Sunday, February 21, 2010

Andrew Jackson Farley

I was born and raised in the South Fork of the Eel River canyon. Most of my young life was spent in Laytonville. In 1955 we moved to Garberville where I have spent the rest of my life up until now. I have had the good fortune to have known many people that knew many local history stories. I loved hearing the stories, but I have noticed that all the stories that I have ever heard was different, depending on who was doing the telling. Most of the stories had about five different versions.

Sometimes I would point out that I had heard a different version. Often the person that I was listening to might say; "Who told you that was the way it happened?" If I said "John" told me, the answer was always "well you know John, you can't believe a thing he says." Or "Fred" or "Jake" or "Lafe". All the names I mention were made up, but you get the idea. Whoever was doing the telling was certain that they had heard, and was telling, the only true version of what “really” happened.

Some where in the back of all these stories is the truth. I soon learned that if I wanted to hear all the stories, I had to listen like it was The-God's-Honest-Truth. It never did me any good to shut somebody down, or point out a “lie”. That seemed to be a good way to never hear another story. I always tried to get my story tellers away from everybody else. Especially away from the girls in my family. The girls always to like to point out that they knew better than what was being told, and that would be the end of sometimes a great and epic tale. There is no wetter blanket on a story than some of the girls in my family... and... maybe a few of the boys.

I ended up having heard most all of the versions of every story, because all of the old story tellers knew that I hung on every word that they said, and that I absolutely, unconditionally believed the stories. Which I really did. I always understood that there was a logical explanation for the differences in a story.

As I said, I've heard about five different versions of every story. With “Uncle Jack Farley” I've heard about ten different versions of his life history. He was a man that cut a wide swath. The following story is just the fuzzy recollections of a person recalling stories about Uncle Jack. This is the kind of story that I love to hear, and it adds a dimension to the things that I all ready know.

I've come to think of the stories that I've heard as “Bullshistory”, because you can't totally believe them and you would be a great fool to base any kind of an opinion on them other than something important happened back then, but we will never know the truth. I've said it many times and I will say it again. “We can't judge people back then with todays standards”. We know about them because they survived. We don't know about my 3great Grandfather Cull because he and his son disappeared on their way to California, about the same time that Jack Farley was headed out here.

Another thing that I often say is “I don't know the true history, but I know where the bodies are buried.” and I used to know who to ask.

The photo below is a photo of the headstone of  “Uncle Jack”, Andrew Jackson Farley. His headstone reads: “Andrew Jackson Farley” “Died April 11th 1908” “Aged 104 years” “Pioneer of 49”

As you might guess, I truly do know where most of the bodies are buried. Maybe the only true thing that I do know.

The following story is from the Mendocino Historical Bulletin. My friend "Olmanriver" found it and emailed it to me. I would really like you to know "Olmanriver", he is a great researcher, and has provided me with many new stories about the South Fork Canyon and my checkered history. But alas, he wishes to remain anonymous.

The story is a little crude in the telling and the spelling, but what you see is what you get. The notes in maroon are mine.

Photo by: Janis Branscomb

He was a pioneer of 1848 and came to California by way of Bakersfield. He and a companion were scouts for the party. They had agreed to be back in camp on a Friday night, Only Uncle Jack showed up. They waited all day Saturday, and on Sunday went look­ing for the other man. They found he had been scalped by the In­dians. Up to this time they had been trying to get along with the Indians. After that Uncle Jack said he would kill 25 Indians to get even for the one scout they had killed.

I did not hear of any other Indians being killed on the rest of the trip. They did not starve like the Donner party, but were awfully hungry.

They came upon a cow which they killed and ate. The cow be­longed to the Spanish and they got caught with it. The Spaniards made them work out the price of the cow and more,

Jack got to California just after the gold strike. He mined at Placerville, or Hangtown, as it was known then. In 1849 he went to Willits, then to Napa, 1859 and 1861 found him in Auburn and Oroville. In 1851 he was in Trinity County, All of these trips were made in good weather, and he would stay in Napa for the winter.

The trip from Trinity County was a long one, so he decided there was a closer way. In 1852 he came by the way of Covelo, do down the river to Dos Rios, over the hill to Long Valley, When saw that valley, he fell in love with it.

