The Sunday Oregonian. (Portland, Ore.) 1881-current, April 17, 1910, SECTION SIX, Page 4, Image 76

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A. C Smith, Now in Eightieth Year,
Tells Graphic Story of His Life-Long
Friendship with Chief Joseph, and the
Long Contest Between the Whites and
the Indians for the Possession of Fertile
ON A WARM Summer day, 39 years
ago, A. C. Smith, accompanied by
Stote Kiy.i, roile up the banks of
Wallowa. Kiver through the then un
settled, wild region of Wallowa Coun
ty. . A. C. Smith, known among the
Indians as "Tie" (chief). or "Pow
Wow" (Interpreter) Smith, had coma
from the little town of Union, -where
he was engaged in practicing law, in
the interest of a party of settlers who
desired to locate In the recently opened
valley of the Wallowa. After reaching
Wallowa Kiver he was joined by Stote
Kiyi. The swarthy Stote Kiyi was a
firm friend of A. C. Smith, for a short
time before the latter had assisted him
in getting: back a horse that a low
lived fellow had attempted to take
from him.
At every cluster of wigwams up the
Wallowa River Stote Kiyi introduced
" Tie Smith," and the two were warmly
welcomed. About noon they reached
Wallowa Lake, which lies at the foot
nf the highest mountain in Oregon,
Mount Eagle Cap. Here they halted
at the wigwam of Chief Joseph, who
afterwards became one of the most
famous chieftains of Amerira. In a
place of unsurpassed natural beauty
A. C. Smifli and Chief Joseph were in
troduced by Stote Kiyi. and from that
time began their friendship, which
ended only with the, death of Joseph
In 1004.
Although now in his SOth year, A.
C Smith, who is one of the most
highly-honored pioneer residents ' of
Wallowa County, and who lives at
present in Enterprise, recall?, vividly
the details of the stirring scenes con
nected with the first settlements in
the Wallowa Valley, and of the long
controversy with the Indians over its
possession. In an interview recently
held with him he related graphically
the story of his acquaintance with
Joseph, which began in the manner in
dicated In the preceding paragraph.
"Joseph was not as tall as he is usual
ly supposed to have been," said Mr.
Smith. "He was 5 feet 11 inches three
inches taller than I. and weighed over
2no pounds. At the time I first met him
ho was 30 years old, dignified in appear
ance, and of great muscular strength. He
politely invited Stote Kiyi and I to din
ner. We accepted and were! soon sitting
on the dirt floor of his large wigwam,
while the squaws passed the dinner of
camas bread, trout and venison.
. "In. the afternoon we all went down
to the lake shore, and, since the day was
very warm, I suggested that we have a
swim in the clear, cold water. But Stote
Kiyi quickly snatched my arm. and,
drawing me back, told me that a great
horned monster lay treacherously con
cealed beneath the smiling surface. Once
an Indian warrior, he said, defied the
monster and leaped into the water. But
his day for removing the bloody scalp
was over and his war cry was heard no
more, for he was drawn down into a
threat whirlpool made by the lashing of
the. furious dragon, and was never seen
sgaiii. Although the Indians go on the
lake in canoes, they will not to this dav
venture Into the water, so thoroughly do
they bolieve this legend."
Neither Mr. Smith nor Chief Joseph
c ould foresee the great struggle that was
toon to take place between the white
man and the Indian over the possession
of , the splendid valley watered by the
Wallowa River. But even then the
;louds were beginning to hover on the
horizon. For many years past this val
ley had been the Summer home of the
Nez Perce tribe known as the "Josephs."
The streams teemed with fish, while deer,
t!k and bear were abundant upon the
hills, the spotted ponies fed on grass that
almost covered them; huckleberries, ca
mas and kouse delighted the papooso
fncumbered squaws, while the dark Indian
boys had many occasions to rejoice when
their arrows brought to earth an eagle,
yioiise or pheasant.
Mr. Smith came West across the plains
from Ills home inlllinois in 1SG2 and set
tled In Vnion County, but seven years
before this time the controversy had be
gun over the possession of Wallowa
i 'ounty. for at the council held in Walla
Walla in May, 1S55. the father of Chief
Joseph, Joseph the Elder, came near los
ing bis ancestral home.
