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Walla Walla Tom Bushyhead killed in Yosemite - Mariposa

Discussion about Yosemite National Park history, including Native Americans, Euro-American pioneers and settlement, and establishment as a national park.

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Walla Walla Tom Bushyhead killed in Yosemite - Mariposa

Postby Yosemite_Indian » Sun May 02, 2010 5:20 am

From this great website that deals with the history of Mariposa County, which includes Yosemite Park;

http://www.mariposaresearch.net/INDIAN_TOM_BUSHYHEAD.html

The Los Angeles Times, (Los Angeles, CA) June 18, 1889; pg. 5; col C

"An Indian "Cry-Dance" Over the Dead Body of Tom Bushyhead"

transcribed by c. feroben

A Scion of the Digger Indian Tribe in Mariposa County-Murdered by a "Squaw Man"- A Strange, Weird and Woeful Ceremonial.

Wawonna (Mariposa County, Cal.) June 15 (Special Correspondence of The Times)

The tourists at this pretty little stopping-off place en route go the Yosemite Valley had yesterday something more than is found in the guide books.

It was an Indian "Cry" dance," which is something similar to a "wake," only that it is more so. During the several previous days there had been bad blood between Tom Bushyhead, a red man, and James Lawrence, a pale face. Bushyhead is a grandson of the chief of the Walla Walla or Digger tribe now infesting the region, and is the terror of Wawoona [Wawona]." He has a record, having served a term in the County Jail for thrashing his wife, another for resisting an officer, and still another for stabbing a red brother nine times in a drunken row. He whipped his wife about two weeks ago, and she left him. Lawrence is a "squaw man," having married an Indian woman, and accidentally killed his brother in Los Angeles many years ago. He is a brother of Henry Lawrence, who killed a man in this county several years ago by shooting him in the back, and afterward lived in San Francisco as a notary publican and kind of a lawyers. Such in the history of these two characters- one an Indian "bully," the other a good-for-nothing, drunken loafer. The bad feeling culminated Wednesday afternoon by Lawrence shooting "Indian Tom," otherwise known as Tome Bushyhead. Tom had threatened Lawrence and others, but at the moment he was shot, the Indian was sober, had not been at all demonstrative, was unarmed , and was just coming across the creek from the Indian village to the hotel to sell a string of fish, the result of his day's labor, the principal means of livelihood of the Diggers at this station. The Coroner's jury verdict of justifiable homicide is not favorable received either by the visiting palefaces or the red men. Shortly after Tom died, THE TIMES correspondent went over to the Indian village, which is situated just across the creek from this "station,"- or village of Wawoona. The Chief invited me to view the corpse, and the sister of deceased removed the shroud. The Indian had been removed from the cabin and his personal effect, clothing, etc., were taken out and placed in a pile preparatory to burning, Formerly these Indians burned the bodies, but they have so far advanced in civilization that they now only burn the person effects of the deceased, and tear down the house in which he died. The corpse was dressed in a new suit, minus a coat, and the hands were clasped vertically over the breast, is if invoking a prayer to the Great Father. The hands were also tied together by leather straps, and the arms were likewise pinioned at the elbows. The head was placed in an oval-shaped basket, beautifully interwoven with worsted, and his feet were also placed in a similar basket. Around his forehead was tied a red silken handkerchief, and another around his chin, exposing only his upper lip and nose. Shortly after his death the "death cry" began .His sister, an old woman, stood at the head of the corpse waving a green branch, slowly muttering incantations, and then began dancing. or rather jumping up and down. The others standing around the corpse also began dancing, crying, shouting and wringing their hands is if in agony or the deepest pain. In a few minutes they would top from sheer exhaustion, and then continue more furious and fast than ever, the sad lamentations being heard by the tourists at the hotel across the creek and by the dead man's slayer, who sat among the crowd, apparently unconcerned. The "cry would cease for moment, and the seers would point upward, downward, and in the distance, as if seeing visions, and then would close her eyes as in a trance, and interpret her own visions; and then the dancing and lamentation, which were weirdly pathetic, would be renewed, This was continued throughout the day and night, and ceased only after the burial, when the bonfire was lighted, and all that was earthly of Tom vanished in the grave and in smoke.
Among the mourner were two of Lawrence's sons, half-breeds, weeping at the grave of their fathers victim.
The trouble was, of course, about a woman. A few months ago, when Tom whipped his wife, she left him. Since then he has been making love to, or at, the half-breed daughter of Lawrence, who objected to the match, as Tom was very cruel, especially to his squaws. Tom threatened to kill Lawrence, and on several occasions started out to bring in his scalp, but at this time was not prepared, and Lawrence evidently was awaiting his opportunity. Lawrence was released on his own recognizance until next Monday, when the examination will be held.
A "death cry" was to have been held here about two weeks ago, in honor of a red brother who died doing the State some service at San Quentin. But, owing to Tom's reputation as a fighter and a bulldozer, only a few Indians came in , and there was not enough to get up a first-class cry", the ceremonial was postponed. Strangely enough, the "cry" was had at last over the body of the man who had prevented the rite being held over a departed red brother- J. M. S.
transcribed by c feroben
WAWANA CAL., June 19
Daily Evening Bulletin, (San Francisco, CA) Wednesday, June 19, 1889; Issue 63; col F

The examination of James Lawrence for shooting Indian Tom occupied two days, District Attorney Stolder prosecuring and D W Tupper of Fresno and James H Lawrence of Mariposa defending; Justice Leitch discrged the accused this morning. Wawona's citizen unanimoulsy aprrove the decision, and tourist visors who knew the circumstances concur. This will probably end the case."


Lawrence was married to a Casson Yokut woman in the area and the Walla Walla who had moved into the region.
Chief Tenaya was the founder of the Paiute Colony of Ahwahnee
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Re: Walla Walla Tom Bushyhead killed in Yosemite - Mariposa

Postby sehnazjoshep » Tue Jun 01, 2010 3:45 am

This is very informative information about Yosemite history. I have seen some basic history of Yosemite on the net but seen detailed history after reading this thread.
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