Puyallup Indian Agency Report 1865

WASHINGTON SUPERINTENDENCY

Office Puyallup Agency,

Olympia, Washington Territory, September 6, 1865

Sir: I have the honor to submit the following annual report of the condition of the Indian tribes under my charge as an Indian agent: I take pleasure in referring to decide the improvement of their condition within the last year. Many of these people are becoming industrious and practical farmers. When I was given the job as an Indian agent and was assigned to this agency by your predecessor, they were in a prosperous condition. They had very little to work with in the way of farming, notwithstanding the government that had made up an ample provision for all of these things. And there is no doubt that they had been furnished. The employees that were placed on the reservation didn’t seem to comprehend the job they had been assigned to by the government. The job was simple all they had to do was make a treaty with them to relocating them on many reservations. They seemed to think that it was a universal opinion as far as I could tell. On the reservations there were so many asylums for the lazy and indolent men who happened to be the favorites of the party in power. The whole machinery of the Indian department was to used as a political stepping-stone to some demagogue to a seat in congress. I have been accosted time and again by persons asking a solutions on some one of my reservations, saying, ”I am unable to work, and would like to have a place in the Indian department,” although the Indian department was a refuge for the lazy, drunken and vicious men.

My experience in management of Indians in order to the improvement of their condition is, that the less intercourse they have with the whites outside of the Indian service the better; and in order that I may accomplish my purpose in carrying out my views and the instructions given to me by the department. I have instructed the employees to not let any one of vicious habits come on the reservation except to accomplish legitimate business and then leave.

The four tribes under my charge are in a far more prosperous condition than ever before, particularly the Puyallup and Chehalis. You will see from the report of Mr.Billings, assistant farmer in charge of the Puyallups, a copy of which will accompany this report, that they have received for produce sold and labor done for whites outside the sum of $6,215. I have not yet received reportsfrom any of the other reservations except the Chehalis, a copy of which is herewith transmitted. The crop on this reservation has been harvested and secured from the rains some time since, which is what few farmers in the country can say of their crops. I have, in order to induce the Indians all to work, instructed the employees to inform them that unless they work they will not have a share in the crop: and not only to teach them so, but to enforce the rule.

We have yet some difficulty in our endeavors to overcome those old habits and practices which, to a considerable degree, still linger among them: I allude to polygamy, the flattening the heads of their children, necromancy in the healing of the sick, and the murder of the necromancer in the case of a fatal termination of the disease. They have murdered two of their doctors since I have been in charge, and made an attempt to murder the third.

I think I have succeeded in alarming them to such a degree that they will not again commit the act. The few weeks ago some of the Nisquallies came to me and asked me if I would not reverse my decision in regard to their right to kill their doctors; they said one of their doctors had caused the death of one of their best women, and they thought he ought to die; but I told them emphatically that if they killed him every one engaged in it should be hung- so the doctor has not been killed. Occasionally a case occurs, where the parties have been drinking, that an Indian gets killed. A case of this kind occurred on the Chehalis river, several miles above the reservation, about a month and a half since. An Indian, about thirty years of age, made an attack on his father in law, who stabbed the young man in the abdomen, which caused his death in a few days; surgical aid was secured, but he could not be saved. A very short time afterwards a friend of the young Indian killed the old man. The only way to put a stop to those tragedies, in my judgement, is to make an example of the offenders by a prosecution in a criminal court. If this was done, and a conviction of the criminal, there would be no more cases of murder among them. I think it will have it’s effect.

This is the eleventh year of the Medicine Creek treaty, and very little, considering the amount of money appropriated by the government, has been accomplished. In that length of time the Indians, under the care of good, honest, religious, and practical men, would have been far advanced in civilization; but, unfortunately for them and the government, no interest has been taken in their welfare. The pay at the end of the quarter was the great desideratum. Their knowledge of agriculture and mechanics in eleven years ought to have been far in advance of what it is. Nine years more and the treaty of Medicine Creek will have expired, and almost all that the government contemplated in reference to these tribes is yet to be accomplished. The object of the government, as I understand it, is to prepare them to take care of themselves when the twenty years has been fulfilled. In order, therefore, to enable them to do this, the farmer must give them a practical idea of agriculture. The carpenter must instruct them in the art of building houses. The blacksmith must teach them the use of his tools, in order that they may be able to repair or make their own plows, hoes, and axes. The employees upon the reservations at the present time fully understand their duties to the government and the Indians, and will, I have no doubt, faithfully discharge them. None of my predecessors have ever given instructions to the carpenter or blacksmith to take an apprentice. There are a number of boys, some of whom are half-breeds, who ought to be at trades, and it is my purpose, so soon as I can make proper arrangements for their board and lodging, to have them learning carpentry and blacksmithing. I have one already learning the blacksmith’s trade, and he is making great progress. Our school, owing to the death of Mrs. Wylie, who was employed as teacher, and for wants of a house, and the means to prepare one, has been suspended for the present. Accompanying this report I transmit the report of C.H. Spinning, the physician, which will furnish you with all the information necessary as to the diseases among the Indians and their treatment, with some important suggestions.

I would respectfully call your attention to the agreement on the part of the government found in the 10th article of the treaty of Medicine Creek. “The expenses of the said school, shops, employees and medical attendance, to be defrayed by the United States, and not deducted from the annuities.”

Now, sir, for some cause unknown to me, there has been a deficiency in the incidental fund for this service, and I have not been able to meet the expenses which are necessary to keep up the school and supply the carpenter and blacksmith with material to carry on their work without using other funds.

And furthermore, in the remittance for the 1st and 2nd quarters 1865, there was a deficit in the employee’s fund for beneficial objects amounting $90.50, which should be forwarded. If the incideental funds for the 1st and 2nd quarters 1864 had been remitted, as they should have been there would have been no necessity for intrenching upon other funds.

I believe I have called your attention to all the points of importance necessary for you to consider at the present time.

Mashel (sometimes Maxon) Massacre, The (March 1856)

The incident known as the Mashel Massacre occurred in late March 1856 on the Mashel prairie just north of the confluence of the Mashel and Nisqually rivers (present-day Pierce County). It was the last episode of the Puget Sound Indian war that had begun in 1855. Governor Isaac Stevens ordered the Washington Mounted Rifles up from the Columbia River.  These volunteers were led by Captain Hamilton J. G. Maxon (1813-1884). During a series of patrols around the Nisqually River vicinity, Maxon’s men killed a number of Indians who were in hiding in the dense forest.  The exact count of deaths varied, ranging from as few as eight to as many as 30. Most accounts agree that the dead were women, children, and elderly men, largely unarmed and fleeing for their lives. These events have been a point of contention and controversy ever since. This essay reviews the event and the accounts surrounding it.

Puget Sound Indian War

In late 1855, conflict between the Indians east of the Cascade Mountains and American soldiers and settlers spilled over the mountain passes, igniting what has come to be known as the Puget Sound Indian War.  Hostilities commenced on October 27, 1855, in what is often called the White River Massacre, in which nine white settlers were killed and others driven from their homes.  The next six months would come to be known as the time of the blockhouses, as these log forts sprang up across the landscape of the southern Puget Sound.  The fighting was usually desultory and indecisive, but the Indians were slowly starved into submission, as they could no longer follow their traditional subsistence lifestyle.

The last major battle of the Puget Sound Indian War occurred on March 10, 1856, at a ferry on the White River, another indecisive skirmish.  A few days later, Leschi (1808-1862), the most influential Nisqually Indian leader, led his group of about 70 over the pass to the Yakama Country, and hoped for safety (Leschi was later brought back to the Puget Sound area and hanged).  The shooting war was nearly done, but one last drama played out that would leave a lasting mark on the region, an incident known to local history as the Mashel Massacre.

Stevens and Maxon

Even though the war was approaching its close, Isaac I. Stevens (1818-1858), the Governor of Washington Territory, turned his outrage against former Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) men and their mostly Indian families.  These men had farmed with the Puget Sound Agricultural Company, and staked their own claims after the HBC had largely disbanded following the 1846 boundary settlement.  These farmers had quietly gone about their lives while other settlers fearfully cowered in the blockhouses through the winter.  Said Stevens, “Whoever can remain on his claim unmolested is an ally of the enemy and must be dealt with as such.”  To impose his will and to spread fear among the Indians, Stevens ordered the Washington Mounted Rifles up from the Columbia River.  These volunteers were led by Captain Hamilton J. G. Maxon (1813-1884), a tough and experienced Indian fighter whose loyalty was unquestionably with Stevens.During a series of patrols around the Nisqually River vicinity, Maxon’s men killed a number of Indians who were in hiding in the dense forest.  The exact count of deaths varied, ranging from as few as eight to as many as 30. The majority of accounts agree that the dead were women, children, and elderly men, largely unarmed and fleeing for their lives.  These events have been a point of contention and controversy ever since.  The various accounts warrant a thorough review, although the entire truth can never be known.

What Happened That Day

On March 18, 1856, Governor Stevens ordered Maxon to search the area around the lower reaches of the Nisqually River.  He was instructed to cooperate with friendly Indians under the command of W. B. Gosnell.  These were to be identified by red bands wrapped around their blue caps.  All other Indians were to be considered hostile.  Maxon’s men seized cached provisions but found no Indians or Hudson’s Bay Company men, and the patrol was concluded on March 23.  Three days later, James Tilton, Adjutant General of the Washington Volunteers, ordered Maxon to lead another patrol, this time toward the headwaters of the Nisqually and Puyallup rivers.  Captain S. C. Achilles, commanding another unit of volunteers, was to assist Maxon.

