• LOCATION 97 | The Modoc War: A Homeland Lost

    Toward The Stronghold

    You should now be back on the main road.

    Let's flash back to that period after the first battle for the Stronghold when Wheaton was sacked, Gillem was gearing up troops and Meacham was trying to keep the Peace Commission from falling apart. However, once it became clear that the Army would only accept full surrender - a treacherous plot began brewing in the Stronghold.

    But before I reveal the Modocs' plan, let's go back to a moment that predates the Modoc War. And, for once in this epic drama, it's a love story! Three years earlier, in 1869, there was a marriage that took place between a Modoc Woman named Toby, and a white miner named Frank Riddle. Back in those days, Meacham was still working for the Indian Bureau, and he'd ruled that no white man could live with an Indian woman unless they were married. So, Toby became Frank Riddle's lawful wife, and she never forgot that. But, Toby also happened to be Captain Jack's cousin. Like Meacham, she worked tirelessly for peace, moonlighting as an interpreter for Meacham and the Modoc.

    Now, as you continue on this road, fast forward to April of 1873, when soldiers fill the landscape surrounding you. Toby was running messages between Captain Jack and Meacham, and it seemed like Captain Jack could be talking peace. He agreed to a meeting with Meacham and General Canby, the head of the Army - the same guy whose order Major Green first chose to ignore. But just the meeting, Toby sensed something was amiss with the Modoc, and warned Meacham.

    What Toby sensed but didn't yet know was that in the Stronghold, Curley Headed Doctor and Sconchin John had decided the best way to end the war was to assassinate General Canby. Most of the warriors, including my great-grandfather, were young and swayed by what sounded like wise words from their elders. I also think they believed that - like the Modoc - if the commander was killed, the soldiers stopped fighting. The one warrior that voted against any killing was Captain Jack. But he did not hold the majority. He could either give up his leadership position or obey the rule of consensus - as was the way of the Modoc.

    The night before the Good Friday peace Commission meeting was a long night in the Stronghold - which is now coming up on your left.

The Modoc War: A Homeland Lost