Billie Joe wife and three girl children
[By Glen Villa Jr., Last Revised July 17, 2011]

According the Billie Joe’s (William Joseph) application for enrollment with the Bureau of Indians Affairs in 1928, William Joseph was born May 8, 1857. Billy Joe’s father was Joe Pal-um-tut or Pedro Domingo, depending on the source, and his mother was Sarah Ohnin. It is most likely that either Joe Pal-um-tut or Pedro Domingo was the father and the other was a stepfather.  Ohnin’s father was Hol-loh (also spelled Hollo), who signed the Treaty at the Forks of the Cosumnes on behalf of the Waupumne Nisenan on September 18, 1851. Billy Joe’s father died in 1877 and his mother died in 1873.

Billie Joe’s family lived on the Finn Ranch, the Indians called it Kay, near the present day intersection of Latrobe Rd and Sacramento Rd in Amador County. It is here where Billie Joe’s mother died, then the next day his uncle’s wife died. Then Billie Joe’s older brother who was supposed to be the chief died. Then Billie Joe’s grandfather, Hollo, and current chief at the time got sick, so they moved from that place.  This occurred sometime prior to 1880.

In 1880, the US Census taker found a village of Indians living near Forest Home. The Census taker first went to a house number 182 owned by J.J. Parsons. The next house visited, number 183, was owned by Credelia True. Three houses down, house number 186 was occupied by John Kesler. House numbers 187, 188, 189, 190, and 192 were homes occupied by Indians. House number 191 was occupied by Chinese. The next house, numbered 193, was occupied by Gidion Devore. The village of Palamul is located somewhere between the property owned by J.J. Parsons and Gidion Devore.

Individual on Line 33 is most likely Billy Joe, also known as William Joseph. He was arrested and convicted of the murder of Bill Lewis and Captain Lewis. He was convicted of 2nd degree murder and was sentenced to 11 years. Billy Joe served 7 years at San Quentin State Prison, arriving on March 31, 1882 and discharging April 30, 1889.

Individual on Line 35, Bill Cousin a cousin to Ned Jim is most likely Bill Lewis the son of Holloh who was killed in 1880 by William Joseph. In an affidavit by Indian Ellen, William Joseph killed her husband Bill Lewis. This is the only Bill and Ellen that appear to be a couple at the time.

Individual on Line 36, Ellen, is most likely the same Indian Ellen who testified against William Joseph.

Individual on Line 38, Huly Joe, is most likely Billy Joe or William Joseph. According to Nisenan Text by Hans Uldall, William Joseph had a wife named Mary.

Line 39, Mary the wife of Huly Joe, is most likely Mary Dale. Mary had children with a non-Indian named Ham Dale.

Line 40, Emma Ned, is most likely the same woman who testified against William Joseph.

Line 48, Man Louis, is most likely Captain Lewis or Holloh.

1880 Census of Amador County, Township 5, Supervisor District 2, Enumeration District 37, Pages 17 & 18 (June 15, 1880) 

Page, House Order Number (HON), Family Order Number (FON), Line (Li), Name, Color (C), Sex (S), Age If Born within Census Year (IB), Relationship (Rel.), Single (Si), Married (M), Widowed (W), Married in Census Year (MICY), Profession (Prof.)

Page
HON
FON
Li
Name
C
S
Age
IB
Rel.
Si
M
W
MICY
Prof.
17
187
187
33
Ned, Jim
I
M
38