Notes taken by Private A. J. Kane, who accompanied the expedition, were printed in the April 11, 1856, edition of the Pioneer and Democrat, an Olympia newspaper.  Since it is the only first-person account of Maxon’s scout, during which the Mashel Massacre occurred, Kane’s notes are reprinted here in their entirety:

“On the 29th ult., leaving their horses at McLeod’s, Pierce county, with a guard of 16 men, Capt. Maxon, with the balance of his company in conjunction with Captain Achilles, of the same battalion, and a detachment of 18 men — in all about 58 strong, accompanied by an Indian guide, that had been made a prisoner at the Yelm prairie, a few days previous, proceeded up the Nisqually river, where, at some distance eastward, the Indian referred to, reported a band of hostiles encamped.  The command struck into the timber, on foot, with six days rations, on a trail leading to the forks of the Nisqually and Michael rivers, near the residence of Mr. L. A. Smith, and proceeded eastward to a small prairie. Finding a horse there, they supposed Indians were in the neighborhood; surrounded the prairie, but found none. Proceeded on to Olalley lake, at which place, fresh sign of moccasin, horse and dog tracks, were discovered. Scouts were sent out, but ascertaining that there were no Indians in the immediate neighborhood, the command encamped for the night. Started next morning at day-light, believing a band might be found at a small lake, distant some three or four miles. Found no Indians there. Breakfasted and started on — experienced considerable difficulty in further finding or following the trail — crossed a swamp between the two lakes spoken of — where, on the advance guard reaching the opposite side, the barking of dogs was heard, and word sent back that there were Indians ahead. Capt. Maxon then divided the command in the centre, and moving by the right and left flanks, made a surround, when an Indian called “Chuck-nose,” and two women and children come forward and surrendered. Two other Indians were then discovered on the retreat — were fired upon, they returning the shot. Subsequently one was killed and the other taken prisoner. The prisoners there taken, then gave information of a band of some six others, having a number of horses, at a small prairie on the eastern side of the Owhop river. Went there — found that they had left but recently, as the ashes at the camp ground were yet warm. Found there eleven head of horses and two colts. Also, a large sack of jerked beef. This happened very opportune, inasmuch as in the melee in the morning, some of the men had lost all their rations. Made a careful search, and encamped for the night there. Next morning, at day-light, Capts. Maxon and Achilles, with a portion of the command, pushed out for the forks of the Nisqually and Michael. The balance were ordered to remain in camp. Ascertaining to a certainty that the hostiles were close by, the plan adopted for procedure was very skillfully and adroitly arranged. It was determined to send into their camp, in advance, one of the Indian women taken the day before, to engage the hostiles in conversation, whilst they were being surrounded. This was managed on her part with great prudence. A portion of the party gained a position, unseen on the opposite side of the river, and the ranch containing the hostiles being completely surrounded, our volunteers crawled up to within twenty feet of it, when Capt. Mason gave the order to “close in.” The surprise was so complete that but one hostile gun was fired. Being encamped immediately on the bank of the Michael, after the first volley, they jumped into that stream with an object of gaining the opposite side, and making their escape; but they found themselves completely netted, as they were there met by the volunteers, that had previously crossed over. Three were killed directly in the stream, and two in the forks below. One Indian woman, only, it is supposed escaped. One of those killed was the tyee scoundrel “Skie-kie,” who, all the prisoners taken agree in saying led the party that murdered Messrs. Wm. White and Northcraft, near Eaton’s prairie and the Yelm. One fell by the hands of Capt. Achilles. Capt M. and party, then proceeded back to camp for breakfast. The horses taken, were then sent into Ft. Stevens, Yelm prairie, in charge of the Indian boy, taken out as guide — the Indian women and children accompanying.

“At 12 o’clock M., a reconnoitering party of 10 men were dispatched to the scene of the engagement in the morning, and to cross the Michael at its fork with the Nisqually river, whilst the balance of the command proceeded to cross the Michael about a mile above, in search of the trail which it was said led to ‘Jim’s’ encampment — distant about one day’s march — where the prisoners reported a large band of horses had been collected. Previous to crossing that stream, however, a party of Indians, supposed to be five or six in number, were discovered crossing over on a log. They were immediately fired upon by the advance guard, killing one and from appearances, seriously wounding another. The balance gaining the opposite side, fled rapidly down that stream, pursued by the volunteers; but the banks being very steep and rugged, the party lost considerable time in gaining the table land, and searching the brush for them. The first notification that the detachment at the forks had of an attack above, or of the presence of Indians in their vicinity, was given by one jumping into the Michael with an object apparently of making across the Nisqually; in attempting to do which, the current in the first mentioned stream being very rapid, he was washed to within 20 feet of the shore, where he was fired upon, killed and carried down. He would have been brought ashore, but at this moment another Indian was discovered in the forks, and not knowing but that a large band was hovering around, an order was given for all to retire to the brush re-load and form for a regular engagement.  A careful search was then made on both sides of the Michael, and finding no further sign, proceeded up that stream, where, at a short distance they met the party above referred to coming down. All then proceeded up on either side of the river until next day between 10 and 11 o’clock, but finding no further fresh sign, or even trail, and being nearly out of provisions, it was deemed advisable to make the Owhop river in the homeward direction, in the hope of finding tyee ‘Jim’s’ band of horses, and a portion, at least, of the hostiles. It was also ascertained that by pursuing a direct north-westerly course, at least half a day’s march would be avoided in gaining the settlements. On their way in, they found where, but recently, a somewhat large encampment had been. Proceeded down — crossed the Tenook and encamped, and the next day the command reached the encampment at McLeod’s place, from whence it started, having been absent therefrom six days, and distant, thence, between 40 and 50 miles” (“Eight Hostiles Killed”).

Subsequent Accounts

Nothing in contemporary accounts indicates that anything unusual had occurred during Maxon’s late March scout up the Nisqually. Shots were fired, combatants were killed.  It was a litany repeated over and over, except this time there were no white casualties whatsoever. It was proclaimed a victory at a very low cost. The Pioneer and Democrat also noted that “Eight hostiles were killed, in all, during the excursion, three were taken prisoners, and of course the women and children were sent into the settlements unharmed” (“Eight Hostiles Were Killed”).  But Indian witnesses began to share stories of the killing of innocents who were not simply the victims of collateral damage. The first inkling of what might have happened that day to be recorded in the public record is in the account of A. V. Kautz, writing of his 1857 summer ascent of Mt. Rainier. During his approach to the mountain, Kautz visited the Mashel Prairie, a location that he was familiar with from a previous visit the year before as a soldier.  He left this record of his experience:

“This prairie takes its name from the stream near by, and is situated between it and the Owhap on a high table — land or bluff, not more than one or two miles from where these enter the Nesqually. It is perhaps half a mile long, and 200 or 300 yards wide at the widest point. The grass was abundant, and it was an excellent place to leave our horses. Fifteen months before, I had visited this spot, and camped near by with a small detachment of troops, searching for Indians who had hidden away in these forests, completely demoralized and nearly starving. A family of two or three men, and quite a number of women and children, had camped in the fork of the Mishawl and Nesqually, about two miles from this prairie, and were making fish-traps to catch salmon. When we fell in with them we learned that the Washington Territory volunteers had been before us, and with their immensely superior force had killed the most of them without regard to age or sex. Our own little command in that expedition captured about thirty of these poor, half-starved, ignorant creatures, and no act of barbarity was perpetrated by us to mar the memory of that success” (Augustus V. Kautz).

The Mashel Massacre goes unmentioned in several of the early major histories of the region, including those by Hubert Howe Bancroft (1890) and William Bonney (1927).  Hazard Stevens, his father’s biographer, has only this to say: “Major Maxon and his company scouted and searched the whole length of the Nisqually valley far into the range, leaving their horses and plunging into the tangled forests on foot, and on one of their scouts killed eight and brought in fourteen captives of the enemy” (Stevens).  Elwood Evans reports the events pretty much as they were stated in the Pioneer and Democrat article based on A. J. Kane’s notes, avoiding any judgmental accusations.

Yet the massacre story is present in many more modern treatments.  Where did these later writers get their information?  Largely it came from the efforts of two men of questionable integrity. One of these was attorney and judge, first in Washington and later in Alaska, James Wickersham (1857-1939).  On October 9, 1893, he addressed the Washington State Historical Society, discussing the unfair Medicine Creek Treaty and other causes of the Puget Sound Indian War. Toward the end of his presentation, he gave this sensationalized account of the Mashel Massacre:

“In the summer of 1856 Maxon’s company was sent up the Nusqually on a scout, and near the Meshall they came upon a camp of Indians.  They surrounded the camp and killed them all, — thirty-three persons, — men, women and children.  It was a fishing camp and there were but four or five men present and about twenty-eight women and children, all of who were cruelly murdered.  On being rebuked for killing the little children, one of this crowd of cut throats said ‘nits make lice,’ and for this reason these soldiers in the livery of Washington Territory beat out the brains of sixteen or seventeen children and threw the corpses into the Nisqully River.  But what report contains a history of this foul outrage?  What historian gloats over it and holds it up to scorn and condemnation along with the White River massacre?  The White River massacre was perpetrated by savages who saved the innocent children and fed them, warmed them and returned them to their friends; the Mashell massacre was perpetrated by fiends who slaughtered the innocent children without pity or shame.  Let the murdered women and children of Meshall be a lasting blot on Maxon’s company!” (Wickersham, 1893).

Wickersham was an anomaly — a white racist who hated the Chinese, but who was an enthusiast of Native American culture.  Undoubtedly he heard of the massacre story from Nisqually friends. But the statement above loses credibility in its yellow journalism.  Who were the witnesses who reported it, if all were killed?  Especially ludicrous is the use of the “nits make lice” quote, of Sand Creek Massacre infamy.  And what witness came forward who heard that statement?  The death count of 33 is the highest of any known.

