4 Margaret7Windsor (Jeremiah6, Thomas5, Joseph4, Joseph3, Joseph2, Jarvis1), the daughter of Jeremiah Daniel Windsor and Martha (Compton). She was born 22 February 1834, in Tippecanoe Co. Indiana, and died 28 July 1924, at Stevenson, Skamania Co. Washington1, aged 90. She is buried beside her husband in the Iman Cemetery at Stevenson. A housewife, she resided at Stevenson, Washington for 72 years.
She married Felix5 Grundy Iman (Christian4, Christian3, Christian2, Ulrich1), on 14 January 1853, at the Bush Hotel at Shepard’s Point located on the Upper Cascades of the Columbia River, then in Clark Co., Washington Territory;2 the son of Christian (or Christopher) Iman and Mary (Whiteside) of Monroe Co. Illinois. He was born 24 November 1828, in Harrisonville, Monroe Co. Illinois, and died 17 July 1902, at a hospital in Portland, Multnomah Co. Oregon, aged 73. He is buried beside his wife in the Iman Cemetery at Stevenson. He was a carpenter, boatman, saloonkeeper, logger and sawmill owner. Lived in Monroe Co. Illinois and at Stevenson, Washington.
Margaret Windsor was born near the Tippecanoe battle ground in Tippecanoe Co. Indiana.3 She spent her early youth there, even so most of her early childhood was spent in foster homes. When she had been about four years old her mother had died (about 1837), supposedly in childbirth. Afterward her father, now without a wife and being poor, was unable to leave his children at home, the oldest was nine, so he sent Margaret, her brothers and sisters, to live with various neighboring families. Many years later, as an adult, Margaret would say that as a child she had never had a birthday, because none of the families she lived with could tell her when she had been born. When Margaret was about six years old her father remarried and once again brought Margaret, and his other children, to live with him and his second wife.
The father’s second wife had been a local widow named Mrs. Louisa Short. As far as is known, from family stories, Mrs. Short had been married at least once before and possibly more than once. It is not known what became of her previous husband/s. At any rate after marrying into the Windsor family, it is said, Mrs. Short had little attachment for raising her Windsor step-children, and in actually in reality she had very little patience and understanding for children at all. She has come down in history as a cruel ruling selfish and unkind person who abused the Windsor children. In Margaret’s own words, “She was everything but a kind mother to me.” The stepmother expected Margaret to work very hard and if Margaret did not Mrs. Short was sure to harshly reprimand or beat her. Consequently Margaret, and the rest of her brothers and sisters, hated the stepmother, although Margaret’s father was apparently glad the family had a cook and babysitter.
About 1842, when Margaret was eight or nine years old, the Windsor family moved from Tippecanoe Co. Indiana and to St. Joseph, Buchanan Co. Missouri. It is said that at the time the family arrived there St. Joseph consisted of only two houses. While living in Buchanan Co. Margaret’s father worked at various day labor jobs. It is also said that he drank alcohol and was often drunk. After a few years in St. Joseph and the area around St. Joseph, the family moved to DeKalb Co. Missouri.
In DeKalb Co. Missouri the Windsors were listed in the 1850 census. In that census Margaret is shown living with her father and stepmother and their small children. Her own sisters, Mary and Lucinda, and her brother, William, did not live with them, as the sisters had been sent to live and work with neighboring families nearby. Sister Mary lived with the family of James G. Karnes at St. Joseph, Missouri, and sister Lucinda with an unknown family. Margaret’s brother William, after a very unpleasant incident with the stepmother, had run away from home and had returned to Indiana to live with his uncle William Compton (his mother’s brother). It is said that Margaret had only been allowed to remain in the Windsor home in order to cook and clean for Mrs. Short’s own children whom she had had by Jeremiah. Needless to say Margaret was very unhappy.
In 1852 when Margaret was about seventeen years old, she still lived with her father, stepmother and their children, in DeKalb Co. Missouri, but she had made friends with some neighbors, the Wilson family. This Wilson family planned to leave their home in DeKalb Co. and homestead in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, taking advantage of the U. S. government’s Oregon Donation Land Act.4 Margaret saw a chance to leave her own unhappy home and suggested to the Wilsons that she might go to Oregon with them.
The Wilsons agreed to take Margaret along, that is of course with Jeremiah’s permission. Margaret then told her father of her plans, that she was going to Oregon. Margaret later reca;;ed, “I told father one day I was going to Oregon. He laughed at me and said, ‘You won’t go when the time comes.’” 5
Jeremiah thought Margaret had been talking silliness about going to Oregon, but when he realized she was actually serious, he forbid her to go. It was just a too dangerous and wild for a young girl to do. But Margaret had already decided that she was going.
Not long afterward the Wilsons loaded their wagon, and headed for the Missouri River there crossing to join the other wagon trains going to Oregon. Margaret knew her chance to leave had finally come and she hurriedly gathered her meager things. But before leaving, according to the family legend, Margaret wrote her father Jeremiah a note, which she left on the kitchen table (though apparently not written by her for she could not read or write) which said, I am gone to Oregon. Then she quickly left the house and on the road caught up with the Wilson family for the trip to Oregon.
When Margaret’s father Jeremiah saw the note he was very upset. He realized Margaret had indeed gone after all, as she said she would. So he went chasing after her very fast in his buckboard.6 He caught up with the westward caravan and it is said that he searched among the various wagons asking if anyone had seen his daughter. He then found her and looked angrily at her and told her, you are not going anywhere. After that he made Margaret climb into the buckboard so he could take her back home. Of course Margaret was unhappy with this change and while traveling home neither she nor her father spoke to each other.
After a while on the road Margaret and Jeremiah came to where her father had intended to cross a creek. There had been much rain recently and the small creek had turned into a raging torrent. The road had become blocked by the water. Since there was no way to get across the river Jeremiah got out of the buckboard and walked along the river bank to see if he could find an easier crossing. As he got out he said to his daughter, stay in the backboard, and then walked down the river bank out of sight. Poor Margaret sat there, realizing soon enough that the wagon train for Oregon would be gone, and along with it her chance for freedom.
Now after Margaret’s father had been gone a little while it occurred to Margaret that she certainly was not going to return home again to live and work for her cruel stepmother, so she decided that whether her father liked it or not she was going to Oregon. So ignoring her father’s orders, Margaret began to get out of the buckboard, but as she got out she stumbled accidentally and fell hard onto the ground. Her fall was noisy and the violence of the sound caused the buggy to shake and to make a lot of rattling and this sudden and unexpected noise spooked the horses who without warning bolted into the overflowing river, taking the buckboard with them. Since the river at this place flowed fast and strong, the carriage and horses were swept downriver, the poor horses still being harnessed to the carriage. The horses unable to swim were drowned, and the buckboard destroyed.
Margaret seeing the situation became terrified! Oh the horses! Her father would be so angry—and what would her stepmother do to her—it really was just awful, and Margaret wanted to hide and she started to cry and then without another thought she ran as fast as she could to the safety of the Wilsons at the camp. And from there, she continued with the Wilson family to Oregon.
Jeremiah returned from his search for a crossing, but he did not see Margaret, the horses or his buckboard at the river where they had been left. He looked and looked and then noticed further down the swollen river, the broken wood parts of his buckboard and—what!—the horses drowned in the water. Margaret, he shouted angrily. But there was no answer. Not hearing an answer, Jeremiah, forgetting the buckboard, became alarmed and thought, what if she drowned in the river? So he looked and looked for Margaret, but could not find her. After a while he wondered maybe she had returned to the Oregon wagon camp after all, and if that was so then what use would it be to chase after her again? And certainly by this time the Wilson’s and the wagon train were gone. With those thoughts he became angry and said to himself, oh let her go to Oregon, to hell with it. Anyway it was all very sad, because there was not so much he could do about it, except that… they had never said goodbye.
THE OREGON TRAIL Now without horses and on foot, it would be at least two days before Jeremiah would get home—and he had been rather sick with his stomach lately—and so, slowly, carefully, he at last found some place to cross the swollen river and headed home. At some point along the way Jeremiah came to the conclusion that Margaret had not really gone to Oregon after all, but had most likely drowned in the river. This is the story that he told his family when he returned home, Margaret drowned in the river, and this is the story which some Windsor descendants continue to tell to this day.
Jeremiah returned home and told the stepmother Louisa all about his plight and how Margaret had run away and had probably drowned in the river. But Margaret really did not make Louisa very sad, not at all, and actually in some way Louisa was glad that she would not have to be bothered with Margaret anymore. It was only Lucinda, Margaret’s sister, who felt sad. And Lucinda missed Margaret too, even until long after Margaret had gone.7
After she left Missouri Margaret never returned and never saw any of the Windsor family again.
Traveling about fifteen miles a day it took from four to six months for a wagon to go from St. Joseph, Missouri to Oregon, a distance of 1900 miles. The Wilson family had a covered wagon, pulled by an ox team, and were part of a wagon train, though probably not a large one, since during the trip Margaret later said that Indians had attacked them. Margaret walked all the way to Oregon, surviving on her wits, or as she told it, “like salmon swimming upriver, I wiggled my tail!”
