Illegitimate children expose illicit relations (update 2020)

May 28, 2020
illegitimate-child-21

Image borrowed from this genealogy blog, original source unknown

I ran across this old post the other day, which I’ve always found interesting and pretty tragic in its ramifications ….

Researching Lucy has given me an opportunity to learn many, many things about our history, including the court’s attitude toward illegitimate children in the early 1900s.

The following came from the Superior Court of California (County of Humboldt) probate record for Charles Mulberg (Lucy’s son) , who died “on or about March 23, 1928″.

…Inheritance in all other cases is eliminated on account of public policy founded upon a moral reason.  If every illegitimate child could claim inheritance from his brothers and sisters, public scandal would be placed upon the head of many otherwise decent and respectable citizens.  The legislature therefore evidently considered it a better policy to lessen public scandal and deny inheritance to an illegitimate, than to throw open the doors of public scandal and gossip, subject many persons to questionable ridicule and permit an illegitimate to expose the  illicit relations of his or her ancestors, merely for the purpose of sharing the estate of his parent’s kindred.   It therefore left the right of inheritance of an illegitimate to these cases where the parents themselves had exposed such illicit relations by admitting parentage. …

 Sucks for the poor children  whose fathers didn’t want to claim them.

2020 Note: I did find this interesting article on the history of child support in 18th and 19th century London (from the University of Cambridge) while looking for an image for this post… 

 


Enslaved in Humboldt

May 23, 2020
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

 


One of Many Lucys

October 8, 2015

 

I recently (finally) finished a story about Lucy Romero for the North Coast Journal. It is an important story and I am thankful to Thad Greenson, their editor, for working so long and patiently with me to get it done.

There is one point I failed to include though and so want to share it here. This is from a post I did years ago, but it is just as important to remember now…

In the western movie, Broken Trail  , there is a scene where Robert Duvall struggles to learn the names of five Chinese girls under his care.  They speak no English and growing frustrated, Duvall’s character points to each one in turn and names them, “One, Two, Three, Four… “.  The girls accept the names, because they have no choice.

The same thing happened here.  When the white settlers arrived, they re “named” the native people.  Smo-Wa became Henry Capell (he was from the village of Capell).  Corn-no-wish became Weichpec Oscar.  Zo-wish-wish, a Wiyot woman related to Lucy’s daughter, Annie, was also known as “Rose”.

Lucy, the woman I write about, was only one of many “Lucys”.

 


Illegitimate children expose illicit relations

August 30, 2011

Researching Lucy has given me an opportunity to learn many, many things about our history, including the court’s attitude toward illegitimate children in the early 1900s.   The following came from the Superior Court of California (County of Humboldt) probate record for Charles Mulberg (Lucy’s son) , who died “on or about March 23, 1928″.

Inheritance in all other cases is eliminated on account of public policy founded upon a moral reason.  If every illegitimate child could claim inheritance from his brothers and sisters, public scandal would be placed upon the head of many otherwise decent and respectable citizens.  The legislature therefore evidently considered it a better policy to lessen public scandal and deny inheritance to an illegitimate, than to throw open the doors of public scandal and gossip, subject many persons to questionable ridicule and permit an illegitimate to expose the  illicit relations of his or her ancestors, merely for the purpose of sharing the estate of his parent’s kindred.   It therefore left the right of inheritance of an illegitimate to these cases where the parents themselves had exposed such illicit relations by admitting parentage. …

 Sucks for the poor bastards (literally) whose parents didn’t want to claim them.

Now the Probate Record, which revealed much about Lucy and her children

Read the rest of this entry »


Founding of the Klamath (now Yurok) Indian Reservation, 1855

August 28, 2011
   

Klamath Modoc Indians, 1860

  
Hello everyone,
To those who enjoy regular posts I must apologize.  Work and … life have gotten the better of me lately.  Hopefully I’ll get back into regular postings.
I do want to keep on the thread/topic of Lucy and plan to continue discussing her limited options and the dangers she and her children faced during the settlement period.  The focus of the next (this) post was going to be the risks inherant to those on reservations but… but, as often happens with me, I’ve gotten distracted.  Sort of.
Looking through my notes regarding reservations I found the following, which discusses the founding of the Klamath (which is now the Yurok) Indian reservation.  It may be dry reading for some, but I chose not to edit any of it.
It was very surprising …. well, Please also be sure to catch the newspaper editor’s response to the founding of the reservation which follows the letters–his perspective is very different from how reservations are viewed today.
Klamath River Reserve.

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
Office of Indian Affairs, November 10, 1855.