It is said that Wickersham, like the other chronicler of the Mashel Massacre, Ezra Meeker (1830-1928), hated Hamilton Maxon. Why has not yet been determined for sure. Elwood Evans, first president of the Washington State Historical Society, apparently criticized Wickersham’s address and asked for evidence of the massacre, because Wickersham responded in another address given on October 30, 1893, and quoted from Ezra Meeker’s book Pioneer Reminiscences of Puget Sound. Through this quote Wickersham presents his rebuttal to Evans:

“Colonel Shaw returned to Camp Montgomery while Maxon’s company again turned south and east and went up the Nisqually to near the canyon, where they discovered a large fishing camp, and here they murdered everyone — men, women and children.  But Mr. Evans says, where is your record?  Such as it is, is on pages 307-8 of Governor Stevens’ war message (letter), which lies open before me.  Here is all there is of it: “We (Maxon) continued our returning course next on the trail, being generally in a south and east direction.  *  *  *  *  Again arrived at Michel prairie.  *  *  *  *  Having no provisions, I have come to this place, where I await orders.  Signed, H.J.G. Maxon, Capt. Com’d’g Mounted Rifles.

“Now, read those eight asterisks and you have the massacre.  The record is mutilated — it is wanting in completeness. When Governor Stevens printed his message with appendix, he found it too vile in this spot and cut out the account of the massacre — at any rate it should be in this very spot under date of April, 1856.  But it is not there and we must supply it” (Meeker 1905).

This was Wickersham’s first proof offered, that the massacre was present in Maxon’s letter, but that the pertinent information was struck from the record by Governor Stevens.  This first point has been proven false, as a result of some detective work by writer Abbi Wonacott, author of Where the Mashel Meets the Nisqually. The letter that Wickersham refers to does indeed appear in Message of the Governor of the Territory of Washington (Stevens 1857), in an appendix of attached correspondence.  And the puzzling asterisks are in the letter.  But Ms. Wonacott obtained a copy of the original Maxon letter from the Washington State Archives. The removed portions of the letter contain information concerning a later patrol by Maxon’s unit and provide no information on the Mashel Massacre. Why these unimportant details were cut from the record is not known.  It may have been done due to space considerations, but they were certainly not removed in an effort to conceal anything.  So, Wickersham’s first proof is an incorrect assumption.  In his address, he offered his second proof:

Under date of Sunday, August 21, 1892, the account of James Longmire, who was an intense partisan of Governor Stevens, was published in the Ledger and from that I quote one paragraph:

“About this time Governor Curry of Oregon sent a company of troops to our assistance, under Captain Miller.  Indians were still stealing horses and killing cattle.  A band of these robbers were followed by Captain Maxon to the Michel River, where the last one of them was killed” (Meeker, 1905).

These lines are a direct quote from the pages of the Tacoma Sunday Ledger, which published James Longmire’s account of his pioneer experiences (Tacoma Sunday Ledger, 1892).  But it is a long stretch to assume the massacre is referred to in that last sentence.  So Wickersham’s second proof is inconclusive.  Then he plays his trump card:

“Robert Thompson, who now lives at 24th and South C. Street, Tacoma, was present when Maxon’s company attacked this camp and I quote a letter from him on this subject:  ‘Tacoma, Oct. 29, 1893.’James Wickersham. — Dear Sir: I know about the killing of the Indians by Maxon’s company on the upper Nisqually.  They killed about fifteen to seventeen, maybe more.  [We know from other sources there were nearer thirty. – E. M.]  I saw the dead ones — two in the river.  There were but two men among them. (signed)     R. Thompson.’

“Mr. Thompson is known by all old settlers to be reliable, and in this matter he absolutely refused to state a number above those actually seen by him dead on the ground and the two in the river. The whole truth is that about thirty or more were cruelly massacred, nearly all being women and children” (Meeker 1905).

This evidence is more difficult to dismiss than Wickersham’s other two proofs.  But even this is somewhat suspect. For one thing, it is curious that this message turned up at his address just one day before his rebuttal address to the Washington State Historical Society.  And no trace of Thompson’s letter has ever been found. Thompson was attached to the Quarter Master Department, which handled supply and installation for the Army and the volunteers. So he could have been in the vicinity.  But he is not listed as a member of Maxon’s troop, or of Achilles.  Why Thompson was away from his unit, as an unauthorized participant in a strenuous search and destroy maneuver, is an unanswerable question.  The evidence for the Mashel Massacre, as presented by Wickersham and reiterated by Meeker, is therefore flimsy.Yet the real proof of the massacre is present in the Nisqually oral tradition.  Why did not Wickersham and Meeker simply use those accounts to prove that the massacre occurred?  It seems clear that these two prominent white men did not think that anyone would believe an Indian. So they went grasping after straws to construe a “white” account of the event.

Can Meeker’s Word Be Trusted?

Both Wickersham and Meeker, especially Meeker, do a disservice to Washington state history in their elevation of assumptions into fact and to their distortion of historic events.  Meeker’s disingenuousness is readily apparent in his book Pioneer Reminiscences of Puget Sound, in which he seeks to slander Hamilton Maxon and conceal his own past.  The following account of events is interesting and revealing of Meeker’s true character, in light of the popular view of him as a defender of the Indian cause and of Leschi in particular.  Remember: the subtitle of Meeker’s book is The Tragedy of Leschi.

In November 1857, Leschi was arrested and put on trial for the murder of a Puget Sound settler, Sampson Moses.  The first jury could not reach a unanimous verdict.  The primary argument for acquittal was that the killing occurred during a time of war, so could not be charged as a murder.  Meeker was on the jury, and urged acquittal.  Hopelessly deadlocked, the jury was dismissed.

A second trial didn’t include Meeker on the jury, and the verdict was “guilty as charged,” and the sentence was death.  Meeker’s argument for Leschi’s innocence is puzzling in light of his subsequent actions.

The date of execution was set at January 22, 1858.  But maneuvering by certain politicians prevented the death warrant from being issued.  When the execution day passed with Leschi still alive, many citizens rose up to protest the breakdown of law and order.  Mass meetings were held at which it was demanded that the verdict of Leschi be upheld.  One of these was chaired by Hamilton Maxon.

In his 1905 book, Meeker castigates Maxon for his participation in such a witch hunt, and reiterated his charge that Maxon “was known to have been engaged in the fiendish massacre of helpless women and children, the difference being that the location was on the Michel River and the number twice as great as the white people massacred by the Indians.”  Meeker goes on to admit attending a similar meeting, but insists it was only to express the citizen’s concern for the “total disregard of law in their midst.”  Meeker insists that his group, unlike Maxon’s, did not call for retribution against Leschi, “omitting any reference to the participation of the Indian Leschi in the massacre of women and children during the fall of 1855, for which he was not on trial, and in which the participants in the meeting did not believe he was guilty” (Meeker 1905).

The following is taken from the first resolution passed by the citizen’s meeting that Meeker attended: “We wish to express our indignation at the part of our said sheriff acted in the late farce of the non-execution of the sentence of the law and justice upon the notorious Indian Leschi, who a few short months since was murdering, in cold blood, our inoffensive and defenseless neighbors and their children, and would, had it been in his power, swept every civilized being from this fair land.”

Historian William Bonney identifies Meeker as the chairman of the meeting, and both he and the Pioneer and Democrat indicate that he was the first person to sign the resolutions.  This meeting was held on January 26, 1858.  On February 19, 1858, Leschi was hanged.  People like Ezra Meeker had sealed his fate.  Leschi’s executioner, Charles Grainger, was quoted as saying “I felt I was hanging an innocent man.”

Although Leschi was killed, his efforts to resist were not entirely in vain.  On January 19, 1857, a presidential Executive Order quadrupled the size of the original Nisqually reservation established by the Medicine Creek Treaty and included more desirable land.  Of course much of that land was returned when Ft. Lewis was created, many years later. On December 10, 2004, a special state historical court cleared Chief Leschi of murder charges.

Traditional Indian Accounts

According to Nisqually tribal member and author Cecilia Svinth Carpenter, “the story of the Mashel Massacre has always been a part of Nisqually oral tradition” (Cecilia Carpenter, personal communication with Abbi Wonacott, August 26, 2008).  These accounts have rarely, however, reached the expression of actual printed words.  Carpenter herself briefly reports the traditional accounts in her books on the Nisqually Indians (Carpenter 1994, 2002, 2004), but provides no references. The earliest evidence of the oral tradition, recorded mere weeks, or less, after the event, appears to be the account of A. V. Kautz, related earlier: “When we fell in with them we learned that the Washington Territory volunteers had been before us, and with their immensely superior force had killed the most of them without regard to age or sex” (Kautz, 1875).

The story of the Mashel Massacre was passed down through extended families, from generation to generation.  One such family was that of Billy Frank Jr., a Nisqually Indian and fishing rights activist.  Billy’s grandfather was a young boy at the time of the Puget Sound Indian War and passed his memories on to his descendents.  Although he was not a witness, he recalled stories that he was told.  He repeated these to his son, Billy Frank Jr., who related this version in a taped interview:

“Those Indians at the massacre, they were … up on the hill looking down at the place where the Mashel runs into the Nisqually.  They said the soldiers came on them and the Indians all ran down the hill and swam across the [Nisqually] and ran up the other side.  And the soldiers were shooting them from the top of the hill.  There was a woman carrying a baby on her back and they shot her.  She and the baby fell into the river and floated down … . Some of the young got away — climbed up the hill on the other side of the river.  I don’t know how many they killed, but there were a lot of them” (Wilkinson, p. 17).