Eventually though the long travel of the trail became very tiresome, and at times even tragic. One day in particular a tragic incident occurred along the trail. (Note: this story is well known and often told by Margaret’s descendants.) In one of the wagon camps along the trail a mother and father had died of cholera, only to leave behind their little baby with no one to care for it. Margaret who loved children felt sorry for the orphaned infant, and without further ado decided that she would adopt the small hungry parentless child. But despite her noble intention there was one problem with her plan, Margaret was not able to nurse a baby. Nevertheless she was determined that she would find a way to help the child. Wondering how she could feed the baby she thought of a plan which was to carry the infant from wagon to wagon in the train and ask other good kind mothers if they would breast-feed this orphan. Of course no mother, who worried about the fate of her own children on that uncertain journey, if asked, could refuse to suckle the poor baby whenever it was presented to them. And in this way Margaret was able to feed the baby. Margaret carried this baby for five hundred miles along the trail.
Then one day somewhere along the trail near the present-day town of Pendleton Oregon, Margaret with the baby chanced to meet a family who happened to be related to the baby’s parents. Amazing! Of course logical to think that the baby should be with its relatives. So Margaret decided to give over the child to their care. Soon, once again, the baby, happy with its new family, was on its way again to a new home in Oregon. Margaret never forgot her experience saving this baby and years later in remembering those times she was always sure of the wonderful ending and would comment, “Oh yes, that baby got to Oregon after all.” 8 In the last days of August 1852, after a journey lasting several months, Margaret and the Wilson family finally arrived at The Dalles, Oregon. From The Dalles they boarded a raft and sailed down the Columbia River. However, before they had gone very far, Margaret became ill with “mountain fever,” and soon became unconscious, and as she later said, “I did not know anything”.9 Evidently the exhaustion of the long overland trip and the illness had been too much for her.
On the river at Shepard’s Point, where is now located the town of Stevenson, Washington, the pioneer Isaac Bush had opened, for the benefit of travelers on the Oregon Trail, a little establishment, consisting of a hewn-log cabin of three or four rooms in which was located a store, hotel, saloon and hospital.10 At the hospital a Dr. Belford was in charge.
Arriving at Shepard’s Point the Wilsons took Margaret to “Dr. Belford’s hospital” and there it was decided that Margaret should remain at the hospital under the good care of Dr. Belford. The Wilson family who by now were themselves exhausted and running low on supplies—and it was almost fall—were forced to continue on to the Willamette Valley without Margaret. Though the Wilsons and Margaret had been through much in the last six months, they now had to leave her behind, and so the Wilsons disappeared from Margaret’s life and nothing more is known about them.
After a few days in Dr. Belford’s hospital Margaret began to regain consciousness from the fever, but was so thin and weak Dr. Belford thought she might die. It took many days of care and convalescence before she began to show signs of recovery—and it was several weeks before she was completely well again. When she had fully recovered from her illness Margaret began to realize she was now alone in a strange land, for the Wilsons had gone and she knew no one and had no friends there, and she wondered very much how she would take care of herself. It was then that Isaac Bush, the hotel owner, very helpfully offered her a job and that was to wait the tables at the Bush Hotel’s cafe. So Margaret accepted the job and now in Oregon began a new life.
The Columbia River cuts a deep pass as it crosses the Cascade Range at Shepard’s Point, the area is known as “the Gorge,” and the river then had great rapids and salmon and land covered by virgin old-growth forests, and Indian tribes of Chinooks, Yakimas, Wascos and Klickitats. And that was then. Now the rapids are covered by dams and lakes and much of the old forests and Indians are gone, but the view, and especially the strong pure fresh air, is still beautiful.
About a month after Margaret had began to work as a waitress at the Bush Hotel, she one day noticed one of the newly arrived boarders. This was a good-looking tall young carpenter with very light perhaps blonde hair, and his name was Felix G. Iman. Mr. Iman it seems had arrived from Portland, Oregon and was in the area to help build a boat for Bradford and Coe who had started a shipbuilding company at Portland.11 The boat was intended to sail the Columbia River carrying passengers, lumber, freight and supplies. It was to be called the Cosmopolite, and was to be one of the first steamers to ply the Columbia River between the Cascades and The Dalles.12 Margaret and Mr. Iman “Felix” became acquainted. Felix thought Margaret a pretty girl, and Margaret liked him. Naturally, of course, it was not long before they began to court one another. During the courtship both continued to work at their jobs, she as waitress and he as ship carpenter. After about two months of courtship they decided to marry, and so on 14 January 1853 the young couple married in a simple wedding ceremony held at the Bush Hotel. The minister of the wedding was a Justice of the Peace who also happened to be a boarder at the Bush Hotel. Margaret was then eighteen years old and Felix twenty-four. Many years later Margaret would state that her reason for marrying Felix, “He was a skilled woodsman, as well as a good man.”
Felix Grundy Iman was hard-working and loved country land, and he was known to quickly lose his temper at anyone who acted silly.13 Esther Warren, a historian of Skamania Co. Washington, recalls being told that Felix had been “a loud mouthed man whose voice could be heard everywhere in contrast to Margaret’s soft-spoken quiet respectful manner.”
Felix Grundy Iman had been born in Monroe Co. Illinois, the son of Christopher Iman and Mary (Whiteside). His father’s family had been early pioneers of Monroe Co. and his mother’s family, the Whitesides, had been even earlier pioneers of Illinois, having come to Illinois, near St. Louis, in the late 1770’s when the area was still largely Indian with french traders. When Felix was about 20 years old his parents, and a baby sister, had died of cholera14 and his younger sisters and brothers were then adopted by neighbors. Though of pioneer stock there was not much future for young Felix at home in Monroe Co. where as a local carpenter and mechanic it is said he earned $8.00 a month. In Oregon, it was said, he could earn $8.00 a day building boats and boathouses. So leaving behind brothers and sisters Felix decided to come west on the Oregon Trail to a richer future in Oregon.
Years later, Louis Iman, son of Felix and Margaret Iman, recalled, “My father came here by ox team and wagon. There were 37 wagons in their wagon train. They had to get together because they were afraid of the Indians. When father’s wagon train reached the Snake River, they dumped out a lot of their supplies and furnishings and used the wagon boxes for boats to float down the river. But you can’t navigate a stream like that in wagon boxes and this they found out.” 15
After a long trip, Felix Grundy Iman arrived in Portland, Oregon on 11 September 1852.
After they were married, Felix and Margaret continued to live at Shepard’s Point—and it seemed agreeable that they should. For a carpenter and his family there were rich vast resources in the area and much potential in the endless pine forests. And under the terms of the United States government’s Oregon Donation Land Act settlers were entitled to be given free land.
In 1850 the United States Congress had passed the Oregon Donation Land Act which offered free land in Oregon to american citizens or american half-breeds, over 18 years of age, who had settled in the Oregon Territory before December 1 of that year; being 325 acres to a single settler or 650 acres to a married couple, provided that they reside on and cultivate the land for four consecutive years. Later, the terms of this act were further extended to american citizens who had arrived in the Oregon Territory before December 1, 1853, but in that case to receive only half the amount of land as had been earlier given.16 Thus the Imans decided to settle at Shepard’s Point, and soon staked their own donation land claim to 320 acres, the amount allowed by the 1853 donation land act. They located a mile east of the Bush Hotel, near the Columbia River. Their land grant included old-growth forest with its ancient fir trees, shoreline along the Columbia River and rapids, and a view, across the Columbia, of the steep mountain banks in Oregon. On this land, and within the terms of the Donation Land Act, they built their first home in 1853, a small hewn log cabin.17
Margaret loved being a wife, and especially the idea of being a mother, and did all the work of the home. She washed and mended the clothes, grew potatoes, cooked wild ducks, deer, doves or salmon to eat, and was amazed by the outrageous high prices that local importers were getting for scarce provisions or dry goods, that is if any such goods were available. “At the Lower Cascades once,” she said, “my husband purchased a fifty pound sack of flour and it cost fifty dollars. He then walked home with the bag of flour seven and a half miles through the snow. On another occasion my husband and our neighbor Henry Shepard decided that, bearing equally upon the expense, to buy a pound of onion seed to plant, and when it arrived, it cost only $8.00.” 18
In 1852, year of the greatest Oregon Trail migration, over 10,000 emigrants followed the Trail to the Oregon–Washington Territory. Near the end of the long journey most emigrants rafted down the Columbia River to pass through “the Gorge” before continuing their journey to the fertile farmland in the Willamette Valley. Despite the large numbers of emigrants who paused to rest at the convenient Bush Hotel, very very few showed any interest in settling at Shepherd’s Point. and remained essentially a lonely isolated outpost. Of the thousands of possible settlers not more than a few families had made a permanent home there. Other than the original Cascade Indian villages only three small permanent white settlements, Upper Middle and Lower Cascades, each describing the location of a particular settlement along the rapids, had
located there. Much of the lack of interest by settlers was due to the mountainous terrain and density of heavy pine forest which made the area unsuitable for farming.
