Nesika Beach, Geisel Monument

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Nesika Beach, Geisel Monument

by | Dec 31, 2019

Nesika Beach is a community located at the south end of the Nesika strand, about 6 miles (10 km) north of Gold Beach and 4 miles (6 km) south-southeast of Ophir, Oregon. The community and beach are named after the Native American word for “our”. In 1854, John and Christina Geisel settled near here on a bluff overlooking the ocean. Their house also served as a hotel and store.

On the night of February 21, 1856, John Geisel was killed by a band of Rogue River Indians and their house was ransacked and burned. Christina and her two daughters were dragged out and bound and her three sons were killed. Christina and the two daughters were taken to a “Too-toot-nas”, an Indian camp about 12 miles (19 km) up the Rogue River. They were held there as captives for 14 days and were made to perform hard menial labor.

Once news of the event reached residents of the lower Rogue River, they hastily constructed a fort north of the river. About 130 people were there and they chose Lieutenant Relf Bledsoe to command the fort. Six men were killed by the Indians as they tried to gather potatoes from a nearby cache. The Indians made it clear that they would kill anyone caught outside the fort. After about a week, news reached the fort about the Indians holding the Geisel women captives and volunteers were sent to negotiate their freedom. The Indians agreed to return Christina and the youngest daughter, but insisted on keeping the eldest daughter. However, they managed to escape with her and hid in the forest and then made their way to the fort under cover of darkness. The settlers remained at the fort for several more weeks until they were rescued by U.S. Army troops that marched from Fort Humboldt, California and from Vancouver, Washington. Read more here and here. Explore more of Nesika Beach here:

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