Y


Horse?
17
187
187
34
--Malisa
I
F
30



Y


Keeper
17
187
187
35
Cousin, Bill
I
M
20

Cousin
Y




17
187
187
36
--Ellen
I
F
28



Y



17
188
188
37
--Jack
I
M



Y




17
188
188
38
Huly, Joe
I
M
21



Y



17
188
188
39
--Mary
I
F
14

Wife

Y



17
188
188
40
Ned, Emma
I
F
40

Cousin

Y



17
188
188
41
--Paulo F.
I
F
5


Y




17
188
188
42
--Anton
I
M
7


Y




17
188
188
43
--Billy
I
M
20



Y

Y

17
188
188
44
--Catherine
I
F
21



Y

Y

17
188
188
45
--Sella
I
M
4


Y




17
188
188
46
--Baby
I
F

Nov

Y




17
188
188
47
--Girada
I
F
2


Y




17
189
189
48
Man Louis
I
M
70



Y



17
189
189
49
--Maria
I
F
62



Y



17
189
189
50
--Curly
I
M
8


Y




18
190
190
1
Indian John
I
M
41



Y



18
190
190
2
--Liza Jane
I
F
39

Wife

Y



18
190
190
3
--Tom
I
M
18


Y




18
190
190
4
--Hellen
I
F
16


Y




18
190
190
5
--Jennie
I
F
45




Y


18
192
192
16
Indian Jim
I
M
50




Y


At the time of the Treaty at the Forks of the Cosumnes, the Waupumne had three brothers who were the chiefs or leaders of their band; Hinkoy, Mattas, and Hollo.

Hincay, Wapoomney chief, and his brother Holla at Sutter's Fort on June 6, 1847.[New Helvetia Diary]

Hol-loh also called Captain Lewis. Hol-loh had at least four children. Two sons named Billy Lewis and Tom Lewis and two daughters named Emma Lewis and Sarah Ohnin Lewis.

On October 21, 1880, Hol-loh was shot and killed during an altercation at the Indian village near Forest Home. Hol-loh’s son, Billy Lewis, was also killed during this altercation. Jim Ned and William Joseph were convicted of the murders of these men. Tom Lewis, also a son of Hol-loh, was also involved in the dispute.

Inquest:

At an Inquest held in Forrest Home on the 21st day of October 1881 on the body of – Billy Louis, an Indian, -- the Jury said that Billy Louis was killed by the hands of Billy Joe and Indian Jim and – recommend that the coroner issue a Warrant of Arrest for the parties accused.

The following is from the testimony of Indian Ellen:

My name is Indian Ellen we live near Forest Home in an Indian Camp. This morning about 7 o’clock I saw Billy Joe and Indian Jim. Billy Joe stayed around my house all night, then he went away. Billy Joe and Indian Jim come back. They had guns with them. Indian Jim said he would shoot my man Bill Lewis, and then Billy Joe shoot my man (Billy Lewis).

Then Billy Joe and Indian Jim run towards Forrest Home. I picked my husband up he was dead. Then he died quick and took him inside. Indian Jim like to fight all summer he called my husband black son of a bitch, he speak in Indian: Oute Kewalli oute kewali which in English is kill him, kill him. He meant my husband Billy Lewis. I don’t know only he wants to kill my husband.

The following is from the testimony of Indian Emma:

My name is Indian Emma live at Forrest Home. I see Indian Billy Joe and Indian Jim come then to my house and Jim says kill him kill him and Indian Jim shoot first and then Indian Jim and Billy Joe run towards Forrest Home. I think they shot 3 times.

Autopsy by E.B. Robertsan, M.D.:

Being required by B.H. Schacht to hold an autopsy on the body of Billy Louis and Indian said to have been killed by a gunshot. I find on examination that the man had received a bullet wound which seems to have entered at the back of the neck about one inch to the left and directly opposite the spinous__ of the third cervicle vertebra and ___ out about centrally beneath the chin ___ and fracturing in its course the body of said cervicle vertebra and injuring the spinal marrow.

 The wound itself was sufficient to cause the death and I doubt not that he died instantly after having received the shot.

William Joseph was arrested and convicted of the murder of Bill Lewis and Captain Lewis. He was sentenced to 11 years in San Quentin State Prison for Murder in the 2nd degree and was inmate number 10353. Billie Joe arrived at San Quentin on March 31, 1882 and was released April 30, 1889, serving 7 years in total at San Quentin. There are photographs of William Joseph and Jim Ned at the California State Archives, San Quentin Inmate Photographs.

In August of 1890, William Joseph and Mary Dale had a daughter Lena Joseph. William Joseph and Mary had another daughter, Viola, born in July of 1899.

Sometime between 1880 and 1900, the Indians living at Forest Home moved south to Popcorn Hill, Humut, about 3 miles north of Ione.

On November 12, 1898, Acorn Jack (also called Jack Nickle) murdered Billy Joe’s wife (Mary Dale) and step-daughter (Mandy Dale), near Shingle Springs, El Dorado County. Billy Joe described the murder to Hans Jorgen Uldall and the story was published in Nisenan Texts.