. to settle at Shepherd’s Point was the mountainous terrain. s that ere the Imans had settled was located on the Upper Cascades. In those days only four or five houses and not more than six or seven white families lived there. Neighbors of the Imans at the Upper Cascades included Daniel Baughman who had arrived at Shepard’s Point in September 1852 and settled on a 320 acre donation land claim just to the left of the Iman claim. Just beyond the Baughman’s Henry Shepard owned 320 acres claimed in August 1852. On the right of the Imans lay the 640 acre donation claim owned by Isaac Bush, of the Bush Hotel previously mentioned. Bush had settled this claim in 1852. Beyond Isaac Bush the 640 acre claim of Daniel Bradford of Bradford and Coe Shipbuilding Company claimed in July 1850. Like Margaret and Felix these early pioneers were all in some way employed at the Bush Hotel or by the Bradford and Coe Shipbuilding Company.
The Lower Cascades located five miles down river from Shepard’s Point was a farming community as land there for about a mile off the river was flat and suitable to farm. Being good farm land this area had been settled before the Upper Cascades. At this place lived a few more families on donation land claims. The first settler was Francis Chenowet who had staked a claim to 636 acres in 1845. Mrs. Elizabeth Snook, a widow with children, had come to in Oregon in 1849 and had settled there on a claim of 320 acres in 1851. Samuel Hamilton and wife Mary Jane also lived there and had 644 acres which they claimed in September 1850. The last settler at Lower Cascades was Ebenezer Hardy known as the “local doctor” who had come in 1851 and had made a claim of 309 acres.19 Being mostly farmers the Lower Cascades Settlers were not as involved in the Bush Hotel or Bradford shipping businesses as those at the Upper Cascades, bit because of the remoteness of the area settlers from both Upper and Lower were well acquainted with each other.
Trees and trees and big trees and more trees and there were trees everywhere, they were pine trees and old old trees and the trees were cut can I say that I hate genealogy. Margaret was sunk.
The land at Shepard’s Point was mountainous and covered with a dense growth of old Douglas fir trees. The land was also mountainous. It was impossible to farm there, as the Windsors and Imans had done in Missouri and Illinois. first year for the Iman’s in Skamania County were very busy. In 1853 many settlers were continuing to arrive in the west on the Oregon Trail, and many continued the last part of their journey down the Columbia River. In order to navigate the rapids on the Columbia, it was necessary to stop at Shepherd’s Point. For the settlers at Shepherd’s Point this provided an opportunity for business. Knowing the rapids were dangerous for travelers to ford, the Bradford and Coe Shipbuilding Company decided to build a tramway around the rapids so that travelers could disembark from a ship above the rapids, ride on a train around the rapids, and reembark to another ship below the rapids. Felix building boats for Bradford and Coe. Margaret though began pass through She
After though the buay difficult, and especially so for Margaret.
Felix had sometimes to go away on business, to buy supplies for the Bradford and Coe Company, or for home, and this meant that when he was gone Margaret would stay home, alone, and guard the house. It is not pleasant for a woman to stay alone in primitive and wild surroundings, to fear dark Indians, wolves, bears and loneliness, but sometimes Margaret did stay there alone. And in such silence and loneliness any disturbance, especially at night, could be quite serious. Sometimes at night people traveled by horse across the Iman’s land on the old Indian trail, not bothering to stop at the Iman house. Mostly at night it was Indians who rode along that part of the old Indian trail, and it seemed to get back at the Imans would let the stirrups of their saddles drag along the Iman’s house rough board walls. It scared Margaret half to death. She was home alone, guarding her house, sleeping, and suddenly a clamorous noise, in such a removed and isolated district, was frightening. But she was a strong young woman, able to endure pioneer hardships and uncertainty, and not like soft modern women who are able to buy anything on credit. She bore the hostility.
There was yet another dilemma which tested her and occurred when she had been left all alone. Her husband would become detained with business and not come back until very late, and Margaret would feel abandoned. But to sum it all up and despite it all Margaret learned to speak the “Chinook trade dialect,” a jargon of the Chinook language used for trading purposes by Indian tribes living along the Columbia River.20 (In 1920 most of the Indians tribes along the Columbia River were dead and Margaret said she could not remember how to speak Chinook.)
Laborers and woodchoppers and army personnel came and went fast enough in the shacks and shanties of 1850’s Skamania County, Washington. It was a one horse town, but Isaac Bush, Henry Shepard and their families lived there.
Margaret gave birth to all of her children at the claim, except for Theo, Theo was the first child and was born on the Oregon side of the river in Wasco County because at the time Felix was working there, building the steamer Wasco. Mrs. Iman had sixteen children and all survived infancy, though three died later in youth. And she also raised the orphans Christopher Columbus Fields, Sully Williams and Myrtle Vallette. But birth is painful and the birth of Flora Adelia, her second child, had been rather painful and afterwards Margaret was disabled for a few days. She never forgot her crotch pain when she had to flee, two days after Flora’s birth, from her bed during the war of the Klickitats and Yakima Indians in 1856.
And then Margaret had a third and then a fourth child.
even though it was overgrown with wild rose bushes, brack ferns and other vegetation.
to clear space for a home in that wilderness would have required The only place on the Iman claim This trail was to make. But it was an Indian trial, and to block the trail might offend the Indians. Felix felt it was no longer up to the Indians to question what was done on the Iman’s property, (besides there was the added benefit to blocking the trail, that of keeping uninvited persons from coming into the claim,) and so Felix leveled the ground, cut trees and built a small log house over the trail. The Imans moved in.
The Imans were nice to the Indians, they had many Indian friends, and some of the Indians had horses and the horses rode on the old trails. And Margaret cried at the sound of the Indians horses that moved next to her bedroom at night, in the house the Imans had built beside the old Indian’s trail; and. But she knew, when she heard the scarping of the Indians horses and the saddle stirrups on her wall that all was well and she said, Felix my dear husband will be home soon enough. In 1922 Margaret said to Donald A. Brown, “Nobody could go through the horrors I went through in those days, unfortunately Jim our friend Indian Jim was hanged during the Yakima War. My husband could have saved him, but was not listened to by the Indian hanging party, most of whom were democratic minded citizens then.”
The Iman house had been built over the Indian trail. Large large clumps of vegetation brack ferns and rose bushes had grown around the house. The Indians trail had been hid by the growth. The Indians could not ride their horses on the old trail and scraped the stirrups of their saddles on the trail where the Iman house was built as a protest against encroaching white settlement.
Actually Felix spoke the Chinook trade jargon better than his wife. During the building of the steamer Wasco at a frustrating time he said to a passing Indian, Mamook haul saghale, help pull the log over. Katah hyui potlatch dolla nika, he replied, how much you pay.21 Felix had a terrible temper, and became furious. He chased the man a mile and a half intending to beat him and was almost to catch him when the man jumped over a cliff into the river. Felix did give the man a hard kick. It was thought some Indians were bad and some good. Felix did like Indians. A good Indian friend was Indian Jim.
Felix best friend was Simon Geil. He saved little Theo during the Yakima War. Felix and Margaret were grateful to him for this of course. Simon Geil stayed with the Imans for many years. He later owned a saw mill.
Felix worked on building steamers. He had finished the Cosmopolite and was now building the Mary, the second boat to ply on the Columbia between the Cascades and The Dalles. The only business was building boats. Felix built and owned the second boat on the Columbia. Boats were used to …
In these early years of the 1850’s the Imans lived healthy and simply.
On social occasions and for parties they visited and were visited by the Imans. “In those days, no one peeked out of the door to see who was there as they do nowadays, a visitor was as welcome as the flowers in May, for one day or for two weeks.” (George Iman.)
On the 26th day of March 1856 the sun rose over the Cascade Mountains, “The Indians were now getting more hostile and far enough along to insure us of battle.”
as Indians were the main community. red man’s At that time in Oregon there were fifty Indians to every white man. The Indians attacked on 4 March 1856.
The story of the Cascades Massacre from the ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON, by Reverend H. K. Hines, Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago Illinois, 1894, pp. 211-214, as recorded in a letter, published in that book, written two or three days after the massacre by Putnam F. Bradford, resident of Upper Cascades, Washington, to L. W. Coe, also of Upper Cascades, Washington, who was at the time visting Portland, Oregon:
“On Wednesday, March 26th (1856), at about 8:30 a.m., after the men had gone to their work on the two bridges on the tramway, the Yakimas came down upon us. There was a line of them from Mill creek above us to the big pond at the head of the falls, firing simultaneously on the men; and the first notice we had of them was their bullets and the crack of their guns. Of our men at the first fire one was killed and several wounded. Our men, on seeing the Indians, all run for our store, through a shower of bullets, except three who started down stream for the middle blockhouse a mile and a half distant. Bush and his family also ran into our store, leaving his own house vacant. The Watkins family came to our store after a boy had been shot in their house. The was grand confusion in our store at first; and Sinclair, of Walla Walla, going to the railroad door to look out, was show from the bank above and instantly killed.
