Status: Complete

Communication of one of the employees

[left side newspaper clipping, Sacramento Daily Union, February 4, 1861]

Indenturing Indians—A Nice System of Slavery. Red Bluff, January 30, 1861.
Editors Union: As the meaning and intent,
as well as the constitutionality of the act passed
last Winter in regard to indenturing Indians
without their consent, or even aprising them
of the fact, but by simply calling on the County
or District Judge, with a list, and having him
sign it officially—has been doubted by many, I
send you a copy of an indenture, now on file in
the Clerk's office in Tehama county. The
Indians named therein are not prisoners of war,
or vagrant Indians but belong to the Nome
Lackee tribe, that have been taught to work, at
a cost to Government of about three hundred
thousand dollars. And the persons to whom
they are indentured have been receiving as
salaries from Government, four hundred and
seventy-five dollars per month, for nearly four years

It may be true that they were in their
possession at that date, as they claimed to be in
possession of the Reserve. They were most of
them on the Reservation, and not ten per cent
of them have ever seen their humane (?)
guardian that "at the instance and request" of
Titus and Geiger, made them slaves, without the
semblance of a bond to clothe, feed and protect

I hope our representatives from this county
will attend to this law, and have it either
explained or repealed. W.

"This indenture, made this 20th day of
December, 1860, witnesses that I, Newel Hall,
Judge of the county of Tehama, State of
California, under and by virtue of the provisions of
the laws of the State of California conferring
such power, have this day, on application of F. J.
Titus and V. E. Geiger, partners in in ranching in
the county and State aforesaid, and who now have
charge of and who are in possession of certain
Indians hereinafter named, and at their request and
instance do hereby, by virtue of the authority in
me vested as said County Judge, bind and
apprentice to them the following named and
described indians, to wit:
Name, Age, Till When Bound (Age)
Simon, 17, 30
Big Jack, 20, 30
Jackass, 20, 30
Jack White, 16, 30
Joe, 15, 30
Elijah, 18, 30
Judas, 18, 30
Ben, 17, 30
Tebalth, 19, 30
Doc, 18, 30
Peter, 19, 30
Big Sam, 18, 30
Number Two, 17, 30
Big Abe, 19, 30
Darly, 18, 30
Tony, 18, 30
Ambrose, 16, 30
Bob, 18, 30
Bony, 15, 30
Henry, 17, 30
Jordan, 18, 30
Prince, 16, 30
Yolo Boley, 15, 30
Little Sam, 12, 25
Job, 12, 25
Billy, 12, 25
Nancy—(she), 15, 30
Susan, 15, 30
Mary, 18, 30
Laura, 10, 25
Betsey, 15, 30
Julia, 17, 30
Myra, 18, 30
Maggie, 18, 30
Poly, 15, 30
Venus, 16, 30
Sally, 17, 30
Long Betsey, 15, 30
Dido, 15, 30
Big Sally, 15, 30
Mary Anne, 15, 30
Fanny, 12, 25
Eliza, 15, 30
Adele, 12, 25
Annie, 15, 30
Rose, 17, 30
Bill, 18, 30
Van’s Billy, 17, 30
Andrew, 12, 25
Trowbridge, 12, 25
Cooney, 19, 30
George, 18, 30

"The conditions of this indenture are, that
the said F. J. Titus and V. E. Geiger shall
clothe, feed, care for and protect each of the
said Indians herein before mentioned, and shall
do all and everything prescribed by law in
regard to the Indians so apprenticed under the
laws of the state. And in consideration, they
shall be and are hereby entitled to the care,
control, custody and earnings of said Indians,
for and during the term for which each is
respectively so bound, under the provisions of
said law. The intent and meaning of this
indenture is this. The said Newell Hall, judge of the
County of Tehama, State of California, acting
for and in behalf of the Indians under the
authority of the laws of said State, has so
apprenticed the above named Indians to said Titus and
Geiger, to be used in ranching, farming and
housework. Newel Hall,
Judge of the County of Tehama, State of
Copy. F. J. Titus
V. E. Geiger."