Another account of the Mashel Massacre is that of Henry Sicade.  He was a Nisqually Indian, born in 1866, who received a college education and became a relatively wealthy farmer in the Puyallup Valley.  Active in politics, he was director of the Fife School for a number of years.  On April 10, 1917, he read a paper at a meeting of the Research Club of Tacoma, relating some of the oral traditions of the Nisqually and other Native American groups.  In his presentation Sicade relates this account of the Mashel Massacre:

“Shortly after this, the soldiers were pressing the Squallys and they retreated up the mountains, some getting away to the Yakima country.  About 40 to 50 women, children and babies and two old men were sent up Squally River to hunt a hiding place.  This part of the story is a sort of family history.  Seeing the party was rather large and making slow progress, a woman with her children suggested that the party travel in two or three sections so that they could be more easily managed.  The larger party of about thirty, including the two old men, decided to keep together and the smaller party promptly sheered off and was soon gone up the river bank and into the timbers.  Looking back as the last child was helped, the woman who acted as leader saw the larger party overtaken by a band of white men, every man armed.  The old men and the women were shot down, the defenseless children were killed and later the babies were found crushed against the boulders by the river and in the river, not a life being spared” (Sicade 1917).

When Sicade’s paper was printed in 1940, in a publication celebrating Washington state’s fiftieth Anniversary, it was preceded by a disclaimer: “Some points in the tradition as it came to Mr. Sicade do not tally with contemporary records, especially for some war events.  But events of Indian wars should not be judged by our civil laws” (Sicade, 1917).  Once again, whites do not really trust Indians to speak the truth.  And of course, oral traditions typically result in a wide variety of versions.

Terrible Things, and Shameful

What is clear, however, is that terrible things, and shameful, happened where the Mashel joins the Nisqually.  It seems impossible that we will ever know exactly what happened.  Some portray the tragedy as just another consequence of the folly that is war.  Prominent historian Aubrey Haines commented on the Mashel Massacre in just such a fashion: “That attack on the small band of Nisqually Indians led by Ski-hi is one of the least known events of the Indian war, and consequently, one of the most misrepresented.  It was not a ‘massacre’ but a surprise attack of a sort which was a standard tactic of Indian warfare and used by both white and red men” (Haines, 1999, p. 220).

Yet this simple description fails to explain why what happened left such an indelible mark on a whole people.  Yes, in that war, as in all such conflicts, horrific things happened, and innocents died.  We will never know exactly what happened that day, but we cannot afford to let the memory of it fade.

Sources:

Huber Howe Bancroft, History of the Pacific States of North America, Vol. 26, Washington, Idaho, and Montana (San Francisco: The History Company, Publishers, 1890); William Bonney, History of Pierce County, Washington (Chicago: Pioneer Historical Publishing Company, 1927); Cecelia Svinth Carpenter,Where the Waters Begin: The Traditional Nisqually Indian History of Mount Rainier (Seattle: Northwest Interpretive Association, 1994); The Nisqually: My People (Tacoma: Tahoma Research Service, 2002); Leschi: Last Chief of the Nisquallies (Tacoma: Tahoma Research Service, 2004);  Elwood Evans, History of the Pacific Northwest: Oregon and Washington (Portland: North Pacific History Company, 1889); Caroline Denyer Gallacci, The City of Destiny and the South Sound: An Illustrated History of Tacoma and Pierce County (Tacoma: Heritage Media Corporation, 2001);  Aubrey L.  Haines, Mountain Fever: Historic Conquests of Rainier (Seattle: University of Washington Press, [1962] 1999); Augustus V. Kautz, “Ascent of Mount Rainier,” The Overland Monthly, Vol. 14, No. 5 (May 1875); Ezra Meeker, Pioneer Reminiscences of Puget Sound: The Tragedy of Leschi (Seattle: Lowman & Hanford Stationery and Printing Co., Seattle 1905); Murray Morgan, Puget’s Sound: A Narrative of Early Tacoma and the Southern Sound (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1979); “Eight Hostiles Killed,” Pioneer and Democrat (Olympia, Washington Territory), April 11, 1856, p. 2; “The Indian War: Movements of the Troops,” Pioneer and Democrat, April 18, 1856, p. 2; “Mass Meetings of the Citizens of Pierce County, W.T.,”  Pioneer and Democrat, February 12, 1858; Henry Sicade, “The Indian’s Side of the Story,” Address to the Research Club of Tacoma, April 10, 1917,  Reprinted in Building a State, Washington: 1889-1939 ed. by Charles Miles and O. B. Sperlin  (Olympia: Washington State Historical Society, 1940); Hazzard Stevens, The Life of Isaac Ingalls Stevens, Vol. 2.  (Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1900); Isaac Ingals Stevens, Message of the Governor of Washington Territory.  Also; the Correspondence with the Secretary of War, Major Gen. Wool, the Officers of the Regular Army, and of the Volunteer Service of Washington Territory (Olympia: Edward Furste, Public Printer, 1857); James Longmire, “Pioneer: Interesting Story of His Experience in Hunting Buffalo Coming Across the Plains,” Tacoma Sunday Ledger, August 21, 1892, pp. 9-10;  James Wickersham, “The Indian Side of the Puget Sound Indian War,” Address to the Washington State Historical Society, filed October 9, 1893, Washington State Historical Society, Olympia;  Charles Wilkinson, Messages from Frank’s Landing: A Story of Salmon, Treaties, and the Indian Way (Seattle: University of Washington Press: 2000); Abbi Wonacott, Where the Mashel Meets the Nisqually: The Mashel Massacre of 1856 (Spanaway, Washington:  Bellus Uccello Publishing, Bethel School District, 2008). By Stephen B. Emerson, March 28, 2009

Nisqually River near confluence of Mashel River, Pierce County, 2008

Photo by Stephen B. Emerson

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Treaty of Medicine Creek, 1854

Articles of agreement and convention made and concluded on the She-nah-nam, or Medicine Creek, in the Territory of Washington, this twenty-sixth day of December, in the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty-four, by Isaac I. Stevens, governor and superintendent of Indian affairs of the said Territory, on the part of the United States, and the undersigned chiefs, head-men, and delegates of the Nisqually, Puyallup, Steilacoom, Squawskin, S’Homamish, Stehchass, T’Peeksin, Squi-aitl, and Sa-heh-wamish tribes and bands of Indians, occupying the lands lying round the head of Puget’s Sound and the adjacent inlets, who, for the purpose of this treaty, are to be regarded as one nation, on behalf of said tribes and bands, and duly authorized by them.

ARTICLE 1.

The said tribes and bands of Indians hereby cede, relinquish, and convey to the United States, all their right, title, and interest in and to the lands and country occupied by them, bounded and described as follows, to wit: Commencing at the point on the eastern side of Admiralty Inlet, known as Point Pully, about midway between Commencement and Elliott Bays; thence running in a southeasterly direction, following the divide between the waters of the Puyallup and Dwamish, or White Rivers, to the summit of the Cascade Mountains; thence southerly, along the summit of said range, to a point opposite the main source of the Skookum Chuck Creek; thence to and down said creek, to the coal mine; thence northwesterly, to the summit of the Black Hills; thence northerly, to the upper forks of the Satsop River; thence northeasterly, through the portage known as Wilkes’s Portage, to Point Southworth, on the western side of Admiralty Inlet; thence around the foot of Vashon’s Island, easterly and southeasterly, to the place of beginning.

ARTICLE 2.

There is, however, reserved for the present use and occupation of the said tribes and bands, the following tracts of land, viz: The small island called Klah-che-min, situated opposite the mouths of Hammerslev’s and Totten’s Inlets, and separated from Hartstene Island by Peale’s Passage, containing about two sections of land by estimation; a square tract containing two sections, or twelve hundred and eighty acres, on Puget’s Sound, near the mouth of the She-nah-nam Creek, one mile west of the meridian line of the United States land survey, and a square tract containing two sections, or twelve hundred and eighty acres, lying on the south side of Commencement Bay; all which tracts shall be set apart, and, so far as necessary, surveyed and marked out for their exclusive use; nor shall any white man be permitted to reside upon the same without permission of the tribe and the superintendent or agent. And the said tribes and bands agree to remove to and settle upon the same within one year after the ratification of this treaty, or sooner if the means are furnished them. In the mean time, it shall be lawful for them to reside upon any ground not in the actual claim and occupation of citizens of the United States, and upon any ground claimed or occupied, if with the permission of the owner or claimant. If necessary for the public convenience, roads may be run through their reserves, and, on the other hand, the right of way with free access from the same to the nearest public highway is secured to them.

ARTICLE 3.

The right of taking fish, at all usual and accustomed grounds and stations, is further secured to said Indians in common with all citizens of the Territory, and of erecting temporary houses for the purpose of curing, together with the privilege of hunting, gathering roots and berries, and pasturing their horses on open and unclaimed lands: Provided, however, That they shall not take shellfish from any beds staked or cultivated by citizens, and that they shall alter all stallions not intended for breeding-horses, and shall keep up and confine the latter.

ARTICLE 4.

In consideration of the above session, the United States agree to pay to the said tribes and bands the sum of thirty-two thousand five hundred dollars, in the following manner, that is to say: For the first year after the ratification hereof, three thousand two hundred and fifty dollars; for the next two years, three thousand dollars each year; for the next three years, two thousand dollars each year; for the next four years fifteen hundred dollars each year; for the next five years twelve hundred dollars each year; and for the next five years one thousand dollars each year; all which said sums of money shall be applied to the use and benefit of the said Indians, under the direction of the President of the United States, who may from time to time determine, at his discretion, upon what beneficial objects to expend the same. And the superintendent of Indian affairs, or other proper officer, shall each year inform the President of the wishes of said Indians in respect thereto.

ARTICLE 5.

To enable the said Indians to remove to and settle upon their aforesaid reservations, and to clear, fence, and break up a sufficient quantity of land for cultivation, the United States further agree to pay the sum of three thousand two hundred and fifty dollars, to be laid out and expended under the direction of the President, and in such manner as he shall approve.

ARTICLE 6.

