JOHN "CHICH-KA" LAWRENCE
- Born- 1877 (1870?)
- Location- Yosemite Valley, Mariposa, California
- Died- 1958
- Location- Usona, Mariposa, California
- Louisa Lawrence
- Annie Johns Jefferson
|The full sized image is here. It is of John, Annie and Johnnie.
As I said in Susan's entry, there is something I need to get out of the way, before you view these documents.
I personally view a Census form as a "stats" document, while the Indian Application for enrollment is a "personal history" document. The difference between the two is who is actually filling out the document and the purpose of the document. A Census is filled out by "stats" people who tend to copy information from year to year, so if an error is made, there is a good chance it is carried over into the following Census. The main information to gather from a Census is where someone lived in a given year, and who they were living with. It is a document to count heads in a given area, nationalities, male/female, etc. On certain occasions, other information can be gleaned from these documents, but sometimes they will conflict with other documents, and sometimes even with themselves. An application for enrollment, however, is completed by the individual the application is for, and signed by that individual. Even though an error can creep through here and there, very often these are more accurate than a Census.
The reason I am talking about this is because both Susan and John have such errors in Censuses and on their applications. The Census errors place John in the WRONG TRIBES/BANDS! He himself provides information on his application that he is 1/2 CASSON YOKUT, as his mother was full blooded Casson. Yet earlier and later Censuses shows him as Miwak, Meewuk, Paiute or Shoshone. His wife was full Paiute, not him. The application errors I see are John's year of birth (too many censuses, the California Death Index AND his headstone say otherwise), his wife Annie's degree of blood, his children's degree of blood, and where his father is from. Always remember, when a person (or witness) signs, it says "to the best of my knowledge" or something similar. That leaves room to cover for possible errors like these. Memory can be a fickle thing. I will go into detail as I write about each document. I just wanted you to be aware of things like this.
The earliest document to have any referrence to John is the 1888 Yosemite Indian Petition to the United States. He is listed in the Yosemite Indian (Men) section as one of the signers of the petition. This also lists his Indian name. Very fascinating read.
The second referrence I have of John Lawrence is this 1896 Voters Register. It lists John right below his father, James. It gives a description of John - Age: 26, Height: 5' 6", Complexion: Drk (as in Indian. His father's complexion is light, as in White. Which is correct), Eyes and Hair: black (I'd say very dark brown eyes), and a scar on his left jaw. Country of Nativity (aka place of birth) lists John as California (correct), and his father as Arkansas. His place of residence, along with his father, is Wawona. It also states he could not read or write English. Let's go back to John's age for a second - It says he is 26 years of age in 1896. That places his birth year as being about 1870. Remember that.
Ready for more confusion? This 1900 US Census from Madera County, next to Mariposa County (and thus Mariposa the town), shows John Lawrence with a wife named Louisa. Normally, I'd lean towards this not being our John Lawrence, except for a couple of things - 1. It shows him as Native, albiet a full blood. That's iffy to me, but how many Natives named "John Lawrence" are running around the same general area?. Then the wife's name showed up in another document, so - 2. My cousin Audrey's Oral History name drops Louisa as well.
Next is this Census of Non-reservation California Indians, 1905-1906. According to this, John is "Miwak". This would show to be incorrect in his 1928 Application. It also shows he is already married, but does not list the wife's name. It is most likely Louisa from Northfork (Mariposa area), per my cousin Audrey Kramer's Oral History (see prev. paragraph). **Note she also says the name "Amy Rice". That was a mistake on her part. There are also other mistakes in that paragraph.** Of note- Even a bit farther down and to the right on that census, you will find Sally Ann Dick under the Yosemite area. I am pretty sure she is the Sally Ann Dick from this photo - Dick is the supposedly last name of Telefina, John's mother. John and Susan Lawrence are also in the photo, which is why it matters for John's information.
The next document is this 1910 US Census. It states John was living in the Benton area (home area of Annie and her parents), 1/2 Indian, his age as 40, his father born in Ireland (incorrect, see James Lawrence entry) and his mother in Mariposa County. Back to the age - 1910 minus 40 puts his year of birth at around 1870, same as noted above. And again, remember this. At the bottom of the Census, it states Indian tribal/band information. Since John is listed #1, then at the bottom he is also #1. It says 1/2 Meewuk. Now, how did the Benton area Census person get that information, unless it was given by John himself? At this point in time, was John mis-informed about his tribal band? Did he say "Yosemite", and the transcriber automatically put Meewuk (most likely. I'll explain below)? This information couldn't be carried over from a previous Census, since any previous Census John was on was for the Mariposa area, which is on the other side of Yosemite. Meewuk would be shown to be incorrect due to his application (he's Casson) of 1928, of which I am sure John was finally given proper information.
