Squawman Buckskin Jack Mann…

Not Buskskin Jack, but what he might have looked like...

Not Buskskin Jack, but what he might have looked like...

So a post and comments about the infamous Mr. Mann have prompted me to start a new page dedicated just to him and other squawmen…

Nevermind.  This didn’t work w/ this “conversation, but may try again with others as I get more familiar with blogging.

I’ll copy all the comments here, and we can continue the converation spurned off  of the “Squawmen” post  (if folks are interest) on another page

About the infamous Mr. Mann….

1858, Aug. 7, Humboldt times– HAD HIS THROAT CUT.   A fellow in Mattole Valley, …., by the name of John Mann, known as “Buskskin Jack,’ had his throat cut one night last week, by a squaw with whom he had been living.  It appears that Jack had been out on an Indian hunt, and had killed the brother of his squaw, bring in the Indian’s bow and quiver.  The property was recognized by the squaw, and she determined upon avenging the death of her brother [either he knew, or she must have told him that it was her brother’s, for it to be reported in the paper].   After Jack had fell asleep she took a large knife, and cut his throat, not, however, severing the juggler vein.  This had the effect to disturb Jack’s repose, when he arose and grasped the knife and killed the squaw on the spot.  In wresting the knife from the squaw he had his hand severely cut.  Dr. Felt was sent for to dress his wounds.  The Dr. informs us that he will probably recover.

per OlManRiver:

There is a version of that Mann incident on page 5 of Heydays in the Mattole by Neb Roscoe.
“‘Buckskin Jack’, as he like to be called, was a mean one, and the women hated him. When he was drunk, he would beat them up just for the fun of it. It got so bad they talked it over and decided to kill him.”…
He never did gain use of the hand that had grabbed the wrong end of a knife, but he went out and replaced those companions with a younger Indian mate. A neighbor, Bill Clark wooed her away from Mann, but Mann killed Clark in revenge, and left the area. No mention is made of what happened to the girl.


From Me…

Quoting: Redwood Frontier, pg 94: .. Among the early settlers in Upper Mattole… wild, brutal fellow named Jack Mann… two Indian women for wives, and while he was not kind to them, the arrangement seemed satisfactory for a while. One night, however, the women attempted to cut his throat…. he awakended, and with his right hand seized the knife by the blade, disabling his hand for the rest of his life. The women did succeed in severing his windpipe, though it was at the expense of their lives for Buckskin Jack stabbed both of them. … he managed to make his way to the James Pritchett home, where Mrs. Pritchett.. sewed the windpipe together. Since Jack had “lost” his two wives, he now looked for another… and found non in the white settler’s rank that would have anything to do with him. He did find a pretty Indian girl, but another settler got there first and took her for his own. Buckskin Jack and the high-powered lover quarrelled a number of times arfter that, with Jack threatening to take the competitor’s life”.

In 1860, Mann is living with two indian girls, ages 10 and 14. One shudders to think of what their lives were like….

And then…
1862, Feb. 15, Humboldt Times. Homicide on Upper Mattole: John Mann, familiarly known as “Buckskin Jack” shot a man named Clark on Friday… An Indian woman of whom they were both enamored was the primary cause of difficulty between them, out of which grew an assault and battery case, in which Jack was fined $100. ON the evening above named, about an hour before sundown, Clark was standing by Mr. Pritchett, in front of the dwelling of the latter, when Jack fired at them from behind a log… killing Clark on the spot. At latest account Jack was at large and protesting that he would not be taken.

Note: according to Leon Chevret, L.C. Clark in Mattole sold at least one indian child as a servant-likely the same Clark. “L” could have been “J” and mistranscribed…  A John Clark has a seven year old indian girl in his house in 1860. 

Mattole Clark, John W. Farmer Mary f 7    1860C

My guess is that he was a trader and sold many more.
Despite what people say about taking things in context, and not judging by today’s standards, some of these guys were BAD guys, plain and simple.


