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Born- Abt. 1839?
Location- Yosemite, cA
Died- Abt. 1889?
Location- Mariposa, CA
James Lawrence
Susan Lawrence (Leonard)
  • Indian name- Chen-na-chu
John Lawrence
  • Indian name- Chich-ka
Telefina’s history is virtually unknown and confusing at the same time. The above photo is of Callipene. Understanding of its usage will be explained below. The only actual facts known are listed in her Bio details next to that image. Even her name is in question. Is she Casson-Yokut, as stated on her childrens applications, taken directly from Susan (page 2) and John (page 2) Lawrence’s applications? Her Indian name, Pa-Mah-Hah, is also stated there, as is her age at death. They state she was 50 years old, and that she passed away around 1889, thus giving her a birth year around 1839. But, given some errors found on those applications, is her information correct?

Let’s begin with her name(s). Some other applications, namely for those descended from Susan, state her name as Delfina (page 4 of Naomi Leonard’s application) or Delphina (page 4 of Violet Leonard’s application). Henry Leonard’s application (page 4) says Telefina, same as his mothers. Her parents names, taken from Susan’s (page 4) and John’s (page 4) applcations were Oo-tee-yah and Sus-kai-yah. Curiously, on Telefina’s grand daughter’s application (page 2 of Naomi Leonard’s application), Naomi says Telefina’s (Delfina) mother’s name is Heycheta. Neither Violet’s nor Henry’s mention this. Now here comes a totally different source for her names. Look carefully over the entire page, as it pertains to Telefina.

This comes from the hand-written history (pg 1)(pg2) of Henrietta Anita “Annie” Escalante, via a cousin of mine. Note the top of that image, as well as the specific writing about Telefina. It states her Native name and parents names. So let’s think about this for a moment, as interpretations from Native to English is rough at best, given pronunciations and such. Telefina becomes Delphina (or reversed), and Delphina derived from Callipene (pronounced Calipena’). To follow what I just said, she started off with the English name of Callipene, and it eventually ended up as Telefina/Delfina/Delphina on those applications.

Now let’s look at her Native name from that hand-written entry – Pa-Mah-Hah. Naturally, it can be spelled without either “h” in the name, given whoever is writing the name, much like variations on my own name – Darrell (the only true spelling), Daryl, etc. We’ve now seen evidence of both her names, English and Native. A major document actually ties “Pa-Ma-Ha” and Callipene together as the same person – the 1888 Yosemite Indian Petition to the United States. “Pa-ma-ha” is listed in the Yosemite Women section as one of the signers of the petition. Her English name? Callipene. Who else signed that petition? Susan and John Lawrence, Telefina/Pa-Ma-Ha’s children. That helps support that Telefina/Pa-Mah-Hah is Callipene/Pa-Ma-Ha.

It’s been established that Telefina married a white man, James Lawrence, both through official documents and Shared DNA. Knowing that, and after establishing her name, this next article is rather confusing –

Wow. Reportedly a “Southern Miwok” from Yosemite. Frank “Hooky” Wilson a brother to her. And married to one of the two Captain John’s listed on that 1888 Yosemite Indian Petition to the United States? This is from the Craig Bates book “Traditions and Innovations”. Very little in that book is correct. Where on earth does that petition indication she was married to either of the Captain Johns? Is there some documentation out there somewhere that indicates either of them were married to Callipene? Apparently, some of that information comes from not a document, but information passed on, via C. Hart Merriam:

Merriam reported that “Kal-a-pe-na” was said to be the wife of old “Captain John” (1901). This may have been either the Captain John who was a chief of the Yosemites, or the one who was head chief of the Mono Lake Paiutes (Chiefs and Headmen n.d.).

I got that from here. What is extremely interesting though, is the very next two paragraphs:

On Ancestry Charts (CSRI 1983), Calapene Tom is shown as the wife of James Lawrence. Their daughter, Susan Lawrence, married Archie Leonard, one of Yosemite Park’s first rangers. Susan Lawrence Leonard is an ancestor of William Leonard, elected Chairman of the AICMC in 1984, Their son, John Lawrence, was a tuyuk, and also has descendants among the AICMC.

Calapene was a woman shaman of great power. According to Boysen, she was “next in command to Chief Tenaya.” Her chiefly power went to her niece, Indian Mary, and then to Mary’s great nephew Chris Brown whom Calapene had given the name “Le-Mee” (1934:2).