SIR: Referring to your communication of the 8th of August last to the Acting Commissioner of Indian Affairs, advising him of the approval by the President of the United States of the recommendation of the Department that it was expedient to expend the money appropriated on the 3rd of March last for removing the Indians in California to two additional military reservations, I have the honor now to make the following report:

Read the rest of this entry »


Arcata Union Newspaper; various dates: 1895-1905

June 23, 2011

Visitor “Skippy” was generous enough to share the following as a comment after my post/photo of Arcata High  and (Skippy, I hope you understand that) I just didn’t want to risk anyone missing this great info…

Per Skippy:

Here’s some of the exciting Arcata news that these pictured high schoolers likely would have known about at the time. Arcata was a happening and progressive place:

“One of the large timbers on which the engine and dynamos for the Arcata Electric Light Works will be placed in position shortly was hauled Wednesday. One end was fastened to a pair of truck wheels and the other end dragged. It required three span of horses to drag it and then considerable difficulty was experienced in turning corners. Electricians Taylor and Littlefield are hard at work wiring the residence on the hill. About 500 lights have been put in up to date. The arc lights are ready and so soon as the incandescent dynamo arrives and is put in place Arcata will have her lights.” Read more about electricity in Arcata here

Advertisement: ‘”The Glorious 4th is coming so let the Eagle SCREAM and Old Glory FLUTTER to the Wind from the mast heads. Arcata Celebrates and Begins the Day’s festivities with a National Salute of 13 Guns at Sunrise. A Grand Procession will form at Armory Hall, at 9 o’clock in the following order: 1) The Arcata Cornet Band. 2) Co, B, 10th Inf. Bat., N. G. C. 3) Citizens on foot. 4) School Children in Floating Palace. 5) Officers of the Day in Carriages will parade though the principal streets, terminating on the plaza which will be beautifully decorated for the occasion. …’”

“Arcata has demonstrated the fact that a good (4th of July) celebration can be gotten up on short notice and carried to a successful issue in spite of the fact that almost every other place in the county had a celebration also. As early as Monday morning the decorating committee commenced delivering redwood trees around the plaza and up the principal streets … by Tuesday night the town looked like a miniature park. …The 4th opened with the firing of the national salute on the plaza … The first event of the day was the hose tournament … The Calithuptian parade from Alliance came into view … There were about 75 wheels in line and some very funny and original costumes were seen. The man who couldn’t keep his pedals caused much merriment as did also the man with the hay rope whiskers. After circling around the plaza they gathered around the bandstand where Grand Calithumpian Orator Tim Spaulding, addressed his motley followers. … After the noon intermission, the afternoon games and races were called. The first was a 6 mile, free for all, bicycle road race, beginning and ending on the plaza … Celebration Gossip: Everybody said those 2 little girls in the Calithumpian parade were “just too cute” and those 2 boys fooled lots of people including the Calithumpians themselves.”

See a similar parade on the plaza here

From “Special Notes: ‘”$25 Reward will be paid for information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of the party or parties that stole my chickens. We have in our midst a genuine chicken thief. Chickens come home to roost, and this thief will be caught, for I know you just as well as if I had caught you in the act, for you, like some other thieves, forgot to cover your tracks. … It is well known that I am a confirmed invalid and a party that would steal chickens from me, would steal acorns from a blind sow. I live in the Frances house, and my name is Peter McGeorge.’”

In the “Special Column” : ‘”For Rent — A nice six room, sunny cottage, two blocks west the plaza. Rent $5.50 per month, inquire of Gustave Muhlberg.”

Mulberg adopted Charles, Lucy’s son.  Read more about Charles here

“T. J. Crawford has accepted the agency of the Imperial ($105) and the Elliot ($85) Bicycles– and will have four new wheels up on the steamer to-day. Any prospective buyer may have use of wheel for one week, and if not satisfactory in every respect, have the privilege of returning the same. Mr. Crawford will sell on easy installments to reliable persons. Call and inspect the wheels at Crawford’s store.”

“Russell, the bicycle, horse and all around thief, was finally captured at the Jacoby Creek quarry last Saturday and Howell’s horse and Martin’s rifle and pistol recovered. He is now in jail in Eureka awaiting conviction and sentence. As well as being a first-class thief, he is a first-class liar. He denies, without blinking his eyes, that he was at Trinidad, or that he robbed Martin’s cabin or stole Howell’s horse.”

See cool bikes here

Advertisement: “Back Again From Europe! By the solicitation of many friends and patients, Dr. H. Ehrlich the Eminent Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeon From Berlin, Germany, will make his next visit to Arcata, Tuesday, April 25th, Union Hotel, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., One Day Only and return once a month. Do you want that Catarrh cured? Do you want that Deafness cured? Do you want to see with those Weak, Watry, Dim Eyes? If so, go and consult Dr. Ehrlich this trip.”

</b “Advertisement: Customers should bear in mind that with every purchase made by a lady amounting to $1 or over, she receives a high grade toilet article free. And every school child, with a purchase of a pair of shoes, receives a valuable and instructive pocket encyclopedia. Humboldt Manufacturing Co.”

