The story of Willie Boy

pegleglooker

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Hey all,
The story of Willie boy ( real name was Billie boy ) is best told by one of the deeper researcher's along with a native view... Hope you like it...

PLL

First a Native view

Cliff Trafzer is currently working on a reinterpretation of Willie Boy, whose story was popularized in a 1969 Robert Redford film, Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here. Boy, a Chemehuevi or Southern Paiute native of Southern California, was accused in 1909 of murdering both William Mike, a Chemehuevi headman and shaman from the Twenty Nine Palms Band, and his daughter, Carlota Mike. The “hunt” for Boy led to what some scholars have called the West’s last and most famous manhunt. According to legend, Boy was not allowed to marry Carlota, his sweetheart, because he was too closely related to the Mike family. In retaliation, Boy killed the elder Mike and later raped and murdered Carlota when she slowed his flight from authorities. However, Dr. Trafzer’s archival and community-based research on the Willie Boy case has revealed a radically different version of events. According to Dr. Trafzer, Carlota was shot by the posse sent out to find Willie Boy. Through oral interviews, Dr. Trafzer has determined that Willie sang Salt Songs on the night of Carlota’s murder, which is customary for Chemehuevis, and then set a trap for the posse, shooting one of them and then watching the rest flee. Although the posse claimed to hear one more shot and were convinced that Boy had committed suicide, oral history interviews with Southern California Indians has revealed that Boy escaped and later died of tuberculosis in Nevada. Secundo Chino (Cahuilla and Chemehuevi), a member of the posse, related to Katherine Saubel and her father, Juan Siva, that because Boy’s body could not be located, law enforcement personnel were told to lie about the suicide. Dr. Trafzer’s work on this case has opened up renewed interest in collecting oral narrative and challenging the historical archive. Despite the publication of Jan Vansina’s influential Oral Tradition as History (1985), scholars continue to marginalize oral narrative as an unimportant aspect of the historical record. Even the prominent scholars who have worked on the Willie Boy case – Harry Lawton, Larry Burgess, and Jim Sandos – elided the key oral testimony of Native Americans who had intimate knowledge about Boy’s escape. Because oral narrative is so central to many Native American communities, especially those in Southern California, Dr. Trafzer’s work is a significant contribution to the field. During the fellowship period, Dr. Trafzer hopes to conduct more interviews, revisit the narratives he currently has on file, present his work to the group for feedback, and publish his findings.

And another view

Harry Lawton, 77; wrote of American Indians
By Dennis McLellan, Los Angeles Times | December 6, 2005

LOS ANGELES -- Harry W. Lawton, an author and historian who wrote a nonfiction novel about a manhunt for an American Indian fugitive wanted for murder that served as the basis for the 1969 movie ''Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here," has died. He was 77.

Mr. Lawton was a reporter for the Riverside Press-Enterprise in the 1950s when he first heard accounts of what has been called the ''last great manhunt" of the Old West from Indians on the Morongo Indian Reservation.

In 1909, Willie Boy, a 28-year-old Paiute-Chemehuevi Indian, fell in love with Carlota Boniface, his 16-year-old distant cousin. Her father, William, a shaman known as Old Mike, forbade the marriage. Willie Boy shot Old Mike to death on a ranch in Banning, then fled with the girl. The couple stayed ahead of a posse for a dozen days as they circled and backtracked over nearly 600 miles of desert in 100-degree heat.

In the end, although the circumstances are disputed, the girl was shot and killed, and Willie Boy killed himself.

''Willie Boy: A Desert Manhunt," Mr. Lawton's 1960 nonfiction novel, was based on three years of research that included interviews with surviving posse members. The book received the James D. Phelan Award in Literature for best nonfiction, and the Southwest Literature award for a historical work.

Mr. Lawton later served as technical and historical consultant for the movie, which starred Robert Redford as the deputy sheriff in charge of the posse, Robert Blake as Willie Boy, and Katharine Ross as the girl.

