Dan Cain and mother
[By Glen Villa Jr., Last Revised July 31, 2011]
Dan Cain is Dan Gainor or sometimes spelled Dan Ganor. Dan Ganor was
the son of Susie Ganor and Charlie Ganor, born on May 16, 1863 (1928
BIA) about 1864. Dan lived on what was known as the Fitzsimmons
Ranch near Buena Vista, Amador County.
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. Gifford notes Dan is on teleku
side as was his father. Dan’s mother is on olitcku side.
Dan had a brother named Billy Wilson, son of Lick-lee and Susie.
Susie's Indian name was Tum-Ka-a according to Dan and Lun-ka-a
according to Billy. Billy Wilson referred to his tribe as Lac-lumne.
In 1910, Dan Gainor was called Dan Gano and was residing in Township
2, Ione, of Amador County. Dan was 41 years old at the time.
Dan worked as a laborer of odd jobs. According to the 1910 Census,
Dan was born at Richey (present day Buena Vista, Amador County)
while both of his parents were born in Lockeford.
Dan was interviewed by Edward Gifford between December 9, 1917 and
December 13, 1917. Dan Gainor provided ethnographic information to
Edward Gifford. (see Gifford's
Northern and Central Sierra Miwok Fieldnotes. 1917)
On March 19, 1923, an altercation occurred over property rights
where Dan Gainor was beaten and nearly killed. My grandfather
remembered that Dan Gainor for a very long time used to carry a
handkerchief with him to wipe the uncontrollable drool from his
mouth due to the effects of the altercation. In one of the
photographs of the Burning of the Digger in April of 1924, Dan
Gainor can be seen holding a handkerchief to his jaw.
On September 8, 1923, Alfred Kroeber with the University of
California Berkeley interviewed Dan Gaynor at Buena Vista and
collected ethnographic information from him regarding the Northern
Miwok. (see Kroeber's
Northern Miwok: Notebook (208) 1923.) A series of
6 photographs (15-7163,
was taken of Dan by Edward Gifford in September 1923. Dan was
measured and his personal measurements were used in the publication
by Edward Gifford entitled California
Kroeber interviewed Dan, who identified his father as Likli nenasu
and his mother Pukaito, both Tunuka. Also stated “There was once an
idea (preaching) that the world would end. Everybody came together
and was [illegible]. This was when the stars fell from the sky. No
talk of return from dead known to inft.” One of the largest meteor
showers in North America occurred in November of 1833, which
coincidentally corresponds to the peak impact on the California
Indians and the small pox epidemic. Gifford also has Dan stating
“Long ago Dan’s father told him someone said world was going to turn
over and everybody must go out in the plains. At that time they put
up a yatce [illegible] in front of the hangi on a long pole with
beads and abalone shells on it. This report come from the north. It
was a lie.”
On November 6, 1923, Edward Gifford wrote to Dan Gainor sending Dan
two photographs that Alfred Kroeber and Gifford took of Dan in
September, when they visited Dan at his home. (see Records
of the Department of Anthropology, Bancroft Library)
According to the 1930 Census, Dan Gainor was residing alone in the
Buena Vista Precinct of Township 2, Ione, of Amador County. Dan was
62 years old at the time.
My grandfather remembered Dan Gainor as the instructor of the women
Dan Gainor died on August 26, 1934 due to Tuberculosis and was
buried in the Buena Vista Indian Cemetery, specific location within
the cemetery isn’t known. Dan was listed as 70 years old at the time
The mother of Dan Cain would have been Susie Gainor. Susie and Dan
lived together. Susie was known as a dancer and taught the women to
dance when she was alive.
In 1905-1906, CE Kelsey identifies Dan & mother living in Buena
Vista of Amador County without land. Dan’s mother was Susie Gainor.
According to the 1910 Census, Susie Gainor is residing with her son
Dan Gainor in Township 2, Ione, of Amador County. Susie was 65 years
old and widowed. According to 1910 Census, Susie was born at
Lockeford as were both of her parents. Susie had given birth to 8
children, one of which was still living.
Susie also had a son named Billy Wilson who lived in Mokelumne Hill.
Susie Gainor died during a Cry Ceremony on March 16, 1923 due to
pneumonia and was buried in the Buena Vista Indian Cemetery. Susie
was listed as 100 years old at the time of death.
