WE omit his brother's statement of the reasons why, and the manner how, the 'Bear Flag' was inaugurated--Mr. BOGGS having furnished us with that item: (see ante pages 56-7), and continue his account of what he remembers in relation to Mr. IDE'S further movements.
"Soon after the commencement of hostilities between the United States and Mexico, and the arrival of Commodore Stockton around on the Pacific coast, in pursuance of orders from his Government to receive the transfer of the Californias, by the then nominal Governor, to the United States, my brother told me that ceremony was formally, if not legally performed on board the Commodore's ship, in the presence of its officers and men, and a number of the respectable citizens of the place near which his ship lay at anchor.
Soon, after this ceremony was over, there was a collation on board the ship prepared in honor of the occasion: and brother said 'it was the happiest day of his life to be relieved from the responsible position of Governor, and at the same time to feel assured that the day was not far distant, when California would become one of the States of the Union.' And, although he died at just about the meridian of, man's life, fitting him for usefulness in the people's service, he lived to see that 'day.'
"This transfer having been made, Commodore Stockton, having been authorized by the U. S. government to do so, gave Col. Fremont command of a small force, to drive the hostile Mexicans from the territory. Although this turn of affairs relieved brother from much care and anxiety, it did not satisfy him that there was no further need of his services in the case. It devolved on Fremont to drive Castro and his adherents out of the territory, and to organize a 'small force' for that purpose. To do this the Bear Flag Company, which had seen 'some service,' would be an important acquisition.
Aware of this, he tried to enlist them into his service; but a large number declined, unless their late Commander would go with them. Though his private affairs, and the care of his family urgently required his presence at home, still, in view of these appeals from his brave comrades who had also left their homes to serve their country and for the protection of their own firesides, he thought it his duty to continue still in its service; as, by so doing, he would secure to Col. Fremont his needed assistance in driving Gen. Castro and his horde down the Pacific coast: in view of this state of the case he thought it his duty to go with them.
"And here I may be permitted to inquire, --as I did of brother, when he related his experience under Fremont during the 3 or 4 months novel campaign--if he was not a little improvident (as the sequel will show), in not having an explicit understanding with his commander, as to his position in the company of men he had been of so essential service in procuring for the expedition, who had for a brief period been under him as their commander. He said that, during their entire tramp of several months, down the westwardly coast of Lower California, he occupied the post, and was subjected to all the hardships of a common soldier--at times being on foot for miles, while nearly all his comrades were mounted, and while an officer rode a horse of his, which accompanied him from lllinois. His reason for submitting to this indignity was, that he consented to the sacrifice of personal interest and comfort, in consenting to go with his men, to assist his commander in driving the enemy out of the country, by the best way and means he could; and if his superiors thought he would be most useful to them as a private, it was his duty to serve in that capacity: although he did expect when he enlisted, to occupy a different position in the service. This is the sum and substance of my brother's reply to my inquiry.
"But I have not yet come to the finale of the peculiar experience of my brother during this long and tedious excursion. The most novel and interesting part of what I have to add in relation to it, I obtained though a disinterested party, (so far as blood-relationship is concerned.) He merely told me that when he was 'mustered out', he found himself without money, some four or five hundred miles down the coast away from home, and that he took passage aboard a ship that carried him within about 75 miles of it; where he arrived, after an absence of more than six months. When discharged from this U. S. service, he was not only 'without money', but also without decent clothing, and without credit, 'into the bargain.' He applied to the Captain of a vessel (I think my informant told me it was that on which Commodore Stockton was aboard of) for a passage up to San Francisco; saying he had no money with him to pay his passage; but that he had a plenty at home. The Captain eyed his would-be-customer's ragged and uncouth garb with a rather suspicious look, and said it was his custom to receive his passage-money in advance. Mr. IDE then proposed to 'work his passage.' 'Can you saw wood ?' the Captain asked. 'Yes, Captain, I have sawed lots of it in my day'. 'Well, step aboard, and the Steward will set you to work', said the Captain. So he then took leave of a few of his 'Bear Flag' associates, and went aboard the vessel, not much encumbered with baggage, but cheered with the prospect of soon embracing the dear ones he had so abruptly left in his hastily and rudely constructed log-cabin, soon after his six or seven months' journey across the Plains and over the Mountains: cheered, also, with the conscious rectitude of his intention to serve his fellow-citizens by the best way and means in his power, and nowise disheartened in view of the prospect before him, of a few more days' endurance of toil and privation. He cared little for the honors and emoluments of office, or the pomp and pride of high station; for he believed, with the Poet, that
"Honor and Fame from no condition rise:
Act well your part--there all the honor lies."
