Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Judge William G. Langford and the Nez Perce Indians

I had already posted information about Judge Langford and his brief participation in the Indian wars. He interrupted his legal training to fight as a young man. I think we tend to forget the level of hostility that existed at times. I did some more research and found two more times when his professional career involved American Indians.

In April of 1879, while he was practicing law in San Francisco, he wrote the following letter from the Presidio to Brigadier General O. O. Howard, who was located at Fort Vancouver, Washington Territory. Since Vancouver was a place of his previous residence, it may be that he knew the General.

"William G. Langford writes in the interest of Timothy and his band of Indians who are settled on the Alpewa (sic) and requests in their behalf that they be protected in the treaty rights to land upon which they are settled."

The General forwarded this message with his message:

"Respectfully forward to the Adjutant General of the Army, Headquarters Military Division of the Pacific with request that this paper be referred to the Indian Bureau.
I am personally cognizant of the facts within stated and believe that prompt measures should be taken for the protection of these Indians, for any new injustice makes weight for a future war."

Apparently Timothy and his band had cooperated with the Army in some way that deserved consideration.

Judge Langford's biggest case involved the Nez Perce Indians in Idaho. It went all the way to the United States Supreme Court and ended in an Act of Congress, which did not occur until after his death in 1893.
On June 9, 1863 the United States entered a treaty with the Nez Perce Indians determining the land "reserved" for the use of the Indians within the state of Idaho. It was very specific however no surveyors were enlisted and, later, when lands went unsettled, claims were made by Langford and others that the Indians had abandoned various tracts and he attached a claim. His claim was made in the 1870s.This became a huge case for everyone involved as it was all new law.
After a series of legal skirmishes, the Indians agreed to give up the land to the government of the United States for settlement. Langford's heirs were paid $20,000 for their interest. The US also agreed to purchase two sawmills for use by the Nez Perce at a cost of $10,000 each. Surveyors were hired to determine specific boundaries of all the land in question. The Nez Perce Indians were given one million dollars to be placed to the credit of "the Nez Perce Indians of Idaho" in the Treasury of the United States, and were paid interest at five percent per annum. The total cost of this transaction was $1,668,622. And perhaps more important than anything achieved by money was the definition to the Indian land rights which no doubt was a model for future interactions with other tribes.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Langford-Herwick Family

I mentioned in an earlier post that I had sent off for various PERSI articles made available by the Allen County Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana. One of those articles was written by Jeri (Sligh) Hamilton about her grandfather's family and it appeared in the August, 1983 issue of the Prospector, published in Lancaster, California. Her grandfather was Charles Herwick.
First, I should recap. Oscar's brother Charles E. Langford was a lumber baron in Clinton, Iowa, and Fulton, Illinois. Mary Jane was the fourth of seven children born to Charles and Hannah Shadduck. Mary Jane married John Steck Herwick on October 21, 1862 in Clinton, Iowa.
John Herwick was born in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. He started working as a farm laborer for Charles E. Langford in 1857. When the Civil War call came, John Herwick also mustered in with the Second Iowa Infantry, the same as Orange Langford and one of Charles Langford's sons, Edwin O. Langford. John was wounded by a musket ball at the Battle of Shiloh, Pittsburgh Landing, Tennessee, on April 6, 1862. He spent two months in a military hospital at Corinth, Mississippi. He was granted a medical discharge on July 4, 1862, with a monthly pension of $8.00. By the time he died in 1912, it had grown to $40.00 per month.
The article goes on to recount some oral family history about the Battle of Shiloh. "He lay on the battlefield after his injury for three days, was taken prisoner of war by the South, later being used as an exchange of war prisoner."
John and Mary had nine children: Charles, Harry, Ida Bell, twins Edgar and Edward, Frank, Clarence, John and Genevieve. The two oldest boys were born in Fulton, Illinois. Frank was born in Kansas and all the other children were born in various towns in Iowa as the family moved west. By the time the youngest turned three years old in 1888, the family had moved to Los Angeles, California. 
John established a Transfer Company, moving people and merchandise with a horse and wagon. The family home was located at 2920 Baldwin Avenue. John and Mary and many of their children are buried at Evergreen Cemetery.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

George Langford in the Revolutionary War

I thought I should take a minute to complete some details about George Langford's service in the Revolutionary War. I have a membership in Fold3 which provides access to most American military records online. I quickly had George's files.
George Langford was the grandfather of Oscar Langford. He was born in 1755 and signed up on October 16, 1779. He joined Captain Joseph Clap's Company of the Third Regiment of Massachusetts Bay Militia commanded by Colonel Israel Chapin. Their unit contained a drummer and fifer and a surgeon, four sergeants, four corporals, 39 privates and a few other staff.
 From Wikipedia:
The 3rd Massachusetts Regiment also known as the 24th Continental Regiment, Heath's Regiment, and Greaton's Regiment, was raised on April 23, 1775, under Colonel William Heath outside of Boston, Massachusetts. When Heath was promoted to brigadier general in June 1775 the regiment came under the command of Colonel John Greaton. The regiment would see action at the Battle of Bunker Hill, Battle of Trois-Rivieres, Battle of Valcour Island and the Battle of Saratoga.The regiment was disbanded, on November 3, 1783, at West Point, New York. Lineage carried on by the U. S. 104th Infantry Regiment.
From family history we understand that he would tell his grandchildren about the difficulties he encountered at Valley Forge. There is no doubt that he was at Bunker Hill as his rifle was shot out of his hand, for which he made a claim.