One of Mr. Lawton's sons, George, told the Los Angeles Times last week that his father's book ''was praised at the time as a breakthrough -- a sympathetic portrayal of Indians and their culture in the white world."

But James A. Sandos and Larry E. Burgess, the authors of the 1994 book ''The Hunt for Willie Boy," accused Lawton of being careless with the facts, including changing the name of the girl from Carlota to Lolita to capitalize on the popularity of Vladimir Nabokov's novel about a sexually precocious young girl.

In their book, Mr. Sandos and Mr. Burgess wrote that by ''accepting the views of an Indian-hater in [his interpretation] of Willie Boy," Mr. Lawton became an ''unconscious" one himself.

Mr. Lawton filed a libel suit, seeking $25,000 in damages. The suit, according to a Los Angeles Times account, was settled without money changing hands. Mr. Sandos and Mr. Burgess were ordered to write a correction in any undistributed copies and future editions retracting the Indian-hater charge and other points of contention.

The elder Mr. Lawton had long ties with the local Indian community. He was instrumental in founding the Malki Museum on the Morongo Indian Reservation, the first American Indian museum established at a California reservation. He also helped start the nonprofit Malki Museum Press, which publishes books and pamphlets about California Indians.
 

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Ant

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The story I heard about the Boy’s end was that it took place at a site called the Rock Corral. It’s off of Old Woman Springs Road, I read that in a story that was posted by a geocacer.

I also thought that the posse held the Boy up in the foothills above the Rock Corral for about two weeks, and when they went up to get him they found out that he had committed suicide.

Do you know how to get to the Rock Corral?
 
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pegleglooker

pegleglooker

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Here are a couple of pixs with the location.

pix 1 is a overall view of the area

Caption for pix 2

Willie Boy Suicide Site
This Road is impassable without a jeep.

Running back to collect Carlotta, Willie Boy was told of her death (assuming that he didn't shoot her and was compelled by guilt to revisit the scene of the crime - an unlikely scenario.) After a stand-off of several hours, Willie Boy shot himself through the heart. Another version of the story has him escaping, but the photographic evidence that he killed himself and was cremated on site is nearly indisputable.

From Interstate 10, take Highway 62 north 21 miles to Yucca Valley. Turn Left at Old Woman Springs Road (Hwy 247). Pass Reche Road and at 11.1 miles take a left at Landers Community Church onto New Dixie Mine Road. The unpaved road is suitable for high clearance vehicles only. Drive 6.6 miles and bear right at the fork. Drive another 6.7 miles down Ambush Spring Road and park. Walk the last 3 miles down Ambush Spring Road, which is in a designated wilderness area.

Pix3

Willie Boy's hideout
A recurrant theme in Jake's travels is the search for Willie Boy. Some background:

Willie Boy, a Chemehuevi Indian from 29 Palms got caught up in what became "the last great manhunt of the Western era." He fell in love with his 16-year-old cousin, Carlota, and killed her father, William Mike, in what was undoubtedly a "crime of passion" or second-degree murder. Carlota was accidently killed by the pursuing posse on Sept. 30, 1909, shot in the back from a great distance here at the Pipes. Willie Boy had left her wearing his coat while he got more provisions. What started as a family tragedy quickly became a media event as Willie Boy was cast as a crazy, drunken wild indian hell-bent on murder, instead of a generally decent and well-meaning person whose life was destroyed by an evening of unfortunate circumstances and bad decisions.

The Pipes trailhead was badly damaged by fire but will likely re-open in the spring of 2008.

Pix 4 ( willieboy11 )
is supposedly actual artifacts from Willieboy himself..

Enjoy
PLL
 

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pegleglooker

pegleglooker

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hey all,
I came across some more pixs from the Sun Runner magazine. I'm pretty sure I bought it at the Malki Museum on the Morongo res. these are for your entertainment....

