Wednesday, September 23, 2009


It is strange how everything is all connected. When I try to find out about one thing, I run across so many other distractions on my search, that I don’t have room in my head to hold it all. Usually, I just poke something in my memory that says; “go back and check this out later.” and hopefully, I will remember to do that. Sometimes I remember much later, when I run across it again. Sometimes it becomes real handy that I know about something that happened, and I can go back and look it up. Other times it just becomes part of the mish-mash miasma that is my thought process.

More to the point, I started looking up shipwrecks on the north coast. I ran across at least two verified(?) wrecks of Spanish Galleons. One at Spanish Flat north of Shelter Cove and one at Gold Beach Oregon. The Galleon wreck at Spanish Flats comes with the story that the Spaniards mistreated the Indian people, and the Indians killed them. The Indians had some Spanish Gold that verified their story. The Twice-Told-Tale is that there was a treasure chest aboard the Galleon that the Indians hid. The tale goes on to say that a landslide buried it, and has never been found since. Many people have looked for it, but it has never been found.

The other Galleon wreck was at Gold Beach Oregon. They have been finding beeswax washed up on the beach for hundreds of years. Often they find some Chinese porcelain. Many people thought that it was a Chinese Junk that got blown off-course and into America. Kinda’ like my brain gets blown off course by too many interesting distractions.

Beeswax found at Gold Beach

The San Francisco Xavier was carrying some 75 tons of beeswax, representing at least 500 cakes, according to shipping records. Because a massive tsunami in January of 1700 would have sent earlier ship remains farther inland, a researcher on the team believes the Nehalem Bay beeswax is likely from the 1705 shipwreck.

What? There was a Tsunami In 1700? Is that the one that went over Trinidad Head? (Note to self, look this up, stick to shipwrecks)

From a lady named Phyllis who found the wax:

“Much of the wax was originally in blocks weighing about twenty pounds. The large quantity of the wax suggests that it was a shipment consigned to the Catholic missions for use in making images and candles”. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Spanish built hundreds of Catholic missions in their colonies in the Americas. The church required ritual candles to be made from 100% virgin beeswax. The pure wax symbolized Jesus’ flesh from a virgin mother. And unlike waxes made from animal fat or paraffin, beeswax was safe around paintings because it creates no soot. Since there were no honeybees in the Spanish colonies in the new world, beeswax was imported from the Spanish colony in the Philippines. If this is beeswax, I still don’t know what it was doing in the Northwest, where there were no Spanish colonies.

Well, I know what Spanish Galleons were doing in the Northwest. The Spanish were remarkably good sailors, and they had discovered the great Pacific Gyre. I know about the Gyre from the huge island of trash that has collected in the center of it. The winds and ocean currents swirl in a clockwise pattern that makes trash collect in the center. The Gyre has been there for centuries. The Spaniards knew about it, and they would sail up the East coast of China and Russia, then across the top of the Pacific Ocean, from west to east, after arriving at the north coast of America they would follow the wind and currents down to New Spain. (Mexico) That way they always had fair winds and a following sea. They were smart enough to avoid the center of the Gyre were they could become becalmed, and they could have just stayed there in the center of the Pacific ocean forever. Trapped in the center of the whirlpool. I'd bet that is were some of the old sailor superstitions about whirlpools came from. They knew about both the Atlantic and the Pacific Gyres.

The Spaniards had a fear of landing in the Northwest, because of the rugged coastline, the normally rough seas, and the fact that the Indians would burn the brush and timber. The fires scared the Spaniards, and they thought that surly it was the work of the Devil.

But. like Ben said, any Galleon on the north coast would be coming back from a trip to the Philippines, and China. So, it would have no Treasure on board. All of the American gold that they would be taking back to the Philippines would be shipped out to the south, and in a clockwise direction around the Great Pacific Gyre.
Click on map for larger photo of the North Pacific Gyre.
"there are over 20,000 species of bees in the world, but only 8 or 9 species of honeybees."

I had not thought about America at one time not having honeybees. I think that Robin told us about "Mud Bees" once. I knew that there were all kinds of bee species, but it just didn't occur to me that there was a time when America didn't have beeswax!

It makes sense that the Catholic Priests would need beeswax for their religious Ceremonies. As much sense as anything else that they did back then anyway. I'm not a cynic or anything (Yeah, right!) it's just that it seems like all of the harm and unfairness in the old world came from religion. Which brings me back to what I was talking about in the first place. The Conquistadors.

From Wikipedia:

The stated purposes of these conquests were equally to spread the word of God and to bring civilization to the most obscure parts of the world. It accomplished this goal with astounding ability, quickly expanding its borders far into other territories. On the contrary, the testimony of some indigenous peoples as well as some contemporary Spanish humanists, clergymen and other writers have presented the Spanish Conquest of Americas as a series of unfortunate and morally questionable acts driven by greed for gold and resulted in the destruction of several native civilizations. But the first group of conquistadores that came with Cortes went for the sole reason to find gold in the New World.
Historians have highlighted the short time required for the Spanish conquest of vast populations in the Americas. Exposure of these previously unexposed populations to European diseases caused many more fatalities than the wars themselves, and severely weakened the natives' social structures. The people in the Americas were not previously exposed to several European diseases which resulted in their much higher fatality rate than that of European populations. The diseases moved much faster than invading armies. When the Spanish conquistadores arrived in the Inca empire, a large portion of the population, including the emperor, had already been killed by a smallpox epidemic.
The Laws of Burgos, 1512-1513, were the first codified set of laws governing the behavior of Spanish settlers in America, particularly with regards to Native Americans. They forbade the maltreatment of natives, and endorsed their conversion to Catholicism. In the 16th century perhaps 240,000 Europeans entered American ports. By the late 16th century American silver accounted for one-fifth of Spain's total budget.

Other things that I discovered while looking for wrecked Galleons, was that Spain had already plundered and converted the Philippines. Most of the Pacific Galleons were made out of Philippine Mahogany. Spain was instrumental in moving species of plants and animals all over the world.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

More shipwrecks. The Frolic

One of the more famous shipwrecks along the north coast of California was the wreck of the Frolic. The ship wrecked just off the shore of the present day Point Cabrillo lighthouse, just south of Fort Brag. She wrecked at 9:30 on the night of July 25th 1850. The Ship was Sailing 6000 miles from China to the Port Of San Francisco with a cargo intended to supply the booming gold rush. According to the book “Through the Eyes of the Elders”, published by the Laytonville School, and Penny Branscomb Comer, Elder Project Coordinator, the ship was “loaded with Chinese porcelain, silk and other exquisite goods”.

The reason that the ship was wrecked on a crystal clear moonlit night was because the charts that they had were not that accurate. That, and the long trip from china put them about one hundred miles north of their destination. After sighting the California coast line, they mistook the fires that the Indians used for clearing the brush and grass for civilization. The flat point of land that is Point Cabrillo was hid by a bank of fog. Unaware that they were right on the shore, they were just about upon the rocks before they could change course. The ship hit a rock with her stern and hung up on the rock. The Captain, Edward Faucon, ordered the ship to be abandoned.

The sailors made their way to shore, some of the lifeboats were wrecked on the shoreline. They were unable to find anybody on shore, and they started making their way south. The Captain and a few sailors took a life boat and started rowing south. The remaining crew walked to Fort Ross. They eventually made it to San Francisco, and reported the loss of the Frolic.

The wreck is famous for a variety of reasons. The ship was one of the more famous of the ships back in those times. It was a “Baltimore Clipper”. Baltimore Clippers were designed to make long fast voyages, haul precious cargo, and most important of all, it was designed to outrun pirates. Another reason that it became famous is the ship did not sink right away, and the Indians were able to salvage the cargo. For many years evidence of the cargo showed up in the form of the local Indians being seen wearing fine silk and having china plates. Archaeological digs still find pottery and other artifacts from the wreck. Divers salvaged pieces of iron and other remains of the frolic for years. The museum at The Point Cabrillo Lighthouse has many pieces in their collection.

From The National Park Service:
”Her master, Captain Edward Horatio Faucon was the same man Richard Henry Dana admired and had made famous as the captain of the Pilgrim in his 1840 classic, Two Years Before the Mast.”

“Her hold was packed tightly with ornately decorated camphor trunks, fine-colored silks, shiny lacquered ware, tables with inset marble tops, gold filigree jewelry, 21,000 porcelain bowls, candied fruits, silver tinderboxes, a prefabricated two-room house with oyster shell windows, toothbrushes, mother-of-pearl gaming pieces, ivory napkin rings, horn checkers, tortoise shell combs, silk fans, and scores of nested brass weights used by San Francisco merchants to measure their goods. Everything was made in China except 6,109 bottles of Edinburgh ale, brought along to inspire thirsty California gold diggers. Of all the cargo, the ale had come the farthest, nearly two-thirds of the way around the globe.”

