Last White Man Killed by Indians

Drinkwater Grave, Bridgeville (Keat)

Fellow historian, Wes Keat,  took a drive out to Bridgeville and found this marker in their little cemetery.

Jessie Wheeler, whose family goes way back in Bridgeville,  assures me this grave is real (though the painted information is a more recent restoration).

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21 Responses to Last White Man Killed by Indians

  1. Fred says:

    Do you know of anyplace online I can find an account of how he got killed? Thanks in advance for your answer.

  2. olmanriver says:

    The last white man killed during the “Indian Wars” that I am aware was an unnamed soldier killed in April of 1869 in the vicinity of Larribee Creek. A party of three soldiers and some Indian allies cornered a group of “hostile” Indians in some brush. The unnamed soldier led a charge into the brush but was abandoned in the attack by his comrades and was easy prey for the “hostiles”.
    This was shortly after the attack on the widow Bowman and her six kids near Camp Grant.

    In the winter of 1868-9 and spring of ’69, Stephen Fleming, a veteran guide and Indian fighter, led volunteers into the mountains to clean out the last of the wild Indians. There is mention of him going after the band of Indians who had been responsible for murdering whites for the previous two years, perhaps Drinkwater was amongst those.

  3. olmanriver says:

    The term ‘clean out’ was the vernacular of the time, and I should have put it in quotes as well.

    And said “that I am aware of“, pardon me.

  4. “The last whiteman who was killed in Humboldt County in the Indian wars”. I would venture to guess that was not a fine dividing line between the killing, and civilization. Many more whites and Indians have been killed for racial reasons since then. The reasons are a matter of degree. The following never happened in Humboldt, but it is an example of the kind of things that happened for years after “The west was won”.

    “A scuffle followed and something considered unforgivable by the Indian was shouted at him by the white boy. Fox, who had never been known to harm anyone up to that time, pulled out a pistol and shot the boy between the eyes.”

    Fox, an Indian, was convicted of murder, but apparently the people of Laytonville agreed with Fox Burns. They campaigned to get him assigned to the Laytonville road crew as a “trustee”. They also campaigned for his early release. Which also happened. He died as a very old man in Laytonville. No matter what you say about Fox, somebody else has a different story. He was our local Robin Hood.

  5. Sorry about the date, this happened in the late 1800’s(?)

  6. olmanriver says:

    Despite no clues to lead me there, I read this post of “Last white man killed by Indians” as implying “during the Indian wars” of the 1850-1860’s.
    Clearly other killings have continued through present times if we take a wider reading of the title of the post.

    • Lynette M says:

      I have to agree w/ ‘river’s interpretation of the marker.
      I assumed it was referring to the Indian Wars as well.

  7. bonnieg says:

    PIONEER DAYS IN HUMBOLDT by JOHN CARR 1891 page 310
    “Captain Fleming followed the Indian trail to Big Laribee Creek, where a fight occurred with the Indians. The Indians retreated, and the volunteers followed their trail by blood. On the south slope of Chalk Mountain, and near the place where the house of J. W. Maxwell now stands, Josiah Drinkwater received a shot from a wounded Indian lying behind a log, on the 26th of November, Drinkwater was mortally wounded. The company carried him to the house of Silas Hoglan on the Van Duzen, where he died on the 28th of November, 1868.”
    “This was the last raid made, and the last of the Indian troubles in Humboldt and Trinity counties.”
    “The author is indebted to John Francis and Henry Feenaty, both of Hydesville, for the names of the men who composed Captain Fleming’s company and the date of the occurrence.”

    • Lynette M says:

      Oh Bonnie, this is so great.
      I just love how all the visitors contribute such great info.
      Makes this blog so enjoyable….

  8. olmanriver says:

    Nice find bonnieg! And thanks for the tip on a book title that I haven’t read yet.

  9. skippy says:

    Thanks for the picture, Wes, and comments by friends Ernie, Fred, Lynette, olmanriver, and bonnieg.

    The book by John Carr boonieg mentioned is “Pioneer Days in California” was published in Eureka, Ca., in 1891 by Times Printing. It’s an interesting read and the reprint to will be very costly, but you can
    read it for free here. As bonnieg mentioned, it’s on page 310.

    Another book you might enjoy is Anthony J. Bledsoe’s Indian Wars of the Northwest (San Francisco, 1885; the bookplate is inscribed ‘Eureka’) which contans the same account around page 198. This book is a fascinating read of the Humboldt/Trinity battles which are seldom heard. Again, the reprinted book is very costly but you’re in luck, it can be
    read for free here, too.

    Happy reading– yours truly hopes this helps with some resources. Be forewarned, once you start these books, it’s hard to put them down. They are fascinating.

    peace… skippy

    • Lynette M says:

      These are awesome, AWESOME links. Thanks so much for sharing !

      • skippy says:

        Thank you, Lynette. My appreciation goes out to you and this wonderful site you’ve created. I enjoy reading the history and comments by many of the folks. It’s a treasure. One of the rare beauties of our small community.

        • Lynette M says:

          Hey there,
          As you noted, the visitors are really what makes this site so much fun and such a great resource (for me too) .
          I so appreciate everyone’s generosity !

  10. olmanriver says:

    Thanks skippy for the online links. Those older histories often have details that some of the newer histories omitted. If you like those, Carranco and Beard’s Genocide and Vendetta should be on your reading list. They used Bledsoe extensively. Perhaps you already have read it.

    • Lynette M says:

      That is a great recommendation, ‘river, though that book can be challenging to find. I don’t suppose it is online also….?

      I think Loud’s Ethnography of the Wiyot is, though I don’t have the link handy.
      It also has a lot of great stories as well as maps of old sites, etc.

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