Incentive to quit the filthy weed, Arcata 1863

January 29, 2010

I went though some old newspaper archives recently and am obviously having fun with what I found.

Apparently “progressive” Arcata has a long history with filthy weeds…

Humboldt Times, 28 March 1863

Arcata Anti-Tobacconist–Our sister city, across the Bay, has taken another progressive step, in the organization of a league whoe one idea is to discourage the use of the filthy weed.

Some ten inveterate victims of this habit always fallacious and at present extremely extravagant have pledged themselves to abstain from the use of tobacco in any form during the year 1863, under penalty of a fine of ten dollars, which in case of forfeiture is to be applied to the school fund of the town.

We consider this a good arrangement; for if they really succeed…   it certainly will be to his advantage, while if his resolve melts away like the smoke of his discarded meerchaum*, the ten dollars remains as a tangible benefit to the school fund, which will gain what he loses.

*meerchaum: a claylike mineral used to make tobacco pipes

Chinese wife for $6

January 15, 2010

I was looking through a collection of old photos the other day and noted one in particular of a Chinese man and a young girl that looked to be about thirteen.  The man was holding a small child and the girl an infant. 

The back of the photo said, :

Ah Lang
Bought wife for $6 in San Francisco.  She poisoned him six years later and remarried.   Oroville, Butte County, c. 1900.
Read the rest of this entry »

Integrated families

December 4, 2009
Initially, it was the fawn that caught my attention in this photo, posing (sort of) among a group of people.
Later, as I studied the picture, I noticed the mix of white and Native American women with the men. 

Pet fawn and folks

Often I think (fear) that in the early days, native wives were ostracized from the white population and white female social circles. This photo gives me hope that this wasn’t always so.
I would so love to know more about the people in this photo…

A broken knife blade in his right shoulder

November 23, 2009

I know that the fact that these are from Texas is sort of random, but I was doing genealogy research for a client and accidently ran across this list –please note that my client’s ancestors are NOT among them.

Not to trivialize their crimes, but I actually found the descriptions of the fugitives to be the most fascinating part of the list…

  Read the rest of this entry »

A saloon uses up boys…

November 5, 2009

The beginings of prohibition

The potential legalization of marijuana is a very hot issue right now… Kym Kemp (AKA Redheaded Black Belt) maintains a blog that touches on this topic quite frequently.

Legalizing or criminalizing certain substances has come up often throughout history. According to Wikipedia,  the first half of the 20th century saw periods of prohibition of alcoholic beverages in several countries:

Read the rest of this entry »

They called THIS home ?!?!?!

October 5, 2009
"Thief Camp"

"Thief Camp"


Folks seem to like old photos, so I decided to dig up another one. 

The last photo of downtown Eureka in 1864  got people thinking about the amount of mud that would have been flowing down those dirt streets  during the rainy season.   Anyone that has lived in Humboldt for even one winter can probably imagine the mess.  Ugh !

This photo got me thinking about heat–or rather, lack of it.  There is  definite  crispness in the air now and the nights are getting cooler.  I could likely see my breath in the morning air if I ventured out early.

In the 1870s, Mrs. Crosby moved to Humboldt County with her new husband.  They bought themselves a plot of land and set about building a house.  In the mean time, there was a small cabin on the property and the Crosbys spent a couple of nights there.  According to Mrs. Crosby, these were the

Read the rest of this entry »

The best kind of information (free)

September 24, 2009

I ordered a book from Amazon yesterday, even though I can read it for free on the internet.  I’d found it on Google Books and decided I wanted a copy of my very own.  Of course the nine hundred pages also makes browsing the content on-line a little less than practical-especially with kids waiting at my shoulder and begging to get on the computer.   I also like the idea that sponsors who make these books available (Google people, people?) are also seeing some benefit.

 At the risk of saying what the readers probably already know, there is a wealth of historical material available now on-line.  FOR FREE !!!  Google books has quickly become one of my favorite sources.  An example I just found is a book written on the history of the Donner Party, copywrited in 1879 and republished in 1907, over one hundred years ago.  How cool is that? 

Read the rest of this entry »

A quiet (and ineffectual) voice of reason

September 17, 2009

Ah… done with the little detour about the Royce’s journey to Weaverville and the Relief Parties formed to help the emigrants get to California alive,

 so now I’ll continue the thread on the reservations.

I used to wonder if I had a right to tell these stories.  I’m about as pale as you get and don’t have a single Cherokee Princess anywhere on the family tree.   How, I wondered, could I relate?

Then I realized that these aren’t “Native American” stories.  These are stories about PEOPLE, who happened to be indigenous to this area.  And stories about people, we can all relate to.   I don’t know how many people have been evicted from there homes, but even those likely had more than half a day’s notice.  The survivors of the Indian Island Massacre were told to be packed by sundown and could only take with them what they could carry.  They were then forced to walk to the Klamath Reservation, over sixty miles away. 

Look at your spouse, your children.  Could they walk to Garberville (if you live in NorHum), Eureka (if you live in SoHum), or any other sixty miles carrying everything they could ever need?   (Yeah, that’s what I thought when I looked at my kids).

Read the rest of this entry »

Before we had Caltrans

September 8, 2009
Buggy on Bald Mountain Road

Buggy on Bald Mountain Road

I went down to Sonoma County to visit family this weekend.  It took about 4 ½ hours and felt much longer.  When I hit Windsor, I ran into an awful mess.  Caltrans is widening the highway to three lanes, which is desperately needed, but until it’s done, oh boy ! 

Over the years, my growing interest in Humboldt history has prompted me to look at many of the things around us with new eyes.  The buildings, the bay, the people.  But the roads, up until the other day, remained unnoticed. 

When the settlers arrived, the county was ribboned with Indian trails, but none would have accommodated the wagons hauling families, woodstoves, pianos and other accoutrements desired by the pioneers trying to carve homes and communities out of the wilderness.   

Read the rest of this entry »

Mass murder made acquiring slaves easier

August 28, 2009


Grace Carpenter's depiction of captured Indian children

Grace Carpenter's depiction of captured Indian children

Boy, when I read that title, it seems harsh, but why shouldn’t I call it as it was… The Act for the Government and Protection of Indians was established in California in 1850, and among other provisions it allowed for the legal indenture of Native Americans under many circumstances. 

Indenture is a pretty word for slavery.  In the case of children, the indenture granted the petitioner a certificate,   “authorizing him or her to have the care, custody, control, and earnings of such minor, until he or she obtain the age of majority. Every male Indian shall be deemed to have attained his majority at eighteen, and the female at fifteen years.”

 The ages were extended under many circumstances and adults were often indentured in a similar manner.

Because Indian children considered “quite docile and very good servants, learning to work and to speak English very readily,” they were coveted by families seeking cheap and reliable labor and people would pay to have them  [Humboldt times, Oct 5, 1861] . 

 Human trafficking in Indian children became a popular and lucrative business  in Humboldt County but, because Indian parents were generally “loath to part with their offspring at such ages as would make them most susceptible of training”  [Humboldt Times, March 1, 1860] traders used other means to acquire them.

Read the rest of this entry »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 77 other followers