Monday, February 17, 2014

Captain John P Simpson

I got a comment on one of my back blogs about "Early Laytonville Indian History". A person identifying their self as "Violawarrior" left this comment:

"Hi, my name's Allie Simpson and I'm a descendent of Cpt John P Simpson. Thanks so much for the stories! My sister and I are trying to learn more about our family history and this blog gives dimension to the facts and records we've seen so far. If you have any more Simpson stories, please let me know!"

She did not send me an email so I can't reply to her except as a comment. Most people don't know that there is no trail back from a comment, so my hands are tied. I did find her subject to be of some local interest, so I decided to post it here and see what comes up!

 As everybody knows Capt. John P Simpson and his partner James N White were the first to settle in Long Valley. (laytonville)

From internet: "In 1854,[James N White] with Capt. J. P. Simpson located at Cahto. At the time there was a lake there, and plenty of game, thousands of ducks and geese. The Indians named it Cahto, meaning "Fat water." They located government land; drained the lake, which gave them two hundred acres of rich land, which was formerly the bottom of the lake. They built and started a store, as also a hotel and livery stable, purchased land adjoining and the Cahto ranch which embraced about thirty-two hundred acres. Robert White was postmaster and express agent. They also owned the Blue Rock ranch, but that ranch was later owned by James N. White and Captain Simpson. The captain was found dead by J. N. White, having succumbed to heart disease.'

 Here are some interesting links to Capt. J P Simpson:

 link 1

link 2

link 3

 link 4


Ernie Branscomb said...

I have had some problems posting on my blog lately. It has some serious glitches. It has been ignoring some comments and it will only accept my input in HTML form. Weird!

If you have been having problems, try emailing me direct. My Edress is in the upper left corner.

skippy said...

And yet another good reason why you should keep on writing, blogging, story'in and history'in, Ernie.

There's a lot to give, so much to know, and so little time. Someday, folks' ancestors and the folklife researchers are going to come beating to your site to unearth the relics and pearls of yesteryear you left behind and it'll be a true treasure trove of discovery.

Refrigerators by day... and hand-me-down oral history by night. And keeping the homestead and Missus happy in between.

Sounds good to me. Just sayin'.

olmanriver said...

A California State Historical Society Quarterly gives us some more little known details about Simpson.
In 1855 an expedition led by HP Heintzelman left Petaluma to scout the coast up to Cape Mendocino for potential Indian reservations. Three miles north of Buldoom, or Big River, he came to Bob White's ranch where Simpson, White and Watt joined the expedition. Having been there since 1852, they spoke several local languages. The result of the expedition was that the area just south of the Noyo River up the coast to one mile north of the Ten Mile River was chosen, and in 1856 construction of buildings commenced. J.P. Simpson was the overseer of the Cully Bool farm or station just south of the Noyo River.
I have seen no record of how long he worked there but most histories say he and White came to Cahto in very late '56 or early '57.

Nor Cal Historian said...

The following excerpt from the testimony
of William Frazier of Long Valley illustrates
the general thinking of the ranchers. It is also
interesting in that it provides another view of
former Indian agent Robert White and former
reservation employee John Simpson, both of
whom had moved from Mendocino to the vicinity
of Long Valley, where they continued to exert
influence over the Indians by operating a
kind of private reservation:
... The Indians and whites in one thousand
eight hundred and fifty-seven were
friendly; the first serious difficulty that occurred between the whites and Indians was
one year ago, when the three head of stock
above referred to were killed; when Mr. Simpson,
Mr. White, myself, and others, hearing
that the Indians had beef in the rancheria, in
the valley, went to the rancheria for the purpose
of chastising the Indians, when all fled
but one, and we shot his head off; he tried to
escape; some friendly Indians brought some
beef from the rancheria to us; this was the
last difficulty up to October last, with the Indians;
these Indians were known as the Kaza-
Porno. At the time this difficulty occurred,
they came to terms with us and have been
peaceable ever since; the Indians with whom
we have had difficulties since October last,
are known as the Yucas, who do not reside in
Long Valley, but were driven over from the
east side of Eel River, in the vicinity of Round
Valley; in December last, towards the latter
part, the citizens met and organized a company
of forty men, under the command of
Captain Farley; I was elected Lieutenant; a
day or two after the organization, we started
on an expedition across Eel River, in the
mountains between Round Valley and Long
Valley; we left Long Valley in the evening,
and traveled in the night until we saw the fire
of an Indian rancheria, which rancheria we surrounded when day was breaking, and
waited until near sun up before we attacked
and killed twenty, consisting of bucks,
squaws and children, and also took two
squaws and one child, prisoners; those killed
were all killed in about three minutes; I took
the prisoners to White and Simpson's Ranch,
where there are some friendly Indians, and
delivered them up to White and Simpson, who
promised to take care of them; we found in
this rancheria no signs of any depredation
having been committed by these Indians; at
White and Simpson's I procured an interpreter,
through whom the two squaws said
that they had lived on beef and horse meat for
some time; we used no threats or promises to
induce them to say so; they said that they had
heard the Indians say that they had been killing
stock longer than the white men knew
anything about, and that they intended to kill
all the stock in the valley; they assigned no
cause for killing the stock, and we could not
induce them to do so ...
P 29 Mendocino Reservation

