150 Years Later, the Hidden Motive
Behind the Indian Island Massacre
By Jerry Rohde
The dance was over [in] one day. The wind
blew and rough weather. On account of this nobody went home.
That night after the dance all were asleep. There were four houses
and one sweat house .The door was blocked by white men as
the people were asleep, not expecting anything to happen. They
were not on the lookout. When they found out what was up they
began to scatter and was struck down by clubs, knives, and axes,
all met the same fate, children, women, and men. I got out and
hid in a trash pile. That was how I was saved.
This was what Jane Sam saw on the morning
of February 26, 1860. She was witnessing what became known as
the Indian Island Massacre. Only a handful of Indians survived;
of those only Sam left a detailed account, which, as far as can
be determined, is being published here for the first time.
She saw more. Much more.
When I got away from the trash pile
I sneaked away near the edge of the marsh by a blind slough [and]
laid there. I did not hear any noise or scream from the people.
Must of all been killed, sure enough. These white men took all
things such as beads, baskets, fur, hide, bows, and arrows. All
the property belonging to the dead that was not taken was destroyed
by burning. Women and children were killed when they lay asleep
or they did not make any effort to escape, as they thought the
white men would not molest them. A few men got away, the exact
number being forgotten. At break of day I saw two boat loads
of white men going across to Eureka. These were the men that
done the massacring.
Then Sam described the aftermath:
It took all the forenoon to gather
up all [the] bodies [of] men, women, children, and babies
[that] could be found. One living child was found in the arms
of his dead mother and today he is [still] living .It took
all day to bury the dead. The next morning they was through burying
what bodies were buried on the Island. The rest of the bodies were
taken to Mad River for burial. Some were taken to the Peninsula
and some to South Bay, some to Freshwater. That same night there
was a massacre at the mouth of Eel River and at the South Jetty
where men, women, and children were killed. What got away were
taken to Bucksport [Fort Humboldt] by the soldiers. I do not
know how long they were kept at Bucksport. From there we were
taken to the Indian reservation .1
All of this happened 150 years ago this
week. In the time since, much has been written and said about
the Indian Island Massacre. It is often characterized as the
only, or at least the biggest and most ghastly, massacre of Indians
in Humboldt County. When attention now focuses on the attack,
it usually revolves around the question of who did it?
But there is a larger, deeper question that should be asked,
one that might make some sense out of the otherwise senseless
slaughter, and that question is: why did they do it?
And there is an answer to this questionone
that was never given directly at the time, and which has since
faded into obscurity. But the answer is still there, and now,
with the perspective that comes with the passing of 150 years,
it can at last be revealed.
The answer begins with the sense of entitlement
the whites brought with them when they landed on the North Coast
in 1850. Almost as soon as they arrived, most of them began taking
whatever they wanted. They appropriated choice parts of the bayshore
for their first communities; they commandeered Indian trails
and improved them for pack train use to the inland mines; they
harvested the fish and game in ever-increasing quantities; they
converted prairies that had served as hunting and gathering areas
into rangeland for their stock. Throughout it all, only one white
is known to have given anything in return. When William Carson
wanted land for his lumber company, he traded some items to Captain
Jim, the Wiyot who owned the propertya sack of flour, an
old musket, and some powder and shot.2
Some whites, the direct opposite of Carson,
took more than most of the others: they kidnapped Indian children
and sold them as slaves;3 they captured young Indian women for sex;4 and sometimes
they simply took Indian lives.5
Within weeks of their arrival on Humboldt
Bay, whites had murdered their first Indians and destroyed their
first Wiyot village6 (see The Sonoma Gang in the Sept.
11, 2008 Journal). For a while, at least near the coast, such
killings were isolated incidents, but by the late 1850s their
frequency and intensity had increased. Jane Searson, a Wiyot
woman born about 1842, witnessed the change:
When the people came here [white],
was friendly with us. Traded grub. Was on friendly terms .People
settle around in [Eel River] valley friendly. Trouble started
over trifle, such as losing a piece of bread. We was chased from
place. One morning we heard that three men come up the river
had guns .I heard shots up the river .They burnt our
houses, disturbed everything. Indian was killed while sleep.