I don't know how patents worked, but he had a patent on the property, dated 1855, I think he had to mark out his property, build his house, and it was his.

Now back to the mining in Trinity County, He had a dog who was always with him. This dog could smell trouble a mile away and would let him know.

The Indians up that way were under "Happy Jack," a half-breed. He was a lot meaner than a full-breed. He stirred up what we call the Modocs and wanted them to kill all the miners. He sent about three or four Indians up each creek, killing and scalping the miners. When his dog let him know that the Indians were coming, he would get behind a tree and wait,

Uncle Jack called his gun "Old Meat in the Pot," He also had a six-shooter. Both were cap and ball. He would shoot one Indian with his rifle and the rest with his six-shooter. He scalped them because -the Indians believed that a scalped Indian could not go to the- Happy Hunting Ground, This happened two years in a row. Af­ter burying all the miners, he would get out before they found what.-, had happened.
On his way out he found a ledge of quartz, just full of gold. He broke off several chunks-and put them in his saddle bag. We had a piece at the ranch when I was a kid. I don't know what hap­pened to it, but the 1 1/2" square piece had a least an ounce in it). It was five years before they got the Indians out of there and put them on an island in Tule Lake, He went back looking for that ledge, but he never found it. He went almost crazy trying to find it again,

Being a horse lover he went hick to Indiana and got an Arab­ian stallion,a Palomino with flaxen mane and tail, as well as five good mares. He planned on raising some good horses. He paid over $5000 for them.
All of this travelling was on horseback. After he returned, one evening he went out to look at his horses and could not find them. The next day he tracked them over the hill and down into what is now called Horse Hollow. There he found them killed, dry­ing. Being alone, he went back to Long Valley and got a lot of help to punish the Indians and put them on the reservation at Covelo’

These Indians were Yukis and Tatus. They were not the same as the local Indians; they were Kaza-pomos, but not true Pomo. They spoke Athabascan language, and had already made their peace with the whites and had begged them not to kill them when the white man's stock disappeared,
Uncle Jack got all the people in Long Valley who had lost stock. He was a captain and I was led to believe that he went to Fort Bragg and got the soldiers, but thanks to Estle Beard, I have found out the truth. William Frazier was a Lieutenant. The others were J. P, Simpson, Jeremiah Lambert, B. S, Burns, Robert Poe, Woodman and W. H. Cole, and probably others. They had all lost cattle. They decided to put the Indians on the reservation in Covelo.

(Jeremiah Lambert was my 3G grandfather, Robert Poe was My 3G grandfather, I believe that Kym Kemp might know who W.H. Cole is.

B.S. Burns adopted "Foxy" Burns.  Foxy was an Indian that was an infant at the time of the Bloody Run Massacre. B.S. Burns took foxy home in a gunny-sack strapped to the saddle horn of his horse. Foxy was raised and educated by the Burns family, and to my knowledge he was treated as one of the family.

My 3G grandfather Poe adopted two Indian Children. I'm not sure if it was one or two children, but I know that one of the Indian children got into the grainery and ate so much grain that it killed him.

I have a relative that was raped by two Indian men. The men were tracked down and hung. I have more to that story but some things don't need to be told. 

There is no truth to the story that Indian children were kept mostly as slaves, at least not occording to the stories that I've heard about the Laytonville area. Most of the adopted Indian children were treated as well as any of the other children. I should add that all children were raised with a very firm hand back then. People today would certainly claim that it was child abuse. Again, I will have to place this under the heading of Bullshistory. The stories that I've heard certainly paint a fine picture of the early pioneers, but I'm sure that they weren't saints.)

They went out to Horse Hollow and found the Indians had moved. The men tracked them down across outlet Creek and up over the hill to the Eden Valley side.

It was late when they came upon them and decided to wait until morning. They camped about a mile away from the Indians. During the night a cold wind came up and the Indians moved to the Outlet Creek side of the mountain. When the men awakened the next morn­ing and found out what had happened, they tracked them back over the hill and found them camped on a creek. They slipped up on them. The Indians were still sleeping. The first one out was the chief, and on his belt hung the flaxen-colored tail of Farley's stallion. (I can imagine Uncle Jack on seeing this--I'll bet he had red crosses in both of his eyes). He shot the Indian in the belly to get even for that trip back East to get the horses than having the Indians kill them. This shot woke them all up and they came out fighting. I have heard that they killed two or three hundred. They did kill 37 bucks and two squaws, captured 17 and put them on the reservation.