Articles Concerning Dan Gainor and
Ione Valley Echo
March 24, 1923
Indian Squaw Aged 126 Years Dies
Susie Canner, an Indian woman reputed to be 126 years of age, died
in Jackson Valley last week, according to reports received here. The
death occurred during the annual “cry for the dead” of the Indians
of the valley. Indian leaders said the woman had often told them of
witnessing the coming of Mexicans to California. She had met General
John A. Sutter, founder of Sacramento, and she claimed to have
witnessed the shooting down of Indians at Coloma by federal
Indians from near and afar attended the annual “cry for the dead”
and the Echo was informed that quite a few of the number had passed
the one hundred mile post on life’s highway.
Ione Valley Echo
March 24, 1923
Enraged Italian Attacks Indian in Brutal Way
On Monday Steve Brachileoni most brutally beat up an Indian known as
Dan, at the Fitzsimmon place in Jackson Valley, which was recently
purchased by Gratto Brachileoni.
It seems that a small fraction of the ranch--perhaps 7 or 8
acres--has been occupied by the Indians as far back as can be
At any rate Dan, who is 57 years of age, was born there, and perhaps
his parents also, and it as natural was his home. Fitzsimmons
had never molested the Indians while he possessed the property, but
as soon as Brachileoni purchased it he obtained an order from the
District Attorney to evict them from the premises, to become
effective in May. The ground was enclosed by a wire fence and
some wood was cut on the place and the two Italians came to haul it
away, started to take down the fence when Dan remarked. "Don't
destroy the fence, we have until May to remain here." Then
Steve Brachileoni struck the Indian with a heavy pair of pliers
fracturing the upper jaw completely from its base; nose fractured,
two upper teeth knocked out and numerous cuts about the face and
severe scalp wounds--all accompanied by a severe hemorrhage,
resulting in a weakened condition and pneumonia set in two days
after, the outcome of which is still uncertain. Dan was
knocked unconscious by the first blow but the Italian continued to
brutally beat the helpless victim.
Constable Sibole was notified of the affray and immediately
responded, and when arriving telephoned to Dr. Solomon and procured
medicine for the mutilated Indian. When leaving the drug store
the Constable received a telephone call telling him to make a
"careful and thorough investigation before making an arrest!"
After considerable bickerings the two Italians were arrested
Thursday night by Constable Sibole and Sheriff Lucot and taken to
Jackson. Constable Sibole and the citizens generally were
incensed at the dilatory tactics preceding the arrest.
Indian Dan has been known by many of our older citizens all his life
and he is known as a good and reliable man, and with many friends
all about the district.
We are informed the Italians were released on $500 bonds.
Ione Valley Echo
April 7, 1923
Ione, April 2, 1923
The Echo, Ione Cal.
Gentlemen: Will appreciate the publication of the following:
To better acquaint the people of Amador county with the facts as to
the combat had with the Indians on the former Fitzsimmons ranch at
Buena Vista I wish to state that it seems public sentiment is
greatly exagerated as we acted only in self defense. It was
the Indians who first attacked me and there were two against one as
my brother was some distance from us and only appeared on the scene
when he was attracted by the disturbance and one of the Indians
turned to him and struck him in the face, but my brother being the
most powerful the Indian evidently received the worst of it,
however, he was only struck in self defense. Wish to expressly
impress upon everyone that the statement in last week's paper that a
pair of pliers were used to strike the Indian is positively
incorrect as the fight was conducted throughout with hands and no
instrument was used whatever.
Cannot understand why we should be criticized to such an extent for
if we had not defended ourselves we would probably have received the
worst of it.
When I purchased the ranch from Mr. Fitzsimmons it was brought up
that the Indians had no right or title to any portion of the land
and that I would only have to notify them to leave whe I desired
them to do so--no reservations being made for them. The land
was deeded with clear title and did not intend to purchase any land
for the Indians as I could not afford to do so.
I had peacefully tried for the past two years to induce them to
leave in order that I could cultivate the land as they had not
cultivated it and therefore have not derived any benefit from it;
but they always claimed that it belonged to them and we had nothing
to do with it so finally went to court and they were served with
legal notice to leave which inspired their wrath and resulted in the
(signed) B. Bracchiglione.
R.F.D. Box 62
[The foregoing is neatly typed, well and carefully worded and
differs materially from the report that was furnished by parties who
were in no manner mixed up in the affray, and had no reason to
express themselves in any way other than to give true facts].
