Indian raid in Humboldt Co., CA, in 1865

This morning began with some hunting on Jacob Hufford who was in Californa in the 1860s, 1870s, and 1880s.  However, there was more than one Jacob Hufford in California during that time, and there has been a good bit of disagreement among Hufford genealogists as to how the sort and split works out.

In hunting, I found the following from the Nevada State Journal newspaper, July 24, 1947; Reno, Nevada (at page 2):

Historic Dress, Memento of Generosity of Early Nevadans, Donated to Museum

Fully equipped with pantalettes with lace at the bottom and a flour sack lining, a historic dress was received yesterday by the Nevada State Historical Society museum here.

It is a dress which was sent by the citizens of Star City, Nev., in the spring of 1865, as part of a relief shipment to the people of Paradise Valley in Humboldt county who had lost all their belongings in an Indian raid.

The dress was the property of Mrs. Jacob Hufford who 82 years ago was living with her family on Haveline creek, near Denia, and it was at the Hufford home that the residents of Paradise took refuge during the raid.  The garmet was sent to the museum by George Hufford, her son, who now lives at Austin, Texas.

The contribution is not only a memento of a famous Indian uprising, but a reminder of the generous spirit shown by Nevada residents for people in trouble even back in those days when residents were scarce and distances vast.

In 1863 Jacob Hufford came to Nevada from Butte county, California, and while traveling in northern Humboldt county saw a green stripe of vegetation crossing the trail.  He decided it would be a good place to find water, so he dug a successful well 40 feet deep, called it Jacob’s Well, and settled there, near Denia, to furnish water to travelers.

On April 4, 1865, he was still there when a friendly Indian told the five families of Paradise Valley the other Indians were planning a raid two days later.  The women and children and sick members of the community made their way with much difficulty to the Hufford home as a refuge, and remained there while all their homes and belongings were being burned.

News of the tragedy reached western Nevada, and the people of Star City, which was near Virginia City, took up a collection to help the victims of the raid in Humboldt county.  Money was of no use because the people at Denia and Paradise Valley had no place to spend it. Clothing and utensils were collected, and sent to the people hundreds of miles north.

Although the Hufford family had escaped the raid, the dress was given to Mrs. Hufford.  When it first arrived at Denia it had the pantelettes built in, but no lining.  Mrs. Hufford later lined it, using as material flour sacks from the mill which her husband in company with two partners was operating at Denia by then.  The garment has been a keepsake in the Hufford family ever since, but Mr. Hufford said in his letter the members of the family are growing old now and he wants it placed in a museum.

The dress is of a print material, light, and still pretty and in good condition.  It may be seen at the museum in the basement of the State Building.

The Jacob Hufford of the story was Jacob B. Hufford, b. 23-Aug-1834, in Scott Co., Indiana.  He was son of Jacob, son of John, son of Christian I b. 1716 in Schwaigern.  He is listed with his wife and children on page 265 of the 1909 HUFFORD FAMILY HISTORY.

A photo of Jacob’s gravestone is here: Jacob at findagrave

And here’s a photo of the gravestone of Jacob’s son George, who donated the dress to the museum:  George at findagrave

Here’s the story of the raid.  The story is from the book THE HISTORY OF NEVADA, edited by Sam P. Davis, published in 1913 by  The Elms Publishing Co.; Reno, Nevada.  This excerpt is from the chapter titled “Indian Hostilities,” by Colonel Thomas Ewing, beginning at page 162:

Paradise Valley.

On the morning of April 4, 1865, two friendly Indians notified A. Denio that in “two sleeps” a band of warriors would make a raid upon Paradise Valley, kill all the settlers and run off their stock.  Mr. Denio, with his family, was living at the time on the east side of Martin Creek, near the present residence of N. Gillelan, and his neighbors were A. and J. T. Bryant, T. J. Fine and Mr. Stockham.  The latter gentleman being away on a mission to procure military assistance, if possible, for the settlers, his wife was at home alone. Three miles further up the creek another settler was living, named Rembreaux.  Prompt as well as energetic measures were at once set on foot to notify all the settlers, and prepare for moving from that locality to a place of safety.   A conveyance had to be made for Mr. Fine, who was prostrated with inflammatory rheumatism, also for the children of Mr. Denio.  The hind portion of a wagon was converted into a cart for this purpose, but before they could move a fearful storm set in, and all were detained until the following morning. During the night they were re-enforced by the arrival of Thomas Byrnes and John Lackey.

