“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)

Hostility Erupts Into Violence

Ward Massacre

Hostility Erupts Into Violence Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Rebecca Maxwell, September 9, 2009
1. Hostility Erupts Into Violence Marker
Inscription.  On August 20, 1854, the Alexander Ward Party of 20 men, women, and children were traveling on the Oregon Trail with five wagons, a day behind a larger party led by Alexander Yantis. The Wards pulled their wagons off the Trail for lunch and to water their stock when two white men and three Native Americans approached the party to trade for a horse. When the trade failed, one of the Indians attempted to ride off with the horse and was killed.

Fearing retribution, the Wards hurried back to the Trail and corralled their wagons to defend themselves from about 60 Indians, who had raced from their encampment across the river to give battle. For nearly two hours, six men defended the wagons. When the last defender fell, the wagons were rushed and two boys and two non-combatant men were killed. The women and children were gathered in a wagon and driven toward the river.

The attack did not go unnoticed. Seven men from the Yantis party heard gunfire and women's screams and hurried to the rescue. They were forced to retreat when one of their own men was killed. That evening, they returned, finding dead and dying from both sides. Injured
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Newton Ward, 13, was carried back to the rebuilt Fort Boise trading post (near present day Parma). In all, 19 immigrants were killed, but both Newton and William Ward survived. The number of Native American dead from the battle was never tallied.

Two days after the attack, a rescue party from Ft. Boise found the four burned wagons and the bodies of the Ward party men. The body of young Mary Ward was found in a draw by a burned wagon. Mrs. White's battered body was found in a pond by the river. The mutilated bodies of Mrs. Ward and three young children were located across the river in the abandoned Indian encampment. Two younger children could not be located but William Ward, with an arrow in his side, later walked into Fort Boise.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Native AmericansSettlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1854.
Location. 43° 40.634′ 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. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Caldwell ID 83605, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Peaceful Trading Turns Hostile (here, next to this marker); Violence is Avenged (here, next to this marker); To the Memory of the Pioneers
Ward Massacre Informational Markers image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Rebecca Maxwell, September 9, 2009
2. Ward Massacre Informational Markers
(here, next to this marker); The Ward Massacre (within shouting distance of this marker); Idaho's First Heroine - Madame Marie Dorion (approx. 3.8 miles away); A.K. Steunenberg, Frank Steunenberg (approx. 4 miles away); Caldwell Train Depot (approx. 4 miles away); Emigrant Crossing (approx. 4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Middleton.
Additional keywords. Ward Massacre
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on September 11, 2009, by Rebecca Maxwell of Boise, Idaho. This page has been viewed 2,808 times since then and 153 times this year. Last updated on September 12, 2009, by Rebecca Maxwell of Boise, Idaho. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 11, 2009, by Rebecca Maxwell of Boise, Idaho. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.

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Jun. 23, 2024