Ebey, Colonel Isaac Neff
b. 1818-01-21
d. 1857-08-11
Isaac Neff Ebey was an American Customs Collector for Port Townsend, Washington, and lived on Whidbey Island. In 1854, Ebey attempted to collect duties on San Juan Island when he handed Charles Griffin a duties bill and threatened to seize Griffin's sheep. Ebey later planted Henry Webber on the island to act as inspector and paid him five dollars per day to track HBC activity in the area.1
In the summer of 1857, the Massachusetts shelled an indigenous village in Puget Sound, killing an estimated 27 people. A few weeks later, in August, a marauding party of Kake and Stikin[e] Indians, numbering a couple of hundred landed at Whidbey Island and murdered Ebey at his home.2
In 1858, Captain Robert Swanston and Chief Trader Charles Dodd, aboard the Beaver, attempted, unsuccessfully, to acquire Ebey's scalp from a Kake village.3 Dodd, a warm friend and admirer of Ebey, returned the following year, aboard the Labouchere, and managed to acquire the scalp from the Kake in exchange for a liberal reward.4 The Washington Legislative Assembly issued a resolution noting that Dodd had risk[ed] his life and that of his crew, as well as the loss of his steamer, in his attempt to recover [the scalp of Ebey].5
  • 1. Mike Vouri, The Pig War (Washington: Discover Your Northwest, 2013) 33, 36-39.
  • 2. The Murderers of Col. Ebey, Puget Sound Herald, 19 November 1858; Harry N. M Winton and Geo. W. Corliss, The Death Of Colonel Isaac N. Ebey, 1857, The Pacific Northwest Quarterly, Vol. 33, No. 3. (1942).
  • 3. “The Murderers of Col. Ebey,” Puget Sound Herald, Nov 19, 1858.
  • 4. “The Scalp of Col. Ebey Recovered,” The British Colonist, Nov 29, 1859.
  • 5. Edward Furste, Acts of the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Washington (Olympia, 1860), 518-519.
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