Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hugh Thompson Jr.


I want to start this post right up front with a warning that this post is not for everyone. I have great respect for the Viet Nam soldier. I didn't go to Viet Nam because of a back injury. The person that I was going to join the service with in the "buddy system", where you can go through basic training together, went on without me. He was killed after one week in Viet Nam by a land mine. I truly feel that the only reason that I'm alive today is that I didn't get to go there. If you suffer PTSD, as many Nam vets do, slip away and don't read this, you know too much already. You have my eternal thanks.


Capt. Hugh C. Thompson Jr. man of character.
Recently I was having a discussion with a friend of mine that quizzed me about how the early settlers could kill, and allow the Indian people to be massacred in such great numbers without people saying or doing anything to stop it.


It has always been my feeling that the same monster that lived in people in the 1850’s lives within all of us today. When we condemn the people in history we are basically condemning ourselves. Who knows what we would do if we were placed in the 1850’s?


I know that there have been recent massacres that we have very current knowledge about. So, I thought that I would relate a story to you.


Most of you out there, that remember the Viet Nam war, remember Lieutenant William Calley and the My Lai Massacre. The following is from Wikipedia:

In the early morning hours of March 16, 1968, Thompson's OH-23 encountered no enemy fire over My Lai. Spotting two possible Viet Cong suspects, he forced the Vietnamese men to surrender and flew them off for a tactical interrogation. Thompson also marked the location of several wounded Vietnamese with green smoke, a signal that they needed help.
Returning to the My Lai area at around 0900 after refueling, he noticed that the people he had marked were now dead. Out in a paddy field beside a dike 200 meters south of the village, he marked the location of a wounded young Vietnamese woman. Thompson and his crew watched from a low hover as Captain Ernest Medina (CO, C Company, 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment) came up to the woman, prodded her with his foot, and then shot and killed her.
Thompson then flew over an irrigation ditch filled with dozens of bodies. Shocked at the sight, he radioed his accompanying gunships, knowing his transmission would be monitored by many on the radio net: "It looks to me like there's an awful lot of unnecessary killing going on down there. Something ain't right about this. There's bodies everywhere. There's a ditch full of bodies that we saw. There's something wrong here." Movement from the ditch indicated to Thompson that there were still people alive in there. Thompson landed his helicopter and dismounted. David Mitchell, a sergeant and squad leader in 1st Platoon, C Company, walked over to him. When asked by Thompson whether any help could be provided to the people in the ditch, the sergeant replied that the only way to help them was to put them out of their misery. Second Lieutenant William Calley (CO, 1st Platoon, C Company) then came up, and the two had the following conversation:
Thompson: What's going on here, Lieutenant?
Calley: This is my business.
Thompson: What is this? Who are these people?
Calley: Just following orders.
Thompson: Orders? Whose orders?
Calley: Just following...
Thompson: But, these are human beings, unarmed civilians, sir.
Calley: Look Thompson, this is my show. I'm in charge here. It ain't your concern.
Thompson: Yeah, great job.
Calley: You better get back in that chopper and mind your own business.
Thompson: You ain't heard the last of this!
Thompson took off again, and Andreotta reported that Mitchell was now executing the people in the ditch. Furious, Thompson flew over the northeast corner of the village and spotted a group of about ten civilians, including children, running toward a homemade bomb shelter. Pursuing them were soldiers from the 2nd Platoon, C Company. Realizing that the soldiers intended to murder the Vietnamese, Thompson landed his aircraft between them and the villagers. Thompson turned to Colburn and Andreotta and told them that if the Americans began shooting at the villagers or him, they should fire their M60 machine guns at the Americans: "Y'all cover me! If these bastards open up on me or these people, you open up on them. Promise me!" He then dismounted to confront the 2nd Platoon's leader, Stephen Brooks. Thompson told him he wanted help getting the peasants out of the bunker:
Thompson: Hey listen, hold your fire. I'm going to try to get these people out of this bunker. Just hold your men here.
Brooks: Yeah, we can help you get 'em out of that bunker - with a hand grenade!
Thompson: Just hold your men here. I think I can do better than that.
Brooks declined to argue with him, even though as a commissioned officer he outranked Thompson.
After coaxing the 11 Vietnamese out of the bunker, Thompson persuaded the pilots of the two UH-1 Huey gunships (Dan Millians and Brian Livingstone) flying as his escort to evacuate them. While Thompson was returning to base to refuel, Andreotta spotted movement in an irrigation ditch filled with approximately 100 bodies. The helicopter again landed and the men dismounted to search for survivors. After wading through the remains of the dead and dying men, women and children, Andreotta extracted a live boy named Do Ba. Thompson flew the survivor to the ARVN hospital in Quang Ngai.
Upon returning back to their base at about 1100, Thompson heatedly reported the massacre to his superiors. His allegations of civilian killings quickly reached Lieutenant Colonel Frank Barker, the operation's overall commander. Barker radioed his executive officer to find out from Captain Medina what was happening on the ground. Medina then gave the cease-fire order to Charlie Company to "knock off the killing".