Early on the morning of the 5th, the party, consisting of all the persons mentioned, started to reach Willow Point.  To do this they were forced to cross Martin and Cottonwood creeks, swollen with the recent storm, between which lay a swamp of mud about two and a half miles wide.

Over that portion of the route the sick man and women and children had to be carried most of the way, rendering their progress tediously slow.  After the passage was made, Mr. Denio and Rembreaux manned the cart in which Mr. Fine and the children were placed and started to haul it to Hamblin’s corral, some three miles on their way, the two women accompanying them on foot.  They were soon met by a man on horseback named Jacob Hufford, who attached a riata to the reach, which served as a tongue for the cart, and with the other end of it fastened to his saddle, hauled the primitive ambulance over the intervening distance to the corral without delay.  The balance of the party remained behind at the Cottonwood Creek to get across that stream such provisions, goods, etc., as had been taken that far in their journey.  It was expected that they would be met by a man named Christopher Fearbourne, who had gone the night before up the valley with an ox-team to get the effects of Barber and Collins, who were to leave with the rest.

Fearbourne had remained over night with the parties whom he had gone to move out of their dangerous proximity, and when they got up in the morning it was to find a large number of Indians about the house and corral.  No unfriendly demonstration was made, but looks, combined with their awaiting with no apparent object about the place, seemed to carry with it the indications of hostile designs that might develop into action at any moment.  Barber suggested to his companions that they all go to the corral, mount their horses and ride off; but this plan was objected to by Fearbourne and Collins, who thought a bold front might do better.  They deemed the wisest course to be for them to put their things on board the wagon and go as they first intended.  This plan was tried, but the Indians becoming more demonstrative and rather insolent, Barber said to his friends, “I am going to make the attempt to go for help and you shut yourselves up in the cabin if there is trouble, and do the best you can till I get back.”

He went to the corral, caught and saddled a fleet-footed horse, as though nothing had occurred to disturb him, and one of the Indians asked him what he proposed to do.  Barber replied that he was going out to drive in a beef to kill; but they did not seem to fully believe his assertion and two of them mounted their ponies and started with him. For a long distance they rode along, until finally seeming to become convinced that Barber had told the truth, they turned back.  He rode on without increasing his speed until an elevation hid him from their view, when he galloped onward in the direction of the settlement where the parties lived whom we have described as on their way to the Hamblin corral.

The men who had remained behind to get their property to a place where it could be reached and taken up by the expected owner of the ox-team, had just completed their task when Barber came riding up with the news of the danger that had overtaken his comrades at the cabin.  While he was telling what had transpired, one of the listeners turned to look in the direction of the threatened danger and saw a column of smoke rising from the valley, and they correctly suspected that the cabin had been fired and probably a struggle for life was at that moment going on between the savages and the two men who had shut themselves in there.  Barber, Byrnes and Lackey at once started to the relief of the besieged, while Bryant and the lad Denio set out for the corral.

As Barber and his two assistants neared the burnt cabin and were within possibly three hundred yards of it, they were suddenly assailed by twenty-two Indians on horseback and a large number on foot, but the three white men made a successful retreat to the corral, three miles away, that had become the place of general rendezvous.  Just at this time as A. and T. J. Bryant, with whom was young Robert Denio, a lad but twelve years old, were approaching the corral, they were discovered by the Indians, who made an attempt to cut them off, which would have been successful but for a bold rally on the part of Waldron Foster and Lackey, that created a diversion and enabled the footmen to gain the defenses.  The little garrison now consisted of A. Denio, his wife and four children; Robert Denio, a boy twelve years old, Jacob Hufford and wife, Mrs. Stockham, T. J. Fine, A. Bryant, T. J. Bryant, John Lackey, Waldron Foster, Thomas Byrnes, Rembreaux and Barber.  Ten men, one boy, three women and four children constituted the entire force over which Mr. Denio, by mutual consent, assumed command.  The place was put in the best possible condition for defense, but it was believed by all that unless assistance came soon a massacre would be their common fate.  About fifty yards from the corral stood Hamblin’s house, which became a point of considerable danger, as behind it the enemy was liable to take cover and station sharpshooters.  It was, therefore, decided to burn the structure and this task was performed by T. J. Bryant and Mr. Foster, under a fire from the Indians.  The only arms possessed by the besieged settlers were three common rifles, one musket, two double-barreled shot guns, one navy and five small Colt’s revolvers, and they were obliged to stay there and receive without reply the fire from long-range guns in the possession of the Indians who were on every side of them.

PAGE NOTE: Jacob B. Hufford is listed with his wife and children on page 265 of the 1909 HUFFORD FAMILY HISTORY.

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