No white people was killed. Most of my relatives was killed at
that time .My husband said that this murder was committed
just for the purpose of ridding us to get our land .7
And the land, whether violently or peacefully,
was rapidly changing hands. By the end of 1856 some 20,000 acres
in Humboldt County had reportedly been taken over for agricultural
or grazing purposes.8 A. J. Bledsoe, writing in Indian Wars of the Northwest,
proclaimed, Ill prepared as the pioneers were for rapid
settlement there was nothing slow about the process of civilization
in 1856. The whites were crowding the redskins to the wall.9
But the Indians could only be crowded
so much. They had lost a large part of their homeland, but they
had gained something else.
On March 30, 1856, whites in the Hoopa
Valley, fearing an attack by the local Indians, initiated a parley
with members of the Hupa tribe. The Indians indicated they did
not want to fight and agreed to hand over their weapons. By the
next day they had delivered 23 guns.10 It was a peaceful
but portentous gesture.
That day, the Hupas laid down their arms.
But there were other days to come when some of the Indians took
up their guns and fought back. In September 1858 Paul Boynton
was shot and killed by Indians at his ranch some ten miles east
of Union (Arcata).11 This particular attack loosed the floodgates of
wrath in the Humboldt Times. Its editor, Austin Wiley, recounted
the toll for the three months preceding Boyntons death:
four whites killed by Indians; four wounded. Wiley then proposed
a solution to the problem:
We have long foreseen the present state
of things and have been well satisfied, and so expressed it repeatedly,
that it could be averted by placing the Indians on the Reservations
or by extermination: in other words, by removing them from the
range they now inhabit, either alive or dead.12
At the time there was no word to describe
what Wiley was advocating, but today it would be called genocide.
Less than a month after Wileys editorial,
he received part of his wish. Although soldiers from the United
States Army had been stationed in Humboldt County since the establishment
of Fort Humboldt in 1853,13 the commander of the militarys Pacific Division
informed Governor J. B. Weller that there were insufficient
troops available to keep the trails open between the coast and
Weaverville.14 Weller accordingly sent State Adjutant General
W. C. Kibbe to inspect the Mad River and Redwood Creek areas.
Kibbe reported that he found between 300 and 350 warriors,
and, more alarmingly:
The hostile tribe was generally well
armed with rifles .The warfare they were waging did not
seem to be entirely a predatory one. The Indians cared little
for plunder, and were seeking to destroy men and animals, but
would shoot a man or Indian for his gun, being anxious to obtain
arms. They also sent the friendly Indians with gold dust to the
camp to purchase guns and ammunition for them, and frequently
offered $150 for a rifle worth only $10.15
Backed by this dire (but unverified) account,
Kibbe on October 14, 1858 organized a state militia unit called
the Trinity Rangers
at Pardees Ranch on Redwood Creek. Soon the Rangers were
hunting and attacking Indians with such vigor that after five
months the unit was mustered out of service. Their success was
not limited to attacking Indians; a month after they disbanded,
the Trinity Rangers were granted payment for indebtedness
incurred by the expedition in the amount of $52,527.86
by a grateful state legislature.16 After deducting for expenses, including providing
for the wounded, each Ranger was left with a payment of
about $50 per month.17 Converted to a wage in todays dollars, this
would amount to roughly $8,400 per month.18
How eyes must have widened when the payment
was announced. Not only had the state allowed locals to take
Indian fighting into their own hands, now it was rewarding them
with a small fortune for their work. Men with profit on their
minds had something new to think about.
It was soon apparent that the Rangers
had merely disrupted Indian resistance, not destroyed it. Only
weeks after the unit disbanded, there came reports of a
most exasperating slaughter of cattle on all the Yager Creek
ranges,19 a ranching area that covered the vast uplands
between modern-day Bridgeville and Kneeland. No mention was made
that the local Indians, who were members of the Nongatl tribe,
had seen white expansion deprive them of much of their food supply
and likely needed the cattle to survive.
In May rancher James C. Ellison was killed
while pursuing some of the Nongatls.20 A volunteer company,
financed by the citizens of the nearest town, Hydesville, set
out to avenge Ellison.21
Regular army troops were also in
the field, but the locals felt they obtained little result.22 Finally
the volunteers, short of funds, disbanded.23 But they would
soon be replaced.
On February 4, 1860, a public meeting
was held in Hydesville with E. L. Davis, one of the wealthiest
locals and a former member of the state assembly,24 presiding.
