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
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
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