The curse of Rev. W.C. “Chaltin”

Here’s the running tally:

I think we’d have known quite a bit more already about the overlooked Chinuk Wawa expert W.C. Chattin, if we’d previously thought to search for him under these misspellings:

  • Chattan
  • Chattem
  • Chatten

And now we can add “Chaltin“.


In the preparation of this dictionary Mr. [J.K.] Gill had, he informs me, the assistance of Rev. W.C. Chaltin.

— from page 34 of James C. Pilling’s 1893 “Bibliography of the Chinookan Languages

Even his own church denomination published his name that way, back in 1860:

chaltin 2


Now that we’re aware we have to dream up wrong ways to spell this man’s name, we’re discovering more about his previously obscure Chinuk Wawa career.

From the early Skokomish Reservation to J.K. Gill’s long-reissued and influential Chinook Jargon dictionary to Siletz, Oregon, the man shows up all over the place as an expert adviser, if not as the headliner. (See the link above.)

What do you think?