In March 1855, the tribes in the Willamette Valley needed to be resettled onto temporary reservations until they could be removed to a permanent reservation. Palmer, the Indian Superintendent for Oregon, did not know how long resettlement would take and so planned for as much as four years until the event happened. In the summer of 1855 violence erupted in southern Oregon and Palmer was forced to advance his timetable and had to begin removal of the tribes from the vicinity of the settlers sooner. He worked with the army to choose the Grand Ronde Valley, and buy the DLCs of the settlers. In January 1856, he was ready to remove the tribes to the new Yamhill River Reserve.
The Chemapho Band of Calapooias lived near and above the Long Tom River, along it tributaries. They are likely associated with the Chelamela or Lungtombuff (Long Tom) tribe at the Long Tom River. One of their number may have posed for the 1841 drawing of “A Kalapuya Man” when the Wilkes expedition traveled down the Willamette Valley and camped in the hills about a days walk from the Long Tom River.
Edward Geary, as assistant to Joel Palmer, arranged for a reservation for the Chemapho in the foothills of the Coast Range with 1844 emigre Jacob Hammer.
I Jacob Hammer do hereby grant permission to the Chemapho or Muddy Band of Calapooias to reside upon and enclose and cultivate a field of fields on the following described portions of my land claim; beginning at the Northwest corner of my claim; thence south to the creek; thence down said creek to an Alder grove. Thence in a Northerly direction to the Alder spring on or near the North line of said claim, thence west to the place of beginning. Containing sixty acres more or less. To occupy the same for four years or until said Indians shall be removed in pursuance of treaty stipulations recently entered into between Joel Palmer Superintendent of Indian Affairs on the part of the United States and said Band of Indians, if the removal occur within the period herein named. In testimony whereof I hereunto set my hand this 17th day of March 1855. Signed in presence of S K Brown, Jacob Hammer.
The following is the best estimate as to where this reservation and the Hammer land claim was.
Jacob Hammer and his family “initially resided on the plains of the Tualatin River, but in November, 1847, they moved up the Willamette Valley to settle land that hadn’t yet been touched by a plow, bringing with them the first Bible to penetrate the Willamette Valley beyond Jason Lee’s mission at Salem (so they claim). The stream that flowed through the family claim is still called Hammer Creek today.” (burt.dorothy @ yahoo.com, Rootsweb.com)
“In the year 1847 the famous Belknap Settlement was founded, the first occupant being Jesse H Caton who, in the fall of 1846 took up the claim now in the possession of his relic, Mrs Shedd, and in the following spring moved with thirty head of cattle and one horse thereto. Soon afterwards, in November 1847, Jacob Hammer and his wife came to the section and were joint occupants of Mr. Caton’s cabin with that gentleman. Mrs Hammer, the pioneer lady of the precinct, performing the welcome duties of housekeeper. At the end of a year Mr Hammer took up the donation land claim on which he now resides, while to him is the credit of having brought the first bible into the neighborhood.” (burt.dorothy @ yahoo.com, Rootsweb.com)
The 1850 census data show 10 acres under plow (“improved”) on the Hammer family farm, which was valued at $200. The livestock — four milk cows, four “other cattle”, four “working oxen”, and fifteen pigs — was valued at $550. The family reported making 150 pounds of butter the previous year, most of which they probably sold at a good price to traders supplying the gold miners in California. County records from 1856 valued the family spread at $6200, one of the highest valuations in the area. (burt.dorothy @ yahoo.com, Rootsweb.com)
Hammer Creek empties into the Muddy River, earlier called Long Tom Creek.
The location of the Chemapho reservation is well off the main valley and well hidden in an area to the west of Alpine. The Hammer DLC is not well marked and difficult to find in historical records.
The Chemapho likely became known as the Muddy Creek or Muddy Indians because of the creek in the area. They were removed to the Grand Ronde Indian Reservation between February and March 1856 and are censused in September 1856. Their chief is illegible in this document as perhaps “Old (John or Tom)” which were common names at the time. The tribe consisted of 8 men, 9 women, one boy and 3 girls or 21 people.
Note: The history of the reservation at the Hammer DLC is not in the book “This Emigrating Company…” By Thomas A. Rumer, 1990.
Ethnohistory Research, LLC | David G. Lewis, PhD
PhD Anthropology (UO 2009) and Native history researcher. Member of the Grand Ronde Tribe, Takelma, Chinook, Molalla, and Santiam Kalapuya ancestry. Owner of Ethnohistory Research LCC, professional consultant and project researcher.
I teach at local universities and colleges and take contracts with tribes, local governments and nonprofits. I have experience in archival organization, museum development, exhibit curation, traditional cultural property nomination, tribal ethnohistoric research, tribal maps, traditional ecological knowledge, and presentations to large and small gatherings. Contact me for consultation about any of these projects.