KANAKA FLAT was reputed to be a bawdy mining camp, full of outcasts from Jacksonville “society.” Academic and archaeological research, however, has unmasked a different view of this diverse community of Native Hawaiians, Chinese, Blacks, female Native Americans, and White miners. Many were couples in stable marriages, close-knit families, and enduring friendships that would go on to structure Upper Applegate society for decades.
We would like to introduce you to some individuals who lived at Kanaka Flat in the 1850s-70s. You will meet them again in Watkins, further along the History Trail. They were community-builders.
Bessie was a Shasta Indian, married to miner Fred Lewis. The couple arrived in the Jacksonville area with their daughter Sophia in the late 1860s. Fred died and Sophia lost her hearing, possibly in the wave of smallpox that swept through Kanaka Flats in 1868-69. This entry may be the widow Bessie in 1870:
Nancy “Chick-Chick” Weakever was a Rogue River Indian, perhaps Takelma. She married Ed Langley, an illiterate miner from England. Records suggest that they had 4 children, including a son Charles and a daughter Martha Maria, born just after this entry in the 1860 census.
Chick-Chick died in 1871. Bessie and Ed married a few years later.
Charles Williams also wed an Indian woman. She died before her name could be recorded in the 1870 census, leaving Charles to raise their daughter Madora (or was it really Madonna?).
Bessie, Ed and Charles were buried in Watkins, but the United States government exhumed their graves when it built the Applegate Dam and flooded the valley to create Applegate Lake. They now rest in Logtown Cemetery, two stops down the History Trail.
Ed Langley was close friends with another miner from England, Mark Watkins. Mark married Martha Langley. You probably have an idea of how the Upper Applegate hamlet of Watkins came by its name.