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.