Tunnel View Full Moon, Yosemite © Robert Sommers 2020

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The continuing journal of General E.D. Townsend

July 31, 1852

The newspapers have been lately full of accounts of Indian hostilities, and one would think the whole frontier wood soon be in a state of war. Indeed there is reason to apprehend serious difficulty on the San Joaquin, and in the Southern District. The following extract from a daily newspaper will illustrate the remarks on page 52, and is a fair sample of the origins of Indian troubles in general.

July18. "The Indians on Kings River had in a drinking frolic menaced a Mr. Campbell and a Mr. Pool, who had but recently established a ferry on the river, and gave them a limited time in which to leave. Being alarmed, they came over to our neighborhood and raised the hue and cry that the indians were going to exterminate the whites in that quarter, went to Fine Gold Gulch and told the same story, and induced some twenty four persons to leave for the scene of the disturbances. The twenty four above mentioned soon repaired to the place of disturbance, summoned all the redskins to meet them and explain. Pasqual, their great Chief, with many of his warriors were absent at Savage's aiding the Major in securing his crop at the time of disturbances. The Indians did not know what explanation they required; they hesitated what to do, but by impulse were moved to arm themselves, at which Mr. Campbell, one of the aggrieved, fired and shot the first Indian. By this time a general melee commenced and every one used his arms the best he knew how, when the Indians began to fall pretty freely and fell back. Report says about twenty were killed and fifteen wounded of the Indians - one only slightly wounded of the invading party.This outrage upon the savages, living on their own reservations, has caused a general bad feeling amongst the Indians of the Valley, and they demand satisfaction. A meeting will be held on the 25th instant at King's River, preparatory to a great mass meeting, on the 15th August, when all the sachems of the south shall be present.

"The Indians reason after this fashion: We live on our own reservation: the commissioner ordered us here; we came away from our hunting and gathering acorns for our bread - they  killed us in the mountains and threatened to kill us here, and even killed our men and women, "What shall we do?" said the broken hearted Chief Pascal,"to whom shall we go?"When in the mountains we were hunted like wild beasts; here we are shot down like cattle." The big tears stood on and trickled down the old Chief's face, as he spoke, and the bands of mourners who were with him, looked heart broken and sorrowful. We expect trouble, unless such outbreaks by white persons, who certainly have not the best of motives in general, are suppressed peremptorily. 

General Hitchcock was visiting to-day at the house of the Rev. Dr. Boring of this city, where he met a man well dressed and no doubt considered a gentleman. In the course of the conversation, which turned on Indian affairs, this man said that he had taken as much of the Indian reservation as he wanted for his share, and should hold it until obliged to give it up. He abused the Commissioners for giving the best lands to the Indians and wished the latter were out of the way. He then deliberately speculated on the best way of ridding the country of them and intimated that he intended to introduce the small pox among them, saying that it was manifestly the will of Heaven that they should disappear before the white men and therefore no harm to help them off...

No comments: