1853: Not an April Fool’s ad?

One of the first newspapers in Washington would seem to have lost little time indulging in April Fool’s pranks…

Naturally, these involved Chinuk Wawa. (I’ll highlight the Jargon words in green.)

move your boots

Move Your Boots!

Hyack! — Clatawa!! get out of the way!!



JACOB BARNHART, from Whiteside county, Illinois, Conductor.

Sampson Chithoot, )
George Stickshoes,                        )     Ingin-eers. 
John Sokum,        )

Second Railroad North of the Columbia River!!

FIRST CLASS CARS have been placed upon the above road, (just completed), and they are warranted to “propel” with double “Ingin-e” power, give back-action licks, and loom up like a “sugar hogshead.” The boilers are wire wound, water-proof, and no mistake. The cars will run from the head of Budd’s Inlet to Hays, Ward & Co.’s Saw-mill, at the ‘tum-water’ of Shute’s river — leaving each and every hour in the day. (Sunday’s excepted.) All “male” matter carried free? — front seats reserved for the ladies. Footmen that do not wish to get run over will please to clear the track when they hear the cars coming. Horsemen not allowed on the road.

This railroad forms the connecting link between Puget Sound and Shute’s river — ultimately to be extended to the Columbia river, and there is no knowing where it will stop. Tickets to be had at all times at the Conductor’s office. Passengers are requested to clean their shoes, and “blow” their nose before getting into the passenger train. 

For freight or passage apply to the conductor.

— from the Olympia (Washington Territory) Columbian of April 2, 1853, page 4, column 4

This newspaper was a weekly at the time, so April 2 was the closest they could get to April Fools Day.

  • Hyack (ayaq) ‘hurry!’
  • Clatawa (ɬatwa) ‘go!’
  • Chithoot (chetxwut*) ‘(black) bear’
  • Stickshoes (stik-shush) ‘boots or leather shoes’
  • tum-water (təmwata) ‘waterfall, a falls’
  • Stitchas is the original Salish name of the site of Olympia
  • Jacob “Jake” Barnhart had recently started, but abandoned, a promising townsite at the mouth of the Puyallup River

Having written all of that up, I then found out, however, that this ad had already run as early as February 5. Does that make it less, or more, of an April Fools prank??

What do you think?
qʰata mayka təmtəm?