Mielquieres, Santa Cruz Island

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Mielquieres, Santa Cruz Island [Sp., honey if you want], is said to be named for an Indian who approached boats asking if they had honey, hence the name. According to John Johnson, there was a local Indian named Melquiades.

The Mielquieres range lies on the north side of the island from the Montañon to the Potrero Norte. It is composed of steep cuchillos and deep canyons. The chief grasses are wild oats, foxtail and alfilerilla. Most of this region is covered with pine and scrub oak, but there are some grassy hillsides and flats. The soil is generally thin and contains much broken limestone float and shale. A perennial stream in a deep canyon rising a short distance from the ocean is the only water supply. It is best adapted to sheep in summer because of its steep slopes and location of water. [Symmes 1922:29]


According to Fernando Librado, who told anthropologist John P. Harrington:

“Captain [George] Nidever and an Indian names Malquiares found a woman on San Nicolas Island rolling silver in her hands to make abalorio [shell bead money] [JPH/FL: Hudson 1978b: 151]. [Hudson, Travis Recently discovered Accounts Concerning the "Lone Woman" of San Nicolas Island in Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology 3(2), 1981.]
“The woman would go to get water at low tide, and this was her drinking water. Malquiares [sic] spoke to her at Captain Nidever's request. Malquiares told Fernando that when they encountered the woman, she sang the following song...” [JPH/FL: Hudson 1978b: 152]. [Hudson, Travis Recently discovered Accounts Concerning the "Lone Woman" of San Nicolas Island in Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology 3(2), 1981.]


“... The Indian man greeted them with "mielquieres" meaning in his broken Spanish, "I want honey," a greeting that had no doubt given to other visitors to the island and by which he became known among vaqueros. His story to the vaqueros was that while just a child he had been taken from Santa Cruz Island with his parents to the Mission on the mainland. He grew up with a longing to return to the island, so after the Chumash revolted from the Mission in 1824, he took this opportunity to escape by paddling his canoe over to Santa Cruz. Fish, birds, seals, and acorns comprised his food on the island. Mielquieres was described as an old man of medium height, powerfully built, and with long hair. His small grass and tule hut was located a few miles east of Prisoners' Harbor, and is today called Mielquieres. What became of him no one knows, except that he was seen only infrequently and then not at all. No trace was ever found of his canoe or his hut.”



In the News~

October 21, 1859: “An account of the time and pay [$2861.32] of men employed by Abel Stearns received in the case of John C. Coffin vs. A. B. Thompson, et al. At the Island of Santa Rosa, commencing May 18th, 1859 and ending October 17, 1859, being five months: … Milquerez… Dixey W. Thompson, being duly sworn, says that the foregoing is a true and correct statement of the time opf service and wages of men employed at the Island of Santa Rosa by Abel Stearns, receiver in the case of John C. Jones and A. B. Thompson et al… Dixey W. Thompson.”