Gunther’s memory of the massacre

August 8, 2009
Gunther's mansion on Indian Island: HSU Photo Archives

Gunther's mansion on Indian Island: HSU Photo Archives

I’ve decided that sometimes, when I am going out of town or have little to say, I will simply post excerpts/information I’ve dug up over the years that others may not have seen (this time I’m going out of town) .

I won’t fixate on the massacres of February 1860, but thought a little more information from a different perspective couldn’t hurt.

This also emphasizes a point brought up in one of Ernie’s comments that many folks here disagreed with the harsh treatment of the Natives, but were scared.   A man capable of killing an infant with a hatchet was not a man you wanted for an enemy, especially if you had a family.  These were scary people and scary times,  yet many had risked everything to come “out west” and had to make it work.   So you kept your mouth shut…

The following is from Genocide in Northwestern California, by Jack Norton—pg. 86-88, quoting  Andrew M. Genzoli and Wallace E. Martin, Redwood Cavalcade… Pioneer Life, Times (Eureka, California Schooner Features, 1968), pp. 11-13

Years after the Indian Island massacre,  Robert Gunther was asked to address a special ban­quet at the Old Sequoia Yacht Club, which for years stood on the south end of Gunther Island (Indian Island). In a surprisingly can­did presentation, he reviewed the heinous acts of butchery, but also stated that secretly the parties who did the killing had been pointed out. The following description of activities involved in the genocide committed by a gang of ruffians euphemistically called “the good citizens of Humboldt” bears repeating in full:

Early in 1860, I learned that Indian Island was for sale. It was owned by a Captain Moore who took up eighty acres on Washington’s birthday, 1860, and three days later, the Indian massacre occurred.

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