The Following is an interview with Thompson. I know that he was tormented the whole rest of his life with the things that he saw and did at My Lai, yet he went on, denying that there was anything wrong with him, as many PTSD sufferers do. His PTSD manifested itself in many ways not understood to even Thompson himself. But, he did the right thing when many others didn't. If you listen to the interview, you will find that there were 500 unarmed people massacred. There were 190 soldiers present, but only 13 to 18 soldiers participated in the massacre. The other soldiers did nothing to stop it. Only thompson and his two other heliocopter pilots, that he called in, did anything to stop the killing.


This is present day recorded stuff folks. People are the same today as they were in history. How would you explain what happened at My Lai, and how do you think that you would have reacted????


35 comments:

Joe Blow said...

Ernie, It's interesting to watch you evolve. My father, a combat WWII veteran told me, "you have no idea what men will do when there is NO LAW. The depths of their debasement has no limit." You're right, no difference.

No law: American Special Forces death squads running amuck throughout the world murdering people at will. No one gets upset about that any more than they get upset at local police killing marijuana growers or mentally upset people. This is what happens when you only see sub-humans. Problem is, in time, the killers can't tell the difference. That's when they become what's most important. When their lives take precedence over everything and everyone else - like today.

Dave said...

Despite your warning Ernie, I read this post.

I saw atrocities (not on the scale of My Lai)when I was there in 1970.
I can assure you that no one knows what choice they'll make until the moment arrives.

I've seen some men make surprising choices when their life was on the line. Some just froze. Most kept their head down and didn't play John Wayne.

Yes...there were some "lifers" and just plain crazy dudes who actually had fun with the license- to-kill that war provides.

It brings out the best in some, and the worst in others. I know what it did to me.

You ask how My Lai could happen. The answer is simple: war. Anything and everything happens in a war.

No civilian can ever understand what it's like to kill, or the fear of being killed on a daily basis for a full tour.
It's not something I would wish upon anyone.

You have to live with the choices you made under those conditions the rest of your life.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Dave
Sorry that you had to read this post. I almost deleted it several times. But, thank-you for your input. I know and understand what you say about a person who has never worn soldier boots being able to judge a soldier.

I really think that I have more insight than most, being the descendant of the California, and Eel River Valley Pioneers. I’ve heard all of the stories, many times, and heard many versions.

Up until about the 1950’s “Indian Fighters” were thought of as great and brave heroes. Some time in the sixties the United States changed. The peace movement started, and any killing, right or wrong, was condemned. A certain piousness came about people that were certain in their hearts that they could never kill another human being, no matter what. Those kind of people were simply killed in the 1850’s. Either by the Indian people or the whites that didn’t like Indian sympathizers.

The thing, that I think that I understand that others don’t, is that we all have that “monster” with-in us. The one that you know about from having seen it as a soldier. The one that I know about from having heard all of the history stories. I know that I have the exact same blood in my veins.

As a firefighter, I am continually referred to as a “Hero”. I know that I am not. A hero is somebody like the September 11th firefighters that went into the second tower after the first had already fallen. Simply putting water on somebody house fire, or controlling a situation to keep it from becoming dangerous does not a hero make. I think that people mistake gratefulness on their part for heroism on the firefighter’s part. However, I do appreciate the gratefulness.

I think the thing that you and I notice, more than others, is the jump to conclusions that people can leap to without any background or understanding whatsoever. And, be so firm in their resolve that they are somehow better than us.