Those present chose Seman25 Wright as Captain of the Humboldt Volunteers, Second Brigade, which
was to be a cavalry company.26 The next issue of the Northern Californian announced
that the Indians continue their depredations upon the stock,
but mentioned only one casualty, an ox belonging to Mr.
Titlow. In any case, the volunteer Company has
taken the field under Captain Wright, without waiting to be regularly
mustered into service by order of the Governor.27 Wrights
speedy response proved to be a mistake.
On February 25, the Humboldt Times noted
that the Volunteer Company of dragoons, under Capt. Wright,
are still in the field. According to later reports, the
volunteers had gone all the way to the South Fork of Eel River,
where they had killed 40 Indians.28 The Times, however, only mentioned that
the Indians are still killing the stock
of settlers in the back country and will continue to do so until
they are driven from that section, or exterminated. Last Wednesday
they killed two head of stock belonging to the band of Larrabee
and Hagans and drove off twelve others which were, however, recovered.29
The article concluded by indicating that
a petition had been sent to the Governor, asking him to keep
Wrights company in the field until the redskins are
driven from our country. By the time this issue of the
Times hit the streets, a plan was in motion to coerce Governor
Downey to act on the petition.
The victims of the latest Indian attack,
Henry P. Larrabee and Wallace M. Hagans, had a cattle ranch at
the edge of Larabee (an r was dropped by the mapmakers)
Valley.30 It was about this time, according to later reports,
that both men vented their feelings against the Indians. Hagans,
perhaps with Larrabees help, had a Nongatl named Yo-keel-la-bah
tied to a tree and shot in cold blood.31 Larrabee,
for his part, took offense at an Indian boy who worked for him
but who would periodically run off to visit his relatives. Larrabee
went down one morning and slaughtered the whole family
of about six persons, boy and all. He then made a rude raft of
logs, put the victims on it and started the bodies down
Wallace M. Hagans was the son of William
B. Hagans,33 a well-to-do stock raiser34 who had a ranch
at the forks of Elk River, a few miles south of Eureka.35 His
property lay along the pack train trail that connected Humboldt
Bay with the interior, including the Yager Creek area.36 It was
a convenient stopping place for men on their way to do business
at Humboldt Bay.
Their business, in February 1860, was
By then, according to Bledsoe, a league
of some 50 to 75 individuals had formed. It included some
of the prominent men of the county. All were men of intelligence
and nearly all men of family. An oath was taken that the
names of members were not to be revealed under penalty of death.
The league met and plotted for a month. 37 Then, as February
drew to a close, they were ready to act.
The same week that Larrabee and Hagans
lost their two head of cattle, the Humboldt County Court of Sessions
met in Eureka. The court was sure to draw a crowd, and so the
appearance of a group of ranchers from the outlying parts of
the county would not be noted.
The court concluded its business on Saturday,
February 25.38 In the early hours of February 26 the league struck.
In a series of attacks over the next five days, they attacked
not only Dulawat village on Indian Island but at least eleven
other sites: on the lower Eel River, at least two locations on
the South Spit,39 at Table Bluff,40 in the Fortuna area, in the Rio Dell area,41 at Humboldt
Point,42 several ranches on Elk River, andjust
under the noses of the soldiers at Fort Humboldtthe village
of Kutserwalik at Bucksport.43
The number of deaths were never fully
calculated, but fragmentary accounts made it clear that several
hundred Indians were killed. The chief law enforcement official
for the county, Sheriff Barrant44 Van Nest, was faced with a series of mass murders
that could have taken months to fully investigate. Instead, the
Times reported that
Sheriff Van Nest is on Eel river procuring
petitions and affidavits which will be forwarded to the Governor
to day with the hope that the arrival of the next steamer will
bring the sanction of that officer for Capt. Wrights company
to take the field.45
Van Nest was diligent in his work. He
quickly collected affidavits from 26 ranchers attesting to loss
of property, a statement from Seman Wright, and a citizens
petition asking for the volunteers to be mustered into service.46 In a
cover letter to Downey, Van Nest made no mention of the recent
massacres. Instead he complained about the lack of government
protection for the ranchers, ominously announcing that if
they must protect themselves, and fight their own battles, they
will fight them in their own way.47 The packet was
promptly sent to the Governor on March 10.48 Downey was equally
prompt in his response. Before the month was out he had notified
Van Nest that the U. S. Army was sending an additional company
of regulars to Humboldt County and that there was thus no
need of the aid asked by you.49
E. L. Davis, who had presided at the meeting
where Wrights company was organized, had tired of waiting
for Downey to act. Before the Governors note reached Van
Nest, Davis vented his frustration and anger by writing Downey.