16 Responses to Squawman Buckskin Jack Mann…

  1. olmanriver says:

    No argument there Lynette.
    I think we are talking about a few Clarks here.
    The oral tradition of the Mattole valley as captured by Neb Roscoe has a slightly different version of the event. The details of the slashing are the same but Mann, whose cabin was on the Singley property, made his way to the nearby Crouch place to get sewed up. This Bill Clark lived downstream from the Singley place. “Just as Anne Hadley was riding her horse into the Crouch’s barnyard for a visit, she saw a man lying behind the butt of a downed log and aiming a musket . He fied the gun and then humped up and ran back up the trail toward the Singley place. It was Bucksin Jack, and his target had been Clark, who was dressing under a giant pepperwood tre on the band of Pritchett Creek, and was killed on the spot.” Roscoe goes on to say that a local reported seeing Buckskin Jack twenty years later in Idaho.

    The story gets richer. Had I read on I would have found out that the girl over whom the conflict occurred stayed on to live and workat the Pritchett household. Around this time in 1862, there was a detachment of the Humboldt Home Guard stationed at Camp Olney along the east bank of the Singley Creek.
    After frequent patrols getting ambushed and casualties taken, the camp commander suspected the girl of passing information to the Indians. She was executed as a spy, without trial.

  2. lynette77 says:

    And more…

    This is military correspondence from June 1862 and likely mentions the same girl… Pritchard’s squaw…

    SIR:… I sent to Fort Humboldt seven Indians, among them a young Indian girl, taken by me from one supposed to be an Indian stealer, she being found by him, as he says, wandering in the mountains. She was stolen by the Indians from Mr. Langdon when his house was robbed.[Langdon has Indian girl in Census] I have also with me a squaw and child, taken from Mr. Pritchard, an old man living near my camp with his wife and two young daughters, he keeping the squaw and being, as he has generally and publicly held out, the father of the child. The squaw, however, was taken by me on suspicion of furnishing information, arms, and ammunition to the Indians, she having also been in the mountains under suspicious circumstances for a number of days and against my positive instructions to Pritchard. Explicit instructions for my guidance in such cases would greatly assist me and settle questions which are becoming rather embarrassing to me. As a general thing I am pleased to say the citizens of Upper Mattole have rendered me all the assistance in their power, accompanying me on each scout, acting as faithful and efficient guides, furnishing me with such transprotation as they had. Messers. Tewksberry, Brown, Pritchard, Lafferty, Mann, and others, being constantly with me and furnishing me with useful information…

    I have noticed that “victims” of Indian robberies, like Langdon, had indian women and children in the household . Was the Indian’s motive theft, or to retrieve kidnapped women and children…

    • olmanriver says:

      Thanks Lynette for having so many references to these incidences.

      Neb Roscoe’s parents were very good friends with the Ann Haddley mentioned as riding up to where Bill Clark was killed. Presumably the story came from her, though that is not stated. According to Roscoe, Ann Haddley was a full-blooded Indian (she wore the one-eleven on her chin) with the maiden name Mary Ann Rouche Singley, having been raised from infancy by the George Singley family.
      The first settler in the Mattole River Valley, A.A. Haddley (then 30 years old) wooed Ann (14-15 years old) into sneaking away from her family and rendezvousing with him a mile down the beach. He was a large landowner at the time. Here is an example of taking an Indian wife where she had a life better than the chattel model of the cruder squawmen. I wish I knew more about her life.

    • olmanriver says:

      Later in Lt. Hubbard’s letter that you cited above, he suggests that Langdon was an Indian sympathizer, and that collusion with Indians was likely.
      His 1862 view on the Indians of the Mattole and the character and behavior of some of the settlers of that area bears mentions: “. So far as I can ascertain, all the Indians in this portion of the country are hostile; in fact, will ever be so, so long as there are no active and vigorous steps taken to put an end to cold-blooded murder, kidnaping, and treachery. These are in my opinion the sole causes of all these difficulties with the Indians, more especially in this portion of the country and on Eel River. Cold-blooded Indian killing being considered honorable, shooting Indians and murdering even squaws and children that have been domesticated for months and years, without a moment’s warning, and with as little compunction as they would rid themselves of a dog, and, as I am informed, one man did, beating his own child’s brains out against a tree and killing the squaw, its mother, for no other reason than that he had no means else of disposing of them, and to keep them from falling into other persons’ hands. Human life is of no value in this valley, and law seems only to be respected so far as it is backed by visible force. It is well known that kidnaping is extensively practiced by a gang who live in the neighboring mountains, but the difficulty is to obtain absolute and positive proof, so as to insure a conviction under the statute of this State, which, as if not sufficient of itself as a crime, is coupled with other barbarities, murder, rape, &c., which no pen can do justice to. If the Indians are hostile they will always be so until some stringent measures are taken to protect them, and to wipe out the perpetrators of these most horrible crimes against humanity. With such examples before them going unpunished what guaranties from the Government can they depend upon? “