Some of us then commenced getting the guns and rifles, which were ready loaded, from behind the counter. Fortunately about an hour before there had been left with us for transportation below nine United States Government rifles with cartridge boxes and ammunition. These saved us. As the upper story of the house was abandoned, Smith, the cook, having come below, and as the stairway was outside where we dare not go, the stove-pipe was handed down, the hole enlarged with axes, and a party of men crawled up and the upper part of the house soon secured. We were surprised that the Indians had not rushed into the upper story, as there was nothing nor nobody to prevent them.
Our men soon got some shots at the Indians on the bank above us. I saw Bush shoot an Indian who was drawing a bead on Mrs. Watkins as she was running for our store. He dropped instantly. Alexander and others mounted into the gable under the roof, and from there was done most of our firing. In the meantime we were barricading in the store, making port-holes and firing when opportunity offered; but the Indians were soon very cautious about exposing themselves. I took charge of the store. Dan Bradford on the second floor and Alexander on the garret and roof.
The steamer Mary was lying at the mouth of Mill creek, and the wind was blowing strong down stream. When we saw the Indians running toward her and heard the shots, we supposed she would be taken; and as she lay just out of our sight, and we saw smoke rising from her, concluded she was burning, but what was our glad surprise after a while to see her put out and run across the river.
The Indians now returned in force to us, and we gave every one a shot who showed himself. There were nearly naked, painted red, and had guns and bows and arrows. After a while Finlay came creeping around the lower point of the island toward our house. We hallooed to him to lie down behind a rock, and he did so. He called to us that he could not get to the store as the bank above us was covered with Indians. He saw Watkins house burn while there. The Indians first took what they wanted,—blankets, clothes, guns, etc. By this time the Indians had crossed in canoes to the island, and we saw them coming, as we supposed, after Finlay. We then saw Watkins and Bailey running around the river side toward the place where Finlay was, and the Indians in full chase after them. As our own men came around the point in full view, Bailey was shot through the arm and leg. He continued on, and, plunging into the river, swam to the front of our store and came in safely, except for his wounds. He narrowly escaped going over the falls. Finlay also swam across and got in unharmed, which was wonderful, as there were showers of bullets all around them.
Watkins next came running around the point, and we called to him to lie down behind a rock; but before he could do so he was shot in the wrist, the ball going up the arm and out above the elbow. He dropped behind a rock just as the pursuing Indians came following around the point, but we gave them so hot a reception from our house that they backed out and left poor Watkins where he lay. We called to him to lie still and we would get him off; but we were not able to do so until the arrival from The Dalles of the steamer Mary with troops, two days and nights afterward. During this time Watkins fainted several times from weakness and exposure, the weather being very cold, and he was stripped down to his underclothing for swimming. When he fainted he would roll down the steep bank into the river, and, the ice-cold water numbing him, he would crawl back under fire to his retreat behind the rock. Meantime, his wife and children were in the store, in full view, and moaning piteously at his terrible situation. He died from exhaustion, two days after he was rescued.
The Indians were now pitching into us right smart. They tried to burn us out; threw rocks and fire-brands, hot-irons, pitch-wood, everything on the roof that would burn. But you will recollect that for a short distance back the back inclined toward the house, and we could see and shoot the Indians that appeared there. So they had to throw from such distance that the largest rock and bundles of fire did not quite reach us, and what did generally rolled off the roof. Sometimes the roof got on fire, and we cut it out, or with cups of brine drawn from the pork barrels put it out, or with long sticks shoved off the fire-balls. The kitchen roof troubled us much. How the did pepper us with rocks! some of the big ones would shake the house all over.
There were not forty men, women and children in the house—four women and eighteen men that could fight, and eighteen wounded men and children. The steamer Wasco was on the Oregon side of the river. We saw her steam up and leave for The Dalles. Shortly after the steamer Mary, also left. So passed the day, during which the Indians had burned Iman’s two houses, your sawmill and houses, and the lumber yards at the mouth of Mill Creek. At daylight they set fire to your new warehouse on the island, making it light as day around us. I suppose that they reserved this building for night that we might not get Watkins off. We had no water, but did have about a dozen of ale and a few bottle of whiskey. These gave out during the day. During the night a Spokane Indian who was traveling with Sinclair, and was in the store with us, volunteered to get a pail of water from the river. I consented, and he stripped himself naked, jumped out down the bank and was back in no time. By this time we looked for the steamer from The Dalles, and were great disappointed, at her non-arrival. We weathered it out during the day, every man keeping his post and none relaxing in vigilance. Every moving object, shadow, or suspicious bush up the hill received a shot. The Indians must have thought the house a bomb-shell. To our ceaseless vigilance I ascribe our safety. Night came again; Bush’s house near by was also fired, keeping us in light until four a.m., when darkness returning I sent the Spokane Indian for water from the river and he filled two barrels. He went to and fro like lightning. We also slipped poor James Sinclair’s body down the slide outside, as the corpse was quite offensive.
The two steamer now having exceeded the length of time we gave them in which to return from The Dalles, we made up our minds for a long siege and until relief came from below. We could not account for it, but supposed the Ninth Regiment had left The Dalles for Walla Walla, and had proceeded too far to return. The third morning dawned, and lo! the Mary and Wasco, blue with soldiers, and towing a flat-boat with dragoon horses, hove in sight. Such a hallo as we gave!
As the steamer landed the Indians fired twenty or thirty shot into them, but we could not ascertain with any effect. The soldiers as they landed could not be restrained but plunged into the woods in every direction, while the howitzers sent grape after the retreating redskins. The soldier were soon at our store, and we, I think I may say, experienced quite a feeling of relief on opening our doors.
During this time we had not heard from below. A company of dragoons under Colonel Steptoe went on down. The block-house of the middle cascades still held out. Allen’s house was burned and every other one below: G. W. Johnson, S. M. Hamilton, F. A. Chenoweth, the wharf-boat at the cascades,— all gone up.
Next in order came the attack on the Mary. She lay in Mill Creek, no fires, and the wind hard ashore. Jim Thompson, John Woodward and Jim Herman were just going up to the boat from our store at they were fired upon. Hamilton asked if they had any guns. No. He went up to Iman’s house, the rest staying to help the steamer out. Captain Dan Baughman and Thompson went ashore on the upper side of the creek, hauling on lines, when the firing of the Indians became to hot that they ran for the woods, past Iman’s house. The fireman, James Lindslay, was hot through the shoulder; Engineer Buckminster shot an Indian with his revolver on the gang-plank, and little Johnny Chance while climbing up the hurricane deck with an old dragoon pistol killed his Indian, but he was shot through the leg, in doing so. Dick Turpin, half crazy probably, taking the only gun on the steamboat, plunged into a flat-boat lying along side, was shot, and plunged overboard and drowned. Fire was soon started under the boiler and steam was rising. About this time Jesse Kempton, shot, while driving an ox team from the sawmill, got on board; also a half-breed named Bourbon, who was shot through his body. After sufficient steam to move was raised, Hardin Chenoweth ran up into the pilot house, and lying on the floor, turned his wheel, as he was directed, from the lower deck. It is needless to say that the pilot house was the target for the Indians. After the steamer was backed out and turned around he did toot the whistle at them good. Toot! toot! toot! It was music in our ears. The steamer picked up Herman from the bank above. Iman’s family, Shepperd and Vanderpool all got across the river in skiffs, and, boarding the Mary, went to The Dalles.
Colonel George Wright and the Ninth Regiment, Second Dragoons and Third Artillery had started for Walla Walla, and were out five miles and camped when the Mary reached The Dalles. They received news of the attack at 11 p.m. and by daylight were back to The Dalles. Starting down, they only reached Wind mountain that night, as the Mary’s boiler was in bad condition because of a new fireman the day before. They reached us the next morning at six o’clock.
Now for below. Goerge Johnson was about to get a boat crew of Indians when Indian Jack came running to him saying that Yakimas had attacked the block-house. He did not believe it, though he heard the cannon. He went up to the Indian village on the sand-bar to get his crew, saw some of the Cascade Indians who said they thought the Yakimas had come, and George, now hearing the muskets, ran for home. E. W. Baughman was with him. Bill Murphy had left the block-house early for the Indian camp and had nearly returned before he saw the Indians, or was shot at. He returned, two others with him and ran for George Johnson’t, about thirty Indians in chase. After reaching Johnson’s he continued on and gave Hamilton and all below warning, and the families all embarked in small boats for Vancouver. The men would have barricaded in the wharf-boat but for want of ammunition. There was considerable Government freight in the wharf-boat. They stayed about the wharf-boat and schooner nearly all day and until the Indians began firing at them from the zinc house on the bank. They then shoved out. Sammy Price was shot through the leg in getting the boat into the stream. Floating down they met the steamer Belle with Phil. Sheridan22 and fifty men, sent up on report of an express sent down by Indian Simpson in the morning. George and those with him went on board and volunteered to serve under Sheridan, who landed at George’s place and found everything burned. The steamer returned and the Indians pitched into Sheridan and fought him all day and drove him with foty men and ten volunteers to below Hamilton, not withstanding he had a small cannon. One soldier ws killed.
