Edward “Golden Potlatch” Clayson part 2
I found out more of “Patriarch” Clayson’s background, and he wasn’t a southerner, he was British…
CLAYSON, EDWARD, member people’s party national committee for the state of Washington, was born in 1839, in Kent, England. During the Russian war of 1854-55 he served as a boy on her majesty’s ship Orion in the Baltic fleet; and in 1857-58 served on board the Amazonas frigate during the great rebellion in Peru. He came to America in 1859: and in 1865 located in Kitsap county, being one of the pioneers of Washington territory. In 1868-70 he was a United States mail contractor; and is now a journalist and editor of The Patriarch of Seattle, Wash. He is a member of the people’s party national committee for the state of Washington for the term of 1904-08; and resides in Seattle, Wash.
— Herringshaw’s American Statesman and Public Official Year-Book (1907-1908), page 157
FYI, here is an illustrious female relative of Clayson’s who lived in Oregon: his estranged daughter, Dr. Esther Pohl Lovejoy. I believe she drew the portrait I showed yesterday.
Let me toss in a couple more bits of Clayson’s “penal colony” Wawa today, from his book “Historical Narratives of Puget Sound“.
pages 5-6: “He who could perform the greatest labor with the greatest skill as a mechanic, or as a common laborer, and work the longest hours was the ‘hi-hu mammok Tyhee’ (much work chief).” This seems to be, like much of the Jargon Clayson uses, White settler Wawa, more likely to have been used only among local English speakers than interculturally with Native people.
page 7: “Delate wa-wa (true talk).” Clayson ends his many mini-chapters with variations on this phrase, or “Cumtux?” (Understand?)
The following sounds like remembered actual dialogue with local Native people:
We were opposit[e] the “Devil’s Hole” at the time, about ten miles from Seabeck. Mr. Wilson shouted to the Indians: “Nak! Klosh mika charco; nika tickey hyack klatawa kopa Seabeck, nika potlatch chickerman kopa mika spose mika hyack” (Say! Good, you come; I want quick go to Seabeck; I give money to you if you quick). Well, the Indians came alongside and Wilson bargained with them to take him to Seabeck for two dollars.
— page 13
Some 1800’s slang that’s mighty relevant to us rears its head on page 15: “The first murderer on Hoods Canal during this period was Gassey Charley, a ‘Lag’ from Australia.” Honestly I still don’t think I know what that word meant in people’s minds, but it obviously connects with Gassy Jack, after whom Gastown — a Chinuk Wawa name of Vancouver BC — was named.
Clayson tells anecdotes from some of the attempts at outlawing alcohol that preceded the 18th Amendment:
The loggers’ and sailors’ mouths began to water at the prospect of free whisky and cigars. “Prohibition” upon this basis was “delate hyas klosh kopa konnaway”; hi-hu tillicums, charco kopa Seabeck kopa konnaway kah, pe iscum skookum chuck. [“really wonderful for all”; many people(,) came to Seabeck from everywhere, and got the strong water] [Clayson keeps using this expression ‘skookum chuck’ in the novel sense of ‘booze’…was it his own coinage or was it current in his community?]
— page 21
Page 31: “…logging camp bosses were all Tyhees, kopa stick (chiefs in the woods)…
Page 32, discussing local settler (not Native) society: “This lot of Tyhees used to be classed as follows: “Hyas tyhees, sictum tyhees, tenas tyhees and klonas tyhees” (big chiefs, half chiefs, small chiefs and don’t know chiefs). The Tyhees were all men of more than common responsibility.”
Page 33: Old Marshal on Quilcene Bay was a bit of a hermit, but “…an Indian, making a cultus coolley in his canim (idle trip in his canoe), might drop in upon him at long intervals and indulge in tenas cultus wa wa (little idle talk), relieving the monotony of his isolation.”
Page 58: Old Sam and his wife Betsy, of Seabeck, held a potlatch at the ” ‘Potlatch Il’l-a-he’ (fairground)”.
Page 59: a half-breed young woman of Seabeck received a White education and became Americanized, ” ‘Kah-kwa Boston clootchman’ (like the American woman).’
Whatever his racial attitudes, Clayson mostly speaks of his Indian neighbors as people who he takes seriously and wants to understand:
Going along Pike street [in Seattle] one fine day about four years ago, the street being crowded, a voice behind me exclaimed: “Kah mika klatawa hyack” (where are you going quick). I turned around and there was the ahankouty tillicum[‘old friend’], Jenny, and two of her children with her. Said she: “Had I spoken in English you would have gone right on, but I knew that a Chinook wa wa would bring you up.” So I enjoyed a moment with her and her children chatting about old times. * * * When this “Potlatch” [mentioned above] was over old Sam and his squaw Betsy [Jenny’s parents] returned to their shanty and to their accustomed drudgery at Seabeck, with peacefulness of mind and a composure of heart such as is realized by a few good Christians after giving liberally to charity, or to that of a Mohamedan who has returned from a pilgrimage to Mecca.
— page 60
Pages 98-99, on the value of wage work to a Native man:
But to return to Jack Clams [and wife]…in the course of time they began to acquire a taste for “Boston muck-a-muck”—American food—so Jack had to go to work once in a while in order to get “tenas chickerman pe mahkook sapolill”—get a little money to buy flour…
In 1873 the writer of this built a ten-pin alley at Seabeck…On the Fourth I hired him to stick up tenpins, and showed him what to do; and I was to pay him $2.00 a day. Ye gods! this was a charm to him. A big jump from 50 cents a day to $2.00. “Delate hi-hu chickerman”—truly much money—so Jack began his day’s work about 10 o’clock in the morning of sticking up ten-pins. He stuck up for two or three games, and then quit. He came strolling down the alley in a very leisurely manner and with an expression of disgust upon his face he exclaimed:
“Klaxta o’coke?”—what’s this? “Mika halo nanitsh”—don’t you see? Said I: “Nawitka nika delate nanich, o’coke delate cultus mamok. Ecta mika he-he, Boston-man delate hyas pilton.” Yes, I truly see this truly useless work. What are you laughing at? American truly big fools.
