Bibliography on the Indians of Suisun Valley









(scholarly studies and historical accounts)



Primary References

Bancroft, Hubert Howe (1885), "History of California: Vol. II, 1901-1824" in The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft, A.L. Bancroft & Co., San Francisco, California, v. XIX, p. 91-92 (Moraga's fight at Suisun).

Benney, James (2006), North American Indian Sites in the East Bay Hill: A Guidebook, Rocky Ridge Publications, Orinda, California, 61 p.

Bay Area Native Sites website. An expanded version of Benney's (2006) guidebook. It also includes sites in the Suisun Valley area. Last accessed on 2018-14-02.

Bennyhoff, James (1961), The Ethnogeography of the Plains Miwok, Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation in Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley. --- This is the main source for the native villages shown on the map by Johnson (1978) of Patwin Tribal Territory and Villages.

Boulé, Mary Null (1992), California Native American Tribes: Patwin Tribe, Merryant Publishing, Vashon, Washington, 52 p. --- This is one volume of a series of books on the California Indians prepared with younger readers in mind. Though the author is not an authority, it is reasonably well researched and nicely illustrated. We recommend this as a good place to start for younger readers in grades 1-6 who want to learn more about the Indians of Suisun Valley, but are not ready yet for the other references we list.

Bowen, Jerry (2000), "Chief Solano's Favorite Wife Tells Her Story" in The Reporter (newspaper), Vacaville, California, Issue Jan. 6, 2000.

Bowen, Jerry (2006), "The Story of Chief Solano" in The Reporter (newspaper), Vacaville, California. This is a combination of the following three articles: "PART 1 - Asistencia Built Near Rockville" (Issue Oct. 29, 2006), "PART 2 - Francisco Solano becomes a mission alcalde" (Issue Nov. 12, 2006), and "PART 3 - Buckeye tree may be Chief Solano burial site" (Issue Nov. 26, 2006).

Bowen, Jerry (2010a), Suisun Indian Timeline, Solano History Exploration Center (online website), Suisun City, California - Last accessed 2018-02-14

Bowen, Jerry (2010b), Jerry Bowen's research on Indians and Mission Santa Eulalia (Old Stone Building Sparks New Historical Research and Discoveries), Solano History Exploration Center (online website), Suisun City, California - Last accessed 2018-02-23. --- This is more or less an updated version of Bowen (2006) listed above.

Central Solano County Cultural Heritage Commission (1977), "The Indian Presence and the Coming of the Europeans" in Our Lasting Heritage: An Historic and Archaeological Preservation Plan for Central Solano County, Prepared by the Central Solano County Cultural Heritage Commission as authorized by the Solano County Board of Supervisors, p. 11-18. --- James Bennyhoff (Anthroplogy Dept., Calif. State Univ. at Sonoma), Delbert True (Anthroplogy Dept., Univ. of Calif. at Davis), and Karen Nissen (Archaelogical Research Facility of the Univ. of Calif. at Berkeley) are acknowledged as contributors.

Cook, Sherburne F. (1978), "Historical Demography" in Handbook of North American Indians - California (Robert F. Heizer, ed.), Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., v. 8, p. 91-98. --- Population estimates of California Indians from 1770 (pre-European contact) to the present.

Graph of California Indian Population: 1770-1950 based on data from the above article by Sherburne (1978).

Heizer, R.F. (1966), "Map of Native Tribes, Groups, Language Families and Dialects of California in 1770" in Languages, Territories, and Names of California Indian Tribes, University of California Press, Berkeley, California, Map 4.

Johnson, Patti J. (1978), "Patwin" in Handbook of North American Indians - California (Robert F. Heizer, ed.), Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., v. 8, p. 350-360.

The map from the above by Johnson (1978) of "Patwin Tribal Territory and Villages" is available here. It is based largely on Bennyhoff, 1961 (see above).

Kroeber, Alfred L. (1925), "Chapter 26: The Wintun: Geography and Culture" in Handbook of the Indians of California, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., p. 351-363.

Kroeber, Alfred L. (1932), The Patwin and their neighbors, University of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology, Berkeley, California, v. 29, p. 253-423.

McKern, W.C. (1923), "Patwin Houses" in American Ethnology (A.L. Kroeber, ed.), University of California Publications, Berkeley, California, v. XX, no. 10, p. 159-171.

Milliken, Randall (1993), "Ethnographic and Ethno-historic Context for the Archaeological Investigation of the Suisun Plain, Solano County, California" in Archaeological Data Recovery at Prehistoric Site CA-Sol-355/H, Green Valley, Solano County, California (edited by R. Wiberg), Unpublished report prepared by Holman and Associates, San Francisco, California.

