Alex Blue and Wife
[By Glen Villa Jr., Last Revised July 30, 2011]

Alex Blue, also called Aleck Blue, was born May 31, 1857 (According to 1928 BIA application) at Palama, near the mining town of Forest Home, Amador County, a village of the Waupumne Nisenan at the time. Depending on the source, Aleck’s exact birth occurred sometime between 1839 and 1860, most likely occurring in the 1850s.  Aleck’s parents were Susan, a full-blooded Indian from Amador County, and an unknown caucasian man. Susan's father’s name was unknown and her mother was named Marie, both full-blooded Indians from Amador County. All ethnographic literature identifies Aleck Blue as Nisenan which is considered Southern Maidu.

Aleck married Besita, a full-blooded Indian from Alameda County who died in 1886. According to some records, Besita was ½ Spanish and ½ California Indian.

After the death of Besita, Aleck married Lucy. According to the 1910 Census, Alex and Lucy were married in 1891. By 1899, Aleck and Lucy were living in the Arno area. Lucy worked as a dressmaker and Aleck worked as a farmer. Aleck Blue appears in the Sacramento City and County directory from 1899 to 1911. Aleck is listed as a farmer from 1899 to 1902, then as a laborer from 1903 to 1911. Mrs. Aleck Blue, also appears as L Blue, appears as a dressmaker in 1899 1902, and again in 1907.

By 1900, Aleck Blue is residing with his wife Lucy Blue, stepdaughter Alice Rafael, stepdaughter Mary Rafael, and son Felix Blue in the Dry Creek Township of Sacramento County.

In 1905-1906, CE Kelsey identifies Alec Blue, wife, and 6 children living in Ione of Amador County without land.

In 1910, Alex Blue (50 years old) was residing in the Dry Creek Township of Sacramento County with his wife Lucy (45 years old), daughter Mary (17 years old), son John (15 years old), son Felix (13 years old) and granddaughter Louise Nye (8/12 years old). According to the 1910 Census, Alex Blue was born in the Ione Valley of Amador County as was his mother, Lucy Blue was born in Niles, Mary was born near Lockeford, John was born near Arno, Sacramento County, Felix was born near Arno, Sacramento County, and Louise was born near Arno, Sacramento County. Mary was widowed.

When Aleck Blue was interviewed by Edward Gifford in 1915, Aleck’s wife could not speak any Indian language but understood the Costonoan and Yokut languages. According to Edward Gifford, Aleck could speak Nisenan, Plains Miwok, and Northern Miwok. (see manuscript 190 Southern Maidu)

Lucy Blue died sometime between 1918 and 1920 and was buried in the Hicksville Cemetery in Sacramento County.

In 1920, Aleck Blue was residing in the Dry Creek Township of Sacramento County. Aleck was 73 and widowed at the time. Living with Aleck Blue was son John Blue (22 years old) and a lodger Harvey Fisher (24 years old).

On May 18, 1928, Aleck was living at RFD A, Box 642, Galt, Sacramento County, California. In 1930, Alec Blue was residing in the Lee Township of Sacramento County. Alec was 80 years and widowed at the time. Alec was 20 years old at the time of his first marriage.

Aleck died June 9, 1934 near Galt at the age of 95. Aleck was preceded in death by his wife Lucy Blue. Cause of death was myocarditis senility. Burial occurred at Hicksville Cemetery. Aleck was residing at Rte 8 Box 142 Galt Ca at the time of his death.

Articles Concerning Alex Blue

Aleck was identified as Nisenan, Southern Maidu, in Robert Heizer's Human Sources of California Ethnography.

