Here in 1849, James D. Savage, established a store built of logs. He engaged in trading and mining and married several squaws for protection and influence. In spring of 1850, fearing Indian depredations, he moved to Mariposa Creek. In December, his store and others were pillaged and burned and a real war began. A volunteer battalion was formed and Savage elected Major. In pursuit of the most warlike tribe their secret hide-out, Yosemite Valley, was discovered, and the war brought to a quick end.
Major Savage was killed by a political opponent, August 1852. Several years later one of his widows guided John Hite, a poor prospector, a few miles up this south fork to discover a gold mine that made him a millionaire.