BIOGRAPHICAL: Came to Oregon with Nathaniel Ford wagon train in 1844 from Kansas. Co-discoverer of gold at Sutter's Mill, California in 1848 with James Marshall. Owner of Bennett House hotel and steamer Canemah.
VETERAN: Co. A. US Dragoons; Captain of Company F, Oregon Mounted Volunteers.
CAUSE OF DEATH: Killed in action in the Yakima Indian War, Walla Walla, Washington.
The BENNETT HOUSE -- This well known house, after thorough renovation, is to be opened by the Neville Brothers. Oregon Statesman, Sept. 4, 1868
LIGHTED BY GAS.
The new gas machine recently put up to manufacture that material for the use of the Chemeketa hotel is finished, and on Saturday night the office and dining rooms of that spacious building were lighted up with the home made article. The gas was of good quality and gave a steady bright light, and is made by a machine invented by E. D. Parrott, of this city. The inventor has already put in machines for several of our citizens, and if the machine works well in the Chemeketa, as is indicated by the trial last Saturday evening, he will yet make a "pile" out of his new invention.
Weekly Oregon Statesman, Sept. 27, 1878, 3:1.
A BIG BLAZE. The BENNETT HOUSE BURNED to ASHES.
A Frightful Holocaust --A Historic Landmark Gone -- A Few Reminiscent Remarks.
Friday morning, at about 3:30, the fire bell awoke from its long slumbers and announced to the city of peace that the fire fiend was again abroad. A look toward the center of town showed at a glance that the Bennett House was at last about to meet its fate.
The fire seemed to have started on the inside, and gained such rapid headway that in a few moments the entire building was wrapped in flames. An early arrival upon the scene would have shown volumes of smoke and flames bursting from the doors and windows, and gangs of hurried and excited Chinamen rushing aimlessly hither and thither in an anxious endeavor to save as much as possible from the destructive element. But it was almost impossible to take anything from the upper story. Many of the inhabitants barely escaped with their night clothes. One poor unfortunate who came down to the ground by the short route broke his hip, and was carried away to a Chinese doctor's. At this time the fire had reached and enveloped every part of the structure, and the surrounding buildings were lighted up as if it were day. Capitals succeeded in getting a stream from the hydrant in front of their engine house, and the new steamer was taken out and set upon the cistern. Considerable delay was experienced in getting up steam. And Tiger's engine came down and took her station alongside of her and was throwing water before Cap's engine got to running. The La France finally started, but immediately after a loud explosion was heard, and the crowd fell back hastily, under the impression that the steamer had blown up. Investigation developed the fact that the air chamber had burst wide open, and the steamer was incapable of further usage. Meanwhile several streams from hydrants and the Silsby were playing energetically upon the burning building. But it had been apparent from the first that no human efforts could stop the progress of the flames, and so there was nothing left to do but to save the surrounding buildings. Effective work was as usual done by the fire department, notwithstanding the unavoidable accident which happened to Capital's steamer. While the fire was raging at its height, a loud report was heard, followed by a succession of explosions that caused the crowd to fall back in dismay. Then a clatter of short sharp noises came from the midst of the flames. When it was understood what the sounds were, a shout of laughter went up and the courage of the sidewalk firemen was restored. The noises were made by the explosion of a lot of Chinese bombs and firecrackers. It did not take long for the building to burn down, although the firemen did not withdraw from the scene of action until five o'clock. At that time, one of Salem's oldest landmarks was swept away.
There was little thought at the time of the fire that any of the inmates of the house had perished in the flames. No outcry was heard during the fire, and the Chinamen did not seem to miss any of their number. After daylight, however, noses were counted, and it was found that three of their number were gone. A search among the ruins was instituted as soon as practicable, and in a short time the charred remains of three Chinamen were found buried amongst the cinders. The bodies were taken out by the horrified countrymen of the unfortunates, and yesterday afternoon were given a decent burial in the Odd Fellows' cemetery. The names of the three unlucky sufferers in the holocaust were La Fuen, Lin Yu, and Ah Goon. The first named formerly worked for John Savage, near the fairgrounds, the second was cook at Mrs. Lute Savage's, and the third formerly worked in the brickyard near the penitentiary.
A New Kind of Mining.
