Pig-Tail Days in Old Seattle, cont’d

See my previous post for the bibliographic info on this one.  Picking up where I left off:

– page 57, about Spring Street: “The first families had to lolo chuck (carry water) from the springs to their cabins several blocks away.”

– page 73, about a millinery store on Pike Street: “The proprietors being chee chackos, (newcomers) had found what looked like beautiful calla lilies growing wild and had used them for decoration, not realizing that they were actually skunk cabbage until betrayed by their smell in the warm room.”

– page 76, “Thrills in Pike Street”: “Our tillicums, the Indians, often visited us at our home on the corner of Sixth and Pike, and always for a cultus potlatch,–tea, coppy (coffee), neetles, (needles), in fact all kinds of icktas, would be accepted.”

– page 79-80 (same chapter, discussing author’s mother): “They called her ‘Kate Denny’ or ‘George Ply’s klootchman‘ (wife), and always had a kloish (good) wa wa (talk) with her and told her their troubles.  They brought bundles of ‘peetch woot‘ tied with strips of red flannel or calico, olallies (berries), clams, or salmon to sell, or to trade for icktas or apples.  Fancy a ten-pound salmon for ickt bit (ten cents).  ‘Peetch woot‘ was in much demand by the harassed housewife who had to contend with wet or green stove wood in her little cast iron cook stove.  The sputtering and steaming wood would soon begin to burn with the aid of the pitch from the fir trees.  When the Indians came to sell their fish and clams, they would say ‘Mika tickey clams?‘ (Do you want clams?) or ‘Mika tickey pish?‘ (Do you want fish?).  Mother would always ask ‘Chee?‘ (fresh?) and then ‘Kunjih okook,’ (How much is that?).  The klootchmen (women) always wanted dresses, and when given them, would put them on, one over the other.”

– page 80 (same chapter): “I remember the day Father was having specots (potatoes) dug by some Indians…As they were finishing late one afternoon, a lum-me-i (old woman) started for her shack walking slowly across the patch.  When she was half way across, a flour sack which she had sewed in one of her skirts gave way–no doubt she had begged the ‘neetle‘ from Mother–and from under her skirts rolled a sack full of Father’s potatoes.”

– page 81 (same chapter): “Many of the funeral processions went up Pike Street to Lakeview Cemetery, among them those of the Chinese.  Every good ‘China boy‘ on his way to his Celestial Heaven had to be protected from the devil.”  [More about the Chinese follows, including a song sung by young settler kids.  Also a song about clams and oysters.]

– page 84 (same chapter): “As I saw the house burn, I felt I could say with the Indians when they were driven from their homes, ‘chad-quid-del-el‘ (‘Where is my home?’)”  [This is good Lushootseed Salish.–DDR]

– page 90: “Bell Street ran from Depot Street, now known as Denny Way, to salt chuck (water) where the beach was fine and sandy, and there were springs of good water.  It was one of the camping grounds of the Indians while they hunted and fished.  They called it Muck-muck-wum but we call it Bell Street Dock.”  [Also Lushootseed–DDR.]

– page 94: “Today Hanford Street ranges from Lake Washington on the east to Whulge (Puget Sound) on the west.”  [Lushootseed too–DDR.]

– page 99, about the Beach or River Road: “Mother told us that at one time there was in Indian burial place on a small hill near the Beach Road.  As the custom was, the dead were wrapped in klaskus (mats) and placed in trees or laid in canoes on high platforms supported by stakes, always with their pots and pans and other icktas (things) put around them).”

-page 103-104, about Graham Street and canoes full of Indians beaching their canoes on the shore of Lake Washington at Walter Graham’s cottage: “Jim, the leader of the Indians, had done some work for which he was to have received a musket in payment.  Meanwhile Jim had wheedled Mr. Graham into giving him the gun before the job was done.  When Mr. Graham saw that Jim had no intention of finishing the work, he took the gun away from him.  Jim was solecks (ugly) when he came up that path and brought his tillicums (friends) along to overawe Mr. Graham, but Walter Graham had been through the Indian War of 1855-’56 and knew their ways and was quite fearless.  So, after hiyu wa wa (much talk), in which all the Indians joined, Mr. Graham told Jim that when he had finished the work he should have the gun.  The other Indians agreed that this was fair.  Jim was still solecks (angry) and grumbling when he left, but he had to abide by the decision of his tillicums and Mr. Graham.  Although this happened in the late sixties the ‘wa wa‘ was all in Siwash, as the Indians seldom spoke English.  However, many of them understood it, but did not care to speak it.”

– page 122, about Seattle Street: “When his name was given to the little settlement, he was very much displeased, being superstitious as are all Siwashes, for he thought when he was memaloose (dead), he would turn over in his grave whenever his name was spoken…Over his grave in the cemetery at Suquamish kloish tillicums erected a monument to his memory…”

– page 124, about Smith Street & Dr. Henry A. Smith: “When the Indians became solecks (mad) and were after the scalps of the ‘Bostons‘ in the Indian uprising of 1855, he went with his family to the block house at Cherry Street.”

