Long Valley John03/03/2023
Read Time:12 Minute, 57 Second
JULIA SUSAN LAWRENCE
|* Charles Jonathan Reece is unconfirmed through any paperwork. However, DNA trails lead to him. I initially thought it was his brother, but found more information that pointed to Charles instead.
|I am going to be brutally honest – Writing this page and the pages of her siblings will be hard. Not for lack of information, but for what that information tells me.
My grandmother did not have an easy life. Born into a time period of when Natives were made to feel ashamed at being Native, a time period of accepted racism towards non-white races, and a time period of poverty, especially for Natives. Her mother married at a young age with, given stories, a man that wasn’t a nice person. Under that back-drop will also be explained why my grandmother and her siblings, and thus their descendants, are not a part of the Bishop Paiute Tribe.
Born July 1st, 1912, as shown a variety of documents like this one, she was the second child of John Lawrence and Annie Johns Jefferson Lawrence. That particular document has information gleaned from John Lawrence’s California Indian Application, and thus a bit of wrong information, namely the degree of Native blood. Julia is 3/4 (1/2 Mono Paiute, 1/4 Casson), not straight up 1/2 as stated on that document. Her eventual birth certificate, created in the early 1970’s, gleaned information from other sources and actually names her mother as Annie (with a hand written questioned name of Amy on it. That name will be explained later.). Her sister, Dorothy Josephine Lawrence, was born a year later.
From there, the earliest documents begin with the Indian Censuses.
The 1914, 1915 and 1916 Indian Censuses all show Julia listed as Susan, which is her middle name. Also, her mother is listed as Amy, which is a mistake. How we know it is Annie and not Amy is because of earlier documents from BIA regarding Annie and Long Valley John’s property, along with a 1910 US Census showing John Lawrence and Annie together. Also of note is that Julia’s youngest sister, Sarah, was born in 1915 but is not listed on either the 1915 or 1916 documents.
Her mother died in 1917, prior to the 1917 Indian Census, and thus is not listed (and Sarah still isn’t listed either). Julia’s father is listed as a widower with Julia still listed as Susan. This is the year when turmoil is first noted in Julia’s life.
As I had noted in John’s entry, he wasn’t a nice person. My cousin Audrey had said, in “A Native American Oral History of the Yosemite National Park Region” (by Brian Bibby, 1996), the following –
“He was a mean man. I don’t know truly how or what happened, but they say he beat her. And she was pregnant with twins. And both her and the two babies died. And he left, came back over here (note – Mariposa area) himself and left the kids over there (note – Bishop area) with her mother (note – Maggie Johns).”
I myself was told by Maude Johns Shaw, sister (Native way)/1st cousin (by blood) to Julia, that when Annie died, John was acting like a mad man, and when he was taking her in her casket to be buried, her casket fell out of the wagon. I heard from another cousin, Kathy Medina, and she passed this information on to me –
“One other “death of Annie” story goes like this: shortly after Annie was buried her family came after John – they knew he killed her. He took the girls… not sure about Johnnie. He was around ten years old (note – He was actually 6-7years old, born in 1910 and Annie passed in 1917) when his mother was killed. He saw his dad kill his mother and wanted no part of his dad – never forgave him. Ran to the next farm to get help. Took off to Gabbs, NV and was raised by Louella Walker (note – I had heard he went to Fallon and lived with Jim Watterson for a while. Below, Audrey mentions both Fallon and Gabbs). In terms of sequence of events, not sure if he went before John took the girls away. I suspect he did. Anyway, according to my grandmother Amy Harrison Rhoan, John brought the girls over to her (note – Amy Harrison) grandfather’s ranch near Mono Lake. Her (note – Amy Harrison) grandpa is Bridgeport Tom and he was friends with John Lawrence. Not sure how long they stayed before going to Mariposa but Bridgeport Tom gave John Lawrence a job helping him with horses. The girls had to be young if young Johnnie Lawrence was ten years old (note- see earlier note about age). In later years my grandmothers would talk to each other when they saw one another out and about. I saw my grandmother Amy mourn my other grandmother Dorothy when she found out she had passed – she cried…it was sad to see. A bunch of my cousins and I interviewed my grandmother Amy prior to her death. I will check our transcripts to see if there is any more information on this.