There was in the building at the time of the fire at least $3,000 in coin, and $200 to $300 in greenbacks. Early in the morning the ground upon which the money was supposed to have fallen was staked off, and a policeman placed in charge. Search was shortly after begun for the coin, and during the day between $1,500 and $2,000 were recovered. Some of the money was in good condition, some fair, and the rest badly mutilated. A number of boys and men began search for coin outside the reserved space and a considerable amount was found by them. One fellow found $22, another a $20 gold piece, and others various sums, raging from ten cents to ten dollars. It was reported that one searcher found $80 in gold, but, if he did, he said nothing about it. The building was very old, and had it not been for the rain it would have burned much sooner than it did. It was owned by Messrs. G. W. Gray and Sons, and was uninsured. The occupants paid to the proprietors a rental of $44 per month, but the building was not worth over $1200. Notes. Nearly all the clothing in the laundry was taken out. But they are in a fearful jumble. The origin of the fire is unknown. Opinion is divided as to whether it was incendiary or not. It will be necessary to send East for a new air chamber for the Captial's steamer. Meanwhile the machine will be laid up. A heavy rain had fallen during the night, and the neighboring buildings were so saturated with water that they would not ignite easily. This is the last time that a fire alarm will be sounded on account of the old Bennett House. The last alarm was in October, and was caused by the ignition of one of the Bennett house chimneys. Reminiscent. Thus does another old landmark disappear from public gaze. Few of the later day citizens of and visitors to Salem can fully appreciate the fact that this old rookery, was at one time the leading hostelry in Salem. Had they not burned, or even yet the ghost of those walls could a tale unfold of political intrigue, that would prove very interesting to many of the present living persons of the world, and many a tale could be unfolded that would, probably, throw light on many things done in the past, and would prove many things to have been "irregular" in the political history of the state. However, the writer will only tell a few tales of the building as he gets them from parties who were prominent at the time that Capt. "Charley" Bennett was in his prime. "The west, or 'old' part of the building was standing when I came to Salem in 1852," said Col. C. A. Reed, "and in that year the High street frontage was added to it."
It was learned that this was the principal hotel for quite a while after that. In 1865, however, it supremacy began to wane, owing to the change of proprietors, Capt. Charles Bennett having been killed in an Indian fight on the Touchet, near Fort Wallula. In the winter of 1852-1853, nearly the entire territorial legislature was quartered there. Among the members of that legislature who stopped at the Bennett House, were Judge Deady and Hon. A. Bush, who occupied a room together, Joe Meek, Col. George K. Sheil, Dr. White, at that time a "wild Irish" legislator, but who is now a prominent Catholic priest at Washington, D. C., Nesmith, Delazon Smith, James K. Kelly, Benjamin Harding, Ex-Gov. Whiteaker, Nathaniel Ford, of Polk county, and many others at that time and since famous in Oregon history. Ex-Gov. Curry was also there that winter. In 1854, the U. S. Surveyor General's office, for Oregon, was removed to Salem, and occupied rooms at the Bennett House for some time. It has been the scene of many a political intrigue, and many of the foremost citizens of the United States have stopped there at times. In 1865, W. L. Gaston, brother of Joseph Gaston, well known now in Portland and Salem, was the proprietor of the Bennett House, and some time after the assassination of President Lincoln, Schuyler Colfax, and a party which included some of the most prominent journalists of the time, visited Salem, and made the Bennett House their headquarters. The party included the well known and popular Sam Bowles, of the Springfield Republican, Lieut-Gov. Bross, of Illinios, and one of the proprietors of the Chicago Tribune, A. D. Richardson, then a correspondent of the New York Tribune, and who had been the secret war correspondent of that paper and many others. Richardson will be remembered as the author of, "The Field, the Dungeon and the Escape," a story of his life during the war of the rebellion, his incarceration in the famed Libby prison, and his escape therefrom. He afterwards was mixed up in a scandal with a Mrs. McFarland, and was finally shot in the Tribune editorial rooms, by her husband, from whom Mrs. McFarland had secured a divorce. Mrs. McF. was then married to Richardson on his death bed. She afterwards completed a history of the civil war that Richardson had begun.
