OCR Interpretation

The San Francisco call. [volume] (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, April 11, 1897, Image 19

Image and text provided by University of California, Riverside; Riverside, CA

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85066387/1897-04-11/ed-1/seq-19/

What is OCR?

Thumbnail for 19

In one of the charming villas at Belve
dere lives George W. Miller, who, some
thing more than forty years ago, was first
lieutenant of the volunteer company
raised at Port Orford, Or., to aid the regu
lars in the defense of homes and the sup
pression of the Indians in wtiat is called
the Rogue River Indian war.
An allusion to th« massacre in a recent
publication has awakened in his mind
personal reminiscences of that struggle,
in which a little band of whites success
fully resisted the desire for their exter
mination which lurked in the breast of
old Chief John of the Tootootneys.
Port Orford was at that time a collec
tion of perhaps a dozen bouses, with the
fort, in which Major Reynolds of the
United States army was stationed with
possibly thirty-tive regular soldiers.
"The cause of the outbreak was, un
doubtedly, a system of indignities pmc
ticed upon the Indians by a number of
lawless whites," said Mr. Miller to bis
visitor from The Call.
"One of the outrages bitterly resented j
by them was that of robbing their burial
grounds of the boards wiih which it was
customary for them to protect each grave.
These boards were hewn with much labor
from great cedar trees and wiin tools tbat
a carpenter would have scorned. They
were from a foot to two feet in width and
of various lengths.
"Whenever lumber for certain purposes
was needed, there were those in the com
munity who did not hesitate to appropri
ate tbe nicely finished boards, without re
gard for the sacred significance applied to
them by their lawful owners. Protesta
tions upon the part of the Indians or set
tlers po.-sessing a sense of justice were met
with either insult or indifference.
"At that time there was no dearth of
tbe flotsam which society ever casts upon
the frontier. A certain number of young
men, whose ages ranged from 25 to 30,
were banded together and gave full play
to any lawless inclination without regard
for consequences. They affected the long
haired, buckskin-suited style of the dime
novel hero. Some of them deferred to the
Indian law of purchasing their 'squaw
wives; others defied the custom, and, in
timidating friends and relatives into re
linquishing the -'juaws on wnom their
fancy liglited, bore tnem away after the
fashion of barbaric conquerors.
'•Before the feeling generated by these
and other indignities had arisen the In
dians were peaceful and friendly. On
finding that their primitive shell coin
could not purchase the white man's sup- '
j .ies they willingly gave labor in ex
A young woman from New York, with
■whom I became acquainted while she
was visiting San Francisco and stopping;
at one of the City hotels, de
scribed to me a "chloroform spree,'
which she declared was in vogue
among some fashionable women in the
East, and which "came nearer to being a
bit of nirvana to order" than anything
else she knew.
I determined to indulge in one of these
"sprees" for "an experience." I have had
the experience!
I stopped at the drugstore nearest my
home, and, with what I trusted seemed
like my usual unconcerned and rather
superior manner, asked the dapper clerk
for '"four bits' worth of chloroform." He
looked at me with wild but decidedly dis
composing surprise.
'llow much of what, Miss?" he asked,
and when I repeated my order with sever
ity, conscious that my ears were beginning
to burn furiously, he disappeared behind
tne fence erected to conceal him and hie
associates from the public eye when en
gaged in putting up prescriptions.
Evidently he consulted the proprietor
in his lair, for he returned looking trou
bled and interrogative, though smiling I
"What did you say you wanted it for.
Miss?" he asked, and my face turned the
color of an overripe tomato. "What did I
want it for, indeed ? I certainly could not
confide my intentions to him, so 1 grasped
at the first nebular idea which floated
across my confused brain.
"For my cat, of course," I answered
with asperity, and my questioner looked
•'Concluded to do away with old Tom?"
he said cheerily. "That's all right, of
course, but we have to be particular, you
see. I can't sell you that much anyway
withont a prescription, but 10 cents' worth
will do th« business all right."
