The regular army was useless in protection or punishment. Their regulations and methods did not fit. They made fine plans, but they failed to work. They would locate the enemy and detail detachments to move from various points to surround and capture the foe, but when they got there the bushes were bare. Finally battalions of mountaineers were organized among men who knew Indian ways and were their equals in cunning. They soon satisfied the hostiles that they would be better off on the reservations that were provided and the war was at an end.
It was to the credit of Humboldt County that in the final settlement of the contest the rights of the Indians were quite fairly considered and the reservations set aside for their residence were of valuable land well situated and fitted for the purpose. Hoopa Valley, on the Trinity, was purchased from its settlers and constituted a reservation protected by Fort Gaston and a garrison. It was my pleasure to revisit the scene of my boyhood experience and assist in the transfer largely conducted through the leadership of Austin Wiley, the editor and owner of the Humboldt Times. He was subsequently made Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the state of California, and as his clerk I helped in the administration. When I visited the Smith River reservation, to which the Bay Indians had been sent, I was hailed with joy as “Major’s pappoose,” whom they remembered of old. (My father was always called Major.)
Among the warm friendships formed at this time two stand out. Two boys of about my age were to achieve brilliant careers. Very early I became intimate with Alexander Brizard, a clerk in the store of F. Roskill, a Russian. He was my companion in the adventure of following the Indian marauders, and my associate in the church choir and the debating club. In 1863 he joined a fellow clerk in establishing a modest business concern, the firm being known as A. Brizard & Co.; the unnamed partner was James Alexander Campbell Van Rossum, a Hollander. They prospered amazingly. Van Rossum died early, Brizard became the leading merchant of northern California, and his sons still continue the chain of stores that grew from the small beginning. He was a strong, fine character.
The other boy, very near to me, was John J. DeHaven, who was first a printer, then a lawyer, then a State Senator, then a Congressman, and finally a U.S. District Judge. He was very able and distinguished himself in every place in life to which he advanced.
In 1861, when my father had become superintendent of a Nevada County gold mine, he left me to run the post-office, cut the timothy hay, and manage a logging-camp. It was wartime and I had a longing to enlist. One day I received a letter from him, and as I tore it open a startling sentence caught my eye, “Your commission will come by the next steamer.” I caught my breath and south particulars. It informed me that Senator Sargent, his close friend, had secured for me the appointment of Register of the Land Office at Humboldt.