Anonymous said...

"I really think that I have more insight than most, being the descendant of the California, and Eel River Valley Pioneers."

Telling statement!

Ernie Branscomb said...

Yes, but by itself it's garbage. Like most things out of context.

suzy blah blah said...

It has always been my feeling that the same monster that lived in people in the 1850’s lives within all of us today.

We torture, murder, rape, brutalize, and pillage, same as ever. We put ourselves and let others put us in situations where this is accepted. I see it as spiritual immaturity. While we've made humongous advancements technologically over the last couple hundred years, we haven't developed our spiritual awareness in the least. Our spirituality has lagged waaaay behind our materialistic achievements. We can go to the moon but ...

I don't know much about the Viet Nam era, but I see Thompson as a spiritual person, and a warrior. Spiritual warriors arise in time of social need, called on by destiny when the times require it. Like the firemen on 911 that you mentioned. It may not be much in the face of it all but they are, and someone like Thompson is, an example of they way one can be. A spiritual warrior, rooted in a deepening journey of his/her own unfolding.

Thanks for the reminder Ernie, I don't know how I would have reacted in a similar situation. I think I'm gonna go cry for while.

J2Bad said...

I think the thing that you and I notice, more than others, is the jump to conclusions that people can leap to without any background or understanding whatsoever. And, be so firm in their resolve that they are somehow better than us.

Sorry, dude, but "Anonymous" made a good point, and you don't seem to want to see it. What you dismiss as other people's lack of insight might just be your own, reflected back at you. As long as you're willing to dismiss competing views because they're not as good as your own, you'll never see past your own shadow.

You keep repeating the claim that people don't properly understand bad acts, so somehow their conclusions about those bad acts are mistaken. To me, you seem fixated upon "understanding" to the point that you paralyze yourself. There's no mystery behind atrocities. Every individual feels justified, and you can always uncover reasons behind bad acts. The trick is to get past that to address the problems those individuals can't see.

For example, Americans stopped torturing people as an official policy for a really long time, when we were confronted with others torturing us. Sure those people who tortured Americans had their reasons, but we felt those reasons were irrelevant to the bad act, so we made torture illegal. Then some guys said that we didn't properly understand why you might want to torture people...

Ernie Branscomb said...

Okay, Anon and J2bad. Now that You are through psychoanalyzing me. Answer the questions:

Do you think that we are the same people today that we were in the 1850’s?

How do you think that you would have reacted?

I’ve said before that I can’t judge them, can you?

suzy blah blah said...

Now that You are through psychoanalyzing me.

LoL! I see this happen fairly often. It seems to be a blog phenomena. My blog contrubutions get psychoanalyzed by various blog writers too --how Suzy should manage her emotions, and what that or the other means psychoanalytically. That I'm "projecting" onto the other person or guilty of what I claim others do, or that I'm unaware of my "shadow" etc. etc. Instead of facing the issue or answering the question at hand, they avoid that difficulty by switching to an attack on (psychoanalyzing) the messenger. It's bad enough when a real and knowledgeable psychiatrist acts superior and condescending but when a no knowledge internet commenter does, it becomes ridiculous. I'd explain what causes people to do this but hey, I'm not Froid.

-laying down and babbling from the couch,
s

J2Bad said...

I was actually thinking Shakespeare more than Freud - that bit about "protesting too much" from Hamlet.

Like I said before, you paralyze yourself when you say you can't judge because you might have done the same. That's an illogical position to hold, and I find it odd and troubling that you hold to it so vehemently, especially since you can be so thoughtful about history in other respects.

The knowledge that people are fallible shouldn't be a defense for refusing to exercise any moral judgement. If we were all Southern plantation owners in the 19th century, we would probably have defended slavery. Should that now prevent us from making the judgement that slavery is wrong? You can see how that would have troubling consequences, right? If we were all German citizens in the 1940s, we probably would have gone along with the Nazis. Most did, after all. So, you won't call the ethnic cleansing wrong because you might have gone along? That's just silly.

And it's not like those settler-colonists you're trying to excuse didn't know that it was wrong to slaughter the Indians. You just cited Bret Harte's editorial on the topic, after all. If he knew it, they did too. It was a political topic, and they disagreed because it was convenient for them to disagree. But they were wrong - as you've kinda-sorta implied already. And I have no problem saying that it's wrong to steal someone's land, enslave their families, and kill anyone who resists. I'm just continually shocked that you do, and I'm even more surprised that you feel it necessary to continue to excuse their behavior.

kymk said...

