John Oliver, wife and 3 children
[By Glen Villa Jr, Last Revised July 31, 2011]

John Oliver was born August 28, 1883 in Amador County to Casus Oliver and Lizzie Ganor.

John Oliver married Lena West, born May 18, 1891, daughter of Charley West, and they had three children; Ethel, born February 8, 1909, Louis L., born December 25, 1912 and Lester, born February 12, 1914. According to the 1910 Census, Ethel Oliver was born in Sacramento County.

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

In 1910, John Oliver was called John Alaba and was residing with his wife Lena W. in the household of Dan Gainor in Township 2, Ione, of Amador County. According to the 1910 Census, John Oliver and Lena West were married in 1909. John Oliver was born in Lockeford. According to the 1910 Census, John Oliver worked as a laborer of odd jobs.

On September 12, 1918, John Kause Oliver registered for the Draft. According to the selective service records, John was born August 28, 1883. John was employed as a laborer for A. D. Murphy in Elk Grove. John’s nearest relatives were his three children. John was described as medium height, stout build, black eyes and black hair. John’s home was in Ione.

In 1930, John Oliver was residing by himself in Township 2, Ione, of Amador County.

John Oliver died March 26, 1940 in Sonoma County and was buried in the Buena Vista Indian Cemetery.

Articles Concerning John Oliver 

AMADOR LEDGER
JUNE 9, 1911
FROM OUR EXCHANGES
Allen Crockley of Mokelumne Hill "called at the Prospect office Thursday to pay his annual dues, which he never allows to accumulate. While here he exhibited an old coin which he recently dug up in the Buckeye mine near Mokelumne Hill. It was of silver and evidently originally had a value of about 50 cents. It bore the date 1849 and the Spanish motto "For the Union" also the words Peruna. It was evidently an old Peruvian coin. While in town he was offered $5.00 for the piece, but refused to part with it. -Prospect.

Last Sunday afternoon a drunken Indian named John Oliver, who lives in the vicinity of Buena Vista, went into Seguin's and started in to make a rough house, threatening to fight, and generally making himself a nuisance. Seguin very promptly threw him out on the walk, and after choking him a bit let him go. The fellow then ran over to Harry Stewart's residence and there deputy sheriff Dunlap put him under arrest. The next morning he was up before justice Gartlin on a warrant charging him with disturbing the peace. He pleaded guilty and was fined $50 or fifty days in jail. He had been working for James Cook, over in Jackson valley, and Cook, needing his services, paid his fine and took him home.— Echo. 

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. Stefano Bracchiglione.

In a dispute that arose over the Indian’s right to use certain lands, the Italian, Bracchiglione, attacked and brutally beat Dan Ganor.

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 the attack.

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 for weeks.

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

Amador Dispatch
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 Ganor.

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.

Lena Oliver
Lena West Oliver was born May 18, 1891 to Charley West and Mary West.

In 1900, Lena Oliver is residing with her parents Charlie and Mary West in Township 2, Ione, of Amador County. Lena was 6 years old at the time and indicated a birth year of 1894.

In 1910, Lena Oliver (17) was residing in the San Joaquin Township of Sacramento County with her daughter Ethel (11/12). According to the 1910 Census, Lena married John Oliver in 1908. Lena was employed as a farm laborer. According to the 1910 Census, Lena Oliver had graduated from primary school in Sacramento County. Lena also appears on the 1910 Census in Township 2, Ione, of Amador County with her husband John Oliver. Lena Oliver was born in Ione as were both of her parents.

Lena Oliver died and was buried in the Buena Vista Indian Cemetery.

Ethel Oliver

Ethel Oliver Bill died on December 15, 1956 in Colusa County. Ethel was buried in the Buena Vista Indian Cemetery.

In the 1928 school year, Ethel Oliver was attending the Sherman Institute in Riverside, California.

Louis Oliver

In the 1928 school year, Lewis Oliver was attending the Sherman Institute in Riverside, California.

Louis L. Oliver was also known as Louellyn Oliver. Louis died on July 27, 1933 in Ione from a hit and run accident.

Lester Oliver

In the 1928 school year, Lester Oliver was attending the Sherman Institute in Riverside, California.

Lester Oliver, California State Prison at Folsom Inmate Number 21192, was received from Sacramento County on June 25, 1937. Lester was sentenced 50 years for rape. Lester’s occupation was listed as laborer. Lester had a prior criminal record listed as “Ione: #55358”. The physical description of Lester was described as black hair, maroon eyes, swarthy complexion, muscular build, 5’11” in height, and weight of 175 pounds. Lester Oliver was 23 years old at the time. Lester was described as having a scar “from lt nostril through lt upper lip,” pit marks on both cheeks, left little finger mutilated and crooked and a cut scar on the inner side of the left index finger tip. A photograph of Lester is available at the California State Archives, Folsom Inmate Photographs.

Lester Oliver died on October 31, 1985 in San Joaquin County. Lester was buried in the Buena Vista Indian Cemetery.

Articles Concerning Louis and Lester Oliver

Amador Dispatch
July 12, 1929
Arrested for Starting Fire
Lester and Louie Oliver, two Indian youths, aged fifteen and seventeen years, were arrested on Wednesday morning by Sheriff Lucot and brought to the county jail where they are being held on the charge of starting a fire on the Grant property in the Buena Vista section, two mile below Ione.

The boys were seen on the property during Wednesday and when the officers were notified and sought them later in the day they found them several miles from the scene of the fire. When first seen they were riding horses but had later abandoned the animals. They were unable to give a logical explanation of their where-abouts when the fire broke out and will be asked to explain their actions when a preliminary hearing will be held on Monday.

The fire was brought under control Wednesday morning after several hours fighting by a large force of men, but again broke out during the afternoon and was under such headway that approximately fifteen hundred acres were burned over before it was finally subdued.

Amador Dispatch
July 19, 1929
2 Indian Boys Sentenced For Starting Fire
Lester and Louis Oliver, Indian boys of the Camp Seco section, who were arrested last Wednesday by Sheriff Lucot and charged with setting a fire that burned over approximately 1500 acres of ground on the Grant, admitted their guilt to the juvenile court at a hearing on Monday. They gave as a reason for starting the fire that they wanted to see it burn.

Judge Smith sentence the lads to a term at the Preston school but sentence was suspended under certain previsions that must be complied with. The boys were turned over to their father in whose custody they must remain. They were admonished to keep out of trouble of every sort and to stay off the Grant property. They were told that in the event of a violation of any of the terms of the probation that they would be confined at the school.

As reported in the Dispatch of last week, the fire was started on Wednesday morning but was brought under control after a large force of firefighters had battled with it for several hours. Again in the afternoon the flames broke out ad at that time it had gained such headway that a large acreage was burned over before it was finally extinguished.

The boys are aged 15 and 17 years and their past behavior is reported to have been creditable. This fact probably won for them probation from the term at school. They were arrested after Sheriff Lucot had been advised of their whereabouts prior to the fire and after the officer had made an investigation of their actions.