Nor Cal Historian said...

Two undated,
anonymous accounts from the files of the Mendocino
County Historical Society offer a glimpse
into this world. One describes a reservation employee
using Indian women to carry onehundred-pound sacks of grain ten miles from
his "private" farm (located on the reservation)
to the reservation headquarters, where he sold
the grain to the government. The women packers
were urged on by a mounted man with a
blacksnake whip. The other account describes a
similar use of Indian women by the manager of
the Noyo mill: "Indian squaws were 'rented'
from the agent by the manager of a certain lumber
company located near the reservation, to
`pack' grain and baled hay some seven miles up
the river to the lumberman's camp. The rental,
fifty cents a head, going to the same thrifty
P 49 Mendocino Reservation

Stephen said...

Jeezus, these white settler Indian killer stories are awful. Whites only got away with it because of the smallness of most California tribes. The big ones like Hoopa, they were afraid of. It would have been a far different story if California tribes were big like say the Lakotas or other Plains tribes.

But that's not why I'm posting. Where is your email link, Ernie? I can't find it in your blog. I would like to know if there's any construction company in Laytonville or wildly, any eco-community tech people there. You know of any?

Anonymous said...

Stephen,--Go to Ernie's Blog and scroll the information on the left side to Personal Bio and read that section. His E-mail address is there, the last sentence.

Stephen said...

Ok, I'll try that. Thanks.

firedevilsac3 said...

Thank you for this well written piece and your good work for non-profits.

Ross Sherburn said...

Is Chad Bushnell the C/W singer from Red Bluff,related to Billy & Bobby Bushnell of Garberville?
The Bushnell boys were timber cruisers or timber fallers back in the day.........


Ross Sherburn

Ernie Branscomb said...

Hi Ross! It's good to hear from you. I'm not sure if they are related. Bobby is still alive. He just recently sold his house. I'm not sure where he moved to. Bill died about 7 years ago. Bob didn't have children. Bill did, but don't know where they went.

I'm a real fountainhead of information ain't I?

olmanriver said...

Hey Allie Simpson, I hope this comments finds you. I have accumulated some Simpson stories that were lost in the National archives that I would rather share via email. If you email Ernie, see instructions above... he will forward it along.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Hi River.
I never had her email address. Here's hoping she either gets this or somebody knows her that will send her the message.

Ross Sherburn said...

Ernie,thanks for the reply,I just now checked back in.
I'll be back.......

Ross Sherburn said...

Just checking in again..........!

spyrock said...

hey ross,
going to retire soon. maybe april 1. i met a real estate guy in willets who knew the simmerelys and we shared stories. he was italian and lives on the east side of the valley up on a hill overlooking it. he is a supporter of the local rodeo. can't remember his name. great guy. river sent me some info on john kauble. which i'm trying to piece together. a great story about simpson. spy

Ernie Branscomb said...

Hi folks! Smee,
I'm am in contact with a Foord If anyone wants to email her please Email me and I will put you together.
She is related to the Simmerlys

spyrock said...