The party was given a breakfast at the Bennett House, which was attended by all the notables of the state who were then in Salem. The breakfast was presided over by Gov. Gibbs, who was then the chief executive. A good story is told of this visit. Early in the morning, Colfax and Richardson were out on the verandah making addresses to the crowd gathered in front of the hotel, when Sam Bowles accosted Mr. Bush, who was by then stopping at the hotel, saying that he did not want to "orate," and knew that if he were where he could be found, he would be called on. Bush suggested that they retire to the dining room, which they did. On the center of one of the tables sat a small bowl of luscious raspberries, a rare luxury in Oregon at that time. Bowles asked Bush if he knew to whom they belonged. Bush answered that he did not, but remarked that if Bowles wanted to eat any of them he had better "get in." This they did, and soon the bowl had a very lonesome look, and Bowles and Bush were feeling pretty well satisfied. They afterward learned that some kind lady from the Waldo Hills, had sent the berries in as a present to Mr. Colfax. They gave him very little satisfaction, however. The Bennett House was occupied as a hotel, until about 1880, when it became vacant, and leased to Chinese, who have since occupied it. Capt. Bennett was a peculiar-minded man, an old sea-captain, and built the house originally after the plan of a ship or steamboat--with a hurricane deck, guards, and instead of bed chambers of decent size, he built little "state rooms" for his guests to sleep in.
Oregon Statesman, Friday, Jan. 21. 1887
BIOGRAPHICAL: From "Bits for Breakfast" by R. J. Hendricks
The Scott history says Capt. Chas. Bennett, co-discoverer with James W. Marshall of gold in California, and builder of the historic Bennett house in Salem, was one of the builders with other pioneers of the river steamer Canemah, at Canemah. The Scott history says one of the other builders of the Canemah was John McCrosky. Is that not a mistake? Who can tell the Bits man? Was it not John McClosky? Bancroft gives the names of the 56 persons at Oregon City who signed the petition to Congress against doing a contemplated injustice to Dr. McLoughlin, who was defending his right to his title to the donation land claim that included the Oregon City townsite. John McClosky was given by Bancroft as one of the signers. The others were: Andrew Hood, Noyes Smith, Forbes Barclaly, A. A. Skinner, James D. Holman, W. C. Holman, J. Quinn Thornton, Walter Pomeroy, A.E. Walt, Joseph C. Lewis, James M. Moore, Robert Moore, R.R. Thompson, Geo. H. Atkinson, M.Crawford, Wm. Hood, Thomas Lowe, Wm. B. Campbell, John Fleming, G. Hanan, Robert Canfield, Alex Brisser, Samuel Welch, Gustavus A.Cone, Albert Gaines, W. H. Tucker, Arch. McKinlay, Richard McMahon, David Burnsides, Hezekiah Johnson, P. H. Hatch, J. L. Morrison, Joseph Parrott, Ezra Fisher, Geo. T. Allen, L. D. C. Latourette, D. D. Thompkins, Wm. Barlow, Amory Holbrook, Matthew Richardson, Wm. Holmes, H. Burns, Wm. Chapman, Wm. K. Kilborn, J. R. Ralston, B. B. Rogers, Chas. Friedlander, Abraham Wolfe, Samuel Vance, J. B. Backenstos, John J. Chandler, S. W. Moss, James Winston, Jr., Septimus Huelat an Milton Elliott. Most of those names come down to us on the pages of Oregon history.
They were attempting to have justice done to the great benefactor of the early immigrants; who befriended them in the name of the common instincts of humanity, against the wishes of the British company whose heads could not understand the reasons that impelled him; the powerful Hudson’s Bay company, with its home office in London. How did Charles Bennett happen to be a captain? He came to the Oregon country with the second year’s wagon trains that came clear through, in 1844; the train that brought John Minto and the Morrisons (Mrs. Minto was a Morrison), the Shaws (Mrs. Dr. S. C. Stone and Mrs. Dr. H. C. Epley, of Salem, were Shaws before marriage), the Packwoods (Mrs. Judge Rand’s father was a Packwood), the Gilliams, the Christmans of Lane county, the Huttons, and many others whose families are prominent in the history of this state. The subject of military organization had been neglected in the original and amended laws of the provisional government, designedly so, as calculated to create suspicion in the minds of the officials and adherents of the Hudson’s Bay company. The apparently critical aspect of affairs in the spring of 1846; however, induced a number of public spirited citizens to call a meeting at the house of Dan Waldo in the Waldo hills (near the present town of Macleay). That was in June, 1846. The British battleship Modeste was in the Columbia at the Fort Vancouver of the Hudson’s Bay company, and the Fishgard of the British navy, with 42 guns and 350 men, was at Nisqually in the Puget sound; there were a dozen or more other British war vessels in Pacific waters, and Russia had bought up all the available food (and rum) supplies in Hawaii, expecting her Alaskan fur trade forces to be cut off by the expected war between Great Britain and the United States over the boundary question - and a number of American war ship were along the coast on this side of the ocean. Notice was to be given of the termination of the joint occupancy treaty. The “54-40 of fight” slogan of the Polk campaign cry reverberated throughout the country. France, with her war in Pacific waters, especially along the Hawaiian coast, was expected to side with the British in case of trouble; she also had colors of claims to western Pacific territory.
