Timeline of Recent History
1850: The Gregg Party left San Francisco to search for mining opportunities. They came across the fertile lands near the Eel River. While some members returned to San Francisco to gather supplies to make a settlement, Gregg and Southard stayed to survey the lands. The party returns later to find Charles Southard alone. Gregg, according to Southard, had been thrown from his horse and fell into a ravine. Gregg’s body was never found.
1854: The Southard party returns to the area in order to start a town and prospect for gold. They are surprised to find a large group of Wiyot (Wee-Ott) Indians. The Wiyot call the land sacred. They gather at this location annually for the Pacific Lamprey spawn. They refuse to leave, claiming that they had a reservation there under a treaty with Colonel Reddick McKee. The treaty was made but never ratified. Negotiations are begun, but the Wiyot people refuse to give any ground citing their treaty. They do, however, allow the Southard party to survey the local land. The Southard party doesn’t find any gold, but the land is rich in timber and farmable lands. Southard refuses to give up, claiming that he knows there is gold here.
1855: Settlers begin building farms. Tensions between the settlers and the Wiyot people continue to rise, but violence has so far been avoided.
1860: Robert Gunther, James Van Duzen and Charles Southard led a group of men to murder the Wiyot women and children while the men were away. The settlers used hatchets and knives instead of guns because the sounds of gunfire would have alerted the Wiyot men. The Wiyot Massacre turns the Eel River red with blood. The town of Springfield is built on blood soaked soil. The Wiyot people surrender the land to the white invaders, but do not forget. Wikipedia Article about the real Wiyot Massacre
1863 The Union Army retreats after soundly defeating the Confederates at the Battle of Gettysburg. Most say that George Meade lost his appetite for battle that day. Others say that something scared his army away. In either case, the Civil War didn’t end there, and we’ve been at a stalemate ever since.
1868: The Great Earthquake. The coast of California shatters and becomes the Great Maze. Eureka & Arcata are destroyed. Springfield is buried under a land slide. A charismatic reverend named Tobias Ezrah creates a community where people of all colors and religions can be equal. Springfield is rebuilt and is renamed as New Opportunity to fit Father Ezrah’s vision. New Opportunity becomes the new hub of Northern California.
1870: Father Ezrah’s religion and philosophies spread to the neighboring cities of Harmony & Goodwill. These three towns prosper.