JUNE 1, 1873


An 1864 treaty forced the Klamath and Modoc tribes onto a joint reservation which split the Modoc.  “Old Schonchin’s” band remained; his brother, John, and Kintpuash (whose name meant “Strikes the Water Brashly”) led a band off the reserve for good in 1870.  In late 1872, an Army effort to force them back to the reserve led to the Battle of Lost River.  Taking refuge in the lava beds, the Modoc defeated the Army in the First Battle of the Stronghold (January 1873).  In April 1873, the Modoc ambushed the Army negotiating team killing General Edward Canby, and beat back the Army at the Second Battle of the Stronghold and the Battle of Sand Butte.  They were finally defeated at the Battle of Dry Lake in May.  Kintpuash with his family finally surrendered on June 1.  Convicted of the Canby killing, he, Black Jim, John Schonchin, and Boston Charley were hanged.  Their severed heads were sent first to the Army Medical Museum and later to the Smithsonian.  In 1984, the Smithsonian returned the skulls.

Source:  Warren A. Beck & Ynez D. Hasse, “California and the Indian Wars: The Modoc War, 1872-1873,” The Military Museum.  Retrieved 5/7/2020, www.militarymuseum.org/Modoc1.html
Photo:  Author unknown, 1864.  Public Domain.

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