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Johnson family Indian genelogy re: Yosemite Indians

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

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Johnson family Indian genelogy re: Yosemite Indians

Postby Yosemite_Indian » Mon Jan 20, 2014 4:08 am

One interesting aspect of the Indian history of the Yosemite – Mariposa area is what happened to James Savage’s Indians. James Savage was the sworn enemy of Chief Tenaya and the original Yosemite Ahwahneechee Native people. We know through historical facts that James Savage knew the Miwok language and was married to 7 to 10 daughters of the Mariposa foothill area Indian chiefs. One of those Indian chiefs who was an ally of James Savage was Chief Bautista who later become Robert “Bob” Howard.

So tracing backwards through genealogical records and 1929 California Indian Applications we came across the true facts.

Jay Johnson, spiritual leader of the Southern Sierra Miwuk non-profit, claims his ancestry to Chief Tenaya’s band of Ahwahneechees. But is that correct?

We can see that the only way this is possible is through the Sam/Tom Yosemite-Mono Lake Paiute families on his mother’s side, but what about the so called “Yosemite Miwok” side. First there are no Yosemite Miwoks. Secondly looking at Jay Johnson’s father side, which he claims were the original Yosemite Indians, shows something different.

When we looked at Jay Johnson’s father Harry’s side of the family we have Henry Johnson married to Mary Ann Lewis.

The Johnson family claims that Henry Johnson’s father came from the Sacramento area, which is not from the Yosemite/Mariposa area. He married a woman named Maria and there is no further record of her.

When we look at Mary Ann Lewis we find something that is truly interesting and reveals what happened to James Savage’s Indians.


Mary Ann Lewis, pictured above was the daughter of Nancy Lewis.

All of Mary Ann’s mother’s children from Nancy Lewis were fathered by white men, so Mary Ann was half white, half Indian.

Interestingly Nancy had another son, which was Mary Ann’s brother. He was half white and half Indian. His name was JAMES SAVAGE Lewis. Proving that Mary Ann and her family were part of James Savage’s Indians, enemies of Chief Tenaya. Savage’s Indians were his workers and scouts. It also shows that it is possible that Nancy Lewis was one of James Savage’s many Indian wives. See Lewis family with James Savage, his wife and mother, Nancy, below. Note they are Chukchansi Yokuts;


Another fact that proves that the Johnsons were not from Chief Tenaya’s band and not Yosemite Ahwahneechees is what they stated on both of their applications. Henry Johnson and Mary Ann Lewis-Johnson’s 1929 California Indian Applications states that their chief was Chief Bautista, enemy of Tenaya, and ally of James Savage.

Two pages from Mary Ann Lewis-Johnson's 1929 application showing that her chief was Bautista, enemy of Tenaya and ally of James Savage.


*All photos are under fair use for educational purposes. They come from public sources.
Chief Tenaya was the founder of the Paiute Colony of Ahwahnee
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