According to the 1900 Census, William Joseph was residing in the Mud Springs Township of El Dorado County. William Joseph was 42 years old at the time and was born in June of 1857. William Joseph was widowed and had been married 10 years. William Joseph was a farm laborer. Residing with William Joseph were two daughters, Lena (born August 1890) and Viola (born July 1899), and a stepson Seymour Kellogg (born May 1888).

On January 20, 1904, William Joseph and Maggie Leandro had a daughter, Lillian Joseph. According to the 1928 Bia Application for Lillian Joseph Orr, Maggie died in 1910.

According to the 1910 Census, William Joseph (52) was residing in the San Joaquin Township of Sacramento County with his wife Emma (45), daughter Lily (7), son Irish (6), lodger Gertie Alkala (30) and lodger Frisco Ballalka (28). According to the 1910 Census, William and Emma married in 1907. The marriage was the second for William Joseph and the first for Emma. Emma indicated she had four children, none of which were living.

Billy Joe was interviewed by Edward Gifford in 1918 which was used for the publication Southern Maidu Religious Ceremonies.

In December of 1919, Billie Joe was interviewed by Paul Louis-Faye who published the information collected in Notes on The Southern Maidu, UC Publications, Vol. 20, 1923.

In 1928, living with William Joseph was an adopted son Pat Fischer (born May 18, 1910) and grandson Frank Burke (born February 19, 1907).

In the Summer of 1929, Ralph Leon Beals consulted Billie Joe regarding Nisenan history and culture. The information collected was published in 1933 entitled Ethnology of the Nisenan.

Between 1930 and 1932, Hans Jorgen Uldall interviewed Billie Joe recording Nisenan linguistic information and stories. In 1966, William Shipley published the information collected by Hans Jorgen Uldall entitled Nisenan Texts and Dictionary.

After 1932, Billie Joe became paralyzed.

Between the Fall of 1932 and his death in 1934, Cora Dubois consulted William Joseph regarding ceremonial customs. The information Dubois collected was utilized in her 1939 publication entitled The 1870 Ghost Dance. Cora Dubois described William Joseph as:

William Joseph. Auburn. Ca. 77 when consulted; now dead. English good. Friendly, well informed, coherent, interested. Born near Ione.Trained informant.

Billie Joe died on February 16, 1934 in Auburn from cerebral hemorrhage. Billie Joe was listed as 79 at the time of death.

William Franklin and Betty Castro described Billy Joe as “rather dark with kinky hair” when they were interviewed by Joan Schwarz Paul.

The Phoebe Hearst Museum in Berkeley, California has six songs by William Joseph, Miwok Aleta Dance Song (24-2743), Gambling Song (24-2744), Tuolumne Gambling Song (24-2745), Loqui Dance Song (24-2746), Gambling Song (24-2747), and a Kamhin Dance Song (24-2748).

The Berkeley Language Center has a short recording of Billy Joe (LA 230), which includes a gambling song, a hiwe song, and short story about the theft of fire. The date of the recordings is 1934.

There are discrepancies in the description of two of the songs by Billy Joe. The song described as a gambling song in LA 230 is the same as the song identified as a Miwok Aleta Dance Song (24-2745).

Articles Concerning Billie Joe

Georgetown Gazette
November 17, 1898
Saturday, near Shingle Springs, this county, Jack Nickle, a half-breed Indian, shot and killed both his wife and mother-in-law with a Winchester rifle. The cause for the shooting is not known. Nickle removed one of his shoes, placed the muzzle of the rifle to his heart, pulled the trigger with his toe, and fell dead at the discharge of the gun.

Mountain Democrat
November 19, 1898
A Triple Homicide
Last Saturday afternoon, near the Greenstone mine, at the home of his mother-in-law, Mrs. Wm. Joseph, a quadroon, Jack Nickel shot and killed her and his wife, an octoroon. In shooting the latter he wounded a child which she was holding in her arms, and having finished his deadly work he pulled off one his shoes, put the muzzle of his Winchester rifle against his heart, touched the trigger with his toe and fell dead with the gun by his side. A little daughter of Mrs. Joseph, twelve years old, was the only eye-witness. A few minutes after the shooting George Wade carried the news to Shingle Springs and notice came thence to the coroner, by whom inquests were held the following day. For some time the Indian had been sick and using some sort of medicine and whether too much of the drug or the devil instigated the brutal homicide may never be known.

