Today, William Osborne, Harry Mason, Francois Chodoze, and August Bacon, all victims of the Nez Perce raiders are found buried within a metal fence, in a cemetery located under a hackberry tree in the area.

In a cabin on Cooper Bar lived Harry Mason and his sister, Helen Walsh, and her two children. William Osborne — married to the sister of Mason's wife, who had died sometime before 1877 — lived three-quarters of a mile away, right on the river.

... Harry Mason whipped two Indians early in the spring. A council of arbitration met to decide who was in fault, Mr Elfers, a white man ... being a member of that council. That decision of the council, as one might have predicted, was unfavorable to the Indians.

Gen. O.O. Howard

On June 15, realizing that a raiding party of seventeen warriors was nearby, Helen Mason Walsh, her two children, her brother Harry Mason, his brother-in-law William Osborne, Mrs. Osborne, and the four Osborne children ran from Mason's house down to Osborne's cabin on the river. By this time, the warriors had already killed James Baker, Samuel Benedict, and August Bacon in White Bird.

We made a dash for the Osborne cabin, and all got in. One Frenchman, named Louis [François Chodoze], was with us....

Three men, two women, and six children, all crowded into that two roomed cabin. Waiting for the next move of the Indians; and we did not have long to wait.

While Mr Osborne and the Frenchman were working at the door, Harry was peering intently through the space between the logs.... The Indians were there dismounting. Suddenly my brother [Harry Mason] stooped lower and thrust the muzzle of his new Winchester rifle between the logs. Mrs. Osborne cried, "Don't shoot! They are friends of ours. Perhaps we can pacify them.".

At Mrs. Osbome's cry, he hesitated, and looked around at her, then turned again and prepared to shoot. Then Mr. Osbome turning from the door cried, 'For God's sake, don't shoot Harry!' Again my brother hesitated, but as I could see, reluctantly. Then a volley was fired from the other side; and the bullets came crashing through the window.

Harry sprang off the bed; and they all raised their rifles to fire; but before they could do so, a second volley struck every man.

The Frenchman never moved but once after he fell. Mr. Osbome sprang up again and tried to raise his rifle, shouting, "You devils you!" and then fell back dead.

Harry was not dead, his right arm was shattered and bleeding fearful.

My brother, weak from loss of blood had become delerious.... Then he seemed to rouse himself. The Indians were now breaking in the bedroom door, and he seemed to be conscious of it.

They [the Indians] told us to come out [from underneath the bed]. Mrs. Osbome replied, "No. We will not come out. You will kill our papooses." "No!" one of them answered. "No kill papoose. No kill Kluchmen [wives]. No kill white haired man. . . .-'

We still hesitated to come out, until one of them got on the bed; and jumped up and down on it over us. Then we came out, Mrs. Osbome first.

The sight of her husband, lying dead at her feet, seemed to madden her; and fill her with a fierce courage. She commenced to berate the Indians....

As I was endeavoring to come from under the bed with my baby on my arm, one of the Indians took her from me. Another reached down and took my hand to help me up. As he did so, he caught sight of the revolver in my pocket. He ... gave me a peculiar look, pushed me back, and reaching down, took it from my pocket. He looked at it closely; and then looked at me; and I thought for a moment, that he was going to turn it on me; but he reached back and stuck it in his belt, and then helped me to my feet.

Then the Indian, who held my baby, placed her back in my arms.... I took my baby, and sat down on the edge of the bed.... The Indians began to drag out the bodies.

They dragged Harry out by his shattered arm. In his distress, he cried out, "'Oh shoot me!" And they did — they shot him.

In the meantime we sat together on the bed, our children around us, waiting for whatever our fate might be....

We had no idea what they intended doing with us, our mother fears, being mostly for our children. Imagine our relief when they came to the door and said to us, 'You go now. You go Lewiston. You go Slate Creek. You go where you like."

Then we heard them getting on their horses; and they rode away down the river, leaving us with our dead.

Slate Creek was nine or ten miles up the river

The children trudged the weary miles without complaint, though my little boy became completely exhausted, and could walk only while Mrs. Osbome and I held his hands, he walking between us.

Helen Mason Walsh

Mrs. Osborne, whose husband was killed on the bar when Mason was killed, appeared at the residence of Mr. Cone, on Slate creek, three days afterwards, with her little children. The only garments she had on were her stockings and chemise. She was covered with blood, and in every way gave evidence of having received the most inhuman treatment.

George Hunter
Captain of Dayton volunteers

After the battle of White Bird the Indians returned to Mason's store and spent a night in carousing and general debauchery, ending their merry making by burning the buildings.

An Illustrated History of Northern Idaho

The bodies of Mason, Osborne, and Francois Chodoze were burned along with the buildings. The men's remains were buried twelve days later by the volunteers accompanying General Howard's command.


Timeline - June 29, 1877

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The Nez Perce Flight to Canada - An Introduction

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