In The Slate Creek Stockade

Submitted by Deb Starr

Re-typed by Penny Casey


A letter to Norman B. Adkison from Mrs. Lillian Brown Gramps of Spokane, Washington. Written Feb. 13, 1958. Lillian Brown, daughter of John Brown, niece of L.P. Brown, aged 10, with her mother and step-father, David Baldwin, were visiting with John Wood at Slate Creek when the hostilities began.


Dear Cousin Norman; 

I guess you think I am awfully slow that lst time I wrote you—dizzy spells-just could not do a thing but lay down; had the Dr. a couple of times – not quite over it yet – see him tomorrow – taking three kinds of medicine –also had an awful pain in my head. Well that’s enough about me. Will try to tell you what I can remember, as it has been along time ago.

Everybody called Mr. Woods Grandpa. He bought about 600 acres of land from the Indians, so they told him to stay there and they would not hurt any of his family. They kept their word. Slate Creek was a very small place – the Cones and the Rhetts and the Woods. Mrs. Cone was Grandpa Woods daughter. She had two grown boys, Harry and Charley. So we all stayed in her stone cellar at night, but in the daytime, no Indians around we would go back to Mr. Woods place, as Mother and her husband, Dave Baldwin were down there on a visit to Mr. Woods place. We also had Mrs. Elfers family with us in the stone cellar. They stay with Mrs. Cone. No, we didn’t stay in the cellar, only at nights.

Mr. Woods oldest son lived at Slate Creek too with his family of 6 children—they were young folks—I—she had a young baby—in fact they were all young and he talked nearly as good as an Indian, as he learned the words from Indians. They wanted Mr. Woods to give up Mr. Rhett and he asked them why? They didn’t like him and they wanted to kill him. Young Charley Wood said, would you give us one of your men to be killed, and they said No – then he said we won’t give you one of our men.

They built a fort of logs, by standing them on end – nice little fort. I happen to go up to see it in the daytime with my daddy and they named it "Fort Lillie" after me.

We stayed there 3 weeks and then we went up by Florence, a mining town, stayed there all night and then on to Mt. Idaho the next day. We met Gen. Howard (perhaps Capt. Trimble) with his command just going into Slate Creek. He wanted to send men back with us but my stepfather, Dave Baldwin, said "no, we’ll be alright as you have just come over the road". We got through alright, and awfully glad. But before we left Slate Creek – Old Tolo, as squaw, they sent her to Florence on horse back and she brought back 40 men the next morning – she killed the horse, she rode him so hard – she was true blue to the white people.

Thanks for the picture of your dear mother and Tolo too. I knew her so well—she used to come to my sisters, Mrs. Theo Swarts when they lived on White Bird and she always patted me on the shoulder and say – "Good women". She and her son and wife were true blue to the white people. Your dear mother was there in Mt. Idaho, as she had come up to teach school and she nursed and helped all she could—also my mother found my sister there and my two brothers, Sidney Brown and Horace Brown.

We stayed there about three weeks and then we went down back home – 4 miles we lived from Mt. Idaho. But we all slept out in a little hollow about a ½ mile from the house every night, as Indians always come late and early. But none ever came. They soon run the Indians off and more troops came, so we were all safe and sound once again.

Don’t know if you can read this or not – been so long writing it. Please excuse the mistakes, Remember I am 91 years old – getting pretty old—I am feeling better. I think I will close now and rest. Love to you and your dear wife. How I would love to meet you both once again. I never forget folks. Write me once in a while, always love to hear from you both. So sorry I could not be with your dear mother on her 100 birthday. That’s a long time to live. I write her as often as I can and I am going to try to get up to Grangeville this summer and see her once more, once again. Thanks for the picture of your dear mother. Love and Kisses to you and your dear wife and write me once in awhile.

Your Loving Cousin,

Lillian M. Gramps


2nd letter from Lillian Brown Gramps to Norman B. Adkison – Spokane, Washington, March 4, 1958

Dear Cousin Norman;

Received your nice letter asking me about how many people were at Slate Creek. There was Mr. and Mrs. Wood, Mr. and Mrs. Cone and two boys. They were about half grown – I think they were good size boys, Mr. and Mrs. Rhett – two girls, one about 15 and one about 10, my age at the time, and then Mr. Woods son lived there. He was married and had about 5 all very young kids – cannot tell their ages as I was too young. That was all the people at Slate Creek at the time, until the 40 men came from Florence, they were on the watch all the time. The fort on the hill was small – all the men could not get in, so they would take turns, a few at a time, and the other ones watched outside. Women and children stayed at night – some in the cellar and some stay at house, as Mrs. Cones house was only a few steps from the stone cellar. Would put all the children in the beds in the cellar in case the Indians would come. I heard mother say, nobody slept very much – all were watching at the time and the fort on the hill was very small.

Mr. Rhetts girls names were, one Josephine and the oldest Jane. After a few days in the cellar Mrs. Elfers came with her 5 children as the Indians had killed her husband and two hired man. I didn’t know them any too well but I remember she had a baby in her arms – Kittie, and she lived to be 85 years old – only died a short time ago. You see I lived on a big ranch just below Grangeville, so I did not hear or see very much about them. So that I know they were very fine people and they ran a stopping place for people to sleep and eat. Ben so long, I nearly forgot them.

Mother and my step-father only were there 3 weeks – then we got on our horses and rode home. Mother said she wanted to know if her children were all right. The rode the first day to Florence, a mining camp – stayed all night. The next morning went on to Mount Idaho – Uncle Loyal’s place. All the people from the farms were there. Sister Lou and my two brothers were there – sister was 16, Sidney about 15, and Horace 12. We stayed in Mount Idaho 3 weeks – then we went back home, as Gen. Howard ran out of eats. We slept for 6 weeks up in the pasture we had for horses as mother used to have a squaw work for her and she was with us, that the Indians came early in the morning or late at night. Well we never saw any Indians. Now – dear Norman I think that about all I can tell you and I like to know you like my scribbling- don’t know whether you can read it or not. We were guarded all the time – Gen Howard put men on—

Letter from Daisy Brown Smith, Daughter of L.P. Brown – July 31, 1957

Dear Norman;

Rec’d your letter some time ago. I agree with you, I never heard of Joseph praised by old timers as a great leader, only by the younger generation, most of them easterners. Glad you mentioned Maggie Manuel. Mrs. Manuel’s father, Geo. Popham found bones in the burned house, also earrings which the girls said she wore, the bones he brot to Mt. Idaho Cemetery. Julia the oldest girl was attending school here at the time. She married Rev. Wm. Knox.

Thanks for the clipping

Daisy B. Smith







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