And then while he was making a thing
o! beauty out of the small bottle by means
ol snowy paper and pink string he toid
me just how to arrange matters so as to
make poor old Tom'> taking off a painless
certainty, and I departed smiling.
Arrived at home I made my prepara
tions with eager baste, and Jying upon my
couch uncorked the vial and tipped it up
on my handkerchief two or three times.
Then I pulled the cover up over my
head and snuggled down among the pil
lows to enjoy my "bit of Nirvana."
TJgh! Was ever anything so intensely,
burningly, disgustingly sweet as the smell
of that chloroform?
I shuddered from head to foot as the
first whiff of it went up my nostrils. The
second sniff was not so bad. At the third
I became conscious oi a singular rhytnm
ical buzzing and throbbing, faint and
far off. to which I seemed compelled to
listen with the greatest intentness, and
which grew momentarily louder and
louder until it seemed like the deafening
rush and roar and rattle of a locomotive
coming at full speed through a lon
tain tunnel.
A thick cloud of pitchy smoke seemed
surrounding and half-suffocating me, and
then suddenly a shower of tiny fiery
sparks glittered ana danced in the dark
ness like millions of fairy fireflies.
The roaring grew fainter and fainter,
ana became again a rhythmical murmur!
a droning undertone, to the vibrations of
which the sparks beean to arrange them
selves, ac fine sand does on a sheet of glass
change. This work was done principally
by the squaws, who dug gold or helped in
unloading vessels when taey ventured
into the dangerous, breaker-beset harbois.
"The Indians were four years preparing
for the war which they fancied would rid
them of the whites and avenge their
"Sea otter were at tbat time plentiful
and numbers were caught by the Indians.
The usual price paid by the traders for a
skin was three rifles, and in ttus way arms
and ammunition ware purchased. These
were carefully cached for the contemplated
"The greater part of the guns traded to
the Indians were what was termed the
j United States auger gun. These were
; short-barreled affairs holding an ounce
j ball, which was discharged with a rotary
motion. The cash price paid for this gun
was $12.
"Wben rumors of impending trouble
were noised about, the traders, the ma
jority of whom were what is termed
squaw men, remarked with complacency
that under any circumstances they had no
cause to fear the Indians, as the presence
of their squaws was a protection. It was
significant that these traders were the
first to fall victims to the wrath of the
savages, and were all mercilessly tor
tured. The most prominent among them
was Ben Wright, known as an Indian
fighter, who for such services drew a pen
sion from the Government. The succes
sive slaughter of other weli-known char
acters followed and soon brought us to a
realization tbat a bloody war was full
upon us. Plans for resistance were soon
put into operation. A numoer of men in
whaieboats started to ail the settlers liv- j
ing at the mouth of Rogue' River. The
effort was futile, as the Indians attacked
them when about to land, killing all save
one of their number, who escaped to the
fort. Among them was a merchant named
Jerome, who bad taken advantage of tbe
| expedition to collect a debt from a debtor
at that point,
"Tbe instigator and leader of the In
dians. Chief John, was acknowledged by
the white officers to be a warrior inde?d,
a crafty tactician, who tried to the utter
most the military skill of his white ad- i
versaries. Besides employing the usual
signal fires resorted to by all savage?, he :
invented a unique and effective human j
telephone system. Knowing that tbe |
women of his tribe would be safer than i
men from the guns of the soldiers, he sta- !
tioned young squaws at intervals of 300
yards from one point to another between j
whicn he desired communications to pats. I
when a violin is played close to it, in a
beautiful series of geometric figures,
squares, circles, triangles, and every con
ceivable modification of those forms.
A moment or two and the bits of lire, as
they raneed themselves side by aide, lost
their individuality and. merging into each
other, became an intricate lacework of
golden threads hanging between me and a
dusky background, which now began to
glow with a soft crimson radiance, deepen
ing to purple, then brightening to vivid
scarlet, as if a forest fire were raging
fiercely but fitfuliy behind a light screen
of drifting fog.
"1 opened my eyes to find the doctor and my brother-in-law bending over me."