"It is true that sawing wood aboard ship was new business to him; and it was also true, as he told the Captain, that he had 'sawed lots of it in his day', while engaged in the employment to which he had been bred in early life. But before the ship had got under way, Commodore Stockton, (then around on that coast with the U. S. ship Princeton, who had called to pay his respects to the Captain), while walking arm-in-arm with him on deck, saw my brother at his new vocation, and said:
"Captain, do you know who that old man there, (pointing to Mr. IDE) sawing wood for you, is?" "No; I didn't ask his name," replied the Captain. "Well, that is Governor IDE, of the Bear Flag party." "Can that be so? do you know him?" asked the Captain. "Yes, I know him," was the reply. Whereupon the Captain called his steward, and said to him: "Here, Steward, go tell that man sawing wood, yonder, that the Captain wants to see him at his office."
"The above incident and colloquy came to my knowledge through a different channel, as I have before remarked. It was told to to a friend of mine by the said Captain, to whom the Commodore introduced Mr. IDE: 'and on his said introduction, he (Mr. I.), was made welcome, not only to his passage, but to as good fare and accommodations as the ship afforded.'
"At that time this Captain was on his way to San Francisco, in the merchant service. In 1855 he had retired from a sea-faring life with 'a competency,' (as sea-faring captains sometimes do), and settled in a town near Boston, where my said friend had an interview with him in '55, during which the Captain related the above incidents,--adding: that 'during the passage he had frequent interviews with Wm. B. IDE, and had formed a very favorable opinion of him.' And my informant added, that this Captain, about that time, furnished an article for the 'Boston Journal,' in which he gave a short account of the Bear Flag enterprise, and dwelt particularly on what he considered the important service Mr. IDE had rendered his country, in the part he took in 'the conquest of California' at so trifling expense to it of blood and treasure.
"My brother was a plain, unpretending, matter-of-fact kind of man--not, much given to outside show and parade. This peculiarity of habit and turn of mind sometimes subjected him to neglect--or what, in 'high life', might be regarded and resented as insult; but, conscious of honesty and integrity of purpose in whatever he undertook, such slights did not annoy him; they passed by him unheeded, as 'the idle wind, which availeth naught.' This trait of character was strikingly illustrated by his forbearance of resentment towards Col. Fremont.
In the course of his conversations with me, in alluding to his official and subsequent intercourse with him, the hardest words he ever used in relation to his (F's) treatment of him were, that he thought he 'had not treated him right;' but never, in my hearing, made use of words that indicated feelings of resentment or ill-will towards him, on account of what he considered his unfair treatment.
We have now concluded the brother of Mr. IDE'S account furnished us at the commencement of this undertaking on our part: and, will here add some further reminisences of his daughter, which have come to hand since her previous articles were in type.
During Mr. IDE'S long absence from his family, while in the U. S. service in 1846, many trying and exciting scenes and privations were witnessed and endured by Mrs. Ide and her children. Mrs. Healy gives us slight sketches of some of them. It will be remembered that soon after their arrival from "across the Plains and over the Mountains," and before engaging in the Bear Flag enterprise, Mr. IDE built a log-cabin, and Mrs. Healy says:
"While there, in our little sunny home surrounded by Indians, we were accosted by an Oregon Indian Chief, who inquired of us by an interpreter, if we belonged to Capt. Sutter? and I replied: 'No; we belong to our Father.'
He then asked how many men Sutter had--how many horses? how many cattle?, etc., and I then answered all his questions as well as I could. Then the Interpreter took down, carefully sighted and minutely examined each of the four or five guns and carbines which hung upon wooden pegs driven into the logs composing the ceiling of our 'drawing-room'. While they were doing this, the suspense and anxiety of my Mother and myself may be imagined, but cannot be described; but we remained silent and listless, till the examination was over; "when, after a little conversation in their own language, between the Chief and his men, they all mounted their ponies, and started off into the woods singing as they went. Their tune rang in my ears, 0 how long! They were soon out of sight; for they rode in a gallop, raising a cloud of dust. But we were not greatly relieved of our fears. My oldest brothers, James and William, were away. I mounted my horse to go for James, who was at where Tehama is now, distant about seven miles from our cabin. The sun had set, and in the twilight I looked back to see Mother--I thought perhaps for the last time--as she ran out and motioned to me to return. I did so, and found it was unnecessary for me to take that long ride in the night, all alone; for, said Mother, 'Mr. Meadows is on the opposite side of the river, and perhaps, he will go.' So my young brothers, Daniel and Lemuel, crossed the river in their canoe, and came back with Mr. Meadows, who told us that these Indians would not hurt us--that a lady who lived near him had recently come from Oregon, where these Indians lived; that she understood Jorgon, a dialect spoken by them and the Hudson Bay Company.
