Slike strani
PDF
ePub

more.

draw well. The floor is planked, leaving a trail can, leading through thickets of sweetlarge opening in the center over which to briar in bloom, patches of wild pea-vine, build the fires. No partitions are used; each swamps, meadows, groves, and prairies, in dweller has a portion of the space allotted whose deep, rich soil cranberries, huckleberhim, in accordance with his importance in ries, strawberries, salmonberries, soap-oolaly, the tribe. The best and warmest part, that and many other kinds of berries grew in great opposite the door, is reserved for the chief. profusion. While we remained there, several Each house affords plenty of room for from canoes laden with grease came up the river twenty to fifty persons, sometimes for many and passed on.

Some of the planks are very large. My boy, Ta-kesh, required constant checkOne in Mus ke-boo's dwelling measured fifty- ing to keep him out of difficulty ; for he enfour feet in length, four feet one inch in tertained the utmost contempt for the Nasswidth, and five inches in thickness.

cars, and was at great pains to show it. Clah, In front of most of these houses a pole is who was in some way related to Mus-ke-boo, raised, sometimes sixty feet high, carved prevailed on me to engage him to accompany from base to tip with grotesque designs, and us to Kis-py-aux, on the Skeena.

He was a surmounted with the owner's crest. More splendid savage, about twenty-five years of rarely several houses have but one pole, cen- age, six foot two in height, straight as an artrally located. In either case, those of a row, swift, wiry, enduring, and supple as a crest own the houses in common, and form panther. His bold and piercing eye, large, independent tribes, having power to make firm, and well-shaped mouth, strong, white, peace or war without involving their neigh- and even teeth, square jaw, straight, well-set bors. Usually each village elects from the nose, full brows, thick, long, coal-black hair, heads of the various houses some one who skin of bronze, and expression of stern digis called the “Chief of Chiefs," and who has a nity, made him a picture of manly beauty, nominal authority outside of his proper crest. and the most perfect type of his race that I The principal crests are the eagle, bear, have ever met. wolf, crow, stork, and killer.

On the afternoon of July 5th we left Kiltribes speaking widely different tongues they ack-tam, and ascended the river three miles are substantially the same both in Brit to the point where the great Grease Trail beish Columbia and Alaska. Indians trav- gins. Above this the current flows like a eling to strange villages go to their own mill-race through steep banks of slate, and crest, and are received as brothers, though is too swift for any craft to ride, much less to never known before. No man and woman

We camped here. Near by were a of the same crest can marry. All children number of Nasscar families, preparing to take the crest of their mother.

take the trail with loads of grease. It is The houses, though somewhat dark, are borne upon the back by means of thong exceedingly comfortable. The door, a small fastened to the boxes, and dividing into two one, is in the center of the front end and is parts, one of which passes across the chest often circular. In some cases the crest pole and the points of the shoulders, and the othis pierced near its base, and entrance to the er over the forehead, so that by alternately house is made through the opening. leaning forward and backwards the strain can

The country about Kil-ack-tam was very be shifted and the parts rested in turn. Evattractive at that season. Within a mile both ery member of the family that can walk carup and down the river, the Indians had little ries a burden. One hundred and twenty gardens planted with potatoes, which do well pounds is called a load for an adult-man or there. They were not enclosed, and were woman-and each age has its proportionate of whatever shape and size their owners weight. Those who have brought the grease pleased, no two alike. The trails leading to up the river transport it a certain distance them twisted and turned, as only an Indian on the trail, where they are met by Indians

Even among

stem.

