Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Mariposa War & James Savage


The picture above is of Yosemite's Half Dome. I took the above picture on January 11th, 2016. It is my belief that the Yosemite Valley probably looked pretty much the same back in January of 1851 when the Mariposa War was getting started.

If you want to put on a pot of coffee and sit back, you can read what I think is a pretty good story about what became known as the Mariposa War. It was part of the California Indian Wars that folks have really never heard much about.

In fact, I'd say that some folks have gotten the idea from Hollywood that the Indian Wars only took place back East in the Midwest, up in the Dakotas, or down in the Southwest. I'd even say that not too many folks know about what took place in California with the many tribes that lived here. What a lot of folks don't realize is that with over one hundred Federally recognized Indian tribes, California has the largest Native American Indian population and the most distinct tribes of any state in the Union.

The Mariposa War started in December of 1850 and lasted until July of 1851. It was a conflict between local Native Americans Indian tribes and miners and settlers in what was then the immense California county of Mariposa. Fact is, it was a war was set off by the 1849 California Gold Rush.

With the discovery of the gold, the California Trail  was forged. It actually forked off of the Oregon Trail and headed southward into California. With the trail open, hundreds of thousands of gold seekers, settlers, and other opportunists, crossed that trail over the Sierra Nevada mountains and into Northern California. At that time California consisted of a large number of different Indians tribes and Californios. Californios were the descendants of Spanish California.

By the end of May 1849, it's estimated that tens of thousands of settlers of every nationality had entered California. Many have the notion that those gold seekers were all Whites, or all Americans from back East, but that wasn't the case. While the majority may have been from the United States thousands of miles away, many were from places such as Europe, Mexico, Latin America, South America, Australia, China, and even Hawaii. 

Just within a few years, California's non-Indian population swelled from some 14,000 in 1848 to well over 200,000 by 1852. And while some Indian tribes actually joined in and took up mining, many Indians opted to work for mines, and some of the Indian tribes had the idea that they "could more easily supply their wants by stealing."

Fact is, with the influx of miners and settlers there was a marked depletion of natural game. Because folks shot up all of the game, to survive, local Indians learned that horses and mules were viable substitutes for the missing game. Of course the problem was that horses and mules were valuable property of the miners and settlers. Soon, raids for supplies and food became common on both sides. Normally, those raids consisted of things being stolen -- not killings.

The Mariposa War was sparked when the Ahwahneechees, Chowchillas, Chookchancies, Nootchu, Honahchee, Potoencie, Kahwah, and Yosemite tribes in the Sierra Nevada and San Joaquin Valley led raids on settlers. One such raid was on the Fresno River post of James D. Savage in December of 1850. The Indian raiders had robbed the post, killed three men there, and burned the post to the ground.

The Miwok Indians, a neighboring tribe, and most settlers considered the Ahwahneechee to be an especially violent tribe because of their frequent territorial disputes with other tribes. The Miwok term for the Yosemite tribe was "yohhe'meti" which in Miwok means "they are killers". That says a lot in itself.

After hearing the reports of disturbances between miners and settlers and Indians, California Governor Peter H. Burnett enlisted the services of U.S. Indian Agent Colonel Adam Johnston to investigate and attempt to settle the grievances of the parties involved.

On the night of December 17th, 1850, Colonel Johnston together with James Savage noticed that most of the Indians who had normally lived near Savage's Mariposa Creek outpost were missing. Both Johnston and Savage saw this as a sure sign of serious trouble. Savage then gathered 16 men and set off with Johnston to try to locate the missing Indians. It's said it was James Savage's intention to try and reach the group before they had a chance to join another band of Indians who were already known to be renegades. 

Savage, Johnston and his 16 men tracked the Indians for 30 miles before they finally found them at daybreak the following morning. Facing each other from opposing hilltops a few hundred yards apart, Savage and the band's leader, Chief Baptiste, called out to one another. Colonel Johnston reported what was said in his report to the governor: "these two mountain tops, conversation was commenced and kept up for some time between Mr. Savage and the chief, who told him they had murdered the men on the Fresno and robbed the camp."

Savage tried to get the Indians to return to camp, and he pointed out the fact that they never worked too hard as long as there was gold for the taking. Chief Baptiste replied that "it was a hard way to make a living, and that they could more easily supply their wants by stealing from the whites."

