The story of Kelsey’s trip, the previous summer, to the Gold Fields is a continuing litany of why the Pomo were so desperate as to be rid of the White men. The following spring Andy Kelsey, and some other men, went on a second gold-hunting mission. This time they went to the headwaters of the Sacramento River near Red Bluff to prospect for gold. Since Ben Kelsey had been a friend and an employee of the, sometime trader Ex-Governor Lilburn W. Boggs, Boggs supplied the money for the expedition. Andy Kelsey became Boggs’ partner in the venture.

On this second journey to the Goldfields, Kelsey took a hundred natives as porters and workers. The increase in the number of slaves was made possible with the help of another Native American, Chief Solano. Solano had given his friendship to Mariano Vallejo and Governor Boggs. He served as an interpreter for the expedition.

 A good choice, Solano was an implacable foe of the Clear Lake Pomo and he had proven his ability to keep the Pomo in line. Most of the Native Americans died along the way. The dozen that survived were in a sorry state nearly dead from hunger and disease. Chief Augustine told what the Kelsey’s did after they returned from the first trip to the Gold Fields.

“Stone and Kelsey took the gold they had got from their first trip. They went to the Sonoma Valley and bought one thousand head of cattle. It took six trips to get the cattle into Big Valley. Three of the vaqueros (cowboys) were Indians. I was the Chief on each trip. They did not give the vaqueros much to eat… hardly enough to keep them from starving. They got nothing for wages. Stone and Kelsey also bought all the cattle that Vallejo had in the valley at this time. The whole valley was full of cattle. They numbered about two thousand head, if not more.”

Of all the versions of the assassination of Kelsey and Stone, the two best were Benson’s and Mauldin’s. Benson was a half-breed Pomo, named Rag-Gal-Nal by the Indians (Wampum gatherer). The other was Henry Mauldin. Their versions sit well. They describe the treatment and punishment by the Indians that Kelsey and Stone got for the way they treated the Pomo. Other versions were given by several persons; Chief Augustine, Upee (Augustine’s daughter), the Lake County 1881 History of Lake County, Major Sherman, and William and Mary Nobel. They add important details. What follows here is closest to the truth.

The plot to kill the two white men was conceived when Andy Kelsey took the wife of Augustine, the Chief of the Xabenapo, into their adobe (ranch house). In the fall of 1849, two of the Indian overseers, Shuk and Xaxis, were hired by a Pomo family to kill a steer, on the sly, to feed the Native families. It was planned for a rainy night. To accomplish the deed, they used Stone and Kelsey’s favorite horse to rope and kill the steer. While trying to rope the steer, Kelsey’s horse got away and ran off. Knowing there was no way to avoid punishment or death when the loss was discovered, they discussed ways to kill Kelsey and Stone.

While the two men were away, with their vaqueros tending the cattle herd, Augustine’s wife acted. Stone and Kelsey had kidnapped and imprisoned the woman in their cabin and, while the men were gone, she poured water into their gun barrels.

Next Episode: Murder has a price.

Lake County History. $32. (includes. Tax & Shipping)

Pal Publishing, PO Box 6, Upper Lake, Ca 95485

e-mail: genepaleno@gmail.com

Website: genepaleno.com

Gene Paleno

Gene runs his life at a full sprint. In his ninety-three years he's dug ditches, painted signs, played semi-pro football, worked as a taxicab driver, an insurance agent, and a school teacher. He's been a technical artist, a marketing director, and a business owner. He served in World War II, raised four children, and was married to the love of his life for fifty years. He's an accomplished oil painter and skilled in ceramics. He's written fifteen books, including the definitive Lake County History, and doesn't show any signs of slowing down.

error: Content is protected !!

Your Cart

Cart is empty.