      • Olmanriver says:

        The History of the Mattole Valley by Jamie Roscoe gives a balanced view of the different kinds of settlers. It was understood that “a few ruffians were responsible for most of the outrages”(Sorry, Mr. Roscoe, I forgot the page number). The early settlers of that area numbered men of high values and conscience who created a Mattole Treaty of Peace in 1858 that mostly quieted the local depradations for a few years. I wish I had taken notes on the names of the four men named as the Peace Treaty organizers.
        As in most remote northern California areas, there were also a number of squawmen in the early Mattole pioneer records.

        • lynette77 says:

          Hey ‘River,
          If you get hold of that paper again, I would love to get the names of the men who headed that effort !
          Great info.

          Though I did find this happy little piece so maybe not quite everyone following the treaty…

          From Eel River, Dec. 22, 1859… Indians out here have not only waged war against the whites, but have carried their depredations to the horned stock and are killing cattle every day. Yet the citizens are chastising them as fast as they can. The company that went out a few days ago from Mattole came rather unceremoniously on a rancho a little below the mouth of Kuska, and made peace with four bucks, which I think will stand. … One of the stipulations… was that the Indians should give up a gun … .. The company will send out scoutswho watch for Indian fires; they find one and mark so that they can find their way to it in the night, and then return to camp to inform the company of their discovery… As soon as “darkness covers the earth” .. they start on their perilous break-neck journey, they draw near their foe, and then wait with anxiety for daybreak to charge in upon the camp and slay them all,–but alas the disappointment when morning comes-they find the fires, the camp and the bones of cattle, but where are the Indians… The nest is there and warm, but he birds have flown. The Indians have learned some tricks of the trade and have their scouts out as well as the whites and no soon do the company strick their tents and start for the “hidden foe” than they break up their camp and scatter in as many different directions as there are indians; consequently there is little chance for a few men to clean them out… [Northern Californian , 28 Dec. 1959].

          As a completely random fact, did you know that once upon a time, the Mattole area was considered for an Indian reservation?

          Humboldt Times, October 28, 1854-Ill Treatment -Indians-We would call the attention of Col. Henly, Supt of Indian Affairs, to the situation of the Indians on this bay and in this section of the country…. it is supposed there are six to eight thousand in this county. They are ill-treated and abused, had white men ravish their squaws and whip and beat the men. They have acquired a taste for the food of the whites and are too indolent to work, consequently they are tempted to steal. There are several localities, away from the whites, upon which they might be located satisfactorily to there. The Mattole Valley presents more inducements… and be at least twenty to thirty miles from any settlements of whites. …

          Humboldt Times, August 22, 1857-Prevalence of Cattle on/near Reservation -Mendocino Reservation: Remonstrance against extending it in this county. The citizens on Bear River and Mattole are getting up remonstraces against extending the Mendocino Reservation up the coast… our citizens are moved to defeat.. a project which would so seriously injure our county. The valleys of Bear River and Mattole, as well as the mountain prairie between them, are covered with herds, numbering thousands—in fact it is the great stock range of our county—and to absorb that region in an Indian Reservation, and drive the white settlers therefrom, would produce incalculable mischief… To extend it north to Shelter Cover, would answer every purpose… The country mentioned is not suitable for settlement, therefore the Indians will not be molested; not so, however, with the valleys this side—the whites would never consent to leave them…

        • Omr says:

          The History of the Mattole Valley is by WW Roscoe, not Jamie Roscoe. I apologize.

  3. I am assuming that I am the one that is being chided for saying “not judging them by today’s standards, it was survival”. There is no excusing people like Buckskin Jack, Walaki John, Cattle King White, or Larrabee. They were mean and evil, no doubt.

