THE ETHNO-GEOGRAPHY OF THE POMO
AND NEIGHBORING INDIANS
Samuel A. Barrett
The first writer to use the name Wintun as the designation of a linguistic group, was Stephen Powers, who wrote upon the "Wintoons" in the Overland Monthly of June, 1874. This with the remainder of his series of articles in that magazine was reprinted with little alteration in his "Tribes of California," where we find the orthography changed to its present form and the limits of the territory defined as "the whole of the Upper Sacramento and the Upper Trinity." Of the people inhabiting the lower portion of the Sacramento valley, he says, "On the middle and lower Sacramento, west side, there is one of the largest nations of the State, yet they have no common government, and not even a name for themselves. They have a common language, with little divergence of dialects for so great an area as it embraces . . . . For the sake of convenience, and as a nucleus of classification, I have taken a word which they all employ, previous hit patwīn next hit', signifying 'man,' or sometimes 'person.' " On the map accompanying his volume, however, these territories are all included in the one Wintun area, but are separated from one another by a line which crosses the territory near the junction of Stony and Grindstone creeks. Powers further says, "The Wintun language has many words in common with the previous hit Patwin next hit, a third or more according to my brief vocabularies," thus showing that he recognized that the two were related. His estimate of the percentage of similar words is probably somewhat low, but there is certainly a very great difference between the dialects spoken in such extreme areas as that bordering on San Francisco bay and that on the headwaters of the Sacramento river. His line of division between the Wintun and previous hit Patwin next hit, extending across the territory at Grindstone creek, is only about eighteen miles north of the approximate line between the Northerly and the Southerly dialectic divisions, crossing at the confluence of Big and Little Stony creeks, as determined in the present investigation. Powell, following his principle of priority, gives Copehan, formed from Gibbs' Copeh, which he cites as one of the dialects "spoken by the inhabitants of Putos creek," as the stock name of the combined Wintun and previous hit Patwin next hit of Powers. However, Wintun has survived and is now the more generally known name.
Southerly Dialect [South Patwin Dialect].
Old Village Sites [South Patwin Villages].
One of the first sections of the region north of San Francisco bay visited by the Franciscan missionaries was the southern part of the Wintun territory, with the result that virtually all of the Indians from the extreme southern part of that section were early induced to move to the missions. It has therefore been impossible to obtain very much explicit information concerning this southern section, as the few Indians left in Capay and Cortina valleys came originally from these places or still farther north. Owing to the very limited time spent with these people, the information concerning even the region this far north is by no means complete. There is no reason to believe, however, that the whole Wintun area was not very thickly populated prior to the Mexican and American occupations, and a more extended investigation of the central and northern parts of this area, about which information is still obtainable, will undoubtedly show many more village sites than are at present known.
sû'skōl, on the east bank of Napa river probably at or near the present town of Suscol, which derives its name from the old Indian term. The Indians of this village are probably the ones referred to by Menefee by the name Susol.
tū'lūka, or tū'lūkai, from tū'lūka, red, near the Napa State Hospital about two and one-half miles southeast of Napa City. In speaking of the Indians of Napa valley Taylor says, "Below the town of Napa live the Tulkays," which evidently refers to the people of this village, as does also Menefee's name "Ulucas." Bancroft mentions both of these as if names of separate villages, and it is possible that his "Tyugas," who, upon the authority of Taylor, he says "inhabited the vicinity of Clear lake and the mountains of Lake and Mendocino counties" are the same people, as also those referred to by Powers when he says, under the head of "Re-ho," "This was one name of the tribe in Pope valley, derived from a chief. They were also called by the previous hit Patwin Tu-lo-kai-di-sel." The name has been preserved in Tulucay rancho, an old Mexican grant of two square leagues of land lying east of Napa City.
tcīme'nûkme, at Napa City.
yū'lyūl, about two miles south of Suisun City.
hesa'ia, at Suisun City. This may be the same village referred to by a Yukian Wappo informant as he'lepnōmanō and said to have been located only a very short distance north of Suisun City.
lī'wai, waving, at the town of Winters on the north bank of Putah creek. The same name was also applied to Putah creek, at least along its lower course. Powers gives "Li-wai'-to" as the name of a people living "on Putah creek at the foot-hills," at the same time noting that the aboriginal name of Putah creek was "Li-wai'." This also is probably the origin of the name "Linayto or Libayto" given by Engelhardt in his list of the Indians at Sonoma mission.
kū'ndihi, on the north bank of Putah creek at a point probably about eight miles up stream from the town of Winters.
tōpa'idihī, from tōpa'i, a word said by the Capay valley Wintun to come from the language of the people about Napa, its significance being unknown to them, and dī'hī, village. This village was very indefinitely located by the informant as on the west bank of Putah creek at a point about twenty miles up stream from the town of Winters. Powers gives "To-pai'-di-sel" as the name of the people living in Berryessa valley and it seems very probable that this is correct. The site has therefore been provisionally located on the map near Monticello.
yō'dōi, probably at Knight's Landing on the west bank of the Sacramento river, although one informant placed it at a point about four miles west of that place. The significance of this name was unknown to the informants questioned. Miss Kathryn Simmons writing from information furnished by early settlers of Yolo county, says that the "Yodos . . . . occupied the region in and about Knight's Landing, and their chief, Yodo, is well remembered by old settlers." The name Yolo is said to have originated from this Indian word.