Part of the cargo was jars filled with candied kumquats. Those must have been a very welcome treat for the Indians of that time. In the area of the shipwreck, at the locations of old Indian housing sites, they have found porcelain shards as recently as 1984, . Strangely the artifacts that have been found are some of the few remains of the Gold Rush era. Had they not been lost in a shipwreck, they would not be with us today.

One of the things of note, was that the frolic was well known as an opium runner. Some accounts that I have read speculated that they also had a load of opium on board to be sold to the miners. The ship had rot in it's hull and the new steamships were being developed. Some speculate that the ship was scuttled for the insurance money.

Whatever the reason, the ship went on the rocks with a $150.000.00 cargo. The Indian people salvaged it. The must have been a very wealthy tribe for a while. They have found evidence, far and wide, of their trading of the cargo to other tribes. My cousin Penny tells a story about a little baby that died, and the baby was wrapped in the finest of red silk. It was speculated that the silk was from the Frolic. Maybe she will tell us the story...

My poor memory might have embelished the story a little bit. Anyway, Penny has a story about a baby and some shipwreck cloth.

Frolic Cannon
Found, The Wreck of the Frolic.
The Frolic, 1850

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Spinny-Weavy type alert!!

I wish that I had the time to take this in. Just to find out about primitive technology if nothing else. My wife and a friend of hers is going down Sunday. This is one of the finest fairs that you will ever attend. It's not your average, "If you've seen one, you've seen them all" fairs. It is truly unique.
The following is from the Ukiah Daily Journal:
Primitive Technology at the County Fair
The Mendocino County Fair and Apple Show opens Friday, and concurrently, the California Wool and Fiber Festival is held at the Boonville Fairgrounds, in the Commercial Building.
Considered one of the nation's premier fiber festivals, fair attendees have the opportunity to take classes and observe demonstrations by wool and fiber artists. Tamara Wilder- a "primitive technologist" and educator who has been teaching ancient living skills for the past 20 years, will be offering a class in knotted net making on Friday, from 1 to 4 p.m.
While attending UC Santa Cruz, Wilder met Steven Edholm, her life partner, who shared her interests and was deeply inspired by naturalist Eustace Conway - the subject of Elizabeth Gilbert's acclaimed biography, "The Last American Man."
The couple found a mentor in renowned ethnobotanist and basketmaker Margaret Mathewson, whose post-doctoral fellowship at the Smithsonian Institute focused on traditional western fiber arts. Through their association, Wilder and Edholm discovered primitive living skills and embarked upon their life's work.
"We were young and fortunate to be living on 300 acres of open land," explains Wilder, and because of their access to the wild, their skills grew exponentially. They began assisting at primitive living workshops.
Primitive technology consists of the first techniques used by humans to assist them with comfort and survival. Using materials found in their
environment, early humans developed skills which form the basis of modern life.
"People who lived 20 to 30 thousand years ago were virtually identical to us," explains Wilder. "We still have the same basic needs - air, water, food, shelter, clothing, energy or fire, and each other. The difference today is that we fulfill these needs by having others provide these resources for us."
Early peoples, says Wilder, would easily survive in today's world. When she teaches elementary school students, she asks what their chances of survival would be if they were teleported back to the Ice Age.
Wilder and Edholm traveled for many years and settled in Mendocino County in 1996. They became expert tanners and wrote what is considered the definitive book on home tanning entitled "Buckskin: The Ancient Art of Braintanning." The couple has been featured on the History Channel's Modern Marvels program demonstrating braintanning, and offers a range of hands-on courses teaching the slaughtering and processing of small animals, creating hides and utilizing an entire carcass to make utilitarian items.
One of the couple's most rewarding projects has been the creation of a school program which introduces children to primitive technologies and helps them understand how ancient people lived. Students are given opportunities to make string from native fibers and try their hand at hunting using rabbit sticks, hand spears, spear-throwers and the bow and arrow. Fire making with a wooden hand drill is demonstrated, and students grind and drill their own soapstone beads.
"The program hits every discipline," says Wilder. "I explain how early peoples used their brains and hands instead of fur and claws for survival. The hunter/gatherer is a universal heritage from our ancestors. I tell students they would not be here today if their ancestors weren't good at these skills."
Learning primitive technology takes time and patience. "This is challenging, hard work that requires intelligent thinking. Thirty thousand years ago, people were very smart," Wilder says.
Wilder sees children demonstrate natural affinities for a tool or skill. "I was teaching students how to throw the rabbit stick. I kept hearing this thunk' and a student ran over to me and said he'd hit the target 15 times in a row. He said to me, This is my tool.'"
Wilder is impressed at the impact the program has on students. "This work hits kids deeply," she said. "They actually ask me if this is real." She ran into one of her students leaving for college. He told her he still had his soapstone necklace he made in the sixth grade.
Wilder's program is presented at Oak Manor School, the Waldorf School of Mendocino County and La Vida Charter School. Other adult workshops include making paint from earth pigments and primitive living skills overviews. Their website features many free downloadable articles, a retail tool and book section, workshop schedules and photos from their museum exhibits and replications.
Friday's workshop will focus on creating a basic, knotted net using cotton twine, a netting shuttle and measure. Net making exists in every culture- for fishing, hammocks, capes, hairnets and more. "People figured out how to loop string together independently, all over the world," Wilder said.
Wilder expertly twists and splices fibrous strands of dogbane, gathered from a Santa Rosa field where people have been collecting the plant for 5,000 years. Using a motion every child understands, she rolls the separate fibers back and forth against her thigh- and almost magically, produces a strong piece of string.
Crediting partner Steven- who is the driving force behind the research and structural components of their workshops, Wilder happily passes this nearly forgotten wisdom to the next generation. "By learning and practicing these ancient skills, we keep in touch with our roots, our independence and our place in the natural world."
For information visit or phone (707) 391-8683.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Guest Researcher provides Abundant Knowledge

Important update, 9/17/09. 7:00am:
The following is a complete Docu-comedy. None of it is to be believed. The only thing that is checked for veracity is the spelling, and I not sure about that either.
Sorry folks, something about “Ekovox” gets into your brain and twists it. We had a private e-mail conversation going. He likes to prey on my gullibility, just to see what I will believe. He’s really good and I’m really gullible. So we waste a lot of ink. But, I’m going to leave this posted just for the humor.
I was going to see if I could keep this going until April fools day, but thought that might be stretching it to far.
Was anybody fooled?

As you already know. I don’t have a lot of knowledge about primary source information, but I do have a lot of stories about tales that I’ve heard. So, I look forward to finding out about things that I have previously been unaware of, like Ben pointing out that the “Local Indians did too have tobacco“. ( This is true, question the rest)

A man by the name of Ekovox is a generation native, and he comes from a long line of ancestors steeped in the knowledge of the north coast. Ekovox used to have a very popular and interesting blog called “299 Opine” that he used to keep us informed about historical topics.

He has been a frequent contributor to my blog on the subject of little known historical facts. Often he turns confusing stuff into mind-blowing science. He has an abundant knowledge of historical artifacts and what they were used for. Some of us recall that I was stumped over the intricately carved log that Ekovox recognized immediately as:

“that object is a flush-end brace bodkin. It's missing the fulcrum piece,though. We knew it as a Currier's trammel hook up in the Klamath-Trinity region. It's used in sluice boxes to hold the screen in place when the water pressure was too great.You're looking at circa-1870's, maybe 1880's. Long after the gold panners had left, the sluice miners came in...just before the hydraulic mining came into popularity. It would make sense if that second attachment was in place.”

I thanked him with my reply:

“Thanks Eko, We don't have much gold mining equipment around here. So, I didn't have a clue... What else is new.”

And another mystery was solved on “Ernie’s Place”. Honestly, I don’t feel that I deserve the mounds of credit that my readers heap upon me. I just provide the forum folks, no adulation is required!

Eko is not only an expert on the north coast, he is an expert on Indian Artifacts, mining equipment, and logging. Recently he pointed out that he had indeed seen “Catskinner Goggles” that I had arrogantly pronounced as being as “rare as frog-hair” In a private email he informed me about the Catskinner Goggles. He not only provided his knowledge, but he included rare photographs of the Goggles. He also included proof of the existence of the matching earplugs that the goggles would be worthless without.

In my excitement that he had provided me with proof, I quickly emailed him back, and asked him if I could have the “exclusive”, and post his information and photos on my blog.

His reply:
“Yes you may....Because I am only speaking the truth and the truth must be told, no matter the horror.”

“No Matter the Horror” is an insider thing with us Generation Natives. He knows that sometimes the newcomers, that start studying our history, find that some of it is indeed horrible. Sadly, they become mired in the emotion and fail to look at the mechanics and details of our unique north coast history. “no matter the horror” is his way of saying that he understands my pain at losing all of that history to “the Horror”… And maybe a little nudge to let me know that, maybe, I go on about it a little too much about it!

In his reply, he even boldly mentioned “the stinging spray that yellowjackets used to emit”. The stinging spray is something known only to woods crews and Generational Natives. We don’t talk about it anymore, because you have to have proof before a newcomer will believe anything that a Generational Native says. (What’s up with that?) The stinging spray in yellowjackets has been diluted by newcomer bees to the point that it is almost unnoticeable today. Some of us natives can still smell it, but it is only an experienced sense of smell that can detect it.

