Nearly a year later, Moses and Lindsay Carson, Kit Carson’s half-brothers, left Sonoma with twenty well-armed vaqueros. The came back to the scene of the Kelsey and Stone killings to round up the two thousand head of cattle roaming the land wild around Kelsey’s Rancheria.
Their report told them the Indians were much in evidence. ‘We traveled slowly and made camp just below the adobe house where the murder of Kelsey and Stone had taken place. We saw no Indians but their smoke signals across the Lake and on the mountains were quite numerous.’
One of the men, Edwin Sherman, the expedition’s founder, stayed behind at the now fortified adobe house. He had plenty of ammunition, twenty-five loaded rifles and three dogs for company. The natives came to kill him. To draw Sherman out they drove cattle into the corral and then shot arrows into the animals. This effort to taunt the Sherman failed to bring their enemy out of his defenses.
After several days, tired of the waiting for an attack, Sherman appeared on the front porch. Armed with two Colt revolvers he waited for dusk. Hidden under a cowhide to protect him from the arrows, Sherman blazed away at the Native Americans, some of whom were no more than five steps away. Under constant threat for three weeks, finally, the Carson’s and the cowboys returned to give Sherman a rest from the fighting. The cattle were collected in a herd and driven to a different safer corral away from the shores of Clear lake to Boggs Mountain State Forest.
Two years later, on August 18-20, 1851, peace came to the Clear Lake basin. U.S. Commissioner Redick McKee and eight of the local tribesmen signed a peace treaty at Camp Lupyoma on the south shore of the Lake. The treaty was sent to President Millard Fillmore for ratification. Never formally recognized by any authority higher than McKee, the treaty stands as one of the most infamous unratified treaties in California history.
Under the Treaty Agreement, the local Native Americans gave up their rights to the land around the Clear Lake. They agreed to settle on reservations, although few of the Native Americans understood what they had signed. The remaining Indians, living near Upper Lake, were forced off their land by the settlers and given a plot of land that was hardly large enough to be called a reservation; a few hundred acres of hardscrabble barren land beside Highway 20, now better known as the Robinson Rancheria.
Sometimes, on a sunny summer afternoon, if you walk along the Clear Lakeshore, near what remains of Bloody Island, and you listen closely in the sighing of the wind, you may hear the sounds of the screams and cries of the dying as the Dragoons rode among them hard at work with busy sabers and bayonets. The memory of that day has faded with the sands of time but some still remember.
Next Episode: Outraged Ranchers
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