Paulina, Shoshone Chief

Chief Paulina, Northern Paiute leader, photo probably taken in 1865 when he was living on the Klamath Reservation in southern Oregon

Chief Paulina led a small band of Shoshone (Snake), Paiute, and Modoc raiders. He roamed the territory east of the Cascade Mountains of Oregon, especially the Paulina Valley and upper Beaver Creek Valley. Paulina loved to fight and even killed members of his own tribe to enforce law. His people thought him egotistical and scheming, but they trusted him. He was smart and tough and honest.

Paulina used tactics that stymied disciplined fighting soldiers. They never stayed together, never rode in single file, changed direction, and didn’t reunite for miles. They snuck into a camp at night and stampeded the enemy’s horses. They carried mirrors for signaling. They made arrows from obsidian at Glass Butte. They didn’t need a supply train since they knew what food to eat in the wild.

In March of 1859, he attacked the Warm Springs reservation. Paulina and his confederates hated the Warm Springs and other tribes that lived on the reservation by The Dalles because they occupied territory he felt belonged to his people. They drove off the livestock and took it to their mountain hideout. By the time soldiers came after him he was long gone. Another time, Captain Alfred Pleasanton surprised Paulina and Wolf Dog and captured them. It the only time Paulina would be captured.

On August 2, 1859, near Prineville, Paulina, Has No Horse, Wolf Dog, and others attacked a party of miners heading for the Colville gold fields in Washington state. This event resulted brought more soldiers to the area. Paulina harassed the soldiers and trade routes all winter long in 1859-60.

Paulina was loyal and protective of all the affiliated Snake tribes. In the spring of 1860, Paulina joined the Paiute conflict near Pyramid Lake in northwest Nevada. The Paiutes and their Shoshone allies killed 46 soldiers in the skirmish.

Pack trains left Fort Dalles and crossed the Oregon desert to supply gold camps in Idaho. These pack trains were not large, were not well guarded, and moved slowly. Paulina did not need a large party to successfully attack these pack trains. He and his men chased away the livestock and helped themselves to whatever they desired.

In May 1864, soldiers camped at the Crooked River at a spot later known as Camp Maury. Paulina was crossing the river when the soldiers attacked. Paulina took a stand behind a fortification of rocks ten feet. When soldiers were about a hundred yards from the camp, Paulina gave a signal. The Indians killed several soldiers and scouts in the first volley. The soldiers retreated downstream. Paulina’s raiders robbed and mutilated the bodies of the Warm Springs scouts they killed. Paulina took the rifles and ammunition of the dead and wounded. This skirmish became known as the Battle of Watson Springs.

In July 1864, Paulina and Wolf Dog turned their attention to the stage stations. Paulina attacked Howard Maupin’s station. He also attacked the Tower & Co. Freight Train. He killed two guards and took 350 head of cattle and drove them to Warner Mountain.

J. W. Petit Huntington, superintendent of Indian Affairs, wanted to sign a treaty with Paulina. Huntington came across Paulina’s camp in the upper Deschutes. Huntington’s men captured Paulina’s wife, Falling Star, one of their sons, and Cactus Fruit, his sister. He thought he had a bargaining chip with which to negotiate with Paulina. Paulina agreed to sign if his wife was returned and he was given a place to live.

On August 12, 1865, Paulina signed a treaty. Paulina received were no gifts or payments at the time of the signing. Right away the army was late delivering their disbursement of food. In December of 1865, Paulina and his wife left the reservation in a starving condition. He went back on the warpath.

In mid-January of 1966, Paulina, lead a well-armed group into the southern part of the state, striking every settler’s cabin and mining district in the area. They captured horses and cattle to ease starvation. On May 19, 1866, Paulina attacked some Chinese laborers on their way to the Idaho mines along the Oregon Central Military Road. Throughout the entire summer, Paulina, Wolf Dog, and Black Eagle kept the soldiers guessing.

On July 10, 1966, the day the treaty was finally ratified, Paulina attacked old Schonchin’s camp on the Sprague River. Paulina was upset with old Schonchin of the Modocs who he believed had tricked him into signing the treaty. He and his men killed the Modocs that were there, but old Schonchin managed to escape and reach the Klamath agency. Paulina followed and attacked the agency too.

Paulina then ransacked the James N. Clark ranch. The braves stole whatever took their fancy, then set the ranch on fire. A few days after that, Paulina ran off a small herd of cattle from Andrew Clarno’s ranch. He returned to the lucrative Maupin ranch. Once again Maupin lost his valuable livestock to Paulina.

On September 7, 1866, Paulina robbed a stagecoach on the road from Fort Dalles to Canyon City, on the rocky pass between Bridge and Mountain Creeks. The drivers managed to escape on two of the horses. After the men rode off, Paulina and his men stole the weapons, horses, diamonds, greenbacks, and gold coins.

In 1867, Paulina went through the Harney Basin, Pueblo Mountains, Jordan Valley, and Mormon Basin, on a campaign of destruction and theft. He stole horses and drove them to the Ochoco Mountains. They stampeded a herd at the Idaho border that killed one drover and wounded another. Paulina burned ranches and barns and ranch houses, killed five ranchers and wounded several others. He attacked the Inskip Stage Station on the Boise-Owyhee road and burned down the barns and corrals.

On, April 25, Paulina passed a stagecoach. From behind cover, he watched the man on the stage. The man passed within just a few feet of Paulina’s hiding place. The driver James Clark had spotted him, but he didn’t show it. Clark found Howard Maupin, William Ragan, and John Atterbury to help him chase down the Indians.

They approached the rimrock at the canyon where the Indians camped near Trout Creek. Suddenly one of them spotted Maupin on the rim. Paulina quickly grabbed his Henry rifle and sprinted for the nearest rock. A bullet from Maupin’s gun hit him in the hip before he could get there. Showing his strength to the last, Paulina told his braves not to try to save him because he was dying. As his braves escaped, he saw two white men approaching. He removed his knife from its sheath and stabbed it into the ground. He twisted the blade so that the handle broke off. This was to ensure the men could not scalp him with his own knife, a sure humiliation in Indian tradition. He lie where he was and picked handfuls of grass and dirt and put them on his head and chest.