Unable to convince them to return, Savage's party left. As they were leaving, they noted that about two hundred more Indians had joined those on the hilltop. When Savage and his party arrived back at his Mariposa Creek post on the evening of December 19th, it's said they were greeted by confirming news of the events at his Fresno River post.

The next day, Colonel Johnston led a force of thirty-five volunteers to the Fresno River to assess the situation and bury the dead. Colonel Johnston described the post as "a horrid scene of savage cruelty." All of the goods had been removed, and what the Indians raiders couldn't take with them -- they burned. The three men who had been killed in the raid were suspected of having still been alive when they were burned to death.

An expedition numbering 75 men was organized by Mariposa County Sheriff James Burney. Sheriff Burney was elected as the first sheriff of Mariposa County in 1850. So no, he hadn't been on the job very long when they left Mariposa on January 7th, 1851, with James Savage as their guide.

Of January 11th, at two o'clock on the morning, Sheriff Burney and his men found about five hundred Indians camped about fifty miles from Agua Fria near present day Oakhurst. The Indian camp was located on the side of a mountain about three-quarters of the way to the top.

The force slowly closed in until they were within 150 yards. at this point, Sheriff Burney halted the advance and proceeded to wait until dawn to attack. Though most of the Indians were asleep, there were still a few moving about the camp. One of those Indians heard something and soon discovered Sheriff Burney's forces. He sounded the alarm about an hour before dawn and the battle began.

The battle lasted three and a half hours. It began when Sheriff Burney's company charged the village, "driving the Indians out, but the enemy kept up a strong fire not only of arrows but bullets and some of the whites being wounded, they imprudently took too many to take care of them and the Indians regained the Ranchero."

After being driven out of the camp, Sheriff Burney rallied his men and once again charged the Indians. This assault proved successful and the Indians were forced to retreat to a group of rocks. From those rocks, the Indians had a good field of fire over the camp. Soon the Indians rained fire from the rocks, this is said to have created all sorts of disorder among the militia.

Sheriff Burney again rallied his men for one last charge, and they soon drove the Indians from the rocks. The Indians scattered and disappeared into the thick chaparral. While the Indians were being driven from their rocky defensive position, Sheriff Burney had ordered some of his men to construct litters to remove the wounded to a safer position. Six of the militia was wounded, and two were killed. About 40 Indians were killed in the fight, with 26 of them being killed near their camp.

After burning the ranchero, Sheriff Burney's force began what was termed a "controlled withdrawal." Call it what they want, it was a retreat. Their retreat from the mountain was hit with Indian sniper fire the whole way. Sheriff Burney led his command four miles from the Indian camp before finally finding a satisfactory site to camp. Once there, he had what was called "a crude, but substantial fortification" built and left thirty-six men to guard the remaining supplies, tend to the wounded, and of course bury their dead. The rest of the command returned to Mariposa to get reinforcements and more provisions. Upon his return to Mariposa on January 13th, Sheriff Burney sent an urgent request for more aid to California's new Governor John McDougal.

In early January, Colonel Johnston had arrived back in the state's capital which was located in San Jose at the time. He is said to have appealed to both the state and federal governments for aid. His request to the United States Army's Pacific Division Commander, General Percifer F. Smith, was declined, and his request sent to the state was met with great reluctance in the office of then Governor John Burnett. This wouldn't be the case with the new Governor John McDougal.

On January 9th,1851, Governor John McDougal took office. He believed that the state should use military force to solve their troubles with the Indians.

Sheriff Burney's January 13th letter to the governor appealed for assistance in the form of arms and provisions. It was Burney's belief that he felt they could force the Indians to surrender "in a short time" if his men were properly equipped. His letter was supported by a separate petition sent by 73 citizens of the Mariposa community.

By the time those requests reached Governor McDougal, he had already taken action based on the information that Colonel Johnston had earlier provided to the former governor. So in reality, before Burney's letter arrived, Governor McDougal on January 13th gave Burney the authority to form a militia unit of one hundred volunteers. And in a letter to the state legislature, McDougal stated that such an emergency could not wait for the legal process of action expected by the federal government. McDougal felt confident that the Federal government would "ultimately afford us surer means of more effectively punishing aggressors than are now at our command."

Then on January 24th, when the two requests from Mariposa County Sheriff Burney and the community actually arrived, Governor McDougal increased the militia's strength from 100 to 200 volunteers.

