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”.

 


Little Known History of Slavery in California

January 22, 2013
Child captives (who became child slaves)

Child captives (who became child slaves)

I was honored recently to be able to participate in the TedX Eureka  event where I presented on the History of Slavery (indenture) in California. That video is now posted on youtube:

Link to TedX Video

If you would like me to give a presentation similar to that in the video to your civic group or classroom, please email me at lynette.mullen@gmail.com.  

It is not pleasant history, but it is important and has been lost and forgotten too many times.

~Lynette


Killing babies should haunt you forever

August 5, 2011

Continued from Previous Post

Indian children faced risks when living in white households as servants, but staying in villages with their families was even more dangerous.

The other day  I went wandering (in my car, so not as primitive as it sounds, but still pretty great) onto the Wildcat and into Petrolia  ( a tiny northern California coastal town for those who are unfamiliar), where I found the Pioneer Cemetery.

I really had little thought of posts for my blog until after I’d followed a road,

Road to Petrolia Cemetery

  Read the rest of this entry »


Lucy’s Children

July 27, 2011

After finding the inquest,  I became compelled to learn more about Lucy and began hunting for information where ever I could find it.  Fortunately members of the Preston family wrote a book about their history and included information about Lucy…  

From The Preston/Lindsey Trail, 1995 ( Rosaline Preston and Carol Huber) [A copy of this book is in the Humboldt Historical Society]

page 105

“The eldest girl was named Carrie and the old pioneers Bowls raised her. She married and came to Blue Lake about six years ago, where she died.”

“The other girl was named Annie and my father and mother Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Preston, took her to raise and she grew womanhood with my father’s family and when she was about nineteen years old she was married to a man by the name of James … at my father’s ranch, known as Blue Slide, in 1876, by L Foster. Soon after Annie and her husband move to Covelo, Mendocino County. Some time ago Mr. … died and Annie married a man by the name of Arthur … and they were living at Covelo the last time I heard from them.”

“Some stories told of only one baby surviving the massacre, others of two or three but actually there were several survivors who stayed hid for fear of also being killed. The three children that were known about were two sisters and a brother. In an article in the Arcata Union, 12 Apr 1928, under the title of “Pioneer Makes A Correction” Mrs. Sarah Jane Preston Bates tried to clarify some of the confusion after the death of Charles Muhlberg when his obituary said he was the lone survivor of the island massacre. She says the obituary was not entirely correct as the Indian mother was found murdered in a cabin which stood on the old Preston ranch north of Arcata, about where the Twin Park building addition is now located. The Preston family took one of the three children, a girl, which they named Annie Preston and raised’

1928, March AU (29 March 1928) Death Recalls Tragic Incident-Charles Muhlberg, a painter and paper’ hanger, who has made his home in Arcata and Blue Lake for many years past, died at a hospital in Eureka Thursday from heart trouble from which he had been suffering for some time past.

Muhlberg was born in Arcata in 1860 and was 68 years of age. His mother was an Indian woman and from Mrs. Marie Todd, one of our early day pioneers, is learned a tragic incident connected with his childhood. The mother lived in a small cabin on the edge of the old Preston ranch which is now Twin Parks Addition, north of town, with three small children, two girls and an eight months old infant son, who was Charles. The mother was found murdered in the cabin, Charles being at her breast. Gustav Muhlberg took the boy and girl to raise, the other daughter being taken into the home of the pioneer Bowles family. Who killed the mother always remained a mystery.

One of the sisters grew to womanhood and became the wife of Jack Wright, passing away some years ago. As near as can be learned, a half sister, whose name was Mrs. Minnie … survives, her last known address being Sacramento. A niece whose first name was Emily, at one time lived in San Francisco.

The funeral was held from the Dolson-Devlin Funeral Parlors on Monday afternoon, Rev. C.P. Hessel officiating


Training for “the enemy”

July 29, 2010

Historic Church in Santa Barbara

A few years ago I watched the movie Jarhead and while I’m sure there was drama and suspense, the thing I remember most was the waiting.  Soldiers preparing and waiting.  Training and waiting.  Anticipating  and waiting while nothing happened. 

Here   is a synopsis of the movie 

 Jarhead (the self-imposed moniker of the Marines) follows Swoff (Gyllenhaal) from a sobering stint in boot camp to active duty, where he sports a sniper rifle through Middle East deserts that provide no cover from the heat or Iraqi soldiers. Swoff and his fellow Marines sustain themselves with sardonic humanity and wicked comedy on blazing desert fields in a country they don’t understand against an enemy they can’t see for a cause they don’t fully grasp.  

 which doesn’t really give you a feel for that whole waiting thing, but offers a great segue into another good point.  Often soldiers are trained to fight whatever. You know,  “the enemy”. 

Read the rest of this entry »


Soldier on his way to Humboldt in 1862

July 28, 2010

Several months ago I began a series of posts about the murder of an early Humboldt settler, James Casebeer

Part 1

 Part 2

Part 3

But it was as I was working on the fourth post that I realized I’d forgotten something.  I’d gotten so caught up in the drama of the lynchings of the murder suspects that I’d forgotten Casebeer entirely.

It was then that I decided to back up and more thoroughly examine the bigger picture.  Who were ALL the people sharing the Northcoast during those early years?

 I had looked at the hopeful homesteaders, like Sarah Royce and her family ( here and here)

And the renegades with little regard for human decency here

But the naïve gold miners also needed to be considered… here

There were also the soldiers , sent to Northern California to protect the settlers during the “Indian wars”.

Civil War Soldiers posing in front of Sibley Tent

James Brown  was  a soldier stationed here in 1862 & 1863.  He kept a diary of his experiences, which provides rare details about his journey to Fort Humboldt and his experiences with the other soldiers, the community and the natives he came to “hunt”.

Read the rest of this entry »


Lynching in Eureka

February 24, 2010

On Sunday my husband and I attended the annual Humboldt Historical Society Luncheon, and in a silent auction I “won” a series of books written by Peter Palmquist and Lincoln Killian.  The books focus on the history of local photographers, and though I’d seen them before, I  hadn’t realized they also contained a lot of great local history.  Great, well written, local history.   This sounds terrible, but I figured they weren’t written by Palmquist and on a hunch, I successfully tracked down the co-author, Lincoln Killian.   Killian had, indeed, written most of the text for the series.

We chatted for a while, and as I always do, I shared the story of Lucy.  He remarked, rather surprised, that he hadn’t heard the story before (though he worked in the HSU library’s Humboldt Room and spent years steeped in local history).  He said that it was important to share the stories that no one knows…

Which got me thinking.  And thinking… And thinking. 

I work with a lot of clients doing marketing and public relations projects and last night I attended a workshop on Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) so that I could do more in that realm for my clients. I did pay attention (at least some of the time), but mostly I thought about the murder of James Casebeer and the lynch mob killing of the two Indians accused of the murder.  Two Indians named Jack.  I realized that I need to tell their story and I will start by doing it here.


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.

 


Humboldt wasn’t the only county with problems

September 21, 2009
Condition of S.F. Jail, 1862

Condition of S.F. Jail, 1862

I ran across this report last night and couldn’t resist sharing.  Some communities in Humboldt County used a tree   to contain their prisoners and San Francisco got creative and built a tunnel–not that it worked that well, apparently.

Elsewhere in the report, the San Francisco Sheriff laments that he has less than forty officers for a city of 80,000, making it impossible for him to keep order.  Especially, he stressed , in a gold rush town where passions ran high and everyone was armed.  You gotta feel for the guy.