Joaquin writes to Al Tozier

Here’s a nice connection between our beloved Jargon and a celebrity of the late Western frontier…

joaquin writes to al tozier


Writes to
Al Tozier

Albert Tozier, of the state labor
commissioner’s office, is in receipt of
an interesting letter from Joaquin
Miller, the famous western poet, who
is a personal friend of Mr. Tozier. The
letter is in reply to one written the
poet by Mr. Tozier in the Chinook lan-
guage during the winter while the
poet was lying apparently at death’s
door. Mr. Tozier’s mother, who was a
life-long friend of Joaquin Miller, had
also written him, hence his reference
to her in the letter given below, Since
then Mrs. Tozier has passed away. The
poet’s letter follows:

“My Dear Mr. Tozier — Thank you
ever so kindly for your happy letter in
Chinook; and most especially for the
one from your good mother. Please to
thank her for me, and say that when
I am again in Oregon, which I hope
will be before many moons hence, I
will be most happy to meet her.

“I have been ill a long time, and
hence delay in answering. With love
to you all, I am, yours, Joaquin Mil-

— from the Salem (OR) Daily Capital Journal of October 28, 1912, page 6, column 4

Bonus fact:

Tozier was brought from Nebraska to Hillsboro, northwestern Oregon in 1863, age 3. So we infer he grew up speaking early-creolized Chinuk Wawa. In 1883 he founded a newspaper in Chehalis, Washington Territory, also a heavy CW-using area. He lived until 1937. His collection of Oregon historical documents and artifacts became the nucleus of the Washington County Museum, now known as Five Oaks Museum. I would love to track down his letter in Chinook Jargon to one of the most renowned poets of the American West!

What do you think?
Kahta mika tum-tum?