Selected Newspaper Coverage
of the
Southern San Joaquin Valley, and Vicinity

Los Angeles Star, May 7, 1853, p. 2, col. 4


Editors of the Star: - Indian depredations, so common in this Southern portion of our State, is a matter of such frequency and importance, that any light upon the subject to the community would no doubt be of interest. About a month ago when the Indians from the Tejon were brought here on a visit I made all the inquiry possible to get information relative to the supposed horse thief. They then told me that they knew the Indians that annoyed us so much. I asked them to make a visit to those Indians, as they said they were friendly with each other, which they promised to do. On the second of the present month, one of those captains came in to advise me of the result of those visits, which was as follows:

These horse thieves inhabit the region of country bounded on the north by Owen's Lake and on the head branches of Kerne (sic) River, about three days travel from the Tejon, in a north-easterly direction. They are a small tribe, not supposed to number over 50 warriors. The captain of these thieves told the Tejon Indians that the parties which steal horses are headed by two renegade Indians who have each about seven or eight young men that follow them, and that these two divide their time so as one can come every new moon; and that they always take animals. They kill a large portion of these, and sell the balance to the Indians living north of Owen's Lake. They also sell to the American emigrants for blankets, etc.

The Tejon Indians assure me that the captains of these thieves are opposed to these Indians stealing and are as they believe, disposed to give up the principal thieves for punishment. On the Tejon, Indians have now promised to go in a large body, on another visit, and try to capture the thieves. They say if they fail that they would like to join a party of Americans and go and take them. They say by going to the Tejon that they will go as guides, and that there is good grass and water every night. That the Indians are easy of access and can be easily captured by a small party, they have usually been pursued, down the Mohave river, is much farther and a bad country, neither water nor grass, and on that route they always manage to elude their pursuers.

I am satisfied that the above statement is correct, and I am also satisfied that any treaty made with these Indians without their first feeling of power would be of no avail. How easy for those interested to make up a party and pay them a visit and convince them that they can no longer steal with impunity.

B. D. Wilson.

Los Angeles Star, Saturday July 16, 1853, p. 2, col. 3

FROM THE TULARE VALLEY - Mr. Joel H. Brooks furnishes us with some interesting items of news form the Tulare Valley.

Capt. Aubrey passed through the Tejon a few days since, on his way to the Santa Fe. He has twenty mountaineers in his company, all well armed and equipped. Capt. Aubrey will explore a new route to Santa Fe, a more direct route through the mountains than any hitherto traveled.

Lt. McLane's detachment returned to Fort Miller from Walker's Pass, on the 6th. Of July - it will be remembered that Lt. McLane was ordered by Gen. Hitchcock, to proceed to Walker's Pass to meet Lt. Beale, the Indian Superintendent, and with instructions to remain there until the 1st of July. Lt. Beale had not arrived at the Pass as late as July 6th. Alex Godey and Henry Edwards are encamped near Kern River, awaiting Lt. Beale's arrival.

The Four Creeks country is well overflowed, causing the total destruction of crops in that neighborhood. Woodville, the county seat of Tulare, is under water, and several families who have been engaged in farming have left there and are now on their way to this city. Vicetia, eight miles below Woodville, is also overflowed.

On Kings River the crops are very fine.

Daily Alta California July 21, 1853 Page 2, Col. 2


Leut. McLean has just returned from an expedition from Fort Miller to the much talked of but heretofore little known Walker's Pass. The very existence of such a pass has been doubted by any. Lieut. McLean, with a small detachment of troops, left Fort Miler (130 miles south of Stockton) on the 15th of June, and travailing to the south and east, he crossed successively King's river, the Four Creeks, Tule river and Kearn river, and reached the Pass on the 26th of June, a distance of 140 miles from Fort Miller, though by the route more to the east, as traveled by Lt. McLean to avoid the high waters, the distance was 190 miles.

Walkers's Pass is about six miles in length, and from three hundred yards to a mile and a half in breadth, the narrowest place being at the eastern extremity of the Pass.

The Pass is free from obstructions of all kinds; a buggy can be driven through it without difficulty. The mountains rise on either hand from the Pass to the height of about 7,000 feet, but are neither precipitous nor very rough. They are without timber immediately at the Pass, but at a short distance from the Pass they are covered with heavy timer, the prevailing growth being oak and pine.

At the opening of Pass to the east, the sandy desert commences, the mountains east of the Mohahve about a hundred miles, being distinctly visible

Lieut. McLean is of opnion that thee is no serious natural obstacle to a railroad from the Pass to the valley o0f the San Joaquin, and he describes the country a very beautiful and interesting, well watered and timbered.

Lieut M. found the Indians throughout his expedition friendly and well disposed.

