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Louis Herman Heller (1839-1928)
Lost River Murderers
Cowan Auctions, Inc
American History: Premier Auction, 26 June 2018, Lot: 415
Credit to Louis Heller on mount recto, 1873, and printed testament from Captain C.H. Throckmorton endorsed by General Jefferson C. Davis. Published by Carleton Watkins, with verso advertisement for his Yosemite Art Gallery. A rare photograph taken after the Modoc War in California, showing Curly Headed Jack, Wheum, and Buckskin Doctor, three Modoc warriors that served under Captain Jack. The three prisoners, who are seated together, their feet in chains, were kept as prisoners following the war.
In 1870, dissatisfied with conditions, a group of Modocs fled their reservation in Oregon and defended themselves in the Modoc Indian War of 1872-1873. Under the leadership of Captain Jack, the small group fought in the lava beds on the California-Oregon border, winning nearly every battle in the next seven months against the US Army. Eventually the government called for a peace conference which was held on April 11, 1873. General Canby failed to heed a warning that trouble was brewing and was murdered by Captain Jack. The Modocs fled again, hiding in the lava beds for a further two months but finally surrendered in June. The resistance leaders were convicted and hung at Fort Klamath on October 3, 1873, while the remaining 152 Modocs were exiled to Indian Territory in the south.