WARNING: This is an extract from the Quarterly List, converted into WEB format


Quarterly Review List 454

(45 names)

Released January 23, 2024





Change Kelseyville to Konocti


Proposed name


Proposal type

change name considered offensive

Current official name





Lorna Sue Sides; Kelseyville, CA

Date proposed


BGN case number


Quarterly Review List


Feature Details




Primary coordinates

38.9779531, -122.8394375



Feature class

Populated place (unincorporated)



Feature size

Approx. 2.9 sq. mi.



Feature description

Located along State Highway 29, S of Clear Lake, 6 mi. SE of Lakeport



Name history

Named in association with Mount Konocti, a name derived from the Pomo words ‘kno’ (mountain) and ‘htai’ (woman)


USGS primary topo map           Kelseyville 1:24,000

State(s)                                     California

County(s)                                   Lake County

PLSS   Secs 14,15,10&23, T13N, R9W, Mount Diablo Meridian Land ownership     Private


BGN decisions: none

Other Names

Unpublished names:  None found Published names:   o Kelseyville:  USGS 1921-2021; Lake County government website, highway map, county departments; Colton’s General Atlas of The World 1855; General Land Office 1878; Rand McNally and Company 1903, 1912; California State Earthquake

Investigation Commission 1908; John Bartholomew & Co. 1922; California Division of

Highways 1974; numerous other sources o Kelsey, Kelsey Creek, Kelsey Town, Peartown, Uncle Sam (Wikipedia)



Case Summary

This proposal is to change the name of Kelseyville, an unincorporated community in Lake County, to Konocti.  The proponent represents a group called Citizens for Healing, which reports: 


The name Kelsey is offensive to the local tribes and to many residents throughout the County.  [Andrew] Kelsey and partner Charles Stone enslaved, starved, abused, raped, tortured and murdered the Pomos living under their control.  In 1849, the Pomo held a tribal court and decided to execute Kelsey and Stone.  In revenge for their deaths, brothers Ben and Sam Kelsey, and their posse stormed Napa and Sonoma Counties indiscriminately killing Pomos.  The Pomos have not forgotten the Kelseys or the repercussions which continue to affect them.


She adds: “Out of respect for the local tribes and to promote healing in the community, we propose that the BGN changes the town’s name to Konocti.  Changing the name to ‘Konocti’ is a gesture to acknowledge the wrongs done to the original inhabitants of Lake County.”


The community acquired the name Kelseyville in the late 1840s and was named for Andrew Kelsey, reported to be the first European-American settler in the area that in 1861 would become Lake County.  According to Wikipedia, it has also been known as Kelsey, Kelsey Creek, Kelsey Town, Peartown, and Uncle Sam; the latter being an alternate name for Mount Konocti.  The murder of Pomo Indians ended with the Bloody Island Massacre (“a mass killing of indigenous Californians by the U.S. Military that occurred on an island in Clear Lake, California, on May 15, 1850”).  The Uncle Sam post office opened in 1858 and changed its name to Kelseyville in 1882.  Kelsey is buried at the site of the Stone & Kelsey home, “a house built by the Pomo, who were forced to do so by these two.”  One historical account states:


In the centuries before Europeans arrived, the Eastern Pomo and Clear

Lake Wappo people lived along the shores of Clear Lake.  In addition to the plentiful fish caught in the lake and streams, they hunted waterfowl and gathered berries, seeds, clover and acorn.  The Pomo and Wappo built homes and canoes of tule reeds found at the lakeshore.  Charles Stone and Andrew Kelsey were reportedly the first AngloAmerican colonists in the region arriving in the fall of 1847 to graze cattle and horses purchased from Mexican landholder Salvador Vallejo.  This was known as Big Valley Ranch.  Stone and Kelsey enslaved the Pomo and Wappo people, forcing them to work under threat of torture and death.  Many native people died of starvation and neglect.  Stone and Kelsey were also known to rape native women and girls.  Kelseyville became the first white settlement in Lake County.


The community was first named Kelseyville on USGS and Army Map Service maps in 1921 and has been labeled on numerous historical maps and other publications since as early as 1855.  As of the 2020 Federal Census, the population was 3,382 and the community comprised a total area of 2.9 square miles.


The proposed replacement name refers to Mount Konocti (BGN 1961) (Konokti Mountain was a 1917 BGN decision), an active volcano that rises 3,000 feet above Big Valley, 3.5 miles east of the community.  Online accounts report that the summit was named by the East Lake Tribe of Elem and that it is derived from “the Pomo ‘kno’, mountain, and ‘htai,’ woman.”  The proponent reports that the Elem are “our oldest existing tribe.  The Elem people have lived in the area for over 14,000 years.  The widespread use of the name Konocti by local business, art, and education communities evokes images of nature, art, music and recreation.”


She notes in her application that “Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (THPOs) discussed the proposed name change at their meetings, and all approved the use of the name Konocti.”


She also noted that there is local opposition to the change: 


[The] Kelseyville Business Association (KBA) is very active.  When their board held a vote regarding the name change, the members voted against it.  The Kelseyville area does not have any mechanism for a town wide discussion. 


A few people spoke against the name change during our meetings.  The main objections to the name change are:  sentimentality, erasing history, loss of branding, and too expensive.


Further, “Door to door canvassing identified both opponents and proponents of the name change.  News articles, radio call-in shows, and comments on social media identified people on both sides of the issue.” 


A change.org petition started in 2012 and addressed to Lake County, “propos[ed] a COUNTY-WIDE ballot initiative to change the name of ‘Kelseyville, CA’ to ‘Konocti, CA.’  It is proposed to be a county-wide initiative because the town name (be it ‘Kelseyville,’ ‘Konocti,’ or something else entirely) affects the entire county, and we are all invested in the health and morale of this county.”  The petition was subsequently closed, but at the time had 104 supporters.


A group named Save the Name of Kelseyville (“Save the Name, Tell the Story”) is adamantly opposed to the name change.  The chairman of the group notes:


[In this] farming community there are still many descendants of pioneer families.  To this day, we are a diverse rural, agricultural community.


Andrew Kelsey and his associate, Charles Stone, were horrific, abusive men to the local

Native Americans of our area.  Andrew and his associate were murdered by the local Native Americans in 1849.  No one from our community condones the abuse of those men.  The people of our community know this painful story and acknowledge it. It is part of our history.


[However] I have come to the conclusion that it was named Kelseyville, not to honor Kelsey, but because he was the first person to build a cabin in an unnamed area, a process which was happening in towns across our nation.


Changing the name of this town would create great financial and emotional pain to this small, rural agricultural/tourism community.  None of the members of Citizens for Healing own businesses in this town. . . .  To date, this group has still not reached out, personally, to anyone in our community or to any county officials for support. . . .  There is no support for this group from the merchants of our Main Street.


In addition to the community of Kelseyville, GNIS lists nearby Kelsey Creek and Old Kelsey Creek; these names are not included in proposal.  Kelseyville is also the name of a Census Designated Place.


In the vicinity of the community are Konocti County Park, and two private facilities named Konocti Harbor Resort and Konocti Vista Casino Resort.


Stakeholder Input                                                                                    

Local government                        Lake County Board of Supervisors             

                                                                       California Advisory Committee on             

State Names Authority  

Geographic Names

                                                                       All federally recognized Tribes                   

Federally Recognized Tribes    contacted under Policy X

                                                                       Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians of          Support

the Big Valley Rancheria

                                                                       Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake,           Support


                                                     Robinson Rancheria                                  Support

Other                                            Save the Name of Kelseyville                    Opposed

                                                     3 local residents                                        Support