But. I ramble..

Please find below the rare photo’s and proof that “Catskinner Googles” really did exist! I am indeed humbled that Ekovox has allowed be to post this!
It took quite a bit of research, but I actually found photographs of catskinner goggles. A couple of different sets. One pair is from the Georgia pine forest country. And the next pair is more typical of the Pacific northwest. As you can see, the flatter pair or Georgia Woods Goggles were made for keeping pine needles out while the round pair (or as were known locally as "Gomer Specs") were typical of those used near Laytonville. The round, tight sealing feature kept tanoak dust and other natural toxins out of your eyes. The foul smelling, stinging spray that yellowjackets used to emit would really sting your eyes. Remember that story of the time when the yellowjackets were so thick after being run over by a Caterpiller D9 that they formed a cloud that encircled the crew and emitted a venomous fog that nearly choked the entire logging crew to death. If they hadn't barricaded themselves in the crummy, they wouldn't have survived. It was all the talk for quite a while. I first heard that story one summer from an old woods boss I met while drinking at the Sawblade in Phillipsville. The third photo shows the common catskinners earplugs to keep the noise to a minimum and keep the diesel exhaust from entering into your ear canals..... and finally the fourth photo shows the full catskinner's helmet complete with goggles and earplugs built in. We never saw much use of those style helmets in these parts. Probably from those sissy Canadian catskinners. See and you thought I was full of bullshistory. Well finally, I have proof.”

Thanks again Eko, I pity indeed the newcomers that don't have our vast collective knowledge of the north coast. Not only would they not have the roads to get here, without our deep knowledge they would be floppin' around like trout flipped on a crick bank.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ben teaches us something.


(Synonym Nicotiana quadrivalvis)A large distinct annual with white tubular flowers and a distinctly old cigar-grass clippings smell. Can be smoked if you don't care about lungs, dates or life. We've included it because it is so common from L.A. to Oregon at elevations up to 4000 ft.

Ben said:
"Ernie... The local Indians and actually all Indians in this part of the country did have pipes and tobacco. Tobacco was the only plant actually cultivated by local Indians. They used Nicotiana bigeloveii which is quite strong and rather rank. The seeds were sown on a pile of oak ashes in the spring and the plants were fenced from deer (amazing that deer would eat this stuff, but they do) with a ring of brush.
The pipes were straight and some quite beautiful with abalone inlay. The tapered stem is usually ash or elder as they have a pith that is easily bored out. The bowl is carved from soapstone and fastened to the pipe with the salmon skin glue used for bows. The pipe and tobacco were carried in a deerskin bag and Indians would often stop on the trail for a smoke. Smoke was blown to the directions and to the earth and sky and a short prayer might be said. Tobacco was a very big deal for the Indians and the Yurok culture hero Pulekukwerek was said to live only on tobacco to illustrate his purity. Harrington's "Tobacco use among the Karuk" is the classic reference and I'm sure it's on"

Ben, there is never a time that I would not bow to your sage wisdom and knowledge, but in my whole life I've never seen a plant like that in the wild. I know that you said that they had to be cultivated.

My cousin Penny tells a story about an Indian Lady that was shown a "tobacco tree" when she was a kid, and she always wanted to go back, but never did. I was always curious what the Cahto Indians called tobacco. I don't doubt that the Yuroks had tobacco. Do you know if the Cahto had it? I always thought that the White man brought tobacco from the east, and taught the local Indians about it. Maybe we can all learn something here. I know that I'm often wrong in the stories that I've heard.

I find some vague reference to the plant on Red Mountain, but have been unable to find anything definitive.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Artifacts For Sale.

I don't really know how I feel about genuine Indian artifacts for sale. Maybe one of the people that knows how to feel about it can tell me. Just as a side note; I have found Indian artifacts and have given them away. I found a pestle when I was about six years old and I gave to a girl that found the grinding bowl that went with it. I sill have one pea green jasper arrowhead that I found at the very top of Reed Mountain. It's in the attic somewhere. I'm not sure where, because my wife likes to move things. It seems that nowhere I put things; "It doesn't belong there" and she immediately moves it to somewhere else that it doesn't belong. So, someday I'm going to go arrowhead hunting in my own attic.

I probably won't sell it though. It's Mine. finders keepers. But if the average arrowhead sells for $350.00, some people that I know are very rich. Or very lucky to have them. Depending on how you feel about such things.

The Arrowhead above authenticates at approximately 6,000 years old. But, it's for sale if you want it. See below:

Bill Jackson-Authentic Indian Arrowheads, Pottery, Artifacts, and COA's: "CP 007-'Dalton'-Measures 2-7/8' long. Literally perfect condition. Made of a very pretty Gray and Cream Fossil Chert. Found by Homer May between 1907 - 1940 on one of his farms in either Arkansas or Kentucky. This fantastic Early Archaic piece would make a treasured addition to any quality collection. Supplied with a full color Jackson Galleries COA.
Price $375.00 *Contact: Colin Przygoda"


I just had a friend from an old Garberville family stop in. He had heard that I was buying up genuine Indian artifacts. He showed me this pipe (above) that he says his Grandfather dug up on the back of the ranch a long time ago. He said that he would take $1,200.00 for it. He says that if I'm interested he can get a lot more. I think that he is a Grave Robber, what should I do???

Sunday, September 13, 2009

indian newcomers

I had started a post about how intermixed the Indian beliefs are. I noticed that most of our local Indian's traditions are starting to look a hell of a lot more like Cherokee traditions than local. I had the post all ready done, then Suzy Blah Blah sent me the following about how the world is stealing the Cherokee traditions. I found the post to be so in-line with My way of thinking that I posted it at the bottom of this post. It is in it's complete form.

I had the opinion that it was Newcomers Indians that forced their beliefs on the locals, but the Cherokees have a different view; as you will discover when you read what I have posted below.

This is what I was going to post:
The other day I was reading that Spyrock had attended an Indian “Pipe Ceremony”. He said: ”...the dude had a couple of really cool pipes. one was a buffalo head. he started out by pointing the pipe to all directions and then blasted out a couple of Indian songs that he totally knew all the words too. he then sort of explained how to pass it and lit it up. everything he had was so old, it looked like he had been doing this for a long time. when the pipe was passed around, we could talk as well as smoke.”

I occurred to me that he must have been back east, or somewhere that they had tobacco. Then I realized that this is NOW, but they have blended, and diluted, the local Indian culture to the point that the young Indian people don't know what is their culture, and what is the Cherokee culture. Much as all of our kids call everything by the newcomer names, and they speak the newcomer language.

Spyrock said that he pointed the pipe to all directions. The ceremony actually dictates holding the pipe to the four winds. Another thing, the Indians called it a SACRED pipe. It had nothing to do with peace. The pipe had a buffalo head on it. Did California ever have buffalo? If they did, it was before the white man came. Maybe the Spaniards did-in the Buffalo in California. But, it would be nice to know if, indeed, the buffalo was ever part of the local Indian culture. Why is the white Buffalo held as being sacred to our local Indians? Have they forgotten that the white deer was their totem animal?

He said that; “He blasted out a couple of songs that he totally knew all the words too.” What words? Pomo, Wailaki, Cherokee? The local Indian language has been somewhat lost, except to a few historians. No families, that I know of, speak any of the local language on a regular basis.
Robin said the other day; “Why aren't there any obsidian arrowheads in Laytonville?” Would the local Indian people know? Or has their culture been so diluted that they would have no knowledge of why we don't find obsidian arrowheads in Laytonville?

The Ojibwe and the Cree used smudging ceremonies. But, did the local Indians? They do now! They start many of the local ceremonies with a “Smudging Ceremony”. I have watched the intricate and sacred ceremony many times. It seems important that the smoke cover and fill all places. The smudge is lit and walked around the building and the crowd. No one, or no place, is left out. I don't have anything against the smudging ceremony, but I would be far more interested in how the local Indians would do a “Ceremony of Renewal”, or a Ceremony of Beginning, like they would be far more likely to do if they stayed within their own local culture.

Almost all of the local Indian people have Dream Catchers in their houses. The Dream Catcher is a Chippewa Invention, but some how most local Indians have one. The Dream Catcher story is a sweet story. About how they catch bad dreams and lead them away from children to keep their sleep peaceful. Again, The Dream Catcher is a wonderful Indian tradition, but do the local Indians know that it is not part of their culture. Do the local Indian children know how their mommas would keep away bad dreams?

The local Indians knew when they could eat Mussels along the seashore without being poisoned by the paralytic shellfish poisoning. How did they know when they were safe? I once asked an Indian friend of mine how they knew when they were safe. He told me that his mom always put a silver dollar in the boil pot, and if it turned black, they didn't eat them. I pointed out to him that the silver dollar was a white man invention. Did the north coast Indians have silver? There IS a silver mine just south of Alderpoint. When I said that they probably didn't have silver. His sense of humor came out, and he said that they most likely feed them to the old people first, because they could easily do without them. I detected a little twinkle in his eye as he looked at ME... I'm NOT that old!

