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Henry P Larrabee

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Name  Henry Larrabee

Died  December 19, 1906

Henry P. Larrabee (1830 – 19 December 1906), also known as Hank Larrabee, was a 49er and a rancher in the Eel River Valley of Humboldt County, California notorious for his treatment of Indians. Subsequently he was a sheriff in Montana, a family man, businessman and school board member in Kansas.



He was born in Marion County, Ohio, son of Joseph and Lucy Larrabee and lived there until leaving for California during the 1849 California Gold Rush. He established a ranch at "Larrabee" in Humboldt County in 1859. He also owned the land around Blocksburg from the Eel River to Larabee Valley to the east. The town of Blocksburg was originally called "Larabee" or its other spelling "Laribee" Several landmarks – including Larrabee Creek, Little Larrabee Creek, and Larrabee Valley - are named for him, although old maps and writings may use the alternate spelling "Laribee."

He was notorious as a killer of Indians, having once bragged that he killed more than 60 Indian children with a hatchet, and served as a corporal in the Volunteer Guides during the Bald Hills War. He is widely believed to have been an instigator and among the killers in the Indian Island Massacre, who, besides Corporal Henry P. Larrabee include Sergeant Charles A.D. Huestis, Private George W. Huestis, Private Wallace M. Hagan and James D. Henry Brown.

United States Army Lieutenant Daniel Lynn, sent to Larrabee Valley with a detachment in March 1861, described Larrabee to his superior, Captain Charles Lovell:

An anonymous letter writer called attention to some of the abuses: "Larrabee, for his part, took offense at an Indian boy who worked for him but who would periodically run off to visit his relatives. Larrabee 'went down one morning and slaughtered the whole family of about six persons, boy and all. He then made a rude raft of logs, put the victims on it… and started the bodies down the river.'"

Leaving Humboldt County, Larrabee followed another gold rush to the Salmon River in 1862, ending up in Hellgate, Montana, where he was elected sheriff of Missoula County under the name "Henry P. Larrabie" in 1865, serving only about one year. Larrabee left Missoula in 1868 to return to Ohio at about the time his father died.

Larrabee married Catherine Linn Phillips (1849-1940) on 14 February 1869 in Indiana, with whom he had five children and moved from Indiana to Joplin, Missouri, then to Wellington, Kansas and finally to Wichita, Kansas where he ran an artificial stone business. Later he was a homesteader, cattle rancher, deputy sheriff and on the school board in Liberal, Seward County, Kansas until he died on 17 December 1906 of cancer under the name "Henry Pierre Larrabee."

Additional reading

  • Crandall, Joan, The Indian Island Massacre: An Investigation of the Events that Precipitated the Wiyot Murders May 2005 Thesis, Humboldt State University, accessed 11 January 2013.
  • References

    Henry P. Larrabee Wikipedia

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