Lieut. McLean left the Pass on his return, the 1st instant, up to which time Mr. Beale, the superintendent of Indian Affairs, had not reached the Pass.

Daily Alta California August 10, 1853, Page 2, Col. 2

Tehone Pass, August 2, 1853 [original has typo 1852]

GENTS - We arrive here from your city on the 30th of July and found this place considerably enlivened by the presence of Dr. Wm. M. Gwin, with an escort form Fort Miller. They were exploring the country for the purpose of ascertaining the practicability of establishing a railroad through some of the passes at the Southern end of this valley. What will be the result of their explorations is more than I can say. They only remained here one day, or rather part of a day. I suppose it was long enough, however, to five the doctor an opportunity of making a "big blow" when he gets back to San Francisco.

Everything is quiet her at present, the Indians are gathering their crops and feasting as only Indians know how to feast.

In the census of 1852 the number of Indians of this country were estimated at eight thousand four hundred. The census was made by a gentleman y the name of Smith, under a mosquito bar, at the Four Creeks, and it is a great wonder that he did not make it nine thousand while he was about it.

To give you some information in regard to the number of Indians in this country, I will state that I have been at every rancheria in it, and that there are between one thousand and fifteen hundred Indians in this country, including those east of the mountains.

We start day afer to morrow on a trip tp the east side of the mountains. We probably shall go up some two or three hundred miles. When we return you shall have the result of our expedition. Edwards and Goady are still on Keno [Kern] river, waiting for Lieut. Beale

Yours, respectfully, J. H. B.

Daily Alta California August 24, 1853, Page 2, Col. 2

TEJON PASS August 15, 1853

Messrs Editors: - There was a party of Americans passed through here on the 9th of this month from the States, on their way to the mines, in company with a small party from your section of country. They stayed at my place all night , and the next day I went to pilot them through to Kern river, leaving one Samuel Lago, at my camp in charge of the same. The next day after I left home Lago got a horse from the Indians, telling them that he was going after me, and that he would pay them for the same on his return. He overtook a portion of the party that had started from camp with me on a slough which leaves Kern River about six miles below the crossing, telling them that my companions, who had left some ten or twelve days before on a trip up the east side of the mountains, had returned, that they had been driven back by the Indians and would have been killed if it had not been for the interference of an Indian chief who went with them as a guide, by the name of Vizenty from this place; and that they (my companions) had sent him to the Four Creeks for powder and lead, and that we were going up on the return to fight them, etc. And after telling them almost any quantity of falsehoods in regard to these Indians at the Tejon, he induced six or seven of the party to return with him from their camp on the slough, (without seeing me), at I had left before his arrival and went up to the crossing on the river, with the express purpose of seizing all the horses that the Indians have at the Tejon making a clean sweep of them all and running them up on the west side of the lake to San Joaquin and there dispose of them The news of this expedition reached me at the crossing in the evening and they had left in the morning, intending to commit their depredations that night. I immediately saddled a horse and started back with the intention of getting to the Tejon before they did. I ran my horse until he fell under me, and then I ran some fifteen miles of foot. I arrived at the first rancheria about 1 o'clock at night and sent runners to all the other rancherias telling them to collect their horses and arm themselves for combat, and meet me at Vizenty's rancheia the place where they intended to commence operations. I then ran home, expecting to find my companions, and learned that they had not arrived. I then went to Vizenty's and got there about fifteen minutes before the row commenced, and in time to stop the shedding of blood. The robbers fired at a couple of Indians, doing them no injury, however. They stole one horse, found out that we were ready for them and left.

Yours, J.H.B.

Los Angeles Star, Saturday, September 3, 1853, p. 2, col. 2.

LIEUT. BEALE - Lieut Beale, Superintendent of Indian affairs, arrived in Los Angeles on the 27th ult, himself and company all being in fine health. They left Westport, Missouri, on the 15th June; but lost 18 days in consequence of having upset a canoe with their arms and equipment, in crossing Grand River, a branch of the Colorado. This accident compelled them to delay at that point, until a new supply could be got from Fort Massachusetts, New Mexico - a distance back of 400 miles, which Mr. Heath accomplished in 18 days. They traveled with pack mules altogether, having no other provisions than pinole and pemican, and wild game with which their hunter supplied them plentifully every day. From Fort Massachusetts they took the route described by Leroux nice (?) statement quoted at length by Col. Benton in a recent letter, and which our readers are referred to:

The distance from the Fort to Los Angeles being 1,077 miles Lt. Beale describes it as abounding the whole way, to within 150 miles of Los Angeles, with wood, water and the most luxuriant pasturage - an easy wagon road, and perfectly practicable for that proposed railroad. They had no guide, who might have enabled them to cut off much of this distance. The distance from Fort Massachusetts to Westport, or Independence, is about 750 miles. They had no trouble with Indians.

