The Big River Mystery

Intrigued by the unknown? Does a wisp of mist rolling across the moon’s shadow or the hint of heat rising up from a bog on an otherwise chilled winter’s eve pique your curiosity? At this time of year the scent of azaleas on a riverbank might be enough to tempt anyone upstream, but this is […]

The Demise of Mamalcoosh

Last time we recounted the killing of a Yuki warrior named Shemia by his fellow Yuki, Mamalcoosh. The piece also discussed how their names were anglicized to “Indian Charley” and “Billy Malmaquist,” respectively. The only historical document that provides their actual names was written by Jeremiah M. “Doc” Standley.  Standley’s story concerns his 1867 travels […]

Shemia, Yuki Warrior

Shemia, a Yuki warrior, died in February, 1885. He was probably in his forties or early fifties at the time of his demise. His death occurred as a result of a violent attack by another man whom he had known all his life. The killing was not based on some childhood grudge, but on what […]

The Shrum Murder Mystery (Part 2)

Previously, we examined the murder of A.J. Shrum in his Round Valley field one evening in July, 1878. The authorities decided the deed was committed by eighteen-year-old Jesse Anthony so that his older brother, James, would be free to pursue the affection shown him by Mrs. Lizzie Shrum. All three were charged with murder. Jesse’s […]

The Shrum Murder Mystery (Part 1)

White men first set eyes on Round Valley on an April day. Promptly they killed a couple score of the people who had been living there for who knows how long. Round Valley, where grass can grow so high this time of year, a man can fairly hide in it standing up. At least that […]

MCHC Board Fiasco

Covid-19 is scary, but have you ever dealt with Lynelle Johnson, Carole White, and Hospitality Center? I was asked that question today and I will leave it somewhat to you readers to judge what is the scariest proposition. All I can do is lay out what’s been happening recently at ye olde Hospitality Center based […]

Apocalypse in Historic Perspective

One century, one decade, a year, and a day before our current publication date, Mark Twain died. A day earlier Halley’s Comet had reached perihelion (the point at which a comet’s orbit is closest to the sun). Twain (Samuel Clemens) was one of those people who came in and went out with Halley’s Comet. His […]

The Pioneer Burkes

Ever see the sign for Burke Hill south of Ukiah and wonder who Burke was? Here’s part of the answer. Alexander Burke was born in Sparta, Tennessee in the summer of 1813. At age twenty he married eighteen-year-old Susan Shelton. They moved on to Missouri, where six sons and two daughters graced their union before […]

A Gruesome Tale, 1880

A grue is a grisly, short comic poem, with a sadistic bent to it and a twist of some sort in the final line or two. Grues were often called “Little Willies” after the central figure in many of the best known examples. Robert Louis Stevenson dubbed the rhymes a “grue,” deriving the moniker from […]

Standish-Hickey & The Pandemic

What does Standish-Hickey State Recreation Area, a mile and a half north of Leggett, have to do with the Covid-19 pandemic? Nothing of a direct nature is the correct answer. However, there is a connection to the devastating pandemic of a century ago. A little history for context. Miles Standish and Henry Hickey, whose names […]

The Disappearance of Mrs. Strong (Part 3)

(The previous two installments described the imprisonment of R.G. Strong in 1873, the 1874 murder of his wife in the Sherwood area, the trial and conviction of David Geiger for that murder, as well as the acquittal of his partner, James Alexander.) Geiger spent time in state prison, but under the law of the time […]

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