The shimmering meshes of the lace grew
finer and closer. The glitter and glow
faded, and before me hung a priceless
i>iece of rare old tapestry, a marvel of de
sign and workmanship, in which the
colors were softened and harmonized and
blended as only time himseif can soften
and harmonize and blend the crude re
sults of human invention.
It was an exquisite fabric, but even as I
gazed upon it with wondering delight a
creeping shiver passed over it, spoiling its
beauty, as a sudden squall roughens and
darkens the clear surface of a lake.
Thus the message was called from mouth
to mouth with rapidity and authenticity.
"When Colonel Buchanan came to the
relief of the disheartened soldiers he re
quested John's presence at camp, sending
men as hostages, and endeavoring to treat
with his red foe, but the warrior listened
to bis propositions disdain. uily. He de
sired no treaty, and, looking the officer
steadily in the eye, declared that he pre-
ferred to fi»ht him man to man — a state
ment which the angry general could not
resent, as he felt inclined to do, owing to
the dangerous position of the three sol
diers held by the Indians until the return
of the r chief.
"The Indians endeavored to keep the
waters of Rogue River between themselves
and the white men. Upon the further
The threads grew thick and heavy; the
I colors a confused mixture of conflicting
j hues, harsh, aggressive and disagreeable,
i and the artistic marvel changed into an
j immense curtain of coarse woolen che
j nille, ornamented with row after row of
I thick and heavy chenille fringe.
A sudden sense came to me that every
thing around me was made of the same
material, that I myself was covered with
a chenil.e-like fur, and that my fingers
were pieces of thick chenille stiffened
with bits of wire.
The droning undertone of sound-beats
gathered force and volume until it be-
came once again a rushing, roaring, pur
suing terror.
The heavy curtain swung toward me as
though a strong wind was blowing
against it from behind, and as it came
nearer a great wave of disgust and horror
swept over me, for I saw that the whole
fabric was composed not of chenille but of
millions of earthworms, which began
wriggling, squirming, twisting, writhing,
stretching out and contracting until the
entire drapery was a revolting mass of in
cessant, loathsome movement.
Nearer and nearer swung the odious
shore were their provisions, their stores of
ammunition and their families. For a
long time they successfully resisted the
efforts of their enemies to cross.
"The story has often been told of the
construction of canvas boats in which the
soldiers reached the opposite shore under
protection of howitzers planted upon the
bank above them, and of the destruction
by them of immense stores of dried fish,
which at that season of the year formed
the chief article of Indian food. The ber
ries upon which they might have subsisted
had not yet ripened, and their attempts to
catch further supplies of fish were frus
trated. Starvation or surrender stared
them in the face, and a dreadful scourge
of Bickness, caused by lacs of food, set in
among them.
thing, until it seemed as if it were going
to envelop and stifle me in its horrid
crawling folds. The rushinc roar came
closer and closer. A sudden blast of air,
cold and dank, as if it came from a char
riel-hou^e, struck against me with lrre
s:stible force, and I felt myself falling.
I caucht desperately at the lower fringe
of the living curtain, but the slimy, twist
ing strands slipped through my fingers or
broke in my gra-p, and then
I opened my eyes to find myself lying
limpiy over the arm of the sofa, with my
brother-in-law and the doctor bending
over me, slapping my hanas and shaking
and rolling me about with a vigor which
was decidedly painful.
I was deluged with cold water. There
was a choking smell of ammonia in the
air. The windows were wide ot>en, and
my sisier wan in the midst of a frenzied
attack of hysterics in a near-by armchair,
under the sympathetic care of the parlor
maid and the nuraegirl.
Let us pcss over the scene that followed
my return to consciousness. It seems
that instead of "behaving like an angel"
I bad groaned so sepulchrally that some
one had come in to see what was the mat
"When General Buchanan sent word
for Chief John's surrender, the Indian re
plied that througti necessity be yielded
to the great Tyee's command. When the
order was given for them to leave the
vicinity for the more fruitful northern
reservation a chief called Tagnatia sor
rowfully protested.
