Forgot His First Love

October 27, 2010

(Maybe) Willie Childs (with Jim James) in her later years

The following newspaper excerpt came to me from SoHum historian Olmanriver.  Thanks, River ! 

“The Arcata Union” Arcata, California

Saturday, February 25, 1899


Willie Childs, an Indian woman, has laid claim to a half interest in the estate left by William Childs, a Humboldt pioneer. According to her complaint, her marital relations with Childs commenced at Trinidad in January 1855, & continued until January 1886, in which year Childs left Humboldt to return to his old home in Massachusetts where he had come into a fortune of $50,000, & where he had married Christina Childs, a white woman, to whom he transferred all his property, before the close of his earthly career. The deserted Indian woman claims that the property was transferred for the purpose of defrauding her of rights in the property & she asks the courts to declare that the white wife is entitled to only one half of the property so conveyed & that she is holding the other half in trust for the plaintiff. The suit only affects the property in Humboldt county. The estate consists of stock & ranches valued at $15,680 & about $3,000 for the personal property. The complaint was filed last Saturday, the action being entitled Willie Childs vs Christina Childs.

Per Olman:

I have read where it was very unusual for an Indian wife to get her white partner’s inheritance and that Fannie Briceland was a big groundbreaker in that regard down here [Southern Humboldt/Northern Mendocino] I think that was Mary Anderson’s insight…

Read the rest of this entry »