blue jay was darting after. He did not realize until the next morning that the object was an Indian.
In 1866, J.W. Gillette, Ed Parrish and Nephi Bemis star
ted out to round up some stray cattle at the Dunlap Ranch. Gillette's mule was worn out, so he was sent back to get Pratt Whiteside to take his place. Gillette then stayed with the herd that Whiteside had been guarding. A short while later, the horses of Parrish and Bemis came back without any riders. The Parrish horse had blood on the saddle. Gillette went back to the ranch house to inform a sick Mr. Dunlap of the discovery and to gather more men and weapons.
The body of Nephi Bemis was found about sundown. The searchers determined from the evidence that about 30 or 40 Chemehuevi Indians had killed him. The bodies of Pratt Whiteside and Ed Parrish were found the next morning. Parrish still had a stone in his hand that he had been using to defend himself against the attack. The Indians had removed all the clothing from the three bodies along with Whiteside's riding rig and pistol. The Indians ate Whiteside's horse then returned to the desert the same evening.
The following winter in 1867, the Indians returned to the mountains and loo
ted some homes in Little Bear Valley. The Indians went to the home of Bill Kane and they stole horses, supplies and guns from George Lish and John Dewitt. The next morning, Frank Talmage, Jonathan Richardson, George Armstrong and Bill Kane decided to go after the Indians. The men had returned to Kane's house and found it burned to the ground. Every item that the Indians could not carry had been destroyed.
The families of the men were sent to the mill for protection. Help from
was on the way, so the men decided to track the Indians through the new fallen snow. At San Bernardino they spot Willow Canyon ted eight Indians. Talmage and Kane chased after them on horseback while Richardson and Armstrong followed on foot with the pack animal.
The families of the men were sent to the mill for protection. Help from
The Indians hid behind a log. Kane was on top of them, but he didn't realize it. The Indians shot Kane's horse and it threw him. Kane lost his gun, but he still had his pistol. The Indians were trying to kill Kane as he hid behind a tree. Talmage arrived in time to save Kane from the Indians. Talmage killed one Indian and the others scattered. The men returned to the mill to gather more ammunition and more men to fight the Indians.
The next day, Talmage, William Caley, A.J. Currey, “Noisy” Tom Enfufty, Henry Law, George Lish, Tom Welty, Frank Blair and Jacob Roar joined Kane, Richardson and Armstrong. The posse now contained twelve men. The posse met up with about sixty Indians in some thick timber on the top of the first ridge past the mill. The Indians opened fire on the men with guns, bows and arrows. After several hundred shots were fired, the Indians took their wounded and headed for the desert. The posse let them go and returned to the mill with their wounded men. Tom Welty was shot in the shoulder and Bill Kane was shot in the leg. The posse had killed one Indian.
Men and supplies arrived from
. The new posse split up with some men going through the mountains while others went through San Bernardino The posse reuni Cajon Pass. ted at the Dunlap Ranch on the . W.F. Holcolm, Mojave River Jack Martin, John St. John, Samuel Bemis, Edwin Bemis, Bill Bemis, Harrison Bemis, Bart Smithson, John McGarr, Johnathan Richardson, Frank Blair, George Armstrong, George Birdwell, Joseph Mecham, Jack Ayres, George Miller, and another unnamed man were the seventeen men who star ted out as the final posse.
The posse loca
ted the Indians on a rocky mountain in the desert Northwest of Rabbit Springs. About three or four of the men became sick and went home. David Wixom, “Noisy” Tom Enrufty, Sam Button, a preacher named Stout, Stout's son and son-in-law, Griffith, joined the men and comple ted the final posse.
That night, the men divided themselves into two parties.
was the leader of the party that headed North and Stout was the leader of the party that took the wagon road to the South. At daylight, the Southern party was in place, but the Northern party arrived late. The Southern party saw no Indians and fired some shots to let the Northern party know where they were. The men then turned to start back down to their wagons. The noise of the gunfire woke the Indians who only saw the Southern party. The Indians began to try to cut the men off from their wagons. The Northern party began to climb the rocks and were unseen by the Indians until the posse was upon them. The arrows and bullets began to fly. St. John was struck in the breast by an arrow. He fell into the arms of George Miller. Miller tried to remove the arrow but the tip would not come out. Miller went to get help. Miller met Richardson who told him to guard an opening in a pile of rocks because the Indians were escaping through it. Miller tried to stop the Indians while St. John went to get other men. St. John
The Indians yelled like coyotes during the battle. All of the Indians escaped except two women, a fourteen year old boy, a ten year old girl and a baby. The Indians had been surprised by the attack and when they thought they were trapped, they scattered. The posse took the prisoners and Richardson back to the wagons. Holcolm, Button, Armstrong, and Blair took
Richardson to for medical attention. San Bernardino
The next day, Martin, Miller, Bill Bemis and Ed Bemis went back to the battle scene to pick up the Indian's trail. They tracked the Indians and discovered that they had come back together. From examining the tracks, they determined that there were about 150 to 200 Indians. The men heard a shot, but decide to turn back. It was almost sundown, they had run out of water, and they had a six mile walk to camp.
The next morning, three men stayed in camp while the others returned to the trail to track the Indians. The men arrived at the place where the others had turned back the night before and discovered that the Indians had been waiting on both sides of the canyon. If the men had gone any further the evening before, they would have been ambushed and killed by the Indians.
The posse followed the Indian's tracks. They traveled in a half-circle until 3:00 P.M. They decide to return to camp, which was closer to them now than when they had left that morning. Stout's son met the posse. He had two extra horses, a canteen of water and lunch for his father and brother-in-law. The three men decided to continue to look for the Indians against the advice of
and Martin. St. John
The posse was eating their dinner at camp when they heard gunshots. Miller looked through a field glass and saw Stout's son running across the dry lake on a bald-faced horse. The Indians had laid in wait on the rocks and opened fire on the three men as they came through a small pass. The men from the camp hurried to help, and arrived just in time to save the two men from the Indians who were closing in on them. Stout's horse had been shot and Griffith, Stout's son-in-law, had a broken arm. The posse exchanged fire with the Indians and they scattered again.
The posse took
back to camp. They determined that after they sent men to take Griffith Griffith to for medical treatment, they would not have enough men left to fight the Indians. The posse disbanded and went home. This ended the thirty-two day campaign against the Indians and stopped the Indians from raiding the mountain areas. San Bernardino
Writer's notes: The Chimney Rock site is a registered California Historical Landmark (# 737). Although the marker indicates that the site was the last Indian battle in
California, historical records show that the last battle in was during the Modoc War on April 11, 1873. Chimney Rock was most likely the last Indian battle in California Southern California.
Note: Many newspaper articles were written about this event however I wan
ted to base this paper on eyewitness accounts of the events. I went through the accounts and tried to put the stories of J. W. Gillette the eyewitness at the Dunlap ranch incident together with the letter from George Miller and the interview Miller gave in 1937 of his Chimney Rock battle in the proper time sequence.
The article by Talmage gives much information however since he was not an eyewitness I only used his information on the specula
ted reasons the Indians began the attacks. The article by Phil Peretta was only used to supply the first name of Ed Parrish.