The letter, which was intended to intimidate the Governor, instead
served quite a different purposeit explained the real reason
behind the massacres.
After railing against the ineffectiveness
of U. S. Army troops, Davis focused on the importance of mustering
Wrights volunteers into service, and, most revealingly,
what would happen if their muster was not approved:
This company is needed for the protection
of lives & property & if we do not get it we will never
ask the state again & I for one shall oppose paying any more
state Taxes & [we will] fight our own battles in our own
wayExterminate the Indians from the face of the earth as
far as this county is concerned. In fact, the little mess at
Indian Island near Eureka is only a beginning if we cant
get our just protection from [the] state or [federal] government
that American citizens are entitled to.50 [Emphasis
With this last sentence, Davis inadvertently
answered some of the most nagging questions about the massacres,
for he indicated the true purpose of the attacksto extort
payment for Wrights troops from a reluctant state government.
Viewed on the surface, the massacres made no sense: the attacks
were made on Wiyot Indians, who lived on the coast and were not
the tribe taking cattle in the distant Yager area; the attackers
killed mostly women and children, not adult males who might cause
trouble for the ranchers; the attacks were made near populated
areastwo of them, at Bucksport and on Indian Island, adjacent
to Eurekawhere the chances of detection were highest.
But with Daviss letter, everything
falls into place. If the aim of the massacres was to intimidate
the state government and extort money for Wrights troops,
then you would do exactly what the league did: attack
the peaceful Wiyots because they suspected nothing and were therefore
easy victims; focus on gruesome killings of women and children
because this would result in the most repellant, shocking aftermath;
do much of your destruction near Eureka so that the maximum number
of people would learn of it and be shocked by it. In short, create
a little mess so horrible that the Governor would
do anything to avoid the further, perhaps bigger attacks that
Daviss letter threatened. This would force the Governor
to grant what the perpetrators so desperately wantedthe
official recognition, and the lavish pay that went with it, for
Wrights Hydesville Volunteers. The remorseless advance
of the dollar crushes everything in its path.
Except that it did not work out that way.
Downey, despite Davis intimidating letter, stuck to his
guns and refused to enter the Hydesville unit into the state
militia. Wrights troops continued to chase and attack Indians
in the back country for a short while and then disbanded, mostly
unsuccessful and entirely unpaid.51
On the coast, little information was forthcoming
about the massacres. A grand jury heard testimony about the attacks
but tried no harder than Van Nest to find the culprits; they
failed to issue any indictments.52 Although Bret Harte wrote a scathing editorial
in the Northern Californian,53 the local papers covered the massacres for only
a single week and did nothing that could be considered investigative
reporting. The entire incident might have slipped into enforced
obscurity were it not for the efforts of a few outspoken locals.
A stream of letters flooded the San Francisco newspapers expressing
outrage at the killings and, more significantly, naming names.
One, written the day of the Indian Island attack, stated that
the massacre was headed (as reported by an Indian,
and believed by a majority of the people,) by a white man named
Brown, and four other savages of the same hue.54 Later
investigation by local historian Martha Roscoe determined that
the reference was to James D. Henry Brown,55 who, when ranching
in the Kneeland area, reportedly tried to run everyone
out and was said to have scalped people in order to blame it
on the Indians.56
An Eye-Witness wrote that
more than 150 Indians were barbarously murdered on
the Sabbath by lawless white men belonging to a Christian
community, without cause or provocation, calling themselves volunteers
of Capt. Wrights company .57 These charges
were echoed by Major Gabriel Rains, the commander at Fort Humboldt,
who wrote the Commissioner of Indian Affairs that upon learning
they would not be mustered into service, a portion of Capt.