While the citizens of the Mariposa community were waiting for state and federal assistance in the matter, the campaign against the Indians continued. John Savage and Sheriff Burney recruited a force of 164 miners and settlers to relieve those stationed at the fort and to mount a punitive expedition.

Dividing his command, Sheriff Burney, holding the rank of Major, placed Captain John Boling in charge of the entire company. Captain Boling had a force of about one hundred men. His orders were to search for Indian encampments. It was intended that Boling deploy in the north while Major Burney led the southern operation. Burney reached as far south as the Four Creeks area around Visalia. He did not return to Mariposa until February 3rd .

Back on January 17th, James Savage was being used for his scouting skills at that point. It was Savage who discovered a village of approximately five hundred Indians of the Chowchillas, Chookchancies, Nootchu, Honahchee, Potoencie, Kahwah, and Yosemite tribes. The bands had collected under the leadership of Chiefs Jose Rey and Jose Juarez of the Chowchillas.

Savage reported to Captain Boling. But since the discovery of the Indian ranchero came late in the afternoon, Boling decided to wait until the next day to fight. Early the next morning, Boling's men began an assault on the camp.

One of Boling's officers led 31 men and charged the ranchero. They set fire to the shelters with the Indians' own campfires. Another of Boling's officers led another wave and the Indians were driven out of their village. It's said that the smoke created by the fire cover for the majority of the Indians as they escaped. But while that was the case, the Indians loss twenty-four of their people. One was Chief Jose Rey. The militia didn't lose a single man in the engagement.

California admission to the Union took place on September 9th, 1850. California became the 31st State. Because of that, President Millard Fillmore sent Federal Indian Commissioners to California to investigate the Indian "problem" in what was known as the "Island State" out West. California was called the "Island State" because it was isolated from the rest of the states in the East.

On January 25th, 1851, Governor McDougal dispatched an aide, Colonel J. Neely Johnson, to meet with three Federal Indian Commissioners. They were Colonels Redrick Mckee, George W. Barbour, and Dr. O. W. Wozencraft. All of them had recently visited San Jose seeking to clarify the state's response to the violence occurring throughout the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

Upon being notified by Colonel Johnson that Governor McDougal authorized a force of 200 volunteers to round-up the Indians, and that the Federal government would be expected to compensate the state of California for the cost of the expedition, the commissioners decided to proceed at once to Mariposa in the hopes that war could be avoided. The federal commissioners received an escort consisting of 10 U.S. Army officers and 106 men under the command of Captain E. D. Keyes, 3rd Artillery. They left San Francisco on February 7th and traveled by steamboat to Stockton. They arrived in Stockton on February 9th. Once in Stockton, Colonel Johnson, who had arrived with the federal force, appointed John G. Marvin as the Mariposa militia's quartermaster and then rode off with the federal commissioners to the scene of the conflict.

The militia unit authorized by the state was called the "Mariposa Battalion". They mustered at noon on February 12th. Sheriff Burney was the first choice as Commanding Officer of the unit, but he declined because of his responsibilities in Mariposa County. The next man offered the position was James D. Savage. He was commissioned a Major.

A camp was immediately established two and one-half miles from the town of Mariposa near Major Savage's Agua Fria trading post. The Mariposa Battalion was divided into three companies commanded by Captain John J. Kuykendall of Company A with 70 men, Captain John Boling of Company B with 72 men, and Captain William Dill of Company C with 55 men. Vincent Hailor was commissioned as a Guide.

Governor McDougal's aide Colonel J. Neely Johnson arrived at the battalion's post on February 13th. On February 15th, he addressed the members of the militia. In his speech, Johnson outlined the unit's three objectives: The first was "the duty of subduing such Indian tribes as could not otherwise be induced to make treaties;" second, the "officers will make all reports to the Federal commissioners;" and third, "orders and instructions will hereafter be issued by them [the Federal Indian commissioners]."

Colonel Johnson is said to have reminded the troops that they were trespassing on the lands belonging to that Indians. He said, "some sympathy should be offered to the Indians."

When the commissioners met with Major Savage on February 19th , the control of the battalion passed to the U.S. Army. Once the commissioners reached the area and established their camp on Mariposa Creek, they began the slow process of making contact with the various tribes in the Sierra foothills. The Federal Indian Commissioners set up a Treaty Council which was first held on March 9th. As a result, the Mercedes Indian and the Potawachtas Indian tribes became the first to agree to the government's terms.

