Amasa Piper Woodward, known as A. P. Woodward was born 27 March 1834 in Muskingum County Ohio to Thomas Woodward and Mary Oakman Piper. At the age of four his mother died. Later A. P.’s father married Catherine Larson, and they moved from Ohio to Illinois to Iowa. From this union were born two boys and three girls.
At the young age of 18 in the year of 1852 A. P. left Iowa for the West with a party of fifty. Becoming ill A. P. was left in the Grand Ronde Valley to recover. This led to his residence of two years in the Walla Walla Valley. In 1854 he was in Idaho with Major G. O. Haller and Captain Olney to quiet the Indian disorders. In 1855 he was in Major Rains expedition to Fort Hall. Later in the year he was detailed with Captain Olney to warn the whites in the Walla Walla Valley of their danger and conduct them to The Dalles. At The Dalles the young soldier found the Oregon Mounted Volunteers Company B from Wasco County and joined them. He served the next seven months being involved with the War of 1855. A. P. was present and witnessed the death of Chief PeoPeoMoxMox. In January 1856 A. P. on horseback crossed the frozen Columbia River near The Dalles delivering dispatches. In the summer of 1856, he left the Volunteers and took service with the regular Army as a messenger serving until 1858.
In December 1860 A. P. married Catherine Dauphin, the daughter of Mathieu Dauphin and Suzanne Cayouse, who were neighbors. The children born to A. P. and Catherine were Mary, Joseph, Jane, Anna, Louisa, William and Cora. Of these seven children, the only living descendents are from Jane and Cora. A. P. taught his children to read and write.
A. P. kept in contact with his father, Thomas, with letters by mail. In the winter of 1869 from Polk, Iowa, Thomas wrote that they would leave in the spring to come West.
In the summer of 1870 A. P.’s father, Thomas and his family, including, wife Catherine, son Zachary, daughters Anna and Jennie arrived in the Walla Walla area. Soon after their arrival on August 1, 1870 Thomas died. He is buried at Mountain View Cemetery, Walla Walla, Washington. Catherine remained a few years in Walla Walla, then returned to Iowa with Zachary and his family.
Zachary married Minerva Sims. Anna married John Andrew McNeil, a policeman for the City of Walla Walla. Jennie married Alexander William Robinson at Whitman Mission, they settled in Grangeville, Idaho.
In 1883 A. P. sold his Frenchtown area land to Frank Lowden. With his family, A. P. moved to the Umatilla Indian Reservation where wife Catherine was allotted 160 acres. Their children were also allotted.
A. P. received a small pension from his service with the Army. He lived at the Oregon Soldiers Home in Roseburg, Douglas County, Oregon. He died 13 June 1916 at the age of 82. He is buried at Mountain View Cemetery with Thomas, five of his children and other family members.
A.P. Woodward’s Account of the Death of Chief PeoPeoMoxMox During the 1855 Battle of Frenchtown
The following is in the “History of Umatilla County” by Colonel William Parsons
“A.P. Woodward, now living at Athena, and who was nearby when the Chief was killed, tells us that the facts were briefly these: When asked what should be done with the prisoners, Colonel Kelly had told the guard he “didn’t care a damn”. The prisoners were neither tied nor in any way confined, but were mingled with the volunteers. When the firing became warm, and several wounded had been brought back to where the guard and prisoners were, some of the troops became badly excited and called out, “Shoot the damned Indians and kill them!” Several shots were fired and two or three of the Indians fell, though they were not attempting to escape. Then PeoPeoMoxMox sprang off his horse, and walking toward those who were firing, said: “You don’t need to kill me, I am not Jesus Christ,” and with these words he fell.
Amasa describes the Chief as a man of middle age, six feet two inches tall, straight as an arrow, with piercing eyes and a nose like a hawk – hence his name of Yellow Bird or Hawk.”