Camas Prairie in the News 1879

Idaho Tri Weekly Statesman, Boise City, Idaho
20 Sep 1879, pg. 2, col. 1

The Hostiles Getting More and More Troublesome

News reached here by the Idaho stage night before last that James Valentine's son, a lad 16 years old, who lives at the upper end of Squaw Creek Valley 50 miles northwest of here, while out after stock on Wednesday was fired upon by an Indian and shot through the body, but managed to stick to his horse and rode home five miles. He was very faint but able to give an account of the shooting, which was five miles away, and he only saw one Indian. Dr. Rothwell, of Placerville, was sent for, which was all the particulars the stage driver had learned.

About 8 o'clock yesterday morning Wm. E. Dewsenberry came into Fort Boise for help and gave the following particulars of the affair. He says the boy was about five miles from home on upper Squaw Creek when he was fired upon, the ball striking him in the back near the shoulder blade and coming out near the right nipple. He stuck to his horse and rode home and gave the alarm. The settlers, eight in number, started that afternoon in pursuit. They found the Indians near where the boy was shot, in the edge of the brush and fired upon them, and report them from forty to sixty strong. The Indians retreated into the brush, but were too strong for eight men to attack. The party surrounded twenty-two head of Indian horses and brought them home. Col. Bernard started with his company with five day's rations in an hour after he got the news, for Squaw Creek where the Indians were seen.

Reports have come to us from Camas Prairie that Indians have been seen there. The Yankee Fork Herald also says Indians have been seen between Loon Creek and Bonanza City. From all these circumstances we are convinced that the hostiles are more numerous than was reported in the early part of the season, and are led to believe that they are mostly Bannacks and Weisers. The Umatilla Indians with Lieut. Farrow, say they are Bannacks, and that the Sheepeaters are over on the main Salmon in a starving condition and nearly scared to death, and they do not think the Sheepeaters were on the war path last summer. That these Bannacks and Weisers were the refugees that escaped last summer and were driven through Camas Prairie by Col. Green's command and escaped to the Salmon mountains.

Maj. Danielson, Agent at Fort Hall claims that over 100 Bannack Indians that were on the war path last summer have never returned to the Reservation. Making allowance for the killing of some and the addition of the Weisers who got back into the Payette and Salmon mountains, it is altogether probably that these renegades number as many as 100 at the present time.

We are satisfied from the character of the country and the efforts to hunt them this summer, that nothing short of a winter campaign will be successful. They will be very likely to make their headquarters on the Salmon waters near where they were last winter, on and between the Middle and South forks of the Salmon. The snow will fall by the first of November, so that the Indians will have to take to the deep valleys or canyons. They have no fear of the soldiers after that time, for they believe that the white men cannot get to them over the snow, and by securing a good many horses, they can live on horse meat, and it will not make much difference whether they lay up any food this summer or not, and next spring they will be ready to raid the settlements and revenge themselves on the whites the same way the did this summer. It is a guerrilla warfare of the worst character which _____ unless some extraordinary means are resorted to for their capture. A reward of $500 per head would probably be the cheapest plan to close them out. Our philanthropic neighbors in the States would hold up their hands in holy horror at such a proposition.

These Indians are enemies to mankind, and have no more right to live than Guerrilla highwaymen. To shoot them down would be an act of justice to the human family. There might be some danger in making such an offer that peaceable Indians would have to pay the penalty for some of the renegades and for this reason only can there by any ____ made to the proposition. It is thought by Col. Bernard, who has become familiar this summer with this wild Indian country, that a company of Cavalry might cover the country the latter part of October from the Loon Creek side of the Middle Fork, and another company from the Warrens side on the south Fork with sufficient supplies to stay all winter and make an effectual clean up of these savages. There is plenty of grass for their horses in the deep bottoms. In here they can live all winter. He thinks however, they would be able to get at the hostiles in November, as soon as good snow had fallen on the high mountains and clean them out in time for the soldiers to get their horses out, in which case they would not be compelled to stay all winter. We believe this plan of a winter campaign is the only effectual one that can be made and we hope it may be put into operation.

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