-I have heard how the battle of Bloody Run got its name. Some say it was horse blood, from washing the meat.I know better. This chief stumbled over into the creek and all the wounded too, as it was downhill and that is how Bloody Run got its name. Even after the railroad was built and later, when student doctors from U.Co would go up there to find skeletons and take them back to U.C. where they would assemble them.
Another time, just after this, Uncle Jack was out looking for his stock. There were no fences, so they roamed wherever the best food was. He was riding down Cherry Creek with "old meat in the pot" across his saddle in front of him. All at once an arrow hit his cantle, just in front of him. Looking to see where it came from he discovered an Indian under a manzanita bush, lying oil his back with his bow across his front. At that time he was reaching for another arrow. "Old meat" was pointed was toward the Indian. Uncle Jack pulled the trigger and caught the buck lengthwise. It made him mad, he killed the Indian and scalped him, cut the skin off of his back and tanned it.

I know he made a knife scabbard out of it, and maybe a razor strop. The San Francisco Examiner, January 29, 1895 said that he also covered a chair with it. I do not believe it. He was not that gruesome. However, The Examiner had a picture of him sitting in his chair with the 25 scalps hanging on the wall.
Uncle Jack died in 1908. The inscription on his headstone read that he was born in 1804. There is a nice iron fence around his grave that he claimed to have owed his long life to being friends with the local Indians and learning all of their medecines.

I've heard stories about Uncle Jack that made him sound like the greatest man that ever walked the face of the Earth, that he was the epitome of charcter, that his word was as good as gold, a man to be looked up to. Others say that he was a monster worse that Hannibal Lecter. One thing that is undeniable, He survived! For 104 years!


kymk said...

Yep, I'm pretty sure that the W. H. Cole mentioned in the piece is actually William Marion Cole, my great, great grandfather.

spyrock said...

river really comes up with some amazing stuff. i've seached for info about this guy for quite a few years now. but details of the bloody run have been slow in coming until now.
of course, i'm a little biased because i had a problem with my last baseball coach named farley. i had been on teams who had beaten his kids all my life until i finally got stuck on his team and he hardly ever let me play as pay back.
but as dark as jack may have been. there was later on a chris farley who gave his life trying to make us laugh.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Kym you are just a baby, surely Cole must be at least your 3G grandfather, most likely your 4Great.

But, don't agonize over the details; my next post is going to be on Attila the Hun. We are ALL related to him. Even the pious among us.

olmanriver said...

The Bloody Run event has haunted me ever since you covered it last year Ernie. We have a few local descendants of men on that raid whose versions are preserved in the Through the Eyes of the Elders series, but this one is an earlier version. As you mentioned, there were four or five surviving Indians taken in by local families, one dying from overeating grain in the barn, and one going on to become quite a lady in San Francisco society when she was an adult. You have more details on these people, and on Fox Burns, in your earlier posts on Bloody Run.I also found mention of another survivor who swam to safety in the Round Valley Families book.

I think it is great that you posted this Ernie, now historians will have access to a more detailed version of the event, for the first time online.

Ekovox said...

"I've said it many times and I will say it again. “We can't judge people back then with todays standards”.

Oh, but people do, Ernie, people do. And that's what makes many of us not want to tell stories that have been handed down for the past 150 years. Old Man River remains anonymous for his own reasons, and I use a pen name for my own reasons. Perhaps I am not contributing all that I know through my own ChickenShistory.
Everyone, has a checkered past. Everyone. Let those who judge by today's standards look into their own past, first.

kymk said...

Cole really was my Great great Grandfather. My grandmother who was alive into the '90's could remember his wife well being about twenty when her grandmother died. To paraphrase Ben Schill, our history here is very very recent. I'm pretty sure our family has a bell stolen from the church in Round Valley when it was destroyed by marauding white men. The story is that it was stolen from Fort Ross when they went to drive the Ruskies out. But the Ruskies were long gone by then and the bell has German writing which makes it fit better with the raids on the German mission at Round Valley. I've only found one reference to that. If anyone finds more, I'd be obliged to hear about it.

