The Achulet Massacre was an 1854 massacre of more than 65 Tolowa people by European-American settlers at the village of Achulet (Tolowa: 'Ee-chuu-le',) near Lake Earl in Klamath County (now Del Norte County, California). In the years between 1845 and 1855, many Easterners and immigrants had migrated to California in the climactic years of the gold rush. This village developed as a huge shipping and trade center.
The Anglo people were also eager to acquire land occupied by the Tolowa. This led to a very brutal encounter between the two groups. An Indian was suspected of stealing the horse of a white man. In response, armed whites hid in the brush near the village at night, agreeing not to shoot until the Tolowa left their dwellings in the morning. At daybreak the whites fired as soon as someone emerged into the village, and then the men, women, and children of the village were "shot down as fast as the whites could reload their guns". Some Tolowa tried to escape into Lake Earl; armed whites pursued them, shooting whenever the Tolowa showed above the waterline. The attackers reported killing 65 Indians, but this tally did not include victims whose bodies sank in the lake.
After the attack, the settlers renamed the village as Pay Way, after Old Pay Way, one of the few Tolowa survivors.
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