Milford’s Potato War

Claude Wemple's historical map of the Milford region, shows not only the location of the Potato War, but numerous other sites.
Claude Wemple’s historical map of the Milford region, shows not only the location of the Potato War, but numerous other sites.

Who knew that the almighty spud would be the cause of conflict? It all began in October 1857 when a band of Washo Indians visited William Morehead’s potato patch, some two miles northwest of Milford. When confronted by Morehead and others the Washo became belligerent and this did not go over well with the residents of the Milford district. The locals received re-enforcements from the California state arsenal, volunteer fighters from Sierra Valley, and a band of Piutes. During the skirmish several Washo were killed and many wounded. In the aftermath, the Washo withdrew from the lower end of Honey Lake Valley and never ventured north of Long Valley. Again, the residents petitioned for a permanent military fort after the Potato War, only to be ignored, again and again.

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