The President may hereafter, when in his opinion the interests of the Territory may require, and the welfare of the said Indians be promoted, remove them from either or all of said reservations to such other suitable place or places within said Territory as he may deem fit, on remunerating them for their improvements and the expenses of their removal, or may consolidate them with other friendly tribes or bands. And he may further, at his discretion, cause the whole or any portion of the lands hereby reserved, or of such other land as may be selected in lieu thereof, to be surveyed into lots, and assign the same to such individuals or families as are willing to avail themselves of the privilege, and will locate on the same as a permanent home, on the same terms and subject to the same regulations as are provided in the sixth article of the treaty with the Omahas, so far as the same may be applicable. Any substantial improvements heretofore made by any Indian, and which he shall be compelled to abandon in consequence of this treaty, shall be valued under the direction of the President, and payment to be made accordingly thereof.

ARTICLE 7.

The annuities of the aforesaid tribes and bands shall not be taken to pay the debts of individuals.

ARTICLE 8.

The aforesaid tribes and bands acknowledge their dependence on the Government of the United States, and promise to be friendly with all citizens thereof, and pledge themselves to commit no depredations on the property of such citizens. And should any one or more of them violate this pledge, and the fact be satisfactorily proved before the agent, the property taken shall be returned, or in default thereof, or if injured or destroyed, compensation may be made by the Government out of their annuities. Nor will they make war on any other tribe except in self-defence, but will submit all matters of difference between them and other Indians to the Government of the United States, or its agent, for decision, and abide thereby. And if any of the said Indians commit any depredations on any other Indians within the Territory, the same rule shall prevail as that prescribed in this article, in cases of depredations against citizens. And the said tribes agree not to shelter or conceal offenders against the laws of the United States, but to deliver them up to the authorities for trail.

ARTICLE 9.

The above tribes and bands are desirous to exclude from their reservations the use of ardent spirits, and to prevent their people from drinking the same; and therefore it is provided, that any Indian belonging to said tribes, who is guilty of bringing liquor into said reservations, or who drinks liquor, may have his or her proportion of the annuities withheld from him or her for such time as the President may determine.

ARTICLE 10.

The United States further agree to establish at the general agency for the district of Puget’s Sound, within one year from the ratification hereof, and to support, for a period of twenty years, an agricultural and industrial school, to be free to children of the said tribes and bands, in common with those of the other tribes of said district, and to provide the said school with a suitable instructor or instructors, and also to provide a smithy and carpenter’s shop, and furnish them with the necessary tools, and employ a blacksmith, carpenter, and farmer, for the term of twenty years, to instruct the Indians in their respective occupations. And the United States further agree to employ a physician to reside at the said central agency, who shall furnish medicine and advice to their sick, and shall vaccinate them; the expenses of the said school, shops, employees, and medical attendance, to be defrayed by the United States, and not deducted from the annuities.

ARTICLE 11.

The said tribes and bands agree to free all slaves now held by them, and not to purchase or acquire others hereafter.

ARTICLE 12.

The said tribes and bands finally agree not to trade at Vancouver’s Island, or elsewhere out of the dominions of the United States; nor shall foreign Indians be permitted to reside in their reservations without consent of the superintendent or agent.

ARTICLE 13.

This treaty shall be obligatory on the contracting parties as soon as the same shall be ratified by the President and Senate of the United States. In testimony whereof, the said Isaac I. Stevens, governor and superintendent of Indian Affairs, and the undersigned chiefs, headmen, and delegates of the aforesaid tribes and bands, have hereunto set their hands and seals at the place and on the day and year hereinbefore written.

Isaac I. Stevens, (L.S.) Governor and Superintendent Territory of Washington.

Qui-ee-metl, his x mark. (L.S.)

Sno-ho-dumset, his x mark. (L.S.)

Lesh-high, his x mark. (L.S.)

Slip-o-elm, his x mark. (L.S.)

Kwi-ats, his x mark. (L.S.)

Stee-high, his x mark. (L.S.)

Di-a-keh, his x mark. (L.S.)

Hi-ten, his x mark. (L.S.)

Squa-ta-hun, his x mark. (L.S.)

Kahk-tse-min, his x mark. (L.S.)

Sonan-o-yutl, his x mark. (L.S.)

Kl-tehp, his x mark. (L.S.)

Sahl-ko-min, his x mark. (L.S.)

T’bet-ste-heh-bit, his x mark. (L.S.)

Tcha-hoos-tan, his x mark. (L.S.)

Ke-cha-hat, his x mark. (L.S.)

Spee-peh, his x mark. (L.S.)

Swe-yah-tum, his x mark. (L.S.)

Cha-achsh, his x mark. (L.S.)

Pich-kehd, his x mark. (L.S.)

S’Klah-o-sum, his x mark. (L.S.)

Sah-le-tatl, his x mark. (L.S.)

See-lup, his x mark. (L.S.)

E-la-kah-ka, his x mark. (L.S.)

Slug-yeh, his x mark. (L.S.)

Hi-nuk, his x mark. (L.S.)

Ma-mo-nish, his x mark. (L.S.)

Cheels, his x mark. (L.S.)

Knutcanu, his x mark. (L.S.)

Bats-ta-kobe, his x mark. (L.S.)

Win-ne-ya, his x mark. (L.S.)

Klo-out, his x mark. (L.S.)

Se-uch-ka-nam, his x mark. (L.S.)

Ske-mah-han, his x mark. (L.S.)

Wuts-un-a-pum, his x mark. (L.S.)

Quuts-a-tadm, his x mark. (L.S.)

Quut-a-heh-mtsn, his x mark. (L.S.)

Yah-leh-chn, his x mark. (L.S.)

To-lahl-kut, his x mark. (L.S.)

Yul-lout, his x mark. (L.S.)

See-ahts-oot-soot, his x mark. (L.S.)

Ye-takho, his x mark. (L.S.)

We-po-it-ee, his x mark. (L.S.)

Kah-sld, his x mark. (L.S.)

La’h-hom-kan, his x mark. (L.S.)

Pah-how-at-ish, his x mark. (L.S.)

Swe-yehm, his x mark. (L.S.)

Sah-hwill, his x mark. (L.S.)

Se-kwaht, his x mark. (L.S.)

Kah-hum-klt, his x mark. (L.S.)

Yah-kwo-bah, his x mark. (L.S.)

Wut-sah-le-wun, his x mark. (L.S.)

Sah-ba-hat, his x mark. (L.S.)

Tel-e-kish, his x mark. (L.S.)

Swe-keh-nam, his x mark. (L.S.)

Sit-oo-ah, his x mark. (L.S.)

Ko-quel-a-cut, his x mark. (L.S.)

Jack, his x mark. (L.S.)

Keh-kise-bel-lo, his x mark. (L.S.)

Go-yeh-hn, his x mark. (L.S.)

Sah-putsh, his x mark. (L.S.)

William, his x mark. (L.S.)

Executed in the presence of us – –

M. T. Simmons, Indian agent.

James Doty, secretary of the commission.

C. H. Mason, secretary Washington Territory.

W. A. Slaughter, first lieutenant, Fourth Infantry.

James McAlister,

E. Giddings, jr.

George Shazer,

Henry D. Cock,

S. S. Ford, jr.,

John W. McAlister,

Clovington Cushman,

Peter Anderson,

Samuel Klady,

W. H. Pullen,

P. O. Hough,

E. R. Tyerall,

George Gibbs,

Benj. F. Shaw, interpreter,

Hazard Stevens.

Ratified Mar. 3, 1855. Proclaimed Apr. 10, 1855.

Early Crossings Over the Nisqually River

A Position Paper by Cecelia Svinth Carpenter

July 28, 1987

There were at least five different locations where one could cross the Nisqually River in the “early days” before bridges were built. Ways to cross the river included wading, horseback, canoe or on a raft or ferry. Places or locations for crossing were as important as how one choose to cross. Climbing into the water at a spot where the terrain or currents were unknown could mean a horrible experience of drenching and/or a possible drowning.

The first to cross the Nisqually were, of course, the local Indian people either by wading, by canoe, a raft or by horseback. The next were the British from Fort Nisqually who used the knowledge and examples set by the Indians. The Hudson’s Bay Company men first used the crossing at Mit-suk-wei with the help of the resident Indian people, then found the “Upper Ford” as a more level place to cross as they traveled the trail to the Cowlitz.

The settlers were the third group. Their ferry systems brought a new dimension to traveling, for now one could go across the river on top of the water and not ft yet. Even his horse and wagon could travel the ferry for a price. The “Lower Crossing” became the popular crossing for the settlers who chose land claims in the Nisqually Delta. The

Packwood Ferry operated on the lower/river and a bit later a similar ferry, the Wagner Ferry, was put into service at the upper crossing. Each ferry changed ownership several times.

The following reports of the crossings will be listed, not by time of us, but proceeding from the mouth of the river upstream to the last known early crossing.

1. The Packwood Ferry T18N R1E S8

Often referred to as the “Lower Nisqually Ferry? William Packwood’s wagon ferry crossed the Nisqually River at a point between his donation land claim on the Thurston County side and the John A. Packard donation land claim on the Pierce County aide. The river dissected the two counties. Begun in the early 1850’s, this ferry changed ownership several times before a durable bridge was built in 1895. The ferry was an important link to the first highway connecting, the towns of Steilacoom and Olympia. Accounts of this ferry can be found in the early territorial newspapers as well as the Fort Nisqually Journal. The HBC men utilized this ferry at times to save traveling upriver to their usual crossings.

A photograph of the ferry operating at this point circa 1893 shows a large wooden platform with siderails. A cable was strung overhead from one shore to the other with lines attached to the ferry. The conveyance could be guided across the stream by letting out or winding up the line on a large windlass.

