By 1880, most of the Indians from the Ione area
were living on the Fitzsimmons ranch just south of the town of
Buena Vista, on the land later known as the Buena Vista Rancheria.
The leader of the Indians at this time was Captain Powell, most
likely the same Captain Powell who was the leader of Pintawil.
John Powell was the recognized leader of the
Jackson Valley Miwok. John Powell was a medicine man and dance
captain of the Jackson Valley people and was married to Mary, a
full-blooded Indian from Amador County.
In 1900, John Powell was residing with his son
Frank Powell in Township 2, Ione, of Amador County. According to
the 1900 Census, John Powell worked as a medicine man. John Powell
was 60 years old at the time and indicated a birth year of 1840.
In 1905-1906, CE Kelsey identifies John Powell,
wife and 2 children living in Buena Vista of Amador County without
In 1910, John Powell (60) was residing in the
San Joaquin Township of Sacramento County with his wife Rosa (35),
daughter Clara (7), and son Claudie (6). The marriage between John
and Rosa was the second marriage for both of them.
In 1915, John Powell claimed he should be the
leader due to his father being the Captain at the time of his
death. This along with other evidence indicates John Powell was
the son of the Captain Powell who was leader of the village of
On December 29, 1917, John Powell was interviewed by Edward Gifford. Gifford collected ethnographic information from John Powell.(see Gifford's Northern and Central Sierra Miwok Fieldnotes. 1917)
John Powell died on April 26, 1925 at the age
of 90 in Ione due to chronic myocarditis. John Powell was buried
in the Jackson Valley Indian Cemetery.
Miwok and Amador County Nisenan fought at
Cakanusuk, site of old Ione China town. Miwok assembled on level
place on a (town) side Sutter Creek. Across creek, 150-200 yards
away, Nisenan assembled on a level shoulder of hillslope (since
washed away by mining operations) nearby downstream was a knoll on
which chiefs of both sides met. Yo’lok, chief of Yumhui
(Sloughhouse) represented Nisenan, father of present chief Frank
Powell, the Miwok.(Beals, Ethnology
of the Nisenan, pg.367)
According to the 1928 BIA Census, John Powell
was married to Rosie Salgado, born May 25, 1887 in Drytown, Amador
County, 1/4 Indian, daughter of Maggie Encino, 1/2 Indian from
Amador County and Santo Salgado, a Chilean. Rosie had a grandson
named Frank Ascencio, born November 3, 1917, 5/16 Indian.
John Powell was a medicine man and dance
leader. In 1915, John Powell claimed he should be the leader due
to his father being the Captain at the time of his death. This
along with other evidence indicates John Powell was the son of the
Captain Powell who was leader of the village of Pintawil. John
Powell was the recognized leader of the Jackson Valley Miwok. John
Powell was a medicine man and dance captain of the Jackson Valley
people and was married to Mary, a full-blooded Indian from Amador
Besides being a medicine man, John Powell was
also known as a poisoner, someone who could poison you using their
medicinal powers. In Northern Miwok he was called a tuyuku.
Concerning John Powell
APRIL 12, 1901
JAMES M'CAULEY. TOWNSHIP TWO.
People vs John Powell—Disturbing peace; dis- charged; costs $3.
AUGUST 9, 1901
John Powell, an Indian, battery, discharged; costs, $3 Wm. Josephs, disturbing peace, discharged; costs, $3.
JULY 6, 1906
From Our Exchanges
Last Sunday afternoon a couple of Indians, John Powell and Oscar Sprian, known as Oscar Miller, got into a row at the China vegetable garden, during the progress of which Sprian was cut in tho back with a knife. Both Indians had evidently been drinking. The knife wound was superficial, the blade having struck a rib under the right shoulder blade, inflicting an incised wound a little less than three-fourths of an inch long. The Indian, John Powell, who is charged with doing the cutting, had a jug partly filled with beer, which it is claimed the old Chinaman, Lock Tai, bought for him at the brewery. Constable Kelly was at once notified and went to the scene of the row, but when he got there the fight was over. He placed John Powell under arrest and took him to the calaboose. Powell had his preliminary hearing before Justice McCauley Tuesday, and was bound over to answer before the superior court, under $1000 bonds. Not being able to give bonds, constable Kelly took him to the county jail Wednesday. —Echo.
AUGUST 17, 1906
James McCauley, township 2 John Powell charged with felony; examination had and defendant held to answer.
RG 75 Sacramento Area Office Coded Records 1910-1958
Code 054.1 Box #20
Sacramento Indian Agency Fiscal Year 1933
Acencio Frank, 11-3-1917 Mewuk, Parent Rosie Powell, Sacramento Co
May 6, 1954
An Interesting Letter Received By Buena Vista Historical Society
(This letter was written to Mrs. Pauline Ringer, Secretary of the Buena Vista Historical Society)
…When we first come this place was surrounded by Indians and all were peaceable. Up where the Preston boys parade ground is there was a village of over 800. The captain’s name was Powell. He has a grand and great grand daughters living in Ione today. Up where the Catholic Cemetery is, there was 250 living there. Up back of the Gregory home, where that old barn stands was100. It was once quite a knoll…
Martha Gregory Courtright
…Mrs. Courtright at one time wrote a series of articles on her parents crossing the plains. They started from Missouri, April 5, 1853, by wagon train. When they arrived in Ione there was just one dozen houses. The town was surrounded by many Indian Camps. Where Preston School is located was the largest camp with 1,000 Indians. Back of the Gregory home was a camp of 100. Up where the Catholic Church is was perhaps 250.
The articles were written in 1927 and at that time she was 74 years old…