She said they came from Oregon to get satisfaction from Capt. Sutter for the death of the Chief's Son, who was shot the year previous while trading at Sutter's Fort. The Chief was determined to have one of Sutter's men to shoot: and, in case he would not give up a man, he must have 100 horses, or 200 or 300 cattle. This Chief of the Walla Walla tribe came prepared to enforce his claim.
"Mr Meadows stayed all night at 'our house,' and in the morning went down the river about 7 miles, and from there a messenger was sent post-haste to Sutter's Fort, to warn them of the coming of an unfriendly visitor." Whether the irate son of the forest got his man, or his horses, or his cattle, by way of 'satisfaction" for the death of his son, Mrs. H. does not inform us ;*07* but continues: "This was in the summer of 1846, while my Father and brother William were in the war: but William was not with, and had not seen his Father since November, 1845. Being just about that time of age, he went to work for Capt. Sutter awhile, and from there to the Santa Cruz Mountain to make Redwood-shingles--was there when Gen. Castro tried to take him prisoner. To escape being so taken, he had to leave his work, and secrete himself in the woods, alone, living on raw venison; as he dared not make a fire, lest the smoke should show the place of his concealment.
Thus he lived about a week, when his partner in the shingle business (who was a foreigner) came to him, and advised him to go and surrender to Castro; saying, it would be safer for him to do so than to be taken--as he might, otherwise, be shot by Castro's men, who were hunting for him. So, William went and gave himself up a prisoner of war. Castro gave him a comfortable room, and set a guard over him: telling him he should be treated like a gentleman. He asked him by an interpreter many questions about his Father--how many sons he had; where he was, &c., &c. In a few days he told William he was at liberty to go; but advised him to stay under his body-guard, lest he should be shot by his (C's) men. He did so, for some time, and until Castro and his men all mounted their horses in great haste, and suddenly left Santa Clara 'for good.'
"Brother William being thus set at liberty, went out with a company to fight the Indians in the San Joaquin Valley. I cannot tell how long he served. He then knew no more about his Father's movements than did Don Castro, nor so much.
"Now during this time, Mother and I had heard that William had been a prisoner--had been released; and, while walking away, had been lassoed by a Spaniard, and dragged to death: and that Father was a prisoner, and likely to share the same fate. Mr. Meadows told us this sad news, and we mourned, night and day, many long weeks over it, before it turned out to be a false report--as we had no means of ascertaining the truth.
"When Father came home from the War, late in November, 1846, William came with him. He had earned two good horses, and Father rode home on one of them; leaving his own faithful horse, which he brought with him from Illinois, in a pasture to recruit: a U. S. officer had rode him, and, for want of proper care, had made his back so sore, that Father could not bear to put a saddle on him. Through this means he lost this valuable animal: for, while thus necessarily recruiting in the pasture he was stolen, and never recovered. On loaning the use of this horse to 'Uncle Samuel', the 'U. S.' brand was put on the top of Father's 'W.I.'; and afterwards the horse was claimed as U. S.'s property; but Father proved it to be his.
"My brother, James," Mrs. Healy continues, was away several months, saving the wheat Father had sown at Tehama. The unsettled state of the country made him think it necessary, to cache*08* a portion of the wheat, so that he might have some to sow another year. So he alone at night, after all the Indians were asleep, dug a deep hole in the ground, which he covered with straw during the day-time; and, in the night-time he put 12 or 15 bushels of wheat into this hole, covered it with earth enough to be safe, in case the stack of straw he put over it should be burned by the Indians. No one but James knew the place of this deposit.
I mention this to show you to what shifts the early settlers here were driven, for want of the necessary places to store their produce, and almost every thing else, and also, how hard my brother worked, day and night--how thoughtful he was of our necessities and comfort.
He was a faithful and dear good brother."
Mrs. H. here gives another item about the Indians, in addition to what she said on pages 30 and 81. "A week or so after the Walla Walla company left our place, a company of Nesperces came one day to visit us--two chiefs with their wives, who were Delaware Indian squaws. Mother gave them a dinner. It was quite amusing to the children to see them eat. I presume it was the first table that they ever sat down to; and their 'manners' were rather odd--one of the chiefs fanning his squaws with a large eagle's wing, frequently, during their repast.
They were dressed in buckskins cloth, profusely ornamented with beads and porcupine quills--also with buckskin strings inserted in each seam of their garments."