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Captain Jack
Five Views: An Ethnic Historic Site Survey for California



Historic Sites
Selected References


A History of American Indians in California:

Roberts House (Nashville Hall)
El Dorado County

Roberts House, also called Nashville Hall, is on the west side of Highway 49 in Nashville, which lies between the towns of Plymouth and El Dorado. Built around 1910, the simple wood frame home stands on approximately one acre of land, with vegetation surrounding it, on a small ridge above the road. Composition shingles cover its exterior, and sheet metal protects its gabled roof. The interior of the structure has been converted to a residence, and is used as such today. An outhouse is located to the rear of the building.

The town of Nashville was once called Quartzburg. It was one of the earliest quartz-mining districts in the state. The first stamp mill to be brought around the Horn from Cincinnati was used at the Old Tennessee Mine. The town itself stands on the site of an ancient Indian camping ground, and a large rancheria still existed in the immediate area when the first miners arrived. Less than a mile south of Nashville and one mile north of the Consumnes River was the site where one of the 18 unratified Indian treaties was drawn up and signed by O. M. Wozencraft, United States Indian Agent.

Nashville Hall holds special significance for Mewuk Indians in this area, because of the fund-raising events that took place here. California Indians realized by 1920 that the courts were the place to settle land claims issues. They also knew that attorneys and court proceedings cost money. Through the Reverend F. G. Collett, the Indians of Northern California decided to seek compensation for lands seized illegally during the 1850s. U.S. Congressman John E. Raker introduced a bill during the 1920s that would have enabled any California tribe or band to select private attorneys of their own choosing to sue the United States for Indian lands that had been taken away. (Forbes, 1969:103) After being defeated several times, the bill was finally approved, and Indians began holding fund-raising meetings in an effort to use their newly won rights.

Four meetings were held in November 1922 including one at Nashville where "considerable interest, and enthusiasm was manifested. The attendance was large and everyone more determined than ever to work for the success of the cause." (California Indian Herald, 1922)

Nashville Hall was also the site of Mewuk Indian social dances, common to the times, that helped raise money for the land claims settlement case. The captains or headmen of the area organized and helped different groups do the work for the dances, and both Indians and non-Indians attended them. The Indians served dinner to the guests at midnight, and everyone became part of a common cause. Many of those people who contributed the most to the dances never received any of the monetary settlement that the U.S. Government provided in 1950.

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