Where did alcohol fit into the Local Indian culture? We had many things that would ferment here, but did they ferment things to get high? They say that every culture had intoxicants. What did the local people use as an intoxicant. We don't have any peyote, we don't have mescal, we didn't even have Marijuana. Did they know about the “Magic Mushrooms”? Do any of the local Indians know what was the "Intoxicant of choice"?

I know that the white people live in modern houses now, and and they have foods and “things” from all over the world. I have steadfastly tried to preserve the stories of my families past, and those of the North Coast, but as new people move up here. They constantly try to change our history, or at least some of them don't accept the local history. Some of the place names that have been changed were sacred to me. If the place had a Indian name it was kept sacred. Nowadays they routinely move white graveyards, but I can't imagine that they would ever get away with moving an Indian Graveyard. Some of the names of the wildflowers were named before the newcomers came, and we were happy with the names. But, they changed them anyway. They are renaming things back to what the Indians named them, and found sacred. I'm okay with that. I think that is great that we are honoring their culture. But, I have to admit that it bothers me how easily the local Indians let the newcomer Indians take their history and culture away.

The following is a link from Suzy Blah Blah:

"Declaration of War Against Exploiters"
For too long we have suffered the unspeakable indignity of having our most precious Cherokee ceremonies and practices desecrated, mocked and abused by non-Indian "wannabees," hucksters, cultists, and self-styled "New Age shamans" and their followers. With horror and outrage we see this disgraceful expropriation of our sacred Cherokee traditions has reached epidemic proportions in urban areas throughout the country. * We are appalled that the Sacred Pipe is being desecrated through the sale of pipes at flea markets, powwows, and "New Age" retail stores.

* that pseudo-religious corporations have been formed to charge people money for admissions into phony sweat lodges and "vision quest" programs.

* that non-Indians have organized themselves into imitation "tribes," assigning themselves make-believe "Indian names" to facilitate their wholesale expropriation and commercialization of our Cherokee traditions.

* that academic programs have sprung up at colleges and universities institutionalizing the sacrilegious imitation of our spiritual practices by students and instructors under the guise of educational training in "shamanism".

* that non-Indian charlatans and "Wannabees" are selling books that promote the systematic colonization of our Cherokee spirituality; that individuals and groups involved in "the New Age movement," in "the men's movement," in "neo-paganism" cults and in "shamanism" workshops all have exploited the spiritual traditions of our Cherokee people by imitating our ceremonial ways and by mixing such imitation rituals with non-Indian occult practices in an offensive and harmful pseudo-religious "New Age" hodgepodge This exponential exploitation of our Cherokee spiritual traditions requires that we take immediate action to defend our most precious Cherokee spirituality from further contamination, desecration and abuse.

We, therefore, call upon all our Cherokee brothers and sisters from reservations and traditional communities to actively and vocally oppose this alarming take-over and systematic destruction of our sacred traditions. We urge you to coordinate with your tribal members living in urban areas to identify instances of this abuse, utilizing whatever specific tactics are necessary and sufficient-for example, demonstrations, boycotts, press conferences, and acts of direct intervention. We especially urge all our Cherokee people to take action to prevent our own people from contributing to and enabling the abuse of our sacred ceremonies and spiritual practices by outsiders; for, as we all know, there are certain ones among our own people who are prostituting our spiritual ways for their own selfish gain, with no regard for the spiritual well-being of the people as a whole. We must no longer tolerate any "white man's shaman" who rises from within our own communities to "authorize" the expropriation of our ceremonial ways by non-Indians. We must oppose all such "plastic medicine men" as enemies of the Cherokee people. Finally, we encourage traditional people and tribal leaders from all other Indian nations to join us in calling for an immediate end to this rampant exploitation of our respective American Indian sacred traditions, for it is not the Cherokee people alone whose spiritual practices are being systematically violated by non-Indians. We urge the governing councils of all tribes as well as the leadership of national Indian organizations to issue and widely distribute resolutions and statements denouncing the exploitation and abuse of our sacred traditions. We remind all our Indian brothers and sisters of our highest duty as Indian people: to preserve the purity of our sacred traditions so that we may pass these precious gifts on to the future generations of our respective peoples. By acting decisively and boldly in our present campaign to end the destruction of our sacred traditions, we will ensure that our children and our children's children will survive and prosper in the sacred manner intended for each of our respective peoples by our Creator.

So what do you think? Are outsider Indians forcing their beliefs upon us? Are we stealing their Cherokee traditions? Or is there a whole bunch of Indian wannabe Charlatans forcing their ideas on us, much like a TV preacher? (Send your donations here folks)

Dream catchers

Things that we don't know.

I had somebody ask me the other day why I don't do my own research. They wanted to know how I could just believe what the people that write on this blog say. He suggested that when I talk about history, I should do my own research, and only accept “primary sources” of evidence. Huh!

Anybody that comes to this blog looking for hard evidence is coming to the wrong place. My Passion has always been “THE story”- not history. Most history, unless documented by a unbiased historian, on scene at the occurrence, is wrong anyway. Just ask several people that were at the scene of a traffic accident. The story that you will get will always include their opinion. Some will talk about bald tires, some will say they smelled alcohol, some will say the person was just being reckless. But, you understand what I mean. All of the stories that we hear are subjective to the one telling it. But, with enough stories you will get the Idea. It was a bad wreck and a variety of factors were involved.

The stories that we tell about history today are still slanted, and subjective to the person relating them. Back in the '50's the “Wild” Indian was always the bad guy, even the movies that we watched depicted the Wild Indian as the Bad guy. They implied; Thank God we civilized them! Now we can live with each other in peace.

During the '60's and 70's there was a new wave of understanding, a few historians were saying; “Hey there are two sides to the history story”, and they started talking about the strife and unfairness that the Indian people had to put up with. The book Genocide and Vendetta” was a pivotal book in saying; “there is more to the story”. History came out about the Indian Massacres, and how they were put on reservations. It started a whole new era of saying “Let's look at both sides of history.”

Then came the '80's and '90's there had been a large influx of people moved in. They said that they moved up here because the loved the area. Then, they started changing things. They were told that they should know something about the land, the people and the history before they started changing things. To their credit, they agreed. They started studying of history, some of the people came to some pretty strange conclusions. They get back to the '64 flood and conclude that the logging caused the flood, the erosion, and the damage. No amount of telling them about the rainfall can convince them that it obviously rained harder than they could ever believe.
Some of them are content to go back to the logging days, that was when most of the people moved up here. Some get back as far as the Gold Rush with their history. They get as far back as deciding that the Indian people were mistreated. That was very true, but they don't seem to want find the reason that the early settlers were such murdering scum. Seldom do you see any history of Alta California, or of the struggles of the pioneers trip to California.

My point is, that we already have most of history recorded. But, few people try to understand it. They get to where the Indian people were killed, and then they get into the “Oh The Horror" loop, and the white man is the only villain, and they refuse to look at how the Indians treated the white man. That treatment may have had something to do with the way that they felt about Indians. And yes, thankfully we live in peace today, with a common interest in each others welfare.

When I was growing up, I heard many accounts of local history. I also heard many conflicting accounts of the local history. Sadly, I wasn't that interested at the time, other than I relished the chance to hear one of my folks tell a really great story. Now, some of those stories run together in my mind. So, what I ask for on this blog is not science, but good stories, and bad, that other people have heard. I don't care whether they are true or not. Most people seem to come to their own conclusions against all hard evidence anyway.

One of the best stories that I've ever read was The Last of the West, by Frank Asbill. Most “real historians” discount that book as being total bullshit, and not a good accounting of what really happened. The thing that they don't know is, that I am familiar with the kind of person that Frank Asbill was. If he had said that the snow was 40 feet deep, and I had also heard in other places that the snow was very deep. I could easily conclude that they had a very deep snow that year, and I would wonder to myself how deep it really was.

I know that the story in Asbill's book has many mistakes, and most of them are easy for me to see. What you might not understand, is that I know where all of the places that he wrote about are. I also know who all of the people that he wrote about are. I have heard many variation of the same stories from my own family. I recognize the “Bigger Than Life” way of telling stories that the Old-Timers had. They thought that if they made their story good enough, that somebody might pass it on.

Most all of the stories about history are from twice told tales. Frank Asbills book was simply an exaggeration of the many stories that he had heard, and he especially liked to exaggerate about himself.

This blog is “my own research” I have made no bones about saying that a lot of it is “Bullshistory”, and you will have to come to your own conclusions. If I tell a tale about history, I try to make it known if it is unverifiable.

I want to hear are stories that start with “ya'll aint gonna believe this stuff, but....
Then, tell me a story. We won't believe it anyway.

