After the massacre, John Preston, John Danskin, John Kneeland, Louis Chevret and others helped load the bodies of the victims onto wagons and transport them to the Indian burial ground along the banks of the Mad River.
“Not a word was spoken by the Indians—not a sign of mental suffering given while they were unloading the bodies from the boats until the form of an aged woman was reached, the body of the wife of their old chief. Then their grief burst forth in the wildest form with frenzied wails and screams of human sorrow, which they seemed unable to control for a time. Throughout the long day of transferring their dead, they showed no resentment or blame of any kind toward their friends and ever after showed their appreciation of the kindness and sympathy offered them in their trouble. “ [Arcata Union obituary of Caroline Wright, Lucy’s daughter), transcript provided by Susie Van Kirk].
My guess is that Sarah Preston, John’s wife, provided this description for the obituary.
My husband, as I’ve mentioned, is Yurok, and when a family member dies and is buried in Orleans, the family digs and prepares the grave by hand. There is a great deal of important ceremony that takes place to ensure the departed is sent off to the next life with love and care.
So many people died that day. Even if only the twenty-eight bodies that Gunther saw were taken to Union for burial, that is twenty-eight graves to dig. The equivalent of a classroom full of children .