Battle of Kelley Creek
Get Battle of Kelley Creek essential facts below. View Videos or join the Battle of Kelley Creek discussion. Add Battle of Kelley Creek to your topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Battle of Kelley Creek
Battle of Kelley Creek
Part of the American Indian Wars
JP Donnelly posse Battle of Kelley Creek.jpg
The posse of J.P. Donnelly.
DateFebruary 25, 1911
LocationCoordinates: 41°15?54?N 117°05?42?W / 41.2649003°N 117.0951145°W / 41.2649003; -117.0951145[1]
Result United States victory
 United States Daggett's Shoshone band
Commanders and leaders
Flag of Nevada.svg J. P. Donnelly Mike Daggett
Casualties and losses
1 killed 8 killed, including 2 children
4* surviving children captured and arrested
  • 3 of the captured children died within the three following years, possibly due to bad health and/or wounds obtained during the conflict
Battle of Kelley Creek is located in Nevada
Battle of Kelley Creek
Location of Kelley Creek, Nevada
Battle of Kelley Creek is located in the United States
Battle of Kelley Creek
Battle of Kelley Creek (the United States)
Signature of J. P. Donnelley. Leader of the posse involved in the Battle of Kelley Creek. The signature is taken from a registered mail signing book from Carson City, NV - 1812 - 1813. In the private collection of H. Blair Howell.

The Battle of Kelley Creek, also known as the Last Massacre, is often considered to be one of the last known massacres carried out between Native Americans and forces of the United States, and was a closing event to occur near the end of the American Indian warfare era.[2] In January 1911 a small group of Bannocks and Shoshones killed four investigative agents in a ranch after they had been pursued for abducting cattle. A posse of policemen and citizens was sent to track the natives, who were found encamped near Winnemucca, Nevada, in a region known as Kelley Creek. A largely one-sided battle ensued on February 25 that ended with the direct deaths of nine people, eight Daggetts and one mortally wounded American. At the time the affair was briefly characterized as a Native American revolt, though it is now mostly regarded as a family's attempted escape from law enforcement.[3]


Mike Daggett, or Shoshone Mike (only after his death),[4] was the chief of the small band and in the spring of 1910, he led his group of eleven off the Fort Hall Reservation at Rock Creek, Idaho. All but two men of the group were members of Mike's family, which included three women and four or five children. They first headed south into northern Nevada and then wandered west to Oroville, California, before heading back into Nevada to spend the winter at Little High Rock Canyon in northern Washoe County. In January 1911 the Daggett party was running low on food, so they abducted and butchered some cattle belonging to a local rancher. A Basque sheepherder named Bert Indiano witnessed the event and alerted the people of Surprise Valley, California, who sent a posse of three men to investigate the incident and protect the ranch. The three men, Harry Cambron and two Basque sheepherders, Peter Erramouspe and John Laxague, were to go to the ranch and join up with the sheepherder so the four could investigate the scene. Upon arrival the posse of four men instead ran into Mike Daggett and two of his sons, who were reported to be waiting for them.[5][6]

Last Massacre

The Daggetts had apparently realized the agents would be coming to find them, so when the posse entered the canyon on January 19, the natives opened fire with rifles and pistols, killing all four of them (Harry Cambron and the three Basque sheepherders Bert Indiano, Pierre Erramouspe and John Laxague) . The bodies were allegedly picked clean and found with numerous gunwounds on a creekbed, weeks later on February 8, by a search party from Eagleville, California.[7] The scene also showed signs of looting. When word of the killings reached the surrounding settlements many who felt at risk temporarily evacuated the area, and the men who stayed behind remained armed and alert at all times. Initially it was thought that a gang of outlaws from Oregon or a band of Modocs were responsible. The Nevada and California State Police organized a posse under the command of Captain J.P. Donnelly to find the suspects, who had decided to flee towards the Duck Valley Indian Reservation. Other posses were also organized (though only Donnelly's would ever make contact with the Daggetts), and a large cash bounty was promised to anyone who managed to arrest or kill the fugitives.[8][9]