The Indians of the country were an uncertain quantity. The little meeting at the farm home of Dan Waldo previous to organizing their proposed military company passed resolutions, with this preamble: "Whereas, the people of Oregon Territory (this was a misnomer; Oregon was not yet a territory) are situated remote from, and without the protection of any, government, we, therefore, as members of a free and enlightened community, wishing to preserve the principles of a free and republican form of government, and being well aware that the body of the people is the only power capable of sustaining such institutions, therefore, we deem it advisable to form ourselves into military bodies, for the purpose of preserving peace and order at home, and preventing aggression from abroad." So the company was organized there, the officers being: Captain, Charles Bennett; 1st lieut., A.A. Robinson, 2d lieut., Isaac Hutchins, 3rd lieut., Hiram English; ord. Sergeant, Thomas Holt; 2nd sergeant, Thomas Howell; 3d sergeant, S. C. Morris; 4th sergeant, William Herring (Herren?); 1st corporal, P.C. Kaiser, 2d corporal, Robert Walker; 3d corporal, John Rowe. The privates were 33 in number. This was in the nature of a revival of Captain Kaiser’s Oregon Rangers, and they took that name, some of the same members being enrolled, and the former captain, T. D. Kaiser, acting as president of the meeting. Patriotic feelings ran high here that year. A liberty pole was erected at Oregon City, a round of 21 guns was fired, and Peter H. Burnett delivered an oration, followed by a big dinner and toasts, and a grand ball in the evening. The Oregon Rangers had the management of the celebration in Salem, and the company was presented with a flag by Mrs. Horace Holden and Miss Looney. The oration was by W. G. T’Vault, after which a barbecue and public diner were served, followed not by a ball (in a missionary town), but by a sermon delivered by Harvey Clark. The ceremonies took place where the Bush home now stands, on a beautiful knoll back of Mission street. The celebrants did not know it, but the international boundary question had already been settled at Washington, on June 15, 1845; else the celebration would have been still more jubilant, if possible, at both places. These were the first two formal celebrations of the Fourth of July held at Oregon City and what is now Salem. The news of the settlement of the boundary question reached Oregon by way of a news item in the Polynesian, a Hawaiian newspaper in its issue of Aug. 29, 1846, received in Oregon in September, and officially announced by Provisional Governor Abernethy on December 1. There were further celebrations after the receipts of the news of the settlement of the boundary question. The flag pole at Oregon City was use again, and there were more guns fired and there was general rejoicing throughout the Oregon Country - though there was to be a long wait and many disappointments, before the territorial government was authorized.
Oregon Statesman 27 Nov 1929 4: 3, 4 & 5.
BENNETT'S FIND 90 YEARS AGO
Salem people who are students of western history recall that today is the 90th anniversary of the discovery made by a Salem man and not a Californian, as is generally believed.
Captain Charles Bennett, whose grave is in Odd Fellows cemetery, Salem, is said to have been the actual discoverer on January 24, 1848. He, previously, in 1846, while serving as pack master for General John C. Fremont, had found gold there, but the significant discovery was in 1848.
Bennett and Stephen Statts, Polk county pioneer, were working with James Marshall, who had a contract to cut a mill race across the property of Sutter, the owner of the famous Sutter's mill.
Bennett, while at his work, saw a gold nugget, which he picked up and showed to Marshall in the presence of Stutts. He was capable of recognizing gold at a glance because of Gold mining experience in Georgia. History dated from his discovery just 90 years ago.
