10 March 2020

From the Lava Beds [guest post by Edward Fox, 1 March 1873]


[From the New York Herald, 1873; story by Edward Fox]
M
essrs. Elijah Steele, John Fairchild, Frank Riddle and [wife] and members of the press arrived at five o’clock this evening from Captain Jack’s camp, accompanied by Shack Nasty Jim, Bogus Charley, Curley-Headed Jack, Mary (sister of Captain Jack), Hooker Jim and several other Indians.
The party left Fairchild’s on Friday morning [28 February] and slept last night in the lava beds. Mr. Steele was the bearer of the following terms to the Indians.
To surrender to the military as prisoners of war and be removed to a reservation, either in California or Arizona. Captain Jack was very sick, but received the party in his cave, and they had a long talk last night and another council this morning.
Mr. Steele explained to them the difficulties there were to contend against in removing them to a reservation in Oregon, on account of the action of the Grand Jury of that State in indicting five of the tribe for murder. He also explained to them how, if they surrendered as prisoners of war, they would be protected by the military from the civil authorities. They expressed themselves pleased with the proposition, and also stated that the visit of the Herald correspondent to their camp had given them confidence that the white people meant well, as he was not afraid to trust them. Captain Jack did the most of the talking, and said that their boys were willing to go anywhere to a place by themselves. They seemed to think favorably of going South.
The delegation that accompanied Mr. Steele back to Fairchild’s are empowered to arrange the details of the treaty. It is now safe to say there will be no more trouble with the Modoc Indians, and General Canby deserves the credit of having suggested the solution to a problem that appeared rather a difficult matter to settle. Captain Jack was too sick to come in himself, but said that he would like to go to Washington with two or three of his young men and talk with the Big Chief and tell him his troubles.
The Peace Commissioners will have a talk to-morrow with the eight Modocs that came in this evening, and they will return the same day and inform Captain Jack of the details of the treaty. Some of the party that went into the lava beds and heard the conversation that took place during the council are not so confident that Captain Jack stated that he was willing to go on a reservation out of Oregon or far away from Lost River.
Last Tuesday morning, when I was in the lava beds and talking to Mr. John Schonchin, the second chief in power after Captain Jack, he said they would prefer going to the Klamath reservation, where they had been before. Mr. Steele, however, says that Captain Jack told him he and his braves were willing to go wherever he (Mr. Steele) advised them. Steele then asked them if they would go South, and each man live on his own little farm. To this question they answered in the affirmative, and in order to be sure of it he repeated the question, and they said they were willing to go.
The talk over the details and particulars will probably take some time, especially as Captain Jack is too sick to come out and see the Commissioners. This sickness will probably entail a number of conferences and some journeys between Fairchild’s and the lava beds before the matter is finally settled.

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