Fort Lane

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Fort Lane (1853-1856) - Established on 28 Sep 1853. Immediate predecessor of Fort Lane was Camp Alden, it existed for a few months and was abandoned when Fort Lane was established. Fort Lane was constructed and occupied by two companies of the 1st U.S. Dragoons under the command of Captain Andrew Jackson Smith to maintain peace between the settlers and the Indians. Named for Brigadier General Joseph Lane the first territorial governor of Oregon. Abandoned 17 Sep 1856.

Fort Lane Sketch
Fort Lane Plan, Mansfield, 1854

Fort Lane History

Fort Lane was a U shaped open plan fort with no stockade and about 18 log buildings. One source describes it as stockaded but none of the plans or drawings reflect this. Mansfield in his 1854 report makes no mention of a stockade but he describes conditions by saying "The quarters of officers, soldiers, hospital and storerooms & c are all of logs erected by the men, and as comfortable as could be expected... There is abundant grazing for the horses, and hay and wood are had by the cutting." A breakout of the buildings:

  • 5 Officers Quarters
  • 4 Soldiers Quarters
  • 1 Officers Kitchen
  • 3 Soldiers Kitchens
  • 1 Guard House
  • 1 Hospital
  • 1 Smiths Shop
  • 1 Quartermaster Store

The Fort was engaged in the administration of the Table Rock Reservation in 1854 and 1855. In late 1855 the inhabitants of an Indian village were massacred by a group of settlers. Part of the Indian population gathered at Fort Lane for protection,while the remainder declared war on the settlers. Indian Chiefs Tecumtum, Cholcultah, and Lympe, proceeded down the Rogue River with their followers, burning cabins and killing settlers. General John E. Wool, commander of the Army of the West, and Joel Palmer, Superintendent of Indian Affairs, had the Indians rounded up for removal to the Grand Ronde and Siletz Agencies on the coast.

Fort Lane and Fort Orford were used as staging areas over the winter and spring of 1855-1856. Indian people were confined to these military reservations after either surrendering or after being captured in battle. On 23 Feb 1856, The Indians at Fort Lane were marched from Fort Lane over the Oregon-California Trail 260 miles to the Grand Ronde reservation by Lt. William B. Hazen and 106 regular troops. The Indians at Fort Orford were shipped by steamer to the Grand Ronde and Siletz Agencies on the Coast Reservation. Removal was completed following the surrender of Tecumtum, Cholcultah, and Lympe and their people at the Big Bend of the Rogue River that May.

Fort Lane was abandoned 17 Sep 1856 after most of the Indian peoples had been removed to the Coastal Reservations.

Current Status

No buildings remain and the site has been periodically vandalized and looted. The property was deeded to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department by Jackson County, Oregon on 23 Apr 2008. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department will invest $135,000 to repair fencing, build a bathroom, parking area and improve access from Tolo Road and to trails.


USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) Database Entry:

  • Name: Fort Lane Type: Historical Class: Military ID: 1157985
  • Location: Jackson County, Oregon, US, FIPS Code: 41029
  • Latitude: 42.4258333, Longitude: -122.9755556, Elevation: 1204 Map: Sams Valley
  • As Of: 28 Nov 1980
Source: U.S. Board on Geographic Names

Location: About 8 miles north of present Jacksonville, on the south bank of the Rogue River near the mouth of Bear Creek in Jackson County, Oregon.

Maps & Images

Lat: 42.427001 Long: -122.975794

Sources:

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Visited: 28 Jun 2008

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