I think J2bad is right. We have to make judgments about moral issues As he said, "The knowledge that people are fallible shouldn't be a defense for refusing to exercise any moral judgement." In fact, The knowledge that we are fallible shouldn't keep us from pointing out problems in others, but it should remind us that people who make errors, even those who do evil are not worthless. They may have other qualities that are good valuable.

Ghandi said, "Hate the sin, not the sinner."

Can we know that stealing land from Native Americans was wrong and be aware that we might have done it ourselves? Yes.

Can we despise the slaughtering of innocents and yet admire the strength and courage of our ancestors? Yes.

Why must it be despise or admire?

Can we

Ernie Branscomb said...

J2bad and Kym.
Thank-you for such thought filled answers. That was my intent in the first place. Psychoanalyzing me could take forever.

The subject of this post is that we know that there are evil people in the world. My guest is that it is about ten percent. Eighty-nine percent will do nothing, and rarely someone will take a stand. The more heinous the act the more likely that good people will come forward. In the last post, the two Captains at Sand Point had their troupes stand down. Hugh Thompson was actually ready to shoot at his own soldiers. So there are also good people. J2bad and Kym are probably in that group. The thing that amazes me is that there are so MANY people that are willing to do nothing.

The other thing that I feel is important to point out is that land has since the beginning of time been taken through conquest. I know of no land in the whole world that has never been taken by any other method than conquest. Only very recently has the concept of purchasing land been utilized. In example: The Louisiana Purchase, Alaska, etc. So, the idea of just taking land was not a new idea. The taking of territory was used by the Indian people before we came here. If you will study the language of the Indian people you will know that the north coast Indians are from all over the country.

I’m very sure that the Indians that were already here were killed and pushed aside by the interloper Indians. There is history of many battles between opposing tribes. The Yuki hated the Wailaki. They would cut their heads off and kick them around for sport. So gruesome death scenes were not unique to the white man.

Also, once the white man was in California what were they supposed to do? Just let themselves be killed? Because the Indians would have, if they could have.
The story of Eliza Bowman should be used as an example of what Evil Indians are capable of. As some know she was the recipient of an unprovoked Indian attack upon her and her children.

What would like people to hear from me is not that I’m making excuses for the early whites. I know that some were evil, and that most just tried to survive, and some tried to protect the Indians. I don’t think that it is necessary to draw on the gory details, although I strongly feel that the truth should be known. But, I also feel that the truth should be known about the Indians. They weren’t all just simple noble savages. Some of them had a very evil side also.

olmanriver said...

Here is an Amelia Susman quote:
'However, the Indians had close relations with more respectable citizens as well. The "Indian fighters", were, in their dealings with other white men and in their families, often the kindest and best of men. Nordhoff says, in explanation, not defense of their deeds, that an old Indian fighter "sits down after dinner over a pipe and relates to you with quite horrifying coolness every detail of the death which his rifle and sure eye dealt to an Indian; the tragedy had not even the dignity of an event in his life ... he shot Indians as he ate his dinner, plainly as a matter of course; nor was he a brute but a kindly, honest good fellow, not in the least blood-thirsty"
(Nordhoff 1877, pg 185). And many of the most respectable settlers in Mendocino couniy have testified ...that they kill Indians found in what they consider hostile districts, whenever they lose cattle or horses,nor do they attempt to conceal or deny this fact". (California Legislature,
Appendix to the Journal, Document 4, l860).'
Amelia Susman, The Round Valley Indians of California 1976 (she was there in 1937), pg 27.
Nordoff, Charles, Northern California, Oregon and the Sandwich Islands, Harper 1877 NY

J2Bad said...

I agree that there's bad all around, and I agree that the noble savage stereotype was just a dumb stereotype. I don't disagree that it's nice to know something about the Indians who used to live here, but I don't really see why their (possibly-aggressive) past should have any bearing on my judgement about Euro-American colonial expansion. The one doesn't excuse the other, the scales are absurdly different, and there's no causal connection. I mean, it's not like Americans spread across the whole nation because the Iroquois didn't like the Algonquin (or whatever).

