Franklin Campbell Powder Horn Stag

Franklin Campbell

 Resident Farmer and US Indian Agent Walker River Reservation 1862-1872


Campbell Valley, Walker River Reservation, Nevada
Beautiful Walker River wetlands, Campbell Valley, Walker River Reservation, Nevada

Franklin Campbell emigrated west from Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1861 when he was 21 years old. He traveled with a wagon train that was driving stock via Fort Laramie to Carson City Nevada. He stayed with Judge Cradlebaugh and found work as a government teamster and then he was appointed Walker River Resident Farmer and Indian Agent by Governor Nye from 1862 to 1873. He devoted 11 years to the Paiute people serving in the post vacated by his friend and mentor Warren Wasson. Farmer Campbell worked with 19 year old Paiute interpreter Richard A. Washington, who worked with Wasson and had been sent to bording school in Lancaster, Pennsyvania when he was 15 by the first Walker River Indian agent Jacob T Lockhart in 1859.

Farming on the Walker River was almost impossible, intensified by lack of government funding and equipment, pressures from dangerous outlaws, hostile settlers, sickness, hunger, terrible floods, and freezing which destroyed the reservation crops that Frank Campbell and Richard Washington were trying to establish.

Carson River Weeks, Nevada
Weeks, NV - Carson River

Flatbed wagon, Fort Churchill State Park
Flatbed wagon Ft. Churchill State Park

Campbell Valley, Nevada - Pelicans

Walker River Reservation Webber Reservoir
Webber Reservoir

Campbell Valley - corral
Campbell Valley corral


Richard A Washington

1859: Nevada Indian Agent Dodge took an Agai-Dicutta (Walker River Paiute tribe) teen named Richard A. Washington to Lancaster PA with him to attend school, he was there for 3 years where he learned perfect English. Washington returned in 1861 to became Agent Warren Wasson's interpreter, then continued his position with Resident Farmer Frank Campbell.



Frank Campbell's Powder Horn































Click Here for Frank Campbell's Letters and Reports 1861-1872

1861 Franklin Campell and R.A. Washington deliver
government supplies to Carson Sink Paiute people.

Click Here for a BLM Map showing Campbell Valley, Campbell Ditch and Campbell Ranch (Yerington Paiute Tribe Reservation).

1861: Governor Nye and Indian Agent Warren Wasson asked Frank Campbell to go and live on the Walker River Reserve as Sub Agent with $50 per month wages..."I told them I would do it – I am waiting here now for Agent to come. I will then take a load of provisions over and stop at the Reserve. It is a good position and I mean to try and keep it."

Fort Churchill was the depot for the government issued supplies. No farming was yet underway, Campbell and the reservation residents cut and hayed the natural bunch grasses, he mentions 70 tons put up at his own expense the first year, which they were able to trade, along with some grazing privileges to the local ranchers in exchange for beef. Catastrophic flooding occured in 1861- '62 destroyed Campbell's and R.A. Washington's first crops on the reservation.

Walker River Reservation Map 1864
Click here for full size image

1863 - 1864: Frank Campbell was not at Walker River Reservation during October 1863 to October 1864, he may have been drafted into the Civil War? Campbell ditch was dug in Mason Valley and he started farming upstream to better, irrigated ground in Mason valley. Charles D Lane was also ranching and prospecting in Mason Valley at this time.

Campbell and Washington's hardships were compounded, over the next 3 years the reservation received no farm equipment or government pay for the agency post. Despite it all, they kept their friendly alliance, and carried on the business of reservation farming and ranching.

Orion Clemens Letter to Frank Campbell 1863
Governor Nye's Secretary, Orion Clemen's 1863 Letter to Acting Indian Agent Frank Campbell,

                        Executive Department
                          Nevada Territory
                        Carson City May 11, 1863:
Frank Campbell Esq.
Acting Indian Agent
Walker River Reservation,
      Sir yours of 20th April received. If you find it necessary to leave the Reservation you are directed to store the moveable prperty at Fort Churchill. I obtained Maj. McDermitt's consent while at the Fort last month.
      Yours respectfully,
       Orion Clemens
        Acting Gov. Ex Officio Suptint.

...There was no moveable equipment other than a few tools and one government mule.

Fort Churchill Barn and wagon
Fort Churchill State Park

1865:Wallace Report March 20, 1865, Fort Churchill Frank Campbell helps keep the peace with Lt. William Clark and the Cavalry

Frank Campbell Walker River Reservation testimony Statement taken at Fort Churchill, September, 11, 1865.

Warren Wasson Indian Agent report to joint special committee September 1865

Report by Mr. Higby Condition of the Tribes Report 1865. In this report honorable Mr. Higby mentions Frank Campbell's appointment and good character
Click here for complete text for Condition of the Indian tribes,: Report of the joint special committee, appointed under joint resolution of March 3, 1865. With an appendix by United States Congress

Buggy Race - William Sharon loses again to Alex Toponce and Frank Campbell, Virginia City 1868

1867: Alexander Toponce Reminiscences - Winter in Nevada 1867-68 stories of teamsters, trades and government contracting.


Carson City Report July1, 1867 H. G . Parker, Supt. Indian Affairs, Carson City, Nevada.

Campbell Valley, NV - Cottonwoods
Walker River Cottonwoods


1876: Frank Campbell married Lucy Toulmin Garrard ("Lute") during this time they lived in Oakland, CA.



1880: The Campbells moved to American Falls Idaho, niece Franc Sterling visited there in the 1890's on her way to Detroit, then later Frank visited Franc and Paul Lane in Palisade NV 1899.





1900: Frank Campbell passed away January, 1903, Lucy T. Campbell moved to Seattle near her sister Mary Garrard Simpson.
All Rights Reserved © - Content work in progress - contributions, corrections and suggestions welcome!