After coming to Salem Captain Bennett established the Bennett house where the Masonic temple now stands, and he was the first master of a Masonic lodge in Salem.
In 1855 he took a military company from Salem to fight in the Yakima Indian war and was killed December 5 of that year in a battle near the location of Walla Walla.
Capital Journal 24 January 1939 1:5
See also: http://salemhistory.net/people/pcb01.htm http://salemhistory.net/people/p002.htm
1. 1820 Census of ...
2. 1830 Census of ...
3. Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas... military service
4. 1840 Census of ...
5. Marriage Records of ...
6. Stephenie Flora's website:
Captains of 1844: A large caravan started from Independence captained by Nathaniel Ford and guided by a famed ex-mountain man by the name of Moses "Black" Harris. "First published reports (in the Western Expositor, Independence, Mo.) indicated that Colonel Ford's company contained 358 persons--55 married men with their wives (110), 80 single men, 168 children; and that there were 54 wagons, 500 head of cattle, 60 horses, and 28 mules. Yet to join, (according to the (Expositor), were several small parties embracing in all 27 families, numbering about 125 souls, who had 10 wagons, 130 cattle, and some horses." "Ford was accompanied by his wife, six children, and five slaves. This group left Independence, Missouri, about the first of June [other sources say May 14th] and expected to join General Gilliam's company on the Nimshaw River in about two weeks. In company with the above were Mr. Bequet, a mountain trader bound for Fort Laramie, whose company included 12 men, 14 horses, 32 mules, and 8 carts."
7. 1850 Census of Marion Co., OR, pg. 82 (stamped on facing page)
Bennet, Charles age 38, b. PA head, male, white, carpenter, $2,000
Bennet, Mary age 38, b. KY female, white
Bennet, Jane age 14, b. OH female, black
[neighbors were: William Cox, John Force, Bartholemew White, Alfred M. Belt, Joseph Holman, James Davidson, Dr. W. H. Wilson, William Leverage, etc.]
8. "Oregon Statesman", Jan. 29, 1856, pg. 3: BENNETT -- The remains of Capt. Chas. Bennett, killed by the Indians in the northern war, arrived here on the Canemah on Friday. A salute was fired by the citizens of Salem. The body was interred with Masonic honors, on Monday.
9. Obituary in ...[check the Statesman and Spectator indexes].
10. Salem, Oregon Pioneer Cemetery. Website: http://www.salempioneercemetery.org/
Capt. Charles Bennett
Died Dec 7 1855
Aged 41 yrs, 3 mo, 20 days
Capt. Charles Bennett was the discoverer of gold in California, and fell in defense of his Country, at Walla Walla.
DAR pg 20
OS 29 Jan 1856 3:?
WOS 27 Sep 1878 3:1
OS 21 Jan. 1887 ?:?
OS 28 Mar 1931 - 80th Anniversary edition.
See also: Salem History at URL: http://www.salemhistory.org/people/
Corning pg. 26,
"Ladd & Bush Quarterly" Vol. II, No. 4 (Dec. 1914) pgs. 2-4:
CJ 24 January 1939 1:5
11. Marion County Oregon Probate Records: File #130 Capt. Charles Bennett. Testate.
Mary Ann nemed executor, Dec. 26, 1855. Mary Ann was the only heir.
12. "Oregon Statesman", Sept. 4, 1868: __:1: The BENNETT HOUSE -- This well known house, after thorough renovation, is to be opened by the Neville Brothers.
13. "Ladd & Bush Quarterly" Vol. II, No. 4 (Dec. 1914) pgs. 2-4:
CAPTAIN CHARLES BENNETT ... His Connection with the Gold Find in California in 1848.
.... Salem, Oregon, Sept. 18th, 1914.
In the newspaper clipping you send me is much I know nothing about. I can not dispute what Mr. Staats
in relation to Captain Bennett's connection with General Sutter and James Marshall. If true it gives Captain
Bennett the credit in the gold find in the newly washed out mill race.
Of the eight present Bennett was the man to say the shining pebbles contained gold, he had previously
mined for gold in Georgia.