    Your case in point dramatically proves what I am talking about though. The people around them died if they disagreed with them, and there was so little law that nothing much was done about it. Proof in point was that “Buckskin Jack” died an old man. Bill Clark and all of his potential offspring died on the porch with a bullet through his heart. So much for righteousness.

    Most of us with deep history on the north coast will find an evil person in their ancestry. That doesn’t make us evil. The good people that died don’t have any descendants. That doesn’t make us, today, right or wrong. Some of the newcomers are quick to only see the good or the evil of the early people and miss a lot of history by getting into the self righteous judging of what happened back then. The thing that I find laughable is that everyone has a mean evil person in their ancestry, but they choose to find fault in other peoples ancestry instead of their own. After you research the ancestry of the “Mean Evil People” you will find that they themselves were treated evilly. Many of their family members were killed by Indians for no apparent reason to them. After you educate yourself a little about the history of the north coast you will come to the conclusion that the Indian People were doomed from the day the Columbus stepped foot onto land in America.

    The Indian culture was ravaged by disease from the white man and every other aspect of a collision of cultures. You can’t change history. Indeed I have often tried to mentally place myself back in time and wonder how long that I would survive. Most of us would not make it even a week. Have you ever thought of what you would do if you were dropped into Honeydew in 1862??? Would you be able to save the young Indian girl from Buckskin Jack? How would you go about it? Would your progeny be talking about you today? Or would you become a marker in the graveyard, saying here lays a principled man. Good luck.

  4. lynette77 says:

    Hi Ernie,
    I am so glad you joined the discussion. I agree that we can’t be held responsible for the actions of our ancestors any more than the wife and children of a rapist today can be blamed for the actions of the husband/father.

    I think there is a danger, though, in assuming that the fate of an indigenous people is sealed when invaders arrive (though history proves you right on too many unfortunate occasions). It was that mindset, that the natives were “doomed”, that helped create and support the genocide that occurred. After all, it was their “fate”.

    If we support that belief/philosophy, though, what is to say it can’t happen again?

    Or, is that belief still prevalent and that is what keeps us from interfering with the genocides that still occur in Africa and elsewhere in the world today…?

  5. Good question, but I think that we in America have learned a lot about getting along. As I have also said before, we enjoy living in one small bubble of time and place where peace and getting along is a priority. No other time in history, and no other place has that ever happened. Should we stay out of others business? Or, should we dive in? The holocaust? Viet Nam? Iraq? Iran? Angola? North Korea?

    Now is a good time to decide where we belong and where we don’t. People are dying unfairly all over the world. Now would be a good chance for the people who thought that early American history was unfair to use their great wisdom to decide what we should do, and what we shouldn’t. And no, just talking about it doesn’t count. You have to make an actual commitment.

  6. lynette77 says:

    Well said, Ernie,
    Unfortunately not enough people (myself included) have the time and energy left over from living our everyday lives to take the kind of action your talking about. And that we probably SHOULD be taking. Yet… your other good point is about figuring out where we really belong. Confusing issue.
    Society used to think that “we” didn’t belong in others’ private homes, and child and spousal abuse was tolerated. The first laws against abuse applied to animals because the government stayed out of family business …
    It is progress that this has changed. Societies and cultures evolve just like people do, I think.

    Is it the same when it comes to abuses happening or tolerated in other countries? Bigger issue than I can take on tonight, yet a great one.