California Indian Herald
Brutal Assault Upon A Indian At Ione
According to the “Ione Valley Echo” a most brutal and wicked assault
was made upon an Indian named Dan. A copy was placed in the hands of
Mr. Collett in the San Francisco office by Rev. Chas. Fish of the
Ione Indian Home, and a consultation with Mr. J. E. Pemberton,
attorney and member of the Board, it was decided that he should go
and investigate. He accordingly visited Ione and made the following
Application was made to the Indian Board of Co-operation for advice
regarding the trouble narrated below. An attorney, who is a member
of the Board, was asked to investigate. He went to Ione and after
interviewing Indians and whites—including public officials gives the
Ever since the whites came, and for long before that, the Indians
now on the disputed tract and their ancestors have been in
possession of about forty acres of land a few miles from Ione.
Thereupon they have their houses, occupied as homes. There once was
their roundhouse, or “sweathouse”; which no longer being used, has
been torn down. There is their graveyard where their ancestors are
buried. Fifty years or more ago, a pioneer white man got the title
to a large tract of land adjacent, and the lines of his patent
included the houses, graveyard, garden and some other parts (but not
all) of the lands occupied by the Indians. He never disturbed their
possessions. Neither did his heirs after his death. The land claimed
and used by the Indians has long been fenced off from all other
lands by a substantial fence.
Two years ago the heirs of the old pioneer sold to one Bracchiglione
without reserving the rights of the Indians in the deed; but they
were there in open and notorious possession, and Bracchiglione well
knew it. Later Bracchiglione conveyed an undivided one-half interest
to his brother; and they recently gave written notice demanding from
the Indians possession by May 1.
Without waiting until the time they themselves had set, the
Bracchigliones on March 19 began tearing down the fence. One of the
Indians named Dan Ganor and his nephew John Oliver, remonstrated;
and a fight occurred, Stefano Bracchiglione beat Ganor on head and
face until he was unconscious, and for many days not expected to
live. Brachiglione claims he used only his fist. The Indians say he
used heavy wire-pliers. Dr. W. O. Solomon attended Ganor. He
describes the wounds as follows:
“Broken nasal bone; deep laceration one-half inch long over nasal
bone and at sides of nose, as if made with rather a sharp-edged
instrument, upper jaw bone broken; one jaw-tooth knocked out, and
the socket of another broken out; about half a dozen deep cut wounds
on the hairy part of the scalp.”
What a queer “fist” Bracchiglione must have!
Although the doctor says he never before knew a patient with so high
a pulse to live, the Indian’s strong constitution and the doctor’s
most faithful and skillful care have apparently won the fight with
death; but Dan will be confined to bed for weeks yet; and be unable
to work for months more. The lawyer advises a civil suit for
damages, leaving it to the District Attorney to judge whether a
criminal suit should also be prosecuted, and making no criticism of
that official if he chooses to wait for the civil suit to bring out
the facts fully. The attorney we sent was authorized to begin the
Advice is given to the Indians to rely on the principles laid down
by the United States Supreme Court in the very recent case of Cramer
and C. P. Railway Co v. U. S., and to refuse to vacate the
lands—letting the Board know if suit is brought against them. We
feel very hopeful indeed of saving them the land. The Indians seem
to have the sympathy of all of the best citizens of Ione, who warmly
give to Dan Ganor the reputation of being as peaceful, inoffensive,
and law-abiding a man as any they have in their community.
While in that part of the State the attorney also visited a place in
Calaveras County where a white man is trying to crowd Indians off of
unpatented Government land; and advising that steps be taken to put
the white man off of it instead, he was authorized to begin
William Fuller of Soulsbyville, Tuolumne County, met the attorney at
Ione and assisted most efficiently in the investigation, as was to
be expected from that intelligent leader of the Indian race. All the
Indians met showed the utmost courtesy to our representatives, he
reports, and exerted themselves to give him every assistance
possible, and to help him to have a pleasant trip to their mountain
homes, besides. He adds that he did enjoy the trip, and their
hospitality, very much indeed.
Ione Valley Echo
April 28, 1923
Indian Dan, who has been critically ill with pneumonia, is reported
as slightly improved.
Ione Valley Echo
July 14, 1923
Indian Dan Convalescing
Last Monday Dr. Solomon, after a regular professional visit to
Indian Dan Ganor, who is convalescing from a “flat fight” with Steve
Brachileoni on March 19th last, near Buena Vista, says he “found Dan
up and walking around in his house.” His lungs are about well, and
the upper jaw bone, though broken on both sides of his face, has
healed, but it hangs loosely and down so low that it will always be
a fright to look at and poor Dan, with the friendship of everybody
who knows him, but with this disfigurement, will fell himself come
to some degree of insolation that is hard to think of in speaking of
the two ugly fractures of this heavy bone. Dr. Solomon, who has
continuously attended Dan through these months, some time ago
expressed the opinion that the fractured jaw would be a source of
much pain, and useless, the balance of his life. Constable Sibole
arrested Barchileoni after some delay and he was taken to Jackson
and it was published at the time, placed under $500 bonds, etc.