Wrights Company held a meeting at Eel River ... and resolved
to kill every peaceable Indianman, woman, and child in
this part of the county. Rains then described how some
15 or 20 of the company attacked villages at Humboldt Point
(near todays King Salmon), Indian Island, and Eagle Prairie
(Rio Dell), killing more than 130 Indians in all.58
An anonymous author claimed that the
Thugs [a nickname for the group that plotted and executed the
attacks on the Indians] are largely in the majority, led by Wiley
of the Humboldt Times and by Van Nest the Sheriff. He added
that two or three men who were on the last Grand Jury...were
Thugs, and that the man L------ is the same person
who boasted of having killed sixty infants with his own hatchet
at the different slaughter grounds.59 (From other statements
in the letter it is clear that L------ stood for
Henry P. Larabee.60) When William B. Hagans ran for state assembly
that fall, another letter revealed that Hagans was intimately
associated with the horrid massacre of Indians on the bay .Hagans
[sic] house was the place of rendezvous for the Thugs. He was
present at this meeting and his son, partners, and laborers were
of the party.61
Hagans won the election in a landslide.62 In 1863
genocide advocate Austin Wiley was elected to the same seat in
another landslide.63 For at least several years the Thugs and their
supporters dominated both the local press and local politics.
Meanwhile, what had happened to the Wiyots?
Although E. L. Daviss threat of more massacres proved empty,
the killers were still at large and remained a menace. Many of
the surviving Wiyots were forcibly taken by Subagent David Buell
to the Klamath River Reservation, ostensibly for their protection
but in violation of state law.64 Later they were moved to the Smith River Reservation.65 At both
locations they were used for hard labor, whipped, starved, and
sometimes murdered.66 Eventually many made their way back to Humboldt
County, where they attempted to reconstruct their shattered communities
and rebuild their shattered lives.
If anyone looks for justice in the aftermath
of the massacres, they will be disappointed. Indians eventually
killed over 30 head of cattle belonging to E. L. Davis67 and
sacked the ranches of both William B. Hagans68 and Larrabee.69 One
young Thug, filled with remorse, committed suicide a short time
after the attacks.70 Other retributions are not recorded, and for the
whites, it appears that a great bleakness of the spirit settled
over the land.
But there is another chapter to the saga
of Indian Island, and it glows as golden as the dawn. It is the
story not of what happened to the perpetrators of the massacres,
but rather of the people they overlooked. In the chaos of the
attacks, more than a score of Indians managed to escape. Out
of the ashes of Dulawat came lives that illuminated the landscape
Jerry James, the young boy found in his
dead mothers arms, became a leader in the resurrected Wiyot
community at Bucksport.71 He provided information about the Wiyot tribe
to several ethnographers,72 including Edward S. Curtis for his renowned study
of American Indians.73 Jamess obituary stated that he carried
no malice toward the whites for the murder of his people.74
Cousins Matilda and Nancy Spear gathered
up their three children at the start of the massacre and hid
with them on the west side of the island. Afterwards, they found
seven other children left alive. They put the entire group in
a canoe, rowed them across the bay, and then walked to Matildas
husbands homestead in Freshwater.75 Nancy later described
the massacre to her nephew: They came like weasels in the
night, crawling on their bellies. We were without any men to
protect us. We had never fought the white men and had thought
they were our friends.76
Polly Steve was badly wounded during the
attack and left for dead.77 She survived, moved to the Klamath River, and
became known as an expert basket maker. She taught her descendants
well; her daughter Elizabeth Conrad Hickox and granddaughter
Louisa Hickox are today regarded as the most famous basketweavers
from Northern California.78 Polly also worked for the Ten Eyck mine and was
always the trusty one to carry the gold and registered mail from
the Somes Bar post office to the owners of the mine ....79
Mad River Billy escaped from Indian Island
by jumping in the bay and swimming to Eureka. He then made his
way to the Nixon Ranch in Arcata where he fell through the door
in a faint. When he revived he said, Bad white men, he
murder my mother, my brothers, sisters, and all my children.
Just butcher them.80 Despite this, Billy was always friendly toward
whites. Once he warned William Preston of an Indian plot to kill
him;81 another time, he swam Mad River in a wild
torrent and saved a white girl, Mary Masten from drowning.82 Billy
joined Arcatas Methodist Church and never failed
to attend the funeral of a pioneer.83
Jane Sam was not the only member of her
family to survive. Her sister Annie, a brother, and their mother
all hid in the brush and escaped with their lives. Annie, who
became blind at an early age, lived in late life at Bucksport,
where, despite her lack of sight, she was known as an immaculate
housekeeper who even did her own sewing.84 Jane
married Alex Sam, a well-known and well-to-do Wiyot from the
mouth of Mad River.85 And in 192186 it was Jane who preserved the history of what
had happened so long before, when she reached back through the
decades to recall that dreadful night at Indian Island, when
white was the darkest color to be seen.