2. Kit-suk-wei Crossing T18N RIB S21

One of the earliest crossings used by the employees at Fort Nisqually was at the Nisqually Indian village of Mit-suk-wei. Edward Huggins noted the following in his writings of March 3i 1905 about those early days:

The first trail that the H.B.C. used from Nisqually to the Cowlitz was from the old Fort by the lane called Love Lane to the Squally River by Mit-suk-wei, a ford leading to the river from the Squally plain, down a very steep hill, by a small creek, Mit-suk-wei, a half mile through the bottom to the river which generally was crossed with the assistance of Indians and their canoes, although I’ve crossed it once or twice upon horseback, the horse swimming for a short, quite short distance when near the other side. The bottom of the Thurston County side of the river is quite short -about-3/4 mile- to another steep bluff, up to the prairie…..

3. Indian Canoe Ferries T18N R1E S35 T17N R1E Sl

Although the Nisqually Indian people crossed the Nisqually River at many different places, we have accounts of at least two Indian canoe ferries for hire. What the owner received for payment is not known. One ferry was operated by Sam Pyello, the other by Henry Martin. The two men both lived en the upper portion of the Nisqually Indian Reservation.

It is known that San Pyello utilized the river area directly in front of his allotment across the river from the mouth of Muck Creek. The area on the Thurston County side is known as Pyello’s Landing. On the back of a photo of Sam Pyello and his canoe taken by historian Edmund Meany in 1905 the following words were written:

Sam Pyello. He is a veteran hostile of the Indian War of 1855- 1856. Now he runs a canoe ferry over the Nisqually River at the mouth of Muck Creek.

One account places Henry Martin’s canoe ferry on the lower Nisqually River. Another places him above the reservation. The second account written by Yelm historians Richard and Floss Loutzenhiser in 1948 says:

The first ferry across the Nisqually River was a canoe ferry. It was a connecting link in the Indian trail running from Yelm north through the site of the present town of Roy. Here, Henry Martin, an Indian was always on call. He stood erect to pole the canoe across, says D.R.Hughes, who recalls riding with him. If the passenger had a horse, it must swim alongside of the canoe.

4. The Stony Ford T1?N R2E Sl6

The Stony Ford designation applies to the crossing over the Nisqually River where the Northern Pacific Railroad was built according to Edward Huggins’ private journal dated August 24, 1970. There were several places in that stretch of river where crossings were possible if the water was low. This crossing was used mostly by the local Indian people

who knew the water currents well. Huggins attempted to cross here and nearly drowned when he became lost in 1850 when he was on his way to the Cowlitz. He and his horse did gain the opposite shore and found- his way to John Edgar’s home to dry off. Stony Ford was considered “fierce and dangerous.” It connected the prairie called “Thull-hull-illihe” on the Pierce County side to the Yelm Prairie on the Thurston County side, so

wrote Huggins in a letter dated March 22. 1905.

The Upper Ford – Wagner’s Ferry T17N R2E S28

The area of the Upper Ford was the favorite crossing of the Fort Nisqually men who traveled overland to a company farm at Cowlitz. A railroad bridge now crosses the river here as well as a county bridge located a few yards upstream at the townsite of McKenna. The area between the two landmarks would be the area of the Upper Ford, the terrain lending itself to an easy crossing.

This place was also the site of William Wagner’s ferry which began service in 1869. It seems that the ferry must have changed ownership several times. Hazel Price Hawk told me in 1982 about how her father purchased the ferry from Tom Pierce. The first county bridge, a wooden structure, was built in 1883 with funds raised by local settlers. When it was washed away, a second bridge was put in by the county but it was too narrow. In 1919 the present bridge was built, two lanes wide and made of concrete. Again, now as this is being written, change in the bridge structure is going on.

Written and compiled by

Cecelia Svinth Carpenter,

Indian Historian and Author.

July 28. 1987 (Used with permission)

Nisqually Villages

Introduction: Here are some locations/descriptions of Nisqually villages from Marian Smith’s book Puyallup-Nisqually.

16. Located at Glencove on Carr Inlet. This village was originally peopled from the village and Minter and retained its close alliance with it.

17. Located at the head of Burley Lagoon, Carr Inlet. In giving village sites sites the informant that he had never heard of the one at this site but that it was an excellent location for a village. The term had been given to Arthur C. Ballard by an informant now dead and when it was repeated to him my informant said “That’s the name of the head of Carr Inlet; so there must have been people there after all.” Evidently the village had united with the Minter group, or become extinct, at an early period in white occupation.

18. (Gibbs: Steilakumahmish; Eells: Stulakumamish; Curtis: Stelakubabsh) Peoples of villages 18-19 and particularly of the village site located at the present site of Steilacoom.

19. There may have been two of these closely allied, so-called “Clover Creek” villages: one near Spanaway and the other at the present site of Clover Creek. If there were but one I am inclined to place it in the latter location.

20. Although the name sqwaleabc (Gibbs: Niskwalli or Skwallishmish; Eells: Nisqually of Squallismish; Curtis: Sqalabsh), derived from the name of the Nisqually River, was applied to all the peoples of the Nisqually including McAllister Creek and, probably also the Sequalitcu River (20-26), nevertheless there seems to have been no single village of that name. This village at the mouth of the river, contrary to the usual custom, did not bear the river name. This is undoubtedly a reflection of the fact that the sqwaleabc were thought of as an up-river rather than a salt water people, the name applying more particularly to those villages than to the one at the mouth of the river, which was relatively unimportant.

21. Located at the mouth of McAllister or Medicine Creek, the spot which where the treaty was signed. Derived from the word for shaman and shaman power, a fact to which informants always refer when speaking of the ill effects of white occupation. In addition to Nisqually contacts this village had close connections to South Bay.

22. (Gibbs and Eells: Segwallitsu) Located where Dupont Creek enters the Sequalitcu River.

23. Located on Nisqually Lake at the mouth of a sizeable creek. Derived from the name of the lake.

24. Where Muck Creek enters the Nisqually River. Due to the fact that its site was included in the reservation and that several of its older members survived the period of early concentration, this village maintained its identity somewhat longer than most. The village site was on the flats near the river bed rather than upon the high prairie land adjoining, another fact which tended to preserve the village since white settlers on the Nisqually sought the high wheat and grazing land. The extra Nisqually contacts of this village were rather to the west along the southern Sound than to the northeast toward the mouth of the Puyallup River.

25. Located on a hill near the junction of Clear Creek and the Nisqually River. “Perhaps the largest” Nisqually village at the time of the treaty.

26. Located on a highland below Eatonville on Mashell Creek. This village is listed by Jacobs and Spier as Sahaptin. There is no doubt that Sahaptin was as common as Salish in this, as in many bilingual foothill villages, and that there have been small western movements of Sahaptins into the area. Nevertheless, the “bacalabc” can only be considered as a Nisqually group. Leschi, who fomented the “war” with the settlers in the Sound country, was of this village.

27. (Gibbs: Nusehtsatl; Curtis: Stischahlabsh, including Budd’s Inlet and South Bay Located on South Bay or Henderson Inlet, between the creek at the head and that on the south. This village, as well as 28 and 30-32, moved into the Nisqually reservation at the time of concentration.

28. (Gibbs: Stehtsasamish; Eells: Stehtsasamish, including Budd’s Inlet or South Bay) Located on Budd Inlet at Tumwater, above Olympia.

29. (Gibbs: Skwai-aitl; Eells: Skwaiatl) Located on Mud Bay or Eld Inlet. The people of Mud Bay perhaps had their closest contacts with the Upper Chehalis villages immediately south of them.

30. (Eells and Gibbs: Sawamish) Located on Oyster Bay or Totten Inlet, below the town of Oyster Bay. The term “Sawamish” was the only one local one used by Gibbs which was not recognized immediately by my informants. The term given me derives from the name of the inlet.

31. (Gibbs: Sahehwamish; Curtis: Sahewabsh, including Mud Bay and Oyster Bay) Located at Arcadia. This was a large village. Since it pratically commanded the outlets of Budd Inlet, Mud Bay and Oyster Bay, as well as Shelton Inlet, its name was sometimes extended to include that entire drainage and the peoples on it, villages 27-32.

32. Located on Shelton Inlet opposite the town of Shelton. This village was small and closely allied to its parent village at Arcadia.

Dieases Among the Indians in the Northwest

Introduction: When Europeans arrived in the western hemisphere they brought diseases with them links to a world of disease that Native Americans to had never been exposed to before. Needless to say, it is now quite well documented that the diseases, which the Native Americans were now being exposed to, had an impact of killing off large percentages of Native groups. Below you will find a two lists of diseases. Click the disease to find out more about it. This list was taken from the book by Robert Boyd, The Coming of the Spirit of Pestilence: Introduced Infectious Diseases and Population Decline Among Northwest Coast Indians, 1774-1874 (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1999) p. 15.

The following is a list of Native American diseases here before the time of Columbus.

Native American Diseases

1. salmonella & other food poisons

2. Fungal diseases: some tineas, blastomycosis, etc.

3. Diseases caused by intestinal parasites: tapeworms, roundworms, pinworms

4. Streptococcus and staphylococcus

5. Shigellosis (shigella dysenteriae)

6. Gastroenteritis

7. Hepatitis

8. Encephalitis

9. Viral Pneumonia

10. Tuberculosis

11. Nonvenereal Syphilis

12. Pinta

13. Venereal syphilis

14. Rheumatoid Arthritis

15. American Trypanosomiasis

16. American Leishmaniasis

17. Bartonelliosis

Here is a list of “disease imports.” Diseases which arrived with Europeans as they arrived in the western hemisphere.

Disease Imports

1. smallpox

2. malaria

3. viral influenza

4. yellow fever

5. measles

6. typhus

7. bubonic plague

8. typhoid fever

9. cholera

10. pertussis

11. diptheria

12. scarlatina

13. chicken pox/shingles

14. polio

15. amebiasis

16. trachoma

17. hookworm and

Changes in the Law, Changes in Practice (Rules for fishing)

Changes in the Law, Changes in Practice

Introduction: The following are examples of laws and practices that helped limit Native Americans access to their “usual and accustomed grounds and stations.”