Seventeen tribes were present at the
Walla. Walla council, there being 25,000
warriors from the Xez Perces alone. The
Nez Perces were encamped on the spot
where the home of President Penrose, of
Whitman College, now stands. As in the
past wars this tribe had shown a friendly
spirit toward the whites. T. T. Stevens,
. representative for Washington, and Joel
Palmer, representative. from Oregon,
were inclined to show pronounced defer
ence to Lawyer, the leader of the Nez
What a scene it must have bepn when
the pale-faced generals gathered at the
pow-wow with their red brothers, to ar
bitrate the giant question of land settle
ment and general peace. The council pro
gressed smoothly, the peaje pipe was
fmnliPil by all. It seemed likely that the
council would close satisfactorily for
eh tribe, when like a war cry on a mid
night' stillness caine the report to Joseph
the Elder that the No Perces. without
his knowledge, had signed away his bo
loved Wallowa. He at once appealed to
his fellow chieftains. Big Thunder. Three
Feathers and other prominent warriors
promised to help him in keeping this land
of his fathers. There were dark threats
of returning warfare, when T. I. Stevens
r-nd General Palmer decided to recon
sider the treaty. A map was furnished
Joseph the Elder, upon which he traced
with a pencil tho reservation he desired.
It is needless to say that he included the
Wnllowa Valley.
But Joseph the Elder was yet to en
counter difficulties over his Wallowa
Summer home, for iu a council eight
years later. June 18G3, the Nez Perces
signed away this reservation in spite
of the violent opposition of Joseph.
Not a member of the Joseph tribe ever
signed the treaty, nor ever acknowl
edged Its validity, and thus they were
known as "non-treaty" Indians. For
the few remaining years of his life Jo
seph the Elder continued to make an
nual visits to Wallowa. He died about
1S65 and was burled five miles from
the head of Wallowa Canyon, near the
place where the City of Wallowa now
Joseph the Kldor was succeeded by
his son. Chief Joseph, "the Napoleon
of the Nez Perces. the ablest general
who ever led a hand of hostile In
dians." The full name of this chief
was Hin-mar-too-we-ya-lot-kit. which
means in general that he was the sea,
the lake, the mountain, the thunder
and the little birds that sing. Edward
S. Ellis, the historian, speaks of Jo
tpph as "the greatest Indian chief since
the days of Teo.umseh." At the death
of his father Chief Joseph was well
re.rsed in the Wallowa controversy, and
carried out. his parent's policy In his
effort to retain this home, like his
father, never acknowledging the valid
ity of the treaty. madebyvthe Nez
Perces and the white people. How
ever, the ' treaty ' was not given much
serious consideration by the Indians
until June, 1S72, when A. C. Smith
began the herculean task of superin
tending the building of a road into the
new region and bridging the Wallowa
Kiver. They saw then that action
must be taken at once or their choice
lands would be taken' by the whites.
At the top of, Wallowa Hill the In
dians set up a stake, covered with
hieroglyphics, announcing that this
marked the boundary of Joseph's res
ervation, and that no white man was
to carry on work beyond this point.
But A. C. Smith, armed with shovel and
Winchester, and assisted by an old
man named Donley and a half-breed
Indian boy, Elic, passed the boundary
stake. In tne latter part of June the
roadbuilders were stopped by a party
of Indians under the leadership of
Chief Joseph's nephew. Little Joseph,
or Peo Peo Tobet. On being ordered
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to stop work, A. C. Smith threw down
his shovel and picked up his Winches
ter. He spoke the Indian jargon of
some 200 words fluently, and he to'd
Peo Peo Tobet in a decisive way char
acteristic of him even now that tire
land belonged lawfully to the whfte
people, and that he was determined
to proceed with the road in order that
the settlers might get into the new
country. Peo Peo Tobefs handsome
face showed violent anger, but after 15
minutes argument he rode away, say
ing that he would return in two weeKS
and if he found A. C. Smith at work
consequences would be serious.
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NKW YORK, April 16. (Special.) It has been reported and denied
that Mrs. Adolph Ladenburg will marry John Jacob Astor. Mrs. Laden
burg is well known socially in New York and London. She was form
erly Emily Stevens.
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Before the two weeks had, expired
A. C. Smith was called to La Grande
to speak for the whites in a big coun
cil. It was July 4. 1672, that his coun
cil was held on the spot now known as
'"Old La Grande." For the Indians
Young Chief,' Yellow Hawk, Winan
snoot and Chief Joseph were present,
while the 200 white people in attend
ance were represented in voice by Mr.
Smith and Mr. Meacham. The town of
Meacham received its name from the
latter. After a great deal of discus
sion and argument on both sides it was
decided to send A. C. Smith and J. H.
Stevens to Lapwai to counsel further
JLmmimmmmmq ' -2tuZ2& ZVZ, fl55ZS&5' cPJLyir JtScrsHstf?
with Joseph, Eagle-of-the-Llght and
other Nez Perce leaders.
' ' W e were met at Asotin by a com
mittee from Lapwai," said A. C Smith.