1 (Jane Sam, unpublished
statement. Copy in authors collection.) Sams statement
is one of several by Wiyot elders that were recorded in the 1930s;
they are currently being prepared for publication. Punctuation
and spelling of this and subsequent statements have been altered
slightly for clarity.
2 (Jerry James, unpublished
statement. Copy in authors collection.)
Humboldt Times, November 2, 1861, 2.
4 Indian Murder,
Humboldt Times, September 22, 1854, 2.
5 Llewellyn L. Loud, Ethnogeography
and Archaeology of the Wiyot Territory, University of California
Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology 14, no. 3
6 Jerry Rohde, The
Sonoma Gang, North Coast Journal, September 11, 2008, 17.
7 (Jane D. Searson, unpublished
statement. Copy in authors collection.)
8 A. J. Bledsoe, Indian Wars
of the Northwest, (San Francisco: Bacon & Co., 1885), 210.
9 Bledsoe, Indian Wars, 211.
10 Bledsoe, Indian Wars:204-205.
11 Horrible Murder
by Indians, Humboldt Times, September 18, 1858, 2.
12 Serious Indian troublesremoval
or extermination, Humboldt Times, September 18, 1858, 2.
13 Wallace W. Elliott, History
of Humboldt County, California, (San Francisco: Wallace W. Elliott
& Co., 1881), 163.
14 Owen C. Coy, The Humboldt
Bay Region: 1850-1875, (1929; repr., Eureka: Humboldt County
Historical Society, 1982), 147.
15 Work Projects Administration,
The National Guard of California: 1849 1880,
vol. 1, (typescript, 1940), 239-240.
16 Works Project Administration,
17 Good News for the
Volunteers. Humboldt Times, April 23, 1859, 2.
18 Lawrence H. Officer, and
Samuel H. Williamson, Purchasing Power of Money in the
United States from 1774 to 2008, MeasuringWorth, http://www.measuringworth.com/ppowerus/
(accessed February 14, 2010). The calculation was made using
the unskilled wage computation; the exact total is
19 Bledsoe, Indian Wars,
20 Death of J. C. Ellison.
Humboldt Times, May 21, 1859, 2.
21 Bledsoe, Indian Wars,
293, 295; Another Volunteer Company, Humboldt Times,
May 28, 1859, 2. Bledsoe calls the group the Hydesville
Volunteer Company but this name does not appear in the
various articles in the Times.
22 From the Volunteers,
Humboldt Times, June 4, 1859, 2; Bledsoe, Indian Wars, 294-295.
23 Bledsoe, Indian Wars,
24 Susie Baker Fountain Papers,
vol. 81, 201, Humboldt State University Library; Hunt, Ann, Humboldt
County, California: 1860 Census Schedule 1, Er-10, (Photocopy,
Humboldt County Library, Eureka); Indian HostilitiesVolunteer
Company, Humboldt Times, February 4, 1860, 2.
25 Wrights first name
is sometimes spelled Seaman but his signature shows
it as Seman.
26 Hydesville Volunteers,
Northern Californian, February 8, 1860, 3; Works Project Administration,
National Guard, 275-276.
27 Indians continue
their depredations upon the stock... Northern Californian,
February 15, 1860,
28 An Eye-Witness [pseud.],
The Massacres of Indians on Humboldt Bay, San Francisco
Daily Evening Bulletin, March 13, 1860, 2; Maj. G. J. Rains,
Letter to Thomas J. Hendricks, April 30, 1860. Quoted in Robert
F. Heizer, The Destruction of the California Indians, ( Santa
Barbara: Peregrine Smith, Inc., 1974), 156. Attempts to locate
the original source have not been successful.
29 Indian Depredations,
Humboldt Times, February 25, 1860, 2.
30 [J. A. Adams], Former
Humboldt Resident Writes of Early Indian Wars, Ferndale
Enterprise, December 28, 1934, 1; Belcher Abstract & Title
Co., Atlas of Humboldt County, California, (Eureka: Belcher Abstract
& Title Co., 1922), 13. The Belcher Atlas shows property
belonging to F. R. Adams in sections 11 and 14, Township 1 North,
Range 4 East.