  1. The controversy began when a settler named Frank Taylor fenced in his land along the Columbia River in order to protect his crops.
  2. Several years ago white men began to encroach on our ground. We were willing to have them share with us the right to fish but not satisfied with equal rights they have yearly made additional obstructions to prevent our catching fish, by setting traps, and placing piling around the grounds. They have driven us from our old camping ground on the beach and have so treated us that we feel we must now appeal to you for assistance.
  3. Restrictions were set on when to fish.
  4. Restrictions were set on where to fish.
  5. Licenses were required for those engaged in fishing.
  6. As early as 1889 the state government passed laws that closed rivers to fishing, allowing Indians to catch only what was needed for their subsistence.
  7. In 1907 all rivers in the Puget Sound were closed to net fishing.
  8. The state tax Indians’ fishing gear like it did non-Indian citizens of the state.
  9. Problems arose for Yakima fishermen who found access to their “usual and accustomed” fishing grounds blocked, this time by a “fish wheel” owned by a man named Winans.
  10. On the Green River the Muckleshoots were forbidden from using their accustomed net methods during spawning season off reservation.
  11. A Muckleshoot was arrested for using a spear in violation of state law.
  12. The state passed a law which limited Indians to fishing within five miles of their reservation.
  13. This fear was a result of state officials removing their nets from the river on a site they claimed to be reservation land. James Nimrod, a Nisqually, told a federal investigator that the sate would not even let him fish on creeks running through the reservation.
  14. As a result of their well organized efforts, the Washington legislature passed a law in 1925 that declared steelhead a “game fish” once it entered fresh water streams and rivers. Up to this time both Indians and non-Indians had considered steelhead a “salmon”. With this new legal designation for steelhead the new state Game Department began to pass new regulations to protect the steelhead for the recreational fisherman. Thus, steelhead could not be taken by net except by Indians on the reservation.
  15. The state law made the sale of steelhead (during a closed season) anywhere in the state a crime.
  16. Two years later… the state extended this net fishing ban to reservation waters as well.
  17. Beginning in 1891 the state built hatcheries to fight the decrease in fish runs. In the case of the steelhead much of the funding for these hatcheries came from the revenues obtained from sport fishing licenses. (This latter development increased the state’s desire to force Indians to obtain licenses). If hatcheries were located upstream from a reservation, the state of Washington believed it had a right to regulate fishing on the reservation as a conservation measure.
  18. At the Cascades of the Columbia the houses used for shelter and fish drying by Indians… were torn down by whites.

1857 – Indian Agent Report for Nisqually, Puyallup, etc.

Indian Agent Report for Nisqually, Puyallup

Olympia, Washington Territory,
June 30, 1857

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of affairs as special Indian agent in charge of the Nisqually, Puyallup, and other tribes and bands of Indian Parties to the treaty of Medicine Creek, concluded December 26, 1854, for the quarter ending June 30, 1857.

The Indians under my charge during the last three months have been generally quiet, seemingly well contented, and enjoying tolerably good health. They are collected together at the Squoxsin, Nisqually, and Puyallup reservations.

The Muckleshoot is also provided for in the treaty of Medicine Creek, and is the proper locality for the Tooahk or Upper Puyallup, the S’ Balahco or White River, and the Nooscope or Green River Indians; being in all three hundred souls. Treaty stipulations have not been attempted to be carried out at the Muckleshoot, and these Indians have heretofore been, and are now, in the temporary charge of Local Agent Page, who has furnished them this spring with some seed potatoes, and a small crop will be raised on the reservation. As soon as the United States military post (Fort Muckleshoot) now in command of Lieutenant McKibbin is discontinued, which I understand will be the case in a few weeks, I shall notify you of the fact, and await your instructions in the premises.

Squoxsin reservation~ about ten more acres of excellent land have been cleared recently here. This, with the twenty acres heretofore cleared and fenced, will enable me to raise a considerable amount of produce next year. The Indians here having been always friendly, and having been collected here at the first braking out of the late Indian war, were very glad, after their spring crop was put into the [ can’t read] are not disposed to encourage visits from the Catholic missionaries, and their women are much given to prostitution both among themselves and the whites.

Puyallup reservation~ The health of the Indians here has much improved since my last report, and I know of but few cases of illness as present in the whole tribe. They still remain very religious; and I have every reason to believe that they are truly sincere in their professions. I have no trouble with these Indians on the score of whiskey drinking, and seldom any difficulty growing out of vice or immorality. I have to report the completion here of the agency building and twelve Indian houses. There are twenty acres of land in cultivation on this reservation. The Indians appear much pleased with their houses, and their crops look well.

Nisqually reservation~ The Indians here are much given to drinking whiskey, which they obtain at the town of Steilacoom and elsewhere in considerable quantities. A portion of the Upper Nisquallies, who were out with the hostiles in the late war, appear very restless, and in constant dread of the whites. There are four indictments pending against Indians of this band for the murders of whites. It is much to be regretted that our civil authorities do not take some definite steps in the matter, either to prosecute these indictments to final judgment or dismiss them. The tendency of these indictments is one great cause of these Indians being restless and uneasy. I have to report the completion of five Indian houses, as per contract with John Carson. There are fourteen acres of land in cultivation here, and the crop looks well.

In the matter on annuities due to the Indians parties to the treaty of Medicine Creek, I have to recommend that the second years annuity, which was due June 30, 1856, be applied towards clearing and fencing land, building Indian houses. And for the third year’s annuity, I would recommend that it be applied towards the purchase of blankets and clothing for the Indians.

I have to report the death of a Snohomish Indian, on the 5th instant, by a white man, on Nisqually bottom, near the reservation. A Mr. Packard had set a trap attached to a loaded gun to kill a hog, which was in the habit of breaking into his garden. The Indian chanced to walk along that way, touched the trap, and was shot in the leg. His companions fled in terror, leaving him alone to bleed to death. The affair created considerable excitement for a time; but Mr. Packard having made presents to the tribe, according to their usages, the difficulty has been amicably arranged.

Much mischief has been created by the soldiers at Fort Steilacoom, who are in the constant habit of giving whiskey to Indians who visit the town of Steilacoom in passing up and down the Sound. The commanding officer has been repeatedly informed in reference to this, but without any apparent diminution of the evil. If military officers [can’t read] district is now reduced to the lowest point compatible with the efficiency of the service.

I desire to call your attention to the importance of a speedy payment to those men whose land claims were included in the Puyallup reservation. I understand that an appropriation from this purpose has been made, and I would respectively ask that the funds be forwarded as soon as received.

I will quote the following paragraph from my report to Governor Stevens of the 31st December, 1856: ” On the first breaking out of hostilities, the friendly Indians having removed to the reservations under orders from the Indian department, many of them were compelled to leave their horses behind them to the mercy of the hostiles and the volunteers. Some of these horses were afterwards retaken, but many were lost. Over thirty horses are now claimed to have been thus lost by Indians in charge. The Indian department has always promised that the friendly Indians should be indemnified for all losses consequent upon their removal to reservations. I respectfully call your attention to this matter, and ask that some steps may be taken at an early day towards paying those Indians who have suffered in this way.” I will now repeat the same recommendation, and state that subsequent investigations have satisfied me that the number of non-payment of these claims has created great dissatisfaction among the Indians. The sum if $2,500, applied to the purchase of blankets and clothing, would be sufficient for the purpose.

I would recommend that the physician be required to furnish medical advice and assistance, not only to the Indians parties to the treaty of Medicine Creek, but to all those living upon Puget’s Sounds and the Straits de Fuca who may call upon him. Inasmuch as the treaties with the Sound tribes have not as yet been ratified, and great dissatisfaction is apparent among them on that account, this step will do much towards quieting and pacifying them. With this view I have placed the estimated salary of physician at $1,200, for the reason that the services of a competent person who will reside upon a reservation and bestow his undivided time and attention upon the Indians cannot be obtained for a less sum.

I have experienced much difficulty in keeping off Indians of the Sounds tribes not parties to the treaty, but who desire to come in and receive the benefits of the treaty which is now being carried into effect.

Many claim the right to come on the ground of relationship by marriage and otherwise with the Indians parties to the treaty.  Much annoyance and trouble is experienced on this score, which will be entirely avoided when the treaties of “Point Elliot,”  “Neah Bay,” and “Point No Point” are ratified, but not until then.

The Indians of my charge, and, indeed, I may say, all west of the [can’t read] interest. Their sympathies are all with the governor; for they say that he understands the Indian’s tum-tum, (heart or mind,) knows all about what they want, and if he goes to Washington he will know what to ask for, and will be able to effect something for their benefit. They look upon the question which is to be determined at the ballot box in this Territory on the 13th July next as one of great importance to them as well as to others. I mention this matter not in a political spirit, (although the fact certainly forms no mean eulogium upon the official career of our late superintendent of Indian affairs,) but merely to show that the Indians here are not asleep, but wide awake to any and all questions which even remotely concern them.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
W. B. Gosnell,
Special Indian Agent, Washington Territory.
Col. J. W. Nesmith,
Sup’t of Indian Affairs for Oregon and
Washington Territories, Salem, Oregon Territory

1858 – Indian Agent Report Squaksin

WASHINGTON

In conclusion, I would most respectfully solicit your attention to the fact, that the several persons whose land claims are situated within the boundary of the Puyallup reservation, and purchased from them by government at a valuation, have not yet received their pay for the same, although they understand that an appropriation has been made for that purpose. These persons have applied to me several times about the matter, but from want of proper information on the subject, I have been unable to make them a satisfactory reply.

            I remain, with respect and esteem, your obedient servant,

                                                                             W. B. GOSNELL,   

                                            Special Indian Agent, Washington Territory.                                                      

          M. T. SIMMONS, Esq., Indian Agent, Washington Territory.

                                                       SQUAKSIN INDIAN RESERVATION

                                                                                                              Washington Territory, July 1, 1858.

