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 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:
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.
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.
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
- Hart, Herbert M., Tour Guide to Old Western Forts, Pruett Publishing Co., Boulder CO, 1980, ISBN 0-87108-568-2, page 135
- Oregon Military History, Forts-Camps-Roads
- McArthur, Lewis A. & McArthur, Lewis L., Oregon Geographic Names, Oregon Historical Society Press; 7 edition (December 2003), 1073 pages, ISBN 0875952771, ISBN 978-0875952772, page 370
- Frazer, Robert W. (editor), Mansfield on the conditions of The Western Forts, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman OK, 1963, ISBN 0-8061-1083-X, 167
- Roberts, Robert B., Encyclopedia of Historic Forts: The Military, Pioneer, and Trading Posts of the United States, Macmillan, New York, 1988, 10th printing, ISBN 0-02-926880-X, page 666
- Victor, Frances Fuller, The Early Indian Wars of Oregon: compiled from the Oregon Archives and other Original Sources with Muster Rolls, Farnk C. Baker, State Printer, Salem, Oregon, 1894, page 314
- Cooper, Edward S., William Babcock Hazen: the Best Hated Man, 2005, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, ISBN 1423768981, page 30
- Mann, Damian, County turns Fort Lane site over to Oregon parks, Mail Tribune, Medford, Oregon, 24 Apr 2008
Visited: 28 Jun 2008
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