Just imagine what it was like for Julia and her siblings at the time – Their mother dies, *possibly* at the hands of their father or due to his actions, seeing their mothers casket handled in such a manner, and then their father abandoning/getting run off from them. As to exactly when he left, that is unknown, because the following documents make little sense in that regard.
The years 1918, 1919 (pg 2 for Julia), 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923 (pg 2 for Julia), 1924, 1925, 1926 and 1927 Indian Censuses all show Julia and her siblings. John is also listed on these, so was he still in Bishop? At least as of 1920, according to the 1920 US Census, albeit listed by himself with no children. As of that 1927 Indian Census, Julia would be one day short of her 15th birthday.
More confusion is about to take place. In 1928 and 1929, the Indian Censuses remain status quo, with John still on them. The problem here is, John had completed a California Indian Application… in Mariposa. Here are bits of an over-all basic list and an official list of who filled out applications, and here is John’s actual application – Pg 1, Pg 2, Pg 3, Pg 4, Pg 5 and Pg 6. The application was signed in April, 1929 (and has errors pointed out in John’s entry). Since John’s signature (or “mark”) were needed on the application, that shows he indeed was in Mariposa and not in Bishop, thus the Indian Censuses were incorrect for at least those years.
Sometime during those previous years, John had returned to the Bishop area and gathered up the girls, but not Johnnie, and took them to Mariposa. As stated by my cousin Audrey in “A Native American Oral History of the Yosemite National Park Region” (by Brian Bibby, 1996) –
“And what was your great grandmothers name? Annie or Amy Jefferson. Actually I think it’s Jones. I’m not sure, but I think that’s what her maiden name was, Jones. (note – it was actually Maggie Johns, and she died in 1924 while being married to Captain Sam. This timeline fits.) Yeah. They raised, her and Torn Jefferson … my great grandmother and Tom Jefferson … raised my mother from the time she was almost two, right after their mother died, until she was about eight, seven or eight years old, my mom was. Then she died and so the old man couldn’t because he was step-grandfather to the girls, so my grandpa went over and brought ’em all over here except my uncle. My uncle went with a people named … up towards Fallon Nevada, and that’s where he lived, in Gabbs Nevada, until 1974 and that’s when he died.”
This fits for Johnnie as well, as in 1930 he shows as still being in Bishop on the US Census. So based on that information, John had left in 1917 after Annie died, then came back around 1924 or 1925 to get the girls. I had been told pretty much the same thing, without precise years, by Maude Johns Shaw as well.
Meanwhile, the Indian Census of 1930 and the US Census of 1930 for Julia conflict each other, sort of. On the 1930 US Census, it shows Julia, along with her sisters and father, living with her aunt Susan Leonard in Mariposa. As for the 1930 Indian Census for that year, there is a curious little piece of information I had missed before – in the column next to “Relationship to Head of Family” is another column that says “”At Jurisdiction Where Enrolled”. This is marked “Yes” for John and the girls. And next to that one, it says “At Another Jurisdiction”. This is marked “Yes” for John. So what that means is, even though that Indian Census is for Bishop, the info on it says they are elsewhere, ie not in Bishop. That elsewhere would be Mariposa, where they were enrolled with the California Indian Application.
These years are all basically the same as the 1930 Indian Census – 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934 and 1935. I have no census for 1936, 1938, 1939 and Julia is not on the 1937 Indian Census with her sisters.
So before I go any further, it’s time to explain why our Native family from Long Valley John, Maggie Johns, Annie Johns Jefferson, Julia Lawrence or her siblings are not a part of the Bishop Paiute Tribe, and yet Maude Johns Shaw and her family is. The Tribes Base Rolls were established in 1938. All following memberships must be a LINEAL DESCENDANT of a Base Roll member. Maude Johns Shaw is on the Base Rolls, but none of our lineal ancestors are. The reason they aren’t is because Long Valley John, Maggie Johns and Annie Johns Jefferson all died BEFORE the Base Rolls were created. Johnnie, Julia, Dorothy and Sarah were taken to Mariposa by John Lawrence BEFORE the Base Rolls were established. Therefore, no one was here to get onto the Base Rolls.
