“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Middleton in Canyon County, Idaho — The American West (Mountains)

Peaceful Trading Turns Hostile

Ward Massacre

Peaceful Trading Turns Hostile Marker image. Click for full size.
By Rebecca Maxwell, September 9, 2009
1. Peaceful Trading Turns Hostile Marker
Inscription. In the 1830's, local tribes, including the Shoshone, Paiute, and Bannock began trading with Euro-American fur trappers and missionaries passing through southern Idaho. Peaceful exchanges beneficial to both groups increased in 1842 when wagon trains crossed southern Idaho on the Oregon Trail. As they moved through the Boise Valley, the trains obtained food, stock and services from native bands in exchange for a variety of goods and animals.

What was only a few hundred wagons in 1842 became a flood of 8,000 emigrants in 1853. For every emigrant there were nearly four head of stock overgrazing the land along the trail. Trees and sagebrush disappeared in the smoke of cook fires and accidental wildfire, and a curtain of dust could be seen for miles. As resources stretched thin, contact between the two cultures began to be strained. Insult, injury and criminal acts resulted in retaliation, often against innocents. The nearby Hudson's Bay Fort Boise was lost in the 1853 flood, and was replaced by only a temporary structure. Local bands blamed emigrants for an increase in disease and poisonings and a loss of game. By 1854, southern Idaho had became a dangerous place with little protection for both wagon trains and native bands.

Toward the end of the 1854 migration, the hostility boiled over into violence. A local band, the Winnasc,
Markers about Events Surrounding the Ward Massacre image. Click for full size.
By Rebecca Maxwell, September 9, 2009
2. Markers about Events Surrounding the Ward Massacre
began outright attacks on isolated trains. Mounted on horses and armed with rifles, they proved a deadly threat to the last few emigrants hurrying toward Oregon.

Over 12,000 years ago, Idaho's first people survived by following herds of big game. About 7,000 years ago, Native Americans in this area followed the earth's natural cycles - camping together for protection in the winter and breaking into small family bands to forage in the summer. This pattern began changing in the early 18th century, when local tribes obtained their first horses from other tribes. Horses brought new wealth and power, increased interaction with other tribes and allowed hunting and gathering over a wider area.
Location. 43° 40.631′ N, 116° 36.536′ W. Marker is near Middleton, Idaho, in Canyon County. Marker is on Lincoln Road 0.2 miles east of Middleton Road, on the left when traveling east. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Caldwell ID 83605, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Hostility Erupts Into Violence (here, next to this marker); To the Memory of the Pioneers (here, next to this marker); Violence is Avenged (here, next to this marker); The Ward Massacre (within shouting distance of this marker); The College of Idaho (approx. 3.7 miles away); Emigrant Crossing (approx. 4 miles away); Northwest Nazarene University (approx. 7.1 miles away); Lower Boise (approx. 10.1 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Middleton.
Additional keywords. Oregon Trail, Fort Boise
Categories. Native AmericansSettlements & Settlers
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Rebecca Maxwell of Boise, Idaho. This page has been viewed 1,347 times since then and 116 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Rebecca Maxwell of Boise, Idaho. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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