Front page news: “Arcata not only has a fine natural park now, but a beautiful picnic ground as well, and the number of spirited men and women who helped to make Park Day a success may well be proud of their efforts… Men were seen wending their way up towards the park carrying axes, brush hooks, mattocks and other tools, and by the middle of the forenoon, a considerable clearing was the result, and brush fires were burning in every direction … People were surprised at the extent of the level land available for a ground, there being about 5 acres in one piece. Just above this is a sort of bench, making an ideal place for a band platform. The place where the dance platform will probably be located is level, without stumps … Several trees suitable for hanging swings were left, and when the work is completed, as fine a picnic ground as can be found in the country will be seen. …”

(Arcata Union Newspaper; various dates: 1895-1905)

THANK YOU SKIPPY.  THIS WAS AWESOME !


A deadly “cold”

February 5, 2010

I’ve  been having a lot of fun with this blog lately.  I LOVE finding random historical stuff to share and the great, encouraging feedback I get (thanks, everyone!)

 That said, every once in a while I need to return to why I created this site in the first place.   Learning about Lucy’s murder and the “settlement period” of Humboldt County (1850s and 1860s)  opened my eyes an inportant aspect of our community’s history. One that I believe is too often ignored or swept away.

The rugged isolation of our northcoast region protected the Native Americans living here long after the rest of the state had been settled by the Spanish, and the missions dominated the landscape and altered indigenous life forever. 

Unfortunately, the discovery of gold, and a desire for a faster, easier routes to the inland gold mines brought an end to Humboldt County’s isolation.  White settlers came into the area and began competing for resources,

 And women.

Out-armed and unprepared, the indigenous people were soon dominated by the whites. Most that didn’t surrender, died.  There were a few, however, that resisted the white’s incursion on their ancestral land and were successful for a time.  One was “Chief Lassik”,

(From an earlier post)

One website,   quoting  Genocide and Vendetta, says:

  • Further north in Humboldt County there was widespread resistance. One of the most active was Chief Lassik’s band, which succeeded in driving the settlers out of their territory in southeastern and southwestern Humboldt County. Chief Lassik and his band were captured in 1862, but were able to escape from the Smith River Reservation. After escaping, he headed south along the Klamath River and “stirred up discontent and revengeful feelings.” Although Chief Lassik was finally caught and killed in 1863, for over one year he was able to carry on a campaign of resistance against the settlers.

 

I’ve been looking through old newspapers lately, and just ran across the following regarding the demise of Chief Lassik, which is in sharp contrast to his niece’s recollection, which I’ll repost after this “official” newspaper report.  Yeah, I know it was “war”, but that doesn’t make learning about it any easier.

Humboldt Times, 23 January 1863– “It is pretty well know that an inveterate hatred exists between that portion of the Wylackie tribe … known as the “Gun Indians” and the whites living in the valleys living and canons north of here.  A few days since, a number of them, including Lasseck, then chief, ere captured by teh whites, and taken to Fort Seward. From then they attempted to take them to the Reservation–to Round Valley, we prsume–but “on the way they took cold and died.”  This, at least, is the way we get the word.  But knowing,m as we do, the animosity existing between these Indians and the whites inhabiting the region of the Humboldt mail route, and the numerous depredatiknos supposed to have been committed by them, we susepct the “cold” they died with was mainly cold lead.–Quoting the Mendocino Herald.

We have received a letter from Fort Seward corraborating the above intelligence.  Five of Lassux’ band died with the same kind of “cold” as himself.  As the alternative is now Smith River, or Round Valley, we are under the impression that Superintendent Handon will not be under the necessity of squandering any more of the “small pittance” allowed him by the Government in removing Indians from this county to eighter of the above named Reservations.  Unless Government provided other quarters, this “cold” epidemic will rage fearfully among Indians that fall in to the hands of citizens, if not the soldiers. 

As a little girl, Lucy Young, Lassik’s niece, witnessed and  later told the story of her uncle’s death.

At last I come home. Mother at Fort Seward. Before I get there, I see big fire in lots down timber and treetops. Same time awful funny smell. T think someone get lots of wood.

I go on to house. Everybody crying. Mother tell me, “All our men killed now.” She say white men there, others come from Round Valley, Humboldt County too, kill our old uncle, Chief Lassic, and all other men.

Stood up about forty Inyan in a row with rope around neck. “What’s this for?” Chief Lassic say. “To hang you dirty dogs,” white men tell it. “Hanging, that’s dogs death,” Chief Lassic say. “We done nothing to be hung for. Must die, shoot us.”

So they shoot. All our men. Then build fire with wood and brush. Inyan been cut for days. Never know it their own funeral fire they fix. Build big fire, burn all them bodies. That’s funny smell I smell before I get to house. Make hair raise on back of my neck. Make sick stomach too.