The steamer Belle returned the next day (third of the attack) and brought ammunition for the block house. Your partner, Bishop, who was in Portland, came up on her. Steamer Fashion, with volunteers from Portland, came at the same time. The volunteers remained at the Lower Cascades. Sheridan took his command, and with a batteau loaded with ammunition crossed Bradford’s island on the Oregon side, where they found most of the Cascade Indians, they having been ordered by George Johnson to go there on the first day of the attack. They were crossing and re-crossing all the time and Sheridan made them prisoners. He passed a boat’s crew, and as they towed up to the head of the island and above saw great numbers of Indians on the Washington Territory side, and opposite them. Sheridan expected them to cross and fight him, and between them and the ‘friendly’ Indians in his charge thought he had his hands full.
Just them Sheridan discovered Steptoe and his troops coming down from the Mary, surprising completely the Indians, who were cooking beef and watching Sheridan across the river. But on the sound of the bugle the Indians fled like deer into the woods with the loss of only one killed—‘old Joanam.’ But for the bulge they ought to have captured fifty.
The Indians Sheridan took on the island were closely guarded. Old Chenoweth—chief—was brought up before Colonel Wright, tried and sentenced to be hung. The Cascade Indians, being under treaty, were adjudged guilty of treason in fighting. Chenoweth died game. He was hung on the upper side of Mill creek. I acted as interpreter. He offered two horses, two squaws, and a little something to every ‘tyee’ for his life; said he was afraid of the grave in the ground, and begged to be put into an Indian dead-house. He gave a terrific war whoop while the rope was being put about his neck. I thought he expected the Indians to come and rescue him. The rope did not work well, and while hanging he muttered, ‘Wake nike kwass kopa memaloose’ (I am not afraid to die). He was then shot. I was glad to see the old devil killed, being satisfied that he was at the bottom of all the trouble. —— We do not know who many Indians there were. They attacked the block-house, our place, and drove Sheridan all at the same time. We think they were not less than three hundred.”
There was a boat landing and mule-drawn railroad that ran along the rapids. The mule drawn railroad had been built by Isaac Bush for the purpose of transporting settlers through the rapids. Most of the supplies were brought from Portland, sixty miles away.
Felix especially loved the large spruce trees, and would put his arms around them. That was before he cut them down.
Bank notes were first issued by the United States government in 1866, 23 and it was a little later that this form of paper money began to be used in Washington. In those days bank notes were commonly called greenbacks, and unknown to many of the older settlers the value of greenbacks could be highly speculative. From about the time the first paper money came into Washington there is an amusing story about greenbacks and Felix Iman; or how he ate a bitter lesson regarding the inflationary values of paper money. The story was that Mr. Iman had fifteen-hundred dollars worth of greenbacks—which he was suddenly forced to sell, and he sold them at the then going rate of forty cents on the dollar. Of course forty cents on the dollar would mean a big loss, a loss that would be about nine hundred dollars, or enough money to buy 200 acres of land, but he sold them and sold they were. Yet mysteriously in just ten days time, as luck would have it, the greenbacks once again reverted to full face value.
It was a terrible shock for Mr. Iman, the unpredictable and unfavorable divestment possibilities of paper money, it altered his sense of values, never again would he be duped into thinking paper money had any real worth. From that day forward he decided only to practice safe business methods, that is by buying and selling only with gold and silver coins. And thereafter he specified in his business dealings, and often in writing, payment to be made in gold coin.24
SKAMANIA COUNTY PIONEER, 19 June 1902, “Felix Iman, of Stevenson, one of the earliest settlers and old pioneers of Oregon, is in the hospital at Portland being treated for dropsy.”
SKAMANIA COUNTY PIONEER, 26 June 1902, “Felix G. Iman is very low and this morning took a steamer for Portland. The old pioneer was very feeble and the probability is that he is taking his last river trip and has seen his old home for the last time.”
SKAMANIA COUNTY PIONEER, 24 July 1902, obituary, Felix Iman Dead, by Thomas Harlan, Pioneer. “On July 17th, at 2:30 p.m. Felix Iman, who had taken a donation claim on Rock creek in 1852, died. The funeral was held Saturday afternoon at the residence, the remains being interred in the family burying ground. The obsequies were conducted by Rev. F. H. Walker, of the Locks. Although Felix Iman belonged to a generation that has passed, he will be truly mourned as a friend lost. Mr. Iman raised a large family of boys and girls, who themselves have married–children. He also leaves a widow near his own age. His old-time hospitality was of that kind that followed the frontier from Cumberland Gap to the waters of the Pacific, and has blessed thousands of wary and footsore emigrants on the road to their new homes in the valleys of the Mississippi and across the plains. No stranger passed Felix Iman’s cabin hungry. They received the best he had, sweetened with a welcome, which to a real man is the greater consideration. He was filled with charity and good deeds to his neighbors and all men were his neighbors when he could do them a kindness. He belonged to that set of men that include Amos Underwood, Dr. Leavens, James Walker and the Hamiltons. No grander men lived than the pioneers. No greater epitaph could be chiseled upon stone than that “He was a pioneer.” Felix Iman lived to see nearly all his contemporaries cross the mystic river whence he has gone to meet them, if it be true that when “the silver cord is loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel at the cistern,” that the spirit goes to God who gave it, as the Bible so eloquently says. A month ago Mr. Iman’s children and grandchildren brought him to the boat landing to see him go to Portland to the hospital. It was pathetic to see the young people part with their patriarchal father, whom we all knew was rapidly nearing the end. His every appearance, his subdued expression, the softness and mellowness of his voice was a prelude to the shadows of the failing night, and reminded one of that passage in Scripture which reads something like this: “And I looked and beheld a pale horse, and his name that sat upon him was Death.” However this scene at the boat landing was not distressing. It spoke only of a quiet sunset at the close of a peaceful life. It was the glimmering twilight of a passed day, and only in the sense of having flown.”
SKAMANIA COUNTY PIONEER, 24 July 1902, Carson, “Lewis Eyman and family attended the funeral of Mr. Eyman’s brother at Stevenson last Saturday.”
SKAMANIA COUNTY PIONEER, 16 May 1924, “Grandma Inman was reported very low the first of the week, but the past few days she has regained her usual health and is up and around again. Mrs. Inman is about 96 years of age.” (Note: Mrs. Inman — Mrs. Iman, Margaret Windsor Iman.)
SKAMANIA COUNTY PIONEER, 1 August 1924, obituary, Pioneer Resident Called, “Margaret W. Iman died in Stevenson, Monday, July 28, aged 90 years, 4 months and six days. She was born in Tippecanoe county, Indiana, in 1834. In the fall of 1851 she married Felix G. Iman and in the spring of 1852 they crossed the plains form the state of Missouri with ox team, stopping in Skamania county, where she had made her home continuously since. The sons living are T. C. Iman of Napavine, Wash., John W. Iman, Albert O. Iman, Geo. W. Iman, Louis Iman and Chas. Iman of Stevenson; the daughters are Mrs. Rose A. Jones of Satsop, Wash., Mrs. Flora A. Foster and Mrs. M. L. McKinnon of Stevenson. Thirty-five grand children and 50 great grandchildren survive the deceased. Interment was held Wednesday. At her request the funeral services were held at the family cemetery under a huge spreading tree. Rev. Lawrence officiating.”
SKAMANIA COUNTY PIONEER, 1 August 1924, Card of Thanks, “Stevenson, Wash., July 30, 1924 — We wish to thank all who assisted us during the illness and death of our pioneer mother of the early fifties. Also those who contribued the beautiful floral gifts. Theo. Iman, Al. Iman, Chas. Iman, Martha MacKinnon, Geo. Iman, John Iman, Lou. Iman, Flora Foster, Rose Jones.”
MY ARRIVAL IN WASHINGTON IN 1852
by Margaret Windsor Iman
My maiden name was Margaret Windsor. I was born in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, in the early 40rties. My father moved to DeKalb County, Missouri, when I was about the age of eight or nine years. My mother, who was Martha Compton, had died and my father had married a second time to Mrs. Louisa Short, hence we had a stepmother who ruled over us. She was all but a kind mother to me, so I told father one day I was going to Oregon. He laughed at me and said, "You won't go when the time comes." There was a company of emigrants who were now getting ready to start west. I knew some of them and when they came by I went out and started on my long trip to the west. We were six months on the trip with ox teams and it was a long and tiresome one too. On our trip, I think I am safe in saying, I carried a little motherless babe 500 miles, whose mother had died, and when we would go from camp to camp in search of some good, kind, motherly woman to let it nurse no one ever refused when I presented it to them.
