Territorial Timeline

Massacre on the Grande Ronde River in Oregon

In June 1856 Colonel Wright of the U.S. Army led a column of 500 troops into Yakima Indian territory. Upon hearing of the expedition, Governor Isaac Stevens sent a detachment of Washington Territorial Volunteers, under the command of Colonel Benjamin Shaw, to assist Wright. However, upon being told by Wright that he did not need his help, Shaw pushed on to Walla Walla in search of hostile Indians.

Hearing of a large encampment of Cayuse Indians on the Grande Ronde River in Oregon, Shaw marched his troops into the Grande Ronde River Valley. The large encampment was a peaceful Indian village which lost sixty Indians, mostly women and children, when Shaw attacked. Shaw declared himself victorious, captured 300 Indian ponies, and burned the village to the ground.