Donnelly's posse included at least five policemen, a few armed civilians, and the "county coroner and physician". After stopping in Little High Rock Canyon on February 13, they continued despite extreme cold and winter weather. Over 200 miles further and on February 25, the posse found Daggett and his family hiding in an area known as Kelley Creek, northeast of Winnemucca. It is unclear which side shot first, but a battle erupted that lasted for around three hours.[10] The women reportedly fought equally alongside the men. Father and chief Mike Daggett was one of the first casualties during the battle, but his death only made the members of his family desperately fight back harder; even as they were inevitably forced back. At some point during the conflict the remaining Daggetts had run out of ammunition for their guns and were forced to resort to bows, spears and tomahawks. By the end of the battle only four of the original twelve Dagget family members were still alive: a sixteen-year-old girl and three young children, who were taken into police custody. One member of Donnelly's posse, Ed Hogle of Eagleville, was mortally wounded during the fight. Two other young Daggett children were also reported to have been shot inadvertently.[8][11]

After the battle was over, the posse found evidence linking the killings in Little High Rock Canyon to the natives. Other than Mike's war bonnet, the posse found guns and a watch that had belonged to Harry Cambron, identified by brother Ben Cambron. The bodies of the natives were taken by wagon to Golconda, Nevada, and buried in a mass grave made from the crater of a dynamite explosion. A tall pole was placed at the site as a grave marker. The remains of Ed Hogle were returned to Eagleville, where he was buried. Sheriff Charles Ferrell, who was in command of the investigation (but not present at the battle) arrived back in Reno on March 2 with the four surviving captives, and they claimed that while the man had indeed been Shoshone Mike, their mother and the others were Bannocks. The four were informally adopted by Reno's civilian population until in May 1911 they were enrolled in the Stewart Indian School near Carson City, Nevada. By 1913, three of the children had died of natural causes, and only one of the survivors, Mary Jo Estep was left alive; she died in 1992.[12] The reward offered to anyone who could catch or kill the Daggett party was initially denied to the posse by Governor Tasker Oddie, due to the fact that there were state policemen involved, but the case was later settled in favor of the posse by the Supreme Court.[8][9]

See also


  1. ^ "Kelly Creek (historical), alternate name: Kelley Creek". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
  2. ^ Mullen Jr., Frank X. (February 19, 2011). "Shoshone Mike: New theories emerge 100 years after 'last massacre' (part 1)". Reno Gazette-Journal. Retrieved 2020.
  3. ^ Dorr, Susanna. "Last Indian Uprising?". Retrieved .
  4. ^ Mullen Jr., Frank X. (February 19, 2011). "Shoshone Mike: New theories emerge 100 years after 'last massacre' (part 2)". Reno Gazette-Journal. Retrieved 2020.
  5. ^ "Early Native Americans". Archived from the original on 2011-07-27. Retrieved .
  6. ^ "Indian Wars". Retrieved .
  7. ^ "Eagleville Cemetery". Retrieved 2020.The 4 murder victims were buried in Eagleville Cemetery, Eagleville, California.
  8. ^ a b c Washoe County Sheriff's Office: Dedicated Service in Partnership with Our Community. Turner Publishing. 2004. pp. 19-20. ISBN 9781563119545. Retrieved 2020.
  9. ^ a b "Stories Of The Old West". Archived from the original on December 6, 2010. Retrieved 2011.
  10. ^ "The Legend of Shoshone Mike". KLAS-TV. 2002-07-23. Archived from the original on March 24, 2012. Retrieved .
  11. ^ Adams, Frank (Spring 2011). "Battle at Kelley Creek -Nevada State Police-- 1911" (PDF). The Silver Star: Newsletter of the Silver State National Peace Officers Museum. Vol. 3 no. 2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-30. Retrieved .
  12. ^ "Mary Jo Estep (1910-1992) - Find A Grave Memorial". Retrieved 2020.

Further reading

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Music Scenes