"and conducted to the scene
of the I
council. Perin Whitman, a nephew of
Marcus Whitman, the missionary, was
interpreter for Joseph. I tell you. we
were outdone in eloquence, for Whitman
understood the Nez Perce language per
fectly, and interpreted all Joseph said
with fiery oratory, being in full sym
pathy with the Indians. But we had
the law on our side. Although I. I.
Stevens and Joel Palmer had given Wal-
Iowa to old Chief Joseph in ISoo there
was evidently no written record of the
change in the treaty. So we had both
the treaty of 1855, and the treaty of 1863.
Wre tried to make the Indians under
stand that .they were in the wrong. Out'
they were very dissatisfied with the
council, and left the tepee in gloomy dis
In the Fall of '72 the scattered settlers
in Wallowa Valley were badly scared by
an order from the Indians to leave in
three days or a massacre would follow.
Forts were erected, and firearms col
lected, but the Indians thought better of
their threat, and the settlers were at
peace once more.
For over a year after that threatened
trouble Joseph tried to persuade the Gov
ernment to return Wallowa to him. Hia
hopes were frustrated by the interfer
ence of Governor L. F. Grover who sent
an indignant letter to the Secretary of
the Interior repiesenting the view of the
white pioneers. In 1X74 the indian Bureau,
in consequence of Governor Grover's let
ter, abandoned the thought of estab
lishing- a reservation in Northeastern
Chief Joseph-must now fjght if he dwelt
in the land of his fathers. Much has
been written of the Nez Perce War of
1S77, which began by the murder of a
eiuk old man named Divine on Salmon
River, in Idaho. Wallowa Valley, the
golden apple of the war. rested in quiet
while th savagery of Indian warfare was
enacted in other quarters for Us posses
sion. . Chief Joseph ordered tnat no out
rages on women and children should be
committed, but his order was often dis
obeyed by the blood-thirsty warriers, 400
in number, who fought under him.
In a. two-days battle on the Clearwater
Joseph was defeated by General Howard.
Then began his famous 1500-mile retreat
toward the British border. By his adroit
ness in leading this remarkable retreat
hief Joseph compelled the admiration
of Ins pursuers. General Merritt said
that, taking all things into consideration,
it was one of the most wonderful ex
ploits in history. Even the squaws brave
ly assisted in the tight, proving them
selves of no. mean ability, as is shown in
the case of one. old woman named. To-ko-map-po
who was captured by the white
soldiers. She cleverly succeeded in get
ting the knife from the belt of the sold
ier behind whom she was tied on a horse;
plunging the sharp, instrument into his
heart she made her escape on the horse,
and rejoined her people. The wife of
Joseph became th mother of a little girl
during the retreat, while his only other
child, a. girl of 10 years, was lost In the
mountains, and was probably devoured
by wild beasts.
In s-pite of difficulties the determined
chieftain pushed on. but at last General
Howard 'was reinforced by General Nel
son A. Miles, and the campaign soon
closed. An unusually heavy enowfall
led Joseph to believe that the whites
would not advance. He accordingly took
refuge In rifle pits at Bear Paw Moun
tain. Montana, but Howard marched on
through the blinding snow, and Joseph's
flight was over and allowa lost! As
he advanced to General Miles the day
following the final fight, October 4, 1S77.
Joseph pointed to the eky and said:
"From where the sun now stands I
fight no more against the white man."
For 22 years Chief Joseph was far from
the Wallowa Valley. During eight
years of that long period his little band
lived as exiles in Indian Territory, and
for 14 years on the Colville Reservation
in Washington, the latter, home being
occupied . jointly with Moses and hia
tribe. Although seemingly contented
Joseph never lost sight of the beautiful
Wallowa country. The desire to recover
it burned as strongly in his heart as
in the days when he shed his blood for
it. He resolved to make a final effort
by .appealing to the Government.
At the request of General Miles he vis-
. ited the East at the dedication of the
Grant monument in li7. His suit of
three Indians attracted much attention,
the handsome face and magnificent
physique of Joseph himself awakening
pronounced admiration. He displayed
seen Interest in the- East, expressing hir
impressions in the following language:
"The East is strange to me. I do not
understand it: at all. The green of the
trees and the grass is not here. The
quiet of the woods is missing. It is all
dirt and noise and hurry, and the people
are strange. I notice many things a I
walk, and they puzzle me. The white
men have Put UP buildings which one
cannot see to - the top of. The white
men are very wonderful and skillful to
do some of these things. They send the
cars along on a rope and the buildings
up into the fky. They have railroads
in the air, and- they run up and down
the buildings without moving themselves.
