LAKE COUNTY HISTORY CHAPTER 51: MURDER HAS A PRICE

During that day and into the night the Pomo discussed details of how they would carry out the assassinations. Shuk and Xasis were their leaders. The other three men, planning the conspiracy, were Qka-Nus, Ba-Tus, and Kra-Nas.

The two leaders had spent time at Sonoma working for the Spanish or at the Mission. Xasis name, when pronounced, sounded much like Jesus, a common Mexican name that was given to some of the Native Americans at the Mission. The other three were Eastern Pomo that had considerable experience with Europeans.”

A member of the family that hired Xaxis and Shuk to kill the steer suggested a payment of a hundred beads ($100) for the missing horse but there was no agreement.

When someone suggested that they might tell Kelsey and Stone the horse was stolen, no one agreed that explanation would suffice. Shuk (or Xaxis) said (probably what they were all thinking), “Let us kill Stone and Kelsey.”

No one wanted to be hunted down for a double murder of the White men. If it was to succeed it required careful planning. Ba-Tus and Kra-Nas joined the discussion.

” Let us take all the weapons out of the house at night.”

“Kra-Nas suggested, “Let us steal some livestock. We can butcher the cattle and deal out the meat to the starving.”

Shuk counseled against this act. He knew what would happen.

“We cannot do this. If we steal the cattle or horses the white men will kill some Indians. First, we must kill the white men.”

Now began a discussion of the reasons for the killing.

“The white men worked us so hard we cannot go fishing or hunting to feed our families. They are starving,” Ba-Tus said. “Twenty of our friends starved this winter to show us the white man’s power. Four of our tribe were whipped to death to show us we must do as they say.”

Shuk agreed.

Kra-Nas muttered thru gritted teeth, “They shot the son of Bat-Uli. The women gave the boy a few cupsful of grain. When the white men saw the boy had eaten, they shot him. He begged because he was yet hungry and begged to stay alive. Now Stone and Kelsey demand we bring our wives and daughters to them so they might pick the pretty ones and defile them for sport. When some of our brothers refused, they were tortured by being hung up by their hands and horsewhipped for sport.”

“It is true,” Xasis added. “They demand all Native Americans of the Habenopo and the Kulanapo tribes must be in their huts by dark. They whipped any Indians they find after dark.”

He grunted his anger.

 “Or they tie them to the ground or against a tree with rawhide to die from thirst in the sun for all the next day.”

A price for the double murder was decided.

 “The men that succeed in killing Kelsey and Stone shall be rewarded with bead money payment.”

Bead and shell money had long been the method of payment for trade with the other tribes around the lake. Such currency was popular with the Clear Lake Native Americans and because of living near the lake it had made those tribe wealthier than the others living farther away from Clear Lake.

“Let us pay these men 16,000 shell beads,” Xasis proposed. “That is a fair price for killing such men.”

Shuk agreed. The bounty was set. While these negotiations were going on, Shuk and Xasis persuaded the servant boys and girls to make ready for the attack at daybreak.

Next Episode: Kelsey and Stone die.

Lake County History. $32. (includes. Tax & Shipping)

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Gene Paleno

Gene runs his life at a full sprint. In his ninety-three years he's dug ditches, painted signs, played semi-pro football, worked as a taxicab driver, an insurance agent, and a school teacher. He's been a technical artist, a marketing director, and a business owner. He served in World War II, raised four children, and was married to the love of his life for fifty years. He's an accomplished oil painter and skilled in ceramics. He's written fifteen books, including the definitive Lake County History, and doesn't show any signs of slowing down.

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