from the interior, who buy it from them to the sun rose before three and set after nine. trade it in turn to others at the confines of Some nights it was hardly dark at all. Ofttheir territory. Each tribe is exceedingly en we camped in places of great natural jealous of its privileges, and it is only on beauty, and I spent many happy hours listenrare occasions that a member of one is al- ing to Indian stories about the camp-fire, or, lowed to pass through the territory of anoth- lying on a bed of cedar branches, inhaling er. Ten miles is considered a day's journey. the spicy breath of woods, sank into that restNone of the interiors are permitted to own ful slumber that comes of healthful toil. a canoe, and they are called Stick-siwash, or The trail was a constant source of interest. snow-shoe men, in contradistinction to the Daily we passed parties bending under their coast and river Indians, who are named Salt- burdens, or met others hurrying back to seek chuck, or canoe-men. Between them is a a load. This highway is broad and clear and constant rivalry--the first striving to open very old. One is almost never out of sight direct communication with the coast and its of an Indian grave, marking the spot where trading-posts, the last trying by every means some weary mortal had, indeed, put off his to prevent such a consummation. Being far burden. Many were old and mouldering, the most warlike, and having much better but here and there were fresher ones, some arms, the canoe men have hitherto carried yet decked with mourning offerings. All their point. Thus it will be seen that mo. vestige of an ordinary grave is gone in fifty nopolies are an important factor even in this years. Sweat-houses were built at frequent primitive commerce.

intervals, where, with a cup of water and a The distance by the trail to Skeena was few heated stones, the tired native might asestimated by me to be one hundred and suage his aching limbs by a steam bath. twenty-eight miles : following the Nass in a Rude huts of bark afford shelter to him who direction almost north for twenty-four miles; needs it, and large sheds built of the same thence up a branch, the Harkan, to the di material mark the spots where different tribes vide, forty-two miles to the northeast ; and meet to trade. then down the valley of the Kis-py-aux to Bridges span the wider streams; one, a the Skeena, sixty-two miles, nearly east. suspension crossing the Har-keen, built long Over this I traveled by easy stages.

ago, replacing a still older one, has a clear The daily routine was as follows: We broke span of ninety-two feet. It is located at a camp early. I would walk briskly until point where opposing cliffs form natural sufficiently in advance to keep a look-out for abutments, and is thus constructed: From game. No one except myself killed anything each bank two tapering logs, parallel to each on the journey, nor did we once lack for other—some ten feet apart and with points

The game was made up of grouse elevated to an angle of ten degrees-are and several kinds of water-fowl. The vicin- pushed out over the stream towards each ity of the trail was deserted by moose-cari- other as far as their butts will serve as a counbou and bear, which are plentiful in undis- terpoise. Then two more are shoved out turbed localities. After enough game for between the first, but nearer together and the needs of the party was procured, and a almost horizontal. The ends on shore are suitable spot arrived at, I would wait till the then secured by piling logs and stones upon others came up, when the mid-day meal them. Then a man crawls out to the end would be eaten and a long rest taken. Re- of one of the timbers, and throws a line to suming the march, we completed the desired another in the same position opposite. A distance and camped early, making every- light pole is hauled into place, lashed sething as comfortable as possible for the night. curely, and that arch completed. The three The weather was fine, only one rainy day, remaining sets of timbers are treated in the and though sometimes the heat was great,

The upper and lower arches it was generally cool enough for comfort. are then fastened together by poles, cross

meat.

same manner.

pieces put in, foot-plank laid, and hand-rail striking views. At one point I dropped a bound in proper position to steady the trav- stone, and counted ten before it reached eler in crossing the vibrating, swaying struc- the bottom. From this same place, a mighty ture. No bolt, nail, or pin is used from first cataract was visible on the face of a mounto last. Strips of bark and tough, flexible tain across the valley on the opposite side of roots form all the fastenings.

the Nass. Though fully ten miles away, it In one place the trail leads over the top had the appearance of a large body of water, of a hill denuded of soil, and is worn deeply falling at least five hundred feet. The Ininto the solid granite by the feet of succeed- dians say that when the wind is favorable, it ing generations. It branches in a number can be plainly heard from here. of places. One, explored by Mr. Peter Leech, The farther inland we went, the more open of Victoria, in the winter of '66-'67, leads up and level the country became. Yet it was the Nass, and thence to the Stickeen river; always hilly, even after the snow-capped peaks the others go no civilized man knows whith- of the Coast Range were lost to view. Sever. I followed one of them half a day, to eral villages were passed, at all of which we visit a village never before seen by a white. were well received, but were assured at each Mus-ke-boo told me that two white men had that the Indians farther on were very bad, crossed before me from the Nass to the Skee- and would surely do us harm. These tales, na. These trails are traveled at all seasons so often repeated, began to have great influof the year; in the winter on snow-shoes. ence on Ta-kesh.

