On The Map: Chowchilla

On The Map: Originals

In October 2020, this story will be exactly 170 years old. It’s a story about two men whose friendship was ruined by bad attitudes and their connection to this place… on the map.

The year was 1850.

The Gold Rush was in full swing, and Native Americans in the Sierra Nevada were not happy with the way the miners were treating them.

Word had gotten to Major James Savage that the Indians were thinking of attacking.

And in an effort to prevent this from happening, he invited his good friend, Chief José Juarez, chief of a local tribe, to San Francisco to try to convince him that war with the Americans was not a good idea.

And José Juarez, along with Major James Savage and their entourage arrived in San Francisco with what’s described as a “barrel full of gold dust”.

A big celebration was going on over the new statehood of California… military parades… the works.

For two weeks they proceeded to party like it was 1899.

Things went downhill after that.

For some reason, Savage hit Juarez, knocking him to the ground.

Their friendship was never the same.

In December of 1850, a trading post was attacked.

Three people were killed… a lot of goods stolen… the Mariposa-Indian War had begun.

Chief José Juarez was chief of a particular tribe whose name actually means “killers” or “murderers”.

That word is Chauciles.

All mispronunciation aside, the river was named for the tribe and the city was named for the river.

Chowchilla, on the map of Madera County.

With Emily Lucas behind the camera, I’m A.J. Fox

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