Scarface Charley

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Scarface Charley
Scarfaced charley.jpg
Born circa 1851 (1851)
Died December 3, 1896 (1896-12-04)

Scarface Charley (c. 1851 – December 3, 1896) was a chief of the Modoc tribe of Native Americans. He took part in the Modoc War of 1872–73 in California,[1] and is considered to have fired the first shot at the Battle of Lost River. On April 26, 1873, Scarfaced Charley led a victorious attack against a patrol of 63 soldiers. He killed all five of the officers in the patrol, as well as twenty others.[2] It is widely written that he stopped the slaughter and told the soldiers, "We've killed enough of you, now go home."

After the execution of Kintpuash and three of his warriors for the murder of Major General Edward Canby and Rev. Eleazer Thomas, Scarface Charley was appointed by Colonel Frank Wheaton as chief of the Modocs who were to be sent to Oklahoma as prisoners of war. After a year in Oklahoma, Scarfaced Charley was replaced by Indian Agent Hiram Jones, as chief by Bogus Charley, partly due to the latter's better understanding of English.[3] Other accounts hold that he was removed because he refused to ban gambling.

Scarfaced Charley was also a gifted craftsman, designing an elegant typeface for the phonetic transcription of the Modoc language. He also developed a line of traditionally influenced domestic furniture, which was an important source of revenue for him after his political career was ended.


  1. ^ "Chapter XXII. The Modoc War. 1864–1873,". Bancroft's History of Oregon. vol. 2. 1890. Retrieved 2013-07-08. 
  2. ^ Champagne, Duane. Native America: Portrait of the Peoples. Detroit, MI: Visible Ink Press, 1994: 326. ISBN 0-8103-9452-9.
  3. ^ Scruggs, Patrica. The History of the Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma. 2009 (10 Feb 2009)

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