Now, to get to the point of this whole thing, now that I have made my disclaimer. The following is complete “bullshistory”, and has nothing to do with reality. The following is from my “Bullshistory", passed down through generations of bullshiters that liked telling stories:
Robin asked me about arrowheads, and wanted to know about whether or not the Laytonville Indians had Obsidian.

Robin, this has been a long time coming, but here it is. I'm going to root for the home team here( the Laytonville Indians) I've always liked to build things just a little better than people expect me to do. I think that most people like to rise above. I think that the Laytonville Indians were the same way. Chert makes a far better arrowhead than Obsidian glass. A chert arrowhead is strong and hard to break. I don't think that you could shoot an obsidian arrow head without breaking it. The Conocti Indians probably didn't have much access to chert so they used what they had, obsidian.

Obsidian, because it is easily worked was a good choice for the Conocti people. It is quite beautiful, and there became a competition to built the most beautifully worked objects. Obsidian became popular because of it's beauty, and it became valuable because of that. Obsidian also made sharper knives because it fractured cleanly and sharply.

The Cahto (Laytonville) Indians were not good friends with the Pomo (Conocti) indians. Before the white man showed up to take all the blame, the Pomo were the dirty rotten genocidal bastards. The Cahto people would sit around their campfire and talk about “The Horror” of how the Pomo and the Yuki would cut the heads off their people, and kick them down the path. They talked around the campfire because they didn't have blogs back then. Unless you count the smoke signals.

Anyway, the Cahto were poor people much like Laytonville people today, and they couldn't afford obsidian. Plus, they probably didn't want to make contact with the southern Indians. So, not much obsidian is found there today. Most of the Obsidian was packed there by white people, like Ed downing.

That's my total bullshistory, what's yours???

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hank Sims got us all.

Anon said;
"Who the f**k does Hank Sims think the hell he is??"
Thank you.

Honestly, I don't know him well, but I think Hank Sims is a lot like myself. He has a better sense of humor than the written word will support.(Notice that I give myself a lot of credit there) I think that all of us were taking him in the wrong way. He was just trying to have a little ironic fun with us, and we leaped at his lure like a trout to the fly. I hope that Hank would visit more often, I admire his wit.

I was suspicious from the start that he knows how to create interest. He admitted that it was his headline, not Jerry Rohde's, in the article in the North Coast Journal about; "The Genocidal Scum that Built Arcata”. Because of that headline, many more people read the issue than would have read it if it had been posted under “The Sonoma Gang”. I have to admit that when that issue came out, the headline caught my eye well enough to do a double-take on my way past the newspaper rack, then a double-back, and then a singular grab for the paper. Then, I immediately read the whole thing and came to a few conclusions of my own. Chances are, I would not have grabbed the Journal with a more milquetoast headline.

The newspaper, magazine, and media-like businesses are in decline, just like most businesses. They need people like Hank to keep their media out there. We don't all agree with his methods. Some wise person once said; “Never pick a fight with people that buy ink by the barrel”. So, I don’t intend to pick a fight, but I would like to give a little advice about what I like to see in a story. My BIG question has always been: WHY?

When I see a newspaper headline that says; “They Ate Kittens!” I want to know -Why- they ate them, not how they ate them, or how they cooked them. That is just wasting my time. My brain is screaming WHY! -Why did they eat kittens?- Was it part of their religion? Were they starving? Had they been attacked by wild kittens and they were getting even? Why!

When a respected historian like Jerry Rohde writes an article that is entitled; “The Genocidal Scum that built Arcata”. I don’t want to know that they killed Indians, I want to know -why- they killed Indians. Some of us, Like Jerry Rohde and myself, know that the Kelseys (the genocidal scum) were part of the Bidwell Kelsey party the made their way across the Nevada desert and the Sierra Nevada Mountains into California. Why did they do that? Maybe they had no opportunity to thrive where they were, or they wanted to live in a new and fertile land, form their own society, and live free, and do the things that we all want to do to succeed, and, take care of our families. Currently, we have many of those kind of people in Southern Humboldt. They were all very young people, and young people do stupid things. Whatever the reason, they did come to California.

On their way to California the small Bidwell/Kelsey group split off and headed directly to California, against sage advice. They hired Indian guides that led them into ambush traps. They eventually stopped trying to get guidance from the Indians, and made their own way into California. Kelsey had to leave his young bride, and very young child behind, while he scouted ahead. The wife and child hid from the Indians, while a raiding party took their provisions. They passed the remains of several immigrant attempts to make it to California, on thesame route that the Kelseys were taking. Immigrants that were looted and killed by Indians. The Indians followed and preyed on the Bidwell/Kelsey group the whole way to California. I don’t know how you would have fared in that same trip, but how would it make you feel to have people openly preying on you, your wife and child and the rest of your family? The whole time not really knowing where you were going… Worried sick about whether, or if, you could really get there…

The only thing that saved the group was their youthful energy, the fact that they were excellent marksmen, and most of all; they were wise enough to have taken more ammunition than they thought that they would ever need. In the end, having plenty of ammunition is all that saved the Kelseys. Otherwise they would have not have been even a footnote in California history. Do you ever wonder who was in the remains of those pioneer emigrants left dead with their bones bleaching in the sun? The ones that the Nevada Indians raided and killed. It could very well have been my ancestors that tried to make their way to the West, while their families waited back east for word from California that never came.

When they came out of the mountains, the Kelseys had an abiding and enduring hate of the Indian people that lasted the rest of their lives. Some of us would call that racism, other might call it post traumatic shock. Some people today just call them “Genocidal scum.” I think that the Journal story should have included some more of the “why”. Hank Sims grabbed our interest with his headline, but he failed to include a little understanding of the “Scum”. I think that he should have insisted upon that.

Footnote: Scum= That which rises to the top.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Touching History.

"Touching" history can be taken many ways. I'll let you work it out.

I have a Wintu Indian friend that told me a story the other day. I want you know this is more of my "Bullshistory" and needs to be verified. (Jim Baker just won't let me get away with pure Bullshit)But, this story is about “feelings” not history. So bear with me.

The Wintuan people lived along the northwest side of the Sacramento Valley. Their neighbors to the west were the Wailaki and the Lassics, and some Pomo.

My Wintu friend’s people were first contacted by the early explorers. (Lewis and Clark?) After that contact, 75% of her people died of Malaria. After the white man came to California and decided that they had a "problem" with the Indian. They invited them all to a "Peace conference", and meal. They poisoned and killed them with strychnine laced meat. The survivors of that killing were rounded up and shot. They killed the babies by bashing their heads against trees to save bullets. The children were gathered and taken to Grass Valley and sold to the miners.

As we sat their taking about her Wintuan ancestors, and how rare it was to be a surviving member of a Wintuan family. I thought about another Wintuan friend that I have, and she was in the building. So I introduced them to each other. They already knew each other, but I introduced them to each other as being related to one another. As all of the natives, and generation natives know, the conversation always turns to mentioning the old family names, and the people that you knew in common. Eventually, you figure out how you are related. There always seem to be that spark of joy on finding out how you are related to each other.

As I listened to them, I realized that they were tracing themselves back to just TWO families of Wintun. I started thinking of all the knowledge that their families had lost. There were no records kept of Wintu families. Everything they know about their culture, or family, has been word of mouth. My family means more to me than I care to say, but here were two members of the same family struggling to form their “connection.” it occurred to me that they have lost so much.

I sat there and listened, I retained my composure, but I was glad that I didn’t have to say anything, because I’m sure that my choked throat could not have uttered a word. I listen to one of my Wintuan friends relate that her grandmother married a 27 year old white man, when she was only eleven. She had her first child at 13.

One of the women is a long time friend, and the other I’ve only known a couple of years. It really hits you in the chest when you see two of your friends talking about their family, in such a happy way, like two long lost sisters, and I know more about their history than they do.

What do you say? We’ve lost so much.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Moral non-equivalency

Hank Sims said:
"Ernie -- I'm no great authority. But the Californios were morally preferable to the Bear Flaggers, beyond any doubt."

Sorry Hank, but I guess I like picking on you because you know where all the stories are buried, and you have the blood of a generational native.

My first thought when you said "the Californios were morally preferable to the Bear Flaggers" was; What the hell does morals have to do with the mid eighteen hundreds? I will give it to you, that the white folks that showed up in California were kicked out of most of the places that they came from. Especially the ones that came overland. But, are you really going to cross moral swords with someone that knows where all the bodies are buried?

Who is more moral? The Mountain men that gathered Indian girls to sell in the Valley? Or, the Californos that traded fine Spanish horses for them? The mountain men were glad to get rid of the “Indian problem”. The best way to do that was to ship out all of the “breeders”. The Californos wanted the young Indian girls for… what? The Wailaki women were well known as being warm and friendly, they fattened easily, and the weren’t as treacherous as the valley Indian women. I can guess why they wanted the young Indian women. So, why did they want the young Indian boys? My thought is they wanted them to work the Spanish ranches.

I will say that the Spanish horses have a well earned reputation of being one of the worlds finest horses. I'll give you that much.

