-loving Nez Perce Indians, led by their daring chief, Joseph, we have little cause to fear future outbreaks by the redskins. Though General Howard’s military career has been often criticized and his character aspersed, yet here at his home his laurels are green, and he is regarded as the hero of the mountains, who, with his little army, achieved prodigies of valor in pursuing the hostile Nez Perces, driving them from their fastnesses in the mountains and pressing them closely to where General Miles defeated and conquered them. So close was General Howard in pursuit that he and a few of his men arrived in time to witness the surrender of Joseph and his band of warriors to General Miles. General Howard’s achievements are now historic.

"See the page of history glowing

With the record of his fame."

JAMES RICHEY

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