31 Captain Chas. S. Lovell,
Report to Major W. W. Mackall, March 23, 1861. Quoted in Susie
Baker Fountain Papers, vol. 32, 379. A different version of the
incident appears in: *** [pseud.], Atrocities by White
Men on Indians in Humboldt CountyRecord of a Baby-Killer,
San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin, June 1, 1860, 2.
32 *** [pseud], Atrocities
by White Men on Indians in Humboldt CountyRecord of a Baby-Killer,
San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin, June 1, 1860,2; Reprinted
in the Sacramento Daily Union, June 4, 1860. The writer uses
L----- instead of the perpetrators full name,
but other information in the letter, linking him to Hagans and
the killing of Yo-kill-la-bah, makes it clear that L----
is the Larrabee referred to in Captain Lovells dispatch
cited in note 31 above..
33 William Boyd Hagans, http//www.wendroot.com/cockrill/d0006/I151.html
(accessed November 11, 2009).
34 Susie Baker Fountain Papers,
vol. 117, 239.
35 Susie Baker Fountain Papers,
vol. 128, 223.
36 Surveyor Generals
Office, [Map of] Township No IV North, Range No I West, Humboldt
Meridian, ( San Francisco: Surveyor Generals Office, 1855)
; A. J. Doolittle, Official Map of Humboldt Co., Cal., (San Francisco,
A. J. Doolittle, 1865).
37 Bledsoe, Indian Wars,
302-303. See also: Frances N. Hanover, ed., Humboldt Days: Recollections
of Frances Dinsmore Hosmer, as set down by her daughter Anne
Hosmer Wrightson, 4. Photocopy, Humboldt County Historical Society,
38 [County of Humboldt],
Court of Sessions Having Criminal Jurisdiction: From July 1853
to June 1861, non-paginated entries for February 1860 sessions.
Original, Humboldt County Historical Society, Eureka.
39 Indian Massacre,
Humboldt Times, March 3, 1860,2.
40 Terrible Slaughter
of Indians, Butte Democrat, March 2, 1860, 2.
41 A large ranch of
Indians, Humboldt Times, March 3, 1860, 2.
42 Charles Rossiter, More
of the Humboldt Bay Butchery, San Francisco Daily Evening
Bulletin, March 2, 1860, 3.
43 Indiscriminate Massacre
of Indians, Northern Californian, February 29, 1860,2. Hanover,
Recollections of Frances Dinsmore Hosmer, 4.
44 Van Nest apparently didnt
like his first name and usually used the initial B
instead. It appears that the name was Barrant. See: Joseph Prince
Tracy, Joseph TracyPioneer of 1857, Humboldt County Historical
Society Newsletter, May 1963, 8.
45 Indian Matters,
Humboldt Times, March 10, 1860,2.
46 Various documents, Inventory
of the Military Department, Adjutant General, Indian War Papers,
47 B. Van Nest, Sheriff,
letter to Governor Downey, March 10, 1860, Indian War Papers,
48 Indian Matters,
Humboldt Times, March 10, 1860, 2.
49 Governor Downey, letter
to Sheriff Van Nest, March 29, 1860, Indian War Papers, folder
50 E. L. Davis, letter to
Governor Downey, April 3, 1860, Indian War Papers, folder F3753:568.
51 Proceedings of County
Convention, for the Consideration of Indian Affairs, Northern
Californian, May 23, 1860, 2; Maj. G. J. Rains, letter to Barratt
Van Nest, reprinted in Humboldt Times, June 30, 1860, 2.
52 Bledsoe, Indian Wars,
53 Our Indian troubles,
Northern Californian, February 29, 1860:2. This editorial is
unsigned, but see the following, which establishes Hartes
identity as the author: Ray Raphael and Freeman House, Two Peoples,
One Place, (Eureka: Humboldt County Historical Society, 2007),
165.statement from Seaan be determined, is being published here
for the fir
54 Rossiter, More of
the Humboldt Bay Butchery, 2.
55 Martha Roscoe, Indian
Island MassacrePerpetrators file, Humboldt County
Historical Society, Eureka; J. Michael Kellogg, Minority Groups
in Humboldt County: A History of the Treatment of Indians, 47-48.