Unfortunately you are caught in the same trap that I often find myself caught in. We want to think of our ancestors as great, glorious, and brave people that helped to form the world that we live in today. The damn newcomers won’t give us the luxury of burying the past. They don’t have one, so they like to drag ours around like a soiled blanket. My thought, that I formed long ago, is that we have no clear concept of what our ancestors were really like, or what really motivated them. We make a big, big mistake when we think that we can judge “who they were” by the “Who we are” standard. We are very different people. Really.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Kelsey's, "Bad Guys"

Many of you have noticed, and asked, why so many of the early settlers were from Missouri. The following explanation describes the reasons as well as I have heard. The rest of the story is excerpts from the Kelsey trip to California.

Story by Celia Hayes.
The westward movement of Americans rolled west of the Appalachians and hung up for a decade or two on the barrier of the Mississippi-Missouri. It was almost an interior sea-coast, the barrier between the settled lands, and the un-peopled and tree-less desert beyond, populated by wild Indians. To be sure, there were scattered enclaves, as far-distant as the stars in the age of “shanks’ mare” and team animals hitched to wagons, or led in a pack-train: far California, equally distant Oregon, the pueblos of Santa Fe, and Texas. And men in exploring parties, or on trade had ventured out to the ends of the known continent… and by the winter of 1840 there were reports of what had been found. Letters, rumor, common talk among the newspapers, and meeting-places had put the temptation and the possibility in peoples’ minds, to the point where an emigrating society had been formed over that winter. The members had pledged to meet, all suitably outfitted and supplied on the 9th of May, 1841 at a rendezvous twenty miles west of Independence, on the first leg of the Santa Fe Trail, intent for California, although none of them had at the time any clear idea of where to go, in order to get there... were already running short. They hunted for buffalo along the valley of the Sweetwater, and met up with a party of 60 trappers on the Green River, who told them flat-out that it was impossible to take wagons over the mountains and desert and mountains again to California. At that point a small group of seven men packed it in and headed back to Missouri, and all but thirty one men and Mrs. Nancy Kelsey decided to carry on with the trail towards Ft. Hall and Oregon...
...The men of the Bidwell-Bartleson Party, who had, against all advice and counsel, decided to continue on for California had much in common. They were all young, most under the age of thirty. None of them had been into the Far West until this journey, although one of them was a relative by marriage to the Sublette fur-trading family. The Kelsey brothers, Andrew and Benjamin were rough Kentucky backwoodsmen. Two of them had been schoolteachers, but all had grown up on farms, were accustomed to firearms and hunting…and hard work, of which the unknown trail would offer plenty...
...After a week or so, they camped north of the Lake and sent two men to Fort Hall seeking additional supplies and guidance. In both they were disappointed; there were no supplies to be spared from the fort stores, and there was no guide to be hired. The only advice they could get from Fort Hall was not to go too far north, into a bandlands of steep canyons, or too far south into the sandy desert. But away to the west there was a river flowing towards the south-west. That was called then Mary’s or Ogden’s River (now the Humboldt). If they could find and follow it, it would guide them on long way....
...They all headed southwards across the desert, southwards again after camping at a place called Rabbit Creek. By mischance, they had missed the headwaters of a creek that emptied into the river they were searching for, and in another couple of days, the team animals began to fail. The Kelsey brothers abandoned their wagons, packing their remaining supplies onto the backs of their mules and saddle horses, and the party continued with increasing desperation, south and west, and to the north-west again, until it became clear that the wagons were a useless, dragging burden. In the middle of September the wagons were abandoned, about where present-day US Highway 40 crosses the Pequop Summit. They made packs for the mules… they tried to make packs for the oxen, who promptly bucked them off again. They set off again, giving much of what they couldn’t take to friendly Indians, and operating mostly by chance at this point, found and followed the Humboldt River. They supplied themselves by hunting, and gradually and one by one, butchering their draft oxen. Nancy Kelsey, the indomitable wife of Benjamin was reduced to carrying her year-old daughter, herself barefoot… and yet, as one of their comrades recollected later, “she bore the fatigues of the journey with so much heroism, patience and kindness…” She had embarked on the journey, declaring that she would rather endure hardships with her husband, than anxieties over his absence.
Gradually, as historian George Stewart put it, “their journey became one of those starvation marches so common in the history of the West”. They soldiered on through the desert, eventually finding their way over the Sierra at the Sonora Pass, only to be caught in the wilderness canyons at the headwaters of the Stanislaus River. They did not eat well until they reached the lower stretches of the gentle San Joaquin valley where the men--- still well supplied with powder and shot--- bagged enough deer for a feast. They arrived at a ranch nearby early in November of 1841.They were the first party of emigrants to arrive overland, although with scarcely more than they wore on their backs, or carried.
Thus, Nancy Kelsey became the first female to come to California overland.

It sounds like the Kelsey family may not have been run out of Missouri, but it sounds like the Old Man was a scoundrel, Ben and his brothers came from pretty ruthless stock. Too many people had them pegged as scoundrels. The following is from
Some early history of The Kelsey Family

As isolated as the frontier of west central Missouri was in the late 1830's it must have been too crowded for the Kelsey brothers David, Benjamin, Samuel and Andrew who settled in the Hoffman Bend area. Samuel (not known if Sr. or Jr. was elected J.P. in Rives County in 1835.) Samuel Sr., Andrew, Benjamin, David and Samuel Jr. all entered their federal land in the same section in what became St. Clair County. Rough and contentious, the brothers had trouble with authorities in Missouri and in California where they later became early pioneers.

The family was considered shrewd and inclined to make the most of their opportunities. This caused some feeling among the neighbors. They were charged with trying to secure the pre-emption claims of some of their neighbors and they were invited to leave. Soon after this the Kelsos emigrated up the river.
{This family lived just north of Roscoe on the Osage River.}

This charge of attempting to secure the rights of preemption from their neighbors resulting in an 1841 lawsuit in Henry County against Andrew Kelsey and Charles Beale. Two years later both men headed for Oregon in Jesse Applegate's Cow Column.

In 1838 Samuel Kelsey was indicted by the state of Missouri with assault with intent to kill. He was called but defaulted as did his securities Samuel Kelsey, Sr. and Andrew Kelsey. His attorney appeared at the next term and in November of 1838, the court again indicted Samuel Jr. with assault with intent to commit manslaughter. He appeared at that time and moved to quash the indictment. The court agreed.

Only David appears on the 1840 census in Missouri as head of household. He was enumerated in Rives County, p. 368 as David “Kelso” with 1 male 5-10, 1 male 15-20, 1 male 20-30, 1 male 80-90; 1 female 5-10, 2 females 10-15, 1 female 30-40.

David may have stayed behind when Andrew and Benjamin headed to California in 1841 as he had was maintaining their father, likely Samuel Kelsey, Sr., the male 80-90 in David's household. Perhaps Samuel Sr. then died leaving David free to take his family west. Except for the following marriage records, the Kelsey's then drop out of Missouri records:

Samuel Kesley m. in Cole Co. 5 March 1835 Lucretia Applegate.
Andrew m. 18 June 1839 in Henry Co., Mary Kelsey
Benjamin Kelsey m. in Henry County, Missouri 25 October 1838, Nancy Roberts.

I've been skimming through literature written about the Kelsy family, and especially their trip to California. I been trying to understand why they were so outstandingly cruel to the Indian People. Their trip to California over land had not been successfully traveled before. They would be the first to make it to California over land. The Kelseys and Bidwell were betrayed many times by the Indians that they tried to hire to guide them. Most of their "guides" led them into ambushes. The only thing that saved the Kelseys is that they were well armed. They came across the remains of several parties of white people that had tried to make it through Indian county and had been attacked. It appeared that the Indians had killed them, took their provisions, and killed their Oxen. The group were attacked along the way many times. At one point Ben had to leave His wife Nancy and their small daughter alone while he tried to find a trail. While she hid, Indians took her provisions. The immigrant group came very close to starvation. The only thing that saved them is the fact that they were wise enough to arm them selves well. The were excellent marksmen, but there was not much game in the high country they had to get well down into the Sacramento Valley before they found enough game to feed themselves well again. They fended of many sneak attacks by the Indians, and they shot some to keep them away. All in all, their trip to California was a gut wrenching story of survival.

I believe what was wrong with the Kelseys is that they had a strong desire to succeed, and a strong will to live. Their trip was a classic cause to have, what we would call nowadays, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Their inability to deal Indians on a civilized level was not justified, but there may have been some provocation for them to be "The Genocidal Scum" that they were. My curiosity has always led to find out what might have provoked, and driven, people like the Kelseys to have done the things that they did. It's too bad that we, as human beings, don't try to find why things happen the way that they do. Without understanding the provocation that drive people to do insane things, we can never prevent the insanity.

I've ordered a few books on the Kelseys, maybe I'll know more later.

Link to The Kelsey Family
Link to The Genocidal Scum who built Arcata, by Jerry Rohde, from The North Coast Journal.
Link to The Kelsey's trip to California.
Link to: Nancy Kelsey

Link to: Nancy Kelsey, the California Betsy Ross

Link to: An Ordinary Woman Dramatized biography of Nancy Kelsey.

