The murder that began an obsession…

Lately I’ve had folks ask me why I’ve started this blog, and thought it might be good to repost my little “story” for those who missed it before.

 A few years ago I was combing the basement of the county courthouse looking for old records and ran across the copy of an inquest that occurred after an Indian woman was murdered in Arcata in 1862. She was blind, her children were with her, and the murderers used a hatchet to do the job.  Oh, and she was warned she was in danger and chose to stay in Arcata anyway  because she thought her kids would have a better chance of surviving if she was killed here… Crazy stuff that got me fascinated with her and obsessed with learning her story…

I started researching the “settlement period” of Humboldt county and learned so much I’d had no clue about, even though I’d grown up here.  Things like California made it legal to “indenture” (pretty word for legally inslave) Native Americans in the 1850s and 1860s.  That Humboldt County was infamous for our human traffickers who kidnapped and sold Indian children.   That Eureka was once dubbed “Murderville” by those in San Francisco because of the blatent atrocities that happened here against the natives.

I also kept learning about the murdered woman, called Lucy.  I tracked some of her descendants and kept trying to write something, anything,  about her.

So I was still working on Lucy’s story on and off when we moved to an old farmhouse in Blue Lake about a year and a half ago.  I was upstairs waiting for a house inspector, and among the old newspapers used to insulate the walls I found the obituary of Lucy’s son, dated 1928. It describes his mother’s murder.

So, Lucy’s ghost was giving me a poke and I’ve gotten back into it. I am working on an article about Lucy for the Humbodlt Historian and will figure out where to go with it after that. In the mean time, all these stories I’ve found about that time period are in my head and I want to share them.  I think it is important that people know the history here… it wasn’t that far back and if you talk with Native Americans , you’ll find the effects of previous oppression (and aggression) still ripple through the community.

I also want people to know about Lucy, that she existed. That she was courageous and her courage probably saved her children’s lives.   So many natives died here and we’ll never even know their names.    I hope to honor them through the story of Lucy.

10 Responses to The murder that began an obsession…

  1. Kathy says:

    I have always found our conversations about Lucy compelling. There is a feeling of immediacy and urgency in the energy around Lucy. Your continual and sometimes miraculous unfolding of the events and times of her life adds to the intrigue. I have felt it and it has always stayed with me.
    The stories Mr. Hart did not write are now yours?
    “So many natives died here and we’ll never even know their names.” Sad, true, brutal.

  2. […] doesn’t help that ghosts seem to want the stories told and keep dropping little hints like […]

  3. […] Charles’ obituary on my wall upstairs is a good example.    That can’t be easily explained… and if I did the math and calculated the odds… how many local papers have been printed in the last 100 years (because though Charles’ obit was published in 1928, the papers on the wall up there date from 1908—and some of those are from Canada).   We’re talking crazy odds, inexplicable odds. […]

  4. labbless says:

    This theme is simply matchless :), it is interesting to me)))

    • lynette77 says:

      I’m glad you’re finding something to interest you.
      My “holiday break” is coming to an end, and I’ll be posting more info starting tomorrow…

  5. […] once in a while I need to return to why I created this site in the first place.   Learning about Lucy’s murder and the “settlement period” of Humboldt County (1850s and 1860s)  opened my eyes an […]

  6. […] chatted for a while, and as I always do, I shared the story of Lucy.  He remarked, rather surprised, that he hadn’t heard the story before (though he worked in the […]

  7. […] I discovered the copy of the inquest that occurred after the lynching of  two Indians at the same time I discovered Lucy’s inquest.  […]

  8. […] some of the details of Lucy’s murder  and the stranger-than-fiction fact that I found her son’s 1928 obituary on the wall of our new (very old) house two years AFTER I found the transcript,   I’ve never posted the transcript itself.  Perhaps […]

  9. […] that village were killed…  I may enjoy the tangents, but the original driver for this blog, the murder that began an obsession.  is never far from my thoughts. Like this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

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