Said I to him: “Mika wake tickery mamok” —You don’t want work. “Delate halo”—truly not. Said he: “Spose mika halo mamok, mika halo iskum muck-a-muck”—-if you don ’t work you get nothing to eat, said I. He laughed me to scorn. Said he: “Spose mika halo mamok, mika halo iskum muck-a-muck; hi-hu olallie’s hi-hu clams kopa nika”——If you don ’t work, you will get nothing to eat. Lots of berries, lots of clams for me. And with that independent air which he was justified in, he walked off and left us in the lurch. Although subjected to inconvenience by the spirit of independence displayed by Jack Clams, I could not help but admire his independence and his philosophy. I did not admire his conduct, by any means, but his position was an enviable one.
Pages 103-105, involving famous Chinuk Wawa authority Myron Eells and an immigrant who didn’t know Jargon from English:
“Ahn-cut-ty Tillicums kopet alta; Kona-a-way Mem a loose (old friends finished now; all dead). As near as we can remember, the tradition of Old Anderson is: He came to Port Gamble some fifty years ago in a Holland ship as a sailor, and located upon the very spot where he died. He could not speak a word of English when he left the ship, so he learned English and Chinook together; this being the case, he did not know, when he was talking whether it was English or Chinook he was speaking; so when he had any dealings with anyone he would speak partly in English and partly in Chinook; this condition left the old fellow at times in a very embarrassing position. His place was always known as “Happy Valley,” where he lived in content with his faithful old squaw all these years, getting his living entirely from the soil, and some little fishing occasionally. He led a simple, comfortable life, never working for anyone else. The more ambitious of his neighbors might envy him his peaceable, easy life. His poor old squaw, now left alone, if alive, is no doubt “sick tum tum” (sad heart).
The most eventful incident in the life of Old Anderson and his squaw was some forty years ago, when the Indian Department issued an order for all the squaws to be taken from the White men and placed upon the Indian reservations unless the white men married them. (To the credit of the white men be it said that I do not remember of a single one of them who turned his squaw off.) Old Anderson was one of the first to respond to the order of marriage, and the old squaw was in high glee. “Yaka-kah-kwa Boston kloochman; yaka tenas Tyee alta” (she now like the American woman; Chief now).
So Anderson launched his canoe and hurried down to Seabeck, about twelve or fourteen miles distant, for the purpose of getting a “marriage license.” Now, Harry Schafer, full of good-natured mischief, as he always was, was tending bar for Denny Howard at that time, and Old Anderson confided his “quiet mission” to the humorous barkeeper and requested him to get him the required “marriage license.” But no one in Seabeck was authorized to issue marriage licenses; the county seat, at Port Madison, was the only place where they could be obtained; but Old Anderson in his ignorance did not know that, and the accommodating Harry, the barkeeper, did not propose to be stuck on such a small affair as that of securing a “marriage license,” so he dug up, out of an old dusty cigar box from behind the bar, a last year’s road tax receipt, and wrapped it up in a piece of fancy tinsel paper taken from an old I. X. L. bitters bottle, and handed it to Anderson as a marriage license. with that broad smile of his, which he could hardly control from bursting into a fit of laughter. Old Anderson felt very grateful towards Harry for his kindness, so he treated the house and started off for home with the “documentary treasure” of his life. He reached “Happy Valley” in due time, and the faithful old squaw received him with smiles of satisfaction, as she was now to become “kah-kwa Boston kloochman” (Same as the American wife). The next morning, bright and early, Old Anderson was up and dressed, and his squaw donned her “ictas” of red gown and petticoats. The family carriage (best canoe) was launched and the “two hearts that beat as one” labored hard at the paddles for eight long hours to reach the Skokomish reservation before dark, where Myron Eells, the preacher, met them, and immediately preparations were made to perform the marriage ceremony. The two “youthful lovers” stood up before the altar with feeling of great expectancy, and Anderson went into his inside coat pocket for the “sacred authority” and handed it to the minister. A smile came over the countenance of the minister as he read the “road tax receipt.” Of course the marriage ceremony was suspended and the minister explained to the would-be man and wife the “huge joke” practiced upon them. Old Anderson was dumbfounded, and the squaw flew into a passion and railed at her spouse in violent language, exclaiming, “Mika delate pelton; mika halo cumtux; Nika delate halo pil-a-piekopa mika Il’l-a-he; hyack klata-wah, nika wake tickey nanech mika” (you .big fool; you don’t understand. I will not re turn to your home; go quick. I don ’t want to see you).
Some good little samples of frontier Jargon there for you!
Pingback: Woolgathering | Chinook Jargon
I would like to get in touch with the author of the article ‘Edward “Golden Potlatch” Clayson’. His daughter was the great suffragist & MD Dr. Esther Pohl Lovejoy. I am the great great grandaughter of Edward. You mention a drawing by Esther. I would love to see a photo of it?
LikeLiked by 1 person
Hi Heather, thanks for reading my site! It’s great to have contact with a descendant of the history I research.
Here’s a link to my article that shows the drawing of Clayson by Dr. Lovejoy: link.
Best wishes from