" 'I was born here,' said he, 'and here
I hope to lay my bones when I die. I
hare always befriended the whites and in
my heart is no enmity toward them.'
His request was unheeded and with the
Indians well known to be hostile he was
commanded to take hi 9 departure.
"Tagnatia was an Indian of line phys
ique, being fully 6 feet tall, of a benevo
lent and intelligent countenance. He was
noted among his people for his ingenuity,
and among other useful tilings could make
an excellent saddle similar to those used
by the Mexicans.
"When the Indians, some 1500 in num
ber, took their departure they passed
through the lines of the soldiers stationed
at Port Orford. They formed a procession
which was the personification of wretch
edness, poverty and despair. Old men
and women were led in ttieir blindness by
younger members of their tribe or family.
Women weak iron* sickness bore heavy
burdeus or children upon their bacKs.
Wolf-eyed warriors stepped with an air of
naughty nonchalance and a look of baf
fled hatred upon their dark faces. Troops
of children crept along, ragged, dirty, piti
ful; aud leading his people was Chief
John, mounted hi on a sorry mate, a look
of indifference on his face, his eyes, which
seemea to observe nothing, fixed straight
before him.
"Port Orford was never attacked by the
Indians, though scouts were often sent by
mem to take account of and report any
opportunity for slaughter. These scoots
traveled at night, running swiftly upon
the beach and in the water's edge to hide
their footprints. In spite of this precau
tion, however, they were usually seen by
the watchful sentinels and a shot sent
t&em precipitately into the sea.
"A number of peculiar incidents of that
bloody period remain in the memory alter
the general dark background has worn
dim. At the beginning of the outbreak, I
remember, a blockhouse, two stories in
eight and lorty-tive feet sauare, was
built on the outskirts of the little town;
in this blockhouse families found shelter
at night.
"There had been no indication of the
presence of Indians for some time, and
one of the families, growing tired of the
constant moving to and fro, decided lo re-
ter, and jumpinz to the conclusion that I
had tried to commit suicide had made
things prefy decidedly lively in that vi
cinity without delay.
I ex: lained matters as best I could and
was scolded and then forgiven, of coarse;
but my punishment came all the same.
For three days and nights 1 shuddered
through, existence, smelling, tasting,
thinking of nothing but the nauseating,
overpowering, all-pervading odor of that
abominable drug I I lived and moved
and had my being, apparently, in the
center of a cloud of chloroform vapor, and
it made me s-i-c-k! So sick that I could
neither eat nor drink nor sleep, nor do
anything but shiver and Equirm and
writhe internally and hate myself for be
ing a weak-minded idiot enougn to get
into sucn a state of utter wretchedness.
When I confessed the truth to our
doctor he looked so grave, and told me
such dreadful things about the effects of
such "sprees" on mind and body, that
nothing could tempt me to do anything
of the kind again even had my initial ex
perience been pleasurable— wnich it most
decidedly was not.
Tnank heaven, our San Francisco girls
do not feel the need of indulging in such
dissipations I And as for the girl from
New York, she can go to— New York, for
all me, and spend the rest of her experi
mental existence there, and no tear of
regret from my eyes shall sadden her de
Ar\ Easter Birth.
Again the flower-shoot cleaves the clod,
Again the grass-spear greens the sod,
Again budi dot the wiliow-rod.
The sap released within the tree
Is like & prisoned bird set free,
And uounteth upward buoyantly.
Once more at purple evening-dream
The tender-TOiced, enamored stream
Unto the rush renews its theme.
How packed with meaning this new birth
Of all tne growing things of carth —
Life springing after death and dearth!
Thou, soul, that still dost darkly grope,
Hath not this, in its vernal scope,
Some radiant resurrection hope? —
— Clinton Scollard in April Ladies' Home Jour
A Qeorgia Negro Prodigvj.