I dunno about evil, though. The Israelis kill children, the Palestinian kill children - both think they're justified in what they do because both think the other is evil.

spyrock said...

you should really read some joaquin miller because he was probably the first european writer in california to see the indians side. the fact that he was largely ignored in america but loved in europe and england illustrates the fact that americans simply haven't come to terms with this issue even to the present day. most of of you don't even know who this man is. from my read of california history, there were certain men who had very good reasons to hate indians who did the things like massacres and poisoning beef that killed the people. but they were the few. judge hastings had a buckaroo who was a giant of a man who hated indians and they had a lot to do with killing all the indians along the eel river. of course, the hasting school of law still pumps out lawyers in san francisco. please read about the modocs and you will see that it was usually one hateful man who led others against them. and because of that treachery, the modocs ambushed a minister and a general of the united states army. we are not talking about a bunch of soldiers getting drunk the night before their raid on sand creek. we are talking about usually one hateful individual who would organize a vigilantee mob to go kill indians. maybe they lost their stallion that they paid $5000 for. whatever the excuse, are you chicken or what? lets go kill some indians. who would do the same thing today? not much has changed.
ernie defends his ancestors because to him, they are the best people he has ever met in his life. that is the same experience i had with my ancestors from mendocino county. they were the most beautiful people i have ever met. they weren't pc by today's standards, but you can't touch this anymore..
so before all of you self proclaimed righteous people who know nothing about their own family history start throwing stones, let me hip you to the fact that you don't know who you are dealing with. you wouldn't have lasted a new york minute back in the old west. even the best of us didn't sit kindly with someone showing a lack of respect. the fact that we are now speaks louder than words. ernie is the most gracious host i have ever seen. good luck looking for the truth somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

"so before all of you self proclaimed righteous people who know nothing about their own family history start throwing stones, let me hip you to the fact that you don't know who you are dealing with. you wouldn't have lasted a new york minute back in the old west. even the best of us didn't sit kindly with someone showing a lack of respect. the fact that we are now speaks louder than words. ernie is the most gracious host i have ever seen. good luck looking for the truth somewhere else."

Ernie is great, I am six foot four and weigh well over 200 lbs and would have done just fine back then.
I don't see people throwing stones here, but I do see a lot of redneck defensiveness and posturing. Not one word has been uttered attacking anybody that you or Ernie have met in your lifetime. People are discussing the activities of the earliest settlers which you have perceived as an attack on your family, or Ernie's family. Maybe sober, you can see the illogic of your defensive words. No one is attacking your family.
Why do you take criticism so poorly and sound like one of the most self-righteous blowhards who posts here?

Ernie Branscomb said...

Anon
I want to say this in the nicest possible way, because I'm going to use you as an example of what Spyrock is talking about.

There are many instances of the old families being blamed for the flagrant extermination of the Indian people. The most recent being by the Laytonville English teacher that referred to us as "the old Indian killer families" and made mention that the early local families killed "Bucks – so-called – especially were prized as targets”. The North coast journal did a story about the founders of Arcata. The journal referred the founders as:
The Sonoma Gang
“Remembering the genocidal scum who built Arcata.” By Jerry Rohde.

The article in itself was not as bad as the comments that it prompted, some of which demanded the names of the people that killed the Indian people. The comments went on to demand the removal of the names of places that were named after the pioneers.

I’ve seen few assessments as to WHY the early settlers had the hate for the Indians that they did. Most remembered the gauntlet of Indian attacks while coming to California. Some were just plain evil, some just went along, and most were just trying to survive after they got here. As I pointed out, there were some great heroes that tried to protect the Indian people. Some of the “protectors” were brutally attacked by Indians. I’ve pointed these stories out on this blog. I’ve even investigated the “why” they might have had their bitterness by comparing the “overland” pioneers to the much more peaceful “shipboard” pioneers that came by boat. I pointed out that many of my family participated in the killing of Indians, but many, many more protected them against pretty strong retaliation.

