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LAKE COUNTY HISTORY CHAPTER 54: A TASTE FOR SLAUGHTER

Others testified to the carnage.

AUGUSTINE: “Soldiers came to Kelsey’s ranch and then around the lake by way of Scotts Valley. Here they found an Indian whom they killed. The rest escaped into the brush.”

LYONS: “Lt. Davidson took a mounted detachment and howitzers around to the west side of the lake. On the way, (in Scotts Valley) they attacked a rancheria, killing four and taking their chief.”

While going along the west side of the Lake through Scotts Valley, the soldiers intercepted a small group of natives. They ran into the brush to escape and to join their friends on the island. The soldiers captured one of the men, who told Lyons, ‘Two guilty chiefs fled to an island’.

The fate of the two guides is uncertain. One version of that meeting told ‘they built a fire under his body burning it to a crisp. Later, a second man was caught by the soldiers near Emerson’s Hill. He was tied to a tree and burnt to death.’ These officially sanctioned murders, if true, as cruel as they were, pale in comparison with what happened later.

The second version of that first meeting with the Natives states that the two captured ‘guides’ led the army along a trail to a place just west of what is now Upper Lake and to a small island, named Badonnapi, but now called Bloody Island.

Bloody Island is about a mile and a half southeast of modern Upper Lake village. That island was used by the Eastern tribes of Pomo as a seasonal fishing camp. It is important for the reader to know the Eastern Pomo natives, from the two villages of Kulanapo and Habenapo on the Kelsey and Adobe Creeks did not hide on the island. Those responsible hid in the mountains fearful of retaliation. The Pomo, who were on the island, did not hide. They had done nothing wrong and the annual fish harvest was too important to be neglected.

BENSON: The Whites caught a Pomo during the march through Scotts Valley. They hung him and built a fire under him. Another was tied to a tree and burned to death.

      The Massacre (Three more versions)

CHIEF AUGUSTINE: “They discovered the Indians on an island (Bloody Island) near Upper Lake. They sent for four boats and cannon and went to Lower Lake where they got Indian guides to show them the way to Upper Lake island. The rest of the soldiers went around the lake by land taking the cannon with them. The party with the cannon went around to head of the lake (north of the Island). Those with the boasts went into a slough on the south side of the Island. The soldiers began firing their guns and five Indians went out to give battle (one with a sling, the other with bows). The cannon was not fired. The Indians took to the tules and water, keeping out of the way of the soldiers. Only sixteen were killed.’’

 CAPTAIN LYONS: “I instructed my second in command to make a ruse: ‘Lt. Davidson, take a party of Dragoons and your two howitzers to the north and east end of the island. Begin your bombardment from the mainland. Shoot across Island Creek so to draw the Native Americans to the eastern side.’

The punitive expedition had been organized by General Persifor Smith, one-time military governor of California.

His orders to Lyons were, “Waste no time in parley.”

“I carried out the plan, the main body of troops landed on the western end of the island. They were undetected and made ready to attack. One of Davidson’s cannonballs killed several Native Americans and the Pomo retreated westward. This was unfortunate for the natives. They moved directly into the path of Lyons’ infantry. There was a tremendous volley of shots from the soldiers dropping many of the Native Americans. The slaughter began.”

Captain Lyons had a taste for slaughter. After the Bloody Island Massacre he took part of the Civil War. In St. Louis, Mo., during a protest by Confederate sympathizers, Lyon ordered his Union troops to fire into the civilian crowd. It was later called the ‘St. Louis Massacre’. Lyons got his comeuppance eventually. It is said he was later killed at a place called Wilkins Creek… by Indians.

Next Episode: Death of the Innocents

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.

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