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

The Chilacoten Expedition

The British Columbian, September 17, 1864

To the Editor of the British Columbian.

Sir,- I noticed in your issue of the 7th inst. an article in which it was stated that Judge Cox had enticed the Bute Inlet murderers into his camp under false pretenses.

As I was present I beg to lay before you a plain statement of the facts of the case. On or about the morning of the 3d of August Tapitt’s (the murderer of William Manning) son came to Judge Cox’s camp at the crossing of the Chezco River, in company with Alexis, the chief of the Lower Chilacotens, and stated that he was the bearer of a message from Klatsassin and Tellot, to the effect that if the whites would remain where they were encamped they would assemble all the murderers and come and deliver themselves up; the only condition (if it could be called one) that Klatsassin made was that after all his accomplices had been hung he should be allowed to place the rope round his own neck and jump off the scaffold himself, as he did not wish the whites to hang him. Mr. Cox’s reply was that he would not wait where he was then encamped, but would proceed on in search of them; however, that if Klatsassin wished to give himself up he (Mr. Cox) would camp at the Hudson Bay Co’s old fort, on the Chezco River, for a few days, as he was obliged to send to Alexandria for provisions, owing to his having given Mr. Brew 1700 lbs. of the supplies which had just arrived by the pack train from that place for his own party.

The Indian was then dispatched, and nothing more was heard from them until the [illegible] of August, when the same messenger again came to camp on the site of the Hudson Bay Co’s old fort, and said that the Indians were all scattered about the mountains, and that Klatsassin had sent runners out to collect them and they would be in within four days, in token of which he brought from Klatsassin a $20 piece; he then left, and on the 4th day after his departure returned, and told Mr. Cox that Klatsassan would come into camp the next morning in company with Tellot and six others. He also stated that Klatsassin had not succeeded in finding the remainder of the Indians who were implicated, as they had retired too far into the mountains, and most probably would not come out before the winter. The next morning, between 8 and 9 o’clock, Klatsassin, Tellot and six others came into the camp, accompanied by Alexis and a number of his people. They had no arms of any description whatever, with the exception of Tapitt, who had a small knife hung to his neck. Klatsassin then made the statement which appeared in your columns on the 24th August. As to the statement made by your correspondent that the Indians were surrounded immediately on their arrival in camp, and of Tellot’s conduct on that occasion, it is simply untrue.

You will also find by a reference to dates that the Indians pursued by Mr. Brew’s party on the 11th and 15th of August could not possibly have been Tellot and Klatsassin, as they were at that time prisoners in Judge Cox’s camp, at the least one hundred miles distant from Me-myo Lake. These, Mr. Editor, are the facts of the case.

I am, Sir, your obed’t serv’t,
J. D. B. Ogilvy.

P. S. — I believe the fat ox could be found at Alexandria, if inquired for.

Source: J. D. B. Ogilvy, "The Chilacoten Expedition," The British Columbian, September 17, 1864.

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