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Caroline M. Churchill

"When women get to running boundary lines it will take several generations for them to right the mistakes of their forefathers. The women of Reno show their appreciation of being emancipated from the wash tub by making their social calls on Monday morning..." Caroline Churchill, California 1870s


1870-1873

...When men make boundary lines to a State, I should think they would pay more attention to the natural divisions. For convenience to all concerned, the California line should be drawn at the summit. Truckee and everything east should be in Nevada, then this State would get its share of criminals. California, with its grand individuality, should be content with the west side. When women get to running boundary lines it will take several generations for them to right the mistakes of their forefathers. The women of Reno show their appreciation of being emancipated from the wash tub by making their social calls on Monday morning....

The Washoe Indians that linger around this town are getting pretty well utilized; the women are good washers, and are frequently employed to saw and split wood in small quantities; to carry water and perform numerous little pieces of drudgery, for which they receive refuse food from the white man's table; enough to last for the day. It is seldom they are paid in money for these little services, it being better economy for them to receive the broken food, as they get a larger quantity and a greater variety than they could buy at first with the money earned in this way. The Indian men manifest a disposition akin to the masculine dignity of civilization. They do not come around the houses looking for jobs, but hie themselves to the river to fish, while the squaws provide the daily bread and little relishes. These Indian women can not make fine distinctions in conversation. I do not think they clearly understand the difference between a falsehood and a joke. One of them said to me that "all the white Mahalies in Virginia City saw wood." She knew perhaps that I had never been there, and knew nothing of the peculiar habits of those "white Mahalies," and was not prepared to contradict the statement. This Indian woman, without doubt, intended to impose upon my credulity.

This was not more barbarous in design than an act performed by a long, lean, lank, crusty, rusty editor that I met the other day, who told me that his name was "Ferguson." I am credibly informed that this was a sell; that there is no such man in town. If the representatives of a Christian people and the Christian press will set such examples, what can we expect of the barbarous Washoe Indians who borrow their ideas from civilization....

Find your ancestors!Read more of Caroline Churchill, California Travel Letters, 1870-73 and Caroline Churchill, California Travel Letters, 1874-80 on Ancestry.com. To browse the letter collection, type in WEST in the search engine. When the new page loads, simply choose any one of the 'hits' and click on VIEW FULL CONTEXT. Then you can browse to your heart's content. If you need a subscription to view the letters you can take advantage of the FREE Access

Lost Faces Ancestor Photos from the 1800s

Wishing you had an ancestor photograph? Check out the 1800s photographs and antique photo albums on Lost Faces. There are over 3,500 photos in this growing genealogy collection

Moving from Chicago to California in 1870, Caroline Churchill traveled extensively throughout the state from 1870 to 1873. This database is a collection of letters penned by her about her experiences in the West.

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