|Samuel King "Tule Dad" Matney|
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|Death: ||Mar., 1887|
Per Greyfox(Priscilla #46543950), From the Find A Grave FAQs. No matter how long a bio is, it should have no paragraph breaks in it. Please, one paragraph only.
Surprise Valley Journal
Thursday, June 18, 1953
By Irvine Grove
One time the settlers about Cedar creek ran out of rood and a number of them, under the leadership of Joe Marks and Tule Dad, started across the hills to Lake City for groceries. Tule Dad, eager to kill, was my Marks' side or right on his heels all the time. While the horses stopped to eat grass, the men started to scout over the hill a foot. From behind a little ridge they spied Indians, a whole came of them. The chief was upon a big rock talking to his warriors. Joe Marks crouches, stepped back and said, "Dad, there are the Indians." Tule Dad said, "That's jest what we're a huntin." When Tule Dad saw them over the hill he said to Joe, "That's too pretty a shot. I'm takin' the last one, you take the first one."
He was an expert rifleman. He laid his rifle in the forks of a mahogany tree and shot the chief from off the rock. The Indian fell, then started to crawl away. Tule Dad shot him again and then ran up and scalped him. He turned him over and started to cut a strip of skin out of his back, he hated Indians so. "I want this for a razor strap." But Joe would not let him. He said it was too barbarous. In great fright, the Indians ran away, deserting everything in camp. They left behind two little Indian babies hidden in the sagebrush by their mothers, who hoped to return and carry them to a safer camp. Tule Dad pulled the little boy out of its warm, cozy caboose with the intention of killing it, but the little fellow, in place of crying in fear, looked into Tule Dad's eye and smiled. Tule Dad turned to the other men, "If ye want ter kill this'n yer can, but I ain't got the heart." Like Buffao Bill, Tule Dad was an able scout, but lacking education, his acquired wealth, whether in cash or livestock, was wrested from him by lawyers, bankers and Indians. Tule Dad seldom lived in a cabin because the Indians always burned his belongings if they could do so without being caught. He had no trust in Indians or bankers. He buried his murdered Indians secretly, and his bank was a hole under a large rock in the southwest side of Jess Valley. On his death bed he tried to tell us where his treasurers were hidden. No matter whether his cattle and horses were stolen by Indians or white bandits, he always blamed the Indians for his losses. He was born with the soldier's instincts. His dealings with the Modocs had been mostly vexing. Tule Dad's urge to kill called upon him to drop as many Indians as he could while discharging the six possible shots from his heavy old Savage revolver. It was his custom to watch like a spy the camps of the Indians and advance unseen at dusk or daybreak and take one, two or three at each approach. He lived to be 104 years old. When asked by a woodsman just a day before his death if he was "ready for the trip," Tule Dad replied, "Dunno, ain't done nothin' wrong 'cept shootin' Injuns." He was 103 when he first visited the District School in Jess Valley. He had never entered a school house before. Using few words, he advised the pupils to study and learn. He became an active patron of the school by lending his large heavy gold watch to the teacher, that the school might open and close on time. The district trustees had not funds to purchase a clock, and the teacher was too poor to buy a watch. Reading, writing and arithmetic were arts never acquired by Tule Dad. He had never written his own name, but used a cross to sign papers or contracts. This same cross within a circle was used on an iron to brand his cattle before turning them loose to graze. Tule Dad was perhaps the oldest pupil ever walked to and fro from school. He was the guest of honor in this little rustic school during the several days before the storms of winter set in. He was always given the teacher's seat - the inverted nail keg. Here he sat by the hour in front of the stove in the middle of the room, listening, seldom looking up, his head resting upon his hands as they were folded over the head of his staff, a heavy club from a mahogany tree cut from the mountainside back of the school. He learned but one lesson in school, and that was in geography upon a wall map of the world. He could locate on this map his last home in Jess Valley and his first home in Tennessee. Tule Dad was 102 before the cattlemen fully realized he was too old to live along and care for himself. They noted his little dugout near Pit River where he slept on the ground and did all the cooking on a camp fire during the below zero weather. His great strength was gradually leaving him and he asked me, an 18-year-old district school teacher, to write his will. It was his desire to leave all his property to the man who had befriended him the most, "Big Tom" Beckwood, one of the three school trustees. After several attempts, a will was written satisfactory to all concerned. It was a sad sight to witness a helpless, ignorant old man signing away all of his belongings by a mere cross. His eyes were perfect to the end and a third set of teeth were beginning to function. A few ranchers and their children under the teacher's leadership held a little service just over the hill, planted a little juniper at the head of the mount, sang a few hymns, offered a short prayer and then moved thoughtfully back to feed the livestock and milk the cows.
The juniper is now over 60 years old, beautiful in form and size, symbolizing the life and stature of Tule Dad, the outstanding single figure of the Modoc Indian War."
Thus is the tribute given by the man who was the young teacher so many years ago. * - * In "Events in the Early History of Modoc County" by George Turner, I found the following notations about Tule Dad: "In the early days the Dorrises filed on all of South Fork as swamp land. George Bailey filed on a lot at the upper end. Thad Jones and Bill Reynolds filed on a big lot. Tule Dad Matney took up a tract of swamp land after selling his place in Surprise Valley and built a house near the mouth of Pine Creek, near where Pressley Dorris now lives. After several years of lawing, the claims were settled out of court. Bailey, Jones and Reynolds got their claims. After it was all settled, the Dorrisses bought out Tule Dad and he went to town to live. This ended the big swampland law suit for always." Still quoting from George Turner's account:
"Another big fight took place in the Pyramid country where old Tule Dad Matney killed and scalped Smoke Creek Jim, a big war chief. Like all other fights with the Indians, when their big chief is killed it nearly always put a stop to that battle. "Old Tule Dad kept this scalp for some time and finally sold it to a would-be Indian fighter - if he could have killed them by his tongue. He got $100 for it. Old Tule Dad thought he had done pretty well for five twenties looked pretty big to him then as he needed money pretty badly."
Jess Valley Cemetery
Created by: Bill Gransee
Record added: May 15, 2014
Find A Grave Memorial# 129838082
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