May 8, 1922 BIA letter about Pete Jack's abandoned lot

On May 8, 1922, there was correspondence between C.I. Billy and the Superintendent of the BIA- Round Valley Indian Agency.

A little background of what this letter is referring to:

There was a letter written by Short Jack, the father of Pete (Pedro) Jack. If you don’t know or remember who Pete Jack is, he is the first husband to Alice “Connor” Elliott and the father to their only child together, Mitchell Jack.

Who is Alice?…

Well, there are theories, but what we still haven’t been able to find is her alleged claims to Hopland… other than through Pete Pedro Jack. She is the matriarch of what would become the Elliott family, those responsible for our disenrollment and the creators of the horrific lies of our lineage.

We bring her into this as a way of trying to understand the history of what all of our families have endured in the past, and what it has cost everyone in our current era.

This letter is one of a few that were written by BIA officials regarding Pete Jack’s abandoned assigned lot on the Hopland Rancheria, and Alice’s failed attempts to claim it herself.

It reads:

Round Valley Indian Agency,

Covelo, Calif., May 8, 1922.

Mr. C.I. Billy,

Hopland, Calif.

Dear Sir,

Last week while in Ukiah I saw William Benson and spoke to him about having lot #26 on your Rancheria there, assigned to him. This was the lot originally assigned to Pedro Jack, but I understand that Jack has never lived on it and has moved away and married again, therefore the lot should be assigned to another homeless Indian. If you folks agree that Benson can have this lot and will make a good and agreeable person to have on the Rancheria please so inform me and I will transfer it to him.

Very sincerely yours,

Superintendent.

WWMc/G

Transcribed with errors and all.

So before we jump to every conclusion, we understand that Pete Jack was drafted into WWI.

But this also begins to tie a line to one of the many theories about Alice’s own background and lineage.

Some questions that linger when we read letters like this is:

  1. When did Pete move?
  2. Where did Pete move to?
  3. Was he already married before he left home? Or did he leave home, THEN get married?

I have documents that give us some clues to those answers, but it doesn’t definitively spell this answer out. The tribe, at that time, had criteria for which an assigned lot becomes abandoned. There was a metric that needed to be met before the tribe or the Agency could declare it abandoned. In this case, they were calling it abandoned in a few documented letters.

Now, this situation that we are reading in documents like these aren’t unique at all. It was a common situation that women became widows so young. Alice “Connor” Elliott was fighting for what was supposed to be owed to her. However, BIA knew something that we are not fully sure of.

While Alice was being intentionally overlooked for a lot assignment claim on the Hopland Rancheria, our grandmother Marion Edwards was attending the rez school during the week, and being looked after by her grandmother Laura Wilbell, who was raising her after her mother Mow-Sha Edwards died one month after giving birth to her, and her uncle C.I. Billy.

Are you ready for more Hopland history? Let’s go!

Onto the next post. See you there!

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