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Dry Creek Valley

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Historic Era Exploration

In September of 1810, the Spanish explorer Gabriel Moraga was sent north to investigate rumors of Russian movement into the area. After reaching Bodega Bay, he examined the plain to the northwest and found three streams, the Laguna Santa Rosa, Santa Rosa, and the Russian River (Beck and Haase 1974:18). His exact route is unknown, but he undoubtedly passed through or near the Healdsburg area.

Probably the first serious incursions into the area that is now greater Healdsburg were made after the settlement of Mission San Rafael in 1817, and shortly thereafter with the establishment of the military garrison and mission at Sonoma in 1823, when local Indians were recruited to work at the missions. Continuous military campaigns against the “Satiyomes” between 1830 and 1850,  as  well  as  early  Euro-American  settlement,  soon  drove  the  Native  Americans  into marginal areas. Eventually the federal government established two reservations, which were soon abandoned, with most of the remaining Russian River area Indians eventually returning, subsisting on the outskirts of the white settlements (HCRI 1983:2)