The Mariposa Battalion
As a side note, the most significant California Indian treaty, the treaty which involved the greatest number of Indian tribes, was signed on March 29th. That treaty guaranteed substantial aid in establishing agricultural communities to cultivated land, reservation land located in the fertile San Joaquin Valley, and hunting and gathering rights in their traditional homelands.

It should also be noted that a total of 16 individual California Indian nations signed that treaty.

While the talks had been going on, Captain Boling and Captain Dill moved their companies three miles south of the main post to Lewis's Ranch because of better grazing conditions.

On March 16th, Captain John J. Kuykendall's Company A had its first skirmish with Indians at Fine Gold Gulch. The action is said to have encouraged those Indians involved to turn themselves in.

On March 19th, the Federal Commissioners signed a treaty at Camp Fremont with Chookchancies, Honahchee, Potoencie, and Kahwah tribes. However, the Ahwahneechees, Chowchillas, Nootchus, and Yosemites were absent.

Since the U.S.Army by way of the Federal Indian Commissioners were in charge, on March 19th, the Commissioners gave Major Savage permission to initiate an extensive campaign against Indian tribes which had refused to sign a treaty. The very next day, March 20th , the Mariposa Battalion left camp to begin a campaign against the Chowchillas, Nootchus, and Yosemites.

Fighting foul weather, Major Savage marched with Companies B and C to the Wawona area where they established a base camp for their operation. Captain Kuykendall's Company A was sent South to round up the Chowchillas who had refused to come to the reservation.

On the morning of March 24th, Captain Boling's Company B and Captain Dill's Company C advanced upon a Nootchus village in the Wawona area. The Indians there, having no other option available to them, surrendered at once. Major Savage began to arrange their transport to the reservation. He also sent a few Indian messengers to other villages in the region and to Chief Tenieya of the Yosemites to explain the offer guaranteed by the treaty. Chief Tenieya arrived in camp to discuss the treaty on the following day, March 25th. It's said he had very little choice but to agree to the terms. So the Chief related that his tribe was on its way to Wawona and would arrive soon.

Major Savage waited three days before deciding to search for the Indians. His expedition to locate the missing Indians left at noon on March 27th. His expedition consisted of Captain Boling and Captain Dill, and a detail of 57 militia volunteers. He also took Chief Tenieya with them. It's said they traveled along the lower mountains and the foothills to avoid deep snow.

His expedition was about halfway to the Yosemite Valley when it met up with 72 Yosemites. They were mostly women and children. When Major Savage asked the Chief where the remainder of his tribe was located, the Chief explained that the rest of the tribe had fled to join other groups in the Mono Lake area.

It's said that Savage was not very satisfied at all with that explanation. Since he was skeptical, he decided to send the Indians on to Wawona while his force continued the search out the male warriors. Later in the day, the detachment arrived at the rim of the Yosemite Valley. The following day, Major Savage's force entered the valley and began to search for the remaining Yosemites. As they advanced through the valley floor, the troops saw smoke coming from Indian campfires.

Lieutenants Gilbert and Chandler were sent out to explore that end of the valley. It's said they found that task too difficult to accomplish in just one day. It's said they were disappointed because they only found one old woman.

The unit started for the Wawona base camp on March 29th. Because the battalion was short of supplies, the decision was made to proceed as quickly as possible to the Indian reservation with their captives. Major Savage decided to leave Captain Boling and a small guard with the Indians and move the rest of his command ahead so they could be resupplied. It's said, during the night of April 1st a total of 250 Indians including Chief Tenieya slipped away from their guards.

The Mariposa Battalion in Yosemite Valley
While the Mariposa Battalion was exploring the Yosemite region, it should be noted that they decided to name some of the "outstanding geological features." One of which was the valley itself. Dr. Bunnell suggested that the valley be named after the Indians who inhabited it. A vote was taken by the members of the battalion who were present, and it was agreed that it should be named "Yosemite". Yes, that's how the Yosemite got its name. And today, we know it as Yosemite National Park.

Captain Kuydendall's marched Company A to the King's and the Kahweah Rivers and into the Tulare Valley. Upon arrival at the King's River, his scouts located a large Chowchilla village. A quick march brought his troops to the site where they discovered that the Indians there were ready for battle. Company A charged into their camp and killed a number of Indians. They also rode down and took prisoners of others. They also chased down fugitives who were making a running flight of it until they had to leave their horses. Once that happened, the Indians eluded them and got away. The troops continued to the Kahweah River, but they ultimately failed to locate the fugitives.

