Mile 1502: Willow Springs Station

“Early in June [1860] Elijah N. Wilson set out from Schell Creek to make his regular run to Deep Creek [Ibapah]. When he reached his destination he found that the rider who was to take the mochilla on was not there. Pushing on to Willow Spring he learned that the man had been killed on his run. Since his horse was worn out he had to, stop and let him rest a while.

“About four o’clock in the afternoon seven Indians rode in to demand that Peter Neece, the station keeper, give them something to eat. Neece offered them a twenty-four pound sack of flour, which was indignantly refused. They wanted a sack each instead. At that he tossed the flour back into the station and ordered them to clear out. He would give them nothing. This so angered them that as they passed the corral they filled an old, lame cow with arrows. Seeing this act of wanton cruelty Neece drew his revolver and killed two of them.

“Knowing that about thirty of them were camped not far off, and that an attack would almost certainly be made, they loaded all the empty guns they had and prepared to defend themselves. Just before dark they saw a cloud of dust in the distance which advertised the fact that the Indians were coming. Adopting the strategy of lying down upon the ground in the sagebrush they waited.

“Soon the Indians arrived and were greeted by gunfire from outside the station. This so confused them that they milled about in more or less confusion. Some of them attempted to return the fire by aiming at the gun flashes. This however, was not effective, for each time one of the defenders fired he instantly leaped to one side. Many years later Wilson said that although he had two revolvers he did little except jump from spot to spot. Finally he landed in a small ravine where he remained until the Indians rode off in disgust. When he joined his companions they praised him for his part in the affair but he would have none of it. Credit for the victory, he said, belonged entirely to them.”