Rogue River War affidavit
This collection contains a 56-page manuscript folio of affidavits and claims for compensation for depredations during the Rogue River Wars in the 1850s. These papers were filed in the 1880s by Benajmin Franklin Dowell and Daughter, attorneys in Portland, Oregon who specialized in Oregon Indian claims. Included in the documents are testimonies of property loss, including farm animals, as told by first-hand witnesses and claimants.
- Creation: 1850-1880
- Dowell, B. F. (Benjamin Franklin) (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.
Conditions Governing Use
Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.
Biographical / Historical
Benjamin Franklin Dowell, 1821-1897, was born in Virginia. After attending law school at the University of Virginia and living for a time in Missouri, he emigrated via the Overland Trail to California, then Oregon in the 1850s. While in the West, he served in the 1st Regiment, Oregon Volunteers during the various military conflicts between white settlers and the Native population. He established a law firm in Jacksonville, Oregon and, together with his wife, owned the Oregon Sentinel newspaper.
The Rogue River War of 1855-1856 was the culmination of several years of conflict between white settlers and Native tribes in southern Oregon and northern California. The war began when self-styled volunteer soldiers attacked Native peoples in the Rogue Valley in October 1855. Clashes in nearby Northern California in the summer and autumn of 1855 and agitation by rival politicians led to an anti-Indian meeting in Jacksonville on October 7. Most of those present expressed approval of a plan put forward by a newly elected Democratic territorial representative, James A. Lupton, to exterminate Native people living off the reservation. Early the next morning, seven parties of about 115 men set out to attack Indian camps. In those attacks, Lupton and another white man were mortally wounded, and ten more were injured in the initial assault, by one report; forty Indians were killed in the first attack. One witness said half the dead were women and children.
While Native fighters continued to defend themselves against the white forces, including burning the town of Ellensburg (present day Gold Beach), the white troops continued to push forward, taking advantage of disagreements between several Native bands over whether or not to surrender. Fighting continued through May 1856. In June 1856, the remaining Native survivors were forcibly removed to coastal reservation land including what became the Grand Ronde and Siletz reservations.
0.1 linear feet (1 container) : 1 folder
Language of Materials
56-page manuscript folio of affidavits and claims for compensation for depredations during the Rogue River Wars in the 1850s. These papers were filed in the 1880s by Benajmin Franklin Dowell and Daughter, attorneys in Portland, Oregon who specialized in Oregon Indian claims.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Purchase from Charles Apfelbaum, 2001.
Processed by Mahala Ruddell in February 2023.
- Guide to the Rogue River War affidavit
- Rogue River War affidavit
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