Ernie Branscomb said...

" Let those who judge by today's standards look into their own past, first.

Yeah, but most won't. They see themselves as great paragons of virtue, and envision that they would have surely saved the Indian people had they just had the opportunity to have appeared back in time. They don’t bother to know history of the westward movement, the struggle, and sometimes the impossibly complicated conditions that the migrants found themselves in. Once the white people appeared in California it became a choice of live or die. ALL of the ranchers of Long Valley appealed to the government for help with the Indian situation. They were left to deal with their own problems.

Many of the whites in Long Valley were escaping the diseased hoards in the Sacramento Valley. The grim reaper followed their every footstep, no matter where the ended up. I really was about survival… In all directions.

Many of my friends are of mixed breed, Indian and White. Most of them simply know that it happened, and understand the futility of judgment, but use it as a lesson in how our Government, more often than not, fails us in times of crisis.

If I had any wish to come true, I would hope to put the people that wish to judge what happened back then into a Delorean time machine, drop them into the middle of the 1860s, with nothing but their buckskin clothes on their backs, and their muzzle loading rifles. It would be interesting to see how long that they would last.

suzy blah blah said...

Everyone, has a checkered past.

-but some are far more checkered than others.

Ernie Branscomb said...

My Grandmother Ruby (Midleton)Branscomb, who I knew most of my life, knew Jack Farley when she was child. She knew Foxy Burns well. My uncle Ben Branscomb knew Foxy Burns and most of the legends from the Indian side, because he played and hunted with the Indian kids when he was young. He told me many stories that, sadly, I have forgotten. But, I still remember where the bodies are buried.

olmanriver said...

I was away today heeding the siren call of HSU library call letters, or I would have jumped back in earlier. This was from the Mendocino Historical Society Bulletin, Vol 17, #5 April 1979, and cont'd into #6, June 1979. I am fairly confident that this is the writing of Estle Beard. To refer to this as "just the fuzzy recollections of a person recalling stories about Uncle Jack"- well, gotta call you this you, without being insulting.
That was the most detailed version of the event, to my mind clearly closer to the source than any other oral version I have read.

The "you can't judge them by today's standards" line is getting tiresome to me so I came across a Mary Anderson quote that must be from one of her drafts for her articles or book, that I think says it well. (heh,heh, thanks Mary!)
"It is easy to look back in a self-congratulatory way on the manner in which the men of that(omr's word-) era dealt with the indigenous population of the lands they settled as we are so firm in our belief that we would have been so much more humane. It's a fanciful kind of romanticism that would rewrite the course of Western development to include ourselves behaving heroically. ----and his generation lived in a different time and context and without the benefit of righteous hindsight and there were few of that era who did not have what seems today to have been a patronizing and self-serving attitude towards the indigenous people".

What is important to me is not pointing fingers, and no one here did, but getting as much of the lost history online for future generations who did not have the benefit of local chicken and bullshistory growing up.

Thanks for letting your blog be a source for info on the little known Bloody Run massacre.

olmanriver said...

Ernie, I don't know that that is Estle Beard, and I am honest enough to pursue it. There was no name with the article, nor in the index that I saw, but I do know that Mr. Beard wrote a lot in the Mendocino Bulletins back then.
I will try and find out who wrote this anonymously when I visit the Held-Poage Museum in Ukiah.
As an aside there was a short bullshistory version of Bloody Run by A.E. Sherwood, of the Sherwood area, in a Mendo Hist Bulletin that was off the meter, when compared to other versions.
If you would like a copy for your BR BS version collection, I will photocopy it for you.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Thank you, I actually need to hear all of the stories of Bloody Run that I can find, for some pretty personal reasons. I'm putting off my post on Attila the Hun to do another post.

I'm doing a post from the local pioneers perspective that I hope will widen a few eyes and expand some understanding.

I want you to know that I have the greatest respect for you, and your research. Hold your breath for my post.

olmanriver said...

I want you to know that I have the greatest respect for you

Well now I have serious concerns about your judgement!

