Blankenship, “Early History of Thurston County, Washington” (Part 1)

Sometimes a dollar spent on a book pays off many times over!

Samuel_L._Crawford_1890 (1)

Samuel Leroy Crawford in 1890 (image credit: Wikimedia)

I bought “Early History of Thurston County, Washington” by Mrs. George E. Blankenship (Olympia, WA: no publisher listed, 1914) for a buck from a library that was downsizing. I’m so glad.

Here I start a mini-series on the Chinuk Wawa-related memories that are shared in this volume. Or as page 34 quotes a Captain Miller, circa 1858:

I will here add a new letter to the alphabet, let ‘er rip!
(page 34)

Samuel L. Crawford, whose parents migrated out here in 1847, was one of the first Settler kids to be born in the Oregon Territory (1855). He grew up in Walla Walla, Oregon City, and Salem, as well as Olympia. In all of those places, you’d naturally be speaking Chinook Jargon, as the demographic balance was still in favor of Native people. 

In the middle to late 1870s he played baseball as a member of the Alki Base Ball Club of Seattle, “the Alkis”. (page 72)

He knew Princess Angeline, the Jargon-speaking daughter of Chief Seattle, and she told him, “Oh, let me be buried with my white tillicums, who have been so good to me!” (page 76)

David Crane Beatty came out to Oregon in 1852 as a young man. He tells (page 88) of an incident during hostilities in the 1850s, of his small group of Settler volunteers coming upon a large, heavily armed Native group, who turned out to be friendly Squaxin Island men coming to help out. He quotes a chief in that group as saying, “What’s the use, Indian fight white man, one white man not afraid ten Indians.” This, I expect, is a rough English translation from that man’s Chinuk Wawa speech.

Beatty tells (pages 88-89) of being appointed Indian Agent after that war. “I could speak their language and had many friends among them.” This, too, certainly means CW being spoken.

Stay tuned for more memories from western Washington!

qʰata mayka təmtəm?
What do you think?