He lost his bold and ag. The country was rolling, diversified with gressive bearing, and became subdued. Then woodland and prairie. Lakes and streams he sought to persuade me to turn back. Fiteemed with trout and salmon. Meadows, nally, one morning, in the valley of Kis-pyrich with nutritious grasses, lay warm to the aux, while preparing my breakfast, he was so summer sun, and in the swamps and uplands overcome by the tales of two Harkan Indiberries grew in great variety and profusion. ans, who came into camp, of the ferocity of In short, this region is capable of supporting the people of the village they had just left, a large population by pursuits of agriculture that, dropping his frying pan, the poor feland stock-raising.

low came and knelt before me with streamSoon after crossing the divide between the ing eyes, crying : Harkan and Kis-py-aux, we struck the end “Pity me, chief, and let me go back with of the completed portion of the Russian- these; truly I want to see my home ; see how American extension of the Western Union my flesh is going because my heart is sick. Telegraph. I had the honor of being medi. Let me go to my wife and babies once more. cal officer of the American division of that Truly I am afraid." expedition, and accompanied the party that Although he had become a nuisance, I built the line; hence, from this point the dared not let him go, as he would surely have ground was familiar to me. All the poles been killed or enslaved away from my prowere cut down, and the wire removed or tection. Poor varlet ! he was the sorriest tangled among the stumps. It was done by shadow of the impudent chap that started the Indians of the Kis-py-aux, the winter after with me less than a month before. the line was abandoned, because they fancied Mus-ke boo, on the other hand, was in his that it was the cause of an epidemic of mea- glory. He knew every point of the country, sles, which prevailed among them at the time. and had some story to tell of them all. He

Of the striking objects of scenery along had journeyed here in peace; fought for his the route, the finest was the cañon of the life there ; thrown the strongest man of that Nass. It is several miles in length, with village, and distanced the fleetest one of this; sides everywhere steep, in places perpendic- in one place, killed an enemy in battle, and ular, and hundreds of feet in height; the in another, got a grievous wound. trail winds along the verge and affords many And Clah, sly Clah, how calmly did he

lie, and how unblushingly deny it when de- white men had come through from Peace tected. What ingenious schemes he devised river to the “Forks,” sixteen miles below, I to transfer coin or its equivalent from my hurried thither on the following day. There pouch to his, and how he did cheat those I found Mr. Moss, a gentleman from Victowhom he traded with! Still, Clah was a good ria, and learned that the main party consistman—for a backslider.

ing of about twenty, had gone down the George was an Indian, nothing more nor stream a short time previously. They had less. If he had peculiarities, I did not en- entered the Peace river country from the joy his society long enough to find them out. south, via Frazer river, and were astonished

On the 14th of July, we arrived at the vil- to find the Skeena route so much easier. Inlage of Kis-py-aux, on the river of that name, deed, the following year it became the favornear its junction with the Skeena. The in- ite way of reaching the Ominica mines. habitants were in a great state of excitement Alter resting at the “Forks" awhile, I reover the death of an old woman two days sumed my journey—this time down stream before. She and a younger squaw had been in a canoe. As the region traversed is compicking berries, and were returning home paratively well known, I shall have little to with well filled baskets on their backs, when say about it. The Skeena is a broad stream, a huge bear issued from the brush and set with a swift current, having rapids at freupon them. The younger escaped by flight, quent intervals, and an almost impassable but before the elder could clear herself of cañon at Kit-se-loo, some ninety miles from her load, she was seized and torn to pieces. its mouth. The steamer “G. H. Munford" All of the men of the tribe turned out, tracked ascended nearly to the cañon several times Bruin to his lair, killed him, hacked his car- in ’65. The river flows through a valley in cass to bits, strewed them near the spot where places twenty miles in width, well timbered, his victim died, and were now conducting a and containing much fruitful soil. Many grand dance in memory of the departed, and large, well built villages are to be seen upon in honor of her avengers.

