Captain Jack



Captain Jack
Captain Jack, known also as Kintpuash, was a chief of the Modoc tribe of California and Oregon. His tribe originally inhabited the area on the California-Oregon border, but due to the desire of greedy white settlers they were moved to the Klamath Reservation in southwestern Oregon. The reservation also housed a rival tribe, the Klamath Indians, and the Modoc were poorly treated. In 1865, Captain Jack led his people home, but they only remained there a year before they were rounded up once more by the U.S. Army and returned to the reservation. Conditions, however, had not improved for the Modoc, and Captain Jack soon left once more, accompanied by a group of about 180 fellow tribe members.

In 1872, the Army set out again to recapture Jack’s tribe, but during surrender negotiations, a fight broke out and the Modoc were able to escape to a natural stronghold encased in lava beds and known as “Captain Jack’s Stronghold.” When they were finally found, U.S. soldiers attacked but failed to capture any of the Indians; instead, the army was thoroughly defeated, with 35 of their men killed and many wounded.

Captain Jack wished for peaceful negotiations, but his Indians adversaries publicly shamed him until, in an attempt to regain influence, he agreed with their plan to call for a meeting with the U.S. commission and kill them all. The plan was partly successful; two leading members were killed, along with General Edward Canby and a Californian clergyman. Unfortunately, however, rather than force them to turn tail, the loss of their general only increased the resolve of the commission, and they returned with a thousand reinforcements, forcing the Modoc to flee. Over the next few months, Jack managed to avoid the Army until he was betrayed by several members of his own tribe. He was convicted for the murder of General Canby and hanged along with several other participants in the attack.

Key events during the life of Captain Jack:

Modoc tribe was moved to the Klamath Reservation, where they suffered at the hands of the Klamath tribe.
Led the Modoc people back to their home.
Modoc tribe was rounded up and returned to the reservation.
Led the Modoc home once more.
The Modoc War.
Captured and killed.

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Indian Wars  in  Indian History for Young Folks  by  Francis S. Drake
Captain Jack, Chief of the Modoc Indians  in  Famous Indian Chiefs I Have Known  by  Oliver Otis Howard

Image Links

Captain Jack and his companions
 in Indian History for Young Folks

Captain Jack's Cave and Stronghold. Lake and Camps in the Distance
 in Indian History for Young Folks

Short Biography
Stonewall Jackson Leading Confederate General of the American Civil War, especially notable at Bull Run. Died at Chancellorsville.
P.G.T. Beauregard Confederate general who was influential in the early years of the civil war.
Robert E. Lee General of the Confederate Army during the American Civil War.