1915: And still another appearance of the “Seattle Illahee” folk song

Reader Darrin Brager sent over this clipping that brings us a newly discovered appearance of the “Seattle Illahee” song…

"Old Man Pogue" (Ommundsen Collection)

Pollough Pogue (image credit: Hollyburn Heritage)

It’s a local-color piece about Gig Harbor, Washington “clam rancher” and Klondike prospector Bertel Peterson.

As usual for the numerous articles by Pollough Pogue (who I think is the author of this one), quite a bit of poetic license is taken, but I have no great reason to doubt that we have here a genuine folk version of the well-known Pacific Northwest song.


Times have changed since the old-time prospector announced that he was going to settle down on Puget sound where clams and venison were plentiful, and hit the trail no more. These are some of the words he used, and many an old-timer knows the ballad. It has 49 stanzas. This is the first:

“No more I’m goin’ to wander 
     and pack my blankets ’round 
I’m goin’ to build a cabin on the 
     banks of Puget Sound 
Where there’s hyu clams and mowich
     and it’s there that I will stay 
With hy-as tenas Klootchman 
     hyu kloshe day.”

— from “Old Times and New Times” by P.P. [probably Pollough Pogue], December 8, 1915 (Page 4 of 😎 The Sun (1912-1916); Vancouver, Canada [Vancouver, Canada]. 08 Dec 1915: 4, column 3

Bonus fact:

I’ve found a biographical sketch of the ultra-prolific UK-born Marstyn Pollough Pogue (1877-1970), here.

He worked Chinook Jargon into quite a lot of his hundreds of published pieces, and he must have had a real acquaintance with the language due to long years living in Vancouver.

It’s mainly because his pieces are largely fictional that I don’t often discuss them. I have a strong preference for solid real data on the Jargon, but you can easily track down lots of his stuff via the usual newspaper, book, and web searches.

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