Yanks in the Redwoods: Carving out a Life in Northern California

Yanks in the Redwoods: Carving out a Life in Northern California

Yanks in the Redwoods: Carving out a Life in Northern California

Yanks in the Redwoods: Carving out a Life in Northern California

Excerpt

The settlement of the Pacific Northwest proceeded in fits and starts by diverse groups of settlers with differing origins, strategies and goals. the exploration period of Lewis and Clark and John Work, from 1800 to 1840, yielded to the settlement period of the mid 19 century. That period, in turn, moved into an era of government laissez-faire and corporation-dominated development in the late 19 century known as the Gilded Age.

My research for this book builds on decades of study, evolving by 2006 into an initial, specific focus on the “Indians” who had inhabited the Mendocino Reservation. After traveling to the Held-Poage Historical Research Library in Ukiah, the Kelley House Museum in Mendocino, Ft. Bragg, and the Guest House Museum in Ft. Bragg, I realized that there were few records about this short-lived Indian reservation. My research led me to Noyo Hill House located in Ft. Bragg. the early records there, along with those at Kelly House Museum, provided the basis for telling the story of the founding and the early years of the towns of Mendocino and Fort Bragg. Additional research in the Archives of the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., led me to George Gibbs’ journal. Deep amid yellowing papers from Comm. Redick McKee’s Expedition (now housed at the Peabody Special Collections Section at Harvard University, which it happens, was Gibbs’ alma mater), were a number of crude pencil sketches by George Gibbs. One of these shows a northern California Indian chieftain. in one hand he holds a bow and in the other a war club. Slung over one shoulder is his quiver of arrows. Animal skins cover his groin. What is most interesting about him to me is the expression on his face. Showing absolutely no fear, he calmly faces the oncoming invasion of his world by the white man.

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