  7. Olmanriver says:

    Laura Cooskey, in What Happened to the Natives , gives a bare bones timeline history of the Mattole Indian wars period:
    “1851: Redick McKee Expedition. Indian agent McKee proposes a reservation south of the Eel
    River’s mouth 13 miles toward Cape Nendocino, and inland six miles.
    1854: September: Mr. Hill of Fort Humboldt explores Mattole Valley with Wiyot guides; friendly
    contact with Natives.
    1856: Superintendent T.J. Henley establishes Mendocino Reservation from Mendocino County as
    far north as Bear River.
    1857: First year of substantial handful of white settlers in Mattole. Gardens planted, fences
    erected. Settlers protest that reservation has no business as far north as Bear River, or even
    Cape Mendocino. However, a reservation on the lower Mattole River is established.
    1858: June: Mr. Thornton ambushed and murdered on trail between Upper Mattole and Lower
    (Petrolia). In following weeks, dozens of Mattoles killed in retaliation.
    August: Committee of white men declare that all white men living with squaws in lower valley
    must drive them out. Apparently Honeydew area was not regulated by this edict.
    September: Meeting in downtown Mattole draws up resolutions governing conduct of white-Native
    relations. A treaty of sorts, it keeps relative peace for a couple of years. (The 4th term of the
    Resolution effectively outlawed Native culture: Natives must not set fire to the grass on the hills;
    must not drive away, molest, or kill our cattle, horses, mules, or hogs; must not enter our
    enclosures; must not steal from us; and must not reside on our claims without our consent.)
    Pioneers still uneasy about Mendocino Reservation.
    1859, May: Government agent J. Ross Browne declares Reservation illegal and instructs settlers
    to regard it as extinct.
    December: Last claims to land in Mattole Township by U.S. government abandoned. Reservation
    boundaries are redrawn to a line south of Shelter Cove.
    1861, August: Mr. Wise killed by Mattoles. Humboldt Home Guards established with three
    divisions, one in the Mattole Valley headed by Lt. James Brown.
    December: Two sleeping white men, friends of John Briceland, killed by young Indian boys. Tenyear-
    old hung from tree as punishment.
    1862, September: Prison camp on South Spit, Humboldt Bay, holds eight or nine hundred
    Natives, some of them Mattole. 100 Mattole, Bear River, and Cooskie Natives are sent by
    steamer north to Smith River Reservation. Joe Duncan, born about 1844, among them. (In 1920s,
    he is main information source for anthropologists seeking knowledge of Mattole culture.) He and
    others return to mouth of Mattole River after being released from Smith River due to lack of food
    1863, September: Mr. McNutt killed by Natives, mistaken for notorious Indian killer Theodore
    Garrison called Camp Olney set up at Upper Mattole, with 12 officers, under the command of Lt.
    Frazier, later Lt. Hubbard.
    1863, November: Home of McGinnis burned by Natives.
    1864, February: Lt. Frazier kills or captures 21 Natives in surprise attack near Whitethorn.
    Thomas Lambert killed near Cooskie, ostensibly by Indians, while doing ranch work with P.
    Mackey. Later writers believe Indians were framed.
    1863-64: Squaw Creek massacre. After either Lambert’s or McNutt’s murder (the papers did not
    report this one), Aldrich and Roberts attacked a Native camp about two miles up Squaw Creek,
    killing many women and children, including two twins in a cradle. Warriors had been drawn off to
    battle nearby. Feared Mattole warrior Snaggletooth killed by Aldrich, some say Roberts.
    1864, August: 30 Mattoles, from Camp Olney area, brought to Fort Humboldt, later dispersed to
    Round Valley and other reservations. They included the women captured from the last band of
    about ten Cooskies otherwise killed by Capt. K. Geer.
    This was effectively the end of “Indian troubles” in the Mattole. Only Natives left were domestic
    servants (many indentured), a few wives, adopted children, and a group remaining at the mouth
    of the Mattole–or upstream a couple of miles–who were known to be peaceful. In 1868, a
    measles epidemic wiped out nearly all those Natives living in that small community. Almost every
    person of mixed-Mattole descent at the reservation of the Bear River tribe (formerly known as
    Bear River-Mattole-Wiyot) today is a descendant of the few survivors, mostly through Johnny
    Jack or the Denmans.”

  8. Olmanriver says:

    Lost the link http://www.mattolehistory.org/Mattole_Natives.pdf and the formatting…go figure.

  9. […] believed multiple wives to be common among the local natives.   Early census records and stories (about Jack Mann, for instance, and Sherwood ) give evidence that more than a few white settlers took up this […]

  10. I drop a comment each time I appreciate a article on a site or if I have something to valuable to contribute to the discussion.
    It is a result of the fire communicated in the post I browsed.
    And on this post Squawman Buckskin Jack Mann Lynette’s NorCal History Blog. I was actually excited enough to post a thought 😛 I actually do have a couple of questions for you if you tend not to mind. Could it be simply me or does it look like a few of the remarks look like they are written by brain dead folks? 😛 And, if you are writing at other online sites, I would like to keep up with anything new you have to post. Would you list all of all your social sites like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

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