PLL
 

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pegleglooker

pegleglooker

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Hey All,
Just a couple of things for everyone. One is for Ant, I guess you were kinda right. the search did go near Old Woman Springs and through Rock Corral. However, he was not killed there. I have a map from Desert Magazine ( Nov 1941 ) that shows the posse route. TT, hang tight kiddo I gotta lead on a native point a view on this but won't be able to get through it until next week. I will post what I find as soon as i can. Here's something to chew on for ya, some people believe that he was not killed at Ruby Mt.. I hear from sources that a sheriff " may " have shot Isoleta ( her real name ) by accident, and that is why there is no face shot in the pix of the dead Willie Boy. I need to check a few things and follow up next week on this.

Enjoy
PLL
 

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LadyDigger

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Did some newspaper searching and found a few articles of WILLIE BOY and NITA (as the name she is referred to in one article and also being listed several times as 14 yrs old and others as 15 yrs old)....I will post on my webshots acct...this way I won't have to resize the articles. I will try to get them posted before I leave for work....if not there by 10 am....then check tonight....I'll post them (or the rest of them, if I don't post any now)....OH, just click on my website under my profile...that is where I post my pics/articles.

Pegleglooker....this is an interesting story and I have enjoyed researching it. I still have more to research and don't know if I will be able to get more done this morning...but I will try and I didn't want to post here ... mainly so I don't have to resize and I didn't want to take over your thread!

That's what I love about this forum....ya'll are always giving me more stuff to research, I'll never get my work done nor get my two books published if you keep this up! LOL

Ya'll have an awesome day!
Annmarie
 

Ant

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I should have said that the posse held up at in the foothills above Rock Corral. The geocachers said that there’s a register and plaque up there too.

I heard that the girl and her family lived on the Gillman Springs Ranch. And that the old man Gillman would not allow the marriage. I also heard that Willie Boy shot the girl’s Father and then fled with her towards the White Water River. The girl supposedly slowed down Willie Boy and he shot her in the White Water River drainage. And fled he up through the pipes and out to the 29 Palms Oasis. The Indians at the Oasis hid him until the posse threatened to kill them all.

He then left and made his remarkable trek that ended him up in the canyon above Rock Corral. He wounded or killed a couple of posse members there, and then the posse waited him out. After two weeks they check and he had killed himself.

Thanks for the information and maps Pegleghunter.
 

LadyDigger

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Incase anyone is interested....I posted some articles I found from the newspaper...you can view them in my albums...click on my website under my profile pic. It will be titled: WILLIE BOY...I'll add more later.
 

Old Dog

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Was just there Anne...
I found an awesome site but no sign of any info on Willie Boy,
Sorry to bother you,
Just figured you would want to know.

Thom
 

LadyDigger

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Old Dog said:
Was just there Anne...
I found an awesome site but no sign of any info on Willie Boy,
Sorry to bother you,
Just figured you would want to know.

Thom

Hi Thom...

My website is: http://community.webshots.com/user/famleeroots

When the page comes up...the first album on the left will be WILLIE BOY. I just checked it to make sure and it was there. You click on the album and the articles will come up...then of course, you click on each article to read them.