Fidelia Emily Langford Pierce, Oscar's sister

Red Bank Baptist Church Cemetery
Marionville, Virginia

Fidelia Emily Langford married Lorenzo Dow Pierce when she was 15 years old and he was 23. They lived in Savanna, Illinois, until Lorenzo died. Fidelia then moved near or with her daughter, Anna Woodruff Pierce Godwin in Virginia. Fidelia only had two children but Anna had nine, the descendants of whom have kept the Langford tree growing.
A little geography lesson is in order here. The Mississippi River runs between Carroll County Illinois and Jackson County, Iowa. As it heads south from there, it runs between Whiteside County, Illinois and Clinton County, Iowa. These four counties are where the many related Langfords resided, were married, had children, joined armies and began their lives.
Nancy and I plan to make another road trip to the other cities where they lived. The primary cities that they lived in were Clinton, Iowa, Fulton, Illinois, but they also spilled into Sabula, Iowa, an island in the river, and Savanna, Illinois. A bridge connects Sabula and Savanna.
Thanks again are in order to Susan Chambers who provided this information and who is a descendant of Fidelia.

A Peek Inside Orange Langford's Civil War Tent

As I have previously posted, Orange Langford had a long enlistment in the Second Iowa Infantry. This regiment served in a number of  Civil War battles beginning in Missouri shortly after their enlistment.
Fort Donelson was notable because of a bayonet charge that the Second Iowa Infantry led which was critical to penetrate Confederate lines and capture the fort. They were recognized for their bravery in this battle. They were also recognized at Shiloh where there is a monument to the Second Iowa and another for their leader, General Tuttle.

One of the other leaders of the Second Iowa was Captain Harry H. Green. Capt. Green, also from Lyons, Iowa, was mustered in and out on the same days as Orange Langford. Like Orange Langford, he enrolled as a soldier and was promoted to Captain. Orange was his Second Lieutenant for more than a year. Captain Green went on to a successful career as a Methodist Minister in Iowa, becoming a Presiding Elder. He was also elected to the Iowa State House for a term. He had such a distinguished life, that his family implored him to write it down and he did. The result was "The Simple Life of A Commoner", an autobiography by H. H. Green.
I found links to this book when I did a google book search for Orange Langford, who is mentioned in it three times. I ordered it and read it last week.
Green relates an incident when the soldiers were on a supply train bringing needed goods and food to Iuka, Mississippi. On one of these trains the following occurred:
"On one of the trains which carried the troops there had been loaded a few barrels of whiskey belonging to the commissary and medical departments. Some of the members of my company which, for the time being was under the command of Lieutenant Langford, discovered the liquor and at once determined to appropriate it to their own use. So they managed to get possession of a small gimlet, and boring a hole in one of the barrels, inserted a goose quill or pipe stem and drew off enough to fill their canteens, then carefully plugging the hole they proceeded to imbibe the  stuff which, by the time Iuka was reached, began to get in its work. As a matter of fact several of the boys were soon riotously drunk and some of them in a very ugly humor. I had no sooner reached my tent than the Colonel sent for me. "
Green goes on to explain that he poured out the remaining liquor and the following day all of his boys "manfully apologized".
The next time he mentions Orange Langford follows:
"Now I think if you could look inside my tent you would have a good laugh at my expense. The tent is about six feet square and about five feet high. For the want of a bedstead our blankets are spread on the ground and for want of a table Lieutenant Langford and myself are writing on our trunks. On one side of the tent is lying in rich profusion coats, candles, a chair, our swords, a knapsack, two or three pairs of boots, a canteen, two pair of gloves, a table cloth, a looking glass, a broom, two old hats and a variety of things which I need not name."
"Just behind my tent are a couple of young unbleached Americans, singing and telling each other stories as happy as they can be. "Billy", my boy, has just joined them. He is Major General of all of the young darkies in the camp. They congregate around my tent and generally stay there, serenading me, until I have to go out and drive them off."
Captain Green's last mention of Orange is general in nature. Captain Green was able to rely on letters he had written home during the war to recall such vivid details. 

The last week also brought in the mail the pension file of Orange Langford and his wife, Anna Eliza (Howard) Langford. On his original application Orange listed his commanding officer as Captain H. H. Green. Orange Langford died on September 10, 1892. Anne followed him in 1896. It is a sad story of war and its lasting effects. The last major battle that Orange Langford fought was at Corinth Mississippi. Around the time of that battle, he contracted dysentery from poor nutrition and poor hygienic living conditions. He never recovered from that condition and was left unable to perform any strenuous work, dying at age 57. He left Anne destitute and unable to pay for his funeral. I believe from reading the file that they both are buried near Alexander or Collegeville, Arkansas, in either Pulaski County or Saline County.