Robert Gardhire is a negro and an un
educated one, but when it comes to figures
he can't be stopped by any mathemati
cian in the world. He is a humble resi
dent of Augu-ita, and is employed as a
jaborer at the Interstate Cotton Oil Com
pany. In multiplication Gardhire is as
quick as thought. Before the average
person can set the figures down with a
pencil Gardhire has given the correct an
swer, and yet he cannot say how he
does it.
He was asked what wr.a the sum total of
99 limes 67, and without repeating the fig
ures to himself, Gardhire answered otf
nand '6633." "How much," asked some
one, "is 501 times 32?" Without stopping
a second Gardhire replied, "16,032." And
thus for over half an hour numbers were
thrown at him and he gave the correct
multiplication like a flash. In the multi
plication of fractions the man is equally
prohcient, and there seems no limit to his
powers, which are almost occult.
Gardbire cannot remember when he first
became aware of his power and does not
even know how he discovered it. He says
that when the figures are given him ne
sees their answer immediately. Simply
by glancing at a long line of figures he
can tell immediately what the addition, is.
Augusta Chronicle.
I main at home upon a certain night. Be
fore morning, however, an alarm of In
dians wai sounded, and the husband and
wife, each catching up a child, started for
the blockhouse.
"They had gone bnt a short distance
when it was discovered that some much
needed belonging had been forgotten. The
husband decided to return, bidding his
wife hasten on to the blockhouse, which
there was two ways of reaching from their
dwelling — one a short cut through the
thick bushes, and the other by a wagon
"The wife chose the former, while in
returning the husband took the road. Not
overtaking her the safety of his wife ana
child weighed upon his mind, and the
necessity of silence was entirely forgot
"He loudly called her name and she,
though realizing the danger of such au
outburst, felt compelled to answer.
"Her exact location and the progress
she was making next caused him anxiety,
and his call was repeated. As expostula
tion was impossible the wife again re
lieved his anxiety by. loudly calling her
answer. So through the strip of wood
land they went proclaiming themselves
an easy prey to the tavages, who ioriu
nately for them were biding their time or
committing depredations elaewhere."
Although surrounded by dangers the
younger portion of the community felt the
need of amusement, and a dance was ac
cordingly given.
They congregated in the only hall the
place afforded, stationed pickets to guard
against surprises, and, stacking their arms
conveniently at hand, proceeded to enjoy
themselves to the accompaniment of a
brace of fiddles.
As young children formed an -import
ant part of the community, and nurses
were not a feature of the frontier, each
mother participating in the gayety — and
youag mothers were in the majority
among the women — placed her child upon
a convenient bed in the dressing-room
and unincumbered joined the dance.
One of the babies so disposed of is to
day a prosperous business man of our city.
The sympathetic members of that party
received a snock in the unexpected appear
ance of an elderly woman who but two
weeks before had a son murdered in the
whaleboat expedition. Yet in spite of his
awful fate sbe joined in dancing and made
merry wijth the re3t. Her utter heartlnss
ness was a circumstance never forgotten
by those wno were present.
Mr. Miller exclaims bitterly against the
blindness of the Government to the iiiter
An Brcheological specimen has been
presented to the University of Pennsyl
vania by the Bucks County Historical
Society which proves that the symbol of
the cross was known and used in ancient
America before the birth of Christ. The
importance of tne facts proven by this
relic of ancient days was first made known
by Henry C. Mercer, curator of the sec
tion of American and prehistoric arch
aeology of the Museum of Science and Art
of the univeri-ity. The object which has
demonstrated the interesting facts stated
is a spindle whorl.