Meewok/Meewuk/Mewuk/Mewok vs Casson - If you'll notice on that 1900 US Census above, on the bottom half it says John is of the "Digger" tribe. A relative pointed out to me this -
Indians Score Victory After Government Eliminates Name Digger From Official Use
So put simply, after that, everyone in the area became known as Miwoks... even if their bloodlines were not Miwok. This is where the Indian Application info of Casson comes in, and why it is so important.
Hereafter the term "Digger" as representing the name of a tribe of Indians in the Sacramento jurisdiction, and appearing in the records of this Bureau, will be discontinued, objections having come from others that this term is one of contempt and regarded by the Indians as humiliating and opprobrius. It will, therefore, be replaced by the name 'Mewuk' which, upon accepted ethnological authority, is the true tribal designation of these Indians.
The change from "Digger" Indians to Mewuk, Mewok, or Miwok was the result of an appeal made by the Indian Board of Co-operation and nine of its delegates. Today, the Place Where They Burnt the Digger is important to the Miwok in two respects: first, it represents official recognition of the Miwok Indians and their cultural tradition; and second, since the time of the burning, the Indians of the area refer to themselves as Miwoks, and do not call themselves by their village names.
(California Indian Herald, 1922)
Now begins some real fun regarding Indian Censuses.
In this 1912 Indian Census, John is listed as Paiute (not Miwuk, not Casson, but Paiute), age 40. His wife is mis-named as Amy instead of Annie (I will explain why I believe Amy is Annie in Annie's section). Johnnie (Johnnie) is correct in age, as is "BABY" (that's Julia). Age 40 here puts John as being born about 1872, closer to the previously mentioned (about) 1870 than the 1877 listed on his application.
The 1913 Indian Census brings us the identical information as the 1912 Indian Census, except year of birth instead of age is now used - 1972. So John is still a Paiute here, mis-named wife, etc.
There are some changes on the 1914 Indian Census, so someone is updating information. BABY now has a name listed - Susan, which is Julia's middle name. The new addition, Josie, is actually Dorothy Josephine Lawrence. The year on her birth is correct. Why they are listed with middle names instead of first, I do not know. John is still a Paiute, and Annie is still mis-named as Amy.
The 1915 Indian Census and 1916 Indian Census brings us the identical information as the 1914 Indian Census. So John is still a Paiute here, mis-named wife, childrens middle names, etc.
In the 1917 Indian Census, it seperated into a second page for Josie (Dorothy). John is still a Paiute, and "Amy" (Annie) is no longer listed, as she passed away this year.
**An interjection here - According to Maude John Shaw, as she said to me, it was not long (months, actually) after Annie died that John left the kids with her (Maude's) family and their grandmother (Maggie, who was with Captain Sam at this time). It seems Tom Jefferson may still have been around too, as he was mentioned as having helped raise the kids. My cousin Audrey's Oral History says something similar. In Audreys, the nature of Annie's death is suspect. I was told that John wasn't a nice person as well. John, very angrily and crazed like, rode the wagon with Annie's casket out to the cemetary where Annie would be buried. The ride was so rough that Annie's casket actually fell out of the wagon. The fact John had left for Mariposa and left the kids behind also shows that the following censuses were really just a family/head count of Indians without actual, physically checking a person lived there. Here is a another piece from Audrey's Oral History, stating how long it was before John came back to get the kids, and when Johnnie left.**
Now there are some changes on the 1918 Indian Census, so once again, someone is updating information. A new addition is listed - Hazel (Sarah's middle name. Note her date of birth: 1915. Should have been on earlier censuses). Still using the kids middle names, though they are correct middle names. And John is still a Paiute.
The 1919 Indian Census is seperated into a second page for Susan (Julia), Josie (Dorothy) and Hazel (Sarah). Information is the same as 1918.
For some confusion, the 1920 US Census doesn't have John's children listed (Age is 42, so it's not the younger, 10 yr old Johnnie. Did John come back for a visit that year?). But the 1920 Indian Census does. Additionally, the children's first names are used, except for Sarah. They used her OTHER middle name of Elizabeth. Birthdates are all correct as well. Plus, there is a slight error in the spelling of Lawrence (Laurence).
The 1921 Indian Census and 1922 Indian Census brings us the identical information as the 1920 Indian Census. John is still Paiute through all of these.
**My cousins Oral History says 5 or 6 years after Annie's death that he came back for the kids (Sarah being 7-8 yrs old), and I won't disagree. The following censuses SHOULD have been for the Mariposa area for John and the girls. Johnnie should be reflected as living elsewhere.**
The 1923 Indian Census is seperated into a second page for Johnnie, Julia, Dorothy and Elizabeth (Sarah). Information is the same as 1920-1921-1922.
The 1924 Indian Census and 1925 Indian Census brings us a slight change - Note the "S" after their names.
The 1926 Indian Census and 1927 Indian Census also brings us a slight change - Sarah's first name is finally used, with her middle name listed as well.
The 1928 Indian Census still has John in Bishop, same information as the 1927 Indian Census.