Sir: I take great pleasure in complying with the regulations of the department which require me to report to you the progress and prospects off the school established under the tenth article of the treaty of” Medicine Creek,” concluded December 26, 1854 in charge of which it pleased the superintendent of Indian affairs to appoint me in the month of November last.

This school has been established on the Squaksin Indian reservation for the equal benefit of the Nisqually, Puyallup, Squakin, and other tribes and bands of Indians, parties to the treaty above alluded to; but as these tribes are scattered upon three distinct reservations, distant from thirty to fifty miles apart, but few of them can under the present system, benefit by it, as I shall endeavor to show in another part of this report, and shall also take the liberty of offering a few remarks for your consideration suggestive of improvement in the system at present pursued. 

Immediately on receipt of my appointment as instructor, I started for the Squaksin reservation, where I found a neat and commodious school house, which had just been completed under the direction of special Agent Wesley B. Gosnell. This building is eighteen by twenty-four feet, well finished, and furnished with desks, benches, stove, &c., and capable of accommodating from seventy to one hundred children. Having procured the necessary school books, or rather the most suitable I could find, I proceeded (November 27) to open school. Cant Read

Belonging to the Squaksin tribe. The small number of children who have attended the school up to this time, compared with the large number, who are entitled to its benefits, under the treaty, must not be taken as evidence of unwillingness on the part of the parents to educate their children, nor of the children themselves to attend.   On the contrary, both the Puyallups and Nisquallys express themselves highly pleased with the school, and appear desirous that their children in common with those of the Squaksins, should reap an equal share of the benefits to be derived from it.  But in order to realize these advantages, (there being no provision made for the support of the school children) the parents would be compelled to abandon their present reservations and homes and move on this island, a step which would not only be ruinous to their interests and future prospects, but one which they are both unwilling and unable to take.

In order that all the tribes may enjoy an equal share of the school privileges guaranteed to them by the treaty, I would respectfully suggest that steps be taken to concentrate the children of the different tribes on the one reservation, provided the parents can be induced to consent to their removal.  The plan proposed by my predecessor in his report to you, of establishing a boarding house for the scholars might render such a step easy of accomplishment, and the result would be, if feel confident, highly beneficial to the rising generation, and, I have no doubt, satisfactory to the department.  By these means the scholars would become conversant with the English language, as no other would be spoken in the establishment, a knowledge of which I consider to be the first step towards their civilization.

The squaksin reservation is, in my opinion, the best suited of the three for a school.  Being on an island, and remote from any thoroughfare, it offers advantages over the others in so far that the children can be more easily kept within bounds, and constantly under the eye of the teacher; and being the least suited for extensive farming on account of the denseness of the forest, there never will be very many Indians permanently settled upon it, not more, probably, than enough to cultivate and raise a sufficient quantity of produce for the consumption of the school establishment.  Should the department see fit to authorize the building of such an establishment for the sole use of the school children, I think that the greater part if not all of the Indians might be induced to send their children, provided the latter were fed and a moderate amount of necessary clothing found them.  In this way I feel confident that ultimately great good can be done towards civilizing the rising generation; but so long as the children continue to live with their parents, participating in their foolish superstitions, daily spectators of their many vices, and subject to the evil influences of their demoralized mode of living, no hopes need be entertained of reclaiming and civilizing them and funds spent in the [CANT READ…………]serious obstacle to their learning from English books is here presented.  I have throughout found them very obedient, and observant of all rules established in the school, also attentive and willing to learn.  They very readily acquire the sounds of the letters, and learn to spell and pronounce words of one and two syllables tolerably well; and had their books printed in their own language, or if they were even conversant with the English language, several of them would have been able to read by this time.

There are at present no Indians on this reservation, they being all scattered about the country in search of berries and other means of subsistence, nor is there any likelihood of their returning to their homes until the fall; consequently the school is for the present unavoidably closed, and will not be in operation during the next quarter.

With deep feelings of respect and esteem, I remain your most obedient servant,

                                                                            Richard Lane, Instructor.       

M.T. Simmons, Esq.,

                        Indian Agent, Washington Territory

 

1865 Indian Agent Report

WASHINGTON SUPERINTENDENCY

 

Office Puyallup Agency,

Olympia, Washington Territory, September 6, 1865

Sir: I have the honor to submit the following annual report of the condition of the Indian tribes under my charge as an Indian agent: I take pleasure in referring to decide the improvement of their condition within the last year. Many of these people are becoming industrious and practical farmers. When I was given the job as an Indian agent and was assigned to this agency by your predecessor, they were in a prosperous condition. They had very little to work with in the way of farming, notwithstanding the government that had made up an ample provision for all of these things. And there is no doubt that they had been furnished. The employees that were placed on the reservation didn’t seem to comprehend the job they had been assigned to by the government. The job was simple all they had to do was make a treaty with them to relocating them on many reservations. They seemed to think that it was a universal opinion as far as I could tell. On the reservations there were so many asylums for the lazy and indolent men who happened to be the favorites of the party in power. The whole machinery of the Indian department was to used as a political stepping-stone to some demagogue to a seat in congress. I have been accosted time and again by persons asking a solutions on some one of my reservations, saying, ”I am unable to work, and would like to have a place in the Indian department,” although the Indian department was a refuge for the lazy, drunken and vicious men.

My experience in management of Indians in order to the improvement of their condition is, that the less intercourse they have with the whites outside of the Indian service the better; and in order that I may accomplish my purpose in carrying out my views and the instructions given to me by the department. I have instructed the employees to not let any one of vicious habits come on the reservation except to accomplish legitimate business and then leave.

The four tribes under my charge are in a far more prosperous condition than ever before, particularly the Puyallup and Chehalis. You will see from the report of Mr.Billings, assistant farmer in charge of the Puyallups, a copy of which will accompany this report, that they have received for produce sold and labor done for whites outside the sum of $6,215. I have not yet received reports from any of the other reservations except the Chehalis, a copy of which is herewith transmitted. The crop on this reservation has been harvested and secured from the rains some time since, which is what few farmers in the country can say of their crops. I have, in order to induce the Indians all to work, instructed the employees to inform them that unless they work they will not have a share in the crop: and not only to teach them so, but to enforce the rule.

We have yet some difficulty in our endeavors to overcome those old habits and practices which, to a considerable degree, still linger among them: I allude to polygamy, the flattening the heads of their children, necromancy in the healing of the sick, and the murder of the necromancer in the case of a fatal termination of the disease. They have murdered two of their doctors since I have been in charge, and made an attempt to murder the third.

I think I have succeeded in alarming them to such a degree that they will not again commit the act. The few weeks ago some of the Nisquallies came to me and asked me if I would not reverse my decision in regard to their right to kill their doctors; they said one of their doctors had caused the death of one of their best women, and they thought he ought to die; but I told them emphatically that if they killed him every one engaged in it should be hung- so the doctor has not been killed. Occasionally a case occurs, where the parties have been drinking, that an Indian gets killed. A case of this kind occurred on the Chehalis river, several miles above the reservation, about a month and a half since. An Indian, about thirty years of age, made an attack on his father in law, who stabbed the young man in the abdomen, which caused his death in a few days; surgical aid was secured, but he could not be saved. A very short time afterwards a friend of the young Indian killed the old man. The only way to put a stop to those tragedies, in my judgment, is to make an example of the offenders by a prosecution in a criminal court. If this was done, and a conviction of the criminal, there would be no more cases of murder among them. I think it will have it’s effect.

This is the eleventh year of the Medicine Creek treaty, and very little, considering the amount of money appropriated by the government, has been accomplished. In that length of time the Indians, under the care of good, honest, religious, and practical men, would have been far advanced in civilization; but, unfortunately for them and the government, no interest has been taken in their welfare. The pay at the end of the quarter was the great desideratum. Their knowledge of agriculture and mechanics in eleven years ought to have been far in advance of what it is. Nine years more and the treaty of Medicine Creek will have expired, and almost all that the government contemplated in reference to these tribes is yet to be accomplished. The object of the government, as I understand it, is to prepare them to take care of themselves when the twenty years has been fulfilled. In order, therefore, to enable them to do this, the farmer must give them a practical idea of agriculture. The carpenter must instruct them in the art of building houses. The blacksmith must teach them the use of his tools, in order that they may be able to repair or make their own plows, hoes, and axes. The employees upon the reservations at the present time fully understand their duties to the government and the Indians, and will, I have no doubt, faithfully discharge them. None of my predecessors have ever given instructions to the carpenter or blacksmith to take an apprentice. There are a number of boys, some of whom are half-breeds, who ought to be at trades, and it is my purpose, so soon as I can make proper arrangements for their board and lodging, to have them learning carpentry and blacksmithing. I have one already learning the blacksmith’s trade, and he is making great progress. Our school, owing to the death of Mrs. Wylie, who was employed as teacher, and for wants of a house, and the means to prepare one, has been suspended for the present. Accompanying this report I transmit the report of C.H. Spinning, the physician, which will furnish you with all the information necessary as to the diseases among the Indians and their treatment, with some important suggestions.

I would respectfully call your attention to the agreement on the part of the government found in the 10th article of the treaty of Medicine Creek. “The expenses of the said school, shops, employees and medical attendance, to be defrayed by the United States, and not deducted from the annuities.”

Now, sir, for some cause unknown to me, there has been a deficiency in the incidental fund for this service, and I have not been able to meet the expenses which are necessary to keep up the school and supply the carpenter and blacksmith with material to carry on their work without using other funds.

And furthermore, in the remittance for the 1st and 2nd quarters 1865, there was a deficit in the employee’s fund for beneficial objects amounting $90.50, which should be forwarded. If the incidental funds for the 1st and 2nd quarters 1864 had been remitted, as they should have been there would have been no necessity for entrenching upon other funds.

I believe I have called your attention to all the points of importance necessary for you to consider at the present time.