Indians Opposed to Telegraphs on their land

[Trade Journal]

Publication: The Telegrapher

New York, NY, United States
vol. 11, no. 486, p. 269-70, col. 3-1

Oregon Indians Opposed to Telegraphs on their



SEVERAL times mention has been made of the opposition of the Indians at the Umatila reservation to the work of opening a road and building a line of telegraph through the grounds included in the limits of the reservation. The line has been completed as far as Baker City, and in constructing it through to Walla Walla it is found necessary to cross the lines of the reservation. For some reason the Indians are bitterly opposed to the work going forward, on the ground that they regard it as an encroachment. Justly considering the magnetic telegraph one of the most potent levers of civilization, these noble red men of the primeval forest think they have seen quite enough of American civilization to suit them. They, therefore, have arrayed themselves in direct and open hostility, and declare not a pole shall be planted or a wire stretched across the illihe donated them by Uncle Sam. When trouble was at first menaced, the department at Washington was notified of the opposition of the Indians. Orders were forwarded at once authorizing the construction of the line, as proposed, through the reservation lands. But it appears from recent events that the "Lo's" are up in arms, and do not propose to regard the instructions given by the Government. The following despatch, received here yesterday from Walla Walla, will serve to indicate the spirit of resistance among the Indians:

"L. McManis, who is just in from Weston, reports that the Indians, to the number of 30 or 40, armed, came to the camp of the men engaged in building the new road and telegraph line over the Blue Mountains last night, and drove them off, threatening to kill them unless they left at once, which they did, having no arms with which to defend themselves, and leaving all their tools and provisions."

Immediately on receipt of the telegram, Mr. Platt Burr, Superintendent of Construction, who is now in this city, went to the headquarters of the Department of Columbia, and apprised Col. H. Clay Wood, who is acting temporarily as commander of the department during the absence of Gen. Howard, who is now at the Danes, en route for Portland, and the latter was notified by telegraph of the condition of things. He sent a despatch at once to Col. Elmer Otis, who has charge of the troops at Walla Walla, authorizing that officer to protect the men engaged in opening the road and building the line from the threatened attack, at all hazards. This may be regarded as the termination of the anticipated difficulty, as the Indians will scarcely have the hardihood to openly resist the military power of the Government.-Albany, Oregon, Daily Morning Call.


Researcher notes: 
Supplemental information: 
Researcher:Bob Stahr
Date completed:January 11, 2006 by: Elton Gish;