Pay attention, damn it.

I am fortunate enough to live on Glendale Dr. (near Blue Lake) about 1/4 mile from the foot of Liscom Hill.  Liscom Hill Road goes up about three miles before turning into a private road at the old Ford Ranch, where there is an amazing view of the ocean.  I walk up a little, or a lot, of the road depending on the weather and the time I have.  The road follows the old trail to Hoopa and thoughts of others who’ve gone before me always keeps it interesting.

The other day I had some time on my hand and a break in the rain and so I went.   About a mile and half up I heard a crunch in the woods and turned to see an elk looking at me.  I said “hello” and about five other heads popped up not twenty feet from where I stood.  I said hello again and started a mild stampede away from me (which was good because some of the bulls had very big horns), and was amazed to see at least twenty other elk nearby.  If I hadn’t heard the one, I might have passed them by completely, never aware that they were there.

Which is my point.  There are so many things in this world that we don’t, or won’t see.  Regular things, but magical things, too, that surround us.

I have posted (and talked) often of Lucy, a Native American woman murdered in Arcata in 1862, and in my stories, I always try to include my discovery of  her son, Charles’ , obituary in our house.

I’ve recently, with a lot of help from Humboldt Historian editor Suzanne Forsyth, completed an article about Lucy Romero for the Spring 2010 edition of the Historian.  In the article we’re including the story of finding Charles’ obituary in my house,  along with a photo of the clipping.

The thing is, I hadn’t looked at that obituary for a long time.  It is upstairs in a room used for storage  and I covered it to protect it, probably over a year ago… and hadn’t seen it since.  And sometimes, I must admit, I feared it wasn’t there at all.  That I imagined the whole thing as some sub-conscious push to keep working on Lucy’s story.

So it was with more than a little trepidation that I walked upstairs the other day to take a photo of the obituary to go with the article for the Historian.

It is there.  Placed on my wall some 66 years after Lucy’s murder, to be found two years after I learned about Lucy.   The odds…. I can’t calculate the odds of this being so.  Yet is is.  There is magic all around us folks.  Ghosts whisper in the creaking of old floor boards, in the rustling leaves.  There are stories, too.  Just waiting to be heard. 

Charles was Lucy Romero's son

8 Responses to Pay attention, damn it.

  1. Randy says:

    Lynette, check out this link to a Google book that I found – and you can read the whole book on line. It discusses some of the topics we touched on and also includes the names of some people of interest in relation to indenture

    • lynette77 says:

      Ah, this is great. I actually have the hard copy of Bledsoe’s Indian Wars, but haven’t looked at it for at least a couple of years. The online doc will be much easier to search through.

      Were you able to find the list of indentures? I do think at least some folks indentured their servants to save them from being exiled to a reservation, where conditions were bleak. Others, of course, just wanted to hold onto their labor…

      • Randy says:

        I found Norton’s list of indentures. I also searched an archive at the Humboldt Room which was based largely on the 1860 census. While a lot of the names correlate with the census, there’s a number of names which aren’t on the census list, such as one of Augustus Jacoby’s indentured servants. Pretty interesting stuff.

        • lynette77 says:

          I’ve cross referenced the indenture list to the census list, and then to newspaper articles about white/indian interaction and “indian hunters” , with some sad results. McDonald appears to have been quite a violent guy, who indentured “Fanny” and lived with her as his “wife” for years… Jack Mann didn’t officially indenture anyone, but you’ll find him w/ indians if you look at the census. Mann had many very public interactions w/ the indigenous people (search him on my blog and you’ll find some info).

          Re: Jacoby, another sad story I’ve heard, but not verified, is that his “servant” got pregnant ( by him) , tried to run away, and was retrieved.

          If there is anyone in particular you’d like me to look into, let me know.

          I’ve also got some books on related topics you might find interesting. Contact me when you’ve got the time and we’ll figure out a way to get ’em to you.


  2. Randy says:

    Guess it would help if I included the link!

    also check out this PDF file “Early California Law and Policies Relating to California Indians” at Worldcat. Pg.8 through 10 includes text from actual indenture docs and other info. Although they are from Sacramento, they give a nice idea of what the Humboldt docs must have been like.

    Have a good day!

  3. Nan Abrams says:

    I have been researching some of the early Humboldt pioneers and am currently working on Augustus Jacoby. I can feel very certain this story about him getting the girl pregnant is not correct. (If someone has some evidence to support this, I would sure like them to share it.) However, a San Francisco newspaper story about the Indian woman who had been living with the Jacobys notes that she was living with a family in San Francisco. She was arrested for infanticide, murdering her child. This information can be found in the Suzie Baker Fountain Papers. (My guess is that the pregnancy was from someone in the family she was living with.)

    • lynette77 says:

      Hi Nan,
      I recently found that article about the girl that was raised by the Jacobys–and I think you’re right. The timing doesn’t work….

      The story is tragic, though, and graphically illustrates how powerless many of these girls/women were. I am so glad you are working on this topic. I am going to post your other comment as my post today… Thanks for visiting !

  4. […] Mulberg adopted Charles, Lucy’s son.  Read more about Charles here […]

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