The Bear Flag Revolt

I have been doing a lot of research lately about early California history. I went to the site that the following was posted, and decided to post it here intact. If you know anything at all about California history many of the names jump out at you. One of the Kelseys,
Andrew Kelsey - killed by Indians at Kelseyville, CA age 29. 1849. Was a member of Donner rescue party, brother of Sam and Ben Kelsey, founders of Arcata and Kellsyville.

As you might know, if you were lucky enough to go to school in California, the people that engaged in the Bear Flag Revolt are the ones that established California as a state. The following is a list of the people that fought the Bear Flag Revolt, and when they died.


Excerpt from "The Searcher" October 1988, Pages 192-198
Many of these men served in the California Battalion under Col. J. C. Fremont in the south and were honorably discharged at Is Angeles or San Gabriel in the early part of 1847. There are some well known men among them.

For those not familiar with the Bear Flag Revolt which occurred in June of 1846 at Sonoma when American and other settlers took that town from General Val­lejo and the was the opening of the Mexican War in California. The Mexican authorities had told the settlers in April that they would have to leave as soon as the snows melted, without their ripening wheat, their cattle and horses, and their arms.

Early in June, General Castro sent soldiers from the capital at Monterey to Marin and Sonoma to round up about 250 government horses with which to drive out the settlers, according to all reports. On the 9th of June, a group of the set­tlers captured these horses at Cosumnes and delivered then to Col. Fremont. Fremont, son-in-law of Senator Thomas Benton of Missouri, at the head of his ex­ploring expedition, had just received secret messages from President Polk and from Benton. Lt. Gillespie, U.S. Marine, the messenger, also told Fremont that the Mexican War was breaking out at that moment from what he had learned on his way west.

The settlers had bought or leased land, had planted crops, had jobs with earlier settlers, and many of them were expecting new babies. They had not yet recovered from the trip across the country. They determined that it was suicidal to try to leave, and they must take the nearest fort and hole in -"fort up" - as in Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee (their past homes). The settlers felt that Fremont was there to rescue them, and it was also their patriotic duty to cap­ture Northern California. They set up the Republic at Sonoma which lasted 23 days, when Commodore Sloat arrived with the news of the outbreak of war in Texas. Britain was hovering along the coast, ready to collect on its Mexican war debt if we did not act first. Rumors had abounded that the Californios were getting the Indians ready to burn out the settlers. Castro issued edicts that he would exterminate them all, even their whelps.

You will find among these names some famed mountain men who hunted otter while in Southern California. Some worked at Able Stearns' fur warehouse at San Pedro. Todd spent a lot of time in Southern California. Sam Kelsey lived in the Ventura area for awhile, and in the San Bernardino area was a member of the Knights of the White Camellia (Confederate sympathizers). Ben Kelsey and family lived in Inyo County during the earthquake, worked at the Cerro Gordo mines, and he drove a team and was in Fresno to surface the streets before he died in Los Angeles, leaving his oral history with Mary Foy, Los Angeles Librarian.

John/Jacob Rink Snyder came to Los Angeles to get permission of Gov. Pico to build a fort on the American River to protect new settlers from Indian attack, but was refused. He and Elias Barnett signed a memorial to the governor, protesting the dictatorial and despotic behavior of General Castro at Monterey, who was in opposition to Pico. Many Californios signed this "'memorial."

The sources are: Bancroft, county histories, family Bibles, family records, county records, obituaries, local historical societies, and etc. The re­search was done at the Huntington Library, the Mormon Library, Salt Lake, local librar­ies, and microfilm of early newspapers, the Keith Lingenfelter Collection at Chico State University, the Sutro Library, Society of California Pioneers Library, and others.

The Bear Flag Revolt is controversial, and the Bears are oft-times por­trayed as entirely an unsavory bunch of drunks and need-do-wells. I believe that this will amend that opinion. Just about everyone in Northern California was involved who was at risk because he/she was an American or English. Their sense of justice and honor was at stake as well as their lives. They had not found justice in California. Americans had been attacked without recourse.


James Mc-Christian - "last Bear Flagger to die," on June 22, 1914 at 87 years Sebastopol, CA. Buried Sebastopol Cemetery.

Henry Beeson, next to last - on May 14, 1914 at 84 years, at his daughter's home in Ornbaun Valley, Mendocino County, CA. Methodist Episcopalian service. Buried Anderson Cemetery, Boonville, CA. NSGW marker.

William Mendenhall - died 1911 at 88 years at home of his daughter, Mrs. Langan. Methodist Episcopalian service, though he was very involved in Presbyterian Church. Buried Masonic Cemetery, Livermore, CA. Founder of Livermore, of Livermore Springs, Livermore College. State Legislator. Society of California Pioneers.

John York - on February 26, 1910 at age 90. Buried at St. Helena Public Cemetery. Gravestone, family plot. A Protestant, his wife Baptist. Na­Sons of the Golden West. Founder of St. Helena Waterworks. Built first school at St. Helena.

Napoleon Bonaparte Smith - died on December 5, 1907 at Yountville at 89 years. Buried at Martinez. Probably Presbyterian service. Tax Assessor, Contra Costa County. Board Member, Society of California Pioneers. Associated Veterans of Mexican War. State Legislator. Helped guard prisoners, General Vallejo etc. at Sutter's Fort.

Calvin Chesterfield Griffith - died at home, June 19, 1907 at 79 years. Bur- ied St. Helena Public Cemetery in family plot. Presbyterian service. Grave marker. Road Superintendent of Northern Napa County. Associated Veterans of Mexican War. Native Sons of the Golden West.

Benjamin Dewell/Deul - died on February 21, 1905 at home, Upper Lake, CA. Buried Upper Lake Cemetery, Lake County, CA. Associated Veterans of the Mexican War.

Franklin Sears - died December 14, 1905 at 87 years at Sonoma. Buried (?) at Sonoma. Not listed at Mountain Cemetery or Sonoma Valley Cemetery. Missed the Bear Flag Revolt because he was thrown from a horse. Life Guard to Stockton in the south. Associated Veterans of the Mexican War. Society of California Pioneers. Sonoma Viticulture Society Board. Descendant of Daniel Boone's sister Sarah.

Mamas Knight - died c1904 San Francisco, CA. Buried (?) Colma Cemetery.

William Baldridge - died 1903 at 92 at Oakville, CA Masonic funeral. Buried (?) Yountville or (?) Tulucay. Associated Veterans of the Mexican War.

Thomas Westly Bradley - died on June 21, 1902 at 84 years at Tulare City. Buried at Newman, CA.

Harvey Porterfield - died in 1900 age of 77 years, Napa County. Buried at Tulucay, Napa or Yountville.

Bartlett Vines - living in 1889. Unknown burial. Masonic.

James Gregson - died August 1 or 2, 1899, age 77. Buried Methodist Cemetery, Green Valley, Sonoma County, CA. Guarded Gen. Vallejo and other prisoners at Sutter's Fort.

John Green Griffith - died March 5, 1895, age 70 near Little Rock, AR.

Franklin Temple Grigsby - died on July 7, 1893, at 64 years. Buried Yountville Cemetery, Yountville, CA.

Charles Cady - died 1891, Poor House, San Diego, CA.

Henry Marshall - died on May 8, 1891 at 65 years. Buried Methodist Cemetery, Green Valley, Sonoma County, CA. Wounded at Natividad, and Battle of Salinas Plain.

William Hargrave - died September 21, 1890 Napa, Ca. Buried Tulucay Ceme­tery, Napa, CA. Masonic. Member Society of California Pioneers, San Francisco.

Marion Wise - died July 1, 1890, St. Louis, Mo. One of Fremont's men in the Bears. Buried Fee Fee Cemetery, St. Louis, MO.

Ben Kelsey - died February 19, 1889, age 76, at Los Angeles. Buried Rosedale Cemetery, Los Angeles (reinterment). Gravemarker date is 1888. Fdg. of Kelseyville, Arcata, Scotia, Eureka, Kelsey Diggings. Brother of Andy and Sam Kelsey.

Pat K. McChristian, Jr. - died August 27, 1888, age 63/64, Sebastapol, Sonoma County, CA. Buried Sebastopol Cemetery.

David Hudson - died on June 10, 1888 at age 68, Loconoma Valley, Lake County CA. Buried Lakeport Cemetery. Pioneer Society.Headstone located in St. Helena Public Cemetery, St. Helena, CA, Donated by Pat Holland

Horace Saunders - a young man in '46, still alive in 1880 in Carson, NV. Death and burial unknown.

Peter Storm - died on December 15, 1887 at age 73 at Calistoga, CA. Unmarked grave, Tulucay Cemetery, Napa. His Bear Flag (replica) buried with him.

Franklin Bedwell - died November 10, 1886, Healdsburg, CA. Buried Oakmound Cemetery, Healdsburg. Headstone. Stockton's Life Guard. Famed mountain man - fur trapper.