Nisenan Text, Story #47 Billie Joe tells about Alec's wife in story #47 in Nisenan Texts, provided here:

We two ran after woksotu’s wife. (She) said to us, “Do you want women?” We said, “Yes.” Then (she) said, “I will tell my husband when he comes,” her husband was going around shearing sheep. We were buckaroos at Hick’s. When Pete (woksotu) came, his wife evidently told (him). Then that woksotu came to our place. He asked us, “My wife told me that you fellows want women,” he said. We said, “Yes, we want women,”we said. “You, you must give me twenty dollars, and Bill twenty. If you give me forty dollars, I will go and get my sisters-in-law,” he said. We gave (him) forty, twenty dollars each. Then he went to get (the girls). When (he) had not come after two months, I got tired and went to Forest Home. After staying two or three weeks I came back to Hick’s. I found Alec married. It seemed Jose had taken the little one. Then I said, “Alec, where is the woman I bought?” (He) said, “Jose has taken her.” Then I got angry and I said, “I will kill him.” I went to the smithy and melted some lead. Then Alec and I made (a contrivance) which we gave three points, and (in which) we bored a hole. Then we tied that to the wrist with a strap. Then we went to the camp of those Indians. When we got there, I said, “What did you take my wife for? I have come to get her,” I said. Then (he) said, “You are not going to take her along at any price!” I tried to hit (his) forehead with that lead, but missed. It broke the strap and fell into the tule grass and the water. Then that wife of Alec’s said, “Come along, let’s go!” she said. Then Alec and I caught Jose to beat him up. Then Jose’s mother came up, “Let (him) go and take your woman!” she said. We let go our grip on Jose. We took (the woman) to the ranch where we were staying. Then an Indian boy called Gordon, a prize-fighter boy, milked cows there, he stole that woman from me again. I said, “I will go to the boss to get money to buy a pistol.” Alec (said), “I will take my wife to Q-ranch, then when you elope (with your girl) you can take (her) there,” he said. I said, “All right.” Then Eaf McIntyre, the boss, told me to make a fire in the stove every morning. He said, “You must go and wake up the woman every morning.” Then he said, “(Then) you can talk.” I said, “Yes.” Then one morning I talked to (her), “Let us run away next Saturday!” I said. (She) said, “How?” I said, “I will leave my horse saddled in the barn.” I said, “I will tell your husband, I will say, ‘I am going to Forest Home on Saturday.’” Then I said, “From there I will go and spend the night at Tule Camp.” I said, “I will watch for you from the Clay Station Road.” I said, “You are to say to your husband, ‘Put a saddle on that Bill’s horse for me, I want to go riding.” Then Saturday evening I went to Tule Camp. At dawn I went to watch at that road. I stayed there only looking that way. Then (she) came, making the horse run. She came to where I was. I said, “So you came, eh?” Then (she) said, “Yes, I have come.” We went. When we got to Clay Station we bought crackers and cheese and sardines for dinner. When we came to Two Springs we ate. We stayed there till the sun went west, then we went and came to Alec’s house. It seemed his elder sister was alone in the house. When we had been there two nights, Alec arrived. When we had been there, three or four days after that, Gordon came. “What are you doing here, Bill?” he said to me. I said, “I am staying with my wife.” The (he) said, “Are you a dead, stinking man?” When (he) was going to hit me with his fist, I knocked (him) over the head with the pistol. (He) tumbled over. I got on my horse and went. I did not see him for one or two years after that. Then we met one day at Hicksville. (He) said to me, “Come along and have a little drink!” I went along to the saloon. (He) treated me to two drinks. Then I got even with him and treated (him) to two drinks. That was the way we drank. The fellow got kind of half drunk. Then he said to me, “Let’s go to my house! Put up your horse here, and let’s go on foot,” he said. Then we bought a bottle each, he buying one, and I one. Then we went. The sun went down. It became dark. We drank every once in a while as we went along. When we had nearly got to the house, (he) cursed me all up and down. I got angry. I ran over and kicked off (a piece of) a board fence. I stood (it) against (the fence?), jumped up in the air, and broke (it) in the middle with my foot. Then I dragged that over and hit (his) head (with it). (He) tumbled over and apparently got his head into a hole. Then I beat (him). I broke that board to bits, I kept hitting (him), feeling his heart with my hand every little while. Afterwards I got (him) on my back and packed (him) to their house. Alec opened the door. I brought (him) in. I dumped (him) on the floor. “Who beat (him) up?” said Alec. I said, “Some white man has nearly killed him.” I slept there. In the morning I went to have a peep at that fellow. I took out my pistol and showed (him), “Do you see this?” I said. (He) said, “Yes.” “If I had wanted to, I could have killed you with this,” I said. “Don’t you fight my any more after this,” I said. “Next time I treat you with this!” I said. “Keep the woman, never mind, I don’t care!” I said. Then I went away. Seven or eight years went by after that. That fellow and his wife had three children. That woman raised lots of chickens. Then Alec’s wife died. (Alec) went with that Gordon to sell that woman’s chickens in Sacramento. It seems Alec slipped away and came back by rail. He must have told that woman a lie; I am told he said, “Your husband has sold them all and is drunk there.” They say the woman got angry. She said, “I don’t like him, take me to Lockfoot!” I am told. Then they say, Alec took (her there). When Gordon arrived he missed (her), it is said. He went to Lockfoot and came across (them) there, it is said. The woman said, “I don’t want you any more,” it is said. It is said Alec bought a little land, built a house, and took the woman there. Whenever Gordon saw Alec drunk, they say he hit (him) on the head with a brick-bat. Once when (they) met near that river and the bridge, Alec killed (him), it is said. Then he threw a bottle of whiskey alongside, it is said. I am told he said, “The train must have killed Gordon.” That woman died with Alec, having given birth to many children. Of those children not one is living, an automobile killed one, the last boy. Of his first wife’s, three are living, one, a boy they call Frank, has five children. The one called Willie has one son, and the one called Annie has six children, she is married to a white man. That is them.