its banks. Near its mouth it passes between Fort Sleger, on the Skeena, near Kis-py- great mountains of granite, some with faces aux, established in 1865 by the Telegraph perpendicular, and thousands of feet in Company as a base of supplies, had been height. Borne on its broad bosom, we floatburned by the natives the previous winter. ed lazily along the quiet reaches, sped swiftly To this point-about one hundred and sev over the boiling rapids, and dashed through enty miles—the river is navigable for canoes. the foaming cañon, stopping to hunt or fish Above, it had never been explored. One when the desire seized us, and on again when branch of the Grease Trail follows its banks in- the mood was over. Reaching the sea-coast, land, and another crosses and extends south- we loitered along until my leave drew to its ward to the head waters of Frazer River. close, and sailed into Fort Tongass harbor Hearing from the Indians that a party of the day that it expired.

George Chismore.

THE SUCCESSFUL RIVAL.

To love the loveliest one, and so to be
One among many worshipers; and she
Less than ihem all loves thee : what help can fall
For such defeat ? Ah, know thy victory :
Thou lovest her more greatly than they all.

M. W. Shinn.

JUAN BAUTISTA ALVARADO, GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA.—II.

[This and the preceding paper upon Governor Al- and remained quiet. But they were a disvarado are from the manuscript of the author's forth- orderly crew, and when excited with Graham's coming History of California.]

liquor (a kind of whisky made out of wheat) ANOTHER danger, and a more serious one, were continually creating disturbances. As perhaps, than any which Vallejo, Pico, or Car- they grew in numbers and observed themrillo could have occasioned, threatened Al- selves to be becoming a factor of importance varado from Branciforte and its neighbor- in the country, and especially in view of the hood. An American backwoodsman, named late achievements of the American settlers Isaac Graham, one of the numerous trappers in Texas who had declared their indepenwho had found their way across the country dence of Mexico and maintained it by force into California, had settled down at the edge of arms, they began to assume self-sufficient of the forest near that place. Being tired of and arrogant airs, and render themselves exhunting, and not fond of agriculture, he had ceedingly disagreeable to the authorities. turned his attention to the making and sale Whether they ever, in fact, contemplated atof aguardiente. Though a man entirely tempting a revolution and seizure of the counwithout education, he had enterprise and try is a matter of considerable doubt; but it intelligence. He also possessed a consider- seems certain that their conduct was very repable amount of personal magnetism, and by rehensible. About the beginning of 1840, degrees assumed the position of a leader Alvarado was informed and believed that among the rough characters of the vicinity, they contemplated a revolution ; and on the composed mostly of trappers like himself, de strength of this information he immediately serters from whalers and merchant ships that ordered José Castro, the prefect, to arrest had visited the coast, and vagabonds of ev- them, convey them to Monterey, ship them ery description. All these men were not to Mexico, and there deliver them over to only expert with the rifle, but were good the supreme government to be dealt with as woodsmen, and perfectly able, if so disposed, it might deem proper. to suffer fatigue and endure hardships. They Castro proceeded with celerity to execute had formed themselves into a sort of military the orders he had thus received. He surcompany of riflemen, and named Graham prised Graham and his associates in their their captain. When Alvarado raised the houses, and marched them off in short order standard of revolution against Gutierrez, he to Monterey. There the national bark, “Jonegotiated with them; and, though they do ven Guipuzcoana,” under the command of not appear to have been at any time actually José Antonio Aguirre, had been made ready called into action, except perhaps a few who for their reception. They were marched on marched with him in his campaign against board at once. Castro took passage on the his rival Carrillo, it was understood that same vessel for the purpose of prosecuting they were on his side ; and the moral influ- them before the Mexican government, as ence of this understanding throughout the well as of guarding them on the way; and, country was almost equal to their real pres- as soon as the necessary arrangements could ence under his banner.

be completed, the ship sailed. Notwithstanding the fact that none of the Upon its departure, seven of Castro's comcrowd had passports or licenses to live in the rades, headed by José Maria Villa, thought country, it is exceedingly unlikely that any proper to issue an extraordinary proclamaof them would ever have been disturbed, if tion bearing date May 8, 1840. Their obthey had otherwise conformed to the laws ject seems to have been to recommend and

« PrejšnjaNaprej »