We do not know his name: Klatsassin and the Chilcotin War

Cox to the Colonial Secretary of British Columbia

Punt-zeen Lake
Rd. 29 June
4 a.m.
19 June 1864

[ Puntzi Lake looking to Manning Farm, John Lutz, Copyright Great Unsolved Canadian Mysteries Project  ]


I have the honor to report for the information of His Excellency the Governor that in accordance with your instructions, I left Alexandria on the 8th instant in command of the Bute Inlet expedition one force including myself, consisting of 50 men and an indian boy and provisions for one month.

Alexis a Chilco-otin chief whose good services as a guide I was led to calculate upon was not to be found he having with his family and tribe fled to the mountains reports having been freely circulated that we were coming to this region for the purpose of exterminating the indians friendly or otherwise.

12th arrived at Punt-zeen Lake and discovered covered in a ditch the murdered body of Wm. Manning. One side of the head was completely crushed in and a musket ball had passed through the body. I held an inquest and had it decently interred.

13th despatched Mr. McLean his son, another man and Indian Jack to Chilco-oten forks to secure if possible the services of Alexis an indian chief not only as an interpreter but a guide the country here being so thickly timbered and covered with brush that it would be a difficult & dangerous task to follow with any certainty of success the Indian tracks and trails they are so numerous and intricate, purposely made so I presume. — about midday a Scouting party returned to camp reporting having seen an Indian dog on the ridge of a wooded hill. I at once despatched a party of 8 of our best men with an indian boy to follow the dog & bring to camp any indian they might fall in with so that I could make my mission known amongst them, this party had entered the wood about half a mile or so when the indian guide made signs indicating that indians were near when our party was instantly fired upon by indians lying under cover, the latter started, entrenched themselves behind trees reloaded & fired again. The fire was as quickly returned. The Indians started again & retreated covering themselves as they did so by passing from behind one tree to another whooping as they flew.

One of our men was wounded in the thigh. I believe the Indians escaped unhurt although our party appear to think they wounded one of them. On the firing being heard at camp I sent a second party of 8 to the assistance of our men and Mr. [Oglivy?] & myself went with 6 men in another direction so as to surround the indians but having taken shelter in the bush we all worked & searched in vain for them, this day we constructed good breastworks for our protection during the night.

14th About 11 of 11 a.m. heard firing in the same direction as above & saw 5 indians come in front of the hill & discharge their pieces into the air as I presume defying us and a trap. I concluded not to risk the lives of my men in any way until the arrival of Alexis as the indians hold complete advantage over us in the bush.

16th Mr. McLean and party returned and reports having met with Alexis tribe and family at Chilco-oten forks, all were in arms at the approach of McLean but he assured them of our peaceable intentions and they promised to send for Alexis to the mountains and I take it that we might expect his advent in 4 or 5 days. The above tribe informed Mr. McLean that the murderers 10 in number were banded together and were lurking about the Country ranging between Bute inlet and the point I now write from.

I am now sending for fresh supplies, as it is possible we may be here or elsewhere in this vicinity for some weeks as the murderers and the tribes have retired into the woods and their position must be discovered before we can think of taking them with certainty and for this duty we require Alexis who is well acquainted with their haunts and hiding places.

I believe our force is sufficiently strong to perform our task. The Indians friendly and unfriendly do not number more than 70 at the furthest. I expect Alexis to arrive here tomorrow. Should he disappoint me, which is unlikely, I shall proceed toward Bentick Arm about 65 miles and obtain "Anaham" an influential and good indian, as a guide.

I have the honor to be
Your most obedient and humble

William G. Cox

Copy to Admiral Kingcome 29 June sent to Lord Gilford requesting it may be forwarded by Gunboat "Grappler"
to Bentinck Arm.
29 June

Source: BCA, Colonial Correspondence, GR-1372, F379/23, Mflm B-1321, William George Cox, Letter to the Colonial Secretary of British Columbia, June 19, 1864.

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