Captain Bennett came to Oregon in 1844, joining Colonel Ford's company as it passed Fort Leavenworth
He organized the first mounted company of Oregon Scouts and died a brave death. He worked at the sawmill
on Abernathy Island in the winter of 1844-5. Early in the following July, together with Mr. Bennett, his wife,
and a Miss McMahon, Henry Williamson and John Minto, in Bennett's skiff, ascended the Willamette River
to the Jason Lee Mission, the two young men doing the oar labor. Bennett came to Salem to build a keel
boat to operate on the river above Oregon City. He built it but it proved impracticeable. Bennett remained
in Salem and was the first resident there not connected with the missionaries, with the exception of J. B.
McClane, who married the daughter of Reverend Judson, one of the missionaries, and through her was in
a way connected with them.
Charles Bennett built the Bennett House, located on the site of the present Masonic Temple. In the early
days the Bennett House was a prominent hotel in Salem. Prior to the building of this hotel there was a log
house on this site.
- * - * - * -
It is probable that Charles Bennett was the man who first found gold in California, but when we consider the fact that, after Columbus had the undaunted courage to make his whole trip of discovery, this Continent was given the name of another man. It is not surprising that the Legislature of California should erect a marble monument to James W. Marshall in commemoration of this event. This monument stands in Coloma, El Dorado County, and the inscription on it states that the date of Marshall's discovery was January 1848.
Bennett and Marshall were both emigrants to Oregon in 1844. Marshall was known to be an indolent man of limited education. Capt. Bennett was an energetic and intelligent man always on the lookout for something new. He had done some gold mining in his younger days when living in the South. He and Marshall both left for California in 1847. After being there a short time they entered into a contract to erect a sawmill at Fort Sutter and while they were building this mill the first discovery of gold was made. Bancroft's history claims the honor for Marshall, but admits that in San Francisco in 1847 Bennett had two small bags containing what he claimed to be gold, and that the following year he again visited San Francisco and brought with him a considerable amount of gold dust.
Bennett came back to Oregon in 1849. He first assisted in building a steamboat called the Canemah, which ran on the upper Willamette for a number of years. Afterwards he built a hotel in Salem, the Bennett House. When the Indian Wars of 1855 broke out he was appointed by Governor Curry, raised a company and was killed in a battle near Walla Walla.
By the time people began to realize the importance California's gold fields were to the world, Bennett was dead and there was no one to dispute Marshall's claim. Marshall is reported to have thought in his latter days that he was entitled to reward and complained to the state and nation had been unjust to him in not giving him one.
Considering the character of the two men it is likely that Bennett was the man who really made the find. His Oregon friends all seem to have claimed the honor for him, One of whom --- Mr. John Minto --- is still living, and whose letter on the subject heads this article. Mr. Minto came to Oregon the same year that Bennett and Marshall did.
In I. O. O. F. Cemetery, alongside of the Cooke Vault lat, the wife of Captain Bennett erected a monument to his memory. For many years a niche on the west face of the marble shaft contained a daguerreotype of Captain Bennett which was the caouse of much curiosity in the mids of the boys of a generation ago and often induced them to stop and read the inscriptions: "Chas. Bennett. Died Dec. 7, 1855 -- Age 44 yrs. 3 ms. 20 ds. Erected by his wife." "Capt. Chas. Bennett was the discoverer of gold in Cal. and fell in the defense of his country at Walla Walla." The picture has long been missing from its place and with it probably has gone the last chance for anyone hereafter to know how he appeared.
Among those who enlisted in Captain Bennett's company was Mr. John Hughes. The following is a statement made by him of his experiences in this campaign:
"I was a young man then, about 24 years old, and belonged to Company F, commanded by Captain Charles Bennett. After enlisting we went from Salem to Silverton, where we elected our company officers. From Silverton we proceeded to Portland; from Portland we attempted to ascend the river, but, owing to high winds and rough water, we had to abandon the boats at Cape Horn on the Columbia River. From the head of the Cascades we went by horses to The Dalles. After preparation at The Dalles we crossed the Columbia River and went to the Yakima country, where we had our first tussle with the Indians. After remaining in that country for a few weeks and being unable to bring the Indians to a fight, our officers learned that the bulk of the Indians were congregated in the Walla Walla country, so we retraced our steps to The Dalles and went from there to that country, where Peu-Peu-Mox-Mox and several other Indians were taken prisoners. The next morning the four days' fight began, about ten miles below the present site of the city of Walla Walla. Capt. Bennett was killed in this battle; Lieutenant Fellows then took charge of the company. Andrew Sheppard was our second Lieutenant. After the four days' fight the Indians took up a line of march to leave the country and we followed them until within ten miles of Snake River, where many, in their haste to cross, were drowned. At this point we abandoned the pursuit on accounty of the scarcity of provisions. And on our way back our guide lost his directions and we were causht in the Simcoe Mountains in a terrific snow storm."
