These interns rely on “guilt by association” throughout their paper, and draw an unsupported conclusion that Mr. Zehndner’s “history reflects him to be an opportunist who took advantage of the Indian indenture system in California.”
According to the article, the most damning information about Mr. Zehndner seems to be that a 7-year-old girl named “Lucy” was living in Zehndner’s home.
Where are their facts to draw the conclusion that “Lucy” was “his” indentured servant? Other adults, including George Zehndner’s brother were apparently living in the home. The article states:
“How this indenture came about is unknown.” Unknown. Then the article lists information about the truly despicable vigilante groups and their atrocities in the area, as well as the deplorable governmental policies that encouraged those activities in the 1850s and ’60s.
The implication seems to be that Zehndner was supportive of those activities. Was he? Do we know that? Is there actual proof that Zehndner did support these groups? If so, it needs to be included in the paper.
At the time of the Indian Island Massacre, Zehndner’s hero, William McKinley was 17 years old – it would be decades after those atrocities that he would first be elected President of the United States.
I will admit to knowing very little about Mr. Zehndner, but one of my degrees is in American History, so I’ve written my share of history papers. On this one, I’d say A for the research that traced Zehndner’s path to Humboldt, but D on the unsupported conclusion the paper draws.
Frank Simons is a Mad River Union subscriber.