Bridge Gulch Massacre

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The Bridge Gulch Massacre, also known as the Hayfork Massacre or Natural Bridge Massacre, occurred on April 23, 1852, when more than 150 Wintu people were killed by about 70 American men led by William H. Dixon, the Trinity County sheriff.


The massacre was in response to the killing of Colonel John Anderson by the Wintu. The Americans tracked the Wintu to a part of the Hayfork Valley known as Bridge Gulch, where they had made camp.[1] They waited until early morning before attacking, to ensure that nobody could escape. When daylight broke they attacked the Wintu, who were just beginning to awaken. More than 150 Wintu people were killed, with only two or three infants surviving the attack.[2] Those Wintu killed in the massacre were not responsible for the death of John Anderson, who was killed by Wintu from a different band.[3]


The natural bridge is 150 feet (46 m) long and about 30 feet (9.1 m) high,[1] on Dobbins Gulch Road. Trails are administered by the U.S. Forest Service at the Natural Bridge Picnic Area off of Wildwood Road (County Road 302).[4]

See also[edit]

Coordinates: 40°29′31.28″N 123°6′14.36″W / 40.4920222°N 123.1039889°W / 40.4920222; -123.1039889


  1. ^ a b Hoover, Mildred Brooke and Douglas E. Kyle, Historic Spots in California: Fourth Edition, Stanford University Press, 1990 - 617 pages, 19512813, accessdate January 3, 2013
  2. ^ Norton, Jack (1979). Genocide in Northwestern California: When Our Worlds Cried. San Francisco: Indian Historian Press. pp. 51–54. 
  3. ^ "Natural Bridge of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest". Retrieved January 3, 2013. 
  4. ^ Natural Bridge Interpretive Trail, accessdate January 3, 2013