Casus Oliver and wife
[By Glen Villa Jr., Last Revised January 1, 2012]

Casus was a Plains Miwok from the Mokelumne Tribe. He was named Jesus Alvarez in the missions, but his name was Americanized to Casus Oliver by the local White people. He was called Lan-na-wis'-tah in Miwok, likely a Miwok pronunciation of Buena Vista.

In 1905-1906, CE Kelsey identifies Casus Oliver, wife and 3 children living in Buena Vista of Amador County without land.

In 1910, Casus was called Kususe Alaba and was residing in Township 2, Ione, of Amador County. According to the 1910 Census, Casus was born in 1840 near San Jose, Monterey Co. Casus’s parents were both born in Lockeford. According to 1910 Census, Casus married Mandy in 1896. The marriage was the fourth for Casus and the second for Mandy. Mandy had given birth to 12 children. Casus worked as a laborer of odd jobs.

In 1880, Manda was residing with her husband Jessie Jamison in the Mudsprings Township of Eldorado County. Manda was 33 at the time. Children Martha Jameson (10), Jefferson Jamison (8), George Jamison (6), Allen Jameson (3) and Anda Jameson (1) were all residing with Jessie and Manda Jameson.

In 1900, Mandy had remarried and was Mandy Brown, residing in the Mountain Township of Eldorado County. According to the 1900 Census, Mandy was 47 years old at the time and was born in April of 1853. According to the 1900 Census, Mandy was widowed, married for 32 years, and lived in polygamy. Mandy mothered 9 children and all were still living.

According to the 1910 Census, Mandy was born in 1840 in Nashville, El Dorado County. According to the 1910 Census, both of Mandy’s parents were from Nashville, El Dorado County.

Alfred Kroeber with the University of California Berkeley interviewed Casus Oliver and Wife Mandy or Amanda and collected ethnographic information. The fieldnotes regarding these interviews by Alfred Kroeber are undated. Kroeber described Mandy, wife of Jesus Oliver as:

“From Gold Hill on American River drain between Placerville + Auburn. Tcapamusu = gold hill (also called it tcapa)”

Kroeber described Jesus Oliver as:

“Gasus is from Stockton is Tculamni tribe. Has woman cousin, Trinidad, at Pleasonton. Another cousin there called Jose Avensho, his son is called Ben Guzman.”

Casus' first wife was named Lizzie, a full-blooded Indian from Amador County. Lizzie was the daughter of Susie Ganor and Charlie, also known as Lick-Lee, and the sister of Dan Ganor, born May 16, 1863.

Dan Ganor identified himself as a member of the Lac-lumne tribe. In 1927, the land where the Ganors and Olivers lived was made into a rancheria for the Luc-Lum-Ne tribe.

According to C.Hart Merriam in his Studies of California Indians in which he interviewed Casus Oliver, Casus' wife, Amanda, she had six children from a White man named Jamison. He was identified as Jess E. Jameson. These children included Andrew, Jeff, Allen, Barbara, Martha, and George.

Amanda, identified as a Gold Hill Nisenan by Merriam, was also known as Mandy Parker; her Nisenan name was Ho-wuk'-me. She was also known as Mandy Winn Jameson and Mandy Winn.

September 9, 1903, C. Hart Merriam collects a vocabulary from Casus Oliver of the Mo-kal’-um-ne language.

On December 8, 1905, C.E. Kelsey collected numerals from Casus Oliver.

On March 19, 1924, Mandy Oliver Maximo died.

Articles Concerning Mandy Oliver

Ione Valley Echo
March 29, 1924
Old Indian Woman Goes to Happy Hunting Ground

On Wednesday afternoon, Mar. 19th, there passed away a conspicuous character among the Indians of this part of California. Mrs. Chas. Marino. For years she has lived with her husband Captain Charlie, or big Charlie as he is popularly known by the Indian children on a plot of ground owned by the Arroyo Seco cattle company in Jackson Valley near the corner of the Ione Stockton road.

Mrs. Maxino has made her home a center for the Indians of Amador county. At times they have gathered from several other counties and have talked over their affairs and have observed their religious ceremonies, their feasts, songs and dances.

Mrs. Maximo now lies in death’s stillness dressed in her best and beautified by a tasteful arrangement about her head, chest and arms, by her treasures. These she wore when dancing before the sacred fire and their God. Some how I felt that these bright colors robbed the coffin of a portion of its gloom.

With these, I must not forget to mention the beautiful flowers arranged on the casket. No, they were not from the florist. They were what they love, the wild flowers of the hills and valleys—what their children pick and play with and so delight in. Rob them not of their taste for gay colors. Be not too severe in your condemnations of their vanity. What else is bright in their miserable lives.

Mrs. Maximo will be buried in their sacred plot near Buena Vista. A few acres claimed by the Indians for generations, a place the most sacred to them, as sacred to them as was the tombs of the Pharaohs to the Egyptians—but on what do they place their claim to the grave plots? On priority of rights. On invernable continued possession. No one living knows when the Indian first lived on these lands, no record can help us to know the time—yes—and on the sympathetic recognition of their freedom to live there and bury their dead by the Fitsimon’s family, legal owners, and their neighbors for so many years. But what are these worth as rights. The land was purchased by Bracciglione Bros. who paid the money required by the legal owner not the moral proprietor, and this land is theirs. This they know. This land they mean to have, they proved their intentions just a year ago by a most brutal attack on an ilinformed but very peaceable Indian who stod between their purpose and the possession of the home where about 60 years before he was born. Yes, between the legal owner and the newly dug grave of the mother who gave him birth, who herself was born there before him, lived there always, died and was buried there only two days before. Who does not know how Dan Ganer was struck down and beaten into unconsciousness by the legal owner with some kind of instrument? Many know how the poor man lingered for months on the very verge of death. Some know that even now, this man bleeds and suffers as a result of his punishment and expects to suffer until shortly his end too must come—and the legal owners shall be plowing the home fields and enjoying it. The richness of the plots fertilized by the sacred dust of his dead.

Yes, Mrs. Maximo, I hope for the best concerning your eternal state. I forget not that the God of all this earth will do right. Some responsible person or persons will live to know this. 

Charles Fish
Supt. Ione Indian School

C HART MERRIAM REEL 19: E42
BUENA VISTA BUTTE NECENON INDIAN WOMAN
September 16,1905.
Visited an old Necenon woman who lives on the remains of an old Rancheria near the south base of Buena Vista peak, and got a lot of names of plants and animals from her. Her husband(who belongs tothe Tuolumne tribe but speaks the Mokalumne language) is away shearing sheep.

Photographs from the C. Hart Merriam Collection

20m. Nis-se-nan

P6 Casus Oliver and wife; El Dorado Co.; October 1905; 3 prints No. 1-2 (Vol. 21) No. 3 (Vol. 22)

wife

wife

Casus Oliver and wife

21l. Mo-kal'-um-ne (Mokelumni)

P1 Casus Oliver, wife, home; Buena Vista, near Ione, Amador Co.; September 1903; 8 prints

Casus Oliver

wife

Casus Oliver and wife

Casus Oliver residence

Casus Oliver residence

view of field, cemetery

Misc/P22 Houses, buildings and ruins; 29 prints

Buena Vista residence and roundhouse

Inside of Roundhouse, Buena Vista

Inside of Roundhouse, Buena Vista

Inside of Roundhouse, Buena Vista

Inside of Roundhouse, Buena Vista

Inside of Roundhouse, Buena Vista