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Gifford [manuscript 190 Southern Maidu] Gifford interviewed Alec Blue in 1915 and noted the following:

“Alec Blue, a half-breed Maidu employed at Mahons ranch,ca. 3 ½ miles SE of Elk Grove. Alec Blue, a maidu, born at Forest Home in Amador Co, just south of Cosumnes R. 10 mi S of Latrobe… Informant born at Palama = Forest Home a maidu name. Informant does not recognize yokuts, costonoan or wintun. His wife recognizes Costonoan and Yokuts. The Informant speaks Plains and Northern Miwok and Southern Maidu… Alec Blue is on Mahon’s ranch.”

Galt Herald
Friday June 15, 1934
Pioneer Indian of This District Died Saturday
Large Number Gathered at Last Rights of Picturesome Character. Funeral on Tuesday, June 12.

Mr. Alex (Indian) Blue passed away last Saturday on his ranch near Valensin (east of Galt) after a short illness. He was interred on Tuesday of this week in Hicksville cemetery amid a large assembly of friends and neighbors.

He was a native of California, being born at Ione, where he served as chief of his tribe for several years. He came to Galt later and located on a ranch east of here.

His age was given as 95 at the time of his death, but those in this vicinity who know of him for many years are of the opinion that he had passed the century mark. Alec Blue was very highly respected as a fine man and citizen. As a token of respect to him many Indians from surrounding country were present at the interment.

Expressions of sympathy were made in the many beautiful flowers presented and spread over the mound by Indian ladies.

He leaves to mourn his loss one son, Frank Blue, of Galt, a daughter, Mrs. J. McKean of the Indian reservation at Wilton and many grandchildren and three great grandchildren, several children and his wife preceding him many years ago.

Billy Joe describes this from Beals’ Ethnology of the Nisenan:

(Specific example in recent times given by Auburn informant: "It is pretty bad to dream-one has to be doctored. My nieces were sick-dizzy and dreaming. I told Alec Blue. After sundown we went in round house, sang hewi. Alec wore kerchief, carried yellowhammer band; put one girl on stomach with blanket over; danced around her, pressed four times with medicine, danced around her four times, made four sweeping motions over her with yellowhammer bands. Repeated four times. Same for other girl. Many saw this. Girls were all right after.")