On Wednesday last, the Lieut's company - nine in all - with B. D. Wilson, Esq. Indian Agent for southern California, started for San Francisco, by the Tejon, Tulare Valley etc., intending to visit the Indians on the route; they expect to return in about a month to complete the necessary arrangements for establishing a Reserve for the Indians of Los Angeles and San Diego counties, either at San Luis Rey Mission, or Temecula. Too much praise cannot be given to Lit. Beale, for the energy and perseverance which he has shown in conducting his little expedition, so successfully to its destination - occupying in all only fifty traveling days. We trust fervently, that now we are to have a complete change for the better, in the aspect of Indian affairs for California, which must take place if the efforts of the government and its agents meet with a proper sympathy and cooperation, from the people of this state.

Daily Alta California September 22, 1853, Page 2, Col. 2

INDIAN AFFAIRS - Mr. Beale talk with the Indians

E. F. Beale, Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the State of California, and Benjamin D. Wilson, Indian Agent for the Southern District, arrived in this city from Stockton yesterday morning Messrs. Beale and Wilson were in the Tejon Valley two weeks, during which time couriers were dispatched to every part of the surrounding country to acquaint the tribes in that region of the fact of Mr. Beale's presence, and calling upon them to assemble that he might declare to them the intentions of the U.S. Government in relation to their affairs. On the 12th of September the chiefs and delegates of tribes had gathered to the number of 1,045, when a Council was held. Mr Beale addressed the Indians through Mr. Wilson, who translated his remarks into Spanish, which language is understood by many of the chiefs.

Mr. Beale first spoke to the Indians of his arrival amongst them, and informed them of some of the causes of his delay. He told them that he was glad to see that they were so extensively engaged as they were in the cultivation of their land, and spoke of the immense advantages that would accrue to them from a practice of agricultural pursuits. The object of his coming, he said, was to do them all happy, and intended to assist them with every means at his command to become so. The principal means proposed to them was the establishment of reserves, upon which they were to live, and where they would be free from the encroachments of the white man. For this purpose it was necessary to collect them together, and that they should unite cordially in the furtherance of such measures as he should introduce among them for their benefit. He explained to them the difference between the proposed Indian reserve establishments and the Missions of California, with whose former history they were acquainted. In the Missions they had been required to labor the benefit of the government and the church; on their reserves, they would be laboring for themselves. The whites were encroaching on them from every quarter, and would continue to do so till their establishments were in operation, when all their rights would be respected. The method of labor was not intended to be burdensome, but would be adapted to their physical capacity. A system of rewards and punishments were to be arranged by themselves for their own government and protection. Their captains and head men were also to be chosen by themselves.

Mr. Beale spoke to them of the folly of family feuds and jealousies so common among Indian tribes; while mingling with the whites they could never rise to an equal station with them; but among themselves a firm feeling of friendship and equality should exist. He explained to them that, under no circumstances, could he possibly derive any individual benefit from their labor, but that he was the chief of them all and should labor to promote their own interests. Their organization upon the reserves would be beneficial, not alone to themselves, ut they would be building up pleasant homes for their children, where they could live in peace and happiness, reaping the benefits of the labors of the present generation. Here they could build up a city and educate their children for future usefulness.

Mr. Beale informed them that until they should have so far advanced as to be able to support themselves by their labor, assistance would be rendered them by the government, and that they need ??? under no apprehension of suffering from want,. Hunting and fishing were to be allowed them, and though for the present, their property and crops ere to be as common stock, the ultimate intention was to allow a piece of land to each family

As there probably were among them many Christian Indians who had been in the missions, provisions should be made for their spiritual wants. The padres, he explained to them, however, were not to be allowed any control over their temporal affairs.

The alterative was offered them of acquiescence in the will of the Government, or extermination by disease in mixing with the white race. The Council continued ten days, at the end of which time the tribes agreed to accept the propositions of the Government made to them by Mr. Beale. Ploughs and other agricultural implements, as well as some stock, are to be furnished them, when they will commence moving on to the land designated as their reserves. The through knowledge of the Indians of California possessed by Mr. Wilson, and the great influence he has over them, were sources of great assistance to Mr. Beale in his negotiation. Mr Wilson vouched to the Indians for the good intentions of the Government on the present occasion, and assured them that although previous failures had been made, all Mr. Beales' promises should now be fulfilled.

Mr. Beale was obliged to leave the Four Creeks without holding his contemplated Council with the Indians there, in consequence of business which required his immediate attention in San Francisco. We congratulate Mr. Beale, and are sue all our citizens will join us in the congratulation upon the success which has thus far attended his labors.

