There was a California census taken in the summer of 1852. At that time there was no Humboldt County and so folks here were enumerated in the Trinity County census.
The information reported to the state legislature was:
The number of females noted neglects to count the number of Native American women that were in this area when the whites came in. I would like to think that at least some of the early (male) settlers missed, and wanted, more domestic lives (and not just sex), and these numbers help to explain (to a limited extent) why so many became “squawmen”.
Though taking a native “wife” was not uncommon in the early years of the settlement period, it was also not widely accepted by the wider population, as this short article, like many others, shows…
1859, Dec. , Humboldt Times, DUEL Indians MATTOLE. … The duel occurred between a Mr. Lafferty and his brother-in-law. The social positions of the parties is about equal, one of them being an Indian, and the other , though claiming to be white, lives with the Indian’s sister. They were both wounded at the first fire, after which a reconciliation was brought about by the sister. Unfortunately their wounds are not considered dangerous [emphasis mine].
Many squawmen didn’t care about public opinion, and at least a few, like “Duncan” of Eel River, legally married their wives. Unfortunately, many others came to regret their early relationships, and chose to hide them (or worse) instead.
To be continued…