Photocopy, Humboldt County Collection, Humboldt State University
56 Chet Schwarzkopf, KneelandPrairie
and Mountains Meet, Humboldt Times, May 8, 1949, 17., Sterling
Paddock, interview by Jerry Rohde, September 29, 2001.
57 An Eye-Witness [pseud.],
The Massacres of the Indians on Humboldt Bay, San
Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin, March 13, 1860, 3.
58 G. J Rains, letter to
Thos. J. Hendricks, April 30, 1860. Quoted in at least three
sources: Robert F. Heizer, ed., The Destruction of the California
Indians, (Santa Barbara: Peregrine Smith, Inc., 1974), 156-157;
Lynwood Carranco and Estle Beard, Genocide and Vendetta, (Norman,
OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1981), 129-130; Edwin C. Bearss,
History Basic Data: Redwood National Park, (U. S. Department
of the Interior, 1969),108-109. Recent attempts to locate the
original document in the California State Archives have not been
59 *** [pseud.], Atrocities
by White Men, 2.
60 The account here should
be compared with: Captain Chas. S. Lovell, report to Major W.
W. Mackall, March 23, 1861, Susie Baker Fountain Papers vol.
61 From HumboldtOne
of the Douglas Nominations. San Francisco Herald, October
11, 1860, 2.
62 Vote of Humboldt
County Humboldt Times, November 10, 1860, 2.
63 Election Returns,
Humboldt Times, September 12, 1863, 2.
64 Exodus [pseud.], The
Expatiation of Guiltless Indians at Humboldt Bay, San Francisco
Daily Evening Bulletin, May 11, 1860,2; Bearss, History Basic
Data, 105, 108-113).
67 More Indian Depredations,
Humboldt Times, December 28, 1861, 3.
68 Indian Raid,
Humboldt Times, April 22, 1864, 2.
69 Bledsoe, Indian Wars,
70 (Jane D. Searson, unpublished
statement. Copy in authors collection.)
71 Humboldters Volunteer
Tribute to Jerry James, Bay Massacre Survivor, Humboldt
Times, April 3, 1929, 2.
72 C. Hart Merriam, Papers,
vol. 1, (Berkeley: University of California, 1998) microfilm
reel 32, frame 9; Elaine Mills, The Papers of John Peabody Harrington
in the Smithsonian Institution: 1907-1957, vol. 2, (New York:
Kraus International Publications, 1985), 3-4; Gladys Reichard,
Wiyot Grammar and Texts, University of California
Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology, vol. 22,
no. 1, 4.
73 Curtis, The North American
Indian, 69-70, 190-198.
74 Humboldters Volunteer
Tribute to Jerry James, Bay Massacre Survivor, Humboldt
Times, April 3, 1929, 2.
75 Chris Hunt, Island
of Tears Times-Standard, March 15, 1998,A-7; Susie Baker
Fountain Papers, vol. 68, 195.
76 (The Matilda & Nancy
Spear Memorial Foundation. Brochure. Photocopy in the Indian
Island Massacre file, Humboldt County Collection, Humboldt
State University Library, Arcata.)
77 Noted Indian Woman
Passes at 97 Years, Blue Lake Advocate, October 19, 1929,
78 Ron Johnson and Coleen
Kelley Marks, Her Mind Made Up: Weaving Caps the Indian Way,
(Arcata: Humboldt State University, 1997), 118.
79 Noted Indian Woman
Passes at 97 Years, Blue Lake Advocate, October 19, 1929,
80 Early History of
Arcata Told by Harry C. Nixon, Arcata Union, March 15,
81 Susie Baker Fountain Papers,
vol. 54, 187, 191. The information appears to have come from
H. H. Gastman.
82 Famous Indian Found
Dead, Blue Lake Advocate, June 27, 1908, 2.
83 Friend of the Whites
Gone to Rest, Arcata Union, June 27, 1908, 5.
84 Beatrice Burton, Escape
from Massacre Told by Blind Anne, Humboldt
Times, November 29, 1925, 1.
85 Alex Sam Dead: Last
of Put-ta-wots, Arcata Union, June 25, 1925, 1; Nelson
Rossig and Irene Rossig, interviewed by Jerry Rohde, September
86 (Jane Sam, unpublished
statement. Copy in authors collection.)
Originally printed 25 February
2010 edition of the North Coast Journal.
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