Colonel Joseph Ballinger Chiles - died June 16, 1885 St. Helena, CA. Buried St. Helena Public Cemetery. Guarded and protected the Vallejo family and home. Famous as trail-blazer. Biography by Helen S. Giffen.

William Levi Todd - died on or about January 1, 1883, "on the street, unattended" in Los Angeles. Possibly buried at the old cemetery at Fort Hill, and reinterred at Evergreen Cemetery, East Los Angeles - in Potter's Field. No gravestone, but is marked. Cemetery cards gives different middle initial, different age, but subject was married (wed­ding ring ?). Date of death is correct. The maker of the California Bear Flag; cousin of Mary Todd Lincoln. Society of California Pio­neers, San Francisco.

Elias Barnett - died February 8, 1880 Pope Valley, Napa County, CA. His wife was Maria Salazar Pope, widow of Julian/ William Pope who was a miller in Los Angeles 1841-1843. Pope Widow and children lived in Southern California many years and some Barnetts live here now. Society of Cal­ifornia Pioneers.

William Moon - died May 31, 1878, at age 60; buried on his rancho located in Tehama County.

Major Jacob/John Rink Synder - died April 29, 1878, age 66 of heart disease, at home in Sonoma, CA. Buried Sonoma. President of Society of Califor­nia Pioneers; Vice President also. Sonoma County Agricultural Society Board. Assistant Secretary of Treasury, San Francisco Mint. Member of First Constitutional Convention, State of California, at Monterey, CA in 1850.

Nathan Coombs - died on December 26, 1877 at home, Napa, CA. Buried Tulucay Cemetery, Napa, CA. Founder of Napa, and California State Senator.

Captain John Grigsby - died March 1876, Moselle, Franklin County, MO. Mason. Captain of Grigsby-Ide Party to California 1845; Captain of the Bears and of a company of the California Battalion under Fremont.

William Bell Elliott - died January 22, 1876, age 78. Buried at Upper Lake, Lake County, CA.

Founded Upper Lake and was discoverer of Tice Geysers. Famous grizzly bear hunter. Deputy Sheriff.

Henry Clay Smith - died November 25, 1875 age 51. Buried in Livermore Cemetery which has been cleared by the county for a road. His tombstone now at home of Bessie Hargrave Drury (dec.) and daughter Mrs. Kendric Smith, Walnut Creek, CA. Alcalde of Santa Clara County. "Father" of Santa Clara County. Supervisor of County, Justice of the Peace, Board of the San Francisco Society of California Pioneers.

Captain Granville Commodore Perry Swift - died on April 21, 1875, age 54. Fell from a mule while on trail at Monticello mines, both killed. Ma­sonic funeral and marker. Buried at Rockville Cemetery, Green Valley near Fairfield, CA.

Cyrus Alexander - died December 27, 1872, at 67 years, after two strokes. Buried in the Alexander Cemetery at the old rancho near Healsburg, CA. Methodist, famed mountain man. Subject of a biography.

Harrison Pierce - died Napa 1870. Buried (?) Tulucay Cemetery, Napa, CA.

Granville White Grigsby - alive in Napa 1867: death and burial not found in San Luis Obispo, Napa or San Diego Counties where he farmed.

Major Pierson Barton Reading - died in 1868 at his Rancho Buena Ventura, Redding, CA, age 52.
Buried at the Rancho. Director, Society of Cali­fornia Pioneers. A founder and officer of the California Steamship and Navigation Assoc. with Major Hensley. Ran for governor 1851 and lost. Invited to run again and declined. Friend of Ernest Seton Thomp­son. Biography by Helen S. Giffen.

Moses Bradley Carson - died on January 1. 1868 at age 76, El Paso, TX. Had Masonic funeral and buried in Masonic Cemetery, El Paso. Brother of Kit Carson, and a famous mountain man himself.

Major Samuel J. Hensley - died 1866 at age 49 at hoe in Warm Springs, near Santa Clara, Alameda County, CA. A founder and president of the Cali­fornia Steamship and Navigation Assoc. Major, Commissary - California Battalion.

William Smith Hudson - died on September 16, 1866, age 53 at St. Helena, CA. Buried St. Helena Public Cemetery. Was Baptist or Presbyterian.

Emsley Aldred Elliott - shot by escaping negro prisoner when he was a deputy sheriff in Texas, 1856-1866. Buried in Texas.

Samuel Kelsey - died between 1860 and 1865, his age 44-49, possibly at Jerome, AZ or near there. Had disappeared. No Arizona records of his death. Member Sonoma Chapter Masons, Knight of the White Camellia, San Bernardino.

Captain Henry Lambert Ford - died July 2, 1860, accidentally shot himself when climbing on his horse at Covelo, age 38. Buried Valley View Cemetery, Covelo. Bronze marker. State Assemblyman, Colusa County, 1851. Indian reservation agent. Subject of a biography by Fred B. Rogers.

Albion Randolph Elliott - killed by Winnemucca Indians at the Pyramid Lake massacre of 0rmsbee and his troops May 12, 1860, age 34. Buried in the Hartley Cemetery, Lake County, CA according to his family.

Samuel Neal - died September 1859 at his Butte Creek Rancho Esquon, Tehama County, CA. Was with Fremont Expedition 1844.

Peter Lassen - killed by Indians, 1859, age 39, 43 miles east of Greenville, Plumas County, north of Pyramid Lake, CA. California Historical Marker Number 565. A Mason and subject of two biographies.

William "Dirty" Mathews - died about 1859, an express rider according to Bancroft. May have died in Sonoma, Monterey or Sacramento County.

Robert Baylor Semple - on October 23, 1854 buried. Thrown by a horse which was "green" or spooked because his great height (6'8") caused his spurs to hit its legs. A deep coma resulted in burial while he was still alive. He was first buried on his ranch at Colusa, and when reburied at Willows, CA his struggles to escape the coffin were discovered. Secretary of the Bear Flag Republic; President, First Consti­tutional Convention. A Mason, founded first bi-lingual newspaper in California.

Marilyn Ornbaum sent me a correction : Please correct the re-burial place of Rober B Semple....................not is WILLIAMS, just a few miles from where his ranch was. and with
Sites Quarie Stone and a brass marker. . M--

I'm always glad to correct history. Much of California history was passed down verbally. Many mistakes were made.

William Brown Ide - died December 18, 19 or 20, 1852 of smallpox, at his rancho. Buried at Monroeville, CA, gravestone. Age 56. Native Sons of the Golden West marker. President of Bear Flag Republic. Held most of county offices of Tehama County. 0nce a Mormon before coming to Cali­fornia. See Fred B. Rogers, William Brown Ide, Bear Flogger, Simon Ide, The Conquest of California.

Pat Mc-Christian, Sr. - died 1852 at Aspinwall or at sea. Born 1795 - 1800.

Captain John Sears - died May 24, 1855, killed by Indians at the mines near Marysville, CA. Born 1817, descendant of Daniel Boone's sister, Sarah. Brother of Frank Sears, and cousin of Granville Swift, above, also a descendant from Daniel Boone's sister Sarah.

William H. Knight, M.D. - died November 9, 1848 at Knight's Landing. Murdered in cold blood on the street, buried where he died near the southeast corner of the Masonic Hall on the hill above the Plaza. Wit­ness by James G. Fair of "the Big Four." Founded Knight's Ferry and Knight's Landing. A Santa Fe trader and a mountain man.

Ezekiel Merritt - died 1848-1849 in the mines, according to John Bidwell. He was about 40 in '47. He seems to have lived longer - to assign his pay to John Temple in 1854 to reimburse Temple for his advance in pay when he was discharged at San Gabriel in 1847. Another mountain man.

Captain John Scott - killed by starvation and cold, Fremont's Fourth Expedi­tion, January, 1849. Bear Flag and California Battalion; one of Fremont's men.

William W. Scott - died 1848 Sonoma County. Buried (?) Sonoma County.

Captain Sam. Gibbon - drowned 1848-1849 at Feather River mines.

William Fallon - 1848 - alone. Presumed killed by Indians between Fort Hall and California. Society of California Pioneers (posthumously?).

Andrew Kelsey - killed by Indians, Kelseyville, CA age 29. Monument, 1849. Donner rescue party, brother of Sam and Ben Kelsey.

Ira Stebbins - killed in the south by Murietta’s men after 1847 and before 1853. (Joaquin Murietta died July 27, 1853 ?)

Henry Booker - killed at the Battle of San Pasqual, San Diego County, CA 1847, a young mall .

Thomas Cowie, a your man, murdered and mutilated after two days of torture by the Padilla-Carrillo-Garcia gang near Santa Rosa, CA June 1846. Buried there, Native Sons of the Golden West marker.

George Fowler - same a 'Mamas Cowie, above.

John "Jack" Ransford (Ranchford) - died June 1846, heart attack, Sonoma, CA. Buried there. Had worked day and night for three or four days to refit a cannon.

Donated by: San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society, San Luis Obispo Co., California September 2007