Daily Alta California October 17, 1853, Page 2, Col. 2


A deputation of young men from the tribes about Grass Valley arrived on Saturday evening by the Sacramento boat. They will leave for Los Angeles in the first boat and go thence to the reserve set apart for them. They will remain upon the reserve a short time, travel over a considerable portion of it and then come back to report to their tribes. If there report be favorable, it is probable that all the tribes will move down to the reserve in the spring. The Indians are distrustful but it is hoped they will have confidence in Lieut. Beale, who has taken hold of the duties of his office with a proper energy and feeling for the unfortunate Indians. Nearly all the whites lying near the Indians are anxious for their removal, except a few selfish traders who profit by the ignorance and vices of the red men.

Daily Alta California November 1, 1853 Page 2, Col. 2

INDIAN MATTERS - Superintendent Beale is pushing forward Indian arrangements with great energy. The Tejon has been selected for one of the Indian Reserves. By those acquainted, this is pronounced to be one of the most suitable localities for that purpose that could have been found in all the southern portion of the State, for its many advantages. And it seems to be a place above all others where the Indians are disposed to settle. The climate is healthy and the soil is surprisingly fertile.

Superintendent Beale is now on his way to the Tejon, with several wagons loaded with farming implements etc., where he intends to make a large collection of red men the present season. We understand that it is his intention to bring all the various tribes, as far north as the Yuba and Feather rivers, and settle them at the Tejon.

A large shipment of grain has been received at San Pedro, which will be immediately forwarded to that point; besides this, a lot of beef cattle will be started in a few days, from this vicinity, to meet the wants of the many tribes emigrating there.

Lieut. B. we understand, is expected to arrive in this city in about fifteen days. From hence, in company with B. D. Wilson, Esq., Indian Agent, he will go to select a suitable reserve for the Indians of Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Bernardino counties. These arrangements will doubtless, have a salutary effect upon our community, as they will remove from temptation a population whose appetites and instincts tend only to drunkenness and vice. Certainly every good citizen will rejoice to see this class, placed where they will be cared for and compelled to pursue some profitable occupation.

San Francisco, Daily Herald, December 29, 1853 Page 2, Col. 3


Camp Wessles, Four Creeks

California, December 12, 1853

Sir: - I have the honor to submit the following brief report of a skirmish this morning between a detachment of U. S. troops under my command, and the Yoka tribe of Indians. It appears, from good authority, That two Indians belonging to the aforesaid tribe, of which Francisco is head chief did, about 1st of September last, steal and kill an ox, the property of a farmer by the name of Martin, who resides on the Kah-we-yah river, about 10 miles above the town of Woodville. On Tuesday, the 6th inst., I had a talk with the chief Francisco, at which time he said he knew the guilty Indians, and made the most solemn promise to bring them in the following day; at the same time expressing a willingness to have them punished for the offence. Wednesday came, but no Francisco or guilty Indians. I waited until Thursday the 8th neither Francisco nor the Indians making their appearance, I then took twelve men and visited the Yoka rancheria, in order, if possible, to find out what had become of him. The Indians there present had told me that Francisco was in the mountains, and promised to bing him into my camp on the following day. This promise as accepted. I waited this time until the evening of the 11th, without seeing or hearing of Francisco; but becoming tired of such trifling; I determined to pursue a different course with them in future..

On the morning of the 12 instant I left camp at 4 o'clock, taking a detachment of 14 men, with the intention of making prisoners of all the Indian men I might find at the ranchería, and keeping them as such until Francisco brought in the guilty Indians. We reached the ranchería, a distance of five miles from my camp (The trail being very difficult one to travel at night). Just a daylight, and surrounded it before the Indians were aware of our presence. I had previously cautioned the men against firing on the Indians unless they showed a disposition to fight. The Indians were much frightened; nevertheless a few commenced shooting their arrows at the men. Their fire was promptly returned, killing tow and wounding several other, who made their escape in the thick brush surrounding the ranchería. We succeeded in taking11 prisoners, one of those being one of their principal captains. I have agin dispatched an Indian into the mountains in search of the old chief Francisco. In the meantime it is my intention to keep these Indians prisoners until I cam come to some definite understanding with Francisco.

The non-commissioned officers and men under my command behaved gallantly. Your obedient servant.

John Nugent

Brevet Second Lieutenant, Second Infantry, Commanding Company "G", Fort Miller

San Francisco, Daily Herald, December 30, 1853 Page 2, Col. 4


Tejon Valley, Dec. 17, 1853

The immigration is coming steadily on, and scarcely a day passes without a train going though the valley - most of them are from Texas, with bands of beef cattle. They invariably come in by the "Cañada de las Uvas," instead of the Tejon Pass, and pronounce it the best pass between the Atlantic States. A large majority of those who have come during the last month, intend settling on the Tule river, which offers more unclaimed cultivatable land than any other stream in the Tulare Valley.