Looking forward to your article tho.

spyrock said...

for some reason, the california indians were about the last indians i ever read about or studied. the shawnee and algonquin came even later. but it's probably because they were close to home. i don't really worry about what my ancestors did more than what i may have done in a previous life that is somehow affecting this life.
this talk about being judgemental is laughable to me because i've met so few people in my life that don't do it. i can maybe count them on one hand. and because there are so many perspectives out there i'm open to hearing them. i think that out of the diverse viewpoints the whole enchilada manifests and we can finally process it and move on.
so if it appears than i am being neutral about this, its only because from my own experience, my pioneer relatives were the most happy and real people i have ever met in my life. so excuse me if i don't pencil in a black mustache into their old photos.

lynette707 said...

Hi all,
Ernie, first let me say I appreciate your blog (and the info and perspective you share) very, very much. But. But.... I feel compelled to address your comment

"There is no truth to the story that Indian children were kept mostly as slaves, at least not occording to the stories that I've heard about the Laytonville area. Most of the adopted Indian children were treated as well as any of the other children."

Perhaps the storytellers weren't too eager to talk about the circumstances under which the children came to be under their care...

Helen Carpenter lived in Little Lake (Willits) in the early years and in 1890 wrote a very graphic, and heartwrenching account of indian slave trader George Woodman

-See my blog post here:

Far too many children were ripped from their families (or from dead parents' arms) and compelled to work in the homes of their white "masters". Perhaps some were treated as well as other children in the family, but there are too many accounts of murders, kidnappings and human traffickers for us to pretend this wasn't slavery. And very, very cruel.

lynette707 said...

I am afraid I have to add one more comment/question-

"... I know that one of the Indian children got into the grainery and ate so much grain that it killed him."

Have you ever asked yourself why a supposedly well-cared for and well-fed child would eat himself to death?

Ron said...

Wow this is cool! I've been doing research on Jackson Farley for my genealogical reasons.

Has anyone familiar with Laytonville history read, "Pioneering In The Shadow Of Cahto Mountain," by Kate Mayo. Published in 1974 commemorating the the centennial of Laytonville.

I'm a Hall decedent, the grandson of Henry Hall and Ruth (Hurd) Hall.
Henry Hall was born in Dos Rios on the Eel River in 1877. Henry Hall was a descendent of Jackson Farley. I've been trying to find out the exact connection, but the record is murky. I combed the records in Ukiah and the internet.

I lived with my grandparents for a time in 1953 and attended 4th grade at the Laytonville Elementary School. My Grandfather Henry Hall, was the janitor for years at the Laytonville High School.

On occasion I still visit the grave site at the Laytonville elementary, I have also visited Jackson Farley's grave there.

I sent many a summer in Laytonville as a kid, loved.

Would love to hear more about the Farley/Hall connection if anyone has further information.


Ron Williams

Ernie Branscomb said...

Lynette, this is the whole statement:
“There is no truth to the story that Indian children were kept mostly as slaves, at least not according to the stories that I've heard about the Laytonville area. Most of the adopted Indian children were treated as well as any of the other children. I should add that all children were raised with a very firm hand back then. People today would certainly claim that it was child abuse. Again, I will have to place this under the heading of Bullshistory. The stories that I've heard certainly paint a fine picture of the early pioneers, but I'm sure that they weren't saints.)”

Maybe I should have been more specific that is was talking about the Laytonville area. I really didn’t hear of any abuse. Why would they raise and educate an Indian child if all they wanted was a “slave”? Some of the adopted Indian children became respected members of the community. Their legends live on today. Why would you want to take that away from them? They were not raised as dogs or slaves. There are records of the local Indians. Look them up and stop playing “Poor Indian”.

Eighty years later, when my mother and father were growing up, the Indian Baseball players were the town heroes. The Indian people that worked in the woods with my dad and uncle were the most skilled timber fallers, and Cat skinners in all of the logging operation. It was only when the Newcomers showed up and started claiming that the Indian people were being “Abused”, put them on reservations and paid them to stay there, that it became a problem.

To have somebody pay you to sit in a house and do nothing has to kill a persons pride. That’s what I saw. If they should be paid for being an Indian, why were they forced to stay on the Rez? I call that slavery!