We landed in the Dalles in the year 1852 and came down the river on a raft to what is known as Sheppard's Point, where Stevenson, the county seat of Skamania County, now stands. At the latter end of the trip I had come down with what was then called "Mountain fever" became unconscious and did not know anything. I was then moved down to the head of Cascade rapids near the supposed Bridge of the Gods. Mr. Isaac H. Bush had erected a hospital there for the benefit of the sick and I was soon an inmate of that institution and was placed under the care of Dr. Belford. He being a good doctor, as well as a good, kind man, I was soon on my way to recovery. Mr. Bush also owned a hotel and when well I went to work for him waiting table; but while I lay sick in bed I heard the cries of an infant babe in some part of the building. I asked for it to be brought to me and my bidding was granted. I took it in my arms and tried to play with it, but was so weak and worn I could not. This was the first babe I had in my arms after landing at the Cascades in 1852. This little babe was C. M. Williams, who was born at the Cascades and who was a half-brother to J. F. and J. W. Atwell of Stevenson, Wash., and who was stopping at my house in later years when he died in Stevenson at the age of some sixty odd years. He always loved me as his mother. He rests in the little cemetery above Stevenson, on the bank of the lordly Columbia.
While I was still employed by Mr. Bush I formed the acquaintance of Felix G. Iman, who had been sent up from Portland to work on the construction of a steamboat called the Cosmopolite, to ply the river between the Cascades and the Dalles. He being a skilled workman, as well as a good man, I married him a little later. Portland at this time had but few houses and those were all on donation claims. We had in all sixteen children; nine boys, of whom six are living: T. C. Iman of Napavine, Wash., A. C. Iman of Castle Rock, Wash., George Iman, L. F. Iman and C. N. Iman of Stevenson, Wash., and John W. Iman of Cascades, Wash.; seven girls, of whom four are dead and three living; Mrs. Flora Foster of Stevenson, Mrs. M. L. MacKinnon of Beaverton, Ore., and Mrs. Rosa J. Jones of Satsop, Wash. I have thirty-six grandchildren now living and thirty-seven great-grandchildren.
In 1854 my husband built the steamer /Wasco, owned by him and Captain McFarland. She plied on the river between the Cascades and The Dalles. She was the third steamer that ran on those waters between the Cascades and the Dalles. The iron hull propellers. Allen, the first, Mary, the second, and the steamer Wasco the third.
Now the Indians were getting somewhat numerous and were much on the warpath, so my husband sold out his interest in the Wasco to Captain McFarland and put up a saloon at the boat landing. There were three saloons a little later on -- one owned by Isaac H. Bush, one by Thomas McNatt and one by my husband. My husband did not like the saloon business, so he sold out to Fletch Murphy.
In those early fifties money was plentiful but clothing and provisions were high. The cons ranged from the silver half-dime to the fifty dollar slug, and I will include the copper cent. I well recall an instance of the paper money, those days -- the common greenback. My husband had fifteen hundred dollars worth of them and had to let them go at forty cents on the dollar, and in ten days time they were full face value, and, I want to tell you, he never loved a greenback after that. No one would sell a pound of flour or other provisions to his neighbor, but would loan him a quantity of it, to be returned when he would be able to purchase.
I will relate to you a fact regarding high prices. My husband and Mr. Sheppard, who owned the donation claim where this little town now stands, went in together to purchase a pound of onion seed, each to bear equally on the expense, and when the seed arrived they were "only" eight dollars for the pound. A fifty pound sack of flour that my husband purchased at the Lower Cascades, as it was then called, or rather at the end of the little portage line, cost fifty dollars and it was carried home in the snow, the distance of the lines being six an seven-eighths miles long.
The Indians were getting more hostile and far enough along to assure us of battle, so my husband decided he would move up on our donation claim about a mile distant. We had hewn logs and put up a house on what is yet known as Powder Island slough. We had decided to stay and try to fight off the warriors. We had carried in lots of wood and water and cut portholes through the walls of our house, making it a kind of fort. We afterwards abandoned this idea as there was a large pile of shavings from the shingles that lay against the house under the shed and on account of the underbrush which was close to the house, this would have been an easy mark for them and have thrown firebrands into and have cremated us while sleeping.
While we were pondering over the situation, two hostiles put in an appearance about one hundred and fifty yards distant. They were huge and looking fierce and wild. A man named Carter, who was stopping at our house, asked my husband if he had any guns and he said "yes" and went out and brought two.
Mr. Carter took one and my husband the other, each one of the men to name the warrior he was to shoot at. Mr. Carter gave the signal to fire after good aim had been taken, but when the word was given my husband's gun made a "long fire" and he did not get his game, though Mr. Carter took his man square in the stomach. The others ran like elk, and as far as we know, escaped unharmed.
They had fox skins filled with arrows and as they stood with the bows on end they were almost as tall as the warriors, who were close to six feet. Mr. Carter got the huge bow and the arrows, so after shooting the man they decided to cross the river to the Oregon shore.
I was sick in bed with a small baby at the time of the massacre on March 26, 1856. In the excitement I was carried from my bed up the river about a mile to where was supposed to be a skiff. The skiff had been taken over to the other side of the slough by a man named Herman, who died in the Dalles later; so Mr. Simeon Geil, who was at our place, ran the skiff over to where we were. As I was being carried into the boat, it was discovered that my little boy, two years old, had been left asleep in the bed. Mr. Geil, who was young and good on foot, ran back and got him. So you can see a part only of what I went through in those early days.
I think that day was the worst I ever witnessed on the old Columbia and there have been many, taking it all in all. I don't care to see any more of them -- the roar of the small cannon at the blockhouse, the firing of guns; the dead and wounded; the war cries of the warriors in their war paint; the burning of buildings, with my house among them, the fleeing of the people, and I being all but well; the splashing waters and bounding skiff did not add to a speedy recovery for me; but we landed on the Oregon shore safe and took the steamer Mary for the Dalles.
Later, when we returned, I hardly knew the place. There were fourteen of the Indians captured and hanged on a tree about one mile from where we lived. Some of them, when asked to talk, shook their heads and put the noose around their own necks. Others laughed at those who were hanging.
There were fourteen of the Indians captured and hanged on a tree about one mile from where we lived. (Correction: Only nine of these Indian prisoners was executed. D.A.B.) Some of them, when asked to talk, shook their heads and put the noose on their own necks. Others laughed at those who were hanging. The device of hanging was one end of a rope tied to a limb, the other to the neck. A whiskey barrel stood on end and one end of a rope about twenty feet in length drawn through the bung hole of the barrel with a knot tied on the inner end, which served to jerk the barrel from under the condemned man. One among them was Jim Tassalo -- he insisted he had not been in the battle. My husband, some few days before their capture, while on his way to The Dalles, had met Jim and told him the Indians already had been killing the whites at the Cascades, so he turned his skiff and sailed for the point from where he had come. He wanted those who held him in captivity to hold him, unharmed, till Felix, my husband, came from The Dalles and if he said he was in the battle, he was willing to be hanged. This they refused to do and so hanged him and asked Mr. Iman afterwards; hence a life was taken from one for the crime he had not committed, for my husband said; "Men, you have done wrong, for Jim, I know was not in the battle."
There seemed to be two tribes of the Indians. Chenoweth was called the chief on the Washington side of the river, and Bannaha on the Oregon side. They were not friendly -- the two chiefs -- as each wanted to rule both sides of the river. There is some dispute as to the hanging of Chief Chenoweth, but there need be none, for I know he was hanged among the fourteen on a balm tree. The other chief, Bannaha, died a natural death at what was called Greenleaf. Chenoweth told the executors they could not hang him; saying he would yell out for help and that five hundred Indians would dome to his rescue in just a few moments; but his yelling did no good, for he was hanged just as easy as the rest of the savages. After the death of Bannaha, Alex Telo, who married the chief's daughter, called himself chief, but as far as I know he was not recognized by any tribe as chief.
The horrors I went through during those early fifties would be unendurable to the women of today. The Indian trail passed close enough to my house that the stirrups of the warriors would drag on the rough board wall all night long. The trail was pretty much hidden by the wild rose bushes and buck thrust and other small vegetation as well. Many times I have witnessed this when all alone at night, while my husband would be out late on some kind of business and would be detained. I tell you it was all but pleasant during those olden days of the early fifties.
After the war was over and the Indians were getting somewhat friendly with the whites, they would often congratulate my husband and tell him he was the Boston Chief and Bannaha the Indian Chief, and if a dispute arose among them they would call on him to settle it for them, and in nine cases out of ten, they were willing to abide by his decision. He had learned to understand their language and could speak it fairly well and I afterwards learned to speak it pretty well, but can't speak much of it now. It disappeared, as did the red man also.
I will relate a comical occurrence, as well as a painful one, that took place between my husband and the Jim I have mentioned who was hanged. My husband owed him fifty cents and he lived on the Oregon side of the river, here my husband and I had gone for a visit at the Chipman home. After I was there for a day or two I took sick and my husband had brought home for me a pint of whiskey to use as medicine. The Chipman house is the section house at Cascade Locks today, and was built in 1855, if memory serves me right, and a pretty good house today.