This whorl or weight used to eive mo
mentum to the ipindle-stick, a thin rod
about a foot long pushed lor an inch or
more through an orifice in the center of
the whorl. In discussing thosa facts Pro-
Strange Spindle Whorl Just Unearthed From a Pre-Columbian Grave With the
Symbol of the Cross, Proving That It Was Known in Ancient America
Before the Birth of Christ
[From .a photograph taken by Professor 31ereer.]
fessor Mercer said to the writer: "The
thread material used in this spindle at
tached to a distaff held in the left hand
ran to the spindle, whicn being twirled on
the knee and being left free to act, spun
or wound the thread. These whorls prove
a strange coincidence in the thread
making processes in the Old and New
Worlds. Dr. Schliemann found several
thousand whorls at Hissariik and, strange
to say, many of them were decorated with
the swastika or bent armed cross. Others
were markeil with the ordinary cross. By
the bent-armed cross is meant a cross
which resembles two letter Z's, one placed
across the other just as if each was a single
"Some of the Mexican spindle whorls
are marked with dosses, but none show
toe design in its symbolic form so clearly
as the specimen which I brought to light
ests of its law-abiding citizens in depriv
ing them of fertile and accessible landa
and bestowing them upon the unwilling
Indians, who preferred the thick woods
and barren shores from which they were
driven and which wore best suited for
their savage needs.
"God made that wild country for the
Injuns,"' declared Mr. Miller in conclu
sion, "and the Government made a fool of
itself in driving them away and giving
them land that the white man was bound
to need some day." Clara Iza Price.
Where Qarfield Was Shot.
The marble tablet thai rested in the
south wall of the ladies' waiting-room of
the Baltimore and Potomac Railway Com
pany's depot and the brass star placed in
the tiled flooring of the apartment to mark
the spot where President Garfield fell
when assassinated have been removed.
A superstitious dread on the part of the
traveling public of a constant reminder of
a tragedy seems to have led to the removal
of these monuments. The immediate
cause of the removal of the tablet and star
was the fire which occurred in the depot
on the ni^ht of March 4, which damaged
the table: to such an extent that the offi
cials of the company declared it was not
in condition to be replaced.
A portion of the marble tiling also had
to be removed, and although the metal
star placed where the President fell micht
have been put back in its old place, it was
permanently removed, and the spot is
now marked only by a piece of red tiling,
which would pass unnoticed except to
those familiar with the place and the
tragedy that was enacted there.
Officials of the company stated that
there was no purpose in removin<* the
monum-nts except that they haa been
damaged by fire. From otner sources it
was learned that there had been much
complaint on tha part of the travei
ing public of having the horrors of the
assassination constantly recalled to their
minds when going through the depot or
waiting for trains. To such an extent has
this feeling prevailed that the company
has long regarded the reminder of the
tragedy as a disadvantage, and it is be
lieved by many that the officials were only
too glad to have an excuse to obliterate
the monuments. — St. Louis Globe-Demo
There is but one monarch of Europe
who can show the scar of a wound re
ceived in war. It is Kin? Humbert, who
received a severe saber cut at the battle
of Cu«tozza.
the other day. It was recently obtained —
the specimen— by J. W. Detweilerof Beth
lehem, Pa., from an ancient and probably
pre-Columbian «rave in the Rio Cauca
Valley, in the Republic of Colombia. Hera
the idea of cross symbolism in ancient
America, rather than mere decoration by
means of intersecting lines, is well
Drought out by the eight smaller crosses
between the arms of the central cross.
"To my mind the specimen shows —
First, the cross symbol eiia:ed in ancient
America before the coming of Christian
ity; second, the cross symbol carved on a
spindle whorl by ancient Americans in
just the same manner as ancienv Asiatics
and Europeans had carved crosses on
spindle v.-horls before the birth of Chris
tianity; third, the identity of a peculiar
process for spinning in the Old and New
Worlds before the discovery of America
by Columbus."
A study of the face of the whorl found
in South America shows it to be ot ex
ceeding age. Its general style and work
manship make it plainly apparent that it
is the result of the labor of the people who
inhabitateu that part of South America
now known as Colombia, before the star
of Bethlehem startled the shepherds. In
some particulars it resembles in great
degree stone objects found in the
monuments of the mound-Duilders, and
also calls to mind certain earrings on im
plements of atone used by the Aztecs,
Mexico's early Directly acrow
the center, or rather around it, is a belt,
large on each side in point of width, nar
rowing down until in the center tha longi
tudinal lines come close together.

xml | txt