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What engineers must know in British Columbia

Chinuk Wawa shows up in a funny place: American Machinist magazine.  (February 2, 1884, page 3.)  In the middle of a serious discussion of Root’s new boiler design, they throw in some lighter-weight filler.  “What… Continue reading

Covered Wagon Women

The letter of Anna Maria King, Luckiamute Valley, Oregon, April 1, 1846: [page 44:] The Indians appear to be very friendly, like to have the Bostons come, as they call them.   Tabitha Brown (1780-1858, co-founder… Continue reading

Wah-Kee-Nah and her people, including James Clark Strong

“Wah-Kee-Nah and Her People“ by James Clark Strong New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1893 In places, a solidly interesting piece of Northwest Americana. New Yorker J.C. Strong lived in the PNW starting in… Continue reading

I preached the first sermon at White Salmon…in English anyway

“Early Days at White Salmon and the Dalles”, by Camilla Thomson Donnell. Washington Historical Quarterly IV(1) [January 1913], pages 105-115. Page 109: Rev. Mr. Tenney gave me this incident. He said: “I preached the… Continue reading

Sharon Seal guest blogs again: Big John Kitsap & See Oh See Oh

Reader Sharon Seal has contributed more great Chinook Jargon material to share with you all.  These are newspaper articles from Kittitas County, WA.  (Non-Washingtonians: it’s pronounced KITT-ih-tass.) 1) “Big John Kitsap, Kittitas Indian,… Continue reading

Chinook Jargon in Haller diary 1855 (Sharon Seal guest blogging)

Reader Sharon Seal has thoughtfully sent along some interesting Chinook Jargon material that she’s found in her resarch. The following relates to the diary of Major Granville Owen Haller. I especially appreciate this… Continue reading


I transcribed this jocular musing on rampant borrowings into frontier-era Western US English, from the Daily Alta California newspaper, 3 August 1851, page 2, column 2 (top). There’s quite a trove of what… Continue reading