Sites Not Mentioned by Indians.
[on the Wolfskill Putah Creek Rancho]
In the vicinity of Winters on the lower course of Putah creek there are a number of old village sites. The information concerning these old sites was obtained chiefly from Mr. Joseph Wolfskill [son of Sarchel Wolfskill], an old resident of Winters and a descendant of one of the first settlers of the Wolfskill grant. This grant, a large tract of land along Putah creek, was granted to Mr. William Wolfskill in 1840 and was occupied by his brother Mr. John R. Wolfskill about 1842. At the time of the latter's arrival here there were no Indians at all living along Putah creek, at least in this vicinity, having all been removed to the missions about San Francisco Bay by the Franciscan Fathers some years before. The first Indians to come into the neighborhood were some refugees from the mines in the Sierra Nevada mountains. A year or so after Mr. Wolfskill's arrival, he saw coming across the plains northeast of Winters a single Indian who, when he arrived, said that his people had become exhausted on the plains from their long and hard journey and that he had started for the creek to bring water to revive them. Mr. Wolfskill told the Indian to bring his people to his camp and that there they should be provided with food and shelter.
Mr. Wolfskill's camp was a tule house on the south bank of Putah creek at a point about four miles up stream from Winters and about three hundred yards west of the present residence of Mrs. M. A. H. Wolfskill [the wife of Sarchel Wolfskill]. The Indians having been fed and well treated by Mr. Wolfskill told him that their old home was in this vicinity and asked that they might be permitted to go to Sonoma mission and return with their families and live upon his premises. This request Mr. Wolfskill very gladly granted with the result that in a short time a village or rancheria of considerable size was established immediately about his camp. Not long after the establishment of this village three other villages were established, one on the north bank of Putah creek almost directly opposite this village. This, however, was only a temporary village. Another and more permanent village was established on the property now owned by Mr. John Coop on the north bank of Putah creek at a point a mile and a half north-northwest of the first site. Mr. Joseph Wolfskill, who knew the Indians of this village intimately, says that they spoke a language quite different from those of the village already mentioned on the south bank of the creek, but it was impossible to determine anything concerning the exact differences between the languages. It is evident, however, from the few words remembered by Mr. Wolfskill that the people of the village on the south bank of the creek were Wintun. The third village was located on the property of Mr. J. E. Sackett on the south bank of Putah creek at a point about two and a half miles northwest of Mr. Wolfskill's camp. In addition to these villages there was another temporary village established at a point about four hundred yards down stream from the village at Mr. Wolfskill's camp. This, however, was temporary and was in all particulars practically a part of the main village near by.
In addition to these villages, occupied since the settlement of this vicinity, there are a number of older sites which were occupied before the Indians were removed to the missions. One of these is located on the Smeisner ranch on the south bank of Putah creek at a point about five miles east of Winters. Mr. Joseph Wolfskill, who mentioned this site, says that there is here a very well preserved dance-house pit as well as other evidences of an old village site. Another one of these old sites is located just across the river from the town of Winters, the residence of Mr. Wm. Baker now occupying a portion of it. The first residence built here was an adobe built by Mr. Matthew Wolfskill about 1856. At that time there was a large dance-house pit here which he filled in in order to make a foundation for his house, and an Indian who worked for him at the time said that this site was inhabited within his memory. A third site is located on the property of Colonel Taylor on the south bank of Putah creek at a point about a mile and a quarter southwest of Winters. This site is located in an orchard to the north of the county road, but there is still visible here a depression where a dance-house formerly stood. This was evidently a large village extending toward the east some distance along the creek. At a point about two miles and a half southwest of Winters and on the property of Mrs. M. A. H. Wolfskill is the site of still another old village. There are at present practically no visible signs of this village owing to the fact that the field in which it was situated has been cultivated for many years. Old residents say, however, that there were formerly a number of dance-house pits and various other evidences of an old village here. At a point about five miles from Winters and about a mile southwest of the more recent old village first mentioned, is the site of an old village about which little could be learned, it not having been inhabited at all recently. Still another old site, about which little could be learned, is located about five miles southwest of Winters and about a mile southeast of the last.
From: Barrett, S.A. (1908), The Ethno-Geography of the Pomo and neighboring Indians, Univ. of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology, v. 6, n. 1, p. 284-285, 292-294 & 298-300.