Genocide and Vendetta
Last year this blog focused on Hank Larrabee, the genocidal murderer whom Humboldt County continues to commemorate with place names on the map. Regular commenter Derchoadus suggested this blogger hunt down a copy of the book Genocide and Vendetta for more information about the mass Indian killings that characterized the formation of what is now known as Humboldt County.
The book’s index lists a single reference to Hank Larrabee, which is reprinted below in full:
Another man who lived just northwest of the Yolla Bolly Country had a wide reputation as an Indian hater. Hank Larrabee, whose name now labels some of the local geographical features of the area, had a cattle ranch on Larrabee Creek. He boasted of having killed sixty children with his own hatchet at different slaughtering grounds. One day, angered because his Indian servant occasionally visited his relatives, he killed the family of six persons and the boy and sent the bodies down the Van Duzen River, which was labeled with the name of an American known to be opposed to killing Indians, on a raft. Larrabee, according to much of the evidence, was probably one of the six or seven men who later massacred approximately sixty Indians on Gunther Island in Humboldt Bay on February 26, 1860.
Lieutenant Daniel Lynn, who had been sent to “Larrabee’s Valley” with a detachment of men in March, 1861, described Mr. Larrabee to his superior, Captain Charles Lovell:
Here in this apparently lovely valley lived a man about whose qualities I feel myself impelled to speak…I heard no man speak in his favor, nor even intimate one redeeming trait in his character. The universal cry was against him. At the Thousand Acre Field and Iaqua Ranch even the woman who was shot and burned to death was condemned for living with such a man. Of most enormities of which he stands accused you are aware. An accomplice and actor in the massacre at Indian Island and South Bay; the murderer of Yo-keel-la-bah; recently engaged in killing unoffending Indians, his party, according to their own story, having killed eighteen at one time (eight bucks and ten squaws and children), and now at work imbruing his hands in the blood of slaughtered innocence. I do not think Mr. Larrabee can be too emphatically condemned.
Clearly, it would not be too emphatic to remove this man’s name from the Humboldt County map.