While digging through the books in the county library, oh, probably 2 years ago, I ran across Blaxine, Halfbreed Girl, published by Garberville resident Margaret Cobb in 1910.
It’s been awhile since I’ve read the book, but here is the “gist”:
A young man, Stanley Carwood (I just double checked the name) moves to small, isolated Sargent Valley to board in the Sargent house and teach at the Sargent School. Living in the house are Sargent’s young , sweet white wife and four “half-breed” children, that Sergeant claims as his . The children have different Native mothers and Sargent and the white wife are raising them. The mothers (except the one killed by another mother/squaw) live in a nearby Indian village and stay involved, to one degree or another, in their children’s and Sargent’s lives.
“Carwood” predictably falls in love with one of Sargent’s daughters, drama ensues, and all eventually ends with… well, e-mail me if you want to know the ending, otherwise I’ll let you read it yourself.
The thing that struck me, though, and the point of this post, is that Cobb’s “fictional” story didn’t feel like fiction. The multiple Indian mistresses/wives in the background, the innocent, lovable white wife… it all felt too real. And when I accidently ran across the census records for Alfred Sherwood, something clicked. Sherwood “founded” Sherwood Valley, just northwest of Willits, in the 1850s.
In 1860, Sherwood was living withhis son, a 3 year old half-Native boy, Robert. There is no woman in the house.