Enslaved in Humboldt

image.little upperlake girl.Hudson

Painting by Grace Hudson

Over the years I have shared a lot on this blog and in the community about Lucy Romero, a woman brutally murdered in Arcata in 1862.

Next month I teach a class through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Humboldt State University (OLLI at HSU)

This class focuses on Carrie, Lucy’s daughter, who was indentured, or legally enslaved, following her mother’s death. I spoke about Carrie at our fall Humboldt Bay History Symposium  but this class will allow me to take a deeper dive into Humboldt’s settlement period. I will talk about the culture and laws that allowed the practice of kidnapping and human trafficking to flourish in Northern California. I will also talk about the experiences of victims like Carrie. This is not an easy history to talk about . But it is an important one.

Please click here to enroll in the class


15 Responses to Enslaved in Humboldt

  1. Ani Knight says:

    Do you have much info about Squire Morrison in Bear River?

    • Lynette says:

      HI, That name is familiar but I don’t have any details about him.
      This class will mainly focus on Carrie but I would love to learn more about Morrison if you have any information.

  2. nanhum says:

    Does your talk include “Molly,” who was living in Augustus Jacoby’s household,and taken down to San Francisco when Jacoby and his daughter moved down there?

    • Lynette says:

      I have heard about Molly (I also read/heard somewhere that at one point she tried to run away- and that Jacoby also made her pregnant, but I don’t know that any of those things are true).
      I would love to hear anything you know…

      • nanhum says:

        It was not Jacoby who made her pregnant according to what I learned–it was someone else–in San Francisco. She was living somewhere else–not with Jacoby. And she murdered the baby. I got the story from the San Francisco papers. I wrote about it in my piece on Augustus Jacoby in the Humboldt Historian.

        • Lynette says:

          Oh, that’s horrible. If you have a copy of the story I would love to share it here. It is hard, but very important history…

  3. Nan says:

    This was from my story on Augustus Jacoby in the Spring 2012 issue of the Humboldt Historian.


    A Native American girl named Molly was living with the Jacoby family as a thirteen year old in 1860. She was apparently taken along to San Francisco with Jacoby and Bertha. The following notice was published in San Francisco in the summer of 1867.


    I HEREBY CAUTION ANY PERSON or persons from harboring or keeping an Indian girl, known by the name of “Molly” bearing tattoo marks upon her chin, nineteen years of age and quite stout, who is legally bound to me for a term of years. Any information of her whereabouts would be gladly received at the store of A. JACOBY & CO, corner of Commercial and Front streets, this city.
    A. Jacoby

    Three years later an article appeared in the San Francisco Bulletin.

    The Indian Infanticide

    Coroner Letterman convened an Inquest last evening in the case of the Indian girl Mary [Molly] Jacoby … Doctor S. R. Gerry, sworn — I am a physician and surgeon; was called to the house of Mr. Pollard, on Lombard Street, on September 24th, to an Indian girl who was said to have delivered of a child; my attention was directed by Mrs. Pollard to a bundle, which upon investigation, was found to contain the dead body of a child, apparently just born … the wound was sufficient to produce death … I examined the girl; found her in bed; asked her when she had killed her baby; she said in the morning; it was a male child. I asked her why she had killed her child; she owned having done so … She appeared to be perfectly sensible … there was no blood on her hands.

    Germania Pollard was then called. She testifies that she resides at No. 514 Lombard Street, and that Mary Jacoby was a servant girl in her house. The witness described in detail the circumstances connected with the birth of the child … When witness suspected that a child had been born she consulted with her brother, who examined a bundle of clothes in the woman’s room … Mary then acknowledged the birth of the child … The further examination of the case was postponed until 7 o’clock this evening.

    In 1871, the San Francisco correspondent for the Humboldt County West Coast Signal reported:

    Mary, an Indian girl raised in the family of A Jacoby, an old & much respected citizen of Humb. Co, was arraigned last week in the Co. Court, charged with the crime of infanticide. While working as a servant in a family on Greene Street [sic], gave birth to a male child & cut his throat.”

    I was not able to locate anything else on this story–whatever became of Molly. Likely went to prison.

    • Lynette says:

      HI, I realized I would like to mention Molly in my class Thursday- just to talk about the desperate situations these children eventually found themselves in…. and want to credit you for finding the information. How would you like me to do it?

      • nanhum says:

        Well, site the article, and as best I can recall, I first knew of Molly by the census records when the Jacobys lived in Arcata. Then I searched San Francisco papers for information on Augustus and Bertha, his daughter (his wife Elizabeth, died which precipitated their leaving the area). That is when I found the ad that he was looking for her and then the articles about the murder.
        Of course, I could find nothing on whatever became of Molly–the dispensation of her murder case. It has been many years since I looked, perhaps new articles are now online.

  4. Joshua forman says:

    Wow good story, of a particularly bad situation. Humboldt has many ghost storys that are hard to come to light. Thank you for this

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