Hope you enjoy them...I'll post more this week.
Annmarie
 
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pegleglooker

pegleglooker

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This is really a story of lost love and the ' rebound " girl. Willie Boy was married to a Indian woman from Pahrump in 1908 but it didn't last. He ended the marriage by taking her back to her people and returning all the wedding gifts ( only if it was that easy today ;D ). At the time, Willie Boy was 27 ( Willie Boy was born around 1882 near Pahrump NV ) and Isoleta ( or Carlota or Lolita )....was 14-15. From what I have been told she was seeing Willie Boy without Daddy knowing and they actually " eloped " and was setting up house when dad found out and broke them up by gunpoint. Isoleta then returned to her family. The Mike family later went to Banning for the yearly fruit harvest. They camped at their usuall spot under a tree.Willie Boy was already working in the area as a cowboy and was considered a good one as well. He was not known to be a drinker or hard to get along with. But a " Caucasian " friend wanted to drink and went to Riverside to get the booze ( Banning was a dry town ) after a couple of hours of drinking his friend was too drunk and passed out. Willie Boy being " very " liquored up ( and probably feeling VERY brave ) figured now is the time to get Isoleta back. Of course Dad said no and a argument ensued and dad was shot in the head -dead-. Willie Boy then took Isoleta and told the rest of the family he was going to be watching in a ravine, and if anyone went for help he would kill them.
The next morning the Mike's when to the sheriff and sheriff Ben De Crevecouer assembled a posse and the hunt was on. Through the hunt the posse was close a number of times, sometimes not evening knowing how close they were. I'm sure then when Willie woke up the next morning and realized what he did, he knew he was screwed. I'm also sure that Isoleta was probably scared and wanting to go back to her family. Now is where the facts " change " depending on your take. The sheriff says that Willie Killed Isoleta because she was too much of a burden. The following is from Sunrunner Magazine August/September 2006;
" For 4 days they chased Willie Boy and Lolita ( Isoleta- I choose to use her native name ). They came across his tracks but never caught sight of him. They raced on horseback up Big Morongo Canyon, out in the flat country around Yucca Valley and toward Coyote Hole, and then back again to Pipe's Canyon.
On Thursday, September 30Th they made a grim discovery. A few miles north of the Pipes Canyon they came across Isoleta's body. There was a bullet wound in her back. Some news reports indicated that she had written a farewell message in the sand next to her body ( wait a minute ?? Just how close were they ?? )that she was growing weary and was dying. Another news report indicated that the coroner stated that she had been " viciously " sexually assaulted. "
This is why the posse was determined to get him at ANY cost. One thing to remember Willie Boy was considered a " runner " capable of running 50-60 miles a day, and he proved that. Seven days later Willie confronted the posse, and shot out all the horses and seriously wounded a posse member by the name Charlie Reche ( his handcuffs deflected the bullet and saved his live ).
When the posse finally caught up with on October 15Th they found him dead. It appeared, that Willie put the barrel to his chest and pulled the trigger with his toe.
Then according to his custom his body was burned immediately. This was reported by Randolph Madison a reporter for the Los Angeles Record who accompanied the posse.
In 1994 the book " The Hunt fir Willie Boy, Indian-Hating & Popular Culture " by James Sandos and Larry Burgess tried to shed new light on the subject. Here's what they found;
1- The character of Willie Boy was fabricated by Ben de Crevecoeur for career advancement purposes.
2- There was no farewell message written in the sand.
3- The writer's conclusion on the coroners report of Isoleta's death came to the conclusion that the most likely killer was one of the Indian scouts ( John Heyde ). The bullet entered the back above the left shoulder and traveling downward through her breast and exiting through the right abdominal cavity. This is consistent with a long range shot from much higher ground. The writer's thought was that the tracker thought it was Willie Boy.
4- The death photo. Look at it closely... Does that look like someone who just ran on average 50 miles a day in the desert for weeks ?? With suspenders ??
willieboydeath.jpg
Remember that the posse hear a shot on 10/7, but did not return until 10/15. A body exposed to the desert elements would NOT look like this. No bugs eating the body, clothes still looking clean, no sand around the body
5- According to Katherine Sauvel ( who is EXTREMELY respected elder ) says that Willie Boy died in the late 20's in the Las Vegas area.
As a conclusion... No one really knows for sure. But I am open to any comment or theory... What's your take on all of it ????

PLL
 

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wonder19

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His end came at Ruby Canyon. From Yucca Valley take hwy 247(Old Woman Springs Rd.) north. Just past the Landers turnoff go west (left) on New Dixie Mine Rd. After around 5 miles you will come to a path with a single bar fence that leads to his grave, For Rock Corral continue on 247 to Johnson Valley. Thre is only 1 paved road which is Larrea. Go west until it turns to dirt and continue on for a mile where it ends at Rock Corral.
The story I heard about the Boy’s end was that it took place at a site called the Rock Corral. It’s off of Old Woman Springs Road, I read that in a story that was posted by a geocacer.
 

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