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Wawona’s Yesterdays (1961) by Shirley Sargent


INDIANS

Susan (Sukie) and John Lawrence and Sally Ann and Johnny Dick.
Susan (Sukie) and John Lawrence and Sally Ann and Johnny Dick.
Both Couples are brother and sister. “Sukie” married Archie Leonard.

The Nutchu Indians were camped peacefully at Wawona when they were “surprised and captured,” in March, 1851, by the Mariposa Battalion led by James D. Savage. 3 Partly because the various tribes of the Yosemite region showed their natural resentment of the white gold seeker’s intrusion into their lands by plundering and killing, and partly because the whites coveted their lands, the Mariposa Battalion was organized to subdue, capture and herd the Indians to the reservation on the Fresno River.

The Nutchu’s, however, escaped en route to the reservation, but were captured again, 1852. 3 Numerous campsites, marked by potholed granite, attest to their long occupancy of the Wawona area.

Samuel Kneeland, zoologist, reported his Yosemite trips in The Wonders of the Yosemite Valley and California. He described an Indian sweat house observed in Wawona in 1871 as “. . . about eight feet long and two feet deep; over this a heavily-thatched dome-shaped roof, plastered with mud and leaves; on the mud floor is placed a circle of rounded stones . . . which when highly heated, water is poured raising an abundance of very hot steam a primitive but effective Russian bath.”

A handful of Chowchilla Indians lived at Wawona during its development as a resort. They were half breeds with such Americanized names as One-eyed Bullock, Short and Dirty and Bush-headed Tom.

Galen Clark wrote that the Indians Wawona and Yosemite Valley “. . . caused very little trouble.” 11 There was the much-discussed case in June 1889 when a white man caused trouble and justice was not done. That was when Jimmy Lawrence, a squaw-man, shot and killed Bush-head Tom Habridge at Wawona yet was discharged for lack of “sufficient evidence” the following week in the Mariposa Court.


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Online Library: Title Author California Geology History Indians Muir Mountaineering Nature Management

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