Tour Locations | The Modoc War: A Homeland Lost
LOCATION 18 | The Modoc War: A Homeland Lost
Continue On Highway 39/140 South
You should now be past Klamath Community College on your right, heading south on the highway - the same way Ben Wright rode into the winter encampment of the Lost River Modoc not far from here in November of 1852.
After Wright stationed his men around a Modoc encampment along the Lost River, he rode into the camp unchallenged, waving a white truce flag as a sign of peace.
Once inside the camp, he opened fire, killing the chief. His men rode in behind him, firing a rash of bullets. Some Modoc tried to grab their bows. Most ran and were hunted down. An estimated 41 men, women and children were slaughtered in cold blood, with fewer than five Modoc surviving. One of them being my other great-grandfather Tee-Hee Jack. Two of the survivors were Curley Headed Doctor and Schonchin John, who you'll be hearing a lot more about later.
After the massacre, Ben Wright returned to Yreka a hero. But fate did catch up to him. Four years later, he was stabbed to death by a disgruntled employee and an Indian woman named Chetcoe Jennie. But Ben Wright's ghost - and the new meaning of the white flag - would haunt the Modocs for the next twenty years.