Monday, March 30, 2009

Bullshistory Vindicated!

Well, I’m a happy man this morning. Nothing can bring you happiness like vindication. When I started the last two posts on the Ghost Dance, and Fox Burns, I was hesitant to mention all that I knew about the two stories, or should I say “I thought that I knew”.

The first thing that I never do is take a newspaper or a book as “Fact”. Reporters often get things wrong, or inadvertently lead you in the wrong direction. Thank-God (Yeah, I know, I’m an agnostic.) for people like Ben, Kym, Spyrock, Olmanriver, and Anonymous, for keeping things in prospective and leading the story in the right direction. And, oh yeah, thank God for Suzy Blah Blah, who can add new depth to almost any conversation.

Also thank god for people like Kate Mayo, who didn’t get all things right, but at least she got them onto paper and provided us with “Pioneering in the Shadow of the Cahto Mountain”. Her book has become a family treasure to many of us Layton-villains (spelling correct). On the Bowman story that I got wrong, I was going from memory of the things that I have heard. My Kate Mayo book has become a stack of loose leaves, that I hold together with a rubber band when I’m not referring to it, but on page 22 it states about Elisa Bowman, that “They settled on 160 acres of rich bottomland and timberland near Hydesville on the main Eel River.” Now that I read it, the description is of Camp Grant, Hydesville is not even on the main Eel. Thanks to Ben for making that right for me.

The Bowman and Fox Burns story was finally brought together for me out of tid-bits of Bullshistory and actual fact. Thanks to “Joan” who recently wrote to me about the Bowmans, and provided me with a shocking discovery that Fox Burns was not a local Indian. My mother said that he looked different than the local Indians. But thanks to Kym, Spyrock, (My new lifetime friend) and my cousin from Laytonville, Penny Branscomb Comer for pulling it all together for me.

I now know that Camp Grant was the homestead of Elisa Bowman. She was attacked by Indians, her home was burned, On March 25 1869. The date of my birthday some years later. Though gravely wounded, she was able to get herself and her kids to a neighbors house where they were able to defeat the Indians. Her son, Andy Bowman, ten years old was able to run for help. Elisa, and her family, moved to Laytonville. Andy became quite famous in the Laytonville area, he cut a wide swath in his lifetime, his life was that of legends. My cousin Penny has the complete story of the Elisa Bowman Indian attack.

The story of Fox Burns now make some sense to me. He was a survivor of the Bloody Run Massacre! The massacre probably happened in the late ‘60s to early 70s?? I’m still amazed at how little info can be found about that event. Fox was a baby traveling with a band of Marauding Modoc Indians. The Modocs killed Jackson Farleys breeding stallion. The local people chased them down and killed all but a few children that were adopted by the local people. Fox was the last of them to die. He was probably in his seventies or eighties when he died. He was a great and gentle man, and a friend Andy Bowman, and of my Grandmother Ruby Branscomb.

A special thanks to Kym and Olmanriver for all the leads and links!

I hesitated to say what I thought that I knew, but if everybody tells their stories, the truth rises to the top like sweet fresh cream, and I do love cream! Thankyou everybody.


omr said...

you were brave to get the conversation going to where we all could sort it out. that is called putting your ego aside to find the truth. admirable.

ps. here is book found in northcoast libraries i would like to have... Plants used by the Indians of Mendocino County, California.


Ernie Branscomb said...

Yep! Admirable Ernie of the Eel River fleet. Right up there Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines.

Anonymous said...

Is that your title as head of Ernie's Flying Pig Service? Admirable, Sir!

omr said...

chalk one up for the oral traditions of the branscomb tribe!

Ben said...

Ernie... You and Bunny have the same birth date, Happy Birthday!
I am uncertain of the location of your Bloody Run as there are a number of them. I'll go back and check your story. The Indians killed at the Horse Creek massacre were said to be Wailaki but the Yuki and the Wailaki were very close. The whites used Konkow men as mercenaries in the fight and the Konkow headman is said to have deeply regretted it.
OMR... Chesnut is a wonderful book. You can find it at the Mendocino County Museums in Willits and Ukiah. Highly recommended. Edith Van Allen Murphey wrote a nice little book (I forget the title) it has some Lucy Young stories in it as well. Available at the Museum. If you are not familiar with Lucy Young's Story, it is at, a fine local history site.

olmanriver said...

thanks ben. i have seen your fine articles and lucy's story there.
and i do want to spend a day or two in willits at that library, as this has been a rich vein of info to pursue, but one that leaves many questions.

Ben said...

OMR... The books are at the Museum gift shop. Don't take a lot of money as they have great stuff and you could wind up hitching home.. The really great Mendo library is the Heald-Poge in Ukiah, I have to admit I've never been there but one of these days.... They have weird hours.

Ernie Branscomb said...

"Ernie... You and Bunny have the same birth date, Happy Birthday!"

Yes Ben, we know. We have a tendency to go on a bit about that. We are the yin-and-yang of the Aries set. We seem to have the same goals, but if we were both to go to China, she would go to the left until she got there, and I would go to the right, but we always seem to want and get the same things. She gets there by "feeling" her way, where I would plot an exact scientific route. She would relax by inhaling a little medicine, where I would relax by watching the news and drinking a glass of beer. She would be pink, and I would be blue, but we would both be part of the same rainbow.

Bunny is a great friend and I admire her gentle way of telling me there is another way… But she is wrong, poor thing!

spyrock said...

i always seem to learn something new when ernie does this. i never really thought much about midwives although kate mayo says that my great great grandma was famous in the area because she believed in ironing everything that came in touch with the mother and child with a scorching hot iron and had great success because this was a form of sterilization. then i remembered a book i bought back in the early 70s written by ina mae gaskin about spiritual midwifery. i used to see her husband steve do a sunrise service in sutro park and a monday night class down near the cliff house. i took this book home with me and let a friends wife borrow it and about 5 years later i found out in the local newspaper that she had formed a local midwife group and all these ladies were having their babies at home.
then i started thinking about jackson farley and that he probably thought my great great grandfather was more interested in protecting the indians and taking them to the reservation than protecting his livestock and that they probably didn't get along very well. then i started thinking about johnny farley back in the 6th grade in cadet band at one of the local fairs being so interested in showing me how to make a secret pocket in my underwear. you know, the wedgie pocket. and then when i got stuck on his dads baseball team and they hardly ever let me play because i had been on a team that beat them in the playoffs the year before for the league championship. i never did anything to have enemies back in those days. so its kind of wierd to have a j. farley for an enemy when i was a kid. i always wondered what his problem was. maybe it was just dejavu all over again.

Indie said...

Great quote of the day: "the truth rises to the top like sweet fresh cream."

Wait you had a birthday? HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Mine was Sunday the 22nd, when was yours? It would make my day if we had the same birthday. Hope yours was lovely.

Indie said...

Oh, the 25th, well we're close. All my favorite people are Aries.

Unknown said...

Hi Ernie - Eliza moved from Sebastopol to her nephew's place in the Camp Grant area after her husband passed away. She and the kids lived in a house a few hundred yards from his more defensible home. After she was burned out, she wanted to go back and homestead on a beautiful place that she'd seen on the way up to Humboldt county - the "Bowman place" as we know it. By the way, that nephew, David Ward, had a half-brother (Charles Mitchell Ward) that married into your family (Mary Elizabeth Branscomb). If you're interested in more about the Wards, let me know.