Maggie “Trabuce” Howard


Maggie “Trabuce” Howard

Bridgeport, Mariposa County, California, USA
Death 25 Jan 1947 (aged 76–77)
Inyo County, California, USA
Burial Bishop, Inyo County, California, USA
Memorial ID 161974929 View Source
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Born in 1870, near Bridgeport, California, a Piute. Her father was Joaquin Sam, or Kosana. Maggie lived near Bridgeport until her mother died, then went to live with her father near Mono Lake. Her family made many trips over the mountains to Yosemite to gather acorns, and trade with the Yosemites.

At Mono Lake they collected the pupa of a certain fly which breeds on the shores of Mono Lake. With this Ka-cha-vee and acorns they lived well.

On one trip crossing the mountains her father’s horse was frightened, and threw him on a rock. Some Indians picked him up and brought him to Yosemite Valley. They thought he was dead. The story of "Kosana" as it was told, is that late in the fall of 1875, a small group of Indians from the Mono Lake Country had crossed the Sierra, to gather acorns. When they had finished, they started their return trip over the high pass, but were forced to turn back because of a heavy snow storm. Among this group was an old man named Kosana, a medicine man, more than 80 years old, and not strong. He died after the exposure and the strenuous trip into the Valley. His followers set up camp near the site of the present park museum where they built their u-ma-cha, with canvas and long slabs of incense cedar bark.

Some white men made a fine coffin for the deceased Kosana, he was buried just south of the large rock that is seen near the southeast corner of the Yosemite Museum.

Kosana had a young daughter at the time of his death, who was none other than "Ta-bu-ce" or Maggie, as she was known by her many friends in later years. Ta-bu-ce is an Indian name meaning "grass nut" the name her mother gave her.

Maggie had three husbands: first was Jack Lundy, second Billy Williams, and third Dan Howard. She had two sons: Willie Mike Williams, and Simon Slim Lundy.

After Maggie was married, she and her oldest son William, her sister’s daughter May Tom, age 14, and some others went up the Yosemite Falls trail, and camped somewhere in the upper Indian Canyon. This was after an Indian Festival. Maggie, after much dancing, was tired and went to sleep early. A high wind storm came up and blew down a large pine tree. Her niece May Tom was killed by this fallen tree. Maggie had her collar bone broken, her ankles and feet badly injured, and the bones in her right leg fractured. Her sister took her daughter to the Valley, and left Maggie for dead beneath the tree all night. The next day Charlie Dick and other Indians came for her. She doesn’t remember what happened during that long night. A doctor in the Valley set the bones. All summer she lay in a cast, barely able to move her right hand to shoo away the flies. In the fall she was able to walk a little. She never fully recovered from this, always walking with a decided limp.

Maggie lived many years in Yosemite Valley, and was well known by many park visitors; for some years she was employed by the park museum to give demonstrations, making acorn meal and mush. She made many "Hikis," baskets, and sold them to visitors.

Death came to her January 25, 1947, and she was buried at Bishop, California, Too much snow at Mono Lake prevented the burial there, her preferred resting place.

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