[Other letters of participants follow ... which are not included here.]
7. "Oregon Statesman", March 28, 1931. 80th Anniversary Edition.
BENNETT - Charles Bennett. One of the early day characters of Salem was Capt. Charles Bennett who established the Bennett House in the early 1850s. He was killed in a battle with the Indians on the Touchet River in south eastern Washington, near Fort Wallula in 1855. Bennett in 1835 was a sergeant in Co. A. U.S. dragoons, at Fort Leavenworth, under General Joseph A. Kearney.
But he had another claim to fame in being co-discoverer with Marshall of gold in California. Stephen Staats, a lifelong acquaintance, wrote a letter to The Statesman as follows: "In 1847 we furnished Bennett with an outfit and he traveled with us to California. He assisted Marshall in building a mill on the American fork of the Sacramento, and he was the first one that beheld the glittering dust when water was turned into the race for the purpose of clearing it out. Notwithstanding that Marshall has gained worldwide fame as the first discoverer of gold in California, we have always claimed that an Oregon man, Bennett, was the first one whose eagle eye beheld the shining ore as it sparkled through the rippling of the water. Bennett, Salem’s pioneer citizen, first gazed upon and held in his hand the gold which made San Francisco what she is today, and had it not been for that discovery the Bennett house never would have been built." Bennett is buried in the Odd Fellows cemetery in Salem. Lettered on the tombstone are these words: "Capt. Chas. Bennett was the discoverer of gold in California, and fell in defense of his country at Walla Walla." He was killed by the Indians Dec. 7, 1855. In the same Indian war Peo-peo-mox-mox, famous wily Umatilla Indian chief, was killed. The Bennett house was most famous among Salem’s old time hotels. It stood where the Masonic temple now stands.
8. "Oregon Journal", April 13, 1933: Impressions and Observations of the Journal Man by Fred Lockley. Interview of Mrs. Joseph E. Hubbard, daughter of Stephen Staats and Cordelia Catherine Forrest.
.... "In 1835, when father [Stephen Staats] had been working for the suttler at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, he met a non-commissioned officer of Company A of the 1st United States Dragoons. His name was Charles Bennett. He crossed the plains to Oregon in 1844, settling at Salem, where he was known as Captain Charles Bennett. When father and mother went down to California in 1847, father's old friend, Charles Bennett went with them. Captain Bennett got work building a mill race for General Sutter. Bennett and James W. Marshall took a contract to put up a mill for General Sutter. Marshall has always been given credit for discovering the gold, but as a matter of fact, Captain Bennett noticed the yellow particles of heavy metal in the mill race and drew Marshall's attention to them. Marshall picked up a larger piece and took it to General Sutter, who tested it and found it was pure gold. Captain Bennett gathered an ounce of the small nuggets, which he brought to father and told him there was plenty more.
Whenever Captain Bennett was not working he made his home with my father and mother. Captain Bennett was in charge of a company of volunteers in the Cayuse Indian War. About two miles from the Whitman mission station, near Walla Walla, they had a fight with the Indians. The Indians killed several men, including Lieutenant J. M. Burrows, Captain Wilson of Company A and Captain Bennett.
9. INDIAN WARS of the PACIFIC NORTHWEST by Glassley, Ray Hoard. Portland, Or: Binfords & Mort, pub. 1972. pg. 123:
The volunters lost eight officers and men killed or dead of wounds and eighteen others wounded. The Indians' losses were estimated at 100 killed and wounded. The troops built a new fort two miles above Waiilatpu, naming it Fort Bennett in memory of Captain Charles Bennett, killed in the battle. Colonel J. W. Nesmith resigned his command of the regiment and Thomas R. Cornelius, who had commanded Company D, was elected Colonel. Lieutenant-Colonel Kelly was a member of the legislature and returned to participate in its deliberations. He was welcomed signally by the people of the Willamette Valley as a fitting conclusion to the second phase of the Yakima War. [editor: this paragraph preceeded by several pages (113-123) of details of the war.]