Captain Jack’s Stronghold is a California Historical Landmark named for Modoc chief Captain Jack (Kintpuash), who led a band of 160 warriors, women, and children to a stronghold within the lava beds during the Modoc War in 1873. With just 53 warriors in his band, Captain Jack managed to hold off a U.S. Army force that outnumbered them 10 to 1.
In January of 1873, during the First Battle of the Stronghold, 225 U.S. Army soldiers, reinforced by 104 local volunteers, were defeated by the Modoc Indians and suffered 35 casualties. In April of 1873, during the Second Battle of the Stronghold, an Army force of over 600 managed to cut off the Modoc band from accessing water via the Modoc Spring and Tule Lake. The Modoc band dispersed, leaving Captain Jack, John Schonchin, Black Jim, and Boston Charley at the stronghold. They were captured on June 1, 1873, and were all hanged in the following October.
On November 21, 1925, Lava Beds National Monument was established as a geologically significant region covering 46,000 acres. Among the numerous lava tubes, 25 have been developed for public exploration. Other formations at the monument include cinder cones, lava fields, fumaroles, and pit craters.
The Lava Beds National Wilderness within the Lava Beds National Monument was designated by Congress in 1972 and covers 28,460 acres. In 2011, two parcels of land were incorporated into the Lava Beds National Monument, expanding it by 132 acres.
Lava Beds National Monument is significant as one of the longest continually-occupied areas on the North American continent, and features a number of artifacts as testament to its rich Native American history. In addition to Captain Jack’s Stronghold, the Petroglyph Point Archeological Site presents one of the largest panels of Native American petroglyphs, dating from 2,000 to 6,000 years ago.