Northrup, Marie (1984), Spanish-Mexican Families of Early California: 1769-1850, Southern California Genealogical Society, Burbank, California, 2 v. --- There is nothing here on the Suisun Indians, but this is a valuable reference on the families of Gabriel Moraga, Jose Sanchez and Mariano Vallejo, all of whom play important roles in the history of the Suisune.

Peterson, Marcus (1957), The Career of Solano, Chief of the Suisuns, Masters of Arts Thesis, University of California at Berkeley, 93 p.

Powers, Stephen (1874), "The California Indians - The Patweens" in Overland Monthly and Out West Magazine, v. 13, n. 6 (Dec. 1874), p. 542-550. --- An earlier serialized version of the Patwin chapter in Powers (1877).

Powers, Stephen (1877), "Pat-win' (Chapter XXIV) of Tribes of California" in Contributions to North American Ethnology, Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., v. III, p. 218-228.

Solano, Isidora Filomena (1874), AUTOBIOGRAPHY: Isidora, widow of California Indian chief, Solano (Recorded by Henry Cerutti and certified by Salvador Vallejo and M.A. McLaughlin), No. 12, an annotated transcript of an interview conducted by Henry Cerutti on April 10, 1874 at Mariano Vallejo's home in Sonoma, California. Manuscript kept at The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 10 p. Also available online at OAC (Online Archive of California). Last accessed on 2018-02-23.

Vallejo, Mariano (1850), "Derivation and Definition of Solano County" in History of Solano County (by J.P. Munro-Fraser, published 1879), Wood, Alley & Co., San Francisco, California, p. 17-18.

Popular Reading (but less historical value)

Dingler, Nancy (2000), "Rockville Park - Site of Massacre in 1810" in Solano Daily Republic (newspaper), Fairfield, California, Issue Sept. 22, 2000.

Farmer, Tom (1999), "The Crossroads: A History of the Fairfield-Suisun Area" in The Heritage Collection: Sites, Structures and History of Fairfield and Vicinity (Compiled by The Heritage Society of West Central Solano for the City of Fairfield), Wheeler Printing, Inc., Allejo, California, p. 94-104.

Konti, Kris Delaplan (1995), "Tragic Demise of the People of the West Wind" in The Reporter (newspaper), Vacaville, California, Issue Feb. 26, 1995.

Minahan, Eileen (1959), The Story of Chief Solano of the Suisun Indians, Campbell Printing Company, Fairfield, CA, 16 p.






(with galleries of their pictures)



Henry B. Brown (1816-1860)

Henry Brown was a portrait artist and engraver who was commissioned in 1852 by John Russell Bartlett to draw landscapes and views of Indians in Northern California. He also assisted Bartlett with collecting Indian vocabularies, and making maps for a book that Bartlett subsequently published in 1854 as "A Personal Narrative of Explorations and Incidents in Texas, New Mexico, California, Sonora and Chihuahua". Some of Brown's drawings were subsequently collected and published over a hundred years later in 1977 in "Drawn from Life: California Indians in Pen and Brush" by Theodora Kroeber, Albert B. Elsasser, and Robert F. Heizer.

Women, Upper Sacramento Valley
(drawn May 1852)

Chino Village near Monroeville, California
(drawn May 1852)


Louis Choris (1795-1828)

Louis Choris was a Ukrainian-born artist who served as the botanical illustrator on a Russian scientific expedition, which sailed along the coast of California and spent October of 1816 anchored in San Francisco Bay. This gave Choris an opportunity to visit the San Francisco Mission and draw the Indian and Spanish inhabitants. His drawings were included in an official report written in Russian, but he also published a private edition of them in French. The Russian caption to the lower left illustration from Choris' work identifies the naked Indians as Ocholovonis (Cholvon), who were a subgroup of the so-called Northern Valley Yokuts, whereas the French caption identifies them simply as Yukut (Yokut).

French translation: "Northern Valley Yukut [Yokut] Indians hunting on bay of San Francisco, California". (drawn 1816)

Inhabitants of California. 1) Ululato, 2) Numpali [probably Olompali],
3) Suysum [Suisun], 4) Olumpali, 5) Tcholovoni (Cholvon). (drawn 1816)


Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952)

Edward Sheriff Curtis was an American photographer who took over 40,000 photographs of members of more than 80 North American tribes, and published 500 of those photos in a 20-volume work titled "Indians of North America". Although he did not include the Patwin tribe in his work, he took many photographs of the Pomo, who lived just to the west of the Patwin and had similar customs and traditions. Hence his photographs of the Pomo, many of which were taken in the 1920s, also provide insights into the ways of the Patwin. It is not certain that he took the lower left photograph of the Pomo warrior, but it is similar to others of the Pomo that he is know to have taken.