When I say that I have more experience in the history of the Eel River canyon, because I was raised here and heard all of the stories of the early days, I am accused of being arrogant. I didn’t feel that way at all. I’ve heard more stories than I can ever remember. I started hearing stories back in the fifties when the old Indian fighters were still thought of by some as heroes. I can’t speak for Spyrock, but what he says rings true to me. He is both Indian and white and has ancestors killed on both sides. I can’t help but think that he has thought about, and wondered about his history, and the history of the Eel Canyon, and I would never write-of his comments as “redneck defensiveness and posturing”. I would guess that he has a certain amount of frustration in the fact that people don’t really try to figure out what history is all about, but they “know” it wasn’t fair to kill Indians.

I would invite you to keep your mind open and look for what motivated people in history, and you will find some very interesting characters. Also, I, and Spyrock know that if you would research your family history you would find some very evil people, and you would learn some humility.

Anonymous said...

Even if I do not agree with all that you just said, I do appreciate it as gentle and well-crafted response, one that pours some oil on my honest opinion, but rude comment, for which I owe, and give, Spyrock, an apology.

suzy blah blah said...

I don't believe that the Gandhi bumper-sticker quote, "hate the sin not the sinner" applies in this case. The "indian killers" being judged as sinners and their deeds being judged as sin is not in accordance with reality. As I understand it, the person who killed indians was not a sinner in that he was not violating his culture's or societies' real values. His deeds were not sins except when looked at through the morality of another society's point of view. The sin that I see in this is the judgments of self righteous politically and morally correct Monday morning quarterbacks.

Sometimes one finds oneself in a situation where the cultural and social values of the time and place contradict one's own internal values (depending on who you are). Then actions like Thompson's might arise. Maybe Ernie or someone will post something of that nature that happened in the old west.

olmanriver said...

William Scott left Jarboe's Eel River Rangers because he didn't like what was happening. He said the orders were to shoot them all.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Suzy.
I used to kill over a hundred ground squirrels a day and made the ranchers happy because they ruined so much grain from the grazing fields. I'm sure at the time that would have shocked or at least gone against some folks values or feelings. Now days I pass up the shooting of varmints but still don't see any wrong in it.

Oregon

Anonymous said...

I better add here, I am not making comparisons between varmints, Indians or Vietnamese.
There are people even now days that can't grasp someone killing any animals much less humans.
Like Suzy sez, "not violating their culture."


Oregon

J2Bad said...

As I understand it, the person who killed indians was not a sinner in that he was not violating his culture's or societies' real values.

Indiscriminately killing people was widely understood to be bad, even all those years ago.

If you're saying that no one mentioned the fact that Indians were human, indigenous to the land, and being exterminated, you're just factually wrong. It was all over the literature of the period, in plays and popular novels and advertisements. There were political debates on the subject, Indian chiefs in the halls of Congress, etc., etc., etc. Racism certainly was widespread, as the nation-wide policy of Indian "removal" documents. But just as with slavery, there were plenty of people on the other side of those issues who loudly protested.


But even if what you say were true, I still disagree with that sort of weak-kneed cultural relativism. By that standard, I can't say the Bataan Death March was wrong, because the Japanese really did think us Americans were subhuman. I can't say anything to those people who defend Nazis, because the German people really did think the Jews were scum. And Iranians stoning women to death for adultery right now is okay, and female circumcision in Africa right now is okay, etc., etc. Screw that.

J2Bad said...

I better add here, I am not making comparisons between varmints, Indians or Vietnamese.

I could be reading that wrong, but I'm pretty sure you are comparing shooting Indians (and people complaining) to shooting varmints (and people complaining). Pretty directly. In both comments.

Anonymous said...

Oregon,They are called "Digger Squirrels" You must be a Newcomer???

suzy blah blah said...

Good story OMR. I wonder about his history and fate. And about the internal struggle he must have had with his choice.

Oregon, over 100 a day --wow! that sounds like some kinda record or something.

J2bad, chill out dude, you can say what ever you want and think whatever you wish.

Anonymous said...

Suzy, that wasn't any record, there were several folks did that on a regular basis around that part of the country. I wish I hadn't said anything about it though. I knew it as soon as I hit the send button.

Oregon

olmanriver said...

Suzy I do not know what became of Scott, though I am fairly certain that Scott's valley was named after him.