In 1929 (date taken from page 5), John filled out an Indian Application for enrollment (1928) - Pg 1, Pg 2, Pg 3, Pg 4, Pg 5, Pg 6. This is the second most important document regarding John. It lists his date of birth as 15 May 1877 (conflicts with other documents), 4 children (degree of blood is wrong for them, as their mother was full Paiute), place of birth (Mariposa County), children's place of birth (Inyo County), degree and band of Indian ( 1/2 CASSON - not MIWAK, MEEWUK or PAIUTE as seen above), Wife's name (Annie, and her degree of blood is listed wrong here. I cannot make out what the band says, but I think it refers to Mono Paiute, which she is), treaty signed information (Camp Barbour Treaty), mother's name (Telefina) and band (CASSON), father's name (James Lawrence), mother's name again (Telefina), mother's degree of Indian blood (4/4, aka FULL blooded), his mother's Indian name (Pa-Mah-Hah), where his father was born (Missouri, which I have covered as being incorrect), where his mother was born (Mariposa County), type of wedding they had (Indian custom), dates of death for parents (James - 1910, Telefina 1889), type of property owned, his grandparents on his mother's side (Oo-tee-yeh, Sus-kai-yeh), where the grandparents were born (Yosemite Valley), then his signature and mark (finger print). This document, as I stated in the opening monologue, is more reliable than a Census due to the nature of who provided and filled out the information, even though it does appear a couple of errors are there. I did say this was the SECOND most important document though, because this document was submitted TO the government. I do not know if a degree of blood document was completed for John. If so, I do not have a copy. If there is one, then it would be the most important document, since it would be FROM the government acknowledging his degree of blood and tribe/band.
The 1929 Indian Census still has John in Bishop, minus Sarah's middle name AND now lists all of them at FULL blood. - Curious note due to the above application and where it was filled out. If you note the handwriting on both John and Susan's applications, it looks as if the same person filled it out for them. If that is the case, then this would place John over in the Mariposa area (which would be correct. See the Oral History comment above), yet this Indian Census has him in Bishop still.
The 1930 Indian Census has John and kids, with Johnnie, in Bishop. The date of this Census - (as of) April 1, 1930, same month as the US Census. Of note - This census has a column that says "AT JURISDICTION WHERE ENROLLED", and it is marked YES. Does that mean Bishop reservation, or does it mean Mariposa, where he possibly filled out the Indian Application for enrollment? It also says they are SHOSHONE. We now know what the "S" was for in previous censuses.
The 1930 US Census has John, Julia, Dorothy and Sarah all in Mariposa, minus Johnnie, living with John's sister, Susan. John's age is 52. 1930-52=1878, or rather, ABOUT 1878, which gets us back to the 1877 date of birth year, like his application. John, along with the three girls, are all listed as FULL, and Miwok (I have no idea what "Nevada" is referring to on the girls information, since they were born in California). This is strange to see "Miwok" there, given just the year prior, both John and Susan stated Casson. Who provided this information for these Censuses? Also note the precise date of this Census - April 8-9 of 1930, one week after the above 1930 Indian census. Johnnie is found on the US Census by himself, as well (explaining why he isn't with them), in Bishop (not Nevada yet).
The 1931 Indian Census, 1932 Indian Census, 1933 Indian Census, 1934 Indian Census (page 1, page 2) and 1935 Indian Census all have the same information as the 1930 Indian Census. Note Johnnie is back on these Indian censuses, but wasn't on that US Census.
The 1937 Indian Census for the NON RESERVATION of INYO COUNTY has John, Dorothy and Sarah all in Yosemite, Merced, California. Julia and Johnnie are not on this one. And they are still listed as SHOSHONE. This census was "as of" Jan 1st, 1937, so I think this is for both 1936 and 1937.
The 1940 US Census has John, Julia and a new addition - my father, Robert James Lawrence, all living with Susan in Mariposa.
Something John did in 1955 or 1956 brought about the following information I have about him, published in 1964 - The Southern Sierra Miwok Language (1964), by Sylvia M. Broadbent. He can be found in these sections: INTRODUCTION (mention only) and TEXTS (Wild Foods and Measuring Worms). John is having a conversation with Chris Brown. John does not say he is Miwok, but does agree, reluctantly, with being "from the east; we are people from the mountains, Yosemite Valley people." If I took that literally, "from the east" could be Mono Lake in regards to Yosemite. But John isn't Mono either. He's Casson.
John can also be found in this - Wawona’s Yesterdays (1961) by Shirley Sargent. The photo of him as a kid with Susan and the Dick siblings originated from this.
Sadly, John passed away. Even in death, records for him are contradictory - His headstone says 1957 (and his headstone does say birth year of 1870, which I "argued" for earlier). The Web: California, Find A Grave Index (from Ancestry.com) says 19 May 1958 (with the 1877 birth year). And the California, Death Index, 1940-1997 (also from Ancestry.com) says 22 Jan 1958 (with the 1870 birth year).
Should you have any more information by way of documents or any questions, you can contact me on Facebook at this link.
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