Rialto (R.A. Bensell) to Editor, Weekly Corvallis Gazette
(Corvallis, Oregon), 28 June 1878, 2, NADP Document D177.
SALMON RIVER HOMOCIDES.
ED. GAZETTE. The recent killing of an Indian and white man at Salmon river brings to mind the results of bad management in the part, of the government and government others in Indians matters. Three years ago the Nestucca Indians were induced through a duly accredited agent of the Indian Dept.(Hon. B. Simpson) to remove them from the Nestucca Country, where they had lived time out of memory, to the South side of Salmon river. The Salmon river Indians a few of of them lived on the north side os Salmon river and claimed that country; these few Indians were also removed to the south side of the stream. The line of division between the newly vacated territory and the newly established home of these Indians, took in a very small track of land on the south side of the river. The Dodson boys (brothers moved on the land and into the homes recently occupied by the Salmon river Indians. Both tribes going to a place a few miles above and on the opposite side of the river from the Dodsons. Agent Simpson in his report respecting the removal of these Indians recommended certain government aid; a farmer to teach them the use of agricultural [impanments] and to protect them in their rights, mainly on these premises on a better condition of things. This little band of Indians were induced to vacate as fine a track of land as Oregon can boast oil. The removal took place late in the fall and the Indians depended largely on the government for land and protection and it is repeating an old story far to familar to say, they were sorely disappointed. Agent Bagley at Siletz some 50 miles distant, claimed jurisdiction over them, and tried with such means as he commanded to assist them. They were in a manner alone dependent on their own resources with a [bitternes] of heart [write] natural to people of whiter skins. The Dobson boys owned a fine tract of grazing land and had a large band of cattle roaming over the pasture once the property of the Indians and it seems crossed some stock over the river into the small tract of land before mentioned, of course this stock could not be expected to range within the limits of an imaginary line and they soon became trespaser on Indian territory. These encroachments dating back nearly a year, were met by complaints and counter compiaints and it is asserted with how much truth I am unabled to say, their complaints and threats reached Agent Bagley, however on the day of the tragedy, the Indians were at Dobson's house and in a angry parley over the trespasses of Dobson's cattle, Perry Dobson, shot and killed an Indian, after shooting, Perry started to run, but chief Sam, intercepted him, and an Indian (brother to the murdered man) shot Perry Dobson with a shot gun, the eldet Dobson (a man of family) tried to do more shooting but was prevented by the Indians. It is creditable to the Indians that they did not do more mischief, the elder Dobson after his brothers death was alone, his mother-in-law, wife and four or five children were entirely at the mercy of the Indians, but the savages quietly withdrew taking the dead Indian with them to the opposie side of the river and immediately sent a messenger to Agent Bagley informing him of the trouble. Now it is plain to be seen the white man as is too often the case the aggressor, his temper forsook him and possibly that common indifference to the rights of an Indian made it an easy task to shoot, but the swift law of the Indian was carried into effect sooner than usual. And another lesson is taught the government of the great injustice practiced by making promises only to be violated.
Newport, June 24, 1878.