It happened that Jim heard we were there and came to get the money, and as he entered the house, he spied the pint of whiskey and my husband offered him the money. He said, "No, give me the whiskey and keep the money." My husband said: "No. Jim, I can't for it is unlawful to sell and Indian whiskey and I have got it for medicine." Whereupon the Indian became very angry, saying, "I will go and get my gun and kill you if you don't give me the whiskey." My husband said: "Go and get it if you like. I am not afraid and will take a chance with you." He ran out of the house and jumped on his cayuse; ran to Mr. Chipman's fence, threw it down and regardless of his field of oats, ran through it, threw the fence down on the other side and ran out. He had not been gone but a few minutes till Mr. Chipman called Mr. Iman to dinner and it so happened that my husband was facing the door. They had no more than got seated when in ran the copper colored Jim, gun in hand and ready for action. He spoke in English: "I am going to kill you; I told you I would." But my husband, who was a fast man and afraid of nothing, sprang from the table, tore the gun from him, walked to the door facing the river and fired both barrels and threw it fifty feet away, breaking it so that it did not look much like a gun. Then he grabbed the unlucky Jim, who towered above him, and before anyone could pull him loose he had beat the copper colored man most unmercifully and threw him out of the house. At last he was able to drag himself to his wigwam. After two or three days had passed, Jim sent for my husband to come and see him and continued to send for him for about ten days. So on Monday morning Jim sent for Mr. Iman and Mr. Chipman said "Felix, I would go and see what he wants, but don't go without being armed." So my husband put Mr. Chipman's six-shooter in his pocket and went blue. He entered the house saying: "Jim, I have heard you want to see me; now what do you want?" "I don't want any more trouble," said Jim. "But you have made me blind, and I don't think I will ever see again, and I want you to pay me for it. If I am blind my wife and children will starve to death, so pay me." My husband said: "Jim, you made your own trouble and I will only pay you the same kind of pay if you care for it." Not long afterwards Jim was up and around and the first place he went for was our house. My husband gave him the fifty cents and they often talked about it and laughed. Jim worked for my husband hoeing potatoes many times.
Another instance that took place between another Indian and my husband was at the time he started to build the steamer Wasco. He had gone one day in a skiff across to the Oregon side near the locks to get a large crook he had hewn out to be used as a bow-stem for the steamer Wasco. It was pretty large and also heavy and it's shape made it pretty long. Some way he got it into the small boat with the aid of Mr. Chipman, or perhaps someone else and proceeded toward the Washington side. He made his way to what is called the chute, where N. Fields once lived. He then had to tumble out of the skiff, as the boat had grounded on the bottom and he could not land. So he tugged at it and lifted every pound that was in him but it stood upon the two points he could no push it over. Perhaps one more pound would have overbalanced it an turned it out on dry land. An Indian now appeared upon the sand and walked right up in front of the crook as my husband held it upon the two ends. He was in arms length of it and my husband said: Pull it over - in the Indian's own tongue. He replied to Mr. Iman: "How much will you pay me?" My husband got angry at this -- let the heavy missile fall back into the water and ran out after him down the river past a local place and down through the lands to the mouth of the creek, a distance of about a mile and a half. He gained the time on the dark man when he came to the bank which was perhaps twenty feet above water, and as the Indian sprang from the bank to the flat on the other side, my husband bested the jump to the other shore by a good foot. This ended the race, and the Indian won as my husband did not continue it. Both were tired by the long chase. I'm under the impression that it was lucky for the Indian that he was caught!
OREGONIAN, Portland Oregon, 12 June 1933, Impressions and Observations of the Journal Man, column by Fred Lockley:
“I was born the day that Grant was first inaugurated and if you know anything about history you know that was on March 4, 1869,” said Louis Franklin Iman when I interviewed him at his home at Stevenson. “My father, Felix Grundy Iman, was born in Illinois, November 24, 1828. My mother, whose maiden name was Margaret Windsor was born in Tippecanoe county, Indiana. She never had any birthdays for she didn’t know what day or month she was born. She was left an orphan when she was a baby, and the folks that took her either didn’t know or didn’t tell her when she was born. My father crossed the plains by ox team in 1852. Mother crossed the same year, but in a different train with a family named Wilson.”
“Mother was 15 years old when the wagon train she was with reached The Dalles. They put her on the raft to go to Portland but she was so sick that they landed at Shepherd’s Point which is now known as Stevenson. Mother had the mountain fever and was unconscious. They took her to a hotel here at The Cascades not knowing whether she would live or die. Isaac Bush ran a hotel, saloon and store here in 1852. The Wilsons went on to the Willamette valley. After a few days Mother took a turn for the better and in a few weeks was able to earn her keep in the hotel as a waitress.”
“My father was working as a carpenter, building the steamer Mary, a small side-wheeler built by Bradford & Coe. Captain Eph Baughman was put in command. One of the owners, Captain Lawrence W. Coe was the son of Nathaniel Coe. The Mary was built near the mouth of Blue creek a the Upper Cascades. Father boarded at Bush’s hotel and there he met Mother. She was about 16 when Father married her. Thy were married by the Justice of the Peace, who boarded at Bush’s Hotel. Father later worked on the building of the Wasco, built by Put Bradford, to connect with the Fashion, which plied between Portland and the Lower Cascades.”
—It is interesting to note that at this time Captain Gladwell ran the Allen, and Captain Baughman the Mary, on the middle river. The building of the Wasco resulted in a cut in freight rates of $30 per ton from Portland to The Dalles. The Belle, the Fashion and The Eagle were running between Portland and the Lower Cascades. The Multnomah ran from Portland to Astoria and Captain Ainsworth, in command of the Jennie Clark, and the Portland, under Captain Murray, ran between Portland and Oregon City.
Captain Lawrence W. Coe, one of the owners of the Mary, was born in New York state in 1831. In 1853 he served as purser on the Fashion, running between Portland and the Cascades. Later he was on the Mary. In 1858, with R. R. Thompson, he built the Colonel Wright, which was built and launched at the mouth of the Deschutes, the first steamer that ever turned a wheel on the upper Columbia. It was launched on October 25, 1858. The government paid the owners $80 at ton to carry freight from Celilo to Fort Walla Walla. She made three trips a week during the summer. In 1861 the Colonel Wright made a trip up the Clearwater. Captain Leonard White was the first commander of the Colonel Wright. His pilot was Eph W. Baughman. White was paid $500 a month. He was succeeded by Captain Thomas Stump, and later by Captain Coe, Felton and John Henry Dix Gray. The Colonel Wright was a mint for her owners. Captain Lawrence W. Coe was appointed manager of the Oregon Steam Navigation Company and in 1863 he went East to purchase material for the Portage railroad at The Dalles.—
“After my father and mother were married,” said Mr. Iman, “Father took up a donation land claim about half a mile north of the head of the rapids on the Washington side of the river. My father and mother had 16 children. I was the 10th. Seven of us are still living. My father died in July 1903 and my mother about 19 years ago.”
OREGONIAN, Portland Oregon, 13 June 1933, Impressions and Observations of the Journal Man, column by Fred Lockley:
Lewis F. Iman has lived at Stevenson, Wash., for the past 64 years. He was born there on March 4, 1869.
“My father, who was a boat-builder, went to work at The Cascades in the fall of 1852, “ said Mr. Iman. “Father owned a water-power sawmill where I worked as a boy. Later I worked on fish wheels in the Columbia river. When I went to work on the fish wheels sturgeon were not considered food fish as they are today. They used to get in the fish wheels, to our great annoyance. I have killed thousands of them. I usually hit them in the head with a sledgehammer and threw them back in the river. I saw one sturgeon that dresses 600 pounds. Later a man used to buy the sturgeon from us, paying 40 cents each if the sturgeon ran from four to eight feet long. I found out later that he sold the eggs at 5 cents a pound. They made what is called caviar from the eggs. I worked on the river or in sawmills for a good many years. Later I ran a saloon here. It’s real name was the Headquarters Saloon, but everyone called it the Red Line Saloon. I ran it for 12 years, from 1904 to 1916, and would have run it longer, but the people in Washington voted saloons out, so I had to quit.
“I was married on January 1, 1889, to my cousin, Emily May Iman. We were married by Probate Judge William Thomas. We have had eight children, three of whom are still living. We have had five grandchildren and we had one great-grandchild.
“I’m afraid I’m not keeping up the family record. I have only eight children while my father and mother had 16. Yes, sir, it was quite a job picking out names for them. My oldest brother was named Theodore Columbus. Then came Flora Adelia, Mary Elizabeth, Elnora Supronia, Martha Luchada, Rosalia Almeda, John William, Albert Odam, George Washington, Lewis Franklin—that’s myself, then James Riley, Alfred Edmund, Emily Cordelia, Annie Laurie, Charles Nathanell and Josiah Malcolm. My sister Flora Adelia was 2 days old when the Cascade massacre occurred.
“Gold had been discovered in Eastern Washington in 1855. This district was known as the Colville diggings. Hundreds of white men prospecting in the country there had made the Indian restless. Things were booming at The Cascades on account of the heavy travel of prospectors and the shipment of freight into the mining district. Late in the fall of 1855 Daniel F. Bradford and his brother, Putnam, began building a tramway between the Upper and Lower Cascades. It was about five miles long. At about the same time—that is, in the fall of 1855—Major Rains built a blockhouse a mile below the Upper Cascade landing.