Family of Henry Kobel Massacred by Indians
Five of the Eight Children Survive the Attack

Updated 11:03 PM ET Jan 12, 2001

Bethel Township, Berks County, PA (Nov. 24, 1755) - On the horror-filled Sunday afternoon of November 16, 1755, the family of Henry Kobel was attacked by seven or eight marauding Indians at their home in Bethel Township. Henry, his wife (believed to be Maria Salome Hoffman) and three of their eight children were killed in the attack.

After killing Henry and Maria, the Indians pursued, captured and then scalped at least five of the eight children, as they fled into the neighboring woods. The Indians fled only upon hearing other settlers coming to the Kobels' aid. Two of the scalped daughters survived, one to tell the story of the family tragedy, as related on November 24, 1755 by Conrad Weiser in a letter to Pennsylvania Governor Morris.

"I cannot forbear," Weiser wrote, "to acquaint your Honor of a certain circumstance of the late unhappy affair: One Kobel, with his wife and eight children, the eldest about fourteen years and the youngest fourteen days, was flying before the enemy, he carrying one and his wife a boy, another of the children, when they were fired upon by two Indians very nigh, but hit only the man upon the breast, though not dangerously. They, the Indians, then came with their tomahawks, knocked the woman down, but not dead. They intended to kill the man, but his gun (though out of order, so that he could no fire) kept them off. The woman recovered so far, and seated herself upon a stump, with her babe in her arms, and gave it suck; and the Indians driving the children together, and spoke to them in high Dutch, 'Be still, we won't hurt you.' Then they struck a hatchet into the woman's head, neck and tore off the scalp. The children then ran: four of them were scalped, among which was a girl of eleven years of age, who related the whole story; of the scalped, two are alive and like to do well. The rest of the children ran into the bushes and the Indians after them, but our people coming near to them, halloed and made a noise. The Indians ran and the rest of the children were saved. They ran with a yard by a woman that lay behind an old log, with two children; there were about seven or eight of the enemy."

spyrock said...

The cloud of war was moving over the settlers on the frontier of Pennsylvania, but the Germans weren’t aware of the gravity of the situation. Arriving in 1710, they had been pushed from one location to the next by unscrupulous British politicians, to the breaking point. Twice, they went to live among the Indians, quite successfully. They negotiated with the Mohawks for land and lived as good neighbors, in harmony, until once again, they were told by the British that they didn’t own their land and would have to repurchase it from wealthy British land-owners. Finally, they wound up in the 1720s on the newly formed frontier in what would eventually become Berks County, living once again next to the Indians, this time, the Delaware. All went relatively well for many years, but with the advent of the French and Indian War in the 1750s, things changed. The Delaware, in retrospect, blamed the Germans for pushing them off of their lands.
The Germans thought they were safe. In their eyes, they weren’t British and they weren’t French. They had negotiated as Germans with their neighbors, the Indians.
However, the French thought of them as British subjects, which they were. The Iroquois Indians who were not their neighbors though of them as one more wave of European interlopers taking their lands, and when the French encouraged the Indians to raid the white settlements, the Germans of Bethel Township in Berks County, Pa. were prime targets on the edge of the white settlement, up against Indian villages.
More than one account says that the Germans were warned by friendly Onieda Indians, several times, but the Germans laughed and scoffed at those warning them. One Onieda Indian said that the Germans “paid not the least regard to what I told them; and laughed at me, slapping their hands on their buttocks.” They would not laugh long. Not only did they disregard the warnings in 1755, but again in 1756 and 1757, and again, they were attacked.
Another account says the Germans refused to accept the British troops sent to protect the frontier, believing they didn’t need protection. After they were attacked, they quickly petitioned for those British troops to return.
The German confidence in their Indian friends and allies was not entirely misplaced. Yet another report says that over 100 Indians turned back when they realized their target was the Germans, but 250 more proceeded with 90 French to attack their villages and farms.
What we do know, unquestionably, are the results.
Conrad Weiser, a leader in the German community was a man intimately familiar with the Indians, having lived among the Mohawk, with a Mohawk family, as a young man, and was torn apart by this turn of events. He functioned with ease in both worlds and had for his entire life.

spyrock said...