CSRI is Cultural Systems Research, Incorporated. They were engaged by the American Indian Council of Mariposa County. You’d know them better today as the non-Federally recognized tribe of Southern Sierra Miwok. CSRI is independent of them, but got most of their information from them. There must have been enough evidence to show Callipene is indeed Telefina for them to say that. Kinda brings up another question though… where’d the name “Tom” sneak into this?

Now about that second paragraph. It disputes that above article in who Callipene’s possible daughter and granddaughter is, saying niece and great nephew (for Chris Brown) instead. This is more to the ramblings and rumblings on the web that I have seen, and leaves it open for Callipene’s children to be Susie and John Lawrence. Additionally, that paragraph fits with the hand note way above that Telefina/Delphina/Callipene was a daughter of Chief Tenaya. One other thing of note that is in that article, and that I have seen elsewhere, is that Callipene lived at Hite’s Cove some of the time. Guess who else lived at Hite’s Cove at the same time period? James Lawrence, as seen here and here.

I will be investigating the Tenaya as her father and Frank “Hooky” Wilson as her brother thing later. I have a suspicion certain mystery Shared DNA will help resolve that. I have been looking at those as possible Long Valley John and Maggie John connections, but perhaps they are really Telefina/Callipene connections.

On to her time of death. According to her children’s California Indian Applications, she died about 1889, a year after that Treaty signing. And yet, there are photos and articles about her well after that, with a year of death sometime between 1911 and 1920. That is a huge difference from 1889. If she is Callipene, then why would her children state that year as her death? I have noticed, on the Paiute side of things anyways, that when Natives seperate, ie divorce, they consider the other as dead. Is that what happened here? Did James and Telefina seperate, and her children considered her dead to them at that time? There is nothing about Telefina in any censuses or burials anywhere. Do any of my Mariposa area relatives know where she is buried? Is she buried next to her husband, James, on the Leonard property? Given the date Susie and John claim, Susie would have been living on that land. James is buried there, why not Telefina? One thing I just realized – Looking at James Lawrence’s entry, 1889 is the year he killed Tom Bushyhead. In June. Look at page 2 of that hand written note – May Leonard was born in 1889. In June. Could this have affected things?

This is where I am going to stop for now. For every answer I think I get, more questions pop up. As it stands right now, based on what little evidence I have, Telefina and Callipene are one and the same. What her relations are within the Yosemite Native community are, hopefully will get discovered through Shared DNA. And I haven’t even started on where the “Dick” name comes from…

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4 thoughts on “Telefina “Pa-Ma-Ha” Dick

  1. I’m a descendent of Susan Leonard Lawrence, when my aunt did her DNA she was twice as much Indian as we were told. It only leads me to believe Susan was not a Lawrence at all but raised by a white man adopting his name. With Natives not having citizenship it makes sense. Some other blood quantum census documents of the Leonard’s don’t add up with our dna either.My grandmother was full European in her Ancestry and her husband My grandfather Eugene Harlow has 45% native. Both his parents would have to be half to get that DNA. we always new his father was half. Ed Harlow son of Ellen Amos Shannon, but his mother was Maud Leonard. Pictures of Susan definitely look as if she is. I dunno if this helps at all.

    1. I am going to guess the Aunt you speak of is Patricia Harlow Alberta? I am DNA connected to her.

      I am DNA connected to many from the Leonard side of the Suzy/John siblings, as well as the Lawrence side (John).

      My DNA connections go even higher into the white Lawrence’s, the white ancestors of Suzy and John.

      So Susan Leonard is definitely from the Lawrence tree, and is half native, making Maude a quarter.

      DNA is a tricky thing. It depends on WHICH strands of DNA are inherited. This will affect how much of an Ethnicity estimate there is. And I’d like the emphasize “estimate”. That means not written in stone. My sister, having the same father as me, shows a higher percentage of Native in her DNA results than me. She has no other Native ancestry other than said father.

      If you’d like, I can dig into the Harlow line on my Ancestry tree and see if there is actually more Native from that side.

    2. Ok. I looked up the California Indian Census of 1928. It has Eddie listed at 1/2, and Maude at 1/4, with the children at 3/8.

      Ernest, Eugene and Mary were born after the census, so they aren’t listed. But with the same parentage, they’d also be 3/8.

      3/8 Native = 37.5% Native.

      Patricia shows up as a total of 18% Native on my DNA comparison, which would be correct.

    3. I just found our cousin, Buzz Harlow, in my DNA matches. Same thing goes for him that goes for Patricia. He sits at 20%.

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