“Early in March, 1856, some Klickitat Indians stole some cattle from Mrs. Joselyn, near the mouth of White Salmon. General Wool, who was in command of the department of the Pacific, had ordered Colonel George Wright to establish headquarters of his regiment at The Dalles. Colonel Wright was to march to Walla Walla to subdue the Yakima and other Indians. On March 20, Lieutenant Bissel was ordered to go with his soldiers from the Upper Cascades to The Dalles. Sergeant Kelly with nine men was left in charge of the blockhouse at Fort Rains to guard the government property. The Indians who lived at the Lower Cascades were friendly to the whites. When Colonel Wright started from Walla Walla, Kaimiakin, chief of the Yakimas, in conjunction wit the Klickitat Indians, forced the Columbia river Indians to attack the Cascades settlements. The very day that Colonel Wright started from The Dalles to Walla Walla the Indians attack the Upper, Lower and Middle Cascades. This was on March 26, 1856. My folks escaped carrying my sister, who was only 2 days old, with them.”
OREGONIAN, Portland Oregon, 20 June 1933, Impressions and Observations of the Journal Man, column by Fred Lockley:
“My name is Flora Adelia Foster, and I am the oldest living native daughter of Skamania county,” said Mrs. Foster when I interview her recently at her home at Stevenson, Wash. “My father’s name was Felix Grundy Iman. I was born here on March 25, 1856. My father was born in Monroe county, Illinois, and my mother in Tippecanoe county, Indiana. My grandmother died when my mother was a baby, and Mother was passed from one family to another, so she never knew much about her folks nor when she was born. My mother worked in Bush’s hotel here at the Cascades and was 16 years old when she married Father. I was their second child.
“My father, who was a ship carpenter, had built a hewed log house. The Cascade Indians were friendly to the whites. One of them told Father that the Yakima and Klickitat Indians were on the warpath and were going to kill the settlers at The Cascades. Father ran about 500 bullets, to be ready for them when the Indians came. My mother wasn’t taking much interest in the proceedings, for I had been born two days before. Early in the morning of Wednesday, March 26, just after most o fthe men had gone to work on the portage railway, the Yakimas began their attack. Two Indians came in front of our house. Father told Mr. Carter, who was with us, ‘You get one Indian and I’ll get the other.’ They picked their Indians, Mr. Carter fired, and the Indian he shor at ran about 50 yards and then fell. Father’s gun hung fire and his Indian zigazgged away, so Father didn’t get him. Father was afraid the Indians would come and throw firebrands on our roof and burn us out. Jim Thompson and Jim Hermann got our boat, crossed the slough, and dragged the boat across Poder island to where the steamer Mary lay. Simeon Gile followed them, got our boat, which the two men had borrowed, and brought it back. My folks started from our house to the boat. They carried Mother, but it hurt her to be carried; so they let her walk. My brother Theodore was a year and a half old. When they got to the boat they discovered that, by accident, they had overlooked bringing Theodore with them. My fathe’rs partner, Simeon Gile, ran back to the house and got Theodore. As thefolks rowed across the lsough they looked back at the house and saw the roof burst into flames. They dragged the boat across Powder island and crossed the river to the Oregon side in our rowboat. They camped in the timber on the south side of the Columbia.
“Next day my people and other settlers were taken aboard the steamer and taken to The Dalles. On the way to The Dalles my folks met Indian Jim. His Indian name was Tassalo. He was the Indian who had warned my people the Indians were goin on the warpath. He asked Father what the Indians were doing at The Cascades. Father told him they were killing the settlers and buring homes. Indian Jim said, I won’t go because I don’t want to get mixed up in it.
“The soldiers hung a lot of the Cascade Indians. The ones who were most guilty were the Yakimas and Klickitats, but the Cascade Indians, who lived there, were most esily got at. Amonth the Indians they captured was Indian Jim. My father and Henry Shepherd told the soldiers that Indian Jim had not been mixes up in the fight and had warned the settlers; but he was an Indian, so they hanged him anyway. They asked one of the Indians if he had taken part in the fight. He said, ‘No, I have no gun, but if I had had a gun I would have used it.’ So they hung him for his bad intentions. Old Chnoweth, the chief of the Cascade Indians, gave a warwhoop when the rope was being put around his neck. They brought a whiskey barrel for him to stand on, and then shoved it away and left him hanging. He asked the not to bury him in the ground, but to put hin in the an Indian dead-house. When the soldiers that the rope wansn’t going to do the work, they shot him.
“A week later, when the trouble seemed to be over, we came back from The Dalles and Father built another house about where our first house had stood. The government paid Father $1300 for the hewed log house that the Indians had burned. This money was paid under what known as the Indian spoilation bill.”
SKAMANIA COUNTY PIONEER, Pioneer Woman Was 2 Days Old When Indians Raided, 17 December 1937:
“When I was just two days old, the Indian massacre of 1856 occurred here,” declared Mrs. Flora A. Nix, a pioneer of Skamania county who has always made it her home.
Mrs. Nix declares she was born on the site of Stevenson before a town was ever thought of. During the massacre, which all pioneers have heard about but very few experienced, Mrs. Nix’s parents crossed the Columbia river in a small skiff, seeing their home set on the fire before they were across the stream. They lost all their belongings.
Mrs. Nix declares the Indians killed 17 white people, among them being Mrs. Gile, who had attended her mother at her birth. Mrs. Gile’s daughter and son-in-law, a Mr. St. Clair, were also among the slain.
She declared the red skins took a white boy and hung him to a tree and shot his body full of arrows. There was also a crippled man living near the rapids whose home was fired and he was compelled to remain in it while it burned to the ground.
“Old timers of Skamania County as I remember them are: John Andrews, a store keeper; Dan Baughman, steamboat captain; Mr. Shepperd, a farmer; Simeon Geil, a carpenter; Tom Monaghan, Ash Bradford, another storekeeper. All these were here before I was born and many, many years afterward,” she said.
The oldest house, as far as I know, in Skamania County, is the house Bransteader now lives in.”
“I am now 81 years old, have seven children, all living, 20 grandchildren, 5 great grand-children and I hope to live to see many more.”
SKAMANIA COUNTY PIONEER, Friday October 29, 1926; newspaper published at Stevenson, Skamania Co. Washington, Bridge of the Gods Dedicated Last Saturday by Pioneer Brother and Sister, includes photo with caption “Theodore C. Iman and Mrs. Flora Iman Foster, Pioneers First to Cross from their Respective States”), “The dream has some true. The Bridge of the Gods is completed, and it gives one with the least bit of imagination a thrill to walk over the rushing waters of the Columbia from one state to the other. Especially after learning all the fascinating Indian legend about the Bridge of the Gods that spanned the stream in ages gone by and how it was wrecked by the wrath of the gods as punishment of the sins of the Red Men.
Last Saturday forenoon Superintendent A. B. McClain and his crew of workers installed the last piece of steel that tied the two ends of the span together and joined the states of Washington and Oregon and a number of people from either state walked across the opposite side "with dry mocassins" as the Red man formerly did.
While the ceremony of completing the work was short it was impressive and displayed considerable sentiment inasmuch as it permitted two of the oldest settlers to be the principal participants. Mrs. Flora Adelia Foster, who was born at the historic settlement within sight of the place where the new bridge now is, and her brother, Theodore Columbus Iman, who was born at what is now Cascade Locks, Oregon, walked from their respective states and met mid-way of the bridge, grasped hands and congratulated each other and the men who are building the bridge. There the old pioneers had their pictures taken in the bright autumn sunshine on the broad new floor of the span that was only a dream a few months ago.
A great deal of history has been made since these two old people first saw the light of day. Mrs. Foster was born as the little settlement March 24, 1856 and her brother, on the opposite shore in Oregon two years before, August 23, 1854. During the Indian uprising and the massacre that followed the mother of these two with the rest of the settlers were being taken across the river into Oregon when it was learned that in the excitment Theodore had been forgotten in the cabin and at the risk of his life a man named Geil ran back and rescued the sleeping child. Mrs. Foster was only two days old at the time of the massacre.
I. Z. McLean, business superintendent says they expect to have the bridge open to traffic this coming Saturday. The bridge is virtually completed. The riveting, decking and other woodwork have kept pace with the steel work and by Saturday the big derrick will be taken down and the few remaining pieces of steel riveted in place.
A toll keeper's office will be erected this week on the Oregon end of the bridge and a contract will be let for a five or six room cottage for the toll keeper's use. The toll will be 75c per car including driver and the rate for extra passengers has not been officailly announced but will probably be ten cents each.
It will take several weeks to paint the bridge, complete all the odds and ends; remove the false work that is still up, tear down the derricks and perpare the machinery for shipment to other work.
The bridge was constructed for the Wauna Bridge Company, a Portland corporation, by the Puget Sound Bridge and Dredging company of Seattle, at a cost of approximnately $650,000. The Wauna Bridge company is composed of Portland and Southwest Washington men and connected with the Benton, Franklin Bridge company that own and operate the toll bridge that spans the Columbia river at Kennewick-Pasco, a hundred and fifty miles up stream.”