I’m sure that Woodman was no saint, and that there were abused Indian children. There are probably a lot of dirty little secrets. The Indian child that ate too much grain and died didn’t do that because he was being “starved”. He had been just “Adopted” from the massacre. There was a language barrier, and yes he was starving. He was from a band of starving Indians! He knew no better than to eat too much grain. He didn’t know that there was any such thing as eating too much.

Currently the local Wailaki Indian tribe has voted NOT to live on a reservation, and they voted NOT to have a casino. They did this because they felt that it would be harmful to their culture. They passed up free money, and casinos, to remain who they are, a very proud and pure culture of Indians. I can’t even began to tell you how proud of them that I am. They earn their own livings, pay their own taxes and they don’t kiss any white Indian Agent ass. Yes, I’m shouting.

If you want to see a happy and proud band of Indians, come to the Garberville parade. They have a local cultural float in the parade now. (fathers day weekend, Saturday)

Lynette, now that I'm through shouting, I want you to know that I very much appreciate you and you history blog. It really causes me to think. I have gained much from it.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Boy, do you have a lot of catching-up to do. Yes, most of us have read Kate Mayo's book. It has become our bible, so to speak. Kate did us all an immeasurable service by writing that book.

I knew your grandad, Henry Hall. I was but a small child when I knew him. We lived across the street from the highschool. My sister and I would go over to the school and play while he cleaned the rooms. She and I were playing hide and seek and I hid in one of the hallway lockers. How was I to know that it would lock. My sister got Henry to let me out. So, I may owe my very life to Henry. I always liked henry, he was one of those people that make a big impression on a small kid. I remember him, as being very stoic and pragmatic.

I also remember that your grandmother Ruth Made the best cookies around. I knew Henry's brother Pete, he was our neighbor just north of my grandmother Ruby's ranch north of Laytonville. And of course his other brother, “Chicken” Hall. I know his real name, but it has slipped from me right now. Chicken Hall was one of the town characters, and was well liked. I always wondered why he was called Chicken.

If Henry was born in Dos Rios, he would have known the Sherburns. And maybe the Millers, the Sniders, or the Ericksons.

Maybe somebody out there knows the connection to Farley.

River runs through here said...

The last time I tried to shut up on the blogs, the very day after I made my resolution...I am talking history in a coffee shop and a local fella listening in tells me he was going through an old trunk of family stuff and there at the bottom was the infamous Jack Farley SF examiner picture from around 1900 staring back at him. I ended up sending his kin what I knew. Those Long Valley family trees are like vines (when they are not a thicket), they go everywhere!
Ron, I have a deposition given by Jack Farley in 1861 to the joint legislative inquiry into the Mendocino Indian wars in Covelo that I will scan for you. Thanks for checking in.
If this is a one stop Jack Farley info hub, let us add that Jack raised at least one Indian child, named Po, if I remember Ben's comment correctly. And there was a Daisy Farley who showed up on the 1910 census whose connection hasn't been traced. As we know, many Indians took white names without being kin, so I am not suggesting anything untoward.

Ernie, I love it when you draw in someone with ties to your Valley, so you can remenesce. It makes me smile.

omr said...

To help complete our picture of the man, I did find that Jack Farley married in Napa in 1845, his wife died in 1848, and his two children died, in 1857 and 1858. He settled in Long Valley in 1857.

Anonymous said...

Jack Farley was married to Daisy Smith. Daisy was the youngest of the Thomas Smith children, circa1867 (info in Through the Eyes of the Elders Vol. II) written by Daisey's great neice, Elizabeth. Daisy divorced Jack and later married Harry Falk. She spent most of her life in SF. She died in 1975and is buried at the Presidio in SF.

Anonymous said...

Hall relatinship to Farley: William Ichabod married Elvira
Jane Farley on July 1, 1876. She was daughter of James and Nancy Farley; Jackson Farley's niece. Nancy was born 1859 - died 1933.

Henry and Ruth Hall were good friends of my family and attended the same church in the 1950-60s.


Anonymous said...

Cousin's back! yea

Anonymous said...

Hummm! I just did the math and it's hard for me to believe possible that "the" Jack Farley we're talking about could have been married to someone who died in 1845 and again to someone (divorced) who died in 1975!! I checked my information and sure enough that's what it reads. Wonder if there is another Jack Farley out there.