Let’s move on the the history of Julia now living in Mariposa. My dad was born in November of 1938. The 1940 US Census shows Julia and my dad, named Robert Lawrence, living with her aunt Susan. I do not know the story or history between Julia and Robert’s father, but she had stated at one time all three of her children had different fathers, and she didn’t know who any of them were. Robert’s birth certificate had “unknown” listed for his father. Through Ancestry.com’s DNA connections, I was able to figure out who Robert’s father was. You can read about that here (This article is actually out of date now).
In September of 1942, Julia’s daughter Maxine was born. Ancestry.com shows a birth document that shows her father’s last name as being Panno. And in August of 1950, Julia’s son Ralph Jessie Gonsalves was born. He died after being hit by a car in March of 1961. He was only 10 years old. His information comes from 2 documents on Ancestry.com, as well as from his headstone. He is buried next to his grandfather, John Lawrence.
Maude Shaw and others submitted a petition in June of 1951 to auction off the land they inherited via Long Valley John. Julia is listed as a petitioner and heir. It seems they used this to break down the heirs. On the same day but signed later, an appraisal was completed. Julia received this document, a “Supplemental Petition” form, to fill out, complete and send back. The completed form is here. This showed her still living in Mariposa.
The Forfeiture of Bid would come in March of 1952, with her receiving her Fund Distribution notice that same month.
Julia’s father John died in 1958, with her son Ralph following in 1961, as mentioned above. Robert came over to Bishop sometime after. He met my mother, and I was born in November of 1964. He was killed in an accident in Mariposa in 1967, a mere two and a half years later. I had heard stories about that accident – It was raining and the highway was slick. The stories I heard are that a crazy lady was out in the middle of the road near the creek, and Robert had swerved to miss her, ending up in the creek, killing him and his passengers, John Appling (cousin) and Sam Oliver. Later, after the services for him, Julia was sitting in front of a store and that crazy lady walked by. It seems she was wearing Robert’s watch! Looks like she “investigated” the accident, but didn’t bother to help anyone. Julia said she went ballistic on her to get it back. Cousin Kathy Medina has this to add –
“The crazy lady you talk about is Crazy Mary. My cousin Lenny and his friend were in the car with your dad. While there are stories regarding how this accident happened, the citing of Crazy Mary walking in the road is one of them.”
Sometime between my father’s death in 1967 and summer of 1974, Julia had moved to Gabbs, NV, where her brother Johnnie lived. I visited the summer of 1974, just after Johnnie passed away. She and I went to visit her daughter Maxine in Palo Alto, the first time I met Maxine and my cousins. Then sometime over the next few years, she moved to Hawthorne, NV, where she was living with Vincent Cook. My brother had a football game against Gabbs and we went to it. Since we were there, we’d drop in to see my grandmother. Only problem was – Her trailer was blown over onto it’s side! We had no idea where she was, what happened, etc. For a 10 year old, that was devastating. I do not recall who it was that told us she was now in Hawthorne. It may have been Johnnie’s widowed wife Mildred, but I don’t remember if she was still living there or not. It would be a couple of years before I saw her again. She came to visit and had a new man with her, Ray Mitchell. She was now living in Schurz, NV. In 1982, I saw her twice- For my H.S. graduation and then my wedding later that year. It would not be until the mid-1990’s before I saw her again. I visited with her in Schurz, NV where we watched 4th of July fireworks in 1995. After that is when I went to Mariposa for the first time to visit my dad’s grave. I met Sarah then and visited with her. After that, tragedy struck -Sarah passed away in an accident. I went and picked up Julia in Schurz and took her to Mariposa for the services. I spent a few days with her after that.
Julia Susan Lawrence passed away in Schurz, NV on March 1st, 2001. She was 88 years old. I miss you and love you, Grandma.