Hostility Erupts Into Violence

Hostility Erupts Into Violence (HMESX)

Location: Caldwell, ID 83605 Canyon County
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Country: United States of America
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N 43° 40.634', W 116° 36.536'

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Ward Massacre

On August 20, 1854, the Alexander Ward Party of 20 men, women, and children were traveling on the Oregon Trail with five wagons, a day behind a larger party led by Alexander Yantis. The Wards pulled their wagons off the Trail for lunch and to water their stock when two white men and three Native Americans approached the party to trade for a horse. When the trade failed, one of the Indians attempted to ride off with the horse and was killed.

Fearing retribution, the Wards hurried back to the Trail and corralled their wagons to defend themselves from about 60 Indians, who had raced from their encampment across the river to give battle. For nearly two hours, six men defended the wagons. When the last defender fell, the wagons were rushed and two boys and two non-combatant men were killed. The women and children were gathered in a wagon and driven toward the river.

The attack did not go unnoticed. Seven men from the Yantis party heard gunfire and women's screams and hurried to the rescue. They were forced to retreat when one of their own men was killed. That evening, they returned, finding dead and dying from both sides. Injured Newton Ward, 13, was carried back to the rebuilt Fort Boise trading post (near present day Parma). In all, 19 immigrants were killed, but both Newton and William Ward survived. The number of Native American dead from the battle was never tallied.

Two days after the attack, a rescue party from Ft. Boise found the four burned wagons and the bodies of the Ward party men. The body of young Mary Ward was found in a draw by a burned wagon. Mrs. White's battered body was found in a pond by the river. The mutilated bodies of Mrs. Ward and three young children were located across the river in the abandoned Indian encampment. Two younger children could not be located but William Ward, with an arrow in his side, later walked into Fort Boise.
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Date Added Friday, September 5th, 2014 at 8:08pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)11T E 531522 N 4836099
Decimal Degrees43.67723333, -116.60893333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 43° 40.634', W 116° 36.536'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds43° 40' 38.04" N, 116° 36' 32.16" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)208
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 10726 Lincoln Rd, Caldwell ID 83605, US
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