Half Breeds

The photographer's caption reads: Half breed Yurok with quarter breed children
The photographer’s caption states: Half breed Yurok with quarter breed children

Renaming the local natives was not the only way newcomers disrespected the indigenous people.    One local paper observed that almost from the time of their arrival in Humboldt County, white settlers “ill-treated and abused… whip and beat the men” as they “ravish [ed]” the women.

 Lucy had three children that I know about.  Carrie, Lucy’s oldest daughter, was told by an Indian named Billy that Berryman Lack, a white packer, was her father.  If true, this means he was “with” Lucy in the summer of 1855.  It does not appear that Lack ever lived with Lucy and or maintained contact with Carrie. 

This was not unusual.  Unfortunately, many native women were “outraged” by white settlers and many “half-breed” children, like Carrie, were the result.

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11 Responses to Half Breeds

  1. Kym says:

    I love these photos and snippets of information. I’m looking forward to more/

    • lynette77 says:

      Glad you like the photos (and info). I go up to HSU tomorrow and will hopefully start scanning photos. HSU will then post them for all to view and use.
      I am anxious to see what they have.

  2. What beautiful people. Even the dog is cute.

    • lynette77 says:

      They are beautiful. Actually, this may seem… tacky, but many of my husband’s relatives are Yurok and Karok and they are all beautiful. It is so ironic, but likely true, that the attractiveness of the indian women and children probably contributed to their suffering.

      • Kym says:

        Or perhaps contributed to their survival? If Asbill’s account is true and it is certainly colored by his white culture perceptions, then Clowie survived because Woods wanted her. The two had children so Clowie’s genes are passed down. I’m trying to minimize the horror of what happened, I’m just acknowledging a reality that Clowie’s and other native american women survived because they were attractive.

        • Kym says:

          Sorry, I”m NOT trying to minimize the horror. Yikes. I wish I could edit before I hit submit.

          • lynette77 says:

            Kym, I know what you mean about wishing you could unsubmit. Though I have to say that even though your previous comment may hit some nerves, I think it makes a valid, though ugly, point.

      • olmanriver says:

        From this Humboldt County History, chapter 8, Early Troubles with the Indians:
        “Murderous white men were also
        on the rampage in the wildest way imaginable. They had shot several Indian boys, also others, and were in the habit of looking upon the Indians as their
        legitimate prey. Unfortunately they were men of so depraved a nature that they
        had no respect whatever for the rights of the primitive inhabitants of the
        forest. They hunted down good looking young squaws as if the squaws had been
        mere animals created for their own enjoyment, and often forced these young women to submit to their passionate desires. A number of half white children resulted from these forays of the men who thus violated Indian maidens, who were often regarded as worthless creatures except for rapes of this character. It is said that bands of white men, consisting of three or four depraved wretches, would often catch a young squaw or two and detain them for several days or weeks at their cabins and then permit them to make their way home as best they could.”

        • lynette77 says:

          Oh ‘River,
          You are the king of research, though the info you find breaks my heart. Christ. I am not a religious person, but… I don’t think it is possible for us to imagine what these people went through, yet I think we owe it to them to try.
          Augustus Schumacher is profiled in In the Early Days, and his wife, Mary Ann, is credited with caring for many “rejected and outcast half breed Indian” babies that were brought to her door, “some only a few hours old.” [In the Early Days, pg. 13].
          There was no birth control, no abortion, and some of these “young squaws” were still girls (not that it was any better if they were older).
          Anyone who has a daughter (and many others) will understand that I just don’t know what else to say…

  3. o'river says:

    Clown king of research is my fool title, but thanks for the acknowledgement.
    Teen brides were far more common back then, red or white. That doesn’t justify the abuse. Samuel Piercy, of Piercy fame, had two mixed blood daughters (13 and 17)who were the object of a neighbor’s lust. That neighbor’s refusal to stay away from them got him killed.
    Whilst we have been chronicling the massacres, it is interesting to me how many survivors were taken in by white families, or mixed-breed families. I imagine that the treatment of those children ran the gammut from accepted family member to “indentured servant”.

    • lynette77 says:

      I may have posted this already, but if not, this may help to explain your observation that many survivors were taken in by whites…

      Humboldt Times, March 1860–A Suggestion—There are some Diggers who have escaped the general massacre on Indian Island, who are known to our citizen has being honest and peaceful. By their association with white men they have become alienated from their old habits and partly dependent upon their bounty. They are physically weak, and altogether too miserable to incite any other feeling than that of pity. They believe they are a doomed race, and have been pretty badly frightened into the belief. They want work and they want protection. Let us suggest that our farmers give them a trial—They have been employed at different times and if they are now taken into the care and protection of those who require help, we think they might make passable servants. Again , in cases where Indian children have become domesticated in families they have been honest and industrious servants. The practice would have been more general but the Indians have been hitherto loath to part with their offspring at such ages as would make them most susceptible of training—With those who have been spared this massacre, there would not be probably an difficult, and if some of the good people of this vicinity will endeavor to procure them, their own interest and that of humanity will be served. In absence of a local reservation, try it.

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