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

Murder that began an obsession

July 24, 2011

I was “talking” with a friend over email today about how frustrating it can be when folks have historical information and don’t share.  

Fortunately it only took me a few minutes to realize what a hypocrite I am.

I started this blog, and my obsession with our local history, because I found the record of an inquest that occurred after a Native American woman was brutally murdered in our county in 1862.

And while I’ve shared some of the details of Lucy’s murder  and the stranger-than-fiction fact that I found her son’s 1928 obituary on the wall of our new (very old) house two years AFTER I found the transcript,   I’ve never posted the transcript itself.  Perhaps because of my (maybe never to be realized) desire to write a book.  To tell Lucy’s whole story.  Whatever.  I have yet to write a book.  And may get hit by a bus tomorrow.

 And so here is the transcript.

There may be typos (ignore ‘em please).  There will also be some weird grammatical errors as the handwritten record is difficult to read in places but I wanted to keep my transcription as true to the original document as possible.

 Today I’ll just post the whole document and hopefully over the next few weeks I’ll add what I’ve learned about Lucy and her children in the years since I discovered the transcript.


Humboldt County Courthouse

Transcript of microfilmed records of Inquisition  into Lucy’s Murder-Union, 1862                                                                

 12 January 1862

Murder of Squaw in Arcata

Lucy (Indian woman) Coroner Inquest held 15 to 17, January 1862.



Inquest held before Byron Deming Coroner of Humboldt on the 15th day of January 1862 to inquire as to the cause of death of an Indian woman found dead on the premises of John Preston in the Township of Union, County of Humboldt, State of California, Sunday morning, January 12th, 1862.

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