A few days later, a delegation of Chowchilla Indians entered their camp to arrange terms for peace. With an offer of peace being accepted, arrangements were made to transport them to the Reservation.

The entire Mariposa Battalion regrouped at their camp on Mariposa Creek in early April. By April 14th, Major Savage left with the battalion, minus part of Company A who were station at Mariposa.

Savage set out to begin an extensive expedition against the remaining Chowchilla Indians. His force is said to have headed towards the South Fork of the San Joaquin River by way of Coarse Gold Gulch to the Fresno River and downstream to the South Fork. He established his first major encampment in Crane Valley. From his camp, he sent out scouts to search for the Chowchilla.

While searching for the Indians, Lieutenant Chandler and a scouting party reached the Little San Joaquin River where they discovered several Indian fires. Captain Boling is said to have given a rousing speech to his men before advancing on Indian camp there.

When Boling and his men arrived, they discovered that the Indians there were preparing for battleon the opposite side of the river. The next day, April 26th, the Mariposa Battalion crossed the river to attack the Indians. But by the time they had made their crossing, the Chowchilla had dispersed and left their village.

It's said that the battalion burned the village to the ground "in an attempt to pursue" the Indians. While that might have been the "official" reason for burning their encampment, it was apparent that there was a great deal of rage among the Officers over being outsmarted by the Chowchilla. Burning villages wasn't needed. And really, no matter what their reasoning then, it was in reality just scorn whenever it was done.

Savage's force returned to its Mariposa Creek camp on May 3rd. After the battalion returned to the post, soon another expedition was set into motion. Captain Boling's Company B would make up the bulk of the force with support coming from Lieutenant Gilbert and parts of Company C and Company A to protect the supply train. The rest of the battalion stayed at the headquarters on Mariposa Creek.

On May 9th, Captain Boling's force entered the Yosemite Valley. Lieutenant Chandler and several Indian scouts searched the area but only found empty huts. They then proceeded slowly up the south side of the valley. As they advanced, five Indians were seen crossing a meadow on the north side of the valley. A detachment of six militiamen were sent out to pursue them. They crossed the Merced River while another group advanced up the South side with the hopes of cutting off the their escape.

A messenger was sent to Captain Boling in the rear to come quickly. In no time his company quickly proceeded to give chase. Three of the Indians were rode down and captured. They were three of Chief Tenieya's sons.

A few of the scouts located the rest of the tribe. They escaped into one of the canyons. Each time the scouts attempted to pursue them, they were turned back by a shower of rocks that were thrown at them. The fugitives had taken position on the canyon walls. One of the prisoners was sent to give Chief Tenieya a message explaining the terms for peace. It's said two captives tried to escape and one was killed in in the process.

Chief Tenieya was eventually caught by Lieutenant Chandler and the scouts in Tenaya Canyon. When the Chief finally saw the dead body of his son in camp, he reportedly fell to the ground and began to weep. He then tried to escape, the whole while begging to be shot. It's said that Captain Boling showed sympathy for the Chief, but still had to detain him.

After the capture of Chief Tenieya, Captain Boling marched his command twenty miles to what is now Tenaya Lake. There they burned down a Yosemite Indian village. In the process, they killed a number of them there. That was the last action of the Mariposa War.

From there, Captain Boling's men escorted the Indians to the reservation and eventually returned to the Mariposa Creek post. With almost all of the Indians of the area being rounded up, the Mariposa Battalion had lost its reason to exist. On July 1st, 1851, the Mariposa Battalion mustered out. The Mariposa War was over.


Post-War Betrayals

While the military part of the Mariposa War was over, resettling the Indians in the San Joaquin Valley had actually just begun. President Millard Fillmore sent the three Federal Indian Commissioners out West to California to resettle the Indians -- and he believed that they did just that.

Fact is, between March of 1851 and January of 1852, President Fillmore's Indian Commissioners met with 502 Indian leaders in Northern California's Mariposa area. Of them, they signed a total of 18 treaties which established reservations covering eight and one-half million acres of land.

The principle mechanism for establishing the reservation was the treaties, especially the treaty of March 29th,1851. But remember, the treaties still had to face ratification by the United States Congress. And friends, that did not take place because the reservations soon drew heavy opposition from the state of California.

