1869: Psycho, the Demented gives a speech in Chenook (partly)

George Francis Train’s large head looms in California, and you can see it from my house!

This is the larger-than-life plutocrat who famously claimed to have taught himself Chinuk Wawa in 15 minutes 😉

Here he is on a lecture tour — a very popular form of entertainment in frontier days.

I’m not clear whether the following ad is making fun of him, or was placed by him. Such is life with GF Train!

train 1

train 2

train 3


Good-by Lectures




AUGUST 9th AND 10th, AT 8 O’CLOCK.
His twenty-fourth Lecture in San Francisco, sixty-first on the Pacific Coast, and 172d of his course of 600 since release from a British Bastile, on his way to the White House.

Crowded Houses all through Washington Territory, Oregon and California. 

SUBJECTS — Dull Times — I told you so — Banquo’s Ghost and the Democratic Party — San Francisco and back again, via Victoria, Puget Sound, Portland, the Dalles, and the Valley of the Willamette — The Fenian Panic in British Columbia — Epigram on a wilderness on fire — The New York of the Pacific — Epigram on Puget Sound — The North Pacific Railroad Exploration — Epigram on the Fenian Scare at Victoria — The cat[c]hing of one hundred and thirteen salmon at the Dalles — Epigram (in Chenook) on the San Francisco corralling of the “deadhead” Tourists and the Congressional Committee by the Bank of California — How California absorbs the Oregon individuality — Oregon has been a sponge, squeezed in San Francisco — Is the Central Pacific interested with Ben. Holladay in heading off the Ogden Railroad to the Columbia? — Is the Emmet Guard ready to start the Irish Republic at Victoria, and set off a fleet of Alabamas on British shipping? Who disbanded the Fenian Battalion, and why? The Chinese question.

TICKETS, 50 cts.; Gallery, 25 cts. Take your reserved seats early — no extra charge. 

Tickets to be had at the door all day Monday.

— from the San Francisco (CA) Examiner of August 7, 1869, page 2, column 5

A man full of jumbled opinions, it would seem.

Did you notice that spelling “Chenook“? This was early enough in the history of Chinook Jargon that its name wasn’t yet quite standardized.

Bonus fact!


Train’s self-published “Psycho” newspaper! (image credit: JamesArsenault.com)

George Francis Train famously espoused a lot of theories (besides the topics above) that were considered “demented” notions: vegetarianism, feminism, hypnotism, and the presence of a “Psycho” power that he could cultivate by starting a new church!

qʰata mayka təmtəm?
What do you think?