The under oath depositions given to the state legislature's investigative Mendocino Indian War committee in Covelo reveal that many locals did not go along with the excessive killing of Indians. A number of ranchers testified that they had had no trouble with Indians or livestock losses. Most of the depositions are from Round Valley. Killing for Land, by Frank Baumgardner is THE book on Round Valley history, and I believe that you can Google reader it, still.

part 1

Olmanriver said...

Part 2

Long Valley ranchers gave a few testimonies in Covelo as well, William Frazier's gives us the best window into the times. After discussing GH Woodman's alleged stock losses, and a few raids made on rancherias to avenge livestock losses, testifies that
"... there has been no white men killed in Long Valley, that I know of, and no buildings burnt; I think there is a necessity for an armed force in that valley, for the protection of the lives and property of the citizens at present: I do not believe that the citizens have applied to the Federal troops for protection; the white population in that valley consist of about one hundred and twenty-five.
I know of no attack being made by the Indians, either upon a white person or a residence; I have often traveled through the region inhabited by those Indians, alone, without being molested by them; I know of no children being taken away from these Indians to be sent away; among these hostile tribes which we attacked, we found no children taken from them by some white men, and for the purpose of pecuniary profit.
Before my company was organized, there had been a good many Indians killed in the valley by the citizens and Captain Jarboe’s company."

olmanriver said...

An' Oregon, at least you were brave enough to comment. I ran inside and peeked through the curtains when the tall "comma slinger" showed up at Ernie's It's Ok/It's not Ok Corral.
Maybe we should be forming a c(h)orral group to sing our history. I can sing base, er, bass. Who will hit the high notes?

Hey four comments in a row on a bullshistory sight and I get "fecis" as my verification. Aint that somethin'.

olmanriver said...

William Frazier had a storied life, and a number of his Indian descendants live in Round and Long Valley.
One last peek at how it was back then from that deposition: "...in 1857, the different tribes of Indians in that vicinity had a meeting, and sent for me to be present; I think there were two thousand present; I was told by the friendly Indians that the Yucas encouraged the attempt to kill me; they surrounded me, and one Indian drew his bow and arrow and held it on me, but I brought my pistol to bear on him before he could shoot, and he cooled down; I then rode off; the only cause they assigned for it was, that I made those around mind me, and sometimes whipped them, and that they did not like me"...

olmanriver said...

THANKS Ernie for editing my comments into the right order.
The depositions mentioned above were taken in the late winter of 1860.

suzy blah blah said...

hey Oregon, it's easy to see that the point of your post is of course not to compare shooting squirrels to indians, but rather that the judgment made about the act in each instance is often based on a similar disregarding of context and lack of empathy.

spyrock said...

on july 30, 2005, i took a trip to covelo and stopped at a cemetery on my way out of town. the first tombstone i saw as i got out of my car was that of samuel and charlotte simmerely and their oldest son joe. sam simmerly had come from the cumberland gap area of pennsylvania and met his wife charlotte chandon recently from bravaria in st louis on their way to marysville in 1848. they moved to round valley in 1870 after your time period. my cahto relatives, the klaubers were killed in 1872. joe died in the early 1890s and then his younger brothers frederick and john, my ancestor, moved to spyrock. as cattle ranchers and grocery store owners in marysville, the simmerlys were respected members of the community. my cahto grandmother said she was part indian to my cousins when she babysat them at 94years of age but no other stories about indians were passed down on either side of that side of my family. however, while standing near that tombstone and walking through that cememtery in covelo something happened to me. i felt strangly happy and it really felt like people were gathering around me.
since then i have been obsessed with finding out who these people were and what happened back then. i am on this blog because of that day. in other words, my ancestors want people like you to know the truth about what happened back then. when you call me a redneck, which might seem pretty funny to some on this blog, it just confirms that i'm channeling my ancestors pretty good these days.
They just get pissed when people don't think there were good white people in the old days. You are right about the bad ones. They had to survive them too. They weren't only killing indians, they were killing homesteaders, foreigners like germans and jews as well. you better be able to know how to drink whiskey too. there was no law in covelo in those days except the law of the buckaroos who all worked for people like hastings and white.
thanks for the apology but i wasn't really speaking to anyone directly or personally. my ancestors aren't going to haunt you. at least i don't think so. they just want their story told in a more truthful and objective fashion.

Anonymous said...

Spy, Covelo still lack law. That's what makes it interesting to visit.

Oregon