In regard to the future of the case we know nothing. It is said Mr.
Collett, Indian advisor, will try to have the case brought up in the
Ione Valley Echo
July 14, 1923
Indian Dan Ganor is improving slowly and the whole affair appears to
be nearly forgotten. But Dan is an American citizen, and is
worthy of full protection of the law.
Ione Valley Echo
May 31, 1924
Dan Ganor Case TO Be Prosecuted
Suit has been filed in the federal court at Sacramento to recover
$55,000 damages and $1,200 court costs in the case of Dan Ganor vs.
In a dispute that arose over the Indian’s right to use certain
lands, the Italian, Bracchiglione, attacked and brutally beat Dan
The land, situated in Amador County, had been occupied by Indians
before the white invader entered the county. About fifty years ago a
white man secured a title to a large tract of land adjoining that
which was occupied by the Indians and including a portion of the
Indian land. Neither the white owner nor his heirs, however,
disturbed the Indians and they continued to peacefully farm their
plot. Year after year of uninterrupted tenure, the Indians had
carefully tilled and improved their small tract. It contained their
homes, their gardens and their sacred burial place. By right of the
years of toil it was indisputably theirs. The simple justice of this
was so evident to the Indian people that they had no thought of
aggression by those who bought tracts of the neighboring property.
At length the heirs of the first white owner sold a portion of their
land to Stefano Bracchiglione, an Italian, who later conveyed a half
interest in his property to his brother. This tract included the
Indian plot. The Bracchigliones at once sent written notice to the
Indians demanding them to quit the premises by a given date. Six
weeks before that date, without giving the Indians time to make
plans or preparations, the Bracchigliones entered the Indian premses
and began tearing down fences.
Two Indians, Dan Ganor and his nephew, John Oliver, remonstrated
with the Italians and a fight ensued in which Stefano Bracchiglione
attacked and brutally beat Dan Ganor.
The Italian carried heavy wire pliers with which he had been
removing the fence, but he maintains that he used only his fists in
Dr. W. O. Solomon, who attended Ganor, describes the wounds as
follows: "Broken nasal bone; deep laceration one-half inch
long over nasal bone and at sides of nose as if made with rather a
sharp instrument; upper jaw-bone broken; one jaw-tooth knocked out
and the socket of another broken out; about half a dozen deep cut
wounds on the hairy part of the scalp."
Local papers, strongly favoring the Indians, made derisive comment
on a fist that could inflict such injuries.
For a time Ganor was in a critical condition, but, due to a
naturally strong constitution, he rallied, but was confined to bed
There were grounds for both a civil and criminal suit. The
district attorney has so far failed to prosecute the criminal case.
J.W. Henderson attorney for the Indian Board of Cooperation, has
taken the case and will prosecute it as speedily as the routine of
the courts will permit.--California Indian Herald
June 6, 1924
$25,000 Damage Suit Filed By Indians
Suit has been filed in the federal court in Sacramento to recover
$25,000 damages and $1,200 court costs in the case of Dan Ganor vs.
Stefano Bracchiglione. It is claimed that in a dispute which
occurred in this county Bracchiglione attacked and brutally beat
The dispute was occasioned over the Indian’s right to use of land in
the Jackson Valley section. The Indians had been peacefully
occupying this land year after year without trouble. It contained
their homes, their gardens and their sacred burial place, and by
rights of toil would seem to be theirs. At length the heirs to the
first white owners sold a portion of the land to Stefano
Bracchiglione who later conveyed a half interest in the property to
his brother. This tract included the sacred burial spot. The
Bracchigliones at once sent written notices to the Indians to vacate
the premises by a given date and six weeks before that date, without
giving the Indians time to make plans to leave, the Bracchigliones
entered the Indian’s premises and began tearing down the fences. Dan
Ganor and his nephew, John Oliver, remonstrated with the Italians
and a fight followed, in which it is said Stefano Bracchiglione
attacked and beat Ganor.
Dr. W. O. Solomon who was called to attend Ganor described the
wounds as follows: “Broken nasal bone; deep laceration one-half inch
long over nasal bone and at side of nose; upper jawbone broken and
other minor wounds. For a long time Ganor lay in a critical
condition but finally rallied due to his strong constitution.”
At the last meeting of the grand jury the matter was brought to the
attention of that body but no action was taken.