The following are indentured to V. E. Geiger
in like manner, on the same day as the above,
most of whom have been taken below by him:
Breckenridge, aged 12 bound till 25 years
of age.
Jeff Henley, aged 12, bound till 25 years
of age.
Roy Pinchy, aged 18, bound till 30 years
of age.
Tom Ledon, aged 12, bound till 25 years
of age.
Geo. Bulger, aged 12, bound till 25 years
of age.
Luke, aged 25, bound till 35 years of
Nicholas, aged 25, bound till 35 years
of age.
Fanny (she), aged 12, bound till 25 years
of age.
Peggy (she), aged eight, bound till 25 years
of age.
Mary Pike (she), aged 17, bound till 30
years of age.
Lucy (she), aged 18, bound till 30 years of

Also the following to J. W. Titus, on the same
day as above:
Tony, aged 17, bound till 30 years of age.
Henry, aged 18, bound till 30 years of age.
San Wan, aged 10, bound till 25 years of age.
Charley, aged 11, bound till 25 years of age.
Julia (she), aged 15, bound till 30 years of age.
Isabella (she), aged 10, bound till 25 years
of age.
Lily (she), aged eight, bound till 25 years of
Duke (he), aged four, bound till 25 years of

[right side newspaper clipping, Sacramento Daily Union, February 4, 1861]

Editors Sac. Union

Indian Servitude—Work for the New
Indian Agent.—The attention of the new
Indian Agent, as well as that of the Legislature,
is called to the communication in another part
of this day's Union, in which the beauties of
the Indian apprenticeship system established by
the Legislature of 1860 are exemplified in the
transactions of one of the late Sub-Agents and
his partner, on the lands adjoining the Nome
Lackee Reservation. From a copy of an
indenture there shown, and which purports to
have been filed in the County Clerk's office of
Tehama county in December last, it appears
that Geiger & Titus, late Government agents
or employes on the Reservation, have caused
the County Judge, N. Hall, to bind out to them
a considerable proportion of the best Indians,
male and female, belonging to the Reserve.
The process by which they effected this, as near
as we can gather, was to apprentice them by
virtue of their right as custodians of the Indians,
causing the indentures to be made out to
Messrs. Geiger & Titus, as private individuals,
engaged in the ranching business.

The law of last year was passed under a high
lobby pressure, no doubt for the special
accommodation of the numerous parties interested in
Indian war claims and Indian subjugation, who
besieged the Legislature. It allows County and
District Judges to apprentice Indians, both
children and adults, at the "instance and request"
of parties having them in charge, or of parties
desirous of taking up vagrant Indians, on the
sole condition that they shall promise to suitably
clothe and feed them during the term of their
apprenticeship. The Act authorizes as complete
a system of slavery, without any of the checks
and wholesome restraints of slavery, as ever
was devised. And Geiger & Titus appear
to have availed themselves to the utmost extent
of its provisions. They have a large ranch
adjoining the Reservation, and they have selected,
we are told, the likeliest workmen on the
Government property for their servants, leaving the
Federal authorities to take care of the infirm
and crippled. The names of seventy-two males
and females are given in the indentures, and
Geiger & Co. do not appear to have been over
careful in complying with the terms of the law,
generous as its provisions have proved to them.
The Indian women under the age of twenty are
apprenticed for the full term of the men, which
is contrary to the regulations contained within
the Act of April, 1860.

The times are propitious for a change in this
misnamed law "for the government and
protection of Indians" — a change which shall
deprive the parties in the above transaction, and
others who have sought to obtain control of the
persons of Indians under similar circumstances,
of the unlimited power they hold under the Act
of last year. The new Agent is now in his
place, and the Legislature of 1861 differs
materially in its composition from the one of the
year preceding. At all events, let us have an
investigation of the matter brought to notice in
another column, and a little light, if light can
be obtained, on the general operation of the
law under which parties are seeking to
establish a system of domestic servitude in our

Notes and Questions

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An older, original meaning of the word "instance" is "an urgent request or demand", in the example of "at the instance of".


Much better quality images of these newspaper articles is available at The California Digital Newspaper Collection: https://cdnc.ucr.edu/