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Modoc

klamath, reservation, river, lost, modoe and war

MO'DOC. A small but warlike and aggres sive tribe, formerly ranging about Lower Kla math Lake and Lost River, and on the extreme northeast frontier of California. The name is said to mean 'aliens' (i.e. enemies), having been given by some one of the neighhoring tribes. They call themselves Maklaks, 'people,' and with their northern neighbors, the Klamath, whose language they speak and with whom they origi nally formed one tribe, are at present. classified as a distinct linguistic stock known as Lutua mian, bit they may, however, eventually prove to be connected with the Shahaptian stock. At sonic earlier period they seceded from the parent Klamath tribe and established themselves on Lost River. Their houses were round log structures, covered with earth, and their women were exiled basket-weavers and cradle-makers. The Modoe made no alliances, but were at war with all the weaker surrounding tribes, and carried on a regular slave trade by selling their vaptives to the Columbia tribes in exchange for ponies. They were of vigonms vitality, and kept up their numbers in spite of smallpox and con stant wars with both Indians and whites. They came into early collision with the California immigrants, and a chronic warfare was inau gurated, marked by wholesale massacres on both sides. In 1850 they were severely defeated hy troops under Captain Lyon. In 1852 they mas sacred a number of settlers, for which terrible retaliation was made by a band of ndners under the notorious Ben Wright, who invited their warriors to a feast and peace conference. and treacherously murdered forty-one of the forty-six who responded. Although this I limini,died by nearly half their fighting force, the Modoe recom menced the war of extenninat ion, which continued until I801, When they entered into a treaty by which they agreed to go upon the Klamath reservation in Oregon. By this time they had been reduced to about 250. Finding their posi tion there intolerable by reason of persecution and insults of the Klamath, who considered them as rebels, the majority under a younger leader known as Captain Jack (q.v.) left the reserva

tion and returned to their old home on Lost River. They were induced to return on promise of protection, but finding themselves again sub jected to the same persecution without official redress. they returned to Lost River. leaving only about 100 lieu ind under the old hereditary chief Skonchin. Orders were given to the troops to bring them back, and on November 29, 1872, the final Modoe war was begun by a night attack on Captain Jack's camp. The Modoe retreated to the Lava Beds, just across the line, where they so intrenched themselves in the labyrinth of vol canic rocks that four hundred regular troops were twice forced to retire with heavy loss with out being able to conic near enough even to see one of their concealed enemies. A peace com mission to confer with the hostiles was then appointed, consisting of General Canby, Rev. Ar.Thomas,and Indian Superintendent Meacham. They met the head men of the Modoc on April 11, 1873. Jack repeated his demand to remain on host River. and on Canby's refusal, drew his revolver and shot him dead. At the same moment the other warriors tired, killing Thomas instantly and severely wounding Meacham, but were driven oil' before they could finish the work by the ar rival of the troops whom Canby had kept hidden within easy reach. The war was continued under General Davis until the hostiles were finally starved out and compelled to surrender two months later. A part of the surrendered hostiles were returned to their kindred on the Klamath reservation, Oregon, while the rest were transported to the Qua paw reservation in Indian Territory. Those on the Klamath reservation now number 225, and are apparently fairly prosperous and advancing and coalescing with the Klamath. Those on the Qua paw reservation number 5(1, having decreased about one-half since the re moval. See KLAMATH.