Near Huntington in Baker County, Oregon — The American West (Northwest)
Van Ornum Wagon Train Massacre
Two weeks later a few Shoshone Indians visited the camp. They traded salmon for what few possessions the survivors still harbored and forcefully took their firearms. After receiving some salmon, the Van Ornum family, a young man named Gleason, and the two surviving Utter boys left the camp in hopes of finding a relief party. Here, near Farewell Bend, they encountered Indians. The three Van Ornum girls and their little brother were taken captive.
Capt. Frederick T. Dent, leader of the army relief expedition, reported that a party led by Lt. Marcus A. Reno discovered
gleaming in the moonlight, dead, stripped, and mutilated lay the bodies of six persons ... Mrs. Vanorman
The bodies were buried where they were found. Mrs. Van Ornum's body was laid to rest 4 1/2 feet deep. separated from the common grave containing the remains of the five men and boys. Local historian P.S. Wood rediscovered the graves and place a small metal cross to mark the site.
Zacheus Van Ornum became an Indian scout for the army in an effort to rescue his nieces and nephew. The captive children were traded or stolen by other bands. Reuben was rescued in November 1862 in Cache Valley, Utah, by California Army volunteers. The youngest sister, Lucinda, died soon after being rescued from the Indians by Northern Utah settlers. Eliza and Minerva either died of starvation or were killed while captives.
Erected 2003 by Baker County Historical Society and Idaho and Northwest Chapters of the Oregon-California Trails Association.
Location. 44° 20.034′ N, 117° 14.73′ Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Huntington OR 97907, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 7 other markers are within 13 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Van Ornum Massacre (here, next to this marker); The Last Spike (approx. 1.6 miles away); a different marker also named Van Ornum Wagon Train Massacre (approx. 1.6 miles away); Farewell Bend Oregon Trail Kiosk (approx. 2.3 miles away); Farewell Bend (approx. 2.3 miles away); Remnants of the Oregon Trail (approx. 4.4 miles away); Weatherby Oregon Trail Kiosk (approx. 12.6 miles away).
More about this marker. This burial site is about one mile south of Huntington, Oregon.
Also see . . . Utter Disaster - Idaho OCTA. Summary of the Utter-Van Ornum Massacres.
No other Oregon Trail wagon train suffered greater losses than the Utter wagon train of 1860. (Submitted on August 18, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.)
Categories. • Cemeteries & Burial Sites • Disasters • Native Americans • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on August 22, 2017. This page originally submitted on August 18, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 128 times since then and 36 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on August 18, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.