Researchers must use collection in accordance with the policies of Archives and Special Collections, the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, and The University of Montana-Missoula.
Joseph H. “Nez Perce” Jones was born in Carthage, Missouri, in about 1846. Sometime during 1863 he arrived in Montana by ox team and began prospecting in the Philipsburg, Montana, area. In July 1878 Mr. Jones was sharing a cabin with two other miners, Amos Elliot and Bill Jory, while working a placer mine in McKay Gulch of the Rock Creek drainage west of Philipsburg. That summer a band of Nez Perce crossed south and west across Montana towards Idaho. The band was a small contingent of the Nez Perce who sought exile in Canada the previous year following a series of skirmishes with the U.S. Army and Montana State Militia. Of the four miners residing in McKay Gulch on July 12, 1878 (John Hays was working a claim near the mouth of the gulch), Mr. Jones was the only survivor of a violent exchange with the Nez Perce band, an event later dubbed the Rock Creek Massacre. With a bullet wound in his right arm, just below the shoulder, Mr. Jones eluded close pursuit and traversed thirty-five miles of difficult terrain to reach Philipsburg for assistance. He remained in town while recovering from the bullet wound as well as dehydration and severe swelling of his feet. Mr. Jones frequently returned to the McKay Gulch cabin and continued working the claim for several years. He eventually married and fathered two daughters. Joseph H. Jones died of pneumonia April 6, 1926 in his Philipsburg home. He is buried in the Missoula City Cemetery alongside his wife.
This typescript presents a first-person account of Mr. Jones’ encounter with and escape from a band of Nez Perce attempting a return from Canada to Idaho one year after the Battle of the Big Hole (1877). The account details the events leading to the shooting of Mr. Jones and three fellow miners as well as how he survived the 35-mile trek to Philipsburg for assistance. The title page indicates Mr. Jones wrote the account for exclusive publication by the Philipsburg Mail in 1904. The typescript in this collection may have been a duplication created by use of carbon paper.
Researchers are responsible for using in accordance with 17 U.S.C. and any other applicable statutes. Copyright not transferred to The University of Montana.
[Name of document or photograph number], Joseph H. Jones Manuscript, Archives and Special Collections, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, The University of Montana--Missoula.