1880s?: Ellensburg, WA area

A family recollection that I originally shared on the old CHINOOK listserv merits re-posting here…


I couldn’t find any images of the Manastash Creek mission, so here’s St Joseph’s in the Yakima Valley (image credit: HistoryLink)

This was found at the Driving Audhumla blog:

According to family oral history, my great-grandfather bought what had been
a claim staked out by one of the very early Seattle pioneers who returned
to Seattle after one of their children drowned in the river. Before that,
the land was the site of the Catholic Mission of the Immaculate Conception,
established in 1848 on Manastash Creek, which runs through the property.
Life was hard then, and the priest from the Oblates of Mary [Immaculate] who established
the mission seems to have had some sort of major mental-health collapse from
the stress. (My grandmother did have memories of children from the Yakima
nation’s coming to the house–just as they had in mission days–and she
tried later to teach me a few words of the Chinook jargon she used to speak
to them). The first wave of settlers arrived in the 1860s, and even then
were mainly cattle ranchers who ran their herds in the surrounding high
range land.

My great-grandfather married Rose Becker in Ellensburg in 1888. Her
parents–my great-great grandparents–emigrated from Europe and walked the
2000-mile Oregon Trail into California before 1860. They moved north to
Baker, Oregon, then The Dalles, Oregon–where Rose Becker was born– and
finally Ellensburg where my great-great grandfather Jacob Peter Becker
established the first blacksmith shop in Kittitas County in 1872. Ellensburg
was then known as “Robbers’ Roost.” 

All of this closely echoes what we find in contemporary accounts direct from frontier times.

Chinuk Wawa certainly remained in use around Ellensburg and northward through central Washington well past 1900.

qʰata mayka təmtəm?
What do you think?