Joaquin Murrieta: Life and Adventures of the Celebrated Bandit : His Exploits in the State of California

By Ireneo Paz; Francis P. Belle | Go to book overview
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III
Translation and Plagiarism of Ridge’s Work

John Rollin Ridge and His Work

Very little information exists about the life of John Rollin Ridge (1827–1867). The earliest known facts about him are from the brief editor’s preface to the first edition of his book. Ridge was a journalist and poet of Cherokee ancestry. He was born in Georgia; his grandfather, Commander Ridge, had sent his son, John Ridge, to New England to continue his studies. In Connecticut, John married a young Anglo woman, whom he took to live with his family in Georgia. The future biographer of Joaquín Murrieta was born there in 1827.

A few years later, after gold was discovered on Cherokee land, the U. S. government forced the Cherokee tribe to leave Georgia. They were resettled west of the Mississippi River by the administration of President Andrew Jackson. During the migration to “Indian territory,” Ridge’s father and grandfather were killed by partisans who opposed the abandonment of their lands in Georgia. His mother sent young John Rollin Ridge to New England for his education. However, he soon returned to Fayetteville, Arkansas, where she had settled after the dispute between the two tribal groups.

As a young man, Ridge killed a man who was apparently sent by his father’s enemies to provoke him. He was forced to hide in Springfield, Missouri, and in 1850 he moved on to California. Life in San Francisco and the surrounding towns was not very favorable to him. He worked as a miner, a businessman, an employee of Yuba

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