April 30 This day during the American Indian War

April 30, 1851 – Clark Massacre In August, 1851, a band of Shoshoni led by Cho-Cho-Co, also known as Has No Horse, attacked a wagon train led by Thomas Clark on the Oregon Trail near where the Raft River joins the Snake River in present day Idaho. The Indian’s primary objective, which was accomplished, was to steal horses accompanying the Clark party. They also killed Thomas Clark’s mother and brother and one other man. The wagon train is reputed to have pioneered a southerly alternative to the established Oregon Trail and to have constituted the first white people to camp at the site of modern-day Bend, Oregon At about noon on Wednesday, August 6, the wagon train stopped to rest and eat lunch.[6] As usual, Mrs. Clark, Grace, and Hodgson drove ahead to a good stopping place and began to prepare the noon-day meal. They stopped by the Raft River and Thomas Clark headed up the river to hunt ducks. The Raft River is about 16 miles (26 km) west of the current Massacre Rocks State Park, an area where several wagon trains were attacked later in the 1850s. Other men brought many of the horses up to the river ahead of the rest of the wagon train. The Indian’s strategy was to have some of their number charge the main body of the wagon train at full gallop, creating the maximum amount of confusion. Meanwhile, Has No Horse and others would cut out the horses and drive them away. When they saw the Indians, the men with the company’s horses took shelter behind some rocks by the river. Hodgson Clark was shot and killed instantly as he climbed up on a wagon wheel to get a gun from the wagon. An older Indian came to unhitch some horses that were tied to the wagon. When Mrs. Clark yelled at him he started shooting at her. When Grace put her arms around her mother to protect her, a bullet went through Grace’s wrist and continued through her mother’s heart, killing her instantly. Grace was subsequently wounded below the armpit by a bullet that passed entirely through her body. The Indians tore off her clothes. There was at least one white riding with the Indians because Grace reported that one of her attackers had blue eyes. The Indians started to scalp her but stopped when they saw a cloud of dust coming. Thomas Clark had heard the shooting and rode back at full speed with his hunting hounds baying beside him. The Indians thought he was leading a large party of whites so they threw Grace down over the bluff and rolled stones down on her, leaving scars on her forehead that remained the rest of her life.nThe main body of the wagon train was too paralyzed by the fury of the attack to come to the assistance of the Clark family. Charles Clark, Thomas’ brother, organized a party to pursue the Indians and caught up to them where they had taken refuge in a natural fortress. The Indians could not be dislodged and the pursuit was abandoned. The pursuing emigrants reported several men among the Indians with long sandy-colored beards. The Indians killed one man, wounded another, and escaped with the horses. Americus Savage’s account corroborates the above story, although Savage places the events on August 18 (though this may be an error in Savage’s journal – it was more likely the 8th). According to Savage, a man (possibly Charles Clark) was sent to Savage’s wagon train, which was about 4 days drive ahead of Clark’s company. Savage recounts that: “The man was trying to raise a company to pursue the Indians and get back the stock and horses. We had only two horses in our company and two men volunteered to go and were soon on the way. They raised fifteen volunteers from all the companies and by hard riding overtook the Indians at 12 o’clock the same day. …before them on a hillside they could see the horses grazing quietly… They made a charge when close to the hill. The Indians sprang up from behind bush and rock, gave the warhoop and discharged their guns into the little band of volunteers, killing one horse, mortally wounding one man and lodging a bullet in one by the name of Powell, a man from our company. They saw the folly of further effort to recover their horses from the Indians in their chosen strong hold. They therefore retreated.”

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