Henry Kobel and his wife were Mennonites. The Mennonite faith is a pacifist faith that refuses to fight, even to protect themselves and opposes violence of any kind. It’s certainly possible that the Kobel family did not defend themselves, even after Henry had been shot. Perhaps it wasn’t that his gun couldn’t fire, but that he wouldn’t, although from today’s perspective, that is simply difficult for me to imagine.
Both parents were killed of course. Of their 8 children, we know that 3 were scalped and died that day. Two more females were scalped and initially survived, but we don’t know if they ultimately survived the scalping or if they died from the results, or from something else. One would think that having an ancestor who survived being scalped would be noteworthy, but there are no stories of such (that I’m aware of) in the Kobel family or the German descendant community.
The three Kobel children known to have survived, all boys, the two oldest children and the youngest at just 14 days of age, were all eventually baptized back into the Lutheran faith as young adults. Henry Kobel had been raised Lutheran but had married a Mennonite woman. Their children were born into the Mennonite faith.
this is the story my great grandmother laura kauble simmerly told my cousins 200 years later in 1955 which had been passed down in her family. i thought it happened in laytonville/cahto in california but she was in her 90's when she told it too them and they were just little girl. i was crawling around somewhere at the time. one of the girls was captured by the indians and lived with them for awhile but the others hid behind a log on a neighbors farm i think five of the eight kids survived. pretty brutal stuff back in the day. not something you would brag about. and yes i am in touch with the foord cousin who is uncle guy's great grandaughter. thanks, ernie.

spyrock said...

my grandma nye simmerly said that her ancestors were pennslyvania dutch so i'm not sure if they were german. the kobels left rotterdam on a ship called hope. my mother's best friend growing up was a mennonite girl and my sister and i were raised by mennonite girls who lived with us while our mom worked at school. i tried a different spelling of kauble to find this stuff on the internet using kaubel instead and kobel showed up and this massacre which is really just one of the incidents of scalping women and children reported in those days.

Ernie Branscomb said...

History gets confusing, spelling was of no great importance in the early days, but now we have to spell everything exactly the same or the computer rejects it.
By the way, when you do a comment on this blog it sends me and email that you have posted something. So it is a good way to contact me.

Ross Sherburn said...

It's March 7th,is this blog getting kick started again?

Ernie Branscomb said...

Well, I do miss the good old days when we we all shared bullshistory, but I have even less time than I had before, and until we get our store on an even keel with Radio Shack's folding, I won't have any spare time for a while.

The good news is we have gone around Radio Shake and put a lot of our own product in stock and we are doing very well.

Our store is still on the increase in sales. We hope Radio Shack reorganises and comes back. but if they don't we have complete plans to use other wholesalers and keep the store basically the same, and profitable. But it ain't no job for an amature.

If you leave a message here I get it

Ross Sherburn said...

Hope all goes well for you! I'm still fighting gun problems and logging money made in the fifties...........

Ross Sherburn said...

Its been a good week. My Ross/Clark lumber straddle carrier will be going to a small logging museum in Sterling City.
There used to be a Diamond Match mill there in the fifties.
I tried to give this machine to Roots of Motive Power in Willits,they didn't want it.
Its their loss......... Just sayin....

Ross Sherburn said...

My Son and I were discussing spreading my "ashes" just south of Garberville where our house was. He suggested putting my ashes in a truck tire,then rolling the tire down the bluff,into the Eel river!

Ernie Branscomb said...

Gee Ross, some of us are still reading this almost dead blog? Good to hear from you!

I hope you don't intend to spread your "ash" too soon. The tire idea sounds great though. I always wanted to be ground into bird and animal food and spread on the ridge tops, but the newcomers that showed up with all kinds of rules say that can't be done.

Ross Sherburn said...

I talked to Dan Plato the other day. Was good to talk to someone from the area!

