7th Dec 1850
Hon H H. Spaulding
To your note of this day inquiring, among other things, whither in my opinion a person may travel alone in safety beyond the ferry in the Umpqua river and visit the Indians on Rogue River, I have no hesitation in replying that I consider it not only unsafe and impetuous to attempt it, but at this season of the year impossible to do so.
Though the late Superintendant of Indian affairs for this territory held treaties or rather talks last summer with the Indians of the south Umpqua and a portion of those inhabiting Rogue River Valley, yet no change for the better has appeared in the conduct of those people, in fact the Indians of south Umpqua have been more vicious and hostile the past season than heretofore. The only instance that I know of a person travelling alone in their country resulted in his robbery by the first band of Indians he met from whom he only escaped with his life by the interference of an Indian who had lived
with the whites, since which time the Indians of south Umpqua have continued to annoy the parties passing from the mines and have stolen about 20 horses which have not been recovered.
Oweing to this bad disposition of the natives the country of the south Umpqua remains unoccupied by our people tho' its value as a farming and grazing country in the immediate vicinity of the gold mines is fully appreciated.
The attempts of a single individual to visit the Rogue River Indians, at any time, but particularly in the winter season is an idea to me so preposterously absurd, that I should certainly consider it an act of insanity. I have only to remind you that the Rogue river country is inhabited by a people amongst whom safety is only secured by constant vigilance to detect, and strength to resist aggression where much property and many lives have been lost -- to the trust of which each year adds its separate list of wrongs to the sad record, and the year 1850 has not been barren of its tragedies -- besides the usual amount of theft and roberies, to my knowledge eight victims have fallen at the hands of these ruthless murderers, all without provocation or resistance, and many of them under circumstances of aggravated atrocity.
But aside from the dangers
to be apprehended from the inhabitants, were none to exist, a single individual could scarcely make his way alone and unassisted over the many large and rapid streams now swolen to torrents, that intervene between this and Rogues River, at least it would be attended with great danger.
To the remaining queries contained in your note at a time of more leisure, I will with pleasure reply to the best of my information. Before closing permit me to notice the good effect which your talk with the Indians of this vicinity appears to have had upon them, and to congratulate you upon the near prospect you have of at last being able to bring to punishment some perhaps, all the surviving murderers of the late Mr. Neuton, killed in this valley, in the fall of 1846 -- an object most necessary to the quiet and safety of this valley and which none of your predecessors have been able to effect.
Your obt servent