Nisenan Texts, Story #70
Billie Joe provides his own account in story #70 in Nisenan Texts, provided here:

This woman married white man first, Ham Dale. She had two children, a boy and a girl. That Ham Dale was an old man. He got sick with rheumatism. He was crippled. He died in hospital. Then the woman married another. She had two children again, a boy and a girl. She left that man and married me. We had four children, two girls and two boys. They have all died, one died after having eight children. One has died after having two children. The two boys died without growing up. That Ham Dale’s daughter was called Mandy Dale, the boy was called Jesseway Dale. The grandmother of those two died in Missouri, and apparently left everything to (them), money, and a ten-thousand-dollar house in a town in Missouri. This girl Mandy said, “Write for me, stepfather, I want five hundred and fifty dollars,” she said, “The money my grandmother left is said to e there, left for me.” I wrote for (her) uncle, who was called Jacob C. Dale. The check came. (They) called my nephew Acorn Jack. He was married to this Mandy. He must have taken that paper. He must have exchanged (it) for money. It seems he brought that money home and showed it to the women. He did not give that woman any but played cards for about three months and apparently lost everything without buying anything. Then I, I worked and fed them, ten years I worked for J. D. Anette at Shingle Spring. That Acorn Jack got sick what with losing money. I called in the white doctor to examine (him). I said, “How much is it? How much do you charge?” (He) said, “Fifteen dollars.” I paid. My wife got angry, “Look at that!” she said, “You did not tell (him) to put by some fifty or hundred dollars, look at that!” she said. J. D. Anette and I prospected for gold on the opposite side of a little hill form my house. Charley was perhaps about eleven years old. My seven-year-old daughter went to school. On Saturday she stayed home. That Acorn Jack must have been angry that day. There were hunters shooting there all the time. I said, “(I seem to) hear shooting but maybe it is those hunters.” J. D. Anette said, “I have heard women crying right over at your house, let us go and see!” he said. We went. We met my daughter running, “(He) has killed my mother and my elder sister!” (she) said. J. D. Anette said, “Don’t go, (he) will kill you!” “Never mind, I am going, I want to see my wife!” I said. Then (he) said, “Wait, I will give you my gun!” He gave me his gun, a Winchester. I went to the house. (He) went to the top of that hill to watch me from there. I saw my wife lying on her back, dead. Going (on) I saw the girl lying on her side. Close to her lay the little two-month-old baby, his bullet had apparently grazed (its) chin. I said, “Maybe (he) is inside.” I ran past the doorway. I saw that fellow lying in front of me, he had evidently killed himself, shot himself in the breast. The bullet had apparently not gone through. I shouted to J. D. Anette, “Come, that fellow has evidently killed himself!” I said. Anette came. We picked up only the two women and took (them) inside. We did not take that Acorn Jack but let him lie in the same place. Then I went to tell the police. A lot of white me arrived. After keeping (them) for two days I buried them all. That is what Acorn Jack did there, he killed my wife. That is that.

AMADOR LEDGER
AUGUST 9, 1901
Criminal Return
John Powell, an Indian, battery, discharged; costs, $3
Wm. Josephs, disturbing peace, discharged; costs, $3.

Amador Ledger
October 17, 1931
Attend Luncheon: Hear Indian Lore
Mrs. O. H. Close, Mrs. Grace De Pue and Mrs. Henry Warrington motored to Fair Oaks last Thursday and were guests at a delightful luncheon presided over by Mrs. Richard Codman of Fair Oaks. After luncheon they attended the Thursday Club which meets in the Fair Oaks Club rooms and enjoyed a talk by Judge Baker of the Indian Welfare Administration, who spoke on the eighteen treaties.

Besides Judge Baker’s talk, the club presented William Joseph, 75, Indian resident of Auburn, who gave a number of Indian folk songs. William Joseph was dressed in his Indian costume and sang the songs in his native tongue. He is an Amador Indian, having been born near Forest Home, and his grandfather was one of the signers of the treaties.

A number of other addresses were given and a wonderful display of Indian baskets were viewed.

Excerpt from Ethnology of the Nisenan
Billy Joe describes an example of doctoring:

"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 worekerchief, 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.")

Nisenan Text, Story #47
Billie Joe tells about his first 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.