Pomo warrior with stick armor
(photographed in the 1920s?)

Pomo dancer with feather headress
(photographed in the 1920s)


William Huff (1903-1993)

William Gordon Huff is best known as the artist who in 1934 sculpted the statue of Chief Solano that today stands in front of the Solano County Events Center in Fairfield. He also worked on several art pieces in 1939 for the Golden Gate International Exposition (World's Fair) on Treasure Island in San Francisco. These included six dioramas for an exhibit by the Paleontological Museum of the University of California at Berkeley. Huff later made the Suisune Indian drawing below, and presented it in 1950 to Henry Camp, who was on the Paleontological Musem staff. Camp was probably one of the people Huff had worked with on the World's Fair exhibit. Huff was also a close friend of Solano County historian Rodney Rulofson, and sculpted the memorial medalion for Rulofson that is displayed at the Pena Adobe and shown below and right.

Chief Solano Statue
(dedicated in 1934)

Village of the Suisun Indians
(drawn circa 1950)

Memorial medalion for historian Rodney Rulofson
(dedicated in 1976)


Dan Liddell

Dan Liddell was the principal illustrator for Mary Null Boulé's series of books on "California Indian Tribes". His biography on the back of Null's book an the "Patwin Tribe" reads, "Illustrator Daniel Liddell has been creating artisitic replicas of Native American artifacts for several years, and his paintings reflect his own Native American heritage. His paternal grandmother was full-blood Chickasaw." Liddell's illustrations below all appear in Book Fifteen of the series, which was published in 1992, and deals specifically with the Patwin Tribe

Yokuts man building a hut
(drawn 1992)

Ohlone Man in deer hunting regalia
(drawn 1992)

Pomo Warrier dressed for battle
(drawn 1992)


Stephen Powers (1840-1904)

Stephen Powers between 1871 and 1876 traveled several thousand miles through northern and central California studying the culture, beliefs, languages, art forms and history of the Native Californian Indian groups and tribes. His studies first appeared as series of articles on the "Tribes of California", printed from 1872-73, primarily in the Overland Monthly Journal. The series was then edited, reworked and jointly published as a book in 1877 by the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Bureau of Ethnological Studies at the Smithsonian Institution. Noted anthropologist Alfred L. Kroeber of the University of California at Berkeley praised Powers' work and wrote that his book "... will always remain the best introduction to the subject".

Patwin chapter - Earth-lodges of the Sacramento Valley
(drawn 1876-77)

Miwok chapter - Acorn granaries.
(drawn 1876-77)

Miwok Chapter - A sweat and a cold plunge
(drawn 1876-77)


Rodney Rulofson (1901-1975)

Rodney Rulofson was a photographer, newspaper columnist and historian, who from 1965 to 1975 was also the first curator of the Pena Adobe Museum. There is a medalion of Rulofson by sculptor and artist William Gordon Huff displayed on an outdoor memorial at the museum. The plaque on the memorial reads, "He loved the Indian people and their culture. This council ground is dedicated to his memory by the Indian community of Northern California --- March 28, 1976". Three of Rulofson's photos are shown below.

Rulofson's collection of Suisun Indian artifacts
(date unknown)

The Rockville petroglyphs
(date unknown)

Woman making a rubbing of the Rockville petroglyphs
(date unknown)


Platon Vallejo (1841-1925)

Platon Vallejo (1841-1925) was the son of General Mariano Vallejo, and he ultimately became a doctor in the town Vallejo, which is named for his father. He is said to be California's first-born physician. When he was a boy in the late 1840s he personally knew his father's friend and ally Francisco Solano, the so-called "Chief of the Suisun Indians". He also knew Solano's wife Isidora Filomena, as the Vallejo family permitted her in the final years of her life in the 1870s to live on their land at their home in Sonoma. Platon many years later carved bas-relief portraits of Solano and Isidora, and these are the only likenesses of them that were made by someone who actually knew them. It is not known if these carvings survive today, but it seems unlikely that they do. It is also not known who is responsible for the photographs below, but they represent the only existing records of Vallejo's carvings.

Bas-relief of Chief Solano
(date unknown)

Bas-relief of Isidora Solano
(date unknown)