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spyrock said...

up in mendo city right down and telling one of the other guests stories about the local history and your blog popped up. i'm still gathering the stories. but most of my time has been creating defensible space after surviving the butte fire last september. so i've been creating fire wood and burn piles and appreciating all the lumberjack stories i've heard about on this blog. maybe it's karma from you guys. no tree huggers within 100 feet of the house. when you see a 100 foot wall of flames coming at you a mile wide, it changes your view of reality. so i still hope to visit ross and ernie if i get up your way. still hear from old man river from time to time. that picture i posted on here that i said was jim patton was really my great grandfather, john simmerely. cambria foord said they had the same picture of our great grandfather. so i'm still figuring things out. nice to reconnect. spy

Ernie Branscomb said...

Hi Spy, good to hear from you.

Ross Sherburn said...

Just checking in,to see if anything new.....................!

spyrock said...

one of the important stops we made on our way to spyrock back in the early 50's was to stop at the petroglyph rock on spyrock road. we always stopped there coming and going. there were trees around it back then with a little clearing around it. it had a lot more dirt covering it back then. i heard several stories about it over the years. the first one that it was the boundary marker between the cahto and the yuki. the next story was that it was a fertility rock and that women would go sit on it if they wanted to have a baby or a baby mountain rock. my partner dove made a painting of this. and recently i found out that a scientist who wrote a book on these things all over the world said that it depicts a map of the stars in 3000 bc. he also says that previously it was said to be the oldest petroglyph in northern calif. dated at 100 bc. so this little rock story seems to just get bigger. i just remember being real happy to see it when i was a little boy. maybe my mother sat on it a few times.

Johnathan Wilson said...

Spyrock, thanks for the info of the 'indian rock' as we know it on the Wilson ranch. That is right on the fence line of our ranch and I visit it often when checking fences and cows.

John Wilson

Unknown said...

Stumbled into your blog awesome. I am wondering if you have any information on rock tree ranch or rock tree valley. By little lake. I believe it was on the old wagon connection from little lake to round valley
Thanks and take care

Ernie Branscomb said...

I'm sorry, I don't.

Anonymous said...

Thank you I appreciate the quick response. If you have any links or suggestions of any historical books I may be interested in. Mitomaki valley maybe. Thank u and take care

Two crows said...

This blog helped me get through 8yrs of cancer. Still have cancer. Dead blog. Peace from the desert

Ernie Branscomb said...

From Olmanriver...
"unknown"-- Ray Schultz in Valleys of Mendocino makes the briefest of mentions of Rock Tree Valley, just to say that it is east of Willits at the foot of what is called Red Grade. The valley is on the road to Hearst, which was, as you mentioned, on the old old road to Covelo.

Hello to all you ol' regulars from the 'good ol' days of blogging'!

Two crows! Great to hear from you... I have been wondering about you for sometime.. I salute you for your strength to struggle and survive.
Some years back you suggested panning under the rock crusher at a Pville quarry for gold. I thought of you recently when I found an 1880's era newspaper article about some of our locals filing claims on a gold ore ledge on Mare Ridge, by Pville. Don't think it played out, but I heard the current quarry owner has a fireplace mantle made of white quartz. Just the stuff that gold, and fool's gold are found in.
Hope your mining luck has been better than theirs! Glad to hear you are still upright sir.

Spy- do stay in touch.

thanks for posting this Ernie...

Andy Hill said...

I recently moved to Rock Tree Valley near Willits. When speaking with some ranchers there, I was told that there is a book about Rock Tree Valley's history in the Willits Library's collection. You can't check it out, but are able to read it in the library, or make copies. I've been meaning to give it a look, but haven't gotten around to it, so I can't verify its existence. The ranchers did tell me some interesting ghost stories though...

spyrock said...

hi mr wilson. that spyrock petroglyph had trees all around it. some kind of oaks i think. there was one with a limb hanging right over the top of it that you could hang from right on top of the rock. we would come up a road that looks like the next one further north of spyrock road from 101. bell springs or something. it was pretty steep dirt road back then, not gradual like spyrock road which i think the lumber companies made later on. but we would always stop at the rock coming and going. we would sing shes commin around the mountain when she comes all the way to the simmerly ranch which was was off to the right of the main road about a mile up from the eel river and spyrock rock. my grandfather who married grace simmerly homesteaded on the south side of shell rock creek which was down the hill from the simmerly home

Anonymous said...

Bob McKee was a hot head,just like his brother Max.