In fact, a California state commission was assembled in 1852 to examine the treaties which were already agreed upon. In its report to the state legislature, the state commission recommended that the United States Congress be notified of the "great evils that would inevitably result to the people of California if the treaties were ratified."

Of course, besides what was taking place in California, opposition against the treaties was also taking place in the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C.. Many saw the treaties as an economic threat because it was believed that the treaties would plunge the Federal government into debt of over a half million dollars.

Remember, the year was 1851. In 1851, $500,000 would be worth 16 Million dollars today. So frankly, while that doesn't seem like a lot of money today with the way the government spends money, back then that was seen as a great deal of money at the time.

Also, it was said at the time that the land that would be set aside as Indian reservations was much too valuable agriculturally to be given to Indians. Yes, they believed that the land was much too valuable agriculturally to be given back to Indians. Imagine that. 

Though the treaties were introduced into the House in February of 1852 and the Senate in July of the same year, fact is that the treaties were never ratified. And believe it or not, the California Indians involved in the Mariposa War never received any of the benefits they were promised in the treaties -- treaties which the Indians had signed in good faith.

After the treaties were rejected by Congress, believe it or not, they were sealed for 50 years. Yes, they were held as classified material and not released again to the public until 1905.

Similar troubles were experienced by legislation designed to compensate the militiamen for expenses they endured when they belonged to the Mariposa Battalion, and also the expenses endured by the Mariposa community. The state of California's bill for Militia and Mariposa Compensation did pass the Assembly, but failed to gain the support of the California Senate. So yes, like the Indians, the Mariposa Battalion militiamen and the Mariposa community as a whole got screwed as well.

As for James Savage? A little more than a year later in 1852, he was murdered. 

After he had been relieved of his duties and the Mariposa Battalion was disbanded, Savage continued his trading business. In fact, he actually established two more posts near the new Indian reservations located in the Sierra Nevada foothills. So for James Savage, all in all, he was prospering pretty well.

An event on July 2nd, 1852, changed things for James Savage. That was when a conflict flared over squatters entering the King's River Reservation. As a result, settlers led by then County Judge of Tulare, a disreputable individual by the name of Walter Harvey, massacred by a small band of Indians.

They say that James Savage recognized the plight of the California Indian, and Savage publicly denounced what took place. He immediately called for an inquiry by the Federal Indian Commissioners who established the reservations -- all in the hopes of bring to justice and try those responsible for the massacre. With his insistence of an inquiry, a council was summoned to inquire as to the what took place. The inquiry was to be held at Four Creeks in August. 

On August 16th, 1852, while on his way to the inquiry, James Savage was approached by none other than Walter Harvey and his close friend Judge Marvin of Tuolumne County. According to Harvey and Marvin, an argument ensued in which Harvey demanded that Savage retract his statements condemning that Indian action as a "massacre" by Harvey and his men. It is said that Savage told Harvey "to go to Hell" that he wouldn't retract his statements.

Then, according to Walter Harvey and his close friend Judge Marvin, the only two witnesses, Savage slapped Harvey and called him a "murderer." Then in what Harvey called "self-defense," Harvey produced a pistol and shot James Savage four times at close range. James Savage died instantly.

Harvey was later arrested and tried for murder, but was not convicted of murdering James Savage. The reason that he wasn't convicted is that his close friend Judge Marvin tried the case. Marvin is said to have owed his position on the bench to Walter Harvey. So yes, murderer Walter Harvey was not convicted because the Judge owed him a favor and returned it.

The remains of James D. Savage were at the time buried near where he fell. Then a few years later in 1855, his remains were removed by Dr. Lewis Leach, a close friend and one time business partner, and given permanent burial at the point on Fresno River known as "Leach's old store," which had also been James D. Savage's trading post. 

Dr. Leach erected a granite monument over the spot. It is a ten feet high, square and massive and stern, said to be "typical of the robust form and the sturdy spirit of the man whose memory it commemorates," and upon one of its sides is carved simply "To The Memory Of Maj James D. Savage."

The stone itself was imported from Italy, and paid for by Major Savage's other partners including Dr. Leach. And believe it or not, it is said that the inscription's lettering was originally in gold leaf -- but vandals scraped away the gold years before.

All in all, while the Mariposa Battalion mustered out on July 1st, 1851, a date which marked the end of the Mariposa War, sadly it did not end the Indian Wars in California.

Tom Correa


1 comment:

Thank you for your comment.