– page 129, about Angleline Street’s namesake, ‘Princess’ Angeline, Chief Sealth’s daughter: “I like to think of her as a happy little tenas (child) playing with other little tenas (children) about the beach; no dishes to wash, no floors to sweep and her bathtub the whole of Puget Sound.  Angeline came to our house in Pike Street shortly before her death.  She sat on a low stool in the center of the room, and when we gathered about her, she began to talk in her native tongue, not in Chinook.  She spoke of her childhood days, her father and her tillicums (friends)…Mother, who understood Indian, interpreted for us.  She who had plenty,–her father’s daughter, the pet of the tribe,–had lost all at the coming of the white man.  She told of her happy, carefree childhood, how the white man had taken over or destroyed their vast olallies (berry patches), their camp-sites and the fishing grounds that had been theirs for generations.  She told of the rudeness of some of those white men and their cruelty to the Indians.  Now she was often cold and hungry, yet she had some kloish tillicums (good friends) who were kind to her and helped her when she went to them.  At the end, when the [sic] Sockalie Tyee (God) called, she was wrapped in a plaid shawl and laid away in an Indian canoe.  She had asked to be buried near her Boston tillicums (friends) instead of where her own people were at the Port Madison Reservation; and there on a sunny slope in Lake View Cemetery the school children of Seattle put a granite boulder at her grave.”  [Interesting to read of non-natives understanding Lushootseed.–DDR]

– page 152, about Rainier Avenue: “The Snoqualmie Pass Trail made by the Indians came down like a cow path–for both Indians and cows choose the way of least resistance–past what is now the town of Renton.  It straggled on to Rainier Valley and approximately along Rainier Avenue, then zigzagged across Jackson, Main and King Streets to salt chuck (water).

– page 154, about Densmore Avenue: “Milton Densmore, for whom Densmore Avenue is named, was one of the captains of the Linna C. Gray, the stocky barge that carried coal from shore to shore in Lake Union.  After the coal company changed the route via Mox La Push, the Gray was abandoned, her machinery taken out, and she was left lying on her side among the tules at the foot of what is now Fairview Avenue.”

– page 163: illustration titled “Lum-me-i

– page 165, about Westlake Avenue: “Some years later a shorter route for bringing the coal to Seattle was chosen by way of Mox La Push, or Black River Junction, and the Lake Union road was abandoned.  One of our favorite walks was this abandoned road, or ‘down the grade‘ as we called it.  It was lined with all kinds of shrubs–wild roses, red currant and squaw berry bushes.”

– page 166-168, same chapter:  “I doubt if I will ever forget the day Little Brother and I were playing ‘down the grade’ and blowing shrill whistles made from ‘horsetail’ that grew so lush there, when we met an old, gray-haired Indian and blew long and loud at him.  ‘Copet!‘ he yelled at us, but we kept right on, although we knew very well that copet was Chinook for ‘Stop’.  ‘Copet!‘ he yelled again and raised his staff and took a step toward us.  This time we not only ‘copetted‘ but we klatawa-ed (ran).  Perhaps the shrill whistle hurt his ears–or his dignity–or possibly there was some superstition connected with it.  How little we white children realized the tragedy of the Indians who were seeing their ancestral hunting grounds forever taken away.  We were often provoking.  I remember another escapade of Little Brother’s and mine when we rudely intruded upon a klootchman about to bathe.  She too took after us and made us klatawa (run).  A large Indian camp built at the shore line of Lake Union near Westlake held several families, and, being made of cedar slabs and bark, it withstood the weather…We children liked to go to the camp for there were so many interesting things going on.  The Indians called us ‘George Ply’s tenas‘ and laughed at our attempts to speak Chinook.  If we girls wore bright hair-ribbons or particularly bright frocks, the tslanies (women) would feel of them and say, ‘Utch-a-dah, Utch-a-dah‘.  Utch-a-dah had several meanings as so many of their words have–pleasure, surprise or sympathy, and long drawn out ‘Utch—a—dah’ means ‘very, very sorry.’  We would watch the Siwash gamble as they sat in a circle in the big house, or the boys making arrows and spears…There was always a lummei (old woman) who was a leader among the women, and when she was rested and decided it was time to go, she would say ‘Ho-bil-itkt-te-dow-wah.  Ho-bil-itkt‘ (move on).  With many grunts and grumblings, first one and then another would slowly pick up her basket, put on her head-band and as slowly move on.  After all had gone and in single file, the lummei would pick up her basket and ho-bil-itkt (move).”  [Another interesting feature of the Lushootseed quoted in this book is that sometimes it has the old original nasal sounds /n, m/ and sometimes the newer sounds that these evolved into /d, b/.–DDR]

– page 172, about Railroad Avenue[,] now Alaskan Way: “Indians on their way to and from the hop fields at White River would camp on Ballast Island, their canoes loaded with their tenas (children), their komox (dogs) and their icktas (things).  When they returned from the hop fields, they would have hiyu wa wa (much talk) with their tillicums, gamble, buy ‘stick’ shoes, plaid shawls, and then klatawa (go).”

– page 174, about Decatur Place: “It is named for the sloop of war, Decatur, whose mox poo (shoots twice) saved the men, women and children of the little settlement from being massacred.”

– page 176, about “Forgotten Streets”: “Other familiar names of early days which have been pushed aside for meaningless ones [include]…Rollin, named for the baby who lived to see Seattle grow from an Indian illahee (camp) to a city of nearly half a million.  Westlake was called Rollin Avenue at one time.

– page 188, about Surber Avenue and William H. ‘Uncle Joe’ Surber, who came to Seattle in 1859: “He made his home at the northwest corner of Fifth and Main Streets, until the town became too ‘large’ for him with too many chee chackos (newcomers); then he moved to his homestead–a part of Laurelhurst of today–on Union Bay, an arm of Lake Washington.”


— Dave