I have heard much of these wonders in
Washington, and one or two of them I
saw in Portland once. But' here in New
York it is all wonders, and I do not
understand how the people live. It is
good for me to see these things before 1
die, for I do not expect ever to leave
my people tor so long again."
In August, 1S99, a party of four Indians
drove, into Enterprise. the prosperous
county seat of Wallowa County, Without
delay .they proceeded to the courtroom,
or City Haall. where a large crowd of
citizens was awaiting their arrival, for
word had been sent that Chief Joseph
Mlxs Pauliae Marr.
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NEW YORK, April 16. (Special. )-
itythat William Collier, the comedian and wit. will marry
Marr some time In June. Miss Marr is a remarkably pretty- brunette,
who began her stage career in the chorus and graduated to play
an important part in Colter's company. She has been with him for
three years. This will be Mr. Collier's second marriage. His first
wife was Louise Allen, who died several months ago. Mr. Collier's
wedding will be followed by a honeymoon to the Pacific Coast in time
for Collier to witness the Jeffries-Johnson fight.
H -
would counsel win. u; people of Wallowa
County regarding the possibility of pur
chasing a reservation there. The In
dians were attired in citizen dress, and
occasioned no small stir as they walked
with A. C. Smith to the front of the
hall, and at once began the business at
A. C. Smith was interpreter for his
friend, a friend whom he had not "seen
for 22 years. "Joseph made no attempt
at oratory," said Mr. Smith. "He stated
in a straightforward manner the object
AViillnm Collier.
-It is said on reliable
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of his visit. He wanted all the land,
northeast of Wallowa River and Trout
Creek, except the towns of Joseph and
Enterprise. Wallowa Lake was ulso
to be included in the reservation. For
their land the people were to receive
ample pity from the Government."
Nither Mr. Smith nor any other ciii
zen of the county would for, an instant
listen to such an absurd theory, but
Joseph was undaunted by his failure to
obtain their consent to his scheme. He
returned to Colville, and after a brief
stay with his tribe he hastened to Wash
ington, where he interviewed the Indian
agent and the Secretary of the Interior.
As a result of this second visit to
Washington an inspector, James Mc
Laughlin, was appointed to accompany
Joseph to "Wallowa County, and to look
into the advisability of granting this
tribe of the Nez Perces 70.''i
acres as a reservation. James and Mc
Loughlin first went to Colville where
the inspector found the Indians well pro
vided for. and generally contented. Iia -nig
land that was equal to Wallowa
for agricultural, grazing, hunting and
fishing purposes. It would seem thni
Joseph stood nlmost alone Ui his desire
to return to the old homo of the tribe.
Having gathered all the data, he d"
sired on the Colville Rosrvat in, Mr
Laughlin, accompanied by Joseph. Pen
I'eo Toliot, Interpreter Edward Kabain. (
and Camp-tender Philip Andrews, pro
seeded to Wallowa County where he
found the sentiment of the people
strongly against a reservation. H de
cided that it would be practically impos
sible to establish u reservation iir the
progressive, well-developed district, and
accordingly niad his report to the Gov
ernment unfavorable to the old chief
tain. So the long controversy closed.
Joseph was confident that the report
of McLaughlin would crush his hope.
Mi-. Smith says that ho was gloomy dur
ing that last visit to his Doyhooc!
home. In a photograph taken of Joseph
Hnd of Mr. Smith at this time the face
of the former is touched with a subtle
sadness. In June, he made his last
visit to Wallowa lake, Mr. Smith go
ing with his party.
Silently the grim old chieftain stood
on the spot where oneo the tires of hia
wigwam burned, and gazed at th crys
tal waters in which the lofty mountains
were perfectly reflected. Who can know
what recollections of the past, and what
savage longings burned in his heart!
Only to breathe oneo more the breath
of freedom, only to scale to the summit
of Eagle Cap unfettered! There would he
behold a ridge where once his ponies
fed on the tender grass.
But now he would see from Ragle Cap
fields of growing crain. and busy towns
the whito man has taken it all. Even
the sacred spot where rests tho bones
of his father, Joseph, he cannot call his
own. He must look for gladness in the
happy hunting grounds, for in sadness
and disappointment he must resign for
ever the happy hunting grounds of
Four years after his last visit to
Wallowa county Chief Joseph dropped
dead while peacefully sitting at his
camp-fire in the upper Columbia country.
Mr. Smith is still vigorous and alert. Al
though he has retired from active law
practice, which was his occupation for
years, lie tends his garden, and dis
charges his duties as Justice of the
Peace with the same zeal displayed by
him in his early strenuous contest
against Indian craft, and savage sur
roundings for the settlement of th Wal
lowa Valley.